Vol. 3, Number 9
September 1, 2011
cheryl riley, editor & writer
Dr. David Bearman, writer
Gradi Jordan, writer
Who's Who
What's New
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What’s In a Word? Just Ignore the Elephant in the Room - David Bearman, M.D.

Almost everybody knows that the United States drug policy is a costly counter-productive failure that has ruined millions of lives. It is kept alive by lies, mendacity, bullying, self-righteous, hysteria and clever use of words, propaganda. Not all substance abuse is framed as a crime – alcohol and tobacco abuse is perfectly legal. Most all drug crime (e.g., underage drinking and smoking) is seen as being within acceptable cultural bounds whereas the use of marijuana, cocaine and heroin is viewed as the work of the devil.

Some Prohibitionists are slow to realize that by insisting in making substance use a crime, they are condemning their own and other children to being criminals. The criminal justice system is an ineffective and costly parenting tool. We should provide help and support our parents, not help them throw their children in jail to address a drug problem.

When discussing drug policy reform we need to choose our language with some care. In any argument how we frame the question and what vocabulary is agreed on to have the discussion go a long way to determine who will prevail in any subsequent argument or disagreement. This is most certainly true in discussing drug policy. I prefer practical, descriptive, non-emotional, comprehensible and if possible scientific terms. I also try very hard to avoid using the vocabulary of the neo-prohibitionist.


Some might say, “a drug is what a dope fiend uses.” Others, more medically oriented, would say a drug is what is used to treat a disease. This definition is very broad. It can include water, which is used for treating dehydration in infants, or sugar, used for treating insulin overdose, as drugs. My definition is even broader. A drug is a chemical substance sometimes including food, which alters the normal state of the mind or body, or is used in the diagnosis or treatment of a disease. In other words, under the right circumstances, just about anything that can be ingested can be construed as a drug. Drug is a four letter word but not a dirty word.

Andrew Weil, M.D. in his book “From Chocolate to Morphine” goes on for almost two pages pointing out the confusing terminology surrounding categorization of drugs. The same substance in different doses can be a spice, an aphrodisiac, a medicine or a poison. At one time or other the same substance might be seen as healthier than water or a tool of the devil (alcohol), or a killer of 450,000 Americans annually or “a treat instead of a treatment” (a 1950s slogan of Old Gold cigarettes).


Vocabulary and words are important in conceptualizing drug policy. We are frequently remiss by being too quick to mislabel people who use recreational drugs… well recreationally, as drug abusers, and thus confuse them with people who have the real problem of inappropriate use or abuse of recreational drugs.

Just stop and think about a few examples of the words we use and their connotation. A person who uses a lot of tobacco cigarettes is a tobacco smoker. A person who occasionally smokes marijuana is a doper. A person who owns a liquor store is a merchant or small businessman. Someone who sells marijuana is a drug dealer. A pharmacist whose stock and trade is selling pharmaceuticals (drugs) is considered a health care professional not a drug dealer. A person who drinks a martini or two after work is a social drinker. Some call a person who smokes a joint after work, a drug abuser or pot head. Vocabulary helps frame the issue. Because the neo-prohibitionist vocabulary is often used by the media we need to guard against inadvertently falling into the bad habit of basically out of laziness or lack of concentration, accepting and using the prohibitionist’s vocabulary.

“We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”

Substance use and abuse of all manner of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, over-the-counter and prescription drugs affects 10% of the population. Our current approach to dealing with real problems created from dangerous substance abuse, even occasionally including cannabis, is a case of the cure (incarceration) being worse than the disease (using cannabis to cure illness). Almost all of the negative aspects purported to be from the use of illicit drugs are not from the inherent property or properties of the drug but the fact that the drug is ILLICIT.

If cannabis and hemp held the same legal status today as they did 75 years ago, you can bet our vocabulary would be different. We’d have large agribusiness conglomerates with ranches in North Dakota. Wisconsin and Minnesota would have the best quality hemp. Agronomists from major universities would be working with hemp ranchers and farmers to develop new and better strains of hemp. Venture capitalists would be investing in equipment to turn hemp hurds into bio-fuel. The stock of Dupont would go down because synthetic fiber was being made from hemp, hemp seed oil was being used in paint, and paper was being made from hemp and using 75% fewer of Dupont’s sulfite chemicals in the paper making process.

