Rhode Island 1st State to Open Safe Use Sites for Drugs

You read it right! No, it’s not a real legalization, or even decriminalization. But for two years, Rhode Island is operating a pilot program with safe use sites that allows legal drug use. What will come after is hard to say, but for now, here are some details of this kind of cool – and necessary – new legislative move.

The new Rhode Island policy for safe use sites is meant to target extreme drug users. Luckily, cannabis doesn’t cause overdose deaths, so while smokers can take advantage of the sites, they don’t have the same concerns as opioid users. In fact, cannabis is often eyed as a tool for harm reduction from major drugs. But its also just a great plant that provides tons of useful compounds, not just standard THC. These days, there are tons of options available, so remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter all the latest news and industry stories, as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Rhode Island to open safe use sites for legal drug use

Rhode Island isn’t a legalized state, though its certainly known to be a more liberal one. While 18 states have legal recreational cannabis (which should be 19), Rhode Island isn’t immediately going in that direction. But it is doing something very forward thinking and cool. Especially considering that there are major drug issues in America, which are causing massive death rates. Though these issues don’t involve cannabis, what Rhode Island is doing will help out cannabis users as well.

On Wednesday, July 7th, 2021, Rhode Island’s governor, Dan McKee signed into law a bill designed to combat the ongoing and growing opioid epidemic. This issue can be seen in Rhode Island, as well as the rest of the US, and around the world as well in smaller amounts. The new Rhode Island bill is a two-year pilot program aimed at preventing overdosing by providing safe injection/safe use sites. Rhode Island recorded 384 overdose deaths in 2020, and 322 through November of 2021. These sites will focus mainly on helping those who inject heroin and methamphetamine.

Rhode Island is the first US state to adopt a policy that allows legal drug use in designated areas as part of this two-year pilot program. This policy was not instituted with the thought of cannabis in mind, even if it proves useful to cannabis smokers. What the pilot program is most intended for, is providing a way for the hardest of drug users, using the most dangerous of drugs, to have a safe place to get high around professionals who can help if there is a problem.

safe use sites

What will the Rhode Island safe use sites entail?

These safe use sites, also known as “harm reduction centers,” and “safe injection sites”, will provide clean needles, drug testing, and other services like recovery assistance. Each site is to be staffed by medical/qualified personnel, who are trained in CPR, overdose protocols, and the administration of drugs like naloxone, an opioid antagonist. Each site will have all the necessary supplies to carry out these functions. Sites will operate under the control of a medical director to oversee clinical practices, and a harm reduction center director who oversees the administrative management of the location.

Apart from all this, the sites will function partly as social services, providing referrals for housing, employment, and legal assistance, if necessary, while also offering basic health services. Each center is required to report deaths and overdoses to the medical director as well as to the state Department of Health, with a mandate to report all overdoses and other causes of death within 24 hours. Non-fatal overdoses must be reported within 48 hours of the time they occurred.

All sites in Rhode Island must get licensing from the state, and an approval from the city or town in which the site will operate. Mobile units will exist as well, and must provide very specific schedules for where they will be including complete addresses and operation times. Licenses can be denied to operators, suspended if there are issues, or completely revoked if regulators see fit.

One of the interesting things to be offered at these sites, is drug testing. But not the kind of drug testing most are used to. This isn’t drug testing to see if someone used something, but a way to actually test the drugs about to be taken, particularly for the presence of fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely strong opioid drug which people take on purpose, but which is also often a reason for accidental overdose due to it being used as an adulterant in other drugs.

Is this new?

This is new for the US, yes, since no other programs like this currently exist. Detractors like Arthur Corvese, a Democratic Rhode Island State Representative, called the idea a ‘moral oxymoron’ since legal use is now going to be permitted in an otherwise illegal state. The idea of encouraging such legal use of illegal drugs has been criticized by opponents, who believe this will somehow increase crime in surrounding areas…although I haven’t seen an explanation of how this is thought to be the case.

In reality, outside of America, this isn’t new at all. And not only that, while detractors shoot their mouths off to a US audience which is probably unaware of comparable programs in other countries, those comparable programs have already been cited for their positive influence on drug using culture. Something that Americans should really be informed on, and considering in this.

drug overdose

Canada, Australia, and different parts of Europe, for example, have cumulatively opened around 100 comparable safe-use sites. The Netherlands has the largest number, with just under 40 locations. Its first was opened in 1996, and the country was able to reduce overdose deaths by ensuring users were getting pure heroin, rather than a heroin/fentanyl mix. Canada’s first site opened in 2003, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver where there are many IV drug users.

Canada, between 2017-2019 alone had around two million visits to safe use sites. The country had 39 sites open as of last year, with an expected daily visitor amount of 3,000 people. The busiest sites in Canada can have up to 500 visits a day, according to Health-Infobase.  

Will this happen elsewhere in America?

Opioid overdoses are a massive issue in the US, and this is not debatable, even if specific numbers are. For example, in 2019 hhs.gov, said there were close to 71,000 overdose deaths, whereas drugabuse.gov, put the number at 50,000. Either way, it’s a ridiculous number of avoidable deaths. hhs.gov provided more statistics, saying there were 14,480 heroin overdoses that year, over 10 million people misusing pain killers, and 48,000 synthetic opioid deaths. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, total opioid overdose deaths went up to 93,000 in 2020.

It gets grosser. In 2017, over 191 million opioid prescriptions were written out in the US, meaning that 58.7 prescriptions were written for every 100 people. 45% of these were given by primary care physicians who are not supposed to write such prescriptions at all. The economic burden of this epidemic in terms of health care, emergency care services, addiction programs, lost productivity, and dealing with the criminal justice system, costs about $78.5 billion every year. Who do you think pays for that? That’s right, the same taxpayers who were put on these pharmaceutically pushed medications that the government allows through regulation, now have to pay for the damage they’re doing.

So, yes, these sites will likely be popping up all over the place in the future. In fact, this was not the first try. Back in 2020, Philadelphia went ahead with plans to open Safehouse, a safe injection site. This was ruled against in January, 2021, by the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, stymieing the effort.

However, seven months later, the nonprofit behind the venture was already pushing back legally, announcing in the summer of 2021 that it would be filing a petition to take the case to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court refused the case (likely something it will be sticking its foot in its mouth for later), in October, 2021.

safe use

This hasn’t deterred proponents, who are planning on relaunching the case at the district court level, with new arguments. Given Rhode Island passing this legislation, and increasing opioid deaths, I expect this time it will go through. While that’s just my opinion for now, that California and Massachusetts are also currently considering plans to implement a similar structure, indicates that this is actually a new trend being established in the fight against opioid addiction.

Conclusion

The whole thing is horrifying if you take a step back. The government fully approved and allowed these medications to be sold, and then didn’t respond to its people dying. In fact, it still hasn’t stopped the ability to write prescriptions for these medications. In fact, prescriptions haven’t gone down at all.

So not only did the government support – and is continuing to support – its people being killed by big pharma, but it’s working to stymie any progress in the fight against it, least of all anything related to helping citizens be safer with their pharmaceutically-induced drug issues. So here’s to Rhode Island, for being the first state to start the process of recovery through safe use sites, and for giving access to safe ways to use drugs for those who need it. No thanks to the federal government at all.

Hello and welcome to CBDtesters.co, the internet’s one-stop-shop for all the most relevant and ground-breaking cannabis and psychedelics-related news going on worldwide. Stop by regularly to stay informed on the quickly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletter, so you’re the first to get all the news.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Rhode Island 1st State to Open Safe Use Sites for Drugs appeared first on CBD Testers.

States That Might Legalize Psychedelics in 2022 – Is Yours on the List? 

Over the last decade we’ve seen a wave of cannabis reform efforts that have seemingly reached every corner of the earth. In the US alone, nearly three-quarters of the nation has adopted some type of medical cannabis program, while over a dozen states have legalized it completely for adult recreational use. Now, we’re seeing the psychedelics industry following in the same exact footsteps – first with sweeping decriminalization and the implementation of psychedelic-assisted therapy, and eventually, one can only assume, full-scale adult-use legalization.  

As of now, psychoactive plants, roots, and fungi remain federally prohibited, categorized under Schedule 1 on the DEA’s list of controlled substances. However, individual cities and states are taking steps to loosen up restrictions on these plants. 2022 is expected to be an amazing year for drug reform, and many states have legislation in the works regarding entheogenic substances. Is your state on this list? Will psychedelics legalization happen where you live?

The legalization of psychedelics is a hot topic of discussion right now, and we’re here to keep you updated every step of the way. For more articles like this one, remember to subscribe to the Psychedelics Weekly Newsletteryour top source for everything related to this growing and important industry.


Decriminalization vs Legalization of Psychedelics

The terms “decriminalization” and “legalization” are often used interchangeably, but they are very different. Full legalization of psychedelics removes most legal prohibitions against such compound (age restrictions, DUI laws, and some other restrictions would still apply). If psychedelics are completely legalized, individuals found selling or possessing it for personal use will not be subject to criminal OR civil penalties.  

Decriminalization means that the substance in question is still federally illegal, but criminal penalties are not enforced. Instead, users would face civil penalties such as fines and forced rehabilitation, although any type of legal action would be the lowest of priorities.  Records may be kept in a local tribunal, but they will not affect employment, housing, or travel opportunities. If an individual is court-ordered into a rehab program, and they chose not to attend, it’s possible that criminal penalties would be imposed at that point.  

The problem with decriminalization is that it can allow for too much “interpretation” of the law. For example, in a decriminalized state, a police officer can take your cannabis, fine you, and send you to court where your case will end up getting thrown out if it meets the criteria of a legal decriminalized amount. So, you’re out the money you spent on flower that remains confiscated, the city doesn’t get any additional money from you because the case is tossed out in court, and the entire ordeal is majorly inconvenient and a huge waste of time for everyone involved. 

The plus side to decriminalization is that if signifies the changing and more progressive views of the general public. A quick google search of psychedelics will lead to a seemingly endless list of news stories about different regions that are decriminalizing psychedelics, specifically psilocybin, for various reasons – be it personal use or therapeutic.  

California 

California has made a lot of progress this year on the psychedelic front, and it’s highly likely that these substances will be legalized by the end of the year. This could happen one of two ways: either through a legislative approached sponsored by democratic senator Scott Wiener, or via a ballot campaign that would allow citizens to vote on the subject during the 2022 elections. 

