(from) “Opium & The Opium Appetite”, published in 1870 by Alonzo Calkins, MD
Editors note: This is Dr. Calkins’ short introductory chapter with some interesting classical references to the Opium Poppy and its widespread medical and popular use in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Chapter I: The Poppy – Its History, Mythic And Traditional
“Pro magna, teste vetustas Creditur.”- Ovid.
“Pauvres humains, qui bonheur attendez, Levez vos coeurs et nos dictes entendez.” – Rabelais
In the ancient mythologies; Greek and Roman, the early existence and use of the Poppy have abundant attestation. Cybele, mother of the gods, is represented on the old monuments as wearing a wreath of poppies, a symbol of fecundity (Jacques).
The Romans accounted the plant a gift of Demeter or Ceres, the goddess of corn, and she is described as bearing a sceptre in one hand, and in the other the symbolic capsule.
Ovid introduces Night advancing with the significant emblem in her coronet: “Interea placidam redimita papavera frontem Nox venit, et secum somnia nigra trahit.”
Somnus also was often painted as reposing upon a bed of snowy poppies. Silius Italicus speaks of him as wandering about by night, scattering from his loaded horn the medicated herb as he passes along: “Curvoque volucris Per tenebras portat medicata papavera cornu.”
Virgil in the Georgics instances the injunction to make an offering of the poppy to the infernal deities for the repose of the manes of Orpheus: “Inferias Orphei Lethaea papavera mittes.”
Catullus adverts to the “Lethaea papavera” and Tibullus to the “medicata papavera.”
Homer, earlier than any of the rest, who dates about 900 b.c., names the poppy among the familiar embellishments of the garden. The poets, careful observers of natural phenomena and faithful chroniclers of antique lore as they ever are, have thus assigned to the poppy a prehistoric existence as also a foremost preeminence. Expede Herculem – allusions thus distinctive and positive must have an origination outside of the mere unsubstantial creations of the poet’s brain.
Diodorus relates that the women of Thebes were acquainted with an herb having properties analogous to those of the poppy certainly, though he does not specify the name. Pliny, while he does not include the poppy in his enumeration of the indigenous products on the Nile border, plainly well understood its virtues, as is evident from the following passage: “Succus papaveris densatur, cui non vis soporifera modo inest, verum si copiosior hauriatur, mortifera per somnos.”
The poppy was evidently known to the Romans at least five centuries before the Christian era, being spoken of by Livy as conspicuous in the gardens of Tarquinius Superbus. Hippocrates, 460 b.c., was acquainted with the same, and among all the physicians and herbalists of his period, the plant ever holds a prominent place. The famous Mithridaticum, which consisted of thirty-six ingredients, and upon which, as a basis, Andromachus, physician to Nero, compounded his Theriaca, contained poppy-extract in large proportion. Here was the Philonium also, an opiated electuary (as commonly supposed, combining hyoscyamus), a compound experimentally known to Plato, who, it appears, was wont to innovate upon his vegetarian habitudes with something more potent than beans and cress. This doughty champion in the van of the philosophers thus turns up in a novel association, as a pioneer to the long line of opium eaters.
Dioscorides, the Linnaeus by anticipation of his day, and Galen, the erudite physician of a period somewhat later, both accord to the poppy a precedent rank.
To Egypt, mother of the ancient civilization and cradle of art, medical writers have from earliest times been prone to point, as having been also the original herbarium of the botanic world. All refer with various speculations to the Nepenthes of the Odyssey as described in Lib. iv. 220. Thirty centuries since it was, as we measure the veiled past, when on the occasion of a nuptial banquet in the halls of Menelaus, at which Telemachus was present as a guest of honor, Helen, the famed in Trojan story, is related to have commingled for the use of her company a cordial of some sort: “A mirth-inspiring bowl, To clear the clouded front of wrinkled care, And dry the tearful sluices of despair” as it would do through twenty-four hours continuously.
