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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Higher Ground

When science goes to pot

Poring over the tens of thousands of scientific papers on pot

Welcome to the world of science. I didn't do well in high school science and have pretty much avoided addressing scientific subjects formally until now. That's because I've been delving into the science of marijuana to try to figure out some of the hows and whys of medical marijuana's workings. There are some 20,000 published scientific papers analyzing marijuana and its parts. So don't let anybody tell you there is too little known about marijuana to make a call regarding its usefulness.

Most of those papers are beyond my understanding, and making sense of those I could understand came with the help of a medical dictionary. But at least I'm trying. Most public policy and attitudes about the plant have been formed without the help of science. In fact, when President Richard Nixon ramped up the drug war in the early 1970s, it was in direct contradiction of the information and recommendations of his own marijuana task force.

There are probably lots of things we believe wthout a scientific basis, but maybe we're at a point where more clearheaded inquiry is possible. So here we go. First of all, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC as we commonly call it, is not the only active substance in marijuana. We know about it mostly because it's what gets you high. However it is not the only component that has medicinal value.

In my last column on medical marijuana, I posed questions about what in marijuana gives you the munchies, what relieves spasm and what causes memory loss — not to mention numerous other effects such as pain reduction and nausea relief. I can't give you definitive answers to all of that, but here is an explanation of how our bodies interact with marijuana.

The first thing we need to get a grip on is the cannabinoid system in the human body. OK, that word sounds like cannabis (the scientific name for marijuana), but that is only because the system was discovered during the 1990s during research on how marijuana affects the brain. Apparently, most multicellular organisms have a cannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors that process the endocannabinoids (naturally occurring cannabinoids) that they produce. The system plays a role in regulating things like body temperature, blood pressure, hunger, etc.

Or as is formally stated by Neil Goodman, Ph.D., in "An Overview of the Endogenous Cannabinoid System," research suggests "that the endocannabinoids and their receptors constitute a widespread modulatory system that fine-tunes bodily responses to a number of stimuli."

"It's a regulatory system for things like appetite, circulation, pain response and immune response," says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and expert witness on marijuana science. "Cannabinoids seem to regulate or maintain all of these different functions. ... When mice are bred not to have these receptors, a couple of very shocking studies show they die almost immediately. They suffer from failure to thrive and have no appetite at birth. If you force them to stay alive, they die of old age long before they become old. If this system doesn't work right, people don't survive."

A functioning cannabinoid system is essential for good health. Cannabinoids are found around injuries stabilizing nerve cells and promoting anti-inflammatory responses. There are cannabinoids in mothers' milk that give babies the munchies so that they learn how to eat.

Well, now, what are the cannabinoids and how do they affect specific maladies? The best-known is the aforementioned delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol, aka THC. It is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and produces the euphoria recreational users seek. It's also what gives you munchies. THC is very similar to the endocannabinoid (naturally occurring) that the body produces to tell you it's time to eat. Therefore when marijuana is eaten, THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors and, in addition to the euphoria, you feel like eating. There are further indications that it specifically stimulates taste buds related to sweets in the mouth.

Of up to 100 cannabinoids, a handful are known to show promise as therapeutic agents. The second most widely known cannabinoids is cannabidiol, or CBD, the most exciting cannabinoid for medical science. There are indications it's helpful for inflammation, nerve pain in disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease; it's an antispasmodic, anticancer, antidiabetic and neuroprotective substance.

"What makes marijuana so interesting is that we can explain why we get the results that we get," says Armentano. "We have this strain that is high in CBD. We know this person has Crohn's disease. We know that CBD interacts with receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and it reduces inflammation."

Most other known cannabinoids have a variety of healing properties that support those of THC and CBD. In fact, natural marijuana as a whole seems to work better than any of its isolated components. Cannabinoids as a group have a synergistic effect that produces better outcomes and fewer side effects. And those effects are both palliative (relieving symptoms) and curative (modifying the disease itself).

For instance, laboratory testing has indicated CBD slows down the proliferation of certain cancers, lowers the incidence of diabetes, and slows the development of multiple sclerosis. Also, some traditional drugs seem to work better when used in tandem with marijuana's cannabinoids and, over time, some patients have less need to take their traditional drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies have taken note of this and, mostly outside the United States, many drugs using marijuana are in the pipeline. In the United States, it is almost impossible for a pharmaceutical company to even experiment with drugs using any naturally occurring part of marijuana because it's listed as a Schedule 1 drug. There are synthetic cannabinoids such as dronabinol (marinol) and WIN 55,212-2 available in the United States. However, a British company, GW Pharmaceuticals, has developed an oral spray, Sativex, which employs natural parts of marijuana and treats MS. It is available in several other countries, including Canada.

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