by Lee, 06/30/2008, 11:59 PM

Earlier this morning, Postman wrote:

I was talking to a smart friend over the weekend who bemoaned the oh-so-careful approach Gov. Chris Gregoire is taking to governing. He’s a supporter. But he worries that out of fear of alienating someone, somewhere, Gregoire has traded activism for near-paralysis.

The topic of that post had nothing to do with drug policy, but with the deadline for having the State Department of Health establish the 60-day supply limits for medical marijuana patients coming up tomorrow, I find myself in the same boat as Postman’s unnamed friend – if not even more critical of the Governor.

As of my typing this, I still have no idea what the released limits will be. Earlier this year, it was revealed that preliminary numbers of 35 ounces and a 100 sq ft growing area caused the Governor to get more involved in the process and demand more feedback from law enforcement and medical professionals. Many patients and advocates within the medical marijuana community saw this as an attempt by the Governor to derail the process in support of the state’s law enforcement union, while the Governor’s dishonesty about why the process was derailed didn’t exactly convince people that she was acting in good faith.

At the follow-up meeting (which the DOH attempted to keep closed to the public, but failed), the two parties who the Governor claimed were underrepresented in the initial round of workshops were in attendance. The law enforcement officials again iterated that the decision should be left up the medical professionals, and the one medical professional who showed up said that 35 ounces might be too low of a limit for some patients who ingest it within food. Law enforcement officials also asserted that the limit shouldn’t be so high that criminals could hide behind it, but believing that someone with a small growing area in their basement could launch a massive criminal enterprise is more than a little absurd, considering that marijuana is already the most lucrative cash crop in the state of Washington.

The released limits tomorrow (if they’re even released) will go a long way towards showing whether or not Governor Gregoire is someone who can put politics and special interests aside and do what’s right for the citizens of this state.

Earlier this month, I visited a partially disabled medical marijuana patient in Tacoma who spent over a week in jail this winter. She was kept from receiving the special liquid meals she requires for nearly the entire time. In her mid-40s, she was a former nurse who told me she was staunchly anti-drug before discovering that marijuana worked best for her illnesses. She and her husband then became active in helping other registered patients learn how to grow for themselves.

Stories like that one are common. The list of other patients being hauled into court across the state has been growing. At Drinking Liberally and other events, I occasionally talk to people close to the Governor, and they rarely seem to understand that this is more than just a number. It could be the difference that causes someone to lose their house, their livelihood, or what’s left of their health, should they be sent to jail without adequate medical needs being met. Hopefully, the Governor herself doesn’t suffer from her own paralysis on this one.

36 Responses to “Limits”

1. countrydoc spews:

Asking medical professionals what a reasonable dose of marijuana is a lesson in futility. As a family doctor I have absolutely no idea what constitutes a reasonable supply for medical use and I don’t think I just missed that day at my Jesuit midwestern medical school. Laws have made this topic extremely difficult for anyone to study to determine effective dosing schedules. Hopefully the DOH will take this into account when making their decsion.

2. Politically Incorrect spews:

countrydoc,

The answer is simple: legalize marijuana.

3. Lee spews:

@2
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen today, but you’re right, that’s the smartest way to fix this problem.

4. The Real Mark spews:

Lee,

If we legalize home-grown pot, what’s next?

Home-cooked MDMA and LSD for PTSD patients?

I’ll say it again: You can have your legal pot for LEGIT medical needs, but NO home growing or private selling. If you believe that it is a medicine, treat it like one and buy it at a pharmacy.

5. Seattle Jew spews:

Lee

Did you get mey recent post in re another MJ ingrdient?

6. Seattle Jew spews:

Lee

Was this post meant as bait for SJ?

You raise several distinct issues.

Lets start with Gregoire. I agree, she is a competent administrator with no or little willingness to lead in anything. The marijuana issue is minor compared to Chris’s lack of commitment on issues ranging from transportation to taxation. Whenever I ask a CG supporter why she should be elected I am told she is very good in closed door meetings and means well. That is faint praise.

as for the other worm on this hook,


First, you give the impression that there is a well established medical need for marijuana.

That is certainly not the case. If any drug company tried to sell a nostrum with this amount of data, they would be closed downh (rightfully) by the FDA.

Of course, marijuana may have useful pharmaceutical ingredients but the extremism of the anti MJ crowd makes it hard to define these.


Second, you suggest that there is some way to arrive at a reasonable dosage.

This would be true if the medical marijuana crowd wanted THC made available. It is not and cannot be true for marijuana plant raised outside controlled circumstances.

