Chemicals Found In Cannabis May Aid The Treatment Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Chemicals found in cannabis may aid the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseaseCompounds found in cannabis may be useful as part of an effective treatment for certain inflammatory bowel diseases, a new study has found.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two of the more prevalent bowel diseases, are caused by genetic and environmental factors such as diet, stress and bacterial imbalance.

Researchers found that two cannabis compounds—THC and cannabidol—can play an important role in normal bowel function as well as the immune system’s inflammatory response.

"The body produces its own cannabinoid molecules, called endocannabinoids, which we have shown increase the permeability of the epithelium during inflammation, implying that overproduction may be detrimental," said Karen Wright, author of the study.

"However, we were able to reverse this process using plant-derived cannabinoids, which appeared to allow the epithelial cells to form tighter bonds with each other and restore the membrane barrier," she added.

While THC is responsible for the "high" associated with using cannabis, cannabidol, which is also effective in restoring membrane integrity, does not have any psychoactive properties.

Meanwhile, independent research has indicated that cannabis may also be helpful in controlling symptoms associated with glaucoma and certain forms of cancer.

Common Pain Reliever May Increase Risk Of Asthma, Researchers Say

Common pain reliever may increase risk of asthma, researchers sayAs we enter the peak of cold and flu season in the United States, many people have begun to look for alternative remedies to help cope with winter sickness.

New research conducted at the University of British Columbia has shown that the widely used pain reliever acetaminophen may lead to an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in both children and adults.

After reviewing 19 studies with more than 425,000 participants, researchers found that children who took acetaminophen had a 60 percent greater chance of developing asthma when compared to children who did not take the drug, the Vancouver Sun reports. For adults, the risk of developing asthma rose to 70 percent.

Meanwhile, new evidence has surfaced indicating that Brazilian mint contains pain relieving compounds similar to those found in traditional western medicines.

A research team at Newcastle University administered Brazilian mint in the form of a tea to a group of lab mice and found that the South American herb was as effective at relieving pain as a synthetic aspirin-style drug.

"What we have done is to take a plant that is widely used to safely treat pain and scientifically proven that it works as well as some synthetic drugs. Now the next step is to find out how and why the plant works," said lead researcher Graciela Rocha.

The research team will now put together a series of clinical trials to see how effective the mint is as a pain reliever in human beings.

Study By AP Finds U.S. Gun Laws Getting More Lax

Study by AP finds U.S. gun laws getting more lax In a blow to gun-regulation proponents, a review by the Associated Press (AP) has found that during the last two years, 24 states, mostly in the Southwest, have passed 47 new laws loosening gun restrictions.

Among them are Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Utah that have made it illegal for businesses to prevent their employees from storing guns in cars parked on company lots, while Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia have made some or all handgun permit information confidential, according to the news agency.

The AP also notes that Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions.

While this may be welcome news to proponents of the Second Amendment rights, not everyone is happy with these developments.

Kristin Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group in Washington, says they are the result of the "stranglehold" the National Rifle Association (NRA) holds on many state legislatures.

"They basically have convinced lawmakers they can cost them their seats, even though there’s no real evidence to back that up," she said, quoted by the news provider.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that the number of new guns in the U.S. increases by about 4.5 million each year.

Government Reports Progress On Virtual Border Fence, But Not Everyone Is Happy

Government reports progress on virtual border fence, but not everyone is happy Government officials have announced a plan to turn over the first section of the "virtual fence" along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico frontier to the Border Patrol in January, but it remains unclear whether the system will ever cover the entire border.

Once the turnover takes place, a total of 23 miles of the border in Southern Arizona will be covered by the system which includes cameras, ground sensors and radars mounted on towers, but officials are saying that they have not yet decided if and where to build more sections, according to the Associated Press (AP).

"We do want some time to look at whether or not that really does make the most sense," said Mark Borkowski, the director of the virtual fence project, quoted by the news source.

He specified that some of the issues the officials will have to consider include whether it makes sense to spend limited resources to cover the entire border and whether there may be cheaper but equally effective approaches.

This sentiment was echoed in the editorial which appeared in the Aurora Sentinel that pointed out that it cost taxpayers about $1 million a mile to erect the system.

Moreover, "expecting these barriers to do much good until comprehensive immigration reform takes place is a waste of time," it adds.

The project was developed during the Bush administration as part of a border security plan designed to add another layer of protection, along with thousands of Border Patrol agents and 650 miles of real fences.

When the People Are Well Informed

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point—150 years ago or more—the American public went to sleep.

While we (I use this as a collective, all-encompassing ‘we’) slept robbers, thieves and liars invaded our House—that is the White House and Congress. They’ve been there ever since.

They stole our money. They stole many of our freedoms. They lied about their motives. They lied about their goals. And still we slept.

If we happened to awaken for a short time and notice the robbers, thieves and liars, we’d squeak and squawk. We’d throw a hissy fit. Occasionally we’d even vote a few of them out of office.

Then we’d roll over, and sleep would return.

This emboldened the robbers, thieves and liars.

