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nasa weed experiment

No, silly, NASA won’t pay you to smoke weed in bed for three months

Dammit, people!

The fake story of the week on facebook goes to “NASA Will Pay You 18000 Usd To Stay In Bed And Smoke Weed For 70 Straight Days“. Stoners all over the interwebs went crazy over it and would have joined by the millions if only they could find an apply button. Of course nobody could apply because it’s freaking fake. Dammit, people!

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s talk some real science because this headline is half true. NASA is actually conducting a series of experiments called the Bed Rest Studies were volunteers have to stay in bed and not walk for at least three months.

The purpose of the study is to research the effects of microgravity on the human body. By having subjects lie in bed for 70 days straight, the body should be subjected to muscle atrophy akin to that experienced by astronauts in space. The beds are tilted head-down at a six-degree angle. This tilt causes body fluids to shift to the upper part of the body and sets off cardiovascular events that are similar to what we see in a space flight.

“Being able to test new ideas on Earth saves invaluable flight time,” says Joe Neigut, Flight Analog project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “What the bed rest does to their [test subjects] physiology and how the exercise countermeasures benefits their physiology helps us better prepare and protect astronauts when they are in space. In fact how it affects the physiology can be applied to everyone on earth.”

And yes, participants do actually get $18,000 for lying in bed — $1,200 per week for a total of 15 weeks. Oh, and another thing. “Couch potatoes is not an accurate description for what we are looking. Subjects need to be very healthy,” says NASA’s news chief, Kelly Humphries.

“We want to make sure we select people who are mentally ready to spend 70 days in bed. Not everyone is comfortable with that. Not every type of person can tolerate an extended time in bed,” says Dr Cromwell.

“Once they qualify physically and mentally, we do rigorous physical exercises to test muscle strength and aerobics capacity. We want people who have the physical and psychological characteristics of an astronaut. They should be able to do the kind of activities that astronauts do.”

The first runs of the project were made in 2013, and the last one in 2015. One participant documented his experience in an editorial for VICE, if you’re interesting to hear how it was.

“Beyond the pain, I learned that it was nearly impossible to perform everyday tasks while slanted at the negative six degree angle. Taking showers consists of dousing myself with a hand-held shower head, and it’s especially hard to clean my back, legs, and feet. Reading books is exhausting, since I have to hold my arms outstretched in lieu of lifting my head up. Using my laptop is equally strange while lying down. Every time I brush my teeth, I feel like I’m going to choke on the toothpaste. Then I have to spit into a cup, but it inevitably dribbles down my cheek and through my beard every damn time,” the authors wrote for VICE.

There’s no word yet if a new round of the experiment will be made by NASA, and neither have any results been shared.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it usually isn’t.

Dammit, people!

NASA Won’t Pay You to Smoke Weed

Posted on May 26, 2017

Q: Does NASA pay $18,000 for people to stay in bed and smoke weed for 70 straight days?

A: No. NASA conducts bed-rest studies, but it does not allow participants to smoke marijuana or even drink alcohol.

FULL ANSWER

Facebook users flagged a story with the captivating headline “NASA Will Pay You $18,000 To Stay In Bed And Smoke Weed For 70 Straight Days.” Don’t get too excited. It’s false.

This bogus story and versions of it have been circulating on the internet for more than a year. It dates to at least Feb. 25, 2016, when it appeared on CannaSOS, a self-described “social platform for the cannabis world.” The website says it provides “little to no restrictions on the content of your posts.” The story was posted by Dr. Weed and labeled as “humor.”

“NASA is currently looking for volunteers to participate in their ‘Rest Studies’, in which participants will have to spend 70 straight days in bed and smoke different types of cannabis, receiving $18,000 for the period of aggressive bodily atrophy,” Dr. Weed’s post says.

Dr. Weed’s post is a mix of truth and fiction. NASA does conduct what it calls “bed-rest studies” for up to 70 days “to see how the body adapts to weightlessness.” The space agency has been conducting such studies for years.

