​Smoking marijuana is 114 times safer than drinking alcohol .

Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

As the debate over marijuana legalization continues in the United States, a new study suggests that smoking the controversial plant is about 114 times safer than drinking alcohol.

In fact, alcohol was found to be the deadliest drug on an individual level, at least when it comes to the likelihood of a person dying due to consuming a lethal dose. Heroin and cocaine were the next most deadly substances, followed by tobacco, ecstasy, and meth. Trailing up the rear was marijuana.

According to the team of international researchers behind the study, published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports,’ the findings suggest that marijuana risks – at least those related to mortality – are trumped when compared to substances like alcohol.

“The results confirm that the risk of cannabis may have been overestimated in the past,” the report reads. “At least for the endpoint of mortality, the [margin of exposure] for THC/cannabis in both individual and population-based assessments would be above safety thresholds (e.g. 100 for data based on animal experiments). In contrast, the risk of alcohol may have been commonly underestimated.”


As reported by the Washington Post, the study’s results aren’t exactly new, though they do confirm similar findings first reported a decade ago. In a separate story last year, the Post noted that Wayne Hall of the World Health Organization said it’s nearly impossible for even those who smoke large amounts of cannabis to overdose on the drug.

“The estimated fatal dose [of THC, the primary active compound in marijuana] in humans derived from animal studies is between 15 and 70 grams. This is a far greater amount of cannabis that even a very heavy cannabis user could use in a day,” Hall wrote last year.

Even alcohol’s unsafe margin of exposure (MOE) ratio isn’t all that surprising since, unlike heroin and cocaine, it is legal and much more readily available and accepted.

Marijuana legalization advocates are welcoming the new study, using it to suggest that America’s current ban on the drug is wrong and misguided, considering the mortality rates associated with alcohol and tobacco – both of which are legal and easily accessible to those of age. Marijuana, meanwhile, is still illegal on the federal level and largely illegal on the state level – except in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia.

Even the researchers noted that compared to other drugs, their findings support regulating pot as a legal substance instead of a banned one.

“Currently, the MOE results point to risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs,” the report reads. “The high MOE values of cannabis, which are in a low-risk range, suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach.”

Despite the new study, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that pot should not be smoked by children or teenagers, as there have been studies suggesting a link between youth smoking and impaired child development.

Soda Ingredient Poses Cancer Risk to Millions of Americans

A new study carried out by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has found that millions Americans who consume soda every day are putting themselves at risk of developing cancer as a result of an ingredient contained in many soft drinks.

New Study: Soda Ingredient Poses Cancer Risk to Millions of Americans

4-Methylimidazole, commonly known as 4-MEI, is a coloring used by soft drink makers to give their beverages that distinctive dark hue. It can be found in many popular soft drinks, including Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Diet Cola.

However, 4-MEI is a carcinogen that has been found to increase rates of malignant tumors when fed to mice and rats in laboratory studies. Despite this research, the FDA has not restricted its use as a caramel coloring agent in food and drinks.
Sampling 110 brands of soda and soft drinks, the Johns Hopkins researchers found levels of 4-MEI ranging from 9.5 micrograms per liter to 963 micrograms per liter, with diet colas generally having higher concentrations.

The study found that the majority of the beverages sampled contained potentially harmful levels of 4-MEI.

“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes,” said senior author Keeve Nachman, PhD. “This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda.”

The study concludes that, “Federal regulation of 4-MEI in caramel color may be appropriate”.

Consumer Reports notes that the study is “another reason to cut back on soda, warning that 4-MEI is also, “found in a wide variety of foods, including bread and other baked goods, dark sauces such as soy or barbecue, pancake syrup, and soups.”

“This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime,” asserted Urvashi Rangan, PhD, adding that the federal government should follow California’s example of setting a threshold for 4-MEI exposure. In the golden state, sodas need to be sold with a cancer warning label if they exceed the 29 ug per day limit.

Previous studies have found levels of 4-MEI that reach almost 700 ug per liter in cola soft drinks, up to 2000 ug per liter in coffee, and up to 28,000 ug/liter in dark beer.

Electric Stimulation Device Approved to Treat Obesity

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a first-of-its-kind weight loss treatment device that electronically suppresses hunger signals traveling between the stomach and the brain (http://1.usa.gov/1yAbICk). The Maestro Rechargeable System, which is manufactured by EnteroMedics of St Paul, Minnesota, consists of an electrical pulse generator, wire leads, and electrodes that are implanted into the abdomen and intermittently send electrical pulses to the vagus nerve.

