Posts Tagged ‘Cannabis’

Me at the 4/20 Celebration at the University of Santa Cruz, 2009.

Me at the 4/20 Celebration at the University of Santa Cruz, 2009. Note the pendant and T-Shirt.

I would have got this up on 4/20 itself but I was busy working a ten day week at the world’s largest dispensary, making sure our festivities went off successfully (they did). Now I am back with the facts on this unique American holiday.

Growing up in California, specifically in Marin county and San Francisco, I have been steeped in cannabis culture all my life. This makes sense since San Francisco is where the hippie movement originated. So it is no surprise that I have known the significance of 420 and the myths behind its origins from a tender age, since before I knew the significance of 666 (one of those side effects of being raised as a Buddhist hippie). Over my twenty six years in the Bay Area I have heard all manner of stories about why 420 is associated with cannabis, ranging from the plausible to the ridiculous. I’ll be profiling and debunking the most prevalent ones then giving you the real low down on how 4:20 became the time to smoke and April 20th became the day.

I’m going to start with the most ridiculous then move to the most plausible.

Bob Marley’s Birthday/Death: April 20th is not either Bob Marley‘s birthday or the day of his death.

April 20th is the Best Day to Plant Cannabis: Any experienced grower will tell you this is a load of bull. The best time to plant depends on where you live, current climatic conditions, whether you are planting indoor or out, and numerous other contextual factors. Many people choose this day as a day to begin planting but there is no real reason other than a personal choice.

The Number of Chemical Compounds in Cannabis: While more plausible still wrong, there are currently 315 identified chemicals in the cannabis plant. We still don’t have the full chemical profile of cannabis, and we knew even less back in the 70’s when 420 was started.

Police Code for Cannabis: Police codes change from one country to another and from one region to another, but to my knowledge 420 is not a police code for cannabis related activities anywhere for any agency. 420 does happen to be the code for a homicide in Las Vegas though (in many area’s it is 187).

The Number of the Congressional Bill to Legalize Cannabis: Unfortunately no, there is no bill currently introduced that would legalize cannabis this session, usually there is and there is bipartisan support for it. 420 is the number for Senate Bill 420 which expanded California’s medical cannabis program in 2003.

That’s it for the major rumors and myths in need of debunking. You may now be left wondering, if that is all bogus then what’s the real story?

The Waldos

The real story on how 420 became the magic number for everything marijuana related is the story of a group of kids from San Rafael High School in the early 1970’s. This group was known as the Waldos because they would gather and smoke around a wall after school at 4:20pm. Or at least that is how the Waldos’ legendary story was first passed on to me many years ago, when I was a highschool student myself, smoking near a wall at 4:20pm after school. But here is the full story of the Waldos and how 420 originated in the words of Waldo Steve himself.

One day in the Fall of 1971 – harvest time – the Waldos got word of a Coast Guard service member who could no longer tend his plot of marijuana plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station. A treasure map in hand, the Waldos decided to pluck some of this free bud.

The Waldos were all athletes and agreed to meet at the statue of Loius Pasteur outside the school at 4:20, after practice, to begin the hunt.

“We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis and we eventually dropped the Louis,” Waldo Steve tells the Huffington Post.

The first forays out were unsuccessful, but the group kept looking for the hidden crop. “We’d meet at 4:20 and get in my old ’66 Chevy Impala and, of course, we’d smoke instantly and smoke all the way out to Pt. Reyes and smoke the entire time we were out there. We did it week after week,” says Steve. “We never actually found the patch.”

But they did find a useful codeword. “I could say to one of my friends, I’d go, 420, and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?’ Or, ‘Do you have any?’ Or, ‘Are you stoned right now?’ It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it,” Steve says. “Our teachers didn’t know what we were talking about. Our parents didn’t know what we were talking about.”

You may be wondering how something that began 40 years ago as an inside joke to keep things discreet in front of teachers has since become a world-wide phenomenon spawning any army of “genuine 420” Made in China swag. The rest, they say, is history. The Waldos weren’t just ‘some kids’ they were some kids who had connections to people like Phil Lesh, David Crosby, Wavy Gravy, and The Grateful Dead. 420 spread out along the same vectors as Tim Leary‘s acid trip and the hippie movement, spilling out to touch every corner of the globe.

In 1990, Steve Bloom of High Times was given a 420 flier at a Grateful Dead show and High Times began to incorporate 420 into their magazine. Rick Pfrommer, former Director of Education at Harborside Health Center, was working for the Cannabis Action Network at the time and they used their access to Kinko’s to print thousands of copies of the original 420 flier that Bloom saw. Thanks to Pfrommer and Bloom 420 went viral in a very short period of time and soon April 20th became a day for smoke outs and concerts everywhere.

