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Forecast: continued periods of darkness

U.S. Prosecutors Sue To Stop Nation’s First Supervised Injection Site For Opioids

After months of threats, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia launched a legal challenge on Wednesday against the nonprofit Safehouse, which is hoping to open what could be the nation’s first site where people with opioid addiction can use drugs under medical supervision.

According to a noted physician who had traveled back in time, “What is this? The Dark Ages?” – Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy

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17 comments to Forecast: continued periods of darkness

  • Servetus

    The NPR article states:

    “… the [1980s CSA] law has been successfully used by prosecutors in situations that include … rave parties where ecstasy [MDMA] was prevalent; and a concert promoter who threw “jam band” music festivals where illegal drugs flowed freely.” […]

    The problem appears to consist in the definition of the word “successfully”. For most people, thwarting the safe use of drugs doesn’t constitute a success. Prohibitionists, by contrast, apparently do consider it a success.

    Illicit drugs are not of and by themselves some kind of unmanageable evil. Problems result when prohibition manages to incorporate its own brand of evil into drug usage practices resulting in errors or negligence on the part of drug consumers that can cause health problems or death.

    Prohibitionists seek harm, not harm reduction; it’s their policy.

    Minus any harms, medical reasons cease to exist to prohibit a specific drug. All that’s left are some dubious and anachronistic moral justifications for proscription endorsed by certain dwindling religious groups. Their reasons alone could never withstand a legal challenge in a US court because their rationalizations violate separation of church and state.

    Consider the latest University of Exeter research on MDMA:

    8-Feb-2019 — Long-term MDMA users have higher levels of empathy than cannabis and other drugs users, new research suggests. […]

    MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as ecstasy) is known to increase empathy for a short period, and these findings about longer-term effects could have implications for possible medical uses. […]

    The study says:

    •MDMA users reported feeling significantly greater emotional empathy, and computer tasks revealed greater cognitive empathy, compared to people who used multiple drugs not including MDMA (there was little difference between the MDMA group and the alcohol-only group)

    •All participants showed declines in mood and self-esteem in response to social exclusion, but there were no differences between the three groups. The levels of empathy and social pain in MDMA users were consistent with “normal psychosocial functioning”.

    •The findings contradict previous suggestions that long-term MDMA use may cause heightened social distress.

    Professor Celia Morgan, senior author of the research, said: “Our study suggests that mild MDMA use is not associated with any problems in how we function socially. Instead, it seems to make people better at empathy when compared to drug users who don’t use MDMA, with a suggestion of better empathy compared to alcohol users.

    “We can’t say whether differences in empathy are due to taking MDMA, or whether there were already differences in the people who use MDMA and those who don’t before they started taking the drug. But importantly this study suggests that MDMA may be used safely as a treatment without side effects on these crucial social processes.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: MDMA users more empathetic than other drug users

    If prohibs always get their way by outlawing empathogens such as MDMA, much empathy will be forestalled or eliminated in American society. More people will feel less empathic toward those suffering from opioid disorders. Their attitude would constitute a success under the oppressive definitions and dogma of prohibitionism.

  • José

    Servetus, this line of your post really struck a chord with me “”The problem appears to consist in the definition of the word “successfully”. For most people, thwarting the safe use of drugs doesn’t constitute a success. Prohibitionists, by contrast, apparently do consider it a success.””

    With some tweaking it seems worthy of Guitherism status :)! Thank you for keeping us thinking with fresh content.

    It seems that one of the prohibitionist mantras must be:
    We will not stop so long as anyone anywhere is enjoying themselves, relaxing, or medicating in a manner They deem unacceptable or safe.

    I hope 2019 will continue to make the prohibitionist institutions into decrepit charnel towers.

    • kaptinemo

      It seems that one of the prohibitionist mantras must be:
      We will not stop so long as anyone anywhere is enjoying themselves, relaxing, or medicating in a manner They deem unacceptable or safe.

