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In 2010, a dentist extracted my wisdom teeth, told me to gargle with salt water, and sent me home with a prescription for a Costco-sized bottle of hydrocodone pills. During the procedure, she knocked me out with propofol—the same drug that killed Michael Jackson—and afterward I felt no pain. After a few hours, I popped one hydrocodone, more out of politeness than need. Weeks later, I still felt fine, but I popped two more, just to see what it was like. Hydrocodone’s dreamy, pain-dulling effect was impressive: I bit my cheek hard enough to draw blood, and it didn’t hurt at all. But the pills made me woozy. I then put the remaining 57 or so of them into my medicine cabinet, and I Continue reading
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by motor tics (rapid, repeated, and purposeless involuntary movements of various muscle groups) and vocal tics (involuntary grunts, barks, obscenities, and other sounds). This debilitating disorder often begins in adolescence and is associated with attention problems, compulsive behavior, and obsessional thoughts.
— About one in 2,500 people suffer from Tourette syndrome in its most severe form, and about one in 800 have milder or partial symptoms. Sufferers are treated with antipsychotic drugs, clonidine, or pimozide, but many get little relief from these drugs.
— Neil Schafer, who tells his story here, has suffered from Tourette syndrome since he was a boy. We have had the opportunity to observe him for ten minutes before and after he smoked three puffs of marijuana. Before he smoked, his head was jerking to the side and he was making sniffing or grunting sounds every few seconds. Within minutes of smoking, the tics had completely disappeared. He says the effect lasts for three to four hours.
—My name is Edward Neil Schafer. I am nineteen years old, and I suffer from Tourette Syndrome.
Colorado is rolling out its first major campaign reminding citizens that while recreational pot is legal (in certain doses), they’re still not allowed to drive while under the influence. Starting soon, officers will start looking for certain “tells” and characteristics of drivers who are above the 5 nanograms of THC – enlarged pupils and small body tremors. There isn’t a breathalyzer for pot so alleged offenders get a free ride to the cop shop for testing.
< 3 VIDEOS.
by Josh Harkinson
One of many models of vape pens that can be used to discretely smoke marijuana concentrates.
Last year, I joined some parents from my son’s preschool for their semi-regular “Dad’s Night Out.” We were at a crowded bar in Oakland, and somehow it emerged that I’d done some stories about marijuana. A dad immediately asked if I’d written about hash oil. Within a few minutes (for the sake of journalism, of course), I was trying a hit of nearly odorless vapor from what looked like a miniature flashlight. A single puff, and I was too high to order a second beer.
It was only a matter of time before an online currency geared towards the robust marijuana industry was developed. And while it’s not a functioning service just yet, “PotCoin” was launched in January, and its owners have bold plans to infiltrate and aid the industry’s banking whoas in the coming weeks (as 4/20 approaches).
The details surrounding PotCoin are rather vague, but the founders purportedly have had success in “numerous online start-ups” and seem completely confident in its success. PotCoin works like BitCoin–it’s an alternative form of online currency–and the founders think it will catch on with the industry.
Claiming to be “The Official Coin of the Cannabis Industry” (even though no one uses it in the industry just yet), the PotCoin website is definitely rather sleek, and gives credence to the developers and the platform’s vast potential:
Some people smoke weed and watch cartoons, while others get high and change the world. Our new column examines the latter in an effort to draw attention to marijuana smokers that accomplished great things because of, and not in spite of, their use of weed.
Louis Armstrong changed the history of music with his trumpet and was an unforgettable musical presence. Besides being one of the most recognized and notable jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong was also an avid pot smoker. In his mid-twenties, Armstrong was first introduced to marijuana and continued to smoke it for the rest of his life, including prior to performing and during recordings. His technical skill and imaginative prowess are in part thanks to marijuana, which was a significant part of his life.
Just around the time Louis Armstrong began to smoke marijuana, he also began experimenting with improvisation. Improvisation changed music entirely and is the definitive characteristic of jazz as we know it. Both incessant and intense in his creative, never-before-seen style, his originality blossomed into such a significant force that he was able to inspire contemporary and future generations of jazz musicians as well as listeners. With Louis Armstrong, jazz went from being the music of an ensemble to the music of an improvisational soloist, marking a significant turn in the history of American and world music. Armstrong himself was passionate about music and this passion was inspired by and intrinsically linked to his marijuana use. For Armstrong, marijuana was something positive and essential, not only to his life and health, but to his work.
Brad Melshenker, owner of the Boulder, Colo.-based 710 Labs, knows his operation, with its extensive ventilation systems, industrial hygienist–approved extraction machine, vacuum ovens, and workers wearing respirator masks looks like something out of a marijuana version of Breaking Bad. It’s why he calls his lab manager, Wade Sanders, “Walter,” after the show’s protagonist, Walter White.
