Archive for the ‘Cannabis’ Category

This piece originally ran on April 21st, 2015, in The Leaf Online as, “Nip it in the Bud: Cannabis Farming Is Not Causing California’s Drought.” It was picked up and ran by AlterNet on April 22nd, with the title, “Weed and Water in California: Pot Isn’t The Problem.” All photos were taken by me, while visiting family in the Central Valley in 2009.

Nip in the bud” To break a bad habit before it forms.

There’s nothing new about bad cannabis science, but now in the days of cannabis policy reform it often seems that new examples are cropping up every day, hoping to mislead the public into believing the ‘virtue’ of prohibition.

Time to nip them in the bud.

Nip it In The Bud 2 - Drought - Dead Orchard Img 46

California has been in a drought for the past four years. Most of the state has received under 10 inches of rain, meeting the criteria to be labeled a desert. This conundrum has made California a testing ground for a battle over water rights, where cannabis growers are being unjustly scapegoated as the culprits behind the worst drought the state has seen in over a millennium.

It all started when a recent study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlifefound that illegal and unregulated cannabis growing could potentially be a threat to sensitive wildlife and their habitat. The researchers use many qualifying words in their study, because many of the facts aren’t sufficiently well-known to properly say how big of a threat cannabis growing could be to endangered species like the Coho salmon. Regrettably, most journalists reported on this uncertainty with headlines like “Pot is Making California’s Epic Drought Worse” and “California is in One of its Worst-Ever Droughts Because People Are Growing Too Much Weed.”

David Downs, with SFGate’s Smell the Truth, is one of the only journalists to get it right, properly recognizing that cannabis growing is a “tiny sliver of water use in the state.” The study estimates that the average cannabis plant takes 6 gallons of water every day. Chris Van Hook, founder of the Clean Green organic cannabis certification program, estimates that while plants begin taking about a gallon of water a month they can end up consuming nearly 15 gallons a day. Chris estimates that all the growing in Mendocino county consumes about 32 million gallons at the height of growing season.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife study found that,“In California, irrigated agriculture is the single largest consumer of water, taking 70–80% of stored surface water and pumping great volumes of groundwater.” Almonds alone consume 3 billion gallons per day, out of the 30 billion gallons used by agriculture every day in California; 10% of the total agricultural water use and 100 times as much water as Mendocino uses for cannabis growing.

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Notice the blue sign that says “Almonds.” This *was* an almond field, now it lays fallow.

California grows much more than just almonds. You may be wondering, just how much food does California grow? According to the California Department of Water Resources, California is the only state with the right climate to grow almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes and walnuts. California also produces over 250 types of crops, leading the country in 75 of those.

With the current drought, it is hard to see California continuing to keep up its same rate of food production, which may further drive up prices. The drought has created a state of emergency and has led to state-wide water rationing. The April snowpack, which should be at its peak, is actually the lowest it has been recorded since 1950; a record low of 5% of average.  2014 was the third driest year in over a hundred years and the warmest year on record.

Before this current drought California saw another drought from 2009-2010. This previous drought wasn’t caused by natural causes or climate change so much as it was caused by short-sighted politics. A federal ruling to protect the endangered Delta Smelt caused water to be diverted from thousands of acres of farmland in the Central Valley. This led to entire orchards being left for dead or laid fallow, including precious almond trees like those shown above, which take over three years just to produce fruit.

12 (Dustbowl Orchard)

These may have been almond trees, before the ‘Congress created dust bowl’ came and turned off their water supply.

Unfortunately, almond trees are not cannabis plants and don’t have a three month growth cycle. When those trees were killed by politics five years ago, the new ones planted to replace them didn’t even begin to produce almonds until the current drought was in full swing and water rationing was imposed. While endangered species like the Delta Smelt and Coho Salmon need to be protected, preservation must be balanced against the humanity’s need for water. As water gets increasingly scarce the political calculus at play will need to be re-evaluated. If better decisions aren’t made during this natural drought than during the self-inflicted one, those almond trees may never get a chance to fruit.

40 (The Dead Orchard #2)

If better decisions aren’t made to confront the current drought then dead orchards like this will be an all too common sight.

In response to the Reefer Madness panic over the minuscule amount of water being used for cannabis growing the legislature has released two bills, AB 243 and a similar bill in the Senate,SB 165. Both laws would strengthen existing laws governing cannabis farming and other illicit activities on public and private lands. The patient advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, opposes both bills as they currently stand and feel patients are being unfairly scapegoated. ASA makes a good point considering other groups, like Nestle, are allowed to skirt legality to bottle millions of gallons of groundwater every year to sell bottled water back to the same people they took it from.

