War on Drugs

     The reason we can’t end the war on drugs is that if we did so then we’d have to fund the CIA fully with tax dollars.

     If we funded the CIA fully with tax dollars, the CIA would be forced to be accountable to congress and indirectly to citizens.

     Since that can’t happen in todays world, neither can an end to the drug war which keeps drug prices high enough that thousands of people are willing to kill for market share and the CIA can continue to generate sufficient revenue to fund all of it’s off the book projects such as the overthrow of foreign governments.

     Prohibition was an expensive and failed experiment, and so is the war on drugs.  In Washington State, more than a year after marijuana was legalized, the results have been very positive.  In Portugal where ALL drugs have been decriminalized since 2000, it has been a very successful experiment and one that should be replicated here.

     One very negative effect of the drug war here is that many substances which have substantial medical potential get placed on schedule one in spite of meeting NONE of the requirements of being on that schedule and can’t even be studied in the United States.

     A good example are hallucinogenics.  Hallucinogenics work by increasing serotonin often selectively in a way that doesn’t cause serotonin syndrome as excessive SSRIs can.  At sub-hallucinogenic doses they can be extremely effective as antidepressants and generally lift mood, creativity, and functionality in depressive individuals.  The increase in serotonin also causes an increase in neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons in the brain. They can also be very effective at eliminating addictions to other substances ranging from alcohol to heroin.

     Some hallucinogenics, particularly psilocybin, have been shown to increase neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus resulting in improvements in memory and mood, and the effects are not just immediate but long term in nature.

     Likewise, cannabinoids have been shown to promote neurogenesis.

     There are many other substances that end up on schedule 1 that clearly have medical uses but these can’t be adequately proven because schedule 1 prevents even research uses.  Some of these substances might help people with serious diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and other forms of dementia if they could be studied.  Even where these substances can’t be used because of side effects, often subtle tweaking of molecules can eliminate those but this is prevented by the analog drugs act.

    With a rapidly aging population, cures and prevention of dementia in the elderly should be a priority.  Our current drug laws place a significant restraint in finding and developing these cures.

    Another area where some of these substances may have application is in the arena of improving fluid intelligence and brain plasticity.  As we age these things decline, but our environment is changing rapidly and the need for these capacities is greater than ever.  We often say that old people are set in their ways.  What this really means is that they have a difficult time creating new memories and eliminating outdated information.  Some of these substances show great promise in those areas.

     Our current drug policies are insane.  End the needless violence, death, and inability for research to be conducted.  End the break-up of families caused by people being imprisoned for possessing a substance.  This is NOT something that should be happening in the land of the “free”.

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