Stoners: Knock It Off with the Conspiracy Theories

When I moved to the U.S. years ago, my first job was as a deckhand on a fishing boat in Alaska. I had to figure a lot of things out fast: how to drive a stick shift, run a crane, sort fish, steer a massive motor vessel. I also had to adjust to American culture, which felt both familiar from a million hours of watching ‘80s sitcoms, and totally foreign at the same time.

I was surprised to learn that my skipper, who was a cool progressive type, was a handgun owner. This was an absolutely alien concept to me. Even the cops didn’t carry guns in the town I grew up in (they were authorized to begin carrying handguns in 1998). Even more surprising to me was why he kept a gun. He didn’t trust the federal government, he said, and he felt the need to keep a gun to protect himself. 

What?! I’d never heard of such a thing. My father was a fisheries scientist who worked for the Canadian government. He loathed bureaucrats, and if he’d had his way he would have blown up every hydroelectric dam in the country, but he’d never said anything about needing to arm ourselves against a possible threat from the authorities, let alone the government! The skipper chuckled at my naivete, and gave me a Cliff’s Notes version of the Second Amendment — the beginning of my education in American distrust.

My next stop was Seattle, where I fell in love with a guy who smoked copious amounts of weed, and was a massive conspiracy theorist, mostly for entertainment’s sake. I was fascinated by the wild tales he told me, of the faked moon landing and the New World Order takeover headquartered under the Denver airport. Don’t trust the stories they want you to believe, he’d say, passing the bowl to me. It goes all the way to the top.

Next, I landed in New York City, where I met the High Times family — which is what they were, at the time. Tight-knit and suspicious as fuck of everyone and everything, the fam gave me an education in how fundamentally fucked up the American government is. From inventing the Drug War to control Black people and hippies, to spraying marijuana crops with paraquat, there was no end to the evil the American government was willing to perpetrate on its citizens. 

I wasn’t a Pollyanna about it, after that. Weed was a gateway drug for me to see that shit was majorly fucked up, and it was fucked up because of the people in charge, who did not want people to smoke weed and question everything. They wanted people to get hammered and forget it all.

So, I understand why people distrust the government, and why they believe in conspiracies. But in 2023, this shit has gone way too far. A dear friend of mine fell into the WWG1WGA world of QAnon and its sect of “conspirituality,” defined as “a rapidly growing web movement expressing an ideology fuelled by political disillusionment and the popularity of alternative worldviews”. There are plenty of these folks in the cannabis world, some of whom I count as friends. They don’t trust the government, scientists, doctors, or the media. Live and let live, I used to think. You’re doing your thing, and I’m doing mine; just don’t send me YouTube links about Covid being a hoax, and I won’t count on you to vote in the primary. I loved my 5G-Covid-hoaxer conspiracist pal; she loved me; we were cool.

My laissez-faire attitude changed when she ignored troubling health symptoms until it was too late, and died within weeks of her diagnosis. She died because she didn’t believe in Western medicine. If she’d seen a doctor and received a cancer diagnosis earlier, I think she’d still be here. And that fucking pisses me off, because she was young and had a whole lot of life left to live as an awesome person who I loved very much.

When she finally did see a doctor, and was given the news that she didn’t have much time to live, she elected to use juice therapy and cannabis oil as treatment. I know how absolutely fucking miserable chemotherapy is, from watching my sister go through it, and so I totally understood my friend’s choice not to do it, especially since her diagnosis was late-stage. 

But there were people who were telling her that she could cure her cancer with cannabis. She asked me if I knew anyone who had done so, and I told her I’d read about thousands of people who have used cannabis to treat cancer symptoms. I told her what I knew about Rick Simpson oil, and how cannabis has been proven to shrink tumors in mice. I told her of all of the incredible people I’ve met and written about who have found relief using medical marijuana. I didn’t tell her it was a cure. Others did.

A few weeks later, another dear friend said to me as we were mourning the news of her death, “I wish she’d fought with both hands.” He meant that her distrust of doctors and Western medicine, together with her belief in conspirituality, had effectively tied one hand behind her back. She lost her fight.

We know that cannabis is medicine. And it’s understandable that some people distrust doctors. But the conspiracy theorists and neo-wellness community need to fuck off when it comes to convincing people to ignore critical diagnoses and modern treatments that could save their lives. Sometimes, you can punch with plant medicine, and knock things out. And sometimes, you have to fight with both hands. Don’t let the conspirituality goons tie one behind your back.

