Substance Abuse

More Than 99 Percent of Respondents Oppose Kratom Ban in Latest DEA Comment Solicitation

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The discovery of kratom as a potential pain alternative to opioids has stirred the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regarding its potential for abuse. Because of this, the agency recently sought the help of the general public by asking their opinion on whether the kratom ban should be pushed through.

The initiative aims to determine how DEA will proceed, whether to eventually prohibit the use of kratom or to allow its legal use in the United States.

Based on the summary by the American Kratom Association (AKA) and the American Coalition of Free Citizens (ACFC), 99.1 % of comments submitted to the DEA website expressed support in keeping kratom among all other legal drugs. Only a small percentage of the respondents were in favor of DEA’s kratom ban proposal, as reported in a news item.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still in the process of conducting several tests to know the safety and potential medical use of kratom. Along with the public comments, DEA will use the results of the tests to decide on whether to proceed with the kratom ban or not.

Majority of those who expressed opposition to the proposed kratom ban were identified as health care professionals, veterans and law enforcement officials. Many of them see kratom as the solution to alleviate chronic pain and other potential medical concerns that the controversial plant may be useful for.

Commenters who said no to the kratom ban said that kratom is safe to use and can be a successful treatment option for opioid addiction.

Substance Abuse

Kratom Extract 101: Know The Different Forms of Kratom

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kratom extract powder

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree that is native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand, etc). Its bitter leaves contain psychoactive opioid compounds that have been used for decades in select regions of the world because of its mood enhancing effect and pain relief. It has been used as both stimulant and depressant, and is available in kratom extract and other forms.

While a kratom ban is pending until further scientific recommendation and evaluation from the Food and Drug Administration are submitted, the substance remains legal in the United States. However, a number of states are already taking regulatory or legislative action to ban kratom locally.

The substance is usually being sold in green packets online and labeled as “not for human consumption”. Kratom is also known as:

  • Biak-biak
  • Herbal Speedball
  • Ithang
  • Kahuam
  • Ketum
  • Thom

In this article, we will discuss important information about kratom extract and how it is available in the market. (NOTE: We are not in any way promoting the use of the substance.)

kratom ban DEA

Uses of Kratom

Used in folk medicine, kratom provides relief to chronic pain, helps to cure diarrhea, and is used as treatment for opiate addiction. Users also claim that kratom is effective in treating arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Being a naturally occurring opiate compound, kratom has the ability to alter the mood and mind, leading it to become one of the most common recreational drugs as of late.

It is also said to provide medicinal effects such as:

  • Energy booster
  • Anti-leukemic
  • Anti-malarial
  • Blood sugar stabilizer
  • Anti-inflammatory

Kratom has been used as herbal alternative in controlling withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction. However, there is still no clear evidence that it can be an effective and safe treatment.

How is kratom consumed?

Kratom is distributed in many forms. For those using them in their native regions, the central vein of kratom leaves are removed and freshly chewed. Dry leaves can also be used but should be crushed into powder so they can easily be swallowed. Kratom is also prepared as a tea, which is strained and then ingested.

Kratom powder is another way of preparing the substance, which can be mixed with water and other kinds of liquids such as milk or fruit juice. Some would prefer mixing it with chocolate milk to minimize the bitter taste. Sugar and honey may be added to the mixture to make it more palatable.

Some individuals would make a paste out of powdered leaves and mixed with yogurt to mask the unpleasant taste.

Other kratom users, meanwhile, would smoke the leaves. It is also possible to produce kratom extract by evaporating the water from a prepared kratom tea. The kratom extract may be swallowed pure or dissolved in water.

What are the effects of kratom use?

Kratom can be used as a stimulant when given in low to moderate dose, and can be used as a depressant if given in higher doses. This is because of the presence of active alkaloids that act as opiate receptor agonists.

As the popularity of kratom increases, advocates are supporting the idea of replacing popular pain medication with kratom to relieve chronic pain, specifically in relation to the following health issues:

  • Chest pain
  • Damaged muscles
  • Backache
  • Migraine
  • Arthritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Abdominal soreness
  • Broken bones, scrapes and burns

 

Kratom Strains

Kratom strains may be divided into three colors: : green-vein, red-vein and white-vein. This is based on the color of kratom veins and stems, the differences of which determine the unique effects and chemical composition of each strain.

