More US Women Hospitalized for Opioid Abuse

Opioid-related hospitalisations among women in the United States increased far faster than among men between 2005 and 2014, a federal government report says.

Among women, hospitalisations involving opioid painkillers or heroin rose 75 percent, compared to 55 percent among men, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The surge among women during that 10-year period meant that by 2014 males and females were being hospitalised at a similar rate — about 225 hospitalisations per 100,000 people.

In 2014, hospitalisation rates among women were highest in West Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts, exceeding 350 per 100,000 people. Among men, the highest rates were in the District of Columbia, New York and Maryland, topping 440 hospitalisations per 100,000.

Misuse of potent painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicoprofen (hydrocodone/ibuprofen) sends 1,000 Americans to emergency rooms each day. Opioid-related overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999, according to federal statistics.

WebMD

Massive Poppy Bust: Why Home-Grown Opium Is Rare

A North Carolina man was arrested last month when police discovered an acre of opium poppies growing in his yard.

The alleged grower, Cody Xiong, faces a rare charge in the United States. Despite a raging opioid epidemic in the country, fields of home-grown opium are rare. The sheriff in the North Carolina case said the discovery was only the second time the plant had been found growing in the United States this year, WBTV reported.

There are two big reasons for this lack of agricultural entrepreneurship: effective U.S. law enforcement and the ease of importing heroin made from opium poppies grown elsewhere, said H. Douglas Wankel, a former assistant administrator and chief of operations in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“It’s very labor-intensive,” Wankel told Live Science.

Read more at LiveScience

Green Light for Medical Cannabis

Patients and activists have long fought for the legalisation of medical cannabis, but, despite mounting evidence pointing to its benefits in both pain relief and the treatment of specific conditions, have always stumbled on strong resistance by mainstream attitudes. According to Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis, the main problem has been a “widespread, albeit false, notion that it somehow helps legitimise the use of recreational cannabis”.

A set of government-proposed regulations to allow the import, distribution and use of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis, unveiled and put to public consultation in February, would, if approved by parliament, allow government to issue two licences for a period “up to 15 years”.

But the government’s proposal for the drastic overhaul of the law on medical cannabis comes with regulation so detailed and tight, making abuse – by the licensees or recreational users – next to impossible, that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the mood of people like Evdokas is hardly celebratory.

According to this document, each individual has the right “to freely choose from among different treatment procedures” and “to refuse a treatment or a medical intervention”.

A second limitation, Evdokas said, the bill places restrictions on which doctors can prescribe the drug.

Continue reading at Cyprus Mail Online

Is Magic Mushrooms are the Safest Drug?

If you’re looking to play it safe when it comes to illicit substances, look no further than the humble shroom. It’s non-addictive, hard to overdose on, and you can grow it yourself. And, according to a massive report by the Global Drug Survey, it sends the fewest people to the emergency room of any drug on the market. Take that, meth.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about psychedelic mushrooms is that they’re easily confused for the poisonous kind. There are over 100 varieties of psilocybin-producing shroomies, which is the chemical that makes you trip when you eat them. Some of them are bound to look like toxic varietals, especially if you’re in a hurry to get high.

Instead, you should befriend a mycologist (a person who studies mushrooms) so that they can help you find the sort of shroom. Most people who don’t buy their mushrooms tend to pick them themselves rather than grow them, which is the riskier—albeit faster—option. The magic varieties grow on every continent, though if you happen to be somewhere subtropical and humid you’ll find more types.

LSD also lasts longer and affects way more receptors in your brain than shrooms do. Psychedelic mushrooms only directly affect your serotonin receptors, whereas LSD affects serotonin, dopamine, and a whole host of other stimulating receptors in your brain. Shrooms may have some indirect effect on dopamine levels, but it’s minimal at best. The longer, potentially more intense results from LSD aren’t likely to do actual damage to your brain. But they are likely to give you a bad trip. And really, that’s the main danger with all psychedelics—if you’re anxious before you start or you begin to feel paranoid, the mind-altering impacts from the drugs only amplify those feelings.

Other than that, hallucinogens are pretty safe. They can reduce anxiety, ease the intense pain of cluster headaches, alleviate OCD symptoms, improve depression, and boost the psychological state of terminal cancer patients. A 2006 double-blind study sponsored by the U.S. government found that about 80 percent of people who took psilocybin reported that their well-being improved and remained that way for months after their psychedelic experience (the control group did not).

