We are living in stressful times, that much is clear. COVID-19 has our nation on lockdown and businesses and individuals alike are struggling with the ramifications of vast shortages and shuttered doors. Cannabis dispensaries, however, have been deemed an essential service and are in high demand – maybe even as much as Charmin and Purell.
Here in NJ, there massive demand at all our cannabis dispensaries. Cannabis dispensaries have nearly been overwhelmed by patients for their essential medicine, as pertinent as any other. I know, I’m in the MMJ program here in NJ. I wish we had apps like springbig at our disposal.
Over the past few weeks as people stockpiled basics, legal cannabis sales have skyrocketed across the country.
During this surge, consumers are visiting their trusted dispensaries and utilizing their loyalty rewards to bring down the overall price as they make larger purchases to sustain the amount they have at home, where we are all supposed to be!
New data from springbig, a cannabis loyalty marketing platform with over 12M users, revealed that in the span of just one month, Washington cannabis loyalty redemptions more than doubled with an increase of 113.8% between the week of February 2nd and the week of March 8th. In that same timeframe, California saw an increase of 87.9% from 199,788 to 375,478 loyalty redemptions.
With the markets down and businesses closed, forcing millions out of work, consumers are looking to save money wherever possible – coupons and redemptions have always been a popular way to do that. Plus, as consumers’ baskets grow with more products per order, they receive even more rewards. Even before COVID-19, many dispensaries were challenged to remain afloat. Now, many are leveraging intrinsic marketing tactics like loyalty programs, hoping the deals and discounts allow them to retain their customer base as people are required to stay-in-place and practice social distancing.
While many hard-working and worthy businesses are being forced to temporarily close all operations, cannabis dispensaries across the country are lucky to have been classified as essential.
I’m happy to see that these positive metrics are being recorded and utilized as a true bright light in an otherwise darkened world.
Army veteran Kevin Grimsinger and other vets from Sensible Colorado petition to add PTSD to their … [+]
Denver Post via Getty Images
After 17 years in the military and Special Forces deployments in nearly every terrorist hot spot on Earth, former Green Beret Adam Smith found that while his military battles had ended, his personal one had not.
“I had a hard time sleeping lots of anxiety, lots of hyper-vigilance, all the symptoms that revolve around post-traumatic stress,” Smith, in an interview, remembered of his difficult transition to civilian life, starting in 2015.
“I found myself hopeless, in a very bad place,” said Smith, who also suffers from the effects of multiple past brain injuries. “The bottom of this hole was me sitting on a couch with a pistol in my mouth.”
Thankfully, Smith didn’t go through with it, and says that in the years since, what’s helped sustain him, lessened his joint pain, soothed his sleep and moderated his constant, awful sensation of feeling always “switched-on,” has been … self-medication with cannabis.
Smith’s just the kind of veteran lawmakers are trying to help with two U.S. House bills that passed out of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on March 12:
H.R. 712, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019, directs the Veterans Administration to conduct research on marijuana’s impact on physical ailments related to active duty.
H.R. 1647, the Veterans Equal Access Act of 2019, allows physicians to complete state-legal medical marijuana-recommendation paperwork. Because VA doctors are currently prohibited from doing this, vets must turn to private out of -network physicians (Interestingly, previous legislation with this same goal got nowhere.)
However, while being reported out of committee is progress, Congress’s antipathy to cannabis – which, except for hemp, remains mostly illegal at the federal level — is harder: a vote by the full House. Given the understandable focus on coronavirus and Congress’s longstanding opposition to cannabis, a House vote this session is hardly a given. NORML Political Director Justin Strekal would say only that the likelihood of a full House vote is “unclear.”
That’s irritating to Smith, who says that, “When it comes to veterans and veterans’ rights, all legislation on the left and right, the game of politics should not exist.”
Smith has done more than just gripe about politics; he’s publicly talked about his personal avoidance of Veterans Administration treatment because of its chosen response to suffering veterans. That response, Smith says, consists merely of treating vets’ symptoms with anxiety meds, high blood pressure meds, sleeping pills. These are “just medications for the symptoms that aren’t necessarily treating the total patient,” Smith says.
He says that his own epiphany came in 2015 when he tried marijuana for the first time, alongside a military buddy who said marijuana s had sharply reduced his seizures and improved his sleep. Though there’s no hard data to support cannabis as a remedy for PTSD, many veterans swear by it.
