How Can Psychology Improve the Effects of Cannabis?

We are in the age of self-help, the era of improvement and being the best you can be and it can get a little tiring. It’s hard not to sometimes shrug at the suggestion that psychology can help improve our experiences and the way we interact with the world, but we’re here to hopefully change that view.

Psychology has a reach so far that all aspects of our lives have been dissected and studied by men in white lab coats holding clipboards. A surprising amount of research has also been done into how to improve day to day experiences, such as eating, drinking and relaxing to get the most out of them. Of course the experience that I’m going to investigate in this article is cannabis and psychology. Could it be possible that Psychology and the findings from the science could be used to improve the effects of cannabis on the brain and in general?

In this article, I’ll be looking at how we can use our senses (Sound, taste, sight), sociality and context to get the most out of the drug we love, both recreationally and medically. Our brain, and its ability to be influenced by its surroundings, is fascinating and we will be looking at how we can affect it through internal and external changes.

Both psychology and cannabis are hot topics of discussion lately, because both are holistic approaches to ailments that affect millions of people across the globe. It only makes sense at this point that we combine the two for ultimate healing results. Make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.


Cannabis and the Brain

Before we look at how to improve the effects of cannabis, we must first discuss how it affects the brain. Cannabis works on the brain and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is an intricate system of neurons in the brain that seems to control the release of multiple neurotransmitters. It was discovered in the 1990s and seems to be linked to many processes in the brain and body, including appetite, learning and memory and sleep.

Both CBD and THC, two cannabinoids found in Cannabis, activate the ECS and seem to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to reward and pleasure in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that creates the euphoric high associated with Cannabis. If we can find ways to increase the production of this neurotransmitter Dopamine or find ways to affect the interaction of cannabinoids on the ECS, then perhaps this will have a wholly positive effect on the experience of getting high.

Get the Snacks Out: Food and the ECS

It has long been known that food tastes better after smoking cannabis, in fact studies on rats have shown that cannabinoids increase the senses of smell and taste, but there is also new emergent research suggesting that some foods can actually increase the effect of these same cannabinoids. According to a fascinating list created by NMJ Health, Mangoes, Chocolate and black Tea all have properties that increase the effect of Cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. Mangoes contain natural chemicals that actively help cannabinoids interact with the body’s ECS mentioned above.

By eating Mangoes before inhaling or injecting marijuana products you increase the levels of these chemicals (terpenes) that allow for this interaction. This means that the effects of the cannabis will set in a lot quicker, that they’ll be stronger and that the effects will last longer.  With Chocolate, it appears that the cannabinoids in cannabis that produce the euphoric effects are naturally occurring. Studies have even shown that a chemical in chocolate called

Anandamide binds to cannabinoid receptors mimicking and heightening the effect of Cannabis. Not only is this research incredible as it shows that chocolate can increase the overall effects of cannabis, but the practical applications for the use of medical marijuana and dosing cannot be overstated. Black tea and broccoli also seem to improve the experience of Cannabis. Black tea by producing longer and more sustained feelings of peace and relaxation. It is clear to see from this rather eclectic set of foods and the research behind them that we can change the effects of Cannabis through changing what we eat. 

Set the Mood: Music and Dopamine

Another avenue for increasing the experience that cannabis can offer through psychology and psychological research is to look at the effect sound and music has on a high. Music has long been associated with feelings of pleasure and relaxation, but recent research has shown that listening to music that gives you chills actually produces the neurotransmitter dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to cannabis and the ECS. It seems then that listening to music you enjoy and instrumental music (the study found) leads to an increased amount of dopamine. This combined with the high levels of dopamine released when using cannabis can only result in a more pleasurable experience, again highlighting another way that psychology and the environment around you can influence your experience of cannabis.

Watch Those Lights: Sight, Colour, Taste and Experience 

This next paragraph may come as the most surprising to readers. Vision may be one of the most powerful senses when it comes to changing our experiences of the world. Being in a room with a certain colour scheme or using particular lights can influence our mental states and how we feel. To create a more calm and relaxed experience while using cannabis, a recent study has shown that blue lighting is best. The same study also showed that red light and yellow light increases heart rate, so perhaps should be avoided unless you want to induce a potential panic attack.

 There are ways that we can use our vision to influence our experiences of things like taste and smell too. Studies by Charles Spence, an Oxford researcher have shown that the colour of crockery used when eating actually changes the subjective experience of flavour. Red dishes increased perceptions of sweetness in some popcorn and blue seemed to increase perceptions of saltiness. What this means is that a particular coloured skin or vape could actually alter the taste of the cannabis inhaled. If you prefer a sweeter experience, perhaps using a red vape might do this for you. Again, this research highlights how we can use psychology to generally increase our cannabis experience. 

Changing up Your Environment 

One of the biggest factors that can reduce the enjoyment of cannabis is tolerance. A tolerance to a certain chemical just means that it takes more to achieve the same effect. From a neuro-chemical point of view, it just takes a greater amount of cannabinoids to activate the ECS. Tolerance arises due to frequent use of the drug. Can psychology be used to help us with tolerance? An incredible study actually seems to suggest it can, and the way one can overcome a tolerance seems to be through altering context.

Context just means the environments around you. It has long been studied in psychology as animals and humans seem to have powerful associations between context and memory. If you revise in a certain context (classroom) your results in a test done in that same context will be higher than if you alter it. Here’s where tolerance comes in: If you smoke cannabis in the same environment, your body associates that context with cannabis and will actually build up a tolerance that is context specific. In a fascinating review by Siegel et al the preparation and expectation of taking a drug can lead to the body preparing itself and therefore reducing the effects. When dogs were conditioned into taking adrenaline in a specific context, just placing the dog in that room was enough for their bodies to prepare to counter the high blood pressure, even without injecting anything.

The core study by Siegel was conducted on heroin users and it was found that the opposite is true as well. If a user of heroin takes the drug in a context they are not used to they are more likely to require medical treatment as it seems their tolerance is not there. The body was not prepared because it was not in the context associated with the drug. The very same principle of association and context can be applied to cannabis use. If you use the drug in the same context over and over again, the tolerance will be associated with that specific location, so to increase the effect, change up where you light up.

Being Around Others: Socialising and Dopamine 

A final way that cannabis can be improved is through being around others. It seems obvious to say, but being around others is good for the brain. It increases feelings of happiness and can relax us as well if we are around people we love, but it may be surprising to learn that socialising also increases dopamine levels, giving us a little high. This increase in dopamine is theorised to be a reward for being around others and evolutionary psychologists have argued that socialising and bonding with others is heavily linked to the reward areas of our brain and dopamine production. So perhaps combining socialising and cannabis will create a huge boost of dopamine and increase the euphoria of cannabis experiences.

Conclusion – Combining Cannabis and Psychology

I hope that from the list above you find even one thing to use to make your experiences of cannabis even better. I hope it’s also clear that any method can be useful but they are only suggestions and sometimes just sticking to what you know and enjoy is more than enough to have a great time. Cannabis is a fascinating drug and the mechanisms underlying it are still intriguing to psychologists. It affects so many areas of the brain that it isn’t surprising that the changes listed above can affect how it works. But what do you think?

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products. For the best Delta 8Delta 10THC-PTHC-OTHCVHHC and even Delta 9 products subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter.

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KETAMINE: What Is It?

The world of new drugs and drug fads move quicker than anyone can keep up with. In fact, if you even tried to understand what ‘the kids’ are taking these days, you’d probably end up both confused and intoxicated quite quickly.

There used to be a time where cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy was all anyone spoke about. However, nowadays, the world of drugs has opened up excessively. The likes of GHB, M-CAT, ketamine, mushrooms, acid, crystal meth and unlimited others are all being taken around the world. Each drug has its own story and its own positives and negatives. So what about Ket, K, or Ketamine? The horse tranquillizer that many people have decided to take, despite not being horses. What is it and what does it do? Let’s delve into the world of ket. 

Ketamine is a drug with a very interesting history and reputation, but, like many other mind-altering compounds, it does have a place in both the worlds of the therapeutics and recreation. To learn more about cannabis and psychedelics, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one, as well as exclusive deals Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OTHCPHHC and even on legal Delta-9 THC!


What is Ketamine?

