How A Psychedelic Drug Helps Cancer Patients Overcome Anxiety

December 3, 20167:00 AM ET

Robin Marantz Henig

 

Psychedelic drugs could provide relief for anxiety and depression among advanced cancer patients.

The brilliantly-colored shapes reminded Carol Vincent of fluorescent deep-sea creatures, and they floated past her languidly. She was overwhelmed by their beauty — and then suddenly, as if in a dream, she was out somewhere in deep space instead. “Oh, wow,” she thought, overwhelmed all over again. She had been an amateur skydiver in her youth, but this sensation didn’t come with any sense of speeding or falling or even having a body at all. She was just hovering there, gazing at the universe.

Vincent was having a psychedelic experience, taking part in one of the two studies just published that look at whether cancer patients like her could overcome their death-related anxiety and depression with a single dose of psilocybin.

It turned out they could, according to the studies, conducted at New York University and Johns Hopkins and reported this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. NYU and Hopkins scientists gave synthetic psilocybin, the hallucinogenic component of “magic mushrooms,” to a combined total of 80 people with advanced cancer suffering from depression, anxiety, and “existential angst.” At follow-up six months or more later, two-thirds of the subjects said their anxiety and depression had pretty much disappeared after a single dose.

And about 80 percent said the psilocybin experience was “among the most personally meaningful of their lives,” Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and leader of the Hopkins team, said in an interview.

That’s how it was for Vincent, one of the volunteers in Griffiths’ study. By the time she found her way to Hopkins in 2014, Vincent, now 61, had been living for six years with a time bomb of a diagnosis: follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which she was told was incurable. It was asymptomatic at the time except for a few enlarged lymph nodes, but was expected to start growing at some undefined future date; when it did, Vincent would have to start chemotherapy just to keep it in check. By 2014, still symptom-free, Vincent had grown moderately anxious, depressed, and wary, on continual high alert for signs that the cancer growth had finally begun.

“The anvil over your head, the constant surveillance of your health — it takes a toll,” says Vincent, who owns an advertising agency in Victoria, British Columbia. She found herself thinking, “What’s the point of this? All I’m doing is waiting for the lymphoma. There was no sense of being able to look forward to something.” When she wasn’t worrying about her cancer, she was worrying about her son, then in his mid-20s and going through a difficult time. What would happen to him if she died?

Participating in the psilocybin study, she says, was the first thing she’d looked forward to in years.

The experiment involved two treatments with psilocybin, roughly one month apart — one at a dose high enough to bring on a markedly altered state of consciousness, the other at a very low dose to serve as a control. It’s difficult to design an experiment like this to compare treatment with an actual placebo, since it’s obvious to everyone when a psychedelic experience is underway.

The NYU study used a design similar to Hopkins’ but with an “active placebo,” the B vitamin niacin, instead of very-low-dose psilocybin as the control. Niacin speeds up heart rate but doesn’t have any psychedelic effect. In both studies it was random whether a volunteer got the dose or the control first, but everyone got both, and the order seemed to make no difference in the outcome.

Vincent had to travel from her home in Victoria to Baltimore for the sessions; her travel costs were covered by the Heffter Research Institute, the New Mexico nonprofit that funded both studies. She spent the day before each treatment with the two Hopkins staffers who would be her “guides” during the psilocybin trip. They helped her anticipate some of the emotional issues — the kind of baggage everyone has — that might come to the fore during the experience.

The guides told Vincent that she might encounter some hallucinations that were frightening, and that she shouldn’t try to run away from them. “If you see scary stuff,” they told her, “just open up and walk right in.”

They repeated that line the following day — “just open up and walk right in” — when Vincent returned to Hopkins at 9 a.m., having eaten a light breakfast. The treatment took place in a hospital room designed to feel as homey as possible. “It felt like your first apartment after college, circa 1970,” she says, with a beige couch, a couple of armchairs and some abstract art on the wall.

Vincent was given the pill in a ceramic chalice, and in about 20 minutes she started to feel woozy. She lay down on the couch, put on some eye shades and headphones to block out exterior sights and sounds, and focused on what was happening inside her head. The headphones delivered a carefully-chosen playlist of Western classical music, from Bach and Beethoven to Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” interspersed with some sitar music and Buddhist chants. Vincent recalled the music as mostly soothing or uplifting, though occasionally there were some brooding pieces in a minor key that led her images to a darker place.

Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

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Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

With the music as background, Vincent started to experience a sequence of vivid hallucinations that took her from the deep sea to vast outer space. Listening to her describe it is like listening to anyone describe a dream — it’s a disjointed series of scenes, for which the intensity and meaning can be hard to convey.

She remembered seeing neon geometric shapes, a gold shield spelling out the name Jesus, a whole series of cartoon characters — a fish, a rabbit, a horse, a pirate ship, a castle, a crab, a superhero in a cape — and at some point she entered a crystal cave encrusted with prisms. “It was crazy how overwhelmed by the beauty I was,” she says, sometimes to the point of weeping. “Everything I was looking at was so spectacular.”

At one point she heard herself laughing in her son’s voice, in her brother’s voice, and in the voices of other family members. The cartoon characters kept appearing in the midst of all that spectacular beauty, especially the “comical crab” that emerged two more times. She saw a frightening black vault, which she thought might contain something terrifying. But remembering her guides’ advice to “just open up and walk right in,” she investigated, and found that the only thing inside it was herself.

When the experience was over, about six hours after it began, the guides sent Vincent back to the hotel with her son, who had accompanied her to Baltimore, and asked her to write down what she’d visualized and what she thought about it.

Griffiths had at first been worried about giving psychedelics to cancer patients like Vincent, fearing they might actually become even more afraid of death by taking “a look into the existen
tial void.”

But even though some research participants did have moments of panic in which they thought they were losing their minds or were about to die, he said the guides were always able to settle them down, and never had to resort to the antipsychotic drugs they had on hand for emergencies. (The NYU guides never had to use theirs, either.)

How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe

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How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe

Many subjects came away feeling uplifted, Griffiths says, talking about “a sense of unity,” feeling part of “an interconnected whole.” He adds that even people who are atheists, as Vincent is, described the feeling as precious, meaningful or even sacred.

The reasons for the power and persistence of psilocybin’s impact are still “a big mystery,” according to Griffiths. “That’s what makes this research, frankly, so exciting,” he says. “There’s so much that’s unknown, and it holds the promise for really understanding the nature of human meaning-making and consciousness.”

He says he looks forward to using psilocybin in other patient populations, not just people with terminal diagnoses, to help answer larger existential questions that are “so critical to our experience as human organisms.”

