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

 

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*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

 

Source List:

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Decreased Intelligence

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Memory Loss

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Elevated Heart Rate

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Immortal Animals and the Human Link

 

 

Since time mmemorial, humans have coveted and sought the fabled ‘fountain of youth.’  To live forever is a notion reserved for science fiction and vampire dramas, but what if it were possible? For a select few animals, immortality is a reality.

*Note: While there are various more animals that effectively resist the effects of aging, this list is only composed of animals that are thought to be truly immortal, not just long lived.

 

Hydra: 

 

Hydra are tiny creatures that can be found in most freshwater lakes, ponds, and streams.  As they are only a few millimeters long they require a microscope to be observed.  While these minuscule organisms might slip right by the naked eye, biologists and other scientists are transfixed on studying them.  The reason is that hydra don’t age, not even slightly; they are truly immortal.

The source of hydra immortality lies in their ability to maintain telomere length. Each time a cell divides, telomeres, additional strands of DNA at the end of chromosomes, shorten and get chipped away. This is what causes aging and the corrupted replication of cells in all life forms, including humans.  This aging process, or senescence as it is called in the scientific community, leads to age related illnesses such as cancer, and eventually death.  In hydra, telmores never get shorter.  Although it is unknown precisely how hydra maintain their telomere length so impeccably, recent studies have revealed that a gene called FoxO, which has a direct influence on stem cells, is likely the answer.  When FoxO activity is reduced in Hydra their powers wane and they suddenly show signs of aging.

Related Article: Immortality Formula: YOLF

This is particularly exciting because FoxO is also responsible for stem cell activity in humans.  Greater FoxO activity is routinely found in people with abnormally long lifespans, like centenarians. It may be possible to increase FoxO activity from an early age, maintain levels of stem cells in the body, and thus increase human lifespan by 1000’s of years; maybe even forever.

 

Jellyfish:

 

Jellyfish come in all shapes and sizes, but one particular jellyfish is especially baffling; the immortal jellyfish.  Technically called Turritopsis nutricula, the immortal jellyfish has the ability to, at any strage of its life, completely reverse its aging process.

Jellyfish begin as small polyps on the ocean floor. These polyps branch off and eventually grow into medusas, or sexually mature jellyfish, with tentacles and the traditional jellyfish-look we all know and adore.  The immortal jellyfish holds the title of being the only animal with the ability to revert back into a sexually immature state after being sexually mature.  The medusa form of the immortal jellyfish reverses the aging process through a method known as cell transdifferentiation.  This process transforms cells into a different cellular state, including earlier states. As the cells transform, the medusa retracts its tentacles and head into itself, turns back into a polyp, embeds itself back into the ocean floor, and starts life all over again.

For some human perspective, imagine all the cells in your body suddenly transforming into stem cells as your body shrinks and reverts back into an infantile state. From deathbed to birthing room in the blink of an eye.

Related Article: Aging Process is Similar to Replicating CDs: Story of Telomeres

Interestingly, immortal jellyfish have a choice to drink from the fountain of youth or not.  While some jellyfish reset life early on, others choose to brave the struggle of old age and eventually die without the opportunity for a second chance. Who can really blame them though?  Without Wondergressive or pirated entertainment, what’s the point of living?

 

Lobsters:

 

Lobsters, the hallmark of a luxury dinner and recently discovered abundant power source, are also immortal. While scientists have never found a 10,000 year old lobster lurking on the ocean floor, at the cellular level, they age at a negligible rate.  As long as lobsters are not hunted, fatally injured, or killed by disease, they could live indefinitely. It gets even stranger, as lobsters become more fertile as they age:

They don’t slow down or become weaker or more susceptible to disease. They don’t get infertile — older  lobsters are actually more fertile than younger ones.

This is unprecedented!  Ladies, can you imagine getting menopause out of the way when you are 10 and being at the height of your sexual activity when you are 90?  Welcome to the life of a lobster.

Related Article: Cyborg Lobsters Power a Digital Watch

Scientists believe that like hydra, lobsters are able to beat the aging process through the maintenance of its telomeres, as lobsters produce a large amount of telomerase, the enzyme responsible for ensuring the health and longevity of telomeres.

