[Canniseur: Bootleg oil has Cannabis in it’s first public health crisis. The current bootleg vit E oil is analogous with the bootleg alcohol from alcohol prohibition. This analogy is both appropriate and fair. It’s time for prohibition to end. We all want to know if whatever we’re buying is safe.]
Last year’s Green Rush has just hit a brick wall – the vaping epidemic – with profound implications for all things cannabis. As casualties mount, the very premise of legalization hangs in the balance, much as Prohibition did in the 1920s after poisonous alcohol killed thousands.
What a short, strange trip it’s been. The controversial but coveted weed that no law could banish got a new, more dignified name. Pot, the menace, became cannabis, the medicine. Legalization was shaping up to be a noble experiment that was going to work out for everybody.
Now users are getting sick and dying. The cause has yet to be pinpointed, but the Center for Disease Control and state health officials have narrowed the victim profile to largely young males vaping illegal THC oil.
History, the saying goes, never repeats, but it does rhyme. From 1919 to 1933 it was illegal to make, sell, or transport alcoholic beverages in the US. Enforcement of Prohibition was chaotic, corrupt, and the inspiration for a host of unintended consequences, especially illness and death. Right about the time that President Herbert Hoover declared Prohibition “a great … experiment, noble in motive”, illegal booze adulterated with poisonous ingredients is estimated to have sickened hundreds of thousands, and killed tens of thousands. Nobody really knows. By the time the law was repealed, the noble experiment had become an American tragedy.
Exactly a century after Prohibition became law, the vaping crisis is shaping up to be another American tragedy, if not so epic. It threatens to trigger a backlash that could throttle the young cannabis industry in its crib. Investors have poured tens of billions into startup and early stage companies with great stories to tell and little else.
By the time the vaping epidemic broke out, the Green Rush bubble had already begun to deflate. Stock indices that track portfolios of publicly-traded cannabis companies peaked in January 2018, when California became the sixth and largest state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. Since then, those indices have shed on average half or more of their value.
The crisis also threatens to blow a hole in the industry’s overall product development and marketing strategy. Two months ago, a headline on the website GreenEntrepreneur.com declared vaping, “The Future of Cannabis Consumption”. A BDS Analytics report on California’s first year of legal adult use found that cannabis concentrates (principally oil) outsold flower for the first time. Just as it was becoming the delivery system of choice, vaping anything seems a bit risky.
Prohibition and cannabis legalization are examples of massive failures of federal regulation. Prohibition was a poorly thought-out policy with just one tool in its kit – the eradication of stills, destruction of product, and prosecution of miscreants. Onerous regulation bred crime syndicates and a national health crisis.
Federal marijuana regulation has also relied on the criminal code – eradication of grows, interception of shipments, and prosecutions. States whose voters and legislatures decided to legalize have each had to make up their own rules, which can range from chaotic to ineffective, most particularly in California. Some testing labs report that there are few or no state inspectors on the ground to even take reports about contamination, let alone investigate them.
Industry executives and insiders privately say the endgame will likely resemble what followed the repeal of Prohibition. Liquor and beer industries picked up the baton, reopening their mothballed distilleries and breweries. Bars and taprooms turned on the lights and unlocked their doors. Business as usual.
If consumable marijuana-based products are now medicine, it follows that the most likely savior this time will be the drug industry. For some investors, especially venture capital groups, that’s been the allure all along.
In a recent interview, Harris Damashek, formerly chief branding officer at cannabis industry leader Acreage Holdings, forecast what many insiders expect – until state and federal laws are reformed, which appears unlikely before 2021, the industry leaders will be those with the deepest pockets. “They will compete mainly on size,” he says, “buying up smaller brands and other assets in the rush to get as big as possible as fast as possible.”
The long-term bet is on an outsized payday when federal rules finally change, giving Big Pharma the green light to swoop in and buy out the major players in a bidding war. Cannabis could become a huge new category for an industry that in recent years has been short on breakthroughs and blockbusters. By coincidence, Forbes.com has reported that a Teva Pharmaceuticals subsidiary has signed a deal with medical cannabis company Canndoc to distribute its products in Israel.
As hateful as the prospect may be to purists, pharmaceutical companies have the science, the labs, the expertise, and the capital to create, test, and certify FDA-approved products – on day one. Business as usual. In fact, the FDA has already laid the groundwork.
In little-noticed remarks made just six days before the first reports of mass vaping cases – one month ago – Lowell Schiller, a high-ranking FDA policy official, told a gathering of executives in the hemp business that, “Under current law, it’s unlawful to sell a food or dietary supplement with CBD in interstate commerce.” Schiller paused, and then said, “I’ll repeat that: Under current law, it’s unlawful to sell a food or a dietary supplement with CBD in interstate commerce.”
