Personal Notes on Malaysian Kratom

Something that has always been true to my experience, yet that I’ve only heard other people talk about is the variability of effects in some Malaysian strains. Over the past few years, I have had plenty of different Malysian strains, and either they are awesome, or the don’t affect me at all. Not only this, but some malay strains that affect me wonderfully don’t affect others at all, and vice versa.

I’m very interested in this, because on the little kratom research that has been done, it has the most unique set of alkaloids — typically being very high in mitragynine, and lower in 7-oh-mitragynine, however, instead of the traditional mitragynine energetic effects, some even tend to make me sluggish. I would like to get more input on this topic, and if any of you have any personal experiences on this matter, I would definitely be up for hearing about it. Feel free to email me at admin@gsaalter——.com

What is the Best Kratom Extract?

best kratom extractThere are plenty of kratom extracts available, ranging from UEI to resins, but not all are alike when it comes to effectiveness and effects. Because of the big variations in alkaloid levels of different leaves and methods of extraction, the resulting product can vary dramatically, not to mention the difference between different vendors and technique. These factors can make it quite difficult to find the best kratom extract for your needs. For this reason, I’ll give a bit of my own experience with each of these different types of extracts


While not the most common type of extract, tinctures can be quite effective. However, not all tinctures are made alike. Of all the different types of extracts, in my experience, tinctures have been the most variable in potency. While I have tried isolate extracts, such as 7-hydroxymitragynine, they haven’t been quite effect, and I believe the reason for this is poor extraction technique. Because full spectrum tinctures are easier to create, I have had much better and more stable effects from them.

UEI/Enhanced Leaf

This variety of extract is by far one of the most common, and has been by far the most potent for me. While I’m not sure the exact reason, I speculate that it is due to the balance of alkaloids provided from the plain leaf mixed with a more focused extract, higher in 7-ohm. If you decide to use this extract, make sure you keep your dose low until you know how it effects you.


Resin extracts are quite common, and are pretty cheap in comparison to many other extracts. While this variety of extract isn’t the most potent, they are easy to make and reliable. However, as mentioned here, at higher doses, similar to plain leaf, side effects can often occur.

Powdered Extracts

Powdered extracts were once quite common, but haven’t been used as much recently. However, there are still some great ones floating around. With these extracts, I don’t suggest using them alone, as I have tried this and had lackluster results. However, by mixing these extracts in various amounts with plain leaf, you can get much more from your extract. Interestingly, I have had noticed that even with small amounts of different varieties of plain leaf mixed in, you can change the effects of the extract a decent bit.

When it comes to different vendors, it may take a little bit of legwork in order to know what the best kratom extract is for you. I have had the best results with UEI and by mixing powdered extracts with plain leaf, but it may be very different for you. I would note, however, that it likely isn’t a good idea to overdo kratom extracts, as they can have some pretty bad effects on your tolerance, which I know from experience.

Extracts can be great, but it is best not to overdo them.

Kratom Potentiators

While this post is going to be pretty brief, I have been toying with kratom potentiators for the last few months and have had some pretty good results. Here are some of the top potentiators that I’ve used.

White Grapefruit Juice

Certain compounds in white grapefruit (especially in the rind), are quit good at inhibiting certain enzymatic processes. One of such enzymes is responsible for breaking down the active alkaloids in kratom. Because of this, using grapefruit can not only potentiate kratom, by slowing down the break-down process, but also make the experience last longer.

Cat’s Claw

Cat’s claw is a fairly effective anti-depressant and anxiety reducer in itself, but the primary purpose for using it in potentiation is that it is a NMDA agonist. Like many other NMDA agonists, the can reduce and prevent the build up of tolerance. If taken for a few weeks alongside kratom, you may see a significant increase in potency of kratom — definitely good for improving the pain relief properties of kratom.

Ashwagandha Plant


While I’m not sure of the exact mechanism of action of Ashwagandha, besides its activity at the gaba receptors, I have had great experiences mixing it with kratom. For me it tends to make my burns more energetic and clean, and last longer. Definitely worth a shot, as it is a great herb on its own — definitely worth taking daily.

Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms Guide

kratom withdrawal symptomsI had someone who is a daily kratom user (deals with chronic pain), ask me recently about kratom withdrawal symptoms. Now this is a topic not many people want to talk about, and for good reason, as all of the symptoms of kratom withdrawal are quite mild in comparison to other varieties of withdrawal. In fact, it is so mild, that people liken it to quitting drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverage, however, this doesn’t mean that one should use kratom recklessly, as everyone may be affected differently.


Withdrawal Symptoms

I have dealt with mild kratom withdrawal a few times, but it was barely noticeable until I stopped to consider the fact that I was off of kratom, potentially being only a placebo effect. However, from user experiences, there are a few symptoms that tend to be characteristic of abruptly ceasing high doses of kratom. Some of these symptoms include

  1. Watery eyes
  2. Yawning
  3. Sleep feels less restful
  4. Feeling cold/hot (almost like a very mild fever)

As you may have noticed, none of these symptoms are too severe, and anyone who has dropped caffeine entirely has a general estimate of how uncomfortable the experience will be.

The duration of kratom withdrawal symptoms is quite short in comparison to many other withdrawal syndromes, typically lasting only 3 or so days, with very mild lingering effects for the next 2 or so days afterwards. Some reports on kratom withdrawal symptoms vary, such a this one, so it is a good idea to read about different effects people have encountered. Many people, however, have stopped year long, daily use of kratom without any symptoms at all, so it is hard to give a good estimate of what you will experience, as it tends to be very variable from person to person.

For those who are familiar with opiate withdrawal symptoms, you may notice that kratom is fairly similar, however, it tends to be much much more mild.

How to Avoid It

So by now I have described in general the symptoms of kratom withdrawal, though I haven’t told you how to avoid it. The solution is quite simple, just reduce your kratom intake to reasonable levels. I have found that staggering doses or reducing dosage tends to be quite effective. I regularly take kratom tolerance breaks, not because I want to avoid withdrawal, but because I want the effects of kratom to remain as strong as possible.

Basically, the bottom line is to use your common sense. Those who have had addictions and withdrawals in the past should tread more carefully in this territory, as it seems that they are more susceptible to withdrawal symptoms.

Review – Red Vein Thai by Sacred Plant Life

So, as you may have noticed, I have been on a real review kick over the past few weeks, something which I think I will be doing a lot more often. While I typically tend to back away from Thai strains, RVT by SPL is a very notable exception. I first ordered this strain around 8 months ago, and may have gotten a weaker batch, but it was still a notably good kratom. However, deciding to try my luck again, I decided to purchase some more. This time was exceptional.

The energy from this strain is fantastically clean, similar to SPL’s MDB which is sedatingly clean. The two strains are extremely similar, but where the Thai gives energy, the MDB gives sedation. I have been mixing this strain with my LTM from KD if I’m feeling chipper, and the combination of the two provides a great experience.

This strain I would give a 8/10 on energy, 8/10 on mood and 8/10 on pain relief (exceptional for a Thai), yet the clean feeling of the strain is unparalleled even at high doses, which is what makes it so special in my opinion. Definitely a morning/mid day kratom strain.

A Guide to White Vein Kratom

Almost everyone who uses kratom knows that the plant (mitragyna speciosa) comes in three primary vein colors: red, green and white. The interesting thing about kratom is that each of these different vein types tend to have slightly different effects and alkaloid profiles.

Today, I will talk about white vein kratom, which is one of my personal favorites. When I first started taking kratom, I didn’t tend to enjoy them much, but over the years as I became more experienced with kratom, I realized my initial impression was dead wrong. Now I incorporate it into nearly every day with great effects.

white vein kratom

The Effects

Whites are quite different from both red and green vein strains in effect. If kratom vein types were represented as a spectrum, Red would be on the left (sedating), green would be in the middle, and white would be on the right (stimulating). However, this isn’t a full description of this variety of kratom’s effects. However, some of the prominent effects of this vein type are:

  1. Energy
  2. Focus
  3. Flow
  4. Pain Relief (milder)
  5. Endurance


One of the most important hallmarks of this variety of kratom is energy. With a good one, you can completely ignore your morning coffee and get right into action, likely much more productively than if you had substituted it for coffee. The energetic effects of white vein kratom tend to last a while and have few side effects.