Two and a half years after the psychedelic experience, Carol Vincent is still symptom-free, but she’s not as terrified of the “anvil” hanging over her, no longer waiting in dread for the cancer to show itself. “I didn’t get answers to questions like, ‘Where are you, God?’ or ‘Why did I get cancer?’ ” she says. What she got instead, she says, was the realization that all the fears and worries that “take up so much of my mental real estate” turn out to be “really insignificant” in the context of the big picture of the universe.

This insight was heightened by one small detail of her psilocybin trip, which has stayed with her all this time: that little cartoon crab that floated into her vision along with the other animated characters.

“I saw that crab three times,” Vincent says. The crab, she later realized, is the astrological sign of cancer — the disease that terrified her, and also the sign that both her son and her mother were born under. These were the three things in her life that she cared about, and worried over, most deeply, she says. “And here they were, appearing as comic relief.”

Science writer Robin Marantz Henig is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of nine books.

CONTINUE READING…

The Stakes Are High As DEA Reconsiders Waging War On The Herb Kratom

11/30/2016 04:03 am ET

Those who use and study the plant say an outright ban could do serious harm.

Seven weeks after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officially withdrew its plan to ban kratom, the federal government is once again set to decide the fate of the herb and the people who rely on it for pain relief and other treatment.

The DEA had initially planned to use its emergency scheduling power to push through the ban without input from the public, despite concerns from lawmakers and scientists ― as well as kratom users ― that the move would do more harm than good. In October, however, the DEA opened a public comment period allowing individuals to weigh in on the agency’s decision to place mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two active compounds in kratom, in Schedule I. Substances in this category include heroin and LSD and are considered to have no known medical benefit and a high potential for abuse.

With the comment period set to close on Thursday, the DEA will now have to take into account the nearly 9,000 submissions from people who wanted to voice their opinions about this proposed expansion of the war on drugs.

But kratom isn’t in the clear yet. The DEA is currently awaiting the results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis on the potential harms and health benefits of the herb, which will determine if kratom truly poses an “imminent hazard to the public safety,” as the agency initially claimed in August.

The DEA doesn’t know when it will get the results of the FDA’s review, Russell Baer, a spokesperson for the agency, told The Huffington Post.

“We’ve asked the FDA to expedite their analysis, but they’ve not given us any indication as to when that may be done, other than as soon as practical,” said Baer. “They’re involved in an exhaustive scientific review and evaluation, so these things do take time.”

Although Baer said he expects the DEA to wait for the FDA’s analysis before deciding on an appropriate schedule for kratom ― or whether it should be scheduled at all ― he noted that the agency could still proceed with emergency scheduling even in the absence of more concrete scientific evidence.

The DEA’s next steps will have huge implications for people like Joshua Levy. In the video above, Levy explains that he turned to kratom after struggling with dependence on the opioid painkillers he’d been prescribed following a hit-and-run accident. Like many kratom users, he says the herb gave him back the life that had been taken from him by addiction and other side-effects of narcotic painkillers.

“Since I started taking kratom, since I had gotten off of the pain pills, my life has basically opened up dramatically,” Levy told HuffPost. “I got a new job. I’m building a friendship up with my sister that I haven’t had in a long time. I’m not lazy anymore. I don’t want to isolate myself. I want to go out, I want to be out of the house.”

The kratom community is full of success stories like Levy’s. But together, they form only anecdotal evidence of the herb’s benefits, which is not enough to support a more official confirmation of its medicinal value.

Experts like Andrew Kruegel, an associate research scientist at Columbia University, hope the DEA will allow kratom to remain legal so they can keep working to unlock the herb’s potential.

Kruegel’s studies have shown that kratom can be used to alleviate mild pain, and that the plant’s negative side effects are relatively minor.

“As a scientist, I try to be as objective as possible and not overstate the promise of kratom,” said Kruegel. “We just don’t know that much about the plant yet.”

But Kruegel also has bigger hopes for kratom, which he believes can be used to aid in the development of safer alternatives to the prescription opioids that claimed more than 18,000 lives in the U.S. in 2014 due to overdose.

“Of course, if it’s in Schedule I, historically that greatly limits the ability to do research on it,” he said.

CONTINUE READING…

IBOGAINE FOR PTSD! The Quieted Rage

Image result for Ibogaine

 

By Damon Matthew Smith

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a condition that has had limited progress in the creation of viable treatment options for people afflicted with this despair and rage inducing disorder. Conventional medicine has come up with no long-term answers to the problem, which not only has a range of dangers for the person who has PTSD but also for the society at large.

Time magazine reported in the article WAR ON SUICIDE?, “While veterans account for about 10% of all U.S. adults, they account for 20% of U.S. suicides.” (Gibbs and Thompson) This is a startling percentage, 1 in 5 deaths caused by suicide are veterans of war. Another 1:5 ratio is important to note when discussing the burgeoning problem of PTSD, “Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan — 300,000 in all — report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment, according to a new RAND Corporation study.” (www.rand.org) 

This study was the first of its kind to look at this epidemic in all branches of the US military, and its implications are terrifying. This is a mental health crisis that neither traditional psychology/psychiatry nor the VA and military leaders have provided any real solutions as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on. The situation is dire.

I went to the first War in Iraq in 1990-91 as an Army Combat Medic. It was given the catchy nicknames of first Desert Shield and then, when the US started the air assault, Desert Storm. After coming back stateside, I started to suffer from bouts of rage, severe depression, thoughts of suicide (one botched attempt with pills and a bottle of whiskey), and more and more self-medication with alcohol. When I was discharged in 1998, I was in college full time and had a supportive family and group of friends, but still my alcohol abuse and difficulty containing my bouts of rage and the aftermath of chronic depression was accelerating. I battled through and achieved some academic and personal success, earning two undergraduate degrees and one graduate degree, getting married to my longtime girlfriend, and finding my first adjunct teaching positions. However, I was unable to contain the absolute anger I experienced at the most insignificant triggers. The crying of a baby, the smell of diesel fuel, the sound of a helicopter flying over, the dropping of a metal pan on the kitchen floor, a car following to close, or a dissatisfied boss (lost many a college teaching job due to my PTSD), and I would fly into uncontrollable screaming and yelling fits, at times turning this rage inward, falling to the ground in palsied sobbing and unintelligible babbling. By 2005, I quit drinking and felt this would solve the problem, save me from the growing fear I had of going outside, of my wife leaving me, of being out of control once again, and, most importantly, of taking my own life. It helped, but only temporarily. The rage, depression and suicidal ideation soon began again its assault on my daily life.

