Marijuana-Like Compound Found Effective Against Late Stage HIV Infection

Marijuana-Like Compound Found Effective Against Late Stage HIV Infection

According to a new study published in the journal PloS ONE, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine discovered that marijuana-like compounds can inhibit the multiplication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in late-stage AIDS by acting on viral receptors.

Medical marijuana is prescribed in diseases which are accompanied by appetite suppression or by sever weight loss also for management of chronic pain, symptoms that are usually present in late stages of AIDS. Through this study, scientists found out that on the surface of immune cells a type of receptors called cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are triggered by marijuana-like compounds and can inhibit the dissemination of human immunodeficiency virus throughout the body. It is very important for scientists to understand what are the effects of activated CB1 and CB2 receptors, because in the future they hope to be able to develop new drugs that can slow the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.

“We knew that cannabinoid drugs like marijuana can have a therapeutic effect in AIDS patients, but did not understand how they influence the spread of the virus itself. We wanted to explore cannabinoid receptors as a target for pharmaceutical interventions that treat the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent further progression of the disease without the undesirable side effects of medical marijuana.”, leader of the study said.

When it enters the body, the HIV virus infects T helper lymphocytes (cells that are expressing CD4 receptor), making them ineffective in fighting infection. In order to disseminate, human immunodeficiency virus needs that inactive T helper lymphocytes to be activated by the immune system. In late-stages of AIDS, in viral genome mutations are produced in order to penetrate inactive T helper lymphocytes, action that is mediated by a signaling receptor called CXCR4. By using marijuana-like chemicals, cannabinoid receptor agonists which are able to activate CB2 receptors, researchers observed that activated CB2 receptor can block CXCR4 receptor, thus suppressing the spread of viral infection to inactive T helper lymphocytes.

By triggering CB1 receptors it was observed that marijuana-like compounds have the same effects as marijuana, causing unwanted side effects. Scientists want to develop marijuana-like compounds that are only triggering CB2 receptors, because this CB2 agonist reduce the infection of inactive T helper cells.

“Developing a drug that triggers only CB2 as an adjunctive treatment to standard antiviral medication may help alleviate the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent the virus from spreading,” researchers added.

It has been observed that HIV infects inactive T helper lymphocytes by using CXCR4 receptor only in advanced stages of AIDS, so marijuana-like compounds seem to be effective only in advanced stages of the disease.

Due to the fact that the results of this study were very promising in vitro, researchers want to develop a lab mouse model with late-stage of AIDS to test the effectiveness of marijuana-like compounds that are triggering CB2 receptors in vivo.

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Marijuana legalization backers puzzling over how to keep stoned drivers off the road

DENVER — Angeline Chilton says she can’t drive unless she smokes pot.

The suburban Denver woman says she’d never get behind the wheel right after smoking, but she does use medical marijuana twice a day to ease tremors caused by multiple sclerosis that previously left her homebound.

“I don’t drink and drive, and I don’t smoke and drive,” she said. “But my body is completely saturated with THC.”

Her case underscores a problem that no one’s sure how to solve: How do you tell if someone is too stoned to drive?

States that allow medical marijuana have grappled with determining impairment levels for years. And voters in Colorado and Washington state will decide this fall whether to legalize the drug for recreational use, bringing a new urgency to the issue.

A Denver marijuana advocate says officials are scrambling for limits in part because more drivers acknowledge using the drug.

“The explosion of medical marijuana patients has led to a lot of drivers sticking the (marijuana) card in law enforcement’s face, saying, ‘You can’t do anything to me, I’m legal,’” said Sean McAllister, a lawyer who defends people charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

It’s not that simple. Driving while impaired by any drug is illegal in all states.

But it highlights the challenges law enforcement officers face using old tools to try to fix a new problem. Most convictions for drugged driving now are based on police observations, followed later by a blood test.

Authorities envision a legal threshold for pot that would be comparable to the blood-alcohol standard used to determine drunken driving.

But unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in the blood long after the high wears off a few hours after use, and there is no quick test to determine someone’s level of impairment — not that scientists haven’t been working on it.

Dr. Marilyn Huestis of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government research lab, says that soon there will be a saliva test to detect recent marijuana use.

But government officials say that doesn’t address the question of impairment.

“I’ll be dead — and so will lots of other people — from old age, before we know the impairment levels” for marijuana and other drugs, said White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske.

Authorities recognize the need for a solution. Marijuana causes dizziness, slowed reaction time and drivers are more likely to drift and swerve while they’re high.

Dr. Bob DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health, a non-government institute that works to reduce drug abuse, says research proves “the terrible carnage out there on the roads caused by marijuana.”

One recent review of several studies of pot smoking and car accidents suggested that driving after smoking marijuana might almost double the risk of being in a serious or fatal crash.

