13" Full Color Beaker Bong in Charcoal

Medical Cannabis as an Alternative to Prescription Opioids Boosts the New York Market

A notable increase in the medical cannabis market took place in New York over the last few months. The states MMJ patients list went from 62,256 on July 10 to 73,417 as of September. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation permitting medical cannabis to be utilized as an alternative to dangerous opioids. The opioid epidemic claims the lives of more than a hundred Americans every day. The United States has a small percentage of the global population, yet they consume more than 80% of the world’s opioids. These statistics are staggering and dangerous.
Opioid addiction has crippled every corner of the country. Major cities are not the only ones falling victim. Small rural towns across America have become plagued with sickness, disease, and death because of opioid addictions. These addictions are being fueled and facilitated by the very individuals so many people trust with their lives. Their doctors! Doctors have made insurmountable profits along with insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies over the last several decades handing out prescriptions like candy on Halloween.
Like so many other states in America, New York is being crippled by the opioid epidemic. The new legislation allows the implementation of emergency regulations from the New York State Health Department. The new legislation not only enables medical cannabis to be utilized as an alternative too dangerous opioid prescriptions. It also allows for treatment of opioid addiction using medical cannabis. This legislation has already resulted in an 18% increase in the state’s registered MMJ patients.

A Lack of Access To Medical Cannabis Is What Seem To Stall Progress

New York has been under scrutiny for their stringent laws against smokable and edible cannabis products. Small steps are progress, but we would hope that those we vote into political office would have the ability to read and comprehend reports.
Information released and published by NIH, JAMA, and other leading authorities all verify cannabis as a medicine. A lot of this research has been taken place since the early 1990s. For a politician today to state that more research is needed when it comes to cannabis is like them saying they can’t read.
Adult use or recreational cannabis laws are being considered for the state of New York. The current Democratic Governor of New York was known to be a stern opponent against cannabis legalization. However, it would seem that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has the will of the people placed above a private agenda. This is much like that of the 1940s Mayor LaGuardia.
New York could stand to be the big apple on the block when it comes to cannabis sales. It is a major tourist destination and a business hub for the world. It would seem that with lawmakers in the state warming up to positive cannabis reform that adult retail/recreational cannabis sales may be a real thing for New York in the not so distant future.
As it stands though, thanks to these recent changes, the New York medical cannabis program is on the track to saving thousands of lives.

Medical Marijuana For Children

Top 5 Medical Reasons People Use MMJ

People have many reasons for smoking MMJ.

Ask 5 stoners why they smoke MMJ and you will likely get 5 reasons. There are a lot of factors in life that dictate our actions and few are predictable or unilateral. After all, it’s hard to be an astronaut in the 1600’s or if you happen to be a felon. Not so much if you are in 1970’s Ohio though.
But that shouldn’t stop us from trying to understand why people consume marijuana. It doesn’t matter if you consume flower, concentrates, edibles or use MMJ topically. If you use marijuana medically, this list probably has you on it.
Just remember that this list is in no specific order. If you disagree with the order or think something else should have been on it, call me out in the comments. Let everyone know what I missed and why it belongs there.

  1. Cancer

Approximately 39.6% of all men and women are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. While many remain benign, a vast majority grow rapidly and resist treatment. Some cancers can kill in a matter of months while others take decades to metastasize.
Research shows that MMJ helps treat certain types of cancer. There is still a long way to go but cannabinoids like THC, CBD and CBN show great promise. Especially in cancers like: breast, brain, liver, melanoma, and leukemia.

  1. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition where your brain misfires and causes a seizure. But unlike popular perception, it doesn’t just come from flashing lights. Seizures may even come on unprovoked, as though out of nowhere and for no reason.
There is no cure for epilepsy and it can affect anyone, even children. There are few options on the market that are truly safe for children. But CBD is one of the few natural alternatives to prescription medications that works.
With 65 million people suffering from epilepsy worldwide, cannabis has a lot of work to do.
 

