by Chuck Ream
Second in a series exploring the most important books about cannabis.
This month we check out “The Pot Book, A Complete Guide to Cannabis, its Role in Medicine, Politics, Science, and Culture” edited by Julie Holland M.D. This 500 page treasure trove is a selection of 42 short essays about cannabis, each a crystallized gem by the expert in their subject.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon , a retired professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, argues in the “Foreward” that medical marijuana can never be fully utilized as long as pot is illegal, since patients are constantly harassed by police. He says “the only way out is to cut the knot by giving marijuana the same status as alcohol”.
A historical overview includes how the Marijuana Tax Act was steered through congress by the DuPont Corporation in 1937. Top financiers like Rockefeller and Mellon had paid for earlier major “studies” that attacked the failings of “herbalism”. The real money is made when companies can “outlaw the natural to monopolize the synthetic”.
“Drug use does not seem to be related to drug policy” is the amazing conclusion that must be drawn from the data. Terrible penalties don’t seem to have any effect on the use of illegal drugs in the USA.
Sometimes people mock our claims about how many medical symptoms cannabis can mitigate. That’s because they don’t understand that the recently discovered “endocannabinoid system” (already present in your body) regulates nearly every physiological system and has been fundamental to all higher animals for the last 500 million years. (Cannabis is a bit over 30 million years old). This system is so critical that it has “breathtaking implication for nearly every area of medicine”. Endocanabinoids (made in your body all the time) are involved in pain, stress, hunger, sleep, circadian rhythm, blood pressure, body temperature, bone density, immune system response, inflammation, blood formation, fertility & reproduction, digestion, mood, metabolism, memory, etc.
The miraculous cannabinoids are the only neurotransmitters that can send signals backward along the neural pathways to make sure a system stays in balance. “Retrograde signaling serves as an inhibitory feedback mechanism that tells other neurotransmitters to cool it when they are firing too fast”. Now we can see why our medicine helps so many systems and symptoms, and is so close to being a “miracle”. It is an “integral part of the central homeostatic modulatory system”.
The federal government shames itself with the fantasy that cannabis “has no recognized medical use” (a Schedule 1 drug). At the same time they have secured U.S. Patent # 6630501 for the anti-oxidant and neuroprotective powers of pot. We are facing an epidemic of Alzheimer’ as our population ages, while the federal government is fully aware that cannabis protects brain cells.
Despite this massive potential the USA uses pot to create criminals. For instance, pot is decriminalized in New York, but in New York City the police will stop people, (usually minorities), and say “We are going to search you, but if you empty your pockets right now we will go easy on you”. The poor citizen doesn’t know that the cops are legally allowed to lie, and no crime has been committed until the marijuana is “in public view”. “And for cooperating with the police, the young people are handcuffed and taken off to jail”.
All the slander directed against our holy healing and teaching herb will never blind us to its glory. Dr. Julie Holland knows what drugs do, after serving for ten years as the attending psychiatrist at the Psyche ER at Bellevue hospital in New York. She says “It can create an occasion for personal growth, psychospiritual exploration, and enlightenment. The problem, in the government’s eyes, is that drugs are potentially subversive. I think that people pull back and see the “big picture”, and sometimes they so think about revolution. I’m sure that the government would prefer that we aren’t so enlightened”.
In Michigan, the man who provided the money to put medical marijuana on the ballot is the great Mr. Peter Lewis. He has been busted, and was profoundly irritated – now he funds the Marijuana Policy Project. He says that the only reason for continued pot prohibition is “to imprison certain segments of the population so that the jailers can make a living”.
“For me”, says Lewis, “marijuana relaxes, lessens anxiety, connects feelings to thoughts, enhances sensuality, stimulates appetite and makes me enjoy being by myself. Smoking marijuana has helped me accomplish what I set out to do, and made me easier to be with and easier on myself. It allows me to be more accepting of, and caring for, other people.
Marijuana being illegal is a tragedy I want to correct”.