Burning Man In Legal Weed Territory

Burning Man In Legal Weed Territory

Burning Man is more than a convention.

For many of the Burning Man attendees (known as Burners), the eight day festival is a religious experience on par with any pilgrimage. It’s not just coked out junkies or stoned hippies singing Kumbaya either, every walk of life attends. Lawyers, doctors, firefighters, artists and everyone else gather on the scorched plains of Nevada. Known as the Blackrock desert, the playa where Burning Man happens is one of the flattest and driest places on earth. The plain is often used to set land and airspeed records when it isn’t on fire with revelers. Burners normally have to bring anything and everything they will need with them or simply go without. But this will be the first year in over 30 that Burning Man will be held in a state where cannabis is legal. That’s because Nevada recently passed recreational marijuana reform. Now tourists and desert rats alike can legally buy cannabis for the event. They just aren’t legally allowed to openly consume at the event.

Drugs are part of Burning Man.Burning Man

Started back in the late 1980s by a troop of eccentric performers, Burning Man was always about the drugs and personal expansion. Once it moved to the Nevada desert in 1990, the gathering grew to unbelievable proportions. People heard about the party in the desert where they burned a giant statue and had to experience it for themselves. Burning Man has a philosophy that encourages exploration and experimentation. Social norms about drugs, sex and our place in society are openly questioned and debated. Use of every drug under the sun is commonplace in the hedonistic atmosphere of the event. And with over 70,000 people showing up in 2015 alone, the police presence is more of a security detail than an event buster. But that doesn’t mean they won’t confiscate your stash. Even though cannabis is legal (and tame compared to what is available at Burning Man) to consume in Nevada, the event is held on federal land. That means there won’t be any booths selling bud next to the water truck. But that isn’t expected to stop people from buying weed on their way out to the event.

Cannabis shops around the silver state geared up.420 celebrations

Retailers across the state rolled out and rolled up for the event. Everyone from casinos to resturaunts and especially weed shops know what Burners are looking for. In addition to offering Burner themed strains and deals, many retailers created special products and care packages for the festival. One of the new products available to Burners starting Friday, Aug. 25 is called a Burner Box. This collaboration between Blüm and Vegas Weekend Box is designed from the ground up to meet any stoners needs. The box includes some of Nevada’s best-selling cannabis products specially packaged for tourists. The $299 price tag means Burner Boxes aren’t cheap. They do present a sizable value though. The boxes are loaded with cannabis oil, edibles, flower and joints from leading Nevada producers. It also includes a portable vaporizer and a high-end mini-torch designed to withstand the windstorms Blackrock is known for.

It’s no surprise that casinos want in on the hot THC action.

While the Nevada Gaming Commission determines how to provide areas for consuming cannabis in casinos, users can book weed friendly services. The corporation that owns Eldorado Resort Casino, Silver Legacy Resort Casino, and Circus Circus Hotel Casino in Reno and the Montbleu Resort Casino and Spa in Lake Tahoe isn’t letting this chance pass them by. The company hosts an epic three-day, three-night Burning Man detox starting Sept. 4.

Are you attending Burning Man? How is legal weed affecting your burn? Let us know in the comments below!

Black Market is Oregons Most Notorious Export

Black Market is Oregon's Most Notorious Export

Oregon is the Epicenter of national Cannabis Production.

The black market is alive and well. According to the Oregon State Police report, Oregon generates between 132 tons and 900 tons of cannabis. That is more cannabis than Oregon can conceivably consume per the Oregon State Police. They clearly underestimate their citizens. However, the real issue is that more and more cannabis is leaving the state to be sold elsewhere. And the Feds are looking at Oregon officials wondering what they intend to do about it.
Even though Oregon has implemented tacking methods to aid in efforts of control, it’s clearly not enough. But what else can they do, they already have cameras in every dispensary. Along with grower’s information, tracking numbers on all cannabis products and a strict budtender to consumer sales protocol.

Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions wants to change the rules.

The Feds want to interfere with Oregon’s s cannabis laws, but the Cole Memorandum restricts federal marijuana law enforcement. However, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is criticizing congressional leaders about the federal government’s hands-off approach to medical marijuana. The governors of Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska wrote a warning to Sessions in April.
The governors believe that altering the Cole Memorandum “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.” Making marijuana illegal again is not going to fix the problem. Cannabis will still be sold out of state and the black market will grow even larger once again.  Because of this, Congress is strongly considering renewing the Cole Amendment for the next fiscal year.
Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer said that Sessions is “out of step” with most members of Congress. Many members of Congress are supportive of the idea to end the failed prohibition on marijuana. According to Blumenauer, cannabis has left Oregon for decades. But now-a-days we have better mechanisms to control it. He is correct, and people are continuing to create better methods of cannabis tracking and control.