  1. Chronic Pain

Life is tough and can leave you in constant pain for many reasons. More than 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain worldwide with 50 million of them living in the united states. Healing can take a long time and many common pain killers come with risks of dependency or overdose.
Marijuana isn’t chemically addictive like oxycodone or dangerous in large quantities like aspirin. So as patients heal, they can reduce or eliminate using with no long term side effects. As a bonus, we still have zero confirmed deaths exclusively from consuming too much weed.

  1. Anxiety

Some people need help getting through a situation. Others need help just chilling out in general. This includes those suffering from OCD, panic disorder, phobias, bipolar disorder and many other variants.
For the 18% of the U.S. population suffering from anxiety disorders, medication makes life manageable. But not everyone wants to use Xanax to get the job done. Unlike cigarettes or e-juice, cannabis vapor doesn’t harm lungs or cause cancer.

  1. Depression

About 350 million people have depression. Many prescriptions to treat it come with dangerous side effects or are unsafe for children. While THC may be controversial for teens to have, CBD offers many of the same benefits without the cognitive impairment.
Despite this, the federal status of marijuana keeps it from being prescribed in many cases. As a Schedule 1 Drug, it is legally considered to have no medical value. Many doctors simply refuse to prescribe MMJ for religious reasons or because of corporate policies. But increasing acceptance and legal reform are lowering that number.
 

gramweed

A Gram a Day Keeps the Opioids at Bay

There has been a lot of talk about cannabis being used as an alternative to opioid-based painkillers. States that have made medical marijuana accessible to patients in need have seen a reduction in opioid overdoses. In a recent survey of 4,276 patients, 51% of patients use cannabis to reduce or replace the need for painkillers. 74% of patients use less than 1 gram of cannabis on the days they use it. 61% of patients surveyed use cannabis daily. 36% of patients use cannabis for pain.
So, how and why does cannabis reduce the need for opioids? Is it really just a case of “Legalize cannabis, and you reduce the influence of the black market and people being introduced to other, more harmful drugs?” Maybe to some extent, but there seems to be something a bit more fundamental at play here. Many opioid overdoses are the result of prescription opioids, not necessarily black market ones. In 2016, 42,000 people in the US died from an opioid overdose, and 40% of all opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid.
Is addiction to opioids started off by people being introduced to it via cannabis (the gateway theory)? Or does addiction to opioids start off by treating postoperative and chronic pain with opioid-based pharmaceuticals, and could cannabis in actual fact be an alternative or even be an “exit” from opioids? Although it may seem radical, but there is perhaps more evidence to support the latter theory. The “gateway theory” of cannabis leading onto other substances should probably be turned upside down and shaken all around. Sure, there may be some curious people who take their experimentation with mind-altering substances too far, but this seems to be more the exception rather than the rule.
So, if the gateway theory is (mostly) wrong-headed, then why does legalizing cannabis for medical purposes lead to lower opioid overdoses? There may actually be a scientific, biological reason. Given the choice, many people would opt for cannabis over opioids for long-term pain. It would seem that, rather than being unable to eat properly, waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night, being essentially “zombified” during the day, having cravings for more just in order to function properly and beat the pain, and all the other side-effects of opioid use and addiction, people would prefer to choose cannabis.
And why not? Swap all the problems that come with opioids for being able to sleep properly, eat a full meal and remain functional whilst awake, on top of the reduced pain, and it becomes a no-brainer for many patients. Being able to sleep and eat is perhaps one of the best ways of reducing pain in the long-term, and cannabis seems to provide this at least to some extent. We can’t conclude anything for definite from our study (which is difficult even in the best of circumstances due to cannabis being federally illegal), but there is so much sound reasoning that cannabis could be used for chronic pain that it seems almost ridiculous that opioid prescriptions are so widespread.
Due to such short sightedness, we are unable to say anything regarding cannabis’s medical potential for definite. We have in vitro, in vivo and experiments on rodents of various kinds (mostly rats and mice), as well as several human trials and case studies, but not enough to state anything conclusive. There is some evidence in experiments on rats that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may affect the mu- and kappa- opioid receptors, leading credence to cannabis being used as a painkiller and potentially help people get off of opioids. Cannabidiol (CBD) may well be a potent anti-inflammatory. Cannabis also contains many terpenoids that have anxiolytic, painkilling and addiction-beating properties. Indeed, this range of effects makes cannabis superior to opioids for beating pain in many respects, except in perhaps the most extreme or dire of circumstances. Now, all we need is the ability to test these theories out and have a grasp on cannabis and what it can be used for medically once and for all.
To learn more about some of the potential medical applications of cannabis, check out our study.

