THC in marijuana reverses learning and memory problems in elderly mice

While THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, seems to cause memory and learning impairment in young mice, surprising new research suggests that it actually reverses cognitive decline in elderly mice. From Scientific American:

Researchers led by Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn in Germany gave low doses of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana’s main active ingredient, to young, mature and aged mice. As expected, young mice treated with THC performed slightly worse on behavioral tests of memory and learning. For example, after THC young mice took longer to learn where a safe platform was hidden in a water maze, and they had a harder time recognizing another mouse to which they had previously been exposed. Without the drug, mature and aged mice performed worse on the tests than young ones did. But after receiving THC the elderly animals’ performances improved to the point that they resembled those of young, untreated mice. “The effects were very robust, very profound,” Zimmer says...

When the researchers examined the brains of the treated, elderly mice for an explanation, they noticed neurons in the hippocampus—a brain area critical for learning and memory—had sprouted more synaptic spines, the points of contact for communication between neurons. Even more striking, the gene expression pattern in the hippocampi of THC-treated aged mice was radically different from that of untreated elderly mice. “That is something we absolutely did not expect: the old animals [that received] THC looked most similar to the young, untreated control mice,” Zimmer says.

The findings raise the intriguing possibility THC and other “cannabinoids” might act as anti-aging molecules in the brain.

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Someone donated sixty ounces of marijuana to Goodwill

On Monday, Goodwill workers in Monroe, Washington opened a donated cooler and found five bags of weed inside. (That's 60 times the amount that's legal to possess in Washington.) If the donation was intentional, that's some very good will. However, Debbie Willis of the Monroe Police Department said that the stash is currently "waiting yearly burn of that type of evidence."

"There are many people on social media claiming it's theirs, but we have yet to have one walk through the door," she told CNN.

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Cannabis bouquet delivery service

In Los Angeles, Lowell Farms offered a limited number of lovely cannabis floral bouquets for delivery today, Valentine's Day. The price was $400/ounce. The Lowell Farms site still shows the bouquet on their front page with an email address to place your order so perhaps this fine gift will continue to be available!

(via LA Weekly)

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Border police find two tons of marijuana disguised as limes

US Customs and Border Protection officers in Pharr, Texas found two tons of marijuana packed inside key limes on a truck near the Texas-Mexico border.

According to CNN, "over 34,000 of the fake fruit packages were discovered by an imaging inspection system and narcotics K-9 team."

Last year, carrots were the mule of choice in the area.

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Get chai: Israel moving toward marijuana legalization

Yesterday, the Israeli government announced major steps toward legalizing marijuana. Medical cannabis is already a big thing in Israel and permitted by traditional Jewish law. According to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the new policy is part of a "shift to decriminalization with responsibility." Progress! Yet, the focus on "treatment" for offending minors seems a bit ridiculous. From CNN:

The new policy would apply to users carrying up to 15 grams, roughly a half-ounce. If passed, first-time offenders would face a fine of 1000 shekels (about $265), with the offense not appearing on their criminal record. Those caught for a second time would see the fine double. If caught a third time, the punishment would be at the discretion of the police. On the fourth offense, the suspect could face criminal prosecution.

Minors caught for the first time with marijuana would be criminally prosecuted only if they refused to take part in a treatment program. The second offense would be closed with a special settlement. The third time could trigger criminal proceedings.

"Israel takes steps to decriminalize marijuana use" (CNN) Read the rest

Hollywood sign changed to Hollyweed!

Last night, a prankster used strategically-placed tarps to improve the iconic Hollywood sign to read Hollyweed! Well done! (L.A. Times)

This was a reprise of a 1976 alteration celebrating California's decriminalization of marijuana.

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Data viz of the countries with the most cannabis use

The Telegraph created an interactive data visualization of cannabis use in countries around the world. Here are the winners:

• Iceland - 16.2% (prevalence of use as percentage of population)

• US - 16.2%

• Nigeria - 14.3%

• Canada - 12.7%

• Chile - 11.83%

• France - 11.1%

• New Zealand - 11%

• Bermuda - 10.9%

• Australia - 10.2%

• Zambia - 9.5%

Mapped: The countries that smoke the most cannabis (The Telegraph) Read the rest

Ancient corpse found in "burial shroud" of marijuana plants

In northwest China, archaeologists dug up an ancient corpse in a burial shroud of cannabis plants. The fellow was buried approximately 2,400 to 2,800 years ago. Archaeologist Hongen Jiang and colleagues described the discovery as an "extraordinary cache" of well-preserved plants. From National Geographic:

Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man's chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face.

This discovery adds to a growing collection of archaeological evidence showing that cannabis consumption was "very popular" across the Eurasian steppe thousands of years ago, says Jiang.

...This is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a "shroud" or covering in a human burial, says Jiang.

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Zateeva brand cigarettes: smelled and tasted like marijuana

If you were a head in 1974 who happened to enjoy the smell and taste of smoking marijuana but didn't want to get high or busted by the fuzz, or you simply wanted to prank the police, you could light up a Zateeva cigarette! From the April 20 (4/20!), 1974 edition of Florida Today:

The pack of Zateeva says it's "An exclusive smoke that captures the heady flavor and grass-like aroma of Cannabis Sativa. All natural ingredients, non-psychoactive, no tobacco or nicotine..."