Given the huge variability in THC content and the effect of preparation on how much GVM (green vegetable matter) a person might need to have an effect, no physician could correctly determine a dose.

So what do we have here:

A. a feckless governor
B. a set of laws based on non science that bans a mild recreational drug for no real reason
C. an anti prohibition movement willing to bend
the truth to get the law changed.
D. A miracle drug that is banned from use by ARBITRARY LAW.

check one:

()all of the above
() none of the above
() all but D.
() b and c.

7. Lee spews:

Steve,
No, I haven’t read your article on MJ and I don’t intend to. As long as you continue to deny that there are medical uses for marijuana, I don’t have any reason to take what you say seriously.

8. Lee spews:

@4
I’d absolutely love to see it sold at pharmacies (that’s how Canada is doing it now). What’s your point?

9. Lee spews:

@6
That is certainly not the case. If any drug company tried to sell a nostrum with this amount of data, they would be closed downh (rightfully) by the FDA.

Steve, there are already marijuana-based medicines that have been approved by the FDA. What the hell are you talking about?

10. Emily spews:

Is there a peer-reviewed study that shows marijuana does any of the things advocates of medical marijuana says it does? I think it would be very hard to get such a study funded. For all I know medical marijuana works great, but if there’s not a good study, then we’re all just speculating.

11. Lee spews:

@10
Actually, no. There are plenty of studies that have been done to demonstrate that marijuana has medical uses. Even the DEA’s own judge ruled that it has medical uses. Here’s the report from the government’s own Institute of Medicine which concluded in 1999 that marijuana has medical uses:

http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/marimed/

12. Roger Rabbit spews:

Everything is relative, Lee. Ask yourself what kind of drug policy Washington would have under Rossi. I can’t post links anymore or I’d put up a picture of a 16-year-old girl being burned at the stake.

13. Lee spews:

@12
Roger, criticism of Gregoire is not an endorsement of Rossi. I can tell you though that some people within the medical marijuana community are selling “Anyone but Gregoire” buttons in anticipation of released limits that are far too low.

14. Seattle Jew spews:

Lee

1. The post I mentioned describes an ingredient of marijuana that may have benefits beyond THC. It is on your side of the argument which is why I suggested you might want t read it. You really ought not to insist on not knowing the facts.

2. No, the FDA has not approved marijuana and probably never will for the same reason ti does not approve selling tree bark instead of aspirin or, for that matter selling chocolate as a drug.

Marijuana is not a drug and more than chocolate is. Both contain THC. As far as I know there are no medical studies proving that marijuana more effective than the ingredient, e.g. marinol, given in pure form whereas the content of active ingredients in “green vegetable matter”

Of course this does not mean that it is not more pleasant to eat chocolate than take a marinol pill and I think the prohibition against mixing marijuana and chocolate to make brownies defies reason.

3. You are being less than honest with yourself about an established literature supporting medical marijuana. As we have discussed there is some literature, none of which has shown (other than the r3ef, I suggested oyu look at) that there is anything in GVM that is important other than THC.

Marijuana is not the only natural substance to contain a useful drug. But, asking the FDA to approve sale of an undefined product is absurd.

Back to discussing the Chrissy the Feckless.

15. Emily spews:

@11:

Thank you.

16. Steve spews:

Is that 35 ounces a year?? Good grief. Why so much?

@4 Fuck, I hate agreeing with you, but I think that, as an approved medical treatment, it should be available by prescription at a pharmacy, not grown at home.

17. Seattle Jew spews:

@10 @11 Lee, Emily

I call horseturds on this one. Emily is right. There are NO studies showing that green vegetable matter is more effective than THC.

As for THC itself, Lee and his colleagues exaggerate the issue because they want MJ legalized. Yes, the e3vidence against MJ is pretty bad. Yes, there is evidence that there is usefulness for THC. Mo, there is not clear evidence that green veg. mater is to be preferred over Marinol.

18. michael spews:

Current laws are such non-sense, you should be able to buy the stuff at the liquor store. Treat it the same way we treat hard alcohol.

19. Seattle Jew spews:

16.

The irony of all this is that marijuana SHOULD be legalized and then its production should be monitored jsut as we monitor a lot of other stuff folks eat.

As far as approving it as a drug, if Lee would rather buy green veg. matter at the QFC, why should he pay for a prescription?

20. Steve spews:

@8 Will our state sell it in pharmacies? If not, perhaps his point is that this thing is moving in the wrong direction. Maybe he’s right.

I believe it should be available. Heck, I think it should be legal for any adult to grow the stuff or buy it in a store.

