Culture

Zero-Censorship Instagram Clone Social Club Removed from App Store

Social Club was attempting to fill a void in the cannabis community but the uncensored environment got out of hand.

An app originally designed to allow cannabis social media posting and advertising has been removed from the Apple App Store. But reports are saying that it wasn’t necessarily because of the weed content. Instead, the app quickly turned into a platform for a host of problematic—if not illegal—activities, including gore videos, child pornography, racist content, and more.

Zero-Censorship Designed for Weed Content

The app, which is called Social Club, was spearheaded by Joshua Otten, co-founder of cannabis brand PRØHBTD, and Berner, a rapper and owner of a weed company called Cookies.

According to the co-founders, the point of Social Club was to create a space for cannabis content. Specifically, they frame the app as a response to mainstream social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, which are known for blocking and removing content related to weed.

In the absence of digital platforms where people can post about weed and where weed companies can advertise, Otten and Berner decided to start Social Club.

However, the app quickly became much more than just a weed-friendly social media site. Thanks to its “zero-censorship” policy, Social Club turned into a repository for all sorts of other content. And according to many users, a lot of this other content was extremely problematic.

As reported by Tech Crunch, some of the more offensive material to show up on Social Club included things like racist content, violent content, and child pornography.

Additionally, people started posting illegal activities to the site. This reportedly included selling a wide variety of illegal drugs and weapons.

Social Club launched on July 15 of this year. From there, it quickly blew up. Since going live, it was downloaded at least 455,000 times.

With those numbers, Social Club rapidly rose through the ranks. Specifically, it became the 12th-ranked app on the U.S. App Store in both the apps and games categories. When it comes to the app category, it rose to as high as the number five position.

But now, Social Club is no longer available on the App Store. That’s because Apple recently chose to remove it. But for now, Social Club is reportedly still available on Google Play.

Cannabis Space Co-opted?

According to Berner, one of the co-founders of Social Club, the entire thing is a case of a space designed for weed being taken over by other people for other reasons. In fact, Berner went so far as to say the app was “attacked.”

Today, he Tweeted the following: “I feel like we were attacked. I don’t see how overnight the app completely changed, sad, scary and wack . Cleaning it up now.”

Additionally, Berner said something similar in an Instagram story. In this post, he said the app was only “temporarily” blocked from the App Store. He went on to reiterate the idea that Social Club was attacked. Specifically, he said “a weirdass porn community attacked the app.”

Fundamentally, if the co-founders of the app are to be believed, Social Club was attempting to fill a void in the cannabis community. Even in the age of rapidly growing legalization, marijuana continues to be barred from a number of mainstream companies, platforms, and services.

This includes things like social media, where individuals are often blocked from posting cannabis content and weed companies are often blocked from advertising.

It also includes things like banking. Typically legal weed companies can not gain access to key financial institutions because of federal cannabis prohibition.

Lindsey, ByNick. “Zero-Censorship Instagram Clone Social Club Removed from App Store.” Green Rush Daily, 10 Oct. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/technology/zero-censorship-instagram-clone-social-club-removed-from-app-store/.

Seth Rogen Talks Hanging with Snoop and His Salaried Blunt Roller

Seth Rogen and Snoop Dogg sat down with Howard Stern and they shared what it was like having a salaried blunt roller around.

People have different parameters when it comes to determining whether or not one has “made it.”

It’s safe to say having a salaried blunt roller on your payroll constitutes “making it.”

Then again, nobody can really question Snoop Dogg’s celebrity status. He’s been successful in almost every industry he’s ever had his paws on — the music world (duh), television and film, the kitchen, and even legal cannabis.

Nevertheless, having your own personal blunt roller is pretty friggen’ cool. Even by Calvin Broadus’ “high” standards.

Snoop Dogg’s Salaried Blunt Roller

On a recent episode of “The Howard Stern Show,” the legendary disk jockey sat down with Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen—two marijuana legends in their own rights—and Rogen revealed that Snoop has a professional blunt roller on hand at all times.

Stern was, to say the least, quite taken aback.

“What do you mean a man that rolls your blunts? Does he live there?” Stern asked.

“He knows how to gauge the look on someone’s face when it seems like they want a blunt. And if they do, he gives you one.”

When asked about salary, Snoop says he pays him between $40,000-$50,000 a year, on top of all the perks like free weed (the very weed he rolls), the opportunity to hang out and go on tour with Snoop, and any free swag the rapper himself gets.

But Snoop maintained that this gig is, in every sense of the word, a real job.

“On his resume, it says, ‘what do you do? I’m a blunt roller,” Snoop said.  “PBR—Professional Blunt Roller.”

“As someone who smokes a lot of weed, it’s fascinating,” Rogen admitted.

Stern went as far as to call the idea “genius,” at least in terms of money well spent. Rogen, of course, couldn’t disagree, either. He admitted the idea could ultimately pay dividends for himself in the long run.

“The amount of time I spend rolling joints, it might be worth my while, financially, to hire someone to do that,” he added.

We’re having a hard time finding fault in that logic. After all, time is money…and money is weed.

Surprisingly enough, the idea of hiring a professional blunt roller isn’t all that new. Back in 2014, fellow rapper Waka-Flocka put out an ad on his Instagram page in search of a blunt roller. He said he would pay them a generous salary of $50,000 a year and that “all resumes must be sent on a rolling paper or blunts.”

Ironically, it was Rogen himself who expressed interest in the job—and he apparently got it. However, in a 2018 interview, Flocka said that he fired Rogen for, well, not actually doing anything. Rogen also confirmed that there was, in fact, no exchange in services.

“We both did not make good on that deal. He didn’t pay me and I didn’t roll any joints,” the Pineapple Express star admitted.

Perhaps Rogen can get another crack at the job with Snoop. Although the rapper seems to be pleased with the job “Lurch” is doing.

Kohut, ByTim. “Seth Rogen Talks Hanging with Snoop and His Salaried Blunt Roller.” Green Rush Daily, 18 Oct. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/entertainment/celebs/seth-rogen-talks-hanging-with-snoop-and-his-salaried-blunt-roller/.

Pot Charge Dropped After Lab Admits it Can’t Tell Hemp from Cannabis

A man narrowly avoided prosecution for possessing a legally purchased hemp product.

In Virginia, a man almost landed in jail for legally purchasing and possessing hemp flowers. Fortunately for him, it eventually came to light that state labs cannot actually tell the difference between legal hemp products—which contain almost exclusively CBD—and regular cannabis products—which are heavy in high-inducing THC.

More broadly, this case is one of the numerous similar cases that highlight the problems with drug law enforcement, especially as it relates to the use of field drug tests.

Getting Busted for Legal CBD

The incident began recently when a man named Robert Mason was traveling with his sister. The two had spent the day at an amusement park. At some point while traveling, they stopped at a store in Charlottesville that sells CBD products. There, Mason bought some legal hemp flowers.

Later that day, while driving back home, Mason and his sister were pulled over speeding. Things quickly escalated. The cop who pulled them over said he smelled cannabis.

At that point, Mason said he was fully cooperative. He gave the cop everything he head, including the CBD hemp flowers, a grinder, a bowl, and the receipt showing that the CBD flowers were a legal purchase.

Despite all that, the cop insisted Mason was breaking the law. He did a field test on the bud. And although the flowers reportedly contained only 0.28 percent THC—below the legal 0.3 percent limit for CBD products—the field test came back positive for pot.

As a result, the cop gave Mason a ticket for possession of marijuana. Later on, the case went to court, with the possibility of jail time.

Fortunately for Mason, by the time he finally ended up in court, it became clear that the cop’s field test was completely unreliable. As reported by local news source NBC 12, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science stated that it cannot actually figure out how much THC is in a substance.

Measuring THC is critical in this type of case. That’s because, under the new rules established by the federal Farm Bill of 2018, hemp products with less than 0.3 percent THC are no longer banned substances.

In the absence of a clear indicator of THC levels in Mason’s flowers, the judge hearing the case decided to drop all charges.

Field Drug Tests Are a Big Problem

Mason’s case illustrates some of the big problems with field drug tests. In general, these tests are incredibly inaccurate. They often fail to differentiate between illegal drugs and other legal substances. Yet despite the clumsiness of these tests, cops around the country continue to use them and make decisions based on them.

For example, a homeless man in Oklahoma was recently arrested on cocaine charges that ended up being completely false. The arresting officer based the arrest on a field test conducted after a white powder was discovered in the man’s backpack.

Weeks later, more accurate testing showed that the powder was not cocaine. It was actually powdered milk that the man had gotten from a food pantry. Meanwhile, the man spent several weeks locked up in the county jail.

Lindsey, ByNick. “Pot Charge Dropped After Lab Admits It Can’t Tell Hemp from Cannabis.” Green Rush Daily, 22 Oct. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/politics/pot-charge-dropped-after-lab-admits-it-cant-tell-hemp-from-cannabis/.

High Times Greats: Interview With Albert Hofmann, The Man Who First Synthesized LSD

The late chemist Albert Hofmann discussed his psychedelic research on LSD in the July, 1976 issue of High Times.

Dr. Hofmann with the enlarged plastic LSD molecule at the Sandoz factory in Basel in the mid-1950’s/ Credit: Sandoz

At the height of World War II, four months after the first artificially created nuclear reaction was released in a pile of uranium ore in Chicago, an accidentally absorbed trace of a seminatural rye fungus product quietly exploded in the brain of a 37-year-old Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz research laboratories in Basel. He reported to his supervisor: “I was forced to stop my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and to go home, as I was seized by a peculiar restlessness associated with a sensation of mild dizziness … a kind of drunkenness which was not unpleasant and which was characterized by extreme activity of imagination … there surged upon me an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness and accompanied by an intense, kaleidoscopelike play of colors….”

Three days later, on April 19, 1943, Dr. Albert Hofmann undertook a self-experiment that both confirmed the results of his earlier psychoactive experience and revealed a fascinating new discovery: Here was the first known substance that produced psychic effects from dosages so tiny they were measurable only in micrograms! Dr. Hofmann had discovered LSD-25.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was enthusiastically investigated by the European psychiatric profession as a possible key to the chemical nature of mental illness. Its effects were believed to mimic the psychotic state. As soon as LSD was introduced to American psychiatry in 1950, interest spread rapidly among the United States military and domestic security interests. By the middle 1950s, LSD was being researched as a creativity enhancer and learning stimulant; rumors of its ecstatic, mystic and psychic qualities began to leak out through the writings of Aldous Huxley, Robert Graves and other literary luminaries.

A large-scale, non-medical experiment involving LSD and other psychedelic drugs at Harvard in the early Sixties precipitated a fierce controversy over the limits of academic freedom and focused national attention on the drug now known as “acid.” Midway through the turbulent decade, one million people had tried black-market LSD, engendering a neurological revolution the fallout of which has not yet been assessed. In 1966, Congress outlawed LSD.

Dr. Hofmann now lives in comfortable retirement on a hill overlooking the Swiss-French border. He granted High Times this exclusive interview to discuss not only the implications of his discovery of LSD, but also his less publicized chemical investigations into the active agents of several sacred Mexican plants.

Considering his life’s work, Dr. Hofmann seems a likely candidate for the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Not only have his discoveries broadened our knowledge of psychoactive chemicals and triggered the imaginations of thousands of scientists, historians and other researchers, but they have had a direct and revolutionary impact on humanity’s ability to understand and help itself.


Preliminary Note

I was at first not in agreement with the idea of publishing this interview here. I was surprised and shocked at the existence of such a magazine, whose text and advertising tended to treat the subject of illegal drugs with a casual and non-responsible attitude. Also, the manner in which High Times treats marijuana policy, which urgently needs a solution, does not correspond to my approach. Nevertheless, I came to the decision that my statement’s appearing in a magazine directed to readers who use currently illegal drugs might be of special value and could help to diminish the abuse or misuse of the psychedelic drugs. Michael Horowitz convinced me that an accurate description of the discovery of LSD and the Mexican magic plants, about which so many misleading versions exist, and my opinion on the various aspects of the drug problem, among other topics, would be useful to a large audience of interested persons in the United States. The aims of this interview are to provide information about what these kinds of drugs can and cannot do, and what their potential dangers are.

—Albert Hoffman, March 24, 1976


High Times: What work did you do prior to your discovery of LSD?

Hofmann: In the early years of my career in the pharmaceutical research laboratory of Sandoz in Basel, I was occupied mainly with investigations on the cardiac components, the glycosides, of squill, or Scilla maritima. These investigations resulted in the elucidation of the chemical constitution of the common nucleus of these agents, which provide valuable medicaments that are often used in the treatment of cardiac failure.

From 19351 worked on the alkaloids of ergot, resulting in the development of ergonovine, the first synthetic preparation of natural ergot alkaloids; Methergine, used in obstetrics to stop hemorrhage; Hydergine for geriatric complaints.

In 1943 the results of this first period of my research in the ergot field were published in a professional journal, Helvetica Chimica Acta. As a result of my first eight years of ergot research, I synthesized a large number of ergot derivatives: amides of lysergic acid, lysergic acid being the characteristic nucleus of natural ergot alkaloids. Among these amides of lysergic acid there was also the diethylamide of lysergic acid.

High Times: Did you have LSD in your laboratory as early as 1938?

Hofmann: Yes. At that time a number of pharmacological experiments were carried out in Sandoz’s department of pharmacology. Marked excitation was observed in some of the animals. But these effects did not seem interesting enough to my colleagues in the department.

Work on LSD fell into abeyance for a number of years. As I had a strange feeling that it would be valuable to carry out more profound studies with this compound, I prepared a fresh quantity of LSD in the spring of 1943. In the course of this work, an accidental observation led me to carry out a planned self-experiment with this compound, which then resulted in the discovery of the extraordinary psychic effects of LSD.

High Times: What sort of drug were you trying to make when you synthesized LSD?

Hofmann: When I synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide, laboratory code name LSD-25 or simply LSD, I had planned the preparation of an analeptic compound, which means a circulatory and respiratory stimulant. Lysergic acid diethylamide is related in chemical structure to nicotinic acid diethylamide, known to be an effective analeptic.

High Times: Was the discovery of LSD an accident?

Hofmann: I would say that LSD was the outcome of a complex process that had its beginning in a definite concept and was followed by an appropriate synthesis—that is, the synthesis of lysergic acid diethylamide—during the course of which a chance observation served to trigger a planned self-experiment, which then led to the discovery of the psychic effects of this compound.

High Times: Does “LSD-25” mean that the preparation of LSD with the characteristic psychoactive effects was the twenty-fifth one you made?

Hofmann: No, the number 25 behind LSD means that lysergic acid diethylamide was the twenty-fifth compound I had prepared in the series of lysergic acid amides.

High Times: In the published report of your first LSD experience on April 16, 1943, at 3:00 P.M. in Basel, you write of a “laboratory intoxication.” Did you swallow something or breathe a vapor, or did some drops of solution fall upon you ?

Hofmann: No, I did not swallow anything, and I was used to working under very clean conditions, because these substances in general are toxic. You have to work very, very cleanly. Probably a trace of the solution of lysergic acid diethylamide I was crystallizing from methyl alcohol was absorbed through the skin of my fingers.

High Times: How big a dose did you take that first time, and what were the nature and intensity of that experience?

Hofmann: I don’t know—an immeasurable trace. The first experience was a very weak one, consisting of rather small changes. It had a pleasant, fairy tale-magic theater quality. Three days later, on April 19, 1943, I made my first planned experiment with 0.25 milligrams, or 250 micrograms.

High Times: Did you swallow it?

Hofmann: Yes, I prepared a solution of 5 milligrams and took a fraction corresponding to 250 micrograms, or 25 millionths of a gram. I didn’t expect this dose to work at all, and planned to take more and more to get the effects. There was no other substance known at the time which had any effect with so small a dose.

High Times: Did your colleagues know that you were making this experiment?

Hofmann: Only my assistant.

High Times: Were you familiar with the work done on mescaline by Klüver, Beringer and Rouhier in the late 1920s before you yourself experimented with mind-altering substances?

Hofmann: No—I became interested in their work only after the discovery of LSD. They are pioneers in the field of psychoactive plants.

Mescaline, studied for the first time by Lewin in 1888, was the first hallucinogen available as a chemically pure compound; LSD was the second. Karl Beringer’s investigations were published in the classic monograph Der Meskalinrausch in 1928, but in the years following, interest in the hallucinogenic research faded.

Not until my discovery of LSD, which is about 5,000 to 10,000 times more active than mescaline, did this line of research receive a new impetus.

High Times: How long were you able to keep writing lab notes that afternoon?

Hofmann: Not very. As the effects intensified I realized that I did not know what was going to happen, if I’d ever come back. I thought I was dying or going crazy. I thought of my wife and two young children who would never know or understand why I could have done this. My first planned self-experiment with LSD was a “bum trip,” as one would say nowadays.

High Times: Why was it four years from your discovery of the psychic effects of LSD until your report was published? Was your information suppressed?

Hofmann: There was no suppression of that knowledge. After confirmation of the action of this extraordinary compound by volunteers of the Sandoz staff, Professor Arthur Stoll, who was then head of the Sandoz pharmaceutical department, asked me if I would permit his son, Werner A. Stoll—who was starting his career at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Zurich—to submit this new agent to a fundamental psychiatric study on normal volunteers and on psychiatric patients. This investigation took a rather long time, because Dr. Stoll, like myself and most young Swiss people in that period of war, often had to interrupt his work to serve in the army. This excellent and comprehensive study was not published until 1947.

High Times: Did government agents aware of LSD approach you during World War ll?

Hofmann: Before Werner Stoll’s psychiatric report appeared in 1947, there was no general knowledge of LSD. In military circles in the 1950s, however, there was open discussion of LSD as an “incapacitating drug,” and thus “a weapon without death.” At that time the U.S. Army sent a representative to Sandoz to speak to me about the procedure for producing large quantities of LSD.

Of course, the plan to use it as an “incapacitating agent” was not practicable because there was no way of uniformly distributing doses—some would get a lot and some would get none. Discussions of the military uses of LSD were no secret at that time, although some journalists speak as if they were.

High Times: Arthur Stoll’s name appears with yours on the chemical paper where the synthesis of LSD is first described. What was his connection with this investigation?

Hofmann: Stoll’s name appears on all papers coming out of the research laboratories at Sandoz as part of his function of head of the department, but he had no direct connection with the discovery of LSD. He was one of the pioneers in ergot research, having isolated in 1918 the first chemically pure alkaloid from ergot—ergotamine—which proved to be a useful medicament in the treatment of migraine. But then research on ergot was discontinued at Sandoz until I started it again in 1935.

High Times: Who was the second person to take LSD?

Hofmann: Professor Ernst Rothlin, head of the Sandoz pharmacological department at the time. Rothlin was dubious about LSD; he claimed he had a strong will and could suppress the effects of drugs. But after he took 60 micrograms—one quarter of the dose I had taken earlier—he was convinced. I had to laugh as he described his fantastic visions.

High Times: Have you taken LSD outside of the laboratory?

Hofmann: Around 1949 to 1951, I arranged some LSD sessions at home in the friendly and private company of two good friends of mine: the pharmacologist Professor Heribert-Konzett, and the writer Ernst Jünger. Jünger is the author of, among other works, Approaching Revelation: Drugs and Narcotics [Annäherungen; Drogen und Rausch. Stuttgart: Klett, 1970].

I did this in order to investigate the influence of the surroundings, of the outer and inner conditions on the LSD experience. These experiments showed me the enormous impact of—to use modern terms—set and setting on the content and character of the experience.

I also learned that planning has its limitations. In spite of good mood at the beginning of a session—positive expectations, beautiful surroundings and sympathetic company—I once fell into a terrible depression. This unpredictability of effects is the major danger of LSD.

High Times: How long and how often did you continue to take LSD?

Hofmann: My ten to 15 experiments with LSD were distributed over 27 years. The last one was in 1970. Since then I have taken no more LSD, because I believe that all an LSD experience can give me has already been given. Maybe later in my life I will have the need to take it once or several times more.

High Times: What was the largest single dose of LSD that you took ?

Hofmann: 250 micrograms.

High Times: Would you recommend the use of LSD?

Hofmann: I suppose that your question refers to the non-medical use of LSD. If such use were at present legal, which is not the case, then I would suggest the following guidelines: The experience is handled best by a ripe, stabilized person with a meaningful reason for taking LSD.

With regard to its psychic effects and its chemical constitution, LSD belongs to that group of Mexican drugs, peyotl, teonanacatl and ololiuqui, that became sacred drugs because of their uncanny way of affecting the core of the mind. The Indians’ religious awe of the psychedelic drug may be replaced in our society by respect and reverence, based on scientifically established knowledge of its unique psychic effects.

This respectful attitude toward LSD must be supplemented by appropriate external conditions—by choosing an inspiring milieu and selected company for the session, and having medical assistance available just in case it is needed.

High Times: Are the effects of ergotism similar to those of LSD?

Hofmann: There are two forms of ergotism: ergotismus gangrenosus and ergotismus convulsivus. The former is characterized by symptoms of gangrene, but without accompanying psychic effects. In the latter form, contractions and convulsions of the muscles often culminate in a state comparable to epilepsy—a condition sometimes accompanied by hallucinations, and thus related to the effects of LSD. This can be explained by the fact that the alkaloids of ergot have the same basic nucleus as LSD; that is, they are derivatives of lysergic acid.

High Times: Is the term psychedelic, coined by Dr. Humphry Osmond, agreeable to you?

Hofmann: I think it is a good term. It corresponds better to the effects of these drugs than hallucinogenic or psychotomimetic. Another suitable designation would have been phantastica, coined by Louis Lewin in the 1920s, but it was not accepted in English-speaking countries.

High Times: You have described your psychoactive drug investigations as a “magic circle.” What do you mean?

Hofmann: My investigations of lysergic acid amides brought me to LSD. LSD brought the sacred Mexican mushrooms to my attention, which led to the synthesis of psilocybin, which in turn brought about a visit from Gordon Wasson and the subsequent investigations with ololiuqui. There I again encountered lysergic acid amides, closing the magic circle 17 years later.

High Times: Can you describe the events leading up to that?

Hofmann: After having studied the mushroom ceremony in Mexico during 1954 and 1955, Gordon Wasson and his wife invited the mycologist Roger Heim to accompany them on a further expedition in 1956 in order to identify the sacred mushroom.

He discovered that most of them were a new species belonging to the genus Psilocybe mexicana of the family of Strophariaceae. He was able to cultivate some of them artificially in his Paris laboratory, but after unsuccessful attempts to isolated the active principle, he sent the sacred mushrooms to the Sandoz laboratory in hopes that our experience with LSD would enable us to solve this problem. In a sense, LSD brought the sacred mushrooms to my laboratory.

We first tested the mushroom extract on animals, but the results were negative. It was uncertain whether the mushrooms cultivated and dried in Paris were still active at all, so in order to settle this fundamental point I decided to test them on myself. I ate 32 dried specimens of Psilocybe mexicana.

High Times: Isn’t that a large dose?

Hofmann: No. The mushrooms were very tiny, weighing only 2.4 grams—a medium dose by Indian standards.

High Times: What was it like?

Hofmann: Everything assumed a Mexican character. Whether my eyes were closed or open, I saw only Mexican motifs and colors. When the doctor supervising the experiment bent over to check my blood pressure, he was transformed into an Aztec priest, and I would not have been astonished had he drawn an obsidian knife.

It was a strong experience and lasted about six hours. The mushrooms were active; the negative results of the test with animals had been due to the comparatively low sensitivity of animals to substances with psychic effects.

High Times: Did you then proceed with the synthesis?

Hofmann: After this reliable test with human beings, meaning that my coworkers and I ingested the fractions to be tested, I extracted the active principles from the mushrooms, purified and finally crystallized them.

I named the main active principle of Psilocybe mexicana psilocybin and the accompanying alkaloid, usually present only in small amounts, psilocin. My co-workers and I were then able to elucidate the chemical structure of psilocybin and psilocin, and after that we succeeded in synthesizing these compounds.

The synthetic production of psilocybin is now much more economic than obtaining it from the mushroom. Thus teonanacatl was demystified —the two substances whose magic effects made the Mexican Indians believe for thousands of years that a god resided in a mushroom can now be prepared in a retort.

High Times: In one of his recorded lectures, Aldous Huxley described the delight of Wasson’s famous curanderaMaria Sabina of Huautla, upon ingesting psilocybin. She realized that she could now perform magic all year round, and not just during the mushroom season following the rains.

Hofmann: That was my psilocybin. When Wasson and I visited Maria Sabina there were no sacred mushrooms because it was so late in the season, so we provided her with pills containing synthetic psilocybin.

After taking a rather strong dose in the course of a nocturnal session, she said there was no difference between the pills and the mushrooms. “The spirit of the mushroom is in the pill,” she said—final proof that our synthetic preparation was identical in every respect with the natural product.

High Times: What prompted your investigations of ololiuqui, another of the Mexican sacred plants?

Hofmann: When Wasson came to Sandoz to view the synthetic psilocybin crystals in my laboratory, he was delighted that the results of our chemical investigation had confirmed his ethnomycological studies of the sacred mushroom. We became friends and made plans to further investigate Mexican sacred plants.

The next problem we decided to tackle was the riddle of ololiuqui, which is the Aztec name for the seeds of certain morning-glories. With Wasson’s help, I was able to obtain ololiuqui seeds collected by Zapotec Indians.

The chemical analysis of the ololiuqui seeds gave a quite surprising result. The active principle that we isolated proved to be lysergic acid amide and other ergot alkaloids.

High Times: So ololiuqui is chemically related to LSD ?

Hofmann: Yes. The main ololiuqui alkaloid is lysergic acid amide, which differs from LSD —from lysergic acid diethylamide—only by two ethyl radicals. I did not expect to find lysergic acid derivatives—which were known until then only as products of lower fungi of the ergot type—also in higher plants, in morning-glory species of the phanerogamic family of the Convolvulaceae.