Unfortunately, not everyone is okay with the spread of cannabis culture and the mass acceptance of this utterly harmless drug (seriously, less harmful then potatoes).

I take comfort that it was only angry white men with signs. Soon they will die out from a lack of mates as crazy as they are.

I take comfort that it was only angry white men with signs. Soon they will die out from a lack of mates as crazy as they are.

Hey readers, I’ve got another great cannabis themed blog for you today discussing the various types of cannabis concentrates out there on the market. This isn’t one of my usual cannabinoid profiles but it is just as necessary. Doing a quick Google search I can tell there is a ton of misinformation out there  about concentrates and I hope this post can help clear things up.

A couple notes before we start, pre-empting some questions. While every purity rating given is in THC ever type of concentrate listed here can be made from CBD-rich cannabis making the resultant concentrate also CBD-rich. A method of vaporizing cannabis will be discussed called dabbing, this method is usually done with only super melt hashes but in actuality you can dab anything over 55% THC. Dabbing involves super heating a titanium “nail” with a small blow torch and dropping a hash of sufficient purity onto it, which causes the hash to vaporize.

The Concentrates

Kief.

Kief – Kief is the term for the trichomes of the cannabis plant once they have been removed from the plant. Usually kief is obtained during trimming when it falls off the plant and can be gathered with a mesh screen. Kief can also be made with a machine resulting in exponentially more potent kief, more accurately labelled a kief-melt (a play on full melt hash). Kief generally is between 10-25% THC but at Harborside we’ve had kief test upwards of 55% THC, which makes it potent enough to be dabbed. Kief is always dry sieved cannabis, without any water processing.

Hash.

Hash – Hash can be made through many different methods, the simplest being pressing kief and resin together with ones fingers to make so-called “finger hash,” perhaps the oldest form of concentrated cannabis known. Hash tests a little more potent than most kiefs but not quite as strong as bubble hash, usually between 15-35% THC. Aside from the method of creation, hash is distinguished from bubble hash by the fact that it burns rather than bubbling up.

Bubble Hash.

Bubble Hash – Bubble hash is a water-based hash that is made using a series of bubble bags filled with freezing cold water and ice cubes. Bubble bags are a series of increasingly finer mesh bags that trichomes pass through creating various qualities of bubble hash in each bag level. The trichomes are dislodged from the plant by being frozen then smashed off by the ice. This type of hash gets its name because it bubbles rather than burning, but it doesn’t melt like a full melt hash. These hashes range in the 20-45% THC range.

Full melt hash. Not always this color but always this consistency.

Full Melt Hash – Full melt hash is the highest quality of bubble hash, it is what you find in the bottom bag that has passed through every purity grade. These hashes while still being cold water derived more resemble the oily super melt concentrates I will discuss below. These hashes get their name because unlike bubble hash they do more than just bubble, they melt fully into a liquid form. These hashes range in purity from around 45-70% THC. Here is one method to make full melt hashes that can test nearly 70% THC, without any sort of a chemical solvent used.

BHO/Super melt, this one looks like melted shatter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Melt Hash – Super melt hashes are not made with bubble bags and usually use some sort of a chemical solvent, though so-called solvent free varieties exist. They are called super melts because they  melti super-fast from a solid form into a vapor form, sublimating without fully being a liquid. This is a result of the purity of the product and method of use, not a result of the chemical solvents. Commonly used solvents are butane, isopropyl alcohol, and CO2. Common slang names are ISO hash, Butane Honey Oil (BHO), shatter, wax, oil, dabs, and numerous more.

These hashes contain between 55% THC on the low end to over 90% THC on the high end, most are between 55-80% THC. While these hashes can be made by anyone in their garage the best ones are coming out of scientific grade laboratories; you won’t find someone making 90% pure hash in their bathroom. The most common method of use is dabbing, effectively freebasing cannabis. Many in the medical community have expressed concerns over people getting over-medicated and more serious health concerns, such as lung collapse, resulting from dabbing.

A Note on Super Melt Hash Legality: IT IS ILLEGAL TO MANUFACTURE ANY CONCENTRATE THAT USES A CHEMICAL SOLVENT. Unfortunately state law on this issue lags behind medical cannabis as a whole and the creation of super melt concentrates is regulated under the same law as meth labs. As you probably know making meth is very illegal, a felony; in the eyes of the law making super melt concentrates is also a felony. Be very careful if you are making BHO or any other concentrate, especially is traveling through local areas that are tough on medical cannabis rights. Individual state laws may be different but this is written with California laws in mind.

