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This is what a cannabis equity program looks like

Under the leadership of Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title, Massachusetts has revealed the “nation’s first statewide “social equity” program to help minorities and people convicted of drug offenses work in the legal marijuana industry.”

Massachusetts crafts ‘social equity’ program to help minorities and drug offenders enter marijuana industry

Massachusetts state law requires the Cannabis Control Commission to promote full participation in the industry by people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The commission is already giving priority in review of licensing applications to “economic empowerment” applicants who come from areas and groups that have been overly affected by marijuana arrests. […]

There are four tracks in the program: one for owners/entrepreneurs; one for management and executive level careers; one for entry level jobs or people looking to re-enter society after incarceration; and one for people with existing skills that can be transferred to the cannabis business. The final track has separate categories for professional skills like law or accounting and trade skills, like drivers, plumbers or electricians. It is also designed to help inventors of cannabis accessories.

Each track will offer training on industry-specific challenges and skills.

This is impressive work. It’s so much harder to do it this way, but represents a desire to not just legalize, but partially make up for the decades of damage from marijuana prohibition.

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261 comments to This is what a cannabis equity program looks like

  • Servetus

    Death squads comprising police officials are operating once again in El Salvador due to Trump’s vow to eliminate MS-13 gang members throughout the US:

    …The exact recipients and nature of US funding for Salvadoran police are shrouded in secrecy. Publicly available documents rarely specify which units benefit from the $67.9 million in total aid given in 2016, and the $72.7 million last year, but they do say that “vetted units” get mentors from the FBI and DEA. […]

    The American assistance to the FES and its successor exposes the stark moral compromises undertaken in the fight against groups like MS-13, a Salvadoran criminal gang that started in Los Angeles in the 1980s but has since spread across the Americas and has around tens of thousands of core members in El Salvador. MS-13 recruits have been described by the US government as a “transnational threat” and as “animals” by US President Donald Trump.

    As FES officers were shooting gangsters dead in the streets, the US government was sending money and equipment to the group while also deporting thousands of MS-13 recruits back to El Salvador, further fueling the growth of the group in a country where police may be getting away with murder, according to the forthcoming UN report. […]

    https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/05/world/el-salvador-police-intl/

    And Hillary Clinton’s drug war machine in Mexico is charging ahead at full steam as noted in a piece by Luke Taylor titled, “Mothers of Mexico’s Disappeared Young Men Blame the Police ”.

    August 2, 2018 — Despite the heartbreak they [mothers] have suffered and the news that the police who were supposed to protect their family members could possibly have been responsible for their disappearances, members of Colectivo Solecito continue to fight for the truth. Some are so dedicated to the cause they have quit their jobs and taken up shovels themselves to dig up the bodies of lost loved ones.[…]

    …More than 5,000 murders were recorded in 2012-2016, and as many as 20,000 individuals were “disappeared” from the region in 2006-2016. For reporters, Veracruz has become the “most dangerous place in the entire Western hemisphere.”

    This time, Veracruz residents are under siege not from foreign forces, but from drug cartels, corruption and the state’s very own police force. The ubiquitous 4x4s pickup trucks manned by heavily armed police aside, there are also no obvious signs of destruction or conflict on the city’s expansive coastal roads: Veracruz’s latest war is largely invisible. Unless of course, one experiences it first-hand. […]

    According to Leyva, and others who have lost family members, the victims are largely young men — some as young as 13 years old — and seemed to have been picked up and “disappeared” in acts of “social cleansing,” in which armed gangs select individuals for being homeless, poor or using drugs. Family members often question why their son was selected, but in some cases, it appears the boys were simply victims of a deadly mix-up.

    “In one case, a school child overheard one of the men that took his friend away say, ‘We have the wrong guy,’” Leyva says. “But it was too late. ‘He’s already seen us,’ his accomplice replied, and they took him anyway.”

    Despite persistent visits to the police station, in two years, there have been no developments in the investigation into the disappearance of Vicente. Authorities have consistently reiterated their limited resources, but the mothers have long held their doubts whether the authorities were ever interested at all.

    “I thought it was going to be a stronger investigation, but in reality, this is a great disappointment I have to carry,” Leyva says. “If you lose a dog, maybe they’ll put a lot of attention into searching for it, but not for humans.” […]

    https://truthout.org/articles/mothers-of-mexicos-disappeared-young-men-blame-the-police/

    Also see from The Conversation by Cecilia Farfán-Méndez: Rising suicides in Mexico expose the mental health toll of living with extreme, chronic violence

  • Shelter Eleven

    Israel – Holy Land of cannabis (ARTE)
    The green rush is taking hold.

    Es gibt veel zu sehen:
    https://tinyurl.com/ProRaphMech

  • Mouthy

    Because drugs are illegal, some little kid in Indiana ate 180 times the lethal dose of crystal meth. It was his dad’s and on a plate and the little boy believed it to be breakfast cereal. The dad would not help his son, while he convulsed and pointed a gun a the woman who suggested he call 9-1-1. His record is trafficking and sex with a minor. I say he had a half a zone of dope on that plate and I bet it was Crystal Mex. That stuff is so much more powerful than trailer park meth . . . anyone can be high on 80 cents worth (a literal taste) for 20-22 hours. The biggest concern the father had was going to jail for meth.

    Had Dope been legalized, there would have been no drug dealing quantity to kill the child, plus it’s quality/strength regulated and not looking like chunks of frosted goodness. And the father would not have feared prison over drugs. I remember when they used to grow crystal meth in jars under the ground (ICE) and then you’ve got Shake and Bake. Good God prohibition.

  • claygooding

    The witch is dead.
    Feinstien lost her seat to a progressive candidate by a land slide and conservatives on both sides of the aisle are trembling in their chairs they thought were reserved just for them.

  • DdC

    97% Of Elderly Patients Say Medical Marijuana Helps Them Feel Better
    https://t.co/jU7fFEE221
    Evidence demonstrating the medicinal value of cannabis among the elderly continues to pour in. Patients over the age of 65 benefit greatly from the herbal treatment.

    80-year-old medical marijuana patient with expired card jailed for less than an eighth oz. of cannabis http://bit.ly/2viZzr1

    It Wasn’t a Crime to Carry Marijuana. Until the Police Found a Loophole.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/nyregion/marijuana-police-nyc.html
    State legislators in 1977 devised what they took to be a simple fix: a bill that made carrying small supplies of marijuana a ticket-worthy violation, not a crime. To win enough votes from Republicans, the authors carved out an exception that said it was still a crime to carry marijuana “open to public view.”

  • Fred

    Nascar CEO takes leave of absence after arrest for DUI and oxycodone possession.

    A witness claimed she had seen France speeding before the incident and that he had fallen “over his own feet” as he left his car. France was not charged over the incident, although the local police chief later ordered an investigation to see if the Nascar CEO had been given favourable treatment due to his position.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHuyvM9usJc

  • Edward Longbatter

    Here’s something to chew on:

    Wrigley Billionaire Moves From Chewing Gum to Medical Marijuana

    “When I understood the massive benefits, it really changed my mind about the industry,” Wrigley said in an interview, his first public comments about the investment. “You don’t see too many opportunities to have that kind of an impact in an industry that is being created from scratch.”

    https://tinyurl.com/Budmint

  • Narcissus Trump

    Michigan voters
    Legalize it!
    Vote YES on Proposal 1 today.

  • Servetus

    Kaiser Health News has the story on Purdue Pharma:

    As Purdue Pharma faced mounting criticism over deaths linked to OxyContin, rival drugmakers saw a chance to boost sales by stepping up marketing of similarly dangerous painkillers, such as fentanyl, morphine and methadone, Purdue internal documents reveal.

    Purdue’s 1996-2002 marketing plans for OxyContin, which Kaiser Health News made public this year for the first time, offer an unprecedented look at how that company spent millions of dollars to push opioids for growing legions of pain sufferers. A wave of lawsuits demanding reimbursement and accountability for the opioid crisis now ravaging communities has heightened awareness about how and when drug makers realized the potential dangers of their products.

    The Purdue documents lay out how the company and its biggest competitors were jockeying for market share. Some of those drugmakers’ sales promotions downplayed or ignored the risks of taking opioids, or made false claims about their safety, federal regulators have asserted in warning letters to the companies.

    Purdue first offered OxyContin as a remedy for moderate to severe cancer pain in 1996. Within three years, the company viewed the cancer market as too limited, with $261 million in potential annual sales versus $1.3 billion for a broader range of chronic pain care, the company’s marketing reports said. […]

    Purdue’s marketing reports indicate the company was worried about losing business to fentanyl-laced patches called Duragesic, as well as morphine pills and, to a lesser degree, methadone — which some managed-care groups and Medicaid health plans preferred because it cost much less than OxyContin. Methadone and morphine are made by a variety of drug companies. […]

    https://khn.org/news/how-rival-opioid-makers-sought-to-cash-in-on-alarm-over-oxycontins-dangers/

  • NCN

    In reply to Servetus’ comment.

