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2 months ago

U.S. House Approves Cannabis Banking Bill

H.R. 1595, better known as the SAFE Banking Act, received a full House floor vote this afternoon, passing the chamber in a bipartisan 321-103 vote. It was the first time that stand-alone cannabis legislation was considered by the full U.S. House of Representatives. The bill aims to remove the cash-only element from state-legal cannabis industries by explicitly giving banking rights to cannabis businesses and related companies. The bill’s primary sponsor Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) said during his opening remarks that the Act’s main purpose is to support “public safety, accountability, and states rights.” Some activists have criticized the effort for not going far enough to reform federal cannabis laws, but many cannabis advocates have applauded the SAFE Banking Act as a logical first step toward repealing the federal prohibition of cannabis. “For the first time ever, a supermajority of the House voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization.” — NORML Political Director Justin Strekal, in a statement Lawmakers from both major political parties rose in support of the bill. “The Financial Services Committee heard testimony in February that these cash-only businesses and their employees have become targets for violent criminals,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who chairs the Financial Services Committee, during the floor’s 40-minute debate. “The SAFE Banking Act addresses this serious problem by providing safe harbor to financial institutions that choose to serve state-regulated cannabis businesses.” H.R. 1595 — which enjoyed more than 200 cosponsors in the House — now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill is supported by numerous law enforcement and banking organizations, including the National Association of Attorneys General, the American Bankers Association, and the Credit Union National Association.   Original Article

2 months ago

New York’s First Cannabis Flower Products Now Available for Patients

Curaleaf has released its Ground Flower Pods on a limited basis in New York, marking the first time a flower product has been made available under the state’s medical cannabis program. The company said that while the pods – designed to be used with a vaporizer – are currently only available on a limited basis, they will be available throughout the state in the coming weeks. Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, called the product “a win” for the state’s medical cannabis patients.   “Flower is cannabis in its raw form and therefore the most affordable form of cannabis. We can increase patient access by providing more affordable products and offering more options for patients in the medical program.” – Lusardi, in a statement The Health Department approved the addition of some flower products to the regime last year; however, sales of purely raw forms of cannabis are still not permitted. In the action, the agency also added lozenges, chewable tablets, and topicals to the list of products approved for sale in dispensaries.  The Ground Flower Pods must be used with the company’s tabletop vaporizer. Each pod contains 350 milligrams of active cannabinoids in a 20:1 THC to CBD ratio in both Indica and Sativa strains.  Curaleaf operates in 12 states with 49 dispensaries, 14 cultivation sites, and 13 processing centers. As of Sept. 17, there were 107,111 registered patients and 2,504 registered practitioners in the state. 

2 months ago

Massachusetts to ban sale of all vaping products for 4 months in toughest state crackdown

Massachusetts will place a four-month ban on all sales of vaping products, the state’s governor announced Tuesday, ushering in the most extensive state-level crackdown on e-cigarettes after a mysterious illness has afflicted hundreds and killed nine people. The move is the latest response from policymakers to growing alarm about the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people and fears that the products, which have yet to be vetted by the Food and Drug Administration, pose unknown health risks. Bans on sales of flavored vaping products took effect this month in New York and Michigan, and the Trump administration said it plans to enact a similar regulation at the federal level. Flavored products have attracted particular scrutiny from policymakers who say they are getting children hooked on nicotine. But Massachusetts would go beyond a flavor ban to also temporarily eliminate tobacco and marijuana e-cigarettes from the market. Officials say the halt will allow time to properly investigate a crisis that’s expanded to 530 cases in 38 states as of last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The purpose of this public health emergency is to temporarily pause all sales of vaping products so that we can work with our medical experts to identify what is making people sick and how to better regulate these products to protect the health of our residents,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said in a statement. San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to effectively ban all e-cigarette sales this summer by targeting products that have yet to gain FDA approval. But San Francisco’s policy will not go into effect until early next year, while Massachusetts’s new rules take effect immediately — and on a much larger scale. The state’s new policy drew swift criticism from e-cigarette advocates and companies that have long argued their products help rather than hurt public health by offering smokers an alternative. Some public health officials, too, have promoted vaping as a tool to reduce smoking among adults — notably in England, where vape shops sit on the grounds of some hospitals. Sixty-one potential cases of vaping-linked illness have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as of Tuesday, the governor’s office said. Official investigations nationwide have connected many of the illnesses to marijuana products bought off the street, but no one item has been linked to all cases. And some patients have reported vaping nicotine, though health professionals note people may be reluctant to admit to using marijuana. As The Washington Post has previously reported, the illnesses are largely affecting young people: An investigation by state health departments in Illinois and Wisconsin traces the first signs of illness among 53 tracked patients to April. The victims — mostly young men with a median age of 19 — overwhelmingly ended up in the hospital, many under intensive care. A third went on respirators. Patients typically experienced coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath before their health deteriorated to the point that they needed to be hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss. Many victims have ended up with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents the oxygen people’s bodies need to function from circulating in the bloodstream.   While the illnesses have given new urgency to long-brewing concerns over vaping, lawmakers explaining new e-cigarette restrictions in other states have focused on the broader threat of teen addiction. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced her state’s flavored e-cigarette ban Sept. 4 as state health officials declared youth vaping a public health emergency, highlighting research on nicotine’s harm to developing brains and on substances in vaping products with unclear long-term health effects. Michigan’s health department also cited evidence that youth who use e-cigarettes are more prone to take up smoking, which most experts believe to be more dangerous than vaping products. A 2018 government-funded study found that the percentage of U.S. high school seniors who report vaping nicotine within the past month doubled over just a year, sparking a new wave of alarm that e-cigarettes are reversing decades of decreasing youth tobacco use. E-cigarette use among teens has risen faster than any product tracked in the survey’s 40-plus years of existence, researchers say. Preliminary results from this year’s version of the National Institutes of Health-funded study indicated another jump in student vaping, and researchers expressed particular concern over their finding that about 1 in 9 teens vapes nicotine near-daily. Massachusetts is no exception when it comes to vaping’s popularity among young people. More than 40 percent of the state’s youth reported trying e-cigarettes in 2017, and 1 in 5 said they used the products regularly, according to the governor’s office. High school students’ usage rates are six times as high as adults', the office said. While Massachusetts officials focused Tuesday on a need to investigate illnesses, they said that they, too, are concerned about youth vaping.   “Vaping products are marketed and sold in nearly 8,000 flavors that make them easier to use and more appealing to youth,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a statement. “Today’s actions include a ban on flavored products, inclusive of mint and menthol, which we know are widely used by young people.” The Massachusetts governor’s office seemed to anticipate concerns about smoking alternatives Tuesday, saying it will devote more resources to programs that encourage people to quit smoking and increase the capacity of the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline. Opponents still blasted the move as counterproductive. Austin Finan, a spokesman for leading e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, warned Tuesday that bans on the sale of vaping products will encourage a black market of products with “unknown ingredients under unknown manufacturing standards.” He added that bans will affect adult smokers’ ability to quit and push former smokers back to old habits.   Gregory Conley, president of the nonprofit American Vaping Association, called Massachusetts’s halt on sales of nicotine vaping products “absolutely absurd,” emphasizing evidence that links the vaping-related illnesses to illegal and contaminated THC cartridges. “We agree with the FDA — if you don’t want to die or end up in the hospital, stop vaping illicit marijuana oils,” he said. The tough new regulations also dismayed small-businesses owners facing steep losses. Jonathan Lau, who runs two vape stores in Brighton, Mass., said he and other vape shop owners — part of the retail industry’s fastest-growing segment over the past decade — were “blindsided” by the governor’s announcement. With vaping products making up close to 90 percent of his shops’ sales, Lau said, he will probably have to close down.   Employees have been told to show up for work Wednesday, but Lau does not think his stores will open. “Basically, it’s a death sentence for small businesses in the vape industry,” he said. Officials around the country have warned people to stop using e-cigarettes altogether while investigators try to get to the bottom of the illnesses and deaths. An executive order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last week directed the state’s Department of Public Health to launch a $20 million public awareness campaign about the risks of vaping both nicotine and cannabis substances. California health officials on Tuesday also joined the calls for consumers to stop vaping while the cause of vaping-linked illnesses remains unclear.   Other states are signaling interest in following Michigan, New York and now Massachusetts’s lead in taking a tougher stance on e-cigarettes. “We’re seeing more and more states exploring what emergency powers they have,” said Michael Seilback, assistant vice president for state public policy at the American Lung Association. Seilback would not express an opinion on Massachusetts’s choice to suspend all vaping sales, telling The Post only that states are being “forced to make hard decisions” and emphasizing his group’s support for the bans on flavored vaping products that other places have adopted. He’s eager to see the Trump administration’s proposed ban on flavored vaping sales come to fruition. “We think that strong federal action would prevent a piecemeal approach where different jurisdictions are looking at these products differently,” he said.   Original article

3 months ago

The Grass is Greener where it’s Sun Grown

There is something special happening in Northern California’s cannabis community. In one of the most unique growing regions in the world, farmers have been living off the land and growing this country’s cannabis for decades. Now, this inherently sustainable, craft cannabis movement is rising to the forefront of California and the United State’s cannabis industry, setting the landscape that promises to set the standard of sustainable, ethical, and natural agricultural practices. Cannabis is rooted deep in human culture: its earliest written reference stems from Western China about 500BC. Traditionally grown outdoors in the lush environment where the plant naturally thrives, growing indoors is a relatively new, energy intensive method of cultivation. As Michael Steinmetz, CEO of FlowKana, states: “Indoor is simply a relic of prohibition and a cultural phenomenon that emerges when farmers have to go into hiding to protect their livelihoods while they cultivate this amazing plant. Indoor cultivation produces 25 times more CO2 than outdoor grows, and are 70 times more energy intensive than commercial office buildings. To produce just one kilo of cannabis indoors is equivalent to driving across the country five times!” Even though outdoor grows are clearly more energy efficient, the divide between sustainably cultivating cannabis in California’s ubiquitous Emerald Triangle and industrial farming practices (think massive, industrial indoor grows, sucking energy and water out of the desert in Southern California) is growing ever deeper. This is at odds with consumer behavior: trends are showing that consumers want to invest in sustainable, authentic, and local businesses, leading us to question whether hefty investments in these desert grows harkens the impending doom this burgeoning industry. Why go vast and vacuous when consumers crave niche and nostalgia? The California cannabis industry is like no other. Though there’s millennia of history behind the plant, the process, and the people whose livelihoods depend on it, the corporatization of cannabis is still very much in its infancy. This is equally thrilling and daunting. There’s promise and potential to correct social stigmas and injustices, to negate environmentally harmful agriculture practices, and to promote a plant with universal healing qualities. There’s also ample opportunity for big companies to elbow in: corporations are oozing in, focused on the bottom line with little regard for honoring the plant’s history, purpose, and potential. Surprising no one, the California cannabis industry is picking up steam to become a race to the quickest buck, abandoning the rich history, potent healing potential and complex social realities of the plant to dry up in the desert dust.   It is time to get back to the roots of this industry.    I had the privilege of spending a hot August day with the Humboldt County Grower’s Alliance (HCGA). My goal was to absorb all that Humboldt County and its cannabis community had to offer — to talk to farmers, to smell their flowering plants, to indulge in the abundance of natural beauty that is their every day. As it goes, we started the day at the HCGA office in Eureka. Walking out the offices’ white wooden door, we readied ourselves to tour cannabis country. Driving down the 101 past Ferndale, we made our way towards the coast on Mattole road. There, we were treated to some of the most spectacular views along the Lost Trails of the Pacific Ocean. It felt like we had been transported to another world. From there, we cut back inland towards Petrolia. The grandeur of the Mattole Valley became more apparent with every sharp turn and steep hill we climbed in the Subaru. This valley has been the epicenter of California’s cannabis industry since it’s community fled north from San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s to live off the land. It was incredible to witness it for the first time with my own eyes. “This wasn’t a profiteering machine, it was getting back to the land, being self sufficient, and growing some cannabis to help promote and fund a vision of community.” — Terra Carter, Executive Director of HCGA says.  During one of the loudest and most volatile times in this country’s history, Humboldt County cannabis flourished in a community built on a back-to-the-earth ethos. Cannabis, among seasonal vegetables, herbs, and animals provided these communities and families the resources to live in such remote locations.  What transpired over the next few decades in this valley sounds like it was ripped from a summer blockbuster. With the ineptly named War on Drugs came military aircraft humming over the valley. The US government flew two U2s[1] over Humboldt to build their battle plan against farmers. This is the same spy plane they flew over the USSR. Helicopters buzzed through the valley searching for plants. Sometimes, they came so low that their noise and resulting vibrations would break windows and knock down houses. Humboldt was like a war zone, complete with a few farmers holding their ground by gun. Others hid in the woods or fled from their property with their families- some temporarily, and others permanently.  As the raids continued farmers developed innovative ways to keep their community and livelihoods going: some started to grow their plants on platforms high in the trees, others constantly scanned the skies, ready to pull their plants back from the fields and under the cover of the forest at a moment’s notice. As we drove deeper into the valley, I began to see the lengths to which farmers went to set their roots, both familial and agricultural, as far out of reach as possible. Seclusion protected these families from the National Guard and from the bad players in the area taking plants, money, and whatever else they fancied by force. Though I met with people who were ostensibly breaking the law, I did not get the sense I was surrounded by criminals — because I wasn’t. Humboldt (like the rest of California, the USA, and the world) definitely has had their fair share of criminals in the industry, but for the most part this is a community of outlaws. They were never criminals. They simply did not have the legal infrastructure in place to run their business. It’s important to remember this distinction, especially since every person in the cannabis industry today is a federal outlaw. After driving for miles on dirt roads wrapped tightly around the mountain, we came across a signless intersection. We turned left up a steep one-lane road that we followed for a mile. At the peak we found cleared land and a single structure atop. “Welcome to DewPoint,” crowed the fearless, smiling Andelain. She and her husband are second and third generation farmers. They grew up overlooking the Mattole Valley and now live on a sustainable mountain property they built themselves. Nestled amid the mountains for a decade, their property relies entirely on solar energy for all of their electrical needs. Andelain likes to boast that her cannabis is fully sun-grown. Meaning, not only do they grow without any artificial lights, but even the water irrigation pump is powered by the sun. Andelain and her husband remember this mountain as a thriving community since their earliest days in the area. “It wasn’t just your parents raising you, but your neighbors, and the people at the school and fire department. This was the community our parents started building with their cannabis businesses, and the one we continue to invest in today.”- Andelain During the years of quasi warfare in the Mattole Valley, Andelain remembers the fear she felt helping in her family’s garden, where they grew vegetables, fruits, and cannabis. “My earliest memory was being in the garden and hearing the ‘copter coming down the valley and my dad running through the garden thinking ‘That’s weird I never heard my dad move like that’. I remember my dads arm swooping around my body and pulling me up and running into the bushes with his hand around my mouth. Men in armor with rifles repelled down, cut our plants, and flew away. After that, my family moved into town. We lost everything we had on that mountain” Now, Andelain has the opportunity to carry out her life’s long purpose and passion: to bring high quality medicine and peace to those who need it, legally. Pure as her mission is, it is accompanied with bureaucratic side effects.   Unsurprisingly, California has some of the most extensive environmental laws in the country. To touch the land costs thousands of dollars in permitting and licensing. This is for good reason. California produces 17% of the country’s food and is constantly on the verge of drought. A state that is already reeling from the planet’s warming and is responsible for feeding nearly 1/5 of the country, it’s a sobering reality to consider placing an added burden on a state that’s already stretched thin on agricultural resources. Thankfully, California is taking some small but meaningful steps to abate this disaster. “Regulation has now given us the opportunity to be the most sustainably grown agriculture product in the world” says Carver. Most farms we saw in Humboldt have set up rain capture and storage containers to have water available throughout the dry months without needing to suck it out of aquifers.  The special sauce of Humboldt County Cannabis that can’t be replicated or matched is it’s heritage. This growing region not only sprouted on off-the-grid farms- where all energy had to be produced on site and trash had to be at a minimum, with the closest garbage drop is sometimes 45 minutes away. But, it has also survived and evolved through military raids and environmentally disastrous moments.  Humboldt has suffered. Their Redwood forests were indiscriminately leveled by industrial logging companies, while their rivers were overfished by commercial fishing companies. The community that lived off these lands did not stand for it. Several organizations, inside and outside the cannabis industry, banded together to protest these industries and their actions- one of which being the infamous 738-day tree-sit by Julia Butterfly. These industries decimated the environment- pushing the river’s salmon population close to extinction and polluting its waters with industrial runoff.  After years of fighting for and implementing corrective policies and regulations, we were able to take a break in the heat of the day to go swimming in the now clear, crisp, and cool Mattole river. While the river and surrounding environment is healing itself, so to speak, this time around, there are no guarantees that nature can continually bounce back from the impact of big industry. I could see it in the way everyone talked about being able to swim in the river, that being able to dunk our heads into its crisp water, is a luxury that should never be taken for granted. To me, it was a sign that with dedicated advocates, smart policy, and responsible farming and business practices, supporting a cannabis industry in the region without impacting the environment is possible. With the California cannabis industry blooming in a world where the Amazon is burning, communities experience systemic water shortages, and corporations prioritize profit over people, there has never been a time where being an educated and active consumer is more important.  Being a conscious consumer does make a difference: we are sowing the seeds from which the cannabis industry will continue to grow.

3 months ago

Gronk Gets into the CBD Business

Retired NFL player Rob Gronkowski, a star of the New England Patriots, has inked a deal with Abacus Health Products in Woonsocket, Rhode Island that includes buying a stake in the company and agreeing to promote its products. His decision reflects his belief that CBD products made by the company under the brand CBDMEDIC can help others manage pain the way it has helped him. At a news conference announcing the deal, Gronkowski - known as “Gronk” to legions of Patriots fans - said he used CBDMEDIC and was “blown away with how well it worked. I am pain free, and that is a big deal.” Related: New Study: Adult-Use Cannabis Availability Reduces Opioid Deaths Cannabis is effective in dealing with pain. Although just 30 years old, Gronkowski retired from football in March 2019. Both he and Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback who decided to retire in August at age 29, are seen as a potential new trend of players leaving the NFL early because of injury. “I needed to recover. I was not in a good place.” the former tight-end said at the news conference, according to video from CBS Boston. “Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t  like it.” Gronkowski said a series of injuries made him decide to retire while still young. He also said CBD would have helped him deal with injuries during his career. The use of any marijuana-related products, including CBD, is banned by the NFL. That ban extends to CBD even though most of the products, including the ones from CBDMEDIC advocated by Gronkowski, are made from hemp and do not contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high.   Athletes are turning into advocates. Gronkowski is the latest in a string of athletes and celebrities who advocate the use of CBD after trying it themselves. It’s an industry that already has attracted all-time greats such as Joe Montana, who has invested in a medical marijuana company. Even the typically conservative NFL has considered lifting its ban on the use of medical marijuana by players for pain management when they craft a new collective bargaining agreement for the 2021 season. Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi, a senior medical advisor for Elevate CBD, said that decision is partially being driven by ex-athletes like Gronkowski. “Gronk's testimony is just another in the growing list of elite athletes who have found CBD to be helpful in pain, inflammation, and recovery,” Khaleghi said. “The inflammation of stressed muscles and joints can significantly limit the capabilities of athletes by increasing pain and prolonging recovery. Khaleghi said that CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. He said that for athletes, one of the primary attractions is that CBD has proven effective in “reducing pain and improving recovery.” Gronkowski said part of his efforts will be lobbying professional sports leagues to change their policies. “I am here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their positions on CBD,” he said. He later added, “It’s just time.”

3 months ago

Massachusetts Mayor Arrested for Extorting Cannabis Companies

Mayor Jasiel Correia of Fall River, Massachusetts was arrested Friday morning for allegedly attempting to extort cannabis companies for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, according to a CBS Boston report. Specifically, Correia — who is 27 years old — is accused of extorting at least four cannabis business operators by soliciting $250,000 each from them in exchange for “non-opposition” letters from his office. He is said to have illegally generated some $600,000 doing so, as well as alleged arrangements for a future cut in some of the companies’ cannabis sales. It’s the embattled mayor’s second arrest in less than a year: Correia was arrested in October on 13 federal fraud charges, which ultimately led to his recall — though the young Democratic mayor was re-elected shortly thereafter. Four other individuals have been charged as the mayor’s co-conspirators, authorities said. “Despite Mayor Correia’s public assurances to the city of Fall River, based on today’s indictment, he has essentially run that town as a pay-to-play institution. If the allegations in today’s indictment are true, Mayor Correia has engaged in a outrageous, brazen campaign of corruption which turned his job into a personal ATM.” — U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, during a press conference Correia appeared in federal court today where he pleaded not guilty; he was released in the afternoon after posting bail. “I’m not guilty of these charges,” he told reporters after leaving the federal court in Boston. “I’ve done nothing but good for the city of Fall River.” Correia is up for re-election this fall and intends to run. The primary vote is scheduled for September 17.   Last month, the FBI announced it was seeking information about bribery in the cannabis industry.

3 months ago

The mysterious spate of vape-related deaths and illnesses continues to grow, confounding experts.

The CDC is investigating at least 450 possible cases of vape-related illnesses in 33 states across the US. The illnesses have claimed at least five lives already. Business Insider put together a timeline of the spate of vape-related illnesses. Read more stories like this on Business Insider's homepage.   The mysterious spate of vaping-related illnesses and deathscontinues to grow. On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that at least 450 possible cases of vape-related illnesses have been reported in 33 states across the US. The illnesses have reportedly claimed at least five lives already, and doctors and other health experts fear their could be more on the way. "While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes, because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing the severe lung disease," Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of the CDC said on a Friday press call, reports Business Insider's Hilary Brueck. While it's not yet clear what exactly is causing these illnesses, it seems to affect younger people — mostly men — who are vaporizing cannabinoids like THC. The culprit, according to some experts, may be chemicals like vitamin-E acetate that are used to emulsify THC and CBD in illegal, unregulated vaporizers. "Even if most lung-injury cases are traced to chemicals used to emulsify THC or CBD into illegal vaping "juices," it doesn't let legally sold, nicotine-based e-cigs off the hook. They must do more to ensure safety of their products by engaging review process and ending youth use," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, said on Friday. "Legitimate e-liquids are generally based on chemicals that are water-soluble, not oils that can cause acute lung injury. High levels of vitamin E acetate were found in nearly all cannabis-containing vapes tested by NYS Department of Health. Nobody should use illegal vape products," Gottlieb said. Here's what officials knew when. We'll update this as more information comes to light: August 17: In this Monday, June 17, 2019, photo, Joshua Ni, 24, and Fritz Ramirez, 23, vape from electronic cigarettes in San Francisco. Associated Press CDC officials say they are actively investigating almost 94 cases of vape-related illnesses in 14 states. That number would grow to 200 cases in 22 states. Officials haven't yet determined the specific causes of the illness, but it is thought that oils and chemicals used to emulsify THC, CBD, and nicotine in illicit vapes is to blame. August 23: FILE PHOTO: A man holds an electronic cigarette as he vapes at a Vape Shop in Monterrey Reuters The first vape-related death is reported in Illinois. The person, who has remained unnamed, was hospitalized with severe breathing difficulties, according to officials. He was reportedly using e-cigarettes to consume nicotine.   September 3: Facebook/selectstrains Oregon's Health Authority says it is actively investigating the death of an individual with a severe respiratory illness following the use of an e-cigarette. While officials have not yet determined the root cause of the middle-aged person's illness, he had reportedly fallen ill after vaporizing marijuana oil purchased at a legal cannabis dispensary, reports The Associated Press. September 4: Enthusiast Brandy Tseu uses an electronic cigarette at The Vapor Spot vapor bar in Los Angeles, California March 4, 2014. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, writes an editorial in The Washington Post urging federal officials to take action in investigating the causes of these illnesses and deaths. "Bright lines must be drawn between less-harmful ingredients and those that cause undue risk. That would arm regulators with the information to crack down on illegal and dangerous vape juices. It's also time to end the political ambivalence that allows THC and CBD to evade oversight," Gottlieb wrote.   September 6: Ben Gilbert/Business Insider Indiana health officials confirm a third vape-related death. Shortly afterward, officials in Minnesota confirm a fourth, and then a fifth in California. Like the other deaths, officials have yet to determine a root cause. However, the 65-year old Minnesota man had a history of lung disease. He fell ill after vaping an "illicit" THC product, The New York Times reports. September 6: National Cancer Institute director Dr. Norman Sharpless. Wikimedia Commons Acting FDA Chief Ned Sharpless says "Our investigation into the concerning reports of respiratory illness and deaths associated w/ vaping is a top priority for FDA and our federal, state, local health partners. We're working tirelessly to gather and analyze information about these incidents," on Twitter. Sen. Minority Whip Dick Durbin pushed Sharpless to act quicker in a letter addressed to Sharpless on Friday.

3 months ago

Illicit Cannabis Vape Carts Hospitalized 7 in California, Doctors Say

SAN FRANCISCO—Unregulated cannabis vaporizer cartridges tainted with a potentially deadly lung toxin have hospitalized seven people with pneumonia-like symptoms in Hanford, California, officials there reported Wednesday. The cluster of tainted vape cart poisonings caused the Kings County public health department to issue a rare warning this week urging consumers to avoid buying cannabis e-cigarettes from unlicensed sellers. Street cannabis products are not subject to the rigorous testing that licensed products undergo in California. 'If you’re going to vape THC, get it from a licensed dispensary where you know there’s a certain amount of testing required.' Dr. Milton Teske, Emergency Room Physician, Adventist Health Hanford, California “If you’re going to vape THC, get it from a licensed dispensary where you know there’s a certain amount of testing required to do. It sounds like it’s going to cost twice as much as the stuff on the street, but you don’t want to end up in with a life-threatening respiratory condition,” said Dr. Milton Teske, a health officer with the Kings County Department of Public Health. Officials haven’t yet determined the cause of the lung illness, the public health warning says, but they’ve determined that all cases so far have involved cartridges purchased from unlicensed pop-up markets. Some think the cases could be tied to similar clusters of vape-related poisonings that have recently been reported elsewhere in the country. “Anyone that vapes THC they got off the street and has shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing—go to the ER and tell them you’re vaping, and have heard about this acute respiratory distress syndrome developing from that,” said Teske, who’s spent the last 35 years as an emergency room physician in the rural central California town of Hanford, where three patients remain in care at Adventist Health Hanford hospital. In the past 30 days, six people in their 20s and one 60-year-old have been hospitalized for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (SARDS) at Hanford’s intensive care unit. Two patients had to be put on mechanical ventilation to save their lives. “If they hadn’t been intubated, they wouldn’t have made it,” Teske said. “And if it got any worse, they wouldn’t have made it.” Connecting Dots ‘Everywhere’ Teske suspects Hanford hospital pulmonologist Dr. Vishnu Bezwada identified a vape cart poisoning cluster that’s part of a rash of similar poisonings going on across the US. A Monday call with Centers for Disease Control and public health representatives from other states indicated a suspected cluster of 15 poisonings in Wisconsin, plus reports from Illinois, and Nebraska. “I think Dr. Bezwada is very astute and was the first to connect all the dots. Same with Wisconsin,” said Teske. “But there’s dots everywhere.” “I had heard about the midwest outbreak this weekend and called my relatives in Wisconsin who I know vape and told them to stay away,” said Josh Wurzer, founder of licensed California cannabis analysis lab, SC Labs. “It was only a matter of time until something like this happened with the black market vape cartridges.” ‘Something’s Going on Here’ Dr. Bezwada usually sees just one acute respiratory distress case per month in Hanford, population 56,499; and usually it’s an older person. But after diagnosing a couple young people with SARDS in June, followed by several more in July and August, he decided to call Teske. “He said, ‘Something’s going on here’,” Teske said. Bezwada had treated a series of young people with symptoms of hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the blood, who got worse and worse. Two nearly died. All are now recovering. Teske and a Kings County public health investigator reviewed all seven case files and conducted follow-up interviews with patients in the hospital and at home. A common theme emerged—all had been using vape carts bought off the street around Kings County, in rural Central California. All reported doing it to save money. They were buying them at local, unlicensed pop-up markets, advertised by word of mouth. At these markets, vendors sell untested THC products that look similar to tested goods. The empty vape cartridges come in from China. Producers then fill the carts with raw THC oil cut with agents such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil, or more exotic chemicals. “Almost every patient had a different brand name,” said Teske. “And everyone had purchased it on the street.” Teske suspects the lung illness comes from an additive, though he’s not sure what. “Whoever is mixing it up in their garage, they’re adding other flavors, I suspect, or it’s how they’re diluting it. I suspect it’s some type of hydrocarbon.” Teske has ruled out other potential causes of SARDS, including other drugs, bacteria, or viruses. The patients were generally young—18, 22, some 27s, 34. One was 60. All had been consuming cannabis for six months or more, and some were heavy consumers who smoked every day. But long-term cannabis smoking is not associated with decreased lung function. The 60-year-old had been smoking cannabis for years, tried vape carts for the first time in her life, and developed the syndrome. Teske also thinks the poisonings are batch-specific. Some patients had been vaping THC regularly for two years before getting this bad batch. “I wouldn’t take anything from a pop-up store, or friends, or strangers off the street, because where did they get it? If it’s a good price, it’s coming from one of these questionable sources,” he said. “It’s too high a risk. Just because you got good stuff from him last week doesn’t mean this stuff is good.” ‘Just on the Edge of Surviving’ After repeatedly using a tainted cart, patients felt shortness of breath, weakness, tightness in the chest, and sometimes nausea. When symptoms got bad enough, they went to their primary care doctor or urgent care. Patients were usually misdiagnosed with pneumonia and sent home with antibiotics, but their condition worsened. Patients ended up in the ER, admitted with pneumonia, but disease workups and bacterial cultures revealed nothing. Their lungs looked terrible on MRIs—inflamed, opaque, and full of fluid, Teske said. The hypoxia got worse. Some patients needed to be strapped to a machine that forces air into their exhausted lungs. Two patients had to be intubated and mechanically ventilated. A major course of steroids stops the lung inflammation from this hypersensitivity-type reaction. Recovery generally takes one to two weeks in the hospital, at which point patients are sent home with steroids to heal further. What Could Be in Tainted Vape Carts? California leads legalization states in requiring all products sold at licensed stores to be tested for dozens of contaminants—most notably pesticides, residual solvents like hexane, and heavy metals like lead. But with untested products, said Wurzer, a wide variety of allergens, irritants, and toxins could lurk inside. After lab testing became mandatory in California in 2018, hundreds of products were flagged. To date, more than 5,169 batches have failed state lab testing for labeling or impurity standards. After inaccurate labeling, pesticides have been the biggest culprit. Lead has also popped up in cartridges. “We saw this with the heavy metal contamination issues in some vape cartridges when we switched to phase three testing,” said Wurzer. Wurzer is also seeing it in a type of popular tobacco vape pod called JUUL pods. “Again, this isn’t limited to black market THC cartridges, the e-juice nicotine vapes we’ve tested are consistently even worse for some contaminants.” The unlicensed cannabis market, which might be three times as big as California’s legal market, does not test at all. In recent years, public health officials have reported many cases of poisonings from adulterated CBD vape carts and CBD oils bought online or at truck stops. Labs have found cough syrup and dangerous synthetic cannabinoids in the unregulated mixtures. A significant portion of the country’s illicit cannabis supply chain would fail testing, but vape carts are an especially dangerous vector, Wurzer said. “Black market cannabis was a relatively safe product for so long because—outside of illegal pesticide use—it is hard or impractical to adulterate it to the point it’s going to lead to a public health issue. However with these vape cartridges, it doesn’t have to be nefarious, it can just be incompetence. You need to be very careful about the purity of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and any additives you use, but you need to monitor the quality of the materials used to manufacture the cartridges themselves.” 'You don’t want to trust your lungs with some chemicals someone mixed up in their garage!' Josh Wurzer, founder, SC Labs, California “You don’t want to trust your lungs with some chemicals someone mixed up in their garage!” Wurzer said. The Bureau of Cannabis Control is conducting a statewide public messaging campaign titled “Get #Weedwise” warning consumers of adulterants in the unregulated market. “This is the entire reason why we are running our get weed wise campaign. To educate the public about the importance of shopping from licensed retailers only. There are things out of your control when you decide to purchase cannabis from the illegal market. Your health is more important than cost,” said Alex Traverso, communications chief for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. What’s Next? Teske obtained samples of the tainted carts from each affected patient, and the California Department of Public Health will lab test them, he said. On the national front, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to release a national public health bulletin to officials to be on the lookout for young, sudden acute respiratory distress syndrome (SARDS) sufferers who vape. Otherwise, these poisonings can be easy to miss. SARDS usually has a lot of other causes. “Any young person that comes in with even a mild respiratory ailment—primary care and urgent care needs to be asking about that,” said Teske. “If people look for it, they’re going to find it.”

3 months ago

Former Drug Warrior Biden Unveils Cannabis Decriminalization Plan

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden tacked away from his drug warrior past with a new plan Tuesday. He wants to reduce mass incarceration in the US with a 10-page proposal including: decriminalization of cannabis, $20 billion in prevention funds for communities, efforts to reduce racial profiling by police, more job training in prisons, ending private prisons, and other proposals. “I believe my criminal justice reform package is as strong or stronger than anyone else.” Joe Biden, former vice president, Democratic presidential candidate “Today, too many people are incarcerated in the United States–and too many of them are black and brown,” Biden’s team said in a post to his campaign website on Tuesday. “To build safe and healthy communities, we need to rethink who we’re sending to jail, how we treat those in jail, and how we help them get the health care, education, jobs, and housing they need to successfully rejoin society after they serve their time.” According to FBI reports, cannabis is a key driver of mass incarceration—marijuana arrests are the number one type of drug arrest in the US, and drug arrests are the number one type of arrest police make. Former Vice President Biden’s cannabis decriminalization would come with automatic expungements of past marijuana records, support for federal medical legalization, and a downgrade of cannabis to Schedule II, “so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.” As for adult-use federal legalization, Biden echoed President Trump’s position in recent years, stating he would, “leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states.” Critics Pounce on Biden’s Past Votes Facing another debate with Sen. Kamala Harris next week, Biden’s “Plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice” proposals move the vice president away from his historically tough-on-crime policies, for which he is being attacked from both the right and the left. Biden joined with many Democrats, Republicans, and minority leaders in the ’80s and ’90s to enact harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug use, three-strikes laws with life sentences, civil asset forfeiture, and the death penalty for drug-related murders. GOP critics note Biden once claimed George H.W. Bush’s war on drugs was “not tough enough, bold enough, or imaginative enough.” While former President Bill Clinton has apologized for crime policies that “made the problem worse,” Biden responded by saying the 1994 crime bill he led was “another part of my long record that is being grossly misrepresented.” He made no apologies for past votes Tuesday. “I believe my criminal justice reform package is as strong or stronger than anyone else,” Biden said in a video. Sen. Cory Booker reacted to Biden’s Tuesday proposal with a tweet: “It’s not enough to tell us what you’re going to do for our communities, show us what you’ve done for the last 40 years. You created this system. We’ll dismantle it.” An Important Evolution Nonetheless Biden’s proposals amplify the reach of once-radical ideas into mainstream political thought, though. The laundry list of ideas includes ending cash bail, a proposal California enacted in 2018 but put on hold pending a 2020 referendum sponsored by the bail industry. Biden’s campaign notes the cash bail system is “the modern day debtors’ prison. The cash bail system incarcerates people who are presumed innocent. And, it disproportionately harms low income individuals.” Biden’s plan also would create universal pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds, because “focusing on addressing [mass incarceration’s] underlying factors is not just the right thing to do, it is also good for our communities and our economy.” Biden would also work to reduce the jailing of children through grants for diversion programs. San Francisco intends to close its juvenile hall by the end of 2021, citing high costs, low use, and incarceration’s irreparable harm to youth. The former vice president faces off against Harris and other Democratic primary contenders in a televised debate in Detroit Wed., July 31.    

3 months ago

Poll Finds 63% of Americans Support Cannabis Legalization

Yet another national poll shows that a strong majority of Americans support the federal legalization of cannabis. According to a poll from Investor’s Business Daily and TIPP, 63 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization, including 75 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents, and 46 percent of Republicans. The survey found that nearly one-fifth of investor households consumed cannabis in the past six months. Support for legalization was highest in the West at 72 percent, and lowest in the Northeast, at 55 percent. The poll found that 23 percent of those surveyed indicated that someone in their home had used medical or adult-use cannabis in the last six months – 35 percent of those were among people 25-44 years old. In all, 27 percent of independents said they had used cannabis over the last six months, along with 25 percent of Democrats, and 15 percent of Republicans. The IBD/TIPP poll is consistent with a 2018 Gallup poll which found 66 percent of Americans supported broad cannabis legalization; although, that poll found 53 percent support by Republicans, and 71 percent support among independents. Both polls found three of four Democrats support the reforms. A Fox News poll, conducted by both Democratic and Republican polling firms last February, found 59 percent support for legalization. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from the prior month had similar results showing 60 percent support. A 2017 poll conducted by Survey USA for Marijuana Majority found stronger support – 76 percent – for allowing states to enact their own medical cannabis regimes without federal interference while just 12 percent said the feds should arrest and prosecute people using cannabis, even if legally allowed by the state in which they reside.

3 months ago

Impression Healthcare Advances Trial Testing CBD Treatment for Gum Disease

Medical cannabis company Impression Healthcare Limited has been approved for a Phase 2a Clinical Trial in Australia investigating the effectiveness of CBD-infused mouthwash and toothpaste products in the fight against gum disease. Specifically, the trial will investigate the products’ safety and effectiveness against Gingivitis and Periodontitis, which are two highly prevalent problems around the world whose treatment have so far been dominated by major pharmaceutical companies. The trial is the result of concerted efforts by Impression and AXIM Biotechnologies Inc., a U.S.-based manufacturer of pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products. AXIM, a US-based innovator in cannabinoid medicines, will supply the unique mouthwash and toothpaste products for the trial and has agreed to provide commercially available products if the trial proves successful. Impression, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ticker code ‘IHL’) with a market capitalization of about $20 million, has first right of refusal over all current and future such products by AXIM until June 2022. “Formal registration of the gingivitis and periodontitis trial represents significant progress in IHL’s medicinal cannabis activities and is the culmination of many months of work by our team and research partners,” said Joel Latham, Impression’s CEO, in a statement. “We are excited to have assembled highly qualified researchers for a world first trial for the use of CBD in treatment of Gingivitis and Gum Disease, which are major problems representing a major market.” Recent research from Impression’s Australian peer Botanix Pharmaceuticals indicates that CBD could have potent antibiotic properties. Lab tests from that study showed the cannabinoid was killing bacteria, including bacteria highly resistant to existing antibiotics. Impression believes that, should the anti-inflammatory and antibiotic nature of CBD prove helpful in halting the progress of gum disease, the products will have a strong case for meeting the criteria of Category B under Australia’s Special Access Scheme, administered by the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This means that patients — with the approval of their doctor or dentist — would then be able to access the CBD-infused mouthwash and toothpaste products. “We are confident that the quality of the trial will supply the requisite peer-reviewed data for unique product sales under the SAS and will further develop commercialisation opportunities for our products in this field,” said Mr. Latham. Impression’s gum disease trial is the first of four separate clinical trials investigating unique cannabinoid products. The other three trials will cover concussion remediation, Sleep Apnea, and TMJ disorders. Impression’s concussion trial aims to investigate neurological damage after traumatic brain injury as a result of playing Australian-centric sports; namely, the AFL (Australian Rules Football) and the NRL (National Rugby League). Similar product lines are being developed by Canadian companies Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth for the UFC and NHL Alumni Association, respectively.  About Impression Healthcare Limited Impression healthcare Ltd (ASX:IHL) has a rapidly expanding medicinal cannabis business with four unique clinical trials driven by the medical community for globally significant markets. The Company has its license to import, export and distribute cannabis products, and sales channels already in place with Australia’s largest distributor of cannabis medicines. IHL also has strong revenue growth from existing products; including, sports mouthguards for teeth protection and to reduce concussion risk, and sophisticated devices made to combat sleep apnoea, snoring and bruxism. Under this business, Impression offers best-in-class oral devices that are sold direct to the consumer and via our growing B2B Preferred Practitioner Network of Dentists.

4 months ago

Bipartisan lawmakers offer federal bill to break medical marijuana research logjam

A bipartisan group of U.S. congressional lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday to accelerate medical cannabis research, a step that could potentially bolster support for federal marijuana reform. “Forty-seven states have legalized some form of cannabis, yet the federal government is still getting in the way of further progress on the potential for research,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat and co-sponsor of the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019. Currently, the only marijuana available for legal research comes from a contract the National Institute on Drug Abuse holds with the University of Mississippi.   Lawmakers have urged that other researchers and universities receive federal authorization to grow research cannabis.   The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) created an application process for growers but has dragged its heelson acting on more than two dozen applications. The bill, according to sponsors, would: Create a new, less cumbersome registration process for marijuana research, reducing approval times, costly security measures and unnecessary layers of protocol review. Make it easier for approved researchers to obtain the cannabis they need for their studies by reforming production and distribution regulations. Allow for the private manufacturing and distribution of cannabis solely for research purposes. Douglas Berman, director of Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, told Marijuana Business Daily that a niche bill such as the MMJ research proposal generally has a better chance for approval than a more sweeping cannabis reform measure. The bill already has the support of groups such as Smart Approaches for Marijuana, the Marijuana Policy Project, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Neurology. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators also recently introduced a bill to bolster CBD and marijuana research. That measure has the backing of the American Medical Association.

4 months ago

Flow Kana Expands Commitment to Diversified Regenerative Agriculture with Fruit and Vegetable CSA Boxes from Farmer Ecosystem

Program Offers Flow Kana and Select Dispensary Partner Employees Sustainably-Cultivated Produce From Small Independent Farms REDWOOD VALLEY, Calif. — April 24, 2019 —  Flow Kana, the leading sustainable supply chain company and distributor of sungrown cannabis products and services andnumber one flower brand in California, today announced the next manifestation of their mission to provide scale to decentralized producers with a commitment to community supported agriculture (CSA). Within six months of initiating their FlowCSA employee perk program, Flow Kana became one of the largest purchasers of produce grown on small farms in Mendocino and Lake counties through the MendoLake Food Hub. Since June 2018, Flow Kana has offered their California employees a monthly CSA box of fruits and vegetables grown locally in Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake Counties, as continued support of small food farmers, decentralized food systems and the local communities where the company operates. Flow Kana is expanding its program in 2019, by offering a similar benefit to select dispensary partners and other supply chain collaborators for their employees. The FlowCSA initiative has been an evolving vision between Casey and Amber O’Neill of HappyDay Farms and Flow Kana founders Michael Steinmetz and Flavia Cassani since the company’s inception. “The quality of the cannabis and vegetables produced in small batches with the love and intention of a family farm are incomparable, and we want to see a world where this type of agriculture thrives and prevails,” said Michael Steinmetz, Flow Kana CEO. “The cannabis industry has an opportunity to build infrastructure that supports all kinds of localized, decentralized, supply networks, ushering in diversified and regenerative farming practices that promote environmentally responsible agriculture. We can offer a real alternative to the big industrial agriculture models we see so prevalent in our world today, and slowly encroaching on our amazing existing cannabis community in California.” To encourage farmers to adopt more regenerative practices, Flow Kana also funds the newly created Local Food Systems Development Program in partnership with the MendoLake Food Hub. The program is designed, in phase 1, to offer support to cannabis farmers who want to diversify their crop portfolios by providing a guaranteed purchaser of their produce via the FlowCSA program through the MendoLake FoodHub. Local produce through the Emerald Triangle and Northern California areas are welcomed from all farmers in the area, whether or not they also cultivate cannabis. “By encouraging a decentralized production model, we can support small, diversified producers who utilize regenerative land-use practices and have the time and resources to develop beneficial methodologies,” said HappyDay Farms’ Casey O’Neill, a third generation diversified cannabis and vegetable farmer. “These farmers are uniquely suited to address climate change and feed the planet in the process. The Flow CSA and the Local Food Systems Development Program offers an opportunity and platform to do just that.” Currently, Flow Kana provides monthly seasonal produce boxes to the company’s now more than 245 employees throughout California. Since June of 2018, more than 2,500 boxes have been purchased and distributed from the MendoLake Food Hub and HappyDay Farms. “Flow Kana has become one of our largest wholesale buyers, and we are grateful for their continued work in supporting small farms in our community,” said Caroline Radice, Executive Director of the MendoLake Food Hub. “The MendoLake Food Hub has seen substantial growth over the past year which would not have been possible without supportive, committed partners. We are happy to be working with Flow Kana to provide year-round fresh produce for their employee CSA, and we are excited to see them continue developing this program.” Flow Kana is a driving force in the cannabis movement to not only honor these communities and these environmental and social values, but to make this decentralized model of agriculture the gold standard for others to follow across cannabis and beyond. The company believes there is great power in coming together with careful collaboration across many operators, distributors, retailers, and brands working in tandem to preserve, protect and evolve our industry and world. You can read more on this movement here:Never doubt that a group of dedicated small cannabis farmers can change the world. About Flow Kana Flow Kana is a pioneer in the cannabis industry, creating the first sustainable, sungrown cannabis brand that embraces California values and the small independent farm ecosystem. Flow Kana partners with and gives scale to craft farmers in Northern California, who focus on beyond organic farming practices. With any Flow Kana or “Powered by Flow Kana” product, customers can trust that, regardless of form factor, the cannabis inside is sungrown and cultivated organically by independent craft farms. The company offers a range of distribution and white label services to a variety of licensed cannabis companies who share the company’s values to provide consumers with clean, compliant and sustainable products through delivery to licensed retail operators throughout California. For more information, please visitwww.flowkana.com,www.flowcannabisinstitute.com, and connect with us onFacebook,TwitterandInstagram. About HappyDay Farms HappyDay Farms is a small, diversified family farm located in the hills of Northern Mendocino County, California. At 3,000 feet on a southwest slope, their terraced gardens produce year-round. In addition to medicinal sungrown cannabis, HappyDay Farms grows produce and flowers for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and local farmers’ markets. Their unique terroir and microclimate produces small-batch, craft medicinal cannabis products from artisanal, seed-stock varietals. You can learn morehere. About MendoLake Food Hub The MendoLake Food Hub’s mission is to increase the availability of local food and the viability of local farms by connecting growers and buyers through an easy-to-use network. The Food Hub aggregates and distributes produce from small farms around Northern California by providing farmers access to a shared sales and distribution network which serves wholesale buyers such as grocery stores, schools, and restaurants. The MendoLake Food Hub is one of a network of food hubs across California working to build a vibrant, diverse new food system where small farms thrive and the freshest, local produce is easily accessible to the community. Learn more about the MendoLake Food Hubhere and connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.

4 months ago

Massachusetts Regulators Fine Cannabis Company Over Pesticide Use

Massachusetts regulators issued a $50,000 fine to Plymouth-based M3 Ventures for improper pesticide use. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has fined Plymouth-based cannabis company M3 Ventures $50,000 after an employee lied about the firm’s pesticide use, according to a MassLive report. Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman indicated that the company has “rectified” the issue “in multiple ways.” State inspectors had initially shut down the company’s dispensaries in Plymouth and Mashpee in December over its pesticide use but allowed them to reopen in April. Inspectors discovered the prohibited pesticides at the company’s cultivation facility in November and interviewed the director of cultivation about its use. During a follow-up inspection the following month, company brass admitted that the cultivation director “misrepresented the use of pesticides,” leading to the closure and fines. In response, the company split the cultivator director position into two jobs – cultivation operations manager and master grower – and has partnered with a national firm to help develop a plan for pest management using approved substances. In addition to the fine, M3 was placed on administrative probation through the end of the year and is required to track and record its additive use daily. Cannabis Control Commission Enforcement Counsel Paul Payer said during a public meeting on Thursday that the company has not violated state regulations since it reopened and the firm had taken the steps to comply with the settlement that “reflect the integrity” regulators require from licensees. Last March, state regulators launched an investigation into two other companies – Sea Hunter Therapeutics and Acreage Holdings – into whether they flouted cannabis company ownership rules by using loopholes in state regulations to hide their affiliations with other companies through the use of shell companies. That case is ongoing.  

