New Study Suggests Vaping Can Damage Major Organs

Over the last decade, vaping has become a largely popular alternative to smoking. Whether you’re vaping nicotine or you’re vaping cannabis, the allure of the vaporizer has grown and grown. In short, people believe that these devices are healthier, easier and more accessible than smoking products. However, as more research comes out, it seems that our initial ideas about vaping may be being challenged.

This year, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have reported that common e-cig brands like Juul could be altering the inflammatory stage in major organs, such as the heart, lung, colon and brain. We’ll be delving deeper into this report, as well as shining a light on the world of vaping. Is it actually healthier than smoking?

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Vaping

Some people believe that vaping began as early as 2000 BC when the ancient Egyptians used to heat hemp seeds on hot rocks and inhale the vapour that came from them. Whilst the vaporizer device did not exist then – as well as much of what makes the modern world – the concept is pretty much the same. Modern vaping culture began as early as the 1960s, when nicotine aerosol generation devices were created. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik created the modern e-cigarette device. The Guardian Writes:

“Hon devised the gadget to quit smoking and talks of the “global social problem” he believes he can help solve. Yet he has sold his rights to big tobacco, which many in the public health community in the UK believe is using e-cigarettes as a stalking horse, with the covert objective of renormalising smoking. Hon – a quiet, undemanding man – sees no contradiction.”

The sad truth is that, in a capitalist society, the world is run by money. Therefore, whilst vaping may be believed to be better for you than smoking, many of those who run these vaping companies consist of the same people who previously promoted smoking. Nonetheless, the facts are that the vaping market is booming. In the US, the market was worth 6 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow 27% every year from now until 2028. In America, the Juul brand of e-cigarette is the largest, holding around 42% of the market. Vuse comes in close second with around 36% of the market. However, in this most recent report, it is Juul that has been put in the firing line. We’ll explain exactly why later. 

What is Vaping? 

It is important to understand what vaping is and how it works, in order to comprehend how vaping can or cannot damage one’s health. As Hon Lik had wanted, vaping does without a doubt help people quit smoking. Some, of course, like to do both. But for many users, vaping has offered a healthier alternative that still quenches the habit. In the UK, it is believed that around 50,000 smokers a year quit through the use of vaporizers. But how does it work?

A vaporizer is an electronic device that usually heats up either nicotine or cannabis. In relation to nicotine, the substance will be in a liquid form and will be heated and turned into vapour, which is then inhaled by the consumer. The liquid is never usually heated much hotter than around 570 F. To put this into perspective, the average cigarette will burn at around 1600 F. It’s this major difference that makes vaping a healthier alternative than smoking. When cigarettes are lit, they take part in the process of combustion. Fire is created. This process can put users at risk of various health conditions. PMI writes:

“​​The high temperatures trigger the generation of more than 6000 different chemicals, many of which are harmful or potentially harmful. Public health authorities have classified several smoke constituents as the likely causes of smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema.”

Vaping avoids the process of combustion and, in turn, is healthier in that sense. However, that’s not the only reason why vaping is considered appealing. As the market has grown, vaporizers have also become far more accessible, cheaper and easy to use. On average, vaporizers have a lower per-use cost than cigarettes do. In addition, you no longer need to purchase each individual part of a cigarette or even find a lighter, instead, you simply inhale. Plus, due to the avoidance of fire smoke, e-cigs do not leave the same resented smell on the fingers or the breath. Not only do vapes not have the same smell as cigarettes, but it’s also known that smoke clouds stick to clothes and objects far more easily than vape clouds do. Mayor Clinic writes:

“Thirdhand smoke clings to clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces long after smoking has stopped. The residue from thirdhand smoke builds up on surfaces over time”

There are many positives to vaping over smoking and this is undoubtable. However, that’s not to say that vaping is completely healthy. That would be far from the truth. There was once a time when smoking cigarettes was believed to be good for you and now look what’s happened. Vaping is still a very new concept in the grand scheme of things, so perhaps we are only one damning report away from altering our perception of it forever.

The Problem

The problem is this. Vaping came about as a replacement for smoking, and as a way to help people stop the dangerous habit of smoking. However, there’s currently nothing in place to then stop someone from vaping. The existence of vaping replaces one habit with another, rather than deals with the habit itself. This, in a way, would be reasonable if vaping waas 100% risk free. But it is not. The first thing to note is that nicotine, as a substance, on its own, is unhealthy. Whether you smoke it or vape it, nicotine is an addictive and damaging stimulant drug. It increases adrenaline, raises blood pressure and heart rate, and makes it more likely to have a heart attack. Not to mention that its addictive nature makes you want to consume it again and again. 

Vaping does also have health risks and – as vaping is becoming increasingly popular – more reports are coming out now than ever before.Hopkins Medicine writes:

“There has been an outbreak of lung injuries and deaths associated with vaping. In February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 2,807 cases of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and 68 deaths attributed to that condition.”

EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury) is a new name for an issue that is now becoming more prominent for vape users. 

Recent Study

In a recent study at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, they discover that daily use of e-cigarette products – like Juul – can have severe health risks. Neuroscience reports what the study concluded:

“Use of pod-based e-cigarettes alters the inflammatory state across multiple organ systems including the brain, heart, lungs and colon. Effects also vary depending on the e-cigarette flavor, and can influence how organs respond to infections, such as SARS-CoV-2”

It’s important to note that this study was not tested with badly designed, dodgy vapes, but top of the range popular Juul products. The team of researchers exposed adult mice to flavoured Juul vape products three times a day for three months and were shocked by the level of inflammation in the body. The inflammation occurred in the colon, heart, lungs and the brain.

“Many JUUL users are adolescents or young adults whose brains are still developing, so it’s pretty terrifying to learn what may be happening in their brains considering how this could affect their mental health and behavior down the line,”

What was even more interesting was that each flavour of Juul product seemed to alter the damage. But either way, the reports highlighted the genuine health problems caused by vaping. There is no doubt that the chemical balance of these major organs are being altered by these vape products, and are putting the users at risk. 

Conclusion

As more research is done, it is inevitable that vaping will reveal itself to be far less healthy than we once believed. However, it is probably fair to say that, ultimately, it’s better for you than smoking is. Perhaps as a society we should be focusing on how to end addiction and habits, rather than simply finding something slightly less addictive to fill the void. What do you believe?

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Publicly Traded: Which Psychedelics Companies Completed An IPO

The world of investment is a big place with a ton of offerings. In the last few years, a new genre of company has been added to the list of possible corporations to invest in. Yup, there are now a plethora of publicly traded psychedelics companies, and they’re all just getting started.

The world of publicly traded companies is always expanding, and now includes psychedelics companies. This was unheard of just a few years ago! We’re a news platform specializing in the psychedelics and cannabis industries, and the important stories within. Keep up with us by signing up for The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and also be first in line for all product promotions, as they come out in the upcoming months.


What is an IPO?

There are different kinds of businesses. Some are small and operated by one person. Some are massive and span several continents, with thousands of employees. The latter, though it could be a private company, is most likely publicly traded.

A publicly traded company is one that sells its shares on a stock exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange, or the London Stock Exchange. The stocks reach the exchange via an initial public offering, or IPO, which is the opening sail of a company’s shares. Through the IPO, anyone in the general public can purchase a portion of the company, meaning that it’s not owned by a single person or group, but by whoever owns its shares. One of the benefits of doing this, is the ability to get capital together for expansion. One of the deficits, is losing control of a private company to a group of shareholders.

Public companies generally have a CEO and board of directors, as well as shareholders. Who holds the most power can vary between organizations. Decisions can be made by the board, which is generally made up of high level executives, or the shareholders by way of voting. All public companies are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the eye of the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board).

If a company does not go public, its control is retained by the smaller number of owners or investors that it has, and decisions are made at the behest of this smaller group. In some cases it’s a single person making these decisions. In some cases, a private company can be very large, like Cargill, the largest privately held company in the US, which boasts a staff of 113,000.

Anyone legally able with enough money can purchase shares of a publicly traded company on whatever exchange it exists on. For example, the biggest exchange for stocks in America is the New York Stock Exchange. But there are also other exchanges like the Nasdaq for buying and selling securities, and exchanges in other countries like Euronext, the EU’s biggest exchange.

One aspect of publicly traded companies is that they must report certain financial information to both the government and investors. This is not the same for private companies, which don’t have to release as much information, and can be more secretive about overall earnings. For some industries that hover mainly in the black or gray markets, there isn’t always much data released, and its through the reporting of public companies that we get any sales information at all. The cannabinoid market is a great example of this.

Since publicly traded companies are more closely regulated by federal agencies, they must be tax-paying companies, operating above-board. They might employ shady tactics, but they can’t be black market companies. As such, in order for publicly traded psychedelics companies to exist, they must not sell products or services that are federally illegal.

Publicly traded psychedelics companies

Psychedelics are making a huge comeback in light of study after study showing their benefits for both a myriad of psychological issues, as well as pain. In fact, psychedelic medications are now repeatedly showing up standard pharmaceutical remedies in both avenues, with the drug ketamine (and its legalized counterpart esketamine) taking the lead, highlighting the ability for better depression and pain management. This is especially important because of the ongoing and increasingly bad opioid epidemic which claims tens of thousands of lives a year.

Other compounds like psilocybin and MDMA are getting close to legalizations as well on a federal level. In fact, the FDA has helped structure trials with more than one company studying these compounds, to ensure trial results meet all regulation. The FDA also issued ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ status to three companies studying MDMA and psilocybin, in order to get their drugs to market faster.