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Canadian Study Links Cannabis Legalization to an Increase in Car Accidents

The results of a recent study published in JAMA Network Open claim to have found an association between cannabis legalization and an increase in traffic accidents.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Ottawa and looked at emergency room visits in Ontario, Canada over a 13-year period (Jan 2010-Dec 2021 which is actually 12 years but they say 13 in the study so what do I know), at the end of which they denoted a 475.3% increase in traffic accidents that resulted in an emergency room visit in which the driver had cannabis in their system at the time of the accident.

“This cross-sectional study found large increases in cannabis involvement in ED visits for traffic injury over time, which may have accelerated following nonmedical cannabis commercialization,” the conclusion of the study said. “Although the frequency of visits was rare, they may reflect broader changes in cannabis-impaired driving. Greater prevention efforts, including targeted education and policy measures, in regions with legal cannabis are indicated.”

At first glance, 475.3% sounds like a big number and suffice it to say many of the anti-cannabis media outlets who repackaged that number for a scary-sounding headline are counting on their readership to look no further and take their word for it that cannabis legalization and car crashes must be associated. I’m a journalist, not a scientist, but I am able to point out some facts about the study that might make that big number seem a bit less scary.

For one thing the study was only conducted in Ontario, Canada. In terms of sample size, that is one city in a country with very specific cannabis laws so to lay the blanket term “legalization” over one very specific set of laws isn’t totally accurate. The study even says so in the introduction:

“Another study also found no increase in total traffic injury hospitalizations in Canada over 2.5 years following legalization. Critically, the slow rollout of the cannabis retail market in Canada and the overlap of the legalization period with the COVID-19 pandemic greatly reduces the ability of these studies to evaluate the impacts of legalization,” the study said.

It’s also important to understand that the total number of injury-causing traffic accidents involving cannabis in the 13-year period came to a grand total of 426 out of 947,604. That number as a percentage is .04%, which is even smaller when compared to the total number of traffic accidents without taking emergency room visits into account. It’s hardly insignificant, but it is, arguably, a much less daunting number at first glance than 475.3%.

One key piece of data the study highlighted was that men appear to be more at risk than women of being involved in such accidents where cannabis intoxication was considered a factor. This stands to reason as a 2016 study by the National Institute of Health found men to use cannabis far more often than women and in greater amounts per use.

“Of the 418 individuals with documented cannabis involvement, 330 (78.9%) were male, 109 (25.6%) were aged 16 to 21 years (mean [SD] age at visit, 30.6 [12.0] years), and 113 (27.0%) had an ED visit or hospitalization for substance use in the 2 years before their traffic injury ED visit,” the study said.

The last and arguably most important question one must ask when dissecting the results of a study is “who paid for this?” Studies cost money, and it goes without saying that people who have money often try to use that money to influence the results of otherwise scientifically sound methods of observation. This is America after all (Or Canada, in this case). However, this study was funded in its entirety by grants from the Canadian Institute of Health and the University of Ottawa, meaning there does not appear to be any private money attempting to sway these results.

Regardless of my nitpicking, this study did point out something important: there is a small but statistically significant chance that a link between cannabis legalization and severe traffic accidents exists, but more context and study is needed to be sure.

“The findings of this repeated cross-sectional study suggest that cannabis-involved severe traffic injuries have increased over time. Legalization of nonmedical cannabis with widespread retail access and increased cannabis product variety may have further increased these visits despite laws specifically aimed at deterring cannabis-impaired driving,” the study said. “Younger adults and males appear to be at particularly increased risk of cannabis-involved traffic injuries. There is a potential need for greater interventions, including education on cannabis-impaired driving, enforcement activities, and policies to regulate access to commercial retail markets.”

The post Canadian Study Links Cannabis Legalization to an Increase in Car Accidents appeared first on High Times.

Illicit Cannabis in Canada Contains High Rates of Pesticides

Summary: A Canadian study has found that illicit cannabis inflorescence contains significantly higher levels of pesticides compared to licensed samples. The research, which used an expanded 327 multi-residue pesticide analysis, highlights the safety and consistency benefits of the Cannabis Act implemented in 2018.

Canadian Study Reveals High Rates of Pesticides in Illicit Cannabis

In 2018, Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use, introducing the Cannabis Act. This act established regulations to ensure safety and consistency across the cannabis industry, including a mandate for license holders to prove that no unauthorized pesticides are used or have contaminated the cannabis.

The study tried to determine if the Cannabis Act has indeed resulted in safer licensed cannabis products for Canadians compared to products from the illicit market.

To achieve this, researchers developed an extensive multi-residue method. This method utilized a modified quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) sample preparation technique. It combined gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) and liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to simultaneously quantify 327 pesticide active ingredients in cannabis inflorescence.