Senate Bill 519, which aims to legalize various psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA for adult use (21 and over), passed through a second senate vote last spring. It was expected to be finalized by the end of 2021, but ultimately, the bill was turned into a two-year proposal to be revived in 2022. Experts believe there is a “50/50 chance” that SB 519 will advance this session.  

Luckily, that is not the only current path to legalization in the golden state, as California activists are currently collecting signatures to add a psychedelics reform initiative to the November ballot. This route would only legalize psilocybin mushrooms, however. Psychedelic mushrooms are already decriminalized in Oakland and Santa Cruz.  

Colorado 

Colorado is already on the forefront of psychedelic legalization, with Denver having decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms two years ago. The Capital City became the first in the nation to take such a progressive step, so it makes sense for the rest of the state to follow suit. The city of Colorado Springs, the second largest city in the state, also has its own bill in the works. 

On a grander scale, Colorado’s 2022 ballot will contain a few different initiatives regarding psychedelics reform. The first one would legalize possession, cultivation, and personal use of psychedelics for anyone over the age of 21 years. Additionally, a framework for regulating “healing centers” would be established, where patients could safely utilize psilocybin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline for therapeutic treatments.  

The other two initiatives, both titled The Natural Medicine Healing Act, were spearheaded by national advocacy groups. One is similar to the above proposal, and would legalize cultivation and possession of numerous different psychoactive substances, as well setting up a licensing process for psychedelic therapy clinics. The second bill is almost identical but would only apply to psilocybin and psilocin.  

Michigan 

In Michigan, a handful of cities have already passed psychedelic reform laws, the largest being Grand Rapids and Detroit. At the state level, a bill sponsored by democratic senator Jeff Irwin would legalize cultivation, possession, and even delivery of many different plant-derived entheogenic substances.  

Delivery, not in the normal sense of the word, which is typically paid for. Irwin specified that people would be exempt from criminal penalties so long as “they are not receiving money or other valuable consideration for the entheogenic plant or fungus.” Commercial production, sales, and distribution would remain illegal. 

The most interesting part though, is a clause that states people will still be permitted to “charge a reasonable fee for counseling, spiritual guidance, or a related service that is provided in conjunction with the use of an entheogenic plant or fungus under the guidance and supervision of an individual providing the service.” 

Missouri  

A republican lawmaker from Missouri, Rep. Michael Davis, submitted a proposal that would legalize psychedelic use for people with certain serious medical conditions. Some of the substances in question include MDMA, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, mescaline, peyote and psilocybin.  

Additionally, the proposal states that, “production and distribution of any Schedule I psychedelic drug that qualifies as an investigational drug…by a manufacturer and any dispensation of such drug by a physician or pharmacy for use in accordance with this section shall be considered lawful.” 

This bill would be building on the state’s existing ‘right-to-try’ law, which was “passed by a conservative majority in Congress and signed by President Trump in 2018.” Right-to-try laws were created with the intent of allowing terminally ill patients to utilize experimental treatment options (drugs, devices, biologics, etc.) that have completed Phase I clinical testing but have not yet been approved by the FDA. Missouri was the third state to enact such laws, and currently, 41 state offer the “right-to-try”.  

“There is emerging interest and significant clinical research supporting the safety and efficacy of psychedelic drugs for PTSD, traumatic injury therapy and numerous other conditions,” Davis said in a press release. “Because the [Food and Drug Administration] has not taken action to reschedule these drugs and make them generally available, I am working to make these drugs available through Missouri’s investigational drug access statute.”  

Virgina 

Last week, Virginia lawmakers introduced two bills that would decriminalize the possession and use of a handful of natural psychedelics, one in the House of Delegates and one in the Senate. The house bill would reduce the possession of “peyote, ibogaine, psilocybin, or psilocin by adults 21 and older” from a Class 5 felony to a civil penalty that carries a $100 fine.  

As per the proposal, “Any dollars collected from psychedelics possession violations would go to the state’s Drug Offender Assessment and Treatment Fund, which supports substance misuse treatment programs and drug courts.” 

The senate bill is pretty much identical but only applies to psilocybin and psilocin found in psychedelic mushrooms and truffles. Virginia is also working on implementing a commercial cannabis market, so this should be an exciting year for the Old Dominion State. 

Washington State 

Being one of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis back in 2012, alongside Colorado, and with their neighbors to the south having already decriminalized all drugs, it makes sense that Washington is considering more lenient regulations on psychedelics as well.  

As a matter of fact, the ballot prepared by industry activists would decriminalize drugs on a wider scale, making the possession of any “unlawful” drug only a civil infraction. People caught with such contraband would either pay a fine or be referred to a drug treatment program. Currently, drug possession in Washington is a misdemeanor, reduced from a felony in 2021.  

Christina Blocker of Commit to Change WA, says her organization is “energized by the support that we have received across the state of Washington,” and that “2022 is the year where we will have the opportunity to end the War on Drugs and its impacts on our families, our neighbors, and our communities.” 

Final Thoughts on Psychedelics Legalization in 2022

Exactly how many of these bills and ballot proposals will actually pass remains to be seen, but it’s exciting to see that the country is taking psychedelics seriously and at the state level, we are beginning to witness the loosening of all these overbearing restrictions that are currently in place. Maybe full legalization of psychedelics is not as far-fetched as we once thought.

Welcome readers! Thanks for joining us at CBDtesters.co, your one-stop-shop for the most important and relevant cannabis and psychedelics-related news happening now. Read-thru the site regularly to stay informed on the constantly-in-motion universe of cannabis, and medical psychedelics, and sign up for the The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re always on top of what’s going on.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post States That Might Legalize Psychedelics in 2022 – Is Yours on the List?  appeared first on CBD Testers.

Exploring Cannabis Culture in Moscow, Russia

Zdravstvuyte and welcome to Moscow, the mysterious, majestic and imposing capital of Russia. Where Vodka is swigged to the cheers of nostravya and hot baths or banya’s are enjoyed by all. A Beautiful city with a wealth of history, but what is the Russian capital’s attitude to cannabis?

Would you be safe smoking a spliff in front of St Peter’s Basilica? In this edition of cannabis culture, we’re jetting off to Moskva to find out. Here at CBD testers, when we talk about cannabis culture we are discussing ‘the way that cannabis can be perceived and treated within a society, city or country.’ This means all aspects of cannabis not just smoking, but also the attitudes and use of cannabinoid oil products and the attitudes towards medical cannabis too. So, wrap up warm, drink down your borscht and welcome to Moscow.

Whether you’re talking about the US, Europe, or anywhere else in the world, cannabis culture can vary significantly. To learn about laws across the globe, make sure to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Moscow

Moscow is the capital of Russia, located in the far western side of the giant country. First mentioned in 1147, it has grown from a small city located on the river Moskva into the largest city in Europe, by population. Moscow was the capital of the USSR until it fell apart, when it then was declared the capital of the Russian Federation. Throughout history, Moscow has seen battles and sieges, from Napoleon to the Nazis, both falling at the walls of the Kremlin. It is a mega-city, the financial capital of Russia as well as its cultural capital with many theatres, writers and poets hailing from the city. The Bolshoy is one of the largest and most famous ballet theatres in the world and the Moscow Arts theatre was the original home of Checkov’s The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. Let’s take a closer look at some of the must see places to visit in the Russian capital.

Red Square

Located in the centre of Moscow, Red Square is one of the most famous tourist sites in the whole of europe. An imposing public square just outside the dark red walls of the Kremlin, the red square would make any one feel tiny. The name actually comes from the Russian word Krasny, which used to mean beautiful, but later meant red in more modern Russian. The square is home to a whole host of famous sights, including: St Peter’s basilica the candy coloured church with beautiful spires, Lenin’s tomb, where you are still able to visit the preserved body of the founding father of the USSR, and the Russian State historical museum, a fantastic collection of artefacts about the Russian state. 

Pushkin Museum 

The beautiful Pushkin museum is a must see in the city of Moscow. Home to over 700 000 individual pieces of art, there’s almost too much to see in one day. Hundreds of sculptures, beautiful paintings and from across the whole world, it’s one of the best art museums I’ve ever visited.

The Moscow Metro

I know, you’re probably wondering why I’d put a mode of public transport on the top things to see in Moscow, but the metro is in itself a work of art. Each station was individually built to be as grand as possible. Some have works of art, some are painted like the inside of a great ballroom… One thing’s for sure, each one is spectacularly individual.

Cannabis in Moscow

So what is the relationship between the muscovites and cannabis? Well it’s a little tricky, recently the government has been cracking down on drug control and convictions in the city. The laws have become tough, as described below, and it is very tricky to find cannabis in Russia and even dangerous to do so. This tricky relationship with cannabis started with the USSR, who cracked down on cannabis and opium in the 60’s and 70’s to defeat what they called narcomania. These strict laws have lasted into modern Russia and Putin has vocally demonstrated his dislike of drugs and drug culture.

Is It Legal?

To be blunt, no. Russia has very strict drug laws and these extend to cannabis. Russia has one of the highest numbers of people per capita imprisoned for drug possession in europe and this is likely due to the rather draconian laws surrounding drugs, including cannabis.  Cannabis is included on list 1 of narcotic and psychoactive substances, which means it is treated with the strictest level of control. Possession of cannabis in Russia and Moscow would lead to a fine of a few thousand dollars and this is only if you’re caught with an amount of less than 6 grams. A law passed in 2006 meant that any amount below 6 grams was classed as an administrative issue, so dealt with fines, anything above was considered a large amount and could lead to a prison sentence or a large fine of up to 40,000 rubles.

However, if the person caught, willingly hands in the cannabis and then gives up any information that may lead to more drug related arrests, then they may avoid penalties. It is particularly risky for a foreigner to be in possession of cannabis in Russia. Polica may be more likely to ask for a bribe, which may be even higher than the fine. If you don’t pay this, they can threaten to take your passport or fine you. In fact, recently an American student was fined $230 for the possession of cannabis in St Petersburg. What’s more interesting is that the cannabis was medicinal. Medical cannabis as well as cannabinoid oils are illegal in Russia, although there is research going into the benefits of cannabis medically. Also, interestingly medical cannabis was briefly permitted for anyone arriving into Moscow for the 2018 world cup!