One of the most important things that I have noticed about this vein type is the focus that they provide. With a strong Bali, such as LTM, or other red veins, my focus can often deteriorate unless I’m actively pushing against that. Whereas with whites, the focus that they promote feels natural and lasts a long time. This is especially effective for me, because anyone that knows me knows that I’m not a morning person, yet with a strong white vein, I am.


While this one is quite hard to describe, and tends to go hand-in-hand with focus, it is quite different. With white vein kratom, if I am doing anything creative, I tend to get absorbed in the process fully and can move some mountains, and a few other people have noticed this uniquely white vein effect. In my case, I am a programmer, and tend to have a detachment from my work, as it can be tedious, but with a the right strain my ability to innovate is definitely improved.

Pain Relief

While not as prominent as red or green veins in pain relief potential, this vein type can certainly be helpful. For example, white vein borneo strains can provide very nice pain relief, and a feeling of mental clarity.


To me it seems that the combination of pain relief potential and energy creates a significant endurance, even when doing tedious work. Without a good white vein, I tend to get bored, even find myself walking around the house for no apparent reason at times, just to take a small break from a mentally intensive problem. With a good white, however, I recognize that the fastest way out is through, and can really get stuff done.

White vein kratom went from being my least favorite to one of my favorite varieties once I really understood how the effects were impacting me. Take note that this variety tends to be more subtle and harder to recognize its effects at first, but over time it really starts to shine.




Review – Maeng Da Borneo by Sacred Plant Life

While I recently posted a little review on LTM by Kratom Delight, another favorite kratom of mine for the evenings is Maeng Da Borneo. While it isn’t as in your face warm/fuzzy as LTM, it is one of the cleanest and potent Borneos I’ve experienced in a long long time. In the name of science, I have taken upwards of 10/12 grams without wobbles or any other side effects, though your mileage may vary.

I would describe this strain as extremely clean with 8/10 sedation and 9/10 pain relief and 8.5/10 for mood, and I rarely rate kratom that high unless I find something I truly love.

Since I have been using this strain, I’ve encountered that each batch is slightly different, even despite that, I haven’t yet been disappointed at all. Hats off to Gary.

Kratom Thread on Pain Management

As you might now, I’m a constant peruser of kratom connoisseurs forums (if you don’t have an account, definitely register). One of the best threads that I have found on the board is about pain management which you can find here. This thread is jam-packed with different information on best strains, rotations, doses, vein types as well as a ton of personal experiences. While I don’t deal with pain, I’ve gone through all 5 pages worth and found a lot of great info that has helped me help others when it comes to getting a good strain for pain relief.

IMO, if you’re dealing with pain of any sort and are open to trying kratom, definitely check this post out.

Who is the Best Kratom Vendor?

There has been a lot of fierce debate, and likely will continue to be, about who the best kratom vendor is or is not. However, a lot of the arguments that I have encountered have been quite misguided for one reason. The reason is that over time, kratom strains wax and wane in potency. While some vendors may have great kratom one month, their supply next month may not be as potent. This variability in product is not strictly common to kratom, but to all agricultural suppliers. Because of this, this guide to the best kratom vendors will likely be fairly short-lived in effect, though I will try to update it as often as possible.Rainforest massive trees

Top Kratom Vendors

Because kratom vendors vary in strains and amounts, I’m going to split up this vendor discussion into two separate groups, bulk/wholesale kratom and retail.


1. Mmmspeciosa

The kratom vendor, Mmm, Speciosa, has been around for a long time and continues to have consistently decent kratom. Their primary quality is that they are very quick to adapt when their kratom starts to slip in quality, and definitely one of my top picks.

2. Speciosa Gardens

Speciosa Gardens is a relatively new vendor, but they have really great leaf in variable quantities at decent prices. They are resellers of Kratom Delight, but also have a variety of other great strains. For Bali lovers, I highly suggest their Liang Teh Merah (LTM).

3.  Herb Research

Although Herb Research no longer accepts new users, they are definitely on my list. They have some fantastic extracts and leaf, but the prices tend to be a good bit higher than many other vendors. If you get a chance, definitely check them out.