My results were so surprising that the first paper I delivered on the subject in Melbourne in 1960 was received by my colleagues with skepticism. They would not believe me. “Oh, you have so much lysergic acid compounds in your laboratory, you may have contaminated your ololiuqui extracts with them,” they said.

High Times: What was the purpose of your journey to Mexico?

Hofmann: It was an expedition that Wasson organized in the autumn of 1962 to search for another, unidentified magic Mexican plant, namely the so-called hojas de la Pastora. We traveled by horseback on Indian trails through the Sierra Mazateca, finally arriving in time to assist in a nocturnal ceremony in the hut of a curandera who used the juice of the leaves of hojas de la Pastora.

Afterwards we were able to get some specimens of the plant. It was a new species of the mint family that was later identified botanically at Harvard University and named Salvia divinorum. Back in my laboratory at Sandoz, I had no success in extracting the active principle, which in Salvia divinorum is very unstable.

High Times: Are the psychoactive effects of Salvia divinorum similar to those of Psilocyhe mexicana and LSD?

Hofmann: Yes, but less pronounced.

High Times: What writers do you find to be the most successful in conveying the psychedelic experience in literature?

Hofmann: I find the best descriptions in Aldous Huxley’s books. After that I would say Timothy Leary and Alan Watts; in France, Henri Michaux.

In German literature. Rudolf Gelpke deserves to be named in this respect, but I don’t believe his works are available in English. “Von Fahrten in den Weltraum der Seele” [“Travels in the Cosmos of the Soul”], published in the journal Antaios in 1962, is especially fine.

I should also mention the new monograph by Dr. Stan Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious [New York: Viking, 1975], containing excellent descriptions of LSD sessions in the framework of psychiatric studies.

High Times: Did Herman Hesse or Carl Jung ever show an interest in your discovery?

Hofmann: I never met Hesse, but his books—especially The Glass Bead Game and Steppenwolf— have deeply interested me in connection with LSD research. It is possible that Hesse experimented with mescaline in the 1920s as some have supposed —I have no way of knowing. Outside of one brief meeting with Jung at an international congress of psychiatrists, I had no contact with him.

High Times: Did you ever meet Aldous Huxley?

Hofmann: Twice. I met him for lunch in Zurich in 1961, and again in 1963 when we were both in Stockholm attending the WAAS [World Academy of Art and Science] Conference, where the topics of overpopulation, depletion of natural resources and ecology in general were discussed. I was deeply impressed by Huxley: he radiated life, intelligence, kindness and openness —and he was of course extremely articulate.

High Times: What do you think of The Tibetan Book of the Dead as a guide to the psychedelic experience, as suggested by Huxley and the Harvard researchers, among others?

Hofmann: The general ideas and instructions on how to prepare and run a psychedelic session given there are the outcome of long experiences in this field and seem very valuable. What disturbs me is the use of the foreign Tibetan symbolism. I prefer that we remain within our own cultural framework—that we use symbols found in the writings of Western mystics such as Silesius, Eckhart, Boehme and Swedenborg.

High Times: What was your impression of Dr. Timothy Leary’s work with psychedelics?

Hofmann: I formed my first impression of Dr. Leary in 1963. At that time he was involved, together with his colleague Dr. Richard Alpert, at Harvard University in a project investigating the use of LSD and psilocybin in the rehabilitation of convicts. Dr. Leary sent me an order for 100 grams of LSD and 25 kilograms of psilocybin. Before the sales department of Sandoz could carry out the demand for this extraordinarily large quantity of psychedelic compounds we asked Dr. Leary to provide us with the necessary import license from the U.S. health authorities. He failed to provide it. The unrealistic manner with which he handled this transaction left the impression of a person unconcerned with the regulations of society.

I got a glimpse of another facet of his character when he invited me later the same year to participate in a meeting on drug research at Zihuatanejo, Mexico. He emphasized that radio, television and journalists of the most important mass media would be present, which revealed a very publicity-conscious personality.

High Times: You met with Leary later, didn’t you?

Hofmann: A decade later when Dr. Leary had escaped from prison and was living in exile in Switzerland. I was eager to meet him personally, having read so much in the press about him during the intervening period. On the third of September, 1971, the father and prophet of LSD met in Lausanne.

I was surprised to meet not a professorial type of scientist, nor a fanatic, but a slender, smiling, boyish man, representing rather a tennis champion than a Harvard professor.

During the course of our conversation. Dr. Leary gave me the impression of an idealistic person who believes in the transforming influence of psychedelic drugs on mankind, is conscious of the complexity of the drug problem and yet was careless of all the difficulties involved in the promotion of his ideas.

High Times: Apart from his personal style, what did you think of Dr. Leary’s ideas at the time of the Swiss meeting?

Hofmann: We were in agreement concerning the enormous importance of making a fundamental distinction between drugs. We agreed that the use of addiction-producing drugs, especially heroin with its disastrous somatic and psychic effects, should be avoided by any means possible. We agreed also in the evaluation of the potentially beneficial effects of psychedelic drugs. We disagreed as to the extent that psychedelics should be used and by whom.

Whereas Dr. Leary advocated the use of LSD under appropriate conditions by very young people, by teenagers, I insisted that a ripe, stable personality be a prior condition. Ripe because the drug can release only what is already in the mind. It brings in nothing new—it is like a key that can open a door to our subconscious. Stabilized because it needs spiritual strength for handling and integrating an overwhelming psychedelic experience into the existing Weltbild.

High Times: Does LSD possess aphrodisiac qualities?

Hofmann: Only in the sense that LSD adds new dimensions to all experiences, including of course the sexual.

High Times: Have you benefitted financially from your discovery of LSD?

Hofmann: No.

High Times: Sandoz is one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world. How did it deal with the manufacture and distribution of so controversial a substance as LSD?

Hofmann: It was clear from the very beginning that LSD, in spite of its extraordinary qualities, would not become a pharmaceutical preparation of commercial value. Notwithstanding this, Sandoz put enormous effort into the scientific investigation of the substance, showing the eminent role LSD could play as an excellent tool in brain research and in psychiatry.

Sandoz therefore made LSD available to qualified experimental and clinical investigators all over the world to promote such research with technical help and in many instances with financial support. Sandoz played a noble role in the scientific development of LSD.

High Times: Did Sandoz stop producing LSD because it was finding its way onto the black market?

Hofmann: At the onset of the LSD hysteria in 1965, Sandoz completely stopped the distribution of LSD for research purposes in order to avoid all possibility and to counteract false rumors that its LSD could find its way onto the black market.

Another reason was to force health authorities of different countries to provide adequate rules and regulations regarding the distribution of LSD. After this was accomplished, they again supplied LSD in America to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] for distribution, but only to licensed investigators.

High Times: In the United States there has been a recent major investigation of improper LSD experiments carried out by the CIA, Army, Navy and other governmental agencies. Did they get their LSD from Sandoz just as Timothy Leary’s psychedelic research project at Harvard got theirs?

Hofmann: Sandoz supplied the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who then distributed it in America. Probably that is how the CIA and others got it.

High Times: Have you ever been approached by Soviet agents in need of Sandoz LSD or of your expertise?

Hofmann: This has not happened. I have learned from Swedish scientists in Stockholm that the Russians have studied LSD’s uses in military and parapsychological investigations, and that they were searching for an antidote. But the pharmaceutical firm of Spofa in Prague probably provided the LSD.

High Times: Are you familiar with the underground chemist, Stanley Owsley, who in the 1960s produced the most widely distributed black-market LSD?

Hofmann: I have heard his name mentioned in this context, but know nothing else about him.

High Times: What has been the purity of the black-market LSD that you’ve tested?

Hofmann: Some contained the “labeled” amount, some less. It’s difficult to make a stable preparation under less than perfect laboratory conditions. You must eliminate every trace of oxygen. Oxidation destroys LSD, as does light.

High Times: Are you familiar with an LSD-like substance called ALD-52 that figured prominently in an acid trial two years ago?

Hofmann: Yes. ALD-52 is Acetyl-LSD, a modification of LSD that proved to be as active, because acetyl is removed in the body and you have the effects of LSD. It has only been used experimentally. We sent it to the Drug Rehabilitation Center in Lexington, Kentucky, for testing some years ago.

High Times: What do you know about ketamine?

Hofmann: Ketamine is a totally synthetic psychedelic, unlike LSD, which is a seminatural product.

High Times: What is now known about the neurological effects of LSD and other psychedelics?

Hofmann: We know LSD concentrates in the hypothalamus, the same region of the brain where serotonin is found. This is the brain’s emotional center. But there still exists a big gap between the pharmacology of and the mechanisms underlying consciousness.

The problem is that the thought-function that you investigate is the same instrument you use for investigation.

High Times: For many people LSD provides what they describe as a religious experience. What are your feelings on this?

Hofmann: People for whom LSD provides a religious experience expect to have such an experience when they take it. Expectation —which is identical to autosuggestion—determines to a high degree what will happen in the session, because one of the most important features of the LSD state is its extreme suggestibility.

Another reason for the incidence of religious experiences is the fact that the very core of the human mind is connected with God. This deepest root of our consciousness, which in the normal state is hidden by superficial rational activities of the mind, may become revealed by the action of the psychedelic drug.

High Times: Is LSD an evolutionary agent?

Hofmann: Possibly. In the LSD state we may become conscious, in the words of Teilhard de Chardin, of the “entire complex of interhuman and intercosmic relations with an immediacy, an intimacy and a realism” that otherwise happens only in spontaneous ecstatic states and to a very few blessed people.

Agreement exists among spiritual leaders that the continuation of the present development, characterized by increasing industrialization and overpopulation, will result in the exhaustion of natural resources and destroy the ecological basis for mankind’s existence on this planet. This trend to self-annihilation is reinforced by international politics based on “power trips” and the preparation of weapons of apocalyptic potential.

This development can be stopped only by a change in the materialistic attitude that has caused this development. This change can result only from insight into the deepest spiritual roots of life and existence, from comprehensive use of all forces of our intelligence and all resources of our knowledge.

This intellectual approach, supplemented by visionary experience, could produce an alteration of the consciousness of truth and reality that could be of evolutionary significance. LSD selectively and wisely used could be one means of supplementing intellectual with visionary insight and helping the prepared mind become conscious of a deeper reality.

High Times: Did your LSD experiences change your personal life and tastes?

Hofmann: It increased my sensitivity to classical music—especially Mozart. My life habits did not change.

High Times: Has your wife also experimented with psychedelics?

Hofmann: Yes. Once in Mexico in the session with Salvia divinorum when I had some gastric trouble and could not ingest the juice, she took my place. She also took some of the psilocybin pills during the historic session when Maria Sabina confirmed their potency.

High Times: What general medical uses might LSD be marketed for in the future?

Hofmann: Very small doses, perhaps 25 micrograms, could be useful as a euphoriant or antidepressant.

High Times: Which of your works are available in English?

Hofmann: Several years ago Dr. Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard and I coauthored a book called The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens. It is intended primarily to provide specialized students with basic knowledge of the botany and chemistry of hallucinogenic plants. I am currently writing my memoirs, but these will first be published in German.

High Times: What have you been doing since your retirement from Sandoz?

Hofmann: I retired in 1971 after 42 years with Sandoz. Since then I have been writing and lecturing on psychoactive drugs. Here at home I work in the orchard and run in the woods for exercise. It’s wonderful to be able to spend a great deal of time in unspoiled nature after decades of work in laboratories.

High Times: In his book Gravity’s Rainbow, the American author Thomas Pynchon has described a stained-glass window in your office at the otherwise dull Sandoz labs. Is this true?

Hofmann: That is true. It is now here in my house. Actually, it’s a modern glass in the old style depicting Asclepius and his mentor, the centaur Chiron.

High Times: Are the Swiss proud of your discovery of LSD and the synthesis of psilocybin and ololiuqui, or has the controversy surrounding these drugs dispelled that?

Hofmann: My discoveries have proved very controversial. Some consider these drugs to be diabolique, and a few clergymen asked me to confess mea culpa in public, but in professional circles my work has been appreciated. I’ve been honored by the National Polytechnic Institute here in Switzerland; by honorary degrees in natural science and in pharmacy from the Swedish Royal Pharmaceutical Institute, and in the United States by an honorary membership in the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

High Times: What made you decide to become a chemist?

Hofmann: I was interested in knowing what our world is made of. Chemistry is the science of the constituents of the world, so at age 19 I made the decision to become a chemist for both mystical-philosophical reasons and for reasons of curiosity.

High Times: Has LSD affected your philosophical outlook?

Hofmann: From my LSD experiments, including the very first terrifying one, I have received knowledge of not only one. but of an infinite number of realities. Depending upon the condition of our senses and psychic receptors we experience a different reality.

I realized that the depth and richness of the inner and outer universe are immeasurable and inexhaustible, but that we have to return from these strange worlds to our homeland and live here in the reality that is provided by our normal, healthy senses. It’s like astronauts returning from outer space flights: they must readjust to this planet.

In some of my psychedelic experiences I had a feeling of ecstatic love and unity with all creatures in the universe. To have had such an experience of absolute beatitude means an enrichment of our life.

High Times: How would you like the future ages to remember you and your discovery?

Hofmann: Perhaps the image of a chemist riding along on a bicycle on the very first LSD trip will change to the Old Man of the Mountain.

High Times. “High Times Greats: Interview With Albert Hofmann, The Man Who First Synthesized LSD.” High Times, 10 Jan. 2020, hightimes.com/culture/albert-hofmann-lsd-interview/.

How To Roll A Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide

The ultimate beginner’s guide on how to roll a joint the right way.

Learning how to roll a joint is a vital key to any cannabis consumer’s skills set. It’s the simplest method and you’ll come in clutch anytime there’s weed, no pipe and nobody else that can roll.

Before you get rolling you’ll want to pick a pack of the best rolling papers for you. That can mean unbleached or made of hemp to keep things purely cannabis. Thin papers make it easier to taste your weed but they’re a little harder to roll.

STEP 1: BREAK IT DOWN

How To Roll A Joint: A Step By Step Guide

The first step to learning how to roll a joint is breaking it down. Get your weed into a consistency that can be easily smoked. Sure, you can just poke a hole in a sticky nug and smoke it whole without a pipe or papers. However, you’ll be stressing your lungs just to get enough smoke to get high.

Pipes, papers and grinders were made for a reason. They make smoking weed easier and more effective. Just break it down into an even consistency before you try to roll it up.

A grinder provides a consistent structure and smoke. You can break down by hand when you’re in a pinch. When you break down by hand the joint tends to come out lumpier with a higher chance of canoeing.

STEP 2: PREPARE THE FILTER (OPTIONAL)

How To Roll A Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide

Rip a piece of filter paper and fold one end into a W for weed. Then, roll the remaining filter paper tightly around the W. You can get creative and make it whatever shape you want, as long as there are no wide gaps in it.

The filter acts as a guard preventing any loose weed from flying into your mouth. It also makes it easier to smoke the joint to the end without having resin close the mouthpiece or burning your fingers.

However, filters also add a stronger paper taste which becomes more prevalent as the lit end gets closer to the filter. You can decide whether or not you want a filter in your joint depending on your preferences.

STEP 3: PUT IT ON PAPER

How To Roll A Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide

The best way to make something official is by putting it on paper. This is especially true when it comes to joints. Without the paper, there is no joint. Before you add the weed you can pick a side for your filter if you plan on adding one.

There are two styles of joint that you commonly see rolled: the pinner and the bat. You must pick one before putting your weed in.

Pinners are straight cigarette-looking joints. Bats are in the shape of a cone with one end much larger than the other. The benefit of a pinner is everyone gets a pretty even sized hit during the puff, puff pass rotation. It’s also a bit stealthier than a bat.

Bats are great for solo smokes. The first few puffs are all weed and hardly any paper so you can really taste the flower you’re using. The end also has less weed in it so you won’t feel as guilty if you toss the roach.

Once you decide what style you want to go with,  sprinkle the weed into your joint like you’re salt bae. If you’re going with a pinner try to drop an even amount throughout.

With a bat, you’ll want less at the filter end while gradually increasing the amount as you move away from the filter. Once you have enough in the joint to serve you or whoever you plan on sharing with, you can start to shape your joint.

Shaping your joint is as simple as using your thumbs and forefingers to roll the non-sticky side up and down until your weed takes the shape of a cylinder. Once you’ve got the weed shaped, it’ll be easier to roll a tight joint with no gaps in it.

STEP 4: TUCK

How To Roll A Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide

This step is usually what throws people off. Before you become a dependable joint roller you’ll need to master the art of the tuck. For a man with no tucks has no place rolling up.

The trick is to start at the end with the filter in it and tuck the paper around that then move your thumb to the other side while tucking the rest.

STEP 5: ROLL & LICK

How To Roll A Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide

Once you’re confident in your tuck, roll it until you’re close to the glue-end. Add a little bit of moisture and pat it down on one side. Slowly work your way across the rest of the joint until it is all sealed up.

You’ve made it through the hard part, you could smoke it as is if you want but there are a couple of additional steps to learning how to roll a joint. First, make sure it’s tightly rolled. You can use something small to push the weed in from the end you’re lighting.

Using a pen end, shoelace tip, hoodie string tip or anything small and blunt enough to push the weed closer together to fill in any gaps in the roll.

Don’t pack down too much or there won’t be much airflow. Then, you’ll have to watch your joint burn instead of actually smoking it.

Even taking huge pulls from a joint with no airflow will barely give you any smoke.

STEP 6: TWIST & GET LIT

How To Roll A Joint: A Step By Step Guide

The final step depends on when you’re smoking the joint. If you’re taking it to go or saving it for later, you’ll definitely want to twist the end shut.

If you packed it down, the end opposite of the filter should be all paper and no weed. You can add a tiny bit of moisture to it and twist the paper end shut.

If you can spark up right where you rolled it then go ahead. There’s no need to twist, you can go ahead and get lit.

FINAL HIT: HOW TO ROLL A JOINT

If you followed all of these steps you should know how to roll a joint. Smoke your creation from start to finish to see how well you did. If it canoes, you may need to roll tighter with fewer gaps.

Keep practicing and you can get creative by rolling unique shaped joints.

Your new talent will ensure you can still smoke your weed when there’s no pipe around. If you tried to learn how to roll a joint and it didn’t work out, you can always buy a pack of pre-rolled cones or watch our how-to video below.

Hanna, Ab. “How To Roll A Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide.” High Times, 7 Jan. 2020, hightimes.com/guides/how-to-roll-a-joint/.

Can You Fly Out of Chicago Airports with Weed?

If you’re within the legal limits for possessing cannabis, there’s nothing police or TSA can do to stop you from flying out of Chicago with weed.

Now that recreational cannabis is legal to buy, sell, possess and use across Illinois, travelers are asking the obvious question: can you fly out of Chicago airports with weed? There are a couple twists and turns to the answer, but the bottom line is this: yes, you can fly out of Chicago airports like Midwayand O’Hare with weed. And in fact, while being caught with weed will definitely slow you down, there’s ultimately nothing anyone can do to stop you from boarding a plane with your stash in hand—or in your carry-on.

There’s Nothing Anyone Can Do to Stop You From Flying Out of Chicago with Weed

Commander William Mullane heads up the Chicago Police Department staff at Chicago’s airports. Speaking at a small press conference in a terminal at O’Hare ahead of the implementation of the state’s recreational marijuana law on January 1, Mullane explained how legalization would impact airport travelers.

Mullane began by reiterating that the ongoing federal prohibition of cannabis makes it illegal under federal law to possess any amount of cannabis. Federal law also prohibits the transportation of any amount of cannabis across state lines. Federal marijuana law matters because the federal government regulates air space over the U.S., not individual states.

So what happens, then, if you show up to O’Hare or Midway with weed on you?

Basically, nothing.

In the first place, TSA isn’t looking out for or searching for cannabis. They’re tasked with identifying security and safety threats, not finding drugs. But as Mullane explained, if a TSA agent does happen to discover cannabis on a traveler or in their belongings, they must contact Chicago airport police.

Next, officers will respond and examine the “totality of the circumstances,” meaning the age of the traveler and whether or not the cannabis they have on them exceeds Illinois’ legal possession limits. Those limits are 30 gramsfor Illinois residents 21 and over, and 15 grams for non-residents.

And if the police who respond determine that the traveler is within legal limits for possessing cannabis in Illinois, then there’s nothing they can do to stop that traveler from proceeding to their flight and their destination.

In other words, even though it would technically be a violation of federal law to board a flight with your weed, it wouldn’t be a violation of Illinois state law, so Chicago police could not stop you.

O’Hare and Midway Airports Providing “Marijuana Amnesty” Boxes for Disposal

Instead of preventing passengers carrying weed from boarding their flights—which again, they can’t do—Chicago police are giving travelers a choice. Either they can continue on their merry way, or dispose of their cannabis in specialized “marijuana amnesty” boxes.

Both O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago now have marijuana amnesty boxes in their terminals for travelers who wish to dispose of their weed before boarding their flight.

If police stop a traveler to check whether they lawfully possess cannabis, they will offer that traveler the choice of disposing of their weed or keeping it and going on their way.

But Chicago police cannot require you to dispose of your weed in Chicago airports. Because again, you’re not doing anything wrong.

Still, the amnesty boxes might be a safe option for travelers flying out of Chicago to destination states where cannabis is illegal. But if a traveler were flying to, say, Los Angeles, they would both take off and land in weed-legal states, and only have to worry about federal law enforcement en route. It’s still a risk, but as we’ve covered before, it’s a relatively small one.

So at the end of the day, if you’re within your legal rights to possess weed in Illinois, you can absolutely fly out of Chicago airports with your stash. And while TSA and Chicago police may stop to verify you, there’s nothing they can do to stop you from flying or force you to dispose of your cannabis.

Of course, Chicago Police aren’t encouraging travelers to bring weed through the airport. But they’ve acknowledged there’s nothing they can do to stop it from happening.

Drury, ByAdam. “Can You Fly Out of Chicago Airports with Weed?” Green Rush Daily, 9 Jan. 2020, greenrushdaily.com/travel/can-you-fly-out-of-chicago-airports-with-weed/.

420-Friendly Offices Can Lead To More Productive Work Days

As marijuana legalization makes its way from state to state, happy hours in the workplace are starting to replace booze with bud.

The social stigma against smoking pot has seen an incredible shift over the last decade. The stereotype that toking on a joint is for “unmotivated stoners” has been disproven by many successful entrepreneurs speaking out about using cannabis to enhance their mental functions.

As smoking in one’s personal life becomes more commonplace (nearly 50% of American adults), so is smoking in the workplace. If achieving a work-life balance means relaxing at home with a bit of weed and employees are just going to go home and do it anyways, some employers are starting to embrace consuming THC and CBD at the end of the workday as a company unwinding exercise.

Startups have fridges stocked with beer, why not a cabinet stocked with weed?

Creative Jobs Aren’t The Only Ones That Benefit

On May 10th, 2019, the NYC Marijuana Drug Test Ban took effect, prohibiting New York City employers from requiring a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), with the exception of safety and security-sensitive jobs or any pertaining to state or federal government contracts or grants. This law marks a recognition of smoking marijuana in one’s personal life not negatively affecting one’s work performance, and paves the way for consuming THC and CBD at work to actually enhance one’s performance.

Not all positions are suited for psychoactive or mood-altering drugs. A construction worker, truck driver, doctor, law enforcement official etc., need to remain alert and mentally unaltered at all times. However, other jobs can greatly benefit from the effects of consuming THC and CBD,
such as ones that involve:

  • Creativity and brainstorming
  • Problem-solving
  • Presentations and public speaking
  • High stress
  • Physical strain
  • Cannabis production or distribution

Many employers who allow THC and CBD in the workplace have a structure. THC consumption is only allowed at the end of the day to wind down, while CBD is allowed during the day to boost creativity and reduce stress.

In fact, those who suffer from anxiety find that CBD boosts performance at work. More research on the anti-anxiety properties is still coming out, especially since drugs affect everyone differently, but several studies on social anxiety disorder have found that CBD consumed before public speaking significantly reduced the speakers’ anxiety.

Choosing the Right Strains

Marijuana has un-industrious connotations, but there are strains and hybrids that can provide performance-enhancing benefits with no sedentary or lethargic side effects. Depending on the strain, the consumer could experience increased productivity, energy, mental clarity, relaxation,
calmness, or even speedy feelings to the point where a morning cup of coffee to wake up the body and mind is no longer needed.

CBD companies also make strains targeted for productivity, such as Recess sparkling CBD water. According to the CBD infused beverage company, their drink is not meant to be a “calm you down or before bed drink” but more of a “perk you up and help you focus, mental clarity enhancing drink to counteract the afternoon slump.”

Far from a wake-and-bake lazy Saturday, THC and CBD consumption at work can take place at many different times depending on the need, just like a cigarette break is incorporated for a nicotine boost. As cannabis culture continues to evolve, discreet consumption is making it easier to get a boost to get work done. Besides smoking, there are drinks, edibles and most notably, patches. Transdermal patches are known for their ability to create a subtle, long-lasting feeling, as opposed to other methods that might hit hard and fade fast. Patches can also be worn under the skin, so those in need of medical marijuana can get what they need without judgment.

However, take care that you know your limits. Don’t hit a new, questionable strain and be down and out for the workday. Micro-dose responsibly while in front of your employer, otherwise, one bad trip could ruin it for everybody.

THC vs CBD At Work

More employers are on board with CBD in the office than with THC, primarily because of the legalization differences as CBD and hemp-derived products were removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. In addition, while CBD can help with anxiety and focus, which
many employees struggle with at work, THC has psychoactive properties that, while boosting creativity, may also cause an altered state of mind. THC consumption in the office is typically seen at startups, where working 60-80 hours a week requires some outside help from more than just coffee.

