It’s about being balanced and informed — exploring the upsides and downsides to cannabis.
We’ve reported many times on the benefits of cannabis and its potential in medical applications, but what about the other side of the coin? Is it fair to say that cannabis carries no risks? When treating people and seeing positive benefits, what negative effects might also arise?
Marijuana has been the subject of intense debate over these last few years. Now legal in multiple states in the U.S. and authorized for medicinal purposes in even more, an increasing number of people are recognizing how arbitrary the line is between legal substances, like alcohol and cigarettes, and illegal ones, like pot — particularly since both alcohol and cigarettes have been shown to be extremely detrimental to the human body, while marijuana has not.
But what’s the reason for that? Obtaining marijuana to study has proven to be incredibly difficult for many researchers and therefore getting study results has been tough.
So given that this natural substance is being used incredibly regularly, and yet doesn’t have a full scope of research behind it, we wanted to balance the scales and bring awareness to the fact that we should really think twice before using this substance daily for long periods of time, particularly under the misconception that it’s completely safe. The exception here would be if you have been prescribed it for a medical issue, but it’s still good to be aware of the risks.
This article came in response to a recent article that pointed out the many benefits of smoking cannabis without mentioning the risks involved. We feel any research that takes this approach is simply not beneficial to public awareness.
To be clear, we’re not saying this plant should be illegal. It’s a plant, but we don’t know as much about its safety in daily and long term use as we’d like.
We Can’t Blindly View It as Safe
The massive support for the legalization of marijuana does have its drawbacks, as it leads people to believe that smoking marijuana is completely harmless, and even good for you. While it can be quite therapeutic for dulling pain or alleviating anxiety, so can alcohol and even prescription drugs. It seems like people are willing to see the downsides of those substances, but not do the same for cannabis.
In reality, research shows that smoking cannabis on a regular basis may still be hazardous. Many forget that the plant’s medicinal benefits are most readily accessed when it is ingested, not smoked.
It is admittedly encouraging to see all of the support for the legalization of marijuana, and all of the evidence emerging that smoking it is not as harmful as it was originally said to be. Marijuana legalization threatens many industries, so perhaps this is why it has taken so long to get the ball rolling.
That being said, more of a balance is needed: With so much support out there for marijuana, many people, especially young people, think there are no health consequences involved with smoking it. This is why we’ve decided to put together a list of seven reasons why you should really consider not smoking marijuana on a regular basis.
We are very well aware of the other side of cannabis (articles). For example, we recently published an article showing how cannabis helped cure a girl from cancer. She is one of many examples of people who have benefited immensely from cannabis, and it’s important to raise awareness about how paediatric cannabis is saving lives. You can read that article here.
We have also published a number of articles on why marijuana should be legal, as well as reported on the dozens of health benefits it boasts, from helping people with pain and epilepsy to replacing prescription drugs and more.
A number of studies have been published that show cannabis completely annihilates cancer. We are talking about decades of research (a simple Google search for scholarly articles on cannabis and cancer will show you this). Despite this fact, no human clinical trials have been conducted. Here is an article of a molecular biologist explaining how THC kills cancer.
It’s also important to mention that we are not against smoking weed, but based on the science, wish to convey that smoking weed regularly on a daily basis for a period that lasts more than a year could be harmful to your health.
“Really, the way to do these things, is to do them rarely so that your whole system can reassert itself and come to equilibrium. . . I think the real way to do cannabis is like, once a week. . . . “
— Terrence McKenna (source)
1. Most of the Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana Come From Different Methods of Ingestion, Not Smoking
Cannabinoids are any group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors that already exist in our body, and our bodies themselves actually produce compounds called endocannabinoids. These play a vital role in the human body, helping to create a healthy environment. Cannabinoids themselves also play an important role in immune system regeneration. Studies have shown that multiple constituents of cannabis can kill cancer cells, repair damaged brain cells, and more. The medical potential of this plant is truly miraculous, and it’s a shame that, despite decades of research showing undeniable results, like its ability to completely annihilate cancer, human clinical trials are only n0w commencing, and only in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs.