4 months ago

Bernie Sanders Says He Would Use Executive Order to Legalize Cannabis

Bernie Sanders said in an interview this week that, if he is elected to be the next U.S. president, he would legalize cannabis nationwide via executive order. In an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) said he would legalize cannabis nationwide via executive order, according to a report by Leafly. “What I call for now is the legalization of marijuana in America. I believe we can do that through executive order, and I will do that.” – Sanders, on the Joe Rogan Experience In the crowded Democratic candidate field, the majority support federal cannabis legalization; however, Sanders is the only candidate to indicate he would use an executive order to enact the reforms. During the interview, Sanders called expunging low-level cannabis crime records “the right thing to do” and described the Controlled Substances Act as “insane.” “Heroin is a killer drug. You can argue the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana ain’t heroin,” the Senator said during the interview. “So we have to end that, and that’s what I will do.” The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) endorsed Sanders during his 2018 Senate reelection campaign, calling him “one of the most outspoken and visible advocates for ending marijuana prohibition.” Sanders received an A-plus on the organization’s Congressional Scorecardfor his sponsorship of a measure to end federal cannabis prohibition and another to provide banking access to the industry. Sanders first co-sponsored a bill to legalize cannabis federally in 1995. In a 2015 campaign rally, he called cannabis’ Schedule I status “absurd.” During his interview with Rogan, Sanders also acknowledged the “good news” that some states are working toward expunging low-level cannabis crimes from criminal records. According to an Economist-YouGov poll released on Wednesday, Sanders is polling third (13 percent) for the Democratic nomination behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (16 percent) and former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden (22 percent).

4 months ago

Cannabis Growers in the Emerald Triangle Are Still Being Ravaged by Legalization

Cannabis cultivators are getting slammed by the state and its draconian enforcement actions. As a longtime grower put it, “This government is turning all us hippies into Libertarians!” There is a great deal of good news on the cannabis front these days, on a national and international scale. The World Health Organization has recommended to the United Nation that it recognizes the medicinal value of cannabis for traditional medicines. Numerous presidential candidates endorse some form of legalization. Even the US Senate is considering a cannabis banking bill. There seems to be hope for cannabis users worldwide.  Simultaneously, though, cannabis cultivators are getting slammed here in the Emerald Triangle. Currently, there are draconian enforcement actions underway, with helicopters flown by the National Guard assisting local police and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to invade, intimidate, and abate illegal cannabis growers. Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties — the three jewels in the Emerald Triangle — have all recently experienced law enforcement intervention at an unprecedented scale. The authorities justify their actions by stating that illegal grows are responsible for significant environmental degradation in the watersheds of Northern California. In June, the pressure was felt in Trinity County, where officials served 15 warrants and detained 23 suspects. According to Fish and Wildlife Information Officer Janice Mackey, “The operations [in Hayfork, Trinity County] yielded an estimated 12,548 illegal marijuana plants, 801 pounds of processed marijuana, 15 firearms, and $435,875 in U.S. currency.”  Last weekend, a community meeting was held at the Mateel Center in Southern Humboldt County to discuss the issue. Sheriff William Honsal was present, and the man has the air of a politician. Let’s just say, when the movie is made, Leonardo DiCaprio will play his part. He’s slick and handsome, but can you believe a word he says? One upset Humboldite called him “an outright liar” to his face, and the man didn’t even wince. While he apologized that he “cannot take away the PTSD you all feel from previous years of raids,” he stated that they will not give warnings in advance about low-flying helicopters manned with military crews.    “If you have your permits, there is no reason to fear,” he assured the audience of about 70 people, most with grey hair. These were OG growers who endured the CAMP raids of the 1980s, and they are still suffering today. As moderator Bonnie Blackberry described it, “We’ve had military helicopters rolling through lately like big Harleys.” It’s deja vu all over again — a flashback to the apex of the War on Drugs. For the legally-permitted growers and regular citizens, it is just as hellish.  Offering a different point of view, John Ford, Humboldt County Director of Code Enforcement from the Department of Building and Planning, said, “We were originally only after the large egregious grows, but now there are fewer of them and they are harder to find. So instead we are focusing on growers who have submitted [license] applications, but have not progressed. I think 238 have not responded to previous violations — that’s who we are after.” Yet the low-flying helicopters, mostly manned by National Guard, are frightening to all citizens of the Emerald Triangle. The Sheriff Departments and Department of Fish and Wildlife can issue search warrants and call in the National Guard, along with other agencies when appropriate, such as Environmental Health, Cal Fire, and the California State Water Resources Control Board. Several of the citizen speakers at the event had trembling voices as they raised their serious concerns. “Winning through intimidation must stop!” exclaimed local Dottie Russell. “Southern Humboldt has crashed and burned; businesses are down about 60%,” she glumly reported. John Ford didn't seem to hear her.   The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office recently disclosed that their enforcement efficiency had increased 700% since the start of 2018, when they began to issue Notice to Abate orders to farmers who had not signed up for a cannabis cultivation license. The notice informs the grower that they must pay steep fines starting at $10,000 per day, with a limit of $900,000. They have 10 days to appeal or to remove their crops. Most of these notices were for alleged environmental violations, such as previously-installed culverts, road grading, or un-permitted diversion of water from springs, ponds, and creeks. Since cannabis is now legal in California, these actions are civil actions, not criminal actions. So the Notice to Abate is quite efficient, because there is no need for a costly convoy of sheriffs in SUVs with aerial support. According to John Ford, “a notice comes in the mail, is posted on the gate, and gets listed in the local paper." Since the beginning of 2018, Humboldt has sent out 745 such notices, collecting over $3.25 million in fines and abating 376 violations. In other words, the extinction of the legacy grower continues. Hashmaker Frenchy Cannoli, who came to the Humboldt meet-up because “I want to know what is going on,” made a passionate plea to the Sheriff, the Code Enforcement Director, and Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell. “I am very dedicated to these people; I need their high quality product to make my resin,” he said in his thick accent. “You are still looking at them as old hippies instead of as the future of a multi-billion dollar industry.” Meanwhile, others lamented being broke after paying for all the necessary permits, consultants, and so much more to become compliant.    “You are not helping the small farmers get their permits,” declared Frenchy. The result is often bankruptcy, or the county can confiscate property for payment of fines. But, in most cases, even bankruptcy isn’t available, because cannabis is still federally illegal and bankruptcy law is federally controlled. Hence, pot growers need not apply.  In Mendocino County, the tactic is slightly different. In the beginning of July, Sheriff Allman announced he had 2,000 search warrants to serve, with the help of the National Guard that Governor Newsom pulled to ostensibly focus on illegal grows on government land. Not surprisingly, the National Guard has been part of aerial operations against alleged violators on private land, as well. Abatement notices are not being employed. Low-flying Blackhawk helicopters circle properties in the county, looking for illegal cannabis farms, while inciting fear in everyone below. At this time of year, a helicopter can mean fire — and locals take that very seriously.  On July 23rd, Sheriff Allman reported to the Mendocino Board of Supervisors that in one week, he had served 28 warrants, abated over 42,000 plants, and had discovered over 600 environmental violations — with no farm having fewer than 10. Amongst the farmers in the mountains, this action brings back painful memories of aerial raids of the past. It is perceived as a militarization of the cannabis legalization process — so much so that the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance has protested to the Sheriff’s Office, particularly about the 500-foot-high flight limit which is often violated. There have been many reports of helicopters flying and hovering so low that they destroy greenhouses, hoop houses, and vegetable gardens, terrifying animals, children and adults — regardless if those farms were breaking any laws.    Here are excerpts from a statement by Casey O’Neill, Chairman of the Policy Committee for the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. I am a child of the drug war; my family had our house ransacked by enforcement just before my third birthday. The ransacking of homes because of a few plants is wrong, and represents a deliberate terrorization of a populace that has suffered from decades of uneven enforcement. Is this what legalization of cannabis means? That people have their homes violated and their belongings thrown about as though by thieves? This is a betrayal of the public trust.   These tactics have been used in the past, which is why the community suffers from PTSD surrounding enforcement activities. There was hope that with legalization, these obscene prohibitionist tactics would end. People are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals.  Chopping down plants is one thing, ransacking homes is another.  Back in the “Good Old Days,” everyone in the cannabis underground had a more or less equal risk of getting busted. You could do as much jail time for possession as for transport, sale, or cultivation. Mind you, over 600,000 people were arrested last year for possession in the United States. In California, at least, the consumer has little or no chance of being arrested. For the cultivator and the retailer, however, the risk is greater than ever. All the enforcement agencies are chomping at the bit to finally get their hands on cannabis entrepreneurs — particularly cultivators. There are thousands of little details they can catch you for now. And in July, the ratcheting up of enforcement got a boost from a new statute signed by Gov. Newsom, which imposes a $30,000 a day finefor any code violation by cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, or retailers.   With 17 different state and county agencies scrutinizing applicants trying to go compliant, one hopes they don’t catch you and fine you thousands of dollars a day for not having Workers’ Comp, or the Cal/Osha Injury and Illness Prevention Program, or your payroll account doesn’t balance, or the shipment manifest of flowers doesn’t match the arrival weight.  But it is even worse for the “traditional” grower. With Google Maps, law enforcement doesn’t have to rent a plane or helicopter to count your plants and see environmental infractions. And it is more than just the Sheriff who is on the lookout. One has to take this in context, because the rollout of the California State cannabis program has been a fiasco. It is hard to blame non-compliant farmers — among them many of our neighbors and friends — because the costs, regulations, and taxes are so onerous and excessive that most legacy small farmers are unable to bear the fees or fill out the complex paperwork. Many of these cultivators don’t even have computers!  Another complicating factor is that an applicant first needs a county permit before applying for a state license. But the county permit can be held up by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife or the State Water Resource Control Board or the State Water Quality Control Board, as they deliberate on your application for water rights to the spring, pond, or stream on your property. Water regulations for cannabis growers have become severely restrictive due to the recurrence of drought years since 2000. What was once legal water use from springs, creeks, and ponds for any landowner is now illegal for cannabis growers, although grape growers, cattle ranchers, and dairy farms have almost no restrictions on water use.                             To make it worse, the CDFA California Cannabis Program is understaffed, log-jammed with applications, and has had difficulty getting its computer program for applicants up and running. This has been exacerbated by the totally unrealistic and artificial deadlines imposed by the statutes governing cannabis licensing. To wit, they forced many temporary permits to expire starting in February of 2019,  because the applicant’s submission was “deficient” or lacking certain clearances still pending from other agencies. Subsequently, about 5,000 temporary cultivation licenses became “Inactive,” leaving the growers in limbo. With an inactive temporary permit, they couldn’t sell their crops legally. But because they had signed up for the program, they couldn’t revert to selling on the illicit market, either.  The situation became so dire — with most distributors’ and retailers’ temporary permits about to expire — that the California legislature had to quickly pass emergency legislation to extend the expiration deadline. They did this by declaring that henceforth, an applicant for a license no longer needs to have a “Temporary Permit” before applying for an “Annual License.” The new law, SB 97, stated that even without a Temporary, or if the Temporary had expired, cultivators could now apply for an Annual License and be offered a Provisional License so they could stay in business while they were in the process of diligently completing the deficiencies in their Annual License submission (or if they were waiting on a  California Environmental Quality Act Negative Mitigation Report). Did you follow that? It’s just as confusing for cultivators, too.    If they hadn't done this, most retailers and distributors in the state would have been unable to do business by August 1st because of "Inactive" temporary permits. The advantage to the state for issuing “Provisionals” is that they can start collecting the license fees on the farmers, which they did not have to pay with a Temporary. Trying to milk exact numbers from the CDFA database is not easy. We ended up having to more or less hand count and add the totals from many spreadsheets. As of this writing, and as far as we can tell, the state has only extended “Provisional” or “Annual” cultivation licenses to just over 2,000 farms. In addition, there are more than 4,000 of the so-called “Temporary Cultivation Licenses” from the state which are listed as “inactive.” So if there really were 50,000 to 60,000 growers in California prior to 2016, only about three and a half percent currently have cultivation licenses. That leaves somewhere around 50,000 growers still out in the cold. With so many Emerald Triangle cultivators getting busted, how many of them do you suppose are still growing? This is one reason the price of free market cannabis is climbing again. Casey O’Neill summed it up perfectly: Community members find themselves caught between the rock of enforcement and the hard place of a convoluted and unaffordable permitting process. Enforcement without opportunity is a broken paradigm.   There is no incentive for coming into compliance. Essentially, all stick and no carrot. As local longtime activist Darryl Cherney stated at the meeting in Humboldt last weekend, “This government is turning all us hippies into Libertarians!”

4 months ago

Study Explores How Different Marijuana Extracts Kill Types Of Cancer Cells

Marijuana extracts can impair the survival of certain types of cancer cells and inhibit their spread, according to a recent study. But the effects of those extracts vary significant based on their specific chemical makeup. Researchers found that treating cancer cells with isolated ingredients in cannabis, such as THC alone, does not appear to be especially effective—but full cannabis extracts showed more promise. However, with the plant containing hundreds of compounds that appear in different concentrations across strains and preparations, researchers had their work cut out for them in investigating how various cannabinoid combinations treated different types of cancer cells. The team tested the antitumor effects of 12 whole cannabis extracts on 12 human cancer cell lines in order to “determine whether whole cannabis preparations with specific phytocannabinoid profiles could be advantageous as therapy for certain cancer sub-types.” The findings were published in the journal Oncotarget. “Our results show that specific cannabis extracts impaired the survival and proliferation of cancer cell lines as well as induced apoptosis.” Each cell sample was treated with a marijuana extract in increasing doses (2-10 µg/ml) over the course of 24 hours. There were five preparations of cannabis that proved especially potent for a wide range of cancer types but, in general, the study shows there’s significant variability in effectiveness for different cancer types—even when the cancers originated in the same organ. Via Oncotarget. For example, two distinct forms of prostate cancer cells were found to be most sensitive to entirely different marijuana extracts. The cannabis preparations also ranged widely in their effectiveness in preventing the proliferation of cancer cells. When applied to multiplying cells, there were three extracts that reduced the growths to 37-51 percent of their original size, compared to 68 percent for the control group. But there were other extracts that failed to reduce the spread in a statistically significant manner. Some commonalities shared among the most potent cannabis extracts include a high concentration of THC and large amounts of phytocannabinoids in their decarboxylated form. “Taken as a whole, we concluded that medical cannabis does not consist of a single therapeutic agent but rather a heterogeneous array of treatments,” the researchers wrote. “We propose that the fate of specific cancer cells following cannabis extract application is dependent upon the synergistic effects of its phytocannabinoid composition, concentration applied, along with the cell specific characteristics (e.g. cannabimimetic receptor expression).” “This study demonstrates the anti-cancer activity of various whole cannabis extracts on a set of human cancer cell lines.” The study concluded that “cannabis extracts were very potent in producing cell death and some of these extracts were of [THC]-rich type” and that, as previous studies have indicated, “using whole cannabis extracts is more effective in inducing cancer cell death than applying pure [THC] on the studied cells lines.” “Furthermore, not all [THC]-rich extracts produce the same effects when applied at the same concentrations on a specific cancer cell line,” the study authors wrote. “These findings indicate that compounds other than [THC] in these extracts might act together in a polypharmacology way and determine the extract efficacy as antitumor agents.” Interestingly, the researchers also theorized that the the “presence or absence of [cannabinoid receptors] in the tested cell lines may explain the differential potency of the extracts towards reducing cell survival.” The team called for further research into the “specific properties and mechanisms of cancer cell insensitivity to cannabis extract effects.” “We hope that this study will lay the groundwork for future preclinical studies and randomized controlled clinical trials in order to provide evidence for effective cannabis treatments for many cancer subtypes,” they concluded.

4 months ago

Massachusetts Gives First Social Equity Program Provisional License

Massachusetts has awarded the first provisional license under the state’s social equity licensing rules to Pure Oasis, a Boston-based dispensary; the owners say they will hire locally and hope to establish a business incubator. The first cannabis dispensary to benefit from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s economic empowerment program is expected to open by late October and is the first to get approval within Boston city limits, according to a WBUR report. The economic empowerment program is Massachusetts’ social equity initiative for the cannabis space. Kobie Evans is a native of Dorchester, which historically has high cannabis arrest rates – a key requirement for applicants of the state’s economic empowerment program. His business partner, Kevin Hart, grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and Virginia; both men are African American. Requirements for the social equity program include having a past drug conviction, or being the spouse or child of an individual with a drug conviction, or having lived in an “area of disproportionate impact” for at least five years, and having an income that doesn’t exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Applicants must have lived in Massachusetts for at least 12 months. The duo’s company, Pure Oasis, has so far only been granted a provisional license and still need a final license and operating certificate. Under the program, 123 social equity licenses will be available to qualifying applicants but, according to the WBUR report, the CCC has received only 10 applications. Evans said the application process – which can cost between $50,000 and $60,000 – “isn’t easy.” “… It would be a lot easier if we had a pile of money to hire a big lobbying firm to set up meetings with mayors, but that’s not the case. Being the little guys makes the process difficult to impossible.” – Evans, to WBUR Evans called “the politics” the hardest part of netting a business license because the state law requires businesses enter into Host Community Agreements, which allows municipalities to collect up to 3 percent of a business’ gross sales for up to five years, before the CCC will even consider an application. Evans and Hart said they plan to hire individuals from the community, including those with criminal records, at their shop and hope to, eventually, launch a business incubator.  

4 months ago

New York state decriminalizes pot, stops short of Cuomo's legalization call

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state on Monday decriminalized recreational marijuana use, meaning possession of small amounts of the drug will be punished with fines rather than jail time, a step short of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of legalizing pot. Cuomo said the measure would also allow a mechanism for clearing the records of people who had been criminally convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Eleven U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have fully legalized recreational marijuana use since Colorado first did so in 2014, according to the Marijuana Policy Project lobbying group. Another 15 states including New York have decriminalized it. “By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process,” said Cuomo. Over 360,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana in the state of New York from 2008 to 2017, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Democratic governor said in December that legalizing recreational marijuana use was one of his top legislative priorities for 2019, a reverse from his position on the issue during his previous two terms. He argued that revenue from taxing the drug could help address a number of needs, including New York City’s troubled subway system, which is desperately in need of major repairs and upgrades. A state report at the time estimated the legal market for marijuana at between $1.7 billion and $3.5 billion annually. New York lawmakers’ efforts to legalize marijuana collapsed in June amid disagreement among Democrats on how to regulate the industry, prompting the introduction of the decriminalization bill. The failure to legalize marijuana fully highlights a split among New York Democrats, who control both of the state’s legislative chambers after capturing the state senate in November’s elections. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. During the administration of former President Barack Obama, the U.S. government largely permitted states to determine how to handle the issue on their own, but the Justice Department under President Donald Trump has allowed prosecutors to enforce federal law even in states where marijuana is legal.

4 months ago

Kamala Harris, Jerry Nadler Announce Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Bill

Sure, there have been cannabis legalization bills proposed in the House before. But never have they been sponsored by the chairperson of the congressional judiciary committee. On Tuesday, that changed when New York Representative and judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler announced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. Nadler was joined in the presentation of the proposed legislation by Senator Kamala Harris, a former California attorney general who is currently one of the leading candidates for Democratic presidential nominee in 2020.  Momentum is growing on Capitol Hill when it comes to federal cannabis legalization. Last week, the Senate scheduled a hearing on the SAFE Act, which would allow businesses operating within the bounds of their state laws access to national banks. “Times have changed — marijuana should not be a crime,” said Harris. “We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives.” The MORE Act seeks to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, and would allow states to enact their own regulations as they are able to do with alcohol. Additionally, it would establish processes for expungement of past marijuana convictions, and protect individuals in federal housing and those seeking citizenship from discrimination based on their association with the drug.  A five percent tax on cannabis would also be instituted by the proposed legislation, to be used for opportunity grants for disadvantaged communities. Those grants would cover funds for employment training, business loans, and legal aid for those with prior cannabis-related convictions, among other budget items. This isn’t the first time Harris has co-sponsored marijuana legislation. Last year, the senator’s name was on fellow 2020 hopeful Senator Corey Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act. That bill is similar, but lacking some of the Nadler proposal’s emphasis on connecting POC communities with cannabis entrepreneurship resources. Booker re-introduced the bill in February, and it has been referred to the judiciary committee. White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren also proposed legalization of cannabis in her twice-introduced Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, which was also referred and stands in the judiciary committee’s docket.  Harris’ 2019 memoir The Truths We Hold also spoke to her view of the issue as one of social justice:  “These racial disparities are staggering and unconscionable,” Harris writes. “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it.” But the politician has not always been so gung ho about cannabis regulation. Indeed, it was only five years ago when, as California’s attorney general, she laughed off reporters’ questions about the viability of legalizing weed. But now, the ex-prosecutor has even gone on hip-hop talk radio show The Breakfast Club to talk about having smoked cannabis herself in the past. What was meant to come across as a light-hearted moment, however, had interesting repercussions. “Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Harris said when asked if she’d partaken in the drug in the past.

4 months ago

FDA issues warning to CBD company for 'unsubstantiated' health claims

In a move to crack down on the marketing of cannabis-related products, the US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to the company Curaleaf for selling some unapproved cannabidiol products with "unsubstantiated" health claims that the products treat cancer and Parkinson's disease, among other health conditions. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is the ingredient in marijuana and hemp touted to have many medicinal benefits. It's different from tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis.   "Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims -- such as claims that CBD products can treat serious diseases and conditions -- can put patients and consumers at risk by leading them to put off important medical care. Additionally, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, effectiveness and quality of unapproved products containing CBD," Dr. Ned Sharpless, acting FDA commissioner, said in the agency's news release on Tuesday.   The warning letter, sent on Monday, included some examples of how Curaleaf Hemp products have been marketed on the company's social media accounts. The FDA said the products are considered drugs because they are "intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" or "intended to affect the structure or any function of the body."     Curaleaf noted in a written statement on Tuesday that the FDA's letter is "currently under review" by the company's legal counsel. "We will respond to the letter within the 15 business-day timeframe that FDA provides. We intend to work collaboratively with FDA to address the issues in the letter. Curaleaf is fully committed to complying with FDA requirements for all of the products that it markets. Compliance is a top priority for Curaleaf. We can reaffirm that nothing in the letter raises any issues concerning the safety of any Curaleaf product. Curaleaf products are all derived from hemp and meet the requirements of the Farm bill," the statement said. 'The industry is exploding' The letter indicated that Curaleaf has 15 working days to respond with either details on how the company has corrected violations or with information as to why the company believes its products are not in violation. Failure to correct the violations promptly may result in legal action, including the seizure or ban of a product, according to the FDA.   This latest move by the FDA comes just months after the agency held its first hearing to assess the safety and efficacy of CBD products. As states have liberalized the use of marijuana, CBD-related products such as oils, lotions, chocolates and even dog food have stormed the market. Market analysts expect the hemp-derived CBD market alone to hit between $15-20 billion in the next five to six years. "The industry is exploding. It's growing in popularity every day. It's so important for the FDA to get a regulatory handle on this," Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the US Hemp Roundtable, an industry-backed advocacy group said in May. "There are bad products out there. There are products that make false claims. It's important that FDA develop standards," he said.   Earlier this year, FDA sent warning letters to PotNetwork Holdings in Florida, Nutra Pure in Washington state and Advanced Spine and Pain in New Jersey for "making unsubstantiated claims related to more than a dozen different products and spanning multiple product webpages, online stores and social media websites." These companies made claims that CBD could help with cancer and dementia. Miller said in May that the industry wants regulation. "Our biggest enemy isn't the FDA or the DEA, but CBD companies making false claims," he said. 'Potential opportunities and significant interest' in CBD The FDA noted in its news release on Tuesday that it plans to continue to take an agency-wide approach to addressing the regulation of CBD products that fall under its jurisdiction. Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter "We will continue to work to protect the health and safety of American consumers from products that are being marketed in violation of the law," Dr. Amy Abernethy, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, said in Tuesday's news release. "At the same time, we also recognize the potential opportunities and significant interest in drug and other consumer products containing CBD," she said. "We understand this is an important national issue with public health impact and of interest to American hemp farmers and many other stakeholders. The agency has a well-established pathway for drug development and drug approvals, and we remain committed to evaluating the agency's regulatory policies related to other types of CBD products. We plan to report our progress by early this fall as we expedite our work to address the many questions about CBD."

4 months ago

Texas Prosecutors Are Tossing Cannabis Possession Cases

Due to the hemp legalization law passed by Texas last month, some cities are dropping cannabis possession charges as it has become too hard to distinguish between industrial hemp flower and cannabis. Some Texas cities are dropping cannabis possession cases following the legalization of hemp last month because law enforcement agencies are unable to distinguish between hemp and psychoactive cannabis, casting a reasonable doubt over criminal proceedings, according to a KVIA report. In response, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have sent a letter to district and county attorneys urging them to continue prosecuting the cases. Police departments do have the option to test cannabis to determine whether it contains more than 0.3 percent THC; however, those tests are expensive and, for some towns, not worth paying for to prosecute low-level cannabis crimes. In the state’s 10 most populous counties, only El Paso District Attorney Jamie Esparza has said definitively that he would continue prosecuting cannabis cases with the new hemp law on the books. He told KVIA that, with cannabis arrests, there is usually enough circumstantial evidence to levy charges, such as paraphernalia or other evidence of smoking. Harris County Assistant District Attorney Paul Fortenberry of the Major Narcotics Division said that most crime labs in the state can’t even measure THC and the new law “requires scientific testing” to determine whether something is considered hemp or marijuana. El Paso Assistant District Attorney Tom Darnold said in a memo obtained by the Texas Tribune that the burden of proof would be on the defendant, not the prosecutor. Some Texas cities are dropping cannabis possession cases following the legalization of hemp last month because law enforcement agencies are unable to distinguish between hemp and psychoactive cannabis, casting a reasonable doubt over criminal proceedings, according to a KVIA report. In response, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have sent a letter to district and county attorneys urging them to continue prosecuting the cases. Police departments do have the option to test cannabis to determine whether it contains more than 0.3 percent THC; however, those tests are expensive and, for some towns, not worth paying for to prosecute low-level cannabis crimes. In the state’s 10 most populous counties, only El Paso District Attorney Jamie Esparza has said definitively that he would continue prosecuting cannabis cases with the new hemp law on the books. He told KVIA that, with cannabis arrests, there is usually enough circumstantial evidence to levy charges, such as paraphernalia or other evidence of smoking. Harris County Assistant District Attorney Paul Fortenberry of the Major Narcotics Division said that most crime labs in the state can’t even measure THC and the new law “requires scientific testing” to determine whether something is considered hemp or marijuana. El Paso Assistant District Attorney Tom Darnold said in a memo obtained by the Texas Tribune that the burden of proof would be on the defendant, not the prosecutor. “[The new law] allows the defense to raise a defensive issue of, ‘Hey, what you have is hemp, not marijuana.’ If there’s no lab test either way … then really it’s just a circumstantial evidence case, and we can still reasonably satisfy our proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” – Darnold, to the Tribune, via KVIA At least two counties have approved funds to send substances to private testing laboratories with the proper equipment to test for THC content. The letter sent by Abbot and Legislative leaders indicated that the hemp law gives law enforcement and prosecutors “more tools” because under the law it’s a misdemeanor “for failure to have a proper hemp certificate.” The hemp law passed the Legislature with supermajority support, which allowed the measure to take effect immediately. At least two counties have approved funds to send substances to private testing laboratories with the proper equipment to test for THC content. The letter sent by Abbot and Legislative leaders indicated that the hemp law gives law enforcement and prosecutors “more tools” because under the law it’s a misdemeanor “for failure to have a proper hemp certificate.” The hemp law passed the Legislature with supermajority support, which allowed the measure to take effect immediately.

4 months ago

Cannabis Can Be 30x More Powerful Than Aspirin for Inflammation, Says New Study Eyeing Future Opioid Substitute

Medical marijuana is quickly being recognized as a viable alternative for pain relief—and now for the first time ever, researchers have uncovered exactly how the cannabis plant creates important pain-relieving molecules that are 30 times more powerful at reducing inflammation than Aspirin. The discovery, which was made by researchers from the University of Guelph, unlocks the potential to create a naturally derived pain treatment that would offer potent relief without the risk of addiction of other painkillers. “There’s clearly a need to develop alternatives for relief of acute and chronic pain that go beyond opioids,” said Professor Tariq Akhtar, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, who worked on the study with MCB professor Steven Rothstein. “These molecules are non-psychoactive and they target the inflammation at the source, making them ideal painkillers.” Using a combination of biochemistry and genomics, the researchers were able to determine how cannabis makes two important molecules called cannflavin A and cannflavin B. Known as “flavonoids,” cannflavins A and B were first identified in 1985, when research verified they provide anti-inflammatory benefits that were nearly 30 times more effective gram-for-gram than acetylsalicylic acid (sold as Aspirin). However, further investigation into the molecules stalled for decades in part because research on cannabis was highly regulated. With cannabis now legal in Canada and genomics research greatly advanced, Akhtar and Rothstein decided to analyze cannabis in order to understand how Cannabis sativa biosynthesizes cannflavins. “Our objective was to better understand how these molecules are made, which is a relatively straightforward exercise these days,” said Akhtar. “There are many sequenced genomes that are publicly available, including the genome of Cannabis sativa, which can be mined for information. If you know what you’re looking for, one can bring genes to life, so to speak, and piece together how molecules like cannflavins A and B are assembled.” With the genomic information at hand, they applied classical biochemistry techniques to verify which cannabis genes were required to create cannflavins A and B. Their full findings were recently published in the journal Phytochemistry. These findings provide the opportunity to create natural health products containing these important molecules. “Being able to offer a new pain relief option is exciting, and we are proud that our work has the potential to become a new tool in the pain relief arsenal,” said Rothstein. Currently, chronic pain sufferers often need to use opioids, which work by blocking the brain’s pain receptors but carry the risk of significant side effects and addiction. Cannflavins would target pain with a different approach, by reducing inflammation. “The problem with these molecules is they are present in cannabis at such low levels, it’s not feasible to try to engineer the cannabis plant to create more of these substances,” said Rothstein. “We are now working to develop a biological system to create these molecules, which would give us the opportunity to engineer large quantities.” The research team has partnered with a Toronto-based company, Anahit International Corp., which has licensed a patent from the University of Guelph to biosynthesize cannflavin A and B outside of the cannabis plant. “Anahit looks forward to working closely with University of Guelph researchers to develop effective and safe anti-inflammatory medicines from cannabis phytochemicals that would provide an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” said Anahit chief operating officer Darren Carrigan. “Anahit will commercialize the application of cannflavin A and B to be accessible to consumers through a variety of medical and athletic products such as creams, pills, sports drinks, transdermal patches and other innovative options.”

4 months ago

Too much weed? Oregon's got a cannabis surplus and officials aren't happy

Five years after Oregon legalized recreational marijuana, its lawmakers now are trying to rein in production, fearing the state’s big weed surplus will tempt some licensed businesses to sell their products out of state or on the illegal market. Such diversions could invite a crackdown from the federal government and cast a pall over the legal pot industry. Last year, the U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon put the state on notice when he announced that curbing interstate trafficking was his top cannabis law enforcement priority.  Licensed growers have spent thousands of dollars on compliance and don’t want to risk their businesses by selling illegally, said Michael Getlin, founder of a 15,000-square-foot cannabis farm in Oregon City. “The flip side of that is, I get cold calls all the time from people out of state looking to go shopping,” he said — often offering two or three times market price in Oregon. Oregon’s surplus, though legal, is something of a cautionary tale for other states as they try to manage marijuana supply and demand. Enough recreational cannabis sat on dispensary shelves, in warehouses and in processing plants this January to satisfy buyers for more than six years, according to a report from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the state agency that regulates recreational marijuana. Like California, Oregon has a long history of illegal grows. And while some states, such as Colorado and Washington, limit the production licenses people can hold and the number of plants businesses can grow, Oregon has made it easy for people to harvest a lot of weed. “They underestimated the number of people that would be willing to convert to the legal market or would want to participate in the legal market,” said Beau Whitney, vice president and senior economist for New Frontier Data, a company based in Washington, D.C., that studies the cannabis industry. To address the pot glut, Oregon this year enacted legislation that allows the regulators to stop issuing new production licenses when supply exceeds demand. The state also approved a measure that, with federal approval, would allow growers to sell their cannabis out of state.  Congressional bills that would legalize marijuana sales at the federal level have so far been unsuccessful. But two Democrats who represent Oregon in Congress, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, last month proposed legislation that would allow for interstate commerce between states with legal cannabis programs. Oregon marijuana growers appear to have planted less cannabis this year and prices have ticked up, a sign that the market is correcting, said Adam Smith, founder and director of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, a nonprofit trade group based in Oregon. Still, Smith said, “the fix is open markets.” His group pushed for the Oregon interstate commerce bill and plans to lobby for similar legislation in California and beyond. Production Control The Oregon cannabis glut has raised eyebrows among experts who study marijuana markets. “The biggest policy lesson you can take from this is: understand the existing cannabis market,” said Adam Orens, co-founder of the Marijuana Policy Group, a consulting outfit based in Denver.  His group helps states create an initial estimate of marijuana demand by looking at federal drug use surveys and conducting new surveys of state residents. Once legal sales are up and running, he said, plant tracking systems can help regulators follow market dynamics.  Many states limited marijuana production from the get-go. Washington state, for instance, issued production licenses only during a 30-day period in 2013 and allowed producers to license no more than three businesses each. Marijuana prices have been dropping in recent years in Washington. But people in the industry disagree over whether that means there’s an oversupply problem and how to address it, said Brian Smith, communications director for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. “We’re in a different boat than Oregon is,” he said. The regulatory agency hasn’t completed a supply and demand study yet, but it found in a recent report that most marijuana producers in Washington are planting in less than the total amount of space allowed under their licenses. Colorado’s Department of Revenue issues production licenses in five tiers, from up to 1,800 plants to up to 13,800 plants. All cultivation licenses begin at the first tier. To move up a tier, growers must prove that they sold 85% of the crop they grew in the previous six months. If cultivators can’t transfer enough product, officials may knock their license down to a lower tier, according to Shannon Gray, marijuana communications specialist for the Revenue Department. In 2017, licensed growers in Colorado produced about 13% more marijuana than was sold that year, according to a report prepared for the Revenue Department by the Marijuana Policy Group and the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The report shows supply and demand are “effectively in equilibrium,” Gray said in an email. Statewide production limits help keep supply and demand aligned, Orens said, as do local cultivation and sale limits and Colorado’s initial requirement that each company control production, processing and sales. “It’s not one specific thing, it’s all these things together,” he said. Whitney at New Frontier Data said the decline in the price of retail marijuana comes not from oversupply but competition among businesses. ‘The Emerald Region’ Oregon regulators’ efforts to create a legal marijuana industry have been complicated by the long history of illegal grows in the area. The Craft Cannabis Alliance’s Smith calls Southern Oregon and Northern California “the emerald region,” where long, dry growing seasons and cool nights create a perfect climate for growing marijuana outdoors. Prior to legalization, some illegal pot grown in Oregon was trafficked out of state, he said. After Oregonians voted to allow marijuana sales in 2014, policymakers focused on bringing illegal businesses into the legal system, which is constrained by state borders.  “When the system was getting set up in Oregon — it wasn’t really launching a brand new market, it was transitioning an underground, unregulated market into an above-ground, regulated one,” said TJ Sheehy, a data analyst for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s marijuana program.  To encourage illegal businesses to transition, Oregon policymakers at first didn’t set a cap on licenses. Fees are low — starting at $1,000 for a 2,500-square-foot outdoor grow or a 625-square-foot indoor grow — and since 2016, aspiring marijuana magnates haven’t needed to live in the state to get a business license.  “If you want a license of a certain size, you can have it,” Sheehy said. “So it’s up to you to decide what makes market sense.” The Oregon commission has licensed 1,136 recreational growers. Recreational growers aren’t the only suppliers in the state. Only about half the marijuana Oregon adults consume is bought from licensed recreational dispensaries, with the remainder supplied by medical growers, home growers and the illegal market, Sheehy said. He said there’s no evidence that a lot of recreational legal marijuana is going out of state, though some businesses may be breaking the law to juice sales, such as by inflating their pot potency results. A lot of the excess cannabis will be composted if producers can’t find buyers, Sheehy said. The overproduction of marijuana in Oregon and illegal export of surplus product remains an important concern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Kevin Sonoff, its public affairs officer, in an email. Since last May, he added, the office has focused more on this issue — especially in Southern Oregon — and marijuana-related investigations, arrests and convictions have increased. Prices for marijuana flower crashed in late 2017, sending many growers out of business. “At pretty much the drop of a hat, prices dropped by 50%,” said Michael Johnson, chief operating officer of Siskiyou Sungrown, an 80,000-square-foot outdoor grow in Southern Oregon. “We ended up extracting a lot of that inventory, rather than selling it as smokable flower.” The emergency legislation that Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed into law his year allows Oregon regulators to stop issuing producer licenses when supply exceeds demand. The commission had paused processing of applications in 2018 because their workload exceeded staff capacity, said Mark Pettinger, the recreational marijuana spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The new legislation allowed the agency to extend its moratorium through 2021. Legislators also laid the groundwork for interstate marijuana trade with a law allowing the governor to sign marijuana delivery agreements with other governors, once given the go-ahead from the federal government. Oregon state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat who sponsored the interstate commerce bill, floated similar legislation two years ago but it didn’t pass the Senate. This time around, he said concern about overproduction helped propel his bill to the governor’s desk.  Given Oregon’s climate and history of marijuana production, pot could be the state’s next signature export, Prozanski said. “I see cannabis to Oregon as Kentucky sees bourbon.” People close to the marijuana industry say that Oregon’s oversupply problem may have peaked last year. “People went bankrupt,” said Don Morse, former chairman of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, a trade group. “And the market settles itself out.” “My farmer clients tell me that prices are going up, and same with my dispensary clients,” said Amy Margolis, a lawyer based in Portland who specializes in the cannabis industry. Switching to Hemp Now Oregon is experiencing a different cannabis gold rush: Morse said that many former marijuana business people — himself included — have gotten out of the saturated pot market and switched to growing hemp, a type of cannabis that is legal nationwide and cannot produce a high. Two years ago, before Congress in 2018 legalized hemp production and commercial sales, officials at the Oregon Department of Agriculture gave 246 farmers permission to plant some 3,300 acres of hemp. This year, they gave eight times as many farmers permission to plant some 53,000 acres. Many growers aim to harvest hemp for cannabidiol, or CBD, a trendy extract with alleged health benefits. The agency doesn’t track how many former marijuana growers are now growing hemp, according to Sunny Summers, the cannabis policy coordinator at the Department of Agriculture. Hemp CBD is so new that analysts have yet to agree on its actual market size. But like many farmers, Morse is optimistic. His company next year will seed 1,100 acres of hemp in Oregon and California, after growing less than 10 acres this year. “People say, ‘Well you’re going to experience an oversupply of hemp.’ And maybe, maybe not, because you can ship over state lines,” he said. “And you can compete in the national market.”

4 months ago

FDA Plans to Expedite CBD Regulations

FDA officials say they will rush the release of federal CBD rules and regulations, potentially by the end of summer or early fall. The Food and Drug Administration plans on expediting CBD rules and regulations, potentially by the end of summer or early fall, according to Dr. Amy Abernathy, the principal deputy commissioner and acting chief information officer. “We are enthusiastic about research into the therapeutic benefits of CBD products but also need to balance safety. To understand the breadth of issues and gather data on safety we have conducted a public hearing, reviewed the medical literature, and have an open public docket.” – Abernathy, via Twitter Abernathy notes that the agency heard testimony from more than 100 speakers at the May 31 public hearing on CBD policy and the public docket on the issue has more than 3,400 comments. The previous update provided by the agency last month offered no insight into the FDA’s plans to regulate the cannabinoid but said they would apply a “rigorous and science-based approach” in crafting the rules and regulations. The authors – Abernathy and Lowell Schiller, principal associate commissioner for policy – did express concern that  “widespread availability in products like foods or dietary supplements could reduce commercial incentives to study CBD for potential drug uses.” The FDA approved GW Pharmaceuticals’ CBD-based medicine Epidiolex last year. During the May hearing, a representative from Greenwich Biosciences testified that at least one study found that CBD is potentially toxic to the liver; however, in that study, mice were given doses that far exceed any reasonable amount – the human equivalent of 42,050 milligrams, according to the CED foundation. The public comment period on CBD closes today.

4 months ago

Curaleaf Set to Acquire Grassroots for $875M Cash & Stock Deal

Curaleaf Holdings Inc. will acquire GR Companies Inc. in an $875 million cash and stock deal; the sale will create the largest cannabis company in the world by revenue, the company announced. Curaleaf Holdings Inc. has agreed to acquire GR Companies Inc., better known as Grassroots, in an $875 million cash and stock deal, the company announced on Wednesday. According to the firm, once the deal is finalized, Curaleaf will become the world’s largest cannabis company by revenue and the largest in the U.S. “across key operating metrics.” Throughout the Midwest, Grassroots possess 61 dispensary licenses – 20 are currently operating – and 17 cultivation and processing licenses. The combined company will hold 131 dispensary licenses, 68 operational locations, 20 cultivation sites, and 26 processing facilities. The deal gives Curaleaf its first presence in Illinois – which legalized cannabis for adult use last month – Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Vermont. Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleag said the deal “significantly accelerates” the company’s “expansion strategy and … reach across the medical and adult-use markets.” “In addition, it enhances the depth of our retail and wholesale platform across the country. By leveraging our scale, as well as our market leading capabilities and expertise, we will continue to deliver value for our shareholders.” – Lusardi, in a statement Under the terms of the deal, Curaleaf will pay $75 million in cash, 102.8 million subordinate shares of Curaleaf, and $40 million in Curaleaf shares priced at the 10-day volume-weighted average price prior to the transaction’s closing. Mitch Kahn, co-founder and CEO of Grassroots, will join the combined company’s board. Grassroots co-founders Matt Darin and Steve Weisman will join Curaleaf’s senior management team. “This acquisition will enable us to give our patients and retail partners greater access to products that adhere to the highest standards of quality and reliability, and our employees the opportunity to be part of a best-in-class operator,” Kahn said in a statement. In May, Curaleaf announced an agreement to acquire Select brand parent company Cura Partners, Inc in an all-stock deal worth nearly $1 billion. Cura is based out of Portland, Oregon and its products are sold at more than 900 retailers in the U.S.

4 months ago

Youth Cannabis Use Drops 8% in Legal States, Study Finds

In a research letter published today in JAMA Pediatrics, a group of university economists found that cannabis use among youth has declined in states that adopted adult-use legalization. The researchers used 25 years of data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys(YRBS), which are administered to all US high-school students every two years. The surveys, run by the federal Centers for Disease Control, track behaviors such as diet, exercise, sexual activity, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Since 1991, the YRBS has collected data from more than 4.4 million high school students. The study was led by Montana State University economist D. Mark Anderson, with contributions from colleagues at the University of Oregon, the University of Colorado, and San Diego State University. Youth Use Down 8% By comparing medical marijuana states, legal adult-use states, and prohibition states, the economists found that medical legalization did not affect youth use of cannabis. But in adult-use states, the researchers found an 8% decrease in youth cannabis use and a 9% decrease in frequent youth cannabis use. In this context, “use” was defined as consuming cannabis once in the past 30 days; “frequent use” was defined as consuming 10 times in the past 30 days. “Consistent with the results of previous researchers, there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth,” wrote the authors. “Moreover, the estimates reported [by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys] showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes.” Putting Weed Dealers Out of Business Anderson and colleagues posit that their findings were consistent with the argument that “it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.” Today’s published research letter is consistent with previous studies that found decreased youth cannabis use following the legalization of medical and adult-use marijuana. A 2014 report by the National Bureau of Economic Research stated: “Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that legalization leads to increased use of marijuana by teenagers.” Youth Use Decreasing Since 2002 Federally funded surveys of teens, such as the Youth Risk survey, have found rates of youth cannabis use among minors aged 12 to 17 have decreased since 2002, the dawn of medical cannabis dispensaries in the United States. In California, independent survey data show cannabis use among seventh-grade students dropped 47% from 2013 to 2017—a time when hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries were operating around the state. 

4 months ago

Can I bring pot to the potluck? Lizzie Post weighs in on etiquette in the age of legal weed

When Illinois’ legislature voted to legalize cannabis, you thought it sounded like a cool idea. Then you realized … you’re actually not all that cool. In fact, your experience with how to gracefully navigate the world of cannabis might be limited to “don’t bogart that joint.” In the era of legalization, you’ve got a few things to learn. In spite of the range of goofy stereotypes that have long been attached to pot smokers, good manners are a surprisingly important part of cannabis culture, and they reach far beyond worrying about how to look cool while passing that joint. It might be time for a crash course in post-prohibition etiquette — luckily, Lizzie Post is here to help.   Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, America’s best-known arbiter of good manners, is the keeper of that well-behaved flame. She’s written book after book guiding us through modern etiquette, but her latest, “Higher Etiquette,” deals exclusively with socially acceptable behavior when it comes to weed. Post says it’s not as much of a departure as one might think: She has always been an enthusiastic fan of pot, is thrilled to see legalization taking hold (“I’m so happy for Illinois!”) and her approach to etiquette remains the same — modern manners are about establishing a baseline of respect for others, and working up from there. Understand the language As with any specialized culture, cannabis use has its own jargon. But because of its long history as an illegal substance, some of those terms are trip-wires when it comes to etiquette. Post points to the controversy around the word “marijuana,” for instance. A term that has been tied to racism when used by non-Hispanic cultures, it is offensive to many in the cannabis world, in spite of its use in the press and even in official documents such as Illinois’ new law. “There are a lot of words that are charged,” says Post. “Some people also find ‘stoner’ offensive, while other people are fine with it. That’s why it’s good to get the conversation out there.” Remember it’s not all recreational While a lot of the chatter around legalization has to do with recreational use, Post says it’s important not to forget that many people rely on it as an important part of their health care, which could include treatment for anxiety, cancer or other serious ailments. Recognizing that people come to cannabis for many different reasons is important when talking about it, she says, and “it’s a really dramatic shift from 100 years of ‘reefer madness’ programming and negative stereotyping.” Science will set you free Worried about how to say yes or no when pot is offered? An easy way to empower yourself, Post says, is by “brushing up on the science of the plant and how it affects you. My book is the only etiquette book with a big science section, but it was important to have it, because it’s hard for people to understand what they’re engaging with unless they really have some education about the science.” A little understanding gives you credibility as well as reassurance, she says. “It gives you so much power when you decide whether to say yes or no to your friend who’s offering you weed at their house.” Always ask Post is a fan of open conversations, and she says they’re a must when it comes to cannabis consumption. “When our state made it legal,” she says, “I asked my parents: ‘So, are you guys a 420-friendly household?’ ” She has asked the same of Airbnb hosts, and makes a point of checking in with friends about whether bringing weed to their homes is OK. “You should feel totally comfortable asking a host whether you can bring pot to their house, and whether it’s OK if you consume it on site. What you never want to do is to do it anyway when they have said no.” She also cautions that even if friends consume cannabis, they may not want it in their homes, especially if they have children. Make your own rules   If you’re the host, saying no to cannabis in your space is always OK — just remember to do it politely and without judgment. “Every home, every person should have their own policy about what they are comfortable with,” says Post. And it’s not a bad idea to think about your preferences ahead of time, so that you’re ready with a graceful answer when someone asks. “Educating yourself on customs and culture is really important. Because that’s going to allow you to be comfortable with engaging or not engaging with the cannabis around you, depending on what your preference is.” Go public with caution Though cannabis will be legal in Illinois, “many people who would be comfortable having a drink with their boss would never think of lighting up a joint with colleagues,” Post says. Depending on your profession, you might still feel that cannabis use would be frowned upon, so you should feel comfortable reminding friends not to post photos of you around it on social media. If you’re tempted to ask someone how they feel about legalization or use, says Post, try “May I ask whether you’re interested in weed?” or “Would you mind me asking — are you excited about legalization?” “It gives the person the chance to say, ‘I don’t really want to discuss that right now,’” says Post. Please, don’t bogart that joint Relax, Post says, though there are lots of new social issues to contend with, your old cannabis knowledge is still solid. A classic puff-puff-pass technique is a fine standard for smokers, and it’s OK to be reminded (or to gently remind someone else) not to waste it. “A gentle nudge, ‘hey, don’t bogart that,’ is perfectly acceptable.” And remember, she adds, “It’s not really so much about being cool. The coolness is in the courtesy.”

