Peter Reynolds

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Review. ‘Drug Use for Grown-Ups’ By Dr Carl L. Hart

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“I discovered that the predominant effects produced by the drugs discussed in this book are positive,” Carl L. Hart writes in his new book. “It didn’t matter whether the drug in question was cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or psilocybin.”

Carl Hart is a tenured professor of psychology at Columbia University, an experienced neuroscientist and a father. He believes that if “grown-ups” like him would talk freely about the role of drugs in their lives, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in, a mess brought about by our ruinous drug policies, which have had such profound — and profoundly unequal — consequences for those who fall afoul of them.”

I’m reading Carl Hart’s book. Like him, I’m fortunate to have avoided any legal consequence from my ‘hobby’.  I share his advantage of having a decent education but I’m also white and from a relatively privileged, solid, two parent, loving family background.  If it wasn’t for this I doubt I would have been so lucky.  At one point in my life my hobby did become a habit but it was my advantages that got me through.
The older I become the more I realise that our appalling drugs policies are about class and race discrimination and they only serve to make these divisions worse. This is why our politicians do nothing because they, like me, can get away with doing as they wish.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 28, 2021 at 3:15 pm

If this was the Battle of Britain, the BBC would be the Nazi’s Best Weapon

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Don’t watch the catastrophe news.

We know how serious this is. We’ve heard the same answers to the same questions repeated over and over again on all channels. Special reports from intensive care units are unbearable once you’ve seen them a dozen times.  Its almost like glorifcation of the suffering. Would such constant, unremmitting catastrophising have given us the backbone to get through the Blitz?

For all the blathering about ‘mental health’, nothing could be worse than the neverending repetition of suffering from the news channels. Not the way to develop the strength and perseverance we need.

Journalism pretends to high ideals but again and again it lets us down with its self-serving exploitation of news.  We need information, truth, analysis, insight. What we do not need is hour after hour of pandemic porn.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 23, 2021 at 11:18 pm

My Predictions for Cannabis in the UK in 2021

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On medicinal cannabis, the senior clinicians and bureaucrats at NHS, NICE and the professional medical bodies will continue to do all they can to block access. Until key individuals are offered fat fees to run clinical trials they will continue to insist that this is the only form of evidence that is acceptable. They will continue to ignore and reject all evidence from overseas. The clamour from more and more patients will grow. The private clinics will boom but our political ‘leaders’ will continue to be impotent in the face of the vested interests of the medical establishment.

The Cancard will take off and police forces will welcome it as a sensible solution.  More and more people will grow their own and cannabis will become completely decriminalised by default.  Only if you’re behaving like an idiot or are engaged in large scale commercial grows and/or gangsterism will the police be interested.  Again our political ‘leaders’ will be useless and too scared of the tabloid media and their bigoted, poorly-informed backbenchers to do anything.  Meanwhile the cannabis trade will continue to drive county lines, knife crime, prostitution, modern slavery, all off the back of profits from cannabis but Boris and his buffoons will refuse to understand this or follow the evidence that legal regulation is the solution.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), in collaboration with the big business lobbyists, The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) , will succeed in getting all the multiples and major retailers to stop selling whole plant CBD extracts, which are what work and what consumers want. Dozens of small CBD companies who actually built this market will be put out of business by the FSA/ACI and hundreds of people will lose their jobs.  FSA/ACI will continue to ramp up their false propaganda that CBD can be toxic despite a complete absence of any real world evidence – all this with the intention of pricing small, artisan suppliers out of the market. Nasty, ineffective, isolate-based products will come to dominate the high street. Despite this, whole plant extracts will continue to be available online and the FSA will discover that it can’t enforce its rules because its definition of ‘novel food’ doesn’t actually fit genuine whole plant extracts.  They will bring prosecutions against some suppliers but these will fail once expert evidence is adduced.

