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Marijuana and the Goddess

by Chris Bennet, illustrations by Ken Lee. Posted on Monday, August 31 1998 11:00:00 PM
http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/1374.html

Holy pot has been smoked by Goddess worshippers since before history, and was first banned by those who sought to subjugate feminine spirituality
1374-rheakrona

Part 5 of “When Smoke Gets in my I” a series on the history of cannabis and human consciousness.

In most ancient hunter-gatherer societies, women balanced the males’ supply of game with their collected harvest from the surrounding wilderness. Women therefore became the first to learn the secrets of plants, and how they propagated themselves.
This knowledge led to the development of agriculture, and the evolution from the animal totems of the hunter-gatherers to images of the Great Mother, who with proper worship produced her abundant harvest in the same way that women produced children.
Cannabis is among humanity’s oldest and most useful cultivated crops, and so it is not surprising to find that cannabis, in all its forms, has been intricately associated with Goddess worship in many cultures, throughout history.

Kali-Ma
The most ancient goddess still worshiped in the world today is the Indian Kali-Ma, the Mother of Life and Death. Her worship stretches back into pre-history, and is believed to predate that of her more well-known consort Shiva, the longest continually worshiped god on earth. Both Shiva and Kali are strongly associated with marijuana.
Kali is generally depicted with a girdle of human arms and a necklace of skulls, and represents the dark aspect of the goddess trinity of virgin-mother-crone. Both ancient and modern devotees of Kali partake of marijuana in various forms as a part of their worship.
Devotional ceremonies to Kali involve cannabis ingestion and ritual sex, which is directed at raising the Kundalini energy from the base of the spine up into the higher centres of the brain.
1374-kalicol240x400banner_highend

Other pot-goddesses

The worship of Kali, under various names, extended into the ancient Near East, and cannabis was also used by many of the worshippers of Kali’s ancient world counterparts.
Kali is the Hindu counterpart of the ferocious and sensual Canaanite goddess Anath, (part of a similar trinity with Ashera and Astarte)who is also described with “attached heads to her back, girded hands to her waist.”
In ancient Germany, marijuana was used in association with Freya, the slightly tamer Kali-like goddess of Love and Death.
Scythian Hempsters
It is generally accepted that it was the horseback-riding Scythians who spread the combination of cannabis and goddess worship throughout much of the ancient world.
Readers of part two in this series (CC#2) will remember that the Amazon-like Scythian women fought alongside their warrior mates, and that these “Hell’s Angels” of the ancient world were known to have used cannabis in funeral rites, doing so in veneration of their own variation of the Goddess Mother of Life and Death, Rhea Krona.
Showing cannabis’ strong ties with Scythian mythology, Rhea Krona came to reap her children in death with the scythe, an agricultural tool named for its Scythian origin, and originally designed for harvesting cannabis. This scythe image has survived through patriarchal times and into our modern day, with both Father Time and the Grim Reaper still carrying Rhea Krona’s ancient hemp-harvesting tool.
The Tree of Life
In a cave where an ancient urn was found that had been used by the Scythians for burning marijuana, there was also a massive felt rug, which measured 5 by 7 metres. The carpet had a border frieze with a repeated pattern of a horseman approaching the Great Goddess, who holds the Tree of Life in one hand and raises the other in welcome.
Imagery of the Goddess and the Tree of Life is also found amongst other cultures with whom the Scythians came into contact. Readers of part three in this series (CC#5) will remember that the ancient Canaanites and also Hebrews paid particular reverence to the Near Eastern Goddess Ashera, whose cult was particularly focussed around the use of marijuana.
According to the Bible itself, the ancient worshippers of Ashera included wise King Solomon and other biblical kings, as well as their wives and the daughters of Jerusalem. The Old Testament prophets often chastised them for “offering up incense” to the Queen of Heaven.
Like the imagery on the Scythian carpet, icons dedicated to Ashera also have depictions of a “sacred-tree”, most likely a reference to the cannabis that her followers grew and revered, using it as a sacrament, as a food and oil source, and also using the fibres in ritual weavings.
1374-adam

