This mossy plant may be 'more medically effective than cannabis'

Something interesting from the world of science: Liverwort contains a psychoactive substance ("perrottetinene" or "PET") that has similar molecular structures to THC. Researchers think might be superior to THC for dampening pain signals and reducing inflammation. It just doesn't produce the same kind of high.

ScienceDaily:

Until now, it was thought that cannabis was the only plant that produces THC. However, as early as 1994, Japanese phytochemist Yoshinori Asakawa had discovered a substance in the liverwort plant Radula perrottetii which was related to THC and had named this natural substance "perrottetinene." In this natural product, the individual atoms are linked together in a manner similar to that of THC, however they differ in their three-dimensional structure and further exhibit an additional benzyl group.

A few year ago, Jürg Gertsch from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bern discovered that liverworts were being advertised as so-called "legal highs" on the internet. At the time, nothing was known about the pharmacological effects of this substance. Together with chemists from Erick Carreira's team from the Department of Chemistry at the ETH Zürich, Gertsch's research team in Bern biochemically and pharmacologically compared THC and perrottetinene.

Using animal models, they were able to demonstrate that perrottetinene reaches the brain very easily and that, once there, it specifically activates cannabinoid receptors. It even demonstrates a stronger anti-inflammatory effect in the brain than THC, something which makes perrottetinene particularly interesting when you consider its potential medical application "It's astonishing that only two species of plants, separated by 300 million years of evolution, produce psychoactive cannabinoids," says Gertsch.

Read the rest

Liverworts contain psychoactive cannabinoid

A new molecular study shows that a compound called perrotetinene in certain species of liverworts is actually a psychoactive cannabanoid. From Science News:

A group of Japanese scientists in 1994 discovered perrotetinene in liverworts, but the new study is the strongest evidence yet that the compound is a psychoactive cannabinoid. Previously, cannabis was the only plant known to produce such cannabinoids....

After mapping perrotetinene’s molecular structure, the researchers created a synthetic version and tested it on mice. The team tracked the animals’ pain response, body temperature and movement — measures of the compound’s psychoactivity. The results suggested that perrotetinene may be slightly less psychoactive than THC, says study coauthor Jürg Gertsch, a biochemist at the University of Bern in Switzerland. The liverwort compound may also have fewer negative side effects such as memory loss and loss of coordination, he says.

"Uncovering the psychoactivity of a cannabinoid from liverworts associated with a legal high" (Science Advances)

illustration: "Hepaticae" from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, 1904 Read the rest

Canadian government growers can't keep up with Alberta's demand for weed

While cannabis may now be legal to smoke, sell and possess across Canada, the demand for bammy is harshing the buzz of many an Albertan. According to the CBC, certified cannabis suppliers are having a hell of a time trying to keep up with demand. The problem is cropping up at a time when the provincial government continues to dole out licenses to operate dispensaries in the province, putting an even greater strain on the amount of marijuana available in big sky country.

From the CBC:

Not all retail stores are necessarily open this weekend — a shortage of stock on the AGLC's retailer website means some new stores aren't able to order any cannabis at all to stock their shelves, and those that have run out can't order enough to restock.

The AGLC is the province's official supplier of cannabis, offering products from 15 licensed producers.

In Edmonton, Numo Cannabis has closed its doors after running out of weed, according to a sign on its door. Another Edmonton store, Alternative Greens, was also closed Saturday after running out of cannabis.

It's not just retail locations that are coming up with bupkis to sell. the AGLC's online portal doesn't have a shred of cannabis to sell, either.

The shortage likely hasn't come as a surprise to anyone keeping tabs on the Canadian cannabis rollout: licensed resellers have been complaining about their inability to order product since September. Given that shops in Alberta are only able to order a weed resupply once a week, it could take some time before the province's dope supplier finds a way to keep up with demand. Read the rest

Weed legal in Canada

Weed is legal now in Canada. Here's what it'll cost ya. Some places are banning smoking it in public and there are other bumps expected, but the business windfalls are expected to define an emerging market by attracting global brands previously leery of associating with drugs. With nearly 40m inhabitants, Canada became overnight the largest market for legal weed, with few of the peculiar regulatory compromises found in large U.S. states.

Previously: The New York Times has the dope on cannabis use in Canada Read the rest

The New York Times has the dope on cannabis use in Canada

I'm writing this on a flight to Chicago. By the time I return to Canada on Thursday, the sale and use of cannabis, in many circumstances, will be cool, from coast to coast to coast. This does not excite me: I'm not a cannabis enthusiast. Your mileage, however, may vary.