The legal British cannabis market will continue to develop in faltering steps because of the obstacles inherent in the way the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is applied. The government is terrified to undertake the wholesale reform that is urgently needed because of outdated and ignorant attitudes.  It’s so transfixed by the drugs issue that it won’t even make the small tweaks to regulations on industrial hemp, exempt products and licensing that would give a massive boost to business prospects.  I can see no chance of any progress until the Covid crisis is over and ministers have more bandwidth to look at other issues.  Even then it’s going to need some new blood in cabinet.  Although Boris Johnson himself probably does have the instinct for reform, he is surrounded by third rate ministers, most of whom could never be considered progressive and are hardly visionary or ambitious thinkers.

The Birch-Moore cartel will continue to try and monopolise the entire British cannabis space.  Paul Birch, the multimillionaire stoner who landed a fortune from shares in his brother’s business, provides the cash and Steve Moore, former architect of David Cameron’s damp squib ‘Big Society’ project, runs the show. Volteface, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the ACI, Hanway Associates, Familes4Access are all different faces of the same core team, all characterised by generous funding, a young, aggressive team and an arrogant disdain for everyone else in the market.  Birch’s money has definitely brought some welcome benefits and was the missing ingredient in achieving the media coverage which led to the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 2018.  They took ideas and policies developed by other groups and added a well-funded PR operation because the reality is that however important your message, without the hard cash you just don’t get coverage on daytime TV and the main news programmes.  Aside from causing great division, particularly amongst the families campaigning for their epileptic children, the negative and malevolent aspects of their work is best demonstrated by the ACI’s manipulation of the CBD market and bullying of many small businesses.

I’m hopeful that at least in Scotland, which has the worst drug deaths record in Europe, there will be some progress on dealing with problematic hard drug use and its consequences.  The heroic actions of Peter Krykant, who is illegally running a mobile drugs consumption room in Glasgow and saving lives every day, have had a big impact.  This man deserves every bit as much praise as Captain Tom, Marcus Rashford or anyone else who has engaged in altruistic campaigning in 2020. He deserves a knighthood. As I write this, the latest reports suggest Nicola Sturgeon might even defy the dinosaurs in Westminster and fund appropriate harm reduction measures which are so desperately needed.

Until our political ‘leaders’ wake up to the fact that the entire criminal drugs market and the tens of billions it costs the UK are driven by the prohibition of cannabis there will be no real progress either on reducing the cost or improving public health.  The kids who are being stabbed on London’s streets, the young people who are trafficked and the vulnerable hard drug addicts who are being cuckooed as part of county lines dealing, it all starts with the criminal trade in cannabis.  That’s where the money comes from and until the market is taken away from the gangsters and properly regulated, things will only get worse.

Although we’ve all despaired about some aspects of the US political system, the progress on cannabis, even in Republican states, shows what real democracy can achieve. Local ballots have forced reluctant and often hostile politicians to comply with what the people want and make cannabis legally available.  The Biden-Harris team have promised federal decriminalisation and expungement of criminal records for all non-violent cannabis offences.  I think this will happen.  Even if the Republicans retain control of the Senate this issue has built up a head of steam that won’t be stopped. Remarkably, the one issue that transcends the terrible divides in American politics is cannabis.  If the Senate goes Democrat we could see much more far-reaching change.  And once the federal law on cannabis changes, you watch all the slimeball politicians throughout the rest of the world pretending that’s what they wanted all along.

Overall, I am optimistic. Hopefully, as we head through summer and into autumn next year, Covid will be behind us, we’ll all be back to earning a proper living and a lot closer to enjoying our cannabis in freedom, for pleasure, medicine or both.  My very best wishes and the compliments of the season.

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Capone Stanley Reynolds. Never A More Faithful Friend.

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Capone Stanley Reynolds, 2005 – 2020

My darling boy Capone left us at about a quarter to three on Sunday, 9th August 2020.  It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and I was sitting with him on the lawn at the back of the house.  I knew his time was near and as I was stroking him, he very calmly and peacefully stopped breathing.  As much as it could be, it was beautiful.

