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Holistic Terpenes & Healing Forests: The Science Behind The Entourage Effect

Sanrakuso at Kansho-in Temple

Are you as tired as I am of smug drug warriors who have all the research dollars locked up and then sneer that the Cannabis community can’t prove what we all know to be true because there isn’t any research? Well, now maybe there is – at least a little.

I’ll wait for others to voice their thoughts, but I’m thinking the research we’ll cover in this post means no more “You can’t prove it” bullshit about the Cannabis Entourage Effect from Pig Pharma & their federal shills.

The studies cited throughout this blog post reference terpenes and other phytochemicals found in the natural emissions and vapors of “Forest Bath” environments and prove their wide-ranging efficacy as inhaled and absorbed therapeutic & healing agents.

(Please see my previous post for a full discussion of “Forest Bathing” and Cannabis.)

The “Forest Bath” research also shows clearly that the healing potential of this class of phytochemicals is far from fully understood.

These same “Forest Bath” terpenes and other phytochemicals, exactly the same ones, are found in Cannabis emissions and vapors, in almost the same proportions, and they vary among Cannabis strains the same way that emissions from tree species vary among Healing Forests.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific and medical research studies support the therapeutic validity of the ancient practice of Forest Bathing. Perhaps this same body of science, properly interpreted, would allow the Cannabis community to checkmate the anti-Cannabis propagandists and their scientific pretensions with some solid, relevant data. The planet is tight.

A Little Background

The totality of “Forest Bath” research provides precisely the range of scientific experimental evidence needed to validate ancient Cannabis wisdom and provide strong data-based support for the healing powers of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect”.

South Korean scientists and public health researchers have documented a wide range of positive health benefits from exposure to terpenes in the air of coniferous forests. They have established that variations among the emitted terpenes of different species of trees create highly diverse, differently beneficial micro-environments.

South Korean, Japanese & Taiwanese healing forests are all well mapped – this tall forested mountain valley for asthma; that craggy seaside forest for dermatitis. These healing forests have been well-known for hundreds of generations, and thousands of ancient shrines celebrate the spiritual qualities & health benefits of forested environments throughout Northeast Asia. Legends are filled with heroes suffering grievous battle wounds going alone into the forests and emerging weeks later miraculously healed.

Forest Bath research shows that the dominant terpenes in the air of the most highly-rated “healthy forests” are the same terpenes, primarily a-pinene, myrcene, linalool, and d-limonene, that dominate and differentiate the aromas, tastes and effects of various Cannabis strains.

Because inhaling both Forest terpenes and Cannabis terpenes involves inhaling virtually the same phytochemical mix, “Forest Bath” research pretty well refutes those smug anti-Cannabis arguments against the “Entourage Effect” that boil down to “You can’t prove it because there’s no research”.

Until now, we’ve been limited to a justifiably angry “Of course there isn’t any research you assholes – you’ll have anyone who tries to do the damn research arrested!” Which of course immediately provokes: “Well, that Cannabis certainly does make you people touchy,” followed by further self-satisfied smirks.  

Maybe Forest Bath research changes the balance of smirk-entitlement.

Forest Bath research provides a thoroughly validated database in support of the health benefits of inhaling the precise aerosolized natural terpenes involved in the Cannabis “Entourage Effect”, clearly establishing the link between inhaling a natural blend of specific aerosolized or vaporized terpenes and associated phytochemicals and obtaining cumulative, lasting, measurable health benefits..

Some of the research references that follow this introduction focus on studying the biological activity of a single terpene in a laboratory environment, such as a-pinene’s effect on cardiac cell inflammation in vitro, while others focus on measuring variables like blood pressure in people exposed to natural forest environments under experimental conditions. Taken as a whole they form a good platform for launching further Cannabis “Entourage Effect” research even in the presence of the Federal war on Citizens.

Note of caution in applying Forest Bath research to Cannabis:

When we’re looking at the science behind “Forest Bathing” to inform our understanding of inhaling/ingesting Cannabis terpenes, it’s important to differentiate between the terpene/phytochemical content of the smoke stream of combusted Cannabis and the terpene/phytochemical content of the vapors emitted under various conditions by the whole, non-combusted but “vaporized” Cannabis flower.

A combustion smoke stream contains both the byproducts of combustion itself, including particles of toxic soot, and vaporized organic compounds including THC and all the cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These compounds are heated to the point of “boiling off” the plant materials ahead of advancing combustion, and those that are especially vulnerable to heat are partially degraded by that process.

On the other hand, dry distillation of Cannabis flowers, also called vaporizing, does not create combustion byproducts in the vapor stream – no toxic soot- because the heating process leading to the change of state from resin to vapor is non-destructive. Nothing burns. The terpene profile in a vapor stream is close to the natural profile of the terpenes in the whole flower before vaporizing occurs because even the most heat-sensitive Cannabis flower phytochemicals survive well-calibrated vaporizing, while far fewer survive even the gentlest combustion.

That difference may be medically significant. It seems likely that the “Forest Bath” science applies directly to an “Entourage Effect” from vaporized Cannabis flowers but somewhat less to combusted flowers.

In other words, inhaling Cannabis vapor is more like taking a pleasant walk through a forest, and inhaling Cannabis smoke is more like being in front of a nice campfire. Both excellent experiences; each very different.

So I’m suggesting that “Entourage Effect” discussions focus more on the health and sensual benefits of inhaling the natural emissions and vapors of Cannabis, as well as ingestion of the natural Cannabis flower by other means, and maybe focus a little less on inhaling Cannabis smoke which has the same toxic effects as inhaling any smoke regardless of benefits, and can’t be dismissed as a serious health hazard.

The following “Forest Bath” research literature citations, all from peer-reviewed scientific journals, are all curated in the US National Institutes of Health “PubMed” database. This provenance means that anti-Cannabis “scientists” cannot challenge the validity of the large body of “Forest Bath” research, nor its applicability to Cannabis and the “Entourage Effect”.

So, if you want to dig deeper into the science, here are the results of the “Forest Bathing” literature research brilliantly elucidated by the Korean Society of Toxicology team. I’ve added revised PubMed links to the original citations and edited a bit for clarity where I thought it was needed:

Therapeutic Potential Of Inhaled Conifer Forest Terpenes

Pinene

“ α-Pinene, found in oils of coniferous trees and rosemary, showed anti-inflammatory activity by decreasing the activity of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), and production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and nitric oxide (NO) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced macrophages (link to original research).”

“In ovalbumin-sensitized mouse model of allergic rhinitis, pretreatment with α-pinene decreased clinical symptoms and levels of immunoglobulin E and IL-4 (link to original research).”

“In human chondrocytes, α-pinene inhibited IL-1β-induced inflammation pathway by suppressing NF-κB, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation, and expression of iNOS and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-1 and -13, suggesting its role as an anti-osteoarthritic agent (link to original research).”

