05/21/17 Mary Lynn Mathre

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This week we come to you live from the Patients Out of Time National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics #Patients2017, with Mary Lynn Mathre, Laramie Silber, Mara Felsen, Sam Sabzehzar, and Amanda Reiman, plus Fred Gardner with a Tribute to the Spirit of Proposition 215, Dennis Peron, and the late Dr. Tod Mikuriya.

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TRANSCRIPT

CENTURY OF LIES

MAY 21, 2017

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: The failure of drug war is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors, and millions more now calling for for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century Of Lies.

DOUG MCVAY: Hello, you are listening to Century Of Lies. Century Of Lies is a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at DrugTruth.net. I'm your host Doug McVay, editor of DrugWarFacts.org.

And this week we are coming to you live from the Patients Out of Time Eleventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Quite literally. I'm in the office, it's morning on the last day. Mary Lynn, how's the conference been going so -- oh by the way, I'm talking to Mary Lynn Mathre, a registered nurse, certified addictions professional, and she is a -- she's a co-founder and the president of Patients Out of Time. Have I got all that right?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Pretty close.

DOUG MCVAY: Ah, that's not bad. I'll try and remember your CV a little better next time. And this is a live recording so why don't I go ahead and say, how's the conference going so far?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: The conference, I think, is going absolutely terrific. People are learning, the speakers have been terrific, the audience, the attendees have just, I think, enraptured. In terms of, again, really going into the science of the endocannabinoid system. Today we're going to really focus on the clinical applications, so it will get really down into the patient care issues.

DOUG MCVAY: Fantastic. The legal seminar, which I sat through, I mean, I'll say was terrific. Michael Stepanian was stellar, Brandon Wyatt is brilliant, Alan Silber, well, Alan's Alan, and he's amazing. I mean, everybody who was there was great. Any highlights stick out in your mind so far from the first couple of days?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yes. Daniele Piomelli, PhD doc from University of California Irvine, absolutely, I think that was the best explanation of the endocannabinoid system we ever heard. It's such a complicated system, and he literally helped all, from every level, from the patient level to the clinician level, to really understand how important this is, how it works, and how pervasive it is in the system.

The other speaker I think in the afternoon, Doctor McCallum from California just really enthralled people with her expertise of handling some really complex patients, and how cannabis literally helped them get a quality of life again.

DOUG MCVAY: Right on. We've had a number of folks from Israel who've been presenting their research. Israel's quite advanced compared to the US. Talk to me a moment about that.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Well, you're right, I mean, Israel is the, I guess it's -- I was going to say the birthplace, but modern science in cannabis, with Raphael Mechoulam over there, just down the floor below Raphael Mechoulam's lab is Esther Shohami's lab, and she joined us at this conference. Her focus has been on traumatic brain injury, so it's really fascinating to find the work of how cannabis can heal an injured brain.

Today, we're going to get a clinician, Doctor Barekat Schiff-Keren from Israel speaking, and she's a pain physician, so we'll be talking more again about how this has been so helpful for patients suffering from chronic pain.

DOUG MCVAY: And speaking of traumatic brain injury, of course, this is Saturday as we speak, and the -- later today we have a panel with Sue Sisley, Doctor Sisley's performing some research on medical marijuana, but also Eben Britton and Nate Jackson, two NFL football -- well, retired NFL football players. A little star quality to the line-up, get a couple of sports stars up on the panel?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yeah, you know, they're there, but they're ready to speak out for the whole NFL as well as an organization called Athletes4Care. Athletes all over, you know, suffer bangs, bruises, head injuries, sore muscles from extreme workouts. And they hurt, and cannabis has been something that eases their pain, helps them get through it.

I think all the listeners out there probably heard of CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is something that occurs after you get hit over and over again in the head, leading to severe brain damage, causing these early suicides, early deaths of a lot of the NFL players. So they're standing up for their brothers and trying to create an awareness of the NFL, the National Hockey League, you name it, they need to pay attention to their players and allow them the use of cannabis as medicine.

