This winter as a family we have managed to stave off most colds. No-one has had the flu and sore throats and chesty coughs have been minimal.
We make and consume Elderberry syrup regularly. It is well known for its support to the immune system, being antiviral, rich in vitamin C and ideal for colds and inflenza, and also useful in rheumatism.
Today is Imbolc a tradition Gaelic festival marking the begining of spring. We woke up this morning to a fresh covering of snow.
Winter hasnt finished with us yet so it seems…
To mark the day and make use of stored frozen berries, here is a method to make an Immune boosting syrup.
Traditionally Elderberry Rob, is made using only elderberries, and maybe some spice ie cinnamon. But, today we are using a combination of our foraged berries that were frozen; elderberry, hawthorn berry, blackberry, rosehips and some…
It seems everywhere we look on the internet at the moment Usnea Lichen and its medicinal value keeps popping up. Weve always loved the lichens, such beautiful, enchanting and magical genus. Looking completely different in colour or texture when dry or wet. Dripping from branches or encrusted on trunks, they are a challenge to identify. The lichen species is an amazing combination of a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae!! How cool is that. The fungus part gives structure to the algae, which in turn provides food through photosynthesis. Were in love already.
There are a huge number of species in the Usnea genus, and many have medicinal value. They can be found growing in unpolluted areas, and can be found mainly on trees such as conifer, apple and birch although the ones we found came off a very old oak tree. The scarcety of this species is an indicator…
In a meeting of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy this morning on the proposed ban on kratom, the Board decided to defer any action until additional information is obtained on a number of key questions on the science relating to safety and addiction potential of the kratom plant versus adulterated kratom products. The next discussion on kratom is scheduled to take place in the March 2019 Board of Pharmacy meeting.
Our message that natural kratom is safe and has an addiction profile similar to caffeine is getting through, and our voices were clearly recognized at that meeting.
The Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy told the Board about the thousands of comments received during the comment period, and mentioned the more than 450 emails received yesterday, and acknowledged that many kratom consumers are deeply concerned about the proposed ban. While the Board of Pharmacy Staff itself appears supportive of a ban on kratom, the Board Members themselves remain unconvinced and there may be some reasonable restrictions that would be acceptable to the staff and the Board of Pharmacy to join us in our commitment to protect the public safety with a safe supply chain of kratom products.
The American Kratom Association will continue to work with our Ohio lobbyist and with Ohio officials to make certain there is a clear understanding of the science on kratom and its safe use. We are deeply appreciative of everyone who has helped us work with the Board of Pharmacy, and look forward to continuing those efforts.
Thanks to the US Farm Bill, which the House passed on Wednesday in a 369 to 47 vote, American farmers will be able to plant and harvest hemp, a strain of the same plant species from which marijuana originates. The bill passed the Senate Tuesday in an 87 to 13 vote, and President Donald Trump has indicated his support.
Hemp legalization has been a longtime goal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, who believes it can help replace tobacco as a key crop for his state’s farmers.
The move alters the language of a major drug law that had previously remained unchanged for half a century and loosely defined hemp alongside marijuana as a controlled substance. The new bill exempts hemp from that law and defines it as an agricultural product. That means farmers and researchers of hemp now get some of the same benefits as farmers and researchers of other crops, like the ability to apply for insurance and federal grants.
“The era of hemp prohibition is over,” Jonathan Miller, legal counsel for a lobbying coalition of over 60 hemp companies called the US Hemp Roundtable, told Business Insider.
That’s a key change for scientists, many of whom say previous drug laws deterred them from studying hemp because it was regulated like marijuana.
The bill may also boost interest in a nascent but booming $1 billion industry based on a component of the cannabis plant called CBD, which has been touted for a variety of health and wellness claims. CBD is popping up in more and more products, from coffee and tea to supplements and beer.
But because CBD can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp plants, its legal status, set by the Drug Enforcement Administration, remains somewhat hazy. CBD from marijuana, just like marijuana as a whole, remains illegal. But now that hemp is legal, CBD from hemp may be legal, too.
“The devil is in the details, and we don’t know yet how the DEA will act to implement the law,” Daniele Piomelli, the director of the University of California at Irvine Center for the Study of Cannabis and a professor of neuroscience and pharmacology, told Business Insider.
The DEA, which controls the scheduling of substances, has not said how it will respond to the new bill. As it stands, so long as a CBD product is “intended for human consumption,” it remains a Schedule 1 drug, DEA spokesperson Katherine Pfaff told Business Insider on Tuesday. She said she couldn’t comment on how the bill might affect the DEA’s approach.
The difference between hemp and marijuana comes down to one word: strain
Marijuana and hemp come from the same plant species, called cannabis sativa. Both contain THC and CBD. But each plant is its own unique strain of cannabis.
