What’s Wrong With US Dietary Guidelines?

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Every five years, the US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) convene a 15-member panel – the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) – to update the nation’s dietary guidelines.

The panel’s mission is to identify foods and beverages that help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease. In addition to guiding the public at large, the guidelines significantly influence nutrition policies such as school lunch programs and feeding programs for the elderly.

The problem is the guidelines have a long history of flawed and misguided advice, such as recommending Americans consume diets heavy in grains and low in healthy fats, which has helped to fuel the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases we’re now seeing.

The upcoming 2015 US Dietary Guidelines, which are currently being reviewed by US health and agricultural agencies, have a chance to change that and set the record straight – and there had been some promising steps forward, such as a recommendation to remove warnings about dietary cholesterol.

However, with the latest guidelines set to be released this fall, a new report published in the journal BMJ has brought deserved criticism, including suggesting the guidelines are still not based on the latest science.

BMJ Report: Dietary Guidelines Not Based on Latest Science

The DGAC scientific report, which serves as the foundation for the development of the dietary guidelines, “fails to reflect much relevant scientific literature in its reviews of crucial topics and therefore risks giving a misleading picture,” according to an investigation by the BMJ.1

The report is authored by Nina Teicholz, an investigative journalist and author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. She continues:

“The omissions [in science] seem to suggest a reluctance by the committee behind the report to consider any evidence that contradicts the last 35 years of nutritional advice.”

While past committees used the USDA’s Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) as a basis for collecting studies to form the guidelines, this year’s committee looked elsewhere for data on 70 percent of the topics it covered.

That data came largely from professional organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), which not only conduct literature reviews based on different standards but are also known to be heavily supported by food and drug companies.

In January 2009, for instance, the AHA published a “scientific advisory” recommending that Americans consume more omega-6 fats (mostly refined vegetable oils) and fewer saturated fats, as part of the “heart healthy” low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.

In spite of ALL scientific data to the contrary, this is the rubbish they recommended, completely ignoring the fact that the standard American diet is overloaded with omega-6 fats (and poor-quality ones at that), while being severely deficient in critical omega-3s.

And last year, the American Beverage Association (ABA), which includes members such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, announced a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded, in part, by the American Heart Association.

Relying heavily on data produced by these industry-beholden organizations was DGAC’s first mistake… but there’s more, too.

Guidelines on Saturated Fats Appear Significantly Flawed

In a surprise twist, the DGAC not only suggested eliminating warnings about dietary cholesterol, it also reversed nearly four decades of nutrition policy by concluding that dietary fats have no impact on cardiovascular disease risk.

Unfortunately, the DGAC didn’t set the record straight with regard to saturated fats, as it makes no firm distinction between healthy saturated fats and decidedly unhealthy synthetic trans fats.

The guidelines committee concluded that evidence linking saturated fat to heart disease was strong, but for decades healthy fat and cholesterol have been wrongfully blamed for causing heart disease. Over 70 published studies overwhelmingly dispute this flawed notion.2

For starters, DGAC must have missed the 2014 meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that used data from nearly 80 studies and more than a half-million people.

It found those who consume higher amounts of saturated fat have no more heart disease than those who consume less. They also did not find less heart disease among those eating higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including both olive oil and corn oil.3

They must have also missed the 2015 meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which found no association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease. Nor did they find an association between saturated fat consumption and other life-threatening diseases like stroke or type 2 diabetes.4

Suggesting Saturated Fats May Be Healthy Sends Nutrition World into a ‘Tizzy’

The nutritional myth that saturated fat is bad for you continues to fall apart as a steady stream of new books and studies on this topic hit the media. Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise is among those works challenging the old dogma.

Teicholz pointed out the flaws in the original Ancel Keys study, how saturated fat has been a healthy human staple for thousands of years, and how the low-fat craze has resulted in excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates, which has resulted in increased inflammation and disease.5

Unfortunately, none of this important health information is reflected in the committee’s report.

