1 Year After Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Crime Rates & Drug Use Down, Economy Booming (VIDEO)

While residents have been enjoying dixie rolls, peppermint white chocolate, and truffles all made with marijuana, their economy and standard of living have both seen significant increases.

Colorado legalized weed endalldiseaseOn January 1st, 2014 the first legal marijuana stores opened in Colorado and began selling to anyone over the age of 21.  In their first year, more than 60 marijuana outlets generated $295 million dollars in sales, $51 million of which the state has collected in tax revenues.

Now that a year has passed, the impact of legalized marijuana on health, crime, employment, and economic growth have be calculated and will be presented to you right now.  “We found there hasn’t been much of a change of anything,” and “officers aren’t seeing much of a change in how they do police work,” said a Denver police officer.
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The Benefits of Legalized Marijuana in Colorado

CHILE-CANNABIS-LEGALIZATION-MARCH

Employment Soaring
The legalization of cannabis in Colorado has become a spectacle that has attracted countless tourists to the state, resulting in thousands of jobs created for state residents.

Crime Rates Down
Since the legalization of marijuana, Colorado has witnessed a decline in impaired driving, property crime and violent crime.  Even drug use is down since the legalization of Marijuana, providing evidence that just because it is legal, doesn’t mean people are going to do it more.
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Economy Booming
After collecting $60 million in taxes from marijuana sales, the mayor has used $4 million to create new programs to further improve the city.  Interestingly, the mayor is reported to be against the legalization of marijuana, yet he had no problem spending the money.

Legalization: More States to Follow

Even though many of us already knew that the legalization of marijuana would come with enormous benefits to people and to the standard of living for people living there, some of us had to see it for themselves. Colorado’s bold step forward in legalizing cannabis has shown us the positive effects it can have on the economy, and now we can prepare for more states to follow Colorado’s lead. Washington, Alaska and Oregon are now voting for legislation, and a final bill was recently filed to legalize marijuana in New York.

Could this be the next medicinal marijuana?

A healer in Colombia pours Ayahuasca, or yage, as part of a ritual.
A healer in Colombia pours Ayahuasca, or yage, as part of a ritual.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ayahuasca, or yage, is a brew made from a plant in the Amazon
  • Some believe it can help with mental trauma and PTSD
  • But there have been some deaths associated with it
  • Go inside an ayahuasca ceremony on “This Is Life With Lisa Ling” at 10 p.m. ET on CNN

(CNN) — Imagine discovering a plant that has the potential to help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and paralyzing anxiety. That’s what some believe ayahuasca can do, and this psychedelic drink is attracting more and more tourists to the Amazon.

If you Google “ayahuasca,” you’ll find a litany of stories aboutHollywood celebrities espousing its benefits, as well as the dangers of this relatively unstudied substance that triggers hallucinations.

On this Sunday’s episode of “This Is Life,” Lisa Ling goes inside an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru and talks to the men and women who are drinking this potent brew in hopes that it will alleviate their mental and emotional traumas.

Here are six things to know about ayahuasca, which some call a drug and others call a medicine:

War vets are seeking it for PTSD

Former Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan LeCompte organizes trips to Peru for war veterans, like himself, who are seeking ayahuasca as a possible treatment for PTSD and other emotional and mental trauma suffered after multiple combat deployments.

Ryan LeCompte, right, talks with one of the veterans seeking ayahuasca\'s benefits.
Ryan LeCompte, right, talks with one of the veterans seeking ayahuasca’s benefits.

He says he’s aware of the risks, as there’s very little known about ayahuasca’s effect on the body, but he says “it’s a calculated risk.”

“Ayahuasca is a way to give relief to those who are suffering,” says LeCompte, who says many veterans are not satisfied with the PTSD treatment they receive when they return from combat.

“It’s just, ‘Here’s a pill, here’s a Band-Aid.’ The ayahuasca medicine is a way to, instead of sweeping your dirt under the rug, you know, these medicines force you to take the rug outside and beat it with a stick until it’s clean,” LeCompte explains. “And that’s how I prefer to clean my house.”

Libby, an airman 1st class, is one of the veterans who accompanied LeCompte to Peru to try ayahuasca for her PTSD diagnosis, which includes sexual trauma while on active duty. She says antidepressants made her more suicidal.

“I would like to wish not to die all the time,” she said, when asked why she was seeking ayahuasca. “I want that to go away”

It’s endorsed by some Hollywood celebrities

As more ayahuasca centers pop up in the United States, not surprisingly, celebrities including Sting and Lindsay Lohan have spoken publicly about their experiences with the substance — albeit illegal outside of religious purposes in the United States.

Lohan, who has struggled with addiction, called her ayahuasca experience “eye-opening” and “intense.” “I saw my whole life in front of me, and I had to let go of past things that I was trying to hold on to that were dark in my life,” she said on her OWN reality series “Linsday.”

Sting said he and his wife, Trudie Styler, traveled to a church in the Amazon where they tried ayahuasca, which the British singer said made him feel like he was “wired to the entire cosmos.”

It’s not a cure

Those of have tried ayahuasca say that any benefits — like with other drugs or medicine — must be combined with therapy.

“If you think you’re just going to take ‘joy juice’ … you’re nuts,” explained author and ayahuasca expert Peter Gorman, who settled in Iquitos, Peru, during the first wave of ayahuasca tourism in the 1990s.

“The five years of work to get rid of [mental trauma] is still gonna be on you.”

Gorman, author of “Ayahuasca in My Blood,” explains that ayahuasca can help “dislodge that negative energy” and show people what their life could be like without the negativity.

“[Then] you can go back home and work on getting rid of it.”

And it used to be taken by only the shaman

Gorman says ayahuasca traditions in the Amazon have changed since Western tourists began seeking its benefits.

“Traditionally, the shaman drinks [ayahuasca], he accesses other realms of reality to find out where the dissonance is, that if the shaman corrects, will eliminate the [symptoms] — could be physical, could be emotional, could be bad luck,” Gorman explains. “[Then] we Americans come, and we said we insist on drinking the damn stuff — we want our lives changed and we want that experience, so that certainly set things right on its head.”

You can even buy ayahuasca powders and extracts online and in the local markets in the Peruvian Amazon, but Gorman warns “you don’t know what it would be.”

As more and more Western tourists consume ayahuasca, Gorman says it has him worried. “I’ve had this feeling in my bones for five or six years that something could go slightly wrong here that could sour a lot of stuff.”

Some ayahuasca tourists have died

In April, 19-year-old Briton Henry Miller died after taking part in an ayahuasca ceremony in Colombia, according to various media reports. And Kyle Nolan, an 18-year-old from northern California, died under similar circumstances in August 2012 in Peru.

The shaman who provided Nolan with the ayahuasca and who initially lied about his death was sentenced to three years in prison, his mother, Ingeborg Oswald, told CNN.

There have been other reported deaths, as well as reports of physical and sexual assaults. Writer Lily Kay Ross says she survived sexual abuse by an ayahuasca shaman.

“We have to take seriously the potential for harm alongside the huge potential for benefit,” Ross says on a video on a fundraising website for the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council. “Standards of safety and ethics would go a long way in making sure that this kind of abuse isn’t experienced by anyone else.”

Ron Wheelock, an American shaman who leads an ayahuasca healing center in the Peruvian Amazon, says he fears there may be more deaths.

“I hate to say it, yes there probably will be,” he told Lisa Ling. “It’s in the cards”

There’s a movement to create safe ayahuasca

Through IndieGogo.com, the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council is raising money to create a health guide for ayahuasca centers in the Amazon, so tourists know which centers are safe and harvesting the plants in a sustainable manner that supports the local communities.

The idea would be to put the ESC’s logo outside ayahuasca ceremony sites to signify those centers that meet the council’s criteria for safety and sustainability.

In addition, there are efforts to study the medicinal benefits of ayahuasca so that it can be regulated and legalized in the United States, explains Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies.

“At a time when drug policy is being reevaluated, when marijuana looks like it’s on the road toward legalization, when psychedelic medicine is moving forward through the FDA and we can envision a time when psychedelics are available as prescription medicines, how ayahuasca should be handled in a regulatory context is really up in the air,” Doblin said.



