Cannabis Banking Left out of NDAA

United States Congress has declined to include cannabis banking in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). The NDAA is an annual congressional bill guiding policies and funding of federal military agencies. Often, the NDAA is used to undermine the principles the United States was founded on. For example, the NDAA grants the president the power to kidnap Americans and indefinitely hold them without trial. The NDAA not only spits in the face of the Bill of Rights, it completely undermines […]

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Jon’s Stone Cold Cop List #31: MJBizCon finds… only kidding. They didn’t even have weed there.

Well I missed November, but it’s been a crazy month so bear with me. This one’s stacked with all the gems I found during Biz Con… only kidding. The best part about that event was our afterparty with Meth & Red at Brooklyn Bowl, and that wasn’t even official. Y’all know we know how to get down, even at a suit conference. Worth noting that our event and Jimi’s Heat Quest were the only two events I enjoyed period, so we’ll see if I’ll even do the Vegas marathon again next year. I do hope all your time in Vegas was all you hoped it’d be, but it seems apparent the industry is less and less hyped for this one every year. 

But this train doesn’t stop! I’m writing this on a plane to Taipei, en route to my final destination of Bankok, Thailand. Rolling out to check the newly legalized scene with my buds Jimi Devine and the High Rise gang, so you know there’s going to be a ton of transmissions from the road. Hopefully we don’t end up in an South East Asian prison. Only time will tell! 

If you can’t wait until the next edition to hear how it went, follow along with our antics on IG or Twitter. And as always, feel free to ping me and bitch about what I missed, or what should be on the next one!

Green Dawg’s Maracuya

Courtesy of Green Dawg

I’m constantly hunting for ‘out of the ordinary’ flavors, and boy did Green Dawg hit me right in the strike pocket with this one. To start, this sweet yet musky cut is like, repulsively attractive. You know what they say about cologne needing some funk? This one’s allll over that vibe. And while a lot of brands have figured out tips and tricks to inflate the smell of their goods to potential consumers, you know they’re doing it the right way when you can actually taste the flavor on your tongue. Plus, it’s a Green Dawg strain – which means it’s not even trying to play the hype game, they’re just focused on producing really, really good weed that they themselves want to smoke. The ultimate QC process!

Portal Gummies

cop list
Courtesy of Portal Gummies

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen these on my story a few weeks ago, but now that I’ve had some time to do my research I’m pleased to inform you all that they’re so much more than MDMA gummies. While those were dope, and I certainly enjoyed myself, this is only the tip of the iceberg for this team. Also producing both micro and macro LSD gummies, a combination Mushroom & Molly chocolate bars, and DMT both in vape and it’s natural forms, I have no idea how these guys are getting away with this but the drugs are legit so tap in with the gang to get way out there!

Doja Pak’s Giraffe Puzzy

cop list
Courtesy of Doja Pak

I talk about how Doja’s crushing quite a bit, and I get it annoys some people looking for new names, but the truth is, once you see this next cut you won’t care about the other guys. The Giraffe Puzzy (a project the team has been working for years) is truly the one. With a flavor reminiscent of Chem, this bright green bud feels like a lost classic reinvigorated with todays tech. Not only that, but it will get you the perfect level of insanely high, and yet not slow you down. Y’all know I like the daytime steeze. Also worth mentioning their General Purpose pre-rolls. I grabbed one for the first time before Thanksgiving and I’ve gotta say – this is how pre-rolls should be. Three grams of all flower, and it smokes perfectly. They’re also blends of the gang’s favorite mixes – mine was Purp Dino x Stardawg 41 x Giraffe Puzzy, and it was the ultimate experience.

Talking Terps’ Terp Crawford Cases

Courtesy of Talking Terps

Y’all know the Terps are my people, and while I do my best not to include every drop they do, there is so much heat coming out of that camp that it’s hard to go too many lists without including the gang. Now, we know the Terps like high end, and that not every product they release will be in every fan’s budget, and this is likely one of those – but man, just look at how dope they are! Made in Silver, Bronze and Brass, these iconic lighter cases feature TC’s likeness carved into the metals (as well as the classic TT logo emblazoned on the back). And while they might be pricey, it seems like a small price to pay to ensure your lighter always finds its way back to you! They’ve got a gang of other shit out rn too if you’re holiday shopping and don’t want to break the bank, tap in with the boys!

Snowtill’s Piescream

cop list
Grown by Snowtill, shot by Ginja Club

I’ve included Snowtill here before as more of a brand profile, but this time I’ve gotta call out a specific cut he’s been working on. To put it simply: ST’s Piescream is one of the most interesting cultivars I’ve tried recently. It’s got this like gassy and sweet nose, but what blew my mind is the bud has this like grease to it that’s incredible. Normal buds just make your fingers sticky – this provides almost a liquid residue on your fingers that eventually dry out to the stick we all know and love, but it’s clear this plant was finished properly, so I’m looking at this as an advancement in his capabilities. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and the almost lime flavoring on the inhale sort of numbs the mouth. Joe’s onto something special.

Cali-X’s Dole Whip

cop list
Courtesy of Cali-X

You likely already know I’m a big Dole Whip fan, but what Cali-X has managed to do with the cultivar has really taken it to the next level. Definitely the first time I’ve seen it in rosin form, but the flavor will smack you as soon as you crack the jar. While maintaining the pineapple sweetness, Cali’s version of it presents with a far stronger gas aroma than I’ve seen in the past. Not to mention it’s got an excellent cerebral effect that’s perfect for going down a deep rabbit hole, or melting into your couch with a good book.

