John Brisson, Fix Your Gut Health and Slide-rule Science |394|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    John Brisson, Fix Your Gut Health and Slide-rule Science |394|
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    John Brisson on how to regain health by fixing your gut.
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    photo by: Skeptiko
    Alex Tsakiris:
    Today we welcome John Brisson to Skeptiko. John is the author of Fix Your Gut: The Definitive Guide to Digestive Disorders and although that might not seem like a natural fit with some of the topics we cover here on Skeptiko, I can tell you that after listening to many hours of interviews with John, reading his excellent book and even hiring to do a consult with a member of my family… I can tell you you’re in for a treat.

    John Brisson: Thank you for having me Alex. I’m a huge fan of the show, I love what you do at Skeptiko. I’ve enjoyed many of your interviews, especially when you ask the tough questions like asking Jim Marrs point blank if he was a Scientologist.

    —-

    Alex Tsakiris: Dr. Andrew Weil… [taught] medical his students (paraphrasing), “Go to the library and look at any major study of a life-threatening illness, and look for cases of spontaneous healing… you’ll find them under the category of ‘placebo affect’ or whatever, but in every one of those studies you’ll find spontaneous healing.”

    Well, what are we saying there? We don’t understand what the hell happened. These are people in the control group who didn’t get any treatment, who weren’t supposed to get any better, who got better. So, it’s holding these two things at the same time, because John… I’m doing all of this stuff to improve my chances for experiencing the best life I can, at the same time, I’m humbled by the thought of, “who am I really” and what is my larger connection to consciousness, what is my larger spirituality?

    John Brisson: I agree, that’s why I’m not 100% for things that can be explained logically and I’m not 100% for things that are strictly spiritual either. I’m kind of a mixture in the middle and some people hate that. “With a lot of my beliefs I’m kind of thinking both sides are necessary.
     
  2. The same is true of meditation retreats. Some people have a lot of problems after going on retreats

    https://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/06/york_county_suicide_megan_vogt.html

    'She didn't know what was real': Did 10-day meditation retreat trigger woman's suicide?
    ...
    But Vogt's fun-loving life changed drastically in March.

    That's when Vogt, 25, attended an intensive 10-day meditation retreat. She had heard about the benefits of meditation from friends on the West Coast and wanted to try it, with the hopes it could illuminate her future.

    But the retreat proved more difficult than anyone imagined.

    Instead of emerging from the course enlightened, Vogt exited incoherent, suicidal and in psychosis.

    Ten weeks later, she was found dead under the Norman Wood Bridge. She had leapt from a catwalk underneath the bridge, falling 120 feet, falsely believing that she had to die to save the lives of her family and others.


    I originally posted about another article, an interview with Willoughby Britton. The link to the article (http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/09/bg-232-the-dark-night-project/) is dead, but below is a partial excerpt. It is about the same retreat center that caused the suicide, but was written before that happened. It is really deplorable that they knew there was a problem with the course but didn't do anything about it. Even after the suicide as far as I know they haven't changed the course. They provide some type of psychological support during the retreat but that is like having paramedics at a Russian roulette tournament - in my opinion the course itself is flawed. You should not put people who never meditated a day in their life into a 10 day intensive retreat doing that style of meditation. If there was one event that set me straight that "enlightenment" is not what people think it is, it was the way supposedly advanced staged "enlightened" practitioners ignore this and other problems.