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The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal

Opponents of marijuana-law reform insist that legalization is dangerous—but the biggest threat is to their own bottom line.

This story was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, did several stints in rehab after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in 2006, a headline-making event that revealed the then–US congressman for Rhode Island had been abusing prescription drugs, including the painkiller OxyContin. Kennedy went on to make mental health—including substance abuse—a cornerstone of his political agenda, and he is reportedly at work on a memoir about his struggles with addiction and mental illness. In 2013, he also helped found an advocacy group, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which has barnstormed the country opposing the growing state and federal efforts to legalize pot.

Taking the stage to rousing applause last February, Kennedy joined more than 2,000 opponents of marijuana legalization a few miles south of Washington, DC, at the annual convention of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA), one of the largest such organizations in the country.

“Let me tell you, there is nothing more inconsistent with trying to improve mental health and reduce substance-abuse disorders in this country than to legalize a third drug,” Kennedy boomed. The former congressman also praised his fellow speakers for standing up to the “extremist responses” from legalization advocates.

Given that CADCA is dedicated to protecting society from dangerous drugs, the event that day had a curious sponsor: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin, the highly addictive painkiller that nearly ruined Kennedy’s congressional career and has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths nationwide.

Prescription opioids, a line of pain-relieving medications derived from the opium poppy or produced synthetically, are the most dangerous drugs abused in America, with more than 16,000 deaths annually linked to opioid addiction and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more Americans now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined. The recent uptick in heroin use around the country has been closely linked to the availability of prescription opioids, which give their users a similar high and can trigger a heroin craving in recovering addicts. (Notably, there are no known deaths related to marijuana, although there have been instances of impaired driving.)

People in the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year.

So it’s more than a little odd that CADCA and the other groups leading the fight against relaxing marijuana laws, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers and other pharmaceutical companies. According to critics, this funding has shaped the organization’s policy goals: CADCA takes a softer approach toward prescription-drug abuse, limiting its advocacy to a call for more educational programs, and has failed to join the efforts to change prescription guidelines in order to curb abuse. In contrast, CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids have adopted a hard-line approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers.

A close look at the broader political coalition lobbying against marijuana-law reform reveals many such conflicts of interest. In fact, the CADCA event was attended by representatives of a familiar confederation of anti-pot interests, many of whom have a financial stake in the status quo, including law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical firms, and nonprofits funded by federal drug-prevention grants.

The anti-pot lobby’s efforts run counter to a nationwide tide of liberalization when it comes to marijuana law. In 2012, voters legalized pot in Colorado and Washington State; this year, voters in Alaska appear poised to do likewise. Since 1996, twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana or effectively decriminalized it, and a contentious ballot initiative in Florida may result in the South’s first medical marijuana law. Meanwhile, legislatures across the country are debating a variety of bills that would continue to ease marijuana restrictions or penalties. On the federal level, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has challenged the Drug Enforcement Administration in testy hearings, and many have called for removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which puts it in the same class as heroin and LSD.

The opponents of marijuana-law reform argue that such measures pose significant dangers, from increased crime and juvenile delinquency to addiction and death. But legalization’s biggest threat is to the bottom line of these same special interests, which reap significant monetary advantages from pot prohibition that are rarely acknowledged in the public debate.

The CADCA convention featured a roster of federal officials and members of Congress as well as a guest appearance by R&B singer Mario. The speakers talked with energy about the coming showdown over marijuana-law reform.

“We need to apply what Hank Aaron said about baseball to our movement today,” asserted Sue Thau, a CADCA consultant. “We need to always keep swinging!”

Buses were scheduled to ferry the participants to Congress for meetings, and Thau coached the assembled activists to emphasize the potential risks for young people, something that “everybody on Capitol Hill can agree on.” In addition to lobbying against marijuana-law reform, she encouraged everyone to preserve key federal funding streams, to “make sure all the programs that fund our field, every one of them,” are protected in the appropriations process for the coming fiscal year.

Ironically, both CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids are heavily reliant on a combination of federal drug-prevention education grants and funding from pharmaceutical companies. Founded in 1992, CADCA has lobbied aggressively for a range of federal grants for groups dedicated to the “war on drugs.” The Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, a program directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, was created through CADCA’s advocacy. That law now allocates over $90 million a year to community organizations dedicated to reducing drug abuse. Records show that CADCA has received more than $2.5 million in annual federal funding in recent years. The former Partnership for a Drug-Free America, founded in 1985 and best known for its dramatic “This is your brain on drugs” public service announcements, has received similarly hefty taxpayer support while advocating for increased anti-drug grant programs.

The Nation obtained a confidential financial disclosure from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids showing that the group’s largest donors include Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and Abbott Laboratories, maker of the opioid Vicodin. CADCA also counts Purdue Pharma as a major supporter, as well as Alkermes, the maker of a powerful and extremely controversial new painkiller called Zohydrol. The drug, which was released to the public in March, has sparked a nationwide protest, since Zohydrol is reportedly ten times stronger than OxyContin. Janssen Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that produces the painkiller Nucynta, and Pfizer, which manufactures several opioid products, are also CADCA sponsors. For corporate donors, CADCA offers a raft of partnership opportunities, including authorized use of the “CADCA logo for your company’s marketing, website, and advertising materials, etc.”

The groups’ approach to marijuana contrasts sharply with their attitude toward prescription-drug abuse. In March of this year, the heads of CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and other government officials urging them to keep marijuana listed as Schedule I, a designation indicating that it has no recognized medical use and is among society’s most dangerous drugs. “We are aware of a small chorus in the United States Congress (copied on this letter) who are calling for the rescheduling of marijuana,” wrote Arthur Dean, a retired general and the president of CADCA, and Stephen Pasierb, head of the Partnership. “[O]ur groups agree with the most recent Health and Human Services (HHS) determination that marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug.”

 

CADCA’s website makes it clear that the organization—dedicated to a “world of safe, healthy and drug-free communities”—has adopted marijuana as its primary concern. The group’s stated policy priorities are to preserve and expand two federal drug-prevention grant programs and to oppose marijuana-law reform. CADCA has hosted training seminars to instruct community organizations in the best tactics for opposing efforts to legalize even medical marijuana. The group also offers template letters to the editor, sample opinion columns, talking points and other tips for pushing back against reform efforts.

Prescription drugs are another story. In this realm, both CADCA and the Partnership favor educational campaigns and limited pill-monitoring programs—measures that experts on painkiller addiction say are insufficient to deal with the burgeoning problem. CADCA’s site mentions prescription-drug abuse primarily in the context of expanding outreach programs funded through the Drug-Free Communities Act.

In February, the same month that CADCA held its convention, forty-two leading drug-prevention groups sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration to protest the recent approval of Zohydro. Notably absent from the signatories: CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. A policy paper posted by CADCA regarding prescription drugs doesn’t call for a shift in how the FDA regulates painkillers, arguing instead that federal drug-prevention grant programs should be expanded.

Asked about CADCA’s efforts to combat prescription-drug abuse, Thau replied that the group supports educational programs and drug-monitoring efforts, and also recently signed on to a bill—sponsored by Senator Ed Markey—that offers a civil-liability exemption to those who provide preventative medications to individuals experiencing an overdose. CADCA has also promoted voluntary drug “take-back” events that encourage people to bring their unused pharmaceuticals to a central location for disposal.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that industry groups haven’t opposed any of these measures. But they do oppose those restrictions that could eat into the industry’s profits. In 2012, for example, a group of doctors and drug-prevention advocates petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to change the prescription labeling of opioids so that they could be prescribed only for “severe pain,” rather than the “moderate to severe pain” stipulated under the current guidelines. Purdue Pharma opposed the plan, calling on the FDA to “maintain that the current indications for long-acting opioids are appropriate.” According to advocates who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity, the Partnership refused to join the push for new prescription guidelines. CADCA didn’t sign on either.

CADCA and the Partnership have also failed to call for action on current bills in Congress to crack down aggressively on painkillers, including the Stop Oxy Abuse Act, which would—in keeping with the suggestion of the doctors’ advocates who petitioned the FDA—allow OxyContin to be prescribed only for severe pain. The two anti-drug groups have not signed on to support the Safe Prescribing Act, which would move hydrocodone products like Vicodin and Lortab from Schedule III to Schedule II, making the product more difficult to prescribe. Nor, for that matter, have they endorsed any of the bills introduced by Representative Hal Rogers or Senator Joe Manchin to block the approval of new, stronger pain-killer drugs such as Zohydro.