“Strong anti-inflammatory activity was observed when α-pinene was used in combination with two active ingredients of frankincense, linalool and 1-octanol (link to original research).”

“The Anti-tumor effects of pinenes are well established on tumor lymphocytes as well as tumor cell lines (link to original research).”

“Matsuo et al. (link to original research) identified proapoptotic and anti-metastatic activities of α-pinene in a melanoma model.”

“Later, it was revealed in human hepatoma Bel-7402 cells that the proapoptotic effect of α-pinene is associated with induction of G2/M cell cycle arrest (link to original research).”

“In addition, α-pinene triggers oxidative stress signaling pathways in A549 and HepG2 cells (link to original research).”

“Kusuhara et al. (link to original research) reported that mice kept in a setting enriched with α-pinene showed reduction in melanoma sizes, while in vitro treatment of melanoma cells with α-pinene had no inhibitory effect on cell proliferation, suggesting that the in vivo result may not be due to a direct effect of α-pinene.”

“Investigation of β-pinene also revealed its cytotoxic activity against cancer and normal cell lines with a more pronounced effect on neoplastic cells in the majority of cases, showing acceptable chemotherapeutic potency (citation #1,citation #2).”

“α-pinene and 1, 8-cineole also exert neuroprotective effects by regulating gene expression. They protected PC12 cells against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis through ROS scavenging and induction of nuclear Nrf2 factor followed by enhanced expression of antioxidant enzymes including catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and HO-1 (link to original research).”

Myrcene

“Myrcene, the acyclic monoterpene, also exhibits significant antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects in various tumor cell lines such as MCF-7 (breast carcinoma), HeLa (human cervical carcinoma), A549 (human lung carcinoma), HT-29 (human colon adenocarcinoma), P388 (leukemia), and Vero (monkey kidney) as well as mouse macrophages (citation #1,citation #2).”

“Essential oil from Vepris macrophylla demonstrated a strong cytotoxic effect, suggesting that the effect may be attributed to the presence of specific components, among which is myrcene (link to original research).”

Linalool

“Treatment with linalool, a natural compound found in essential oils of aromatic plants, inhibited cigarette smoke-induced acute lung inflammation by inhibiting infiltration of inflammatory cells and production of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, IL-8, and monocyte chemoattractant protein – 1 (MCP-1), as well as NF-κB activation (link to original research).”

“In another lung injury model, linalool attenuated lung histopathologic changes in LPS-induced mice. In in vitro experiments, linalool reduced production of TNF-α and IL-6 and blocked phosphorylation of IκBα protein, p38, and JNK in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages (link to original research).”

“Similarly, linalool inhibited production of TNF-α, IL-1β, NO, and PGE2 in LPS-stimulated microglia cells (link to original research).”

“Li et al. (link to original research) showed that the anti-inflammatory effect of linalool is involved in activation of Nrf2/heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) signaling pathway.”

“Frankincense oil extract, which contains linalool, exhibited anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in a xylene-induced ear edema model and a formalin-inflamed hind paw model by inhibiting COX-2 (link to original research).”

Limonene

“The anti-tumorigenic activity of d-limonene is well-established. Numerous studies have demonstrated the protective effects of d-limonene against chemical-induced tumors in various tissue types such as breast, intestine, pancreas, liver, and colon (citation #1citation #2).”

 “Another naturally occurring monoterpene d-limonene was reported to reduce allergic lung inflammation in mice probably via its antioxidant properties (link to original research).”

“It also reduced carrageenan-induced inflammation by reducing cell migration, cytokine production, and protein extravasation (link to original research).”

“Similar to α-pinene, d-limonene exerted an anti-osteoarthritic effect by inhibiting IL-1β-induced NO production in human chondrocytes (link to original research).”

“d-Limonene treatment reduced doxorubicin-induced production of two proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-α and prostaglandin E-2 (PGE2) (link to original research).”

 “Lu et al. (link to original research) revealed that d-limonene could inhibit the proliferation of human gastric cancer cells by inducing apoptosis.”

“Later, it was demonstrated that apoptosis of tumor cells by d-limonene could be mediated by the mitochondrial death pathway via activated caspases and PARP cleavage as well as by the suppression of the PI3K/Akt pathway (citation #1,citation #2).”

Cymene

“Monoterpene p-cymene treatment reduced elastase-induced lung emphysema and inflammation in mice. It reduced the alveolar enlargement, number of macrophages, and levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-17 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) (link to original research).”

“Similarly, p-cymene showed a protective effect in a mouse model of LPS-induced acute lung injury by reducing the number of inflammatory cells in the BALF and expression of NF-κB in the lungs (link to original research) and by reducing production of proinflammatory cytokines and infiltration of inflammatory cells (link to original research).”

“Mechanistically, p-cymene blocks NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways. It has been reported that p-cymene reduces production of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-β in LPS-treated RAW 264.7 macrophages. In C57BL/6 mice, TNF-α and IL-1β were downregulated and IL-10 was upregulated by p-cymene treatment. It also inhibited LPS-induced activation of ERK 1/2, p38, JNK, and IκBα (citation #1,citation #2).”

“p-Cymene has been reported to have cytotoxic effects on tumor cell lines (link to original research).”

“Recently, Li et al. (link to original research) evaluated beneficial effects of p-cymene on in vitro TPA-augmented invasiveness of HT-1080 cells, and found that it inhibits MMP-9 expression, but enhances TIMP-1 production along with the suppression of ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK signal pathways in tumor cells, suggesting that p-cymene is an effective candidate for the prevention of tumor invasion and metastasis.”

Terpinene

“The monoterpene γ-terpinene, present in the essential oil of many plants including Eucalyptus, reduced the acute inflammatory response. It reduced carrageenan-induced paw edema, migration of neutrophil into lung tissue, and IL-1β and TNF-α production and inhibited fluid extravasation (link to original research).”

“Terpinene-containing essential oil from Liquidambar formosana leaves reduced inflammatory response in LPS-stimulated mouse macrophages by reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS), JNK, ERK, p38 MAP kinase, and NF-κB (link to original research).”

“Another terpinene-containing essential oil from Citrus unshiu flower or fingered citron (C. medica L. var. sarcodactylis) reduced LPS-stimulated PGE2 and NO production in RAW 264.7 cells. Furthermore, production of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-6, was also reduced in macrophages (citation #1,citation #2).”

Boneol

“Borneol, a bicyclic monoterpene present in Artemisia, Blumea, and Kaempferia, has been used in traditional medicine. Borneol alleviated acute lung inflammation by reducing inflammatory infiltration, histopathological changes, and cytokine production in LPS-stimulated mice. It suppressed phosphorylation of NF-κB, IκBα, p38, JNK, and ERK (link to original research).”

