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Peter Richardson, Take Two

With the announcement by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN Sunday that marijuana has been shown to reduce the size of cancer tumors, the testimony of Dr. John Palmer Lovejoy in the medical marijuana case of Ukiah’s Peter Richardson is suddenly invested with more gravitas than it seemed last week. Last week, it seemed that Richardson was simply growing the stuff for America's insatiable market while using some of what he produced to beat back his prostate cancer. Gupta's announcement Sunday night means that marijuana as medicine will seem a great deal more credible to many more people.

The efficacy of treating cancer with marijuana has been common knowledge to many Boonvillagers for years, and just last year an infant in Boonville was reportedly cured of brain cancer with the miracle drug. But until Sunday, the American Medical Association continued to dismiss apparent cannabis cures as “spontaneous remission,” and “the placebo effect,” while the mainstream media referred to the cures as “anecdotal,” by which they mean "probably untrue."

Now, the mainstream media and the American Medical Association — long-time drug pushers for Big Pharma — don’t seem so cutting-edge.

As it happens, a major medical marijuana defense is going down in the Mendocino County courts just as Dr. Gupta and CNN decided to break the long overdue news that cannabis can  arrest cancer. Until now, the only way mainstream voters could learn about the miracle drug was to sit as jurors in a medical marijuana trial.

Dr. Lovejoy, on the stand last week in The People vs. Peter Richardson, was schooled in Boston and New York as an Ob-Gyn but switched to prescribing the miracle drug when he moved out to California a few years ago. His office is in Ukiah, and he told the court that his training in medical marijuana was mainly self-taught. Defense attorney Keith Faulder asked Dr. Lovejoy if he had actually seen the medical benefits of cannabis use.

Lovejoy: “Yes, in treating a growing number and variety of cancer cases and other diseases such as HIV, epilepsy, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. The list keeps growing.”

Faulder: “Is there something in cannabis that causes it to be effective in treating these diseases?”

Lovejoy: “Yes, there’s over 100 cannabinoids and a growing body of evidence suggests that these CBDs are the effective substances in treating disease.”

Faulder: “Is there a baseline dosage?”

Lovejoy: “Yes, a typical dose of 600 milligrams has proven useful in treatment of psychosis anxieties, a dosage extrapolated from in-vitro animal models, typically in white mice.”

Faulder: “Can you give me something more relative to this case?”

Lovejoy: “In the case of Mr. Richardson, he has a long history of motorcycle injuries and started using cannabis for his pain. Then, more recently, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and began using cannabis to augment chemo-therapy treatments, relieve the pain from surgery and to lessen anxiety. There’s anecdotal evidence of cancer cases being completely cured, and studies where 58% of patients were shown to improve — each study getting better and better.”

Dr. Lovejoy seemed transported, rapturous: “Looking at CBDs in-vitro zino grafts — treating mice with human cells — fascinating results…”

Faulder: “Yes, Dr. Lovejoy, but what about Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “Peter? He showed me his biopsy results.”

Faulder: “Have you seen any lab test results showing that cannabis has been effective in the treatment of his cancer?”

Lovejoy: “I can’t say I have. We know that prostate cancer expresses on the surface of the cells and that it should respond to the CBD cannabidial, and it certainly appears it would over time — and relapses have certainly been dropping.”

Faulder: “Okay, is there a way to extract the CBDs from the cannabis plant?”

Lovejoy: “There is no way.”

Faulder: “So you’re stuck with using the whole plant?”

Lovejoy: “If the cannabis is raw or fresh you can take it in a form that’s not psychoactive.”

Faulder: “Have you and Peter talked about the best way for him to take it.”

Lovejoy: “Yes, Peter’s a bright guy with a science background, and he’d already done the reading to find out how it’s done. He was growing his own organic cannabis, juicing it several times a day.”

Faulder: “And Ms. McKay [Richardson’s wife, a children's protective services worker, a consensus high stress job], you recommended it for her as well?”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Faulder: “A particular amount?”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Faulder: “How much?”