Rob Hoffman, a writer for the Plaid Zebra, which describes itself as the “unconventional lifestyle magazine,” wrote a story about the NASA studies in 2014 and the purpose of the experiments.

Hoffman, Plaid Zebra, Dec. 29, 2014: The experiments are designed to find ways of preserving astronauts’ health and safety during periods of extended space travel. “Head down” bed rest is a good way of simulating travel through zero gravity space. Think about it, zero gravity means zero weight or strain on your muscles. It’s a more accessible way of analyzing the bodily changes that occur during space travel.

A month earlier, Andrew Iwanicki wrote a first-person account of his experience as a NASA test subject from his bed at the NASA Flight Analog Research Unit, which is located at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. His story, which appeared Nov. 3, 2014, on Vice, included photos and carried the headline: “NASA Is Paying Me $18,000 to Lie in Bed for Three Months.”

Dr. Weed’s post took all of Hoffman’s story and some photos of Iwanicki in his NASA bed to create every pothead’s fantasy by adding some bogus information about endless days of smoking weed.

For example, Dr. Weed’s post takes Hoffman’s explanation about how “bed rest is a good way of simulating travel through zero gravity space,” as excerpted above, and then adds this line at the end: “They also want to understand how marijuana will influence on the body.”

There was nothing in Hoffman’s story about study participants smoking marijuana. In fact, Iwanicki said in a 2015 interview, “You have to be completely clean of any drugs; they test for alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. You can’t even be taking applied vitamin pills.”

NASA’s guidelines for bed-rest studies say that “test subjects shall be screened for the use of drugs, alcohol, and nicotine during the selection procedure.” The space agency rejects applicants who are found to be abusing drugs or alcohol, the guidelines say.

In a statement, NASA told us that it is currently not conducting any bed-rest studies, but participants in past studies were not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol.

“We are no longer conducting bed rest studies at UTMB in Galveston. That facility is closed,” the NASA statement said. “Participants in past bed rest studies at UTMB were not allowed to smoke marijuana or drink alcohol.”

So why is this 15-month-old story circulating on Facebook? We find that viral stories that are too good to be true never die. They just get reposted again and again and again.

In fact, Dr. Weed’s post was reposted on the same website — CannaSOS — only four months later by “Anna” on June 22, 2016. It was also labeled “humor.”

More recently, the NASA pot story was posted Dec. 24, 2016, on the website Mysterious Earth and then two days later on another website called Reflection of Mind. It was also posted Jan. 2 on thesolexchange.com — a website dedicated to sneakers that describes itself as the “stock market of sneakers” on its Facebook page. There were no notations indicating that those posts were meant as a joke.

The thesolexchange.com post was the one that was brought to our attention by Facebook users. But little has changed since Dr. Weed posted his humor piece last year. Some wording is different and the photos are comical. One photo is a screen grab of humans sleeping in pods from the 1979 movie “Alien.” The headline and the bulk of the story, however, are virtually the same. And it is as false now as it was 15 months ago.

We suspect that — despite our best efforts — this bogus claim will not only resurface, but go international. NASA told us that it plans to do future bed-rest studies at :envihab in Cologne, Germany. The :envihab facility is operated by the Institute for Aerospace Medicine at the German Space Agency (DLR).

“We have future studies planned at :envihab in Cologne,” the NASA statement read. “NASA’s Human Research Program is working with DLR’s :envihab to investigate possible changes in astronaut health and performance on future space missions. The selected proposals will focus on resolving the largest risks to astronaut health, including vision impairment, behavioral health, bone loss, cardiovascular alterations and immunological function during missions beyond low Earth orbit. These studies are yet to begin.”

NASA Won’t Pay You to Smoke Weed Posted on May 26, 2017 Q: Does NASA pay $18,000 for people to stay in bed and smoke weed for 70 straight days? A: No. NASA conducts bed-rest ]]>