Eve: cultural hero

Among her other titles, Ashera was known as “the Goddess of the Tree of Life”, “the Divine Lady of Eden” and “the Lady of the Serpent”. Ashera was often depicted as a woman holding one or more serpents in her hands. It was Ashera’s serpent who advised Eve to disobey the male god’s command not to partake of the sacred tree.
The historical record shows that the Old Testament version of the myth of Eve, the serpent and the sacred tree was concocted as propaganda against pre-existing Goddess cults.
Originally, the outcome of the Eden myth was not tragic, but triumphant. The serpent brought wisdom, and after the magic fruit was eaten, Adam himself became a god. What was originally involved was probably a psychedelic sacrament, like the Elusian festival in Athens, in which the worshipper ate certain hallucinogenic foods and became one with the Mother Goddess Demeter.
Like the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge was a symbol associated with the Goddess. The rites associated with her worship were designed to induce a consciousness open to the revelation of divine or mystical truths. In these rites cannabis and other magical plants were used, and women officiated as priestesses.
Roman Catholic Persecution
In early Christian times, the holy cannabis oil was ingested and used by many Gnostic Christian sects, in honour of the Queen of Heaven.
With the rise of one of the more harshly ascetic and anti-female Christian sects in Rome, and the subsequent development of the Roman Catholic Church, such groups were forced out of existence, along with most pagan religions and the cult of the Great Mother.
The new Church of Rome followed their Judaic predecessors in naming Eve (the representative of all women) the “Mother of Sin”, as well as demonizing magical plants.
Their violent purges of Goddess worship and magical plant use persisted into medieval times. It has been estimated that over a million female practitioners of the older Goddess religions were burned as “witches” for utilizing cannabis, mandrake, belladonna and other plants in their “flying ointments”.
Even medieval French heroine Joan of Arc was accused of using cannabis, mandrake and other plants in order to hear the voices which guided her, and this eventually led the church to commit her to the flames1374-grtgoddess

Marrying your Goddess
Similar to its use in the spiritual techniques of India, medieval European occult and alchemical masters used cannabis to aid in the “Marriage of the Sun and Moon” in the individual. The Sun and Moon represent the masculine and feminine aspects of the self.
Tantrik, Zoroastrian, Gnostic, Alchemical and occult literature all refer to “marrying your Goddess”, which means connecting an individual’s feminine and masculine aspects together into a unified force. This theme appears over and over again in medieval occult literature. Even the Gnostic Jesus states “when you make the male and female one and the same? then you will enter the kingdom.” (Gospel of Thomas)
Much like the woman’s liberation movement which has been taking place in our modern world, individual self completion requires a similar process to take place in our minds. The feminine aspect, or right cortex, becomes a full partner with the masculine aspect, or left cortex.
Marijuana use can greatly assist in this process. Is it any wonder then, that Shiva, the Lord of Bhang, was known as the god who was both man and woman? Or that the hashish eating Sufis, and later the American hippies, were both accused of being too feminine?
Love your mother
From the collected evidence it is clear that cannabis has been associated with worship of the Goddess since antiquity. Now, as we stand on the verge of a new millennia, in what seem to be the death throes of the patriarchy, it is as if the Goddess is once again reaching out her hand and offering her sacred Tree of Life to us in our time of collective need.
Like so many disobedient Eves, numerous female figures such as Elvy Mussika, Hilary Black, Mary Kane, Mountain Woman, The Holy Sisters of Hemp, Mama Indica, Brownie Mary and many others have decided to challenge the commandments of the male authorities and once again tempt us with the forbidden fruits of cannabis.
Indeed, it is likely not until we are once again free to enjoy all the sacred fruits of Mother Earth that the liberation of the feminine will fully take place, and we can restore Gaia, our planetary matriarch, back to health.
-|-
The androgynous nature of the human organism is re-emerging into consciousness in new ways that have evolved from past experience. We are learning to recognize and differentiate the opposites in our nature.
It makes no difference whether we call these opposites masculine and feminine, creative and receptive, knowledge and wisdom, competition and cooperation, explosion and implosion, or Logos and Eros. What is important, is that they be experienced in union as aspects of our own inner self. They are the self-renewing possibilities of our own individuality. Yoked together, they can fertilize each other to generate the creativity which is the potential of human beings.
The return of such female values as cooperation and forbearance is longed for in a world torn by war and threatened by nuclear disaster, poverty, disease and rape of the land. When the goddess of fertility is reunited with the god of consciousness, the renewed culture will have its conception.
? The Yoga of Androgyny, June Singer
-|-

