New Vermont Guidance Looks to Eliminate Plastic Waste From State’s Cannabis Industry

While witnessing the legal cannabis industry continually blossom over the years has been an exciting and invigorating experience for many, it’s also becoming increasingly challenging to ignore the amount of plastic waste involved. As states are required to enforce cannabis compliance, which generally means child-proof packaging for any products leaving the building, the result is often an abundance of single-use plastic that is more challenging to recycle than materials you might find at the grocery store.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board is looking to change that. In new “Guidance on Packaging,” released earlier this month, the board states that “packaging that is intended for consumer purchase at a retail location shall be reusable and shall not be plastic.” The guidance gives examples for acceptable reusable materials, including glass, tin, cardboard, and bamboo.

The packaging for cannabis must be child-deterrent and opaque. The guidance defines cannabis as all parts of the plant, including seeds; resin extracted from any part of the plant; and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative or preparation of the plant, its seed or resin.

This is a new clarification, as “child-deterrent packaging” means tear-resistant packaging that can be sealed in a way that “would deter children under five years of age from easily accessing the content of the package within a reasonable time” while still being simple for adults to properly use and access.

Child-resistant packaging, on the other hand, includes packaging designed or constructed to be “significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open,” or to obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance in the container “within a reasonable amount of time,” also that adults can easily use.

It may seem like a small distinction, but child-deterrent packaging is generally a less burdensome requirement from a packaging standpoint, usually requiring less use of plastic or other hard materials.

The packaging for cannabis products, meaning concentrated cannabis and product that is “composed of cannabis and other ingredients,” intended for use and consumption, including edibles, ointments, tinctures and vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil, must be child-resistant and opaque.

It’s a rational distinction to make, given that there are less risks of danger for a young child accessing cannabis flower than a cannabis edible. For example, a child would have to figure out some way to smoke the flower to experience its effects, whereas an edible or anything with activated THC would have a psychoactive effect upon consumption.

The new guidance also says that a licensee may seek a waiver to the prohibition on plastic consumer packaging if they can demonstrate a hardship in securing non-plastic packaging, including unavailability of non-plastic packaging; inability to achieve child-resistance; or the necessity to preserve shelf-life stability, prevent cannabis or cannabis product contamination or avoid exposure of cannabis/cannabis products toxic or harmful substances.

For those attempting to secure a waiver, a licensee must propose a packaging alternative that uses “de minimis plastic,” meaning only the amount of plastic “reasonably needed” to overcome the hardship identified in the waiver petition.

Vermont became the 11th state to regulate adult-use cannabis sales and the second state to do so legislatively, rather than through a voter initiative, nearly two years ago. Governor Phil Scott announced on October 7, 2020 that he would allow S. 54—the bill that would regulate and tax cannabis sales in the state—to become law without his signature.

“I know it is difficult to take on these complex issues remotely and during this unprecedented Pandemic,” Scott said in a statement at the time. “Again, I thank the legislators who worked to move toward me over the past two years on this issue. Nevertheless, the Legislature has much more work to do to ensure equity in this new policy and to prevent their work from becoming a public health problem for current and future generations. For these reasons, I am allowing this bill to become law without my signature.”

In 2021, the legislature moved forward to act on the promise of centering social equity, as the House and Senate passed S. 25, which looks to strengthen social equity provisions, requiring regulators to reduce or eliminate licensing fees for applicants who have been negatively impacted by federal enforcement of cannabis laws.

The new rules for plastic packaging will be in place when adult-use sales begin in Vermont, sometime later in 2022.

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Drug Combos: What is Calvin Klein?

When most people think of Calvin Klein, they think of the famous clothing brand. They think of the well-known words poking out, on someone’s boxers, and the societal power that seems to give them. When did someone’s name on your T shirt suddenly make you better than everyone else? Anyway, today we’re not talking about that kind of Calvin Klein. Instead, we’re discussing the drug phenomenon. Calvin Klein, or C.K, is a combination of cocaine and ketamine that many party goers and drug lovers swear by.

When a stimulant and a depressant meet in harmony, there’s a sensation that many people adore. But what makes this combination so great? Or is it dangerous? And why is Calvin Klein so popular? Today we’ll be delving into the sub-culture of drug taking. 

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Drug Combinations

It’s often assumed that drugs should be taken independent of one another. This is because the assumption is that, if not, the specific drugs will either not work correctly, or you could get seriously ill. In a lot of ways this is true. For instance, the famous rhyme comes to mind about the dangerous combination of cannabis and alcohol:

“Beer before grass, you’re on your arse.

Grass before beer, you’re in the clear”

The concept here is that alcohol and cannabis are not the best of combinations, if done in a specific order. This is usually because being intoxicated on alcohol will make cannabis’ effects stronger. Thus if you drink first, and then have a hit of weed, you may be surprised by how quickly you get high. However, if you get high first, then everyone sip on their beers, you’ll know better whether you should carry on or stop. In other words, it’s a more manageable order. Nonetheless, people know that these two substances don’t always go well together. Healthline writes:

“Occasionally mixing alcohol and weed — also known as crossfading — likely won’t lead to major health problems. But there are a lot of variables to consider, including which one you use first and how you consume them. If you aren’t careful, the duo can lead to a case of the spins or a green out, two reactions that can turn a fun night out into a nauseated night in.”

However, there’s far more fatal drug combinations out there. I want to preface all of this first by saying that any drug, if taken irresponsibly, may lead to negative effects. However, the idea behind drug combinations is that these effects will be worsened and made more extreme. Yet, if done correctly, it also means that the positive effects can also be greater than if you had done each drug individually. In other words, there’s a lot to lose, and a lot to gain. Defining the word ‘synergistic’ is important here. 

“In medicine, it describes the interaction of two or more drugs when their combined effect is greater than the sum of the effects seen when each drug is given alone.”

Again, this could mean negatively or positively. As you can imagine, due to the dangers of overdosing, a lot of doctors thoroughly recommend avoiding poly-drug use. This is because different drugs do different things to your body. For instance, some are stimulants and some are depressants. Or uppers and downers. The effects of one drug may be magnified by another substance. Or, conversely, they may balance each other out, meaning you will be less aware of how much of one substance you may need to overdose. This may sound technical so let’s use examples. If you drink lots of alcohol, it will take less heroin to cause you to overdose than if you hadn’t drank alcohol. The same with alcohol and cannabis as we’ve previously mentioned. However if you consume both an upper and a downer (say cocaine and ketamine), the effects of both will be quelled by the other. This will make it harder for you to tell when you may be having too much of one of the substances. This is an example of this very scenario, in the context of alcohol (depressant) and amphetamines (stimulant):

“Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines… may mask some of the usual effects of alcohol…, such as feeling relaxed or sleepy, and the person may become more at risk of alcohol-related harms, particularly alcohol poisoning.”

Is It All Bad?

When discussing drug combinations, it’s first important to note why they can be dangerous – like any use of drugs. However, that’s not to say that drugs can’t be combined in a crazy, beautiful and euphoric way. In fact, I once knew a guy who took 5 ecstasy pills, a gram of coke, a gram of ket, and a tab of acid all in one night. And guess what? He turned up at his banking job the next day and probably made a few thousand quid. The point is, there are some drug combinations that many experienced party goers swear by and they deserve recognition, especially if they’ve stood the test of time. Tripsit recently made a ‘Guide To Drug Combinations’ table, which clearly states whether two drugs together sit in 1 of 5 categories: 

Low Risk & Synergy 

The drugs, when combined together, offer a low risk and actually improve the effects of both. 

Example: DMT & LSD.

Low Risk & No Synergy 

The drugs, when combined together, offer a low risk but don’t cause much as a pairing. 

Example: Caffeine & Mushrooms.

Low Risk & Decrease

The drugs, when combined together, offer a low risk but actually decrease the effects of both. 

Example: Alcohol & Cannabis.

Caution

The drugs, when combined together, need to be taken with caution. 

Example: Ketamine & Cocaine.

Unsafe

The drugs, when combined together, are unsafe and may cause some undesired effects.

Example: Cocaine & Alcohol.

Dangerous

The drugs, when combined together, are dangerous and should not be combined. 

Example: GHB & Benzos.

This table makes it clear how to approach using certain drug combos. Interestingly, the famous Calvin Klein unity has been placed in the caution section. Yet, to this day, people swear by it. Let’s understand more. 