Another obstacle THC faces in the office is stigma. While a growing number of companies are allowing THC and CBD in the office, they are hesitant to openly discuss it due to the potential impact this could have on relationships with other clients.

Research has shown that CBD interacts differently with the receptors on cells in the nervous system of the human body than other cannabinoids do, particularly the neurotransmitter serotonin which plays a major part in those with depression, anxiety and other mental imbalances. While all other cannabinoids from hemp and cannabis interact with two significant receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system, CB1 and CB2, CBD has very little effect on both of them.

If CBD can enhance productivity and relieve anxiety (looking at you, daunting new marketing initiative), why not use it to become a better employee?

From Happy Hours to Higher Hours

Office holiday parties are picking up on a trend this year: instead of open bars leaving the crowd dancing on the tables or throwing up in the bushes, “Cannabars” serviced by “Budtenders” are able to bring a smoking booth or catered edibles to company parties.

A cannabar, often a designated tent set up for those looking to imbibe, is in place of alcohol to avoid crossfading and the risks of mixing. Instead of a tent, some bosses get THC infused food catered to the party or department meeting.

Reena Rampersad, who owns and operates the cannabis catering service High Society Supper Club in Hamilton, Ontario says that choosing cannabis over alcohol gives the party a much different vibe. Instead of herding out sloppy drunks, the crowd is more chill and relaxed, enjoying themselves without getting too wild.

From after work higher hours to morning meetings with CBD lattes, millennials in upper management are bringing in a culture change for cannabis in the workplace. The pain of sitting in an old office chair or sitting through a meeting that should have been an email could be numbed with a little THC/CBD, as long as your employer permits. Research shows positive benefits can come from using hemp and cannabis at work, the rest is up employees delivering proven results: Is the 420-friendly office pushing through stress and anxiety and putting in extra hours? Or simply eating all of the free snacks in the fridge?

The social stigma against smoking pot has seen an incredible shift over the last decade. The stereotype that toking on a joint is for “unmotivated stoners” has been disproven by many successful entrepreneurs speaking out about using cannabis to enhance their mental functions.

As smoking in one’s personal life becomes more commonplace (nearly 50% of American adults), so is smoking in the workplace. If achieving a work-life balance means relaxing at home with a bit of weed and employees are just going to go home and do it anyways, some employers are starting to embrace consuming THC and CBD at the end of the workday as a company unwinding exercise.

Startups have fridges stocked with beer, why not a cabinet stocked with weed?

Creative Jobs Aren’t The Only Ones That Benefit

On May 10th, 2019, the NYC Marijuana Drug Test Ban took effect, prohibiting New York City employers from requiring a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), with the exception of safety and security-sensitive jobs or any pertaining to state or federal government contracts or grants. This law marks a recognition of smoking marijuana in one’s personal life not negatively affecting one’s work performance, and paves the way for consuming THC and CBD at work to actually enhance one’s performance.

Not all positions are suited for psychoactive or mood-altering drugs. A construction worker, truck driver, doctor, law enforcement official etc., need to remain alert and mentally unaltered at all times. However, other jobs can greatly benefit from the effects of consuming THC and CBD,
such as ones that involve:

  • Creativity and brainstorming
  • Problem-solving
  • Presentations and public speaking
  • High stress
  • Physical strain
  • Cannabis production or distribution

Many employers who allow THC and CBD in the workplace have a structure. THC consumption is only allowed at the end of the day to wind down, while CBD is allowed during the day to boost creativity and reduce stress.

In fact, those who suffer from anxiety find that CBD boosts performance at work. More research on the anti-anxiety properties is still coming out, especially since drugs affect everyone differently, but several studies on social anxiety disorder have found that CBD consumed before public speaking significantly reduced the speakers’ anxiety.

Choosing the Right Strains

Marijuana has un-industrious connotations, but there are strains and hybrids that can provide performance-enhancing benefits with no sedentary or lethargic side effects. Depending on the strain, the consumer could experience increased productivity, energy, mental clarity, relaxation,
calmness, or even speedy feelings to the point where a morning cup of coffee to wake up the body and mind is no longer needed.

CBD companies also make strains targeted for productivity, such as Recess sparkling CBD water. According to the CBD infused beverage company, their drink is not meant to be a “calm you down or before bed drink” but more of a “perk you up and help you focus, mental clarity enhancing drink to counteract the afternoon slump.”

Far from a wake-and-bake lazy Saturday, THC and CBD consumption at work can take place at many different times depending on the need, just like a cigarette break is incorporated for a nicotine boost. As cannabis culture continues to evolve, discreet consumption is making it easier to get a boost to get work done. Besides smoking, there are drinks, edibles and most notably, patches. Transdermal patches are known for their ability to create a subtle, long-lasting feeling, as opposed to other methods that might hit hard and fade fast. Patches can also be worn under the skin, so those in need of medical marijuana can get what they need without judgment.

However, take care that you know your limits. Don’t hit a new, questionable strain and be down and out for the workday. Micro-dose responsibly while in front of your employer, otherwise, one bad trip could ruin it for everybody.

THC vs CBD At Work

More employers are on board with CBD in the office than with THC, primarily because of the legalization differences as CBD and hemp-derived products were removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. In addition, while CBD can help with anxiety and focus, which
many employees struggle with at work, THC has psychoactive properties that, while boosting creativity, may also cause an altered state of mind. THC consumption in the office is typically seen at startups, where working 60-80 hours a week requires some outside help from more than just coffee.

Another obstacle THC faces in the office is stigma. While a growing number of companies are allowing THC and CBD in the office, they are hesitant to openly discuss it due to the potential impact this could have on relationships with other clients.

Research has shown that CBD interacts differently with the receptors on cells in the nervous system of the human body than other cannabinoids do, particularly the neurotransmitter serotonin which plays a major part in those with depression, anxiety and other mental imbalances. While all other cannabinoids from hemp and cannabis interact with two significant receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system, CB1 and CB2, CBD has very little effect on both of them.

If CBD can enhance productivity and relieve anxiety (looking at you, daunting new marketing initiative), why not use it to become a better employee?

From Happy Hours to Higher Hours

Office holiday parties are picking up on a trend this year: instead of open bars leaving the crowd dancing on the tables or throwing up in the bushes, “Cannabars” serviced by “Budtenders” are able to bring a smoking booth or catered edibles to company parties.

A cannabar, often a designated tent set up for those looking to imbibe, is in place of alcohol to avoid crossfading and the risks of mixing. Instead of a tent, some bosses get THC infused food catered to the party or department meeting.

Reena Rampersad, who owns and operates the cannabis catering service High Society Supper Club in Hamilton, Ontario says that choosing cannabis over alcohol gives the party a much different vibe. Instead of herding out sloppy drunks, the crowd is more chill and relaxed, enjoying themselves without getting too wild.

Rio, ByJuliet Del. “420-Friendly Offices Can Lead To More Productive Work Days.” Green Rush Daily, 10 Jan. 2020, greenrushdaily.com/guides/420-friendly-offices-can-lead-to-more-productive-work-days/.

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

With new positions opening up every day, your dream job could be waiting right around the corner.

Whether you’re a pro, fresh out of college or on the lookout for your first gig, the cannabis industry could be the place for you. According to a new report released last month, our industry has generated over 211,000 full-time jobs as of march 2019, with more than 64,000 positions opening up in 2018 alone. Cannabis research firm New Frontier Data is estimating this figure will climb up to almost 300,000 by 2020. That means there will soon be more people working for the cannabis industry than there will be flight attendants, interior designers, massage therapists or veterinarians in the entire country.

But not so fast, some might say, quantity is no guarantee for quality. Well, there are even more good news for cannabis job hunters, since the cannabis job market is not only expanding, it also getting better paid. According to a report by Vangst, the average cannabis salary was increased by 16.1% between 2017 and 2018, with over 70% of employees getting medical insurance. Glassdoor even reported that the average cannabis job pays over 10% higher than the US median salary.

Opportunities are on the rise for people from all corners of society: the site reports that around half the openings search for professionals and technicians, while the other half is open to profiles without higher education. So forget your excuses, because if you’re interested in the cannabis industry, there’s probably a position out there for you.


COMPLIANCE MANAGER

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

Having to deal with a highly regulated industry, cannabis business owners can have a hard time navigating through the vast sea of local, state and federal regulations that need to be followed for their company to stay legit. That’s why they hire Compliance Managers to keep track of every new law out there, perform audits on their business’ operations and supervise procedures. CMs make sure everything is in the right place and save their companies the hustle of getting caught inadvertently doing something outside the law. Compliance Managers are often required a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration or similar, and experience in highly regulated industries like tobacco and pharmaceutical is always a plus. Keeping track of inventory is usually also a part of their job description.


EXTRACTION TECHNICIAN

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Today, cannabis comes in many forms: edibles, chewabled, tinctures, topicals, sprays, oils, vaping cartridges and more. Whenever someone is using a commercial form of cannabis that doesn’t involve burning flower buds, a Director of Extraction is behind that product. And since cannabis concentrates are turning out to be the boom-within-the-boom of the cannabis industry, this position is becoming widely sought-after. Extraction Technicians include Extraction Directors and specialized lab technicians that take care of every aspect of the extraction process, from designing and setting-up the extraction facilities, to making sure every process is done safely and in compliance with regulations. Qualifications usually include a degree in chemistry, biochemistry or other related sciences.


LAB TECHNICIAN AND ANALYST

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Chemists and other related professionals have even more opportunities in the cannabis sector, that are not limited to extraction. Since every product out there needs to be tested before it hits the shelves, cannabis companies are generating a very high demand for lab technicians who can perform tests on products to check for cannabinoid and terpenes content, as well as residual solvents, pesticides, microbes, water content, mold and heavy metals. Lab experience is always a plus and a degree in chemistry is usually required.


BUDTENDER

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This might be the first job to come to mind when thinking of a cannabis career, and it’s a definitely good choice for job hunters who don’t have a college degree but sure do know a lot about the plant. A budtender is the go-to person for every cannabis consumer looking for a great experience, be it rec or medical. They need to be informed on every new strain, product and technology out there, but most importantly, they need to be able to sell. Budtenders are sales-people first, marijuana enthusiast, second.

With new dispensaries opening up like Starbucks across the country, budtendering has become the most searched-for position in the industry. However, with average wages varying from $12 to $16 an hour, this might be a good entry-level position, but definitely not a life-long career if one intends to get rich off marijuana.


BRAND AMBASSADOR

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry
@merrrica/Instagram

Cannabis brands have a hard time building relationships with their consumers, because many of the traditional channels that brands use to advertise (like radio, TV, Google or Facebook), have strong restrictions against cannabis ads. That’s why cannabis brands need to rely on Brand Ambassadors to serve as the company’s face, becoming a link to customers, clients and business partners. No higher education is compulsory, however, a very extroverted and charismatic personality is required. Experience in digital and off-line communication is a great plus.


CULTIVATION DIRECTOR, GROWER OR ASSISTANT

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry can be described as a multi-layered phenomenon involving tech developments, retail markets and medicinal implementations. However, the plant is always at its core. So, until synthetic cannabinoids become a thing (don’t expect it to be soon), Directors of Cultivation will have a job, and a well-paid one at that.

Their role is to ensure that the main product (i.e: the plant), is grown efficiently, in compliance with state regulation, and at its best possible quality, and potency. Directors hire large teams of associates and assistants that play mayor roles throughout cultivation and harvest. A degree in Horticulture is usually required, though not exclusive. However, proper growing experience will be demanded.


TRIMMER

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

One of the most sought-after jobs in cannabis, which is also amongst the lowest-paying ones.

Trimming jobs are great opportunities for those looking for part-time or seasonal work in the cannabis industry, without any high requirements for experience or education. The job is basic, yet not-at-all easy: remove the leaves and branches that surround the buds to turn the raw harvest into a sellable product. Hourly rates go from $11.50 to $14, and require an ability to perform repetitive tasks for long hours without losing focus. A great option for job hunters looking to begin their careers in cannabis.


SALES REP

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis B2B companies need sales associates that can market their products to other businesses: distributors need to sell their service to producers. Producers need to place their products on dispensary shelves. Dispensaries must strike deals with producers to get better prices. 
Sales teams go from meeting to meeting developing new business relationships, an making sure the company’s products or services expand and maintain their clientele. Experience in sales is usually demanded and a BA in business administration can open many doors.


DISPENSARY MANAGER

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry
City Cannabis Co/Instagram

Running a dispensary is not the same as managing any ordinary business. Although the basic aspects of retail are still there, dispensaries need to be up to date with local, state and federal regulation to make sure business runs normally, without any of the issues that can arise from a such a highly regulated industry. Dispensary managers need to be able to coordinate and lead large teams of budtenders, keep track of inventory, be informed of the local legal landscape and make sure their shop reaches its sales objectives. Experience in retail and management is usually a must, followed by a strong knowledge of cannabis products.


DELIVERY DRIVER

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

While more and more people are trying out the benefits of cannabis, some still find themselves embarrassed by going into dispensaries because of the ongoing stigma that persists around the plant. Others, specially medical marijuana patients, may be too impaired to reach a dispensary by themselves. Lastly, some people simply prefer to have their products delivered at home.

Cannabis delivery drivers are the faces of dispensaries outside the shop. They need to know the products and be able to make recommendations, just like budtenders do. Owning a vehicle is an advantage to land this type of job, and experience in delivery will always be welcomed.


PACKER AND WAREHOUSE PICKER

11 Ways to Work in the Cannabis Industry

With cannabis retail skyrocketing, brands are constantly finding new and appealing ways to present their products. Packers are a crucial part of the cannabis supply chain, working at warehouses and distributing plants, to make sure the final product is properly presented. Sometimes also serving as Pickers, their job can involve getting shipping orders ready, receiving and organizing stock, tracking orders and keeping inventory. Experience in supply chain and logistics is usually valued, though no higher education is a must.

Daily, ByGreen Rush. “Best Dispensaries In Southern California.” Green Rush Daily, 22 Aug. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/guides/best-dispensaries-in-southern-california/.

Willie Nelson Had to Quit Smoking Weed For His Health

That doesn’t mean he won’t eat or vape it, though!

There’s been a major casualty in the marijuana world. Don’t worry—Willie Nelson isn’t dead. But apparently, his longstanding and most infamous hobby is.

According to Nelson himself, the legendary country music star and world-famous toker is no longer puffing the green. Yes, you read that correctly—Willie Nelson quit smoking weed.

THE END OF AN ERA?

The 86-year-old Nelson—who is currently still on tour— told San Antonio television station KSAT that he stopped smoking cannabis because of breathing issues.

“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful. I don’t smoke anymore—take better care of myself.”

Nelson recently performed at the CMAs alongside fellow country star Kelly Musgraves, and it looked like he was laboring quite a bit. He also had to stop touring back in August due to health issues, before returning to the stage just a month later.

It was even rumored at one point that he was close to death. Nelson essentially corroborated that notion.

“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever,” Nelson told KSAT. “And that almost killed me.”

Luckily, the country megastar has made significant changes to his lifestyle, namely, when it comes to any form of smoking.

“I don’t smoke anymore — take better care of myself,” Nelson said.

The good news—well at least for many Nelson loyalists out there—is that the musician has only quit smoking flower. Nelson told Rolling Stone that he still consumes THC regularly, only now through mediums that are less intense on the lungs like vaping and edibles.

OTHER NOTABLE CELEBRITIES TO STOP SMOKING POT

There have been plenty of other notable celebrities who have long been synonymous with the green and decided to take an indefinite sabbatical.

Most notably, actor Woody Harrelson, who stopped smoking marijuana back in 2017 after what he called a “30 solid years of partying.” Harrelson smoked cannabis on the regular before giving it up abruptly.

Ironically, Harrelson recently started smoking again, courtesy of, you guessed it, Willie Nelson himself. Harrelson told Esquire Magazine that he took a giant rip off of Willie Nelson’s vape pen after a friendly poker game.

Harrelson’s rekindled love for cannabis is apparently now in full swing. He’s currently in the trying to open his own marijuana dispensary in Hawaii. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really gone according to plan, as Harrelson’s application was recently denied. Better luck next time, Woody.

Singer, songwriter, and actress Miley Cyrus also took a brief—and newsworthy—break from cannabis back in 2017. She claimed that smoking caused too mcuh “munching at home and playing video games.”

Luckily, the infamous party girl’s mother intervened last year, and she is now back to toking every now and again. Phewf.

Even Snoop Dogg— the Doggfather of cannabis, if you will—allegedly took his own break from smoking pot back in 2002. But perhaps a not-so-much-of-a-Spoiler-Alert: that didn’t last all that long. He even has a salaried blunt roller for crying out loud.

The moral of the story here is: people stop smoking weed all of the time. But they adapt. And probably realize there are way worse things that they can be doing to pass the time. So they might as well pass the blunt.

Kohut, ByTim. “Willie Nelson Had to Quit Smoking Weed For His Health.” Green Rush Daily, 4 Dec. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/entertainment/celebs/willie-nelson-had-to-quit-smoking-weed-for-his-health/.

Space Case: There’s A New Branch Of The US Military Called The Space Force

The Air Force Space Command is transitioning into the United States Space Force.

On December 20, 2019, Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, effectively creating the sixth branch of the country’s armed forces, the United States Space Force (USSF). Yet despite its formidable name, the Space Force is not so much an entirely new division of the military as it is a re-designation of what was previously known as the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

The establishment of the AFSPC goes back to September, 1982, when U.S. tensions with the Soviet Union ran especially high. The organization was tasked with keeping one eye on missiles while overseeing spacecraft launch operations, and keeping the other eye on satellites while surveilling space. Over the decades, the AFSPC became the go-to military unit for the latest technological breakthroughs in satellite communications, meteorology, and GPS, eventually expanding its mission areas to include cyberspace.

A PERIOD OF TRANSITION

Now, about 16,000 military and civilian personnel in the AFSPC are being re-assigned to the brand-new USSF. The emergent organization’s first Chief of Space Operations is General Jay Raymond, leader of the U.S. Space Command, one of the United States Department of Defense’s unified combatant commands. The Space Force defines itself as “a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.” Its responsibilities include “developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”

While those assigned to the AFSPC will be technically re-assigned to the United States Space Force, the Air Force will contact everybody “to inform them whether their specialty code is organic to the Space Force, organic to the Air Force, or shared between Air Force and Space Forces,” according to a Space Force document.

Meanwhile, there are plans to turn some existing Air Force bases into ones that are devoted exclusively to the USSF, as well as possible plans for new uniforms down the line. For now, however, the Space Force will look a lot like the Air Force. Service members in the other branches of the military can request transfers if they’d like to be a part of the United States Space Force, too.

Laden, Tanja M. “Space Case: There’s A New Branch Of The US Military Called The Space Force.” High Times, 7 Jan. 2020, hightimes.com/environment/space-case-space-force/.

At year’s end, time to ask: Why did the CDC ignore vaping evidence?

(DedMityay/AdobeStock)

If 2019 was the year of the vaping health crisis, 2020 will be a year of reckoning. The first question that must be asked is this: Why did American public health officials fail so spectacularly?

Let me say that again clearly: The VAPI/EVALI emergency represents one of the greatest derelictions of duty on the part of American public health leaders that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Here at Leafly, we witnessed the train wreck firsthand.

Evidence existed in late summer

On August 23, officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they had identified 193 potential cases of a new and mysterious lung illness linked to vaping across 22 states. One adult in Illinois died after being hospitalized for the condition, CDC leaders said.Public health officials consciously ignored market-based information while the death toll mounted.

One week later Leafly published the first storyexposing the frightening rise of a new street-market cutting agent, vitamin E oil (tocopheryl acetate). David Downs, our California bureau chief, drew upon his extensive contacts and years of experience covering the state’s cannabis industry to ask a basic question: People have been vaping cannabis oil and nicotine for years without suffocating to death—what changed?

Hey, look into this vitamin E oil

The answer, Downs found, was the introduction of vitamin E oil specifically into illicit THC vape cartridges. The oil wasn’t in legal cartridges because state regulators require manufacturers to label every cartridge with its lab-verified THC content. A legal cart heavily cut with vitamin E oil would test out at 25% THC or lower—a mark of shame that consumers would shun. (Most legal cannabis cartridges contain 70% to 90% THC.)

Nicotine carts weren’t cut with the stuff because it makes no economic sense to do so. Nicotine extract is cheap; THC extract is expensive. THC vape consumers in prohibition states had no lab-verified label on their carts, so they bought into a myth: The thicker the oil, the higher the THC content. Vitamin E oil took over the street market because it “thickened” the cart while actually reducing the THC content—and the cost to the manufacturer.

Public health officials, and especially leaders at the federal Centers for Disease Control, consciously ignored all of this market-based information.RelatedJourney of a tainted vape cartridge: from China’s labs to your lungs

CDC focused on patients, ignored the supply chain

Instead, they insisted on solving the VAPI mystery by relying on honest responses from patients affected by the tainted cartridges. For months, CDC officials told the public it was impossible to know what kind of vapes were killing people.

In fact, public health leaders were so desperate to cast blame on nicotine vape devices (which they insisted on calling “e-cigarettes,” a term absolutely nobody who vapes ever uses) that they changed their original term, VAPI (Vaping Associated Pulmonary Injury), to the more cumbersome EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury) in order to put the focus on e-cigarettes.Research has found that a certain percentage of patients will bend the truth to avoid exposure or embarrassment.

The data told a different story. Nearly all of the VAPI cases emerged from patients who vaped illicit THC cartridges. A stubborn percentage of patients insisted they had only vaped legal nicotine products—around 10 to 15%.

In a late October report on Utah EVALI victims, 92% of the 53 patients interviewed said they’d vaped THC in the three months prior to their lung injury. Cannabis is outlawed in Utah, so their vape cartridges were obtained from the illegal market. After testing, 89% of them were found to contain vitamin E oil. Similar percentages attended other patient populations.

What was happening was clear to anyone familiar with human psychology and the history of cannabis. In a certain number of VAPI cases, shamed and embarrassed patients probably lied to their doctors.

“THC? Not me, doc.”

In any situation where public health authorities rely on patient self-reporting, a certain percentage of patients will bend the truth to avoid exposure or embarrassment. It’s such a common phenomenon that social scientists have a name for it: socially desirable responding.

In 2015, public health researcher Dana Eser Hunt looked into the reliability of self-reported responses “when the questions involve reporting behaviors which threaten the respondent with exposure, embarrassment or both.”

Hunt’s findings were critically pertinent to the VAPI crisis. In one study of adults tested for cannabis consumption, only 84% were willing to admit to past use—even after they were presented with a positive drug test result that showed otherwise.

Other studies have found that truthfulness of patient responses depends on factors including privacy of the interview, anonymity and confidentiality of the information, sensitivity or embarrassment of the information, and perceptions of normative behavior.RelatedHow doctors diagnose and treat vape pen lung disease

CDC officials should have known

Federal and state health officials seemed to treat VAPI as if it were a judgment-neutral outbreak, like the Legionnaires’ Disease mystery of the 1970s. But it wasn’t. It involved a highly stigmatized and illegal activity: consuming cannabis.As CDC officials continued to cling to the fiction of nicotine-cause VAPI, state leaders panicked.

As CDC officials continued to cling to the fiction of nicotine-cause VAPI, state leaders panicked.

In late September, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker outlawed all vaping products. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who’d been crusading for years to kill the nicotine vape industry, spotted a political opportunity and pounced. He banned flavored vapes and blasted vaping companies. “Look, when you addict a 12-year-old kid to nicotine, you’re just wrong,” he roared. Never mind that Juuling seventh-graders, concerning as they are, were not suffocating from vitamin E poisoning.

State officials ignored illegal THC, blasted nicotine

I attended Inslee’s Sept. 27 press conference. During and after the conference, I asked what state officials were doing about vitamin E oil. Rick Garza, director of Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), said his agency would require cannabis vape makers to disclose their ingredients. In other words, he asked them to send him a recipe list. That’s it.

When I pressed Garza on the troubling vitamin E oil reports, one of his staff members shot me a dirty look. “We think there’s a lot of…inaccurate information being published right now,” she said.RelatedFrom ‘Veronica Mars’ to toxic vapes: The rise and fall of Honey Cut

It was clear who she blamed for spreading it. For weeks, Leafly had been publishing in-depth investigations of the role of vitamin E oil in the unregulated THC vape street market. We all but rented billboards calling attention to the vitamin E thickening additives that entered the illegal market in 2018.

“What kind of inaccuracies?” I asked.

“We’re on the weekly calls with the CDC,” she said. “They think it could be a lot of things.”

State health officials made horribly wrong decisions. But they wouldn’t have made them without the stalling and dithering of CDC leaders.

UK health leaders endorse nicotine vaping

Gov. Inslee’s presser was marked by a heated exchange between him and a nicotine vaping advocate. Things got loud. The man nearly had to be escorted out of the room. He kept shouting about “British studies.” Most of the reporters—who had zero experience with vaping—dismissed him as a nutter.

I was curious, so I dug into the idea of “British studies.” And you know what? The nutter was right.

Research out of the UK has consistently shown nicotine vaping to be one of the most successful harm reduction tools of modern times. Public Health England has found that vaping is 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. A 2017 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that adult nicotine vaping was associated with “substantially reduced levels of measured carcinogens and toxins relative to smoking only combustible cigarettes.”

Saving thousands of lives every year

Roughly 480,000 Americans are killed by tobacco smoking every year. If the cancer risk dropped 95%, that would mean about 456,000 Americans might not die in a future year.BMJ considers the rise of nicotine vaping as a substitute for tobacco smoking to be one of the decade’s great public health victories.