Hymn To The Plants ? Rig Veda X.97.
Plants which as receptacles of light were born three ages before the Gods, I honour your myriad colors and your seven hundred natures.
A hundred, oh Mothers, are your natures and a thousand are your growths. May you of a hundred powers make whole what has been hurt.
Plants, as Mothers, as Goddesses, I address you. May I gain the energy, the light, the sustenance, your soul, you who are the human being.
Where the herbs are gathered together like kings in an assembly, there the doctor is called a sage, who destroys evil, and averts disease.
As they fell from Heaven, the plants said, “The living soul we pervade, that man will suffer no harm.”
The Herbs which are in the kingdom of the Moon, manifold with a hundred eyes, I take you as the best of them, for the fulfillment of wishes, as peace to the heart.
The plants which are queens of the Soma, spread over all the Earth, generated by the Lord of Prayer, may your energies combine within this herb.
-|-
How women are like pot.
There are some biological oddities which link cannabis with humans, especially the females of our species.
First, certain active compounds of marijuana have molecular resemblance to the female hormone estrogen. Possibly it is due to this aspect of cannabis’ genetic make-up that some growers have reported success with fertilizing their plants with birth control pills or menstrual fluid, the use of which as a ritual fertilizer goes back to the matriarchal period.
Of similar interest is that cannabis seeds contain rare gamma linoleic acid, found only in spirulina, two other rare seed oils, and human mother’s milk. As the tribal people of the world have always shown an incredible intuition when it comes to right use of plants, it is interesting to note that the Sotho women of South Africa make a mealy pap from hempseed to wean their babies off breast milk. 1374-gseed

Recommended Reading:
The Chalice & the Blade, by Riane Eisler
A History of Religious Ideas, by Mircea Eliade
Ishtar Rising, by Robert Anton Wilson
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, by Barbara Walker
The Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa: A Historical Ethnographic Survey, by WA Emboden (in Flesh of the Gods: The Ritual Use of Hallucinogens, Peter Furst, Ed)
Chris Bennet is the author of Green Gold: Marijuana in Magic and Religion, and the forthcoming Sex, Drugs and Violence in the Bible.

PARENTS: KEEP YOUR KIDS AWAY FROM FDA APPROVED DRUGS

mjvspharmies

Deaths from Marijuana v. 17 FDA-Approved Drugs
(Jan. 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005)

  1. Background
  2. Cause of Death Categories & Definitions
  3. FDA Disclaimer of Information
  4. Summary of Deaths by Drug Classification
  5. Deaths from Marijuana & 17 FDA-Approved Drugs
  6. Sources & Disagreement on Marijuana Deaths
  7. Full Text of All 17 FDA “Adverse Event” Reports

I. Background

Much of the medical marijuana discussion has focused on the safety of marijuana compared to the safety of FDA-approved drugs. On June 24, 2005 ProCon.org sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to find the number of deaths caused by marijuana compared to the number of deaths caused by 17 FDA-approved drugs. Twelve of these FDA-approved drugs were chosen because they are commonly prescribed in place of medical marijuana, while the remaining five FDA-approved drugs were randomly selected because they are widely used and recognized by the general public.

