The History and Reasoning behind Daylight Saving

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a practice that has been observed in many countries for over a century. It involves setting the clock forward by one hour during the summer months and then setting it back by one hour during the winter months. The purpose of DST is to make better use of natural daylight by extending the amount of daylight that is available during the evening hours, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting and saving energy.

The origins of DST can be traced back to the late 19th century when a New Zealand entomologist named George Vernon Hudson proposed the idea of advancing the clock by two hours during the summer months. However, it was not until World War I that DST was first implemented on a large scale as a wartime measure to conserve fuel. Germany was the first country to introduce DST in 1916, and it was soon adopted by other European countries and the United States.

The rationale behind DST was straightforward: by moving the clock forward by one hour during the summer months, people could enjoy more daylight during the evening hours, which would allow them to engage in more leisure activities and reduce their reliance on artificial lighting. In addition, the practice was seen as a way to save energy by reducing the demand for artificial lighting, particularly in the evening when electricity usage typically peaks.

However, the implementation of DST has not always been smooth. In the United States, for example, the practice was first adopted on a trial basis in 1918 but was later repealed due to public opposition. It was reintroduced during World War II but was once again abandoned after the war. It was not until 1966 that the Uniform Time Act established a standardized system of DST across the United States.

Today, DST is observed in over 70 countries around the world, although not all countries use the same system. Some countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, observe DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, while others, such as most of Europe, observe it from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. Some countries, such as China and Japan, do not observe DST at all.

The debate over the effectiveness of DST continues to this day. Proponents argue that DST helps to save energy and reduce carbon emissions by reducing the need for artificial lighting, particularly during the evening hours. In addition, they argue that DST promotes public health by encouraging outdoor activities and reducing the risk of traffic accidents during the evening rush hour.

Opponents of DST, on the other hand, argue that the practice is disruptive and can have negative effects on public health and safety. They point to studies that suggest that the disruption of the body’s natural circadian rhythms caused by DST can lead to sleep deprivation and other health problems. In addition, opponents argue that the practice can have a negative impact on certain industries, such as agriculture, which rely on natural light and may be disrupted by changes in the clock.

Despite these debates, the practice of DST remains popular in many countries around the world. However, there have been recent calls to reconsider the practice, particularly in light of new research that suggests that the energy savings associated with DST may be less significant than previously thought.

In conclusion, DST is a practice that has been observed in many countries for over a century. Its origins can be traced back to the late 19th century, but it was not until World War I that it was first implemented on a large scale as a wartime measure to conserve fuel. The rationale behind DST was to make better use of natural daylight by extending the amount of daylight that is available during the evening hours, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting and saving energy. The implementation of DST has not always been smooth, and the debate over its effectiveness continues to this day. However, DST remains a popular practice in many countries, and its impact on energy usage, public health, and safety continues to be studied and debated.

Sources:

  1. “The History of Daylight Saving Time.” Time and Date. https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html.
  2. “Daylight Saving Time: Its History and Why We Use It.” National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/daylight-saving-time-history.
  3. “Daylight Saving Time: Pros and Cons.” Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/56048-daylight-saving-time-guide.html.
  4. “Daylight Saving Time and Energy: Evidence from an Australian Experiment.” The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 92, no. 4, 2010, pp. 945–964. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25760169.
  5. “Daylight Saving Time and Traffic Accidents.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 364, no. 22, 2011, pp. 2185–2187. doi:10.1056/nejmc1100693.

The Top 10 Countries and Their Major Exports and Imports: Understanding the Global Market

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita_in_2020.png

International trade has become an essential part of the global economy, with many countries exporting and importing goods and services to and from one another. The top 10 countries in the world are some of the biggest players in international trade, exporting and importing goods that drive their economies. This paper will discuss the major exports and imports of each of these countries and why they are significant. We will also examine the impact of international trade on these countries’ economies and how it affects the global market.

  1. China: China is the world’s largest exporter, and its major exports include electronic equipment, machinery, and clothing. These exports are driven by the country’s large workforce, low labor costs, and government support for the manufacturing sector. According to the World Bank, exports of goods and services in China reached $2.6 trillion in 2020 [1]. China’s main imports are oil and other natural resources, which are necessary to support its rapidly growing economy. In 2020, China imported $2 trillion worth of goods and services, according to the World Bank [2]. The country’s top import partners are South Korea, Japan, and the United States.
  2. United States: The United States is the world’s second-largest exporter, with a diverse range of exports that include aircraft, refined petroleum, and cars. The U.S. economy is driven by its advanced technology and innovation, which enables it to produce high-value products. In 2020, exports of goods and services in the United States reached $1.5 trillion, according to the World Bank [3]. The U.S. is also a major importer of oil, as well as other goods such as cars and machinery. The U.S. imported $2.4 trillion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [4]. The country’s top import partners are China, Mexico, and Canada.
  3. Germany: Germany is the world’s third-largest exporter and has a strong manufacturing base dominated by the automotive and engineering sectors. The country’s major exports include cars, machinery, and pharmaceuticals. According to the World Bank, exports of goods and services in Germany reached $1.5 trillion in 2020 [5]. Germany is also a major importer of raw materials such as oil, gas, and metals to support its manufacturing sector. Germany imported $1.2 trillion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [6]. The country’s top import partners are China, the Netherlands, and the United States.
  4. Japan: Japan is the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with a strong focus on high-tech exports such as electronic equipment and automobiles. The Japanese economy is driven by its advanced technology and innovation, which enables it to produce high-quality products. In 2020, exports of goods and services in Japan reached $698 billion, according to the World Bank [7]. Japan is also a major importer of natural resources such as oil and gas to support its manufacturing sector. Japan imported $688 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [8]. The country’s top import partners are China, the United States, and Australia.
  5. Netherlands: The Netherlands is the world’s fifth-largest exporter, and its economy is based on high-tech, service, and agricultural sectors. The country is known for its agricultural and food exports such as vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The Netherlands is also a major exporter of machinery, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. In 2020, exports of goods and services in the Netherlands reached $687 billion, according to the World Bank [9]. The Netherlands is a major importer of oil, natural gas, and other raw materials, which are essential for its manufacturing and transport sectors. The country imported $550 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [10]. The Netherlands’ top import partners are Germany, China, and Belgium.
  1. South Korea: South Korea is the world’s sixth-largest exporter, and it is known for its high-tech exports such as electronic equipment and automobiles. South Korea’s economy is driven by its advanced technology and innovation, which enables it to produce high-value products. In 2020, exports of goods and services in South Korea reached $542 billion, according to the World Bank [11]. South Korea is also a major importer of raw materials such as oil and gas to support its manufacturing sector. The country imported $442 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [12]. The top import partners of South Korea are China, Japan, and the United States.
  2. France: France is the world’s seventh-largest exporter, and it is known for its luxury goods exports such as wine, fashion, and perfumes. France is also a major exporter of machinery and chemicals. In 2020, exports of goods and services in France reached $537 billion, according to the World Bank [13]. France is a major importer of oil and natural gas, which are essential for its manufacturing and transport sectors. The country imported $412 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [14]. The top import partners of France are Germany, Belgium, and China.
  3. Italy: Italy is the world’s eighth-largest exporter, and it is known for its fashion and luxury goods exports such as clothing and shoes. Italy is also a major exporter of machinery and vehicles. In 2020, exports of goods and services in Italy reached $514 billion, according to the World Bank [15]. Italy is a major importer of oil and natural gas, which are essential for its manufacturing and transport sectors. The country imported $350 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [16]. The top import partners of Italy are Germany, China, and France.
  4. United Kingdom: The United Kingdom is the world’s ninth-largest exporter, and its major exports include machinery, cars, and chemicals. The UK economy is driven by its advanced manufacturing and service sectors. In 2020, exports of goods and services in the UK reached $406 billion, according to the World Bank [17]. The UK is also a major importer of oil, cars, and machinery. The country imported $629 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [18]. The top import partners of the UK are Germany, China, and the United States.
  5. India: India is the world’s tenth-largest exporter, and its major exports include pharmaceuticals, textiles, and agricultural products. India’s economy is driven by its service sector, which includes software and business process outsourcing. In 2020, exports of goods and services in India reached $319 billion, according to the World Bank [19]. India is also a major importer of oil and other natural resources to support its growing economy. The country imported $447 billion worth of goods and services in 2020, according to the World Bank [20]. The top import partners of India are China, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.

Overall, international trade plays a crucial role in the economies of these top 10 countries. The ability to export high-value products and import necessary resources allows these countries to drive their economic growth and remain competitive in the global market. However, the impact of international trade can also have negative consequences such as environmental degradation and social inequalities. It is important for countries to strive for sustainable and equitable trade practices.

Sources:

  1. “Export Data of China.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  2. “Import Data of China.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  3. “Export Data of the United States.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  4. “Import Data of the United States.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  5. “Export Data of Germany.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  6. “Import Data of Germany.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  7. “Export Data of Japan.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  8. “Import Data of Japan.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  9. “Export Data of the Netherlands.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  10. “Import Data of the Netherlands.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  11. “Export Data of South Korea.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  12. “Import Data of South Korea.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  13. “Export Data of France.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  14. “Import Data of France.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  15. “Export Data of Italy.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  16. “Import Data of Italy.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  17. “Export Data of the United Kingdom.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  18. “Import Data of the United Kingdom.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.
  19. “Export Data of India.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-exports.
  20. “Import Data of India.” World Bank, databank.worldbank.org/source/trade-statistics-imports.

More Money More Problems? A Look at Global Debt

Notorious B.I.G. has the answer to our debt problems. Mo Money Mo Problems.

With recent government shut downs people have been questioning whether or not our debt will ever be solved. Our debt is in the trillions, 16,747,478,675,335.18, as of writing this article, to be exact. Yes, well so what? I have over 100k (property, car, etc.) worth of debt myself and if you extrapolate and assume all the other 300+ million residents of the US average 100k debt, that would yield over $30 trillion of personal debt. In other words, the country owes less to the world then we personally owe to others and to our country. This point may be moot but it is interesting to note before we delve into much more grave notions as we explore debt and money issues.