DOUG MCVAY: Well, and it's good that these folks, at the top of the profession, are saying this, because let's face it, college level, and down to the high schools, we push kids, we push kids to hurt themselves for our entertainment, and some of these kids come out of high school with some, you know, with career-ending injuries. I mean, we talk about the healthy-looking young man who goes into the dispensary, what we don't know is that healthy-looking young man suffered some severe injuries and can't raise his arm over his shoulder, because of some football stupidity.

But, well anyway, any closing thoughts? Because you're on your way to take care of stuff. As I mentioned, it's morning. It's the last day of the conference.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: No, just a busy day. The other goal of this conference is networking, and we always tell the attendees here, just, you know, find out who's next to you, because we've got, you know, people who've been in the movement, in the issue, studying this cannabis, for many, many years, so between the attendees and the faculty, the amount of information about the endocannabinoid system is just astounding. So, this information will be available down the road, we'll have it on video, we'll get it on our website.

Again, with that being said, I would encourage everyone to think about joining Patients Out of Time. We really need the grassroots support to help us get going, to help us get this information out. That, I think, has been, well that is, I think everyone knows the roadblock to this is a lack of information. People are ignorant of the importance of cannabis to help keep our endocannabinoid system healthy.

Our website is www.PatientsOutOfTime.org or MedicalCannabis.com. Please, check it out.

DOUG MCVAY: Mary Lynn Mathre, thank you so very much.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: You're very welcome, Doug. Thank you.

DOUG MCVAY: And in the interest of full disclosure, I need to mention that I am the web content and social media manager, part time for the Patients Out of Time organization. These are also some very good friends, and even if they weren't, I'd be telling you this: it's one of the best organizations out there. Keeping it real. Keeping it legit. This is Doug McVay, with Century of Lies. Back in just a moment.

And now I'm talking to the Chief Operating Officer and the coordinator of this year's conference. I only have a few seconds because I know that I'm standing in her way and she's about to run out the door. Laramie, any thoughts, how's the conference going, and what do you think of the thing? You've been at these things since you, literally since you were born. How do you think it's going?

LARAMIE SILBER: Phenomenally. Over the 22 years of the organization, the culture couldn't have changed more. The science is just getting more and more detailed, and this year, I have never seen such engaged, interested, excited attendees, and they don't seem to be losing steam. Here we are in the third full day, and they're back for more. It's 7:30, a little before, and we've got people at the registration desk.

DOUG MCVAY: Excellent. And we'll be down there in just a moment. People can't believe, yes, I really am wandering around doing this. That was Laramie Silber, she's the chief operating officer at Patients Out of Time, and the coordinator of the Eleventh National Conference on Clinical Cannabis Therapeutics -- Clinical Conference on Cannabis -- you can look at the website and find out the name of the conference.

Let's talk to to Sam Sabzezhar for a moment. Sam, introduce yourself. What are you up to these days?

SAM SABZEZHAR: I'm finally slowing down. I've been going along places for a long time, and finally, I don't have to go to too many places anymore. It's good to see California, and a lot of the science behind the endocannabinoid system, and botanical science, kind of merging. And Patients Out of Time has been at the forefront of that for a long time, and it's really great to be here once again.

DOUG MCVAY: Terrific. Now, are you doing -- you're a documentary filmmaker, you do all kinds of stuff. These days you're consulting in the medical cannabis industry, is that right?

SAM SABZEZHAR: I am still doing that. A little now more than ever. Still working on a couple of films, I just finished up the Caravan For Peace I did with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, they have changed their name as a group since then. And, helping people get licenses around the country, helping them understand what best practices look like in a self-regulated industry that's now becoming more regulated. We've had to self-regulate from understanding how to -- the quality of the plant and the quality of the patient, and the quality of life. And as we see an industry emerge, we want to make sure that it's not built on the back of a movement that we're stepping on, but, you know, bringing it out of the shadows.

DOUG MCVAY: I -- yeah, bless you for doing that. It's, like I say, people keeping it real. You're in the middle of getting ready to go down and do this stuff too, so, any closing thoughts -- well, before we do closing thoughts, where do people find out, what's your website, how do people keep up with you? Heck I don't even know your twitter handle yet.

SAM SABZEZHAR: You can go to MedicalMarijuana411.com, and from there you can find us on all the social media. I used to do all of the social media, and posts, and I don't. I've really taken a back step -- a backseat to my role on Medical Marijuana 411, because I can be more involved on the documentary filmmaking and on some of the traveling that I've been doing outside of this space.