    So, corporate marketing strategies were the driving force in a science-related activity called medicine? And, the folks in charge of prescribing pills were ignorant of the risks?

    That’s not an opioid crisis, it’s a crisis of stupidity. The kind of stupidity that increases in direct proportion to profits and wealth.

    My experience decades ago in cutting open Duragesic patches and smoking the goo on a piece of foil wasn’t that great. Minimal euphoria and and inability to stay awake is what I got. Nap Time!

  • Servetus

    Researchers at New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, identified risk factors to categorize people who consume licit and illicit drugs. No surprises. People surviving traumas tend to self-medicate, which makes persecuting people for drug consumption the equivalent of punishing them for their unavoidable life altercations, or their genetic makeup:

    August 7, 2018 — Abstract

    Background and Objectives

    There may be substantial overlap in the risk factors for substance use and substance use disorders (SUD). Identifying risk factors for substance use initiation is essential for understanding the etiology and natural history of SUD and to develop empirically‐based preventive interventions to reduce initiation. […]

    Results

    The lifetime cumulative probabilities of substance initiation were 45.5% for nicotine, 82% for alcohol, 19.6% for cannabis, and 6.4% for cocaine. Among respondents with lifetime nicotine use, 50% had used it by age 15.3, whereas for alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine the respective ages were 17.8, 16.6, and 19.8. Previous use of another substance, being male, having a cluster B personality disorder, family history of SUD, and being separated, divorced, or widowed increased the risk of use of all the substances assessed, whereas social anxiety disorder and some personality disorders were associated with specific substances.

    Discussion and Conclusions

    Although the age of substance use initiation varies by substance, in more than 50% of cases initiation of use occurs in the first two decades of life. Although most risk factors for substance use initiation are common across substances, some are substance‐specific.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ajad.12764

    Predictors of initiation of nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine use: Results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), Carlos Blanco MD, PhD, Ludwing Flórez‐Salamanca MD, Roberto Secades‐Villa PhD, Shuai Wang PhD, Deborah S. Hasin PhD.

  • Servetus

    Drexel University researchers in Pennsylvania disappoint prohibs by demonstrating that greater acceptance of legal marijuana is not leading to increases in consumption by underage people:

    8-AUG-2018 — “While what we found shows that attitudes toward marijuana are becoming more accepting, or normalized, use has not increased,” said Philip Massey, PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, who head up the report. “This is important because many people fear that legalizing marijuana will lead to greater use and potential abuse.” […]

    In Pennsylvanians between 12 and 17 years old, the rate of those who strongly disagreed with marijuana use dropped from 60.7 percent in 2013 to 53.3 percent in 2017. Over the same period, the rate of Pennsylvania youths who thought their parents would feel that it was “very wrong” to smoke marijuana dropped from 81.2 to 75.4 percent.

    Additionally, the rate of young people who said they would never try marijuana dropped from 71 percent in 2013 to 62.2 in 2017, with those unsure about whether or not they would want to try it growing from 6.7 to 10.3 percent.

    At the same time, the rate of youths who had at least one best friend smoke marijuana over the last year grew by only about one percentage point, from 30.7 to just 31.9. And young people didn’t seem to think the difficulty of getting marijuana changed very much even after it was approved for medical use, with 53.9 percent saying it was “very hard” to acquire in 2013 and 55 percent saying so in 2017. […]

    While the workgroup’s datasheet showed that arrest rates related to marijuana in Pennsylvania remained relatively unchanged from 2010 through 2016, juvenile arrest rates fell sharply. In 2010, there were 112.3 marijuana-related arrests per 100,000, but that fell all the way down to 79.6 in 2016. […]

    Black adults were 5.88 times as likely to be arrested than whites when it came to marijuana in 2010, but that fell to 3.72 in 2016. In juveniles, the disparity fell from 2.49 to 1.45 over the same time period.

    “What is promising is that the disparity is decreasing,” Massey said. “However, we cannot be satisfied with just a decrease but rather should aim for an elimination. That should be the goal.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: Pennsylvania’s youth more accepting of marijuana, but not using it more, report shows

  • Kush Rocket Extravaganja

    Lawmakers In U.S. Territory Vote To Legalize Marijuana

    Legislators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory, have approved a bill to legalize marijuana.

    By a margin of 18 – 1, with one abstention, the CNMI House of Representatives passed the legislation, which would end cannabis prohibition for adults over 21 and create a system of taxed and regulated sales. It would also allow medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

    https://tinyurl.com/MarianaTurkeyShoot

  • NCN

    OT Some Crazy Shit

    Last Sunday evening around 6:00 I had a very agitated man knock at my door. This article from the Ukiah Daily Journal tells the story of events leading up to his unannounced visit to my rented house.

    On Sunday at 5:33 p.m., Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies were sent to MacKerricher State Park (just North of Fort Bragg, CA) to assist state park rangers after they found a vehicle that was registered to a missing person.

    The four-door gray 2015 Nissan Altima with California license plate 7NHR870 was registered to Eric Ronald Miskey, of Chico, who also had a felony warrant for his arrest for evading law enforcement, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office stated.

    Deputies arrived and met with state park rangers. Deputies learned that just before their arrival, a ranger had made contact with Miskey and attempted to arrest him on his warrant when he entered his vehicle and fled into the campground. As deputies were obtaining this information, Miskey drove past them.

    Deputies pulled behind Miskey and initiated a traffic stop, but Miskey fled into the campground. Miskey circled the campground until he drove his vehicle through a wooden fence, nearly missing the parked state park ranger, according to the MCSO.

    Deputies pursued Miskey out of MacKerricher State Park and southbound onto Highway 1 at speeds over 90 mph. Miskey swerved in and out of the opposing lane of traffic, passing vehicles as he continued southbound on Highway 1. Miskey attempted to evade law enforcement by abruptly turning into the driveway of an industrial complex and then continuing into a nearby vacant field, where Miskey was found trying to conceal his vehicle.

    Upon seeing the deputies, Miskey accelerated across the field, jumping his vehicle over a drainage ditch running along the highway and then continued southbound on Highway 1 toward the city of Fort Bragg. A sheriff’s deputy attempted to navigate the drainage ditch at safe speed and the patrol vehicle became high-centered, which started a small vegetation fire under the vehicle, which authorities quickly extinguished. Miskey was last seen driving south on Highway 1 from Airport Road.

    Anyone with information related to this case or who knows the whereabouts Miskey is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office communication center at (707) 961-2421.

    Here’s the story the dude told me. He told me he was given my address by two men he claimed tried to stab him during a robbery attempt over a valuable guitar he said he had in his car. He said the front fender damage to his car was from escaping the attempted robbery. Why me? From his manic agitations I believe he met some locals who said there was a music jam at my house. Perhaps he was seeking a place to hide out?

    It made zero sense that the first contact after an attempted robbery attempt would be me and I told him he needed to report his story to Fort Bragg police. Then he asked me to give him a ride to police station. His car seemed drivable so I refused, and when I told him the street where the police were he thanked me. And fuck me if he didn’t seem genuinely grateful for that info.

    Its possible that he was trying to get access to my car to evade law enforcement. I never felt in any danger, but he sure messed up my relaxing Sunday evening. BTW, I did contact the Sheriff’s department which I initially refused to do, due to not having significant descriptions of his supposed robbers.

  • Servetus

    Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor California brush fires stayed these three dedicated growers from a fearless defense of their marijuana grow-op. They were ultimately arrested and forced to evacuate as the fire line approached within 18 meters of their farm:

    https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/marijuana-farm-mendocino-fire-lake-county-evacuate-13138471.php#photo-15942569

  • Servetus

    When nothing else works, change the wording:

    8-AUG-2018 – …The researchers, in a study published on August 8 in the American Journal of Public Health, surveyed representative national samples of Americans and found that only 29 percent of respondents were in favor of “safe consumption sites,” but 45 percent supported them when the term “overdose prevention sites” was used instead. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Support increases when opioid ‘safe consumption sites’ [are] called ‘overdose prevention sites’: Boosting public support could encourage more locations to consider adopting this harm-reduction strategy to combat the US opioid epidemic

  • Servetus

    Homo Prohibitus is on the same extinction path as Homo Erectus, and for the same reasons.

    Recent studies by lead-researcher Dr Ceri Shipton of the Australian National University School of Culture, History and Language, indicates Homo Erectus went extinct because the species was lazy, conservative, lacked a sense of curiosity or wonderment, failed to progress technologically, and lacked an ability or desire to adapt to climate or environmental change. The evidence is startling:

    AAAS Public Release: Laziness helped lead to extinction of Homo erectus

  • Tony Aroma

    Epidiolex, First Cannabis Medicine Approved by the FDA, Will Cost $32,500 a Year

    Unless insurance covers the cost, I don’t see Epidiolex as too much of a threat to current dispensary products. Though if the DEA reschedules CBD, that could lead to some competition.