1. Sacred Plant Life

Of all current kratom wholesalers, Sacred Plant Life is my top pick. They have a v ariety of different strains, from different locations, and have some great prices. I definitely suggest their Maeng Da Borneo.

2. Buy-Kratom.Us

Buy-kratom is a relatively new company, but is quite cheap for some decent leaf — all based in the United States, like SPL.


Tips and Advice

If you’re looking for the best kratom vendor, I definitely suggest you start with these. There is a great article on detailing some key ways to find the best kratom vendor. One of the best tips that Enso offers is to check out reviews, and with this I highly agree. He gives a few sources, such as kcforums which are invaluable when looking to find some good leaf and vendors that fit what you’re looking for.

I wish you only the best and hope you find a great kratom vendor

Review – My Experiences with LTM (Liang Teh Merah)

LTMOver the past few years, I have tried more strains of kratom than I would dare counting, and every once in a while, a strain just blows you away. This kratom strain is LTM from kratom delight and is one of the most unique I’ve encountered. This kratom, can also be found resold through Speciosa Gardens, for those looking to buy in lesser quantities.

LTM is like a Bali, only so much moreso. This red veined kratom is a mammoth of sedation, so be careful if you decide to use it before doing anything important. I’ve tended to use it as an evening ritual over the past year, whereas I tend to stick with more stimulating types throughout the day. Of all the strains that I have tried, with one exception no longer on the market, LTM is bar none. The only downside is that it will give you killer wobbles at higher doses, so be careful with it.

Anyone interested in a great Bali, definitely check it out.

Florida Kratom Bill – Looking Better

As many of you may know, a new maverick congresswomen decided to make her first bill proposal ever: to ban kratom in FL. Luckily, this bill was shot down. Instead, they have proposed to enact some research on kratom and decide in around one year’s time what to do about the plant. You can read the full article here

This is good news, and hopefully by the end of the year, they’ll enact reasonable regulations, or none at all, instead of an outright ban.

What is a Kratom Hangover?

Although I spend most of my time on this blog posting about my beloved cannabis, today I’d like to talk about my other lesser known plant ally, kratom. Although I could talk for days about the benefits of kratom, such as pain relief, mild euphoria, focus, etc, today I’m going to talk about the lesser known subject of a kratom hangover.

For those who haven’t heard of kratom, hangover like effects are very rare, and I wouldn’t want to scare you off. In fact, for almost everyone who has tried kratom, only a very miniscule portion ever experience a kratom hangover, and I experienced my first one with over a year of kratom use, hence this post.

kratom hangover


What is a Kratom Hangover?

While I will attempt not to go into too much depth about kratom hangovers (if you want depth, check out this article) I’d like to go over the basics. The first thing to note is that a kratom hangover is not like an alcohol hangover, and the mechanism of action is completely different: no acetaldehyde in this one. Instead a hangover from kratom only resembles a hangover in a few effects, some of which include

  1. Mild Headache
  2. Lethargy
  3. Nausea (rare)

These side effects typically only occur after a heavy night of kratom usage, much more than the suggested doses. Additionally, it seems from my experience that these effects tend to occur more in stimulating varieties of kratom and may have to do with dehydration. I am a very hydrated individual (love me some water), and this may account for the fact that I hadn’t experienced a kratom hangover until several days ago.

How to Avoid One

From my experience combined with the reports of others who have experienced this phenomenon, it is quite easy to avoid a kratom hangover. There are a few common sense tricks to avoid these hangovers.

1. Stay Hydrated

While this should go without saying, keeping hydrated is key when it comes to avoiding a kratom hangover. This is especially important when using more stimulating strains, like maeng da or thai, as they tend to make you sweat a little bit more, and you tend to expend more energy.

2. Avoid Overuse

One of the key reasons that people get a kratom hangover is because they overdo kratom. This isn’t necessary for a few reasons, the first reason is that it doesn’t tend to make the kratom experience more enjoyable or euphoric, and additionally, more side effects occur at higher doses, making it fairly useless to take more than a reasonable dose. Definitely check out this video on dosage for new users.