Smith too became a believer, and last fall started a Kentucky-based CBD tincture company addressing veterans. In-your-face marketing on the website includes this home-page text: “the most damned patriotic hemp products you can get. American grown premium hemp products for everyday patriots, veterans, and warriors.”
Then there’s a tongue-in-cheek video in which Smith portrays himself as a beer- and-bourbon-drinking, gun-toting, pickup truck-driving “American” who can make any damn choice he or she chooses.
One of those choices has to do with cannabis. And in that regard, along with the humor in the video, Smith addresses the more sobering problem he wants to help solve: the data showing that 22 veterans a day take their lives. “It’s not just the veteran community; it’s also the law enforcement and first responders that are having a similar battle,” Smith says in the video.
“Post-traumatic stress is no joke,” he continues. “Post-traumatic stress is something that’s hitting our community, in an epidemic. That’s because we think the only way to deal with it is to drink and drug our way into distraction or sedation so we don’t have to feel the pain anymore. We at Tactical Relief don’t believe in that methodology.”
More and more Americans agree. A recent YouGov.com poll of 5,369 U.S. adults, reported on NORML’s website, found support for the notion of CBD treatment, with 53 percent of those polled agreeing that that medical dispensaries should be considered “essential services.”
What seems here like a cultural shift may have as much to do with the current anxiety engendered by the coronavirus crisis (which has spiked cannabis sales) as it does the different sort of pain veterans and first responders experience.
Witness the Politico opinion piece, reported on WeedWeek’s site, which stated that, “Weed shops are essentially being treated the same as pharmacies, reflecting a dramatic shift in cultural perceptions about the drug over the last decade.”
The question is how many in Congress are paying attention.
Here’s the simple truth: there is absolutely zero evidence that CBD can cure or even help with the COVID-19 virus. There’s not even any proof it can help protect you from getting sick. So why are so many hemp brands claiming otherwise?
Obviously, there’s plenty of companies offering useful products and services during this unprecedented crisis, and some of them are profiting from it. Whether it’s Zoom offering vital video-conferencing tools, or hemp brands selling CBD oil that can help relieve some people’s anxiety or chronic pain, well-positioned companies profit from a crisis. That’s inevitable under our economic system, and it’s not what this editorial is about.
There’s no evidence that CBD can cure or stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Instead, we’re seeing brands try to capitalize on the fear and uncertainty of this pandemic by misrepresenting what CBD can do. At the Ministry of Hemp, we usually focus on the positive sides of the hemp industry. If a brand doesn’t meet our high standards, we typically simply don’t review them or partner with them on our site. But the current health crisis is different: Misinformation could cost people their lives.
Let’s emphasize it again: There’s no evidence that CBD, in any form, can cure, prevent, or stop the spread of the new coronavirus. In addition, the idea of CBD “strengthening the immune system” is frequently misrepresented in order to sell hemp-based CBD products. Despite the lack of evidence that CBD can help directly in the COVID-19 crisis, a lot of CBD companies are making misleading claims anyway.
We understand that there’s a lot of hype around CBD. In addition, the marketplace is crowded and brands are struggling to stand out against more competition than ever before. That’s no excuse to let greed overcome your ethics.
Claiming CBD can reduce spread of COVID-19 is irresponsible
On March 19, Forbes reported that hundreds of thousands of mobile phones were spammed with ads for irresponsible, unsubstantiated products that purportedly could cure or prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Many of these ads led to a fake Fox News website purporting that “one mom” had “found a solution” to the new coronavirus. And that solution is CBD oil. Sorry, but even if you had 5 moms (or 500!) who believe this, it still wouldn’t be true.
Other hucksters take that indirect approach so beloved by dishonest marketers throughout history. They don’t come right out and claim that CBD can cure COVID-19. Instead, they make vague claims about the antibacterial, and antiviral properties of CBD. However you phrase it, it’s still snake oil.
Part of the problem here is greed, and the other part is scientific illiteracy. While hemp has antibacterial properties, it’s more that it can make hemp clothing less prone to smelling bad when it gets sweaty. And, remember, COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not bacteria.
There are intriguing possibilities for the use of cannabinoids in medicine, including as a solution to antibiotic resistant infections. But, that’s all theoretical. It’s in our future, if it ever pans out at all.
