Pure, Natural Coca Leaf – A Healing Gift Of The Divine Plant

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Nobody Cares – The G7 Death Machine

In 1998 RJ Reynolds filed an appeal against a ruling by the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources that the Department, after years of doing so, would no longer classify the waste tobacco RJR uses to manufacture its cigarette products as ‘solid waste’ in order to take advantage of tax breaks for ‘disposing of solid waste in environmentally sound fashion”.

RJ Reynolds argument was that since it was taking this waste and manufacturing it into cigarettes it was disposing of it in a way that qualified it for tax breaks

The case number is no. COA01-74 in the North Carolina Court of Appeals filed: 19 February 2002. For the full text of COA01-74

Aside from the preposterous idea that RJ Reynolds was disposing of millions of pounds of waste by making it into cigarettes and selling it to smokers and therefore deserved a tax break for being good environmental stewards, the summary of this lawsuit reveals information about how RJ Reynolds manufactures its cigarette products that ought to give any cigarette smoker pause to realize what suckers they are being made into by this literally insane corporate giant.

Here are a few excerpts from the proceedings. Anyone suspecting that these examples have been “cherry picked” is welcome to review the entire document and judge for themselves.

Does This Look Like Tobacco Leaf To You?

Does This Look Like Tobacco Leaf To You?

“In manufacturing tobacco products, Reynolds buys tobacco leaves at auction. The tobacco is sent to a stemmery, where the stems (hard, woody part of the leaf) are separated from the lamina portion of the leaf (material in between the stems). The separation process also generates small scraps of tobacco (scraps) and very fine scraps of tobacco (dust). The usable tobacco lamina material is sent to the manufacturing operation where it is blended and processed into cigarettes.”

“The stems, scraps and dust are packed into containers and sent to a storage facility until they are either processed into reconstituted sheet tobacco, through a process known as the G-7 process, or are discarded. The reconstituted sheet tobacco is shredded and blended with the processed lamina strips and made into filler for cigarettes. The reconstituted tobacco filler is part of most brands of cigarettes made by Reynolds, and enables cigarettes to be made with lower tar and nicotine content which has been demanded by smoking consumers.”

“Reynolds uses approximately seventy million pounds of tobacco stems, scrap and dust each year in making reconstituted sheet tobacco. Reynolds also disposes of between five and seven million pounds of tobacco waste materials in landfills each year. This material is of a lower quality than the stems, scrap and dust used in the G-7 process; much of it is generated by the manufacturing process, rather than the stemmery, though some tobacco waste generated by the stemmery is also disposed of.”

“In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas. Reynolds sells reconstituted tobacco to other manufacturers of tobacco products, and manufactures reconstituted sheet tobacco for other tobacco manufacturers, using stems, scraps and dust supplied by them. One of Reynolds’ witnesses testified that even if there were no tax incentives for recycling and resource recovery of or from solid waste, Reynolds would still operate the G-7 process because of its cost-effectiveness.”

 While its bad enough that this cynical giant corporation wants tax breaks for selling waste to its customers, what isn’t revealed here is that the waste is toxic. That single sentence “In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas” holds the clue.

 When you look at where RJ Reynolds buys its tons of waste overseas you find that it is coming from countries that have absolutely no regulations on pesticide and other toxic chemicals used routinely on tobacco crops. This means that the waste that RJ Reynolds is putting in “most brands of cigarettes” contains residue of agricultural chemicals so dangerous to human health that are totally banned for use on any crop in the US. These chemicals, and not authentic tobacco, are what is killing smokers worldwide.

These chemicals are known carcinogens, they are known to destroy nervous systems, and they are known to produce deformed babies, among their other irrefutable effects on people.

Furthermore, carefully-done research studies show that many of these pesticides are far more dangerous to children, young women, Hispanics and African-Americans that they are to white males.

RJ Reynolds and other similarly ethically-challenged manufacturers could choose to make their cigarettes from pure tobacco leaf grown in the US if they chose to do so.

The reason the industry chooses to make its products with toxic waste instead of leaf Tobacco is because it is so damned profitable to do so, and because nobody cares.

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You Don’t Even Get Your 2 Cents Worth

Picture 061Not if you or someone you care about is a cigarette smoker. A little math will make that point very clear.

Let’s say that a certain Tobacco company named Good Ole Baccy pays growers $4/Pound for absolute top grade leaf tobacco. Actually the Industry has paid growers less than $2/lb. for their best tobacco for many years, but we’ll be more generous with growers than they are and call it $4.00/lb.

There are 448 grams in One Pound, and an average cigarette weighs about one gram, so lets say the Good Ole Baccy company gets 448 cigarettes out of each pound of the leaf they buy. That means that the 100% natural tobacco leaf in each of GOB’s cigarettes is costing them less than one cent – $4.00 a pound divided by 448 cigarettes a pound = $0.00892857 per cigarette.

And that’s if they are paying the farmers $4.00 a pound. Since they are probably like every other “Tobacco” company who, if they do buy a little leaf, pay no more than $2.00, the real COG for GOB’s 100% tobacco leaf would be $0.004464, or less than 1/2 penny per cigarette.

But lets say GOB is a generous company and pays $4 a pound. That means that $0.01 is GOB’s “Cost of Goods” for each 100% Tobacco leaf cigarette, allowing for costs like the cigarette tube and shrinkage, and a pro-rated part of the packaging costs.

OK – we all know what a pack of premium cigarettes sells for, especially what it would be if the manufacturer were claiming that their product is actual leaf tobacco, which by the way none of them do. A few claim “natural” tobacco, but as I pointed out elsewhere, that can be any part of the plant, including the waste, scrap, roots etc. And as long as the cigarette is 100% reprocessed tobacco waste it can be called 100% Tobacco, can’t it? And if its Tobacco waste well, isn’t that perfectly natural too?

