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Journey to Health

Moving to Colorado eight years I was on a journey to health but at the time I was willing to accept death as long as it was more pain free than the life I was living. When you feel that way, you are no longer living. You are surviving at best. I wanted to thrive. My will to survive and choices are the reason I am here today. I receive so many questions from patients and students so I thought I would write my journey out in an effort to help anyone and everyone on their own journey back to health.

My pain started in my right side, just under my rib cage. Being a Nurse I of course made several attempts to self diagnose. I ignored the pain for a year. I blamed it on a million different things. I tried to treat myself for a few various conditions and even created a psychosomatic and psychological response to the pain in an effort to drown it out. It provided temporary relief but eventually I found myself on five pharmaceutical drugs for competing symptoms. The primary issue was that none of them were helping. The pain would come and go with no warning. It would take over my entire body with nausea and sharp stabbing pains to my right rib cage.

Finally I decided enough self diagnosing was enough and I began seeking testing.  I just wanted my health back. To spare you the gory details just know they looked everywhere. In and out of every orifice they could. It was as though each place they sought something they found something they weren’t even looking for. None of the results explained the increasing pain in my right side. Eventually one test showed that my gallbladder was no long functioning and they decided it must have been the cause of my pain and that it needed to be removed.  I was scheduled for surgery the following week.

The surgery began successful until they discovered the reason the gallbladder had stopped functioning. I had a massive blood filled tumor sitting on my liver bisecting the hepatic vein and artery.  They took a biopsy and assumed I would be dead in a month.  The biopsy results showed otherwise, thank god. The tumor was benign. It was not cancer. Instead it was a blood and estrogen filled mass called a Focal Nodular Hyperplasia most likely caused by the birth control pill. The surgeon explained that due to its location on my liver the tumor was inoperable.

By the time I received this diagnosis the pain in my right side was absolutely unbearable and coming in waves every day. The only thing that was providing me any relief was cannabis. I was smoking before and after every single activity I was capable of and by this time which was no more than doing laundry. I had stopped work for the surgery but I was getting worse instead of better. I began using cannabis candies that I had illegally sent to me and they began providing more relief than any of the now thirteen pharmaceuticals I had prescribed.

I woke up a few weeks post op in extreme pain and felt as if I was dying. My skin was so puffy my rings that were normally loose and spun around my fingers were now so stuck in position I could not take them off.  My skin was a yellowish grey and the energy and will to live were quickly leaving my body. My Mother lived in Colorado. I knew that they had a medical marijuana program and I wondered if I could qualify for a card because of the pain I was in and my new surgical record.  I called her out of desperation and explained how I felt. She told me if I really felt that way that I should board the next flight and leave everything behind.

So that’s what I did. I left my relationship, dog, car, clothing, and possessions. None of those things mattered, only life mattered. I had not lived with my Mom since I was six years old so making the move was complicated on so many levels. One of the first conversations I had with my Mom she told me she would pay for my food, which was to be mostly raw and organic vegetarian, my pharmaceuticals and doctors appointments but that she would not help pay for my cannabis. The weed is why I moved. She didn’t get it, and that was okay. I did what I had to. I sold jewelry, applied for government assistance and did massages when my body would allow.

I applied for my medical marijuana card the first week I lived in Colorado. My first time into a medical dispensary in 2010 was  a dream full of legal marijuana products come true. I began ingesting cannabis in every form I could. I ate it, drank it, smoked it, and rubbed it on my scars. I quickly understood what this plant was capable of. One at a time I began taking myself off the pharmaceuticals I had been prescribed. This is not something I recommend anyone to do. I utilized my years as a Nurse and intuition to make that very personal decision. That decision would end up changing my life forever.

About two weeks into living in Colorado I ended up in the emergency room. The pain that had been stabbing my ribs for over a year came so strong one night that I ended up in the emergency room. The source of the excruciating pain and nausea was discovered. I had a 9mm kidney stone obstructing my kidney and I was septic. When they went to perform the surgery for removal they discovered I had a congenital anomaly of having two ureters on my kidney instead of one. The tests showed the stone was stuck in a Y type connection at the top of the ureter just as it branched off the kidney. Instead of being able to remove the stone the doctor had to place two stents in my kidney in hopes the stone would pick one and move out naturally.