The findings were stark. Licensed cannabis inflorescence samples from Canada had a 6% sample positivity rate, with only two pesticide residues detected: myclobutanil and dichlobenil. Both were found at the method’s lowest calibrated level (LCL) of 0.01 μg/g.

In contrast, illicit cannabis inflorescence samples showed a 92% sample positivity rate. These samples contained 23 unique pesticide active ingredients, with an average of 3.7 different pesticides identified per sample. Notably, chlorpyrifos, imidacloprid, and myclobutanil were found in illicit samples at concentrations up to three orders of magnitude above the method LCL of 0.01 μg/g.

In conclusion, the results underscore the importance of a comprehensive multi-residue method that can analyze hundreds of pesticides simultaneously. Such a method is crucial for future policy and regulatory decisions and helps Canadians make informed and safe cannabis choices.

Source: PubMed

And we would like to know what steps can be taken to further reduce the use of unauthorized pesticides in both licensed and unlicensed cannabis production? Perhaps better education will do the trick…

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

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Canadian Medical Cannabis Finds Markets in Australia and Israel

Summary: Canadian medical cannabis exports have seen a significant rise, with Australia and Israel emerging as the top destinations. In the first half of 2023, Canada exported approximately 3,700 kilograms of medical cannabis to Australia, while Israel, imported around 2,900 kilograms.

The Global Reach of Canadian Medical Cannabis: Australia and Israel Lead the Way

Canadian medical cannabis exports have been steadily increasing, and recent data reveals that Australia and Israel are the primary recipients. The growth in exports to these countries indicates a strengthening of trade ties and a growing demand for Canadian medical cannabis products in international markets.

In the past year, Australia has imported a substantial amount of medical cannabis from Canada, making it the largest importer. Israel, known for its advanced medical cannabis research, has also significantly increased its imports from Canada. In the first half of 2023, Canada exported approximately 3,700 kilograms of medical cannabis to Australia, valued at 24 million Canadian dollars ($19 million). Israel, on the other hand, imported around 2,900 kilograms, worth CA$20 million ($16 million).

The shift towards Australia and Israel is even more pronounced when considering the decline in exports to historically dominant European markets. For instance, German imports of Canadian medical cannabis dropped to just 1,000 kilograms in the same period, a significant decrease from previous years.

The surge in exports to Australia and Israel can be attributed to regulatory similarities between these countries, which have made access to medical cannabis easier for patients. Both nations have been progressively amending their cannabis laws, leading to increased demand.

With the current trends, it’s anticipated that Australia and Israel will continue to be dominant players in the import of Canadian medical cannabis. However, the global landscape is ever-evolving, and other nations might also open up as significant markets in the future.

Source: MJBizDaily

And we would like to know, how Israel, one of the leading countries in Medical Cannabis research and a major grower by its own needs to import cannabis… Few years ago, people predicted that Israel is going to be the leading medical cannabis exporter, but instead it is now importing cannabis. This is just another sad example to how unfriendly regulators can kill a promising industry.

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We hope you enjoyed this news update. Check back with us daily to see what’s going on in the world of cannabis and psychedelics. And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, the Cannadelics Sunday Edition with a the best stories of the week:



AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

The post Canadian Medical Cannabis Finds Markets in Australia and Israel appeared first on Cannadelics.

Study Found That 92% of Illegal Cannabis Samples Contained Pesticides

A recent study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research found shocking evidence of the presence of pesticides in illegal versus legal cannabis from Canada.

In “High levels of pesticides found in illicit cannabis inflorescence compared to licensed samples in Canadian study using expanded 327 pesticides multiresidue method,” researchers compared 36 cannabis samples gathered from licensed dispensaries and 24 from illegal business (which was seized by law enforcement and submitted to Health Canada and lab tested in 2021).

Researchers tested the samples for traces of 327 different pesticides and found that many of the illegal cannabis samples contained harmful chemicals. “Pesticides were detected in 92% of Canadian illicit cannabis inflorescence samples with 23 unique pesticide active ingredients quantified,” research explained. “Four pesticides and synergists: myclobutanil, paclobutrazol, piperonyl butoxide, and pyrethrins, were detected at a high sample frequency rate, eight to 17 times in a total 24 illicit samples.”

They also noted that one illegal sample contained nine pesticide ingredients, but on average the illegal samples contained 3.7 different pesticides, with 87% containing more than one pesticide.

Researchers provided a table showing which pesticides were found between the licensed and illicit samples. Only 6% of the licensed samples tested positive for pesticides, which included just dichlobenil and myclobutanil.