In fact, the committee goes so far as to put saturated fats and sugar together in one category called “empty calories,” which is not only misleading but scientifically inaccurate. TIME reported:6

Teicholz says nutrition science doesn’t support that classification, since saturated fats are consumed largely in foods like eggs, meat, and dairy which contain lots of vitamins and nutrients necessary for health.

‘Saturated fat is not empty calories. Sugar is not empty calories,’ says Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-founder and president of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition. ‘Sugar is not dangerous because it’s calories; sugar is dangerous because it is toxic calories.’”

Just the fact that Teicholz has dared to question the government’s “expert” committee and their (flawed) opinion about saturated fat has “sent the nutrition world into a tizzy,” as Politico put it. The media has been similarly flustered, with Politico reporting:7

“… [H]er [Teicholz's] take has now sparked a significant amount of national press coverage. CNN, Time, Newsweek, Yahoo, Mother Jones, and Medical Daily were among the media outlets to pick up the story. Reason went with the headline: ‘U.S. Government Nutrition Advice Is Stuck in 1980s.’”

BMJ ‘Clarifies’ Dietary Guidelines Investigation

Following the media uproar over Teicholz’s criticism of the dietary guidelines, BMJ issued two “clarifications.”8 The update was featured on Retraction Watch even though, to be clear, the BMJ report was not retracted.9 The clarifications involved just two aspects of the investigation, one involving the phrase “deleting lean meat” and the other regarding the percentage of reviews conducted by the National Evidence Library. According to the BMJ update:10

We are happy to clarify two aspects of Nina Teicholz’s article.

  1. Deletion of meat: The article sought to report how the DGAC has dropped lean meat from the list of foods recommended for a healthy diet. Although lean meats are recommended in the 2010 guidelines, they no longer appear in the committee’s proposals for the updated 2015 guidelines.
  2. The article says: ‘New proposals by the 2015 report include not only deleting meat from the list of foods recommended as part of its healthy diets, but also actively counselling reductions in ‘red and processed meats.’ We accept that the article would have been clearer if it had used the phrase ‘deleting lean meat’ rather than ‘deleting meat.’

  3. Percentage of reviews conducted by the National Evidence Library: The article notes that the DGAC ‘did not use NEL reviews for more than 70 percent of the topics.’ Because some of the topics did not require reviews of the scientific literature, the article would have been clearer had the next sentence specified that we were referring only to those that did. The numbers provided by the report are contradictory, but it appears that the portion of questions requiring a systematic review that did not receive one is 63 percent.”

Committee Misses Benefits of Low-Carb Diets

Unchanged is the fact that, while lambasting saturated fats, the committee is reluctant to point the finger at America’s processed-carb addiction; instead they concluded only limited evidence exists on low-carbohydrate diets and health, so the topic is insufficiently reviewed in their recommendations. But as Teicholz wrote in the BMJ:11

“… [M]any studies of carbohydrate restriction have been published in peer review journals since 2000, nearly all of which were in US populations…

A meta-analysis… concluded that low carbohydrate diets are better than other nutritional approaches for controlling type 2 diabetes, and two meta-analyses have concluded that a moderate to strict low carbohydrate diet is highly effective for achieving weight loss and improving most heart disease risk factors in the short term (six months).

… Given the growing toll taken by these conditions and the failure of existing strategies to make meaningful progress in fighting obesity and diabetes to date, one might expect the guideline committee to welcome any new, promising dietary strategies. It is thus surprising that the studies listed above were considered insufficient to warrant a review.”

Committee Members Are Not Required to List Their Potential Conflicts of Interest

Unlike the authors published in most major medical journals, DGAC members are not required to list their potential conflicts of interest, leaving the door wide open for bias and influence from outside agendas and commercial interest. As Teicholz wrote: “Many experts, institutions, and industries have an interest in keeping the status quo advice, and these interests create a bias in its favor.”12

Not surprisingly, even a cursory investigation revealed potential conflicts among committee members. According to the BMJ:13

“… [O]ne member has received research funding from the California Walnut Commission and the Tree Nut Council, as well as vegetable oil giants Bunge and Unilever. Another has received more than $10,000… from Lluminari, which produces health related multimedia content for General Mills, PepsiCo, Stonyfield Farm, Newman’s Own, and ‘other companies.’