To quote directly from California state law: “Section 11379.6(a) states: Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance – shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years and by a fine up to $50,000

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

Formula: C21H30O2? (All the information I read online said THCv had the same molecular formula as THC, but it looks like it might be bound in a different configuration.)
Molecular Mass: 314.47g/mol

Decarboxylation Point: ???
Boiling Point: <220°C (428°F)

LD50 (Lethal Dose):  Unknown, likely comparable to THC. (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg)

THCv is a non-psychoactive variant of THC. The other major difference between the two is that instead of stimulating appetite, the famed ‘munchies,’ THCv actually suppresses appetite. For that reason THCv is being heavily researched as a weight loss tool. Like many cannabinoids it is an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic, though less strong than CBD and THC, but using different mechanisms in the body.

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Anorectic – Appetite suppressant, promotes weight loss.

Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.

Anti-Epileptic – Reduces seizures and convulsions.

Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Bone Stimulant – Promotes bone growth.

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

Currently Being Studied For

Diabetes: A combination CDB/THCv tincture is in a phase 2 clinical trial as a way to mitigate diabetes. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company, is a world leader in cannabis research. GW is presently examining CBD/THCv’s abilities to ameliorate insulin sensitivity.

Weight Loss: The same mechanisms that allow THCv to combat diabetes combined with THCv’s anorectic properties make it an effective way to combat obesity and control weight gain. GW Pharmaceuticals is also leading this research. GW believes in THCv so much they have even patented its abilities to combat weight gaining and diabetes.

Parkinson’s Disease: THCv is a cannabinoid that has been identified that can aid in Parkinson’s Disease by attenuating the motor inhibition caused by 6-hydroxydopamine. It also has various related mechanisms that assist in treating Parkinson’s.

Anti-Inflammatory: This study was only done on mice but if other studies are any indication of success it should apply similarly to humans, but THCv shows to be an anti-inflammatory. It works through a different mechanism than other anti-inflammatory drugs, THCv inhibits cyclic AMP production by hCB(2) CHO cells, but does not inhibit other affiliated cells. The whole thing seemed to rely on the CB 2 receptors.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302527

http://www.google.com/patents/EP2356987A1?cl=en

Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

References:

  1. Steep Hill Lab, Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Reference Guide; http://steephilllab.com/resources/cannabinoid-and-terpenoid-reference-guide/
  2. Skunk Pharm Research, Cannabinoid and Terpene Info; http://skunkpharmresearch.com/cannabinoid-info/
  3. SC Labs, Meet the Cannabinoids; http://sclabs.com/learn/learn-cannabinoids.html

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.

As I said in a previous post, I took some time off from posting around New Years to do some cooking and you all would be reaping the benefits. Time to show you the best method to make medicated cannabis oil/butter. Supposedly it works better to use a crock pot but I have never used that method, I’ve only done it on stove top.

An important thing to know before making your oil is a good ratio of bud/shake to oil/butter. I prefer using olive or coconut oil as they both have more saturated fat than butter and the THC binds to it much better as a result. THC is lipidic, that means it binds to lipids…fats; THC is also hydrophobic, it cannot bind to water. I used about  three ounces of shake for 2 pounds (32 ounces) of oil, and threw some kief in as well. Most recipes I have found online use a ratio of one ounce shake to one pound of oil/butter, for bud it’s more like 1/2 ounce to the pound. I wanted a very strong batch as I have a high tolerance, and it certainly turned out strong.

What will really help the potency of your medicated oil is if you pre-bake the bud in the oven before cooking it on the stove. This is a process known as decarboxylation, this is a chemical process where carbon is evaporated out of the plant matter. All living things are made of carbon and over time exposure to heat and oxygen will cause decarboxylation. Using the oven accelerates this process. This is crucial for making cannabis oil because when cannabis decarboxylates the non-psychoactive THCa and other trace cannabinoids are converted into THC, which greatly raises the potency of your batch. I put my kief into a pyrex dish to keep it separated and cook it better.

01

Step 1: Decarboxylate the cannabis. You can either use lower heat (240ish degrees) for about an hour, or a flash heat of 5-10 minutes at much higher (about 300). I am skeptical of the flash heating method as the higher heat runs the risk of burning off desirable cannabinoids and terpenoids. I cooked mine at 280 for about 30 minutes and it was a great success.

02

Step 2: While the cannabis is decarboxylating start heating up the coconut oil on the stove in the jars in water. Use a medium to low heat to not crack the jars, it helps to preheat the jars in hot water before turning the stove on. You want the oil/butter to be liquid before you throw it in with the cannabis to cook it all together.

