Vol. 2, Number 4
April 1, 2010
cheryl riley, editor & writer
Gradi Jordan, writer
Who's Who
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Compassionate Use Investigative New Drug program - by c.a. riley

Most people are probably unaware that while proclaiming marijuana to have no medicinal value, the federal government has been supplying it for more than thirty years to a few people with very serious medical conditions. (Grown at the University of Mississippi, the cannabis is not of medical grade.)

Known officially as the Compassionate Use Investigative New Drug (IND) program, it began in 1978 when glaucoma patient Robert Randall won a lawsuit by successfully demonstrating that his use of cannabis was medically necessary. For more than a dozen years the program slowly added new patients—to whom it provided free, pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes—but with the advent of AIDS/HIV, patients afflicted with the disease discovered that cannabis relieved the nausea associated with anti-HIV drugs and increased their appetites.

Consequently, the Compassionate Use IND was inundated with new applications, and in early 1992 the George H.W. Bush administration reacted by closing the program to new applicants while continuing to supply the existing patients through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Today four of those original patients still receive cannabis from the federal government. They are: Barbara Douglass, an MS patient who entered the program in 1991; George Mc Mahon, who suffers from the painful genetic disorder, Nail-Patella syndrome and entered the program in 1990; Elvy Musikka, a glaucoma patient who entered the program in 1988, and Irvin Rosenfeld, who suffers with multiple congenital cartilaginous exostoses, a painful bone disorder. Irv entered the program in 1982.

Barbara Douglass lives in Iowa and calls her MS “ungodly and terrible.” Now in her fifties, she has lost the ability to walk and uses a scooter. She has found that she can be more active after smoking cannabis. Every month, Douglass receives prerolled cannabis cigarettes from her doctor. Also legally blind, Douglass says, “Marijuana helps – it helps a lot of things for me. It doesn’t make it better, but it makes it easier.”

George Mc Mahon also lives in Iowa and became a federal patient in 1990. He suffers from Nail-Patella syndrome, a strange name for a genetic disorder which causes abnormalities of bones, joints, fingernails and kidneys. In 1997, research at U-M Kellogg Eye Center indicated a strong link between NPS and glaucoma. (Reported in the October issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.)

McMahon freely admits to illegally using cannabis for his pain for more than 20 years while trying to get a much–needed diagnosis of his disorder. When that diagnosis finally came, McMahon underwent numerous tests, evaluation, and signed reams of legal papers before being accepted into the program in 1990. Mr. McMahon obtains his medical cannabis from his doctor. Ten “joints” a day has been determined to be his most therapeutic dosage, and today McMahon continues to do well on that regimen.

He says, “. . . my health depends on a steady supply of medicine... The elevated mood associated with cannabis definitely affected my health in a positive manner. I was more engaged with life. I took walks and rode my bike, things I never considered doing before in my depressed state, even if I had been physically capable. I ate regular meals and I slept better at night. All of these individual factors contributed to a better overall sense of well-being."

McMahon’s book, Prescription Pot, co-written with Christopher Largen and subtitled ‘A Leading Advocate's Heroic Battle to Legalize Medical Marijuana,’ was published by New Horizon Press in September 2003, and tells McMahon’s interesting story with humor and modesty.

Elvy Musikka lives in Hollywood, Florida, but as a very busy medical marijuana advocate it is doubtful that she spends much time there. Born with congenital cataracts, as a child Musikka underwent several eye surgeries. She suspects this is the reason she developed glaucoma when she was in her thirties.

Early on, a doctor recommended medical cannabis. Musikka says that for more than 25 years it has been her most effective, dependable, and safest therapy. She also says that fear of the law contributed to some poor decisions she made, especially having too many surgeries on her right eye. As a result, she has permanent loss of vision in the eye.

Determined to save the stable but limited vision in her left eye, Musikka cultivated cannabis for herself but was arrested. Amazingly, she won her trial based on a medical necessity defense, and in August, 1988 became the first woman in the federal compassionate use IND program. This milestone decision led to the establishment of a medical marijuana defense in Florida.

Musikka is outspoken on the issue, declaring that, “As we surrender our constitution, and make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens, we are wasting a tremendous amount of resources! It is our responsibility as citizens to demand accountability of our legislators. We cannot continue to support man-made laws that are against nature. These laws attempt to prohibit the basic instincts of self-preservation and compassion.” With the help she finds through medical cannabis, this colorful advocate is still going strong, fighting diligently for therapeutic cannabis for every patient whose life it might improve.

An unassuming, well-respected stockbroker from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Irvin “Irv” Rosenfeld resembles almost anyone but a pot smoker. Rosenfeld, however, holds a unique record: he has smoked more than 115,000 of the medical cannabis cigarettes provided to him by the Compassionate Use IND, more than any other patient. Mr. Rosenfeld has a rare form of bone cancer, multiple congenital cartilaginous exostoses, which causes bony protruberances to form on the shafts of the long bones, leading to problems that include loss of mobility in joints and bones that stop growing.

Rosenfeld says that cannabis acts as a muscle relaxant, an anti-inflammatory, a painkiller, and that it prevents tumor growth. He also says that cannabis allows him to enjoy a normal life, and that its well-known euphoric effect does not affect him because his body needs the medicinal effect.

Not surprisingly, Rosenfeld, who entered the IND program in 1982, also holds the title of longest-participating patient, and arguably the best known. He is a dynamic example of the usefulness of cannabis therapy.

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Dr. Ethan Russo / The Missoula Chronic Use Study - by c.a. riley

Ethan Russo, M.D., is a clinical neurologist in Missoula, Montana, whose specialties are child neurology, migraines and chronic pain. Russo, a native Montanan, is also a ground-breaking researcher in the study of therapeutic cannabis. He has been keenly interested in cannabis and its medicinal qualities for many years and says it is the most useful plant on earth.