Nicotine vaping saves lives—thousands of them, possibly millions. Earlier this month BMJ, one of the world’s most respected medical journals, ran a summation of wins and losses for British public health in the 2010s. The rise of nicotine vaping as a substitute for tobacco smoking was ranked as one of the decade’s great public health victories.

“Credit should go to Public Health England for championing electronic cigarettes,” wrote BMJ’s Nigel Hawkes, “which has given tobacco cessation a boost at no cost to the public purse.” Hawkes noted that “if somebody could come up with a similar technological fix for obesity they would be the hero of the 2020s.”

CDC’s conclusion: too little, too late

Finally, in late December, CDC officials admitted what the data had shown for months: Street-market THC vape carts cut with vitamin E oil were the cause of the VAPI outbreak. The Washington Post reported:

With the latest data, “we are of the belief that vitamin E acetate has caused” the vaping-related lung illnesses “in the vast majority of patients,” [CDC principal deputy director Anne] Schuchat said. Although other studies are ongoing to understand the specific mechanisms of the harm to lungs, “we don’t have to hold our breath to go deeper.”

By then the damage had been done. The narrative had already been set in the minds of millions.

Even experienced science reporters and editors couldn’t be bothered to revise their erroneous takeaway: Vaping kills. Science News, an otherwise solid and trusted information source, ran a year-in-review piece a few days ago. Headline: Vaping’s dangers loom large amid more than 50 U.S. deaths this year.

The Science Newsstory contained no mention of the role that labeling and lab testing regulations played in keeping the state-legal THC vape supply safe and untainted. There was no distinction between legal and illegal products. Or mention of the fact that, as David Downs reported here, legal cannabis vape cartridges have been found to be 1,000% safer than street-market vapes. The author said nothing about the millions of adults whose lives will be saved by switching from smoking to vaping.

This is the real and tragic legacy of the VAPI crisis of 2019. As we sail into 2020, it is time to reckon with the damage done and to redouble the fight to reduce harm and save lives. Here at Leafly, we will continue to attack the hard questions and uncover critical data. The fight for cannabis legalization isn’t just about changing laws. It’s about repairing past harms, fighting ignorance and stigma, implementing sensible policies, and improving the health, wellness, and happiness of every single individual. Happy new year, everybody.

Barcott, Bruce. “At Year’s End, Time to Ask: Why Did the CDC Ignore Vaping Evidence?” Leafly, 1 Jan. 2020, https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/at-years-end-time-to-ask-why-did-the-cdc-ignore-vaping-evidence.

DEAR DANKO: EXPERT GROW ADVICE ON CLOSET GROWS, LIGHT LEAKS, FLUSHING, AND MORE

High Times Archives

Strains, lighting for auto-flowering seeds, and more.

High Times’ cultivation specialist Danny Danko answers all your burning questions about being the best grower you can be. But first, some quick tips from the expert himself:

  • Always check and adjust the pH level of your nutrient solution after you’ve added the nutrients.
  • Keeping cuttings warm and moist will result in higher rooting success rates and healthier clones.
  • Lack of nitrogen is the most common nutrient deficiency and starts with leaves yellowing.

Subject: Lighting for Auto-Flowering Strains
From: Joe in Berwick, ME

For years, I’ve been using 400-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting during the vegetative stage and 1,000-watt lighting during the flowering stage. I recently had my first grow with auto-flowering Lemon Skunk. Long story short, I ended up using a 12/12-hour day/night light cycle and yielded very loose and light buds. What light intensity and schedule should I use for autos?

Dear Joe,

Auto-flowering plants are strains that will flower at a certain age, regardless of the photoperiod. They’re made by utilizing ruderalis genetics, a low-THC cannabis that came from Russia and other northern parts of Eastern Europe where the plant adapted to the short growing season by flowering early. The advantages of growing auto-flowering plants is that they can be harvested in less than three months from planting, even in the middle of summer. The best lighting schedule for auto-flowering plants is 18 hours on and six hours off throughout all stages of life.

Subject: Empty Closet
From: Reefer Franklin

I just recently lost a whopping 75 pounds of body fat and had to basically throw out my entire wardrobe because it no longer fits—good problem, right?—and a happy accident happened. I magically ended up with an empty closet! I figured instead of refilling it with clothes, I would fill it with about 15 mothers and five father plants. The dimensions are 24” x 54” x 100”, and I only want to use this space to keep mothers and take/root clones; after that, they go into a perpetual “sea of green.” What are the basics I need to get by—mainly, can I get by with some T5 lights, or something less heat- and money-intensive than HID? What sort of ventilation setup should I consider, and what other things of that nature might I be overlooking?

Dear Franklin,

Congratulations on losing all that weight! And also on your decision to start growing your own. First, I don’t know what you mean by father plants. If you’re referring to males, you have no need for them in your grow space unless you’re planning on breeding, and it sounds like you’re just getting started, so that’s probably something we should leave to the professionals for the time being.

You will need mother plants, however, so that you can take clones from them and root them in this small space before they move on to their “sea of green” area. T5 fluorescent lighting is perfect for this area, and HID (high-intensity discharge) fixtures might give out too much light and heat for what you’re looking to do. Save the HID for your flowering area.

As for ventilation, you want to keep the air moving in your space, so you’ll need some fans and ducting, as well as another fan to circulate air inside the space as well. Invest in a nice exhaust fan to pull out spent air through an activated-charcoal filter to reduce odors. Shoot for a temperature of around 75°F in your space and a humidity level of 50 percent for the healthiest mother plants and clones.

Subject: Light Leaks 
From: Vape O’Rhyzer

Greetings from Colorado, and thanks for all the great advice in the magazine. Knowledge is power, and you are enabling a powerful army of cannabis cultivators from coast to coast. My question: Can a brief light leak during the 12-hour dark period cause a plant grown from a feminized seed to turn male? Or does the “feminizing process” sometimes just not take with some seeds?

I’ve grown other seeds from the same pack of Acapulco Gold from Barney’s and haven’t had a problem, so I hadn’t been checking the sex of the plants. When I looked today, though, I discovered tons of male pollen sacks on the plant. Fortunately, none had opened yet. The other two seeds I planted at the same time (707 Headband and Cindy 99) haven’t shown their sex either way yet, so I can’t tell if the problem affects just the one plant or if I need to start over. But I did have one brief light leak when the plants were just a week or two into the 12/12-hour day/night light cycle, and I’m wondering if that could be the cause. I appreciate what you and High Times are doing to advance the cannabis culture.

Dear Vape,

Thanks for the kind words! I’m happy to help people grow better cannabis, and it’s nice to hear that they’re learning from my work. You are correct that light leaks during the flowering period of a feminized plant can shock the plant and make it react by becoming a hermaphrodite, or a plant that exhibits both male and female traits. It really depends on the genetics of the plant and the length of the interruption of the dark cycle. Some plants are more affected by light leaks than others. If you discover any male pollen sacs forming on your plants, get rid of those plants entirely and start over with fresh seeds. Growing out hermaphrodites will result in a harvest of flowers full of seeds, a most unfortunate and horrendous outcome.

Subject: First-Timer Strains 
From: Chris

Hi. I’ve never grown marijuana before but I want to give it a try. I’ve been researching everything from soil and tent kits to lighting and nutrients. There’s a lot of conflicting information to go through on the internet. My plan so far is to grow four plants in soil in 5-gallon containers. I will start with seeds in a 4’ x 4’ x 72” grow tent with lights and ventilation. I want to grow two plants high in THC and two plants high in CBD all in the same tent. Both strains should be easier for a first-time grower. I’ve seen that it’s possible, but my problem is that I can’t figure out which two strains will vegetate at the same time and grow at the same height. Is this realistic, or should I just try one strain? Hopefully you will know of a high-CBD strain and a high-THC strain that will work for me.

Dear Chris,

There are many strains you can grow inside your tent, and it’s not that important that they grow to the same height. You can always raise the smaller ones or make any other adjustments necessary. Some of my favorite CBD-rich strains at the moment are bred in Spain by Dinafem Seeds, where they utilize in-house lab testing in their breeding projects and work with the most CBD-potent strains available such as the original Dancehall from Reggae Seeds. A few of my suggestions from Dinafem would be Dinamed CBD, which tests between 10 and 14 percent CBD with very low (0.4-0.6 percent) THC content, Early Amnesia CBD or Haze Autoflowering CBD.

As for THC-rich strains, there are so many to choose from, but I’ve been enjoying Cherry Vanilla Cookies, bred by Professor P of Dynasty Genetics; Sundae Driver, from Cannarado Genetics; and Do-Si-Dos, bred by NorcalICMag and available from the Archive Seed Bank. Those are three potent choices, but, as I mentioned, there are many others available. As a beginner, you should also look into feminized and/or auto-flowering varieties that are easier to grow.

Subject: Thieves and Unflushed Plants 
From Mariah L.

Lately, there have been thieves running around snatching pot plants. One of my outside grows got hit, but I have another very close by, so I harvested what was left of the first and a couple of the others. Some of these plants haven’t been flushed with water. Is that bad for the taste and/or quality of the plant? And if yes, is there anything I can do once I’ve already clipped them?

Dear Mariah,

It’s awful that people think they can go around stealing other people’s plants. These “rippers” are a common problem around harvesttime and there’s a special place in hell reserved just for them. Your plants were harvested early and you didn’t get a chance to flush them with plain water for the last week or two of growth. It’s not the end of the world, however. Hopefully you weren’t heavily feeding your outdoor plants to begin with, so there wouldn’t be so much excess nutrients to flush out. As long as you take the time to dry and cure your flowers properly, you should be able to enjoy them. Flowers that are overfed with nutrient salts tend to taste acrid, burn improperly and need to be relit over and over. I hope you avoided this fate.

Subject: Cat Poop
From: Bill From Tuscaloosa

l live in an illegal state, and actually prefer to pay someone to grow and transport weed. But all my guy has is top-shelf shit, and it is getting expensive. I have some seeds from Mexican crap that I bought years ago, and a spare closet. I’m probably going to use a no-till method and LED and fluorescents and cover the closet walls with aluminum foil. There is no door on the closet and I want to make sure the cat doesn’t take a deuce in there. Any advice?

Dear Bill,

Wow, there’s just so much to unpack here. First of all, why would you want to grow crappy Mexican seeds? Also, please don’t use aluminum foil on your walls. Flat-white paint is nearly as reflective and doesn’t create hot spots or places for bugs to hide. As for keeping your cat from defecating in your closet, you’re going to need a door or barrier of some kind. If you want your plants to flower, they need 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness, so you’ll need to contain and light-proof your closet anyway. A door or some kind of lightproof barricade will ensure your plants can flower, and keep your cat from pooping on them and also from eating them.

Send your cannabis-cultivation questions to deardanko@hightimes.com.

Danko, Danny. “Dear Danko: Expert Grow Advice On Closet Grows, Light Leaks, Flushing, And More.” High Times, 31 Dec. 2019, https://hightimes.com/grow/dear-danko-expert-grow-advice-on-closet-grows-light-leaks-flushing-and-more/.

STUDY REVEALS SOCIAL MEDIA’S INFLUENCE ON TEEN CANNABIS CONSUMPTION

Teens who engage with cannabis brands and marketing online a much more likely to consume cannabis than teens who don’t.

A new study out in the journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” reveals some shocking data about social media’s influence on teen cannabis consumption. According to a survey conducted by researchers with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, one in three teens in states with recreational legalization engage with cannabis brands on social media. Furthermore, the study found that teens who engage with cannabis brands online were five times more likely to consume cannabis compared to those who did not. The study is the first in the United States to examine the influence of social media marijuana marketing on teen cannabis consumption. And the results are raising the alarm among pediatric healthcare professionals.

SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES TEENS FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO CONSUME CANNABIS

The Cannabis Advertising and Social Media (CASM) study is giving us our first glimpse at the relationship between online cannabis marketing and consumption habits among teens. The study is important, because it helps public health officials gauge the success of campaigns and other efforts prevent and reduce underage cannabis use.

Researchers conducted a survey of 482 young people between the ages of 15 to 19 in six states with legal recreational cannabis. As a baseline, about 33 percent of those surveyed reported using cannabis in the past year. Over a quarter of those surveyed reported consuming cannabis in the past 28 days.

Of teens who had consumed cannabis, the survey found that 22 percent had a favorite marijuana brand that they engaged with on social media. Teens with a preferred cannabis brand were eight times more likely to have consumed cannabis in the past month. Furthermore, 33 percent of teens surveyed said they would wear or own a branded cannabis product. Those teens were seven times more likely to have consumed cannabis in the last 28 days. In short, engagement with marketing or branding dramatically increased the likelihood of teens consuming cannabis.

KIDS SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO ENGAGE SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT WEED, SAYS PEDIATRIC PROF.

Despite shadow bans on cannabis content by major social media platforms like Facebook, weed brands and popular accounts are all over platforms like InstagramSnapchat and Twitter. And for UW professor of pediatrics Megan Moreno, MD, MPH, who co-authored the CASM study, that’s exactly the problem.

“Kids who can’t buy or use non-medical marijuana shouldn’t have to see these promotions and they shouldn’t be able to interact with them,” said Moreno.

In fact, researchers say their results are completely in line with trends observable in other categories, like alcohol and tobacco. As with cannabis, the more a young person engages with alcohol or tobacco brands online, the more likely they are to consume that substance and to do so more heavily. The CASM study is the first to document this phenomenon with cannabis specifically.

And in light of the results, researchers say its clear that efforts to prevent and reduce teen cannabis consumption are failing. “It is clear that the current methods of protecting youth are not working,” said lead investigator Pamela Trangenstein. “When 45 percent of youth report being online almost constantly, exposure to marijuana marketing on social media may put their health and futures at risk.

Other recent studies have highlighted exactly how serious that risk is. Researchers have found that consuming marijuana during important periods of brain development, such as adolescence, harms memory and cognitive performance and can elevate mental health risks.

Drury, ByAdam. “Study Reveals Social Media’s Influence on Teen Cannabis Consumption.” Green Rush Daily, 23 Oct. 2019, https://greenrushdaily.com/health/studies/study-reveals-social-medias-influence-on-teen-cannabis-consumption/.

LGBTQ Women Consume More Cannabis Than Straight Women, Study Shows

Bisexual women, in particular, had the highest usage compared to straight women.

LGBTQ women consume more cannabis than straight women do, according to a recent study.

Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence last month, the study dives into the differences in how frequently lesbian, gay, and bisexual people consume pot. This study is one of the first to explore the weed habits of the LGBTQ community versus straight people. It relies on data from the 2015-2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health—which includes information from 126,463 individuals—to reach its conclusions. The authors, who hail from the Columbia Univesity Mailman School of Public Health, divided the survey’s data by gender and sexuality. The findings speak for themselves.

While about 10 percent of straight women surveyed used cannabis in the last year, about 40 percent of women did the same. Lesbian women didn’t seem to smoke as much cannabis as bisexual women, but they still consumed more than double that of straight women: 26 percent. If you look at daily use, the percentage of use among all women decreased significantly, but bisexual women still consume the most. The same goes for medical cannabis use. The study found similar trends among gay men. Bisexual and gay men used cannabis in the last year nearly twice the rate that straight men did, per the study.

“We further extended these findings to estimate daily/near-daily prevalence, which was seven times higher among bisexual women than heterosexual women and 2.3 times as high for bisexual men compared to heterosexual men,” said senior author Silvia Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, in a press release.

The study looks at this usage to analyze “marijuana use disorder” specifically, noting that the LGBTQ community may be self-medicating the stress that comes with the stigma of, well, not being straight with cannabis in states where medical laws don’t yet exist. Bisexual women, in particular, may be impacted by medical cannabis lawsgiven their high usage of the plant.

“Our results support existing literature by demonstrating that bisexual women have higher marijuana use disorder compared to heterosexual women,” said study author Morgan Philbin, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia, in a press release. “This is part of a larger health burden, as bisexual women are twice as likely to have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders yet often have little contact with service providers.”

Bisexual women do suffer high mental health and substance abuse rates, but cannabis is a much smaller threat than, say, prescription drugs or alcohol, which can lead to actual overdoses. The study also doesn’t include any information on transgender individuals, who are among the most at-risk within the LGBTQ community. Further research on this population could better help inform these findings. Plus, people can always lie when they answer these surveys.

Could it be that fewer straight men and women are being honest about their love of pot?

Maybe.

While this study helps us better understand how different members of our society are exploring with cannabis, it does appear to raise the alarm about something that may be a non-issue. It doesn’t try to find out whether there’s any actual dependence on cannabis yet describes the usage as a disorder.

When members of the LGBTQ community are suffering deaths at the hands of violence and drugs that can actually kill, alarmist language around the smoking of a joint or ripping of a bong feels strangely inappropriate.

Fun, ByLissett. “LGBTQ Women Consume More Cannabis Than Straight Women, Study Shows.” Green Rush Daily, 19 Sept. 2019, https://greenrushdaily.com/women/lgbtq-women-consume-more-cannabis-than-straight-women-study-shows/.

Women Prefer Cannabis Strains High in CBD, According to New Study

The data comes from nearly 30,000 female medical marijuana users.

A new study from RYAH Medtech, Inc., a big data and technology company with a focus on plant-based medicine dosing and analytics, suggested that women prefer cannabis strains high in CBD, in addition to high-THC and well- balanced strains, for a variety of medical conditions.

STUDY: WOMEN PREFER CANNABIS STRAINS HIGH IN CBD

The study also determined that women make up around 45 percent of medicinal cannabis patients worldwide. The data, comprised of 28,211 female medical marijuana users, also found that women were, by and large, difficult to assess. It was determined that they had an affinity for all different types of strains.

“The average female patient is difficult to categorize. Women prefer CBD-rich, THC-rich, and well-balanced strains,” the report concluded. “They equally enjoy sativas as well as indicas.”

Specifically, 36.6% of women preferred sativa-dominant strains, while 34% said they liked indica-dominant strains better. For anxiety, women said they favored the strains Cannotonic, Harlequin, Super Lemon Haze, and Purple Candy, while AD/CD, Gorilla Glue, and the aforementioned Harlequin and Purple Candy were the strains of choice to treat fibromyalgia. The most popular strains in both categories were both high in CBD.

For the most part, the majority of the conditions women sought to treat were similar to those of men.

“Top conditions treated by women mirror those treated by men,” the report said. “This means women are focused on mental health conditions and pain. Anxiety, depression, and stress are their top three concerns.”

One stark difference the study determined was that women tended to start consuming cannabis much later than men — around age 30. It also found that anxiety was the number one condition treated by women.

While most of the study’s findings determined that women’s usage was fairly similar to that of men, RYAH CEO Gregory Wagner said it was important to further study the women demographic, which he believes has gone largely underrepresented. At least, in terms of data analysis.

“The female patient demographic has not received enough industry attention or study up to this point,” Wagner said in a press release. “Making up more than 45% of the patient pool, it’s our responsibility to better understand what this demographic looks like, which medical issues they are seeking treatment for and what treatments are providing successful outcomes.”

FURTHER STUDIES

Nonetheless, there have been some additional studies that mirror some of RYAH’s recent findings. Namely, a 2016 survey conducted of 2016 California cannabis patients. But according to that cross-sectional survey, women were deemed more likely to use marijuana for medical conditions like anxiety, anorexia, nausea, headaches and migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome than the opposite sex.

Another report from the data company Statista, which was also noted in the RYAH report, found that women are more likely to consume the plant for the treatment of anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia than men.

Of course, the sample size is still relatively small — at least in regards to the total amount of women cannabis users worldwide— but the evidence still paints a vivid picture. Wagner added that the more data we can collect from a variety of demographics, the better we can utilize the cannabis plant for impactful medicinal purposes.

“Medical cannabis has the ability to change lives for the better and we are hopeful the insights from our data pool and related analysis can improve patient outcomes and inspire further study,” he noted.

Kohut, ByTim. “Women Prefer Cannabis Strains High in CBD, According to New Study.” Green Rush Daily, 31 Oct. 2019, https://greenrushdaily.com/health/cbd/women-prefer-cannabis-strains-high-in-cbd-according-to-new-study/.

How to Pass a Urine Drug Test

All information is regarding urine tests for THC. Other types of drug tests have different procedures and take other information into account.

There are few statements more frightening for a regular marijuana user than “We are going to need you to take a urine drug test.” This seemingly innocuous statement is enough to send even the most rational individuals online to try to determine how to pass a urine test. Even though recreational and medicinal marijuana is increasingly becoming legal across the country, it is still standard practice for employers to request a THC urine drug test as a condition for employment or to require employees to submit to random drug testing.

While there is a ton of information online explaining how to pass a marijuana drug test, it can be difficult to determine which information is accurate and what is actually an unreliable drug testing myth. That is why we have compiled this guide on how to pass a urine drug test for weed. Below, we break down how long THC will stay in your system, offering tips to pass a drug test in 24 hours and over an extended amount of time. We also share the key to naturally passing a drug test and debunk some common drug test myths.

How Long Does THC Stay in My System?

THC can be detected in urine anywhere from two days to 11 weeks after using marijuana. The exact amount of time THC stays in your system can vary greatly depending on a few different factors, including:

  • How often do you use marijuana?
  • How long has it been since you last used marijuana?
  • What is the potency of the marijuana you use?
  • What is your body fat percentage?
  • What is your current weight?
  • Do you have a fast or slow metabolism?

The average individual gets rid of THC in the body within 30 to 45 days after using marijuana. If you regularly smoke marijuana, THC can stay in your system for up to 90 days after usage. Conversely, if you rarely smoke marijuana, all traces of THC can be out of your urine in only two days, although approximately 10 days is more typical for sparse users.

How to Pass a Urine Drug Test in 24 Hours

Even in the best possible situation, THC is found in urine two days after using marijuana. If you only have 24 hours to pass a drug test, the odds are stacked against you. In a month or even in as little as a week, a lot can be done to help individuals pass a urine drug test, but 24 hours only leaves a few options. Below are steps on how to pass a drug test in 24 hours:

1. Flush THC out of Your System with a Detox Drink

There are a few drinks available on the market that promise a same-day detox cleanse, flushing your system of unwanted toxins, including THC. After drinking one of these detox drinks, drug test taker’s urine may come up as THC-free for a small four- to six-hour window immediately following consumption. However, detox drinks are not reliable, and for many people, a detox drink will have little to no effect on the drug test results.

2. Buy a Home THC Urine Drug Test

If you only have 24 hours to pass a drug test, it is a good idea to know what your test will reveal about your THC levels. Purchase a home THC urine drug test at your local pharmacy or drugstore, and see if you pass the test. This is a quick way to see if a detox drink was effective in flushing THC from your system. However, be careful since take-home tests are rarely as accurate as laboratory tests.

3. Drink a Lot of Water and Fluids

If your home THC drug test shows that your urine tests positive for THC, you can buy yourself some time by drinking a ton of water. Having a large amount of liquid in your system will dilute your urine. In turn, your urine sample will essentially be water, and your test may be considered inconclusive. This means you will have to retake the test at a later date, giving your body extra time to flush out THC.

4. Try to Cheat and Get Away with It

We do not necessarily recommend cheating, but if your back is against the wall and you are out of options, there are ways to cheat a drug test. Most methods involve smuggling in another individual’s clean sample to your urine drug test and passing it off as your own. However, before doing so, make sure to think about the consequences of getting caught and the ethical issues that come with cheating.

How to Pass a Urine Drug Test for Weed If You Have More Than  24 Hours

If you are wondering how to pass a urine drug test naturally, the most important thing you will need is time. Passing a THC urine test in 24 hours is next to impossible, but if you have more time (around three to four weeks) there are steps you can take to pass successfully. 

1. Increase Your Water Consumption

Now that you have some time to get ready for the marijuana urine test, you do not need to be constantly chugging water. Instead, merely up your water intake to flush any THC out of your system. 

2. Increase How Much You Exercise

fast metabolism can help your body flush THC out of your system, and the best way to increase your metabolism is to exercise. Not only that, but since THC is stored in fat cells, burning fat when you work out pushes THC out of your system at a faster rate. However, because of this, avoid exercising in the 24 hours before your urine drug test, as this can result in stored THC being pushed into your bloodstream.

3. Try a 5- or 10-Day Detox Kit

While same-day detox kits do not have a strong track record of success, 5 or 10-day detox kits tend to be more reliable. These detox kits are full of helpful supplements that aim to rid your body of unwanted toxins completely, including THC. Make sure to do some research, as there are a plethora of detox kits found online with miraculous claims of success without any evidence to back up those claims.

4. Take B Vitamins and Creatine the Day of the Test

Drinking all of that water in preparation for your drug test means that your urine will lose most of its natural yellow coloring. Get your urine yellow again by taking B vitamins, specifically B12 and B2. That way, there will be no visual evidence that you tried to dilute your urine before the test.

Another supplement to consider on the day of the test is creatine. The body breaks creatine down into creatinine, which is something that lab technicians look for in a urine sample. This can help make a urine sample that is diluted by excessive water consumption appear normal. 

What Are Some Common THC Urine Drug Test Myths?

When researching how to pass a urine drug test for weed, you are bound to encounter THC urine drug test myths. Over the years, a variety of different tips to pass a drug test have surfaced that are unequivocally false. Below are three of the most common drug test myths: 

Can I Beat a Drug Test with Baking Soda?

A common myth that can be found on countless websites is that baking soda can help you pass a urine drug test. These websites advise that you mix baking soda with water and then drink the whole concoction in one gulp. There is zero scientific evidence to back this up, as there is no reason to believe that drinking baking soda can help you pass a drug test. In fact, consuming a large amount of baking soda has the potential for significant toxicity and can present a number of health risks. 

Can Drinking Cranberry Juice, Lemon Juice or Tea Beat a Drug Test?

There are many accounts online that swear that cranberry juice, lemon juice or tea helped them pass a drug test. While this may be true for that one-off individual, there is little evidence that these beverages will help you pass a drug test. While all three are good detox beverages, chugging bottles of juice or tea is not going to lead to a passed drug test miraculously.