Mike Glazer’s After Party at the Comedy Store

Courtesy of Mike Glazer

There are very few people I love as much in this industry and our adjacent communities than Mike Glazer. The host of ‘Glazed’, the pre-pandemic variety show at the Hollywood Improv Lab, was my favorite show in L.A. before all that COVID madness fucked our lives up. That said, ya boy is back with another instant classic that I had so much fun at I need you all to know too. Including insanely talented comedians like Neal Brennan, Ali Mac & Frank Castillo, Glazer’s show always has bells and whistles you can’t possibly expect, so you never know exactly what you’re in for, but let me promise you this: you won’t be disappointed you went. I believe the word on the street is there’s another coming before the end of year so keep an eye on his Instagram – you’re definitely not going to want to miss these!

Lemonskrill

Courtesy of Lemonskrill

While this is presumably a new name for many of us, you’re going to recognize the flavor of Skrillmo’s most recent project, Lemonskrill. Akin to Lemon Up, with that same almost sour lemon pungency, Skrillmo has dialed this one in in a classic, yet refreshingly new way. We’ve been chatting online awhile and I’ve got to say, the first taste he provided was certainly a head-turner. Plus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his marketing is creative, attractive, and you can fit way more than an eighth in the mylar if you feel like taking it on the road!

The Liz

Courtesy of Squints x Foreign Genetics x Westside Gunn

This next one’s a collaboration between Squints, Foreign Genetics and Westside Gunn, and it smaaaacks! I know anytime we hear a celebrity’s name at this stage in the game it’s almost an instant tune out for most of us, but this feels more like a real play than an influencer grift. Squints ain’t no buster. In fact, I’ve been saying for a minute that what Foreign Genetics is doing is impressive, and this certainly continues the legacy. The dark buds have a perfumated nose, with an almost cheesy undertone, but it’s the attractive die cut mylar shaped like a woman’s bust with a third eye that makes it the complete package. And so as not to go too over the top on the celebrity angle, the only mention of Gunn comes from the scorpion pattern utilized in the bottom gusset. Honestly, it’s hard to knock.

GT Rolling

Courtesy of GT Rolling

I’ve talked a lot about professional rollers lately, but something about what GT is doing is taking the experience to the next level. As I always mention, the flower is the most important part of the pre-roll, and every roll I’ve seen from GT smokes like it was just finished curing. Even better, they’ve got some of the most creative ways of promoting their products on Instagram. Hailing from the Mitten, ALL the flavor and terps you’d expect from any strain these guys are working with will be as vibrant as you’d expect had you rolled it yourself. Even better – while I prefer flower cannons over hash holes, his other brand, FlintStoned, can satisfy those needs for you as well! If you’re in Michigan tap in with the boys!

Bonus: These Crazy Skittles

Courtesy of Trap Mart

So y’all know I like exotics, especially of the soda and candy variety, and boy have I got a killer for you this time. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what they’re called because it’s written in another language, but I am happy to describe them to you. Have you had the Skittles Cloudz yet? They’re like a cross between a marshmallow and a gummy, and frankly they’re excellent on their own. However, whatever these new guys are take things up a notch. While the Cloudz are more marshmallow than gummy, these new jawns flip the script and honestly, it’s a way better format. Cards on the table I bought them because they had a lil sticker in the corner that had a cherry on it with some writing I couldn’t understand. I still don’t know what it means bc I didn’t taste any cherry flavors, but would 1000% buy again.

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Cannabis as a Treatment for COVID-19

Researchers at Oregon State University continue exploring whether cannabis is an effective treatment for COVID-19. This is the same group that released a study finding cannabinoids could prevent infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Richard van Breemen, an Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center researcher, said that natural products like cannabis aren’t major research priorities for large pharmaceutical companies or federal drug research. Van Breeman and his team are sharing their findings at Oregon State’s Science Pub event. Their presentation, titled […]

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Twitter Files & Cannabis

Full disclosure: there is no cannabis censorship in the Twitter Files. For all its problems, Twitter has been good on the weed file compared to tech companies like Facebook or Instagram. But there are lessons here for cannabis connoisseurs in the Twitter Files. But first, what are the Twitter Files? Twitter Interfered with the 2020 Election  On Friday, December 2nd, Elon Musk tweeted, “This will be awesome,” referencing an info dump about to happen. Since taking over the company, Musk […]

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New Trend of Vape Sensors in Hotels

At MJBizCon this year, we got to see what the biggest trends were, from growing equipment, to rolling papers, to vapes, to branding. But one big trend wasn’t actually showcased at the convention, (though some going to it were subjected to it). The new trend of smoke and vape sensors in hotels, which require a sign off by the guest. Here’s what you need to know.

Ew, I can smell your smoke!

Smoke detectors in hotels are hardly new, and nor are the charges that guests must pay when those detectors pick up unwanted smoke. If you’re in a non-smoking room, you can pretty much expect that if the hotel has its stuff together, that you’re going to pay out for breaking the rules. Sure, some probably use the detectors as a way to dissuade people from smoking, while not performing the upkeep to make them actually useful, but many will use their ability to collect fines for illegal smoking.