“I think it’s hypocritical to remain silent with regard to the scheduling of hydrocodone products, while investing energy in maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I drug,” says Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a New York psychiatrist who heads Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. Kolodny notes that there are legitimate concerns regarding marijuana legalization, particularly how the drug may be marketed and its effect on adolescents, so “I don’t think it’s inappropriate for them to be advocating on marijuana.

“But,” he adds, “when we have a severe epidemic in America—one the CDC says is the worst drug epidemic in US history—it makes you wonder whether or not they’ve been influenced by their funding.”

In some cases, both CADCA and the Partnership have directly promoted certain opioids. In 2010, Marcia Lee Taylor, the Partnership’s chief lobbyist, signed on to a letter with Will Rowe of the American Pain Foundation asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy to continue Medicaid reimbursements for so-called “tamper-proof” opioids, which cannot be crushed or snorted but can still be abused to deadly effect. (The American Pain Foundation has since shut down, following an investigation by ProPublica showing that the group relied heavily on money from opioid manufacturers and played “down the risks associated with…painkillers while exaggerating the benefits.”) In 2012, CADCA joined with Purdue Pharma and other opioid makers in signing a similar letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Prescription-drug manufacturers like Purdue Pharma, which made more than $27 billion in revenues from OxyContin alone since 1996, have faced ethical problems in the past. In 2007, Purdue Pharma and its top executives paid $634.5 million in fines for deceptive marketing that played down the addictive properties of OxyContin. Also that same year, the company agreed to pay $19.5 million to twenty-six states and the District of Columbia to settle claims that it illegally encouraged doctors to overprescribe the drug. But the company’s influence over anti-drug advocacy is less known.

Erik Altieri, a spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, argues that marijuana can provide a “great alternative for treating chronic pain and other types of ailments.” Pharmaceutical companies “don’t want to see another vendor on the market.”

In a written response to queries, retired general Arthur Dean, CADCA’s chair and CEO, said: “The funding CADCA receives in no way impacts CADCA’s policy efforts or strategic direction. Prescription drugs are legal medicines that serve a legitimate and often life-saving purpose in our society. CADCA has utilized some discretionary grants from industry sources, such as Purdue Pharma and several other companies, to develop programs and tools to help community coalitions prevent and reduce youth prescription drug abuse and the abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine.” Asked about current proposals in Congress to rein in the way painkillers are prescribed, Dean replied: “CADCA has not taken a position on the proposed legislations.”

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Purdue Pharma and other opioid makers, including Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer and Alkermes. A spokesperson with Janssen told The Nation that the company funds CADCA to support “educational programs about the safe and responsible use of pain medicines.”

In May, CADCA sent out an action alert to its members, asking them to contact Congress and oppose an amendment in the House of Representatives that would block the DEA from targeting medical marijuana operations that are legal under state law. The measure passed later that month with bipartisan support.

Patrick Kennedy’s Project Sam is arguably the most visible group opposing marijuana-law reform, with the former congressman making the rounds on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maherand Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, among other cable and news programs. And yet this group, too, is rife with potential conflicts of interest.

Some legalization advocates have criticized Kennedy’s crusade against pot. Though the former congressman received many second chances in his struggle with alcohol and prescription drugs, he has opposed any move toward marijuana decriminalization that would afford similar leniency to others. After Project SAM began organizing opposition to Alaska’s legalization initiative this year, demonstrators in Anchorage paraded a giant check with the figure $9,015—the amount in campaign money that Kennedy received from the liquor and beer lobby while in office. Critics have also pointed out that Project SAM’s board and partners represent many of the interest groups that stand to profit from marijuana’s continued prohibition.

“Some of the folks active with Project SAM appear to have a financial interest in keeping marijuana illegal and promoting mandatory treatment for adult consumers,” says Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in Colorado. For example, Ben Cort, Project SAM’s spokesman, leads a drug-treatment program in Aurora, Colorado.

Tvert points out that marijuana convictions often result in court-ordered rehab, which can provide an obvious incentive for treatment centers to oppose reform. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Geo Group—a company that manages several for-profit treatment and detention centers—states that “any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.” In short, marijuana-law reform can cut into revenues.

Dr. Stuart Gitlow, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, sits on Project SAM’s board of directors and frequently speaks out against medical marijuana. In comments to USA Today in January, Gitlow disputed President Obama’s comment that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol. “There’s no benefit to marijuana,” he said. “It’s simply that people want the freedom to be stoned. That’s all it is. And there’s a great deal of risk.”

What the USA Today piece didn’t mention—and what Gitlow hasn’t disclosed during his appearances on HLN TV, Southern California Public Radio and other local media—is that he serves as the medical director for Orexo, a pharmaceutical company that recently produced a new drug called Zubsolv. The product is an opioid substitute along the lines of Suboxone that, while designed to treat opioid addiction, is often abused for recreational purposes. As The New York Times reported, Suboxone has been linked to more than 400 deaths in the United States since 2003.

Last December, Dr. Mark Willenbring, former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, raised concerns about Gitlow’s leadership of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, given his relationship with Orexo. “My concern is with the increasing public perception, especially in psychiatry and addiction treatment, that financial interests taint and discredit professional opinions,” Willenbring told the Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

Peter Bensinger, a former DEA administrator, and Robert DuPont, a former White House drug czar, now manage a consulting firm that specializes in workplace drug testing. The two work closely with Project SAM and have spoken at events with its leaders. Last year, for example, Bensinger and DuPont signed on to a Project SAM letter pressing the Justice Department to reconsider its decision to defer the enforcement of federal drug laws in states that have legalized marijuana. For that stance, they’ve come under fire from marijuana-law reformers like Howard Wooldridge of Citizens Opposing Prohibition for promoting “policies that line their pocketbook.”

 

Marijuana-law reform has created deep divisions within police agencies. A recent poll of officers found that nearly two-thirds believed marijuana laws should be reformed—with 36 percent agreeing that marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed; 14 percent supporting relaxed penalties; 11 percent supporting legalized medical marijuana; and 4 percent supporting decriminalization.

Yet strong institutional forces have kept nearly every law enforcement professional association opposed to reform. Starting with the Reagan administration, police departments were encouraged to seize and sell property associated with drug busts, which significantly augmented their revenue. Between 2002 and 2012, law enforcement agencies collected about $1 billion from marijuana arrests, according to Justice Department data.

It was also during the 1980s that federal grant programs requiring police to engage in drug enforcement were expanded, including the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Program, which funds multijurisdictional drug task forces. The Byrne grants, which cover a range of drug enforcement actions including marijuana, provided over $2.4 billion for law enforcement agencies this fiscal year.

“It’s money,” says retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing, when asked why so many police organizations are lobbying against marijuana-law reform. “In many states, the city government expects police to make seizures, and they expect these seizures to supplement their budgets.” According to The Wall Street Journal, drug task forces in Washington State have predicted that asset-forfeiture revenues will decrease as a result of marijuana legalization.

Others dispute the notion. Bob Cooke, a former president of the California Narcotic Officers’ Association, asserts that “losing money from asset forfeiture is not why we believe [pot] should be regulated.” Instead, he argues, law enforcement agencies oppose legalizing marijuana because its use is inherently dangerous: “One try and it can ruin your life.”

But the fiscal impact on law enforcement has become part of the debate. Earlier this year, when Minnesota State Representative Carly Melin proposed a medical marijuana bill, she faced a backlash from police lobbyists. “There was a concern about losing federal grants tied to drug enforcement laws,” Melin says. “Asset forfeiture was briefly discussed as well.” She adds that law enforcement agencies approached her bill with “absolute opposition” but changed their position after widespread public pressure. Melin’s bill passed in May once patients and the parents of sick children began contacting lawmakers.

“It’s not hard to figure out that there’s a lot of money attached to enforcing marijuana laws,” Melin says. “Marijuana arrests still account for over 60 percent of drug arrests in Minnesota, so it’s still big business for law enforcement.” Minnesota’s numbers reflect the data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union, which show that marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drug arrests nationwide.