Can Synthetic Urine Pass a THC Drug Test?

Synthetic urine kits are often mentioned as a way to pass a drug test, supplying you with fake THC-free urine to pass off as your own. However, tests are advanced enough to notice the differences between synthetic and authentic urine, so synthetic urine is typically ineffective. 

Want More Tips on How to Pass a Urine Drug Test?

If you are interested in learning more tips on how to pass drug tests, check out the Drug Testing 101 guide. This guide will provide more information on how to pass different types of drug screenings.

High Times. “How to Pass a Urine Drug Test.” High Times, 24 Dec. 2019, hightimes.com/guides/passing-a-urine-drug-test/.

Why are There States with Legal Cannabis and no Smokable Flower?

Is this helping or hurting patients?

As legalization spreads nationwide, state-by-state, each state’s particular approach to new policies can produce very specific situations that may become problematic for the medical and recreational communities. 

Although some of these state-specific situations can bring good opportunities for business owners, they can also directly affect some patients’ treatments and overall quality of life, which is why they’re becoming pressing issues.

A particularly controversial case, is one where a state allows some form of medical marijuana, but forbids the selling or smoking of dried flower buds.

What’s the Matter with Flowers?

Louisiana’s Department of Health released an official communicationexplaining the current situation of the state’s slowly growing medical cannabis program. The statement includes a definition for medical marijuana that reads: different acceptable forms are oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, solutions, suspension, gelatin-based chewables, lotions, transdermal patches and suppositories” but excludes “the inhalation or vaping of cannabis.

It then adds, “According to the law it (cannabis) cannot be in raw form or smoked.

Arguments against the legalization of flower buds were made visible when Florida passed the 2016 amendment, which allowed the prescription of medical marijuana in the form of edibles, vaping oils, sprays and tinctures, but left dried flower and pre-rolled joints illegal. Although this ban was made null last month by Governor Ron DeSantis, and medical patients in the Sunshine State can now buy and smoke flowers, the case serves as good example to understand why legislators can choose such a measure.

Supporters of the ban claimed that since Florida’s medical cannabis program was aimed at resolving issues for ailing patients, allowing them to take their medicine through smoke would pave the way for the habit of smoking becoming recreational. It was also argued that any type of smoke inhalation can cause adverse health effects, and that it’s in the patients’ best interest to avoid the social stigma associated with marijuana smokers or “stoners”.

Since the stigma remains present in some conservative sectors of society, there is a continuing belief that marijuana can only be viewed as medicine when it is introduced in the body in similar ways to the most commonly-known forms of medication, leaving smokable cannabis as a recreational and illegal product, that should not be considered a pharmaceutical-grade medication.

Why These Measures Are an Issue

Pennsylvania is yet another state where this type of distinction once existed. On a recent controversy regarding the use of flower buds for medical marijuana patients, state senator Daylin Leach stated that “(flower buds) are the most affordable kind of medical marijuana and the most effective in treating certain medical conditions and symptoms”. And, though the Keystone State changed this legislationlast year, the dried leaf sold at dispensaries is legally meant to be used for vaping, since smoking remains punishable by law. However, the state’s law enforcement has little to no possibility of making sure this distinction is made by the user, once consumption is done behind closed doors.

Cannabis in the form of dried flowers is the cheapest form of marijuana since it requires less processing than other products. This also helps availability, since the lapse between harvest and retail also becomes shorter.

However, the most common argument in favor of full flower consumption is usually backed by the the renowned ‘Entourage Effect’. This proposed principle suggests that the medicinal effect of ‘full spectrum cannabis’ is far better than that of isolated cannabis compounds (like CBD or THC) taken separately, since whole-plant-medicine includes every cannabinoid and terpene in the plant.

Scientists have already been able to identify and isolate more than 113 cannabinoids in cannabis, all of which interact with each other in different ways, to boost and modify the main cannabinoids’ effects and produce a more targeted impact on a patient’s health.

Although the Entourage Effect is still under scientific scrutiny, clinical studies have provided substantial evidence to back the truth of its hypothesis.

Adding up to Louisiana, Minnesota and New York are the other two states where medical marijuana programs are active, but flower buds are still missing from dispensary shelves. Although residents of this states may feel discouraged when comparing their situation to that of California or Colorado, past experiences in states like Pennsylvania show that this is usually a temporary condition in a transition towards a more ample style of legalization, rather than a fixed, unalterable state of affairs.

Ponieman, ByNatan. “Why Are There States with Legal Cannabis and No Smokable Flower?” Green Rush Daily, 4 Apr. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/politics/states-with-legal-cannabis-and-no-smokable-flower/.

Best Dispensaries In Washington

In Washington and looking for weed? Here are twenty great places to start.

Washington voters approved recreational marijuana back in 2012. Since then, the number of recreational dispensaries has grown to over one hundred. Whether you’re a local or visiting, it shouldn’t be hard to find a dispensary in Washington. However, finding a quality dispensary that suits your individual needs could be harder in a retail market designed to drive profits.

To help save you some time and disappointment, we narrowed the number down to the 20 best dispensaries in Washington. If you’re looking to step up your legal weed purchasing game, High Times has some suggestions. The dispensaries on this list may have affordable prices, knowledgeable staff, variety, consistency, the highest quality products available in the state or a combination of those qualities.

THE BAKE SHOP

19705 South Griffin Road Prosser, WA 99350

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

The Bake Shop in Prosser carries cannabis from some of the most well-known producers in the state at reasonable prices. They have a huge selection of flowers, concentrates, edibles and more. Best of all, you won’t have to wait in line. If you know what you’re looking for you can get everything and be on your way in no time.

CANNABIS CITY

2733 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Cannabis City is Seattle’s very first cannabis store and still one of the city’s best. Ounces are always fully stocked with various price points to choose from. They have some of the most affordable medicine in the state. Whether you’re balling or on a budget, Cannabis City will have something for you. To knock their prices down a step further, several daily deals are going on every day. On top of flowers, edibles and concentrates, the store is filled with glass for smoking or dabbing so you won’t have to make another stop at the head shop.

CHIMACUM CANNABIS CO

9034 Beaver Valley Rd, Chimacum, WA 98325

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

The Chimacum Cannabis Co is a great stop for new and seasoned cannabis users alike. The staff is more than willing to educate you on the various terpenes and cannabinoids that make cannabis so beneficial. Let the staff at Chimacum know what effects you’re looking for and they’ll recommend strains. They will let you know exactly who grew it so you can get an idea of which growers cultivate the best medicine suited to you. A hand-built custom gallery showcases their extensive selection of premium products including tons of extracts and edibles to choose from.

CLEAR CHOICE CANNABIS

8001 S Hosmer St, Tacoma, WA 98408

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Clear Choice Cannabis has flowers from some of the best growers in the state. You can always find high-quality flowers and concentrates at Clear Choice. They also have extremely affordable options for people just looking to get the most medicine with the least amount of money. If you’re a fan of glass art you’ll love some of the one of a kind pieces they have on their shelves. They offer pre-tested flowers, oils, derivatives, extracts, topicals and edibles for purity and potency. Not to mention, they have several high CBD strains for patients to choose from.

DOCKSIDE CANNABIS

1728 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Dockside Cannabis has two stores in Washington. One in SoDo and another in Shoreline. They have a loyalty program where you get points for every visit. Even a single visit is enough to get discounts. The more points you save up, the larger the discount. You can view their menu and order online or stop in for some personalized recommendations. The THC and CBD percentages of each strain are given. Dockside carefully selects the cannabis they put on their shelves and keeps prices affordable. Even their top shelf strains won’t break the bank.

GREEN COLLAR CANNABIS

10422 Pacific Ave S B, Tacoma, WA 98444

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Green Collar Cannabis has locations in Tacoma and Edmund, Washington. Their dispensaries have some of the most affordable recreational marijuana in the state. Regardless of the quantity, Green Collar Cannabis has daily deals on everything from grams to ounces. You can even find extracts at affordable prices on quality shattersice wax and other concentrates. You can expect great vibes, help, and product at Green Collar Cannabis.

HASHTAG

3540 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Hashtag has dispensaries in Fremont and Redmond. They have a loyalty program so you can get discounts after a certain number of visits. Their prices are already reasonable but you can get an additional discount for ordering online and skipping the line. If you have questions, the budtenders are friendly and knowledgeable. Hashtag keeps premium products and fresh buds in stock at all times.

HAVE A HEART

316 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Have a heart has recreational and medically endorsed locations in Fremont, Wallingford and Queen Anne. Due to their relationships with local growers, they’re always stocked with a wide variety of cannabis products. They have tons of loyal customers due to their quality product, customer service, reasonable prices and constantly deals.

HERBAN LEGENDS

55 Bell St, Seattle, WA 98121

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Herban Legends is the perfect stop if you’re dry at the downtown grid. It is one of the best dispensaries in Washington when it comes to atmosphere and selection. There are plenty of options to choose from in every category including sativa, indica, hybrid, extract, edible and topicals. You can also request products high in CBD and low in THC if you want the medicinal benefits without the high or potential anxiety.

HERBS HOUSE

716 NW 65th St, Seattle, WA 98117

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Herbs House is literally a house on the corner of a neighborhood in Seattle. If you’re looking for a large selection, friendly staff, short waits and some of the best prices in the city, Herbs House is worth the drive. On top of discount buds and extracts, you can find tons of different types of infused snacks and beverages on their shelves.

HWY 420

1110 Charleston Beach Rd. W Bremerton, WA 98312

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

HWY 420 has locations in Bremerton and Silverdale. They have a nice selection of flowers, edibles, concentrates smoking accessories and more. The owners have given back to the community by donating to local charities. If you’re looking for weed in the Olympic Peninsula, we recommend stopping by and getting a recommendation from one of HWY 420’s friendly staff.

MARY MART

3002 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98406

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Mary Mart isn’t your typical dispensary in Washington. They carefully curate the selections on their shelves to keep their cannabis premium. Their flowers vary in price to suit the needs of a wider clientele. There are plenty of strains for less than ten dollars a gram. Furthermore, they have specials as well so you can walk away with medicine at a steal. A huge selection of cannabis concentrates is available at all different pricing. The most expensive products at Mary Mart are still reasonable compared to the top-shelf prices at other shops.

PAPER & LEAF

8040 NE Day Rd W, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Paper & Leaf is a medically endorsed recreational marijuana dispensary. The store is clean and nicely decorated with a high-end boutique style. The staff is just as warm and welcoming. They’re happy to share their knowledge and passion with any customers that come in. If you want a dispensary where you won’t feel rushed, Paper & Leaf is worth a shot. They’ve got a great selection of THC and CBD products on their shelves. You can ask the staff for their recommendation from their expansive list of extracts or flowers. If you’re looking for a vast selection, atmosphere and a helpful staff, look no further.

POT STOP

4465 Fremont Ave N Seattle, WA 98103

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Pot Stop is the only stop you’ll need to fulfill all of your weed needs. They have premium flowers in stock as well as more affordable popcorn nugs. Their stock of edibles, prerolls and concentrates is vast with a few topical options. Fortunately, there is also a variety in price so you can find something to get the job done regardless of your budget. They have plenty of high-quality options for those that are willing to pay the price.

PUFF N CHILL

15919 WA-99, Lynnwood, WA 98087

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Puff n Chill is a great pot shop to stop by whether you’re looking to make a quick purchase or chill for a while. They are currently serving the recreational marijuana market in Everett, Lynnwood and North Seattle. They carry products from some of the most well-known vendors in Washington. If you want to save time, you can place an online order, respond to the text when your order is ready and pick it up at the store with absolutely no wait time. Customers can also join their loyalty program to get advanced notice on new products, specials and more.

TREES POT SHOP

10532 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Trees Pot Shop is one of the best dispensaries in Washington when it comes to quality products, low prices and excellent customer service. They have deals going on all the time to drop their prices even lower. Their selection is expansive enough for you to find whatever product you need without burning a hole in your pocket.

RAINIER CANNABIS

22002 64th Ave W Suite 2A Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

If you’re looking for constant deals, Rainier is the place to be. They have a calendar with all of the daily deals which are never the same. Depending on what day of the month you come in, you can save big on some buds or get up to twenty-five percent off of many different products. Each customer will receive an individualized experience based on their needs. They’re open early and close late with hours from 8:00 in the morning to 11:45 at night.

SMOKANE

3801 E Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99202

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Smokane has been serving the recreational market since 2014 and it is still one of the best dispensaries in Washington when it comes to a helpful staff, great prices and selection. While Smokane is far from the largest dispensary in the state, they still have plenty of inventory at various price points for their customers to shop through. Smokane definitely doesn’t cater to one type of clientele. Whether you’re looking for the best of the best or the best deal, Smokane will have something for you.

VELA

1944 1st Ave S #100, Seattle, WA 98134

Adult Use (Recreational) & Medically Endorsed

Best Dispensaries In Washington

If you’re south of downtown a great dispensary to stop by is Vela. Vela has in-store grow and extraction labs that can be viewed while you browse. When you walk in, you’ll be welcomed into the big open space. The budtenders are passionate and always willing to help customers find the right product before walking out the door. They’ll go over exactly what you can expect to feel from each strain on their shelves.

URBAN BUD

112 S 24th St Tacoma, WA 98402

Adult Use (Recreational) 

Best Dispensaries In Washington

Urban Bud is a highly-rated recreational marijuana dispensary out of Tacoma, Washington. They carry products from many different known producers in the state. Not to mention, they have competitive pricing. You can get eighths of strains with over a 20 percent THC content for nearly half the price of some other dispensaries in Washington. Urban Bud is open early and closes late for all your early or last-minute needs for weed. They have deals for each day of the week, you can call to find out the special of the day.

BEST DISPENSARIES IN WASHINGTON

Most of the dispensaries in Washington have gone from medical to recreational. Some dispensaries cater to the concerns of medical users or connoisseurs while others are just trying to make the largest profit. No matter where you go, you should inspect your products before purchasing and compare prices with other dispensaries in your area. If buying legal weed is a new concept to you, seek out dispensaries with a knowledgeable and helpful staff. Beginners shouldn’t feel rushed. They should know what they’re purchasing and why it is beneficial to their individual needs. Connoisseurs should seek out dispensaries with a large selection of high-quality products to choose from. Budget buyers are better off heading to the dispensary with the lowest prices or best deals.

Daily, ByGreen Rush. “Best Dispensaries in Washington State.” Green Rush Daily, 27 Aug. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/guides/best-dispensaries-in-washington/.Open publish panel

Police Respond to ‘AR-15’ Looking Bong Being Waved Out Hotel Window

A witness claimed someone pointed a gun at them from the third-floor window of the Palms Hotel.

Yesterday evening, a gun scare in downtown San Diego ended when cops discovered that what initially looked like an assault rifle was actually just a bong. But prior to figuring out that it was only a bong, the incident caused a significant public scare.

Reports of an Assault Rifle in Downtown San Diego

As per local San Diego news source CBS8, the incident occurred yesterday evening around 6:30 p.m.

At that time, a person in downtown San Diego saw a person waving what looked like an AR-15 assault rifle out of a hotel window.

After seeing the gun, the person located a couple of police officers who happened to be patrolling nearby. From there, the cops closed off the area and stopped all traffic.

After identifying the room where the gun had been seen, cops ordered the room’s occupants, one man and one woman, to leave the room.

A thorough search of the room eventually turned up the gun. According to CBS8, law enforcement agents found the object in a refrigerator inside the hotel room.

Upon inspecting the object, the cops quickly discovered that it was not, in fact, an AR-15. Instead, it was a gold-colored bong made to look like an assault rifle.

Authorities ended up releasing the woman who was in the room. But the man was detained and booked on suspicion of exhibiting a replica firearm in a threatening manner.

As of now, the man’s identity has not been released. Local media has only learned that he appears to be in his early 20s.

And so far, it is also unclear if the man is officially facing any criminal charges.

Bad Timing for a Gun Scare

Yesterday’s incident in San Diego comes amid ongoing—and arguably growing—public fear of mass shootings and gun violence. In particular, it happened on the same day as an actual shooting in Denver, Colorado.

Yesterday, in yet another tragic school shooting, two gunmen opened fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch. The shooting left an 18-year-old student dead and another eight students injured.

As of late Tuesday night, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said that authorities had identified the two suspects. One of them was an 18-year-old named Devon Erickson. But for now, the identity of the second suspect has not been released.

Law enforcement agents in Colorado reported that they apprehended the suspects and that neither one was injured.

With a seemingly endless series of shootings occurring around the country, it not surprising that yesterday’s incident in San Diego generated a high level of public fear and anxiety. Similarly, it is not surprising that it sparked a swift and significant response from local law enforcement.

But fortunately for those in downtown San Diego, the whole thing ended without anybody being harmed.

Yesterday’s incident in San Diego is not the first time cannabis paraphernalia has induced a weapons-related scare.

A couple of years ago, the Bellingham International Airport in Washington had a scare when a passenger tried to go through security with a weed grinder that looked like a grenade.

More recently, just last summer, a similar incident happened at an airport in Argentina. In this case, the airport was evacuated when authorities found a grenade-shaped grinder.

Lindsey, ByNick. “Police Respond to ‘AR-15’ Looking Bong Being Waved Out Hotel Window.” Green Rush Daily, 8 May 2019, greenrushdaily.com/news/police-respond-to-ar-15-looking-bong-being-waved-out-hotel-window/.

Millions Petition Netflix Show with Gay Jesus and Pot-Smoking Mary

Many angry Christians are threatening to cancel their Netflix memberships over the controversial release.

Whether it is Starbucks coffee cups or stores using the phrase “Happy Holidays,” the winter season seems to be a moment when all sorts of cultural tensions arise. Typically, these are tensions surrounding religion.

In many of these cases, Christians get frustrated and angry when the rest of the non-Christian world does not want to celebrate their holiday. This year, a new Netflix special is taking the brunt of Christianity’s holiday persecution complex.

“The First Temptation of Christ” bills itself as a comedy Christmas special. But Christians around the world don’t see it that way.

In fact, millions around the world are so offended by the show that they have signed a petition calling for its removal from the streaming channel.

“The First Temptation of Christ” Angers Millions

There are reportedly two main reasons Christians are angry about the show.

One is that it depicts Jesus in a gay relationship. Specifically, there are reportedly scenes showing Jesus attending a party with another man. Additionally, there are songs that apparently have lyrics hinting at a gay relationship.

Secondly, the show also depicts Mary smoking weed. Both of these have led to the current controversy surrounding the show.

“As a member of the Christian community and follower of Christ, I join the rest of hundreds of thousands who have registered their protests calling for the Netflix Christmas Special depicting Jesus in a gay relationship to be axed immediately,” Abraham Mathai, president of the Indian Christian Voice, said according to News 18.

He added: “Even though freedom of expression is a fundamental and a constitutional right, using the same liberty to offend the sentiments of the members of a particular faith persuasion is highly abhorrent and totally unacceptable.”

To date, more than 1.1 million people have signed the petition. According to news sources, the petition is attracting signatures from people around the world.

Production Company Defends Its Show

In essence, Christians are arguing that the new 46-minute show goes too far and should be taken down. But the company behind the show is defending it.

“The First Temptation of Christ” was made by a company called Porta dos Fundos. Based in Brazil, the company’s name translates into Back Door.

In the wake of the new controversy, the production company issued its own statement.

“Porta dos Fundos values artistic freedom and humor through satire on the most diverse cultural themes of our society,” the company said in its statement.

It continued by saying that Porta dos Fundos “believes that freedom of expression is an essential construction for a democratic country.”

So far, it is unclear how Netflix will handle this situation. As of today, the show is still available. But it is not yet clear if Netflix will leave it online or not.

Along with the petition, many angry Christians are taking to social media to voice their displeasure.

In some cases, people are using social media to call on Netflix to remove the show. In other instances, people talk about or screenshot their canceled Netflix membership. And some people have started using the hashtag #BoycottNetflix.

Lindsey, ByNick. “Millions Petition Netflix Show with Gay Jesus and Pot-Smoking Mary.” Green Rush Daily, 16 Dec. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/culture/millions-petition-netflix-show-with-gay-jesus-and-pot-smoking-mary/.

Instagram Says No Vape Ads for Influencers

PHOTO:rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com.

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Social media platform Instagram announced on Wednesday that it would no longer allow social media influencers on the platform to promote “vaping, tobacco, and weapons.”

Though Instagram made the announcement, its parent company, Facebook, will also be affected by the policy change. Facebook already prohibited paid advertising for tobacco and cannabis products as well as weapons; the new restriction will allow the network to prohibit brands and companies from paid cross-promotion with social media influencers.Advertisement

On Instagram, influencers that are paid to promote brands or products have their ad posts labeled “paid partnership with.” Partnerships were allowed after a policy change in June that let brands and companies pay to promote influencers and posts who promote their services and products.

Instagram said the policy changes would be implemented in early 2020. The company indicated this is the first time the platform has restricted the types of products that can be promoted. It is also considering restrictions on weight loss supplements and liquor.

The company said it’s developing software to help content creators remain in compliance with new policies, as well as age-restriction features that would prevent certain content from being viewed by underage users.

The action came as the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority, also on Wednesday, banned promotional Instagram posts by four vaping companies, including one post that featured popular singer Lily Allen holding a Vype e-cigarette.

The UK companies that had posts banned included British American Tobacco (BAT), Ama Vape, Attitude Vapes, and Global Vaping Group.

Joanne Cachapero. “Instagram Says No Vape Ads for Influencers.” Mg Magazine – Cannabis News & Information, Joanne Cachapero, 21 Dec. 2019, mgretailer.com/business/marketing-promo/instagram-says-no-vape-ads-for-influencers/.

Instagram, Facebook to Ban Brands From Promoting Vaping, Gun Posts

The platforms will close an advertising loophole, joining other tech companies in a vape recoil.

Worawee Meepian/ Shutterstoc

Vape influencers, take note in the new year. On Wednesday it was announced that Facebook and Instagram will start removing posts that promote vaping, tobacco, or weapons “in the coming weeks,” according to an IG spokesperson. 

The platforms a history of banning such content. Facebook has long held the policy that advertisements for vaping, tobacco, and weapons were unacceptable on the platform. There was a workaround, however; individual users (users without business pages) could hype such products, and businesses could promote the posts, vastly expanding their audience. 

No longer. The Instagram rep that made Wednesday’s announcement said that it would be the first time the social media platform had placed restrictions on individual users’ branded content. The announcement follows one from Apple stating that the company would be removingvaping-related apps from its iOS store. 

It won’t just be e-cigs, other kinds of tobacco, and guns that get the chop on Facebook and Instagram. Alcohol and diet supplements could also be subject to “special restrictions” next year when the new policy takes effect. 

Banning the promotion of certain products is not the only policy change that will be implemented by the sites. Facebook has announced that it will be developing strategies to let advertisers limit viewing of certain content to users of a certain age. Facebook will be rolling out a feature called Brand Collabs Manager that goes along with its recent experiment of making like counts on posts private. That program will begin with 40 United States-based Instagram content creators, and will focus on giving pro accounts the option to share metrics of engagement with partners. 

This month four vaping companies had their Instagram posts relating to e-cigarettes officially prohibited by the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority. 

In response to the ruling, anti-tobacco activist groups applauded the ASA, but said that much more work is needed to limit the influence of tobacco companies. “Urgent policy change is needed from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to prevent BAT and other tobacco companies from using social media to advertise their harmful products to young people around the world,” said a statement by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. 

The social media crackdown on vaping is part of a global wave of actions to limit e-cigarettes, which have surged in popularity over the last years and have seen a particular surge among teen users

Concern over the products soared this fall when a vaping-related health crisis emerged, claiming hundreds of lives via severe lung injury. In response, several local and state governments moved to ban the products. 

One of the first long-term studies of vaping’s impact on health was published on Monday. The investigation found that e-cigarettes raise users’ risk of lung cancer. The conclusions are significant because the vaping industry has long promoted its products as a healthy alternative to analogue cigarettes, and even as a cigarette smoking abatement device. 

But many have questioned the wisdom of banning or limiting access to vaping, especially given the middling at-best results of prohibiting other drugs. 

“The better, if more complicated, option would be to build a public health system that’s strong enough to combat all nicotine addiction in the long term,” wrote the New York Times editorial board in an op-ed questioning the wisdom of recent bans on e-cigs.

Donohue, Caitlin. “Instagram, Facebook to Ban Brands From Promoting Vaping, Gun Posts.” High Times, 19 Dec. 2019, hightimes.com/news/instagram-facebook-ban-brands-promoting-vaping-gun-posts/.

Feds Find 70 Pounds of Marijuana on Juice Wrld’s Private Jet

We still don’t know what caused Juice Wrld’s death, but associates suspect the unknown pills he took are to blame.

While emergency crews were transporting 21-year-old rapper Juice Wrld to a hospital early Sunday, federal law enforcement agents were ransacking his luggage and belongings. Ultimately, they found several suitcases containing cannabis, FBI agents reportedly told TMZ. Police say they also confiscated three handguns and one bottle of codeine cough syrup. We still don’t know what caused the death of the young rap artist and singer; the Cook County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy on Monday. But the emerging law enforcement narrative is one that’s aiming to criminalize Juice Wrld after his death, and without all the facts. Here’s what we know so far.

Juice Wrld was on a private jet from Los Angeles to Chicago that landed at Midway around 1 AM on Sunday, December 8. As Juice Wrld was getting off the plane, he fell victim to a seizure. Emergency crews rushed him to the hospital, where we was pronounced dead, according to police.

JUICE WRLD’S PRIVATE JET WAS CARRYING SUITCASES PACKED WITH WEED

Juice Wrld, whose given name is Jarad Anthony Higgins, had recently turned 21 years old. He was also a rising star, winning Top New Artist at the 2019 Billboard Awards. But Higgins also struggled with addiction, a struggle he spoke about openly on social media.

