May 17, 2017

Dr. Philip Blair is a Medical Doctor, specialising in Functional Medicine. He is also a retired Colonel of the US Army, having served 28 years as a physician. Today we take a deep dive into the science of medicinal marijuana, examining the probability that the public has been terribly and systemically misled about cannabis.

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What we discuss on today’s show

  • The public has been terribly and systemically misled about marijuana.
  • It is potentially one of the most powerful and effective medicines known to man, but compassionate use not abuse is critical.
  • There are approximately 80 cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis, with the 2 most commonly understood and used being THC and CBD.
  • CBD is the therapeutic chemical; THC the psychoactive chemical.
  • Safety, uniformity, reliability and consistency of product are key areas of concern.
  • Marijuana currently classified in the USA as a Schedule 1 Drug i.e. no medicinal benefit and high chance of addiction (others include: Heroin, GHB, MDMA, Ecstasy, Psilocybin).
  • Schedule 2 Drugs include: Cocaine, morphine and amphetamines.
  • Despite the above classification, the US Fed Gov (US Dep of Health and Human Services) has registered and sold a patent on a compound derived from Marijuana, recognising its powerful benefits.
  • The FDA also recently approved a request to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy (Epidiolex).
  • Only the 2,000+ research papers conducted on Marijuana in the USA, 94% have focused exclusively on the potential harm i.e. only 6% of studies have looked at the benefits.
  • 76% of US medical doctors now in favour of the use of Marijuana for needy patients
  • CBD seems to offer natural protection against the marijuana high. Numerous studies suggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of the THC, including memory loss and paranoia.
  • GW Pharmaceuticals (UK) have spent over a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars on research and product development. It Salivex product is now available in 25 countries, and has helped >50% of MS sufferers who have trialed the drug. Interestingly, in Australia the drug is not available, but a trial is being conducted at Sydney Uni for use as drug to assist marijuana addicts. Salivex is not available in the US.
  • Estimated size of the marijuana industry in US is $38bn (some suggest way higher). California alone estimated as $14bn.
  • 10% of Americans use marijuana regularly.
  • $10bn estimate annual tax revenue.
  • Marijuana has a history of being used medicinally, dating back to China 5,000 years ago.
  • Marijuana was outlawed by 24 US States in 1933.
  • It became Federally illegal in 1937.
  • Harry Ainsling, the Commissioner for the Fed Bureau of Narcotics, was instrumental in driving a scare campaign on the dangers of marijuana (Reefer Madness). In 1961, he facilitated an international treaty, outlawing marijuana in 160 countries.
  • In 1971 Richard Nixon launched the War on Drugs, calling it, “Public Enemy #1”. It was a policy driven by ideology and politics, not science.
  • The DEA was formed under Nixon’s watch in 1973. But the Watergate Scandal sidetracked him.
  • Nancy Reagan introduced the national “Just Say No” Campaign against alcohol and drugs. Ironically, marijuana may have been an enormous benefit to President Reagan, who suffered and ultimately died to Alzheimer’s.
  • The US Gov has spent more than $600bn on the War on Drugs since 1972, its results negligible at best.
  • There are 60,000 people in prison in the USA at any one time for marijuana related “crimes”. 870,000 are arrested and in/out of prison in any year. 60-80 people are serving life sentences.
  • USA addiction stats:
    • Marijuana – 9%
    • Heroin – 23%
    • Cocaine – 17%
    • Alcohol – 15%
  • The pre-frontal cortex is the part of the brain most affected by marijuana, as this is where the cannabinoid receptors are.
  • There is a fatal, accidental death due to overdose of prescription medicine in the USA, every 19mins.
  • No reported fatal overdose caused by marijuana.
  • THC levels have increased from <1% in 1972 to >13% now.
  • There is a massive discrepancy in the risk factor with adolescence (< 16y/o) and adults (ideally >25y/o)
  • Changes in public perception is critical.
  • CBD & THC act on different pathways, but have similar medical benefits.
  • The entourage effect: THC’s medicinal benefits are more potent if CBD also consumed with it.
  • Disease marijuana helps with, include: Epilepsy (including Dravet Syndrome), Cancer, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, MS, CTE, Pain, Chron’s disease, Lupus, Diabetes
  • The feel-good chemical (Cannabinoids) in marijuana, we produce naturally. When you take marijuana, your brain stops producing them, so when you stop, you feel lousy, until your brain starts reproducing again.

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