Tag Archives: health

Can we make humans healthier by growing healthier places?


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Narina Walls

2 hrs ·

From Harvard University Healthcare and quite an interesting read. Also as it is related to women can explain why so many women flourish in Tepoztlan where I lie and where we are at a higher altitude , though on ground and not up the mountain, lower to Mexico City’s altitude level some way. Something I am sure going to research as soon as time allows! Time spent in “green” places linked with longer life in women.

Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD

POSTED MARCH 09, 2017, 9:30 AM
Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
– John Burroughs

Can we make humans healthier by growing healthier places?

A 2016 analysis found that women living in areas with higher levels of green vegetation had lower rates of mortality. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide study of approximately 100,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Those women that had homes in areas with the highest level of greenness in the surrounding 250 meters (roughly 820 feet, or a little over 1/10 of a mile) had a 12% lower rate of death compared to the women whose homes had the lowest level of greenness. Specifically, there was a 13% lower rate for cancer mortality, 35% lower respiratory disease-related mortality, and 41% lower rate for kidney disease mortality in the women living in the areas with the highest levels of green vegetation.

Just how does being in green spaces increase longevity?

When trying to figure out just how the greenness was protecting women against death, researchers found a combination of factors that came into play. These included lower levels of depression, increased social engagement, higher levels of physical activity, and lower levels of pollution. There are probably many reasons why being in green spaces might decrease depression. Perhaps people who live in greener areas are more likely to go outside. Exposure to sunlight helps people to make vitamin D, and low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression. Spending time with friends and participating in social activities were also associated with greener areas, and these things can decrease feelings of loneliness and depression. Being outside and experiencing nature has been known to increase feelings of well-being. In fact, some research suggests that even images of nature can lead to increased positive mood.

Exercise is medicine, and the more physically active a person is, the more fit they will be and the healthier they will be. Green spaces invite people to enjoy the outdoors and encourage people to walk, bicycle, or jog for physical activity. When the space around a home is green and full of vegetation, there are likely paths or trails that are in safe and beautiful places. In this study, those women that lived in greener spaces were more physically active.

Living among trees, plants, grass, and flowers provides an environment with less pollution than one with low levels of vegetation. The plants can reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, which lowers the level of pollution. In this study, death from respiratory disease was reduced by about one third in those women who lived in the homes with the highest amount of vegetation. Breathing clean air matters, and plants help to clean the air.

Take advantage of green spaces.

If you live in an area with heavy vegetation, this is good news for you. Take the opportunity to improve your health. Get outside and breathe the clean air, walk around the neighborhood, find some friends to walk with you, and enjoy the great, green outdoors. If you do not live in an area with a lot of greenery around you, consider planting some trees, plants, or shrubs. If you live in a highly urban area, you can get involved with local policy to work to encourage your community to increase green spaces. Spend time with friends who live in areas with lots of trees and greenery, consciously seek out green areas as often as you can, and consider vacationing in areas with lots of vegetation.

And for those of us still in the throes of winter… spring isn’t all that far away.

CONTINUE READING…

America’s hidden water affordability crisis


leaky-faucet

 

By Ciara O’Rourke on Mar 5, 2017 6:00 am

When Elizabeth Mack wondered about a future in which Americans wouldn’t be able to pay for water, a couple of colleagues waved her off. “Don’t be ridiculous,” they said. But the idea niggled at Mack, an assistant professor at the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. And in January, in an article published in the science journal PLOS ONE, she asked a new question: Is there a burgeoning water affordability crisis in the United States?

Mack, along with research assistant Sarah Wrase, determined that if water rates increase at projected amounts over the next five years, the percentage of households that can’t pay their water bills could triple from 11.9 percent to more than a third. Nearly 14 million households nationwide already struggle to afford water services. An additional 27.18 million — or 8.5 percent of the country’s population — could soon face the same challenges.

“I don’t think we think about this, about what it would mean to not have running water,” Mack told Fusion. Of course, some Americans have experienced it. Water affordability is becoming an increasingly critical issue in cities across the country, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit. In Philadelphia, an estimated four out of 10 water accounts are past due. Atlanta and Seattle have some of the highest water rates in the country. And in Detroit, a campaign to cut off delinquent residents has stopped water and sewage service for 50,000 households since 2014. It’s a reality Mack thinks Americans in other parts of the country could face.

“Any place with shrinking city characteristics, any city where we have a hollowing out of a downtown core that used to be quite vibrant” could be in trouble, she said. That’s the case in Detroit, where a declining population has left fewer households to shoulder the costs of water services.

The cost of replacing water systems built around World War II are projected at more than $1 trillion over the next 25 years across the country. Prices will be even higher if cities tap private companies to provide water services because they tend to charge higher rates than public providers. A majority of Americans get their water from public providers, but in Atlanta, where the privatization of water services in part drove up water expenses, the service costs $325.52 per month. Households must make at least about $87,000 for that to be affordable.