So, today, we're going to be seeing, you mentioned earlier, Eben with the NFL, and we're trying to bring in the NBA as well, working with some of the retired players, you know, merging what professional athletes, what pain management specialists, like we said yesterday and today the science behind, you know, bridging that, the botanical science, the medical background of our own endocannabinoid system, and, you know, every single play a professional athlete, they're banging their head around, whether they have a helmet on or not, if they're in the NFL, they're banging their head around.

If you go to MedicalMarijuana411.com, you'll see a lot of that information, about how medical cannabis can be used as a cannabinoid therapeutic for various conditions. Off of that website, we do a lot more drug policy advocacy, we don't focus on Medical Marijuana 411.

DOUG MCVAY: Right on. And again, it's MedicalMarijuana411.com. Right?

SAM SABZEZHAR: Dot com.

DOUG MCVAY: Excellent. Sam Sabzezhar, thank you so much. Ah, my friend.

SAM SABZEZHAR: Good to see you, Doug. Always good to see you.

DOUG MCVAY: Ah, it's good to see you, man. And he's from Iowa! I knew he was cool, I knew he was cool. Back with more in just a minute.

That's how we do it. I'm talking to Mara Felsen. She's one of the experts here at Patients Out of Time. Mara, you moderated a panel and spoke on a couple of panels at the legal seminar here. How'd that go? He said, as somebody who spoke at the thing. How do you think the legal seminar went?

MARA FELSEN: Well, I'm always nervous until it happens, and actually, until it's over, and it was -- I think it was a magnificent success. Every panel was top-notch. I was so gratified to see Assemblyman Ken Cooley in the audience. His attention was rapt. He was very involved, and he is one of the Assemblymen that was instrumental in getting the trio of historic medical marijuana regulations passed. And, he was so interested in what we had to say, and it couldn't have made me any happier, and I was so proud to be on these panels with people like John Sajo, and Doug Hiatt, and Bill Panzer, and every -- and Omar Figueroa, and Lauren Mendelson. It was tremendously gratifying, and educational for me as well.

And I think everybody in the room felt the energy, and their attention was laser-focused. So I really think it went -- I think it was a smashing success.

DOUG MCVAY: Well, and just -- Assemblyman Cooley, California Assemblyman Cooley, wasn't an invited speaker, it wasn't that we brought him to this thing. He showed up to attend the legal seminar as -- he was just one more person in the crowd. I was surprised.

MARA FELSEN: On his own dime.

DOUG MCVAY: A politician doing something on his own dime is a rare thing in the first place. Yeah, no, that really -- that -- yeah, that really was quite astounding. The -- that really was astounding. What do you hope folks are going to take away from this conference?

MARA FELSEN: What I would hope that they take away from the conference is how much we know and how much more we need to know. With respect to the laws, they are a constantly moving target, and at least in California we have a unique opportunity to shape these laws and regulations right now. So, I would greatly urge everyone who is listening to this right now to read the California regulations, especially read the initial statement of reasons, and see what the justifications are for these regulations that they have just drafted. And have an opinion, and make your opinion known. You could do it in person, you could do it via email. It's very easy.

And I truly hope that people will take an interest in the things that effect them, effect their health, effect the health of the people that they know. That's my takeaway that I hope people have from this conference.

DOUG MCVAY: That's terrific. That's -- I mean, that's important for people too, is these, just because the initiative passes, as we've learned in Oregon, then there's the rule making, then there's the legislature deciding to do something and a few years later, there's something that looks a lot different than maybe the voters passed, and that's why people have to get involved.

You're trying to get down to the conference to get -- because it's about to start. I still have to finish a radio show. So, do you have any closing thoughts?

MARA FELSEN: You know, I'm just -- I'm basking in the positive feelings of this conference. I just, my final thoughts are just excitement for the last day of the conference. I can't get -- I can't wait to get down there and listen to Dustin Sulak talk, he's one of my favorite doctors with a cannabis specialty, and everybody is top notch.