Calvin Klein: Ketamine & Coke

Calvin Klein is a street name given to the drug combination of cocaine and ketamine. It originates from the initials of both substances: C and K. The poly-drug has been given some well-deserved stick after a famous violinist died taking it. However, with the utmost respect, it’d be hard to find any hard drugs that haven’t caused the death of someone. Therefore, let’s first understand why people are enjoying these combined substances. Well, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that makes you feel chatty, confident and awake. On the other hand, ketamine is a downer. In fact, it’s literally used as a horse tranquiliser. Ketamine makes users feel euphoric, slow and relaxed. In a sense, they couldn’t be more different. When combined to perfection, Calvin Klein makes users feel the alertness and chattiness of cocaine, without the anxiety. It allows users to feel the slowness of ketamine, with the stimulation of cocaine. It’s a hard feeling to describe because there isn’t one individual drug out there that makes you feel that specific way. Some liken it to the effects of MDMA but, for me, this is far too simplified. Vice writes:

“Individuals who do CK will say they get a profound rush where they feel very, very good, very pleasurable,” Giordano told VICE. He said the combination has the swift onset of a cocaine high, “and with the ketamine on board, it lasts longer.”… “Cocaine, it’s the dopamine gas pedal. Ketamine takes the brakes off the dopamine system,”… that means it makes you feel really… good, thanks to a flood of dopamine, the neurotransmitter commonly linked to pleasure and excitement.”

How and Where?

Calvin Klein is usually taken in separate lines, one after the other. The ketamine line is usually smaller than the cocaine line as it is more potent. Sometimes people mix the substances in one bag and do individual lines of the concoction, but this can be slightly more risky. Calvin Klein has become popular because – when done to perfection – it basically eradicates any of the negative parts of each substance in the combination. Plus, it is the perfect party drug. You’re able to feel euphoric, whilst also being able to socialise. MDMA can often cause levels of euphoria that make it hard to have natural conversations with people – and will usually lead to you just hugging everyone. This is all well and good, but perhaps a little odd if everyone else is on a different level to you. That is why Calvin Klein is often taken at small social events, as well as clubs and nights out. It is multi-purpose.=

Conclusion

Poly-drug use, or combining two or more drugs, definitely brings its risks. The consequence usually means that it enhances the effects of both substances. However, a good experience with Calvin Klein almost feels like it does the opposite. It sort of chills both the substances out, and makes for a more endurable experience. There’s definitely a reason why Calvin Klein has stood the test of time, and why many people still love to do it. However, as always, proceed with caution. 

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South Africa Still Working On New Cannabis Bill

Back in 2020, I reported on South Africa’s legal limbo after a Constitutional Court ruling made cannabis prohibition illegal. What exactly this means for the country has been undefined for the past few years, and South Africa is still working to finalize its Cannabis for Private Purposes bill.

South Africa should have a new cannabis bill soon, which is great, because we’ve been waiting for it since 2018! We’re a publication that focuses on independent coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics fields. You can join in by signing up for the THC Weekly Newsletter, and also get prime access to tons of deals on vapes, edibles and smoking devices. We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


How it started

Much like many other countries, South Africa instituted laws against cannabis in the early 1920’s. First in 1922 with the Customs and Excise Duty Act, which classified cannabis as a habit-forming drug, and then in 1925 by including cannabis in the country’s Dangerous Drugs list, putting it with the likes of cocaine and opium. Further to that, it was criminalized 100% in 1928 with the Medical, Dental, and Pharmacy Act, which is where it stayed all the way until 2018.

On March 31st, 2017, a judge ruled that it was not constitutional to bar cultivation and use of cannabis for private use. This was done with a justification that this is a non-justifiable personal privacy infringement. A previous case on the matter brought by Gareth Prince about 15 years earlier, focused on the idea of infringement of religious freedoms, but this case was unsuccessful at changing anything.

The 2017 case didn’t include religious aspects, but focused on the privacy rights – or inalienable rights – of the people. The right to privacy is guaranteed under section 14 of the Bill of Rights of South Africa. It states that every individual has the right to lead a private life without government interference. The judge in the ruling made this statement:

“A very high level of protection is given to the individual’s intimate personal sphere of life and the maintenance of its basic preconditions and there is a final untouchable sphere of human freedom that is beyond interference from any public authority. So much so that, in regard to this most intimate core of privacy, no justifiable limitation thereof can take place… This inviolable core is left behind once an individual enters into relationships with persons outside this closest intimate sphere; the individual’s activities then acquire a social dimension and the right of privacy in this context becomes subject to limitation.”

However, as this was a regular court, in order for this ruling to have full effect, it needed to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court. When expected appeals to the decision came in, this was done. In September 2018, the Constitutional Court made a ruling on the matter which confirmed the ruling of the lower court, setting it as law. Some of the included points of the ruling, were the following:

  • Cannabis use is permitted by an adult when done in private.
  • Cannabis use is not permitted around children, or anyone who does not consent.
  • Cannabis is not permitted in public, or for anything beyond personal use.
  • Cannabis is permitted for private cultivation so long as its for personal use.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar scenario to what’s going on in Mexico, where a court ruling created legalization case law, but which still requires a government bill for all particulars. In both cases, it was the use of personal sovereignty laws which led the way to make these changes. In South Africa, the Court ruling set a legal precedent, but it didn’t make clear the specifics of what is allowed. Since that time, draft legislation has come up, but nothing has been passed.

Cannabis for Private Purposes bill

After what has been a very long wait, the government of South Africa is getting closer to releasing formal legislation, in the form of the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill. This bill has been circulating since 2020, and has been updated throughout that time based on the comments of different people and organizations. Current additions were approved by the National Assembly on March 31st of this year, meaning the bill is now in a second round of public meetings.

Some additional points within the South Africa cannabis bill include:

  • Recreational cannabis commercial activities.
  • Rules for cultivation, possession and supply of cannabis for members of organizations specifically related to religious and cultural purposes.
  • Individual privacy rights for adults to use cannabis for medical purposes.
South African cannabis

It also defines what a ‘private space’ is. The definition includes: a building, house, room, shed, hut, tent, mobile home, caravan, boat, or any part of one of the above. Essentially, anything that can be closed (or is away from other things), and where the public doesn’t have direct access, is a private space.

Since its still open for public comment, nothing is a done deal yet. The latest to give comments is the country’s largest trade federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which supports the legalization of the plant on all fronts. It submit its comments at the end of May. Though the organization supports legalization measures, it said the current bill is ‘unrealistically bureaucratic and cumbersome’, and needs a lot of reworking.

In fact, it went as far as to say that the legislation is way too restrictive, and doesn’t decriminalize the plant as much as it should. This is highlighted by how the organization sees the issue of cannabis regulation for religious purposes, and its dislike of rules created to monitor how people use cannabis in general.

Regardless of edits, none of this means that South Africa will have a regulated market. That’s one of the big differences between how South Africa and Mexico are handling things. Mexico is expected to have a regulated recreational market, whereas South Africa is legalizing private use and cultivation of the plant only.

How personal sovereignty leads to cannabis rights

The legal change in South Africa was a result of a court case that relied on personal sovereignty laws, which are a part of inalienable rights. Inalienable rights are rights that every human has, and that a government can’t take away. They relate to natural rights, or what some would call God-given rights, and they are not to be altered by governmental laws. Personal sovereignty is the same as self-ownership. This is considered an individual’s right for bodily integrity, and to be the sole controller of themselves. Personal sovereignty, is an inalienable right.

Three countries now have updated cannabis laws due to court cases involving personal sovereignty rights. South Africa’s Constitutional Court case was in 2018, making the 2017 verdict an official one in terms of the country’s laws. Though it doesn’t seek to set up a regulated market, it will allow for the possession, use, and cultivation of the plant privately.

inalienable rights

2018 was a popular year for inalienable rights to kick in. Over in Georgia, another Constitutional Court case ended with a verdict that overturned prohibition. The Court ruled that it’s not constitutional to punish the use of cannabis, as it poses no threat to others. It said a punishment for cannabis use is restrictive of personal freedoms, so long as no 3td party is affected. However, Georgia never mentioned needing a bill to further clarify anything, and the country now resides in a weird gray area, where cultivation and buying/selling are illegal, but possession and use are totally cool.

The other example is Mexico, which became the 4th legalized country officially in 2021, when the Supreme Court dropped laws of prohibition for private use, upon the government simply not doing its job. It unofficially became the 4th country back in 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled on the last of five consecutive cases in favor of legal cannabis use and cultivation. It said, as personally developed human beings, we must be allowed to pick our own recreational activities without the government interfering. When the government did not turn in a corresponding bill on time, the Supreme Court went ahead and dropped prohibition laws a year ago. We’re still waiting on the full bill to begin the official sales market.

