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April 27, 2014

Marshfield News Herald: Study links marijuana to increased heart attack risk

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, April 28, 2014

I was interviewed for this article and completely reject the allegations that cannabis is not safe for the heart.

Source: Marshfield News Herald
Pubdate: Apr. 26, 2014 |
Author: Marisa Cuellar


MARSHFIELD - Marijuana use could increase heart attack risk, according to a study with input from local doctors published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Most people think marijuana is safe to use ... even some doctors, but it was found that it can give you significant health problems," said Marshfield Clinic cardiologist Dr. Shereif Rezkalla, who wrote the editorial that accompanied the study.

About 2 percent of marijuana-related health complications reported between 2006 and 2010 to the French Addictovigilance Network, which monitors drug abuse, were cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks and strokes.

Heart attacks were more likely to occur during the first hour after marijuana use, and the majority of patients were young males with no cardiovascular risk factors, Rezkalla said.

"What is most serious is, the heart attacks that occur after marijuana use have higher mortality rates than regular heart attacks," he said. A four-fold increase in mortality was observed in marijuana users compared to non-users after heart attack, according to the study.

Rezkalla said heavy marijuana use can produce a condition in the heart and brain that results in slow blood flow, cardiac arrhythmia and increased heart attack and stroke risk.

"It's highly likely if you're a current user and stop use, you may reduce your cardiovascular risk, but we need a good study that shows that," Rezkalla said.

Gary Storck of the Madison branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, said the study doesn't prove a causal connection between marijuana use and cardiovascular problems and shouldn't worry people.

"It's interesting this study is showing up at a time legalization seems to be winning across the nation," he said.

Storck encouraged lawmakers faced with the decision to legalize marijuana to weigh this research with studies highlighting the benefits of medical marijuana, including one that showed delivering a low dose of cannabinoid after a stroke or heart attack could reduce the risk of ischemic damage.

"Speaking from my own experience as someone with heart defects because of Noonan syndrome, I've felt cannabis is a great heart medicine," he added.

Storck said he had a heart valve replacement, which leaked and began to narrow, but vaporized cannabis allowed him to continue living a normal life, including walking up stairs to his third-floor apartment.

"There is medicinal use for marijuana for diseases such as glaucoma," Rezkalla said. "Marijuana is for therapeutic benefit. The one thing I have a problem with is legalizing marijuana for recreational use, because it's not proven to be safe."

Marisa Cuellar can be reached at 715-384-3131. Find her on Twitter as @cuellm34.

Posted by Gary at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2014

Capital Times: Gary Storck: Marijuana law won't help our kids anytime soon

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, April 21, 2013

Here is a letter to the editor I wrote that was published in today's Capital Times.


Dear Editor: It was good to see Gov. Scott Walker sign legislation legalizing a form of medical marijuana to treat pediatric seizure disorders. However, Walker's signature does not mean that the children, whose stories moved usually stern lawmakers to tears, will see their medicine anytime soon.

According to Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, under the law, multiple federal agencies will have to give their approval — "a process that typically takes several years." Given Walker's rejection of billions in federal aid for high-speed rail and Medicaid, why is he now deferring to federal regulators to make critical decisions regarding the health of state children?

Since the governor now acknowledges that marijuana can be a safe treatment for even young children, he could have insisted that state lawmakers instead pass comprehensive legislation like AB 480/SB 363, the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act. If passed, the JRMCA would create a state medical marijuana program like those in the 21 states that have enacted laws that do not rely on federal approvals.

Comprehensive medical cannabis laws like the JRMCA have benefits beyond pain relief. Studies have found reductions in drunken driving fatalities and suicides in states that have legalized medical cannabis. Implementation of the JRMCA would create new jobs and businesses. Most of all, this is something with long-term majority support, unlike most of the 55 bills that Walker signed.

An illusion of progress may be better than no progress at all, but thousands of Wisconsinites of all ages still need legal access to medical cannabis today.

Gary Storck

co-founder, Is My Medicine Legal YET?


Posted by Gary at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2014

Second 420 Festival headlines Madison 4/20 celebrations

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, April 18, 2014

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed two pot bills this week. Here is my look at that story.

Second 420 Festival headlines Madison 4/20 celebrations

There is much to celebrate this April 20 in Madison. Not only did Dane County voters pass a pro-legalization advisory referendum by a near 65/35 margin April 1, the just ended legislative session saw a record number of cannabis law reform bills including comprehensive medical, legalization of small amounts, industrial hemp, decriminalization and finally, a narrowly focused medical marijuana bill covering CBD hemp oil for pediatric seizures, which passed and was signed into law.

Continue reading "Second 420 Festival headlines Madison 4/20 celebrations."

Posted by Gary at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2014

Gov. Scott Walker signs CBD oil bill and double jeopardy pot bill

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, April 17, 2014

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed two pot bills this week. Here is my look at that story.

Gov. Scott Walker signs CBD oil bill and double jeopardy pot bill

On Wednesday April 16, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed 58 bills passed by state lawmakers this session into law, including the CBD hemp oil medical marijuana bill AB726 and SB150, a bill that authorizes municipalities to file charges in pot cases rejected by local district attorneys.

Continue reading, "Gov. Scott Walker signs CBD oil bill and double jeopardy pot bill."

Posted by Gary at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2014

Wisconsin passes CBD medical marijuana bill, Dane votes 2/1 for legalization

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

In the course of my four decade-plus battle to get my medicine legal in Wisconsin, I've become a student of Wisconsin cannabis history. April 1, 2014 was a very historical day, a confluence of state and local pro-marijuana votes!

Wisconsin passes CBD medical marijuana bill, Dane votes 2/1 for legalization

April 1, 2014 was a historic day for Wisconsin marijuana law reform efforts. In the early evening, the state Senate overwhelmingly passed narrowly focused medical marijuana legislation, and in Spring elections held the same day, Dane County voters passed Advisory Referendum #2, asking state lawmakers to enact legislation legalizing marijuana, by a nearly 65/35% margin.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Gary at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)