… And for the first time, the committee chair comes not from a university but from industry: Barbara Millen is president of Millennium Prevention, a company based in Westwood, MA, that sells web based platforms and mobile applications for self health monitoring. While there is no evidence that these potential conflicts of interest influenced the committee members, the report recommends a high consumption of vegetable oils and nuts as well as use of self-monitoring technologies in programs for weight management.”

CSPI Blasts BMJ Article… Gets It Wrong Again

I’ve referred to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as the consumer group you need to stop listening to, and this case is no exception. The group released a statement calling Teicholz’s BMJ report “distorted” and “error-laden,” but CSPI is the group that’s gotten it wrong, again.14

They point out that DGAC’s advice is “consistent with dietary advice from virtually very major health authority,” and then go on to list some of the most industry-beholden and misguided organizations in the health field, like AHA and the American Diabetes Association – the latter of which still recommends diabetics consume toxic artificial sweeteners and grains and does not recommend restricting fructose-containing added sugars to any specific level at all…

This isn’t entirely surprising, since history shows CSPI is seriously misguided when determining what’s in the public’s best interest. In the 1980s, CSPI actually spearheaded a highly successful campaign against the use of healthy saturated fats, touting trans fats as a healthier alternative. It was largely the result of CSPI’s campaign that fast-food restaurants replaced the use of beef tallow, palm oil, and coconut oil with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in synthetic trans fats linked to heart disease and other chronic diseases.

In 1988, CSPI even released an article praising trans fats, saying “there is little good evidence that trans fats cause any more harm than other fats” and “much of the anxiety over trans fats stems from their reputation as “unnatural.’”15 In contrast, Teicholz was one the reporters who initially broke the story on the dangers of trans fats, more than 10 years ago, in an article for Gourmet magazine, so perhaps their critique of her BMJ piece is personal…16

The Recommended ‘Low-Fat, High Carbohydrate’ Diet Has Not Produced Better Health for Americans

Download Interview Transcript

While the committee members are standing by their report, even stating they thought they “nailed it,” Congress is meeting to discuss concerns, including those related to the evidence used, in October 2015. In short, the committee report sticks largely to the status quo nutritional advice given for decades, that Americans should eat less fat and fewer animal products for better health (with one exception being that they recommended a cap be put on sugar intake). On the contrary, a diet high in healthy fats and vegetables and low in sugar and grain-based carbs is what many Americans need for optimal health. Teicholz told TIME:17

“I believe that the literature shows that the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet has not produced better health for Americans since it was first introduced as official government policy in 1980… For healthy people, a reasonable recommendation would be simply to reverse out of the high-carb diet to the balance that Americans ate in 1965 before the obesity and diabetes epidemics: roughly 40 percent carbs, 40 percent fat.

For people who are struggling with obesity and diabetes, which is now an astonishing proportion of our population, I believe that carbohydrate restricted diets — less than 40 percent carbs — should be presented as a safe and viable option.”

If you want to learn more, watch my interview with Nina Teicholz, above. Many people actually need to increase the healthy fat in their diet even more, to 50 to 85 percent of daily calories. This includes not only saturated fat but also monounsaturated fats (from avocados and nuts) and omega-3 fats.

But one of the most important points to remember is that you do not need to avoid saturated fats. Saturated fats were unfairly condemned in the 1950s based on very primitive evidence that has since been re-analyzed. The evidence now clearly shows that saturated fats do not cause heart disease. Moreover, your body needs saturated fats for proper function of your:

Cell membranes Heart Bones (to assimilate calcium)
Liver Lungs Hormones
Immune system Satiety (reducing hunger) Genetic regulation

“Another key piece of information is that a high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet looks healthier for losing weight and making your heart disease biomarkers and diabetes biomarkers look better. There’s a real range in how much carbohydrates people will tolerate,” Teicholz says.

What Does a Real Food Plan for Optimal Health Look Like?

