Marijuana: A Tribute
Image: "Kalisti 106" by Havok
August 21, 2006
January 2, 2007
"Chinese scientists are conducting laboratory work hoping to identify a 2,800-year-old mummy presumably of a shaman in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.... Archeologists found the mummy most intriguing because a sack of marijuana leaves was found buried alongside the corpse."
["Lab work to identify 2,800-year-old mummy of shaman: scientists," People's Daily Online, UPDATED: 10:50, December 23, 2006.]
"Marijuana smoking does not increase a person's risk of developing lung cancer, according to the findings of a new study at the University of California Los Angeles that surprised even the researchers. They had expected to find that a history of heavy marijuana use, like cigarette smoking, would increase the risk of cancer. Instead, the study, which compared the lifestyles of 611 Los Angeles County lung cancer patients and 601 patients with head and neck cancers with those of 1,040 people without cancer, found no elevated cancer risk for even the heaviest pot smokers. It did find a 20-fold increased risk of lung cancer in people who smoked two or more packs of cigarettes a day."
["Study finds no marijuana-lung cancer link," Reuters, quoted from CNN.com, Wednesday, May 24, 2006; Posted: 2:11 p.m. EDT (18:11 GMT).]
Strange and foreign things are more likely to inspire fear than curiosity in adults. In our youngest years, the greatest fear we have is that we will not have enough time or energy to uncover every secret of the universe. When a generation ages, its fears to change, grow, and evolve. People become conservative, suspicious of motives, unwilling and contently bitter, watching for shadows to reach them from the darkness of a forgotten past or the road less traveled. In a society where property and profit are on the minds of every citizen, the person needs to receive good will before he can return it. Otherwise fear and insecurity of the unknown can develop in to xenophobia and paranoia. It is only in the nature of those unscathed by life's miseries that we find a stronger willingness to trust. Perhaps this is the main difference between Conservative and Liberal ideologies, the clash between the regressive and the progressive, or as Benjamin Disraeli would have it: "A man who is not a liberal at 16 has no heart; a man who is not a conservative at 60 has no head." Many others have offered the same sentiment with different words. Humans are afraid. Memories of pain will always inhibit our true passions. For one of us to trust another, they need to have done something good for us. Otherwise, we refuse to expose our warm flesh to the coldness of chance.
"The same brain machinery that responds to the active substance in marijuana provides a central 'on-demand' protection against seizures, researchers have found. They said their discoveries suggest that the 'endocannabinoid' system might constitute a prime target for drugs against seizures of epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases."
["Brain's Cannabinoid System 'Mellows' Seizures," Science Daily, Cell Press, August 17, 2006.]
Image: From Erowid
"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An Alaska high school violated a student's free speech rights by suspending him after he unfurled a banner reading 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' across the street from the school, a federal court ruled on Friday. Joseph Frederick, a student at Juneau-Douglas High School in Alaska, displayed the banner -- which refers to smoking marijuana -- in January 2002 to try to get on television as the Olympic torch relay was passing the school. Principal Deborah Morse seized the banner and suspended the 18-year-old for 10 days, saying he had undermined the school's educational mission and anti-drug stance."
["Court upholds 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' banner," Mon Mar 13, 2006 08:34 AM ET]
As much as I think about it, I still can't help but wonder what people were expecting to find when they first smoked Marijuana. Every individual was taking a chance when they put that joint or pipe to their mouth. What were they expecting to find when they finally released their breath? How did their senses react to that initial smell and taste of this elusive plant? Perhaps it was a long-hoped for opportunity, an idea that had been toyed with, but never given any realization due to the limitations of certain social connections. Or maybe it was a case of peer pressure, friends making interesting suggestions in the middle of a drinking night. For some people, it could have happened the way that DARE and the DEA would like everyone to believe: that it was a simple matter of a good person being pressured by the indulgences of weaker citizens. Even in those cases where a person inhaled for the sake of a crowd, I still would like to know what kind of pain they thought this would bring them; I would still like to know whether those expectations were met. Was this seed-bearing plant worthy of all the negative suggestions that certain government and business officials have given to it? The first toke could come shortly after someone asks a family member to have faith in their trust. I know that the Rastafarians consider the drug to be the life-plant with spiritual value; I can only imagine the expectations that their young have for the plant.