Ketamine, like most drugs, has many different names: ket, wonk, donkey dust, K, Klein and many others. There are unlimited names for most drugs as often all it takes is for someone to invent a new one whilst they’re high, and usually it will stick. Ketamine, or often shortened to just ‘ket’, is an anesthetic that is used by both doctors and veterinarians. The reason why most people refer to ket as ‘horse tranquillizer’ is because it technically is. However, ketamine is also used as anesthetic for most animals. The reason why it is especially popular with horses is because doctors find ketamine to be a helpful way to deal with larger animals. 

Most people would say that all drugs have to sit in one of two categories: uppers and downers. Whilst ecstasy would be described as a stimulant or upper, alcohol would be considered a depressant or downer. Ketamine is part of the latter category: the downers. That is because it is literally anaesthetizing the user. Whilst there are also feelings of euphoria, the overarching feeling is weighty and thus it is a depressant, not a stimulant. But what does this drug look like? 

What Does It Look Like?

Although Ketamine can be used as a clear fluid by those in the medic world, on the streets – Ketamine is most commonly found as a white powder. It looks very similar to cocaine, but don’t be fooled, they are very different drugs. They are also very different in their potencies. In fact, if you were to take a line of ketamine with a cocaine amount, you’d most definitely be surprised by the strength. It wouldn’t be a good idea, that’s for sure. Ketamine is most commonly sniffed either through a note, or by using a key. Due to its strength, it is often ‘keyed’ because the amount you can place on a key and sniff is usually enough. 

Although Ketamine can resemble cocaine, it’s important to remember that they both smell and taste different. For those who are well versed in the worlds of drugs, the differences are pretty obvious. Plus, cocaine can sometimes be sold in rocks, which means you have to crush it first. Ketamine will never be sold in rocks, always in fine powder. However, the similarity between the two substances is definitely something to keep an eye on. Getting the two mixed up will most likely lead to something not very nice. In fact, it could lead to the infamous ‘K-Hole’. Don’t worry… we’ll get on to that later. 

The History of Ketamine

The history of Ketamine is a surprisingly interesting one. In 1956, a drug called Phencyclidine was found to be a very good anesthetic for monkeys. It was so useful that doctors then began using it on humans. However, there was a problem. The problem was that those using this drug were beginning to experience side effects. With an ideal anesthetic, the patient will wake up and feel normal after. However, with Phencyclidine, patients were waking up with loss of sensations in their limbs and other senses. This was of course an issue. In conclusion, Phencyclidine was considered to be a bad anesthetic, despite the initial successes. It was then that Dr. Calvin Lee Stevens decided to mess about with the substance, with the aim of synthesizing a better alternative. One without the bugs, but with the positives. Reset Ketamine speaks about what happened next: 

“The compounds he synthesized were sent to pharmacological testing in animals, and one compound in particular was found to be a successful, short-acting anesthetic. Selected for human testing, it was titled CI-581 and is what we now call ketamine. Ketamine was named because of the ketone and the amine group in its chemical structure”

After the creation of this new substance, Ketamine took off and was used for a variety of different things. Obviously it was used as an anesthetic on all types of animals and humans. But not only this, Ketamine was found to have euphoric and antidepressant qualities. In fact, Ketamine was used on injured soldiers during the Vietnam War. This is because it was known to help with short-term pain. In addition, Ketamine was being used in small doses to deal with mental health issues like schizophrenia and depression. The use of this drug in dealing with mental issues was seen was a huge breakthrough. However, like all substances, there was of course the recreational side. People were finding ways of making Ketamine and selling it on the black market. This is perhaps where Ketamine gets a negative reputation from. 

Ket: How Does It Make You Feel?

Now you understand the history of Ketamine, what it is, and what it might be used for, the question still remains: what does it feel like? Ketamine is a hugely popular drug both in the medic world and recreationally. When used recreationally, ketamine lasts around 30-60 minutes, and takes about 10 minutes to kick in. 

Positive Effects

  • The feeling of euphoria
  • Positive dissociation
  • Slows down time 
  • Allows you to concentrate
  • Physical pains subside 
  • Mental pains subside 
  • Funny and elaborate thoughts 

Negative Effects

  • Agitation 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Short-term or long-term memory loss 
  • Negative dissociation 
  • Can become addictive 
  • Can feel depressed without it 
  • You can feel invincible, which could lead to harming yourself
  • K-holing 

The K-Hole 

Anyone who knows about ketamine will have heard of the infamous ‘k-hole’. Now some people enjoy the k-hole, whilst others fear it. It’s sort of like the ‘whitey’ in the world of cannabis. A k-hole occurs when someone takes too much Ketamine. Due to the strength of Ketamine powder, it’s very easy to take too much or become unaware of how much you’ve taken due to anesthetic feeling of the drug. Therefore, k-holes are actually a lot more common than you’d think. The feeling of a k-hole is peculiar. All of those feelings of being outside your body, unable to move freely, and feeling slow, all become extremely strong and sort of paralyze you. It usually feels like it’s lasting hours, when actually it only lasts 30 or so minutes. Ultimately, It isn’t a very pleasant feeling. However, if you’ve got someone around you that you can trust then you should be fine. 

Is Ketamine Legal?

Ketamine, much like the majority of drugs, is used in medicines and in doctor’s practices but is illegal to use recreationally. In the UK, it is a Class B drug, which is the same as cannabis. In the US, ketamine is also illegal and is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act. 

According to the DEA, Ketamine is illegal because it has the potential for abuse. But, on the positive side, in 2019 the…

“FDA approved…Ketamine nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression”

This is a potential positive. Whilst Ketamine is illegal in most major countries, research is definitely being done into how it can be used to help people with mental conditions. 

Ket: My Own Experiences

I always like to include my own experiences of the drugs I write about in this series, just so it doesn’t sound like someone who hasn’t himself had his own dealings with Ketamine. I always hate reading about drugs on websites where I know, quite clearly, that that person has never touched a drop in their life. So what do I think about Ketamine? 

Well, university was when I had my first dealings with Ketamine; or ‘Ket’ as everyone called it. I was drunk at a very un-cool club night and someone gave me a bag full of white powder and told me to go take a ‘key’ of it. At the time, I didn’t actually know what a ‘key’ was. I imagined you just placed as much powder on a key as you could. I also didn’t want to risk asking and seeming inexperienced. Oh the wonders of peer pressure! So I snuck into the bathroom, got out the baggy, got out my key, and put the key inside. I placed, what I thought, was the right amount of Ket onto the key (which ended up being far far too much) and tried my best to snort it up my nose. I then went back on the dance floor, unaware that my nose now had a huge amount of white powder quite blatantly stuck to it. 

For about 30 minutes I felt nothing, and continued to drink and dance with my friends. However, as the minutes went past, I began to feel heavier. I felt amazing. The music slowed down, I slowed down, everyone slowed down. My limbs began to feel like warm pillows and all the negative thoughts in my head left me. It wasn’t the same euphoric feeling of ecstasy, but I still felt good.

However, after a while I realized I’d obviously taken too much. Time didn’t just go slow, it basically stopped. That’s when I remember thinking ‘I’m gonna die’. Which, to be fair, was a classic thought I had when I took most drugs at that age. I then don’t really remember much. It felt like I was stuck in time for hours, but it later turned out to only be about 20 minutes. I just remember sort of regaining consciousness outside in the smoking area, with my friend chatting to me about the price of plastic bags. A very odd experience. I then continued my night and just had very elaborate, comical thoughts. It was definitely a mixed first experience. Although I will add, that now I know how much Ketamine to have, I do find it a very amusing drug; and one with the least negative sides. 

What’s Your Opinion?

So, what do you think? Do you think Ketamine is a drug that deserves more research and consideration? Or is its recreational abuse proof that it should be regulated forever? As always, we want to know what you think, drop us a line in the comment section below. Make sure to keep up to date with the rest of the articles in this series as we go through all of the most popular street drugs. Until next time.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, edibles, vapes, and other legal products.

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CBGA More Effective For Seizures Than CBD, Study of Mice Finds

Researchers in Australia say they’ve discovered the “mother of all cannabinoids,” and it isn’t THC or CBD. For the first time, a study reports that three acidic cannabinoids found in cannabis, notably cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), reduced seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, an intractable form of child epilepsy.