4 months ago

Report: CBD in Legal Markets Outpacing THC Sales

A new hemp industry report from Headset indicates that the popularity of CBD products such as topicals, tinctures, and edibles is growing at a much faster rate than that of their THC-rich counterparts. According to a new report by Headset on the CBD industry, CBD products in legal cannabis markets have grown at a faster rather than their THC-rich counterparts. According to the report, sales of CBD topicals grew nearly 60 percent while high-THC topicals sales grew just 10 percent in legal markets. Headset found topicals drew the highest sales of non-inhalable CBD products in Colorado and Washington, followed by tinctures and sublinguals, edibles, capsules, and beverages. For CBD edibles, honey, sugar, and sweeteners represented 30 percent of sales, followed by mints (25.7 percent); gummies (21.5 percent); chocolates (17.7 percent); candy, lozenges, and gum (14.8 percent); cookies (11.2 percent); caramels, chews, and taffy (7.8 percent); cooking ingredients (7 percent); and other baked goods (2.3 percent). “So far in 2019, almost 50 percent” of all dollars spent on [cannabis] edibles were spent on gummies, which is by far the largest segment by total market share,” the report states. “Over 20 percent of that was spent toward CBD products.” The researchers note that while CBD is becoming more popular, they “don’t think it’s hit a plateau.” The report notes that a third of all non-inhalable product sales are CBD products. “While hemp-derived CBD has been available almost nationwide for awhile, it only recently hit traditional retail outlets. More consumer familiarity with the compound means more consumers who are comfortable with the idea of cannabis, and clearly some of CBD’s new mainstream audience is making its way into a dispensary.” — Headset’s Understanding the CBD Market in State-Legal Cannabis, June 2019 The report notes that the passage of the Farm Bill has quickened interest in sales at licensed cannabis retailers in legal states.

4 months ago

Florida’s Cannabis Vertical Integration Rules Found ‘Unconstitutional’

A court in Florida has ruled that the medical cannabis rules put in place by lawmakers created an “oligopoly” inconsistent with the constitutional amendment that a huge majority of voters approved in 2016. Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals has ruled that the legislature-approved medical cannabis rules created an “oligopoly” and are inconsistent with the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2016, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The regulations, passed during a special legislative session in 2017, required vertical integration – allowing a limited number of businesses to control all aspects of the medical cannabis supply chain. The case against the state was brought by Florigrown and last year Leon Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of the company, deciding that regulations approved by lawmakers improperly carried out the amendment. Florigrown CEO Adam Elend told the Sentinel the ruling is a “game-changer.” “It drops a bomb on the current licensing scheme. It’s just changing the whole regime. People are not getting medicine. The dispensaries are out of stock all the time. The products are limited, and the prices are high. That’s what happens in an oligopoly and that’s what we have.” – Elend, to the Sentinel Joe Redner, a Tampa strip-club operator and one of Florigrown’s owners, called the ruling a “good thing for the state of Florida.” “If the Legislature can create oligarchies in any field, it’s crony capitalism,” he said in the report. “They’re picking winners and losers. And that’s not fair. It’s not right. It’s not constitutional,” Redner had previously sued the state – and won – over the ban on patients growing their own medical cannabis. That case was appealed by the Health Department and is still working its way through the court system. In Tuesday’s decision, judges Scott Makar, James Wolf and T. Kent Wetherell wrote in the majority opinion that the legislature-approved rules “amend the constitutional definition of [medical marijuana treatment centers]” and force cannabusinesses to “conform to a more restricted definition” than the amendment approved by citizens. While the judges concluded that “it is in the public interest” for the Health Department to license non-vertically integrated cannabis operators “without applying unconstitutional statutory provisions” they are not requiring the agency to act immediately. In Florida, medical cannabis business licenses sell regularly for about $50 million. The decision will likely cause the prices of those licenses to drop as the Health Department complies with the court decision.

4 months ago

34 cannabis plants found growing in flower beds at the Vermont Capitol

(CNN)Vermont's Capitol Police have quite the mystery on their hands after a visitor pointed out a possible cannabis plant growing in the flower beds on the front lawn. An officer inspected the lawn on Monday and found what is believed to be either a hemp or marijuana plant. Chief Matthew Romei said they found 34 immature plants that are too young to differentiate. The genetic differences between hemp and marijuana are whether the plant has the potential to change your mental state, according to a University of Minnesota study.   One of 34 cannabis plants found on the Capitol grounds in Vermont. Further lab testing would be needed to figure out what the plants are, but Romei says the department has no plans to test them because it isn't pursuing a criminal case.     "We also have no thoughts on why someone would plant it," the department said. "But if anyone wants to claim it and let us know why they planted it, we are happy to listen." Vermont was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through legislature as opposed to by ballot in 2018 and legalized medicinal marijuana in 2004. Adults who are at least 21 are allowed to have up to 1 ounce of marijuana. If you want to grow, you're not allowed to have more than two mature marijuana plants and four immature marijuana plants, according to state law. A person convicted of breaking these laws can face up to six months of jail time or be fined $500.

5 months ago

Why use natural CBD products?

Anxiety, pain, skincare, and beyond- CBD seems to be nature's cure to an endless amount of ailments. But nature’s cure isn’t always as natural as it seems. There is often a misconception with cannabis products that since they are plant-derived,  they must be “healthy”. In reality, CBD products are, more often than not, riddled with pesticides, preservatives, and GMOs.  Look through a supermarket, drugstore, or beauty aisle and you’ll see- many things that are available for mainstream sale are far from healthy. When you shop, you may choose to go for the higher-quality natural options because you know you are getting the safer, cleaner, and healthier option. The same applies for CBD.  It is important that, as with any other type of produce, hemp or cannabis grown for CBD is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides. But it’s not just about the CBD itself- you also need to look out for the quality of ingredients used in the delivery- the oil base for tinctures, the ingredients for edibles, etc. Even if the CBD is clean, it could be mixed with questionable substances in the creation of the final product. These products can contain GMOs, preservatives, and fillers.  In addition to containing pesticides, inorganic CBD oils tend to contain less CBD.  Additionally, industrial product contains a higher risk of contamination and is known as a bio-accumulator which means it has a tendency to draw toxins from the soil. While inorganic CBD products may be more easily accessible on every corner, and cheaper, sticking to natural hemp oil however means you can be sure you're getting all the vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids with any added toxins.   Photo Credit

5 months ago

A New Cannabis Survey Reveals the No. 1 Legalization Hurdle

Support for legalization hits an all-time high in this annual survey In April, just ahead of 4/20 (April 20), a celebrated day among the cannabis community, CBS News released its now-annual survey that outlines how the public perceives marijuana. When asking if respondents favored the idea of legal marijuana use, an all-time record 65% were in support, which is up 6 percentage points from April 2018, and 20 percentage points from April 2013. This result more or less jibes with national pollster Gallup's results, which showed 66% support for legalization in its October 2018 survey. Among the findings, CBS News found that, for the first time ever in its polling, a majority of Republicans supported legalization (56%). However, as has been the case for some time now, seniors aged 65 and up were still on the fence about legalization, with just 49% in support of such an idea. Comparatively, 72% of young adults aged 18 to 34 were in favor of legalization, along with 72% of self-identified Democrats. One of the primary reasons marijuana has been growing in popularity is that most Americans view it as a positive for the local economy. Just over half of those people polled (52%) suggested that cannabis could be an economic positive, compared to just 15% who viewed it as a negative for the local economy. The remainder of those polled foresaw little or no economic effect. Furthermore, exactly half of all people polled felt that legalizing marijuana use would have "not much effect" on the number of violent crimes committed. Comparatively, 20% expected a decrease, while 26% forecast an increase in violent crimes with increased cannabis use.  IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES. Marijuana isn't viewed as a political game changer Each and every one of these data points would appear to be a selling point for federal reform. Americans overwhelmingly favor legalization, believe it's helping their local economies, and don't think cannabis use will lead to more violent crimes. And yet, it remains an illicit substance at the federal level. The reason? According to the CBS News poll, 56% of Americans questioned said their presidential candidate's support for legal marijuana wouldn't make a difference in their vote. Meanwhile, 21% suggested they're more likely to vote for a candidate who supports legalizing weed, with an equal 21% less likely to vote for a candidate who supports legalizing pot. Put in another context, a majority of the public may have an opinion on whether they believe cannabis should be legal or not, but the stance their candidate takes won't be enough to sway their vote. A 2018 survey from the independent Quinnipiac University yielded a very similar finding. Quinnipiac posed the following question to its respondents: "If you agreed with a political candidate on other issues, but not on the issue of legalizing marijuana, do you think you could still vote for that candidate or not?" A mere 13% of respondents affirmed that they wouldn't vote for such a candidate, with a whopping 82% noting that they still would. Marijuana simply doesn't have enough political clout on Capitol Hill to cause elected officials to lose their seats. This means there's little rush for lawmakers to endorse the legalization movement, even if the public tide has dramatically shifted in favor of legalization in recent years. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.   Cannabis could remain illegal at the federal level for years to come Even if voters won't be making marijuana a single-voter issue, it doesn't reduce the importance of the 2020 elections. On top of numerous states expected to vote on recreational cannabis, the federal government could see shake-ups at the congressional and presidential level. With Republicans having a historically more adverse view of cannabis than Democrats, hanging onto the Senate and/or Oval Office could doom pot to at least another two years without any chance of federal reform. In short, a lot is riding on next year's elections. Although there are plenty of ways for marijuana investors to make bank in the U.S. via the hemp and cannabidiol markets, a lack of progress on the federal cannabis front could certainly dent investors' near-term expectations. For example, last quarter we witnessed multistate cannabis operator Acreage Holdings (NASDAQOTH:ACRGF) fall by 20%, making it one of the 25 worst-performing cannabis stocks. Acreage, which has retail stores, grow farms, and processing sites in more states (20) than any other vertically integrated U.S.-focused pot stock, agreed to be acquired by Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), the largest marijuana stock in the world by market cap, in April. The $3.4 billion cash-and-stock deal was made on a contingent-rights basis, with Canopy Growth paying $300 million in cash up front, and handing over $3.1 billion in stock later, upon the legalization of marijuana at the federal level in the United States. Although the deal has a roughly 90-month runway to occur, Republican wins in the Senate or Oval Office next year could possibly push back any chance of reform for another 24 months, at minimum. Canopy Growth might look to have an easy in to the United States' burgeoning pot market, but there's no guarantee that the contingent rights of the deal with Acreage will be met anytime soon, if ever. Until marijuana becomes more of a single-voter issue, there's little chance of real federal reform in the United States.   Here's The Marijuana Stock You've Been Waiting ForA little-known Canadian company just unlocked what some experts think could be the key to profiting off the coming marijuana boom. And make no mistake – it is coming. Cannabis legalization is sweeping over North America – 10 states plus Washington, D.C., have all legalized recreational marijuana over the last few years, and full legalization came to Canada in October 2018. And one under-the-radar Canadian company is poised to explode from this coming marijuana revolution. Because a game-changing deal just went down between the Ontario government and this powerhouse company...and you need to hear this story today if you have even considered investing in pot stocks.

5 months ago

New Yorkers seek legal weed in Massachusetts after lawmakers in the Empire State fail to OK recreational marijuana

ALBANY — Marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are seeing green as New Yorkers stream across the border to stock up on ganja after lawmakers in the Empire State failed to give legal weed a try. Stores such as Theory Wellness in Great Barrington are seeing a deluge of cannabis-curious customers coming from neighboring states. “People already use cannabis, the majority of them do so responsibly,” Brandon Pollock, the dispensary’s CEO told the Daily News. “We’re not creating a new market, we’re just regulating an existing one.” The sleek legal weed dispensary, tucked beside a tire shop on the northern stretch of the small Berkshire town’s main drag, is only eight miles from the New York border and less than a three-hour drive from the city. Sales at the store have skyrocketed to upwards of $11 million since it launched its recreational operation in January, with half of the more than 50,000 customers coming from New York, Pollock said. The shop opened in 2017 as a medical marijuana dispensary and still has about 1,000 regular medical customers. Brandon Pollock, the CEO of Theory Wellness, a cannabis company in Massachusetts. (Handout) But the plethora of New York license plates in the parking lot on Wednesday ahead of the holiday weekend was a clear indication of where the majority of the shop’s legal weed-seekers are coming from. Nearly a hundred people stood in a line outside, many chatting and soaking up the July sun as they wiled away the hour-plus wait to purchase pot. Michelle, a 54-year-old from upstate Columbia County, said it was her third trip to the dispensary in as many months. “I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s no worse than alcohol and alcohol is everywhere," she said. "When was the last time you saw two people get into a fight after they smoked. But you see that in a bar. People have too much to drink and they’re beating the crap out of each other.” Andrew and Bryan drove an hour-and-a-half from New Paltz to check out the store for the first time. The pair, after expressing their displeasure with the long drive and their home state’s failure to pass legal pot, said they planned to stock up, grab lunch and head home. “I wanted to see how Massachusetts was doing the legalization of recreational weed,” 37-year-old Andrew said. “I guess that New York just isn’t ready yet. There was a lot of opposition from some communities in New York.” Despite polls showing statewide popularity, lawmakers couldn’t agree on details of legalization, including how tax revenue would be spent and whether past pot convictions should be expunged. Instead, a bill further decriminalizing marijuana passed the Senate and Assembly. Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York, made up of law enforcement officials, parent-teacher associations and doctors, led the charge against legalization efforts in the Empire State this legislative session. Interior design at Theory Wellness in Great Barrington has changed significantly since the dispensary opened. (Stephanie Zollshan/The Berkshire Eagle) “New York legislators learned that commercializing marijuana brings along a host of significant health, safety and societal costs that result in no tax money and no social justice,” Kevin Sabet, the group’s president said. Customers at Theory Wellness disagreed, saying that New York passed on an opportunity that could have brought tax revenue and jobs to struggling parts of the city and state. “It’s a no-brainer, the total package,” said Ed, a 68-year-old former security consultant, who waited on line Wednesday. “It’s pretty darn obvious that the revenue generated from the taxes would be sizable and it would improve communities. It would benefit the economy in New York State from communities impacted by the war on drugs to the rural areas upstate that could farm it.” In Massachusetts, the state pockets 17% of the 20% sales tax on cannabis. Demand has so far exceeded Pollock and the Theory team’s projections that they have more than tripled the staff at the Great Barrington location, where about 50 people are now employed. “They’re all local residents of the Berkshires,” said Thomas Winstanley, the company’s director of marketing. “We’ve also had to increase our hours of operation.” The company is doing its best to be a good neighbor and give a leg up to those who have been affected by over-policing of past pot laws with a program that offers $250,000 and guidance to a disadvantaged person or team seeking to open their own cannabis retail shop. The potential competition from another shop or another state doesn’t concern Pollock. “We are young entrepreneurs,” he said. “We consider ourselves to be social entrepreneurs, so we’re doing this not just for money if you will. "We believe in equity in the cannabis industry and we also believe in access to safe cannabis for all adults. So when a state like New York is so close to allowing access and fails it is certainly very disappointing in our view because that just further delays people having access.”

5 months ago

88 Percent of Pain Patients in New Survey Traded Opioids for Cannabis

A huge amount of medical marijuana patients say they have successfully traded traditional medications for cannabis, according to a new study. We already know that two of the biggest reasons why patients turn to medical marijuana are help sleeping and pain relief. And according to a new study, many of those individuals are now using cannabis to replace other prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Researchers from the University of Miami surveyed 1,000 people who purchased cannabis from two different dispensaries in Colorado. The vast majority of these people stated they consumed cannabis either as a sleep aid (74 percent) or as a means of pain relief (65 percent). While these high numbers suggest that a lot of people are using cannabis as a medicinal product, what is more significant is just how well these individuals believe cannabis worked for them. Of the individuals who used cannabis for sleep, 84 percent found cannabis helpful. 83 percent found cannabis to be so effective that they either reduced or stopped taking other sleep aids. Results were similar among the crowd using cannabis for pain. 80 percent of those people found cannabis to be a very effective pain treatment, while 82 percent reported they had reduced or stopped using over-the-counter meds and a huge 88 percent said they has stopped using opioid painkillers. These findings go against recent studies suggesting cannabis might actually be bad for sleep, and that medical marijuana may not be the key to fighting the opioid crisis. Of course, the study authors admit their work has it's own issues. The results were not verified against actual medical or prescription records. The survey results may also be susceptible to "social desirability bias," where respondents say what they think the researchers want to hear. Still, it's an encouraging step towards understanding both why people use medical marijuana and how well it actually works.

5 months ago

Oregon Congressmen Introduce Interstate Cannabis Commerce Bill

Federal lawmakers from Oregon have introduced legislation to allow the state’s recently passed interstate cannabis commerce legislation to move forward; part of said state law requires federal permission before cannabis products can start shipping across state borders. -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) have introduced legislation that, if approved, would allow Oregon to move forward with its plan to export cannabis to border states with legalized use. The State Cannabis Commerce Act would expand the ban on federal interference on cannabis programs – which have been approved in various forms through budget agreements since 2014. In a release announcing the bill’s introduction, Wyden called on the federal government to “end its senseless and out of touch prohibition” of cannabis, while emphasizing that the current “gap between state and federal laws will only grow more confusing for both legal businesses and consumers” as more states legalize. “As we fight for that ultimate goal, however, Congress can and should immediately act to protect the will of Oregonians and voters in other states from federal interference – and that should include interstate cannabis commerce.” – Wyden, in a press release Earlier this year, the Oregon Congressmen introduced a package of bills to end federal cannabis prohibition and tax and regulate cannabis products. Last week, the House passed a Blumenauer-sponsored amendment to protect state-approved cannabis programs from federal interference. “This week, we are turning to a top priority for Oregonians – allowing for interstate sale of cannabis,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “It’s past time we protect the states, like Oregon, that have gotten it right.” Oregon’s recently-approved cannabis export law requires federal approval before a company can send a product to another state – namely Washington state, California, or Nevada. The measure follows a report earlier this year by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that found the state has six-and-a-half years of cannabis oversupply based on current demand.

5 months ago

New Jersey Gov. Signs Medical Cannabis Expansion Bill

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey has signed the state’s medical cannabis program expansions into law; the new rules will allow for more patients, home delivery, and dozens more medical cannabis operators. -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed the medical cannabis expansion bill which will increase the number of industry licenses in the state, allow for home delivery, and lowers the threshold for patients to qualify for the program, according to an NBC4 report. The Democratic governor had backed the expansion plan after lawmakers were unable to legalize cannabis for adult use during the session. The reforms will allow patients to buy 3 ounces of cannabis per visit 18 months after the bill takes effect and a commission will establish the limits once it is convened. The measure also allows physician assistants and nurse practitioners to recommend patients for the program and makes qualifying for the program easier by lowering the threshold from debilitating illnesses to “qualifying” conditions. The measure creates a five-member commission to regulate the program, moving it from the purview of the Health Department. It also phases out the 6.625 percent sales tax over three years. The bill also creates a new licensing system, creating three new categories for cultivation, processing and dispensing; the current system only has one license that covers all three levels of production and distribution. Under the measure, 15 percent of those new licenses would be made available to minority business owners, and 15 percent for women, veterans, and disabled people. The administration is seeking applications for 24 growers, 30 manufacturers, and 54 dispensaries with 38 in northern New Jersey, 38 in the central region, and 32 in the southern part of the state. The plan is expected to add nearly 100 dispensaries; currently, there are just six.

5 months ago

Illinois Officially Becomes the 11th State to Legalize Adult-Use Weed

While the Land of Lincoln isn’t the first state to go legal, it’s the first to ensure social justice came with the total package. Last year, JB Pritzker ran for the Illinois governor’s office on a promise to legalize weed. On Tuesday, June 25, he made that promise a reality by signing HB 1438 into law. Illinois is now the 11th state to legalize cultivation, sales, and possession of recreational, or adult-use, cannabis. But it’s the first state to do so through its legislature rather than ballot question left to the voters. (Technically, Vermont is the first to legalize through its legislature, but only for possession, not sales.) More importantly, Illinois is the first state to guarantee social justice and equity in its legalization program, as well.  “Studies have shown time and time again that black and white people tend to use cannabis at the same rates, but black people are far more likely to be arrested for possession,” Gov. Pritzker said during a press conference. “Criminalization offers nothing but pain, disruption, and injustice. The legislators and activists standing with me today have heard you.” So just how did Illinois accomplish what Colorado, California, Oregon, Alaska, Michigan, Washington, and other weed-legal states failed to do with their legalization bills? One of the bill’s lead sponsors was Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), who already carved her niche among the state’s progressives by championing Illinois’s 2013 marriage equality law and a recent expansion of women’s reproductive rights.  Getting weed legalized through the Illinois legislature wasn’t some accident, either. “That was the whole game plan from day one,” Cassidy told MERRY JANE over the phone. “When you have a [voter approved] ballot initiative, you only get a paragraph [of bill text] to work with.”    By going the legislature route, Cassidy got to sit down with other lawmakers, state agencies, attorneys, and activists to craft the legalization bill from scratch. That meant hours upon hours of impassioned debate, negotiation, and education, not to mention multiple line-item strikes and revisions as the bill was arduously, but ultimately, fleshed out. “It was one of the first truly collaborative processes I’ve been a part of. We cried together, we laughed together, and we worked our asses off. I don’t think it was easier,” she said regarding legalizing cannabis through the legislature, “but the end result was better.” How did Illinois’s weed bill turn out “better” than the previous ten states’? HB 1428 includes the usual rules that have become standard by now: no selling to kids, keeping organized crime away from licensed weed profits, potency limits, and strict packaging rules. But while other weed-legal jurisdictions – like California – have approved programs for social equity or expungements, those were post-hoc moves. Illinois lawmakers ensured social justice came with the total package, instead of just another inconvenient afterthought following legalization.  Under the expungement portion of the bill, Illinois must clear criminal records for the state’s 770,000 low-level weed offenders. That’s good news for residents who’ve struggled to find jobs, housing, or loans because they were convicted of victimless cannabis crimes. “The mechanics of expungement were a serious concern,” Chris Lindsey, the Senior Legislative Counsel at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told MERRY JANE during a phone call. MPP is responsible for pushing legalization in several states, such as Colorado and Maine, and Lindsey worked closely with Illinois’s legislators, activists, and state agencies to ensure HB 1438 made it to Gov. Pritzker’s desk.  “How do you set this up so there’s a feasible way for the state to do what you want? It’s very tricky….There are all these different counties. The [criminal] records don’t go into a massive database where someone can just hit ‘undo,’” he said. To begin expungements, state officials will need to dig up old court orders, find the records, then remove the records, county-by-county. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen eventually. “It’s very much a hand-held process,” Lindsey continued. “Getting those pieces to fit together, figuring out how we define what equity means, what benefits are available to people who fall into the equity applicant category…. Basically, how do we ensure it’s fair for everybody else?” Under the social equity sections of the bill, prospective canna-business owners who live in “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” – in other words, low-income neighborhoods that are often targeted by police patrols – get bumped to the front of the line for the state’s much-coveted cannabis licensing.  Social equity applicants can also qualify if they have prior weed arrests or convictions, or if they belong to a family that was “impacted” by the drug war.  “Social equity is certainly the hallmark of this legislation,” Lindsey added. While it’s going to take time to implement the bill’s social justice provisions, launching legal weed sales is on a tight deadline. By law, the program must be up and running by January 2020. The legislature officially approved legalization on May 31, and although the governor said then that he’d sign the bill as soon as he possibly could, it took nearly a month for HB 1438 to receive his signature.  Why did the signing take so long? According to Rep. Cassidy, the governor joked that he wanted to hold off on signing it until “Snoop comes to the State Fair.”  Uncle Snoop is set to perform in Illinois in August, so it’s probably best that Pritzker didn’t wait. 

5 months ago

Oregon Passes Interstate Cannabis Commerce Law

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law several cannabis policy updates, including a bill allowing the state to export cannabis products to other states with cannabis programs. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has signed a host of new cannabis bills into law, including one that contains language legalizing the inter-state trade of cannabis products. Other new laws expand upon the state’s cannabis expungement process, add protections for medical cannabis patients against discriminatory landlords, and add limits for the licensing of new cannabis operators. Senate Bill 582, approved by lawmakers earlier this month, would let cannabis operators in the state export their extra product to neighboring states with cannabis programs. The bill is aimed at relieving the Oregon cannabis market from an excessive glut of products — a study found earlier this year that the state has an oversupply of cannabis that, at current consumption rates, would last six and half years. Under the new law, however, the program will require federal government approval before cross-state sales can begin and there is currently not a federal policy in place regarding the issue. Additionally, any exported cannabis products will have to be transferred via roadways and could not pass through states where prohibition still stands, so any potential exports will be limited to just Washington, California, and Nevada. Meanwhile, the aptly named Senate Bill 420 contains cannabis expungement language that sets up individuals with low-level cannabis possession charges (for one ounce or less) to file for those charges to be expunged from their criminal record. Under the new law, applying for expungement will not cost a fee and objections to any request must be filed within 30 days. Senate Bill 218 — another new law aimed at reducing the state’s cannabis oversupply — authorizes the Oregon Liquor Control Commission “to refuse to issue initial marijuana production licenses based on supply of and demand for marijuana,” meaning that regulators can temporarily cease issuing licenses in the pursuit of a healthier marketplace. Previously, there were no legal limitations to the number of cannabis cultivators in Oregon. Senate Bill 970 includes language protecting medical cannabis patients from discrimination by landlords. The new law, which “limits applicable screening criteria for residential landlords,” states specifically that landlords cannot discriminate based on a renter’s “status as a medical marijuana patient” or because they have a “conviction based solely on the use or possession of marijuana.”

5 months ago

Massachusetts Bans CBD Consumables

Massachusetts state officials have banned the sale of most CBD products, including CBD-infused food and beverages, CBD flower, CBD products that make medicinal or therapeutic claims, and any dietary supplements or animal feed containing hemp. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has banned the sale of CBD-infused food and beverage products, raw CBD flower, CBD products that make any medicinal or therapeutic claims, and any dietary supplements, or animal feed containing hemp. The ban is based on federal Food and Drug Administration regulations banning the cannabinoid from food and other consumables. According to the state guidance, other hemp products – seed and seed oil, hulled hemp, hemp seed powder, hemp protein – remain legal along with clothing, building materials, and other items made from hemp fiber. The rules clarify that the state’s licensed cannabis cultivators and processors can buy and sell raw hemp flower – likely for extraction – but flower cannot be made available for retail sale. “Failure to comply may result in enforcement action from the Department, DPH, the local board of health, or law enforcement. This may include the inability to sell any hemp-derived products in the future, the destruction or seizure of illegal products, loss of license, or further legal action to determine whether the product sold is in compliance.” — MDAR, Policy Statement Regarding the Sale of Hemp-Derived Products, June 12 In an interview with the State House News Service, Jim Borghesani, the spokesman for the 2016 ballot initiative that legalized cannabis in the state, called the new hemp rules “an absurd dichotomy” in a state with recreational cannabis sales. He added that while 54 percent of voters were in favor of legalizing cannabis “probably a lot more want access to hemp consumables.” Rep. David Rogers, House chairman of the Cannabis Policy Committee, told the News Service that “there’s a possibility” the chamber will address the new restrictions on CBD “if need be.” Just last week the House voted unanimously to allow farmers with agricultural deed restrictions to grow hemp.

5 months ago

Museum Opening in Hollywood Plans to Combat Cannabis Stigma

A new museum is blowing into Hollywood. The Weedmaps Museum of Weed, curated by the company Weedmaps, aims to combat the stigma associated with marijuana use and bring awareness to cannabis prohibition and racially motivated polices regarding the hemp. "Our goal with the Weedmaps Museum of Weed is to demystify cannabis and its role in society, and to draw attention to the impact prohibition of cannabis has had on various social groups in the U.S. and beyond," said CEO Chris Beals in a statement. The museum will be open to the public on Aug. 3, 2019 and close on Sept. 29, 2019.   The 3,000-square-foot project is a partnership with VIRTUE, a creative unit of Vice Media. The museum will feature interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, art installations and more. Visitors will be also be able to shop custom apparel and snag a variety of cannabis keepsakes. No cannabis or CBD products will be sold on-site. The Weedmaps Museum of Hollywood will be located at 720 North Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood. According to a company press release, it will feature seven exhibits and a special Plant Lab section: ● Pre-Prohibition: Depicts the early history of the many uses of cannabis and hemp. ● Age Of Madness: Provides a visual look at the hysteria perpetuated by prohibition. ● Counterculture Revolution: Explores cannabis’ journey into the fabric of the 60s, from the hippie culture to activism. ● Behind Closed Doors: Takes visitors to the start of the war on drugs, when Richard Nixon introduced the DEA, and the people responded with foundations like NORML. ● Entrapment: Delves into the Reagan years and the government-driven propaganda that led to systematic mass incarceration of minorities. ● Dose of Compassion: Shows how the AIDS epidemic drove California’s ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana through a slice of life story. ● Legalization: A look at how both medicinal and recreational cannabis reform has evolved over the last decade and how pop culture has aided in normalizing cannabis. ● The Plant Lab: An interactive exhibit that explores everything from cannabinoids to terpenes and the latest technology and breakthrough medical research that can help shape the future of the plant and its role in society.

5 months ago

A New Age Dawns For Legal Cannabis - Governor Brown Signs Oregon's "Export" Bill

This afternoon, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 582, the so-called "cannabis export" bill. In doing so, Oregon became the first state in the post prohibition age to announce its readiness for interstate trade and the future of legal cannabis!The new law gives the state's executive branch the authority to enter into agreements with other consenting states to conduct and regulate commerce in cannabis. The passage of this bill is a first step towards interstate trade by 2021, and the Craft Cannabis Alliance is already forming alliances both in potential trading partner states and nationally on a campaign to make that happen.The bill, as we have discussed here and everywhere, contains a federal "trigger" meaning that Oregon cannot execute such agreements until the federal government either allows (via stature) or tolerates (via Department of Justice memo or policy statement) such transfers between consenting states. Working together, we are going to make licensed interstate transfer a reality by 2021.This success of this bill, while it presages the future of the entire legal U.S. cannabis industry, was based on a campaign that was and is centered on the locally-owned craft industry.Our locally owned farms and businesses, the people, their passion, their connection to Oregon's communities, and the region's historical role as exporter of the world's best cannabis have been at the center of every conversation (literally, thousands of conversations) that we have had over the past two and a half years.  For the past year, we have focused on moving the "Overton window" - defined as the range of "politically realistic" options - to encompass the only sane and rational future for the US legal cannabis industry - interstate commerce between consenting states.During the past few months, so many of you have spoken with legislators, or with the media, or with each other. Today that work has paid off. But this is just the beginning.The craft producers and processors and manufacturers of the most important production region in the world (roughly Eugene down to Mendocino County) will remain at the center of this fight through the end.  We grow the world's best, most biodiverse, and most sustainable cannabis, and we create the world's best cannabis products.  We want to share this bounty with cannabis lovers everywhere. Because that's what we do.Thanks so much to everyone who has donated scarce resources to this effort over the past two+ years, or who stood up to be counted, or who offered encouragement. It has been a difficult time in the industry for all of us, and whatever you were able to contribute to this initial victory helped and was appreciated.A special thanks to the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association for making this issue a priority in their lobbying efforts - and to everyone who attended their fantastic Lobby Day!  Thanks too to the Association of Oregon Counties, who were early and influential endorsers of the concept and the bill, and to their lobbyist Rob Bovett, a man of vision and integrity, who has become a friend through this process. Rob's support lent important credibility to our efforts, and he was tremendously helpful in crafting the language of the bill, as well as helping this non-lobbyist find my way around the Capitol. And of course, thanks so much to Senator Floyd Prozanski, who sponsored and championed this bill, and to Representative Ken Helm, another champion for the industry who sponsored the bill in the House.  Thanks too to HouseRepublican Leader Carl Wilson whose leadership insured bi-partisan support for the bill.  And to Rep. Rob Nosse, who carried a live cannabis plant, lent to him for the occasion by Craft Cannabis Alliance founding members East Fork Cultivars onto the House Floor for the first time ever (no confirmation of whether dried and cured cannabis has ever been carried onto the House Floor) when he carried the bill for a vote.And thank you to Governor Kate Brown for supporting and signing the bill, and to Jeffrey Rhoades, Governor Brown's policy point person on cannabis (just one of the issues on his plate) who listened, and heard, and who, in the midst of an historically busy and tumultuous session, stood up to help at just the right times.We will have more to say about next steps in the national campaign, and about next steps for the Craft Cannabis Alliance in the coming days. I am very excited to share that with you. But for today, a celebration. Today, the state of Oregon has declared itself ready and willing to engage in interstate commerce of our world class cannabis and cannabis products, as soon as we get the feds to stand down and allow legal regulated markets create the efficiencies that are their hallmark.  Our people, our Legislature, and our Governor have spoken. Now: let's tear down those walls!- Adam

5 months ago

In ‘historic vote,’ US House protects state-legal cannabis programs

In a landmark move Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives soundly approved by a 267-165 vote a bipartisan amendment that would protect state-legal cannabis programs from interference by the U.S. Department of Justice. The amendment to the fiscal year 2020 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill specifically prohibits the Justice Department from using funds to prevent states, Washington DC and U.S. territories from implementing their adult-use and medical marijuana programs. A similar amendment protecting tribal programs passed by a voice vote on Wednesday, as did an amendment that would protect Veterans Affairs doctors who recommend medical cannabis in states where it is legal. Thursday’s vote marks the first time a congressional chamber has voted to fully protect state-legal cannabis programs from Justice Department interference. Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation, characterized Congress as making a “historic vote,” in effect declaring “that the federal government should defer to state cannabis laws.” It’s unclear whether the provision will be supported in the Republican-controlled Senate. And, even if the provision does make it in the final spending bill approved by Congress, it will be in effect only for one year. The final version of the House amendment was submitted by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, Tom McClintock, a Republican from California, and Eleanor Norton, a delegate from Washington DC. The marijuana industry has been lobbying for more permanent reform, such as through the STATES Act. Since 2014, spending bill amendments have been passed that protected only state-legal medical cannabis programs. Such an MMJ protection provision also is part of the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill this year.

5 months ago

New York Expands Decriminalization, Approves Cannabis Expungement

New York lawmakers, after failing to adopt adult-use legalization this session, have approved legislation expanding cannabis decriminalization in the state and establishing a framework for the automatic expungement of low-level cannabis convictions. Working past the scheduled close of the 2019 legislative session, the New York State Senate approved legislation Thursday night to expand the state’s cannabis decriminalization language and automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions. The bill, which is supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), was approved next by the Assembly early Friday morning before lawmakers finally adjourned for the rest of the year, according to a PIX11 News report. Lawmakers had also considered an adult-use legalization bill but failed to come to an agreement in time, so the final push for cannabis reform resulted in just an expansion of the state’s existing decriminalizationlanguage. Under current New York law, carrying up to 25 grams of cannabis is considered unlawful possession — a violation resulting in a $100 ticket for the first offense, rising to a maximum fine of $250 for repeat offenses with up to 15 days in jail. The new language reduces the penalty to just a $50 fine for less than an ounce or a $200 fine for one to two ounces; the new bill will also allow for the expungement of minor cannabis convictions. Pro-reform lawmakers were disappointed that the legalization bill failed but said they will take up the issue again next year, and that the decriminalization expansions were a stepping stone toward reaching that eventual goal. “We will get there. This is one step on the path. We will get there.” — Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), in a statement New York’s original decriminalization bill was established in 1977. Notably, while the old language had decriminalized private possession, the public possession of even small amounts of cannabis was still considered a misdemeanor and an arrestable offense.

5 months ago

Illinois Has the Greenest Cannabis Bill in the Country

With input from the environmental community, Illinois is about to become the national leader for environmental protection in the cannabis industry. Earlier this year, Governor Pritzker along with members of the Illinois General Assembly, including chief sponsor Senator Heather Steans, introduced legislation to legalize recreational cannabis cultivation, sale and use in Illinois. For many this was no surprise, as it followed a round of state elections in which the legalization of recreational cannabis was a topic of hot debate, but polling showed it was supported by the vast majority of Illinoisans. Proponents of legalization have argued that ending the war on drugs is an important policy goal and a properly designed tax structure could allow cannabis to fund valuable state programs such as public education. But one issue has remained – is the ‘green’ industry really all that green-friendly? Let’s take a look at a few topics on this question. Energy While cannabis can grow outdoors, for security reasons, it will only be legal to grow indoors in Illinois – this is a common decision by states that have legalized cannabis. Unfortunately, a typical 5,000-square-foot indoor cannabis cultivation facility uses 66 times more energy than the average U.S. household. This energy usage adds up. In 2018, cannabis cultivation accounted for 4% of Denver’s electricity consumption. In Illinois a similar outcome could lead to enough electricity demand that the state unnecessarily uses the equivalent of an entire power plant for this purpose. Until the electricity sector is 100% renewable, unnecessary energy usage comes with a significant environmental price tag. Water Additionally, cannabis cultivation can be highly water intensive. Cannabis cultivation requires more than 4 times the water needed to grow an equivalent amount of wheat and 11 times what is needed for corn. An improperly designed facility can waste vast amounts of water, especially if management is not diligent about usage. Waste Moreover, waste is also a concern. Creation of certain cannabis products, such as the extraction of THC, can generate toxic waste during manufacturing. Managing this properly needs to be a public health priority – toxic waste is responsible for serious public health problems. Butane extraction of THC, for example, can cause carcinogenic emissions. IEC’s Suggestions for Environmental Protection As Illinois is pushing towards a clean energy and low waste future, cannabis cultivation and processing has the potential to push us in the wrong direction. But there are ways to avoid this. By using energy efficiency technology, water conservation systems, and waste reduction techniques, any environmental impact can be significantly reduced. Before the legalization push took off, the Illinois Environmental Council recognized the opportunity to avoid the negative environmental impact of cannabis legalization, and partnered with The University of Chicago’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic to develop legislative language that created nation-leading standards for Illinois with a workable administrative framework specifically crafted for Illinois. This proposal included reporting of energy usage, coordination with utilities to maximize energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, technology standards for lighting and ventilation, waste reduction and recycling standards, and other plans to protect public health and the environment. Much of IEC’s proposal has since been incorporated into the latest draft of the cannabis legalization bill, including standards for energy efficiency, data reporting, water conservation practices, waste management practices and other tools for the protection of the environment and public health. Key Provisions of the Bill & How They Impact the Environment As it is drafted, the bill creates a regime in which anyone who wishes to open a cannabis business in Illinois must apply for and receive a permit from the Department of Agriculture. Applicants for cannabis cultivation and craft grower permits will be required to submit plans detailing how they will recycle, manage waste, use energy efficient technology, and conserve water. This is a big deal. Included in these requirements, we can expect top-tier environmental protection standards such as the use of best-in-class energy efficient lighting systems, a comprehensive plan to use recyclable packaging materials and actually recycle those materials properly, minimized water runoff controlled by high-tech drip watering appliances, and climate control systems that filter any wastewater prior to discharge. Moreover, if the law is implemented properly, the Department of Agriculture will be reviewing these applications to ensure that applicants are doing more than checking boxes – they are proving themselves capable of doing the work properly. What’s more, many of these measures can actually save businesses money; by reducing waste and cutting utility bills, this regime has the potential to be a win-win for our State. Similar standards are required in the application plans for cannabis processors and transporters, where applicable. Once the plans are submitted by cannabis permit applicants, following those plans becomes a binding requirement for any permit issued by the State. In other words, applicants are required to specify their plans for environmental protection, and if an applicant says “I will use Energy Star Qualified LED lighting to save electricity”, they will be legally obligated to do so.   Additionally, reporting data on energy usage will be required for cannabis cultivators and craft growers. This was a key ask of the environmental community that is both simple in compliance and powerful in effect. In Chicago, we have seen significant environmental benefits created by a similar data reporting program. Chicago’s energy benchmarking ordinance, which requires municipal, commercial, and residential buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to track energy use and report to the city annually, has decreased energy usage in those buildings by simply using disclosure. If the state were to have accurate data on the cannabis industry, state energy policy programs could identify those sites using higher than average energy usage and help them reduce energy, saving money and reducing carbon emissions. As discussed above, given the huge energy demands of cannabis cultivation, these reporting requirements may help to avoid a large amount of unnecessary pollution created by electricity generation. The Bottom Line This bill is a great example of prioritizing environmental protection and it would put Illinois at the forefront of national cannabis policy. The success of this bill will depend upon how the Department of Agriculture implements the permitting program, and it will be important for the environmental community to state their interests to the Department when their plans are published. All said, if Illinois does this right by putting environmental protection and sustainability at the heart of the industry’s practices, this bill will be the most comprehensive environmental protection bill governing the cannabis industry, and will become a model for cannabis cultivation nationwide.

5 months ago

USPS Updates Policies to Allow Hemp Shipping

The U.S. Postal Service has updated its policies to clarify that hemp and hemp products — including CBD — are legal to mail so long as they comply with hemp rules laid out by state agricultural programs.   The U.S. Postal Service has updated its Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail regulations to clarify that hemp – and CBD – products are legal to mail so long as the products comply with local laws and compliance records are maintained. In April, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, an industry association, sent a letter to the USPS seeking clarification to the agency’s rules regarding hemp. The organization had included proposed criteria for demonstrating the mailing is compliant, including a signed, self-certified statement that indicates the legality of the products, and test results. “Once the 2018 Farm Bill is fully implemented, and states begin to propose plans, it is expected to further modify the conditions under which hemp and hemp-based products may be transported.” – USPS, Publication 52 Revision: New Mailability Policy for Cannabis and Hemp-Related Products, June 6, 2019 Private delivery services have their own policies in place. According to the UPS website, the company will ship hemp products that are not in plant form, including CBD products, but “will not accept shipments containing hemp products from any location that sells marijuana or marijuana products.” FedEx includes “hemp plants, hemp leaves, hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD derived from hemp” on its prohibited items list. The USPS changes come as federal agencies begin to reassess their policies in the wake of last year’s Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released guidance for importing hemp seeds, while earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration held its first-ever hearing on CBD products — the agency, however, did not announce any policy updates.

5 months ago

How Illinois became the first state legislature to legalize marijuana sales

Ten states have legalized recreational marijuana use, most through ballot initiatives. On Friday, Illinois took things one step further, becoming the first state legislature to pass a bill legalizing the sale and possession of it. (In 2018, Vermont lawmakers legalized possession only.) The Illinois bill is notable for its attempts to wrap in significant criminal justice reform. Karen O’Keefe, with the Marijuana Policy Project, says it has a “very broad” component expunging people’s criminal records for doing what will soon be legal in Illinois. Additionally, would-be marijuana vendors in high-poverty, high-conviction neighborhoods will get preference in their applications. Proceeds from taxes and revenue will be reinvested in communities hit hard by marijuana convictions. (Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) is expected to sign the bill, making Illinois the 11th state where marijuana is legal for recreational use.) The Fix spoke to state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D), a leading pro-legalization voice in the legislature’s black caucus, about how she advocated for the bill against a significant backdrop of skepticism within the black community. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.   The Fix: What kind of reservations did your black colleagues have about this? Hutchinson: There are a lot of us who have a fair and honest amount of cynicism, considering what cannabis did to our communities in the criminal justice space. It’s like: “Okay, so now you’re making money, you want to do this? Where was all this wonderful goodwill for criminal justice reform when we needed this the most?” That is an honest reaction, it is an earned reaction, and there is part of me that understands totally and agrees 100 percent. Our opioid crisis, when it was just heroin with black communities, there was no care and mental health services. It wasn’t a public health crisis. It was a straight-up criminal issue: You locked all the junkies away. So there were people who were like: “Why should I get involved in this?”   The Fix: It sounds as if black communities need to proactively pull up a seat at the table in legalization debates; they’re not automatically included. Steans, flanked by Hutchinson, left, and Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell answer questions during a Senate session about legalizing marijuana in May. (Ted Schurter/State Journal-Register/AP) Hutchinson: Absolutely. There is no way in the world we can normalize and legalize this activity across the country and allow folks to codify the inequities that exist. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t take a thing that has done so much damage and so much harm, and then allow folks to make millions of dollars on it without handling that. No. No, absolutely not. We may not get everything we want, but we got a seat at the table every single time. There are still people in the country who are sitting in jail and sitting in prisons dealing with the lifetime impact of the war on drugs. So this is a start. We are really hoping this stance catches fire. I hope people realize you can’t do one [legalization] without the other [criminal justice reform]. The Fix: Why was passing this through the legislature so significant? The Illinois state House. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/AP) Hutchinson: What it allowed us to do is insert really important conversations into the mix. In a ballot measure, it’s a paragraph. You are asking: “Do you think we should tax and regulate it like alcohol?” That is a simple question to ask. It’s very complicated to ask: “How do we do that?”   So the fact we put in a deliberate process so that our equities were at the center of every conversation — from how licensing would be, to what expungement would look like, to vendors — that was so important, because we got to put those topics in the mix. We were very clear that it wasn’t happening without those. I don’t even pretend that this is the end. I think this means the work just starts. Because we have to rebuild the communities that were disproportionally impacted and that need to share in the ability to grow in the industry. That is only fair. We bore the brunt of the worst of it. The Fix: What moment in this legalization debate will you remember most? Hutchinson: There’s no way to have a conversation with any policymaker who is African American or Latino and not have a very, very hard talk about what this really means to us and what we’re saying to the world. Because we know the world was watching. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget all those conversations. There were arguments and tears and everything from cynicism and anger to hope in a matter of months that needed to be spoken to. And I feel like I carry that. [Editor’s note: Hutchinson starts choking up with tears]. I carry that, because I know I’m speaking for people who couldn’t speak for themselves. So I’ll never forget that.

5 months ago

Bill Allowing Interstate Marijuana Commerce Heads To Oregon Governor’s Desk

A novel bill that would allow Oregon to export and import marijuana to other legal states is heading to the governor’s desk after the House approved in on Tuesday. The legislation, which passed the Senate last month, would permit the governor to enter into agreements with other states under certain circumstances in order to engage in interstate cannabis commerce. It would only be actionable if the federal government reforms its policies and allows such activity, however. The chamber approved the bill in a 42 to 17 vote. “This is a very strong statement by the Oregon Legislature, and one that will reverberate across the country,” Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D), the bill sponsor, said in a press release. “The future of this industry is that cannabis will primarily be grown where it grows best, and most efficiently, and most sustainably. That’s what functioning legal markets do.” States involved in the agreement must border Oregon and must have legal marijuana systems in place, meaning at this point the state could contract with California, Washington and Nevada. Idaho also borders the state, but it does not currently allow legal cannabis. Transporting marijuana products would have to occur via roadways rather than through airspace. There would also be requirements to establish a tracking system for the products, impose public safety standards and ensure that all transported items follow Oregon’s laws for labeling and packaging marijuana. Language of the legislation indicates that the federal government wouldn’t necessarily have to formally legalize cannabis for it to become operative. That’s one possibility, but the other is that the Justice Department could adopt an administrative policy that “allows or tolerates interstate transfer of marijuana items.” Preventing the transportation of cannabis across state lines has been a focus for the Justice Department, which included such activity in a list of enforcement priorities under a now-rescinded Obama-era memo. But if the federal government does at least tolerate interstate marijuana commerce, the law could help resolve Oregon’s cannabis supply problems. The state has produced more marijuana than there’s demand for, and so opening the market to its neighboring states could mitigate that issue. “This bill is a strategic business approach,” Rep. Carl Wilson (R) said. “It correctly assesses the industry’s strengths and foresees a time when export turns Oregon’s oversupply in a constrained market into a traded commodity in a national marketplace.” “Cannabis policy is rapidly evolving in the United States; the federal stance toward marijuana could change quickly, with congressional action or something as simple as a memo from Dept. of Justice,” he said. “In this arena, Oregon has competitive advantage on the nation and the world.” Because there are so many uncertainties surrounding the legislation’s potential economic impact, a fiscal note states that the “likelihood of losing revenue is as strong as the probability of gaining revenue” under the legislation. Gov. Kate Brown (D) had a hand in advancing the bill through the legislature and is expected to sign it. Also on Tuesday, the Senate approved legislation that would enable individuals with prior convictions for cannabis conduct made legal under the state’s marijuana program to have their records cleared by simply filling out a form. The bill—which by coincidence is numbered S.B. 420—cleared the chamber in a 25 to 4 vote and now heads to Brown’s desk.