But Good Ole Baccy is run by good old folks, and they use strictly Tobacco leaf in their cigarettes. We can be sure that doesn’t really cause them a lot of financial pain, because with a pack of cigarettes retailing for $7-$10 and more, even after accounting for all the taxes that every level of government attaches to that pack of cigarettes, and even after backing off all other “costs” like advertising and R&D, and with a Tobacco cost of @$0.01 per cigarette for 100% real tobacco leaf, the Good Ole Baccy company is making out pretty good for Good Ole Boys owners at a probable NET profit of at least $0.10 – $0.15 per cigarette.

You would think that the Good Ole Boys all over the “Tobacco” industry would be happy with the profits from selling billions of cigarettes where the tobacco costs them even a whole penny or so and gives them a net profit, using the best possible tobacco leaf, well above $0.10 – $0.15 or more per cigarette.

But no. The Good Ole Boys running the “Tobacco” industry aren’t like that. The massive amounts of easy money this industry has pumped out for decades has generated its own self-sustaining cloud of insanity, and the entire industry is afflicted. As with many forms of insanity, few of those who control this industry realize their insanity, and all those around them are themselves delusional or insane so in combination with the wealth and power they control they meet virtually no resistance to their activities.

And believe me, nobody in the industry is satisfied with a COG of $0.01 per cigarette when you can get those costs way down below that, which is one of the reasons why there is no “Good Ole ‘Baccy” company and you will not see anyone in the industry claiming they are making and selling any cigarettes made from real tobacco leaf anytime soon. I wonder how big a bonus would be paid to any industry chemist who figured out how to shave 1/100 of a penny per cigarette off the COG of a brand. The math is breathtaking.

The industry wants that COG-per-cigarette to be well under $0.005 per cigarette, and for most manufacturers of most brands that is easily achievable, because most cigarettes are made from are the absolute cheapest cellulosic waste substances that can be obtained, processed using secret chemical recipes into something resembling Tobacco when smoked – as long as you don’t know what real tobacco tastes, smalls and smokes like.

Think about the kind of people who operate behind the shadows in an industry that could choose to make real 100% premium Tobacco leaf cigarettes for a penny or two, and sell billions of them for net profits ten or twenty times that, but who are simply too greedy to do so.

They are so far gone in their corporate insanity that they are driven to extract every last extra 1/100 of a penny from every smoker in the world by creating products that pump their own manufacturing waste into the lungs of their customers so that they can claim environmental tax credits for not taking that waste to the dump.

If that isn’t insanity, what is? Yet that’s exactly what one of the “goodest” of the Good Ole Boys tried to do until a judge stopped them. See my upcoming blog post – “RJR and the G7 Process” with links to the full court case and testimony.

So that’s my 2 Cents worth about the “Tobacco” industry for today.



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“Anti-Tobacco” Movements Are Big Tobacco’s Useful Idiots

Here is a story is about an Australian oncologist who, dismayed at the damage that she saw “Tobacco” doing to her patients, was horrified to find out that her medical institution held “Tobacco” company stock as part of its investment portfolio.

Well, she set to work, she did, and although the gruff, cynical world of big money managers was skeptical at first, this plucky, photogenic Australian Oncologist has managed to create a very successful “Tobacco-free Portfolio” movement worldwide.

The article is chock full of feel-good quotes from financial wizards who were absolutely bowled over by the moral and ethical intensity of the Aussie doc’s arguments, and her ghastly photos of diseased lungs, and now they are 100% on board with her in shunning the “Tobacco” industry’s stocks in their portfolios.

The problem here is emblematic of the failure of anti-“tobacco” movements to even begin to identify who and what they need to be attacking. The core of the problem is that the industry has so completely propagandized people and institutions at all levels that most people actually believe that it is Tobacco killing all those people who die from smoking cigarettes.

While these movements and lawsuits and non-profit (sic) campaigns are all aimed at “Tobacco”, that plague-like carrier of the dreaded addictive nicotine toxin that destroys lives and stalks children, the industry slides right by because its products have almost nothing at all to do with Tobacco anymore. 100% of the attacks against the industry based on the assumption that its products are “Tobacco” are virtually meaningless and a complete waste of hope, energy, and money.

Almost all US cigarette brands are up to 100% recycled waste with nicotine added in precise dosages. Does anyone who reflects for even a few seconds believe that it would be possible to manufacture billions of cigarettes from natural plant material and be able to print the precise amount of tar and nicotine on every pack? The amount of nicotine varies so much from field to field, from plant to plant, and from leaf to leaf that even if they were using actual Tobacco leaf they couldn’t control the amount of “Nicotine & Tar” without doing some major processing.

The only way the industry can achieve uniformity is to produce a synthetic product, and in fact the industry does just that, by the millions of tons each year. The industry calls it “synthetic smoking materials” or, in a more colorful (and unconsciously accurate) industry term, “sheet tobacco”. That’s what it is – recycled waste processed into sheet of material that are then shaved, infused with precise amounts of hundreds of chemicals including nicotine, and then shaved into little curls and made into cigarettes. Anyone who knows the industry is laughing at the “Ammonia” lawsuit. Sure Ammonia is used in manufacturing “tobacco sheet” – huge amounts of it. But it isn’t “added” to the material, it’s used in a super-cooled process to puff it up after its been shaved into little curls so that it will look and smoke more like real leaf. The Ammonia is long-gone by the time those little ciggys are all packaged up and ready to be inhaled by some poor idiot who really is being deceived, manipulated, injured and murdered as a result of deliberate, profit-driven decisions of this industry.