Similar dynamics have played out elsewhere. When Californians debated a legalization initiative in 2010—which was ultimately unsuccessful—the lead organizer of the opposition was John Lovell, a longtime police lobbyist in Sacramento. Lovell has made a career of channeling federal “drug war” grants to law enforcement agencies in the state—including millions of dollars for the California Marijuana Suppression Program, grants for overtime pay for police, and money for additional officers dedicated to marijuana eradication.

In Florida, the state sheriffs’ association, led by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, has become the public face of opposition to a medical marijuana referendum on the ballot this fall. Judd has deployed a number of arguments against the referendum, from the dangers of driving while high to increased workers’ compensation claims, to teenage addiction and increased respiratory illnesses.

But the annual strategic plan submitted to the Polk County Board of Commissioners by Judd’s office suggests another major concern. In it, Judd says that his force is “doing more with fewer resources” and that he’s had to cut seventeen deputy sheriff positions due to a lack of funds. Judd describes seizures from marijuana grow houses as a key revenue source for his department: seizing such property helps to “meet eligible equipment or other non-recurring needs that could not be met by local funding, thereby putting forfeited and unclaimed funds to work in crime prevention, for the taxpayer,” according to the document. Plus a Florida law enforcement newsletter describes the state’s marijuana eradication program—which brought in nearly $900,000 last year in forfeitures, and more than $1 million in previous years—as “an excellent return on investment.”

Downing, the retired LAPD deputy chief, notes: “The only difference now compared to the times of alcohol prohibition is that, in the times of alcohol prohibition, law enforcement—the police and judges—got their money in brown paper bags. Today, they get their money through legitimate, systematic programs run by the federal government. That’s why they’re using their lobbying organizations to fight every reform.”

Indeed, alcohol prohibition was ended partly through ethics reform. During Prohibition, the Eighteenth Amendment was enforced through a law called the Volstead Act, which exempted federal liquor enforcement agents from Progressive-era civil service exams. Without these exams, the Prohibition Unit became a vehicle for awarding patronage jobs to political allies. Almost immediately, these 18,000 federal jobs were marked by scandal and corruption. According to one Treasury agent, the “most extraordinary collection of political hacks, hangers-on, and passing highwaymen got appointed as prohibition agents.” They set up illegal roadblocks, killed innocent civilians, and extorted money from bootleggers rather than arresting them. The wet lobby successfully pushed to re-establish civil service exams for the Prohibition Unit in the late 1920s—a shift that embarrassed dry-lobby supporters, because nearly two-thirds of all agents couldn’t pass the entrance exam. Further weakening support for Prohibition, the Supreme Court declared it illegal in 1927 for local judges to pay themselves with a share of the fines collected from Volstead Act cases.

While not a perfect analogy, some marijuana advocates see the fight against Prohibition as a guide, since so many interest groups working to maintain the status quo today are tied to cash flows—whether federal grants or forfeiture revenues—that depend on keeping the drug illegal.

Prohibition provides “an incentive for these interest groups to keep seeking federal money to continue the ‘war on drugs’ [and] their own salaries,” says Representative Steve Cohen, one of the most outspoken proponents of legalization in Congress. Cohen adds that some of the most vociferous opponents of reform appear to be influenced by the money flowing from pot prohibition. “It’s a vicious cycle.”



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This Organic Herb is More Effective than Prozac for Treating Depression and Has No Side Effects

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It’s common knowledge in the natural health world that pharmaceuticals often (if not always) do more harm than good. It’s also clear that foods, herbs, and other natural sources can offer similar benefits without those nasty side effects. Once again, our beliefs have been affirmed by science: A recent study published in Phytotherapy Research says that not only is turmeric effective at treating depression, it may even be more effective than some of the most common anti-depressant drugs currently on the market. Image credit: Steenbergs

 

While previous studies have indicated the effectiveness of turmeric (curcumin) in treating serious depression, this study was the first randomized controlled clinical trial of its kind.

Researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India compared the effects of turmeric and Prozac (fluoxetine), both used together and individually, in 60 patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD).

According to GreenMedInfo.com, the researchers used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to measure their results:

“We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine [Prozac] (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58). Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77). This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”

While reading the researchers conclusions indicates one treatment (turmeric) is equally effective as Prozac, it doesn’t account for the negative effects of Prozac, which boost turmeric’s value considerably. Prozac is known to cause “suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders,” frightening side effects that are clearly absent in turmeric use.

Related: 5 Natural Solutions for Preventing Depression

In addition to fighting depression, the bright yellow root commonly used in Indian cooking known as turmeric has been found to have numerous health benefits. In addition to this enlightening research on its efficacy in depression treatment, we know it also has value in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, diabetes, and even cancer. If that isn’t enough, it’s also been shown effective in aiding in weight loss and cutting heart disease risk. Plus, it tastes amazing.

Anti-depressant medications are some of the biggest of Big Pharma’s many big money-makers. Equipped with knowledge like the findings of this most recent study, consumers have the potential to undermine their goal of drugging America and the world.

Related: How to grow the miracle herb turmeric at home

 

300+ Mind Expanding Documentaries

mind expanding docs

I watch a lot of documentaries. I think they are incredible tools for learning and increasing our awareness of important issues. The power of an interesting documentary is that it can open our minds to new possibilities and deepen our understanding of the world. On this list of mind expanding documentaries you will find different viewpoints, controversial opinions and even contradictory ideas. Critical thinking is recommended. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy documentaries but I do like films that challenge consensus reality and provoke us to question the everyday ideas, opinions and practices we usually take for granted.

Watching documentaries is one of my favorite methods of self-education. If I find a documentary inspiring, I usually spend more time researching the different ideas and interesting people interviewed in the film.

I hope you find these documentaries as enlightening as I did!

If you notice that a link is broken, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update it.

Thanks to Kyle Pearce & DIY Genius for this awesome list!

[1] Life In The Biosphere

Explore the wonder and interconnectedness of the biosphere through the magic of technology.

1. Home
2. How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth
3. The Magical Forest
4. Ants: Nature’s Secret Power
5. Mt. Everest: How It Was Made
6. Mariana’s Trench: The Deepest Spot On Earth
7. Natural World: The Andes
8. Shining Mountains: The Rockies
9. Grand Canyon: How It Was Made
10. The Intelligence of Plants

[2] Creativity and Design:

Learn about all the amazing things that people create with their imaginations.

1. Everything Is A Remix
2. The Creative Brain: How Insight Works
3. Blow Your Mind
4. Design: The New Business
5. PressPausePlay: Art and Creativity in the Digital Age
6. Infamy: A Graffiti Documentary
7. Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious
8. RIP: A Remix Manifesto
9. Design: e² – Sustainable Architecture
10. The Genius Of Design

[3] The Education Industrial Complex:

The modern school where young minds are moulded into standardized citizens by the state.

1. The College Conspiracy
2. Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
3. The Forbidden Education
4. Default: The Student Loan Documentary
5. College Inc.
6. Education For A Sustainable Future
7. Networked Society: The Future of Learning
8. The Ultimate History Lesson With John Taylor Gatto
9. The Education System in Communist China
10. The War On Kids

[4] The Digital Revolution:

The Internet is now the driving force behind change and innovation in the world.

1. Download: The True Story of the Internet
2. The Age of Big Data
3. Resonance: Beings of Frequency
5. Life In A Day
6. Networked Society: On The Brink
7. Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration
8. WikiRebels: The WikiLeaks Story
9. The Virtual Revolution: The Cost of Free
10. How Hackers Changed the World

[5] A New Civilization:

We are at the dawn of a new golden age of human inventiveness.

1. THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?
2. Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward
3. Paradise or Oblivion
4. 2012: Time For Change
5. The Crisis of Civilization
6. The Collective Evolution II
7. The Quickening: Awakening As One
8. 2012 Crossing Over: A New Beginning
9. Collapse
10. The Awakening

[6] Politics:

Explore the politics of power and control and how it affects your life.

