Health & Medicine

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Richmond's Grand Daddy Purp Collective Wins Highest CBD Award

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Richmond collective Grand Daddy Purp's winning streak continues this season. On Sunday, judges affiliated with High Times magazine awarded the Richmond dispensary the Highest CBD trophy in the 2013 High Times Medical Cannabis Cup Los Angeles. The winning GDP strain is called Sandman.

Grand Daddy Purp collective has a long history of breeding award-winning plants, as well as growing and selling them in the East Bay.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Another Day, Another Bogus Pot Study

by David Downs
Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 10:40 AM

It takes some balls to say weed doubles the risk of stroke, and to not control the study for tobacco or alcohol use. New Zealand professor of clinical neurology Alan Barber: You sir, have some balls.

Barber presented his "pot doubles strokes risk" findings at the the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2013 this week. There are no links to the actual paper, but in the presentation and associated press release, Barber suggests that cannabis use may double the stroke risk in young adults.

He came to this conclusion by testing the pee of 160 stroke patients between the ages of 18 and 55. Sixteen percent of the patients tested positive for cannabis. “These patients usually had no other vascular risk factors apart from tobacco, alcohol and other drug usage,” Barber said.

But wait, isn't alcohol and tobacco and other drug use a HUGE vascular risk factor? I mean, even caffeine increases risk of stroke. Even the press release admits, "the association [between weed and stroke] is confounded because all but one of the stroke patients who were cannabis users also used tobacco regularly."

Still, “We believe it is the cannabis use and not tobacco,” states Professor Barber.

It's nice to believe things, but belief isn't science, Doc.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Smoking Cigarettes Banned At Outside Lands and Other SF Events — But Medical Weed's Still OK

by David Downs
Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 9:32 AM

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to ban tobacco — but not pot — smoking at outdoor events that take place on City-owned property. The law includes street fairs and places like Golden Gate Park, where tens of thousands amass regularly for events like the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival each summer. Outside Lands producers as well as street fair producers will have to notify the public that the event is smoke-free and post signage.

An exemption was carved out for people using medical marijuana. While second-hand tobacco smoke is a known carcinogen, extensive, well-funded federal studies have failed to find a link between pot smoking and lung cancer. Cannabinoids also have an anti-tumor effect in cell and animal studies.

Still legal at S.F. street fairs, with a doctors note
  • David Downs
  • Still legal at S.F. street fairs, with a doctor's note

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's 2013 — Go Get Your Medical Marijuana Recommendation

by David Downs
Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Cannabis is all but legal in California, according to the New York Times.

But Californians need a doctor's recommendation in order to lawfully possess the herb. Many readers have asked us over the months if they'll jeopardize employment opportunities or end up on some master list of pot smokers if they get a doctor's note or a state medical marijuana ID card.

Always here to help, we went out and got the facts, detailed in this week's column, 'The Truth About Medical Marijuana Card Privacy".

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Berkeley Patients Group Plans Re-Opening for December

by David Downs
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Pot legalization in Colorado and Washington could mean less heat on California's medical marijuana industry.

Among the groups likely counting on such a break, Berkeley Patients Group, who will re-open in a new space in December, according to an email from the city-licensed medical cannabis dispensary today.

"Safe access to quality medical cannabis is back," BPG wrote. "... BPG will be re-opening its doors in December."

According to reports, that location will be 2366 San Pablo Ave., in Berkeley.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hey, Look, We're in Salon, Talking 'Bout Medical Weed Delivery

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

And now for a moment of self-back-patting as we link to Salon's Thursday story "Riding along with a mobile marijuana dispensary" by Katya Cengel, wherein your humble author appears as sort of an expert source on the topic. "Medical marijuana columnist David Downs calls the mobile business 'the perfect crystallization of America’s denialism about its pot habit.'"

Cengel rides along with Legalization Nation subject Playbud deliveries, and talks to past subjects Tea House Collective.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Listen to Science Friday: 'Feds to Debate Marijuana as Medicine'

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 5:04 PM

At least 14 people have died from a tainted pain drug injected into their necks over the last few weeks, which is 14 more than have ever died from smoking pot to ease neck pain. And yet, ...

"The federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance — meaning it has no medically accepted use. Next week, interest group Americans for Safe Access will present the scientific case for marijuana's therapeutic effects to a federal appeals court, in hopes of relaxing federal restrictions." Listen as UCSF oncologist Donald Abrams debates the evidence with Bertha Madras professor of psychobiology, Harvard Medical School. It gets pretty heated.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Study: Cannabis Eases Muscle Stiffness of Multiple Sclerosis

by David Downs
Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

A decent-sized group of multiple sclerosis patients reported less muscle stiffness using weed than they did using placebo, the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry reports Oct. 8 in "Multiple Sclerosis and Extract of Cannabis: results of the MUSEC trial". The ancient herbal remedy doesn't work for everyone, and side effects may include highness, but that's better than a lot of other side effects we know of.

The important part about this study is it used actual weed on a lot of real people, not some synthetic cannabinoid on cells, or a mouse, or a monkey. The US strongly frowns upon such cannabis+human treatment protocols. This study went down in the UK.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kudos to the 'Chronicle' For Covering Cannabis Science!

by David Downs
Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM

This morning, a little good news. The San Francisco Chronicle turns over its health section to more heretical research showing the molecules in marijuana fight cancer. This time it's non-psychoactive cannbidiol, which has been shown to halt the menace of some breast cancer cells. Dang.

The Chronicle's Victoria Colliver reports that Dr. Pierre Desprez and Sean McAlllister from the S.F. California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute have discovered that CBD applied to metastatic cancer cells cause them to cease their attack-like behavior and return to a normal state, by shutting off a mutated gene that produces too much protein called "ID-1". Too much ID-1 protein makes normal cells go "crazy", in scientific parlance. CBD coaxes cells to turn off the ID-1 spigot, and hence the crazy, a finding that fits with existing research showing cannabinoids' role in homeostasis.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Jason and Jayden David's Story Takes Flight

by David Downs
Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

The Los Angeles Times has followed up on reporting by the East Bay Express and the documentary Weed Wars, in a very thorough look at Modesto father Jason David's use of cannabidiol to treat his son Jayden's rare form of epilepsy, called Dravet Syndrome.

Cannabidiol is a therapeutic molecule found in marijuana, and the federal crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries threatens patients' access to CBD and the recovery of his son, David said. David is a Harborside Health Center member. The club's leased property is being seized in federal court by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

With 4,200 Facebook likes, 192 retweets, 90 comments and syndication across the country, Lee Romney's story in the Times, illustrated with photos and video, is guaranteed to strengthen the resolve of those fighting for access to the life-saving drug.

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