If the 2016 US “Tobacco” industry were to be a startup industry with no history, and it came to even the highly-manipulated US regulators with the products it currently makes and proposed to make those products, they would not only be denied they would probably be arrested as terrorists.

But after many decades of very expensive and well-crafted propaganda, this industry now has even those who see it clearly as committing crimes against humanity led unknowingly to be aggrieved at “Tobacco” and to spend all their energy and resources attacking the “Tobacco industry”.

I’m afraid that for the most part anti-“Tobacco” people are useful idiots. They aren’t stupid, or foolish, or wrong in what they are trying to do. Bless them. However, they are being so effectively manipulated that they are the “Tobacco” industry’s most ardent defenders when it comes to anyone trying to point out the error of their “anti-Tobacco” ways.

In the 1980s I had written a four-part expose of the “Tobacco industry” at the request of a senior editor with the Nader organization, and just before that series was to begin publication, a senior member of Nader’s Board, a well-known “anti-Tobacco” physician, said (as my editor told me) that they had spent so many years convincing people that Tobacco was the worst possible thing for their health that they weren’t going to publish anything that might suggest that it might not be the Tobacco that’s the problem at all.

This industry is completely protected at the institutional/governmental level, and it seems that all of the “anti-Tobacco” movements in the world have also been effectively co-opted.

This industry has been earning more real wealth than any other tightly-held industry in the world for generations and that wealth has gone into ownership of hundreds of companies in every industry and every financial sector in the world. So as sincere and well-motivated as our Australian Oncologist is, I’m afraid that the hideous damage she sees in her “Tobacco” smoking patients has little or nothing to do with Tobacco, and the so-called “Tobacco” companies are fully divested out of range of any possible legal or regulatory action.

Many of those hundreds of companies owned by “Tobacco” money are consumer products, food, transportation, retail and leisure companies that advertise heavily in every medium. So any story about any strategy that had even a remote chance of actually harming the interests that profit directly or indirectly from the slaughter would not make it into any medium that relies on advertising. Stories that are really dangerous to the “tobacco” industry somehow don’t make it through the media screening process. And there’s not a whiff of “tobacco” anywhere in the room where the decision is made to kill the story at the editorial level – they’ve simply heard from a few of their best retailer and consumer products advertisers. I have personally seen this happen.

So you can be that the “Tobacco industry” isn’t worried about the “Tobacco-free Portfolio” movement one bit.

Divesting “Tobacco” company stock as a means to rein in their murderous behavior is worse than ineffective – it makes people feel that they are actually accomplishing something. No portfolio manager could divest of every stock and bond connected to every company owned by “Tobacco” money – there wouldn’t be many stocks or bonds left to own.

But you can’t even scratch the “Tobacco” industry by selling off its stocks. However, the industry still puts on a good show for the quixotic victors whenever someone like our plucky Aussie Oncologist does appear.

It fights and fights and then gives up and wails and gnashes its teeth – just like it did with the “big” Tobacco Liability settlements a few years ago. “Oh stop, stop. Here, take a few billion dollars. You’ve got us. We give up. We’ll do better from now on.”

We’ve all heard it and seen it and while a lot of us know it’s just an act very few of us can see what a truly well-crafted act it is. This act cost hundreds of millions, probably billions of dollars and decades to craft to perfection. The industry has been hiring the best behavior modification scientists in the world for decades, along with thousands of other scientists in many other disciplines, either directly or through hidden sponsorship with “research grants”. The industry almost has a 100% effective mindset in place at all levels of society, and keeping people fixated on “Tobacco” and “Nicotine” is at the core of the strategy.

However, if you have read this far you are one of the people that the “Tobacco” industry really, really hopes will just shrug your shoulders and walk away. Oh well, it’s all true but what can be done about it?

I do have a small suggestion. A class action lawsuit that actually identifies a class of cigarette smokers that consists of people who have been damaged by this industry in specific ways by cigarette products based on a specific, broad and deep knowledge ON THE PART OF THE ATTORNEYS of how the industry operates, would succeed quite nicely and not just in a monetary awards for the plaintiffs. Such a lawsuit could actually lead to meaningful change, if not from the existing “Tobacco” industry then from an alternative heirloom, truly natural Tobacco movement on the local level, perhaps right alongside legalized Cannabis. I don’t believe this kind of legal action has ever been tried, but would love to hear from anyone who knows of such a case.

This industry’s vulnerability is that it is so wealthy, powerful, diversified and protected that it has come to rely completely on its ability to keep on fooling all the people all the time. This industry believes that it controls all of the rules of the game that it has us all playing. And Rule #1 is that we all agree that Tobacco and Nicotine are the problems. So, all together now …..

This industry is pure psychosis in institutional form.

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Is The Spirit Gone Or Just Waiting?


I’ve been interviewed recently by both a journalist and two historians who were all working separately on the origins of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. It was very interesting for me to try to recall events of those days as my memories were probed by these professionals, because I haven’t thought about any of those experiences for a long time. Thank you Paul, Iain & Ines.

In the process of recalling events and friends, many now sadly gone, I began thinking about what SFNT started out to be, and what it became.

If Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company had become what Robert Marion and I intended it to be, it would have become a network of Native American growers of organic traditional tobaccos on Native American sovereign lands, as well as special-purpose agricultural cooperatives of Native American growers and other growers of any ethnicity, growing organic heirloom strains of tobacco from around the world. By now of course that vision would include organic Landrace Cannabis strains and organic Coca Leaf.