It is true that we are in debt, but what about the rest of the world? According to nationaldebtclocks.org our world debt clock is over 51 trillion!  As grandstanding and involved as the US is in world economy and politics, we also account for roughly 30% of the debt of the world. We aren’t the only ones who are in debt however, and with the constant printing of money in the United States, I believe it to be a question of when, not if, the dollar will eventually fail.

Related ArticleMoney Designed to Fail

Some significant debts of countries other than the US:

  • Germany runs around 2 trillion Euros
  • Italy 2 trillion Euros
  • UK is at 1 trillion Pounds
  • China is at 14 trillion yen
  • Russia is at 6 trillion rubles

With conversions in mind, that puts those 5 big countries at roughly 2 trillion dollars each in debt compared to our 16 trillion. Ouch, we are hurting, but man we do everything big in this country… Point being, we are all in trouble, some more-so than others, and shutting down governments won’t provide more than a temporary, tiny fix to the looming destructive problem.

As our government continuously battles itself on whether or not they should raise the debt ceiling, other things come to mind. One being, will there ever be any profit ceiling? Constantly being in debt, will we ever pay back what we owe? Will our debt to GDP ratio ever flip? With our debt to GDP ratio constantly rising, will our era see the fall of the dollar as the assumed world’s currency?

Related Article: United States’ Taxes, Spending, and Graphs

What would my resolution be?

The lot of you would totally disagree and that’s OK, because that is exactly what should happen. I would call for a complete and total world wide nullification of debt. Every single penny owed to every other country for any said product or good completely erased. A reboot, per say. Yes, you may all be shuddering at the thought but bear with me. After this reboot, instate one single currency to be shared throughout the world/or return to strictly goods traded for other goods method (ie. time of labor traded for food, etc.), empower the UN to become a true police power in the world, and finally focus on what is, in my opinion, important: space exploration and expansion. Keep individual governments, keep individual religions and differences, keep traditions and everything else that makes a country great, but allow for the UN to do more. I know what you’re thinking. That’s crazy talk. Countries won’t agree, leaders will argue, there will be war. Of course they won’t agree, of course there will be resistance, and of course greed will get in the way. But as we stand, the options are very limited. All this of course is with the United States’ well being in mind; countries such as China and Russia, with their shift away from the dollar, would certainly wish for the fall of the superpower rather than complete equality amongst countries. This is the most realistic peace I could think of, even if it were to be temporary, we have to start somewhere.

Related Article: Biggest Wastes of Money

Just a thought. Cheers to Money!

 

Research:

Wikipedia: Mo Money Mo Problems

Reuters: US government shut downs could lead to debt limit superstorms

US Current Debt

National Debt Clocks

Wondergressive: Money Designed to Fail

Wondergressive: United States’ Taxes, Spending, and Graphs

Wondergressive: Biggest Wastes of Money

An Argument Against the Critics of Cannabis Use (Part 2)

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*Note: This article is part of a larger report featured on Wondergressive entitled ‘Cannabis Cures Cancer and More: A Through History and Review of the Evidence

Copyright © 2013 [Eric Feinberg]. All Rights Reserved.

To read Part 1 of this post please click here.


What the Critics Have to Say About Cannabis

(And Why They’re Wrong…)

 

Critics are quick to point out the consistently noted dangers of cannabis ingestion.  These are the same arguments that have been used for decades.  They remain aggressively debated without compromise, despite decades of rational evidence suggesting falsity and fallacy. The seemingly valid concerns regarding cannabis use that top the critics’ list are: the gateway drug theory, short-term memory loss, psychosis, decreased intelligence, harm from cannabis smoke, depression, an elevated heart rate, and worries over driving while high. Let’s allow science and logic to save the day, shall we?

Psychosis

An historically major issue concerning cannabis is the worry that it may induce schizophrenic symptoms or intensify various forms of latent schizophrenia. The subjective experience of ingesting cannabis is highly personal and varies greatly among users around the world. Common experiences include:

  • Greater enjoyment of food taste and aroma

    blogs.sfweekly.com

    blogs.sfweekly.com

  • An enhanced enjoyment of music
  • A greater enjoyment of comedy and humor
  • Distortions in perception of time and space
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Improved long-term memory recall
  • Creative thinking
  • New perspectives
  • Increased libido
  • Elevated mood
  • Heightened sensitivity to external stimuli
  • Relaxation

At extremely high doses common experiences include:

  • Altered body image
  • Auditory/visual illusions
  • Hallucinations (extremely rare)
  • Mild dissociation of mind and body
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia

While the vast majority of the effects of cannabis are viewed as positive, panic attacks and paranoia are obviously unwanted.  Between 20 and 30 percent of recreational users experience intense anxiety and/or panic attacks after smoking cannabis.

Related Article: The Incredibly Diverse Medicinal Properties of Cannabis 

While these symptoms usually occur due to thoughts of legal ramification for ingesting cannabis, exaggerated worry over a thought process, or general anxiousness over trying something new, it has been reported that the symptoms can happen spontaneously as well. It is possible and plausible that these symptoms could lead to greater and more persistent symptoms of psychosis. However, there are multiple aspects of the psychosis worry that needs to be discussed.

First, through our increasing knowledge of cannabinoids and the role they play on the endocannabinoid system, researchers have discovered that certain cannabinoids have a marginally stronger effect than others with regards to producing hallucinations  delusions, and subjective psychological stress.

While the THC (the most psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis) offers incredible physio/psychological health benefits, it has been linked to being the sole culprit of producing more schizophrenia-like symptoms.

Related Article: The History and Legality of Cannabis Use Around the World 

When comparing multiple subjects under the influence of only THC, a mixture of THC and CBD (cannabidiol), and no cannabinoids, researchers found that only THC produced subjectively negative psychological effects.  The subjects with no additional cannabinoids in their system and the subjects with the mixture of THC and CBD both experienced a nearly identical psychological effect.  The only major difference was that the subjects who had ingested the mixture reported less anhedonia (unable to experience pleasure)  then the other two groups. The researchers concluded that if anything, their research highlighted

the importance of distinguishing between different strains of cannabis.

Once we break cannabis down into its component cannabinoids it is easy to see why users describe such incredibly varied experiences. Cannabidiol is extremely effective in treating and preventing symptoms of schizophrenia, as research continues to suggest.  Many researchers believe that cannabis legalization will herald a revolution in the treatment of various psychological disorders, including schizophrenia. According to a 2005 double-blind study analyzing the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol, researchers found that:

cannabidiol treatment was accompanied by a significant increase in serum anandamide levels, which was significantly associated with clinical improvement. The results suggest that inhibition of anandamide deactivation may contribute to the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol potentially representing a completely new mechanism in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Other studies on the topic affirm that many subjects report

no clinically significant adverse effects

while self treating themselves with cannabis.

Even in the Netherlands, where cannabis use is widespread and often harshly judged internationally, scientists have reported an utter lack of evidence that cannabis use leads to schizophrenia.  The report states that:

A group of Dutch scientists say that there is no proof that cannabis induces schizophrenia. These findings will be embarrassing for the Dutch government, which has been bearing down on Marijuana Coffee Shops saying the drug induces schizophrenia.

The truth is that  much of the research done thus far has been skewed and largely unscientific.   Under proper guidance, and using the correct strains, researchers all around the world agree that cannabis is a wonderfully effective psychotropic medication. Researchers discussed the consistently shown promise and proof of cannabis as an effective psychotropic medication in the British Journal of Psychiatry:

I considered Arseneault et al‘s (2004) search for evidence of the association between cannabis and psychosis as quite skewed. They did not explore the evidence regarding positive, therapeutic or beneficial psychoactive effects of cannabis in mental health in the context of appropriate, rational and clinical usage…Signalling, mostly inhibitory, suggests a role for cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in central nervous system disease where inhibition of neurotransmitter release would be beneficial. Evidence suggests that cannabinoids inhibit the neurotransmitter glutamate, counteract oxidative damage to dopaminergic neurons and may be potent neuroprotective agents (Croxford, 2003)…knowing [cannabis’] potent neuroprotective function, its potential role in psychiatric practice should not be discarded lightly.

The most important thing to remember is that symptoms of schizophrenia generally (nearly always) precede cannabis use. Schizophrenia and general psychosis have far more to do with genetic make up than anything else (refer to the graph).

Research regarding the connection between cannabis and psychosis, especially symptoms of schizophrenia, remains historically lacking and skewed with regards to component cannabinoids in cannabis.  Cannabis produces highly varied subjective experiences, and research has revealed that each cannabinoid within cannabis has a markedly different effect on individuals. Multiple recent studies have shown that cannabis, specifically the cannabinoid CBD, is a highly effective agent in treating schizophrenia and other psychological disorders.  Most importantly, symptoms of schizophrenia precede cannabis use in the vast majority of cases.  There is currently no clear evidence that cannabis is directly responsible for causing psychosis and schizophrenic symptoms in users. 

 

Depression

This is one of the most commonly used arguments against the use of cannabis as a form of medicine or recreation.  Like the psychosis argument debunked above, the depression argument is always portrayed in a skewed and exaggerated fashion.  The most important thing to remember as we discuss this is that correlation does not imply causation.

forum.grasscity.com

forum.grasscity.com

It is well known that many already depressed individuals (ranging from mild to incapacitating depression) use cannabis as a form of self-medication.  This often takes place after finding no success with taking a whole slew of expensive, addictive, and biologically destructive prescription drugs handed out by the oh so helpful DSM devotees.