As lobsters age, they continue to grow larger and larger, making it easy to guess the age of a lobster based on its size.  The largest recorded lobster ever caught was in Nova Scotia, Canada, weighed 44.4 lbs and was believed to be 50 years old.

 

Planarian Flatworms:

 

Planarian flatworms are non-parasitic worms that are found all over the world; in saltwater, freshwater, soil, and more. They are very common, and come in the asexual and sexual variety, take your pick.  No matter which type you choose, you’ll still be choosing another immortal animal.

Related Article: Fly Away Home: Birds Evolve With Automobile Traffic

Through plentiful adult stem cells and a high production of telomerase, planarian flatworms have an infinite regenerative ability.  This incredible regeneration applies not only to the general maintenance of its body, but also to an unprecedented level of repair in the event of physical damage.

Planaria can be cut into pieces, and each piece can regenerate into a complete organism. Cells at the location of the wound site proliferate to form a blastema that will differentiate into new tissues and regenerate the missing parts of the piece of the cut planaria.

1/279th of a piece of planarian flatworm can be cut from its body and will grow into a new, completely independent flatworm within a few weeks.  You can slice and dice this animal into hundreds of pieces and you’ll just be left with more worms!

Related Article: The Most Dangerous Animal and How We Can Defeat It

Even more interestingly,

if the head of a planaria is cut in half down its centre, and each side retained on the organism, its possible for the planaria to regenerate two heads and continue to live.

Imagine if every time you cut yourself shaving a mini-you started writhing and growing in the sink.  In this way, the planarian flatworm can continuously regrow itself and remain immortal through countless copies.

 

Tardigrades:

 

Tardigrades are also called waterbears, or moss piglets, because under a microscope, that’s exactly what they look like. They are one of the most well known extremophiles; animals that can survive under conditions fatal to most other forms of life.  They are usually around 1 millimeter in length and can be found absolutely everywhere on the planet, from common streams, to moss in your backyard, to the top of the Himalayas, and even in newly discovered ecosystems.  They prefer places with lots of moisture, but as you’ll soon see, it really doesn’t matter to them where they live.

Related Article: New Ecosystem Discovered: Glacier Mice

Although Tardigrades aren’t immortal in the same sense as the animals listed above, they have the incredible ability to survive in nearly every environment known to man, including the vacuum of space, by entering a state of suspended animation called cryptobiosis where their metabolism reaches near zero.  They can stay in this state for more than ten years, return to normal, and go right back into the suspended state for another 10 years of rest and relaxation.  They are their own cryogenic tanks.

 

Tardigrades have been observed surviving extreme conditions such as:

  1. Temperatures above 300 F

  2. Temperatures lower than -328 F

  3. Pressure of more than 6,000 atmospheres (six times the pressure of water in the Mariana trench)

  4. More than 10 years without water

  5. Extremely lethal human doses of gamma, heavy ion, and UV radiation

  6. The vacuum of space

Tardigrades are naturally indestructible, and if they desire to be, are also immortal.
All of these animals and their remarkable anti-aging abilities are creating new opportunities for scientists to actually discover and synthesize the ‘fountain of youth.’  In fact, many prominent scientists believe that the solution(s) to old age and even death is right around the chronological corner.  According to Aubrey de Grey, a British researcher on aging and life extension, the first human being to live to 1000 years old has already been born. It might even be you…

 

 

Source List:

BBC Nature: Nature’s Guide to Immortality 

UCI.edu: Senescence in Hydra

Wondergressive: Telomere and Aging

PNAS: FoxO is a critical regulator of stem cell maintenance in immortal Hydra

Extreme Longevity: Hydra Immortality Linked to Human Lifespan 

Developmental Biology: The Immortal Life Cycle of Turritopsis

JSTOR: Reversing the Life Cycle

Cell Transdifferentiation 

Wondergressive: Hollywood is Pirating Hollywood

Wondergressive: Cyborg Lobsters Power a Digital Watch 

HowStuffWorks: 400 Pound Lobster

Telomeres and Cellular Aging

Guinness World Records: Heaviest Marine Crustacean

Encyclopedia Britannica: Planarian 

PubMed: Planarian Regeneration

PubMed.gov: Stem Cells and Regeneration in Planarians

NewScientist: Regenerating Animals

Wondergressive: New Ecosystem Discovered: Glacier Mice 

Youtube: Tardigrades First Animal to Survive in Space

IWU.edu: Tardigrades 

Journal of Zoology: Longterm Anhydrobiotic Survival

Survival of Tardigrades in Extreme Environments

Current Biology: Tardigrades Survive Exposure to Space

Nature: Preserving Tardigrades Under Pressure

PubMed.gov: Radiation Tolerance in the Tardigrade

Discovery.com: Immortal Animals Reveal Anti-aging Secrets

TED: We Can Avoid Aging

Additional Related Resources:

Wondergressive: Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A Thorough History and Review

Wondergressive: Obesity and Low-Carb Fads 

Wondergressive: The Great Vitamin D-ficiency 

Wondergressive: Green Tea Health

Wondergressive: Low-carb/Low-calorie Diet Produces Compound That Blocks the Effects of Aging

Wondergressive: The Wonderful, Healthier, Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

 

World Protests: Can You Hear Me Now?

In the last couple days mass protests have been spotted in Egypt comprised of the supporters and the opponents of former President Mohamed Morsi. On one side there is an army ready to enact its ultimatum to overthrow the government and instate a new political power. On the other side is the Muslim Brotherhood that would take on the deadly army in order to preserve the former president’s reign and ensure that democracy under Islamic law stays.

The people of Egypt fear what is happening to their beloved country and the economic crisis that is taking place and so the protests rage and violence ensues.  The Military Coup will most likely result in a dictatorship being reinstated, but who is to say that a president within a “brotherhood” is not like a dictator himself. Furthermore, the phrase”will most likely result in” is still an ‘up in the air’ statement. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the Military Coup, we may see the fall of democracy in Egypt take place while the immediate reinstatement of military power to rule over all is enacted, ‘temporarily’ of course. One thing is for sure: the people of Egypt all just want peace and prosperity for their children, their friends, their family, and their country. Just like those of the past, they rally together, on one side or the other, showing their pride and commitment to what they believe is most important. The world has heard their cry, a reaction for good or bad will be delivered, like it has been in the past.

What past you say? Let us take a stroll down memory lane and explore several world protests most significant to our mother Earth.

Related Article: Conservation Efforts of Earth

French and American Revolutions

The French and American revolutions were caused by the aristocratic rule that undermined the people and exploited their freedoms. Both of these revolutionary periods took a long time to resolve the ongoing problems of tyrannical monarchy. The French Revolution lasted some 10 years from 1789-1799; overthrowing the monarch King Louis XVI, giving power to a republic, and finally ending with the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte.  The American Revolution era lasted some 20 years starting around 1763 and finally ended in 1783 when a peace treaty marked the full separation from British power. The world watched and learned as nations became independent of monarchs and set examples for future nations to follow.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Martin Luther King Jr.’s words will never be forgotten as they rang through the ears of 250,000 supporters of the civil rights movement rallied together on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was an effort to end racism in the United States of America and the support it received helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, finally freeing a people from oppression and racism. The movement became of staple in the society of America and an example for bringing rights to others in the future. Even now as we struggle with gay marriage being accepted we frequently reference what Martin Luther King Jr. set out to accomplish.

Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989

Probably the most memorabe in my mind would be the Tiananmen Square protests where students led demonstrations against the slow reform process that was taking place in China. The students followed astrophysicist and professor Fang Lizhi, who preached liberty and democracy after returning from tenure in America. The student protests inspired people in Beijing to follow suit, proclaiming the need for human rights and human power, only to be met with military resistance and martial law. The famous image of this protest was the “Tank Man” where one anonymous and yet to be named man stood in front of 4 military tanks as a sign of protest against military ultimatums. To this day this image is referenced during talk of peace or protest.