Conclusion

Truth is, none of the three countries to make legal updates based on constitutional courts, have totally gotten it together yet. Georgia is in a strange legal limbo, and Mexico and South Africa are both waiting on specific bills to pass. We certainly have to wait a bit longer on all fronts, but it looks like South Africa is getting that much closer to a formal legalization/decriminalization with updates to its cannabis draft bill. The question now is, which will be first, South Africa or Mexico?

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Oregon Released First Rules for Magic Mushrooms Industry

We’ve known it’s coming since the November 2020 elections, when Oregon voted through Measure 109, for the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms in an adult-use market. Confusion has circulated since that time, with the public unsure of what this allows for. Now, Oregon has released some rules for its magic mushrooms industry, via Psilocybin Services, the division set up to regulate it.

The Oregon rules for magic mushrooms are good in some ways and limiting in others. More rules are due out by the end of the year. This wholly independent news platform specializes in the cannabis and psychedelics fields. To stay current on everything important happening in the cannabis and psychedelics industries, subscribe to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter. Also, it’ll get you premium access to deals on cannabis flowers, vapes, edibles, and much more! We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


Measure 109

Though it was often touted as a medical legalization for psilocybin, when Oregon passed Measure 109 on November 3rd, 2020, what it actually did was legalize the use of psilocybin magic mushrooms for an adult-use market. Called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative, Measure 109 didn’t come with too many specifics apart from that some sort of adult-use market was coming.

In terms of how popular this measure was at the time of the vote, 55.75% of the voting population agreed that this was a good idea, vs 44.25% which voted against it. Considering this is for a psychedelics legalization, which did not exist in the US at all prior to this time, it’s actually a really good showing. Cannabis still loses in some ballot measures despite the growing approval of it, so it says a lot for magic mushrooms, that Measure 109 passed with the majority.

When the measure passed, so little was understood about the final product of it, that voters literally voted for nothing more than a directive to open a program, with the knowledge that in some capacity “clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.”

However, at that time, it was unclear who would get the pass to use this service, who wouldn’t, and what requirements would exist for use. What was made clear, but somewhat ignored in the confusion that followed, is that the one thing that wouldn’t be required, is a diagnosis from a doctor. This, making whatever requirements that are attached in the end, at the very least, non-medical.

Measure 109 was the first of its sort to pass in the US, but it’s already being followed up by several states looking to pass some kind of recreational psychedelics legalization measure. These include, Michigan, California, Washington, and Colorado. Many individual locations in the US have already passed decriminalization measures, like Detroit, Seattle, and Denver, just to name a few.

Oregon Psilocybin Services releases rules for magic mushrooms

A few months ago, Oregon released some draft rules for its magic mushrooms legalization, which made clear that this was a recreational legalization. These included requirements for heavy metal testing, regulation about what pesticides could be used, and a host of other growing and production guidelines. It even stated that while tons of different psilocybin mushrooms exist, that only Psilocybe cubensis would be legal for use. The draft opened up many questions, and we’ve been waiting for Oregon to release finalized rules on its upcoming magic mushrooms industry.

On Friday, May 27th, the Oregon Health Authority via Oregon Psilocybin Services, released some official rules to regulate this new magic mushrooms market. What was released does not cover all aspects of the market, and instead acts as a preliminary set of guidelines, to be followed by the rest of the regulatory laws in the fall. It’s expected that more rules will be approved by December 31st of this year, and that the new program will go into effect on January 23rd, 2023.

One of the main stipulations released at this time, is a confirmation of the pesky issued mentioned above, that only one type of mushroom is approved for use, Psilocybe cubensis. This was a point much debated after the initial draft mentioned it, but despite many requests to open the spectrum further for more kinds of mushrooms, Oregon Psilocybin Services stated the following in a letter to the public:

“In some cases, public comments were incorporated in the adopted rules and in others they were not. OPS weighed competing priorities and viewpoints that were received throughout the rulemaking process when making revisions, while considering equity, public health and safety.” In terms of that only-one-type-of-mushroom issue, it said:

Oregon rules magic mushrooms

“OPS received comments requesting that the rules allow additional species of mushrooms and use of additional substrates. The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board recommended limiting cultivation to Psilocybe cubensis and prohibiting substrates that may pose a risk to health and safety.”

It did clarify, “To avoid the risk associated with deadly, poisonous look-alikes and the potential for wood lover’s paralysis and animal-borne pathogens, OPS has upheld this recommendation in final rules… OPS looks forward to consideration of additional species in the future through continued dialog with the public and recommendations from the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.”

Realistically though – unless that one species of psilocybin mushroom looks wildly different from all other psilocybin mushrooms, making it the only recognizable psilocybin mushroom, while all others look like poisonous mushrooms, this is very odd reasoning. Hopefully it will be updated in the future.

Other regulations

On the other hand, in what appears to be a positive showing for the idea of natural over synthetic, Oregon is not allowing synthetic psilocybin formulations, or psilocybin derivatives. This is a pretty big thing, as it’s the pharma industry that relies on synthetics, and such stipulations work in the favor of companies that focus on natural extractions.

Several other regulations were also released. For example, every mushroom batch must be tested for psilocybin and psilocin, which must be within 20%. Above this and they are no longer legal. Mushrooms can only be orally consumed, and cannot be administered with anything like MAO inhibitors, which can effect how the drug is broken down in the body. Rather than allowing other drug administration methods like skin patches, or nasal inhalers, Oregon is opting to retain a standardized approach, at least for now.

In order for psilocybin use to be legal, it must take place in a designated facility, under the watch of a designated administrator. Administrators must undergo 120 hours of training, 40 of which are observational sessions with someone receiving treatment. Facilitators do not need to have formal training in the mental health industry, or any therapeutic industry, which reinforces that this not a medical treatment. Oregon Psilocybin Services is expected to start reviewing applications for facilitators in June.

Magic mushroom services

What about medical?

What’s very clear, is that this is not a medical legalization. It’s strictly a recreational legalization, that kind of looks like a medical legalization. In fact, its not expected that medical treatments will begin until 2024, and only for one thing: treatment-resistant depression. The recreational exclusivity is made clearer by the lack of medical training of facilitators, and the lack of therapy offered. If this was for medical use, each facilitator would need some sort of medical or therapeutic degree.

It also totally annihilates the idea of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is when a psychedelic is taken in the presence of a doctor, after previous sessions to elucidate the patient’s issues. The doctor is trained to push the patient during their trip session to break their boundaries, in order to allow the brain to make new connections and pathways. Then a session is done afterwards to help the patient understand what happened, and to expand on the meaning of things.

There are some afraid that Oregon’s new setup might lead to mishaps and issues, which could make the whole industry look bad. COMPASS Pathways, which is in the midst of psilocybin trials for treatment-resistant depression (which the FDA helped put together to meet regulation), stated this on its site:

“To make sure it is safe and effective in patients, psilocybin therapy needs to be approved by medical regulators, not legislators. To do this, we have to run large-scale clinical trials to generate data to show the therapy works and is safe. Only then will it be approved by regulators, and become part of the healthcare system, prescribed by doctors and funded by national bodies, payers or insurers.”

But is that really better? Truth is, not everyone wants a medical session. Perhaps the issue here is that this legalization is being treated like a medical legalization in that it requires the use of specific clinics and facilitators, but is strictly for recreational purposes. If Oregon sees fit to legalize magic mushrooms, perhaps it should actually do that. Let people use them for recreational purposes at will, like with cannabis, and save the medical setting, for medical applications. Right now, a failing of all this, is that it’s a recreational legalization, that has no personal use or possession laws attached. Luckily, Oregon did at least decriminalize psilocybin via Measure 110.

Conclusion

As always, progress is progress, and we can’t be mad about that. Oregon is leading the way for psychedelics legalizations, and with so many states gunning for similar legalizations, the model will hopefully be improved on soon. Who knows, at the rate things are going, we might see the ability for personal possession and use of mushrooms, soon enough.

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Biden Wants to Reduce Nicotine in Cigarettes – Will This Help?

Smoking is pretty bad, that’s for sure. So bad that the number of smoking deaths a year eclipses the number of opioid deaths, and that’s saying a lot. In a recent report, Biden stated that he wants to reduce the nicotine level in cigarettes, as a way to reduce smoking in general. Can this help though? And why is the research on this topic so conflicting?

The new thing of the Biden administration is that it wants to reduce the nicotine level allowable in cigarettes, but this seems like a strange move when vaping already provides a safer answer. This news site focuses on stories covering the expanding cannabis and psychedelics industries of today. Keep up with everything by signing up for THC Weekly Newsletter, and also get access to a range of deals on tons of products including cannabinoid compounds like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC. As always, we only advice consumers purchase products they are fully comfortable using.


