An Australian cultivator claims that his growing of cannabis should be allowed for research purposes.
It is a topic familiar with any advocate if not caretaker in every jurisdiction where cannabis is on the edge of becoming legit (and for any purpose). What role does the “informal” researcher play in advancing knowledge about the drug—particularly if the investigation is not tied to any kind of formal program?
This idea has been put to the test lately in Queensland, Australia. Joshua James Waldron, caught with 18kg of cannabis in his property when searched by the police a year ago last September, pleaded for leniency as well as guilty at his recent sentencing.
Waldron told the Brisbane court that he cultivated his stash for medical purposes, gave it away to patients rather than selling it and was engaged in “phenotype-selection process” to create stable plants.
Despite the noble intent, Waldron pleaded guilty to one count each of producing and possessing dangerous drugs at trial. The crown prosecutor not only referred to the “sophisticated” property and setup, but the defendants decided lack of remorse in breaking the law—he admitted to continuing to supply medical cannabis to literally hundreds of people despite prior convictions for similar offenses.
The Fate of Advocate Growers During Legalization
This is not a story that is heard as often in North America anymore, particularly as the industry mainstreams at minimum at a state level, but it is not that long since there have been similar cases. Perhaps the best-known recent, national case in the U.S. is the Harvey family, who is facing down federal drug charges. Washington State legalized in 2014, which ended up splitting the legalizing industry away from patient growers.
In Europe, such advocates are still also facing jail—the most recent, high-profile case being Albert Tio, who was prosecuted in Spain for organizing the club movement and lost his appeal at the European level. In Germany, patient growers are also still being prosecuted, including with jail time.
The idea of the advocate-cultivator-investigative cannabis scientist is not one that has so far caught on in any legalizing market. Certainly not officially.
The Need for More Cannabis Trials
Despite the home-grown nature of Waldron’s scientific efforts, the reality driving such activism is that there have not been enough medical cannabis trials—anywhere. Furthermore, patient access, just about everywhere, is one of the biggest issues in every country where cannabis is becoming legal, even for medical reasons.
What is further complicating the overall picture is that formal medical trials, accepted and developed by the pharmaceutical industry, are expensive and largely out of the purview of the “average” sick person seeking such treatment on a regular basis—particularly for people with rare conditions. Cannabis has largely been left out of the development of the formal pharma industry, which developed, largely as the plant was being demonized during the 1930s.
In the meantime, patients are being largely left out of the equation, particularly if they are poor or have rare conditions, and cannot get formal medical care.
The Role of the Advocate-Cultivator
One of the most intriguing aspects of modernizing the cannabis trial equation is the use of technology to create hybrid programs. In the past (for example during the AIDS crisis) the legality of cannabis as a medicine drove compassionate programs and the experimentation that existed out of the rare formal medical trial.
In the legalizing medical and hybridizing markets of Europe (see Germany, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Portugal) as well as the UK, governments are beginning to set the parameters of the trials that have existed here since 2017.
These, however, resemble more traditional pharmaceutical trials—namely because they must.
One of the more interesting national experiments beyond Europe may create a more open paradigm, depending on how successful the program is. In Thailand, alone of legalizing countries, local farmers are cultivating crops for medical dispensation in local hospitals. This appears to be the first and only country trial where this is the case.
Until the idea of this paradigm spreads, or is allowed to, there will continue to be experimentation by patient advocates. And until there is either recognition of the legitimacy of this model, potentially with accepted procedures which create a scientific basis for the same, the fate of such informal experimenters very much hangs in the balance of the flavour and acceptance of cannabis by the legal system.
The question of how a cannabinoid is “made” does not come up very often. That’s because it’s usually pretty simple, they are “made” by the cannabis plant. However, there are a few compounds that are byproducts of phytocannabinoids and some other type of chemical catalyst… meaning they aren’t 100% naturally derived. THC-O Acetate falls under this category. So, how exactly is this exciting and very potent cannabinoid created?
The psychedelic THC-O Acetate sure sounds interesting, and goes to show just how many different products can be made from cannabis. Compounds like that one, THCV, Delta-8 THC and Delta 10 are the newer face of the cannabis industry. We support the expansion of cannabis use, and have some really great deals for delta-8 THC and many other compounds. Take a look at our selection, and join the cutting edge of marijuana use. To get our latest deals on THC-O vape carts, and to learn more about THC-O potency subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter, below:
What is THC-O?
In short, THC-O is an analog of THC, meaning is has a similar chemical structure but, as is the case in chemistry, minor differences often lead to substantial changes. THC-O is short for THC-O-Acetate, or THC Acetate/ATHC. Most of the time you’ll see it written and referred to as THC-O. It’s important not to confuse ATHC with THCA, the parent molecule of THC which found in raw plants that have not yet been decarboxylated.
In tetrahyrdocannabinolic acid (THCA) the A stands for acid, NOT acetate like with ATHC. THCA can be converted to THC-O, but THCA is a natural phytocannabinoid and THC-O is not. THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid that can only be produced in a laboratory setting, preferably by an experienced chemist. With the rise of DIY technologies, it can be tempting to try and make THC-O yourself, but the process can be difficult and quite dangerous, so it’s best left to the professionals.
Because it is an artificially produced cannabinoid, what you see is what you get – meaning all you get is THC-O and none of the beneficial terpenes and flavonoids that are found in natural oils. This is an obvious issue for whole-plant advocates and proponents of the entourage effects, but when it comes to pharmaceutical formulations, isolated cannabinoids are always preferred.
The purity of these compounds means that 1 milligram of isolate equals measures out to exactly 1 milligram of cannabinoid, whereas 1 milligram of full-spectrum plant extract might have 0.5 milligrams of THC, 0.3 milligrams of CBD, and 0.2 combination of other terpenes and compounds. This makes isolate very easy to use for specific dosing and product production.
According to Serge Chistov, the inventor of Nanobidiol Technology, says his team has found a safe and efficient method to acetylate THC using only approved solvents. Chistov says his team “developed the analytical standard for testing for THC-O, as well as being in the final stages of introducing products to retail outlets.” So, if everything stays on track, we can expect to see THC-O therapeutics relatively soon.
We already know that THC and THC-O are chemically similar, but that small variation in molecular structure translates to a huge difference in potency. While it may seem like a stretch, this is very common in chemistry – think CO vs CO2, the former being a manmade potentially dangerous substance, and the latter a natural gas required for plant and human life. Another well-known example is H2O vs H2O2, water vs hydrogen peroxide. Small molecular changes can make a world of difference.
To be specific, THC-O potency is so high, that THC-O is considered to be three to four times stronger than Delta 9 THC. There are times when THC, despite how amazing it is, doesn’t seem powerful enough to accomplish the task at hand, especially when used for pain, digestive disorders, and other chronic health conditions. THC-O is not only much more potent, but our bodies recognize it as a completely different compound. This means THC-O can be used in place of Delta 9 THC if you have built up a tolerance.
“The prodrug [THC-O] enters the system as a Trojan horse. The body sees the horse, the body tries to destroy the horse, keeping the insides of the horse available for the body to process. This means the THC inside of the prodrug preparation will not be metabolized into 11-hydroxy-THC at the same rate and speed as the native THC molecule. That change in the metabolic perception of the body is what is partially responsible for the effect that most people describe as different,” Chistov explains.
Even recreationally, it has its place in the industry, and honestly, it sounds like a lot of fun. There is a huge market of people searching for cannabis products with more of a kick, which is exactly how concentrates came to be. It’s certainly not for everyone, but for people who like to experiment with pot products and psychedelics (myself included), it sounds like something worth trying at least once.