During the grinding process, however, the veins and stems are taken out.

Red Vein Kratom

This is the most popular kratom strain and is widely available in the market. Red kratom grows abundantly than the other strains.

This strain produces a calming effect, thereby providing its user with peace of mind and optimism. It is suitable to use by individuals who have difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

This strain is known to provide relaxation and relieve pain. It helps to relax the muscles, which may take the place of pharmaceutical painkillers. The red kratom strain is also used in controlling opiate withdrawal symptoms.

For pain relief, the choice is the red-vein kratom strains such as Indonesian, Bali, Maeng Da and Borneo. It is given in moderate to high doses.

For drug withdrawal relief, red-vein strains from Bali, Borneo, Indo and Maeng Da given in moderate to high doses are recommended by kratom advocates.

White Vein Kratom

This strain is known for its stimulating effect and mood-enhancing ability. The effect, however, will depend on several factors such as lifestyle, tolerance level of the individual, and the quality of kratom extract or strain used.

This strain is popular for its euphoric effect, and some people have resorted to replacing their morning coffee with a white-vein kratom. Users vouch for its effectiveness in increasing concentration, stamina and motivation during the day.

Green Vein Kratom

Described as the type of kratom whose effects are in between the white vein and the red vein, green vein kratom is a mild energy booster. Some prefer to use this strain to relieve mild pain and discomfort. This strain does not lead to drowsiness, which makes it possible for users to work normally.

Others would mix all three strains together to provide a balanced effect, which decreases the anesthetic effect of the red vein and the overstimulation of the white vein.

People with mild anxiety would take the green strain to help them against social fears. Its effect would let the user feel less inhibition, thereby being able to talk more freely, and becoming friendlier and more cheerful.

The white-vein and green-vein kratom strains of Maeng Da, Malaysian and Thailand are ideal for treating depression. For anxiety, the common strains used are the red-vein kratom, specifically Indo, Bali and Borneo variants.

Kratom Extracts

Kratom extracts are produced to improve the potency of kratom in order to produce a stronger effect in relieving chronic pain. Kratom extracts are available in different types, differing in the level of potency and method used in the extraction of kratom.

Water-based Kratom Extract

The process of extraction starts from extracting the alkaloids from the leaves by dissolving them in water. It is then strained and ground to produce the powder form. Water should completely evaporate, and a brownish material that is more rich and concentrated should remain.

This type of extract can be used in combination with plain leaves to increase the potency. It can be dissolved in water easily.

The downside of this type is that it is more expensive than plain leaves and that the high potency that a person may desire can only be achieved if used in combination with plain leaves.

Kratom Resin

The strongest concentrate of the kratom extract comes in the form of kratom resin. In this type of kratom extract, the leaf undergoes condensation process wherein it is cooked at a certain temperature. After condensation, it leaves a dark mixture that is considered to be lower in quality but much richer in active alkaloids and with a higher potency.

Kratom resin has a higher potency and concentration power, which means it also has more side effects compared to plain leaves.

Kratom Tincture

Kratom tincture is achieved by extracting the concentrated essence of the active alkaloids from kratom leaves and then diluted with alcohol to produce a solution that can be used topically.

It can be easily used and conveniently stored. However, this is more expensive than other extracts and may not be able to deliver a wide range of effects.

Enhanced Kratom

This type of extract is more improved and refined, and generates more powerful effects. It is produced by carefully choosing a very potent extract of kratom that is mixed with a solution and allowed to dry in order to form a powder.

Enhanced kratom has a lower tendency for side effects compared to other types of kratom extracts, and is said to be effective for pain relief. The disadvantage of using enhanced kratom is that it can lead to adverse conditions once using the extract has been stopped. This is also more expensive than plain leaves.

kratom extract powder

Is Kratom Addictive?

Others see the effects of kratom as positive as it can provide relief from pain. However, since it is an opiate, there is a possibility for dependence that may cause unfavorable symptoms after prolonged use.

Just like other opiates, kratom was developed to provide a specific function, and that is to provide pain relief. When substances like these are used as recreational drugs, the effects will affect not only the user but also the people that surround the user. This is the reason why DEA is still in the process of determining how this substance should be properly categorized so that people can be warned of its effects and proper use.

