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  michael_phelps_smoking_cannabis_2008

    A lot of publicity has revolved around Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps lately.  For the precious few who may not know, a picture has been circulating of Phelps at a college party, smoking cannabis (marijuana) recreationally.

     Far be it from me to overstate the obvious, but a college student partaking of cannabis is hardly newsworthy, but the hypocrisy of the day dictates that cannabis smokers are not athletes, let alone Olympic heroes.  How dare he crush this fragile but obvious lie, and in the face of patriotic adoration.

    Though our last three Presidents have admitted to smoking cannabis, and virtually every founding father grew and smoked cannabis, let’s not derail the efforts of tens of millions of tax payer dollars that have been spent to villainize this herb.  

    Seventy year old propaganda insists that anyone who smokes “pot” cannot in any way be looked on as a role model for our nation’s youth. 
    But let’s cut through the sensationalism for a moment and return to reality.  If Michael were sipping from a beer in the pic, as he more than likely could have been doing at the now infamous collegiate event, his image would not have even made FaceBook, let alone international tabloids, and his multi-million dollar endorsements would have remained intact.  In fact, our leading American breweries would most certainly have lined up with their endorsements, as well.

Cannabis_Lilly     Over seventy years ago, few would have known what you were talking about if you were to say “marijuana”, but virtually everyone in this country, most specifically physicians, would have known full well the word “cannabis”.  Cannabis sativa, as it was often referred prior to 1937, has been used as medicine for over 4000 years.  It holds the honor of being the single most tested medicine in the history of medical science.

    What have we learned from centuries of medicinal use and volumes of formal research?  Cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic illness. 

     What is chronic illness?  It doesn’t have to be life threatening or debilitating to be chronic, though extended doses of many pharmaceuticals almost certainly guarantees that a patient will eventually compromise his or her stomach, liver, and gastro-intestinal tract.
    Chronic Illness is quite simply an illness that doesn’t go away, but lingers on despite medical treatment.

     Illnesses that have been successfully treated with cannabis are: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), many forms of cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Alzheimer’s Disease, Epilepsy (seizures), Hepatitis C, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, severe migraines, severe pain, Glaucoma, wasting syndrome, severe nausea, anorexia, Crohn’s Disease, and many, many more.

     The use of Medical Cannabis and the protection of its patients, has been endorsed by many prestigious organizations, including:  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The American College of Physicians, the student branch of The American Medical Association, The American Nurse’s Association, and The American Academy of Family Physicians. 
    If your physician or nurse practioner practices in America, undoubtedly he or she belongs to one or more of these organizations.

     Despite Federal subsidized propaganda and outright lies, cannabis has been proven safer than NSAIDS like Aspirin and Tylenol, (which claim over 6000 lives every year).  Despite being safer than pharmaceuticals (an estimated 218,000 deaths have been attributed to adverse drug events), harmful, dangerous prescription drugs continue to be approved by our Food and Drug Administration every week of every year.

     So why do our law makers stonewall attempts to reschedule cannabis and block access for its legal production from our nation’s chronically ill?  Isn’t it obvious?
    In 2006, global spending on prescription drugs topped $643 billion.  And if you somehow still think that our elect have anything other than the interests of big business at heart,   the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Government Reform estimated that pharmaceutical industry profits would increase by over $8 billion dollars with the implementation of Bush’s Medicare Drug Plan.

     With cannabis having the potential of capturing upwards of 60% of the current pharmaceutical market, there’s a reason why drug lobbyists are permanently entrenched in Washington and our state capitols. 

    In Missouri, House Bill 277 would allow the chronically ill of their state to safely and legally treat their illnesses with the holistic medicine they so desperately need, but the only way it will ever see a public vote is if the people of Missouri speak out with a voice louder than the jingle of lobbyist’s pocket books.

     The truth is, cannabis, and only cannabis, is the only viable, effective choice for long-term treatment of chronic illness.

    Before you chime in with all the anti-cannabis hype, make it a point to know what you’re talking about.  Do the research.  It’s not hard to find. 

    And Michael, no apology is necessary. Not for this father of three.  You see, I have been a cannabis patient for over eleven years now.  My children know full well how cannabis allowed my body to fight its way back from serious, debilitating illness, when pharmaceuticals did little but insure that I had a hopelessly miserable and painful future.

     Come and hear my story and the stories of other medical cannabis patients, along with special music, speakers, and local dignitaries, all day under the Arch on May 2nd.

  Mark Pedersen
Cannabis Patient Network

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Terri Garr suffers from Multiple Sclerosis   
    I just finished watching CNN’s piece on Teri Garr and her private battle with Multiple Sclerosis. 

    I grew old with Teri, though I always thought she faired better with age. I enjoyed her many movies and natural beauty.  Very funny, too.
    Who would have thought this morning, while watching a very young Teri Garr on an old rerun of Star Trek and commenting on how attractive she was then, that later that same day I would be Blogging on her.

    Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, potentially debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord.  Doctors and researchers think the illness is probably an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks part of your body as if it’s a foreign substance.

    I was curious if Teri’s maintenance, if not remission with this illness may be due to her using Cannabis.  A little research showed that she is a paid spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company.  I can see how that might inhibit any admission from her to using Cannabis.
    Further research revealed that Ms. Garr has served as Chair for the
National Multiple Sclerosis Society since 2002 and as Chair for the Women Against MS.
    Garr said back in 2005 that she won’t advocate medical marijuana for MS-related pain because she doesn’t want her 11-year-old daughter trying the drug. But she agrees that as a
relaxer, pot is “probably better than booze.”.   Obviously, she is quite familiar with its Anti-anxiety properties.

