More good stuff from Johann Hari

Johann continues to kick ass in the press, coming up with OpEds and interviews that are clear and understandable to the casual public who may not be aware of all the details of the drug war, and that make compelling arguments.

His latest is in the Los Angeles Times – a paper that has often been a drug war cheerleader.

Yes, pot is stronger today, but not for the reasons you think

Here’s the irony. Drugs are more potent today, and people are taking more powerful drugs — but that’s largely because of the drug war, not despite it.

To grasp why, you need to understand a counterintuitive phenomenon best explained by the writer Mike Gray in his book “Drug Crazy.” Let’s start in January 1920. The day before Prohibition went into effect, the most popular alcoholic drinks, by far, were beer and wine. Once alcohol was legalized again, in December 1933, the most popular drinks, by far, were again beer and wine — as they remain today. But between those dates, beer and wine virtually vanished and the only alcoholic beverages available became hard spirits such as whiskey, vodka and moonshine.

So why would banning a drug change people’s taste? In fact, it didn’t. It just changed what they had access to. […]

The technical term for this — coined by the advocate for drug reform Richard Cowan — is “the iron law of prohibition.” As crackdowns on a drug become more harsh, the milder forms of that drug disappear — and the most extreme strains become most widely available.

This is an important point to continue to hammer home. Opponents of legalization are often pushing that old “this isn’t your father’s pot” argument.

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41 Responses to More good stuff from Johann Hari

  1. DdC says:

    Pot Potency? Boomers’ blissfully unfazed by mere facts.
    November 07, 2005

    “Marijuana is ten times more dangerous than twenty years ago.”
    Presidential candidate Bill Clinton 1992

    “Parents are often unaware that today’s marijuana is different from that of a generation ago, with potency levels 10 to 20 times stronger than the marijuana with which they were familiar.”
    John P. Walters, US Drug Czar
    01 May 2002 Washington Post, p. A25.

  2. Hal says:

    Hari’s analogy of pot to booze seems a bit incoherent. Stronger pot I believe is mainly a result of improved growing techniques coupled with the desire of sellers to charge as much as they can for their product. A pound of high-grade skunk takes up the same space as a pound of ditchweed and possibly much more space as it is rarely compacted (bricked). And of course most people will not want the weak stuff again after prohibition ends. They’ll just smoke less if they only want a buzz. Just like now. After weed is legalized you may not even be able to get low-grade any longer as the cartels and their less than adequate growing methods will disappear. I read Johann’s book and it was very good (especially chapters on Anslinger) but the “iron law of prohibition,” which certainly played a big role during alcohol prohibition, doesn’t line up well with regard to pot. Reformers should stay away from weak arguments that are easily dismantled by our adversaries and make us look like we’re trying to pull a fast one with the statistics. Just like they do.

    P.S.: Why no Living Canvas in Chicago last summer – or did I miss it?

    • Pete says:

      Hal – It’s been a transition year for Living Canvas with my retirement this year. I’m working on revamping the organizational structure of Living Canvas for how it will work post-retirement. We’re working now on a collaboration with Nothing Without A Company in Chicago for a new show coming up this fall. More information later.

  3. Mr_Alex says:

    I think it is safe to say Addiction us not real

    • Mr_Alex says:

      us=is (typo)

    • Swooper says:

      No, it’s NOT safe to say addiction is not real. It is VERY real, just ask any alcoholic, heroin addict, crack or ice addict. I got involved with base cocaine (crack) in the late ’70s – I will tell you from personal experience that there is indeed a problem called ‘addiction’, a health problem, not a law enforcement problem. I’m fortunate that I was able to kick the addiction 30+ years ago – but don’t put a base pipe & pile of base in front of me – I’ll either try to kill you for trying to activate my addiction, or sit down and start smoking. That’s the nature of addiction.

      Saying that there is no such thing as addiction, you invalidate all of us who have gone through the wringer and come out, relatively sane, on the other side. You ignore those who are currently addicted to a substance or activity (gambling, for instance) and who need professional help to get clean, and put their life back in order.