Because public utilities can only charge customers as much money as it takes to recoup their costs, Mack said, it can be harder for them to finance new infrastructure — but their rates also tend to be lower than private providers that don’t have the same constraints. Still, a 2014 report by Corporate Accountability International and Public Services International Research Unit questioned whether it’s appropriate to tap private companies to shore up infrastructure projects. “No matter how the private sector frames its intentions, its priority is market development over community development, profit maximization over the public interest,” the report states.

Other drivers behind rising water prices include increasingly rigorous water quality standards, said Laura Feinstein, a senior research associate at the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank based in Oakland. As federal laws are updated to reflect new contaminants, water utilities have to spend more money to treat the water to keep it safe for consumers. Extreme weather events associated with climate change, such as droughts and floods, are also expensive for the systems to manage.

But there are ways for both providers and people to curb costs, she said. As utilities look for new water sources to accommodate population growth, they can turn to storm water capture or gray water reuse instead of costlier dams, reservoirs, and desalination plants. And utilities should be mindful that per capita water use doesn’t necessarily increase as populations do thanks to more efficient appliances and cultural shifts among residents who might water their lawns less.

“In reality, per person water use just keeps going down over time, at least in California,” Feinstein said.

Some utilities have worked to develop effective bill discount programs to focus their efficiency programs on lower-income customers. Offering a rebate for a low-flush toilet, for example, is only an option for people who can already pay for a big investment like that, Feinstein said. But giving customers a discount upfront makes it more affordable.

Water affordability is already a serious challenge for low-income people in the United States, Feinstein said. In one study that looked at a sample of communities in California, the institute found that about 5 percent of households had incomes under $10,000 and were spending around 5 percent of their income on water.

In California, at least, laws restraining public utilities from hiking rates higher than the cost of recovery can also hamper efforts to offer discounts to low-income customers, Feinstein said, “because they can’t charge more affluent customers a little more in order to fund low-income discounts.”

For people already living in poverty — 40 percent of the population in Detroit — any increase in a water cost will strain a family’s finances, said Randy Block, director of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network. He and others in the faith community are trying to raise money to help needy residents pay for water. He thinks water should be recognized as a human right in Michigan just as the United Nations General Assembly defined it in 2010. He likened the city shutting off water for delinquent customers to a war on poverty, and he believes similar skirmishes will play out across the country as income inequality grows.

“Detroit is the canary in a coal mine,” Block said.

Mark Fancher, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, said unaffordable water has been a “pretty massive problem” in Detroit for 10–15 years. The practical result of shut-offs, he said, is residents relocating. While there are hardship extensions for residents who have fallen behind on their bills but are also suffering from a serious medical condition, according to Fancher, the system could be a lot better: Residents often don’t know about it, or their applications are denied. Other times, they might receive bills for water they didn’t use or not get the bills at all, he said.

“The argument has been made that an affordability plan for the city of Detroit would be a really helpful thing for the struggling utility,” Fancher said. “Because even though people who take advantage of it may not be paying full market rate for water, they’ll be paying more than nothing, which will at least bring in some significant amount of money that right now they’re not getting at all.”

He questioned how seriously the city is interested in water affordability. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department did not respond to questions about water affordability and shut-offs in the city, but The Detroit News reported last month that officials expect a new rate structure that rewards low water use will reduce the burden on low-income residents. In turn, said Marcus Hudson, the department’s chief financial officer, their probability of paying will increase.

Mack thinks that governments, utilities, and consumers will need to work together to solve the growing problem of water affordability.

“How can we fix this infrastructure and how can we finance it together?” she said. She cautions against alarmist responses to her study, which, she said, “is not meant to be an activist piece.” Rather, she said her research highlights a quiet water crisis that many Americans are aware of in developing countries but don’t consider in the United States. She doesn’t think anyone appreciates the scope of infrastructure problems here and, she said, Americans should be watching Detroit warily.

“I would hazard a guess that most people don’t know how much water they use,” she said. “I’d encourage them to do some self-education.”

Feinstein is agnostic on whether it’s an increasing problem. The article, leaning on the Environmental Protection Agency’s average consumption estimates, assumes the average household uses 12,000 gallons per month. “That might be more than people really need to meet their basic needs,” she said.

But she agrees that water affordability is a problem. Other countries, such as France, Australia, and South Africa have better programs in place to make sure low-income residents can pay for water, Feinstein said. She thinks California is leading the way with legislation that calls for the State Water Resources Control Board to study how to develop low-income assistance rates statewide. As far as she knows, it would be the first such program of its kind if it’s implemented but, she said, it should be nationwide.

“When people don’t have access to the water that they need, it compromises their health. It means they end up having to make choices between paying for things like medical care and paying for food and paying for water,” Feinstein said. “Water is essential for life. People should be able to get the water they need a price they can afford it.”