      And there you have it. HL Mencken observed the same thing in his day:

      The Prohibitionists, when they foisted their brummagem cure-all upon the country under cover of the war hysteria, gave out that their advocacy of it was based upon a Christian yearning to abate drunkenness, and so abolish crime, poverty and disease. They preached a millennium, and no doubt convinced hundreds of thousands of naive and sentimental persons, not themselves Puritans, nor even democrats. That millennium, as everyone knows, has failed to come in. Not only are crime, poverty and disease undiminished, but drunkenness itself, if the police statistics are to be believed, has greatly increased. The land rocks with the scandal. Prohibition has made the use of alcohol devilish and even fashionable, and so vastly augmented the number of users. The young of both sexes, mainly innocent of the cup under license, now take to it almost unanimously. In brief, Prohibition has not only failed to work the benefits that its proponents promised in 1917; it has brought in so many new evils that even the mob has turned against it. But do the Prohibitionists admit the fact frankly, and repudiate their original nonsense? They do not. On the contrary, they keep on demanding more and worse enforcement statutes — that is to say, more and worse devices for harassing and persecuting their opponents. The more obvious the failure becomes, the more shamelessly they exhibit their genuine motives. In plain words, what moves them is the psychological aberration called sadism. They lust to inflict inconvenience, discomfort, and, whenever possible, disgrace upon the persons they hate — which is to say, upon everyone who is free from their barbarous theological superstitions, and is having a better time in the world than they are. They cannot stop the use of alcohol, nor even appreciably diminish it, but they can badger and annoy everyone who seeks to use it decently, and they can fill the jails with men taken for purely artificial offenses, and they can get satisfaction thereby for the Puritan yearning to browbeat and injure, to torture and terrorize, to punish and humiliate all who show any sign of being happy. And all this they can do with a safe line of policemen and judges in front of them; always they can do it without personal risk.

      HL Mencken, Notes on Democracy, 1925 pg 172-174 (Emphasis mine – k.)

      There is indeed something dark and evil in the hearts of such people. Always has been. They’re always so happy to be the pavers of the Road to Hell, never minding the heat or where it comes from, unshakable in their certainty that they are paving the way to Utopia, yet it always winds up that the history books are written in the blood of their victims.

  • Mr_Alex

    @DdC and etc

    On Friday in New Zealand which would be Thursday in the US. I had a appointment with my own family doctor Steven Low. Well when it came to discussing with me about losing weight, my family doctor tried to tell me I should be on weight medication. I told him I am not keen on weight medication but I would like to use Cannabis or a strain with high THCV to lose weight. I also showed him a safety report done by Dr Raphael Mechoulam certifying that I would not be impaired at work or would I go through a psychoactive high. Instead my family doctor told me he will not discuss it and despite having the available research, my family doctor Steven Low ignored it. I reckon this is a case of Dr Quack.

  • Servetus

    The case history of a heart patient is the focus of warnings from Alexandra Saunders, MD, Dalhousie University, Saint John, NB, Canada. The patient, stabilized on heart meds, consumed too much of a marijuana lollipop and subsequently experienced cardiac pain:

    11-Feb-2019 — The case report describes a 70-year-old man with stable coronary artery disease, taking the appropriate cardiac medications, who ate most of a lollipop that was infused with 90 mg of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to relieve pain and aid sleep, which caused him to have a potentially-serious heart attack. He consumed a much larger dose than the 7 mg that is typically ingested by smoking a single joint or taking the 2.5 mg starting dose of dronabinol (Marinol), a synthetic THC marketed for nausea and appetite stimulation in AIDS and cancer patients. While the patient had smoked marijuana in his youth, he had not done so since the THC content of the substance had increased significantly from three percent to 12 percent. He was also not familiar with the time-delayed and extended effect of oral THC dosing.