      • Windy says:

        You are correct about addiction, but I believe Alex was only thinking about cannabis when he wrote that, cannabis is his primary focus.

        • claygooding says:

          I have tried to tempt him with shrooms but so far he seems straight weed.

          Ditto on the freebase in the 70’s,,had to flat move away from the entire scene.

        • Windy says:

          It’s odd yet comforting (and interesting) that not all of us react the same way to drugs. Basing turned me off to coke, completely, it made my body so uncomfortable I wanted OUT of it, and I never touched coke in any form again.

        • Mr_Alex says:

          I believe Cannabis Addiction is not real at all as i have never heard of anyone gettng addicted to Cannabis

        • Swooper says:

          Again, I’d have to disagree with Mr_Alex. While cannabis isn’t *physically* addictive, it can, for between 4 & 9 % of users, become *psychologically* addictive. There are several symptoms of cannabis withdrawal, mostly mental in nature. Insomnia, lack of appetite, agitation, short temper, to name a few. The symptoms moderate within a couple weeks. Quitting coffee is more difficult.

          For most people, cannabis addiction is a myth. They may only partake on an occasional basis, and not experience any problems. Or, they may be heavy users, like medical cannabis users, who tend to use more than recreational users. These medical users will often: 1. not get a ‘high’ from their use, 2. experience psychological withdrawal if their use stops.

    • DdC says:

      Swooper source?

      I’ve heard the prohibbies claim 10% bla bla bla bullshit copying it from alcohol X factor chromosome percentage of the population “theory”. But no one is addicted to Cannabis. No one has debilitating withdrawal or gets inebriated. Heavy users crap, what the fuck ever that means. Sounds like someone with no knowledge or personal experience. *psychologically* addictive. Quitting coffee is more difficult? You really shouldn’t toss buzzwords around willy nilly.

      If it’s mental in nature then it isn’t a withdrawal symptom. It’s a craving. Again you make claims that are illogical. There are symptoms of stopping cannabis. Excessive dreaming the first few nights. More people suffer from ECB deficiency than withdrawal. Using daily doesn’t require more pot if its good pot to begin with and anything less is not worth smoking.

      Insomnia, lack of appetite, agitation, short temper are red herrings and applicable to many things cannabis was treating. Cannabis supplements the ECS that balances the other systems not taught in Med School. Especially to Shrinks. So if anything they would be part of the original symptoms cannabis was treating. Take away seizure meds and people have seizures not due to withdrawal. NO Cannabis Addiction.

      You can’t live without addictive substances once they are controlling you after years of heavy use. Booze can kill cold turkey the same as white powders. Not Ganja so cut the shit with the hobgoblin lite sermons. Mr Alex is right. As for the opiates, the addiction is only debilitating due totally to prohibition, not addiction. Same as the sinamet for PD in the 90’s. If a user gets his dosage there is no problem. Other white powders, ups or downs do fuck up body parts long term. Although most street drugs are mainly available due to Prohibition of Opiates and Cannabis. Its a Prohibition subsidiary like jocks getting piss tested doing synthetic crap. the substance has physically taken control of the person there is no decision to quit. Not even court ordered. Will power isn’t enough, it works against you stopping.

      The most humane solution would be to get good drugs to the user. If they want to quit then it is a weening process that depends on the user initiating and society assisting, not judging or forcing abstinence. The simple answer is nature can’t make addictive substances since it was here long before humans. Nature can’t gateway to man made substances either. So if you are a junkie then we should get you an ample supply of meds the same as Parkinson’s patients in the 90’s. Heroin is only a “problem” because of Prohibition and coke is a 3 Martini power lunch dissipation technique. Or Disco and it still sucks.

      a health problem, not a law enforcement

      No, Prohibition is the only problem. Someone choosing heroin does so for what it does for them. Until the situation changes by them. This is the life they choose and should be treated with dignity and the same conditions anyone would get without prohibition. Removing the psychosis of obtaining a fix at any cost, including innocent victims. It’s not heroin, it’s Prohibition. Then religious bullshit zealots try to legislate it as their definition of morals.