Lovejoy: “To get the baseline recommendation, that’s extrapolated from the studies by Health and Human Services using lab mice.”

Faulder: “Maybe I’d better ask this — how much should Peter be taking?”

Lovejoy: “Nobody really knows, yet. But five to 20 milligrams per day is what many of us are using. Peter did his own research and came up with an amount that he thought was appropriate.”

Faulder: “And the strength of the strain of cannabis being used — is that a consideration?”

Lovejoy: “I have only the strain used in the HHS studies to go by. It’s a Northern Lights strain of 1% CBDs per pound in the dehydrated flowers, about one to one-and-quarter grams per pound. So he should be ingesting one to one-and-a-half pounds of the dehydrated flowers per day. The leaves are devoid of the cannabinoids.”

Faulder: “So he would need one-and-a-half pounds per day to get 20 milligrams of CBDs?”

Lovejoy: “Yes. If it were comparable in strength to the Northern Lights strain.”

Faulder: “And the fresher, the better?”

Lovejoy: “Yes. Any drying or heating increases the psychoactive effects.”

Faulder: “Do you have any idea about how much it would cost to buy that much cannabis?”

Lovejoy: “No, I don’t know.”

DA David Eyster rose to cross: “In preparation for your testimony today, did you do any reviews?”

Lovejoy: “Yes. The Health and Human Services materials and a British paper on prostate cancer and CBDs.”

Eyster: “Where did you get the police report on Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “From the police.”

Eyster: “You received a subpoena?”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Have you prepared any reports on Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “No.”

Eyster: “Did you review your file on Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Are you his primary physician?”

Lovejoy: “No. Dr. Green is.”

Eyster: “Did you review Dr. Green’s medical file on Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “No.”

Eyster: “Doesn’t the Medical Board require you to do that?”

Lovejoy: “They require a number of things.”

Eyster: “When did you start seeing Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “In May of 2011.”

Eyster: “Had he seen a cannabis doctor before?”

Lovejoy: “I don’t believe so.”

Eyster: “So he was self-medicating.”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Dosing — ?”

Lovejoy: “He was smoking, vaporizing — ”

Vaporizing seems to have come and gone among most stoners, maybe because it requires too much heat for the cool crowd these days. Anyway, we're talking meds here, not stoners.

Eyster: “When was the last time you saw Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “Two weeks ago.”

Eyster: “From today?”

Lovejoy: ”It may have been a little before that.”

Eyster: “Was that time with his wife?”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Was that the first time you saw her?”

Lovejoy: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Did he advise you of his legal problems at that time?”

Lovejoy: “He may have, yes.”

Eyster: “Did he tell you he’d been arrested for cannabis cultivation?”

Lovejoy: “I don’t believe he did.”

Eyster: “Did he tell you he’d been arrested in 2012 for cultivation?”

Lovejoy: “I don’t believe he did.”

Eyster: “Did he tell you that in March of 2012 he had 200 pounds?”

Faulder: “Objection, your honor. He’s mis-stating the evidence, and mis-leading the witness.”

Judge Moorman: “The order was signed by Judge Nadel and — well, let’s have a sidebar.”

After a heated discussion out of earshot, Moorman returned to the bench and ruled: “I am partially sustaining the objection regarding the Russian River Estates property.”

Eyster: “When he came in to see you, did he tell you he had 354 plants?”

(Right about here is where we think Faulder's math will probably win the case for Faulder-Richardson. As revealed last week when he elicited from Agent Hoyle that a large number of those 354 plants were still being grown, and given the daily juicing by Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, both of whom possess 215 cards, 354 doesn't seem an unreasonable number to possess for his particular self-medication purposes.)

Faulder: “Objection. Relevance, your honor.”

Moorman: “What is the relevance?”

Eyster: “I’ll explain in a sidebar.”

Another heated discussion took place beside the bench. When it was over Moorman announced: “I’m gonna allow it.”

Eyster: “When, in 2011, when you gave Mr. Richardson a medical marijuana recommendation, what amount did you recommend for him?”

