Vol. 3, Number 2
February 1, 2011
cheryl riley, editor & writer
Dr. David Bearman, writer
Gradi Jordan, writer
Who's Who
What's New
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Cannabis for Pain Relief - by David Bearman, MD

Cannabis Has a Long Well-Documented History as an Analgesic

Queen Victoria
Cannabis has long been used as an analgesic, a pain killer. It’s analgesic properties are noted in most of the materias medica ever written. It was in many 19th century pain relief preparations. W.B. O’Shaugnessy discussed its analgesic properties. Cannabis was prescribed in the 1890s to Queen Victoria of England by her royal physician Sir J. Russell Reynolds. She used cannabis for relief of the pain of her menstrual cramps. Cannabis has long been known as one of the best treatments for relief of the symptoms of migraines, particularly the pain and nausea.

Sir William Osler
Sir William Osler, usually acknowledged as the founder of modern medicine, in his first Textbook of Internal Medicine dubbed cannabis the best treatment for migraine headaches. Sir William Osler (1849-1919) wrote the first textbook of Internal Medicine. “The Principles and Practice of Medicine” In it he stated that cannabis was the most effective therapy for migraine headaches. He was one of the founders of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Modern Studies
An October 27, 1997 L.A. Times article by Times Science writer Robert Lee Hotz reported on several basic science studies presented at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience discussing cannabis’ painkilling properties. These studies were done at University of Texas, University of Minnesota, Brown University, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and UCSF. According to the Times’ article, researchers reported that “active chemicals found in the plant could serve as an effective remedy for the millions who suffer serious pain each year without the unwanted side effects of more traditional morphine-like drugs.”

Institute of Medicine
The 1982 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report on Medicinal Marijuana stated that: “Several animal models have been used to show analgesic effects of cannabis and its analogues (for example, Grunfeld and Edery, 1969; Sofia et al., 1973. Noyes et al)” The Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on medical marijuana done at the behest of the federal government stated, “The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.”

More and More Mainstream Credibility

A December 4, 2005 Time magazine article, headlined that cannabis is a ‘Legitimate Medical Trend’ and reported that “Research into the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis continue to bolster the case for the medicinal use of marijuana, making the ‘patient protection laws’ that have passed in 11 states seem less like a social movement than a legitimate medical trend.” That cannabis is medicine is not news. What is news is that for the last 5,000 years it was only officially not a medicine from 1942-1996.

The ‘Time’ article goes on to discuss a recent study done on the GW Pharmaceuticals product Sativex, tincture of cannabis. One controlled study showed that Sativex, a medicine containing an alcohol extract of the whole cannabis plant, “not only lessened the pain of rheumatic arthritis, but actually suppressed the disease. An earlier study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that synthetic cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana, can treat inflammation in the brain and may protect it from the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

And the list goes on and on. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company, compounds a tincture of cannabis (sometimes referred to as liquid marijuana) product Sativex. Sativex, 50/50 mixture of whole plant alcohol extract from two different strains of cannabis has been approved for treatment of pain in Canada, Great Britain, Spain and New Zealand. It is marketed by Bayer AG, Almerall, and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals.

In mid-2010 the California Marijuana Research Center headquartered at UCSD School of Medicine issued a report on more than 18 FDA approval clinical trials on the medical utility of smoked cannabis. These were done at four California Medical Schools. At least four of the studies looked at relief of pain. The results prompted the Center’s Director and UCSD Med School faculty member Dr. Igor Gant to declare that cannabis clearly had a role as an analgesic in treating pain.

There is an FDA approved Phase III clinical study going on in New York to determine if tincture of cannabis (GW’s Sativex) is effective in relieving intractable pain in cancer patients. The preliminary results are very favorable. This is not too surprising because a similar study was done in Europe a few years ago and it demonstrated the effectiveness of tincture of cannabis in providing some analgesia for intractable pain patients. If the FDA only looks at the test results and doesn’t require extra special testing because some see this as liquid marijuana (What else can it be?) we will likely see the FDA approve this 1:1 mixture of whole cannabis plant alcohol extracts from two different strains of cannabis.

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Dr. Robert Melamede - by c.a. riley

In the world of medical cannabis, the qualifications and work of Robert Melamede, PhD are quite impressive . . . but just call him Dr. Bob.

Melamede, associate professor of biology at the University of Colorado, is an expert on Endocannabinoids and president and CEO of an innovative Colorado Springs medicinal cannabis company called Cannabis Science.

The company’s stated goal is to build upon the growing use of medical marijuana by developing cannabis-based medicines.