Flash forward to today, the end of 2012, and I feel free of this dominating anger and the violent outbursts, my triggers of the past have little effect on my behavior and mood, and for the first time since before my wartime traumas I feel positive and excited about my future. This stunning transformation came out of my experience at the end of this Summer with a substance called Ibogaine. Ibogaine is an alkaloid derived from the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub found in West equatorial Africa and has a long history of shamanic and medical use with tribes of that region. In recent years it has produced media attention due to reports of effectiveness in treating drug addiction and providing opiate addicts with significantly reduced, or at times completely alleviated, withdrawal symptoms during detox.

I had to travel to Costa Rica because of its illegality in the US ( Schedule I, along with Heroin and Methamphetamines), and was treated by Lex Kogan at the medically supervised Ibogaine treatment center named fittingly– Iboga Path . He required an EKG and Liver Panel blood test before I was allowed to come to his center, which he reviewed with his onsite doctor and medical staff to rule out counter indications for Ibogaine treatment. After my file was reviewed, I received the call that my treatment would be conducted on the 22nd of August and that I would be picked up at the airport by none other than Eric Taub, a central pioneer in the use of Ibogaine since the late 80’s. I have known Eric for 7 years, first meeting him in 2005 after I stopped drinking, then working with him over the years developing his novel but simple idea that no child should be without clean water, nutritious food, safe shelter and a digital age education. You can see our efforts to bring this concept to life by building models for International Cooperative Education and Global Sustainability Awareness and Action at our organization’s website,www.ICANRevolution.org.

After a 35 minute drive through the hills of Costa Rica, I was dropped off at the center. My intake into the center was comfortable and laid back. Lex talked with me for a few hours, assuaged my fears about the experience significantly with his knowledge and hospitality, shown my room where I would be staying for the duration of my experience, and I ate my last meal made up of a myriad of local, organically grown fruit before my treatment in the morning. When I woke up that morning I was instructed to drink water, as much as I liked, because during the experience I would be limited to only a few sips an hour to avoid nausea. I filled up a few glasses, downed them, then made my way outside for a walk before my treatment to clear my head. The mountain air was crisp, as I walked up the hillside road lined with coffee plants and trees filled with tropical birds my mind was all abuzz with what was about to happen. So many thoughts permeated my brain, and as panic started to overtake me I found myself experiencing a low grade anxiety attack. It would be my last.

CONTINUE READING…

The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil

The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil — The #1 Cancer Treatment in The World

 

VIA/Hemp oil extracts containing CBDs (cannibidiols) are such a threat to the pharmaceutical industry that the FDA is now invoking totally insane justifications for outlawing them.

FDA’s own website: “12. Can products that contain cannabidiol be sold as dietary supplements? A. No. Based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that cannabidiol products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition…”

The FDA has also started sending aggressive warning letters to CBD product marketers.

Cannabis Oil - Banned by FDA

CBDs are non-psychoactive compounds found naturally in hemp plants. They work so well as powerful natural medicine that people everywhere are realizing CBDs work better than pharmaceuticals for treating epilepsy, seizures, neurological disorders and other serious health conditions (including HIV infections).

So the FDA has just launched a massive regulatory assault against CBDs by invoking the most insane logic you’ve ever heard. Here’s how it goes:

1) CBDs work so well that drug companies are now investigating them to be approved by the FDA as medicines.

2) Because CBDs are being investigated by drug companies, the FDA has granted CBDs status as being “investigated as a new drug.”

In the FDA’s own language from their website:

“FDA CONSIDERS A SUBSTANCE TO BE ‘AUTHORIZED FOR INVESTIGATION AS A NEW DRUG’ IF IT IS THE SUBJECT OF AN INVESTIGATIONAL NEW DRUG APPLICATION (IND) THAT HAS GONE INTO EFFECT.”

3) Because CBDs work so well and have been authorized for drug investigations, the FDA now OUTLAWS them being sold as dietary supplements.

Per the FDA’s own website:

“FDA HAS CONCLUDED THAT CANNABIDIOL PRODUCTS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE DIETARY SUPPLEMENT DEFINITION UNDER SECTION 201(FF)(3)(B)(II) OF THE FD&C ACT.

“UNDER THAT PROVISION, IF A SUBSTANCE (SUCH AS CANNABIDIOL) HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED FOR INVESTIGATION AS A NEW DRUG FOR WHICH SUBSTANTIAL CLINICAL INVESTIGATIONS HAVE BEEN INSTITUTED AND FOR WHICH THE EXISTENCE OF SUCH INVESTIGATIONS HAS BEEN MADE PUBLIC, THEN PRODUCTS CONTAINING THAT SUBSTANCE ARE OUTSIDE THE DEFINITION OF A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT.”

4) Now the FDA has begun sending warning letters to CBD makers, claiming they are in violation of FDA regulations because they are selling “adulterated products.”

Adulterated with what, exactly? CBDs, of course!

“THE DEBATE OVER HEMP CBD’S LEGAL STATUS CONTINUES AFTER FDA SENT EIGHT WARNING LETTERS TO MANUFACTURERS OF CBD DIETARY SUPPLEMENT AND FOOD PRODUCTS EARLIER THIS MONTH,” REPORTS NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK.

“THE WARNING LETTERS CITE IMPERMISSIBLE HEALTH CLAIMS USED TO MARKET THE PRODUCTS, AS WELL AS CBD’S INVALID STATUS AS A DIETARY INGREDIENT DUE TO ITS PRESENCE IN TWO DRUG APPLICATIONS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSIDERATION.”

The FDA just criminalized one of the most miraculous healing medicines in the world by handing it over to Big Pharma

In other words, the FDA just handed Big Pharma an absolute monopoly over CBDs (hemp oil extract) by ridiculously claiming such natural products are “adulterated” with molecules (CBDs) that the FDA says might one day become a drug.

“Drugs,” according to the FDA, are substances that are proven to treat, prevent or cure a disease, and thus the FDA’s own logic admits that CBDs must be able to treat, prevent or cure diseases, otherwise they would be useless as “drugs”.

But when a dietary supplement company makes the same claim, they are hit with aggressive warning letters from the FDA, threatening to shut them down, confiscate their products and seek criminal prosecution of the company executives.

This is how the FDA can instantly criminalize any vitamin or plant extract

Do you see how this twisted, corrupt regulatory tactic can allow the FDA to instantly criminalize any dietary supplement, vitamin, herb or plant extract?

Vitamin D, for example, could be outlawed by the FDA announcing that it has granted “Investigational New Drug application (IND)” status to any drug company studying vitamin D.

Using this same corrupt, mafia-style tactic, the FDA could outlaw resveratrol or even vitamin C, denying Americans the right to access safe, affordable, natural substances that are routinely found in nature.

It’s time to end the FDA’s monopolization over natural plant molecules

If humanity is ever to achieve medical freedom, we must end the FDA’s outrageous medical monopolization of plant molecules such as CBDs.

