Beshear asks to be shown 'real research' in debate on medical marijuana

02/07/2014 08:54 AM

Three legislators, two Democrats and one Republican, have now officially filed bills in the 2014 General Assembly to allow Kentuckians to use cannabis in some form for medicinal uses.

Gov. Steve Beshear told reporters on Thursday morning that he didn’t think the issue of medical marijuana is one he’d have to make a decision on this year.

“I don’t think that that will see daylight during this session,” Beshear said.

But Beshear did say he would like to see what he called “real research” on the medical benefits of the drug, which twenty states have decriminalized for medicinal use. Twenty more states are currently reviewing legislation to allow some form of cannabis use.

“I would like to see some real research in that area. You know all we have right now is anecdotal evidence that someone says, ‘Gee wiz, I did this and I feel better,’” Beshear said. “You know we need some medical research in that area. If I see some great medical research that tells us that somehow this is beneficial then we can sit down and talk about it.”

But a search of Pub Med Central, the U.S. National Institutes of Health digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, shows more than 12,000 studies and reviews of research that reference cannabis.

A 2013 study by Stanford University showed marijuana could create pathways between neurons that are blocked by mutations in the brains of children with autism spectrum disorder.

Greg Stumbo, the Democratic House speaker and former attorney general, cited that study as what prompted him to being open to discussing marijuana as a medicine .

Scientists are also discovering that there are myriad diseases that can possibly be treated or controlled by activating receptors in the recently discovered endocannaboid system, according to a 2006 study .

More importantly, modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few. An impediment to the development of cannabinoid medications has been the socially unacceptable psychoactive properties of plant-derived or synthetic agonists, mediated by CB1 receptors.

The same study cited third millennium BC Chinese texts, which described the medicinal use of cannabis in easing pain and cramping.

So far this session, Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, as Pure Politics first reported she would — filed House Bill 350 on Thursday allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes — marking the first time a bill like it had come before the House.

Sen. Perry Clark has also filed legislation to decriminalize marijuana for medicinal use. And on Wednesday, Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, filed a bill allowing the oil of the cannabis plant to be used for children suffering from debilitating seizures.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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