[Editor’s Note: Don’t panic – larger, controlled studies are required to know the truth. We know from this Duke study cannabis (specifically THC) can change sperm in men. We don’t know exactly how and if it might affect children. ]
Study raises question; Can our cannabis use can have repercussions on our future children?
Duke University scientists have discovered that cannabis has the ability to affect genes in both male rodents and human beings. Two pathways were discovered to be altered by the regular consumption of marijuana. One impacted organs’ ability to grow and the other is linked to the body’s ability to fight cancer and tumors. These findings add to a plethora of scientific evidence related to cannabis and our reproductive systems. As of Wednesday, the study can be found in the Journal Epigenetics.
The Duke investigation was conducted in two parts, the first of which analyzed the sperm of rats who had been dosed with THC versus those who had not been exposed. Subsequently, scientists studied the sperm of two groups of men: one group comprised of weekly smokers and a control group that had smoked marijuana very few times — and never in the past year.
In both parts, variations in sperm were detected between the two groups, raising questions of whether cannabis use can affect one’s future children.
Past studies have encountered other potential reproductive system risk factors involved in consuming cannabis. One 2015 study suggested that cannabis use can decrease sperm count. An investigation completed in 2016 found that the drug can even lower female fertility. Marijuana has been also found to delay or even prevent orgasms in men.
But not every scientific experiment conducted has found pot to be detrimental to one’s sex life. A 60,000 person survey found that women who use cannabis reported having 34 percent more sex, while men reported having 22 percent more sex than their counterparts who don’t use marijuana. A University of Connecticut economist named Michael Baggio and his co-authors Alberto Chong and David Simon ran a data analysis that found local birth rates often rise in places where medical marijuana laws have been implemented.
In a less scientifically regimented phenomenon, many cannabis lube users have reported that the substance is a boon to their sex lives and menstrual cycles. Some doctors have been known to prescribe cannabis use for patients experiencing difficulties in their sex lives.
Bobby Najari, an NYU Langone urologist, was contacted by the Verge to comment on Duke’s sperm variation findings. “I think one of the important positive things about research like this is that it may further motivate men to change their health,” he said. “It’s one thing to talk about sperm count, another when you’re talking about the potential health of the child.”
Some notes, before you panic: the sample size of the initial study were relatively small, and there was no control for the concentration of THC smoked by the people in the study. The Duke University study’s implications are troublesome, but its architects are counseling restraint before further research is conducted.
“I want to be very careful to not have the results turned into something that they’re not,” says Susan Kay Murphy, the study’s co-author and professor of gynecology. “It’s not intended to scare people. Our whole objective is to learn more about biology and what effects there might be.”
Scientists Find Changes in Sperm in Men Who Consume Cannabis was posted on High Times.
Ed. Note: We just don’t know what’s in the cartridge. What exactly are you inhaling when vaping? Vaping is certainly a discreet method for getting high, but perhaps it isn’t the healthiest.
In recent years, many cannabis users have turned to the sleekness of the vape pen, and there’s little mystery about why: vaporizers are seen as a discreet, less socially invasive way to consume weed. They’re also perceived as a healthier choice when compared with the lung-polluting effects of bongs, joints, and bowls.
But—and we hate to be the bearers of bad news—while vaping technology may reduce the inhalation of pyrolytic smoke compounds, that doesn’t mean that your Kandypen is entirely without risk. A study published by JAMA Network Open suggests that vaporizing cannabis can lead to more immediate deleterious side effects and physical impairment, as compared to puffing the same amount of herb from a joint.
The study was based on the reactions of 17 adults, all of whom averaged 27 years of age and qualified as infrequent smokers who haven’t used cannabis in over a year. So, take the following results with a grain of salt. Participants consumed varying quantities of marijuana in both vapor and smoke forms over three separate eight-and-a-half hour sessions. Then, the subjects answered a questionnaire that delved into the drug’s subjective effects. They also performed tests that measured their cognitive, psychomotor, and cardiovascular responses. Those being observed in the study were monitored to determine THC concentration in their bloodstream after consuming.
Overall, researchers found more intense highs were reported when people vaped. Among the subjective symptoms that seemed to increase after vaping were dry mouth, irritated eyes, anxiety, having an “unpleasant” sensation, memory impairment, and—perhaps most surprisingly—throat irritation and coughing. Additionally, when participants took the highest dose, 25 mg, more people reported feelings of paranoia when they vaped. Via both methods of consumption, most symptoms peaked within the first hour after using the plant.
Vaping 25 mg was also more likely to cause impaired cognitive and psychomotor ability versus smoking the equivalent amount. The study’s blood tests also suggested that after consuming larger doses, THC concentration in the blood was higher when the cannabis had been vaped.
A key thing to remember is that when you vape cannabis, fewer cannabinoids are lost to the combustion that occurs when smoking a joint or bowl. That means you need to keep an eye on how you’re feeling because the potential to get lit-as-hell while vaping is much more pronounced. Another important thing to consider is that we still don’t have a lot of information on the long-term effects of vaping (that fact mirrors the current dearth of scientific research on cannabis in general.)