The researchers discussed that the main objective of their study was to “streamline and expand our existing cannabis inflorescence method.” The process included the cannabis flower being homogenized in a laboratory blender, combined with a solvent called acetonitrile, and then is extracted with a device called a Geno-Grinder, centrifuged, and more, in order to obtain an inflorescence sample in a vial for testing. “This study demonstrates a new streamlined and expanded method for the detection of 327 pesticides in cannabis inflorescence via gas chromatography—triple quadruple mass spectroscopy and liquid chromatography—triple quadruple mass spectroscopy.”

Ultimately, they noted that studies of this nature are not yet common. “To the authors’ knowledge, this study is the only extensive pesticide multiresidue analysis that compares pesticides in the licensed and illicit cannabis markets in a nation-wide jurisdiction where cannabis has been legalized,” the study concluded. “Albeit being a small study, our results do support the Government of Canada messaging where ‘Consuming illegal products could lead to adverse effects and other serious harms. Testing of illegal cannabis has found contaminants like pesticides and unacceptable levels of bacteria, lead, and arsenic.’”

The stark differences between the safety of legal cannabis products and dangers of illicit cannabis in this study prove the efficacy of Canada’s cannabis industry. 

Back in October 2019, a nonprofit organization called Beyond Pesticides sent a letter to congress calling representatives to protect the public from harmful pesticides in cannabis. “Pesticide use on marijuana is illegal. Because marijuana is not a legal agricultural crop under relevant federal law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) and hemp has only recently been legalized, EPA has not evaluated the safety of any pesticide on marijuana plants. EPA has established no allowances for pesticide use in cannabis production, and no tolerances, nor any exemptions from tolerances, for pesticide residues on cannabis,” Beyond Pesticides wrote. “In the absence of federal regulations governing pesticides in cannabis production, the use of pesticides not registered by EPA is illegal.”

Beyond Pesticides also published a more recent article about the past and modern pesticide issues with cannabis, recommending that a precautionary approach be adopted by states in order to protect consumers. “Given the absence of federal testing for pesticide effects on cannabis consumers, producers, and the environment, states should establish rules for sustainable production practices that safeguard public health and the environment,” the organization said. “Beyond Pesticides recommends a systems-level approach to cannabis production, mandating compliance with national organic standards.”

Back in September 2019, 1,000 people became sick and 18 people died of a then-mysterious vaping illness. Ultimately the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the culprit to be Vitamin E Acetate in e-cigarette and vaping products, which EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product-use associated lung injury). Although Vitamin E Acetate is considered to be safe when taken orally or topically, inhaling it can coat the lungs and lead to issues with breathing among other concerns. The events of this crisis greatly increased awareness regarding ingredients for inhaled products (both cannabis and non-cannabis related).

Cannabis products have also previously been recalled due to unsafe levels of mold. In November 2022, Colorado regulators issued a safety advisory regarding tainted product batches.  Earlier this year in January, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board issued a public safety announcement regarding the use of an unapproved pesticide called Ethephon on cannabis products. The affected products included an estimated 117 edibles, 41 pre-rolls, and more than 200 concentrates were sold at 104 dispensaries.

Earlier this year in February, Vermont legislators announced a recall for cannabis grown with Eagle 20, which was reportedly causing headaches and nausea in consumers.

As policy around pesticides continues to develop, these examples stress the importance of education about pesticides and other substances used in the growth or production of cannabis products. It’s always a safe bet to obtain a certification of analysis from a cannabis company or business to verify that your product has been properly tested.

The post Study Found That 92% of Illegal Cannabis Samples Contained Pesticides appeared first on High Times.

Cannabeginners: The History of Romulan

Like many of the earliest cultivars bred in modern times, the exact origins and history of Romulan are more shrouded than the Jem’Hadar. 

Who Created it?

Like Blue Dream, the exact origins of Romulan are a bit of a mystery, but unlike Blue Dream, there is pretty wide consensus around who the original breeder was, and also like Blue Dream, there is a Santa Cruz connection. Romulan is widely believed to have been bred by the cultivator Romulan Joe (formerly known as Mendocino Joe), who was involved with Sacred Seeds along with other legends like Skunkman Sam and Maple Leaf Wilson. Sacred Seeds was based out of the Santa Cruz area until they were raided in 1982, and the members split up around the globe, and Mendocino Joe made the trek up to Victoria in British Columbia (BC), and became Romulan Joe. Once he got up to Canada in the 1980’s, Federation Seeds (now Next Generation Seeds) got a cutting from Romulan Joe and now they are the main suppliers of Romulan genetics.