The three acidic cannabinoids—CBGA, cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA)—”may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy,” and were noted with “anticonvulsant potential.” CBGA, however, demonstrated the most potential for certain anticonvulsant effects.

“From the early nineteenth century cannabis extracts were used in Western medicine to treat seizures but cannabis prohibition got in the way of advancing the science,” said Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and the Sydney Pharmacy School. “Now we are able to explore how the compounds in this plant can be adapted for modern therapeutic treatments.” The study was recently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology

CBGA is the precursor “granddaddy” molecule of CBDA and THCA, which eventually convert to THC and CBD, among other compounds. CBGA is part of a protective system for cannabis, produced by trichomes that triggers targeted plant cell necrosis—natural self-pruning to allow the plant to focus energy on the flower. 

“We found that CBGA was more potent than CBD in reducing seizures triggered by a febrile event in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome,” Lead author of the study, Dr Lyndsey Anderson, said. “Although higher doses of CBGA also had proconvulsant effects on other seizure types highlighting a limitation of this cannabis constituent. We also found CBGA to affect many epilepsy-relevant drug targets.”

Fight Against Dravet Syndrome with CBGA

The mission for the team at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics is simple: develop a better cannabis-based treatment for Dravet syndrome—an intractable form of child epilepsy.

In 2015, Barry and Joy Lambert made a hefty donation to the University of Sydney to push forward scientific research on medicinal cannabis. Barry and Joy’s granddaughter Katelyn suffers from Dravet syndrome.

“After using hemp oil for treatment, we got our daughter back. Instead of fearing constant seizures we had some hope that our daughter could have a life worth living. It was like the noise cleared from her mind and she was able to wake up. Today Katelyn really enjoys her life,” said Michael Lambert, Katelyn’s father.

In order to learn more, the research needs to be continual. “Our research program is systematically testing whether the various constituents of cannabis reduce seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome,” said Associate Professor Jonathan Arnold. “We started by testing the compounds individually and found several cannabis constituents with anticonvulsant effects. In this latest paper we describe the anticonvulsant effects of three rarer cannabinoids, all of which are cannabinoid acids.”

The Entourage Effect

In the meantime, anecdotal evidence from cannabis consumers abroad suggests that there is more to cannabis’ healing powers than THC and CBD, although the science is limited.

Families like the Lamberts have noticed significant drops in seizures when children facing intractable epilepsy take cannabis extracts, although the source makes huge differences.

Supporting the concept of the Entourage Effect, there are unknown benefits from lesser known cannabinoids. Many people believe that the presence of terpenes and other compounds in cannabis make it more effective.

Harvard Professor, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, said that you need more than THC and CBD if you want cannabis’ full effects. It should be called the Ensemble Effect, not the Entourage Effect, he said. Dr. Grinspoon believed THC should be taken with CBD and other phytochemicals in order to be more effective. Any chemical in isolation does not perform the same way as it is found in nature, he believed.

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is best known for his extensive work in cannabis acids, as well as Dr. Ethan Russo. In 1996, Japanese researchers found that CBGA is a precursor to CBDA and other compounds.

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Psychedelics are Changing End-of-Life and Palliative Care for the Better

They say you fly when you die…”

The only inevitable thing in life, is death. Many fear it, while others embrace the possibility of moving on to another realm. The truth is, none of us really know what happens after we die. What we do know, is that sometimes those remaining days/weeks/months on earth can be challenging. Luckily we do have some resources available to help provide comfort and dignity during death. As psychedelics gain momentum in the field of therapeutics, particularly for treating depression and trauma, the question of using them to alleviate end-of-life symptoms is coming up with more regularity.

Psychedelics are incredible. The therapeutic potential is staggering and the market is steadily growing. By far, the most popular psychedelic is still THC. For more articles like this one, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal THC products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, your top-source for all things cannabis-related.


End-of-Life: Physical Care and Spiritual Needs

Every person experiences death in a unique way, and as such, a person nearing the end of their life has many specific needs – typically in the areas of physical comfort, emotional obligations, mental stimulation, spiritual issues, and practical tasks.

Some people pass quickly while others face a more gradual decline, but almost universally, those who have a least a little bit of foresight into their deaths will go through some type of introspective, spiritual experiences.

If you have a loved one nearing departure from this world, your job is to provide comfort, reassurance, warmth, and understanding. Figuring out how exactly to do this is where it gets tricky. As the body diminishes, the spirit awakens… but unfortunately, our current healthcare system only addresses the former. However, imminent death is known to push the consciousness into new and heightened dimensional levels.

Sometimes, the transition is easy, but other times it can be more difficult and the need for treatment options that help our loved ones navigate the emotional and spiritual journey of death are just as important as medications for decreasing their physical symptoms. Sadly, when it comes to dealing with these types of complexities, modern medicine has always fallen short.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs, also referred to entheogens, are a subset of hallucinogens which contain compounds that can alter perception. The term entheogen come from Greek and can be roughly translated to mean “building the God within”. The high produced by these types of drugs is known as a ‘trip’, and can include various types of visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations. The intensity of a trip can vary dramatically based on the specific compound and dose consumed. Sometimes, a user will experience no hallucinations at all, but rather a sense of general well-being, spirituality, and euphoria.  

If you’ve ever heard someone mention a ‘bad trip’, this means they had some type of negative side effects or maybe even scary hallucinations. Physical symptoms of a bad trip can include but are not limited to: irregular heartbeat, nausea, chills, sweating, and anxiety. Dosing and setting, among other factors, can significantly impact a psychedelic trip, so you want to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure an uplifting and beneficial high.

Psychedelics can be naturally-derived like psilocybin, or manmade like LSD; and they are generally regarded as safe. According to the results of a Global Drug Survey that polled 120,000 regular drug users, magic mushrooms were the safest recreational drug, along with cannabis. Their method at determining user safety was by comparing the drug used to the amount of required emergency room visits. Only 0.2% of the nearly 10,000 mushroom users surveyed had ever required emergency care, compared to the 1.0% of those using harder drugs like ecstasy or cocaine.

Furthermore, new research suggests that certain psychedelic substances can help relieve anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction and numerous other mental health disorders. “The biggest misconception people have about psychedelics is that these are drugs that make you crazy,” says Michael Pollan, author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. “We now have evidence that that does happen sometimes — but in many more cases, these are drugs that can make you sane.”

Psychedelics and Near-Death Experiences

What’s interesting about psychedelics is that often times, the high can produce effects comparable to a near-death experience (NDE). Both, NDEs and psychedelic trips are very complex and subjective experiences, and many similarities between the two have been observed.

Parallels between these states of mind can include feelings of universal understanding, transcendence of space and time, communicating with angels, dead relatives, and various other entities, and questions that are insightful and pensive in nature (for instance, trying to figure out your purpose in the world).

DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) in particular is known for producing these occurrences, but anecdotal evidence suggests that other psychedelic compounds can cause them too. According to a recent, placebo-controlled study, researchers found “significant relationships between the NDE scores and DMT-induced ego-dissolution and mystical-type experiences, as well as a significant association between NDE scores and baseline trait ‘absorption’ and delusional ideation measured at baseline.”

Simply put, researchers found such substantial overlap between DMT-induced trips and near-death experiences that they believe it warrants further investigation to gauge the true medical potential of this discovery.

Psychedelics in Palliative and End-of-Life Care

For several reasons, the use of psychedelics in end-of-life and palliative care has been a hot topic of discussion for some time now. Terminal patients, or even those who are on a natural decline, often face significant feelings of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, perceived burdensomeness, and overall existential distress.

Although alleviating these symptoms should really be at the core of palliative care, currently, there are no pharmacologic options for helping end-of-life patients who need to find emotional peace. Yes, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs exist and are prescribed to dying patients on a regular basis; but numerous studies show that these medications have demonstrated absolutely no superiority over placebos.

Enter psychedelics. According to Ross and Reiche et al., “psychedelic-assisted therapy for patients facing life-threatening illness appears to be a safe and potentially highly efficacious intervention for psychological and existential distress associated with such conditions. Contemporary double-blind placebo-controlled trials of psychedelics for depression and anxiety associated with cancer have produced very promising results.”

The Research

The two most recent and noteworthy studies on this subject were both completed at well-known, prestigious facilities: John Hopkins University and New York University (NYU). Both also were published simultaneously with nearly a dozen editorials from experts in palliative medicine, psychiatry, and international drug policy.