Related Article: The Power of Hemp Seeds: Behold Powerful Nutrition

What researchers have found is that the vast majority of people who use cannabis to treat their depression find it to be highly physically/psychologically therapeutic and helpful. All people react differently, just like with any substance.  Regardless of subjective experience it is clear at the biological level that cannabis has an anti-depressant effect on the body and mind.  With regards to decreased depression associated with cannabis use an additional study incorporated:

Over 4400 adult internet users [who] completed The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale and measures of marijuana use. We employed an internet survey in an effort to recruit the most depressed and marijuana involved participants, including those who might prove unwilling to travel to the laboratory or discuss drug use on the phone or in person. We compared those who consumed marijuana daily, once a week or less, or never in their lives. Despite comparable ranges of scores on all depression subscales, those who used once per week or less had less depressed mood, more positive affect, and fewer somatic complaints than non-users. Daily users reported less depressed mood and more positive affect than non-users. The three groups did not differ on interpersonal symptoms.

Cannabis users, whether they ingested the substance less than once a week or every day, reported far less depressive symptoms and far more happiness and satisfaction than non-users.  The study goes on to say that:

The media continues to report links between marijuana and depression. In a recent review, Degenhardt, Hall, and Lynskey (2003) identified a modest relationship only among problematic users. Many studies show no link between cannabis and depression despite appropriate statistical power, measurement, and design (Fergusson & Horwood, 1997; Fergusson, Lynskey, & Horwood, 1996; Green & Ritter, 2000; Kouri, Pope, Yurgelun-Todd, & Gruber, 1995; McGee, Williams, Poulton, & Moffitt, 2000; Musty & Kaback, 1995; Rowe, Fleming, Barry, Manwell, & Kropp, 1995). One neglected source of depression among marijuana users may stem from medical use. Separate analyses for medical vs. recreational users demonstrated that medical users reported more depressed mood and more somatic complaints than recreational users, suggesting that medical conditions clearly contribute to depression scores and should be considered in studies of marijuana and depression. The data suggests that adults apparently do not increase their risk for depression by using marijuana.

Just like we discussed in all of the other arguments, the public only sees what the media picks and chooses to show, which is usually negligible data that has been exaggerated and skewed to fit their hype.  The previous study also brought up an excellent point that has never been discussed before: are the results of studies concerning cannabis and depression that get aired by main stream media corrupted by reports of depression that originate from medical suffering?  The use of cannabis is so wide spread around the world, especially in the US, that it should not be discounted.

Related Article: Cannabis Protects Brain From Damage While Binge Drinking

Besides, just like in the psychosis argument, it is clear that depression generally precedes cannabis-use.  Furthermore, studies suggest that:

After adjusting for differences in baseline risk factors of marijuana use and depression, past-year  marijuana use does not significantly predict later development of depression.

To reiterate, cannabis exhibits an antidepressant-like behavior in more ways than one, and is often used to treat even incapacitating depression successfully.

Finally, in a longitudinal study completed in 2009 regarding cannabis and suicide,researchers found that:

Although there was a strong association between cannabis use and suicide, this was explained by markers of psychological and behavioural problems. These results suggest that cannabis use is unlikely to have a strong effect on risk of completed suicide, either directly or as a consequence of mental health problems secondary to its use.

The depression argument is false in many of the same ways as the psychosis argument.  In the vast majority of cases depressive behavior precedes cannabis use. Additionally, in most cases where cannabis is used to self-treat depression it is found to be successful.  Cannabis is a clear biological antidepressant and exhibits incredible therapeutic properties. Depression is highly subjective and everyone experiences it differently.  The truth is that in multiple studies both light and heavy cannabis users report far less depressive symptoms than non-users.  There is no evidence whatsoever that cannabis use predicts or causes depression.  Many depressed people use cannabis and report positive results far more often than people using contemporarily prescribed prescription medication. 

 

Driving While Stoned

(*Note: this report does not advocate driving while under the effects of any substance, including cannabis.  The aim of this section is to view the credible findings on how cannabis affects drivers.)

The claim that ingesting cannabis somehow affects driving ability makes sense at first glance.  Unfortunately all of the reports historically presented by mainstream media have focused on theory and self-report tactics, rather than actual evidence and proof.  They continuously focus on potential ratios, theoretical effects, and skewed speculation.

Related Article: Federal Judge Urges Decriminalization of Marijuana 

Biologically, it is true that

cannabis impairs driving behavior. However, this impairment is mediated in that subjects under cannabis treatment appear to perceive that they are indeed impaired. Where they can compensate, they do.

Despite biological theories for how cannabis might potentially affect a driver, experiments using driving simulations in the lab find that:

drivers who drank alcohol overestimated their performance quality whereas those who smoked marijuana underestimated it. Perhaps as a consequence, the former invested no special effort for accomplishing the task whereas the latter did, and successfully. This evidence strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution, at least in experiments.

The [findings] contrast with results from many laboratory tests, reviewed by Moskowitz (1985), which show that even low doses of THC impair skills deemed to be important for driving, such as perception, coordination, tracking and vigilance. The present studies also demonstrated that marijuana can have greater effects in laboratory than driving tests. The last study, for example showed a highly significant effect of THC on hand unsteadiness but not on driving in urban traffic.

It is apparent that despite multiple laboratory studies displaying favorable results, real world driving tests are even more positive. When we actually test the effects of cannabis on drivers in the real world, we see very little safety issues, if any at all.

Drivers under the influence of cannabis, unlike alcohol, realize they are under the effects of a substance and successfully compensate for their altered state of mind by driving slower and by giving themselves more space between other vehicles. One of the first actual road tests with cannabis studies drivers in the lab, on the highway, and in congested urban areas.  The results affirmed that as far as cannabis’ effect on actual driving performance:

Driving quality as rated by the subjects contrasted with observer ratings.  Alcohol impaired driving performance according to the driving instructor but subjects did not perceive it; marijuana did not impair driving performance but the subjects themselves perceived their driving performance as such….Thus there was evidence that subjects in the marijuana group were not only aware of their intoxicated condition but were also attempting to compensate for it…drivers become overconfident after drinking alcohol…and more cautious and self critical after consuming low THC doses by smoking marijuana.

Drivers under the effects of cannabis pay more attention to the road; drive more slowly, and leaving themselves more room between other cars.

Related Article: Portugal Decriminalizes All Drugs; 10 Years Later the Results are Mind Blowing

The truth is that alcohol is a far more serious problem than cannabis when it comes to driving. Studies performed from 1982 to 1998 demonstrate time and time again that alcohol is significantly more dangerous than cannabis on the road. Alcohol use is also far more prevalent in crash statistics.

Blood and/or urine from fatally injured drivers in Washington State were collected and tested for the presence of drugs and alcohol. Drug and/or alcohol use was a factor in 52% of all fatalities. Among single vehicle accidents, alcohol use was a factor in 61% of cases versus 30% for multiple vehicle accidents. Drugs most commonly encountered were marijuana (11%), cocaine (3%), amphetamines (2%), together with a variety of depressant prescription medications.

The study even found that it was far less likely to find alcohol in a person’s system in the presence of cannabis, implying that cannabis use lessened the prevalence of alcohol use on the road:

Trends noted included an association of depressant use with higher blood alcohol levels, while  marijuana use was associated with lower blood alcohol levels.

With regards to comparisons between cannabis and illicit substances overall, Accident Analysis & Prevention, a peer-reviewed journal, reported in its July 2004 article titled “Psychoactive Substance Use and the Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents,” by K.L.L. Movig, et al.:

The objective of this study was to estimate the association between psychoactive drug use and motor vehicle accidents requiring hospitalization.

The risk for road trauma was increased for single use of benzodiazepines and alcohol…High relative risks were estimated for drivers using combinations of drugs and those using a combination of drugs and alcohol.  Increased risks, although not statistically significant, were assessed for drivers using amphetamines… No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis.

With regards to comparisons between cannabis and substance-free drivers:

The largest study ever done linking road accidents with drugs and alcohol has found drivers with cannabis in their blood were no more at risk than those who were drug-free. In fact, the findings by a pharmacology team from the University of Adelaide and Transport SA showed drivers who had smoked marijuana were marginally less likely to have an accident than those who were drug-free. A study spokesman, Dr Jason White, said the difference was not great enough to be statistically significant but could be explained by anecdotal evidence that marijuana smokers were more cautious and drove more slowly because of altered time perception. The study of 2,500 accidents, which matched the blood alcohol levels of injured drivers with details from police reports, found drug-free drivers caused the accidents in 53.5 per cent of cases. Injured drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.05 per cent were culpable in nearly 90 per cent of accidents they were involved in. Drivers with cannabis in their blood were less likely to cause an accident, with a culpability rate of 50.6 per cent. The study has policy implications for those who argue drug detection should be a new focus for road safety. Dr White said the study showed the importance of concentrating efforts on alcohol rather than other drugs.

The BBC and CNN both filmed their own research on the actual effects of cannabis on driving ability.  The BBC study focused on a single driver and found that he actually drove better while ‘high’; driving more cautiously and paying more attention to the driving test.  The CNN study was a bit more extensive and controlled.

The study, conducted in Washington where recreational cannabis use is legal, focused on 3 volunteers who drove under the effects of different amounts of cannabis.  They drove alongside a driving instructor with drug recognition experts (police officers with specific drug recognition training) watching them from outside the vehicle.  The volunteers included a heavy daily user, a weekend user, and an occasional user.  Even at 7x the legal limit of driving under the influence, 5x the legal limit, and 4x the legal limit respectively, all of the volunteers passed their driving tests, received positive reviews from the driving instructor, and would not have been pulled over by the drug recognition experts.

Related Article: Uruguay to Legalize Marijuana

States with medical marijuana laws are also reporting that since cannabis became legal medically and/or decriminalized, they have witnessed decreases in deaths resulting from car accidents:

A report from the University of ColoradoMontana State University, and the University of Oregon found that on average, states that have legalized Medical cannabis had a decrease in traffic-related fatalities by 8-11%.