It’s important to know that, contrary to popular belief, smoking cannabis does not assist a great deal in treating disease within the body, as therapeutic levels cannot be reached through smoking. Creating oil from the plant or eating the plant is the best way to absorb cannabinoids. Smoking also alters the plant molecules; when cannabis is heated and burned it changes the chemical structure and acidity of the THC, which in turn negates its therapeutic value. The smoke from marijuana is toxic to the body, just as the smoke from any other substance would be. (I will discuss this further on in the article.) Furthermore, anytime you burn something and inhale it, you create oxidation within the body, which is unhealthy and can lead to many issues.
None of the health benefits of marijuana come from smoking it. When one says “cannabis cures cancer,” that doesn’t mean smoking it.
2. Heavy Marijuana Use Is Linked to Lower Dopamine Levels in the Brain
Researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University have found that heavy smokers of marijuana could have a compromised dopamine system. When studying heavy smokers, they discovered lower dopamine release in one region of the brain, the striatum, which is the part of the brain that’s involved in working memory, impulsive behaviour, and attention. Several other studies have shown that addiction to other drugs can have similar effects on dopamine release, but this is the first evidence of its kind linking it to smoking cannabis.
The study examined 11 adults between the ages of 21 and 40 who were heavily dependent on cannabis against 12 healthy control subjects. 16 was the average age these individuals started smoking, and they had not stopped since.
Their press release outlines how the study was conducted, and the methods used:
Using positron emission tomography (PET) to track a radiolabelled molecule that binds to dopamine receptors in the brain, the scientists measured dopamine release in the striatum and its subregions, as well as in several brain regions outside the striatum, including the thalamus, midbrain, and globus pallidus. The cannabis users in this study stayed in the hospital for a week of abstinence to ensure that the PET scans were not measuring the acute effects of the drug. Participants were scanned before and after being given oral amphetamine to elicit dopamine release. The percent change in the binding of the radiotracer was taken as an indicator of capacity for dopamine release.
Compared with the controls, the cannabis users had significantly lower dopamine release in the striatum, including subregions involved in associative and sensorimotor learning, and in the globus pallidus. (source)(source)
Anissa Abi-Dargham, MD, a professor of psychiatry (in radiology) at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and a lead author of the paper, said that “the bottom line is that long-term, heavy cannabis use may impair the dopaminergic system, which could have a variety of negative effects on learning and behaviour.” She also went on to emphasize that “these findings add to the growing body of research demonstrating the potentially adverse effects of cannabis, particularly in youth, at the same time that government policies and laws are increasing access and use.”
Here is another study that was done two years ago that examines the same thing.
While correlation doesn’t always mean causation, it doesn’t mean we should disclude a possible connection. You have to make your own judgements, use the Bradford Hill Criteria, and look at a number of different studies from both sides.
Based on everything I’ve looked at, in my opinion, marijuana smoking does have some sort of effect on the brain in multiple ways, differing from person to person. Whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ I’m not sure.
3. Smoking Marijuana Linked to Schizophrenia, But It’s Complicated
A number of studies have linked smoking cannabis to schizophrenia and psychosis. For example, a fairly recent study found that schizophrenia plays a role in a person’s likelihood of smoking weed. The study showed that genetic variants predicting schizophrenia can also be used to predict a person’s tendency to smoke pot. The study showed that the same genes that predispose people to enjoying smoking cannabis might also predispose some to develop schizophrenia.
Lead author of the study, Robert Power, a genetic psychiatrist at King’s College London, stated that “there is a well-established link between people who use cannabis and schizophrenia.”
Based on the scientific literature, it’s quite clear that there is a link, and at the same time, it seems to be clear that there isn’t. Mathew Hill, a cell biologist at the University of Calgary, tells us “the relationship is an ongoing debate in the scientific world — at least what the nature of the association is.” He also told us that “there is little evidence that, at a population level, cannabis use during adolescence is a primary contributing factor in the development of psychiatric illness.”
