Semen Laced with THC Detected Among Heavy Cannabis Users, Study Finds

Semen Laced with THC Detected Among Heavy Cannabis Users, Study Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Semen Laced with THC Detected Among Heavy Cannabis Users, Study Finds

Image via

[Canniseur: Sometimes we’ve just got to publish a story that sends us into gales of laughter. This is one of those stories, especially the last sentence. If this is true, does it matter?]

A recent study from Harvard Medical School found that trace amounts of THC metabolites were detected in semen samples from frequent cannabis users. However, some samples did not test positive for substantive amounts of THC, which stumped researchers.

The study, published several weeks ago in Reproductive Physiology and Disease, was conducted by scientists at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery. The study looked at semen samples from 12 “healthy” males who reported that they were “chronic and heavy users of inhaled cannabis.”

The study didn’t just look at THC and the primary THC metabolite, 11-OH-THC, in semen samples. It also assessed THC and metabolite levels in the subjects’ blood and urine. All urine samples contained detectable amounts of THC and 11-OH-THC, which confirmed that the subjects had consumed cannabis. Yet only two of the semen samples contained THC and metabolites above the reporting level of 0.5 ng/mL: at “0.97 nanograms per milliliter and 0.87 ng/mL,” Marijuana Moment reported.

Researchers were unsure why only two samples showed THC above the reporting level, in other words, at values high enough for chemists to reliably declare, There’s definitely weed in this seed. Possibly, THC does not readily enter the testes as it does urine or the blood. The small number of participants may have given the researchers a bad batch of samples, too.

In addition, if those ng/mL values look like a foreign language to you, they indicate that only incredibly tiny amounts of THC will pass the blood-testis barrier, a membrane that keeps contaminants in the bloodstream from damaging the little fellas swimming around inside of the testicles. Some studies suggest that cannabis use can impair sperm motility, though other studies have not found conclusive evidence that cannabis use actually affects virility or fertility. In other words, there’s little to no evidence that weed compromises a couple’s ability to naturally have babies.

Furthermore, less than 1.0 ng/mL of THC in semen is barely any THC at all. In most cases, blood samples will show 20 ng/mL of THC immediately after someone takes a rip off a pipe. And if you’re wondering if you can get your partner lit AF with a blowjob, that’s not happening either.

A nanogram is one millionth of a milligram, as in, it takes one million nanograms to make just one milligram. The standard minimum dose of THC that can cause heady effects (in low-tolerance users) is generally considered to be 5 milligrams. Twenty nanograms doesn’t even come close to this dose.

So, what’s the ultimate takeaway here? First, cops, courts, and employers won’t be asking for semen samples to see if you’ve been smoking weed. It’s much easier to test for cannabis use through saliva, blood, or urine samples for, uh, obvious reasons.

Second, this study provides some minute evidence that cannabis use could compromise sperm health or virility, but a lot more research is still needed regarding THC and baby-making.

And third, please don’t cite this study to try and elicit oral sex from a partner. That’s just downright skeezy.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Semen Laced with THC Detected Among Heavy Cannabis Users, Study Finds

What Are Landrace Weed Strains and Why Are They Evolutionary Wonders?

What Are Landrace Weed Strains and Why Are They Evolutionary Wonders?

Original Post: Merry Jane: What Are Landrace Weed Strains and Why Are They Evolutionary Wonders?

[Canniseur: There is a reason these strains are ‘legendary’. Read Randy’s article to learn why they have been subsumed into many different strains. Understanding landrace weed strain’s history is fascinating.]

While most weed smokers describe cannabis strains informally as “indicas,” “sativas,” or “hybrids,” there are two scientific categories that distinguish cannabis in broader terms: “landrace” and, well, every strain that’s not a landrace.

Cannabis cultivators who develop new strains are particularly fond of landraces. But what is a landrace strain, and why do bud breeders love them so much?

A Brief History on the Landrace Concept

We’ll need to dip our toes into the biological sciences to better understand what landraces are. The term first appeared in 1908 in a German book by agricultural scientist Kurt Rümker. The original word, landrasse, literally translates to English as “country-breed,” meaning a plant native to a particular country.

Since then, biologists have expanded the term “landrace” to encompass any plant or animal that’s native to a particular region and possesses specific, unique characteristics from the rest of its species.

What makes a plant a landrace, though? To answer that, we’ll have to review some evolutionary biology.

