Not since the Beatles showed up in America has a fad as popular as cannabidiol (CBD) made the country swoon. The cannabis compound, while it does not have the power to get the user stoned, has gained a significant amount of notoriety over the past few years as an alternative to medicines designed to snuff out pain, anxiety and depression. This in spite of the fact that there isn’t a heck of a lot of evidence showing how it actually works... Read More
We are rapidly approaching that dreadful time once again: cold and flu season. All one has to do is spend a few hours in an airport — a petri dish inside the global travel system — and it becomes painfully evident by all the coughing and wheezing whipping about the terminal that it won’t be long before some kind of sickness puts us flat on our back. And that almost guarantees we will suffer fever, chills, and uninspired coughing fits, ca... Read More
In the decades since the medical marijuana movement began in earnest in the 1970s, cannabis has been anecdotally touted as an effective treatment for a variety of illnesses, including those impacting brain function, such as seizures, anxiety and depression. However, peer-reviewed research into the plant’s benefits remained stunted thanks to federal cannabis prohibition. But in recent years, new research both in the U.S. and abroad is finding... Read More
Over the years, cannabis growers have been planting weed indoors. The major contributor to this trend was escaping the prying eyes of the law. However, even with several States and Countries adopting to the legalization of marijuana, this trend is not changing as farmers figured out that by planting indoors they can better control the planting environment leading to a good harvest.
One of the significant components that need control is the type and amount of light that the plants receive. Technology has not been shy in this field as advancements have seen indoor growers shifting from traditional HID and MH lights to new LEDs in their search for a cost-friendly alternative.
However, the search for finding a cheaper alternative, most of the time, has led farmers to make the wrong decisions leading to losses in the form of dead plants. Cheap can sometimes be expensive. If you want an affordable lighting solution that will deliver the results you want, you may consider construction your DIY grow lighting system. But how?
If you are a serious indoor gardener, with just a little understanding of light and the color spectrum that plants require, you can construct a lighting system that provides only value to your plants.
Benefits of Constructing your Own Grow Light System
Some advantages follow when you construct your own grow light system. Such include;
- The grow lights are easy to set up and breakdown when you want to move them or when you no longer need them.
- They are very cost-friendly compared to the grow lights you have to purchase when entirely constructed.
- You will use readily available parts that you can salvage from large departmental stores or online at a bargain.
- You will not have to replace most of the elements that you assemble, apart from the light bulb you choose which you have to replace depending on the recommended working period.
- You can customize your lighting system to cover the whole area in your grow room and deliver light to all the plants in the area.
Here is what you will need to set up your system.
Materials Needed for your DIY Grow Light
- A metallic shelf system
- A bag of zip ties
- Power strip
- Light bulbs- you can choose between fluorescent lamps and LED light. However, you should note that LED lamps are quite pricy, but they deliver far better results. For the fluorescent bulbs, you can choose to go with a combination of warm and cool tone Fluorescent lamps while for the LED lamp a 60W full spectrum LED strip
- A surge protector
- A digital Timer
Setting up Your DIY Grow Light
Installing the Shelf
The metallic shelf is an essential piece of your grow room. It is where you will get to place your seedlings and watch them grow. You should assemble the shelving units and place it in the middle of the grow room to give you access from all the sides.
Assembling the Lights
When using a fluorescent lamp, you should set up one warm and one cool bulb in one lighting fixtures and hang it along the lengths of the shelves. Ensure that all the shelves have light bulbs that alternate from warm to cool and are parallel to each other.
The S-hooks will help you to attach the lights on the shelf. You can use an adjustable chain link to give you control over the distance you want the light to be above your plants.
When using an LED strip light, you can tie one strip per shelf. However, what matters the most is the distance away from the plants. When planting seedlings, you can place them 24 to 28 inches above, and 12 to 18 inches above if the plants are mature and in their flowering or fruiting stage.
Plugging the Lights
Before you connect the lights to the mains socket or extension cable, you should plug its cable to the surge protector, then to the power outlet. You can use the zip ties to bind up any excess cable lines to make the room look neat.
You can program a timer and set the hours you want the lights to be on every day. Finally, you can turn the entire lighting system on and watch your plants grow and thrive.
Setting up your own grow light system for an indoor garden is not only cheap but easy to accomplish. The most significant area that you need to put much consideration is selecting the right bulb that will provide your plants with the required light. We recommend using a combination of cool white and warm white fluorescent bulbs as they can both provide you with a light that mimics the entire spectrum of the sun. It will lead to healthy growing plants and eventually, a bountiful harvest. If you have any questions about how to set up your lighting system, contact us today, and we will respond to you happily.