The essential element, or what imparted to this liquor its intoxicant virtue proper, has been generally thought to have been a poppy-essence. Such is the view maintained by the learned Sprengel; and Van Swieten indicates his belief in the following passage: “Papaver, instar Helena: Nepenthes, oblivionem omnium malorum inducit.” That the prevalent opinion in the time of Claudian was in accordance with this, is plain from the following significant passage, indicative both of the origin of the plant which affords our opium, and of the primitive mode of preparation. The lines belong to an epithalamium dedicated to Palladius: “Nuiacm pingue desuuat vulnere cortex.”
The Nepenthes, a complex compound, and what Pliny thus adverts to as the “Nobile Nepenthes oblivionem tristitis afferens,” not unlikely, as indeed Dioscoridcs suspected, combined the Cannabis besides.
At the beginning of the present century and later, says Lane, among the common people of Egypt the Cannabis in one or another form, as compared with opium, was in more familiar use; and to this day a wine is made corresponding in character to the description by Dioscorides, and which, mingled with their booza or barley-wine, bears the name of bandji.
In Constantine, Algeria, the fashion at the soirees is to smoke the herb, and also to commingle the wine in their coffee; and thereupon ensues singing and dancing with hilarious extravagance in every way. Galen adverts to a virous liquor made from the seeds of the hemp, a beverage anciently used for its exhilarating inspirations. This much is rendered certain, the Cannabis was a familiar stimulant in the period of the Caliphate.
Very noticeable is the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures, amid references to balsamics and other aromatics, with their confections, make no distinctive allusion to the poppy, nor indeed to any narcotic extract, unless myrrh be so accounted. For such omission there is to be found a measurable explanation, perhaps, in the consideration that the Hebrew family, that “peculiar people” though having sojourned in the land of Egypt, their “house of bondage” for four hundred years, were kept nevertheless by the ruling power carefully segregated from the indigenous race, and under the governance of rigid taskmasters who made their lives “bitter with hard bondage.” The “strong drink” repeatedly spoken of in Leviticus and the prophetic writings was inebriating rather than soporific (Prov. XX-I, and Isa. V.- 11); though myrrhated and absinthiated liquors were employed of old for their recognized stupefactive powers. Vide chap. xxii.
Subject: Old Folks & Your Bottom Line
Whatever Cannabis products your company makes, if you are not including the Seniors market in your strategic planning, and if you are not developing the specific messages, products and support mechanisms needed to reach and penetrate the Seniors market, you are not only missing a great opportunity – you are ceding an enormous part of the market to your competition.
It is natural for Cannabis entrepreneurs to concentrate on the markets they know best – which in many cases means mainly other young people, because a lot of Cannabis entrepreneurs are themselves on the healthy side of 65.
But just because their bodies are old, and their capabilities not what they once were, doesn’t mean that old people cannot become excited, loyal customers for any company that makes the effort to identify and address their special needs and desires.
Because Cannabis and Cannabis products are so relevant to the needs and desires of older people, and because older people are too-often simply being ignored as the Cannabis market is being developed, largely by younger people, those businesses who create quality Cannabis products tailored specifically to the needs and desires of Seniors will not only rake in a large share of the profits to be made in their sector, they will give themselves staying power that will last for decades.
There is a simple reason for this. A person in their 30’s today is going to be a person in their 60’s in the blink of an eye. (Believe me – it happens precisely that fast.) Just as young people create new opportunities for businesses, people growing old creates an equally powerful set of opportunities.
Seniors Need Cannabis & Cannabis Companies Need Seniors
Humanitarian arguments concerning the positive moral value of providing Seniors with loving, caring treatment with Cannabis may not seem relevant to people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who are busy building a Cannabis business. They are rightfully focused on their bottom line and so they are, for the most part, consumed with going after what they see as low-hanging fruit – the tens of millions of young existing Cannabis consumers lusting for new experiences, new products, and new ways to get high.