By allowing this corrupt, criminally-run regulatory agency to criminalize every molecule found in nature, our nation’s lawmakers condemn us all to life in what can only be called medical totalitarianism under FDA tyranny.

Any time a healing substances is found in nature, the FDA can simply assert that such molecules are now in the process of being studied as drugs and are therefore illegal to sell as dietary supplements even though they were developed by Mother Nature, not drug companies.

This FDA tactic is nothing more than the FDA proclaiming intellectual monopolies over all molecules of interest found in nature.

It is Monsanto-like in its arrogance and wickedness, and it deprives the People of their right to access medicinal plants and healing substances that have existed in nature for countless thousands of years long before the FDA ever came into existence (1906).

If we do not stop this FDA, we are all doomed to living under a totalitarian regulatory regime that will systematically criminalize every healing molecule found in nature, from the curcuminoids in turmeric root to green tea catechins and even phycocyanins found in spirulina.

That this federal agency has now resorted to such tactics of medical totalitarianism and outright tyranny is proof that we need to strip the FDA of regulatory powers over natural dietary supplements and limit its domain to pharmaceutical drugs only.

Coincidentally, a Presidential election is upon us that threatens to shake up the entire establishment if the right person wins.

“Establishment” candidates on both sides of the aisle would simply continue the FDA war on natural molecules that’s now under way, but there is one candidate who has openly threatened to challenge the authority of federal regulators like the EPA and FDA.

FDA begins crackdown by targeting inaccurate label claims… but it won’t end there

The FDA has now declared war on CBDs and hemp oil extracts. Its first targets are those companies who have inaccurate label claims or are committing outright fraud in claiming CBD concentrations that don’t even exist in
their products.

On this point, I must agree that inaccurate label claims deserve regulatory enforcement. The CBD industry is heavily populated with fraudulent sellers whose products often contain no CBDs at all.

“THE FDA HAS TURNED ITS BACK ON THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY, CLAIMING THAT CBD PRODUCTS CANNOT BE SOLD AS DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS,” REPORTSCANNA BUSINESS.

“COMPANIES AFFECTED BY THE LATEST CRACKDOWN INCLUDE CALI STORES, DOSE OF NATURE, GREEN GARDEN GOLD, HEALTHY HEMP OIL, MICHIGAN HERBAL REMEDIES, MORGUE JUICE, PAIN BOMB AND SANA TE PREMIUM OILS. ACCORDING TO THE FDA’S ANALYSIS, ALL PRODUCTS CONTAINED DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF 9-THC, THCA, CBDA, CBN AND CBD THAN THEY HAD CLAIMED.”

The second target of the FDA is companies that made disease treatment claims that their CBD products might treat epilepsy, cancer or other conditions.

The FDA, of course, routinely attacks any dietary supplement maker that tells the truth about the medicinal benefits of their products.

According to the FDA, there is no such thing as any food, nutrient, herb or natural molecule that has any ability whatsoever to treat, prevent or cure any disease.

This position is, of course, patently absurd and stands in total violation of nutritional science, but it is the “big lie” the FDA must maintain in order to keep putting dietary supplement companies out of business.

Once the FDA finishes destroying all the companies with inaccurate labels and disease marketing claims, it will target all the honest suppliers of CBDs who are selling genuine, honest products that contain accurate CBD labels.

This is the real goal of the FDA: to threaten, intimidate and destroy the entire CBD industry and thereby protect the medical monopolies of drug companies that can’t wait to cash in on these amazing molecules that really do treat disease (otherwise, Big Pharma would have no interest in them).

This is how the FDA keeps the medical racket marching along

And so the great medical monopoly racket marches on, with the FDA giving a big “F-YOU” to the American people while handing lucrative medical monopolies to its greed-driven friends in the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile, the American people are denied healing medicine that works at a fraction of the cost of overpriced pharmaceuticals.

Entrepreneurial companies that offer such hemp oil extracts containing CBDs — natural medicines that could help reduce human suffering while lowering health care costs nationwide — are threatened by the FDA with devastating enforcement actions that could land their executives in prison.

This is all part of the FDA’s war on natural medicine that systematically criminalizes molecules found in nature and the people who seek to make those molecules available to patients in need.

While disease suffering skyrockets across America and medical expenses push more and more families over the threshold of bankruptcy and destitution, isn’t it comforting to know that your federal government is doing everything in its power to deny you access to safe, affordable natural medicine while protecting the profits of the drug giants?

What can you do to oppose this medical tyranny by the FDA?

None of this is ever going to change, by the way, if we keep electing establishment politicians to the White House.

If you want to see real change in the legalization of hemp extract components such as CBDs, you’d better vote for someone who terrifies the establishment and threatens to tear it down.

At the same time, you need to support health freedom organizations like the Alliance for Natural Health, which is fighting to keep dietary supplements legal in America.

You should also watch this video animation that exposes the anti-dietary supplement bias of PBS Frontline, which recently ran a totally dishonest hit piece documentary attacking supplements.

There is a nationwide effort under way right now to criminalize ALL dietary supplements and force every plant extract, vitamin or food concentrate to be regulated by the FDA as if they were prescription drugs.

This would utterly wipe out the entire dietary supplements industry and plunge America into an era of runaway disease, suffering and death as people are denying access to the healing nutrients that are presently preventing disease (and even reversing serious disease in some cases).

Finally, share this story and join the Natural News email list (below) to stay informed on all this.

As the editor of Natural News, I am fighting for your right to access CBDs and hemp oil extracts, as they are amazing natural medicines that can treat, prevent and in some cases even help cure serious health conditions.

The FDA is anti science and anti human rights

We have a fundamental human right to access healing plants found in nature, and the FDA has systematically sought to destroy that right and criminalize those who seek to express it.

Access to Mother Nature’s healing molecules is a fundamental human right that exists above and beyond the Bill of Rights. It is a DIVINE right.

To reestablish our access to these rights, we need a political revolution in Washington that puts people in power who are ready and willing to dismantle the FDA and end its devastating monopolies over dietary supplements, medicinal herbs and natural molecules found in nature.

We need to legalize health freedom in America and set this nation on a new path of disease prevention and drastically reduced health care costs through access to affordable, natural medicines.

The only way to accomplish this is to end the FDA’s reign of tyranny over the dietary supplements industry.

We need a new health freedom revolution in America, and it starts at the ballot box. It’s time to start electing outsiders, not insiders… people who the terrify the Washington establishment because they know their insidious grip on regulatory power will be challenged.

If you want medical marijuana legalized, or if you want access to CBD oil as an affordable dietary supplement, it’s time to start voting for people the establishment is desperately trying to destroy.