It’s just safer to drive under the influence of marijuana than it is drunk….Drunk drivers take more risk, they tend to go faster. They don’t realize how impaired they are. People who are under the influence of marijuana drive slower, they don’t take as many risks

From a theoretical point of view it makes sense that people would be concerned over potential risks of ‘driving while stoned.’  However, the research speaks for itself.  Laboratory and real world test results have confirmed time and time again that cannabis does not have a detrimental effect on driving ability.  People under the effects of cannabis, unlike alcohol, realize their altered state of mind and compensate successfully for it.  In most instances cannabis users drive more safely; driving slower, paying more attention to the road, and remaining more cautious and vigilant. Cannabis does not pose any serious danger to drivers or anyone else on the road. 

atheistfoundation.org.au

atheistfoundation.org.au

 

Cannabis Smoke and Lung Damage

patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com

patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com

There are endless reports that claim cannabis harms the lungs and bronchial airways, as well as increasing the risk of lung cancer. What you’ll quickly notice though is that the studies these reports are quoting from are completely theoretical studies based on comparisons with cigarette smoke, as opposed to actual findings from research. Additionally, they only focus on one mode of cannabis ingestion, one that destroys many of the medical benefits of cannabis; smoking.

It is true that there are over 50 potentially carcinogenic substances found in cannabis.  Additionally, because smoked cannabis is not completely dry and is smoked without a filter, there is roughly 4 times more tar than the amount found in cigarettes. One can see why studies would speculate that cannabis may increase the risk of lung cancer.  As usual, when you look at the actual science, the opposite is true.

Related Article: Smoking: A Pre-existing Condition Under Obamacare

First of all, there is currently not a single known case of cancer originating from the ingestion of cannabis. As stated numerous times in this report, there has never been a death that cannabis was directly responsible for.

Endless studies, despite a hypothesis to the contrary, are unable to find an increased risk of cancer due to cannabis use.  in fact, as stated previously,

studies indicate that THC has anti-tumorigenic and anti-metastatic effect against lung cancer [and most other forms of cancer].

A study in 2005, the largest ever conducted of its kind, left Donald Tashkin, a pulmonologist at UCLA‘s David Geffin School of Medicine, scratching his head.  Tashkin and his research team had hypothesized an association between cannabis and lung cancer, but even after 30 years of observing thousands of subjects they were unable to find a connection between cannabis and lung cancer.

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. We expected that we would find that a history of heavy marijuana use – more than 500 to 1,000 uses – would increase the risk of cancer from several years to decades after exposure to marijuana. What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.

kushsmoke.com

kushsmoke.com

The heaviest users in Tashkin’s study smoked more than 60 joint-years worth of marijuana, or more than 22,000 joints in their lifetime. Moderately heavy users smoked between 11,000 and 22,000 joints.

That’s an enormous amount of marijuana [however] in no category was there any increased risk, nor was there any suggestion that smoking more led to a higher odds ratio. There was no dose-response, not even a suggestion of a dose response, and in all types of cancer except one, oral cancer, the odds ratios were less than one. This is the largest case-control study ever done, and everyone had to fill out a very extensive questionnaire about marijuana use. Bias can creep into any research, but we controlled for as many confounding factors as we could, and so I believe these results have real meaning.

That being said, Dr. Tashkin wisely notes:

It’s never a good idea to take anything into your lungs, including marijuana smoke.

Smoke does not belong in your lungs, and just as this report does not advocate driving while under the effects of cannabis, it equally does not recommend smoking cannabis.  What this report does suggest is using a vaporizer, cooking the cannabis into food, or making a cannabis oil.  All of these methods make this entire argument irrelevant as they do not involve any form of smoke.

The media has bombarded the public with seeming ‘proof’ that cannabis leads to lung cancer.  The truth is that all of this ‘proof’ has been entirely speculative.  Despite cannabis smoke containing carcinogens and up to 4 times more tar than the amount found in cigarettes, long term studies confirm that there is no increased risk of lung cancer from smoking cannabis.  On the contrary, the cannabinoids found in THC work to fight against cancer and even protect healthy cells.  Most importantly, because cannabis can be ingested in many ways that don’t involve smoke, this entire argument is irrelevant.

 

*Note: This article is part of a larger report featured on Wondergressive entitled ‘Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Through History and Review

 

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An Argument Against the Critics of Cannabis Use (Part 1)

 

[no_toc]

*Note: This article is part of a larger report featured on Wondergressive entitled ‘Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Through History and Review

For part 2 of this article please click here

Copyright © 2013 [Eric Feinberg]. All Rights Reserved.


What the Critics Have to Say About Cannabis

(And Why They’re Wrong…)

 

Critics are quick to point out the consistently noted dangers of cannabis ingestion.  These are the same arguments that have been used for decades.  They remain aggressively debated without compromise, despite decades of rational evidence suggesting falsity and fallacy. The seemingly valid concerns regarding cannabis use that top the critics’ list are: the gateway drug theory, short-term memory loss, psychosis, decreased intelligence, harm from cannabis smoke, depression, an elevated heart rate, and worries over driving while high. Let’s allow science and logic to save the day, shall we?

 

Gateway Drug

Many critics of cannabis use claim that cannabis is a gateway to harder and more persistent drug use.  They are implying that if a person uses cannabis, recreationally or medically, they are more likely to use dangerous drugs like cocaine (again, ironically listed as a schedule 2 drug) or heroin.  Although multiple studies have found that cannabis users are more likely than non-users to engage in the use of more ‘hardcore’ substances (meaning higher addiction potential and/or more biologically detrimental), there are endless holes in this argument.

Related Article: The Incredibly Diverse Medicinal Properties of Cannabis 

First, let’s start with the fact that there is no definitive evidence that cannabis use is responsible for the ingestion of harmful drugs. According to former US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders:

Much of their [US drug-policy leaders] rhetoric about marijuana being a ‘gateway drug’ is simply wrong. After decades of looking, scientists still have no evidence that marijuana causes people to use harder drugs. If there is any true ‘gateway drug,’ it’s tobacco.

Alcohol and tobacco are more accessible and far more likely to be used by teens, consequently making those substances more likely to lead to further drug use.  As stated by Elders, they are the true gateway drugs. In one of the most highly credible and sourced assessments on the science of drug use, the Institute of Medicine stated that:

In fact, most drug users do not begin their drug use with marijuana–they begin with alcohol and nicotine, usually when they are too young to do so legally…

There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular physiological effect.

Starting to see the trend here?  Alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous and addictive than cannabis.  If the gateway drug theory did have any legitimacy, it would have to be applied to alcohol and nicotine, two completely legal substances, before it could be attributed to any other substance.

Related Article: The History and Legality of Cannabis Use Around the World 

The best analogy I’ve ever encountered for the ridiculousness of the gateway drug theory comes from Lynn Zimmer, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Queens College at the City University of New York:

In the end, the gateway theory is not a theory at all.  It is a description of the typical sequence in which multiple-drug users initiate the use of high-prevalence and low-prevalence drugs.

A similar statistical relationship exists between other kinds of common and uncommon related activities.  For example, most people who ride a motorcycle (a fairly rare activity) have ridden a bicycle (a fairly common activity).  Indeed, the prevalence of motorcycle riding among people who have never ridden a bicycle is probably extremely low.  However, bicycle riding does not cause motorcycle riding, and increases in the former will not lead automatically to increases in the latter.

Nor will increases in marijuana use lead automatically to increases in the use of cocaine or heroin.

Not surprisingly, a study of 4,000 participants suggests that cannabis use discourages the use of harder drugs. Another study suggests that any trace of the gateway effect disappears by age 21. What is more likely to lead to additional drug use is not cannabis itself, but the overly harsh penalties of cannabis use.  Karen Van Gundy, who is a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire, did not set out to disprove the gateway theory, but nevertheless found that, rather than cannabis itself:

If we overly criminalize behaviors like marijuana use among teens, this could interfere with opportunities for education and employment later on, which, in turn, could be creating more drug use.

The gateway drug theory is weak and unfounded.  It is in fact not a credible theory at all. It has no place in the realm of science.

 

Decreased Intelligence

It is a propaganda technique that we have been hearing for nearly the entire 20th century and it continues into the 21st century; cannabis makes you stupid, a loser, a burnout.

While there is clear evidence that cannabis, like other substances, alters perception and brain function, there is no evidence that cannabis alters brain function in a purely negative way.  Additionally, there is absolutely zero evidence that the biological effects of cannabis are permanent.  On the contrary, science tells us that all of the consistently noted negative biological aspects of cannabis are entirely temporary.

Related Article: The Power of Hemp Seeds: Behold Powerful Nutrition

According to Igor Grant, MD, Executive Vice Chairman at the University of California, San Diego Department of Psychiatry:

Smoking marijuana will certainly affect perception, but it does not cause permanent brain damage. ‘The findings were kind of a surprise. One might have expected to see more impairment of higher mental function. Other illegal drugs, or even alcohol, can cause brain damage

If we barely find this tiny effect in long-term heavy users of cannabis, then we are unlikely to see deleterious side effects in indivduals who receive cannabis for a short time in a medical setting

If it turned out that new studies find that cannabis is helpful in treating some medical conditions, this enables us to see a marginal level of safety.

420tribune.com

420tribune.com

Dale Gieringer, PhD, State Coordinator of CalNORML explains that the notion that cannabis decreases intelligence is based entirely on a study that was later proven to be inaccurate:

Government experts now admit that pot  doesn’t kill brain cells.

This myth came from a handful of animal experiments in which structural changes (not actual cell death, as is often alleged) were observed in brain cells of animals exposed to high doses of pot. Many critics still cite the notorious monkey studies of Dr. Robert G. Heath, which purported to find brain damage in three monkeys that had been heavily dosed with cannabis. This work was never replicated and has since been discredited by a pair of better controlled, much larger monkey studies, one by Dr. William Slikker of the National Center for Toxicological Research [William Slikker et al., ‘Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey,’ Fundamental and Applied Toxicology 17: 321-32 (1991)] and the other by Charles Rebert and Gordon Pryor of SRI International [Charles Rebert & Gordon Pryor – ‘Chronic Inhalation of Marijuana Smoke and Brain Electrophysiology of Rhesus Monkeys,’International Journal of Psychophysiology V 14, p.144, 1993].

Neither found any evidence of physical alteration in the brains of monkeys exposed to daily doses of pot for up to a year.