03

Step 3: Begin to boil water on the stove, after a couple minutes add the liquid oil to the water. After about five minutes throw the cannabis in and cook it for the next 2-3 hours. You will want to begin on a medium/high heat to boil it and finish any final decarboxylation, but soon cut it down to a low heat, and you will keep it on low heat for the next 2-3 hours. Low heat is important to not burn off the oil or give it a burned flavor.

04

Step 4: Let the mixture cool off and put it through a metal strainer, letting the water and oil drip into a Tupperware container. After you use the strainer I would recommend squeezing out the additional oil with cheesecloth, or  at least press it through the metal strainer with a spoon. This is crucial as most of the oil will still be in the plant matter and needs to be squeezed out. Put it in the fridge overnight, NOT THE FREEZER!!

05

Step 5: After a night in the fridge the coconut oil will be a solid again, but the water will still be liquid, this is crucial so you can easily separate the oil from the water. Freezing it will also freeze the water making this impossible or at least *really* annoying and  time consuming…so if you like being annoyed and wasting time be my guest…or put in in the fridge and voila!

06

If you put it in the fridge cut out a small corner of the oil and pour out all the nasty waste water. Many people suggest using a double boiler method where the cannabis and oil are in one smaller pot layered inside of a larger one holding the water. Don’t fall for that crap. THC is lipidic and binds into the oils, unlike tannins which go into the water. If you separate the water from the oil those tannins have nowhere to go other than into your oil making it taste awful, by putting it all in one pot the tannins go into the waste water to be discarded.

07

Step 6: Chop up the oil into little pieces and put them back into the jars. I personally like to label my medicated things so people know what it is and don’t mistake it for just plain oil.

08

That’s what the final product looks like. I’ll be posting up a recipe in the next couple of weeks using this, and it’s not boring pot brownies. Stay tuned to learn how to make a medicated curry sauce.

Hey everyone! Hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and that 2014 is treating you well so far. I took a few days off over the holidays to spend time with friends and do some serious cooking and crafting, which will be seeing over the upcoming weeks in some great recipe/DIY blogs.

In this post I’m teaching you a pretty basic recipe to make an infused simple syrup, which just happens to create a delicious bi-product of candied whatever. In this case my whatevers are organic ginger and Buddha’s Hand. Though widely known in Asia it is virtually unknown in the West, Buddha’s Hand is a very unique fragrant citron with no actual meat, it is 100% pith and zest. The flavor and scent are reminiscent of a lemon mixed with roses or some other flower. It can be a little pricey, but it is definitely worth it for this recipe which yields a dual benefit for one single hand.

Note: It is possible to make a cannabis infused simple syrup through this method but I have never tried it and question if it really works. I have found many recipes, including in Culture magazine, but without any fat I question what the cannabinoids bind to. I have tried medicated honey sold at the dispensary I work for and it certainly works, but I am utterly clueless on the science behind it.

01

You Will Need: Water, sugar, and whatever you want to infuse the syrup with (options include: citrus fruit, mint, lavender). Recipes range in a 1-1 to a 1-2 water-sugar ratio, that means that if you use 1 cup of water use at least 1 cup of sugar potentially up to 2 cups.

02 (Buddha Prep)03 (Ginger Prep)

Step 1: Prepare the Buddha’s Hand and ginger by chopping them up. I would recommend chunks no bigger than your pinkie fingernail for best candying of harder things like ginger. I left the ginger in larger disks and it did not cook through and was barely edible due to the residual intense burning. I tend to use as low amount of sugar as possible to make it render into a syrup, if you use too little sugar it won’t get syrupy and will stay runny. I personally don’t mind runner syrup with a lower sugar content.

Note: If using ginger it is crucially important to peel it first, for most other things, like citrus, you want the rind for flavor.

04 (Cooking)Step 2: Combine the water with Buddha’s Hand/ginger/whatever and begin to cook on high heat. Add the sugar once it begins to get hot and stir frequently.

06 (Boil It)

Step 3: Bring to a boil continuing to stir frequently and keeping a close watch on it. It will boil over if you don’t stir it enough. Leave it uncovered so liquid evaporates, helping the thickening process.

07 (Cool Down)

Step 4: Cook until the Buddha’s Hand is translucent, for the ginger cook until it becomes tender. The ginger will take a lot more cooking, especially if you leave it in huge chunks like I did.

08 (Drain)

Step 5: Strain the chunks out of the syrup using a metal strainer; I never use plastic for hot things as a rule because plastic melts and might leach toxins into your food. Strainers with prongs like this one are awesome because they rest on the lip of the container you are draining your syrup into.