5 months ago

Oregon makes it easier to expunge old marijuana convictions

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Those with outdated marijuana convictions will be able to have their records expunged faster under an Oregon bill approved by the House. Lawmakers voted 42-15 Tuesday to ease some of the bureaucratic hurdles involved in setting aside marijuana convictions that occurred before the state legalized the drug in 2015. Those seeking expungement will no longer have to pay a fee nor will they have to provide fingerprints or undergo a background check. Rep. Janelle Bynum says those with outdated convictions have trouble securing housing and employment and that they are “still paying the price for actions that we have decriminalized.” Bynum, the only black member of the House, adds that this issue disproportionally affects people of color. The ACLU reported in 2013 that blacks were 2 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Oregon than whites. The Senate already approved the measure but has to approve a technical change before it heads to the governor.

6 months ago

Cultivation Classic

The Cultivation Classic,is this country’s only competition for craft cannabis growers with a regenerative approach. For it’s fourth year, the Cultivation Classic brought together Oregon’s best organic producers to be honored in categories such as energy innovation, regenerative farming, terpene diversity and intensity, as well as best sun grown- just to name a few. Unlike other competitions with winners chosen from a black box, the Cultivation Classic uses a rigorous anonymized judging process to award their winners. Over 120 diverse judges, representing the wide spectrum of Oregon’s consumer market, tested several products over a month. They took notes on the flowers’ aroma, taste, and effect. Compiling and analyzing all of this data to find correlations and widespread agreement across the judges, the organizers were able to pull out clear winners in each category. Liv Vaszquez describes the experience as: "Exciting and it puts your knowledge to the test. Blind judging 12 samples over 28 days I really was able to pay close attention to terpene profiles, affect, trimming, and curing of each specimen. Without having any of the information about the farm, THC or CBD percentages or strain names, I was able to treat the judging process like a blind sommelier test.” Aside from the competition, the Cultivation Classic is paired with a public education event jam packed with workshops, panels, and talks from industry leaders. There is something for everyone, but for purposes of this post, we will focus only on events I attended.   CBD CertifiedFirst up was CBD Certified by Anna Symonds- East Fork Cultivars Director of Education. I had heard so many positive things about this class from people that have taken it, and I am glad to say that it lived up to the hype- technical difficulties and all. The class, designed to empower people to best care for themselves and others by sharing current scientific research and evidence about CBD, was an hour of ‘holy shit’ realizations. CBD is an incredibly powerful molecule that has more healing effects than what can be covered in an hour long class. Debunking myths and learning the ins and outs of the hottest molecule on the planet (not literally), was a captivating way to begin the day. For anyone interested in the CBD space, or anyone currently operating in it, this class is highly recommended. I am proud to say I am officially CBD Certified!   Growers’ Rendezvous We were honored to sponsor the second annual Growers’ Rendezvous with Certified Kind and Confident Cannabis. We invited 80 organic producers to join us for an afternoon of table discussions on whatever keeps them up at night. Conversation topics included living soil, regulations, Korean Natural Farming, Oregon’s export bill, and whatever else was on their mind. Being able to bounce around the tables and hear each group discuss what was important to them was an incredible experience. I want to thank everyone that came for opening up and allowing me to listen in.   Speed Networking After the table discussions, we invited dozens of industry personnel to join us and speed network with the growers. Concentric circles were formed, growers on the inside and industry folk on the outside, and each group had 90-seconds to run through their elevator pitch and exchange information before the gong (thanks to Certified Kind) rang out. Quick, but meaningful connections were made, before the entire group broke out for more relaxed conversation, snacks, and CBD beer by Coalition Brewing. That was all on Friday. On Saturday the event moved to Revolution Hall, an old high school building, where panels, talks, and brand booths were set up. BUSHL was lucky enough to have 3 partners competing in the Cultivation Classic, so we set up a BUSHL corner for our partners to set up booths and share their stories and products directly with consumers and other industry folk walking through the halls. Saturday’s talks ranged from nurturing your endocannabinoid system to setting up polyculture in your garden to provide on-demand all natural nutrients and pesticides for your cannabis plants. That’s right- planting things like herbs, beets, potatoes, and other plants around the base of your cannabis plants not only provides them with the appropriate nutrients needed for healthy growth, but also fends away pests that would love to feast on your yummy cannabis. No need for synthetic nutrients or chemical pesticides when you utilize nature to do the feeding and fighting for you. At the end of the day, Cultivation Classic is way more than just another cannabis conference. The focus on organic, sustainable, and craft cannabis is evident in everything throughout the weekend. It was truly inspiring and reassuring to see such a large gathering of like minded individuals that are working towards a better cannabis industry. While there is undoubtedly a market for cheap mass produced monocrop cannabis, it was refreshing to see the other side of that thriving with artisan growers producing exotic strains and incredible medicine.

6 months ago

A Look Inside Indigo Gardens: A Regenerative Farm in Southern Oregon

Earlier this month I had the awesome opportunity to visit one of my favorite cannabis producers- Indigo Gardens. This was not my first time visiting their farm, but every time I visit their property, I am blown away by the attention and care they give to the land. Indigo Gardens is a regenerative cannabis farm located in the Applegate Valley. Their team, with combined experience spanning several decades, produces truly quality products. They grow various strains in their greenhouse and outdoor garden to sell as their own or to partner with a leading processor, like Willamette Valley Alchemy, to cobrand vape cartridges and other concentrated products. My favorite thing about Indigo Gardens is the full utilization of their property. Aside from producing cannabis on their property, they also have a wide array of fruits growing, like apples, pears, plums, kiwis, cherries, and strawberries. This full utilization of their land makes sure none of their resources go to waste. On the farm, you’ll find a pond that is filled with run off from the Applegate River. This pond is home to frogs, fish, ducks, and several other wildlife. Indigo uses its nutrient rich water and mineral deposits for both their indoor and outdoor gardens. Using the natural ecosystem established around the lake means Indigo does not have to import and use artificial synthetic fertilizers. It is clear that Indigo uses nature to their advantage, but they do so in ways that benefit the ecosystem as a whole. They are not depriving nature of its resources, but instead creating a thriving ecosystem where nature can do its thing, and in turn, support all of their crops. The property’s ecology is booming, from the creatures in the lake to the ladybugs used to fight mites in the greenhouse, to the chickens and peacocks they have roaming the property- they clearly know how to utilize nature while preserving and growing it’s best parts. As they say at Indigo Gardens, “regenerating the earth is the goal, and world class cannabis is a beautiful byproduct”.

7 months ago

Why Is CBD Everywhere?

It’s hard to say the precise moment when CBD, the voguish cannabis derivative, went from being a fidget spinner alternative for stoners to a mainstream panacea. Maybe it was in January, when Mandy Moore, hours before the Golden Globes, told Coveteur that she was experimenting with CBD oil to relieve the pain from wearing high heels. “It could be a really exciting evening,” she said. “I could be floating this year.” Maybe it was in July, when Willie Nelson introduced a line of CBD-infused coffee beans called Willie’s Remedy. “It’s two of my favorites, together in the perfect combination,” he said in a statement. Or maybe it was earlier this month, when Dr. Sanjay Gupta gave a qualified endorsement of CBD on “The Dr. Oz Show.” “I think there is a legitimate medicine here,” he said. “We’re talking about something that could really help people.” So the question now becomes: Is this the dawning of a new miracle elixir, or does all the hype mean we have already reached Peak CBD? Either way, it would be hard to script a more of-the-moment salve for a nation on edge. With its proponents claiming that CBD treats ailments as diverse as inflammation, pain, acne, anxiety, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress and even cancer, it’s easy to wonder if this all natural, non-psychotropic and widely available cousin of marijuana represents a cure for the 21st century itself. The ice caps are melting, the Dow teeters, and a divided country seems headed for divorce court. Is it any wonder, then, that everyone seems to be reaching for the tincture? “Right now, CBD is the chemical equivalent to Bitcoin in 2016,” said Jason DeLand, a New York advertising executive and a board member of Dosist, a cannabis company in Santa Monica, Calif., that makes disposable vape pens with CBD. “It’s hot, everywhere and yet almost nobody understands it.” Cannabis for Non-Stoners With CBD popping up in nearly everything — bath bombs, ice cream, dog treats — it is hard to overstate the speed at which CBD has moved from the Burning Man margins to the cultural center. A year ago, it was easy to be blissfully unaware of CBD. Now, to measure the hype, it’s as if everyone suddenly discovered yoga. Or penicillin. Or maybe oxygen. Even so, you ask, what is CBD? Plenty of people still have no idea. CBD is short for cannabidiol, an abundant chemical in the cannabis plant. Unlike its more famous cannabinoid cousin, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not make you stoned. Which is not to say that you feel utterly normal when you take it.   CBD drops by a New York start-up called Plant People. The product purports to relieve stress, reduce pain and improve cognition. Credit: Jules Davies Users speak of a “body” high, as opposed to a mind-altering one. “Physically, it’s like taking a warm bath, melting the tension away,” said Gabe Kennedy, 27, a founder of Plant People, a start-up in New York that sells CBD capsules and oils. “It is balancing; a leveling, smoothing sensation in the body mostly, and an evenness of attention in the mind.” TRAVEL As states continue to legalize, you can expect to see cannabis-based edibles on the menu during your next hotel resturant visit. Comparing it to the feeling after an intense meditation or yoga session, Mr. Kennedy added that the CBD glow has “synergistic downstream effects” in terms of social connections. “Around others, I find myself more present and attentive, more creative and open.” Moreover, you are unlikely to find yourself microwaving frozen burritos at midnight after taking CBD, unlike with pot. Such quasi-religious talk is common among CBD’s disciples. “I’m a 30 y.o. male who has not experienced a single anxiety free day in my adult life,” wrote one user on a CBD forum on Reddit earlier this month. “About 3 weeks ago I started taking CBD-oil 10 percent and I can’t even describe how amazing I feel. For the first time in 15+ years I feel happy and look forward to living a long life.” Such testimonials make CBD seem like a perfect cure for our times. Every cultural era, after all, has its defining psychological malady. This also means that every era has its signature drug. The jittery postwar era, with its backyard bomb shelters and suburban fears about keeping up with the Joneses, gave rise to a boom in sedatives, as seen in the era’s pop songs (“Mother’s Little Helper,” by the Rolling Stones) and best sellers (“Valley of the Dolls,” by Jacqueline Susann). The recessionary 1990s gave rise to Generation X angst, Kurt Cobain dirges and a cultural obsession with newfangled antidepressants (see Elizabeth Wurtzel’s “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America”). The defining sociological condition today, especially among millennials, is arguably anxiety: anxiety about our political dysfunction, anxiety about terrorism, anxiety about climate change, anxiety about student loan debt, even anxiety about artificial intelligence taking away all the good jobs. The anxiety feels even more acute since the wired generation feels continuously bombarded by new reasons to freak out, thanks to their smart devices. “You are inundated with terrible news, and you have no choice to opt in or out,” said Verena von Pfetten, 35, the former digital director for Lucky magazine who is a founder of Gossamer, a high-style magazine targeted to cannabis-loving tastemakers. “You open your computer, check your phone, there are news alerts.” What a convenient time for Mother Nature to bestow a perma-chillax cure that seems to tie together so many cultural threads at once: our obsession with self-care and wellness, the mainstreaming of alternative therapies and the relentless march of legalized marijuana. “That seems like a gift in these times,” Ms. von Pfetten said. Credit: Photo Illustration by Eric Helgas for The New York Times ‘The New Avocado Toast’ The tsunami of CBD-infused products has hit so suddenly, and with such force, that marketers have strained to find a fitting analogy. Chris Burggraeve, a former Coca-Cola and Ab InBev executive, called it the “new avocado toast,” in an interview with Business Insider. Then again, avocado toast seems so five years ago. Fad chasers looking for the next-next big thing may want to check out the CBD-infused ricotta-and-honey toast at Chillhouse, the Instagram-ready coffee shop, nail salon and massage studio on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. And then retreat to Inscape NYC, a meditation and relaxation studio in Chelsea, to unwind with a stress-busting CBD Saturday session. It would be false to suggest CBD is nothing more than an obsession for reiki-adjacent bicoastal millennials. According to the AARP website, CBD has become a popular treatment for pain and arthritis among baby boomers, some of whom may have been out of the cannabis game since they rolled their last doobie at a Foghat concert in 1975. Even so, CBD seems to have found its natural target audience among the vegan-curious creative professionals who cluster in trendy hotels like the James New York-Nomad hotel, which offers a room-service CBD tasting menu featuring CBD-infused meatballs and sriracha-mayo House Tots. Or the Standard hotel outposts in Miami and New York, which sell $50 blood orange-flavored gumdrops by the upscale CBD brand Lord Jones in its minibars. Blood orange and CBD-infused gumdrops by an upscale brand called Lord Jones, which is sold at trendy hotels. Such sumptuously packaged, premium-priced CBD products appeal to trend-conscious consumers in part because they promise a degree of indulgence — without the indulgence. Despite its cannabis origins, CBD is not marketed as a recreational drug, but almost as its opposite: as a corrective to the ill effects of alcohol and even marijuana itself, which makes it catnip for hard-charging professionals who need to be fresh for a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting. A detox drink under development called Sober Up, for example, will contain CBD and is supposed to support liver health and help prevent hangovers. Fewer hangovers is also the sales pitch at Adriaen Block, a bar in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens that whips up CBD-infused negronis and old-fashioned cocktails. “You can maintain a conversation and know what you are saying,” said Zsolt Csonka, who owns the bar and mixes drinks there. “After two or three drinks, you’ll be able to go to the gym the next day. When added to dishes like sesame shrimp toast at PopCultivate, a series of cannabis-centric pop-up dinners in Los Angeles, CBD (which is flavorless) can function as a social lubricant, just like a wine pairing, but without, according to proponents, the hangover. “You become more engaged with your neighbors, talk more freely, and meet more people you dine with,” said Chris Yang, the molecular biologist turned chef behind the series. But nowhere does the fervor for CBD seem greater than in health and beauty, where cannabidiol is often packaged with buzzy terms like “single origin,” “small batch” and “plant based.” Among beauty products alone, CBD has already achieved cliché status, popping up in blemish creams, sleeping masks, shampoos, hair conditioners, eye serums, anti-acne lotions, mascaras, massage oils, soaps, lip balms, bath bombs, anti-wrinkle serums, muscle rubs and a Sephora aisle’s worth of moisturizers, face lotions and body creams. Even the bedroom is not safe from the CBD invasion, to judge by the spate of CBD sexual lubricants on shelves. “I replaced my entire beauty routine with only CBD products,” read a recent headline in Glamour magazine. This earthy, artisanal aura plays well with devotees of, say, Goop, who are already conditioned, after years of aromatherapy, cryotherapy and homeopathy, to accept a natural wellness mantra over anything on offer by Big Pharma and the medical industrial complex. As an alternative health regimen, CBD holds particular appeal to women, said Gretchen Lidicker, the health editor of Mindbodygreen, a wellness website based in New York, and the author of “CBD Oil Everyday Secrets.” Noting the preponderance of female-run CBD businesses, Ms. Lidicker, 26, said that it is “no surprise that women are leading the CBD movement.” “Women have long felt ignored and dehumanized by the medical and health care industries,” she said. “They experience longer wait times for treatment. Their pain and suffering are more likely to be dismissed as anxiety or hysteria. And the male body has typically been the model for medical research.” Such concerns seem to have helped fuel the CBD movement. In an era marked by a loss of faith traditional institutions (governments, banks, hospitals), CBD has flourished, perhaps because it seems new, mysterious and untainted by the mainstream. It may or may not be a coincidence that one of the best-known CBD retailers in New York, the Alchemist’s Kitchen in the East Village, serves up cannabidiol tinctures and gel caps, alongside workshops on astrocartography, lucid dreaming and full-moon ancestral healing. And devotees swear it works. “It really helps with pain, inflammation and the general anxiety that grips me 24 hour a day,” said Anna Duckworth, 34, the editor of Miss Grass, a website based in Venice, Calif., that W magazine called the “Goop of cannabis.” “There are millions and millions of people who are just fed up and don’t want to take these drugs that make them feel bad,” she said, “and want to go a more nontoxic, natural route.”   Credit: Photo Illustration by Eric Helgas for The New York Times Snake Oil or Wonder Drug? There’s one problem with that approach. When people turn to CBD-infused coconut lattes to cure acne and erectile dysfunction, it is not easy to separate hype from science. Skeptics who assume CBD is just 21st-century snake oil, however, may be surprised to learn that the substance is being studied as a potential treatment for maladies as diverse as schizophrenia, insomnia and cancer. “CBD is the most promising drug that has come out for neuropsychiatric diseases in the last 50 years,” said Dr. Esther Blessing, an assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, who is coordinating a study of CBD as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder. “The reason it is so promising is that it has a unique combination of safety and effectiveness across of very broad range of conditions.” The National Institutes of Health database lists about 150 of studies involving CBD as a treatment for conditions as varied as infantile spasms and Parkinson’s disease. And the research has led to medical treatments. In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved a cannabidiol-based drug called Epidiolex as a treatment for severe forms of epilepsy, representing the first government-sanctioned medical use for CBD. Preliminary research also indicates that CBD may be effective as an antipsychotic in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia, with fewer side effects compared with current antipsychotic drugs, Dr. Blessing said.   A disposable CBD vape pen by Dosist, a cannabis company in Santa Monica, Calif. A disposable CBD vape pen by Dosist, a cannabis company in Santa Monica, Calif. CBD has also shown promise to reduce cravings among people addicted to opioids, according to a study published in Neurotherapeutics in 2015. It may fight cancer, too. The authors of a review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2012 wrote: “evidence is emerging to suggest that CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread.” That’s not to say that a CBD-laced gummy or two should be considered medicine. “Most of the products where people are putting CBD in coffee or food, there’s no solid evidence that they contain enough CBD to do anything,” Dr. Blessing said. “A CBD coffee may only have five milligrams in it. In order to treat anxiety, we know you need around 300 milligrams.” Don’t go chugging a shot of CBD oil just yet, though. Dr. Blessing said that much of the research is in its infancy, and the purity and dosage of some CBD consumer products may not reliable. And, she noted, CBD can have negative interactions with many medications, so potential users should talk to their doctors before taking it.” There are legal hazards as well. As with all cannabis products, the federal government categorizes CBD products other than Epidiolex as a Schedule 1 drug, like heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And cannabis remains illegal under federal law, even in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. Even so, the D.E.A.’s mission is to go after large-scale drug traffickers, not individual users, said Barbara Carreno, an agency spokeswoman. “We’re not swatting joints out of hands in Hilo, Hawaii, and we’re not going to focus on somebody who is buying lotion or ice cream that has CBD in it.” Although there have been scattered raids of CBD retailers around the country, several states, including Alabama, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, have passed laws approving specific CBD products to treat specific ailments. And CBD shops have cropped up nationwide, in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Austin, Tex., to name just a few cities. In New York City, for example, CBD tinctures and other products can be bought at specialty shops, health food stores, yoga studios, flea markets, boutiques and even some corner delis. (The availability of CBD is perhaps not surprising, given Mayor Bill de Blasio’s continued efforts to reduce the penalties for low-level marijuana violations.) Aside from a federal crackdown, the only thing that may eventually kill CBD’s momentum is hype itself, said Mr. DeLand of Dosist. The frothy claims about CBD “sets up some false expectations that the molecule will never be able to live up to,” Mr. DeLand said. Not only are questionable claims an invitation for government regulation, but they risk making even legitimate applications seem dubious, he said. “In isolation, CBD obviously does have some benefits, but it’s certainly not a catchall for all the world’s health problems,” he said. “We are at the tip of the iceberg on what its therapeutic applications are, and how to make those applications repeatable.” “The future of this industry,” Mr. DeLand added, “is going to be based on fact, not fiction.” Sourced from NY Times.

7 months ago

7 Ways Legal Cannabis Can Bolster National Health

For the last 80 years, cannabis has been identified as Public Enemy Number 1, said to promote lude behavior, encourage violence, and drive people into states of rage. Fortunately, these social and political arguments have yet to be backed by any real science. The cannabis plant has been a part of human history for millennia. As one of the oldest agricultural and economic crops, the human species has used the plant to fulfill just about every basic need, food, medicine, clothing, and shelter included.   While the herb has long been blindly considered a public health enemy, recent epidemiological research has found that public access to the plant may have several meaningful benefits. According to the latest research, here are 7 ways cannabis reform can benefit public health: 1. Cannabis consumers binge drink less More than 88,000 people die from alcohol in the U.S. each year.                             Rates of binge-drinking in the United States have gone up over the past decade. Loosely defined, a night of drinking is considered a binger when at least four glasses of alcohol are consumed within a two-hour period. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Public Health found that between 2005 and 2012, binge drinking increased by 8.9 percent. While it’s easy to get carried away in social situations, drinking too much in one sitting can have some serious consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control, binge drinking has been associated with a wide variety of public health problems, including increased violent behavior and sexual assault. Fascinatingly, research suggests that cannabis may be able to combat some of this behavior. A report published by the Wall Street investment firm Cowen & Company found that states with adult-use cannabis laws saw a reduction in binge drinking rates by 9 percent below the national average. Compared with non-legal states, rates of binge drinking fell by a whopping 11 percent. Why? Cowen & Company suggest that cannabis acts as a substitute for alcohol as a social lubricant.Unlike alcohol, however, the herb is not associated with debilitating long-term side effects.   And there’s actually more to the story here: 2. Swapping cannabis for alcohol may reduce risks of dementia Another example of how heavy drinking can destroy your life. Speaking of binge drinking, a 2018 study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found that heavy alcohol consumption is one of the primary risk factors for dementia, particularly early-onset dementia. “The findings indicate that heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are the most important risk factors for dementia,” says study co-author Jürgen Rehm, “and especially important for those types of dementia which start before age 65, and which lead to premature deaths.” As Rehm mentions, dementia and brain damage caused by alcohol are entirely preventable at the individual, community, and policy level. While meaningful public health research is sorely needed, cannabis reform may be a major policy contender when it comes to reducing the occurrence of alcohol-induced brain damage. Not only is binge drinking down in legal cannabis states, but preliminary rodent and cell line research suggests that cannabis has potent neuroprotective properties. These neuroprotective properties include reduced inflammation in the brain and can potentially protect against the death of brain cells in patients with neurological diseases. Should these findings continue to hold true in human trials, the cannabis plant may one day play an important role in the future prevention of neurological diseases. And that’s not all... 3. It is impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis Even though cannabis has an incredible safety profile, we must still respect it. Unlike many other recreational substances, including alcohol and other drugs, it is impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis. While cannabis compounds actively affect cells in the brain and throughout the body, the receptor sites responsible for the herb’s intoxicating effects are mysteriously missing in the brainstem. Why is this important? The brainstem holds the machinery that controls respiration. Cannabis is often referred to as a “drug” when discussed in policy and public health settings. However, unlike most substances of abuse, it is impossible for the herb to slow breathing to the point of death. As a result, there have been no known fatal overdoses from the cannabis plant. The harm reduction potential here is vast... 4. States with medical cannabis laws have fewer opioid overdose deaths Cannabis won't stop your breathing like opioids will. Already, cannabis policy reform has had several profound effects on opioid addiction in states that allow medical consumption. A well-known 2014 study found that that access to the herb reduced rates of opioid overdose by a whopping 25 percent. In a more comprehensive follow-up study, researchers discovered that having easy access to the plant via dispensaries decreased overdose rates even further. A 25 percent reduction translated to an incredible 40 percent reduction in opioid deaths when consumers had access to cannabis dispensaries. Here’s another important health challenge cannabis can help address: 5. Cannabis consumers are less likely to develop diabetes Highly addictive and no medical value -- why isn't sugar a schedule I substance? While there has been significant public health focus on cannabis and drug addiction, early research suggests that the herb may have other benefits as well. Epidemiological research published in 2011 found that cannabis consumption was correlated with reduced rates of obesity. Research published in the British Medical Journal a year later discovered that cannabis consumers were less likely to develop diabetes. Adding more fodder to the fire, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that those who partake in the herb show lower levels of fasting insulin and improved glucose metabolism. Exactly what causes this correlation is unknown. However, rising rates of diabetes are among the biggest public health concerns across the globe. Not only does diabetes itself contribute to over 1.5 million deaths annually around the world, but the health and economic impacts of high blood sugar are immense. Diabetes is a prime contributor to heart disease, stroke, obesity, and other major metabolic ailments. Cannabis can also help people already suffering from diabetes. It’s amazing how much just one plant covers and hard to believe it’s been illegal for so long. Here’s another great example: 6. Medicare costs on many prescription drugs have declined in medical cannabis states No wonder why pharmaceutical companies have been lobbying to keep cannabis illegal. It’s official. Medical cannabis consumers are swapping their prescription drugs in exchange for the natural herbal remedy. A 2016 study published in Health Affairs found that Medicare Part D prescriptions for painkillers and antidepressants decreased shortly after states enacted medical cannabis laws. On average, daily doses of antidepressants per physician per year fell by 265. For pain, prescriptions fell by 1,826 daily doses per doctor per year. Compared to the overwhelming rate these medications are prescribed, these numbers may not seem that significant. However, reduced prescriptions per doctor equate to some major health care savings in the long haul. According to the study, medical cannabis laws were estimated to have saved taxpayers over $165.2 million as patients forwent their pharmaceutical medications and picked up the plant instead. What other ways is cannabis helping us live happier, healthier lives? 7. Cannabis consumers have lower rates of domestic violence Domestic violence is one of those things we don't talk about enough. The phrase “vape together, stay together” might have some weight after all. A 2014 study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors followed 634 couples during their first nine years of marriage. The study’s researchers were hoping to test whether or not cannabis consumption had any impact on rates of intimate partner violence during marriage. Overall, the research found that couples who consumed cannabis together during the first year of marriage were less likely to experience domestic violence during the first nine years of wedlock. However, the research also found that if women alone smoked cannabis, they were more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Yet, these women were already more likely to report experiencing intimate partner violence prior to marriage. Will cannabis put a stop to domestic violence? No. But given that the herb can act as a replacement for other violence-inducing substances, cannabis reform is certainly worth considering.  Content Sourced from Green Flower.

7 months ago

I Took CBD Oil Every Day for My Anxiety—Here's What Went Down

When I first learned about CBD oil, I'll admit I was a bit skeptical. My mind immediately turned to weed and the unnerving experiences I'd had with heightened anxiety in college. For me, a person who's already predisposed to overthinking, marijuana, no matter what the form, would typically put my mind into overdrive and result in a common yet dreaded side effect: paranoia. A bit of online digging led me to realize that the active ingredient in Charlotte's Web Everyday Plus Hemp Oil, the product I'd been offered to test, was the chemical compound CBD, which stands for Cannabidiol. Unlike THC, the other crucial compound in hemp and marijuana plants, CBD does not produce the psychoactive effects that make you feel "high"; instead, it actually eases anxiety and makes you less likely to freak out. One study comparing the effects of THC and CBD even found that, while THC increased anxiety by activating the neurotransmitters involved in the "fight or flight" response, CBD actually repressed autonomic arousal—or the nervous system response associated with sudden increases in heart rate or respiration. In other words, CBD is ideal for people looking to relax and unwind—not get out of their minds. While the science behind CBD oil assuaged many of my concerns, Charlotte Figi's inspiring story was the kicker. Figi, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare and resistant form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, was actually placed on hospice care and given a "do not resuscitate" order when her parents, desperate and frustrated with pharmaceutical medication, considered medical marijuana. Charlotte is now 99% seizure-free since she began supplementing with Charlotte Web's CBD oil, which the brand named after Figi.   I was in awe of CBD's potent effects, especially when I learned that the oil could be used to treat everyday ailments like anxiety, chronic pain, migraines, nausea, and inflammation in addition to serious issues like epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's. With that, I threw caution to the wind and asked for a sample. Here's what happened when I took one full dropper of Charlotte's Web's Everyday Plus Hemp Oil in the mint chocolate flavor every morning for seven days.   MY FIRST IMPRESSION It was actually a bad bout of jet lag after a trip to California that inspired me to finally test out the CBD oil (I'll admit that my weed-based reservations kept me from trying it for the first few months). Knowing that the oil had also helped people with sleep issues, I squeezed one full dropper of the Everyday Plus oil onto my tongue, per the instructions, and waited. Thirty minutes later, I was surprised by how subtle the effect was. While I expected a hazy nodding-off effect similar to melatonin's, the oil simply relaxed my body ever so slightly—my heart stopped pounding against my chest, my legs stopped kicking beneath my sheets, my mind stopped racing. I wasn't sure if it was the oil or the late hour, but eventually, physical relaxation gave way to mental relaxation, and I drifted off to sleep. Reflecting the next morning, I was most surprised by the fact that I never felt "high" in any way—there was never a moment of It's kicking in; I can feel it now like with pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs. Considering it takes time, consistency, and the right dosage to experience the full effect, I continued taking the oil once a day for the next six days. Here's what went down. It made me less anxious and on edge While normally I'd be slightly tripped up by little things like an overly crowded subway car or a full inbox at work, the CBD oil seems to have taken the edge off of my anxiety a bit. Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I've found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go (instead of ruminating on the situation). In some ways, I feel more like myself. With that said, I've still experienced some social anxiety when meeting new groups of people—I'd be interested to see what taking the full recommended dose would do. I'm more focused at work I work well under pressure, but being extremely busy at work has almost made me less productive—I'm constantly distracted by email, Slack, and the people around me, to the point where getting my work done becomes difficult. This week, however, I've found it easier to put my blinders on, block out all distractions (especially social distractions) and focus on one task at a time. I think this is partly related to the lessened anxiety—I feel more frazzled and off task when my anxiety is running high. It almost feels like a newfound sense of clarity and calm that enables me to focus. I'm falling asleep faster I assume this is also a side effect of the eased anxiety, but I seem to fall asleep within the 20- to 30-minute range rather than my normal 45 minutes to one hour (or longer). Not only do I seem to be skipping (or at least shortening) the whole tossing-and-turning phase of my sleep cycle, but I'm able to snap out of the overthinking mindset that often keeps me up at night. Of course, there's no telling whether a big life event would kindly disrupt this newfound bliss, but I'd like to think it's helped on day-to-day basis. THE VERDICT Would I say that CBD oil has fundamentally changed my life? No. But per the Charlotte's Web website, this is the typical first experience. "Anyone who has ever started a new vitamin or supplement routine knows the short answer to how long it takes to kick in is—'it depends,'" reads the article on what to expect from hemp oil. "For many newcomers, they're not sure what to imagine, or some anticipate a huge change right away. For most of us, though, dietary supplements take time." With that said, I'm definitely intrigued enough by the subtle effects to continue taking the oil and possibly even to up the dosage to the recommended two full droppers of the 30mL bottle per day for a week or so. Plus, I take comfort in knowing that it's an all-natural treatment for anxiety that's responsibly grown on family farms in Colorado. Something that's safe, legal, requires no prescription, and makes me less anxious, less scatterbrained, and more focused? I'm definitely on board. Have you tried CBD oil? Share your experience in the comments below! Sourced from My Domaine.

8 months ago

Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes While Cooking Cannabis Edibles

For years, I prepared my homemade cannabis edibles with the same process, blind to the small mistakes I was making along the way. Yes, I achieved a product that would do the job (sometimes too well), but I had no idea that I could improve the flavor and consistency all while conserving time, money, and product by tweaking just a few steps along the way. All it took was putting the cooking utensils down for a few hours and listening to a pro. A few months back, I attended the Puff, Pass & Bake class led by Chef Torrin Panico, who led us through the process of cooking cannabis oil properly while addressing some common missteps along the way. As soon as I understood the basic science of decarboxylation and infusion, I saw all of the flaws in my own process. There isn’t one right way to make quality cannabis edibles; experimentation, trial, and error are all a part of the craft. But consider these cooking tips and see if it changes your batch for the better. Mistake #1: Spending too much money on flower for cannabis edibles Solution: A little goes a long way I hear plenty of tragic tales of people throwing a half ounce of cannabis into a slow cooker thinking that’s how much cannabis it takes to make a cup of infused butter. Remember this ratio instead: 1:1 – 1 cup of oil to 1 cup of ground cannabis (about 7-10 grams) Lipids in the oil can only bind with so many cannabinoids, so exceeding this ratio is, by some standards, wasteful. Buying less cannabis is one way to save money, but if you’d like to save even more, consider infusing your oil with cannabis stems, trim, or with cannabis flower that’s been vaporized (called “ABV,” or “already been vaped” cannabis). Mistake #2: Throwing ground cannabis straight in the slow-cooker Solution: Decarboxylate cannabis in the oven first Before cooking with cannabis, you must decarboxylate it. First, let’s be clear: don’t just throw unactivated, raw flower into your batter or dish. Not only will it taste bad, it won’t allow the cannabinoids to fully activate and bind to lipids. That means you won’t feel much of anything and will have only succeeded in wasting precious cannabis. Many people know to decarboxylate cannabis in the oven first, but it’s worth noting here for anyone who doesn’t know or doesn’t see the point in doing so. You can skip this step and add your raw cannabis to the slow cooker to decarb in the oil, but you might find that this longer oil soak simply worsens the taste of your cannabis oil. It’s also more difficult to control the temperature in a slow cooker and you risk burning off essential cannabinoids, but in an oven, you can set the temperature low and keep it steady. Mistake #3: Heating and decarbing at the wrong temperatures Solution: Know how hot and how long to heat your cannabis and cannabutter Not only is it crucial to decarboxylate your cannabis before cooking with it, you have to decarboxylate it correctly. That means setting your oven to the right temperature, letting it heat for long enough, and mixing it to activate the most surface area. Generally speaking, you want to: Heat the oven to 245°F (120°C) Cook for 30 to 40 minutes Mix the buds every 10 minutes If you’re tight on time, you can set the oven to 300°F (150°C) and cook for 10 to 18 minutes, stirring every five minutes–but the low-and-slow method is always best when dealing with delicate cannabinoids. When steeping the ground cannabis in oil, try to maintain a temperature between  160-200°F (low or medium on a slow cooker). Use a thermometer to check the temperature and let it cook for about three hours with the cover removed. Mistake #4: Grinding your cannabis into powder Solution: Use a hand grinder for a more coarse grind Ever wonder why your edibles have a strong grassy flavor? The grind of your cannabis might be too fine. Pulverizing your cannabis with a food processor or a coffee grinder until it’s a powder will: Introduce chlorophyll to your oil, lending a strong plant-like taste Cause your butter or oil to turn green (which may look appealing, but at the cost of flavor) Make it impossible to strain unwanted, bad-tasting plant material Once your cannabis has decarboxylated in the oven, grind it coarsely with a hand grinder. Cannabinoids readily bind to the oil’s fats, and a coarse grind will allow it to effectively absorb without pulling in unwanted plant material. Mistake #5: Improperly straining the oil Solution: Strain with cheesecloth and let gravity do the work Once you’ve infused your oil, it’s time to strain out the plant material. Cheesecloth is often recommended because it allows oil to pass through while separating it from the ground plant material, but only if you let gravity do the straining for you. Don’t squeeze the cheesecloth to get every drop of oil out. Milking it like this will push out a little more oil but a lot more plant material. Mistake #6: Baking too little oil into your dish–or, God forbid, way too much Solution: Test the oil’s potency before incorporating it into a dish Eating homemade edibles doesn’t have to be like Russian Roulette. You can run a “strand test” beforehand to gage how much infused oil you’ll need in your recipe based on its potency. Here’s how. Take 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of your oil as a personal dose and add it to a food or drink. Wait an hour and see how you feel. This will help you determine what an appropriate single dose would be. Once you’ve determined how much oil yields your desired effects, multiply that dose per serving if making a shareable batch (if making a cake, pizza, a pitcher, etc.). Or simply scoop that perfect dose onto each individual dish (if infusing a plate of pasta, a cup of coffee, a piece of toast, etc.). Mistake #7: Uneven distribution of potency in an infused batch Solution: Stir well. Really, really well. We’ve all been there: you made a perfectly good batch of cannabutter for your brownies, but after eating an entire piece, you don’t feel a thing. So you eat another, and still don’t feel a thing. Your friend, however, ate half a one and is somewhere in the cosmos. What happened? You probably didn’t stir the batter well enough. If making a batch of infused food, stir like your life depended on it. This will ensure that the oil is distributed evenly across the batch and that your perfect dose makes it into each individual slice. If you aspire to perfect your infused dishes, be sure to stop by a Puff, Pass & Bake cooking class in Denver, CO, or Las Vegas, NV, to learn all the secrets (while having a jolly good time with other stoned people). When it comes to cannabis and cooking, there’s always more to learn. Sourced from Leafly.

8 months ago

The Five Compounds in Cannabis You Need to Know

10, or even five years ago, marijuana was synonymous with “getting high.” But since then, research has begun to scratch the surface and emit some notable, empirical results proving the cannabis plant’s medical power. Now, we know there are at least 483 different chemical compounds in marijuana, but the effects of most are still a mystery. Yet thanks to testing results and studies, we know the most important and frequently found chemicals in cannabis–and they’re end effect on the user. The most common and prevalent of these compounds, THC, produces that psychoactive high. The rest differ and are often barely found in many strains. But when found and studied, these compounds have some superlative powers that can help a wide array of maladies now and in the future. When you walk into a licensed medical marijuana dispensary, you will most often find these five compounds and their percentages accompanying a strain as most medical states now require testings that produce percentages of these chemical compounds. Here’s what those compounds are, what those percentages mean,  how they will impact your mind and body, and which compounds are best for your condition (s). 1. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) THC delivers the high, stoney effect in almost all marijuana strains.  THC’s psychoactive quality occurs when the compound is activated (lit with fie) from THCV (THC in stagnant form). The compound then binds to the cannabinoid receptors producing the common high–which is also synonymous with a runner’s highMost modern strains range anywhere from 10-30% in THC (15-20% is industry standard), but some strains check in as low as 5% and testing numbers have been reported near 35% for strains like Alien Dawg (Alien OG x Chem Dog). If you suffer from anxiety and prefer a lighter smoke, veer towards certain strains, like Purple Kush (and the purp family) with lower THC counts and lighter impact. If you’re a frequent smoker with a high tolerance, strains with higher potency, like OGs, will be more your speed. The higher the THC percentages, the more psychoactive the strain will likely be. In addition to its high THC is an appetite suppressant with a variety of medical benefits. Some known benefits of THC are that helps fight glaucoma, forms of cancer (particularly in treatment), insomnia, PTSD, and anxiety disorders. Strains with THC in it: nearly all. 2) CBD (Cannabidiol) The seizure stopper and the Sorcerer’s Stone of the cannabis sphere, CBD is pure medicine. CBD has a wide range of proven medical effects, chief among them preventing seizures in epileptic children. The compound has been featured on CNN and its oils are actually legal in over 30 states. Some strains of hemp with almost zero trace of THC within are very rich in CBD. Percentages of CBD in strains range from as low as 1% (in THC-heavy strains) to as high as 25%. Strains on the lower spectrum of CBD percentage are often overshadowed by THC. Typical ratios of CBD to THC in major CBD-heavy strains are 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1. To increase these ratios and purify CBD, flowers are frequently extracted to make oils which are then in turn used to make edibles and tinctures. Oftentimes, CBD comes with a distinct, cherry flavor that’s reminiscent of cough syrup’s flavor profile. Since CBD is not psychoactive, those without ailments may find little to no effect from CBD. Common CBD-Rich Strains: Charlotte’s Web, Cannatonic, ACDC, Harlequin, Pennywise and Spectrum 3) THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) Considered the caffeine of cannabis. THCV supplies a racy, instant jolt that shines through in certain, often Sativa strains of marijuana. Unlike cannabis’ other core compounds, THCV is actually an appetite suppressant. Like THC, THCV is psychoactive and carries trippy, elated effect. THCV must reach 428 degrees Fahrenheit to reach its activation. Amongst its medical benefits, THCV stimulates bone growth and helps Diabetes as it aids in maintaining blood sugar levels. If you want a high energy strain, look for THCV strains or ask your medical dispensary which strains may be high in it. Likewise, if you get anxious and prefer Indicas, steer clear of this compound. THCV heavy strains include: African Hazes, Lemon G, Durban Poison, Skunk, Dutch Treat 4) CBN (Cannabinol) A compound with less available studies and viable information, think of CBN as your CBD Light. CBN is thought to share characteristics and benefits of CBD, mainly sleep aid. The calming chemical also has shown promise as an MRSA topical. Since CBN is converted from THC, there are usually very (if any) trace amounts in most strains, typically hovering in the 1% range. But, when present, CBN values tend to appreciate over time as the longer cannabis sits around the more CBN it’s likely to produce. Thanks to modern extraction methods, scientists are fast discovering how to isolate CBN (much like CBD), making it the healthy sleep aid of the future. 5) CBG (Cannabigerol)  The up-and-coming compound to keep an eye on, CBG has powerful potential as a recent discovery indicates that CBG may well be the parent for both THC and CBD compounds. That means we wouldn’t have THC and CBD without CBG, which eventually turns into those compounds. Like CBD, CBG has known relaxing benefits. Now being coined the “stem cell” for all other cannabinoids, CBG functions by blocking GABA and relaxing muscles. If you don’t want to get high and are strictly using cannabis for its medical benefits, then you should look for strains with under 1% THC and only CBD, CBG, and CBN. Some hemp strains of cannabis have under .3% –which qualifies it as hemp, and is not “cannabis.” As noted, isolating these compounds has begun in some advanced circles, and the knowledge on cannabis’ core properties and the other many compounds within should continue to broaden in the coming years! Content Sourced from Cresco Labs.

8 months ago

Crossroads: Highly Productive

The lazy stoner. My head hurts every time I hear about that couch-locked archetype. Not that it’s entirely baseless. Certain strains of cannabis and pot products have deeply sedative effects and can mostly render a person speechless and motionless for minutes if not hours. Unsurprisingly, those same products are often among the most effective natural alternatives to opiates, too—legitimate painkilling properties that have been chronicled in the highly selective Journal of the American Medical Association. But too often the lazy stoner is evoked to represent most if not all cannabis consumers, though as legal marijuana becomes our new normal, we’re disproving that anachronism daily. And I’m honored to present yet another rebuttal to this outdated concept—my own discovery that marijuana substantially contributes to my personal productivity in specific situations. As recently as five years ago, I was not consuming cannabis at all. I don’t smoke and that’s how marijuana was mostly offered to me, a passed joint or bowl. But when a friend offered me a cannabis-infused mint chocolate bar he purchased in a state-regulated medical dispensary in 2013, I was immediately enamored with how marijuana made me feel compared to other intoxicants. It helped me relax, and if I had a little more, it gave me the giggles. But it also brought on a focus that immediately had me contemplating how I might be able to harness this concentrated energy, this single-mindedness. I’d heard about lazy stoners for decades, and I’d certainly known some — but I also knew people who incorporated daily marijuana use into their busy and productive lives, and for the first time in my life I envisioned myself as someone who preferred weed over booze. At first, I was uncomfortable as that person. After a childhood of Just Say No and Hugs Not Drugs and D.A.R.E. and a journalism career of seeking out reputable sources, many of whom serve in various levels of government, I thought I knew all I needed to know about marijuana. Of course I was wrong. Because so many of those sources, those government officials, were dead-wrong on cannabis. And while my four years of cannabis consumption have taught me many lessons, here are a couple I still employ today—about the improbable productivity of marijuana consumption. LESSON NO. 1: PSYCHOACTIVES AND WORK- WORK DON’T MIX—FOR ME, AT LEAST. The first lesson about my productivity-based relationship with cannabis was rooted in a lack of productivity. I remember staring down the barrel of a freelance deadline in 2013, and I wondered if a microdose of edible cannabis might help my lingering writer’s block. An hour after ingesting 5mgs of activated THC, I knew the marijuana wasn’t helping me write. While certain substances can be great for brainstorming seshes, weed included, they’re not always the best fuel for the execution that follows. I speak for myself alone, of course, as we all know others whose ritualistic wake-and-bake positions them in a mindset for a productive day. But that’s not me. LESSON NO. 2: PACKING SUCKS, THOUGH IT SUCKS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS WHEN YOU’RE HIGH After spending the weekend picking up recycled boxes from friends who had recently moved, my then-girlfriend and I set the game plan: She would pack up the kitchen if I started in the spare bedroom, which was also home to our bookshelves and home office. I remember taking a bite of an infused baklava, feeling like a domestic Timothy Leary, wondering about its potential impact on the next few hours. CANNABIS HAS MADE ME A MORE ORGANIZED INDIVIDUAL. When Melana (now my wife) poked her head into the spare bedroom two hours later she was dumbfounded to see two towers of meticulously labeled boxes stacked against the wall and empty bookshelves pushed against a moving truck-ready desk and standalone closet. I had been working with unparalleled focus, only breaking for water (so much water!) and the occasional steering to our Spotify playlist. I was as surprised, and as pleased, as my lady was. And suddenly my perspective of cannabis was changing. LESSON NO. 3: YARD WORK SUCKS, THOUGH ... YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS After renting my house for two years to some young dudes and their giant dog, my yard was more of a disaster than I left it. With my fiancee working a long Saturday at the salon, I decided to do something I rarely did— consume cannabis before noon—and hit the yard with some work gloves, an endless supply of ice water and a YouTube loop of TED talks cycling through my Bluetooth speaker. Four hours of sweaty, grueling work flew by quite enjoyably, and I was immensely gratified by the progress I’d made in the yard. It’s worth noting here: I am not one of those homeowners who loves yard work, who finds it meditative. But add some cannabis to that equation and I’m a flipping zen master, reveling in work I’d normally find tedious. LESSON NO. 4: BETTER (AND MORE ORGANIZED) LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY I can honestly say cannabis has made me a more organized individual. I’m more conscientious about my pets, making sure the cat’s litter box is cleaned regularly and the dogs are walked—even after late evenings at the office. I’m more attentive to my family’s long-term planning, setting aside time to vote and talk finances and plan our week’s (and month’s and year’s) social and travel calendars to ensure my wife and I are in sync.  Cannabis as a productivity tool deserves to be celebrated, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that.  Content Sourced from Sensi Magazine

8 months ago

How to Best Practice Sustainability in Modern Cannabis

  We often think about the marijuana industry as this sleeping giant, but it’s really just a baby. This space so many of us have chosen is still in its infancy, and the choices we make today — as consumers and as cannabis professionals — have the power to impact the future of this still-growing economy, especially as it relates to the future sustainability of legal marijuana. Sure, sometimes we feel powerless and insignificant, as if our individual actions aren’t enough to counter the seemingly insurmountable tide of “progress” and commercialization. But because legal and regulated cannabis has yet to even celebrate its fifth birthday, the opposite is actually true. What you do matters. An entrepreneur’s intentional and thoughtful choices on difficult sustainability decisions are meaningful, and a customer’s discerning approach to the brands he or she is loyal to creates a vote-with-your-dollars relationship that rewards the most responsible businesses. Also, while we need to remember that we have a voice, we also need to stay aware and educate our policymakers on how they can implement policies that will guide the industry in an environmentally friendly direction. Here are two things that need to change right now for industry pioneers and consumers who want to make conscious decisions that will collectively make for a more sustainable cannabis industry in the years to come. Alternatives to Modern Cultivation & Packaging Let’s start with the obvious. Any conversation about cannabis sustainability in 2018 is incomplete without talking about cultivation and packaging, in that order. For the most part, we are growing cannabis indoors out of necessity. Marijuana cultivators were driven indoors throughout prohibition, and now many regulated markets mandate indoor cultivation for “security” and “safety” reasons. But because marijuana is a plant and a commodity crop and more aligned with traditional agriculture than pharmaceuticals — and because cannabis kills 0 (that’s zero) Americans each year, while alcohol kills 90,000 and nicotine kills nearly 500,000 Americans annually — most cannabis of the future will be grown outdoors, sans the misguided concerns about it being a safety or security concern. Like it already does in California, Washington, Oregon and extremely limited parts of Colorado, marijuana will eventually grow under the sun, not under the High Intensity Discharge grow lights that have become so common in Denver and Oakland warehouses. This will lighten power grids’ loads and widen cultivators’ margins, and it will make the industry more sustainable. Of course, legal markets are also hamstrung on the issue of packaging, as most consumers already know. The child-proof containers and exit bags required by law aren’t known for their earth-friendliness or recyclability, but that’s starting to change with design-minded entrepreneurs who are readying packaging alternatives that will keep cannabis out of children’s hands — and product packaging out of landfills. Mass Adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility Here’s what I tell friends and colleagues at least once a week, and most of them agree with me: “If you’re making money and not giving back, you’re doing it wrong.” Outside of a few shining stars like Bloom Farms in California and The Clinic in Colorado, corporate social responsibility has not yet fully infiltrated the cannabis space. And this is a problem. Mind you, the idea of “corporate social responsibility” and sustainability are not the same thing. But I would argue that a business with a thoughtful CSR program is inevitably a more sustainable business. I’m particularly fond of how the International Organization for Standardization defines CSR: “responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behavior.” These are questions all entrepreneurs should be asking themselves: How is my business impacting my environment? My community? And what can I do to offset or even out that impact? Cannabis needs to go that extra mile and donate that pinpoint-targeted extra dollar to show the world that we’re serious about not only creating successful businesses, but also about bolstering the communities and the world around us. Perhaps more importantly, this spirit of sustainable giving fits nicely in with the sharing-is-caring spirit of cannabis itself. TELL US, how would you like to see the cannabis industry move towards sustainability?   Content Sourced from Cannabis Now.

