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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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Forest Bathing Scientifically Validates The Cannabis Entourage Effect

Introduction

The extensively-studied phenomenon known as “Forest Bathing” in Japan and South Korea and as “Kneipp Therapy” in Germany involves exposure to high concentrations of naturally-occurring aerosolized phytochemicals in conifer & deciduous forests.

This natural treatment for conditions ranging from asthma to dermatitis has been documented and validated by a raft of high-quality medical and scientific research.

There is no question that “Forest Bathing” has therapeutic benefits. For example, positive effects on NK (Natural Killer) cell activity have been shown with in vitro treatment of tumor cell lines with monoterpenes released from trees (and of course present in Cannabis flowers) such as d-limonene and α-pinene, and also in forest bathing trips. The anti-tumor effects act by increasing intra-cellular levels of anti-tumor proteins such as perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B.

Haven’t heard of “Forest Bathing”? I hadn’t either until I ran across it during some intense research into naturally-occurring environmental Cannabis terpene aerosols. The ancient Japanese natural health practice called “Shinrin Yoku”, defined as “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing”, has a wide range of rigorously tested and proven health benefits.

In 2005 the Japanese government introduced a nationwide “Therapeutic Effects of Forests Plan” that pays “Forest Bathing” health benefits. The government says that it pays for this therapy because of the proven reduction in other health care costs across the spectrum.

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, with variations among the terpenes in different species of trees at different locations accounting for differences in the health benefits of inhalation of forest air.

They have divided the country into numerous micro-climes where particular combinations of coniferous tree species co-exist and perfume the air, each location offering a particular healing, stimulating mix of terpenes and other phytochemicals.

Interestingly, the dominant terpenes in the air of these forests are the same terpenes that characterize different Cannabis strains and the same kinds of variability in Cannabis strains similarly account for their differing health benefits.

There is also a natural medicinal therapy in Germany called “Kneipp Therapy”, that involves a series of exercise routines done in a terpene-rich forest environment. Kneipp Therapy has been studied using quality clinical research protocols and the exercises have been found to be significantly more beneficial when performed in a forest environment compared to other kinds of locations. 

So, it’s both very interesting and very significant for establishing the validity of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect” that the dominant terpene profiles of all of the therapeutic forests studied in the Japanese and Korean “Forest Bath” scientific literature (cited below) appear to be various combinations of myrcene, pinene, limonene, linelool, and a number of less-celebrated but still important Cannabis terpenes like cynene, terpinene and boneal. There are many other “minor” phytochemicals shared between the airborne perfumes of Cannabis flowers and therapeutic forests, and almost certainly many of these will ultimately be shown to play significant roles in both the Forest and the Cannabis “Entourage Effect”.

Bottom line – I believe that there is an inescapable argument in favor of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect” presented by the “Forest Entourage Effect”, which itself is definitively established in international, if not US, scientific and medical literature.

Discussion:

There has been extensive research in multiple advanced countries on the health benefits of exposure by inhalation and skin absorption to the airborne terpenes in forest environments – interestingly enough, these turn out to be the same terpenes that are inhaled in the vapors from Cannabis flowers.

“Forest Bathing” research establishes that inhaling a naturally-occurring mix of terpene emissions or vapors has far greater health benefits than exposure to or ingestion of any of the terpenes and other phytochemicals singularly, like in a pill or other oral or topical medication.

Cannabis visionaries have always known that the THC was only one element of the sensual pleasures and only one of the sources of health benefits from the sacred flower, just as wine lovers have always known that the alcohol is only a relatively small part of their total experience. Nobody drinks a bottle of Etude Pinot Noir or Chateau Pomerol Bordeaux for the alcohol, and nobody chooses which Cannabis flower to enjoy simply on the basis of THC content, although that approach seems to dominate much of today’s adolescent-style Cannabis marketing. Even the most dedicated couch-locked stoner knows very well that there is a world beyond THC and may spend a lot of time (if they’re not too ripped)  thinking about taste and aroma options when they’re choosing between Durban Poison and Granddaddy Purple.