And the products that this company could have created would have been true to the Spirit, which I have to assume they are probably not, under non-transparent corporate management. It wouldn’t take much to test for authenticity if you know what it’s really important to look for. This recent “Ammonia” lawsuit is a good example of people not really knowing anything about the industry and the processes it uses. From the industry’s perspective they are useful idiots.

In the original vision, given to us by the Tobacco Spirit, people buying the products would know where the tobacco in their cigarette was grown and harvested just as surely as someone who buys a bottle of Napa or Bordeaux estate wine knows exactly where it came from and who grew it.

Finally, the economic benefits would have flowed to the growers not just in the form of premium prices but in ownership and participation in profits. As is shown by the recent Japan Tobacco Company purchase of worldwide marketing rights to “American Spirit” for $5 Billion, there was plenty of money to be shared among many, many people. But that isn’t the American corporate model.

You can understand the chasm between the original Spirit and Corporate clone extraordinarily clearly than when you look at these two images. On the left is the original image that Robert and I used (under license from the NYC Public Library) on our first packages of “American Spirit”. On the right is the Corporate version, no doubt the result of millions of dollars and endless meetings. But in the end, the differences in the vision behind the two images are striking, aren’t they?

The left-hand image is the essence of what “American Spirit” was intended to be, and might have been, and the right-hand image is the essence of what it has become.

As I look at the corporate image for the first time in years, because I don’t keep up with the company or its products, I find myself asking if “100% Natural Tobacco” is intended these days to mean the same thing as “100% Natural Tobacco Leaf”? Because they don’t have to mean the same thing, at all. The US imports hundreds of thousands of tons of tobacco waste, not Leaf but stems and stalks and assorted garbage from the Third World Tobacco processors that could, if you wanted to do such a thing, be ground up, processed into smoking materials and called “100% Natural Tobacco”.

When Robert Marion and I started producing “American Spirit” as a rolling tobacco we used only leaf tobacco – mostly “hands” of traditionally cured whole leaf tobacco from responsible growers we found in North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky, along with as much New Mexico Rustica as I could raise in my half-acre garden. We used as much as our friends on San Juan Pueblo could grow, and we also bought quite a bit of Rustica from people who gathered it in the wild in Northern New Mexico, where it is called “Punche”. I remember taking the Tobacco “Hands” and using a paper cutter to make just-right little tobacco curls, and using my wife’s Cuisinart (I had to buy her another one) to make snuff. In the beginning that snuff was pure Rustica and it was powerful. And quite popular too. People called it “Legal Coke”.

However, what concerns me is that the “grind up the Zimbabwe Tobacco factory floor sweepings along with those African Tobacco roots, stalks and rat turds” approach is already being used by “Tobacco” manufacturers including the corporate owner of American Spirit. After all, nobody thinks that all those “Tobacco Stems, Roots, Stalks & Waste” are being imported to make just to make rat poison – we know that this garbage is being used to make billions of cigarettes. Hell, you can even find the companies bragging about it in their internal literature.

The “Tobacco” industry is a master at using words and phrases that seem to mean one thing, and that carry all the positive connotations that word or phrase would carry if it actually meant what it appears to mean, but that same word or phrase can actually mean something altogether different. The real trick here is that if they are ever caught out they can put on their innocent face and say … “but, but, that WAS real tobacco taste we were using. We extracted it from real Tobacco….. Well, yeah, it was from real tobacco waste from Zimbabwe factory floors, but it was REAL!!!! We never said that the cigarette was real tobacco, just the taste.”

This just one example of what any company in the entire “Tobacco” industry could be doing, if they were evil enough. To go a little further …

Just as the phrase “true tobacco taste” doesn’t mean that there is any actual tobacco in what you’re smoking, the phrase “100% Natural Tobacco” doesn’t mean anything more than the product contains some part of the tobacco plant, not necessarily leaf.  Technically and legally a manufacturer could use 100% tobacco stems, stalks and roots, grind them up and make cigarettes out of them and call their product “100% Natural Tobacco”.

We already know through extensive documentation from impeccable sources that companies like RJR import Tobacco waste and blend it with domestic cellulosic waste (think about that for a minute) and make many different brands of cigarettes.

The only question in my mind is whether “American Spirit” has been contaminated by its corporate masters or not, because in the end the claim “100% Natural Tobacco” means nothing without complete transparency for the reasons just outlined.

I also find myself asking if “additive-free” means that nobody in the growing/processing chain “added” anything to the “100% Natural Tobacco” ever, or if those words actually mean something else. Perhaps there is a regulatory class somewhere called “tobacco additives” and “additive-free” is supposed to mean, perfectly legitimately, that none of these particular flavor and aroma chemicals are being used. Or, if there is a class of chemicals and substances that are technically known as “Tobacco Additives”, then anything not on that list is technically not a recognized “Tobacco Additive”. It’s hard to know what “additive free” means in any given instance of its use as a commercial claim because the phrase “additive-free” can actually mean a lot of different things.

The original vision was to use only pure, leaf tobacco and only natural, traditional tobacco flavorings like honey, molasses, rum and mint. Our early customers knew what they were smoking and could depend on it.

Today of course the Vision would have to include Cannabis-infused whole leaf organic heirloom smoking tobaccos. Ah well – so much for Vision.

We know that the image has changed, along with the Spirit. But here is the real question – is the true Spirit of Tobacco gone, or is the Spirit of Tobacco merely waiting for others who have the Vision?

