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Web MD: Chemicals In Marijuana May Fight MRSA

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 4, 2008

    Well what do you know? A mainstream media outlet finally picked up on this story!

    Sure it’s been over a week since I first blogged about it here and here. But given the MSM’s long history of sweeping similar medi-pot revelations under the rug, this is case where I gladly say ‘better late than never.’

    Of course, given the media’s current fixation with the Republican National Convention, it’s unlikely that this story will have any legs.

    That said, give Web MD credit for acknowledging pot’s germ-killing power against MRSA, and for not letting these important findings slip down the ‘memory hole.’ No doubt there’s plenty of folks at the Drug Czar’s office who are wishing that they had.

    Chemicals in Marijuana May Fight MRSA
    via Web MD

    Sept. 4, 2008 — Chemicals in marijuana may be useful in fighting MRSA, a kind of staph bacterium that is resistant to certain antibiotics.

    Researchers in Italy and the U.K. tested five major marijuana chemicals called cannabinoids on different strains of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). All five showed germ-killing activity against the MRSA strains in lab tests. Some synthetic cannabinoids also showed germ-killing capability. The scientists note the cannabinoids kill bacteria in a different way than traditional antibiotics, meaning they might be able to bypass bacterial resistance.

    At least two of the cannabinoids don’t have mood-altering effects, so there could be a way to use these substances without creating the high of marijuana. (NORML note: by this author’s count, four of the five cannabinoids tested in this study lack demonstrable psychoactivity.)

    MRSA, like other staph infections, can be spread through casual physical contact or through contaminated objects. It is commonly spread from the hands of someone who has it. This could be in a health care setting, though there have also been high-profile cases of community-acquired MRSA.

    It is becoming more common for healthy people to get MRSA, which is often spread between people who have close contact with one another, such as members of a sports team. Symptoms often include skin infections, such as boils. MRSA can become serious, particularly for people who are weak or ill.

    In the study, published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers call for further study of the antibacterial uses of marijuana. There are “currently considerable challenges with the treatment of infections caused by strains of clinically relevant bacteria that show multi-drug resistance,” the researchers write. New antibacterials are urgently needed, but only one new class of antibacterial has been introduced in the last 30 years. “Plants are still a substantially untapped source of antimicrobial agents,” the researchers conclude.

    You can hear Russ Belville and I discuss this study on the NORML podcast here.

    24 Responses to “Web MD: Chemicals In Marijuana May Fight MRSA”

    1. EVERYONE needs to stop calling it ‘marijuana.’ It’s a Mexican-Spanish word that Harry Anslinger used to dupe an ignorant congress into outlawing the nations #1 domestic crop. Call it by it’s ENGLISH names: cannabis, or hemp. It’s like consistently replacing a single word in your english vocabulary with it’s spanish counterpart: ‘good night, everyone, i’m going casa.’ (I don’t speak spanish, i only remember that word from a decades-old Steve Martin skit; casa means home, right? ‘casa day pepe. donde esta, casa de pepe?’)

    2. ps: i’m surprised they actually even used the word ‘marijuana,’ they could have used the word ‘cannabis’ and then no one would have known wtf they were talking about.

    3. _thinkican_ says:

      That’s awesome that the is one more thing marijauana is GOOD for or at least, potentially. Underlining that its even more important for more research be done.

      although a tragedy it does NOT get the proper media attention. They would rather recap America’s got Talent!
      aren’t you glad you can count on our government and local media. to keep us in touch with important issues!

    4. Why is that just about every time you read about marijuana research it is from outside our borders. Is it fear or oppression or BIG BROTHER MENTALITY OR BUREAUCRACY. It is a shame that when a derivative from marijuana is found our govt. frowns upon it. As time keeps going on the govt. is going to come to reality what a wonderous plant marijuana is. Lets face it, millions of people on this planet can not be wrong of the medicinal value of marijuana or recreational use of a plant that nature has given to the world to be used ia a dignified way.So shame on you UNCLE SAM and the give humanity their needs and quit playing possum with what we want instead of what you think we need, you HYPOCRITES.

    5. Mike says:

      So what i dont get is if they have found that marijuana DOES infact have medical value how come they havent atlea=st moved it to a schedule 2 drug i always thought aslong as it has some proven medical use it HAS to be schedule 2

    6. Buggsy, the reason it’s from abroad is because it’s a Schedule 1 drug in the states, meaning that the US doesn’t recognize it as medicine and any research done in the US (outside of the sole allowed-researcher in the US, which is the government itself) isn’t recognized because the research never should have happened in the states because it’s a Schedule 1 substance. It’s a catch-22: the government says it’s not medicine and it’s illegal, meaning the government won’t do any research on it; but the government won’t do research on it because it’s an illegal substance. I explained that poorly, Jack Herer does a much better job of explaining it in his book ‘The Emperor Wears No Clothes’ which you can read online for free at jackherer.com, and you should also read ‘The Marijuana Conviction’ which was originally published in 1973 or so and you can read some of what it contains at http://tinyurl.com/1mn and http://tinyurl.com/potconviction

    7. Mike, they don’t want anyone being able to grow their own medicine in their back yard; they want you buying synthetic drugs developed by big pharma, and they like throwing nonviolent citizens in prison to recover with prison labor the labor they lost when the north won the civil war and outlawed slavery.