We chose Jan. 1, 1997 as our starting date as it is the beginning of the first year following the Nov. 1996 approval of the first state medical marijuana laws (such as California’s Proposition 215). The FDA reports we read from Sep. 13, 2005 to Oct. 14, 2005 included drug deaths “to present”, which was the date each report was compiled for our request. We cut off the counting as of June 30, 2005 to provide a uniform end-date to the various reports.

On Aug. 25, 2005 the FDA sent us 12 CDs and five printed reports containing copies of their Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) report on each drug requested. These reports included all adverse events reported to the FDA, only a portion of which included deaths. We manually counted the number of deaths reported on each drug from the FDA-supplied information.

A review of the FDA Adverse Events reports also revealed some deaths where marijuana was at least a concomitant drug (a drug also used at the time of death) in some cases. On Oct. 14, 2005 we used the Freedom of Information Act to request a copy of the adverse events reported deaths for marijuana/cannabis. We received those reports on Aug. 3, 2006 in the form of three additional CDs.

II. Cause of Death Categories & Definitions

The FDA AERS reports rely on health professionals to detect an “adverse event” and attribute that event to the drug, and then to voluntarily report that effect to either the FDA or the drug manufacturer. The drug firm, by law, must report that event to the FDA. The FDA states “ninety percent of the FDA’s reports are received from drug manufacturers” on page one of its “Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) Brief Description with Caveats of System.” (PDF 2.7 MB)

Select instructions on how to report adverse events, as per the FDA’s AERS Form Instructions (PDF 65 KB), are provided below:

  • Adverse Event: Any incident where the use of a medication (drug or biologic, including HCT/P), at any dose, a medical device (including in vitro diagnostics) or a special nutritional product (e.g., dietary supplement, infant formula or medical food) is suspected to have resulted in an adverse outcome in a patient.
  • Death: Check only if you suspect that the death was an outcome of the adverse event, and include the date if known. Do not check if:
    • The patient died while using a medical product, but there was no suspected association between the death and
    • A fetus is aborted because of a congenital anomaly (birth defect), or is miscarried

  1. Suspect Product(s): A suspect product is one that you suspect is associated with the adverse event.Up to two (2) suspect products may be reported on one form (#1=first suspect product, #2=second suspect product). Attach an additional form if there were more than two suspect products associated with the reported adverse event.
  2. To report: it is not necessary to be certain of a cause/effect relationship between the adverse event and the use of the medical product(s) in question. Suspicion of an association is sufficient reason to report. Submission of a report does not constitute an admission that medical personnel or the product caused or contributed to the event.
III. FDA Disclaimer of Information

Included in the 15 CDs and five printed reports from the FDA was the following disclosure:

“The information contained in the reports has not been scientifically or otherwise verified. For any given report there is no certainty that the suspected drug caused the reaction. This is because physicians are encouraged to report suspected reactions. The event may have been related to the underlying disease for which the drug was given to concurrent drugs being taken or may have occurred by chance at the same time the suspected drug was taken.

Numbers from these data must be carefully interpreted as reported rates and not occurrence rates. True incidence rates cannot be determined from this database. Comparisons of drugs cannot be made from these data.”
— July 18, 20/05 – FDA Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Science, “Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) Brief Description with Caveats of System”

[Editor’s Note – ProCon.org makes no claim that the data below reflects occurrence rates. The information is presented for our readers’ benefit who may feel that the relative comparisons have value. ProCon.org attempted to find the total number of users of each of these drugs by contacting the FDA, pharmaceutical trade organizations, and the actual drug manufacturers. We either did not receive a response or were told the information was proprietary or otherwise unavailable]

IV. Summary of Deaths by Drug Classification

DRUG CLASSIFICATION

Specific
Drugs per
Category

Primary
Suspect of the Death

Secondary
Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

A. MARIJUANA
also known as: Cannabis sativa L

0

279

279

B. ANTI-EMETICS
(used to treat vomiting)

196

429

625

C. ANTI-SPASMODICS
(used to treat muscle spasms)

118

56

174

D. ANTI-PSYCHOTICS
(used to treat psychosis)

1,593

702

2,295

E. OTHER POPULAR DRUGS
(used to treat various conditions including ADD, depression, narcolepsy, erectile dysfunction, and pain)

