Blast Force: The Invisible War on the Brain

This is also interesting.

Longreads

After the First World War, family and friends said that sometimes, boys came back from overseas “not right in the head.” Nearly 100 years later, the American military is only just starting to understand the effects of bomb blasts on soldiers’ brains and the prescience of those casual observations. Caroline Alexander reports in National Geographic on Traumatic Brain Injury and its devastating effects on soldiers and their families.

“Most of our medical research on blast injuries was either on fragmentation wounds or what happens in gas-filled organs—everyone was always concerned in a thermonuclear explosion what happened to your lungs and your gastrointestinal tract,” Lt. Col. Kevin “Kit” Parker, the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at Harvard, told me. “We completely overlooked the brain. Today the enemy has developed a weapon system that is targeted toward our scientific weak spot.”

Parker, a towering figure with a shaved head…

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Queen Victoria’s Cramps and the History of Medicinal Marijuana in Europe

Interesting. Been trying to prove that marijuana /does/ have a play at meds but never succeeded.

Longreads

Documents espousing marijuana’s medical benefits first appeared in 2900 B.C. in China, but medicinal cannabis in Europe is indebted to one over-achieving Irishman. Born in 1809, Dr. William Brooke O’Shaughnessy invented the modern treatment for cholera, laid the first telegraph system in Asia, contributed inventions in underwater engineering, and effectively pioneered the use of medical cannabis in Europe. Inspired by the use of cannabis in Ayurvedic and Persian medicine, O’Shaughnessy conducted the first clinical trials of marijuana, treating rheumatism, hydrophobia, cholera, tetanus, and convulsions.

Influenced by O’Shaughnessy, Sir J. Russell Reynolds prescribed cannabis to relieve Queen Victoria’s menstrual cramps. “When pure and administered carefully, [cannabis] is one of the most valuable medicines we possess,” he wrote in 1890. But the widespread use of the syringe a few years later, which allowed drugs to dissolve quickly into a patient’s blood stream, ended medical marijuana’s popularity in Europe.

Following an international drugs conference…

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