And a recent nationwide census of fatal traffic accidents showed that while deadly crashes have declined in recent years, the percentage of mortally wounded drivers who later tested positive for drugs rose 18 percent between 2005 and 2011.

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Wisconsin patients go West for medical marijuana approvals Continue reading on Examiner.com Wisconsin patients go West for medical marijuana approvals

MADISON – Oregon’s largest newspaper, the Oregonian, published an article on Feb. 20, 2012, that reported on the increasing number of out of state patients registering for Oregon’s medical marijuana program, the only state medical cannabis program that accepts out-of-staters, "Hundreds of out-of-staters find comfort in obtaining Oregon medical marijuana cards."

I was interviewed for the article, which included a photo of me in my apartment posing next to a highway map of Oregon mounted on a door with a copy of my Oregon registration above.

The article included some quotes that really cut to the root of why I would travel to another state each year to gain that state’s approval as a medical cannabis patient:

"Storck, the medical marijuana activist in Wisconsin, which doesn’t have a medical marijuana program, carries his Oregon card with him wherever he goes even though it isn’t likely to offer him much legal protection.

"To be able to have at least one state say, ‘Yes, we accept that you are a patient,’ means so much to me," he said. "It was worth the trip to be recognized as a patient. I have been fighting my whole entire adult life for my medicine. My own home state, where I was born, won’t recognize that."

A map of Oregon hangs in his home, a reminder that his marijuana use is legal here.

"I am really thankful to Oregon," Storck said. "I am legal in every inch of that state and that is a beautiful thought for me." — "Hundreds of out-of-staters find comfort in obtaining Oregon medical marijuana cards," Oregonian, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Wisconsin patients go West for medical marijuana approvals – Madison norml | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/norml-in-madison/wisconsin-patients-go-west-for-medical-marijuana-approvals?CID=obinsite#ixzz1pQowwjyx

Phototron Announces Personal Indoor Marijuana Growing for Medical Use Not the Target of Feds

US Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner Speaks in Sacramento and Says He’s Not Going after Medical Marijuana Patients and Caregivers

GARDENA, Calif., Mar 16, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Phototron Holdings, Inc. PHOT -16.67% (otcqb:PHOT), the hydroponic growing systems company behind the “grow your own” revolution, believes the continued crackdown, resulting in the closure of hundreds of dispensaries and seizures of large-scale cannabis grow operations, is making personal indoor growing systems more attractive to medical marijuana patients.

Speaking at a recent press luncheon in Sacramento, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner said he’s not going after medical marijuana patients and caregivers, but he is cracking down on interstate transporters, huge pot farmers and illicit dispensaries grossing tens of thousands of dollars per day. He also issues a warning to large-scale pot farmers that a season of raids in the Central Valley is coming in 2012.

“Medical marijuana patients have fewer options for obtaining their medication safely, and in many places are faced with having to travel long distances or get untested medication off the street,” said Craig Ellins, Phototron’s CEO. “So patients are increasingly growing their own medication and Phototron’s systems are perfect for personal use.”

About Phototron Holdings, Inc. Phototron Holdings, Inc. PHOT -16.67% (otcqb:PHOT) designs and manufactures cutting-edge indoor mini-greenhouses capable of year-round growth of herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruits and medicines, better, stronger and faster than traditional farming methods. The Phototron Hydroponic Indoor Grow System, commonly called grow boxes, is built upon decades of research on the optimal temperature, light, water and nutrient needs of plants. The Phototron System uses proprietary lighting that mimics the sun’s rays to grow nutrient-rich, pesticide-free, eco-friendly crops faster and in more bountiful quantities than those of traditional gardening methods, resulting in fruits and vegetables of superior taste and quality.

Phototron systems and accessories are available for purchase from the company’s website at: www.phototron.com

For comprehensive investor relations material, including fact sheets, presentations conference calls and video, please follow the appropriate link: Investor Presentation, Investor Portal and Investor Fact Sheet.

Forward-Looking Statements This release contains “forward-looking statements” for purposes of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “safe harbor” provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Rule 3b-6 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause Phototron’s actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated, including the risk factors identified in Phototron’s filings with the SEC.

SOURCE: Phototron Holdings, Inc.

        
        Phototron Contact: 
        Phototron Holdings, Inc. 
        Todd Denkin 
        Toll-free: 800-651-2837 
        sales@phototron.com 
        or 
        Financial Communications: 
        Trilogy Capital Partners, Inc. 
        Darren Minton, President 
        Toll-free: 800-592-6067 
        info@trilogy-capital.com
        

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Medical marijuana backers to lobby California lawmakers rather than push for ballot initiative By Peter Hecht, McClatchy Newspapers

Medical marijuana backers to lobby California lawmakers rather than push for ballot initiative

By Peter Hecht, McClatchy Newspapers

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Medical marijuana advocates are dropping efforts to qualify a November ballot initiative to regulate California’s dispensary industry and instead plan a media campaign to lobby the Legislature to tackle the issue.