    I am a supporter of gut health too. Especially since I saw a documentary video about someone who had to have a fecal transplant after taking antibiotics. I think antibiotics are prescribed way too much. Maybe because of the liability laws doctors and dentists are over cautious. I had to have two teeth extracted and the dentist prescribed antibiotics. I asked her if they were necessary, she didn't say "yes" she said the would reduce the chance of an infection. I checked on the internet and found that many dentists don't prescribe antibiotics after extractions so I didn't take them. I had no problems. And when I needed a root canal the doctor also wanted me to take antibiotics for a week before he would start work. I asked him what the risks were and he said there could be "swelling". I said I didn't want to disrupt the microorganisms in my digestive system and I requested he just go ahead and start right away. He nodded in understanding and agreed. He didn't prescribe antibiotics and I was fine without them - no swelling. I honestly think he was just busy that day and wanted to get rid of me for a week. I am not suggesting everyone refuse antibiotics. There are situations where I would take them, if the doctor says they are necessary, ie after major surgery, or if I had definite symptoms of a bacterial infection like fever, swelling, oozing puss, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  3. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    Taking health information from a guy who's fat and bald? Insulting
     
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    Why try so hard on health if life is to a large extent predetermined/predestined or governed by forces that are beyond our control?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  5. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    Read that wrong, been pondering that question for years
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  6. Short answer:

    If life is predetermined in the way the question implies, people don't have a choice about how hard they try on health. There is not much else to say on the question as it is written but I have some additional thoughts relating to the subject...

    I believe life is "predetermined" like a syllabus, but the answers to the problems are left for the student to figure out.

    Because of karma, we experience the consequences of our actions and life changes us even if we don't have free will.

    People will try to take care of their health because of:
    1. Fear of death.
    2. Fear of unpleasant illnesses - pain and disability.
    3. Enjoyment of life produces a desire to live as long as possible.
    4. People who depend on them or who love them who need or want them to continue living.
    People who believe in predetermination probably believe in the afterlife and realize their actions have consequences that go beyond their physical life so they are more thoughtful about how they live their life.

    (This doesn't necessarily make sense by itself - please see full explanation below.)

    Full explanation:

    If life is predetermined in the way the question implies, people don't have a choice about how hard they try on health. There is not much else to say on the question as it is written but I have some additional thoughts relating to the subject...

    Something can be predetermined if it is controlled throughout the entire process, but you can also say something is predetermined if it is a deterministic process that can be predicted from initial conditions.

    I believe life is "predetermined" like a syllabus, but the answers to the problems are left for the student to figure out.

    This belief is not dependent on the existence of free will. Because of karma, we experience the consequences of our actions. You might not think it is fair if you don't believe in free will, but what matters is that we learn (even if learning is a deterministic process) because we learn from experiencing the consequences of our actions. Life changes us even if we don't have free will.

    I am not a strong believer in free will. To me consciousness seems to be a matter of cause and effect. But I don't really have an opinion about if we do or don't have free will. I don't think I understand consciousness (even though I am conscious) well enough to say. I don't think "free will" has a rigorous definition such that we can say it does or does not exist. I suspect that "free will" is a feeling (subjective) that people confuse with a logical proposition or an objective phenomenon. (I am not saying free will does not exist, I am saying I believe our thinking about free will is so sloppy that our answers are worthless.)

    People will try to take care of their health because of:
    1. Fear of death.
    2. Fear of unpleasant illnesses - pain and disability.
    3. Enjoyment of life produces a desire to live as long as possible.
    4. People who depend on them or who love them who need or want them to continue living.

    People won't try hard to be healthy if they:
    1. Get pleasure from unhealthful habits.
    2. Are suicidal.
    It is also relevant that knowledge about the afterlife deters suicide in suicidal patients.
    https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/suicide
    (Scroll down to "Notes")

    If you believe that life is predetermined in the way the question implies, you probably believe in the afterlife and you will be more likely to take care of your health (you are less likely to have a suicidal disregard for your health). The reason is probably that people realize their actions have consequences that go beyond the physical life so they are more thoughtful about how they live their life.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  7. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    If life is largely predestined, what place has free will in the scheme of things? Let's suppose that the reincarnation idea is true, and that in between lives, we get to choose at least the general circumstances of our next birth in the hope that it will advance our spiritual state -- iow, that we perceive the spiritual potential of the next life, but it is down to us whether or not we act in such a way as to realise it. Then life would be a mixture of predetermination and free will, not entirely one or the other.