However, the concept of a Cannabis “Entourage Effect” has been universally ridiculed by anti-Cannabis forces who say that the supposed variety of effects of different Cannabis strains is simply a kind of mass delusion.  They claim that there is no evidence that different phytochemical profiles of different Cannabis strains signal different health and well-being effects, and say that in their expert, informed scientific opinion such observations are imaginary. While their criticisms are couched in the careful, apparently rational language of science, and even rated a major article in Scientific American in 2017, all of the criticisms amount to a simple “It’s all in your head” dismissal.

In other words, the anti-Cannabis establishment says tough, there’s no scientific evidence to support your claim, and there’s not going to be any evidence either because we aren’t going to fund research.

Well, I’ve got some news for these die-hard prohibitionists.

OK, they have managed to impede research that could validate many of the medical benefits of the whole Cannabis Flower as opposed to plain old THC extract. With notable medical research exceptions, many of the health and sensual benefits ascribed to the Cannabis Flower are currently only validated by experience and consensus, both of which the scientists are fond of reminding us can be way off target. They point to the flat earth delusion, or to many other instances where “everybody knows” something that simply isn’t true, and smugly point out that nobody can prove all these marvelous things we’re saying about Cannabis.

It’s hard to find a reasonable explanation of why the Federal government has arrayed its dark-side powers against the Cannabis flower, but in this match between the Flower and the Power it’s beginning to look like the Power is going to lose this one because Forest Bathing research actually provides plenty of evidence . The research unequivocally supports the validity of the “Entourage Effect” by demonstrating that naturally-occurring environmental terpene and phytochemical aerosols do have measurable, verifiable positive impacts on overall health as well as on specific diseases and conditions, and do vary among forest tree species and environments in the same ways that Cannabis flowers vary among strains in response to environmental variables.

Forest Bathing research is directly applicable to validating the “Entourage Effect” of Cannabis terpenes and phytochemicals that are widely observed but, according to the Federal propagandists,  not “scientifically verified”. As an example, there is solid research that says that terpene emissions from plants are directly correlated with the concentration of terpenes in the plant. The higher the concentration of terpenes, the greater the emissions from the plant. “Forest Bathing” research naturally focuses on terpene emissions from coniferous and to a lesser degree deciduous trees, but the relationship between terpene concentrations and emission rates has been widely replicated in studies with agricultural crops and seems to apply to all plants.

The bottom line is that clinical literature as well as popular wisdom in several countries points to the health benefits of inhaling and “bathing in” an atmosphere rich in terpenes and other phytochemicals. While the health benefits of many of the individual components of this phyto-soup are only recently becoming well-known, the benefits of exposure to the entire environmental complex of a pine/conifer forest are familiar to anyone who has ever walked outdoors that first morning in a forest campground.

A recent study concluded: “Exposure to natural environment is beneficial to human health. Among environmental exposures, the effects of forest have been emphasized in many studies. Recently, it has been shown that a short trip to forest environments has therapeutic effects in children with asthma and atopic dermatitis. Based on these studies, healthcare programs to use forest have been developed in several countries. Forest bathing has beneficial effects on human health via showering of forest aerosols. Terpenes that consist of multiple isoprene units are the largest class of organic compounds produced by various plants, and one of the major components of forest aerosols. Traditionally, terpene-containing plant oil has been used to treat various diseases without knowing the exact functions or the mechanisms of action of the individual bioactive compounds.”

So, it’s clear that relaxing for a few hours in a forest environment filled with terpenes can be beneficial and even therapeutic for people with a wide range of diseases and conditions from dermatitis to cancer. Do a simple internet search for “forest bathing’ and you’ll find books, resorts, videos and even classes. But enter “cannabis bathing” into a search and you’ll get bath salts, bubble bath, and a lot of fruit-flavored massage and lubricating oils.