In the 55 years since he first isolated D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (better known today as THC) with colleagues Dr. Yehiel Gaoni and Dr. Haviv Edery at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam has been the absolute leader in the science of cannabis. He basically started that science from scratch with 5 kilos of Lebanese hash the police donated to his research after Mechoulam’s boss put in the request.
Even all these years later, when Mechoulam talks pot, the cannabis world stops with its ears wide open. This latest announcement from the legendary scientist was no different.
On Sept. 23 at the CannMed conference in Pasadena, California, Mechoulam was the main event. In his keynote, he went into deep detail on the science and chemistry of his latest work. That work was described by Health Europa as building a new family of synthetic, stable cannabinoid acids molecules. Mechoulam reported that the new cannabinoids have also shown a higher potency than their all-natural peers. With that extra kick, the new cannabinoids showed a lot of promise for increased therapeutic effects.
Some of the research Mechoulam discussed included a new cannabidolic acid called HU-580. Mechoulam believes the new compound could be more effective than CBD at treating conditions like depression.
“There are many things that are still not known in the field of cannabis. The plant produces a group of compounds called cannabinoid acids. The acids were not investigated until recently, not very thoroughly at least, because they are not stable; they break down,” Mechoulam said, according to Health Europa.
He went on to speak on the demands of the pharmaceutical space directing his work in recent years. So much of his career for the last century was about discovery, now it’s moving into a phase where he is attempting to maximize the benefits of those discoveries.
“Collaboration is absolutely a necessity. Cannabis and cannabinoids are not a tiny project — one compound for one disease — however, I show that it is really a very, very wide field of research,” Mechoulam said. “We need good new drugs in a large number of fields, and this is an open field for new drugs, new preparations. I believe there will be a lot of work in this field over the next decade or so, or maybe two decades.”
One of the companies in the U.S. working on synthetic cannabinoids is Demetrix, where the phrase “synthetic cannabinoid” is kind of a trigger word in their office, due to the fact that media reports have routinely mislabeled street drugs like Spice and K2 as “synthetic cannabis” or “synthetic marijuana.” Demetrix is licensed by the DEA to do research with pure cannabinoid compounds. The ultimate goal for them, company reps say, is to get to a scalable cannabinoid production method that will allow researchers not to rely on the inferior cannabis coming out of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s farm at the University of Mississippi. Then, they’d obviously be well-positioned for wider applications for cannabinoids in the medical and cosmetic space in the future.
“The way we look at it from an economics perspective, should we work on the cheaper stuff or the more expensive hard-to-have stuff? The answer is you start with the harder-to-access stuff,” Demetrix’s CEO Jeff Ubersax told Cannabis Now. “I’d say of the hundred-plus cannabinoids, there is probably only 10 right now we could get in bulk. There are lots of those other ones we really can’t get to, that’s where we start.”
Like Mechoulam, Demetrix is synthesizing new cannabinoids, but they’re keeping their cards a bit closer to their chest than the pioneering scientist. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the wider cannabis industry will have to reckon with the methods being developed by Mechoulam, Demetrix and a handful of other companies working on synthetic cannabinoids.
TELL US, would you consume synthetic cannabinoids?
The post The Scientist Who Identified THC Is Now Working on Synthetic Cannabinoids appeared first on Cannabis Now.
Got drug testing? Hopefully TCHCOOH doesn’t love you too much, because it can produce false positives for at least 1 month.
We have already reported at VV about how drug tests can be unreliable, producing false positives. Now, new research indicates that even after not using for an entire month, it’s possible to drug test positive for cannabis.
Most drug tests that look for cannabis analyze urine for a compound called 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCCOOH). The liver produces THCCOOH as it metabolizes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis that is psychoactive and produces head effects.
But no one really knows how long THCCOOH persists in the human body. This and the potential for false positives was the basis of this new research.
False Positives for THC in the Body
70 cannabis smokers between the ages of 15 and 25 were selected for the study. The researchers cited this choice based on the age range being “the most frequent users of cannabis.” The aim was to determine how long the team would be able to detect THCCOOH in the subjects’ urine samples.
All participants consumed cannabis on Day One of the study, but abstained afterwards. The scientists used other biochemical tests to confirm that the subjects were not using cannabis in any form during the study. Researchers tested their urine every few days.
Disturbingly, after one month without using cannabis, the researchers still saw false positives, detecting THCCOOH in 40 percent of urine samples! Fully 20 percent of the samples had enough THCCOOH to fail a typical drug test for federal employment.
This led the team to stop the research before determining the maximum time the compound might persist. After all, the basic conclusion is obvious regardless: more research is needed to produce drug tests that are actually accurate and are “best equipped to confirm abstinence.”