FDA

One organization that received such treatment is MAPS – (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) which is currently in Phase III trials into MDMA for PTSD. MAPS, however is not a corporation, but a non-profit group. Another organization that received this help from the FDA is COMPASS Pathways (CMPS) which is researching psilocybin for treatment resistant depression. COMPASS Pathways is a publicly traded psychedelics company on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchanges.

Other companies that join COMPASS on these two exchanges, include Field Trip Health, Inc. (TSE), one of the biggest operators of ketamine clinics; MindMed (MMED), a Swiss biotech company investigating how LSD and MDMA can be used in combination; and Atai Life Sciences (BMV), a company that acquires business in the psychedelics space, and which is one of the psychedelics company with the greatest market capital in 2022, topping $860 million. As of October 2021, there were at least nine publicly traded psychedelics companies on both the Nasdaq and NYSE.

OTC Exchange

However, some publicly traded psychedelics companies are traded elsewhere. In fact, the majority reside on the OTC Markets Group, which includes the OTCQX (highest tier), and OTCQB (mid-tier). Companies that show up here include Pharma Ther (PHRM) which is developing microneedle psilocybin skin patches for medical purposes. Mindset Pharma (MSET) which is working on psilocybin analogues, which are stronger than the standard compound. Delic Holdings Corp (DELC), another chain of ketamine clinics that just bought out Ketamine Wellness Centers Arizona LLC, with major expansion plans.

Then there’s Wesana Health Holdings (WESA), a developer of neurological health therapies, which announced in summer 2021 its acquisition of Psychedelitech, Inc. And Nova Mentis (NOVA), a company in the psilocybin skin patches space, working in conjunction with Mycrodose. All together, as of October 2021, there were at least 27 publicly traded psychedelics companies on the two top tiers of this exchange.

The lowest tier of the OTC exchange is called the Pink Open Market, and several more psychedelics companies reside here. One such company is Levitee Labs (LVT), which joined the Exchange in 2021, and is a producer of mushrooms and associated products. Another is Small Pharma (DMT), which is currently conducting the world’s first official DMT trials into depression along with Imperial College London. Another is Red Light Holland (TRIP), a Netherlands company that sells truffles in the legal market in the Netherlands. And Numinous (NUMI), a wellness company specializing in holistic treatments with psychedelic medicines. Altogether, as of late 2021, at least 14 companies were on this tier of the exchange.

Non-US exchanges

On the international stage, one of the biggest publicly traded psychedelics companies is Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) out of Ireland, a Nasdaq company which announced its acquisition of GW Pharma in 2021. GW is a British pharmaceutical company and the maker of leading pharma medicines epidiolex and Sativex, the reason that the UK is one of the biggest cannabis exporters in the world.

public companies

Other companies not necessarily based around the US exchanges include Clarify Pharma (PSYC), a British company which is an investment platform that promotes psychedelic medicines, and which can be found on the Aquis Growth Market for equity and debt securities. Neon Mind (NEON) a Vancouver-based company working on psilocybin weight loss treatments, which resides on the Canadian Securities Exchange. And Graph Blockchain (GBLC), a blockchain company out of British Columbia, which recently acquired mushroom company Shroom Streets, making for a marriage between tech and treatment. This company can also be found on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

For those interested in private and public psychedelic investments, this list contains both companies in their respective spaces. For those interested in investing in private companies, and have the ability to do so, its best to contact the individual companies to speak with their management as shares are not open to the general public. For the right investors, private companies are great opportunities, though they won’t apply to most of the investing world.

Conclusion

If the idea is investment, interested investors should go through the publicly traded psychedelics companies to find the ones that best suit their investment needs. As a dynamic industry with many moving pieces, the landscape is sure to change soon enough, and those getting in on the action, would be wise to keep their eye on daily changes to promote safe and profitable investments. If you’re still unsure about investing in this marketplace, give it more time, and see if its any more appealing in a few months, or a year, from now.

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The Drop: Hall of Flowers special edition

Hall of Flowers commenced on May 4 and 5 in Palm Springs. The event was full of great brands, great people, and most importantly, great weed. After spending the week with a wide variety of different strains at the Hall, I’ve got a whole list of flavors for you to peep.

Here are seven of the best strains from May’s Hall of Flowers.

Compound Genetics: Mellowz

Ay man, listen. That Compound weed is different. Nah, for real. I got some Mellowz nugs from Compound Genetics, and it was legit one of the best feeling highs I’ve had in a long time. The effects were mad relaxing and inspiring. Shit felt like a sound bath in weed form. Flower tasted real grapey, real gassy, which makes sense considering the Grape Gas in its genetics.

Available: California

Blueprint: Item #9

FONKY. WONKY. That’s exactly what Item #9 from Blueprint is. I smoked the flower and underneath that sweet and icing-like flavor was some stank. Then I found out there’s GMO Cookies at play in the genetics and I was like, “ahhh, it all makes sense now.” 