Because it is only those people who have any real hope of achieving the kind of political and legislative goals that will end the FDA’s stranglehold on natural medicine in America.

CONTINUE READING…

The stark difference in how doctors and the government view marijuana

By Christopher Ingraham August 29 at 11:23 AM

 

Nathaniel P. Morris is a resident physician at Stanford Hospital specializing in mental health. He recently penned a strongly worded op-ed for ScientificAmerican.com on the differences between how some in the medical community view marijuana and how the federal government regulates it.

“The federal government’s scheduling of marijuana bears little relationship to actual patient care,” he wrote in the essay published last week. “The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol (not scheduled), cocaine (Schedule II), methamphetamine (Schedule II), or prescription opioids (Schedules II, III, and IV) doesn’t reflect what we see in clinical medicine.”

Here’s Morris’ money quote:

For most health care providers, marijuana is an afterthought.

We don’t see cannabis overdoses. We don’t order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don’t treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption — something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening.

He contrasts that with the terrible effects of alcohol he sees in the emergency room every day, like car crash victims and drunk patients choking on their own vomit. Morris points out that excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC.

ADVERTISING

[Every minute, someone gets arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S.]

The medical and research communities have known for some time that marijuana is one of the more benign substances you can put in your body relative to other illicit drugs. A recent longitudinal study found that chronic, long-term marijuana use is about as bad for your physical health as not flossing. Compared to alcohol, it’s virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana alone. On a per-user basis, marijuana sends fewer people to the emergency room than alcohol or other drugs.

The scientific consensus was best captured in a 2010 study in the Lancet, which polled several dozen researchers working in addiction and drug policy. The researchers rated commonly used recreational drugs according to the harm they pose to individuals who use them, as well as the harm they pose to society as a whole. Here’s what their results looked like:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.09.12 PM

The experts rated marijuana as less harmful to both users and to society than either tobacco or alcohol, or indeed than many other recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine. Alcohol was, by far, the most socially harmful drug the committee rated, as well as one of the most harmful drugs to individual users.

Research like this is one reason surveys have shown a substantial majority of doctors support the use of medical marijuana. And although big medical groups, such as the American Medical Association, haven’t shifted gears on marijuana, other groups, such as the California Medical Association, are now openly calling for marijuana legalization.

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This year has also seen the formation of the nation’s first doctor’s group devoted to legalizing marijuana, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. The group views marijuana legalization primarily as a public health issue.

None of this is to say, of course, that marijuana is completely “safe” or “harm-free.” As with any drug, using too much weed can lead to dependency on it. And as with any other drug, marijuana can have particularly harmful effects on young, developing minds.

But the federal approach to marijuana has stood at odds with the science on the drug for decades. As far back as the 1970s, an expert report commissioned by Richard Nixon recommended that the federal government decriminalize marijuana use, given the drug’s mild effects.

Nixon, of course, ignored the report’s findings. In the years since, there have been hundreds of thousands of arrests for marijuana possession each year, people have lost their homes and their property over suspicion of marijuana use, and decades of racially biased policing tactics have decimated many minority communities.

How marijuana legalization is working out so far

Play Video1:58

What we can learn about legal marijuana from Washington, Colorado and Oregon. (Daron Taylor, Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)

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Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.

Follow @_cingraham

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Cannabis strains that help certain ailments and diseases from 420.ag

 

 

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Here is a list of cannabis strains with ailments and diseases that each strain is said to help specifically for. If you have a degenerative or other type of disease, these strains may help!