    To me, this seems quite likely, and tends to conform with how I interpret my personal experience. Like most people, I can look back on a history of unfortunate choices, often when those have been made consciously and reasoned out. However, there are also a number of things that happened without a lot of deliberation on my part, but in hindsight turned out to have made a great deal of difference in my life, sometimes for the better. I have this sense that there has been a dimly perceived intended flow to my life that from time to time I have deviated from when I made bad decisions; at the time they may have seemed good ones, but from my present perspective, I suspect they weren't.

    If one has a belief in spiritual evolution, then it seems to me that free will might be an indispensable requirement for it. We get born into a world where we find that we do in fact have the capacity to make choices, including options to ignore what our innermost aims prompt us to do, and of course, sometimes to ignore mainly egoic aims that might seem highly attractive to us at the time.

    All of life can be interpreted as a struggle between egoic and spiritual aims (sometimes I suppose the two may coincide); perhaps the struggle is necessary and intrinsic to making progress. We have to be free to make bad as well as good choices if the choices we end up making are to be have ultimate meaning. Put in religious terms, God can't help but want us to make our way to Him through personal choice rather than through diktat. If God were a dictator who prescribed everything that can happen, then nothing that actually happened would have any meaning for human beings (and thereby Himself). It'd all be a game for God's entertainment, and any God who focused on entertainment wouldn't seem to be much of a God: certainly not one who cared about justice, compassion or love.

    This is, as much as anything, why I don't believe in the Abrahamic God. Such a belief makes mere ciphers of us all, mere pawns in a game, and makes God seem a pretty selfish and boring entity who just happens to be all-powerful and all-knowing. My preference is for a supreme entity that evolves along with us, through whom it's learning more about itself. It's very powerful, and may know a great deal -- perhaps all that can be known so far -- but there's still a lot for it to come to know, and that's its raison d'etre. I think that would make it also our raison d'etre at both an individual and collective level.

    We have choices to make in respect of personal health and many other things. These are real choices with real outcomes that affect our lives. Like Alex, I'm very wary about allopathic medicine and avoid it wherever possible. I hold the medical profession in not very high esteem except perhaps in the area of emergency treatment, where getting it wrong is a luxury that can be ill afforded, and in any case one has to get useful results that can be quickly assessed.

    After all, generally, a longer life would presumably make us more likely to fulfil the potential that we hoped for before we were born. We can't always do this if we die sooner than we otherwise might have, and so as I see it, we have a responsibility to pay due attention to our health.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  8. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I thought that was an interesting discussion, but I do hope we soon get back to the Skeptiko core issues.

    I noticed that John said there was no medical value to alcohol. When used in moderation, I don't think this is true:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HT2FG0Q/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    (despite its flippant title, this book is actually quite interesting technically, and it relates what it claims to actual medical studies). It is something of an eye-opener. It is also a great example of the way medical studies that don't produce the 'right' result, are simply ignored!

    Like John, I am hugely wary of modern medicine. I think medical science is like the other sciences - it can be driven off course by all sorts of political/financial/goofy issues, but immediate practical applications can keep both honest in certain domains. John's experience of nursing a child that was expected to die more or less back to health, and then being threatened because the child's weight was low for his age, illustrates another fault with modern medicine - doctors seem far too constrained by guidelines.

    Thus I am sure that (for example) modern treatments for fractured bones, or the resuscitation of people close to death are absolutely excellent. By analogy, I am sure that the solid state physics associated with semiconductors must be pretty good. On the other hand, I suspect the science associated with vague threats - climate change/super low level pollution by pesticides/assorted dietary ideas - has a much lower chance of being right.

    I am pretty sure the science of consciousness is pretty much crap!

    I am puzzled by the idea that the main reason medicine is as it is today, is the Rockefellers. I mean chemistry was developing, and the idea that it could be applied to treating disease was pretty obvious. Besides, there were some brilliant early successes - antibiotics and anaesthetics come to mind! The problem has been the gradual takeover by big business, with the corruption that entails.