If You Need a Drug Test
So, what should you do if you have a drug test coming up?
First of all, stay calm. Realize that false positives on drug tests are very common. For example, most medical, healthcare information, and drug information websites all have detailed information on the many OTC medications and other compounds that can cause false positives.
Second, know your rights. Some employers are willing to talk about this issue, because they already know that realistically there is a lot of variation from test to test and person to person. Before you speak to an employer about it, know your state’s laws on drug testing.
And of course watch for more information on vaping and legal rights.
In the past few years, legal cannabis has emerged as a booming global industry, despite the fact that it remains prohibited both by U.S. federal law and the UN Single Convention treaty from 1961. This is a growing contradiction on the world stage, and there is a sense that fundamental change is inevitable — despite deeply entrenched stigma and prohibitionist dogma.
Whether you want to know where to plan your next vacation or are sick of feeling behind on the constantly evolving regulations, we’ve got your back with an overview of the state of legal cannabis today.
What U.S. States Have Legal Adult-Use Cannabis?
Today, 11 states and Washington, D.C. have legal recreational cannabis: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Vermont, Michigan and Illinois.
However, four of these states have not yet set up their legal cannabis markets. In 2014, voters in the District of Columbia approved cannabis consumption, although implementation of the market has been bottlenecked by Congress, which controls the district’s budget. In January 2018, Vermont became the ninth state to legalize cannabis and the first to do so by legislation — but their law included no stipulations for setting up legal dispensaries. Michigan voted to legalize in November 2018, and has yet to open any adult-use stores. In May 2019, Illinois became the second state to legalize via legislation, and is similarly working to set up their legal market.
Do U.S. Territories Have Legal Cannabis?
The Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States, in September 2018 became first U.S. territory to legalize adult-use cannabis. It was also the second U.S. jurisdiction after Vermont to do so by legislation rather than by popular ballot. This April, the U.S. territory of Guam enacted a cannabis legalization measure that calls for the establishment of an adult-use industry on the island.
What U.S. States Have Medical Cannabis?
That’s a somewhat trickier question. California led the way with passage of Prop 215 in 1996. Since then, 32 more states have passed medical marijuana laws (of widely varying degrees of leniency) either by legislation or referendum: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington. Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. also have medical marijuana laws on the books.
But there are some ambiguities here, as some states have restrictive rules that make it functionally quite difficult for citizens to get medical cannabis. For example, the New York and Minnesota laws allow for medical use of extracts, but not herbaceous cannabis.
And then there are the so-called “CBD-only” laws. Utah in 2014 passed a law allowing medical use of cannabis extracts that contain the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD. Several other states have since followed in passing CBD-only laws, including Wisconsin, Wyoming and Virginia. Texas and Florida allow low-THC CBD-heavy strains of herbaceous cannabis, but bar actually smoking it, allowing only vaporization.
Only three states that have no medical marijuana provisions whatsoever: Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota. However, there has been some progress. South Dakota in 2017 passed a provision legalizing CBD contingent on approval by the state health department and Nebraska in 2015 passed a law that allowed for a CBD pilot program under the auspices of the state university. By this reckoning, Idaho stands alone with no legal space for medical marijuana (very broadly defined) whatsoever. This is less significant since last year’s Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD coast to coast.
Amid all the progress, there are still states where cannabis is harshly prohibited — such as Louisiana, where even the medical program has been bottlenecked by bureaucracy.
What U.S. States Are Moving Forward with Cannabis Legalization?
Quite a few. “Virtually every legislature in the country is taking a close look at its marijuana policies, and many have adopted significant reforms in 2019,” Karen O’Keefe, who directs state policy at the Marijuana Policy Project, recently told The Hill.
The MPP released a report in July on legislative progress for cannabis reform. A record 27 states have considered cannabis legalization bills this year. High hopes were dashed when statehouses failed to approve legalization bills in New York, Connecticut and New Mexico. New Mexico legislators did, however, vote to decriminalize cannabis. And in New York, lawmakers widened the state’s decrim law as a consolation prize to legalization advocates.
While there is much contestation about the details of what legalization would actually look like, in both New York and New Jersey, the governors are officially on board. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf has also just come out in favor of legalization.
What’s the Federal Status of Cannabis?
Cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act — the most restrictive category, absurdly shared with heroin. There are several pending measures in Congress to change that, and remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances.
On Sept. 25, the House passed the SAFE Banking Act, which would give cannabis businesses access to the federal banking system. The bill now moves on to the Senate. In July, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on cannabis policy that advocates hailed as “historic,” with numerous Congress members openly embracing legalization.