Capone was a very special dog and he will live in my heart until I die.  He came to me in 2007, shortly after I had left London to live in Emsworth, on the south coast between Chichester and Portsmouth. It was his sixteenth year, an extraordinary age for a dog of his size and type.  He was a cross between a German shorthaired pointer and a Staffordshire bull terrier and weighed up to 35 kilos at one point.  He became lame through arthritis in 2014 and put on a lot of weight. From that time on he never walked more than 30 or 40 yards. In his last year that reduced to maybe five or six yards but he always remained cheerful and a vital part of my family.  He leaves a huge hole and while my two younger dogs have taken it in their stride, Carla who came to me only six months after him, is devastated.  She didn’t eat for a week and although she is now recovering, her own time is not far away.  When she goes it will feel very much like the end of an era.  Capone and Carla both knew my parents and memories of staying at Mum and Dad’s with them are strong and precious.

Walking in Chichester Harbour (from Country Walking magazine)

Capone saved my life when he came to live with me. I was depressed and lonely after leaving London where I had been living for more than 12 years.  I needed to get away from an unhealthy lifestyle and a terrible relationship but it was difficult and I was going downhill. He gave me a reason to get up in the morning, walking with him became my therapy and it eventually led me back into writing, which I had lost in the chaos of London life.  For the first time in years I had a piece published, ‘One Walk, Four Seasons’ in Country Walking magazine.  A year later I moved to Dorset and celebrated walking with both my dogs in my blog Paradise Valley, excerpts from which were regularly published in a local newspaper.

Surfing, Bowleaze Cove, Dorset

Surfing, Bowleaze Cove, Dorset

As well as walking, Capone loved swimming.  I would throw a stick from the beach and out he would go to retrieve it, fearlessly, through waves three, four times his height, relentlessly, indomitably and he would insist on going again and again until I almost had to drag him out the water.

Later, out of the blue, Capone developed severe epilepsy and he became my personal experience of the extraordinary power of medicinal cannabis. He would have died at least five years ago were it not for his daily dose of low-THC cannabis oil.  I wrote about his experience in 2016. Eventually it cured him completely of his seizures and in his final months I increased his dosage and it enabled him to live out his last days in comfort.

My mother died over the Christmas period in 2015 and that year her gift to me was a cushion emblazoned with ‘Dogs welcome, people tolerated’. She knew me so well.  Dogs are definitely my favourite sort of people and Capone, without doubt, has been the most important dog in my life.

I buried him in my garden just a few hours later.  My good friend Georgina, her son Paddy and my other three dogs, Carla, Cariad and Kearney stood beside me at the grave and I recall telling them how he was always such a good dog, right from day one he didn’t have to be on a lead.  He would walk faithfully by my side, through a field of sheep, along a busy road through crowds of people, never bothered, never perturbed.  He was as steady as they come, centered and always content by my side, as I was with him.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 22, 2020 at 5:48 pm

The Panacea

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Possibly the most frequently heard objection to medicinal use of cannabis is disbelief that one medicine can help with so many different medical conditions. Contempt for this idea most frequently comes from the medical establishment who demonstrate their lack of knowledge of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Still not taught in most medical schools, the ECS is now known to be the largest neurotransmitter network in the body which does indeed impact on every other physiological system. It is a scientific fact, still not understood by many doctors, that cannabis can have beneficial effects on virtually every condition and disease.

Cannabis is a palliative medicine but I have no doubt that the curative powers of cannabinoids, which have already been proven in vitro and animal studies, will one day be harnessed into medicines. In different combinations, perhaps with other cannabis compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, they will successfully treat many cancers, mental health problems, digestive disorders and especially diseases of the immune system.  At this stage though, cannabis is best considered as something that helps us deals with symptoms, particularly chronic pain, mood and sleeping disorders.  In this regard, it is still not properly recognised for the immense benefits it offers, especially that it is so safe, non-toxic and kind to the body and mind.

Cannabis does undoubtedly produce some remarkable curative results. In my judgement these are largely by luck rather than design but cannabis is perhaps the only medicine you can do this with. It is so safe that you can try it and see, experiment with different doses and potentially with different ratios of its many active ingredients.  Very, very few doctors understand this. They are more used to dealing with toxic substances that can produce nasty side effects, which is why they and the NHS bureaucrats who control the purse strings are so dependent on clinical trials. These produce valuable data and safety information for pharmaceutical drugs but it means our physicians have lost the ability to treat patients as individuals, using safe, plant-based therapies.  This wisdom has been swept aside by the pharma industry’s rush for profit and forgotten by many of those who care for us.