Health & Wellness

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Menopausal Women Aggravated By Naturally Occurring Heart Fat

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New research was able to pinpoint the type of heart fat that is linked as a risk factor for heart diseases in menopausal women with regards to estrogen level.

The types of fat surrounding the heart include the following:

  • Epicardial fat: This type of fat covers the heart, and is located between the outside of the heart and the pericardium membrane that encases the heart.
  • Paracardial fat: This is found outside the pericardium anterior to the epicardial fat, and has no known protective function for the heart.

Led by Assistant Professor Samar R. El Khoudary of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the clinical evaluations involved taking blood samples from478 women aged 51 years old and older who were not on hormone replacement therapy. Participants were from Pittsburgh and Chicago, who enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, according to a news release.

It was found out that a greater portion of paracardial fat after menopause was evident due to the decline in estradiol. The increased epicardial fat, however, was said to be a risk factor related to obesity.

The new study clearly identifies that an increase paracardial fat is not specific to menopause but can also have a negative impact towards the health of women, increasing the risk of triggering coronary artery calcification. A higher presence of epicardial and paracardial fats is evident in postmenopausal women.

Because of this, careful evaluation should be done to be able to determine specific ways on how to help menopausal women avoid heart disease.

What could possibly decrease the heart fat volume is regular exercise, proper diet and by undergoing bariatric surgery. El Khoudary is taking heed in carefully evaluating hormone replacement therapy with regards to its effect on the type of heart fat in the hopes of preventing heart diseases to menopausal and post-menopausal women.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Weight Gain During Pregnancy Won’t Affect Child’s Adult Health, Says Study

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A study done by the University of Aberdeen showed that there is no link between a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy to any health issues during the adult life of her kids. The study, led by Dr. Sohinee Bhattacharya, focused on the long-term effects that weight gain during pregnancy may have on the mother’s offspring.

However, extreme weight gain was linked with an increased risk of cerebrovascular events in the baby. It is suggested that, in such cases, the lifestyle and health choices that the offspring will lead in his or her adult life could decrease the risks. “Only in very extreme cases, where the mother had an exceptionally high weight gain, we found a higher risk of stroke in the adult offspring – however once we took the adults’ lifestyle factors into account – such as BMI and smoking status, this difference disappeared,” Bhattacharya said in a news release.

The researchers were surprised with the results of the study themselves, considering that weight gain during pregnancy is something that doctors warn expectant mothers about. “These findings are quite startling because what they show is that there is basically no relationship between mother’s weight gain in pregnancy and heart disease, or premature death in adulthood,” the study lead author added.

Previous studies have shown that mothers who were obese during pregnancy bore children who were at great risk of death or heart-related problems. Bhattacharya believes that the data gathered from the study can impact clinical practices, as it was discovered that adult health and lifestyle may have a very important role in cardiovascular health as opposed to it being linked to risk factors earlier in life.

Substance Abuse

How To Help Someone With A Drug Abuse Problem

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Drug abuse has become one of the most pressing issues of societies all over the world. Given that drug addiction has created a lot of negative effects, governments are becoming more and more aggressive in looking for strategies that can curb it especially among the youth. Communities are being made aware of the effects of drug addiction in families, friendships, career, among many others.

There are various reasons why people decide to do drugs, and this is why people should know what drug abuse is all about and what possible solutions can be done to solve the issue.

Here are some of the things you should know about drug addiction and how to handle someone with a drug abuse dilemma:

Who are the people prone to drug abuse?

People suffering from depression

One of the most common reasons why people do drugs is because they feel alone in the struggles they are facing. Depression makes someone vulnerable to drug addiction because it makes a person feel detached from realities.

Drugs act on the processes in the brain, and this is why people who are depressed feel that drugs are an effective way to escape from the struggles they have.

People exposed to an environment of drug addicts

Influence is a major factor in drug abuse. When people are exposed in an environment where others are under the influence of drugs, they can easily adapt to what they see. Practically everyone – regardless of sex, age, and financial status – is vulnerable to drug addiction if the environment is the problem.

Teenagers

Teenagers are going through identity crisis, which makes them vulnerable to peer pressure. Adolescence does a lot to a person psychologically and physically, and this makes the process challenging for teens. Their decision-making skills are being molded at this phase, and this is the stage wherein adolescents tend to experiment a lot.