    The patient’s cardiac event was likely triggered by unexpected strain on his body from anxiety and fearful hallucinations caused by the unusually large amount of THC he ingested. His sympathetic nervous system was stimulated, causing increased cardiac output with tachycardia, hypertension, and catecholamine (stress hormone) release. After the psychotropic effects of the drug wore off, and his hallucinations ended, his chest pain stopped. […]

    “Most previous research on marijuana-induced myocardial ischemia focused mostly on younger patients and did not focus on its different formulations and potencies. As a result of widespread marijuana legalization, healthcare providers need to understand and manage cannabis use and its complications in older patients, particularly in those with cardiovascular disease,” said Robert S. Stevenson, MD, Horizon Health Network, Department of Cardiology, Saint John, NB, Canada. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Potent marijuana edibles can pose a major unrecognized risk to patients with cardiovascular disease

    One of the three most common accidents occurring in bathrooms in the home involves someone with a weak heart experiencing a cardiac event because they strained themselves too much while taking a crap. Perhaps due to the fecal ick factor, the accident doesn’t get a lot of press coverage compared to a panic attack from cannabis. Nor is comparable attention paid to SWAT raids on drug suspects leading to heart failures and death. Such attention would distract the public from reefer madness policies. Thousands of researchers, prohibitionists, and politicians currently face probable job losses if something seriously harmful about marijuana cannot be discovered—or at least faked.

  • off topic drive by…

    gosh, reading an article and I find myself quoted (and 5 years younger!):

    Baby Boomers Are the Fastest Growing Cannabis Consumer

    Yo ho ho!

    • darkcyce

      Right on, Allan! That’s cool. Really wish I could find the thread about ten years ago where the prohib I was trying to rebut weighed in on my comment with the words “You’ve put your ladder up the wrong tree….marijuana will never be legalized….” Like to see what he thinks of “trees” now…

  • DdC

    Welcome Home Allan, no truer words were ever spoken…

    “While we recreated with cannabis, the government was building an anti-cannabis juggernaut… Tens of millions of us have been arrested, harassed and generally labeled as lazy couch-sitting layabouts… And somehow along the way, we’ve not just reconciled our use in spite of the cannabis bigotry so carefully nurtured by the prohibition bureaucracy, but we have also unleashed the power of cannabis medicine on a society desperate for safe and effective pain relief.”
    ~ Allan Erickson

  • Servetus

    A new marijuana meta-analysis is making the rounds in the land of the prohib. The study claims a causal link exists between depression and/or suicidal behavior if the adult patient smoked pot as an adolescent. The Telegraph is going all out by declaring a 40-percent increase in risk of depression as an adult.

    The AAAS press release sounds ominous:

    13-Feb-2019 — …”The study suggests the diagnosis of depression in approximately seven percent of Canadians and Americans between the ages of 18-30 is attributable to cannabis, meaning 25,000 young Canadians and 400,000 young Americans suffer from depression because of earlier cannabis consumption,” says co-author Dr. Nancy Mayo, a Professor in the Department of Medicine and School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University and a scientist at the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation of the RI-MUHC.

    Researchers reported instead a weaker association with anxiety.

    “When we started this study we expected depression to be a factor attributable to cannabis consumption, but we were quite surprised about suicide behaviour rates. Indeed, a significant percentage of suicidal attempts are attributable to cannabis,” says Dr. Gobbi, who is also a psychiatrist at the MUHC.”

    AAAS Public Release: Increased depression and suicidal behavior risk for young cannabis users: New international study reveals percentage of young cannabis users are gambling with risk of depression or suicidal behavior

    The study and the news media reporting it ignore the origins of depression in their presumptions about marijuana usage. According to Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., at the Mayo Clinic:

    Dec. 04, 2018 — Some research suggests that marijuana smokers are diagnosed with depression more often than nonsmokers are — particularly regular or heavy marijuana users. However, it doesn’t appear that marijuana directly causes depression.

    It’s likely that the genetic, environmental or other factors that trigger depression also lead to marijuana use. Some people with depression may use marijuana as a way to detach from their depressive symptoms. Heavy users may appear depressed as a result of the dulling effects of the drug on feelings and emotions. […]

    There also is some evidence that teenagers who attempt suicide may be more likely to have used marijuana than those who have not made an attempt. As with marijuana use and depression, more research is needed to better understand these associations.