  • DdC

    These are the Lines between the Lines…
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkfuOsmU0AIIAAc.jpg
    Cypress Hill Rapper Who Opposed California Legalization Opens A Marijuana Store

    Happy National Lazy Day! We’ve Found 10 Relaxing Strains, So You Don’t Have To
    https://www.marijuana.com/news/2018/08/happy-national-lazy-day-weve-found-10-relaxing-strains-so-you-dont-have-to/

    Can Article V Federally Legalize Cannabis?
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarabrittanysomerset/2018/08/12/can-article-v-federally-legalize-cannabis/?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=tw#102c9b8776de

    Canadians Should Be Allowed to Buy Marijuana Directly From the Grower
    https://www.marijuana.com/news/2018/08/canadians-should-be-allowed-to-buy-marijuana-directly-from-the-grower/

    Study Finds Workplace Fatalities Dropped in States With Medical Marijuana
    https://hightimes.com/news/study-finds-workplace-fatalities-dropped-states-medical-marijuana/

    Prayers for The Queen of Soul. The Great Aretha Franklin Gravely Ill.
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/8/13/1787859/-Prayers-for-The-Queen-of-Soul-The-Great-Aretha-Franklin-Gravely-Ill

  • Servetus

    Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Bath in the UK find a biological reason for cannabinoids to be an effective treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis:

    13-AUG-2018 — This is the first-time scientists have reported a biological mechanism to explain why some marijuana users have reported beneficial effects from cannabis on intestine inflammation conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Researchers hope that their findings will lead to the development of drugs and treatments for gut disorders, […]

    The researchers discovered that gut inflammation is regulated by two important processes, which are constantly in flux and responding to changing conditions in the intestinal environment. The first process…promotes an aggressive immune response in the gut that destroys dangerous pathogens, but which can also damage the lining of the intestine when immune cells attack indiscriminately.

    The second pathway, first described in this paper, turns off the inflammation response via special molecules transported across the epithelial cells lining the gut by the same process already known to remove toxins from these cells into the intestine cavity. Crucially, this response requires a naturally-produced molecule called an endocannabinoid, which is very similar to cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis.

    If the endocannabinoid isn’t present, inflammation isn’t kept in balance and it can run unchecked, as the body’s immune cells attack the intestinal lining. […]

    “We need to be clear that while this is a plausible explanation for why marijuana users have reported cannabis relieves symptoms of IBD, we have thus far only evaluated this in mice and have not proven this experimentally in humans. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Cannabis link to relieving intestinal inflammation explained

  • DdC

    Correlates of cannabinoid concentrations, real-world driving, and driving-related skills
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/08/09/387936

    Research on the relationship between cannabis use and safe driving has produced mixed results. Most studies have focused exclusively on the presence or concentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in the drug. However, cannabis is a complex substance, and both toxicological research and user experience suggests that some cannabis strains-often those with at least moderate levels of cannabidiol (CBD)-produce a different, more sedating high than cannabis strains with no or low levels of CBD. We hypothesize that the sedating properties of some high CBD cannabis strains has potential to impair driving and driving related skills above and beyond the effects of THC intoxication.

    UN Launches First-Ever Full Review Of Marijuana’s Status Under International Law
    https://www.marijuanamoment.net/un-launches-first-ever-full-review-of-marijuanas-status-under-international-law/

    For the first time ever, the United Nations (UN) is launching an in-depth review of whether marijuana is properly classified under international drug treaties.

    In a related development, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound in marijuana that is increasingly used for medical purposes, does not warrant being controlled under the global agreements.

    • NCN

      This is from the CBD driving study.

      “…although we associated CBD with driving impairment, it is possible, at least, that CBD is only a proxy of Myrcene, and that compound is the causal agent.”

      These three studies don’t know if CBD or the terpene Myrcene (think couch-lock) is the culprit. What these three studies did show is that THC use by experienced cannabis user’s is NOT a roadway threat.

      One of my favorite cannabis scientists is Ethan Russo, a former employee of GW Pharmaceuticals who knows a thing or two about CBD. Ethan says CBD is alerting, and that any sedation is due to the terpene Myrcene.

      Has anyone who has purchased cannabis at a dispensary ever had a bud tender say “use CBD if you’re having trouble sleeping?” If CBD sedation was a “thing” you can bet that use as a sleep aid would be common knowledge.

      However, the studies did show reduced driving skills in the CBD groups. Why?

  • “The War on Drugs Is Inseparable from US Imperialism”
    https://t.co/e2Mb6ziWoc

    … “The War on Drugs is generally presented as a global phenomenon. Each country has its own drug laws and enforces them as they see fit. Despite small regional differences, the world – we are told – has always been united in addressing the dangers of illicit drug use through law enforcement.”

    “This is a lie.”

    “When one traces back the history of what we now call the War on Drugs, one discovers it has a very specific origin: the United States. The global development of the drug war is inseparable from the development of US imperialism, and indeed, is a direct outgrowth of that imperialism.”

    You know, one could make the case that the ONLY reason for drug war is to support US imperialism. That would explain the current lackluster response in congress to support the wishes of the american people who want to see marijuana legalized and a stop to the all american war on drugs.

    This is the real Washington swamp.

  • Lala Bungy

    “This new report demonstrates Denver’s coordinated approach between multiple agencies to manage marijuana is working,” said Denver’s Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We took on the daunting challenge of becoming the first major city in America to manage legalized recreational marijuana and we are having success.

    https://tinyurl.com/WalkItBack

    In 2012, Mayor Hancock called cannabis a “gateway drug” and suggested that its legalization would detract from Colorado’s image and make the state less attractive to tourism and business interests.

  • LongGreenSláinteMhaith

    Constellation Brands to Invest $5 Billion CAD ($4 Billion USD) in Canopy Growth.

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3382966-constellation-brands-invest-4b-canopy-growth

    • WalStMonky

      .
      Friggin’ market ex-cannabis is crashing. Turkey is this important to the global economy? Perhaps it just made the traders think about the fact that our POTUS is a turkey. Never vote for a person that uses a tanning bed as an integral part of his campaign strategy…that’s my rule.

      Constellation CEO is blathering on CNBC at this moment and he sure doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that he knows what he’s doing.

  • Servetus

    Addiction has been correlated with abnormally reduced numbers of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brains of test subjects. Studies were conducted by researcher Jussi Hirvonen, MD, PhD, Turku, Finland, et al., and published in Biological Psychiatry. Abstract:

    Background

    Previous studies showed reduction of brain cannabinoid CB1 receptors in adults with cannabis and alcohol use disorders. Preclinical data suggest that these receptors also contribute to nicotine reward and dependence. Tobacco smoking may confound clinical studies of psychiatric disorders because many patients with such disorders smoke tobacco. Whether human subjects who smoke tobacco but are otherwise healthy have altered CB1 receptor binding in brain is unknown.

    Methods

    We measured CB1 receptors in brains of 18 healthy men who smoke tobacco (frequent chronic cigarette smokers), and 28 healthy men who do not smoke tobacco, using positron emission tomography and [18F]FMPEP-d2, a radioligand for CB1 receptors. We collected arterial blood samples during scanning to calculate the distribution volume (VT), which is nearly proportional to CB1 receptor density. Repeated-measures analysis of variance compared VT between groups in various brain regions.

    Results

    Brain CB1 receptor VT was about 20% lower in subjects who smoke tobacco than in subjects who do not. Decreased VT was found in all brain regions, but reduction did not correlate with years of smoking, number of cigarettes smoked per day, or measures of nicotine dependence.

    Conclusions

    Tobacco-smoking healthy men have a widespread reduction of CB1 receptor density in brain. Reduction of CB1 receptors appears to be a common feature of substance use disorders. Future clinical studies on the CB1 receptor should control for tobacco smoking.

    “Decreased Cannabinoid CB1 Receptors in Male Tobacco Smokers Examined with Positron Emission Tomography,”

    https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(18)31679-2/fulltext

    Further comments are found in the AAAS press release:

    15-Aug-2018 — …The study, the result of a collaboration of researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, supports that CB1 receptors play a role in smoking. The findings add to the group’s previous studies that report the same finding in people who abuse cannabis or alcohol, suggesting that reduction of CB1 receptors is a common feature of addiction.

    Of the 46 men who participated in the study all were considered healthy–18 of the participants were frequent cigarette smokers and 28 did not smoke. The researchers measured the number of receptors by using a brain imaging technique to detect a drug that binds to CB1 receptors. […]

    … A drug that blocks CB1 receptors, called rimonabant, has been tested in clinical trials for smoking cessation. Although the drug seemed to help people quit smoking, it caused problematic psychiatric side effects. “While rimonabant was associated with unacceptable risk for mood symptoms and suicidal ideation, other addiction treatments targeting cannabinoid signaling should be explored,” said John Krystal, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. [emphasis added]
    The findings have important and immediate implications for research examining the role of the brain’s cannabinoid system in the cause of neuropsychiatric disorders. Because smoking is so common in people with neuropsychiatric disorders, clinical studies will have to carefully consider smoking habits in patients that could interfere with cannabinoid receptor measurements. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Male tobacco smokers have brain-wide reduction of CB1 receptors: A study in Biological Psychiatry examines cannabinoid CB1 receptor binding in healthy male tobacco smokers

    Nora Volkow is listed as one of the many authors of the study. Her influence may be where the phrase “people who abuse cannabis” or alcohol originates. The press release is vague enough to be misinterpreted by journalists who may misread it as marijuana or tobacco use being the cause of reduced numbers of CB1 receptors in the test subjects’ brains. For this reason, the research needs to be put on a watch list as a source of possible future anti-cannabis propaganda.