February 15, 2003 Anti-War Protest

Let’s not forget one of the most recent cries for peace that spread from DC, looped around the world through  more than 600 cities, and came back around to ring in president Bush’s ears: The all expansive War on Terrorism. In Rome 3 million people cried out against the war with the slogan: “stop the war, no ifs or buts”. Madrid rallied just over 1 million people to stop the war. The US had over 150 cities rallying to support peace and to stay out of Iraq. The world cried out for peace on February 15, 2003. Sadly, the world at large was ignored, and the invasion of Iraq took place only a month later on May 20, 2003, finally ending in 2011 after 2 years of withdrawing troops from Iraq. The message remains though, with one of the biggest rallies for peace to date, that we as a people want to coexist peacefully.

Related Article: War On Drugs

Where these are only 5 other protests out of many, many more significant protests, it is important to remember what they stood for: Hope. A hope for change, a hope for a better life, and a hope for peace. This article, of course, was not an attempt in any way to mock anyone or to devalue the lives that have been lost in any of the public outcries that have taken place in the past and that will unfortunately follow. This was simply a tribute and a remembrance to what has passed, inspired by the recent events in Egypt.

To all my brothers and sisters in Egypt, to all the supporters and opponents of Morsi, and to all the protesters of the world that are straining to have their voices heard: I wish you the least bloodiest road to your goal and may peace and prosperity find you. May we all live in a world where protests are a thing of the past, and where violence and war are no longer necessary or even thought of.

Finally, in the spirit of America’s Independence Day, I wish that all other countries, oppressed or yearning for freedom, may one day be able to cheer, as we privileged Americans do, for their own country’s Independence and Freedom. Happy July 4th America!

Cheers!

 

Research:

Egypt Crisis: Protesters

Brotherhood of Morsi

Newyorker Military Coup

Army Ousts Egypt’s President

President Mohamed Morsi

French Revolution

Louis XVI of France

Napoleon Bonaparte

American Revolution

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

I Have a Dream Speech

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Ten states to tackle gay marriage

Tiananmen Square Protests

Fang Lizhi

Tank Man

Anti War Protests

Invasion of Iraq

Independence Day, Fourth Of July

Wondergressive: War on Drugs

Wondergressive: Conservation Efforts of Earth

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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A Non-Loony Google Project Called LOON: Solar Powered, Internet Wielding Balloons

Even though I currently use Verizon Wireless, which of course claims to have the most coverage in the USA out of all the other cell phone companies, I still find places where my connection to the interweb does not exist. These dead zones are our biggest enemy in the fight for superior knowledge! They limit our access to vast information, they cause frustration and anger, they are the bane to our batman. So when will we have an answer to this persistently pervasive problem? Maybe  the movie Up was trying to send us a message.

Related Article: FCC Proposes Free Public Wifi Nationwide

In comes Google. How about sending out 30 balloons, no really they are balloons, which are capable of giving you comparable internet speeds to that of 3G. Google calls it project Loon. The balloons are about 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter and float some 12 miles (20km) up in the air! The great thing about this is that the balloons will be all the way up in the Stratosphere, above planes and above clouds and storms, safely floating without interfering with anything or getting lost in changing weather patterns. They are equipped with a navigation system which allows the balloons to either replace one another in a flight pattern, or continually sail in an area, in a sense guaranteeing a constant signal. The balloons took flight in Christchurch, New Zealand where only a select few were a part of the testing process. Cliff L. Biffle, a part of the project and Tech Lead of Flight Systems, says:

 Having access to the internet can change lives and there are 5 billion people on the Earth that aren’t reached. Balloon-powered internet sounds positively mad, and in a way it is, but its mad in a practical way that could just work

Related Article: Free Internet, Help Yourself

What is cooler, but could be a limiting factor for some, is that the Google project developed its own type of antennas to broadcast the signals so that the signal would not get lost or interrupted by all the other Wifi signals around. It could mean paying royalties to access Google’s internet, but you may be thankful for the access when your Google Glasses are recording the next big concert in the middle of a desert that you are exploring. In fact, are you climbing Mt. Everest and the Patriots are in the Superbowl? No problem, whip out your phone for a live feed of Brady’s game winning touchdown. Google has you covered! Literally. Bet you all those people in Maldives, Tunisia, and Belarus can’t wait!

Cheers!

 

Research:

Google Project: Loon for ALL

Google Glasses

IMDB- UP

Wiki- Stratosphere

A Map of the Internet’s “Black Holes”

Wondergressive: Free Internet, Help Yourself

Wondergressive: FCC Proposes Free Public Wifi Nationwide

For Humanity’s Sake, Wash Your Hands! And Look Good Doing It!