In case you still aren’t sure where the FDA stands, the agency’s website has a Q&A page titled “Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products”. The answer to Question #9, “Can THC or CBD products be sold as dietary supplements?” is unambiguous. “A. No.”
CBD is the non-psychoactive element in hemp that is believed to have medicinal properties. It has been invested in by leading beverage and food companies. CBD is sold in products advertised as good for pain, stress, sleep, anxiety, depression, nausea – just about everything. People are ingesting it, cooking with it, putting it on their skin. Search “CBD” on Amazon.com and you get hundreds of listings for CBD dietary supplement products that are clearly being sold in interstate commerce. Let me repeat that …
In his remarks, Schiller pointed out that determining safe levels of exposure in products we put in or on our bodies is one of the FDA’s principal activities. “When we approach that same question with respect to CBD, we do so in the same science-based, data-driven way that we would approach our review of any substance.” In view of the vaping epidemic, that approach has a certain appeal.
The noble experiment of Prohibition failed due to onerous regulation. The noble experiment of marijuana legalization is failing due to careless regulation. It’s going to be a massive ball of string to untangle. There is still a bright future in our lives for cannabis, but it’s a lot farther away than it was a month ago.
A 1920s anti-Prohibition political cartoon, reimagined. View the original: https://medium.com/@andrew_ward/prohibition-cartoons-efdf2b5c3bf3
[Canniseur: Fascinating. Based on a collection of tweets, cbdinsider.com has determined that people prefer indica type cannabis (sleepy couch-lock effects) to sativa. I wonder if this ‘preference’ is coming from the growers. In all dispensaries I’ve been to, indica is more prevalent. I don’t entirely believe it’s driven by savvy, in-the-know consumers. Maybe indica strains are easier to grow than sativa phenotype strains?]
When it’s time to pack a bowl, most people have one of three cannabis preferences to determine how the course of their day will go.
Should you go for an energetic high that will allow you to actually do the productive adult things you intended to check off the list today, courtesy of sativa? Or is it more of a day for Netflix and lounging around the house with your friend, indica?
In any case, the folks at cbdinsider.com put together a new map: one that tracked over 50,000 tweets in order to find out whether cannabis users chose sativa or indica strains over the month of August (sorry, hybrid lovers and non-believers.)
Indica overwhelmingly dominated the map, with 35 states leaning toward the relaxing strain. Just 15 chose sativa, and they predominantly appear within the southeastern region of the US.
Clockwise, from top left: Malin + Goetz, Cannabis Eau De Parfum; Maison Margiela, Replica; Heretic Parfums, Dirty Grass; Demeter, Cannabis Flower; and 19-69, Chronic. Source: Vendors
In marijuana’s march to mainstream acceptance, high-end fragrances are tapping into a desire for earthy, woodsy creations.
[Canniseur: Is the dank, complex aroma of cannabis, which I love, going mainstream? It certainly seems that way. Would I want to be with a woman or man who smells like weed? I don’t know the answer! Perhaps I’ll find out.]
“Reeking of weed” used to be a bad thing. Now high-end beauty influencers are embracing fragrances designed to highlight the aroma of cannabis.
There’s one called Dirty Grass, an earthy $185 scent with 500 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD oil in each bottle. It’s the latest release from Heretic Parfum’s Douglas Little, the nose behind Goop’s all-natural fragrances. Another, Chronic ($175), is from Swedish brand 19-69 and contains notes of grapefruit and moss. Both are available at Barneys New York.
They join the likes of Malin + Goetz’s Cannabis Eau De Parfum ($165), which balances white floral notes with spicy herbs, and Maison Margiela’s Replica ($126), an ode to the Woodstock music festival that is described as smelling of “patchouli and fresh bud.”
[Canniseur: The producers present an unbiased view of people curiously trying cannabis for the first time. This isn’t just about a cop throwing up. Highlighted are many different people with many various reasons they’re trying cannabis for the first time.]
Yet another cannabis documentary is coming, but this one is stirring the pot because it features two former drug squad cops smoking weed on camera for the first time.
The two-part documentary, High Society: Cannabis Cafe, premieres next week on Channel 4 in the UK. The documentary follows several Brits as they take a trip to Amsterdam. Of course, they’re going to Amsterdam to try the legal weed, since marijuana is still illegal in the UK.
One couple featured in the documentary are friends who want to experiment with cannabis for its pain-relieving effects. Another couple wants to know if weed can save their relationship. But the oddest couple featured in High Society are two former drug squad cops, Des and Ronnie, who hold opposing views towards weed legalization.