Without proper guidance from families, especially parents, teenagers can easily be attracted to doing drugs.

Children of drug users

When parents are using drugs, their children will most probably copy their routine especially when they are living in the same home. Children’s exposure to their parent’s drug addiction can result to their curiosity to try it too.

Signs of drug abuse that you should never ignore

signs of drug addiction

It is not easy to tell if someone is using drugs unless physical signs are already visible. Here are the most common signs you should watch out for if you think that someone you know might be engaging in drug abuse:

  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors, chills, tingling of fingers and toes
  • Severe sweating
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Inability to have eye contact
  • Bruises, mouth sores, acne
  • Severe drying of skin and hair
  • Inability to perform usual tasks and activities
  • Slurred speech
  • Tightening and clenching of jaw
  • Nausea
  • Reddening of the eyes
  • Runny or sniffy nose
  • Looks lethargic and drained all the time (especially after the effect of drugs)

It is also important to know the behavioral signs that occur to a person who is engaged in drug addiction. While there are many symptoms depending on the substance being abused, here are the most common behavioral signs that can be observed among drug addicts:

  • Inability for decision-making
  • Lack of focus and coordination
  • Confusion
  • Detachment and interest to spend more time along
  • Secretiveness
  • Being energetic (speedy speech, restlessness, increased volume of voice, exaggerated bodily movements, etc.)
  • Intense mood swings
  • Sudden changes in relationships and social networks
  • Drastic changes in sleeping patterns
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Violent behavior
  • Reduced consciousness to reality

Why is it difficult for drug addicts to quit?

When a drug addict decides to quit and do it by himself, the whole thing usually fails. Drug addicts do not have the ability to quit easily because they have lost the capability to make firm decisions for themselves. Because drugs react with and disrupt the normal chemical processes in the brain, it is very difficult for them to fight their impulses and sudden mood swings.

Addiction becomes a brain disease, and this controls the person’s ability to quit. The addict loses sight of the bad effects that drugs can cause because of his or her sense of reality is distorted. Repeated and lengthened drug abuse becomes a routine, and this tricks the brain and the whole body system to feel that the drugs are the reason for one’s positive feelings.

As a result, the addict will keep on looking for ways on how to get the dose he or she needs to maintain the euphoric feeling. This is especially true for those who are facing struggles in life and have turned to drugs as a way to escape from realities.

The benefits of early intervention

early intervention talk

Drug addiction gets worse through time. The negative impact on health, family, relationships, and career also get worse if drug addiction would not be given the right attention and treatment.

While a person will not easily admit that he or she is suffering from drug abuse, early intervention should be done as soon as the drug addiction is discovered. The longer it is delayed, the more a person and the people around him or her will be vulnerable to the risk of drug addiction.

Early intervention from experts will save the person from drug addiction and the results that it may cause if it continues. Therefore, anyone who thinks that a friend or a family member has a drug addiction should immediately consider encouraging the person to seek help from someone who can help and understand the situation.

Discussing the issue with the addict

drug abuse how to talk to a recovering addict

First off, it is important that you encourage a drug addict to accept and acknowledge the problem. There are some cases that drug addicts themselves make the important step of initiating to face the issue by discussing it with his or her family members and friends.

Open doors for the person to discuss the reasons why he or she decided to do drugs. Then, keep on reminding the person that you will do your best to extend the help he or she needs.

Motivate the person to also discuss the issue with other family members and friends; try to do this by saying that the burden will be lighter if it will be solved with the people the person loves. From there, you can easily convince the drug addict to seek the help of an expert to clearly define the possible solutions that can be done.

It is not easy to convince an addict to get an expert advice, but you should always take the extra mile to push him or her to do it. An expert will be very straightforward with the person’s needs, either it is a rehabilitation treatment or if it is a program that should be implemented at home.

Of course, it will always help to monitor how a person is doing. Take the time to ask questions, and give more time to listen to the answers the person will give. Always take the effort to make the person feel that you are ready to talk about everything, whether it’s about a new hobby or some plans to go on a vacation.

Discussing the issue with the drug addict is not enough; you should also discuss how he or she is doing all through the treatment.

