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This medical marijuana start-up uses artificial intelligence to find which strain is best for you

6/26/17--Potbot uses artificial intelligence to "read" through peer-reviewed medical journals to find studies on cannabinoids, the active compounds in marijuana. Using the research, it pairs 37 symptoms like insomnia, asthma, and cancer with branded marijuana strains to find which type of weed is best suited to treat each one. Read

Marijuana tied to more Colorado collisions but not fatalities, pair of studies says

6/26/17--Two new studies receiving a flurry of news coverage appeared contradictory: An insurance-industry nonprofit found that collision claims had increased in states that legalized marijuana compared to others, while a paper published in an academic journal found no link between legalization and traffic fatalities. Yet, according to Morgan Fox, senior communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, the studies aren't necessarily conflicting because they were looking at two different things: collisions and fatal accidents. Fox further expresses that the problem is they both attempt to show a causation where one doesn’t exist. Read

Addiction medicine experts push back against AHCA’s Medicaid cuts

6/19/17--The first meeting of the Trump administration’s commission on opioids centered on a key topic: the American Health Care Act and proposed cuts to Medicaid within the bill. Though concerns about Medicaid cuts were at the forefront of discussions at the commission’s two-hour meeting, the nine-person panel also sounded off on evidence-based medicine, ways to increase first responders’ access to key drugs like naloxone, and how to make it easier for families to access resources if they’re coping with a relative’s addiction. Read

Advocates are inspiring members of Congress to champion national CBD oil legalization

6/26/17--Paige Figi, founder and executive director of the Coalition for Access Now, a national nonprofit organization that lobbies on behalf of hemp and CBD legalization, is one of several advocates who has thrown her weight behind efforts in Congress to remove CBD — and plants rich in cannabidiol and low in intoxicating THC — from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Some organizations and institutions remain bound by the Controlled Substances Act, even in states where medical marijuana is legal. Read

Roger Stone urges Trump to not interfere with states that have legalized marijuana

6/24/17--Former Donald Trump presidential campaign advisor Roger Stone is calling on the president to uphold his pre-election promise regarding marijuana legalization as his attorney general appears closer than ever to reining in states with legal weed. Stone recently formed a pro-marijuana lobbying group, the United States Cannabis Coalition, and its main purpose is ensuring the president keeps his campaign promise with respect to legalization, particularly in the face of recent comments made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggesting otherwise. Read

Weed fraud: Are you getting cheated?

6/22/17--Many of the states that have legalized marijuana now require tests for potency and purity to ensure that consumers know exactly what they’re buying when they visit a dispensary. But, the labs that conduct these tests are governed by rules that vary widely from state to state, and there are concerns within the industry that unscrupulous labs are operating without adequate oversight and colluding with growers to falsify results. Read

Bid to legalize marijuana in Vermont goes up in smoke

6/22/17--A measure that would have made Vermont the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the state legislature died in a special session after a quiet lobbying campaign by legalization opponents. The bill, which had passed the state Senate, did not earn enough votes in the state House to win fast-track status. Read

How six senators are leading the fight for federally legal weed

6/22/17--There's a growing core group of senators who are urging the federal government to catch up with the states when it comes to medical marijuana. A bipartisan and ideologically diverse group of six senators introduced legislation that would allow the laws legalizing medical marijuana in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam to supersede the current federal prohibition on weed. It also would make it easier for epilepsy patients and veterans to access medical marijuana, while loosening restrictions on researching weed. Read

Two U.S. studies differ over effects of marijuana on drivers

6/22/17--A study by the American Journal of Public Health and another study by the Highway Loss Data Institute examined the effects of marijuana on drivers in states where it is allowed for recreational use. Both studies came to different conclusions about whether it increases risks behind the wheel. Read