Focusing your diet on raw, whole, and ideally organic foods rather than processed fare is perhaps one of the easiest ways to sidestep dietary pitfalls like excess sugar/fructose, harmful synthetic trans fats, an overabundance of processed grains, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and other harmful additives, while getting plenty of healthy nutrients. The rest is just a matter of tweaking the ratios of fat, carbs, and protein to suit your individual needs.

One key, though, is to trade refined sugar and processed fructose for healthy fat, as this will help optimize your insulin and leptin levels. For more detailed dietary guidance, please see my optimal nutrition plan. It’s a step-by-step guide to feeding your family right, and I encourage you to read through it. I’ve also created my own “food pyramid,” based on nutritional science, which you can print out and share.

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What Causes A Toxic Hospital Culture?

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Hospital culture is largely influenced by the relationship between administrative and clinical staff leaders. In the “old days” the clinical staff (and physicians in particular) held most of the sway over patient care. Nowadays, the approach to patient care is significantly constricted by administrative rules, largely created by non-clinicians. An excellent description of what can result (i.e. disenfranchisement of medical staff, burn out, and joyless medical care) is presented by Dr. Robert Khoo at KevinMD.

Interestingly, a few hospitals still maintain a power shift in the other direction – where physicians have a strangle hold on operations, and determine the facility’s ability to make changes. This can lead to its own problems, including  unchecked verbal abuse of staff, inability to terminate bad actors, and diverting patients to certain facilities where they receive volume incentive remuneration. Physician greed, as Michael Millenson points out, was a common feature of medical practice pre-1965. And so, when physicians are empowered, they can be as corrupt as the administrations they so commonly despise.

As I travel from hospital to hospital across the United States (see more about my “living la vida locum” here), I often wonder what makes the pleasant places great. I have found that prestige, location, and generous endowments do not correlate with excellent work culture. It is critically important, it seems, to titrate the balance of power between administration and clinical staff carefully – this is a necessary part of hospital excellence, but still not sufficient to insure optimal contentment.

In addition to the right power balance, it has been my experience that hospital culture flows from the personalities of its leaders. Leaders must be carefully curated and maintain their own balance of business savvy and emotional I.Q.  Too often I find that leaders lack the finesse required for a caring profession, which then inspires others to follow suit with bad behavior. Unfortunately, the tender hearts required to lead with grace are often put off by the harsh realities of business, and so those who rise to lead may be the ones least capable of creating the kind of work environment that fosters collaboration and kindness. I concur with the recent article in Forbes magazine that argues that poor leaders are often selected based on confidence, not competence.

The very best healthcare facilities have somehow managed to seek out, support and respect leaders with virtuous characters. These people go on to attract others like them. And so a ripple effect begins, eventually culminating in a culture of carefulness and compassion. When you find one of these gems, devote yourself to its success because it may soon be lost in the churn of modern work schedules.

Perhaps your hospital work environment is toxic because people like you are not taking on management responsibilities that can change the culture. Do not shrink from leadership because you’re a kind-hearted individual. You are desperately needed. We require emotionally competent leaders to balance out the financially driven ones. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of a money-driven, heavily regulated system, but now is not the time to shrink from responsibility.

Be the change you want to see in healthcare.

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Documentary Discusses Challenges in the Legalization of Marijuana

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal


By Dr. Mercola

CNN’s medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says medical marijuana should be legalized — period. In his third special on the subject, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution,” he calls for all healthcare providers to re-evaluate their stance on this natural therapy, in light of the latest science.

According to Dr. Gupta:1

“There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s, to name just a few.

With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country.”

Dr. Gupta is not alone — marijuana’s stigma is rapidly dissolving. For the first time in history, a majority of Americans favor legalization: 53 percent favor legalizing marijuana across the board, and 77 percent support legal medical use.2

In 1969, only 12 percent of Americans favored marijuana legalization — support has risen 11 points in the past few years alone!

In terms of public policy, the tides seem to finally be turning toward compassion and common sense. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are casting votes in favor of legalization. Even the new surgeon general cites data on just how helpful medical cannabis can be.

One of our major challenges is the revision of federal drug laws so that they’ll no longer clash with state laws, which will smooth the path toward better scientific research and improved marijuana accessibility.

