Marijuana, Maybe Not What You Thought

Marijuana, Maybe Not What You Thought

When Mexico sends its people [into the U.S.], they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
– Donald J. Trump, American actor (b. 1946)

Donald Trump is merely the latest loud voice to rail against the coming to the United States by Mexicans fleeing their homeland hoping to find a better life. At the turn of the 20th Century, Americans with similar feelings adopted the Mexican Spanish word marijuana for what most of the rest of the world called and still calls Cannabis. Before the 20th Century everyone called it Cannabis.

The American campaigners originally tended to spell it marihuana, which is closer to the Mexican pronunciation of the word, but eventually the Mexican spelling marijuana prevailed.

Anti-immigrant advocates in the U.S. expressed their aversion to foreigners invading the land they themselves had only recently invaded and stolen from native Americans that they used the newly adopted word marijuana as an expression of the evil that they claimed the foreigners brought with them.

Is it possible that the U.S. Congress passed laws criminalizing the growth and sale of cannabis marijuana specifically to discourage Americans who had neutral feelings about Mexican migrants so that they would associate the Mexican word for the now-illegal product with migrants who entered the U.S. illegally? That may seem a strong claim but prejudiced Congress members have passed many laws in the past to advance their various bigoted causes.

How strongly did these politicians feel about turning Americans against Mexicans by making marijuana seem like a Mexican curse? The only cure for cancer that has ever been patented in the United States was filed by the U.S. government itself, in 1937. The government of the country with the highest cancer rates in the world withheld a cure for cancer rather than make the all-natural chemical-free plant marijuana acceptable to the American public. That patent holds today, though many others of that time have been allowed to expire.

Not all varieties of Cannabis are alike. C. ruderalis is generally agreed to be of little value for either recreation or medicine. Though uncommon, it is still illegal, yet it could be feral so it might be found growing in your back yard. Illegally, of course.

Etymologists give various origins for the name Cannabis, but the plant indisputably originates in Asia. The Chinese used it to relieve various conditions from constipation to malaria as far back as 2700 BCE. In India it was considered a sacred plant used for its psychotropic and medicinal effects. Mind-altering natural products that improve sensitivity and intellect temporarily are not considered sinful in many cultures and have been used for that purpose for thousands of years.

Cannabis is mentioned in the Jewish Talmud. Traces of its pollen or oil have been found in various tombs of ancient Egyptians, including that of the famous Rameses II. The nomadic Scythians, who were documented in 450 BCE to have used it in funeral rites by Greek historian Herodotus, likely brought it to Europe.

But which variety of cannabis? C. sativa and C. indica are the two best known. But they are often confused even in modern literature. Some claim that C. sativa has the most psychotropic ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in its sticky resin. Other non-scientists claim that C. indica has the most cannabidiol (CBD), claimed to be the primary medicinal ingredient and a sedative.

Both groups are mistaken. Both varieties are high in THC and relatively low in CBD. Much research is taking place with CBD because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is known to be the starting place for cancer.

Researchers have found that CBD results in weight loss in their studies of overweight mice. No one has risked experimenting on humans, despite that fact that the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity in the world. Nobody knows how to tell if mice get the munchies.

Then we have what may well be the most useful subspecies of cannabis, Cannabis sativa L, more commonly known as hemp. Hemp grows much faster than trees and can be used to make paper (thus saving forests), clothing, building materials (someone made a whole car from it) and it can be used to replace oil. Yes, this renewable energy source could replace the non-renewable oil that is extracted from the ground and it can even be grown in less than ideal agricultural conditions.

That is, if it were legal. Which it isn’t in the USA. Hemp is grown legally in Canada and many other countries. But not in large quantities that could be exported to the U.S.

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems and hundreds of articles which are available on the internet.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

[Primary resource: Discover, April 2016]

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Big Business Manipulates the Climate Change Debate

Big Business Manipulates the Climate Change Debate

by Bill Allin, author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for teachers and parents who want to grow children who can think instead of simply accepting life as it imposes itself on them.

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.
Maya Angelou, American educator, autobiographer and poet (b. 1928)

manufactroversy n. (neologism) A contrived or non-existent controversy, manufactured by political ideologues or interest groups who use deception and specious arguments to make their case.

Is the temperature of the planet really warming? No. The dirt and rock are not getting warmer.

Is the average temperature of the atmosphere above our planet warming? That’s the core of the debate. Is climate change real and based solely on human activity or simply a cyclical feature of nature? That’s the issue.