But that good old bottom line is exactly why smart young businesspeople need to pay attention to the sheer size of the potential Cannabis market for Seniors. Because numbers matter on the bottom line, and even if compassion isn’t part of the formal calculations, its influence is either there or it is not. And it does make a difference – in the case of the Cannabis market for Seniors, it can make a huge difference. Here are some things to consider.
Why Caregiver Demographics Matter
In Fall, 2015 the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP published extensive data that among other things showed that 34 million Americans had provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the prior 12 months. Using a 1:1 ratio that means a cohort of 68 Million people.
Research also consistently shows that more than 50% of people over 50 have a favorable view of medical Cannabis. However, since there are only @ 4 – 5 Million current Cannabis users over age 55, there are a lot more people who could benefit from medical use of Cannabis than are currently using it.
Given the numbers, it is reasonable to project that @ 50% of Senior Caregivers and 50% of the Seniors they are caring for probably have a favorable view of Cannabis as a natural medicine, EVEN THOUGH only a relatively small percentage of those with favorable views are currently using Cannabis.
Don’t you wonder why this is the case? If you have anything to do with the Cannabis industry, you should be thinking about this.
The data tells anyone who cares to look that 30-40 million people who have excellent reasons to be interested in Cannabis as a natural medicine have not yet tried it. Why not? Could it be as simple as this – they might simply need to have more information presented to them in relevant terms, or they may have serious fears that nobody has addressed effectively.
The NAC/AARP 2015 study also shows that: “The majority of caregivers are female (60%), but 40 percent are male. Eight in 10 are taking care of one person (82%). They are 49 years of age, on average. A large majority of caregivers provide care for a relative (85%), with 49 percent caring for a parent or parent-in-law. One in 10 provides care for a spouse. Higher-hour caregivers are almost four times as likely to be caring for a spouse/partner.”
So, a typical caregiver is a woman in their middle age caring full-time for a parent or elderly relative at home, unpaid and largely unappreciated, and subject to their own challenges of boredom, stress, fatigue and declining health. Many of these people are seeking, or would be open to, any solution that will make their job easier and the lives of those they love and care for better.
So, bottom line (there it is again), Cannabis companies, no matter what their products or markets, have an opportunity to expand their vision to address a whole new market of 30—40 million potential customers.
It’s simple to ignore that little fact – because you’re already making tons of money. But then the smart people who are your competitors will eat your lunch. That is the challenge to any business that wants to be a part of the Cannabis community.
There Are Seniors Markets Beyond Caregiver/Patient
There are over 75 Million independent seniors in the US, many with medical issues identical to those of seniors living under care, that can potentially be addressed effectively by Cannabis.
Let’s look at Sleep as an example – a health issue for which the right Cannabis strains are a well-established treatment.
Between 50-70 million Americans, over half of them over 65, have chronic moderate to severe sleep problems, and over 80% of them say they are extremely dissatisfied with the sleeping “medicines” they use. Over 70% of the Google searches for the “sleep aid” category in 2016 were for “natural sleep aid”. Clearly there are a lot of people who need help sleeping, a huge number of them over 65, and they are out there searching for help sleeping, which means they haven’t found anything that works yet, and their searches say clearly that they want natural medicines, not pharmacological poisons.
Properly used, the right Cannabis strains can reduce or eliminate sleep issues for many if not most of those 50-70 million people with moderate to severe sleep problems, both those seniors being cared for and those who are independent.
It may be unnecessary to say this, but that is a whole hell of a lot of people looking for a single type of product – an effective natural sleep aid. Hello?
I Know This Subject Intimately
I have been a caregiver for long periods in my life, first as a single father for 5 years with an infant son, and then later, along with my wife, we cared first for my mother and then for her mother for another 20 years.
Let’s just say that I am quite familiar with every kind of diaper, infant and adult, and I have lost more than my share of arguments over who was going to finish their dinner before getting dessert.