    • Servetus

      Cartoons are fun, but Steve Bannon’s Bible is better. I’m referring to The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics (2011), by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith. The book instructs its readers on dictators’ political moves meant to keep them in office. In Trump’s case it means paying off the small coalition of power brokers who seated him in the Oval Office. He’s accomplished that already by giving tax breaks to the wealthy, leaving little or nothing for old Mother Hubbard and her dog.

      Since nothing modern fascists do is original, another good source of information on Trumpian politics, one that can be used to explain or predict what’s happening today in the US and other parts of the world, can be found in the classic work by George Seldes, Facts and Fascism (1943, and in 1947 pub. book).

  • DdC

    A Mormon filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Utah’s medical cannabis measure from the ballot, claiming that it violates his religion and that people have a “right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant.”

    Religionists moral values?

    Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 “predator priests”

    Lies and cover-ups: Catholic church in Pennsylvania had ‘playbook’ to keep priest abuse secret, FBI said

    We need a Prohibitiot Vaccine.

    New Cannabis Character?
    For the time being, at least, ‘VeggieTales’ characters remain based on things mothers would approve of their kids consuming.

    Some Massachusetts police chiefs are arguing that marijuana legalization boosts the illegal market.

    Cops say pot legalization hikes illicit dope business

  • WalStMonky

    .
    Another sycophant of prohibition has expanded the outer limits of stupidity. Apparently this clown believes that religious freedom includes telling other people what to do.

    Lawsuit to block medical marijuana initiative claims measure violates Mormons’ religious freedom

    • Kirby: I’m a marijuana user and a Mormon
      https://t.co/H6JflVLW0z

      “A current initiative — Proposition 2 — is intended to help make medical marijuana more widely available in Utah. That would be nice but not absolutely necessary since I plan on continuing to break the law for as long as it allows me to walk and sleep with less pain and no addiction.”

  • Servetus

    The Utah lawsuit by the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Utah and Walter Plumb III citing Mormon resistance to legalizing marijuana for medical use reflects the sect’s modern fascist tendencies. History has the story.

    In 1933, not only was marijuana prohibited for use among its LDS church members, cannabis was illegal in Nazi Germany due to the Concordat Hitler had signed with Pope Pius XI that incorporated Catholic Canon laws into German secular law. In return, the Vatican gave political support to Hitler and the Nazis by disbanding the church’s own political party to reduce voter competition. Like the Vatican, German Mormons supported Hitler and fascism, and made themselves useful to the political movement. Mormonism’s admiration and support for Nazi fascism explains much of the authoritarian, sanctimonious, and sycophantic political activities promoted by the sect in 2018:

    …in 1933 it was felt that there was nothing to fear from a Nazi government. The sect was obedient to the state and was willing to undertake any civil or military duties members might be called upon to perform. Article 12 of their creed makes obedience to the civil authorities mandatory for all Mormons. [12 — We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. – J. Smith] […]

    Since political and moral conservatism were factors likely to encourage the sects to welcome Nazism as a bulwark against Bolshevism, none were slow to exploit characteristics they felt they had in common with the new party or its leader.

    In the area of behaviour these included abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, for which Hitler was noted, […]

    Mormons use genealogical records in their search for the names of relatives who they can offer for posthumous baptism, and under the new state, itself obsessed with genetics, found, quite naturally, that these records were suddenly more available. In the process, of course, the Mormon researchers were quite happy to use the records for the purpose for which they were intended and many received letters of praise from the government for their zeal in tracing their Aryan ancestry. In 1932 Mormon teachings on race were likely to find favour in Nazi eyes. God, it was explained, had cursed Cain with a black skin; which marked him out as inferior and thus unable to enter the Mormon priesthood. Only at the last day would God make all blacks white and remove the curse. […]

    Mormons were neither any better nor any worse than most other sectarians in their treatment of the Jews in the Third Reich […]

    Mormon president Herbert J. Grant’s … visit gave official sanction in Mormon circles to the church’s friendship with the new Germany. Such a friendship was neither new nor unexpected. Grant’s suggestions of mutual co-operation simply supported the line suggested by Americans like Senator Reed Smoot who had in 1935 published an article in the Mormon publication Der Stern criticising Germany’s ill-treatment at Versailles. […]

    Mormons continued to stress the ‘parallel goals’ of Mormonism and National Socialism. An article appeared in the Nazi Volkische Beobachter on the 14th of April 1939 written by the West German Mission president Alfred C. Rees, indicating the degree to which links were apparent and, on the Mormon side, welcomed. Mormons, the article claimed, viewed the new Germany ‘with sympathy and friendship’. Sermons and prayers reflected this continued claim that Nazism paralleled Mormon aims and some Mormon leaders began to instruct their congregations in elements of National Socialism, conducting prayers for the Fuhrer, speaking of him as ‘divinely called’ and stressing yet once more the ways in which National Socialism and Mormonism even had similar organisational structures and ideals.[…]

    The Nazi State and the New Religions: Five Case Studies in Non-Conformity by Christine Elizabeth King (Studies in Religion, Volume Four, Edwin Melton Press, New York and London, 1982), pp. 59-87.

  • On fentanyl: Congress must avoid another drug war
    https://t.co/IxqnseFNMp

    … “To be clear, our country is in the midst of an overdose epidemic, and synthetic drugs are driving up the death count.”

    “But only public health solutions — safe consumption spaces, expanded access to evidence-based treatment and drug checking (a service where members of the public submit drug samples to find out the actual content and purity of the substances) — will get us out of this crisis. I was a police officer in California on the front lines during previous drug epidemics — such as crack in the late 1980s and methamphetamine in the 1990s. I saw firsthand that harsh sentences did nothing to stop the flow of drugs and only decimated communities of color by ramping up our prison population.”

    “We must learn the lessons of the war on drugs. Feinstein and others must not make the same mistakes of the 1980s and ’90s. They must embrace a forward-thinking approach on drug policy, one in which public health — not prison — has the central role.”

    – Retired Lt. Diane Goldstein is a 21-year veteran of the Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) Police Department and board chair of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a group of police, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice professionals who advance sensible criminal justice policy solutions.-

  • HouseOnFire

    Even the Daily Fail comment thread ‘ain’t having it.

    “Victimless cr!me. It will cost taxpayers a fortune to keep them locked up. Legitimise weed and let adults decide themselves what they want to use or grow.”

    “The cost of the prison sentences, excluding investigation and court procedures, will be £1.12 million. If legalised and taxed, cannabis could be earning the Treasury £9 billion annually.”

    “Sorry, but it’s 2018, why isn’t this legal in the uk.”

    “The cost of jailing people like this is enormous, Just legalise it for everyone’s benefit including the government’s!”

    “Why don’t the authorities just legalize and tax this rubbish?”

    “Time and effort to arrest and prosecute, and 300k per year per person keeping these blokes inside. Absolute absurdity and a total waste of money, millions down the drain.”

    https://tinyurl.com/andManyManyMore

  • Dagat-Dagatan

    Duterte’s war on the terminally ill.

    When the police arrested him on Aug. 2, Mr. Rafael, 35, who had lymphoma, tried to explain why he looked emaciated. It wasn’t because of narcotics. He was just really sick, having undergone chemotherapy since his return from Saudi Arabia last year for treatment.

    But his reasoning fell on deaf ears, and he was detained, beaten and tortured by the police to obtain a confession, according to his younger brother, Aarun Rafael, who had visited him in jail.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/19/world/asia/duterte-drug-war-killing-cancer.html

  • Servetus

    A Yale study recommends physicians treat their white patients more like their black patients when prescribing opioids for chronic pain:

    20-AUG-2018…researchers have identified racial disparities in the treatment of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain. Black patients who receive opioids long-term are more likely than whites to be tested for illicit drug use. Of those who test positive, blacks are more likely to have their opioid prescriptions discontinued, said the researchers. […]

    “There is no mandate to immediately stop a patient from taking prescription opioids if they test positive for illicit drugs,” Gaither explained. “It’s our feeling that without clear guidance, physicians are falling back on ingrained stereotypes, including racial stereotyping. When faced with evidence of illicit drug use, clinicians are more likely to discontinue opioids when a patient is black, even though research has shown that whites are the group at highest risk for overdose and death.”

    The researchers hope that their study encourages providers to follow current recommendations for testing patients for illicit drugs when they are first prescribed opioids for chronic pain, and annually thereafter. “This study underscores the urgent need for a more universal approach to monitoring patients prescribed opioids for the concurrent use of sedatives and other substances that may increase the risk of overdose,” said Gaither.