What’s the Federal Status of Hemp and CBD?
Hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) and hemp-derived CBD were officially legalized by passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December, but legal ambiguities persist. Most significantly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has still failed to promulgate regulations for use of CBD as an additive or ingredient. This means that any products adding in CBD are technically illegal in the eyes of the federal government, though it seems uninterested in enforcing this distinction.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has similarly failed to bring its regulations into conformity with the new federal law — leading to litigation by would-be Native American producers, who depend directly on USDA approval thanks to their unique jurisdictional status. The USDA is now promising the regulations will issued this fall, in time for next year’s planting season.
What Countries Are Moving Toward Cannabis Legalization?
Only two countries on Earth have formally legalized cannabis — Uruguay in 2013 and Canada in 2018. (Here too, there is some contestation: two Canadian provinces have banned homegrown cannabis, recently a matter of litigation.)
Pressure to legalize cannabis is fast mounting in several countries around the world.
Last October, the same month that legalization took effect in Canada, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a binding decision that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional, and ordered the country’s congress to amend the law. Mexican lawmakers in September introduced a legalization bill.
New Zealand has also pledged a referendum on legalization, to be held next year.
The recent fall of the conservative government in Italy has raised hopes that it could be the first European country to formally legalize. Bills to legalize were introduced in Portugal this year, but saw little progress. The Netherlands, contrary to widespread misconception, has not legalized cannabis, and its permissive decrim policy has recently sparked a backlash from conservatives.
South Africa decriminalized cannabis last year, and neighboring Lesotho now has a booming cannabis economy under what some have termed a policy of de facto legalization.
TELL US, when do you think cannabis will be federally legal?
The post The State of Cannabis Today: Where Weed Is Legal Around the World appeared first on Cannabis Now.
Anxiety is a familiar world problem. In the U.S around 40 million people are suffering from anxiety every year. It makes about 18 percent of the total population. Anxiety is said to be a form of psychiatric disorder. Dealing with stress is not just worrying, but also makes life difficult for the victim and those around the victim. Research indicates that both the environment and genetics play a crucial role in the development of an anxiety disorder.
Many people fall to cannabis to treat this condition as research shows that it is an effective treatment. However, cannabis and anxiety have a slightly twisted relationship. Just as it can treat anxiety, when you use it excessively, it can worsen the situation. It may be due to the active ingredients readily found in cannabis. These are THC and CBD. At low doses, they are responsible for helping treat anxiety.
THC is the main component in marijuana and is what makes you high. On the other hand, CBD does not have as much impact. However, researchers say that the higher the levels of CBD, the better it is for the users with anxiety since it acts on the receptors of serotonin.
Additionally, different varieties of cannabis in the market carry their chemical compositions and effects. Some variations may reduce anxiety, while others may increase it. Here are some of the strains you need to acquire to battle against stress.
Nordle CBD Feminised Seeds
The Nordle CBD Feminised Seeds is the high-end version of the Mr. Nice Afghani strain. It contains a THC to CBD ratio of 1:1. The cannabis seed grows with a Christmas tree shape and is from the Indica family. When you grow it in an indoor grow tent, it will remain in the flowering stage for 8 to 10 weeks and deliver a yield of about 500 gr/m2. It has thick buds that carry a fruity aroma with some notes of garlic or chives. When you grow the seeds outdoors, in the northern latitudes, you should be ready to harvest as October ends.
White Widow (fem)
The White Widow start to flower when you reduce the amount of light they receive per day. They thrive in indoor environments and can grow to a height of 2 to 4 feet. The plant’s flower for 8 to 9 weeks producing buds of high quality. The seed is a hybrid strain that originates back in the Netherlands during the 1990s. It is a cross between the South Indian Indica and the South American Sativa. It contains an abundant amount of THC that calms you down due to its powerful and lasting mental buzz. The White Widow I easy going and does not have any adverse effects.
Girl Scout Cookies Extreme (fem)
The Girl Scout Cookies Extreme is excellent for beginners as the seeds are highly resistant to pests, diseases, molds, and infestations. It can grow to a height of 66 inches and is suitable for both outdoor and indoor growth settings. The strain originated from California and is a mix of The OG Kush (an Indica) and the Durban Poison (a Sativa). It can deliver an immediate rush of euphoria and happiness.
Can Cannabis Replace Anti-anxiety medication?
A publication made in the medical journal Psychopharmacology noted that daily users of cannabis reacted rather bluntly when they are in a high-stress environment after abstaining from marijuana for some time. Users that have never taken weed felt anxious and had high levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. Addicts to cannabis were reported to have lower levels of anxiety while their cortisol levels were the same as when not under stress.