Charities Refuse Cannabis Contributions

Charities occupy a special place in modern society.

Charities function like a corporation but they are very different. They are an institutional mechanism for people and groups to affect change. They can be local, national or international organizations and often work closely with governments.

Governments even subsidize certain charities, demanding strict adherence to rules and regulations in exchange for massive amounts of money and tax write-offs. But individuals can also give money. Some mega-donors can give over $100 million at a time.

Unlike corporations or government agencies, charities can be motivated by religious, social, political or economic goals or any combination of the above. They can be organized around an idea like stopping cancer or around a person like Hillary Clinton.

But charities have a few limits on what they can do and why.

Charities function as non-profit companies with many working internationally. These international organizations rely on government assistance to achieve their goal. This can be simple like providing permits or incredibly complex like hurricane relief efforts.

 There are some Organizations like the Unicorn Children’s Foundation or the Children’s Hospital Foundation that work exclusively with children. Most rely on a few wealthy donors to keep things going while most small donations make up any shortfalls. So keeping those big donors happy is a high priority.

If the charity gets publicly shamed, big donors can pull their support almost instantly. This makes charities very cautious about alienating their biggest supporters. It also means they may turn away help because of where it comes from.

Not all help is the same.

Imagine you ran a multi-million dollar organization with 100 employees. Money is always tight but one donor provided 50% of the income needed to run the organization for a year. That donor is all about the cause and wants to help but loathes cannabis.

Now imagine that a local dispensary wants to donate a few hundred dollars to your charity. You know that if your big donor finds out you took the money, they will withdraw their support. That means ripping the carpet out from under 100 employees, their families, and likely having to close the doors. What do you do?

Would you risk losing the large donor? Would you try to hide where the money came from? Or would you refuse the money? What if the small donor was a black-market meth dealer? There is no right or wrong answer but there are clear winners and losers.

This is a real problem for the weed industry.

charities

As cannabis moves from the black market into the grey market, charities are having to make a choice more and more. Do they accept the grey-money from cannabis or do they protect their current arrangements? Depending on who governs the board, that answer may change.

Politically conservative or highly religious individuals tend to regard cannabis as a negative. Organizations with these types of individuals will resist cannabis far past the point of legality. Many feel a religious mandate to prevent cannabis from moving forward.

Even if most of the individuals in an organization have no qualms about where a specific donation comes from, they still have to remain in the good graces of their main contributors. This is especially true when the organization receives federal money like the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Wounded Warriors (WW).

It usually comes down to federal law.

Since cannabis is still federally illegal, organizations that require federal assistance cannot risk accepting questionable money. Even if the money is legit, each organization needs to take a good hard look at itself before it can accept contributions from cannabis companies.

Those of us in the industry understand the threat that Attorney General Sessions poses to the movement. We looked at the state of cannabis and decided to add our effort to the cause despite the personal risk. But not everyone wants to or even can do that.

Once federal law unambiguously declares that cannabis is legal, we may see conservative and religious organizations jumping on board with cannabis. Groups like the ACS and WW will likely stay opposed to cannabis though.

There will always be naysayers.

On their website, the ACS talks extensively about the science of cannabis and cancer. It also states that:

” The American Cancer Society supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer patients, and recognizes the need for better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment.”