PNC Bank is closing the Marijuana Policy Project’s account

6/22/17--PNC Bank is closing its account with an influential marijuana legalization group, the Marijuana Policy Project. The group claims it's being singled out because of its ties to the pot industry. Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert said he wonders why a bank would have a problem dealing with an organization that receives money from marijuana businesses when those businesses pay taxes. Read

Seminole chief to help other tribes grow legal weed

6/22/17--James Billie, an ex-chief of the Seminole Tribe, plans to help other Native American groups grow and sell tax-free marijuana in states where it's legal. Billie has teamed up with Electrum Partners, a finance firm specializing in the legal marijuana industry, to seek out tribes in states that have good land for growing weed. They want to focus on all aspects of the cannabis industry, from medical uses to hemp. Read

Americans don’t like the media, but they’re cool with reporters getting high

6/22/17--Drug testing is fairly common for media positions. Yet, drug tests in media strike many observers as odd, given that reporters typically don't do the things traditionally associated with workplace drug testing, like operating heavy machinery or driving buses full of schoolchildren. According to a national survey administered by SurveyUSA, half of Americans said that journalists should be able to use marijuana where it's legal to do so. Thirty-five percent, on the other hand, said newspapers should “punish” journalists who use pot. Read

Losing train of thought or it’s hard to multi-task? You may be having one drink too many

6/20/17--Impairments using information that help with decision-making and planning simple tasks are linked with one's frequency of alcohol or drug use. A new study shows that cognitive impairments constitute a broader problem among substance users in the US general population. This is the first study to find associations between deficits in attention with frequency of binge drinking and use of marijuana, cocaine, opioids, tranquilizers, and stimulants in the general population ages 18 and older. Read

Crash claims up 2.7 percent in first states to legalize pot

6/22/17-- A recent insurance study links increased car crash claims to legalized recreational marijuana. The Highway Loss Data Institute, a leading insurance research group, said in study results that collision claims in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon went up 2.7 percent in the years since legal recreational marijuana sales began when compared with surrounding states. Read

High Times: a look at weed tax laws across the country

6/21/17--A bill that would increase the tax rate on recreational marijuana from 12 percent to 28 percent sparked controversy when it was introduced in the Massachusetts House. Advocates who want to preserve the legalization law approved by voters say the tax rate pushed by the House would contribute to illegal sales by increasing the price of legal pot. Supporters of the House measure claim it would keep marijuana out of the hands of minors by sharply limiting advertising and putting more restrictions on edibles. Read

Recent cases raise questions about cannabis regulation corruption, ethics

6/21/17--Recent cases in Colorado and Washington are the first known instances of current or former pot regulators being accused of having improper dealings with the industry. The two recreational marijuana states are the nation’s oldest, approving legal weed in defiance of federal law in 2012. A pair of cases several years into the legal-weed experiment casts a dark cloud over all marijuana regulators and fuel old fears about the criminal element’s influence. Read

How to deliver a more persuasive message regarding addiction as a medical disorder

6/19/17--This commentary suggests that the problem with identifying addiction as a legitimate medical disorder which should be compassionately addressed as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem may be in the messaging. Furthermore, it states that it would be more persuasive if addiction was recognized as being different from most medical disorders because of its high negative externalities, and that this makes the public more scared of and angry about addiction than they are about conditions like asthma, type II diabetes, and hypertension. Read

The AP learns to talk about addiction. Will other media follow?

6/6/17--The Associated Press took an important step in recognizing people with addiction as having a medical problem, not a moral one. The new edition of its widely used AP Stylebook declares that “addict” should no longer be used as a noun. “Instead,” it says, “choose phrasing like he was addicted, people with heroin addiction or he used drugs.” In short, separate the person from the disease. The style guide also clarifies other important language to maximize precision and reduce bias in addiction coverage. Read

Ex-Jet DE Washington, state Senator work to destigmatize cannabis

6/18/17--New York State Senator Diane Savino and former Jets defensive end Marvin Washington are leading voices in the growing cannabis movement. Savino and Washington are on a parallel crusade to destigmatize pot, educate the public about the medical benefits of cannabis, and raise awareness about the opioid crisis plaguing cities and towns across the country. Read