“Oral administration and intrathecal injection of borneol showed antihyperalgesic effects on inflammatory pain in complete Freund’s adjuvant-induced hypersensitive animal models by enhancing GABAAR (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Type A Receptor)-mediated GABAergic transmission (link to original research).”

“Borneol inhibited migration of leukocytes into the peritoneal cavity in carrageenan-stimulated mice, suggesting its anti-inflammatory function (link to original research).”

“In addition, borneol inhibited TRPA1, a cation channel that is involved in inflammation and noxious-pain sensing, suggesting that its use as an anti-inflammatory agent for neuropathic-pain and trigeminal neuralgia (link to original research).”

“Previous studies showed that borneol has free radical scavenging activity (link to original research) and is a major component of essential oil of SuHeXiang Wan (link to original research) whose neuroprotective function has been reported in in vivo and in vitro models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (citation #1,citation #2).”

“Moreover, a recent study showed that borneol exerts a neuroprotective effect against β-amyloid (Aβ) cytotoxicity via upregulation of nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and expression of Bcl-2 (link to original research).”

“In addition, treatment with isoborneol, a monoterpenoid alcohol, significantly reduced 6-hydroxydopamine-induced ROS generation and cell death in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, suggesting that isoborneol may be a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress (link to original research).”

Caryophyllene

“α-Caryophyllene, known as humulene, is a naturally occurring monocyclic sesquiterpene. BCP, an isomer of α-caryophyllene, has been identified as an active component of an essential oil mixture that not only prevents solid tumor growth and proliferation of cancer cell lines but also inhibits lymph node metastasis of melanoma cells in high-fat diet-induced obese mice (citation #1,citation #2).”

“Sarvmeili et al. (link to original research) reported that Pinus eldarica essential oil, of which BCP was the major component, exerts cytotoxic effects on HeLa and MCF-7 cell lines.”

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) was reported to protect against neuroinflammation in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease (PD) by attenuating production of proinflammatory cytokines and inflammatory mediators such as COX-2 and iNOS (link to original research).”

“Chronic treatment with BCP attenuated alcohol-induced liver injury and inflammation by reducing the proinflammatory phenotypic switch of hepatic macrophages and neutrophil infiltration. The beneficial effects of BCP on liver injury are mediated by cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor activation (link to link to original research).”

“Prolonged administration of BCP reduced proinflammatory cytokines in pancreatic tissue of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (link to original research).”

“BCP reduced expression of Toll-like receptor 4 and macrophage inflammatory protein-2, and phosphorylation of ERK, p38, JNK, and NF-κB in D-galactosamine and LPS-induced liver injury mouse model (link to original research).”

“BCP has antioxidant effects (link to original research), and functions as a regulator of several neuronal receptors and shows various pharmacological activities including neuroprotection (link to original research).”

“Neuroprotective effects of BCP have been reported in both AD and PD animal models. Oral treatment with BCP prevented AD-like phenotype such as cognitive impairment and activation of inflammation through CB2 receptor activation and the PPARγ pathway (link to original research).”

RESEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY: THE ROLE OF FOREST BATH TERPENES IN HUMAN HEALTH

No more “You can’t prove it” bullshit. The studies cited throughout this post reference terpenes and other phytochemicals found in natural emissions and vapors of “Forest Bath” environments. These same terpenes and other phytochemicals, exactly the same, are found in Cannabis emissions and vapors, in almost the same proportions, and vary between Cannabis strains the same way that emissions from tree species vary among Healing Forests. I hope that the connection between hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific and medical research studies that support the ancient practice of Forest Bathing and their direct applicability to the  Entourage Effect will allow the Cannabis community to finally checkmate the anti-Cannabis propagandists and their scientific pretensions.

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Vaporizing My Old Age

“I’ve recently completely changed my mind about vaporizing technology. It is a marvelous experience to inhale the essence of pure vaporized Cannabis flower, and vaporizing is so far superior to smoking that I feel like an idiot I was so blindly opinionated for so long without simply trying it.”

Both my parents smoked cigarettes, and I loved the smell of tobacco and the rituals surrounding it. The click of my Dad’s Zippo lighter as he flipped it open, the aroma of lighter fluid, then the scratch of the wheel and the muted whoosh of flame, followed by Dad’s first eager puff and long, slow, savory exhale. Cigarettes were actually real tobacco in those days, and their aroma was literally intoxicating to me. So naturally I began smoking too when I was pretty young.

I first discovered Marijuana when I was seventeen, and fell in love with the tastes and smells of those first strains to hit the streets of California – Acapulco Gold and Oaxacan Purple, and the mysterious Panama Red that occasionally drifted up from Florida. Of course, most of what we got was Mexican Smash – leaves, stems and the occasional beetle glued together with Coca Cola – but it was still great smoke as long as you were young and stupid and had no taste. The Marijuana we took huge risks and paid big money for in 1960 you couldn’t give away today, and rightfully so.

However, beginning in my 50’s it was clear that smoking was damaging my health, as was drinking, so I gradually phased both (mostly) out of my life. I did enjoy the occasional bud that floated my way out of the inherent kindness of the universe, and when I would find myself near a promising bar I wouldn’t deny myself the pleasure of a good margarita. But by & large I tried to become much more moderate, and even in moderation I was finding the experience of drinking and smoking was losing its appeal.

Moderation is a great thing – in moderation – and now that I find myself newly settled back in Oregon I am delighted to be able to walk into great little gourmet Cannabis shops and select a gram of bud from a strain I’ve never tried before. For a small party we had a few weeks back and I bought a Cannabis Tasting Flight, a gram each of the budtenders six favorite top shelf Sativa/Indica selections, the same way I would have for a Wine or Tequila Flight. How pleasant to be able to enjoy Cannabis as a normal part of life without the tinge of paranoia that was always (quite rationally) present.

But what adds so much to my pleasure in trying out all these new strains is that I don’t have to smoke any more. I’ve found that I can vaporize a pinch of dried flower in an efficient little device and enjoy this particular strain’s unique flavors and aromas along with whatever body and mind effects I’m looking for in a particular strain.

Nobody has to be old to enjoy the benefits of vaporizing whole Cannabis flowers, but if you are getting on in years like I am and want to be able to enjoy the medicinal and recreational benefits of Cannabis without the toxic side-effects of smoke, as I do, then you’re going to really appreciate the new whole flower vaporizing technology that’s out there. For me, it’s so superior to smoking the divine weed in any kind of pipe that I am never going back.