Picking up in Moscow

Despite the tough laws, people do still smoke cannabis in Moscow. In fact a recent survey suggested that there were around 8 million drug users in Russia. Picking up drugs in Moscow is not strictly advised, considering the illegality. However, if one was desperately in need of some cannabis, then there are methods. Many reddit groups discuss the best ways to pick up cannabis in Moscow and many advise visiting nightclubs and speaking to younger citizens. Drugs do exist in the city, however they have to be found. Locals will be better to ask than any drug sellers on the street. It is strongly advised not to accept any drugs from someone selling on the streets, firstly because it is impossible to know whether these sellers are police or not and secondly because the quality is likely to be horrendous.

Even when you do find a local to advise you on where to pick up cannabis, the results can be somewhat complicated. I stayed in Moscow for two months and a friend of mine was sent on a rather comical journey to pick up cannabis. A local had advised him to message on a particular facebook site, protected from police view. Someone from this site then messaged him a location (after he’d bank transferred some money). The location was an hour outside of Moscow, in a forest… He had to cycle out into the forest and follow the exact directions to a marker on his map. When there, he found a small baggy, hidden underneath some foliage. We tried it… it was terrible, but the journey, he says, was worth it for the story. 

The Future of Drugs in Moscow

A reform in Russian drug policy doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. In a bleak survey, done in 2014, only 14% of Russians believed that drugs such as Cannabis should be legalised. With a proportion that low, it seems unlikely that the government will make any large scale changes. A quite famous case of an anti corruption journalist called Andrey Golunov, who was arrested for supposed trafficking of cannabis, has stirred some debate about the laws surrounding drugs in Russia.

The journalist claimed that the cannabis found on him had been planted and, indeed, the court agreed. The law, article 228, that allows for arrests to be made for people carrying over 6 grams, has been called under question and there are reports that the government is willing to discuss shortening the quite brutal sentences for non-trafficking related drug possession. Perhaps this, as well as a growing scepticism within youth groups in Russia, could be the start of a slow progression towards legalisation.  

Conclusion

So, perhaps Moscow isn’t exactly the most cannabis friendly city in the world… in fact it may be one of the strictest in Europe, but there is still evidence of some cannabis culture. Within younger generations, in the reddit groups, in the surreptitious packages in forests, cannabis culture is still extant in the beautiful city of Moscow. However, we really don’t recommend actively seeking out cannabis in the Russian capital, at least not just yet, as the law is still very strict and unless you want to pay a hefty fine at least, it may be safer to enjoy the city without our wonderful plant… at least until the Russian’s come to their senses about cannabis. 

Welcome to CBDtesters.co! The internet’s one-stop-shop for the most thought-provoking and important cannabis and psychedelics-related news going on globally. Join us everyday to stay informed on this ever-changing landscape of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletterso you’re always first on getting the important news.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Exploring Cannabis Culture in Moscow, Russia appeared first on CBD Testers.

Look Your Best: The Benefits of Hemp Cosmetics

There are a lot of ways to use the cannabis plant, and a lot of products that can be made. Whether a person wants to smoke flower, vape a concentrate, eat an edible, inhale via a nasal spray, get it through a patch, or rub it all over their skin, each of these methods allows a person to ingest compounds, or use the plant in some way. In the case of cosmetics, the goal isn’t to get high, the goal is to look good. So here are some basics of the benefits of hemp cosmetics.

The benefits of hemp cosmetics are substantial compared to standard petroleum-based cosmetics, and this is good for personal health, and the environment. Cannabis is great in that way, offering tons of positive medical and recreational attributes from smoking up, to getting ready for a night out. Plus, with the new and wide-ranging cannabinoids market, not only can products be bought outside of regulation, but there are tons of new offerings including delta-8 THC, THCV, and HHC among others. Check out all our current deals and find the products perfect for you.


What are hemp cosmetics?

As always, before getting into the benefits of hemp cosmetics, its best to first describe what we’re talking about. Most people probably have a working definition of cosmetics in their head. Nonetheless, for anyone that needs a formal definition, cosmetics are “relating to, or making for beauty especially of the complexion.” With a second definition defining that this is “done or made for the sake of appearance.”

In other words, makeup, and skin care items. Whether you’re moisturizing your skin to get that awesome healthy glow, rubbing rouge on your cheeks, covering up those blemishes, or putting thickening cream in your hair, these are all examples of products used to improve appearance, and they all fit under the title of ‘cosmetics’.

Cosmetics are far and away mainly female bought items. In very few societies today is it standard for men to wear makeup, though this certainly doesn’t preclude them from doing so. Especially when it comes to things like covering blemishes, or hair care (including shaving), men do take part in the market as well.

hemp cosmetics

Hemp cosmetics are cosmetics that incorporate hemp into their ingredients list, many using hemp oil as the base for the product. With tons of medical properties, there are many benefits to the user for using of hemp cosmetics. This isn’t simply because hemp can offer so much, but also as an alternative to the often-not-safe chemicals used in standard cosmetics today.

Today’s cosmetic industry

The actual history of cosmetics in the US is generally not written about well. In fact, over the years I’ve watched basic historical information disappear from the internet, seemingly as a form of censorship. Which actually makes sense in this situation, as the real story of cosmetics and big oil is a rather seedy one. It’s also likely the reason there is virtually no regulation in cosmetics (apart from chemicals used for coloring), since regulation would end the ability to use petroleum byproducts in products.

In short, “In the 1950s, government subsidies incentivized companies to process oil byproducts into synthetic chemicals and resins. Capitalizing on these generous subsidies, the cosmetic industry hired chemical engineers to design their products, with the resulting synthetic substances sold as body and skin ‘care’ products.  The cosmetic industry created the misconception that the skin is impervious, and regulations misleadingly classify oil cosmetics as ‘external’ products –  ignoring the effects of dermal chemical absorption.”

Not only was a weird idea developed that the skin actually acts as a barrier to the chemicals put on it (we know now that is highly and dangerously untrue), but without instituting regulation, it allowed for these chemicals to be used for decades of time despite continuous information to the contrary being put out about their safety.

I expect this is precisely why no regulation measure exists. The government supports big oil, and supported oil byproducts being used in cosmetics. If you’re going to promote an industry to use bad chemicals, and you want to get away with it, you have to forego all regulation to ensure those bad chemicals aren’t ruled out.

More recently, adding onto the petroleum problem, a new oil is now being used for cosmetics, complete with its own issues. Palm oil. Though palm oil provides a safer ingredient than petroleum byproducts, it comes with a massive environmental toll in the form of deforestation (reportedly, 8% of the world’s forests were destroyed for palm oil production between 1990 and 2008.) This is also related to peatlands becoming flammable when drained to grow palm, resulting in fires that cause more carbon emissions, and effect the health of those who breathe in the smoke.

palm oil

According to Greenpeace, “more than 900,000 people in Indonesia have suffered acute respiratory infections due to the smoke from fires in 2019, and nearly 10 million children are at risk of lifelong physical and cognitive damages due to air pollution.” In fact, “In the first 10 months of 2019, these fires released an amount of CO2 close to the UK’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.” Palm is used because it’s a cheap oil, for which production has massively increased in the last several decades.

What are the benefits of hemp cosmetics vs standard?

Now that we’ve gone through how the standard (generally corporate) cosmetics industry is a rather dirty place, this leads us to the benefits that can be gained by using hemp-based cosmetics instead. We already know that hemp offers massive health and environmental benefits (or less detractions) than standard materials in many industries, and for many products. Whether it’s building materials like cement, or leather, paint and finishing products, plastics, or even batteries, hemp offers a safer alternative. And this can be seen for cosmetics as well.

When used in cosmetics, what we’re talking about isn’t hemp flowers, but hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is “extracted by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Hemp oil is rich in properties that makes it a very effective moisturizer functioning as an emollient to soften and smoothen the skin. Hemp seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and other nutrients that keep the skin in a good condition.”

As hemp is natural, recyclable, non-toxic, and biodegradable, it makes the far better option for what to put on your skin, than something toxic that will go directly to your bloodstream. Think about all those oil derivatives, and what that means to your body to be ingesting them.

If you’re wondering if chemical absorption into the bloodstream through the skin is really an issue, (as it is often touted as a non-issue), it’s best to remember that things like birth control patches, nicotine patches, and fentanyl patches are all used for a reason. And understanding that on the one hand, should allow the logic in, that the skin absorbs what’s put on it. This might not go for everything (often an argument to back up using such chemicals), but it’ll go for most things.

According to a Huffington Post article which references Environmental Working Group research, “In 2005, the Environmental Working Group published a combination of two studies that found toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. in the fall of 2004. They screened for more than 400 chemicals, and an astounding 287 toxins were detected within the umbilical cord blood of these newborns.”

cosmetic absorption

What were they? “Of these 287 chemicals, 217 were neurotoxins, and 208 are known to damage growth development or cause birth defects. These toxins included mercury, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans (PBCD/F and PBDD/F), perflorinated chemicals (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides like DDT and chlordane, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and many others. These study results have been largely ignored by the media.” While not all of this relates to cosmetics, many of these chemicals can indeed be found in skincare products.

More specific benefits of hemp cosmetics

We’ve gone over that hemp is safer than petroleum-based cosmetics, but what can it actually do for a person? Here are some basics of the benefits of using hemp cosmetics. When referring to ‘hemp oil’ it means oil derived from the hemp plant, and this implies the presence of CBD. Sometimes CBD oils – which are hemp oils – are sold in concentrated form, but there should always be CBD in hemp oil, unless its specifically taken out to meet a regulation. Even in these cases, there is likely to be a trace amount.

According to Dr. Tina Alster, clinical professor of dermatology at Washington DC’s Georgetown University Medical Center, “CBD may have a positive impact on a variety of health concerns and conditions including chronic pain, joint Inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, memory, nausea, neurological disorders, skin disorders and more.”

In terms of specifically offering benefits to the skin, Dr. Alster related that “CBD oil has an anti-inflammatory property, which can benefit the skin, and it can also reduce oil production, provide moisture and relieve pain and itching.”