Those who have had the opportunity to try it claim that THC-O produces a much more spiritual, psychedelic, and introspective high than what they are used to from Delta 8, 9, or 10. Even habitual cannabis users noticed a difference. As a daily user, this alone has me sold, and I know many other people who feel the exact same way (hey subscribers, products will be available in our newsletter very soon!)
How THC-O is Made
Circling back, let’s talk a bit more about the THCA and THC-O connection. I have already covered the difference between the two (acid vs acetate), now it’s time to discuss how THCA can be converted to THC-O. Again, it’s a complex chemical process that should only be attempted by experienced chemists, this is NOT something that can be done safely at home.
In raw cannabis plants, cannabinoids are found in carboxylic acid from. Carboxylic acids are any of class of organic compounds in which a carbon atom is bonded to a hydroxyl group via a single bond, and to an oxygen atom by a double bond. When exposed to heat, the compounds lose their carboxylic acid groups and become the cannabinoids most consumers are familiar with.
Carboxylic acid and hydroxyl groups are both polar and hydrophilic, meaning small amounts of THCA (or any other cannabinoid acid) are water soluble. Using two chemicals – sulfuric acid and acetic anhydride – the conversion can begin. Summarized, the process goes like this: THCA + heat > D9 + sulfuric acid + acetic anhydride = THC-O Acetate. When THCA is converted to THC-O, the polar C-OH becomes C-O-CH2C=O-CH3. The carboxylic acid group is hydrolyzed by the heating with the sulfuric acid, which then reacts with excess anhydride to produce acetic acid. This acid reacts with regular THC at the hydroxyl group and becomes the potent THC-O-Acetate.
To reiterate, sulfuric acid and acetic anhydride are both very corrosive and hazardous chemicals that should not be in the hands of amateurs and everyday consumers. Attempting this process at home is incredibly risky.
THC-O Acetate Production – Final Thoughts
THC-O is such an interesting compound. Not only is it four times stronger than Delta 9, which as far as we know, is the most potent of THC’s, but it is so pure and had limitless therapeutic potential. You might be eager to try it, but since it’s too risky to make at home, your best bet is to check out some of the existing products the are just hitting the store shelves. For more articles like this one, and for access to exclusive deals on all the newest, rare cannabinoid products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter.
Vancouver, BC – A press release on July 13 detailed a ground-breaking grant awarded to Langara College. The grant, which totals $3.3 million, consists of $2 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and $1.3 million from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, is the largest grant received by a post-secondary institution in the province. “These […]
The United States cannabis market is the largest in the world with sales expected to surpass $92 billion by the end of 2021. Despite this, cannabis is still federally illegal. It is difficult to gauge the full scope of the health and societal problems caused by cannabis prohibition, but we do know that the plant’s illegal status has put millions behind bars, blocked safe access for patients who could benefit from its use, and drastically hindered the ability of researchers to discover more about marijuana’s therapeutic potential.
Although the United States is way behind on the cannabis research front, thankfully a handful of other countries are picking up the slack. A growing number of people are using already using cannabis therapeutically and providing anecdotal data, so the pressure is on for science to catch up by conducting appropriate clinical research and create fair and progressive new laws. Nations like Israel, Canada, and The Czech Republic are changing the global narrative surrounding this plant by offering the world ground-breaking medical studies, quality control laboratory testing, and numerous other types of important research-based services.
Cannabis medicine is the way of the future, and so much more research is needed to understand the full scope of benefits one can experience from using this plant therapeutically. From relieving mental health conditions to curing cancer, it seems there is nothing that marijuana can’t do for our bodies. To learn more, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for other articles like this one, as well as exclusive deals on events and products.
No country in the world is better known for cannabis research than Israel. Not only is this the nation where it all began, but they are still paving the path with their modern research efforts today. Back in the early 1960s, Israeli scientist and University Professor, Raphael Mechoulam, first identified and isolated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the cannabis plant. His discovery jumpstarted the medical cannabis revolution and helped change how the entire world looked at this plant.
Today, Mechoulam is President of The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is leading a team of researchers that continue to uncover the numerous medical benefits associated with the now hundreds of compounds that have been found in cannabis. He has received millions in grants to create cannabis-based treatments for aggressive forms of cancer, and he was recently awarded the Technion Harvey prize for his work in the field.
By 2017, many in the industry had nicknamed Israel “The Holy Land” for medical cannabis; still known as an international hub for some of the most advanced scientists and researchers in the industry and it’s one of the few countries in the world where doctors prescribe cannabis-based medications with some regularity.
A great number of our most important cannabis studies come from Israel, including many about the endocannabinoid system, cannabis and cancer, mental health, addiction, and the list goes on. Israel has seen so much success with cannabis research that more restricted countries (like the U.S.) rely on Israeli data for their own scientific and legal initiatives. Although Israel has been shipping out cannabis products for some time now, many believe the small country’s most valuable export is medical data.
Although Canada tends to get all the glory, Uruguay is actually the first country to legalize the sale and possession of recreational cannabis, which has now been in effect for almost a decade, since 2013. In the industry, Uruguay is known for jumpstarting the federal legalization movement in many different nations, as well as creating the first medical cannabis export program in Latin America that launched in 2019.
Shortly after legalizing adult-use cannabis, Uruguay began to seriously invest in scientific research and was soon recognized as a “hotbed” of medicinal cannabis innovation. Uruguay has many unique advantages that make it a prime location for cannabis research and emerging trends. First is the country’s size and political stability, which make it easy and safe to control cannabis production and distribution.
Also, it is also worth noting is the country’s prime growing location, at a latitude that allows for off-season production to North America and Europe. Their short and mild winter season lasts from around June to August, which means Uruguayans can cultivate cannabis almost year-round. All that, combined with other factors such as transparency, reliability, legal and economic security make Uruguay a perfect region for cannabis industry development.
Malta, officially referred to as The Republic of Malta, is a small Mediterranean country formed by a small group of islands, located south of Italy and east of Tunisia. With a population of just under 500,000 and occupying only 122 square miles, Malta is the smallest country in the European Union, both by land size and population.
However, this small European archipelago is set to become a major global hub for medicinal cannabis research and production. In March of 2018, medical cannabis was officially legalized in Malta, which was followed by the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act a month later. This legislation included all the stipulations for cultivation, processing, consumption, importing and exporting, therein.
Earlier this year, TechforCannEU announced that it had secured funding of up to 2.5 million euros from Malta Enterprise, the nation’s economic development agency, to begin establishing the world’s first medical cannabis industry tech accelerator.
This program offers up-and-coming cannabis entrepreneurs in the areas of healthcare, biotech, agriculture, infrastructure, and digital technology to receive government funding for their work, and thus allows them to reach milestones faster, with less error and expense, ultimately increasing their probability of commercial success. The funds will go directly to the start-up companies selected to participate in the program’s first round.
Canada is the largest to country to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. In 2018, five years after Uruguay, cannabis became the second nation to end prohibition. As one of the most economically secure countries, with a large land mass and decent sized population, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader in numerous different industry sectors including agriculture, investment opportunities, and research.
Lab testing is a big part of Canada’s cannabis market and the country is home to a very large number of labs across all of its provinces. Well known labs offer the industry a wide variety of testing services including cannabinoid and terpene content, contamination levels, analytical chromatography, and much more. Only lab tested material can be used in the production of cannabis-based medications, and Canada has cornered that sector.
Some of the largest cannabis research centers in the world, including Michael G. DeGroote Centre, McGill, and McMasters, are located in Canada; as well as some of the biggest corporate names in the industry. Companies like Tilray’s, HEXO, and GW Pharmaceuticals – to name a few – are well known to researchers, investors, and consumers alike.