Smoke this strain if you come across it in stores. You will not be disappointed. But with Blueprint damn near sweeping the last Zalympix competition, you probably already knew that.

Available: California

Willie’s Reserve x Huckleberry Hill Farms: Whitethorn Rose

The Whitethorn Rose from HoF was bred and grown by Huckleberry Hills Farms, and packaged by Willie’s Reserve. It’s literally my favorite weed ever. If there’s any way you can get it, get it, and marvel at how incredibly unique and specific that flavor profile is. Every single human that I’ve ever sneakily passed some Whitethorn Rose had a wide-eyed “What the hell is that?!” reaction to the way it smells and tastes. Plus, the high feels great too. Whenever I’m stressed as hell, some Whitethiggity knocks it right on out.

Available: California

818 Brands: 818 Oreoz

I like that 818 weed, man. Any strain I had ever gotten from it was smooth on the smoke with nice flavors. That Oreoz is the one though. It’s a Cookies and Cream cross that screams from the bag with nutty and gassy terpenes. The effects are going to have you stupid dumb high too. There’s no other way of putting it, honestly. If you want a smooth-smoking, great-tasting, powerfully-relaxing, type of flower, gon’ head and peep this one.

Available: California

FloraCal Farms: SlurriCrasher

SlurriCrasher from FloraCal cracked me up. I don’t mean that it was a goofy, laughing type of effect; I mean that I opened the jar, got nose-slapped by the terpenes, and immediately started laughing about how good the weed smells. 

Twisting up some SlurriCrasher is like rolling up an acai bowl. Sweet, berry, tropical, delicious — all of those describe the smoke that comes off this flower. The high was pretty mellow and balanced for me. It was both uplifting and relaxing.

Available: California

Insane: Beam Me Up Scotti

I hit that Beam Me Up Scotti joint from Insane and literally said aloud “Bro, what?!” That flavor is damn near indescribable. It’s like a white grapey, slight apricot, sweet, floral-type beat. The effects had me feeling clear-headed, happy, and extremely hungry. Which was perfect because immediately after smoking that Beam Me Up Scotti joint, I stuffed my face with a big-ass bowl of spaghetti carbonara from Met Him At A Bar. Yes, I did add pancetta.

Available: California

Seed Junky Genetics: Blackberry Pie

That Blackberry Pie from Seed Junky was nice. It has that dark berry flavor to it with a sort of gassy, tart-type feel on the back end. Honestly, it sort of tastes like a blackberry tart from your local bakery. 

The high is a creeper. You’ll be burning and chillin, then the next thing you know — bam! Your eyelids are lowering like motorized curtains in a Joshua Tree Airbnb. Ya know, cause the houses are all fancy and shit out there.

​​Available: California

The post The Drop: Hall of Flowers special edition appeared first on Weedmaps News.

What’s new in weed: products and news from Presidential and more

With so many great cannabis brands releasing exciting new products in new markets, it can be hard to keep track of every release or event. So we’re rounding up a few significant happenings in the industry. This week, we look at releases by House of Puff and more. 

House of Puff: collaboration with artist Chris Wilson

Photo credit: House of Puff

Available exclusively at all Etain dispensary locations in New York, cannabis retail brand House of Puff has collaborated with artist Chris Wilson for its new line of rolling papers. Wilson’s other works will also be on display at Etain’s 242 E 58th St. address until June 10.

Available: New York

Levia: limited-edition seltzer

Photo credit: Craig Capello Photography

In celebration of summer fast approaching, Levia has launched its new seltzer in a dragon fruit flavor. Each can contains 5 milligrams of THC, no sugar, and art from local Massachusetts artist Dean McKeever.

Available: Massachusetts

Presidential: new pre-rolls with Rove

Rove and Presidential have collaborated to bring California consumers new, infused pre-rolls and blunts featuring the Waui sativa strain and moon rocks. Each pre-roll is rolled in kief and the blunts are wrapped in tobacco-free wraps. 

Available: California

The post What’s new in weed: products and news from Presidential and more appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Wildwood Flower Farm’s Sustainable High

Approximately four hours and twenty minutes northeast of Seattle in Washington’s Okanogan County, Melissa Beseda reflects on the successful conclusion of another cannabis cultivation season. After months of hard work as the plants grew and matured, she and Isaac Ekholm, her partner in life and business, have completed the harvest on the Wildwood Flower Farm and are now preparing for the impending arrival of their first child.

Ekholm began growing cannabis for his father who uses it medically to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. His labor of love quickly became a passion for cultivating top-quality cannabis. After the passage of Washington’s recreational cannabis legislation in 2012, Ekholm applied for a license as a cannabis producer and processor and founded Wildwood Flower Farm in 2016.

After witnessing how cannabis could positively impact people’s lives, Beseda joined him on the farm the following year. Together, they’ve been sustainably growing cannabis on a 30,000-square-foot plot of land ever since, with a crew of lovable and loyal animals to share in the work.