1. Owned and Operated
2. UnGrip
3. The Power Principle
4. The True Story of Che Guevara
5. Earth Days
6. Capitalism Is The Crisis
7. WikiLeaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower
8. The Putin System
9. The War On Democracy
10. Rise Like Lions: Occupy Wall Street and the Seeds of Revolution

[7] Biographies of Genius:

The biographies of modern geniuses who pushed humanity forward.

1. Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
2. Nikola Tesla: The Greatest Mind of All Time
3. The Unlimited Energy of Nicola Tesla
4. The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla
5. Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
6. How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked
7. The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein
8. The Biography of Albert Einstein
9. Da Vinci: Unlocking The Genius
10. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

[8] War:

War is history’s oldest racket for stealing from the powerless and redistributing resources to the powerful.

1. Psywar: The Real Battlefield Is Your Mind
2. The History of World War II
3. The Secret History of 9/11
4. Robot Armies in the Future
5. The Never Ending War in Afghanistan
6. Shadow Company: Mercenaries In The Modern World
7. World War II From Space
8. Why We Fight
9. The Fog Of War
10. The Oil Factor: Behind The War On Terror

[9] Economics:

Learn about the financial system works and how people and societies are enslaved through debt.

1. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
2. Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis
3. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World
4. The One Percent
5. Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street
6. The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers
7. The Four Horsemen
8. Inside Job: The Biggest Robbery In Human History
9. Capitalism A Love Story
10. Money and Life

[10] Digital Entrepreneurship:

Profiles of the entrepreneurs who used technology to change the world.

1. The Life Of A Young Entrepreneur
2. Profile: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin
3. Profile: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
4. Starting-Up in America
5. The Biography of Bill Gates
6. Inside Google: The Billion Dollar Machine
7. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
8 . Steve Jobs: The Billion Dollar Hippy
9. Elon Musk: Risk Takers
10. The Story of Twitter

[11] Sports:

Watch the inspiring stories of amazing athletes.

1. Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story
2. Carts of Darkness
3. The Two Escobars
4. Usain Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man
5. Wayne Gretzky: The Life and Times
6. When We Were Kings
7. Mike Tyson: Beyond the Glory
8. Birdmen
9. The Legacy Of Michael Jordan
10. We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding

[12] Technology:

Find out more about the impact of exponential growth and the approaching Singularity.

1. Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man
2. How Robots Will Change the World
3. Human 2.0
4. Tomorrow’s World: Life In The Future
5. Trance-Formation: The Future of Humanity
6. The Venus Project: Future By Design
7. Bionics, Transhumanism And The End Of Evolution
8. The Singularity Is Near
9. Car Technology Of The Future
10. Powering The Future: The Energy Revolution

[13] Origins of Religion:

Explore the original religious experience of mankind at the dawn of civilization.

1. Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
2. Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman
3. Ancient Egypt and The Alternative Story of Mankind’s Origins
4. The Hidden Knowledge of the Supernatural
5. Re-Awaken: Open Your Heart, Expand Your Mind
6. Shamans of the Amazon
7. The Root of All Evil: The God Delusion
8. Ancient Knowledge
9. The Naked Truth
10. Before Babel: In Search of the First Language

[14] Western Religion:

The fascinating history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

1. Secret Quest: The Path of the Christian Gnostics
2. The Secret Gate of Eden
3. Forbidden Knowledge: Lost Secrets of the Bible
4. Banned From The Bible: Secrets Of The Apostles
5.  The Life of Prophet Muhammad
6. The Road To Armageddon
7. The Most Hated Family In America
8. Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet
9. A Complete History of God
10. Gnosis: The Untold History of the Bible

[15] Eastern Religion:

Expand your mind by also studying the entirely different religious worldviews of the East.

1. Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
2. The Life Of The Buddha
3. The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World
4. Mysteries of the Cosmic OM: Ancient Vedic Science
5. Where Science and Buddhism Meet
6. The Yogis of Tibet
7. Taj Mahal: Secrets To Blow Your Mind
8. Light at the Edge of the World: Tibetan Science of the Mind
9. Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata
10. Ayurveda: The Art of Being

[16] Consciousness:

Learn about the basic unity of existence and the miracle of consciousness.

1. Athene’s Theory of Everything
2. Theory of Everything: GOD, Devils, Dimensions, Dragons & The Illusion of Reality
3. The God Within: Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness
4. 5 Gateways: The Five Key Expansions of Consciousness
5. Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix
6. The Holographic Universe
7. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
8. What Is Consciousness?
9. Kymatica
10. Neuroplasticity: The Brain That Changes Itself

[17] Mysteries:

Indiana Jones-style explorations into the unsolved mysteries of the past.

1. Alchemy: Sacred Secrets Revealed
2. The Day Before Disclosure
3. The Pyramid Code
4. The Secret Design of the Egyptian Pyramids
5. Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill
6. The Lost Gods of Easter Island
7. Origins of the Da Vinci Code
8. Forbidden Knowledge: Ancient Medical Secrets
9. Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: The New Atlantis
10. Secrets in Plain Sight

[18] Mass Culture:

Learn about how our thoughts and opinions are influenced by mass culture.

1. The Century of the Self
2. All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
3. The Power Of Nightmares
4. The Trap: What Happened To Our Dreams of Freedom
5. Starsuckers: A Culture Obsessed By Celebrity
6. Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
7. Obey: The Death of the Liberal Class
8. Motivational Guru: The Story of Tony Robbins
9. Bob Marley: Freedom Road
10. Radiant City

[19] Corporate Media:

Discover how the mass media and advertisers channel our irrational impulses.

1. Weapons of Mass Deceptions
2. Secrets of the Superbrands
3. Orwell Rolls in his Grave
4. The Esoteric Agenda
5. Propaganda
6. The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News
7. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
8. Symbolism in Logos: Subliminal Messages or Ancient Archetypes
9. Edward Snowden: A Truth Unveiled
10. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

[20] Art and Literature:

Explore the lives of famous artists and how art opens people’s minds.

1. Lord Of The Rings: Facts Behind The Fiction
2. Cosm: Alex Gray’s Visionary Art
3. Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop
4. New Art and the Young Artists Behind It
5. Salvador Dali: A Master of the Modern Era
6. How Art Made The World: More Human Than Human
7. The Day Pictures Were Born
8. Guns, Germs and Steel
9. Off-Book: Digital Age Creativity
10. This Is Modern Art

[21] Health:

Explore issues in health, how our bodies work and the incredible power of our brains.

1. The Human Brain
2. The Truth About Vitamins
3. How To Live To 101
4. America’s Obesity Epidemic
5. The War On Health
6. The Beautiful Truth
7. Food Inc.
8. The Truth About Food
9. Addicted To Pleasure: Sugar
10. The Living Matrix

[22] Drugs:

Documentaries on the effect of drugs — legal and illegal — on the body and mind.

1. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
2. The Drugging Of Our Children
3. How Marijuana Affects Your Health
4. Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
5. Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
6. LSD: The Beyond Within
7. The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex
8. Are Illegal Drugs More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
9. The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
10. Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

[23] Environment:

Thought-provoking documentaries on the environmental movement and the growing threats to our biosphere.

1. Earthlings
2. Blue Gold: World Water Wars
3. Tapped
4. Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis
5. All Things Are Connected
6. The Fight For Amazonia
7. Flow: For Love Of Water
8. Here Comes the Sun
9. The World According To Monsanto
10. The Story of Stuff

[24] Cosmos:

Expand your mind by exploring our indescribably large and beautiful Cosmos.

1. The Search for Planets Similar to Earth
2. Inside the Milky Way Galaxy
3. Cosmic Journeys : The Largest Black Holes in the Universe
4. Beyond The Big Bang
5. The Mystery of the Milky Way
6. Fractals: The Hidden Dimension
7. Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking: The Story of Everything
8. Pioneer Science: Discovering Deep Space
9. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
10. The Strangest Things In The Universe

[25] Science:

The history of scientific discovery and how scientific instruments expand our perception.

1. The Complete History of Science
2. The Quantum Revolution
3. Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell
4. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
5. Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos
6. The Light Fantastic
7. DNA: The Secret of Life
8. Parallel Universes, Alternative Timelines & Multiverse
9. What Is The Higgs Boson?
10. Infinity

[26] Evolution:

The story of our evolution and the emergence of self-aware human beings.