    But a lot of research has come out since then.  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has, in fact recently come out with their own endorsement of Cannabis for the treatment of MS.    
    The odds are looking very good that Garr doses with Cannabis. 

 Joe uses Cannabis to treat his MS

    “There are several drugs out right now that can’t stop multiple sclerosis, but they can slow it way down,” Says Garr who has also suffered side effects. “They also made me puff up like a balloon. So I looked horrible. I hated that.”
    The first time I read this, I jokingly said that if the bloating was due to weight gain from overeating, Cannabis may be the culprit, but that’s obviously not the case here.  Terri’s symptoms appear to be more pharmaceutical by the way it sounds..  Definitely not something to joke about.

    I truly do hope that Teri uses Cannabis if for no other reason than to offset the symptoms from her pharmaceuticals.  According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society ,these are approved drugs for treating MS and its symptoms:

 Avonex:  An Interferon beta-1a drug, Avonex’s primary benefit is as an anti-inflammatory.  Side-effects include  flu-like symptoms, injection–site reactions, depression, seizures and liver problems.   A one month supply of Avonex can run anywhere from $1600 to $2000.

Betaseron is a Interferon beta-1b drug.  It’s an E. coli derivative.  Its primary benefit is also as an anti-inflammatory.  Side effects include depressed mood, anxiety, trouble sleeping, restlessness, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, bruising, swelling, oozing, injection-site reactions, weakness, headache, muscle pain, weakness, stomach pain, swelling in hands or feet, skin rash, and irregular menstrual periods…other side-effects may occur.

Copaxone:  (Glatiramer) How Copaxone works is not fully understood, but it appears to reduce relapses.  Side-effects include can include anxiety, back pain, chest tightness, diarrhea, ear pain, fever, flu symptoms, infection, flushing, joint pain, loss of appetite, mild redness, pain, itching, nausea, neck pain, nervousness, painful menstrual flow, rapid eye movement, skin nodules, stomach pain, sweating, swelling of the legs and feet, vomiting, weakness, weight gain, abnormal thinking, dizziness, fast heartbeat, memory loss, tightness in the throat, tremor.

Novantrone:  (Mitoxantrone) Novantrone is used to reduce relapses.  Among it’s side-effects are:  rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, chest pain dark pink or bloody urine, fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, sore throat, persistent cough, increased, decreased, or painful urination, mental or mood changes, anxiety, depression, mouth sores, inflammation, severe pain, persistent tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, sinus infection, sudden, unexplained weight gain, swelling of the hands, legs, or feet, unusual bruising or bleeding, vision changes.

Rebif:  Rebif is used to reduce relapses, as it seems to be the cover point for most MS drugs,  as well as the fact that researcher have no idea how this one works, either.  Side effects include:  drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, headache, tiredness, fever, chills, back pain, muscle aches, weakness, pain, stomach pain, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, change in vision, chest pain, dark urine, depression, feeling cold or hot all the time, infection at the injection sight, seizures, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, unexplained change in weight, yellowing of the eyes, or skin.

Tysabri:  Tysabri is a monoclonal antibody.  It’s also a very dangerous drug.  It’s usually given to patients who cannot use other MS treatments or for patients with whom other treatments don’t work.  They don’t know how it works, either.  Side effects include diarrhea, headache, joint pain, muscle cramps, pain in the arms or legs, tiredness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the muth, face, lips, or tongue, changes in balance, eyesight, strength, or thinking, chest pain, or discomfort, chills, dark urine, depression, dizziness, fast heartbeat, feeling cold, fever, flushing, muscle pain, nausea, painful menstrual periods, painful urination, right-sided back, stomach, or side pain, severe or persistent headache or tiredness, shortness of breath, sore throat, suicidal thoughts or attempts, swelling of the hands, ankles, or legs, tremor, vaginal discharge, itching, or odor, vomiting, yellowing of the skin eyes.  By the way, this is not a complete list either.

     Chances are, Garr uses Cannabis for medicine.   Why do I believe that?  According to recent statistics from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society one out of every two MS patients already use Cannabis.  That’s not only good odds, it’s good reasoning on behalf of the average Multiple Sclerosis patient.  After all, using Cannabis means the average MS patient won’t have to use as much harmful pharmaceuticals, or maybe not use any at all.

     Dr. Denis Petro is the consulting Neurologist for the Multiple Sclerosis Patients Union.  In one of our Patients Out of Time videos, Dr. Petro remarks on the fact that there are currently no less than 7 clinical trials that prove that Cannabis does have anti-spasticity benefits for the MS patient. Petro, whose research regarding Cannabis spans over 25 years, is frustrated by our government and media’s refusal to recognize what other countries the world over already accept for years, Cannabis is real medicine.     
    “Drug companies only want to do research on something that will bring money down the road.” Concluded Petro.

Dr. Petro speaks to the press regarding Cannabis treatment for MS

    All things considered, if all Teri is experiencing is bloating and she’s not experiencing any of the other more lethal side effects of prescription drugs, I’d  have to say she’s either using Cannabis, or miraculously fortunate.
    The only prescription drugs available that actually benefit MS patients cause terrible side effects, that is, except for one, cannabis.  And cannabis allows MS patients to use less prescription drugs while increasing their effectiveness.

    250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by a physician. Tell me again why Medical Cannabis is illegal…

    To view more of our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit our youtube channel at www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet/.