And currently, there’s absolutely no published, peer-reviewed research we’re aware of on CBD and COVID-19. In a health crisis, we need to stick to facts, not speculation. Even (especially) if we can make money off speculating.
CBD-Infused Hand Sanitizer: Pandemic Products No One Needs
It’s become a bit of a joke on social media that people are stuffing CBD into absolutely everything, even hummus and pillows.
It’s not a joke that makes the CBD industry look good. CBD pillows don’t help us make our case that this is a genuinely beneficial supplement.
Now along come brands seeking to directly capitalise on COVID-19 induced shortages and fears. With products like CBD-infused hand sanitizer. Rumor has it, the CBD infused face masks and gloves are right around the corner.
There’s no evidence CBD can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but it might help sell overpriced hand sanitizer to scared people.
There’s no indication that CBD is doing anything here, despite the claims that “proprietary technology” makes the hand sanitizer offer “faster relief.” To us, this just seems like a way to charge $6 for a one ounce bottle of sanitizer with a few drops of CBD added. It’s a product that wouldn’t exist if there weren’t shortages of Purell.
Contrast this behavior with that of others who are stepping up to genuinely help. Cannabis brands in California and Massachusetts are now making, and donating hand sanitizer. Just hand sanitizer, no CBD.
If you have the resources to make protective supplies or equipment for our healthcare workers and other vulnerable people, please do so. And leave the cannabinoid hype at home.
Can CBD “boost” or “balance” the immune system?
Right now there’s a booming business being done in herbal or nutritional supplements that are meant to “boost” or “balance” your immune system. That includes CBD.
Unfortunately, the reality is that there’s no simple way to strengthen our immune system, nor any magic bullet that can bring it back into balance.
Despite what this company claims, there’s no evidence that any properties of CBD actually make you safer from the COVID-19 virus.
Let’s talk science for a moment. CBD and the other natural “cannabinoids” found in hemp and cannabis work by mimicking compounds normally found in our bodies. Those chemicals made by our bodies are called “endogenous cannabinoids,” because endogenous means, roughly, “from the body.” When we take CBD, it interacts with our natural “endocannabinoid system,” a series of receptors in our nervous system found throughout the body. And we know that this system does interact with the immune system.
Beyond that, our knowledge of the endocannabinoid system is very limited. Decades of drug prohibition made it extremely difficult for researchers to study how our body interacts with these chemicals. Once again, we simply have no evidence that CBD’s effect on our body can do anything to help us fight off COVID-19. In fact, at least one study suggests that cannabinoids could harm the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses, in some cases.
That doesn’t mean quit taking CBD until the COVID-19 crisis ends (unless your doctor tells you to do so, of course). It just means we need more research before making any claims.
The myth of immune system ‘boosting’
The idea that we can take herbs to “boost” our immune system is a bit of a myth, according to Self Magazine. “For starters,” noted Carolyn L. Todd on March 23, “your immune system isn’t one single thing that we can pump up on demand—it’s a highly evolved, complicated system.” You should read the whole article, because she goes into a lot of detail, and interviews actual experts on the immune system.
Your immune system isn’t one single thing that we can pump up on demand.
Carolyn L. Todd, Self Magazine
In some cases, an overactive immune system can lead to health problems, even the dreaded “cytokine storm” that is deadly during some illnesses, including potentially the new coronavirus.
According to the experts Todd consulted, the only thing that can help make your immune system better able to fight off illness are “basic healthy habits” like “eating well, sleeping seven to nine hours every night, getting moderate exercise, and managing your stress levels.”
So if CBD helps you sleep better, recover from exercise faster, or feel less stressed, great! But the hemp industry should stop making unsupported claims about CBD and the immune system.
What CBD consumers & brands can do during COVID-19 crisis
When millions of lives are at stake, seemingly insignificant claims can become very serious. Giving people a false sense of security, or leading them to believe that a nutritional supplement will prevent them from catching the COVID-19 virus, could have deadly consequences during this pandemic.
We decided to close out this editorial with some tips for CBD buyers, and advice for CBD brands.
Stay as safe as you can and let’s all do what we can to protect each other.
Advice for CBD buyers
Use caution when buying CBD, now just as any day. Make sure you do your research to help you identify quality CBD brands. During the pandemic, you can add another factor to your selection process:
Don’t buy CBD from brands that make health claims about COVID-19 or the immune system.