When a species like Cannabis sativa grows in the wild, it can sometimes grow in relative isolation from other Cannabis sativa varieties or strains. For instance, there may be weed growing near the top of a mountain, or weed growing on an island. When these plants grow in isolation, they won’t cross-breed with other cannabis strains, so this strain’s genetics remain intact for hundreds, if not thousands, of generations.

Over time (we’re talking thousands to millions of years), that isolated weed strain will become hyper-adapted to its environment. Genes that promote the strain’s ability to survive, thrive, and reproduce will often duplicate or evolve other enhancements within its DNA, increasing those genes’ expressions. These genes may regulate cannabinoid production, terpene production, or other traits such as drought-resistance, pest-resistance, UV protection, or higher flower yields.

By definition, landrace plants cannot originate from human gardens, farms, or other breeding programs. They must also produce relatively high yields even under less-than-ideal environmental conditions. And while some cross-breeding in the wild is expected, genetic sequencing must show that the landrace possesses “genetic integrity,” in other words, it mostly inbred within its own population. (Just FYI, unlike animals, plants don’t develop health issues from constant inbreeding.)

Why Some Weed Breeders Risk Life and Limb to Preserve Landrace Strains

Cannabis cultivators respect the agricultural tradition of naming landraces according to the strain’s country or region of origin. This is why the Afghani and Thai landrace strains are called “Afghani” and “Thai” and not something more colorful like “Purple Punch” or “Alaskan Thunderfuck.” However, some landrace names do have a bit of flare to them, such as Acapulco Gold and Panama Red. This naming convention designates landrace weed plants as distinct from the strains you’d find in most pot shops, which are almost always non-landrace hybrids.

In fact, the terms “sativa” and “indica” only accurately describe landrace strains. Since practically every weed strain sold by street dealers or licensed pot shops is the result of crossbreeding, almost all buds you can find these days are technically “hybrids,” regardless of how they’re marketed. Landraces also possess gene combinations for specific cannabinoids or terpenes that are difficult to duplicate with traditional breeding methods. So, if cannabis cultivators want those gene combos in their proprietary strains, they need to cross their plants with a landrace first.

Some cannabis cultivators have gone above and beyond to find landrace weed strains, too. In 2018, VICE News produced a mini-documentary about Franco Loja and Arjan Roskam, two “strain hunters” who traveled to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo in search of a rare Congolese landrace. Loja and Arjan founded the Green House cannabis cafe in Amsterdam, as well as Green House Seeds, which developed the world-famous White Widow strain from Brazilian and South Indian landraces.

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There’s another reason why cultivators want landraces: Landrace plants can protect monocropped plants from being wiped out by pests or diseases. Monocropping occurs when farmers plant and replant a crop where each plant has identical genetics, such as what’s happened in the US with wheat and corn. Although the nascent cannabis industry has not yet entirely monocropped cannabis, monocropping will likely happen if and when weed becomes federally legal (hemp has been federally legal since 2018). Since a monocrop has the same genes among all plants within the crop, they’re especially susceptible to pests and diseases, which can destroy an entire crop.

But, if cultivators can introduce a landrace’s sturdy genes into a monocrop, that monocrop will develop some genetic diversity, increasing its chances of resisting infection or repelling pests.

Basically, nature often does it better than humans can. And, no matter how clever our breeding methods get, landrace strains, which are essentially designed by nature, will always guarantee that we’ve got dank, potent weed.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: What Are Landrace Weed Strains and Why Are They Evolutionary Wonders?

Cannabis May Stop Coronavirus From Infecting People, Study Finds

Cannabis May Stop Coronavirus From Infecting People, Study Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis May Stop Coronavirus From Infecting People, Study Finds

[Canniseur: This is fascinating. If it’s true, and it’s totally unproven, then it could be the biggest boon for the cannabis industry ever. If proven true, will get cannabis delisted from schedule 1 in no time. Who among cannabis consumers wouldn’t want this? Thanks for the research Canada!]

A new study from Canada suggests that cannabis extracts containing THC and CBD could prevent the novel coronavirus from infecting human cells.

The study, published online at Preprints, was conducted by a team of biologists licensed to grow marijuana and hemp under a Health Canada research license. Using 13 different cannabis oils extracted from newly developed strains, the team discovered that certain oils containing the cannabinoids CBD and THC could lower human cell production of two key proteins that serve as gateways for COVID-19 virus to enter the body and cause infection.