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Shit Happened While I Was Sleeping

Launch of Atlas V Juno from Cape Canaveral AFS

Launch of Atlas V Juno from Cape Canaveral AFS

Today I read a story about a three-stage rocket that has just put a spy satellite into orbit.

“… a respected independent satellite analyst said before launch that he believed the payload likely is the first in a new series of communications stations designed to relay imagery from current and future high-resolution optical spy satellites.

The conclusion was based on the rocket’s trajectory …. indicated the satellite was bound for an orbit 22,300 miles above the equator where communications relay stations are positioned.

This was the 64th successful launch in a row of an Atlas 5 since the rocket’s maiden flight in 2002 and the fourth of 10 flights planned this year. It was the 70th flight of an RD-180 first-stage engine and the 13th for the Centaur stage’s RL10C-1 engine.”

I’m thinking – wow, that’s a whole lot of satellites just for one rocket model. And I’m thinking, shaking my head, that when you take every launch in the past ten years you have 500+ satellites our peaceful democratic state has in orbit.

Hey, I start thinking, it must be all those satellites that let young dudes sitting front of TVs in Nevada kill everyone in a house in Pakistan in real time.

Then I started thinking, holy shit, it won’t be long before they can see through walls from space, and listen to people’s voices and match voiceprints, or spot a particular person walking down the street in Kabul or Kansas City, and pinpoint the exact location of any person they want. (Already can.)

The weapons are still a little messy – blowing up innocent people by accident and all. But it won’t be long before we’ll simply be able to zap someone with a beam from space. (Already can.)

Er- correction. They will be able to zap anyone from space. Right through the top of their goddamn terrorist head. Poof. Anyone. Anywhere. Any terrorist. Walking down the street. Sleeping. Taking a shit in an outhouse (nobody can say those guys in Nevada don’t have a sense of humor).

And They are not Us because you can bet that any of Us who get out of hand starting sometime in the near future will get the old terrorist treatment from space pretty damned quick.

See – They have these secret courts that They can go to and get permission to kill anyone, anywhere, including now any of Us because its legal for the US government to hunt and kill Americans as long as the secret courts agree, and the courts always agree.

So They are all fucking set, aren’t They? Because that shitload of satellites up there in space isn’t about making our smartphone reception better.

And I totally missed all this the past few years except to notice the pretty pictures of “another successful rocket launch with a communications satellite” once in a while.

Silly me.

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Prostate Cancer “Speeding Up”? WTF? Pass the CBD!

APCI’m reading an alarming article on the rapidly rising rate of metastatic prostate cancer in US men 55-69, and there is much discussion of things like the role of reduced screening in the explosion of this out-of-control disease.

But what really caught my eye were comments by the doctors conducting the research like:

“The fact that men in 2013 who presented with metastatic disease had much higher PSAs than similar men in 2004 hints that more aggressive disease is on the rise,”

“One hypothesis is the disease has become more aggressive, regardless of the change in screening.”

My reaction here is probably the same as yours – these guys are saying that less aggressive types of cancer can become more aggressive.

Not just in one person, but as a type of disease.

They seem to be saying that types of Cancers evolve, similar to disease-causing bacteria that gradually become resistant to antibiotics. So a type of cancer – in this case Prostate Cancer – that historically has been pretty slow-moving can all of a sudden, nationwide, for no apparent reason, speed up?

Maybe this is old news and I haven’t been listening, but it seems pretty important in the context of the urgency of gaining widespread credibility & acceptance for natural medicines like Cannabis, Coca and Opium, especially since after over 50 years of the miracle cancer medicines created by Pig Pharma we now have the goddamned things speeding up!

Meanwhile people worldwide are telling the internet that they or somebody they love has been cured of Cancer by one Cannabis-based treatment or another – there are very fluid limits to Cannabis as a medicine and I suspect that we’re nowhere near them yet. And we’re not focusing at all in the US on the healing properties of pure Coca Leaf.

There is work to be done, and at least there are a lot of talented people doing it.

Anyone can find out the latest 2016 clinical and streetwise information with some quick searches, and NIH’s “PubMed” website is a great place to look for the clinical side of Cannabis health research.

To get you started here is a good summary of Cannabis Prostate research as of 2012 by the National Institutes of Health “PubMed” (there are later findings, but this is a good place to start if you haven’t been on PubMed yet):

“The Role Of Cannabinoids In Prostate Cancer: Basic Science Perspective And Potential Clinical Applications”

“Prostate cancer is a global public health problem, and it is the most common cancer in American men and the second cause for cancer-related death. Experimental evidence shows that prostate tissue possesses cannabinoid receptors and their stimulation results in anti-androgenic effects. To review currently relevant findings related to effects of cannabinoid receptors in prostate cancer. PubMed search utilizing the terms “cannabis,” “cannabinoids,” “prostate cancer,” and “cancer pain management,” giving preference to most recent publications was done.”

“Articles identified were screened for their relevance to the field of prostate cancer and interest to both urologist and pain specialists.”

“Prostate cancer cells possess increased expression of both cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors, and stimulation of these results in decrease in cell viability, increased apoptosis, and decreased androgen receptor expression and prostate-specific antigen excretion. It would be of interest to conduct clinical studies utilizing cannabinoids for patients with metastatic prostate cancer, taking advantage not only of its beneficial effects on prostate cancer but also of their analgesic properties for bone metastatic cancer pain.”

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Medical Cannabis & Hashish In Old Europe

The consciousness that Cannabis is a powerful natural medicine was well-developed in Europe of the 1800s. Knowledge of the medical uses of Cannabis, Coca Leaf and Opium came to Europe from the Andes and Asia first through explorers and traders of the 1600s and 1700s, then increasingly through travelers, writers, adventurers, scholars and missionaries in the 1800s.