Don’t get me wrong – I love smoke. All kinds. Always have. I miss the days of walking out to the airplane across the tarmac, inhaling the jet fuel and diesel equipment fumes that smelled like freedom. Around campfires I would always take the downwind spot and enjoy inhaling the clouds of burning wood and charring meat. I couldn’t get enough of trains and train stations, and once underway I always spent as much time as possible between the cars enjoying the motion, the sounds, and the smells of the smoke trailing back from the diesel engines far ahead. Pulling out of Tokyo harbor in 1949 on an old Navy troopship carrying hundreds of military women & children back to America, the air full of salt, fish, garbage, oil and diesel, the whole ship vibrating beneath my feet and great clouds of bunker fuel fumes coming from the smokestacks and from the hard-revving tugs alongside – I was in little kid heaven.

I have to admit that for years I held a lot of ill-informed opinions about vaping, and I still don’t like the idea of inhaling the vapors of chemically-processed anything, even supposedly “natural” Cannabis products like Wax & Shatter. In retrospect it looks to me like vaporizing technology, or at least vaporizer marketing, skipped right past whole dried Cannabis flowers and went straight to more easily manufactured and standardized but potentially lethal products, and huge numbers of people went along without thinking.

Unfortunately too much of the Cannabis industry seems to have fallen into this trap. Although hundreds of growers are producing thousands of beautiful, flavorful, exotic strains of Cannabis, most shops price and sell these flowers based on their THC levels without regard for taste and smell, mind/body effects like creativity or couchlock, or therapeutic effects like sleep initiation or appetite stimulation. It is as if fine wines were being sold primarily for their alcohol content, on the premise that nobody cared about enjoying them any other way.

Out of an enormous worldwide market for cheap addictive chemicals in sleek little devices has come the shadow world of unregulated vaping compounds packaged in colorful, toy-like electronic inhalers. I’m afraid that a lot of people are being conned into inhaling vapors of cheap industrial chemicals from China and India in totally unregulated compounds disguised with clever names and fruity flavors. I’m concerned that many of these folks are going to have deep regrets sooner rather than later. I would not be surprised at all to see epidemiologists soon begin announcing the discovery of a mysterious multi-symptom epidemic of irreversible neurological damage among young people that will ultimately be traced to vaping these clever little toys filled with whatever industrial chemicals the device manufacturer thinks will kick ass.

In whatever terrible ways that onrushing tragedy may evolve, I’ve recently completely changed my mind about vaporizing pure Cannabis flower. It is not only a marvelous experience in itself, but it is so far superior to smoking that I feel like an idiot I was so blindly opinionated for so long without simply trying it. I’m writing this post because I’ve come to believe that vaporizing dry Cannabis flower may be the best medical and recreational option for many people my age – let’s just say someone who’s well into those golden years.

Older people who want to enjoy Cannabis as part of a lifestyle or who find that Cannabis is a helpful medication need to discover that vaporizing Cannabis flowers is a smoke-free option with real advantages. For one thing, your body isn’t being subjected to Cannabis smoke, which in addition to the good stuff like THC also contains concentrated particles of carcinogenic soot as well as carcinogenic combustion gasses. Smoke itself, any smoke, is full of substances and chemicals created by combustion that are known to lead directly to horrible diseases. That’s true of any smoke coming from any combusted organic matter – Cannabis, cigarettes, backyard grills, fireplaces or campfires.

I’ve found vaporizers easy to use – at least my device is simplicity itself and if it lasts over a couple of years I’ll consider it a worthwhile buy. All I have to do is to pinch off a bit of Cannabis flower and put it into the small ceramic chamber, tamp it down and then put the mouthpiece back on, tap in the code and wait a few seconds for the digital readout to show me that the chamber is at 400 degrees, and then draw in a stream of almost invisible vapor.

My first hit of fresh Cannabis flower vapor is exactly like the first long sip of a cold beer on a hot day – I know there won’t be a better sip in the whole bottle. All of the volatile, delicate flavors and aromas of the flower come across fresh and intact in that first sip of vapor. Everything that follows, while enjoyable and pleasant, can never equal that first rush of magical molecules.

I find that if I stop after the first hit of vapor (I wish I were inclined to do so more often), I am already close to where I want to be, and I find that I need only a few tokes on the vaporizer to enjoy the same results that would otherwise take a whole bowl or joint. I like that I am not subjecting my increasingly aging body to the toxic stress of smoke just so that I can enjoy being high and receiving the health benefits of Cannabis.

Whether you are medicating with Cannabis, or simply relaxing with a bud after a long day, by using a vaporizer you will be able to do so discreetly, cleanly, and without the toxic side effects of smoke. Vaporizing is an especially nice way to use Cannabis as a sleep aid because your body doesn’t have to deal with the toxic effects of smoke in order to get the beneficial effects of the vaporized THC and CBD. Just fire up the vaporizer, take a clean, sweet hit, lie back, relax and drift off to sleep. It’s especially nice not to have to worry about choking your partner with a bedroom full of smoke at 2 AM just because you’ve woken up and need a hit to get back to sleep.

Another real advantage of using a vaporizer is that your environment isn’t permeated by stale smoke. As delightful as those first hits of fresh bud are, a Cannabis smoker’s living space quickly gets as nasty as any cigarette smoker’s cave. Stale smoke is just stale smoke, no matter how delightful its origins. But with a vaporizer, especially if you only take the first few puffs when the vapor is so pure that it is practically invisible, there is almost no lingering odor to disturb others or to betray you to the smoke Nazis that seem to be on patrol everywhere these days.

Bottom line – if you’re getting on in years and haven’t tried vaporizing Cannabis flowers as an alternative to smoking then you owe it to yourself to have the experience. It may open up new possibilities in areas of fun and pleasure that you thought were fading away, and it will certainly make using Cannabis for your health, vitality and medical needs a lot cleaner and more private.

But perhaps the best reason of all to vaporize is that smoking is now a relic of the past, just like living in caves – people have loved the essence of Cannabis since the dawn of time, and for thousands of years we had to inhale smoke to enjoy that essence (except for bhang, of course), and so we all went ahead, fired it up, lay back and watched the shadows dancing on the walls of the cave. Now that vaporizing technology has arrived we don’t have to smoke to enjoy and benefit from Cannabis, and I for one am happy to leave those delightful but poisonous clouds far behind in the cave where they belong.


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I Am So Pissed This Morning

I’ve just heard about a young doctor, a friend of our friend Hannah, who has devoted her life to working with poor people in medical clinics that she and others founded and ran in Austin, Texas. She has apparently just been diagnosed with MS, in her mid-30’s! All that dedicated work, and all that good heart, and all that caring for others looks like it will be cut short by this awful disease.

But what has really got me going is that she lives in Texas, as I do, where ignorant, self-serving, “religious” hypocrites have managed to keep Cannabis out of the hands of people who could have benefitted from self-medication for decades. Many, many people have suffered and died needlessly as a result of the broad, punitive laws crafted by these Satanic beings. In fact, there are still people in prison in Texas who were sent there decades ago for the possession of a single joint.

