The Rush To Prohibit Less Addictive Pain Killers

 

MEDIA ROOTS
 — Known mostly in parts of south east Asia and Thailand, kratom is somewhat of a cultural intoxicant similar to the use of coca leaves (from which cocaine is derived) by the Bolivians and the use of khat or betel nut used by Arabic cultures.  The difference among these ‘cultural intoxicants’ is that kratom has effects similar to big pharma’s slew of ‘pain killer’ drugs.  The term ‘pain killer’ here is a slight misnomer since drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin, codeine and morphine ‘kill’ pain by flooding the brain with pleasure, thus, distracting you from the physical pain you may be experiencing.

This may be hard to believe in today’s society, but pharmaceutical companies used to manufacture heroin.  Before it was illegal, heroin was sold by Bayer as a way to ween oneself off of morphine addiction.  Morphine itself was prescribed as a cough syrup.  A much less potent opiate cough syrup common today is a mixture of codeine and promethazine (a sedative), referred to by rap culture as ‘purple drank.’

Presently, pharmaceutical companies rake in big money from sales of highly addictive narcotic ‘pain killers,’ such as OxyContin.  OxyContin, in and of itself, is equally as addictive as pure heroin (since heroin sold on the streets is usually not pure, especially that sold on the west coast; by all accounts, OxyContin is actually a more addictive drug than most street heroin).  Pharmaceutical companies have even gone so far as synthesizing new opiate drugs that are far more potent and addictive than even heroin, OxyContin, or morphine.  They come in highly concentrated forms like Fentanyl or Dilaudid.  Unbelievably, Fentanyl, a drug ten times more potent than heroin, can be prescribed in the form of lickable lollipop candy, as well as patches to put on the arm for a long-term timed-release ‘pain killing‘ effect.

It seems pharmaceutical companies would rather have a society addicted on their expensive pain pills than see someone medicate using a legal, less addictive and, in some cases, equally as effective, natural pain killer, such as kratom.  Now that kratom has ‘taken off’ via internet sales and it is still legal in most areas of the world, the US government, under Obama, is trying to crack down and make it unobtainable by the public.

Robbie Martin

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THE STRANGER Kratom was first documented as an opiate substitute—a kind of herbal methadone—in Asia in the early 1800s. It’s often used by people who want an alternative to opiates, either because they’re trying to break an addiction or because they want some way to manage chronic pain without opiate-based drugs.

Every few months, a new intoxicant that isn’t technically covered by US drug-prohibition laws pops up on the market and policymakers, acting on very little information, freak out over it. Unfortunately for kratom, it has appeared in the immediate wake of the “bath salts” hysteria. (The hysteria was not entirely unjustified, as the active ingredient of “bath salts,” a chemical called MDPV, was held responsible for long-term psychiatric damage and several deaths.) Kratom is already in the early stages of the same cycle.

That cycle goes like this: Clever entrepreneurs find an intoxicant not covered under current law and begin selling it. People get excited about it and chatter online. Some user winds up in the emergency room—for reasons that may or may not be serious—and says its name to a doctor who’s never heard of it. The doctor calls the poison control center, and the public-health bureaucracy scrambles to figure out what this exotic new drug is. Someone talks to a reporter, and soon newspapers and TV stations are all over it, breathlessly warning parents about a “dangerous new high” threatening their children. Lawmakers see a chance to score some points by being tough on drugs and ban it. The drug fades away. A clever new entrepreneur finds a new drug, and the whack-a-mole cycle begins again.

Enter kratom, stage right.

Read more about The Rush To Prohibit Kratom.

© 2012 The Stranger

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Abalg

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Hallucinogenic Plant Targets Pain Receptor

 

MEDIA ROOTS
 — Salvia divinorum is one of the most fascinating and mysterious psychedelic drugs on the planet.  Equally as ‘powerful’ as DMT, with a peak duration of less than ten minutes, the drug can create a sense of timelessness where people may feel as if they’ve lived an eternity in another universe.  Its ‘abuse potential’ is low since the experience for most people can be jarring and disorienting.  For now, it is still legal in most parts of the United States.  Almost all other ingestion methods of Salvia, besides smoking, have led to little anecdotal conclusions.  People have had success making pure grain alcohol tinctures, which are very uncomfortable for the user to hold in the mouth.