      Think of Cannabis as Grapefruit, a staple, that won’t strip paint from your car. It supplements the ECS. As any essential mineral or fatty acid. The body can’t reproduce endocannabinoids and not supplementing them for 4 generations is enlarging fear centers in the brain. 12,000 years of use and then forced abstinence spooking the people into obedience. The more fear, the easier they are to herd. Prohibition is the harm in drugs and especially Cannabis that does no harm. The ECS keeps the other systems in their parameters. Up or down, back to where they once belonged. Wasting or Obesity. Slowing bone lubrication or increasing white cells to fight bacteria over killing everything with antibiotics. White Powders suck for a reason.

      Cannabis has Antibacterial, Analgesic, Antiinflammatory & Nutritiona! values. Not treating for profits, rejuvenating cells to their DNA recipe. Or killing off cancer cells. Treating it as a man made product is only good for fear mongering. Get over this long term user crap. It isn’t adulterated with 599 deadly processed chemicals as are cigarettes. So comparing the smoke is ridiculous as comparing it to booze and the x factor. 5000 years of recorded medical use without reefer madness. Makes prohibitches just look silly as hell re-inventing the square wheel over and over.

      Put the DEA and Flying Nark Monkey’s to work eradicating Poison Oak, that should be a schedule#1 drug. Instead of eradicating ditch weed and legal grow ops. Nothing justifies the decades of lies or the waste of taxes for such a safe and useful plant. Drug deaths are like Reagan Bush fag disease. Statistics to justify bloated budgets. Then lump Cannabis in. Typical trash yesterday blasting headlines that Pot left someone brain dead and 5 others in critical condition during private testing. Marisol Touraine stressed that the drug did not contain cannabis or any element derived from cannabis. But they are still pushing the original story.

      Conditions put on people due to their monitary status cause most of the problems requiring larger copshops and weapons. Escaping poverty or violence for a brief time is better than nothing. Improve the reasons for escape and less will feel the need to escape.

      Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood.
      — Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, December, 1948 passed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly

      • Mr_Alex says:

        Den you might want to check this out, the guy answering questions mentions Cannabis is not Addictive:

        • Mr_Alex says:

          From the reddit thread:

          Another great question. Just to repeat, most who use mj do not become addicted. Published data say that 9% of adults who use mj become addicted and 17% of young people (Anthony et al. 1994, Lopez-Quintero et al. 2011).
          How to diagnose? Usually there are problems in work, school, or relationships. For a family member, teacher, or coach, you have to have a good sense of what is normal for a person and be able to tell if things are normal any longer. Have they stopped doing the things they normally do? Is their mood different? These types of things.
          Marijuana can affect the brain like other addictive substances by causing surges in certain chemicals, like dopamine, in the brain. The release of these chemicals is pleasurable and reinforcing– this makes it more likely that people will decide to use again.
          Marijuana addiction is both psychological and physical. People who really like to use marijuana may overdo it to the detriment of other important areas of their lives. They may rely upon using as a key coping mechanism to deal with stress in their life.
          It can be physically addictive as well– if you are using daily, multiple times a day. The withdrawal symptoms– anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping (Ryan Vandrey at Johns Hopkins and Alan Budney at Dartmouth have done some of this work)– make it more likely that someone will continue to use.
          Importantly, these withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening. Alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures that can be fatal.
          This is an opportunity to bring up the idea that there are different degrees of danger. Marijuana, on the whole, is not as dangerous as alcohol, which is probably not as dangerous as opioids. However, this does not mean that marijuana is not potentially dangerous.

          Has anyone really been addicted to Cannabis?

        • DdC says:

          Mr Alex you really have to watch the mud you track in. Addiction Psychiatrist, Clinical Researcher, Author, Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth about the World’s Most Popular Weed? He spreads gossip to sell bullshit, He should be held in a cage until the tribunal to avoid damaging any more citizens working for the corporations that may be stupid enough to buy his crap. There are NO med schools teaching or any research grants other than fat pharma or gossip demonizing the plant. Another with the 10% lunacy. They can’t put an accurate figure on how many even use cannabis but they (predict) 10% of that number will be “addicted”.