3. Know your Body

This one ties in with avoid overuse pretty well. Before deciding to use a massive dose of kratom, it is a good idea to know exactly how your body reacts to kratom. By starting with smaller doses and working your way up, you’ll find a sweet spot and exceeding that amount can cause side effects. By doing this, you’ll have a much better gauge and keep from getting a kratom hangover.

By following these rules, you should be able to avoid a kratom hangover fairly easily.


Pros and Cons of Wildcrafted and Plantation Kratom

I recently read a post, you can guess the forum, where a few individuals were debating what is better — wildcrafted or plantation kratom. Now, obviously there is a big variability in the methods that these plants are grown and picked, but each one has their own benefits and downsides.

Wildcrafted Kratom

Before I start, I will say that my absolute favorite type of strain (LTM) is wildcrafted, so in my book that is a big plus. However, to be fair, some of the worst I have had was also wildcrafted. The problem, and also the benefit, of wildcrafted kratom is that it varies dramatically from location to location and from supplier to supplier. There are some individuals who are lucky to live quite close to an ideal environment for kratom growth, and can get some very strong leaf. The problem, however, is that some wildcrafters aren’t too selective in their methods.


Plantation Kratom

From my personal experience, plantation kratom is far more standardized than its wildcrafted brother. This lends to a dramatically increased stability in potency from batch to batch. My second favorite variety of kratom is a plantation kratom, so there is plenty potential in it. If it is done right, plantation kratom can be great for daily use, as you will know what to expect and how it will affect you much more than its wildcrafted alternative, however, you won’t experience the massive highs, but also not the massive lows.

Both varieties of kratom are unique and are definitely worth their salt, so the difference depends on each individual. Would you prefer highs and lows or a dependable variety? I say both.

Keep Plants Legal

Anyone watching the news recently knows how the war against plants has been inflated to ridiculous proportions, and while the content of this website is primarily about cannabis and medical marijuana, I feel it would be good to switch gears and take a more broad stance toward the illeglization of medicinal herbs, cannabis still being the primary focus.

The other plant we’ve seen under fire recently is known as kratom, latin name Mitragyna Speciosa.  Kratom has been used for thousands of years as an effective painkiller and is part of the rubiceae coffee family. Kratom has been effective for thousands who deal with chronic pain and even has a great record of helping opiate addicts break their addiction.

Despite these beneficial properties, kratom has fallen into negative media publicity and several states have enacted laws to prohibit the use of kratom and some states have even made kratom illegal within their confines, as the pharmaceutical industry nudged congressmen to include kratom in with the various “bath salt” acts to fend off potential competition.

You can expect I will be providing some more information on the legal status of kratom along with information about marijuana, feel free to offer your opinions.

Medical Marijuana and Dr. Oz: Shame for Misinformation Propaganda

dr oz marijuanaDr. Phil Leveque

Dr. Oz, you probably are a good surgeon but Marijuana therapeutics is obviously NOT your forte.

(MOLALLA, Ore.) – Dr. Oz, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read The Oregonian Dec. 15, 2010 with the headline for your article Medical Marijuana Is Not An All-Purpose Healer. I have no idea who flummoxed you into writing this but as a physician from Turkey you should know better. Marijuana has been used as medicine in your country, Turkey, for at least 1000 years. Here for only 200.

I have been a Pharmacology & Toxicology professor for 50 years. I’m going down your list and correcting you about Marijuana’s usefulness:

(1) for Cancer pain it is better than most opiates

(2) for nausea of Cancer and HIV/AIDS it is better than most anti-emetics AND anti-nausea medicines

(3) for anorexia of Cancer and HIV/AIDS it can’t be beat

(4) for nerve pain it is better than most opiates

I will continue to correct you as I follow your article. It can be smoked (not recommended – use a vaporizer instead!) and can be eaten in lemon bars or any other cookie or cake. “Hand rolled” joints are passé – use a vaporizer, it’s much better.

Marijuana/Cannabis does cause vasodilation and recent medical articles indicate it IS good for high blood pressure. It is excellent for diabetic neuropathy which is very painful. It has been found useful for Alzheimers rage.

Marijuana/Cannabis has effectively supplemented many standard pharmaceuticals (search my article Marijuana Replaces Many Drugs).