Until recently, hemp was bred almost entirely for industrial uses like manufacturing. As a result, hemp plants today have very low amounts of THC, the psychoactive chemical responsible for marijuana’s high. Instead, hemp plants are often higher in CBD, or cannabidiol, which is also found in marijuana. CBD is now thought to be responsible for several of cannabis’ therapeutic effects.
For example, marijuana-derived CBD is the active ingredient in Epidiolex, a syrup that is the first cannabis-based drug to gain US government approval for medical use. The government approved the drug over the summer. The drug treats two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
One thing that is clear from the new bill is that commerce involving hemp is now in the clear. Federally insured banks, for example, have the green light for the first time to work with industrial hemp producers.
From A to CBD: cannabis is showing up in everything
Because CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp plants, it is unclear whether or not hemp-derived CBD products are now legal. Previously, thousands of manufacturers and entrepreneurs glommed onto the CBD wellness trend with the awareness that CBD products existed in a legal gray zone.
Part of the reason for this was that there was no specific language in the DEA’s main drug law, called the Controlled Substances Act, that used the word “hemp.”
Thanks to that fuzziness, you could find everything from CBD lattes in New York to CBD teas at grocery stores across the country.
But now that hemp is legal, some experts expect the trend to really take off.
“The passing of the farm bill will most certainly open up the marketplace for hemp products, specifically hemp extracts that are high in CBD,” Josh Hendrix, the director of domestic product business development for cannabis company CV Sciences, told Business Insider.
“It will provide a higher comfort level for retailers and consumers and will lead to more investment and opportunity in the industry as it will continue to see rapid expansion.”
Still, other experts — particularly scientists — have expressed concern that while the bill itself is a step in the right direction, what remains to be seen is how the DEA will respond to it. Until the DEA decides to change the status of CBD, researchers can’t expect too many changes to their current work.
What CBD does — and may not do — for your health
It’s difficult to say what the real health benefits of CBD are right now. The drug does appear to have at least one well-vetted therapeutic benefit: staunching the symptoms of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy by way of the newly approved drug Epidiolex.
There’s another pressing issue facing the CBD industry, too: The products are poorly regulated, meaning there’s wide variation in their content, safety, and price.
For a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers tested 84 CBD products purchased from 31 different online retailers. Roughly seven out of 10 items had different levels of CBD than what was written on the label. Of all of the items tested, roughly half had more CBD than was indicated; a quarter had less. And 18 of the samples tested positive for THC, despite it not being listed on the label.
“I’ve seen a lot of dirty CBD manufacturing facilities,” Kelvin Harrylall, the CEO of a company called the CBD Palace that audits CBD companies and creates a list of vendors it deems safe for customers, told Business Insider in June.
“It’s tough to know what you’re getting.”
The farm bill itself won’t directly affect product safety. But experts believe that as these laws move toward legalization and an increased role for regulators, the companies that abide by strict manufacturing conditions will come out on top, while those who run fast and loose with rules will suffer.
“I believe if you are a CBD manufacturer and you can say that you’re making a quality product … then you have nothing to worry about,” Harrylall said. “But if you aren’t sure [or] if you’ve cut corners, those CBD manufacturers are the ones that should be worried.”
As I sat down to write this letter to you, we just finished the AKA Webinar on what needs to be done in the event that the DEA decides to designate kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance.
I can tell you, based on conversations with our legal, legislative, and science teams over the last two days, and the message was confirmed in the Webinar, what we really need to be doing is to ramp up our own efforts to prevent the DEA from scheduling kratom at all.
Because of your support, the AKA has been able to hire lobbyists in Florida, Kansas, West Virginia, New York, Ohio, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin to fight proposed bans on kratom – or work to rescind existing bans.
We have won the support of every leading scientist in America who understands the real story on kratom.
We have won every battle in the states that we have been forced to defend kratom in so far.
But the fight continues even today because the FDA is doing everything in their power to create a shadow ban on kratom.
So, I am writing again for your help.
I know we will have kratom ban proposals in even more states as state legislatures convene new sessions in January 2019.
We cannot afford to not be ready to fight everywhere we need to.
We are winning the battle on the science that proves the FDA has been outright lying about the safety and addiction profile on kratom.
But they have an army of bureaucrats who are sinking their tentacles into every State Health Agency and Board of Pharmacy to try to sneak under the radar.
I am ready to hire whatever lobbyists we need to keep winning, but I can only do that if you send a donation for as much as you can today!
And I need to authorize another round of research so that our science team can dig even deeper to show how wrong the FDA is on kratom.