The active ingredient in Salvia, salvinorin A, which binds to the kappa Opioid receptor, until now has been a mystery to science.  At the present time, pharmaceutical companies are most likely looking into the possibility of untapped knowledge in the world of the new frontier of psychedelic chemicals such as Salvia, which we know have already produced successful results.

Robbie Martin

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TRI-CITY PSYCHOLOGY — At the molecular level, drugs like salvinorin A (the active ingredient of the hallucinogenic plant Salvia divinorum) work by activating specific proteins, known as receptors, in the brain and body.

Salvinorin A, the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen, is unusual in that it interacts with only one receptor in the human brain—the kappa opioid receptor (KOR). Scientists know of four distinct types of opioid receptors, but until now the structure of the ‘salvia receptor’, and the details about how salvinorin A and other drugs interact with it, was a mystery.

In a research paper published March 21 in the journal Nature, scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Scripps Research Foundation, and two other institutions revealed the first-ever glimpse of the complete structure of the KOR. The finding could accelerate the development of new drugs to treat addiction, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and many other conditions.

“Once we see the structure of the receptor, it becomes easier for us to develop drugs that target the receptor in ways that might be beneficial for medical therapy,” says Bryan Roth, professor of pharmacology at UNC and one of the paper’s authors. “Drugs that block the receptor are potentially useful for treating a number of serious illnesses including chronic pain, cocaine addiction, and other diseases.”

Read more about Hallucinogenic Plant Targets Pain Receptor.

© 2012 Tri-City Psychology Services, Inc.

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Abalg

Smoking Cannabis Doesn’t Hurt Lung Capacity

MarijuanaPhotobyKayVee.INCMEDIA ROOTS — Anything under the sun can be abused, yet scientific studies increasingly seem to confirm how relatively harmless cannabis smoking is compared with tobacco, alcohol, and other popular substances consumed by humans.

MR

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MSNBC — Periodically smoking marijuana doesn’t appear to hurt lung capacity, the largest study ever conducted on pot smokers has found.

Even though most marijuana smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke in for as long as they can before exhaling, the lung capacity didn’t deteriorate even among those who smoked a joint a day for seven years or once a week for 20 years, according to the study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

In recent years, studies on marijuana smoking and its effects on lung function have been contradictory. While most studies have shown no effects on the lungs from smoking cannabis, others have shown adverse effects, and still others have shown improvement in lung function. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and University of Alabama at Birmingham knew tobacco smoking causes lung damage and leads to respiratory issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but they wanted to be clear whether smoking marijuana, had similar effects.

They measured lung function multiple times in more than 5,100 men and women during a 20-year period.  In fact, the research shows, some people who regularly smoke marijuana can have a slight improvement in lung function.

Read more about Smoking pot doesn’t hurt lung capacity.

© 2012 msnbc.com 

Glenn Greenwald vs. Bush Drug Czar

SALONGlenn Greenwald:  Last Thursday at Brown University, I debated former Bush drug czar John Walters on the virtues of drug legalization, and the video is below. The aspect of With Liberty and Justice for Some that has received the most attention is the shield of immunity for elite lawbreaking, but the other side of that rule-of-law evisceration — the incomparably harsh and sprawling penal state America has created for its ordinary citizens — is at least as important, and it is the Drug War that personifies the worst abuses of that punishment system and accounts for much of it.

Read more about Debating Bush’s drug czar on legalization.

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Glenn Greenwald vs. John Waters on Drug Legalization

 

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US Gov: Marijuana Has No Medical Use

LA TIMES– Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation’s capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous drug like heroin.

The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

Advocates for the medical use of the drug criticized the ruling but were elated that the Obama administration had finally acted, which allows them to appeal to the federal courts, where they believe they can get a fairer hearing. The decision to deny the request was made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and comes less than two months after advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition.

Read full article about US Gov: Marijuana Has No Medical Use.

© 2011 LA Times

Photo by Flickr user Neeta Lind

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