Afghani = Emotional Stability
Afghanica = Nausea, Pain
AFGHANIE X HAZE = PMS, Lower Body Pain
Afghooie x Haze = PMS
AK-47 = Pain, Nausea, Depression, Insomnia, Headache
Alien Train Wreck = Asthma
Apollo 13 = Back Pain
Auntie Em = Crohn’s Disease, MS
AURORA B = Nausea, Joint Pain, Arthritis
Aurora Indica = Nausea, joint pain, arthritis
Berry-Bolt = Insomnia, Joint pain
Big Bang = Stress, Anxiety, Sedation
Big Kahuna = Back Pain, Arthritis, Herniated disc pain
BillieJack = ADD’s
Black Domina = Emotional Stability
Black on Blue Widow = HIV, Back pain
Black Vietnamese = Nausea, Muscle Spasms, Pain
Black/Blue Widow = HIV/AIDS, Back Pain
Blackberry = Digestive Disorders
Blackberry’s mother = Nausea, Joint Pain, Arthritis, HIV
Blue Fruit = Crohns Disease, Muscle spasms
Blue Moon Rocks = Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia
Blue Satellite = Pain, Nausea, Anxiety, Muscle Tension, Insomnia
Blue Satellite x Jack Herer = Depression, Nausea
Blueberry = Nausea, Insomnia, Pain
Bog Sour Bubble = Pain, Anxiety
Bonzo Bud = Body pain, Migraine
Bubble Gum = Fibromyalgia
Budacolumbia = Nausea
Burmaberry = Migraine, Depression
Burmese = Pain
Burmese pure = Anxiety, Depression
C99 x Great White Shark = Anxiety
Cali-O = Nausea
Cambodian x Orange Pekoe = Cerebral, Alert
Catalyst = PMS
Chronic = Muscle Spasms, Appetite Stimulant, Anti-emetic
Cinderella 99 = Epilepsy, MS, Nausea
CIT = Insomnia, Pain, Nausea
Citral = Insomnia
Cripple Creek = Hepatitis C, Degenerative Disc Disease, IBS, Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Rotator Cuff Disease, HIV/AIDS
Deep Chunk = Joint Pain, Insomnia
Dynamite = Asthma, Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis C
East Coast Sour Diesel = Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Radiculopathy
El Nino = Nausea, Insomnia
Fieldale Haze = Anxiety, Back pain
Fig Widow = Back pain, Psychosis
Firecracker = Depression, Anxiety, Nausea
G-13 = Depression, Pain, ADD, ADHD
G13 x HP = Nausea, Joint Pain, Insomnia
Grapefruit = Arthritis, Hepatitis C, Pain, Nausea
Green Queen = Epilepsy, Neck/spine pain
Green Spirit = Nausea, Headache, Body pain
Green Spirit x Timewarp x Herijuana = Insomnia, Migraine, Joint pain
Haze = ADD/ADHD
Heavenly Man = Stress
Herijuana = Pain, Nausea, Insomnia
Herijuana x Trainwreck = Diabetic neuropathy, Joint pain, Insomnia, MS
Hindu Kush = Social Anxiety
Ice Princess x Bubblegum = Migraine
Jack Herer = Anxiety, Fibromyalgia
Jacked #14 = Nausea
John Paul Jones = Body pain
Juicy Fruit = Insomnia, Joint pain, Anxiety
Kali Mist = Nausea, Depression
Kal-X = Body pain
KILLER QUEEN = Depression, Back Pain
Killer Queen = Depression, Back pain
Krinkle x Kush x Freezeland = MS muscle spasms
Lavender = Chronic Pain
Leda Uno = Insomnia
Legends Ultimate Indica = Insomnia, IBS, CROHN’S DISEASE, Joint/Muscle Pain
Legends Ultimate Indica x Herijuana = Muscle spasms, Pain
Lemon Chemo = Insomnia, Back pain, Migraine
Lemon Haze = Fibromyalgia
Lifesaver = Nausea, Headache, Pain, Insomnia
Lollipop = Cachexia, Degenerative bone and disc disease, Edema, General pain, General seizures, Glaucoma, Migraine, MS, Nausea, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Lowryder = Nausea, Pain, Headache
LSD = Nausea, Anxiety, Depression, Headache
M39 = Anxiety, Depression
Magic Crystal = Migraine, PMS, Depression, Nausea
Mango = Back pain, nausea
Mango x Northern Lights # 5 = Pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety
Master Kush = Nausea
Medicine Woman = Diabetic neuropathy, general pain, general seizures, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, muscle spasms, nausea, radiculopathy
Misty = Hepatitis C, back pain, insomnia, nausea
Mountainberry = Insomnia, migraine, pain
Mr. Nice = Chronic Pain, Muscle Spasms
New York Diesel = Migraine
NL#5 = Social Anxiety
Northern Lights #1 = Arthritis
Northern Lights #2 = Nausea, insomnia
Northern Lights = Anxiety, radiculopathy, insomnia
Northern Lights x Cinderella 99 = Depression
Northern Lights x Jamaican = Arthritis
Northern Lights x Shiva = Pain, Toothache
NORTHERNBERRY = General Pain
NYC SOUR DIESEL = Edema, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Radiculopathy
Oak Goo = Pain, anxiety
OG Kush = Social Anxiety
OG KUSH PURPLE = Leg Pain, Knee, Butt Pain
Oregon 90 = Joint Pain, RLS, Pain, Nausea, Insomnia
Original Mystic = Epilepsy
Phaght Betty = Cachexia, degenerative bone/disc disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Purple Kush = Stress, Anxiety
Queen Bee = Neck/spine pain
Reeferman’s Hash Plant = Chronic Pain
Romulan = Chronic Pain
Sensi Star = Migraine, PMS, Back Pain
Shiskaberry x Dutch Treat = Migraine, anxiety, insomnia, nausea
Shiskaberry x Hash Plant = Anxiety, nausea
Skunk #1 = Nausea
Slow Train = Back Pain
Snow White = PMS, Head aches
Sonoma Coma = General Relaxation, Induce Sleep
SOUR CREAM = Insomnia, Joint Pain, Nausea
Stardust 13 = Pain, nausea, insomnia
Strawberry Cough = Back pain, depression
Super Impact = Nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, depression, anxiety
Super Impact x AK-47 = Pain, insomnia, mood
Super Silver Haze = Nausea, depression, RLS, Arthritis, Bladder Problems
Super Thai = Depression
Swamp Mix = Depression
Sweet Blu = Degenerative bone/disc disease, diabetic, neuropathy, edema, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, nausea, neck/spine pain
Sweet
Tooth #3
= Depression, mood
Trainwreck = Anxiety, Arthritis, Diabetic Neuropathy, Depression
Trainwreck x Herijuana = Nausea, Anxiety, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, depression
TW x LUI = Arthritis, nausea
TX = Arthritis, asthma, general pain, general seizures, glaucoma, MS
Ty’s Northernberry x Reeferman’s Herijuana = Appetite Stimulant, Spasms
UBC Chemo x Grapefruit = Muscle/Joint Pain
Ultra Green = Insomnia
Wakeford = Anxiety, nausea, insomnia
White Rhino = Body pain, back pain, joint pain, insomnia
White Russian = Pain, nausea
White Russian x AK47 x White Widow = Chronic Pain, Insomnia
White Widow = Cachexia, Hepatitis C, PTSD
White Widow x Big Bud = Depression, White Widow, Cachexia, Hepatitis C, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Wisp = Nausea, headache
WR = Muscle pain, nausea, insomnia
XXX = General Relaxation, Sleep

Please keep in mind that this is not to be considered as “medical advice” as the information given in this article is intended to be for informational purposes only, and is not intended to claim any specific cure of any ailment or disease through the specified strains, but is to be considered more of a guideline to help you decide what might be best for you in choosing the best strain for you.

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French drug trial disaster leaves one brain dead, five injured

PARIS | By Matthias Blamont

Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:30am EST

 

An ambulance is seen outside the Emergency Entrance at the CHU de Rennes hospital, in Rennes, France, where six people are in a serious condition after taking part in a medical trial for an unnamed European laboratory to test a new drug, France’s health ministry said January…Reuters/Stephane Mahe

One person has been left brain dead and five others are in serious condition after taking part in a clinical trial in France of an experimental painkiller made by Portuguese drug company Bial, the French Health Ministry said on Friday.

The medicine involved works by targeting the body’s pain-controlling endocannabinoid system, which is also responsible for the human response to cannabis.

The ministry said the six volunteers in Rennes, in western France, had been in good health until taking the oral medication at a private facility that specializes in carrying out clinical trials.

 

The brain-dead volunteer was admitted to hospital in Rennes on Monday. Other patients went in on Wednesday and Thursday.

The volunteers are all men aged 28 to 49, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine told a news conference. They started taking the drug on Jan 7. One person started feeling ill on Sunday and the other five afterwards.

In total, 90 people have taken part in the trial, taking some dosage of the drug, she said, adding that others took a placebo.

All trials on the drug have been suspended and all volunteers who have taken part in the trial are being called back.

A spokeswoman for the European Medicines Agency in London said it did not have full details of the case but was monitoring the situation.

Cases of early-stage clinical trials going badly wrong are rare but not unheard of. In 2006, six healthy volunteers given an experimental drug in London ended up in intensive care. One was described as looking like "the elephant man" after his head ballooned. Another lost his fingertips and toes.

"INHERENT RISK"

In the initial Phase I stage of clinical testing, a drug is given to healthy volunteers to see how it is handled by the body and what is the right dose to give to patients.

"Undertaking Phase 1 studies is highly specialist work," said Daniel Hawcutt, a lecturer in clinical pharmacology at Britain’s University of Liverpool.

