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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Midwest lawmakers vs. ‘the munchies’

In health, local, marijuana on February 25, 2010 at 11:59 am

Just in case residents were having too much legal fun, legislators in the states of Missouri and Kansas are pushing to ban the synthetic marijuana substitute, K2.

Produced in Korea and China, the K2 is created from a blend of spices and herbs and sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC — thus creating a “high” similar to the effects of marijuana. While it has been banned in much of Europe, it can legally be purchased in the United States, including at many of the smoke shops in Joplin.

While I haven’t experienced the synthetic high myself, I’ve witnessed its effects on friends, coworkers and customers smoking the drug. Basically, the high generated by K2 is almost the same as the high generated by smoking marijuana; only shorter. 

However, users should be wary of the synthetic weed. The chemicals used to create the THC-like effect were created by organic chemistry professor at Clemson University, Dr. John Huffman. Huffman created the chemical while researching the effects of cannabinoids on the brain.

Lawmakers in Missouri and Kansas are claiming to be concerned about the possible health risks of K2. But rather than calling for further research or regulation, legislators are swiftly moving to ban the substance.

It’s an example of the all-too common knee jerk reaction politicians have to substances they don’t understand or can‘t control. While morphine, Ritalin and a plethora of prescription drugs pose a much greater threat to individuals, it’s the marijuana-mimicking, munchies inducing chemical-herb blend that is becoming the target of states.

Gardisal vaccine not so safe?

In health, women's rights on October 12, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Parents faced with the dilemma of whether or not to vaccinate their daughters for HPV and cervical cancer, may first want to consider the story of 16-year-old  Kansas native, Gabrielle.

According to the National Vaccine Information Center, Gabrielle had three shots of the drug Gardisal in 2008, causing inflammation in her brain and body, seizures, weakness in the right side of her body and lupus. Her doctors say she could die.

Although the Center for Disease Control claims Gardisal protects against HPV and cervical cancer, NVIC says there is little proof the vaccine actually does what it claims. Dr. Sarah Feldman with Brigham and Womens Hospital in Massachusetts is also a skeptic.

I feel that we dont have enough information or data yet to be able to say that this will prevent cervical cancer, she said.

Recently, ABC News reported there has been 12,424 adverse reactions to the shot since 2006 and 32 deaths. While the vaccines producers Merck and Co. claim resulting medical problems and side effects are just coincidence, Gardisal has many doctors seriously worried.

Dr. Jacques Moritz, St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital in New York says he wont be giving the vaccine to his 11-year-old daughter. He says most doctors he knows have stopped giving the vaccine because of the safety issues around it now.

Gardisal has been heavily promoted by its makers. Both my roommate and I received more than one brochure in the mail urging us to get the shot. However, the sense of urgency and use of fear tactics in the brochures has been enough to cause both of us to reconsidered taking the vaccine.