So I take the view that cannabis really is a panacea.  Not a cure for everything but a remedy that offers some benefit for every condition.  This relies on another truth that is difficult for the medical establishment to deal with – cannabis is not one medicine but many, perhaps hundreds of different combinations of ingredients, beyond just THC and CBD, beyond terpenes and flavonoids, perhaps including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, essential amino acids, esters, glycosides, enzymes, proteins, sugars, alcohols, ketones, lactones, aldehydes – all the constituents of this remarkable plant. It is this complexity, of course, that makes clinical trials unsuitable for cannabis and its inherent safety that makes them unnecessary.

But I have my personal panacea.  It is made by a good friend who in his professional life produces some of the finest, whole plant, low-THC, high-CBD oils.  In his spare time he turns his lab to more interesting, illicit products.  You will be surprised to learn that my panacea is not a high-THC rocket fuel but a 3:1 ratio CBD:THC blend.  It is a happiness tonic, soothing pain reliever, gentle sleep enhancer and gorgeous elixir for all the aches, pains and complaints of my 63rd year.

I know that if little bottles of this were on pharmacy and supermarket shelves they would sell like hot cakes.  Six drops in a cup of coffee in the morning or hot chocolate before bed – it’s bliss, delight, comfort and it just enhances and smoothes life without any downside, no hangover or side effects at all. Of course, with that ratio it’s completely benign and would be even for an inexperienced cannabis consumer.  When products like this become legally available they will benefit hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those early into the market will probably make a fortune if they can advertise and communicate its benefits effectively.  The really wonderful aspect though is that this can be as cheap as chips.  Made in volume it could sell for just a few pounds, euros or dollars a bottle that will last for weeks.  It really is a panacea although currently, stupidly, in this crazy world we live in, highly illegal.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

The Trolls Attacking Boris On Social Media Are In For The Shock Of Their Lives

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It’s very, very sad how our great nation has become demeaned by the arrogant, self-righteous, opinionated, know-it-all warriors of social media.
 
When I worked in the ad industry, we had a saying ‘It’s much easier to criticise than to create’ and that’s what I see on Facebook and Twitter. Despite my challenge, not one person has suggested anyone who they think would do better than Boris Johnson.
 
Things are going to get very much tougher than they are now. I think there will be shock, horror, grief, anger and fear to cope with. It’s going to take a leader of heroic strength to get us through and I say thank God we already have that man in Downing Street.

Boris is doing a brilliant job. For 15 years this country has been crying out for leadership. He rescued Brexit from the Remainers who wanted to subvert our democracy and he’ll lead us to victory over Covid19

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Biography, Politics

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Life Is A Rollercoaster

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When you’ve been through as much shit as I have in my life, this is just another downward swoop on the rollercoaster. And let’s be honest, if there wasn’t a slight chance that you wouldn’t make it, it wouldn’t be half as much fun!

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 19, 2020 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Biography, Health

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How To Win The Coronavirus War

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Closing things down will not protect us. Only by developing herd immunity will we win the Coronavirus War. So we should be careful to try and slow the rate of infection and vulnerable people need to be in strict hygiene conditions.

In areas where everything is shut down, when people start mixing again the infection will just come back.

We have to accept it in a controlled fashion, then we will develop antibodies and scientists will develop vaccines against it.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 14, 2020 at 8:28 pm

VIDEO. Peter Reynolds discusses legalisation “I’ve been saying 5 years, for quite a long time”

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Written by Peter Reynolds

February 29, 2020 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Biography, Politics

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I’m Voting In The Irish General Election

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I am privileged to be a registered voter in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.  As a Welshman I am very happy to live alongside my Celtic brothers in County Kerry and I still have a base in Dorset on the south coast of England.  I am proud to be British and although some might think in Ireland it’s a dirty word, I have never met any hostility here and it’s a fact of geography that the UK and Ireland together comprise the British Isles.

In the recent UK General Election, I voted Conservative because above all else I wanted to ‘Get Brexit Done’.  On Saturday I will be voting in Ireland and I’m deciding who to vote for.