Helping recovering addicts in treatment

The first thing you have to do is to understand the effects of the substance someone is taking so that you will get a better picture of the whole thing, and it will be easier for you to explain to the person what he or she is going through throughout the process of getting treatment. Getting someone screened by an expert also helps, and this is for you to know the emotional, physical, and mental status of the person for you to easily track improvements.

Recovering addicts should be made aware the stages of the treatment that he or she will go through to make the person understand that the process will be a challenging one but is possible to accomplish.

Take the time to talk to the person. Ask how he or she is feeling, because you will easily tell that there is progress by the way a person shares his or her stories. Make sure that other friends and family members are involved in the process too, so that the person will feel that there is a strong support system and that he or she is not alone.

Anyone who has tried doing drugs is vulnerable to relapse. Therefore, the person should be exposed to things like new hobbies, traveling, going back to school, and working out so that his or her mind will not go in that direction again. The people around the recovering addict should monitor the activities of the person so that it will be easier to fight the possibility of the person’s relapse.

Groups involved in drug abuse intervention and treatment

groups addressing drug abuse

Family

Family is a major part of one’s support system. The whole process of drug addiction treatment would not be successful if a person is not getting the support he or she needs from the family.

Family members, especially the immediate ones, should be involved in the treatment process so that the person will not feel that he or she is neglected or forgotten by the family. It is highly recommended that families dedicate time for activities with the recovering addict. Activities can be some sort of a new hobby, sport, or getting involved in charity work.

Community

The community is also vital in one’s battle to fight drug addiction. This includes the person’s friends and people from the local church.

Usually, communities implement their own strategies to divert people’s attention from drugs. This is a good venue for someone to survive drug addiction, because being active in the community creates a sense of responsibility. Treating drug addiction should be done not only by the individual and the family, but also of the surrounding community.

Self-help groups

What better way to learn how to face the battle other than learning from people who are going through the same thing? Self-help groups are a good way for recovering addicts to understand their situation. This gives the person a venue to share his or her experience without being judged.

Conclusion

Addressing drug abuse in someone you know may not be easy, and it takes a lot of patience and understanding. However, given the right mindset and emotional posture, you could very well be the person that a recovering addict needs to be with.

Substance Abuse

Kratom Ban in Oregon Proposed Through Senate Bill

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The Oregon Legislature is now in the process of passing over a dozen bills concerning marijuana. On top of this, the lawmakers are also considering a kratom ban in the state through a senate bill pending approval.

Those who oppose the use of kratom claim that there have been fifteen kratom-related deaths in the United States within two years. Through Senate Bill 518, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy will conduct a study to conclude whether the plant and its drug components should be labeled as a controlled substance. News of the kratom ban bill being proposed has kratom users worried, according to a news item.

Susan Ash, who works as director and founder of the American Kratom Association, said that taking kratom has benefited her health ever since she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, a condition that was undiagnosed for eight years, leaving her to deal with lifelong pain and fatigue. According to Ash, kratom leaves can be taken in many forms either as a tea, chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules. She formed the American Kratom Association in order to educate others about kratom use as well as protect and support kratom consumers.

Kratom has been listed by the DEA as a substance of concern for several years, although the kratom ban and initial plans to classify it as Schedule I have been put on hold. The American Association of Poison Control Centers have also received calls related to kratom use. The calls started at two in between 2000-2005 and then surged to 660 from 2014-2016.

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Things You Need To Know About Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

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Drug trade and use continues to be one of the major problems in the U.S. The government’s initiative to scale down drug trade in the country has somehow lead to the legalization of cannabis, which is one of the most common illegal substances used. Despite initiatives to legalize the substance, lawmakers may have overlooked one point with marijuana use: the emergence of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a collection of symptoms that occur after prolonged and massive usage of cannabis. According to an Australian clinical study conducted by Dr. Hugh Allen in 2004, about 10 patients were exhibiting the same symptoms, with all of them found to be marijuana users.

Excessive use of marijuana is the result of such condition. This occurs when marijuana is used more than 3-5 times a day, which eventually leads to a chronic use of the substance for years on end.

Cannabis use creates a euphoric effect to the user. However, some individuals may experience this rare condition despite its usual antiemetic effect. What cannabis users would do is to take in more with the hope of being relieved with the unfavorable symptoms. However, increasing the dose will do more harm than good.