The ACS and WW may never advocate for cannabis use. Their missions stand in opposition to many of the stereotypes and misconceptions that persist around cannabis. Without more research and changes to its federal status, cannabis donations will remain off-limits to many organizations.

There is hope though.Landrace Strain 1

Just last week, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch introduced new legislation for cannabis called the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 or MEDS Act. As a longtime cannabis prohibitionist, he doesn’t like cannabis, but he can see the medical effectiveness of it. If a religious conservative like him could come arou
nd to cannabis, there is hope for others.

Once cannabis becomes federally legal, more charities will start accepting donations from cannabis based businesses. Many organizations that currently refuse donations from the cannabis industry will lose the last legitimate reasons to resist legal weed and the people involved in it.

There will always be those that feel cannabis is dangerous or negative. But as long as we continue to move forward with legalization, fears and misconceptions about cannabis will be replaced with understanding and hopefully tolerance. Until then, donations from the cannabis community to these organizations will remain unwelcome.

What is your opinion on accepting donations? Should organizations accept money from anyone? Should they only accept donations from certain people? let us know in the comments below.

Male Cannabis Plants And What They Are Good For

Male Cannabis Plants and What They Are Good For

Male plants put seed in your weed

Male Pollen
Cannabis is a unique plant because it requires both male and female plants to reproduce. At times, female cannabis plants can turn into self-pollinating plants (hermaphroditic). It’s not generally a good thing when plants self-pollinate. It’s just as bad when female plants are pollinated by neighboring male plants.
It is incredibly unfortunate for a gardener to lose a cannabis crop to seeds. For example, a cultivator will have a beautiful garden of buds growing from sinsemillas (seedless female cannabis plants). And later start seeing seeds develop within their female plants. It’s heartbreaking because that’s at least three months of work, wasted.
There are many reasons a plant produces seeds. But the most common reasons come down to pollen and stress. They also guard against males and pollen specifically. If any pollen gets into a flowering room, the plants will produce seed instead of weed. A stressed female plant can mutate and produce pollen sacks.

Wash greenhouses and watch the light

Oregon Territory Organics
When female plants accidentally become pollinated, it’s just as bad as losing a crop to pests and diseases. This means that after months of work, loads of money invested into equipment and the crop is not marketable.
Basically, nobody will buy it under normal conditions. Many people that find male plants in their garden rip them out right away, but sometimes it’s too late. The pollen has already done its damage.
Unless they intended to create a new breed of cannabis from seeds, commercial growers could lose millions of dollars. Imagine, a building bigger than a Super Walmart that can grow 10 thousand sinsemillas plants at once.

Seeds can cost a company millions of dollars


Depending on strain, each commercial plant can easily produce anywhere from 2-10 pounds of cannabis. Depending on how it’s grown and where it’s sold, the price for a pound of high-quality seedless cannabis is around $2000-$4000.
Now imagine that Super Walmart sized crop gets pollinated. If the entire crop develops seeds, the growers have lost millions of dollars, months of work and likely many peoples jobs. The reason is simple: people won’t smoke marijuana with seeds in it.
That is why after every harvest, growers thoroughly wash their greenhouses. This is to keep pests, diseases and pollen from invading their new batch of cannabis. Just remember that a garden can be completely clean from cannabis pollen, but female plants can still develop seeds. Female plants turn hermaphroditic when they become stressed or have their light cycle interrupted.