Last yearl we slept through yet another election. A few got out and voted, almost 57 percent of those of voting age. Some of them voted, reluctantly, for the man it was thought would steal the least from us. A few voted for the lady on the bottom half of the ticket, seeing her as a sheriff who might sweep out the criminals.

But most who bothered to wake up enough to vote dreamed of “Hope and Change.” Dumbed down by government schools, pop culture and a sycophantic media, fed up with the flailings of W., driven by emotion and enticed by a silver tongue, they bought the lie. Then they smiled, turned over and went back to sleep.

By summer we woke up, and most didn’t like what we saw. We realized we’d been had. Hope and Change became Little Hope and No Change and a leftward lurch that most didn’t like.

We found the robbers, thieves and liars getting too comfortable in our digs, helping themselves to our comfy chair, warm bed and our snacks and looking for even more ways to steal from us.

Many got angry, got informed and confronted the robbers, thieves and liars. When confronted they showed their arrogance.

Emboldened by huge infusions of cash from corporatocracy and union thugs and by a ready pool of illegal and non-existent voters rounded up by community organizing groups, they dismissed us as irrelevant.

We realized they had begun to think they lorded over us rather than worked for us. The Tea Parties formed, took root and coalesced. And more and more of us became informed.

The thieves, robbers and liars got desperate. They saw their easy life being challenged and they sought to ram their Socialist agenda through very quickly, seeking to turn America into a European-style Socialist Democracy. The harder they worked the more informed we became. And that is good.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Richard Price in 1789, “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

Now things have gone so far wrong they’ve finally attracted our notice. It’s time “to set them to rights.”

Rare Coins and Precious Metals 101

In the past few years precious metals and rare coins have been very much in focus
due to the incredible spending spree in Washington and the publicity of the central banks becoming net buyers of gold.

As happens with all bull markets, new companies spring up to take advantage of the trend and employ phone salesman with little or no experience with precious metals or rare coins who do nothing but follow scripted sales material.

Gold Rarities Gallery is actively involved in protecting consumers. In 2005 we joined with a number of other dealers to become a founding member of the not-for-profit organization, Numismatic Consumer Alliance (NCA). NCA dedicates its resources and activities to the education and protection of the coin consumer. The Alliance has now recovered a total of more than $4 million for such consumers since becoming operational in 2005. NCA intervenes on behalf of these buyers, engaging legal and other professional assistance, if necessary, in an effort to ensure that coin consumers are getting their money’s worth. The Alliance is reviewing other disputes involving coins for which consumers paid more than $10 million.

Today, to help Personal Liberty Digest readers, we are going to give you a checklist on how to separate those who can actually help you and those who just want to separate you from your money. Ask these questions and follow these guidelines and you will have a far more pleasant buying experience:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • How long has the person you are dealing with been in the business? Many telemarketers hire salesman who know nothing about the products they are selling. The problem with this is that without the experience, they have no idea whether what their employer is selling is a good deal or not.

Never ask this:

  • What is your commission or markup? The reason this is the wrong question for the average person to ask is because a dealer can say he is working at 5 percent, which to the average person sounds reasonable. The problem is, if the company is not very good at buying coins and they are overpaying by 15 percent, then it’s not such a great deal. This is where actual experience can make a huge difference. The best thing to do is always simply compare actual prices.

Bait and Switch
The fact that the practice of bait and switch is illegal doesn’t seem to deter some companies from offering something at a low price to entice you and then have the “expert” who answers the phone try to convince you something else is a better deal. If this happens hang up and find a new company.

What coins should you buy?
The answer to this question could literally be different for everyone who reads this. Your choices:

  • Certified Modern CoinsThe United States Mint strikes numerous issues which it then distributes to the public via authorized dealers or its own web site. Some of the more popular products find their way to the major grading services and are usually seen as MS-69 and MS-70 or Proof 69 and Proof 70. At Gold Rarities we do sell certified modern coins on occasion when the prices are not too much of a premium above their spot value. The lone exception we make to that in-house rule is the 1-ounce American Silver Eagle in MS-70, which is currently $99 and is one of the most popular and widely collected coins ever produced. Twenty coin rolls, of course, can be bought for far less. Many certified modern coins are simply bad deals with very high markups and should be evaluated carefully before purchase. The more popular certified bullion coins are the Gold and Silver Eagles and the Gold Buffalo pieces. When buying certified coins we suggest sticking with the two most established grading services, which are Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), the only two we use.
  • Rare CoinsThere are simply too many areas of the rare coin market to cover here but among the most popular issues are the Morgan and Peace Dollars as well as the St Gaudens and $20 Liberty gold. Again, we suggest sticking with the major grading services NGC and PCGS. In the case of the pre-1933 gold and silver coins, we also recommend the additional protection of the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) verification.

What is (CAC)?
Gold Rarities Gallery has always been known for selling quality material. We have been known to sift through hundreds of coins just to find the few nuggets that meet our strict criteria. However, an ever-increasing number of certified coins on the market are considered low end for their grade and some we have rejected over and over again.

CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours.

CAC verifies previously graded coins and awards their sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today’s sophisticated buyer.

Gold Rarities Gallery sells only coins certified by NGC and PCGS, almost all of which will have the additional CAC verification.