The surprising truth is that cannabis actually promotes the creation of new neurons in hippocampal regions of the brain, the part of the brain most responsible for memory. Xia Zhang, an expert at the Neuropsychiatry Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada along with other medical researchers, points out that cannabis is the only illicit drug ever found to promote the creation of brain cells:

We show that 1 month after chronic HU210 [high-potency cannabinoid] treatment, rats display increased newborn neurons [brain cell growth] in the hippocampal dentate gyrus [a portion of the brain] and significantly reduced measures of anxiety- and depression-like behavior.Thus, cannabinoids appear to be the only illicit drug whose capacity to produce increased hippocampal newborn neurons is positively correlated with its anxiolytic- [anxiety reducing] and antidepressant-like effects.

Multiple long-term studies have found that there is no significant difference in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and nonusers of cannabis. Intelligence, or a lack thereof, depends on a great deal of variables, including genetic makeup, nutritional status, health status, formal education, and age-related developmental processes, but cannabis use is not one of them.

Related Article: Cannabis Protects Brain From Damage While Binge Drinking

From a social standpoint, studies have even found that kids who use cannabis and other illicit substances usually have a higher IQ than their peers. Additional studies found that:

College students who smoke cannabis demonstrate comparable or even higher grades than their  cannabis abstinent classmates, and are more likely to pursue a graduate degree.

The short answer is yes, cannabis alters your mind and body, like any other substance in the world, but it does not make you stupid (certainly you’re not going to claim any of these highly successful cannabis-users are stupid), and all of the physiological and psychological effects are temporary.

Barack Obama Smoking Cannabis: weedquotes.blogspot.com

Barack Obama Smoking Cannabis: weedquotes.blogspot.com

 

Memory Loss

Critics of cannabis use argue that memory loss, especially short-term memory loss, occurs more prominently in cannabis smokers.  They also claim that it is a permanent effect. All of these claims are either exaggerated or wrong. We’ve already discussed how all the effects of cannabis ingestion are completely temporary; the same applies to memory.

To begin, it is true that cannabis has a noticeable effect on short-term memory as well as working memory, while the user is under the influence.  Cannabis affects working memory through the mechanisms stated above, by encouraging neurogensis, or the creation of neurons, in the hippocampus region of the brain. Although this has a positive effect on memory overall, it disrupts short-term memory while the user is ‘high’ by creating ‘noise’ in the hippocampus. These effects are detectable at least 7 days after heavy cannabis use,

but appear reversible and related to recent cannabis exposure rather than irreversible and related to  cumulative lifetime use.

Furthermore, after extensively studying cannabis use, lead researcher and Harvard professor Harrison Pope came to the conclusion that:

From neuropsychological tests chronic cannabis users showed difficulties, with verbal memory in  particular, for ‘at least a week or two’ after they stopped smoking. Within 28 days, memory problems vanished and the subjects ‘were no longer distinguishable from the comparison group.’

These tests affirm that the physio/psychological effects of cannabis are temporary and reversible.

Related Article: Federal Judge Urges Decriminalization of Marijuana 

As for the seriousness of the temporary effects on short-term memory, studies have found that the effect is negligible. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine headed by Dr. Igor Grant analyzed data from 15 previously published controlled studies involving 704 long-term cannabis users and 484 nonusers and found that:

long-term cannabis use [is] only marginally harmful on the memory and learning. Other functions such as reaction time, attention, language, reasoning ability, perceptual and motor skills [are] unaffected. The observed effects on memory and learning, [show] long-term cannabis use [causes] ‘selective memory defects’, but that the impact [is] ‘of a very small magnitude.’

In fact, rather than having deleterious effects on memory, Ohio State University scientists have shown that

specific elements of marijuana can be good for the aging brain by reducing inflammation there and  possibly even stimulating the formation of new brain cells.

Research supports this claim as past studies have revealed that cannabinoid receptors stimulated by cannabinoids in cannabis act as an anti-inflammatory agent and serve to improve memory in old rats.

Surprisingly, recent research into the activity of the hippocampus suggests that the key to a good memory is forgetting.  Think of the brain as a computer with enormous hard drive space. Despite this incredible amount of storage, it is still finite. The more memories our brains create, the harder it is for our working memory to properly remember and recall.  In this way, forgetting a few things actually isn’t a bad thing. It is in fact highly beneficial overall.

Another important point is that different cannabinoids found in cannabis affect memory centers in the brain in remarkably different ways.  Through further legalization, scientists will have the freedom to perform more extensive research, while growers will have the opportunity to create strains of cannabis that have an even more minimal effect on the memory centers of the brain.

These studies reveal that in the short run, short-term and working memory are disrupted by the ingestion of cannabis by creating new neurons in the memory centers of the brain.  These additional neurons disrupt working memory by acting as additional ‘noise’ to the active, recalling mind. These short-term memory lapses are completely temporary though, and in the long run the brain is actually left with additional neurons and a more expansive memory center.  To use the analogy of a computer again, think of heavy-cannabis ingestion as a temporary lapse in primary memory functionality for the sake of upgrading the storage capabilities of secondary memory. 

 

Elevated Heart Rate

It is true that many cannabis users describe symptoms of panic and consequently an elevated heart rate, especially during their first time trying cannabis.  What still remains debated is whether cannabis itself biologically causes heart rate to increase.

Related Article: Portugal Decriminalizes All Drugs; 10 Years Later the Results are Mind Blowing

The most well known study done on the correlation between cannabis and heart rate, and subsequently the only truly credible and widely used study, is one performed by a man named Dr. Murray A. Mittleman.  Mittleman’s study focused on:

information on cannabis use from 3,882 middle-aged and elderly patients who had suffered heart attacks. A total of 124 patients were identified as current users, including 37 who reported smoking the drug up to 24 hours before their attack, and nine who had used it within an hour of experiencing symptoms.

Mittleman’s conclusion was that the first hour after taking cannabis heart attack risk is 4.8 times higher than during periods of non-use. In the second hour, the risk drops to 1.7 times higher. According to Mittleman this was the first study to document that smoking cannabis could trigger a heart attack, but that the trigger mechanism remained unknown. So what’s the issue with this constantly cited study?

Besides the fact that any type of smoke entering the lungs produces the same effect (it is not necessary and not medicinally optimal to smoke cannabis, a subject that is covered later in this report), Dr. Lester Grinspoon, who is one of the world’s foremost cannabis researchers as well as Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a former senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston for 40 years, explains why this study should be dismissed.  Dr. Grinspoon tells an interviewer, in response to Mittleman’s study:

..let me say that since 1967 there have been numerous reports and studies, each of which the American media has blown out of all proportion, stating one or another supposed ill effect of marijuana use. I can list them, if you’d like. ‘Increase in the size of the ventricles, decrease in testosterone, destruction of chromosomes.’ All were front-page stories, none of them have ever been replicated. In other words, they didn’t pan out scientifically. Of course, the studies that contradicted them ended up on page 31 or thereabouts, if they got mentioned at all… I would point out that out of 3,882 patients, we’re talking about 9 who used marijuana within an hour of the onset of a heart attack. That’s around 0.2%. By sheer mathematics, given that people sleep eight hours per day or so, we can deduce that 6.7% of those patients emptied their bowels within an hour of onset. It’s incredible to me that the numbers here could be said to constitute a significant risk factor.

So, as is typical of the main stream media, a report was utterly sensationalized and relatively negligible data was heralded as proven truth. Dr. Grinspoon elaborates on the shortcomings of the study by reminding the interviewer that:

[Mittleman] put that increase [in heart rate] at 40 beats per minute. In truth, that number is closer to 20 beats per minute, which is probably consistent with running up the stairs in one’s house...I blame the media far more than I do Dr. Middleman. I read his abstract, and in its conclusion he cautioned against making too much of the data…in 1997, Kaiser Permanente did a large-scale study which included more than 65,000 admitted marijuana users, and they could not demonstrate any impact of marijuana use on mortality. If marijuana use really was a significant risk factor for heart attack, it is hard to believe that it didn’t turn up there. Again, I’m not saying that there is absolutely no risk demonstrated here. But given the history of the research since 1967, I’d be surprised if these findings don’t go down the same chute as all of the other front-page scare stories.

It’s really not that hard to believe.  We have seen the same baseless scare tactics take place 20 years ago, 40 years ago, 60 years ago, 100 years, and more!

Related Article: Uruguay to Legalize Marijuana

With regards to actual significant scientific data, cannabis has in fact been shown (as stated in the ‘Cannabis Cures Everything’ section of this report) to treat and protect the heart, as well as help prevent heart disease through the interaction with the endocannabinoid system of the heart and surrounding regions of the body. It is consequently a likely tool for fighting and preventing obesity (along with hemp seeds). The science is still emerging, but what little research exists strongly suggests that cannabis will serve an extremely positive role in keeping the heart healthy in the future.

 

The single study that is consistently used to argue that cannabis poses a danger to cardiovascular health is far from significant and only became prominent through sensationalized media.  Repeat studies suggest the cannabinoids found in cannabis play a pivotal role in cardiovascular health and the prevention of heart disease. 

 

 

*Note: This article is part of a larger report featured on Wondergressive entitledCannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Through History and Review

 

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325.

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http://www.livescience.com/7271-key-good-memory-forget.html

330.

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101001/full/news.2010.508.html

 

Elevated Heart Rate

331.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/664296.stm

332.

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/cessation

333.

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http://www.pagepress.org/journals/index.php/hi/article/view/1162

338.

http://www.pagepress.org/journals/index.php/hi/article/view/1162

339.

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/pdf/1743-7075-7-32.pdf

 

Brooms Out of the Closet: The Omnipresence of Brooms Through Culture and History

 

Brooms have been around for a long, long time. You might have heard of them. They’re used for general cleaning purposes, bristly though they be. We have closets devoted to them, professionals of all classes who utilize them, and it can easily be assumed that they are located in the majority of living spaces worldwide. At any given moment somebody is sweeping with a broom. Recently, I challenged myself to think of a “common knowledge” between all peoples. I spent a long time considering various ideas and objects. When my thoughts landed on the broomstick I was, naturally, swept away.