Remember, CBD can help a lot of people with anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms of isolation and a very stressful time. But claiming CBD can help directly with COVID-19 is simply inaccurate based on our current knowledge.
If you do see brands making outlandish claims about CBD during the pandemic, send us an email. We’ll make a list of some of the worst offenders we hear about here.
How CBD brands can help during the pandemic
Just as we want everyone to act responsibly by washing their hands and practicing social distancing, we want hemp brands to act responsibly too. How can they do that?
By being honest about what CBD can (and cannot do) to alleviate suffering in this time. By taking care of their employees as best they can, and donating supplies and money whenever possible.
To the extent that CBD and other cannabinoids can help, make sure you’re making your products accessible to people who are losing income. If you work for a hemp brand, consider launching a CBD assistance program. If you already have one, consider whether you can make more people eligible or give bigger discounts for a while.
We get it: these are scary and uncertain times. You’re trying to make a profit, while facing the prospect of profound disruption to our economy.
If the hemp industry wants to be a leader at sustainability, as we often claim, now is the perfect time to prove it. We must put people over profits, and humanity over economic growth.
Ultimately, we believe that has to be more important than any quick profits based on fear and lies.
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Editor’s note: This story is being provided for free as a public service during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please consider supporting our local journalists in Nevada by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.
Much like the grocery stores trying to fill orders for rice and potatoes, cannabis retailers cannot fill marijuana delivery orders fast enough.
Since Nevada’s cannabis industry temporarily switched to delivery-only purchases, retailers have cut short purchasing windows, grown their delivery vehicle fleets and set priority times for medical patients.
„The demand continues to be high, but we are continuing to meet demand,” said Tyler Klimas, executive director of the Cannabis Compliance Board.
Gov. Steve Sisolak a week ago mandated all marijuana retail storefronts close shop in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus statewide.
He allowed the shops to continue at-home deliveries because marijuana is considered an „essential business” since it is categorized as a medicine by some. Cannabis is recommended by certain physicians to help treat a variety of illnesses and conditions including cancer, post traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
The industry also pulls in tax flow. The most recent state taxation data showed upwards of $60 million in sales monthly in Nevada, with between $8 million and $10 million going to the state.
Nevada is one of few states that allows home deliveries of cannabis.
In all, 59 dispensaries statewide are now making deliveries, up from 38 the previous week, Klimas said.
In response to the industry’s shift of all retail operations to delivery, the Nevada Department of Taxation approved a temporary, remote inspection procedure to rapidly grow the fleet of industry vehicles allowed to transport orders. All licensed retailers that have vehicles meeting the department’s security standards can temporarily deliver product.
The department has approved nearly 300 new delivery vehicles, Klimas said. He did not know how many vehicles in total are registered for delivery in Nevada.
400 percent increase
Blackbird Go, one of the state’s largest cannabis delivery businesses, has seen a 400 percent increase in deliveries statewide since the governor’s March 20 order to restrict cannabis retail to deliveries, according to Jamal Barghouti, a spokesman for Reno-based Blackbird Go.
He did not disclose how many deliveries Blackbird ordinarily makes in a day, nor how much product is delivered on average in a day.
„Typically, we’re able to operate in this on-demand environment while these orders are coming online,” said Barghouti, noting most orders are filled within two hours.
In the past week, however, marijuana purchases nationwide have increased by about 30 percent, according to an analysis from BDS analytics. More people are buying pot, and people are buying larger amounts of pot.
Because of the surge in orders in Nevada, Blackbird has been closing menus within an hour of opening them online at 10 a.m. While consumers can always shop, they can only complete a transactions when the menus open.
„We’ve seen a huge influx in new users, they’re curious. They’re doing nothing but sitting around their house, so why not get stoned?” said Barghouti.
Additionally, Blackbird is no longer fulfilling orders within a few hours, rather delivery the following day.
„We’re also encouraging people to maximize their orders so they get what they need all at once. It’s just like at the grocery store. Maybe take one more can of fava beans.”
A new normal?
Jon Sandelman, CEO of Ayr, which owns both Mynt operations and The Dispensary in Reno, said the retail sites previously weren’t offering deliveries.
Now the company has shifted gears, converting sales associates into drivers and likely looking to continue deliveries even after the pandemic is contained.