I have also been a Cannabis grower, writer and researcher for over 50 years. I wrote the first book on Marijuana growing in 1969 as well as the first book on making and cooking with healing Cannabis extracts in 1982.
So as I write this blog post I have the benefit of many years of experience both as a caregiver and also with the use of Cannabis Flowers as a natural medicine, a source of pleasure and healing, and a tool for insight and creativity.
What Many If Not Most Seniors Need
Seniors who need supportive care because of poor health or just plain age, as well as many completely independent seniors, share important quality of life issues including poor sleep, poor appetite, chronic pain, diminished memory, and loss of interest.
All of these conditions of old age, especially when combined with poor health, can be treated and in some instances healed with informed use of the right Cannabis strains.
Whether Cannabis Flowers are smoked using a traditional pipe, a fancy bong or as a classic joint, or whether they are used as a strawberry-flavored vapor oil extract or as a nice herbal tonic or tea, there are a lot of choices ofs pleasant and beneficial way for any senior to use Cannabis and there are many good reasons for them to consider the already well-established benefits and proven safety of this natural medicine.
If you are in the Cannabis business, you need to be asking yourself how your products can help make life better for all these people.
Good, relevant information is critically important for caregivers, and seniors who are being cared for, as well as for independent seniors, and for families to come to terms with any issues that seniors in the family have that are preventing them from benefitting from this powerful, safe and effective natural medicine.
Caregivers should seek out “voices of experience” either among their personal networks or on the internet who can offer insights and practical tips for reluctant family members who should be, but are not contemplating the use of Cannabis as a natural medicine.
Among the important questions that Cannabis companies need to be ready to answer are:
Which Cannabis strains are best for helping with sleep, appetite, pain and discomfort, physical relaxation and mental alertness?
How can alternative Cannabis preparations be used to meet special physical needs and personal preferences?
What are some small but important ways that Cannabis can help recapture fading or lost pleasures – enjoying memories, socializing with others, listening to music, eating and drinking, watching movies and reading.
Caregivers deal every day with all the details that it takes to help keep the Cared-For person’s life running as smoothly as possible. It is truly remarkably most of them somehow marshal the energy needed to give the person they are caring for far more than just maintenance – they somehow manage to provide close human contact, trust, warmth and caring.
Intelligent and sensitive use of Cannabis Flowers as a natural medicine can enable even more of that positive energy and spirit to flow between Caregiver and the person they are caring for, just as those same Cannabis Flowers also help treat pressing physical and emotional issues including sleep, appetite, pain and memory.
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)
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.
First, A Short Summary:
Researchers are “just discovering” that Cannabis can control Epileptic seizures (Most recent New England Journal of Medicine)
Researchers have not yet looked at Cannabis for use in Dementia/Alzheimer’s, even though seizures are common and are a leading cause of death in Dementia/Alzheimer’s. (Update 6/19/17) – this has just changed – see this on a new German-Israeli study)
Maybe that’s because while Congress has committed some $5.4 billion this fiscal year to cancer research, about $1.2 billion to heart disease and $3 billion to research on HIV/AIDS, research funding for Alzheimer’s is “only” $566 million. Clearly that’s just not enough for researchers (mostly Big Pharma employees) to look into Cannabis as a treatment.
On a related note, California researchers have just shown that a sleeping sickness drug developed in 1916 can reverse Autism in children; unfortunately, the test group was only 10 kids, and 5 of them were given placebos, and the researchers had to go $500,000 into debt to run the study. Evidently kids with Autism aren’t a big enough deal for Congress. Thoughtful of those researchers to care enough to go ahead though.
And to wrap all this up in a neat little package, I figure it would cost well under $100,000 to show that Coca Leaf can not only control Epileptic seizures (as already well-known and demonstrated in 1881), but probably also Dementia/Alzheimer’s seizures – not even a diagnosed disease in 1881.