          Meanwhile back at the reality station families are torn up by the drug war prohibition. These Quackers sell their books and won’t be around to pick up the pieces. They also cast shadows on the true causal connection which is clearly by overwhelming substantial evidence Prohibition itself. The cure is the harm in the activity. Calling it a disease people employ as a survival or pleasurable event is malpractice. Sue the bastard.

          How to diagnose?
          Usually there are problems in work, school, or relationships.

          Again and again they demonize and then sell their test kits or rehab beds. Nurturing their Straw man. Getting paid to bullshit, riding laurels and not a minute of class time in med school taught them about cannabis or the ECS. Fairytales from vested ignorance. Problems like bigots having a hard time teaching racism to the stoner kid who ain’t buying it. Or jerking that plastic flag to entice kids to blow up foreign brown people villages. Need kiddie boot camps like Pop Warner to train them and pot just makes them all peaceful and shit. Get an unnatural chemically laden haircut kid, you don’t look like us cardboard cut outs since ya started that pot stuff. Oh the danger of ones so young figuring out the adults are so crazy.

          A threat to their livelihoods selling the cheap plastic flags and poisons aborting babies in the bible belt. Not on hemp they also lump in with crack and pcp. Lipstick on a pig dude. Today they accept “medicinal marijuana” if they have to. Even hemp if they are forced and up against the wall with no fingernails left to claw and scratch their way out. Now it’s a lighter but still demonizing mission. Now they want to fix us not just punish us. Profiting as much as they can get along the way. Dirt bags comes to mind.

          It’s hard to conceive how immoral they are when they all look the same. Wtf is the function of a neck tie? Pretty boys with “loving” parents who are loving parents because the kid never questioned them. Or be kicked out of the family inheritance. Most likely due to the constent reminders about questioning them. Little Koch boys sucking up to their John Birch groupie Paterfamilias.. Slaves or property, not American citizens with rights and freedoms so threatening to the profit mongers.

          While we can have legitimate debates about the pros and cons of medical marijuana and legalized recreational mj, most agree that early, regular use of mj– so young people below 25 whose brains are developing– is a bad idea.

          Stall. Unsubstantiated after 12,000 years of daily use by kids. Edibles with the leaves or religious incense and an array of medicinal uses. What they really say is we need obedient robotic kids who will not question if Columbus actually discovered America and just go along with the program-ming. Same with the workplace. There is no logical reason to test metabolites for shoddy work performance. Or bad driving. Bad drivers are sober 80% of the time. Even if the illogical percentage of cannabis users are deemed by illiterate sources as buzz “addicted”. The only way to get more stoned is better pot, not more of the same you have already peaked on. Dissipating with any stress so why waste it defending yourself from idiot sober people driving? 90% aren’t apparently “addicted”. Yet 100% of boozers will get drunk beyond recognition if they don’t stop drinking.

          End The Drug War Now
          Its Caused Nothing But Violence, Repression & Disease On A Global Scale

          I frequently visit news programs to discuss such things as the current opioid epidemic and how to treat opioid addiction. kashing

        • B. Snow says:

          “The only way to get more stoned is better pot, not more of the same you have already peaked on.”

          I would add a caveat here – while this is largely true = If you keep smoking more there definitely IS a “diminishing returns” point you get to eventually…

          But, if you go for a different method of consumption – Can you say brownie hangover? When you go to a party (avoiding alcohol) and eat enough brownies that you wake up high the next morning – Maybe on the sofa, or on the carpet? Possibly tucked away in a corner of the living-room?