Marijuana Is Legal… Sort Of

Laws related to marijuana are changing so rapidly that keeping them straight can be daunting. Below is a summary of where things stand, in terms of the practical application of recent marijuana laws:3

Medical marijuana is legal in 24 states and Washington DC Anyone over age 21 can smoke marijuana legally in Alaska, Washington DC, and Oregon Anyone over age 21 can now buy marijuana in Colorado and Washington State
No one can smoke marijuana in public, anywhere You can still be fired from your job for smoking marijuana, anywhere There is still a black market for marijuana, even in states where it’s been legalized
There is one government-run pot store (in Washington State) Banking remains a huge problem for marijuana shops Everyone in Colorado could get a pot tax refund

Pain, PTSD, and Suicide Among Vets

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a major problem for many veterans who’ve experienced the horrors of war. The Veterans Affairs Department estimates between 11 and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer from PTSD.4

Twenty-two vets commit suicide every day because they’re haunted by nightmares and insomnia, flashbacks, anxiety and depression, and a sense of disconnection from their loves ones upon returning home.

Standard treatments are often unsuccessful in providing relief, and many veterans develop even more symptoms from the multiple drugs typically prescribed. Many trying to deal with physical pain become addicted to opiates, and overdoses are far too common.

Marijuana May Offer PTSD Sufferers the ‘Gift of Forgetting’

Some veterans have reported that marijuana is helpful in relieving many of their PTSD-related symptoms.5

Marijuana seems to suppress dream recall — so for those having nightmares, it can be transformative. Marijuana is also reported to help individuals stay focused in the present, which is beneficial for those experiencing flashbacks.

PTSD sufferers have an “overactive fear system.” When you encounter something scary, your brain’s fear system goes into overdrive. Your heart pounds and your muscles prepare for action, but once the danger has passed, everything goes back to normal — ideally.

That’s not what happens if you have PTSD as it appears to be characterized by insufficient amounts of endogenous cannabinoids, which is why marijuana may be therapeutic. Cannabis endows sufferers with the “gift of forgetting” by temporarily deactivating traumatic memories.6

Unfortunately, veterans’ access to medical marijuana is often limited, and when they can obtain it, it’s a guessing game about what strain to use, how much and how often.

Nine states now allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana for PTSD patients, but there is little scientific research to guide them, in part due to the difficulty researchers have in getting their studies approved.

Three times now, the Colorado Board of Health has rejected a petition to put PTSD on medical marijuana’s list of approved conditions, citing lack of scientific evidence of its benefit.7

More studies are urgently needed about condition-specific benefits before marijuana can be approved for the treatment of specific disorders, but that may be about to change in the case of PTSD.

First Federally Approved Study of Marijuana for PTSD

Researchers are several bureaucratic hurdles closer to a green light for a major scientific study on marijuana’s benefits for PTSD. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is on the verge of commencing a study involving the use of marijuana for combat veterans, led by Dr. Suzanne Sisley, who is one of the scientists featured in “Weed 3.”8

After years of setbacks, the study has received approvals from nearly all of the required agencies — National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

While I’m not in favor of smoking in any form, this will be the first federally approved study in which the subjects will ingest marijuana by smoking, and it’s also the first whole-plant marijuana study, as opposed to an extract.

Why has this taken so long? Politics and outdated laws have stood in the way of scientific progress. Approval has been a hot mess of bureaucratic red tape — one of which is the question of who will grow and supply the marijuana used in the study. The fact that so many agencies are required to approve marijuana studies creates extended delays, and there’s built-in bias.

For example, one of the agencies required to sign off on all marijuana research, NIDA, was designed to prevent people from using marijuana! There is only one place in the US where pot is allowed to be grown for scientific purposes — a field at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In the past year alone, they’ve increased their production 30-fold, from 46 to 1,400 pounds.

New Hope for Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s is a disease with no known cure and few effective treatments, but cannabis is renewing hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Researchers at the University of South Florida and Thomas Jefferson University9,10 found that low-dose THC directly impedes the buildup of beta amyloid plaque in the brain, which is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s — and unlike so many pharmaceutical drugs, it produces no toxicity. THC was also found to “enhance” the function of your brain cells’ energy factories — the mitochondria.

