Whisky, Weed to Ward Off Swine Flu

Good news for those who like to imbibe!

A company called Cannabis Science is hoping the FDA will approve its marijuana lozenges for use in children, teens, and adults.  Robert Melamede, the owner of Cannabis Science, believes that marijuana lozenges could help curb deaths from swine flu.

“The approach relies on the principle that the chemicals in marijuana known as cannabinoids have a dampening effect on the immune system. Melamede said doctors may be able to take advantage of this effect to curb the risk of death from the immune system overdrive that resulted in many of the deaths of young adults during the 1918 influenza pandemic — a scenario that some worry could occur once more if swine flu were to become more virulent.”

Both the former CEO of Cannabis Science, Steve Kubby, and his successor, Melamede,  have self-tested the lozenges.  “Within half an hour of taking it, my runny nose, aching muscles and throat congestion are all significantly relieved,” Kubby said, adding that users of the lozenge will not get the “high” or “stoned” effects that come with smoking marijuana.  Kubby and Melamede maintain that the chemical compounds in marijuana could decrease the chance of a “cytokine storm” situation, in which the immune system (especially in young adults) goes into overdrive and causes the lungs to fail.

Of course, Cannabis Science has quite the uphill battle before marijuana lozenges are passed out in school.  And don’t think doctors are about to go advise patients to smoke up if they come down with the flu.

“While marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are widely accepted as a treatment for glaucoma or arthritis, its use as an antiviral raises eyebrows even among pot-friendly physicians.  “Though it may have some antiviral effects, these have not been proven scientifically,” says Dr. David Allen, a chest surgeon and cannabinoid research scientist from California…

One thing, however, is clear: Smoking marijuana likely will do much more harm than good if you happen to have a respiratory infection — not to mention that smoking anything is damaging to someone with flu-related respiratory ills.”

Marijuana Lozenges for Swine Flu?

In other news, Russian soccer fans are being encouraged to drink Welsh whisky to combat the swine flu.

“Welsh whisky is on offer to Russian supporters as a disinfectant,” Alexander Shprygin, head of the national team’s fan club, said Monday. “This will relieve any symptoms.”

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2,254 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

Underlying conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or tuberculosis appear to put swine flu victims at greater risk of hospitalization or death, doctors from the WHO and the CDC said.

Some of the serious cases involve healthy young people, and the reasons for that are still unexplained. Many of the patients went into rapid decline and died of viral pneumonia, not bacterial pneumonia, said Dr. Sylvie Briand, a W.H.O. flu expert. Viral pneumonia may be a result of the “cytokine storm,” in which the body’s own immune reaction to a new virus floods the lungs with fluid. It can progress faster and be harder to treat than bacterial pneumonia.

The cytokine storm was thought to be one of the factors that contributed to the deadliness of the 1918 pandemic.   A cytokine storm describes an immune system that has over-reacted and is damaging the body, causing failure of multiple organ systems.  This would explain why an unusually large number of young people died during the 1918 flu; they had the healthiest immune systems.

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1,085 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

I came home to find CNN putting up soothing articles,  like “When a Pandemic Isn’t a Pandemic” and “Swine Flu No Worse Than Regular Flu.”

Apparently, you can have a pandemic without a large number of deaths.  Or at least, that’s what the WHO is saying now.  Before, the WHO’s definition of a pandemic, which appeared on their website,  said

“that a pandemic flu causes “enormous numbers of deaths and illness. After a CNN reporter pointed this out, WHO spokeswoman Natalie Boudou called back to say the definition was in error and had been pulled from the WHO Web site.”

“It was a mistake, and we apologize for the confusion,” she said. “(That definition) was put up a while ago and paints a rather bleak picture and could be very scary.”

The correct definition is that “pandemic” indicates outbreaks in at least two of the regions into which WHO divides the world, but has nothing to do with the severity of the illnesses or the number of deaths.”

Now, to me, this sounds like the WHO still isn’t really sure what they want the definition of a pandemic to be.  It seems very important to the WHO and other health agencies to constantly remind people that this new virus certainly isn’t shaping up to be like the 1918 killer virus.  I have to wonder when, and not if, there will be another pandemic like the one in 1918.

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