Those who maintain and benefit from the system that does this should, in a just world, be put on trial for their blatant, deliberate, conspiratorial crimes against humanity, although they are so mired in illusion that even if they could be tried and convicted they would probably be genuinely confused about why.

The reason that I am particularly incensed is that I’ve been seeing so much of this kind of  evil hypocrisy lately. For the past few months I have been gathering research for a newsletter I intend to begin publishing soon that will be titled Straight Talk On Medical Cannabis™, in which I will review and comment on research published in peer-reviewed medical journals worldwide on the therapeutic use of Cannabis.

My purpose in doing this is to show, largely by inference, that the medical research community is fully aware of the wide-ranging therapeutic properties of Cannabis, and also that they are completely in the iron grip of governments and corporations that are directing their work in very specific directions – away from any research into the Cannabis flower itself and focusing on only two things – (1) how “harmful” the use of the natural flower is and how joyful people should be that they are being protected from this harm by vigilant governments, and (2) how confident people should be that Pig Pharma is working overtime to develop actual, real pharmaceuticals “based on” Cannabis that people can use “safely”.

Just this morning I was looking at an especially interesting article that, like most, is more relevant for what it does not say than what it does. However, the author is, unlike many of his peers, at least willing to admit the well-established fact that generations of people have recognized the value of Cannabis in treating a wide range of diseases, including neurological diseases like MS and Parkinson’s.

So I would like to share the information on this bit of research, including a link to its PubMed abstract, along with my own observations. This is an example of what is coming soon in Straight Talk On Medical Cannabis™, which I plan to publish twice a week.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086601

Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2016;11(2):110-7.

Endocannabinoid System: A Multi-Facet Therapeutic Target

This research discusses drugs based on Cannabis, not the therapeutic value of the Cannabis flower itself, nor does it cite any well-designed, peer-reviewed research (probably because there is almost none) on the relative therapeutic value of specific Cannabis strains in neurological disease. This is typical of officially sanctioned and funded research. Pig Pharma and governments, working together, do not want to look into whether plain old Cannabis flowers that anyone can grow will do the job. They want to find a laboratory pharmaceutical they can patent, control, sell and tax at huge profit.

But in spite of this well-hidden bias, the importance of research like this lies in what it does NOT say, and the true implications of what it DOES say, for people with neurological diseases. Reading between the lines of all such research it is clear that people currently suffering the devastation of neurological disease need to strongly consider self-medicating rather than waiting for Pig Pharma to develop a pharmaceutical “based on” Cannabis.

As the author confesses “Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most countries. The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and downs in the recent past.”

He continues “ Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids have a role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions. Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.”

Could possibly be treated” – duh.

There are a lot of other research articles like this one, published in India in an Indian medical journal that, taken together, confirm obliquely what many people in Cannabis-legal states already know – that the Cannabis flower itself, without any pharmaceutical manipulation or intervention, is an amazing natural medicine that works extremely well for many people who suffer from all of the diseases that the author mentions above, and many more.

The only real issue is that only people who live in “Cannabis-legal” states have access to this natural medicine without risking prison, while people who are trapped in “illegal” states like Texas like this brave young doctor with MS would, if they were caught self-medicating, quite likely die behind bars. I hope that she can escape to Colorado, or Oregon, or California … anywhere but Texas.

 

 


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Your Grandparent’s Medical Cannabis

From “Marijuana Foods” illustrated by Pat Krug

Dear Reader: I wrote the following words as the introduction to my book “Marijuana Foods” in 1982. For several years my life companion Lisle and I had been experimenting with Marijuana as a medicine and saw clearly that many sick people simply couldn’t stand the physical stress of inhaling smoke, even through a water pipe, which was the only smoking alternative back then. Not only that, but older people and non-smokers were almost completely cut off from the health benefits of Cannabis. Vaporizing technology was still decades away, and there was no such thing as the Internet for people to use to inform themselves.

So we did a lot of experimenting with extraction methods and food & beverage recipes – my wife is one of the world’s best cooks, especially when it comes to subtle things like balancing flavors and aromas – and I am gratified to see many of the ideas from this book showing up in the market today. I thought that I would share this “Marijuana Foods” introduction with you to show that the benefits of non-smoking alternative uses of Medical Marijuana have been a topic of conversation for a long time.

When I see all the great new ideas and new Cannabis products created to address every kind of health, happiness and quality of life issue in ways that Pig Pharma can’t touch, I love it that new generations of  young people are finally making the Cannabis revolution so strong that it cannot be stopped. Rock On!

(from “Marijuana Foods”, Simon & Schuster, 1982: Chapter One)

Why Not?

Cannabis has been used for centuries as a medicine, and has held a central place as a natural healer and reliever in the pharmacy of societies around the world. America has yet to come to an appreciation of the medical usefulness of Marijuana large because of the successful maneuvers of the cigarette and alcohol industries to get a grip on both the political and the moral institutions of the country. It has been a classic maneuver, well executed and enormously successful, and it has taken over fifty years.

Frustrated in their attempt to impose a prohibition of alcohol on all of society, the forces of morality were quick to spot the far more productive target presented by Marijuana, used almost exclusively by the African-American people in the cities.

The powerful cigarette and alcohol industries saw this situation as an opportunity not to be missed. Knowing that it would be a mortal threat to their industries if Marijuana ever escaped into regular White society, because it would quickly supplant alcohol & cigarettes and couldn’t even become a profitable legal monopoly because it could be grown by anyone, they crafted a long-range strategy which after decades of work and the investment of billions of dollars has almost succeeded.

Moral outrage and self-righteous indignation at the distantly observed and perversely fantasized habits, behaviors and presumed moral degradation of poor people, especially minorities, has long been the habit of a certain breed of White people with withered souls. These people have historically tended to congregate in church-based prohibitionist movements. Recruiting and building this barely latent racism into a religiously sanctioned nationwide crusade against drugs was the strategy chosen by Marijuana’s adversaries.

In executing this simple strategy, the legal drug industries quietly aligned themselves with the forces of morality, feeding them with propaganda and funding, employing layers of sophisticated “foundations” to spare the moralists the pain of taking blood money, and together these evil sisters set out to rid America of (competitive) drugs.

Out of this strategy came the federal bureaucracy designed to “fight drugs” and deal criminally with the “drug problem” which the newspapers of the time defined in large headlines, displaying photographs of either Black people or Whites who were clearly low-life types, and stressing that even a moment’s lapse, a single puff, would lead to such as this.

That was scary stuff to the folks who had just suffered a decade of depression and now faced a worldwide threat of really dangerous aggressors… and it worked. The anti-drug laws of the late 1930’s marked the success of this tactic.