It didn’t. After weeks of having these stents poke my back I had another surgery to remove them and the stone. As soon as I woke up the pain was gone. I instantly knew that the source of my pain the whole time had been my kidney and never my gallbladder or my liver. I thought that was the end of pain and the start to a whole new version of me. Sadly, I was mistaken.

I had been working for a physician in Canon City, Colorado briefly when pain began to take over my body once again. This time it was an exacerbation of conditions I had been diagnosed with years prior.  Polycystic ovaries were a treacherous part of my life for years. They would send me to the hospital often. Each time leaving with the same diagnosis and conclusion, a cyst having burst in my fallopian tubes. The doctor I worked for wanted to help me so badly but my options for treatment were limited. I took the birth control pill from age 14-24 and my body could no longer receive that type of excess estrogen due to the tumor on my liver. I tried a patch of progesterone and it made me ill so they had no choice, I had no choice.

Signing over my rights to have children was and is one of the hardest moments in my journey. I was barely 30 and in the state of Colorado you have to sign a statement stating you are fully aware of what you are doing. It was the last thing I wanted to do. There was this whole part of my life I saw myself being a Mom. I was so sick the decision was necessary. I just wanted to live a life without pain. One full of health. A life where I could thrive, not just survive.

When I woke up from my total abdominal hysterectomy I was in a severe hot flash. I remember shouting loudly that “I needed a fan.” One was brought to me. I was in surgical menopause from the time I opened my eyes. I experienced this endless wave of heat that came from my core and nothing cooled me down. Due to the tumor on my liver taking Estrogen supplements was out of the question.  I remember being in the hospital and telling the nurse I was having a hard time urinating and they assured me this was a normal part of the process.

I was discharged after four days and was back in the E.R. days later. The nausea I was experiencing was unbearable. They had me on more pharmaceuticals then should ever be needed for a post-op patient. All along telling me that all the symptoms I was experiencing were considered “normal.” I had never felt more crazy in my life. No one believed what I was feeling. I had lost total control of my health. The people I was closest to thought I was lying for attention, if you can even imagine. This insanity went on for four weeks after the hysterectomy until the day of the four week follow up appointment. The morning of that appointment I began experiencing the same pain I had suffered from for years prior, stabbing under my right rib cage. This sensation made me feel even crazier because I knew there was no way possible that I had another kidney stone.

I was sent for emergency surgery for a Nephrostomy tube several hours after that follow up appointment.  At some point during the hysterectomy the doctor sutured my ureter down causing a total occlusion and urine had been unable to flow to my bladder from my kidney for four weeks. I was close to septic once again. I was on antibiotic therapies for months. Due to the severity of the situation I sought out the same Urologist that saved my life the first time. Under her recommendation I had to wear this tube draining urine to a bag strapped to my thigh for 6 1/2 months.  It was such a hot summer in Colorado. I was unable to wear shorts or anything above the knee or my spicket would stick out.

During that time major depression took over my body along with the tubes and increasing number of scars. I went down to 98 lbs. I no longer knew what health was. There was no amount of cannabis or pharmaceutical treatment that touched what I felt. I questioned my journey to health.  I wondered if it would ever exist. I read a lot, I took online classes in spiritualism and healing from the inside, I sought the love of my friends and family from a distance. I was never more alone then during that time. It was a journey I had to suffer alone. I was too much for anyone to process including myself.

The non-refluxing urethral transplant was done and I woke up on a Dilaudid pump. By this juncture I had received so many medications my tolerance was so far surpassed my size the nurses and doctors would triple check my orders.  During the surgery they moved my ureter to a new location on my bladder and moved my bladder up and over in an effort to accommodate the new ureters location. They inserted a stent that was to keep this new ureter patent, or open and flowing. The surgeon said the stent would be present for six weeks and I would come back in for the removal. After 7 days in the hospital post-op I was still no better. I could not keep food down or anything for that matter.

I am discharged from the hospital and my step dad drives me over 60 miles back home to the mountains only to be driven back less than six hours later. I was admitted for another six days. In the middle of the night my Surgeon appeared and informed me we would need to remove the stent. The stent that needed to be in place for six weeks and she wanted to remove it after less than two. It was awful in so many ways. As I write this I remember so many little details but I will spare you the goriest parts. Long story short, the doctor saved my life once again.  I was discharged the next morning.