Read more at Popular Science

Marijuana convictions go up in smoke with California legalization

Since California legalized recreational pot, thousands of people convicted of marijuana crimes have asked to get their records reduced.

Partial numbers released last week show more than 2,500 reduction requests were filed through March.

The state does not record outcomes, but prosecutors say they haven’t fought most petitions. The figures do not yet include data from more than half of counties from the first quarter of the year.

Marijuana legalization advocates, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, have held free legal clinics to help convicts get their records changed. Lawyers who specialize in pot defense have noted a steady flow of interest from new and former clients.

Eye Witness News

Magic Mushrooms Are Shaping the Future of Psychiatric Treatment

You may know the chemical 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine by its more common name, psilocybin. Long used as a sacrament among indigenous peoples in the Americas — and more recently branded as an illicit party drug — in recent years, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms has received a lot of attention from scientists for potential to treat substance use disorder, anxiety, and depression.

In their review of seven published psilocybin clinical trials, the team led by Kelan Thomas, assistant professor of clinical sciences at Touro University California, concluded that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy shows strong potential for improving outcomes in patients living with depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.

The advantage of psilocybin-assisted therapy, they write, is that it provides significant benefits for patients who haven’t responded to therapy or medication. Patients can also show improvement after just a few six-hour “medicated” therapy sessions and a few weeks of follow-up therapy.

These studies all investigated the use of psilocybin in strictly controlled clinical conditions under the supervision of therapists and other health professionals. Additionally, all of the clinical trials investigated by the researchers consisted of small groups of subjects — as few as nine for an open-label (non-blinded) trial investigating obsessive-compulsive disorder and as many as 51 in a double-blind study of cancer-related depression and anxiety.

As psychological and psychiatric researchers have gained greater access to brain imaging technologies like fMRI, scientists have formed new hypotheses about the physiological roots of psychological disorders.

These new attitudes among scientists run counter to those of the law enforcement community. In most of the United States — New Mexico seems to have found a loophole — psilocybin is still classified as a Schedule I substance. This means it has “a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. When — or whether — the DEA will take the most recent scientific data into account, however, remains to be seen.

Inverse

Can Valerian Root Help You Sleep Better?

Insomnia is defined as a medical condition involving difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of American adults fail to get at least seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, which is associated with an increased risk of chronic ill health and mental distress. As noted by Dr. Wayne Giles, director of CDC’s Division of Population Health.

Another really crucial lifestyle aspect that can have a profound impact on your ability to sleep is sunlight and artificial light exposure during the day and night. Getting appropriate light exposure at the appropriate time of day — which I’ll discuss further below — is perhaps one of the most important factors that need to be addressed if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Valerian Root — Nature’s Valium

Frequently referred to as “nature’s Valium,” valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) has a sedative effect and has been used in traditional medicine to promote relaxation and sleep for at least 2,000 years. Some of the sedating compounds in valerian root include:

• Valerenic acid. As noted by Authority Nutrition,4 stress can lower your levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which in turn has been linked to anxiety and impaired, poor quality sleep.

Read more at ProHealth

Man Arrested Over $14,000 Marijuana Find

A RANDOM breath test operation at Maclean has yielded an unexpected find, with close to half a kilogram of marijuana located in a van.

The van was subsequently searched and police allegedly found 474g of marijuana, a quantity of which was packaged into 16 resealable bags.

Police also located scales and a quantity of unused resealable bags. The driver, a 30-year-old man from Stokers Siding, near Murwillumbah, was arrested.

he alleged offender was arrested and taken to Maclean Police Station, where he was subsequently charged with supplying a prohibited drug, possession of marijuana, disqualified driving, and driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.

According to Coffs/Clarence crime manager, Detective Inspector Darren Jameson, the marijuana had a potential street value of more than $14,000, and represented more than 450 street deals and equates to over 4500 individual dosage units.

“Cannabis remains at the root of crime here and recent media reports of tragic events out of Queensland, show that cannabis use can lead to violent and unimaginable crimes.”

Daily Examiner

Trump Supports Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s Murderous Drug War

President Trump invited President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to the White House after having a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte” on Saturday. According to a statement issued by the White House, the two “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”

Since he was elected President last May, Duterte has championed a campaign that is responsible for the extrajudicial killing of thousands of people.

