Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical
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Statement of Purpose:
The California Cannabis Research Medical Group was founded
by Tod Mikuriya, MD, to enable doctors who have been monitoring their
patients’ cannabis use to share data and observations.
Cannabis is not a conventional medicine at this time, and O’Shaugnessy’s —published
by the CCRMG— is not starting out as a conventional journal.
Our primary goals are the same as the stated goals of
any reputable scientific publication: to bring out findings that are
accurate, duplicable, and useful to the community at large. But in
order to do this, we have to pursue parallel goals such as removing
the impediments to clinical research created by Prohibition, and educating
our colleagues, co-workers and patients as we educate ourselves about
the medical uses of cannabis.
Some 50,000 Californians have obtained doctors’ approvals
to use cannabis since Prop 215 made it legal in November, 1996. (This
estimate is based on records kept by cannabis clubs and an extrapolation
with Oregon, which has a state program that maintains a registry of
patients authorized by physicians to use cannabis.)
Legalization under Section 11362.5 of the state’s Health & Safety
Code created a fearful dilemma for California doctors, because cannabis
remained illegal under federal law. Most doctors, having had no training
on the subject in medical school, having no guidance with respect to
dose, modes of delivery, range of effects, counter-indications, etc.,
have been understandably reluctant to sanction their patients’ use
A December 1996 threat from federal officials to deny
prescription-writing privileges to California doctors who recommend
marijuana has achieved some of its inhibiting purpose, although the
federal courts ruled that it violated the First Amendment.
Doctors who have approved cannabis use by their patients
fall into three broad categories: 1) Willing specialists — mainly oncologists
and AIDS specialists who, having been educated by their patients over
the years, understood the utility of cannabis and felt confident about
approving its use; 2) Willing general practitioners who have written
approvals for a few of their patients who have grave illnesses or otherwise
undeniable needs; and 3) Cannabis specialists, who recognize its versatility,
are convinced of its relative benignity, and keep abreast of the literature
with respect to mechanism-of-action, clinical trials in Europe, etc.
CCRMG members are in this subset. Collectively, they have issued most
of the estimated 50,000 approvals granted to date.
CCRMG members each have their own intake questionnaires and record-keeping
systems, and have been slow to agree on a uniform “face sheet” for their patients’ charts
(partly because they’ve had to spend so much of their time, energy, and resources
responding to legal threats to themselves and their patients).
Six-and-a-half years after the legalization of marijuana for medical
use, serious data sharing is only just beginning; we’re still in the
borderland between anecdotal evidence and verifiable data. Nevertheless,
the information garnered to date seems worth collating and sharing
with other doctors and healthcare workers, as well as patients, caregivers,
and concerned citizens.
Editor: Fred Gardner, journal<AT>ccrmg.org
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