Friday, May 15, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, May 15, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// California governor delays proposed cannabis regulatory changes (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Industry Group Asks Seven Governors To Legalize Marijuana To Aid Coronavirus Economic Recovery (Marijuana Moment)

// BREAKING: California Cannabis Agencies Announce License Fee Deferral (Canna Law Blog)


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// Portland Activists Will Pursue Psychedelics Decriminalization Through City Council Rather Than Ballot (Marijuana Moment)

// GTI Becomes the First American Cannabis Operator to Exceed $100 Million Quarterly Revenue (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Aurora Cannabis Net Revenue Increases 35% Sequentially to $75.5 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Columbia Care Q1 Revenue Doubles to $26 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Charlotte’s Web Beats Revenue Estimates, Misses On Earnings (Green Market Report)

// Colorado’s Pot Industry Is Expected to Take a Big Plunge, Thanks to COVID-19 (Merry Jane)

// Native Roots Adding Two Dispensaries in Denver (Denver Westword)


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Thursday, April 30, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, April 30, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Kansas Governor Says Medical Marijuana Still On The Table In 2020 Despite Coronavirus (Marijuana Moment)

// Cannabis producer Canopy Growth lays off 200 amid restructuring (Market Watch)

// Cannabis regulator Kay Doyle jumps to pharma (Commonwealth Magazine)


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// Michigan wholesale medical marijuana prices fall on flood of caregiver product (Marijuana Business Daily)

// CBD Claims: Federal Enforcement Actions Are No Longer Limited to Warning Letters (Canna Law Blog)

// Denver cannabis advisory group to examine social equity diversity issues (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ontario leads Canada with 96% deficiency in cannabis stores researcher estimates (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New medical marijuana drive-through is first in Maryland (Washington Post)

// Infused Beverages Market Expected to Hit $2.8 Billion by 2025 Analysts Say (Merry Jane)

// Dr. Bronner’s Wants Psilocybin Mushroom Therapy Available ‘as Soon as Possible’ (Merry Jane)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Oregon Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Sweeping Weedmaps subpoena underscores US government’s continued scrutiny of marijuana industry (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cresco Labs nixes $282.5 million acquisition of marijuana firm Tryke (Marijuana Business Daily)

// California Marijuana Notebook: Despite media reports, it’s not ‘boom times’ for everyone in state’s cannabis industry (Marijuana Business Daily)


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// Oregon Therapeutic Psilocybin Legalization Campaign Has A New Signature Strategy Amid Coronavirus (Marijuana Moment)

// Canadian bank slashes cannabis sales forecast to CA$2.5 billion for 2020 (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Top Montana Officials Oppose Marijuana Campaign’s Lawsuit For Electronic Signature Gathering (Marijuana Moment)

// Marijuana firm iAnthus’ CEO steps down after investigation into undisclosed personal loans (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Civil Rights And Racial Justice Groups Ask Congress To Let Marijuana Industry Access COVID Funds (Marijuana Moment)

// New Mexico Governor Says Legal Marijuana Revenue Could Have Offset Coronavirus’s Economic Hit (Marijuana Moment)

// Cresco Labs Weed Workers Push To Unionize: It’s ‘Physically Impossible’ To Social Distance In Shops, Budtenders Say (Block Club Chicago)


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Thursday, April 23, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Hemp Industry Secures Federal Coronavirus Relief For Farmers In Senate-Passed Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Arkansas Patients Bought Over $63 Million of Medical Pot in Less Than a Year (Merry Jane)

// The coronavirus shutdown got her furloughed from her restaurant job. She landed at a marijuana company. (Chicago Tribune)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Coping with COVID-19: Adults turn to alcohol marijuana (University of Michigan News)

// Survey: Pot Is Safer Than Booze, But Avoided Due To Social Stigma (Benzinga)

// Easyriders Magazine Seals $30 Million Deal to Sell Bud to Bikers (Merry Jane)

// Senators Want Marijuana Businesses To Qualify For Federal Coronavirus Relief Programs (Marijuana Moment)

// California Psilocybin Mushroom Legalization Campaign Ends After Signature Deadline Passes (Marijuana Moment)

// New DC Poll Shows Support For Mushroom Decriminalization (Green Market Report)

// Marijuana lobbyists focus on next big coronavirus-aid package after doling out $5 million-plus in 2019 (Marijuana Business Daily)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Oregon State University/Flickr

Plant Power – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

Once again, we turn to
nature to heal the ailments we struggle with. This time, we’re taking a look at
magic mushrooms, or rather, their active ingredient – psilocybin.