I am a passionate Brexiteer because I consider self-determination to outweigh almost all other political considerations.  In June 2008, Ireland voted against the EU over the Lisbon Treaty but it was forced by the Eurocrats to hold a second referendum and just over a year later the Irish people were bullied into submission.  I wish that Ireland could have left the EU alongside the UK and there is a significant level of opinion here in favour of ‘Irexit’.  It would certainly have solved the problem that Brexit has caused for the border with the North.

The other solution to the border is a united Ireland and that is something I strongly support.  It’s only in the past 10 years that I have come to understand Irish history and Britain is shamed by its record of brutal oppression. I realise now that this important history is excluded from the school syllabus in the UK. Our behaviour in Ireland is one of the most dreadful episodes of history and the British were guilty of war crimes similar to Israel’s current conduct in Palestine, the Nazis in World War II and other tyrannical regimes.  If I had lived in Ireland in the 20th Century I would certainly have joined the IRA. It was a righteous and noble cause.

I know for certain that I will not vote for Fine Gael, the present party of government.  While I admire the way that it has helped Ireland become a progressive society, escaping from the evil of the Catholic Church, it describes itself as ‘the party of Europe’ and Leo Varadkar, its leader and the present Taoiseach is a gay, Asian version of Tony Blair.  I hasten to add that I have nothing against him for being gay or Asian!

I am more naturally drawn to Fianna Fail, the main opposition party that is more Ireland-centric and republican in its philosophy.  But it is very old-fashioned, embedded in the past, illiberal culture and offers little promise for the future. It strikes me that like the two main parties in the UK, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are content with the status quo where power switches back and forth between them periodically.  There’s no doubt that Ireland is ready for a change.

Ireland has a history of electing significant numbers of independent politicians and here in Kerry we are blessed with our very own independent dynasty, the Healy-Raes, an extraordinary family which can, most certainly, be described as eccentric.  We have a proportional, single-transferable vote system where voters specify candidates in order of preference by writing 1, 2, 3, etc. alongside their names. Michael Healy-Rae will definitely be near the top of my choices.

But voting for independents will not help create a new government that can move beyond the tired politics of the past.  Extraordinarily, I find myself tempted by two socialist parties: Sinn Fein and People Before Profit. Sinn Fein for its noble ideals and ambition for a united Ireland.  (The name translates as ‘We Ourselves’).  People Before Profit because I have met several of its TDs and it is strongly committed to cannabis law reform.

Also, as all democrats should be, I am disgusted by the way Fine Gael and Fianna Fail treat Sinn Fein, currently ahead of both them in the polls. They both refuse to engage at all and say they would never work with it in government.  The reason given is because of Sinn Fein’s past paramilitary connections and, as they say, that is has never properly distanced itself from violence.

I say this is preposterous, dishonest nonsense.  Firstly, it was a just war.  Of course, I deplore violence against innocent civilians but given the perspective I have recently acquired, I am ambivalent about action against security forces.  An army of occupation must expect to meet resistance.  If Fine Gael and Fianna Fail refuse to engage with a party with such massive popular support, they must reap the consequences.  How is any movement supposed to progress beyond violence to peaceful politics if it is spurned and isolated?

For me, one of the most extraordinary experiences since moving to Ireland was meeting Martin Ferris, a Sinn Fein, Kerry TD who is retiring at this election.  He was a hunger striker and starved himself for longer than some who died as a result of their protest.  In the late 70s, I was in my early 20s and I remember that my perspective on the hunger strikers was that they were fools because the British government would never give in. But now I see it very differently.  I see the huge courage and nobility in their protest.

So I shall be voting for Sinn Fein.  I’m not yet sure what number I shall put against their candidate, Pa Daly’s name but it could well be number one.  Were People Before Profit fielding a candidate in Kerry, they too woud get a vote. The elegance of the Irish voting system is that I can offer support to these socialist parties without fear.  The first past the post system in Britain really does hold us back and I hope there will be electoral reform in my lifetime.

My father would turn in his grave if he read these words.  I am surprised at myself but my mind is made up.  Of course I am only one voter amongst more than three million but I am excited about this, my first Irish election, as I believe it heralds real change.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 7, 2020 at 8:56 pm