From injury to disease, pain is a very common ailment or symptom that can take down the toughest of the tough. It’s so prevalent that we are seeing a major epidemic with opiate dependency.
Unfortunately, with so many needing to find relief, it’s leading to a large portion of our population becoming dependent on a chemical bandage, often just masking the problem, rather than fixing the cause.
Unfortunately, it’s getting so widespread that the medical field view many of those in real need as “seekers”. So, instead of getting relief from tangible pain, people are being turned away. As a result, they are finding it illegally, and pain clinics and rehabs are popping up all over, trying to combat the addiction.
Wild Lettuce as a Healthy Alternative
Lactuca Virosa is the scientific term for it, and many people have used it in place of addictive prescription pain medicine. It’s a leafy and tall plant, with small yellow buds, and could be grown right out your door. More commonly found in North America and England, it’s a cousin to the lettuce we typically see at the grocery store. It’s also referred to as bitter lettuce, or more appropriately for the purpose discussed here, opium lettuce.
The reason it’s referred to as opium lettuce, is due to the pain relieving and sedative effects that it has been known to produce through a white substance found in the stem and leaves.
This milky substance is called lactucarium. And, while it doesn’t contain any opiates, it has similar side effects when used – it acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to lessen the feeling of pain, just like morphine.
Even though it seems to be the best kept secret, it has a history of being used as an alternative to pain relief.
Back in the 19th century, wild lettuce was already being used by some as a substitute to opium. But, it was in the 70’s that it started to gain significant popularity by those wanting a more natural remedy. Individuals were starting to use it for both pain relief, as well as recreational purpose.
In the earlier days, people using wild lettuce prepared it a couple different ways. One way was to cook the plant in a pan of water and sugar mix, until it reduced to a thick syrup-like consistency. While this was an effective form, it was quite bitter even with the sugar added. The most common form however, was drying the stem and leaves to use as an herbal tea.
The tea remains popular today. But, it’s also being dried for smoking, or vaporizing. If you don’t care to grow it yourself, it can also be purchased as a dried herb, extract, or resin substance.
Here are the more popular reasons people are gravitating towards this natural pain killer and medicinal plant:
- Migraines – People who use it for this purpose claim that they experience fewer migraines than they did prior to starting the herb.
- Insomnia – A frequent use of wild lettuce is by people who have trouble sleeping. It produces a relaxed and euphoric feeling, helping a person fall asleep easier, without the addictive qualities of commonly prescribed sleeping aids.
- Anxiety – Wild lettuce can act as a mild sedative, allowing people with anxiety to find a reprieve from the stress it causes.
- Asthma and Cough – Wild lettuce has antitussive properties, which alleviates or suppresses a cough. Also, asthmatic patients who have used opiates notice more episodes if they go through opiate withdrawal. So, the use of wild lettuce instead of prescription opiates, could be a better option for them.
In addition to the above benefits, wild lettuce produces a euphoric state, similar to opiates, even though it does not contain any actual opiate… so it’s perfectly legal.
Meteor Fireball Seen over Parts of New York State [VIDEO]
The American Meteor Society is reporting that a meteor was spotted over parts of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Tuesday morning at around 2:35 a.m.
#Fireball caught over Elmira Corning Regional Airport, NY last night.
68 reports so far: https://t.co/ZHOkMko7UX
If you saw this event, please report it: https://t.co/N0EuOVkOgj pic.twitter.com/QQVTB5DOYA
— AMSMETEORS (@amsmeteors) 19 March 2019
As of now, there are eighty seven reports on the AMS website about the fireball, which can be seen streaking across the sky in the video above.
The video was also shared on the AMS Twitter account, and was taken from the Elmira Corning Regional Airport.
According to the website, some of the sighting reports are places across the Hudson Valley such as Beacon, Staatsburg, Woodbourne, and Middletown.
Did you happen to see the fireball?
Marijuana is a Lot More Than Just THC
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal use and is easy to abuse. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries have an increasing array of products available for pain, anxiety, sex and more.
The glass counters and their jars of products in the dispensary resemble an 18th century pharmacy. Many strains for sale have evocative and magical names like Blue Dream, Bubba Kush and Chocolope. But what does it all mean? Are there really differences in the medical qualities of the various strains? Or, are the different strains with the fanciful names all just advertising gimmicks?
I am a professor in the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. I have lived in California a long time and remember the Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love. While in graduate school, I worked with professor Alexander Shulgin, the father of designer drugs, who taught me the chemistry of medicinal plants. Afterwards, while a professor at USC, I learned Chumash healing from a Native American Chumash healer for 14 years from 1998 until 2012. She taught me how to make medicines from Californian plants, but not marijuana, which is not native to the U.S. Currently, I am teaching a course in medical marijuana to pharmacy students.