          There’s also hash, or dabs – I suppose you can call that “getting better pot” – BUTn one of the most wickedly intense brownie experiences I’ve ever had was made from some very leafy clippings and leftover “garbage” weed from someone’s crop (I didn’t ask, I didn’t need to know…) ai did know we smoked on that crap when decent weed was nowhere to be found.
          The guys accurately referred to it as “marijuana-light” and it was arguably ‘headache weed’ – we learned that if we were going to smoke it, breaking out the Gravity Bong = A monster pickle-bucket + a 3 liter soda bottle with a giant bowl in the cap…

          It was hideous to smoke, but college and/or small-town living – will make you breakdown and choose the marijuana-light better than seeds/stems/resin and the guy who decided we needed to get rid the last of it made killer brownies with a couple ounces per pan & many pans – I wonder later how much they they cooked into the butter – but I didn’t show up at the house until a couple hrs after hevd started and AFAIK they didn’t weigh that stuff somebody (effectively) gave it to us.
          A group of college kids who wouldn’t ask where it came from, and who woould appreciate it as much as was possible, and I figured later had probably sold us non-garbage at other points that year.

          I know this sounds heretical these days but this was still the days of commercial brick weed, other/better stuff was a case-by-case basis -what can I say? It was the 90’s, we did what we could.

          Smoking shitty weed could be an argument for this alleged “addiction” (put me down as a no it’s not vote), OR = It could be a simple case of not having anything better to do than hang out play cards/darts/etc. and smoke whatever was the best greenish crap we could Both find and afford – sometimes that plots out to the “marijuana-light” region on the available smokeables chart… *shrug*

  4. n.t.greene says:

    It ain’t your father’s pot…

    …because the drug war forced growers to select more potent strains for growth to maximize sale value and outcompete other strains.

    I mean, it wasn’t too much of a stretch from Prohibition to bathtub gin — why do people think this is different?


  5. jean valjean says:

    In the late sixties and early seventies many small time dealers who previously only dealt cannabis changed to coke and heroin on the basis of “less bulk, more profit.” Easier to conceal and smuggle and the punters are more desperate and exploitable. This represents “success” to prohibitionists.

  6. Freeman says:

    Somewhat related:

    Macaulay Caulkins warns of the vague and (he admits) mild risks of cannabis consumption, meanwhile REAL DANGEROUS cannabis substitutes are in the news:

    The New England Patriots’ Chandler Jones stumbles into the local police station and is sent to the hospital “ALS” (advanced life support) after having a reaction to synthetic marijuana.

    A clinical drug trial in France ends up with six volunteers hospitalized, one brain-dead, in a trial of a medication that is “based on a natural brain compound similar to the active ingredient in marijuana”.

    As we all know, these are well-known side-effects of prohibition. Prohibit a relatively safe, natural substance, and watch it get replaced by something far more dangerous. This crap ain’t “your father’s pot” either, and it’s a lot worse than anything one might fear from higher-potency real-thing cannabis, so why do we NEVER hear Macaulay, Lie-man, Sebat, or the others focus their chicken-little routines on synthetics (except to suggest that banning them too is the only sane recourse — as if THAT worked for the originally-prohibited substance in the first place)? Because they’re propaganda mongers, that’s why!

    • Mouth says:

      Sometimes they spray Bug Spray or Roach Repellent on that stuff . . . according to why the last batch in my area made all who smoked it automatically fall to the ground and wiggle around like the possessed. I don’t even think it contained any synthetic stuff at all, just the typical herbs sprayed with shit that won’t even get you high let alone make you trip hard like too much acid.

  7. Ned says:

    The reasons that government confiscated pot samples are “stronger” than in the past are complicated. The bottom line is that the plant has not undergone a genetic re-invention in the past 30 years. In the 70s most pot on the US market was imported from unsophisticated large scale grows where production techniques were rudimentary, and quality control, minimal.

    Domestic producers were far more constrained in the scale they could operate under and ready and willing to utilize more sophisticated techniques to maximize quality. And you can interchange the word quality with purity. Domestic producers, in order to compete had to remove as much low grade excess material from their product as possible as consumers became more knowledgable. They wanted to see less of the leaf, the seeds, the stems. As effort is made to remove the plant parts with low concentrations of the active cannabinoid compounds, the purity of what is retained rises. It’s as simple as that. Sure, there has been selection by growers for specific types that showed a bit higher strength but that difference amounts to a few percentage points at the most. The real gain in quality came from improved post grow processing.