The Netherlands, Amsterdam specifically, is a region that is well-known for cannabis. Although it is illegal (which is a shock to many), the Netherlands has one of the most lenient marijuana decriminalization policies on earth. Recreational cannabis is used freely by adults and available for purchase and consumption in coffeeshops around the city, some of which have become famous for this exact reason.
In 2003, the Netherlands launched its national medical cannabis program and the country that has long been synonymous with cannabis tourism and redlight districts, suddenly began to make a name for itself as a beacon of marijuana science and testing.
The Netherlands has since received funding for numerous different studies, some of which were very large scale and covered everything from medical applications to treatment of mental disorders, and even limitations on academic performance. Facilities where these trials are conducted can be found all over the country.
Since Amsterdam is stuck in a legislative catch 22 (similar to the US), where cannabis is legal for adults to purchase in the coffee shops, but illegal to produce and sell, the Netherlands are conducting what they refer to as “weed trials”. Starting this year, cafes in 10 different cities will get a legal supply of quality cannabis to sell in their shops as part of a four-year experiment to see if they can deter the nation’s illicit suppliers.
The Czech Republic legalized medical cannabis in 2013 and is one of many EU countries that have been loosening cannabis restrictions in recent years. What makes the Czech Republic unique, however, is that this Eastern European nation is now home to one of the most advanced and expansive cannabis research facilities in the world: The International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI).
The ICCI launched in 2015 when a few prominent organizations – Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Prague KOPAC, and Dioscorides Global Holdings (DGH) – joined forces with the Czech Republic’s Minister of Health and created this medical marijuana research hub. The goal is to create a center of excellence that offers the cannabis industry a variety of science-based research services.
According to the website, “The main work of the ICCI is to provide scientific instruments to public and private institutions all over the world. The purpose is to enable scientific examination of the relation between bioactive cannabis compounds and the effect on the human organism in the treatment of specific syndromes and, in the future, systemic health disorders,” said the ICCI CEO Pavel Kubů.
The research conducted at ICCI focuses on three main subjects: Biomedicine, Life Science, and Policy Science. ICCI is an organization that “combines various institutions (universities, high-tech companies, associations) and their capabilities to provide service to the broad array of entities around the world interested in the development of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine.”
Spain is one of the first European nations to decriminalize personal use of cannabis products for adults, but their medical laws leave much to be desired. It might have something to do with the high rates of tourism in the country. Earlier this year, the committee of the Spanish Congress voted in favor of a that will establish a subcommittee to investigate the effects of regulated medical cannabis programs in other countries.
Regardless of the difficult laws, Spain is the location of numerous largescale cannabis research projects that have helped shed new light on its pharmacological uses. In 1998, researchers at Madrid’s Complutense University found that THC can be used in the treatment of cancer, by activating programmed cell death in certain brain tumor cells without harming surround cells and tissues.
More recently, pharmacologist José-Carlos Bouso, alongside Professor Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen from Germany, as well as other leading industry scientists, founded the Spanish Observatory on Medical Cannabis (OECM). The organization is comprised of the top cannabis minds in the industry, and the observatory is said to “promote the works of its members and also highlight the ongoing research done by other Spanish health professionals who are looking into marijuana research.”
What About The United States?
You likely noticed by now that the United States didn’t even make the cut. It may seem surprising that the country with largest global cannabis market is not on the list. So let’s quickly cover the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act, which still, to this day, categorizes “marihuana” as a Schedule 1 narcotic with high likelihood of leading to abuse and addiction, and no known medical applications. According to the scheduling, cannabis is more dangerous than cocaine, but sure, let’s pretend none of that is part of their political smear campaign against a healing plant.
Regardless, US cannabis prohibition has thrown a huge wrench in the wheel of the fast-paced medical research movement. Many of these restrictions can be somewhat avoided during the formation of a recreational market, but when it comes to clinical research, certain criteria needs to be met in order to secure funding and authorization to conduct studies on human subjects. One of the criteria is that the product in question also needs to be legal.
Ultimately, not much has changed here in the last five decades and researchers who do wish to study the plant are limited to acquiring subpar and very limited samples from the only government-approved cannabis production facility in the country – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, which established the “marijuana project” in 1968.
Weed politics in the US are not pretty, but pressure from the public is mounting to deschedule cannabis and open the gateways for proper research initiatives. Until the laws change, patients will continue fighting for fair access and prominent companies will get their data from elsewhere.
As a fun, recreational, adult-use product, all the most popular industry trends will likely come from the US. When considering cannabis as a powerful medicinal product with hundreds of therapeutic compounds to be harnessed and thoroughly studied, look elsewhere in the world. The countries on this list may be lacking the pizazz that our flashy recreational markets possess, but they are leading the way when it comes to research and development, testing, analysis, and data.
Cannabicyclol, or CBL, is a non-psychoactive, minor cannabinoid found in cannabis. Research on this compound is limited and very little is known about the extent of its therapeutic potential. Based on what we know about other cannabis compounds, it’s safe to assume that CBL can be used in the treatment of many different medical conditions, but which ones would benefit most from it remain to be addressed.
What Exactly Is CBL?
As of late, researchers have identified and isolated 113 cannabinoids, including CBL, from the cannabis plant, and they estimate there are dozens more waiting to be discovered. The fact that we have solid scientific research on only a handful of these compounds speaks volumes to how limiting and asinine prohibition has been. Imagine how much we would know if cannabis wasn’t shunned in the medical community and banned for all these years.
CBL is just one of those compounds. We know it exists, we know it comes from cannabis, and we know its molecular structure is different from other cannabinoids. Beyond that, we don’t have very much to go on. CBL is a minor cannabinoid with no double bond in its chemical structure, so it doesn’t have any intoxicating effects.
Because CBL structurally comparable to other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, so researchers believe it may function similarly in the human body. It is very likely that CBL interacts with our Endocannabinoid Systems the same way as CBD, CBN, CBG, and other cannabinoids lacking that double bond their carbon chains.
Also, as a minor cannabinoid, CBL could have just as much pharmaceutical potential when working synergistically with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This phenomenon is known as the Entourage Effect and explains the reason many people prefer the effects of natural cannabis flower and whole-spectrum extracts as opposed to isolates and distillates. Cannabis is such a controversial substance that we often forget it is simply a plant, and it functions like many other plants that we consume regularly. In botanical therapies, the compounds are more effective working together than individually.
Are you a cannabis aficionado who would like to learn more about cannabicyclol, as will as other minor cannabinoids and all aspects of this incredible plant? If so, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for the best of the best that this industry has to offer, as well as access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products. Or you can check out the Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for the best deals on Delta 8 THC.
What Are The Benefits of CBL?
In general, cannabinoids can be beneficial for an incredibly diverse range of medical conditions including mental disorders, autoimmune disease, inflammation, epilepsy, pain, and digestive issues, just to name a few. When looking specifically at the benefits of CBL, we don’t have enough research to make any conclusive statements and it’ll likely be a few more years before we have any studies to reference.
Aside from the specific molecular structure of CBL, we also know that it is a very stable cannabinoid. In 2008, a study was published in which researchers examined 2700-year-old cannabis samples found in the tomb of an ancient Chinese shaman. The arid climate, grave depth, and soil alkalinity did wonders for preserve the contents of the tomb, include the cannabis flower.
Although it was lacking aroma or flavor, the samples were still green in color. As expected, THC, CBD, and other major cannabinoids had degraded, however, the ancient cannabis samples were high in CBL and CBD; both of which are products of cannabinoid breakdown.