Or at least, that is one story. Another story that can be found online is that “Legend has it that Canadian growers started breeding this strain in the 1950s,” suggesting that it was a mix of “Korean, Columbian, Afghan, and Mexican genes.” Whoever created Next Generation Seed Company’s page on the Seedfinder website claims to have “had many conversations on the origin of this strain” with Romulan Joe, and the purported facts of those conversations echo that alternate storyline. According to Seedfinder, Joe said “the original breeders started growing in their backyard and greenhouse in the 50s, after being introduced to cannabis in the Korean war and bringing home seeds to Victoria.” In the 60s and 70s, as Mexican and Colombian genetics made it to BC those got mixed in, and finally in the 1980s when Afghani genetics got to Canada those further got crossed into Romulan. That final step of Afghan genetics being added to the mix might be Romulan Joe’s contribution, as Afghani genetics had arrived in California before BC. As it is not clear who wrote that page on Seedfinder, it is impossible to verify if that person has ever truly spoken to Romulan Joe. 

What are the Genetics of Romulan?

As there are two main stories about who first bred it and where it was first bred, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are at least two competing theories about the genetics. The first theory is that it is a cross of a North American Indica landrace with White Rhino. This theory seems somewhat dubious, as cannabis was not native to the Americas until it came over with colonizing armies in the form of hemp, which over years adapted to become cannabis, with higher cannabinoid and terpene contents. That doesn’t mean there can’t be such a thing as a North American landrace, but there is little evidence of those existing before people brought them here to be cultivated (which makes it definitely not a landrace, as those are cultivars bred by nature not humans). 

A more believable version of that first theory is that Romulan was bred from a Afghani indica landrace, which in 1996 Federation Seeds saved “from near-extinction by crossing it with the popular White Rhino indica.” Due to generations of back-crossing, it is estimated that under 3% of the White Rhino genetics remain, making Romulan fairly close to a pure indica Afghani landrace. Some sources refer to the original Afghani landrace genetics as being from “a group of cultivars in the 1980s called Blue Indicas.” The Blue Indicas are believed to have gotten their name because they have elevated levels of anthocyanin and can turn bluish-purple in cold climates, like up in BC. 

The alternate theory, which holds that Romulan originated way back in the 50s in Canada, says it is a mixture of Korean, Columbian, Afghan, and Mexican landrace genetics. While it certainly could be a combination of all those landraces, it seems odd that something which is half sativa-leaning Mexican and Colombian genetics would be a pure indica. If the source on that Seedfinder page is to be believed, this theory of Romulan’s genetics is the one supported by Romulan Joe himself, which would lend some credibility to it if one can believe that page. According to the lore, the Mexican and Colombian genetics were hidden by phenotypic selection for plants that presented as indicas (they grew smaller and denser, which is better for colder climates like in BC). 

A Cultivar with an Out of This World Flavor

Romulan has a unique scent flavor unlike many of the cultivars you will find in dispensaries today, it is both earthy and piney (like rich in pinene) and also sweet and citrusy. Romulan’s scent has been reported to be “a chemical blast of pine (think Pine-Sol, but less toxic), with varying degrees of citrus, black pepper or lavender playing supporting roles.” The flavor has been described, almost poetically, as having “a zesty aftertaste with skunky notes jumping around the back of my tongue, but they’re both minimal compared to Romulan’s thick, resinous pine flavors.”

Star Trek Romulan costume, photo by Doug Kline

What is a Romulan, and Could it be the First “Celebrity” Cultivar?

Given the underground nature of the cannabis industry in the early days, it is hard to know for sure what the first celebrity cultivar ever was, but if rumors are to be believed that Canadian cultivators have been growing Romulan since the 1950s, it could be one of the first cultivars named for a famous person, show, or movie. As Star Trek fans will know, a “Romulan” is a member of an alien race from the planet Romulus. Romulans are known to have foreheads with a huge V in them. An old joke about the cultivar Romulan is that it is so potent it can “dent your head,” and that is believed to be the origin for the name. However, Star Trek wasn’t created until 1966, which means there was more than a decade of Romulan existing when it was known by another name, and what that original name was has been lost to history.

So no matter who bred it, or what its exact genetics are, the next time you are looking for some new bud to try, look for some Romulan and dent your head. 

The post Cannabeginners: The History of Romulan appeared first on High Times.

Psychedelic Users Are Taking the Drugs for Therapy, But Not Discussing With Doctors

According to a recently published survey in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, people in Canada are using psychedelics for therapy, but not telling their doctors.

