Is Cannabis a Rx for PA?

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HARRISBURG -- State lawmakers are considering making marijuana legal to treat illnesses such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

State senators could vote on a bill as early as next week. It would have to clear the State House. Republicans control both houses and there are some who are against making cannabis a prescription for Pennsylvania.

When 10-year-old Lila Chernavage comes home from school near Wilkes-Barre, she's often upset. Her mom, Judy, said Lila has suffered from seizures since the age of four and even needed to have part of her brain removed, the part that controls her emotions.

"She just sits there at the window and she wants to play and the kids don't want to play with her," said Chernavage.

Lila is out of options having tried numerous medications to cut down on her seizures and emotional problems, according to her mother. And now, both hope cannabis, better known as marijuana, can help even a little.

"There's something potentially for her and other children. Why can I have that for her?" questioned Chernavage.

Even though a recent poll done by Quinnipiac University found 88% of people in the Commonwealth support legalizing medical cannabis, it's still not law.

"It's very difficult to make an argument that sick people shouldn't get medicine that should make them better," said Senator Daylin Leach, a Democrat from Montgomery County who is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 3.

Yet, this is the second time the bipartisan bill has been proposed in Pennsylvania that would make medical cannabis legal to treat everything from cancer, to seizures, to PTSD, HIV/AIDS, and more.

marijuana conditions

The Senate passed the bill last year and is poised to do it again.

23 other states have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes. It's been law in California for nearly 20 years.

Proponents of medical cannabis have had to make concessions for the house in hopes the bill will pass, such as removing vaporization from the ways in which patients could use the drug. Representative Matt Baker is chair of the Health Committee in the House which has held a series of hearings on the issue and so far, he's against it.

"I would prefer that the medicine that's approved be FDA approved, be prescribed by a doctor, and dispensed by a pharmacist," said Baker, a Republican who represents parts of Bradford and Tioga counties.

Baker's campaign records show in one year he received about $22,000 from pharmaceutical companies and the health care industry. Baker received contributions from Pfizer, Merck, Rite Aid PAC, and more: companies that could benefit from Baker's call for more research and also have competing drugs already on the market.

Baker points to a letter from the president of the American Epilepsy Society warning lawmakers of potential harm from the cannabis oils being used in other states, urging more research.

"You can't jump over it and just start providing this without knowing if it's safe," said Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal.

A check of the society's corporate partners found grants in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical companies and laboratories.

"We can't get the medicines to treat people with any kind of disorder without partnering with the pharmaceutical industry," Brooks-Kayal added.

Meanwhile, Baker said he fears legalizing medical cannabis will open the door to full-blown legalization and doesn't believe that nearly 90 percent of Pennsylvanians want it law.

"When you call something medicine in a poll, you predispose that it's a fact."

Governor Tom Wolf has said he will sign a medical cannabis law when and if it reaches his desk. However as that legislative process drags on and on, folks like Judy Chernavage and her daughter Lila will have to wait for a treatment they would rather have right now.

"Have some empathy. Odds are 1 in 26 people will have a seizure in their lifetime. Could be you, could be your child," said Chernavage.

Even if medical cannabis gets approval this year, lawmakers said it could take months, perhaps more than a year before patients can start using the treatments.

Meaning in Pennsylvania, children like Lila and parents like Judy Chernavage have to wonder why something that many believe can help is still illegal.

"It basically breaks down to common sense, there's a medication available to save lives, to save my daughter. Why can't she have it?"