You refer to Marijuana Carcinogens. Using a vaporizer eliminates them producing beneficial medicine ONLY. Tobacco kills millions. Marijuana never killed anybody.

Modern U.S. medical literature sponsored & paid for by U.S. Government prints only bad stuff about Cannabis. I have about 5000 Medical Marijuana patients and none ever reported anything about heart attacks. As far as “brain drain” is concerned it is a mild inebriant, call it tipsy. I had about 50 Multiple Sclerosis patients. They prefer it to ANY other medicine.

Weakend Immunity System has been studied in HIV/AIDS patients. Marijuana is probable neutral on this.

Lung damage is another “red herring”. Use a vaporizer and eliminate this.

You tout Marinol pills. In effective doses, it causes anxiety reactions and panic attacks. These are not helpful.

Dr. Oz, you probably are a good surgeon but Marijuana therapeutics is obviously NOT your forte.

Lawmakers Reject Christie Administration’s Draconian Medical Marijuana Regulations

chris christieSenate lawmakers voted on Monday, December 13 in favor of a concurrent resolution that forces the Department of Healthand Senior Services to revise draft regulations regarding the implementation of the New Jersey Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act. Assembly lawmakers had previously approved the resolution in November.

The Department now has 30 days to rewrite the regulations. (You can read NORML’s critique of the draft regulations here.) “Failure to publish proposed rules that are consistent with the intent of the legislature may result in the legislature passing a concurrent resolution to prohibit those proposed rules from taking effect in whole or in part,” the resolutions states.

Lawmakers, patients, and reform activists took issue with several aspects of the draft regulations, which they argued violated the intent of New Jersey’s yet-to-be implemented medical marijuana law. These included provisions:

  • requiring qualifying patients to establish that their diagnosed condition has proven resistant to all other conventional therapies;
  • capping the number of state-licensed medical cannabis producers to no more than two;
  • restricting the varieties of marijuana available to patients to six strains, and capping the plant’s THC content at ten percent;
  • prohibiting the dissemination of any edible medical cannabis product;
  • mandating that doctors who authorize their patients to use marijuana must “make reasonable efforts” at least every three months to wean them off the drug.

Earlier this month, Gov. Chris Christie – who has previously voiced disapproval of the state’s nascent medical cannabis law – agreed to allow for establishment of six licensed facilities to produce and dispense marijuana to authorized patients, and loosen the eligibility requirements for specific patients. The Senate’s vote today indicates that lawmakers will demand the administration to make additional changes regarding how the law is ultimately implemented.

Chris Goldstein of New Jersey NORML and the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey said: “[We are] pleased that the New Jersey Legislature heard the concerns of severely ill residents in the continued fight for fair and legal access to marijuana. The vote today sends a strong message to the Department of Health and Senior Services as well as Governor Christie that officials need to craft more reasonable rules for the medical cannabis program. This can only be accomplished by engaging in a transparent process that involves patients and advocates.”

NORML would like to thank everyone who wrote e-mails or called their NJ state lawmakers and urged them to support this important resolution.

For more information or to get involved, contact NORML New Jersey or the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey.

The NORML Team

Marijuana Compounds for Multiple Sclerosis

marijuana for multiple sclerosisMedical marijuana has a variety of potential uses. For multiple sclerosis patients, I found 12 clinical trials listed at involving marijuana for the treatment of muscle spasticity or neuropathic pain. The drug forms include Sativex, Marinol, smoked cannabis, and standardized cannabis extract.

Spasticity is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. It is characterized by an involuntary increase in muscle tone or rapid muscle contractions. Neuropathic pain is associated with many conditions. Inflammation of the neurons has been reported to be a possible cause of symptoms in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions.

Drugs currently in use provide symptom relief for some patients withmultiple sclerosis, but are not effective for everyone. Side effects further limit their usefulness. Marijuana is commonly used as an alternative therapy. Studies with animal models suggest that the cannabis ingredients may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce symptoms.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two ingredients of marijuana which are available in the prescription drug Sativex, which is approved for use in the United Kingdom but still in clinical trials in the United States. A recent review article reports that the combination may reduce symptoms of spasticity in patients withmultiple sclerosis. This conclusion is based on the analysis of six double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. The authors note that careful monitoring of symptoms and side effects is important to find the optimum dose for each individual.