“To host President Duterte at the White House is to endorse his deadly drug war policies,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “The Trump Administration should immediately withdraw its invitation to Duterte and publicly denounce the mass killings he has advocated for, or risk embarrassing the country with the sight of the U.S. President greeting a remorseless, self-confessed murderer.”

In December 2016, an advisor to Trump’s transition team on security policy said that the president-elect would start a “clean slate” with Duterte “without being wedded to previous policy failures.” Days later, President Trump praised Duterte for his efforts and The New York Times ran a feature piece documenting the homicide victims of Duterte’s brutal drug war.

Duterte has repeatedly shown complete disregard for due process or human rights. In his call for the murder of people who use or sell drugs, he promised medals for citizens who comply, and pardons for police if they are charged with human rights violations while carrying out the executions. He has even likened himself to Hitler. These extrajudicial killings have largely claimed the lives of the country’s most marginalized and vulnerable citizens, including those who are unemployed or underemployed.

Despite international calls for Duterte to end the extrajudicial killings, he has refused to change direction, responding to anyone who has questioned his anti-drug strategy with insults, including former President Obama, the Pope, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations. He has also threatened to kill human rights defenders who attempt to intervene in his war on drugs.

While Trump is embracing the horrific approach taken by the president of the Philippines, he is also doubling down on the failed drug war here in the U.S. both in his rhetoric and his appointments, most notably Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

Weednews

Canadians Admitting to Marijuana Use Can Be Permanently Banned from Entering U.S.

If you are a foreign citizen trying to cross the border into the United States, one of the questions you are likely to be asked is whether or not you have ever smoked pot. But not everyone is aware that answering yes to this question can get you permanently barred from entering the country. If Canada follows through on its promise to legalize marijuana next year, there will then be millions of people who are legally free to smoke weed but could all be potentially banned from entering the U.S.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that it was “ludicrous” how many Canadians were getting banned from the U.S. over marijuana. “What we will expect of our American counterparts, just as they would expect it of us, that when people present themselves to cross the border, that the experience is respectful, that it’s consistent, that it’s professional and that people are not treated in any kind of a capricious way,” Goodale said.

Canada’s impending legalization of marijuana “completely changes the dynamic,” Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer said. “Some regard Canada as the 51st state. This is going to make a big difference in terms of adjusting attitudes and accelerating progress. . . . It’s going to help us bring these things to a head.”

Merry Jane

Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough to Help Iowans

Iowa has been making some great strides towards expanding medical marijuana access in Iowa — but are they enough? Last week, House File 524 was passed, expanding the medical marijuana law that is already in place.

This bill proposes to permit the manufacturing and distribution of medical marijuana in Iowa and expanding the list of eligible medical diagnoses, allowing Iowans with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic and severe illnesses, access to cannabis oil. While this is a great achievement for those suffering from these debilitating illnesses, Iowa will still be behind the 29 other states who have passed more expansive medical marijuana laws.

A major concern with this bill is that only cannabis oil can be used and the THC content can be no more than 3 percent. The 29 states that have more extensive medical marijuana laws allow the entire plant to be used, which has a higher THC content.

This is crucial for those that are suffering from severe pain. Many of these other states also include other medical diagnoses such as glaucoma and mental illnesses such as PTSD.

The Des Moines Register

Iowa Legislature Approves Measure Legalizing Distribution of Medical Cannabis Oil

House File 524 was approved by the House today at 3 am (83 to 11), and was passed by the Senate exactly four hours later (33 to 7), sending it to Governor Terry Branstad for final consideration. The proposal would legalize the production and distribution of cannabis oil for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician. Licensed dispensaries would be established to safely distribute the medicine to patients.

“There are sick Iowans out there that need relief, bottom line,” said the bill’s floor manager, Representative Jarad Klein, R-Keota.

If approved into law, House File 524 would allow the Department of Public Health to approve up to two manufacturers and up to five distributors if cannabis oil. The cannabis oil will be limited to containing no more than 3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The bill also would expand the list of qualifying conditions to use cannabis oil to include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and others. A medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board would be established within the Department of Public Health to recommend adding or removing qualifying conditions.

The Joint Blog

New Study Claims: Magic Mushrooms and other Psychedelic Drugs Really Seem to Elevate Consciousness

Three different psychedelic drugs that are known to produce altered states of consciousness and that have been used illegally for recreation are the subject of a new study. Psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is produced by magic mushrooms, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and ketamine are the subjects of the new study. Researchers set out to determine if magic mushrooms, LSD, and ketamine actually increase “global neural signal diversity.” The researchers wanted to know if the psychedelic state is actually an elevated state of consciousness. The research was published this month in Scientific Reports in Nature.