—And like the famously pure and powerful blue meth White cooked up on Breaking Bad, the product produced by 710 Labs’ fancy equipment is extremely concentrated, powerful, and coveted: butane-extracted hash oil (BHO).
While it waits for weed to grow, the South American country could turn to Canadian pot producers to kickstart its newly legalized marijuana industry, top lawmakers — including the first lady — tell GlobalPost.
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — In about a month, Uruguay’s revolutionary new cannabis law will go into effect. In addition to allowing citizens to grow, buy and sell weed, the government will also set forth on its mission to grow its own fields of marijuana, which will then be harvested, taxed and sold in neighborhood pharmacies.
—At least, that’s the theory.
—But growing weed takes a while. Cultivating fields of it, figuring out how to keep the fields safe from poachers, harvesting vast amounts of cannabis, packaging it, taxing it, distributing it and selling it take even longer.
MARIJUANA AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Clare Hodges is a 39-year-old mother of two who learned a few years ago how helpful marijuana can be to sufferers of multiple sclerosis. Since then she has been most effective in helping other MS patients learn about this usefulness. Toward that end, she shares the following clinical account:
I had a starred life until I was 26. I had been very successful at school, winning a place at Oxford University in 1975 to do a degree in Ancient Greek and Latin. After I graduated I worked in television as a producer of documentary features, specializing in medicine and science. This involved traveling around the world, and it was first after filming in Bangladesh in 1982, that I became aware there some something not quite right with me. It wasn’t dramatic to begin with — I simply felt extremely tired and had rather strange sensations in my face and limbs. I felt sick and uncoordinated, and found it difficult to function properly. My doctor referred me to a neurologist who told me that I’d picked up a rare form of malaria in Bangladesh. I’d recover, he said, but it may flare up occasionally. Over the next year I did have episodes of bad health, once resulting in hospital treatment for vertigo and vomiting. All the time I glumly berated myself for not taking the last three days of anti-malaria tablets. When I was due to go filming in Japan in 1983, I decided to have an overall health check. I found out that I did not have malaria, and was told that my problems were probably due to stress and overwork.
Louis Armstrong is not only one of the greatest musicians in history, he isone of the great Americans. His is the quintessential rags-to-riches story;taking him from waif’s hometo playing his horn andsinging for audiences ofhundreds of thousands.Louis regularly usedmarijuana throughout hisadult life. He found itcalming and pleasant. Itcertainly cannot be said thatit harmed his musical talentor made him less charming.He was known as”Ambassador Satch,” andwas sent abroad by the U.S.government to generategood will. He wasinternationally beloved, aswas his music.In 1954, When the Armstrongs returned frommusical engagements inHawaii before it was a state,Lucille Armstrong wasarrested for possession of afew joints which actually belonged to Louis. Furious that his wife wassubjected to such humiliation, he asked his manager to see that he couldhave marijuana without risking arrest. The following are excerpts of Louis Armstrong’s opinion of the use of “gage,” or “reefer,” nicknames formarijuana.
Critics Oppose FDA Approval of Painkiller Zohydro
–Feb. 27, 2014 — A new narcotic painkiller is due to come on the market in March, and critics want the FDA to reverse its approval of the drug, Zohydro ER. They claim it could become the next OxyContin, another opioid that’s become a popular drug of abuse.
—Critics of the FDA’s ruling include attorneys general from 28 states and FED UP!, a union of consumer groups, addiction treatment providers, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and other interested groups. They have petitioned FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, to prevent Zohydro from coming on the market. The FDA approved the drug even though its advisory committee voted 12 to 2 against approval.
I’m curious about marijuana and depression. Can marijuana cause depression?
Answers from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
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. For example, some people may use marijuana as a way to cope with depression symptoms. Heavy users may also appear depressed as a result of the dulling effects of the drug on feelings and emotions.
Kyrgyzstan plays the “mule” that carts heroin and other opiates between Afghanistan and Russia, possibly with significant support and leeway from its government, a new study suggests.
—Government and crime are more likely to become intertwined when resource-stripped countries such as Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked and mountainous country in Central Asia, have little economic activity outside of the drug trade, researchers say.
In new study, it helped to ease anxiety symptoms
— – Researchers experimented with LSD in psychiatric treatment until such research was effectively banned in the US in 1966—but now a Swiss psychiatrist has conducted the first controlled trial of the hallucinogenic drug in more than four decades, with US FDA approval. Dr. Peter Gasser’s study involved 12 people who were dying, most of terminal cancer, and suffering from “deep anxiety,” the Seattle Times reports. After undergoing talk therapy, eight of the patients were given a 200-microgram dose of LSD designed to “produce the full spectrum of a typical LSD experience” on two occasions; the other four received a 20-microgram “active placebo” that wasn’t expected to have an impact. They took their 10-hour “trips” in Gasser’s office, and, he says, “Their anxiety went down and stayed down.”