Psilocybin is a classic hallucinogenic compound produced by over 100 species of mushrooms across the world. It has a strong effect on serotonin receptors in the brain, including some in the cerebral cortex and thalamus regions.

Although mushroom use – casually referred to as “shrooming” – is commonly associated with hippies, artists and others that tend to live a more alternative lifestyle, their consumption actually dates back thousands of years. Historically, they’ve been used as an aid in religious ceremonies and are still considered a gateway to some very profound spiritual experiences.

Psilocybin mushrooms also have some powerful therapeutic benefits, and have been decriminalized in a few areas of the world as researchers dive into their potential to treat numerous disorders. Areas of interest include conditions like mood disorders, anxiety, OCD, and addiction.

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What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is the main psychedelic
compound in mushrooms and truffles. It’s a basic tryptamine hallucinogen, with
properties similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline, although the
chemic structure is different. Research shows a common mechanism of action
through serotonergic (5-HT) pathways. Psilocybin is a strong agonist at 5-HTreceptors
which are located within the thalamus and cortex of the brain

The onset of hallucinogenic
effects typically kick in around 20 to 40 minutes after consumption, and they
last up to 6 hours. Psilocybin’s threshold for intoxication is approximately 40
mcg/kg of body weight. In wild mushrooms with lower levels of psilocybin, this
translates to about 2 grams, although some people use up to 4 grams for a good psychedelic
trip.

Psilocybin was first
isolated by swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann in 1958, using the Psilocybe Mexicana
mushroom species from Central America. Psilocybin is found in both wild and cultivated
mushrooms, although just like cannabis, cultivated mushrooms tend to be more
potent. Through cross-breeding, cultivated mushrooms can have up to 10 times
higher levels of psilocybin than wild species.

Research and Legal Roadblocks

In the United States, use of psychedelic mushrooms has been
illegal since the Controlled Substances Act was implemented in 1970. Since
then, clinical studies have pretty much ceased, but recreational use definitely
has not.

However, in 1992, the National Institute on Drug Abuse linked up with an FDA advisory to revamp research efforts of psychedelic agents – albeit extremely limited research. In 1993, the Heffter Research Institute in New Mexico was founded. It’s one of the only institutes in the world the is entirely dedicated to uncovering the medical benefits of psychedelic compounds found in nature. Despite these developments, psilocybin is still banned in the U.S.

The Complicated History of Cannabis in the United States

Around the world, novel and alternative treatments for mental
illnesses becoming increasingly sought after, new resources are being aimed at
age-old therapies including cannabis, ketamine, mescaline, and psilocybin. Dr.
George R. Greer, co-founder and president of the Heffter
Research Institute
, “Our mission is two-fold: one to do research
that helps us understand the mind, the brain, how all that works, and number
two, to help reduce suffering through therapeutic use of psychedelics.”

Medical Benefits

Although there are many possible uses for psilocybin, at the moment, it’s most frequently used to treat conditions relating to mental health. Depression and anxiety are among the most researched indications for psilocybin treatment.

“There’ve been some promising preliminary results in such areas such as the treatment of overwhelming depression and existential anxiety in people who are facing the end of life, who have diagnoses of advanced-stage cancer,” Dr. Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, stated in an interview with Healthline. “The thing that we have the most evidence for is cancer-related depression and anxiety. That seems really strong, and I’d be surprised if those results didn’t hold up,” he added.

Another possible use for psychedelic mushrooms is in the cessation of smoking, drinking, and other addictions. In a small pilot study conducted at Johns Hopkins University, people who partook in psilocybin therapy successfully abstained from smoking cigarettes over the following 12-month period.

“The general idea is that the nature of these disorders is a
narrowed mental and behavioral repertoire,” says Matthew Johnson, PhD, Associate
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences at John Hopkins. “So, in
well-orchestrated sessions, there is the ability to essentially shake someone
out of their routine to give a glimpse of a larger picture and create a mental
plasticity with which people can step outside of those problems.”

It’s also being looked at as a possible treatment for certain
types of cancers, heart disease, inflammation, and many other conditions.