The doctor states, “Topical CBD is safe and works effectively for all skin types. The products are easy to administer. Sufferers of serious medical skin conditions and those who are seeking innovative skincare options can benefit from topical CBD use… Anti-inflammatory properties associated with CBD are beneficial in treating such dermatologic conditions as acne, psoriasis and eczema due to reduction of dryness, irritation and redness. CBD-containing creams, oils, gels and serums not only moisturize and soothe the skin but are also showing encouraging results in relieving pain caused by certain skin disorders.”

Conclusion

Hemp oil offers two basic things for the cosmetics industry. First, it offers a non-toxic base oil to work with which isn’t associated with massive environmental or medical damage. It’s not a byproduct of the oil industry, or a reason for mass deforestation. It’s plant material, and that beats out any synthetic or petroleum-based material out there.

benefits hemp cosmetics

Second, it’s actually good for the skin. It promotes skin health, by offering it the vitamins and minerals that it needs to be functioning at its best. While much in the cosmetics world is meant to cover up imperfections, hemp oil cosmetic products can do the same and more, offering a way to look better, which actually helps eliminate issues by promoting healthier skin function.

Hello and welcome all! Thanks for joining us at CBDtesters.co, your preeminent location for the most important and thought-provoking cannabis and psychedelics-related news globally. Give the site a read-thru regularly to stay up-to-date on the ever-moving landscape of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and make sure to sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletter, so nothing important ever gets by you.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Look Your Best: The Benefits of Hemp Cosmetics appeared first on CBD Testers.

Legacy Cannabis Operators Shunned From Billion Dollar Industry

Legacy cannabis operators are the ones who bore the brunt of prohibition and paved the way for a new, legal market to flourish; one worth billions and one that has been unwelcoming, at best, to these industry OGs. Cannabis activists and many longtime business owners are pushing for the inclusion of legacy brands in the world of legalized pot. Otherwise, states are missing out on billions of dollars annually as illicit sales continue to thrive, even in recreational markets.  

The cannabis industry has changed a lot over the last few years, but fundamentally, we all want the same thing: progress, although that could have varying meanings for different people. For more articles like this one, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products, remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


What are legacy cannabis operators?  

Legacy operators are the trailblazers who started their cannabis businesses before it was legal, and are much more in-line with ‘stoner culture’ and history. The term can refer to business owners who run “grey market” dispensaries that have not yet become legally compliant, or street dealers who continue operating the same way they have been for decades. 

While some legacy operators have no intentions of going legit, an overwhelming majority say they would if the process wasn’t so expensive and permeated with red tape. With so many different and constantly changing regulations to adhere to, and startup costs in the hundreds of thousands, it’s no surprise that legality is out of reach for many.  

Take De’Shawn Avery from New York, who has been selling flowers for years and claims he “provided a very in-demand product when there was no product.” Before legalization, savvy entrepreneurs like Avery were a community staple that many of us were very grateful for; after legalization, they began to worry about the future of their businesses and what their roles would be in the new industry.  

Avery, and generations of other legacy dealers, fear they don’t fit the modern-day archetype of a cannabis businessperson. “It’s usually not Black people or people with records who are favored when it comes to money-making opportunities,” he pointed out.

And he’s not far off the mark for thinking that way. A few states have started to keep information on demographics within the cannabis industry and a study conducted by Marijuana Business Daily found that only 4.3 percent of cannabis companies are owned by African Americans, 5.7 percent were Hispanic/Latino owned, and 2.4% were owned by Asian Americans. That leaves 87.6 percent of pot business that are white-owned, most of which are also male-owned companies.  

To make matters worse, in most states people with prior felonies face additional restrictions when applying for cannabis business licensing. So, let’s say a legacy operator gets arrested on felony drug possession charges, then cannabis becomes legal in their state the following year. Despite having experience in the industry, existing clientele, and the perfect opportunity to transition from working in the shadows to being a legitimate business owner; they would have to wait 3 to 10 years before they could legally apply for a license. At that point, all the other businesses in their area would be already established, have possibly stolen some of their customers, and it would be even more difficult to get a foot in the door. 

The cannabis industry is definitely more inclusive than others, but often, still holds on tightly to that ‘old-boys club’ mentality that can make women, minorities, and those longtime legacy operators feel shut out.  

Looking West 

For a perfect example of the struggles faced by cannabis legacy operators, let’s take a quick look at what has been going on in California since the state passed proposition 215 and legalized medical marijuana back in 1996. At that point, the industry was still small and totally fringe. Most residents did not even know that cannabis had been legalized medicinally for so many years, and there were only a small number of dispensaries scattered throughout the state. 

By the time I turned 18 (in 2008) and was able to get a ‘medical card’ (which was shockingly easy and practically every pothead I knew had one), the industry had become very recreational. “Dispensaries”, or retail pot shops, were popping up everywhere. I once bought weed from a guy who was running his “dispensary” out of a detached garage on is property in the middle of Victorville, a small town in the high desert on the way to Vegas.

That “anything-goes” state of the industry led to the eventual passing of Proposition 64 in 2016, which legalized the possession and recreational use of cannabis for anyone 21 years of age or older. A lot of the businesses operating under the original medical regime, or under the table as many were, could not meet all the demands of operating in the new legal market, and thus, were forced to shut down or continue running illegally.  

One of the biggest issues, aside from the exorbitant costs of licensing, were local moratoriums and that zoned only certain areas for cultivation, retail, and other cannabis operations. By July 2021, still just 31 counties and 181 cities (out of 58 and 482, respectively) allow any type of marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions.  

 “We voted for a law, and we are blocked at the local level,” says Andrew DeAngelo, a long-time California cannabis activist, industry consultant, and co-founder of legacy dispensary chain, Harborside Collective. “There are big counties that are known for growing weed where it’s banned,” he adds. 

States are losing billions 

This excessive regulation, greed, lack of consultation or legal help, and over-taxation has resulted in an estimated loss of up to 75% of potential cannabis revenues in some markets. In California, for example, data firms peg the number at around $5.6 billion dollars lost to the illicit market every year, that’s just over one half of the market’s total value in the state.  

It’s the only state so far that has seen recreational sales shrink following legalization. And the massive busts of illegal businesses rage on as high taxes and insane operating costs drive up prices, which are then passed on to the consumer. Instead of paying more money for crappier product, many people just stick to buying it from their dealers or illegal dispensaries that charge less and don’t pay taxes.  

Not to mention the convenience of buying from dealers, who have traditionally operated on a text-and-delivery or text-and-pickup basis. Even with a growing number of drive-throughs and delivery services, it’s still so much easier to buy from your local plug sometimes.  

A ‘less-than-welcoming’ industry  

The B2B side of the cannabis world is just like any other industry, and to be successful, you’ll need to be familiar with all the legislative and business jargon that comes with a billion-dollar industry. In cannabis, things can be much more complicated as far as regulations and business dealings are concerned; so the list of topics you’ll need to know, at least at a base level, can get quite expansive.  

“I’ve had to educate myself tremendously just to make sure I can speak the language that these people are speaking,” says Marie Montmarquet, co-founder of MD Numbers, a family of weed brands from cultivation to retail that previously operated a delivery business prior to legalization. “So, if I’m in a meeting and they’re talking about 1031 Real Estate transfers, I know what 1031 Real Estate transfers are.” 

The ultra-capitalistic environment coupled with constant oversight and regular contact with law enforcement and state/local governments, fosters an environment that feels stuffy, tense, and inhospitable – especially for anyone who has faced their own legal turmoil over cannabis, and still cannot fully trust those powers that be.  

Nomenclature: Legacy market vs black market  

Much like the politicized issue of the words “marijuana” vs “cannabis”, there is an ongoing debate about replacing the term “black market” with different phrases, one of which is “legacy market”. Black market doesn’t apply solely to cannabis, it refers to any economic activity that happens illegally.  

The selling of illegal products, of course, is a black market activity. But selling legal products in ways that are not prohibited also classifies. Like buying cigarettes in one state and selling them in another, for example. Cigarettes are legal in every US state, but because tobacco tax codes vary so much, you cannot legally buy cigarettes in Arizona and go sell them in California for a profit.  

The idea has been floating around that using the phrase “black market” is outdated and culturally insensitive. Danielle Jackson (Miz D), a Vancouver-born artist, advocate and entrepreneur, was one of the first to say publicly that “legacy market” should be used over “black market” when describing pre-legalization cannabis businesses. Her comment got overwhelming support from the audience.  

Many are tweeting in agreeance, such as Jennifer Caldwell , partner and technical lead at Cannabis License Experts, who added that, “To me, the term ‘black market’ implies a negative connotation of illegality and illegitimacy. Whether people are growing illegally or not is a complex topic at the moment.” 

Moving forward

Seeing how much money is on the line, legal states are beginning to offer incentives to make the transition more seamless for legacy cannabis operators. In California, in addition to the $100 million bailout, Governor Newsom has suggested expungement of cannabis-related convictions as well as an extension to allow licensees that have missed the deadlines to transition; albeit at high costs and great inconvenience, still. Other states are taking similar steps to ensure these business owners – the true backbone of the industry – are less excluded.

With legacy dealers, the experience can be a very mom-and-pop, tight-knit atmosphere, so word of out is key to the growth of these businesses. When big businesses come and take over all the available retail locations, cultivation spaces, and advertising channels, there’s little room left for any small businesses to make a name for themselves.  

“We’ve seen in lots of other states that big pharma, big tobacco, alcohol and large companies are all prepared to move in and just take over right away,” says New York State Senator Liz Krueger. “We don’t want that to be the story in New York. We want the story to be small mom-and-pop community-based businesses starting and growing and expanding…[and] we want people who are selling in the communities that they live in, in the illegal market and out of the illegal market.” 

“We don’t need anybody that’s coming in here just for the financial aspect,” added Edgar Cruz, CEO of cannabis brand Ekstrepe, based out of Long Beach, California. “We all understand that this is a cash cow now. What we need is support for our communities to make sure that we are included in this kind of cultural-based industry.” 

Final thoughts  

This is a lesson that every state or country considering legalization needs to take note of. Despite the financial success of the legal cannabis industry, we need more education and resources, and less taxes and regulatory red tape to harness the untapped knowledge, connections, experience, and economic wealth that exists in the legacy market. Otherwise, consumers will continue shopping in illicit markets, states will lose millions, and legalization will have done little more than prevent people from getting arrested for pot possession in certain areas.