Bill to ease pot restrictions introduced in US Senate

6/18/17--Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Friday introduced The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) in the U.S. Senate that would remove the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and ease restrictions on cannabis research. Senator Booker was the original sponsor of the bill when it was first introduced in 2015, but never got a hearing. Read

Al Franken and Rand Paul join forces to protect medical marijuana from Jeff Sessions

6/16/17--Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul, among others from both sides of the aisle, have come together to craft a bill that would guard against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is dead set on getting rid of rules that keep the DOJ from enforcing federal drug laws in the case of states that allow medical marijuana. Read

Miley Cyrus’ real reason for quitting marijuana is pretty terrifying

6/15/17--Miley Cyrus' recent transformation has been one of the most drastic in pop-star history, and the reason why is because she stopped smoking marijuana. Cyrus revealed to Billboard magazine in May that she's currently not drinking or doing any drugs. She also revealed that dropping weed was "easy" and that she did it so this stage of her life could be "super clear and sharp." Read

NORML promises fight after latest Trump minion hints of marijuana crackdown

6/14/17--The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is sending a clear signal to the administration of President Donald Trump following the latest negative words and deeds aimed at legal marijuana in Colorado and beyond by Justice Department officials Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. In the words of NORML policy director Justin Strekal, "Should the Department of Justice decide to throw out the Tenth Amendment and respect for states' rights as they govern their own intrastate commerce, they're going to have a fight on their hands." Read

Dennis Rodman won’t explain North Korea trip, but weed currency paid for it

6/13/17--Former NBA star Dennis Rodman's current visit to North Korea for meetings with dictator Kim Jong Un was sponsored by PotCoin, a digital currency for the marijuana industry.    Officials for PotCoin, which is likened to a smaller-scale Bitcoin for weed entrepreneurs and their customers, did not explain why they’ve put up the money for Rodman’s mission. The company and Rodman said such details would be revealed when he returned. Read

AG Sessions to Congress: Kill medical marijuana protections

6/13/17--U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked four congressional leaders at the beginning of May to omit key medical marijuana industry protections from a new federal spending bill. Sessions specifically asked that language from the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment not be included in any appropriations bill, or similar provisions, that would “in any way inhibit the (Department of Justice’s) authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.” Read

Drug use by state: 2017’s problem areas

5/15/17--This report attempts to answer questions about where drug abuse is most pronounced and which areas are most at risk in the current political climate by comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and meth-lab incidents per capita. Read

Mixing booze, pot is a serious threat to traffic safety

6/12/17--Use of marijuana in combination with alcohol by drivers is especially dangerous, according to a latest study conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Drivers who used alcohol, marijuana, or both were significantly more likely to be responsible for causing fatal two-vehicle crashes compared to drivers who were involved in the same crashes but used neither of the substances. The findings are published in the journal, Annals of Epidemiology. Read

Former NBA guard Sebastian Telfair arrested with guns, ammo, and marijuana

6/12/17--Former NBA player Sebastian Telfair was arrested in Brooklyn, New York, and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of a ballistic vest, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of ammunition. Read

More people are voluntarily seeking help for marijuana addiction

6/12/17--Evidence suggests that the number of people voluntarily seeking treatment for marijuana addiction is rising. The rise in voluntary admissions will likely surprise people who think marijuana is harmless and that, therefore, no one would seek treatment for it without legal pressure. But marijuana-addiction treatment will probably be more rather than less widely sought as legalization spreads. Read

Accepting marijuana is a step toward seeing it’s used safely

6/10/17--According to Los Angeles Daily News guest columnist Allison B. Margolin, in order to bridge the divide between safe marijuana access and neighborhood groups fearful of the spread of reefer madness, the theory of harm reduction needs to be reintroduced into the debate, while also admitting that marijuana exists in the context of drug use and abuse that has existed in different manifestations and with different substances in the U.S. since at least the 1870s. Read

