Sunday, July 30, 2023

And Just Like That, Charlotte's Brownie Munching Leads to a Revelation

Kristin Davis enjoys a brownie in "And Just Like That"
The sequel to Sex in the City, "And Just Like That" continues on Max, with a Valentine's Day–themed Season 2, Episode 7 that reunites Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) with her ex Adain, and has goodie two-shoes Charlotte (Kristin Davis) inadvertently eating a pot brownie that her daughter's friend has baked. 

Unaware that she's ingested cannabis, Charlotte ends up in the hospital emergency room after feeling strange and reporting symptoms like, "I can feel the blood in my mouth." An unconcerned ER physician assures her she's not having a stroke and instead reports, "You do have a pretty significant amount of THC in your bloodstream," adding that's he's seeing the situation a lot because, "People in your age group haven't quite learned how to navigate the power of a gummy." He tells her she can go home and sleep it off. 

It's true: A recent UC San Diego study of California hospital data found a 1,804% increase in cannabis-related emergency room visits among people older than 65 from 2005 to 2019. “I see patients later, and they said: ‘I used a gummy, and nothing happened.’ And they don’t know much about the doses,” study author Benjamin Han said. “So then they say: ‘I took a lot more and then, two hours later, my heart is racing — I’m so anxious I don’t know what’s going on!’ And they end up in the emergency department.” Edibles remain the main cause of cannabis overdoses for all age groups. 

In Charlotte's case, she benefits from the experience, telling her husband that she had a revelation during her ambulance ride that she needed to take a job she'd been offered at an art gallery, instead of trying to live her dreams through their daughters. "I've got to get back to me," she says. "And it's not just the pot talking." 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Bruce Lee: How Green Was the Green Hornet?

Many, like Very Important Pothead Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, have been paying tribute to Bruce Lee on the 50th anniversary of his death. The Chinese-American martial artist and movie star smashed as many racial barriers and stereotypes as he did opponents, and another myth he smashed was that of the weak, do-nothing cannabis consumer. 

According to the biography Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly, it was Steve McQueen who turned Lee onto marijuana. "It quickly became his drug of choice – Puff the Magic Dragon," Polly writes. "After a training session with one of his celebrity clients, Bruce would light a blunt and talk philosophy," listen to music and "have a ball," James Coburn recalled. "Blowing Gold was one of his favorite things." 

"It was different and scary," Bruce said of his first experience getting stoned. "I was feeling pretty high when Steve gave me a cup of hot tea. As I placed the cup to my lips, it felt like a river gushing into my mouth. It was weird. Everything was so exaggerated. Even the damn noise from my slurping was so loud it sounded like splashing waves. When I got into my car and started to go, the street seemed like it was moving real fast toward me. The white centerline just flew at me and so did the telephone poles. You just noticed everything more sharply. You become aware of everything. To me it was artificial 'awareness.' But, you know, this is what we are trying to reach in martial arts, the 'awareness,' but in a more natural way."

Polly theorizes that "beyond its consciousness-raising appeal, Bruce's fondness for cannabis—at first he used marijuana and then later switched to hash—may have involved an element of self-medication. 'Never Sits Still' was a nickname and he had been hyperactive and impulsive since his childhood. Marijuana and hash seem to have served as a kind of chill pill." 


After a near fatal cerebral edema caused him to collapse on a Hong Kong movie set on May 10, 1973, Lee was examined by neurosurgeon Dr. Peter Wu. During the examination, Lee admitted that he had eaten hash immediately before the episode, and Wu advised him not to take it again. "It's harmless," Bruce scoffed. "Steve McQueen introduced me to it. Steve McQueen would not take it if there was anything dangerous about it." He refused diagnostic tests, saying he would get treated in the US. 

"In 1973, Hong Kong had very little experience with marijuana," writes Polly. "It was conceived of as an evil Western hippie drug. Research since then has proven that cannabis does not cause cerebral edema or lead to death." He quotes Dr. Daniel Friedman, a neurologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. "There are no receptors for THC in the brainstem, the part of the brain that maintains breathing and heart rate," said Dr. Friedman, "which is why it is very near impossible to die directly from a THC overdose unlike heroin or barbiturates."