This has a few different implications. First, it’s relevant when discussing proper storage of cannabis. If you have flower that has either been around too long or been stored improperly, you can expect it to have higher levels of CBN and CBL. Because these cannabinoids are often found together, they likely work in tandem. Also, the fact these cannabinoids are the end of the line makes them very stable, and stability is paramount when it comes to manufacturing pharmaceuticals.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
The only reason cannabinoids even work and have an effect on so many different living organisms is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a system that was only recently discovered in 1992. Simply put, the ECS is a network of neurotransmitters and receptors that exists in the bodies of all animals. Cannabinoid 1 and Cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the brain and nervous system, as well as in peripheral organs and tissues.
As a whole, the ECS regulates numerous different functions and processes in our bodies and maintains internal balance and homeostasis. The ECS modulates the nervous and immune systems and other organ systems to relieve pain and inflammation, regulate metabolism and neurologic function, promote healthy digestive processes, and support reproductive function and embryologic development.
Researchers have discovered two different endocannabinoids so far, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA). 2-AG is made from omega-6 fatty acids and is present in fairly high levels in the central nervous system, but it has also been detected in human (and bovine) milk. 2-AG is a full agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it has a stronger influence over the CB2 receptor. Because of this, 2-AG is thought to have a substantial impact on the immune system. Anandamide (AEA), also commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule”, is known to play a major role in the in all our basic daily physiological functions including sleep/wake cycles, appetite, mood, and even fertility.
In addition to the naturally produced cannabinoids, there is also a large web of receptors that allow AEA and 2-AG to function the way they do. Again, the two receptors that have been studied most extensively are CB1 and CB2. These cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and monitor conditions on the outside. Once they sense changing conditions and the body falling out of a state of homeostasis, they signal the appropriate cellular response to restore balance.
What Does The Future Hold?
Considering this is one of the least discussed cannabinoids, it’s understandable that demand is low and not many companies are prioritizing CBL products. At the moment, it’s only available as a scientific research material through a handful of companies, like Cayman Chemical and Cerilliant. Eventually, that will change and just like CBN, CBC, CBG and another minor cannabinoids, more and more products will make their way to the retail sector and into the hands of consumers.
With legalization sweeping the world, a growing fascination for the medical benefits of cannabis, and vastly improved extraction and production techniques, even the most minor compounds like CBL will find a suitable market. There is such a need for non-psychoactive medicinal cannabinoids that it will be impossible and immoral to ignore the treasure trove that is found in this plant.
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Just like cannabis gradually became a regular part of the mainstream conversation during the last decade, over the next few years we can expect to hear much more about psychedelics – everything from medical benefits to legalization efforts, societal views to current studies, and beyond. Given the safe and natural element to using these types of compounds, it’s no surprise that psychedelics are following the same path as cannabis: decriminalization and eventual re-legalization on the basis of scientific research and cultural acceptance.
Psychedelic research and legalization is a hot topic right now, and of all the psychedelics, THC is still the most popular one. For THC users who have a problem with the anxiety or experience paranoia, delta-8 THC might be preferable. If you think you could benefit from this altered version of THC, take a look at our awesome delta-8 THC deals, and try it out for yourself.
What are Psychedelics?
Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.
Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.
The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.
The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more scientific term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the field to operate without the stigma attached to psychedelics from the smear campaigns of the 1960’s. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.
Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.
Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.
Medical Research on Psychedelics
Just like cannabis, legalization and normalization of psychedelic drugs would be impossible if there weren’t some type of medical benefits to show on paper. Luckily, the research does exist, especially in the field of mental health. A study published just last month in the journal Nature Medicine found that MDMA-assisted therapy could be “a potential breakthrough treatment” for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other studies have looked at psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a possible treatment option for clinical depression, and the results were incredibly promising. Additional research is underway to determine the effectiveness of numerous other psychedelics as well, including LSD and ketamine.
Most psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning the affect the serotonin receptors in our bodies. Many antidepressant drugs involve some type of serotonin signaling, although there are numerous different ways that substances can interact with these receptors. Using pharmaceuticals often leaves the patient with many unwanted side effects, whereas natural compounds are typically considered safer, when used correctly.
Psychedelics had a brief stint in modern medicine in the 1950s and several psychologists at the time were utilizing them to treat patients with depression and addiction, LSD in particular. They found it to be especially helpful in curbing alcoholism, which can be proven by this study in which it was reported that even 1 full year after treatment, subjects were still off the booze.
Known as ‘psychedelic therapy’ in the U.S. and ‘psycholytic therapy in the U.K., it was really catching on. However, when these compounds were added to the Schedule 1 narcotics list in both countries, the ability to research psychedelics, let alone utilize them in treatment plans, came to a screeching halt.
In recent years, we’ve seen a massive shift in the way the public, as well as healthcare and government agencies, view this class of drugs. The FDA itself has deemed both psilocybin and MDMA (magic mushrooms and ecstasy) as “leading breakthrough therapies” for depression and PTSD. This means that we can anticipate a rush in research and development for products containing these active ingredients in the very near future.
Psychedelic Legalization Efforts
The heavy regulation of psychedelics began in 1966, just as these drugs started making their way in the realm of recreational use. At the time, ‘recreational’ use of psychoactive substances was rooted in their ability to expand one’s consciousness. Psychedelic activists of today could very well be driven by similar motives, but the focus of their public campaigns is ‘safe, natural, alternative healthcare’ – a topic that many people have been showing greater interest in over the last decade.
Looking at it from a purely legal perspective, it not only makes sense, but it seems like the only logical way to tackle a subject like this one. Pushing for full legalization of highly intoxicating substances is already a pretty tall order, but if using the argument that our collective consciousness is suffering and in need of expansion, you can imagine that the movement wouldn’t gain much traction (regardless of how true sentiment that actually is).
Psychedelic legalization will undoubtedly face many of the same challenges we have seen time and time again in the fight for cannabis legalization. We know medical research fueled by cultural mainstreaming makes for a remarkably effective weapon against outdated regulations. But despite how far we have come on both of those fronts in the cannabis industry, it remains federally prohibited. And when looking at our current administration, we know that Joe Biden really has a bug up his you-know-what about cannabis, so it seems incredibly unlikely that we will see any kind of turnaround with psychedelic regulations on his watch.
Nevertheless, we know it’s in the cards and by the end of this decade it will be a booming industry. Numerous, cities, states and countries have relaxed their laws surrounding possession and use of psychedelics drugs.
Cultural Views on Psychedelic Legalization
Compared to cannabis, psychedelic have the unique advantage of being carrying less social stigma. Many advocates of psychedelic drugs are healers themselves, dedicated to conserving cultural traditions regarding the healing of pain and trauma through rituals that include psychedelic use – and this will be a huge contributing factor to eventual legalization.
From their initial emergence into the mainstream discussion, psychedelics have been positioned as a therapeutic drug, rather than recreational; as compounds that you use in micro doses to get only the psychological benefits without any of the psychoactive side effects; and as compounds that will soon be utilized in some of the most cutting-edge therapy sessions, by the most progressive practitioners.
Stigma still exists, as is the case with any intoxicating compound, but much of this stems from completely irrelevant fear; and luckily it’s nowhere as commonplace as it has been in years prior. Most people, even those who generally lean conservative, are adopting more liberal views when it comes to the use of certain substances, especially those that are found in nature. Plant-based healing is a much more popular concept now that in has been in our nation’s recent past.
In a big move for the psychedelic industry, a bill was recently passed by a second California Senate committee which would legalize the possession of numerous different forms of psychoactive drugs in the Golden State. The legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Public Safety Committee earlier this month, followed by a pass from the Health Committee one week later. If this bill fully passes, an extensive list of psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA would be legalized for adults aged 21 and older.