I mean, yesterday, when Doctor Daniele Piomelli was doing an overview of the endocannabinoid system. Oh boy, overview of the endocannabinoid system, how interesting is that? Well, it was. It was riveting. I mean, I've heard about the neurotransmitters and the synapses and the retrograde signalling before, but it's a different thing to hear it out of the mouth of Daniele Piomelli, and when he realized he was about to go over time, the whole room went "Aaahhhh." And then he's like, okeh, I guess well I'll speak for a few more minutes, and then the whole room went "Yayyy!" I mean, not at scientific conference, not at a legal conference, not at any conference have I ever heard people, an audience, so involved and so enraptured with what a speaker was saying, and, you know, and that's just one of all the top notch speakers. This is my favorite conference, every year, and I'm just so gratified to be involved in it. Thanks, Doug.

DOUG MCVAY: Mara, thank you.

All right, folks, once again, you're listening to Century Of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at DrugTruth.net. I'm your host Doug McVay, editor of DrugWarFacts.org. And we are out of the studio this week and live on location at the DoubleTree By Hilton Berkeley Marina hotel in Berkeley, California, site of Patients Out of Time's Eleventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. And I am standing outside my hotel. Did a couple of interviews, and now we're going to switch to last night.

On Friday night, Fred Gardner and Bill Panzer, two luminaries in the medical cannabis movement, in the world really, but certainly here in California, paid tribute to a couple of good friends and the Spirit of Prop 215, Dennis Peron and the late Doctor Tod Mikuriya. Dennis was an inspiration to me, met him in 1983, and it's one of the things that convinced me that I could go ahead and get into this business as a political activist, and make a difference. Doctor Tod Mikuriya I met in 1985, out in Portland, Oregon, and I've got to say, he was a brilliant, brilliant man, lightyears ahead of all of us, and just a fantastic human being and a really good friend. I miss him terribly.

Well, Fred and Bill put together a tribute to the Spirit of Prop 215 and to Tod and of course to our friend Dennis. And so we're going to hear a part of that. I apologize for the audio quality, because field recording, well, it's a bear. But, bear with me, and back in a minute.

FRED GARDNER: [MUSIC] Said Attorney General Lungren then he flew off to DC
To meet with Cardinal Constantine and Rabbi Alan Leshner,
Reno and Shalala like a scene out of MacBeth.

It was back in December, 1996,
General McCaffrey announced the big fix.
California doctor, your license is at risk,
Big Janet and the neckless nun all tsk tsk tsk.

What were their names, what were their names,
The docs who believed their patients' claims?
What were their names, tell me what were their names,
The docs who stood up for the patients?

From up in Crescent City down to San Diego,
Many a physician had to just say no.
Unless you got cancer, or AIDS better yet,
A letter of approval could prove difficult to get.

Paxil and statins they are eager to prescribe,
Viagra and estrogen dispensed like a bribe.
The detail men offer them jaunts to here and there,
And the board never questions their standard of care.

They helped a lot of people in a wide range of pain,
The data they've collected should not be in vain.
Sabotage of research, when's it going to stop?
The practice of medicine is not up to the cops.

What were their names, what were their names,
The docs who believed their patients' claims?
What were their names, tell me what were their names,
The docs who stood by the patients?

DOUG MCVAY: Again, sorry for the quality of the audio, but, field recording is what it is, and frankly that's not going to happen again so, that was a tribute to the late Tod Mikuriya, to the Spirit of Prop 215, and to our good friend Dennis Peron, who put all of that together and started it with Proposition P in San Francisco years before.

Speaking to Amanda Reiman, Master of Social Work, PhD, Professor, and a scientific researcher and an expert on all things cannabis, and a good friend, and an incredibly cool person as well. Amanda, how the heck you doing?

AMANDA REIMAN: Oh, you know, Doug, I'm out here in the Berkeley Marina, in this beautiful sunshine, so pretty damn good.

DOUG MCVAY: Excellent. Oh yeah, just to remind people, this is a live recording at Patients Out of Time, the Eleventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. I got the name of the thing right, I'm very impressed with myself. I wasn't recording in the session, what, tell me, capsulize it, what all were you presenting? You do a lot of really good work these days.