Synthetic THC alone is legally available in the United States in the drug Marinol. Some therapeutic benefit has been reported in multiple sclerosis patients, but the side effects were a significant concern. CBD is reported to reduce the levels of THC in the brain and produce a more tolerable treatment with less of a psychotropic side effect. Many patients report that smoked marijuana provides better therapy than THC pills. The Sativex combination drug, which is available as an oral spray, is an attempt to correct the limitations of the Marinol pill.

If you have multiple sclerosis and live in the United States, you may want to ask your doctor about the clinical trials for marijuana that are still recruiting participants.

Marijuana Not as Dangerous as Most Legal Drugs

marijuana not as dangerous as legal drugsI sat on my couch for more than 30 minutes, trying to come up with a great introduction to segue into my actual argument for this column, but I really have no other way to start this than to just come out and say what I think: the federal government needs to legalize pot.

There. Now that I can officially be branded a stoner, a hippie, young liberal trash or a drug advocate — none of which I actually am — I can present a few reasonable, mature points as to why marijuana should be made legal for the good will and sake of American society, not because it just sounds like a fun thing to do.

Medical marijuana use is currently legal in 15 states, including Washington, D.C., since Arizona voters approved the drug last month, according to a Nov. 14 Associated Press article. The benefits of using THC to combat pain caused by disease have been documented numerous times in recent decades.

A study conducted in February 2009 by the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology called “Smoked Medicinal Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain in HIV” found that 46 percent of patients suffering with pain due to HIV experienced at least a 30-percent reduction in their physical pain after being treated with cannabis.

The fact that marijuana has a bad reputation for being a recreational street drug is overshadowing the actual scientific evidence that marijuana can easily and safely attach to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and effectively reduce pain to those who are suffering.

We as a nation use opiates like those found in heroin to treat pain; we give our children Ritalin, which is practically a mild dose of cocaine, to treat attention deficit disorder; we expose ourselves to radiation to treat cancer; and we will willingly inject all number of things into our bodies simply for cosmetic purposes.

And that is OK. These products work and are effective for millions of people. Where would we be without hydrocodone pills after an injury or surgery? I am glad these drugs are available in this great country of ours. But when looking at the chemicals and active ingredients in many of the most popular pain relievers, how are they any better or worse for you than a hit of pot?

In fact, studies have shown that marijuana use is actually less damaging to the body than either alcohol or tobacco. There are almost no cases of lung cancer being caused by marijuana, whereas tobacco accounts for the majority of lung cancer cases, according to the May 12, 2009, CBS News column “Make Marijuana Legal” by Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

In addition, marijuana has not been found to be addictive, it is not associated with violent behavior and people who smoke weed have not been shown to be sexually reckless. It is difficult to say this for other substances, especially alcohol, which is not even remotely close to being taboo anymore. In 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s administrative law judge, Francis Young, went as far as to make the statement, “Marijuana may well be the safest psychoactive substance commonly used in human history.” Just because it is illegal does not mean that it is a bad idea to reverse marijuana’s status at a federal level.

Some critics might argue that legalizing cannabis would just encourage more drug use and make Americans into lazy potheads. Here’s the cold fact: people smoke weed anyway.

The July 11, 2008, online Time Magazine article, “Smoking Pot: An American Pastime” by Sarah N. Lynch, states that 42 percent of people in America have smoked pot at least once in their lifetime. That’s nearly half of the entire population. According to an April 20 CBS News article by Stephanie Condon, 44 percent of Americans think that marijuana should be taxed and regulated, just like alcohol or cigarettes.

If marijuana were legal, there would be less danger with people sneaking it around and selling it; more people who are in need of pain management would have a new, more natural option; and the economy would benefit from the extra tax revenue.

The biggest issue with marijuana in America right now is the fact that is isn’t legal, and therefore, it automatically gets grouped into an unwholesome category without even being given a second thought. It is time to face the facts and realize that legalizing pot is not just an incentive to get stoned and throw a Woodstock revival every weekend. There are many benefits that the United States as a nation could reap from putting aside our speculations and preconceived notions about weed and treat it like we do so many other substances available to the public.