Scientists believe that the novel coronavirus primarily spreads when infected individuals talk or breathe within six feet of other people. The moisture droplets that exit the infected person’s mouth travel by air and are inhaled or swallowed by other people in proximity. As the virus travels into a new host’s throat or sinuses (and possibly even the digestive system), it stabs its “corona” spikes into a cellular protein found throughout the body called ACE2.

Another protein made by the body, TMPRSS2, essentially turns the coronavirus spike into a chainsaw, ripping the cell open and allowing the virus to enter. Once the virus is inside of a human cell, it hijacks the cell’s DNA and forces the cell to produce so many copies of the virus that the cell eventually explodes, releasing a swarm of new coronaviruses that go on to infect even more of the host’s cells.

Studies that predate COVID-19 suggest that cannabinoids can “tune down” the genes that produce, regulate, and activate both ACE2 and TMPRSS2. In other words, weed oils could basically block the coronavirus from being able to infect people altogether.

However, it should be stressed that the researchers are not saying that weed is a cure for the coronavirus. Rather, cannabis extracts could work as an “adjunct therapy” in new medical products that could reduce the chances of someone getting COVID-19.

These theoretical weed-infused medicines “can be used to develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and at-home use,” the Canadian researchers wrote. “Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”

But before you hop down to the local bar to prematurely celebrate the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, know that there are some major caveats to this study.

First, the researchers didn’t test weed oils in human subjects. Instead, they hit cultured human cells that produce ACE2 and TMPRSS2 with cannabis extracts. Using a bunch of biotechnology techniques, they found that the cannabis oils downregulated, or reduced the activity of, the genes that make and modulate ACE2 and TMPRSS2.

To truly determine if cannabis extracts could stop the coronavirus from entering human cells, they would need to administer these extracts to human subjects who are intentionally (under experimental conditions) exposed to the coronavirus. If that sounds fucking insane, that’s because it kind of is, but it’s also a real thing: Drug companies are using a similar experimental setup to test whether potential coronavirus vaccines would actually work in people.

Second, it’s not entirely clear from the researcher’s paper what the cannabis extracts contained besides THC and CBD. Cannabis extracts often contain hundreds if not thousands of different compounds, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and polyphenols. While it’s very possible that THC and CBD were responsible for downregulating ACE2 and TMPRSS2, it’s also possible that other chemicals in weed contributed to the study’s results.

Furthermore, the two most effective extracts for downregulating ACE2 were a 1:21 THC-to-CBD ratio oil and a 1:3 THC-to-CBD oil. Why those widely varying ratios both significantly reduced ACE2 activity was not explained, and could indicate that other cannabis compounds are at play.

And the final caveat: Preprints is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It’s basically an open-source database where researchers can share their findings with other scientists in the fastest, most efficient manner possible. Websites like Preprints enable researchers to bypass the lengthy process of peer-review — which can take months, if not years — relying instead on other scientists who volunteer their feedback to critique a specific study.

So, no, we don’t owe any apologies to retired footballer Kyle Turley, who claimed just a few weeks ago that his CBD products could cure COVID-19. And we should still anticipate findings from other research projects in Canada and Israel that are investigating whether CBD combined with conventional medications could treat COVID-19.

But, if the Preprints study turns out to be true, we could be fast approaching the finish line in our race against the coronavirus. And then, the US government is going to have a really, really difficult time justifying why it considers marijuana an illegal Schedule I drug with “no accepted medical use.”

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis May Stop Coronavirus From Infecting People, Study Finds

Easyriders Magazine Seals $30 Million Deal to Sell Bud to Bikers

Easyriders Magazine Seals $30 Million Deal to Sell Bud to Bikers

Original Post: Merry Jane: Easyriders Magazine Seals $30 Million Deal to Sell Bud to Bikers

[Canniseur: Easy Rider is THE biker magazine. Started a year after the movie of the same name, it’s become an iconic magazine for bikers. And now they’re going to sell Easy Rider Weed. For me, this is so cool and so correct. I’m thinking about an Easy Rider joint. Too cool. Just born to be wild.]

One of America’s oldest and most iconic motorcycle magazines is officially jumping into the weed game.

On Tuesday, the new owner and president of Easyriders magazine, Pepper Foster, told WWD that he finalized a deal worth “well over” $30 million. The partnerships include Easyriders and two US cannabis companies — Oregon’s Big Top Farms and Tennessee’s Hemp2Lab — to make and distribute CBD and CBG products derived from hemp.