CONTINUE READING…

Morgellons Disease Scientifically Proven to Occur in Dogs


Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation Announces Collaborative Study Linking Skin Condition to Canine Lyme Disease

The finding of skin lesions similar to Morgellons disease, first in cattle and now in dogs, confirms that the skin disease is not a delusion, as some have maintained. Marianne Middelveen

AUSTIN, TX (PRWEB) OCTOBER XX, 2016 (PRWEB) (PRWEB) December 07, 2016

Man’s best friend may help solve another mystery. A new study entitled “Canine Filamentous Dermatitis Associated with Borrelia Infection” reveals that a condition similar to human Morgellons disease can occur in dogs. The study was published in the prestigious Journal of Veterinary Science & Medical Diagnosis.

Morgellons disease is an unusual skin condition associated with Lyme disease in humans. It is characterized by skin lesions containing unusual multicolored fibers and symptoms such as fatigue, joint and muscle pain and neurological problems that are typical of Lyme disease. Similar skin lesions have previously been reported in bovine digital dermatitis, an infectious disease of cattle.

The dog study was partially funded by the Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation (CEHMDF) and was conducted by an international team of researchers, including Calgary microbiologist Marianne Middelveen, San Francisco Internist Dr. Raphael Stricker, molecular biologists Dr. Eva Sapi and Dr. Jennie Burke, and Calgary veterinarians Dr. Gheorghe Rotaru and Dr. Jody McMurray.

The dogs in the study presented with unusual fiber-containing skin lesions that lacked other explanations and that failed to respond to non-antibiotic treatments. “Generally-speaking, the fibers we have seen are teal and pink,” explains Dr. Rotaru.“Dogs are hairy, so fibers can be hard to see. Fortunately the fibers fluoresce under UV light, so we have used that diagnostic tool to identify dogs with the skin condition.”

Analysis performed by five different laboratories detected the corkscrew-shaped agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, in canine skin tissue by special staining and DNA analysis. Culture studies showed that the Lyme bacteria in skin were alive. Further analysis of the canine skin fibers showed that they were made of the same proteins as human Morgellons disease fibers.

Most of the owners of the study dogs were healthy and were not familiar with Morgellons disease or Lyme disease; however, two of the owners also had Morgellons disease. “In those cases, we do not have evidence of contact transmission from human to animal or animal to human,” says Dr. Stricker, “it may be that both owner and dog were exposed to the same disease vector.”

“The finding of skin lesions similar to Morgellons disease, first in cattle and now in dogs, confirms that the skin disease is not a delusion, as some have maintained,” said Ms. Middelveen. “We need to learn much more about this mysterious skin condition.”

About the Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation:
The Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation based in Austin, TX, is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to advocacy and philanthropy in the battle against Morgellons. Director, Cindy Casey-Holman, RN, leads the foundation, named for her husband, Charles E. Holman, a pioneer in the fight against MD. The CEHMDF is the recognized authority and primary funding source for Morgellons Disease medical-scientific research. There are neither grants, nor any other public or private funding to support research for Morgellons. Donations are tax deductible in the US. To learn more about Morgellons disease go to http://www.MorgellonsDisease.org

SOURCE LINK

RELATED:

Has KY been infected with “Morgellons Disease”, or is there another type parasite that is being seen in the area?

“a puff is enough”


Gary L. Wenk Ph.D.

Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. Your Brain on Food

Marijuana or Obesity: Which Is Worse?

For the majority of people who read this blog, the answer will be obesity.

Posted Jan 04, 2017

Overall, the complete answer to this question depends upon knowing whether you inherited genes that predispose you to drug addiction or food addiction. Recent research has found evidence that these two addictions are closely related to each other. What differs, and what truly matters to most people, is the consequence to smoking too much marijuana or consuming too much food. Which is worse for your body and brain? For the majority of people the answer will be obesity, not marijuana. This is why.

Obesity:

During the past three decades an obesity epidemic has been responsible for a 77% increase in death rates. The accumulation of excess body fat has been clearly shown to accelerate the progression of many age-associated diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes and dementia. Why? A few years ago it became clear that fat cells produce inflammation by releasing specialized proteins called cytokines. The more fat cells you have the more cytokines get released into your blood. Essentially, obesity is associated with chronic, low-grade, body-wide inflammation, insulin resistance and many of the same metabolic conditions that underlie the aging process itself. The cytokines are capable of inducing shrinkage of brain regions (primarily gray matter- where the neurons live) that are used in the process of learning new things and recalling memories

One recent study examined the relationships between academic performance, cognitive functioning, and BMI among 2,519 young people.  BMI was inversely correlated with general mental ability even after controlling for demographics, lifestyle factors, and lipid profiles. Overall, obesity is implicated in lower performance on cognitive control tasks. The longer the inflammation is present, the more brain shrinkage occurs. Elderly obese people have more impaired learning and memory abilities than elderly thin people. Being obese at mid-life is also a strong predictor of dementia in later life. 

Today, an overwhelming body of evidence across a wide spectrum of medical disciplines strongly argues that obesity accelerates the aging process, impairs overall cognitive function and, ultimately, is responsible for numerous processes that kill you.