8,101

492

8,593


F. TOTALS of A-E
Number
of Drugs
in Total

Primary
Suspect of the Death

Secondary
Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM MARIJUANA

1

0

279

279

  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM 17 FDA-APPROVED DRUGS

17

10,008

1,679

11,687

V. Chart of Deaths from Marijuana and 17 FDA-Approved Drugs
A. Marijuana

DRUG (Year Approved)

Primary Suspect of the Death

Secondary Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

1. Marijuana (not approved)
also known as: Cannabis sativa L

0

109

109

2. Cannabis (not approved)
also known as: Cannabis sativa L

0

78

78

3. Cannabinoids
(unclear if these mentions include non-plant cannabinoids)

0

92

92

Sub-Total – Marijuana

0

279

279

FDA-Approved Drugs Prescribed in Place of Medical Marijuana

B. Anti-Emetics


DRUG
(Year Approved)

Primary Suspect of the Death

Secondary Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

1. Compazine (1980)
also known as: Phenothiazine, prochlorperazine

15

30

45

2. Reglan (1980)
also known as: Metaclopramide, Paspertin, Primperan

37

278

315

3. Marinol (1985)
also known as: Dronabinol

4

1

5

4. Zofran (1991)
also known as: Ondansetron hydrochloride

79

76

155

5. Anzemet (1997)
also known as: Dolasetron mesylatee

22

5

27

6. Kytril (1999)
also known as: Granisetron hydrochloride

36

24

60

7. Tigan (2001)
also known as: Trimethobenzamide

3

15

18

Sub-Total – Anti-Emetics

196

429

625

C. Anti-Spasmodics


DRUG
(Year Approved)

Primary Suspect of the Death

Secondary Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

1. Baclofen (1967)
also known as: Lioresal, 4-amino-3-(4-chlorophenyl)-butanoic acid

72

33

105

2. Zanaflex (1996)
also known as: Tizanidine hydrochloride, Sirdalud, Ternelin

46

23

69

Sub-Total – Anti-Spasmodics

118

56

174

D. Anti-Psychotics


DRUG
(Year Approved)

Primary Suspect of the Death

Secondary Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

1. Haldol (1967)
also known as: Haloperidol, Haldol Decanoate, Serenace, Halomonth

450

267

717

2. Lithium (1970)
also known as: Lithium Carbonate, Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithonate, Teralithe, Lithane, Hypnorex, Limas, Lithionit, Quilonum

175

133

308

3. Neurontin (1994)
also known as: Gabapentin

968

302

1,270

Sub-Total – Anti-Psychotics

1,593

702

2,295

E. Other Well-Known and Randomly Selected FDA-Approved Drugs


DRUG
(Year Approved)

Primary Suspect of the Death

Secondary Suspect (contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

1. Ritalin (1955)
also known as: Methylphenidate, Concerta, Medadate, Ritaline
(used to treat ADD and ADHD)

121

53

174

2. Wellbutrin (1997)
also known as: Bupropion Hydrochloride, Zyban, Zyntabac, Amfebutamone
(used to treat depression & anxiety)

1,132

220

1,352

3. Adderall (1966)
also known as: Dextroamphetamine Saccharate, Amphetamine Aspartate, Dextroamphetamine Sulfate USP, Amphetamine Sulfate USP
(used to treat narcolepsy or to control hyperactivity in children)