Tracking technology is racing to keep up with the market.

Tina Kotek is the speaker of the Oregon House. She said that lawmakers wanted to ensure that they’re trying their best to protect the new industry that they’re supporting. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board says it’s replacing its current tracking on Nov. 1st.
The new tracking system is supposed to be highly secure, more reliable, scalable and flexible. In California, they approved using a tracking system run by Lakeland, a Florida-based Franwell company. Franwell tracks cannabis using bar-code and radio frequency identification labels on packaging and plants.
“The tracking system is the most important tool a state has,” said Michael Crabtree. Crabtree runs the Denver-based Nationwide Compliance Specialist Inc. They help tax collectors track cash-heavy industries like the cannabis industry. Unfortunately, the systems aren’t 100% locked tight, they rely on user’s honesty.
According to Crabtree, “We have seen numerous examples of people ‘forgetting’ to tag plants”. And Colorado’s tracking doesn’t apply to several non-commercial marijuana caregivers. That doesn’t mean that they’re not trying to keep better track on cannabis distribution. California Sen. Mike McGuire said that it will take years for a fully operational and legal market will be in full force.

The Feds can’t catch’em all.

Even if there is a large percentage of marijuana leaving the state of Oregon, the Feds can’t catch them all. There’s a lack of authority and resources for them to snuff out every operation. There is a strong incentive for growers to take the risk because they can earn thousands of dollars per pound. And the punishments for getting caught are not as severe as they used to be.
Anthony Taylor is a licensed marijuana processor and lobbyist. He says that he used to grow large cannabis crops that were hidden from aerial surveillance. “In those days, marijuana was REALLY illegal. If you get caught growing the amounts we were growing, you were going to go to prison for a number of years.”
The large profit incentive for selling cannabis in the black market is real. And according to Taylor, the illegal sale and distribution of cannabis will stop when it becomes fully legalized nationwide. New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker agrees with Taylor. He introduced a bill to Congress on Aug. 1st to fully legalize marijuana in the U.S.

Even if marijuana becomes legal nationwide, there may still be a black market.

Currently, there is another incentive for distributors to sell cannabis underground. Lab testing remains expensive. Growers must take several samples to get lab tested which can costs thousands of dollars. The wait times are long because there is a shortage of testing labs, and the tests are strict. If one sample test negative for pests or mold, then the entire batch is considered a loss. Labs also test for THC and CBD percentages which adds to the expensive costs of testing.

Stone Cold Reception for Roger Stone

Stone Cold Reception for Roger Stone

Cannabis reform is under threat from extremist ideologies.

I’m not talking about one person or one ideology either. On the Left and Right, people are taking extreme stances that alienate potential allies. The most recent example of this is the controversy over Roger Stone (Alt-Right personality) being a keynote speaker at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo.
Stone is a racially controversial figure with close ties to the Trump administration. His radical views leverage racial tensions to drive home his points. Yet Stone supports cannabis reform and has attended CWCBExpo conferences before without issue.
But after the tragic events of Charlottesville and the subsequent support President Trump gave (even while denouncing) to white nationalists and Neo Nazis, everyone is up in arms. Tensions are at an all-time high and every passing day sees the pressure build as new lines are drawn in the sand.

Organizations are withdrawing from mutually supported causes.

On Thursday, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) put up a Facebook post announcing its withdrawal from the CWCBExpo due to the presence of Roger Stone. “As a result of CWC choosing this guy as their keynote speaker, MCBA has decided to withdraw from attendance and speaking roles at this conference. CWC, you know better so there’s no excuse not to do better.”
The official reply from the CWCBExpo was a poorly thought-out and emotional response from Scott Giannotti. The managing partner of the CWCBExpo posted “How convenient MCBA is promoting CWCBExpo’s biggest competitor NCIA, who hosts ALL WHITE CONFERENCES. Meanwhile CWCBExpo works hard at producing the most politically and culturally diverse conference program in the cannabis industry. But we’re racists ok lol I’ll put our show guide up against NCIA’s any day you want and show you how dumb you people are.”
It is important to note that NCIA does not host “all white conferences”. They defended themselves but have deemed the attack beneath their attention. Instead of entering the rats-nest of ‘who is the bigger racist’, they continue to operate as normal. But the attack on the alternative conference left a bitter flavor in the mouths of several speakers.

The controversy is bigger than one speaker (Stone) or one conference (CWCB).