In the John Hopkins study, a crossover design was used to monitor 51 patients who received both an experimental high dose of psilocybin (22 mg or 30 mg/70 kg) and a standard low dose (1 mg or 3 mg/70 kg) which served as an active placebo control. At NYU, a randomized trial was used to study 29 patients receiving either psilocybin or the active placebo niacin.

During both trials, participants received pre and post treatment therapy sessions to determine their current state of mind and be able to make a reasonable assessment after administration of psychedelics. Also, both treatment groups included subjects with a wide range of both physical and psychiatric disorders including life-threatening cancers, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

And most importantly, both studies looked very carefully at the longevity of the results post-treatment, as well as safety profile of the prescribed active treatment. Across the board, there were both acute, immediate benefits as well as long lasting ones that were observed more than 6 months after use of psychedelics. Safety profiles were good in both trials and no serious adverse medical or psychological outcomes were reported.

Overall, the results were very promising. Participants claimed to experience reconciliation with death, emotional detachment from their diseases or ailments, reconnection with life, reclaimed presence and sense of self, and increased confidence.

“Those findings are consistent with published work about the safety and risk profile of psychedelics, which can be appropriately mitigated both with careful screening of subjects who have an underlying risk of psychosis and with appropriate support by the psychotherapy team,” says Daniel Rosenbaum from the Department of Psychiatry at University of Toronto. “These landmark studies from Johns Hopkins University and NYU also suggested a central role of the psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience, which correlated significantly with therapeutic outcomes based on ratings using validated scales.”

Mystical-type experiences can be characterized by many different qualities including but not limited to feelings of unity, a sense of experiencing “ultimate reality”, sacredness, positivity, and connectedness. In short, using psychedelics can make the experience of dying a more positive and spiritual one, rather than being scary, confusing, and depressing.

Final Thoughts

For many obvious reasons, death is a very sensitive subject. Of course, pain, physical ailments, and practical matters need to be addressed, but when is someone is nearing the end of their life, there is so much more going on beneath the surface. What needs to be discussed more is the need for treatment options that deal with the nonsecular symptoms of moving on to another realm, and psychedelics might be one of the most promising ways to accomplish this task.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.

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Roger Adams and the Unexpected Discovery of CBD

The name Raphael Mechoulam has gained prominence in the last several years, as he is the man who first isolated delta-9 THC. Not as many people are familiar with the scientist Roger Adams, though he was just as important in the early research on cannabis. The story of Roger Adams and the unexpected discovery of CBD marks one of the biggest milestones in today’s cannabis research. Here’s how it happened.

Not everyone knows the name Roger Adams, or that he made the unexpected discovery of CBD. Just like not everyone knows what delta-8 THC is, or how it relates to marijuana. Both are very important. Roger Adams made some of the biggest discoveries related to identifying cannabinoids; and delta-8 THC represents what that research provided – an alternate form of THC which causes less psychoactive high, less anxiety, and less cloudy head. We support cannabis research, and all the great stuff that comes out of it. Check out our deals for delta-9 THCdelta-8 THC, and for a range of other minor cannabinoids like THCVTHCPdelta 10HHCTHC-O and more, to experience the outcome of decades of research!

Who is this Roger Adams?

Born in 1889, Roger Adams was an organic chemist from Boston, Massachusetts. Adams is from the same family as former presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and is a direct descendent of John Adam’s grandfather. Adams attended Harvard University starting in 1903, and completed his undergraduate degree in three years. He went on to earn his PhD at Radcliffe College in 1912. He was such an outstanding student that he won the Parker Traveling Scholarship for 1912-1913, and used the money to work in laboratories in and around Berlin for that time period.

In 1913, Adams returned to the US, and began working as a research assistant, teaching organic chemistry at both Harvard and Radcliffe. He left the world of Harvard in 1916, upon accepting an assistant professor position at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He remained at this university for 56 years. Adams spent the majority of this time as the department head for chemistry, taking the role from his predecessor William A. Noyes.

While working in this position, Adams accomplished several things. Together with students he created the Adam’s Catalyst, something used in hydrogenation reactions along with an apparatus for using this catalyst. He also elucidated the composition of complex vegetable oils and plant alkaloids. In the late 1930’s he began research into the cannabis plant and isolated the cannabinoids CBN and CBD, synthesized both, found delta-9 THC, and did a partial synthesis of that as well. He also synthesized analogues of these compounds. In this way, Roger Adams was the first guy to create a synthetic cannabinoid.

discovery of cannabinoids

Thomas Easterfield & Robert S. Cahn, the guys before Roger Adams

Before getting into Roger Adams, and his discovery of CBD, there’re two other guys who need to be mentioned, Thomas Easterfield and Robert S. Cahn. As science builds on itself over time, Easterfield’s and Cahn’s discoveries were what led into some of the bigger milestones in cannabis research. It all started with the desire to find what ended up being THC. In the search for the compound that caused intoxication, cannabis was first distilled into a ‘red oil’, which was the first form of it to be studied in modern times.

This red oil was discovered in the late 1800s by Doctor Thomas Hill Easterfield, a member of the Cambridge Group, who had been lecturing at Cambridge University at that time. In the late 1800s when he wrote about the red oil, he called ‘cannabinol’ a narcotic, which it was later clarified not to be by Cahn. At that time cannabinol was the main focus of the cannabis plant, first thought to be the intoxicating factor, but there was intense confusion around it.

Both the red oil, and the compound within, were given the name cannabinol. Though deeper questions were not answered at that time, cannabinol was the first cannabinoid to be isolated, and this was done by Easterfield.

All research was stopped, and Easterfield moved to New Zealand, following a couple incidents. One that involved the death of two collaborators in a lab accident, and one that involved the voluntary ingestion of a large dose of cannabinol by another collaborator, which led to the guy being out of his mind, and wondering around the lab as it caught fire around him. The fire was put out, and he returned to normal, but the news of these accidents was exaggerated and used in smear campaigns against cannabis, with claims that it was causing death and injury to researchers. This stymied research at the time, and it took about three decades for the next major breakthrough, brought by Robert Cahn.

In the 1930s, Doctor Robert S. Cahn began studying the structure and bioactivity of CBN. Cahn called the red oil ‘crude cannabinol’. He used the name ‘cannabinol’ specifically for the pure compound within the oil which he was able to show did not have intoxicating properties, ending the idea that CBN was the psychoactive constituent of the plant. Cahn was able to map the structure of CBN, using the relative position of specific atoms and groups of atoms within the compound, but there were still several questions that didn’t get ironed out until Roger Adams and Alexander Todd began studying the compounds later that decade.

Roger Adams and the unexpected discovery of CBD

The whole idea with the research previous to Adams, was to locate the intoxicating element of cannabis, which was first thought to be cannabinol. Roger Adams began his research into cannabis after the Marihuana Tax Act was passed in 1937, meaning he couldn’t legally study the plant anymore, and had to receive authorization to do so. Prior to getting into cannabis research, Adams had been studying biphenyls and their atropisomerism. What this means is less important for our purposes, than the understanding that cannabinol is a biphenyl derivative, meaning Adams was already well versed in compounds similar to cannabinol, and this made him a great choice to study it.

Hemp-derived Delta 9 THC

It was actually the Bureau of Narcotics of the US Treasury Department which requested Adams do the research into cannabinol, in an effort to locate and isolate the intoxicating element. Funny enough, it was the general misunderstanding about cannabis at the time, that led to the confused discovery of CBD.

You see, cannabis was not well understood, and instead of providing Adams with high-THC cannabis (marijuana), he was provided with high-CBD cannabis (hemp). Using hemp to study THC is much harder, as there is considerably less of it there. THCA is the precursor to CBN, and it only exists in small amounts in hemp, whereas CBDA is more prevalent, but is the precursor to CBD, not CBN. This made it very difficult for Adams to isolate the already-known-about CBN from the plant.

It was this attempt to isolate CBN from the red oil which led Adams to try different methods of isolation. He could not get a direct crystallization of CBN by acetylation (a specific kind of chemical reaction). He instead tried other reagents, eventually finding himself with a previously unidentified crystalline substance. This substance ended up being CBD. In order to isolate the CBN, Adams had to go through a process of purification from the crystalline CBD, which means Adams had to identify a new cannabinoid, in order to isolate the one already found.

