Sunday, 13 July 2014

Countering Kevin A. Sabet's 7 Myths of Cannabis

This blog post is attempting to counter THIS article by Kevin A. Sabet, Director of the Drug Policy Institute in Florida.  I reference the above often.

I must say, it's been a while since I read something quite so black&white and super-sterilized as the writings of Kevin A. Sabet regarding Cannabis.  I honestly didn't know it was possible that such a young man could be this out of touch with reality.  And I don't even mean that in the condescending way that it sounds. I think that about 75% of society buys into this idea that the Foundations and Organizations that are in place, are proven to be factual and up to date.  A thorough internet search of socially accepted and assumed authorities in areas of expertise, oftentimes gives us antiquated views that will never be changed regardless of how many studies disprove them.  Take the foundations that mention Cannabis, they will never change their official statements until the Federal Governments legalize this plant, effectively removing it from the CDSA and the CSA. This is what makes Kevin A. Sabet a danger to the legalization/ personal freedom cause.

So ... let's counter this list shall we?

#1) I can't become addicted to Cannabis:

Well now, that's a nice start eh?  The addiction question always irks me for several reasons.  There are different types of addiction out there.  But nobody that is telling you that Cannabis is addictive, is going to distinguish between the types.  It doesn't suit his agenda.  The real McCoy of addiction is the kind that will make you shit your pants if you don't ingest it.  Physical addiction.  Where every cell in your body thinks it needs what you've been giving it.  This does not happen with Cannabis. To anyone.

If I have to go along with this idea that some people are addicted to Cannabis, then fine.  But it is the type of addicted that some people have to Salted Licorice, Dark Chocolate, or Cool Ranch Doritos.  I have this intermittently throughout my everyday life.  I always have.  I become addicted to a kind of food, like pancakes and then eat them every day for weeks.  Most recently, it's been Peanut Butter Brownies from Card's Bakery.  Willard's Oatmeal cookies were all I was about many moons ago.  Willard's daughter was my neighbor, and I almost called her to bring some home for me on several occasions because I used to crave them like a fiend!  When fresh, they are better than sex~ sorry hunni.

Further to the addiction sillyness.  Society and Governments have proven quite efficiently that a substance's 'addictive properties' is not really their concern.  Tobacco, Coffee, Alcohol ... three substances whose addictive properties have never been argued, are legal and widely advertised for all~even our youth~ to see and be influenced by.  Of the three, Coffee is particularly worrisome because it's widely sold to youth that can easily say it's for a parent.  In goes the sugar or even worse the artificial sweetener, if it wasn't already a Cafe Mocha, and out comes an enormous rise in Diabetes and endocrine disruption symptoms such as fatigue and lethargy.

Cannabis in all of it's organic forms is safer from an addiction standpoint than all of the above.

2)  Today's Cannabis is the same old Woodstock weed my parents used.

Another great topic of discussion that is burdened with half-truths, ignorance, and propoganda all wrapped up in a starchy wrap of misunderstanding. This is nothing but dangerous rhetoric, as nobody can really prove what strains were smoked at Woodstock. There is actually more than one way to counter this one.  We can talk about what my buddy THC really does.  And we can talk about what my other buddy CBD really does. I could show you that together as a team, they sound better than Gladys and the Pips.

But no, there is a much clearer way to prove that Sabet is completely out-to-lunch on this one.  And it's really not his fault. How the heck is he supposed to know that the strains that have a higher THC count take much longer to grow? Yet it's true.  There are two main classes of strains.  Indica and Sativa.  Sativa's have the highest THC count of the two.  In the ideal environment, Sativa's can grow into veritable trees!  They are the strains that take patience and kid gloves. They do better in stable climates with very slow changing seasons, making them better for outdoor growth.

Enter prohibition ... enter supply and demand ... enter capitalism.  This all pushed the grows indoors and underground where trees are really just too much to deal with.  So, out the window went all the Sativa strains, and in went the Indica strains.  Even today, many experienced growers still grow predominantly Indica strains like Kush varieties because they are small, bushy, and relatively easy to grow.  Therefore, Sabet stating that THC counts have risen, is completely counter to all economically historical fact.  Ease of growth and capitalism is what has decided which strains saturate our markets.  After all, growers are in it for the money.  So they could grow a plant that is ready to sell in a mere two months, or they could grow one that will be ready for sale in twice that long.  Which are they going to grow?  Therefore the fact is, THC rates in black market Cannabis have not risen, they've declined because the money demanded it.