If there is one thing about marijuana that is certain: In small doses it can boost libido in men and women, leading to more sex. But can marijuana really be used for medical conditions?
What are Cannabinoids?
New research is revealing that marijuana is more than just a source of cannabinoids, chemicals that may bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brains, which are used to get high. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana is a particularly rich source of medicinal compounds that we have only begun to explore. In order to harness the full potential of the compounds in this plant, society needs to overcome misconceptions about marijuana and look at what research clearly says about the medical value.
The FDA has already made some moves in this direction by approving prescription drugs that come from marijuana including dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols and cannabidiol. Dronabinol and nabilone are cannabinoids that are used for nausea. Nabiximols – which contain THC, the compound most responsible for marijuana’s high and cannabidiol, which does not induce a high – are used to treat multiple sclerosis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is also used to treat some types of epilepsy.
Marijuana, originally from the Altai Mountains in Central and East Asia, contains at least 85 cannabinoids and 27 terpenes, fragrant oils that are produced by many herbs and flowers that may be active, drug-like compounds. THC is the cannabinoid everyone wants in order to get high. It is produced from THC acid – which constitutes up to 25 percent of the plant’s dry weight – by smoking or baking any part of the marijuana plant.
THC mimics a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called anandamidethat works as a signaling molecule in the brain. Anandamide attaches to proteins in the brain called cannabinoid receptors, which then send signals related to pleasure, memory, thinking, perception and coordination, to name a few. THC works by hijacking these natural cannabinoid receptors, triggering a profound high.
Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid, another cannabinoid, can constitute up to 10 percent of the dry weight. It is converted to another compound that probably contributes to a high, tetrahydrocannabivarin, when smoked or ingested in baked goods. Potent varieties like Doug’s Varin and Tangie may contain even higher concentrations.
Medical Properties of Marijuana
But not all cannabinoids make you high. Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid similar to THC, and its acid are also present in marijuana, especially in certain varieties. But these do not cause euphoria. The cannabidiol molecule interacts with a variety of receptors – including cannabinoid and serotonin receptors and transient receptor potential cation channels (TRP) – to reduce seizures, combat anxiety and produce other effects.
Marijuana also contains several monoterpenoids – small, aromatic molecules – that have a wide range of activities including pain and anxiety relief and that work by inhibiting TRP channels.
Myrcene is the most abundant monoterpenoid, a type or terpene, in marijuana. It can relax muscles. Other terpenes such as pinene, linalool, limonene and the sesquiterpene, beta-caryophyllene are pain relievers, especially when applied directly to the skin as a liniment. Some of these terpenes may add to the high when marijuana is smoked.
What Do All These Varieties Do?
Many different varieties of marijuana are on the market and are alleged to treat a range of diseases. The FDA has no oversight for these claims, since the FDA does not recognize marijuana as a legal product.
Strains of marijuana are grown that produce more THC than cannadidiol or vice versa. Other varieties have abundant monoterpenoids. How do you know that the strain you choose is legitimate with probable medical benefits? Each strain should have a certificate of analysis that shows you how much of each active compound is present in the product you buy. Many states have a bureau of cannabis control that verifies these certificates of analysis. However, many certificates of analysis do not show the monoterpenoids present in the marijuana. The analysis of monoterpenoids is difficult since they evaporate from the plant material. If you are looking for a strain high in myrcene or linalool, ask for proof.
China Needs to Build Eight Nuclear Plants Annually to Meet Goals
If China wants to keep pace with the rest of the world, it needs to start building more nuclear reactors.
According to a Chinese official, the nation will need to launch a staggering eight new reactors every year to meet the global average for nuclear energy generation by 2030 — and meet its own electricity demands without pumping more environment-destroying pollutants into the atmosphere.
On Wednesday, Asia Times reported that Liu Wei, general manager of China Nuclear Power Engineering, a clean energy company under the supervision of the Chinese government, told reporters that China’s total power consumption will reach 10.5 trillion kilowatts by 2030.
If the nation wants 10 percent of that electricity generated by nuclear plants — a rate in line with the global average — it will need to launch eight high-capacity nuclear reactors every year between now and then.
China already has 46 operational nuclear reactors, with more than 20 others under construction. The nation is reportedly capable of building a reactor in just 60 months, and according to an MIT Technology Review story published in December, it has the ability to build 10 to 12 reactors annually.
That’s if it wanted to. But the Asia Times article doesn’t note whether China actually plans to construct eight new units every year for the next decade.
Given the speed at which its economy is growing, though, it will need to put in place some sort of plan to meet its increasing electricity needs without further damaging its environment. Maybe nuclear power could provide that path.
READ MORE: Nation needs eight new nuclear power units annually, official says [China Daily]
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