Growing concern over the rise of the vaporizer has a lot to do with its nicotine uses, and the effect it may be having on younger generations. Recent studies show that vaping has become increasingly popular among middle and high schoolers. Younger people’s proclivity for flavored vape products has led the FDA to propose regulation that would severely limit the availability of such items. Realistically, it’s not just nicotine, though. We imagine the younger generations will also be well acquainted with vaping cannabis than older generations ever were.
New Study Shows Vaping Cannabis Produces Stronger Effects Than Smoking It was posted on High Times.
Ed. Note: Bee lovers take notice! Bees love hemp. Now we just need to keep big businesses, especially Monsanto, from taking control and using bee colony killing pesticides and developing GMO hemp.
Good news for bee fans; hemp fields may hold a worst-case cache of nutrients for hungry colonies, according to a study done by a Colorado State etymology student. Last week, Colton O’Brien presented, in a gathering of etymological societies, his discovery of a total of 23 bee genera in traps that he set up in a hemp field in August. The preponderance of the winged critters that the student found among the hemp rows indicate that the crop could have unexpected ecological value — a nice bonus should current rumblings of hemp legalization result in a boom of the plant’s commercial production.
In some ways, hemp plants are a surprising draw for bee populations. The plant does not create nectar, and its pollen is typically spread by wind, not insects. O’Brien’s month-long study was conducted at a time of year in which few other plants are growing, which may explain in part the hemp’s popularity for hungry bees on the search for sustenance. In reporting the story, ScienceNews adds that the effects of hemp pollen on bee larvae is unknown.
But it’s possible that in hard times, hemp could be a good resource for struggling bee colonies. In the November 11 presentation at yearly gathering of US and Canadian etymological societies Etymology 18, O’Brien stressed that his discovery of hemp-loving worker bees meant added responsibility for farmers. Pest-repelling techniques, he argued, should be chosen with an eye for those that have no deleterious effect on bees’ access to the hemp plants.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell proposed the 2018 Hemp Farming Act, and in an interview after the midterm elections told reporters that provisions for hemp agriculture would be included in this year’s Farm Bill. If this were to come to pass, it would mean taking hemp off the government’s list of controlled substances and legalizing the crop’s sale.
There are plenty of reasons to think of the bees. Over the past half-century, the agricultural production that depends on bees has tripled. During the same period, bee population has dipped dramatically, causing scientists to scramble for solutions from global AI hive monitoring networks to tiny QR code backpacks for individual buzzers.
Though the cannabis field study explored new territory, it’s not the first time that the relationship between bee colonies and cannabis plants has been examined. There are several projects that look at how bees can help deliver medical marijuana in a bio-accessible manner. French beekeeper Nicolas Trainerbees is among those experimenting with the interaction between bees and higher THC cannabis varieties, along with the “cannahoney” their pairing produces. Israeli company PhytoPharma sells high CBD and THC versions of Pure Bee cannabis honey in pre-measured-dosage cooking syringe, which the consumption of which, the firm says, can deliver medicinal benefits of marijuana strains efficiently to patients.
Ecological and economic import of impending hemp legislation aside, it is hard to deny that the image of emerald-stained honeybees climbing through cannabis plants holds an incredible appeal. ScienceNews’ sum-up of O’Brien’s presentation sounds like a chapter out of a Wizard of Oz book: “He caught big bumblebees, tiny metallic-green sweat bees and many others clambering around in the abundant greenish-yellow pollen shed by the male flowers.”
Researchers Think That Hemp Could be an Additional Pollen Source for Bees was posted on High Times.
Editor’s Note: Even in post-prohibition we’ll need to remain vigilant to pointless government regulations. We applaud Marc Emery’s efforts.
What’s it take to get a white guy picked up on cannabis charges in downtown Montreal in post-legalization Canada? Longtime Toronto-based marijuana advocate Marc Emery found out on Sunday the answer is: rather a lot. The Montreal Gazette reports that Emery spent upwards of two hours loudly hawking marijuana-emblazoned merch in front of a government-run cannabis store, which he says is illegal under current law. His pop-up was an attempt to confront the state’s legal system over what Emery sees as major failings in the new Quebec Cannabis Regulation Act.
According to Emery, the offending language in the legislation is the section declaring that, “any operator of a business selling, giving, or exchanging a product that is not cannabis and contains a name, logo, slogan associated directly with the SQDC, a brand of cannabis or an authorized producer” is eligible for a fine of up to $62,500 Canadian.” In addition, “any person … not complying with the standards established by the government in matters of promotion” of cannabis is liable to a fine of between $5,000 and $500,000.”
What Exactly is Emery Fighting?