I would even hazard to state that many of the strains smoked at Woodstock were Sativa strains because the "Hippy movement" was engrossed with grassroots chemists and gardening geniuses.  These are the people who proved that singing, stroking, or simply being in the presence of your garden increases it's output.  By the way, the white-coats have since proven this to be true.  And truly, if the THC count in the ganga smoked at Woodstock was anywhere near 1%, the pics and vids we admire today would have been much less exciting.  After all, dancing around with flowers in your hair isn't exactly what a strong Kush variety is going to make you wanna do.  Woodstock was full of energy and activity;  not sedation and sleepy-time!

3)  Smoking Cannabis once in a while won't harm me.

This is another one that simply kills me every time.  I mean, we live in a society that eats crap.  Food manufacturers put artificial sweetener in almost everything ~ artificial sweetener that was created by replacing three hydrogen-oxygen groups with three atoms of chlorine on the sucrose molecule.  No worries, they've done some kind of magic voodoo spell on it that keeps the chlorine from breaking down until you piss it out.  Ya right.  Isn't chlorine the thing that sterilizes everything it touches?  We are fed more toxic substances in our everyday food, than you could ever get from ingesting organically-grown Cannabis.  Smoking that first ciggy is a right of passage these days, and there are over 400 man-made chemicals in that tobacco.  A quick internet search even provides study after study proving that simply parking underground these days is harmful to your lungs.  They've tested that air!

But Sabet is pushing the mental illness theory.  Aw yes ... let's delve into my world for a moment.  I am one of the millions of people on this planet with mental illness who consume Cannabis to treat it.  I tried the pills.  I fell in the crevice.  And when I tried to crawl out, I realized I was addicted to those pills.  I now have brain damage from them.  Though time and Cannabis is healing it.  My childhood memories bubble up to the surface now;  when on those pills they could not be found.

Sabet blames early Cannabis use for high school drop outs and people who didn't go to College.  I'd love to know how 'successful' and satisfied with their lives, those kids are today.  I mean, for many of us Cannabis provoked question after question.  I'm not being hippy-dippy when I say that Cannabis provokes deep thought.  It provokes new thought.  For many teens, the bullshit of high school in all it's boring melodrama and unnecessary assignments just drives them over the edge once they start thinking outside the box.  But that's not to say that those kids didn't grow up to be very successful and happy adults.  Take a look at your CD tower, your computer programs, and your book shelves.  They are filled with people who ingested Cannabis~as teens and adults~ and lived successful lives.  The POTUS for one.

Perhaps Sabet hasn't read THIS study from Harvard Medical School that finds little support for the claim of linking Schizophrenia and Cannabis use.  It goes on to state that though Cannabis "may have an effect of age of onset of Schizophrenia, it is unlikely to be the cause of the illness."  It could even be argued that learning you have this disease early rather than later, may be beneficial in itself.

I'd like to add that there's a reason that behind pain control and side effect management, the most common illness for which many Medical Marijuana Licenses were given is Depression.  Millions of us can't be wrong.

4)  Cannabis is not Tobacco (thank Goddess!) ... it won't harm my lungs.

This is one that should be screamed from the rooftops.  And yet, every medical professional working in today's medical fields will tell you that Cannabis is much more damaging than Tobacco.  I remember not twenty years ago when my best friend Robin graduated in Nursing from the University of Ottawa.  They taught her that smoking one joint was the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes.  Utterly ridiculous and yet still taught to this day.  Just check out the "proof" Sabet uses for this myth.  It's straight from the American Lung Association.  Once again, though studies like THIS ONE exist which find no evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy Cannabis smoking, the American Lung Association is never going to change it's official stance until things change Federally.