We don’t know much about what happened on that flight, but details are slowly emerging. TMZ has obtained a series of videos from other passengers on Juice Wrld’s private jet that show him happy and in high spirits during the flight.

But statements collected by law enforcement also reveal that Juice Wrld had taken several “unknown pills” at some point during the flight. At the moment, those pills are being connected to the seizure that ended up costing Juice Wrld his life.

As federal authorities were conducting their investigation at Midway airport, they began searching the luggage on board the private jet. A photograph obtained by TMZ of the private jet terminal at Midway shows a number of suitcases strewn across the floor. Several bags of vacuum-packed cannabis are clearly visible in the photo. Law enforcement say they confiscated 70 pounds of marijuana in total, allegedly from Juice Wrld’s jet.

So far, no one has been charged in connection with the 70 pounds of cannabis found on Juice Wrld’s private jet. But police arrested two people on that flight, Chris Long and Henry Dean, for possession of handguns. Police say they seized three guns from the cabin of the jet. Dean was released on his own recognizance, and Long is out on a $1,500 bond.

JUICE WRLD’S DEATH SHOCKS MUSIC INDUSTRY

The music industry is still reeling from the news of Juice Wrld’s untimely death at age 21. It’s impossible not to think of the lyrics to Juice’s song “Legends,” a track about the deaths of Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. In that song, Juice asks, “What’s the 27 club,” referring to the many popular musicians, artists and actors who died at age 27. “We ain’t making it past 21.”

Juice Wrld was still conscious when Chicago Fire rescue crews transported him to a nearby hospital. But authorities say he was suffering from a severe seizure and bleeding from the mouth when they arrived on the scene. Still, the cause of Juice Wrld’s death is unclear at this time.

Thanks to his hit songs “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are the Same,” Interscope Records signed Juice Wrld to a multi-million dollar contract. He turned 21 on December 2 this year.

You Need To See Seth Rogen’s Ashtray Collection

Those that are familiar with Seth Rogen typically aren’t surprised to learn that he’s an avid marijuana user. For those that don’t know, Seth Rogen is a comedian, actor, producer, writer, and director who tends to incorporate cannabis into his projects. He’s behind major movies like Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This Is The End as well as many more movies, tv shows, etc. Rogen has been pretty active on social media for over five years now, sharing some of his weed adventures along the way. 

Seth has even started learning pottery to make his own ashtrays. I’m excited to hopefully continue to see the other neat designs and features in the rest of his collection. I’ll be updating the article as he shares more, but be sure to give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter for the most current updates!

MassRoots, and MassRoots Posts made by MassRoots Staff are an effort on the part of one or more contributing writers. We hope we help you have a better cannabis experience. “You Need To See Seth Rogen’s Ashtray Collection.” MassRoots, http://www.massroots.com/learn/you-need-to-see-seth-rogens-ashtray-collection/.

How To Get Medical Cannabis In North Dakota

The residents of North Dakota voted to legalize medical cannabis on November 8, 2016 when Measure 5 was approved with 63.79 percent in favor. It has taken more than two years to get the program up and running, as the first dispensary has recently opened for business in Fargo.

Now that the retail medical cannabis market is launching in North Dakota, qualified patients need to know how to apply for a registration card so that they can begin making purchases from the dispensary. 

Having one of the following health conditions qualifies a patient for medical cannabis in North Dakota:

  1. Cancer
  2. Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  3. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  4. Decompensated cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C
  5. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  6. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  7. Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia
  8. Crohn’s disease
  9. Fibromyalgia
  10. Spinal stenosis or chronic back pain, including neuropathy or damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  11. Glaucoma
  12. Epilepsy
  13. A terminal illness
  14. A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or treatment for such disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  15. Severe debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects
  16. Intractable nausea
  17. Seizures
  18. Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

If you have one of the conditions listed above, follow the steps below to apply for a North Dakota medical cannabis patient ID card.

Step 1: Schedule an appointment to see your physician

If you have one of the approved conditions, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor about medical cannabis to determine whether or not it would be a good fit for you and your specific symptoms. 

If you you’ve already been diagnosed as having one of the medical conditions which qualify for medical cannabis in North Dakota, you still have to schedule a new appointment to get an official recommendation from your doctor. 

If the state-licensed physician you see provides you with a recommendation for medical cannabis, you also need to ask for his or her email before leaving. You must have the doctor’s full name and email to be able to enter it into the medical cannabis patient application. Without the email, your application will be rejected. 

Using the physician’s email that you provide on the application, the physician will be contacted to add a written recommendation to your patient application. This is the most important part of the process. Be sure that the physician’s name and email are spelled correctly to avoid having your application denied. 

If the physician is new to recommending medical cannabis and unwilling to provide you with an email, he or she can contact the North Dakota Department of Health for more information. 

Step 2: Create an account online

This is easiest step. Go to the North Dakota Department of Health’s website to create an account. Click this link to be directed to the account creation page. 

You will be required to enter your first and last name and your email address, and then create a password for the account. Once you click the submit button, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you provided. You will be required to click the link that is in the email to verify your account.

Once you’ve clicked the validation link, you’ll be able to login to your account to complete the application.

Step 3: Fill out and submit an application

Applications can be filled out and submitted online through the health department’s website using the BioTrackTHC system. Click here to be redirected to the sign in page. 

Once you sign into your account, you will see a drop down menu at the top left of the screen. Select the ‘patient application’ option from the menu. 

You will be required to upload a recent photo of yourself to apply. As required by the North Dakota Department of Health, the photo must be two inches by two inches, and a close-up view of your head and shoulders, similar to what is required for a United States passport application.

Next, you will be required to enter your personal information including:

  • First and last name
  • Birth date
  • Social security number
  • Mailing address
  • Driver’s license or state identification number and expiration date

A photocopy of your state-issued driver’s license or state ID card must also be uploaded into the application.

Once the personal details portion is complete, you must add the first and last name of the physician who recommended medical cannabis to you. The physician’s email must also be submitted. The physician will then be required to complete several portions of the application. He or she will do this on their own without you present. 

You will have the option to designate a personal caregiver in the application. A personal caregiver is appointed to assist a patient in making purchases from a dispensary, transporting, and administering the medical cannabis medication. If you choose to designate a personal caregiver, he or she will be required to submit a separate application.

Finally, you will be required to check several boxes to complete the patient attestation statement and then provide an electronic signature. 

Knowing that many people will have questions, the North Dakota Department of Health created a 10 minute video tutorial to show potential patients how to create, fill out, and submit the patient application for the medical cannabis program. Click here to watch the video.

Step 4: Pay the $50 registration fee

Once the application has been filled out completely, you must pay the non-refundable registration fee. The only payment option currently listed on the application is sending a personal check or cashier’s check in the mail. 

The $50.00 check should be made payable to the North Dakota Department of Health, and the barcode number assigned to you at the top right corner of your patient application must also be written on the check in the memo line. 

The fee can be mailed to:

North Dakota State Department of Health

Medical Marijuana Program

600 East Boulevard Ave, Dept 301

Bismarck, ND 58505-0200.

Step 5: Receive your patient ID card in the mail and find a dispensary

Once your application has been approved, your North Dakota medical cannabis patient ID card will be mailed to the address you provided on the application within two to four weeks. 

It will look something like this:

Once you have your patient ID card, you may take it to a dispensary to purchase medical cannabis. 

As of March 15, 2019, there is only one medical cannabis dispensary open for business in the Roughrider State. The Botanist is located in Fargo at 4302 13th Avenue South. This location is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and 12 pm to 6 pm on Sunday. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

More dispensaries are expected to open throughout the state over the next year.

MassRoots, and MassRoots Posts made by MassRoots Staff are an effort on the part of one or more contributing writers. We hope we help you have a better cannabis experience. “How To Get Medical Cannabis In North Dakota.” MassRoots, http://www.massroots.com/learn/how-to-get-medical-cannabis-in-north-dakota/.

Canadians Spend Nearly A Billion Dollars On Recreational Cannabis In First Year Since Legalization

It’s been a year since weed became legal in Canada. Here’s how much weed Canadians are buying.

It’s been a little over a year since Canada legalized recreational weed across the entire country. Throughout that year, a lot has changed and evolved in the country’s legal cannabis industry.

Now, new stats show exactly how much Canadians have spent on recreational weed. According to the new numbers, which come from Statistics Canada, the country as a whole spent just under $1 billion in year one of legalization. That works out to be roughly $24 per Canadian.

NEW STATS PUT NUMBER ON HIGH DEMAND FOR LEGAL WEED

The new data covers October 2018—the month that weed became legal in Canada—through September 2019, covering almost one year exactly.

In that time frame, Canadians spent $907,833,000 on recreational marijuana. This number is helpful, as it puts a specific amount on what had previously been recognized only very generically as a year of very high demand for recreational weed.

Recreational cannabis officially became legal in the country on October 17, 2018. Right away, there was massive demand. So much so, in fact, that shops and online retailers around the country started running out of product.

In the months immediately following legalization, there were predictions of months-long supply shortages. Many of those concerns came from the fear that cultivators and producers wouldn’t be able to harvest fast enough to restock shelves at retailers.

Based on a province by province breakdown of purchases, demand was the highest in Yukon. There, per capita sales came in at $103 per person. Prince Edward Island was the second highest. The average in that territory was $97 per person.

On the other end of the spectrum, British Columbia had the lowest per capita purchases, coming in at an average of only $10 per person.

BRICK AND MORTAR VS. ONLINE RETAILERS

One of the interesting details highlighted in the new stats is the difference between brick and mortar retailers and online sellers.

In some provinces, the only place to purchase legal weed is on province-run websites. Meanwhile, other provinces allow for brick and mortar shops to sell legal weed.

Taken as a whole, Canada saw a steady increase in the number of brick and mortar stores throughout the first year of legal weed.

Specifically, Statistics Canada said there were 217 physical retail stores in March 2019. Just a few months later, in July 2019, there were 407 brick and mortar shops.

Interestingly, access to physical retailers appeared to draw a significant portion of business away from online sellers.

More specifically, stats show that as the number of brick and mortar shops increased during the year, the market share of online sales fell from 43.4 percent in October 2018 all the way to 5.9 percent in September 2019.

“While online cannabis retail ensures access to all Canadians regardless of proximity to a physical store, accessibility continues to improve as more stores open across the country,” the report said.

How close people live to a retail store varies province to province. That’s especially true in remote portions of Canada.

But across the board, Statistics Canada said that roughly 45 percent of Canadians live within 10 kilometers of a cannabis shop.

On top of all this, other reports show that Canada’s illicit market remains active.

Lindsey, Nick. “Canadians Spend Nearly A Billion Dollars On Recreational Cannabis In First Year Since Legalization.” High Times, 13 Dec. 2019, hightimes.com/news/canadians-spend-nearly-billion-dollars-recreational-cannabis-first-year-since-legalization/.

Corruption & Crime Seems to Follow Restrictive Dispensary Permitting

Limited permitting seems to welcome graft and boodle, just like one former California mayor warned.

PHOTO Conor Lawless

In the grand panoply of grand exits, Debbie Peterson’s is memorable.

Until last February, Peterson, the former mayor of Grover Beach, a small city on the Central California coast in San Luis Obispo County, was serving on the city council, a post she had held for more than 10 years.

Like many California cities not in the Bay Area or in Los Angeles, Grover Beach was in need of viable commercial businesses — and stood poised to capture needed tax revenue and a commercial base after voters legalized cannabis — but also imposed strict limits on legal weed operations. The city would issue no more than three retail licenses, with the winners to be chosen by a council vote after their merits will duly weighed.

The problem is that limited business opportunities creates an atmosphere in which competition for those opportunities exceeds the bounds of propriety. That is, they encourage corruption, bribery and other excesses, a fact recognized by the FBI and alleged by lawmakers and members of the public as well as law enforcement in other states and cities, among them IllinoisOhio and Florida. Licenses mysteriously awarded to political donors rather than the best-suited applicants, or other examples of patronage and nepotism abounded.

And that’s what happened in Grover Beach, according to Peterson, who quit the city council while throwing grenades at her colleagues — whom she alleged were participants in a corrupt “pay-to-play-insider” scheme.

“Many members of the community and the cannabis industry report that some dispensary applicants paid council members and their consultant to get their licenses approved,” she wrote in her resignation letter, according to a copy posted by the San Luis Obispo Tribune. “In the end, applicants with clean backgrounds were pushed out of town while those with felony convictions were granted licenses.”

At the time, it wasn’t clear exactly whom or which acts Peterson was referring, but the list of suspects was small. A recent lawsuit filed by an erstwhile Grover Beach cannabis entrepreneur, Wendy Cronin, and reported in the CalCoast Times reveals at least one specific allegation of “corrupt king-making.”

According to Cronin, who operated medical-cannabis collective The Herb Pantry prior to the passage of Prop. 64, business partners in possession of capital she took on to create a dispensary called 805 Beach Breaks effectively wrote her out of the business — and did so with participation from city officials who issued her partners a business license, keeping her name off of the rolls, and thus shut out of the business she created.

Last summer, 805 Beach Breaks was sold off to an out-of-state company, Harvest Heath and Recreation. The business was an attractive sales target because of the artificial limits on cannabis sales in Grover Beach). Why, exactly, Cronin was left off of state and local licenses and thus cut off from the sale will have to be untangled in court, but the development is consistent enough with patterns seen in other cities to be suspicious.

In the meantime, those patterns continue.

In Fall River, Massachusetts — another state that grants localities broad authority to limit the number of dispensaries in each city, creating the same cutthroat atmosphere that invites corruption — Mayor Jasiel Correia stands accused of accepting cash bribes, campaign donations, and “even a Rolex watch” from weed businesspeople so desperate for a lucrative license they were willing to engage in criminal behavior.


In each of these instances, there’s a factor in common: limited licenses, an atmosphere in which elected officials rather than the market are left to pick who is able to enter business. In Massachusetts, where licenses are so limited that customers must make reservations in advance just to go shopping, limited licensing means each permitted business has a license to print money. And printing money, it turns out, brings out some of the worst elements of human nature — just like Peterson said it would.

Roberts, ByChris. “Corruption & Crime Seems to Follow Restrictive Dispensary Permitting.” Cannabis Now, 10 Dec. 2019, cannabisnow.com/corruption-crime-seems-to-follow-restrictive-dispensary-permitting/.

Cookies Oakland Is the New Heart of Oaksterdam

Arguably the most iconic cannabis brand of the decade is expanding close to its San Francisco roots.

Last Friday, the cannabis brand Cookies opened a new dispensary in Oakland, launching in the heart of the city’s downtown neighborhood.

The Cookies brand is backed and inspired by the genetics of The Cookie Fam, whose Girl Scout Cookies strain took over the West Coast a decade ago. One might argue Cookies’ earliest phenotypes ended the OG Kush era at the top and brought in a new age of wilder terpene profiles. With the new Oakland location, East Bay residents now have access to all the weed that inspired everything from Cookies’ clothing lines to the music of the rapper Berner.

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Cookies already has two dispensaries open in Los Angeles, Cookies Melrose near West Hollywood and Cookies Los Angeles near Huntington Park.

The new shop will be attached to the deepest roots of cannabis in Oakland, as it is located in a former Oaksterdam University property in the neighborhood that once shared the same name. On top of that, longtime Oakland operator Salwa Ibrahim of MSKI Holdings is spearheading the effort, as it is Ibrahim who holds the dispensary permit for Cookies Oakland and put together the partnership that opened the store.

Ibrahim’s history with the neighborhood runs deep, as she was the executive assistant to Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee. Lee also bankrolled the effort to legalize cannabis in California in 2010, though sadly, 53% of voters were against the plan.

On opening day, the line outside Cookies Oakland crept down Broadway Ave from 19th Street, as Oakland cannabis enthusiasts waited to get a glimpse of what was inside the store’s blue exterior. They weren’t disappointed — even with the crowds, how can you not get excited about White Runtz? But many of those in line might not have known the tale of how Cookies Oakland came to be, a decade-long saga of federal raids, friendship and trying to keep a pioneer’s spirit alive.

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“There is kind of a long sequential narrative to how this all came about,” Ibrahim told Cannabis Now. “Our partnership with Cookies really wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for all these other things with legalization and cannabis in the Bay Area that happened first.”

Ibrahim joined the cannabis industry in 2008 as the only employee under Oaksterdam’s holding company that managed both the operations of the school and the dispensary.

In 2010, the city of Oakland opened the permitting process up for four new dispensaries. While still helping run the show at Oaksterdam, she got the ball rolling for her own permit.

“Richard Lee’s philosophy was we’re all foot soldiers in the war against the War on Drugs,” Ibrahim said. “The more of us there were, the more medicine we could provide patients, the more we can advance the ball. He was very encouraging to all of us, whether it was applying for permits or opening Measure Z [a local law deprioritizing anti-marijuana enforcement] clubs.”

Ibrahim ended up ranked number one in the Oakland selection process. But during that time, the government targeted Lee for using Oaksterdam’s resources to pay for the effort to legalize marijuana in 2010. Everyone involved was the target of a massive synchronized raid by the DEA.

“All of Oaksterdam got raided at the exact same time,” Ibrahim said. “Obviously they told Richard he couldn’t be a part of these businesses anymore. Going through that, even as an employee, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m sure it was equally and especially scary for Richard.”

After the raid, Lee distributed his Oaksterdam business assets to his managers. Timothy Sherwood, the buyer for all of Oaksterdam, received the dispensary permit, and Ibrahim helped him and Lee complete the paperwork, since she was familiar with Oakland’s new processes. They weren’t the first to transfer a dispensary license, but not far behind.

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(Salwa Ibrahim cuts the ribbon at the Cookies Oakland opening.)

Sherwood became the sole director of Oaksterdam’s dispensary, Oakland Community Partners. When they filled out the paperwork, Sherwood and Lee put Ibrahim as the steward for the permit in the event anything happened to Sherwood.

Years past, and the two friends remained close. Sherwood was at the hospital when Ibrahim gave birth to her daughter and she accompanied him east to reunite with his family.

But Ibrahim’s tone changed as she got to the next part of the tale. Sherwood passed away last October.

She had forgotten where the paperwork had landed all those years ago. “I just kind of assumed he had done something else,” she said, “Long story short, I got a phone call from the City of Oakland telling me [Sherwood] had passed away and I had to figure out what I was going to do with this club.”

Ibrahim called an all-hands-on-deck meeting to let staff know she was intent on keeping Sherwood’s legacy and the values they had learned from Lee together alive.

At the time, she was also watching the new era of cannabis legalization lay waste to California’s legal cannabis market. The number of producers was consolidating after multiple mass extinction events around permitting and testing, plus more retail competitors were becoming abundant.

“I just really wanted to be mindful of how I could create longevity in Oaksterdam, honor Richard’s legacy, honor Timothy’s legacy, and keep these guys who are depending on me for a job after going through a traumatic event employed,” Ibrahim said. “To be honest with you, I did not see a stronger brand in the space than Cookies.”

Ibrahim pointed to Cookies’ international reach and believes the brand is “the largest movement in cannabis right now.”

She said her 2019 with MKSI Investments has generally been awesome. Prior to the Cookies Oakland launch she helped get AB 2020 passed, allowing for temporary pot event permits. She put the new law to good use as she helped get the permit for cannabis sales onsite at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival.  

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“Now to have us open the Cookies flagship store in the heart of Oaksterdam, and breathing life into this block is another win, and I am so proud of this team,” Ibrahim said. “They are so excited.”

At launch, they have about 24 people on staff.

Ibrahim said this will be the spot to see The Cookie Fam’s newest genetics in the East Bay. “Obviously Cookies is a huge brand and other dispensaries will have access to the genetics, but we hope to be the first to drop all the hottest strains.”

Devine, ByJimi. “Cookies Oakland Is the New Heart of Oaksterdam.” Cannabis Now, 11 Dec. 2019, cannabisnow.com/cookies-oakland-is-the-new-heart-of-oaksterdam/.

Cannabis May Help Combat the Holiday Blues

Studies suggest marijuana can combat depression.

PHOTO Maria Eklind

The holiday season is now in full swing. For some folks, this means spending tons of money on gifts to reassure their loved ones that they do, in fact, still love them, in spite of all of their shortcomings. There are others, however, that would just assume jam a sharp stick in their eye than endure anything festive this time of year. There are no menorahs or Christmas trees for these people, not on your life, as they have, through a series of unfortunate events along the way, become somewhat callous to all of the lights, carols and fun that other people seem to be having.

It’s not that they ever wanted to become a modern day Scrooge. But the loss of loved ones, divorce, or any number of bad luck gut punches has left them feeling sad, lonely and riddled with anxiety in the weeks before that Santa guy is supposed to come sliding down the chimney. So, Ho-Ho-freaking-Ho. Unfortunately, there is no way of warding off the holiday blues entirely, but there is a great deal of research out there that suggests that marijuana might help make it more tolerable.

One of the newest studies on the subject appears in the latest journal Addiction. It shows that while marijuana use has experienced an increase in the United States, the bulk of the consumption is by people suffering from depression. The study, which examined some 730,000 people 12 and older, found that folks who are down-in-the-dumps are using cannabis to help elevate their mood.

In 2017, around 19% of the depressives in the 18-25-year-old demographic used marijuana within the past month, the study finds, while the numbers were closer to 9% for those who were not depressed. Those with depression were also twice as likely to use cannabis daily as opposed to those without it. “The rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression,” said Renee Goodwin, PhD, MPH, of Columbia University and The City University of New York.

It is worth mentioning, though, that this study does not explicitly hone in on the perils of a melancholy December. It doesn’t have to. The holiday blues, blahs (whatever you want to call them) is just a fancy label for a temporary bout with depression. Still, it is a condition that can be amplified for anyone who is already getting their cage rattled on a daily basis by a mental health disorder. It comes with feelings of exhaustion, lack of joy, irritability and withdrawing from family and friends. Toss in a month of Christmas music and cheesy Hallmark movies (is Christmas time really that much happier in Vermont?) and the holiday blues can go dark really quick.

But being high for the holidays could be just what the doctor ordered. Other studies have shown that cannabis is a reliable method for combatting anxiety and depression. But it’s all in how a person medicates that makes the difference between finding the Christmas spirit within or actually being haunted by it. Just last year, researchers at Washington State University (WSU) found that medical marijuana could really boost the overall mood of the emotionally downtrodden. Scientists said that one or two hits from a strain high in the plant’s non-intoxicating component CBD and lower in THC was effective in treating symptoms of depression.

This is interesting considering that a lot of folks are often under the impression that consuming strains with higher THC content sets them on course for happier times. But in reality, those strains have a tendency to make anxiety worse for some — a problem that no one needs more of when venturing out to the mall for some last-minute shopping this time of year. Therefore, people suffering from the holiday blues might find more Christmas cheer by microdosing strains such as Jack Herer or Harlequin. On a personal note, I’ve always found it difficult to be depressed about anything while on Blue Dream. This strain, which is one of America’s all-time favorites, has a way of locking away the ugliness of most situations and opening that trapdoor in the mind that leads to bright ideas and laughter.

But as with all things related to marijuana and the individual, it is important to ask your budtender for recommendations. Rest assured, they have met others suffering from the bah-humbugs, the same as you, and may have some strategic advice to keep you from becoming a Christmas calamity.

Adams, ByMike. “Cannabis May Help Combat the Holiday Blues.” Cannabis Now, 13 Dec. 2019, cannabisnow.com/cannabis-may-help-combat-the-holiday-blues/.

CBD vs. THC: What’s the difference?

Cannabis consumers have long prized potency (a high THC content) as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable. Though traditional demand for THC has caused an oversaturation of high-potency products, many consumers are starting to prefer less intense products that are lower in THC and higher in the non-intoxicating compound called cannabidiol (CBD).

THC and CBD are both cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, but they’re different in many ways that may influence your next dispensary purchase.

What are high-CBD cannabis strains?

(HighGradeRoots/iStock)

CBD is typically the second-most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, but this isn’t always the case. A strain may deliver CBD and THC in the following ratios:

  • High THC, low CBD (e.g.,10-30% THC, trace amounts of CBD)
  • Balanced CBD/THC (e.g., 5-15% THC and CBD)
  • High CBD, low THC (e.g., 5-20% CBD, THC under 5%)

CBD effects vs. THC effects

High-CBD strains tend to deliver very clear-headed, functional effects without the euphoric high associated with high-THC strains. They’re typically preferred by consumers who are extremely sensitive to the side effects of THC (e.g., anxiety, paranoia, dizziness). A high-CBD strain would also be a great choice for someone needing to medicate throughout the day to control pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other chronic conditions.

Balanced CBD/THC strains will be a little more euphoric than CBD-dominant strains, though they’re much less likely to induce anxiety, paranoia, and other negative side effects. Strains like these tend to be the most effective for pain relief, and they’re also well-suited for THC-sensitive consumers who’d like a mellow buzz.

CBD strains can be consumed just as you would THC strains. You can smoke or vaporize CBD-rich flower, eat a CBD-infused edible, swallow a CBD oil capsule, apply a CBD lotion, or use a CBD tincture sublingually. Hemp products also contain CBD, though it is a less efficient source and lacks the beneficial chemical diversity of cannabis-derived CBD products (more on that here).

What are the medical benefits of CBD?

(rez-art/iStock)

The list of conditions CBD may help with is ever-expanding. More research is needed to better understand the efficacy and range of CBD’s benefits, but it’s popularly used to manage the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Pain and inflammation
  • PTSD and anxiety
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Opioid withdrawal

Though clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD’s benefits in managing different conditions, it became most famous for treating a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy. Dravet’s Syndrome is notoriously resistant to current approved treatment methods. Sufferers are plagued by seizures, often up to hundreds a day, that worsen as they age and can be life-threatening. Currently, treatment methods include having the child wear an eyepatch, specialized diets, and brain surgery, but all have mixed success rates.