Wildwood’s Melissa Beseda and Isaac Ekholm tend to their outdoor garden.

But since the coronavirus pandemic, the couple brought in two cannabis harvests without outside help, sharing the propagating, tending and harvesting duties throughout the season. Beseda says that she and Ekholm work well together and their interests and abilities complement each other nicely, all to the benefit of the operation. “His vision for the farm and ability to foresee opportunities and threats to the business have given this bootstrapped farm a competitive advantage,” she says. “His ability to focus on the overall strategy of the growing season while managing the intricacies and demands of the day-to-day operations is what has made us successful. He’s what keeps us on the rails.”

Beseda serves as the nurturer and sometimes taskmaster, working hard to care for everyone on the farm (including the animals), “while at the same time whipping them all into shape and ensuring it all runs smoothly,” she says.

The furry and feathered members of the family have their own duties on the farm. A flock of chickens and turkeys keeps the perimeter of the growing area free of bugs and weeds, and the ornery tom turkey keeps a watchful eye behind the garden, serving as the designated security guard. The farm’s two cats, Peggy and Squeakers, are pest management masters, protecting the cannabis plants from attack by voles and gophers.

“Since we had them, we haven’t lost one plant to rodents,” Beseda says, adding that even the herd of eight goats plays an important role on the sustainable farm when they’re moved to the growing area after harvest time to help prepare the land for the next season. “Goats are great for soil regeneration. Their hoofs aerate the soil, their foraging keeps the weeds under control and their manure goes into our compost, which will enrich the soil for years to come.”

Goats are part of the Wildwood Flower Farm family and help with soil regeneration and maintenance.

Working together, the team of humans and animals keeps busy through the growing season, tending the plants and nurturing them to harvest. In 2021, the couple cultivated several strains of cannabis including Jungle Cake, Sunshine Queen, Magenta Hash Plant and a South African landrace sativa that’s also serving as parent stock for breeding experiments on the farm. After harvest, they trim and bag the best cannabis flower to be sold under the Wildwood Flower Farm label, with the rest of the crop going to wholesalers and manufacturers to be packaged as flower or processed into oil.

Ekholm and Beseda say they have embraced sustainable and regenerative farming values, using only OMRI-rated pesticides that are gentle on the environment. They’re also enthusiastic for integrated pest management practices including the use of beneficial insects and predatory mites and are careful to enrich their farmland with compost and other natural amendments.

“We invest in the long-term health of the soil and our environment,” Beseda says. “We try to close the loop as much as we can with our inputs: All of our plant waste is composted and will amend the soil for the next crop. Every year the soil seems to get better and better.”

Taken together, these sustainable practices give the cannabis plants at Wildwood Flower Farm a nurturing home to grow and ripen. The extreme northern latitude—only about 50 miles from the Canadian border—means the growing season is compacted compared to other cannabis growing regions, but the long days during the growing season provide ideal conditions to fuel vegetative growth.

Strains from left: Sunshine #4, Sunshine #4, Magenta Hash Plant

“While we tend to have a short season up here in North Central Washington, our long summer days are hot, dry, and clear—the perfect environment for growing cannabis outdoors and in greenhouses,” he says. Ekholm and Beseda say they use these methods in concert with light deprivation techniques to ensure long-flowering cultivars finish in time. It’s difficult and time-consuming work, but it’s all part of the farm’s mission to “grow and share high quality, sustainably-grown flower with a commitment to our community, our future employees and the environment,” Beseda says.

Although cannabis is the primary commercial driver for the operation, Wildwood Flower Farm also grows other crops including alfalfa, elderberries, peppers and a few stone fruits. While growing these plants is largely in the experimental phase and the results are generally used for the farm or in their on-site home, Beseda says that they’re exploring ways to tap into a distribution chain that will allow them to make their other crops profitable, too.

“We love growing most types of plants and raising most types of animals,” Beseda says. “Seeing how things all come together on a small farm like ours has been very rewarding and always interesting. There’s a constant desire to see what inputs we can provide on our own and to find varieties of plants that thrive in the environment we live in.”

That environment, it seems, is also perfect for nurturing the family that serves as stewards of the land. Looking back at the past year, Beseda says her pregnancy and her baby developed in concert with the crops on the farm.

Melissa Beseda pregnant in cannabis field
Melissa Beseda, expecting her first born, works on the cannabis farm every day.

“My first trimester lined up with the bulk of our planning and prepping for the season,” she says. “The baby’s rapid growth in the second trimester coincided with the plants’ most rapid growth during the height of the summer, and the return of my energy helped us power through the light deprivation part of our season. The plants began slowing down and ripening up, just as I began slowing down during the third trimester and the baby began ripening up.”