8 months ago

Our Sustainable Cannabis Future

RylandZweifel | iStockPhoto Cannabis crops growing under naturally irrigated and fertile conditions thrive in direct sunshine as they have for millennia. The selective pressures of marijuana prohibition increasingly forced illicit growers to look for closets, attics, basements and bedrooms in which to grow their crops, while their prolonged trial and error eventually made it feasible to produce high yields of very potent sinsemilla flowers in artificial environments. Many now-legal growers still follow the prohibition manuscript and continue to expand their indoor grows into ever-larger warehouses and dedicated indoor grow facilities that rely on supplemental lighting and an array of other specialized equipment. Indoor cultivation has allowed for the mass expansion and present-day diversity of the cannabis industry, providing a myriad of safe and productive growing environments. These environments have supported a plethora of modern sinsemilla varieties that have been multiplied and widely distributed by growers and breeders worldwide. Along with the possibility of harvesting multiple crops each year, indoor growing brought the joys of sinsemilla horticulture to virtually every corner of the globe and made production of high-quality cannabis available to every potential enthusiast. Indoor growing conditions also engendered the preservation of the countless cultivars available today. Cannabis is an annual plant, which survives as seeds during the long, cold winter months, to sprout again in the spring, and complete its life cycle by autumn. Growers generally lack true-breeding seed stock, and without the now-widespread ability to create and control indoor growing conditions, many cannabis varieties would have been irretrievably lost. Many clonal varieties we enjoy would not be available today had we been unable to protect and overwinter vegetative cuttings in indoor grow rooms. However, many modern varieties were selected specifically for indoor production, do not perform well outside and, without the electric grid, would not be favored by growers. Indoor Cannabis and Its Ripple Effect Indoor growing is costly, however, and because of that, combined with prohibition pressures, high-quality indoor sinsemilla flowers have always been an overly expensive agricultural product. Illicit indoor sinsemilla growers, who were most often limited by high production costs and relatively small facility sizes, were forced to charge their customers a premium for the lingering threat of arrest during prohibition. But, as long as prohibition ensured less sinsemilla was being produced than consumers wanted to buy, demand exceeded supply, the retail price remained high and the electric bills were reliably paid. Indoor growing started simply as a successful way to hide crops from cops, and today’s indoor growing is largely a residual effect of vigorous prohibition; but sinsemilla growing is already legal (or de facto legal) in many jurisdictions nationwide. While growers’ risks are increasingly minimized, marijuana supplies have reached all-time highs in many markets, and prices have reached all-time lows. In addition, sinsemilla flowers are becoming raw material rather than only end products, and extracts and isolates are now flooding the cannabis market. Cannabis crops growing under natural sunlight might require supplemental soil nutrients and sufficient water, but few, if any, additional inputs. Creating paradise indoors is costly in several ways. In addition to expensive infrastructure, modern-day sinsemilla crops grown in artificial grow facilities require commercial lighting, heating, air conditioning, dehumidification, fans and carbon dioxide supplementation, which all rely on fossil fuels. Prohibition transformed cannabis from a sun-grown crop, cultivated by traditional farming techniques with a minimal carbon footprint, into a significant environmental concern. A minority of growers are blessed with living in climates favorable to greenhouse and outdoor growing, and the remainder still make do by practicing their tried-and-true indoor-production strategies. Following the lead of every other major agricultural crop, cannabis production is slowly shifting to locations where it is economically best suited—with some agriculture companies favoring greenhouses and broad-acre fields in regions with abundant water, sunshine and low labor costs. We envision that much of production will return to regions worldwide where cannabis has been grown successfully for centuries. Tomato Trends msk.nina | Adobe Stock It is always valuable to compare our nascent cannabis industry with more mature, yet actively evolving agribusinesses, and our studies offer insights into the possible future of the cannabis industry. Let us take a look at some telling trends in the modern tomato industry. Internationally, the largest greenhouse vegetable industry, by far, is tomatoes. (Tomatoes are actually fruits because they contain seeds, but they are legislated as vegetables.) Although North America provides the largest market for tomatoes, China, India, the United States and Turkey lead world tomato production. Greenhouse tomato growing increases annually in all these regions, with the Dutch and Belgians leading the industry in both efficiency and yield per hectare. Presently, greenhouses account for only about 30 percent of world tomato production, while the remainder is still grown outdoors. While field production accounts for some of the fresh-produce trade, outdoor-grown tomatoes are largely destined for processing. Greenhouses offer tomato growers potential harvests spanning up to eight months of the year, and with heating and supplemental lights, economically lucrative production (amortized over the whole year) is achievable year-round. Greenhouse production of all crops in climates with cold winters is subject to a winter period of lower yields, lower consumer-quality ratings and much higher energy costs to provide off-season heating and supplemental lighting. Commercial outdoor and garden tomatoes are seasonal, and we enjoy them when we can—otherwise we must eat what agribusiness makes available year-round. The balance between production costs and profits drives the agronomic realities of tomato and other greenhouse crop production, including cannabis. Production of cannabis is also most consistently achieved indoors and in greenhouses, but production costs must be supported by consumer preference for the highest-quality, indoor-grown flowers. Surely one can pay a premium to buy an organically grown, sun-ripened tomato year-round, yet greenhouse tomatoes dominate the fresh market for economic reasons. Prohibition raised the price of cannabis products far beyond the effects of simple agronomic factors, and as the outdated prohibition model sails into the sunset, agronomic factors will become the most important determinants of the cannabis industry’s evolution. In today’s world of agribusiness, profitable greenhouse tomato production is reliant on artificial lighting, automation and additional technologies. While greenhouse production also relies on fertilizers—non-organic outdoor production does as well. Tomato crops grown in both greenhouse and outdoor environments are increasingly irrigated, fertilized and packed by automated production lines that are extremely expensive to install. Outdoor farms also are able to utilize automated picking machines. Large companies pay for their initial expenditures on automation, as they see significant labor savings at such scale. This is the way forward for commoditized agricultural industries. In addition to the many similarities, distinct differences also exist between the tomato and cannabis industries. For instance, tomatoes are only rarely commercially produced in indoor grow rooms, yet there are several important comparisons that can be highlighted. Cannabis flowers and their products do not feed the fresh-food market—they are not sold to the salad industry as fresh tomatoes are. The cannabis dried-flower market, as well as the extracts and concentrates markets, are more analogous to the processed tomato market for ketchup, paste and soup than they are to the fresh-tomato market. And, the extended shelf life of cannabis products lends itself to international commodification. Worldwide commodification already creates challenges for another cannabis industry: hemp grain seed crops destined for food and oil production. During the past two decades, Canada emerged as the world leader in comestible hemp seed production, largely because hemp production remains federally illegal in the United States—the largest market for Canadian seed. In an increasingly commodified world, China has also become a major exporter of hemp seed, and China delivers hemp seed worldwide at wholesale prices well below Canadian farm gate prices (price for sale direct from the farm/producer). Countries such as Australia and New Zealand, with smaller economies of scale than Canada, have even higher farm gate prices for their seed and are even less competitive in the world marketplace. Trends in the hemp seed market continue to change as the industry matures and finds regions with the lowest costs of production. styf | Adobe Stock Agronomics and Economics Legislation, whether it is environmentally motivated or not, is of much lower impact on agricultural production than agronomic factors. Cannabis legalization results in higher production costs, largely through regulatory compliance and taxation. Commodified agro-industries react to increased production costs by steadily moving to regions of lower legislative, labor and agricultural input costs. As we head toward an internationally commodified cannabis economy, how can cannabis flowers grown indoors in Ohio or in a California greenhouse with supplementary light and heat, compete with field-grown cannabis from warm latitudes with year-round outdoor flowering light cycles (e.g., Colombia and Mexico), where labor costs are low and the only electrical input required is to power strings of low-wattage bulbs for only a few hours each night? Today, greenhouse-grown flowers sell for less than indoor-grown flowers, and sun-grown outdoor flowers sell for even lower prices. As availability increases, wholesale prices will certainly continue to drop. One may argue that indoor flowers are often higher quality than outdoor flowers, but will future consumers pay extra for this distinction? Will indoor cannabis farmers find niche markets where their more-expensive products will be appreciated? Clearly, we would not have been catapulted into the modern cannabis age without the benefits of artificial growing environments. But now we must collectively determine the best path forward for modern cannabis agriculture while reducing our collective carbon footprint. Improved technology is already coming to bear fruit. Growers are experimenting with more environmentally friendly techniques, lighting companies continue to develop more efficient lighting and fertilizer companies are working on nutrient recycling. Access to renewable energy is another highly significant aspect affecting the carbon-footprint debate, in part determining whether indoor cultivation facilities will find their place in a more environmentally sustainable future. Clean, renewable energy sources could allow for the proliferation of indoor cultivation, especially into additional regions of the world lacking ideal growing conditions, since indoor facilities may be set up at virtually any location on the globe with access to electricity. The cannabis industry in its current incarnation is enjoying a time of expansion, an innovative developmental phase fueled by hopeful investment and moderated by careful thought, yet regrettably tied to outdated prohibition-era thinking, And it remains subject to the inescapable laws of agronomics. As present-day, small-scale production models are overgrown by post-prohibition agribusiness, the industry must continue to service and encourage existing methods for environmentally sustainable cultivation, while identifying and creating future markets for their sustainable technologies. Right now, there appears to be endless room for expansion in the new cannabis-agriculture sector. As an increasing number of regions adopt progressive cannabis regulations, they will look to those who have already embraced the process in order to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each system, and to decide which rules and regulations make the most sense for their individual conditions. Production, distribution and pricing are still determined by the mosaic of regional strategies based on wide variations in the legal status of cannabis. Federal legalization is inevitable, and future cannabis farmers in each region will clearly become savvy as to which methods and equipment are essential to produce the best possible crop at the lowest possible cost.   Content Sourced from Cannabis Business Times.

8 months ago

CBD Bliss Balls to Help You De-Stress

INFUSED SEA SALT PEANUT BUTTER BALLS  1/2 cup creamy peanut butter1/4 cup maple syrup1/2 cup collagen peptides (optional - if you leave out, you might want to add more oats)1/2 cup flaxseed meal1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats1/2 cup dried cranberries (we love this brand bc they contain no added juice or sugars!)1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips1 tb chia seeds1 tsp vanilla extract250mg of Lovena Botanicals Hemp Oil (500mg) dropper1 tsp sea salt flakes  MAKES 12 - 18 BITES INSTRUCTIONS In a medium size bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and maple syrup. Next, add the remaining ingredients, except for the sea salt (that is to sprinkle on top of each bite at the end). Make sure that everything is coated well - roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! If you need to add a touch more peanut butter or maple syrup, do it. Using your hands, form 12-18 bites. Sprinkle sea salt on top, and place in a container. These will stay nice and fresh in your refrigerator for up to one week. They also freeze well, for up to one month. Packed with peanut butter, chocolate chips, cranberries, and wholesome gluten free oats, these bites will certainly help take the edge off. They are great to snack on during the day and for dessert after dinner.  Each ball contains 12.5mg per ball. You can alter the CBD mg content as you wish. Do not exceed 200mg per day. Shop Lovena Botanicals certified clean Hemp Oil on BUSHL now.   

8 months ago

The Ultimate Guide to CBD

Are you looking to learn more about Cannabidiol? You’ve come to the right place. We know there is a lot of confusing information online. Here's the basic information that you should know about using and buying Cannabidiol. Let’s jump in… Cannabidiol Basics If you’re new to cannabidiol, you’ll want to start here. In this section you’ll discover topics like benefits, current research, legal status, history, and many more. What is CBD (Cannabidiol)? CBD vs THC: What is the Difference? What is Cannabidiol’s Legal Status? How Does CBD Work? Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference? What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil from Industrial Hemp Oil?   Cannabidiol Buying Guide We know that choosing the right CBD product can be confusing at first. That’s why we created this easy to read guide. In it you’ll discover the different types of CBD products, the most popular brands, and some of our most popular products. Check out our Buy Cannabidiol Guide here.   Latest Cannabidiol News Our blog showcases the latest news in the ever growing cannabidiol industry. See as CBD oil gets mentioned by Michael Pollan, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and more! To read the latest news on CBD head to our blog here.   What is CBD (Cannabidiol)? “So what is CBD (Cannabidiol), anyway?” is a question we are commonly asked. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a natural substance that has recently come into the spotlight for a number of reasons. It is a relatively new food supplement that is still being researched, and while the initial results are promising, there is a lot of doubt, misinformation, and sheer confusion surrounding it. Recently, CBD oil has become an accepted means of relaxation, and the substance’s popularity is rising fairly rapidly. As the use of CBD oil is very new, there are still significant gaps in what we know about its effects. While we can confidently say the substance is safe and legal, its exact benefits are still an issue of hot debates and fervent research. In this article, we are putting the most important facts surrounding Cannabidiol together to cut through some of the confusion and give you a clearer picture about this new cannabinoid known as CBD. This article covers: The benefits of CBD Where does CBD come from? CBD’s legal status (and the confusion surrounding it!) Finally, we have included our “Cannabidiol Definitions” section to help you make sense of all the technical terms and jargon surrounding CBD.   What Are the Benefits of CBD? Numerous people are reporting success in using CBD to reach a desired state of calm and relaxation. Strictly as a chemical substance, CBD also has strong antioxidant properties, a fact that so far has been largely ignored by the broader food supplements industry. As each person is different, and because CBD’s effects are still under study, we strongly encourage you to do your own research before incorporating CBD to your daily life.   Where Does CBD Come From? CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis, often known as hemp. Chemically, CBD is one of 85 chemical substances known as cannabinoids, which are all found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant compound in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of its extracts. However, here is where the confusion starts. Unfortunately, the most abundant constituent of cannabis is the cannabinoid known as THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance that is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.” While CBD is completely separated and isolated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,” there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake CBD for THC. These fears, though unfounded, are understandable to an extent, especially since the terminology surrounding CBD can be very confusing. Nonetheless, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD-high hemp (that has only traces of THC), as it is also impossible to get high by consuming CBD oil products (that contain virtually no THC). CBD is extracted in oil form and is often found mixed in hemp oil extracts in varying concentrations.   Is Cannabidiol Legal? Yes, CBD is legal worldwide (a controlled substance in Canada alone). As we’ve seen above, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD, partially because its chemical properties are poorly understood and partially because of its close resemblance to THC. Until relatively recently (1980s), scientists believed that CBD was a natural precursor to the formation of THC, and since THC was a strictly controlled substance back then (it still is), it only followed that CBD should be equally strictly regulated. However, CBD is actually unrelated to the chemical chain that results in THC. They share some characteristics but are created via different paths. Again, unlike THC, CBD is considered a legal cannabinoid and is safe to consume in any amount and concentration.   Cannabidiol Definitions We understand that there are some confusing terms related to Cannabidiol, so we wanted to take the time to explain them to you. Below is a list of the most important terms to understand related to Cannabidiol: Cannabis – A type of flowering plant that includes three distinct variations: Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis sativa. Cannabis has a wide range of industrial and medical applications. It has been used since antiquity for its sturdy fiber, for oils, and for medicinal purposes. However, it has also been used as a recreational drug, a fact that renders the cultivation of cannabis strictly regulated because of some variations including high concentrations of THC. Hemp – Hemp refers to the high-growing varieties of cannabis that are grown to be specifically used for fiber, oil, and seeds. These are then refined into numerous products including wax, resin, cloth, pulp, paper, rope, fuel, and hemp oil. Cannabinoids – A very diverse chemical family that includes natural as well as artificially created substances. Different cannabinoids have widely varied effects, with some cannabinoids proven to have soothing and relaxing properties and others classified as illegal drugs. CBD – A naturally occurring cannabinoid, and the second most abundant constituent of the Cannabis plant. CBD is legal and safe to consume, yet has long been in the shadow of THC. THC – The most abundant constituent of the cannabis plant and a strongly psychoactive cannabinoid, THC is responsible for getting “high” from smoking marijuana and, as a result, its production and usage are strictly regulated. Psychoactive – Any chemical substance that can enter the brain from the bloodstream and directly affect the central nervous system is considered psychoactive. Many psychoactive substances have medical applications (such as anesthetics, psychiatric drugs, etc.), but some of these substances are used solely for recreation, causing dangerous side effects and addiction. Intoxicating – Any substance that can cause you to lose control of your faculties and alter your behavior is considered intoxicating. Almost all illegal drugs have intoxicating properties, although worldwide most intoxication cases are attributed to alcohol. Intoxication can be caused by substances that directly affect the brain (i.e., psychoactive) or by indirectly causing damage to your organism (i.e., through toxicity, hence the term).   Closing Words / What Makes CBD Different In today’s world, there are countless supplements on the market. Yet, even as a newly popularized supplement, CBD stands out as a naturally calming and soothing. In addition, scientists are staying open to the possibility of wider applications of CBD in the near future. For many people, CBD products are becoming a relaxing addition to their daily lives. However, since each person’s needs are different, we always encourage you to do your own research to see if CBD oil is right for you. As we strive to be the most consumer-focused provider of CBD oil in the market, we will be creating more articles to point out the most recent CBD research and all related scientific breakthroughs. Our aim is to provide a balanced and accurate view of everything and anything related to the use of CBD, so stay tuned for more objective information about CBD and always be prepared for some critical thinking and research of your own as well.   CBD vs THC: What is the Difference? Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most abundant cannabinoids found naturally in hemp. Classed as phytocannabinoids (as opposed to endocannabinoids and cannabinoids that are manufactured artificially), both CBD and THC interact with specific cells mainly in our brains (but also in other organs). Both CBD and THC have a wide range of applications and are similar at the molecular level. This has led the public to often confuse them, and even the scientific community believed that CBD and THC were in fact the same substance until relatively recently. However, the chemical properties of CBD and THC vary widely enough to classify THC as a psychotropic drug strictly controlled by federal authorities, while CBD is regarded as legal and safe worldwide. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding these substances, propagated in part by interests that seek to promote one substance over the other. In this article, we will give you the lowdown on some scientific facts about both CBD and THC, explaining objectively and in simple terms the differences between CBD and THC.   CBD vs THC in Clinical Application CBD Both CBD and THC interact with cells within our bodies by activating thecannabinoid receptors. Without venturing too deeply into technical terms, we can say that these receptors are responsible for transmitting signals within our bodies, causing different physiological effects. Some cannabinoids are capable of desirable effects (they are beneficial to us). Others cause undesirable psychotropic effects in our bodies (such as getting “high,” or causing depression, etc.), and a few of these substances cause both desirable and undesirable effects. Currently, there are no documented studies that show undesirable effects from CBD, which is why this particular cannabinoid is legal worldwide. However, there are many studies showing CBD to cause only desirable effects or no effects at all. (Not only that, but CBD has also been shown to protect against the negative effects of THC). It is important to point out that research is still underway for many applications of CBD. THC THC was the first phytocannabinoid that was discovered and has been much more extensively researched than CBD. We know with fairly high certainty that THC is strongly psychoactive and can be intoxicating even in small amounts. This means that THC can alter your behavior and cause you to lose control of your faculties, properties that make it a popular (illegal) recreational drug in the form of marijuana. Nonetheless, THC has desirable medical applications and has been shown to be effective as a moderate-strength analgesic (a type of drug that offers relief from pain) and an effective form of treatment for the symptoms of “serious” diseases including AIDS and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. These invaluable properties of THC have given rise to the use of marijuana for legal medical purposes. Medical marijuana is safe when prescribed by a doctor and can significantly improve the quality of life for many people suffering from serious and/or chronic diseases.   What Do Scientists Say? Overall, it is generally accepted that CBD is safer than THC for a number of reasons. There have been certain studies that found statistically significant correlations between long-term use of THC and certain psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and psychosis. However, we must note here that in scientific studies such as these, correlation does not imply causation; that is, the usage of THC might be linked to psychiatric disorders without necessarily being that root cause of them. (Much like lighters are linked to smoking, but possession of a lighter does not necessarily mean you are a smoker.) As we have also seen above, CBD is considered to have wider applications than THC. Since CBD has been much less studied than THC, scientists assume that there are many new applications of CBD that haven’t yet been discovered. On the other hand, THC’s applications are more or less completely explored by now due to all the research on medical marijuana over the past decade.   So What’s Better, CBD or THC? The CBD vs THC debate is something that often crops up in the circles of cannabis users, and it mainly stems from misinformation that surrounds these substances. Based on what we’ve seen above, we can answer the question by saying that CBD and THC are so different that it’s difficult to compare them directly. But while THC can be abused as a drug, CBD is safe and has no recreational applications. In fact, many misinformed people, along with many recreational marijuana users, often brand CBD as “useless” because it cannot get them “high.” Like most things in life, the usage and properties of CBD and THC aren’t black and white. It’s hard to label THC useless when it has so many documented medical benefits, and you cannot just blindly trust CBD as it is still possible (though unlikely) for scientists to find some side effects with its long-term use. However, there is so much more to both CBD and THC than just THC’s psychoactive properties that it is a shame not to explore their applications and learn the truth about them, especially since they are both being used nowadays to better the lives of countless people on a daily basis. Science is an evolving process and it pays to stay up to date, especially on new industries like CBD.   How Does CBD Work? At HealthyHempOil.com, we are frequently asked, “How does CBD work?” It’s no surprise that it does work — but many people want to know “how,” and the real reason might surprise you. In this article, you’ll discover how CBD actually works with your body and not against it (like some synthetically made medications). First off, you should know the basics of what CBD is. We cover this in our“What is CBD?” article, but as a refresher, you should know what a cannabinoid is…   What is a Cannabinoid? Simply put, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are dozens of compounds including Cannabidiol (CBD), THC, and a host of other cannabinoids. Together they are responsible for the benefits and drawbacks to medical marijuana and industrial hemp-based products. Technically, CBD and its sister cannabinoid compounds are classified as phytocannabinoids, which means that they’re derived from plants. But there are also several other types of cannabinoids you should know about too. For example, the cannabinoids produced within the body’s endocannabinoid system are known as endocannabinoids (such as arachidonoylethanolamine, virodhamine, and many others). There are also cannabinoids manufactured via chemical reactions in laboratories, known as synthetic cannabinoids. As you’ll see later, each type of cannabinoid interacts with the body in different ways. So now that you understand what a cannabinoid is, how does CBD work with your body?   Our Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System Here’s the second half of the equation. You see, your body actually has areas that are made specifically for cannabinoids — they are called cannabinoid receptor sites. These sites make up the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for numerous physiological and mental processes that occur naturally within the body. As we just stated, the endocannabinoid system includes a number of specialized cell receptors in the brain and in various other organs throughout the body. These receptors fall into two types: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain (but also in the liver, kidneys, and lungs), while CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune system. Here’s the fun part — cannabinoid substances actually bind with these receptors to coordinate various functions across the body.   What Kinds of Effects Can Cannabinoids Have on the Body? As we discussed above, there are several types of cannabinoids. Even within phytocannabinoids, there are wide ranges of compounds and effects that we are still learning about. Some of these cannabinoids interact strongly with one or both CB receptors, causing various effects, from regulating mood and helping us concentrate, to causing euphoric effects and feeling “high” (like THC). Other cannabinoids, like CBD, have fewer direct effects on the endocannabinoid system (keep this in mind as you read the next section). To recap: Cannabinoids represent a diverse class of chemical compounds that can be very different from each other. Their only common feature is that they all act on the body’s cannabinoid receptors, either directly or indirectly.   External vs. Internal Cannabinoids The endocannabinoid system works mainly with our the body’s own cannabinoids, which are produced internally. For example, arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) is produced within the body and is thought to regulate several functions. However, when cannabinoids are taken externally, it’s difficult to distinguish between the clinically desirable effects and the therapeutically undesirable effects of various phytocannabinoids. This is because cannabinoid receptors send a variety of signals that often interconnect to coordinate the body’s functions, so it’s hard to tell them apart. For example, CB1 receptors send signals that regulate senses, while cannabinoids that interact with CB2 receptors can at the same time affect gastrointestinal response and peripheral nervous system sensitivity. See why external cannabinoids (like CBD) can be a little more complicated? Also, since people often take numerous different cannabinoids together (for example, using medical marijuana), it is hard to attribute specific effects to specific cannabinoids. That’s because unprocessed cannabis includes more than 60 different types of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. In addition, some cannabinoids interact synergistically, producing unique effects that are not found when using them individually. For example, CBD inhibits THC’s psychotropic effects when the two are taken together. However, CBD does this (and produces many other effects) without directly interacting with the cannabinoid receptors. At first, scientists thought there was a third type of CB receptor just for Cannabidiol, but the answer was far more interesting and revealing.   How Does CBD Work? We just stated that CBD is fairly unique as far as cannabinoids go, because it does not seem to interact directly with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. So what does it do if it’s not interacting directly with our receptors? Here’s where it gets good… Cannabidiol has a particularly low potential for binding with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but instead acts as an antagonist of the receptors’ agonists. That’s a mouthful. In layman’s terms, this means that CBD keeps the receptors working at optimal capacity and helps the function of all other cannabinoids, including the body’s own endocannabinoids. Still with me? If you want to know more about the effects, read below, but if you’re often put off by scientific words, you might want to skip down to the conclusion…   What Effects Does CBD Have? Now to understand CBD’s function within the body, we need to examine how receptors like CB1 and CB2 interact with other chemical compounds. But first you’ll need to know these three terms… Agonists – chemicals that bind to a receptor and activate it to produce a biological response. Inverse agonists – chemicals that bind to the same receptor as agonists but produce the exact opposite result. Antagonists – the complete opposite of agonists as they inhibit or dampen the functions of a receptor. The indirect interactions of CBD with the endocannabinoid system has many effects, some of which surprised scientists and are still being researched. Some of CBD’s functions include: Effectively increases CB1 density, amplifying the effects of all cannabinoids that bind to CB1 receptors. Acts as a 5-HT1a receptor agonist in the brain.. This means that CBD has calming and soothing effects such as some potent analgesics, but without the side effects. Acts as inverse agonist of CB2 receptors, effectively reducing the effects of cannabinoids that make CB2 receptors less responsive. Acts as an antagonist for the putative GPR55 receptor, an element of the endocannabinoid system that is still being researched. (It is suggested thatGPR55 may be a third type of cannabinoid receptor altogether.) Between the above functions, most of CBD’s observed effects are well explained. However, scientists are still unclear about how some effects of Cannabidiol are actually occurring. The most possible explanation is via the hypothetical GPR55 receptor, or through more indirect and synergistic effects that still await discovery.   Conclusions Contrary to how most cannabinoids function, CBD interacts very mildly with the cannabinoid receptors themselves and instead either helps other cannabinoids to be better absorbed or stops the effects of whatever makes the receptors work less effectively. The indirect nature of CBD’s effects have made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint its exact effects up to now, but many positive effects of this unusual phytocannabinoid are still being studied. The endocannabinoid system is closely interconnected with the nervous and immune system. Since CBD has been shown to boost just about every function of our cannabinoid receptors, it is proven to have far-reaching soothing and relaxing effects.   Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference? You may have heard some people say that marijuana and hemp are exactly the same, while others swear they are different. The debate of hemp vs marijuana is fueled by the confusion and misinformation that surround the cannabis plant. In this article, we will dispel several myths and shed light on the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. To help us answer the question in our article’s title, we will need to peek into botany, genetics, linguistics, and even law, as this is a tangled subject. So, let’s begin…   Defining Cannabis As you may know, industrial hemp and marijuana come from the same genus of flowering plant– cannabis. The term “genus” essentially refers to a sub-family of plants and not a single species. This means that there may be multiple types of the cannabis plant, which are all cannabis but have remarkable differences. So, in terms of scientific classification, multiple species can exist within a single genus, and that’s exactly the case with cannabis.   The Different Growing Varieties of Cannabis The genus of cannabis is thought to include three distinct species of the cannabis plant, namely Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is the most common strain of cannabis. It has been cultivated throughout history for a number of purposes, including the production of seed oil, food, hemp fiber (for clothes and rope), medicine, and even recreation. Cannabis ruderalis is a species native to Russia that flowers earlier and is able to withstand harsher conditions than Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is the hardiest of the three, but it is relatively poor in terms of cannabinoids as ruderalis has a lower THC content than either sativa or indica. Cannabis indica was first discovered in India and is a cannabis species that is described as shorter and bushier than sativa. Problems with botanical taxonomy have led some scientists to still doubt the existence of Cannabis indica as a distinct species of cannabis. In nature, Cannabis ruderalis typically has the lowest levels of THC, Cannabis sativa has a higher level of THC than it has CBD, and Cannabis indica has a higher level of CBD than it has THC. However, since man has been cultivating cannabis (and especially Cannabis sativa) for thousands of years, the effects of artificial selections have led to several different types of cannabis even within the same species, depending on the purpose the cannabis was cultivated for.   The Power of Artificial Selection Cannabis has been cultivated by humans, for a variety of purposes, since antiquity. So it comes as no surprise that there are several different species and even different varieties within the species, depending on the purpose the plants were bred for. Through artificial selection, different species of cannabis have different properties–some have been used for medicinal purposes, others as food, and others to create clothes, ropes, and other items. Industrial hemp is produced by strains of Cannabis sativa that have been cultivated to produce minimal levels of THC and are instead artificially selected and bred to grow taller and sturdier. This is done to enable the plant to be used effectively in the production of hemp oil, wax, resin, hemp seed food, animal feed, fuel, cloth, rope, and more. Industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa. Medical marijuana is produced mainly from variants of Cannabis sativa that have been selectively bred to maximize their concentration in cannabinoids. Cannabis ruderalis is almost exclusively grown due to its naturally occurring very small quantities of THC .   Hemp vs Marijuana: So What’s Really the Difference? The major (and arguably the only) difference between industrial hemp and medical marijuana is that industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa that was specifically bred to produce the lowest concentrations of THC possible. Hemp-producing cannabis has tall, fibrous stalks that are very strong and have very few flowering buds. On the on the other hand, marijuana strains are short, bushy, and have high amounts of THC. In fact, industrial hemp and medical marijuana are so distinctively different that most lay people wouldn’t be able to tell that they belong to the same genus of plants if they encountered them in the wild! While marijuana is bred with the only purpose of maximizing its THC concentration, industrial hemp always has trace amounts of THC and naturally occurring high amounts of CBD (it has the highest CBD/THC ratio of all cannabis strains, even Cannabis ruderalis) This means that industrial hemp’s chemical profile makes it incapable of inducing intoxicating effects and getting you “high” from ingesting it.   Industrial Hemp Supplements Since industrial hemp is naturally rich in CBD and has been bred to have only trace amounts of THC, many people today are turning to industrial hemp products as an alternative to medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is not legal in all states in the US and many countries worldwide, while products made from industrial hemp can be a safe and legal alternative. You can get many of the same beneficial effects of medical marijuana from industrial hemp products without getting “high.” Industrial hemp products are completely safe, as they are made according to federal standards and are produced in FDA-registered facilities within the US. If you are interested in seeing more, please check out our line of premium industrial hemp products.   What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil from Industrial Hemp Oil? Most of our readers know you can get Cannabidiol (CBD) products made from industrial hemp. Many of you also know that you can get CBD products from medical marijuana. So what’s the difference? Yes, medical marijuana can contain any level of THC whereas CBD products from industrial hemp contain negligible amounts. But what about the CBD? Is the CBD from industrial hemp the same as the CBD from medical marijuana? In this article we’ll explore what we know about these substances.   Cannabidiol is Still Cannabidiol Here’s the main concept to understand. In regards to its chemical composition, which is precisely known to scientists, CBD remains unchanged regardless of which plant produces it. To further expand on this, the term “Cannabidiol” refers by definition to a chemical substance. There is no room for different interpretations and the substance is just that. Any single difference in the molecular composition would mean it’s no longer Cannabidiol but another substance (again, by definition). This is pure chemistry and allows no room for ambiguity. However, the main question people have is not just about the CBD compound, which is constant from plant to plant, but the actual difference in CBD oil from various plants.   What Goes into Cannabidiol Oil? We’ve established the fact that naturally occurring CBD is the same CBD regardless of the plant it came from. However, CBD and CBD oil are not in fact the same thing. As we’ve seen above, CBD is a chemical compound with sharply defined characteristics, while CBD oil is a mixture of various natural substances as they are derived from the plant of cannabis. The production of hemp oil involves extracting the fatty acids from the stalks of the cannabis plant. Within these fatty acids fat-soluble substances can be found, and as cannabinoids are fat-soluble, they come out of the plant, dissolved in the oil. To make this more concrete, let’s use an example here. This is a high-CBD hemp oil product made from industrial hemp. It has a concentration of CBD between 18% and 24%. This means that it has 18%–24% parts CBD dissolved in the actual oil, which is composed by other substances. So 18%–24% is pure CBD, and the rest are hemp oil extracts and other fatty acid substances.   Medical Marijuana vs. Industrial Hemp CBD Oil The main point we want to make here is that CBD is always CBD, but CBD oil from hemp is not the same as the oil that is extracted from medical marijuana. The main difference between the two remains that CBD oil from medical marijuana can contain any varying amount of THC. As a result, this type of CBD oil is considered a Schedule I drug and is not legal in many states in the US and countries worldwide. As industrial hemp is naturally high in CBD and contains only traces of THC, the hemp oil produced from it is safe and non-psychotropic. This CBD oil is actually a lot different than the oil produced by extracting the fatty acids of the cannabis plants that are bred for soothing purposes. Besides the difference in THC concentration, the CBD oils will also have differing amounts of other cannabinoids. But those make up a much smaller percentage of the overall volume and are not as pronounced in their effects as CBD or THC are. Content Sourced by HealthyHempOil.com. 

8 months ago

Self-Care And Women's Health Is Shaping The Cannabis Industry

It’s impossible to deny the spending power of women. They are responsible for 70 to 80% of consumer spending in the United States and play a major role in influencing the buying choices of their friends and family. With the cannabis market in legal states projected to grow 150% by 2021, female consumers are also playing a major role in shaping the industry through embracing cannabis as a wellness product. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images) Women are increasingly turning to cannabis for health reasons with menstruation, menopause and sex listed as the top conditions they are treating. They are consuming cannabis at higher rates than before and boosting sales of items like infused candy, baked goods and skin care products. They look to companies that can reflect marijuana’s evolution in their lives and seek out ways to responsibly consume without disrupting the flow of their lives. Kate Miller and Anna Duckworth are the cofounders of Miss Grass, a women-centered cannabis magazine that has been deemed the “Goop of Cannabis.” In their online publication, they focus on normalizing cannabis use through combining educational information with lifestyle content ranging from self-care and beauty to sex and smoking etiquette. They have been in the cannabis industry for years and have witnessed how women are embracing marijuana more than ever in a new way. “Cannabis legalization is creating an insatiable appetite for information. Women are looking for alternative non-toxic, plant-based, holistic remedies for health and cannabis falls into all of those categories,” says Duckworth. “That’s why women are adopting cannabis as a wellness tool and making it a part of a much bigger approach to self-care.” “There is a big shift happening around how people take care of themselves,” Miller adds. “Women, in particular, are really starting to invest in their health and understand how cannabis fits into that from fitness to food. ” Yet, there are still some women who believe that consuming cannabis is stigmatized and feel the need to keep their use a secret. A survey found that 66 percent of women hide their usage out of fear of being judged by others which could prevent the type of word-of-mouth sharing that increases product sales. These women are not a lost cause, though. There are ways that cannabis companies can make sure they are reaching out to those women as well. “The industry is starting to recognize that women consumers need high quality products that seamlessly fit into their lives in a way that can replace a bad habit like drinking too much alcohol to unwind or taking a pill to go to sleep,” Duckworth notes. “As the market matures, brand aesthetics and designs push consumer products into the mainstream and more dialogue around cannabis is possible. Women will feel comfortable accepting and talking about using cannabis the more that it becomes normalized.” For those that have found peace with their cannabis use, their sights are set on products that can enhance their lives and an industry that hopefully continues to pay attention to the developing needs of their fastest growing consumer demographic. “Now is the time when brands should be paying attention to how women are incorporating cannabis into their lives and figure out how they can keep up. If companies want to continue to reach more women, they need to have more women leaders,” Miller advises. “Knowing how to market to women means having people who represent and understand them in decision-making positions. That also helps to remove the stigma even more for potential consumers because it feels authentic.” Content Sourced from Forbes. 

9 months ago

8 Feminine Pipes to Add to Your Collection

My opinion toward pastels has not always been positive. I have never put on a pastel article of clothing and thought “yessss, I am going to get it DONE today.” Put me in a pastel dress and I will give you an effortless impersonation of Daria in a pastel dress. But that’s not the fault of pastels, the only thing they’ve ever done to me is clash with my orange hair. Still, pastels have been innocently roped into the patriarchal idea that to be appropriately feminine is to be soft and weak, which might be why I have an aversion to wearing them after decades of self-esteem struggles. So now that these realizations have landed, I say BUUUULLLLLLLLLLLLLSHIT to all of that. It’s 2019 and women are pissed off, so if there’s ever been a time to reclaim everything that represents quiet femininity and use it as a source of empowerment, that time is now. Even though you won’t catch me physically wearing pastels when there is a mountain of cat-hair covered black clothing on my bedroom floor begging to be worn, I am fucking OBSESSED with these pipes. Something about pastel smoking accessories feels particularly appropriate given my aforementioned feelings, especially in an industry where Rasta colors have dominated the dudebro culture. OMBRE CERAMIC PIPE BY HACIENDAWARE At 3.5 inches long these babes are tiny, but that just means they’re cute and travel well. GRACE PASTEL BONG FROM PRETTY PIPE SHOP If I knew how to whistle, I would whistle SO HARD at this pastel bong from Marijuana Mommy‘s new Pretty Pipe Shop. SO GORG. PUSSY PIPE BY CAITLIN ROSE SWEET Much like the stereotype of cannabis smokers needs to be reclaimed, so does the word pussy. According to Caitlin’s website, her work “explores the messy intersections of pop culture, craft, and queerness” while also exploring the relationship of “the body, gender, sexuality, race, and class.” SUCCULENT HALF CIRCLE PIPE BY YEW YEW SHOP Yew Yew has an unconventional collection of minimalist ceramic pipes, all made by hand in the United States. Their motto is “smoking, simplified” and they create products that are beautiful, well designed, and stylish for display. HONEY BEAR BUBBLER FROM SHOP GLASSY Whenever I see this guy I hear “I Love You, Honeybear” by Father John Misty. What’s great about Glassy is that 10% of their sales go to ACLU Nationwide. Also available in pink and teal! GREAT LASH PIPE BY SETH BOGART Get the fuck out of here with this brilliance. How many times have you wiped this exact mascara from your face after a fight with your high school boyfriend? Oh, you had enough foresight to spring for the waterproof? GOOD FOR YOU. RING PIPE BY LINDSEY HAMPTON This is the kind of pipe that will confuse the hell out of your parents if you leave it out when they come over, and that’s part of its charm. GEOPIPE BY VAN DER POP You never realize how nice it is to have a pipe that doesn’t wobble until you try something like this and you can just… set it down on the table without feeling like you’re balancing a wine glass on stilts. That gorgeous pink doesn’t hurt, either. Content Sourced from Jane Dope.

9 months ago

Every Question You Have About CBD—Answered

There's no question that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment. If you live in a state where it's currently legal, you might feel like CBD has gone from being sort of around to absolutely everywhere all at once. Coffee shops sell CBD lattes, spas offer CBD facials, beauty companies are rushing to release lotions with CBD or hemp oils in their formulas. And everyone from your anxious coworker to your arthritis-suffering dad wants to get their hands on some CBD gummies. But even though it's infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world (hi, vegan CBD brownies!) many people still find CBD a little confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the stuff you're buying is, you know, actually legit. Below, we asked experts to answer the most pressing questions about CBD. RELATED: 7 Surprising Ways People Are Using CBD Oil—and What Doctors Really Think About It                     OK, first things first. What is CBD? CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. It's a naturally occurring substance that's used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it's not psychoactive. So you're saying CBD won't get me high? Nope. The cannabis plant is made up of two main players: CBD and THC. "CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won't have any effects like euphoria," says Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMDthis link opens in a new tab. "You won't feel sedated or altered in any way." There are two possible exceptions to this. The first is that some people, for unknown reasons, just react differently to CBD. According to Dr. Chin, about 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. "Usually they're the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol," she says. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely under supervision.   It's also crucial to buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance (more on this later). Because the FDA doesn't regulate CBD, it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised, or even contains small amounts of THC. RELATED: 9 Things to Know Before Buying Another Supplement Where does hemp come in to all this? You've probably heard the terms cannabis, marijuana, and hemp all tossed around in relation to CBD. The plant Cannabis sativa has two primary species, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but there's a much higher percentage in hemp, which also has very low (less than 0.3%) levels of THC compared to marijuana. When people talk about hemp oil, they're referring to oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. There are no cannabinoids—CBD or THC—in hemp oil. This ingredient is packed with healthy fats and often appears in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits. What are the health benefits of CBD? The only CBD medication that is currently FDA-approved is Epidiolex, which the agency approved last yearthis link opens in a new tab for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. But many people swear CBD has helped with a slew of other health conditions, including back pain, osteoarthritis, even cancer. "My practice has patients walking in every day asking about CBD," says Houman Danesh, MD, director of integrative pain management for the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But while there's lots of anecdotal evidence, he says, "it's still very difficult to say" what the real benefits are due to a serious lack of research. "Right now, you just have pharmacies trying to make some sort of sense out of it and say, 'Yes, it works for this,'" he says, "but that's not the way medicine is practiced—it should be based on evidence, and there's not a lot of evidence to really support these claims." RELATED: Marijuana Use Linked to Higher Sperm Count, Suggests Surprising New Study Still, is CBD worth trying for pain management? There are two main types of pain, Dr. Danesh says: musculoskeletal and nerve. "There could be benefit for both conditions," he says. The tricky part is that there's some evidence suggesting CBD works best for pain when combined with a little THC, says Dr. Danesh. "Depending on what type of pain you have, you might be able to do just CBD, but sometimes you need CBD and THC." This makes accessing a product that will actually help you more difficult due to different regulations in each state. In New York, where Dr. Danesh practices, for example, CBD is available over the counter. But as soon as you add THC, you need a prescription. Figuring out how much you should take is challenging as well; the dosage that alleviates one patient's pain might do very little for someone else. "And until we can study it, it's the wild west," Dr. Danesh says. The takeaway? "I think CBD is a safe thing to try," says Dr. Danesh. But he urges patients to push for more research by putting pressure on representatives to get national bills passed that allow scientists to look closer at CBD and the conditions that respond to it. RELATED: 10 Things to Know About Pot and Your Health What about my anxiety—can CBD help with that? CBD might be worth trying to manage symptoms of anxiety. "[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you're safe," Dr. Chin says. "It mellows out the nervous system so you're not in a heightened 'fight or flight' response," she says, so people with anxiety may find it helps them feel more relaxed. Still, one of the biggest misconceptions about CBD is that it's a wonder drug. "A lot of times people think CBD is a cure-all, and it's not," Dr. Chin says. "You should also have a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good nutrition—CBD is not going to fix everything." I've heard of edibles, tinctures, vape pens... What's the best way to take CBD? It really depends on what your goal is and why you're taking CBD in the first place. Some people don't want to ingest anything and therefore prefer a topical CBD cream or ointment. "You can apply it to muscles, joints, and ligaments and still get a nice, localized release," Dr. Chin says. The biggest differences between tinctures, edibles, and vape pens are speed of delivery and how long the effects last. Vape relief is faster but wears off faster too—usually in about two hours, says Dr. Chin. "Say you wake up in the morning and pulled your back out, you might want to take CBD through a vape pen, which delivers in 10 minutes." Tinctures and edibles take longer to work but last four or five hours. "A tincture looks like a little liquid that you put under your tongue, and you feel relief within half an hour," Dr. Chin says. "If you prefer to taste something, you choose an edible, whether it's a capsule, gummy, or baked good." RELATED: These New Cannabis-Infused Foods May Help With Anxiety and Pain (and Won't Get You High) What should I look for when shopping for CBD products? "There are literally hundreds of CBD brands at this point," says Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicalsthis link opens in a new tab and an executive vice president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping. • What does the label look like? We don't mean the color or millennial font. If it's a dietary supplement, it should have a back panel with an FDA disclaimer and warning section, according to Beatty. "Ideally, it would be preferable to have access to their third-party lab testing results too." • Speaking of which: Has it been third-party tested? Nearly every expert Healthspoke to agreed that your CBD products should be tested by a third party to confirm the label's accuracy. This is a real concern in the industry—take the 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study, for example, which tested 84 CBD products and found that 26% contained lower dosesthis link opens in a new tab than stated on the bottle. Look for a quality assurance stamp or certificate of analysis from a third party (aka not the actual brand) or check the retailer's website if you don't see it on the product's label. • What's the dosing? This is a confusing one for many people. "A lot of brands don't do a good job of clearly instructing their consumer on the dosing," says Chris Roth, CEO and co-founder of Highline Wellnessthis link opens in a new tab. When thinking about dosing, also consider whether your CBD is full-spectrum or isolate: Full-spectrum could include other cannabinoids like cannabidivarin or cannabigerol (this is important, since "there's something called the 'entourage effect' when all together, they're more effective than any one of them alone," Roth explains), while isolate is 100% CBD. "Some people might only need 10 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD, but with isolate, even taking 80 or 100 milligrams might not have the same effect," he says. • Does it claim to cure any diseases? If so, hard pass. "You should avoid any company that makes disease claims," says Beatty. "If so, it means they're either willing to break the rules or they're not aware of the rules." • Is there a batch number? You know how you check your raw chicken or bagged lettuce every time there's a recall to make sure the one you bought isn't going to make you sick? You should be able to do that with CBD products too. "This is a huge indicator as to whether they are following good manufacturing practices," says Beatty. "There should be a way to identify this product in case it was improperly made so the company can carry out a recall." • Are there additional ingredients in there? As with any supplement, you want to know everything you're ingesting in addition to the main event. For example, "sometimes I notice that [CBD manufacturers] will add melatonin," says Dr. Chin. • Are you buying it IRL? You can find CBD products in shopping malls, convenience stores, even coffee shops in many states right now. But when in doubt, natural grocers are a safe brick-and-mortar place to buy CBD, Beatty says. "Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you." RELATED: 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety That all sounds good, but is it legal? First, a little background. Industrial hemp was legal in the United States until Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. ("Some of our early presidents grew hemp," notes Sarah Lee Gossett Parrishthis link opens in a new tab, a cannabis industry attorney based in Oklahoma.) Nearly 80 years later, the 2014 Farm Bill took the position that states can regulate the production of hemp and, as a result, CBD. Then last year, President Trump signed a new Farm Bill that made it federally legalthis link opens in a new tab to grow hemp. This means that "consumers everywhere, if they're compliant with their state, can grow hemp and use hemp products," Parrish explains, "and among those will be CBD." In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA's, purview. "Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge," Parrish says. "But while it's legal under federal law, it's up to each state to set their own policy." These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. In 23 states, it's legal in some form, such as for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states permit just CBD oil. But both are illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guidethis link opens in a new tabto the specific laws in each state. "It's kind of ironic," says Parrish. "With marijuana, we have got the federal government saying 'No' and a bunch of states saying 'Yeah, it's OK'—but with hemp, the feds say 'Yeah, it's OK,' but we still have some states saying it's not." Can you travel with CBD? That same 2018 Farm Bill means you can now travel between states with legit CBD products. "Flying with CBD should pose no issues now," Parrish says. However, if you're traveling with a tincture, be mindful of TSA limits on how much liquid you can carry on an airplane, she adds. (You can also mail CBD products, just like "companies that comply with the Bill can ship their hemp-derived CBD products anywhere in the U.S.," Parrish notes.) RELATED: Is It Safe for Breastfeeding Moms to Use Marijuana? Will CBD show up on a drug test? It should not, as long as you're buying third-party tested CBD with no added THC, says Dr. Chin. But she does point out that athletes, who often are required to take drug tests that are more sensitive, "could potentially test positive" for trace amounts of THC if they've been using CBD products. Can I give it to my dog? Tempted to give your pup one of those CBD dog biscuits? "Generally we expect CBD products to be safe, and they could show some benefit for anxiety in pets," says John Faught, DVM, a veterinarian based in Austin, Texas. But the challenge when considering CBD products for pets is the same as with people: lack of research. "I believe there are good products out there today, but I also don't know how to distinguish them at this time," Faught says. Content sourced by Health.com 