If you're a Canadian who enjoys the use of weed in its many forms or love the idea of visiting my often-frozen nation so that you can partake in a legal left-handed cigarette, you should know that the laws surrounding where and when you can use marijuana varies from province to province. The same goes for who can sell it. Fortunately, The New York Times has taken it upon itself to give its readers the scuttlebutt on all of these issues and more:

From The New York Times:

On legalization day, only fresh or dried flower, seeds, plants and oil will be available. Legal marijuana will have lower levels of THC, the chemical that brings on the buzz, than most products now on the black market.

The law will not allow cannabis-infused edibles and concentrates until next year. So those craving pot-infused gummy bears, baked goods, barbecue sauce and drinks will have to wait to buy them legally.

It is unclear whether cannabis creams and cosmetics will ever be approved.

The Times goes on to talk about the fuzziness of what cannabis will cost from province to province, how much of it is legal to own, the limits placed upon growing your own, and the age required to make buying it OK. Read the rest

WestJet Airlines says no to drugs as Canada prepares to decriminalize cannabis

Last month, the Canadian Armed Forces announced its strict but reasonable policy surrounding the use of cannabis by service personnel. With Canada's decriminalization of cannabis nearly upon us, a lot of companies and organizations that deal with dangerous tasks or complicated hardware are following suit. Earlier this week, one of Canada's most popular air carriers, WestJet released its policy for when their employees will be allowed to use cannabis.

The short version of the rules: If you're a WestJet employee doing anything other than riding a phone for the company's customer service line or working at an airport check-in counter, chances are that you won't be allowed near the stuff.

From the CBC:

Spokesperson Morgan Bell said employees were notified of the changes on Tuesday morning.

She said cannabis is being treated differently than alcohol, which is banned for certain staff members within 12 hours of coming on duty.

Bell said WestJet's list of affected positions would be similar to Air Canada's, which includes flight and cabin crew members, flight dispatchers, aircraft maintenance engineers and station attendants.

The new WestJet policy also includes a prohibition on possession or distribution of cannabis on company property while on duty or attending a company social function.

Air Canada, Canada's flag carrier, has pretty much the same policy on dope, which makes me happy. In almost all instances, 12 hours is long enough for the blood alcohol level of most drinkers to dip back down to safe levels. Despite all the criminal bullshit that we've laden cannabis down with over the years, we still know comparatively little about what it does to a user's reflexes or how long it may continue to have an effect on judgement. Read the rest

Mormon (LDS) church backs Utah medical marijuana legalization deal, even if November ballot initiative fails

The Mormon Church (AKA The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS) is joining lawmakers and the governor of the state of Utah to support a deal to legalize medical marijuana, even if a legalization initiative that's on this November's ballot ends up failing.

This is the first time to my knowledge the Mormon Church has made a statement supporting medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy.

I'm a Utah resident and a cancer survivor, and I'm writing this from my home in Utah.

I found real medical benefit from cannabis during my treatment for breast cancer. The deal described in today's news (I haven't seen the text yet) is great progress for all Utahns, especially for those with cancer and other serious illnesses. The LDS previously shunned any and all cannabis use. This deal isn't enough, IMO, because marijuana smoking would still be illegal. Whole flower combustion has its benefits, and it is a valid method of ingesting cannabis for medical purposes. Read the rest

Maine restaurant getting lobsters high to ease their suffering

Lobsters at a restaurant in Maine are getting baked, not in the oven but with medical marijuana.

Charlotte Gill, the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, Maine, has been experimenting with getting her lobsters stoned as a way to ease their distress, pain, and suffering.

Boston.com:

After reading about cannabinoid receptors in invertebrates, Gill and her staff took a leftover cardboard box from a vendor and filled it with an inch of water, then covered the box and inserted a straw. They put their first test subject, named Roscoe, into the box and blew marijuana smoke through the straw. The result? Roscoe became very, very chill, she said.

“There was no desire to pinch or grab,” Gill said, noting that in the subsequent three weeks after she moved him back to the tank with his lobster friends, Roscoe remained relaxed, and she observed the other lobsters in the tank “calm down.” (Roscoe was eventually released back into the ocean as an appreciation for his service in her experiment.)