Additionally, the bill would call for the expungement of prior convictions for possession of psychedelic drugs, the same way the state is trying to expunge cannabis convictions; as well as redefining what paraphernalia will be lawful to possess and use with these newly legalized substances.
If this all sounds vaguely familiar it’s because California was also the first state to legalize medical cannabis use back in 1996, long before it was a frequent topic in any political discourse. The golden state is also the birthplace of most cultural cannabis trends over the last few decades. California has been at the forefront of cannabis legalization efforts since the early 1970s and is one of the first states to begin expunging prior cannabis-related convictions after Prop 64 passed in 2016.
“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” commented democratic Senator Scott Wiener. “It has done neither.”
Oregon, Washington and Colorado are also very liberal states that have been working to change the national narrative on drug use, particularly cannabis and other psychedelics. Oregon became the first state in the United States to decriminalize the possession of all drugs. Possessing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other intoxicating substances for personal use is no longer a criminal offense in Oregon. Those drugs are still against the law, as is selling them. But possession is now a civil – not criminal – violation that may result in a fine or court-ordered therapy, not jail.
The path to drug legalization can be bumpy, and taking psychedelics from illegal to medical-use-only to legal for adult-use will take some time. But based on current patterns, we can expect this will happen relatively soon. Just like cannabinoids, psychedelic compounds are the medicine of the future and when legalization does occur, there will be an industry boom like we’ve never seen before.
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When it comes to consumer packaged goods, especially those with natural ingredients, preserving freshness and quality is a top priority. Unfortunately, many of the existing additives and preservatives currently on the market are incredibly unhealthy – toxic and cancerous really – so there is a definitive need for safer alternatives.
Researchers from the University of South Florida are looking at cannabidiol as a possible solution. According to their study published earlier this year in the Postharvest Biology and Technology, CBD oil can be used as a natural preservative to extend the shelf-life of food by inhibiting yeast, mold growth, and microbial load. So, how exactly does this work and is it a practical, cost-effective option?
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Medical Benefits and Applications of CBD Oil
CBD has been heavily promoted as an effective treatment option for numerous different health conditions, but the only one disorder to have government-backing for cannabidiol treatment is epilepsy. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number and intensity of seizures, and in many cases, stopped them altogether.
Last year, the medication Epidiolex was removed from the controlled substances list, making it the only CBD-based therapy to receive full FDA approval. Epidiolex, now being subscribe in the US, Japan, and 30 European countries. is used to treat two extremely rare and debilitating forms of childhood epilepsy that typically don’t respond to pharmaceutical antiseizure medications – Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gestaut syndrome.
Additionally, there is sufficient research indicating that CBD can be used to curb chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of pain to treat. Chronic inflammation has also been identified as the root cause of many other ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed that even when applied topically, CBD could help eliminate pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
CBD is also highly effective in the treatment of mental health conditions and sleep disorders. When compared to melatonin, CBD scored favorably in the areas of helping patients fall asleep, stay asleep, and achieve more restful sleep. CBD has also shown promising results when studied for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. As a matter of fact, Dr. Sue Sisley and the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona have been researching this topic since 2009, in hopes of offering military veterans with PTSD a safe access to cannabis oil therapies.
Other lesser-studied potential uses for CBD include skin conditions, digestive disorders, addiction treatment, cancer therapy, and neurodegenerative conditions. Because of legal roadblocks, it has been difficult for researchers to conduct full scale studies on the true capabilities of this or any other cannabis compound, but the anecdotal evidence is certainly there.
CBD Oil As a Natural Food Preservative
Food quality is a complicated matter. One on hand, there are farmers and industry stakeholders that obviously want to profit off food products, and adding preservatives is one easy way to make that happen. On the other hand, we have a growing number of health-conscious consumers who are reading the labels, researching the ingredients, and opting for the healthiest alternatives, typically meaning those without any artificial additives.
Extensive research has found that prolonged consumption of artificial preservatives can cause serious health conditions such as hypersensitivity, allergy, asthma, hyperactivity, neurological damage and cancer. They are also known to weaken heart tissues, which can be especially dangerous for elderly people.
It can be hard to find that middle ground, which become evident at the grocery store when we’re stuck sorting through near-rotten produce or “fresh” ones coated in cancer-causing chemicals to make them last longer. Utilizing CBD oil as a food preservative can help on both sides of the fence by extending the shelf-life of food products using a healthy, all-natural compound. A recent study, published March 2021, found that adding CBD oil to strawberries increased the strawberries’ shelf life and reduced the microbial load found on the fruit.
“Strawberries were evaluated for visual quality and microbial load before and during storage,” researchers stated. “Results from this study showed that CBD oil was effective at maintaining the visual appearance of strawberries…compared to the fruit that was not treated.”
The study involved applying CBD oil to the surface of the strawberries after harvest, and storing them for eight days at 1-10 degrees Celsius. They found that the strawberries coated with CBD oil had a more pleasant visual appearance and vibrancy, and they had a lighter microbial load compared to the untreated strawberries. Since hemp itself is considered a superfood, using its extracted compounds to preserve other food products is a win-win for everyone.
CBD and Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotics are considered to be one of the greatest medical advancements of all time. If it weren’t for antibiotics, humans would still be dying of pneumonia and succumbing to deadly infections from a simple cut on the hand. However, bacteria are becoming immune to the effects of these medications which is leading to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.
A study by the University of Queensland’s Centre for Superbug Solutions found that CBD killed all strains of bacteria to which it was exposed, including some that are very resistant to conventional antibiotics. Even after 20 days, the bacteria did not develop resistance to CBD. Which most other antibiotics, the resistance began in less than 3 weeks.
In other studies, such as this one from 2008, researchers successfully treated MRSA with a combination of all five major cannabinoids – Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As far back as 1981, scientists discovered that CBC and CBG were effective at treating moderate antibacterial infections. Even further back in 1976, researchers found that dose as small as 1-5 micrograms per milliliter of THC successfully killed streptococci and staphylococci.
This is a very interesting and auspicious finding, but there are many limitations and unknowns. Even researchers who were part of the study remarked that they “still don’t understand exactly how it works” and that “there are still many uncertainties surrounding the use of CBD as a food preservative and the science and benefits behind using CBD in food formulations.”
Nevertheless, it’s an important discovery that, if cost effectiveness is taken into consideration, could have major implications for the food industry in the very near future.
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Simply explained, cannabinoid acids are precursors to the cannabinoids we all know and love, like THC and CBD. They are found on the stems, leaves and flowers of certain strains of raw cannabis before any type of heat application or processing takes place.
In fresh buds, most cannabinoids are present in the form of plant acids. Heat will break down these acids, causing them to lose their carboxyl group and become regular cannabinoids (for example: THCA to THC, or CBDA to CBD). This process is aptly known as decarboxylation, but we’ll get more in depth on that later. Until now, the focal point of most cannabis research has been centered around activated cannabinoids, rather than the raw acidic forms. As the industry continues to grow and develop, more emphasis is placed on the importance of minor cannabinoids, cannabinoid acids, terpenes, and other lesser-known cannabis compounds.
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What are cannabinoid acids?
Cannabis doesn’t create cannabinoids in the way we are familiar with them. Instead, it synthesizes several different cannabinoid acids; eight that we know of, to be specific. In order to become cannabinoids, these acids must be activated – or decarboxylated – using heat, light, and oxygen exposure. Above we briefly mentioned THCA and CBDA, but let’s quickly go over all of the known cannabinoid acids:
CBGA, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA are the most abundant cannabinoid acids. All of the plant’s compounds start as CBGA and various enzymes eventually convert it into the other three. In addition to these major acids, there are another four corresponding “V” compounds with slightly shorter chemical structures, and they are: CBGVA, THCVA, CBDVA, and CBCVA.