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The main reason given, is that it disrupts other guests, and this does hold some value. It’s not fun to pay out for a hotel room and not be able to get away from the cigarette smoke from the room next door. If a hotel is offering guests a smoke-free stay, then the quality of air matters if they want to be reviewed well. Smoke gets everywhere. It doesn’t like to stay in the room where it originates, and so all of this really does make sense.

Plus, for a hotel, it’s an easy and valid way to make some extra cash. All they have to do is lay out the rules, and all you have to do is break them for the hotel to collect. While it sounds like it shouldn’t be an issue, since smokers can simply take smoking rooms, this isn’t always how it works out. Sometimes available smoking rooms are full in a hotel, or priced outside of a budget. Sometimes a person doesn’t intend to smoke, but changes their mind, or has a guest over who lights up. There are tons of scenarios by which a person likely to smoke, ends up in a non-smoking room.

Smoke and vape sensors

And realistically, the extra charges make sense. Not only is someone else’s cigarette smoke a nuisance, but it’s also a health concern. Beyond the general dangers of secondhand smoke, which many non-smokers would prefer not to be subjected to, there are tons of issues, from asthma to bronchitis to cancer that require no smoke be around. People often complain about baseless things, but in my opinion, dealing with the detriments of someone else’ bad habit, in a paid-for place like a hotel, shouldn’t have to happen, and these rules are on the up and up.

Hey, I can smell your vapor too?

But vaping? While I’ve heard complaints over being bothered by smoke, and even had them myself, I’ve yet to hear someone complaining about the vapor from the room next door. In fact, that’s one of the benefits of vaping, it doesn’t produce a smoke. Sure, it doesn’t mean someone not vaping wants to smell the often sickly sweet chemically smell of a vape, but I have yet to hear of it being bothersome enough in a place like a hotel, for anyone to complain.

It also, whether mildly irritating when blown directly in the face, or not, doesn’t come with the same health detractions. I’m not saying that the chemicals making up that sickly sweet smell are good for anyone – they’re probably not, but they also haven’t been fingered with provoking the same damage as smoke, in either the vaper, or the secondhand vaper. Mildly irritating or not, it doesn’t come with that death toll, making it not as much of an actual medical issue.

It also doesn’t get into furniture, or make your hands and hair smell. And it doesn’t burn holes in anything or require fire. I get why hotels don’t want smoking in non-smoking rooms. Beyond it bothering paying customers, it can cause damage to property as well, and make for hard-to-get-rid-of smoke odors. None of this applies to vaping, and a hotel would be hard-pressed to know if a vaper just left a room.

For a place like a hotel, vaping is a clearly better option than smoking. It means less issues with unapproving guests, and less damage to property. Yet in a new play to charge even more fines, hotels are now using special vape sensors that pick up not just cigarette smoke, but according to the hotels, vape vaper as well. And they’re making guests sign off on having these smoke and vape sensors in the rooms.

My experience

I’ve stayed in plenty of non-smoking rooms with smoke detectors in my life. Not until my most recent trip to Vegas did I stay in a place with vape senors as well, and which made me sign off on having these sensors in the room. The sensors that the hotel I stayed at are from the company Noise Aware, and according to the statement by the hotel via my email confirmation:

Hotel policy
Hotel policy

“Smoking tobacco, pipes, vapes, e-cigarets is strictly prohibited in nonsmoking rooms. State law prohibits use of marijuana on property.” And that, “NoiseAware is a smart device that allows hotel management to respond to smoking events without disrupting your stay. You hereby agree and consent to the use of such sensor in your room and acknowledge and agree that it is 100% privacy compliant and required by the hotel.”

So automatically, the hotel is lumping in vaping with smoking, but more questionably, its using state law as a backing, when in reality, Nevada is a weed legal state. The hotel doesn’t have to ban it by law. So long as the cannabis is not smoked in public, it shouldn’t legally be an issue in a non-governmental building, which the hotel certainly is. All that logic aside, what I had to sign, said that “By acknowledging the foregoing, you agree to waive any future claims related to the presence of the sensor in a room you may book. Tampering with the sensor is strictly prohibited.”

Not only did this show up in my email, but I signed a sheet upon check-in with a $250 fine attached, and had a card in my room to remind me of this the entire time. I cannot speak to how useful the vape senors are for their stated purpose. I was lucky enough to have a Cannabolish spray from the convention, which I used when vaping in my room, and I was never charged a fee.

While I cannot say whether this is because the product worked well, or the vape sensors are not as awesome as described, I can say that I wasn’t charged anything extra by the hotel. I should also mention that one night I had guests in the room, where blunts were smoked, with just the Cannabolish spray for cover. Perhaps this is really just a ringing endorsement of the Cannabolish product.

What are these sensors?

So, what are these newfangled smoke and vape sensors? And are they really that great that they can pick up vape smoke? A look at NoiseAware’s site, and smoking isn’t a part of it at all. It’s quite possible that the same company did provide the hotel some kind of smoking/vaping sensor, but if so, it doesn’t have information for this product or service on its site. The product seems generally geared toward making sure there isn’t overcrowding or partying in rooms.

However, a wider look on the internet at large shows there is absolutely a market for products making the claim of picking up vape vaper. One company, Halo, says it “provides both a real-time Air Quality and Health Index that sends alerts when either index falls into danger zones.” In fact, it claims to pick up “Marijuana (THC) • Vape • Masking.” It claims to do so by “monitoring Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Particulate concentrations, Humidity, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the air.”