They say that their research indicates that magic mushrooms and other psychedelic drugs really do push the user into an elevated state of consciousness.

“For all three, we find reliably higher spontaneous signal diversity, even when controlling for spectral changes. This increase is most pronounced for the single-channel LZ complexity measure, and hence for temporal, as opposed to spatial, signal diversity. We also uncover selective correlations between changes in signal diversity and phenomenological reports of the intensity of psychedelic experience. This is the first time that these measures have been applied to the psychedelic state and, crucially, that they have yielded values exceeding those of normal waking consciousness. These findings suggest that the sustained occurrence of psychedelic phenomenology constitutes an elevated level of consciousness – as measured by neural signal diversity.”

The researchers say that their data suggests that the psychedelic state brought on by magic mushrooms and some other drugs lies above other states, including wakeful rest, when compared using a one-dimensional scale that is defined by brain signal diversity.

Magic mushrooms have been gaining greater recognition for the drug’s potentially positive effects. For example, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, which researches drug abuse in British Columbia, is actually planning clinical trials to see if psychedelic drugs might be able to help people overcome addiction to opioid drugs, CBC reported. A John Hopkins University study from a couple of years ago found that magic mushroom’s active ingredient could help smokers overcome their addiction to cigarettes. Eight out of 10 study participants were still not smoking six months after they quit when using the compound in magic mushrooms and cognitive behavioral therapy.

“Therapeutic outcomes are often correlated with a mystical or a spiritual-type experience. People often have deep insights about themselves and their relationships with others and with God — and sometimes, as a consequence, have significant behavioral changes,” Dr. Kenneth Tupper, of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, told CBC.

Inquisitr

Unofficial Cannabis “Holiday” – Health Benefits of Cannabis Oil Still Secondary to Recreational Usage

April 20th is here again, a date well-known by recreational enthusiasts and celebrated as a cannabis culture holiday nationwide, and what was once known only as an inside joke to a few is now much more widely known and accepted in the United States. With 8 states having now legalized recreational marijuana, and dozens more allowing medical marijuana, much of the stigma of openly promoting “420-friendly” characteristics has disappeared, with hundreds of companies now offering special discounts on April 20th.

“The stereotype of a cannabis user has changed a lot with its growing acceptance as a medication, and not just a recreational plant used by some to get ‘high,'” says Rick Hawkins, a scientist with Nutra Pure, the makers of the popular CBD Pure line of CBD oils, “States have issued new regulations allowing medications and supplements derived from the cannabis plant to be available to those who need it most, and the results have been nothing short of impressive.”

Mr. Hawkins was referencing the growing popularity of CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant believed to be the primary cannabinoid responsible for mood support and neuroprotectant effects experienced by recreational users. While CBD does not have any intoxicating effects, access to it has been limited because of its relationship to its chemical cousin, THC. CBD users seeking the health benefits of cannabis without the intoxicating effects often go to great lengths to obtain high concentration cannabidiol products, typically ordering them from states like Washington, Colorado, or Oregon where they are more commonplace.

“We get orders from every state for our CBD oils, but the states that have legalized recreational usage also order the most CBD oil too, ironically,” continued Mr, Hawkins. He believes that is because, as more recreational users of cannabis see positive health effects, the word spreads to health-conscious people in the area who would never smoke cannabis, but have joint pain, insomnia, or mood issues that could be helped with cannabis oil. “Some of the healthiest people I know, that would never touch an illegal drug, swear by cannabis oils and take them every day for their health.”

Benzinga

The Difference between LSD and Magic Mushroom

Hallucinogens are a wide group of drugs with a diverse range of capabilities. Some have been proven to alleviate ailments like PTSD and anxiety; others will definitely make you crap your pants while thinking your roommate has turned into a giant crane. The two most popular hallucinogens are magic mushrooms and LSD, technically known as lysergic acid diethylamide. While they have similar effects, both drugs have enough differences between them that any potential user should be less than chill about considering them the same.

Here’s the science you need to know to understand how LSD and magic mushrooms affect the body in their own, trippy way:

Magic Mushrooms Are Natural, LSD Is Not

While LSD was invented in 1938, mushrooms containing the naturally occurring psychedelic compound psilocybin can be found in regions within South America, Mexico, and the United States. It’s estimated that there are over 200 species of psychedelic mushrooms.