Table of Definitions
UseConsumption of a licit or illegal drug or medication for a nonmedical purposes such as altering one’s state of consciousness.
MisuseIngestion of a drug for the wrong reason or purpose, or in an incorrect frequency or dosage.
Aberrant drug usageDrug consuming behavior outside the boundaries of common usage of a licit or illicit drug.
Drug AbuseThe deliberate, non-therapeutic use of a drug, which if measured by dose, frequency, or route of administration proves to be detrimental to the individual either psychologically or physically. A pattern of drug use which chronically interferes with physical, psychological, educational, interpersonal, social and/or vocational functioning of the individual. Continued use of a substance despite adverse consequences.
Addiction (contemporary definition)Organizing a major portion of one’s life around obtaining a substance. Compulsive drug use, characterized by an overwhelming involvement with the use of a drug, the security of its supply, and a high tendency to relapse after withdrawal.
Addiction (classic definition)Having physiological and psychological craving, developing tolerance and having withdrawal symptoms from abrupt cessation.
Pseudo AddictionMedically supervised use of opiates for more than 10 days which can cause tolerance or if abruptly stopped, withdrawal symptoms.
Diversion of drugThe intentional transfer of a controlled substance from legitimate distribution and dispensing channels. This could be as relatively innocuous as providing some of your prescription medicine to a friend or family member.
Diversion ProgramAn alternative to jail, where a person arrested for possession of an illicit substance opts for treatment and education regarding recreational drugs/drugs of abuse instead of going to trial, getting a record and facing jail time.
Physical dependenceThe physical need for repeated use of a drug. A state of physiological adaptation manifested by a drug class-specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug, and/or administration of an antagonist. The World Heath Organization (WHO) has defined specific drug dependencies for each drug of abuse.
Psychological dependenceA strong desire to frequently use a substance. A drive or craving that requires periodic or chronic drug or food administration for pleasure or relief of discomfort caused by lack of that drug or food. The desire for continued use of a drug or food for its effects and ability to produce a feeling of well-being.
ToleranceA state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a diminution of one or more of its effects over time. This can result in decreased side effects from a drug. A gradual resistance to the desired effect of a drug after prolonged regular use so that larger and larger doses are needed to obtain the original desired effect.
Withdrawal SymptomsPhysical signs of pain or discomfort brought about by termination of drug administration after tolerance has developed. Physical reactions due to abstinence from a drug can include nausea, vomiting, muscle and abdominal cramps, convulsions and/or respiratory failure. Alcohol withdrawal is generally the most serious potential health problem.

1 A partial adaptation of Chou R, Fanciullo GJ, Fine PG, Adler JA, Ballantyne JC, Davies P, et al. Clinical guidelines for the use of chronic opioid therapy in chronic noncancer pain. J Pain 2009; 10:113-30.

2 David Bearman, M.D. – In “Parent Training Manual for Drug Abuse Prevention: Abuse Prevention Training: A program of the Isla Vista Health Projects, Inc. Developed by Isla Vista Health Projects Trainers for County of San Diego, June 1979.

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Who am I? - by cheryl riley

In 1957 I was a 13-year-old farm girl living near a small midwestern town. On an outing with my church youth group I was invited to share a “reefer” with a few of the older kids. From that time on I would partake whenever I had the opportunity—which was seldom.

A few years went by and I grew up and got married. My new husband decided that since he’d spent a little time in California and liked it when he was in the military that would be a good place to live and raise a family. His previous time had been spent in Orange County, but the city we settled on was Berkeley; the time was spring, 1967.

Almost overnight this sheltered farm girl morphed into a “flower child” and life was good, except that my husband turned out to be far more devoted to alcohol and bars than he was to me or being a responsible provider. Left on my own most of the time, I began to explore Berkeley and nearby Oakland, making new friends who were happy to share a joint or a few bong hits with me. They were everywhere!

We stayed in the Bay Area for nearly four years before giving up our California dream and returning to the Midwest where we soon divorced. Cannabis wasn’t nearly as easy to find back home, but my co-workers could usually come up with some, which we’d smoke in the parking lot on lunch break and after work. I could not understand, though, why such a mellow substance was illegal and alcohol was not. I had suffered a lot at the hands of two successive alcoholic husbands by then.

As the years passed by a series of tragic events in the mid-seventies befell my two daughters and me, suddenly leaving us without income, so I tried to become a dealer to make ends meet. It didn’t work. Desperation led me to trust the wrong people and I was arrested and sent to prison.