The real culprit behind the California drought isn’t outdoor cannabis growers, as much as it is every person who drives a car, everyone who doesn’t buy local or sustainable products, or indoor cannabis growers. In short, everyone who has ever contributed to climate change in any way. Indoor growing has a massive carbon footprint and greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions; in California, it is “responsible for about 3% of all electricity use.” Outdoor growing can be done in a sustainable way that uses closed loop systems, creating minimal environmental harms with relatively little carbon footprint.

Scientists have identified a new climate trend for California, and all other coastal areas like it, where they will get more erratic temperatures, less predictable seasons, and generally colder temperatures. This phenomenon is known as “Coastal Cooling;” it is even more intense in urban areas. Despite current warming, it appears that cooler and wetter weather could be in the future for California. As climate change intensifies, the West Coast will see more erratic weather and it is hard to say what it could mean for California’s farmers and everyone else who calls the Golden State home.

Post 8 - Squarebar Cocoa Crunch

Brand: Squarebar (Not to be confused with Simple Squares)

Product: Cocoa Crunch Organic Protein Bar

Weight: 1.7oz / 48g

Cost: $2.49/per from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 210

Total Fat: 9g, Sat. Fat 6g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 50mg

Potassium: 230mg

Total Carb: 22g

Fiber: 2g

Sugars: 14g

Protein: 12g

Protein per ounce: 7.06g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.21

Carb to Protein Ratio: 1.83-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 15% DV

Phosphorous: 2%

Magnesium: 4%

Zinc: 2%

Organic, gluten free, non-GMO, soy free, vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility, but good manufacturing practices are used.

Flavor:

I ate it so fast I barely had time to process the flavor. It was so good, so amazingly deliciously good. Chocolate melted around a peanut butter center with crunchy rice. This is what all those mediocre choco-peanut protein bars are trying and failing to taste like. It also had a great mouth feel, kind of like eating a mouth full of peanut butter and chocolate. I would say I enjoyed this more than any other bar I have reviewed so far, even the scrumptious Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

Packing in over 7 grams of protein per ounce, the Squarebar has the highest amount of protein by weight out of any of the bars I have reviewed thus far. What makes the protein content even better it is all plant based protein with no whey or soy as filler.  I left the Burning Man tag off this post for obvious chocolatey reasons, this is a textbook example of the type of bar that will melt into a gooey mess in high heat.

One extra plus for Bay Area residents like me is that they are local, made in Alameda. If I wanted to I could bike to them and pick up the bars in person creating no greenhouse gas emissions in shipping; this is the processed food equivalent to going to the farmers market. I just made a run to Whole Foods to get some more protein bars for review, up until now they all came from my local Pharmaca here in Oakland. The Squarebar is the first out of the Whole Foods bars I am reviewing.

Post 4 - Evo Hemp

Brand: Evo Hemp

Product: Cashew Cacao + Raw Antioxidant (Blueberries)

Weight: 1.69oz /48g

Cost: $2.25/per from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 185

Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat 1g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 0mg

Potassium: 300mg

Total Carb: 24g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 10g

Protein: 7g

Protein per ounce: 4.14g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.32

Vit A: 6% DV

Vit B1: 4% DV

Vit B6: 6% DV

Vit C: 4% DV

Magnesium: 15% DV

Zinc: 4% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 15% DV

Phosphorous: 10% DV

Manganese: 10% DV

Organic, raw, gluten free, vegan, and soy free.

Not made in a gluten free facility.

Flavor:

If you couldn’t tell from my previous posts, I love hemp, so the idea of a protein bar largely made of hemp definitely has some appeal. The flavor wasn’t particularly inspiring nor unpleasant in any way. It was somewhat sweet, yet savory, the dates that make up much of the bar are a large flavor component. The mouth-feel was totally awesome! It had a cake-like texture, reminiscent of a denser angel food cake or pound cake. There are many benefits to eating a raw diet and for those who choose to eat raw your options in terms of protein bars is very limited. Thankfully, you have the Evo Hemp Cashew Cacao protein bar, which has the third highest protein per ounce ratio out of the bars I have reviewed so far paired with one of the better flavors/mouth-feels. This is the only bar I have reviewed that contains any phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins; this wide range of nutrients makes the Evo Hemp bar, perhaps, the overall most nutritious bar I have reviewed so far. This would also be a great protein bar for bringing to Burning Man as there is nothing in it to get melty and gooey inside the wrapper.