Of course Cannabis also came to Europe as Hashish at the same time as it arrived as dried, pressed flowers, so Europeans had a Cannabis concentrate to work with from the earliest days. In the beginning there was some confusion over whether Cannabis flowers and Hashish were the same thing – a confusion soon to be mirrored with Coca Leaf transmuted into Cocaine, and Opium Sap transmuted into Morphine and Heroin.

Americans who find the history of Cannabis fascinating will enjoy browsing the following essay, which I discovered in a public domain EU document. The entire document is mostly about drug control in Europe, but this essay which is intended as background for discussions of control happens to be the best concise history of early medical use of Cannabis in Europe that I have read, and so I’m happy to share it with you here on Panacea Chronicles.

Cannabis as medicine in Europe in the 19th century
Manfred Fankhauser

As in the previous centuries, hemp was predominantly used in the 19th century as a fibre material. Herbal cannabis played a marginal role as a medicinal plant, although its seeds were used medicinally, mostly in the form of pressed oils or hemp milk as medicine against gonorrhoea or cystitis. In tandem with prevailing interest in plants, products and culture from the Orient, medicinal use of cannabis arrived in Europe from the East during the 18th century.

Much has been written on the historical knowledge in Europe of the psychoactive properties of hemp prior to the 18th century: among readers of Herodotus’ description of Scythian cannabis-incensed burial rites; by alchemists, in particular the herb Pantagruelion lauded by author François Rabelais; via knowledge of Islamic medicine via al-Andalus, and elsewhere (Bennett et al., 1995; Booth, 2003; Mercuri et al., 2002).

However, widespread scientific writings on its psychoactive properties came later. For example, Gmelin wrote in 1777 of the Eastern use of bhang for stupefying (‘etwas Betaeubendes’), mind-clouding (‘Benebelung des Verstandes’) and intoxicating effects (Fankhauser, 2002); and in 1786 the Comte d’Angiviller thanked a certain Boulogne for his sending of Indian hemp plants with the prophetic words ‘Cette plante sera peut- être un présent intéressant pour l’Europe’.

At the end of the 18th century, the French naturalist Sonnerat informed Lamarck’s 1873 Encyclopédique de botanique of Cannabis indica (Emboden, 1974) and brought Indian hemp home to France after a journey to the Orient. Napoleonic campaigns in Egypt and the Near East introduced colonial troops — notably the scientists Silvestre de Sacy, Rouyer and Desgenettes — to hashish (Abel, 1980; Booth, 2003).

European interest in this ‘new’, or rather rediscovered, plant grew only hesitantly. The first comprehensive description of the medical usefulness of Indian hemp in Europe was written in 1830 by the German pharmacist and botanist Friedrich Ludwig Nees von Esenbeck. Until that point in time, use of hemp for medical purposes had remained at a low level.

This situation changed significantly prior to the middle of the 19th century. William B. O’Shaughnessy (1809–1889/90), an Irish medical doctor stationed in Calcutta, India, published in 1839 a comprehensive study on Indian hemp. Thanks mainly to his On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp or Gunjah, Cannabis indica now also became recognised within European-school medicine. O’Shaugnessy used various hemp compounds in his investigations, partly with great success, against the following indications: rheumatism, rabies, cholera, tetanus, convulsions and delirium tremens.

With hashish he had found a well-suited medicine to give his patients relief, and in the case of cramps, even total disappearance of symptoms. For concluding remarks, he wrote: ‘The presented cases are a summary of my experience with cannabis indica, and I believe that this medicine is an anticonvulsivum of great value’ (O’Shaughnessy, 1839).

Europe reacted promptly to this new knowledge from India. This is not surprising as until then no adequate treatment existed against recognised diseases such as rabies, cholera or tetanus. Great hopes were based on O’Shaughnessy’s results. The French were the first to engage themselves intensively with the plant. As early as 1840, the French medical doctor Louis Aubert-Roche (1809–1874), who resided in Egypt, used hashish seemingly successfully against pestilence (Hirsch, 1884–1886). Nearly simultaneously, his compatriot and friend, the psychiatrist Jaques Joseph Moreau de Tours (1804–1884), began to experiment with hashish. He started out with experimenting upon doves and hares, giving them large doses of hashish extracts with their fodder. Then he tested hashish on friends, colleagues, patients and himself. He was convinced that hashish was the supreme medicament for use in psychiatry. His book, Du Hachich et de l’aliénation mentale (1845), caused a great sensation at the time, and is still understood as the origin of experimental psychiatry and psychopharmacology (Weber, 1971).

The works of Moreau de Tours had an impact not only in medical circles, but also among writers and artists. The poet Théophile Gauthier (1811–1872), for instance, received hashish samples from Moreau de Tours. In 1843 he described extensively a self-experienced hashish intoxication in the Paris newspaper La Presse under the title ‘Le Club des Hachichins’. The club of hashish eaters, of which Gauthier was one of the founders, had regular meetings in Hôtel Pimodan on the Seine island of St Louis.

He and Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867) shared a penthouse in the hotel for several years. Other prominent club members were Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870) and Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) (Moreau, 1904). Further well-known contemporaries such as Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880) and Victor Hugo (1802–1885) participated occasionally (Behr, 1982).

Inspired by Moreau de Tours and later by pharmacy professor Eugène Soubeiran (1797–1859), the pharmacist Edmond de Courtive published in 1848 his widely noted dissertation, Haschish. In addition to chemical analysis, he carried out self-experiments with miscellaneous hashish compounds and gave exact descriptions of their physical and psychic effects (De Courtive, 1848).