Applications Around the World

As mentioned above, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are illegal in the United States and are listed as a Schedule 1 drug. Even mushroom spores, which don’t contain any psychoactive chemicals yet, are illegal in many states. A few cities – Denver, Oakland and Santa Cruz – have decriminalized mushrooms, meaning you won’t get arrested for possessing them but there are no legal avenues through which to purchase or sell them either. Oregon has plans to legalize mushrooms entirely, however, these plans have been put on the backburner amid the current pandemic.

Exploring the 3 Different Types of Cannabinoids: Endo, Phyto, and Synthetic

Some countries have a
much more liberal approach when it comes to hallucinogenic mushrooms though. In
Austria, Brazil, Samoa, Jamaica, the Netherlands, and the Bahamas, mushrooms
are legal. Recreational use is quite popular in many of these regions and you
can purchase mushrooms, truffles, and spores for both from select online
retailers based in some of these countries.

In Israel, mushrooms are
being studied for their medicinal properties. One of the pioneers in this field
is Prof. Solomon Wasser of Haifa University, who runs a mushroom research lab
and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of
Medicinal Mushrooms.

Last year, his lab took
out a patent on a product derived from Cyathus striatus, a type of mushroom
found in Israeli forests. In animal trials, the drug appeared effective against
pancreatic cancer, which is considered a particularly lethal cancer for which
no new drugs have been discovered in recent years.

Another Israeli company,
medical cannabis firm Cannabotech, is currently looking at how certain blends
of cannabinoids, medicinal herbs, and mushrooms could effectively treat a
variety of chronic medical conditions. So far, they have developed five proprietary
blends intended to treat colon cancer, infertility, fatty liver disease,
inflammation, and heart or vascular disease. These products are all currently
awaiting clinical trials.

Microdosing Magic Mushrooms

When used in a therapeutic setting, the best way to get
medicinal benefits without any intoxication or risks is by microdosing, which just
means taking an extra small, or sub-perceptual, dose. This should ideally be
administered in a medical setting by a trained professional, but that’s not
always the case.

Many health enthusiasts have incorporated mushroom microdosing into their daily or weekly routines report higher levels of creativity, increased energy and focus, and improved relational skills. Some even claim that microdosing psilocybin mushrooms helps to heighten spiritual awareness and enhance their senses.

That said, there are some risks associated with the use of psychedelic
mushrooms. “Psilocybin is a lot more psychologically dangerous than cannabis,
and it’s especially dangerous for a small percentage of the population who have
had an episode of psychosis or mania, manic episode, or even, say, a close
family member whose had those problems, because it can trigger a psychosis or
manic episode in a person who is vulnerable to that,” Greer said.

If you’ve ever heard the term “bad trip”, that’s exactly what he
is referring to. Some people can move past it easily, but for others, a bad trip
can cause irreparable psychological damage.

Final Thoughts

Although some are optimistic that psilocybin mushrooms will follow the path of cannabis in MDMA, with approval in the next 5 to 10 years, the truth is, the future remains very unclear. There is really no realistic timeline for when this class of drugs might be legalized, especially given the current circumstances.

“There needs to be more FDA-approved clinical research with
psychedelics,” mentions Grob, “exploring both how to optimize their therapeutic
potential but also trying to get a better understanding of the range of medical
effects, which may be problematic… There’s still some questions that need to be
answered.”

For more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter.

The post Plant Power – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms appeared first on CBD Testers.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Proposed 10% THC Limit in Washington Could Wreck Its Entire Weed Industry (Merry Jane)

// Joe Biden Again Says No To Marijuana Legalization Without More Studies (Marijuana Moment)

// ‘Suffering’ medical pot patients have seen supply dwindle for months: ‘There’s literally nothing’ (Chicago Sun-Times)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Large Florida medical cannabis retailer stops most deliveries (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canopy Growth Revises Beverage Launch Timeline (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Marijuana firm TILT backs off of strict contracts under pressure from state CCC (Boston Globe)

// Pot taxes in Chicago could be as high as 41% by July as county moves forward with 3% levy (Chicago Sun-Times)

// Oregon cannabis sales soar along Idaho border (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Company Gets Trademark For The Word ‘Psilocybin,’ Frustrating Decriminalization Advocates (Marijuana Moment)