Nor Cal Cannabis Cup draws major crowds in anticipation of recreational sales

6/9/17--High Times Nor Cal Cannabis Cup featured hundreds of product booths hawking everything from vape cartridges to cannabis infused cotton candy. The cutting edge in the industry, according to the experts at High Times, is in concentrates, extracts, and edibles, all of which were in abundant supply on the sprawling fairgrounds. Read

Hemp products booming, but U.S. farmers hampered by its Schedule I status

6/8/17--Recent estimates by the advocacy group Vote Hemp and the Hemp Business Journal calculated the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. last year to be at least $688 million. However, according to Vote Hemp president Eric Steenstra, misguided drug policy still prevents farmers from cultivating hemp at the scale needed to meet consumer demand, so instead nearly all the hemp to supply the U.S. market is imported. Read

Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths

6/8/17--New research looked at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications. Read

US Adult Illicit Cannabis Use, Cannabis Use Disorder, and Medical Marijuana Laws

6/1/17--In a JAMA Psychiatry published analysis using US national survey data collected in 1991-1992, 2001-2002, and 2012-2013 from 118 497 participants, the risk for cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a significantly greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in states that did not. Read

Big Bang’s TOP tests positive for marijuana during military service

6/4/17--Big Bang member TOP is under investigation for marijuana use. South Korean media reported that the rapper whose real name is Choi Seung-hyun had tested positive for marijuana after Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s drug crime unit conducted a drug test on him. TOP began his military service on February 9 and has been serving in the band unit of the Seoul National Police Agency. Read

DEA seeks dismissal of hemp industry lawsuit fighting drug code for “marihuana extracts”

6/2/17--The Drug Enforcement Administration stands firm on its drug code for “marihuana extracts” in a brief filed Friday to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and seeks to have a federal lawsuit by the hemp industry dismissed. The DEA laid out various reasons as to why the legal challenge filed by the Hoban Law Group on behalf of trade group Hemp Industries Association, and hemp businesses Centuria Natural Foods and R.M.H. Holdings Inc. is invalid. Read

Supreme Court limits government seizure of assets in drug conspiracy cases

6/5/17--The Supreme Court is placing new limits on the government’s ability to seize assets from people who are convicted of drug crimes but receive little of the illegal proceeds. The unanimous ruling on Monday comes as the Justice Department has moved to impose harsher punishments for drug trafficking and related crimes. Read

A blow to the states-rights argument for legal marijuana

5/26/17--According to a new NBER study from economists Zhuang Hao and Benjamin Cowan, one common argument for marijuana legalization is fiscal: States may be able to increase revenues by taxing the drug and save money on police and prisons by decriminalizing it. Yet, some of the cost savings in states with legal marijuana may come at the expense of other states, which have to manage increased drug use, at least in border counties, and which don’t share in the weed tax windfall. To this concern, drug libertarians might answer, not unfairly. Read

Why pot-smoking declines, but doesn’t end, with parenthood

6/1/17--According to a study by the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group (SDRG), adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents but they don't necessarily quit. The UW research found that, in general, a greater percentage of nonparents reported using marijuana in the past year than parents. The study also found that participants who started using marijuana as young adults were much more likely to continue to use into their mid- to late 30s, even after they became parents. Read

Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite

6/2/17--Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago report that low levels tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, does reduce stress, but in a highly dose-dependent manner: very low doses lessened the jitters of a public-speaking task, while slightly higher doses actually increased anxiety. Read

Cannabis use increases risk of gum disease

5/25/17--Researchers have linked the use of cannabis to an increase in the risk of gum disease. A new study from Columbia University shows that the frequent use of marijuana, hashish, and hash oil has significant long-term impacts on dental health. Read