Inhaling whole-plant cannabis provides symptomatic relief in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to observational trial data published in the March/April edition of the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that results in tremor, slowed movement, and muscle rigidity.
A funny thing happened the other day. Minutes after we published a look into the 50-year-old agreement preventing marijuana from treating post-traumatic stress disorder, the US Public Health Service approved an application from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies to acquire research-grade cannabis to study the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans.
It’s a big win for Dr. Sue Sisley, the University of Arizona researcher we spoke with in the article; with help from MAPS, she’s now one step closer to starting her study, which will measure the effects of five distinct pot potencies, both in smoked and vaporized form, in alleviating PTSD symptoms in 50 veterans. Approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which would seal the deal, is pending.
One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo . In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.[5-8]
Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis.[9-12] One review summarizes the molecular mechanisms of action of cannabinoids as antitumor agents. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor.
Peter McWilliams, a patient with AIDS and cancer who shares his story on this website, died on June 18, 2000. McWilliams was a best-selling author, noted libertarian, and eloquent advocate for medical marijuana. He was arrested on a marijuana charge and denied any use of his medicine as a condition of bail while he awaited trial. It appears that, unable to control his nausea, he died by asphyxiation from aspirating vomit. We mourn his passing.
— The following account was written about a year before his death.
—Medical Marijuana & Me
—By Peter McWilliams
—I began using medicinal marijuana in March, 1996. In that month I was diagnosed with both AIDS and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a result of the AIDS. The doctors who saved my life poured chemicals into me with side effects listed on twelve different sheets of paper with very tiny type I couldn’t read without my putting on glasses. Nausea was a side effect of nearly every drug prescribed. The drugs that would save my life would need something to help keep them down. I was prescribed several anti-nausea medications, both oral and suppository.
Dr. Sue Sisley does not smoke weed. As a researcher and professor at the University of Arizona, Sisley additionally works as a psychiatrist and physician for veterans grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder. In her time in the lab, Sisley has exhausted the options available to her by way of legal treatments for PTSD. Along the way, she’s discovered that the only medicine that seemed to help dampen her patients’ demons is marijuana. Ever since, Sisley has tried her damnedest to procure some research-grade cannabis.
She’s failed. That’s not unsurpising.
by Jim Barnell
I am a fifty-eight year old, white divorced male with three adult children, one deceased. I have lived in South Florida for the past twenty years and now reside with my eighty-two year old mother. I held employment at the Bucks County Department of Corrections in Pennsylvania in 1970, first as a counselor and lastly, in a senior management position in Corrections. Prior to my disability, I was unemployed.
—I do not smoke, drink, nor take any illegal drugs, except marihuana, marijuana. I have no criminal history, nor have I ever been arrested for any drug offenses, nor committed any crimes. I have used marihuana recreationally since 1960 with the exception in 1970-77, due to employment considerations. In fact, I managed the first in-house drug abuse counseling program within a local detention and work release setting in the state of Pennsylvania in 1970.
In Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases, a new paper published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, a Swiss psychiatrist named Peter Gasser and his colleagues report on the first controlled trial of LSD in forty years. Gasser used LSD therapeutically to treat 12 people nearing the end of their lives, and concluded that their anxiety “went down and stayed down.”
“One day in my pharmacology class, we were discussing the possibility of legalizing marijuana. The class was pretty evenly divided between those that advocated legalizing marijuana and those that did not. The professor said he wanted to hear from a few people on both sides of the argument. A couple students had the opportunity to stand in front of the class and present their arguments. One student got up and spoke about how any kind of marijuana use was morally wrong and how nobody in the class could give him any example of someone who needed marijuana.
A small girl in the back of the classroom raised her hand and said that she didn’t want to get up, but just wanted to comment that there are SOME situations in which people might need marijuana.
A new study finds a connection between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors, called CB1, are activated when a person uses marijuana.
Researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center used brain imaging techniques to find the connection, Fox News reports. They say their findings could lead the way to new treatments for PTSD.
“There’s not a single pharmacological treatment out there that has been developed specifically for PTSD,” lead author Dr. Alexander Neumeister said in a news release. “That’s a problem. There’s a consensus among clinicians that existing pharmaceutical treatments such as an antidepressant simply do not work.”
Starting about 90 miles northwest of Sacramento, an unbroken swath of national forestland follows the spine of California’s rugged coastal mountains all the way to the Oregon border. Near the center of this vast wilderness, along the grassy banks of the Trinity River’s south fork, lies the remote enclave of Hyampom (pop. 241), where, on a crisp November morning, I climb into a four-wheel-drive government pickup and bounce up a dirt logging road deep into the Six Rivers National Forest. I’ve come to visit what’s known in cannabis country as a “trespass grow.”