For the past year or so I have been exclusively using a vaporizer to enjoy Cannabis flowers and I can add my experiences to the observations of many others that whole flower Cannabis vapor is a marvelous clean, natural high which, now that I realize it, is almost exactly like stepping out of my tent high in the pine forests of the Oregon Cascades and inhaling that first breath of vibrant, aromatic, high-energy mountain air.

So in my opinion all this research on “Forest Bathing” makes the smug “You can’t prove it and we’re not going to let you” chant of the anti-Cannabis “scientists” pretty much irrelevant. Sooner or later there will actually be research on every aspect of inhaled and absorbed Cannabis terpenes and other phytochemicals but until then the parallel research on Forest Bathing should be more than adequate scientific evidence for any reasonable person of the validity of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect”.

Selected Bibliography

Frumkin H. Beyond toxicity: human health and the natural environment. Am J Prev Med. 2001;20:234–240. doi: 10.1016/S0749-3797(00)00317-2. [PubMed]

Tsunetsugu Y, Park BJ, Miyazaki Y. Trends in research related to “Shinrin-yoku” (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010;15:27–37. doi: 10.1007/s12199-009-0091-z. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Seo SC, Park SJ, Park CW, Yoon WS, Choung JT, Yoo Y. Clinical and immunological effects of a forest trip in children with asthma and atopic dermatitis. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015;14:28–36. [PubMed]

Spievogel I, Spalek K. Medicinal plants used in pediatric prophylactic method of Sebastian Kneipp. Nat J. 2012;45:9–18.

Joos S, Rosemann T, Szecsenyi J, Hahn EG, Willich SN, Brinkhaus B. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in Germany: a survey of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006;6:19. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-6-19. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Kawakami, K., Kawamoto, M., Nomura, M., Otani, H., Nabika, T., & Gonda, T. (2004). Effects of phytoncides on blood pressure under restraint stress in SHRSP. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 31, S27–S28.

Li, Q., Kobayashi, M., Wakayama, Y., Inagaki, H., Katsumata, M., Hirata, Y., Hirata, K., Shimizu, T., Kawada, T., & Park, B. (2009). Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 22, 951–959.

Li, Q. (2010). Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 15, 9–17.

Ormeño, E., Gentner, D. R., Fares, S., Karlik, J., Park, J. H., & Goldstein, A. H. (2010). Sesquiterpenoid emissions from agricultural crops: correlations to monoterpenoid emissions and leaf terpene content. Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 3758–3764.

Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Kasetani T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010;15:18–26. doi: 10.1007/s12199-009-0086-9. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Song C, Ikei H, Miyazaki Y. Physiological effects of nature therapy: A review of the research in Japan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016;13:E781. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13080781. [PMC free article] [PubMed]


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Terrorists? Homeland? Militants? Freedom Fighters? WTF?

Kathe Kollwitz – Death Takes The Children

Way too many people now accept the concepts of Terrorists and Terrorism without question, so maybe it’s time to think about how and why certain words are imposed on our minds. I think it’s called “managing perceptions”.

For example – did anyone in America think of our country as “The Homeland” before government propagandists coerced the mainstream media into using the term endlessly, and re-named every possible government agency and function as Homeland this and that? The Nazi propagandists would be proud that their legacy lives on.

And then there’s all those wars and military operations with catchy names designed to hide their true nature. “Operation Enduring Freedom” and pathetic shit like that.

So, to the subject of this post. Can anyone enlighten me on exactly when a particular group is to be called “militants”, “terrorists”, or “freedom-fighters”? I would really like to know who I should be hating on. Hate needs a target, doesn’t it?

Most people, whether informed or not, reasonably accept the idea that people who deliberately target, maim and kill vulnerable men, women and children, and who intentionally inflict fear, pain, suffering and death, are properly called “Terrorists”, and their actions are properly termed “Terrorism”.

We all hate and fear Terrorists, don’t we, and of course we all support the idea that “all options are on the table” to deal with them, right? We all want to do the right thing. Naturally. What “true patriot” wouldn’t feel that way?

But whoa there little patriot podners – let’s back up for a moment. I have a few questions here.