What the CAC sticker means:

  • Verified. Your coin has been verified as meeting the standard for strict quality within its grade.
  • Guaranteed. CAC stands behind our verification by making markets in the most actively traded coins.

The CAC Sticker is Backed by Experience

CAC was founded by leading members of the numismatic community including John Albanese, a respected authority on coin grading and the rare coin market.

At Gold Rarities Gallery we handle everything from a couple of hundred dollars to major seven-figure rarities. Whether you are building a set of major rarities, or you just pick up a single piece every now and then, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-224-3160 and put our 24 years of experience to work for you.

Gold Rarities Gallery maintains one of the lowest overheads in the business and that allows us to work closer with our customers than our competitors ever could, and our 24 years of industry contacts are second to none. More importantly, we are very picky as far as quality is concerned and we only sell coins that meet very strict eye appeal standards.

To view our entire inventory visit us on the web at, and while there, feel free to fill out our WANT LIST form to get first shot at all new purchases.

—Al Pinkall

First Salvos Fired In High-profile Massachusetts Senate Run

First salvos fired in high-profile Massachusetts Senate run In the first phase of the special election that is bound to have a significant impact on American politics for at least another year, Martha Coakley and Scott Brown won the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively, to replace Senator Edward Kennedy who died last August.

Coakley, who is the state’s attorney general, won 47 percent of the vote, and expressed her hope that Massachusetts voters will "help send a different kind of leader to Washington," in the January 19, 2010 vote.

If she wins, the 56-year-old politician will become the first female senator from the Bay State, which prompted Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine to say that he could not "think of a more fitting tribute to [Kennedy], who dedicated his life to advancing civil rights and expanding opportunity for women and minorities."

Her opponent in the January poll will be Brown, who is a state senator, and who beat his only opponent Jack E. Robinson by winning more than 90 percent of the vote.

"I don’t pretend to have all the answers," he stated after his victory was announced, adding that "I will do all that I can to help make our country strong and prosperous once again."

The special election will be watched closely by the rest of the nation as it will determine whether or not the Senate Democrats will maintain their supermajority of 60 votes that allows them to block a Republican filibuster.

Drafting Mickey Mouse

We celebrate both the ridiculous and sublime this week—as well as the start of a brand-new year.

First, the ridiculous. Twenty-six years ago this week the Selective Service sent a notice to Mr. Mickey Mouse, care of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., ordering him to register for the draft. I kid you not. It really happened.

Someone at Disney with a sense of humor (gee, that’s almost everyone, isn’t it?) sent the Federales proof that Mickey, then 52 years old, was a proud veteran of World War II. Case dismissed.

And now the sublime. On Dec. 30, 1974, the ownership of gold once again became legal for Americans after a 41-year prohibition. Here’s a tip of the Straight Talk hat to all those who campaigned tirelessly to restore a right that is precious indeed. It is wonderfully ironic that one of the few activities of the Federal Government that’s actually profitable is the U.S. Mint, which every year sells hundreds of thousands of gold coins to an eager public.

By the way, Happy New Year!

—Chip Wood

Treasury Admits Obama's Foreclosure Prevention Program Falls Short

Treasury admits Obama's foreclosure prevention program falls short In a rare display of self-criticism, officials from the Treasury Department admitted that the government’s mortgage modification program has helped only a small percentage of borrowers facing foreclosures.

According to CNN, the department has revealed that only about 4 percent of delinquent borrowers who began trial mortgage modifications under the housing plan have had those more affordable loan terms made permanent.

The officials have also criticized the nation’s top banks for not doing their part to improve the situation. For example, at Bank of America, where some 1 million homeowners participated in the trial process, only 98 were able to permanently modify their mortgage, The Chicago Tribune reports.

"We’re not satisfied yet with how this program is unfolding," said Herbert Allison, Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability, quoted by the news source.

He added, "The servicers have a lot of work to do, and we’re holding them accountable for their performance."

In the meantime, senior advisor for mortgage finance for the Housing and Urban Development Department has vowed to keep the pressure on both borrowers and servicers to ensure as many mortgage modifications are converted as possible, according to the news provider.

The government’s stated goal is to help up to 4 million troubled homeowners.

Acupuncture May Reduce The Itch Related To Eczema

Acupuncture may reduce the itch related to eczemaAccording to a new study, a session of acupuncture may help relieve the itch associated with the allergic skin condition known as atopic eczema, Reuters reports.

Eczema is a persistent condition that is associated with skin inflammation and dry rashes. The most common form, atopic eczema, is usually seen in people with allergies such as hay fever or asthma.

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich found that acupuncture therapy, when done within minutes of the initial exposure to an allergen, appeared to soothe subjective feelings of itchiness, according to the news source.

Additionally, scientists found that when patients were exposed to an allergen directly after a session of acupuncture, they tended to have a less severe skin reaction.

The Mayo Clinic reports that acupuncture may also be used to help alleviate symptoms associated with headaches, lower back pain, menstrual cramps as well as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Although there are very few side effects associated with acupuncture, it is not for everyone. People who are pregnant, have bleeding disorders and people with pacemakers should consult a doctor before submitting to the procedure.