There have been many victims in the War on Drugs, from families being torn apart to victimless criminals rotting in a cage for possessing marijuana. But one victim of the war on drugs that is seldom mentioned is alternative medicine.
There has been plenty of research lately showing the near miracle medicinal properties of cannabis, from curing cancer to treating diabetes, but little has been said of these three “psychedelic drugs” which are illegal, however hold some amazing medical properties.
(Pictured above) According to Wikipedia, Ayahuasca, also commonly called yagé is a psychedelic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine alone or in combination with various plants. It is either mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing species of shrubs from the genus Psychotria or with the leaves of the Justicia pectoralis plant which does not contain DMT. The brew, first described academically in the early 1950s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru, is known by a number of different names. Image credit: theairspace.net
In a post on The Atlantic, Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University—and one of the first to resume work on these drugs— published a study five years ago that demonstrated how effective they are at improving how a person feels.
“That first study blew me away,” he says. “Nearly all the participants reported significant positive changes in attitude and behavior, and those changes were also observed by the participants’ friends, family, and colleagues. It was remarkable.”
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Ayahuasca can successfully treat depression, anxiety, addiction, as well as being used by natives to treat nearly any illness.
If you want to give Ayahuasca a try, make sure to be aware of local laws which may prohibit importing it and the risks involved in taking it. You can find it here or elsewhere on the internet, or you can take a trip down to South America to get the authentic experience. Here are a few useful recipes.
2. Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, have long been used by people all over the world to reconnect with nature. Many have talked about the therapeutic values of these mushrooms, but only recently have scientific studies confirmed what many have been saying. Image credit: Flickr/uair01
According to Natural Society, research from the University of South Florida shows psilocybin, the active component within psychedelic mushrooms, is able to grow new brain cells—potentially offering treatment for mental illness and improving cognition.
The study, published in Experimental Brain Research, says psilocybin is able to bind to special receptors in the brain that stimulate healing and growth. In the case of these mushrooms, brain cell growth occurs. In mice, the researchers found psilocybin to actually help repair damaged brain cells and cure or relieve PTSD and depression.
“In the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that psilocybin influences the amygdala in a way that allows for better processing of negative stimuli. Not surprisingly, this led to an improved mood in the participants given psilocybin. Scientists say the results indicate psilocybin shows promise as a treatment for anxiety and depression.”
Commonly know as ‘Molly’, and the main ingredient in Ecstasy, MDMA has long been a party drug commonly found in the electronic music scene. But recent research has found that this drug can be used medically, not just for recreational purposes.
At least two studies have shown a positive health impact of MDMA treatment for people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
According to The Guardian,
“The research was a follow up to an earlier study published in 2010 in which a group of 12 patients with chronic treatment resistant PTSD were given MDMA, and compared with another group of eight patients who were not, during and after psychotherapeutic treatment for their PTSD.
The new paper, which is published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, has followed up all but one of the original participants, up to six years after they were treated with MDMA. The researchers found that their PTSD symptoms remained reduced, they didn’t go on to abuse drugs, and there was no harm to memory and concentration after the treatment.”
While the FDA and ‘Big Pharma’ are enjoying their monopoly over ‘modern medicine’, the tides are changing in the way Americans, and people all over the world view illegal drugs. Over 22 American states have already legalized medicinal use of marijuana with many more states voting on marijuana measures in the coming election. Cannabis has been decriminalized in at least 18 other countries.
However, other drugs –just as the ones mentioned in this article– are not being talked about much on the political stage. The truth is that the drug war is not only a failure and a waste of money, it’s also very deadly. The War on Drugs has cost Americans an estimated $1 Trillion over the last four decades, with very little progress to show. Addiction rates remain high, drug use remains high, and patients are being denied their medicine. America’s incarceration rate is now the highest in the history of humanity, with the poor and minorities are taking the brunt of the negative impacts of the War on Drugs. Our policies have caused a massive turf war between rivaling drug cartels competing for the lucrative American illegal drug market, taking the lives of 50,000 people since 2006 and driving a record numbers of refugees to the US from Latin America.
We can’t forget about the staggering rise of ‘legal’ prescription medications. Doctors, many times, will just throw pills at people instead of figuring out why they are ill, leading to and epidemic of over-medication. In fact, the rise of dangerous prescription drugs have led to a huge amount of deaths. There are now more people dying from ‘legal’ drug related deaths than die from illegal drugs including meth and heroin, but they don’t mention these facts on prescription drug ad funded TV news stations.
The fight against the drug war is being won, but we cannot stand for a partial victory. All drug use and addiction should not be treated as a criminal activity, it should be treated as a health issue. The time for putting people in cages for committing victimless crimes, using drugs which disconnected bureaucrats deem illegal, is over. And we can’t forget that many of the so called ‘illegal’ drugs have some pretty awesome health benefits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nick Bernabe is the owner and lead editor of the website TheAntiMedia.org, an activist, blogger, and the original founder and spokesman of the March Against Monsanto movement. He is also a guest contributor to The Mind Unleashed. Please follow his Facebook page by clicking here.