I feel it absolutely pertinent to address the issue of mixing these two products.  In the beginning, even I used to mix Tobacco with Cannabis.  It helps your stash last by beefing up your bowls and doobies.  And ... it makes you higher.  Now, I dare say this yes, though I hope nobody reads this and immediately goes home to experiment.  That is not the influence I want this piece to have!  It's been proven that certain Cannabinoids open up the Alveoli in the lungs.  These precious sacs are the deepest parts of our lungs.  Opening them up would be a healthy thing, if you weren't also smoking Tobacco.  Now the sacs are open and collecting all of that crap~ 400 chemicals, tar, nicotine.  It's bad news.  Many people who mix, wake up to cough up huge globs of dark phlegm.  Overnight their lungs worked that crap up.  I never cough up in the morning, and if ever I do throughout the day, it's crystal clear.  Prohibition is keeping dangerous secrets like this, hidden from kids.  We need to come clean with them.

5)  I can't die from Cannabis use.  (Finally!!  Someone who has read the literature too!)

These days, people live to be in their nineties.  And people die in childhood.  Did you know that some kids are allergic to Chick Peas these days?  Precious Garbanzo Beans .... to never feel the bliss point of hummus, is to not have fully lived!  Patients die from the mistakes of a whole surgical team~ did you count the sponges?  Children have died after getting routine vaccinations~ why won't she stop crying? And finally, people die from normal every day things like tums or drinking too much water.  In the U.S. alone, 18,000 people die yearly from accidents at home, 6000 of which include falling, and 5000 of which are caused by contraindicating under and over the counter medications.
Let's officially tuck the 'death thing' in okay?

What would be really effective, is if Sabet would put some action to his words.  He states that "like tobacco, one cannot overdose and die from Cannabis."  Yet if he tested that theory by eating a couple cannabis doobies vs. eating a couple Tobacco ciggies he'd surely see that the word 'like' should not be used with Cannabis and Tobacco in the same sentence.  They're nothing alike, and only one of us would still be alive to see it.

As far as the 400,000 supposed emergency room visits blamed on Cannabis, this could easily be remedied by education.  If you smoke, vape, or eat too much of this plant, you cannot die.  In 5000+ years of humans recording deaths and using this plant, there have been no documented cases of death attributed to Cannabis.

That other legal intoxicant has also been studied and it concludes HERE that Alcohol is twice as harmful as Cannabis.  And as far as dabbing is concerned, many would successfully argue that the concentrated cannabis product known as dabs is by and far healthier to smoke than regular plant material.  We're told ad nauseum that breathing the smoke from burning carbon is unhealthy for the lungs!  Well Dabs have none of that material.  A pure solvent is used to strip the active ingredients from the plant, then the solvent is evaporated and what you're left with is pure liquid gold ... that when ingested gives morphine-caliber pain relief without addiction.

6)  Cannabis is Medicine!

If Sabet and those like him, had their way food manufacturers would be paying Biotech companies to remove the medicinal properties out of every fruit, vegetable, and plant in existence.  It is said that in the future, the only medicines we'll be able to buy pre-packaged and sterilized will be those that are man-made. They would like us to require a prescription for one of their many pills to simply get our daily nutritional needs met. Remember:  "Who controls the food supply, controls the People" or so Henry Kissinger thought and Biotech companies like Mons@nto believe.

What they don't get, is that the "god particle" that created this plant so many years ago, knew what it was doing.  To believe you can dissect anything for it's individual parts is just naive.  What Sabet obviously doesn't realize is that for many natural medicines derived from plants, the makeup is a varying menagerie of compounds that work together synergistically.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta himself calls this the Entourage Effect.  I mean, let's face it ... Gladys just wasn't the shizzle without the Pips!

This isn't to say that the many individual compounds in Cannabis aren't worthwhile on their own, it's just that they work together to make this medicine more user-friendly.  For instance, they've done studies where they've injected intravenously straight Tetrahydrocannabinol.  The results are not fun.  Agitation, morbid thoughts, panic.  When they injected a combination of Cannabidiol and THC, the experience was described as amazing and fun.  Watch the video HERE.  So the conclusion is that Cannabidiol and the other 59 active Cannabinoids actively mitigate any extreme psychoactive effects.  They simply work better for you as a team.

7)  Cannabis will make me a more focused and better driver.