CT scan taken of mummified remains in statue

A CT scan and endoscopy have revealed a master’s mummy inside a Buddha statue. These were mummified remains of an ancient Buddhist monk who lived during the 11th or 12th century. Investigations revealed the skeletal frame of Buddhist master Liuquan, said the Toronto Sun, inside the bronze statue. Liuquan lived around the year 1100.

Discovery News said Monday that Liuquan was a member of the Chinese Meditation School. The discovery awakens interest on a number of levels—inquiries into the past practice of self-mummification is but just one; the other is the very nature of mummies, which continue to intrigue people. The Drents Museum, an art and history museum in Assen in the Netherlands, held an exhibition of mummies last year and provided a working description: “we speak of mummies when in addition to the bones the soft tissues such as skin, hair and muscles of a deceased person or animal have been preserved. Mummies are not only to be found in Egypt, but in all parts of the world.” The museum noted how “New techniques give us a lot of information about life and death of the people who became mummies. This exhibition presents the results from such scientific research.” The Buddha mummy was the exhibition’s key eye-catcher, shown outside China last year at the museum’s “Mummies-life beyond death” exhibit. This Buddha mummy is an interesting discovery. On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha. Scan research has shown that on the inside it is a mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100. Was the mummy inside the Buddha statue a case of self-mummification? This was the question that the Drents museum site asked. Self-mummification is a process used to become “a living Buddha” and to achieve a higher level of enlightenment. China Topix said “Great Buddhist masters are often mummified to help them reachthe Buddha-state.”

A CT scan was performed at the Meander Medical Center in the Netherlands. Erik Bruijn, guest curator at the World Museum in Rotterdam and expert in Buddhist art and culture, led the research. At the hospital, gastrointestinal and liver doctor Reinoud Vermeijden and radiologist Ben Heggelman worked on an internal examination.

When the researchers had the statue scanned, they knew that a was inside the statue. What they did not expect to discover, however, was that its organs were replaced by scraps of paper printed with ancient Chinese characters. Janene Van Jaarsveldt in the NL Times told the story of Vermeijden examining thoracic and abdominal cavities and finding “among all kinds of rotten material in the space where there had once been organs,” the paper scraps printed with Chinese characters. Heggelman took the scan, and took samples of bone material for DNA testing. The team’s research is expected to be published in an upcoming monograph, said Irish Archaeology. China Topix said the mummy was in a folded-up position like the Buddha statue itself.


I grow weary of people who continually want “proof” that vaccines cause harm and can cause autism. Every year that goes by and call for “More research!! More research!” is shrieked, nearly four million more children are handed over be injected with 49 doses of 16 different vaccines before starting school. Many of these precious bundles will become chronically ill; some will become mortality statistics.

The Truth About Vaccines & Blue Foot Syndrome

Webster defines proof as “something that induces certainty or establishes validity.” What level of “proof” still needs to be achieved before vaccine injury has definitive confirmation?

Videos of children the day before, and then a few days after vaccines, have documented autistic regression. Is that enough “proof”? Heart wrenching stories about side effects after vaccines – high pitched screaming, vomiting, seizures and even death – have been told by the thousands of parents.

Are the stories put forth by observant parents proof? Or all they all liars?
By now, the connection between a vaccination and a side effect or injury should be easily recognized and diagnosed. Instead, it is much like the story of a child who dropped a large frozen turkey on his foot…

Within hours, his foot became bright blue. His parents, concerned because the child cried inconsolably and refused to walk, quickly sought medical help.

The doctor examined the young lad’s foot and said, “Hmmmm…. I see he is experiencing Blue Foot Syndrome. We don’t know what causes it, but we are seeing more and more children with this condition in the last few years. Now that we have more awareness and better diagnostic skills, we are diagnosing the syndrome more often.

The parents retort, “But Doctor – he started screaming and lost his ability to walk within a few hours after a frozen turkey landed on his foot!”

“Tisk, tisk,” says the doctor. “We have proven that frozen turkeys have no link to Blue Foot Syndrome. In a study of more than 4 million children, the number who developed a blue foot after being struck by a frozen turkey was statistically insignificant. We have determined something else must be causing Blue Foot Syndrome.”

With that, thousands of dollars of medical tests were conducted to find any possible reason for the boy’s blue, painful foot. Even though medical science had no explanation for the problem, doctors were certain the thump by a frozen turkey was absolutely not the cause.

