Note: Small studies show how psilocybin can be used to reduce depression. Imagine that! Maybe someday, the benefits of using cannabis will be recognized and the war on drugs will be exposed for what it is: A colossal error costing destruction of millions of lives and the rise of our police state and another more lethally entrenched criminal class much worse than the mafia of years past. A good intro to how the mafia operated see the series, The Godfather.
Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany
Paperback – June 28, 2016
A book review by Dr. William Olkowski
Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the natural origins and early evolution of this famous plant, highlighting its historic role in the development of human societies. Cannabis has long been prized for the strong and durable fiber in its stalks, its edible and oil-rich seeds, and the psychoactive and medicinal compounds produced by its female flowers. The culturally valuable and often irreplaceable goods derived from cannabis deeply influenced the commercial, medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages, and human desire for these commodities directed the evolution of the plant toward its contemporary varieties. As interest in cannabis grows and public debate over its many uses rises, this book will help us understand why humanity continues to rely on this plant and adapts it to suit our needs.
I met one of the authors, Merlin, at a recent Xmas party and we were mutually impressed over our common interest in cannabis. I don’t want to spend the $40 or so dollars for this book at this time, but I restate this short Amazon review above because it covers how “deeply (cannabis) influenced medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages”… I have been aware of this history from another book: the Encyclopedia of Psychoactive plants by Christian Ratsch, 1998. Park Street Press, Rochester, Vermont.
This later 942 page compendium goes into great detail about the larger group of psychoactive plants, and their role in human cultural evolution. This sort of knowledge is not common in the US and probably other countries as well, but so called primitive peoples are familiar with psychoactive plants, even today.
Christianity and its widespread colonization and associated genocidal activities placed psychoactive plants on the taboo list thinking so called “primitive societies” were inferior to the European culture. This inferiority idea is covered by Jared Diamond’s classic book Guns Germs and Steel. Just to cover the main idea in this book: why is White Culture superior, or apparently superior?
This subject deserves more words than what I summarize here, but brevity is good. Diamond’s book should be read widely but will probably not rise above the cacophony today about racial issues, particularly because of the Trump confusion. White culture, i.e., European culture, arose through ecological coincidence when humans were driven out of southern Africa to go north through the fertile crescent. This is all documented by recent genetic studies. That area of the Eurasian-African nexus happened to have grains that held their seeds on the stalk (i.e., wheat) after maturity. This makes easier harvesting and storage which lead to surpluses and avoidance of starvation, so common in our human evolution. Wheat is also calorie dense, being the highest per volume of all the grains. Once surpluses were possible, specialization grew and with it inventions arose. These inventions, like steel and guns, among others, including agricultural developments, gave superior tools for human domination, particularly of other humans. Steel and guns are particular are indicated as examples of investions. Such innovations are transmitted easily east to west, laterally, not longitudinally, since north south innovations are limited by latitudes and the concomitant seasons. Those cultures which adopted inventions survived and thrived, others perished.
So “Whiteman’s Superiority” was a fluke of nature and does not indicate innate superiority as many white supremacist claim. With the President of the US, now raising racist issues in making immigration policy this idea of how many innovations arose deserves greater exposure. People are people and we all started in southern Africa as brown people. Whiteness arose when climate change force the human emigration north and elsewhere. Black skin protects from damage from sunlight, white skin makes extra vitamin D since it allows sun energy deeper penetrating power than black or brown skin. Vitamin D is crucial for bone development and immune system function. White skin is susceptible to skin cancers, but it makes advantages for people in northern climates as it is easier to make Vit D.
I make this essay because even today the US police systems are still jailing hundreds of thousands of people for possession of a plant. This travesty is continuing in the face of widespread legalization of marijuana (Cannabis). The wider and even more severe impacts of other plant materials by the relevant justice departments remain in limbo, even though these are medical problems rather like alcoholism. Portugal is one country that has legalized all psychedelics without harm along with great savings in penal costs and human costs. We were in Portugal last year and the policemen we asked for directions to the nearest cannabis dispensary did not know its location, even though we were just blocks away. This tells the story so quickly. Here is another:
Chinese story: Wise man on a horse stops to ask a question of a old woman sitting by the side of the road between villages. He asks: “why do you sit here when tigers are so threatening”. She says: “I fear bad government more”.
And my experiences says she has a major point, highly relevant today, especially since we have this regressive government headed by the ignorant “businessman” Trump, but supported by equally ignorant lawyers, mostly Republican congressman and congresswomen (not exclusively Republican). Nobody learns from the past if no effort is made to absorb its lessons. And nowadays the rule is kill the messenger, rather than learn the message.
William Olkowski 1/25/18
Seo: marijuana, drug policy, kill the messenger, lawyers, Republican, evolution, Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond, Merlin, Whiteman’s Superiority, psychedelics.
Note: History of opioids in U.S. shows two periods of major use before 1900 and now, with the government’s current drug policy it appears that Jeff Sessions who is the head of the DOJ has taken the government backwards to fight the states that have legalized cannabis. Fortunately, the will of the people has been spoken and cannabis continues to offer both medical and economic solutions.
Note: This Fox News bit shows how Fox furthers propaganda using a so called expert who does not report on evidenced studies. The lesson here is watch out who you believe.
Note: This article is a must read for anyone interested in drug war reform. 600,000 people were still arrested for possession last year while 29 states have some form of legalization. 64% are in favor of use according to recent polls. The biggest barrier has been the federal government and now with Trump/Sessions this barrier will get larger as this group plans to continue rolling back recent improvements on many fronts. For those unfamiliar with drug policy and its history this is a key article. For those who want an authoritative update this article is the best.
Groundbreaking Study Shows Cannabis Can Counter Alzheimer’s Disease
Democrats Call for Pathway to Full Legalization of Cannabis
Comment: whenever we visit Mendocino I check in on dr William Courtney, who is highly knowledgeable about use and the research on medical marijuana. He regularly attends the International conference on medical marijuana held annually in Europe. We in the US need to look to Europe, particularly Israel, since they are far ahead in research since the US has banned research on 420 for years, accept for studies that support the idea that it’s bad for us.
Courtney’s interview in the New Settler, here cited, should be read for the details and to examine his arguments for low dose use by chewing leaves.
Courtney cites Israel research on low dose to back up his recommendations. The reader must know that we have in our body cells an endocabinoid system as do most living beings. That fact should be more widely know but it’s not. The significance of that fact relates to how life evolved, especially making the step from single cell to multicellular life. Now, of course, the legal community that had condemned MJ for many decades, has its head up it ass on this whole subject. If, for example, we already have a system that uses many components of the MJ plant, how come its illegal to posses it?
More significantly, as Courtney reports this very system has multiple receptors in lots of cellular components. Augmenting the natural system can help restore health where disease is present since the biochemicals in the plant, particularly the leaves are necessary for healthily function, especially for the immune system and the brain.
Due to our backwardness on this subject, it will be decades before we wake up, so read the article and see what we have denied from our political ignorance.