„People are learning that we can just work in a cloud,” Sandelman said. „This experience is going to teach a lot of people about how they will run their business in the future.”
While the company started the week with two dispensaries offering deliveries, all five of its location will soon be offering deliveries, putting the company back on track to make about 4,500 transactions a day by next week. The company has enlisted about 40 vehicles and continues to offer same-day delivery.
„This has increased our footprint, it’s increased our reach,” he said.
Coronavirus timeline: How many known cases of COVID-19 are in Nevada? Where are they?
Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.
Coughing fits, anxiety and paranoia are three of the most common adverse reactions to cannabis, according to a recent study by Washington State University researchers.
The researchers surveyed more than 1,500 college students on the type and frequency of adverse reactions they had experienced while using cannabis for their study in the Journal of Cannabis Research. They also collected information on the students’ demographics, personality traits, cannabis use patterns and motives for using the drug.
“There’s been surprisingly little research on the prevalence or frequency of various adverse reactions to cannabis and almost no research trying to predict who is more likely to experience these types of adverse reactions,” said Carrie Cuttler, assistant professor of psychology and an author on the paper. “With the legalization of cannabis in Washington and 10 other states, we thought it would be important to document some of this information so that more novice users would have a better sense of what types of adverse reactions they may experience if they use cannabis.”
More than 50% of the study participants reported having experienced coughing fits, anxiety and/or paranoia while using cannabis. On the other end of the spectrum, the three least-common reported reactions were fainting/passing out, non-auditory/visual hallucinations and cold sweats.
The researchers found the most frequently occurring adverse reactions were coughing fits, chest/lung discomfort and body humming, which a subset of the study group reported occurring approximately 30-40% of the time they were using cannabis.
Panic attacks, fainting and vomiting were considered the most distressing of the 26 possible adverse reactions.
“It is worth noting even the most distressing reactions to cannabis were only rated between moderately’ and quite distressing,” Cuttler said. “This suggests cannabis users do not, in general, find acute adverse reactions to cannabis to be severely distressing.”
The least distressing reactions were reported to be body humming, numbness and feeling off balance/unsteady, the researchers found.
The study showed less frequent users are more likely to report negative effects. Additionally, individuals who reported using cannabis to try to fit in with friends, displayed cannabis use disorder symptoms or had anxiety sensitivity–a tendency to imagine the worse possible outcome–were more likely to report adverse reactions as well as experiencing a greater amount of distress.
“Interestingly, we didn’t find that quantity of use during a single session predicted very much in terms of whether or not a person was going to have a bad reaction,” Cuttler said. “It was the people who smoke on a less frequent basis who tend to have these bad experiences more often.”
Moving forward, Cuttler hopes the results of the study will be put to use by doctors, medical cannabis distributors and even bud tenders to give people a better idea of what could go wrong when they get high.
“When you get any other kind of medication, there will be a leaflet or a warning printed on the bottle about the drug’s potential side effects,” Cuttler said. “There really isn’t very much out there on this for cannabis, and we think that it is important for people to have access to this kind of information.”
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has released a request for information, inviting comments from “the scientific community and other interested parties,” to help establish a standard dose for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis, to improve cannabis research, according to a report from Cannabis News Wire.
In the notice published March 23, NIDA acknowledges the complexity of the plant and how effects vary between individuals, methods of consumption and phytochemical ratios, but emphasizes the critical necessity of establishing and implementing a “standard unit dose” for “rigorous cannabis research.” The notice cites published commentary by NIDA director Dr. Nora Valkow on the subject:
“These complexities hardly negate the value of having a standardized measure of THC, irrespective of product type. In fact, having and using such a standard is a prerequisite for comparing the effects of various cannabis products on THC bioavailability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects, which is knowledge fundamental to studies pertaining to medical use of cannabis.”
NIDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), its parent organization, seek comments on any of the following topics:
- 5 milligrams as a standard THC dose irrespective of route of consumption
- Challenges and benefits to conducting research using a standard unit dose of THC including:
- Comparability across studies, including accurate data collection and publication of methods and results
- Comparability with legacy datasets and surveillance measures (e.g., MTF, NSDUH, YRBS)
- Benefits and limitations of a standard unit dose that does not depend on route of administration and/or other cannabinoid constituents
- Implementation in human laboratory and/or clinical studies
- Implementation in observational and/or epidemiological studies
- Labeling requirements for cannabis products
- Education of users to acquire accurate data
- Any other topic the respondent feels is relevant for NIDA to consider in establishing a standard unit dose of THC.