60 comments

  • kelly zimmerman

    This is a very serious subject. It has been crammed down our throats for decades, how marijuana is bad, it’s a gateway drug and many other misleading details, however, the truth is, practically every medicine in america has come from some kind of plant, Viagara, Digitalis, etc, the plant is here for us to use, we just have to be smart about it!!! I am a nurse and I strongly promote the use of medicinal marijuana, especially for children. Have you ever seen a child have a seizure and can do nothing about it????? I have and it isn’t pretty!!! Conventinial medicine either doesn’t work or barely helps these kids at all and with serious side effects!!! We don’t need to do more testing, it has already be proven over and over but our elected government officials that are opposed to it, continue on their damaging path. Some elected officials receive monies from Big Pharma and this discourages them to vote for medicinal marijuana, due to losing that easy paycheck(this should be considered, a conflict of interest and organized extortion)!!!!!!!! There is a case in the U.S., of a man who has been smoking marijuana for 30 years, for a severe case of bone spurs, he gets his “weed” from the UNITED STATES government, that’s right!!!! So how is there NO medical evidence, 30 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!! Big Pharma stands to lose billions, if medical marijuana is passed! It boils down to, GREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jim

    Within 5 years it’ll be 100% legal for recreational use. Pennsylvania is broke and needs the revenue. They see what Colorado is doing in want in on that $$$$$.

  • Evan

    You want to treat all that but you don’t want to help people with chronic pain ? Do you want them to get off all those addicting pain pills or not ?

    • Debbie

      No they don’t want them off pain pills……they want them on just enough not to kill them……it’s called maintenance.

  • joey garza

    Not only the under privileged can not afford to defray high-end cost for legal pot,there is so much the unfortunate could utilize with the dollars going up in smoke.I signal great controversy in a nation that was pure and pristine many moons ago !Just who did pollute this once beautiful country?

    • Sean Daily

      Pure for who? Unless you are talking about white people, or native americans BEFORE white people came (And no i dont mean all white people) you are sorely mistaken about this nation’s purity.

  • jenn perko

    The fact that Baker, other house reps, the American Pediatric Association, the PA Med Society and Epileptic Association want FDA approval before giving their “ok” is ABSURD! Most people argue that cannabis is a schedule 1 and therefore needs to go through the FDA prior to legislation. But what they fail to realize is the REASON it’s a schedule 1. The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse was created by the Controlled Substances Act to study marijuana abuse in the United States. While the Controlled Substances Act was being drafted in a House committee in 1970, Assistant Secretary of Health Roger O. Egeberg had recommended that marijuana temporarily be placed in Schedule I, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending the Commission’s report. On March 22, 1972, the Commission’s chairman, Raymond P. Shafer, presented a report to Congress and the public entitled “Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding,” which favored ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.The Nixon administration did not implement the recommendations from The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse; and in fact, while the study was pending, Nixon attempted to influence the result by telling Shafer, “You’re enough of a pro to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels, and what we’re planning to do, would make your commission just look bad as hell.” Unfortunately, there are people in office, such as Baker, who have campaign contributions from big pharm, so he’s unwilling to look at the evidence and instead falls back on the old ass, weak as hell reefer madness arguements. It’s absurd! People are suffering for nothing! Cannabis is the answer for so many! Hopefully despite our elected idiots, we’ll be able to pass a comprehensive bill in PA in the near future.

  • Stel1776

    Removing cannabis from our pharmacopeia 7 decades ago may have resulted in thousands of opioid deaths:

    “From a pharmacological perspective, cannabinoids are considerably safer than opioids and have broad applicability in palliative care. Had cannabis not been removed from our pharmacopeia 7 decades ago and remained available to treat chronic pain, potentially thousands of lives that have been lost to opioid toxicity could have been prevented.”
    “The medicinal cannabis user should not be considered a criminal in any state and the DEA and our legal system should be using science and logic as the basis of policy making rather than political or societal bias.”
    Carter et al. Cannabis in palliative medicine: improving care and reducing opioid-related morbidity. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2011.

    Legal medical cannabis has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from prescription opioid painkillers:

    “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.”
    Bachhuber et al. Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010. JAMA Intern Med. 2014.

    Denying people medicine like this should be a criminal act, instead using it is. What a bizarre situation we have created.

    As of now, PA has no plans to allow medical cannabis to treat pain.
    Please contact your PA representatives and senators (google: find pa legislator) and tell them to leave the approved conditions and ingestion methods up to doctors rather that politicians!