What about Alexander Todd?

The story of the discovery of CBD, is twofold. Though Roger Adams is the one who gets credit, there was a parallel discovery around the same time, and that was made by British chemist Doctor Alexander Todd. The two scientists were rather competitive in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, each publishing their discoveries as they came across them, and likely spurring each other on to work harder and do more.

There was even some contention between them as they both raced to find the same thing – THC, and though neither did find it, they did identify the other major component of the plant. In later years they actually became friends and formed a partnership, but I expect the competitive nature between them is what sped up the discoveries they made.

Anyway, Alexander Todd is more notorious for his winning of a Nobel prize for his work with nucleotides, but before this happened, he got into studying cannabis at the relatively young age of 32. He worked out of the University of Manchester with a very small research group, but was still able to isolate CBD from a sample of Indian hash. The hash had to be carefully gotten to him, as cannabis was illegal in Britain starting in 1928. When he published his paper in 1940, Todd was required to register at the Home Office for holding 2.5kg of hash.

Indian Hash

Part of what was interesting about the rivalry between Todd and Adams, is that they both made great discoveries, but were a generation apart in age and training, and used different means to make their discoveries. Todd identified CBD in an entirely different way, which was more in line with the principals of Cahn. Todd found he could take all the CBN out of the red oil using a type of chloride, and that in so doing, he could isolate a different cannabinoid – CBD.

In terms of who was technically first to make the discovery of CBD, it’s hard to say. In terms of published work, Todd had his first discoveries published in the journal Nature on March 2nd, 1940, but without any detail. Later that month, he published a full, detailed, version in the Journal of Chemical Society. On the other hand, Adams submit his first notes about CBD to the Journal of America Chemical Society in 1939, technically giving him the win, though the discoveries were essentially made in tandem.

These two scientists exemplify the often meandering line it takes to get from point A to point B in scientific research. And though neither reached the goal of finding the intoxicating agent, in attempting to do it, they both became pioneers in the world of cannabis research. Together, yet separately, they discovered one of the main aspects of the cannabis plant.

Conclusion

It’s quite possible that Roger Adams and the unexpected discovery of CBD was very much helped along by his rivalry with Alexander Todd. Either way, neither scientist reached the goal of isolating THC, though Roger Adams was able to identify it. It took another 25 years until Raphael Mechoulam finally did the job in 1964.

In a way, CBD was found completely accidentally. Though it would likely have been discovered at some point, it wasn’t even conceived of at the time it came to light. Roger Adams and Alexander Todd were trailblazers when it came to cannabis research, paving the way for Mechoulam, and the industry as we know it today.

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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 Roger Adams and the Unexpected Discovery of CBD appeared first on CBD Testers.

Study on MDMA for Traumatic Brain Injury Boosted By $1.5M Donation

In a September 14 press release, Wesana Health Holdings Inc. announced its commitment to fund $1.5 million to assess the efficacy of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The funding will allow MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) to activate a team to evaluate the scope of the lack of resources needed for TBI treatment.  

“Wesana is a serious, thoughtful and ethical company engaged in the development of psychedelic-assisted therapy. What Daniel and his team are doing is in line with MAPS’ ethics, mission, values and scientific rigor, and we believe together, MAPS and Wesana can bring much needed help to the massively underserved TBI population. Data collected from MAPS-sponsored Phase 3 clinical trials suggests that MDMA-assisted therapy appears promising in the treatment of TBI. Consistent with our mission, we seek to investigate treatments for affected patients who can be helped by MDMA—this is an important step in that direction” said MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D.

Lately, MAPS research zeroed in on MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The first of two Phase 3 trials demonstrated a “clinically significant reduction” in PTSD symptoms for 88 percent of participants. 

Existing research suggests that MDMA improved cognitive function in mice with minimal TBI.  Like PTSD, TBI can have a profound impact on mental health. Research indicates that there is a disproportionate impact for people of color. 

Over 6.2 million Americans are estimated to have chronic TBI-related disabilities, not to mention the symptoms that are more mild but also impact daily life. Nearly 414,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans had a TBI.

“The work MAPS has done for more than 35 years with regulators and clinical researchers to navigate the rigorous and necessary FDA approval process for MDMA therapeutic use has positioned psychedelic-assisted therapy on the precipice of national—and global—acceptance,” Daniel Carcillo, CEO of Wesana Health said. “The millions of people afflicted with PTSD may soon have access to MDMA therapy, and we believe the millions suffering from TBI may experience similar relief in the future.”

This collaboration between MAPS and Wesana will boost MAPS PBC’s research timelines and provide additional support for further research, advocacy, education and equitable access to MDMA-assisted therapy treatments. 

Wesana outlined five key goals:

  • Gain expertise and information to design psychedelic-assisted therapy programs for TBI and improve the Wesana timeline and path to market for its treatments
  • Explore obtaining an exclusive commercial license to use MDMA for the treatment of TBI
  • Evaluate the viability of revenue share agreements between the organizations
  • Adapt MAPS’ equitable access research projects to develop a meaningful patient access program
  • Fund associated research, administered by MAPS PBC, with additional capital

Beyond MDMA, MAPS Pushes Psychedelic Research Forward

MAPS is pushing forward research on a number of psychedelics with potential in medicine. On August 10, MAPS was awarded a $12,979,050 grant from the state of Michigan to fund a study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cannabis.

According to Dr. Sue Sisley, President of the Scottsdale Research Institute and longtime cannabis researcher, this new study is sorely needed in the community.

The grant comes from Michigan’s 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant Program, and is funded by the state’s recreational cannabis taxes. With a goal of determining the “the efficacy of marijuana in treating the medical conditions of United States armed services veterans and preventing veteran suicide.”

The Michigan grant makes it the second clinical trial to give cannabis medicine or placebos to participating military veterans, and according to the Chief Science Officer of the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Berra Yazar-Klosinki, PhD, the first trial was a great success.

Now, with the commitment from Wesana Health, MAPS’ research on MDMA can accelerate as well.

The post Study on MDMA for Traumatic Brain Injury Boosted By $1.5M Donation appeared first on High Times.

Artificial High – The History of Cannabis Synthetics

The idea that cannabis exists as a pharmaceutical product, is still strange to people like me who grew up with the plant as the only form of ingestion. Whereas some medications have no natural counterpart, like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Benadryl (diphenhydramine), some do, like anything based off cannabis. And we know the plant itself works fine, but that hasn’t stopped an immense amount of research into synthetic cannabis, and the production of synthetic cannabis products. Here we’ll take a look at the history of cannabis synthetics, and what can be expected in the future.

The history of cannabis synthetics is important because it’s a large part of today’s current market, including products like delta-8 THC. Though delta-8 is naturally occurring, it does require human synthetization help to provide large quantities, which means the dealt-8 we use in products, is all synthetic. We’re into quality cannabis products, whether naturally occurring or synthetic, and have a nice selection of delta-8 THC, delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OHHC, THCP and even legal hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products. Subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly and check ’em out!

What is a synthetic?

First things first, when talking about the history of cannabis synthetics, or simply what the synthetic version of something is, it’s best to know what we’re talking about. According Dictionary.com, the definition of ‘synthetic’ encompasses several principals. Under adjective, the definitions that relate to cannabis are:

  • Of, pertaining to, proceeding by, or involving synthesis (opposed to analytic).
  • Noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin: synthetic vitamins; synthetic fiber.
  • Not real or genuine; artificial; feigned: a synthetic chuckle at a poor joke.

Under noun, the following relates to cannabis:

  • Something made by a synthetic, or chemical, process.
  • Substances or products made by chemical synthesis, as plastics or artificial fibers.
  • The science or industry concerned with such products.

A synthetic is something that was created, rather than occurring naturally, although this not does negate that a naturally-occurring compound can also come as a synthetic. A synthetic is something that is not real or genuine, but is instead artificial. Synthetics are made through a process, and studying synthetics, means studying the process of making artificial products. Thus, synthetic cannabis compounds, are compounds that do not exist in nature on their own (or which do, but still require synthetization help outside of nature for products), and are manufactured by human production. This can relate to much more than just cannabis. For example, a lot of clothing uses synthetic plastic fibers rather than natural ones like cotton or hemp.