Vape in hotel room
Vape in hotel room

Another company, Forensic Detectors, claims to have the best vape-detection technology, and that a “PM2.5 detector is an excellent low cost detector in an indoor environment to confirm if vapers or e-cigarettes were used.” It continue that “A sensitive PM2.5 detector can be considered a vaping, vaper, or e-cigarette detector. PM2.5 detectors can be used by hotel staff, landlords, or even for property inspections to confirm vaping or e-cigarette use.”

Under its pros, the company lists, “1) Vape and e-cigarette vapor detectors (PM2.5) are relatively low cost, 2) Many detectors that are able to detect the use of e-cigarettes or vaping can also detect the presence of cannabis and weed smoke, and 3) PM2.5 detectors can help landlords and hotel owners solve problems associated with vaping and e-cigarette use.” However in cons, it goes onto say that “Limited product options exists to detect vaping and e-cigarette vapor”, which is odd considering how many options there are online. Unless it means to say that most (or all) don’t actually do this.

Conclusion

The jury is out on whether these new age smoke and vape detectors in hotels can actually pick up vape vapor with their sensors. But it is a growing trend to use them, and for anyone who isn’t sure of their accuracy, and doesn’t want to pay a fine… best to get the smoking room. Or just go outside if you’re unsure. As nearly all info out on these technologies comes directly from the companies, it’s hard to know the quality of what they’re peddling. My guess? They probably don’t work that well, though I expect this technology will improve with time.

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MJBizCon: Still No THC, Still Alcohol Sales

The biggest cannabis business convention happened in November, and it gave us some great insights into the current trends in the world of weed. It also emphasized where there is still some funky discombobulation in cannabis laws. Once again at 2022’s MJBizcon, there was still no THC on the floor, while alcohol was still openly sold.

Why it matters – reason #1 – it’s literally a convention for weed

There are three main reasons why it matters that MJBizCon didn’t allow THC, but did allow alcohol. The first is basic logic. What’s the point of going to a convention, where you can’t sample real products? And therefore, what’s the point of being an exhibitor, if you can’t really get consumers, or potential business partners, to really know what you’re making. This doesn’t apply to every company, or every part of the industry, but it applies to many.

This is a business convention that revolves around making consumer products in some form, and as a business that revolves around THC, not having that main ingredient, means making it difficult for a lot of companies.


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Can you imagine going to a wine festival, or a whiskey festival, or a cheese festival, and being told that you couldn’t try any of the respective products. Imagine a wine festival with fake wine, or a cheese festival where you could eat the product, but without that specific ingredient. Whether you’re a consumer, or looking to make business connections, not getting a good idea of a product, stymies the entire process.

Functionally, as a convention about weed, in a state where weed is legal for recreational use, it becomes absurd that actual weed products, couldn’t be sampled or sold. As in, the entire purpose for many people to be there, was hindered by not getting a good idea of what the specific offering was. And that also meant ruling out a lot of companies from even showing, as not being able to preview their actual products, would make attending such a convention unnecessary.

Plenty of what was there didn’t technically need weed. Apparatus for mass growing or packaging, branding companies, insurance… But even those selling rolling papers or vapes had no way for their specific products to be tested, and therefore separated in any way from everything on either side. Realistically, when having a convention for something, its best to have that something there. In places without legalization measures its more understandable when this doesn’t happen, but in Las Vegas…?

Cannabis convention with no THC

Why it matters – reason #2 – it means weed is treated as more dangerous than alcohol

Maybe the bigger reason it matters that MJBizCon said no to THC, and yes to alcohol, is simply in the comparison it makes to a much more dangerous drug; which was openly sold and used, when weed products couldn’t be. Yup, I’m talking about alcohol. According to the CDC, in the US alone, alcohol kills about 140,000 people a year, while also being said to take as many as 26 years off a person’s life. While most of these deaths are not direct, they still make alcohol the #2 death-toll drug behind smoking.

Considering there is no death toll associated with cannabis, its odd that cannabis regulation often makes it harder to get to, than it is to get to the much more deadly alcohol. While real cannabis (and anything related to THC) was not allowed on the floor of MJBizCon, alcohol was openly sold and drank, sometimes right next to stalls where cannabis products were swapped out for fake plant material.

And while so much of the business industry focused on packaging (specifically child-proof packaging), a can or bottle of beer is still just as easy to open as a can of soda, and high proof alcohol requires nothing more than twisting a cap.

If you didn’t know better, and you saw this scene, you’d probably think cannabis actually is dangerous. And certainly way more dangerous than alcohol. In a scenario like this, without knowing more, it would appear that cannabis proposes incredible danger, while alcohol does not. Let’s remember, no one lives at that convention center, and everyone had to drive in if they didn’t get a ride, meaning plenty of people having drinks and driving back out. Seems like the convention organizers, and the state in general, were fine with that, but not with a person smoking a joint.

No THC, yes alcohol
No THC, yes alcohol

Why it matters – reason #3 – it means inconsistency and misunderstanding in cannabis regulation

Let’s be honest, I complained about this last year. This problem has existed for as long as the legal weed industry has been around. And pretty much every place with a legalization, follows these same crazy guidelines, wherein cannabis use must follow weirdly strict regulation, whereas alcohol, doesn’t. From where its sold, to who can use it, to where its legal to use. All these favor alcohol consumption over cannabis consumption, yet alcohol has only medical detractions, while cannabis is also used as a medicine.