    8. Bruno says:

      Mike and Buggsy, because the president and his cabinet (and all those before him in the last 80 years) indeed ARE hypocrites. The government holds patents on the medicinal properties of cannabis – yet they won’t move it to a schedule 2. They are fully aware of the healing properties and the lack of danger/damage, but that’s not what it is about. Methenphetamine, Cocain, and opium are considered [by the big heads] schedule 2 – yes, safer than and more medicinal value than pot.

      It’s about interests. Cannabis does not fit into their agenda. Self medication hurts the drug companies that run our country. If it becomes legal, there will be less “criminals” on the streets so profits for Prison tycoons also diminish. Other industries like textiles and even seed companies (like for commercial bird food) also have their hand in profit from the prohibition. All of these companies have powerful lobbyists with deep enough politics to make pot almost obsolete in politics.

      And Buggsy, the reason these studies are most always from other countries is that it is illegal to study cannabis in the States. Seldom researchers have procured licenses to investigate pot. The few that do have the legal ability to research it are normally – say it with me now – Government agencies. And they’re not looking to disclose any sort of positive results they may encounter.

      Some researchers/scientists say that it’s more difficult to find something bad about pot, than the overwhelming [and blatantly obvious] amount of good. This explains why it takes the government agencies so long to put out any results of their studies.

      Pot prohibition is a slap in the face to every American.

    9. Bruno says:

      Yeah, what Phil E. said – except I’d never heard of the labor thing re: the end of slavery.

      It seems like that would only have affected the South. And since it was a while ago, I would have thought they would have recovered by now. If this were the case, I would think the unemployment rates would be lower.

      It costs taxpayers about $250,000 per year to incarcerate one person. The government writes the checks to the prison owners with our money to cage nonviolent pot smokers like you and I. If they ever had a soul, it’s long gone by now.

    10. Arlington, Tx says:

      once again….so many medicinal properties and the U.S. gov’t doesn’t care. anything new??? of course not!!! move to canada or the u.k. if you want real freedom…that’s what i’m trying to do

    11. Richard Lake says:

      Should NORML change it’s name to NORCL?

      Marijuana is the word that folks understand.

      Does anybody really think we should fight to change the English language instead of fighting to legalize marijuana?

      I don’t understand why folks want to waste time trying to change the English language instead of the laws!

      Richard Lake

    12. Jáson says:

      Everyday more and more research is piling up supporting marijuana, and yet the people we put in our offices still deny this wonderful gift from God. All because of the ignorance that was bred into this country almost 100 years ago. Its time to wake up people and spread the word, and pass the J’s.

    13. Robert says:

      I’m not trying to be off topic but I think it’s important that everyone checking these comments should know there’s another thread on thehill.com relating to marijuana that everyone should comment on.

      http://blog.thehill.com/2008/09/04/gov-palins-past-use-of-marijuana-is-significant/

    14. How are you doing Phil E. Drifter. I just wanted you to know I already have Mel Herers book and the hammer hits the nail right on head about medicinal marijuana. The realization is already there by the govt. years ago about medicinal marijuana. They sure do keep up with the THC levels and they do have their labs hidden away out there doing research right under our noses that are paid by our own taxes. They will just expose the ones publicly to pacify the population. OUT OF SITE OUT OF MIND. They do not need a license, remember they are the ones that have the money and the power to control. When the FDA approves a drug, we are the guinea pigs. You have the dead ones and the physical and psychological victims of FDA approved DRUGS. Has anyone heard of persons that have died from marijuana use.

    15. Bruno, I came to that conclusion myself after years of studying the war on (some) drugs online. It is a fact that these natural drugs were outlawed not because they were dangerous but because minorities brought their drug habits with them when they emigrated to the US, *instead* of being interested in alcohol, the ‘white mans drug.’

      In grade school we studied (alcohol) prohibition and how making it illegal didn’t remove people’s interest in it, instead it just prevented the federal government from making any money from taxing and selling it. It was also around this time there was a ‘prohibitionist’ movement where everything was outlawed. But we required a federal amendment to outlaw alcohol, and another to repeal it, something that never happened for any of the other drugs. It didn’t happen because these other drugs weren’t *technically* outlawed, they were simply taxed; if you were caught with pot but no tax stamp for it (and the tax stamp cost thousands of dollars which you were required to buy if you had even a gram of pot on you; of course no one could afford to buy these stamps, therefore they were made criminals).