“Naturalistic psychedelic use among Canadians is common,” the researchers wrote in the survey’s abstract. “However, interactions about psychedelic use between patients and clinicians in Canada remain unclear.”

Using responses generated through an anonymous survey, the researchers “assessed health outcomes and integration of psychedelic use with health care providers (HCP) among Canadian adults reporting past use of a psychedelic.”

Among the survey’s more than 2,300 participants, a huge majority (81.2%) said they “never discussed psychedelic use with their [health care providers],” according to the researchers.

“While 33.7% used psychedelics to self-treat a health condition, only 4.4% used psychedelics with a therapist and 3.6% in a clinical setting. Overall, 44.8% (n = 806) of participants were aware of substance testing services, but only 42.4% ever used them. Multivariate regressions revealed that therapeutic motivation, higher likelihood of seeking therapist guidance, and non-binary gender identification were significantly associated with higher odds of discussing psychedelics with one’s primary [health care provider],” they wrote, adding that those who “used a greater number of psychedelics, lower age, non-female gender, higher education, and a therapeutic motivation were significantly associated with higher odds of awareness of substance testing.”

The researchers said that they “conclude that naturalistic psychedelic use in Canada often includes therapeutic goals but is poorly connected to conventional healthcare, and substance testing is uncommon.”

“Relevant training and education for [health care providers] is needed, along with more visible options for substance testing,” the researchers wrote.

As Psychedelic Spotlight noted, the “results of the survey are not very surprising.”

The legal prohibition on such drugs makes it a taboo topic for many –– even when cloaked in the confidentiality of a doctor’s visit.

“Although the recent resurgence of interest and research of psychedelics as potential treatments for a variety of mental health conditions has been presenting evidence of these substances’ efficacy in treating affective disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, psychedelics such as psilocybin are still illegal in Canada. It is understandable that Canadians fearing legal consequences would prefer not disclosing their psychedelic use with their health care providers, especially if they are covered by their employee insurance,” Psychedelic Spotlight said

“Despite the fact that the stigma surrounding psychedelic use is slowly dissipating, it is impossible to know how frequently health care providers read new research papers, especially if these substances have not yet been approved by Health Canada. Hence, they may not be familiar with the latest research in the mental health field, which ultimately means that clinicians may be unaware of the data demonstrating these substances’ efficacy. Canadians who are uncertain of their health care provider’s attitudes and perceptions towards such treatments can greatly influence their willingness to disclose their psychedelic use. Is it that surprising that there would be resistance to reveal use of illegal substances to health care professionals? Certainly not.”

It is likewise not surprising that a large number of those who use psychedelics do so with therapeutic intentions. A growing body of research has highlighted how drugs such as psilocybin and LSD can have profound and beneficial psychological effects. 

A recently published study found that psychedelics have the capacity to activate parts of our “Default Mode Network,” the inter-connected areas of the brain that display hyper activity when a person is not paying attention to his or her surroundings.

“The DMN is especially active, research shows, when one engages in introspective activities such as daydreaming, contemplating the past or the future, or thinking about the perspective of another person. Unfettered daydreaming can often lead to creativity. The default mode network is also active when a person is awake. However, in a resting state, when a person is not engaged in any demanding, externally oriented mental task, the mind shifts into ‘default,’” the publication Psychology Today wrote in its analysis of that study.

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Shroom Shop Raided in Ontario, Canada

Another location of a psilocybin mushroom dispensary chain in Canada was raided by police, about a month after its earlier location was raided. Psilocybin advocates in Canada remain undeterred however, with no plans to back down.

CTV News in London reports that on Aug. 17, St. Thomas Police Service (STPS) officers in Ontario in Canada executed a warrant on the FunGuyz (pronounced fungi’s) magic mushroom shop. It was not their first rodeo with law enforcement raids.

STPS released a press release on Aug. 18. “A 39-year-old London resident has been arrested after a swift response from the St. Thomas Police Service (STPS)  regarding community concerns about the open sale of psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms, at a newly opened business in the city.”

The store sold products like psilocybin-infused edibles and microdoses of mushrooms. At other FunGuyz locations, for instance, shrooms were sold in 7-, 14-, or 28-gram bags of dried mushrooms labeled by the strains Golden Teachers, Blue Meanies, African Pyramid, Amazonian, Penis Envy, and so on. Microdose psilocybin options for most of the strains of shrooms are available as well in 50, 100, or 200 micrograms. They also sell psilocybin-infused gummies, chocolate, tea, and other products.