That’s right, it’s not just that its consistently shown to be way less dangerous than alcohol for recreational use (like, not even in the same category), but it also helms a massive and growing world of medical use. People depend on it to live. We have study after study talking of the benefits for both medical issues, and general health, and yet its still easier to buy and use alcohol.

How long does it take for logic to set in? Why haven’t these laws been updated at all in a place like Nevada that has recreational use? And for that matter, how is it still federally illegal, while alcohol is one of the most ubiquitous drugs around? How can we ever expect this industry to function better, when we can’t even get regulators to regulate the industry honestly? It’s been years since many states passed measures, yet this inconsistency in regulation, never seems to go away. And when the biggest business convention, MJBizCon, says no to THC, while allowing alcohol, we know there really is a problem.

Why it REALLY matters at MJBizCon

This harks back to the first reason, but its an incredibly important point to make. MJBizCon is for the promotion of the weed industry, and all the businesses therein. It’s not a school, or a playground, or a bingo game. It’s a convention set up by industry insiders to help empower those in the industry by setting up a way for them to make new connections, and learn more about the industry.

In that sense, MJBizCon comes to represent the industry. And it’s not put on by parent groups, or teachers, or politicians. It’s put on by a weed-centered publication, and weed-centered businesses. Which makes me wonder how these proponents of weed, are okay with having this scenario. Why didn’t it come up as a major point of conversation?

Why didn’t we all sign a petition to get things to change? Why are we so complacent with having logic ignored in the face of nonsensical federal law? Am I the only person it occurs to that this inconsistency, when not focused on and fixed, just leads to more future inconsistencies?

Inconsistent cannabis regulation
Inconsistent cannabis regulation

It’s important for those within the industry, to stand up for it appropriately. That this issue has never been brought up at the convention, is sad to me. That there seems to still be a misunderstanding about these dangers in government regulation and statements, is sad to me. It means organizers are more interested in making a buck off alcohol sales, than working to make sure the public at their events is understanding of the regulation issue.

As long as nonsensical laws aren’t challenged, it means they’ll just continue on. Weed prices might have gone down in some places despite ridiculously high taxes, but that has more to do with overproduction driving down prices, than a realization that such heavy taxation, particularly sin taxes, make the industry less appealing than the black market. In the case of alcohol vs weed, we already have plenty showing us the danger of one, and the benefits of the other, yet the lack of consistent regulation, is constantly ignored, even though it too, hurts the industry.

Conclusion

MJBizCon was a great time, but it still represents through its barring of THC and allowance of alcohol sales, that the weed industry is very unevenly regulated, especially compared to the alcohol industry. Will this ever change in the future? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Hemp Wraps Are NOT Blunts

Brands, stop lying to cannabis consumers.

Adam: As a cannabis consumer for over two decades I’ve seen many marketing ploys to attract customers to buy products. From catchy trendy names to fancy colorful packaging, I’ve seen it all. But what really irks me are the liars. Lying to a customer for a buck is the lowest of lows. Which brings me to the pre-roll section of your favorite shop. Hemp Wraps are NOT Blunts.

Jon: For those uninformed, Blunts are a consumer favorite way to smoke. It’s basically a big joint wrapped in a tobacco leaf – be it a Dutch Master, Backwood, Brothers Broadleaf, or Grabba. Not only does tobacco provide an additional head high (especially to those not usually smoking tobacco), but blunts are typically much bigger than your average joint. For a heavy consumer it’s become a preference, and they’re great for group smoking.

A: I’m not sure if people still use a dictionary or know what one is. A dictionary is a book of reference that we used to use to look up the definition of a word. What words mean. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of a blunt is: “a hollowed-out cigar filled with marijuana.” A cigar is, according to the dictionary: “a small roll of tobacco leaf for smoking.” Where is hemp in all of this? Exactly. Hemp wraps are not blunts. Hemp wraps are hemp wraps. You don’t call joints blunts and you don’t call blunts joints. So why do they call hemp wraps blunts? Buzzwords. People are attracted to trending terms.

J: To be fair, hemp wraps are filling a need on the rec market because due to hasty legislation tobacco can not be paired with cannabis in the legal retail environment. That’s right, they legalized while directly writing out a subset of the market. Seems like a common story with the rush to rec. So while it’s a buzzword, it’s also because those brands can’t legally sell blunts in stores. The trap though…

A: Still, Using buzzwords to attract the pre-educated is not right. And the negative stigma blunt smokers get is appalling. From being ridiculed at seshes, getting told that it’s “unhealthy smoke” to “you are wasting weed rolling it in a blunt.” Throughout history and in most cultures cannabis gets mixed with tobacco and/or herbs. Amsterdam coffee shops offer you a free blend of herbs to mix with cannabis. You can smell the spliffs in the air in Barcelona coffee shops, the Middle East mixes it with hash. USA seems to be the only country that frowns on mixing cannabis with other plants. 

J: I think it’s deeper than just cannabis with that though. We know tobacco kills people. I think that’s probably why they wrote the legislation that way. But it does ignore age-old habits. Europeans would never allow this, but the powers that be probably think they’re both protecting consumers and the activists don’t want to be associated with big tobacco – understandably.