Do you use hot water when you wash your hands? Do you spend longer than 10 seconds when washing your hands? Or are you the type of person that utilizes the restrooms in a hurried fashion and then bolts out, skipping over the ritual of killing the bacteria that is festering on your hands? Although I am completely against some commercial anti-bacterial soaps, I am still a believer of a healthy and clean body. That being said, wash your hands before you shake mine! And people wonder why some of us are antisocial.

A study conducted at Michigan State University yielded that from a sample size of 3,739 people observed in a college town, only 5.3 percent washed their hands for 15 or more seconds. 10 percent of this did not wash their hands at all, and although this is a low amount, it still translates to over 350 people who don’t wash their hands in that area. If this is a true representation of the population then 10 percent of all the people you encounter are touching you or shaking your hand with filthy, unwashed hands. EWWWW. Also, the 95 percent that are not washing their hands for 20 seconds or more are not paying attention to their washing techniques and are not effectively killing off germs which can spread diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC:

Failing to wash or insufficiently washing hands contributes to almost 50% of all food-borne illness outbreaks

But it isn’t completely the fault of the observed, the study also found that the cleanliness of a place contributes to the likely hood of washing ones hands. This definitely makes sense because if I see a sink or faucet with weird brown stains or boogers all over it then I will usually seek out alternative ways to clean my hands. And no, rubbing your hands together to create heat to theoretically kill the bacteria does not help.

Fun fact, the CDC also says that you should wash your hands:

  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

But why all this emphasis on washing your hands after these daily activities? Why does it really matter?

Well, give it a good mulling over: You use your hands to feel and grab and touch everything throughout the day. You are strolling down to the nearest park and you run your finger across the rail on the sidewalk. You get on a train and you grab the overhead bar to keep stability during your ride. You grab a taxi and you hold the door that thousands have held before you. The restroom others have been in, the chair others have sat in, the weights others have grabbed. Not to mention the object you just grabbed or touched has a chance of containing fecal matter from another person. A study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that out of the 404 commuters they observed, 28% had bacteria on their hands originating from fecal matter. Gross, I know.

The worst part about all this is that we use our hands to touch our face at least a hundred times a day. My are we conceded. The point is not to become a germaphobe, but to stay aware of the way sickness and disease is spread, and how it all starts with your hands. Damnit man, just wash your hands!

The best way to wash your hands is to wet your hands, rub them together for at least 20 seconds, and then rinse and dry your hands. Make sure to give it that 20 precious seconds, 10 or less just doesn’t cut it. Tedious, I know. But hey! If all else fails here is an awesome way to help you wash your hands. Think of all the doctor visits you can avoid and all the fun singalong time you can experience!

Now if only we could find an easy way to keep our bellybuttons clean. Cheers!

 

Sources:

Today Health: Dirty America

MSU: Handwashing Practices

Dirty Hands: Bacteria of Faecal Origin

Youtube: Wash Your Hands Song

CDC Handwashing

Wondergressive: The Secret World of Bacteria

Wondergressive: Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap

Wondergressive: Obamacare

Wondergressive: Belly Button Bacteria

 

 

The Road Rage is Strong With This One

You are driving down the road to the nearest grocery store to get some bread. You slow down as you get to a yellow traffic light and the person behind you slams on their brakes thinking they would have made the yellow no problem. Alas, you are now the victim of something very serious: ROAD RAGE, also known as intermittent explosive disorder.

Then again, at some point in your life you were undoubtedly that person braking or flipping out at another driver for something “stupid” they had done. According to dmv.org:

Aggressive drivers routinely:

  • Tailgate
  • Use their horn
  • Flash their headlights
  • Change lanes quickly and often
  • Gesture to other drivers
  • Talk on their cell phone

Shockingly, 1500 people a year are seriously injured or killed in senseless traffic disputes. It doesn’t help that most of us, myself included, are likely texting while driving or talking on their cell phone, causing all kinds of traffic violations. This adds to the already amassing multitude of cars which unfortunately leads to traffic buildups (although clearly there are other factors involved this is one that could be realistically avoided). In essence, with all the distractions in our daily life, WE directly create those aggressive drivers.