Many medical doctors took advantage of the promising results of the pioneers O’Shaughnessy, Aubert-Roche and Moreau de Tours and used these new drugs for therapeutic purposes. Initially, primarily doctors from the colonial powers of England and France showed interest in the use of compounds made of Indian hemp. The necessary commodities or compounds were imported in great quantities to Europe from the colonies, especially from India (Smith and Smith, 1847). Hemp was in this period sold to Europe primarily in three commercial variations:

Ganjah: consists solely of the blooming tips of the female, carefully cultivated plant. Mostly 24 blooming tips are bundled in a length of approximately 1 m, and 11 cm thickness.

Charras: consists of the resin, which is extracted foremost from the blossom, but also from leaves and stalks of the female plant. Today, the extracted resin is called hashish.

Bhang: extracted from the leafless stalks of the female hemp plant. Bhang was predominantly exported to Europe in powder form.

In Europe ganjah was the first to be pharmaceutically exploited. Initially, the fields of application known to O’Shaughnessy were adopted. Later on, the therapeutic application of hashish was considerably extended. In particular, the English and French medics applied this new wonder drug against tetanus (Martius, 1844). Encouraged by many positive reports, especially from England, the Bulgarian medic Basilus Beron intensively engaged in this problem in a dissertation. His work concludes:

I was so contented that, after having used almost all known antitetanic drugs without result, the sick person that had been assigned to me was totally cured after use of the Indian hemp (…) wherefore the Indian hemp is strongly recommended against tetanus. (Beron, 1852)

Homeopathy, founded by Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) and rapidly advancing in this period, was also quick to include Indian hemp in its medical catalogue. Towards the middle of the 19th century, in addition to the illnesses already mentioned, Indian hemp was mainly used against neuralgia and other pains, chorea, hysteria, insanity, haemorrhage and insomnia. Since prepared products did not yet exist, cannabis extracts and tinctures were mostly used.

The real success story of cannabis as a medicine began in the second half of the 19th century after the publication of Beron’s dissertation in 1852. In the same year, Franz von Kobylanski published a dissertation on the effect of cannabis as an oxytocic (1852). Four years later, the German Georg Martius wrote his comprehensive work Pharmakognostisch-chemische Studien über den Hanf, which attracted much attention.

Interest was also aroused by the experiments of the Viennese Carl Damian Ritter von Schroff (1802–1887). Martius was among the few who did not deem cannabis compounds as harmless. He wrote that:

the Indian hemp and all its compounds show great diversity concerning the degree and type of effect according to individual differences in healthy as well as in pathological conditions. It therefore belongs to the unsafe agents, and the medic should under all circumstances use it with great care.
(Von Schorff, 1858)

At the same time, Ernst Freiherr von Bibra (1806–1878) published his standard work, Die narkotischen Genussmittel und der Mensch. Here, he discussed hashish for over 30 pages. In addition to experiences of others, he describes a self-experiment with hashish. His concluding judgement was as follows: ‘Recent experiments and experiences made on the medical effect of the hemp plant and its compounds very much point to their advantage’ (von Bibra, 1855).

In this period, most European countries, as well as the USA, included Indian hemp in their national pharmacopoeia. The monographs Herba Cannabis indicae, Tinctura Cannabis indicae and Extractum Cannabis indicae enjoyed increased prominence,
whereas Semen/Fructus Cannabis and Oleum Cannabis became more and more rare. It was first of all France and England, and to a lesser extent the USA, that significantly contributed to the definitive breakthrough of the drug into Western medicine.

The study of Indian hemp was even pursued in Germany. A comprehensive work of Bernhard Fronmüller, written in 1869, is frequently cited. He had studied the qualities of the hemp plant for a long time, and carried out cannabis experiments within the framework of ‘clinical studies on the euthanising effect of the narcotic drugs’ with exactly 1 000 test patients. These test patients suffered from heavy insomnia due to various illnesses. The results of his investigation were positive. Thus, he concluded in his work: ‘The Indian hemp is, among the known anaesthetic drugs, the narcosis which most perfectly achieves a replacement of natural sleep, without particular repression of expulsions, without bad repercussions, without paralyses’ (Fronmüller, 1869).

Well-known medical experts or pharmacologists of the time wrote more-or-less comprehensive essays on Cannabis indica. Some of these articles criticise the unreliability of hemp compounds. Indeed, the standardisation problem continued to be an issue for cannabis compounds until they disappeared. Kobert is one of very few who discussed the dangers of long-term consumption: ‘The habitual consumption of any effective hemp compound deprives the human being and brings him to a mental institution’ (Kobert, 1897).

The period 1880 to 1900 can be considered a peak in the medical use of cannabis. The use of hashish compounds had become commonplace in almost all European countries and in the USA. Nonetheless, it was still scientists from England, France, Germany and the USA who persistently continued cannabis research. It is, therefore, not a coincidence that most of the products on the market (‘specialities’) originated in these
countries. It is first of all through the contribution of the company E. Merck of Darmstadt, Germany, that cannabis compounds became more widely used in Europe towards the end of the 19th century. One of the preferred source materials in the production of cannabis compounds in this period was Cannabinum tannicum Merck. In addition, the company Burroughs, Wellcome & Co. in England produced cannabis compounds. In the USA, cannabis compounds were manufactured by Squibb and sons in New York (‘Chlorodyne and Corn Collodium’), and, later, Parke-Davis & Co. in Detroit (‘Utroval’ and ‘Casadein’) and Eli Lilly (‘Dr Brown’s Sedative Tablets’, ‘Neurosine’ and ‘The One Day Cough Cure’). These companies delivered sufficient quantities of high-quality raw materials and produced compounds for the market.