A: So why use the term blunt for a “healthier” option? Hemp wrap companies and pre-roll brands need to recognize that they have been lying this whole time and are selling HEMP wraps and not blunts. Here’s an idea, hemp Joints.

J: I don’t know that we can call them joints either though. It’s trying to be a cigar. It’s bigger than your typical joint. Maybe a hemp cannon?

A: According to the dictionary, it defines a joint as “a marijuana cigarette.” Obviously the term marijuana cigarette won’t be accepted by the community even though cigarettes are defined as “a slender roll of cut tobacco enclosed in paper and meant to be smoked; also: a similar roll of another substance (such as marijuana).”

I understand certain words are more appealing than others in terms of marketing and selling but is it right to lie to a consumer and change the definition of what a word means? 

J: While that’s kind of arguing semantics, I do see what you’re saying. Rec consumers are looking to fill the gap left by the tobacco ban in the rec market; they’re just a little overzealous right now. They’re discounting the ‘why’ of blunts to fill the markets needs, but as with the rest of the industry there’s still plenty of room for improvement!

A: As a proud blunt smoker who enjoys the mixing of the masculine energy of the tobacco plant with the feminine energy of the cannabis plant, I do not appreciate culture vultures and other brands using the term blunt for there midsy-ass pre-rolls. 

J: You’re on the money there. I’d go so far as to say MOST of the available pre-rolls on the market aren’t coming close to providing the optimal experience – this is a lot of times just creating a bigger mess with excess cuttings they’re desperate to monetize.

A: All I’m saying is the next time someone offers you a hit of a blunt make sure it’s a tobacco blunt and if it’s not, kindly correct them and let them know it’s a hemp wrap. They’re not smoking what they think they are. Let’s start spreading correct information and using the proper terms for our community.

J: As with much of the industry – using misnomers isn’t helping any of us. Being accurate in your claims will lead to a healthier and happier industry for us all!

The post Hemp Wraps Are NOT Blunts appeared first on High Times.

The Detriments of Long-Term Opioid Use

We hear about opioid overdose deaths everyday in the US, but there’s a whole other downside to remember: the effects of long-term opioid use on health in general. So aside from falling down dead from overloading the system, here are some other things that can be expected if you’re popping these pills for years at a time.

Well, what about that overdose risk?

Obviously, ancillary medical problems are an issue, but what we hear about most are not the long-term effects of opioid use, but of the more immediate overdose issue. How much of an issue is this? Well pretty big, and growing at an incredibly fast rate. In fact, that’s part of the general scariness of this issue, not that it exists, but that it seems to grow massively at every juncture.

The last numbers put out on the issue came from preliminary data released by the CDC for 2021. According to this data, there were approximately 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021, up from 93,000 in 2020, and 71,000 in 2019. These numbers account for all overdose deaths from illicit drugs, but we know opioids make up the lion’s share of them. Though we don’t have a more specific breakdown for 2021, we know that of the 93,000 of 2020, that about 68,000 were related to opioids. And that of 2019 numbers, about 48,000 of the deaths came from synthetic opioids. For comparison, that year, there were less than 15,000 heroin overdoses.

This problem has gotten so out of hand, that states like New York and Rhode Island are already instituting safe-use site measures to give those in need, a safe place to use their drugs. Along with testing to ensure no fentanyl, emergency services, and other social services.


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It’s even got to the point that some places, like British Columbia, in Canada, are working to decriminalize all drugs, just to make it easier for people using opioids, to do what they have to without further punishment. Whether these are actually measures to help people, though, is questionable, as they mainly seek to promote the general problem, rather than finding ways to fix it.

If you want to know how ubiquitous needle disposal apparatus is in America, consider that at this year’s MJBizCon, which took place in the Convention Center of Las Vegas, there were needle depositories in the women’s bathroom. Apparently it’s expected that literally anywhere, someone may need to get rid of needles.

Damage from long-term opioid use: colon

Maybe you started on opioids the way many people do, to deal with a pain issue. And maybe you’re one of those people that loves the way the drugs feel. It almost doesn’t matter why a person started if they’re going to take them for years of time. Maybe you’re one of those people who takes them in a controlled enough way that you don’t have to worry about overdosing on them. Well, hate to break it to you, but these are hardcore medications that your body doesn’t expect to deal with, and they come with a myriad of long-term health issues, which vary by user.

One of the big problems, is issues in the gut. Opioids decrease general activity in the guts, which is why another one of their uses is for diarrhea. It essentially works to control it, and in doing so, can create constipation instead. This effect of creating constipation isn’t acclimated to, and in fact, tends to get worse over time. Meaning long-term opioid users can develop different issues related to their guts and colon.

Take Matthew Perry, for example, who we all know as Chandler from the long-running Friends. Throughout his professional life we’ve heard different stories of his issues with drugs, but perhaps the most daunting came recently from an autobiography he put out. In it, he details how his colon burst as a result of opioid activity in the guts. In his case, the incident led to a two-week coma, and nine-months with a colostomy bag. For anyone unfamiliar with the latter term, it’s a bag worn outside the body, which is hooked up directly to the body, and which collects the feces, as they can no longer go through the damaged colon. Sound like a fun way to conduct your social life?

This happens due to the colon stretching out of shape, which it can’t always heal from. If a person already has a bowel issue, opioids can make it worse, even causing perforations, which is apparently how Perry ended up in the situation he did. What happened to Perry might be one of the rarer cases, but with increased use of these medications, rare cases become more of a norm.