Cannabinoid acids do not have any psychoactive effects, however, they do have numerous medical benefits. In the few studies that have emerged, cannabinoid acids were found to have antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties. In nature, their function is to defend the plant, so it makes sense that they work similarly in humans.
More on decarboxylation
Decarboxylation, also referred to as “decarbing” for short, is the process of using heat (and sometimes light and oxygen exposure) to convert cannabinoids from their natural acidic state to their ‘activated’ form. By heating raw cannabinoids, a chemical reaction takes place that removes the carboxyl acid group and releases CO2.
There is no agreed best temperature at which to decarb cannabis flower, although there are some useful guidelines to consider. We know that most of the plant compounds begin to boil somewhere between 320 and 356 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you don’t go this hot. It’s also known that many terpenes – which are naturally occurring aromatic oils that give plants their smell and offer their own unique health benefits – start to boil when you reach the 300 degree F mark.
Therefore, you should probably keep you decarbing temperatures to between 200 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. But note that the lower the temperature used, the more time your flower will need to decarb; and vice versa. It also varies based on the cannabinoid as well, when it comes to debarbing CBD rather than THC, it’s necessary to heat the material for longer. About twice as long, by most estimates, and some would argue that higher temperatures are better as well.
How to utilize raw cannabinoids are what are the benefits?
To reiterate, cannabinoid acids are only found in raw cannabis material that’s fresh (not dried or cured) and hasn’t been exposed to any kind of heat. Although they are less frequently discussed compounds for the time being, you can find some tinctures and oils that incorporate extracted cannabinoid acids, mainly THCA and CBDA.
Aside from that, the most efficient way to harness these cannabis acids is through your diet. You can use the raw, uncured buds and leaves to make juice, smoothies, salads, dressings, and cold sauces. However you would eat any other leafy green vegetable such spinach, kale, or swiss chards, the same can be done with your cannabis plant matter.
They can also be finely chopped and used as an herb just like parsley, oregano, dill, or basil. This would not only add a rich flavor profile to your dish, but it would certainly improve the nutritional content as well. Store it in the crisper drawer with your other salads and veggies. Luckily for us, we live in a time where cannabis use doesn’t have to be done behind closed doors, so you can find many delicious recipes using raw flower online.
What are the medical benefits?
Cannabis acids act quite differently in the body than standard cannabinoids. Instead of interacting with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), cannabinoid acids inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme, which is associated with the inflammation response. In this way, cannabinoid acids can offer anti-inflammatory effects similar to that of commonly prescribed NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Looking at CBDA specifically, one 2013 study found that it was a thousand times more powerful than CBD at binding to the 5-HT₃ serotonin receptor, which is linked to nausea and anxiety. It can be used effectively to treat numerous mental health conditions such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as different digestive illnesses.
Self-reported use of THCA describes success in treating insomnia, muscle spasms, and pain. This is only anecdotal evidence though and more studies will have to be conducted before we can substantiate any of these claims.
Although research is lacking, we do have some evidence that cannabinoid acids can play a pivotal role in treating different medical conditions. Since they have no intoxicating properties, and with the growing interest in natural diets and healthcare options, this brings an entirely new focus on the benefits of consuming raw cannabis or using products that utilize cannabinoid acids.
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What do you get when you combine the progressive atmosphere of the 1970s, clashing cultural views and restrictions imposed on women, and an extensive and very secretive government study on cannabis with results that mysteriously vanished? You get one hell of a marijuana conspiracy, that’s what.
Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory right? I mean, the entire history of marijuana in the western world is shrouded in conspiracy. A healing plant, one that can possibly heal cancer, with no real side effects… and it’s banned for decades all to fulfil the agendas of some greedy politicians and business owners. Nothing really screams machination louder than that.
Even in stoner legends we hear the tales of “secret government facilities” running experiments on unsuspecting potheads. You know, the stories of your old college roommate’s second cousin who participated in the one, he was locked in a room decked out with psychedelic décor while nerdy scientists watched him smoke unbelievably dank government super-weed. He went home stoned, thousands of dollars richer, and with a seriously interesting story to tell during the next smoke sesh.
On the surface, the real-life version of these government funded cannabis studies weren’t much different. Participants were housed in a research facility that was arranged to feel somewhat leisurely, and they got paid good money to smoke extremely potent government pot. But what exactly was going on behind the scenes? Surely they weren’t just lounging around, watching movies, eating snacks, and smoking good weed for months on end? What was the objective here? What was the Canadian government trying to accomplish and learn with these studies? To this day, the answers to these and many other questions remain uncertain.
As study participant Sharon Purdy mentions, “It was such an upside-down set of circumstances. Here you were under the best medical supervision available with the best pot available, kind of, doing something illegal legally.”
The movie, titled The Marijuana Conspiracy – set to debut for streaming on 4/20, tells the story of this dubious study from the perspective of the women involved in it. The idea for the film came from none other than a study participant herself, Doreen Brown. Many years after the experiment ended, Brown starting sharing her story more publicly which eventually led to a full investigative report conducted by Diana Zlomislic from the Toronto Star in 2013.
The film uncovers the motivations of those involved in conducting the experiment such as the funders, designers, and implementers; as well as the experiences and backgrounds of the test subjects. Although some aspects are clearly dramatized and some of the characters’ backstories are fictionalized, the overall narrative stays pretty close to the line of truth.
Most importantly, the film discusses how researchers collected a “mountain of data” but never publicly released a single finding. Even now, the extent of what was uncovered during that 4 month period is still a big mystery. So, if you plan on watching any movies this year for 4/20, make sure to add The Marijuana Conspiracy to your list.
A Bit of Canada’s History with Cannabis
In the 1970s, the entire western world was at odds when it came to cannabis legislation. On one side were conservatives who argued that cannabis was the downfall of society, poisoning our youth and turning them in to lazy, impulsive losers. On the other side, and the side that we all personally align with here, were progressive thinkers who believed the plant was not only harmless, but held medicinal value and should be legalized for all to use.
For the most part, if you were pushing for cannabis legalization back then, you were on the fringe. No mainstream media outlets or politicians were inclined to be very vocal on the subject, unless of course, they were discussing the dangers of cannabis and their various ‘reasons’ for keeping it prohibited. To give you a quick example of what I mean, the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs released a report in the late 60s finding no evidence of the gateway drug theory that experimentation with soft drugs like pot inevitably leads to harder drug use, like meth and heroin.
The release of these results was met with some serious hostility, with members of some medical and political circles claiming that decriminalization and legalization of marijuana “would be tantamount to legalizing ignorance.”
Ironic how they chose the word “ignorance”, isn’t it?
It’s clear that cannabis was a threat of some sort to the powers that be, and governments were dealing with this plant in different ways. In the U.S., President Nixon dedicated $15 million to hire a small army of lawyers that would prosecute dealers and users nationwide. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau (the current prime minister’s father) launched a royal commission to investigate and study the effects of this plant. The thought was that, through enough research, they could definitively prove that this plant was unsafe and thus, should remain illegal.
“To make a sound decision, it is necessary to have valid information respecting the effects of the drug on health and social functioning,” wrote British psychologist C.G. Miles in a preliminary report on cannabis research. Miles is the mastermind behind the experiments that followed. In 1970, he launched his first study by recruiting six unemployed male volunteers to build wooden stools while smoking increasingly potent cannabis strains for 70 days straight – no leaving the facility and no communication with the outside world.