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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Study Finds Cannabis Legalization Source of Decreased Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption

A new study published on May 9 in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows evidence that cannabis legalization has brought down the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes in youth consumers. Entitled “Trends in Alcohol, Cigarette, E-Cigarette, and Nonprescribed Pain Reliever Use Among Young Adults in Washington State After Legalization of Nonmedical Cannabis,” the study includes the analysis of six waves of survey data collected between 2014 and 2019. Researchers from the University of Washington reviewed data which covered approximately 12,500 adolescents.

“Prevalence of past-month alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking (HED), and cigarette use and prevalence of past-year pain reliever misuse decreased, while the prevalence of past-month e-cigarette use increased since 2016 (the first year assessed),” researchers wrote about the results. “Across years and age groups, the prevalence of substance use other than cannabis was higher among occasional and frequent cannabis users compared to cannabis nonusers.”

As the years continued and more states began working on legalization programs, many of these consumption habits began to decrease over time. “However, associations between both occasional (1–19 days in the prior month) and frequent (20+ days) cannabis use and pain reliever misuse and between frequent cannabis use and HED weakened over time among individuals ages 21–25.”

“Contrary to concerns about spillover effects, implementation of legalized nonmedical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette use and pain reliever misuse,” researchers concluded.

However, it is commonly recommended that more studies be conducted to better understand the effects of legalization on youth consumption. “The weakening association of cannabis use with the use of other substances among individuals ages 21–25 requires further research but may suggest increased importance of cannabis-specific prevention and treatment efforts,” researchers wrote.

Many other studies have evaluated the influence of cannabis on young adults from a variety of perspectives. A study published earlier this week questioned the effect of cannabis being portrayed positively on TikTok as a concern for the youth who frequently use the app.

In March 2022, a policy paper released by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation (CPEAR) analyzed youth cannabis consumption as well, and also reported that youth cannabis consumption hasn’t increased since legalization began. Results claim that continued work in creating a federal framework to help curb cannabis misuse by youth in the U.S. is essential and recommended a focus on eliminating access to illegal cannabis in the process.

In March 2021, another study was published, with an analysis of 46 states and data collected between 1991-2015. “This study found no evidence between 1991 and 2015 of increases in adolescents reporting past 30-day marijuana use or heavy marijuana use associated with state MML (medical marijuana law) enactment or operational MML dispensaries,” the authors wrote in their abstract.

Back in 2020, yet another study explored the effects of legalization, and found that there was little impact on youth specifically in California. “Contrary to the claims of many legalization opponents, changes in states’ marijuana policies have not led to any significant rise in cannabis use among young people,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said about the study. “Overall, most voters believe that these adult-use policies are operating as intended, which is why no state that has legalized the use of cannabis for either medical or adult-use purposes has ever repealed their law.”

These studies go back to the earlier years of adult-use legalization, as seen in published findings from 2016 from the Colorado Health Department who found teens saying that four out of five high school students “say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally.”

While these studies help show that youth cannabis consumption has not increased, there is still the question of how cannabis consumption affects young adults’ minds. Some studies claim that cigarettes cause the decline of grades more than cannabis does, according to a 2016 study. However, in 2018 a study found evidence that kid’s cognitive development can be affected, followed by another study in 2019 that found no link between adolescent cannabis consumption and adult brain structure. Due to the conflicting information, more studies are necessary in order to learn more about how cannabis affects adolescents.

The post Study Finds Cannabis Legalization Source of Decreased Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption appeared first on High Times.

Sacha Baron Cohen Drops $9 Million Lawsuit Over Bogus Weed Ad

Last year, High Times covered Sacha Baron Cohen’s massive $9 million lawsuit filed against a dispensary that ran a billboard ad with his image without permission, but the actor and plaintiff have reached an agreement to drop the lawsuit.

CBS News reports that a document filed in Boston federal court on Tuesday said “the two sides have agreed to dismiss the case.”

According to court documents filed on July 12, 2021, Sacha Baron Cohen filed a $9 million lawsuit against Somerset, Massachusetts-based Solar Therapeutics, a dispensary, for running a billboard ad with his image without his permission.

Solar Therapeutics erected a billboard on an interstate highway in Massachusetts that features a picture of Baron Cohen as Borat, with his thumbs up and the words “It’s Nice!,” one of Borat’s catchphrases. It also read “Happy 4/20!” The billboard appeared in Somerset near exit 10B.

“By use of the billboard, the defendants falsely have conveyed to the public that Mr. Baron Cohen has endorsed their products and is affiliated with their business,” the 2021 complaint reads. “To the contrary, Mr. Baron Cohen never has used cannabis in his life. He never would participate in an advertising campaign for cannabis, for any amount of money.”

It continues, “In addition, Mr. Baron Cohen was born into an Orthodox Jewish family; he is an Observant Jew; and he is proud of his cultural heritage. He does not wish to be involved in the heated controversy among the Orthodox Jewish community about whether cannabis can be used under Jewish traditions, customs, and rules—a controversy in which many rabbinical leaders have stated that cannabis use is a violation of Jewish law.”