Don’t governments routinely inflict fear, pain, suffering and death upon vulnerable people in their own and other countries? Sure, they use organizations called “the military” and “law enforcement” to legitimatize their actions, but so what? We should, but don’t generally ask – what is the motive? What is the proper term for the people who commit these acts under cloak of being a “government”?

Don’t corporations routinely inflict fear, pain, suffering and death upon vulnerable people in their own and other countries? Sure, they use a metaphor called “business” to legitimatize their actions, but so what? We should, but don’t generally ask – what is the motive? What is the proper term for the people who commit these acts under cloak of “business”?

Don’t powerful and wealthy people routinely inflict fear, pain, suffering and death upon vulnerable people in their own society and worldwide? Sure, they use legal fictions like “politics” to disguise and hide their actions, but so what? We should, but don’t generally ask – what is the motive? What is the proper term for the people who commit these acts under cloak of being “the ruling classes”?

Don’t financial institutions routinely inflict fear, pain, suffering and death upon vulnerable people in their own countries and worldwide? Sure, they use a metaphor called “the economy” to legitimatize their actions, but so what? We should, but don’t generally ask – what is the motive? What is the proper term for the people who commit these acts under cloak of “managing the economy”?

Don’t religious institutions routinely inflict fear, pain, suffering and death upon vulnerable people in their own countries and worldwide? Sure, they use a metaphor called “God” to legitimatize their actions, but so what? We should, but don’t generally ask – what is the motive? What is the proper term for the people who commit these acts under cloak of “the will of God”?

All of these institutions, groups, institutions and organizations deliberately inflict fear, pain, suffering and death in service of their own agenda. Every one of them. They justify what they do in the name of something that they have carefully arranged to be perceived as socially acceptable – even beneficial. After all, government, business, money, and God are all good, right?

Somebody, I forget just who, said “By their deeds ye shall know them.” Seems to me that if it acts like a Terrorist, creating fear, pain, suffering and death, then it’s a Terrorist.

So, if the actual deeds of all these self-proclaimed good guys are terrorism, even if they try to hide their true nature under another name, then aren’t they revealed as Terrorists simply by their deeds?

All of these closet terrorist organizations that want to be seen as legitimate work tirelessly to distract the public mind by creating a special category composed of “Islamic radicals”, whose images and actions can easily be manipulated using the “Big Lie” technique.

The Big Lie has to be simple, because it is the simple-minded who are the targets. Government, business, wealth, military, church, and God – good. Terrorists – bad. Radical Islam – really, really bad. (Wrong God)

But – what if enough people stopped buying into the underlying agenda of the institutional use of words “Terrorist” and “Homeland” and started calling these people designated as radical Islamic terrorists – whose acts are truly despicable – something like “Revolutionaries”? 

That word has a whole different set of connotations, and none of these meanings can be co-opted by governments, corporations, the wealthy, banks, or churches – because all of them try hard to portray themselves as “good guy” revolutionaries. Clearly there’s no such thing as a good-guy “Radical Islamic Terrorist”.

Revolutionaries, on the other hand, can be good. Revolutionary deodorants. Revolutionary erectile dysfunction drugs. Revolutionary Coca Cola. 

No question about it – revolutionaries can be bad, especially political and economic revolutionaries. These revolutionaries engage in all the evil that those who they are fighting also engage in, and even though they may claim superior motives and morality, history has shown that most political/economic revolutionaries are simply thugs, like those they fight against. But even that kind of Revolutionary is different from a Terrorist, and so from time to time it suits even the ruling classes to portray themselves as revolutionaries, but never as terrorists.

Words matter, and the words “Terrorism” and “Terrorists” are an outstanding example of “The Big Lie” technique at work. We here in America – not the “Homeland”, but America – should be smart enough to not fall for the Big Lie technique – again. But, evidently, we are collectively not that smart.

That too is deliberate strategy.

Dumb them down, drug them up, keep them poor, make them hate each other, scare the shit out of them, control what they think, grab all the money and power and rule forever.