Ronnie, who is staunchly opposed to all drug use and weed in particular, believes marijuana is the “gateway drug” that always leads to harder drug use.
Des, on the other hand, is curious about the plant he used to arrest people for. “I’m looking forward to experiencing this,” he says on camera. “I think I’ll be fine, but that remains to be seen.”
The “gateway drug” myth became a punchline later in the documentary. An 84-year-old grandma, Maureen, tokes on a Volcano vaporizer to better understand why her grandson Sam loves to get high. Although she claims to not feel anything after her first few hits, she immediately requests a Coca-Cola, presumably to quench some cotton mouth.
“You’ve tried some weed,” Sam says to his grandma, “now you want some Coke.”
Of course, showing people smoking weed on TV, especially in a country where marijuana is outlawed, will generate some controversy. In High Society’s case, it pissed off people on both sides of the marijuana legalization debate.
Prohibitionists criticized the documentary for promoting illegal drug use. Brexit Party politician Ann Widdecombe told Birmingham Live that, ““For one of our channels to be filming it and showing it on our television amounts to showing an unlawful act.”
“The argument against legalizing cannabis is not being heard enough but it’s very straightforward,” Widdecombe continued. “If you legalize cannabis, it is a gateway drug.”
Meanwhile, proponents of legalization had complaints, too.
“The show,” wrote Sarah Carson at iNews, “… is one in a long line of programs that treat casual drug use with a flippancy afforded only to the privileged.”
The media’s presentation of drug use as an alternative lifestyle choice is harmless enough if you were, say, one of the many white, middle-class, middle-aged people smoking weed at Bob Dylan in Hyde Park last month, confident that the police would leave well alone. Less so if you are an unfairly-targeted demographic — no young black men feature in the first episode of High Society — or someone who is seriously ill and fighting for the right to access medicinal cannabis.
Channel 4 defended its programming by stating that its producers wanted to present an unbiased view of people curiously trying cannabis for the first time.
“The show reflects a mix of both positive and negative experiences and is not intended to glamorize or make light of drug taking,” a spokesperson for Channel 4 said in a statement. “Instead, it explores this hotly debated topic in a balanced way, under supervised conditions, and in a fully licensed and legal setting in Amsterdam.”
[Canniseur: Great idea to both to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease as well as get people laughing and high all at once. What could be better. I want to go!]
Actor and comedian Seth Rogen is hosting a weed-friendly, adults-only charity carnival to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. The Hilarity for Charity County Fair, which will be held in Los Angeles next weekend, will feature a range of comedians, celebrities, rides, food — and pot.
Rogen gained first-hand familiarity with Alzheimer’s when his mother-in-law was diagnosed with it at age 55. In 2012, Rogen founded Hilarity for Charity to raise money to help combat this disease. In 2014, Rogen even testified before Congress, urging politicians to fund Alzheimer’s research. At the hearing, the actor couldn’t resist making a joke about weed.
“First I should answer the question I assume many of you are asking: Yes, I’m aware this has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana,” he said, Marijuana Moment reports. “In fact, if you can believe it, this concerns something that I find even more important.”
This year’s charity carnival will allow Rogen to unite his passion for curing Alzheimer’s with his love of weed. “We here at Hilarity for Charity love to fight Alzheimer’s disease, but we also love rides, food, alcohol and weed!” said Rogen in a promotional video. “We also love trying to be good people so that in the event there is an afterlife, we don’t go to hell.”
Comedians Adam Devine, Andrew Rannells, Ben Feldman, Casey Wilson, Ilana Glazer, Ike Barinholtz, Jeff Ross, Josh Gad, Kate Micucci, Nick Kroll, Regina Hall and Riki Lindhome are scheduled to participate in the event. Tony Hawk is scheduled to do a halfpipe skateboard performance, and musician Anderson Paak will also perform.
At this stage, it is unclear exactly what role weed will play in the event, but the carnival is definitely being advertised as pot-friendly. Comedian Josh Gad tweeted that “this is the only fair I will attend this year other than my children’s book fair which has a lot less readily available weed.”
This carnival is not the only way that cannabis can help the millions of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. In 2016, a research study discovered that THC and other cannabinoids can help brain cells remove toxic beta-amyloid proteins, which are believed to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s. Most pharmaceutical medicines approved to treat symptoms of this disorder have minimal effect, but new research indicates that a combination of THC and CBD can help effectively treat this serious ailment.
[Canniseur: So many ways this survey could get skewed by legal markets vs. illegal markets. It’s interesting reading and some of the statistics are perhaps informing us of how things will go when cannabis is legal nationally.]