As I layed in bed healing from yet another major surgery the depression began to lessen and the amount of cannabis continued to increase. I began to have these ephinoies that the magnitude of things that were happening to me had to have a bigger purpose. I would think to myself, “there is no way there’s not a purpose for this, how could all of these things happen and not have some gigantic purpose, I am still alive after all of this, there just has to be a reason.” My personal journey from sickness to health was so long yet so quick I just wanted to be well and move on with my life.

Believing that I was well on my road to recovery and that I could begin putting a cycle of surgeries behind me, I moved to Denver, full of hope.  I was staying with a friend for only a few weeks when I received a phone call from the Porter Hospital.  I was called in for some repeat tests for the tumor on my liver. Although it was benign and I gave up soy and any artificial means of estrogen the tumor continued to grow in size. I had seen two other hepatologists previously and was told due to the location the tumor was inoperable. That was until the day I met the angel of a surgeon Dr. Thomas Heffron.

I was scheduled for surgery on December 12, 2012. The operation was done laparoscopically and took 7.5 hours. From the moment I woke up, I felt different.  The tumor and a chunk of my liver were removed and while I was still in the hospital recovering my liver began to regenerate like a starfish. This recovery was different than the others. My body felt as if it was repairing faster. As soon as I was discharged I came off of every pharmaceutical and used cannabis only. I used it for any pain or discomfort I experienced as well as using topicals on my incisions. My journey to health was finally beginning! I was starting to feel better than I ever had before.

Eight weeks post-op I attempted to go back to working as a Massage Therapist. I felt so incredible and had spent 2.5 years not working and having surgeries. Alas it was far too soon for me to go back to doing that type of strenuous bodywork and I ended up taking a few steps back. Allowing myself more time to heal proved very fruitful. I continued researching cannabis as medicine and I began making various preparations of plant medicine. I ended up being offered a job at a medical marijuana dispensary and dove in face first to the life of the cannabis industry.

My journey to health led to me to plant medicine. It made me the person I am today and the healer I am today.  I wanted to share my journey with anyone that it may inspire to never give up on your own voyage. If I would not have stayed resilient I would not be here today. I read, researched and insisted on tests and treatments even when they didn’t want to perform them. I was relentless in the pursuit of my health. I never gave up no matter how much I wanted to.  I now look back on those years and I am able to see them as a bump in the road of life. I am a survivor. I am a starfish.

Tribute to Life for the 5 year anniversary of my liver resection.
Starfish Mandala with THC molecules

Interactive Guide To Terpenes

Please enjoy this interactive and comprehensive guide to terpene science. Greencamp researched and analyzed the origin of 15 most common terpenes in cannabis, all of which play an important role in the plant’s healing properties.

 

greencamp.com

Best Stress Relief, Relaxation, and Meditation Blogs (we made the list!)

Primal Therapeutics is excited and proud to have made this list for best stress relief and relaxation blogs! We hope to encourage everyone that comes into contact with us how to relax. Many thanks to the author, Sara Lopez!

“Top Stress Relief, Relaxation & Meditation Blogs”

“Being a Psychologist and an avid reader of content related to stress relief, meditation and the like, I browsed for such blogs and discovered various sites. After a thorough research, I found some of the sites that one cannot resist lingering on.

So, if you are looking for some mental tranquility through help and guidance, you are definitely at the right spot. Here is a detailed list of the “Best Stress Relief, Relaxation and Meditation Blogs” that have got it all covered for you. So, read it through and thank me later!”
– Sara Lopez

To read all of the blogs recommended click here.

What is 4/20?

What is 420? The Meaning Behind the Marijuana Celebration Day

Written By Travis

Photo from: Liveurbandenver.com

The story of how 420 became the popular marijuana smoking day is intertwined with many myths, stories, and truths. For just about anyone who smokes marijuana on a regular basis, 420 is a sacred date and time of day. Ask a smoker about the origin of 420 however, and the origin can be as cloudy as the haze surrounding their heads. Ask a dozen stoners where the term 420 originated, and you get a dozen stories that have some basis in truth but are all over the place.