Cannabis industry groups including dispensaries, medical marijuana growers and a powerful union drafted the proposed measure in the face of an ongoing federal crackdown on California’s $1.5 billion medicinal pot trade.

But a top campaign director said initiative planners instead have decided to run television and radio ads to urge lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown to enact rules governing how medical marijuana outlets operate in the state.

"We’re not doing the initiative. We’re pulling the plug on it," said Dan Rush, director of the Medical Cannabis and Hemp Division for the United Food and Commercial Workers, which has been organizing California pot workers for the past two years.

Rush said Thursday that he had secured $1.2 million in pledges, mostly from the dispensary industry, toward $2 million to gather signatures for a November initiative.

But with time running out and other major funders undecided over whether to pursue a ballot or legislative strategy, Rush said initiative backers decided to take their case to the Capitol instead. He said the money pledged to date will be used for "a full-on media campaign," including lobbying and likely television and radio spots this summer.

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced legislation seeking to accomplish many aims of the ballot initiative, the proposed Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act.

Ammiano’s Assembly Bill 2312 would create a Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement under the state Department of Consumer Affairs to approve or deny permits for dispensaries and oversee medical marijuana cultivation, transportation, distribution and sales.

The Ammiano bill also includes a provision in the proposed initiative to mandate that cities and counties permit one dispensary for every 50,000 residents unless local voters approve local ordinances to ban them.

But the Ammiano bill scraps plans for a 2.5 percent statewide tax on medical marijuana businesses in favor of provisions allowing local governments to impose a one-quarter percent to 2 percent tax on medicinal pot transactions.

"They were not going to get a tax passed in Sacramento," said Dale Gieringer, California director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Even a regulatory measure for marijuana could prove a tough sell to lawmakers, many of whom are skittish about being portrayed as pro-dispensary.

The proposed ballot initiative came together after California’s four U.S. attorneys announced charges Oct. 7 against targeted dispensaries, growers and financial speculators in the medical marijuana market and threatened pot business landlords with seizures of properties.

Backers of the initiative were up against a June deadline to gather a half-million valid voter signatures to qualify the measure.

"I always felt it was an uphill battle because we started so late," Gieringer said.

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Medical marijuana backers try to make their cause heard

Written by Caitlin Bowling

 

Margaret Wakefield is not a college student nor does she sport dreadlocks and Birkenstocks while chatting about how the world should focus more on peace and love.

Wakefield has short dark hair, pink fingernails and silver heart-shaped earrings. Wearing a printed shirt and sweater, the Cherokee resident is dressed as if she was going to a nice restaurant with a friend or just coming from church.

Despite her clean-cut appearance, Wakefield is a vocal leader for, what some may find, a surprising cause — medical marijuana.

Wakefield’s mother died from cancer a year ago, and the life-changing event has made her very open and passionate about allowing people suffering from chronic illnesses to use cannabis as a form of treatment.

“If I had known then what I know now … (my mother) would have had some to smoke everyday,” said Wakefield, a member of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network, a nonprofit with the end goal of passing a medical marijuana bill. Medical cannabis is legal in 16 states and in Washington, D.C. Another 17 states have seen bills introduced.

The N.C. Cannabis Patients Network has about 700 members, most of whom range from age 30 to 60 and beyond, Wakefield said. Members are also allowed to remain anonymous.

“We are just wanting to be able to grow our own medicine,” she said. “We are trying to get our rights back.”

There is currently a bill in a N.C. House of Representatives committee, which NCCPN hopes will be voted on either during the upcoming short legislative session in April or when the newly elected General Assembly leaders meet next year.

House Bill 577, a.k.a. the Medical Cannabis Act, would allow people with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis (to name a few), to receive prescriptions for medical marijuana from their doctors. Studies have shown that cannabis can increase one’s appetite and offer pain relief.

The state would also profit from the legalization of medical marijuana. Within four years, the state would realize about $250 million in revenue from the production and sale of cannabis each year, according to the bill.

However, Wakefield understands that the organization is in for a tough fight in this Bible Belt state, especially since some are hesitant to sign their name in support of such a controversial bill. When asked what the biggest obstacle to the bill’s passage was, Wakefield immediately spouted the Republicans.

“They tend to be a lot more conservative than Democrats,” she said.

But even when the General Assembly was under a Democratic majority in previous years, similar efforts went nowhere.

While marijuana carries a stigma for its use as a recreational drug, allowing medical marijuana is not tantamount to opening the floodgates of illegal use, supporters claim. Many synthetic pharmaceutical drugs are abused in street settings but are still legal for their perceived medical benefits.