Submit a response:
Responses to this request for information must be submitted electronically via: THCdoseRFI@nih.gov and received by May 1, 2020.
Direct inquiries to:
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
These ten texts will take a casual cannabis consumer to an expert-level enthusiast.
Craig Turpin/Rising Sun Photog
As we mentally prepare for a full month of COVID-19 quarantine ahead, cannabis and books are two go-to saviors (best enjoyed together) from social media screen time and the barrage of bad news. Whether you’re an industry insider reeling from conference cancellations, an entrepreneur looking to get into the business, or just want to learn more about legalization, I’ve curated a coronavirus cannabis reading list from my own library to help tackle tough times. From two classics authored by pioneering activists to an Emily Post Institute-approved guide on marijuana manners, these ten texts will take a casual cannabis consumer to an expert-level enthusiast.
Note: Books are listed alphabetically, not ranked. Now stay home and stay high.
Brave New Weed, 2016
Courtesy Harper Wave
Brave New Weed
By Joe Dolce, 2016
Joe Dolce, former editor-in-chief of Details and Star, ventures into the „brave new world” of legal cannabis, traveling the globe to trace its history and plot its future. From Amsterdam and Israel to California and Colorado, Brave New Weed shares outlandish stories of murder trials where defendants claimed „insanity due to marijuana consumption” to groundbreaking success stories about the plant’s impressive medicinal benefits and all of the changing attitudes and cultural shifts in between. Since its debut, Dolce has also launched an eponymous podcast with new episodes produced bi-weekly.
The Cannabis Dictionary
Courtesy Octopus Books
The Cannabis Dictionary
By Alex Halperin, 2020
In this illustrated A-to-Z cannabis compendium, renowned cannabis journalist Alex Halperin guides you through every aspect of the magical marijuana plant. From facts and falsehoods to THC and CBD, hundreds of entries share a practical perspective behind the cannabis revolution and the culture that has unfolded around it. Also the founder and host of WeedWeek, Halperin’s handbook is intelligent, fresh and accessible for both new and experienced cannabis consumers alike.
The Cannabis Manifesto (2015)
Courtesy North Atlantic Books
The Cannabis Manifesto
By Steve DeAngelo, 2015
Written by “the father of the legal cannabis industry” — according to the Hon. Willie L Brown, former Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco — The Cannabis Manifesto chronicles the unintended consequences of prohibition while imagining the future of cannabis as a consumer good. As founder and CEO of Harborside, one of the first six licensed dispensaries in the U.S. and now publicly traded, DeAngelo’s account is an essential primer into his life’s work as a warrior for reversing the War on Drugs and an entrepreneur who has shaped the legal cannabis landscape. Plus, he shares his unparalleled knowledge of the cannabis plant itself using science to shed light on its spiritual, biological, and mental effects and benefits.
Grass Roots, 2017
Courtesy OSU Press
Grass Roots: A History of Cannabis in the American West
By Nick Johnson, 2017
Former freelance journalist Nick Johnson traded news for history to uncover the controversial roots of the cannabis plant in the American West. Applying his environmental eye, Johnson looks at past growing practices in the region and how federal prohibition promoted unsustainable farming techniques, which have carried over into the legal era, making cannabis cultivation anything but green. Unregulated outdoor grows pollute ecosystems, high-powered indoor grows create an excessive carbon footprint, and an unprecedented water crisis is ahead. Grass Roots challenges the current cannabis industry to change its course.
Courtesy Chronicle Books
GREEN: A Field Guide to Marijuana
By Dan Michaels & Erik Christiansen, 2014
This eye-popping coffee-table textbook is required reading for those dedicated to studying cannabis strains and admiring their intricacies through hyper-detailed photography of individual buds. Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana explores the culture of this complex flower, while explaining the botany that makes each varietal unique through descriptions of lineage, flavor, and type of high.