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Main points of cannabis research

When talking about the history of cannabis research in general, two of the occurrences that stand out the most are related to the isolation of certain compounds: the two main compounds of the cannabis plant. By isolating a compound, researchers can understand what it is, how it’s made, and are then able to synthesize it, and modify it. The two most spoken about findings in cannabis history are these:

1940 – The funny thing about the solation of CBD, is that it gets way less attention than the isolation of delta-9 THC, even as the current CBD industry booms. In fact, the name Doctor Roger Adams is way less known than Raphael Mechoulam, the guy up next. However, back in 1940, Roger Adams and his team at the University of Illinois, were the first to isolate CBD. In 1940, the team published their findings here: Structure of Cannabidiol, a Product Isolated from the Marihuana Extract of Minnesota Wild Hemp. It should be noted, that while Adams was not the first one to synthesize delta-9 completely, he was the first one to identify it, and he did do a partial synthesis.

1964 – Doctor Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli researcher from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, isolated delta-9 THC for the first time in 1964. Mechoulam and team published their findings here: Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. Since this time, Mechoulam has been a leader in the industry, actively taking part in research, and even discovering this synthetic cannabinoid in 2020, called HB 580, or cannabidiolic acid methyl ester. And this at the ripe old age of 90. Mechoulam is still the president of The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Tons of other research has been done into different compounds within the cannabis plant, its history of use, and how it can be used today. But somehow, the isolation of these two main cannabinoids stands out as beacons in the history of cannabis research. And it’s through the finding of these compounds, that the history of cannabis synthetics began.

History of cannabis synthetics

If you’ll notice from the publication put out by Mechoulam and team in 1964, in the title it directly states that not only did they identify delta-9 THC, but they did a partial synthesis of the compound. What does this mean if delta-9 does appear in nature? It means, the researchers were able to isolate and map the compound, and that they then attempted to re-create it themselves, without help from nature. The ‘isolation’ is the part where the single molecule can be taken and studied, its chemical formula identified, and its chemical structure mapped. The ‘synthesis’ part is when the same molecule is created through human production. This might make it seem like the history of cannabis synthetics started here, but once again, it was really the other guy.

The thing about Roger Adams, is that he didn’t just isolate CBD, he isolated CBN (cannabinol), identified delta-9 THC as well, and was able to show the relationship between CBD, CBN and delta-9, as the three are isomers to each other. Not only that, he was able to synthesize analogues of CBN and delta-9, meaning he was able to create artificial versions of these cannabinoid analogues. He wasn’t, however, the only one doing this at that time!

cannabinoids

Enter Doctor Alexander Todd, the British researcher who was neck and neck with Roger Adams, and who received a Nobel prize for his work with nucleotides. In 1940, while at the University of Manchester, at the age of only 32, and working with a very small research group, Todd was able to isolate CBD from a sample of hashish from India. He published his findings in the journal Nature in 1940. Adams submitted his first notes on CBD in 1939 to the Journal of America Chemical Society, making him technically first over Todd. Todd’s version was without detail originally, with a full detailed version published in March of 1940 in the Journal of Chemical Society

Adams’ early synthetization of cannabinoids can be seen in his published research, which additionally shows a partial synthesis of delta-9 THC. Both Adams and Todd showed the isolation of CBN, which was fully mapped before CBD. Adams takes the win for first providing the structure of CBD, though Todd was right there with him. In fact, the two scientists spent a few years dueling in the scientific press, each publishing their findings as they came to them, in direct competition with each other. Later on, the two scientists became good friends and even worked together. It should be pointed out that the goal of both scientists had been to find the intoxicating agent of cannabis (delta-9), which neither ever established for sure.

During this time, delta-9 THC was not synthesized fully, though it was identified. But other compounds were synthesized, like CBN, CBD, and analogues of these cannabinoids and delta-9. CBN seems to be the very first cannabinoid that was synthesized in the quest to find delta-9, which CBN was assumed to be very closely related to. This makes CBN and CBD the first examples of synthetic cannabinoids, even though they do appear in nature. This reinforces the idea that a naturally occurring compound, can also be produced in synthetic form.

Cannabis synthetics today

We could have a whole debate about why cannabis was illegalized, and the part that pharmaceutical companies played in it, as a way to minimize use of a plant that couldn’t be patented. And while we could go back and forth on that one, the results of it can be seen clearly in today’s world. For example, while the US government likes to talk about how bad synthetics are, it also approved synthetic cannabinoid medications like Dronabinol, Epidiolex, and Sativex, and this in place of allowing the actual plant which has been used for thousands of years. This means, the only cannabis medications approved in the US, are synthetics.

In a great example of how far a government will go to protect pharmaceutical interests, France literally went to court with the EU over the ability to block sales and imports of naturally-occurring CBD. Of course, what the majority of reporters missed in the story, was that while France went on and on about the dangers of CBD (which it failed to back up in court), it was allowing GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, a synthetic version of CBD, to be sold. Kind of seems like France wasn’t actually all that against CBD, huh?

At this point, there are about a million synthetic cannabinoids out. From non-naturally occurring like THC-O-Acetate, delta-10 THC, and canabidiolic acid methyl ester, to naturally occurring, like delta-8 THC, Dronabinol (THC), and Epidiolex (cannabidiol). And then, of course, there are the compounds that are generally thought of as synthetic, like Spice and K2, although these are no more or less synthetic than the pharmaceutical versions being sold to patients, and were discovered through the same lines of research. In fact, the compound that led to spice and K2, was none other than HHC, which was created in a lab in a search to find a simplified, yet working, THC compound. THC-O-Acetate was also an early street synthetic, possibly put out by the military, as the military was doing testing on this compound, and it seems to have shown up in public around that time.

legal cannabis synthetics

Some of the first non-naturally occurring cannabinoids to be synthesized were non-naturally occurring delta THCs like delta-7 THC and delta-10 THC, synthesized around the time that Adams first identified delta-9. The very first cannabis medicine to be approved in the US, was Dronabinol, under the name of Marinol, which gained FDA approval in 1985. Marinol, of course, is synthetic, meaning the very first cannabis medicine allowed in current day America, is synthetic. Clearly the US is A-okay with synthetics.

What can be expected in the future should be obvious. Use of the plant will likely not be stopped, but increasing pressure will probably be put on consumers to buy pharmaceutical products. The demonization and smear campaigns for cannabis will in all probability continue since they incite fear, and can be used to push the pharmaceutical ‘better answer’. And though this ‘better answer’ might prove to be true for people fighting ailments like cancer, for many people, nothing more than the plant would ever be necessary.

Conclusion

It might not be very well known, but the history of cannabis synthetics started at around the same time as the first major breakthrough in cannabis research. Adams and Todd led the charge in the early 40’s, identifying isolating, and synthesizing CBD and CBN, making them the first isolated cannabinoids, and the first examples of synthetic cannabis compounds.

Hi there and welcome! Thanks for joining us at CBDtesters.co, the best online location for the most relevant and up-to-date cannabis and psychedelics-related news from around the world. Stop by regularly to stay abreast of the exciting universe of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up to get our newsletter, so you always know what’s going on.

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 Artificial High – The History of Cannabis Synthetics appeared first on CBD Testers.

Episode 375 – What Can New York and California Learn From Each Other?

Mike Liszewski and Jeremy Berke speak with host Ben Larson about the lessons New York and California can learn from one another as their respective markets take hold and mature, as well as the status of federal legalization and cannabis research legislation. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Photo: Elsa Olofsson/Flickr

DEA Is Increasing Number Of Medical Cannabis Cultivators for Research

After over 50 years of a monopoly for the cultivation of cannabis for research purposes, the DEA is ending the University of Mississippi’s hold on legal marijuana cultivation, and has begun handing out licenses to other entities. Why is the DEA increasing the number of medical cannabis cultivators, and what does this mean?

You know things are changing when the DEA starts increasing the number of cannabis cultivators to grow marijuana for medical research. It’s been a long time coming. And while research is great, a lot has already been done, and a lot of great products already exist. Take delta-8 THC, for example. This alternate form of THC won’t sap a user’s energy and brainpower like delta-9, and doesn’t cause anxiety either. All of which make it preferable for many users. Check out our selection of delta-8 THC, hemp-derived delta 9, delta 10, thcv, thc-p, thc-o & hhc deals, and experience why cannabis technology is so important.

What happened?