Which state smokes the most weed? Depending on the study, it’s either California, Colorado, Washington, or Oregon. Kind of obvious, we know, but which US state is the least lit?
Of course, getting solid, reliable data on pot use isn’t simple nor is it clear-cut, especially in states where weed is still completely outlawed. According to the Oxford Treatment Center, an “Oxford House” styled drug rehab clinic, federal data reveals which states recently saw the greatest increase in cannabis use — and which ones saw the smallest increases, too.
The data, which came from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Survey on Drug Use and Health assessed survey responses from American adults between 2014 and 2017, so this data isn’t up-to-date. But it did detect trends in states that legalized medical or recreational marijuana (which is always followed by increased weed usage rates). The survey also assessed states that have not yet legalized or have only allowed extremely limited forms of medical cannabis, which do show upticks in usage rates, but not nearly as much as weed-legal states.
There are two ways to look at cannabis use in states that have no legal weed sales data. The first way is to assess respondents’ answers regarding usage rates, i.e. what percentage of the adult population said they smoked weed. The other way to look at it is how that usage rate changed over time, which is presented as a percentage change.
And the state that comes out at the bottom of both usage rates and percent change? Georgia.
In 2017, Georgia’s rate of weed use hovered around 11.8 percent. In terms of usage rates, that wasn’t the lowest: Alabama (10.6 percent), Iowa (11.5 percent), Nebraska (11.5 percent), North Dakota (11.0 percent), and South Carolina (11.1 percent) have Georgia beat in that category, but they’re all pretty darn close.
Where Georgia stood out is its percentage change between 2014 to 2017. In that four-year period, Georgia’s residents increased their pot smoking by a mere 1.9 percent. Alabama, which was a full percentage point lower than Georgia in usage rates, saw a 2.6 percent increase in weed use in that same period.
Even Texas and Utah, which have both been real sticklers about medical marijuana restrictions, increased their rates of use by almost double of Georgia’s: by 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.
Georgia has some of the strictest anti-weed laws on the books, compared to other US states. In 2015, under the leadership of Rep. Allen Peake (R-141st District), the state finally legalized cannabis oils containing less than 5 percent THC (hemp is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC), but only for severely ill patients, such as those with cancer or intractable seizure disorders. Several major cities and counties in Georgia have also decriminalized marijuana possession, but cultivation and sales remain illegal across the board.
As for which states experienced the greatest weed usage rates, those would be Oregon (27.4 percent), Colorado (25.7 percent), Washington (23.2 percent), and Alaska (23.4) — which were all some of the first states to legalize adult-use cannabis.
But let’s not forget our homies in New England, whose weed usage rates rival their neighbors west of the Mississippi: Tokers in Washington DC (27 percent), Vermont (24.3 percent), Maine (22.5 percent), Rhode Island (21.2 percent), and Massachusetts (20.3 percent) could probably outsmoke some of the OGs in California (which only clocked in at 17.8 percent, surprise surprise).
Of course, these numbers should be taken with a few grains of salt. People are likely more naturally apt to admit that they smoke weed in states where it’s legal or tolerated. So seeing lower usage rate values in prohibition states may just be an artifact of prohibition itself, where people fear their cannabis use could land them in prison — or worse.
[Canniseur: Scientific studies have told us that cannabis can be good for our sex lives. Quantification isn’t the same as qualification from those who consume. And this survey certainly seems to qualify cannabis as a terrific enhancer for our sex lives.]
Whether you’re partnered up or riding solo, marijuana can enhance the longevity, frequency and quality of sexual pleasure, reports a new survey out on Tuesday.
“Cannabis can enhance your orgasms no matter who you are,” the report states. “While a satisfying sex life is the result of many variables, cannabis can increase the length, frequency of, and quality of your orgasms and pleasure sessions whether you’re single or married, solo or with a partner, young adult or silver fox.”
The report is the result of an online survey shared with 432 Lioness newsletter subscribers in North America between June 23 and July 1. Researchers also included perspective from 19 Lioness users who documented their experiences with different cannabis products using their device. Products included THC- and CBD-infused vaporizers, edibles and lubricants.
“As cannabis becomes more and more a part of daily lives,” said Peter Gigante, Head of Data Research at Eaze, in an emailed statement, “we hope the key insights in this report help consumers understand its various benefits in the bedroom, and encourage people to explore it as knowledgeably as possible.”