The purpose was to see if cannabis affected productivity. Would the men be motivated to continue building those stools for $2 apiece the more stoned they got? As it turned out, cannabis had very little to do with it. The men remained productive, regardless of weed consumption, until they unexpectedly went on strike and demanded higher wages. Once the pay was increased to $2.75 per stool, their output was right back on track.
“Evidence shows that the inability or unwillingness to earn following high cannabis consumption can be overcome by an economic incentive,” Miles wrote. Interesting findings, but how reliable were they? Miles couldn’t say for sure, but he convinced his superiors to let him investigate this phenomenon further through a series of longer and more in depth research projects.
A Social Taboo: Women and Cannabis
At that time, there was almost no clinical research examining the effects of cannabis on females and even to this day it remains a topic rife with questions and concerns. A 1972 report on cannabis by the Le Dain Commission highlighted the lack of scientific data in this field. The question of how cannabis effects women was also at the top of Miles’ list, as he mentioned in a preliminary report to Ontario’s Ministry of Health.
“The necessity for repeating this experiment with women is occasioned by the almost complete lack of information about the behaviour of females under even acute cannabis intoxication.”
The idea of women smoking weed has always been a bit of a social taboo. Even in today’s progressive pro-pot society, men have always dominated and monopolized the cannabis scene. Historically, it has always been more accepted, and even encouraged, for men to take risks. We was women have always faced a much harsher cultural restrictions than men, from the clothes that are deemed “appropriate” for us, to the number of sexual partners we’re allowed to have, and yes, even the things we consume.
Anything even mildly intoxicating was off limits, because our delicate little minds simply couldn’t handle a few puffs a joint without going off the deep end, right? Check out this quote from a British professor of psychiatry at the University of London:
“A young Englishwoman on one occasion smoked two-thirds of a home-made hashish cigarette which had not upset her husband; she promptly developed gross incoordination of the hands, astasia (inability to stand or walk), rapid pulse and dyspnoea (shortness of breath).”
Ouch. She didn’t even finish the joint and completely lost it… but hey, at least she didn’t upset her husband right? Undeniably sexist but unfortunately, a sign of the times. Did marijuana really turn women into fragile, unproductive burdens on society who had absolutely no control over themselves? Miles was about to find out.
The Winter of 1972
On January 31, 1972, Miles and his team recruited 20 young women ages 18-25 to take part in “one of the weirdest experiments in Canada’s history.” For 98 uninterrupted days, the women were held up in a Toronto-area hospital just north of Chinatown. Ten of the women – the experimental group – smoked increasingly potent cannabis strains daily and the other half – the control group – were there simply for observation. The two groups were housed in different parts of the hospital.
For the experimental group, their brains, hearts, kidneys, livers, blood and urine were analyzed multiple times per day while a team of nurses kept records of their moods and behavior 24/7. Although the control group was not required to smoke, they were allowed to, and both groups could purchase as many mild joints as they wanted for 50 cents apiece at a store that also sold alcohol, junk food, cigarettes, magazines and some toiletries and accessories.
The basis of this study was a sort of micro-economy in which the women were required to cover all of the expenses (expect bed and water) for the duration of their stay. They earned money the same way the men did in the study two years prior, via the production of small goods.
They worked on Guatemalan back-strap looms, which, if you’re unfamiliar with them, are primitive wooden devices used for weaving textiles and fabrics. The women were weaving colorful, wool belts with knotted tassels that had to meet a couple quality standards – they needed to contain two colors and measure exactly 132 centimeters in length. At first, it could take each woman up to 8 hours to create one belt, but eventually that time was cut down dramatically. The women earned $2.50 per belt that passed inspection.
“The first month or so was the best part—getting high, having fun, and making friendships with the other women,” recalled Doreen Brown. “There were no worries about ‘normal’ life, like working at a job I didn’t enjoy, paying rent, or supporting myself in general. It was an escape.”
However, as time went on, much of the lighthearted fun quickly faded. As the “experimental government super-weed” continued to get more potent and the isolation started to wear on them, the women’s mental health began to deteriorate. Communication with the outside world was only permitted via writing and they weren’t allowed to step out of the hospital for the entire 98 days. Some equated it to “psychological torture” and a few from the experimental group refused to continue past the halfway mark.
“The isolation, I found it very hard,” Brown recalls in an interview with the Toronto Star. “I’d be looking out the windows thinking, ‘I’d love to go out for a walk just to get out of here.’ It probably — even though I was with these nine other women — increased my loneliness.”
“I saw a few people get kind of unhinged,” Purdy says. “It gradually built up in our systems so that your peripheral vision was shot. There were things flashing through the air that weren’t there. It felt like you had an iron lung. Not coughing. I just mean you felt heavy. It definitely had a build-up effect.” The isolation also took its toll on the non-smoking group. Marcia Smith’s roommate, a woman named Misty who was part of the control group, also quit the experiment just before it ended.
“She withdrew,” Smith recalls. “She went into a cocoon. She broke down “There were few protections in place for the young test subjects in 1972. Today, researchers who receive government funding must abide by a stricter code of conduct.
“You cannot go and take people and lock them up in an artificial environment and pretend these are real-life conditions,” says Benedikt Fischer, a professor in the faculty of health sciences at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University. “The ethical standards and scrutiny has changed dramatically.”
Everyone and Everything “Seemed to Vanish”
To this day, the extent of what researchers discovered during those 98 days remains unknown because the data from the study was never released – not publicly, and not even to the participants. By the time the women left that facility, they were broken, isolated, confused, and covered in so many track marks from blood testing that doctors had to give them notes to prove they participated in a study and were not drug addicts.
They were paid thousands of dollars to essentially smoke extra strong weed and make accessories for months on end, all funded and controlled by the federal government, but strangely, the results were buried and even many of the people who conducted the research seemed to “vanish”, according to participants and reporters.
“I want to know, I want to know,” says Brown. “The dosages. What they found psychologically, physically. I feel ripped off, taken advantage of. It’s just like it didn’t happen. I feel like, yeah, you gave three months of your life for what? Were the results that horrible that they didn’t give them to us? You wonder. I think they might have supported legalizing marijuana. That’s why they didn’t come out. I don’t know. It leaves you with a lot of questions.”
She’s not the only one who believes that. According to the Toronto Star, some of the study’s documents eventually landed in the hands of an economist at Texas A&M University. After analyzing the data, he confirmed that “despite smoking a lot of high-grade cannabis under fairly dystopian circumstances the women in the mandatory weed group remained perfectly rational and worked their butts off.” Yes, he actually said, “worked their butts off”.
The results were politically inconvenient because they showed cannabis in a favorable light, and some suggest the study wasn’t a “study” at all, but rather expected to function as some kind of smear campaign against cannabis legalization, masked as clinical research. One of the main themes of the film, The Marijuana Conspiracy, is the idea that the entire project was actually a conspiracy.
Over the next few decades, the women involved in the study made several attempts to get more information from the Addiction Research Foundation on what happened to them during those few months in 1972. Unfortunately, all to no avail. In 2009, C.G. Miles passed away, so that door was shut and locked, but one of the junior researchers on the project, Dr. Galfrid Congreve, confirmed that his team did actually “product mountains of data”, although he also, did not elaborate any further.
Conspiracy theories and marijuana go hand in hand, but this one is more than just off-the-wall stoner lore… this really happened and because the results of the study didn’t align with the government’s anti-cannabis sentiments at the time, they promptly swept everything under the rug, in hopes that no one would ever find out stoners can be productive members of society.
If you want to watch this movie, you can stream it on Fandango Now or AppleTV, this April 20th. And don’t forget to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers and other products.