Just because some studies show an associative link does not mean there is one. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that there’s not one. This is the key! Some studies have shown that people who are in the early stages of schizophrenia that also smoke weed experience much larger brain modifications, like changes in white matter, compared to those who are not susceptible to schizophrenia.
What is clear is that people who already show signs of psychotic illness do experience adverse effects from smoking marijuana.
“There is definitely some kind of genetic basis to increased vulnerability to these adverse effects [in people with schizophrenia] that go beyond the correlational association discussed in this paper”
— Mathew Hill (source)
Again, it’s well-known that marijuana smoking by people with schizophrenia only worsens the disease, and a number of studies have shown that smoking marijuana actually increases the development of schizophrenia in those who might be genetically predisposed to it. So, if you have a family history of psychotic illness, smoking weed is something you might not want to partake in — or if you suffer from any other ailment that’s classified as a mental illness, for that matter.
One thing seems to be certain: Cannabis smoking does affect the brain in various ways, especially at crucial stages of brain development in adolescents.
Below is a great publication and a good summary to find out more information about this topic and why it’s so confusing. Again, this connection is still up for debate in the scientific world, and conflicting studies emerge every single year. This suggests that we simply don’t know enough and therefore should be careful with our habits.
So, the next time someone tells you that there is a link between schizophrenia and marijuana smoking, they’re wrong, and the next time someone tells you there is no link, they are also wrong! The best way to avoid any risk is to just avoid smoking marijuana altogether.
4. Smoking Marijuana Changes Your Brain
One recent study found that using marijuana daily for at least four years or longer can create certain anatomical changes in the brain. In this particular study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the brains of approximately 50 adults who were chronic marijuana users, compared to more than 60 people who didn’t use marijuana at all.
Researchers found that the people who had been smoking daily for at least four years had a smaller volume of gray matter in their orbitofrontal cortex, a phenomenon usually associated with addiction.
Lead author of the study Francesca Filbey, an associate professor in the School of Behavioural Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, said that “not only is a change in structure, but there also tends to be a change reflected in the connectivity.”
This is concerning, especially given the fact that grey matter is a major component of the central nervous system, and is associated with muscle control, sensory perception, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control. Loss of grey matter has also been implicated in a number of psychiatric disorders, including depression. There is a widespread reduction of grey matter in people who suffer depression, and while smoking marijuana may give temporary relief from depression, if someone doesn’t have it, they might feel depressed. Marijuana could therefore contribute to depression, and the fact that people feel better when they smoke it might make them think that it helps with their depression — a dangerous pattern that could lead to continual grey matter depletion.
Again, there are a number of studies that show smoking marijuana can drastically change the brain, and also disrupt brain development.
Another recent study also found that marijuana smokers showed signs of damage in the corpus callous, which is a major white matter tract that connects the left side of the brain to the right side. However, the study did mention that the people examined could have had deviant brain structures prior to their use.
A study published a few years ago showed that people who constantly smoke marijuana have abnormal brain structures, but multiple studies have also shown that marijuana smokers show no difference in brain structure.
The list goes on and on, but one thing is for certain: The effects on the brain are unclear. Further research is needed to identify what smoking marijuana does to the brain, because the research is inconclusive and contradictory right now.
5. Smoking Harms the Lungs
Regardless of what you are smoking, smoke is harmful to lung health; this is a no-brainer. Whether it’s burning wood, tobacco, or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. According to the American Lung Association:
Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung. Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis.
Again, marijuana smoke contains a similar range of harmful chemicals to that of tobacco smoke, and there is no shortage of research suggesting that long-term marijuana smoking leads to an increased risk of some respiratory problems. Despite this proven correlation, there is no association between smoking marijuana and lung cancer.
There are other alternatives to smoking marijuana, however, such as vaporizing or eating it.