Here are the different ways cannabis makes sex better, according to the report:
Participants reported that sex without marijuana consumption lasted 34.6 minutes with a partner, 19.2 minutes on their own and 12.6 minutes with the Lioness smart vibrator. When they consumed, however, 73 percent said their partner sessions went longer while 64 percent reported spending more time pleasuring themselves. Married couples were more likely to spend more time enjoying one another while consuming cannabis than single people, and the product participants reported having “the most significant impact on orgasm length and frequency” were THC edibles.
Nearly half of participants said they experienced more orgasms when they consumed marijuana, whether it was during masturbation or partnered sex (43 percent and 48 percent, respectively). THC edibles were once again found to be associated with an increase in orgasms.
Easier to Reach Orgasm
Sixty-three percent of participants said cannabis made reaching an orgasm easier when they were solo, while 71 percent reported the same when they were with a partner. “Respondents found that cannabis helped shorten the time it took to achieve orgasm, with or without a partner,” the report states. “The anecdotal and empirical evidence we collected indicates that the effects of cannabis helped shorten the time between the start of the session and the orgasm.”
Additionally, according to the report, “Lioness data found that the duration of each orgasm itself increased by 14% and 46%, and was associated with greater self-reported masturbation satisfaction. For reference, the average orgasm in the study lasted for 33.6 seconds with cannabis.”
Eight-five percent and 79 percent of respondents said cannabis helped them feel more satisfied with the quality of their orgasms during solo and partnered sessions, respectively. Using sex toys while consuming cannabis also became more pleasurable for a majority of participants, whether they used them on their own or with a partner. That includes 87 percent of married people.
Researchers also took a closer look at how THC and CBD impact sex. According to the report‘s findings, both cannabinoids enhanced the sexual experience. CBD products, however, helped participants reach orgasms “easier” while THC products led to more “intense and satisfying” sessions.
In a statement emailed to Marijuana Moment, Lioness co-founder and CEO Liz Klinger talked about the importance of normalizing such conversations around sexual health and pleasure. “For far too long, the benefits of sexual pleasure and cannabis have been overlooked and underfunded due to taboo and fear,” she said. “The goal of this report is to continue to drive conversation and education about the effects of cannabis use in the bedroom, and we’re really excited to share some of the unique findings for both solo and partner sessions.”
[Canniseur: I’m surprised, but not surprised, by these survey results. It’s an important survey with far reaching consequences. The brainwashing of America about cannabis seems to be mostly over. Marijuana is no longer the evil weed. There are other areas where the government is trying to sway our minds in what are perhaps nefarious ways and ideas, but cannabis is no longer one of them. The truth will always win. Sometimes it takes a while, in this case since 1937.]
Americans are twice as likely to say that alcohol is “very harmful” than say the same about marijuana, according to a survey released on Monday.
In fact, far more respondents described alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes—all legal, regulated products—as seriously dangerous. The number of Americans who said that tobacco cigarettes are “very dangerous” is more than three times the share who believe that about cannabis, which the federal government continues to classify as an illegal Schedule I substance.
Via Politico/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Asked to rate the harmfulness of the four products, only 26 percent said marijuana is very dangerous, whereas 27 percent said it was “somewhat harmful,” 26 percent said it is “not too harmful” and a surprising 18 percent said marijuana is “not harmful at all.”
Via Politico/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Compare that to alcohol, which is widely available and legal for adults 21 and older. About twice as many respondents (51 percent) said that alcohol is “very harmful” than did so for marijuana, and just two percent said alcohol isn’t dangerous at all.
Via Politico/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Tobacco cigarettes topped the list in terms of perceived harmfulness, with 81 percent stating that the product is very dangerous and just one percent contending that there’s no risk.
Via Politico/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The survey, which was produced by Politico and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and involved phone interviews with over 1,000 adults, also broke down responses by political affiliation. By and large, Republicans, Democrats and independents are in consensus in terms of how they perceive the harmfulness of each product.
For marijuana, 25 percent of Democrats said it is very harmful, while 26 percent of Republicans and independents said the same. Democrats and independents were equally likely to say that cannabis isn’t at all harmful (19 percent), compared to 14 percent of Republican respondents.
The poll reflects a trend that seems connected to legalization efforts across the country, which generally involve educational campaigns aimed at debunking drug war propaganda about marijuana and highlighting the relative safety of cannabis compared to legal, recreational substances.
At the same time that relatively few Americans regard marijuana as seriously harmful, perceptions of the immorality of using cannabis are also notably low, according to a separate survey released last year. Gallup found that 65 percent of respondents considered smoking marijuana “morally acceptable,” whereas fewer said the same about watching porn, the death penalty and cloning animals, for example.
But while perceptions of marijuana’s risks are declining, that hasn’t been associated with a corresponding increase in underage usage. That finding comes from a federally funded national survey that was published last week.