Doctors prescribe treatments such as Xanax and Klonopin to patients suffering from acute anxiety to offer them short term relief. They are useful during that brief period but leave behind side effects such as confusion, fatigue, and disorientation. The patient can as well develop tolerance and dependency on the drug. More than 8000 Americans died in 2015 due to taking an overdose of benzodiazepines.
Some drugs are prescribed for the long term relief of anxiety called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Such include Zoloft and Prozac. They bring about several side effects that include insomnia, low libido, drowsiness, headaches, and an increase in suicidal thoughts.
Compared to all the other drugs, medical marijuana has the upper hand since it is useful and has relatively fewer side effects. A publication made in the pharmacological Research identifies cannabidiol (CBD) to enhance the efficacy of the GABA neurotransmitter while working to reduce the impact of cortisol in the body.
You can treat symptoms of anxiety through psychotherapy and medication. Self-medication by using marijuana can help you deal with stress for the long term. However, due to federal restrictions, it is not established. Before using cannabis, you should first consult with your doctor. You should remember that cannabis reacts differently to everyone. The first step to acquiring the right weed strains to fight your anxiety is identifying your sensitivity and tolerance to the weed. Secondly, you need to experiment with different varieties to identify the one that reacts positively with your symptoms. We hope that by following the above, you can determine what to look for whenever searching for an excellent strain to help solve your anxiety issues.
Bài viết 3 Best Strains of Weed for Anxiety and why Weed Helps đã xuất hiện đầu tiên vào ngày Marijuana/Cannabis Strain Reviews & Vaporizer.
A new study reveals that crime rates dropped in Denver after legalization of cannabis.
Predictions from pundits that legalization would turn Colorado into a crime-ridden wasteland are wrong. A recent study proves that crime rates in Denver fell after marijuana was legalized.
In fact, the study also shows that areas with dispensaries saw substantial drops in crime. The team analyzed Denver crime data collected from January 2013 through December 2016. Recreational cannabis sales started in Colorado in 2014 after legalization.
The authors state in the abstract: “The results imply that an additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period.”
The team also found that the drops in crime rates are highly localized. In other words, nearby neighborhoods don’t see the same benefit as those with dispensaries.
Different studies, different results
Another study from earlier this year found that after legalization of recreational cannabis rates near dispensaries in Denver increased at first, but then dropped. The researchers also found that the correlation between dispensaries and crime weakened significantly as time passed.
In the more recent study, the strongest drop in crime rates were for nonviolent offenses. These include many public-order crimes such as like criminal mischief and trespassing.
Violent crime also dropped, though this wasn’t statistically significant. The researchers link this principally to fewer aggravated assaults.
The studies do show somewhat different results. However, the disparity is likely down to differing methodologies, including different data sources and geographical areas. And while certain crimes related to dispensaries persist, they are not especially common.
Legalization: Not in my backyard?
In any event, the research shows that as dispensaries come in, law enforcement comes with them. This leads to an overall drop in crime rates that contradicts the ideas some people have about legalization.
For example, in November 2017, an editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette called legalization an “embarrassing cautionary tale.” Specifically, the writer cited an increase in fatal traffic car accidents attributable to “high” driving, more homelessness, and increased drug violations in schools.
However, there is no evidence to support the high driving claim. Furthermore, the argument about drug violations in schools is patently false, citing years before legalization. Finally, although homelessness did increase during that time, experts say that had nothing to do with legalization.
The bottom line? This latest research confirms what we already know. Legalization does not cause crime to increase, and there is no real evidence to support that contention. As more states consider legalization, they can do so with research backing them up.
When it comes to consuming cannabis, there is seemingly no limit to the ways we can get that endocannabinoid rush. There are hundreds of contraptions to improve and enhance the cannabis experience and more are always in development. To get a sense of the rapidly evolving marijuana consumer product space, it’s important to note that within a matter of years, cannabis concentrate enthusiasts went from titanium nails to PuffCo Peaks and Dipsticks. For those who really want to make sure they’ve got the most clout when it comes to smoking, dabbing or vaping pot, spend some time in a cannabis consumption lounge.
The Scene at Moe Greens
It’s Tuesday afternoon and myself and two of my colleagues, Photo Editor Gracie Malley and Associate Editor Julia Clark-Riddell, are sitting in the deep-backed circular booth in San Francisco’s Moe Greens smoking lounge. Laid out on the table before we arrive is everything we need to smoke — a pipe, ashtray, rolling papers, a lighter — but behind the bar in an adjacent room are several even more enticing offerings.