LSD was synthesized by Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman, who later famously took the drug himself and went on a bike ride on April 19, 1934. The clear, odorless, and tasteless drug is made from lysergic acid, which is found on the fungus that typically grows on grains.

Both Drugs Trip Out the Brain, but One Lasts Way Longer

Magic mushrooms and LSD involve chemicals that bond with the brain’s serotonin receptors. When someone takes LSD, their sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, which causes a rise in blood-sugar levels, an increase in body temperature, and pupillary dilation. The body confuses LSD for serotonin and sends it towards the brain’s synaptic cleft. This allows LSD molecules to bind to serotonin receptor proteins.

LSD and Mushrooms May Both Be Future Antidepressants

An increasing swath of scientific evidence demonstrates both substances have the potential to treat addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. In a small study conducted in 2014, scientists found that it could be magic mushroom’s impact on serotonin receptors that causes heightened emotions and a slight loss of identity — which may be why the substance helps with anxiety. A brain on mushrooms, they note, is much like a brain that is dreaming.

The more researchers examine a tripped out brain, the more they’ll be able to leverage the power of these drugs to help us out in the future.

Inverse

Psychedelic Drug Ayahuasca Improves Hard-to-Treat Depression

Tourists are increasingly trying ayahuasca during holidays to countries such as Brazil and Peru, where the psychedelic drug is legal. Now the world’s first randomized clinical trial of ayahuasca for treating depression has found that it can rapidly improve mood.

The trial, which took place in Brazil, involved administering a single dose to 14 people with treatment-resistant depression, while 15 people with the same condition received a placebo drink.

A week later, those were given ayahuasca showed dramatic improvements, with their mood shifting from severe to mild on a standard scale of depression. “The main evidence is that the antidepressant effect of ayahuasca is superior to the placebo effect,” says Dráulio de Araújo of the Brain Institute at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, who led the trial.

Bitter brew
Shamans traditionally prepare the bitter, deep brown brew of ayahuasca-using two plants native to South America. The first, Psychotria Viridis, is packed with the mind-altering compound dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The second, the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), contains substances that stop DMT from being broken down before it crosses the gut and reaches the brain.

A day before their dose, the participants filled in standard questionnaires to rate their depression. The next day, they spent 8 hours in a quiet, supervised environment, where they received either the placebo or the potion, which produces hallucinogenic effects for around 4 hours. They then repeated filling in the questionnaires one, two and seven days later.

Psychedelic treatments
“The findings suggest a rapid antidepressant benefit for ayahuasca, at least for the short term,” says David Mischoulon of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “But we need studies that follow patients for longer periods to see whether these effects are sustained.”

If the finding holds up in longer studies, it could provide a valuable new tool for helping people with treatment-resistant depression. An estimated 350 million people worldwide experience depression, and between a third to a half of them don’t improve when given standard antidepressants.

Ayahuasca isn’t the only psychedelic drug being investigated as a potential treatment for depression. Researchers have also seen some benefits with ketamine and psilocybin, extracted from magic mushrooms, although psilocybin is yet to be tested against a placebo.

New Scientist

Study Shows: Opioid Addicts who use Cannabis will do Poorly in Methadone Treatment

In light of Canada’s recent move towards the legalization of cannabis, authors of a new study published in Biology of Sex Differences, that investigated the association between cannabis use and methadone treatment outcome, discuss their findings and the implications.

Legalizing cannabis

There is a growing popular belief that cannabis is natural and therefore harmless to use. In fact, many people who are addicted to opioids believe that cannabis use is a substitute to methadone and can help them control opioid withdrawal symptoms. In addition, there are an increasing number of studies advocating for the use of cannabis instead of opioids for chronic pain. Is cannabis harmless for everyone as claimed? Will making cannabis legal and eventually more accessible do harm or good?

Public perception of cannabis is that it is a harmless substance, mainly because it is unlikely to lead to death due to overdose. While there are no documented reports of fatal overdoses from cannabis, other adverse consequences have been noted, including cognitive impairment, respiratory problems, and psychotic symptoms. Vulnerable populations, such as those with existing addictions, are at greater risk of experiencing these adverse events.