Several other prominent organizations dropped out of the conference so far. The biggest so far are Aunt Zelda’s co-founder Mara Gordon, as well as former Drug Policy Alliance California policy manager Amanda Reiman. Reinman is also the new vice president for community relations at Flow Kana.
It’s important to weigh the risk and reward before engaging in such a divisive strategy. Dropping the conference is a powerful way for companies to show their values. But too much of it has a detrimental effect on the entire community. It not only shuts down discourse, it delegitimizes the common ground we all share.
As longtime readers know, I do not support white nationalism or the Trump agenda. Our nation resembles an echo chamber and dissenting opinions are often absent consideration. We must recognize our common goals and actually work together on them. Otherwise, we are doomed to escalating violence.

The New Jersey Marijuana Justice Act

The New Jersey Marijuana Justice Act

Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice ActYoutube Bong

The Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ) Supports Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act. The ATJN advocates for fair and equitable drug policy reform. Sen. Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act would legalize marijuana at the federal level. It would also encourage states to legalize marijuana. One of the most important parts of the Marijuana Justice Act is the promise of expunging criminal records. This includes those convicted solely for possession and/or use. Also, to hold sentencing hearings for those currently serving time.
ATJN’s Director of Drug Policy Reform, Moira Nelson made a statement. “We know that communities of color and low income communities have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people even though both use marijuana at similar rates. This is a fact. These convictions are tearing families apart, it’s difficult to find a job once you’ve been convicted, it’s impossible to get a student loan and hard to obtain housing. Marijuana should not have prohibited in the first place. It was an oppression tactic. The time has come to regulate and tax marijuana in the same way we do alcohol”.
Several New Jersey groups have paired up with ATJN such as the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and the New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform Coalition (NJUMR). In addition, thousands of citizens support the move. Also, the NAACP – NJ State Conference, National Organization of Woman NJ (NOW-NJ), New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Citizen Action, People’s Organization for Progress, Latino Justice PRLDEF, to name a few.

The New Jersey Senate Bill 3195 / Assembly Bill 4872 would legalize marijuana in the state.marijuna justice act

ATJN and other members of the coalition are working together to ensure policies are fair, equitable and just. The coalition is fighting for policies such as expungement for people previously convicted of marijuana offenses, investment of some portion of the revenue generated from the sale of legal marijuana back into the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition, and equal opportunity to access employment created by the cannabis industry.
After the hearing, Nelson said that it was inspiring to see how thoughtful the state legislators were about this legislation. And how many people are in favor of marijuana legislation. Nelson also went on to comment that it was really uplifting hearing person after person speak on behalf of those communities. These communities have feel the deep impact of prohibition and speak for many. “I am very hopeful for our future. In this unsettling political climate, we need advocates and allies to speak up for those that are disenfranchised in some way. What I witnessed today brings me immense hope.”
For more information about what ATJN commits too and what they strive to accomplish, please visit them at www.ATJN.org.
For a closer look at the conference, check out this YouTube video. Any comments? We’d love to hear them. And as always, thanks for reading.

Top 10 Interesting Marijuana Facts

Top 10 Interesting Marijuana Facts

Here are the most interesting marijuana facts I know.

As an avid cannabis consumer, I am always finding new info about weed. Much of the information comes during smoking sessions with friends or interviewees. The hard part is organizing the information into a cohesive thought after the high subsides. But here is my list of interesting marijuana facts. There is no specific order so the tenth entry is just as interesting to me as the first.

  1. It’s physically impossible to overdose on THC

Life is meaningless and death approaches. This realization makes you decide to end it on a high note. You buy 1000 joints and a couple lighters, determined to end it all. Things begin by lighting up the first joint and before you reach the end of your stash, one of two things will happen.
After a few joints, you will either pass out before getting to the end or you will die from carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide is created by burning the stems and leaf but would give a pounding headache long before becoming dangerous. The THC and other psychoactive elements have virtually no chance of being the cause of death.
You would need to smoke 40,0000 times the average amount of weed within a few minutes to get a lethal dose. That’s one record even Michael Phelps can’t get close to approaching, much less breaking.

  1. Weed started online commerce

In 1971, Stanford University housed the latest and greatest computer system. The machine was part of a new generation of connected computers. Students at Stanford were able to use a basic e-mail network called Arpanet to effectively send and receive text messages. But the 70’s were a time of reckless abandon, wild ideas, and advancing technologies.
It only took a few months before some inspired soul took the next logical step in networking. Several students used their accounts at the university’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to buy some weed from a fellow student. This drug deal was the world’s first e-commerce transaction and proved the validity of the concept.

  1. Tupac was smoked

We all have that one friend who would get the mortician high if they were cremated. Tupac was that and a whole lot more. On top of being a master weed smoker, he was an entrepreneur, musician, poet, thug and straight up bad ass. But that didn’t stop a hail of bullets from ending his life prematurely.
After Tupac died, he had one final request of his friends. The crew had some misgivings but eventually decided it was the best way to honor his memory. They mixed his ashes with some of the best weed the world had to offer and smoked it. They can probably still feel the buzz….

