The Legality Of Marijuana

Before the rest of this blog post I would like to preface that I do not smoke marijuana either recreationally or medicinally and will continue to follow the laws regarding all controlled substances in the United States.

Marijuana as we know it comes from the cannabis plant, what is commonly smoked and used for medical purposes around the world comes from the flowers of it. Some cannabis plants are used primarily for the cultivation of it’s flowers and the THC and CBD oils that can be derived from them, while other cannabis plants are used for a material called hemp. Hemp is a super durable and cost effective alternative to many different products such as paper, cotton and other popular goods. Unfortunately the legality of growing cannabis of any kind, for hemp or for flowers, is outlawed by the US government. While the government still stands by the reasoning that all forms of cannabis will lead to memory loss and crime (see 1936’s “Reefer Madness” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbjHOBJzhb0), the true reasoning behind this policy is rooted in special interest groups and lobbying. In the 1930’s William Randolph Hearst, the owner of a large chain of newspapers and paper mills, felt threatened by the prospect of a new crop (that product being hemp) that could be used to make a better stronger version of the product that he had the market virtually cornered on. Now good ole’ Billy Hearst did not want for his massive investment in the timber and the timber industry to go to waste. So using his power of the press, he published articles about the dangerous side effects of consuming marijuana. Most of his claims had zero basis in science and some were outright racist and inappropriate. In doing this the public now looked at marijuana with a negative light. All the while William Randolph Hearst was turning the literate masses against marijuana,  Harry J. Aslinger was named the head of the new Federal Department of Narcotics. Instead of doing his job of keeping dangerous opiates and narcotics out of the streets, he focused on pushing his own racist agenda. According to him, the primary users of marijuana at the time were black people who went to jazz clubs and hispanics. In the act of criminalizing marijuana, people of these races and ethnicities, could put these people in prison based off of one man’s racist ideas!

Since the 1930’s Marijuana laws have been left virtually unchanged on a federal level. Regardless of what laws that each individual state passes, marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 drug. While states like Colorado, Washington and Alaska have legalized marijuana for recreational use and many more states adopting medicinal marijuana, the federal government can send in the FBI, DEA and the ATF to arrest any one who sells, grows, buys or uses marijuana regardless of their states laws can be put in federal prison. The support for the legalization of marijuana on a federal level has never been as popular as it is today. With newfound medicinal uses for the drug and the success that legalization is having in recreational states people want legalization and they want it now. But because of big tobacco, alcohol and prison guard lobbyists, it is more profitable for congressmen and women to keep the drug illegal so that they can line their pockets with dirty political money.

Trump Supports OTC Birth Control

Donald Trump has finally said something that I agree with. He thinks that over the counter birth control should be legal and available. Finally. A republican making sense on this issue. When we look at the issue without religion corrupting our brains, we see that child birth is a huge problem and it needs to be solved. The only way to solve it is to make sure every girl is on birth control. It’s so hard to get on birth control for females these days, it’s no wonder why people are having kids so young.

Let’s be real. People don’t like using condoms. It’s pretty evident that that is the case. The only option left is female birth control. I mean, it’s not the ONLY option, but people don’t usually use anything but those 2 methods. The chart that I’ve included states the effectiveness of all types of birth control. Obviously oral contraceptives are the most effective, so why doesn’t everyone just use them? It really makes me wonder about the logic of the American people. We have the ability to make birth control readily available and save people’s lives, so why don’t we just do that? People are stubborn, that’s why.

If I was a girl and I was sexually active, I would be on the pill immediately. I don’t want to get pregnant. Sometimes I really wish there was a male birth control that wasn’t a piece of rubber. It would be really helpful and I would never have to worry about having a kid. My biggest fear is having a child too young. I don’t want to have to support another human being. I can hardly support myself with the help of my parents, how on earth would I be a father? These are questions that religions are stubborn about. Why is religion holding back innovation. We can all live hand and hand. We can live together using logic.

Trump actually made me happy for once in my life. He made a huge step that I hope rubs off on many other republicans. This stuff needs to be over the counter so we can prevent teenage pregnancy and overpopulation. If we don’t act now, young lives will be essentially ruined. Let’s follow Mr. Trump in this matter. Let’s make birth control readily available in grocery stores and pharmacies. For the good of our youth. For the good of our country.

Sources: https://www.cyclebeads.com/blog/673/birth-control-effectiveness_how-risky-is-your-birth-control

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/15/trump-supports-birth-control-without-prescription.html

Jensen Harris

Brand vs. Generic Pharmaceuticals

In class last week we discussed brand and generic prescription medications and the pharmaceutical industry in general, and how they profit from our health. Since I’m in close contact with prescriptions every day and (unfortunately) deal with insurance companies just as often, there are a few things I found interesting as we spoke about the pharmaceutical company in class.