High Times is sold to group that includes son of Bob Marley

6/1/17--High Times has been acquired by a group of investors that includes Damian Marley, son of the reggae star Bob Marley. The group, led by Adam Levin, the founder of the investment firm Oreva Capital, bought a controlling interest at a price that values the magazine at $70 million. Read

States waking up to spike in marijuana‑related crash fatalities

5/24/17--Research shows that increasing rates of marijuana use have resulted in an increased rate of car crash fatalities. It is a problem that many proponents for legal adult use of recreational marijuana wish to pretend does not exist, while others are actively advocating for more research to enable better tools to detect marijuana-impaired drivers. Read

Officials in Obama’s drug czar office wanted to decriminalize marijuana

5/30/17--Officials at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under President Barack Obama wanted to take a more lenient stance on marijuana. Staff pushed to ease federal prohibitions against the drug but they never made that case directly to the public. It was determined that they couldn’t publicly support decriminalizing marijuana because of a provision in the legislation that authorized its existence. Read

Some cities, states help minorities enter marijuana industry

6/1/17--Oakland as well as other cities and states with legal marijuana are trying to make up for the toll marijuana enforcement has taken on minorities by presenting an opportunity for them to join the growing marijuana industry. Seemingly, there is no solid data on how many minorities own U.S. cannabis businesses or seek a foothold in the industry. Yet, diversity advocates say the industry is overwhelmingly white. Read

Benefits of middle school prevention program extend into emerging adulthood

5/31/17--Children who participated in the PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) program over seven years ago showed lower rates of substance abuse after high school graduation, according to a new study. According to Mark Feinberg, PROSPER's Pennsylvania principal investigator and research professor, these findings have very significant implications for the future of the nation's public health. If implemented broadly across communities, the PROSPER system has the potential to reduce drug and alcohol addiction over the long term and benefit everyone. Read

Vox uses Times Square death as attack on alcohol, turns out driver was on drugs

5/24/17--Soon after an impaired driver killed an 18-year-old-girl in Times Square May 18, Vox writer and pro-marijuana supporter German Lopez wrote a think piece condemning drunken driving and criticizing the media for disproportionately covering terrorism. But, after the story was published, the driver told police he was high on PCP-laced marijuana, not drunk. Lopez’s story was updated to report this fact but Vox has yet to publish a follow-up article highlighting the dangers of driving high. Read

Cannabidiol reduces seizures in children with severe epilepsy

5/26/17--Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, had fewer seizures after taking a daily oral solution of cannabidiol, which does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana. Over a 14-week treatment with cannabidiol, convulsive seizures dropped from a monthly average of 12.4 to 5.9, and during the study seizures stopped completely in 5 percent of patients taking cannabidiol. Read

Noted experts critically evaluate benefits of medical marijuana for treatment of epilepsy

5/24/17--The editors of Epilepsy & Behavior have produced a special issue that presents an in-depth assessment of the potential of cannabinoids for the effective treatment of epilepsy. Guest editors Jerzy Szaflarski, MD, PhD, Director of the Epilepsy Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Orrin Devinsky, MD, Director, Epilepsy Center, New York University Langone Medical Center hope these articles help stimulate greater understanding and more studies to scientifically define the potential benefits and harms of cannabis-based therapies for epilepsy. Read

DEA chief: ‘Marijuana is not medicine’

5/25/17--Drug Enforcement Administration acting Chief Chuck Rosenberg remains strong on his stance that "marijuana is not medicine." Despite repeated attempts by advocates requesting that marijuana be moved to Schedule II, the DEA has pointed to the FDA's guidance that says it does not have medical value. Rosenberg noted that the DEA takes recommendations about how to classify the drug from the FDA. Read

Science Says: What’s known and not known about marijuana

5/29/17--A new marijuana study joins a limited record of scientific knowledge about the harms and benefits of pot. In January, a U.S. advisory committee concluded that the lack of scientific information about marijuana and its chemical cousins, called cannabinoids, poses a risk to public health. The experts called for a national effort to learn more. In a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, they also rounded up what is known, and outline some of its conclusions with strong evidence about marijuana and cannabinoids. Read

