Category: Second Column

Add Medicinal Plants: Foxglove

Foxglove yields the invaluable heart drug digitalis. The medical properties of foxglove had been written about in the 16th century, but the plant fell into disrepute (!) and it was dropped from the all-important London Pharmacopoeia in 1745.  Its health benefits were rediscovered (!)  by a physician named William Withering, who published an Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses: with Practical Remarks on Dropsy and Other Diseases in 1785. We are planning to run excerpts from an article that tells the whole fascinating story,  “William Withering and the Purple Foxglove,” by J. Worth Estes and Paul Dudley...

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A Sacred Day: 4/20

Today —we addicts call it “four twenty,” as in 4/20/13— is sacred because it is the day we can satisfy our craving with the really primo stuff from morning till night. Just knowing that it’s available in good supply provides a mild euphoria. Yes, it’s an escape from reality. Yes, it can result in a lingering hangover, a sense of lethargy. Yes, there may be guilt over time spent unproductively. Yes, after a few days of constant indulgence, tolerance might build up. But rest assured that after a brief lay-off —a day or two will suffice— the thrill will...

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The Prohibition of Marijuana

Narrated by Fred Gardner    Act one, scene one of “Prohibition ’37,” a tragicomedy featuring the Treasury Department, U.S. industries reliant on hemp, and the American Medical Association. A radio is playing a 1937 hit, “Nice work if you can get it,” as the NARRATOR takes his place on a stool.  CONGRESSMEN and WITNESSES take seats at a table. A place card gives each man’s name, party and state. Committee members include Democrats Robert Doughton of North Carolina, the chairman; Fred Vinson of Kentucky; John Dingell and Roy Woodruff of Michigan; John McCormack of Massachusetts; Jere Cooper of Tennesee; Claude Fuller of Arkansas; Wesley Disney of Oklahoma. The Republicans include David Lewis of Maryland; Daniel Reed and Frank Crowther of New York.The first witness is Clinton Hester, a lawyer for the U.S. Treasury Department, a pinstripe-suit type. The music fades.  NARRATOR: What you’re about to hear is taken from the Congressional Record: “Tuesday, April 27, 1937. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Hon. Robert L. Doughton, presiding.” Doughton was a Democrat from North Carolina. In 1937 the South was solidly Democratic —and segregationist. At the insistence of the Southerners in Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal did not include social security for farm workers and domestic servants —Black people, mainly.  DOUGHTON (while a PAGE distributes copies of the bill): The committee will come to order. The...

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Sativex Moved to Schedule 4 in England

April 10  GW Pharmaceuticals’ stock almost doubled on the news that the British government had moved its flagship product, Sativex, from Schedule 1 to Schedule 4. Sativex is a cannabis plant extract containing approximately equal amounts of THC and CBD. It is delivered by spraying under the tongue. Here’s GW’s press release: Porton Down, UK; 10 April 2013: GW Pharmaceuticals, the biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercialising novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, announced that Sativex®, its treatment for spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis, has today been rescheduled in the UK from Schedule 1 under the Misuse of...

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Trichomes Triumph Over Bedbugs

April 10    By O’S News Service   A paper published today in The Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Entrapment of bed bugs by leaf trichomes inspires microfabrication of biomimetic surfaces,  resonates strongly with the medical marijuana story. In both cases plant-based folk remedies that had been recognized in the scientific literature fell into disuse after World War Two but are being appreciated again. In both cases the source of benefit has been traced to the trichomes —tiny hairs on the plants’ leaves and flowers. In both cases leading scientists are trying to develop patentable synthetics and hoping to equal the...

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