Cannabis Science began in San Francisco as Cannex Therapeutics, founded by medical cannabis patient and entrepreneur Steve Kubby. Through a “reverse merger” with an oil company, Gulf Onshore, Cannex became a public company. (Reverse merger is an expedited way for a private company to go public without an initial public offering.)

Soon thereafter, Cannex was renamed Cannabis Science, Kubby was ousted as president and CEO and replaced by Melamede, who had been science officer for Cannex. The new focus of the company became Melamede and medical cannabis patients in Colorado.

Cannabis Science, in partnership with an international regulatory-compliance firm, is seeking FDA approval for a clinical study on treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

One group in particular that Melamede hopes to help is soldiers struggling with PTSD. He says, “It tears at me to see soldiers suffering after their return from Iraq and Afghanistan — and the high rate of suicide among them.”

Anecdotal accounts affirming the therapeutic effect of cannabis for PTSD are widely reported as well, so this study—if approved—will undoubtedly add validity to those claims and demonstrate once and for all that PTSD responds well to certain cannabinoids and people afflicted with the disorder should have unquestioned access to it.

Next, CS plans to investigate the use of cannabinoids for treatment of chronic pain.

Dr. Bob holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the City University of New York. In 2005 he retired as Chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs but he continues to teach and research cannabinoids, cancer, and DNA repair.

As an authority on the therapeutic use of cannabinoids, Dr Bob has authored or co-authored dozens of papers on a wide variety of scientific subjects.

He serves as Scientific Advisor for Cannabis Therapeutics, is on the Editorial Board of The Journal of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access, the Marijuana Policy Project, and Sensible Colorado as well as several other state dispensaries and patient advocacy groups.

Melamede has also served as a director of Newellink Inc, a Colorado-based company specializing in cancer research, but in spite of all these notable achievements, he’s still just “Dr Bob,” and a medical cannabis patient himself, using it for chronic back pain and other medical conditions.

At UCCS Dr Bob teaches a course on medical cannabis—one of very few in the world. He declares that cannabis is “an anti-aging drug with incredible health benefits.” He will undoubtedly be proved correct.

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.
   HB 478

Pennsylvania: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HB 1393

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 Green Peril

A Pasta Recipe to delight all

The Green Peril was invented in sunny left coast Southern California. The author had recently returned from a better bud butter seminar and was anxious to test cook the goods. The Canny Bus was left at the airport Sports Bar while the author flew home in all speed.

Dr. Jay was ably assisted in the development of this classic by none other than his Nancy wife. Together this adventurous pair provides the reader a big clue that improvisation is the key to fun and frugal cooking.

Having arrived back in Los Angeles, author and wife made a quick grocery trip and were determined to clear out the refrigerator. The beauty of pasta is that you can make it different every time. Remember. Don't forget to substitute what you have on hand, what your budget will bear, and just what kinky tastes fit your fancy. A note of caution about this recipe: Do not serve to airplane pilots, other users of heavy machinery, nor practicing health care workers. Avoid sharp objects after eating (no knife is necessary in preparation or eating).

Green Peril is delicate, creamy, and moderately dangerous


One-package spinach/ricotta cheese raviolis (dairy section)
1\4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1\4 Cup Chardonnay
3-4 tablespoons of bud butter
1\2 mini tub of fresh artichoke/pesto sauce (dairy section)
2 grams crushed and powdered bud (White Widow or Blueberry preferred)
1-tablespoon basil
1-teaspoon coarse black pepper
3 medium shallots-chopped
3 cloves of garlic-crushed
1-teaspoon sea salt

Green Peril


Heat olive oil in a large skillet while setting one liter slightly salted water up to boil.

Sauté garlic and shallots until the shallots are just clear. Add pepper, basil, and bud to skillet. Pour in wine and bring back to medium heat. Incorporate the artichoke/pesto sauce. Bring to heat and simmer.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook until firm but tender (al dente). Drain cooked pasta and set aside.

Add bud butter to simmering sauce blending in carefully. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and gently blend. Serve in large bowls with Pecarrino Romano cheese (go easy), fresh basil, and bud as garnish.

Side dishes may include a fresh garden salad and hot buttered toast (you must make sure all excess sauce is soaked up).

Recommended Wine: Any decent Beaujolais


Follow AAMC on:
7th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics
April 26-28, 2012
Tucson, AZ USA

Medical Marijuana States

Arizona *
District of Columbia
Maine *
Michigan *
Montana *
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island *

* States with reciprocity law