6. Smoking Marijuana Can Increase Your Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Disorders
Multiple studies have connected smoking marijuana with potential cardiovascular disorders. One recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association noted:
Several striking cardiovascular complications following cannabis use raised the issue of the possible implication of cannabis in cardiovascular outcomes and the necessary national review. Despite the known underreporting, the rate of cannabis-related cardiovascular complications reported steadily rose during the past 5 years. Cardiovascular disorders represented 2% of the reports related to cannabis, classified into cardiac, cerebral, and peripheral complications. The majority consisted of acute coronary syndromes and peripheral arteriopathies. This result is consistent with previous findings and strengthens the idea that cannabis may be responsible for serious complications, in particular on the cardiovascular system.
Another recent study, published last year, concluded, “The evidence reported in this article point toward an undisputed linkage between cannabis consumption and potentially lethal cardiovascular complications.” (source)
Something to Consider:
Trouble Living Life Without Smoking
As with so many of our other favourite habits, smoking is a vice, and many people who smoke weed have difficulty stopping. Life often feels boring without it; smoking becomes a need and almost a mental addiction (we know there is no physical addiction involved.) And this is obviously problematic. It is rare to find someone who will be able to smoke a joint a couple of times a month, which is the amount many experts in the field of “mind-altering” drugs propose. It’s a substance that is abused and not given the respect it deserves, often being used as an escape — helping the person avoid asking themselves why they feel the need to alter their state so often. If you are a regular smoker and notice that without smoking for a night or two you become bored, anxious, or depressed, or have certain feelings come up because you don’t have a joint in your hand, it may be time to consider reducing your usage, and perhaps facing those negative feelings head on.
If you have a hard time going without smoking a joint, that in itself is a problem. Alternatively, if you are a regular marijuana smoker but can easily stop for weeks at a time, without any desire to smoke, perhaps you don’t have a problem. The main point here is that smoking shouldn’t be used to escape one’s problems because it just prolongs the process of facing them.
How Is it Grown?
These days, it’s hard to find ‘pure’ weed. Most people are unaware of the original source, and marijuana can be grown with harmful pesticides. In fact, it wasn’t after the legalization of marijuana in Colorado that authorities found dangerous pesticides in most of the marijuana being sold. You can read more about that here.
Where do the seeds come from? When Big Pharma takes over, what type of seeds will they be, and how will it be grown? Are they genetically modified? There are still many questions to be asked.
So what can you take from all of this? We simply don’t know enough about this plant to smoke it every day and expect no repercussions. A misleading culture surrounding marijuana’s safety has been established and it’s something we need to start questioning.
Many natural substances are harmful to you if you have too much of them or use them too regularly. Even natural medicinal botanicals are not meant to be used every day and come with risks.
Again, we hope this helps to clear up the negative stigma around marijuana, but also the blindly positive stigma around it, too. Balance is important in this case, and what we strive to convey in this report.
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The Medical Journals’ Sell-Out—Getting Paid to Play
[Note: This is Part IX in a series of articles adapted from the second Children’s Health Defense eBook: Conflicts of Interest Undermine Children’s Health. The first eBook, The Sickest Generation: The Facts Behind the Children’s Health Crisis and Why It Needs to End, described how children’s health began to worsen dramatically in the late 1980s following fateful changes in the childhood vaccine schedule.]
The vaccine industry and its government and scientific partners routinely block meaningful science and fabricate misleading studies about vaccines. They could not do so, however, without having enticed medical journals into a mutually beneficial bargain. Pharmaceutical companies supply journals with needed income, and in return, journals play a key role in suppressing studies that raise critical questions about vaccine risks—which would endanger profits.
Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.
An exclusive and dependent relationship
Advertising is one of the most obviously beneficial ways that medical journals’ “exclusive and dependent relationship” with the pharmaceutical industry plays out. According to a 2006 analysis in PLOS Medicine, drugs and medical devices are the only products for which medical journals accept advertisements. Studies show that journal advertising generates “the highest return on investment of all promotional strategies employed by pharmaceutical companies.” The pharmaceutical industry puts a particularly “high value on advertising its products in print journals” because journals reach doctors—the “gatekeeper between drug companies and patients.” Almost nine in ten drug advertising dollars are directed at physicians.