One day at work I was changing a prescription to brand name Lipitor rather than its generic equivalent atorvastatin, and when I brought it to my pharmacist to verify, he told me that Pfizer, the drug manufacturer of Lipitor, also makes the generic equivalent atorvastatin. This isn’t constant with all drugs and manufacturers or even in all pharmacies, but at my store, we get the brand and generic from the same drug manufacturer, meaning that they are made on the same line out of the same inactive ingredients.

There has also been a lot of discussion about the massive price increase of the EpiPen. Interestingly enough, there are a few alternatives, but they are not considered bioequivalent by the FDA, making it so pharmacies can not substitute the generic or alternative epinephrine auto-injectors for the brand name EpiPen. Essentially, if your doctor writes for EpiPen, we have to fill EpiPen at the pharmacy, and in order to change it to an alternative, we have to get a whole new prescription from the doctor. I do not understand why pharmaceutical companies choose to monopolize life-saving drugs like epinephrine. With auto-injectable epinephrine, the drug itself is very cheap, and the differences between the brands are in the injector itself. This makes switching between brands confusing for patients who have been using the same type of auto-injector for years. With such an important, life-saving medication, it is significant that you understand how to use which one you receive.

Lastly, something that I found interesting about brand versus generic medications was the price fluctuation immediately after releasing a new generic. Take Crestor (rosuvastatin) for example. Just a couple months ago, AstraZenica’s, the manufacturer of brand-name Crestor, patent ran up and other drug companies began making their own bioequivalent versions. When you hear brand versus generic, you assume the generic will end up cheaper, right? Well, sometimes drug manufacturers will do all that they can to keep consumers from using their product rather than the new approved generic. Crestor has several coupon cards for free trials and co-pay savings. A lot of patients at my pharmacy who had been paying approximately $10-$20 for brand name Crestor were suddenly expected to pay almost $300 for the generic. (At pharmacies, we are legally required to dispense the equivalent available generic unless the doctor or patient requests otherwise.)

All in all, it is ridiculous that the pharmaceutical companies are competing with one another to get their product used, all while causing the population to suffer. With something as important as healthcare, you would expect that your best interests would be looked out for, but as we are learning in class, unfortunately that is rarely the case anymore.

http://acaai.org/resources/connect/letters-editor/letters-to-web-editor-6

http://www.pharmacytimes.com/p2p/p2pepinephrine-0910

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm498373.htm

What’s the Deal with Low-Fat Diets?

Have you ever thought about starting a diet? Do you ever find yourself blankly staring at some kind of nutritional infomercial at 7:00 am and thinking ‘Man, I should try that diet.’ The problem is, so many of today’s diets revolve around “low fat or no fat” eating routines. Because fat is a main source of flavor to many kinds of natural foods, non-fat diets can seem bland and boring to most people. When a significant decrease in the amount of fat consumed is in effect, people tend to replace that fat with other substances such as sugars and oils to help replace the flavor lost from the fat. This change promotes weight gain and other health issues which basically defeat the diet’s purpose.

Because low or no-fat diets discourage the consumption of naturally occurring fats (which are in most cases very nutritional), carbohydrates have become the alternate source of energy. However, the human liver, when presented with an excess of carbs and a lack of fat, will attempt to transform those carbs into usable fat. This in turn promotes an increase in triglycerides which are known to cause cardiovascular problems as well as type II diabetes. Since fats occur naturally alongside many kinds of proteins, eliminating fatty foods from your diet can make you feel hungrier because you no longer ingest as much protein to keep you feeling full throughout the day. When a person is hungry, they eat more, and when they eat more, they promote weight gain (especially if they are eating foods high in carbohydrates).

The communication between those who develop diets, doctors, and those who use the diet need to be in alignment in order for the best results to be achieved. Perhaps if those who created the diets based around eliminating fats researched the harmful effects brought on by that kind of change, they would begin to modify eating plans to include healthier fats (like mono-saturated fats that lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol).

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-ways-the-low-fat-diet-destroys-your-health/

Peculiar Effects

By: Allison Johnson

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I don’t know what your favorite part about a direct to consume advertisement for prescription drugs is, however mine has always been the way they end. There is a voice that comes from someone I can only imagine to have a world record for lung capacity. With one deep inhalation the race is off to see how fast they can half heartedly annunciate all of the required side effects of said drug being advertised. I’ve always enjoyed catching a few effects and comparing them to the actual issue the drugs is supposed to be “fixing”.

A few of my utmost favorite side effects are amnesia, anal seepage and of course death.

Amnesia.  A silly side effect to me. It is most commonly found in drugs dealing with cholesterol, hypertension, antianxiety, antidepressants and sleeping issues (Ericson). Sleeping aids seem not too far fetched to forget a thing or two, but it sounds a bit goofy how taking medication to regular your cholesterol or blood pressure can effect your memory.