CBD vs. THC: legality

CBD has no lethal dose or known serious medical side effects, but it is still federally illegal. With the passing of the Farm Bill in December 2018, industrial hemp became a legal agricultural commodity in all 50 states. While the DEA still considers CBD to be a Schedule I controlled substance, it clarified in a memo that trace amounts of CBD found in hemp stalks or seeds were legal. However, the legality of hemp-derived CBD may vary from state to state, so it’s important to check your state’s law before stocking up on hemp-derived CBD products.

Cannabis strains that have a high CBD:THC ratio are legal only in states with legal, regulated cannabis markets.

What are some high-CBD strains I can try?

(The Cannabiz Agency/iStock)

Keep in mind that CBD levels may vary from crop to crop—even from plant to plant. However, below are some strains that have been bred to contain higher CBD levels, so they might be a good place to start. Check the map on their strain page to see if these are sold at a dispensary near you. We also recommend checking with dispensaries about the specifics of their strains’ CBD levels. It’s always a good idea to purchase only lab-tested products that clearly state the CBD/THC levels so you know what kind of experience to expect.

Staff, Leafly. “CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?” Leafly, 18 Nov. 2019, http://www.leafly.com/news/cbd/whats-the-deal-with-these-high-cbd-strains.

Does Weed Go Bad & How Long Does it Last?

At some point, most weed smokers find themselves asking, how long does weed last?

It’s a classic scenario: you’re out of bud and in your frantic search for more you discover a long-forgotten baggie of flower somewhere in the back of your closet. You’re excited about your find. But wait: how long does weed last? How long is weed good for? Can you still smoke that old, dried out marijuana? How long does weed stay good, and what happens if you smoke weed that isn’t fresh? This guide has all the information you need.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. How long is weed good for? Under ideal storage conditions, cannabis can actually stay relatively fresh for a surprisingly long time.

If it’s been properly harvesteddriedcured, and then stored, you can expect your weed to stay fresh for anywhere from six months to a year.

If you’ve done an exceptionally good job of storing your bud, and you’re a little bit lucky, you may be able to stretch that timeline even further. Possibly to the point of approaching two years.

But for most weed smokers, conditions are less than ideal. In the absence of humidity controlled storage containers, and assuming that your weed will encounter some degree of light and the temperature might be less than perfect, don’t expect to get a full year out of your weed.

So how long does weed last? In general, try to consume all your weed within six months of purchasing it. But, of course, if you’ve invested in high-quality storage equipment, then you can push it out to the year mark.

How Long Is Weed Good For: The Scientific Answer

Now that you have a general idea for how long does weed last, let’s get into the more scientific answer. First, it’s important to understand what actually happens to marijuana as it ages.

Essentially, all the chemicals that make marijuana special break down. Over time, many of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis slowly break down and lose potency.

As the terpenes break down, your bud loses flavor and scent. As a result, old bud is relatively tasteless and lacks that distinctive, sharp odor that fresh weed is supposed to have. Sometimes, old weed will end up tasting harsh and nasty. Either way, when the terpenes have broken down, your weed won’t taste or smell the way it’s supposed to.

Similarly, and probably more importantly, cannabinoids also break down over time. Old, worn out bud won’t be as potent because a lot of the THC will have broken down and dissipated.

And here’s where we can get very precise with figuring out how long is weed good for. Fortunately, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has looked into things for us.

Their researchers found that, on average, cannabis plant matter loses THC potency at this rate:

  • After one year, weed loses roughly 16% of its THC.
  • Two years in storage results in a loss of 26% of its THC.
  • Weed loses 34% of its THC after three years.
  • After four years in storage, weed loses 41% of its THC.

Let’s return to that old bag of weed you found at the back of your closet. How do you know if it’s bad? Basically, you’re looking for a few things:

  • Is it moldy? If your weed was too moist or humid, it may develop mold. Do not smoke moldy weed!
  • Is it dried out? If your bud has crumbled into dust, it’s obviously too old.
  • Does it smell fresh? Old marijuana lacks the crisp scent of fresh weed.
  • Does it break apart? If it’s spongy and doesn’t make any sounds when you pull apart a nug, it might be damp and moldy. If it instantly breaks down into dry dust, it’s too old.

So How Long Does Weed Stay Good For?

If you determine that your weed has gone bad, it’s not the end of the world. Technically speaking, you can still smoke it. It just won’t taste very good. And since most of the cannabinoids have probably already broken down you probably won’t get very high.

But smoking old weed won’t kill you or make you sick. The only exception is moldy marijuana. If your flowers have encountered too much moisture they might get moldy.

If you see discolored spots, white fuzzy mold, or if it smells like anything other than cannabis, don’t mess with it. Smoking or otherwise ingesting mold can definitely make you sick or worse, so steer clear.

Now that you know the answer to the question, how long does weed stay good, what should you do to keep it fresh? To preserve your bud for as long as possible, practice proper storage techniques.

Try your best to control temperature and humidity. Keep it away from direct sunlight, and store it in a cool, dry, dark location. With a little bit of care and some basic equipment, you can get the most of your bud.

Lindsey, Nick. “Does Weed Go Bad & How Long Does It Last?” High Times, 20 Nov. 2019, hightimes.com/guides/how-long-does-weed-stay-good-for/.

How Long Does a Weed High Last? The Definitive Guide

I’m imagining you sitting there, trying to focus as you type “how long does a high last” into the search bar. Or you could be on your phone pacing back and forth anxiously or crawled under covers hiding from the world. I hope you’re okay; I hope you’re not having an overwhelming experience. But if you’re looking up “how long does a weed high last” because you want yours to end, take heart. No high lasts forever, and you’ll probably be right as rain in an hour or so.

Why Worry How Long Your Weed High Will Last?

Maybe things aren’t as dire as I’m imagining. Maybe you need to get behind the wheel eventually and want to know how long you should wait to drive. Perhaps you just want to know what kind of experience to expect from different cannabis products and delivery methods.

Perhaps you’re thinking strategically: that awesome band goes on at 10 p.m. and you want to plan your session before they hit, so you peak when they rock your favorite track. Or maybe you’re a medical patient who wants to leave space in the day for your treatment without compromising your productivity.

After all, there are all kinds of reasons you might be asking yourself “how long does a marijuana high last?” If you have some experience with weed, you probably already have a sense of how long your high sticks around. But you might still want to know how you can take control over that aspect of your experience.

And if you’re relatively new to cannabis, having an authoritative answer is an important part of making sure you have an enjoyable session. For everyone who enjoys cannabis, timing, as they say, is everything.

How Long Does A High Last? Use the “Highness Equation” to Find Out

It might not get past the peer review board of a medical journal, but here’s a more-or-less scientific way to “calculate” how long you can expect your weed high to last. Call it the “highness equation.”

The highness equation incorporates the four major aspects that determine how long your marijuana high will last. Here it is:

Length of High = ( (dose x concentration) / (metabolism x tolerance) ) x delivery method

So that’s the dose you take multiplied by the concentration of the product, divided by your metabolism times your tolerance, all multiplied by the delivery method factor: ingestion or inhalation.

In other words: how much weed you put in your body, divided by how your body processes and responds, all shaped by the specific path the weed takes through your system.

It’s less complicated than it sounds. And if you’re looking for a bottom line answer—the median, the average, the “ballpark,” then your answer is simple.

After you get high from inhaling weed, expect to stay high for about one to two hours. If you’ve eaten your cannabis, your high will last about 3 to 4 hours, maybe longer.

But if the tl;dr version doesn’t satisfy, read on to find out the factors that influence how long your high lasts. Then, once you figure out where you fall, you can start experimenting with ways to prolong, or if need be, shorten your high.

Your High Lasts As Long As THC Meets Up With Your Endocannabinoid System

But that doesn’t mean you necessarily feel high. And there’s the crux of the question. Your “high” is the sum of an infinitely complex series of metabolic and chemical reactions occurring all throughout your body.

Whether we perceive the effects of those reactions depends on their intensity and our sensitivity to them. And that’s why you’ll find studies claiming that the effects of cannabis can last from 5 hours up to a full day.

That may be true on a chemical level. But THC can interact with our bodies without giving us the experience of feeling high, especially at low levels.

And that’s where the bottom of our “highness equation” comes in: metabolism x tolerance. Being on the bottom of the equation means these are the factors that work against your high, shortening how long you feel the effects of THC.

Metabolism x Tolerance

There’s a common misconception that a person’s weight determines how high they get and how long that high will last. But in fact, it’s a person’s metabolism that plays a major role in the length of a high.

The length of your high depends on the presence of THC in your bloodstream. Your blood carries that THC to the network of cell receptors it binds to, the endocannabinoid system(ECS).

Your body is also in the business of metabolizing the stuff you put into it, breaking it down, taking what it needs, and expelling the rest.

So if you’ve got a high metabolism, your highs will tend to be shorter. Or at least, your body is working against the clock a little bit.

Then, there’s that elusive and hard-to-quantify factor of tolerance. In common parlance, we say we have a high or low tolerance to weed. But in reality, what we mean is that we have a higher or lower tolerance to the dopamine and other neurotransmitters our brain releases when THC meets up with the ECS.

The good news is, cannabis doesn’t so thoroughly deplete our dopamine supplies that we have to chase ever larger quantities to get the same effect.

But that also means THC’s powers are limited. Hence the ceiling effect frequent users experience, where no matter what they do, they can’t get higher than a certain point. If you’re hitting that ceiling, the answer to the question “how long does a high last?” is probably not long enough.

For most regular cannabis users, however, the same dose will produce roughly the same experience time after time. For heavy users, even a short “tolerance break” can restore your tolerance levels to their low defaults, making your next high feel more like your first.

However, if you’ve built up a tolerance over time or with frequent use, your high is going to feel shorter for sure.

William Casey/ Shutterstock

If You Want a Longer High, Consider Upping Your Dosage or Using Higher-Potency Products

Now that we’ve covered what shortens the length of your high, let’s look at what extends it. This is definitely the simpler part of the equation.

Put more weed into your system, and in all likelihood, you’re going to have a longer high. That means smoking strains with higher THC concentrations. Or vaping concentrates—or even better distillates, with upwards of 85 percent THC.

It also means taking a larger dose. Not only will your high last longer, it will stretch out your peak so you enjoy your high as long as your body allows. How long does a high last for you if you smoke flower versus vape concentrates?

How Long Does A High Last: Calculating Dose x Concentration

The top of our highness equation is pretty self-explanatory. But a few points bear repeating.

If you’re new to cannabis, it’s really a good idea to start with smaller doses. Don’t feel like you have to take huge rips or smoke multiple bowls just because the other kids are doing it. If you want that, you’ll get there in due time.

For now, appreciate what you have, that veteran weed enthusiasts often sorely miss: those early, heady days when a single puff sent you to outer space. (Maybe that’s part of what drives dabbing culture: that desire to recreate those first encounters with weed—that inimitable intensity and euphoria.)

The rest of us are busy chasing that dragon with ever-higher concentrations and tech that makes huge doses possible. Rip a 2-gram dab in one sitting and you’ll be high for the better part of the day, probably. Rip 20 grams and you’ll probably feel high for the rest of the week.

So when it comes to dosage, that’s easy. Smoke or vape more for a longer high. Even better, spread out your sessions. That will keep tossing you back up to the peak of your high when you’re on your way down.

And in terms of concentration, look for high-THC strains and strains with ultra-low CBD. (CBD can counterbalance the effects of THC on your system, shortening your high.) Or just stick with concentrates and extracts.

Canna Obscura/ Shutterstock

The Delivery Method Factor: Inhale or Eat?

We’ve covered all the parts of the highness equation. Except for the one that shapes them all: delivery method.

Those who’ve tried them know that edibles tend to produce a much longer-lasting high than inhalation methods.

That’s because of the metabolic pathway that THC takes through your body when you eat it versus when you inhale it. To make a long story short, your digestive tract converts THC into a different active form than heating alone.

How long does a high last from consuming edibles? Well that form, THC-COOH, or carboxy-THC, has some serious staying power. But your body takes some time to produce it. That’s why you have to wait 45 minutes to an hour or so for an edible to really kick in.

Once that THC-COOH is pumping through your bloodstream, you’re along for the ride until your body is finished processing it. Again, that can be about three to four hours on average and sometimes longer.

So for those truly looking for an extended high experience and who have the patience for an edible or drinkable cannabis product to kick in, ingesting your weed is the way to go.

How Long Does A Weed High Last For You? Your Mileage May Vary

How long does a weed high last if you eat your cannabis? How long does a marijuana high last if you smoke flower? Just generally, how long does a high last? If you’ve come away with anything from this article, hopefully it’s an appreciation for the complex chemical dance that is a weed high, and all the factors that make up the answer to those questions.

Of course, there’s no definite, constant answer. The lengths of your own highs will change. No need to compare them to other folks’.

So, how long does a high last for you? If you plan on one to two hours for inhaled cannabis and three to four with ingested weed, longer with higher doses and concentrations and shorter with higher metabolisms and tolerances, you’ll be all set.

Drury, Adam. “How Long Does a Weed High Last? The Definitive Guide.” High Times, 20 Nov. 2019, hightimes.com/health/how-long-does-weed-high-last/.

Did Elon Musk Smoke The Most Expensive Blunt of All Time?

Elon Musk’s decision to smoke a blunt on Joe Rogan’s podcast had some unforeseen consequences.

Phil Stafford/ Shutterstock

According to a new report on SpaceX’s safety review following Elon Musk hitting a blunt on Joe Rogan’s podcast, it may have been the most expensive blunt of all time!

Politico national security reporter Jacqueline Feldscher dug up some contracting records revealing that NASA ended up paying SpaceX $5 Million to conduct the review. While the review was widely publicized a year ago when it was first ordered, this is the first time it’s been reported that taxpayers got the bill for it. 

Boeing, SpaceX’s rivals in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to outsource trips to the space station so the agency can focus its time on more distant efforts like mars, were also forced to go through a review. Politico reported unlike SpaceX, Boeing did not get additional funds to cover the process. 

The Washington Post reported last fall that the reviews would take months and involve hundreds of interviews that would dive into the workplace culture at SpaceX and Boeing. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the Post the whole point of the reviews was to assure public confidence in the two companies about to make their first test flights. 

“If I see something that’s inappropriate, the key concern to me is what is the culture that led to that inappropriateness and is NASA involved in that,” he said. “As an agency we’re not just leading ourselves, but our contractors, as well. We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they’ll be safe.”

The National Security Institute’s quarterly publication Employee Security Connection is for the defense industry and government employees, and is distributed at NASA by the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Office of Protective Services. This spring, in the wake of the Elon Musk uproar, it covered the impact of cannabis on security clearances for staff and contractors.

“Here’s the problem: In connection with SpaceX, Musk holds a security clearance. In the wake of his televised toking, an investigation was launched (pardon the pun) into whether he should retain that clearance,” the article said of Elon’s puff. 

The NSI emphasized that federal agencies and defense contractors definitely weren’t treating marijuana like alcohol regardless of the number of states that have legalized or decriminalized. “This is true regardless of the amount of pot or the form in which it is ingested,” the article read. 

The next part was a bit more interesting. With cannabis only being criminal in 15 states at the time of publishing, the article addressed whether the use of cannabis impacting someone’s security clearance could change in the future. 

“Many experts say it will—but for now, marijuana use can still harm your chance at obtaining or retaining a security clearance,” the article read.

NASA, SpaceX, and Elon Musk

The NSI next noted that all marijuana use isn’t the same level of a red flag. Use that “happened so long ago, and so infrequently, that it does not cloud a candidate’s judgment or trustworthiness” isn’t the kind of thing that will prevent you from getting clearance. They mentioned guidelines specifically written so that candidates who can demonstrate measures they’ve taken to disassociate themselves from past drug use would not be ruled out.

Finally, when addressing cannabis questions these days, you’re likely to get some questions about CBD. They had that covered too. It’s in the exact same boat as pot with federal law, and would definitely impact someone’s chances of getting a security clearance. 

SpaceX only has one more in-flight abort test to complete before the first Dragon test flight to the international space station with crew members on board. 

We reached out to NASA and SpaceX for more details on the review. 

Devine, Jimi. “Did Elon Musk Smoke The Most Expensive Blunt of All Time?” High Times, 13 Nov. 2019, hightimes.com/news/did-elon-musk-smoke-most-expensive-blunt-all-time/.

BIG DATA & CANNABIS – INTERVIEW WITH JON LOWEN CO-FOUNDER OF SURFSIDE

Surfside is a customer acquisition platform that specializes in activating and expanding 1st party data for marketing, insights, and measurement. They are currently focused in the cannabis industry but working across verticals to help businesses understand, retain and acquire new customers.

With the industry becoming even more data driven, we’re grateful to have learned more about what Surfside is up to from one of their co-founders, Jon Lowen. Jon is a proven leader in the advertising technology industry, implementing strategies that deliver results across business operations and product development.

Most recently Jon was Chief Strategy Officer at SITO Mobile, where he was at the helm of growth strategy acquisitions and business development as he helped increase revenue 40x over his tenure. Prior to CSO, Jon was COO and led operations and product at multiple companies including SITO, DoubleVision, and Carbon Media Group (formerly Outdoor Hub).

During his leadership, Jon has grown each business by over 10x from a revenue and employee perspective and successfully procured multiple capital raises and exits. Here’s what he had to tell us about Surfside:

[Q.] Hi Jon! Can you tell us a little bit about your personal background and how you came to enter the cannabis industry??

[A.] Sure thing! Early on I began my career in advertising and technology. While still in college I joined a startup that was focused on advertising for hunting and fishing brands across digital media.

This was an interesting vertical as a lot of these companies did not have an outlet for digital advertising and many mainstream publishers/technologies banned brands that advertised guns and ammo – which is obviously a big spender in the hunting space.

It was during this time that I learned the ins and outs of the digital media space and how to create solutions for underserved markets

Over the next 10+ years I continued to work with different technologies and stay ahead of the curve as digital media grew at a rapid rate. Most recently I was involved with location-based media through mobile advertising and we utilized location data to help with driving sales and foot traffic for brick and mortar retailers.

We found that location data was an excellent way to understand the behavior and purchase intent of consumers and that there were a number of applications when utilized properly. Through all this experience, we wanted to take what we had learned through working with 1,000s of brands and retailers and create a simplified solution that was accessible to the masses. One of our first clients was a multi-state dispensary who was in search of data and media solutions.

Through this client, we became very interested and educated on the limitations and technologies available to the cannabis market.

It was at this time that we decided to focus our efforts on solving for the lack of media capabilities, scale and technology that served this market. We wanted cannabis companies to have the same if not better opportunities to grow and manage their businesses through smarter consumer data and targeted marketing.

Surfside Experience Graph

[Q.] What is Surfside and how does it help dispensaries and brands acquire new customers?

[A.] In Every brand, retailer or business has different attributes, products or culture that drives consumers or other businesses to work with them. We help companies identify what those attributes are so they can find additional people, devices or businesses with those same attributes to grow their business in a more efficient manner.

We work with brands and dispensaries so that they can take customer data that may go unused, like website visits, store visits, purchase insights, media campaign engagement, and other digital and physical interactions that a consumer may have with a company, and we turn all of that data into insights and actionable audiences for marketing purposes..

Surfside maintains a real-time graph on consumer data (The Experience Graph) that profiles 99% of consumers in the US and CAN – it includes demographics, location, purchases, behaviors and associated devices.

When this data is merged 1st party data from a brand or dispensary, it provides additional insight on who these customers are and how and why they are purchasing or interacting with your business. Specifically for a brand, if you have people visiting your site, you want to know what type of consumer is interested in your brand and how can you then reach that consumer, and similar consumers, to then drive a purchase online or in-store.

For a dispensary, it may be connecting your POS data, with your CRM and website data, to better understand the path to purchase/store visit. When working with brands and dispensaries, big and small, we can use the Surfside data and/or the customer 1st party data to help create a more targeted advertising campaign that is tailored to audiences that are more likely to become customers – lowering customer acquisition costs and increasing time to conversion.

[Q.] How does Surfside collect it’s first-party data?

[A.] Surfside partners with a number of dispensaries, brands, e-commerce platforms, POS systems and other cannabis related datasets and technologies.

We are observing deterministic and anonymized online and offline behaviors and associating them to marketable IDs. We then enrich this consumer-level cannabis data with other real-world behaviors and attributes so that Surfside can get a complete picture of the consumer journey and understand what components or combinations are driving current and future actions.

[Q.] Can you tell us more about the Surfside ecosystem?

[A.] The Surfside ecosystem allows you to plan, execute, optimize and measure your business growth. We present a single solution that allows businesses to take static and unused customer data and turn it into marketing segments. This allows businesses to efficiently market highly relevant new and existing customers via omni-channel advertising.

At the core of this technology is our Experience Graph. The Experience graph works with our data collection technology to enrich and turn single purpose data into highly actionable and multidimensional customer data.

Our web-based interface allows for customers to visualize and build audiences, measure campaign and retail successes, along with plan and forecast future marketing initiatives. Once you have built and discovered the proper audiences and media mix model, you are able to action and execute programmatic media campaigns through the Surfside DSP.

[Q.] How does Surfside ensure that ads reach of-age audiences?

[A.] We take a multi-step approach when validating age and ensuring proper targeting. Table stakes are being able to target specific publishers that have validated that their audience is at least 71.6% over the age of 21.

We take additional steps beyond that as our goal is to drive real results. So there is no value to Surfside or our clients to reach underaged consumers as they are unable to enter a dispensary or order these products online – our goals are to drive sales and store visits. To achieve this level of targeting we use predefined audiences from our Experience Graph which has age, purchase and location data associated to marketing IDs.

Beyond putting an age filter on the audiences we reach, we look at their visitation to age-gated locations and their lifestyle habits to be able to validate against the age data that we associate to our profiles. This is cross referenced against a number of 3rd party datasets so that we can validate our findings against other reputable sources as well.

[Q.] What do you think is one of the biggest obstacles facing the industry today?

[A.] There are so many obstacles in this industry that it is really hard to pick one. Also, being an ancillary company and non-plant touching we are very sheltered to the true obstacles that exist.

That being said, I believe they all stem from the lack of communication and organization of the states to create consistency. With every state having different sets of rules and restrictions it severely hampers the ability for brands and retailers to scale nationally.

The extra cost that goes into compliance in each region or town, or making sure you create packaging that is scalable against restrictive and less restrictive states, takes away from the ability to educate consumers and grow the industry. Creating market standards is inevitable and you would think that we could skip the political jockeying as efficiency benefits all parties involved.

[Q.] How is Surfside working to address it?

[A.] Surfside is vocal and active within the national cannabis organizations. We are using our experience and relationships with industry leaders to help create standards for advertising. Our goal is to create separate advertising standards for CBD and THC in conjunction with the national cannabis organizations that would be adopted nationally.

Cannabis Magazine. “Big Data & Cannabis – Interview with Jon Lowen Co-Founder of Surfside.” Cannabis Magazine, 2 Oct. 2019, cannabismagazine.com/big-data-cannabis-interview-with-jon-lowen-co-founder-of-surfside/.

From A Dude’s Dorm Room to Delivery: The Evolution of Purchasing Weed

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My boyfriend was pretty excited today. Why? Because today was the first day he had cannabis delivered. 

Ah the future. Where you can literally hop on your computer, put in an order for Humboldt sativa, maybe a few indica minis, and thirty minutes to an hour later… cannabis at your door. With taxes and fees, you definitely pay for convenience, but heavens is it nicer than code words like “1/8th of cucumber” texted to some friend of a friend with no assurances they’ll come through.

But are we boring now? 

I remember the old days when knowing who had weed was a stressor and the power you could feel as someone who “had a guy”. Never mind that “the guy” was unreliable. Never mind it was ALWAYS awkward buying weed from someone who was an acquaintance or, worse, really took the concept of being a dealer to paranoid highs. I can’t be the only one who got a tongue lashing for accidentally saying “marijuana” out loud in a dealers’ presence. We’d nod our heads at early legalization activism and wistfully imagine traveling to Amsterdam. Man, cannabis could be a real serious subject for something we used in the back of the Poor Billy’s Seafood Restaurant kitchen.

But times changed and they changed fast. In 2013, I moved from Hawaii, where weed was practically currency, to Los Angeles into a studio apartment with my then-boyfriend. I had no job, no friends, and no money. I found an 1/8th of weed in my travel duffel bag, stowed away accidentally, that had somehow escaped both my attention and the TSA’s. For a little while, I had a break from white-knuckling my kneecaps looking for work. Those first few weeks in LA were filled with smoking up after a day of begging for work door-to-door and then hiking for an hour or two until the dark of night settled. I started to feel like I could maybe pull it together in this city. Then the 1/8th was cashed and I was left with the greatest enemy to any new big city transplant:

My unending, anxious thoughts.

I wanted to get back my cannabis break time before I snapped. This was the time of medical marijuana. Make an appointment with a doctor working part-time for a dispensary, get your certificate or card, and head down to the dispensary. I went back and forth on it. My boyfriend wasn’t a big cannabis guy and I still wasn’t rocking too many friends, so I didn’t really have anyone who could describe the experience. So I did what I always do. I over-thought it. Armed with as much knowledge on the process as Google could recommend, I made my appointment and headed in. 

Maybe unsurprisingly, I was really nervous. At the time, there was a rumor that getting your certificate could put you on a federal government list and we weren’t that far past from the documentaries showcasing cancer patients getting a federal shake down over medical marijuana. Plus, honestly, I was afraid of being embarrassed. I was ready to explain my plight of horrible menstrual issues (true) and insomnia (also true) and how cannabis had been my saving grace… but also scared the doctor would, I don’t know, stand up and tell me they KNEW I was full of it.