  • miss hyner

    Ok,the great abundance of disease with assortment of variety,many will possess prescripts to fight anxiety and stress.YES,,, now is crucial time for Great Factors of society to eststablish a compromisal to better the so called least common denominators ,based on just fair collaberation for this nation!!,

  • Stel1776

    “I would prefer that the medicine that’s approved be FDA approved, be prescribed by a doctor, and dispensed by a pharmacist,” said Baker

    The FDA evaluates patented synthetic products, not plants such as cannabis. Further, they do not evaluate products on their own. They would need the patent holder of the product to file for approval. The U.S. government owns the patent on cannabis derivatives for medicinal use (patent #6630507), and since, ironically, their position is that cannabis is a Schedule I substance with no accepted medical use, they will not file for FDA approval. In fact this patent may have been filed to prevent any form of cannabis legalization as is required by federal law (Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998, Sec. 704. b. 12). Also, much of medicinal cannabis research that would meet FDA requirements is effectively blocked by the DEA and NIDA (this is why over 90% of studies regarding cannabis have been designed to find harm).

    Years ago the FDA approved a synthetic version of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC as medicine. This is the one responsible for the high. It is listed in Schedule III. However many patients report that it does not work nearly as well as the natural plant, and it is very expensive. It has been found that the careful balance of natural cannabinoids found in various strains of the plant have a significant synergistic therapeutic effect, including offsetting some of the unwanted side effects of pure THC.

    Denying people medicine like this should be a criminal act, instead using it is. What a bizarre situation we have created. Let’s let doctors decide what treatment is best for patients rather than politicians, legalize the entire plant in every state and force the Federal Government to comply.

  • Maureen

    I really hope this is passed! I am tired of taking meds that are approved but do not work! These meds approved by the FDA has so many side effects that it makes people feel worse! I am ready to try it for my MS

  • Stel1776

    “I am very cynical and skeptical about moving forward with this. And I think there are a lot of unresolved issues, and when you talk with the medical groups and the scientific community, they’re very, very concerned about us putting on white coats and trying to play doctor here.”
    -PA Rep. Mathew Baker, chairman of the House Health Committee

    Then don’t “play doctor” by preventing them from prescribing this medicine to whom they see fit and in the form they deem most appropriate.

  • Brian

    I really hope the allow this for use with ulcerative colitis. So many people suffer with this condition and this is one of the main medicines that help them cope.

    • Stel1776

      Unfortunately Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and IBS are not on the list even though cannabis has been shown to help with these conditions. They have removed all but 12 conditions (cancer, epilepsy and seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia/wasting syndrome, parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and postconcussion syndrome, multiple sclerosis, spinocerebellara ataxia, posttraumatic stress disorder, severe fibromyalgia, hiv/aids, and glaucoma) for which cannabis will be legally allowed to treat.

      • Ron

        my brother and both suffer from seizures mine are grammal seizures I usually wake up w/ family surrounding me in the hospital wondering where/why I’m there (the craziest seizure was in my sleep (I was really freaked out) I woke up at home (I was okay) about 4 am, then about 9 am I woke up in the hospital my brother and I have to take 400 mg of Lamotrigine a day along with medication for anxiety (panic) attacks, my brother has epileptic seizures he can usually come out of his at home but he is in severe pain because his muscles lock up. He also suffers from and takes medicine for fibromyalgea

  • Bobby

    If their is medical use why on earth does it need to be smoked, they can make it pill form?! If they legalize this I’d assume DUI crashes will rise and more children will become addicts, legalization – bad idea!

    • Dan K

      you started off and then ended at mis information. Look at colorado, they are doing fine and have stopped prohibition. For medical use its usually in oil or pill form. Stop thinking everything is going to play out like reefer madness, look around and do some reasearch and you will see that complete legalization won’t stop the world or our state.

    • Stel1776

      Smoked form is not allowed.