People don’t smoke marijuana with seeds


Many consumers have purchased a bag of weed only to find that it had seeds. The hallmark of an inexperienced grower or someone who just had a bad year, seeds preclude smoking. There are uses for seeds, but the main way that people make money off of cannabis is by growing it without.
Smoking herb with seeds tastes disgusting and smells worse. Many smokers stop inhaling when they hear the famous snap, crackle and popping sound when accidentally lighting a seed. Besides tasting nasty, burning a seed causes it to explode. The ensuing fireball in your lap can get your attention real quick and leave permanent burns in the carpet.
Smokers who take a big hit from a bowl with seeds will start to cough uncontrollably and develop a nasty headache. The worst part is that you can’t get high from smoking seeds the same way you can from smoking a pure bud. In states where marijuana is legal, businesses that sell weed have to hit certain quality metrics. The specifics vary from state to state but generally frowns on weed with seeds.
Some dispensaries will exchange your bag for another seedless variety if you tell them about it right away. Unfortunately, not all stores have a refund policy when it comes to returning seeded cannabis. It’s best to ask ahead before making a purchase at a new dispensary what their refund policy is.

See what male plants can do for you


It’s not always a bad thing to grow male plants. They serve a purpose in the cannabis industry other than destroying sinsemillas. Male cannabis plants are used for controlled breeding, to make hemp fibers, produce concentrates and assist in garden control.
Sometimes, cultivators want to grow male plants and cross them with female plants to create new versions of cannabis seeds. Like taking the dankest sweet indica and crossing it with the stickiest sour sativa to create an intense indica/sativa flavor fusion. This is called breeding and it breaks down into some pretty deep science. The biggest takeaway for me is that males provide half of the genetic makeup inherited by seeds.
Its best to look closely at the male plants genetics to see what they’ll pass on. Like their rate of growth, shape, resistances to pests and molds and weather resistances. These traits can be passed on by either parent and increase the quality of future generations. With over 8,000 strains of cannabis currently known today, the number of cross breeding strains is seemingly infinite.

How about some hemp fiber


Male cannabis plants are used for making hemp fibers by many manufacturers. This is because male cannabis plants produce softer material. Female plants produce coarse, stronger fibers that make it a bit more difficult to manage. Soft fibers from male plants are used to make clothes, tablecloths, bags, rope and more.
Back in the day, hemp was used to make essential ship items like sails, rope and clothes. Gun powder was wrapped in hemp cloth and bandages were made from male hemp as well. Hemp production is one of the most essential industries for developing societies. It has been important for humans since the dawn of civilization and continues to show itself to be indispensable.
Hemp is not a plant that can get a person high as is. Hemp farmers do not generally grow both smokeable and non-smokeable cannabis plants. They stand a higher chance of accidentally pollinating their female plants only to produce more hemp fields.

Males produce concentrates and act as garden enhancers


Male plants are less psychoactive than sinsemillas. They do not produce buds, just seeds. But they do produce small amounts of cannabinoids that are found in leaves, stems and pollen sacs which can be extracted. Hash and oils are created from these extractions in the same way as for female plants.
Both male and female plants also produce terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic oils that are used in gardens to repel insects and pests. Think of it as a natural bug spray. Some people suggest allowing male cannabis plants to grow alongside regular vegetables or flowers to keep pests at bay. Your mileage may vary with this method. Just make sure your male plants are nowhere near sinsemillas.
Male plants are also handy in gardens because their taproots allow moisture and nutrients to infiltrate and improve soil quality. Cannabis plants are deep rooting plants with long taproots. These long taproots dive deep underground and break apart low-quality soil. They prevent run-off and loss of soil during heavy rains as well.

Learn before you grow


Keep in mind, cannabis pollen can travel long distances. It is determined to find a female. It is recommended to have a clear understanding of how pollen works and travels before purposefully culturing it. Your neighbors will thank you.

Have you grown male plants? What uses have you found for males? Is there anything other people should know about male plants? let us know in the comments below!

How to Prepare Marijuana Grows for a Hurricane

How to Prepare Marijuana Grows for a Hurricane

Water, water everywhere.