    The bottom line: Marijuana use and depression accompany each other more often than you might expect by chance, but there’s no clear evidence that marijuana directly causes depression.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/marijuana-and-depression/faq-20058060

    The researchers and the yellow press repeatedly ignore the fact that a large percentage of people use marijuana medicinally to treat depression. A study on treating depression’s symptoms using cannabis was gathered with data obtained from the Strainprint app and gave the following results:

    April 24, 2018 — Using an app like Strainprint to gather study data has a few big limitations (we’ll discuss those in a minute), but one advantage is that the app produced about 12,000 anonymous entries, a solid chunk of data with instructive associations between doses and effects. The data set also allowed researchers to break out effects linked to higher or lower percentages of the two main compounds in marijuana: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive compound mainly responsible for getting users high, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has been credited in previous studies with a variety of possible benefits.

    The results in the latest study suggest that most users experienced positive effects, at least initially. The majority reported a before-and-after decrease in symptom severity for depression, stress and anxiety and not much worsening of symptoms in the short term. A small percentage reported experiencing no change in symptoms.

    Here are the breakouts for all of the app sessions tracked in the study (“reduced” means the symptoms improved, “increased” means they got worse):

    Depression: Symptom ratings were reduced in 89.3% of the sessions, increased in 3.2%, no change in 7.5%.

    Anxiety: Symptom ratings were reduced in 93.5% of the sessions, increased in 2.1%, no change in 4.4%.

    Stress: Symptom ratings were reduced in 93.3% of the sessions, increased in 2.7%, no change in 4%.

    Both women and men reported an overall reduction in symptoms, but women reported a greater reduction in anxiety symptoms.

    An analysis of the strains the app users reported smoking showed a few different outcomes depending on the percentages of THC and CBD. For depression, strains higher in CBD and lower in THC produced the largest reduction in symptoms. For anxiety, CBD and THC percentages seemed to make little difference in the results. For stress, users reported significant symptom reduction when using strains high in both CBD and THC. […]

    The prohibitionist-skewed McGill research says that premorbidity for depression was ruled out, but how? Genetic testing for depression is unlikely to be successful. The McGill researchers fail to explore why an herb that allegedly causes depression should be such a popular remedy for treating it.

    As certain people are genetically predisposed to depression, its emergence would seem to be inevitable given the kinds of social demands and challenges existing in the US culture, especially if their depression is driven or initiated by anxiety.

    Original Article: “DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4500. This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Quebec Network on Suicide, Mood Disorders and Related Disorders.”

  • Servetus

    Walter E. Williams, an economics professor at George Mason University, has written a syndicalized column praising Alex Berenson’s “hidden issues concerning marijuana”. Williams quotes Berenson, author of “Tell Your Children”, as saying marijuana as a pain killer is too weak to substitute it for opiates. It sounds as if neither Berenson nor Williams ever had the opportunity to compare the two medications in a personal medical emergency, such as while mending from a broken bone:

    http://walterewilliams.com/marijuana,-mental-illness-and-violence/

    Professor Williams, a traditionalist fascist, has come under strong criticism for other remarks he’s made. He is the object of a petition signed by 445 students at George Mason University for discriminatory remarks regarding gays:

    …In his column, he says that gay people are worse than smokers and those that are obese. His argument is, homosexuals should have higher health insurance than heterosexuals solely because they identify as homosexual. He relates this to non-smokers, who have lower health insurance than smokers. Mr. Williams believes that because gay individuals have a lower life expectancy, they deserve to pay more for their health insurance. Not only is his conclusion offensive and discriminatory, but his information is out of date: the basis of his evidence comes from a report issued in the late 1990’s when HIV/AIDS was more fatal than it is now. […]

    https://www.change.org/p/george-mason-university-request-the-resignation-of-professor-walter-e-williams

  • DdC

    Joe Rogan hosted a debate on his podcast between anti-marijuana author Alex Berenson and Dr. Mike Hart.
    https://youtu.be/YHwSmwEwmV4

    • Servetus

      Alex Berenson is doubling down on reefer madness. Now he’s claiming that criticism of him and his book is a consequence of Big Marijuana acting exactly like Big Tobacco which raised and promoted doubts about tobacco causing cancer.