And so what? I know, I’ll just be passive and let all the other drivers be aggressive, that wont affect me… WELL! Aggressive drivers will undoubtedly cut you off if you are swerving while texting or not paying attention to the road or simply being a passive, safe driver, and this action of cutting someone off is one of the most aggravating experiences of driving. The Center for Addiction and Mental Health, or CAMH, has yielded some interesting results from accumulated online reporting participants. It seems that:

Cutting in and weaving, speeding, and hostile displays are among the top online complaints posted by drivers.

You mean that person I just cut off will go home to blog about it? They will go and write a Wondergressive article pertaining to it with hopes that a chain reaction occurs and eventually drivers become more aware and respectful of their fellow drivers? And I wonder why I Rage on the Road so much. Too many shattered hopes and dreams.

As recommended by dmv.org, if you can’t help your Road Rage then ease it by venting:

Talk to a friend or family member about the driving experience―telling the story can relieve your stress. Some driving clubs or online discussions offer members a chance to vent their frustration.

I admit it, I am a prime example of someone suffering from intermittent explosive disorder. I truly cannot wait to trade in my car for a shiny brand new blimp! Life would just be so much easier. No traffic, no a-holes to cut you off, no worries about cops and obeying the rules of the road, no speed limits or traffic lights. Only those damn birds to watch out for. That, and the bad weather/gusts of wind that you are likely to encounter. Let’s not forget about the other a-holes with their brand new blimps. ARGH! GET OUT OF MY WAY ALREADY!

I believe the best way to limit anger/traffic/congestion/violations is to put into act a proposal that one of my managers laid out for me. He suggests that anyone who causes traffic or gets in an accident and is solely at fault for the accident should have to get in front of everyone on TV and/or in a public setting and give a formal apology. Let’s see how many people risk going on the freeway while texting or using their cell phone THEN! Cheers!

 

Sources:

NBCnews: Road Rage gets medical diagnosis

DMV: Road Rage: How to Deal with It

AAA Foundation: Aggressive Driving

Science Direct: Texting While Driving

Science Direct: Dialling and Driving

Center for Addiction and Mental Health, or CAMH

CAMH: Cutting In and Weaving Irritates Drivers

Wondergressive: Save the Food Pyramid

Wondergressive: Blimps are the Future!

Wondergressive: Fly Away Home

The Draw of Cell Phones

everydaymomideas.com

everydaymomideas.com

Bzzzt! Bzzt! Did I just receive a text? Am I getting a call? Email? Facebook notification? Oh wait, I guess it was just my imagination. Or was it…

The other day I left my cell phone at home and worked a 12 hour shift only to find myself completely bored out of my mind during the slow periods. Nobody to text, no news to read, no status updates to follow/comment/post on facebook, but worst of all no Wondergressive articles to browse through! Oh the humanity!

In this day and age a cell phone deprived person seems to be at a great disadvantage. A prime example of this happened last week. My girlfriend forgot her cell phone at home and her house keys in my car while she was out running some errands.That got me thinking. Without a cell phone she could easily have gotten hurt or lost or needed assistance and there would have been no way of me reaching her. Needless to say, she showed up where I was and got her keys, but I was still left with the thought of how important and intertwined our lives have become with cell phones.

inthebestofhealth.wordpress.com

inthebestofhealth.wordpress.com

For those of us suffering from nomophobia, and for those that are in denial, let me ask you: could you really part with your digital friend? Think of all of your daily routines, think of all of your leisure time and what you spend doing during that time, think about what you do while driving or while you are stuck in traffic, and finally, think of how you reach your friends/family/lovers/doctors/Wondergressive authors etc. If you can honestly avoid using your cell phone for any of these activities then congratulations! You may not be a zombie like the rest of us. Yet. A preliminary study on cell phone addiction by Baylor University yields that:

mobile phones are conspicuous artifacts of acquisition and sometimes are viewed as extensions of the self.