Lovejoy: “I never make recommendations on amounts.”

Eyster: “What manner of ingestion did you recommend?”

Lovejoy: “I customarily recommend my patients ingest cannabis in smoothies and juices to avoid the psychoactive effects.”

Eyster: “Do you give suggestions in the form of handouts?”

Lovejoy: “What I typically hand out is graphs and make a point of the benefits of the CBDs.”

Eyster: “What is the maximum amount you believe would be reasonable for Mr. Richardson?”

Lovejoy: “I don’t tend to think in maximum amounts.”

Eyster: “What strains of marijuana do you recommend?”

Lovejoy: “I don’t know the strains by name, but I understand they can vary dramatically. And while I don’t use cannabis myself, I do hear it’s all very unreliable, unless sent out to a reputable lab for analysis.”

Eyster: “Did you ever send out a sample of Mr. Richardson’s marijuana to be analyzed?”

Lovejoy: “Obviously, I wouldn’t send it out myself. Typically, I recommend they send it out themselves; 99% of the time, they don’t.”

Eyster: “But in this case, did he ever show you the results from a lab?”

Lovejoy: “No.”

Eyster: “So there’s no baseline amount for therapeutic use?”

Lovejoy: “I think I said there’s no gold standard for specific conditions.”

Eyster: “So, based on the strain — well, first of all, you don’t even know what strain he had, do you?”

Lovejoy: “No.”

Eyster: “Nor do you know the volumes used?”

Lovejoy: “I think he informed me he was using it in smoothies three times a day. Two to three gallons using a couple of pounds per day.”

Eyster: “Now, doctor, if only two pounds were found at his home, that’s only one day’s use, isn’t it?”

Lovejoy: “Correct.”

Eyster: “Yes, well, you’d expect more, wouldn’t you?”

Faulder: “Objection.”

Moorman: “Sustained. I think that calls for speculation.”

Eyster: “When did you discuss the preparation of the marijuana for use?”

Lovejoy (after a pause): “I do not — recall.”

Moorman called for another sidebar and this one was lengthy. Angry comments could be heard and the judge audibly hissed “stop it” more than once. The judge at one point physically pushed the two lawyers apart, as they bowed up and got in each other’s faces, chests puffed out belligerently.

Dr. Lovejoy looked on, as did your trusty courthouse correspondent, the only other witness, at this display of professionalism gone sour. We though these guys were pals. After a while some prisoners were shuffled in and seated in the jury box. The quarrel between Eyster and Faulder at the side of the judge’s bench raged on in harsh whispers.

Finally, the judge stomped back up to the bench and announced: “We’re going to conclude for the day; there’s a problem with the confidentiality of the medical file. We’ll resume again on August 14th at 1:30. I’m issuing a protective order for the witness — he’s a legit guy. Okay, Dr. Lovejoy, I’m gonna let you go and order you back on the 14th at 1:30; you are not to have any contact with the defendant or defense counsel, understand?”

Eyster and Faulder nearly went to blows over the subpoenas but the judge said, “Okay, Dr. Lovejoy, I’m handing you two pieces of paper. Take ’em with you and I’m looking forward to seeing you again on the 14th.”

Legit Guy Lovejoy stepped down.


At the last minute the date everyone will be back was changed to the 13th. Peter Richardson has surgery scheduled for the 15th. The guy really is sick.

One Comment

  1. Mike Jamieson August 14, 2013

    an article at a site called truth theory dot com posted some links to studies strongly demonstrating that CBD in marijuana has a profound impact on cancer. the introductory abstract paragraphs are pretty understandable and actually quite stunning in what is being reported:

    Cures Brain Cancer

    Cures Mouth and Throat Cancer

    Cures Breast Cancer

    I don’t see the studies that got a lot of press coverage back a few years related to lung cancer and tumor shrinkage on this list. There are reportedly altogether 34 studies along these lines that have been published.

    Dear Judge: drop the charges in the interest of justice.

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