Marijuana:

Studies suggest that adults (this argument does not apply to young people) who use low to moderate daily amounts of marijuana show no personality disturbances. During the past few years some sensational studies have been widely featured in the national press; one suggested that daily marijuana use might decreased IQ (Meier et al., PNAS, 2012), the other suggested that daily recreational use caused shrinkage of brain areas that are critical for learning, memory and emotional control (Gilman et al., 2014, J Neurosci). The report by Meier et al. was immediately challenged (Rogeberg, 2013, PNAS) for failing to take into account the confounding effect of socioeconomic status, a factor which has been shown to a significantly impact on IQ score. The results of the second study have now been confronted by a more recent publication (Weiland et al., 2015, J Neurosci) that clearly demonstrated that daily use of marijuana produced no significant changes in the size or shape of brain regions involved in the control of emotion or learning and memory. 

Just last month another bit of nonsense derived from poor research methods was published and then debunked (see, https://www.leafly.com/news/health/does-marijuana-cause-alzheimers). Marijuana does not shrink the brain or predispose people to Alzheimer’s disease. Research in my laboratory (copies of publications can be obtained here: http://faculty.psy.ohio-state.edu/wenk/) has demonstrated that stimulating the brain’s marijuana receptors offer protection by reducing brain inflammation. Thus, later in life, marijuana might actually help your brain, rather than harm it. It takes very little marijuana to produce benefits in the older brain. My lab coined the motto “a puff is enough” because it appears as though only a single puff each day is necessary to produce significant benefit.

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I often am asked by my students whether smoking marijuana makes it more likely that to develop schizophrenia. Forty years of research has led to the following answer: if you are not genetically vulnerable to schizophrenia then marijuana use will not induce it. It appears as though stimulating endogenous marijuana receptors may be able to unmask underlying symptoms of schizophrenia as well as other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, if you inherited the appropriate genes from your parents.

Marijuana or Obesity?

Given recent evidence, obese people and marijuana smokers face a challenging dilemma: do they feel genetically lucky? Each person will have a different answer to the question of “which is worse.”  The answer will be determined by the genetic cards you were dealt by your parents. 

© Gary L. Wenk, Ph.D. Author of “Your Brain on Food,” 2nd Edition, 2015 (Oxford University Press)

CONTINUE READING…

Proposed Medicaid Changes in Kentucky – Tell us what you think about Governor Bevin’s proposed Medicaid changes


Proposed Medicaid Changes in Kentucky – Tell us what you think about Governor Bevin’s proposed Medicaid changes – LINK

PLEASE FOLLOW LINK ABOVE TO COMPLETE THIS IMPORTANT SURVEY!  YOUR HEALTHCARE IS AT RISK IN KENTUCKY!  NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP!

United 874K Members and Supporters –
The three public hearings on the proposed Medicaid waiver have been completed, with approximately 400 individuals in attendance in Bowling Green, Frankfort and Hazard, KY and nearly 100 individuals who spoke. 98% of those who spoke expressed concerns about the proposed waiver. Concerns were expressed about requiring the “medically frail” to pay monthly premiums; about a work or volunteer requirement of 20 hours/week for those on the Medicaid Expansion; loss of retroactive eligibility which could cause a lapse in coverage or a delay in beginning Medicaid coverage; increasing premiums over several years for some Medicaid members, with a 6-month lock-out from services if the premium is not paid; eliminating annual dental and vision check-ups and routine care for the Medicaid Expansion folks
Clearly those Medicaid members who are deemed to be “medically frail” (by a process yet to be determined, but ostensibly those with SMI. Chronic SUD, complicated medical conditions, are on SSI, or have a disability that interferes with a task of daily living) will be charged a monthly premium, probably in the range of $1 – $8 / month. We are concerned both by the financial burden, but also by the administrative burden created by this requirement. If the premium is not paid, then the medically frail individual will have to pay a copay for every service and every medication! While the 1915 C Waivers are exempt from this current 1115 Waiver Proposal from the Administration, we are concerned about individuals who are currently covered by Medicaid while waiting for a 1915 waiver slot. They would likely be classified as “medically frail” and would be subject to a monthly premium; if not paid, then they would be charged a copay for each health service and each medication they receive.
Medically frail individuals will not have a work or volunteer requirement and will have the full range of current benefits, including dental and vision. These latter benefits (annual check-up, routine cleanings, etc.) are being removed from the benefit package for all other Medicaid members (excluding children and pregnant women); those basic health benefits will have to be “earned” by the member through their Rewards Account.
I urge you to spread the word and to encourage those affected by these waiver changes, their families, providers and advocates to submit comments! I am available to answer questions or to be of assistance, if you will contact me.
I have attached a flyer which gives information about writing or emailing your comments about the waiver to Medicaid Commissioner Miller. THE DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF WRITTEN COMMENTS IS 5:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2016! Volume is important, so please encourage everyone to write in. And send a copy of your comment to kymedicaidchanges@gmail.com so we can be sure that your voice is heard!
I have also attached a brief description of the waiver proposal and how it would affect various groups of people who are now Medicaid members.
KY Voices for Health is conducting a very short SURVEY about the proposed changes in Medicaid. Please distribute this link and ask folks to complete the survey! It takes less than 3-4 minutes.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy answering questions from public on twitter today ….


