Kratom, the Herb of Last Resort for Recovering Addicts, Is in Legal Trouble

Three times a day, every day, for around a year, Tim Weaver would slide a tablespoon of kratom into his mouth. He’d let the bitter, grassy flavor of the powder seep into his tongue, gulp a glass of water to swallow it, then gulp more to wash the fine particles from between his teeth. Within an hour, the panicky feelings and achiness that accompanied Weaver’s opiate withdrawal would recede. “I was able live again and not just feel like I wanted to crumple up in a ball,” Weaver said. And as time went on, he relied less and less on the plant until he didn’t need to use kratom at all.

Source: Kratom, the Herb of Last Resort for Recovering Addicts, Is in Legal Trouble

According to an importer, climate and soil in the US are not ideal for cultivating mitragynine speciosa at scale.  But a greenhouse should work.

How Your Food Choices Are Influenced by Outside Factors

Following a healthy diet can be hard. From deciding when and what to eat to how much food you actually put on your plate, the average person makes over 200 food-related decisions each day, most of which are automatic. These automatic choices – dubbed “mindless eating” by some experts – happen when we eat and drink without consciously considering what kind of or how much food to consume. We’ll keep eating from a bowl of chips past the point of fullness simply because they’re in front of us.

Source: Hungry? Food choices are often influenced by forces out of your control

One thing something we need to stress on is that the companies that makes junk food and fast food, their main concern is to market their products and less care about your health being.

At the end of the day, they need to make a profit and sales and so they spent a huge amount of money on marketing and advertisement. It is very hard for an average person who cannot resists the junk/fast food when they are cheaper, readily available and the ads are attractive.

I see it is our own individual responsibility to make sure that what I am putting in my mouth is not junk.

Liver hormone may be the off-switch for sweet-tooth, cocktail cravings

Gimmicky diets, flavor fakery, and sham sweets all try to bamboozle the brain out of wanting sugary treats and calorie-packed happy hour drinks. But scientists may have found an all-natural way to simply switch off those corrupting cravings.

Source: Liver hormone may be the off-switch for sweet-tooth, cocktail cravings

I am always nervous about hormone treatments, as we usually do not know all the side effects of the hormone treatments, as the body is a series of complex chemical interactions driven in part by hormones.  I am even more nervous about chemical treatments than hormone treatments, as they are not usually natural to the body and can throw things out of whack leaving the body no natural way to overcome the chemical imbalance.  So I am cautiously optimistic that this is a better treatment path than existing medicines, as the hormone occurs naturally in the body, appears to be directly involved in doing what they want it to do already, and hopefully the body has some built in methods to handle additional amounts of the hormone with fewer serious side effects.

Scientists May Have Found Formula For a Painless Existence

Physical pain is a near universal problem, whether its sudden pangs or chronic aches. Yet, researchers’ efforts to quash it completely have fallen short—possibly due to a moonlighting channel in nerve cells. But that may be about to change.

Source: Scientists may have found formula for a painless existence

Congenital analgesia was the affliction of a character in the Millennium series by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. Now I see that the wiki page has been updated with a reference to this study with the woman…

General pain reduction medicines that are not targeted all the time. If you are getting blasted with opioids, you are aiming your guns at the entire body. Opioids, while pretty good at pain reduction, have a lot of negative side effects, not the least of which is just boring old addiction.

Additionally, if you are busy dying of cancer, it probably isn’t all that dangerous, relatively speaking. If hospice care, if you could kill the pain without giving someone mind ruining levels of pain killers, you have done a very good thing. A lot of times to relieve the pain of someone who is dying, you basically have to dump them into a drug induced haze. That is all well and good until that person wants to speak to family. Being able to just turn off the pain without rendering someone incoherent would be a massive boon.

It could also be useful for people who are not dying, but are in agonizing pain. Again, some pain requires basically drugging someone stupid. Sure, there are dangers, but you can live with those. The risk of accidentally harming yourself and not knowing is a lot more appealing than being bed ridden in withering agony in some cases. Finally, if the control is analog, you might be able to dial back pain without turning it off. Imagine if you could dull the pain to level someone will still detect catastrophic damage (I put my hand on a hot stove), but it dulls out lower level chronic pain.

This is a really kick ass and revolutionary break through if it pans out. Near total control over pain using a drug that is almost certainly less harmful than opioids? Yes please! I really hope this turns out to be as good as it looks. If nothing else, it might go a long way to reducing the opiate addictions that our current pain management regimes have a nasty habit of producing.