American Legion to Trump: Allow marijuana research for vets

5/20/17--The American Legion, one of the nation’s most conservative veterans’ groups, is appealing to President Trump to reclassify marijuana to allow large-scale research into whether cannabis can help troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Under current rules, doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot even discuss marijuana as an option with patients. Read

Debate continues over use of cannabis to treat canine health issues

5/20/17--While there’s no scientific evidence that cannabis cures canines or other pets, there are anecdotal reports that ill dogs respond to it in positive ways. However, federal law still holds that marijuana is illegal, classified as a Schedule 1 drug with high abuse potential and no accepted medical use. Despite this, humans are seeking medical marijuana to treat several ailments, and for many dog owners these reasons are enough to try it when their beloved pets face similar problems. Read

Here’s how US marijuana sales could hit $6 billion this year, if Trump doesn’t get in the way

5/22/17--The retail sales for both medical and recreational marijuana are expected to reach a record high in 2017, provided there isn’t a significant crackdown at the federal level. Cannabis sales are projected to hit $5 billion-$6 billion and could reach $17 billion by 2021, reported Marijuana Business Daily. Based on the 2017 projected sales, many are expecting the industry growth to create more jobs in the U.S. than several other industries. Read

Congress’ weed guy grapples with the Trump Administration

5/19/17--Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has been one of America’s most outspoken public officials on liberalizing America’s marijuana laws. He is now tasked with serving as an unofficial liaison between official Washington and a cannabis industry concerned about the prospect of a federal crackdown on it. Blumenauer remains upbeat about the prospects for the industry, insisting that nationwide legalization is four years away, at most. Read

Cannabis firms in Colorado, Florida partner to provide pharma-quality MMJ products

5/18/17--Cannabis products firms Wana Brands and Alternative Medical Enterprises LLC have inked a deal that’s one part national expansion play and another part investment in a growing trend: pharmaceutical-quality medical marijuana. The agreement allows for AltMed to manufacture and sell Wana’s product portfolio in Arizona, and Wana can manufacture and sell AltMed’s line of Müv medicinals — including metered dose inhalers, transdermal patches, and topical products — in Colorado. Read

Bipartisan legislation seeks to undermine Sessions’ sentencing memo

5/18/17--Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former colleagues in the Senate are pushing back on his order to federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe penalties possible for defendants, including mandatory minimum sentences, and introducing legislation to give federal judges more discretion to impose lower sentences. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who co-sponsored the legislation, said that Sessions’ new policy will “accentuate” the existing “injustice” in the criminal justice system. Read

Companies need workers — but people keep getting high

5/17/17--Job applicants are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, and heroin at the highest rate in 12 years, according to a new report from Quest Diagnostics. An analysis of about 10 million workplace drug screens from across the country in 2016 found positive results from urine samples increased from 4 percent in 2015 to 4.2 percent in 2016. The most significant increase was in positive tests for marijuana, which reached 2 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in 2012. Read

Jeff Sessions’s war on drugs has medical marijuana advocates worried

5/15/17--Advocates of medical marijuana are on edge about the long-term security of programs authorized in 29 states and the District that have broad public backing. In a “signing statement” that accompanied Trump’s signature on the bill passed this month to keep the government open, the president noted a handful of objections on legal grounds. One was to a provision that prohibits his administration from interfering with state-run medical marijuana programs. Read

Sobering truth about addiction treatment in America

5/8/17--More people are dying of drug oversees than any other non-natural cause. According to a Psychology Today article by New York Times best selling author Davis Sheff, currently most people who enter treatment are subjected to archaic care, some of which does more harm than good. Only about 10 percent of people who need treatment for drug-use disorders get any whatsoever. Of those who do, a majority enter programs with practices that would be considered barbaric if they were common in treatment systems for other diseases. Read