      Cannabis does cause some impairment, however studies have shown that consumers tend to overestimate this impairment, and that they compensate for it with added caution. Alcohol tends to do the opposite, consumers perceive their impairment to be less that what it actually is and often become overconfident, aggressive, and careless. [Robbe and O’Hanlon. 1993; Robbe. 1995]

      In 2015 the U.S. government completed the largest case controlled study to date regarding DUI of cannabis and crash risk [Compton and Berning. 2015]. It involved over 9,000 cases and controls spanning a 20-month period. It found that cannabis use while driving is not associated with increased crash risk once adjusted for confounding variables such as age, race, gender, and the presence of other drugs, including alcohol. Further, they found that cannabis did not add to the crash risk for drivers under the influence of alcohol. They did find that alcohol exponentially increased crash risk, double risk at 0.05% BrAC, 23 times risk at 0.20% BrAC.

      That said, at some point one could be high enough to significantly increase crash risk, something roughly the equivalent of 0.08% BAC, and DUI laws should reflect that. However it is rare for anyone that high to want to actually drive a car, whereas it is commonplace for someone very drunk to attempt to drive.

      SOURCES:

      –Compton and Berning. DOT HS 812 117. Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk. U.S. Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2015.
      –Robbe and O’Hanlon. DOT HS 808 078. Marijuana and actual driving performance. U.S. Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1993.
      –Robbe H. Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance. HHMRC Road Research Unit, University of Adelaide. 1995.

      Colorado legalized recreational cannabis in Dec 2012 (Jan 2014 for retail sales) and did not see a statistically significant change in yearly traffic fatalities:

      2012: 474 (Population: 5.19 million, 0.0091%)
      2013: 481 (Population: 5.27 million, 0.0091%)
      2014: 479 (Population: 5.36 million, 0.0089%)
      [SOURCE: Colorado DOT & “As Reported” to NHTSA by FARS]

    • Patte Laury

      Because once you change the form from plant to a synthesized chemical, it doesn’t work. Marinol is Big Pharma’s solution and it is no where near as effective. Part of the benefit if cannabis is it can be administered during a seizure. You can’t administer a pill while someone is seizing. The whole point of this is to get away from the chemical side effects and offer folks an alternative to chemicals that do not work as well as an all natural plant.
      There are many things to work out in this new territory. DUI’s are indeed a concern. However, most folks that need this medicine are so ill, they can’t drive anyway. And those that can are already driving under the influence of heavy opiates and/or barbiturates. Does that not concern you?
      Children becoming addicts? ROTFLMAO! You cannot become addicted to cannabis!
      I hope I’ve been able to answer your questions.

    • Dusty Relic

      Bobby do you know anything at all about this issue? This bill does not allow for smoked cannabis, first of all, but even if it did: so what? Many patients have found smoking to be a great way to titrate their dose. Unlike swallowed cannabis, smoked cannabis starts taking affect right away so people can stop once they’ve achieved precisely the right dose. With other methods of ingestion (other than vaporization which is also currently banned by this bill) there is a risk of people overdosing because of the long lag between ingestion and the onset of relief. Folks think it’s not working, they take more, and they end up overdosing.

      It is not really a medical cannabis bill if smoking and vaporization are not allowed.

  • DIRTY WANKERS

    People that smoke the stink weed are idiots, first its weed next its armed robbery, murder and a needle stuck in your arm, DISGUSTING HIPPIE STUPIDITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Stel1776

      You comments are absolutely absurd. Do you have a reliable citation for any of your claims?

      • Dan K

        the reliable source is the anti drug campaigns from the 90s and earlier. Didnt your school have a D.A.R.E. program? Generations of children and adults were force fed false facts about cannabis, some people cant open their eyes.

  • smokeythedopey

    If you can kill a cow and eat it…why can’t you pick a plant and smoke it? lol.

  • political money is the issue

    As the economy worsens the spending by folks for tax revenue drops, the government on all levels need CASH, and they can get more with charging you with a crime than sales tax on store items you USED to purchase. Its a revenue getter to the politicians. If anyone sits in front of me and drinks, they are more of a danger to me than a stoner. Think about this, “A drunk goes 75mph and thinks hes going 55mph. A stoner goes 55 mph and thinks hes going 75mph.” Its about the political money to be had off you. Why isn’t there a limit on the amount of alcohol you can purchase and carry? Revenue folks.