  1. Rates of obesity are 33% lower in cannabis users

Potheads are supposed to be craven munchies hounds hell bent on emptying fridges right? Well, science disagrees with that old stereotype. Studies have shown that cannabis cuts the risk of obesity by about a third. They believe the benefit is partly due to how weed helps regulate blood sugars.
The ability to regulate blood-sugars has lead scientists to investigate. Several studies are looking into using marijuana to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Marijuana doesn’t cure diabetes though…

  1. Prohibition costs the US $17.5 billion each year

There are a lot of drugs that the government doesn’t want people getting their hands on. If every drug were legalized today, the U.S. would save $41.3 billion annually. It would also pretty much empty the overpopulated prisons that proliferate the ‘land of the free’.
Other countries have done it with positive results. Portugal managed to cut drug abuse in half less than 10 years after decriminalizing all drugs. America could as well if the head of the Justice Department wasn’t heavily invested in growing the prison population.

  1. California and Colorado bring in over 75% of all cannabis sales

America loves its weed more than ever. Since 1996, 30 states and the District of Columbia have established some form of legalized marijuana. There are seven states that go so far as to allow recreational marijuana.
California and Colorado make up the bulk of the American market. Together they dominate recreational and medical marijuana to the tune of almost $4 billion a year. That is more than all the other states combined…

  1. There are 111 different cannabinoids in cannabis

Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals found in the cannabis plant and in our own bodies. THC and CBD are the most common cannabinoids but there are several versions of each. As the plant goes through its lifecycle, the concentrations and chemical properties of the cannabinoids change.
THC and CBD are the prize children of the cannabinoid world, but they’re not the only compounds in ganja. Cannabinoids like CBN and CBG are known to have their own medicinal effects. Imagine what secrets the other 108 hold…

  1. THC can stay in your system for longer than 27 days

THC binds to fat cells in the body. So the amount of time THC stays in your system mostly depends on your metabolism. Sedentary and obese users retain THC in their bodies for a significantly longer time than thin or active users.
But consumption levels also matter. Some studies show that average sized, regular marijuana users retain THC metabolites in their systems for an average of 27 days. Occasional smokers can expect that number drops to 10 days. But heavy-set, high-use consumers might fail a test over 30 days after consuming.

  1. Marijuana prohibition doesn’t protect kids

In 2011, use of marijuana by teenagers hit a 30-year peak, with one out of every 15 high school students reporting they smoke most days, and for the first time U.S. teens reported smoking more pot than cigarettes. But teenagers don’t smoke any more pot in states where medical marijuana is legal than in ones where it’s not.
Legalization opponents argue that the best way to reduce use by minors is to criminalize and deregulate pot. But evidence shows that decriminalizing marijuana and regulating it actively reduces the rate of abusers. Portugal legalized all drugs and treated addiction as a public health issue. They saw a long-term decrease in overall abuse and underage use.

  1. Marijuana milkshakes are one of the oldest cannabis recipes known to man

Bhang is crafted from the dried leaves and flowering shoots of a female cannabis plant. Most commonly enjoyed as a sorbet (preferably as a thandai drink) or as a snack by adding ghee, sugar and milk. A favorite way to consume it in Delhi is rolled into balls called ‘antas’ (marbles).
It’s difficult to tell when bhang became associated with East Indian festivals. Ancient texts describe the drink as Lord Shiva’s nectar, convoluting and enshrining the origins in mystery older than the gods themselves. Regardless, there must have been compelling reasons for creating the drink and later incorporating it into festivities for thousands of years.

Do you agree with the interesting facts on this list?

Did you know everything on this list? Which interesting marijuana fact is your favorite? What interesting marijuana facts have you heard? Ask your friends if they have any and let us know in the comments below!

Feds Study Effect Of MMJ On Opioid Use

Feds Study Effect of MMJ on Opioid Use

 What would you do with access to MMJ and $3.8 million dollars?opioid treatment

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health Systems get to find out if medical marijuana reduce opioid dependence. Researchers were granted the sum to fund the first in a new round of long-term studies. While past studies have tested cannabis in pain management in HIV and cancer patients, this has a different focus.
This study will officially investigate the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating opioid addiction. Investigators explained their reasons in a media release by the associate chief of general internal medicine Chinazo Cunningham. She claims “There is a lack of information about the impact of medical marijuana on opioid use in those with chronic pain,” and “We hope this study will fill in the gaps and provide doctors and patients with some much needed guidance.”
There are many people who claim cannabis helps opioid users with chronic pain step down their use to safer levels. A minority of users also report that they can completely eliminate their opioid dependence with cannabis. The hope is that patients can remove their dependence entirely but only studies like this can prove it to be true or false.