    AAAS Public Release: Study finds racial disparities in prescribing opioids for chronic pain

  • Servetus

    Sewage epidemiology may be coming to a community near you. No, it’s not a new disease. It’s the surveillance state investigating your bodily fluids for traces of heretical enjoyment and happiness at “celebratory events”:

    20-AUG-2018 — America’s drug problem may be even worse than officials realize. And illicit drugs are consumed at a higher rate during celebratory events. Those are just two of the conclusions scientists have drawn from recent studies of drug residues in sewage. […]

    “The conventional approach to assess community drug usage in the U.S. takes months or years,” Bikram Subedi, Ph.D., says. It’s also costly, and researchers have had to rely on drug-related crime statistics, overdose/toxicology reports and the public’s responses to surveys, which could well underreport use, he adds.

    As a faster, inexpensive alternative, Subedi’s team at Murray State University uses “sewage epidemiology,” a technique for analyzing wastewater. Subedi, the project’s lead investigator, says this method gleans nearly real-time data on drug consumption in local communities. The testing shows that consumption of some drugs is far more widespread than HHS estimates suggest. It also confirms the intuitive assumption that drug use rises during celebrations. […]

    …the team filtered and extracted the samples and then analyzed them with high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. “The results showed that consumption of drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and THC…was significantly higher during festive events,” Subedi says. “But the profile and rate of consumption was significantly different in the two towns.” He plans to do further studies to explore the reasons for that difference.

    Calculations based on the tests revealed levels of methamphetamine consumption that are among the highest ever reported in the U.S. In addition, the percentage of the population using amphetamine and methamphetamine was two- to four-fold higher than HHS estimates, according to the researchers. The samples also showed very high consumption of opiates such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet and morphine, Subedi says. He notes that Kentucky is in a region infested with illegal meth labs and burdened with extremely high opiate prescription rates.

    Although sewage epidemiology is widely applied in Europe, it has been underused in the U.S., Subedi notes. […]

    …the team plans to move upstream, collecting sewage samples from the suspected individual sites before they’re commingled at the wastewater treatment facility. This refinement would reveal whether drug use is homogeneous throughout a particular town, or if there are hotspots of consumption, such as a particular neighborhood, hospital or school. Subedi also wants to track population data so he can correct for an influx of tourists during a festive event, for example, and to expand sewage testing nationwide.

    AAAS Public Release: Illicit drug use could be higher than previously thought; soars during special events

  • Bo Jangles

    Wells Fargo Terminates Banking Services for Florida Political Candidate Over Her Support for Medical Marijuana…
    https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/wells-fargo-terminates-banking-services-florida-political-candidate-over-her

  • kaptinemo

    I feel like I’m in the Army, again. Because after reading this, I feel like singing an old marching song:

    “Heeeere we go again” (march, march, march, march)
    “Same old shit, again”

    America’s Invisible Pot Addicts; More and more Americans are reporting near-constant cannabis use, as legalization forges ahead.

    You don’t have to guess who the ‘experts’ who were consulted by this (ahem) ‘journalist’ are. All the usual arseho- uh, er, ‘suspects’. They’re all there, they’re all in, and singin’ the same tired old song. The finger-wagging nags who are desperately clinging to a twig of relevancy as they dangle on a cliff-face marked ‘History’.

    It has been my concerted opinion formed over nearly 60 years that Humanity is cursed to be forced to drag its braying jackasses along with it, while said jackasses impede every single step of real evolutionary social progress. This issue of cannabis re-legalization has only served to validate that premise; the asinine braying of the prohib ‘experts’ in the article proves it.

    • Servetus

      Keith Humphreys is addicted to the addiction recovery business, particularly AA’s methodology.

      His life absolutely wraps around the industry. He loves it too much. So much it’s conceivable he wants cannabis to be considered addictive just so he can draw marijuana consumers into faith-based types of treatments for addiction. He doesn’t seem as excited about medically based addiction treatments, although he doesn’t discount them.

      The following is excerpted from a 33-page interview of Humphreys done in 2011 by William L. White:

      Bill White: Between 2003 and 2008, you served as an advisor to the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. Did your work in that role alter your views about religious pathways to long-term recovery and the role of faith communities as indigenous recovery support institutions?

      Dr. Humphreys: The Bush Administration was loathed in much of academia, and I took some guff for advising that office (which my contrarian streak helped me ignore and to some extent even enjoy). But by any objective standard, with the President’s New Freedom Commission, the Access to Recovery initiative, and the Domenici-Wellstone Mental Health Parity Law, the Bush Administration was a great time for the treatment of addiction and mental health problems.

      When the White House faith office took an interest in addiction, many of my colleagues feared they would ignore scientific evidence. But I was excited because I knew the science was there: A mountain of evidence attests that religious faith of any kind is a protective factor for that helps kids avoid addiction, and a spiritual or religious experience is essential to how some Americans recover from addiction. There was never any question scientifically of whether a contribution could be made by faith-based organizations to recovery; it was more a political and cultural question of how we do that in a pluralistic society with a Constitutional commitment to separation of church and state. […]

      http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/2011%20Dr.%20Keith%20Humphreys.pdf

      Mark Kleiman, by contrast, is a jackass who believes pot smokers are stupid. Mark polished too many prohibitionist turds to rethink or retract any of his previous assumptions about weed. As a professional shit-shiner, he currently resides in the mental state of Academic Couch-lock.

      • kaptinemo

        A mountain of evidence attests that religious faith of any kind is a protective factor for that helps kids avoid addiction, and a spiritual or religious experience is essential to how some Americans recover from addiction.

        Considering that ‘a mountain of evidence attests’ that much of Humanity’s earliest ‘spiritual or religious experience’ was chemically-induced, the degree of un-self-consciously displayed ignorance wedded to hypocrisy is nothing short of gob-smacking.

        But then, researching such lines of inquiry, perforce, provides information that negates their premises, so such research is never undertaken by such as Humphreys, much less mentioned, lest it inspire that inquiry by others. The chain of circular logic, meant to wrap around and fetter people’s brains, must not be broken.

        • NorCalNative

          From Magic Medicine – A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances – By Cody Johnson

          From ecstasy to enlightenment, samadhi, mystical states of consciousness have been known by many names in many cultures. They’re highly sought after by monks, prophets gurus, yogis, and other seekers, yet they remain notoriously elusive. As a result, mystical states have been something of a thorn in the side of psychology for many years, even as they remain the basis and higher goal of many religions.

          Yet with studies like those conducted by Walter Pahnke and Roland Griffiths, science has confirmed what shamans and seers have known for millennia — that psychedelics serve as reliable portals to the most revered states of consciousness.

          Then there’s this:

          Many of the early LSD studies focused on treating alcoholism. Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Annonymous, tried LSD and was very impressed with its ability to open up a direct connection to God, self, and the cosmos. Recognizing that such profound spiritual epiphanies could provide a lifeline for others struggling with alcoholism, he enthusiastically endorsed its use. But his organization’s leadership, understandably skeptical of substance-based solutions expressed grave concerns, and Wilson gave up his self-experiments.

          It’d be interesting to know Humphries’ thoughts on this.

          BTW, the author of this new book is the nephew of my best friend.

        • DdC

          Magic Medicine – By Cody Johnson
          A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and
          Modern Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances

          https://twitter.com/PsyFrontier

          What Is MAPS?
          https://maps.org/

  • Servetus

    Even when it’s legal, it’s not. Big Tobacco has been busted in the UK for smuggling tobacco and for creating a rigged tracking control system to facilitate its smuggling operations:

    23-AUG-2018 — …in global tobacco smuggling operations aimed to avoid paying taxes, governments around the world adopted the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP). Part of a global treaty…aims to root out tobacco industry smuggling through…a system in which tobacco packs are marked so they can be tracked through their distribution route and, if found on the illicit market, can be traced back to see where they originated.

    …the new study argues that at this point the tobacco industry claimed to have changed, no longer the perpetrators of smuggling, but instead themselves now the victims of smuggled and counterfeited tobacco.

    Simultaneously the major tobacco companies developed their own track and trace system, ‘Codentify’, lobbying governments around the world to see it adopted as the global track and trace system of choice. Leaked documents show the four major transnational tobacco companies hatched a joint plan to use front groups and third parties to promote ‘Codentify’ to governments and have them believe it was independent of industry and how these plans were operationalised. For example, the study reveals how a supposedly independent company fronted for British American Tobacco (BAT) in a tender for a track and trace system in Kenya.

    …growing evidence suggests the tobacco industry is still facilitating tobacco smuggling. Approximately two thirds of smuggled cigarettes may still derive from industry. At best, the authors suggest, this shows the tobacco industry’s failure to control its supply chain, but they point to growing evidence from government investigations, whistleblowers and leaked tobacco industry documents all suggesting ongoing industry involvement.

    The study suggests that in order to bolster support for their system and enhance their credibility, Big Tobacco created front groups, poured funding into organisations meant to hold it to account and into initiatives that would curry favour, and paid for misleading data and reports.