Although I’ve decided to come to Moe Greens to try out a smoking device that turns out was a limited-time prototype offering, I quickly pivot my interests to what I’m going to call the “Seth Rogan special.” It’s an insane gravity bong called Stundenglass that hit the scene when a video of Rogan taking a rip off of one went viral in February 2018.
“It’s a flashy piece,” Moe Greens Manager Eric Masters says as he sets it down on the table in front of us. “People know it and people want to be able to use it… It came with Seth Rogan’s name, so it was pre-built with people coming in for it.”
The table-top piece has a pill shape with two chambers, one for water and one for smoke, and uses the force of gravity to pull the smoke through the water and into one’s lungs.
Masters sets me up with a hit that fills the chamber with a thick hit of cloudy smoke. While I am able to draw it all in, it’s my first real rip of the day and fills my eyes with tears as I exhale the Cherry Cheesecake from Gold Seal SF. But there’s no reason to worry. Masters — much like a sommelier recommending a bottle of wine — is still tableside and gets me a glass of water.
High Before You Buy
Located on a stretch of Market Street not far from the headquarters of tech giants such as Twitter and Uber, Moe Greens is one of several city-sanctioned cannabis smoking lounges in San Francisco, California. To gain entry, those 21 and older must first make a purchase (Moe Greens does not allow any outside cannabis to be smoked in the space). Once inside the lounge area, separated from the shop itself via a set of interior windows, patrons are welcome to smoke or dab in the lounge, which generally sets a 30-minute time limit on the stay.
Cannabis has been legal for adult-use in California since November 2016 and lounges like the one at Moe Greens provide invaluable spaces for public consumption. Open to travelers and locals, the lounge at Moe Greens offers not only a safe place to consume marijuana, but also access to all the newest gizmos and gadgets to do so. Masters is in charge of working with companies to bring in new smoking devices and host product demos within the space.
“It’s a try-before-you-buy model unlike anyone else has done,” he says of the program.
The lounge sees a diverse number of people on any given day and assists people who are unfamiliar with the apparatuses for smoking. Also included on every table is a card explaining the signs of over consumption (including dizziness, confusion and an accelerated heart rate), as well as some tips if someone begins to feel uncomfortable with the amount of cannabis they have consumed (water, fresh air).
Alongside differences in our body types, many things can play a role in the high one feels when consuming marijuana. Additional information on the cards at Moe Greens is a valuable ask for any cannabis smoker to consider when enjoying our favorite flower. “Today have you… traveled on a plane? Drank water? Eaten food? Consumed alcohol?”
When trying out a fancy gravity bongs worth $500, packed with top-shelf bud, it’s pretty much necessary to have such information close by.
So Many Choices
Before our afternoon tasting session ends, Masters brings over a Vitae bong with interchangeable glass pieces. The piece is stacked with a set of triple honeycomb percolators and, once filled with a sungrown Super Fruit from Elysian Fields, delivers a smooth hit.
While myself and my crew of fellow Cannabis Now colleagues enjoyed our time experimenting with the new glass in the lounge, one of the best parts of the experience for me was knowing that anyone can do the same.
Moe Greens will be hosting a demo for the Jinni “infinity waterfall” pipe on Sunday, Oct. 27. In the meantime, everyone with a desire to be hyper-acquainted with all the latest in THC tech can visit the lounge at Moe Greens.
TELL US, what’s the coolest bong you’ve smoked out of?
There are various ways you can smoke marijuana. As a cannabis enthusiast, it is quintessential that you learn how to pack and handle a pipe. Among the various cannabis contraptions in the market, the smoking pipe is the most popular. Before using a pipe, you need to learn the fundamental principles on how to use it. Cannabis pipes share the same characteristics to the traditional tobacco pipe. It consists of a bowl that is deep enough to hold the marijuana and an airtight channel that allows air to flow to the mouthpiece. In some cases, pipes can also have a second air channel that influences the airflow delivery of the first channel.
Traditional pipes were made out of ceramics, wood or even bamboos. Today, the most common cannabis pipes are made out of borosilicate glass due to its versatile nature. You can find pipes in various sizes and shapes. They can also vary in complexity and functionality. A majority of these pipes use water as a filter to cool the smoke just before you inhale. If you are new to smoking with a tube, you should look for pipes that resemble a spoon. They are inexpensive and easy to use. Here is an example of a pipe you can use:
Mantello Royal Small Tobacco Pipe
The Royal Tobacco Pipe measures 3.5 inches in length and 1.25 inches in height. It has a bowl diameter of 0.81 inches. It is easy to clean and does not require any screen. The pipe is made of resin with an acrylic mouthpiece. It is durable and has a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Packing your Bowl
Apart from only a pipe, you need a heating element such as a lighter to help you smoke your pipe. There are numerous types of heating elements made from non-butane that you can choose. However, the most effective heating element ensures that the heating conditions are correct when burning a pipe bowl. A lot of consumers prefer burning their bowls with a wick since it does not give off any undesirable taste. A glass wand can as well give off similar results. However, upon use, it vaporizes the weed and gets rid of the combustion smoke but still maintains a lighter note of cannabinoids and flavor.