The study focus on adults with HIV, chronic pain, and it uses real MMJ.opioid treatment

Study participants include 250 HIV- positive and negative adults with chronic pain. Subjects are also required to have a doctors recommendation for medical marijuana. This is the fist study of its kind to use state approved dispensaries to provide the cannabis.
Federal contractors in Mississippi normally provide “research grade” cannabis that has a THC content below 10%. Stored improperly by design and seemingly produced by putting a whole plant in a food processer, almost any dispensary would reject it. This cannabis is known as NIDA weed and these researchers decided they didn’t want it in their study.
Instead of using federally obtained NIDA cannabis like past studies, this one will use cannabis from New York dispensaries. This cannabis is produced and processed by master growers, passes laboratory testing, and has THC content between about 15% and 30%.

Up until now, evidence is mostly anecdotal.

Many people have moving personal stories but they fail to prove anything. We can’t forget the ‘placebo effect’ or projection when listening to a single person tell their story. This study offers 250 people the opportunity to produce the first peer-reviewed research on the safety and effectiveness of cannabis in treating opioid addiction.
This long-term study will also span 18 months and include web-based questionnaires every two weeks. The questionnaires focus on pain levels and the effect of medical and illicit cannabis on opioid dependence. Blood and urine samples get submitted every three months in-person at specified medical facilities. In-depth interviews of participants will explore their perceptions of how marijuana affects their opioid use.
HIV patients suffer from opioid addiction more than other populations. But there is conflict on how many actually suffer in silence. Past studies claim that over 90% of HIV patients suffer from chronic pain while others claim the number could be as low as 25%. With opioids as the go-to pain treatment for most doctors, there is a high risk for misuse and subsequent addiction.

The cards are stacked against cannabis reducing opioid use.

Medical marijuana has made serious strides in legitimizing itself as a treatment for pain. Twenty-nine states (plus the District of Columbia) have legal marijuana use in some way. Chronic pain and HIV/AIDS are qualifying conditions in all of those states.
Yet researchers have never explicitly studied whether or not medical marijuana reduces opioid use over time. Most studies attempt to prove marijuana doesn’t treat medical conditions but fail to do so. This looks at the possibility of treating pain with similar skepticism.
The best part about science is that all the evidence counts. Despite researchers personal desires, the results speak for themselves. This study is no different. “As state and federal governments grapple with the complex issues surrounding opioid use and medical marijuana, we hope to provide evidence-based recommendations that will help shape responsible and effective healthcare practices and public policies,” Cunningham said.

Medical cannabis promises hope to opioid abusers.

HIV and AIDS patients across the globe have claimed cannabis treats their pain. This is the first step in a new phase of medical research. Instead of using the lowest possible quality of weed, they plan to look at real people using real cannabis. The results will likely add to the mountain of evidence that supports medical marijuana.
There is still a long time to go before the results come in. Long-term studies take loads of time to analyze the data. Years pass before researchers publish results. Especially in studies like this. It may be two or more years before anyone can make a claim about the effectiveness of marijuana treating opioid addiction based on this research. We have to sit tight until then.
But if the past has taught us anything, it is that marijuana is a more powerful healer than we ever thought possible. This is just the first of a new wave of research but the results look to direct the following discussion heavily. Let’s just hope that those in power listen to the research.


MS and Weed: Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic degenerative disease.

It affects the central nervous system and causes inflammation, muscular weakness and a loss of motor coordination. As MS progresses, the patients typically become permanently disabled. In extreme cases this can be so severe that it causes patient death.
The US National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that 200 people are diagnosed with the disease each week. MS most often strikes individuals between 20 and 40 years old but has been seen appearing across the age spectrum. Because of the symptoms of MS, it is recognized by all states as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Efforts have been made to protect medical patients from federal punishment.

Although marijuana is still federally illegal, legislation passed in 2015 clarified that the federal government would no longer use federal funds to enforce federal marijuana laws. This included states that permit medical marijuana use. The legislation was an effort to reduce confusion about federal intervention in states that legalized use.
The directive effectively overturned the Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling which said the federal government could prohibit and prosecute the possession and the medical use of marijuana. The court also ruled that state laws did not protect medical users from prosecution. The legislation was careful to ensure that if White House later chooses to reverse the federal directive, it can.

Cannabis isn’t the only treatment out there but it is one of the best.

Most agree that better therapies are needed to treat the symptoms of MS (since there is no cure) which include pain, tremors and spasticity. Current pharmaceutical options may not sufficiently treat the symptoms of MS but there are about the benefits of marijuana relative to its side effects.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is one of the biggest non-profit names in MS. Over the years, they have proven to be allies of patients as they fought to help promote awareness and access to new and alternative treatments.
On their website the Society claim to support:
“the rights of people with MS to work with their MS health care providers to access marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved. In addition, the Society supports advancing research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of marijuana and its derivatives as a treatment for MS.”