Friday, July 14, 2023

DEA "Celebrates" 50 Years, Pushes Social Media Addiction

Having been established by Richard Nixon on July 1, 1973, the U.S, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is celebrating its dubious 50-year legacy pushing the racist, ineffectual and expensive War on Drugs. Nixon called for Congress to consolidate anti-drug efforts into the uber agency, which was given intelligence powers like wiretapping and body-worn recorders. 

One of the DEA's high-profile busts was the arrest of Dr. Timothy Leary, the Harvard psychiatrist who became an evangelist for LSD. Leary's legal challenge to the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act after being caught with pot at the Mexican border dismantled that law, but ushered in the much-worse 1971 Controlled Substances Act, which gave DEA the authority to schedule drugs based on their perceived danger, leaving cannabis in the most dangerous Schedule I category to this day. 


As reported by Marijuana Moment, the DEA is now promoting tips on how to get a “natural high” as an alternative to drugs, sharing what it says are “7 Better Highs” such as becoming famous on Instagram, playing video games and going to a pet store to look at animals. 

"Don’t let boredom be one of the reasons you try drugs. Try these fun activities and get a natural high!" the agency's taxpayer-funded campaign enjoins, suggesting hiking, renting jet skis, or going to amusement parks for relaxation and excitement in lieu of doing drugs. 

“It’s fun to post pics on Instagram and also see what your friends are doing on the app. But if you took it a little bit more seriously, you could take over the world and become a young trendsetter,” the post continues.

But social media could be more harmful than marijuana is to young people, especially girls. A 2021 report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal found that about 22 million teens log onto Instagram in the U.S. each day, and that adolescents were starting to report anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts regarding their experience on the social app. Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. Data suggest that the more hours a child devotes to social media, the higher their risk for mental health problems.

“Do you want to take a little escape from reality altogether?” the DEA site asks. “Playing video games is an awesome way to do so.” This from the government that continues to recruit teens excelling at online war games into the military, as 77% of young people don't meet the military's requirements due to obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, and medical/physical health issues.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Study: Warning Signs About Cannabis and Pregnancy May Have "Unintended Adverse Consequences"

Five states where recreational cannabis is legal (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington) require businesses to post point-of-sale signs with warnings about harms of using cannabis during pregnancy. But these warnings may have an opposite effect from their intent. 

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open surveyed 2063 pregnant or recently pregnant people living in US states with legalized recreational cannabis, 585 of whom reported using cannabis during their pregnancy (CUDP). Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco supported by a grant from the California Department of Cannabis Control reported that among those who used cannabis during their pregnancy, living in a state with warning signs about the use of cannabis during pregnancy was associated with beliefs that cannabis use during pregnancy was safe, and that those who used cannabis during pregnancy should not be punished. Among people who did not use cannabis before or during pregnancy, living in a warning-signs state was associated with beliefs that use was not safe, and with greater support for punishment regarding pregnant people’s cannabis use.

"Considerable questions remain as to why warning signs for substance use during pregnancy may have unintended adverse consequences," the study's authors write. "One possibility is that warning signs increase fears of punishment and thus influence pregnant people to avoid prenatal care. Another is that warning signs may lead people to believe their substance use has already irreversibly harmed their baby and thus it is too late to stop use. From the larger health communications literature, people who use cannabis could experience message fatigue and tune out or distrust information in messages."

Tokin' Women and Others We Lost in June 2023


Alan Arkin (6/29)
In his brilliant eight-decade career, Arkin was memorably comedic (The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming), sarcastic (Catch-22), and quietly tragic (in the 1968 adaptation of Carson McCullers's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, where he plays a deaf man). Arkin starred opposite Rita Moreno in Popi (1969) and menaced Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. He capped his career with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as the unapologetically heroin-using grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine (pictured), and two consecutive Emmy nominations for the Netflix series The Kominsky Method with Michael Douglas.

Christine King Farris (6/29)
The eldest and last surviving sibling of Martin Luther King, Farris endured both her brother's 1968 assassination and that of their mother six years later. Like her mother and grandmother before her, she attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1948. After earning two master's degrees in education, she taught at a public school before returning to Spelman as director of the Freshman Reading Program in 1958. Farris held a tenured professorship in education and was director of the Learning Resources Center for 48 years. Farris was, for many years, vice chair and treasurer of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and was active for several years in the International Reading Association, and various church and civic organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She published a children's book, My Brother Martin, as well as the autobiography, Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family, and My Faith.