Baron Cohen and his California-based company Please You Can Touch LLC originally were seeking $9 million in damages for the misuse of his image.

While Baron Cohen, Please You Can Touch LLC, and Solar Therapeutics reached an agreement, it is not being made public whether or not a settlement was involved. It may signal a symbolic warning not to use the intellectual property of Baron Cohen improperly without a fight.

The misuse of celebrities to sell cannabis is an ongoing problem. Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, and Montel Williams—who has a legit cannabis company—have all fallen victim to CBD and cannabis scams that claim to be endorsed by celebrities.

Yes, We’ve Interviewed Sacha Baron Cohen

If you’re scratching your head, we understand. Baron Cohen has joked many times about cannabis, usually as the character Ali G. But the lawsuit clearly states that he hasn’t ever actually smoked cannabis in his life.

Baron Cohen interviewed with Dan Skye for High Times for the October 2003 cover of the magazine—but interviewed as Ali G, his fictional stoner character, not himself. The new lawsuit explains why Baron Cohen openly jokes about cannabis, but does not consume due to his faith.

“Me can role up two spliffs using one hand,” Baron Cohen as Ali G told High Times in 2003. “Dat iz why I iz known as bein double-joined a’ight. From de moment me woz born de chronic has been at de centre of everythin me do—when me mum squeezed me out of her punani me woz cryin so much dat she let me have a drag on her joint. Den three years later me first word woz ‘reefer’.”

“[…] U iz de only mag dat pay in weed,” he said. Ali G then told High Times that his favorite weed is “grown in a small part of Jamaica called Somalia.”

Baron Cohen’s Ali G may be a big pothead, but Baron Cohen plays many characters. And just because he jokes about it, doesn’t mean that he’ll allow a business to steal his image for profits.

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Rhode Island Lawmakers Vote To Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

Legislative panels in the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives voted to approve a bill to legalize cannabis for use by adults on Wednesday after an updated version of the measure was released by lawmakers the night before.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill with a vote of 9-1 while the House Finance Committee voted 12-2 in favor of the measure. The bill’s success in committee sets up a vote on the legislation by the full Senate and House, both of which have been scheduled for early next week.

State Senator Josh Miller, the Senate sponsor of the legislation, celebrated the completion of the amended version of the bill shortly before it was released on Tuesday night.

“For me this has been about a 10-year effort, so it’s nice to wrap it up,” Miller said in a statement quoted by local media.

The identical bills, Senate Bill 2430 from Miller and House Bill 7593 sponsored by Representative Scott A. Slater, would permit adults 21 and older to publically possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The bill also allows adults to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in a private location and to grow up to three immature and three mature cannabis plants at home.

The bill establishes a regulatory framework for legal commercial cannabis commerce, with sales of recreational pot slated to begin on December 1. An earlier version of the bill pegged the starting date for regulated adult-use cannabis sales at October 1.

The amended version of the bill also strengthens the measure’s social equity provisions. Under the new version, past civil and criminal convictions for low-level cannabis convictions will be expunged by the courts, which have been given a deadline of July 1, 2024 to complete the process. The previous version of the bill required those with convictions to petition the court to have their records cleared.

“Social equity has been a top concern for us throughout this whole process,” Slater said. “The starting line isn’t the same for people in poor, urban and minority communities, and they deserve support to ensure they get the full benefit of participating in legalization.”

Restorative justice advocates had argued that requiring those with records for cannabis possession to petition the court for expungement made the process less accessible to people from underserved communities. Cherie Cruz of the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island applauded the change in a statement.

“The inclusion of state-initiated expungement in any framework of cannabis legalization is one of the most important concrete steps to work towards social justice, equity and repairing the harm of the failed War on Drugs to so many impacted Rhode Islanders,” said Cruz.

The new bill also includes changes for medicinal cannabis patients, including the elimination of fees for medical weed cards and plant identification tags. Adults who grow recreational cannabis would still be required to purchase plant tags.

“The amended bill is a collaborative effort to address concerns about protecting medical use, ensuring fair governance and recognizing that we can’t make this transition without taking action to make whole the communities and individuals who have been punished for decades under prohibition,” Miller said.

Rhode Island Amended Bill Addresses Governor’s Concerns

The new version of the legislation also addresses concerns raised by the administration of Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee, with officials arguing that the bill unconstitutionally gives lawmakers powers to appoint a three-member regulatory commission that are legally reserved for the governor. Common Cause Rhode Island, a nonprofit group advocating for good government, agreed that the provisions violated the constitutional separation of powers.

The amended bill removes power given to the Senate to approve the removal of commission members and for the Senate President to recommend appointments to the panel. But Common Cause executive director John Marion said the bill continues to violate the separation of powers doctrine.

“The Cannabis Control Commission is still constitutionally defective because the governor is asked to pick one of the three commissioners from a list given to him by the Speaker of the House,” Marion said. “The Senate asserted that the original bill passed constitutional muster, but the fact that they changed several provisions in response to previous criticism is an admission that their argument didn’t rest on firm ground.”