The truth about how 420 originated comes right from the kids who thought of the term. These five high schoolers developed a way to communicate secretly about weed long before it was as popular as it has become today. This is the true story of the beginnings of 420 and national weed day.

What’s 420 and Where Did It Originally Come From?

There are people around the world who are convinced that the term 420 was a California police code for “marijuana smoking in progress”. Then there are those who swear that Bob Marley died on 420 and this weed celebration day is a tribute to the legend himself. The story of 420 dates back to the early 1970’s in San Rafael, California. A group of stoners in high school called themselves the Waldos because they would get stoned after school behind a huge wall near the school property.

Photo from: Ariousentertainmentgroup.com

Now where the story gets hazy for many is that they think the Waldos would meet at exactly 4:20 each afternoon to get high. According to those in the group who went on the recall what actually happened, they group members would whisper 420-Louis to one another as code they wanted to schedule a meeting or a time to smoke. Eventually, they would go on to drop the Louis part and the 420 would basically signify anything related to marijuana. So they could easily tell one another where they wanted to 420, or what time they were going to 420, and no one in school would be any the wiser.

How Did 420 Spread From a High School to the World?

The term 420 would have only been something this small group of stoners shared, but it took the help of a popular band to give the term global recognition. When the Grateful Dead decided to set up camp in Marin County, a few miles from the high school where the Waldos gathered, it was a chance meeting that would explode the popularity of the term 420. The Waldo’s would hang outside where the Dead were rehearsing, smoking week and getting stoned, and eventually roadies would hang and get high with the Waldo’s too. The roadies and the Waldo’s would hang, get high, and listen to the Dead rehearse every day.

So from the mouths of the Waldo’s, to the ears of the roadies, the term 420 eventually made it to the bearded men in members of the Grateful Dead. The term 420 just stuck, and it was spread to concert goers around the world until it became what it is today. The Dead would use the term so frequently at the shows that the weed culture just took to it. Each year the Dead toured, the read of 420 would find a new audience. Once High Times magazine picked up the term when they wrote a story on the Grateful Dead, it was permanently a part of the weed culture. To honor the Waldo’s, and celebrate the freedom of smoking weed, on every April 20th, stoners party by throwing some incredible celebrations.

The Annual Marijuana Celebration Day

Each year, the day of celebration on April 20th gets bigger and more global attention. While some people love gathering and telling tales of the latest strains they have developed, others take a more casual approach. One of the growing trends is pampering yourself with a cannabis massage, a way to honor the marijuana celebration in your own little way. Similar to a regular full body massage, the masseur uses salves and oils packed with CBD and THC goodness, providing a therapeutic massage that has numerous medical benefits.

Photo from: Press.fourseasons.com

As 420 fast approaches, now is the time to plan how you are going to spend that day honoring everything marijuana. While there will certainly be major rallies in Washington, Colorado, and even Washington DC, rallies of smaller size are popping up in just about every state as more efforts are made to push for the legalization of marijuana in more states.

9 Surprising Benefits of Cannabis Topicals

9 Surprising Benefits of Cannabis Topicals

By: Rachel Garland

You’ve probably heard that cannabis topicals are great for your skin, but did you know they could also treat burns, alleviate arthritis, and take therapeutic massages to a whole other level?

And this barely scratches the surface.

Because cannabis topicals are non-psychoactive, they are a versatile way for you to take advantage of those cannabinoids.

Available as lotions, balms, sprays and oils – cannabis-infused skin products are quickly becoming more than a beauty staple. Indeed, these powerful antidotes offer numerous healing properties.

In celebration of Green Flower’s new online course with expert Jordan Person – Cannabis & Massage – (debuting on February 23 in a free live-stream), check out these 9 surprising benefits of cannabis topicals.

#1) Provides Localized Pain Management

If you’re suffering from back or knee pain, for example, cannabis topicals could help.

Cannabis-infused creams or oils are great for treating pain in a specific area of the body.

Better yet, they are also fast-acting. Once applied, the cannabinoids in topicals bind with the CB2 receptors in your skin, providing quick relief.