9 months ago

Weed's Leading Ladies

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: BRENDA ROSE; SAM GEHRKE; MARIJUASANA; OREGROWN; ALPINSTASH Emma Chasen The title cannabis educator and industry consultant leaves a great deal of possibility for Ivy League-educated entrepreneur and botanical extraordinaire Emma Chasen. And she’s got budtending awards, horticultural know-how and business acumen to back up her position as one of the most sought-after cannabis experts in the world. As someone inside the industry, what changes have you noticed since the end of prohibition regarding cannabis’s cultural place? Cannabis is having its cultural moment of fame, and I think that’s great. For so long this plant has been demonized and now people are finally coming around to understanding just how beneficial it can be. However, I do think the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Some people looking to capitalize on the cannabis movement (the CBD movement especially) preach cannabis as a cure-all and that can be dangerous. Cannabis is like any other medicinal plant—it has its benefits and its drawbacks. Yes, it is a relatively safe substance and it has extraordinarily high medicinal potential, however, it is not a cure-all. I believe it needs to be integrated holistically, meaning we should be looking at all aspects of people’s health and lifestyle in order to determine if [and] what kind of cannabis should be used. And choosing to incorporate cannabis should come with thought and a conversation with a well-informed guide. What are the most important aspects of being a good budtender—that well-informed guide for many? Good budtenders need to have a foundational understanding of cannabis science and product knowledge. More than that, budtenders need to be genuinely excited and equipped to engage with people in sometimes vulnerable conversations. A budtending position is not simply “slinging weed.” Budtenders often act as therapists, health care advisors and cannabis guides when helping patients and novice consumers make the choice to integrate cannabis into their lifestyle. Budtenders are oftentimes the only resource for cannabis information because doctors are not well-informed. Budtenders must take great care in the way they talk to customers about cannabis and how they recommend products and dosing. Dispensary management should provide budtenders with the necessary training and education to allow them to excel. This means providing budtenders with ongoing training in cannabis science, product knowledge and high-level customer service that places an emphasis on empathy. Do you find that the power dynamics and gender inequality of the business world at large extend to the cannabis business? Is cannabis, in other words, as a modern and progressive industry, inherently more welcoming to women entrepreneurs, executives, etc.? Power dynamics and gender inequality absolutely happen in the cannabis industry. Cannabis culture has been largely male-driven and continues to be in the legal paradigm. The average number of female CEOs in cannabis is close to the abysmally low national average. However, I am optimistic that we can change that with cannabis. We just have to keep pushing forward and creating more opportunities and infrastructure for women to have access to investment and support. Kristin Murr A cannabis cultivator at Colorado’s AlpinStash, Murr is a Centennial State native and former college hockey player who has firsthand experience as a medical cannabis patient. As injuries stacked up on the rink, so did prescriptions for painkillers, making Murr think she’d never skate again. After beginning treatment with medicinal cannabis, Murr dove into the business and now claims to have found her “true purpose” as a grower. Can you tell me a little bit about how you began to see cannabis as a career option for you? I was of the opinion that it was going to take a lot longer than it did to become legal, but I knew as soon as it did, I wanted to be a part of the movement in some way. My first job in the industry was at a cannabis bakery, and although it was a great experience, I knew it wasn’t the right fit. I’ve always loved plants and playing in the dirt, and gardening came somewhat easily to me. So when I met my now husband Danny Sloat [founder of AlpinStash] and he started to teach me to grow, I fell in love immediately and continue to enjoy caring for our plants. What has to change about the way cannabis is treated in the sports world? Education is the most important part of any movement—only with knowledge can we help people destigmatize cannabis. I ask coaches, trainers and athletes to read the many studies that have been done to show the benefits cannabis provides for injuries, sore muscles and stress levels. CBD creams and oils are highly underestimated and often overlooked because they fall under the broad umbrella of cannabis and are subject to the negative stigma attached to it. AlpinStash is a strictly all-natural operation and a great deal of care is put into each plant. Your bio even notes that you sing to them when the mood strikes. What does this do for the final product? I like to compare it to food: We eat organic and humane food because it aligns with what we believe in, and we choose to put healthy, sustainably grown food in our bodies. Cannabis is no different, and it’s important to use nutrients that are sustainably sourced. There will always be the large companies that are just growing for numbers, with the view that more is better. We, however, pride ourselves on quality over quantity, as people want and need products that are not only a higher quality, but also safe to use. And the product speaks for itself. In a side-by-side comparison of flowers grown with love and organic nutrients next to flowers grown with synthetic nutrients, you visibly see the difference. Bud structure, trichomes and potency are significantly better on the sustainably grown flower than the synthetically grown flower. Not to mention, the side effects that can occur when ingesting a product that was dipped in alcohol or peroxide to rid it of the mold that occurred when grown in an incorrect environment are very dangerous. Do you find the power dynamics and gender inequality of the business world at large extend to the cannabis business? Cannabis is a new blooming industry that has provided new job opportunities for a lot of people. And, as a new industry, it opens the door for women to be in high level positions since it’s not already dominated by men. However, as men have traditionally dominated leadership roles and make more money than women, we still have to fight a bit. I find this to be more true in cultivation. At AlpinStash, we have three women growers and one male. Yet, when in public, most people assume that Danny is who they should direct their growing questions to. I’ve heard this from other women who grow here in Colorado as well. We are few and far between in licensed grows. But as a whole, I have high hopes for women in the industry and the platform it’s created for women to be heard, breaking the long-lasting stereotypes that we’ve been dealing with throughout history. Kate Guptill As the co-founder and vice president of operations and finance at Eco Firma Farms, Kate Guptill is a distinguished presence in the industry. She also has experience as a legal professional within the Oregon Department of Justice and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and is a noted cultivator of cannabis, to boot. As someone inside the industry, what changes have you noticed since the end of prohibition in Oregon regarding cannabis’s cultural place? It’s surprising how fast the stigma of cannabis use is changing. That being said, we are in a bit of a bubble here in Oregon, which has a long, rich history of cannabis use. Culturally, we still have a long way to go—there cannot be a true cultural change until federal prohibition ends and we can all begin to accept the inequality of our prison system and how cannabis “offenders” are continually imprisoned in true cultural inequality. How does your DOJ experience inform your position on federal versus state attitudes toward cannabis? To be honest, it doesn’t. Federal prohibition is antiquated, and I suspect many individuals in the DOJ or DA’s office would agree off the record. That’s the interesting part of watching prohibition end. The old standard of what a “stoner” looks like compared to who an actual cannabis consumer is has been breaking down for a very long time. They are doctors, lawyers, executives, grandparents and teachers. The curtain of fear over the “lazy,” “unmotivated” user is being pulled back and it turns out, it’s just not the case. We will see an end to federal prohibition in the next decade, hopefully sooner than later, and get those resources back where they belong. For example, every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the United States [according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network]. Why are we still assigning resources to cannabis when there is a backlog of rape kits? Do you find that the power dynamics and gender inequality of the business world at large extend to the cannabis business? Honestly, as with most industries, now that real capital is starting to flow in, there is more and more gender inequality becoming apparent. That’s not to say it wasn’t always there, but now it’s more obvious, I suppose. Every week, a new vendor comes through the door and addresses the male in the room. As if to say, as a woman, you’re obviously not the owner or the CEO or the grower. In our company, it’s a great way to find yourself not making a sale of whatever you’re pitching. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but cannabis moves faster than any other business out there since the dot-com boom. This a great opportunity for women not to feel the need to demand equality, but to give the world no choice but to grant it. Don’t be told you can’t. It’s a challenging business to be in, regardless. In these times, if you can build a successful cannabis company as a woman, you can do anything. Stacey Mulvey Before becoming the founder of Marijuasana, which is helping pioneer the niche market of cannabis yoga, Stacey Mulvey was a member of the Mormon church who dissented over their treatment of the LGBTQ community. A veteran instructor of various fitness disciplines, Mulvey started her business to create a synergy of mindfulness, exercise and destigmatization. In your experience as an expert, what does cannabis offer the yogi that a plain practice does not? The section of our brain that processes unconscious emotion into awareness, and also regulates our proprioception (the body’s placement and orientation in space) is the cerebellum. Through the data gathered by our senses, the cerebellum interprets and synchronizes our perception of the external world with our internal, felt one. The cerebellum is where the body’s CB1 receptors are most highly expressed. (CB1 is an element of the endocannabinoid system, and binds equally with anandamide—an endogenous cannabinoid and neurotransmitter—and tetrahydrocannabinol, a phytocannabinoid.) So cannabis literally attunes and synthesizes movement with our emotional and mental state, offering us a chance to explore alternative ways of expressing how we move our body, and how we feel about it as it moves. Something I want everyone to know is that the body’s endocannabinoid system is the physiological basis for the mind-body connection, which is what we are tapping into with mindful practices (according to Uwe Blesching, The Cannabis Health Index). The emotions of well-being and happiness have a chemical basis in a neurotransmitter/endocannabinoid called anandamide, which is a chemical analog to the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol. Since those emotional states, as well as gaining awareness of the state of health in our body, are exactly what we are attempting to engage with and refine when we practice yoga and meditation, it follows that cannabis can offer more immediate access to the mind-body connection. Have you seen a great change in the way cannabis is treated since legalization began? I haven’t seen opinions change as much as I would like because I’ve encountered deep-rooted resistance to cannabis from people of a limited mindset about its benefits. They do not know about or believe the facts that are emerging regarding its health implications or how legalization is positive for the larger society. What is interesting is that the division doesn’t necessarily follow political lines. I’ve met people with liberal leanings that are staunchly opposed because they still give credence to the debunked nonsense the prohibition movement generated, and [I’ve met] conservatives that are in favor because they follow the principle of keeping the government out of the private lives of individuals. Do you find that the power dynamics and gender inequality of the business world at large extend to the cannabis business? Unfortunately, I do not feel that cannabis is inherently more welcoming to women entrepreneurs. There are some that want to glorify the cannabis industry because several women in it have demonstrated amazing leadership and innovation, but I’ve noticed an entrenched “boys’ club,” a legacy from the reflexive misogyny of the tech and financial executives that are just getting into cannabis. I’ve personally seen appalling discrimination against women in the cannabis industry, for no other reason than the employee was female. Misconduct and abuse of power is nothing exceptional as far as the business world goes, but is still very much part of the cannabis industry in my experience. I will say that because of that mentality, and the experience with discrimination and sexism that we bring from other industries, women in cannabis very consciously do our best to welcome and support each other, and to hold the men accountable. There are more lady bosses in cannabis than other older, more traditional industries. I’ve seen more men get called out publicly for sexual misconduct and sexist behavior. It’s a trend I hope will continue, one that will continue to spread to our entire culture. Chrissy Hadar Hadar co-founded Oregrown with her husband as a small grow in 2013 after regulations passed in Oregon allowing for medical marijuana dispensaries. As the company’s senior vice president of retail and branding, she is leading the way out of prohibition by taking the brand global, increasing its retail footprint and brand awareness through initiatives like a clothing line. What changes have you noticed in the way cannabis users are treated or perceived since the end of prohibition in Oregon? Since the legalization of recreational use in Oregon, which we prefer to refer to as “adult use,” we’ve found our customers not only debunk the stereotype of the unmotivated and unemployable “lazy stoner,” but completely squash it. They are young professionals, acclaimed athletes, mothers, fathers, doctors, teachers, lawyers, businessmen and women. They are using cannabis in lieu of the evening cocktail, or exploring it as a holistic alternative to overprescribed and addictive pharmaceuticals that claim to treat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Cannabis use is more widely accepted and embraced as a lifestyle as opposed to something only done behind closed doors. What is Oregrown doing to further the abandoning of that stereotype? At Oregrown, we believe in being an asset to our community. We’ve accomplished this by sponsoring local family friendly festivals and concerts, partnering with our local Humane Society, volunteering for park clean-ups, sponsoring the nonprofits that help maintain our public trail systems, and sponsoring athletes who will ultimately inspire the next generation to live an active and healthy lifestyle. By going out into our community, setting up our booth, selling our clothing line and being available to answer questions, we are giving the locals and tourists of Central Oregon the opportunity to get a taste of Oregrown on their home turf. So, if or when they decide to explore cannabis one day or try a new dispensary, they will think of Oregrown. Do you find that the power dynamics and gender inequality of the business world at large extend to the cannabis business? Is cannabis more welcoming to women entrepreneurs, executives, etc.? I will say that the women I have come across within the industry are some of the strongest, most outspoken, intelligent, independent, motivated, powerful and inspiring women I have ever met. And because of these women, and in light of the fact that the legal cannabis market is so young, we have what some consider a “once in a generation” opportunity to build an emphasis on equality and inclusion into the industry, and set the standard for other industries to live up to. It’s up to us to be the change we want to see in the world. Cliché, but true. At Oregrown, half of our top executives are women. But, the cannabis industry at large is not some utopia exempt from the perils of American corporate greed and the “good ol’ boys’ club” as many would like to claim. I believe there is just as much equality in the cannabis industry as any other burgeoning sector, and more work needs to be done across the board. Content Sourced from Newsweek.

9 months ago

Women are Uniting to Shape the Cannabis Industry

Today’s cannabis can be a balm for almost anything—from cramps to menopause, migraines, and beyond. Humans are meant to live in community, and most women are compelled to connect: any excuse will do to pour one’s heart out over a low-fat latte or a glass of Chardonnay. Downloading about money, men, diets, and depression with friendly femmes has been shown to promote healing. But lately, women are more likely to puff on vapes together than to sip Vouvray. They’re bonding over cannabis: not just for mellowing out, but for getting down to business. The goal can be money or harmonic convergence—because it’s now possible to achieve both simultaneously. “It’s about living a high life, rather than getting high,” says Kate Miller, co-founder/CEO of Miss Grass, an online publication covering modern women in weed. “Cannabis culture weaves into so many aspects of our lives, from health to work, beauty to food. Women are drawn to the emerging cannabis industry because it allows them to launch businesses that combine commerce with caring.” The buzz words of the new cannabis culture are “wellness,” “healing,” and even “beauty”—which altogether spells “big bucks.” CBD products, or cannabidiol, the non-psychotropic anti-inflammatory cannabis compound, is mostly what draws today’s dames: It’s a balm for almost anything female: menstruation cramps, menopause moods, and migraines—even sexual stimulus. One anonymous female cannabis business owner admits she was lured by the sexual side effect. “To me, THC and CBD create the female Viagra, heightening the senses, helping you get into your body.”   “Cannabis culture weaves into so many aspects of our lives, from health to work, beauty to food. Women are drawn to the emerging cannabis industry because it allows them to launch businesses that combine commerce with caring.”—Kate Miller, Miss Grass   And at its root, cannabis is literally female. Olivia Alexander, CEO of Kush Queen—which sells products like lubricant (very popular), bath bombs, topicals, and tinctures—clarifies: “All cannabis we consume is from the female plant; it’s a perfect storm for women, a new industry where women see opportunity. It fits into the current women’s wave: running for office, running companies. Cannabis is a part of that new liberation.” More than 60 percent of the U.S. population now lives in a state with some form of legalized marijuana. Kush Queen’s Olivia Alexander and her company’s bath bombs. Courtesy of Kush Queen The early female pioneers of the movement are the best known—and the most affluent. Dr. Dina, a nickname bestowed by BFF Snoop Dogg, entered the movement in 2003, creating LA’s first medical marijuana dispensary. Mary-Louise Parker’s Nancy Botwin on Showtime’s Weeds was based on Dr. Dina. The Cannabis Business Exchange considers the top women in the biz to be Patricia Rosi—CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, a Portland company with four dispensaries—and Nancy Whiteman, whose Colorado-based Wana Brands has made millions in edible gummies. Kirsti Blustein, who founded wellness brand Khus & Khus, spells out the female obsession with CBD.  “Inflammation makes us age faster. CBD stabilizes the body—it’s an adaptogen (an herbal anti-stress substance), a terpine (oil that contains hydrocarbons). It affects serotonin, which is why it’s the perfect sedative for menstruation and menopause.” Former beauty, fashion, and entertainment media mavens are now reinventing themselves as cannabis growers, editors, writers, publicists, even CEOs. Women’s magazines for cannabis are sprouting up all over. Titles include website Miss Grass, MJ Lifestyle, Broccoli, and Gossamer. LA fashion and entertainment marketing mavens Jenn Gross and Julia Axelrod formed HiFi Exchange a year ago. It’s a collective of marketing, public relations, and retailers the aim to “elevate the cannabis marketplace,” according to the company’s website. HiFi’s Exchange’s showroom representing top-shelf beauty and wellness brands. Theirs is one of the many PR companies heading in a “higher” direction. “Weed was always what boys did,” says Gross. “Boys had bongs in their bedrooms. The big plant and grower operations are still male. Where women come in: as herbalists, midwives, communicators.” HiFi Exchange brand, Papa & Barkley. Courtesy of Papa & Barkley Rosie Mattio created New York based RMPR to work with fashion brands—and now has 17 clients in her all-cannabis shop. “An article in WWD about cannabis beauty made it a beauty trend. Then Elle, Allure, and Vogue picked up on it. It all relates to the women’s movement of the last year: the pink-pussy-hatted, #metoo anti-establishment movement.” Paige Guzman is VP of marketing of PAX Labs, known as the Apple of vaporizer brands. “When medical and recreational legalization took shape, there was an influx of cultured women entrepreneurs,” she says. “Now we’re a real community.” Missy Bradley launched Colorado-based Stillwater Brands, which produces THC- and CBD-infused edibles under brand names such as Ripple Dissolvables, Stillwater Gummy Supplements, and Stillwater Teas & Coffees—all infused with Stillwater’s Ripple precisely dosed, water-soluble cannabinoid distillates. A new avenue for wellness through cannabis is the female cannabis retreat. When Sailene Ossman, co-founder of Ganja Goddess Getaway women’s retreat, was 19, she barely survived a near-fatal car accident, which caused constant pain. “Someone recommended cannabis, and I never used another pain killer,” she says. Ganja Goddess Getaway is a members-only social club with retreats that focus on using cannabis as a creative and spiritual tool to promote sisterhood and self-love. Ossman says, “Ganja Goddess is a three-day all-inclusive getaway: We like joints instead of wine. It’s empowering to help us connect to better selves.” Products from Bluebird805. Bluebird805 Sara Rotman was considered a New York fashion guru. But when she experienced renal failure, she and her husband bought a farm in Santa Barbara. “I was never a cannabis user,” Rotman says. “But CBD worked. So we said, ‘fuck it,’ let’s grow our own medicine. We now have six licenses and create product for our brand Bluebird 805, with love.” Jenae Alt, a producer actress and self-described “badass” has recently created perhaps the most desirable of all female-directed cannabis products: a strain of flower that eschews compulsive junk food craving. “One day I thought: ‘Why do we have to have the munchies?’ That’s when Skinny Weed came to life.” Dieters, take heart: It launches at the Sundance Film Festival at the end of January. “This is the green rush for women,” proclaims Alt. “Women are nurturers at heart, bringing love, peace, and harmony to the cannabis world. This makes us as women feel proud—we’re taking care of ourselves.” Content sourced by Robb Report. 

9 months ago

Can Sustainable Cannabis Production Increase Profits?

The legal cannabis industry in the U.S. may grow to $50 billion by 2026, expanding to more than eight times its current size. In the recent midterm elections, Michigan joined nine other states and Washington, D.C. in legalizing recreational marijuana. Utah and Missouri joined the 22 states that already approved access to medical marijuana. Nationally, support for marijuana legalization is stronger than ever—62 percent of Americans say marijuana should be legalized. This is great news for the cannabis industry and its investors, but is it good news for the environment? Growing cannabis for commercial production is associated with some pretty significant environmental impacts. Cannabis is often grown indoors, requiring extensive use of grow lights and equipment powered by the electricity grid. In the U.S., 1 percent of all energy usage is attributed to indoor cannabis growing, and 4,600 kilograms of carbon is released into the atmosphere for every kilogram of marijuana produced. In California, indoor cannabis production represents 3 percent of energy usage, more than is produced in the Hoover Dam. A 2016 report from New Frontier found that marijuana is the “most energy intensive agricultural crop produced in the U.S.” A report earlier this yearfrom Colorado Public Radio showed that Denver’s marijuana industry accounts for nearly 4 percent of the city’s total electricity use. Focus on energy efficiency Regulatory requirements and an illegal growing mentality has led farmers to simply scale the indoor growth approach. But is there a better way? An increasing number of growers and cannabis companies are finding that they can reduce overhead and increase profits by making cannabis production more sustainable. “You can’t downplay how much of an impact energy efficiency has and energy costs have for cannabis producers. It’s a significant factor,” John Downs of cannabis investing firm The Arcview Group told Big Buds, a website for marijuana growers. Energy-related costs can account for as much as 50 percent of what it takes financially to run an indoor grow, according to the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. Canada’s Green Organic Dutchman, a research and development company for medical marijuana, struck a deal with a local energy provider and was able to reduce its energy expenses from the average 13 cents per kilowatt-hour to around 4 cents. That reduction in operating costs made the brand significantly more competitive in the cannabis market, Big Buds reported.   Taking advantage of incentive programs Some indoor cannabis growers are taking advantage of incentive programs to stem their production costs. An Oregon company called Deschutes Growery created a method of growing recreational marijuana indoors that’s rooted in energy efficiency, thanks in part to sustainable growing techniques the company developed over time and the energy-saving incentives it sought from the Energy Trust of Oregon. Deschutes developed its own system of movable racks, LED lights, and programmable monitors to multiply growing space, cut utility costs and reduce the time its plants take to flower. The company mixes and recycles its own growing medium and uses biological pest control, including nematodes, predatory mites and natural oils, rather than chemical pesticides. The company, which claims to be the first solar-powered indoor cannabis farm in the state, set a goal to become carbon-neutral—offsetting the energy it consumes with conservation measures—in three years. State-of-the-art growers are also using machine learning technology to determine the minimum amount of light needed to produce the largest yields. Smart-sensor systems can measure how much light each plant receives to help fine-tune lighting arrangements.   Tackling high water usage Cannabis is also a high water-use plant—each plant consumes up to 23 liters of water per day. A company called GrowX found a way to conserve water by using a system called “aeroponics,” in which the marijuana plant is suspended by its roots in a moist environment. Water vapor keeps the plant hydrated. Not only does aeroponics require 95 percent less water than outdoor farming and 40 percent less water than indoor hydroponic farms, GrowX claims it can yield 300 percent more product than traditional yields. Another firm, Aquatonix, uses a water treatment device to increase water absorption in cannabis, leading to an increase in the photosynthetic efficiency and crop yield while minimizing environmental impact. In recent trials in Humboldt County, California, growers using Aqutonix increased cannabis yield by 43 percent while decreasing their water usage.   Outdoor growing has its challenges Outdoor growing has its own set of environmental impacts. A study from Ithaca College found that planting cannabis in remote locations for commercial production is creating forest fragmentation, stream modification, soil erosion and landslides. Without land-use policies to limit its environmental footprint, the impacts of cannabis farming could get worse. “Cannabis leaves a small spatial footprint but has potentially significant environmental impacts,” said co-author Jake Brenner, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Ithaca College. “To mitigate these impacts, policymakers and planners need to enact specific environmental and land-use regulations to control cannabis crop expansion during this early stage in its development.”   Pesticide use another concern Use of pesticides in marijuana growing also has environmental advocates worried. “Until California gets serious about making clean water and our environment a priority over legalizing marijuana, pesticides will continue to be abused by growers regardless of the impact they have on our resources,” Stephen Frick, assistant special agent in charge of the Forest Service in California, told The Independent. Frick said the state does not have the capability to monitor and enforce illegal chemical usage associated with the increased cultivation of cannabis. Bodē Loebel, the founder of Bodē Wellness, a Colorado company that makes topicals and extracts infused with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychotropic cannabinoid compound derived from the hemp plant, told TriplePundit he would like to see statewide legislation that prohibits use of pesticides in growing cannabis. Hemp is grown from the same plant genus, cannabis, but has only trace amounts (less than 0.3 percent), of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. Hemp, Loebel said, is “inherently sustainable. Growing hemp is an outdoor venture, grown without any need for pesticides.” Investing now to weather the market Making investments in more sustainable production is smart business, said Derek Smith, executive director of the Resource Innovation Institute, an organization that promotes sustainable practices in the cannabis industry. Energy, in the form of electricity and natural gas, ranks behind labor as an indoor grower’s greatest expense, he explained, and producers could be in a much better financial position going forward if they prioritized energy efficiency. “To me, that is the holy grail of sustainability—when the economics of the investment start to make sense,” Loebel said. While a number of companies are seizing advantages with sustainable production, and new solutions are coming on the market, many cannabis producers don’t seem concerned enough about energy use. Maximizing production now at the expense of the environment could end up being a short-sighted approach, experts say. One sign of that is the market. While cannabis stocks have shown unprecedented growth over the past year, some analysts are calling the market over-hyped and warning that the boom could soon be over. Making efficiency improvements should help cannabis companies in it for the long haul to weather upheavals in the market and continue to deliver to the ever-growing American appetite for cannabis. Content Sourced from Triple Pundit.

9 months ago

How Yerba Buena Hopes to Change the Cannabis Industry

Sustainability and quality standards led award-winning Yerba Buena to an acquisition by Stem Holdings, vaulting the Oregon company into the upper echelons of a business world it hopes to change. Photos by Jake Gravbrot For most cultivators, surviving in the cannabis industry is no simple task. Surviving in the cannabis market while promoting sustainable and organic practices is even less so. And surviving in the Oregon market that features razor-thin and still-shrinking margins while promoting better cultivation practices? That’s a test of mettle. But Laura Day and her Yerba Buena team have no interest doing things the easy way if they aren’t also the right way. And the group can hustle. In addition to being Day's pride and joy, her “baby,” Yerba Buena is one of Oregon’s premier craft cannabis businesses. Day and her team grew the 11,000-square-foot mixed-use operation (split between 7,000 square feet of indoor canopy and a 4,000-square-foot outdoor farm) from a small, local medical enterprise to an award-winning business and a target of a large acquisition deal—all in five years. This accelerated timeline is a result of Day holding herself, the company and those around her to a higher standard. “In every industry, you're going to have a whole spectrum of practices,” Day says. “We're really interested in creating a product that is produced in a sustainable way.” Sustainability is a big item at Yerba. For the Oregon company, sustainability means following proper organic cultivation practices and operating with better business standards. “I mean, the name of our brand is Yerba Buena,” Day says, which she explains translates (phonetically) to “good herb” from Spanish. “Goodness is part of our name,” she adds. Good intent, good practices, good results, they all tie in together. A Yerba Buena trimmer. Trimmers measure the time it takes tocomplete a batch as part of the company’s data collection practices. Once Bitten, Twice Certified As a former dispensary manager in Arizona, Day understands the value of third-party certification in the cannabis industry. In her time making purchases for the medical dispensary in The Grand Canyon State, she would come across growers who made claims about cannabinoid content or having organic products. But when Day had the product tested, many results would show otherwise. “Without a third-party certification, you're going off of a grower's claim,” Day says. Yerba Buena doesn’t just talk the sustainability and organic talk—the company walks the certification walk. Yerba is both Clean Green Certified and Certified Kind. While both indicate that the product was manufactured with sound environmental practices, the Clean Green certification highlights Yerba’s organic cultivation methods (federal law prohibits cannabis from being certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture), while being Certified Kind indicates that Yerba Buena’s business practices are Earth-friendly as well as organically grown. “For example, inputs such as bat guano can be sourced from very sensitive populations of bats,” Day says. “And obviously, we want all of our inputs to be sourced in a way that doesn't damage the environment or put pressures on species.” In addition to adopting best production practices recommended by these groups, Yerba Buena is a founding member of the Resource Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization advancing resource efficiency in the cannabis industry. Day also serves as the vice president of the Cannabis Certification Council (CCC), a non-profit group “focused on education to help drive demand for transparency, clean, and sustainable production in the cannabis industry,” according to the organization’s website. Untrimmed Purple Punch bud “We want to educate consumers as far as which certifications they find align with their values. There are a lot of different certifications and each have different standards,” Day says of her work with the CCC. “Just because a product is OMRI [Organic Materials Review Institute]-listed or organic doesn't necessarily mean that it's healthy for human consumption.” Another benefit of working with third-party certification groups is that some of those groups also vet product suppliers, which Day says helps Yerba make better decisions when it comes to selecting vendors and suppliers. “Hearing from the folks that have relationships with the manufacturers of these products … has helped us make more informed decisions as far as which [manufacturers] have good business practices and actually care about the inputs that they're using in their formulations, and those … that are just trying to skate by to get that OMRI-listing so that they can qualify as an organic input,” she says.   Sustainably Grown A fellow Arizona cannabis market veteran, Derek Rayhorn, Yerba Buena’s lead cultivator, says adopting those organic standards and learning how to be more Earth-conscious was an interesting challenge. He describes Arizona as a market where “there [are] not as many regulations, the market doesn't care as much about organic flower, they just want something on the shelf.” Oregon’s market, however, “demands a high quality, and people are way more concerned about what they put in their body. So switching to an organic program … was definitely a learning curve.” Instead of pesticides, Yerba Buena relies on beneficial insects, such as predatory mites and other biologicals, and on tight control over the cultivation environment to prevent pest and disease outbreaks. The company’s environmental control system (ECS) alerts staff via text message of any spikes or drops in temperature or humidity. Other than the ECS and the irrigation system, Yerba Buena is a relatively low-tech operation when it comes to cultivation. Compost feedings are done manually by the company’s eight-member grow staff (along with a light watering because “we find that our plants here like to be hand-watered with the compost,” Rayhorn says). Part of the reason for that low-tech approach, Rayhorn says, is because humans “have developed a very important relationship with cannabis plants in the thousands of years that we’ve been using them, so we like to have hands on the plants.” The other reason is logistical: Rayhorn and his team can be interacting with 15 or 20 different cultivars in each room, and each plant might be going through its own growth patterns. “Pushing a button and having an [injector system] pull the nutrients out of tanks would be great,” Rayhorn admits, “but we really try to specifically target our plants’ needs, and it takes people to do it,” and with more than 100 cultivars on the roster, the cultivation team needs “people with a good eye, too.” That personal touch goes beyond daily plant scouting. For example, Rayhorn noticed that plants would show signs of stress if they were moved from veg to flower immediately after being transplanted from 1-gallon pots to 5-gallon pots with a blooming soil containing phosphorous. Instead of having crops go through all these stressors at once, Yerba places recently re-potted plants back into the vegetation room for a short while before making their transition into flowering. “We find that the plants are a lot happier and healthier when they can go back in their old room, hang out for a week or more, and then go into the bloom room,” Rayhorn says. Without daily inspection and care, it's easy to overlook signs of stress. The lack of labor-savings that comes with automation and the added expenses of adhering to organic and sustainable practices certainly increase cultivation costs, but “the Oregon market demands a really high-quality product, and organic matters to people now more than ever, which is a good thing,” Rayhorn says. A switch to LED lights in its vegetation rooms in 2017 did allow Yerba Buena to save more than $22,000 per year on its utility bill. The company was able to replace each 59-watt T5 lamp with 28-watt tubular LEDs, representing annual energy savings of more than 258,600 kilowatt hours, according to a report from the Energy Trust of Oregon. The transition to LEDs was much smoother for Rayhorn than adapting to organic practices: Yerba found “LED bulbs that fit directly into our normal T5 fixtures, so all we had to do was take the fluorescent [bulbs] out that came with the lights,” he says. The project cost $29,900, according to the Energy Trust report, but it noted that “Yerba Buena received a $15,000 cash incentive from Energy Trust, bringing the company’s payback to approximately nine months.” Today, Rayhorn is testing LEDs in Yerba’s flower room, one from BIOS, and the other from OSRAM, “and we're having really good luck with both of them,” he says. “So I would guess it's just a short matter of time, and capital, before we convert all of our HPS lights to LEDs.” A rooting seedling. After rooting, seedlings move into 1-gallon pots during veg and 5-gallon pots during flowering. Data Deep-Dive Being handcuffed by the necessary expenses of its cultivation practices forces Yerba Buena to get savvy with its cost-cutting efforts. So to find more efficiencies and ensure the company is getting everything out of its crop, the company hired a full-time data analyst. Mary-Jane Brooks explains that her role as data analyst consists of “understanding the operations and the systems … and then translating that into collecting the information in a way that will help us learn and give us a strategic advantage in our operations and our strategy.” Typically, Brooks works on analyzing the hundreds of data points that Yerba collects from quantitative data–such as a plant's feeding at any specific point in its life-cycle–to qualitative data, like the post-harvest team’s evaluations of a cultivar’s handling ease (i.e., its stickiness), test results and sales data. She then presents her findings and reports to management so they can make better-informed decisions. Collecting data like humidity, temperature, lighting quality and photoperiod is easy. (Most ECSs have built-in data-tracking tools to map out environmental data.) The challenge comes when trying to track points that require manual measurements that must feed into Yerba’s proprietary data analysis system, like the plants’ height when they go into bloom and their height when they come out of bloom. So Brooks developed a desktop app that acts as a digital log for the cultivation team. Instead of writing notes and comments in a printed harvest planner, staff log into the app and note their readings on the computer. Those notes automatically get transferred into the data-analysis system, giving Brooks daily updates on any given plant, bed or room. The cultivation room data, combined with third-party potency testing results, tells Brooks whether a particular room, bed or cultivar is under-performing according to company standards. Target yields at Yerba vary by cultivar. Generally, the company aims for a per-plant yield of 50 percent market-ready flower, 25 percent of “littles” (smaller, less aesthetically appealing buds), and 25 percent by-products (stems, leaves) for extraction. “We don't have a processing unit. We're selling by-product to a processor, and we don't get nearly as much income for that compared to flower,” Brooks says. “So with our business setup, we want to produce more flower. For each plant, our goal is to have a greater proportion of flower versus by-product material.” Data collection extends beyond cultivation and into the post-harvest processes. Post-harvest team members can select different tasks on a smartphone app that times how long it takes to complete. Trimmers, for example, sign into the app, select the trimming task, and a timer automatically calculates how much time is spent trimming a particular batch or cultivar. That information then is uploaded to the data-analysis tool. This insight allows Brooks to analyze labor costs for each product, as well as monitor staff efficiencies–for example, if a “trimmer is just having a hard time and needs to get a little more training,” she says. Likewise, if the entire trimming team is getting bogged down by a particularly sticky cultivar, then Brooks can also spot that inefficiency and recommend the variety be removed from the company’s roster, as it can't be processed fast enough. Having everything digitized instead of evaluated on paper also grants Brooks instant insight to catch mistakes before they become an issue. For example, if a trimmer has a typo in the “flower weight” column, the app will notice that the total weight is not the same as the starting weight and will flag the error for the trimmer to fix. If staff work on paper, it might take three weeks for another staff member to notice an error, at which point it’s too late to correct, Brooks says.   Right, Not Easy One might think that working in a closely monitored environment would be off-putting, but Yerba’s staff understands the data tracking exists to help them, not to punish or micromanage them. In fact, the entire business is there to help them. “It's one of the best jobs I've ever had,” says Amy Zents, a cultivation specialist at Yerba. “It's great to be able to come to work and know that the entire company has got your back and is going to support you in what you need … to grow the finest cannabis that you can.” Don’t take the staff’s word for it: Oregon Business Journal listed Yerba Buena in its 2019 “100 Best Companies to Work For” rankings. (That’s across all industries, not only cannabis.) The company earned that ranking because it does things differently than most other businesses. For starters, Yerba pays every employee a living wage—the average salary is $50,612—and covers 100 percent of its staff’s health insurance premiums, which includes coverage for chiropractic and holistic services. “We do a lot to support our employees and create an excellent workplace,” Day says. The premium on personnel has been with Yerba since its founding. “We knew that we needed the best and the brightest within the industry and those from other industries that could adapt and innovate in the cannabis industry,” says Yerba Buena’s co-founder and general manager Preston Greene. “We knew we wouldn’t be able to make it without people. You can have a great facility, great cultivars, but without people to get you through, you’re never going to make it.” And the people Yerba hires represent the population it serves: half of Yerba’s staff is female, and nearly every minority group (LGBTQ+, racial, religious, etc.) is represented in the company. To help ensure diversity and that employee issues are appropriately handled, the staff created a Diversity Committee. “We wanted to have a smaller team within our larger team that was representing the interest of employees and the tenets to live by, whether that’s treating people kindly, being direct with people, not talking about people behind their backs,” Greene says. Those staff-developed tenets now are part of Yerba Buena’s employee handbook and employment agreements. “These are things that people are evaluated on in their performance reviews,” notes Yerba’s GM. Yerba Buena also offers employees the opportunity to take paid days to volunteer at a charitable or community organization, and most employees participate. For example, Zents and the Yerba team helped clean public parks, picked up “a ridiculous amount” of cigarette butts off the side of a state highway and ripped invasive vines from a hillside at Jenkins Estate. The company’s drive to use best practices in cultivation and business “makes you want to share those values with the larger community,” Zents says. Additional evidence of Yerba Buena's dedication to sustainability and best practices are the company’s back-to-back top-10 rankings in the “100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon” list by Oregon Business Weekly (9th in 2017, 6th in 2018), which ranks employer dedication to sustainable practices. That said, those better business practices do “come at a price, and it does increase our overhead,” Day says. “But the last thing we would cut are those special practices that make us who we are.” Paying a living wage has drawbacks besides cutting into margins: It also means that Yerba Buena cannot hire as many staffers as companies that pay close to minimum wage. That said, “We prefer to have fewer employees that are paid more, that have greater professional development support from our company so that we end up with some of the greatest talent in the industry,” Day says. “And I think we’ve been successful in that goal.” Teresa Large. Staff members interact with plants every day as part of the company’s hands-on cultivation approach. A Good Stem Many, if not most, investors looking for deals in a saturated market would see thinning margins and more substantial overhead as a sign that a business is doomed. But Yerba Buena was able to show investors that its business model is viable. Its detailed data-collection and business-intelligence practices, efforts to become more efficient, its ability to sell a premium product in a saturated market while staying sustainable, and the multiple awards the company won for its workplace granted the company its pick of investment offers. “We were seeking a group that shared and supported our values of sustainability, organic cultivation practices and creating exemplary workplaces,” Day says of Yerba Buena’s evaluation criteria. After lengthy deliberations, Stem Holdings—a cannabis acquisition and property leasing company whose portfolio includes TJ’s Gardens, Cannavore, and incredibles, among other cannabis brands—was the right fit to acquire Yerba Buena. “Stem immediately recognized the unique value of Yerba Buena’s outstanding human talent, a bottleneck in our industry. Our team instantly clicked with Stem’s leadership, and their entrepreneurial mindset and experience with scaling businesses made this a perfect match,” Day says. “We got very lucky with this partnership.” For Greene, the selling factor was Stem’s ability to listen. “When we sat down with Stem, they listened, asked intelligent questions and had the most exhaustive due diligence process of any of our suitors. They were the kind of people we wanted to work with because they were looking underneath the hood.” The Oregon company underwent a three-month audit during which accountants pored through its financial records and SOPs. Stem Holdings and Yerba Buena finally agreed to terms on an acquisition deal on Oct. 9, 2018, through which Yerba Buena joins Stem Holdings’ roster of cannabis businesses. Under the agreement terms, Stem will acquire from Yerba Buena all the assets comprising Yerba Buena's business and assume the related liabilities. The consideration to be paid by Stem includes: (i) US$350,000 in cash payable on closing; (ii) a US$400,000 non-negotiable promissory note (iii) US$3.86 million in common share of Stem, according to a press release on the deal. (The acquisition will be final on Feb. 1, pending OLCC approval, Greene says. For more details on this transaction, visit: bit.ly/stem-yerba-buena.) The new company structure is still fresh and changes are still underway—not the least of which is team members taking on new roles within Stem Holdings. Among other changes, the agreement calls for Greene to take on executive vice president responsibilities for all of Stem’s brands, while Day is moving away from her position as director of operations at Yerba Buena to assuming the “responsibilities of evaluating and informing operational efficiencies across Stem’s strong portfolio of brands as we scale into new markets,” she says. In other words, she gets to bring her brand of business to a broader audience. Day doesn’t see her transition away from the day-to-day at Yerba Buena as something to lament. Instead, she sees the good that she gets to bring to the world in her new position. “I see this merger as an opportunity to continue setting standards of exemplary business practices and progressive values in the cannabis space,” she says. And if Day has her way, consumers will be saying: Bring on the Good Herb. Content sourced by Cannabis Business Times. 

9 months ago

Know Your Grower with TKO Reserve

How did you first get started in the cannabis industry? In 2010, I moved to Seattle for art school and had no idea I would be engulfed into the MMJ community. It was an amazing time for medical cannabis in Seattle - the community was really tight-knit, supportive and growing fast. My boyfriend (now husband) and I were growing in our basement in Beacon Hill, I was taking a lot of photos of the process when I met the founders of Dope Magazine right after the launch of their first issue. I ended up becoming their lead photographer for five years and got to know the industry really well inside and out. At the same time, we were evolving and expanding TKO Reserve as a medical grow.   We know the cannabis industry to be particularly progressive towards female entrepreneurs. About a quarter of all legal cannabis businesses are owned or founded by women. How has this impacted you personally and as a businesswoman?  It’s been a very empowering experience. I started in this industry when I was 18, so I was pretty young and still figuring out my big-picture life goals. I couldn’t have asked for a better learning experience about myself, business and the world as a whole. After the obstacles and challenges that I’ve been through pioneering in a nascent industry, I feel like I can take on anything!      What’s your favorite strain? What are you most looking forward to in the next year with TKO?  Oomph, such a hard decision! There are so many incredible strains out there but I have to say my favorite of 2018 has been one that we bred with Alaina of Green Fire Genetics that we named Unicorn Piss. It’s a combination of one of our old-school Cat Piss cuts that has been a staple in our garden for years, crossed with Alaina’s Zkittlez x ZOZ. It’s a perfect harmony of old school / new school genetics. We are working on a lot of big projects for 2019 and we’re getting amped up to take on the big players as a craft brand. We’re working on launching new products at the beginning of 2019 as well as brand refinement to continue staying ahead of the pack. Our CBD venture is also very exciting as we are not limited by state borders – we’re rolling out our CBD pre-rolls globally as we speak! It’s a very exciting time in cannabis and we’re lucky to be apart of it.   What's special about your growing process? Everyone has their special sauce when it comes to growing. We work hard to minimize our footprint and keep a closed loop system. We’ve rescued over a dozen farm animals and use their waste as nutrient-dense inputs. For pest management, we use predator insects and try really hard to create an ecosystem inside our grow rooms as opposed to a “sterile” room. And while it may sound cheesy, true love and appreciation for the plant will get you really far. We’re not in this for the money, we’re in it for the movement and the healing; I swear the plants feel that and mimic your energy.     Tell us what clean cannabis mean to you. I think conducting thorough research on where your inputs are coming from is extremely important. Even “organic” inputs, if bought from a store or OMRI certified, shouldn’t be blindly trusted to be fully organic. Going as close to the source as possible ensures that you truly are sourcing conscious ingredients. Those thoughts in general define Conscious Cannabis to me: actually caring about your environmental impact, working on off-setting any unsustainable practices, and constantly giving back to the ecosystem that is supporting you.   Browse TKO Reserve's full menu and profile here. 

9 months ago

You Have to See These Bizarre Cannabis Strains

Like all plants, cannabis comes in all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, strains will exhibit differences in resin production, coloration, stature, and shape. Other times, cannabis will express itself with features you’ve probably never seen firsthand. Below are five of the most unique and unusual genetic traits found in cannabis plants from all around the world. Whether by genetic mutation, environment, or factors unknown, these cannabis oddities are sure to stand out in any cannabis garden. Albino Cannabis Albinism is a rare genetic mutation that occurs in humans, animals, and plants such as cannabis. An albino plant is one that grows with the complete or partial absence of chlorophyll pigmentation, causing the plant to appear lighter or white in color. The plants must contain some chlorophyll to perform photosynthesis (the process by which plants covert light energy into food), so albino plants may never make it to maturity before dying.   Dr. Grinspoon The spindly strain called Dr. Grinspoon was dedicated to the longtime cannabis advocate and professor at Harvard, Dr. Lester Grinspoon. In the early 60s, Dr. Grinspoon condemned the use of cannabis as its popularity grew, but came to endorse it after studying the plant. He found that the information that was being shared to the public was not supported by his research and felt that the public was being strongly misled. This strain is a pure sativa heirloom that typically invites creativity, energy, and cerebral activity. Bred by Barneys Farm in Amsterdam, it grows with a bizarre stature: Instead of developing bud sites at the nodes of the branches, Dr. Grinspoon grows small buds that decorate the plant like berries on a holly plant. Because of its unconventional appearance, this strain is also a solid choice for growers seeking subtlety in their garden. Dr. Grinspoon is not a high yielding strain and has a 14-week flowering period, making it an unpopular strain among commercial growers. But novelty-seeking cultivators raising this potent sativa will be rewarded with a truly unique product.   Polyploid Cannabis Polyploidy occurs in plants that contain more than two sets of chromosomes in their genetic makeup. While most cannabis plants are simply diploid (two sets of chromosomes), many growers find that polyploid cannabis plants produce larger flowers with resilience to disease and pests. While this mutation in animals is often destructive, it is generally successful in plants. Many flowering plants have picked up extra chromosomes, and this mutation has often helped them become adaptive and resilient. Buddha Seeds from Spain has been exploring polyploidy for a number of years now with the goal of producing more potent, high-yielding strains. The mutation is difficult to work with and difficult to clone, making polyploid cannabis plants few and far between.   Frisian Duck  Frisian Duck, a cross between Frisian Dew and Ducksfoot, was bred by Dutch Passion out of Amsterdam. While Frisian Dew was produced as a high-yielding outdoor strain, “Ducksfoot” is a unique mutation that results in oddly shaped cannabis leaves. This cross holds on to the Ducksfoot leaf pattern while producing beautiful deep purple buds that are compact with spicy notes of citrus and pine. A targeted benefit of Frisian Duck is stealth. With leaves that look nothing like a normal cannabis plant, Frisian Duck became a great strain for growers seeking to raise cannabis incognito.   Black Haze It’s not unusual to see vibrant or dark shades of purple in cannabis, but some strains achieve hues so distinct, you’ll likely never forget them. Black Haze is one of those strains, and as the name suggests, it oftentimes produces flowers that are near-black in color. Produced by Exotic Seed in Europe, this strain is an autoflowering variety that crosses Sir Jack x Skunk Auto and Pakistani Chitral Kush. Other strains that sometimes express unusually dark hues include Black Lemon, Black Domina, Black Dahlia, and Black Diesel. Cannabis may also uniquely express blue, pink, and red coloration.   Pinkman Goo Pinkman Goo is a strain developed by Twompson Prater of Cali Crop Doc. Discovered while growing a few unidentified seeds found by his sister, Pinkman Goo was named after observing little balls of goo secreted by the buds 3-4 weeks into flowering. It’s up for debate how the goo balls are created, but one theory hypothesizes that they result from nighttime “respiration” after the plant’s stomata close. Have you come across any unusual cannabis strains? Tell us about them, or better yet, post a photo of them in the comments section below. Content Sourced from Leafly.

9 months ago

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Try Eating Raw Cannabis

Consuming “raw, natural medical cannabis flower” is associated with “significant improvements” in insomnia patients, finds a new study published by the open access journal Medicines.   For the study 409 people with a specified condition of insomnia completed 1056 medical cannabis administration sessions using the Releaf AppTM educational software during which they recorded real-time ratings of “self-perceived insomnia severity levels prior to and following consumption, experienced side effects, and product characteristics, including combustion method, cannabis subtypes, and/or major cannabinoid contents of cannabis consumed.” Within-user effects of different flower characteristics were modeled using “a fixed effects panel regression approach with standard errors clustered at the user level.” Researchers found that “Releaf AppTM users showed an average symptom severity reduction of -4.5 points on a 0⁻10 point visual analogue scale.” Use of pipes and vaporizers was associated with “greater symptom relief and more positive and context-specific side effects as compared to the use of joints, while vaporization was also associated with lower negative effects.” Cannabidiol (CBD) “was associated with greater statistically significant symptom relief than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the cannabinoid levels generally were not associated with differential side effects.” The study concludes; “Consumption of medical Cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia with differential effectiveness and side effect profiles, depending on the product characteristics.” For the full study, click here. Content Sourced from The Joint Blog.