The cigarette and alcohol industries boomed during the War in every community of the world. It was cool to drink, cool to smoke, and everyone who wasn’t dead was alive so what the hell. After WWII there was no room for consciousness-expansion except via martinis in the U.S. because everybody was too busy pursuing the materialist dream of industrial expansion designed to keep the converted war production machinery humming.

The industrial empires left over from the last century, decimated by the crash and the depression, had recovered too well and made too much money producing machinery and other war materials for them to allow the factories to simply close down and people return to their peaceful way of life in the towns, villages and small cities.

Besides, farming and small town living was no longer very attractive to the millions of young men and women who had seen the world, survived a war, and come home as saviors and heroes.

In the late 40’s and throughout the 50’s, going to college and then out to work in rapidly growing companies making consumer goods for the exploding population of babies and families, these organization men and women never got high, couldn’t understand why anyone else would, and using the logic and “information” so carefully fed them by the prohibitionists through the increasingly pervasive media environment, judged those who used any drugs but alcohol and cigarettes as weak in character or racially inferior – probably both.

This is the environment we inherit today. Those at the top of our institutions, agencies and organizations are those who survived WWII, stayed straight, and either bought the anti-drug propaganda or cynically helped promote it, as part of a bargain with the devil in their rise to power.

They have inherited the mantles of power and influence created by the robber barons of the last century, along with the ethics and morality of those brutal humans, and are absolutely dedicated to reducing the people of this country to shackles. These people intuitively understand that the unrestricted use of psychoactive drugs would change society in ways which would make their feudal style of social and economic prerogatives and control too vulnerable to more desirable alternatives.

Marijuana And The Health Care System

All health care systems have a “delivery” component, a set of ways in which the benefits of the system are delivered to the people in need. When we look to the healing rituals of so-called primitive societies around the world we see that a consistent major difference from our own delivery system is the participation of family, friends and community in the “primitive” healing processes and their virtual exclusion from our own.

Scientists studying the effects of group participation on individual human physiology have long noted that whether through church, through kin-centered social activities, or just plain having fun with friends, the health benefits of socializing are indisputable. Such activity is known to speed healing, lower stress, and maintain good health.

Medical technical specialists have developed tremendous analytical and therapeutic tools, but until the institutions they have created for those tools allow the participation of those with whom the person is emotionally and spiritually bonded, the healing potential of much of this wonderful technology will continue to be limited and subverted by the physiological, psychological and spiritual effects of the stressors like isolation, confusion, fear, dread, pain, and despair which so many people feel while “being cared for”.

The Technodoc attitude generally downgrade this as a minor problem, to be dealt with by further medication, and indeed they do have medications which “de-stress” you – for as long as you take them. These substances interfere with the biochemical media in the brain which carry stress messages from mind to brain, and chemically sever the nerves which carry the stress messages from your brain to the rest of your body. They render your nervous system incapable of transmitting the signals which the major stressors produce; they do not change the conditions which generate the fear, the sense of isolation.

You’re still alone, still afraid, in a world full of things you never bargained for, but now you can’t feel the stress, or even register its existence on your conscious mind, so your problems are considered managed.

A New Marijuana-based Therapy

With the ever-present exposure we all get to the “modern health care system” it’s easy to forget that all this is relatively new. Until a few years ago almost all Americans dealt with disease, illness, injury, impairment and old age in the context of a family and a community of friends and neighbors.

This isn’t a good old days fantasy. Sure there were lots of people without friends or family who suffered and died alone – that’s one of the origins of the centralized health care delivery system, the urgent social need to care for the millions of people, many of them immigrants, who lay sick and dying alone in the city streets of the last century. Centralized health care institutions grew out of this core failure of the industrializing American system, when the very closeness of family and community which enfolded those in need was not available to outsiders and strangers, and when there was no alternative but the brutal poorhouse.

But there were also tens of thousands of smaller cities, towns, villages and rural communities where few lay alone, whether sick or injured, where aging people were passed from family member to family member if need be, but were kept, and where the medical profession was an enormously useful adjunct to the family-based health care delivery system but was not the primary caregiver. These days are recalled as quaint by some modern docs who chuckle about the days of house calls, though many wish that they could make a decent living doing just that. Marijuana therapies offer that option.

We live now in an age when care has become interpreted as skilled technical intervention alone. When a person becomes seriously sick or gets badly injured they are removed from their family in a manner that brooks no interference. Medical emergencies convey license upon lifesavers who rush you to the central facility where you are handed over to technical specialists, who then take charge as you are transformed into a “case” or “patient”.

Your family or friends, if you have any, are reduced to huddling in a waiting room where they are visited from time to time and provided reassurance that you are in good hands and everything possible is being done.

If and when the emergency subsides you are then passed on to other specialists who apply whatever medical technologies they are familiar with and choose to use in the name of standard medical practice. Their choice of technology and strategy is determined by many considerations, and their motives are usually the highest, but their methods are not to be questioned, and there is literally no room for family or friends to function in the role of caregivers. They can come visiting hours, and that’s it, because the institution is in total charge of care-taking, and their version of care-taking is how its going to be.

If the institution and the specialists can’t fix the problem you will be designated incurable and sent somewhere called a home, but probably not a home with your family in it, for “long-term care”. You generally won’t go with your family because they “aren’t able to take care of you”, meaning that there is no system to provide the resources which would enable them to “take care of you” at home. The systems that exist to provide and allocate society’s health care resources choose to allocate those resources to “taking care of you” in institutions which they administer and from which they profit, not to home-based alternatives which, while better and more cost effective for you, do not benefit them. They’re not evil, just doing what comes naturally which is surviving at all cost.

If you recover you are “released” which means you are free to go, after dealing with the bill of course. You walk out to rejoin your family, and maybe on the ride home in the car someone will ask you – ” So, how do you feel?” Well of course you feel “fine”, and that’s about it. Everybody goes home and goes on with their lives until the next time they crash or drop or break or pass out and then it all begins all over again.

But are you “healed” by all this? Your disease certainly seems to have passed, your bones mended, your new organ functions perfectly, your heart beats. But what about how vulnerable, how violated, how isolated you feel even behind the pills?

Given the institutional cultures of the current health care system, the isolation and emotional and spiritual deprivation of the severely ill or merely very old person becomes almost inevitable.

Family-Centered Marijuana Therapy

Family centered Marijuana therapy can be a powerful way for the family to re-assert its legitimate role in the process of caring for and healing the sick or hurt family member. Through the therapeutic use of the Marijuana experience families can draw closer, open up to the feelings and words so necessary for healing, reach out to each other and resolve issues, build upon the loving relationships which may have lain fallow for many years while all were healthy.

Those medical and therapeutic professionals who personally understand and value being high have an invaluable contribution to make to the healing of their own profession by working to bring back the quality of caring and life which is the hallmark of successful family-centered health care and which can never be provided institutionally. What is needed is a bridge between the institutions and the extended family in the process of caring for and healing those who are ill, injured, or aged.