// It’s MLK Day. Don’t Forget Cannabis is a Civil Rights Issue. (Canna Law Blog)


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Monday, December 2, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, December 2, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Poet busted for pot in 1969 makes 1st purchase of legal recreational weed in Michigan (ABC News)

// DEA Finalizes Plan To Grow 3.2 Million Grams Of Marijuana In 2020 (Marijuana Moment)

// ‘Incredibly low’: Only 118 pardons granted for pot possession in first 4 months (CBC News)


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// Ontario Cannabis Store deletes Black Friday tweet ‘in consultation’ with federal regulator (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer Calls For Extended Hemp Regulations Comment Period (Marijuana Moment)

// RIP: Federal Medical-Marijuana Patient George McMahon (Celeb Stoner)

// WeedMD to Acquire Starseed for $78 Million in Stock (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Is Hemp CBD Really Unlawful in California? (Canna Law Blog)

// 4Front Announces Third Quarter 2019 Financial Results (Benzinga)

// Nearly 100 Cities Are Considering Decriminalizing Psychedelics, Map Shows (Marijuana Moment)


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Photo: Mickey Champion/Flickr

Flashback Friday: Magic Stones

Writer Stephen Peele takes a look at a naturally occurring psychedelic in the December, 1989 issue of High Times magazine.


Most of us are now aware that certain mushrooms, when eaten, produce psychoactive effects. The most notorious mushrooms in this group are those which produce psilocybin and psilocin. But have you ever heard of sclerotia? Sometimes called magic stones, other names for it are “comote,” “comotillos,” “rock of ages,” and “philosopher’s stone.” Dr. Steven H. Pollock wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a psychedelic treat more desirable than psilocybin mushrooms, but comotillos are tastier, smoother in producing their effects, and yet more powerful at higher doses….When fresh, comotillos have a walnut-like consistency, but they are easily dried to an even more durable form—the rock of ages. These magic stones nevertheless remain chewable and potent indefinitely. Comotillos clearly transport the fortunate consumer to states of spiritual transcendence and jubilation far beyond the realm of ordinary psychedelics.”

Not all mushrooms have the power to produce sclerotia. In fact, only a few species do. However, two very powerful psychoactive mushrooms fall into this elite group, Psilocybe mexicana and Psilocybe tampanesis.

Chromatograph scans of Psilocybe cubensis from Alabama and Florida indicate psiiocybin readings of .17 to .23%. Scans pulled on sclerotia reveal higher percentages. Sclerotia from Psilocybe mexicana produce a whopping .20 to .40% psilocybin content. However, sclerotia from Psilocybe tampanensis produces the highest psilocybin level, an unbelievable .24 to .52%.

The Zapotec and Mazatec tribes in Mexico have used Psilocybe mexicana as a sacred mushroom for thousands of years. They also have used the magic stones produced by this species. If anything, the sacred secret of the stones was more heavily guarded than the mushrooms ever were. When magic stones were found, the finders surely thought they were being looked upon favorably by the Gods. They were very careful about who they passed this secret on to.

To find these stones, you first have to find the sacred mushroom, Psilocybe mexicana. Cow pastures and meadows make good hunting places. Although cow manure can be part of the mushroom’s growing substrate, the mushroom is very rarely ever found growing directly from the pies themselves. It grows from the earth or from mulch. Unlike most other mushrooms, it grows solitary. The Mazatecs call it “di-shi-tho-di-nize,” or the little bird sacred mushroom.

The cap is yellow-brown, smooth and viscid. The mushroom is small, ranging from 5 to 35mm across. The stem is brown and hollow. It will darken when bruised, but will not always blue. Gills are adnate (attached directly to the stalk) to adnexed (notched just at the stalk), close, brownish with white edges. The spores are dark purple-brown in color.

The mushroom marks the spot. After picking the mushroom, take a knife, or small trowel, and dig up all around the area. A two-foot circle, 6” to 8″ deep should do it. If you see any off-white colored thread-like strands growing (mycelium), concentrate the search in this area. The average stone size will be about one inch long. Smaller stones also occur, so search carefully. Stones are chocolate brown in color, and covered with a soft white fuzz. They look somewhat like nuts, but have no hard shell. When broken into, their inside flesh is a lighter brown and will shortly change color to blue. Stones are slightly bitter tasting, similar to the taste and texture of chestnuts.