One Democratic state representative from Buncombe County has already put her support behind the Medical Cannabis Act.

Patsy Keever, who is serving her second term of office in the N.C. House of Representatives, said her husband suffered for three years before he died of cancer, and his pain medication was in pill form.

“He couldn’t swallow,” she said.

If medical marijuana was available, her husband could have inhaled it in a vapor form, Keever said.

“Medical marijuana has been proven to treat the pain,” Keever said. “Anything that will just help somebody in pain and not harm them or anybody else seems like a no brainer to me.”

The bill being considered in North Carolina is much stricter than the one in California, Wakefield said.

In California, it is widely claimed that anyone can get a medical marijuana prescription by simply walking into a doctor’s office and saying you have a problem. In North Carolina, patients looking for a prescription would have to have a relationship with their physician, which includes a full medical assessment and the doctor’s willingness to provide follow-up care to determine the efficacy of the drug.

People who wish to grow or sell marijuana or marijuana-infused products, such as cookies or butter, will be required to pay a $5,000 licensing fee each year. That amount could increase to $10,000, pending possible amendments to the bill, Wakefield said.

Get involved

The North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network will hold a meeting at 2 p.m. on March 10 at Tribal Grounds Coffee Shop in Cherokee. Discussions will revolve around allowing the use of medical marijuana in North Carolina and educating people about the benefits of prescription cannabis. The meeting is open to the public.

828.497.9045.

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SB 129 Medical marijuana, Legislative Concerns

February 29, 2012

Now that Kentucky’s Senate has proposed a bill allowing for the medical use of marijuana, Senate Bill 129 The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act filed by State Senator Perry Clark, legislators will have to seriously consider the proposal. I’m pretty sure the majority of Kentucky’s legislators have not done this before. In truth, one can find out everything known about marijuana, good and bad, by going to two sources. The Marijuana Policy Project, MPP, has in it’s library an extensive list of studies, reports, state by state comparisons and general knowledge regarding marijuana and especially information on medical marijuana. MPP can be accessed at MPP.org, click on issues and a list of the various aspects of marijuana will come up. The other clearing house for all things marijuana is The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, NORML, which also has an extensive library which can be accessed at NORML.ORG. One can get a ton of government information from the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug Czar’s office but with the governments 40 year history of misinformation about marijuana and the current government pronouncement that there is no medical value to marijuana, anything they say on the subject is certainly suspect.
Currently 16 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana and all of Kentucky’s neighbors are currently working on their own medical marijuana laws. This means that medical marijuana has passed 16 senate and 16 house judicial, public safety and health and human services committees. In addition Congress, in voting to allow the District of Columbia to have medical marijuana, may have inadvertently allowed it for the whole country!
What might be the concerns of legislators considering medical marijuana? Certainly teen access to marijuana would be a concern. So far studies have shown a decrease in teen use in states with medical marijuana laws, regulation making it harder for teens to acquire. Another concern might be drugged driving. Laws are currently in place regarding DUI, however, on an anecdotal level, I read the paper every day and watch the local news. In the last 10 years I have only seen 1 story of a marijuana caused accident on the news and the story changed 2 days after it ran. On top of that, an estimated 22 million people in America smoke marijuana on a regular basis. If driving is a problem with marijuana, where are all the reports of marijuana related accidents? Some concerns were raised in California about increased crime in neighborhoods where marijuana pharmacies and facilities are located. Studies on the issue showed that because of the facilities’ security measures, cameras and such, crime in the vicinity of these facilities is lower because they are there. Kentucky has an extremely bad problem with prescription drugs and especially opioid pain killers like oxycontin. As a legislator my concern would be how medical marijuana laws impact this problem. So far studies show that medical marijuana users decrease their use and dependence on prescription drugs. Veterans in Medical marijuana states have reported stopping pain meds completely when using marijuana or only needing minimal amounts to cope with their conditions. Finally as a legislator considering medical marijuana for my state I would be concerned about Federal raids on state medical marijuana facilities. One can only rely on the Justice Department’s word that they only raid facilities that are not in compliance with state law. Given the challenges to prohibition policy with 6 states having full legalization on the ballot in November, the government might have to finally reconsider prohibition entirely.
On the pro side of the ledger medical marijuana has alleviated the pain and suffering of thousands of patients, and created thousands of jobs in states with controlled distribution like California, Colorado and Michigan to name a few. It creates large sums of revenue for the State, has decreased costs for police and courts, has spread a wave of economic activity thru the states that have it and decreased the use of prescription painkillers.
As a legislator, (if I were one), would I vote to allow medical marijuana in Kentucky?
Given all available information I would have to vote a resounding yes!

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