Boy was I wrong. I was checked in, hung out in the waiting room and, after checking my blood pressure, it was suggested I ingest cannabis as opposed to smoking. And that was it! I was off to the dispensary, certificate in hand (I never paid for the card), where I waited in the front room for twenty minutes because of the one-in-one-out rule. Regardless, I walked out of a store with cannabis. I had to stop myself from texting friends—I mean that’s just tacky. It was so convenient! But also… sterile? As I grew more accustomed to the process, I began to feel a little weird. I liked the availability and the assurance on the quality of product, but found myself turned off by the check-in process, harsh fluorescent lighting, and rules of dispensaries for medical marijuana. A pharmacy for cannabis wasn’t what we were fantasizing about while picking seeds from an overpriced sandwich baggie of weed all that time ago in college.

From Medical to Recreational: The Evolution of Purchasing Weed

Then came the Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 and the dispensaries for medicinal marijuana began to transition to just plain old dispensaries. In those early days, your medical marijuana card (or bedraggled certificate if you didn’t pay extra for an actual card) would not only get you in the store, it gave you access to product with a higher THC level. Nice. I was cool again getting my special “M” stamp before waiting in line for my turn at the counter. Soon that was phased out and the taxes phased in. Everything comes with a price and in the case of legalized weed, it was a literal price. When I visited my hometown across the country, I regaled those around me of my experience with legal weed to the scoffs of my former dealer friend: “God, for those prices it hardly seems worth it”. I sniffed back that I prefer to pay for convenience but internally I wondered: was I ok with this?

There’s a growing debate around legalization and regulation where the independent growers are getting pushed out for bigger companies with backing taking their place. Were we killing something culturally or humanly important by going along with the current status quo? For convenience?

Looking at the state of cannabis procurement, the answer to that question is complicated. With legalization came the rise of companies like MedMen and Eaze. Companies who make finding and enjoying cannabis as easy as a Grubhub delivery. And with them came weed tourism. People from all over the country traveling to LA to jump on a weed tour bus where the blunts come in handfuls and the final destination is… MedMen. Slowly the dispensaries relaxed their rules. You still have to register but you only need a license. The interior design became more welcoming and less antiseptic. The people working could have been (and sometimes were) your friends from the scene. But also, dispensaries became more corporate. Matching shirts for employees or rewards programs. Partnerships with other companies. Billboards for cannabis varieties, not just the dispensaries. Then, finally, the rise of cannabis delivery. Ridiculous fees and taxes, but the option to have cannabis (all varieties) delivered to your home up to 10pm at night felt like a gift. 

Yet the other evening, as I waited for my card to go through my delivery driver’s reader, I thought of the state of this convenience. What began as a plea to ease regulation on cannabis in light of its benefits and in consideration to those incarcerated over it is now completely corporate. The first cannabis cafe has opened in LA and I’ve still never been to Amsterdam. Is this… ok?

I don’t know. But I’m not going back to buying a 1/4 that’s half stem from a dude at Burger King. I have my dignity back and I’m willing to risk becoming a little dull for it. Though I am all in for cannabis farmers’ markets.

Kimball, CK. “From A Dude’s Dorm Room to Delivery: The Evolution of Purchasing Weed.” High Times, 31 Oct. 2019, hightimes.com/culture/dudes-dorm-room-delivery-evolution-purchasing-weed/.

5 Cannabis Strains For Getting Cozy on Cold Days

As the days get ever shorter and temperatures drop, the temptation to hygge it up indoors gets pretty strong.

Leaving the house after dark (or at all) becomes a bit of a hard sell. So, when the urge to just stay home is strong and the Himalayan salt lamp isn’t quite cutting it, there are plenty of cannabis strains that pair perfectly with indoor activities.

Behold, the best cannabis strains for lounging around on a cold day.

Kinky Kush

“When I think of chilling on the couch, I think of indica strains with a high THC,” said Caitlin O’Hara, who works in media relations at Canopy Growth. And, this powerful, piney strain certainly fits the bill. A high THC content: about 25-28%, means it will definitely put you on your ass if you’re having a hard time getting there yourself. This strain comes highly recommended by those with stressful jobs, and it’s affordable, too, from only $8 per gram.

“Effects came on fast and kept building for a good 15 minutes. Very chatty and mellow, body lost all tension and the effects lasted for longer than I usually get from most cannabis.” –Squidpants

Sunset

This is the strain you pick for a shame-inducing Fitbit score. With a THC content ranging from 18-28%, this spicy, peppery indica is said to lull the body into a state that makes it feel like an actual part of the couch.

“I primarily smoke at the end of the day to unwind. This not only unwound me, it disassembled me.” –Stunnned

Highlands

This charmingly-dubbed indica-dominant strain—sure to put a little grin on the faces of East Coasters—is known for its clean scent with notes of clove and pine, and mid-to-high range THC levels ranging from 16-25%. Some users say it leads to full-body ease accompanied by a feeling of clear-headedness.

“Beautiful indica strain, I find during the day it mellows you out, but no real burnout phase, but could also put ya to sleep…” –RedBeardio

Critical Mass

Many people who experience a lot of pain in their body say CBD provides them with rest and relief. This indica-dominant strain has a moderate THC level, at about 19-22% balanced by 2-7% CBD. This might be one to try if all your old injuries act up on cold damp days.

“When I’m telling you I felt the whole 9.81 m/s of gravitational force coming down all over my body I realized Isaac Newton discovered gravity when he was stoned. I had both a head and body high—smoked about 8/10 hits from a bong and would def say this amount is not for the weak…” –NucTrrrip

Blue Dream

While strong indicas are the resounding (anecdotal) preference for a chill time, this sativa-dominant hybrid is an exception. The popular strain balances full-body relaxation with gentle cerebral invigoration and is rich in pinene, known to promote alertness ideal for a full-day movie marathon.

“Perfectly balanced effects. Physically relaxing without being sedating, paired with [an] uppy head high that still leaves you functional and clear-headed. This strain just makes me feel good consistently.” –Cs027

Ratchford, Sarah. “5 Cannabis Strains For Getting Cozy on Cold Days.” Leafly, 23 Nov. 2018, http://www.leafly.com/news/strains-products/cozy-cannabis-strains-for-cold-days.

5 Reasons Why No One’s Giving Your Kid Edibles

Every year the news warns us of treacherous stoners who are filling your children’s plastic pumpkins with cannabis edibles disguised as Halloween candies. And every year, every person around this office sighs the largest of sighs because we all know that these concerns are ridiculous and meritless.

Why? Multiple reasons. And because I have too much time on my hands and too much pettiness in my soul, I’m going to tell you the top 5 reasons why NO ONE IS GIVING YOUR KID EDIBLES.

Time

Time is the most precious resource that any of us have. And every day, we all battle with ourselves about how to use it most efficiently. One way to NOT use time efficiently is taking the 15-30 minutes to go to a cannabis dispensary, give your ID to the door person, go inside, shop around various glass cases, choose your products, show your ID again, buy them in bulk, and then head home to take the time to open every package, transfer them to a big plastic candy bowl, and then hand them out to underage children for 3-6 evening hours.

Money

While time is our most important resource, money is the biggest reason this list exists. Straight up, NO ONE IS SPENDING THEIR HARD-EARNED 40-HOUR-PER-WEEK DOLLARS ON EDIBLES TO GIVE AWAY TO YOUR KID. Bro, cannabis is so damn expensive. A single edible is hitting you for like $5-10 and a multipack hits for $20-40, so to pull off a silly trick like the edible fake-out would hit any of us for a smooth $200-400.

Doorbells

Stoners hate doorbells, and “CHECK YOUR KIDS’ CANDY FOR THC SNACKS” ignores that fact. You ever been sitting on the couch smoking on a fatty when the doorbell rang unexpectedly? You know friends don’t ring the doorbell, so it’s like “Hold up… Who invited the cops?!”

The simple fact that none of us want to take a break from chillin’ and watching Wu Tang: An American Saga on Hulu to get up and sit down 100 times for a joke that none of us will even see pay off is enough reason to dispel any fears that trick-or-treating is a gateway drug.

Humor

The only reason to tell a joke is to get a laugh. The only reason to pull a prank is to watch the victim get pranked. Neither of these can happen if your kid is eating edibles in the comfort of their own home, miles away from where they got the supposedly tainted candy. So there’s literally no reason for anyone to ever do this in the name of humor. And since THC would only get your kid high and not actually cause any physical harm, there’s no motivation for that type of evil, either. Therefore, it’s time to accept the truth.

Legalization

Literally the biggest mission of cannabis enthusiasts is to get this plant legalized so we can smoke freely like the good Lord intended. That can’t happen if shady shit like children getting tricked by edibles is happening. So why would anyone in this community set us back by pulling off one of the worst and least rewarding jokes possible?

Answer: they wouldn’t. They didn’t last Halloween, they won’t this Halloween, and guess what? Next Halloween is off the table, too.

Jordan, Dante. “5 Reasons Why No One’s Giving Your Kid Edibles.” Leafly, 23 Oct. 2019, http://www.leafly.com/news/lifestyle/no-one-wants-to-give-your-kid-marijuana-edibles.

7 Cannabis Strains with Balanced Mind and Body Effects

“Campus Mental Health.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2019, http://www.apa.org/advocacy/higher-education/mental-health/.

High in cannabinoid levels, with myrcenecaryophyllene, and limonene mixed in, Alien OG couples a trippy mental experience with heavy-hitting relaxation. It gets both sides of the equation from its parent strains: the lazy, couch-locking Tahoe OG and the spacey, psychedelic Alien Kush.

Double Dream

Though Double Dream’s physical and mental effects are both clearly defined, neither is overwhelming. On the mind side of things, expect dreamy euphoric vibes; in the body, you’ll experience a melty physical relaxation. To top it off, this delicious strain smells of spice and flowers and tastes like a bowl of fresh berries on the exhale.

Cherry AK-47

A rare cherry-tasting phenotype of the widely-known AK-47Cherry AK-47 comes in two phases: Early on, you’ll enjoy a buzzy cerebral rush; as the head high levels out, a pleasantly soothing physical sensation will take hold. It’s a perfect strain for those who enjoy mind and body effects to a similar degree but don’t necessarily want them all at once.

Chemdog

The genetic background of Chemdog is murky and mysterious, but there’s no doubt this strain is nothing to mess with. Through each fresh lungful of diesel-laden smoke, it’ll press the body down like a weighted blanket while simultaneously spurring the mind on to new heights.

Headband

Headband goes straight to the dome, both physically and mentally. Its physical effects are concentrated around the crown of the head, as suggested by the strain name. Inside the mind, stress is washed away while creativity is kickstarted. You can thank Headband’s superstar parent strains for its balanced high: It inherits that mental exhilaration from Sour Diesel and the physical relaxation from OG Kush.

Scooby Snacks

Scooby Snacks brings together the best of Platinum GSC and Face Off OG. The result is a beguiling West Coast blend of pleasurable mental effects and a slow onset of physical sedation. We suggest keeping this sweet, piney strain by your bedside to help you fall asleep slowly and smoothly.

Golden Lemon 

It’s strange to feel deep muscular relaxation while your mind is racing, but Golden Lemon bridges the gap between these disparate mental and physical impacts. The result is an intriguing balance of euphoria and sedation with a flavor profile like lemon candy.

Konen, Brett. “7 Cannabis Strains with Balanced Mind and Body Effects.” Leafly, 17 Oct. 2019, http://www.leafly.com/news/strains-products/weed-strains-balanced-mind-body-effects.

Are the Feds Changing Their Tune Toward Cannabis?

Top 15 qualifying medical conditions

There are growing signs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and federal authorities could be changing their attitudes and policies toward cannabis, potentially paving the way for more studies and additional opportunities for partnerships. Those signs include:

  • Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp.
  • The FDA’s approval last year of GW Pharmaceuticals’ cannabis-based epilepsy drug Epidiolex.
  • Growing pressure from politicians and the medical and patient communities for more cannabis research.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent decision to expand the number of federally approved growers of cannabis for research beyond the University of Mississippi.

“I would suggest from a high level that the wheels seem to be turning pretty quickly here regarding the use of cannabinoids as therapeutics,” said Stephen Schultz, vice president of investor relations at GW Pharma.

Already, a growing number of companies as well as universities and other institutions are running clinical trials involving cannabinoids. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, a U.S. government database of federally approved medical studies, there were 182 active federally approved studies into cannabis in the United States as of Aug. 28.

“Any company that wanted to explore the use of cannabinoids as medicines and go through the FDA’s route can do so,” GW Pharma’s Schultz said. “Evidenced by the fact that we’ve been able to develop Epidiolex for certain treatment-resistant epilepsies through the FDA’s process would suggest that’s a doable scenario for anyone.”

But the number of federally approved cannabis studies and Schultz’s comment shouldn’t leave the impression it’s easy to build a company that harnesses cannabinoids into FDA-approved medicines.

Rather, it’s a long and expensive process. As Schultz noted, GW Pharma was founded in 1998 but didn’t get FDA approval for Epidiolex until June 2018. Late that year, the company’s product became available by prescription at a reported annual price tag of $32,500, although it is covered by some health insurance.

“We would hope that other companies would be able to leverage the breakthrough work that we’ve done, to be able to follow that path,” Schultz said. “But GW’s success comes on the back of 20 years of work. This isn’t a company that was set up overnight to take advantage of this situation. This is a company that was established specifically to develop cannabis-derived pharmaceutical medicine in England in 1998. The chemical composition of our medicines is by design and goes through preclinical evaluation, clinical evaluation, regulatory review and is then made available to patients.”

Beyond research, federal authorities are under pressure to establish regulations governing the booming CBD industry sooner rather than later, according to analysts.

“The consumer demand for CBD is so high, and the political will supporting CBD is so high, that the FDA is really trying to bend over backwards to allow this industry to remain,” said Will Garvin, an FDA specialist in the cannabis practice of the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney law firm in New York.

But Nicholas Vita, CEO of New York-based Columbia Care, predicts federal authorities will also take a greater enforcement role with cannabis products, especially if there is federal legalization.

“No matter what, the feds will be involved in some way, shape or form, sooner than later. A couple things will happen. One, the FDA will come in and probably shut down a lot of people who are making medical claims—and we’ve already seen some of this start to happen. They will be more focused on manufacturing standards,” Vita said.

“They’re going to become very discriminating in terms of who can import or ship across state lines. Then you’re going to have enforcement that’s going to treat it as a regulated substance, and anyone who operated outside of those regulatory structures is going to have a real problem.”

Sacirbey, Omar. “Signs Federal Authorities Could Be Changing Their Attitudes and Policies toward Cannabis.” Marijuana Business Magazine, 4 Oct. 2019, mjbizmagazine.com/feds-changing-their-tune-toward-cannabis/.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VAPING CBD OIL?

First, let me start by prefacing that everyone has a preferred method for consuming cannabis and / or CBD. I firmly believe it’s up to the individual to figure out what’s the best form of consumption for themselves.

Second, my preference for CBD has come in the form of vaping and I’d like to share with all of you, why it has become my preference.

And while many may be aware, it’s best to start by saying, CBD oil is the extracted byproduct from cannabis or hemp plant. And while most people are inclined to using marijuana the conventional way like smoking or eating, others prefer some of the more recent methods in the market over the past several years, more commonly known as vaping.

Of course, the safety of vaping CBD oil will still depend on the product’s purity. Since CBD oil is not regulated properly in some countries where cannabis is legal like Canada, sometimes the methods of extraction and the final product can be sketchy.

Hence, it’s imperative that you choose a trusted and reliable dispensary (or brand) to ensure that the CBD oil is extracted with less harmful solvents.

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If you intend to get the most cannabinoids from CBD, look for expert growers that harvest, dry, and cure superior cannabis flowers. Plus, check if the dispensary is using CO2 as the primary solvent for extraction as this is considered the cleanest method for vaping. It also doesn’t hurt to ask if the dispensary has tested their CBD products for potency and other harmful substances like pesticides and heavy metals.

How Does Vaping CBD Oil Work?

While many are already familiar with “vaping”, for those left to discover this form of ingestion, vaping takes place through the form o f a battery-operated “pen”, which works by releasing power to the heating chamber. Once the CBD oil is heated between 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, this then produces the CBD oil into vapor and is then inhaled through the vape pen’s mouthpiece.

Jupiter Research  – Image Source

Benefits of Vaping CBD Oil

So, what are some of the benefits of vaping that have personally made me feel like this is one of the best ways to consume CBD?

#1 High Bioavailability

Bioavailability is the term which defines how much of the substance travels into your system and how substantial the impact of the substance’s effects are.

Say, for example, when ingesting CBD, the bioavailability is roughly 15 percent. So if you’re eating a 100-mg CBD product, only 15 mg will get into your bloodstream. The best part about vaping CBD oil is that it has a high bioavailability, garnering a range between 40 to 60 percent. You won’t even have to spend that much to get the desired effects because only a little amount of CBD oil is needed.

#2 Great for Instant Medicinal Relief

Since vaping CBD oil will travel straight to your bloodstream through your lungs, the CBD product doesn’t have to go through your gut and liver.

Taking CBD orally has several factors that will come into play in terms of maximizing effects such as body weight and eating it with a full or empty stomach.

Depending on the quality of product, vaping a quality CBD oil will give you instantaneous relief for different mental and physical conditions such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, sleeping disorders, and even seizures.

#3 Titrated Intake

When vaping CBD oil, the effects can be as fast as five to 10 minutes after inhaling.

This is extremely beneficial for those who are new to vaping as they can measure the dose depending on their tolerance.

After their first inhalation, you can wait for approximately 10 minutes and assess the effects. Then you can add gradually if necessary. Plus, you can do this in public with total discretion as vape pens do not produce the same smoke from a joint or pipe.

#4 Friendlier on the Lungs

When vaping CBD oil, you can’t get the carcinogenic combustion components that usually cause airway inflammation from traditional cigarette smoke or inhalation, lung hyperinflation, and worse, lung cancer.

Conclusion

If you are new to vaping, always remember to get the cleanest and purest CBD oil from a trusted brand or dispensary. In addition, start with a low dose, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the potent effects of CBD oil.

Cannabis Magazine. “What Are the Benefits of Vaping CBD Oil?” Cannabis Magazine, 25 Apr. 2019, cannabismagazine.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-vaping-cbd-oil/.

Maine May Finally Have Legal Cannabis Retail by March 2020

Officials in Maine are projecting that cannabis will be on sale in stores by March 2020. A crucial piece of the state’s law has taken effect, which has enabled the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy to finalize the rules governing the sale of cannabis.

The Associated Press reported that the legislature “made tweaks to Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Act that were necessary for the marijuana office to adopt the rules, which it is expected to do within two months,” and that a state spokesperson said applications for retail marijuana sales will be accepted by the end of this year.

The AP reported that the “state will need time to process the applications, and retailers will also need local approvals, but the state is projecting revenue from marijuana sales by March 15” of 2020.

Marijuana’s Long Journey in Maine

It’s been a long, fitful rollout for Maine’s cannabis law. Voters there approved a referendum in 2016 to legalize recreational pot use by a razor-thin margin that prompted calls for a recount. The result stood after a partial recount was suspended in January of 2017, but Paul LePage, the state’s Republican governor at the time, defied voters and remained steadfast in his opposition to the measure. He vetoed a bill to move ahead with legalization in November of 2017, saying he remained “concerned about expanded legalization of marijuana in Maine.”

“The dangers of legalizing marijuana and normalizing its use in our society cannot be understated,” LePage said in his veto letter. “Maine is now battling a horrific drug epidemic that claims more than one life a day due to overdoses caused by deadly opiates. Sending a message, especially to our young people, that some drugs that are still illegal under federal law are now sanctioned by the state may have unintended and grave consequences.” In April of last year, LePage again vetoed a bill to regulate marijuana in the state, but Maine lawmakers eventually overrode his veto.

Maine’s current governor, Democrat Janet Mills, has sang a very different tune. Elected last year, Mills made it clear throughout the campaign that she supported the implementation of the new law. In June, Mills signed a law that established rules over the sale of recreational marijuana that permitted licenses to sell marijuana to individuals 21 and over, while providing cities with the discretion over whether to allow sales or not.

Edward, Thomas. “Maine May Finally Have Legal Cannabis Retail by March 2020.” High Times, 7 Oct. 2019, hightimes.com/news/maine-may-finally-have-legal-cannabis-retail-march-2020/.

Setting the Standard

Lack of Federal Guidance Leads Washington State to Regulate Cannabis Testing

Without guidelines for cannabis testing at the federal level, the Washington State legislature has taken matters into its own hands. Determined to provide safe products to consumers, the government body has decided to create its own uniform standards for testing and labeling products within cannabis labs.

These labs exist to ensure cannabis products are free from harmful materials, safe to sell and are safe for consumption. Cannabis labs also test the potency of cannabis products by measuring the THC content. Testing THC levels helps to guarantee that the information placed on labels is accurate for proper dosing by the consumer, caretakers and healthcare professionals. Yet, because there is still no universal set of rules to operate by, requirements and guidelines often vary between different cannabis labs.

Co-founder of the Confidence Analytics lab in Redmond, Nick Mosely, explained the complexities of a system without official guidelines to Crosscut. “Basically, each lab has to individually develop and validate their own method for each of the tests they’re responsible for,” he shared. “They’ve done this independently, largely in a vacuum, without a lot of coordinated communication between them.”

More importantly, without the oversight of one authority, labs aren’t held accountable to accuracy with labeling and testing their products. This type of inconsistently leaves room for important information and safety standards to fall through the cracks. Without an authoritative body checking to make sure rules are followed, the consumer may be misinformed.

To combat this issue, the Washington State Legislature introduced and passed House Bill 2052. The bill establishes clarification for cannabis testing, “by revising provisions concerning marijuana testing laboratory accreditation and establishing a cannabis science task force,” stated on the legislature’s website. In the year 2024, the responsibility of giving a laboratory accreditation will be transferred over from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to the Department of Ecology.

“Lab accreditation is an important piece in the puzzle in making sure that when folks go out and purchase this product, they’re purchasing what it says they’re purchasing on the product label,” Jessica Archer, the statewide coordination manager stated to Crosscut.

“Lab accreditation is an important piece in the puzzle in making sure that when folks go out and purchase this product, they’re purchasing what it says they’re purchasing on the product label.”

The bill also details that the department must arrange a cannabis task force whose duty will be to develop the new guidelines and deliver to the Washington State Legislature in June of next year. Usually, the state has a foundation of federal guidelines to work from when creating their own. Since no such thing exists for cannabis testing labs, officials instead must start from scratch.

The examiner manager of the LCB, Kendra Hodgson, shared that creating new guidelines isn’t the first time that Washington State has had to oversee cannabis regulation without federal guidance. The arrival of recreational cannabis meant that the state had to determine how to oversee the newly legalized industry. “We were breaking new ground as we did this,” she shared.

The process of delegating responsibilities for cannabis regulation even varies by state. Colorado gave some accreditation tasks to its Department of Public Health and Environment. No matter how it’s done, establishing a comprehensive set of guidelines for cannabis testing is the only way to give consumers safe and trustworthy products.

Manns, Kiara. “Setting the Standard.” Culture Magazine, 2 Oct. 2019, culturemagazine.com/setting-the-standard/.

America’s First Cannabis Cafe Opens Today In Los Angeles

Lowell Cafe is located on La Brea Avenue and is open from noon until 10 p.m. daily for adults 21 and older

America's First Cannabis Cafe Opens Today In Los Angeles

Wonho Frank Lee

Lowell Cafe, the first fully licensed cannabis cafe in the United States, opens its doors in West Hollywood, California today, inviting patrons to pair a joint with its menu inspired by the flavor profiles of the plant.

“In harmony with the West Hollywood community, the restaurant will offer a first-of-its-kind nightlife experience,” a spokeswoman for the cafe told CNN. “Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe will serve as a welcoming and safe environment for all to enjoy and learn about consumption in the newly legal world of cannabis.”

Inside Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe

Customers who visit the cafe will be offered “table-side flower service” from a “flower host” and will be invited to choose a cannabis selection to be smoked on-site. Food and drink will also be available.

Wonho Frank Lee

Head Chef Andrea Drummond, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, created a menu of California flavors to pair with the cafe’s cannabis offerings that includes miso-glazed pork belly, jalapeño mac and cheese bites, vegan nachos, sticky tamarind wings, house-made pickles, and avocado and white bean hummus.

Drummond launched the cooperative Elevation VIP in 2012, eventually becoming known for creating cannabis-infused cuisine for the likes of Wiz Khalifa and Miguel. Due to regulations, however, infused meals are not permitted. Instead, Lowell Cafe will only be offering cannabis products to pair with their menu items.

“Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe was created because we believed there needed to be a destination for everyone to openly enjoy cannabis in the community,” reads a statement about the cafe. “Lowell Cafe is a welcoming space for those who are cannabis connoisseurs and those who are canna-curious and looking to experience cannabis in a welcoming atmosphere.”

Restaurant director Kevin Brady told the Los Angeles Times that the new cafe is already generating quite a buzz.

“We have families reaching out wanting to bring their kids or grandparents and high school groups of friends flying from all over the world,” he said. “I feel like we’re Disney World.”

That may leave some veteran members of the cannabis community feeling unwelcome, but the cafe’s website assures potential patrons that the new establishment is for everyone.

“As a canna-pro, you might prefer partaking in our sleek Dab Bar or puffing on several of our highly potent THC flowers during your stay. Lowell Cafe strives in providing an elevated experience for all cannabis aficionados,” the site reads. “We promise this aromatic voyage will delight the senses of both newcomers and connoisseurs, alike. “

Herrington, A.J. “America’s First Cannabis Cafe Opens Today In Los Angeles.” High Times, 1 Oct. 2019, hightimes.com/news/americas-first-cannabis-cafe-opens-today-los-angeles/.

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