A loving husband and devoted father of two great teenagers, Russo is naturally cheerful and extremely energetic. If he is not busy writing, teaching, farming or parenting he is away, traveling to international events that feature information on cannabis therapeutics or conducting on-the-spot research on medicinal plants in the field.

Dr. Russo says he has discussed cannabis with his patients ranging in age from 17 to 75 years and has yet to have one complain or drop him as his/her doctor. He goes on to say that he feels generally respected by his colleagues, his community and medical licensing authorities.

“I may have lost a few clinical cannabis patients,” he says, “but only because they moved to one of the states where voters made it legal." Russo continues, "My opinion about the efficacy and relative safety of cannabis is widely known since I've made no secret of my feelings the last few years."

In 1996 Russo began an attempt to obtain government approval of clinical studies with cannabis. In 1999 his long-awaited, DEA-approved application to study the effects of cannabis in acute migraine was abruptly rendered completely useless when the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—official supplier for the federal government’s IND program—refused to supply the cannabis for the proposed research!

Undaunted by this setback, when the renowned Dr. Lester Grinspoon approached Dr. Russo about producing a professional publication for cannabis researchers with up-to-date information, he responded with the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, first published in January 2001.

The journal created by Russo in 2004 became the peer-reviewed CANNABINOIDS, an online journal of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) published on their website in several languages.

Missoula Chronic Clinical Cannabis Use Study

In 2001, Dr. Russo, director of the study, and registered nurse Mary Lynn Mathre (Patients Out of Time) teamed up with other researchers to document the long-term effects of chronic cannabis use in the remaining IND medical cannabis patients.

Following an extensive three-day examination of every system in the patients’ bodies, researchers found only minor pulmonary effects in two of the four patients and mild cognitive effects on immediate attention and concentration. Higher cognitive functions were preserved, and researchers concluded that all subjects were in excellent condition except for their original illnesses and the cumulative effects of age.

Russo declares that, "If the government had really cared to document the long term effects and medical usefulness of cannabis, it could have been closely monitoring the IND patients, and we would have a wealth of available information. Instead, NIDA provided low-grade material in a form that was not medically optimized, and it made no attempt to document how cannabis was working for these people.” Russo goes on, “All things considered, they are functioning well despite having serious chronic diseases. Most of them feel cannabis is the only reason they are still alive, and we found that in our brain imaging, chest x-rays, and blood test studies, these patients were in the normal range.” Two of the patients had previously used intravenous narcotics for pain relief, but now use only cannabis. The negative pulmonary effects observed in two of the patients were thought to be the result of the inferior quality of the government-provided cannabis.

When asked about his personal experience with cannabis, Russo says, "Let's be honest. I smoked cannabis in college, and I inhaled frequently, deeply and with malice aforethought. I enjoyed it. It didn't prevent me from studying and learning. I have not smoked marijuana for many years, however, because of my family and professional responsibilities. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make at this time: I abstain from using a good medicine so that one day, perhaps, everybody can use the good medicine."

Learn more about Dr. Russo and his outstanding accomplishments for medical cannabis patients. See Long term use of Medical Cannabis by Federal Legal Patients

What's New

Alabama: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HB642 - The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act of Alabama

Arkansas: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Connecticut: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Delaware: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Florida: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Idaho: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Illinois: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   Bill Status of SB1381

Iowa: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Kansas: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
   Marijuana Bill Reaches House

Maryland: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   Bill Status of SB 627

Massachusetts: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Minnesota: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Missouri: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HOUSE BILL NO. 1670 - An Act relating to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes
   Cottleville Mayor Don Yarber hopes Missouri legislature passes medical marijuana law

New Hampshire: Considering a medical marijuana law.

New York: Considering a medical marijuana law.

North Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Ohio: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Pennsylvania: Considering a medical marijuana law.

South Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.

South Dakota: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Tennessee: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Texas: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Wisconsin: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act

Featured Recipe - The Savoy Truffle - Submitted by: The Dolphin Farm

This super candy is one of my absolute favorites. Diabetics beware; this one is sweet and should be used in small portions. The rest of you can go for it.

“ You know that what you eat you are ”.

“ Cream tangerine… ”

“ Ginger sling with a pineapple heart ”

“ But you’ll have to have them all pulled out ”

“ After the Savoy Truffle ”

“ Coconut fudge really blows down those blues ”

“ Cool cherry cream ”

“ Nice apple tart ”

“ But you’ll have to have them all pulled out ”

“ After the Savoy Truffle ”.

The keys to making this wonderful candy are:

Use the very best smoothest butter (crushed bud or kief). Unsalted butter please

Stir, like crazy, all the time- a whisk is real handy

Have all the ingredients set out in advance

Keep the heat low enough to avoid spatters (they can nail you if you’re not paying attention or insist on putting your face inside the sauce pan)


Three squares of Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Five tablespoons unsalted butter
One egg yolk
2/3 Cup of Confectioners sugar- sifted
One-teaspoon vanilla extract
½ Cup of Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut
One-tablespoon high quality brandy or cognac


Cream butter with egg yolk over low heat and whisk until smooth

Slowly add sugar to butter

Add vanilla and brandy

Melt chocolate in double boiler

Pour chocolate into butter and blend until smooth

Chill butter mixture until firm

Shape butter mixture into one-inch balls and roll in coconut

Store in refrigerator

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Don't miss the
6th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics
April 15-17, 2010
Providence, RI USA

Medical Marijuana States

District of Columbia
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island