54

12

66

4. Viagra (1998)
also known as: Sildenafil Citrate
(used to treat erectile dysfunction)

2,254

40

2,294

5. Vioxx (1999)
also known as: Rifecixub, Arofexx
(used to treat osteoarthritis and pain)

4,540

167

4,707

Sub-Total – Other Popular Drugs

8,101

492

8,593

F. TOTALS of A-E

Primary Suspect

Secondary Suspect

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM MARIJUANA

0

279

279

  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM 17 FDA-APPROVED DRUGS

10,008

1,679

11,687


VI. Sources & Disagreement on Marijuana Deaths

Has marijuana caused any deaths?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2003 report Mortality Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2001 (1.5 MB) stated:

“Marijuana is rarely the only drug involved in a drug abuse death. Thus … the proportion of marijuana-induced cases labeled as ‘One drug’ (i.e., marijuana only) will be zero or nearly zero.”
2003 – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

PRO (Yes)

CON (No)

Thomas Geller, MD, Associate Professor of Child Neurology at the Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, et al., wrote the following in their Apr. 4, 2004 article titled “Cerebellar Infarction in Adolescent Males Associated with Acute Marijuana Use,” (560 KB) published in the journal Pediatrics:

“Each of the 3 cannabis-associated cases of cerebellar infarction was confirmed by biopsy (1 case) or necropsy (2 cases)… Brainstem compromise caused by cerebellar and cerebral edema led to death in the 2 fatal cases.”
Apr. 4, 2004 – Thomas Geller, MD

Liliana Bachs, MD, Senior Medical Officer at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, et al., wrote the following in their Dec. 27, 2001 article titled “Acute Cardiovascular Fatalities Following Cannabis Use,” published in the journal Forensic Science International:

“Cannabis is generally considered to be a drug with very low toxicity. In this paper, we report six cases where recent cannabis intake was associated with sudden and unexpected death. An acute cardiovascular event was the probable cause of death. In all cases, cannabis intake was documented by blood analysis… Further investigation of clinical, toxicologial and epidemiological aspects are needed to enlighten causality between cannabis intake and acute cardiovascular events.”
Dec. 27, 2001 – Liliana Bachs, MD

[Editor’s Note: Dr. Bachs clarified the findings from her Dec. 27, 2001 study reported above in a Nov. 28, 2005 email to ProCon.org, as quoted below.

“Causality is a difficult assessment in forensic toxicology. It is often an ‘exclusion diagnosis,’ and so it is in our cases. I’m therefore not sure about how to classify those deaths.

At the time I published that study I would probably not classify [the cannabis] as primary causation because it was not broadly accepted that [a death from cannabis] could occur at all. Today I see reports coming all the time that acknowledge cannabis cardiovascular risks, and the situation may be different.”]

Stephen Sidney, MD, Associate Director for Clinical Research at Kaiser Permanente, wrote the following in his Sep. 20, 2003 article titled “Comparing Cannabis with Tobacco — Again,” published in the British Medical Journal:

“No acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known, in contrast to several of its illegal (for example, cocaine) and legal (for example, alcohol, aspirin, acetaminophen) counterparts…

Although the use of cannabis is not harmless, the current knowledge base does not support the assertion that it has any notable adverse public health impact in relation to mortality.”
Sep. 20, 2003 – Stephen Sidney, MD


Joycelyn Elders, MD, former US Surgeon General, wrote the following in her Mar. 26, 2004 editorial published in the Providence Journal:

“Unlike many of the drugs we prescribe every day, marijuana has never been proven to cause a fatal overdose.”
Mar. 26, 2004 – Joycelyn Elders, MD

VII. Full Text of All 20 FDA “Adverse Event” Reports

[Please note that some of these PDF files exceed 5 megabytes and may take several minutes to load]

  1. Adderall (PDF 495 KB)
  2. Anzemet (PDF 1.5 MB)
  3. Baclofen (PDF 755 KB)
  4. Cannabinoids (PDF 65 KB)
  5. Cannabis (PDF 330 KB)
  6. Compazine (PDF 1.6 MB)
  7. Haldol (PDF 1.5 MB)