Because of the special role stones perform in nature, they are actually much easier to grow than mushrooms. Most people have first-time success. The reason they are so easy to grow becomes clear once the mechanics and purpose of sclerotia are understood.

Just as mushrooms are produced from mycelium (the normal physical growing state of mushrooms), so are sclerotia. Sclerotia are actually an alternative expression of the mycelium, to insure the continuation of the species. This special modification is helpful to the survival of the mushroom during environmental extremes. When growing conditions are bad (conditions that might kill any other mushroom), the mycelium builds the sclerotia and dives into a type of “life suspension,” waiting for the day when proper growing conditions again resume.

High temperatures, desiccation or nutrient deprivation cause the mushroom to form this resistant structure. When you replicate the above conditions, and place the mushroom in the dark, the mycelium will create sclerotia. It builds a thick outer layer to protect the inside against the extremes of the current environment. The sclerotia contains stored nutrients and can survive under unfavorable conditions—probably for more than twenty years.

Because these magic stones have this strange power of survival, they can be used years later to grow more sclerotia and mushrooms. Dried stones can be placed in water and they will come back to life. Then they can be placed into a growing medium for an entire new crop. So once you have the magic stones, you will always be able to grow mushrooms and sclerotia.

The first sterile cultivation of psychoactive sclerotia was probably achieved in late 1957. Albert Hofmann needed more samples of Psilocybe mexicana to isolate the unknown compounds responsible for this magic. Two of his colleagues, Dr. A. Brack and Dr. H. Kobel, were able to produce a large quantity of sclerotia from this species. The yield was very impressive. It was this procedure which actually produced the extracted material which not only gave away the chemical structures of psilocybin and psilocin, but also broke the ground for synthesizing them. It was the sclerotia, not the actual Psilocybe mexicana mushroom, which revealed the riddle of the sacred mushrooms.

Although these magic stones pose no real lethal threat, they can produce psychological disturbances in individuals who are not mentally stable or mentally prepared for large doses (5 grams or more). First time users would do best to take only a half gram of fresh sclerotia.

Although many phases of this research are now under very tight restrictions, much has been learned about magic stones. Psilocybin has similar effects on the central nervous system as LSD and mescaline. Psilocybin, however, is the least toxic of all known hallucinogens, and this includes THC. Here’s how their lethal dosage levels compare (LD50—the dose that kills 50% of rats tested):

  • LSD 0.3mg/kg
  • Muscimol 4.5mg/kg
  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) 42.0mg/kg
  • Mescaline 370.0mg/kg
  • Psilocybin 420.0mg/kg

Psilocybin can cause hallucinations in 15 to 20 minutes, though sometimes it can take up to two hours. It has similar effects to LSD. Both work by triggering serotonin receptor sites and pathways in the human body, most likely by inhibiting or stimulating the serotonin neurochemical system which control the functions of the mind and brain. What one experiences when using these compounds is unlike anything arising from normal consciousness.

Now that the nature and purpose of sclerotia are understood, they have proved to be one of the easiest plant structures to grow. If your mushroom-growing attempts in the past have failed, if your house plants always die from high temperatures, no sunlight, or lack of moisture and proper nutrients, try growing sclerotia.

The post Flashback Friday: Magic Stones appeared first on High Times.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Massachusetts keeps cannabis vape ban, orders quarantine of products as regulators focus on suspect additive (Marijuana Business Daily)

// 8 cents per gram: Canadian producer touts lowest harvest cost in the country (Leafly)

// Cronos Group Reports Revenue Rising 238%, $1.4 Billion War Chest (Green Market Report)


These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


// More Than 500 People Have Commented On USDA Hemp Rules So Far (Marijuana Moment)

// Thousands In Missouri Already Have Medical Marijuana Cards With Nowhere To Legally Buy It (St. Louis Public Radio)

// Chart: Missouri’s medical marijuana market draws thousands of applications (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Dispensaries Can Accept Digital IDs After Governor’s Executive Order (Denver Westword)

// NEW: Georgia medical marijuana program starts after 7-month wait (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

// Top 6 Growing Pains in California’s Cannabis Marketplace (Canna Law Blog)

// Field Trip Ventures To Create First Psilocybin Research Facility In Jamaica (Green Market Report)


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Photo: THC Photos/Flickr

Fantastic Fungi Is A New Documentary That Celebrates The World Of Mushrooms

Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson may have just given us her most dramatic role to date, delivering compelling first-person narration as the voice of an army of mushrooms in the new documentary, Fantastic Fungi. The feature-length film digs deep into the world of the captivating yet mysterious organisms that feed on organic matter and break down plant life. From molds and yeast to mushrooms and toadstools, fungi have been around for 3.5 billion years, and this eponymous film uncovers why the incredible life form remains so important to us as humans today.