Medicines then go into larger Phase II and Phase III trials to assess their effectiveness and safety before they are finally approved for sale.

Europe has strict regulations governing the conduct of clinical trials, with Phase I tests subject to particular scrutiny. But Ben Whalley, a professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Reading, said these could only minimize risks, not abolish them.

"There is an inherent risk in exposing people to any new compound," he said.

The 2006 London trial led to the collapse of Germany’s TeGenero, the company developing a medicine known as TGN1412. The drug has since gone back into tests for rheumatoid arthritis and is showing promise when given at a fraction of the original dose.

(Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler, John Irish, Noelle Mennella and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Michel Rose and Larry King)

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Pain Medication-Roger Mason

170px-Cannabissativadior

People are generally completely uninformed about pain medications.

Doctors are almost as completely uninformed. Pain medication is a blessing for the TEMPORARY relief of pain, or for people who are dying and suffering. All drugs were legal in America for almost 150 years, until the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1913.

There was not even an age limit!

Heroin, morphine, opium, cocaine, amphetamine, hashish, and marijuana were inexpensive, over the counter drugs. Only about 3% of Americans had a dependence problem.

There was simply no reason whatsoever to pass this act. All drugs should be legal for adults. Period. That’s right- all drugs for all adults. Anyone who commits a crime while under the influence of any drug (including alcohol) should get doubled penalties. People with drug problems are medical patients, not criminals. This would put an end to drug cartels, most organized crime, most gangs, and empty the prisons over-night. Police would be free to arrest real criminals. It would also take all the profit, false allure, and fake glamour out of illegal forbidden drugs. Drug dependence is Boring with a capital B.

If you have a headache, or other minor pains, try an ice pack. If that doesn’t help, try a heating pad. One or the other should help you very much. Only real world experience will tell you whether hot or cold helps relieve your pain. Aspirin is not toxic, if you take one or two , and only occasionally. It is simply the acetyl derivative of salicylic acid from willow bark. If you have regular headaches, or other pains, your body is telling you there is a problem you need to address. Americans swill down too many tons of aspirin to count every year.

Countless millions of clueless Americans also swill down acetominophen like candy. This drug is so toxic, so poisonous, and so so dangerous, it should be outlawed. Warning labels are not enough here. Acetominophen (aka paracetamol) will turn your liver into pudding. This is sold as Tylenol® and Anacin®.  Another dangerous toxin is ibuprofen. This is sold as Advil® and Motrin®. This is also toxic with many side effects. This should also be outlawed due to it’s toxicity.

If you have stronger pain, there are only a few good prescription options, and all are natural opiates or opiate derivatives. Codeine 60 mg is not strong, but is effective for mild pain. It has a “ceiling”, so if you take, say, 200 mg it will not be any more effective. The most you can take is about 60 mg AM, and 60 mg PM. Codeine is sold over the counter in many countries with no problems at all. The fact it is a prescription drug is ridiculous. It was sold over the counter in America in the 1960s with no problem. Never buy codeine with aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or any other filler. Codeine cough syrup is very effective and safe.

Hydrocodone 10 mg is six times stronger than codeine, and much more euphoric. In November 2013 you can finally buy Zohydro® without acetaminophen. Do NOT use Vicodin®, which is full of toxic acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed prescription drug of all, by far in America, but people are ruining their health with the acetaminophen in Vicodin®. Only use Zohydro®.

Oxycodeine 10 mg is also six times stronger than codeine, and just as euphoric as hydro-codeine. You get eurphoria plus energy. This combination makes it potentially addictive for weak minded people. This is the best pain killer known, and most people actually prefer it to morphine. For some reason, this is only sold in a very few countries. This is the best overall pain medication known to man. Believe it or not, this was invented in 1914, and only recently has become so popular. For almost 100 years it just sat on the shelf. Oxycontin® is high dose oxycodeine, up to 160 mg (!) for terminal patients. Per-coset® is full of toxic acetaminophen for no valid scientific reason.

Morphine 30 mg was considered the gold standard for pain relief, but most people prefer oxycodeine, due to the enhanced euphoria and feeling of energy. Morphine is basically only given to people with serious chronic pain, and the terminally ill. Morphine does not work for some people as they lack the enzyme necessary to metabolize it. Morphine is good for people who do not want the extra energy and euphoria, just pain relief. Using it intrarectally is 50% more effective. This does not work with any other pain medicine ex-cept morphine and it’s derivatives.

Hydromorphine 4 mg is known as Dilaudid®, and more than seven times stronger than morphine. It was invented in 1924. This is also only prescribed for very serious cases. There is really no basic difference between morphine and hydromorphine except dosage. 50% more effective when used intrarectally.

What about heroin (diacetyl morphine) 5 mg itself? This is a fine pain killer, and no more addictive than morphine. This is used in Europe but not in the U.S. It makes no sense at all to outlaw heroin as a pain medication. The only problem is that it cannot be taken orally, and that does make it impractical. Never inject any drug unless you are in the emergency room of a hospital. Oral opiates are far preferred. Heroin has been demonized for no reason at all.  The fact it must be injected makes it very impractical however.

Oxymorphine aka oxymorphone 5 mg (Opana®) is similar to hydromorphine, but for some reason is rarely used in the U.S. This has also been available for almost 100 years. This is a shame, as it is very strong and very effective. This just proves the ignorance of medical doctors to ignore a safe and effective drug like this. This is very underutilized. 50% more effective when used intrarectally.

Opium tincture is known as Paregoric®, but it very diluted and weak. Opium powder is not used in America for pain, and concentrated opium (Pantopon®) is almost never used. There are too many harmful alkaloids in unconcentrated opium to use safely. You do not want to take these alkaloids. Paregoric is sold over the counter in some countries. It was legal in America until the 1960s.

What about the synthetic non-opiate drugs like Tramadol®, Demerol®, fentanyl, methadone, ketamine, and propoxyphene? Don’t use these, since you have more effective, less toxic opiates to use. Tramadol® is weak and toxic. Demerol® is very effective, but more toxic than real opiates. Fentanyl is best used as an anesthetic for surgery. Patches are available. The Russians use it as a military aerosol to incapacitate crowds. (The problem is many people die when it is used that way.)   Methadone is illegal in the U.S. and very toxic. Ketamine is a deleriant anesthetic drug with psychedelic properties. The ketamine patches do not cause disorientation. Propoxyphene (Darvon®) is toxic and simply should not be used.   

This leaves codeine, hydrocodeine, and oxycodeine for most people. Serious pain can require morphine or hydromorphine, since oxymorphine is rarely used. This is a short but effective list. Do not let the doctor, in his ignorance, dictate your pain management. Demand real opiates with no fillers.