21. Steve spews:

@19 If it won’t be legal for all, then medical grade marijuana should be available at a pharmacy for those who need it. They shouldn’t have to grow the stuff themselves as not everybody can do that. That aside, 35 ounces seems like an awful lot of pot.

22. Lee spews:

@14
The post I mentioned describes an ingredient of marijuana that may have benefits beyond THC.

If you concede that THC has benefits, then why do you keep saying that there’s no medical use for marijuana?

It is on your side of the argument which is why I suggested you might want t read it. You really ought not to insist on not knowing the facts.

Steve, I’m absolutely interested in the facts – that’s why I’m going to ignore you on this issue until you can demonstrate to me that you care about facts as well.

No, the FDA has not approved marijuana and probably never will for the same reason ti does not approve selling tree bark instead of aspirin or, for that matter selling chocolate as a drug.

I’m not asking for the FDA to approve it, and the FDA does not have to approve a particular drug for it to be conclusively known that it has medical benefits.

Marijuana is not a drug and more than chocolate is.

What? Marijuana is not a drug? Do you even realize what you’re saying? A drug is any substance that alters your mind, your mood, or your body. If you don’t think marijuana is a drug, you have completely lost your mind here.

Both contain THC. As far as I know there are no medical studies proving that marijuana more effective than the ingredient, e.g. marinol, given in pure form whereas the content of active ingredients in “green vegetable matter”

It doesn’t have to be more effective. Are you saying that because we now have Extra Strength Tylenol, that we should no longer consider regular Tylenol a drug? What on Earth are you babbling about? Snap out of it Steve, you’re not this stupid.

Of course this does not mean that it is not more pleasant to eat chocolate than take a marinol pill and I think the prohibition against mixing marijuana and chocolate to make brownies defies reason.

Of course it does.

You are being less than honest with yourself about an established literature supporting medical marijuana.

Steve, if the literature is so flimsy, then how come, as I pointed out above, the DEA’s own judge ruled that it has medical benefits? Is there any way that could have happened had the evidence not been overwhelming? Please, use some common sense here.

As we have discussed there is some literature, none of which has shown (other than the r3ef, I suggested oyu look at) that there is anything in GVM that is important other than THC.

So what? How does that lead to the conclusion that there’s no medical use for marijuana? You’re making a connection that does not exist.

Marijuana is not the only natural substance to contain a useful drug.

Of course it’s not.

But, asking the FDA to approve sale of an undefined product is absurd.

That’s not the point here. The point is whether or not it has medical uses. If the FDA has declined to approve something, that’s not proof that it doesn’t have medical use.

23. Lee spews:

@17
I call horseturds on this one. Emily is right. There are NO studies showing that green vegetable matter is more effective than THC.

Marijuana contains THC, Steve, they’re the same thing. Some people find that smoking it is more effective, some people find that eating it is more effective. Some people find THC pills like Marinol are more effective. Regardless of how you ingest the THC, each use has medical benefits. Why on Earth can’t you grasp this?

24. Lee spews:

@21
That aside, 35 ounces seems like an awful lot of pot.

It is, however there are several factors that lead up this number

1 – Medical users have the use it round the clock

2 – They often have to use quite a bit, especially for certain ailments (nerve pain for one)

3 – People who ingest it within food need a lot more (according to one doctor, 4x as much)

25. Politically Incorrect spews:

Lee @ 13,

Good point! Criticism of Gregoire does not automatically translate into support for Rossi.

26. spyder spews:

What the DOH needs to address is far more complicated than most of what is posted above. Yes, it is important that the delivery of THC be as diverse as possible to cover the widest range of symptom-relieving therapies. To do so requires that a steady supply of high quality (maximum trichomes) clean colas (90% or greater unflowered buds) to manifest diverse products that are receivable from licensed cannabis clubs. These products include: clean buds in single use quantities and sizes; hash oil (of various concentrations and strengths); hash (also of various concentrations and strengths); candies and chocolates (usually made from concentrated oils); cakes and brownies (usually made from measured and tested amounts of bud per dosage); etc.

Prior to my retirement and move to WA, i was a CA legal grower of my own medical marijuana under the aegis of the state and of Nevada County. The county set (and continues to set) the limits of what is acceptable growth and possession under the state’s licensed prescription. Thus, the election of new DAs and Sheriffs usually equates to changes in these limits and in the amounts available at the clubs. The production of the concentrated products takes much larger amounts of plant growth, and highly sophisticated growing systems can produce high quality colas very quickly. It is reasonable for a well-practiced, scripted grower to produce and maintain their supply of necessary THC carrying materials regardless of the official limits set by the Counties or the State.