I hate to do this when we ought to be in the Christmas spirit, but the FDA is not going to rest until they criminalize every one of us who uses kratom.
I want to hire a legal team to fight the FDA on the Import Alerts and the kratom seizures they are doing almost every day.
I need to hire more lobbyists in the next week to fight in new states where kratom is threatened.
Over 150 pages long, the annual report paints a grim picture of a nation overwhelmed by a tsunami of illicit fentanyl, heroin, prescription opioids, meth, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs that the DEA says are having “a devastating effect on our country.”
Conspicuously absent from the report is kratom, the herbal supplement that the FDA blames for dozens of fatal overdoses and the DEA once tried to list as a dangerous controlled substance — the same substance that Ohio health officials call a “psychoactive plant” that produces a “heroin-like high.” Ohio will soon join five other states in banning the sale and possession of kratom.
But there’s not a word about kratom in the National Drug Threat Assessment. There never has been.
“It is not surprising. Kratom is not the ‘dangerous opioid’ that the FDA has made it out to be,” says Jane Babin, PhD, a molecular biologist and consultant to the American Kratom Association, an organization of kratom vendors and consumers. “It does not kill throngs of people like heroin and synthetic opioids. Everything we know about kratom is that people use it to avoid much more dangerous prescription and illicit opioids.”
Kratom comes from the leaves of a tree that grows in southeast Asia, where it has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever and stimulant. In recent years, millions of Americans have discovered kratom and use it to self-treat their chronic pain, addiction, anxiety and depression.
As kratom has become more popular, the public health campaign against it has intensified. A small salmonella outbreak earlier this year in kratom products led to several recalls and stark warnings that “anyone consuming kratom may be placing themselves at a significant risk.”
Nearly 200 people were sickened in the outbreak, but no one died and the CDC never identified the source of the salmonella.
FDA commission Scott Gottlieb, MD, has taken to calling kratom an “opioid” (its active ingredients are alkaloids) and regularly tweets that consumers “should be aware of the mounting risks” of using the herb.
Yet there’s been no mention of kratom in the DEA’s annual assessment of drug risks in the United States.
““Every year that goes by in which alleged ‘kratom-associated deaths’ don’t even merit a mention by DEA in this report further drives home the relative safety of kratom,” says Babin. “The only thing peculiar is that FDA refuses to acknowledge these facts.”
The following excerpt has been taken directly from Dr. Henningfield et. al response to the FDA’s 8-Factor Analysis.
(Jack E. Henningfield, Ph.D)
1. FDA’s 8-Factor Analysis does not constitute a reliable and valid scheduling decision guiding document.2. FDA clearly did not involve NIDA or kratom science experts, as revealed by its major deficiencies.
3. The FDA analysis is incomplete, omitting key data sources routinely relied upon for identifying trends in abuse (e.g., the major federal surveys) and key scientific studies, AND is out-of-date as it does not refer to critical studies including those by NIDA (Yue et al., 2018) and Hemby et al., 2018.
4. The evidence is sufficient to conclude that placement of kratom in Schedule I or any other approach that would ban kratom, would lead many kratom consumers to seek black market kratom and some to relapse to opioids and thus pose a serious risk of death.
1. DEA should ask FDA to reexamine the abuse potential of kratom and potential alternative regulatory approaches to kratom with involvement of NIDA and kratom experts, and stakeholders that have additional data and will be affected, namely kratom vendors and kratom consumers. This should be done transparently and include public meetings.
2. Federal agencies should conduct a nationally representative survey to better understand how many people use kratom, use it in place of opioids and would be put at risk of relapse to opioids if kratom was banned, where they live geographically, and other information critical to understanding the nature and magnitude of a ban, as well as regulatory alternatives to a ban.
3. We recommend that FDA propose a regulatory framework that will ensure that safely manufactured kratom products remain continuously available to consumers in natural leaf forms and manufactured extractions that are widely used by consumers, with regulations to ensure quality and appropriate standards for contents, labeling, and marketing…
What Should You Do with this Knowledge?
Firstly, share it with your kratom friends and family!
Secondly, as Kratom Advocates (yes, that’s you!), preparing yourself with factual knowledge that’s in favor of kratom is the key to changing the minds of a nation. With each growing member of the kratom community that is educated and can cite a fact, our pro-kratom movement grows stronger.
Please take 15min to read the whole paper and prepare yourself for that critical moment where you’ll need to tell a friend, healthcare professional or legislator a fact about kratom from this paper, for example:
“reports of adverse effects and effects in which people sought medical attention are apparently rare as evidenced by emergency room reports, poison control center data, surveys (e.g., Grundman et al., 2017; Garcia et al., 2018; Henningfield et al., 2018),”