Damage from long-term opioid use: blood-oxygen levels and endocrine system

Many aspects of opioids are acclimated to with regular use. This unfortunately can include the effects on pain and sedation, but doesn’t include the effects on breathing. Opioid are known for depressing the respiratory center of the brain, the part that controls breathing. If enough is taken, a person can stop breathing, and this is how many people overdose.

However, even if a person doesn’t die, this can also lead to lowered blood-oxygen levels. This happens a lot when doses are increased, which becomes standard for these medications since other effects, like pain-relieving effects, are acclimated to, leading to a need for more to get the same relief. As large increases are often experienced in a short period of time, this creates a problem with users having low blood-oxygen levels.

Opioid long-term effect on colon

And then there are the effects on testosterone. Called hypogonadism, this applies to both men and women with extended use of the medications, and means a fall in testosterone levels. As these issues become more evident through time and increased overall use of the medications, this issue has presented itself, but with little known as to how reversible the effects are.

What has been noticed as well, are symptoms like amenorrhea in women, reduced desire for sex, as well as infertility (in both sexes), and erectile dysfunction in men.

Damage from long-term opioid use: the brain and other issues

Let’s be honest for a second, the reason people often get addicted to opioids, is because they’re affecting the brain, and bringing on feelings of euphoria. Anytime something is taken repeatedly that can impact the brain, there’s a question of what it’s doing long-term. In the case of these meds, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that long-term opioid use can cause changes in behavior and cognition, though much is reversible.

In the short term it does get in the way of the ability for concentration, as well as affecting abstract thinking. Not only that, use of the drug can lead to a diminished experience of pleasure, and can cause people to lose interest in activities that used to make them happy.

Effects of long-term opioid use
Effects of long-term opioid use

Another thing often seen, related to the sedation and disorientation effects of the drugs, is simply that people are more likely to hurt themselves. This is seen mainly though falls where bones are fractured or broken. It applies most to the elderly, and is similar to another class of drugs, benzodiazepines, which also cause sedation and disorientation.

Opioids have also shown to have an effect on the immune system and immunity. The immunomodulating effects of the drug, seen in both human and animal studies, effect immune effector cells, as well as the central nervous system, in the form of immunosuppression. This means the immune system is being suppressed, and won’t work as well. In animal studies specifically, opioids have shown to effect antimicrobial response and anti-tumor surveillance in the body.

Just to finish it all off, long-term opioid use can actually do something paradoxical, it can create a greater sensitivity to pain, which, when you think about it, is really not helpful considering their main purpose is in pain suppression. This phenomenon, called hyperalgesia, is generally only seen when there is no tolerance built to the analgesic effects of the meds. This pain doesn’t relate to the original pain suffered, and is generally less-well defined from the original pain issue. No matter how you look at it though, a pain medication that goes on to cause new forms of pain, is certainly not ideal.

Conclusion

Opioids cause much damage, both in the overdose deaths they promote, as well as the long-term issues that come from extended use. More and more, it should be asked why other, less dangerous drugs like ketamine, aren’t immediately being substituted to help ease this growing opioid issue.

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Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis in the latest video, “Everything Feels Broken.” In the five-minute video, Poilievre uses a Vancouver tent city as his backdrop to make a case for the drug war. For a decade, British Columbia (among other Canadian cities) has provided a clean, safe supply of drugs for the addicted. He calls it a “failed experiment” brought in by “woke Liberal and NDP governments,” before saying he’ll end this policy and instead put […]

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My Personal Ketamine Experience: Part 1 – The First Infusion

Ketamine might be all the rage these days when it comes to treating psychological issues, but the reality of these treatments is not often written about, and personal experiences are hard to find. Mostly you’ll just find promotional articles and a few studies. Of course, realities don’t always meet the hype, and perhaps one of the biggest lessons to learn about ketamine therapy, is that it will not work for everyone, and results can vary. It’s important for prospective patients to understand the different possibilities when going in for treatment. This article is my own highly personal experience of my first ketamine infusion.

First off, a little about me

One of the hardest things to do in life is be open about a psychological issue, and its probably for this reason that personal accounts of ketamine therapy are few and far between. Not many people want to actually talk about what drove them to seek treatment in the first place. And while I often consider myself a private person, I think there are times when it’s good to open up for the good of others and public knowledge in general. And for that reason I will tell you a little about me. At least enough to know how I ended up in a ketamine clinic.

I am a child of psychological and physical abuse, as many of us are. My problems are not hard to come by in the general public, and there are plenty of people that can relate. I grew up in a very tense environment, which led to an array of anxiety-related issues, the biggest one regarding my ability to sleep. I am considered an intractable insomniac. I do not respond to regular medications. This can be expanded to anxiety as a whole, though the largest issue I deal with on a consistent basis, is the ability for sleep. As ketamine is looked into for insomnia issues, it is indeed a reason for prescription, along with the underlying anxiety issues that cause it.

You will see different words used to explain this concept of non-response to treatments. ‘Treatment-resistant’ is the most well understood, but you will also see it as ‘intractable’ or ‘refractory.’ All of these words when used with a diagnosis next to them, mean ‘it ain’t responding to anything.’ This is far more common than many realize. Sometimes it’s hard to know that because these aren’t pleasant subjects to speak about, and many people won’t.