What makes a broom so useful and such a likely candidate for my idea of  “common knowledge?” Aside from the practical cleaning purposes of your everyday average broomstick, the broom is likely to be found in fairy tale and fantasy. Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, Hocus Pocus and many other mainstream films have incorporated the use of brooms in this fantastical sense. Though the silver screen has given us many examples of the more modern fantastical uses of brooms, short stories and other works of fiction have a long history with brooms as well.

To bridge the gap between what is real and what is less real, I present to you the Malleus Maleficarum (I can’t help but read this as “Male Male.”) The year is 1487 and the German Catholic Church believes that witches are a problem that need to be dealt with. The Malleus Maleficarum was created with the sole purpose of aiding and advancing the persecution of witches. This work of… general blasphemy of nature reads thus:

Now the following is their method of being transported. They take the unguent which, as we have said, they make at the devil’s instruction from the limbs of children, particularly of those whom they have killed before baptism, and anoint with it a chair or a broomstick; whereupon they are immediately carried up into the air, either by day or by night, and either visibly or, if they wish, invisibly…

That escalated quickly! The Malleus Maleficarum seems to be the most evil book of all evils.  It’s hard to quell the anti-feminist inferno present in 1400’s Germany.

Brooms in literature aren’t always bad. J.K. Rowling made billions proving just that. Despite the potterverse being so prevalent in my generation, there are a multitude of other fictional stories which haven’t yet been swept under the rug.  Elizabeth Gargano’s essay Broomsticks Flying in Cirlces discusses the effective role of storytelling and fantasy in the lives of our youth. Specifically, Gargano uses Eleanor Estes’ “The Witch Family” to examine the real life boundaries between, well, real and imaginary life.

Ultimately, the novel implies, such a form of narrative play can enrich both the tale and the teller, allowing children to transform themselves through the fictions they create.

Brooms have a spiritual meaning as well. Jaina Dharma (Jainism) is a religion that values the life of every being. Every last one. From the smallest mite to the largest whale to the even larger Humbaba. Sometimes, in the case of the mite, these beings are just to small to be avoided naturally. That is where the broom comes in handy.

Jain monks and nuns represent the ideal of Jainism. These men and women try to separate themselves from the everyday world. They are not allowed to kill any living creature. They carry brooms to sweep all surfaces to avoid crushing insects accidentally.

Suppose, though, that you were as lively as the Métis people of Canada! And you also enjoyed dusting off the mediocrity with the occasional Broom Dancing.

That escalated quickly!

 

Sources
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahimsa_in_Jainism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleus_Maleficarum

Rare Manuscript Unveiled at University of Alberta

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thus
http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/mm/

Click to access 2-4-article-broomsticks-flying-in-circles.pdf

http://www.san.beck.org/8-3-Germany.html
http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Humbaba_%28Final_Fantasy_XII%29

http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/wildlife/whales/blue_whale.htm

The Incredibly Diverse Medicinal Properties of Cannabis

 

Copyright © 2013 [Eric Feinberg]. All Rights Reserved.

 

*Note: This article is part of a larger report featured on Wondergressive entitled ‘Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Thorough History and Review

                                                

Cannabis (commonly called pot, ganja, weed, marijuana, etc.) is the most diversely effective and efficient medicine known to man, with the added benefit of having far less harmful side effects than most prescribed drugs, not being physically addictive, being minimally psychologically addictive and being impossible to overdose on. Unlike most substances approved by the FDA, Nobody has ever died from ingesting cannabis. It is one of the least toxic substances known to man; less toxic than much of the food we eat as well as many non-nutritious substances we consume, especially alcohol, tobacco, and even sugar.

Even more amazingly, studies all around the world have concluded with exponentially growing empirical affirmation that cannabis completely and totally cures cancer.  It additionally acts as a preventative, stopping cancer from ever coming back.  Don’t believe me?  Continue reading, or just ask the US government; they own the patent for cannabis as a successful cure and/or treatment for a whole array of medical conditions.

Related Article: The Power of Hemp Seeds: Behold Powerful Nutrition

Before we delve into the medicinal benefits of cannabis, we must first understand the vehicle through which cannabis performs its medicinal magic, the endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System 

Cannabis is one of the most highly effective medicinal substances in the world.  It has the power to treat and/or cure a countless number of illnesses and syndromes, including a whole array of different types of cancer. But how can a single substance have such an extraordinary effect on our biology? It all begins with the endocannabinoid system.

The endogenous cannabinoid system, also known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), wasn’t fully discovered until 1992. All vertebrates share the endocannibinoid system along with various invertebrates. It is made up of compounds called endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors, and is found throughout your entire body: in the brain, organs, tissue, and cells of all shapes and functions.

The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in pre and post-natal life. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system remains uniform throughout our bodies; to maintain a stable internal environment amidst an endless stream of external fluctuations, a process called homeostasis. It modulates energy intake, and is also in charge of nutrient transport, metabolic storage, and much, much more. 

Related Article: Cannabis Protects Brain From Damage While Binge Drinking

Because the discovery of the endocannabinoid system is relatively new, and despite there being over 12,000 scientific articles concerning the endocannabinoid system, there are still gaps in our understanding.  There is still a significant amount of research that needs to be done, and educating people on the actual science of cannabis’ activity in the body will help to clear the smoke of ignorance and closed mindedness. Once people embrace the current research that is taking place, further research into more specific and particular roles of the endocannabanoid system will take off at lightning speed. What we do know is the following:

Cannabinoid receptors are found in every part of the body and are believed to be more numerous than any other receptor system in our biological system. When cannabinoid receptors are stimulated, a variety of physiologic processes ensue. Researchers have identified two cannabinoid receptors: CB1, predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; and CB2, predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different function. Researchers are currently seeking to discover additional cannabinoid receptors as studies suggest that they do exist. As for endocannabinoids:

Endocannabinoids are the substances our bodies naturally make to stimulate these receptors. The two most well understood of these molecules are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). They are synthesized on-demand from cell membrane arachidonic acid derivatives, have a local effect and short half-life before being degraded by the enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).

Phytocannabinoids are plant substances that stimulate cannabinoid receptors. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most psychoactive and certainly the most famous of these substances, but other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are gaining the interest of researchers due to a variety of healing properties. Most phytocannabinoids have been isolated from cannabis sativa, but other medical herbs, such as echinacea purpura, have been found to contain non-psychoactive cannabinoids as well.

The information above focuses on the two most well known endocannabinoids in the body, as well as the most well known cannabinoids in cannabis, but there are far more. Cannabinoids are split into three categories:

Cannabinoids appear throughout all of nature.  For example, besides being found in cannabis and humans, cannabinoids are found in large abundance in chocolate, flax seeds, and breast milk.  Additionally, hemp seeds aid the body in creating natural cannabinoids with the help of omega fatty acids.

Related Article: Federal Judge Urges Decriminalization of Marijuana 

Due to the nearly identical structure of phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids, as well as their identical mechanism of bonding to the same receptors in our body, we have a natural form of cannabis flowing through us at all times. What this means is that the compounds found in cannabis fit perfectly well into our own body‘s natural systems, ensuring highly efficient and proper uptake of the plant’s remarkably beneficial multitude of cannabinoidal compounds.

 

Cannabis Cures Cancer

This is more than just a theory or hypothesis.  There is an insurmountable pile of evidence that cannabis cures/treats cancer (and a multitude of other illnesses) in a large amount of cases, and may even prevent it from coming back. The amount of evidence is daunting, and the science is sound.

It is through the encocannabinoid system that cannabis is able to perform its magic.  Cannabis has the ability to treat and/or cure a constantly growing list of illnesses, including cancer. Dependent on the individual and the type of cannabinoid used, most types of cancer have been observed responding positively to the introduction of cannabis in the system, including cancer found in the breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, colon, skin, pituitary gland, ovary, pancreas, as well as melanomaleukemia and more! The cannabinoids in cannabis act through the body’s natural endocannabinoid system to cure and/or treat cancer in several ways, the most prominent and well researched being:

 

Related Article: Cancer Cells Avoid Chemotherapy

One of the greatest benefits of cannabis as medicine is that it stimulates and acts in harmony with a system that is already present throughout the body.  Instead of prescribing five or more different, highly addictive pills to treat various symptoms, and additional pills to treat the endless side effects (often worse than the illness itself) of all the pills, doctors are able to use cannabis and the cannabanoids within it, as a single, natural medicinal source without any physical addiction potential and little to no harmful side effects.  Plus, don’t forget, it is impossible to overdose on.