Do you want a handy map that lays out every recreational and medical cannabis state in the country? Ever wanted to travel to another state and wondered if your medical cannabis recommendation would be good there? How about if it is legal for patients to own guns?

I’ve got one infographic that has all of that information and more. Please share it around widely, improve on it, do whatever you’d like. Just please give credit to the source. It may not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

Cannabis Travelers Guide Infographic RELEASE

Enjoy, and travel safe. If you’re traveling abroad my advice is to do some research on the country you are going to and see if it is worth the risk. When I flew to Hungary I left my cannabis at home because it wasn’t worth the risk of a lifetime in jail for drug trafficking due to very harsh drug laws.

Today is April 20th, and it is now 4:20pm. Right at this moment people are lighting up joints, pipes, bongs, bowls, firing up vaporizers, eating edibles, and consuming cannabis in all manner of other ways. Today is the day and now is the time to get high. If you are wondering why the cannabis community chooses this particular day and time then you should check out my post from last 4/20 which tells the story of the Waldos and the birth of 420.
I am grateful to have an amazing job in the cannabis industry, the only downside is that I am working every April 20th from now into forever. While I used to have the day off to enjoy partying and smoking with friends, listening to great music and having a wonderful and relaxing time, I now help other people enjoy 420 by selling them what they need to properly partake in the holiday.
To help you properly experience this 4/20, and to let me reminisce on 420’s past, I have a great post for you on the history of the 420 celebration at the University of Santa Cruz. This smoke out has been happening for over a decade and had grown to such a size by 2004 that Rolling Stone ran an article about it with the headline, “The Most Stoned Students on the Most Stoned Day on the Most Stoned Campus on Earth.” The school retaliated with an op-ed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which rambles along attempting to discredit the Rolling Stone article before describing it as “accurate.”
April 20th, 2008: A Campus on Lock Down
In 2008, the University attempted to put the campus on lock-down for the day, and did not let any traffic onto campus, even buses. This is after 2007, when the university attempted to stop the smoke out by assembling a large group of police in Porter Meadow, only to have them driven off by an even larger crowd of protesters.
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Did the school even consider people needing the bus to get to class?

This did not stop determined throngs of students and other 420 aficionados from swarming onto campus by foot, walking for miles to get to Porter Meadow for the smoke out. The complete lock-down also did not stop the university from claiming they ‘permitted the 4/20 event to happen‘ and let some traffic onto campus.
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The student body responded to the lock-down by having a pre-420 protest on Earth Day, April 18th, 2008. UCSC has a very open campus, with more ways in than can possibly be locked up. Like in 2007, the people would not be stopped and found a way to make the event happen.

4:20pm on 4/20


After the fight to have 420 it’s time to disarm UCSC.

In 2009 the University didn’t even bother trying to lock the campus down, they realized it was a failed endeavor. All the administration did was send out a strongly worded email, wagging a finger at students who brought guests onto campus for 420. Despite all the official backlash, UCSC’s 420 celebration continues to grow every year. According to Bradley, at Santa Cruz IndyBay, “Porter Meadow at UCSC has traditionally been the largest 420 gathering point around.” And in 2009, what a mixed gathering it was. 2008-09 were my only years attending the UCSC smoke out, and the major change from one year to the next was the addition of fundamentalist Christian protesters.

Are YOU on the highway to Hell? I sure am, rocking out with ACDC.

A meeting of minds. A dreadlocked mind meets one in a hard-hat.

Glad I am just a Buddhist, not a Catholic, and can still get into Heaven…or am I a false religion?

I don't fear God, I do fear the fact that you are allowed to vote.

I don’t fear God, I do fear the fact that you are allowed to vote.

After five minutes of misogynistic comments, a dreadlocked man tackled him from off to the side. Not all stoners are passive, some smoke sativa and get all hyphy.

All the protesters and police in the world couldn't stop this man.

All the protesters and police in the world couldn’t stop this man. I think five blunts at once has to be a record.

By 2013, with over 2,000 people it wasn’t just the size of the event that had grown, but the size of the joints too. Police confiscated a nearly 3-pound joint, the size of a baseball bat; estimated to be worth $15,000. This record-setting joint was big enough news to get UCSC’s 420 smoke out it’s first international press from the DailyMail UK. 2014 saw a return to Porter Meadow for another session and a return of the police presence, hoping to confiscate some huge nugs to go with their bat, to use as balls in a game of Buds-ketball.
Tomorrow will be the moment of truth. Will UCSC officials continue to unfairly punish cannabis patients and others who gather at Porter Meadow in peaceful protest of our country’s failed drug laws? Or will the administration embrace UCSC’s identity as a stoner school, like Chico and Humboldt? Time will tell.