"I never heard of it before. If it's a drug that's a close likeness of marijuana, it could pose problems," said Inspector Theo York, commander of the sheriff's headquarters squad.

"It is a problem for law enforcement officers, in that we have to know or be pretty well sure that the substance we have to make an arrest for contains an illegal drug."

More at Weird Universe: "Zateeva Smokes" Read the rest

Fantastic infographic of cannabis strains

Boing Boing pal Jody Radzik designed this incredible infographic of marijuana strains for Berkeley, California's Patient’s Care Collective who claim to be "the longest continuously operating medical marijuana dispensary on the planet." Click the images to expand (your mind)!

"The chart basically expands upon the traditional sativa-indica-hybrid classification scheme in a way that helps folks to make sense of the bewildering array of choices in marijuana medicine available at the PCC, as well as just about any other dispensary in the state," Jody explains.

Far fucking out.

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The healing power of ayahuasca

Michael Costuros is an "executive coach" in California's Marin County (birthplace of the hot tub) who every year takes a group of entrepreneurs to South America on a trip within a trip. Each spends $10,000 to hopefully leverage "the healing power of ayahuasca," Costuros says. From Chris Colin's feature in California Sunday:

Chris Hunter, co-founder of the company behind the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, signed on in hopes that it would help him navigate some sticky professional relationships. Jesse Krieger, publisher of Lifestyle Entre­preneurs Press, wished for insight into growth strategies. Other participants included the founder of a financial technology company, the scion of a footwear empire, and a firearms executive looking for a pivot. Under the guidance of Costuros and a local shaman, they would participate in a San Pedro ceremony — San Pedro is another powerful plant-based psychedelic — followed by two separate ayahuasca ceremonies....

The participants — all men this year — spent their first day traveling to the retreat center, getting situated, and enjoying massages. At 8 a.m. the next day, they assembled in a small, open-air structure. Following an initial cleansing ceremony, they drank their first batch of medicine (fermented wheatgrass and dirt is how Krieger described the taste) and lay down on thin mats under a thatched roof. There they’d remain for ten hours.

The first 60 minutes of the ayahuasca ceremony felt like two weeks for (AirHelp CEO Henrik) Zillmer. Uncontrollable vomiting and feverish shivering aside, he was unable to move and watched helplessly as his mind departed his body and descended into a vast black hole.

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Guess what caused a fire in a house on High Street

A house caught fire in a home on High Street in Walworth, New York. After extinguishing the fire that was contained in a single locked room, investigators found 40 to 50 marijuana plants under grow lights inside.

According to the AP, the fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical problem. One of the home's residents was charged with a misdemeanor for illegally growing weed.

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Music: 'Time Fi Legalize' Reid Speed remix, We Chief ft. Ragga Twins & Gosteffects

Listen: "Time Fi Legalize" extra-elevated remix of We Chief feat. Ragga Twins & Gosteffects by Reid Speed.

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Marijuana is kosher for Passover

Apparently some Ashkenazi Jews of central or eastern European heritage consider cannabis to be in the category of food that's prohibited during Passover, the festival that begins tonight. However Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a recognized leader in Orthodox Judaism, ruled that it's actually fine to use weed for medical purposes during Passover. Reminds of the time many years ago when we used a bud to represent the "bitter herb" on the Seder Plate. From The Independent:

Among Ashkenazi Jews, who are of usually of Central and Eastern European descent, the drug would be considered to be a member of the kitniyot – a group of legumes and grains which are forbidden during the festival of Passover, including rice, peas and lentils....

The 88-year-old rabbi, who lives in Bnei Brak, an Israeli city east of Tel Aviv, can be seen with another prominent rabbi in a video uploaded to YouTube by pro-legalisation group Cannabis Israel in which they are presented with cannabis leaves and partake in the leaves being blessed.

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No, 'Puff The Magic Dragon' is not about smoking weed

Here's the story of the lyrics, based on a poem that 19-year-old college student Leonard Lipton wrote in 1959 and popularized in Peter, Paul and Mary's classic 1963 song.

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What a Looming Patent War Could Mean for the Future of America's Marijuana Industry

There is growing concern in the American marijuana industry “about what may happen on the intellectual property frontier if and when legalization spreads across the country,” Greg Walters writes at VICE in a story out today. In recent years, there's been an explosion in new strains with wacky names, and growers are looking to patent their strains just like one might for a new type of apple or rose. If or when America decriminalizes pot, our intellectual property laws could clash with the pot business boom to create one hell of a legal mess, very quickly.

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On 4/20 day, Canada vows to legalize weed within one year

Canada's Health Minister Jane Philpott (hehe pot pott get it pot) said today that Canada now has a date for decriminalizing pot: Spring, 2017. The announcement was made on 4/20 Day, significant to cannabis users for reasons nobody can remember, wonder why.

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