In the U.S. in 2012, drug companies spent $24 billion marketing to physicians, with only $3 billion spent on direct-to-consumer advertising. By 2015, however, consumer-targeted advertising had jumped to $5.2 billion, a 60% increase that has reaped bountiful rewards. In 2015, Pfizer’s Prevnar-13 vaccine was the nation’s eighth most heavily advertised drug; after the launch of the intensive advertising campaign, Prevnar “awareness” increased by over 1,500% in eight months, and “44% of targeted consumers were talking to their physicians about getting vaccinated specifically with Prevnar.” Slick ad campaigns have also helped boost uptake of “unpopular” vaccines like Gardasil.
Advertising is such an established part of journals’ modus operandi that high-end journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) boldly invite medical marketers to “make NEJM the cornerstone of their advertising programs,” promising “no greater assurance that your ad will be seen, read, and acted upon.” In addition, medical journals benefit from pharmaceutical companies’ bulk purchases of thousands of journal reprints and industry’s sponsorship of journal subscriptions and journal supplements.
In 2003, an editor at The BMJ wrote about the numerous ways in which drug company advertising can bias medical journals (and the practice of medicine)—all of which still hold true today. For example:
- Advertising monies enable prestigious journals to get thousands of copies into doctors’ hands for free, which “almost certainly” goes on to affect prescribing.
- Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.
- Journals will guarantee favorable editorial mentions of a product in order to earn a company’s advertising dollars.
- Journals can earn substantial fees for publishing supplements even when they are written by “paid industry hacks”—and the more favorable the supplement content is to the company that is funding it, the bigger the profit for the journal.
Discussing clinical trials, the BMJ editor added: “Major trials are very good for journals in that doctors around the world want to see them and so are more likely to subscribe to journals that publish them. Such trials also create lots of publicity, and journals like publicity. Finally, companies purchase large numbers of reprints of these trials…and the profit margin to the publisher is huge. These reprints are then used to market the drugs to doctors, and the journal’s name on the reprint is a vital part of that sell.”
… however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), nearly three-fourths of all funding for clinical trials in the U.S.—presumably including vaccine trials—came from corporate sponsors as of the early 2000s. The pharmaceutical industry’s funding of studies (and investigators) is a factor that helps determine which studies get published, and where. As a Johns Hopkins University researcher has acknowledged, funding can lead to bias—and while the potential exists for governmental or departmental funding to produce bias, “the worst source of bias is industry-funded.”
In 2009, researchers published a systematic review of several hundred influenza vaccine trials. Noting “growing doubts about the validity of the scientific evidence underpinning [influenza vaccine] policy recommendations,” the authors showed that the vaccine-favorable studies were “of significantly lower methodological quality”; however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry. The authors commented:
[Studies] sponsored by industry had greater visibility as they were more likely to be published by high impact factor journals and were likely to be given higher prominence by the international scientific and lay media, despite their apparent equivalent methodological quality and size compared with studies with other funders.
In their discussion, the authors also described how the industry’s vast resources enable lavish and strategic dissemination of favorable results. For example, companies often distribute “expensively bound” abstracts and reprints (translated into various languages) to “decision makers, their advisors, and local researchers,” while also systematically plugging their studies at symposia and conferences.
The World Health Organization’s standards describe reporting of clinical trial results as a “scientific, ethical, and moral responsibility.” However, it appears that as many as half of all clinical trial results go unreported—particularly when their results are negative. A European official involved in drug assessment has described the problem as “widespread,” citing as an example GSK’s suppression of results from four clinical trials for an anti-anxiety drug when those results showed a possible increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents. Experts warn that “unreported studies leave an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of the risks and benefits of treatments.”
Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science.
Debased and biased results
The “significant association between funding sources and pro-industry conclusions” can play out in many different ways, notably through methodological bias and debasement of study designs and analytic strategies. Bias may be present in the form of inadequate sample sizes, short follow-up periods, inappropriate placebos or comparisons, use of improper surrogate endpoints, unsuitable statistical analyses or “misleading presentation of data.”