The damage of smoking

Smoking anything is bad. This is the first thing to really know about smoking. Though tobacco often gets a bad rap, it’s merely a plant. A plant which has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and without a huge death count. Truth is, there are plenty of substances in life which are safe to take one way, and unsafe to take in others. Mushrooms for example are eaten, but they aren’t smoked. So it’s not that weird to say tobacco doesn’t have to be bad, if not used in a bad way.

The real culprit is the act of lighting something on fire, and breathing it in. Smoke inhalation – what smoking is – is the term used to describe the health issue of inhaling too much smoke. Smoke of any kind is a carcinogen by nature, so it matters less what is burning, than that something is burning and inhaled. Some things are worse to breathe in than others, this is also true. Breathing in burning metal or plastic is way worse than tobacco smoke could ever be. However, having said that, processed tobacco is full of chemicals that make the whole smoking experience that must more dangerous.

In terms of how dangerous it is, according to the CDC, approximately 480,000 people die from cigarettes a year, with 41,000 of those attributed to second-hand smoke. This means over 40,000 people a year die from someone else’s bad habit. When broken down, over 160,000 deaths are from cancer, and another 160,000 are from cardiovascular diseases including heart disease, vascular disease, and diabetes. A third grouping of 113,000+ deaths are from respiratory illnesses like influenza, pneumonia, and COPD.

How does secondhand smoke actually effect people? Of the secondhand smoke deaths per year, over 7,000 are due to cancer, and another 34,000 are from heart disease. Simply sitting in the same room as a smoker causes the same deadly conditions to the secondhand consumer, as it does to the person lighting up.

Biden wants to reduce nicotine in cigarettes

It should be remembered that for many years after it was technically known that cigarettes cause dangerous health concerns, they were not only openly marketed, but with lies attached to their safety issues. And they were promoted by the likes of doctors. Though the US government likes to separate itself from its shady activities in the past, it has continually taken money from big tobacco, and for years failed to regulate the industry. Though big tobacco gives less money to congressional representatives than it did in the past, the US government still makes billions of dollars from cigarette taxes.

When it did start to regulate the industry, it changed tack on big tobacco outwardly (while still accepting its money), and began pointing the finger at the entity, while ignoring its own part in everything. But it was involved, just as much as its involved in helping to keep people on opioids by refusing to better regulate the industry; by accepting money from, and promoting policy in favor of, the pharma companies that produce them; and by downplaying better options like the use of ketamine instead. So perhaps this recent rumor from the Biden administration, should be taken with a grain of salt.

A recent report by the Wall Street Journal on the 10th of June, says that Biden wants to reduce the allowable limit of nicotine in cigarettes. The publication stated that though the US government might announce new policy this week, any policy would take several years to craft, and wouldn’t go into effect for quite some time.

The idea of the Biden administration is to reduce nicotine levels until cigarettes are no longer addictive, though how many steps this may take, what levels will be allowed, and what exact end goal there is, have not been stated. As nothing was formally announced yet, this news comes from unidentified white house sources who supposedly spoke directly with the Wall Street Journal.

What happens when nicotine is reduced in cigarettes?

Biden wants to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive, but can this really work? A piece of oft cited research from 2015 points to reduced nicotine cigarettes helping people smoke less and quit, but everything else from before, essentially says that reducing nicotine simply promotes the smoker to smoke more. Which statement is correct? Let’s examine the evidence.

In 2015 a study came out called Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes: Smoking Behavior and Biomarkers of Exposure among Smokers Not Intending to Quit.  The aim of the study was to examined how consumer behavior changes in response to reduced nicotine cigarettes. Seventy-two adult smokers were used for the study. Participants went through a trial period where nicotine levels were gradually reduced by week. It went from 0.6 to 0.3 to 0.05mg emissions, and everyone smoked Quest cigarettes.

According to study results, there was a reduction in nicotine intake when going from 0.3 to 0.05 mg, but not when going from 0.6 to 0.3mg. According to the study, there were “no increases in exhaled breath carbon monoxide levels, smoking intensity, or levels of 1-hydroxypyrene across study periods. No significant differences were observed for smoking urges or measures of nicotine dependence.” This all indicates that reducing nicotine in cigarettes, leads to consuming less nicotine.

This study comes with a myriad of problems though. For one thing, the study lasted for three weeks, and we don’t know what happened to smoking behavior after that. People who smoke, often smoke more or less at different times, but this doesn’t indicate overall behavioral changes. Plus, the study participants were completely aware of everything, as this was not a blind study. This means they knew they were getting less and less nicotine, so their behavioral responses came with that understanding.

Last, this study was funded by an anti-smoking group (Health Canada Tobacco Control Program), has an author who was an expert witness for the FDA, and clearly states “The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked advertisement in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.” These are massive conflicts of interest, and show a possible informational slant which can call into question the results of this study.

The other story…

Prior to this, research told a different story. In 1984 the study came out Does switching to an ultra-low nicotine cigarette induce nicotine withdrawal effects? In the study, 26 participants were randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group. The former group continued smoking as usual, and the latter group was switched to an ultra-low nicotine cigarette instead. Both subjective rating, and plasma nicotine concentration levels, were examined.

Results did find a substantial drop in plasma nicotine levels of 60%, but this was lower than the 90% that it should have been in accordance with the reduction in nicotine levels in the cigarettes. This shows that smokers were compensating by smoking more cigarettes, even if the total nicotine they received, was less.

Another study from 2004 shows a similar thing. In this study, Smoking cigarettes of low nicotine yield does not reduce nicotine intake as expected: a study of nicotine dependency in Japanese males, 458 Japanese men with an average age of 51, participated. A questionnaire was used, along with urine nicotine measurements. Study results showed a nearly halved decrease in urine nicotine concentration from the highest nicotine level to the lowest. However, in reality, it should have been an 11-fold difference, as the nicotine level decreased by 11X. In fact, the study investigators found that “cotinine concentration in heavily dependent smokers was consistently high regardless of the nicotine yield of brands.”

This once again indicates that lowering nicotine levels doesn’t mean smoking less, and instead points to smoking more. When looking at only nicotine decreases in plasma and urine, it’s misleading when not considering the level the nicotine decreased in cigarettes, and if they match up. This is a tactic meant to make it appear that smoking levels went down, when in fact, only nicotine went down, while smoking increased.

The two should match, and if there’s a lesser decrease of nicotine in urine or blood than the decrease of nicotine in the cigarettes, this implies the person smoked more cigarettes to get to whatever level of nicotine they achieved in between. Since the issue is really smoke inhalation, any increase in cigarettes smoked indicates a problem, and a reason for concern over increased rates of damage in the future.

What makes this more confounding, is that there already is an alternative in the form of vapes. Vaping has virtually no death toll, and isn’t associated with cancer or cardiovascular disease. It’s possible in the future we’ll find some issue associated with vaping, but as of right now, this information doesn’t exist. And it doesn’t exist regardless of nicotine content of what’s vaped. Instead of promoting vaping, the government wages fear campaigns against it, and constantly tries to block or dissuade the public from doing it, even though no direct deaths come from vaping, and all issues reported have been related to additives.

This brings up a lot of questions, like why is the government continually talking down the safer option, and instead offering weak measures that have many issues attached? And why are we still talking about nicotine or tobacco at all, when the real thing to be wary of, is smoke inhalation in general?

Conclusion

Biden might want to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes, but the only indication from both life and research, is that this will increase the amount of cigarettes smoked. Insisting on lowering nicotine levels as a way to combat cancer, cardiovascular disease, or respiratory disease is so backwards in the first place, that expecting anything decent to come out of this, is like ignoring the massive role the government played in getting people hooked in the first place.

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The Secret Cannabis Bar in Slovenia

If you’ve never seen the hidden gem of Europe – Slovenia – then you’re definitely missing out and I would highly recommend you go. Nonetheless, not only is it beautiful and full of culture, it also has a secret cannabis shop right in the capital city of Ljubljana. During my many travels there I have been blown away by the surprises that are found if only you look. Whilst THC is illegal, this secret cannabis bar happily sells you whatever you want and, to make things better, it’s homegrown.

Of course to not shine too much of an unhelpful light on the place I will leave it unnamed, but I still want to give it all the praise it deserves and to highlight that perhaps these places should exist all over the world. Welcome to the secret cannabis shop of Slovenia. 