    • Freeman says:

      Yes indeed. Back in the day they stripped everything off the branches and into the baggies it went, bugs and all. We tokers “cleaned” out the stems and seeds and smoked the rest. Even the best Afghan weed had a lot of leaf, and the buds were full of seeds.

      Even so, a lot of that stuff was good. I’d pay extra today for the heavenly pleasure of the sweet hashy-tasting Columbian gold bud that was so common then. It tickled a part of the brain that today’s weed doesn’t quite reach, and the flavor was awesome!

  8. DdC says:

    There has always been strong pot. Thai sticks, Colombian even Mexican and Vietnamese or Hawaiian were available in the early 70’s. Holiday Pot. Rare and more expensive, but available. Most was what we called working dope. Nice buzz, better than Mexican compressed dirt weed. But not pin rolls. Last time I sold pot in 72 it was going for $55/quarter pound. Growing techniques helped domestic buds. Early cross breading strains. Medicinally matching strains with symptoms and all without Uncle Sam. The entire infrastructure of dispensaries and doctors recommendations, a dozen strains with measured levels of Sativa or Indica. Disposable vape pens bumblebees, edibles and concentrates. Delivered and paid by CC. Without the DEA or in spite of the DEA. Just more drug worrier gossip. Still lacking a victim, with a name and exam results. Ain’t your fathers pot? My father didn’t even smoke pot.

    • Freeman says:

      My dad didn’t smoke pot either, but his brother did, and his dad even did it once.

      • Windy says:

        My dad did try pot once, at a party (Mom and Dad’s friends), but unfortunately he was already too buzzed on alcohol to notice any herbal effects. He confessed that to hubby and me one afternoon when they were visiting us. My mother thought the plants were beautiful and, if it had not been illegal to do so, she would have had a plant on the deck, but I don’t think she ever would have tried it. They were both born in ’21. I don’t know if it would have helped Daddy avoid the ravages of asbestos that gave him lung cancer, had he taken up cannabis as a regular user, but he may have lived longer if he had (though he did live to 82, Mom died a month and a half after she turned 63, from heart problems).

  9. Frank W. says:

    The Grand Conservative Narrative revolves around the premise that baby boomers destroyed the country with sex and drugs and Jimmy Carter, and only the cleansing storm of Bonzo brought Morning In America. Read Tom Wolfe, Buckley, and other ivory tower cocksuckers. To Phil Robertson, your dad was a pot smokin hippie (assuming he was a boomer).

  10. Servetus says:

    Prohibs keep using the ‘too-potent’ and ‘it’s-not-your-granny’s pot’ hype because it works. The opposition’s means of quantifying marijuana consumption confuses a public generally ignorant of pharmaceutical concepts like titration, purity, LD-50s, and optimum dosages. Since they’re not pharmacists, they make comparisons to alcohol and heroin ODs, which are totally different drugs, and which act on different brain centers.

    Quantifiable variables should incorporate concepts that are readily intelligible and useful to the public. One thing I notice, something that’s often ignored, is marijuana’s metabolization rate. For me, from a preferred plateau of marijuana high (the peak at which I put the pipe down), until the time I no longer feel high (the point at which THC has converted into non-psychoactive 11-hydroxy-THC that gets stored in fat), ranges from 40 to 70 minutes. The time difference is often based on differing physical activities, or if I get an adrenalin rush for some reason, the effect seems to disappear a little faster. This is practical information that probably varies based on different people’s differing metabolism rates. People who drive, bosses who expect certain working standards from their employees, should understand that not only does marijuana not cause brain damage, it’s effects are sharply time limited.

    The metabolization rate sidesteps the issue of purity or concentration. It’s no longer primarily about how one imbibes the substance, but how fast the body converts it into something else. It’s the only way I can see of subverting the dominant paradigm of the prohibitionists which is designed to scare the public, which is drug ODs.