So, a drug from 1916 is now “discovered” to cure Autism, after decades of high-dollar research into “new” cures. And Cannabis is discovered to cure Epilepsy, after more decades of research into “new” cures. And an 1881 proven cure for both epilepsy and likely for Dementia/Alzheimers, among many other killer diseases, is illegal. Go figure.
The Full Story
For several years researchers have been zeroing in on Cannabis as a source for potent medicines in treating & preventing epileptic and other kinds of seizures. The latest findings, published May 25, 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that @ 40% of those treated with a CBD-based medicine experienced dramatic improvement in seizure intensity and frequency.
So, let’s put this together with an interesting association between seizures and Dementia/Alzheimer’s. There is plenty of research on this association. Here’s just one example.
“Of the degenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s dementia and amyloid angiopathy are known major causes of seizures. Advanced Alzheimer’s disease has been identified as a risk factor for new-onset generalized tonic-clonic seizures in older adults. It is associated with a 10 percent prevalence of seizures, particularly late in the illness. An increased prevalence of seizures also has been documented with other types of dementia.
So I suppose that it would make sense to investigate whether Cannabis-derived medicines, or perhaps the right strain of Cannabis itself, could be useful in controlling or preventing seizures in Dementia/Alzheimer’s, especially in late-stages of the disease when seizures are a known killer.
I’m sure that researchers are already drafting multi-million dollar grants to study exactly that.
So far, so good. In spite of decades of “Killer Weed” propaganda it looks like scientific minds are finally rising above the lies and finding that, consistent with centuries of well-established knowledge, the natural medicine Cannabis can be helpful in dealing with killer seizures better and with less risk of harm than pharmaceuticals.
But wait! If centuries of medical knowledge regarding the efficacy and safety of Cannabis are now appearing as “new findings” in prestigious medical journals, why not take a look at centuries of medical knowledge regarding the safety and efficacy of Coca Leaf in the same area?
Hmmmm. Could it be that a cup or two of Coca Leaf tea a day might be helpful to people with Dementia/Alzheimer’s – at least in preventing seizures, if not in other ways too. Let’s see. Who would know?
Well, there is a little book entitled “Erythroxylon Coca”, written by By W.S. Searle, MD and published in New York in 1881. (Dr. Searles book is included in its entirety in my ebook “Coca Leaf Papers” available on the sidebar of this post.)
Dr. Searles book is only one of many in which the use of Coca to treat and cure epileptic seizures is covered, but here is what Dr. Searles had to say:
“Coca Leaf & Acute Disease”
“The relations of Coca to acute disease are extremely important. As a physician, I would not be without it under any consideration. How thoroughly will every physician, understand me when I say that we are not seldom compelled to stand by and witness the death of patients who are really better of the disease which destroys them than perhaps at any previous time during their sickness. We are unable to support them, and they die from exhaustion of the vital forces.”
“But in Coca we have a powerful agent, whose disturbing influence over physiological processes is so little felt that it neither interferes with recovery from disease by natural course, nor with the action of remedies. And its sustaining power is so marvelous, that I prophesy that by its help we shall hereafter be able to cure many cases of disease which were otherwise hopeless.”
“I am informed by my colleague, Dr. John L. Moffat, of Brooklyn, that he has had very encouraging results from the use of Coca in hay fever in four instances. Of course, its action here is antipathic, or rather, it probably acts simply by its sustaining power, and by its antipathic relations to asthma. But even an efficient palliative, which can do no harm, will be welcomed by those who are annually visited by this plague.”
“It has been affirmed by some English authorities that Coca is valueless in epilepsy. For myself I can report that, in one instance of the fully-fledged disease, occurring in a middle-aged lady, but in whom the paroxysms did not recur oftener than once in six months, an apparent cure has been effected by means of Coca alone. She has now passed eighteen months without a seizure. I have also more striking reports from some of the members of this society, who report very marked results in several severe cases which would yield to no other remedy.”