AMANDA REIMAN: Well, thank you. I was presenting on a study I recently completed of about three thousand medical cannabis patients, looking at cannabis as a substitute for both opiate based and non-opiate based pain medication.

DOUG MCVAY: Right on. And, so what kind of -- you've been looking at the question of cannabis and prescription drug use, and the potential reduction in use, for quite a long time, self-report data and on through. What are you finding, and how have your findings been evolving?

AMANDA REIMAN: Well, I think we now definitively know that this is a behavior that medical cannabis patients are participating in, and that it's working for them. We have now a myriad of self-report studies, covering thousands and thousands of patients across countries, that show very high rates of conscious substitution for both alcohol and other prescription medications. What we really want to do now is find out, A, is this impacting certain people more than others, are there folks that could really use this access who aren't able to get it? And secondly, can we design clinical outcome studies so that we can actually track patients over time in a controlled setting, to give some of the more traditional researchers what they're looking for in terms of evidence.

DOUG MCVAY: Now, you mentioned that you might be seeing an impact on other prescription drugs. I know David Bradford, who's going to be presenting here later, has been finding that in his economic research as well. Things like the anti-anxiety medications, the sleeping medications, use of those, the prescriptions at least for those seem to be declining. I mean, is that -- is that kind of what you're finding?

AMANDA REIMAN: Well, in this last study we did find that even though pain was significant -- a significant predictor of whether someone had used an opiate in the last six months, once we look at the population of opiate consumers in the sample, pain was no longer a significant predictor, which means we are seeing not only people use opiates for non-pain related conditions, but they're also engaging in substitution and complementarity, so I think it's important that we focus not just on those who are being treated for chronic pain, but for those that are taking other prescription medications that may cause unwanted side effects.

DOUG MCVAY: And, speak to me for a moment about the impact you're seeing on overdose rates, which again, we're, there's study after study, so what have you been finding?

AMANDA REIMAN: Well, I mean, when we look at the large population based studies that have been released, such as the one that was in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in 2014 that saw a 25 percent reduction in opiate related mortality in states that had passed medical cannabis laws, there was a recent study that came out of RAND that saw reductions in both substance use admissions and opiate overdose admissions into hospitals in states that have medical cannabis programs.

So again, we're seeing a lot of patients self-report that this is working. We're seeing population based data that shows, when we look over the entire population, we're seeing an effect. What we really need is what's in between, which is the controlled clinical outcome studies looking at both cannabis as a substitute for opiates, but also cannabis as an exit drug for people that are trying to reduce or eliminate their use of opiates.

DOUG MCVAY: Fantastic. And any closing thoughts? And how do people keep up with some of the work that you're doing, I mean, I know you're out there somewhere and you're publishing. Where do the -- you don't have a blog yet, do you?

AMANDA REIMAN: I don't have a blog. Yeah, follow me on Twitter, @AmandaReiman. But, yeah, I mean, right now, I'm not super out in the public all the time, unless I'm at events like this.

DOUG MCVAY: Right on. And it's @AmandaReiman. So, yeah, closing thoughts.

AMANDA REIMAN: Well, this is a perfect place to have this conference, because, you know, Berkeley and the bay area was really kind of the breeding ground for the modern day medical cannabis movement, starting in San Francisco with the HIV patients who were experiencing marginalization. So bringing it back here to talk about the next steps seems really apropos.

DOUG MCVAY: Excellent. And you can hear the sound of morning in the background. Amanda, thank you so much.

AMANDA REIMAN: Any time.

DOUG MCVAY: That was at the Patients Out of Time Eleventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics in Berkeley, California, where I am right now. Again, sorry for the background noise, but I am sitting outside a hotel room preparing this radio show, and, because, you know, we go to all kinds of limits to come out to your earphones and to your speakers, and bring you all this news and information. Thirty minutes a week, every week, courtesy of the Drug Truth Network. We have a podcast, you can find the URLs there at the DrugTruth.net website.

Drug Truth Network is on Facebook, please give it a like. You can follow me on Twitter, I'm @DougMcVay and of course also @DrugPolicyFacts. We'll be back in a week with thirty minutes of news and information about the drug war and this Century Of Lies. For now, for the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay saying so long. So long!

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition: the century of lies. Drug Truth Network programs archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

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