Higher Etiquette, 2019
Courtesy Ten Speed Press
By Lizzie Post, 2019
Amid the „post-prohibition” era, the stigma surrounding smoking pot is fading, and the conversation about how and why we get high is changing. In Higher Etiquette, Lizzie Post — great-great granddaughter of the Emily Post and current co-president of the institute bearing her name — celebrates cannabis culture’s long-established norms while exploring exactly what modern marijuana etiquette entails. This party-friendly guide asks and answers questions including: how to bring it to a dinner party or give it as a gift; why eating it is different from inhaling it; how to respectfully use it as a guest; how to be behave at a dispensary and more.
How to Smoke Pot (Properly), 2016
How to Smoke Pot (Properly)
By David Bienenstock, 2016
Veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock charts a course from cannabis culture’s transformation from a once demonized to a now celebrated place in society. In How to Smoke Pot (Properly), the author instructs just that with pro-tips from his friends in “high places” paired with historical anecdotes and a lively Q&A section including common queries like: “How can I land a legal pot job”? and “Should I eat a weed cookie before boarding the plane?” This all-encompassing guide to the green life also maps out the marijuana plant’s natural lifecycle from farm to pipe, explores cannabis customs, culture and travel, and shares how to best utilize and appreciate the herbal remedy as a life-changing medicine and a useful industrial crop and renewable energy source.
It’s NORML To Smoke Pot, 2013
Courtesy High Times
It’s NORML to Smoke Pot
By Keith Stroup, 2013
Keith Strop has been fighting for marijuana legalization for four decades through NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), the pioneering nonprofit organization he founded in 1970. In the first-ever personal account of its tumultuous-turned-victorious history, It’s NORML to Smoke Pot will introduce you to the colorful cast of characters like Hunter S. Thompson and Willie Nelson who helped along the way and give you behind-the-scenes insight into how prohibition shaped political policy today.
Reefer Madness, 2003
Courtesy Mariner Books
By Eric Schlosser, 2003
This is a pre-legalization look at the illicit market in the U.S., which then was much larger than most realized, and how it affected Americans’ lives whether they smoked pot or not. Journalist and author Eric Schlosser takes his award-winning, exacting eye into the underbelly of capitalism and examines the far-reaching influence of marijuana, porn, and immigrants on society. Reefer Madness also draws compelling comparisons between underground and overground: the rise and fall of tycoons and gangsters; how new technology shaped the market, why government intervention reinvigorated illegal activity; and how big business learned — and profited.
The Ultimate Guide to CBD, 2020
Courtesy Quarto Publishing Group
The Ultimate Guide to CBD
By Jamie Evans, 2020
In a sea of misinformation in the evolving CBD wellness space, it’s refreshing to read an in-depth companion compiled by a true expert. Jamie Evans not only has pioneered the intersection of wine, gourmet cuisine, and cannabis, but has also experienced the healing benefits of the plant firsthand. First breaking down the history and science of cannabinoids, The Ultimate Guide to CBD is the perfect introduction to live an all-encompassing CBD lifestyle at every age. It’s also packed with pro tips for self-care along with recipes for infused oils, refreshing drinks, and light bites thanks to her extensive network of industry leaders.
IMAGE: A new device could someday be used to detect marijuana intoxication at roadside stops. view more
Credit: Shalini Prasad
PHILADELPHIA, March 24, 2020 — In the U.S., those who consume alcohol and drive are often subjected to roadside stops, breathalyzer tests and stiff penalties if their blood alcohol content exceeds certain limits. Currently, no such test exists for cannabis intoxication, although the substance is known to impair driving, among other activities. Scientists now report that they are one step closer to a convenient saliva test for measuring cannabis levels at roadside stops.
The researchers are presenting their results through the American Chemical Society (ACS) SciMeetings online platform.
A brand-new video on the research is available at http://www.
„People have the perception that driving after smoking marijuana is safer than driving drunk, but both substances can have similar effects, such as slowed reaction time, diminished alertness and reduced self-awareness,” says Shalini Prasad, Ph.D., who led the study. However, unlike alcohol, the blood level of the psychoactive compound in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that constitutes impairment has not been well characterized. „This is an emerging field, but preliminary clinical reports suggest that anywhere above 1 to 15 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood is considered a level of impairment,” Prasad says.
As more U.S. states decriminalize marijuana, law enforcement agencies are grappling with how to keep the roads safe from drivers who are high. Blood tests for THC, while accurate, are time-consuming and invasive, and many police officers lack the skills to perform such tests at roadside stops. Some researchers are working on devices that measure THC levels in breath (similar to a breathalyzer for alcohol), but according to Prasad, levels of the substance are low in breath, requiring extensive, error-prone data processing to filter out effects of other compounds. Because THC in saliva correlates closely with that in blood, Prasad and colleagues wanted to develop a simple, quick and accurate saliva test for the compound.