“Our street crimes unit did arrest a 39-year-old London resident with possession of a controlled substance for trafficking purposes,” said STPS Corporate Communications Director Samantha Wakefield. “The individual was an employee of the establishment here.”

STPS officers said neighborhood community members raised concerns, however the police were already aware of the operation.

Local reports indicate that FunGuyz locations have played cat and mouse with law enforcement, frequently reopening for business. It’s the second location in two months to be targeted. Police at the St. Thomas raid identified various strains of mushrooms inside the store and seized 7,150 grams of psilocybin with an estimated street value of $71,504.

The owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told CTV News, “We like charges because we’re just going to do a constitutional challenge with everyone that gets charged.”

FunGuyz vs. Canadian Police

Locations in other provinces also face closure thanks to ongoing law enforcement actions. A FunGuyz location in Montreal, Quebec was raided by police last July.

CTV News reported that several police officers descended on the FunGuyz shop hours after the company opened their first location in the province of Quebec in Montreal’s Sainte-Marie district. The shop was raided during its opening day, so day one of sales was likely not a secret. Four people were arrested, police say, and their investigation into the shroom dispensary is ongoing.

“We’re just getting started and we hope that the word gets out,” Edgar Gorbans told CTV News Windsor. As of July, FunGuyz runs 11 other stores in Ontario, plans to open more in Quebec, and has locations close to Detroit, Michigan.

“We’re dealing with people in active addiction who have very little in the way of impulse control, have very little in their ability to say no,” said Director Don Trepanier. “When we have uncontrolled access to these substances, then it becomes a problem.”

The Transformation of Psilocybin in Canada

Psilocybin is prohibited in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). The drug has been an illegal controlled substance since 1975. Despite the status of psilocybin, the government concedes that medical properties probably do exist.

Canada’s former health minister used her authority to grant a limited number of legal exemptions for psilocybin, but that was mainly only given to people with terminal illness and treatment-resistant depression.

“There is increasing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of magic mushrooms and of psilocybin, one of the active ingredients in magic mushrooms,” the Government of Canada states. “While clinical trials with psilocybin have shown promising results, at this time, there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada or elsewhere. Clinical trials are the most appropriate and effective way to advance research with unapproved drugs such as psilocybin while protecting the health and safety of patients.”

The production, sale, and possession of psilocybin remains illegal in Canada. There are over 200 species of psilocybin mushrooms, and officials don’t want people taking the risk into their own hands, given that similar varieties are potentially poisonous.

Store operators, however, often don’t care and commonly open up shop in broad daylight anyways. Advocates in Canada have been pushing the envelope with psilocybin dispensaries operating in the gray area. Canadian advocate Dana Larsen, for instance, opened up an online psilocybin dispensary and storefront locations, four in Vancouver at one point.

Psilocybin mushrooms are being studied for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma, alcoholism, irritable bowel syndrome, and other medical conditions. There are efforts to decriminalize psilocybin and other psychedelics in Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, and cities throughout California. Many people visit the dispensaries to get microdoses to treat various conditions.

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Border Officials Seize 2,000 Pounds of Pot Disguised As Frozen Waffles

Officials working on the United States-Canada border late last month seized a massive shipment of marijuana that, at first blush, looked like an 8-year-old’s favorite breakfast.

U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced on Friday that “Ajaypal Dhillon, 22, of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and importing marijuana into the United States,” and that the charges “carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.”

According to Friday’s announcement, the arrest and bust occurred on July 27 when Customs and Border Protection officers “encountered a semi-trailer operated by Dhillon at the primary inspection point” of the Peace Bridge Port of Entry, a bridge connecting Canada and the U.S. near Buffalo, New York.

Dhillon allegedly claimed that he was simply transporting some frozen foodstuffs.

“Dhillon presented customs documentation indicating a shipment of frozen waffles destined for a grocery store warehouse in Georgia. The shipper of the alleged waffles confirmed that the shipment was fraudulent, and the shipment was put on hold, while Dhillon was referred for a secondary inspection,” the announcement said. “During a physical exam of the cargo, boxes containing approximately 948 kilograms of a green leafy substance [or 2,089 pounds], consistent with that of marijuana, were located. In addition, 50 kilograms of ketamine were also discovered. Investigators identified Dhillon after CBP learned of five prior fraudulent shipments driven by Dhillon into the United States.”

The announcement said that “Dhillon appeared at a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was detained.”

Recreational cannabis is legal in Canada and in an increasing number of states in the U.S., including New York. 

But that doesn’t mean you should cross the border with weed –– even if it was legally obtained.