Probably the most-used hemp compound was the sleeping pill Bromidia, of the American company Battle & Co. This was a combined drug, that is, in addition to cannabis extract it contained bromine potassium, chloral hydrate and henbane. While single compounds dominated during the 19th century, combination compounds were preferred in the 20th century. Most cannabis drugs were for internal use, but there existed topical compounds, for instance, creams or the common clavus tinctures.

In the meantime, France continued its 50-year tradition and honoured medical doctors and pharmacists with doctoral degrees based upon works on hashish. In 1891 Georges Meurisse (born 1864) published his work Le Haschich, and five years later Le chanvre indien by Hastings Burroughs (born 1853) appeared. The latter is strongly based on Villard’s work, but also upon his own therapeutic experiments. He summarises: ‘In therapeutic doses, the Indian hemp is safe and would deserve to be more frequently used’ (Burroughs, 1896).

In Germany, the PhD students H. Zeitler (‘On Cannabis indica’, 1885) and M. Starck (‘How to apply the new cannabis compounds’, 1887) first wrote their graduation dissertations, before the pharmacist Leib Lapin in 1894 published his dissertation, ‘A contribution to the knowledge of Cannabis indica’, under the guidance of the leading figures Johan Georg Dragendorff (1836–1898) and Rudolf Kobert (1854–1918). In the first part of his work, he gives an overview of ‘common, manufactured and officinal hemp compounds’ in use at the time. In the second part he describes the pharmacology of ‘cannabindon’, a cannabis derivate first studied by him. In the preamble of his investigation, he makes a remark which shows the uncertainty that existed regarding the medical safety of Indian hemp:

Had it been so simple to solve the hashish question, it would certainly have been solved by one of the numerous previous investigators. I believe that I have contributed to the definitive resolution, and this belief gives me the courage to publish the following as a dissertation.
(Lapin, 1894)

A scientific contribution of extraordinary importance within the cannabis research of the 19th century was the so-called Indian Hemp Report of 1894. This census, carried out by Great Britain in its colony India, primarily studied the extraction of drugs from cannabis, the trade in these drugs and the implications for the total population. Additionally, the study set out to clarify whether prohibition of the compounds might be justified, and an expert commission was established for this purpose. Its report impressively shows the significance of the stimulant and drug cannabis in India towards the end of the 19th century. The main conclusion of the commission was: ‘Based upon the effects of the hemp drugs, the commission does not find it necessary to forbid the growing of hemp, nor the production of hemp drugs and their distribution’ (Leonhardt, 1970).

Towards the 20th century, Indian hemp enjoyed an important position in the materia medica of Western medicine. Evidence of misuse of cannabis compounds was practically non-existent until then. Kunkel writes:

The chronical misuse of cannabis compounds — cannabism — is believed to be widespread in Asia and Africa. It results in chronic, heavy disruption of the entire organism, especially mental disorder — attacks of raving madness and a subsequent condition of weakness. It is not observed in Europe, Indian doctors report however daily frequent cases of this disease.
(Kunkel, 1899)

To sum up, hashish played a significant role as a medicine in Europe and in the USA towards the end of the 19th century. The most important applications were against pain, especially migraine and dysmenorrhoea, pertussis, asthma and insomnia. Additionally, hashish was relatively frequently used as an additive in clavus supplements. Rare applications were stomach ache, depressions, diarrhoea, diminished appetite, pruritus, haemorrhage, Basedow syndrome and malaria. Cannabis compounds were also used in numerous single cases, partly with good results. These were, however, of smaller significance.

Typically, doctors who worked intensively with cannabis drugs for years would classify them as valuable medicines. Others criticised them, and frequently looked upon them as worthless or even dangerous. However, both groups agreed on the unpredictable effect of cannabis compounds.

After keen use of cannabis compounds around the turn of the century, they disappeared completely in the middle of the 20th century. The main reasons for the disappearance of hashish medicaments are medical developments. Even before the 20th century, new, specific medicines were introduced for all main applications of cannabis compounds.

Vaccines were developed for the treatment of infectious diseases (cholera, tetanus, etc.), which not only fought the symptoms as cannabis did, but also gave protection against infections. Other bacterial illnesses, such as gonorrhoea, that were frequently treated with cannabis could somewhat later be treated successfully with chemotherapeutica.

Cannabis indica received competition as a sleeping and tranquillising drug in the form of chemical substances such as chloral hydrate or barbiturate. Contrary to the numerous opium drugs, cannabis compounds were also replaced as analgesics by chemical substances. In this area, aspirin achieved great importance shortly after its introduction in 1899.

Another reason for the decline of cannabis as medicine was pharmaceutical instability. The varying effectiveness of the hashish compounds has often been noted. Very different factors, such as origin, age, storage and galenic preparation, affected effectiveness of the medicine. Unlike, for instance, alkaloid drugs such as opium, the isolation of active ingredients was not successful until the middle of the 20th century. This resulted in standardisation problems. There were also legal constraints. The use of cannabis compounds became more and more restricted in international and national law.

Hashish compounds were defined as anaesthetics sometime in the 20th century. This complicated their use enormously, until finally a general ban made it impossible to apply them.

Finally, economic aspects contributed to the decline in use of medical cannabis. Import into Europe of high-quality Indian hemp became more and more difficult due to constraints in the producing countries (mainly India) and the influences of the two world wars. Laws of supply and demand also applied to cannabis, resulting in a massive price increase for raw materials (e.g. herba Cannabis indicae) as well as for compounds (e.g. extractum Cannabis indicae).


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