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The Forgotten Nations

Europe is a large continent, and contains a great deal of nations. If you’re not from there, then it’s very easy to forget about some of these many beautiful countries. There were around 710 million tourist visits to Europe in 2018, but a lot of these favour specific places. Many publications will focus on only the major nations, and less on the smaller ones. This is largely due to the wealthy history of the place, and the past empirical powers. For instance, there’s a reason why France and Paris are visited far more than Latvia. It wouldn’t be fair to suggest that this is because of beauty when – in reality – most of the smaller, lesser known nations have yet to be destroyed by tourism. It’s this obsession with certain countries in Europe that is unfortunate because, as some of you will know, sometimes the best places are the quieter ones. World Of Wanderlust writes:

“As one of the most sought after holiday destinations the world over, Europe has so much to offer travellers. From drinking a pint of beer at the infamous Oktoberfest in Munich, to biting into a flaky croissant in Saint Germain as the daily life of Paris passes you by, this is Europe in all of its glory! And if you’re planning a visit to the continent, these are the most visited countries in Europe to help you plan your own adventure.”

This is a great example of how publications feed off archetypal views on Europe, without much interest in thinking outside of the box. There is no doubt that the top 10 most visited countries in Europe are incredible places, but how about letting the other ones have a look in? Such as Slovenia. The Beach, a film starring Leonardo Di Caprio, is all about a guy searching for a secret beach. The moment everyone starts finding out about it, it loses its novelty as a special place. This is a great metaphor. Perhaps Slovenia is actually benefiting from remaining secretive. Although there’s no doubt that more people are finding out about this beautiful country. Let’s see how it differs in tourist levels from the top 10 most-visited countries in Europe:

  • France: 89 million visitors per year
  • Spain: 83 million visitors per year
  • Italy: 62 million visitors per year
  • Turkey: 46 million visitors per year
  • Germany: 39 million visitors per year
  • UK: 36 million visitors per year
  • Austria: 31 million visitors per year
  • Greece: 30 million visitors per year
  • Russia: 25 million visitors per year
  • Portugal: 23 million visitors per year
  • Slovenia: 6 million visitors per year

In recent years, Slovenia’s tourist levels have increased magnificently. In fact, there was a 31% increase in 2021. This is much because of how beautiful it is. 

Slovenia

Slovenia is a small country that is squished between Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is land bound, but isn’t a far drive from the sea and has some quite remarkable lakes, such as Lake Bled and Bohinj. The nation covers around 20,000 square km and has a modest population of 2 million. It was once part of the Ottoman Empire and Yugoslavia, which consisted of Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. However, it became an independent nation in 1991. 

Ljubljana

The capital city of Slovenia is often referred to as a hidden gem, and for how much longer it’s hidden I don’t know. However, it’s becoming a far more common interrail stop for those 18 year olds who decide to tour Europe by train. The city is small and stunning. You can walk around the whole thing in what feels like half an hour. It feels as if the cafe culture of Paris and the canals of Venice made love, and was then sprinkled with a bit of Russian greenery. It almost feels like a utopian city. And the cleanliness is astounding. Adventure Filled Life writes:

“This lovely green capital, populated by 300.000 people will take care of that European feeling you have been craving for. Walk-able, charming, and environmentally friendly – you will fall in love with the city after your first stroll along the river. Along the way, you can stop for a coffee at one of the many riverside cafes in Ljubljana.”

My Time in Ljubljana 

My father’s partner is from this city, so I often go there. As I was strolling along the many cobbled streets, during my travels, I found myself at one of the many CBD shops. There are multiple of these smart shops in Ljubljana and they aren’t hard to find. What I found personally interesting about them, however, is that they sold CBD cannabis buds. This might sound expected, but for someone who comes from the UK where CBD flowers are illegal, it was a bit of a surprise. In the UK, CBD is illegal but CBD cannabis buds are not. This is just one of many idiotic cannabis laws from my home nation. In Slovenia, however, they allow for any CBD product to be sold at these specific shops. That’s not to say that THC cannabis is legal, it’s not. 

“Production, import, use, possession and sale of cannabis for recreational use are prohibited by law. While cannabis remains illegal in Slovenia, the medical cannabis community has been growing. The Ministry of Health produced draft legislation that would allow a regulated medical cannabis programme”

In recent years, the use of personal amounts of cannabis is now no longer illegal in Slovenia. Instead, it is decriminalised and can be considered a misdemeanour. You can pay a small fine of around 50 euros if you’re found to be using cannabis. Because of this, I didn’t really have much hope of finding much cannabis in Slovenia. My assumption was that the CBD market was growing, and that was about it. However, as I began speaking to the CBD shopkeeper and asked him some questions about THC, he quickly pointed down the road. His English was great – as many Slovenians’ are – and he continued to tell me that there was a bar down the road that sold cannabis behind the counter. He didn’t even seem nervous to tell me, it felt like it was common knowledge. 

Of course, without much of a pause, I made my way to the bar and stepped inside. It was a very cool and hipster looking place and, being from East London, I felt right at home. The Secret Slovenian writes about it:

“It is not uncommon for a smell of cannabis… to come out of this lively terrace. The small street (Rimska cesta) in which the… bar is located is nice. The bars near the river are nicer than this bar in Ljubljana but if you want to see what cool Slovenians and some hipsters are like, this is the place to go”

I ordered a beer and asked if they sold any *insert weird and awkward tap on the nose here*. The barman looked back at me and smiled. He asked how much I wanted and I said 20 euros worth and within about 5 minutes I had a bag of cannabis in my pocket and a freshly poured beer. It didn’t feel anywhere near as shady as I thought it would. By the way, the weed was homegrown and I was a big fan. Not too strong, but a good body high. Now I’ll know exactly where to go next time I’m in Slovenia’s capital. 

Conclusion

The idea of a secret cannabis bar in Slovenia is exactly as cool as it sounds. However, it was far less discreet and shady as I perhaps would have assumed. Instead, it’s full of friendly staff and a chill atmosphere – as it should be. Why should cannabis have to be sold in any other way? If you’re interested in visiting this place then don’t hesitate to contact us for the name of it and directions. We wanted to allow it to keep its anonymity.

Welcome to the site! Thanks for making it to CBDtesters.co / Cannadelics.com, the top internet spot offering up fully-rounded independent news covering the growing cannabis and psychedelics industries. Stop by frequently to stay up-to-date on these dynamic industries, and make sure to sign up to The THC Weekly Newsletter, to ensure you’re never late on getting the news. 

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The Laser Bong You Never Knew You Needed

The technology of smoking has improved greatly over the last couple of decades. First it was vaping, and the ability to no longer burn the weed. Now it’s the new laser bong, and a technology that takes the butane out of smoking.

The laser bong is the newest in weed-smoking technology, and it’s a pretty cool looking piece of equipment. If you’re a person who needs the next thing now, you definitely need this bong! We report on tons of stories in the cannabis and psychedelic industries, which you can play along with by subscribing to the THC Weekly Newsletter. This also gets you prime access to promotions on all kinds of items like vapes, edibles, and paraphernalia, along with premium deals on cannabinoid compounds like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP, and HHC. As always, we do remind customers not to purchase any product they are uncomfortable with using.


What’s a regular bong?

A bong, or waterpipe, is a smoking device that uses water to filter the smoke. These devices come in different sizes, and shapes, and though they sometimes look very different, the functional design in the same.

A bong is made of a water chamber, which is connected to a mouthpiece in one place, and a bowl in another, and sometimes a carb hole as well, although this is not necessary if the bowl is removable and able to work as a carb. The point of this function is to let in air to clear the accumulated smoke in the water chamber. The chamber needs to be air and watertight when the user puts their mouth to the mouthpiece. The weed is put in the bowl and lit on fire.

When the weed is lit, the user inhales through the mouthpiece, pulling in air through the bowl, through the water chamber, and into the user’s mouth. If there’s a carb hole, this must be covered during inhale, or it won’t work. Once the user has pulled as much air as they wish, they can let go of the carb, or remove the bowl, in order to clear out the chamber of built-up smoke.

Bongs are used for smoking, but the same structure is also used to vaporize, via dabbing. Dabs are used as a way to vaporize concentrates, and use the same method of heating the concentrate, and then sucking the vapor through the water. The water works as a filter, trapping the heavier particles in the smoke/vapor, which makes for a smoother hit. The water also cools the smoke down, making it less harsh on the throat. Some bong use another piece called a percolator, which is a twisty glass structure, also meant to cool the air down further. It’s common as well to put ice cubes in the neck of a bong, or directly in the water chamber, for cooling purposes.

Because of the water filtration, bongs might be slightly less dangerous than waterless pipes or joints, but there are things to consider. The weed is still being lit on fire and breathed in, which like it or not, is smoke inhalation, the basis for smoking issues. Plus, the weed is lit with a lighter, which also means the user is breathing in butane fumes as well. This matters in that sometimes a flame is held for many seconds when smoking a bong, in order to burn the herbs adequately.