The story of the DEA increasing the amount of medical cannabis cultivators isn’t shiny new, but started back in May of 2021. On May 14th, 2021, the DEA announced that it had for the first time allowed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to three applicants. The applicants are meant to work together to cultivate, process, store, and distribute medical cannabis in order to provide it to appropriate facilities for testing and research. And they are meant to do this according to rules the DEA put into effect at the end of 2020. The MOA means that new approved participants are in compliance with US federal law. One of the hopes in expanding out cultivation, is in expanding out diversity for testing.

Prior to this time, the only entity able to cultivate legal marijuana in the US, was the University of Mississippi, through its National Center for the Development of Natural Products. The University had held that designation as the only cultivator of legal marijuana in the US, since 1968. Over the years, this has caused much controversy, with scientists repeatedly complaining that the quality of what was being produced, was subpar, and that the marijuana grown, infrequently reflected what people were actually smoking. On top of this, the University of Mississippi only provided flower, and not extracts, concentrates, or edibles, making for a limited offering considering today’s cannabis market.

An entire five years ago, back in 2016, the DEA announced it would update policies, and open cultivation to other entities, for the creation of research grade medical cannabis. Of course, five years has gone by since that statement was made. Now, in 2021, the DEA is making good on its promise of five years ago, with its announcement that other parties will be given authorization for marijuana production. At the time the DEA made the announcement, it gave no timeline for the final authorization of new cultivation participants, or when it even expected to get through the mass of pending applications that are still waiting.

medical marijuana research

How its being done

As a part of the DEA increasing its list of medical cannabis cultivators for research purposes, it came up with updated regulations to guide the growing market. The previous March it had issued proposed rules for cannabis cultivation licensing, for which there was plenty of public commenting. When the DEA released its final version, it came with modifications from its original form. The DEA released this final rule on cannabis cultivation, just as both sides of Congress were pushing though bills to expand cannabis research. These bills, in fact, mandate the DEA to license more growers for cannabis research, which also helps explain why after five years of doing nothing, the DEA chose now to open production to other parties. It didn’t actually have a choice.

The bill passed by the House actually includes a provision that would allow scientists to simply pick up cannabis at a local authorized dispensary, and while many commenters on the DEA rule thought this was a necessary thing that should be a part of the DEA rule, the DEA did not agree, and left a provision like that out.

The DEA has been quick to remind, that under its new regulations, it is the sole owner of all the cannabis produced for research purposes. This is in contrast to how it was before, when the University of Mississippi was the sole provider, and under agreement with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, whereby the DEA had no ownership, or control, of the product. The DEA says it must be this way now to stay in compliance with international law, based on the Single Contention on Narcotic Substances. Apparently, the prior April, the Office of Legal Council, which sits under the Justice Department, decided that the DEA had been in violation of the Single Convention, by managing cannabis along with two other agencies, instead of being the sole agency to oversee it.

There is some question as to how the recent House bill that was passed will mesh with this DEA ruling. The House bill after all, explicitly allows scientists to buy and study products from state-run dispensaries, whereas the DEA ruling doesn’t allow this. According to  Paul Armentano, the deputy director of NORML: “Time and time again, the DEA has proven itself full of empty promises when it comes to the issue of facilitating clinical cannabis research in the United States… This history of inaction is why Congress needs to enact legislative reforms.” He went on to point out how the House bill would soon end “the DEA’s longstanding fiefdom” by allowing scientists to go around it, and buy cannabis on their own.

New regulations for potential growers

New producers must show licensing in their own state, and that their customer base is certified for product research. They also have to show what measures and precautions have been taken, to ensure the proper distribution of the plant. One detraction that has gotten widespread backlash, is that any prospective grower who has already legally grown in their own state, is considered to have broken federal law, even if what they did was legal in their specific location. This means a lot of applicants will likely be turned away for violating federal law, even though they’re applying to do the same thing they were doing before, and which was being done legally by state law.

There was also a plethora of commenting related to factoring in an applicant’s growing experience, and ability to produce high quality flowers, which the DEA also, apparently, doesn’t think is very important. Nor does it think its important to accept liability for the product when it’s in DEA care. Which means if any marijuana is damaged or destroyed under DEA care, the agency is not responsible, which would indicate that the cultivators would take the loss, regardless of circumstances.

DEA increasing cannabis cultivators

The agency also rejected caring about diversity or accounting for things like socioeconomic status or race. It said all applications will be treated fairly, with no consideration given to personal circumstances. This can be argued either way. Some prefer the level playing field, others prefer to see provisions made to help those who have been damaged by the system, to get first crack at the new industry. This is what many states have done when legalizing recreational markets.

Sometimes things move slow in government (it’s been five years since the DEA originally said it would do this), and sometimes when things start moving, they pick up speed rather quickly. In the case of the DEA, and increasing the number of medical cannabis cultivators, it’s hard to tell what the ultimate pace will be. While some 500 researchers have been granted authorization around the country, many are waiting on cannabis supplies to get going. Each grower, once it is licensed, will have a certain amount it is able to grow and supply. Right now, however, it’s just a waiting game.

Though the DEA refused to provide any kind of timeline for applications, or any streamlining of the application process, it did say it would give a notice of receipt, within 90 days of receiving an application.

DEA wants more medical cannabis and psilocybin

While the DEA has often moved incredibly slow to get things done, it is picking up the pace of late, though this is likely because Congress has also been enacting new legislation, and the country is getting closer to being in a situation where the majority of the states are going against federal policy. This is actually already the case, what with over 30 states legalized for medical, and 18 legalized for recreational. This is probably why Congress has had its own flurry of new legislation. And possibly why the DEA included the provision about judging applicants for breaking federal drug laws, even if they were following their own state laws when previously growing.

It’s basically penalizing people for following state mandates instead of federal law. Which sounds like a bully move to me, and something that will likely get knocked down in court, as it violates states rights. After all, by holding people accountable for actions done legally under state laws, the federal government is challenging the ability for states to have their own rights, and for those rights to be respected. Just as it’s a bully move, its also a salty one, which really just shows a growing frustration of the federal government at what it can’t control.

Regardless of how much the federal government likes it though, when things change, and the government can’t control it, it has the option of updating itself to save face, or to go down swinging and lose all power. In this case, the DEA shows the government is trying to catch up to the current trajectory that it cannot stop. One of the moves that shows this quite plainly, and which was precipitated by ending the cannabis cultivation monopoly, is that the DEA is now pushing for higher quotas for medical cannabis and psilocybin production for research.

more cannabis and psilocybin

Yes, not just cannabis, but fellow Schedule I Controlled Substance psilocybin, from magic mushrooms, is also being pushed by the DEA. Why? Probably because the psychedelics movement has picked up so quickly, and even the FDA is pushing for getting researched products to market.

On September 2nd, 2021, a notice was put up by the DEA, saying the DEA wants to increase the amount of cannabis flower grown for research to 4,400 pounds, which would be a 500,000-gram increase from current quota numbers. Along with this, cannabis extract production would double, making for a new quota of 500,000 grams. When it comes to psilocybin, the main psychedelic constituent of magic mushrooms, the DEA wants to increase production from 50 grams to 1,500, which is an increase of 2,900%. The DEA also wants to increase production of secondary psychedelic component psilocin (also from magic mushrooms), from 50 grams to 1,000.

Conclusion

Right now, a lot is being spoken about, and a lot of laws are being written and passed, but not much has been done to put things in motion. If the DEA is really increasing the amount of medical cannabis cultivators for research purposes, it will need to get those licenses out, and that marijuana growing.

More interestingly, how will the new research bills that Congress just passed, (and which at times go in contrast to the DEA cultivation ruling), play out? And will there be any friction in the end? It all remains to be seen, but the one thing for sure is that one way or another, there will be way more weed around.

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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 DEA Is Increasing Number Of Medical Cannabis Cultivators for Research appeared first on CBD Testers.

DEA Wants More Marijuana and Psilocybin Produced for Research

For years, the US federal government has waged a ridiculous, horribly damaging, and incredibly expensive war on drugs. Enough money has been spent to ruin lives, that it’s maddening, and all for something that was never going to work. It says quite a bit about the recent turn in tides, that rather than being more restrictive, the DEA just stated it wants more marijuana and psilocybin produced, for research purposes.