Anal leakage. Anytime I hear this one I pretty much loss it. Most common drugs that cause anal leakage are statins, for yet again cholesterol control. Atorvastatin, a generic form of the well known Lipitor, is an example of the type of drugs to cause this effect. It seems like a high price to pay, when like discussed in class, cholesterol medications have a marginal degree of significance in therapeutic treatment when compared to diet and exercise.

Death. A very steep price to pay for trying to remedy or mitigate a health issue. Drugs can cause fatal heart attacks or strokes, as in the case of Avandia and Actos (Drug). These medications are for patients who suffer from type two diabetes. Another common fatal side effect is suicidal thoughts leading to death, which are almost always the warning after an uplifting commercial about the next new and improved antidepressant. An uncommon drug Accutane, a once leading acne medication (that was pulled of the market in 2009), also had the harsh side effect of suicidal thoughts and tendencies (Drug).

It is always wise to speak with your physician about not only the remarkable benefits of a new drug, but also to have an in-depth conversation about the side effects, your risks and if it’s work it.

Ericson, john. http://www.medicaldaily.com/5-common-prescription-drugs-may-cause-memory-loss-examples-and-alternatives-251443

Atorvastatin: http://www.medicalook.com/reviews/Atorvastatin.html

Drugs. https://www.drugwatch.com/side-effects/

Image: https://elysianhunter.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/side-effects-may-include-death-but-at-least-im-enjoying-the-ride/

Got Milk?

As we saw and discussed in class, we know that there is a lot of shady stuff going on in the dairy industry that they do not want us to know about including a  link to a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases/cancer.  But if we know, or at least some of us know,  why do we still drink and consume dairy products?  We are the only species that consumes milk past infancy/juvenility.  Why is it that humans consider it such a necessity to grow strong and healthy bones?  Why are cheeses and other dairy products such a huge part of our culture?

Here is a video I saw on Facebook a few months ago that I thought was pretty interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRCj8LVTRyA

Some people say that the milk of cows (generally what most people consume) is basically baby cow growth formula and it is what a baby cow only consumes in order to become, rather rapidly, the huge animal they become.  So why is it, in a society where obesity and its effect, can be  considered an epidemic, still is such a staple in our diet?

A lot of people think that dairy provides us the calcium we need in order to be healthy and grow strong and healthy bones but studies have shown there is really no correlation between milk drinkers and nonmilk drinkers and strength of  bones.  Even so, there are so many other foods that put you at a much smaller risk for disease than milk as discussed in the video.

And do not get me wrong, I love ice cream, mac and cheese, milk chocolate, and all of that other super healthy stuff, but it might be something to think about the next time you sit down with a glass of milk for dinner.

Victoria Obermeyer

Women Need Information on Family Planning in Developing Countries

 

Setting into context, this article is a story about a woman who visited a hospital in a undeveloped country. “Last month, Stembile Mugore, visited a hospital in Togo, where she met a 24-year-old woman who had just given birth to her fifth child”. She had then learned that the mother’s labor had been difficult and she did not want to become pregnant again in the near future and did not have any idea of how to prevent it. This woman of now five children had never heard of the term, “family planning”. Family planning, is the practice of controlling the number of children in a family and the intervals between their births, particularly by means of artificial contraception of voluntary sterilization.

This woman is not the only woman who does not know about family planning and the options behind it. There are 867 million women living in the developing countries who want to avoid becoming pregnant and 222 million of them have unmet their contraceptive needs. As most of us know, supply chains do not extend to the remote rural areas in these developing countries. It is sad to know here in America, woman have so many choices to help them prevent pregnancies, have the aid to help them go to doctors when they need more information about their bodies. IntraHealth International is an organization that is trying to spread the word of “family planning” to these women in need. Along with the misinformation on what the definition is, on how to use contraception and the lack of having this information is all put to rest in countries that are touched by this organization.

The number one contraception that is being used in third world countries is, what we call in the United States “the shot” but the technical term is the dose of Depo-Provera shot. It is currently being used in 11 countries, and its considered the biggest game changer in developing countries. With this movement woman are understanding that they can prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Family planning is something that needs to be more of a movement in developing countries and they are doing ground breaking work.

“Woman should know that family planning is an human rights issue and we need to have the movement be bigger to bring governments together, bring partners together to raise the issues to the families that are not getting their needs met… How many women that have unlanned pregnancy will die because of that? There should be a movement all over the world”. I found this quote at the end of the source where I found this article. I wish more organization spent the time, money and effort to inform a woman of what she has as options to prevent unplanned pregnancies and to be informed on how to plan a family the safe way.

Sources:

http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/09/26/why-222-million-women-cant-get-the-birth-control-they-need

http://www.who.int/topics/family_planning/en/