09 (Sprinkle Sugar + Seperate Syrup)Step 6: Separate the syrup into its final container and the candied Buddha’s Hand/ginger onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar all over the still wet and syrupy chunks then let them dry overnight. Place the syrup into the fridge to let it thicken over night.

[EDIT: Consider letting your candy dry longer than one night. Mine just molded the other day and it was pretty much the saddest thing ever.]

Voila, come morning you will have both candy and syrup. Uses for the candy include fruit cake, cookies, and other baking projects (or just eating with your hand). Uses for the simple syrup include cocktails, waffles, and in the case of my flaming strong ginger syrup as a cough syrup. Get creative with these. I’ve used the ginger simple syrup for making homemade ginger/tangerine triple sec (hint hint, might be a future blog post here).

Elizabeth Warren, the chief watchdog of Wall Street, has warned us that the biggest banks are now even bigger than when they caused the financial collapse of 2008. The four largest have grown 30% larger and the five largest banks represent over half the market. That brings the word antitrust to my mind, but that is about as likely as world peace at this point. No, the current crop of US politicians in both major parties are far too business friendly to go for the ‘nuclear option’ of pursuing an antitrust suit against a major corporate bank. It will take some new blood to pursue new options, Elizabeth Warren being but one example.

If this November’s elections can be read as a sign of anything it is that people are fed up with austerity and they want politicians who will work for the working class. One tangible example being the election of the socialist Kshama Sawant to the Seattle city council, in a state who just legalized recreational cannabis. Washington is definitely moving in the right direction, but we will have to see how things go in a few months to really know how well the cannabis legalization is going. Another major progressive win was  the 73% landslide that road Bill de Blasio to victory as the new mayor of New York, dethroning the former king mayor Bloomberg. While we have more progressives winning in local elections we lack true progressives in the federal government. There is Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, that’s about it. There are also rumors about Elizabeth Warren running for President in 2016, which would probably the only ticket the Democrats can put forward that I’d vote for. Which is still better than the no chance the Republicans have for my vote. This may be the first Presidential race I sit out on due to a lack of interest in all candidates…it is still two years from the election though and two years is a long time.

President Obama may have been progressive in 2004 when he advocated for cannabis decriminalization and a single payer option for health care, but a decade changes a man and he is as much an establishment Democrat as Nancy Pelosi now. This can be seen best in his devolution on the issue of cannabis. Where he was once firmly in support of legalization, even being the leader of a drug gang, his support is now so weak he is willing to call commuting the sentences of drug war 8 prisoners a win for human rights. We’re talking about a man with a secret ‘kill list’, that is not the kind of progress I want our progressive movement to embrace, that is Orwellian at best and Stalinist at worst. I support much of what President Obama has done, but I oppose at least that many of his actions too. Like President George W. Bush before him Obama is a mixed bag; he wins a Nobel peace prize yet keeps a secret kill list, oversees more paramilitary raids of cannabis dispensaries than Bush and gave the go-ahead to a spy game so massive it makes Watergate look like child’s play.

You might now be asking yourself, “what should a progressive movement look like in America?” Here is what I envision it to look like and what I hope its priorities will be. I imagine it will look much like the 73% majority  that rode Bill de Blasio to victory in New York, inclusive of nearly all races, religions, and demographics conceivable. This new progressive movement will not be bound by race or religion like past political movements; it will progress beyond race to be a movement focused on results, such as raising the minimum wage federally improving the lives of millions of all races. That isn’t to say this new progressive movement will be colorblind, if anything it will be more sensitive to the factors that make us up than any former movement and it will fight for our right to be ourselves, whatever that self may be. This new progressive movement will work to progress gender equality and end de jure and de facto discrimination against gender non-conforming people. Tied in with gender equality is equality for all sexual expressions and sexes. Simply put, this new progressive movement should fight to advance the progress of as many people as possible, especially those  who are presently disadvantaged.

This movement is likely to include some uncommon alliances, like one we may now be seeing between the drug policy reform/drug legalization movements and gun rights advocates. There also is a clear synergy between the drug legalization/prison reform movement and the effort to provide more funding to our schools (here is a protest to save public education, here is one for drug policy reform, notice the similarities?). The reason for the natural alliance between education and prison reform is illustrated beautifully by this drawing.

School-to-Prison-Illustration

As schools are robbed of funding the quality of educational environment plummets, leading to more crime down the road when people resort to crime to pay the bills  their abysmal education cannot. This is a self-perpetuating downward spiral that can very easily be reversed with more people flooding into schools instead of prisons. This would also free up billions of dollars a year in federal and state budgets due to less policing of non-crimes like possession of cannabis.