Easyriders’ products will include items like topicals, salves, tinctures, lip balms, and lotions, and each will bear Easyriders’ logos and gothic typeface, making these weed products the first (and so far, only) marketed directly to America’s biker community. Though, to be fair, there is a California-based weed brand named after the late Dennis Hopper, one of the stars of the iconic 1969 biker film Easy Rider. The movie’s title likely inspired the magazine’s name, given that Easyriders first hit the news presses in 1970.

Why is a biker magazine countersteering into the nation’s nascent cannabis space, though? First off, bikers were a crucial part of America’s early marijuana movement, toking, wheeling, and dealing herb across the US alongside the hippies, the beatniks, the street activists, and the rock ‘n’ rollers.

Second, the magazine’s revenue stream from advertisements got screwed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing bankruptcy just after taking over the magazine, Foster decided to expand Easyriders from a single print publication to an entire lifestyle brand.

According to his interview at WWD, Foster plans to roll-out the new Easyriders hemp products in the near future, particularly whenever these coronavirus lockdowns start to ease up nationwide. He’s currently looking at weed dispensaries, pharmacies, and high-end clothing and luxury stores to carry the Easyriders brand. But at the top of his retail wish-list revs the granddaddy of American motorcycles: Harley-Davidson and its 1,000 stores across the US.

“At the end of the day, the world has to go on, it’s not going to spin off its axis up into Pluto,” Foster said, referring to widespread business closures amid the COVID-19 crisis. “We’re gonna survive and, yes, things will change, but this magazine has been around for 50 years, and it will be around for another 50 years.”

“We’re setting the stage for this brand,” he continued, “a beautiful gem that’s just being polished.”

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Original Post: Merry Jane: Easyriders Magazine Seals $30 Million Deal to Sell Bud to Bikers

What Is “Wedding Cake” Weed and What Makes This Strain So Sweet?

What Is “Wedding Cake” Weed and What Makes This Strain So Sweet?

Original Post: Merry Jane: What Is “Wedding Cake” Weed and What Makes This Strain So Sweet?

Lead photo via

[Canniseur: From first hand knowledge I know this to be a wonderful strain. It doesn’t make you sleepy, but you are aware of your body. I didn’t know about the breeder of this cultivar, but I do now. Might have to seek them out.]

With weed weddings becoming the new standard for stoners getting hitched, it’s no wonder that the strain dubbed “Wedding Cake” is a popular offering at marijuana-themed matrimonial ceremonies. Described as a chill-yet-functional flower variety, it’s the perfect cannabis complement to all the readily available champagne and desserts reserved for the special day.

Or maybe you just like getting blazed on some potent shit that kinda tastes like candy. There are many reasons to dig Wedding Cake, so let’s dive into what makes the strain so hype.

The “Wedding Cake” Weed Strain’s Notable Characteristics

Pot strains bearing names inspired by various fruits, candies, and other sweets are a dime-sack a dozen these days. But Wedding Cake cuts above the rest due to its distinctly spicy and vanilla-filled flavor and aroma.

How does Wedding Cake get its namesake qualities? Like every other cannabis strain, this one gets its mouth-watering bouquet from its terpene contents. According to compiled lab data, the three most prominent terpenes in Wedding Cake are limonene (citrus), caryophyllene (pepper/spice), and myrcene (earthy/dirt).

But if you peep the various self-reports from folks who’ve smoked Wedding Cake, the descriptor “vanilla” pops up quite often. What compound in cannabis could be contributing to that sweet herbal delight?

The molecule in vanilla extracts that make them smell and taste like, well, vanilla, is called vanillin. As far as we know, weed doesn’t produce vanillin. So, it’s possible that some specific blend of common cannabis terpenes — like limonene, caryophyllene, myrcene, and possibly some other natural components — blend to give off that vanilla scent.

Wedding Cake Isn’t the Only Strain That Reminds People of Vanilla

According to the weed breeders at Seed Junky, the company that says it created Wedding Cake (aka Triangle Mints #23 or Pink Cookies), the strain is a cross between a particular cut of Triangle Kush and Animal Mints. Animal Mints claims Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) as one of its parents.

And GSC was one of the first famous strains known for exuding hints of vanilla. So, GSC’s genetics likely explains why Wedding Cake tastes lightly of vanilla frosting, but that’s still not scientific evidence. But hey: We don’t gotta know everything about weed, right? The vanilla mystery might even be part of Wedding Cake’s sweet allure. Now enjoy the flower strain — your sweet tooth will thank you!

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Original Post: Merry Jane: What Is “Wedding Cake” Weed and What Makes This Strain So Sweet?

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