Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why Everybody Hates Republicans - Libertarian Edition

Classical Liberal links to a post of mine They Really Don't Like Libertarians and then goes off on a rant of his own. You really, really, should read the whole thing. Especially since he accurately pegs where I used to live politically. "a libertarian who's been a long-time conservative ally" - and "been" is the operative word. I am no longer except in matters of convenience. Just as I will ally with Democrats in matters of convenience. Like Medical Marijuana

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Endocannabinoids - A Video

About two minutes. If you want some text to go with it may I suggest: Endocannabinoids The Science. Heart surgeon Dr. David Allen considers cannabis an essential nutrient for heart health.

An interesting fact from the video: There are more cannabinoid receptors in the body than any other receptor type.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Endocannabinoids - The Science

I did this piece for a major Right Wing site I have written for before. It was rejected for a number of reasons.

1. The punch line "Marijuana" wasn't mentioned until later in the piece.
2. It was too technical.
3. The evidence is probably accidental correlation.

And most important:

4. The audience would not be receptive generally.
5. The audience would not be receptive to being called Drug Nazis.

Which was in fact an admission that they are Drug Nazis. Because I never said it directly. What I said was my usual:

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

I guess I cut a little too close to the bone. Amputations can be crippling.


Endocannabinoids - The Science

Today I'd like to do something Republicans do when confronted with a question. Look at the science. The science I'd like to look at is the science of endocannabinoids. Let's start with a definition. An endocannabinoid is a marijuana-like substance produced by the body that acts on specific receptors in the body. There are two known cannabinoid receptor systems in the body. They are the CB1 system and the CB2 system.

Since this is for a non-biochemistry trained audience (I'm an electrical engineer by trade) I'm going to make some simplifications. Those of you who are better trained please excuse my lapses unless they are egregious.

The CB1 system is mostly distributed in nerve tissue of the brain and the spine. The CB2 system is found in the immune system, the peripheral nervous system, the brain, and the digestive system. Various endocannabinoids in the body can either activate or inhibit the operation of the various systems by binding to the receptors in the system. Regulation is achieved by a balance of the chemicals involved. The systems can also evolve by increasing or decreasing the number of receptor sites in response to stimulation (bonding) or a lack of stimulation to those sites.

One of the neurotransmitters in the body that affects these systems is called anandamide which comes from a Sanskrit word which means bliss. The CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body were discovered by tracking where delta9-THC (one of the active ingredients in marijuana) traveled in the body and which receptors it was bound to. From the facts developed by that kind of study a team led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University in Israel discovered the anandamide molecule. As discoverers they got to name it. Dr. Mechoulam is one of the pioneers in the field of cannabinoid science. Why he hasn't won a Nobel for his work is beyond me, unless it has something to do with the prejudices against cannabis. Let me quote (slightly edited for ease of text rendering) from his wiki:

Raphael Mechoulam (born 1930) is an Israeli professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Mechoulam is best known for his work (together with Y. Gaoni) in the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active principle of cannabis and for the isolation and the identification of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide from the brain and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) from peripheral organs together with his students, postdocs and collaborators.
All the above is probably enough general information to get you started if you want to delve deeper into the subject matter. Now I want to look at a more controversial aspect of all this. Marijuana. And specifically medical marijuana. As you can see from the above information, cannabinoids in the body affect a large number of systems in the body. I particularly like this quote from the CB2 wiki on the subject.
Changes in endocannabinoid levels and/or CB2 receptor expressions have been reported in almost all diseases affecting humans,[34] ranging from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, bone, skin, autoimmune, lung disorders to pain and cancer. The prevalence of this trend suggests that modulating CB2 receptor activity by either selective CB2 receptor agonists or inverse agonists/antagonists depending on the disease and its progression holds unique therapeutic potential for these pathologies [34]
That explains why some people claim wonder drug status for marijuana. Except things are not quite as simple as that. Marijuana is not marijuana. What do I mean by that? The anandamide analogs in cannabis are called generically CBDs. They include such chemicals as Cannabigerols (CBG), Cannabidiols (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), Cannabinol (CBN), and a number of other compounds. Their expression in a given cannabis plant varies. Some of the cannabinoids bind to various CB system receptors and some of them prevent binding to a receptor, mimicking the function of the various endocannabinoids in the body. So marijuana is not marijuana. Since there is no regulation in the marijuana industry due to its illegality at the Federal level this has led to various novel names for the different cannabis strains. Names such as "Northern Lights" and "Charlotte's Web". "Charlotte's Web" was named for a child with severe pediatric epilepsy. The strain called "Charlotte's Web" was developed especially to treat her condition. Thus the name. You can check out this eleven minute video introduced by a doctor and her mother to learn more about how this strain was developed and used.

Well obviously we need regulation of medical marijuana. Don't we? My answer is yes. Absolutely. But surprisingly what we are getting is self regulation. And it seems to be working fairly well. Various companies are springing up to fill the analysis void. They do High Pressure Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy on submitted marijuana samples to determine the quantities of the various CBDs in the samples. One such company is SC Laboratories in California, but there are a number of others around the country in medical marijuana states.