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

I will be working to update and expand all of these posts with  time and as I come across more research, if you know of anything I may have missed please bring it up.

Hope you enjoy learning about the medicinal and recreational benefits of THC; remember, all use is medicinal use. There  is no way to stop that THC from preemptively fighting your cancer, even if you ‘just wanna get high’ you’re still medicating.

THC

Formula: C21H30O2
Molecular Mass: 314.2246g/mol

Decarboxylation Point: ????
Boiling Point: 157 °C (315 °F)

LD50 (Lethal Dose): 150 lb person would need to eat 1 pound of 50% pure THC hash in one sitting to overdose, ~1260mg/kg (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg) [More on Δ9-THC’s LD 50 can be found here.]

While Δ9-THC is the most common cannabinoid in most plants it is not the only THC in cannabis, it is joined by THCa, THCv, and Δ8-THC, as well as a slew of other cannabinoids, including CBD and CBG. Δ9-THC is the primary psychoactive compound that has been identified in the cannabis plant, though other trace cannabinoids may be psychoactive and many more modulate how THC effects the body. Δ9-THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the fabled munchies that cannabis users speak of; ironically THCv, it’s chemical relative, is being researched as an appetite suppressant (more on that in a future blog).

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.

Antioxidant – Prevents the damage of oxidation to other molecules in the body.

Antispasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.

Anxiolitic – While not fully recognized as an anxiolitic compound THC does seem to assist in the anxiety associated with PTSD.

Appetite Stimulant – Δ9-THC is the only cannabinoid identified that is an appetite stimulant, giving people the stereotypical “munchies” many users describe.

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

Neuroprotective – Slows damage to the nervous system and brain.

Currently Being Studied For

Cancer: THC has been shown to halt the growth of tumors, and in some cases shrink them, through various methods not fully understood. In one recent case study, an infant suffering from a brain tumor experienced a 90% reduction in tumor size over a year of twice a day use of hemp oil. Veteran cancer researcher Donald Tashkin, in the largest controlled study of its kind, found that daily smoking of THC-rich cannabis resulted in lower instances of cancer than in the general population of nonsmokers! Think about it; all smoking causes cancer by creation of benzopyrene, but despite that THC is a strong enough anti-proliferative to prevent more cancer than the smoking causes. Fun Fact: Burning ANY organic matter creates benzopyrene. This means that barbeque, toast, and even grilled vegatables can give you cancer.

Pain Management: THC has been shown to have great prospect in treating chronic pain because it seems to change “the way the nerves function.” THC also has been studied heavily for its use in treating neuropathic pain, including the pain associated with HIV and  cancer. Recent studies seem to agree that THC changes how we feel pain and makes it more bearable. It is not a pain killer in the sense that it numbs the ability to feel pain, instead it seems to raise an  individual’s pain tolerance making the same amount of pain less significant.

Anorexia Nervosa: THC shows great promise in reversing the weight loss associated with anorexia in studies on mice as well as humans. Even the synthetic cannabinoids dronabinol and marinol have been demonstrated to help with weight loss.

HIV/AIDs: Aside from assisting with the pain and nausea that often are associated with HIV/AIDs, THC directly fights the virus in unique ways that have only recently been identified. A 2012 study shows THC assisting in HIV treatment by its activation of CB2 receptors and CD4 receptors. Cannabis affects our body by interacting with our endocannabinoid system, the CB2 and CD4 receptors are a part of that system. A study from earlier this year expands on the role of THC in combating HIV through its activation of CB2.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Though THC is not commonly considered a treatment for anxiety it has shown promise for anxiety, specifically with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Gastrointestinal Inflammation: THC lowers the incidence of blockages and other gastrointestinal inflammation associated with use of NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs. THC “protects against diclofenac-induced gastric inflammatory tissue damage at doses insufficient to cause common cannabinoid side effects.” A recent survey of Irritable Bowel Disorder sufferers found that 1/6 use THC-rich cannabis to treat the inflammation.

Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

References:

  1. Steep Hill Lab, Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Reference Guide; http://steephilllab.com/resources/cannabinoid-and-terpenoid-reference-guide/
  2. Skunk Pharm Research, Cannabinoid and Terpene Info; http://skunkpharmresearch.com/cannabinoid-info/
  3. SC Labs, Meet the Cannabinoids; http://sclabs.com/learn/learn-cannabinoids.html

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.

 

Hey readers, forgive the week or so off from posting, it was my birthday and life happened. I’m back now with more posts and some big news.