Before serving them to customers, the restaurant is still experimenting with a process where the crustacean is steamed for six minutes, then cooking the body and tail under an additional 420 degrees. Gill’s 82-year-old father is the test subject, and so far he hasn’t tested positive for THC after consuming the body and tail. He still needs to be tested after eating the claws, which did not undergo additional cooking.

Gill is a licensed medical marijuana caregiver and hopes to start serving her hot-boxed lobsters to customers as soon as next week. Read the rest

Canadian soldiers have been given their marijuana marching orders

With Canada's legalization of cannabis consumption quickly creeping up on the calendar, the nation's Armed Forces decided that it might be high time to figure out where and when those with access to small arms, artillery and combat aircraft should be allowed to take a toke.

From The CBC:

Soldiers will be banned from smoking or otherwise consuming the drug up to eight hours before reporting for duty.

The ban on usage will kick in 28 days before any deployment for personnel serving on submarines, planes or helicopters, or for those piloting drones, conducting high-altitude parachute drops or engaging in air traffic control.

"Traces of cannabis may remain in the human body for up to 28 days or more following consumption," the defense ministry said in a statement detailing the restrictions.

Any personnel due to handle weapons or explosives, participating in emergency services or driving military vehicles will be prohibited from consumption up to 24 hours before duty.

Oh, and if you're a civilian contractor or government employee working on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces? All of these rules are for you, too.

While the CBC keeps the explanation of what military personnel can and can't do with marijuana simple, the Canadian Forces have taken a lot of time and effort to spell out, in great detail, what's ok for their employees and leadership to do with dope. This webpage explains the Canadian military's policy on cannabis, including the rules on use, how often drug tests can be administered, what'll happen to Canadian Forces personnel if they're caught breaking the rules, and where and when individuals can be treated for addiction. Read the rest

Coca-Cola in talks with cannabis company

Coca-Cola is reportedly talking with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. about CBD-infused beverages.

“We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers told Bloomberg News.

(Of course, Coca-Cola was also a pioneer in marketing psychoactive drug-infused beverages.)

From Bloomberg:

Aurora’s shares surged on the news, jumping as much as 23 percent Monday in New York to $8. Other stocks in the cannabis industry got a boost, with Tilray Inc. adding as much as 9.4 percent in response to Coca-Cola’s interest...

The discussions with Aurora are focused on CBD-infused drinks to ease inflammation, pain and cramping, according to the BNN Bloomberg report. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the chemical in the pot plant often used for medicinal purposes, and doesn’t produce the high that comes from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. There are no guarantees of any deal between Aurora and Coca-Cola, according to the report.

Read the rest

Comedy sketch imagines a sobriety test for stoners

"Once marijuana is legalized in Canada, how will police test for pot impairment?"

CBC Comedy sketch comedy series 22 Minutes humorously imagines what a pot sobriety test might look like, cookie dough and all. Read the rest

Smoke some shoes? The DEA's list of slang terms for cannabis

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has released its latest edition of "Slang Terms and Code Words: A Reference for Law Enforcement Personnel." Predictably, some of the terms are rather questionable. From Reason:

A few of the terms, like "terpenes" and "MMJ" (short for medical marijuana), are not actually slang terms. Other names on the list, like "shoe," appear to be completely made up. Worse, "Devil's Lettuce" is italicized in the report, revealing that the relatively old term was only added in this year.

Meanwhile, "blunts," "good," and "gas" were apparently not important enough to make the cut.

This whole thing reminds me of the great "grunge speak" prank pulled on the New York Times in 1992 by Megan Jasper, then Sub Pop's receptionist and now the label's CEO. Anyway, here is the DEA's complete list of current slang words for marijuana:

420; A-Bomb (marijuana mixed with heroin); Acapulco Gold; Acapulco Red; Ace; African Black; African Bush; Airplane; Alfalfa; Alfombra; Alice B Toklas; All-Star; Almohada; Angola; Animal Cookies (hydroponic); Arizona; Ashes; Aunt Mary; AZ; Baby; Bale; Bambalachacha; Barbara Jean; Bareta; Bash; Bazooka (marijuana mixed with cocaine paste); BC Budd; Bernie; Bhang; Big Pillows; Biggy; Bionic (marijuana mixed with PCP); Black Bart; Black Gold; Black Maria; Blondie; Blue Cheese; Blue Crush; Blue Dream; Blue Jeans; Blue Sage; Blueberry; Bobo Bush; Boo; Boom; Branches; Broccoli; Bud; Budda; Burritos Verdes; Bush; Cabbage; Café; Cajita; Cali; Camara; Canadian Black; Catnip; Cheeba; Chernobyl; Cheese; Chicago Black; Chicago Green; Chippie; Chistosa; Christmas Tree; Chronic; Churro; Cigars; Citrol; Cola; Colorado Cocktail; Cookie (hydroponic); Cotorritos; Crazy Weed; Creeper Bud; Crippy; Crying Weed; Culican; Dank; Devils’s Lettuce; Dew; Diesel; Dimba; Dinkie Dow; Diosa Verde; Dirt Grass; Ditch Weed; Dizz; Djamba; Dody; Dojo; Domestic; Donna Juana; Doobie; Downtown Brown; Drag Weed; Dro (hydroponic); Droski (hydroponic); Dry High; Elefante Pata; Endo; Escoba; Fattie; Fine Stuff; Fire; Flower; Flower Tops; Fluffy; Fuzzy Lady; Gallina; Gallito; Garden; Garifa; Gauge; Gangster; Ganja; Gash; Gato; Ghana; Gigi (hydroponic); Giggle Smoke; Giggle Weed; Girl Scout Cookies (hydroponic); Gloria; Gold; Gold Leaf; Gold Star; Gong; Good Giggles; Gorilla; Gorilla Glue; Grand Daddy Purp; Grass; Grasshopper; Green; Green Crack; Green-Eyed Girl; Green Eyes; Green Goblin; Green Goddess; Green Mercedes Benz; Green Paint; Green Skunk; Greenhouse; Grenuda; Greta; Guardada; Gummy Bears; Gunga; Hairy Ones; Hash; Hawaiian; Hay; Hemp; Herb; Hierba; Holy Grail; Homegrown; Hooch; Hoja; Humo; Hydro; Indian Boy; Indian Hay; Jamaican Gold; Jamaican Red; Jane; Jive; Jolly Green; Jon-Jem; Joy Smoke; Juan Valdez; Juanita; Jungle Juice; Kaff; Kali; Kaya; KB; Kentucky Blue; KGB; Khalifa; Kiff; Killa; Kilter; King Louie; Kona Gold; Kumba; Kush; Laughing Grass; Laughing Weed; Leaf; Lechuga; Lemon-Lime; Leña; Liamba; Lime Pillows; Little Green Friends; Little Smoke; Llesca; Loaf; Lobo; Loco Weed; Loud; Love Nuggets; Love Weed; Lucas; M.J.; Machinery; Macoña; Mafafa; Magic Smoke; Manhattan Silver; Manteca; Maracachafa; Maria; Marimba; Mariquita; Mary Ann; Mary Jane; Mary Jones; Mary Warner; Mary Weaver; Matchbox; Matraca; Maui Wowie; Meg; Method; Mersh; Mexican Brown; Mexicali Haze; Mexican Green; Mexican Red; MMJ; Mochie (hydroponic); Moña; Monte; Moocah; Mootie; Mora; Morisqueta; Mostaza; Mota; Mother; Mowing the Lawn; Muggie; My Brother; Narizona; Northern Lights; Nug; O-Boy; OG; O.J.; Owl; Paja; Palm; Paloma; Palomita; Panama Cut; Panama Gold; Panama Red; Pakalolo; Parsley; Pasto; Pasture; Peliroja; Pelosa; Phoenix; Pine; Pink Panther; Pintura; Plant; Platinum Cookies (hydroponic); Platinum Jack; Pocket Rocket; Popcorn; Porro; Pot; Pretendo; Prop 215; Puff; Purple Haze; Purple OG; Queen Ann’s Lace; Red Hair; Ragweed; Railroad Weed; Rainy Day Woman; Rasta Weed; Red Cross; Red Dirt; Reefer; Reggie; Repollo; Righteous Bush; Root; Rope; Rosa Maria; Salt and Pepper; Santa Marta; Sasafras; Sativa; Shoes; Sinsemilla; Shmagma; Shora; Shrimp; Shwag; Skunk; Skywalker (hydroponic); Smoke; Smoochy Woochy Poochy; Smoke Canada; Sour OG; Spliff; Stems; Sticky; Stink Weed; Sugar Weed; Sweet Lucy; Tahoe (hydroponic); Tangy OG; Terp; Terpenes; Tex-Mex; Texas Tea; Tigitty; Tila; Tims; Top Shelf; Tosca; Train Wreck; Trees; Trinity OG; Tweeds; Valle; Wake and Bake; Weed; Weed Tea; Wet (marijuana dipped in PCP); Wheat; White-Haired Lady; Wooz; Yellow Submarine; Yen Pop; Yerba; Yesca; Young Girls; Zacate; Zacatecas; Zambi; Zip; Zoom (marijuana mixed with PCP)

