Russ Belville

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 29, 2009

    Earlier this year NORML requested your assistance to help us launch the first ever nationwide television ad campaign calling for the regulation of cannabis for adults. Because of your generous support, NORML was able to purchase over 7,500 ad buys in all 50 states on cable networks like CNN, CNBC, Fox News, Fuse, FX Networks, G4, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, and Spike TV. These ads were viewed by over 2.4 million households nationwide.

    Today we are asking for your help so that we can once again make history.

    For the past several weeks NORML has been negotiating with CBS radio to launch the nation’s first live talk radio show dedicated to all things cannabis: NORML SHOW LIVE: Marijuana Nation. That’s right, NORML is planning to take the talk radio world by storm – and we intend to smoke the competition!

    NORML SHOW LIVE, will be hosted by Russ Belville – the voice of NORML’s daily podcast, the Audio Stash — and will air on ChatAboutIt.com, the next generation of talk radio. ChatAboutIt.com streaming online radio is powered by CBS radio and features original and cutting edge programming – available free over the internet or via download on your iPhone or Blackberry.

    The cultural and political influence of talk radio is undeniable and is growing –- as is the popularity of streaming radio. Today, one in seven adults between the ages of 18 to 54 listens to online radio. This audience has more than doubled over the past four years and is expected to grow significantly in the future. NORML’s content and message naturally appeals to this demographic, which is frequently turning away from the mainstream media and turning to groups like NORML to obtain fact-based educational and political information about the world’s most popular plant.

    However, before we launch this effort, we want to hear from you — the cannabis community. Please offer us your thoughts and suggestions regarding how we can make NORML SHOW LIVE: Marijuana Nation the premiere talk destination for activists and NORML supporters. I have no doubt that much of the success of this venture will be based on the active participation and support of our members and listeners.

    Even more importantly, we need your donations to help defray the start-up costs associated with launching and publicizing NORML SHOW LIVE: Marijuana Nation. In the coming weeks we need to create an unprecedented “buzz” in the marijuana law reform community, and within the talk radio industry, about our new show. Specifically, we need to print and distribute flyers at upcoming events, such as the Seattle Hempfest, place online banners on marijuana-friendly websites, purchase advertising in talk-radio trade magazines, and pay for updated studio equipment and voice-over technology.

    NORML SHOW LIVE intends to be the voice of the marijuana nation for the students, homemakers, retirees, soldiers, patients, professionals, and working people who demand equal treatment under the law and for an end to America’s longest and costliest war. For a one-time donation here of $100, $25, or even just $10, you can assure that your voice will heard by millions. Marijuana law reformers will no longer have to be dependent on the mainstream media; we can be a part of the mainstream media.

    Finally, NORML SHOW LIVE is seeking advertisers! If you have a business or a product, and would like to utilize and cost-effective way to reach millions of listeners each week, please contact russ@norml.org or call toll-free 888-772-3422 to inquire about our discounted introductory ad rates.

    NORML would like to thank you in advance for helping us make history — again.

  • by NORML May 13, 2008

    This from NORML Podcaster Russ Belville at the NORML Daily Audio Stash blog

    Marijuana may up heart attack, stroke risk: study | Health | Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Heavy marijuana use can boost blood levels of a particular protein, perhaps raising a person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke, U.S. government researchers said on Tuesday.

    Levels of a protein called apolipoprotein C-III were found to be 30 percent higher in the marijuana users compared to the others. This protein is involved in the body’s metabolism of triglycerides — a type of fat found in the blood — and higher levels cause increased levels of triglycerides.

    High levels of triglycerides can contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls, raising the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.

    The study did not look at whether the heavy marijuana users actually had heart disease.

    The marijuana users in the study averaged smoking 78 to 350 marijuana cigarettes per week, based on self-reported drug history, the researchers said.

    The researchers said the active ingredient in marijuana, known as THC, seems to overstimulate marijuana receptors in the liver, leading to overproduction of the protein. [They] said higher levels of the protein in marijuana users could raise future risk for cardiac abnormalities, blood flow problems, heart attack and stroke.

    A U.S. group supporting legal sales and regulation of marijuana disputed the findings. Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Bruce Mirken said, for example, the study involved people who were extremely heavy users.

    “I think the low end was 78 joints a week. That’s 10 or 11 joints a day,” Mirken said in a telephone interview.

    “We’re talking about people who are stoned all the time. We’re talking about the marijuana equivalent of the guy in the alley clutching a bottle of cheap wine. If you do anything to that level of excess, it might well have some untoward effects, whether it’s marijuana or wine or broccoli,” Mirken added.

    “Even if you take this finding at face value, it’s not at all clear that it has any relevance to the real world because there is still no data showing higher rates of mortality among marijuana smokers. If this was a significant cause of cardiovascular disease, where are the bodies?”

    Mirken’s right. 78 to 350 joints a week? That’s 11 to 50 joints per day. Let’s see, the government-rolled joints weigh in at about ¾ gram each (you do know there are official US Federal Government joints, right?), but the folks I know roll them a bit bigger (even to the ridiculous cubit-sized 70-gram models). However, most researchers seem happy with the ¾ gram model, so let’s do the math:

    Low-end = 11 joints/day = 11 x 0.75g = 8.25g/day = about 2 ounces / week
    High-end = 50 joints/day = 50 x 0.75g = 37.5g/day = over 9 ounces / week

    So if you are consuming daily enough cannabis to equal about one-half to two-and-one-half pounds per month, then you might run an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Personally, I’m thinking that at $300 per ounce, you’re more likely to run the risk of bankruptcy!

    Yet still, note that the study doesn’t check to see if the heavy marijuana users actually do have heart disease. The research done on the health effects of even heavy marijuana smokers show little if any difference between cannabis users and their non-using counterparts, and some studies even show a benefit from cannabis in treating hypertension.

    However, overeating, drinking alcohol, and smoking tobacco are proven to have deleterious effects on the heart and on health. I doubt we’re going to see any major effort to arrest the users of those substances, though.

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