9 months ago

Cannabis Could Be The Most Profitable Ingredient In Skincare

Lord Jones co-founder Cindy Capobianco describes her luxury cannabis-infused product business in much the same manner as any maker of a prestige natural skincare brand: it's made in small batches, organic ingredients, medicinal value of said ingredients. With a body lotion and face products slated for release later this year, Lord Jones is trying to be a prestige natural skincare brand. One major difference: Lord Jones employs a team of lawyers to ensure they don’t have to tussle with the DEA over a moisturizer.Though cannabis is more mainstream than ever, with 29 states and Washington, D.C., having legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, the fact that it's still classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drugmeans companies like Lord Jones are racking up legal fees as they attempt to navigate the grey area of selling cannabis-based skincare products. Cannabis has at least 80 different cannabinoids, a group of active compounds that give the plant its medical and psychoactive properties. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) might be the best-known cannabinoid, for creating the “high” effect, but non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) tends to be the star in cannabis-based skincare. Hemp-derived CBD has been touted in several medical studies as having a myriad of health benefits ranging from treating psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and eczema to minimizing seizures, stress, and insomnia. According to research firm Brightfield Group, the rapidly growing CBD market hit $170 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $1 billion within the next three years. Capobianco and her husband, Robert Rosenheck, originally co-founded the Los Angeles-based Lord Jones as a producer of artisan cannabis edibles, as a response to the void in the market for upscale edibles with precise dosage. “Nothing was labeled. A cookie would be packaged in a giant plastic bag stapled shut,” says Capobianco. “We saw the opportunity to normalize, to create products made from the best ingredients. We wanted to deliver a consistent experience every time.” The brand has been very savvy and strategic when it’s come to collaborations. Early in 2017, the company joined forces with Icelandic group Sigur Rós to release Sigurberry High-CBD Gumdrops. The company celebrated by hosting a song bath in Los Angeles where the group performed. They have also done events with Equinox and will open a boutique in the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, where they will offer their own products as well as a curated collection of cannabis items. It will be the first weed-centric retail location in a hotel in this country.   When Lord Jones first got into topicals, they produced a body lotion that had a combination of THC and CBD that could be sold only in medical marijuana dispensaries. Last year they launched a CBD-rich body lotion derived from industrial hemp, hailed by celebrities like Olivia Wilde and Mandy Moore and sold nationwide in specialty shops and via their website. “We were skeptical at first if a hemp-derived CBD extract would be effective without the THC,” says Capobianco. “We are the best guinea pigs we know and we found that it [CBD extract] really worked for our own injuries so we came out with our CBD-only lotion.” Though marketed to ease sore muscles, Capobianco found that customers were applying the organic cream to rashes, dry patches, prior to Botox to prevent swelling and bruising, and to treat other skin ailments. “We call it grandmother research – documenting our customers’ experience to learn the various benefits.” Though Capobianco pokes fun at her “grandmother” research, due to current federal regulations she doesn’t have much of a choice, and neither do the top researchers in our country. Robert Dellavalle, M.D., Ph.D., MSPH, Professor of Dermatology and Public Health at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health was one of the authors of an April 2017 Journal of the American Academy Dermatology paper, a survey of all the literature on the potential for cannabinoids on humans and animals titled “The role of cannabinoids in dermatology.” Devalle and his peers have taken a similar approach to Capobianco. “We don’t have rigorous studies so we’ve started a registry of patients to see what they are using and if they think its working.” They don’t have rigorous studies because of the intense government scrutiny. “The problem is the US federal government. We are going to see other countries like Israel and Canada take the lead if we continue to have these regulatory hurdles.” Danny Zlatnik, an attorney at Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty in Santa Rosa, CA, specializing in California cannabis law doesn’t see those regulatory hurdles going away anytime soon under the current administration. “Jeff Sessions is certainly not a friend of cannabis. As long as he is the Attorney General, drug warriors will have a willing commander should the Trump administration decide to take on cannabis.” Many of the cannabis-focused brands feel held back by the current environment. “Our business would be in a different league right now if there wasn’t so much grey area,” says Steven Saxton, CEO of Green Gorilla, a Los Angeles-based company producing cannabis oils and lip balms, with face creams and muscle rubs slated for release later this year. “Our business saw 500% growth from the year before but it would have been up 10000% if it wasn’t for all the government regulation.” So how do cannabis-based skincare companies ensure they are compliant in this uncertain environment? Though regulation varies state by state, "If the company intends to ship nationally their products must not contain any THC and must be made from the parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant that are not considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act 'CSA'—namely, the mature stalks of Cannabis plant," according to Zlatnik. One way to attempt this is by using industrial hemp, which is derived from non-psychoactive varieties of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, whose mature stalks and seed oil are not included in the CSA’s definition of marijuana. Companies have gone so far to ensure compliance they manufacture THC and CBD products in separate states. Denver Colorado’s CBx Sciences are building an entirely new facility in a different state (the company declined to disclose the location) to manufacture the non-THC products. Both the THC-derived and non-THC-derived products from CBx Sciences include not only CBD but also other cannabis compounds such as CBN and CBG. “When we developed the topicals for CBx Sciences we wanted to make sure we were creating collaborative medicine,” says Graham Sorkin, Director of Communications for the company. “We saw that some brands were throwing cannabis in whatever they wanted and still getting remarkable results. We knew we could go beyond that.” Noel Palmer, PhD, Chief Scientist for CBx Sciences, led the development of the product line. In his work, he isolated and utilized non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and CBG and combined them with complementary essential oils, botanical extracts, and terpenes to create the skincare line. The company expects their non-THC line to be shipping nationwide around Q2 of this year.   While most CBD-based skincare products are currently only  sold online and in small specialty stores, that is about to change. A Sephora executive who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the beauty giant has plans to launch at least one CBD-based skincare brand this year. Sephora declined to comment for this story, “unfortunately Sephora is not in a position to comment as plans for 2018 are not yet firm,” their publicist stated via email. Credo Beauty, often referred to as the Sephora of clean beauty, partly because the company’s late founder, Shashi Batra, was a key player in bringing Sephora to the U.S. will start carrying Vertly, their first cannabis skincare brand, online and in their seven stores nationwide by the end of the month. “A new brand we are particularly excited about is Vertly,” says Annie Jackson, Chief Operating Officer of Credo. “They are formulating beautiful lip balms with hemp-derived CBD, which has tremendous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and hemp oil which is loaded with fatty acids that address sun damage. The trick is finding a brand that is able to put this powerful ingredient to work in a modern formula with beautiful packaging. As merchants, we are constantly on the lookout for brands that both formulate beautifully with hemp-derived CBD but also comply with our ingredient standard — which has been a tall order.” Vertly will be launching in all Credo stores and online by the end of January, according to Jackson. When Vertly co-founder, Claudia Mata, a former fashion editor, moved to San Francisco from New York a year and a half ago with her co-founder husband Zander Gladish, a yogi and real estate executive, she was searching for her next career move. She always had an interest in clean beauty and wellness but her fascination with the mainstreaming of cannabis in California led her to the dispensaries. “When I looked at the topicals I didn’t see anything that physically attracted my eyes nor did any of the products cater to me in terms of texture or scent. Then I looked at the ingredient decks and saw a lot of petroleum. It was disappointing.” Mata partnered with a French herbalist to help her formulate the balms. Though Vertly originally sold their THC-infused Green Cannabis Infused Lip Butter in dispensaries and delivery services, the company decided to scale back on the THC-based balm to focus on the hemp-derived CBD products. Credo will be carrying the line’s non-THC organic lip and skin balms and lotions, which include a CBD-infused lip balm and a soon-to-be-released CBD-infused post-workout body lotion. So should retailers like Sephora and Credo worry about a DEA raid if they are carrying cannabis-based products? “Could federal law enforcement authorities raid a retailer that sells CBD-containing products? In theory, yes. But in practice, it is unlikely, as long as companies are mindful of the bounds of federal law,” explains Zlatnik. “If the products do not contain any detectable THC, and the CBD is derived from industrial hemp, not from the resin of Cannabis sativa L. plants, there would be a strong defense to any enforcement action by federal authorities.” Herb Essentls founders Robert Lund and Ulrika Karlberg, originally from Sweden, now live in New York City, though the products are manufactured in Los Angeles. The skincare brand shares a similar esthetic approach to Vertly, packaging their cannabis-infused skincare line in chic, minimalist packaging. “When we researched all the cannabis skincare brands out there, they all looked and smelled like they were designed for stoners,” Karlberg says. “We wanted to create a cannabis-infused line for everyone – instituting an affluent brand aesthetic.” Since the company's soft launch in January of 2017 the brand went from virtually unknown to being sold in 30 stores and online retailers in the U.S.  According to Karlberg, the brand's sales numbers in Q1 and Q2 of 2017 more than tripled and  interest from Europe is growing steadily. The company says they are in the later stages of developing more skincare products and evolving the formulas.   Ildi Pekar, a celebrity facialist in New York City known for getting Victoria's Secret Angels show-ready, first discovered CBD when she was researching solutions for her clients’ inflammation. “I started using CBD oil a few years ago. My first few applications were internal use, but through more research I quickly discovered the benefits of using CBD oil topically and what it can do for skin cell health,” says Pekar. Late last year Pekar released her own Tissue Repair Serum Infused with CBD Oil, currently sold through her website. Whether looking at the research from scientific studies or customer feedback, CBD is clearly a powerful skincare ingredient that can help hydrate, heal, and treat a myriad of skin conditions. But because of the current regulatory environment, brands will have to continue jumping through hoops to get their products to the masses. Dellavalle says the results of his research were “quite promising on several levels for its anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, treating eczema, psoriasis, and itch.” There was even some indication cannabinoids may stop blood vessel growth in skin cancer, according to Dellavalle. “We are at the infancy of discovering what cannabis can do for our skin but our government is really holding us back from our research. Half of dermatology stems from inflammation. If cannabis is as effective as we think it may be in treating inflammation, it might be effective in treating half of what we see as dermatologists.” Content sourced from Forbes

9 months ago

It's Time to Get Rid of the "Lazy Stoner" Stereotype

The lazy stoner. My head hurts every time I hear about that couch-locked archetype. Not that it’s entirely baseless. Certain strains of cannabis and pot products have deeply sedative effects and can mostly render a person speechless and motionless for minutes if not hours. Unsurprisingly, those same products are often among the most effective natural alternatives to opiates, too—legitimate painkilling properties that have been chronicled in the highly selective Journal of the American Medical Association. But too often the lazy stoner is evoked to represent most if not all cannabis consumers, though as legal marijuana becomes our new normal, we’re disproving that anachronism daily. And I’m honored to present yet another rebuttal to this outdated concept—my own discovery that marijuana substantially contributes to my personal productivity in specific situations. As recently as five years ago, I was not consuming cannabis at all. I don’t smoke and that’s how marijuana was mostly offered to me, a passed joint or bowl. But when a friend offered me a cannabis-infused mint chocolate bar he purchased in a state-regulated medical dispensary in 2013, I was immediately enamored with how marijuana made me feel compared to other intoxicants. It helped me relax, and if I had a little more, it gave me the giggles. But it also brought on a focus that immediately had me contemplating how I might be able to harness this concentrated energy, this single-mindedness. I’d heard about lazy stoners for decades, and I’d certainly known some — but I also knew people who incorporated daily marijuana use into their busy and productive lives, and for the first time in my life I envisioned myself as someone who preferred weed over booze. At first, I was uncomfortable as that person. After a childhood of Just Say No and Hugs Not Drugs and D.A.R.E. and a journalism career of seeking out reputable sources, many of whom serve in various levels of government, I thought I knew all I needed to know about marijuana. Of course I was wrong. Because so many of those sources, those government officials, were dead-wrong on cannabis. And while my four years of cannabis consumption have taught me many lessons, here are a couple I still employ today—about the improbable productivity of marijuana consumption. LESSON NO. 1: PSYCHOACTIVES AND WORK- WORK DON’T MIX—FOR ME, AT LEAST. The first lesson about my productivity-based relationship with cannabis was rooted in a lack of productivity. I remember staring down the barrel of a freelance deadline in 2013, and I wondered if a microdose of edible cannabis might help my lingering writer’s block. An hour after ingesting 5mgs of activated THC, I knew the marijuana wasn’t helping me write. While certain substances can be great for brainstorming seshes, weed included, they’re not always the best fuel for the execution that follows. I speak for myself alone, of course, as we all know others whose ritualistic wake-and-bake positions them in a mindset for a productive day. But that’s not me.   LESSON NO. 2: PACKING SUCKS, THOUGH IT SUCKS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS WHEN YOU’RE HIGH After spending the weekend picking up recycled boxes from friends who had recently moved, my then-girlfriend and I set the game plan: She would pack up the kitchen if I started in the spare bedroom, which was also home to our bookshelves and home office. I remember taking a bite of an infused baklava, feeling like a domestic Timothy Leary, wondering about its potential impact on the next few hours. When Melana (now my wife) poked her head into the spare bedroom two hours later she was dumbfounded to see two towers of meticulously labeled boxes stacked against the wall and empty bookshelves pushed against a moving truck-ready desk and standalone closet. I had been working with unparalleled focus, only breaking for water (so much water!) and the occasional steering to our Spotify playlist. I was as surprised, and as pleased, as my lady was. And suddenly my perspective of cannabis was changing.   LESSON NO. 3: YARD WORK SUCKS, THOUGH ... YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS After renting my house for two years to some young dudes and their giant dog, my yard was more of a disaster than I left it. With my fiancee working a long Saturday at the salon, I decided to do something I rarely did— consume cannabis before noon—and hit the yard with some work gloves, an endless supply of ice water and a YouTube loop of TED talks cycling through my Bluetooth speaker. Four hours of sweaty, grueling work flew by quite enjoyably, and I was immensely gratified by the progress I’d made in the yard. It’s worth noting here: I am not one of those homeowners who loves yard work, who finds it meditative. But add some cannabis to that equation and I’m a flipping zen master, reveling in work I’d normally find tedious.   LESSON NO. 4: BETTER (AND MORE ORGANIZED) LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY I can honestly say cannabis has made me a more organized individual. I’m more conscientious about my pets, making sure the cat’s litter box is cleaned regularly and the dogs are walked—even after late evenings at the office. I’m more attentive to my family’s long-term planning, setting aside time to vote and talk finances and plan our week’s (and month’s and year’s) social and travel calendars to ensure my wife and I are in sync.  Cannabis as a productivity tool deserves to be celebrated, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that.  Content sourced by Sensi Magazine. 

10 months ago

15 Edible Recipes That Go Beyond Brownies

You deserve better than a limp joint and leftover pad Thai eaten by the light of the fridge. Live a little. Take that ganja and infuse it into butter, oil, milk, and sugar, and fuck around a bit. We're not talking boxed brownie mix; we're talking about a full-fledged gastronomical ball-out—apps, entrees, desserts, even some cocktails—that'll get you high and appease your munchies. Two birds, one stoner. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, lets make sure we've got our bases covered. Review our illustrated primer to cooking with weed. We'll wait.   1. Cannaoil All caught up? Great. First things first: Cannabis-infused oil is gonna be the easiest way to turn any recipe into an earth-shattering edible. This only takes a few steps—you've got to decarboxylate your weed in the oven, throw it in a saucepan with oil, then strain the leftover bud, leaving you with a simple, potent base for cooking.   2. Cannabis Olive Oil Infusions   Straight up cannabis oil is great for using where your recipe would normally call for a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil, which is what you want for brownies or other baked goods (or fried things). But when you're going the savory route, these flavor-infused olive oils are your go-to.   3. Cannabutter The same technique works for butter, in case that's more your speed. Most likely any baked goods you'll want to turn into an edible will be the ideal use for this.   4. Weed Milk Once you've got this infusing thing on lock, you'll probably want to infuse every liquid you can get your hands on—and let us assure you, cookies dipped in weed milk is just as amazing as it sounds.   5. Weed Sugar The technique is a little different when it comes to making infused sugar, but it's not much more complex. You essentially infuse high-proof alcohol (like Everclear) with decarboxylated weed, then bake granulated sugar in the booze until it evaporates, leaving the THC behind.   6. Parmesan and Garlic Pasta Alright, time to put these infusions to good use. The simplest way to enjoy butter, or in this case, cannabutter, has got to be a quick bowl of garlicky angel hair pasta, dusted (okay, buried) with parmesan. This most celebratory of holidays lands, blessedly, on a Friday this year. But if you also still have to make it into work that morning, try infusing some home-made gravlax with weed. Yes, it's possible, and yes, it will improve your bagel and cream cheese situation.   Now that you've spent so much time learning how to infuse oils and fats for cooking, give those skills a try with infusing glycerine to make this foie gras pâté for an elegant starter for a 4/20 dinner party.   Those of us working 9-to-5s, on the other hand, probably won't be able to get festive until dinnertime. How about a prime rib with weed-laced chimichurri? This recipe from Bong Appetit: Om Edibles is rustic, rich, and lit as hell.   Or maybe you're in the mood for some real-ass Italian chicken—this gorgeous, hearty cacciatore recipe comes from Nonna Marijuana, the coolest weed-cooking grandma you never had. It also happens to be a perfect potluck dish—no pun intended.   Once again, Nonna Marijuana coming through with an excellent savory use for that cannabutter you made, which also happens to combine two things you'll really want to eat while buzzed--potatoes and cheese.     Here's a traditional latke recipe with some chutzpah. That is to say, these potato pancakes are fried in weed-infused canola oil. This recipe's got your best interest in mind—it instructs you to drain the latkes on a bed of rice or couscous to help catch the excess cannabis oil, because "You can't eat a paper towel!"   We obviously have a weed brownie recipe. Don't call us basic. Fudgy, rich brownies made with that cannabutter are the quintessential edible for a reason.   Remember that weed sugar we mentioned? It's just begging for you to roll fried dough balls in it. Don't disappoint that weed sugar, and don't disappoint yourself. Just be forewarned that after eating a couple of these, you'll want about a thousand more—with or without the ganja.   To finish off one hell of a mind-numbing meal, you'll probably want a nightcap—and with some weed-infused liquor, you can end the night the right way. Through a wet decarb process, you can get a pretty controlled amount of weed infused into your vodka before shaking it up into a cocktail. Because, you know, 4/20 is all about moderation.   Now that you've mastered that technique, too, give it a spin in a fancy lil French 75, a classic cocktail that combines gin and champagne in a flute with a splash of fruit juice. (You can also give it a try with a martini and a pineapple daiquiri, depending on your choice of liquor.) Cheers, friends.   Content Sourced from Vice.

10 months ago

5 Cannabis Strains for Enhancing Sex

As you are already aware, weed can make a lot of things feel better. For example, food tastes better, pain goes away, anxiety is eased; but did you know that cannabis can even enhance your bedroom romp? Yes, it’s true! There are quite a few reasons why cannabis can help you reach new sexual heights. For starters, it increases your sensitivity to touch, meaning intimacy undoubtedly feels that much more amazing. It can also calm your nerves and relieve anxiety, which can add to the already existent feelings of euphoria. Keep in mind that this experience is largely dependent on the strain you choose. Before going on an adventure to your local dispensary, there are a few factors you should consider. What kind of sex will you be having (sexy solo time, slow passionate lovemaking, frenzied lustful sex, etc.)? How does your body react to different strains? What method of consumption are you using (vaping, smoking, edibles, concentrates, etc.)? Below are a few basic tips to help keep your stoned sexy time as enjoyable as possible. Don’t smoke too much: As you might have imagined, sometimes the more stoned you get, the less functional you become. And yes, that means during sex as well. Safety first: Just like alcohol, cannabis can lower your inhibition and cause users to engage in high-risk behaviour, albeit not as risky as with other substances. Make sure to be safe and prepared by using some form of protection against pregnancy and STD’s. Do a trial run: Try out the strain pre-sex to ensure you picked the right one. It’s good to at least have a general idea of how you’ll react to a new strain or method of consumption. It’s not very sexy to feel paranoid, dizzy, or couch-locked. Dryness: Ladies, cannabis can sometimes cause dryness of the mucous membranes, and that includes your vagina. And if you have cotton mouth, you can’t spit on it either. So make sure to keep some lube and/or a water bottle nearby. Your partner (and your lady parts) will thank you. THE TOP FIVE STRAINS FOR ENHANCING YOUR SEXUAL EXPERIENCE KALI DOG  This is a fantastic strain to try if you’re feeling anxious about your performance. Kali Dog/Chemdawg is a nice, balanced hybrid with immediately noticeable effects. At the end of your smoke session, you’ll be feeling relaxed, carefree, and ready to get busy. SHINING SILVER HAZE This is a fast-acting sativa strain that offers a nice cerebral high and can help you overcome any insecurities you may have. In the bedroom, this translates to confidence, playfulness, and an overall fun experience. SOUR DIESEL Sour Diesel is a sativa-dominant hybrid that wildly enhances your sense of touch and fills you with energy and a voraciously lustful desire. If you’re looking for a wild night in the bedroom, this strain is definitely up your alley. SKUNK #1 Any sticky icky, delicious version of this strain originated with Skunk #1. This is a nice, strong hybrid that is known to boost libido. Be warned that it does occasionally cause cottonmouth and other dryness. BLUE CHEESE Blue Cheese is an indica cross that comes from breeding Blueberry with UK Cheese. It’s known for its distinct smell and strong painkilling powers. Since it’s known to relieve physical pain, it’s great to use if you plan on doing something a little more freaky (i.e. backdoor sex). Most people prefer sativas for improving sex. Sativa strains can increase heart rate and blood flow, which leads to an energetic and revitalising effect. According to sex columnist Lisa Kirkman, “cannabis prompts the release of oxytocin (the love hormone). But when it comes to which one is better for sex, sativas have the effect of contracting muscles, which improves performance.” Despite that, many swear by the effects of indicas and claim to have had the best sex of their lives while smoking strains like Northern Light and Somango XL. To split the difference, it might be best to go for a balanced hybrid. Now grab your weed and your partner (or toy) and go experiment. Enjoy! Sourced from Royal Queen Seeds.

10 months ago

Marijuana & Your Sex Life: 5 Links Revealed by Scientific Research

Harvard scientists made big news Tuesday as they published a study showing that smoking marijuana is linked to higher sperm and testosterone levels. In doing so, they pushed forward a nagging question in marijuana research: What is it cannabis doing to our sex lives? It turns out that marijuana’s effects on human reproductive activity can been studied in a variety of different ways. It affect our libidos, sperm quality, condom use, and our ability to make good decisions in the bedroom. In short, pot and sex continue to fuel healthy scientific debate and study. Here’s what weed researchers have discovered so far about mixing marijuana with your sex life. 5. Marijuana May Not Actually Be Bad For Sperm Before the Harvard University researchers published their study in Human Reproduction this week, the majority of research on smoking weed and sperm count suggested that future dads should lay off the green. But the new research, conducted on 662 men who’d submitted 1,143 semen samples to a Massachusetts fertility clinic, showed that the men who had ever smoked weed had significantly higher sperm count and concentration than those who hadn’t. Furthermore, the ones who had “more intense use” of marijuana had higher blood levels of testosterone. The results were unexpected, but not implausible. They might suggest that moderate exposure to marijuana really does lead the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce more sperm (while heavy use cancels this effect out), or they might simply be due to the fact that high-testosterone men are those that end up smoking weed in the first place. It’s too early to tell, but this unsettled space is one to watch.   Mixing marijuana and alcohol was associated with risky behavior in teens. 4. Marijuana Users Have More Sex There’s lots of anecdotal evidence that getting high makes people horny, but the 2017 Stanford University study showing that people who use marijuana have sex more frequently illustrated it in hard data. Using self-reported data on sex frequency and marijuana use on about 51,000 people from the National Survey of Family Growth, the team showed that women who didn’t use marijuana had sex an average of six times in the four-week period preceding the survey, whereas those had used it every day had sex an average of 7.1 times. Meanwhile, men who didn’t use it had sex an average of 5.6 times, while male daily users had sex an average of 6.9 times (nice!). It’s unclear if marijuana use influenced all that sex-having. “Usually, people assume the more frequently you smoke, the worse it could be when it came to sex, but in fact, we learned the opposite was true,” Dr. Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology at Stanford University Medical Center, told CNN in 2018. 3. “Dual Use” of Weed and Booze Linked to Unprotected Sex in Teens Not all the research spells such positive news for sex and weed. In 2018, a studypublished in The American Journal on Addiction, based on data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, showed that the risk of unprotected sex for teens who got crossfaded — used marijuana and drank alcohol — rose by a factor of 1.71 for males on these “dual use” days and by a factor of 3.39 for females. The findings are perhaps not that surprising — people make bad decisions that feel like good decisions while they’re inebriated — but they should also be interpreted with caution, since the teens in the survey were self-reporting on their drug/alcohol use from the past 90 days and didn’t necessarily say that inebriation led to or influenced their sexual behavior. Still, it’s not a terrible thing to be cautious about. 2. Marijuana Changes the Way Sperm Genes Are Expressed While the study published Tuesday suggests sperm count and concentration rises as a result of marijuana smoking, it doesn’t say much about how that happens. The drug’s effect on the actual mechanics of our cells is still being investigated. In late December, however, a small study on the sperm DNA of men who used marijuana at least weekly in the six weeks prior to the survey showed that they had pronounced changes in their sperm genetic profile. Specifically, marijuana use was associated with changes to the epigenetics of sperm DNA, which refers to modifications to DNA that aren’t connected to the sequence itself. “We do not yet know what the implications of this latter finding are,” senior author Scott Kollins, Ph.D., tells Inverse. 1. Marijuana Might Get People Laid Because It’s Illegal There’s at least one study showing that using marijuana could lead to more sex, but not because of any inherent chemical property of the drug itself. In 2016, a small study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggested that it’s the fact that marijuana is illegal that it’s so strongly associated with more hookups. Since marijuana has to be used in a relatively private place, the team argued, the environment it forces people into could lead to something a little more intimate. "If you get someone to come home with you to smoke weed," lead author and New York University population health expert, Joseph Palamar, Ph.D., told Inverseat the time, "there's a way to facilitate getting a sexual connection, for better or for worse." Sourced from Inverse. 

10 months ago

Certified Kind and Why You Should Care

The cannabis industry is misusing the word “organic” to describe businesses and products. The word ‘organic’ is a term that belongs to the USDA, an agency of the federal government. When something is labeled as organic it means that the product or the company has gone through a certification process to earn that title. Cannabis products & companies are not allowed to go through the organic certification process because the federal government still classifies cannabis as a dangerous substance.   However, Andrew Black, long time organic grower & USDA organic inspector from Eugene, OR, noticed that by 2014 almost all growers and dispensaries in the cannabis industry were advertising their products as organic. He knew that this couldn’t be the case, no cannabis product can be labeled as organic, and yet most companies were touting their products as such. That made Andrew angry. Not only was this a disservice to the consumer, but also a disservice to the growers who were actually taking the time to implement organic practices. If all products are labeled organic, the label loses its meaning. That’s why in response, Black decided to create an organic certification service for the cannabis industry that actually means something. That service is now known as Certified Kind. Certified Kind is a third party certification service for cannabis cultivators, processors and retailers available in all medical and recreationally legal cannabis states. Certified Kind is the only true equivalent to the USDA’s Organic Certification. Andrew Black made sure of this, having worked for Oregon Tilth, one of the nation’s most trusted organic certification agencies since 2005. All Certified Kind inspectors are also USDA Federal Organic certifiers. The staff at Certified Kind brings the knowledge and experience gained from Oregon Tilth to offer the most professional and thorough inspection and certification service available.   Certified Kind is currently active in five states, including Oregon. Farms on BUSHL, such as Bull Run Craft Cannabis, have chosen to spring for the certification because they believe it is the best way for people to really know what’s in the flower they consume. John Plummer, co-founder of Bull Run Craft Cannabis, makes the case for Certified Kind and partially credits CK’s robust certification standards for BRCC’s exceptional flower: “Initially we did some checking around; the other certification outfits seemed like a joke - just “phone it in” and pay the yearly fee. Certified Kind actually does site visits. They want to see our receipts. They make sure we’re staying within their strict parameters. But they are also great partners to work with and have given us a lot of very helpful advice. When you grow cannabis following a method devoid of all salts, chemicals and pesticides you facilitate the plants natural ability to prosper. We believe that because of Certified Kind we’re producing some of the dankest, best smelling terpene rich bud in the country”   Certified Kind continues to expand their reach nationally and they’re not stopping there. At its core, Certified Kind is about sparking a global organic farming revolution. For Black, this is what organic certification is all about -- a resistance movement to chemical farming. Black shares, “When people start asking for Certified Kind cannabis because they want a high that isn’t grown with chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides, it also makes sense that they would demand that for the food that they eat.” This ethos is the drive behind Certified Kind, a company truly committed to educating farmers and businesses on how to implement organic practices so that we can all create healthier food, healthier medicines and healthier ecosystems together. Certified Kind wants to not only create conscious cannabis consumers, they also want to create conscious consumers in general. In this vein, Black hopes that by offering this certification it will help bridge the gap between cannabis farming and the wider organic food farming community. “I think the organic farming movement should see organic cannabis growers as sisters and brothers and learn from them and also offer knowledge,” Black says. Certified Kind wants to help create further awareness for the organic farming movement while making sure cannabis businesses are part of that conversation. In addition to certification services, they offer a dispensary educational program that teaches budtenders about organic farming and the Certified Kind approach. As a platform for brands to share their unique stories, Certified Kind aligns with everything BUSHL stands for by enabling consumers to be more conscious of how their cannabis products are being made. While industry is pushing our ecosystems to collapse, it’s easy to get discouraged about the future. But there are small changes we can make in our daily lives to help move things in the right direction. Learning about organic farming and supporting Certified Kind businesses & initiatives are ways to use your influence to create a healthier planet.     Visit Certified Kind to learn more or become a Certified Kind brand.

10 months ago

7 Ways People Used Cannabis in 1930

The 1930s was a crucial decade for cannabis. Before the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, cannabis was a widely used medicine. But after a national campaign to stigmatize and outlaw cannabis, medicinal use declined, and the herb’s reputation was tarnished. But a hundred years ago, weed was commonplace. Across the country, you could buy marijuana in drug stores as a liquid or as resin. The government did not regulate it, which meant that companies advertised marijuana-infused products as a treatment for a long list of conditions. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it was a really bad idea. Look back on innovative ways that people used cannabis before it was illegal: Marijuana as a Sedative The Herb Museum Need a narcotic, sedative or antispasmodic? Look no further than Eli Lilly and Company’s Cannabis Fluid Extract. This potion, labeled a poison because you should only take a drop, was 80 percent alcohol. By today’s standards, Lilly’s Cannabis Fluid Extract (1 fluid ounce total) is a tincture, just not one you’d see on the shelves. Though we do not advise using any product resembling this, Eli Lilly’s understanding of medical marijuana as an “antispasmodic” isn’t too far off the mark. Today, medical marijuana is one of the only effective treatments for epilepsy or seizure-inducing autism. Treatment for Hysterical Women Antique Cannabis Book With a long list of uses, Lloyd Specific Medicine is pretty far from specific. This tincture was marketed as a cure for many things, most of which targeted women. It could ‘treat’ melancholia, PMS, stomach pain, nervous system issues, ‘nervous depression’ and any behavior for which a man would call a woman ‘crazy’. For instance, having an overactive sex drive could be cured with Lloyd Specific Medicine. The bottle reads: “It is useful in hysterical patients, and in the mild forms of insanity in women, especially if these be due to menstrual irregularities which are the cause of pain.” The label adds, “It allays abnormal sexual appetite.” For Asthma potfacts.ca Grimault Corporation manufactured what they called “Indian Cigarettes.” This product’s main objective was to treat asthma.  Today, Israeli researchers have discovered that certain cannabinoids can reduce the inflammation symptomatic of asthma. Specifically, CBD in liquid form could treat asthma. This doesn’t mean that smoking marijuana when you’re having asthma is in any way a good idea. At the time, though, these cigarettes were a completely legal medicinal treatment. To Treat Gonorrhea Marijuana America Wm. S. Merrell, an Ohio-based chemical company, manufactured Indian Cannabis. They said that this tincture is both an anesthetic and a treatment for Gonorrhea. As far as we know, this is not true. Wm. S. Merrell manufactured a whole line of what you could call medical marijuana products. One of them, Bromo-Chloral, mixed indica with licorice, orange peel, and chloral hydrate, a strong sedative and hypnotic drug that’s very difficult to get today. As a Tool for Relaxation The New Yorker Having a smoke sesh is by no means a modern innovation. Since the 19th century, urban creatives have taken part in these gatherings and received a lot of attention for it. Back in the 1840s, Balzac, Baudelaire, Dumas and other French intellectuals formed Le Club des Hashishins. During the 1920s and 30s, people called them “Tea Pads.” In 1938, Meyer Berger, a New Yorker reporter, visited a Harlem tea pad. Berger describes the scene: “four rooms with nine couches set against the cracked, cream-colored walls, with a few limp easy chairs to handle the overflow.” Music was often an important part of Tea Pad culture. Berger adds that the host was playing “weird ritualistic themes.” Additionally, many Tea Pads sprung out of Jazz culture, though they attracted a wide array of customers. Marijuana’s connection with Jazz culture, and through African American communities, is one of the reasons why authorities outlawed it in the first place. To Treat Bunions and Corns Antique Cannabis Book Not only was marijuana a typical treatment for bunions and corns, but at one point it was the most common. Antique Cannabis Book lists over 40 different corn removal brands that list cannabis as an ingredient. Though there isn’t much research on cannabis for corns, we do know that marijuana is a potent anti-bacterial. For this reason, it can be a useful topical for external ailments like psoriasis and eczema, and, potentially, bunions and corns. To Treat Urinary Infections Antique Cannabis Book Until the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, marijuana served as a catch-all remedy for a variety of ailments. A medication that could be used as a remedy for insomnia might also (supposedly) cure urinary infections. Advertisers said that most popular tinctures of the early 20th century cured urinary infections or urinary tract pain. People also used them to treat sexually transmitted diseases. Largely due to the Marihuana Tax Act, and following legislation that prevented research on marijuana, we still don’t know which cannabinoids are useful for which conditions. Marijuana As Vintage Medicine Orange County Sheriff’s Museum Before the government followed alcohol prohibition with marijuana prohibition, weed was a common medicine. Though some of these uses appear laughable, medical professionals are reclaiming some of these uses today. Perhaps it isn’t so ridiculous to think of cannabis as catch-all medicine for a variety of conditions.  With the benefit of modern science, we can target what exactly in cannabis benefits each unique ailment. Content Sourced from High Times.

10 months ago

Talk the Talk: Learn To Speak The Language of Cannabis

CannaBoomers — have you noticed people saying, “It’s 420 somewhere.” Except what does 420 mean? If you are like me, you do not yet know how to speak the language of cannabis culture. This brings back memories of my child talking over my head with shorthand LMK, LOL or FOMO. That is how many of us feel right now. So, to help get rid of that feeling that people are talking over our heads, here begins a primer on how to speak the language of cannabis culture. But first, what does 420 mean? My search for an answer to this question turned up 131,000,000 Google searches. So don’t feel bad. We are not the only ones looking for clarity. The bottom line answer is there is no agreed-upon origin story for 420 except that just as spirit lovers claim that it’s 5′ 0’clock somewhere when they decide to have a drink,  cannabis-lovers assert it’s 420 somewhere when they decide to smoke.  Words Used to Describe Cannabis Species Regular people talk about cannabis like connoisseurs these days. No longer is the conversation confined to bud and seeds. Now, it’s either Sativa or Indica and non-experts can discern the difference by looking at the plant.  So if you are going to learn how to speak the language of Cannabis culture, let’s start here. Sativa has long thin leaves and is light in color whereas Indica has wide broad leaves and is dark green in color. Folks generally smoke one or the other but it’s commonly agreed people are smoking a hybrid of the two. Ruderalis is a third species, generally not used for smoking but often crossbred with either Indicas or Sativas.  There is a reason for this that I won’t go into because I could tell you that it has to do with growing cycles; but I wouldn’t know what that means, except to say the plant would flower based on its age rather than its light source. Don’t ask me what I just said. How Does Each Species Grow Indicas flower within 10-16 weeks generally growing 8-15 feet tall. The THC levels are high and the CDB/CBN levels are low. On the other hand, Sativas flower in 6-8 weeks, grow 2-6 feet tall, have lower levers of THC than Sativas but high levels of CBD/CBN. What is the Effect of Each Species Sativas affect your mind, rather than your body, leaving you feeling energetic, creative, sociable. Indicas generally leave your body feeling stoned. It is quite common to feel mellow, calm, relaxed, even sleepy after smoking an Indica.   Content Sourced from Estro Haze.

10 months ago

The Science Behind Edibles at 3Leaf

Tell me about the process of finding and selecting the ingredients you use? How do you keep health-conscious top of mind? The underlying vision was that we wanted to be thought of first and foremost as a food company. With legalization coming to California and Canada, you’re beginning to see a lot of people in the marketplace who’ve never smoked or used cannabis in any other form before. Our thinking was that we just wanted to bring the marketplace really good food products with the experience driven by taste, aroma, and texture. Very early on, we added Jim to our team. He's got over 30 years of experience in food science and really helped with the formulation and consistency of our products. We wanted to make sure that not only were the tastes, textures, and looks consistent, but that the dosages were as well. The dosages that we use are always within the tolerance that rules and regulations allow. We use all natural ingredients to the best of our ability, because we wanted, again, to just have a really, really high quality food product.   What’s the tasting process like? That's where our food scientist and production managers take over. We'll sit down as a team and conceptualize a product idea first. We like to keep ideas as simple as possible in the beginning. The product idea starts, and then Jim (our food scientist) comes up with three or four different recipes. We'll make them in large batches, non-infused to begin with, and sit around and try them until we ultimately narrow them down to the final product.  The last step is actually adding the cannabis. We go through the process of perfecting the product and then we bring the cannabis in at the very end because we have to see how it's going to behave and if the cannabis is going to be consistent throughout.      Tell me about the science behind infusing the foods with cannabis. Because of Jim's background with chemistry and food science, he knows how ingredient A will behave with ingredient B and how all of that might react with cannabis. We keep things all-natural, so their knowledge of products really plays into the shelf-life and longevity of our products too.   Did you have a food or cannabis background prior to starting 3Leaf? Prior to starting 3Leaf, I had several startups in the tech sector, so I have pretty extensive knowledge with starting companies, getting involved in early-stage trials, and growing them successfully. I wanted to get into the cannabis industry because I saw a real opportunity to help people. I noticed that there were a lot of substandard, poor-quality, products in the market and that there would be an increase in people with genuine medical needs or life needs entering the market. I wanted this to be an opportunity to really help people in a way that was a lot more healthy, not addicting, and not harmful--it just needed to be done properly. As a company, we’ve brought people in that compliment each other. We have trustworthy business people mixing with people who really have experience in the industry. We have a responsibility to grow our business properly and to make sure that nobody gets sick and consumes more than they should. Education is a big part of what we do.      Do you predict any trends in the cannabis food industry? I've noticed that coming out of Colorado or Oregon, which are kind of the pioneer states, people are talking about full-on meals. From sauces to salad dressings, I think 5 years from now, we're going to see a whole array of cannabis food products that are going to match very similarly to what you find in a grocery store.   Are there any new products you're working on that we can keep an eye out for? CBD is very popular right now and a simple variant on our coconut cookie or our granola bite is in infusing them with a 4:1, or 5:1, CBD to THC ratio so that people can enjoy more of the CBD oil. The second thing is to get into smaller snacks: yogurt-covered raisins or chocolate-covered nuts. I'd like for us to get into bite-sized snacks that you can get a whole bag-full of.   Shop 3Leaf's full menu on BUSHL here. 

10 months ago

So THAT's Why You Get The Munchies

There’s a reason Ben & Jerry’s sells a “Euphori-Lock” that protects you from opening your pint of ice cream without entering a combination. Weed inspires a voracious hunger that’s nearly impossible to suppress. It’s because marijuana plays a number of games on your brain and your gut, all adding up to the perfect storm of unstoppable munchies. It’s about time we understood them. Weed triggers your brain to think you’re hungry It’s been well-documented that the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, stimulates appetite. But a 2014 study published in Nature Neuroscience further explains the phenomenon, citing that mice exposed to THC had a significantly stronger ability to smell their food, leading them to eat more of it. As Smithsonian.com explains, if mice are an accurate model for people, this means marijuana makes us more sensitive to the smells of food, which in turn makes us hungry because of the close relationship between taste and scent. Double whammy: Weed also messes with neurons that usually suppress your hunger According to a 2015 Yale study conducted by lead researcher Tamas Horvath, studies done on lab mice showed that marijuana affects the brain’s ability to curb your appetite. “[Marijuana] fools the brain’s central feeding system,” Horvath said in a report that accompanied the study. “We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full.” Marijuana also turns you into a fat-loving monster Why don’t we hear stories about our friends getting high and raiding their fridges for giant bowls of salad? Well, a 2011 study out of the University of California, Irvine, determined that marijuana’s effect on the gut mirrors that of eating fatty foods. It all boils down to the “betcha can’t eat just one!” or “once you pop you can’t stop!” theory. As Time explains, “the taste of fatty food hitting the tongue sets off a cascade of cellular effects” that result in increasing your appetite for even more fatty foods. The intestinal receptors that kick-start this whole process are known as CB1 receptors, and they’re the “same type of receptors that interact in the brain with THC,” Time reports. What to do if you can’t stop the cravings Leafly suggests that the strain of cannabis you consume can affect the strength of your munchies. Strains high in cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) are supposedly better for anyone looking to minimize their waistline, and Leafly has a list of 10 strains that won’t make you (as) hungry. But if there’s absolutely no stopping your hunger, prepare in advance and make sure you have something worth the extra calories on hand. Content sourced by the Huffington Post 

10 months ago

Why Certification Matters

Cannabis is a powerful plant, consumed by countless people for medical purposes. A lot of cannabis patients have compromised immune systems, making it necessary for them to be conscious of what they put in their bodies. And yet, the federal government still prohibits cannabis  and cannabis products from being certified ‘organic’.   The word ‘organic’ is a term that belongs to the USDA, an agency of the federal government. When something is labeled as organic it means that the product or the company has gone through a certification process to earn that title. Cannabis products  and companies are not allowed to go through the organic certification process because cannabis remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government.   To address this problem, third party certification services such as Certified Kind and DEM-pure have launched programs to certify cannabis businesses growing their products with comparable standards. Certified Kind offers a true equivalent to USDA Organic certification. DEM-pure offers a certification that goes beyond organics and requires growers to have a community minded ethos that employs regenerative and sustainable farming practices. Both certification services help inspire an organic farming revolution while providing transparency to the consumer about the way in which their cannabis was grown. Before these certifications  existed, there was no way for the consumer to tell if the cannabis product they were purchasing were made organically or ethically. This lack of comprehensive certification was inexcusable. Because cannabis is a medicinal plant, it’s so important that it is grown sustainably and without the use of harmful insecticides, pesticides, and fungicides. We have programs in place that allow us to determine the quality of the food we purchase. Why shouldn’t we have that same transparency with cannabis? Unlike food, cannabis is often combusted or heated for vaporization. These types of consumption methods make it that much more important to have transparency in the way that the product is grown.  Synthetic insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides can be very toxic, especially when combusted. In a recent study by Steep Hill Labs, 83% of cannabis grown in California tested positive for a pesticide (myclobutanil) that turns to toxic hydrogen cyanide when combusted. Do you want to be inhaling cyanide when you light up a joint? Even if cannabis is not combusted, it’s a bioaccumulator meaning that it will suck up any inputs and concentrate it to high levels. Hemp has even been planted at sites around Chernobyl to clean up the radiation in the soil. If cannabis is grown with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides then those toxic compounds will concentrate in the plant’s tissues. Furthermore, when cannabis flower or trim goes into processing for extracts or concentrates, the cannabinoids  and other inputs are concentrated to very high levels. Pesticides and any toxic inputs are also concentrated to high levels. Even if cannabis flower and/or trim passed a lab screening for pesticides, the concentrate made from it may be dangerously high in pesticides if any pesticides, fungicides, or insecticides were used during cultivation. These are only a few examples that communicate just how necessary organic certifications are for the cannabis community. Both medical patients and adult-use consumers deserve to know that they are not consuming cyanide or other toxic compounds when they consume cannabis. Third party certification services like Certified Kind and DEM-pure make this transparency possible.         Author Emma Chasen is a cannabis educator and consultant with a mission to educate people on the science behind Cannabis so they may take charge of their own healing. She co-owns and operates Eminent Consulting, a cannabis consulting business that offers educational training programs for cannabis industry professionals and lay enthusiasts and helps both existing brands and new businesses emerge into markets with an educational approach and informed craft ethos.  