California Bill Backed by PTSD War Veterans Groups Would Legalize Psychedelics Statewide
California could soon decriminalize psychedelics statewide if one legislator’s new bill is passed, marking another step by the Golden State to do away with laws seen by critics as antiquated vestiges of the failed U.S. war on drugs.
On Thursday, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco introduced Bill 519, which would comprehensively decriminalize the use of and possession of psychedelics, following the lead of such places as Oakland, Santa Cruz, the District of Columbia, and Oregon, which have all decriminalized the drugs to varying degrees.
Under the proposed law, a range of psychedelic drugs including psilocybin – the hallucinogen in “magic” mushrooms – psilocyn, 3,4-MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy), LSD, ketamine, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline would all be decriminalized. Like a previous law passed in 2018 that expunged cannabis-related convictions from the records of Californians, Bill 519 would also wipe clean prior convictions for the use or possession of drugs.
While the comprehensive decriminalization measure would open the door to any sort of use of the drugs, not limited to medical, it would also be tied to measures that endorse the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of psychedelics which have gained increased recognition from health experts and researchers in recent years.
“Given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions,” Wiener said in a statement. “People should be able to seek alternative treatment for diseases like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and we need to make science-based treatments available to those in need.”
The bill has also been heavily supported by two groups, the Heroic Hearts Project and VETS (Vets Exploring Treatment Solutions), both nonprofit organizations that assist veterans in addressing mental health challenges stemming from trauma, such as PTSD.
The strategy tout the medical benefits of the drugs is one that has been used with success in past efforts by drug policy reform advocates.
“That’s how it worked with cannabis,” Oregonian drug policy reform advocate Anthony Johnson told the Guardian. Johnson helped lead efforts in his state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of basically all illicit drugs through Measure 110, which voters overwhelmingly approved in November.
“It’s definitely a way to help people that need it first and foremost, but also then to educate the public about these substances of how the drug war has been a failed policy and how there is a better approach,” Johnson added.
In the case of Oregon’s Measure 109, which cleared the way for the all-out legalization of psilocybin mushrooms, petitioners highlighted the need to end the prohibition of the substance as a means toward treating mental health challenges through alternative methods.
“Healthcare professionals, veterans, mothers, people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and end of life distress, community organizations, and so many others answered to call for a new option to help so many who are suffering,” a coalition of Oregon advocates said in a statement last November following voters’ overwhelming approval of the legal psilocybin therapy bill.
As has been the case in other states, however, the largest obstacle to decriminalization has been law enforcement, who cite concerns over public safety, and the private prison industry which enjoys generous profits from state contracts to incarcerate drug users. However, state Senator Wiener hopes that the testimony of veterans will help convince opponents of the need to shed their preconceptions and biases toward users of psychedelic drugs.
“There’s a stereotype of who’s using psychedelics, but it’s much broader than that and when you have veterans coming into the Capitol talking about how psychedelics help them with PTSD and help them get their lives back, that’s incredibly powerful for legislators,” Wiener explained.
Among those veterans is 38-year-old veteran Juliana Mercer, who spent 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including 10 years of active duty service over the course of one tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
As a four-year member of the wounded warriors unit, Mercer saw unspeakable horrors that left an indelible impression on her psyche – ultimately resulting in long-term trauma that she was largely unable to address.
“I lost quite a few friends and just saw a lot of a lot of damage and destruction along the way,” Mercer said. “I put all of that stuff away and kind of forgot about it for a while, and once I slowed down it was all just sitting there and I didn’t know what to do with it.”
While her first experience with psychedelics was recreational, she eventually gained a sense of connectedness that had been absent for years. She eventually reached out to the Heroic Hearts Project a year and a half ago to undergo ayahuasca therapy, which she said had completely exceeded expectations in allowing her to release “years of grief.”
“I kept hearing that when you do some of these plant medicines, you’ll be able to do 10 years worth of work in one session,” Mercer explained. “Just one of my sessions really brought out all of that pain and the grief that I didn’t even know was in there and allowed me to just completely release it and expel it, things that I had no idea were there.”
For licensed clinical social worker Lauren Taus, therapies involving plants such as ayahuasca and psilocybin are simply strong tools rather than cure-alls for mental health challenges. However, with the ongoing pandemic compounding a mental health crisis that has long been felt across the United States, Taus is adamant that such potent tools must be decriminalized.
“The causes of trauma are multiplying way faster than the solutions,” Taus said. “Current treatment is generally not very effective.”
“Psychedelic medicine has been engaged with globally for eons,” she added. “This stuff works and we deserve to have access to solutions that will be sustainable.”
Michael Jordan Gifts $10 Million to Open 2 More Health Clinics For Uninsured In His Hometown
NBA superstar and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan is making big philanthropic moves in his hometown community of Wilmington, North Carolina, by donating $10 million to help open a pair of new health clinics for uninsured, under-insured and generally poor members of the community.