Sadly, the doctor informed the parents no underlying cause for their child’s Blue Foot Syndrome was found. He affirmed the condition shows up randomly around one year of age, and is slightly more common in those with susceptible blood vessels. In fact, since 1 in 67 now seem to have this random Blue Foot Syndrome, and research is underway to find a defective gene to blame.

The devastated parents, terrified they may have a defective gene that is responsible their child’s travesty, asked, “But doctor, there must be something we can do to help him walk and stop his pain!”

Leaning back in his chair, the doctor pontificated, “Today, many therapists specialize in Blue Foot Syndrome. Colleges are even offering master’s degrees in this anomaly. I’m sure you can find a number of treatments that may help live with his condition, but there is no cure. A word of caution: Never use Blue Foot Syndrome on your insurance forms. You can use “painful foot” or “discolored appendage” or “inability to walk” but never use Blue Foot Syndrome or your insurance will deny payment of all your medical bills.”

As silly as this story may sound to some, it is the true tale of vaccine injury and the long list of sensory integration disorders, language abnormalities, and yes, even autism, that can evolve after vaccination.

The Vaccine Research Library is a collection of more than 6,500 articles gleaned from peer-reviewed journals. The articles document the conflicts of interest in medical research and chronicles then scathing evidence ov vaccine injury, including allergies, autoimmune disease and a long list of neurological disturbances.

All Life Depends on Soil.

2015 is the year of soil. Bringing the soil to the center of our consciousness and our planning isvital for the life of the soil, but also for the future of our society. History provides ample evidence that civilizations which ignored the health and well-being of the soil, and exploited it without renewing its fertility, disappeared along with the soil.

healthy soil

Indian civilization has sustained itself over thousands of years because it revered the soil as sacred and inviolable. It treated it as Mother Earth.

The Atharva Veda invokes the prayer to prithvi, the Earth:

“Let what I dig from thee, O Earth, rapidly spring and grow again.
O Purifier, let me not pierce through thy vitals or thy heart”

Today’s dominant policies and laws seem to be saying the opposite to the Earth—“We will dig so deep and so violently, we will bulldoze so brutally, on such a large scale and at such a high speed, that we will tear through your vitals and your heart, ensuring that nothing can grow from you again.”

Both ecological science and our ancient wisdom teaches us that all life depends on soil. But we are now unthinkingly adopting the illusion that human progress is based on how fast we can destroy, bury and consume the soil.

Uncontrolled urbanization, mega mines, superhighways and gigantic infrastructure projects are the burial grounds of fertile soil. We are forgetting that life grows from soil, not concrete and tarmac.

It is only our farmers who are practicing ecological agriculture, returning organic matter to the soil and growing soil fertility, and, through it, the foundation of our food and our future. In practicing organic farming, they also conserve water and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus addressingclimate change. Money might grow from speculative real estate development, but not life. Multiple “clashes of civilization” are taking place in India today around soil and land.

There is a clash between what Aristotle called “chrematistics,” the art of money-making, and “oikonomia,” the art of living. The clash is between the soil and Earth centred agrarian economies of peasant societies and the money-centered speculative economies which are obsessed with the art of money making, with no respect for the democratic rights of people whose land is being grabbed, or for the soil that has sustained our civilization over millennia.

This intense clash is because the government wants to forcefully and undemocratically appropriate land from the farmers and hand it over to builders and speculators.

A war against land and people has been declared through the land acquisition ordinance which, by reversing the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, takes us back to the colonial law of 1894.

There is a clash between two views of history on the land question. There is a false, linear view of history that projects human progress as moving from agriculture to industry to service economies. A more realistic view recognises that history moves in cycles.

At the national level, history of land is not a linear history of dispossession, but a cyclical history of land grab and land reform.

The British created the zamindari system, which led to violence, injustice and famines. Peasants started movements like Tebhaga after the great Bengal famine, and movements for land reform and land rights based on “land to the tiller” philosophy. West Bengal had its Operation Barga, India introduced “land ceiling,” a limit on the ownership of land, and land reform along with land distribution made Independent India a land of hard working, sovereign and proud small farmers.

The land grab ordinance is, in fact, a new zamindari, aimed at reversing all that Independent India put in place to protect—land, food security, the sovereignty of small farmers and the country. But it is more than a reversal because the context is different. In today’s context, unjust laws passed undemocratically for land acquisition have far more impact because the activities are more destructive ecologically and socially. Removal of the clauses for consent in the land ordinance is an assault on democracy. Removal of the food security clauses is a reckless and irresponsible action forfeiting the future. Has the government been so blinded by corporate “chrematistics” that it cannot see the damage this will do to life of the soil, the “oikonomia,” the vital food economy of the peasants? Has it been so deafened by the voice of those whose only objective is profits and money-making, that it cannot hear the screams of a dying soil and the people of the soil—the tribals and peasants?