 

Please be advised, I received the following email from Vivek Murthy – the new surgeon general, and he is taking public questions online through his twitter account today only!  Below is the link to the twitter account and also a copy of the letter I received.

 

@Surgeon_General.

 

The White House, Washington

 

Hi, everyone —

I’m the Surgeon General of the United States — which means it’s my job to keep America healthy by providing you with the best scientific information available about your health.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with President Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and health care professionals to discuss climate change. We talked about the impact of climate change on public health and the importance of prevention.

Clearly, we all have a stake in our national and global health. Every single one of us stands to benefit from a public health system that is focused on wellness and prevention — not one that simply focuses on treating sickness and disease.

So as part of National Public Health Week, I’m taking your questions. If you’re on Twitter, and you’ve got a question about the impact of climate change on health — or any other public health topic — shoot it my way using the hashtag #AskTheSurgeonGeneral.

I’ll be answering your questions via video throughout the afternoon tomorrow from my Twitter account, @Surgeon_General.

Every one of us wants to do what we can to protect the health of our families, including the health of our grandchildren and future generations. That starts with being informed about how we can keep ourselves, and one another, healthy — particularly in the face of a changing climate.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Stay healthy, America.

VM

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
@Surgeon_General

Visit WhiteHouse.gov

Marijuana compound may slow, halt progression of Alzheimer’s


Neuroscientists found that extremely low doses of a compound found in marijuana may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that neuroscientists using a cellular model of Alzheimer’s found low doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reduced the production of amyloid beta, and prevented abnormal accumulation, which is one of the early signs of the memory-loss disease.

“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future,” said lead author Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist and PhD at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.

Neuroscientists also found THC enhanced mitochondrial function which is needed to supply energy, transmit signals and maintain a healthy brain.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” Cao said.

The research noted that the therapeutic benefits of THC at low doses appear greater than the associated risks of toxicity and memory impairment. 

“Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No,” study co-author Neel Nabar said. “However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the numbers projected to reach 14 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CONTINUE READING…

5 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Marijuana


By Jack Grinspoon, Thursday at 6:51 pm

It’s no coincidence that marijuana legalization support has surged with the growth of social media. The voices of the Reefer Madness era are silenced daily as studies and testimonials continue pouring in about this often misunderstood plant. Ignorance still remains, however, and this fight won’t be won without continued education of the masses.

It takes one fact that hits home to sway someone’s opinion. Maybe one of the following will do that for you. Here are five things about marijuana you may not have known:

1.  THC and CBD, marijuana’s primary cannabinoids, are both cancer killers.

No, I’m not talking about using marijuana to help manage cancer’s effects. It’s actually anti-cancer.

Recent research out of Spain suggests that THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, kills brain cancer cells. Study co-author Guillermo Velasco claims that when THC was applied to cancerous brain tissue, the cancer cells were killed while healthy cells were left alone.

CBD apparently does the same; a pair of scientists from California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco demonstrated the cannabinoid’s ability to stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer.

Imagine if this plant were discovered in a jungle two weeks ago. What would the news be saying? The CBD article goes as far as to say the breakthrough could "potentially alter the fatality of the disease forever." The lack of media coverage for this is astounding, but that doesn’t diminish the research.

2. Marijuana triggers neurogenesis. Layman’s terms: It leads to brain cell growth.

Wait….marijuana is supposed to kill brain cells, right?

Wrong.

The roots of the marijuana-kills-brain-cells myth are deep despite the lack of credible evidence. The original study supporting this notion is questionable at best and recent research suggests exactly the opposite.

In 2005, a study showed cannabinoids’ ability to promote neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus, the brain region responsible for many important brain functions including mood and memory. The authors also cited anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects that accompany the neurogenesis. This explains why people across California, Colorado, Washington and other marijuana-friendly states often turn to the herb for a mood-boost instead of pharmaceutical drugs. It also supports research that marijuana helps improve cognitive function in bipolar disorder patients. This brings us to our next fact….

3. Suicide rates are lower in areas where medical marijuana is available

.

A Denver state-level study analyzed the statistical trend of suicide after introduction of medical marijuana.

From the study:

"Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5% reduction in total suicide rate, an 11% reduction in the suicide rate of age 20-29 males, and a 9% reduction in the suicide rate of 30-39 males."

It’s interesting this hasn’t become mainstream data in a country so focused on suicide prevention. Not surprisingly, one of the main reasons cited by the study’s authors for the decrease was connected to the at-risk population (20 and 30-something males) replacing alcohol with marijuana. This data makes the strictness of Illinois’ new medical marijuana policy even more laughable.