Obviously the subject is involved and I could go on at much greater length. But I'm not going to do that. Instead I'll leave you with what I think are a few more helpful links.

FDA To Study Cannabis For PTSD - includes a video.
What If Cannabis Cured Cancer - with an appearance by Raphael Mechoulam in the video.
CB(2) cannabinoid receptor activation is cardioprotective in a mouse model of ischemia/reperfusion. Translation: if you are predisposed to heart disease regular cannabis use may improve your odds of living.
Marijuana Stops Lung Cancer
DEA Judge Rules On Medical Marijuana. The Judge says, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
Conditions treatable by cannabis with links to the medical literature.

And finally to wind this all up what is my political stance on the matter?

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Grillo The National Socialist Fascist

My friend Diogenes alerted me to an American Thinker article on Beppe Grillo.

Europe's political class is shocked and panicked. They are pretending Grillo is just a "populist" and a "reformer" -- but he also wants to "process" all the Jews in the world, who are responsible for all the evil. Grillo wants to nationalize the banks and abolish interest rates, "just like the Islamic Development Bank."
Well as you know banks can't survive without interest. So Grillo wants to destroy the banking system. But as I recount here the banking system can't survive without the black market. Particularly the black market in drugs. which brings us back to the original link.
Government at all levels is corrupt. It's the only way people can survive. Everybody is playing double games. People are doing two jobs and running their own businesses out of government offices. Everybody cheats on taxes. The mafia controls half the country. Survival depends on the black market, the black economy. The currency is kept artificially high, so exports crash.

It's happened to Italy under the European Union. Don't think it can't happen here. Obama is a Euro socialist, representing faculty lounge socialism in America, so completely arrogant and cocksure that Paul Krugman just knows how to run the trillion-dollar US economy. Nobody else can figure it out, but Krugman knows that he knows. Our new rulers are control freaks, just as free market economists have said since Adam Smith. They are six year olds steering the family car and thinking they are in control until...

... until it all blows up.

This week Europe blew up. The media haven't caught up yet, because they are what they are. But the markets are catching up fast.

This is a huge event for the United States, because our political elite is bound and determined to turn us into Europe. Hasn't the EU found the answer to war and peace and prosperity forever?
There is way more at that link (you should check out the comments too to get a taste) but what is Movimento 5 Stelle's (Movement 5 Star - M5S) program? American Thinker has a list.
1. High-flying jets spray mind-altering chemicals over Rome to drive Italians crazy. Those are the jet "chemtrails" you can see overhead.

2. A good bloodletting will purify your body and cure any disease. This is the word of God. But flu vaccines are dangerous.

3. The Islamic Development Bank gives away free money to deserving borrowers.

4. The Jews are a small, wandering minority of Arabs who stole the Holy Land from the others 2,500 years ago.

5. They now run the world through the Illuminati, the Masonic Lodges, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds.

6. The Jews are responsible for Italy's mess, because they own the banks that charge usurious interest rates.

7. The woman-hating mullahs in Iran represent ancient Persian civilization, the most advanced culture in the world.

8. Cancer chemotherapy is a Big Pharma conspiracy to kill patients.

9. GMO food will kill you, along with nanoparticles.

10. The Jews who run the world need to be "processed" en masse. Grillo supporters will not define "processed," but they love the idea. Whatever it means.

11. Beppe Grillo can save Italy by nationalizing the banks and cutting off trade to Europe. The fact that Italy is physically part of Europe is no impediment.
Gee. That has certain correspondences with the National Socialist movement that once ravaged Europe. Well it is some 70+ years on and it looks like they intend to ravage it again with their former allies the Islamic Fascists. Except this time it is not the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the Persian Fascists. Grillo's father-in-law is on the commercial side of those fascists. This article goes into that.
...Beppe Grillo is married to a lady born in Iran, where children soak up Death to Israel! Death to America! slogans ... every single day of the week. So do all the soldiers, bureaucrats, Revolutionary Guards, and the Basiji -- the regimes imported thugs from the countryside.

Beppe tells the world that "Everything I know about the Middle East I learned from my father-in-law!"

After marrying his Iranian wife, by some miracle, Beppe suddenly got a lot richer. His public career took off, and from being a comedian he became a politician. Or maybe just an idealistic truth-teller to a corrupt Italian state.

Beppe bought his motor yacht and his Ferrari, then purchased three separate villas.

Dad-in-law runs a giant construction business in Iran, where he has to lie in bed with the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards every day of his life.

So Beppe learns everything about the Middle East from his dad-in-law, who maybe gets it straight from the Ayatollah himself. (Who heard it directly from Allah.)
The Italians have learned nothing from their history. Perhaps we can learn something from their history and current events before it is too late.

Cross Posted at Classical Values