The announcement came Monday morning and was made by nonprofit healthcare group Novant Health Clinics, whom Jordan has been working with to help bring much-needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents.
“I am very proud to once again partner with Novant Health to expand the Family Clinic model to bring better access to critical medical services in my hometown,” said Michael Jordan in a press release. “Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance. Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.”
The latest move brings the number of new clinics Jordan has helped build in the Tar Hell State to four. In 2019, the 57-year-old former shooting guard unveiled the Michael Jordan Family Clinic in Charlotte, bringing much-needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents. Jordan himself contributed $7 million to the opening of the clinic at the time, which was also being operated by Novant Health.
During the October 2019 opening, the six-time NBA champion tearfully explained that “it’s a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that’s supported me over the years.”
One year later, Jordan opened the second clinic and expressed his family’s “great pride to know that we are making a difference in Charlotte.”
“We’ve been dealt with some very difficult cards in 2020,” he said at the time. “I hope 2021 is going to be much better.”
The Charlotte clinics have already seen over 4,500 patients while also providing crucial support during the ongoing pandemic.
“The regional health care system and Jordan previously partnered to open two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte, N.C., bringing comprehensive primary care, including behavioral health and social support services, to the area’s most vulnerable communities,” the company said. “Jordan’s gift will help Novant Health bring this same integrated care model to more rural and rural-adjacent communities in his hometown, offering much-needed services to those who are uninsured or underinsured. The two new clinics are slated to open in early 2022.”
So far, the two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte have administered almost 1,000 vaccines for the disease with plans to ramp up services in coming weeks.
“This pandemic has exacerbated health equity gaps across our state, making our efforts to close them even more emergent,” said Novant president and CEO Carl Armato. “We look forward to standing these clinics up as quickly as possible to ensure all members of the community have access to necessary medical care.”
Monday’s announcement came just one day after Sunday’s historic Daytona 500, which saw the Bulls legend and owner of the Charlotte Hornets make history as the first black principal owner in NASCAR in a half century as driver Bubba Wallace – the only Black full-time driver in the circuit – led by a lap before finishing 17th.
The Brooklyn-born Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina and was an avid fan of NASCAR, is worth $1.6 billion according to Forbes. During his time with the NBA, he earned $90 million as a player and $1.8 billion in endorsements, before taxes.
In recent years, the former pro basketball player has become a prominent philanthropist, donating to various causes including pledging $1 million to relief efforts in the Bahamas following September 2019’s Huricane Dorian. In September 2018, Jordan also donated $2 million to relief efforts in the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence devastated the region.
Florida Man Uses Stimulus Check to Start Thriving Home Garden to Feed His Community
When millions of people across the United States received their federal stimulus checks to help them cope with the devastating economic repercussions of the novel coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, most people spent their checks on basic necessities like food, rent, mortgage, utilities, and other basic necessities
However, one man from East Tampa, Florida, decided to use his funds to invest in a much more long-term project: building his own garden at home and using it to help provide food for himself. He’s now teaching his community about the massive benefits of food independence.
Michael Chaney, who goes by the nickname “Spirit Mike,” has long been interested in gardening. It wasn’t until the pandemic struck and local supermarkets were struck by the crisis that he was able to muster the self-motivation and time to fully pursue what began as a hobby and now has turned into his passion.
When he received his first stimulus check, he immediately used the funds to purchase some pots and start growing his first tomato plant. He also spoke to seasoned gardeners at the nearby A Land of Delight Natural Farm to pick up some materials and advice that would enable him to begin growing his own food, he told local radio station WMNF.
Now, Chaney is growing not only tomatoes but also collard greens, ghost peppers, mustard greens, strawberry guava, eggplants, onions, papaya, cashew apples, sugar cane, lemon, yucca, and lettuce, among other plants on his .3 acres of land.
“I do biointensive gardening, which means planting as much as you can in a small space,” Chaney told Atlanta Black Star. “I specifically picked these types of fruits [dwarf plants] because they grow fruit fast.”
Chaney derives the most pride from his moringa trees, which he values for its high viamin C content and celebrated medicinal properties as well as its antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant qualities.
“That is the Michael Jordan and the Kobe Bryant together,” Chaney told WMNF with pride.
“If you were stranded somewhere and all you have his this and water you would not only survive, you would thrive,” Chaney added. “I don’t work out. All I did was add this to my diet and add flax seed fiber and I lost 65 lbs.”
Chaney also has nine chickens that he purchased for only $3 per chick.
“My aim is to make my food cost zero,” he explained. “So, my food scraps go into the soldier fly larvae bin, they eat that and produce more larvae. Those larvae get fed to the chickens. The chicken produces eggs, I sell the eggs and eat the eggs; life is good.”
Chaney made sure to meticulously plan his garden so that actually managing it and ensuring its success would be much easier.
“It’s very important that you plan your garden. Do your research before you put a dollar down because you want your dollar to go as far as it can,” Chaney said.
He is now upholding the garden – which he has named New World Growers – as an example of community self-determination and food independence at a time when food insecurity is sharply on the rise.
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