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Looking For Relief, More Time


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Marijuana protects the nerves and dramatically slows the progression of ALS and other fatal neurological disorders, according to reputable studies.

I point this out as a reminder and to provide a voice for those of us caught in the middle of what seems like an intensifying marijuana war.

Narcotics agents are busting pot farms left and right. The DEA has been raiding medical-marijuana dispensaries up and down the state. And the U.S. Attorney's Office has been filing criminal charges against medical- marijuana providers.

Though California voters legalized its use for medical purposes in 1996, possessing or selling marijuana remains a federal crime.

For that reason, or out of fear dispensaries might attract the wrong kinds of people, some cities and counties are imposing moratoriums or outright bans on cannabis pharmacies.

In the meantime, the terminally ill are seeking a release from their suffering or the chance to eke out a few more days on this planet.

The studies supporting marijuana's life-extending and pain-relieving qualities are compelling.

Marijuana compounds lengthened the lives of laboratory animals with ALS in a 2004 study at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. The animals lived significantly longer, the equivalent of three years in human terms.

The only drug approved for the treatment of ALS extends life only three months, on average.

Human trials are said to be in the works, though not in this country, where researchers face federal obstacles.

Marijuana also relieves the muscle twitching and spasms associated with ALS. It can also reduce excess mucus, a common and nightmarish symptom that contributes to lung infections, choking and, all too often, suffocation.

"We use medical marijuana for some of the symptoms of ALS," said Dr. Tahseen Mozaffar, co-director of the MDA/ALS Center at UC Irvine. "Marijuana, or the chemicals in marijuana, may have protective effects on the brain cells."

Pot's nerve-protecting benefits extend to other diseases.

A study at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio found that marijuana-like compounds protected laboratory animals from the effects of Parkinson's disease.

For those with multiple sclerosis, marijuana appears to slow progression, as well providing symptomatic relief.

"Cannabis-based medicine is effective in reducing pain and sleep disturbance in patients with multiple sclerosis-related central neuropathic pain, and is mostly well tolerated," according to findings published in 2005 in the journal Neurology.

Marijuana also inhibits nerve degeneration in Alzheimer's disease.

In a study published last year, rheumatoid arthritis patients taking cannabis- based medicine reported significant relief.

And marijuana has long been shown to be effective in treating nausea and improving appetite for cancer patients on chemotherapy.

While a pharmaceutical grade of one cannabis ingredient is available with a doctor's prescription, it does not contain other potentially beneficial marijuana compounds.

As local officials consider banning or limiting the sale of medicinal pot, I ask them to keep in mind the voters who approved the use of medical marijuana.

And keep us in mind, too - the people with ALS, MS and Parkinson's.

We're only trying to buy a little time.

Editor's note: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reporter and videographer Leo Greene was diagnosed with ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease - on Aug. 16, 2006. In a monthly column and through videos available at DailyBulletin.com, Leo explains his thoughts and feelings as he confronts this terminal illness.

Medical marijuana could buy me time. Time to see my two younger sons graduate. Time to see another grandchild born.

Time, perhaps, for a cure to come along.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 Magazine
Source: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario)
Author: Leo Greene
Contact: l_greene@dailybulletin.com
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Website: DailyBulletin.com - Looking for relief, more time
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New Member
Good article. Thank you Mr Coz.

Carmen F.

New Member
thanks for the information you provide, it's good to know what's going on to try and make people understand how important it is for us people who are sick and need the help.
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