Category Archives: Drugs

Dissappointment In A Bottle

Gotcha!

Dear Reader:

I have caught a cold. A doozy of a cold. My nose is dripping. My throat feels scorched and swollen. My head is heavy, like you could throw it down a bowling lane and knock down ten pins without even trying.

I suppose I should be grateful I made it all the way through the holiday season without getting sick. Instead, I am able to send the Teen off to school for the day while I spend seven quiet, solitary hours tucked into bed–sleeping, watching Sex and the City DVDs, sleeping, drinking mugs of herbal tea, reading, and, did I mention, sleeping? The sleeping part would have been easier ten years ago, back in the good old days when we still had what I call the Magic Nite-Time Cold Potion.

Like all magic potions, the Magic Nite-Time Cold Potion was foul on the tongue. Syrupy and black with a super-concentrated flavor of licorice, this stuff tasted like the Witches of Eastwick brewed it up in their Crock-Pot slow cookers and passed it through rotting compost before bottling; however, to the sufferer of the common cold or not-so-common flu, this stuff was liquid salvation. Two tablespoons of the potion and boom! You were out cold for the night.

A few years ago, the Magic Potion lost its magic. The mighty hand of government had reached down and snatched it away, i.e. passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. Seems that the Magic Potion contained a vital ingredient used to make a nasty illicit drug. Skanky drug producers were setting up labs in their kitchens and using these over-the-counter medications as primary ingredients for production of crystal meth. In order to curtail production, the government decided to cut off the supply of pseudoephedrine that the users (losers) had been purchasing over-the-counter down at the local drug store. Good-bye nasal decongestant.

Hello sleepless nights for the rest of us.

When my cold hit two days ago, I stumbled to the bathroom linen closet and found the new formula on my top shelf. The pain reliever worked, but my nose remained clogged and runny. I got maybe two hours of solid sleep. Alas, the Magic potion was no longer magic. It was simply Disappointment In A Bottle.

So, thank you all you meth addicts and producers out there with your miserable, stinky “labs” and teeth falling out and shakes and shivers and dirty needles. Do not expect pity from me when I am miserable with a nasty cold. And thank you, Big Government, for making each and every cold since 2005 one-hundred percent more miserable than it needed to be. Thank you very, very much.

As for natural, local remedies, I have been drinking a tea called Respiratory Tonic from a local herbalist– Greenwood Herbals in Parsonsfield. It doesn’t knock me out, of course, but sipping the tonic seems to relieve chest congestion and it opens the nasal passages a bit. The flavor is sweet, not nasty like the Magic Potion, and I can sleep a little easier knowing the ingredients are organically and locally grown.

Drinking hot liquids makes sense when you have a winter cold. Homemade chicken soup with lots of garlic thrown can’t hurt, either. Here is the soup I threw together last night:

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme Chicken Soup

1 chicken carcass with most meat pulled from it and meat set aside
3 carrots
2 celery stalks
Two onions
Garlic cloves, to taste
chicken bouillon cubes to taste
pepper (about 1/8 tsp)
(sea vegetable flakes optional)
dried parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (1 tsp each or so
1 cup or so of dried pasta

Put chicken carcass in big pot and cover with water. Add 1 cut up carrot, 1 quartered onion, and 1 cut up celery stalk into pot. Bring to boil. Boil for one hour. Strain out broth.

Add chicken meat, bouillon cubes, sliced carrots, sliced celery, chopped onion and remaining ingredients except pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Add pasta. Boil until al dente, about 12 minutes. Eat steaming hot.

Be well . . . Outside the Box.

PS: In researching this post, I came across the surprising and welcome information that my Magic Nite-Time Cold Potion is now available BEHIND the pharmaceutical counter. Next time Mr. Upper Respiratory Infection comes to call, I will make a trip to see the man behind the curtain, uh, RX counter. Coin will pass palm. The Magic will be back!

Getting Hip to Hemp

Grass/Jeans

Note: The first Levi’s jeans were made with hemp cloth.

Dear Reader:

Industrial hemp is not a drug.