Emery’s issue is not that he would like to be able to sell the pot leaf flags, 420 stickers, and Bob Marley shirts that he brought along for his one-man protest action. Rather, he is concerned that the government’s end game is to take over and subvert both both the cannabis industry and cannabis user culture.
“Ultimately the Quebec government, and I suspect the federal government and many other provincial governments want to get rid of cannabis culture paraphernalia shops entirely and the gov’t be the exclusive handler of our culture,” Emery shared on Twitter. The advocate appears to use his social media account on the site to post cannabis news, op-eds, and retweet the white supremacist-signaling comments of Conservative Parliament member Maxime Bernier.
The Montreal Gazette reports that the activist was “gently chiding” customers of the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) store as they waited for their weed in the cold.
“All these things are illegal in Quebec under the Quebec Cannabis Regulation Act,” Emery is reported to have yelled while conducting his protest pop-up. “You can’t (sell) any products with 420 on it, or the cannabis leaf or any kind of promotional sayings, so I’ve got T-shirts, illegal banned flags, and everything is a lot cheaper than normal because I’m not really doing it for the money. I’m just trying to get charged.”
He nearly succeeded around 2:30 p.m., when the Gazette reports that two Montreal police officers arrived. But when they threatened to book him under a municipal bylaw that bans permit-less outside retail, Emery decided to pack up. It wasn’t the law he was there to protest, after all.
“I’ll have to come up with a new strategy where I won’t be deterred by some municipal bylaw,” he told the Gazette.
If the incident seems to have been concocted for media attention alone, rest assured that Emery has more than proven that he is ready to do time in the name of cannabis culture. He spent upwards of four years in jail after being extradited to the United States for selling cannabis seeds by mail to US customers. In 2016, he was arrested and eventually fined for operating six illegal Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Montreal. His response? To open more illegal dispensaries — at one point there were 19 Cannabis Culture locations in three different Canadian provinces.
Pot Activist Marc Emery Seeks Arrest to Challenge Quebec’s “Unconstitutional” Cannabis Laws was posted on High Times.
Ed. Note: What could be better than this win-win? Prosthetic devices made from the excess cannabis packaging and everybody wins! Those who need prosthetic devices and those who want to consume cannabis for whatever reason.
A Halifax entrepreneur says he can source the raw materials for his line of plastic prosthetic limbs from the country’s dire new problem with legal cannabis over-packaging. Kindness3D founder Jacob Boudreau once created a fully-functional, 3D printed X-Men’s Wolverine claw for a child amputee. Now he claims to have redesigned a paper shredder to make it capable of converting environmentally-unfriendly marijuana packaging into hands for those in need.
How Does Cannabis Impact the Environment?
Concerns over the marijuana industry’s effects on the environment are far from new. As far back as 2010, the New York Times was calling into question the excessive amount of fuel consumed by indoor grow-ops. Seattle’s The Stranger reported that in the first three years of legalization, Washington’s marijuana industry created 1.7 million pounds of plant waste. But wins in the legalization movement have spiked concerns as new companies across the US and Canada bundle their product into trendy plastic packaging whose volume can at times seem preposterous. The trend has compounded an issue that begins at the root and now extends through the point of cannabis sale.
Canada broadly legalized marijuana production, sale, and consumption earlier this month. In the earliest days of the country’s legal sales, MacLean was part of a wave of surprised marijuana consumers who raised complaints against the bulky packaging being employed by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, the state’s only licensed cannabis retailer.
“I mean, a baggie has been doing the trick for years and years and years now,” Nova Scotia cannabis customer Greg MacLean told the CBC.
Not all are taking the local onslaught of weed packaging sitting down. But Boudreau, for his part, has not specified how much cannabis waste can be utilized by his small prosthetics company. Kindness3D has only been able to ship two of its devices: one to an amputee in Costa Rica and another in Brazil. Scale aside, those interested in supporting Boudreau’s initiative can sign an online petition created in the hopes of convincing the NSLC to start collecting cannabis packaging waste for his company.
An article by the Rooster stated that standard opaque packaging for seven grams of marijuana can weigh as much as 29 grams, which is four times heavier than the flower inside. That investigation noted that marijuana packaging “has less to do with the contents it holds than what it is required to say about them.” State and federal regulations often include a laundry list of warnings and indications that marijuana producers are required to include on containers.
Many retail operations are also barred by law from running their own recycling programs. In California, waste disposal guidelines can include hiring certified waste haulers and even removing cannabis-contaminated parts of the product to make it eligible for disposal. In response, companies like Sun Grown Packaging and HISIERRA have developed recyclable, child-resistant pouches for cannabis products.
To whatever extent he is capable, Boudreau is hoping to be part of the solution to the issue in Nova Scotia. “It’s something we’re really excited about,” he told CBC. “We’re doing our part to kind of help out and as well repurpose this packaging and create some artificial limbs from it.”
Entrepreneur Wants to Turn Canada’s Cannabis Waste into Prosthetic Limbs was posted on High Times.