"Researchers led by Ralph E. Tarter, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy, who conducted a 12-year study has found that nearly a quarter of the young men they studied used marijuana before they began drinking or smoking cigarettes. It's the reverse of what's known as the 'gateway hypothesis,' in which drug use is thought to progress from alcohol and tobacco to marijuana to hard drugs.... The researchers conclude that if it’s easier for a teen to get his hands on marijuana than beer, then he'll be more likely to smoke pot."
["Marijuana's 'Gateway Hypothesis' Debunked," Washington, Dec. '06, ZeeNews.com.]
Image: From Erowid
"Excitotoxicity is a paradigm used to explain the biochemical events in both acute neuronal damage and in slowly progressive, neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we show in a longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging study that Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9-THC), the main active compound in marijuana, reduces neuronal injury in neonatal rats injected intracerebrally with the Na+/K+-ATPase inhibitor ouabain to elicit excitotoxicity.... Neuroprotection by Delta 9-THC was observed in the hippocampus, striatum, and cortex. Western blots verified the presence of CB1-receptors in neonatal rat brain. Previously, radioligand binding studies have demonstrated that CB receptors were expressed in the cerebral cortex, striatum, hippocampus, cerebellum, and brainstem at postnatal day 5 (Romero et al., 1997; Fernández-Ruiz et al., 2000).... In summary, we have shown that in an in vivo model of neurodegeneration Delta 9-THC reduces neuronal damage via a CB1-receptor-mediated mechanism. This holds in both the acute and late phase after induction of excitotoxicity. Delta 9-THC inhibits astrogliosis via a non-CB1-receptor-controlled mechanism. The results strengthen the concept that the endogenous cannabinoid system may serve to establish a defense system for the brain."
["Neuroprotection by Delta 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, the Main Active Compound in Marijuana, against Ouabain-Induced In Vivo Excitotoxicity," The Journal of Neuroscience, September 1, 2001, 21(17):6475-6479.]
In October of 1964, the media-hyped "love cult" Kerista was raided by law enforcement authorities. [*1] The members of this group practiced Free Love, Nudism, and indulged highly in Marijuana for spiritual purposes. The group's leader claims the name, meaning collective love, came to him in a vision. Eighteen people were arrested on a variety of charges: possession of narcotics, loitering for the purpose of using narcotics, indecent exposure, and impairing the morals of minors. A number of people had tried the THC-based drug and were so amazed at its powers that they created underground, religious groups. In these clandestine rings, their sacrament was Marijuana, a tool that allowed them to feel closer to the divine. Such an attitude is so radically different from the opinions of those in established institutions. In 2003, the DEA published the pamphlet "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization." Their attitude towards all drugs was rather predictable: "Crime, violence and drug use go hand in hand... We have made significant progress in fighting drug us and drug trafficking in America. Now is not the time to abandon our efforts." [*2] Throughout the offices of government, this is the prevailing attitude. Few American politicians will ever bring ideas of decriminalization to their speeches, their agendas, or their interviews.
"The development of chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract such as Crohn's disease and Colitis ulcerosa has not been understood yet, but medication to treat and alleviate these diseases are in high demand. In the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation (15 April 2004) a researcher team from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and from the Ludwig-Maximilans-University Munich were able to show that mutant mice lacking the cannabinoid receptor are much more prone to experimentally induced colon inflammation as compared to wild-type control mice. Moreover, colon muscle activities become uncontrolled after inflammation in these mutant mice. The treatment with cannabinoids was able to alleviate inflammation in wild-type animals. Thus, these results suggest that the endogenous cannabinoid system represents a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract."
[Max Planck Society, Press Release, May 6th, 2004.]
Image: From Erowid
"A pro-legalization group that helped put the initiative on Colorado's November ballot says the DEA is using taxpayer money in an attempt to influence laws, rather than enforce them. As evidence, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) points to an August 8 e-mail searching for a campaign director to spend $10,000 fighting the legalization initiative and listing a local DEA agent as the contact. The initiative, known as 'Amendment 44,' would allow anyone over the age of 20 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.... critics of the DEA noted the agency did commit staff time and resources to the organization running the campaign. There is no question the agency was involved in starting the Committee, which is now formally opposing Amendment 44."
["Feds Accused of Meddling to Prevent State Drug Law Reform," by Kari Lydersen, the New Standard, Sept. 11, 2006.]
"Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis. It can be eaten in certain foods or smoked." [*3] DARE, America's anti-drug ad campaign, has given this definition to the drug Marijuana. The object of our controversy is a rather simple item. From every side of the social and political spectrum, there is passionate discussion and heated debate. So much attention is being given to these people for their activity with dried flowers. Billions of dollars have been dumped into federal law enforcement programs, such as the DEA. Millions have served time in the criminal justice system for following the scent of this alluring plant. At the height of our current social hysteria on drug use, with the cries of "Imprison them all!" and "Live and let live!", between the struggles and the battles, the convictions for distribution and the illicit drug production rings, all of this has become our reality, because of the relationship the individual user has with this flower. The gears of the state that slowly grind of our civil rights, the packages that cross a thousand hands to reach your lungs, the pharmaceutical corporations that are lobbying against medicinal forms of illegal drugs, the grassroots organizations that protest and leaflet for their personal rights -- all of this is but a small and quick glimpse into conflicting world of drug knowledge. The spring to all of this momentum is Marijuana. It is a community of individuals who spend their time in smoke-filled rooms with those of like mind and spirit. No matter what funding or military aid a state can give to its initiatives, it will always be very difficult to quell the indigenous culture and habits of a strong-willed people.
"Marijuana's appetite-increasing effects have long been known. Recent research suggests that the CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR141716A may suppress appetite. This study represents a further, systematic investigation of the role of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids on food intake.... These results [of the study] suggest that SR141716A may affect the actions of endogenous cannabinoids in regulating appetite or that it may have effects of its own aside from antagonism of cannabinoid effects (e.g., decreased feeding behavior and locomotor stimulation). In either case, these results strongly suggest that CB1 receptors may play a role in regulation of feeding behavior."
["CB1 cannabinoid receptor-mediated modulation of food intake in mice," British Journal of Pharmacology (2005) 145, 293–300. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706157 Published online 21 March 2005, Abstract.]
Image: From Erowid
"Stimulating endocannabinoid receptors far from equilibrium via exogenous THC lowers the threshold for seeing any stimulus as novel. Marijuana effectively 'dishabituates' us to stimuli we have learned to ignore-a phenomenon I call 'virtual novelty.' Suddenly, pot smokers find the mundane to be fascinating. They watch a Star Trek episode for the fifth time and respond as though it were still fresh and new. They notice the rainbow on every soap bubble, which they stopped noting as a preschooler."
["Update on Marijuana: Why It Works And Why It Doesn't," by Timmen L. Cermak, MD, published by the San Francisco Medical Society.]
The Drug Enforcement Agency demands harsher sentencing from judges, all the while spreading propaganda for its cause and misleading the public. The plant never stops growing, it never stops drying, it never stops smoking. The routes are kept open and the growers are kept protected. All of this is done so that almost any American citizen can obtain the drug through their connections of friends and family. At the end of the supply lines, it will be just the user and their experience with Cannabis. That has become the most powerful driving force behind this subculture.
"A woman claims she has lived to be 120 - by smoking cannabis every day. Fulla Nayak smokes cannabis cigars and drinks strong palm wine in her hut in India. She lives with her 92-year-old daughter and grandson, 72."
["Woman, 120, smokes pot every day," Ananova, 2006.]
Marijuana, a plant that the state doesn't want to understand. This is a tribute to you. You have been a friend to the world's people and a tool for enlightenment.
1. Greenwich Village, New York, October, 1964. As quoted from The Erotic Revolution, by Lawrence Lipton, 1965, First Edition (Sherbourne Press, Inc.), pages 92-93.
2. Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization, www.dea.org, March, 2003, pages 2-4.
3. As quoted from the www.dare.com website in their "Drug Information" panel here: http://www.dare.com/home/DrugInformation/Storya78c.asp?N=DrugInformation&M=11&S=24. [NOTE: The original quote was truncated. It stated that Marijuana is from "Cannabis Sativa," when in fact Marijuana comes from a variety of Cannabis strains, including Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. My intention in quoting it was not to point out the apparent lack of scientific education in those who enforce drug laws; it was simply to demonstrate a very clear picture of the government's "unbiased" understanding of Marijuana. I certainly did not want to let my readers to see something that is significantly incorrect and then not respond to it.]