  • TruthBeHeard

    I don’t see any comments from Neurologists, especially those who specialize in seizure disorders, in this discussion. The neurologist who treats me for my seizure disorder gave the thumbs down for medical marijuana.

    • Stel1776

      “These findings suggest that CBD acts, potentially in a CB(1) receptor-independent manner, to inhibit epileptiform activity in vitro and seizure severity in vivo. Thus, we demonstrate the potential of CBD as a novel antiepileptic drug in the unmet clinical need associated with generalized seizures.”
      Jones et al. Cannabidiol displays antiepileptiform and antiseizure properties in vitro and in vivo. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010.

      “These results extend the anti-convulsant profile of CBD; when combined with a reported absence of psychoactive effects, this evidence strongly supports CBD as a therapeutic candidate for a diverse range of human epilepsies.”
      Jones et al. Cannabidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures. Seizure. 2012.

      “Several cannabinoids have been shown in laboratory studies to have significant anti-convulsive properties, most notably CBD and more recently its naturally occuring propyl analogue cannabidivarin (CBDV). CBDs mechanism of action as an anti-convulsant is unknown; however, it appears to act independently of the ECS [endocannabinoid system].”
      “Based on the encouraging preclinical literature and human safety profile, there is a strong case for exploring the potential of both CBD and CBDV in properly controlled randomized clinical trials”
      Robson, P. J. Therapeutic potential of cannabinoid medicines. Drug Test Analysis. 2014. Review.

    • Stel1776

      In a study of 137 people with epilepsy, CBD was shown to reduce seizures by 54%:

      “These results are of great interest, especially for the children and their parents who have been searching for an answer for these debilitating seizures.”
      Devinsky et al. At The American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting. 2015.

      Whole plant extract may be superior:

      “We briefly review some of the history, preclinical and clinical data, and controversies surrounding the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy, and make a case that the desire to isolate and treat with pharmaceutical grade compounds from cannabis (specifically CBD) may be inferior to therapy with whole plant extracts.”
      Maa E, Figi P. The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2014.

    • JLC

      I worked for a doctor and they make a lot of $$ for speaking on behalf of all the meds they are pumping out so of course they have no comment. Who is going to give them a free lunch or give them perks from all the drug reps for promoting medical marijuana?? There is no monetary gain!

    • Dusty Relic

      You need a new doctor then. Neurologists in particular tend to support medical cannabis in larger number than most other specialists. It sounds like your neurologist is riding the prohibition gravy train. Or maybe your condition is not one that benefits from cannabis use. It’s not a panacea after all…

  • Cody Pruyne

    Move to STATE where cannabis is legal. People want it not just medical. Ohio gonna be next but what people dont see the tax money you can earn on the full legalization . That money can go for Repairing ROADS , Schools that are in need . How hard can all this be. For me to be bitching about this on here is not going to change crap. i Think it should be recreational use and Medical. For Medical should be finding out how cannabis should be used. Like Pills , Oils im not sure they allow smoking it. how is that cannabis if you cant smoke , Vape , Eat ?? Recreational use should be treated as alcohol law. Must be 21 to buy and use. any growing with out pa license or selling with out pa license sucks to be you if your busted with out it. I mean come on how hard can all this be ? Any way people will be using Marijuana without medical license like come on. thats like smacking a DUhHH on the state .. We will still be paying for people be locked up for Cannabis. I dont understand this state not at all. Why put people in jail for smoking weed REALLY . They need to bust people who are dealing and using , Bath Salts , Meth , Crack , Fake Weed , Heroine , and you throw someone in jail for weed. Come on holy crap. WE ARE GOING TO BE STILL PAYING TAX MONEY FOR LOCKING PEOPLE UP FOR SMOKING WEED !!! REALLY HOW DUMB CAN THIS STATE GOING TO BE.