Lead author and neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao, PhD writes:

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.”

Cannabis is also known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, as well as reducing some of the non-memory-related symptoms typically experienced by Alzheimer’s sufferers, including anxiety, irritability, and rage.11 So, it looks promising that cannabis may have multiple benefits for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Download Interview Transcript

This Is Your Brain on Weed…

Harvard University’s Dr. Staci Gruber has been researching marijuana since the early 1990s. Her colleagues affectionately call her “The Pot Doc.” Most of her past research focused on the risks of marijuana, but now she’s shifting her focus to its benefits. The federal government has signed off on a large study about the effects of marijuana on the developing brain.

The ABCD study (Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development) will investigate marijuana’s impact on the cognition, brain structure, and function of 10,000 youth, age 10 and older. This research is important given the reports of marijuana’s adverse impact on brain development in children and adolescents that’s been quoted for decades, but in reality is scientifically flimsy.

According to Dr. Alan Budney of Dartmouth’s medical school,12 “We know a lot, but we don’t know a lot about what we know.” The evidence linking pot to stunted brain development is “fairly weak and somewhat inconsistent” and may very well be limited to a subset of early heavy users. It’s hoped that Dr. Gruber’s research will shed some light on this issue. Her study uses brain imaging to evaluate structural and functional changes in response to marijuana.

Preliminary reports suggest no evidence of impairment after three months of daily marijuana use. However, there is an observable structural change in the anterior cingulate cortex — the part of your brain responsible for decision-making, empathy, and emotion. As the study progresses, we’ll have better information about what these changes actually mean.

New Legislation Proposes ‘Downscheduling’ Marijuana

Senate Bill 683,13 or the CARERS Act (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States) was recently introduced by three senators —Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rand Paul. This comprehensive legislation would create fundamental changes to the way the US views drug law, allowing states to set their own marijuana policies without federal interference, without fear of prosecution.

Firstly, the CARERS Act “downschedules” marijuana, reclassifying it from Schedule 1 to the less restrictive Schedule 2, and it removes low-THC, high-CBD strains from controlled substance status altogether, which paves the way for interstate commerce.14 It removes some of the federal barriers to marijuana research and allows more farms to begin growing research-grade marijuana, which would relieve many logistical problems. However, this arrangement has a drawback. The strains available from government-sponsored farms bare little resemblance to the potency and chemical composition of those available in modern marijuana dispensaries.

Another proposed change in this legislation is the relaxation of financial constraints on the marijuana trade by providing safe harbor for banks and credit unions to offer services to dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers. The act also improves veterans’ access to marijuana by allowing prescription within the Veterans Administration. Overall, Senate Bill 683 has received fairly broad support and is believed to stand a good chance of passage.

EFT Is Available RIGHT NOW to PTSD Sufferers, and Others

In discussing treatment options for PTSD sufferers, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a technique that’s been scientifically proven effective in reducing the symptoms of PTSD — and it’s completely free, legal, and immediately accessible. The technique is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), a form of psychological acupressure that utilizes the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture for more than five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles. The best part is you can learn to do EFT for yourself but please understand that self-administered EFT may not work and you’re far more likely to get benefit by seeing a skilled therapist.

A large proportion of the scientific research about EFT has been done using populations of PTSD-diagnosed veterans — with stunning success. This ongoing study is part of the Veterans Stress Project. In a randomized controlled trial, veterans with moderate to severe PTSD received six sessions of EFT. Upon completion, 90 percent had such a profound decrease in symptoms that they no longer met the criteria for PTSD. Their levels of pain were also assessed, and even though pain was not the primary target of the study, it decreased by 41 percent.15

If you would like to be considered for participation in the Veterans Stress Project,16 you can obtain information on their website. A key aspect of PTSD is anxiety, and EFT is typically effective with many forms of anxiety. You can read more, including how to find a professional practitioner, in our prior article about EFT for stress and anxiety.

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