The arguments for climate change are based on computer models, which are based on sketchy facts from the past and questionable data from the present. Sketchy facts from the past because today’s technology was not available more than a few years ago.

Questionable data? A Canadian blogger discovered a simple arithmetic error in the calculations by NASA based on its satellite readings, making the atmosphere seem a fraction of a degree warmer than it actually was. NASA satellite readings form the core of most computer climate model inputs.

Read that story here. But don’t expect to find either the correction of NASA’s data or conclusions on its web site or an admission that it made the error. You won’t.

No one can doubt that the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean is thinning. Travelling by ship through the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific, through northern Canada, is possible now. That trip that caused the deaths of so many explorers and their shipmates over past centuries of our history has not been possible for over a thousand years. Yes, the Northwest Passage was open in the distant past.

No one can doubt that some countries that usually experience hot seasons are having it hotter than ever, with a few actually desertifying, especially in the Middle East and the Sahel around the Sahara in Africa.

However, ask the people who live in Edmonton, Canada, how much warmer they feel. One Saturday night in mid December 2009 their overnight low temperature was -46.1 degrees Celsius. (At that temperature Celsius and Fahrenheit have almost similar numbers.) That record cold was 10 degrees lower than the previous record cold night. Not one or two degrees colder, but 10.

Edmonton is the capital city of a Canadian province, not a northern territory. It’s not sub-Arctic. It’s province, Alberta, hit new power usage records in two successive weeks as Albertans tried to keep from freezing. The whole Canadian west was a deep freeze for the first part of the winter of 2009.

Eastern Canada was different. Maritimers had their summer in 2009, but it only lasted three days. The whole of spring, summer and autumn were cool and very wet. The previous two winters had old timers claiming they had never seen so much snow, so many storms, so much rainfall in a single season.

Cool and wet. Exactly what the climate models should predict when the air warms. Warm air collects more moisture from the oceans, which results in more cloud (less sun to warm the earth) and more rain.

In the 1970s the prediction was that we might have a new Ice Age based on the same data being used today, but different climate models. Canada’s weather over the past two years would support that claim, though two years can never constitute a trend.

No one can doubt that those who believe in climate change feel strongly enough about it to fight for grants to study climate models and data more than their opponents. No one should doubt that some people, including a number of well respected scientists, believe that climate shift is natural and cyclical. Their work is available on the internet.

Why is there debate? The simplest conclusion is that there is money to be made. From scientific study of climate, not from climate change itself.

While few among us may know that industries puff out half a million different chemicals into the air, we all seem to know that carbon dioxide is the worst culprit for the greenhouse effect that eventually warms the atmosphere. We all know that breathing too much carbon dioxide is unhealthy, may even kill some of us.

We have not put together what we know, let alone figured out the debate most of us can’t understand. While we argue over whether or not global temperatures are rising, whether or not our atmosphere is warming, whether human industries and habits directly affect that change or not, industries and government continue to pour extraordinary amounts of carbon dioxide into the air we breathe.

They have no need to spend on changing anything so long as we fight over whether the atmospheric temperature might change by a portion of one degree over a few decades.

We continue to breathe poisonous air. Industries and government owned power plants puff out obscene amounts of poisonous gases into our air. And nothing changes because we are arguing over whether global temperatures are rising or staying steady.

Who wins that scenario?

Those who believe that nothing should change in nature are wrong. History is full of examples. The Mediterranean Sea used to be a plain and the Sahara Desert used to be a giant lake. That’s change. Tropical beasts used to roam what is now the north of Canada, Russia and Alaska until the last Ice Age arrived a few thousands years ago. That’s change. Changes that happened not so long ago by historical standards.

History should teach us that nature changes by itself. It doesn’t need our help. It will change with or without us.

Our own limited knowledge should tell us that we should not be arguing over whether climate is changing while we ignore manufacturing facilities putting millions of tons of poisonous gases into the air we breathe.

No one should doubt that life on earth today is different than it was before the Industrial Revolution. The main difference is not a small change in atmospheric temperature, but a huge increase in diseases that have never before been a problem on earth and the poisonous air we breathe that has caused them since the Industrial Revolution began.

While we debate a small change in atmospheric temperature, we continue to breathe poisonous air. Industries that are fundamentally sociopathic in their quest for profits benefit from our debate because they don’t have to change anything.

We continue to get sick. We continue to die. We continue to argue over climate change when the issue is massive poisoning on a global scale.

Who wins? Who benefits while we argue?

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for teachers and parents who want to grow children who can think instead of simply accepting life as it imposes itself on them.
Learn more at http://billallin.com