"Don’t let usage get out of control! Less people might commit suicide!"

Speaking of marijuana’s effects on well-being, I highly recommend this very personal, heart-wrenching article.

But what about the physical effects?

4. There is zero evidence that marijuana causes significant lung damage.

While vaporization is always touted as the safest method of marijuana ingestion, the largest study of its kind suggested marijuana-only smoking is harmless as well:

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. What we found instead was no association at all, and even some suggestion of a protective effect."

The above words come from UCLA Medical Doctor Donald Tashkin, author of the study and marijuana researcher of more than 30 years.

Considering the tar in marijuana smoke was found to contain as many harmful carcinogens as cigarette smoke, this study actually strengthens the notion that marijuana is anti-cancer. The plant itself seems to have an offsetting effect for the harmful properties of smoke.

5. There are two completely different types of marijuana, both with different effects on the user.

One of the biggest mistakes made by people who first try marijuana is immediately thinking that it’s "not for them." It certainly isn’t for everyone, but what if they  just tried the wrong kind?

There are hundreds of different strains of marijuana, tagged with names like Blue Dream, OG Kush, Trainwreck or Pineapple. All of these are categorized as "Sativa" or "Indica." Here’s a simple-as-possible explanation on the difference:

Sativas

are usually day-time strains, used to enhance the experience of social events, time in nature or listening to new music. Caregivers often recommend sativa strains for patients seeking relief from depression, PTSD, fatigue and some types of anxiety and pain. Some patients even report positive effects on ADHD while medicating with sativa strains. Although sativas produce an enjoyable effect, they usually are the culprit for an inexperienced user "tweaking out" during one of their first times smoking.

Indicas

are often smoked at night due to their narcotic effect on the user. Indica strains are perfect for users suffering from any type of pain, nausea or anxiety. They’re also preferable for novice users as they acclimate themselves to the herb. This variety is popular for meditation or yoga due to its mind-calming qualities.

Here is a more extensive explanation on the two categories if you’re interested.

Marijuana isn’t for everyone. Nothing is for everyone.

But should we be throwing those it is for in cages?

I dare you to say yes.

Email me at Jack.Grinspoon@gmail.com if there’s anything in particular you’d like covered in this blog

.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: brain cells, cancer, cannabis, CBD, indica, Legalization, marijuana, sativa, strain, suicide, THC, UCLA, weed

"I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…" — Jack Herer, "The Emperor of Hemp", September 12th, 2009


Rev. Mary Spears explains the legalization vs. repeal initiatives and why REPEAL is the only way to proceed.

 

"I don’t want to fucking give this United States
government one fucking dollar of taxes…"
Jack Herer, "The Emperor of Hemp", September 12th, 2009
(Portland Hempstalk Festival–his final speech.)
http://overgrow.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-fallacy-of-the-legalize-and-tax-cannabis-initiatives

 

By ElectroPig Von Fökkengrüüven in Overgrow The World v2.0

The Fallacy of the "Legalize and Tax Cannabis" initiatives.

Overgrow The World

April 21, 2010

I have listened and understood the words of the late Jack Herer, and I am amazed how few people who say they believe in what Jack was saying truly understand the real reasons why he so horrified at the idea of creating new cannabis taxes. Let me explain quickly: THEY ARE NOT NEEDED AT ALL! As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth!

Now I’m sure that many of you don’t believe me. If that is the case, then you also didn’t understand what Jack meant, or perhaps you simply weren’t paying attention, choosing to hear what you agreed with and ignoring what you didn’t understand, or simply weren’t interested in.

The first "ignored fact" is that the vast majority of the "illicit market" for cannabis is underground, hence, completely untaxed. There is a small fallacy to this statement, however, as even those "underground economies" still purchase their supplies, tools and equipment from "legitimate businesses" and those businesses all pay taxes of one form or another. Cannabis growers order pizza, buy gas, hire electricians and plumbers, et cetera. In this admittedly roundabout way, cannabis already is taxed, albeit to a very small degreee in comparison to the total size of the market as it stands, and to the potential which is known to exist.

Let’s say that cannabis/hemp were re-legalized prohibition was repealed today, and it was done so without the creation of any new tax codes specifically for cannabis. Most think that this would be a bad thing, as it wouldn’t be "exploiting the market" without creating new tax codes, new agencies, new enforcement regimes. Unfortunately, the people who believe that have been lied to, and it’s time that they learned the truth.

In actual fact, if cannabis were re-legalized prohibition was repealed today and taxes weren’t considered in the equation in any way, it would still be beneficial to society in terms of savings alone. We’d save money on policing, of which estimates range that between 40-60% of all police costs are directly due to "drug prohibition." Logic follows that with police not bogged down with grandmothers taking a puff to slow their glaucoma, they would then be able to concentrate their resources on combating real crimes. Things like rape, murder, fraud, home invasion and theft, assault and battery, arson, financial crimes, environmental crimes (of which cannabis/hemp prohibition is one of the leading causes, in fact), and many more REAL crimes with REAL victims.