Topical cannabis infusions act on a peripheral basis, which means they do not enter the bloodstream. This translates to zero psychoactivity. So you can apply them liberally without the potential side effects of too much THC.

For full-body aches and pains, we suggest cannabis-infused bath salts – or a cannabis massage (see #9).

#2) Enhances Sexual Pleasure

Women and men of the world rejoice, cannabis topicals are making their way into the bedroom. Companies such as FORIA have developed cannabis-infused oils and lubricants designed to enhance sexual pleasure.

Cannabis is a well-known aphrodisiac, particularly for women. In fact, references of cannabis for sexual pleasure date back over 2000 years ago in India where cannabis was incorporated into tantric sex practices.

Today, we’re re-discovering this powerful ancient arouser.

#3) Treats Mild Skin Irritations

Did you know you could be applying cannabis topically for bug bites, scratches, and other skin abrasions? Cannabis-infused creams and salves are ideal because they offer localized pain relief while reducing swelling.

The right cannabis topical can also contain potent antibacterial properties.

However, apply with caution. Not all cannabis topicals are created equally. Always be sure to check the ingredient list first. Certain additives could potentially exacerbate your symptoms.

#4) Alleviates Symptoms of Psoriasis

Sufferers of psoriasis know just how painful the condition can be. Characterized by an excess buildup of skin cells, psoriasis causes itchy, painful red patches on the skin.

Psoriasis can be embarrassing and more important uncomfortable. For many psoriasis patients, the options are limited. After all, there is currently no known cure for the condition.

Cannabis, however, is proving to be a powerful treatment option. A study in 2007 revealed that cannabinoids inhibited the buildup of dead skin cells – a direct cause of psoriasis.

Although few formal studies exist on the relationship between psoriasis and cannabis, there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence.

While more research is needed, the positive impact of cannabis infusions for psoriasis is clear.

#5) Keeps Skin Youthful

Want great looking skin for years to come? Then it’s time to consider incorporating cannabis into your beauty regimen. Applying cannabis-infused balms, oils, and lotions can do wonders for your skin.

Essentially, cannabis applied topically prevents your skin from aging. This can be explained in part by the fact that cannabis happens to be a powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidants are shown to speed up the healing process and prevent tissue damage caused by the environment. One study found that Cannabidiol (CBD) is a more potent antioxidant than Vitamins C or E. So not only does cannabis keep your skin looking more youthful, it also keeps it healthier.

#6) Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis  

It’s estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis. While this condition is often associated with the elderly, over a quarter of a million children in the United States are also affected.

Symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, and inflammation in the joints. Because arthritic pain is primarily cause by inflammation, cannabis topicals are a potent remedy.

A study in the journal Rheumatology revealed how cannabis helps fight inflammation. The study found that in patients suffering from arthritis, CB2 receptors in the joint tissues were present at an abnormally high rate. Cannabis helps to fight inflammation by activating these receptors. Sure, the need for more research is evident, and yet the current findings are no less astounding.

#7) Heals Burns Faster

Burns are one of the most painful types of injury someone can experience and can take weeks or even months to heal depending on the severity.

A lot of the pain associated with burns is due to inflammation. Cannabis helps soothe inflammation while also reducing pain.

A well-made topical can also help the burn heal faster. And again, we want more research on this. Until then, the anecdotal reports are impressive.

#8) Fights Bacterial Skin Infections

Did you know cannabinoids contain anti-bacterial properties? From boils, cellulitis, impetigo, to even folliculitis – cannabis can provide relief for numerous bacterial skin infections.

And unlike other antibiotics, using cannabis does not lead to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, even leading some researchers to call cannabis the antibiotic of the future.

Great example: a study in 2008 revealed cannabis could help stop MRSA – a bacterial infection that often develops out of antibiotic resistance.

The researchers concluded:

“All five major cannabinoids tested (cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabinol) showed potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains of current clinical relevance.”

While the researchers did not study the specific implications of cannabis-infused salves, lotions, and oils in relation to antibiotic resilience, the message was clear. Cannabis contains powerful and game-changing antibacterial qualities.

#9) Cannabis Topicals Are GREAT for Therapeutic Massages

Could a cannabis-infused massage oil be superior to any other type of massage product? The current science seems to suggest as much when you consider the therapeutic advantage of targeting those CB2 receptors in the skin, reducing any inflammation or pain.