 

Cannabis Cures Everything Else

Along with treating various forms of cancer, cannabis can be used to treat a constantly growing list of other diseases and syndromes as well.  It may even slow the aging process. Additionally, the cannabinoids found in cannabis are exceptional anti-oxidants and neuroprotectants.  It is such a remarkable substance that it is able to treat seemingly opposite illnesses simultaneously, like obesity and eating disorders/malnutrition.  Again, the key is the activation and involvement with the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis has shown results ranging from promising potential to revolutionary effectiveness in curing and/or treating:

  1. Addiction
  2. ADHD
  3. AIDS/HIV
  4. Alcoholism
  5. Alzheimer’s Disease
  6. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  7. Anorexia
  8. Anxiety
  9. Arthritis
  10. Asthma
  11. Atherosclerosis
  12. Autism
  13. Auto-Immune Diseases
  14. Bacterial Infections
  15. Bipolar Disorder
  16. Blood Disorders
  17. Bone Loss (reverses bone loss)
  18. Brain Damage From Binge Drinking
  19. Brain Injury/Stroke
  20. Cachexia
  21. Cancer
  22. Cluster Headache
  23. Crohn’s Disease
  24. Cystic Fibrosis
  25. Depression

  26. Dermatitis
  27. Diabetes
  28. Dystonia
  29. Eating Disorders
  30. Epilepsy
  31. Fever
  32. Fibromyalgia
  33. Flu
  34. Fungal Infection
  35. Gastrointestinal Disorders
  36. Glaucoma
  37. Glioma
  38. Heart Diseases
  39. Hepatits 
  40. Herpes
  41. Huntington’s Disease
  42. Hypertension
  43. Incontinence

  44. Infant Mortality
  45. Inflammation
  46. Insomnia 
  47. Liver Fibrosis
  48. Mad Cow Disease
  49. Menopause
  50. Migraine
  51. Motion Sickness
  52. MRSA
  53. Multiple Sclerosis 
  54. Muscular Dystrophy
  55. Nail Patella Syndrome
  56. Nausea/Vomiting (including nausea due to chemotherapy)
  57. Neuroinflammation
  58. Nicotine Addiction
  59. Obesity
  60. OCD
  61. Pain

  62. Pancreatitis
  63. Parkinson’s Disease
  64. Periodontal Disease
  65. Phantom Limb Pain
  66. Poison Ivy Allergy
  67. Proximal Myotonic Myopathy
  68. Psoriasis
  69. PTSD
  70. Restless Leg Syndrome
  71. Schizophrenia
  72. Scleroderma
  73. Septic Shock
  74. Sickle Cell Disease
  75. Siezures
  76. Sleep Apnoea
  77. Spinal Cord Injury
  78. Stress
  79. Tourette’s Syndrome
  80. Traumatic Memories
  81. Wasting Syndrome
  82. Withdrawal
  83. and more…
 (*Note: each of these words link to an individual study)
 
Related Article: The Greatest Medical Discovery of Our Time: Starve Cancer by Eating
 

It is because the cannabinoids in cannabis are so influential on the endocannabinoid system, a system that spans every part of our body, that they are able to have such an effective, overarching, revolutionarily positive effect. Keep in mind that the above is what researchers have found with limited funds, little time, and immense legal obstacles. The golden age of cannabis research hasn’t even started yet.

 

Cannabis Oil: Run From the Cure

The most medicinally beneficial way to ingest cannabis is by making a high potency cannabis oil.  It should be clear now from this report that cannabis is far more effective than conventional medicine for a near-endless variety of ailments. This is especially true for cancer.

Cancer cells have recently been seen avoiding chemotherapy, which explains why chemotherapy only has a 2.3% success rate, with the cancer often returning even in seemingly successful cases. Many patients also describe the side effects of conventional cancer therapies, especially chemotherapy, being even worse than cancer symptoms.  In some cases, chemotherapy even shortens patients’ life expectancy, leading to a shorter life filled with pain and suffering.

The point is, no matter what type of conventional medicine you use, your chances of survival are bleak, and the side effects are horrendous. On the other hand, there is a medicine available that has been proven to completely cure cancer in the majority of cases, as well as having little to no adverse side effects.  Additionally, it is as non-toxic as a substance can get, and is impossible to overdose on.  Plus, it focuses on treating the side effects of cancer along with the cancer itself.  At this point, you recognize that I’m referring to cannabis, but in this case, I’m referring specifically to cannabis oil, also called hemp oil and hash oil (though hemp oil could also refer to a pressed oil derived from hemp seeds which contains a relatively low amount of medicinally superior cannabinoids, namely THC.  To avoid confusion I will refer to it only as cannabis oil).

Related Article: 15 Year Old Invents a 3 Cent Cancer Treatment Using Google

Cannabis oil refers to a highly potent extract of cannabinoids from cannabis, especially THC, usually in the range of 40-90% purity (though there are claims of higher purity), in the form of a thick oil that can be taken daily. The same science discussed above applies to cannabis oil as the same cannabinoids are present, only with the oil they are in much higher concentrations. It is due to the increased potency in cannabinoids, specifically THC, that cannabis oil is the most medicinal and beneficial form of the medicine.

The use of cannabis oil became most prominent due to a documentary made by a man named Rick Simpson.  The documentary is called ‘Run From The Cure,’ ( the word cure referring to the conventional cures for cancer, like chemotherapy.  The documentary focuses on the science of the endocannabinoid system, how to make the oil and what to expect, doctor testimonials, research regarding cannabis’ effect on cancer, and testimonials from patients that have used cannabis oil to successfully cure their cancer.

Another story that is making ground breaking news is a story that is dubbed: Brave Mykayla.  It is the story of Mykayla Comstock, a 7 year old girl from Oregon who successfully used medical marijuana, specifically cannabis oil, to fully cure her leukemia.

Additional information on Rick Simpson, Rick Simpson Oil (cannabis oil created using Rick Simpson’s simple method), and how to make cannabis oil yourself can be found on Rick Simpsons personal website: http://phoenixtears.ca/.

Over 150 testimonials on the profound effects of cannabis oil have also been compiled.

Related Article: It’s a Mini-Me: Mice Clones Provide Personalized Cancer Treatment

Cannabis oil is effective to an unprecedented degree, so says science and the people who have used it successfully to treat their cancer. Unfortunately, unless you are approved to use cannabis medically, it is incredibly expensive and potentially dangerous to procure due to its legal status.  Something obviously needs to change, but what can be done?  What’s the next step? **This article is preceded by and continues in the report: Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Through History and Review.

*Note: Although it does not specifically contain a discussion on cannabis oil, this exceptional video speaks extensively on the overall science of cannabis’ effects on the endocannabinoid system, presents testimonials from doctors and patients, and discusses various government funded/peer reviewed studies verifying cannabis’ extraordinary effects. It is the video I recommend to anyone even remotely interested in the subject, and is a great introduction to the plethora of research on the issue.  It contains the following credible credits:

 
Dr. Robert Melamede, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Biology Chairman
Biology Department at the University of Colorado
CEO and President of Cannabis Science
“Cannabinoids kill cancer cells in many cases, people are not aware of this”
 
Dr. Manuel Guzman, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Professor at the Complutense University, Madrid, Spain
“Cannabinoids have the effect of inducing death in cancer cells”
 
Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, Ph.D.
Vice President for Cannabinoid Research
University of South Carolina Columbia Distinguished Professor
“Cannabinoids can be used effectively as anti-cancer agents”
 
Dr. Sean McAllister CPMC Scientist
California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute
http://thesethgroup.org/videos.html
“Cannabidiol inhibits aggressive breast cancers”
 
Dr. Donald Tashkin, M.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Emeritus Professor of Medicine
Medical Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory
“THC actually has an anti-tumor effect”
 
Dr. Robert Sterner, M.D.
UCSD General Surgeon
Graduate of Harvard & UCLA
“Marijuana seeks out cancerous cells and preferentially kills them”
 
Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, M.D.
Addiction Medicine Specialist
President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians
“There are multiple mechanisms of action in which cannabis kills cancer cells”
 
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, M.D.
Canna Centers, Medical Director
Cannabis Researcher and Scientist
“Cannabidiol has been found to make cancer cells commit suicide”
 
Dr. Josh Wurzer, Researcher
Laboratory Director, SC Laboratories
Cannabis Researcher and Scientist
“Health benefits attributed to THC is actually because of the CBD content”

Final Thoughts

It should now be clear by reading this report that cannabis and hemp remain illegal for utterly irrational reasons that are actually damaging society as a whole.  Most importantly, cannabis should not be labeled a schedule 1 substance as it contains, at the very last, a substantial amount of medicinal value.  This medicinal effect comes with the added bonus of having little to no danger of addiction, overdose, or biological harm; something that cannot be said about most other substances approved by the FDA. Even aspirin, a substance millions of people around the world pop like candy, kills 1000’s of people every year.  Let’s not forget that the most popular pain killer in the world has been found to substantially increase heart attack risk.

A slew of studies…show diclofenac — sold under the brand names Voltaren, Cambia, Cataflam and Zipsor — is just as likely to cause a heart attack as the discredited painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), which was pulled from the U.S. market in 2004.

We have so many issues with modern medicine, yet a cheap (free if you grow it) natural, highly effective medicine/pain killer already exists in the form of cannabis. Why is it still only available to less than half the country, and only after jumping through extraordinary loopholes? Even more ludicrous, although medical cannabis users are practicing their legal state right, and moreover, the natural right to peacefully preserve their own lives, they are still labeled by the federal government as criminals deserving up to life sentences behind bars.  This is alarmingly unreasonable and irresponsible decision making at best. At worst it is pure foolishness and downright criminal in itself.

Related Article: Portugal Decriminalizes All Drugs; 10 Years Later the Results are Mind Blowing

Regardless of medicinal comparisons between substances, what is important is that people have as many medicinally effective substances available to them as possible, without interference from Big Brother.  As Lynn Zimmer, PhD, former Professor Emeritus at the Queens College, City University, New York explains:

The question is not whether marijuana is better than existing medication. For many medical conditions, there are numerous medications available, some of which work better in some patients and some which work better in others. Having the maximum number of effective medications available allows physicians to deliver the best possible medical care to individual patients.

**Note: This article is part of a larger report on Wondergressive entitled ‘Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Through History and Review

 
 
 

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Cannabis Cures Everything Else

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Cannabis Oil: Run From the Cure

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Final Thoughts

 

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German Tech Company Seeks to Hire People With Autism

 

German Tech Company SAP AG has recently stated that it will be recruiting people with autism due to their incredible ability to process information at super human speeds and efficiency. SAP will be hiring people with autism to fill positions in programming, software testing, and quality assurance.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by

impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior.

Traditionally, to be diagnosed with autism, symptoms must become apparent before a child is 3 years old.  If symptoms appear after that age it was thought to likely be a different disorder. The number of people diagnosed with autism in the United States alone used to be near 1%, but in the last 5 years it has jumped to more than 2%, likely due to greater awareness and many diagnoses now occuring later in life. Nowadays, autism can be predicted as early as age 1.

While some people may be skeptical of SAP’s decision, the tech company is positive that autism can be an asset in numerous cases, espeically in the case of mild autism, where the person retains all the informational processing benefits with minimal social difficulties (Much in the same way Blade retained all the badassery of vampirism with none of the drawbacks (except for the thirst!)). SAP performed a pilot project in India with autistic workers and saw improvements in productivity. The pilot project is being expanded to the US, Canada, and Germany later this year. They are understandably very confident in their decision.