Occasionally, high-level journal insiders blow the whistle on the corruption of published science. In a widely circulated quote, Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of NEJM, acknowledged that “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” Dr. Angell added that she “[took] no pleasure in this conclusion, which [she] reached slowly and reluctantly” over two decades at the prestigious journal.
Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science. In formulaic articles that medical journals are only too happy to publish, the conclusion is almost always the same, no matter the vaccine: “We did not identify any new or unexpected safety concerns.” As an example of the use of inappropriate statistical techniques to exaggerate vaccine benefits, an influenza vaccine study reported a “69% efficacy rate” even though the vaccine failed “nearly all who [took] it.” As explained by Dr. David Brownstein, the study’s authors used a technique called relative risk analysis to derive their 69% statistic because it can make “a poorly performing drug or therapy look better than it actually is.” However, the absolute risk difference between the vaccine and the placebo group was 2.27%, meaning that the vaccine “was nearly 98% ineffective in preventing the flu.”
… the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had ignored important evidence of bias.
In 2018, the Cochrane Collaboration—which bills its systematic reviews as the international gold standard for high-quality, “trusted” evidence—furnished conclusions about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that clearly signaled industry bias. In May of that year, Cochrane’s highly favorable review improbably declared the vaccine to have no increased risk of serious adverse effects and judged deaths observed in HPV studies “not to be related to the vaccine.” Cochrane claims to be free of conflicts of interest, but its roster of funders includes national governmental bodies and international organizations pushing for HPV vaccine mandates as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—both of which are staunch funders and supporters of HPV vaccination. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s president is a former top CDC official who served as acting CDC director during the H1N1 “false pandemic” in 2009 that ensured millions in windfall profits for vaccine manufacturers.
Two months after publication of Cochrane’s HPV review, researchers affiliated with the Nordic Cochrane Centre (one of Cochrane’s member centers) published an exhaustive critique, declaring that the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had “ignored important evidence of bias.” The critics itemized numerous methodological and ethical missteps on the part of the Cochrane reviewers, including failure to count nearly half of the eligible HPV vaccine trials, incomplete assessment of serious and systemic adverse events and failure to note that many of the reviewed studies were industry-funded. They also upbraided the Cochrane reviewers for not paying attention to key design flaws in the original clinical trials, including the failure to use true placebos and the use of surrogate outcomes for cervical cancer.
In response to the criticisms, the editor-in-chief of the Cochrane Library initially stated that a team of editors would investigate the claims “as a matter of urgency.” Instead, however, Cochrane’s Governing Board quickly expelled one of the critique’s authors, Danish physician-researcher Peter Gøtzsche, who helped found Cochrane and was the head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. Gøtzsche has been a vocal critic of Cochrane’s “increasingly commercial business model,” which he suggests is resulting in “stronger and stronger resistance to say anything that could bother pharmaceutical industry interests.” Adding insult to injury, Gøtzsche’s direct employer, the Rigshospitalet hospital in Denmark, then fired Gøtzsche. In response, Dr. Gøtzsche stated, “Firing me sends the unfortunate signal that if your research results are inconvenient and cause public turmoil, or threaten the pharmaceutical industry’s earnings, …you will be sacked.” In March 2019, Gøtzsche launched an independent Institute for Scientific Freedom.
In 2019, the editor-in-chief and research editor of BMJ Evidence Based Medicine—the journal that published the critique of Cochrane’s biased review—jointly defended the critique as having “provoke[d] healthy debate and pose[d] important questions,” affirming the value of publishing articles that “hold organisations to account.” They added that “Academic freedom means communicating ideas, facts and criticism without being censored, targeted or reprimanded” and urged publishers not to “shrink from offering criticisms that may be considered inconvenient.”
In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists.
The censorship tsunami
Another favored tactic is to keep vaccine-critical studies out of medical journals altogether, either by refusing to publish them (even if peer reviewers recommend their publication) or by concocting excuses to pull articles after publication. In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists. To cite just three examples:
- The journal Vaccine withdrew a study that questioned the safety of the aluminum adjuvantused in Gardasil.
- The journal Science and Engineering Ethics retracted an article that made a case for greater transparency regarding the link between mercury and autism.