Opioid addiction

Opioid addiction (or opioid use disorder) has skyrocketed around the globe and is especially pervasive in Canada where it was declared a public health crisis. Deaths from opioid overdoses have become commonplace in Canada; the urgent need for adequate treatment options for those with opioid addictions has been emphasized by clinicians and the public.

Methadone maintenance treatment is currently the oldest and most widely used pharmacological treatment for opioid addiction. Those in treatment receive a daily dose of methadone, a long-acting synthetic opioid, to reduce cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms without producing the same euphoric effects of other opioids.

Current study

Previous research has found differences in clinical profile and treatment outcomes between men and women, and therefore our study aimed to explore sex differences in cannabis use.

777 participants in this study (414 men and 363 women). About 60% of men and 44% of women reported using cannabis. After controlling for age, methadone dose, and length of time in treatment, we found women were 82% more likely to also use illicit opioids while on methadone treatment if they were cannabis users.

A recent study found the motivation for using cannabis varied between men and women, whereby women tended to report the primary purpose for using it was for self-medication, whereas men more often reported using cannabis was for recreational purposes. However what we see in this study is that women who use cannabis are not faring well compared to men. Cannabis has not helped women and was associated with worse health outcomes for them.

BioMed Central

Lactuca Virosa: Another Plant Used as Alternative Painkillers

Known as the “poor man’s opium”, wild lettuce is an excellent and natural painkiller. Lactuca Virosa can be used as an alternative to traditional and often addictive prescription painkillers. The power of this vegetable – a cousin to the lettuce we buy at the grocery store – is found in the white substance produced in its leaves and stem. The Latin prefix “lac” means milk and is meant to describe the plant’s bitter white sap.

The pain-relieving properties of wild lettuce were already being utilized as early as the 19th century, however, it was only during the 1970s that it gained popularity.

There are two popular ways of enjoying wild lettuce. The first is to cook the plant in a sugar-water mix until it reaches a syrup-like consistency; the solution is then drunk as medicine. This has been found to be quite effective, although the bitter taste remains.

Looks can be deceiving

Wild lettuce is often overlooked because of its weed-like appearance. Still, several studies point to the numerous health benefits of the plant. Studies have also found that people with asthma respond better to the wild lettuce treatment than to opiates. This is because patients tend to undergo an opiate withdrawal which can be more challenging than their actual condition.

The need for pain relief

Pain is a major public health problem. In America, between $560 billion and $635 billion is spent on pain treatment annually; this translates to each American spending around $2,000 just for pain relief. The National Academy’s Institute of Medicine notes that 100 million Americans currently suffer from chronic pain.

There are two caveats to note: Since wild lettuce manipulates the function of the central nervous system, it should not be taken for at least two weeks prior to any major surgery.

Asia Cruise News

Florida Lawmakers Push for Marijuana Decriminalization

Now that Florida has legalized marijuana for medicinal use, a couple of state lawmakers want to ensure that law enforcement doesn’t put more people in jail for pot possession.

Democratic Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith and Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens recently introduced bills in the state legislature aimed at eliminating the criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession. These bills would allow anyone caught with up to an ounce of weed to simply repay their debt to civil society through a small fine and/or community service rather than through the criminal justice system.

Last year, a number of local jurisdictions across Florida passed decriminalization ordinances – giving police the freedom to issue citations for petty pot possession when the offense was not connected to violent crime. As it stands, 14 cities and counties in the Sunshine States have adopted these policies, including Miami-Dade County and Orlando.

There were almost 40,000 people busted in Florida for this offense in 2016, according to the West Orlando News.

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union shows that Florida spent $228 million in 2010 enforcing marijuana laws – a large majority of these arrests were for minor pot possession.

Merry Jane

Cannabis oil legislation: This makes sense how?

The state Legislature recently approved a bill that would give parents the ability to try a drug derived from marijuana to help children with severe seizures.It’s a good and important measure that got the support it deserved. It was approved unanimously in the Assembly and with only one no vote in the Senate (Duey Stroebel). Legislators justifiably patted themselves on the back with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) proclaiming that “Today is a day that I could not be prouder.”

“This is not the fix we are looking for,” said Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse). “You’re setting families up saying they can possess it but they can’t get it.” Good point.

Sen. Chris Larson’s office said he has a bill to allow manufacture of the drug, and Rep. Scott Krug’s office blamed it on the feds, saying all would be well if and when they reclassify cannabis oil; something the sponsors of the bill thought would happen months ago.

Journal Sentinel