    Professor Anna Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group, explains: “This has to be one of the tobacco industry’s greatest scams: not only is it still involved in tobacco smuggling, but big tobacco is positioning itself to control the very system governments around the world have designed to stop it from doing so. The industry’s elaborate and underhand effort involves front groups, third parties, fake news and payments to the regulatory authorities meant to hold them to account.” […]

    Second author Dr Karen Evans-Reeves added: “Despite far-reaching concerns over industry-funded data on this topic, tobacco companies continue to spend millions of pounds funding research into the illicit tobacco trade. As recently as 2016 Philip Morris International’s PMI IMPACT initiative pledged 100 million USD for this purpose. Yet, if industry-funded data consistently fails to reach the expected standards of replicable academic research, we must question if it has any use beyond helping the industry muddy the waters on an important public health issue.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: New research uncovers ‘one of the tobacco industry’s greatest scams’: University of Bath (UK) press release

    The study was funded by grants from Cancer Research UK.

  • Our Mr Jefbo risin'

    Breaking:

    Jeff Sessions Rejects Trump’s Latest Attack, Says Justice Dept. Will Not Be Influenced by Politics

    “I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action,”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/us/politics/trump-flipping-cohen-manafort.html

  • Servetus

    As previously revealed by darkcycle, people with neural problems are notorious for excessive consumption of cigarettes, coffee, and presumably cannabis if they can access it. This leads to prohibidiots claiming marijuana use leads to mental illness in underage consumers—post hoc ergo propter hoc—with coffee or tobacco mysteriously getting no blame whatsoever. New research sheds light on the phenomenon of tobacco consumption among the mentally ill and the enablers or disablers they face quitting tobacco:

    23-AUG-2018 — People with serious mental illness (SMI) have a reduced life expectancy of up to 25 years compared to the general population. Smoking is one of the primary reasons for this disparity. An estimated 53 percent of adults with SMI, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and major depression, smoke cigarettes, whereas, only 18 percent of adults in the general population smoke. While studies have shown that most smokers with SMI want to quit, they are less likely to do so–or to take advantage of available smoking cessation treatments.

    In order to better understand why quit rates were so low among this group, researchers from Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School explored how social networks (defined as social interactions and personal relationships) influenced smoking outcomes among people with SMI who participated in smoking cessation programs. […]

    Among their findings from a study published in the July 17th issue of Translational Behavioral Medicine:

    ●Study participants had an average age of 47; 49% were female; 42% had a psychiatric diagnosis of bipolar disorder; 32% had a diagnosis of major depressive disorder; 26% had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

    ●Forty-four percent of the 243 contacts identified in the social network interviews were family members, with 12% identified as parents; friends comprised 45% of social networks–with coworkers, neighbors, peers at the mental health center, and members of a shared social group comprising the rest of the network.

    ●Participants reported contacts’ smoking status as 52% current smokers; 30% never smokers; and 18% former smokers.

    ●Sixty-three percent of participants had smoked with a contact at least once per month during the past year.

    ●Fifty-seven percent of contacts had helped a participant quit smoking within the past year, whereas 14% of contacts hindered a participants’ efforts to quit smoking.

    ●According to participant reporting, 90% of contacts approved of them using counseling to quit smoking, while 75% approved of using medications to quit.

    The researchers say the strongest result they found was the association between contacts’ smoking status and study participants’ smoking status–having contacts who were former smokers decreased the odds that participant was still a smoker following cessation of treatment. They also found that having a highly connected friend or group was associated with decreased odds that the participant was still smoking post-treatment. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Friends who are former smokers are key to helping people with serious mental illness quit

    • kaptinemo

      Now compare that with the near universal prevalence of heavy tobacco usage among people undergoing various hard drug rehabilitation programs. It is de facto if not de jure drug substitution, tacitly encouraged and tolerated by those administering those programs. Tobacco’s legal status is only but one factor among many.

      Given that 19th century physicians often suggested that cannabis (partly due to its very low potential for addiction) be substituted for alcohol, opiates, etc, in order to reduce the personal and social damage caused by the (vastly) more destructive substances, you have to wonder why nicotine, one of the most addictive substances on this planet, is often allowed to be consumed excessively during rehabilitation, by those already addicted to other, near-equally addictive substances, when the purported goal of ‘rehab’ is the extinguishing of addictive behavior, period. Doctor-of-nothing-medical Sabet et al ought to be asked this the next time they testify before a Congressional committee.

    • darkcycle

      Oh dear, couchmates, that’s not the half of it. First of all, if you look exclusively at schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder and BAD (bipolar) with schizoid tendencies, it’s on the order of seventy to seventy-nine percent are smokers…. but WHY??
      Well, turns out the tobacco companies have very little compunction about targeting the most vulnerable (and least likely to quit) customers. The level of shittiness that made this an attractive notion is unfathomable. If you’re not aware, THIS should make you scream for justice, and if you’ve seen it before, and filed it away with the other problems with our mental health systems as beyond repair, it needs a reminder. Big tobacco LOVES them some easy victims. https://truthinitiative.org/news/how-tobacco-companies-linked-cigarettes-and-mental-health

  • DdC

    The DEA Just Admitted Weed Has Never Killed Anyone
    and Causes ‘Happiness’ https://herb.co/marijuana/news/dea-admitted-weed-never-killed/

    S.Res. 578: A resolution honoring the men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration on the 45th anniversary of the agency. The results of their enDEAvors will not be forgotten.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DaBDHLdW4AAh7Kt.jpg

    • kaptinemo

      Next month will mark the 30th anniversary of the publishing of DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young’s admission that

      Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.

      The entirety of Judge Young’s ruling can be found here

      But, as history has borne out these past 3 decades, the DEA has always preferred to abide by Upton Sinclair’s observation that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” The DEA has proven to be a master at being willfully obtuse…to the continuing detriment of its paymasters, the taxpaying – and reform-minded – public.

      • Mike Fucking Pence

        It’s well known in elite and elevated evangelical minds that God said: Carry on DEA dudes for without Schedule I, surely our Christian Empire shall fall.

    • DdC

      The DEA Just Admitted
      Weed Has Never Killed Anyone
      Prohibition has…

      John McCain,
      ‘maverick’ of the Senate and former POW, dies at 81
      https://twitter.com/DendeCannabist/status/1033956853724540928

      ~ John McCain,
      Republican diagnosed with brain tumor Jul 19, 2017

      clinical studies with cannabis or single cannabinoids in different diseases and case reports on the use of cannabis by patients.

      ~ Inhalation marijuana as an antiemetic for cancer chemotherapy

      ~ PTSD Sufferers Qualify for Medical Marijuana

      ~ Teddy Kennedy RIP
      The Ultimate Tragedy of Liberalism. His Brain Tumor Is of the Type That Cannabis Might Cure. Suppressed Research May Claim Another Drug War Victim. As it happens, there have been several studies showing that glioma cells can be killed by cannabinoids. Incredibly, at least one of these studies was suppressed by the US government. Had the medical potential of cannabis not been suppressed to satisfy the needs of the Drug War’s prohibitionist propaganda, scientists might have developed ways of using cannabinoids to treat this type of cancer that would be far more effective than the treatment that he is going to have to endure.
      Richard Cowan, 2008-05-20 16:20:00

      ~ Cannabis May Offer Protection Against Tumors
      ~ Marijuana Ingredient May Reduce Tumors

      “Our findings support that safe, therapeutically efficacious doses of THC may be reached in cancer patients”
      Guillermo Velasco,
      Complutense University, Madrid
      Journal of Clinical Investigation

      ~ Active Ingredient in Marijuana Kills Brain Cancer

      “It is desirable to have a substance that induces programmed cell death in tumor cells but not in health cells for the treatment of cancer. It has been demonstrated by the Spanish scientists … that THC could be such a substance.”
      Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen,
      Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM)
      December 13 issue of the ACM-Bulletin

      ~ Ganjawar Prevents Brain Tumor Treatment

      ~ Cannabis Shrinks Tumors: Government Knew in 74

      In 1974, California Governor Ronald Reagan was asked about decriminalizing marijuana. After producing the Heath/Tulane University study, the so-called “Great Communicator” proclaimed, “The most reliable scientific sources say permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana.” (L.A. Times)

      ~ The Hype: Brain Damage and Dead Monkeys

      “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”
      — Ronald Reagan – Former President

      ~ The Facts: Suffocation of Research Animals
      Dr. Heath/Tulane Study, 1974

      “If a ruler hearken to lies,
      all his servants are wicked.”
      ~ Proverbs 29:12

  • darkcycle

    Okay. I’m just going to leave this here. Harrumphries has no qualms about killing people. His latest effort will have a body count. Bastard. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/8/22/17683364/safe-injection-sites-study

    • darkcycle

      It’s the ultimate cherry-picking expedition…he throws out all studies of the over 100 operating Safe Injection Sites, and only looks at FOUR studies, he ignores all the manifest benefits, the fact that not a single fatal overdose has occurred at a SIS, a single fact that makes the facilities 100% effective among the population that USES them.
      This latest grasp for relevancy on the part of Harrumpries is going to kill people. I’m currently fuming.