    Alternative therapists - such as John - seem to be increasingly accepted as orthodox medicine declines.

    David
     
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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Of course, we can immediately generalise that question - why bother doing anything in a pre-determined life!

    This makes me feel that if the evidence for the inter-life selection process is real, it is somehow being simplified and distorted. This would hardly be surprising, since the evidence also suggests the existence of a 'timeless' state.

    Could it be that people see a distribution of possibilities for a life, or might we live a branched existence where in some branches we die sooner than in others? Remember that Seth talks a lot about different possibilities/probabilities (I can't recall which term he uses) and implies these are all real.

    Making sense of the purpose of life is a real puzzle.

    David
     
  10. Creativemind

    Creativemind Member

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    alex, with respect. this type of guest does not really match this type of show. you can tell from the number
    of comments that this gentlemen was not that well received. please get back on the "Skeptiko" format.
     
  11. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I can't say that in the past I haven't complained myself about the odd show. However, thinking about it, Alex has the perfect right to interview whomever he wishes, just as we have the right not to be interested if we don't warm to the topic. But do we have the the right to look a gift horse in the mouth and upbraid the giver, demanding another horse that's more to our taste? I've concluded that we don't: Alex provides the grist, as well as a place to comment if we are interested. It's possibly a bit curmudgeonly to complain too much.

    I've listened to every Skeptiko podcast and feel a certain amount of affection for, and loyalty to, the show (even when particular episodes haven't appealed much to me). Fact is, no other show has so consistently provided me with interesting material to ponder and a place to meet a group of people to a) discuss that, and/or b) share my personal reflections and experiences, with.

    Maybe we should be thankful for what we've got and show a bit of forbearance if it isn't always what we wanted? It'd be a rare show indeed that left us feeling perfectly satisfied with every episode -- I can't even say that for two of my all-time TV favourites, Columbo and Red Dwarf. And the one that for me has a perfect record, Fawlty Towers, only managed it because there were only 12 episodes in total.

    Alex has produced close on 400 episodes, all of them free to listen to and comment on. He can't please all the people all the time, and even if there were a hundred shows I found uninteresting, that'd still leave 300 I didn't. Maybe now is an opportune moment to thank Alex for his efforts and to say that if I've sometimes been a little too grumpy, I apologise.
     
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  12. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Yeah. As regards the time(less) thing, check out Bernardo Kastrup's latest SciAm article here.

    I've often wondered if the multiple universes idea has a certain amount of merit, not in a literal sense, but in the sense of a myriad of potentialities. Our present lives might represent the potential that we've realised, and the ones we might have lived if we'd done differently, are now beyond realisation/actualisation. And of course by our actions, we've influenced others to greater or lesser degrees and for better or worse enabled them to realise (or not) their aims.

    Are unrealised potentials in any sense real? Maybe in the sense that any of them could have happened had we behaved in certain ways: they'd have been "lawful", so to speak. But are all potentialities realised in coexisting "multiple universes"? Impossible to say. Is there a coexisting universe in which everything goes optimally, and many others where it doesn't?

    Thing is, if there's an optimal universe, presumably it wouldn't comprise the same people as are currently present in ours. For a start, there wouldn't have been wars, and so many more would presumably have survived and had more children. So alternate universes, it would seem, couldn't comprise the same people and it all gets terribly complicated. Which is why, I suppose, I favour the idea that there's just the one universe which from moment to moment is actualising a particular subset of its potentiality.

    For MAL, the aim would always remain the same. In the end, it would realise as much of its potential as possible, however difficult the journey.
     
  13. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    No matter what is predetermined or predestined we are still free to exercise some degree of influence upon our situation. What is predestined is essentially an expression of probability - something will happen with a range of likely outcomes unless something changes the range of outcomes.I can look back now and see that my contraction of GBS in 2008 was actually known in 1985. But I didn't know it and so it happened. It was known to my wife who, on hearing a friend talk about his experience, had a powerful feeling she needed to know, and listened to what he saying. When I was lying on the floor in 2008 I heard her ask the ambulance guys if I had GBS. They didn't know of course. But she did. However, back in 1985 she didn't know why she need to know.