1. The Origin of Life
2. Homo Sapiens: The Birth of Humanity
3. Beyond Me
4. The Global Brain
5. Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature
6. Birth Of A New Humanity
7. Samsara
8. Ape Man: Adventures in Human Evolution
9. The Incredible Human Journey
10. The Human Family Tree

[27] Psychology and The Brain:

New research is shining a spotlight on how we can improve our brains.

1. How Smart Can We Get?
2. The Science of Lust
3. The Secret You
4. What Are Dreams?
5. A Virus Called Fear
6. Beyond Thought (Awareness Itself)
7. The Human Brain
8. Superconscious Mind: How To Double Your Brain’s Performance
9. How Does Your Memory Work?
10. Secrets of the Mind

[28] Modern History:

The story of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the modern world.

1. The Entrepreneurs Who Built America
2. History of the World in Two Hours
3. The Industrial Revolution
4. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
5. The Adventure of the English Language
6. The French Revolution
7. Big Sugar
8. The Spanish Inquisition
9. The American Revolution
10. The Mexican American War

[29] Pre-Modern History:

The story of the Americas and European history in the pre-modern world.

1. America Before Columbus
2. The Dark Ages
3. Socrates, Aristotle and Plato
4. The Medici: The Most Influencial Family In The World
5. Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire
6. History of Britain: The Myth of the Anglo-Saxon Invasion
7.  A History of Celtic Britain
8. The Crusades: Victory and Defeat
9. The Vikings: Voyage To America
10. Copernicus and the Scientific Revolution

[30] Current Events:

Become more informed about current events that are shaping the world.

1. Syria: The Reckoning
2. Empire: Putin’s Russia
3. The New Arms Race
4. The Killing of Yasser Arafat
5. Egypt In Crisis
6. Inside Obama’s Presidency
7. The Untouchables: How Obama Protected Wall Street
8. Behind The Rhetoric: The Real Iran
9. A History of the Middle East since WWII
10. Climate Wars

[31] Ancient Civilizations:

Fascination explorations into the ancient civilizations of our past.

1. When God Was a Girl: When Goddesses Ruled The Heavens and Earth
2. The Persian Empire : Most Mysterious Civilization in the Ancient World
3. What The Ancients Did For Us
4. What the Ancients Knew
5. Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids
6. Secrets of the Ancient Empires
7. Constellations & Ancient Civilizations
8. Graham Hancock’s Quest For The Lost Civilization
9. Atlantis: The Lost Continent
10. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

I hope you enjoy watching some of these mind expanding documentaries! If you have a personal favorite, please share it with everyone in the comments.

20 Medical Studies That Prove Cannabis Can Cure Cancer

cannabisCannabis has been making a lot of noise lately. Multiple states across the United States and countries around the world have successfully legalized medical Marijuana, and the Uruguay parliament recently voted to create the world’s first legal marijuana market. This is good news as the health benefits of Cannabis are vast, with multiple medical and scientific studies that confirm them. On the other hand, arguments against the use of marijuana is usually published in Psychiatric journals, which show no scientific evidence that Cannabis is harmful to human health. All psychological evaluations from the intake of cannabis are largely based on assumptions, suggestions and observations (1). When we look at the actual science behind Cannabis, the health benefits can be overwhelming. So what does one who opposes the use of cannabis base their belief on? Nothing, not scientific evidence anyways. The negative stigmatism attached to marijuana is due to it’s supposed psychotropic effects, yet again, there is no scientific evidence to show that marijuana has any psychotropic effects. Nonetheless, cannabis has recently been the focus of medical research and considered as a potential therapeutic treatment and cure for cancer.

Cannabis is a great example of how the human mind is programmed and conditioned to believe something. Growing up, we are told drugs are bad, which is very true, however not all substances that have been labelled as “drugs” by the government are harmful. Multiple substances are labelled as a “drug” in order to protect corporate interests. One example is the automobile and energy industry, a car made from hemp is stronger than steel, and can be fuelled from hemp alone. Henry Ford demonstrated this many years ago. Hemp actually has over 50,000 uses!

Let’s take a look at the science behind Cannabis and Cancer. Although Cannabis has been proven to be effective for a large range of ailments, this article will focus mainly on it’s effectiveness in the treatment of cancer. Cannabinoids may very well be one of the best disease and cancer fighting treatments out there. Cannabinoids refer to any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. Cannabinoids also play a role in immune system generation and re-generation. The body regenerates best when it’s saturated with Phyto-Cannabinoids. Cannabinoids can also be found in Cannabis. It is important to note that the cannabinoids are plentiful in both hemp and cannabis. One of the main differentiations between hemp and cannabis is simply that hemp only contains 0.3% THC while cannabis is 0.4% THC or higher. (Technically they are both strains of Cannabis Sativa.)  Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells as they have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. While not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis.

While taking a look at these studies, keep in mind that cannabis can be much more effective for medicinal purposes when we eat it rather than smoking it. Below are 20 medical studies that prove cannabis can be an effective treatment and possible cure for cancer. Please keep in mind that this is a very short list of studies that support the use of medicinal marijuana. Please feel free to further your research, hopefully this is a good starting point.

Brain Cancer

1.  A study published in the British Journal of Cancerconducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid, this study determined that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids inhibit tumour growth. They were responsible for the first clinical study aimed at assessing cannabinoid antitumoral action. Cannabinoid delivery was safe and was achieved with zero psychoactive effects. THC was found to decrease tumour cells in two out of the nine patients.

2. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience examined the biochemical events in both acute neuronal damage and in slowly progressive, neurodegenerative diseases. They conducted a magnetic resonance imaging study that looked at THC (the main active compound in marijuana) and found that it reduced neuronal injury in rats. The results of this study provide evidence that the cannabinoid system can serve to protect the brain against neurodegeneration.

3. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics already acknowledged the fact that cannabinoids have been shown to possess antitumor properties. This study examined the effect of cannabidiol (CBD, non psychoactive cannabinoid compound) on human glioma cell lines. The addition of cannabidiol led to a dramatic drop in the viability of glioma cells. Glioma is the word used to describe brain tumour.  The study concluded that cannabidiol was able to produce a significant antitumor activity.

4. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics outlines how brain tumours are highly resistant to current anticancer treatments, which makes it crucial to find new therapeutic strategies aimed at improving the poor prognosis of patients suffering from this disease. This study also demonstrated the reversal of tumour activity in Glioblastoma multiforme.

Breast Cancer

5. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by the California Pacific Medical Centre determined that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. They also demonstrated that CBD significantly reduces tumour mass.

6. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics determined that THC as well as cannabidiol dramatically reduced breast cancer cell growth. They confirmed the potency and effectiveness of these compounds.

7. A study published in the Journal Molecular Cancer showed that THC reduced tumour growth and tumour numbers. They determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis and impair tumour angiogenesis (all good things). This study provides strong evidence for the use of cannabinoid based therapies for the management of breast cancer.

8. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) determined that cannabinoids inhibit human breast cancer cell proliferation.

Lung Cancer

9. A study published in the journal Oncogeneby Harvard Medical Schools Experimental Medicine Department determined that THC inhibits epithelial growth factor induced lung cancer cell migration and more. They go on to state that THC should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.

10. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, from the Department of General Surgery in Germany determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell invasion. Effects were confirmed in primary tumour cells from a lung cancer patient.  Overall, data indicated that cannabinoids decrease cancer cell invasiveness.

11. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by Harvard Medical School investigated the role of cannabinoid receptors in lung cancer cells. They determined its effectiveness and suggested that it should be used for treatment against lung cancer cells.

Prostate Cancer

12. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine illustrates a decrease in prostatic cancer cells by acting through cannabinoid receptors.

13. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine outlined multiple studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis on prostate cancer.

14. Another study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that clinical testing of CBD against prostate carcinoma is a must. That cannabinoid receptor activation induces prostate carcinoma cell apoptosis. They determined that cannabidiol significantly inhibited cell viability. 

Blood Cancer

15. A study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology recently showed that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in matle cell lymphoma. The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Cancer Society, The Swedish Research Council and the Cancer Society in Stockholm.

16. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer also determined and illustrated that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in various types of cancer and in mantle cell lymphoma.

17. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine conducted by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology by Virginia Commonwealth University determined that cannabinoids induce apoptosis in leukemia cells.

Oral Cancer

18. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine results show cannabinoids are potent inhibitors of cellular respiration and are toxic to highly malignant oral Tumours.

Liver Cancer

19. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that that THC reduces the viability of human HCC cell lines (Human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line) and reduced the growth.

Pancreatic Cancer

20. A study published in The American Journal of Cancer determined that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumor cell lines and tumour biopsies at much higher levels than in normal pancreatic tissue. Results showed that cannabinoid administration induced apoptosis. They also reduced the growth of tumour cells, and inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumour cells.

 

– See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/23/20-medical-studies-that-prove-cannabis-can-cure-cancer/#sthash.CGhrObs8.9VYtW1gu.dpuf

South American Vine Treats Neurogenerative Disorders and Is More Powerful Than Antidepressants

Banisteriopsis caapi, also known as ayahuasca, caapi or yaje, is a South American jungle vine used to prepare a decoction with a long history of entheogenic uses as a medicine and “plant teacher” among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Rainforest. It has unique properties found to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurogenerative disorders.

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B.caapi contains harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, all of which are both beta-carboline harmala alkaloids and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The MAOIs in B. caapi allow the primary psychoactive compound, DMT (which is introduced from the other primary ingredient in ayahausca, the Psychotria viridis plant), to be orally active.

The name ayahuasca means “vine of the soul”and the shamans of the indigenous western Amazonian tribes use the plant in religious and healing ceremonies. In addition to its hallucinogenic properties, caapi is used for its healing properties as a purgative, effectively cleansing the body of parasites and helping the digestive tract.

Harmala alkaloids are short term yet powerful MAOIs which render tryptamines orally active by temporarily reducing levels of monoamine oxidase in the body which otherwise rapidly destroys them. Their effects are more powerful and less toxic than pharmaceutical SSRIs since they do not lead to suicidal tendencies and other side effects which detrimentally affect human behavior.

The principal ayahuasca compounds have a common indole structure which, through several mechanisms, influences certain functions of the central nervous system (CNS). The relevant factor is the biochemical similarity of these compounds to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT). The harmala alkaloids in ayahuasca, primarily harmine and tetrahydroharmine, reversibly inhibit the neuronal enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO).

This allows DMT to be active when ingested orally. It also facilitates accumulation of biogenic amines, such as 5-HT, which are normally metabolized by monoamine oxidase enzymes. DMT is a naturally-occurring biochemical substance secreted by the human body in the pineal gland. It occurs in hundreds of plant species worldwide. It can produce very powerful visionary effects when smoked in its pure form or taken orally in Ayahuasca.

The Ayahuasca Experience 

People who have consumed ayahuasca report having spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight into how to be the best person they possibly can. This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening and what is often described as a rebirth. In addition it is often reported that individuals can gain access to higher spiritual dimensions and make contact with various spiritual or extra dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers.

Wild cats including Jaguars looking for a high will seek out the roots of the caapi plant and gnaw on them until they start to hallucinate. In fact, some scientists believe that humans learned how to use the root by observing the jaguars hallucinate after consuming the plant.

It is incorrect, however, to characterize the Ayahuasca experience as merely an oral DMT experience activated by a beta carboline MAO inhibitor. The holistic processes at work are far more complex and it is unquestionably the ayahuasca vine which fuels the transformative power and profound teaching of the Ayahuasca experience.

It is nearly always said that people experience profound positive changes in their life subsequent to consuming ayahuasca and it is often viewed as one of the most effective tools of enlightenment. Vomiting can follow ayahuasca ingestion; this purging is considered by many shamans and experienced users of ayahuasca to be an essential part of the experience as it represents the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one’s life. There are many reports of miraculous physical as well as emotional and spiritual healing resulting from the use of ayahuasca.

A Natural Healer of The Mind and Spirit

A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found an additional basis to the existing claims of Banisteriopsis caapi stem extract for the treatment of Parkinsonism, including other neurodegenerative disorders.

At least 42 indigenous names for this preparation are known. It is remarkable and significant that at least 72 different indigenous tribes of Amazonia, however widely separated by distance, language, and cultural differences, all manifested a detailed common knowledge of ayahuasca and its use for medicinal and spiritual use.

Both the plant and the medicine prepared from it are called ‘ayahuasca’ in most of the Peruvian Amazon. However, many distinguish the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) from the medicinal brew (ayahuasca combined with a companion plant such as chacruna).

Accessiblity and Legality

Ayahuasca has also stirred debate regarding intellectual property protection of traditional knowledge. In 1986 the US Patent and Trademarks Office allowed the granting of a patent on the ayahuasca vine B. Caapi. It allowed this patent based on the assumption that ayahuasca’s properties had not been previously described in writing. Several public interest groups, including the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and the Coalition for Amazonian Peoples and Their Environment (Amazon Coalition) objected. In 1999 they brought a legal challenge to this patent which had granted a private US citizen “ownership” of the knowledge of a plant that is well-known and sacred to many indigenous peoples of the Amazon, and used by them in religious and healing ceremonies.

In the United States, caapi is not specifically regulated. In Australia, the harmala alkaloids are scheduled substances, including Harmine and harmaline, but the living vine, or other source plants are not in most states. On the State of Queensland as of March 2008 this distinction is now uncertain. In all states the dried herb may or may not be considered a scheduled substance, dependent on court rulings. In Canada, harmala is listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as a schedule III substance. The vine is also considered a controlled substance as it contains harmaline which the law states anything containing a controlled substance will be treated the same.

Sources:
biopark.org
nlm.nih.gov

John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.

Molecular Biologist Explains How THC Completely Kills Cancer Cells

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Below is a video of Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, clearly explaining how THC (the main psychoactive constitute of the cannabis plant) completely kills cancer cells.

Not long ago, we published an article examining a case study recently published where doctors used cannabis to treat Leukemia, you can read more about that here. To read more articles and view studies about how cannabis is an effective treatment and cure for cancer, click here.

Cannabinoids refer to any of group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces  compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. I think it’s also important to note that cannabis has been shown to treat cancer without any psychoactive effects.

Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells as they have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. Although not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis. Contrary to popular  belief, smoking cannabis does not assist a great deal in treating disease within the body as therapeutic levels cannot be reached through smoking. Creating oil from the plant or eating the plant is the best way to go about getting the necessary ingredients, the cannabinoids.

The world has come a long way with with regards to accepting this plant as a medicine rather than a harmful substance. It’s a plant that could benefit the planet in more ways than one. Cannabis is not something offered in the same regard as chemotherapy, but more people are becoming aware if it, which is why it’s so important to continue to spread information like this. Nobody can really deny the tremendous healing power of this plant.

 

Recipe to make Cannabis Oil for Chemo Alternative.

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“Once the public becomes aware of the fact that properly made hemp medicine can cure or control practically any medical condition, who is going to stand up against the use of hemp?”

Rick Simpson has dedicated his life to helping suffering patients (with all types of diseases and disabilities) with the use of natural hemp oil.

Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil Proves Effective In Curing Cancer

Rick Simpson is a medical marijuana activist who has been providing people with information about the healing powers of Hemp Oil medications for nearly a decade now. Rick cured himself of a metastatic skin cancer back in 2003, and has since then devoted his life to spreading the truth of hemp oil. He has met an absurd amount of opposition and lack of support from Canadian authorities, as well as pharmaceutical companies, government agencies for health, and UN offices. Despite that fact, Rick Simpson has successfully treated over 5,000 patients (free of charge), and believes that all forms of disease and conditions are treatable. He states that it is common to have all types of cancer and diseases cured with the use of high quality hemp oil as a treatment.

Rick has treated patients will all types of conditions including, but not limited to, cancer, AIDS, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, leukemia, Crohn’s disease, depression, osteoporosis, psoriasis, insomnia, glaucoma, asthma, burns, migraines, regulation of body weight, chronic pain, and mutated cells (polyps, warts, tumors).