Uruguay is one step away from being the first country in the world to legalize cannabis. They’re just waiting for the President to sign it into law, which he is expected to do. Once he does Uruguay will be the first country in the world where cannabis is legal and regulated by the government. Unexpectedly, only 26% of Uruguayans actually supported the bill in a poll done after it was first introduced in the summer. I say it is unexpected given the context of struggle I am used to in the US, constantly fighting to gain an inch in the war to legalize cannabis. I imagine the situation in largely Catholic Uruguay to be rather different and perhaps that reflects the seemingly un-Democratic passage of the bill.

You may be thinking, “this isn’t news, pot is legal in Amsterdam and Portugal decriminalized all drugs.” First off, cannabis and ‘recreational mushrooms’ are 100% illegal in Amsterdam but tolerated through an official policy of decriminalization. Second, decriminalization is totally different than legalization. If a compound is legal there are laws on the books supporting the right to legally use it, usually in the form of regulations on its use or distribution. Cigarettes, alcohol, morphine, Oxycontin, Xanax, methamphetamine, St. John’s Wart, and fish oil are all legal; there are laws governing their creation, safety, sale, usage, and more. This allows even potentially dangerous compounds like methamphetamine to be used in relative safety to achieve therapeutic effects but not abusive highs. It also allows for taxation to take place, like with alcohol and cigarettes; this is impossible without full legalization as one cannot tax a grey or black market.

A decriminalized market is taxable in a situation like the Netherlands with storefronts selling a product, but Amsterdam is almost a de facto legalization. The main difference between decriminalized Amsterdam and a real legal market is a difference of opinion. Namely political opinion, which can shift spontaneously, and if it does it is a small matter to arrest those shop owners and their patrons; that could not happen nearly as easily in a fully legal market. Decriminalization, like what you have in the Netherlands, is not codified. There is no law on the books instructing police that a product is legal, merely a statement that the government will no longer arrest/fine people for the formerly prohibited conduct. Usually decriminalization focuses on personal possession only with no legal protection for growers and distributors. I fail to see how this semi-legal model can ever work as well as actual legalization, but Portugal found a way and managed to cut abuse rates in half. If a country were to pursue a policy of decriminalization it should be modeled on Portugal as the most functioning model.

Back to Uruguay and how that is big news. The UN and various other international regulatory bodies exist to enforce international law, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This Convention is the precursor to America’s 1970 Controlled Substances Act and establishes a similar regulatory framework for all UN member nations. Like any system with power the UNODC and its affiliates do not want to lose their power and have already sent a strongly worded letter to the US about Washington and Colorado; I am curious how they will deal with Uruguay. It would seem they plan to address it the same as with Washington and Colorado, a strongly worded letter, but maybe in time the UN will do more. Maybe in time they will impose sanctions on Uruguay for their bold decision to lead the way into a better future.

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

Cannabigerol
Formula: C21H32O2
Molecular Mass: 314.2246 g/mol
Decaboxylation Point: ????
Boiling Point:  ????
LD50 (Lethal Dose): 300mg/kg for mice (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg)

Cannabigerol (CBG) is not considered psychoactive  and is known to block the psychoactive effects of THC.  It has been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and bones. Neurogenic compounds are extremely rare which makes CBG a very worthwhile subject for more research. CBG also is antibacterial, anti-tumor, and aids with insomnia. It is effectively impossible to overdose on CBG; it usually exists only in trace amounts in a processed plant, this makes the already very high LD50 of 22.44g/kg even less. CBG is considered a ‘stem cell’ cannabinoid and can change into different cannabinoids, altering the overall effects of the plant. Some of these cannabinoids CBG morphs into are  THC ,CBD, and CBC which all share the same molecular formula but have a different structure.

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.
Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.
Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.
Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.
Bone Stimulant – Promotes bone growth.
Neurogenic – Helps stimulate the growth of new brain cells.

Currently Being Studied For

Glaucoma: A 2009 study found both CBG and THC to be very effective for relieving the intraocular pressure from glaucoma. This is an area that will undoubtedly be receiving more research in the years to come.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Much like CBD, CBG shows a lot of potential for controlling the inflammation that leads to IBD, and like CBD warrants further research.

Painkiller and Anti- Inflammatory: Recent research suggests that CBG has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and recommends further study.

5-HT1a Receptor Agonist/Antagonist?: CBG appears to do something at the 5-HT1a receptor that is not fully understood. It modulates how other cannabinoids affect us especially at this brain site, which is the hub of emotions and depression regulation in the brain. Depending on the study evidence suggests that CBG may help your depression and anxiety, or possibly block certain anti-depressant drugs. One study in rodents showed that if the right combination of CBG and CBD were present the CBG would block some of the anti-nausea effects of the CBD, but it could not quite identify why (other than it related to the 5HT1a receptor).