“It is too early yet, however, to claim for Coca really curative powers in this terrible disease, which has so long been an “opprobrium medicorum”. Still, it is highly probable that the forms of it used by the English physicians in their trials were inert. This is rendered more than likely by the fact that one of the most expert chemists of New York City carefully searched both France and England during the summer of 1880 for good Coca, and was unable to obtain a single valuable specimen.”
“In view of the fact that all the drugs now ranked as anti-epileptic by the allopathic school of medicine are so injurious to the general health, and in view of the results attained by myself and my colleagues, imperfect as yet though they are, I earnestly urge the faithful trial of Coca in epilepsy.”
Well, about 140 years have passed and where are those “faithful trials” of Coca Leaf for Epilepsy – and incidentally for Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes, Obesity, and a couple of dozen other killer diseases? Nowhere in sight.
Researchers with Ph.D’s and major institutions behind them are getting tens of millions of dollars to “study” Dementia/Alzheimer’s, but not a peep out of the research establishment about Coca Leaf Tea. And, of course, since I’m not in the club I can’t get a grant, even though I could pretty much prove or disprove the efficacy and safety of Coca leaf for Dementia/Alzheimer’s with a few thousand bucks. But as noted, I don’t have a Ph.D. and I’m not a member of the club, so no institution gives a shit what I say.
Hell, maybe I’ll just do a GoFundMe request for a couple of tickets to Bolivia, grab a hundred kilos or so of fresh Coca Leaf, and come home and start handing out Coca Leaf Tea at a church social or two, and maybe a local nursing home. Think I would get past US Customs/DEA? Might actually be a great idea – let them bust me for trying to bring Coca Leaf in for Dementia/Alzheimer’s patients.
I wonder how many members of the US Congress, who make the laws forbidding Coca Leaf coming into the US, have someone in their family with Dementia/Alzheimer’s. (I’m resisting the obvious snide remark here because while it might be accurate it would also be cruel.)
Anyone have any suggestions?
With the ever-present exposure we all get to the modern health care system it’s easy to forget that all this technology is relatively new. Until a few years ago almost all Americans who could do so 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 about how things were always better in small-town America where everybody pulled together and cared about each other. In years past 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 centuries. 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 so many, for whom there was no alternative but the brutal poorhouse or dying alone in the streets.
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 doctors still wish that they could make a decent living doing just that.
We live now in an age when care has become interpreted as technical intervention alone. When a person becomes seriously sick or gets badly injured or simply old and frail they are often 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 during 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 that 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 means 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, if you are very fortunate, 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 you are given to “make you feel better”?
Given the institutional cultures of the current health care system, there is no “feeling better”. The isolation and emotional and spiritual deprivation of the severely ill or merely very old person grows until death by loneliness becomes inevitable.
This is the precise point at which families of sick and elderly people ought to begin taking Cannabis seriously, because this marvelous little flower has the capacity, when given with loving hands to a sick or just plain old and worn out person, to not only treat but even to heal, and most certainly to make a difficult life more bearable. There is so much more to say about the Cannabis option, and I will be posting some of my thoughts on this in coming weeks and months.
But for the moment I simply want to say to all those who have already discovered the healing properties of this little flower of the Gods that you are on the right path, and my hope is that if there are others who you care for and love that you will be able to help them walk this same path to a better world. With no fear.
This is not just an Oregon issue. There is nowhere to hide. Nobody is safe.
Anti-Cannabis forces in other states are watching this new tactic to subvert the will of the people, and they can hardly wait to implement it themselves.
We must work together to stop this new anti-Cannabis tactic in its tracks, before it spreads and destroys what we have all worked so hard to achieve.
We can do just that, because if there has ever been a clear case of a State violating citizens’ rights that are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, this is it.
The “Equal Protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution has, for over a hundred years, been the foundation for compelling fair and equal treatment of citizens by powerful anti-social elements in government at all levels.
The “Equal Protection” clause reads:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
That simple clause gives us all the legal tools we need to defeat the anti-Cannabis conspirators in Oregon, and prevent them from from spreading their poison nationwide.