What is a laser bong?

Let’s be honest, just the term ‘laser bong’ sounds all futuristic and cool, and the best part is… it’s real. Smoking technology has certainly reached a pinnacle at this point in history, as its now possible to light your weed with lasers. How effective is this new method? And what’s the difference in terms of what you inhale?

The company Hitoki is the first to make this bong a reality, called the Hitoki Trident. The Trident is a cylindrical bong of mostly black airplane grade aluminum, with an air hose about 1/4-1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Above the air hose is a laser chamber that shines blue when in use, and below it is the water chamber that the smoke gets pulled through. The laser it emits is a 445 nm class 4 blue laser, hence the blue of the chamber. The water hose is either an actual hose – like what’s used for a hookah, but a bit thicker, or a more stable plastic hose-like mouthpiece, more akin to a standard bong.

The benefit of the laser is that it can heat to a very precise temperature, and doesn’t have to go as high as a lighter. It’s used to burn either dry herb or concentrates, and is very efficient, allowing for approximately 280 uses off of each charge of its battery. Something that can be done easily with its included USB charger. In all other ways beside the laser as a heat source, the Trident functions like any other bong.

In order to use it, the bong comes apart for loading the weed. It has two distinct pieces that lock back together with an FDA compliant interlock system. It’s about as simple as loading it, locking it, and lighting it, which is done with the push of a button. The laser has three power settings, with the lowest temperature for buds, the mid for dense buds, and the highest for concentrates. It also comes equipped with a carb button for cleaning out the smoke chamber.

laser bong

If you’re thinking this is a lot for a bong, you’re right! These bongs are so high scale, they even come in gold or rose gold, for those who want the extra fancy version. Even the regular version will set you back a bit, starting $499,99. Hitoki marks the first company to employ this laser technology for bongs, but it likely opened a can of worms that tons of companies will get in on. Hitoki boasts the cleanest smoking experience using the Trident, and that the smoke is the most flavorful possible.

Benefits of a laser bong

It’s not exactly a cheap piece of equipment, and therefore won’t be available to everyone. It can be expected that upcoming competitor models will retain the same high price, although if its out long enough, there’s surely a budget model somewhere in the future. For now, however, if you want this new smoking gadget, you’ll have to pay out. So, if the cost is so high, what are the benefits of using a laser bong?

For one thing, there’s no lighter, and no other material being burned in order to light the herb. Back a few years ago I had a boyfriend who bought a hemp wick (think hemp twine), which was also meant to clean out the lighting aspect. Instead of lighting the bong with a lighter, the lighter lit the wick, which was then used to light the weed. Honestly, it worked okay, but I found it difficult to use. The laser bong does remove the inhalation of any extra materials, although there isn’t much information on whether it itself creates byproducts which might not be desirable to inhale.

The laser is supposedly more efficient than using a lighter, burning the herb evenly, and requiring less weed to do the same job. Going through weed quickly is often an issue, particularly when a device does not heat evenly, or simply requires a large amount for a not comparable hit. Anything that can elongate the amount of time weed lasts, certainly provides a positive benefit. How much it does in this department, has not been made clear.

It’s super cool. I don’t know how much this counts as a benefit, but in our world of constantly one-upping each other, and showing off our newest expenditures to those who want what we have, this bong certainly fits in line. Sure, it’s the mansion that’s probably too big, or the eighth car we could do without, but who doesn’t want a huge mansion, or to be able to afford eight cars? If the use of a laser does indeed make it a safer experience, then that is a massive benefit. Either way, in terms of ‘cool’ and ‘status’, this smoking device is the Rolls Royce of bongs.

It’s advertised that this laser bong uses lower temperatures to heat, and that this affects the overall feel. While this would have no effect on the negatives of combustion, it might make a difference in how a user feels the smoke in their body. Lower temperatures can mean a more comfortable time, and less coughing, as the heat can bother the throat and lungs. This is why bongs are often kitted out with extra measures to cool down the smoke.

laser

There is one massive thing to remember. If you’re looking at a laser bong as a healthier smoking option, this isn’t quite true. The biggest issue with smoking – and it doesn’t matter what’s smoked – is that something is being lit on fire and inhaled, and this is not changed through this particular design. It eliminates the added on butane fumes, that’s for sure, and therefore might net a smoke that tastes better and is slightly cleaner, but it won’t take out the overall dangers of smoking, not even by a little.

Quite honestly, in terms of actual benefits, there are some, but they’re not extensive. It does seem to promote a sleek, upscale, cleaner smoking experience, and the removal of butane is certainly helpful, along with the ability to make weed go further. Luckily, cool and futuristic are also benefits in our modern world, so if you’re looking for the newest breakthrough in smoking technology, and the most hip way to do it, this laser bong is definitely for you.

Conclusion

It should be interesting to watch other comparable models by other companies come out. With enough competition the design will surely be improved on, and with enough time, we can learn the true benefits (and detractions) of using laser bongs. For now, Hitoki certainly hit the nail on the head of cool, and I fully admit, I want to try this bong! Review upcoming.

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High Thoughts: Why do you get Cottonmouth from Smoking?

The thoughts that arise during a cannabis high can be some of the most original, funny and honest ones to ever pop into your brain. Why is the sky blue? How genuinely far is a light year away? Why does Adam Sandler always wear basketball shorts and an oversized t-shirt? For centuries, cannabis has been utilized for its mind-opening and philosophical effects. Today, we’re going to be delving into yet another mind-boggling question that many stoners might think: why do you get cottonmouth from smoking cannabis?

Cottonmouth is a strange phenomenon, but one that arises nonetheless. Let’s delve in and try to fully understand what this phenomena is, and why it occurs to those who smoke cannabis. As always, don’t block your high thoughts out, use them. 

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The Art of Questions

Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have asked questions about the world around them and their experiences in that world. It’s part of our DNA. It’s these thoughts and queries that have allowed us to learn, evolve and grow more intelligent. When a human first ever looked up to the sky and asked: what are those shiny things? When a human first ever looked at a tool and asked: what can I do with this? When a human first ever looked at themselves and asked: what am I? These questions have made us who we are. Romy Aran writes:

“It is in our human nature to seek answers as answers provide security. As such, we are willing to accept lies as long as they provide the illusion of truth. Asking questions means that one is willing to not find the answer immediately. It takes time to find answers.”

However, why is it that as we grow older some of us begin to stop asking questions? As children, we run around pointing at random inanimate objects and ask what they are. Our parents have to constantly wait on us, giving us obvious answers to these questions. Well, to them it’s obvious, but to children it’s all new. So why do we stop asking questions as we get older? Whilst asking questions allows us to learn information, it also has a social impact. Asking someone else a question highlights your interest in them. How are you? How was your day? Where are you from?

It uplifts them, makes them feel important. However, on the other hand, asking questions can suggest a lack of knowledge. People want to look smart, and want to look like they know things about the world. If you ask a question, you are openly admitting to not knowing something. That can be quite an honest reveal. But ultimately, the world is all of ours, and we have a right to ask questions about it. 

High Thoughts

High thoughts are very specific because these are the types of questions that pop into your head during a cannabis high. However, these thoughts are similar to child-like thoughts. They are free and without inhibition. Children don’t mind how asking a specific question might make them look, they simply want to know the answer. This is the same with those who are high. Cannabis and, specifically THC, can allow you to see the world in a different way; in a childish way. Maxim writes: 

“Cannabis enhances neural activity in the frontal cortex of your brain, which is essentially command central. It handles everything from attention and problem solving, to personality and temperament…the THC allows your brain to form new connections and pathways that didn’t exist before, thereby guiding your thought process into enlightened territory.”

The issue can be that parents will often tell their children to stop asking silly questions. Or teachers often ask their students to focus on the work and not ask questions that don’t make sense to the topic. However, thinking outside the box is what has allowed human beings to create some of the most important inventions in history. The lightbulb, the internet, the concept of science – all came about from asking ‘silly’ questions. Therefore, high thoughts must be cherished and answered, not avoided and criticized. That is why we’ll be doing exactly that today. And, our high question of choice is…drum roll please…why do you get cottonmouth from smoking? 

What is Cottonmouth?

First off, let’s answer an even simpler question. Cottonmouth is spoken about and discussed a lot in the world of cannabis, but what actually is it? And why do people call it that? 

