Both Ladd and Barbara live in Iowa. Both have been ill for years. Decades ago Ladd found out that the US government was giving medical cannabis to certain patients for their illnesses through the Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program. He has multiple sclerosis (MS) and he found through personal experimentation that his symptoms improved and the disease was put in a remission-like state when he used cannabis regularly.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological disorder that results from patches of destruction of the myelin sheath surrounding the nerve axons in the brain and spinal cord.
Typical symptoms include visual loss, fatigue and weakness, spasticity, sensory impairment (burning or pricking feelings), speech difficulties, and bladder problems. Symptoms of the disease vary depending on where the demyelination takes place - it's like an electric wire that is missing its insulation and the electrical path short circuits. Onset is usually between the ages of 20 - 40 and it affects more women than men. MS can be present with several types of progression, but in general the patient becomes more debilitated as the damage continues.
Ladd told his new friend and fellow MS patient Barbara about the use of cannabis for MS and the IND program. Ladd's physician put his paperwork in first with Barbara's physician doing so a bit later, but Barbara's family had better political connections than Ladd and she began receiving cannabis in August of 1991. Her dose is eight cured ounces per month. This is far more than even the heaviest recreational users of cannabis will consume, by a factor of eight to ten. Barbara does not get “high” from this medical dose. Cannabis has the property of holding constant it's medicinal content while building a floor or tolerance to the psychoactive effects. The timeline to reach this point of little to zero intoxication or “high” is weeks, not months, and is dependent on dose, administration and the patients' reaction to cannabis.
In the last several years a major challenge has been made to the prevailing belief within the medical cannabis community, not yet recognized or understood apparently by the US government workers toiling in the eradication fields of plants and truth, that THC (the primary psychoactive substance) is not the only or best compound in the plant that interacts with the human endocannabinoid system. The cannabis plant is unique among plants in that among its many constituents, is a group of molecules called cannabinoids. These phyto (plant based)-cannabinoids are similar to our endogenous (made within the body) cannabinoids. In particular, one of the phyto-cannabinoids, Cannabidiol (CBD), has been found to have tremendous therapeutic potential.
Barbara's medicine, grown at the University of Mississippi for the federal government, best described as swag, has a measured THC component but its CBD level is not included on the label and remains unknown to Barbara and her physician. This is a medical mortal sin: To acquire knowledge of a medical treatment (CBD) that demonstratively helps with MS symptoms per the federal government's own Investigational new drug (IND) program that supplies Barbara her medicine, and then ignore the CBD content and/or not use a strain with a higher CBD content based on this new knowledge is a breach of medical ethics and a betrayal of Barbara, the patient, by the medical professionals of NIDA, HHS, FDA and the Surgeon General's office.
When my wife and I first met her, Barbara was legally blind and in a wheelchair due to muscle weakness and spasticity; hallmarks of MS. I watched for a weekend as she fought her way through each day, a constant companion and care-giver needed. She had been using government cannabis for just a few months.
We returned to her home for a visit about 3 years later. Barbara met us at the door and insisted before we made ourselves at home, that we ride in her new RV. We rode, she drove! Her eyesight had improved and she was out of her wheelchair and able to drive a vehicle of some size. The change was cannabis. She smokes it from joints she rolls after taking the government cannabis she is issued, some as much as ten years old, ripping apart the pre-rolled joints containing stems and seeds and re-hydrating it for 24 hours to make it palatable to smoke.
By the time Barbara began receiving her federal cannabis, Ladd's IND application had been approved, but he never received any medicine from the federal government. The Food and Drug Administration was flooded with numerous applications from HIV/AIDS patients, and the “federalies” decided that giving the gay population, cannabis would generate unwanted and rampant sexual behavior and therefore the Secretary of Health and Human Services closed the program to everyone except the handful of patients (including Barbara) who were already receiving their medicine.
That was 1992.
Ladd is alive and suffering as his disease progresses. Barbara is alive and doing well.
As one of the few surviving IND patients, Barbara was a participant in the Missoula Study conducted in the spring of 2001. Four living federal cannabis patients were examined in great detail for 3 days at St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula, MT. Barbara showed no negative health effects from almost ten years of chronic therapeutic cannabis use. This was true of the other three examined federal patients as well. All had doses equal to or greater than Barbara's monthly federal issue. The federal government showed no interest in the Missoula Study. It did not show that cannabis was a negative for humans. The federal government policy is to ignore, not publicize, and not cite any study that indicates cannabis has medical value.
I will tell you that over the last century over a dozen large governmental studies have been conducted by countries around the globe and right here in the US. Every single study ever conducted found medical value in cannabis and found no value in its prohibition. Every study. Great Britain, France, Spain, Canada, Australia and other back woods countries are on the list. Federal politicians will tell the media, constituents, anybody and everybody that no such study was ever conducted even with the Missoula Study results available on the Internet for ten years and the formal government research of two dozen industrialized countries beginning over a century ago.
Who exactly are those who loudly, repeatedly, and with ignorance say such nonsense - “Never been studied”?
Possibly it's the investigators themselves. Maybe it's the detectives. I wonder how law enforcement investigators and detectives have not discovered Google. If an investigator searched for the “Missoula Study” he/she would be rewarded with just that, the study that never happened. The same is true with a search for “cannabis and MS.” They would know that Barbara raised herself from her wheel chair as Ladd sunk ever further into his. Denigrating President Clinton's famously ignorant remark the he did not inhale when he smoked cannabis as a student in England, Barbara addressed the American Nurses Association annual conference in the mid-1990s by telling hundreds of nurses that she inhaled cannabis and it gave her back her life.
Dr. Dennis Petro, a drug researcher, neurologist and Director of POT has studied the effects of cannabis on MS patients for decades. MS is his specialty. He has been forthright and vocal for years about cannabis and the ability of the plant's compounds to protect, even regenerate, the myelin sheath that covers nerves and causes the symptoms of MS as it deteriorates. Opposition to that prognosis from the federal government has been consistent and negative. Dr. Petro is wrong. Apparently there was an epiphany. Patent number 6630507 was filed by the federal government October 7, 2003 and the paperwork identifying the use was “cannabinoid as antioxidant and neuroprotectant.” Dr. Petro was right. This is the same group of miscreants who say cannabis has no medical value. I say these persons have no creditability and haven’t for almost a decade.
If you have MS and do not use cannabis you will never again do what you used to do, which is how Ladd lives. If you use cannabis like Barbara, your quality of life will improve.
Do you want the lawyers who reside in our Congress to decide your or your mother’s MS care when professional medical organizations such as the American Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association call for its use as a medical option immediately? Neither Ladd nor Barbara thought much of having politicians decide their fate, but that is exactly what happened.
If you have MS how does your non-cannabis future look to you? What could it be with cannabis? What lawyer or cop right now is deciding your medical life? What are you doing about that?