A New Drug Erases Memories to Treat Addiction

Methamphetamine is one of the nastiest drug addictions to overcome, in part because memories of the high are so powerful. But what if scientists could erase those drug-infused recollections? Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida have developed a drug that’s able to do just that in mice.

Source: A New Drug Erases Memories to Treat Addiction

We already have a general memory erasing drug – it’s called U0126. U0126 inhibits a kinase called MEK1 that doesn’t critically kill any one pathway when you inhibit it, but instead it ‘nudges’ half of the functions in the cell. Signaling through MEK1 is like the biochemical equivalent of Kevin Bacon; every single process has at most a degree or two of separation from it. One of the many processes altered by inhibiting it is memory reconsolidation. So give someone the drug, have them recall a memory strongly (this is why fear-inducing memories work well) and it’s like you sent the memory on snapchat.

Applications of either drug remind me of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Project Semicolon: Tattoos Offer Sense Of Unity And Hope To Those Affected By Mental Health Problems

Semicolon tattoos are becoming increasingly popular – and while you might initially think it’s some kind of “hipster” fashion statement, in reality it’s something far more important.

A growing number of people are inking the punctuation mark onto their skin as a message of hope and a way of conveying the mental health struggles that they are trying to overcome.

Source: Project Semicolon: Tattoos Offer Sense Of Unity And Hope To Those Affected By Mental Health Problems

  1. Do not assume you know what someone’s tattoo means.
  2. I support the encouragement for discussion surrounding mental health, especially with respect to stigma

What It’s Like to Quit Drugs By Blocking the Highs

If you could take the high out of drugs, what would be the point in taking them? Sujata Gupta meets the unorthodox doctor who thinks he can block some of the world’s most addictive pills.

Source: What It’s Like to Quit Drugs By Blocking the Highs

People rarely get addicted to these things because they want to get high – they get addicted because it’s the only thing that allows them to cope with their issues. Removing the reward certainly allows them to come off the meds but you need to be sure that the illness can be dealt with without those meds.

How to Talk to People Who Make Bad Health Decisions

It’s frustrating when your friend—or, worse, a stranger on the internet—is making ill-advised health decision. Maybe they smoke, or eat terribly, or buy everything Dr. Oz endorses. Maybe they refuse to vaccinate their kids. Here’s how to get through to them.

Source: How to Talk to People Who Make Bad Health Decisions

Odds are incredibly good that the person is not going to listen to shaming or holier-than-thou rhetoric. If the person really wants to listen to what you have to say, it’s much more welcoming when you can say “yeah, I used to smoke/drink/eat too much and it was REALLY hard to change”. And then let them ask you how you manage.

How Research Scientists Get Free Illegal Drugs from the Government

On an obscure webpage that looks like it’s been barely updated in the last decade there’s a link to download a PDF with the unassuming name of “NDSP Catalog.” Click it and you’ll find pretty much every drug you can dream up: meth, cocaine, heroin, MDMA—nearly 800 compounds in all. Welcome to the scientist’s stash of illegal drugs, available for free from the government.

The catalog, aka NIDA Drug Supply Program, provides scientists with scheduled substances for human and animal research. If you’ve ever seen a subway ad recruiting for marijuana research or a news coverage of how cocaine addles the brains of mice, then you’ve likely indirectly encountered the NDSP.

Source: How Research Scientists Get Free Illegal Drugs from the Government

The article only touches on quality and consistency that is necessary for research grade, but it’s also necessary for addiction treatment and withdrawal symptoms.

Therapists Use Cooking to Treat Depression, Anxiety and Other Psychological Problems

Many cooks know what a sanctuary the kitchen can be.

Now, some health-care clinics and counselors are using cooking or baking as therapy tools for people suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental-health problems.

…Psychologists say cooking and baking are pursuits that fit a type of therapy known as behavioral activation. The goal is to alleviate depression by boosting positive activity, increasing goal-oriented behavior and curbing procrastination and passivity.

Source: A Road to Mental Health Through the Kitchen

Healthy cooking and eating in groups in encouraged because being around others can boost social skills and confidence.  The healthy aspect should be highlighted more – omega-3 foods are known for improving mood.

I found yoga to be very similar.  Both provide a means of focus and parameters, but with the ability to experiment.  The article does touch on weight gain – never trust a skinny cook 😉  I bring my stuff to work and see what or if co-workers have any feedback as some are foodies.

For some doing large volume, this time of year is great for selling food at craft fairs.  Had an interesting conversation with a co-worker who sells at craft fairs and what they’ve picked up for how to promote and present product.  Out of season, volunteering for a soup kitchen might be an idea.