 

How deep is THAT?! Cell phones as a part of ourselves! Or is it the other way around… In the same way that some would argue that people suffer from hoarding items because they project emotions, experiences, and self onto the items they are keeping, cell phones are now becoming an integral part of our body and mind! In a way, my cell phone is my best friend: it always listens and does what I want it to do, well most of the time at least, so it is no wonder that I feel lost if I am without it. Not too long now, and the singularity will be nigh upon us, at which point I wonder if we will greet it with open arms?

The study goes on to say that

Much in the same way as consumers who use materialistic pursuits to cope with stress, anxiety, and feelings of low self-worth, cell phone and other technological addictions are likely similar attempts to cope with the exigencies of life and self esteem struggles.

A lot of people resort to cell phone sexting instead of real human interaction and that may be partially caused by stress and low self worth. Digitally displaying something is easier than having to deal with real life encounters and embarrassment.  I think, at least, that its easier to get rejected digitally than it is in person.

Lets re-rail this focus train and stop with all the sexting talk for a second. Speaking of re-railing thoughts, Multi tasking while using your cell phone has almost become impossible not to do. Just think of all those recipes you looked up on your smartphone while cooking or those soundtracks you listened to while working on something. One would think headlines like “Brain and Spinal tumors caused by cell phones” would put a stop to our obsessions but then again why do we continue to smoke, and not the good kind, when we know it is killing us?

I am as guilty as the rest of you, however this is my conscious effort at lessening my cell phone dependency. Here are a couple of tips to help with our digital addictions, but the most important thing to remember is to be as involved with other humans as we are with our electronic devices. Remember, when your battery dies, it is comforting to know that the person next to you will keep you not only interested, but also as warm as your cell phone does when it overheats in your hands from overuse. And for those of us that prefer to live in denial, check out this awesome tablet/phone concept designers are working on! Cheers!

 

Research:

Baylor University Preliminary Cell Phone Study

Nomophobia – Wikipedia

Tips to Overcoming Digital Addiction

Wondergressive – Cannabis Cures Cancer

Wondergressive – Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

Wondergressive – TVs, Brains, and Zombies

Wondergressive – Sexting

Wondergressive – From Multi to Mono

Wondergressive – Cellphones Cause Tumors

Wondergressive – Lumpy Tablets

Sign Me Up For Mars!

nyulocal.com

nyulocal.com

Greetings Wondergressivers! Are you tired of blue skies, green grass, and sunny days? Do you wish to explore the Final Frontier? Maybe red is a much more desired color for you? Or maybe you have simply conquered Mt. Everest and want to aspire to higher, more challenging heights; three times higher to be exact!  Well, for all you daredevils, adventure seekers, space cowboys, and solo yolo’s, you are now able to apply to colonize that big, red, desert brother of ours, Mars.

All it takes is an application and a short video sent to Mars One and you will become one of already 78,000 (and counting) applicants from which 4 will be chosen to pioneer the first colony on Mars! Oh, and of course a $38 fee which is charged to all American applicants; other countries are stuck more or less depending on their wealth. We may not even need that warp drive to be completely developed before we start colonizing other planets! Isn’t it all oh so exciting?

The voyage is set to take place in 2023 and will cost roughly 6 billion dollars. Anyone with zero technical skill that is over the age of 18, with no specific qualifications, can apply and be chosen for the voyage. But how will all of this be payed for? Well, it seems it will all be one big to do on television once a select group of “candidates” are chosen by 2015. These 20-40 people will then be trained for 7 years and whittled down to roughly 4 through a series of television events and audience votes.

As exciting as it all sounds, it is a little disappointing that we have to rely on a televised popularity contest as a selection process for our Mars colony. It is inspiring, however, to hear that there is such a widespread reception of the idea of colonizing Mars, and that we already have over 78,000 applicants to do so! More-so that the group of 78,000 applicants is a very diverse group from all around the world!

Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and chief executive officer of Mars One, says:

Mars One is a mission representing all humanity, and its true spirit will be justified only if people from the entire world are represented

The trip itself will take about seven months once the 4 are chosen but before that rovers will be sent to survey possible settlement areas and build the infrastructure of the colony for the candidates chosen. I just hope the Mars spiders don’t get these poor souls. For more on “the plan” click on over to this link to watch the Mars One video!