- Pharmacological Research withdrew a published veterinary article that implicated aluminum-containing vaccines in a mystery illness decimating sheep, citing “concerns” from an anonymous reader.
Elsevier, which publishes two of these journals, has a track record of setting up fake journals to market Merck’s drugs, and Springer, which publishes the third journal as well as influential publications like Nature and Scientific American, has been only too willing to accommodate censorship requests. However, even these forms of censorship may soon seem quaint in comparison to the censorship of vaccine-critical information now being implemented across social media and other platforms. This concerted campaign to prevent dissemination of vaccine content that does not toe the party line will make it harder than ever for American families to do their due diligence with regard to vaccine risks and benefits.
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60% of Kale Samples Contaminated With Cancer Causing Pesticide – Organic Is Key!
- The Facts:
A new analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found a high level of Dacthal in non-organic Kale.
- Reflect On:
Why do we justify the spraying of poison on our food? How does this make any sense? These substances have been linked to several diseases, how are they approved and marketed as safe in many countries? Why are they banned in so many others?
Do you still think organic is not necessary? A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT University, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults. This study found a dramatic 90 percent drop in pesticide levels. Both studies used urine samples to measure pesticide accumulation. You can access those studies and read more about them here and here.
A lot of these agents were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare, so we do know that they have toxic effects on the nervous system at high doses. Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, among many others, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous systems of humans by blocking an important enzyme. Recent studies have raised concerns for health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels.
There is no question or doubt about it, organic food not sprayed with pesticides is much better for our health, and eating organic is a great way to prevent multiple diseases, including cancer. Despite all of the publications and research on this subject, it’s confusing how cancer awareness initiatives continue to focus on raising money without ever addressing the root causes of the disease, one of which is clearly exposure to herbicides and pesticides.
This is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advocates buying organic products. Since its inception in 1993, EWG has fought for consumers’ rights to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. EWG’s very first report in 1993, “Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” played a pivotal role in Congress passing the Food Quality Protection Act two years later. They are a well known group of scientists and activists doing great work.
Recently, they discovered that approximately 60 percent of kale samples sold in the United States were contaminated with another carcinogenic pesticide, according to the EWG’s analysis of the 2017 Department of Agriculture’s test data.
The pesticide is called DCPA, often marketed as Dacthal, and it’s a substance that the EPA classified as a possible carcinogen in 1995. In 2005, its major manufacturer voluntarily terminated its registration for use on several U.S. crops, including artichokes, beans and cucumbers, after studies found that its breakdown products were highly persistent in the environment and could contaminate drinking water sources. This is why in 2009, the European Union prohibited all uses of Dacthal, enforcing a complete ban on it. With all this being said, the fact remains that it is still used in the U.S. on crops including kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, turnips, and who knows what else.
Even as kale’s popularity as a health food rich in vitamins and antioxidants has soared in recent years, the level and type of pesticide residues on kale has expanded significantly. EWG’s new analysis places it third on the 2019 Dirty Dozen™, our annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues. Recent EWG-commissioned tests of kale from grocery stores found that on two of eight samples, Dacthal residues were comparable to the average level reported by the USDA.
The USDA has not tested kale for pesticides since 2009, when it ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen. Between 2007 and 2012, the acres of kale harvested in the U.S. grew by more than 56 percent, with more than 2.5 times as many commercial farms growing it.
Conventional kale farming relies heavily on the use of several synthetic pesticides, including Dacthal. The EPA’s 1995 classification of it as a possible carcinogen noted increases in liver and thyroid tumors. Dacthal can also cause other kinds of harm to the lungs, liver, kidney and thyroid.
According to U.S. Geological Survey data from 2016, about 500,000 pounds of Dacthal was sprayed in the U.S., mostly in California and Washington state. In California, the only state where all pesticide use must be reported, nearly 200,000 pounds were sprayed in 2016.
In states with high Dacthal use, concerns have grown about the capacity of its breakdown products to contaminate surface and groundwater. Not only can Dacthal contaminate areas near its use, but studies indicate it can also travel long distances in the atmosphere as well. (EWG)
You can read more from EWG on the subject here.