I want to be clear that I don’t believe that the Oregon State Legislature is anti-Cannabis; these regulations may even be well-meaning on the part of many Oregon legislators and regulators. However, given how the anti-Cannabis forces operate across the country I strongly suspect a “back door” effort here. In either case, the threat is real, and must be addressed.
Here’s why the Oregon Cannabis community needs “Equal Protection”.
Oregon is violating the “Equal Protection” clause by imposing pesticide testing regulations on the Cannabis industry that are not imposed on an absolutely equivalent industry – Big Tobacco. Big Tobacco is free to sell its contaminated products without any testing or regulation, but now the Cannabis industry is being forced to comply with regulations designed to make it impossible to stay in business.
Make no mistake – these pesticide testing laws have nothing to do with protecting peoples’ health, and everything to do with destroying the Cannabis industry in Oregon first, and then in every other state where Cannabis has defeated the forces of darkness.
Of course, nobody can doubt that ethical Cannabis growers want to do everything they can to ensure the health, safety and well-being of people who use their beautiful flowers for medical reasons or for pure pleasure. There is also no doubt that Cannabis growers can be self-regulating with regard to quality, just like the wine industry that is the model for so many businesses in this new field.
But the regulations currently being forced on Cannabis growers by the State of Oregon go far beyond what is necessary to promote health and safety, and the fact that they are imposed on Cannabis growers who are for the greatest part ethical, caring people, but not on an industry that is notorious for literally killing millions of people worldwide with its contaminated, poisonous products, cannot be tolerated or ignored.
By imposing pesticide testing on Cannabis growers but not on “Big Tobacco”, Oregon clearly violates the “Equal Protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. These discriminatory, anti-Cannabis laws hurt everyone in the community – Cannabis producers, Medical Cannabis patients, Recreational Cannabis smokers, physicians and clinics, dispensaries and retailers.
The State of Oregon must be forced to grant “Equal Protection” to the Cannabis Industry immediately before further irreversible harm and damage is done.
I believe strongly that the State of Oregon will never be willing (or able) to impose pesticide testing requirements on the Tobacco industry comparable to what they have imposed on the Cannabis industry, and so because of the legal pressure that can be brought to compel the State to apply the “Equal Protection” clause, they will back off of the Cannabis industry and agree that self-regulation is more fair than broad, compulsory testing, and is an equally effective model for Oregon. If we can accomplish this in Oregon, other states will follow.
We can only do this once we have demonstrated that Tobacco products are contaminated with far more dangerous pesticide and agri-chemical residues than the relatively minor issues found so far with some Cannabis growers. At that point the State will have a clear choice, and Cannabis industry self-regulation will become the clear choice for Oregon legislators.
We Can Do This By Working Together!
We can compel Oregon to comply with the “Equal Protection” clause through legal action, and to accept that there are other, better, voluntary ways for the Oregon Cannabis industry to act together to ensure the health and well-being of the entire Oregon Cannabis community. I am hearing from readers that a solution that they would prefer is for the Oregon Legislature to put in place a properly funded provision that would enable Cannabis growers to voluntarily submit samples for testing and at the same time certify that they have not used any pesticides in growing their crop. This would earn them a provisional OK to go ahead with selling the crop, which could then be certified when testing was completed. Better yet, some suggest, would be for the Legislature to put a surcharge on the entire industry, from grower to consumer, which would be used to pay for all testing rather than imposing the costs just on growers.
The full plan & the strategy for the successful defeat of these obscene laws are explained in detail on a Go Fund Me campaign set up to enable me to work with Oregon growers to make this happen.
Please help to end this travesty in Oregon before it does irreparable harm to the Oregon Cannabis community, and before it spreads like a cancer to other states. You can bet that the anti-Cannabis forces in all those states are watching Oregon carefully, and salivating.
You can also donate right here, without bothering to read the full story on my Go Fund Me website. Every penny will go to this fight. Thank you!