A new Singapore-style capital is proposed for Andhra Pradesh at the cost of Rs 100,000 crore. About 100,000 acre of prime farmland on the banks of the Krishna river is being grabbed from small farmers who, with one acre land, earn more than Rs 30,000 per month. Former Indian Administrative Service officer Devasahayam reports how the government is describing the concrete jungle it is planning as being “full of life and economic activity,” implying that farming that feeds people is a “lifeless activity!”

Globally, young people are moving back to the land, driven both by crisis of unemployment and by frustration with the urban corporate life which might bring money, but no satisfaction. Young people from banks and software companies are coming to Navdanya to learn how to be organic farmers and make a living from the land. After the banks and information technology (IT), it is soil and land that holds the future.

We already have a scarcity of land and fertile soil. To bury this scarce and precious resource on the basis of an outmoded view of history, progress and development is not enlightened policy-making. There is not enough land in the country for the limitless appetite for mining, urbanisation and industrialisation. While profiteering from land in a globalised economic system based on the false idea of limitless growth might inspire current policies, land and fertile soils set their own ecological limits. There are also social and political limits to how much dispossession, injustice, violence and destruction of democracy a society can bear. Protests against land grab and the land law are growing across the country. If they are violently crushed, as in the tribal areas, violent conflicts will intensify. In the worst case scenario, if the fabric of the soil and society are ruptured beyond repair, we will disintegrate as a civilization, as is happening to so many societies around us.

We can avert the collapse of our civilization if, in this year of soil, we collectively and democratically commit ourselves to protecting and rejuvenating the soil and, thus, our future.

Stem Cell Breakthrough Opens Door For Two-Dad Babies In As Little As 2 Years

An international team of scientists have shown that it is possible to create human sperm and eggs from stem cells derived from adult skin, regardless of the donor’s gender. While this breakthrough could help men and women who have been rendered infertile by disease, gay groups have also expressed hope that this project will eventually lead to the creation of children made from same-sex parents.

closeup IVF

First And Most Important Step

The primordial germ cells of mice, or the stem cells which go on to create either sperm or eggs, have been previously made by scientists in laboratories, but until recently the feat had yet to be recreated for humans. In a project funded by the Wellcome Trust, scientists from Cambridge University in England and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science were able to use skin from 10 different donor sources to create new human primordial germ cells. As reported by The Sunday Times, these germ cells proved to be absolutely identical to the natural human stem cells taken from aborted fetuses.

“We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish,” said lead researcher Dr. Azim Surani.

Late last year, Surani and his team published a study outlining how they manipulated human skin cells to become germ cells. However, at that time it was unknown whether or not this technique could be used as a fertility treatment. Now, the team is confident that the procedure can be used to aid couples with fertility problems, with Dr. Jacob Hanna, the lead researcher of the Israeli team, explaining that this could become a reality in as little as two years.

Two-Dad Babies

This procedure is so effective that it could possibly open the doors for a type of fertility treatment that the world has never seen before: IVF for same-sex couples. Hanna explained that gay groups have already shown interest in the project.

Although based on science it may be fully possible to create children from same-sex couples, there are many ethical hurdles to overcome that would determine if such an act would ever become widely used. Hanna has already expressed his disinterest of “creating engineered humans and the social and ethical implications.”

It’s important to understand that the controversial “two-dad” or “two-mom” baby is just one of many opportunities now made possible from this project.

“[The stem cell breakthrough] will be important for understanding the causes of infertility and for the treatment of it,” Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem-cell biology and developmental genetics at the National Institute for Medical Research, told The Sunday Times.“It is probably a long way off, but it would be a way for people who have had treatment for conditions such as childhood leukemia, which has left them infertile, to have children of their own.”

Not only do scientists predict that they will be able to create eggs and sperm cells for infertile individuals, but The Guardian reported that it may also help scientists treat certain age-related illnesses caused by epigenetic changes.

Everything from smoking to being exposed to environmental chemicals can change an individual’s DNA as he ages. These are called epigenetic changes, but cells that create sperm and egg are void of these epigenetic changes.

“We can’t say no mutations are passed on, but mostly it doesn’t happen,” explained Surani, adding that his research “could tell us how to erase these epigenetic mutations.”