 

Research:

Mars One

Mars Facts

Space.com – Want to live on Mars?

Bas Lansdorp

Reality TV show to follow Settlers

Colonizing Mars Q and A

Wiki Olympus Mons

Wondergressive – Let’s Capture US an Asteroid

Wondergressive – Faster than light travel

Wondergressive – Mars Seasonal spiders

Wondergressive – TVs Brains and Zombies oh My!

Tattoo Quest (Part 1): Tattoos of Southeast Asia

As I’m considering getting a tattoo myself (sorry mom and grandma), I’ve decided to do a series of articles based on the various tattoo traditions of the world. This is the first article of a three article series on tattoos. I hope to inklighten you, our Wondergressive readers, as well as myself, in my attempt to understand the various meanings behind this ancient art and fulfill my quest of understanding why exactly people, myself and others, are drawn to display these potentially permanent designs on our bodies.

Related Read: Tattoo Quest (Part 2): The Spread of Tattoos
Related Read: Tattoo Quest (Part 3): Significance of Tattoos in the 20th and 21st Century

People get tattoos for many-a-reason. These reasons vary from ceremonial rites of passage to proclamations such as “I really like to shop at 7/11 and this is the ONLY way that the world will know.” These days it seems that the reasons are unfortunately more inline with the latter though there are still a few traditions that hold the art of tattooing as sacred.

Traumatic tattoos are unintentional tattoos that happen as a result of injury. These are generally a colored scarring that happens when an outside element is introduced to open wounds. These tattoos are mostly unwanted and rarely resemble anything more than a painful event.

Historically, tattoos have been viewed both as a taboo and as an art form. The Ainu indigenous people of japan view tattoos as a matriarchal tradition where only the woman get inked.

“Until very recently (the last fully tattooed Ainu woman died in 1998), Ainu women retained a tradition of facial tattooing lending support to the argument that the ancient Jomon employed the custom in the distant past. For the Ainu, tattooing was exclusive to females, as was the profession of tattooist. According to mythological accounts, tattoo was brought to earth by the “ancestral mother” of the Ainu Okikurumi Turesh Machi who was the younger sister of the creator god Okikurumi.”

This tradition has been subject to much controversy in japan.

“As early as 1799, during the Edo Period, the Ezo Shogunate issued a ban on tattoos: “Regarding the rumored tattoos, those already done cannot be helped, but those still unborn are prohibited from being tattooed””

Looking at it now it seems awfully mean towards the woman in their culture. Go figure, subjecting women to various pains in order to get married. I am both irked by Japan’s deculturization of the Ainu people and accepting of it. On one had they are stripping an indigenous culture of their practices and beliefs. This is similar to the Romans outcasting pagan beliefs, the United State-ians completely degrading and embarrassing the Native Americans and every other instance of pseudo-westernization.

On the other hand- the left if you will, though it is not important- this practice of subjecting women to pain and permanent staining is both creepy and belittling. Through knife point art they are prepared to be wed.

Tattoos have rooted themselves into the dermis layer of many other southeast Asian cultures as well.  In Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand Yantra tattooing (Sak Yant) is considered to be sacred and… magical!

Traditionally, a Yant is tattooed using a long bamboo stick with a split sharpened point like a quill called a Mai Sak or alternatively a long metal spike known as a Khem Sak. There are many designs of Yant available, each chosen to give either protective powers or good luck in business or in love. Many of the designs are universal but the Mantras may differ according to the Tattooer.

 

Sak Yant is an art done by Buddhist monks. Different powers are associated with different scripts. Many people believe that these tattoos have magical abilities. Ink seekers from all over the world travel to receive these magical works of body art. Unfortunately there are many people who get scammed out of a lot of money in search for the real thing. So if you’re about to start some crazy vision quest in search of magic, I’d tread lightly-as if on eggshells or spaghetti noodles- when dealing with some of these shady so-called “monks.”

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Spread of Tattoos and Part 3: Significance of Tattoos in the 20th and 21st Century!

 

Additional Information:

Ainu Tattoos
Yantra Tattooing

Video: The Process of Sak Yant

Related Wondergressive Articles:

A Breakthrough Futuristic Material: Silk
Dome Homes: Virtually Indestructable