The therapeutic use of Marijuana, guided and facilitated by medical and therapeutic professionals, can contribute to the building of this bridge, but not without a small revolution in which enlightened professionals and fed-up families and individuals come to some sort of simultaneous realization of how badly we are all suffering from an outmoded, crumbling and illogical system of health care delivery. Compassionate, creative, therapeutic use of Marijuana in a psychological and spiritual healing process opens new professional opportunities for many health care professionals who are personally experienced with the Marijuana high.

Why should personally enlightened professionals continue to submit to the whips of the cynics and moralists, those evil sisters, thus depriving their patients, clients, loved ones, friends and colleagues of the benefits of a holistic approach to Marijuana therapy which uses the powerful healing high, with themselves acting as compassionate Companion-Guides as well as medical professionals.

Considered, directed use of Marijuana is one of the most effective paths to healing for many people, and there is no question that it one of the gentlest, most illuminating natural agents put on this earth by the creator. To knowingly deny such a whole healing experience to the sick and dying is both sacrilegious and professionally corrupt.

Imagine the impact on the quality of the relationship and the healing potential if all parties to the process- physician, caretaker, family, spouse, and patient could use the Marijuana high to get past the kinds of barriers that typically isolate those in need from those giving care.

Wholistic therapies involving Marijuana would not seek to separate a biochemical “effect” useful in treating the disease or symptom involved. In place of trying and failing to control the psychoactive and CNS “side effects” pharmacologically or biologically in order to extract an elusive magic bullet, why not include the Marijuana high in a psychotherapeutically designed “happiness therapy”. Why not stop trying to manipulate people bio-chemically at these deeply invasive micro-levels and deal with the simple fact that whole Marijuana flowers whether smoked or eaten would, if freely available, be very useful for many of the medical needs of most people in a lot of serious situations.

There simply is no real need to make Marijuana into a pharmacological nightmare and charge people huge fees for institutionally controlled inferior variations of molecules found in every marijuana flower on earth. And even if scientists were to succeed in this absurd search for “the molecule” and “the pathway” which is the Marijuana high, the biochemical industry and the government would then be able to synthesize the chemicals and find the neurological pathways to biochemically manipulate other mysteries like love, happiness, patriotism and consumer behavior, and the arrival of 1984 will have been only slightly delayed.

I don’t expect this to be a problem , because the Marijuana high is not an effect produced by a chemical as much as it is an experience released by a chemical. The experience occurs within, with the impetus given by the chemical but moderated by the mind/body interaction, which is why it is so difficult for technicians to isolate individual Marijuana chemicals from the high and achieve clinically measurable “effectiveness”.

The experience which is partially mirrored in measurable effects like brainwaves and behaviors is embodied in the mind, not the brain, and the chemical acting on the body/brain does not produce the experience, it opens the doors of perception to the experience which occurs on a plane where complex activity leaves only slight physical or electrical tracings on even sophisticated detection machines.

As far as the machines are concerned the Marijuana experience has as much measurable substance as a ghost, and only those who have actually seen ghosts in the other realms would know when one showed up on their screens in this reality.

Archaeological evidence shows that non-western societies have known about the healing and therapeutic properties of Marijuana for thousands of years. Village and tribal societies throughout Asia and the Middle East have used preparations from the Marijuana flower for health, for relaxation, for stimulation, for worship, and for magic since ancient times.

Ritually potent high energy social interaction is a key to healing in these societies, contrasted with routine isolation and treatment exclusively by technical specialists in ours. Marijuana plays an important role in stimulating both interaction and receptivity in ritual participants, and therefore in the healing outcome. In addition, it is clear that these societies have long since discovered the pure medical properties of Marijuana in treating and curing both routine and serious diseases.

Through the use of the Marijuana plant in both ritual and medicinal context these more natural societies have found ways to put the sufferer in touch with those healing forces of the universe which are everywhere around us but which must be summoned and focussed before physical body problems can be relieved. This natural wisdom formed over thousands of years has a place in our approach to the severe health issues confronted today by millions of Americans.


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Have Yourself A Fine, Dizzy Day!

Magic carpet w_guyGetting dizzy by spinning around and around until we all fall down is great fun for almost everybody when we are children.  As babies we get bounced and then spun around by loving adults, and we all laugh and have great fun, and we find ways to spin ourselves into dizziness whenever possible thereafter. Our playgrounds are full of great ways to get dizzy. We spin and drop and then watch the sky go round and round.

And then at some point in life we discover that sexual orgasm is the best way EVER to get dizzy! It starts with masturbation and proceeds in numerous directions. We all try to have sex as much as possible in order to get dizzy in different, exciting ways. Sexual dizziness is where we are at our most inventive.

Life is full of ways to get dizzy, and people have long ago found all of them. Religious rituals are a fave. Occasionally a new way to get dizzy comes along, and it is popular for a while. Dance crazes always incorporate new movements that make you dizzy in fun, different ways. Long before Rock ‘n Roll became White kids music it was how Black people talked about getting dizzy from sex. That’s why those gyrating Elvis hips stirred the beast in so many super-straight White folks.

Although none of the ways of getting dizzy last, while it does last being dizzy is fun. Unless it’s something disgusting like head in the toilet drunk dizzy …  but let’s all just forget about  the nasty stuff and think nice dizzy, fun dizzy, non-barfing dizzy.

My point – almost everyone, as a child, learns to love being dizzy. But then most children grow up adhering closely to sanctioned form of dizziness, and as adults we often deny that dizziness is what we’re seeking. “I just like a little taste of (wine, beer, margaritas). And I only drink with meals.” Sure. And by the way kids, you can’t get dizzy this way until you are mature and responsible adults. If you do, you’ll be punished.

There are many substances are adored by many around the world and hated by others because they create pleasurable states of dizziness. Cannabis. Opium. Cocaine. Meth. Alcohol. Some kinds of pleasure states are sanctioned by authorities, and some are banned. Some will cost you your life.

Who these authorities are, and where their authority comes from isn’t ever really clear, but they always seem to have the means to enforce their ban on whatever way of getting dizzy offends them. And of course they have their own, exclusive ways of getting dizzy – torturing prisoners, droning weddings, stealing elections, humiliating helpless victims. On and on, endlessly.

Doing evil shit that you get away because you have power and wealth with is a MAJOR dizzy. Making others suffer is very dizzying for plenty of people.

Still, we all know, even the anti-dizziness enforcers secretly know, that getting dizzy using simple, traditional methods like sex and drugs is and always will be one of the most personal, most delightful human experiences.

