Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Activist San Diego Screens Medical Cannabis Film

Locally Produced Documentary Exposes Lies About Marijuana

story and photo by LEO E. LAURENCE, J.D.

Copyright © 2011 by Leo E. Laurence • All rights reserved

A local medical marijuana dispensary official has spent $15,000 and about 1,500 hours of his time making a movie aimed at answering once and for all the many misconceptions about marijuana — or cannabis, the term preferred by many marijuana activists — and defending its use as medi-cine.

His film, Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health, had its local premiere Saturday, April 30 at the Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest in a showing sponsored by Activist San Diego.

Executive producer James Schmachtenberger, of the San Diego Herbal Alternatives dispensary at 5830 Oberlin Dr., Suite 304, and a local crew are distributing the film as a professional quality DVD. He can be reached at (858) 450-4372.

The aim of the film was to counteract the claims of dumb politicians and so-called “prevention experts” who pounce on all uses of cannabis as evil — and make wildly false claims to do so.

“Our approach was to talk to the experts … traveling up and down the state for interviews with the professionals,” explained Schmachtenberger.

“We released it only two months ago, and it has gone viral, seen in 62 countries,” he reported. It can be found at www.marijuanamovie.org, and took about seven full days of shooting.

This documentary “can be a little bit dry,” Schmachtenberger conceded. “It’s really not entertaining.”

This DVD makes a special effort to dig deep into the history of the use of medical marijuana. Evidence exists that it was used by a doctor in China in about 2637 B.C. His medical bag has been discovered, and traces of marijuana were found in it.

Reports on the use of medical marijuana were found in a medical journal in India in 1700 B.C. (“India Medica”).

Cannabis Medical Uses

This new DVD goes into great detail explaining the wide range of uses of medical marijuana:

PAIN RELIEF: Marijuana is well known for its ability to get relief from pain, and decrease a pa-tient’s dependence of opiates; according to the medical experts interviewed on the DVD. Doctors treating patients with very severe, breakthrough pain will use marijuana to reduce the dependence on opiates.

MIGRAINE HEADACHES: English doctors commonly used medical marijuana for the treatment of devastating, migraine headaches.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: Specialists in medicine have long known that medical marijuana reduces the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

DEPRESSION: Psychiatrists discovered long ago that medical marijuana was extremely effec-tive I the treatment of depression and bi-polar disorders.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: Osteo-arthritis doctors have widely recognized the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis.

The list is long of the painful conditions for which treatment with marijuana is successful, ac-cording to the Cannaboid Research Society.

Ways of Consumption

The two major types of medical marijuana are Cannabis sativa and C. indica, the former providing more energy than the indica.

Many people, including those who have been smoking for years, may not know the wide variety of methods of consuming medical marijuana that’s available, from the usual smoking to edibles (e.g., brownies).

Historically over thousands of years, the most common method of consumption has been to smoke it. An intense high can click in within seconds, but it doesn’t last that long before you have to take another hit.

For centuries, many different types of pipes and joints (cigarettes) have been used for smoking cannabis and its derivatives, including hashish.

England’s 19th century Queen Victoria, who lived to be 81, was a major user of medical mari-juana. It was found in the famous “Smith’s Cough Drops” in this country after the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937.

Another novel way of consuming marijuana is of the patient to drink it, like Kool-Aid or a soda. It takes as long as 30 minutes to take effect.

One of the more popular alternatives to smoking (w/ less irritation to the lungs) is to eat it, as with 4” square brownies. Brownies, however, usually contain the indica variety.

Also, experimenters in Great Britain have developed vaporization devices that can heat marijuana and release its beneficial chemicals without the potential side effects of burning it and inhaling the smoke.

More information on this unusual DVD is available at www.marijuanamovie.org

Photo caption:

Executive producer James Schmachtenberger of the San Diego Herbal Alternatives dispensary appeared in Hillcrest recently for a screening of a new DVD: Medical Cannabis and its Impact on Human Health. Photo by Leo E. Laurence.