Taken a step further, lawyers would then be freed up to work on real crimes as well. So would prosecutors. So would judges, court stenographers, prison staff and more. WIthout locking away non-violent "criminals" who have harmed noone else–and this is the scary part for corporations–the "warehousing of otherwise productive humans for profit" would suddenly become far less profitable for the prison-industrial complex to continue, and prohibitionary statute development might begin to fade. With less "legal reasons" to imprison people for essentially minding their own business, more people would not have the lives and futures destroyed.

So let’s say that there were no new taxes created upon re-legalization of cannabis/hemp, and we ONLY consider the tens or hundreds of billions SAVED by no longer wasting time attacking people in their homes for posession or for growing a few plants for their own consumption. Are not those billions of dollars saved a tremendous enough benefit to justify the immediate repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition? Could saving those billions of dollars not be immediately transferred into lower taxes, or public debt reduction? Would those savings alone not be of tremendous, immediate and long-term social value?

Now let’s consider the tax idea on it’s own merit.

With re-legalization repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition, there would immediately follow the creation of new businesses to exploit what is widely known to be a global market for cannaibs and hemp products. Each of those businesses would be subject to business income taxes that currently do not exist. WIthout a single character added to business tax statutes, the net result would be the establishment of "new revenue" from those "new businesses."

Of course, those businesses would need people to man storefronts, deliver products, develop products, design packaging, grow the raw materials, process the raw materials, et cetera. These jobs would all be legitimate jobs in the real job market. Each of those jobs would be subject to existing income tax statutes. It’s not hard to see how those "new jobs" would in turn be utilized as "new tax revenue sources" which previously did not exist. Again, without a single line of new codes written, a brand new revenue stream has been obtained.

Each of those new employees and businesses would need supplies, equipment, computers, energy sources, and services. All of those businesses and individuals would then use their incomes to purchase those items or services they needed, either to operate or enhance their businesses, or simply to make their lives at home a little better. All of those products would be purchased at existing retailers and/or wholesalers that exist in the current "legitimate marketplace." All (or the vast majority) of those purchases would be subject to sales taxes at state/provincial and federal levels. Again, not a single comma added to the existing statutes required, but "new revenue" has effectively been attained.

Now let’s take the cannabis market ITSELF.

All of those newly created and legitimate businesses would provide products that people either wanted or needed, be they for medical purposes or for recreational uses. All of those products would then be subject to state/provincial and federal sales taxes. With each sale would then come "new revenues" which do not exist today. Again–are you starting to notice a pattern yet?–without the addition of a single line of code to any existing tax codes.

The Fallacy of "New Government Regulatory Jobs"

People keep being told that "new jobs" will be created in the "new regulatory framework" that "will be needed", but they haven’t thought this through. Some have partly thought it through, thinking that since a percentage of those worker’s incomes will be clawed back by income taxes–say 25%–that means that those jobs are "cheaper" than "real jobs". That’s actually not quite right.

When you look the "real economy", or in other words, the economy from which all government income is derived via the millions of tax codes which exist to take our incomes from us all, any position in this "real economy" is one which is subject to taxation, and therefore, is generally to be considered a contributing position.

On the other hand, when you look at "government jobs" which are wholly funded by "real people" with "real jobs" in the "real economy", every government position which exists–no matter what country or what level of government–is a drain on society, and must be so, as "we hired them to work for us."

Now let’s take a simple example that we’ve all heard a million times: "Joe The Plumber."

If Joe was working in his own shop, or for someone else in their business, he would be a contributing factor in the "real economy" in the amount of taxation on his income, we’ll use 25% for illustration purposes. This means that 25% of his income is diverted to "public employees and projects" needed for society to function as it currently exists.

Now let’s take Joe’s situation if he were a government employee…let’s say he’s employed by the local Public Utilities Comission. Now Joe’s income is wholly funded by tax dollars, and thus, is a drain on society. We’ve established an income tax rate of 25%, so we can now say that Joe is "cheaper" because now his services now only costs us 75% of what they would, had he remained in his private sector job.

Here is the "minor error" in that logic: Joe has moved from the "real economy" to the "government economy". In making that move, the "real economy" has lost 100% of a "real job", while the government has gained an employee "at a discount of only 75% of their private sector wages." When you add that up, you see quite clearly that Joe’s "new job" is effectively now a 175% loss to society as a whole.

Joe’s still making the same amount of money. We’re still paying him the same amount of money when he does his work…but now he is NOT contributing to the "real economy" at all, while he is draining 75% of his wages from unnaportioned taxation of the people who are forced to pay his salary, whether they partake of his services or not.

Unfortunately, this also applies to every "equivalent government position" that exists in the world. Accountants cost 175% of what they would cost in the "real economy." So do welders, secretaries, cafeteria cooks, lawyers…ALL of them! If they work for the government, they are at a much higher cost than their equivalent "real world" positions in the real economy.