Which is why so many of us love Cannabis Flowers- because they are a very, very nice Dizzy. And those pretty little flowers can also be a very potent dizzy. And unlike alcohol drinkers, no Cannabis smoker pretends that getting high is secondary to the taste or aroma. And very few wind up with their heads in the toilet.

Sooooo, although anyone prone to falling down and going boom who still wants to get dizzy with Cannabis or anything else needs to find somewhere safe while they make themselves nice and dizzy, anyone who can still Boogie on while dizzy is free to go and have yourselves a very fine Dizzy day.

It’s just so human to enjoy being dizzy and high, isn’t it?

 


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Why Do So Many Seniors Fear Cannabis?

nofearxPeople in the Cannabis business know that people over 65 are perhaps the largest untapped market for their Cannabis goods and services, and the resistance of many of these Seniors is legendary, even in states where Cannabis is legal for all of their medical, spiritual, creative, and sensual needs. All over the US adults are trying to convince their aging parents to try Cannabis for some of the simple but terrible ills that plague their lives, but without success. It’s fear that is holding them back, and they have been made afraid deliberately.

Whether you’re in the Cannabis business, or you’re a concerned son or daughter, or maybe both, here’s why I think it is going to be hard to reach many of these older people with conventional thinking. Please leave a comment or send me an email with your thoughts and experiences.

People in their late 40s/early 50’s today were toddlers just as the War On Drugs machine went into action. People who are in their 60s/70s today were those kid’s parents. They suffered the WOD propaganda machine running full bore through their psyche.

The War On Drugs worked through the schools by design, so parents and children in the 1970s were continuously subjected to the best behavior modification and propaganda techniques that tax money could buy, which continues quite pathetically today. And speaking of schools, who can forget Nancy Reagan and her screeching “Just Say No” contribution to the WOD of the 1980s. Those poor kids! Those poor parents!

The fear messages proved so effective in the 70s that they have been continually updated decade by decade ever since. Who can forget Crack in the Ghettos? Meth in the Hollers? And now, ta da, Heroin In The Burbs!

But wait! There’s something brand new that will really scare the shit out of you if drugs in the streets don’t do the job. Now we’re giving you Terrorism and Security to worry about. So just like parents in the 70s and 80s and onward permitted – no, insisted – on body searches and blood tests for drugs to keep their kids safe, they are now insisting on total surveillance of every school, to keep the kids safe.

Is the War on Terror any different than the War On Drugs? Well, the actual number of kids per year being killed by strangers, much less terrorists, in schools around the country has never ever been even close to the number of kids killed at home, nor in car wrecks. But using exactly the same “Assassin of Youth” fear tactics that proved so successful in terrorizing people for the War On Drugs, the War On Terror now has bombers and shooters lurking everywhere, and enough crazies are rising to the occasion, that American parents are in full-on fear. They are demanding universal surveillance and armed police in every school. And who can deny them – obviously America is under attack from obscure outside forces who will stop at nothing to destroy the American way of life. So giving up huge chunks of the American way of life in order to protect it from terrorists has once again been sold to the gullible public. And of course American entrepreneurs are ready and able to rise to the challenge of providing 100% security for everyone, and especially for the children.

So, with all this manipulation at every level for decades of their lives, is it any wonder that so many Seniors are, shall we say, leery of Cannabis?

Their raw numbers are huge, any way you cut it. Even segments of the potential, but non-responsive over-65 market for Cannabis products & services are huge. 43 million people live at home with full-time caretakers. That’s some 86 million people in 43 million households living with intense health issues hands-on, day after day.

Many of the things making life most difficult for these 43 million old, sick people and their 43 million caregivers, could be alleviated and even cured in some cases by judicious use of the right Cannabis strains, whether used as beverages, tonics, and foods or as medications, but often best taken by a puff or two of a beautiful Cannabis flower.

My wife and I cared for both our Mothers Laurie and Elizabeth for many years in our home, and we held Elizabeth’s hands when she died. I was also a single parent of a toddler son for years, so I understand what it takes to give care to another person. But I also had to learn to respect the personhood that remains strong even in someone who is growing older and sicker and further from life day after day, over many years, and not to make them feel helpless with my caregiving. Caregiving can be easily consumed with tasks that must be performed by all caregivers, many of them associated with small breakdowns of the body. For so many millions of older people at least some of these little but vastly debilitating health issues like sleep, appetite and mood, don’t have to happen as long as the caregivers, and those cared for, are able to understand the truth about Cannabis as a natural medicine, and equally important, if they understand the healing power of sensual pleasure and how this aspect of Cannabis can give crucially important parts of life back to them. Too many younger people simply assume that old, sick people have forgotten about, and don’t need, sensual pleasures in their lives.

So why don’t Seniors accept what Cannabis can offer them? Why are people over 65 the age group that is most resistant to using Cannabis for healing medicine, let alone for healing pleasure.

We all also know that almost all people over 65 have some level of daily pain, some trouble sleeping, some gut issues, and other conditions that copious amounts of pharmaceuticals aren’t helping, and in the Cannabis industry we know that the right strain of Cannabis used in the right way could treat and even help heal older people suffering in these ways.

The really short answer is – fear. But that fear is many-sided, and can’t be dismissed, or made illegitimate, or over-ridden, or even reasoned with or cleverly avoided by Cannabis growers and manufacturers that want to reach a nice-sized segment of these 100 Million and more fearful Seniors.

As we all know fear gets expressed in a lot of ways, but here are some of the most common ways that millions of Seniors express their fear of Cannabis.

My doctor will think I’m crazy for asking and might turn me in

The federal government still forbids it

It is against my religious beliefs. God forbids it

I don’t know anything about medical marijuana and I don’t want to look foolish

I’m afraid I’ll become addicted

My doctor will find out when they test my blood

I’m afraid I’ll fall

Only addicts and criminals use marijuana

I’m not convinced about marijuana’s medical usefulness

Each of these fears, and all the others so carefully planted and nurtured over decades, can best be addressed with love, compassion and careful questioning and listening. If you are in the Cannabis business, you will have to also address fears like these effectively in order to be successful with seniors. That will also require love, compassion and careful listening on the part of your company if you want to understand and address the largely unrecognized needs of this diverse, suffering group of people.

But if an older person who you love lives near you, and you live where medical Cannabis is legal, and if they are resistant, why not spend a little extra time thinking about why they are fearful. As you know, older people express fear in different ways. Think of what you can do to help them overcome that fear, which only they can do for themselves but which is a lot easier if you have someone you love helping and caring. It may be that one of the finest gifts you can offer to an older person you love would be to help them decide to bring pure, natural Cannabis Flowers into their life, to share a place alongside aspirin in the medicine chest and organic Tea in the pantry.

Some effective pain relief, at least a little better appetite, a little better sleep for sure, more fun listening to music, and more vivid dreams and memories.

From a simple flower? A gift.