Works for the closet terrorists. Always has. Always will.

 

 

 

 


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War On Drugs: $5-7 Trillion In Damage To Children

KKDeathChild
“Death Comes For A Child”, Kathe Kollwitz, 1934

Children of parents incarcerated under drug laws suffer injuries so severe and so devastating that if their case could be brought before a jury they would be compensated at the same level as a quadriplegic child victim of a drunk driver.

The masterminds behind the US War On Drugs have always sold it on the basis of the terrible costs that drugs impose on innocent children. But quite the opposite is true – it is the Police State and its vicious drug laws that make criminals out of parents and thereby impose horrific, life-crippling costs on millions of their children.

Approximately 500,000 of the 900,000+ parents in US State & Federal prison in any given year are there for drug-related crimes. The 1,000,000+ children of these Drug Law prisoners are especially victimized because the crime under which their parents are imprisoned does not exist in nature.

Even in the most remote societies on earth, murder is murder and theft is theft. These are natural crimes, and are universally punished. But drug crimes only exist when governments create them, a process that is historically corrupt and self-serving.

Illegitimate government agencies that injure children while exercising illegitimate authority based on an illegitimate legal structure ought to be held accountable, even if that means simply calculating and naming the harm that these thugs in suits and uniforms do to children.

Most of us know that the Drug Laws cost our American society $100 Billion a year in state and federal “drug fighting” budgets, but my goal in this post is to out one of the rarely-considered costs of the WOD – the lifetime costs of the predictable and preventable damage done to children and families of parents imprisoned under these laws.

The Lifetime Damage Done To Children

The research is unequivocal. Kids with parents in prison face greater exposure than parented children to an array of harmful events and experiences that have lifetime consequences including early violent death. These kids suffer far more than their parented peers from early pregnancy, dropping out of school, gang involvement, a juvenile arrest record, lifetime poor health, risky sexual and chemical behavior, unemployment, and lifetime dependence on social services. Whatever life was like before their parent was imprisoned, it is far worse these kids afterwards.

It is unfair that any children suffer because of the crimes of their parents, but there is a difference between children of parents who, for example, commit violent deadly crimes and children of people imprisoned for drug crimes.

Children of violent criminals lose their parents as a result of their parents’ wrongdoing, and what happens to these children isn’t right, or just, but it isn’t the result of a corrupt government system. But children who lose parents imprisoned under the drug laws are victimized not by their parents but by a corrupt, entrenched system.

Neither the crime nor the agencies and courts nor the cartels nor the pervasive exploitation of the poor would exist if not for these Drug Laws. And neither would the damage that Drug Laws do to the children of those who are illegitimately imprisoned under those laws.

IncarceratedParentConsequences

Hey Kid – What’s Your Life Worth?

If your parent is imprisoned because of drug laws, and especially if that person is your only parent, then your life probably isn’t worth a whole lot. Here are some of the reasons why – and good luck kid.

  1. You’re probably going to earn a lot less in your lifetime than your parented counterparts
  2. You will probably be sexually abused and physically mistreated or assaulted by adults multiple times.
  3. You’re are more likely to be a victim of violent street crime than your parented counterparts
  4. You will also be more likely to commit violent crime than your parented counterparts
  5. You’re health will probably never be good and you will probably die young
  6. You will probably have low social and communications skills and will not be able to develop support networks
  7. You will probably live in blighted and polluted surroundings
  8. You will probably have low self-esteem and be victimized by others
  9. You will probably have a juvenile and then an adult police record
  10. You will probably have multiple sexual contacts resulting in pregnancy
  11. If you are male you will probably not take a role in your children’s lives; if you are a female you will probably be a single mother
  12. Your children and grandchildren are more likely be born neurologically & physically damaged than those born to your parented counterparts

Since the rise of the Police State founded on Drug Laws in the early 1970s approximately 5 to 7 Million children have had parents imprisoned because of these laws. Many if not most of these children have experienced the life just outlined, and incurred the resulting lifetime injuries, as a direct result of having their parent imprisoned under Drug Laws.