    • Mouth says:

      It’s obvious to me that any job that requires a drug test should pay their employees their wages for 24hrs of work and 365 days a year. If I’m to be expected to abstain from cannabis on my day off or on vacation or after work, then I expect to be paid as if I’m still on company time, which they technically are.

  11. Frank W. says:

    That metabolism doohickey you mentioned is the big whuff for me. I used to get paranoid about tests because of my sluggish blood, no matter how active I was. My metabolites have whiskers.

  12. Servetus says:

    New research indicates marijuana can be helpful for treating migraines:

    AURORA, Colo. (Jan. 15, 2016) — …It found the frequency of migraines dropped from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month, a number considered statistically and clinically significant.[…]

    …exactly how cannabis relieves migraines is still not fully understood.

    Borgelt said cannabinoid receptors can be found throughout the body, including the brain, connective tissues and immune system. And they appear to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. These cannabinoids also seem to affect critical neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

    “We believe serotonin plays a role in migraine headaches, but we are still working to discover the exact role of cannabinoids in this condition,” Borgelt said.

    The study is one of the first to reveal a drop in migraine frequency due to medical marijuana.

    AAAS Press Release:

    • Windy says:

      I don’t get migraine headaches, but I found out this past summer (when I got new glasses) that a phenomenon I have experienced for years is what is called a “migraine aura”. Another thing I discovered (this one long ago) was that getting stoned drastically shortened the period of time it would take for the phenomena to pass. It’s a visual phenomena, but not in the eyes, I see it even when my eyes are closed, starts like a bright dot in my field of vision, which (without cannabis) widens slowly over an hour into a jagged ring until it completely goes outside my field of vision, with cannabis that hour shortens to about 5 minutes.

  13. allan says:

    from Jack Cole/LEAP:

    Number of Deaths in Police Custody Higher than Media Reports: DOJ Data

    This spring, Justice Department-funded data scientists will present findings from a pilot project that, in essence, crowdsources facts on police homicides. So far, the number of possible deaths during and after police pursuit is far higher than the figures tabulated by both journalists and activists appalled by the longtime paucity of data on excessive use-of-force.

    The project is part of a new project by the Bureau of Justice Statistics focused on capturing an official record of the whole “universe” of law enforcement homicides. The agency has assigned part of a new task to an artificial intelligence tool that crawls online news for the most relevant, potential cases of civilians dying during arrests. Soon, bureau data analysts will compare the reports to local agency records.

  14. Mouth says:

    I just watched Sicario. Roller Coaster . . . I told everybody (well–as many as I could) not sitting on our couch about the War on Drugs in Iraq–the Middle East. Mexico is like that set of car keys one laid on the table but cannot find, but if they look closely–calmly, you’ll find they were right under your nose this whole time, but nobody wants to look where they last laid their keys, instead they toss everything around the house–shuffling up–tossing around all the mail, papers, cushions, their dresser drawers etc. looking for the Keys that were laying right under their nose the whole time. I didn’t see actual combat, just a CIA/DoD Baghdad prison, so no one can claim I’m fucked up in the head (unless I’m on good acid). It’s not shell shock . . . the lights are just way too bright outside the Goddamn Cave and I know what the shadows actually are now. “Organized Crime is the reason you guys are in Iraq.” I’ll never forget those words on my very first day.

    If you haven’t seen the movie yet, make sure you smoke lots of cannabis to help your nerves out–especially to all the vets who might get a little edgy when watching war movies. And it was the non-action/violent parts making me all shake in my chair like a shivering dog fresh from the shower. Now to watch a calming movie that will make me relax finally: the new Paranormal Activity movie.

    • Servetus says:

      It gets worse once you get a feeling of what’s behind it all, something inquisition historian H.C. Lea called “the reckless expedient of exterminating all thaumaturgists (sorcerers) save that of their own priesthood.” Politicians find the conflict useful. It’s not only bizarre, it’s trivial.