Hello all! Welcome to CBDtesters.co, your ultimate online destination for the most relevant and thought-provoking cannabis and psychedelics-related news globally. Check back regularly to stay on top of the constantly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletterso you never miss a thing.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Legacy Cannabis Operators Shunned From Billion Dollar Industry appeared first on CBD Testers.

Pennsylvania Poised to Become National Leader in Psychedelics Research

Pennsylvania is set to become a national, and possibly global, leader in psilocybin research, thanks to a new bill that was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill passed a Health Committee vote in Harrisburg and is on its way for votes in the house and senate.  

Titled the Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act, the purpose of this legislation is to lay the foundation for researchers within the state of Pennsylvania to begin clinical trials on psilocybin, the predominant psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, as well as other natural psychedelics in the future. As it currently stands, with psilocybin categorized as a Schedule 1 narcotic on the DEA’s list of controlled substances, anyone trying to do any worthwhile research on the psychedelics has been massively hindered by a seemingly endless list of cumbersome and overbearing regulations.   

Just like cannabis, psychedelics are beginning to take hold in the Western World. Not only are they being used recreationally at much higher rates, but the world is becoming familiar with their many benefits, especially in the field of mental health. For more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to our Psychedelics Weekly Newsletteryour top source for everything related to this growing industry. 


What are psychedelics? 

Psychedelic drugs, are a subset of hallucinogens which contain compounds that can alter mood and perception. They are also referred to as entheogens, a Greek term that can be roughly translated to mean “building the God within”. The active compounds in psychedelic drugs can be found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be man made, like LSD or Ketamine. 

The high experienced when taking these types of drugs is known as a ‘trip’, and can include visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations. The intensity of a trip will vary dramatically based on the specific compound, dose consumed, and tolerance of the user. Sometimes, a person will experience no hallucinations at all, but rather a sense of general well-being, spiritual connectivity, and euphoria.    

If you’ve ever heard someone mention a ‘bad trip’, this means the person had some type of negative side effects, or maybe even frightening hallucinations. Physical symptoms of a bad trip can include but are not limited to irregular heartbeat, nausea, chills, sweating, and anxiety. Bad trips, due to their negative nature, can seem more intense than good trips but this is not always the case. 

Dosing and setting, among many other factors, can significantly impact a psychedelic trip, so you want to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure that your high is uplifting and eye-opening, not scary and traumatizing.  

Surrounding yourself with familiar people that make you feel comfortable, go low and slow with dosing, and picking a location that you know you’re safe in – these are all steps you can take to foster a good trip. Many present-day, medical (not recreational) users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses to avoid the risk of bad trips and other negative side effects altogether.  

More about the bill 

The Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act is primarily sponsored by Tracy Pennycuick, an Army veteran and Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving her first term, along with 20 bipartisan cosponsors. The bill, which has does not come with any funding, would place the state’s Department of Health in charge of clinical trials and other research efforts, starting with studying how psilocybin could help treat PTSD in military veterans.  

“I have PTSD, so it interests me,” Pennycuick said. “Not every treatment works for every veteran. So, you have to be always leaning forward into treatment.” 

What’s unique about this bill compared to other psychedelic research initiatives is that this one authorizes at least two state-licensed growers to cultivate psychoactive mushrooms to use in the clinical trials. Most research, like that conducted at Johns Hopkins University, is done using a synthetic form of psilocybin.  

This distinction is important because we will have legitimate, clinical information about how the varying naturally occurring compounds work together in the human body and how different mushroom/truffle strains could be used to treat different conditions. The entourage effect of psychedelic fungi.  

Another adamant supporter of this bill is Brett Waters, a Pennsylvania-native currently practicing as an attorney in New York. “It’s very clear at this point that current treatment that we offer people is not effective,” says Waters. “It has limited efficacy for some people and no efficacy for many people. We need to do better.”  

Waters is also the founder of Reason for Hope, a nonprofit organization that advocates for psychedelic-assisted therapy. Waters, who grew up in Merion, lost both his mother and grandfather to suicide. His organization is also working with politicians in New York, North Carolina, and Florida to push for more progressive legislation regarding psychedelic research.  

Another supporter and industry expert, Mason Marks, a professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law and head of the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation at Harvard’s Petrie-Flom Center, feels this bill should be a top priority in the minds of lawmakers.  

“For two decades we’ve seen rising rates of suicide, rising rates of drug overdose deaths, and so there is a certain amount of urgency on this issue, so I think increasing access is really important,” he stated.  

The race to legalize and study mushrooms 

If you’ve been following industry news lately, you’ve probably noticed that numerous cities/states are updating their psilocybin regulations. For the most part different regions are decriminalizing their possession. This has happened in several large cities across the US including Detroit, Seattle, Oakland, and Denver.  

However, a handful of states are approaching these new policies from the paradigm of research and medicine. On November 3rd, 2020, Oregon passed Measure 109, making it the first US state to legalize the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy, and lawmakers are currently working on developing the necessary regulatory framework.  

Early last year, Florida House Representative Michael Grieco introduced a bill that would legalize psilocybin medicinally for people with mental disorders, to be microdosed in licensed clinics. Late last summer, Texas passed House Bill 1802 calling for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission to do a human clinical trial on mental health disorders and psilocybin treatments, using a synthetic version of the compound.  

Where Pennsylvania differs, aside from the fact their programs aim to use natural psilocybin, is that this bill will be focused on university studies, clinical trials from medical research institutions, and hospital research and data.  

Even more research 

Last month, the National Institute of Health awarded nearly $4 million to Johns Hopkins researcher Matthew Johnson, who is looking into the benefits of pairing psilocybin-assisted therapy with traditional talk therapy. Given the introspective and sentient nature of psychedelics, microdosing with shrooms before a therapy session could definitely help one be more honest, open, and transparent. 

Recently, a publicly traded British firm known as Compass Pathways, released the results on their larger-scale psilocybin trial completed late last year. Researchers examined 233 patients who were given different doses of synthetic psilocybin, and they found that a one-time, 25-milligram dose was able to substantially reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression for up to three weeks.  

“The trial is encouraging being a larger sample of patients with a control group than earlier [treatment resistant depression] studies and having a significant effect for a clinical need,” said William R. Smith, a fourth-year psychiatry resident at Penn Medicine. “Treatment-resistant depression is a major challenge for contemporary psychiatry, we need more options.” 

Further research has found the psilocybin can even help regenerate brain cells. Yale researchers released this study: Psilocybin induces rapid and persistent growth of dendritic spines in frontal cortex in vivo. The research was conducted using synthetic psilocybin on mice, and it was was published in the journal Neuron in July, 2021.  

At this point, even the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a statement saying they need more cannabis and psilocybin produced for research purposed, and they want it as soon as the middle of this year. 

Final thoughts 

The Pennsylvania bill is expected to pass, but even if it does not, it shows how far public opinion on this subject has progressed. It’s a sign that curiosity about psychedelics is flourishing in the US and around the rest of the world. Despite what federal regulations might say, when you talk to people, you see that there is a general acceptance of these compounds, especially naturally occurring ones like psilocybin, mescaline, or DMT. Keep a close eye on Pennsylvania in these coming weeks, and check back here for updates on this important bill.  

Hello readers! Thanks for joining us at CBDtesters.co, the #1 internet location for the most recent and interesting cannabis and psychedelics-related news from around the globe. Visit the site everyday to stay abreast of the quickly-moving landscape of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletterto ensure you always know what’s going on.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Pennsylvania Poised to Become National Leader in Psychedelics Research appeared first on CBD Testers.

The Kratom Consumer Protection Act, and Where is Kratom Still Banned?

Kratom is a tree in the coffee family, native to Southeast Asia with closely related species found in Africa. In those regions, medicinal and recreational use of kratom dates back centuries. As natural wellness has become a hot topic of discussion over the last decade, kratom is gaining popularity in the United States as well. It’s a holistic remedy commonly used for pain that could potentially replace the need for more dangerous and addictive pharmaceutical opioids – a healing plant like cannabis.

Despite this, it surprisingly has not yet been banned by the federal government, although they have tried. As a matter of fact, a bill was passed to protect a consumer’s right to possess and use kratom products. However, because state governments have legalities separate from the federal government’s, many states have taken steps to regulate kratom, and a handful have banned it completely.

Kratom is yet another plant that offers great medicinal and recreational benefits, and its legal! Just like with cannabis, it can be used as a full plant, or bought as a mitragynine concentrateCannabis has many compounds that can be extracted like delta-8 THC, THCV, and THCA to name a few. Plants are the ultimate source of everything, so check out our deals for all kinds of natural compounds, and we’ll get you your products ASAP. Save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


What is kratom? 

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a flowering evergreen tree related to the coffee plant. It is indigenous to Southeast Asia but has been gaining popularity in western culture for its stimulating and pain-relieving effects. Kratom is used both recreationally and therapeutically, and just like cannabis, it’s incredibly controversial. Quite a few studies have noted the pharmaceutical potential of Kratom. 

Kratom is made up of dozens of alkaloids, compounds which are known to hold medicinal value and have been studied independently for decades. Alkaloids are a class of basic, naturally occurring organic compounds that contain at least one nitrogen atom. They are produced by a large variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and can be purified from crude extracts of these organisms by acid-base extraction, or solvent extractions followed by silica-gel column chromatography.  

Alkaloids have a wide range of pharmacological activities and there is a lot of existing research to back this up. The most abundant alkaloid in Kratom is mitragynine, and for decades it was also believed to be the most potent. Then in 2002, a group of Japanese researchers found a variant called 7-hydronitragynine. This minor compound is extremely potent, more powerful than morphine, and despite being found only in trace amounts, it’s responsible for most of kratom’s pain-fighting properties. Further research has determined that both alkaloids act as partial opioid receptor agonists by activating the supraspinal mu- and delta- opioid receptors. 

For quite some time now, the US Drug Enforcement Agency has been trying to add kratom to the Schedule I list of controlled substances. But their position has been met with resistance from both consumers and researchers alike.  

Medical benefits of kratom 

Clinical studies on kratom are lacking, but a recent survey of more than 2,700 self-reported users conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that a staggering majority of people are using this plant to alleviate pain. They also concluded that kratom “likely has a lower rate of harm and abuse” than prescription opioids, which are responsible for almost 50,000 deaths in the United States every year.  