Signs and Symptoms of CHS

Individuals who suffer from CHS usually complain of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They may frequent the emergency room for 3-5 times before doctors would conclude that the vomiting and nausea is related to marijuana use because there are other conditions that may exhibit the same symptoms.

CHS is a rare condition; it does not happen to all cannabis users. It usually takes years before the onset of symptoms occur. The shortest reported length of consumption of cannabis having the symptoms was 18 months.

Individuals who have CHS may experience the following:

  • Agitated state
  • Apprehension
  • Sweating
  • Postural hypotension
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypokalemia
  • Alkalosis
  • Hypochloremia
  • Elevated urea
  • Esophagitis
  • Gastric mucosal trauma

How is it different from Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) may also present the same symptoms as that of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.  It usually lasts from a few hours to several days. Repeated attacks happen with no apparent reason. The only difference of CVS from CHS is that with CVS, cannabis use is not present.

Each episode of CVS happens as the previous one, which means episodes may occur at the same time of the day, the same duration, or with the same symptoms and intensity.

Treatment for CHS

Cannabis users usually find relief when they take a hot shower.  According to a study from Philadelphia, “taking hot showers may be a way of correcting the cannabis-induced imbalance that affects the regulation of temperature of the hypothalamus”.

The symptoms usually go away after a few days of completely stopping from consuming cannabis.

Other forms of treatment for this condition include providing medications to relieve from abdominal pain and electrolyte replacement to maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body lost due to vomiting.

This condition, if left untreated, may lead to severe dehydration and kidney failure.

CHS in the News

It must have come as a surprise to some pro-cannabis legalization that such condition happens. Although CHS has been reported just over a decade ago, it is only now after the legalization of marijuana on several states that there has been an increase in individuals who are reported to be suffering from such condition.

One popular involves a certain Lance Crowder, who has been going in and out of the emergency room for abdominal pain and vomiting. However, doctors were not able to find out what was wrong with him. It was Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital who finally found out that Crowder was having CHS. When Dr. Heard asked Crowder if he feels relieved taking hot showers, he immediately knew what was wrong with Crowder.

Outside of Colorado, patients who were sent to the emergency room are often misdiagnosed partly because doctors are unaware of the symptoms presented by CHS and that these patients would not admit to using cannabis.

Impact of Marijuana Legalization on CHS Incidence

The main effect of taking marijuana is having that euphoric feeling, which has encouraged many people to try it and eventually get hooked on it. Incidentally, medical experts have found out that using cannabis may give benefits to people who are suffering from severe pain which is common to cancer patients. In other words, patients may have found an alternative source of relief in marijuana. This is the primary reason why marijuana legalization was pushed.

More and more states have legalized the use of marijuana, and several more states are expected to join the bandwagon. While it remains like an endless debate among others who do not agree to its legalization, still there are people who see it as their last recourse in helping them cope with the severe pain they are going through.

The New York Times stated the following reasons for legalizing marijuana, namely:

  • It will relieve the government from using additional funds. Individuals have been arrested and put behind bars because of possession of cannabis. Police authorities are spending so much time and money running after individuals when they can focus and use their time going after individuals involved in much severe crimes.
  • Despite the government’s initiatives of criminalizing marijuana offenders, it has failed in reducing the number of people involved in using marijuana.
  • Cannabis has known medical benefits. For many years, marijuana has been referred to something that has a negative effect on one’s health. However, further studies showed that it can also help certain medical conditions such as epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and muscle spasm, just to name a few.
  • Legalization of cannabis may decrease usage. The government sees a possible decrease in usage once tax is implemented over cannabis trade.
  • It is believed that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco because “its effect is mostly euphoric and mild” compared to alcohol drinkers who turn themselves into maniacs and domestic abusers.

Conclusion

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome may probably affect the decision of other states in joining the rest of the country to legalize marijuana. While we see the benefits of this substance, lawmakers may be thinking of adding provisions to this law to protect medical cannabis users and to prevent them from further encouraging recreational marijuana use, for the sole purpose of avoiding the increase in risk of CHS.

Medical Marijuana

National Academy of Sciences Says Marijuana Has Medical Benefits

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A comprehensive review of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that marijuana does possess medical benefits.