In searching for the causes of autism researchers have pointed fingers at

certain foods, infectious disease, heavy metals, solvents, diesel exhaust, PCBs, phthalates andphenols used in plastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, vaccines, and prenatal stress.

Obviously no one is entirely sure what the cause of autism is, but due to its high prevalence a huge amount of studies have been, and continue to be conducted. While multiple studies have revealed genetic links, other studies have debunked these links and shown no genetic inheritance. Due to its elusive etiology autism has even been given the paradoxical catchphrase

Highly heritable but not inherited.

While autism remains largely a mystery, SAP has decided to brush the enigma aside and capitalize on the positive aspects of it. As they saying goes, there is a good side to everything.

 

I have personally seen the good and bad side of autism.  When I was in boyscouts, there were 3 kids in my troop that had autism.  Two of them were twins, and seemed to live in their own heads, barely aware of the world and people around them.  It was very hard for them to interact with others, and especially hard to mold themselves to society’s demands; particularly a job.

The other kid, who was older than me at the time, was highly social, active, happy, and succesful.  Although you could tell he was a bit different socially than other children around him, he was always happy to have a conversation and always tried to make others laugh.  He worked as a UPS driver and was able to swim 11 miles in one go.  He was something of a legend in my boyscout troop, and was an incredible rolemodel for so many children and adults alike.

If nobody had ever told me he had autism, I truly would have never known.  I would have gone on thinking he was just an incredible, albiet strange (in a wonderful way) guy.

Think twice before you judge others, they might be far, far better at processing information than you.  If there is a lesson in all this, I suppose that would be it.

 

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_AG

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/german-tech-company-recruits-people-autism-6C10020898

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurodevelopmental_disorder

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/03/20/autism-prevalence-is-now-at-1-in-50-children/

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/28/austism.predict.questionnaire/index.html

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34047713/ns/health-mental_health/t/autism-seen-asset-not-liability-some-jobs/#.UaRxxaHN-WQ

http://idea.library.drexel.edu/bitstream/1860/2632/1/2006175339.pdf

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n5/full/nm0507-534.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513312/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism#Causes

Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle

Energiewende! This one word defines the German view on the global climate crisis that our planet is currently experiencing. Literally Energiewende means energy change. While its definition is simple it’s connotation encompasses an entire movement. Osha Gray Davidson writes:

The government has set a target of 80 percent renewable power by 2050, but many Germans I spoke with in three weeks traveling across this country believe 100 percent renewable power is achievable by then.

This plan also has many checkpoint gates that it must achieve. By 2020 Germany must be dependent on 35% renewable energies. These energies include wind, solar, and sheer German momentum. Sheer German momentum believes strongly that the Earth is experiencing a global climate crisis.

If a member of parliament called climate change a hoax or said that its cause is unknown, he or she would be laughed out of office.

 

Interesting. Here in the United States, we’re still trying to accept the idea of climate change. For example, my favorite winter-time joke: Where’s that dang-old global warming when you need it? (note: this joke is best told when temperatures are under 41°F and is best told by or to somebody who doesn’t properly understand what global warming is). As another example, lets see what the US Chief of Energy has to say about the matter.

Let me make it very clear that there is no ambiguity in terms of the scientific basis calling for a prudent response on climate change.

Ernest Moniz goes on to say:

“I am not interested in debating what is not debatable…There is plenty to debate as we try and move forward on our climate agenda.”

While it is good that the Energy Chief (a tittle best held by a true sorcerer) strongly holds this as fact, there are still many United Statians (I think it’s time we stopped calling ourselves Americans as we live on only a part of the continent) that uphold the belief that Global warming is a myth. If you really want to delve into crazy, I suggest you check out the Friends of Science webpage.

As we move back to the realms of science and reality we can see that the majority of the world understands science and actually is pretty good friends with it. Stanford University is spearheading the global awareness of climate change caused by humans (scroll down to page 26 for the good stuff). Don’t forget to sign the petition!

Sources:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-13/germany-has-built-clean-energy-economy-u-s-rejected-in-80s.html?cmpid=otbrn.sustain.story

http://phys.org/news/2013-05-scientists-co2-sequestration-technique-supergreen.html

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/301287-new-energy-secretary-need-to-address-climate-change-not-debatable

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/23/1211224/-520-scientists-sign-statement-on-Maintaining-Humanity-s-Life-Support-Systems-in-the-21st-Century

http://www.economist.com/node/21559667

http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?ide=2

http://www.globalwarminghysteria.com/ten-myths-of-global-warming/
http://mahb.stanford.edu/consensus-statement-from-global-scientists/
http://mahb.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Consensus-Statement.pdf

Other Wondergressive Articles:

The ugly face of overpopulation 

The 5 Rs

Sweden is running out of trash

Survivor Recounts 1943 Dam Buster Bombing

 

 

Seventy years ago last week, Fred Sutherland and the 617 Squadron flew a hellaciously dangerous bomber mission over German territory in World War II. Dubbed Operation Chastise, the Royal Air Force was attempting to destroy important industrial centers in the Ruhr Valley.

Sutherland, 90, is the last surviving Canadian member of the multinational May 16-17 mission. The Allies planned to diminish the German capacity to wage war by destroying strategic dams to flood the manufacturing region and disable hydroelectric power plants. To accomplish this, the bombing crews would have to fly perilously low over hostile territory and unleash a bizarre new weapon known as a “bouncing bomb.”

The dams were protected by steel-mesh nets that theoretically safeguarded them from a torpedo attack. These defensive measures necessitated a new type of weapon. British engineer Barnes Willis specialized in devising new bombs and found a way to circumvent the torpedo nets protecting the dams. He developed a drum-shaped bomb that could be dropped over water, where it would skip like a stone until it hit its target. It would then sink to a depth of 9 meters before exploding, ideally breaching its target.

The operation was planned in total secrecy. During mission briefing the 19 bomber crews learned their true target. Sutherland recounts:

We all thought we were going to bomb the German U-boat pens. But then we went to the briefing the night of the mission and we saw a mock-up, a model of the Mohne dam. There were two gun placements on the dam. And the mission was to come straight in at it, with our lights on — at 60 feet — and to drop our bouncing bomb and then get out of there. It looked like a real suicide run. Everybody, I think, was pretty apprehensive walking out of that briefing.”

Johnnie Johnson, who passed away in 2001, was also a member of the 617 Squadron. In this video he recounts his experience during the operation. The details of how the crews had to determine their altitude are both fascinating and absurdly low-tech. (For those who can’t watch the interview, each plane had two spotlights angled at the ground. The pilots could determine if they were at the correct altitude when the two lights overlapped.)

Two primary targets, the Mohne and Eder dams, were successfully breached. A third, the Sorpe dam, was also damaged in the raid. Twelve factories and 25 bridges were destroyed. However, the mission proved exceedingly dangerous. Eight of the bombers never returned home, with 53 casualties among the 133 crewman involved. Another three were captured behind enemy lines.

The mission was initially hailed as a success, although history has been less kind to its strategic importance. An estimated 1,300 people were killed as a result of the attack and the subsequent flooding, although more than half of those were Axis-held prisoners of war. The Allies failed to follow up on Operation Chastise with additional bombing runs, and as such the Germans were able to swiftly rebuild the destroyed dams. By June 27 the region was producing the same amount of electricity as it was before the bombing.

The nighttime attack did provide a boost for British morale, desperately needed after the 1940-1941 Blitz left the country reeling after 37 consecutive weeks of German bombardment. The stories of the daring RAF crews were featured in a popular 1955 film, The Dam Busters. Interestingly, the final attack on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope is allegedly based on the film’s depiction of the famous Allied assault.

This story and its proximity to Memorial Day got me thinking. Although there are a scant scattering of WWI vets still attempting to live forever, the number of WWII combatants is also dwindling swiftly. Anyone old enough to have been of age during the war would theoretically (plenty of people have lied about their age in order to join the armed forces) have had to have been born before 1927 and be at least 86 or so years old. If anyone out there knows someone that served during World War II, or any war for that matter, I urge you to find out as much as you can as long as you still have a primary source on the matter.

My father remembers meeting his grandfather, who departed this world decades before I was even conceived as a possibility, who fought in World War I. The details of his involvement and his recollections are largely a mystery to the family, as my father and his father before him never really questioned him about the experience. My dad is still upset with himself about that failing.

Differences in generation, health and personality often make it difficult for me to talk to my surviving grandfather. To get around that inherent awkwardness, when I talk to my grandfather I try to find out everything I can about his life during wartime. He was stationed in Burma as part of the 69th Flying Tigers. He recalls with absolute disdain the six-week voyage across the Pacific. His most memorable duty was transporting aircraft parts over the utterly insane Burma Road. He never saw combat or even heard shots fired. He had malaria most of the time. He had a beautiful, pearl-gripped revolver as a war souvenir that was taken from him by a commanding officer on his trip back to the States.

My grandpa drove up this mountainous nightmare in a military-issued truck with a '44 clutch. No, I don't understand how that's possible.

My mother’s father, since passed on, probably had the most fun of any private in the US Army. He arrived after Paris was liberated and was briefly stationed there. He and two other men were once tasked with climbing to the very top of the Eiffel Tower to install a long-distance radio antenna. After the war he was in Nuremberg during the famous Nazi war crime tribunals. By his account he spent most of his time dancing with German girls and having a blast.

I implore you: Talk to vets. Try to preserve more firsthand accounts of the war. It’s one of the most (if not the most) important event in the last 200 years, and perhaps in all of human history. Your opportunity to glean primary information about it is fleeting and should not be squandered.

Besides, the stories are badass as hell.

 

Sources:

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/17/a-real-suicide-run-70-years-after-the-dambusters-raid-an-airman-tells-remarkable-tale/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/17/newsid_3623000/3623223.stm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pThhKKbiqO8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_F0zLZLJCg