Hurricane
Hurricane Harvey just passed and Irma is making landfall at the moment. So far, there are a total of eight confirmed deaths with whole communities under water. Millions of people in Texas and Louisiana are affected by the devastation left by Harvey. The southern tip of the United States is basically under trillions of gallons of water. And there are more storms to come.
Texas declared a state of emergency as the pumps protecting Houston failed. With over 7 million people in the Houston area (almost a quarter of the entire states population) affected, there is little that isn’t decimated from the storm. Whole communities remain under feet of water as rescue efforts turn into recovery.
The volume of water unleashed over the last few days is unbelievable. Nowhere seems safe from the raging waters as highways become temporary rivers and hills become islands. Millions of people have had to evacuate their homes. Not to mention the thousands of hydroponics stores, private and commercial grow rooms and covert grows that drown in the flood.

It is obvious that the cannabis community is among the many victims of Hurricane Harvey.


For cannabis growers in the Lone Star State and other parts of the continent, these natural phenomena create unprecedented challenges and difficult choices. They could pack up and move their operations or they could batten down the hatches and try to wait out the storm.
Those in a position to move their grows had move fast and quietly. In the brave new world of climate change, superstorms and unchecked urbanization, marijuana growers are on the front lines. They have to find ways to be resilient and adapt to sudden, catastrophic conditions.
There’s no way marijuana growers (or the wider population) can totally prepare for these unprecedented conditions. Hurricanes and other large-scale weather disasters continue to increase in potency and frequency as climate change is ignored. And unless a concerted effort is made on a national level, these kinds of disasters are going to increase in frequency.

Be aware of warning signs and prepare for the worst before it happens.


Cities like Houston have had years of warning that this kind of event would happen but budgets and bureaucracy prevented the city from making appropriate adjustments to mandatory infrastructure. Scientists and city planners predicted that unless the government made major changes in the flood control system, and restricted population growth, it was only a matter of time.
Houstonians are at the mercy of the water and the government at this point. However, some tactics are useful as preventive or reactive strategies when the crap hits the fan. Some of these suggestions require advance planning while others are more reactionary. While not guaranteed to prevent loss, these methods can help indoor marijuana growers avoid total crop failure.

5 Easy Steps to Avoid Total Crop Failure

  1. Study flood maps, alternative travel routes, and other topographic, climatic, and infrastructure issues before you choose a location for your indoor grow room.
  2. Subscribe to premium weather warning services. By monitoring first responder emergency networks, you get early news about potential disasters.
  3. Have a disaster emergency plan in place before a hurricane or other natural disaster hits your area. Plan an exit strategy that maximizes your ability to save seeds, plants and grow gear.
  4. Choose a grow located on high ground, ideally in nearby foothills or mountains. Also avoid areas with dense stands of trees that are prone to fires. Tree clearing and trimming areas sensitive can help secure your location.
  5. Use a multi-story structure for your grow. Put the indoor marijuana garden on a floor above ground level to avoid flooding.

5 Difficult Steps to Avoid Total Crop Failure

  1. Have a portable backup generator on a platform above flood level and wired to provide electricity to your grow room and related equipment.
  2. Have a trustworthy friend in a safe location babysit your plants if your grow room is threatened.
  3. If relocating the grow is out of the question, consider taking clones of the plants before you evacuate. Marijuana clones are much easier to transport and keep alive, even in a hotel room or makeshift shelter for a few days.
  4. If you grow marijuana in pure hydroponics systems such as deep water culture or aeroponics, you can’t move them safely. Only plants growing in a solid root zone media that holds water, oxygen and nutrients (like rockwool, coco coir, soilless mix or soil) can expect to survive being taken out of your grow room.
  5. If you’re unable to move your marijuana plants to a safe location, you need to cut them, bag them, remove them from your house. Dismantle the grow and move equipment to a safe location. You do this to salvage equipment and so you don’t get busted. Remember that during evacuations, government officials have the right to enter any home/structure without permission. If they find a grow op in your house, you’re at their mercy. Homeowners insurance adjustors that visit your home after a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey will deny your claim if they find grow equipment.

What do you think of the list? Is there anything you would add or take away? Have you been affected by Hurricane Harvey or Irma? What steps have you taken to protect your crop from natural disasters? Let us know in the comments below!