      Meanwhile, Berenson continues to cultivate his Big Fraud. A quick vote is available for the reader asking if marijuana is safe enough or requires more doubt (research):

      https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/smoking-marijuana-isn-t-inherently-safe-we-can-t-let-ncna970681

      • kaptinemo

        Ohfershitssake!

        Dr. Kleiman, a professor at New York University, is one of the most prominent cannabis public-policy researchers in the United States and an advocate of legalization. Politico called him “the policy wonk behind legal pot.”

        Where has Berenson been residing, on Pluto or something? That comment, alone, is so far out there, he might as well have been living on the edge of the Solar System. Kleiman has been anything but a fan of legalization and has made his opinions regarding it clear enough! IMNSHO, he played the starring role in trying to strangle Washington State’s legal cannabis program while in the cradle.

        What’s even more humorous is that Berenson is going after Kleiman like a schizophrenic suffering from tunnel vision. One of legalization’s greatest foes – Kleiman – is being figuratively mauled by what should be one of his greatest allies. Truly, the more fanatical the prohib, the more likely that he will eat his own.

        Oh, this is so rich One of the ‘Crazy Uncles’ (Berenson) escaped the prohib attic where he was confined, fell rolling down the stairs into the street, and is now foaming at the mouth and biting the leg of a ‘family member’ (Kleiman). I gotta go get some popcorn; hold my seat on The Couch, willya?

      • kaptinemo

        The the shallowness of your average prohib and their ability to psychologically project never ceases to amaze me. Cannabists have been the target of an often savage, systematic repression for decades, repression cheer-led by such as Berenson, but the moment his kind is challenged, they cry piteously and try to play the victim.

        Sorry, Alex, but that don’t work anymore. The demographics you so desperately needed have turned their backs on you. Those you foolishly thought you could effortlessly BS into supporting your sweet little racket has your number. They aren’t buying what you’re selling, in fact, they’re boycotting it with every vote in every State where re-legalization is proposed.

        It’s like when a comedian is either unaware (or refuses to believe) that the audience no longer laughs with him, but at him. A wise one soon learns to develop new ‘material’, or departs the stage. Berenson isn’t even using new material, just stale old scare stories long disproved. Even the title of his book, dredged up from the scummy sea-bottom of Time where it sank into well-earned ignominy decades ago, is a demonstration of his lack of originality.

        It was said here long ago that the prohibs have shot their wad. They never had an ounce of originality to begin with, and have only the ability to try to recycle old memes cobbled together, like a Frankenstein’s Monster, and furiously peddle the propaganda equivalent of a bicycle headlight generator attached to the Monster’s electrodes in hopes their fabrication will arise, walk and terrify those they seek to deceive. Instead, like the aforementioned comedian, all that happens is that people with more than three brain cells to click together laugh at them. Pathetic.

  • Mouthy

    And I still come across people who don’t support legalizing the harder stuff. What does it say about the subconscious of said individuals: that they would will and hurl death towards others–the innocent, in hopes that their loved one won’t make a bad ‘decision’. With Medical Marijuana we’ve got compassion for the sick and with cannabis legalization, we’ve got compassion on citizens rights and the economy.

    If the American people knew that they were the ones who were dishing out the illegal heroin to the terrorists in the form of the law–what then? A SAFE INJECTION SITE is the first step to ending the WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. And Conservatives should love that. Oh, Jesus, Oh, Mother of God: We’ve got Christians who complain about Abortion and yet believe meth is rationally illegal . . . that’s like a Christian offering a scared little pregnant teenage girl a ride to the abortion clinic in their Mercedes. The Drug laws seek to remove children with violence in places like Mexico, L.A., Syria, Paris, etc via drug money. The millennial age old question: would you rather Osama Bin Laden have just one million dollars or 100 million dollars?

    With full legalization, they’ll slowly discover that America won’t go to hell in a handbag and full drug legalization can then be underway, but only after tens of thousands of more people die from drug money funded violence.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Couch and may all your boxes of chocolates be edibles and that Cupid drops a couple of pounds of your favorite cannabis onto your laps.

  • Heroin and meth are driving record high syphilis rates in the US https://mol.im/a/6709913

    Needle exchanges and safe injection sites can stop this problem in it’s tracks.