Donald Abrams, M.D. explains why smoked plant matter has properties that help the body heal, as does vaporized (non-combusted plant matter). The operative word is plant, not the pill (form of THC). Dr. Donald Abrams is the Chief of Hematology-Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, as well as Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Bernard Rimland, he is the founder of the Autism Society of America. I have read many books and have been a fan of his since Joey was diagnosed with autism. The day I came home and typed in autism and marijuana and his research came up. I was up all night. I was up until 5 o’clock in the morning. I could not believe that the doctor that I had admired, the doctor that I had researched and the doctor had felt if there is a protocol for autism…this guy is on it. To find that he had written the initial medical review and research on this (autism and marijuana) blew my mind. I am still struggling with why a few organizations have not stepped up to the plate and said she’s right. We should be honoring this man.
Actually I was very skeptical rather than opposed. The first person who introduced me to the possibility that cannabis was medicinal was my father who was a pharmacist. We were talking about prohibition and he mentioned that when he was a freshman in pharmacy school at the University of Minnesota in 1928 and one of their assignments was to make tincture of cannabis. He said, we had to be very careful because the alcohol was illegal. I’ve got his 1927 Remmington’s Textbook of Pharmacy and on page 999 and 1000 it tells you how to make tincture of cannabis. It also says that it is useful for relief of pain and a tranquilizer. In the process of marginalizing quackery we also tended to marginalize homeopaths, naturopaths, osteopaths all of whom placed greater importance on herbal medicine that allopathic doctors, the doctors that we today called MD’s. There still was interest in plant based medicine but there was a problem that it was not standardized. However, as late as 1937 the AMA testified against the marijuana tax act. First off, they said we don’t have any idea why you are not calling this cannabis obviously we need to explore that why was it called marijuana when that’s not what it was called at that time. And secondly he said, yes, this is decreasingly being prescribed by physicians because of lack of standardization.
Earlier you mentioned that maybe I was opposed to medical marijuana and I said no I was just dubious. And I certainly was dubious about the use of cannabis in treating ADD/ ADHD. But that was because I didn’t know anything and when I looked into it, I found out that there were at least 40 papers written before 2000 dealing with the endo-cannabinioid system, cannabis, and ADD/ ADHD. And that as early as 1998 efforts had been made in Oregon to add ADD/ ADHD to the list of conditions for which cannabis was appropriate or legal in the state of Oregon. I began to have people mention that they were able to focus and concentrate more with cannabis. I had people tell me that their grades went from Ds and Fs to As and Bs when they started using marijuana in Jr High School. I had one patient come in and attributed their graduating from the maritime academy to smoking marijuana. And another person who said that they were able to get their PHD as a result of smoking marijuana. I started looking into this and found that there were hundreds of research studies that had been done which provided some of the information as to why this might work.
There are a group of researchers around the world, that are very interested in the endocannabinoid system, interested in how that works, how it functions. Elger is one of those people. He and another PHD named Nichol wrote an article that appeared in Scientific America which I believe is entitled The Brains on Marijuana. We have discovered, we meaning scientists not me, at least two endocannabinoids, two different 21 carbon molecules that have receptor sites that can be stimulated by Cannabis. And Cannabis of course, has 66, at least 66 cannabinoids and those are 21 carbon molecules that may have different side chain and every time you have a different side chain you have a different substance.
David Bearman, M.D., author of “Demons, Discrimination and Dollars,” discusses with MedicalMarijuana411.com the effects of Cananbis and Ritalin. Some people use Cannabis instead of Ritalin, Dexadrine or other sympathomedic drugs other people use Cannabis with Ritalin because the side effects of Ritalin can include: depressed appetite, difficulty sleeping and jitteriness and Cannabis has the exact opposite effect, in addition to helping people to focus and concentrate more.
The usual situation with a teenager is that they started using the cannabis recreationally and incidentally noticed that it helped them with their focus and concentration. I want to make one thing clear, if a teenager is using cannabis excessively, it may interfere with their education. It is not always something that is helpful. But in the cases that I have seen where people have come in and I have attention deficit disorder I tried Ritalin either it didn’t work or I didn’t like the side effects. I noticed with marijuana or cannabis that I could focus, I could concentrate and my grades went up with this. So, for most people, certainly with people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) most of them, Cannabis has been helpful. Now some people use the cannabis instead of Ritalin, Concerta or Adderall and other people use it in conjunction with it because one of the problems with the sympathomimetic drugs which is what Ritalin or Dexodrine or the other conventional medications for ADD, they have a side effect profile which is unacceptable to some people. As a stimulant it interferes with your appetite, it can interfere with sleep, cause jitteriness and cannabis has the opposite effect.
I started doing recommendations for the medical use of cannabis in the spring of 2000. I have noticed a real thawing on the attitude of physicians. I have at least 80 physicians in Southern Santa Barbara county refer one of more of their patients to me to evaluate them for recommendations for the medical use of cannabis under the terms of proposition 215. I have also found that physicians have become more and more curious about how this stuff works. Americans for Safe Access, about two years ago, asked me to speak to Kaiser Hospital in San Jose because somebody contacted them and would like to have a doctor come in and talk to us about this (medical cannabis). And the physicians listened to that with at least some respect and some with great interest. There were some people that didn’t agree. I think part of that is the way we marginalize herbal medicine as I discussed earlier. We have looked at manufactured medicines as being easier to characterize and easier to understand. But what we tend to forget as physicians I think, is that we have evolved with the plants and that manufactured pharmaceuticals contain structures that aren’t found in nature and are more difficult for the body to metabolize than structures that are found in nature.
MedicalMarijuana411.com sits down with David Bearman, M.D. Dr. Bearman helped found the countrys third free clinic in Seattle, Washington in 1967, directed the Haight Ashbury Drug Treatment Program, and founded the Isla Vista Medical Clinic in 1970. He has worked at all levels of government, including being a Medical Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, Director of Health Services at San Diego State University and Director and Medical Officer of the Sutter County Health Department.