The committee who conducted the review concluded that patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are likely to experience a huge decrease in pain symptoms. In adults suffering from multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, temporary use of oral cannabinoids led to a marked improvement in their condition, according to a news release.

With medical cannabis gaining ground in the United States, the Institute of Medicine conducted a comprehensive review in 1999. This was not, however, the first attempt in trying to determine the potential benefits of marijuana. In 1982, it was concluded that cannabis and its variations have shown value in treating various disorders. Among the conditions where cannabis offers medicinal benefits include asthma, seizures, and other nervous system disorders.

The first attempt by the government to control the use of pot was commissioned by then New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia in response to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The LaGuardia report concluded that pot did not have any effect on a person’s sensibilities or decision-making ability.

Former U.S. President Richard Nixon also commissioned a scientific assessment of marijuana in the early 1970s. Commissioned by Nixon, the Schaefer Report came up with the conclusion that cannabis does not rank high in social problems in contemporary America.

There is a huge difference in the landscape of cannabis in 1999 and 2016. Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 28 states (as of this writing), while 16 states have CBD laws. Last summer, the DEA did not reschedule marijuana, which means that it has no medical value.

Substance Abuse

DEA Acting Chief Rosenberg Discusses Synthetic Drugs Issue with Chinese Authorities

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Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chuck Rosenberg recently visited China to meet with Liu Yuejin, China’s Assistant Minister of Public Security. The two officials were reported in a news article to have discussed important issues about synthetic drugs.

Rosenberg also sat down with MPS Narcotics Control Bureau Director General Liang Yun and General Administration of China Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau Director General Lia Xiaohui to discuss new psychoactive substances, fentanyl class substances, drug precursor chemicals and anti-money laundering.

The meeting is designed to enhance the current relationship between DEA and counter-narcotic law enforcement authorities. It emphasizes the increased cooperation between the DEA and the MPS in recognition with China’s actions toward combating the worldwide synthetic drug trafficking and illicit money laundering.

“This week’s meetings with China’s Ministry of Public Security reinforced the commitment between our agencies to address the synthetic drug crisis which affects our nation,” stated DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.  “These meetings underscore our improving relationship and cooperative efforts as we work to stem the flow of dangerous synthetic opioids and related chemicals.  I appreciate the good work they are doing in China to help us address our opioid epidemic.”

This is the third meeting between DEA and Chinese officials. Rosenberg first met with former NCB Director General Hu Minglang at the DEA Headquarters at the annual Bilateral Drug Intelligence Working Group (BDIWG) in September 2016. The meeting is designed to help both US and China enhance their joint drug investigations.

In August 2016, a senior level DEA delegation went to China to attend the “DEA Executive Leadership Forum.” The NCB, on the other hand, had a meeting with DEA investigators in Milwaukee, Boston, and the Special Operations Division to coordinate and advance bilateral fentanyl and new psychoactive substance investigations.

The DEA maintains an office in Beijing and plans to put up another office in Guangzhou. The agency will continue to work with China on counter-narcotic issues as well as the growing threat of synthetic drugs.

Substance Abuse

Florida Rep Jacobs Files Bill To Add Kratom To Controlled Substances List

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kratom leaf

A new bill that would add kratom to the list of controlled substances has been filed in Congress.

Calling the bill a “fall on the sword issue,” Florida Rep. Kristin Jacobs filed House Bill 183 that would add mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine, compounds found in kratom, in the list of controlled substances.

Calling the plant a “scourge on society,” the Florida congresswoman expects the DEA to temporarily schedule the components as Schedule 1 substances after the period for public comment has already expired. Jacobs insisted that her filing of the bill was designed to “punish the industry not the unfortunate people who are addicted,” according to a news item.

The bill also proposes stiffer penalties for any individual or company that would be caught selling, manufacturing, delivering, or importing chemical constituents into Florida. When the law is implemented, such acts will be considered a first degree misdemeanor.

In Southeast Asia, kratom has been used as a herbal medicine serving as a palliative and an alternative to opiates. It is only starting to become popular in the United States.

Kratom comes as a chewable for a various ailments such as in pain reduction, treating diarrhea, and reducing opiates dependence. It is also known to provide energy, reduce symptoms of opiate withdrawal and prolong the duration of sexual intercourse.

[Image by ThorPorre via Wikimedia Creative Commons]