And by the way: LSD for PTSD and for terminal hospice care is now being studied across the planet in licensed research experiments. Interestingly one of these is funded by Israel, who already has an ongoing PTSD treatment study using MDMA and MDME. http://www.maps.org/news/

27. Lee spews:

@26
Spyder, we are WAY behind California on this. We’re still arresting patients up here and we also have absolutely no system of distribution like California.

28. The Real Mark spews:

Lee @ 8 “I’d absolutely love to see it sold at pharmacies (that’s how Canada is doing it now). What’s your point?

If that is truly the case, then you and your pro-pot friends should argue THAT case instead of the home-growing and illicit selling. It would be FAR more palatable to the public and politicians and you might even find some support from pharmacies or drug companies wanting to get in on the legal action. That is, of course, if simply getting clean and legal pot to sick people is your goal.

You put out an initiative to have pot treated like Vicodin and you’ll get my signature.

29. Lee spews:

@28
If that is truly the case, then you and your pro-pot friends should argue THAT case instead of the home-growing and illicit selling.

We do.

30. Seattle Jew spews:

Horseturds …

Lee

“Marijuana contains THC, Steve, they’re the same thing. Some people find that smoking it is more effective, some people find that eating it is more effective. Some people find THC pills like Marinol are more effective. Regardless of how you ingest the THC, each use has medical benefits. Why on Earth can’t you grasp this?”

Since Marinol is prescribable (something I did not know) then if the only issue with MJ is its THC content, there is NO medical reason to make GVM available.

The argument that smoking GVM is more effective than dropping a pill strongly suggests a placebo effect.

………………………..

Look, like you I favor legalization. The MM movement is, however, no different then some Discovery Institute psuedo science … unless tyou want to claim that MJ has ingredients other than THC that are important.

31. Lee spews:

Since Marinol is prescribable (something I did not know) then if the only issue with MJ is its THC content, there is NO medical reason to make GVM available.

The argument that smoking GVM is more effective than dropping a pill strongly suggests a placebo effect.

No it doesn’t. Smoking the medicine allows for it to begin taking effect more quickly. To say that this is due to placebo is incorrect and I can introduce you to a UW medical researcher who will clearly tell you that you’re wrong.

You keep changing the argument because you’re realizing that what you’re saying doesn’t make sense. Here’s what you wrote in the first comment:

First, you give the impression that there is a well established medical need for marijuana.

That is certainly not the case.

This statement is 100% incorrect. I’ve pointed out that it’s incorrect, so now you’re arguing about whether or not it should be made available. The fact that you actually didn’t know that Marinol was prescribable is sad enough, but you’re still arguing with me over things that I’ve spent the last several years of my life studying. Why?

There are numerous people and doctors in this country who have found marijuana to be the most effective medication for a number of ailments (even better than other existing THC medications). For you to deny this puts you in league with the Discovery Institute loonies.

32. Seattle Jew spews:

Lee …

What is your point?

You claim that GVM is somehow better than THC and that there is a “UW researcher” who agrees wiht you. Is this the same non expert you referred to once before?

Then you claim that there is a “well established need for medical marijuana” .. as opposed to other form of THC. I still call down the horseturds. The last time you promised to find me literature, what you found certainly showed nothing of tis sort. if they showed anything at all.

The irony if this is that you would be the first to jump on the throat of a (Chinese?) drug maker who relaxed its standards of purity yet you think docs should prescribe an utterly uncontrolled product??????? Next thing I know you will tell me of the helath benefits of tobacco!

As for my knowing that marinol was so freely available, mea culpa. So now tell me why folks should be baking brwonies with hemp as a magic GVM rather than just dropping a few marinol capsules into the batter????

********************************************

Back to the DI.

They are worse than you. There is no evidence to support most of their fantasies. OTOH, as far as YOU have been able to show me, there is also no evidence t support the medical use of GVM .. as opposed to THC.

Why do I even care? Well to start with I really do think NW Bud ought to be sold by Red Hook! Imagine Winter beer with a touch of pot! Money!!!!!!!! But, when a proponent of legalization like my Freind thehim wastes gus credibility on the MM didge, the entire issue of getting the public to believe the real science suffers.

If I may change the subject, I wonder if tghere are any estimates of the COST to the US of the war on pot? It is amazing how knowing that some stupid govmint activity costs tax dollars can change folks minds.