    • keith hinkel

      I agree 100%! BUT there are money grubbing crooks in Harrisburg like Matt Baker a 2 faced sycophant too long in office Rep. that only cares about lining his pockets w/$$$. Legal Drug tax $$ solve many many state funding agendas. Nothing illegal about drugs, they were legal until Feds decided to be the ONLY drug dealer allowed.

  • Joe

    I’ve been using cannabis to treat, successfully, seizures and ausburgers syndrome since the age of 13. Even used very potent pot and in large amounts and the only bad side effect I’ve found to be true is memory loss from overuse over the course of several years however compared to the commercials for big pharmaceutical drugs when half the commercial are dangerous side effects like liver failure and thoughts of suicide I can live happily with short term memory loss but I can’t live with side effects from prescribed medications so if we want to talk about SAFE drugs I strongly believe cannabis is 100x safer then acetaminophen and over the counter drugs let alone risky prescription drugs I feel there is more to this canabis prohibition then most people are perceiving. Lawmakers are getting BIG handouts from pharmaceutical companies to talk smack about pot. Let’s get with the program Pennsylvania I know we are 20 years behind the rest of the country with using marijuana as medicine I mean isn’t that enough research??? What do you need another 20 years? FDA usually puts synthetic pharmaceuticals on the safe list in about a year or two! We the people need real medicine that is safe and effective you might be able to fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all the time because people whom used or that are using cannabis know it’s a crock of $hit the lies said about using it wake up people big business men are playing the game for your healthcare only we the people can come together to overturn there caustic mistakes!

  • Me

    It’s going to happen regardless. Why do you think tom Wolfe is governor. Those who oppose will be voted out. PA has made it clear. Cannabis for all !!! Recreational pot is next. Senator leach wants to make it like Colorado.
    Give it time ……

  • dr dolittle

    plants . ..should not be illegal in the first place…..drug war is a way to generate $$$….for big brother…now they want to tell you they love you ….its for the children or the poor dog or sick cat….the average person is so indoctrinated .

  • Brian

    Medical marijuana is a crock. It’s a false narrative told to advance an agenda and eventually lead to complete legalization.

    I actually support the full legalization of marijuana, and think it should be taxed and regulated as alcohol is.

    Concerning medical marijuana, in today’s day and age, we have the technology and ability to isolate any compound that has medicinal properties and then create a medicine that has that compound and the beneficial effects without the negative health effects and the intoxication.

    Yet, medical marijuana supporters don’t want that. Why? Because they want to get high. So just freaking say you want to get high.

    Further, any potential medicinal effect of smoking marijuana is far outweighed by the negative health consequences. Anytime you might something in fire and then intake the smoke, it’s not good for you…

    • mksteg

      Except it’s classified as Scedule 1, which makes it illegal to do medical research on this drug.

    • Stel1776

      Medicinal use of cannabis is not new, it has been used as medicine in many cultures for thousands of years. Cannabis was an important part of America’s pharmacopoeia until 1942 when it was removed for political reasons. It’s medical usage is new to our generation because of the political agenda that suppressed and demonized it for the last 70+ years. Cannabis is able to treat such a wide range of disease partly through its action on the newly discovered (thanks to cannabis) endocannabinoid system and the receptors CB1 and CB2 which are found throughout the body. An extensive review that examined over 1,300 studies on cannabis and its cannabinoids concluded:

      “…In the past decade, the endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a growing number of physiological functions, both in the central and peripheral nervous systems and in peripheral organs. More importantly, modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few…”
      Pacher et al. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006. Review.

      “this is one of the fastest-growing fields in psychopharmacology”
      “the endocannabinoid system may lead to the development of novel therapeutic drugs with higher societal acceptability and lower side effects profiles.”
      Pamplona FA, Takahashi RN. Psychopharmacology of the endocannabinoids: far beyond anandamide. J Psychopharmacol. 2012. Review.

      “There is now clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions.”
      Grotenhermen F, Müller-Vahl K. The therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012. Review.