So, what would the damages to their lives be worth, in a sane world?

If a child is horribly injured and crippled for life as a consequence of a deliberate malicious act of a person or institution, society’s laws typically hold that person or institution to be both criminally and civilly liable for the injuries they caused to the child. There is no reason at all why the government, institutional and corporate Drug Law predators and beneficiaries shouldn’t be held accountable for the injuries they have caused over the past 50 years.

There is a lot of precedent for assigning legal liability to governments and institutions as well as to individuals, groups and organizations for injury that they cause. Specifically, compensating children for harm done to them under the legal cover provided by criminally negligent private and public institutions is well established. For examples we need look no further than the huge sums paid as War Crimes compensation by governments for atrocities committed by their military forces, the Billions paid by corporate criminals worldwide as civil – rarely criminal – penalties for their desecration of human environments and lives, and the enormous sums paid by Catholic Dioceses around the world to compensate victims for the crimes against their childhood by pedophile priests.

Which brings us back to the roughly 1 million children in any given year in the US who have lost their parent – often their only parent – to the drug law system. Is there a reasonable figure for the damage done to each of these children by the Drug Laws and if so, what is it?

Given that some children of Drug Law prisoners suffer more severely than others. Some are rendered into the equivalent of a lifetime quadriplegic by having a parent taken away, while others are cared for by other loving adults until their parent can return and suffer only minor damage. It is impossible to say how many of the 1 Million children of imprisoned parents in a given year will suffer severe damage, but another glance at the first table in this post would suggest that 50-75% of them may well be traumatized for life by what they are forced to endure by the Drug Laws.

So would an average of $1 Million per child be too much compensation for the suffering, pain, and a lifetime of potential productivity and happiness taken away from 1 Million children by the false imprisonment of their parent under Drug Laws?

Would anyone be satisfied with a $1 Million jury award for a child made quadriplegic by a drunk driver or turned into a vegetable by being sexually assaulted and beaten?

Probably not. $1 Million is probably ridiculously low. So since it is way too conservative, let’s use $1 Million as a basis for calculating the total cost of the War On Drugs in terms of damage to children.

A number of research studies agree that the total number of children of parents imprisoned under the Drug Laws since the early 1970s is between 5-7 Million children.

Assuming an average of $1 Million in lifetime damages per child, this means that the War On Drugs has caused between $5-$7 Trillion in total damages to children and families since its most recent incarnation began in the early 1970s.

That $5-$7 Trillion is real money lost to millions of children over their lifetimes. Their loss is certainly as real as the loss to a child who is permanently injured in an accident. That $5-$7 Trillion is not simply income and opportunity that these children will collectively lose because they will never have the opportunity to obtain it, it is a cost also born by the greater society. When the children of prisoners suffer their loss, society also suffers that loss because it represents the productivity, health and well-being of that person that will never be realized and in far too many cases they become a social welfare burden.

The damage and lifetime costs to each child victim of the War On Drugs begin the moment that prison cell door slams behind their Mommy or Daddy just as surely as the damages and lifetime costs begin the moment a drunk slams into a child on a bike.

In Conclusion

If I seem to be stretching things a bit with the notion that the US government has been assaulting millions of parents under false pretext for nearly 50 years with its War On Drugs and in the process crippling millions of their children for life, please reflect on how many children the US military assaults, cripples and kills by self-proclaimed “accident” or as admitted and excused “collateral damage” every year around the world. Is this a government that is above feeding off the lives of its weakest and poorest?

While the Drug Law structure is solidly entrenched and fully institutionalized, especially at the federal level, it ultimately has no legitimacy except for what comes out of the barrel of a gun.

In the next part of this ongoing series of posts I plan to calculate the economic loss imposed on those tens of millions of people around the world who must endure the hell on earth of violence, crime, poverty and degradation that has been created not by the evil of drugs, as generations of propagandists have claimed, but by the evil and devastating Drug Laws that have been endlessly promoted and often imposed on other countries by the US government.