Yes, you read that right. We have another form of THC to explore – meet Delta 10 THC, a new cannabinoid with a short but interesting history.
Delta 10 THC is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis. But unlike some of the bigger names like CBD, Delta 9 THC, CBG, CBN and Delta-8 THC, Delta 10 is not a naturally occurring plant compound, although it does start off that way.
This molecular sibling does have many commonalities with Delta 9 and Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinols, but there are some key differences as well. Let’s explore what we know about Delta 10 THC so far, and why it’s important for you as a consumer and for the industry as a whole.
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The Bizarre Formation of Delta 10 THC
As with many of the nation’s cannabis trends, Delta 10 THC started in California too. However, this time, it was purely accidental. A company called Fusion Farms out of Adelanto, CA, bought some outdoor flower to manufacture concentrates. As many already know, California is subject to almost annual, very large wildfires; and unbeknownst to Fusion Farms, the biomass they purchased was contaminated with fire retardant.
Since they were unaware of the contamination, they continued with the extraction as planned but after the distillation process, unusual crystals began to form. These crystals had a completely different structure than previously observed cannabinoid crystals. After conducting some laboratory tests, it was determined that these crystals were most similar to CBC (cannabichromene), but still not an exact match. They continued testing this structure against all the known cannabinoids and no match was found. This went on for several months.
Eventually, they discovered that it was yet another variation of tetrahydrocannabinol, formed because of plant exposure to those fire retardants – Delta 10 THC. So basically, D10 is an artificial cannabinoid, formed by converting D9 or other cannabinoids using some type of catalyst. In this case, it was fire retardant, but companies are looking at various greener methods to created Delta 10 THC, like certain food-grade additives.
In chemistry, “Delta” refers to the double bond in a compound’s molecular structure. Delta compounds have more electrons and will interact with the body in a different way than single bond cannabinoids. The difference between the Delta THC analogues comes down to where the double bond is located on their chain of carbon atoms. Delta 8 has this bond on the 8th carbon chain, Delta 9 on the 9th chain, and Delta 10 THC has the double bond on the 10th carbon chain. It seems like a small difference, but from a chemical standpoint, it’s substantial.
How Does Delta 10 THC Effect the Body?
Honestly, it’s hard to say. Because this cannabinoid is so new, there is really no concrete information on how it effects the body and what medical benefits it could provide. I think it’s safe to assume that the effects will be similar to other tetrahydrocannabinols, and that it will likely interact with the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors in a similar way.
However, that’s just educated speculation at this point. All that we can say for sure is that Delta 10 THC is less psychoactive than Delta 9 and even Delta 8, though not by much for the latter. It’s likely that you will need higher concentrations of Delta 10 to achieve the same results you would get from the other THCs.
Once the laws open up more, scientists will be able to legally study cannabis and will have more funding and equipment to do so. Right now, most of the studies are coming out of Israel, but since this compound was only recently created in the United States, it has not yet been researched out there.
Notes From an Organic Chemist
A few important notes from Josh Jones, Ph.D., organic chemist and founder of Jonesing Labs LLC., who consults with Fusion Farms. “The first thing I wanted to see was nuclear magnetic resonance [NMR] for the unknown crystal,” he began. NMR spectroscopy is an analytical method used to study different chemical structure.
“If you have a purified substance, NMR allows you to ‘see’ the structure of a molecule. It’s a wonderful tool,” says Josh. “Prior to this NMR data, a lot of people had been seeing this mystery compound show up as a minor component on their distillate COAs, but they thought it was CBC,” Josh said.
“Without having a certified reference standard for Δ10-THC, typical HPLC analysis can misidentify Δ10-THC as CBC or CBL (cannabicyclol.) We looked a bit deeper at the HPLC data, especially using 2D HPLC scans, which show absorbance at multiple UV wavelengths.”
“We then saw a difference between the isolated Δ10-THC and standards for CBC and CBL. In combination, the 2D HPLC and NMR data make a strong case for identifying Δ10-THC as the unknown crystals formed in Fusion Farms’ distillate. Then, as luck would have it, a certified Δ10-THC reference standard was released, which agreed with the GC and mass spectrometry data we collected.”
It was Josh’s lab that found an accurate method for identifying Delta 10 THC, compared standard methods that would mistake this compound for CBC or CBL.
Can Delta 10 THC Get You High?
Short answer, yes. All THC products have psychoactive properties, and thus, can get you high. Delta 9 is going to be the strongest, which is great for some but can cause paranoia and anxiety in others. Delta 8 has similar effects to Delta 9 but is a bit less potent, less intense, and is said to be a great sleep aid.
Delta 10 is similar to Delta 8 when it comes to levels of potency (although some analysis indicates that is a bit less powerful), but where D8 is great for sleep, D10 will make you feel more alert, creative, and energetic.
Since this is a very new cannabinoid and there aren’t many delta 10 products available for the average consumer, you’re not going to find a lot of firsthand reports of how Delta 10 made them feel just yet. We can expect that to change over the coming weeks, as many industry professionals have noticed there is interest in Delta 10 and are working on making products as we speak.
It’s also important to mention that Delta 10 THC will show up on a urinalysis drug test and will probably not be differentiated from Delta 9. So if there is a reason you can’t consume Delta 9 THC, you should also stay away from Delta 8 and Delta 10.
What Does the Future Hold?
“We’ve been selling thousands of Delta-8 products a day,” said David Reckles from Private Label Hemp Lab. “And based on the feedback from Delta-10 so far, we’re ramping production to prepare for a similarly soaring demand. We think Delta-8 and Delta-10 have the power to turn the CBD market on its head.”
“Many People don’t just want CBD for its natural wellness benefits. They want something to take the edge off. They want to feel noticeably more relaxed and they don’t want to have to get a medical cannabis card to do it. For these self-helpers, CBD alone isn’t always enough. Now that Delta-8 and Delta-10 are available, people are starting to realize these compounds are on a whole other level. Why would people want to go back to the CBD?” David continued.
The only problem here is that Delta 10 THC might be illegal. Cannabis laws are complicated and according to the DEA, “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances.” The issue with that statement is the DEA has not defined what constitutes “synthetically derived.” Since Delta 10 is synthetically derived from natural compounds, it definitely falls into a grey area.
That said, numerous companies are already moving forward with Delta 10 THC production using legal and compliant, hemp-derived CBD. “You can create any delta you want–Delta-8, Delta-9, or Delta-10–by chemically altering CBD isolate or CBD crude. If you’re using crude CBD, you’ll generally create the reaction through carbon, and vitamin C derivatives. If you’re using an isolate, you’ll incorporate solvents and acids,” David added.
Importance of Lab Testing Delta 10 THC
Similar to CBD, Delta 9, and other cannabinoids, Delta 10 THC is measured via Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography, but lab employees need to make sure they are keeping up with the latest industry standards to ensure they’re accurately differentiating Delta 10 from CBC and CBL, as mentioned previously.
Delta 10 THC products aren’t like smokable flower or naturally extracted cannabinoids. Delta 10 needs some type of additive to be created, and if these products aren’t made with the proper knowledge, testing, and supervision, companies could be creating bunk products that will make people sick with dangerous toxins like pesticides and residual solvents.
Always look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) before buying cannabis products online. This will ensure your safety and you can make sure you’re not getting ripped off with products that won’t have the promised effects.
What Type of Delta 10 THC Products are Available?
At this point in time, you won’t find many Delta-10 products on the market. But companies already plan to launch an assortment of Delta-10 items by the end of spring. Different product options will include:
Tincture / oil
Flower and prerolls
As soon as some of these products are on the market, we will make sure to lock in the best discounts for our readers. Make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for more information and exclusive deals on legal THC products.