Cottonmouth, also known as xerostomia by dental hygienists, is an issue that occurs when the mouth becomes dehydrated. The salivary glands do not produce enough saliva or spit, and thus the mouth becomes very dry. This can also cause the tongue and lips to crack or build up white, frothy spit. Here are a list of other symptoms that can come from having cottonmouth. Smartmouth lists:

  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Stringy saliva
  • Sticky or parched sensation in your mouth
  • A constant & unquenchable thirst
  • Difficulty speaking & swallowing
  • A raspy/hoarse voice
  • A sore throat
  • Problems tasting food & beverages
  • Trouble wearing dentures
  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth & on the tongue

So, if cottonmouth is caused by our salivary glands slowing down saliva production, then what is this triggered by?

What Causes Cottonmouth?

Cottonmouth and the slowing down of saliva production can happen in a variety of ways, not just through smoking cannabis. Spicy or salty foods can dehydrate the mouth, as well as drinking too much alcohol or coffee. Anything that essentially reduces the amount of liquids, and especially water, into the mouth is likely to cause dryness. Salt and spice can dry up liquids, whilst alcohol and coffee remove fluids from your blood, and thus you need extra water to balance those substances out.

What about Cannabis?

Smoking is of course a very dry act in itself. You’re putting a lit joint in your mouth and inhaling dry smoke. This, like anything hot, will naturally dry out the mouth. However, there’s more to it. Smoking can restrict the blood flow to various parts of your body, including the mouth. The smoke enters the body and slows down the veinal processes. Smartmouth continues:

“In addition to lack of blood flow, the nicotine in tobacco products is also known to minimize saliva flow and lead to issues like cottonmouth from smoking”

Whilst this might explain why cottonmouth is caused by joints with tobacco in them, it does not quite explain why blunts (with only cannabis in) can still give you the same sensation. Well, the truth is, cottonmouth can be caused by vaping, dabbing or smoking. The reason is that cannabis, itself, can cause this effect. When cannabis is consumed, the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body take them in and create the high or medical benefit – depending on the cannabinoids within the specific strain. However, these same receptors that take in the cannabinoids, also limit saliva production when this process occurs. Therefore, it’s not only the process of smoking, but cannabis itself that causes cottonmouth.

Is It Dangerous?

Cottonmouth, if left untreated and undealt with, can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. However, it isn’t necessarily a negative if it’s dealt with. Make sure to drink lots of water, and not just fizzy drinks, when you get high. When it comes to health, nothing can beat water. Healthline writes:

“Water helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, transport nutrients, remove waste, and circulate blood. That means your body can’t properly perform these functions if you’re dehydrated, which happens when you lose more fluids than you take in.”

Therefore, if you’re wanting to avoid cottonmouth but still wanting to consume cannabis, then ensure to have a big bottle of water with you at all times. Once you get into the habit of it, it won’t seem like such a burden. 

Conclusion

High thoughts are gifts to be championed, not to be ignored. We return to our inquisitive, child-like mindsets when we get high, and this is a great opportunity to ask questions that we don’t fully understand. Plus, you have the extra bonus of not feeling socially awkward for asking them. Cottonmouth is a confusing idea, but ultimately it’s caused by dehydration. Cannabis consumption can dehydrate the mouth and blood circulation. Therefore, make sure you’re hydrating regularly to avoid that awkwardly dry mouth that cottonmouth causes.

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Oregon Released First Rules for Magic Mushrooms Industry

We’ve known it’s coming since the November 2020 elections, when Oregon voted through Measure 109, for the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms in an adult-use market. Confusion has circulated since that time, with the public unsure of what this allows for. Now, Oregon has released some rules for its magic mushrooms industry, via Psilocybin Services, the division set up to regulate it.

The Oregon rules for magic mushrooms are good in some ways and limiting in others. More rules are due out by the end of the year. This wholly independent news platform specializes in the cannabis and psychedelics fields. To stay current on everything important happening in the cannabis and psychedelics industries, subscribe to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter. Also, it’ll get you premium access to deals on cannabis flowers, vapes, edibles, and much more! We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


Measure 109

Though it was often touted as a medical legalization for psilocybin, when Oregon passed Measure 109 on November 3rd, 2020, what it actually did was legalize the use of psilocybin magic mushrooms for an adult-use market. Called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative, Measure 109 didn’t come with too many specifics apart from that some sort of adult-use market was coming.

In terms of how popular this measure was at the time of the vote, 55.75% of the voting population agreed that this was a good idea, vs 44.25% which voted against it. Considering this is for a psychedelics legalization, which did not exist in the US at all prior to this time, it’s actually a really good showing. Cannabis still loses in some ballot measures despite the growing approval of it, so it says a lot for magic mushrooms, that Measure 109 passed with the majority.

When the measure passed, so little was understood about the final product of it, that voters literally voted for nothing more than a directive to open a program, with the knowledge that in some capacity “clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.”

However, at that time, it was unclear who would get the pass to use this service, who wouldn’t, and what requirements would exist for use. What was made clear, but somewhat ignored in the confusion that followed, is that the one thing that wouldn’t be required, is a diagnosis from a doctor. This, making whatever requirements that are attached in the end, at the very least, non-medical.

Measure 109 was the first of its sort to pass in the US, but it’s already being followed up by several states looking to pass some kind of recreational psychedelics legalization measure. These include, Michigan, California, Washington, and Colorado. Many individual locations in the US have already passed decriminalization measures, like Detroit, Seattle, and Denver, just to name a few.

Oregon Psilocybin Services releases rules for magic mushrooms

A few months ago, Oregon released some draft rules for its magic mushrooms legalization, which made clear that this was a recreational legalization. These included requirements for heavy metal testing, regulation about what pesticides could be used, and a host of other growing and production guidelines. It even stated that while tons of different psilocybin mushrooms exist, that only Psilocybe cubensis would be legal for use. The draft opened up many questions, and we’ve been waiting for Oregon to release finalized rules on its upcoming magic mushrooms industry.

On Friday, May 27th, the Oregon Health Authority via Oregon Psilocybin Services, released some official rules to regulate this new magic mushrooms market. What was released does not cover all aspects of the market, and instead acts as a preliminary set of guidelines, to be followed by the rest of the regulatory laws in the fall. It’s expected that more rules will be approved by December 31st of this year, and that the new program will go into effect on January 23rd, 2023.

One of the main stipulations released at this time, is a confirmation of the pesky issued mentioned above, that only one type of mushroom is approved for use, Psilocybe cubensis. This was a point much debated after the initial draft mentioned it, but despite many requests to open the spectrum further for more kinds of mushrooms, Oregon Psilocybin Services stated the following in a letter to the public:

“In some cases, public comments were incorporated in the adopted rules and in others they were not. OPS weighed competing priorities and viewpoints that were received throughout the rulemaking process when making revisions, while considering equity, public health and safety.” In terms of that only-one-type-of-mushroom issue, it said:

Oregon rules magic mushrooms

“OPS received comments requesting that the rules allow additional species of mushrooms and use of additional substrates. The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board recommended limiting cultivation to Psilocybe cubensis and prohibiting substrates that may pose a risk to health and safety.”

It did clarify, “To avoid the risk associated with deadly, poisonous look-alikes and the potential for wood lover’s paralysis and animal-borne pathogens, OPS has upheld this recommendation in final rules… OPS looks forward to consideration of additional species in the future through continued dialog with the public and recommendations from the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.”

Realistically though – unless that one species of psilocybin mushroom looks wildly different from all other psilocybin mushrooms, making it the only recognizable psilocybin mushroom, while all others look like poisonous mushrooms, this is very odd reasoning. Hopefully it will be updated in the future.

Other regulations

On the other hand, in what appears to be a positive showing for the idea of natural over synthetic, Oregon is not allowing synthetic psilocybin formulations, or psilocybin derivatives. This is a pretty big thing, as it’s the pharma industry that relies on synthetics, and such stipulations work in the favor of companies that focus on natural extractions.

Several other regulations were also released. For example, every mushroom batch must be tested for psilocybin and psilocin, which must be within 20%. Above this and they are no longer legal. Mushrooms can only be orally consumed, and cannot be administered with anything like MAO inhibitors, which can effect how the drug is broken down in the body. Rather than allowing other drug administration methods like skin patches, or nasal inhalers, Oregon is opting to retain a standardized approach, at least for now.

In order for psilocybin use to be legal, it must take place in a designated facility, under the watch of a designated administrator. Administrators must undergo 120 hours of training, 40 of which are observational sessions with someone receiving treatment. Facilitators do not need to have formal training in the mental health industry, or any therapeutic industry, which reinforces that this not a medical treatment. Oregon Psilocybin Services is expected to start reviewing applications for facilitators in June.

Magic mushroom services

What about medical?