In a report on their findings, published in the February 3, 2020, issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the researchers caution that “while self-reporting surveys aren’t always entirely reliable, they confirmed that kratom is not regulated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that scientific studies have not been done to formally establish safety and benefits.” According to American Kratom Association (AKA), a consumer advocacy group, an estimated 10 to 16 million people in the U.S. are using kratom regularly.  

Kratom is full of alkaloids, which are present in many different facets of human life, including much of what we consume. Alkaloids have showed anti-inflammatory, anticancer, analgesics, local anesthetic and pain relief, neuropharmacologic, antimicrobial, antifungal, and many other activities  

Benefits of kratom use include but are not limited to: elevated mood, increased energy, healthy and restful sleep, boosted energy, muscle relaxation, natural aphrodisiac, eliminate social anxiety, pain relief, and it can be used to help minimize the symptoms of withdrawal from illicit drugs. 

The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) 

Similar to how states have been granted the authority to regulate cannabis use, despite it going against federal regulations, states are taking similar actions to either protect or prohibit kratom. The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) is a bill, drafted by the American Kratom Association, that aims to progressively regulate the US kratom industry.  

The act is currently under review by several state governments, and the Kratom association is attempting to get more states to adopt better kratom policies. Although this act has been in the works for years, it has not been covered extensively by the mainstream media. The bill addresses all topics relating to the growing kratom industry, such as: cultivation, manufacture, distribution, medical benefits, sale, possession, use, age limits, testing, labeling, fines and penalties. 

Overall, the main purpose of the Kratom Consumer Protection Act is to protect customers from shady companies, and ensure that kratom producers and vendors are only supplying safe, high-quality products that are free of pesticides, heavy metals, fungus, and other contaminants.  

Where is kratom still banned in the United States? 

Kratom is not regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, so it is not listed on the drug schedules. However, different states have implemented their own regulations or prohibitions against the possession and use of kratom. According to the DEA’s website, “Kratom has not been approved for any medical use. In addition, DEA has listed kratom as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.” The following states have regulated kratom to some extent.  

Kratom is illegal to buy, sell, possess or use:  

  • Alabama 
  • Arkansas 
  • Indiana 
  • Rhode Island  
  • Vermont 
  • Wisconsin 

Kratom is legal, but may be regulated:   

  • Alaska 
  • Arizona – KCPA passed 
  • California – Outside San Diego, which banned it, kratom is legal in California  
  • Colorado – Outside Denver, where it’s considered illegal for human consumption, kratom is legal in Colorado  
  • Connecticut  
  • Delaware  
  • Florida – Aside from being banned in Sarasota Country, kratom is legal in Florida 
  • Georgia – KCPA passed 
  • Hawaii  
  • Idaho  
  • Illinois – Outside the city of Jerseyville, kratom is legal in Illinois for those over the age of 18  
  • Iowa  
  • Kansas  
  • Kentucky  
  • Louisiana 
  • Maine  
  • Maryland  
  • Massachusetts  
  • Michigan  
  • Minnesota  
  • Mississippi – Outside Union County, which has banned the substance, kratom is legal to use in Mississippi 
  • Missouri  
  • Montana  
  • Nebraska  
  • Nevada – KCPA passed 
  • New Hampshire – Kratom is legal for those over the age of 18 
  • New Jersey 
  • New Mexico  
  • New York  
  • North Carolina  
  • North Dakota  
  • Ohio 
  • Oklahoma  
  • Oregon 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • South Carolina  
  • South Dakota  
  • Tennessee – Kratom is legal for those over the age of 21 
  • Texas  
  • Utah – KCPA passed 
  • Virginia  
  • Washington  
  • West Virginia  
  • Wyoming  

The following cities also prohibit the possession and use of kratom: 

  • Oceanside, CA 
  • San Diego, CA 
  • Sarasota, FL 
  • Jerseyville, IL 
  • Union County, MS 

What about the rest of the world? 

For the most part, kratom is unregulated globally. But it is prohibited in the following countries: 

  • Argentina – Labeled as a narcotic drug under Decree 69/2017. 
  • Australia – Classified as a schedule 9 narcotic by the Drug and Poisons Schedule Committee. It has been approved for clinical research.  
  • Belarus – Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are labeled as psychotropic illegal substances under the Republican List of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, and their precursors.  
  • Bulgaria – Kratom is regulated and requires a prescription from a physician for use.  
  • Croatia – Kratom, as well as mitragynine specifically, are listed on the Croatian Ministry of Health’s directory of drugs, psychotropic substances, and plants from which drugs can be obtained and substances.  
  • Denmark – In 2008, Denmark added Kratom to its Executive Order on Narcotics, making it illegal in all regards. Medical prescriptions are still permitted.  
  • Estonia – Mitragynine is listed as a narcotic under Regulation 73.  
  • Finland – Kratom is prohibited as per Finland’s Government Decree on psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market.  
  • France – Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, as well as whole-plant kratom, were all added to France’s list of psychotropic substances under decree 23, established in 2019. 
  • Germany – Kratom is prohibited in Germany.  
  • Ireland – Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are classified as a Schedule 1 controlled drug under S.I. No. 173/2017 – Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017.  
  • Indonesia – Despite being one of the largest global producers and distributors of kratom, regional bans are becoming commonplace within the country.  
  • Israel – Kratom is banned as per the Journal of Forensic Sciences.  
  • Italy – In 2017, kratom was added to Italy’s table containing the indication of narcotic and psychotropic substances.  
  • Latvia – Kratom is a controlled substance based on Latvia’s Regulations Regarding Narcotic Substances, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors.  
  • Lithuania – Kratom and mitragynine are both illegal based on Lithuania’s Lists of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.  
  • Luxembourg – Kratom, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine were classified as psychotropic substances by the Luxembourg minister of health.  
  • Moldova – Kratom is illegal, classified as “narcotic substances and psychotropic substances not used for medical purposes”. 
  • Norway – According to the Journal of Forensic Sciences, kratom is either an illegal or controlled substance in Norway. 
  • Poland – Kratom is banned in Poland. 
  • Portugal – Kratom was classified as an illegal, psychoactive substance in ordinance No. 154/2013.  
  • Malaysia – Mitragynine was classified in Malaysia as a psychotropic substance under the Poisons Act of 1952. Kratom is indigenous to Malaysia.  
  • Myanmar – Kratom is banned in Myanmar.  
  • New Zealand – Kratom is banned in New Zealand.  
  • Romania – Romania was classified as a narcotic in Romania under emergency ordinance no. 6 of February 10, 2010. 
  • Slovenia – Kratom was classified as an illicit drug by Slovenia in 2019.  
  • Singapore – Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are both included in the Misuse of Drugs Act, and classified as First Schedule controlled drug.  
  • Sweden – Kratom is banned in Sweden.  
  • Switzerland – Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine appear in Switzerland’s Narcotics Act.  
  • Thailand – Kratom is approved only for medical use and research in Thailand.  
  • United Arab Emirates – Kratom is banned in the UAE.  
  • United Kingdom – UK laws regarding kratom are a bit confusing. There is no specific kratom regulation in the UK. However, the Psychoactive Substances Act’s definition of psychoactive substance, being “[a substance that] is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it,” would likely include kratom, therefore making it illegal to sell, buy, produce, import and export. Simple possession of kratom is not covered under this legislation but possession with the intent to supply is, and the difference would be decided in court on an individual basis. 

Conclusion 

Up until now, kratom has remained fairly unregulated. But as the world becomes increasingly familiar with its many benefits, the natural plant and its compounds will continue to get banned at the federal level while the government sets kratom aside for future pharmaceutical use.

Hello and welcome! You made it to CBDtesters.co, the best internet location for the most thought-provoking and relevant cannabis and psychedelics-related news from everywhere in the world. Check out the site frequently to stay informed on the ever-changing world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and remember to sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletterso you never miss a single thing.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post The Kratom Consumer Protection Act, and Where is Kratom Still Banned? appeared first on CBD Testers.

Marijuana Company Curaleaf Pays Out For Tainted CBD Products

CBD is a dicey subject because of laws relating to the legality and sale of products. This extends to most retailers as no regulation exists federally, and is not always followed by states. As an example of the growing issues in the industry, well-known company Curaleaf, just had to pay out as a result of lawsuits about tainted CBD products.

Curaleaf and its tainted CBD products highlight a major regulation issue in the legal cannabis industry, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t good products, just that consumers must do their due diligence. This is also true of the cannabinoids market which contains products like delta-8 THC, THCV, and HHC. Remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter all the latest news and industry stories, as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


What’s the news?

The Massachusetts-based company Curaleaf, which also operates out of facilities in Oregon and as well as being on the Canadian stock exchange as CURA, found itself in hot water this year with 10 lawsuits waged against it for selling tainted CBD products. How were they tainted? They contained a large dose of THC, which was not listed on the packaging, and not a part of the marketing for the products.

The products in question are Curaleaf’s Select brand CBD Wellness Drops, which the company says workers in a Portland facility managed to confuse with THC drops. The CBD drops are made from hemp, and are not supposed to have THC in them, or at the very least, not in the large quantity that apparently made it in.

Curaleaf paid out $50,000 to settle a case in September, brought on by Ayuba Agbonkhese, an Idaho resident who claimed he ended up in an emergency room after ingesting the drops without knowing their THC content. Agbonkhese specifically wanted the public to know all the terms of this deal, in order to bring more awareness to this tainted products problem. He is, in fact, quite correct about the size of the problem, and the need for more attention on it. In his words:

CBD settlement

“It was important for me to make sure that the company, as well as other companies like this, become more accountable. I want a safer community. That is my main reason for doing this in this way… I want them to be better and I want the industry to be better.” Apparently, though Curaleaf did pay out, it did not see fit to formally apologize.

Agbonkhese is not the only person to have an issue. At least four others had to be treated in an emergency room after using the same tainted CBD products. Agbonkhese’s case was the only one where the terms were made public, but nine other cases total have been settled by Curaleaf for its tainted CBD products.

Is that it?

Nope. Three other cases remain open, including a wrongful death suit. Honestly, while Curaleaf represents a huge issue in the CBD industry, the wrongful death case does seem to be a stretch, and also likely representative of opportunism for a payout. In that particular case, the person died weeks after ingesting the drops, and was otherwise sick, making the claim not only a bit silly, but unwise considering it dilutes what are actual and legitimate claims.