Just wanted to clear that up right away. While I am not in the least interested in growing, selling, or smoking marijuana, I am interested in the industrial production of Cannibis sativa for clothing, yarn, paper, rope, and the myriad other uses of this ancient plant. Sometime or other I was told that hemp was an environmentally-friendly, versatile plant that had been grown since earliest times throughout the world.

In fact, rumor has it that hemp was grown right here in the good ole U.S.A. from Colonial times through the 20th century. Really? And the founding fathers weren’t all raging drug addicts? Could this be true?

Over the years I’ve done a bit of desultory researching online for my own curiosity, and I have some nagging questions regarding industrial hemp and the politics surrounding it.

Do hemp activists have ulterior motives for wanting to legalize hemp agriculture? (Do they all just want to grow their own weed?)

Why was hemp criminalized to begin with? (Was there some sort of political-industrial collusion involved?)

Would industrial hemp be a profitable agricultural endeavor? Would the average American even be interested in purchasing hemp products? (Or is hemp the exclusive domain of “greenies” and “hippies” and certain television and film personalities with a environmental bug up their you-know-whats?)

Should the federal government continue to prohibit the growing and selling of industrial hemp or should it be left up to the individual states to decide? (And how’s that drug “war” going, anyway?)

Stick with me people. We’re goin’ to get hip to hemp.

Here are some facts taken from a USDA document (that would be the United States Department of Agriculture)regarding industrial hemp. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ages001e/ages001ec.pdf

1. In 1645, the PURITANS brought hemp with them to the New World to use as a spinning fiber.

2. The hemp industry flourished in Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois up until 1860, when cotton became more prominent.

3. In 1937 Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which put the production of hemp under government regulation.

4. During WWII the GOVERNMENT instituted an emergency program to produce hemp; after the war, legal restrictions were again imposed.

According to various pro-industrial hemp websites, hemp has been used to make paper for thousands of years. The Gutenberg Bible, the Magna Carta, and drafts of the Declaration of Independence were all written on hemp paper. Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. (from azhemp.org)

Industrial hemp can be used to make acid-free paper, rope, cloth, oil, plastics, composites,soaps, cosmetics and bio-fuel. The seeds can be eaten and are protein-rich. With so many products that can be made from one plant, does it really make sense to prohibit that plant in the United States?

There is also some suspicion that the prohibition of hemp was encouraged by big industries (chemical companies) whose products are needed to break down wood fiber for making paper pulp.

Hemp does not require chemicals to break the fibers for paper.

However, according to a Wikipedia entry, processing hemp into paper is a relatively expensive process, so perhaps, paper made from hemp isn’t exactly what the “legalize hemp” proponents make it out to be. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp)

I suspect many of the “pro-hemp” crowd are motivated by less industrial and more, shall we say, recreational reasons, but it seems pretty irrational to me to prohibit a useful commodity simply because some people like to use its more nefarious cousin for mind-altering or medicinal purposes.

Whether or not growing industrial hemp could or would be a viable business endeavor, there is a bigger question we need to ask ourselves. Do we need the federal government to regulate our industries? Or should this be left to the individual states? Has criminalizing cannibis stopped or even slowed the growth, sale, and usage of drugs?

The Global Commission on Drug Policy says, “No!” Their recent report claims that the war on drugs has failed and urges that countries consider legalizing marijuana and other controlled substances. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/02/war-on-drugs-not-working

Congressman and presidential hopeful, Ron Paul, writes in his book, LIBERTY DEFINED, that the Constitution limits the powers of the federal government, that state laws should determine issues like prohibition of substances, and points out that prohibition usually does nothing but encourage a black market and underground economy for the production, sale, and distribution of the substance in question.

In other words, every dollar spent “fighting the war on drugs” is a dollar wasted.

When it comes to the question of industrial hemp, not only are we losing a potential valuable commodity that could be used to create jobs, but we are also throwing our money away trying to legislate and police morality.

The United States is the biggest importer of industrial hemp in the world. China is the world’s biggest exporter.

Go figure.

Isn’t it time we started producing for ourselves again? Leading the world in production rather than consumption? I encourage you to research this issue for yourself . . . thinking a little bit Outside the Box.