Yesterday, the Alabama Senate approved the state’s medical cannabis bill — SB 165 — in a 22-11 vote! The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where the speaker has not yet committed to letting it receive a vote.
Write your state rep today to ask them to support patients and to urge leadership to let it get a vote. To have even more impact, you can give your state representative a call after sending your email.
Senators debated SB 165 for hours and considered numerous amendments — accepting some and rejecting others.
The bill, which is sponsored by a physician, Sen. Tim Melson (R), would allow qualifying patients to use and safely access medical cannabis preparations. While it is more restrictive than most medical cannabis laws — and does not allow smoking or vaporization — SB 165 would still be a dramatic improvement from current law. For more details, check out our summary.
After you reach out to your own representative, spread the word to other compassionate Alabamians so that they, too, can raise their voices for compassion.
Yesterday I posted a brief summary of a new study of vaporization of marijuana as an alternative to smoking. Since that original post, I’ve spoken to a couple of researchers about this study, and they raised a few points that seem worth sharing:
First, for reasons that aren’t clear, before performing the tests of smoking and vaporization, the researchers put the marijuana through a drying procedure that ordinary marijuana consumers don’t do. This might have eliminated some plant compounds, such as terpenoids, that are actually of interest.
A second possible flaw is that the researchers considered all “byproducts” – defined as substances other than cannabinoids -- together. They didn’t analyze precisely what they were, lumping bad stuff like the toxic combustion products contained in smoke with potentially beneficial plant compounds like those terpenoids mentioned above. That puts the finding that fewer byproducts were produced at 230 degrees Celsius than were produced at lower temperatures in a somewhat different perspective: We don’t know if the same byproducts were produced at 230 degrees as were produced at lower temperatures – and what’s in that mixture could be just as important as how much of it there is.
Opponents of medical marijuana love to condemn smoking, but a new study adds more data to the growing pile of research confirming that vaporization provides the benefits of inhalation without the unwanted combustion products in smoke. In a study comparing vaporization to smoking in the journal Inhalation Toxicology, researchers from Leiden University report, “Based on the results, we can conclude that with the use of the vaporizer a much ‘cleaner’ and therefore a more healthy cannabis vapor can be produced for the medicinal use of C. sativa, in comparison to the administration of THC via cigarettes.”
The article also provides some new practical information on vaporization, suggesting that a temperature of 230 degrees Celsius is ideal, and that using smaller amounts of marijuana in the vaporizer produces more vapor, but does not extract THC more efficiently, so there is no apparent gain in using an amount less than about half a gram at a time.
That's the astonishing finding from the latest Monitoring the Future survey, but strangely, it wasn't mentioned by White House drug czar John Walters or in the initial news reports. 13.8 percent of 10th graders reported smoking marijuana in the past 30 days, while just 12.3 percent smoked cigarettes. For 8th and 12th grades, cigarette use still narrowly exceeded marijuana, but the gap narrowed to insignificance.
The Associated Press reported, "[T]he White House says the sustained trendline is the key." Makes sense to me. According to the new survey, current (i.e. past 30 days) marijuana use has nearly doubled among 8th graders since 1991, from 3.2 percent to 5.8 percent, with big increases among 10th and 12th graders, too. During that same period, cigarette use dropped like a rock, with current cigarette smoking dropping from 14.3 percent to 6.8 percent among 8th graders, and dramatic drops in the older grades as well.
Amazingly, Walters touts the new results as proof that his policies are working, saying, "What we see here is a very good trend for the youth of the country." In fact, what the data show is that prohibition for adults is neither necessary nor effective at reducing use among kids. Last year over 775,000 Americans were arrested for possession of marijuana while zero were arrested for possession of cigarettes.
Legal cigarette vendors are regulated. They can and do face fines or even loss of their license to operate if they sell to kids. Prohibition guarantees we have no such control over marijuana.
Addicts commonly rationalize and excuse destructive behavior rather than recognize that their addiction has gotten out of control. By that standard, John Walters is an addict and his drug is prohibition.