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) is currently investigating Curaleaf. Curaleaf acquired Cura Cannabis (Select), in 2019, and has sold hundreds of tainted CBD products throughout Oregon in the past year. It should be mentioned, that while an unexpected THC overdose is certainly not fun, and in these cases, 100% unexpected, it is also non-lethal. But the whole idea of tainted CBD products begs the question of whether there could be other issues with Curaleaf’s products, and similar products on the market.

Curaleaf did recall both the products in question, the Select CBD Wellness Drops, and the high-THC drops. But this happened because they were forced to by Oregon regulators. The OLCC has been investigating the situation since that time, as it represents the first time this has really become a large news story.

While Curaleaf has said very little about the settlements, it has stated that the cause of these issues was ‘human error’, and that processes have been updated as a result of the incidences. The company has not stated whether anyone was held accountable, or how these mistakes were actually made. As it was an ongoing issue with this company that spanned months of time, these questions are very relevant, along with what else could be wrong with these products if they haven’t gone through the testing they were supposed to.

tainted CBD products

The problem with the CBD industry

The main issue with the CBD industry at large, is that it’s not federally legal, and therefore not federally regulated. The reason CBD is technically illegal for food, as a supplement, or a non-prescription medicine, is that CBD is already the active ingredient of an approved pharmaceutical medication (Epidiolex), and under US law, once a compound is an active ingredient in an approved medication, it can no longer be marketed as a dietary supplement, or be used in food products. Therefore the CBD industry in the US at large (with a few exceptions), isn’t legal, and products on the market are not being regulated for what is in them.

However, this doesn’t actually apply to Oregon as a legalized state. Since Oregon set laws counter to the US federal government, though it is breaking federal law with these sales, it’s legal due to state laws. And that means CBD sales are perfectly legal in Oregon, and able to be regulated!

There is a lot that’s said about the growing cannabinoids industry in the US, which includes CBD as well as minor cannabinoids like delta-8 THC, THCV, and HHC. There is increasing wariness of the industry, and for good reason, as it operates 100% as an unregulated black market, selling products outside of legal dispensaries, offering illegal merchandise online, and creating black market testing facilities to give the illusion of regulation, though these have repeatedly shown to be scams.

But once again, Oregon is a legalized state, so these issues, though still existent since synthetics are not legalized in the state, at least shouldn’t apply to the CBD industry. And yet, we can see they clearly do. If Curaleaf had this ongoing issue for months, then whatever product testing it was supposed to be doing that whole time, obviously wasn’t being done at all. If this is the best we can expect out of a legal company, it really doesn’t imply anything good about any delta-8 company, or any other company not working within legal parameters.

What this means is that there are substantial problems with getting things done properly in the cannabis industry. Whether this is because companies don’t have the money to pay out to testing facilities, whether bribes are being made to pass products illegally, or if this simply represents greed by large companies (we see this literally all the time), is hard to say. But when the legit industry starts looking like the black market, you know there’s definitely a problem.

What this means for buyers

While this problem could be specific to Curaleaf, nothing about this industry indicates it is, and if a bigger company with means isn’t going about things properly, what can we realistically expect of the rest? On the other hand, big corporations are sometimes known for being a lot dirtier in their practices than smaller mom and pops. Perhaps it indicates more a showing of the general corporate attitude of not caring about consumers, let alone their own workers, than an actual inability to create decent products consistently.

know your brands

This undoubtedly creates a big issue for users, when what are seen as legit companies cannot be trusted. Ordinarily I say ‘know your brands’ and perhaps this is still the best answer, but it’s not a great one. With newer industries, after all, the idea of knowing a brand is limited to only the recent future, and sometimes, like with CBD products, without any history of other products to know them by. As such, the idea of knowing your brands is not as easy as it might be when buying other products with more established brands.

It does mean that customers are now really put to the task of doing due diligence. Especially if they don’t want to solely depend on state regulators to decide if a company is safe, and if its doing everything it’s supposed to be doing to ensure safe products, that are what they say they are.

Conclusion

Truth is, I expect there to be more of these cases. The weed industry is a dirty place these days, way dirtier than when it was a 100% illegal industry. So far, legalizations have done nothing but get us overpriced dispensaries, massive fakes markets, and adulterated products. If not for the fact that it might be slightly harder to get arrested in some places, not much really good has been accomplished by all this, with Curaleaf standing as a beacon to this sentiment.

Welcome to CBDtesters.co, your #1 internet spot for all the most important and thought-provoking cannabis and psychedelics-related news relevant today. Visit us whenever you can to stay educated on the fast-paced universe of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and remember to check out The THC Weekly Newsletter, so you never miss a single thing.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Marijuana Company Curaleaf Pays Out For Tainted CBD Products appeared first on CBD Testers.

EU Increased THC Level to .3% for Industrial Hemp

Depending on where you are in the world, there are different cut-offs for what can be grown as hemp, and what can be grown as marijuana. Last week, the EU joined America and other countries, when it increased the THC level allowed in industrial hemp to .3%.

The EU catches up slowly, just now increasing the level of THC allowed in hemp. The US already has a .3% limit, and it also has a wide-ranging cannabinoid market which includes compounds like delta-8 THC, THCV, and HHC among others. Not sure if this market will be taken up by the UK, but there are plenty of options for sale online, and outside of official dispensaries. We’ve got great post-holiday deals, so find out what all the fuss is about today. Remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter for deals on legal cannabis products, as well as all the latest news and industry stories. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Hemp vs marijuana

Technically, hemp and marijuana are both the same thing: cannabis. In fact, until within the last century, they weren’t thought of as separate things, being lumped together as the same plant. Definitions that split the two are more modern, and centered around the idea of one part being legal and one part being illegal. This has made a divide between what can be used industrially, and what can be used recreationally/medically.

Hemp is generally used to relate to low-THC cannabis, with a cutoff at a low point, usually around .2-.3% THC by dry weight. These plants are much heavier in the cannabinoid CBD, which has gotten a universal pass (by way of the UN) as a medication, with a recent removal from Schedule IV of the Single Convention. Marijuana, on the other hand, relates to plants that have greater than whatever the local cutoff amount of THC is, and generally have much higher levels of THC than CBD, making THC the primary cannabinoid.

In actuality, neither THC or CBD exist in live plants, or at least, only in tiny amounts. What actually exists in live plants are the precursor acids, THCA and CBDA. These acids decarboxylate through time and light exposure to become the cannabinoids CBD and THC that we associate with the plant.

THC limit hemp

EU history with THC limits for hemp

The EU first instituted limits for the amount of THC that could legally be in industrial hemp, in 1984. At that time it was put at .5%. This was later decreased to .3% based on a standard found in the 70’s, made by the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, with scientists Ernest Small and Arthur Cronquist at the helm. They decided that 0.3 % of THC should be the line between hemp and marijuana.

This number dropped yet again in 1999 to .2%, with the goal of preventing marijuana plants from being grown in the same field as hemp plants. This standard remained for 22 years, though it was questioned several times over the last couple decades, with proposals made to increase it. This charge has been mainly led by the industrial hemp industry, including groups like the European Industrial Hemp Association. An increase would benefit the industry greatly as plants can often be discarded for being only a little over the limit, which can cause major anguish to farmers relying on these crops.

In late 2020, the EU Parliament indeed voted to increase THC levels for industrial hemp plants, to .3% from .2%. The EU Parliament didn’t have the final say, however, although it did show Parliament’s take on several updates to the Common Agricultural Policy Reform, a proposed reform measure also meant to add marketing and product regulation for hemp product production.

In order for a new policy to be adopted or changed, three different EU bodies must confirm it first. Parliament is one, but the two others are The Council of the European Union and the European Commission. Discussions over these measures were started at the end of 2020. A final vote was recently held by the European Commission.

The EU increased THC limits allowable in industrial hemp

On December 2nd, 2021, the European Council, the last of the three bodies to approve the measure, did approve proposed updates to the Common Agricultural Policy. These updates come with an increased THC limit allowable for industrial hemp. However, this update will not go into effect until the beginning of 2023, leaving another entire year at the current limit of .2%.

This decision comes with another aspect to it. The current .2% is for the allowable THC limit in hemp plants, but it also acts as a limit for subsidy programs for farmers. Farmers that use hemp plants at .2% THC or below are able to access funds/benefits from subsidy programs. If they accidentally go above this limit, they are no longer able. With the update, farmers will be able to get direct subsidies from the government at .3% or below, but they also must use seeds directly from the EU seed catalogue.

EU hemp

While this would certainly ensure not going over the new .3% limit, it also seems like a backhanded way of ensuring farmers buy directly from the EU, and not outside sources.  Which sounds like trying to institute more control than simply how much THC is in the plants. Even so, for struggling farmers, this can make a big difference.

The new limit also opens the door for more variation. Many hemp strains consist of more than .2% THC, but less than .3%, particularly cultivars from Northern and Eastern Europe. In fact, the EU hemp market has been quite limited to around 60 designated strains due to this issue of going over the THC line, and this increase now allows in many more options.

It also means simply not having crops ruined for farmers that happen to minorly cross the line, something that tends to happen (and which shows a blatant disregard for these farmers and their livelihoods). This can often be a mistake, as its difficult for any farmer to know exactly how their plants will turn out. It will also allow for somewhat more precise planting measures, as more seed variety can mean getting the best seeds for local conditions. This can help with everything from making sure it’s the right climate for the right seeds, to allowing for better disease resistance by using more optimal seeds per environment.

The US and industrial hemp THC levels

The new EU ruling brings the European Union in line with other countries like the US, which already uphold a .3% cutoff. This cutoff for the US was established by the 2018 US Farm Bill, which legalized the production of industrial hemp. Prior to that time, growing hemp was fully illegal in the US save for extremely limited use with research. This separation was done by creating a new definition for ‘hemp’, which separated it from marijuana. By US definition, hemp is:

“The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, including the plant’s seeds, and all the plant’s derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

The Farm Bill created a lot of confusion over what exactly was legalized, with an entire cannabinoid market sprouting up since the law came into effect. These cannabinoids are sold outside of regulation, as only industrial hemp was legalized by the Farm Bill and thus moved under USDA regulation. CBD, as a main ingredient of an approved medication (Epidiolex), was never legalized for use as a food, medicine, or supplement. As law, the active ingredient in an approved medication, cannot be advertised as a nutritional supplement, or added to any food or beverage product used in this way.

cannabinoids

And the cannabinoid market is not less illegal. Whether talking about delta-8 THC, HHC, THCV, or even the now-available hemp-derived (synthetically-derived) delta-9 THC, none of them are technically legal. The reason is that, naturally occurring or not, none of these compounds exist in large enough quantities to be able to be used for product production, requiring synthetization for all products produced. As synthetics and analogues of controlled substances (delta-8 is an analogue of delta-9, for example) were never legalized federally, they maintain regulation under the FDA, and are all illegal.