You should also consider whether or not to use a screen for your pipe. A screen is a protective barrier that helps to protect you from inhaling small bits from burning cannabis. If you do not get a filter to use, you can use a piece of wire that is twisted into a coil or a small dry rock that measures the same as your pipe bowl. When making a makeshift pipe screen, you should not use aluminum foil or any soda can since it may be coated with materials that are dangerous to breathe in.
Essentials When Preparing Your Cannabis Bowl
You need to properly prepare your pipe bowl to maximize the amount of air that flows into your device to deliver the smoke effectively. The first and most significant step would be to break down the marijuana plant. Chopping it into smaller pieces allows the air to flow freely into the bowl. Still, you should make sure that it is not broken down too finely. Using a grinder can be the best option.
If you want to prevent particles from passing through the bowl, you can stuff the bottom part with a stem if you do not have a screen. It also helps make the airflow even better. Additionally, you should pack your marijuana in the bowl lightly at the bottom but densely at the top. It helps to keep the top burning while enough airflow gets into the pipe.
Rules to Follow When Smoking Cannabis with a Pipe
If it is your first time to use a pie, there are a few details you need to observe to get the best experience. When smoking in a session with other people, it is crucial that you ensure the bowl you are using is proportionate to the size of your smoking circle. When alone, you can use a pipe with a micro bowl, one that you can consume in one single hit. However, when in a larger group, you should use densely packed party bowls so that each attendee gets to smoke a fresh hint of marijuana.
It is the provider of the cannabis that gets to choose who to light the first cannabis. You should burn only a fraction of the visible cannabis to give everyone a similar experience. Everyone can then get to enjoy the great flavor of marijuana.
You need to keep your pipe clean to smoke cannabis properly. Resins from marijuana build up over time in pipes, making them cloggy. You, therefore, need to perform occasional maintenance of your weed bowl regardless of whether it is of wood, metal, or ceramic.
With the knowledge above, you can now pack and smoke cannabis using a pipe on your own. You should always remember to practice the right etiquette when smoking with other people. More importantly, you should be careful when handling marijuana only to smoke it in a safe and legal location.
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The cannabis plant contains over 100 different cannabinoids, each interacting with the human brain in a specific way. Researchers are increasingly focusing on the key role dopamine plays in those interactions.
This is not surprising, as dopamine is critical to the brain’s “reward system,” which has a part in creating motivation by “rewarding” us with a euphoric kick — or, in its negative role, denying us that kick. This, in turn, makes dopamine crucial to understanding addiction and other behavior patterns identified as pathological, such as depression.
The ongoing research into cannabis and dopamine may shed light on the recent string of much-hyped claims linking cannabis use to “psychosis and schizophrenia” — and what the actual risks, and potential benefits, really are.
All About the Dopamine
The evidence for a cannabinoid-dopamine link has been mounting for some time. What exactly the link is, and what it means for long-term users, is not yet clear.
A 2016 British study on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that “the available evidence indicates that THC exposure produces complex, diverse and potentially long-term effects on the dopamine system, including increased nerve firing and dopamine release in response to acute THC and dopaminergic blunting associated with long-term use.”
This suggests an immediate buzz from “increased nerve firing,” but diminishing returns as dopamine production is “blunted” (no pun intended, we may presume). This is a pattern that may seem familiar to many long-term users.
A paper entitled “A Brain on Cannabinoids: The Role of Dopamine Release in Reward Seeking,” published in 2012 by Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, reviewed several recent studies to postulate that problems with dopamine release could be the cause for “cannabis-withdrawal syndrome.”
It stated that quitting pot can cause “anxiety/nervousness, decreased appetite/weight loss, restlessness, sleep difficulties including strange dreams, chills, depressed mood, stomach pain/physical discomfort, shakiness, and sweating.” This all may seem rather overstated, but it is plausible that cannabis creates its craving by monkeying with the dopamine-regulated reward system. “It is likely,” the paper concluded, “that these withdrawal symptoms contribute to cannabis dependence through negative reinforcement processes.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC’s effects on mood are determined by two types of neurons: GABA neurons and glutamatergic (glutamate-releasing) neurons.