We know a lot about treating MS with cannabis.

There have been tons of studies on effects of cannabis on cognition / cognitive function in people with MS. Two of which stand out as examples of the common outcomes for treatment with cannabis. While both were published in the journal Neurology, the first was in 2012 and the second was 2014.
In the 2012 study, 25 MS patients who regularly smoked or ingested street cannabis were tested and results compared to 25 MS patients who didn’t use cannabis. The users were tested at least 12 hours after last using to minimize intoxication.

The 2014 study used 20 MS patients who smoked cannabis and 19 who didn’t.

They matched them based on demographics and neurological variables before undergoing magnetic resonance imagining(fMRI). The scan revealed brain activity while performing tasks and tested their working memory. As memory tasks became more demanding, cannabis users performed increasingly worse than their non-using counterparts.
Cannabis users performed significantly worse on measures of information processing speed, working memory, executive functions and other cognitive functions than non-users. In addition, they were twice as likely as nonusers to be considered cognitively impaired. The study showed that cannabis can worsen cognitive problems in MS.

Cannabis doesn’t have to be smoked to be medically beneficial.

Participants in another study with stable MS were randomly assigned to receive oral cannabis extract.  The test group consisted of 144 using cannabis and 135 on a placebo. Participants reported their perceptions of changes in muscle stiffness.
The administrators tested participants both before and after 12 weeks of treatment. They found that muscle stiffness had improved almost twofold in the group taking cannabis compared to placebo. Patients also reported improvements in body pain, spasms and sleep quality.
Contrary to popular belief, using cannabis did come with some negative side effects. While only a percentage of the population, the study noted increased risk/frequency of urinary tract infections, dizziness, dry mouth and headache. These side effects should not be news to anyone who has used cannabis before and the team reported observing no new safety concerns.

No discussion would be complete without mentioning Nabiximols.

Nabiximol is an oral spray derived from cannabis marketed as Sativex by GW Pharmaceuticals. Available in 15 countries and approved in 12 more (excluding the US), Sativex is used to treat MS-related spacity. It significantly improved spasticity in a proportion of the population with MS who had been identified as likely to respond to the therapy.
The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry reported on a long term study on the safety of cannabinoids in MS. The study used 630 subjects with stable MS and muscle spasticity from 33 centers around the UK and randomly assigned some to receive oral THC, cannabis extract or a placebo.
Over the course of 15 weeks, the oral derivatives did not provide objective improvement to the subjects according to a standardized assessment tool. When it came to subjective improvement though, there were significant improvements in spasticity and pain. Even though the tremor and bladder control symptoms did not seem to respond to the treatment, people felt better.

A study has to be ready for some complications.

Basically, when participants report feeling improvements that cannot be confirmed by the physicians, there is a problem. This could be dealt with normally but the Nabiximol study became unblinded. The side effects of THC made it clear to patients they were receiving the active drug rather than the placebo.
In another study published by Lancet Neurology during 2013, they tested orally administered dronabinol. The test group consisted of 493 patients with 329 receiving at least one dose while 164 received at least one dose of placebo. The results showed that dronabinol had no overall effect on MS progression.

What has your experience been?

Do you have MS and treat with cannabis or know someone who does? What have your experiences been? Do you prefer using a natural flower or synthetic pharmaceuticals?  Let us hear about your struggles and triumphs in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

Blaze It The History of Weed

History of Marijuana

To say that marijuana has a long history would be an understatement.

As far back as there are records, marijuana or ‘cannabis’ as it is traditionally known, was integral to human culture. To truly understand why people across millennia grew cannabis, we need to understand what makes cannabis better than other plants. Cannabis can feed, clothe, heal, fuel and build civilizations.
Why would farmers in every corner of the earth and in every period of human history cultivate this specific plant? There are a lot of answers to that question and most depend on perspective. Let me highlight some of the best examples throughout the ages of how cannabis helped shape the course of human history.

Farming generally depends on fertile soil, consistent water and plenty of light.

But different plants have different needs so farmers need to balance the way they plant crops to keep from making the land infertile. Cannabis has the special properties of not needing to be rotated like many other crops and is drought resistant. These properties make cultivating cannabis from areas like the equator to the arctic circle very easy.
But genetics also play a key role in plant development. Long ago, our ancestors saw mutated cannabis ruderalis that was larger and produced better fiber than her sisters. Another natural mutation produced more seed than wild versions. Ancient farmers recognized the benefits of cannabis cultivation and created new breeds called cannabis sativa and hemp.

Cannabis is resistant to most diseases.