To do so, the researchers, who are at the University of Texas at Dallas, engineered THC sensor strips and an electronic reader. The sensor strips, which contained two electrodes, were coated with an antibody that binds THC so that the substance could be isolated from the many other compounds in saliva. „We used the antibody so that we could really only look at the needle in the haystack,” Prasad says. To perform the test, the researchers added a tiny drop of human saliva spiked with THC to the strip and inserted it into the electronic reader, which applied a specific voltage. When THC attached to the antibody, the electrical current changed because of polarization that occurred between the interacting antibody and THC surfaces. The e-reader converted these data into THC concentration.
The researchers found that the device was accurate for THC levels ranging from 100 picograms per milliliter to 100 nanograms per milliliter. „This is the first demonstration of a prototype device that can report both low and high concentrations of THC in a noninvasive, highly sensitive and specific manner,” Prasad says. The new test is also fast, requiring less than five minutes to complete from start to finish. In contrast, other saliva tests for cannabis must be performed in a lab, requiring trained personnel and time-consuming sample processing steps, such as dilution and buffer adjustments.
Because cannabis is illegal in Texas, the researchers haven’t been able to analyze saliva from people who have actually smoked marijuana. Instead, they’ve used saliva samples spiked with THC. But Prasad says she has seen a lot of interest from researchers in states where cannabis is legal who want to collaborate, as well as from local law enforcement agencies.
Now, the researchers are taking the saliva test out of the lab. They’ve made a field-deployable version of the device that is similar in size to the glucose monitors diabetics use. In preliminary testing, they’ve shown that they can obtain saliva from human volunteers through a simple cheek swab, spike the saliva with different concentrations of THC and perform the test in a setting similar to a roadside stop.
Prasad says that the new test is also likely to find applications outside of law enforcement. For example, the medical marijuana community has shown interest, as well as companies that develop lifestyle devices to help people manage their cannabis consumption. In addition, lawmakers and regulatory groups are interested in using data generated by the device to develop effective laws.
The researchers acknowledge funding from the University of Texas at Dallas.
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A rapid response electrochemical biosensor for detecting THC in saliva
Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I substance under the American Controlled Substances Act of 1970. As more U.S. states and countries beyond the U.S. seek legalization, demands grow for identifying individuals driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana. Currently no roadside DUI test exists for determining marijuana impairment, thus the merit lies in detecting the primary and the most sought psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana. Salivary THC levels are correlated to blood THC levels making it a non-invasive medium for rapid THC testing. Affinity biosensing is leveraged for THC biomarker detection through the chemical reaction between target THC and THC specific antibody to a measure signal output related to the concentration of the targeted biomarker. Here, we propose a novel, rapid, electrochemical biosensor for the detection of THC in saliva as a marijuana roadside DUI test with a lower detection limit of 100 picogram per milliliter and a dynamic range ranging from 100 picogram per milliliter to 100 nanogram per milliliter in human saliva. The developed biosensor is the first of its kind to utilize affinity-based detection through impedimetric measurements with a rapid detection time of less than a minute. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis confirmed the successful immobilization of the THC immobilization assay on the biosensing platform. Zeta potential studies provided information regarding the stability and the electrochemical behavior of THC immunoassay in varying salivary pH buffers. We have demonstrated stable, dose dependent biosensing in varying salivary pH’s. The biosensor on integration with low-power electronics and a portable saliva swab serves as a roadside DUI hand-held platform for rapid identification of THC in saliva samples obtained from human subjects.
Those who consume alcohol and drive are often subjected to roadside stops, breathalyzer tests and stiff penalties if their blood alcohol content exceeds certain limits. Currently, no such test exists for cannabis intoxication, although the substance can impair driving. Now, scientists report a convenient saliva test for cannabis levels that might someday be used at roadside stops. The researchers are presenting their results through the American Chemical Society SciMeetings online platform.
Chemistry/Physics/Materials Sciences (Biochemistry); Medicine/Health (Addiction; Diagnostics); Policy/Ethics (Law Enforcement); Social/Behavioral Science (Drugs; Science/Health/Law)