By the grace of God some family friends in high places were able to get me out after four months and I soon found a good job, which was much like the old job as far as parking lot activities went. As I grew older, I noticed that cannabis seemed to help me a lot with my irritable bowel syndrome, as well as with degenerative disk disease and various other aches and pains, and it was still illegal! I began to wonder what I might be able to do to change that.

I began attending meetings of the local NORML chapter where I learned much more about ‘marijuana’ and the growing movement to set it free. One evening in 2003 our group attended a talk at a neighborhood center and learned about the brand new organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), from its executive director at the time, Jack Cole, who happened to be in town visiting family.

Cole’s presentation blew us away and I knew immediately this was the organization I wanted to help! After the presentation, I visited with Cole and offered my services to LEAP. He had their speaker bureau coordinator contact me and I spent the next several months looking up contact information for prospective ‘gigs’ for LEAP’s speakers. After the group’s roots had taken hold my role changed and I worked for another year or more as their events calendar editor.

During that time, I also volunteered with a medical cannabis group in our state, which I continued to do until the group lost funding and disintegrated. At that point, I looked around for another group to work for and found Arthur Livermore and AAMC.

Arthur accepted my offer of help and appointed me AAMC director for my state, which led me to create a medical cannabis organization here, in the heart of what I call “Red America.” Its been slow going, but we are determined to make a difference for all the good people in our state who suffer needlessly because our federal government stubbornly refuses to give up its big lie.

Who am I? I am cheryl riley of Potwin, Kansas, Kansas director for AAMC.

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.

Florida: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Idaho: Considering a medical marijuana law.

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

Indiana: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Iowa: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Kansas: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
   Marijuana Bill Reaches House
   Cannabis Compassion and Care Act

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.
   North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act

Ohio: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HB 214

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 - Coma Cookies by Jay R. Cavanaugh, PhD.

Medical relief from the Canny Bus Trip Kit

There’s a dilemma in making medical cannabis edibles. In general, the stronger they are the worse they taste. Who wants a bitter tasting cookie? Who wants a great tasting cookie that doesn’t work? Compounding the dilemma is the fact that the stronger the cannabutter used in baking, the more the butter acts like oil which dramatically alters the baking properties.

Nurse Nancy Wife co-cook and I have come up with a modified cookie recipe that seems to solve the dilemma. WARNING: These cookies are not called “Coma” for nothing. They are very strong potent medicine used to treat severe muscle pain and cramping and insomnia related to chronic pain. Do not drive for at least 8 hours after ingestion.

First, we made Black Out Butter from high grade trim. This is nasty tasting stuff but has the needed potency. It is estimated that each cookie made from this recipe has from 0.7 grams to 1.5 grams of cannabis. Second, we didn’t combine our cannabutter with dairy butter as we usually do in our recipes. We used pure cannabutter. Third, we reduced the amount of additional ingredients to further increase the relative amounts of cannabinoids in the cookie and to keep the cookies moist.


2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups of steel cut oats
1 ½ cups of light brown sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of Black Out Butter derived from approximately 50 grams of ground trim/flowers in 1 lb of Strauss Organic butter (86% butter fat) slow cooked and frequently stirred for 4 hours
2 eggs
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup organic currants
1 cup organic dried cranberries
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2-3 tablespoons of Bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon


Sift together the dry ingredients (except the steel cut oats) and set aside. Cream the cannabutter and sugars then add the vanilla and mix in the eggs. Don’t overwork the butter and sugar or it will break down. Mix (we used an electric mixer) the set aside dry ingredients into the creamed butter. Mix in the oats with a heavy spoon and blend. Fold in the currants, cranberries, and pecans. Chill the batter (we made two portions and froze them). With the batter still cold roll the dough into balls about golf ball size.

Place the cookie balls on a greased baking pan and bake at 300 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

Hint: The cookies will flatten out and not rise as usual. They will be chewy and crispy at the same time. Keep the cookies in an airtight container (they should stay fresh a month that way).

Options: You may use raisins instead of currants. You may also want to add a teaspoon of lemon zest and/or some allspice or ground cloves.

Recommended beverage: Guatemalan Antigua coffee

Final note: Eat one whole cookie, sip coffee, and relax. You are now on a pain free vacation.

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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