10 months ago

How Sustainable Growing Prioritizes the Planet

It’s no secret that indoor cannabis cultivation is energy intensive, requiring significant lighting, ventilation and climate control, for starters. A well-known study published in 2012 in Energy Policy journal found that legal indoor growing operations accounted for 1 percent of the nation’s total electricity use and produced 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), the equivalent of operating 3 million cars—and that was when only 15 states had legal medical marijuana programs, and before recreational cannabis was legalized and a glut of new growing operations came online. Here, three cultivators who recognized and worked to change the environmental impact of their indoor grows share insights into their efforts to grow cannabis as sustainably as possible.   Juddy & Danielle Rosellison Trail Blazin’, Bellingham, Washington For Juddy and Danielle Rosellison, cultivating cannabis is more than just a business, it’s a chance to rethink capitalism. “The industry has a chance to set a new standard for how capitalism is done,” Danielle says. A big part of cultivating right means focusing on sustainable techniques, according to the Rosellisons. Since launching Trail Blazin’ in 2014, the husband and wife co-owner/operator team have installed LED lighting and a water reclamation system in their pesticide-free facility in Bellingham, Wash. “We started growing [for the medical market] before LED lights were ‘a thing,’ and the few that were out were so expensive,” Juddy recalls. “Back then, we weren’t growing on a big enough scale to worry about investing in efficiency,” or infrastructure, adding that limited technology also stymied sustainability efforts. That changed with Washington state’s passage of Initiative 502, which legalized adult-use cannabis. With a license for 10,000 square feet of canopy, the Rosellisons knew sustainable cultivation needed to be top of mind not only to reduce electricity costs, but also to ensure their operation wasn’t putting undue pressure on the planet. “We only have one planet, and we wanted to get it right from the get-go,” he says. Eco Firma Farms saved $63,000 in utility bills by switching to renewable energy. Photo by Sam Gehrke Other pressures also helped them prioritize. “We were worried that regulations could happen on a state or national level to try to minimize the cannabis industry’s impact on the grid, and we wanted to put ourselves ahead of the curve,” Danielle explains. Trail Blazin’ operates in a two-level, 17,000-square-foot building that includes three flower rooms and two vegetative rooms. Installing high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures wasn’t an option because the low ceilings prevented adequate space between the lights and the plants, so the couple opted for LEDs, before focusing on water reclamation. During the average flower cycle, plants are watered 20 times, each using up to 250 gallons of water. Juddy designed a simple system that recaptures the water from the air conditioners and dehumidifiers and, instead of sending it down the drain, reuses it for subsequent waterings. The process has reduced the company’s water use by 90 percent and cost less than $500 per room in materials, according to the couple. Trail Blazin’ eschews pesticides in favor of biological pest control techniques. The facility was built from scratch with a focus on keeping pests out. Juddy notes that cleanliness and sanitation are part of the company’s integrated pest management (IPM) program and also reduce pest pressures.   Jesse Peters Eco Firma Farms, Canby, Oregon When Jesse Peters was selling medical marijuana in Seattle, he watched other cultivators go into dispensaries with bags of unlabeled product that had no information about the growers. “It was just a bunch of people wanting to sell their cannabis,” he recalls. Peters wanted to sell his cannabis, too, but he wanted to stand out from the crowd. He created the Eco Firma Farms brand and focused on sustainable cultivation methods, hoping to reduce carbon emissions and produce cannabis that had minimal impact on the planet. “I realized that if we were growing cannabis in a way that destroyed the planet for a profit, we were no better than an oil [petroleum] company,” he says. At THC Design, beneficial insects help battle fungus gnats and other pests. Photo courtesy of THC Design Eco Firma Farms occupies a 23,000-square-foot warehouse, powered by Portland General Electric (PGE). The utility offers customers the option to purchase wind power—a switch Peters, Eco Firma Farms’ CEO, was eager to make. Peters agreed to pay the regular PGE rate plus $2.50 per 200 kWh of power to source electricity from local wind farms. In 2017, Eco Firma Farms purchased 236,340 kWh of wind power, preventing more than 373,197 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Even with the additional fee, Energy Trust of Oregon estimated that Eco Firma Farms saved $63,000 in utility bills by switching to renewable energy. “Ninety percent of the CO2 emissions produced by cultivators come from power use,” Peters says. “Making the decision [to switch to wind power] was easy.” This fall, Peters plans to add a 250,000-watt solar array to help generate electricity for Eco Firma Farms, furthering his commitment to sourcing alternative energy for cultivation. THC Design uses a closed-loop process to produce its cannabis, which recycles resources back into the growing system. Photo courtesy of THC Design Once renewable power was secured, Peters turned his attention to the second biggest environmental challenge: waste. Eco Firma Farms wants to reduce waste to the point that it can eliminate garbage service. To achieve that goal, the farm uses recycled products and cultivates relationships with suppliers that sell nutrients and soil amendments in recycled or reusable packaging. However, Peters admits that keeping products out of the landfill is a significant challenge. “Not all companies are on board [with recyclable packaging],” he explains. “We make a big effort to source responsibly, but sometimes we have no choice, and we end up buying products we need and putting packaging in the trash.” Like other indoor cultivators, Peters has also focused on energy-efficient lighting. LED lights are installed on all lower tiers of the multi-level grow rooms. Double-ended HID lights power the top tier. Despite critics warning Peters that yield would drop with LED lights, he hasn’t found that to be true. In fact, he notes, “We’ll never turn back.” “The steps we’ve taken toward sustainability allow us to grow a far superior product far more efficiently,” he says. As for the future, advancing the company’s eco-friendly efforts remains a priority at Eco Firma Farms. Peters hopes to add a full-time sustainability expert to help the farm achieve carbon-neutral status. Photo courtesy of THC Design   Ryan Jennemann THC Design, Los Angeles, California Ryan Jennemann, owner of THC Design, a cultivation company in LA, got the idea to use aquaponics to grow cannabis from an article he read in a cannabis publication about a European cultivator who had success with the closed-loop method. (Closed-loop is a method of production in which inputs, such as water and/or nutrients, are treated and recycled back into the same growing system, thus conserving natural resources.) The article was published long before legalization. Jennemann didn’t want to take the financial risk of investing in aquaponics for his small home-based growing operation, but he found the concept intriguing, so he purchased a 10-gallon aquarium and started growing herbs in the windowsill of his Oklahoma home while fish fertilized the roots. Fast forward to the present, and Jennemann now uses aquaponics to grow cannabis on a commercial scale. He set up an 800-gallon tank in the reservoir room of his 20,000-square-foot indoor cannabis farm. Catfish swim in the tank, and as their nitrogen-rich waste builds up, it’s fed to the plants. THC Design’s Dosidos strain, an indica-dominant hybrid that boasts a 28- to 32-percent THC level Photo courtesy of THC Design It’s the latest in a long list of sustainability initiatives Jennemann has implemented at THC Design. Jennemann launched the Organico Revoluce collective in 2010, which was restructured as THC Design in 2014. He has emphasized sustainable cultivation from the beginning, and while it’s taken a lot of trial and error to get the right systems in place, the environmental controls are paying dividends, he says. In addition to aquaponics, Jennemann built a sophisticated water-reclamation system to collect all of the water from the air-conditioning unit and dehumidifier and recirculate it back into water reservoirs instead of letting it run into the groundwater.   Advice for Cultivators: 1. You have to commit to sustainability, but it’s possible to be environmentally friendly and still produce high-quality cannabis. – Trail Blazin’ 2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Trying to tackle sustainability can be really intimidating, but there are a lot of resources out there, a lot of people willing to help. – Eco Firma Farms 3. Put out the cleanest, safest product you can. Your goal should be doing what you know to be, at that moment, the best option for customers and the world. – THC Design But those initial attempts to recapture water failed. Despite struggles with sedimentation and algae growth, however, Jennemann refused to give up. In 2015 after looking to other industries for inspiration, Jennemann made significant changes; he learned hospitals use UV lights in their ductwork to sterilize the air, and some aquariums require UV lights to control algae. THC Design now utilizes UV lighting in its water-recapture system. The water line that runs between the air conditioner, dehumidifier and the main reservoir also has a 200-mesh count UV filter. Together, these technologies help filter out impurities, reduce sedimentation and prevent bacteria from growing. On a humid Southern California day, the system can achieve up to 75-percent water recapture, providing up to 1,500 gallons of the 2,000 gallons of water THC Design uses daily. A bin of black soldier flies helps keep garbage out of the landfill. The larvae are voracious eaters that feast on items like plant cuttings and cardboard. The larvae are later fed to the catfish in the aquaponics system. Pest control is also organic. Applications of fish oil, sesame oil and garlic oil suffocate bugs feasting on cannabis leaves, and beneficial insects help battle fungus gnats and other pests. “We spray three to four times a week as a preventive. If we have an infestation, we spray seven days a week,” Jennemann explains. Photo by Amanda Mac Organic products tend to congeal in the equipment, leading to bacterial growth, says Jennemann, so equipment cleanings are more frequent and intense between applications. Due to a combination of more frequent applications and cleanings, Jennemann estimates organic pest control requires up to 15 times more labor than chemical applications, but he believes the efforts are worthwhile because, in his experience, the plants seem healthier throughout their life cycle. While THC Design can’t obtain certification through Oregon Tilth—a nonprofit organic certification organization that is regarded as having the strictest organic certification standards in the nation—due to cannabis’ Schedule I status with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Jennemann works to implement Oregon Tilth standards throughout his operation anyway. “I know it sounds trite, but we are truly trying to make the world a better place,” Jennemann says. “You can start a business and make a profit, but if you’re not doing it for the good of the world, what’s the point?” Content sourced by Cannabis Business Times

10 months ago

How To Read a Cannabis Label Like a Pro

Scrutinizing cannabis products doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Once you know your way around a label, shopping for anything from flower to food will be easy as pie. Really understanding any given cannabis product is a whole lot more nuanced than just knowing how much THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol) is in it. But that doesn’t mean that gathering intel on your chosen products has to be overwhelming. There are a few simple things to know that will make the whole familiarizing-yourself-with-weed thing a lot easier. To create repeatable and comfortable experiences, it’s important to educate yourself around what you like and what works for your composition in which situations. Without properly understanding that, you’re bound to have a few less than desired experiences. The idea is to get you equipped with a basic understanding because, in the end, getting to the point where you can scan a label and be ready to make a decision is more than a time saver: It’s the key to having a consistently good experience. Terpenes Until we’re sure of every part of cannabis’ function, too many variables can define a strain or cultivar. One such variable is the terpene profile. Terpenes are the natural, aromatic oils from plants which affect taste and fragrance. You’d recognize the presence of terpenes in things like citrus, mangoes, flowers, peppercorns, and clove, for instance. When paired with cannabis, terpenes can impact your overall experience — which is known as the entourage effect. Of the 200 or so terpenes that have been found in cannabis, the most common ones provide the scents we love to huff straight out of the jar like limonene, myrcene, pinene, piperine, eugenol, and linalool. But, they also drive the high. If you familiarize yourself with the most popular terpenes, it gives you the baseline you need to infer the taste as well as the head and body effects you’ll be working with. Cannabinoids Ratio is the thing to focus on when self-testing cannabis products. Precise cannabinoid ratios are easy to achieve in tinctures, vapes, and edibles where concentrates and isolates form the active dose. But in flower — the unprocessed part of the plant we smoke — it’s much more dependent on the cultivation and curing process. Ratios can look like this: 1:1 THC to CBD is a balance that won’t overly intoxicate 2:1 THC to CBD is for more of a ‘stoned’ effect; you can flip that ratio and have a high CBD result that’s great for undoing too much THC This is the most important part for those looking for a balanced high. Many people respond differently to THC, and finding the percentage that gives you the perfect dose is important. Cannabinoid percentages range from low fractions to 37% in some of the highest potency cultivars. Depending on your needs, THC potency can be a dealbreaker when it’s not spot on. If you’re a novice, staying under 20% THC is advisable. While strains are now hitting the upper 30th percentile, most of the ‘strong’ stuff you see on the market is in the 21-26% range. CBD will get into the 20s in an engineered CBD rich strain, but typically it reaches around 4% in a common cultivar. Lab Testing Regulations are beginning to catch up with the demand for clean cannabis that’s not harmful to those who consume it. States are using lab testing to ensure compliance with all pesticide rules, and oftentimes, the label is the place to find this information — unless you buy from a shop like Miss Grass that is committed to doing that vetting for you. Beyond pesticides, you’ll want to look out for all manner of contaminants such as mold, solvents, pollution, animal waste, and even bugs. This information may not be presented on the label, but it doesn’t hurt to inspect your cannabis flower for contamination and keep a keen eye out for product recall, especially for vape cartridges. Don’t let the excitement to try a new product stop you from doing your homework. Harvest Date The harvest date of your cannabis is certainly not a sell-by date, but it can raise questions if its not lining up with the shelf life of a product. When consuming products made with isolates and concentrates, the harvest date is relatively irrelevant, as concentrates don’t degrade. But for smokeable flower, seeing anything with a harvest date that’s older than six months can be a little alarming. In pre-rolled joints or loose flower, it would be best to avoid anything over half a year, as the cannabinoids and flavor can degrade after this much time. But sealed products like those canned in nitrogen or in vacbags, are better for much longer — sometimes up to a year. So, off you go. Take this information and buy the best cannabis you can find. It doesn’t always have to be the most potent, the freshest, or the most expensive. Just make sure it’s the right product for you. Content sourced by Miss Grass 

10 months ago

Strains That Make You Focus

Atomic Northern Lights Strain HYBRIDS16% THC 0.1% CBD Touted by enthusiasts as the Viagra of Weed, Atomic Northern Lights is an Indica-dominant strain that produces a sensuous, mellow high Purple Trainwreck Strain HYBRIDS18% THC 0.1% CBD Seeking a low key but light spirited flower for the weekend? A happy and upbeat vibe, Purple Trainwreck is the perfect bud for you. Larry OG Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS22% THC 0.1% CBD The Larry OG marijuana strain may be bright and upbeat, but it certainly doesn’t have a type-A personality. This mellow flower is ideal for those in need of some laidback rest and relaxation. Head Cheese Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS20% THC 0.1% CBD Cerebral yet numbing, the Head Cheese is a very potent hybrid with a strong umami aroma. Focused, creative, and relaxing, this flower is a daytime strain. Outer Space Marijuana Strain SATIVA20% THC 0.1% CBD Cerebral and high-energy, the Outer Space cannabis strain is sure to send your mind on a cosmic adventure. Mob Boss Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS22% THC 0.3% CBD A sunny strain with an intimidating name, Mob Boss cannabis is known for its friendly disposition and energizing effects. Afghani CBD Marijuana Strain INDICA8% THC 8% CBD The Afghani CBD strain is calming and doesn’t produce intoxicating effects. Ideal for novices and veterans alike, this herb boast stress-relieving effects. Hawaiian Punch Marijuana Strain SATIVA21% THC 0.1% CBD Uplifting and high-spirited, it’s difficult to hold a frown after some Hawaiian Punch. This herb is thoughtful, engaging, and oft inspires silly adventures. Golden Ticket Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS20% THC 0.1% CBD High in THC and featuring a bubbly attitude, the Golden Ticket strain is an engaging and upbeat hybrid. Save this strain for an afternoon snack. Green Goddess Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS19% THC 0.1% CBD Arousing and sensory, the Green Goddess strain is an inviting flower with serious uplifting effects. Save this bud for sharing. Green Haze Marijuana Strain SATIVA24% THC 1% CBD Talkative and bordering on psychedelic, this fast-hitting sativa can feel like a shot of espresso. Start low and go slow with this one! Cannalope Kush Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS23% THC 0.1% CBD The Cannalope Kush Marijuana Strain is a potent sativa-dominant hybrid. Producing up to 25 percent THC, this plant can deliver a strong cerebral punch. Glass Slipper Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS24% THC 0.1% CBD Bright and engaging, Glass Slipper offers consumers a happy-go-lucky attitude and a positive vibe. Many love this strain for daytime relief from fatigue. Durban Berry Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS21% THC 0.1% CBD A well-balanced hybrid, Durban Berry is an excellent low-key daytime bud. Pick up this plant when you need help with concentration and stress management. Dirty Girl Marijuana Strain SATIVA22% THC 0.1% CBD Seeking a cheerful sativa for the start of the day? Look no further than Dirty Girl. High in THC, this potent flower has tested with up to 25% of the psychoactive. Citrix Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS21% THC 0.1% CBD With a striking grapefruit scent and vibrant green buds, Citrix is a flower to behold. This buzzing hybrid is uplifting without going over the top. Orange Velvet Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS20% THC 0.1% CBD Sweet, citrusy, and deeply calming, the Orange Velvet marijuana strain makes an impression. Pick up this sociable hybrid for easy relaxation. Chiesel Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS16% THC 0.2% CBD Chiesel is a Sativa-leaning Hybrid which offers a uniquely focused and creative high that enthusiasts absolutely love, provided they can deal with the funky taste. Bio-Diesel Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS25% THC 0.3% CBD Energizing and euphoric, the Bio-Diesel strain surprises consumers with its robust aroma and powerful euphoric high. Save this sativa for the afternoon. Electric Lemon G Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS16% THC 0.1% CBD Happy and uplifting, the Electric Lemon G marijuana strain is a bright and sunny sativa hybrid. Whip out this appetite-inducing bud during the day.   Green Lantern Marijuana Strain SATIVA23% THC 0.1% CBD Featuring up to 28 percent THC, the Green Lantern marijuana strain is serious business. Strong and upbeat, break out this strain in the morning. Chronic Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS18% THC 0.1% CBD Cheerful and engaging, the Chronic cannabis strain provides a mellow and relaxed high that fights fatigue and leaves stress behind. Blue Magic Marijuana Strain SATIVA18% THC 0.1% CBD Looking for focus without anxiety? The Blue Magic sativa marijuana strain borders the line between invigoration and quiet confidence. Candy Skunk Marijuana Strain SATIVA21% THC 0.1% CBD The Candy Skunk marijuana strain is a bright and engaging flower with a strong sweet and pungent aroma. A remarkable bud, this a lovely daytime strain. Strawberry Cheesecake Marijuana Strain INDICA20% THC 0.1% CBD The Strawberry Cheesecake strain smells like dessert and entices consumers with waves of relaxation. Save this high-THC flower for the evening. Dutch Dragon Marijuana Strain SATIVA20% THC 0.1% CBD Strong-willed and stimulating, the Dutch Dragon marijuana strain is a sativa plant with potent mental and physical effects. Save this bud for the afternoon. Bay 11 Marijuana Strain SATIVA20% THC 0.1% CBD Searching for a strong yet stimulating bud? The Bay 11 strain is an award-winning sativa hybrid with an upbeat and focused attitude. Papaya Marijuana Strain INDICA22% THC 0.1% CBD Even the scent of the Papaya cannabis strain readies you for a cheerful relaxation. Save this flower for your time off, you’ll crave the herbal vacation! Sweet Cheese Marijuana Strain SATIVA20% THC 0.1% CBD Pungent and memorable, Sweet Cheese is a thoughtful sativa hybrid with a striking scent. This creamy lady is an excellent choice for cannabis chefs. Red Congolese Marijuana Strain SATIVA18% THC 1% CBD Red Congolese is a truly stimulating Sativa marijuana, which will get the enthusiast up and moving, thanks to a euphoric, focused high. Alice in Wonderland Marijuana Strain SATIVA18% THC 0.1% CBD Lively and curious, the Alice in Wonderland strain has a knack for improving mood and lifting spirits. Focused and alert, this sativa is fit for the day. Pink Lemonade Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS16% THC 0.1% CBD Pink Lemonade is an extremely tasty Indica-dominant Hybrid, which offers a wonderfully comfortable body high that’s not too sedative. Mother’s Helper Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS20% THC 0.1% CBD When chores and day-to-day activities are a total bore, the Mother’s Helper strain offers a relaxed and focused vibe that helps you get things done. Kryptonite Marijuana Strain INDICA22% THC 1% CBD The Kryptonite cannabis strain is a potent indica hybrid known to exceed 25 percent THC. Sedative and powerful, this strain is best saved for nighttime. White Gold Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS22% THC 0.1% CBD The White Gold marijuana strain is one impressive flower. Featuring huge buds and an upbeat, social high, save this indica for a relaxed social engagement. King Kong Marijuana Strain HYBRIDS19% THC 0.1% CBD The King Kong cannabis strain is beloved by growers for its high yields and by consumers for its versatile calm yet uplifting mental effects. Sweet Diesel Marijuana Strain SATIVA16% THC 0.1% CBD Cheerful and upbeat, this high-THC strain provides the perfect accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee. Remedy Marijuana Strain INDICA18% THC 0.1% CBD With up to 18 percent CBD, the Remedy cannabis strain is a valuable medicinal flower. This relaxing plant is excellent for daytime pain relief. Mars OG Marijuana Strain INDICA16% THC 0.1% CBD Floating through space has never seemed so appealing as after a little Mars OG. This strain offers a surreal yet content vibe that makes relaxation come easy. Platinum Purple Kush Marijuana Strain INDICA16% THC 0.1% CBD Tranquil and calming, this flower is a go-to choice for those hoping to be mindful and engaged with the present. Sleepy, save this strain for the evening.   Content sourced by Herb   

10 months ago

Know Your Grower with Sacred Flower Farms

What values does Sacred Flower Farms stand for? We stand for integrity, passion and compassion for the plant, the patient and the process.      What’s your favorite thing about being in this industry? Meeting like minded growers and patients that appreciate the love we put into our farm and our products.  Finding industry professionals that line up with our core values is always exciting and rewarding.     Tell us about your biggest challenge in the industry and how do you handle it? The market is really competitive and tough to navigate. We’ve found that by aligning ourselves with those dispensaries and processors that have a passion for clean medicine we can develop healthy, conscious partnerships for the long term.     What special processes do you use to grow? Our main focus is on being as closed loop as possible, striving to grow all of our own “nutrients” on sight.  We utilize what is referred to as Korean Natural Farming techniques, we grow a wide variety of different dynamic accumulating plants and herbs on our farm that we then chop up and ferment, these ferments are then strained and used as a potent liquid feed with bountiful minerals and nutrients for varying stages of plant growth.  These ferments also contain numerous beneficial and probiotic microbes that help keep the soil alive and thriving, which is passed on to the cannabis.   What strain are you looking forward to the most from your outdoor harvest? Ooooohhh, so many tasty treats!  Ice Cream Cake, Tang Breath, and Watermelon Short Cookies are the first to pop in my head!     What does clean cannabis mean to you? It means making a concerted effort to farm in the cleanest way possible and treat the plant as a medicine and not just a recreational herb. It means being mindful of what we use and how it benefits Mother Nature, never harms.  We want to leave our land a cleaner, more alive, thriving ecosystem than it was when we arrived.     Shop Sacred Flower Farms on BUSHL      

11 months ago

Why Organic’s Better: The Benefits of Organic Cannabis

Organic is the best way to grow your cannabis, full stop. While it may take longer to learn than other methods, the benefits are clear. You’re producing a better quality product with less environmental impact. Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of confusion surrounding the benefits of organic cannabis growing. What does it mean to be certified organic? How is organic different from all-natural? And, above all, why is organic so much better? Let’s try to answer some of these questions. What it Takes to Be Certified First of all, let’s tackle organic certification. Anyone can claim to grow or manufacture their products organically. The only way to be sure that their product meets any sort of objective standard is through certification. To be certified, companies must meet stringent requirements that vary based on where they wish to sell their product. There are a variety of organizations that one may be certified by. You’ve probably seen the US Department of Agriculture’s Certified Organic label on products you buy from the grocery store. Without this certification, you cannot advertise your products as 100% organic in the United States–the world’s richest consumer market. BlueSky Organics receives our certification through Pro-Cert. This third-party organic certification agency inspects our products and facilities for compliance with a variety of organic certification organizations across Canada and the US. This means we comply with a wide variety of requirements, including: Purity of ingredients. All products must meet stringent requirements proving that at least 95% of ingredients are organic. No prohibited ingredients. Agencies prohibit certain ingredients and products that may be harmful to human health, the environment, or both. None of these ingredients can be used in a certified product. Produced without pesticides and synthetic agents. Naturally, organic products cannot use synthetic pesticides, irradiation, or other unnatural forms of pest control, sterilization, or preservation. Packaging requirements. Certified organic products must display their contents. This includes listing any inorganic ingredients and/or the percentage of inorganic contents.   The Benefits of Organic Cannabis Growing Organic and natural are two distinct but relevant terms that people often confuse. Natural products don’t include synthetic flavours, colours, and preservatives. Whereas, organic is the more stringent of the two with products having all these requirements, as well as the ones listed above. In short, a natural product has no synthetic ingredients in the final product. However, organic product requires all materials throughout the growing or manufacturing process to be natural and strictly controlled. Is organic better? When it comes to cannabis, there’s no doubt. Organic cannabis is every bit as potent as cannabis grown using conventional methods. It also has added health and safety benefits. The benefits of organic cannabis include superior flavour, less environmental impact, and less chance of contamination with dangerous toxins and heavy metals. Superior Flavour As we’ve discussed before, flavonoids and terpenes are the molecules that contribute most to cannabis’ flavour and appearance. A holistic, organic approach to growing benefits the production of flavonoids and terpenes, producing more flavourful and attractive bud. Environmental Implications Organic growing is better for the environment in almost all cases. Synthetic fertilizers and conventional growing techniques damage soil integrity, destroy microbial, insect, and animal habitats, and deplete soils over the long-term. Conventional growing is an unsustainable practice that causes lasting harm to surrounding land and water. On the other hand, organic growing mitigates this damage by maintaining healthy soil through a variety of low-impact techniques, from integrated pest management to natural soil amendments. Health and Safety Benefits The cannabis plant is sometimes used as a soil decontaminant due to its ability to pull toxins from the soil. This include heavy metal and radioactive materials. Cannabis is highly effective at leaching toxins from soil. Consequently, hemp fields are often sewn around former industrial plants to remediate the soil. This poses an obvious problem for cannabis users. If your cannabis is grown in unhealthy, contaminated soil, these contaminants may be winding up in your bud. Organic growing goes to great lengths to develop healthy, contaminant free soil, reducing the risk that you’re consuming toxic materials. Furthermore, organic pest control involves far fewer, if any, harsh and dangerous chemicals. Content sourced from BlueSkyOrganics

11 months ago

THC, CBD, and 9 Other Cannabinoids You Need To Know About

Some cannabis connoisseurs will say that THC is their love language; others will say CBD all the way. These popular cannabis compounds get most of the attention, but did you know that they are only two of the 113 cannabinoids that have been found and isolated within the cannabis plant? Before getting into what all these cannabinoids are and what they do, it’s important to first understand the endocannabinoid system and what it does for your health. In short, the endocannabinoid system exists within your central and peripheral nervous system and contains receptors that send messages throughout your body to help achieve and maintain homeostasis. These endocannabinoid receptors are the same as the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, which will either modulate or stimulate your existing receptors when ingested, which can cause the psychoactive, pain-relieving effects you know and love. For more detail on this whole process, check out our full guide to the endocannabinoid system. A single cannabis plant can contain 100 or more cannabinoids, but today we’re going to focus on those that are the most commonly occurring and potent. You’ll notice that some of these cannabinoids are the raw acid version of another cannabinoid, which is the natural state it’s in before the molecular structure is changed through a heating process called decarboxylation. WHAT IS DECARBOXYLATION? Raw cannabinoids exist within the trichomes of fresh cannabis flowers. The raw chemical state contains what is called an extra carboxyl ring in its chain, which slowly breaks down when exposed to light, heat, and air, eventually converting into the decarboxylated version that is actively absorbed by the body. This process happens in smaller doses during the curing process that dries the cannabis leaves, but it’s not until you put a flame to the flower and take a big inhale that you’ll truly decarb the cannabinoids and get, for example, psychoactive THC instead of raw THCA. Each cannabinoid has a different boiling point where decarboxylation will occur, but it typically happens between 200 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Now that you have the basics on the endocannabinoid system and decarboxylation, here are the 11 most common cannabinoids you’re most likely to find in any given cannabis plant. CANNABIGEROLIC ACID AKA CBGA Cannabigerolic Acid is the “stem cell” cannabinoid, meaning all cannabinoids first start off as CBGA before they are broken down by enzymes and evolve into either THCA, CBDA, or CBCA (more on those ahead). The ability to produce CBGA is what sets cannabis apart from other plants. Once the enzymes break down CBGA and it molds into its intended branch, these different cannabinoid lines provide unique sets of benefits. Then, once those raw cannabinoid compounds are decarboxylated when smoked or vaped, you get a whole different cannabinoid yet again. CANNABIGEROL AKA CBG CBG is a minor cannabinoid that is not as well known as CBD or THC, but should be; it’s the chemical parent of both of those cannabinoids, meaning CBG turns into THC or CBD when it is exposed to UV light or heat. Typically, cannabis plants contain less than 1% CBG. Medicinally, it is a powerful vasodilator that may have the ability to reduce intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients. It has also shown a beneficial effect on patients with inflammatory bowel disease and Huntington’s Disease. Breeders are working on creating more CBG-heavy strains by cross-breeding and experimenting with extraction times, and a medicinal strain is in the works by a Dutch medicine company. TETRAHYDROCANNABINOLIC ACID AKA THCA THCA is the precursor to THC, the most popular cannabinoid. The two abbreviations are used interchangeably on many dispensary labels despite the fact that THCA and THC are technically two different cannabinoids. THCA in its own form, which exists in the trichomes of raw and live plants, does not contain the same psychoactive effects as THC. Preliminary research on THCA is showing some promising medical and therapeutic benefits like slowing cell growth in prostate cancer and helping reduce seizures in epilepsy patients. These benefits are why superfood lovers add raw cannabis leaves to juices, smoothies, and salads. When cannabis flowers are trimmed and left to cure, the heat exposure allows the decarboxylation process to begin, which slowly starts to convert the plant’s THCA content to THC. But it’s not until you either heat it up and make some cannabutter or pack a bowl and put a flame to it that the decarboxylation process reaches the right temperature and you get… DELTA-9-TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL AKA THC When THCA is heated to its boiling point of about 315 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes on the psychoactive form of THC we all know and love. THC works by binding to CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system in a process that works like a lock and key. The stimulation from THC is what produces the euphoria and psychoactivity of cannabis, which can affect people in many different ways depending on the strain and quality of herb you’re smoking. If you’re smoking an indica strain, it’s more likely to mellow you out and help you fall asleep, but if it’s a sativa, you might find a jolt of euphoric energy or a case of the giggles. Some people don’t even notice significant differences from one strain to another. What’s important to remember about THC’s effects is that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique and the effects will vary depending on your body’s existing cannabinoid levels. If you’ve ever felt paranoid or anxious after smoking weed, it could be an overexpression of CB1 receptors, which will mellow out quickly if you can center your thoughts and focus on one thing for a couple minutes. On the contrary, if you’re suffering from depression, PTSD, or have other mental health concerns that affect your quality of life, the CB1 stimulation could be exactly what your system needs to find balance again. Other potential health benefits of THC include treatment for nausea, loss of appetite, and similar symptoms in chemotherapy patients. One pilot clinical study showed THC to inhibit tumor cell proliferation in glioblastoma multiforme patients and increased life expectancy by 24 weeks. TETRAHYDROCANNABIVARIN AKA THCV THCV is made of the same intoxicating molecules and acts on the same receptors as THC, but the effects are quite different. It’s said that the ‘high’ you get from THCV is more psychedelic but also more fleeting than the high from THC. This is why it’s called the “race car” cannabinoid – it comes on fast and leaves almost as quickly, unlike the slower onset of other cannabinoids. THCV is most potent in landrace African sativas like Durban Poison and other strains made with its genetics, which probably explains why strains with poison in the name come on so intensely for some people (me). The boiling point of THCV is 428 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you’re vaping this one you’re going to want to turn it up to a higher than usual setting. Studies have shown THCV to act as an appetite regulator, as cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-cannabis users. Another study suggests that cannabis users have lower levels of fasting insulin, which could show potential for cannabis as a medication for diabetics. CANNABINOL AKA CBN CBN is a popular therapeutic and non-psychoactive cannabinoid known for its insomnia-fighting effects. Unlike most cannabinoids that originate as CBG, CBN stems from THC that has degraded after overexposure to air, light, or heat. If you have a poor storage system (get your hands on a Cannador) or some old herb lying around, save those nugs for nighttime as they will be higher in CBN, which is a great sleep aid and appetite stimulant. According to Steep Hill Labs, 5mg of CBN is equivalent to 10mg of Diazepam. CANNABIDIOLIC ACID AKA CBDA CBDA is another raw cannabinoid that exists in the trichomes of raw cannabis leaves. As decarboxylation occurs it converts to CBD, the medical cannabis powerhouse. This is another cannabinoid that exists in only trace amounts, so breeders are working on strains higher in CBDA rather than THCA in order to increase the availability of its effects. If you add raw cannabis leaves to a juice, smoothie, or salad, you may experience some of the anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects that are similar to CBD, although there is little data to determine its effectiveness versus that of the decarboxylated version. CANNABIDIOL AKA CBD As you’ve probably figured out, CBD is the decarboxylated version of CBDA and it’s responsible for most of the health benefits when it comes to cannabis products. CBD is so popular around here that there’s actually an entire guidededicated to it and how it works with the endocannabinoid system. In short, CBD modulates CB2 receptors located throughout the central and peripheral nervous system while stalling the fatty acid that breaks down these receptors. This process helps the endocannabinoid system achieve and maintain homeostasis, which is why CBD has demonstrated anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties that offer alternative relief for a variety of conditions. CBD has no psychoactive properties, so you can reap all of these benefits without the high. CANNABICHROMENATE ACID AKA CBCA / CANNABICHROMENE AKA CBC CBCA/CBC is the third most commonly occurring cannabinoid after THC and CBD. These non-psychoactive compounds are known for powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can also be used to control swelling, and CBC’s effects are supposedly more potent when combined with THC and CBD to produce an entourage effect, in which cannabinoids work together to intensify their benefits. One study showed CBC to block pain and inflammatory responses, and another suggests that the way it acts on inflammation with a lack of side effects is safer than NSAIDs like ibuprofen. CANNABIDIVARIN AKA CBDV CBDV is similar to CBD in that it is non-psychoactive and boasts some serious medical potential. One study has shown CBDV to decrease the severity of certain types of seizures, and scientists have been researching its effects as an anticonvulsant for people with epilepsy. GW Pharmaceuticals is currently testing CBDV’s effects on patients with autism, Rett syndrome, and epilepsy. CBDV-heavy strains are most commonly found in landrace Indica strains throughout northwest India and Pakistan. The more you know about the different cannabinoids and how they interact with your body, the easier it will be to discover different strains and products that work best for you. Knowledge is power when taking charge of your own wellness, so keep learning, stay curious, and smoke up those cannabinoids. Content sourced by Jane Dope. 

11 months ago

5 moments that show 2018 was cannabis legalization’s biggest year yet

When we look back, 2018 may be the year in which marijuana legalization really won.Canada legalized marijuana, defying international treaties (which the US is also a part of) that prohibit fully legalizing cannabis.After legalizing marijuana in 2016, California opened the world’s biggest fully legal pot market in early 2018.Michigan became the first state to legalize pot in the Midwest.State legislatures, particularly New York, New Jersey, and Vermont, began taking legalization more seriously. And while Congress didn’t legalize pot at the federal level, it did legalize industrial hemp.Together, these developments represented a tidal wave for legalization — a massive shift that’s making legal pot look more and more inevitable across the country.Here are the five major stories of marijuana legalization this year, and why they matter.1) Canada legalized marijuana2) California opened the world's biggest legal marijuana market3) Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize pot4) State legislatures began taking legalization seriously5) The federal government legalized hempThe biggest marijuana news of the year: Canada, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party, fully legalized marijuana. The move made the country the first wealthy nation to legalize cannabis and the second country in the world overall after the small South American nation of Uruguay. (The Netherlands, despite its reputation, has not technically legalized marijuana.)The move is in part a big deal because it will offer a huge public experiment, with different provinces trying different approaches to legalizing cannabis, to see what works best — from varying tax rates and regulations to whether the government or private businesses should handle distribution and sales.But it’s a bigger deal in the global arena because legalization is a direct violation of international drug treaties that have been in place for decades: the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Drugs of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. Combined, the treaties require participants to limit and even prohibit the possession, use, trade, and distribution of drugs outside of medical and scientific purposes, and work together to stop international drug trafficking. This is international law.There’s some debate about whether these treaties allow reforms like medical marijuana or decriminalization, but there’s no doubt they prohibit a fully legal marijuana market. (The US has gotten around this, despite states legalizing marijuana, by pointing out that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level.)How Canada gets around this, and whether it faces any kind of diplomatic backlash, could set the groundwork for other countries looking to legalize. Will it abandon the treaties and rejoin with a caveat for pot, as Bolivia did in the 2010s for coca leaf chewing? Will it refuse to acknowledge it has violated the treaties at all, as Uruguay has done? Will it do something else entirely?Whatever Canada does, the move creates more pressure to reform the treaties. Drug policy reformers have been trying to do this for some time — to allow new approaches to illegal drugs. But Canada’s move shows that if the international treaties aren’t changed, they may soon be rendered meaningless as countries move ahead with their own reforms anyway — even if it puts them in violation of international drug law. And that could open up the rest of the world to legalizing pot.That’s why Canada’s move is such a big deal: It’s not just that a major country has legalized pot, but that its move could have significant implications around the world.While Canada is the first wealthy nation to legalize, California did something else that’s perhaps as important: This year, it allowed a recreational marijuana industry in a state that’s more populous and wealthier than any legal marijuana market (including Canada).The state’s previous medical marijuana system, in which just about anyone could stroll down to Venice Beach in Los Angeles, pay $40 or so for a medical marijuana card, and legally buy some cannabis, meant that marijuana was de facto available, so allowing recreational sales might not seem like such a big step.But there is a vast difference in scale between Venice Beach’s local medical pot shops and the burgeoning state and likely international marijuana industry that will come with full legalization. The consequences will be not just economic, but political.The new big marijuana industry, just like any other for-profit industry, wants to grow. The obvious pathway to doing that is legalizing pot in the dozens of states where it remains illegal. With many more customers thanks to California’s decision alone, the industry will have more profits to carry out the political campaigning and lobbying it needs to achieve this.This is, in fact, what legalization advocates have long expected: The marijuana industry will increasingly play more of a role in the drug policy reform movement as legalization spreads.“On some level, we have always known that,” Ethan Nadelmann, former executive director of the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, told me in 2015. “And I think 2016 may be the last year in which drug policy reform organizations, driven primarily by concerns of civil liberties and civil rights and other good public policy motivations, will be able to significantly shape the legislation. And I assume that as the years progress, various industry forces will loom ever larger.”The big problem with ballot initiatives is not a lack of public support. Based on surveys from Gallup and the Pew Research Center, more than 60 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization.Instead, the problem has long been that ballot initiatives can cost a lot of money. Whenever I ask legal pot activists why, for example, it took so long to get medical marijuana — which now polls very well virtually everywhere — in Ohio and Florida, the response is usually that those states are very expensive to run ballot initiatives in (partly because they’re relatively large and populous).Well, there’s now going to be a rapidly growing industry to cover those expenses. And that will likely lead to more victories in the ballot box and legislatures down the line.This isn’t necessarily a good model for legalization. Even some legalization advocates have warned that Big Marijuana, as a for-profit industry, won’t have the public’s best health and safety interests in mind. While marijuana isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as alcohol or other illicit drugs, it does carry some risks in addiction and overuse, accidents, non-deadly overdoses that lead to mental anguish and anxiety, and, in rare cases, psychotic episodes. Ideally, regulations would curtail this industry (as Canada is trying to do), but that isn’t how legalization typically plays out in the US.Regardless, the reality is this model will likely give legalization advocates a big ally in coming battles in legislatures and ballot boxes.In the 2018 midterm elections, Michigan legalized marijuana, making it the first state in the Midwest to do so.Before the midterms, marijuana legalization had been left to New England and a few states out west. In fact, none of the states that had legalized until November, with the exception of Alaska, were necessarily surprising: They were generally liberal bastions like California and Massachusetts.Then Michigan voted 56 percent to 44 percent to legalize. In doing so, Michigan voters demonstrated that legalization isn’t a progressive pipe dream, and the polls showing a majority of Americans support legalization are not just capturing a bunch of liberals in California.Up to this point, nine of 10 states that have legalized marijuana have done so through a ballot initiative. The one exception is Vermont, which, notably, only legalized possession, not sales.That’s starting to change. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has been pushing to legalize pot, and the state legislature is looking more and more likely to take him up on the ask next year. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) came out in support of marijuana legalization, saying it’s a priority for the first 100 days of the 2019 term, with a bill coming as soon as January. And Vermont is talking about legalizing sales.This has meaningful policy implications, since states may take different approaches to legalization than ballot initiatives so far have. But also importantly, it’s another sign that legalization is winning political clout: That typically risk-averse politicians at the state level are now pursuing legalization suggests it may not be such a politically risky policy idea now.And that could mean more states will legalize in the years to come, starting, perhaps, with New York and New Jersey.President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan did not legalize marijuana this year — not exactly a huge surprise. But they did legalize hemp, a non-intoxicating form of cannabis.Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but it doesn’t get you high. Instead, it’s typically used for its fiber to make all kinds of products — food, paper, cardboard, carpets, clothes, rope, CBD, and more.But hemp production and sales have historically been banned under federal drug laws that also prohibit marijuana. (You might see some hemp products in some places in the US, but those usually come from technically illegal sources, outside the country, or places that got narrow exceptions under recent pilot programs.) The new law, pushed particularly by McConnell, legalized hemp, letting farmers grow it and putting state and federal agencies in charge of regulation.One way to think about this: Hemp legalization is now the floor for cannabis politics. It’s now acceptable for someone as conservative as McConnell to support legalizing hemp. That’s significant movement, particularly for Republicans, from just a few years ago. (Not to mention John Boehner, the former Republican speaker of the House, is now on a legal pot company’s board of advisers.)Meanwhile, the ceiling for what federal lawmakers feel comfortable supporting has moved up as well. Over the past couple years, more and more lawmakers, including people who’ll very likely run for president in 2020 like Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, have signed onto legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level. This is increasingly becoming a mainstream position for Democrats.This gets to a strange element of marijuana legalization in the US: Even as states legalize under their own laws, pot remains illegal at the federal level. So federal law enforcement could, in theory, crack down on state-legal marijuana businesses and attempt to shut them down. Changing that federal law remains a big goal for marijuana legalization advocates.So the battle for marijuana legalization isn’t won yet. But when you add up all these shifts, the trend sure seems to be moving in a single direction. And with all that happened in 2018, it sure looks like this year was the one that really solidified the trend.Content sourced by Vox. 

11 months ago

Our Favorite Canna-Cookie Recipe Just In Time To Get Mistlestoned

If you want to know how to make canna-chocolate chip cookies for the holidays, you’ve come to the right place! Making cannabutter or oil is key to how to make canna-cookies.  The resultant edible is sometimes called a space cookie, especially when it has very high THC levels, so dosing slowly is key to having an enjoyable experience. Making chocolate chip cookies with cannabutter is an easy bake and you can add extra sugar, peanuts, or coconut oil to hash out your special cookies according to your own taste.Yield: 24 cookiesApproximate dosage: 10mg THC per cookieIngredients2 ½ cups flour, plus more for rolling1 cup sugar1 cup of 240mg cannabutter*1 egg1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon vanilla1 teaspoon saltOptional: Powdered sugar and milk, for frosting*For less potent cookies, switch out any portion of the cannabutter and replace with standard butter as desired.InstructionsBeat cannabutter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed until thoroughly combined.In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.Add dry ingredients to cannabutter mixture a little at a time, stirring until all ingredients are incorporated.Cover dough and refrigerate for an hour or longer.Remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 375°F.Roll dough on a generously floured surface to approximately ⅓” thick. Cut cookies (see below for thematic cookie cutter suggestions) and transfer to ungreased baking sheets.Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden in color.Remove from oven, transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.Get baked and enjoy ;) 

11 months ago

Using Cannabis to Cope with the Holidays

The holidays are a very stressful time for everyone because of travel, gifts, family, food and many more reasons, each dependent on the holiday. Many holidays involve family and feasting though, so no matter the circumstances, holidays are stressful. For this reason, cannabis is a perfect pairing to your holiday celebrations, and there are many ways in which you can use cannabis to cope with your holiday stress. One of the more obvious ways to consume is with an edible because people celebrate holidays with food, which means there will be plenty of desserts. Instead of smoking on the holidays, consumers can simply eat some of their favorite holiday desserts, like a pecan pie, which can be baked with cannabis. Another way to discreetly consume on the holidays is with your eggnog. Most eggnog is already spiked with alcohol, so if you're looking for a different kind of high, just pour in some cannabis infused milk or tinctures. If you still prefer smoking, vape pens might be the best way for you to consume on the holidays because since it's typically cold outside, you can easily cover the smoke with your cold breathe. So even though the holidays are stressful, there are many ways you can relax with cannabis. Content sourced by Civilized.com 

1 year ago

Cannabis Gives Health-Conscious Consumers Something Alcohol Cannot

The U.S. alcohol trade hasn't had any real competition for more than eight decades, which has given it a clear path to become the mega $223 billion industry that it is today. But now that marijuana is legal in more parts of the country, booze slingers are starting to notice a slip in profits. The situation is expected to spiral into darker territory once the cannabis plant is dragged out of the pits of federal prohibition once and for all. Some experts say this development is only around three years away. The consensus is if alcohol producers do not find a way to reconnect with the consumer, they stand to lose out big time the second marijuana goes legal in all 50 states. The latest study from RaboResearch shows that "women and older, wealthier individuals" are fully prepared to put down the bottle and give legal marijuana a shot once the federal government removes it from outlaw status. The firm says that while this part of the population may be apprehensive about dabbling in the doobie at the state level, especially considering some of the risks that are still involved with respect to employment and other factors, all of those concerns will likely go up in smoke once Uncle Sam finally embraces the herb. In fact, we could see a situation where this demographic (people with an income over $50K per year) provides the cannabis industry with the largest increase in patronage. There is another snag the alcohol industry will be forced to contend with once legal marijuana is a legitimate part of the American way: figuring out how to sell high calorie booze to the health conscious consumer.While younger folks typically ignore the fact that booze consumption can pack on the pounds, people in their 40’s and beyond are often reminded of it daily. Because of this, the nation has experienced a recent uptick in the trend of low-calorie beer. Alcohol manufacturers are doing everything they can to stock the shelves with products for those consumers trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. But marijuana already has this going for it. The herb provides a gluten-free, no calorie high that does not tax the liver, kidneys or eat away at the brain. By all accounts, pot is already set up to become the alternative for those consumers who want the buzz without the bulge. Yet it is going to take some work on the part of the cannabis industry to drive this concept home, according to researchers. “The success of marijuana’s appeal to the health-conscious consumer, however, is based on the assumption that marijuana companies will market their brands as healthy, ‘lifestyle’ products, highlighting marijuana’s health-related advantages over alcohol,” the report reads.More and more, the alcohol industry understands that it is going to be forced to split profits with cannabis sellers. Rather than resist the inevitable, some of these companies are developing cannabis products of their own. Constellation Brands, the third largest brewer in the world, is in Canada right now working to give life to a line of THC-infused beverages. In the states, the man responsible for creating Blue Moon for the Coors Brewing Company is on the verge of launching a non-alcoholic beer that comes packed with a THC punch. In other parts of the U.S. wine makers are doing much of the same. In fact, cannabis-infused beverages are considered the next major trend, according to the Cannabiz Consumer Group. It is a sector that stands to rake in annual revenues of around $15 billion. The health conscious consumer, along with those with an aversion to smoking marijuana will be the ones that make this happen. It stands to reason that if major alcohol outfits are not presently scheming up ways to counteract the legal cannabis presence, they could take a substantial hit in the next few years. Federal lawmakers, like U.S Representative Earl Blumenauer, predict that the discussion surrounding nationwide marijuana legalization will take a drastic turn following the upcoming election.Content sourced by Forbes 

1 year ago

Know Your Grower with Bull Run Craft Cannabis

What values does Bull Run stand for? Bull Run Craft Cannabis is locally owned, owner operated and steadfast about implementing sustainable cultivation practices with minimal environmental impact. What's your favorite thing about being in the industry? We love what we grow, the products we're developing, and all the amazing people in the cannabis industry - especially our customers!What strain are you looking forward to the most from your outdoor harvest? The product we're most excited about is our new Lil' Buddies 1/2 gram pre-rolls because 10% of every sale is directed towards helping rescue animals find Forever Homes, which is something we're all passionate about because we all have rescue dogs in our Furry Farm Family. Tell us about your biggest challenge in the industry and how you handle it. Receiving recognition for growing without chemicals or synthetic pesticides has been difficult. It's much easier and cheaper for some growers to use these shortcuts, which we refuse. We've met this challenge by educating the retail buyers and consumers. We love to do in-store "vendor days where we can discuss our growing methods directly with consumers. We like to play a game called "the nose knows" where we open a jar of our craft flower and have a customer inhale deeply. Because our flower is full of beautiful terpenes, your nose will be happy and the smoking experience will be enhanced and a positive one! What special processes do you use to grow? Bull Run Craft Cannabis' farm and flowers are all Certified Kind, which is the leader in organic certification in the state of Oregon. Our flower is cultivated without the use of pesticides, synthetics, or salts. We use locally sources materials from the West Coast and we do it without using heavy animal-based nutrients like bone of blood meal. Start to finish, all of BRCC's cannabis is grown with organic, non-GMO amendments. We believe in growing cannabis through living-soil cultivation practices, and we brew our own comport tease (in-house) to help our fertile soil process organic nutrients. We like to keep it simple and let nature take over. What does clean cannabis mean to you? At BRCC we try to make the world a little better and its inhabitants happier every day by doing positive things; paying our employees a living wage, growing without chemicals, helping rescue animals, keeping waste to a minimum, using compostable materials wherever possible, etc. All these things we do daily add up to growing cannabis in a clean, sustainable way. Browse Bull Run Craft Cannabis' full menu and profile here. 

1 year ago

Why Conscious Cannabis

After nearly a decade, I thought I knew a lot about the cannabis I was consuming. Turns out, I didn't, and most of us don’t know as much as we think we do about what’s really in our cannabis - at no fault to us, the information is just not readily available for us curious consumers.I’ve always been the type of person that cares about the food I eat or the skin products I put on my body so it only made sense for me to be curious about what was going into the cannabis I consumed, too. I had so many questions; what are the different ways to grow the plants? How does each method impact the flower itself? Do growers spray chemical pesticides on their plants? Do they use artificial GMO nutrients? The list went on… I started Googling around for some answers and ended up calling some farmers and dispensaries directly. I couldn’t believe how much detail and care was being put into their craft. I was stunned. Just recently learning about these incredible artisans ignited a fire in me. Just knowing how difficult it was to find this kind of information in the first place, we built Bushl to provide the information that defines brands and their products, but most importantly, for consumers to know what they're putting in their bodies. I started Bushl with the goal of creating a marketplace where consumers are empowered to be conscious about the products they purchase, how they are made, and what they’re made of, directly from the artisans themselves.The industry is growing quickly, it’s creating a lot of noise; gaining new businesses every day. As a consumer, we are inundated with different brands and it’s hard to access reliable information on where all of these products come from Bushl lives and breathes the importance of Conscious Cannabis and we work closely with businesses whose products are created consciously too. We pride ourselves on being a reliable resource to discover and learn about brands that go the extra mile to produce products that are devoid of pesticides, grown in a sustainable way, and created by people that follow ethical business practices. Bushl gives those brands a place to share their story and their values directly with you. As a company, we’re constantly pushing to further the industry and help provide the education we find necessary for consumers to make confident purchase decisions. We hold the brands we work with to a high standard so you can get high knowing your cannabis is clean, in compliance with the environment, and benefits the cannabis community as a whole.- Josh, Founder of Bushl