This can be great for conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, neuropathy, and much more.

We’ve even got anecdotal reports from massage therapists who notice a big difference in how cannabis topicals help keep their own inflammation levels in check after giving a massage.

But if cannabis topicals are so great for massage, how do you choose the right topical? What ingredients do you look for? What do you need to know if you’re a massage therapist, nurse, or any other type of healing practitioner?

If you want to learn more about the therapeutic power around using cannabis topicals, you can check out Green Flower’s new online course with nurse and massage therapist Jordan Person, “Cannabis and Massage: Everything You Need to Know” (debuting on February 23 in a free live-stream).

Jordan Person is also executive director of Denver NORML.

Cannabis Wedding Expo

Primal Therapeutics is excited to take part in the second ever Cannabis Wedding Expo. We will be providing complimentary chair massage and we will also have all of our Primal Therapeutics body care products available as well.

This years event takes place on February 19th, 2017 in Littleton, Colorado at the Falls Event Center. With marijuana medically or recreationally available in over half of our country the ability to incorporate cannabis into your big day is easier than ever. The Cannabis Wedding Expo will have 70 unique vendors, live music, free food tastings, view glass blowing demonstrations, and there will be prizes and raffles as well. Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $15 at the door.

Primal Therapeutics has participated in several wedding celebrations already and there are unique ways someone can incorporate cannabis infused massage therapy into weddings.

  1.  Pamper the bride and groom
  2. Say thank you to mom and dad for everything
  3. Pamper the entire bridal party on your wedding day
  4. The very best gift for your attendants
  5. De-stress the week of the wedding
  6. Great gift for anyone that makes your big day special

Stop by our booth and receive your complimentary chair massage and learn all about how to incorporate cannabis infused massage into your big day!

Welcome Jessica!

jessica

We have a new team member here at Primal Therapeutics! Please join us in welcoming Jessica Johnson.  She has a healing touch and knows exactly how to find those painful problem areas.

 Jessica’s love of the healing arts started when she was a small child in Her father’s chiropractor office. There you could find her hidden away in the empty massage therapist room. She spent all her time in that room lying on the massage table and looking at as many massage books as she could. By the ripe age of 9 she had already started building her personal clientele list, her fellow classmates would line up and wait for a shoulder rub from her during story time. Since then, her love for massage has only grown.
 Taking all the knowledge of the body she could from her father, she finally went on to Denver School Of Massage Therapy and after a year of night classes; she fulfilled her childhood dream of being a licensed  massage therapist. Finally turning her passion into a career. Again, her love for the healing only grew.  She continues to learn as much as she can about the body’s healing secrets.
Jessica says, “joining the Primal Therapeutics team was a complete game changer for her.” She has worked with many injuries while working at a chiropractic office; but she never experienced the body instantly reacting so positively to a simple remedy. Mixing her healing touch and the cannabis infused oil, the bodies she has worked on have shown amazing results, she was astonished and immediately intrigued in the amazing healing properties of the cannabis massage oil.

 

If you are interested in experiencing Jessica’s healing touch please don’t delay, treat yourself today. Book Jessica HERE.

One Busy Lady!

Our founder is also the executive director of Denver NORML. Since January of this year Jordan has been splitting her time between cannabis infused massage therapy and leading a city wide ballot initiative. There have been days when her time has been split directly in half and she has worn both hats willingly.

The months Jordan has dedicated to the cause of legalizing private marijuana clubs and special event permits have taught her many lessons. She intends to carry those lessons into her business and use the knowledge she has gained to better Primal Therapeutics as a whole.

On August 15th the dedicated group of volunteers Jordan has been leading turned in 149 petition packets and just under 8,000 signatures in hopes to be qualified for the November 2016 ballot.  As of this publication Denver NORML is currently waiting to find out if they qualified.

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Announcement

We continue to receive emails and phone calls from massage therapists across the country asking if we are going to be offering any training classes for our style of cannabis infused massage therapy. I am excited to announce it is now in the works. We hope to offer an online course as well as a seminar style lecture in early 2017. We thank you all for your continued support of Primal Therapeutics.