Continuing from where my last post left off discussing the history and various uses of hemp, let me move on to discuss CBD-rich cannabis which is often branded today as being hemp for marketing purposes. This hemp is genetically identical to cannabis, as they are the same plant, and is being called hemp merely for convenience of marketing under the new definition of hemp created by Congress with the Farm Bill where any cannabis plant that tests under 0.3% THC is now hemp. This re-definition, while legalizing hemp farming and research in America, is also blind to the complex genetics of the cannabis plant and all cannabinoids other than THC that make it up. I advocate for a whole-plant solution that embraces all cannabinoids and terpenes as potential cures, and views both hemp and cannabis as one plant, rather than preserving an artificial layman’s distinction. Apparently, the only thing that separates hemp from cannabis now is 0.1% THC, is it that much of a jump to just view them as the same plant? In support of my view, that CBD/hemp legalization is not enough, I have written several articles which discuss the value of CBD-rich cannabis and how CBD only legalization may be a Red Herring for our movement.

Charlatan’s Web – A CBD Debacle

Baby Steps to Legalization – CBD Only Laws And Decriminalization

End Prohibition for Whole Plant Cannabis – Why CBD Only Isn’t Enough

My research on Charlotte’s Web and other CBD rich strains led me to interview Jason David, CBD expert and star of the Discovery Channel show Weed Wars.

Interview with CBD Expert Jason David

Please keep your eyes open for future coverage on Charlotte’s Web, CBD-rich cannabis, and hemp/cannabis legalization.

As many wonderful benefits as cannabis can confer to the human body, it pales in comparison to what hemp can do for humanity and our world. When I first began my research into cannabis legalization while I was a student at San Jose State I realized early on that talking only about cannabis missed half of the discussion, perhaps even the bigger half, While cannabis ability to cure cancer is miraculous, I think the idea of carbon-neutral biofuels made from hemp is far more phenomenal. We have had the technology to produce carbon neutral biofuels from cellulose for nearly half a decade now and hemp would be ideal candidate. It isn’t just biofuels; everything currently made from oil and many things made from trees could all be made from hemp, stronger and cheaper with less environmental impacts. I am not the only one who has long been enamored with hemp, colonial American farmers were required to grow this miracle plant by law; more recently the late and great Hemperor himself, Jack Herer, brought cannabis and hemp back into the vogue as solutions to humanities woes with his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Much of what I now know is thanks to Jack and his amazing research into the history of cannabis, may he rest forever in the highest of spirits.

 

I’ve ran a few pieces for The Leaf Online about hemp, beginning with a history lesson, moving on to discuss what separates cannabis from hemp, and finishing with a breakdown on how hemp biofuels can save the world.

History of Hemp in Colonial America

Cannabis or Hemp, What’s in A Name?

Hemp Biofuels to Save The World

This next article, while related to hemp, is more of a CBD-rich cannabis related article. I’ve included it because it would be national hemp legalization, but under the banner of Charlotte’s Web, CBD-rich cannabis, and the Stanley Brothers, rather than being full cannabis-hemp legalization, as we should be talking about. If this Charlotte’s Web Hemp Act were to pass it is unlikely to help even 30% of cannabis patients; on the other hand it would be a major boon to hemp farmers. That being said, hemp is pretty much already legal after the passage of the Farm Bill.

End Prohibition for Whole Plant Cannabis – Why CBD Only Isn’t Enough

 

Keep you eyes peeled for more of my coverage on hemp, CBD-rich cannabis, and Charlotte’s Web.

Hey readers, here is the next round of my articles from the Leaf Online.

 

I did a four part series about efforts to legalize cannabis in 2016, and what I feel they should keep in mind to be successful. As a student of history, I draw heavily from the lessons I learned as a regional director for the Proposition 19 campaign, which came 4% away from legalizing cannabis in California in 2010. This four part series is what began my writing for The Leaf Online back in April of last year. While they are my first articles with TLO they are just as worth reading now as they were when I wrote them, perhaps even more poignant as we move closer to 2016.