“Run From The Cure” Official Video Documentary

This documentary “Run From The Cure” was made by Christian Laurette in 2008 and shares Rick Simpson’s story. The movie features interviews with people who were cured by Rick’s oil, but were refused from testifying on Rick’s behalf in the Supreme Court of Canada in his 2007 trial. This video documentary does a great job explaining the medicinal benefits of hash oil.

“I want people to know how to heal themselves.”

Rick Simpson believes that the oral ingestion of hemp oil seeks out, and destroys cancer cells in the body. When used as a topical, hemp oil can control or even cure various skin conditions such as melanomas.

However, as with any ‘drug’, too much hemp oil may cause some side effects; the most notable three are hungry, happy, and sleepy. This is an extremely safe medication compared to the hundreds of drugs that are approved with little to no study, and provided to patients that experience horrible side effects including death. Nobody has ever died from cannabis in any form.

Rick Simpson’s Hash Oil Recipe

To make the Rick Simpson’s hash oil, start with one ounce of dried herb. One ounce will typically produce 3-4 grams of oil, although the amount of oil produced per ounce will vary strain to strain. A pound of dried material will yield about two ounces of high quality oil.

IMPORTANT: These instructions are directly summarized from Rick Simpson’s website. Be VERY careful when boiling solvent off [solvent-free option], the flames are extremely flammable.

AVOID smoking, sparks, stove-tops, and red hot heating elements. Set up a fan to blow fumes away from the pot, and set up in a well-ventilated area for whole process.

1. Place the completely dry material in a plastic bucket.

2. Dampen the material with the solvent you are using. Many solvents can be used [solvent-free option]. You can use pure naphtha, ether, butane, 99% isopropyl alcohol, or even water. Two gallons of solvent is required to extract the THC from one pound, and 500 ml is enough for an ounce.

3. Crush the plant material using a stick of clean, untreated wood or any other similar device. Although the material will be damp, it will still be relatively easy to crush up because it is so dry.

4. Continue to crush the material with the stick, while adding solvent until the plant material is completely covered and soaked. Remain stirring the mixture for about three minutes. As you do this, the THC is dissolved off the material into the solvent.

5. Pour the solvent oil mixture off the plant material into another bucket. At this point you have stripped the material of about 80% of its THC.

6. Second wash: again add solvent to the mixture and work for another three minutes to extract the remaining THC.

7. Pour this solvent oil mix into the bucket containing the first mix that was previously poured out.

8. Discard the twice washed plant material.

9. Pour the solvent oil mixture through a coffee filter into a clean container.

10. Boil the solvent off: a rice cooker will boil the solvent off nicely, and will hold over a half gallon of solvent mixture. CAUTION: avoid stove-tops, red hot elements, sparks, cigarettes, and open flames as the fumes are extremely flammable.

11. Add solvent to rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on HIGH heat. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and set up a fan to carry the solvent fumes away. Continue to add mixture to cooker as solvent evaporates until you have added it all to the cooker.

12. As the level in the rice cooker decreases for the last time, add a few drops of water (about 10 drops of water for a pound of dry material). This will help to release the solvent residue, and protect the oil from too much heat.

13. When there is about one inch of solvent-water mixture in the rice cooker, put on your oven mitts and pick the unit up and swirl the contents until the solvent has finished boiling off.

14. When the solvent has been boiled off, turn the cooker to LOW heat. At no point should the oil ever reach over 290˚ F or 140˚ C.

15. Keep your oven mitts on and remove the pot containing the oil from the rice cooker. Gently pour the oil into a stainless steel container

16. Place the stainless steel container in a dehydrator, or put it on a gentle heating device such as a coffee warmer. It may take a few hours but the water and volatile terpenes will be evaporated from the oil. When there is no longer any surface activity on the oil, it is ready for use.

17. Suck the oil up in a plastic syringe, or in any other container you see fit. A syringe will make the oil easy to dispense. When the oil cools completely it will have the consistency of thick grease.

At The Dawn Of A New Age In Medicine

Rick Simpson states that hemp oil rejuvenates vital organs, and that it is not uncommon for people to report the oil making them feel 20 to 30 years younger a short while after beginning treatment. In a message from Rick on his website, he proclaims, “Once the public becomes aware of the fact that properly made hemp medicine can cure or control practically any medical condition, who is going to stand up against the use of hemp?”

“We are at the dawn of a new age in medicine and a new day for mankind. Not only can hemp save the world, it can eliminate a great deal of human suffering and can even put an end to starvation. What are we waiting for?” – Rick Simpson

Source: NaturalHealthWarriors

End of Prohibition Coming for Marijuana

It’s legal to light up in Colorado and Washington, and soon smoking pot could be legalized across the country following a decision Thursday by the federal government.

Brennan Linsley/AP Photo

After Washington state and Colorado passed laws in November 2012 legalizing the consumption and sale of marijuana for adults over 18, lawmakers in both states waited to see whether the federal government would continue to prosecute pot crimes under federal statutes in their states.

Both Colorado and Washington have been working to set up regulatory systems in order to license and tax marijuana growers and retail sellers, but have been wary of whether federal prosecutors would come after them for doing so. They are the first states to legalize pot, and therefore to go through the process of trying to set up a regulatory system.

Consumption and sale of marijuana is still illegal in all other states, though some cities and towns have passed local laws decriminalizing it or making it a low priority for law enforcement officers. There are also movements in many states to legalize pot, including legalization bills introduced in Maine and Rhode Island, discussion of possible bills in states including Massachusetts and Vermont, and talk of ballot initiatives in California and Oregon.

But on Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute marijuana crimes that were legal under state law, a move that could signal the end of the country’s longtime prohibition on pot is nearing. “It certainly appears to be potentially the beginning of the end,” said Paul Armantano, deputy director of the pot lobby group NORML.The memo sent to states Thursday by the DOJ said that as long as states set up comprehensive regulations governing marijuana, there would be no need for the federal government to step in, a decision that will save the Justice Department from having to use its limited resources on prosecuting individuals for growing or smoking marijuana.

“This memo appears to be sending the message to states regarding marijuana prohibition that is a recognition that a majority of the public and in some states majority of lawmakers no longer want to continue down the road of illegal cannabis, and would rather experiment with different regulatory schemes of license and retail sale of cannabis,” Armantano said.

 

“It certainly appears to be potentially the beginning of the end.” 

Richard Collins, a law professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, said that the memo from the DOJ points out specifically that the federal government will only walk away from marijuana crimes in states where there is a solid regulatory system for the drug’s growth and disemenation.

For other states to mimic the systems in Colorado and Washington, they will first have to get legalization laws on their ballots or in their state houses, which could post a challenge, he said.

While Colorado and Washington have not yet set up their regulatory systems, both states will likely sell licenses to farmers who want to grow marijuana as well as to manufacturing plants and retail sellers. The marijuana will also likely be taxed at each stage of its growth, processing, and sale.

“In both Colorado and Washington, legalization was done by citizens with no participation by elected representatives until they had to pass laws to comply with the initiative. In other initiative states I would expect such measures – I would expect a new one in California, for instance – and roughly half the states permit this and the rest don’t.

“In the states that do have initiatives I expect efforts to get it on the ballot. The other half it will be much tougher. It’s hard to get elected representatives to do this,” Collins said.

Armantano is more optimistic about the spread of legalized pot. He compared the DOJ’s announcement to the federal government’s actions toward the end of alcohol prohibition in America a century ago, when states decided to stop following the federal ban on alcohol sales and the federal government said it would not step in and prosecute crimes.

“For first time we now have clear message from fed government saying they will not stand in way of states that wish to implement alternative regulatory schemes in lieu of federal prohibition,” Armantano said.

He predicted that within the next one to three years, five or six other states may join Colorado and Washington in legalizing the drug, setting the stage for the rest of the country to follow.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, was disappointed with the Justice Department’s decision, but said that he had already reached out to set up meetings to talk with leadership in the department and he was “open to discussion” about the benefits.

“I would tell you that certainly the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers oppose legalization,” he said, “but that is not to say that we’re not willing to have a conversation about it. It is, from our perspective, a gateway drug and opinions to the contrary don’t have the weight of fact behind them.”

“We want to talk to (the DOJ) about their thought process and ours and where the disconnect is,” he said. “From our perspective the only fault with the status quo is that we aren’t making a bigger dent and we’d like to make a bigger one.”