Plants like beans, corn and wheat produce pollen and flowers in a single plant. Male cannabis plants produce pollen and one male can fertilize females for miles around. The females produce flowers that if pollinated will produce seed. If the female plant remains unpollinated, the flowers become coated in a thick layer of trichomes.
The Great Famine of 1840’s Ireland and the recent Panama Banana Plague are both examples of major disease risk to farmers. Many plants are susceptible to a wide range of fungus, pests and bacteria. It’s a waste of a farmer’s time to grow plants they can’t protect from pathogens and pests.
Sexual reproduction made cannabis immune to many diseases, harsh conditions and pests that plague other crops. Cannabis tends to survive conditions that annihilate other plants including drought, frost and many pests. While not invincible, cannabis is surprisingly hardy and provides a robust natural defense against conditions outside a farmers control.

Cannabis is very special in the plant world. landrace 2

In addition to the natural resilience of the plant, it grows in soil that would strangle other crops. Cannabis also grows season after season in poor grade soil; a process that kills crops like corn, lettuce and tomatoes. It also revitalizes the soil for other plants by reintroducing nitrogen and breaks up compacted soil with its roots.
These properties make cannabis a great plant to grow but it has other traits that set it apart from the rest. Properties like producing the strongest, softest fiber for cloth and rope. Hemp seed also has more protein than beans and a near perfect ratio of omega vitamins. Few plants can claim to produce food and clothing but cannabis doesn’t stop there.

The medical properties of cannabis are incredible.Landrace Strain 1

Roman doctors used cannabis leaves to make anti-fungal bandages, cannabis tinctures to treat pain and hemp thread to sew wounds. The tradition of using cannabis for medicine wasn’t exclusive to Rome. Ancient Chinese doctors prescribed the plant to ease headaches, menstrual cramps, and improve virility. Monarchs from Europe like Queen Victoria used cannabis tincture. And even the Vikings sailed with rigging of hemp.

Cannabis is from a land before time.cannabis lights

Thousands of years before the first clocks graced the palaces of China, and centuries before the great pyramids were erected, cannabis was grown for fiber and food. In ancient caves and forgotten settlements around the world, thousand year-old hemp fibers are found regularly.
The 20th century saw humanity try to destroy itself and criminalizing cannabis was part of that history. Yet even the most anti-pot countries in the world continue to import massive amounts of hemp fiber and oil. Humanity is tied to cannabis in an ancient symbiosis that goes back to the beginning.
The deep history of humanity is spotty and full of holes. But if modern theories like those proposed by Carl Sagan are correct, civilization may be the result of convergent evolution of humanity and cannabis. It is possible that cannabis was the first crop ever cultivated, leading to the foundations of civilization as we know it.

Canna-Culture is older than most Gods but still tied to them.

As one of the few animals in the world with an endo-cannabinoid system, we are uniquely positioned in the animal world to benefit from consuming it. This kind of biological interaction takes many generations to develop. Further implying that human ancestors regularly consumed cannabis before agriculture took root.
By the time Christianity, Hinduism and Islam rolled around, all used cannabis in their ceremonies. But they weren’t the first or only ones to use ganja as a holy sacrament. Hebrew rabbi’s included cannabis flower in their anointing oils. In fact, Jesus himself was anointed with cannabis infused oil.
Centuries before Jesus was healing the sick, the Hindu god Shiva was talking about weed. Known as Shiva’s nectar, ganja helps Hindu holy men (and women) receive and interpret the desires of Shiva. It also helps them avoid the temptations of the world and maintain their spirit-centric lifestyles. The tradition was ancient even before they erected the majestic temples slowly sinking into the topography of Nepal.

Canna-Culture remains strong today.

Despite decades of global criminalization, recreational cannabis use is more common today than 100 years ago. Hemp still provides a major role in the textile industry although synthetic fabrics dominate the market. And doctors from Israel to Ireland and the US still prescribe cannabis.
The special properties that made cannabis attractive to ancient farmers remain important today. We still need strong, soft and durable fiber, we still need food and we still need medicine. As humanity moves into the 21st century, marijuana looks to remain a staple of civilization.
There is so much more to the history of marijuana that I couldn’t hope to touch on it all in a single article. I couldn’t even get to the importance of cannabis in the development of writing! Let us know in the comments below what other important historical facts I missed.

coco coir

Coco Coir Growing Technique Basics

Coco Coir is one of the most versatile mediums you can grow in.