Courtesy Moving Art

Spoiler Alert. The film includes interviews with a number of scientists, professors, doctors, journalists, and others, including famous physician Dr. Andrew Weil. The film’s central figure is Paul Stamets, a mycologist who is a writer, speaker, researcher and entrepreneur working in the world of fungi. As a youth, Stamets had a horrible stutter and had trouble looking people in the eye. Influenced in part by Dr. Andrew Weil’s book, Altered States of Consciousness, Stamets decided to take ten times the normal dose of psychedelic mushrooms, finding himself on top of a tree in the midst of a thunderstorm. After some very powerful hallucinatory experiences, he came down from the tree, whereupon he lost his stutter and was suddenly able to start looking people in the eye.

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

“Mushrooms represent rebirth, rejuvenation, regeneration. Fungi generates soil that gives life,” Stamets says in the film. “If we don’t get our act together, and come in commonality and understanding with the organisms that sustain us today, not only will we destroy those organisms, but we will destroy ourselves.”

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

In Fantastic Fungi, we learn that mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium, an underground network that curiously shares a similar structure with the internet. The vegetative part of fungus, mycelium enables trees to communicate and feed one another. In fact, there’s a theory that because our ancestors started to consume mushrooms, the complex structure of mycelium changed our brains, and that’s how we evolved into the humans we are today. In the words of ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna (brother of famed psychedelics advocate Terence McKenna): “It’s not so simple to say that [our ancestors] ate psiloybin mushrooms and suddenly the brain mutated. I think it’s more complex than that. But I think it was a factor.”

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

Fantastic Fungi touches on the divide between eastern and western medicine, and the use of fungi in holistic healing practices. “I recommend mushrooms and mushroom products frequently to patients and I teach other doctors about their uses,” Dr. Weil says in the film. “Mushrooms are completely unusual organisms and they’re ignored by so many people, and yet they’re a vital interface between all forms of life.”

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

Not only do mushrooms facilitate our connection to nature, but research has shown that they can stimulate the regrowth of nerves, carrying the potential to treat Alzheimer’s and help with treatment-resistant depression. Sadly, a lot of the research on mushrooms has been stymied for a number of reasons. In the words of Ronald Griffiths, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, “The movement to marginalize the major psychedelics is incredibly complex. I mean, it plugged in to a counterculture movement, an antiwar movement, an antiestablishment movement. But there are many, many forces that were at play.”

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

As a result of all these dramatic shifts in society in the 1960s, psychedelics became a scapegoat and much of the related research was halted and buried. But now, our worldview is changing. We’re gaining a new perspective on reality and psychedelic research is being revived. There are more and more opportunities to study the effectiveness of mushrooms, not just for medicine, but to filter water, create compostable packaging, and even to serve as raw material in the making of batteries.

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

Fantastic Fungi is something of a live-action fantasy film in the form of a documentary, with video game-level graphics that are alternately mesmerizing and slightly gross—sometimes both. The time-lapse footage is so visually stunning, it feels like it belongs in an IMAX movie. It comes as no surprise, then, that among the filmmaker’s many credits is the Soarin’ Around the World IMAX ride film at Disney Theme Parks. In fact, director Louie Schwartzberg is a pioneer in the field of 35mm time-lapse filmmaking, having devoted himself to the medium for nearly 40 years.

Schwartzberg was drawn to making a film about fungi for several reasons. “Fungi can clean the environment, heal our bodies, and shift our consciousness,” he writes in a director’s statement. “Yet the biggest discovery for me, beyond the science and challenge of making the invisible visible, is that they are the model for how life can flourish, a shared economy under the ground, an intercellular network that share nutrients for ecosystems to thrive. This modality needs to be brought from below to above the ground.”

"Fantastic Fungi" Is A Mushroom Movie Celebrating Spore-Producing Organisms
Courtesy Moving Art

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