Category: Alternative medicine

Pot Legalization in CO Makes Everything…Better!

When Colorado voters legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use as of last January, the doomsayers lined up to predict the dire consequences of such rampant immorality.

Fictional warning: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said the number of children using drugs would increase.

Actual fact: Colorado teens reported a two percent decrease in pot smoking according to the last reporting period.

Fictional warning: Former attorney general Edwin Meese and Charles Stimson argued violent crime would surge.

Actual fact: Total ‘Part 1′ crimes in Denver (Homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson) decreased 7.9 percent through November 30, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

Fictional warning: Kevin Sabet, a former senior White House drug policy adviser, warned of high addiction rates, spikes in traffic accidents.

Actual fact: Colorado roadway deaths dropped by 25 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, the Washington Post reported.

(The above data is taken from a post on the SFGate blog today.)


Omnibus Budget Has a Lot of Crap But at Least One Useful Thing: Medical Marijuana ‘Legal’

The $1.1 trillion omnibus budget bill the Congress passed in its waning days of existence and that President Obama is unwisely expected to sign next week is full of corporate giveaways, regulatory bypasses and other decisions that hurt ordinary people. But there is at least one useful provision that sneaked into the bill and my Congressman was instrumental in making it happen.

That provision prohibits DEA from enforcing Federal laws against marijuana use against medical users in states where that usage is legal. It stops short of legalization but it effectively makes it safe to buy and sell pot for medicinal purposes at states’ discretion. I suspect we will now see a significant increase in the number of states allowing that use.

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) along with Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa co-sponsored and managed the bill through a surprising bipartisan group of backers in the House. Although the provision merely codifies what had already been established as Obama Administration policy, it secures it against a future administration feeling less kindly disposed toward medical marijuana buyers and sellers and revoking what was an administrative regulation.

I personally know a number of people who have been helped over the years by the medical use of marijuana so I was glad to see this happen. As a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law (NORML), I look forward to the day when this relatively harmless drug will be dealt with humanely and in an enlightened way. As it is, the “Reefer Madness” of the 50’s and 60’s has resulted in it being labeled as a drug that is more dangerous than cocaine, which is laugh-out-loud stupid.


Pot Ingredients Kill Virulent Brain Cancer

A new medical study has found that a potent brain cancer called high-grade glioma responds extremely well to the chemical components in marijuana. Scientists using an extract of whole-plant marijuana rich in pot’s main psychoactive ingredient THC as well as cannabidiol (CBD) showed “dramatic reductions in tumor volumes,” the article describing the study reported.

This is yet more scientific evidence of the efficacy of marijuana as a medical treatment alternative for many kinds of conditions. In my home state of California, medical marijuana use is already sanctioned and controlled but in many other states, fear of marijuana as a gateway drug prevents this treatment from being made available.

It’s the 21st Century. We should be well past the time when ignorance of science or fear of “reefer madness” ought to be depriving a single person of treatment that can alleviate pain or reverse horrific medical conditions.



Doctor Shortage Will Almost Certainly Get Health Care System Reform Blamed for Longer Waits

It appears that an acute, long-predicted shortage of doctors will combine with the significant increase in the number of new patients seeking medical care in the next year or two to create long waits for access to physicians.

And you can be certain that the GOP will blame the Affordable Care Act and “government medicine” for the result.

This report in the National Journal repeats an oft-sounded alarm: a doctor shortage that has been building for the past several years promises to get much worse if we don’t act now to figure out creative ways to deal with it.

Alternative MedicineThe report offers a few suggestions for coping but it presumably deliberately overlooks a major way to help: broaden insurance coverage to allow patients to choose non-MD doctors as their primary care physicians. If the AMA lobby weren’t so powerful and successful at convincing Americans that “doctor” means “MD and only MD”, the “shortage” would disappear instantly.

Chiropractors, homeopaths, Ayurvedic practitioners, naturopaths, hypnotherapists, midwives and a host of other trained specialists could take up the entire slack of much of the “general practice” activity if only insurance covered their services. These individuals — who are often quite skilled and almost always better trained than MDs in such areas as nutrition, lifestyle and compassion — could form an alternative first line of defense on the health care front.

I’m not suggesting that without some specific training and licensing or certification these non-traditional caregivers should be allowed, e.g., to write prescriptions or perform surgery. But to offer diagnoses and non-invasive alternative natural therapies for coping with common illnesses does not require the complex skills taught in the halls of medical academe in America today. To cite just one example (there are thousands of which I personally am aware), medical Qi Gong (pronounced chee gung) is a dominant health care methodology in China. Centuries of anecdotal evidence attest to its efficacy and now clinical studies are beginning to accumulate with supportive findings.

At a minimum, allowing MDs to associate with alternative healing providers to form partnerships could alleviate a substantial part of the burden on general practitioners, family doctors and other first-line medical personnel as we prepare for a nation more tuned into the importance and value of preventive medicine.