33. Lee spews:

@32
You claim that GVM is somehow better than THC and that there is a “UW researcher” who agrees wiht you. Is this the same non expert you referred to once before?

No, GVM is a term that YOU’VE MADE UP because you realized that when you use the correct term that you’re wrong. I don’t know, and I don’t care, what GVM is.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is a medicinal plant which contains THC. The THC in marijuana has benefits for a number of different medical conditions.

If you want me to put you in touch with people who can provide the medical expertise on this, just shoot me an email. I don’t really want to bother them over this, but I’m hoping that one of them can get your head out of your ass.

Then you claim that there is a “well established need for medical marijuana” .. as opposed to other form of THC.

What difference does it make how the patient is able to ingest the THC? As I’ve mentioned numerous times, whether someone takes Marinol, or smokes a bowl of marijuana buds, or bakes it into food, it’s all medical marijuana. For some reason, you’ve convinced yourself that something has to come in a pill bottle to really be a medicine. That’s ridiculous.

The last time you promised to find me literature, what you found certainly showed nothing of tis sort.

Here’s another article from a medical professional who has been studying the medical benefits of marijuana for several decades. I think he’s touching upon some of the points that you’re trying to make, but you’re going way to far in what you’re saying. Hopefully, you can read this and understand where the real balance lies:

http://www.rxmarijuana.com/wither_medical_marijuana.htm

The irony if this is that you would be the first to jump on the throat of a (Chinese?) drug maker who relaxed its standards of purity yet you think docs should prescribe an utterly uncontrolled product???????

This is a completely different argument Steve. We’re not talking about purity. We’re talking about a basic understanding that THC has medicinal benefits, and therefore the marijuana plant (which contains THC) has a clear medicinal purpose.

As for my knowing that marinol was so freely available, mea culpa. So now tell me why folks should be baking brwonies with hemp as a magic GVM rather than just dropping a few marinol capsules into the batter????

You’re not helping your case here at all. Hemp does not have THC. In fact, that’s the main difference between marijuana and hemp. Second, there’s probably little difference between taking Marinol and eating a marijuana brownie (except for the obvious fact that it’s easier to control dosage with marinol). However, since marijuana doesn’t have any dangers from overdosing, it doesn’t matter if you take more than you’re supposed to. I hadn’t thought of this before, but this fact could be a big part of why you’re not getting any of this.

As for smoking, a number of patients find that smoking is much more effective than either Marinol or eating it. It certainly requires less. Other people turn down marinol simply because of the cost. The reason why there’s so much literature out there claiming that smoked marijuana doesn’t work as well as marinol (or isn’t potentially as safe) is because Marinol is made by a company that wants to make money. If you want to know the truth, talk to patients. They’ll tell you what works.

Can I put you in touch with the people who can straighten you out on this issue?

34. Lee spews:

@32
What is your point?

My point, as I’ve had to reiterate several times now is that this is incorrect:

First, you give the impression that there is a well established medical need for marijuana.

That is certainly not the case.

You can keep going down this path as long as you want, but as I’ve said before, you are going to look very stupid after you talk to people who study this as their area of medical expertise.

35. Seattle Jew spews:

@32 Lee

Are yuo threatening to FINALLY tell me who these mysterious experts you keep citing might be? As for looking stupid .. if you have not already noticed, I do that well all the time, takes practice!

So you say, but you can’t give me references that establish a need for GVM. As for THC .. as you know .. I believe it is a drug though proabaly nto a major therapeutic. As long as folks think it helps, I have no problme with giving them a sugar pill.

Prescribing GVM, OTOH, does strike mne as beyond the pale. The prescribing physician has no way of knowing the content of the material a patient may get from some plant grown in the basement.

Again, my concern here is NOT that GVM is going to hurt the patient, but mistatements of science by the DI or by you hurt us all,

36. Seattle Jew spews:

Lee .. sure, I can email you .. I may have liost your address by now, can you resend.

As for the plalnts vs. marinol, you seem to mistake my point. I have no problme wiht a doc prescribing THC. Nor do I have aprobhlem with anyone smoking something they ofund in the woods. BUT … docs do not ands should not prescribe things whose purity is in question.

Arguing that marijuana, GVM (NOT my term .. a common police term), and THC are the same thing is like arguing that tree bark and aspirine are the same thing or that you should treat your next infection with bread mold.

Now back at Morinol, if it is overpriced, that suggests an opportunity. This is not a patented drug. If those who are selling it are trying to get to high a price, hell man oyu wanna go into business? I have some friends in China who can manufacture anything for a buck ninety two.