Dravet Syndrome/Seizures: Anecdotal evidence and some current studies suggest that CBG may be beneficial to patients with Dravet and other seizure conditions. A new tincture was just released at Harborside Health Center which is the first CBG-rich tincture on the market. This tincture, named Jayden’s Juice after Jayden David, the young boy with Dravet syndrome made famous by Weed Wars, is currently what Jayden is using to combat his seizures instead of a purely CBD rich tincture. A study from earlier this year also suggests that CBG may help with seizure management, but the mechanisms aren’t fully understood.

Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

References:

  1. Steep Hill Lab, Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Reference Guide; http://steephilllab.com/resources/cannabinoid-and-terpenoid-reference-guide/
  2. Skunk Pharm Research, Cannabinoid and Terpene Info; http://skunkpharmresearch.com/cannabinoid-info/
  3. SC Labs, Meet the Cannabinoids; http://sclabs.com/learn/learn-cannabinoids.html

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.

You may have heard of for-proft prisons, also called private prisons, but have you heard about policing for profit? I remember a time when cops proudly branded the motto “protect and serve” on the sides of squad cars and police stations. I wonder when that was amended to be “to protect our profit margins by serving us your property?”

This is not a new problem, it goes back years with some local police pioneering the practice as early as 2006. Tenaha, Texas, was one of these pioneers and recently lost a major class action lawsuit to the countless victims of highway robbery by the police. State records show the use of asset forfeiture in Texas going back to 2001, with totals seized in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Federally, the Department of Justice claimed $1.8 billion in assets in their asset forfeiture fund. This fund has had time to build up, a good 24 years that we have records, and over that time the Feds seized over $12 billion in property, largely related  to the war on drugs. But it goes back even further than that, all the way to the founding of this country; the 4th and 5th Amendments were created to protect we citizens from abuses like these that were commonplace under the crown. Now we have come full circle and are left with robbers marauding our highways in the employ of “the crown” of the imperial presidency.

You may begin seeing a common thread developing here, black and Latino people are stopped by (almost exclusively) white cops, and forced to turn over all kinds of personal possessions not related to crimes, especially since they are innocent of crimes. Take this case out of Tenaha, the individuals stopped were not breaking any laws; contrary to popular belief it is legal to possess a pipe (for tobacco or as a gift, like in this case). When they get to the police station they see a pile of watches, jewelry, and other valuables; that sounds like a Robin Hood-esque pile of plunder but perversed and reversed stealing from the unfortunate to give to privileged white cops.

I normally don’t use Privilege Talk, as I feel its often counter-productive, but the ability to legally rob someone under threat of pain or imprisonment is certainly a privilege, and it was clearly abused. Is abused, this isn’t over because one class action lawsuit was won. There are local police and federal agents across the country still doing this. A major raid of more than a dozen state-legal dispensaries and two private residences just happened in Denver, Colorado. While on paper the federal and local agents involve claim it is a hunt for connections to Colombian drug cartels, it is also an informal reason to confiscate over $2 million in jewelry and money as well as another million in cannabis plants. As someone who works in the medical cannabis industry I want the bad players out of the game more than anyone. Unfortunately it does sound like there are people with cartel ties in Denver, but more unfortunately it sounds like Feds used this as a blank check to smash and grab all over the place.

This issue of civil asset forfeiture feeds into related issues of racial profiling and stop and frisk abuse, like this extreme case in Florida which is also resulting in a class action lawsuit against an abusive local police force. Yet again it is mainly white cops harassing and abusing non-white folks.

Read for yourself:

“Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years. He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times. Despite his long rap sheet, Sampson, 28, has never been convicted of anything more serious than possession of marijuana. Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing. Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens. But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.”

I’m not sure what about that one can consider police doing their job. It sounds like they have a vendetta against Mr. Sampson and the 207 Quikstop. It wasn’t just Earl though, police regularly harassed countless customers of the 207 Quikstop, often abusing “Terry” stops to do it. A Terry stop is a stop and frisk meant to search someone suspected of committing a crime for a weapon. New York City police are famous for abusing this to practice to make NY’s legally decriminalized cannabis still illegal as long as you are poor and not white. In fact, the situation in NYC is so dire the courts have stepped in to block the practice.

This is not why we have police, they were meant to protect and serve the public, not brutalize and rob them. This is why it warms my heart to see more discussions of community policing and see police forces actively implement community policing policies.