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Registered: 07/06/10
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Marijuana is "anti-aging" and "curative" drug, speakers say at Kalamazoo seminar
    #444844 - 07/11/10 11:23 AM (7 years, 9 months ago)

Chris Killian


Sunday 11 Jul 2010

Twenty years ago, Julie Falco was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

And for years after her diagnosis, she tried 30 different prescription medications to ease the pain and discomfort of the disease, with little to no success.

But in 2004, she tried medical marijuana, and she started to feel better. Her mood improved, as well as her mobility. The pain lessened considerably.

Since 2007, medical marijuana is the only drug she uses.

"I got off everything," said Falco, 45, of Chicago. "Now I feel better than ever."

Falco was one of about 50 people who attended the first day of the two-day "Science and Compassionate Care Seminar," put on by 420 University at the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites in downtown Kalamazoo.

The seminar features several workshops on a wide variety of medical marijuana issues, from how to properly cultivate marijuana plants to the therapeutic value of the drug to understanding Michigan’s medical marijuana law.

Video cameras hooked-up to computer equipment broadcasted the seminar around the world in the form of an Internet stream.

One of the first speakers Saturday was Robert J. Melamede, president and chief executive officer of Cannabis Science Inc., associate professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and nationally recognized expert on the science of marijuana.

Melamede said that the human brain contains what's called the endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that are involved with a variety of physiological processes ranging from memory to mood to appetite, among several others.

"It's like a thermostat that regulates the body," he said.

And it's also a system that can be heightened by the use of marijuana, he said, which he called "an essential nutrient" that provides anti-aging properties by "smoothing out" free radicals in the body, which contribute to a host of diseases.

Apart from the therapeutic use of marijuana by those like Falco, or others with a wasting disease, cancer or AIDS, Melamede touted the use of marijuana — "a puff or two a day" — by healthy people as a way to live a longer, more healthful life.

Marijuana — and more specifically the cannabinoids in it — staves off inflammation, delays the onset of auto-immune diseases, inhibits the formation of Alzheimer's disease and can help treat or even cure some types of cancer, he said.

"Cannabinoids have curative or at least palliative properties," Melamede said. "It should be the first line of treatment."

But even though Michigan and several other states have medical marijuana laws that enable those who qualify to possess and use the drug to treat a host of illnesses, the drug is still illegal.

And for Melamede, that's not just a problem, it's negligent considering the myriad positive properties of the drug, he said.

"The fact that we have an anti-aging drug that kills cancer is proof of their (the government's) incompetence" in terms of marijuana still being illegal, he said.

This weekend's seminar is the first for 420 University, said Michelle Martin, vice president for development for the university. It is planning seminars in Chicago and cities in Wisconsin in coming months, spreading its message of the benefits of marijuana. And the group believes it can make an impact.

"It gives people more confidence that marijuana is useful as they speak to people who have been in the industry for a long time," Martin said. "We're starting to build a platform for a discussion of the issues."





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