This is another tough one because nobody wants to say that driving after you smoke weed is a good idea. But it should be noted that every single day, we citizens take pills that alter our perception.  Lunesta, the sleep aid has been blamed for causing people to do things like drive while asleep and not remember it in the morning.  It is estimated that thousands of prescription of Opiates and Opioids are filled every year in the U.S.  I personally don't like the thought of driving on the same highway as someone on synthetic heroin, not to mention if that someone has missed a dose!  Even driving while you're trying to quit smoking Tobacco could be bad idea!

We also have to remember that way back in the 80's the U.S. Federal Government had a "compassionate" drug program that provided a total of thirteen patients with Cannabis to help manage medical conditions. They still come monthly pre-rolled in a handy metal tin to a man named Irvin Rosenfeld, you can read about him HERE.  This medicine comes with no prescription guidelines, because like the medicines mentioned above, people drive while taken them.  Irvin Rosenfeld is no different.  So, perhaps more research needs to go into determining how experienced a Cannabis user needs to be before this medicine stops impairing his driving skills.  Some would even argue that Cannabis doesn't impair at all.  I have witnessed people driving under that influence and to be honest, the effect seemed to make this person think in terms of a step-by-step process.  I felt safe ... the only real worry being the snail's pace rate of speed we were achieving.

Once again, I'm not condoning this, I'm simply shining a light on the fact that many double standards exist that need to be dealt with when it comes to Cannabis as medicine in every day life.

All in all, I can't close without stating the irony of all of this.  That being that almost all of these "problems" with Cannabis are entirely because of Prohibition and the lack of education that it has provided.  No one can study this plant, because it's still illegal.  So, you have millions upon millions of every day people sharing anecdotal evidence on an illegal substance.  Millions would go to jail simply to see it's legalization happen. Many have.  Too many will even still.

Because of Prohibition, we can't prove any of this anecdotal evidence.  And because we can't prove any of it, it still remains a mystery to people who could be helped by it.  Smoking is the most archaic way of using this medicine;  and yet it is the fastest.  Vaporizing is also fast and a much safer way of consuming, and could even offer help with asthmatics because the cannabinoids open up the alveoli.  Kinda like an inhaler.  Eating the plant seems to be the best way to heal the body of diseases like Leukemia and Cancer.  It's also great for chronic body pain.  And then there are dozens of other ways to ingest it based on specific patient need.

Gastric bypass? You should vaporize. Neurological pain or migraine?  I hear a Glycerine or Alcohol tincture kills it in no time. Trouble sleeping?  Have a warm cup of Bhang, an Indian beverage consisting of Cannabis, Milk, Ghee, and spices. You'll be counting sheep in no time.  Feeling too nauseous to smoke, vape, eat, or drink?  I'll get you a candy full of Cannabinoids so you can suck on it for slow, constant relief.  I've even seen them mixed with ginger to help soothe that tummy.  Deep muscle pain and stiffness?  Rub-a-dub ... osmosis allows Cannabinoids to seep into the muscles and lower inflammation.  That's right, people are going to the spa and getting rubbed down with massage creams made with Cannabis!  Millions of prescriptions are filled each month for sleep aids.  A brownie is safer and yummier.  Or Cannabis-infused caplets keep me in la-la land for a full nine hours.  And I wake up, feeling refreshed.  Not the groggy, quick-sand feeling that too many sleep aids give.

I still think this list is dangerous.  As is Sabet's site and viewpoints.  Let's face it Kevin, not everyone can live a squeaky-clean lifestyle.  Not all of us want to.  And because we both still live in free countries with personal rights and freedoms, you'll have to come to terms with the fact that many disagree with you. If nothing else, it comes down to personal choice.  Virtually nothing is completely safe these days, water included.  So in the end each of us deserves the right to at least try all that the planet has to offer when searching for optimum health.

This plant has been studied!  Simply because the people studying it weren't wearing white-coats does not negate the importance of the conclusions.  What I feel, others feel too.  And in some ways anecdotal evidence is more likely to be truthful since no one is being paid to skew the results.

I leave you with THIS SITE ... it is the pot at the end of the rainbow ... pun intended.  I'm sure you've heard Cannabis called a cure-all.  Well in 5000 years, a lot of studies have been done.  You won't believe what Cannabis does for some people.

Oh ... and spread the word that Cannabis is safer.

Hey ... Sabet ... if Cannabis isn't Medicine, then why is this a fact?