"Slang Terms and Code Words: A Reference for Law Enforcement Personnel" (DEA, PDF) Read the rest

Hey new cannabis users and microdosers: Pax's app stops you from getting too high

I just learned about Session Control, a new feature on an already-existing mobile app for the Pax Era portable vaporizer. It's great for people who microdose, like myself, or for folks new to cannabis. It lets you measure your doses, so that your hits are never "too much."

So when I'm not writing for this fine online publication, I freelance at other places. At this time of year, that means I'm working part time at Burning Man. Their headquarters is in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood.

Now, most folks may not realize this but they share a building with Pax Labs. Yes, the company behind the portable vaporizers. Last Tuesday I was invited down to visit the building's second floor, home of their HQ. I went and that's how I learned about the app.

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Going up! #burningman #elevator #elevatorbuttons #burningmanhq #pax

A post shared by Rusty Blazenhoff ⚡️⚡️ (@blazenhoff) on Mar 8, 2016 at 6:38pm PST

When it was new to the market, I got myself the flower-vaporizing Pax 1 device but then I started working in the cannabis industry and moved onto vape pens (and now low-dose edibles). I've been cruising along. While I was at their office they showed me their Era vaporizer (pictured below). It's way more high tech than an ordinary vape pen, and eons past the Pax 1 I once used. It uses concentrates, sold as Pods in dispensaries in states where it's legal, and charges with a USB cable. Read the rest

The story behind that 'Smoked a flying drone bong' marijuana viral video

The human mind is capable of such great creativity when the rewards are dank. Read the rest

Marijuana: Warren/Gardner legalization bill would let each state 'determine for itself'

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced today that she will hold a press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill to unveil a marijuana legalization bill she is co-sponsoring with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Read the rest

Oregon farmers are growing far more weed than residents can smoke

After three years of legal weed, Oregon has grown 1.1 million pounds, approximately three times what residents buy in a year. From The Guardian:

The result? Prices are dropping to unprecedented lows in auction houses and on dispensary counters across the state.

Wholesale sun-grown weed fell from $1,500 a pound last summer to as low as $700 by mid-October. On store shelves, that means the price of sun-grown flower has been sliced in half to those four-buck grams.

For Oregon customers, this is a bonanza. A gram of the beloved Girl Scout Cookies strain now sells for little more than two boxes of actual Girl Scout cookies.

But it has left growers and sellers with a high-cost product that’s a financial loser. And a new feeling has descended on the once-confident Oregon cannabis industry: panic.

“The business has been up and down and up and down,” says Don Morse, who closed his Human Collective II dispensary in south-west Portland four months ago. “But in a lot of ways it has just been down and down for dispensaries.”

"How do you move mountains of unwanted weed?" (The Guardian via Next Draft) Read the rest

The scene at 4:20 PM on 4/20 at San Francisco's Hippie Hill

Look at all these stoners... San Francisco, California, ladies and gentleman!

According to SFGate, an estimated 15,000 revelers attended the annual 4/20 gathering at Hippie Hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. This free, unofficial and unsanctioned event has been a tradition in the city since the 1970's but this is the first time it's occurred after recreational use of cannabis became legal in California on January 1.

The event began even before the gates opened about 40 minutes after the scheduled 9 a.m. start. The throngs that had gathered at the police barricades began chanting, “We want to smoke pot in the park,” and a collective whoop rose up as they were allowed inside...

One man holding an orange box full of immaculately rolled spleefs shouted, “Pot, pot, get your pot,” like a hot dog vendor at a ballgame, but most everyone already had the stuff. Still, vendors were everywhere selling tiny $5 gram baggies, cookies and gummies...

At 4:20 p.m., a New Year’s Eve-style countdown began for the “bud drop,” a phantasmagoric depiction of a marijuana bud descending a la Times Square, but it seemed to leave many people dazed and confused. Still, they cheered as if it was the highlight of a day jam-packed with highs.

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