  • Lily

    I believe passing this bill is a start. I wish the political beings would let the experts (ie: doctors), decide who needs or doesn’t need the relief that this treatment would bring.

  • Krystine Watts

    I think some of these politicians need to feel what it’s like to take a seizure, or have chronic pain nothing helps.
    I feel the mother mentioned in the article’s pain.
    I also have a child with absent seizures, PDD-NOS, ADHD. 3 seizure medications twice a day 2 go through his liver one through the kidney what about the rest of his medications. If seizure doesn’t harm his little mind, the frigging medications will eventually kill his liver and or kidneys, because of FDA approved man made medications.
    Here’s a natural option that has been proven to work whether to government wants to admit or not, also I highly doubt anyone from any epilepsy foundation begged for more research.
    If I honestly could afford it, I would f left this state a long time ago to seek better more appropriate help for my son. This state is a joke in the medical field granted Pittsburgh, Philly, and Hershey are decent but says volumes when your sons pediatrician tells you to get the hell out of this state.

  • Dan K

    I am all about getting this passed. I also strongly feel that JUST medical use creates a large grey area and compounds an already complicated law enforcement problem. If you look at the states that already went full legalization you will see that the state didnt just shut down and descend into chaos.

    The hold up and continued stalling is all in part by drug companies, they cant continue to make millions on their chemicals if better medicine can be had at home for free. The “is it safe” argument is just a cheap and easy way to try and keep some traction with the misinformed they helped to make over the years, once again, you can look towards they states that have already legalized in anyway to see if its safe.

    The whole “reefer madness” idea of cannabis is archaic and misinformed and almost solely held onto by the older generation that is running things now because it was drilled into them and their children in the 90’s. Not to mention the billions, maybe even trillions, of dollars being accepted by people of power from major “drug” companies to keep cannabis out of the public grasp.

    If anybody of political power (on either side) reads this please take a moment to think about the “is it safe” argument and look at and consider the states that have legalized. The people that bring up the “is it safe” idea NEVER state why it isnt safe or any kind of supporting evidence or recent studies as to why it shouldn’t be considered safe. If myself and others said “is it safe” about anything enough times people would consider banning it. Drugs from big pharma are not safe, if you watch any mid day talk shows you will always see lawyer adds looking for people that took a certain type or brand because they are building a legal case against the company (in which the company pays millions to get people off their backs), is big pharma safe?

  • Wade Chubb

    The arguments for maintaining cannabis prohibition are again smoke and mirrors by fat cat politicians in favor of big pharma. Case point cannabis has been ingested for thousands of years with no deaths or long term side effects, now we need pharma produced cannabis! The same big pharma causing so many lawsuits over bad drugs! I could go on but. I welcome a face to face debate with any Pa. politician. The Pa. government should know this, the 80 % + in favor is true, so say good bye to your Keystoners appointed position. I am one of the Keystoners who helped Governor Wolf get voted in. Keep underestimating we the people and you’ll be real surprised. People are sick of being dictated to, especially on health related issues. You are there for us by us!!

    • TruthBeHeard

      You quote a figure of 80+%. Where are the numbers for that survey? How many citizens were polled and by whom?

      • Stel1776

        The survey was done by Quinnipiac University, April 6, 2015, with a sample of over 1,000 randomly dialed PA residents (land lines and cellphones). This is pretty much the standard methodology for these polls and these results are consistent with other polls. In fact medical cannabis has over 70% support nationwide. In PA the support is 88% with a 3% margin of error.

  • Debbie

    The bill to legalize pot is a joke……no thc …… No smoking……the people in pa need to vote the current class of politians out and start over.

    • Stel1776

      They have not specifically disallowed THC, which is fortunate because each cannabinoid, THC included, has its own therapeutic benefits. They have greatly restricted the list of approved conditions to only 12 uncommon serious conditions. They have also restricted ingestion methods to pills, oils, and tinctures. Vaporization is not allowed even though it is a proven fast, safe and effective method commonly used throughout the world for medical cannabis treatment.