Not only are they not federally legal, but they’re not legal by state laws either, as no state varies from the standard definition of cannabis, and therefore none allow synthetic versions of cannabis. Some states have gone above and beyond to set specific regulation for such cannabinoids, but in truth, it was never necessary. This was probably done to close the imaginary loophole that the 2018 Farm Bill created.

Conclusion

The EU certainly doesn’t do anything quickly, that’s for sure. Not only did it take over 20 years to raise a THC limit (which had already existed at an even higher rate for enough years to know it’s not damaging), but even the update that was approved, is set to begin over a year after the agreement for reforms was made. Considering how long this was pushed for, it does seem a bit slow with the actual pick-up.

Nevertheless, improvement is improvement, even if it comes in the way of a .1% increase for hemp to remain legal, and that’s it. Sure, the EU could take much bigger steps, especially as its states start to turn the other way. Malta just legalized the use and cultivation of recreational cannabis, Luxembourg is about to do the same, and Germany is likely to be the first regulated market, and its looking to happen soon. So really the EU is behind. Just now making this allowance for hemp, while the rest remains illegal. In actuality, by the next time the EU gets around to making official updates again, it’ll probable be for a half-legalized Union.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post EU Increased THC Level to .3% for Industrial Hemp appeared first on CBD Testers.

Blood THC Content? The New Way to Get a DUI

We’ve all familiar with checkpoints and breathalyzers, even if we never had to deal with one ourselves. And we all know that drinking with a blood alcohol content over .08 is illegal, and leads to a DUI. But what about driving stoned? While driving under the influence can relate to many things, new laws to introduce blood THC content limits are putting a new spin on the standard practice of getting behind the wheel high.

Bet you didn’t think you’d have to worry about having your blood THC content checked? New laws for this make the need to be careful in states where such laws exist. Luckily, you can always enjoy your favorite cannabis products at home. Plus, with the new cannabinoid market, who said it has to be THC? With additions like delta-8 THC, HHC, and THCV, there are tons of ways of experiencing the cannabis plant. Check out our deals for all compounds, and remember to get high responsibly. Remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter for deals on legal cannabis products, as well as all the latest news and industry stories. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


What is a blood alcohol content limit?

This is a good question, and before getting into blood THC content, it’s best to start here. Blood THC content sounds oddly familiar, yet is new to most. It sounds oddly familiar because of the term ‘blood alcohol content’ which is well known, especially for the driving community. It’s the line between legal driving, and going before a judge. The breathalyzer test given by cops measures the amount of alcohol in the air being breathed out by a suspected drunk driver. Ever get in close to a drunk guy and smell the heavy scent of alcohol coming out of them? Well, this is what a breathalyzer measures.

When a person registers at .08% or above, its considered that they passed the legal limit if 21 or above. For those below 21, the limit is significantly lower, at 0-.02% depending on location. While .08 is a federal mandate, individual states are allowed to institute more restrictive laws. What does the .08% measurement actually mean?

It’s measured in grams per 100ml of blood. Meaning eight grams of alcohol per 10 deciliters of blood = .08%. Because this cut-off line exists, it allows law enforcement the presumption of guilt when a person registers this amount, regardless of actual driving ability. So if a person who is driving okay is stopped at a checkpoint, and does not pass a test, their actual ability to drive will not help them. This isn’t meant to be an argument against measures to stop drunk driving, its just to explain that the limit represents a law that is independent of actual behavior.

blood alcohol content

What is a blood THC content limit?

While we’re all familiar with the idea of drunk driving, and why it’s illegal (see below for statistics), the reality is that all states have something along the line of a ‘drugged driving’ law as well. Alcohol isn’t the only substance that can cause impairment behind the wheel, many drugs can. So drugged driving laws exist to cover the idea of being impaired on any substance. The difference between a vague ‘drugged driving’ law, and a law with specifics like a .08% limit, is that there isn’t a legal line that differentiates legal from non-legal amounts.

With illicit drugs, its obviously illegal to be caught possessing and using them, however, they can also incur a driving violation if it’s decided that the person was impaired while driving on them. Did you get the language? If it’s ‘decided’ by law enforcement. As in, in order to make a charge like that stick, impairment must be proven somehow. Given how life tends to work, this can create precarious situations as cops have the ability to get a person arrested based on their opinion of the situation, without something to point at to show an actual problem. Obviously in cases where there is an actual problem – a person very much compromised based on whatever drug, this is okay. However, particularly for legal compounds, or situations where cops might feel the need to go beyond their jurisdiction, this can create dicey situations.

And this is where testing for blood THC content comes in. Perhaps its been hard for law enforcement to make such charges stick against potheads, well with the institution of legal limits, the same presumption of guilt is allowed for cannabis, regardless of driving ability. I want to take a second here to state that I’m a cannabis user, and have been hanging out and driving in cars with other users for half my life. I’d never get in a car knowingly with someone who’s been drinking, but I don’t bat an eye at driving with a stoner.

So basically, a blood THC content is the measure of THC in the blood. Unlike a breathalyzer test, this can’t be picked up by someone breathing out, and requires a blood test. In the US, this is generally measured in nanograms per milliliter of blood, but only done on a state level as cannabis is federally illegal. Different legalized states have set their own limits, and some go by the idea of impairment only, without a limit to test for.

Which states test for blood THC content?

Right now there are 18 states that have legalized recreational cannabis, which means these states can institute limits if they choose to separate legal use with driving, from illegal use with driving. Of the 18 states that are legal, the following have laws for blood THC content limits.

Washington uses a maximum THC level for driving, and set the amount at five nanograms per milliliter or higher of THC in the blood stream. This same level is used by Colorado and Montana. Nevada is the one state going further than this right now. In this state, it’s considered under the influence if a driver’s blood test shows two nanograms of THC and five nanograms of metabolite when driving.

Vermont has not opened its market yet, but holds that any amount of illicit substance found in the system constitutes the ability for arrest when driving. It was not confirmed how this zero-tolerance policy effects a non-illicit substance like cannabis. Massachusetts also has a zero-tolerance policy, making any amount of cannabis found in the system of a driver enough for arrest.

cannabis and driving

New Jersey is still working on its legislation, as legalization was in the last year, and the laws aren’t concrete yet. It has been argued repeatedly to keep out restrictions for maximum THC content, although whether this relates strictly to products, or to driving as well, is not clear.

New York, New Mexico, Virginia, and Connecticut are also newly legalized states where legislation has not been hammered out. We’ll have to wait and see what restrictions these states choose to institute when their laws are made clearer. States that go by judging impairment as the deciding factor of law enforcement, include: California, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Alaska, Maine, Arizona, and the states that still need to present legislation: New York, New Mexico, Virginia, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Statistics for driving while under the influence of cannabis

Like I said before, I won’t get in a car with a drunk driver, but I don’t mind someone that just smoked up getting behind the wheel. And that’s because through decades of time, it has consistently been reinforced by life that drinking really can cause immense dangers, and cannabis, for the most part, really doesn’t. At least in my experience. Here are some basic stats to show the picture in the US.

According to the CDC, in terms of alcohol in the US, approximately every 50 minutes, a drunk-driving related death is occurring. 29 happen every day. In 2016, this equaled 10,497 deaths related to drivers impaired by alcohol, making up about 28% of all deaths on the road. 1,233 of the total deaths in 2016 were children, with 17% of those deaths related to alcohol impairment.

When it comes to accidents involving cannabis, there are virtually no actual statistics, and certainly none put out by government agencies. In a study from 2010 (before the cannabis market really exploded) called The Effect of Cannabis Compared with Alcohol on Driving, researchers concluded that “Epidemiological studies have been inconclusive regarding whether cannabis use causes an increased risk of accidents; in contrast, unanimity exists that alcohol use increases crash risk.” They went on to say

“The risk from driving under the influence of both alcohol and cannabis is greater than the risk of driving under the influence of either alone. Future research should focus on resolving contradictions posed by previous studies, and patients who smoke cannabis should be counseled to wait several hours before driving, and avoid combining the two drugs.” Of course, the problem with the last part, is that it then involves alcohol, which we already know causes many issues.

DUI

While the government provides no information, there are stories out about an increase in accidents related to cannabis use since legalizations. Perhaps this has more to do with testing for cannabis since legalizations occurred, since expecting that the actual smoking community changed so drastically by a legalization, is a little silly. Such headlines create the logical fallacy that the legalizations started the industry, and that this wouldn’t have been going on prior, which is incredibly mistaken. Logically, people were always smoking and driving, making these claims nonsensical, and sounding very much like fearmongering, especially when official numbers somehow can’t be provided.

In fact, in 2019, a USA Today article, citing research on crash fatalities in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon from 2019, found as little as a one per million people increase in fatalities after legalization. But then the numbers returned to normal the following year. Considering these aren’t even statistically significant results, and they didn’t hold, this backs up that there shouldn’t be any change due to legalizations, as smoking and driving habits would have been unlikely to be affected by legal measures.

Conclusion

Let’s be honest, cannabis and driving aren’t even remotely the issue that alcohol and driving is, and this shows up in all statistics. And so long as opiates are being doled out, and allergy medicines like Benadryl are available, making cannabis out to be the demon of driving, is ridiculous at best. Does this mean a person shouldn’t be careful when smoking and driving? Of course they should! But that’s always the case.

Alcohol will always be more dangerous, no matter how much information is distorted to try to sway opinions. My bet is these limits are being put in place to force fines, and that there isn’t any worry – and certainly not based on statistics – that would indicate this is really a problem worth responding to. Maybe further research will say otherwise. For now, best to be careful when driving with weed.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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