 

1. Part One: Unity

2. Part Two: Funding

3. Part Three: Education

4. Part Four: Allies

 

Expect more coverage on 2016 from me as we move closer to the election, and until then I will have plenty of other fascinating posts for you to read,

Hey readers,

 

My apologies for my absence from posting here. I have been very busy writing for The Leaf Online, an online cannabis newspaper that used to be a print paper as well, but like many newspapers of the modern era went digital. The Leaf ran updated versions of all my cannabinoid profiles from this blog, which I highly recommend checking out.

Before getting into any of the details on cannabinoids themselves you should read about your CB receptors. The CB receptors are the main receptor sites that cannabinoids interact with in the human body, there currently are two identified types of CB receptors. CB1 is the receptor that THC and the endo-cannabinoid Anadamide interact with to produce feelings of euphoria; feeling high. While it has other functions as well, producing euphoria is the main function CB1 is known for. CB2 is presently seen as the receptor type where the majority of medicinal benefits come from. If you want to know more about the CB receptors you’ll need to see my post.

 

For more on the cannabinoids see my series of cannabinoid profiles on The Leaf Online.

1. CB1 and CB2

2. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

3. Cannabidiol (CBD)

4. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv)

5. Cannabigerol (CBG)

6. Cannabichromene (CBC)

7. Tetrahydrocannabolic Acid (THCa)

8. Cannabinol (CBN)

9. Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa)

10. Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGa)

11. Anandamide

See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online,Cannabinoid Profile – Anandamide!

Formula: C22H37 NO2

Molecular Mass: 347.53468 g/mol

Decarboxylation Point: ????

Boiling Point: ????

LD50 (Lethal Dose): Currently Unknown for humans, 100mg/kg for mice  (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg)

First isolated in 1992, Anandamide is a neurotransmitter and endo-cannbinoid, a cannabinoid produced within the body. Anandamide, also known as N-Arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, is  an endogenous cannabinoid that acts as a “key” molecule fitting into the “locks” of the CB1 and CB2 receptors around the body. It’s name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss, and the word amide. An amide is a type of acid found within the body. Anandamide is the bliss amide, though it is more widely called the bliss compound (not to be confused with the spirit molecule, DMT). Very appropriate to the Sanskrit origins of it’s name, anandamide has been shown to be boosted by doing yoga, which may explain why those yogis are so calm and blissful all the time.
Anandamide can be thought of as the body’s version of THC, it has many of the same therapeutic effects and if it wasn’t for the presence of anandamide in the body we wouldn’t have the CB1 and CB2 receptors that all cannabinoids interact with. Anandamide doesn’t exist solely in the human body. Outside of the body this endo-cannabinoid can be found in chocolate. Next time you’re enjoying a chocolate bar allow that anandamide to jog your memory, and enjoy those sweet cannabinoids.

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Angiogenic  Causes new blood vessels to form from pre-existing blood vessels.

Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.

Anxiolytic – Relieves anxiety.

Euphoriant – Produces feelings of euphoria, promotes happiness and relaxation.

Neurogenic  Promotes the growth of new brain cells. Specifically within the Hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory and spatial awareness (just like CBD).

 

The Metabolism of Anandamide

Currently Being Studied For

Angiogenesis: Anandamide is unique among cannabinoids for its ability to cause blood cells to split and form new blood cells. This is known as angiogenesis and proper functioning is crucial to fighting off the spread of cancer due to the necessity of oxygen, nutrients, and bodily waste removal that come with it.
Anxiety: Anandamide, like THC, has been shown to reduce anxiety. This 2009 study, while done on mice, still sheds plenty of light on the mechanisms that AEA uses to reduce mental stress and anxiety in those experiencing it.
Cancer: As early as 1998, Anandamide had been identified as an anti-proliferative compound. This means that, like most cannabinoids, Anandamide helps slow the growth and spread of cancerous cells. Specifically the 1998 study looked at its role in inhibiting the proliferation of breast cancer cells. A more recent study from 2007 showed that AEA not only suppressed the growth of tumors it also spurred the formation of new blood cells. If that wasn’t enough Anandamide also induces COX-2-dependant cell death, a type of apoptosis that helps control the growth of cancerous cells. Specifically, AEA was found to do this in apoptosis resistant colon-cancer cells.
Memory Consolidation: Anandamide has been shown to boost in memory consolidation, a process where things in the short term memory get transferred into the long term memory. This gives Anandamide a very unique and important role in allowing people to function normally and to build on their prior knowledge, rather than having to relearn the same things constantly. You can think of memory consolidation as a fancy way to say learning. This same study emphasized the anti-anxiety effects of AEA.