You know the tides are turning when the DEA puts out a notice saying it wants more marijuana and psilocybin produced for research purposes. Luckily, a lot of the US is already legal, and this means there are a range of products on the market, and not just standard marijuana. Take delta-8 THC for example. This half-brother to delta-9 THC creates less psychoactive effect, provides virtually the same medical benefits, and causes less anxiety, cloudy head, and couch locking effects. This is preferable to many users, highlighting why having options is imperative. We like options. So take a look at our delta-8 THC, THCV, THC-P, THC-O, HHC and delta 10 deals, and the array of other cannabis compounds on offer, and pick your favorite product.

What’s the news?

In the last couple days, the DEA made a complete 180º turn from its general stance of ‘cannabis is bad’ and ‘psychedelics are bad’, and turned it into, ‘let’s make more’. Yup, the US Drug Enforcement Agency announced that it intends massive increases in the production of both marijuana and psilocybin for research purposes, specifically to get federally approved medicinal products to market. The notice was published on September 2nd, 2021. The notice states the DEA’s intention to increase the amount of:

“…the schedule I substances psilocybin, psilocin, marihuana, and marihuana extract, which are directly related to increased interest by DEA registrants in the use of hallucinogenic controlled substances for research and clinical trial purposes… DEA firmly believes in supporting regulated research of schedule I controlled substances… Therefore, the increases reflect the need to fulfill research and development requirements in the production of new drug products, and the study of marijuana effects in particular, as necessary steps toward potential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of new drug products.”

It should be remembered that all of these substances, whether psychedelic mushroom-related, or cannabis-related, are currently Schedule I in the DEA list of Controlled Substances. Which means the DEA wants the Schedule I substances THC and psilocybin to be used as medications, and is upping the ante to get them to market. Even though these substances are currently 100% federally illegal, and considered not to have any medical value at all.

DEA wants more marijuana and psilocybin research

This is not the first time the DEA has adjusted quotas for the production of Schedule I compounds. However, it does stand out in terms of the DEA’s stated desire to actually get products FDA-approved, and to market, signaling an understanding that things are changing in terms of popular opinion. This is backed up already by the 18 states legal for recreational cannabis use, the over 30 that are cool with medical use, and the new inclusion by Oregon in 2020 for legal medical psilocybin.

If the DEA wants more marijuana and psilocybin, how much does this mean?

It should be noted that the term used by the DEA is ‘marijuana’, and not ‘cannabis’, showing the intent for high-THC plants, not just cannabis in general. How much more does the DEA want to see produced in 2021? A massive two million grams, which equals about 4,400 pounds, and which is an increase of 500,000 grams from its initial quota amount. As far as cannabis extracts, it more than doubled the original quota, bringing the new amount to 500,000 grams of extracts.

When it comes to the two main psychedelic compounds of magic mushrooms, psilocybin and psilocin, compounds that have not yet reached the acceptance level of cannabis, the DEA is aiming for pretty big production increases as well. The quota for psilocybin just skyrocketed from 50 grams to 1,500 grams, a 2,900% increase for those following along. That’s pretty big! In terms of its counterpart psilocin, the DEA is looking for an increase to 1,000 grams from 50. While 1,000 might not seem high, it’s a massive increase from the current 50.

This is all great news for activists, medical patients, researchers, and advocates who want these substances legalized for medical use, and beyond. Many are still irritated, however, by the idea that plenty of medical evidence already exists confirming the efficacy and safety of these compounds, and yet they’re still in Schedule I…which is especially confounding considering some of the most dangerous drugs, opioids, are given out like candy.

What happens next?

Will it happen right away? No, that’s not how things tend to work in government. In this situation, there will be a 30-day period for people to submit feedback on this possible increase, which is available to do here. The subject might require a public hearing before changes can officially be made to update the 2021 quota amounts. Realistically, this proposed increase shows the necessity the government must be feeling to update laws, in order to not be left behind by its own country, which is defying federal mandate almost everywhere (when adding up medical and recreational legalizations, as well as decriminalization measures).

While this is more true for cannabis than psilocybin, the fact that psilocybin has been increasingly in the spotlight signals that the same process is happening with it, as it is with cannabis. Perhaps the government would be smarter this time by getting out in front of it, instead of trying to stop it, while being defied by state after state.

medical marijuana

The groundwork for all this was set earlier in the year when the DEA ended the monopoly that the University of Mississippi has enjoyed since 1968, for the production of federally sanctioned marijuana. This should make meeting the new proposed production goals that much more possible. With additional growers approved for production, considerably more marijuana can be legally produced, which begs the question of whether the ending of the monopoly really was a first step, meant to facilitate the increase being put forward now.

To give an idea of how split everything still is, a petition was filed in a federal appeals court, which was ruled on at the end of August. The appeal was to require the DEA to reevaluate the current scheduling of cannabis. The court dismissed the petition, requiring no reevaluation or change to the Controlled Substances list. However, to shine a light on the understanding that such rulings won’t hold for much longer, one judge was forward-thinking enough to state that he thinks the DEA will be forced to make a policy change soon, owing to the glaring misinformation about the therapeutic value of the plant, which current laws are based off. U.S. Circuit Judge Paul Watford stated the following:

“I write separately to note that, in an appropriate case, the Drug Enforcement Administration may well be obliged to initiate a reclassification proceeding for marijuana, given the strength of petitioners’ arguments that the agency has misinterpreted the controlling statute by concluding that marijuana ‘has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.’”

Why the DEA wants more marijuana and psilocybin for research

The reason this is happening is stated in Judge Watford’s statement, or at least partially. He stated the likely need to update laws based on misinformation about health benefits, but what he left out was that the overall tide is changing on these compounds, leading states to break with federal mandates in large amounts. Considering how much this erodes federal government power, it really will become a necessity, if the federal government doesn’t want all 50 of its states to have some kind of marijuana and/or mushrooms policy in direct contrast to its laws. The federal government has initiated a few bills for legalization, but whether they are capable of passing yet is hard to say.

The DEA is not the first government agency to make it clear it wants products on the market with these compounds. In terms of marijuana, we already know the federal government is okay with it, because there already are plenty of marijuana products on the market. They come in the form of Dronabinol (marketed under Marinol, Syndros, REDUVO and Adversa), which was created by Solvay pharmaceuticals; and Nabilone, which was originally developed by US pharma company Eli Lilly and Company in 1985 (also known as Cesamet, among other trade names). In that sense, the contradiction already exists that pharmaceutical cannabis products are somehow not Schedule I, but other non-pharmaceutical products, are…

In terms of psychedelics, in 2019, the FDA earmarked psilocybin as a ‘breakthrough therapy’ for major depression, and this was the second time it did it. This designation is meant to speed up products to market, though the agency doesn’t just dole out this title randomly. When a company is doing trials that show a compound to be possibly better than existing options, it can apply for this label, which Compass Pathways, and Usona Institute, now have.

medical psilocybin

Just to make it clear how much psychedelics are entering the main stage, these designations given to psilocybin, came after a 2017 breakthrough therapy title was given to MDMA, due to its trials by the organization MAPS, for use with PTSD. In this case, the FDA actually worked in conjunction with MAPS to plan phase three if its trials, to ensure results would meet regulation standards.

DEA, Marijuana and Psilocybin – Conclusion

The federal government has sure been dragging its heels in terms of acknowledging the backward nature of current laws concerning marijuana and psychedelics. It does seem fine to let pharmaceutical products in, a stunning, often ignored, contradiction that doesn’t get enough attention. There are already legal products on the market for both drug classes. I’ve mentioned the marijuana products earlier in the article, and in the case of psychedelics, the compound esketamine, which was legalized for use with depression in 2019, and then updated for suicidal thoughts in 2020. The company that puts it out? Johnson & Johnson, under the name of Spravato. To simply say the federal government is against these compounds, is absolutely ludicrous.

Luckily, when public opinion changes to the point of being out of the control of lawmakers (as in, smear campaigns can’t work anymore), it means change can happen, even if at a slug-like pace. Considering the DEA now wants an increase in marijuana and psilocybin production, and the FDA is earmarking psychedelics as breakthrough therapies, it’s quite likely legalizations are coming soon. The government seems to finally be realizing that it no longer has a choice.

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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 DEA Wants More Marijuana and Psilocybin Produced for Research appeared first on CBD Testers.