      It has been noted that “nebulization” might be allowed, which involves using compressed air or ultrasound which converts the oils into an aerosol. However this is not a proven effective, or safe delivery system. The exact mechanisms through which the many cannabinoids and terpenes work is unknown, so it is unknown how nebulization and the extraction methods used to create the oils might affect these chemicals and their ratios and, ultimately, their medical efficacy. Medical cannabis is most commonly used in the vaporized form around the world. Vaporization has been proven safe and effective in peer reviewed studies. This is what we know works. Stop “playing doctor” and allow the real doctors to prescribe this medicine to whom they see fit and in the form they deem most appropriate.

      • Dusty Relic

        Hi Stel. I have done some research on cannabis nebulizers and it turns out that some enterprising folks have found ways to make cannabis nebulizers. It involves converting the cannabis into an alcohol-based tincture (green dragon tincture), which could be dangerous since it involves evaporating alcohol over heat and alcohol fumes are flammable. However, once you have the tincture it can be used to refill a nebulizer.

        The main benefit they derive from this is stealth. They can use the nebulizer in a public place and nobody has any idea that they are consuming a cannabis product. It is equally effective for both medical and recreational purposes.

        I do not understand what the motivation would be for requiring this form of ingestion in Pennsylvania. The requirement seems to be there out of pure spite and malice. There should be no need for stealth when consuming a legal medicine. All it adds is risk and/or expense.

        Similarly, I do not understand why the law as written will ban professionally produced edibles but encourages homemade ones. At least with professionally produced edibles they can have regulations similar to what Colorado has adopted to prevent unintentional consumption of cannabis products, to reduce the chance of overdose, and to make edibles less accessible and attractive to children. By forcing edibles to be homemade they are guaranteeing inconsistent dosing and exposing non-cannabis users, including children, to the risk of accidental ingestion.

      • Stel1776

        Excellent points Dusty! The PA house continues to demonstrate why politicians should not “play doctor”.

  • matt

    Bravo!!!! Medical marijuana would be amazing for p.a. my mother suffers from multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. Watching her suffer on a daily basis and big pharma drugs not working it woulld be a relief to see her have some relief. Look at the real facts not bull propaganda from people being paid off to say it has no benefits medically. Our state representatives need to listen to the people and we have spoken pass the bill. Maybe if they were suffering from a disease they would change there small minded backwoods ideas…

    • ONE WHO KNOWS

      I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in the 1980’s when the majority of doctors refused to admit it was a true ailment…I suffered tremendously. Most Drs. and specialists I saw then ( plus after slews of tests from neurologists to oncologists) still insisted it was either all in my mind, PMS or some other type of anxiety related issue . THANK GOD for the kind-hearted rheumatologist who finally told me it was a disease and wasn’t my imagination ! I did a lot of research and reading, worked with my diet , light exercise when I could, eliminated trigger foods ( caffeine, chocolate & salt is terrible for fibro), I take natural pain supplements plus daily vitamins and minerals….Everyone IS different , but I do believe fibro and most chronic diseases can be managed with a good healthy diet, rest and realization to not overdo. The changes in my lifestyle wasn’t easy all the time but it was worth it !!! I also have RA plus other health issues. I have my good days and still some bad days, however they are NOT horrible days as was in the beginning when all I could do was crawl out of bed, shower,get dressed and that was IT ! I really believed I was dying …I have accepted I will always have my bad days with all this while I walk this journey called life. I have also accepted these diseases are not curable BUT they can be manageable. I am 64 yrs old & to me managing what I have is a great gift in comparison to than just being able to only take a shower and sleep the day away. I am living life one day at a time with God’s help along the way…that is all any of us can do. I am not one to legalize pot for recreational use at all…and if marijuana is legalized for medical purposes, which I believe it will, then I do hope it will be researched properly and processed with the best interest of the patients in mind and not just for the profits. I wish your Mother the best….she has two difficult debilitating diseases. I hope she finds some relief one day .

  • Travis

    Just legalize it already recreational and medical it’s what the people want quit dancing around it already

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