What’s very clear, is that this is not a medical legalization. It’s strictly a recreational legalization, that kind of looks like a medical legalization. In fact, its not expected that medical treatments will begin until 2024, and only for one thing: treatment-resistant depression. The recreational exclusivity is made clearer by the lack of medical training of facilitators, and the lack of therapy offered. If this was for medical use, each facilitator would need some sort of medical or therapeutic degree.

It also totally annihilates the idea of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is when a psychedelic is taken in the presence of a doctor, after previous sessions to elucidate the patient’s issues. The doctor is trained to push the patient during their trip session to break their boundaries, in order to allow the brain to make new connections and pathways. Then a session is done afterwards to help the patient understand what happened, and to expand on the meaning of things.

There are some afraid that Oregon’s new setup might lead to mishaps and issues, which could make the whole industry look bad. COMPASS Pathways, which is in the midst of psilocybin trials for treatment-resistant depression (which the FDA helped put together to meet regulation), stated this on its site:

“To make sure it is safe and effective in patients, psilocybin therapy needs to be approved by medical regulators, not legislators. To do this, we have to run large-scale clinical trials to generate data to show the therapy works and is safe. Only then will it be approved by regulators, and become part of the healthcare system, prescribed by doctors and funded by national bodies, payers or insurers.”

But is that really better? Truth is, not everyone wants a medical session. Perhaps the issue here is that this legalization is being treated like a medical legalization in that it requires the use of specific clinics and facilitators, but is strictly for recreational purposes. If Oregon sees fit to legalize magic mushrooms, perhaps it should actually do that. Let people use them for recreational purposes at will, like with cannabis, and save the medical setting, for medical applications. Right now, a failing of all this, is that it’s a recreational legalization, that has no personal use or possession laws attached. Luckily, Oregon did at least decriminalize psilocybin via Measure 110.

Conclusion

As always, progress is progress, and we can’t be mad about that. Oregon is leading the way for psychedelics legalizations, and with so many states gunning for similar legalizations, the model will hopefully be improved on soon. Who knows, at the rate things are going, we might see the ability for personal possession and use of mushrooms, soon enough.

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South Africa Still Working On New Cannabis Bill

Back in 2020, I reported on South Africa’s legal limbo after a Constitutional Court ruling made cannabis prohibition illegal. What exactly this means for the country has been undefined for the past few years, and South Africa is still working to finalize its Cannabis for Private Purposes bill.

South Africa should have a new cannabis bill soon, which is great, because we’ve been waiting for it since 2018! We’re a publication that focuses on independent coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics fields. You can join in by signing up for the THC Weekly Newsletter, and also get prime access to tons of deals on vapes, edibles and smoking devices. We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


How it started

Much like many other countries, South Africa instituted laws against cannabis in the early 1920’s. First in 1922 with the Customs and Excise Duty Act, which classified cannabis as a habit-forming drug, and then in 1925 by including cannabis in the country’s Dangerous Drugs list, putting it with the likes of cocaine and opium. Further to that, it was criminalized 100% in 1928 with the Medical, Dental, and Pharmacy Act, which is where it stayed all the way until 2018.

On March 31st, 2017, a judge ruled that it was not constitutional to bar cultivation and use of cannabis for private use. This was done with a justification that this is a non-justifiable personal privacy infringement. A previous case on the matter brought by Gareth Prince about 15 years earlier, focused on the idea of infringement of religious freedoms, but this case was unsuccessful at changing anything.

The 2017 case didn’t include religious aspects, but focused on the privacy rights – or inalienable rights – of the people. The right to privacy is guaranteed under section 14 of the Bill of Rights of South Africa. It states that every individual has the right to lead a private life without government interference. The judge in the ruling made this statement:

“A very high level of protection is given to the individual’s intimate personal sphere of life and the maintenance of its basic preconditions and there is a final untouchable sphere of human freedom that is beyond interference from any public authority. So much so that, in regard to this most intimate core of privacy, no justifiable limitation thereof can take place… This inviolable core is left behind once an individual enters into relationships with persons outside this closest intimate sphere; the individual’s activities then acquire a social dimension and the right of privacy in this context becomes subject to limitation.”

However, as this was a regular court, in order for this ruling to have full effect, it needed to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court. When expected appeals to the decision came in, this was done. In September 2018, the Constitutional Court made a ruling on the matter which confirmed the ruling of the lower court, setting it as law. Some of the included points of the ruling, were the following:

  • Cannabis use is permitted by an adult when done in private.
  • Cannabis use is not permitted around children, or anyone who does not consent.
  • Cannabis is not permitted in public, or for anything beyond personal use.
  • Cannabis is permitted for private cultivation so long as its for personal use.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar scenario to what’s going on in Mexico, where a court ruling created legalization case law, but which still requires a government bill for all particulars. In both cases, it was the use of personal sovereignty laws which led the way to make these changes. In South Africa, the Court ruling set a legal precedent, but it didn’t make clear the specifics of what is allowed. Since that time, draft legislation has come up, but nothing has been passed.

Cannabis for Private Purposes bill

After what has been a very long wait, the government of South Africa is getting closer to releasing formal legislation, in the form of the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill. This bill has been circulating since 2020, and has been updated throughout that time based on the comments of different people and organizations. Current additions were approved by the National Assembly on March 31st of this year, meaning the bill is now in a second round of public meetings.

Some additional points within the South Africa cannabis bill include:

  • Recreational cannabis commercial activities.
  • Rules for cultivation, possession and supply of cannabis for members of organizations specifically related to religious and cultural purposes.
  • Individual privacy rights for adults to use cannabis for medical purposes.
South African cannabis

It also defines what a ‘private space’ is. The definition includes: a building, house, room, shed, hut, tent, mobile home, caravan, boat, or any part of one of the above. Essentially, anything that can be closed (or is away from other things), and where the public doesn’t have direct access, is a private space.

Since its still open for public comment, nothing is a done deal yet. The latest to give comments is the country’s largest trade federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which supports the legalization of the plant on all fronts. It submit its comments at the end of May. Though the organization supports legalization measures, it said the current bill is ‘unrealistically bureaucratic and cumbersome’, and needs a lot of reworking.

In fact, it went as far as to say that the legislation is way too restrictive, and doesn’t decriminalize the plant as much as it should. This is highlighted by how the organization sees the issue of cannabis regulation for religious purposes, and its dislike of rules created to monitor how people use cannabis in general.

Regardless of edits, none of this means that South Africa will have a regulated market. That’s one of the big differences between how South Africa and Mexico are handling things. Mexico is expected to have a regulated recreational market, whereas South Africa is legalizing private use and cultivation of the plant only.

How personal sovereignty leads to cannabis rights

The legal change in South Africa was a result of a court case that relied on personal sovereignty laws, which are a part of inalienable rights. Inalienable rights are rights that every human has, and that a government can’t take away. They relate to natural rights, or what some would call God-given rights, and they are not to be altered by governmental laws. Personal sovereignty is the same as self-ownership. This is considered an individual’s right for bodily integrity, and to be the sole controller of themselves. Personal sovereignty, is an inalienable right.

Three countries now have updated cannabis laws due to court cases involving personal sovereignty rights. South Africa’s Constitutional Court case was in 2018, making the 2017 verdict an official one in terms of the country’s laws. Though it doesn’t seek to set up a regulated market, it will allow for the possession, use, and cultivation of the plant privately.

inalienable rights

2018 was a popular year for inalienable rights to kick in. Over in Georgia, another Constitutional Court case ended with a verdict that overturned prohibition. The Court ruled that it’s not constitutional to punish the use of cannabis, as it poses no threat to others. It said a punishment for cannabis use is restrictive of personal freedoms, so long as no 3td party is affected. However, Georgia never mentioned needing a bill to further clarify anything, and the country now resides in a weird gray area, where cultivation and buying/selling are illegal, but possession and use are totally cool.

The other example is Mexico, which became the 4th legalized country officially in 2021, when the Supreme Court dropped laws of prohibition for private use, upon the government simply not doing its job. It unofficially became the 4th country back in 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled on the last of five consecutive cases in favor of legal cannabis use and cultivation. It said, as personally developed human beings, we must be allowed to pick our own recreational activities without the government interfering. When the government did not turn in a corresponding bill on time, the Supreme Court went ahead and dropped prohibition laws a year ago. We’re still waiting on the full bill to begin the official sales market.

Conclusion

Truth is, none of the three countries to make legal updates based on constitutional courts, have totally gotten it together yet. Georgia is in a strange legal limbo, and Mexico and South Africa are both waiting on specific bills to pass. We certainly have to wait a bit longer on all fronts, but it looks like South Africa is getting that much closer to a formal legalization/decriminalization with updates to its cannabis draft bill. The question now is, which will be first, South Africa or Mexico?

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