  1. Kytril (PDF 2.2 MB)
  2. Lithium (PDF 2.4 MB)
  3. Marijuana (PDF 220 KB)
  4. Marinol (PDF 535 KB)
  5. Neurontin (PDF 6.3 MB)
  6. Ritalin (PDF 1.6 MB)
  7. Reglan (PDF 1.5 MB)

  1. Tigan (PDF 2.4 MB)
  2. Viagra (PDF 7.6 MB)
  3. Vioxx (PDF 31.5 MB)
  4. Wellbutrin (PDF 8.3 MB)
  5. Zanaflex (PDF 6556 KB)
  6. Zofran (PDF 1 MB)

Dr. Bronner’s Ups Ante in Lawsuit Against ‘Organic’ Personal Care Cheaters

shampooDr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps filed its Second Amended Complaint today in San Francisco Superior Court against falsely labeled “organic” personal care companies that use non-organic pesticide-intensive agricultural and/or petrochemical material to make the main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients in their products. Defendants include, among others: Hain-Celestial (Jason “Pure, Natural & Organic; Avalon “Organics”); Levlad (Nature’s Gate “Organics”); Kiss My Face “Organic”; YSL Beaute Inc (Stella McCartney’s “100% Organic Active Ingredients”), Country Life (Desert Essence “Organics”); Giovanni “Organic Cosmetics”; and the certifiers Ecocert and OASIS.

Learn more

Soy May Protect Lungs from Chronic Disease

According to an article on the Times of India website, research shows consuming soy milk and tofu could cut down the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The study was led by Curtin University of Technology’s Andy Lee and his colleagues from Curtin’s Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) and representatives from four Japanese hospitals.
Internet Resources:
Article on the Times of India Website

California: Marijuana Smoke Added To State’s List Of Carcinogens

Sacramento, CA: The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the California Environmental Protection Agency have added marijuana smoke to the state’s list of official carcinogens, pursuant to Title27, California Code of Regulations, section 25305(a)(1).

Under state law, the Governor’s office is required to publish an annual list of chemicals that possess potential carcinogenic properties and/or are associated with reproductive toxicity, such as arsenic, lead, and tobacco smoke. Products containing such chemicals are required to carry warning labels. Business establishments with ten employees or more are also are mandated to post signs indicating whether there is a likelihood that an individual may be exposed to such chemicals while on the premises.

State environmental regulators determined that there is “limited” evidence “suggestive” that marijuana smoke exposure may be associated with an increased cancer risk in humans. Their review added, “[T]he similarities in chemical composition and in toxicological activity between marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke, and the presence of numerous carcinogens in marijuana (and tobacco) smoke, provide additional evidence of carcinogenicity.”

Presently, over 300 separate chemicals – including aspirin and alcoholic beverages – are designated as carcinogens under California law.

Labeling requirements for marijuana smoke will not take effect until June 2010. Neither marijuana nor edible products containing marijuana will be designated as carcinogens under state law.

Regulators made no official determination regarding the status of cannabis vapor, which does not contain combustion gases and has been determined to be a “safe and effective vehicle” for cannabis delivery in clinical trials.

Authors of the review did note that the largest population case-control study ever to assess the use of marijuana and lung cancer risk did not find a positive association between long-term cannabis smoking and cancer.

California NORML Coordinator Dale Geiringer said that the ruling did not come as a surprise because it has been well known for years that cannabis smoke contains known carcinogenic chemicals. However, he noted that the intake of these noxious chemicals “can be completely eliminated by vaporization or by consuming marijuana orally.”

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that it remains unclear what effect, if any, these new regulations will have on the dispensing of medical marijuana in California. “Since it is marijuana smoke, not marijuana per se, that is at issue here, it is not clear that legally operating medicinal cannabis dispensaries will have to alter their actions to comply with Prop. 65,” he said – noting that few such facilities allow patients to smoke cannabis on the premises. “Liquor stores are not required to post warnings on the premises just because they dispense alcohol, so why would medical cannabis dispensaries be treated any differently?”