    I think illness and disability also often confers a spiritual challenge - so you won't avoid it unless, somehow, you address the challenge otherwise - and that's not likely.

    Of course there are people who make a fetish out of health. I worked with a yoga practicing, meditating, vegan who was an asshole. The 'soul' element to being in a physical body means that more than animal passions and instincts come into play. We have a capacity to engage in self managed behaviour and that means we can influence what we put into our bodies - even to the point of mania.

    Perhaps the challenge to seek health of mind and emotions and then maybe the body will respond to the degree that it can, given its genetics and other inherent factors?
     
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  14. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    Lately I wonder if its even worth it sometimes. The most depressing thought for me has been what if we are in a "simulation" and we are just holographic robots with no souls just infused energy from the big simulation
     
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  15. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    That is an incredibly naive view of things (although shared by a lot of people such as Ray Kurzweil.). I mean if you play games on the computer, various characters will be simulated, but do you take that seriously and feel that when one dies, that is in any way real? A computer simulated earthquake isn't an earthquake, and computer simulated characters aren't characters!

    David
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I have to admit, I have gone off Bernardo quite a bit.
    I get what he means, but I think this is like pointing out that we are just made up of fundamental particles, or that physics 'tells' us that everything is governed by the four forces of nature. This is the same physical viewpoint that totally rejects the very idea that we contain a soul, never mind the idea that there is a point when we select who to be. It is a closed world that I think ultimately does not make sense.

    As I have said before, I think Idealism may well be the ultimate reality, but it makes a lousy theory to tease us away from materialism.

    David
     
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  17. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Well, I didn't say I agreed with Bernardo, just suggested you check it out. Matter of fact, of all his articles, I'm most on the fence about it.

    Thinking about it, if you could go back in time, then you'd also have to go back in space, because where you were a day ago would correspond to a position the earth, and the earth a day ago wasn't where it is today (and where the earth was a day ago it will never be again). Nothing is ever where it was a day ago or even a second ago, because everything is moving relative to everything else -- the earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and so on. So going back in time would seem to have to involve enormous energies if we're thinking in conventional physical terms. Or at least it seems so to me, but then I'm not a physicist...
     
  18. Wormwood

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    That’s true I think. Idealism is too much of a jump for most people. For people who think like most of us do here however, it isn’t so far fetched. My biggest problem with Idealism is what does it mean exactly? It’s the same issue I have with stating that this is a simulation. A simulation in what sense? What does it look like? Are we beings with virtual helmets sitting in some dark room? That seems unlikely. So what is the nature of this simulation and/or idealism? We can only ascribe things and situations which we are familiar with towards our understanding of what this simulation/idealism would look and feel like and how the modus operandi would operate. Therefore, I doubt that they are truly overly helpful ideas/analogies. At a minimum, they would have to be woefully incomplete and unlike virtual reality and simulation as we currently know it. But, perhaps it IS s step in the right direction regarding our understanding of our current reality. Hard to say.
     
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  19. Wander Awakening

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    I can’t thank Alex enough for making his shows available. I look forward to every episode, and listening to his shows has contributed to my understanding of the nature of reality and to my well being in general.

    I am a biohacker. I have had to figure out a lot of things to recover from heavy metal toxicity and from mold toxicity, and restoring gut health is one of them. So, I loved listening to this episode with John Brisson.

    I am writing in the forum now because I was quite surprised to hear Alex’s negative comments regarding the health benefits of cannabis.

    First of all, I try to avoid calling cannabis by the name given to it by those who intended to demonize it though propaganda and disinformation. In 1937, the U.S. Narcotics Commissioner Henry Anslinger used a Mexican sounding name he created to scare the uninformed with horror stories about Marijuana.