Again, multiple agents can be found on non-organic produce, but this article just outlines one. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you whether or not you buy your fruits and vegetables organic. If you can afford conventional produce, you can afford organically grown produce as well. One helpful tip is to cut out junk food from your purchases if you have any, and that can make room for organic produce. Another way to look at it is spending the extra few bucks to invest in your health.
It’s unfortunate that organic food is more expensive, especially when organic food in general could be provided to the entire world if we actually utilized our fullest potential. It’s actually cheaper to produces, it’s just that governments subsidize convention farmers, not organic ones. At the end of the day, kale is extremely nutritious. It’s high in vitamins A, K and iron, and consumption of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of various diseases. It’s best if we keep it that way by only growing organic kale.
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A List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide
- The Facts:
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide that was manufactured by Monsanto, has been found in multiple foods that've been marketed to children. You can view the list below.
- Reflect On:
With countless scientific publications and examples of fraud clearly showing that glyphosate is a major health and environmental hazard, how is it still on the market in multiple countries? Why? What is going on here?
It’s very confusing as to why poison is still being sprayed in our environment, and how anybody could ever justify the use of these poisons. Justification has come from mass brainwashing, marketing campaigns, and just downright deception. There are many examples of deception when it comes to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. A great example comes from Europe, where the product was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here. Another example would be the corruption that plagues our federal health regulatory agencies, which have been completely compromised by big corporations. There are several other great examples that illustrate this point, in fact there are decades of examples. One of the best would be the SPIDER papers. A group called the CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or CDC SPIDER, put a list of complaints in a letter to the CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).
We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency. It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors.
When it comes to glyphosate, there are currently more than 10,000 pending cases with regards to ailments it’s caused people, and we are now starting to see cancer cases go through courts of law. One of the latest examples would be school groundskeeper Dewyane Johnson, who was awarded a victory after a jury found Bayer (Monsanto) to be guilty of causing/contributing to his terminal cancer. You can read more about that story here.
This is why it’s a bit concerning that this substance is ending up in our food, and that includes food that’s being marketed to children.
For example, Moms Across America, a National Coalition of Unstoppable Moms, recently discovered glyphosate in multiple brands of popular orange juice. You can read more about that here. The full report can be seen here. The testing methodology was “Glyphosate and AMPA Detection by UPLC-MS/MS.”
Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. All but four products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health with a sufficient margin of safety.
The new tests confirm and amplify EWG’s findings from tests in July and October of last year, with levels of glyphosate consistently above EWG’s children’s health benchmark. The two highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, with 833 parts per billion, or ppb, and Cheerios, with 729 ppb. The EWG children’s health benchmark is 160 ppb. – Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor, and Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG)(source)
The EWG recently purchased a number of products via online retail sites, and then they packed and shipped approximately 300 grams of each of the products they purchased (listed in the chart below) to Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco. Glyphosate levels were analyzed using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method described here.
Glyphosate is used mostly as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybean crops. But it is also sprayed on oats just before harvest as a drying agent or desiccant. It kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner, which increases the likelihood that glyphosate ends up in the foods children love to eat. It’s present almost everywhere and it’s a great example of how we don’t really live in a democracy, and how big corporations are operating without any concern for human health or the health of our planet. So far, more than 236,000 people have signed a petition directed at these food companies, calling on them to take action to protect consumers’ health.
The best way for you to combat something like this is to help share information like this in any way you can and go organic. Multiple studies have shown that pesticide exposure dramatically drops from consuming organic food. Just one week of eating an organic diet can drop pesticide levels in the body up to 90 percent in both children and adults. You can read more about that study here.
There are more concerns here, as it’s not just glyphosate, but also pesticides like organophosphates, which are sprayed on our food and have been linked to multiple diseases. A lot of these agents were originally developed as nerve agents for warfare.
Change starts with you, so you can go organic and spread awareness. Just five years ago not many people would have even known what glyphosate is, so things are definitely changing for the better.
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