    • kaptinemo

      Prohibs have always suffered from a form of schizophrenia: they profess ‘concern’ for the lives of addicts, yet demonstrate that concern by attempting to obstruct every harm reduction strategy available in favor of punitive force, which in turn leads to casualties among those they profess to ‘care’ for.

      One can be forgiven for harboring suspicions regarding the origins of such ‘care’ and ‘concern’ when such ‘compassion’ leads to unnecessary loss of life.

      I’ve said it before and it merits repeating: the reason why drug law reformers keep missing the mark in attempting to reach a breakthrough in the meeting of minds with prohibitionists is the stark reality that prohibs want people they don’t like to die. And that desire targets the vast majority of those who are reading these words this very second.

      Some prohibitionists may dispute Darwin’s thesis on religious grounds, some on scientific ones, but they have all adopted the tenets of Social Darwinism and seek to implement them at warp speed; Mother Nature, ‘red of tooth and claw’ is moving too slowly for their tastes, and they seek to ‘help’ her along at a faster pace in order to ‘weed out’ those they deem ‘unfit’ or ‘undeserving’ of life.

      Never forget that drug prohibition came about as a result of a combination of an upwelling of religious fervor combined with eugenics, a mainly American pursuit obsessing with concepts of racial purity…and anything that threatened the goal of that chimerical ‘purity’ had to be eliminated. Anything that smacked of ‘degeneracy’ had to be rooted out, and drug use was seen as degenerate and drug users equally so. Hence the often viscerally applied murderous force against those who are, in the main, not a threat at all.

      Although the origin of their attitudes have been lost to them over time, prohibs remain true to the spirit of them with their maniacal witch hunts against illicit alkaloid consumers, to the point of killing who knows how many over a century of this madness. A madness that, thankfully, demographics is forcing an end to.

      • darkcycle

        “A madness that, thankfully, demographics is forcing an end to.”
        Not fast enough, Kap’n. Not fast enough. I would like nothing more than to see Harrumphries on the receiving end of his own policy views. I know it’s wrong to want to see people suffer. But….

        • kaptinemo

          “Not fast enough”. No argument from me. But I am mindful of the fact that many of these prohibs are now in their mid-seventies and early 80’s.

          Sessions’ marijuana advisor wants to drug test everyone

          That face could make a good substitute for the Totenkopf insignia of an Nazi SS officer’s uniform. Truly a ‘death’s head’. The Grim Reaper is hunting the whole lot of those who made it their life’s work to immiserate and destroy the lives of those who never caused them any harm at all.

          Their political base is in the same straits; whether they’re lame, loony, dying or dead, they can’t vote anymore, leaving the field clear for those who can, and the majority of the latter want re-legalization.

          The last of the prohibs will live just long enough to see their life’s work rendered as nullified as they are. Not enough punishment for all the harm they’ve caused in their insane modern-day version of a medieval Children’s Crusade, but at least we get to watch in hilarity as their false teeth fall out while trying to gnash them, and impotently wheeze their last anti-cannabis jeremiads at an equally lunatic audience.

  • Servetus

    Dr. Francesca M. Filbey used brain scans to determine the effects in consumers who combine cannabis and tobacco, a practice more common in Europe than the US; and to compare the effects when the two substances were used separately:

    28-Aug-2018 — Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth® at the University of Texas at Dallas investigated the effects on the brain of concurrent cannabis and nicotine use, versus the use of solely cannabis and solely nicotine.

    The results, recently published in the journal Brain Structure and Function, show that not only were the effects in these three categories different, but also that the group using both nicotine and cannabis more closely resembled the control (non-user) group in brain connectivity. The isolated nicotine and isolated cannabis users showed equally less connectivity in general.

    Previous research in rats has suggested that nicotine may be a “gateway drug” leading to cannabis and other drug use. Studies performed with rats exposed to THC – the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana – demonstrated an increased likelihood to self-administer nicotine that was not observed with rats exposed to heroin or cocaine, suggesting that there is something unique about the cannabis-nicotine interaction. […]

    …scans revealed that the control group displayed greater connectivity in almost all of the networks compared to the nicotine and cannabis groups, while the combined nicotine plus cannabis group had greater connectivity than the only-nicotine and only-cannabis groups. Notably, this study did not demonstrate a correlation between substance use severity and functional connectivity. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Differences between combined, isolated use of cannabis, nicotine on brain networks

  • Servetus

    Is ketamine merely another opioid? It’s mode of action in the treatment of depression makes it appear so:

    29-Aug-2018 — … ketamine’s acute antidepressant effect requires opioid system activation, the first time that a receptor site has been shown in humans to be necessary for any antidepressant’s mechanism of action. While opioids have been used historically to treat depression, they are known to carry a high risk of dependence. Alan F. Schatzberg, M.D., who led this research at Stanford, cautions against widespread and repeated use of ketamine for depression treatment until more research can be done on both the mechanism of action and the risk of tolerance, abuse and dependence. […]

    Use of naltrexone dramatically blocked the antidepressant effects of the ketamine but not the dissociative effects, so the trial was halted at the interim analysis. Participants receiving the ketamine plus naltrexone experienced much less reduction in depression symptoms than participants receiving ketamine plus placebo. There were no differences in ketamine-induced dissociation between those receiving naltrexone or a placebo.

    …Mark S. George, M.D., with the Medical University of South Carolina and the VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C., notes, “We would hate to treat the depression and suicide epidemics by overusing ketamine, which might perhaps unintentionally grow the third head of opioid dependence.” George cautions that “with these new findings, we should be cautious about widespread and repeated use of ketamine before further mechanistic testing has been performed to determine whether ketamine is merely another opioid in a novel form.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: New research: Ketamine activates opioid system to treat depression: Experts caution against widespread use due to potential for tolerance, abuse and dependence

    Opioids have long been known to treat depression, but are rejected due to addictive side effects. Excess use of opioids in areas of the US subject to hardships or economic distress makes sense; they’re being used as anti-depressants or to cope.

  • Servetus

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is about to become the first medically accepted safe and side-effect-free anti-psychotic medication–making marijuana containing CBD the treatment rather than a cause of psychosis, in effect, the polar opposite of prohibitionist superstitions and propaganda:

    29-Aug-2018 — Research from King’s College London has found that a single dose of the cannabis extract cannabidiol (CBD) can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis. Results from a new MRC-funded trial, published in JAMA Psychiatry, provide the first evidence of how cannabidiol acts in the brain to reduce psychotic symptoms. […]

    …exactly how cannabidiol may work in the brain to alleviate psychosis has remained a mystery.

    “The mainstay of current treatment for people with psychosis are drugs that were first discovered in the 1950s and unfortunately do not work for everyone,” says Dr Sagnik Bhattacharyya, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). “Our results have started unravelling the brain mechanisms of a new drug that works in a completely different way to traditional anti-psychotics.” […]

    All participants were studied in an MRI scanner while performing a memory task which engages three regions of the brain known to be involved in psychosis.

    As expected, the brain activity in the participants at risk of psychosis was abnormal compared to the healthy participants. However, among those who had cannabidiol, the abnormal brain activity was less severe than for those who received a placebo, suggesting cannabidiol can help re-adjust brain activity to normal levels. […]

    Intriguingly, previous research from King’s College London shows cannabidiol appears to work in opposition to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); the ingredient in cannabis responsible for getting users high which has been strongly linked to the development of psychosis. THC can be thought of as mimicking some of the effects of psychosis, while cannabidiol has broadly opposite neurological and behavioural effects.

    Dr Bhattacharyya and colleagues at IoPPN are now launching the first large scale, multi-centre trial to investigate whether cannabidiol can be used to treat young people at high risk of developing psychosis. The trial is supported by a £1.85 million grant from an NIHR and MRC partnership. […]

    …there are currently no treatments that can be offered to patients at high risk of psychosis because current anti-psychotic drugs can have serious side-effects.

    “There is an urgent need for a safe treatment for young people at risk of psychosis,” says Dr Bhattacharyya. “One of the main advantages of cannabidiol is that it is safe and seems to be very well tolerated, making it in some ways an ideal treatment. If successful, this trial will provide definitive proof of cannabidiol’s role as an antipsychotic treatment and pave the way for use in the clinic.”

    AAAS Public Release: Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psychosis

  • “Today, BuzzFeed news reported the existence of an anti-marijuana committee in the Trump White House soliciting 15 federal agencies for data on the negative effects of cannabis law reforms, including legalization.”

    “The group specifically asked for scare stories or pictures to illustrate legalization critics’ concerns — typically drugged driving, teenage marijuana use, and trumped up mental health claims.”

    … “BufzzFeed reporter Dominic Holden writes: “the committee’s records show it is asking officials only to portray marijuana in a negative light, regardless of what the data show. … None of the documents indicate that officials are seeking data that show marijuana consumption or legalization laws, which have been approved in eight states, serve any public benefit or do a better job of reducing drug abuse.”
    https://t.co/7H2swALm9Y

    DEA Proposes Major Increase in Cannabis Research
    https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=1b221020-e752-4bf2-98fd-4ac82b8cbc51

    This administration is definitely taking the path well traveled, gird up for more insanity and federal drug war bestiality.