In a statement released by McKee’s office Tuesday night, the governor thanked lawmakers for addressing his concerns about the commission.

“While this bill is different than the governor’s original proposal – it does accomplish his priorities of making sure legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe,” spokesperson Matt Sheaff said in an email. “We look forward to reviewing the final bill that comes out of the General Assembly and signing legalization of adult-use cannabis into law.”

Other parts of the bill remained unchanged. Cannabis would be taxed a total of 20%, including a 10% cannabis excise tax, 7% sales tax, and a tax of 3% that would go to local governments hosting licensed cannabis businesses. Local jurisdictions could opt out of allowing retail cannabis businesses by placing a ballot question on the ballot for the November general election, but communities that vote not to allow dispensaries will not be eligible for revenue generated by cannabis taxes. Cities and towns that already have medical cannabis dispensaries would not be able to opt out of hosting retailers.

Both the House and Senate have scheduled a vote on the legislation for Tuesday. After the bill was approved in committee, the governor said that he intends to approve the bill.

“I’ll be willing to sign the piece of legislation if it gets to my desk the way I understand it’s going to be delivered,” McKee said on Wednesday.

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Increase in Cannabis Pollen Linked To Illicit Growth in Spain

Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena in Spain have come to an interesting conclusion. Recently, the amount of cannabis pollen in the air has increased dramatically. It is not unreasonable to postulate, as the polytech scientists have now done, that the total amount of illicit cultivation in the region has increased significantly in the last four to five years.

The scientists in Cartagena have been tracking cannabis pollen for decades to try to establish the level of cannabis production and origin in the cities of Cartagena, Murcia, and Lorca. The three cities are located just across the Alboran Sea from Algeria and Morocco.

What they have found most recently, beyond an uptick in overall volume, is that only a small amount of the particles in the air come from North Africa. This too is on trend. Authorities have noticed that there has been an increase in cultivation in Spain and a lower dependency on hash coming in from abroad.

Of the three cities, Lorca and Cartagena stood out, registering more than 80 grains of pollen per cubic meter, with Murcia reaching a peak of 66 in 2020. This is a significant delta considering that the three cities registered levels of between 19 and 27 in 2017.

This conclusion comes from the fact that there has been a dramatic increase in busts in the area over the same period of time.

The Spanish Cannabis Uprising

While most people, starting with the Spanish government, have focused on the nascent cannabis club industry in and around Barcelona, the reality is that illicit cannabis cultivation—not to mention use—is widespread in Spain. This is something that authorities are belatedly getting a handle on as they try to figure out how to legislate a situation where the horse has clearly left the barn.

As of last year, the government began formally considering how to recognize the medical efficacy of the plant. Beyond this, the Spanish legalization discussion is in an interesting place at the moment. Cultivation for the clubs is widespread, as are the clubs themselves, particularly in Catalonia and Basque country. Beyond this, there are four licenses issued by the government allowing the cultivation and processing of GMP or pharmaceutical grade cannabis—but only for export. Hemp is also allowed, as long as it is being used for industrial purposes.

However, it clearly does not stop here. Bootleg Spanish products are showing up all over Europe right now—and not just of the CBD kind. There is more illicit production here than the authorities can ever control—which is also why there have been a few very public and large national busts of late.

In the meantime, Germany has decided to speed up its recreational legalization plans.

If the Spanish intend to resist the obvious, it will only do one thing. Rob the government of tax income if not tourist euros spent elsewhere. The impact of the German decision cannot be understood either and for a very simple reason: There is a huge amount of German investment in the Spanish economy. And for now, while that is predominantly real estate and banks, there is no reason that this could not extend, and soon, to cannabis.

Pollen Testing Confirms the Obvious

The Spanish pollen test appears to be the first of its kind. Most studies of air quality in this industry so far have been focused on the emissions of indoor cultivation in Colorado and California. Beyond this, the main way authorities try to understand drug use (in both the U.S. and Europe) is to measure metabolites collected from city wastewater. In Europe, the last major study of the same found that the highest levels of THC metabolite have been found in cities in Croatia, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Spain.

Given the fact that not only are Spanish citizens cultivating and using cannabis—and apparently increasingly so as countries in Europe address recreational reform, it seems only a matter of time before Spanish policies finally catch up. And when they do of course, there will be a far easier way to measure both cultivation and consumption in the form of legal, regulated, and taxable production and sales.

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Can EMF and 5G affect the endocannabinoid system?

5G conspiracy theories run a little off the radar from science. Unlike 4G, high-band 5G does disperse energy into the upper layers of the skin according to Health Canada. Neither electromagnetic frequency (EMF) range can, however, induce ionizing radiation or damage DNA. Interestingly, lower-range EMF promotes an environment that helps to produce endocannabinoids. This means […]

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