    Because most recreational use of cannabis is to get stoned, most of us experience hybrids of cannabis with extremely high levels of THC and extremely low levels of CBD. THC has the psychoactive effects, and CBD balances the effects of THC, reducing the experience of paranoia, and other discomforts from the high.

    There are more than four hundred other cannabinoids (yes, Alex mispronounced this difficult to pronounce word), and I believe from what I’ve read and personally experienced, the so called entourage effect of ingesting cannabis in some form that is full plant extract, containing all of the active compounds in the plant, has the most health benefits.

    I found a cold pressed extract of TCHa, available over the counter in a California dispensary, that has little psychoactive affect because the THC is not heated and remains in the acid form. That helped me reduce the severe pain I was experiencing. I believe the anti-inflammatory benefits of cannabis, particularly CBD gave me the relief I needed to have the will to go on living. I was suffering from prolonged exposure to mold in my house.

    I was amazed to learn about the recent discoveries of the human endo-cannabinoid system. Humans cells have protein receptors for cannabinoids, and our bodies produce these cannabinoids, and the only other living being that produces cannabinoids, is the cannabis plant!

    Tylenol / acetaminophen works with our cannabinoid receptors. Of course Tylenol is toxic and causes liver damage. Cannabis is not at all toxic. It is impossible to overdose on cannabis. Every state that has legalized cannabis has seen a reduction in the sales of pain medicine. Legalization of cannabis might be the solution to the problem of opioid addiction and the 50,000 plus deaths a year in the US alone from opioids.

    My 83 year old mother recently had a stroke. She is using a cannabis tincture because it is known to repair stroke damaged brain cells, as well as provide proteins for protection with future stokes. There are also reports of smokers of cannabis reversing lung cancer. We know of how cannabis CBD helps reduce epileptic seizures. Many people suffering from emotional trauma and many mental health problems are also getting relief with cannabis. The list of health benefits goes on and on. There's a very informative, seven part video series available about cannabis, "The Sacred Plant", and I recommend it.

    It’s hard to find an example of the use of cannabis resulting in death. I would not hesitate to be a passenger in a car with someone driving who is using cannabis but is practiced driving while using. Whereas, I would not get in the car with a drunk driver, and with someone who is texting while driving, I would insist on stopping the car. Texting while driving is arguably more dangerous that driving drunk.

    When I began meditating 40 years ago, I was still smoking pot occasionally, and my Guru required that his followers stop using recreational drugs in order to learn the meditation techniques. I quit smoking pot the next day, and I had no difficulty in doing so. When I tried to discontinue use of the valium that was prescribed to me as a muscle relaxer for relief from back pain from degenerative discs damaged in a car accident (the drivers of both cars were drunk), it kicked my ass! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    No, cannabis is not addictive, not in any meaningfully proportionate way in comparison to everything else we can become addicted to.

    How about sugar? I’m addicted to it. I’m on a ketogenic diet, and I practice intermittent fasting. I’ve been on this diet for two years. I’ve benefitted greatly from it, but I crave sugar every day, at every meal. Nothing I eat gives me the temporary satisfaction like eating bread. How much ill health are we witnessing in America from the consumption of high fructose corn syrup in every processed food sold in grocery stores and restaurants.

    Sugar is everywhere! It’s addictive! It causes diabetes! It causes demineralization of bones and teeth resulting in osteoporosis and tooth decay (root canals result in heart attacks!). Grain brain causes dementia. Sugar feeds cancer cells. Sugar feeds molds and yeast, like candida. Hundreds of thousands of deaths a year in America alone result from these diseases.

    The only negative side effect of cannabis is that it makes me happy, which somewhat inhibits my motivation to get up and going to my desk job!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  20. Alex

    Alex New

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    thx. I totally get yr points re great results from cannabis use. but there does seem to be a lot of denial going on re abuse/addiction. glad it works for you... I don't want to control it... just want to get real about daily use of weed.
     
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