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A large part of the ketamine industry is based around the idea that it can possibly help those, that aren’t helped by other treatments or medications. However, it’s also available simply as an alternate treatment for those who don’t like conventional medications. I fit into both categories. I’ve been through the ringer enough in life to know I am unresponsive, but I’m also not a huge fan of the conventional pills that get doled out. I prefer alternative therapies that don’t involve standard medications.

A last point to make about my situation, is that I did not go to a clinic in America, I went to a doctor in Mexico. I am told he is one of only 15 in the country that currently provides this treatment, so its not the set-up industry it now is in the States. However, the doctor I found has been providing such treatments for two years, mostly for pain, but for other issues like mine as well.

The infusion, and the basics of what to expect

I cannot say how this goes in a clinic specifically geared toward these treatments. I can only give my experience of going to a psychiatrist where I am, who provides the treatment. There is less protocol available, and it was my decision originally to undergo an initial six treatments, as it tends to be done in the more set-up industry in America. I was provided very little information on what to expect, or the possible outcomes.

There are different ways to receive ketamine treatment. It can be injected into a muscle (IM), given as a nasal spray (esketamine), provided as a sublingual tab, given as a pill, or the original way, by infusion (IV). I did the infusion. That means I had an IV hooked up to my arm for somewhere between 45 minutes and one hour. For people that don’t like IVs or needles in general, this is probably not the best option, and the other forms of ingestion might be more desirable. This was the only mode of delivery offered to me.

It is administered by weight, but this is less precise than many articles make it sound, or at least it was in my situation. I gave my approximate weight, and an anesthesiologist, whose job it is to be able to eyeball such things, set the dosage for my weight. In my case, I wasn’t actually weighed. I was okay with this, but if you feel better with more precise measurements, make them weigh you. I was given standard racemic ketamine. That just means it was regular ketamine, and not esketamine or arketamine, which make up the two halves of the molecule.

I sat on a couch in a semi-comfortable office with no outside view. A private office within a bigger hospital. I had an IV stuck in my left hand. As my veins are a little narrow, this meant a bruised hand for the next several days. My second treatment was done in my arm for this reason. The doctor asked my music preferences, I said classical was fine, and classical music was put on.

First infusion – my experience

I cannot say the exact dose I was given, but I can say how it felt. I can also say that because I had anxiety over an IV infusion (never had anything like this before), I was given a small amount of xanax beforehand. There is debate in the ketamine therapy world as to whether benzodiazepines can hinder the experience, and honestly, I can’t answer that, and neither can my doctor. I can only say I did have a small amount in my system because of the fear of being hooked up to an IV. Those like me who haven’t undergone many (or any) medical treatments in life might understand the anxiety.

I didn’t spin out, or hallucinate wildly. The idea of ketamine treatment is to use sub-anesthetic doses. As in, you won’t end up in a ‘k-hole‘. I had an experience less often written about. The ketamine produced an anxiety in me, referred to online as ‘ketamine-induced anxiety.’ The issue with new industries is that they get hyped by only the success stories, and the realities of all the possibilities are often left out.

My doctor never mentioned this term, and I had to look into it myself. This is a negative perhaps of going to a doctor in a less set-up industry, where less background information is made available. When it comes to ketamine treatments, non-responders, or negative-responders are actually a large group, and this makes sense. Barely anything in life works for everyone, as we are all so physiologically different. My response is therefore not uncommon, though it isn’t often spoken of yet, probably because it’s not the desired outcome. But, again, its still common, and that makes it important to know about for anyone seeking treatment.

It wasn’t all-out bad though. I certainly felt spacey, and sort of out-there, though I did not hallucinate, or lose track of reality. As an example of my body’s desire to fend off treatments, I actually felt it in waves, which is the opposite of how it should feel when hooked up to an IV. The doctor did what isn’t often done in these treatments (and is more well known for psychedelic treatments) and talked me through it, partly to keep my mind off the anxiety. We went over childhood issues, and patterns of response. He gave me some interesting insights.

When the infusion was over I calmed down partially when the IV was taken out, indicating this method of ingestion is probably not the right one for me. As I calmed down in the following 20 minutes or so, a sick, nauseous feeling crept in. Ketamine is known for this, it doesn’t seem to mean anything in terms of whether the treatment will work, and is a side effect of the medication.

For the next 24 hours or so, I can honestly say I didn’t care about a lot of the things that had been troubling me. I was able to put things on hold that I had not been able to before. I didn’t have a desire to check my phone, or a need to get back to people urgently. It was actually a good feeling, though it was undermined a bit by the sick feeling that persisted, and a general heaviness.

Ketamine first infusion

Truth is, this is common too, and can go on even into the next day, as it did for me. Also something not explained by my doctor. The following day it was more a tired feeling, and the good effects wore off throughout the day. While I was able to get more sleep the first night, that was the only night this was true of that first treatment.

I cannot say I felt a response past that point, but this is also common of ketamine treatments. It’s sometimes described online as planting a flower and tending to it over several sessions, without expecting full results right away. So, I was optimistic. I did feel something temporarily, it really did feel like a possible start. I scheduled my second infusion for four days later.

Conclusion

This article relates to my own personal experience with ketamine treatments. It is not generalizable to the entire population, and is meant to help those looking into this treatment, to know some of the possible things to expect. Everyone that tries treatment will have their own experience. Some will not sound like mine. Read the next installment to find out more about my second infusion.

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