We need to keep this in mind whenever we hear talk of " new regulations" because that almost always means "new regulatory bodies", and that DEFINITELY always means "new government employees" which are going to cost us dearly if we allow such things to occur.

If we are forced to accept some form of taxation in order to move closer to the full repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition, so be it…let’s move a little closer…but the second we have a positive change under our belts, we must NOT become complacent! We must continue to fight for the full repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition until the batttle is decisively won.

Once we have some "half-assed reasonable legislation" in place, we can guage what are the worst parts of those enacted bills and target them one by one until they’re all gone, and then, we will have our ofn freedom, and freedom for what is arguably the most important plant known on this planet.

At the Hempstalk Festival, during Jack Herer’s final public speech, he said (among other things):

"I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…"

Obviously, he understood my thinking…or perhaps, I simply learned enough to come to an understanding of his.

What about you?

EDIT:  I have since come up with the complete solution to the perils of prohibition in THREE WORDS:

1) DESCHEDULE.
2) REPEAL.
3) DONE!!!

If you remember only three words in your lifetime, THOSE are the ones that WILL end cannabis/hemp prohibition.

If we continue to be led by propagandists and prohibitionists into accepting ever-longer-names for prohibition, while believing we are "moving closer to freedom", we’ll never get there…it’ll just keep getting more complex, more costly, and more damaging to society as a whole…as it has for decades already.

If we allow our politicians to "reschedule" cannabis, this COULD mean an outright statutory BAN on ALL cannabis use, medicinal or otherwise, for the length of time it would take "to conduct safety studies."  We already know that if they keep finding proof cannabis is non-toxic, anti-oxidant, neuroprotectant, et cetera, we also already know that these "safety studies" will be completed in an absolute minimum of 4-6 years, to an absolute maximum of…NEVER!

"Decriminalization" is NOT repeal.  It’s still illegal.

"Legalization" simply tells the politicians and courts that we believe the fix to bad legislation conveived of in fraud can only be fixed not by deleting it from the recored entirely, but by making it more complex…but keeping it all on the books for future "quick-n-easy" readoption when prison investors want higher revenues to do their profit-taking from.

"Re-legalization" is just two letters prepended to the above.

"Tax and regulate" tells OUR EMPLOYEES that "we owe them new taxes for not wasting our money attacking us."  If we keep buying into the scam, they’ll get it, too!

"Regulate like [insert commodity of the hour here]" is just another way to justify the creation of a new regulatory body, hire new "government employees", raise taxes, lower rights and freedoms, all while telling the wilfully ignorant population that "they are free."  They ain’t.  They won’t be.

"REPEAL" means:  The statutes are GONE.  Deleted.  History.  Erased.  Terminated.  Removed from the "law" journals.  NEVER TO RETURN.

The ridiculous proposition that "if we want it legal again, we have to create new taxes" is also a prime example of idiotic propaganda foisted upon a wilfully ignorant population.  Only two seconds of thought tells you the truth of the situation…we do NOT need to "appease our employees" when we finally force them to stop wasting our money.  Not wasting all those billions of dollars every year should be, and IS, reward enough to everyone all on it’s own!

When we find out we’ve got a crooked mechanic who’s bee charging us for spark plug changes on every visit that we didn’t really need, and were nothing more than a waste of OUR money…we don’t praise them and give them permanent bonuses, do we?  So where did the idea come from, that in order for our employees to simply do their job with a litle more brainpower behind their actions, that we need to give them more money and hire more people?  Reality has to sink in eventually, folks!  Even through the infinitely thick skulls of "politicians."  They might be as dense as the core of a neutron star, but they still have ear holes!  SO START SPEAKING UP!!!

Either we DEMAND the full repeal of prohibition, or we will continue on with it forever, just with a different name, and higher taxes…and let’s face it, folks:  OUR EMPLOYEES will be completely happy to rename what they’re doing to us and call it whatever we want to call it, if we’re dumb enough to allow it to continue.  Are we really so blind as to STILL not see the truth for what it is?

Want it over?  MAKE it over!

1) DESCHEDULE.
2) REPEAL.
3) DONE!!!

It really is just as simple as that.

* That solves prohibition on a national level…we still need to remove cannabis/hemp from the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in order to end prohibition GLOBALLY.

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Tags: Herer, Jack, PROHIBITION, REPEAL, Rick, Simpson, cannabis, freedom, health, human, More…

 

By ElectroPig Von Fökkengrüüven in Overgrow The World v2.0

The Fallacy of the "Legalize and Tax Cannabis" initiatives.

Overgrow The World

April 21, 2010

 

Jack Herer’s last speech at Portland Hempstalk Festival 2009–HIS FINAL SPEECH BEFORE HE DIED…MAY HE NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!

 

MY PERSONAL COMMENT:  SOMETIMES (MOST OFTEN) OLD NEWS IS THE BEST NEWS – SMK.