Coco coir is derived from the coconut hull. It is made from the fibrous material between the outer husk and the inner meat. Originally, coir was used for cordage and ropes in ancient India but has also been used for mats and other flooring. In the 1980s, coir became popular in Holland to grow roses and lilies.
Coir is a lot like peat moss, but sustainable and eco-friendly. It can take centuries to re-grow peat moss once harvested but more coco coir is only a few ground up coconut husks away. Because coir promoted root growth, growers started using it for hydroponic gardening in place of peat moss. Eventually the economics of coco coir has helped it become one of the most popular grow mediums today.
Coco coir acts like a sponge and retains just the right amount of moisture for plants to grow in addition to being reusable. Where peat moss bogs can take decades to recover, coco is truly renewable as it converts annual waste into a usable product. Coco is also robust enough to last multiple harvests with the right care.

Coco coir reduces waste at its source and for the grower. coco coir

After harvest, giving coco a quick flush will get it ready to go back in the pot and nourish a new plant. It is recommended to use in no more than 3 grows before replacing entirely though. Having to replace the grow medium every cycle eats up profit so commercial operations find coco coir especially enticing.
It is also easily renewable, unlike peat moss. An average coconut tree produces 150 coconuts a year, so there is a continual supply of a product that would otherwise be considered waste. Some experts estimate that peat bogs take as long as 25 years to renew, while coco coir is an annual product.
While some growers use coco in soil based growing, it is more ideal for use in hydroponic operations. In soil it acts as a water retainer and aerator but as a soil replacement it has really comes into its own. The biggest reason it works so much better for hydro systems comes down to the fact that it has a neutral pH.

The neutral pH of coir is a huge benefit. pest control

Peat moss is considered acidic (it has a pH of 3.3 to 4) and requires additives to balance for growing cannabis. Coco coir on the other hand, is normally between a pH of 5.2 and 6.8. This means coco coir is ready to use without additives that can mess with the chemistry of nutrients.
Coco coir can also store nutrients for later use by the plant. This makes it ideal for drain to waste as well as drip systems because of how long the period between feedings/watering is. It is able to accomplish this nutrient storage because of an especially high cation exchange rate.

Nutritionally, coco is also an excellent choice. Indoor growing

Depending on the source, coco coir it is rich in potassium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc. If growing hydroponically, this needs to be taken into consideration to provide the correct balance of nutrients. Coco coir can also store nutrients and release them as needed due to a high cation exchange rate. Interestingly, it tends to hold on to calcium and magnesium more than other nutrients.
Coir also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria because of compounds called lignins. Not only will beneficial bacteria thrive in the presence of lignins, they help to minimize harmful bacteria. This means a cultivator can expect better growth, higher yields and less diseases.

It can hold water like no other.CBD Flower 1

Coco coir holds water exceptionally well while still promoting good drainage and aeration. The material also prevents nutrients from leaching. The feeding schedule for a typical hydro drip system is three  15 minute cycles within an 18 hr period. Watering more than this won’t hurt the plant (unless you are also adding nutrients) but isn’t needed.
Because coco coir drains so well, it’s almost impossible to over water plants under normal conditions. Even saturated, coco coir retains a moisture to aeration ratio near 70:30. This prevents roots form ever sitting in anaerobic water ( a death sentence for roots). As long as the coco never dries out completely, coco coir provides reliable results.

It doesn’t retain nutrients forever.CBD Flower

Coco coir is mostly inert and won’t hold onto nutrients for very long. If there is a nutrient deficiency, correcting it is as easy as supplementing during the next watering cycle. The coco coir makes nutrients immediately available to a plant’s roots so recovery from deficiencies as fast as possible.
If the plant gets overfeed, a quick and thorough flush removes practically every trace of nutrients. This makes it so plants can recover from nutrient lockout even faster without risking damage to the roots.
Adding perlite to help wick up the coco also helps against root rot. Make sure to wash brick supplied coco as it is notorious for having a high salt content. Any high end pre-bagged coco will be virtually saltless and closer to neutral pH. Adding salt and algae removers to the nutrient mix is considered safe and prevents drip blockage down the road.

The best reason to switch to coco coir is getting much bigger yields.living cannabis garden

Plants grow bigger in coco coir systems than in soil given the same care. The overall boost to growth may not be quite as massive as methods like deep water culture, but they’re pretty close. In addition, coco coir is much easier to deal with.
Coco coir is eco-friendly, versatile, easy and more productive than soil. With those benefits, there is little reason to use anything else. Coco is available in pellets, bricks, sheets and ready-to-use bags. It can be found almost anywhere you can purchase potting soil, and in a pinch, can even be found it in the reptile section of local pet stores.
Coco coir presents a great compromise between full hydro and soil systems. Plants grow faster, get bigger and yield up to 25% more than in soil. It is also more forgiving than straight hydro setups which makes coir a great stepping stone. Coco coir offers a less demanding option to cultivators looking to grow the best cannabis out there.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Did I miss something important? Have you grown with coco coir before? What do you think new cultivators need to know about growing with it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. Thanks for reading.