      Check out these links. I made tiny urls for them because sometimes you can be very limited in how many characters you can enter, plus if/when I make bumper stickers, someone can see a tiny url and remember it til they get home and can check it out:

      http://tinyurl.com/1mn
      http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm
      (this is a speech given before the annual judge’s conference in California in (i think) 1995 before California legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes.)

      http://tinyurl.com/potconviction
      http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/LIBRARY/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm
      (this is the research that led to ‘The Marijuana Conviction’ first being published in 1974. It has since been reprinted I believe 5 times and was lucky enough to get a copy cheap after it was reprinted again around 2003, from half.com. I got a copy for under $20, but the last time I checked, their supply must be ending it’s run because they were asking upwards of $80 for a copy. I haven’t checked it lately though so I don’t know what it’s going for now.)

      http://tinyurl.com/gov74
      http://www.alternet.org/story/9257/
      (gov knew pot cured cancer in ’74, study was finally reproduced by a University in Madrid in like 2002)

    16. Blackbayou says:

      I think there would be A LOT more civil support if people were sure they could voice their opinion and not get harrassed by the local GOOD OLE BOYS . I live in a small town in TN and have ALOT of VERY old neighbors and a few neighbors that are members of the police force. I’m confined to a wheelchair 100% of the time and would LOVE to use MJ as a legal medication.. but BECAUSE of the Tennessee laws and the GOOD OLE BOYS(Police) .. Myself and A LOT of other people just can’t find a safe place to voice our opinions.. I’m sure if someone could find a safe way for everyone to voice their opinion about MJ .. things would change FAST. I commend NORML and MPP and some of the other organizations for standing up for us and letting us post on here.. I have a letter to the editor written and wanted to send it to my local newspaper.. they insisted on my real name and address before they will even look at it.. (ITS A REAL SHAME but understandably we are ALL scared!! I cannot afford to smoke and use it as medicine and have my Social Security disability taken from me.
      I have seen this happen OVER AND OVER again.. Some doctors, Attorneys, even some police officers that are for legalizing it, or making it available as a medicine. wont/cannot say a word for fear of losing their jobs/lively hood..
      Someone explain to us or come up with a way for us to anonymouly let our officials know what we want and Me and my wheelchair will be the first in line!!
      BB

    17. Bugsy, his name is Jack. Jack Herer, and you can read the entire book online for free at jackherer.com. He’s also in my top 24 on myspace, as are the rest of the spots, prominent politicians, NORML, SAFER, SSDP, etc. except for a few bands I grew up with and cherish: GNR, Janes whom I saw in concert in ’97, and Alice in Chains. I’ve actually spoken (emailed) with both Jack Herer and Marc Emery, you probably couldn’t guess the glee I felt when I heard from each of them.

    18. Do appreciate the correction Phil E. Drifter.
      After working 31.5 in the steel mills, being exposed to all those chemicals and dust and heat in the mill environnent, I must have a touch of oldsheimers. If it was not for smoking marijuana, I would have never made retirement.

    19. D.O.C. says:

      This is an interesting discovery and more interesting that it actually worked. I have seen this work outside the lab, at an actual gym. I know of people who smoked cannabis and people who did not smoke do exercises on a mat. Apparently this mat would soak up all the sweat keep it stored in there. Nobody was wise enough to thoroughly clean the mat but only the surface. The mat became a haven for bacteria and eventually MRSA. Unknown to the people working out, they still did their routines with their bodies exposed to the mat. After constant body contact to the mat, one individual who did not smoke cannabis started to get a “rash” around their face. They went to the doctor and found out it was MRSA. The individuals who smoked cannabis never received any symptoms of MRSA.

    20. SS says:

      Plain and simple, The way we elect dirty officials of a higher authority, is the way we need to get what we want in the law books. We have researched how supposedly bad MJ is for the society and human. But we haven’t researched and found the backgrounds on the corrupt government is. And why they keep the traditional ways of our society. Where is the Right to be Free, even if that means “My way or the Highway”.
      Obviously there are good products that could come of MJ and the only reason we don’t produce them is the government thinks, the MJ will be even harder to control, so they risk global destruction because we make no effort for change. SS

    21. Alexandra says:

      This is fantastic. A close family member mine suffers terribly from arthritus, as well as sore and unhealed musles and back due to a stroke which he survived. He has been prescribed vicodent for the pain, Soma, strong sleeping pills, and a myriad of other prescriptions. Dirty doctor? Not exactly, apparently this is somewhat normal for doctors in our day in age to do. Most of these pills have one thing in common: They are all both physically and mentally addicting.

      Yes, pain killers are fun from time to time in my opinion, but I don’t know very many fuctioning and working adults who can go through every day being fucked up. In numerous situations, that isn’t exactly safe and may impair their ability to go through their daily routines in a normal manner.

      This family member has the pills, refills the prescriptions, and rarely takes even one pain killer or muscle relaxer. Marijuana is the only medication that truly works for him. We smoke together every evening after work, we relax, and we love our lives. Rarely does this person suffer from his conditions and alas, has become a healthy and well person, with an increased positive attitude towards life.

      I wish that everyone knew someone like that, especially politicians. The battle is costing us millions of dollars, and its time to make this fiasco be looked upon realistically!

      Amazing artcle. Seriously.

    22. Primo says:

      It’s true.
      I’ve seen it work on MRSA, when nothing else would, from a topical cannabis cream I made.

      Learn more at Cannabis MRSA

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