For pet lovers, the same is true for our beloved companions. Codeine is weak and rather ineffective. This leaves hydrocodeine, oxycodeine, morphine, and dilaudid as the only real choices. Veterinarians are stupid beyond belief, and will give your beloved pet inef-fective Tramadol® and other such drugs. Demand proper pain medication if your pet needs it, and find a new vet if he won’t do it. Some pets cannot metabolize morphine.

The drugs laws have turned America, and most of the whole world, into police states. America has 5% of the world population, but 25% of the world prison inmates!!! One third of American prisoners are locked up for drugs. The drug laws make pharmacists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies rich. Opiates would literally cost no more than candy bars if legalized. Again, pain medication is for the TEMPORARY relief of suf-fering, unless you  have an incurable chronic condition, or are terminal. You need to be educated about pain relief because your doctor certainly isn’t.  

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Epileptic mom who used marijuana raising funds to fight charges

Hidden blood tests by hospitals put mothers at risk of arrest  Alabama hospitals have less-than-clear intentions as drug tests lead to arrests of pregnant moms

Will Bishop has suffered no health effects from his mother’s self medication of her epilepsy with marijuana while she carried him. (Grant Blankenship)

By Amy Yurkanin | ayurkanin@al.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on November 30, 2015 at 4:37 PM

The family of a young Russell County woman facing up to ten years in prison after using marijuana to treat seizures while pregnant has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for her criminal defense.

Katie Darovitz shared her story with ProPublica and Al.com earlier this year. The 25-year-old suffers from epilepsy so severe that she can’t drive safely or hold a job. When she found out she was pregnant, she went off her anti-epilepsy drugs – which have been linked to birth defects – and began using marijuana to prevent seizures.

She was arrested a couple weeks after the December 2014 birth of her son because they both tested positive for marijuana. Alabama is one of a handful of states where mothers can be prosecuted for exposing an unborn child to illicit drugs under the state’s chemical endangerment of a child law.

In an analysis of almost 500 criminal cases, Al.com and ProPublica discovered that marijuana was the drug most commonly cited in indictments and arrest reports for women arrested for drug use during pregnancy. Darovitz faces several years in prison if convicted.

Advocates for the family have located two out-of-state attorneys to work on Darovitz’s criminal and child custody cases, but they need a local attorney to assist. The out-of-state attorneys are working for free, but the family must still raise money to pay for travel and other expenses.

The family is seeking up to $15,000 to pay for legal expenses and has started a GoFundMe campaign.

Darovitz’s mother-in-law, Debi Word, has reached out to local attorneys. At least one attorney did not want to take the case to trial and urged Darovitz to take a plea deal. But that deal would saddle Darovitz with substantial monthly court fees, Word said.

"This is such an injustice," Word said. "And I can’t imagine her going to prison for trying to protect her baby."

The case has already taken a toll of Darovitz’s health, Word said. Stress has caused her seizures to intensify, and marijuana is the only treatment that is keeping them under control, Word said. If Darovitz entered a drug treatment court, she wouldn’t be able to use marijuana to treat seizures because medical marijuana is not legal in Alabama.

Darovitz has struggled with anxiety and depression throughout her legal ordeal. Although she faces up to ten years if convicted, the family believes a jury will not convict if they hear Darovitz’s story. Expert witnesses who have researched the use of marijuana during pregnancy have also agreed to testify. Studies of children exposed to marijuana in utero have produced mixed results, with some showing no effects on development and others suggesting some increase in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

"This has been very stressful and I hope it just goes away, because all I was doing was trying to protect my son and keep myself alive," Darovtiz said. "And I really hope I can see my son’s first birthday."

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Why Are So Many Veterans on Death Row?

By Jeffrey Toobin

A new study shows that at least ten per cent of death-row inmates are military veterans.

The death penalty has always provided a window into the darkest corners of American life. Every pathology that infects the nation as a whole—racism, most notably—also affects our decisions about whom to execute. A new report from the Death Penalty Information Center adds a new twist to this venerable pattern.

The subject of the report, just in time for Veterans Day, is the impact of the death penalty on veterans. The author, Richard C. Dieter, the longtime executive director of the invaluable D.P.I.C., estimates that “at least 10% of the current death row—that is, over 300 inmates—are military veterans. Many others have already been executed.” In a nation where roughly seven per cent of the population have served in the military, this number alone indicates disproportionate representation. But in a nation where military service has traditionally been seen as a route into the middle class—and where being a vet has been seen as more of a benefit than a burden—the military numbers are especially disturbing.

Why are so many veterans on death row? Dieter asserts that many veterans “have experienced trauma that few others in society have ever encountered—trauma that may have played a role in their committing serious crimes.” Although this is hardly the case with every veteran, or even the overwhelming majority of them, Dieter goes on to relate several harrowing stories that follow this model. Because of such traumas, many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, for which they have too often received poor treatment, or none at all.

Veterans who kill are not, by and large, hit men or members of organized crime or gangs. They very often lash out at those around them. Dieter notes that a third of the homicide victims killed by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were family members or girlfriends. Another quarter were fellow service members. This record suggests that, if these veterans had received adequate mental-health care, at least some of them and their victims might have had a different fate.

But it’s possible to see, in the D.P.I.C. study, an echo of another recent high-profile study. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, of Princeton, found that the death rates for middle-aged white men have increased significantly in the past decade or so. This was largely due, according to the authors, to “increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis.” The Princeton study fits into a larger pattern in American life, which is the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites.

That cohort has gravitated to military service for generations. And while, again, most veterans never commit any crime, much less crimes that carry the death penalty, the sour legacies of our most recent wars certainly play into the despair of many veterans. Earlier generations of veterans came home from war to ticker-tape parades, a generous G.I. Bill, and a growing economy that offered them a chance at upward mobility. Younger veterans returned to P.T.S.D., a relatively stagnant economy, especially in rural and semi-rural areas, and an epidemic of drug abuse. And they came home to a society where widening income inequality suggested the futility of their engagement with the contemporary world.

In an interview with Vox, Deaton said that the death rate for members of this cohort had increased, in part, because they had “lost the narrative of their lives.” This elegant, almost poetic phrase can be read to include the lost promise of military service—the vanished understanding that veterans earned more than a paycheck, that they also gained a step up in status, both economic and social. The reality has been that many veterans returned to lives that were materially and spiritually worse than the ones they left, and far worse than the ones they expected.

According to the Princeton study, a shocking number of poorly educated whites turned their rage inward, in the form of drug abuse and suicide. But a small handful inflicted their rage on others, and an even smaller number wound up on death row. They are different groups of people, and their individual stories are even more variegated, but it’s possible to see across them the symptoms of a broader anguish.

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