      It’s also the fatalistic result of one or more cultures, or governments, putting their soldiers and regular citizens at risk in the midst of a situation and a goal in which the means is not justifiable, nor are its ends. Prohibition is a prime example. Ideally, both means and ends should be justifiable. The ‘ends justifies the means’ is the political philosophy of failed tyrants and incompetent leadership, and is inherently illegal in most legal jurisdictions. The means, by itself, never justifies the ends.

  15. Mr_Alex says:

    New Zealand is way more harsh than the US in Cannabis jailings and etc, does anyone recall the FBI director Louie Freeh visiting New Zealand telling the NZ Gov not to relax Cannabis laws and intensify the Drug War:

  16. Mouth says:

    On the topic of the police K9 fatally shot: now I’m a hardcore dog and animal lover (I don’t even like killing Black Widows–I just move them away from me). Yes, I bawled my eyes out, but I do not remember the media giving the same attention to the dogs killed by cops. If killing a police dog gets a person in really deep trouble–almost akin to killing the human officer, then shouldn’t the public demand that cops who kill dogs get the same treatment as a cop killing an unarmed citizen? I don’t recall the Missouri dogs killed a few years ago being associated with a vicious breed–shot for a half empty bowl of charred cannabis. Quite frankly, I’m offended at having to hear the TV media focus on the death of one dog murdered by a crook, while not focusing on the evil men in uniforms who feel threatened by small dogs, thus killing them. Just maybe they get a pass on big dogs, but I don’t want to give them that pass as well.

    My Country Tis of Thee no more.

  17. Will says:

    “The technical term for this — coined by the advocate for drug reform Richard Cowan — is “the iron law of prohibition.” As crackdowns on a drug become more harsh, the milder forms of that drug disappear — and the most extreme strains become most widely available.”

    I think Johann’s use of the word “extreme” is odd and not really accurate. One topic I find fascinating is the history of cannabis breeding in North America (and to a lesser extent, in Holland). Especially the initial early work that began in the 1970’s. Michael Pollan touches on this in the chapter devoted to marijuana in his book “The Botany of Desire”. But one of the best accounts I’ve read is about how modern cannabis breeding started and evolved in Robert Connell Clarke’s introduction to Jason King’s “The Cannabible” (Connell Clarke’s intro is, by far, the best part of that book, IMHO). Obviously there were a variety of reasons why people started planting cannabis seeds gleaned from baggies. Some, like me, were just curious to see what happened if you planted a few seeds. Others, though, were certainly knowledgeable about cross breeding, “hybrid vigor”, the benefits of growing plants in carefully controlled environments, etc., etc. Couple this with proper handling, storage and curing and even plants grown from seeds extracted from reviled brick weed can take on a whole new luster. The gains and benefits of crossing indicas and sativas cannot left out of the conversation, although for many sativa enthusiasts this has muddied the gene pool a little too much. What has resulted over the last 40 + years is not the creation of “extreme” strains or genetically modified cannabis, but the understanding of what occurs when a plant’s true genetic potential is revealed through selectively enhancing naturally occurring traits. There was also much to be learned from how certain crop commodities went from wild plants to grocery store staples. Wild strawberries went from pea sized in the wild to berries the size of goose eggs in some cases. But while modern plant breeding has often led to bigger, prettier produce on grocery store shelves, quality has often suffered. This is true with some strains of cannabis but not so in hands breeders who were/are more interested than just producing bigger buds with the upper limits of THC content. As just one example, in creating his Blueberry strain line, breeder DJ Short went after creating strains with specific clear effects, flavor profiles and other attributes beyond just the end result of getting “blasted”. And major kudos go out to those who are interested in preserving cannabis’ diverse genetic material — just for the sake of it — and for breeders to work with for eons to come.

    The statement, “this is not your father’s (or grandfather’s) pot” falls flat in terms of some kind of vague, misguided warning. By and large, the results of years of modern cannabis breeding is a damn good thing. It will continue to provide interesting results for those who truly care about the potentials of the plant itself.

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