The Canada Border Services Agency issued a reminder of that in late June, just ahead of Canada Day and America’s Independence Day.

“Bringing cannabis across the border in any form, including oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada is a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization,” the agency said in a press release.

But despite those warnings, there are plenty who still try to smuggle.

That was the case of a 60-year-old American man, who was driving with around 400 pounds of cannabis in June when he was unwittingly led to a U.S.-Canada point of entry by his GPS.

“On May 2, 2023, an American driver was following GPS coordinates that were entered improperly. He took a wrong turn and ended up in the border line up at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Rainbow Bridge port of entry in Niagara Falls, Ontario. As the driver had no passport, he was referred for a secondary examination. During the inspection, the CBSA officers discovered 181 kg of cannabis (valued at between $362,000 CAD and $724,000 CAD) and over $600,000 US dollars (worth $816,167 CAD). The CBSA officers arrested the driver and seized the cash and cannabis. The case was then turned over to the RCMP Niagara on the Lake Federal Policing Border Integrity Team (RCMP BI),” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a press release.

“The RCMP BI Team examined the cash and cannabis. The items were located in various places in the car. The cannabis was vacuum packed and separated into numerous boxes. The cash was also found separated into bundles, and concealed in a safe, a suitcase, and a pelican case (hard-shelled lockable case).”

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Tilray Acquires Eight Brands From Anheuser-Busch In Major Deal

The Canadian cannabis company Tilray Brands announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement with brewing giant Anheuser-Busch to acquire eight beer and beverage brands.

It is yet another bid by Tilray to expand its footprint in the craft brewing space. Last year, the company acquired the New York-based beer company Montauk Brewing.

The company said that the “expected sales volume of the acquired brands [in Monday’s deal] will elevate Tilray Brands to the 5th largest craft beer business position in the U.S., up from the 9th.”

“Today’s announcement both solidifies our national leadership position and share in the U.S. craft brewing market and marks a major step forward in our diversification strategy,” Tilray Brands CEO and chairman Irwin D. Simon said in a statement on Monday’s deal with Anheuser-Busch. “We are excited to work with the teams behind these iconic brands that command great consumer loyalty and have a history of delivering strong award-winning products with tremendous growth opportunities. Tilray is fully committed to invest in and champion the future of the U.S. craft beer industry by fueling new innovation that excites and further accelerates the growth of its consumer base.”

With the deal, Tilray is acquiring a host of popular brands, including Shock Top, Breckenridge Brewery and Blue Point Brewing Company. The acquisition also includes 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Square Mile Cider Company, and HiBall Energy.

According to Monday’s announcement, the acquisition “includes current employees, breweries and brewpubs associated with these brands,” and the “purchase price will be paid in all cash and the transaction is expected to close in 2023.”

Simon said that the deal will significantly increase the company’s “national distribution to coveted markets across the U.S. and internationally.” 

“In a matter of three years, Tilray has solidified its leadership position in the craft beer industry, and we fully intend to be that change agent that reinvigorates the sector. Upon federal cannabis legalization, we expect to leverage our leadership position, wide distribution network and portfolio of beloved beverage and wellness brands to include THC-based products and maximize all commercial opportunities,” Simon said. 

Tilray acquired Montauk Brewing in November, a deal the company said at the time provided “enormous potential to expand its customer base and grow throughout the U.S. as a true national brand.” Montauk was added to a portfolio that already included SweetWater Brewing Company, which Tilray acquired in 2020.

“Tilray Brands continues to strengthen our U.S. footprint and operations through investments in and growing our portfolio of leading lifestyle CPG brands that resonate powerfully with consumers,” Simon said then. “Montauk Brewing is an iconic brand with leading market share and distribution in the northeast. Tilray Brands intends to leverage SweetWater’s existing nationwide infrastructure and Montauk Brewing’s northeast influence to significantly expand our distribution network and drive profitable growth in our beverage-alcohol segment. This distribution network is part of Tilray’s strategy to leverage our growing portfolio of U.S. CPG brands and ultimately to launch THC-based product adjacencies upon federal legalization in the U.S.”

At the time of the announcement, the company also said that it was appointing Ty H. Gilmore to serve in the newly created position of “president of Tilray’s U.S. beer business.”

On Monday, Gilmore said that, through the deal with Anheuser-Busch “our beer business is expected to triple in size from 4 million cases to 12 million cases annually.” 

“Looking ahead, we will further capitalize on the potential of these brands through product innovation, retailer partnerships and expanded distribution into key markets, including the Pacific Northwest and California,” Gilmore said.

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