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If a plant has been used as medicine for thousands of years, there must be something to it. The first evidence of a civilization using marijuana, alternatively known as cannabis, goes back more than 5,000 years[1], and its first confirmed medicinal use dates back to around 400 AD[1]. While we should be careful of the downsides of marijuana, we also shouldn’t neglect its benefits, in particular those related to pain.

Pain is the evolutionary reflex that stops us from hurting ourselves, that tells us when something is wrong with our bodies. Pain is useful, a fact that is most obvious in those who don’t feel it. Congenital insensitivity to pain and anhydrosis (CIPA) is a rare hereditary disease where you don’t feel pain and where you cannot sweat[2]. Children born with CIPA have to be protected at all times, as they don’t know the dangers of a sharp table corner, a burning fire, or nettles in the wild. …


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We can send people to the Moon and back, but we can’t find a cure for a simple cold. We can order an Uber to our doorstep in a few minutes, but we can’t figure out whether eggs raise the risk of heart disease or not[1]. We can fly from New York to London in seven hours, but most cancer drugs are largely ineffective[2].

It might come as a surprise to the layman, but the human body is still a scientific enigma. …


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The world’s oceans play an indispensable role in maintaining life on Earth. They provide us with almost 80% of the oxygen we breathe[1], are home to countless thousands of species, and are the source of 97% of the world’s water supply.

From our distant vantage point on land, it’s perhaps somewhat too easy to forget just how important the oceans are to us, not to mention the impact that human activity has on marine ecosystems in particular and global ecosystems in general.

However, the gradual pollution of the world’s oceans — that too at an accelerating rate — is pushing the planet to the brink. …

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