    November will not arrive soon enough.

    • kaptinemo

      The prohibs have always been cowardly, conducting their strategic planning covertly. They know their efforts cannot stand public scrutiny…or criticism.

      Those who’ve been at this a while will remember TV producers and their pact with the ONDCP in the 1990’s to insert anti-drug propaganda into TV programs in return for certain lucrative ‘understandings’ with the FCC.

      Prime Time Propaganda

      They’re doing similar things all over again. The problem with such people is that they reside in the Gub’mint’s anti-drug echo chamber, feeding off of and repeating their BS to each other, acting as if they’re in a hermetically sealed vault and believing their own propaganda while the world flows and advances around them. They foolishly think that in this day and age they’ll never be caught out.

      Worse, they delude themselves; they honestly think that those outside of their political hothouse believe them on this issue, when the only ones who do are politically nullified by advanced age, immobility, senility or simple mortality. “Lame, loony, dying or dead” as I tend to say.

      Once more, by their efforts and their methodologies, they prove themselves untrustworthy, for (as they are wont to say to their victims) if they didn’t have anything to hide, why be so secretive? A question traditional media ought to be asking, but won’t, because they were bought and sold with ONDCP money long ago like the whores they are,

      • DdC

        Re-runs Kapt…

        War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
        ~ John F. Kennedy

        Drug Czar Manipulating Data in a Report to Congress
        http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/471
        The head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is under fire for manipulating data in a report to Congress to cover shortcomings in his federal antidrug program.

        The voters in this country should not be expected to decide which medicines are safe and effective.
        ~ Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey

        Paid anti-drug messages in TV programs
        During McCaffrey’s tenure, ONDCP implemented a policy of buying paid anti-drug advertising on television and also paying television producers to embed anti-drug messages into major television programs.

        How America Convinced the World to Demonize Drugs
        When one traces back the history of what we now call the War on Drugs, one discovers it has a very specific origin: the United States.

        If people let government decide which foods they eat and medicines they take,their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
        ~ Thomas Jefferson

        McCaffrey’s Brain On Drugs
        http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/599

        • kaptinemo

          DdC, thank you. You’ve jogged my memory once more. This is a year of many anniversaries…such as that of Creepy Joe Biden initiating the creation of the ONDCP 30 years ago. Or as I call it, the American(ische) Ahnenerbe:

          Wikipedia entry for Ahnenerbe

          The original was a thinktank full of hardcore Nazi nuts and cranks seeking a (pseudo)scientific way to justify Nazi philosophical, political and racial dogma. And I am talking about the kind of weird, off-the-wall stuff as found on the modern-day History Channel.

          In fact a lot about the Ahnenerbe can be found there. Channeled aliens from Aldebaran, hidden Masters in the Himalayans, ice moons crashing into Earth every few hundred thousand years causing ice ages and wiping out most of Humanity save for the super-advanced and spiritually evolved underground Aryans and the surface-bound Untermenschen. Sort of a reversed Eloi and Morloch, with Jews being the Morlochs on the surface. etc. Yeah, they really believed that sheisse. Effin’ crazy.

          The ONDCP is like a modern version of the Ahnenerbe, full of hardcore prohibitionist nuts and cranks seeking all manner of pseudoscientific claptrap to justify the rationale for American drug policy, particularly when it comes to cannabis. An organization whose mission is becoming increasingly less justifiable with every new discovery about cannabis’s near-miraculous medicinal efficacy. Which, in an aside, is another example of gub’mint hypocrisy; I thought Reagan de-funded the madhouses decades ago.

          Maybe not as murderously bat-shite crazy as the Nazis, but ONDCP is somewhere around bughouse crazy. In any event, the ONDCP remains what it has always been, a political sinecure for the barely employable to gain a fat paycheck by producing the political equivalent of History Channel scripts. About as useful as your vermiform appendix, and much more dangerous, infecting the body politic with necrotic products such as anti-drug policy.

    • Servetus

      The secretive and congressionally unauthorized cabal calling itself the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee is really a front-organization for the super-secret Marijuana Poop-polishing Crime Consortium (MPCC).

      Fascists colluding with the MPCC have obviously run out of their own load of crap and desperately need fresh material. So they are enlisting taxpayer funded government agencies to manufacture anti-cannabis propaganda. Any such material will likely be used in an October surprise to target Democrats whose political platforms support marijuana legalization. It all sounds very illegal to me. If not, it should be.

      This latest flatulence, too, shall pass. When it does, prohibs might want to take a deep breath and buy some land in Paraguay. US citizens will not forget that a group of politicians and bureaucrats presumed they would get away with playing political games that gamble with people’s health, happiness, liberty, and longevity.

  • Servetus

    CBD is in the science news again, this time as a potential treatment for depression. Brazilian researchers published the article in the journal Molecular Neurobiology. The research group was led by Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca, a professor in the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCFRP-USP):

    30-AUG-2018 — Restoration of neuronal circuitry

    The conclusion was that the effects of treatment with cannabidiol were fast-acting and sustained, persisting for up to seven days after a single dose was administered to animals belonging to different models of depression (including a stress model and a genetic susceptibility model).

    Seven days after treatment, the researchers observed a rise in the number of synaptic proteins in the prefrontal cortex, which is closely linked to depression in humans. “In light of this finding, we believe cannabidiol rapidly triggers neuroplastic mechanisms that help repair the neuronal circuitry that gets damaged in depression,” Joca said.

    “When we studied the mechanisms involved in these effects, we found that treatment with cannabidiol induces a rapid rise in levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a neurotrophin that plays a key role in neuronal survival and neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons in the brain,” Joca said. “We also observed an increase in synaptogenesis in the prefrontal cortex of these animals.” Synaptogenesis is the formation of synapses between neurons in the central nervous system.

    The beneficial action of cannabidiol is not limited to the prefrontal cortex, however. “In a separate study, we showed that the effects of cannabidiol also involve neuroplastic mechanisms in the hippocampus, another structure involved in the neurobiology of depression,” noted the FAPESP-funded researcher.

    According to Joca, if studies in humans also find cannabidiol to be beneficial in treating depression, given that cannabidiol is already used in humans to treat other diseases or disorders, “they could result in an important advance in the treatment of depression, potentially helping patients who suffer for weeks, often with a risk of suicide, until the treatment starts working.”

    Studies in humans

    The researchers are currently investigating other mechanisms involved in the effects of cannabidiol, as well as its efficacy in animal models of resistance to conventional treatment.

    “For example, we’re studying whether cannabidiol would also be effective in patients who don’t respond to conventional therapy and whether combining it with antidepressants would improve their symptoms. Indeed, we’ve just published another paper in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, showing that treatment with cannabidiol facilitates serotonergic neurotransmission in the central nervous system and that combining it with low doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant drugs, or SSRIs, such as fluoxetine, induces a significant antidepressant effect,” Joca said.

    “So there’s a possibility that combining cannabidiol with SSRIs might allow the latter to be used in lower doses, perhaps reducing their adverse side-effects while maintaining the therapeutic effect of higher doses.”

    According to the authors, therefore, cannabidiol may not only be a faster-acting antidepressant than conventional drugs but also improve the response to such drugs when taken in combination with them.

    “Our evidence suggests these effects occur by inducing neuroplastic alterations in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which are brain structures involved in the development of depression. Because cannabidiol is used in humans to treat other conditions, we believe it can also be studied in humans for the treatment of depression in the near future,” Joca said. […]

    AAAS Public Release: In test with rats, cannabidiol showed sustained effects against depression for seven days: First results appeared 24 hours after one single dose of the marijuana component; scientists concluded that CBD activate mechanisms which repair neuronal circuitry in patients’ prefrontal cortex and hippocampus

    • Changes in the hippocampus were used by the more prohibitionist minded researchers as evidence of unknown activity that may be damaging to young brains. Am I wrong Servetus?

      If that be the case I would think that this study should put a new spin on their thinking.

      • Servetus

        Let’s hope they read it. In the Lancaster University press release researchers Ana Sebastiao and Dr Neil Dawson appear to be suffering from the specter of vitalism. Vitalism is an ancient philosophy or belief that “living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things”. They aren’t, of course. Yet some people still perceive psychotropic chemicals such as THC and other cannabinoids, or psychedelic drugs, as having a vitally evil character because the chemicals appear to affect the soul— according to vitalism, something a physical substance shouldn’t be able to do unless a demon is somehow involved.

        Vitalism was crushed in 1828 in one of the most celebrated syntheses of chemical science. A young German chemist, Friedrich Wöhler announced, “I obtained the unexpected result that, when cyanic acid and ammonia are combined, urea is produced. This fact is all the more remarkable because it offers an example of the artificial formation of an organic compound, moreover of an animal substance, by means of inorganic materials.”

        Urea is found in urine and according to vitalism that makes it a “living chemical”. That it could be produced by combining two non-living chemicals shocked both scientists and clergy alike. Dr Wöhler spent the rest of his life pursuing science that disproved vitalism.

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