GABA cells (for gamma-aminobutyric acid, the type of neurotransmitter these cells pick up) block the release of dopamine in order to keep you more stable, but THC can inhibit the release of GABA neurons. When the GABA neurons are inhibited, you get that pleasant dopamine rush. When the glutamatergic cells are inhibited, your brain is deprived of glutamate — which, akin to dopamine, is associated with pleasure, and closely interacts with it.
This dual effect may explain why some people enjoy cannabis and others do not: “Whether the drug is experienced as rewarding or aversive depends in large part on which of the two neuron types is inhibited more,” the NIDA wrote. And this can vary from organism to organism. “As a result, when a person is exposed to THC, the experience can be rewarding, aversive, or neutral.”
Cannabinoids As ‘Anti-Psychotic’ Treatment
Recent research has looked to cannabinoids as possible treatments for psychiatric disorders — and like most such treatments, this has to do with the impact on how dopamine is produced and transmitted in the brain.
Traditional “antipsychotics” appear to function by controlling the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline, acetylcholine and serotonin. An August article in Medical Life Sciences News states, after reviewing six peer-reviewed studies: “The dopamine hypothesis, which has dominated psychosis treatment to date, postulates that an excess of dopamine in the brain causes psychotic symptoms.”
Antipsychotic medications widely in use today bind to dopamine receptors, thus reducing dopamine production. But for those people who do not respond to these traditional pharmaceuticals, cannabinoids are being explored as an alternative treatment.
CBD is particularly looked to as a possible “new class of treatment for psychosis.” Citing recent studies, the Medical Life Sciences report finds: “When the effects of CBD as an adjunct to conventional antipsychotic medication are examined, modest improvements are found on cognition and the impact of patients’ illness on their quality of life and global functioning.”
But if CBD is chilling your dopamine out, THC might be flooding your neuro-receptors with the stuff — at least initially. That’s because while CBD appears to be an antagonist of the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors, TCH appears to activate those same CB1 receptors, causing feelings of euphoria.
Long-Term Brain Changes?
The same cannabinoid-dopamine link that holds hope for new treatments may also point to risks for heavy cannabis users, especially those whose brains are still developing. A 2017 study by researchers at Utah’s Brigham Young University, published in the journal JNeurosci, found evidence that long-term cannabis use may in fact change the brain.
The study focused on the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a region of the brainstem identified as one of the two most important clusters of dopamine receptors (the other is the adjacent substantia nigra). The researchers examined how the VTA’s cells changed in adolescent mice that received a week of daily THC injections. They compared the results on normal mice and “CB1 knockout mice” — that is, those genetically tweaked to disable their CB1 receptors. They especially looked for impacts on GABA cells.
The findings determined that “THC acutely depresses GABA cell excitability” — which actually means that high-THC cannabis can overcome the GABA cells and cause the release of more dopamine, giving you that sought-after buzz.
Here the team postulates a clue to the brain mechanism behind what is called “cannabis use disorder” — defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 as a “problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”
Of course, critics have pointed out that such categories are inherently question-begging: Is the “impairment or distress” actually caused by the cannabis use, or are people who suffer from such “impairment or distress” for unrelated reasons self-medicating (consciously or not) with cannabis? If the latter, cannabis use may actually be having a positive, therapeutic effect on sufferers, and the theorists of “cannabis use disorder” may be reading things precisely backwards.
Some Skepticism Warranted
How this research is applied and interpreted by the psychiatric establishment definitely demands some critical scrutiny, given the long-entrenched prejudice against cannabis, and bias in favor of prescription pharmaceuticals.
In 2014, numerous media reports (both American and British) touted a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences purporting to link cannabis use to anxiety and depression. The researchers studied the brains of 24 cannabis “abusers” — defined as those who smoke multiple times a day — and how they reacted to methylphenidate (more commonly known as Ritalin), a stimulant used to treat hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorder. The study found the “abusers” had “blunted” behavioral, cardiovascular and brain responses to methylphenidate compared with control participants. The “abusers” also scored higher on negative emotional reactions. The researchers concluded that cannabis interferes with the brain’s reaction to dopamine.
Mitch Earleywine, professor of psychology at SUNY Albany, speaking to this reporter at the time, raised the same questions about possible confusion of cause and effect in such studies.
“I think that giving folks Ritalin or any other stimulant in an effort to assess dopamine release says little if anything about how cannabis users would respond to natural sources of reinforcement,” Earleywine said. “These people also weren’t randomly assigned to use cannabis, so we have no idea if the altered dopamine reaction preceded or followed cannabis use. Finally, I think if any Big Pharma product did the exact same thing in the lab, we’d be reading about how it protected people against the addictive potential (and induced dopamine release) associated with Ritalin or other stimulants.”
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