Another Study Says Legalizations Don’t Increase Cannabis Use

The line is old and never made sense in the first place, but politician after politician like to extol the fear that if they legalize cannabis, everyone will become a pothead. As it turns out, study after study say the opposite, that legalizations don’t increase cannabis use, particularly in younger populations. Take a look.

Yet another study now shows that legalizations don’t increase new cannabis use in kids, so why do we keep hearing that it will from politicians? Remember to subscribe to The Cannadelics 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! 


The study

The question of whether legalizations do or don’t increase use comes up a lot in debates over legalization measures. A study published a couple weeks ago called Estimating the effects of legalizing recreational cannabis on newly incident cannabis use, investigates the estimated occurrence of new cannabis users in the below 21 years-of-age grouping, versus those 21 and above. The study sought to find estimates representative of all US states, as well as Washington, DC, and used the data of 819,543 US residents (non-institutionalized) from the years 2008-2019.

Information was collected via audio computer-assisted self-interviews, as part of National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) surveys. These surveys were cross‐sectional, and conducted with “multistage area probability sampling to draw state-level representative samples and to over-sample 12-to-17‐year‐olds.”

It should be noted that this entire study draws from information taken from semi-unrelated research, and was not designed and carried out specifically for its purpose. As stated by the investigators in the write-up, “As this research used publicly available and anonymized data, the research was determined as not human subjects research by the Michigan State University Institutional Review Board on 8/26/2021.” This is not an uncommon practice, and though often used to create associations that really don’t exist, in many situations its a perfectly fine way to collect and asses data.

Investigators used DiD event study models (difference-in-difference) to make inferences on policy effects that were implemented in a staggered way over a period of time. These models are regularly used to show treatment effects from before and after treatment sessions, in medicine, and are used similarly here to see the difference in cannabis use, pre and post legalization.

The results of the study indicate “no policy-associated changes in the occurrence of newly incident cannabis onsets for underage persons, but an increased occurrence of newly onset cannabis use among older adults.” So, basically, its saying that legalizations didn’t lead to more underage people starting to smoke, but did lead to more people of legal age starting to smoke.

They go on to stipulate, “These results show consistent evidence of an increase in the occurrence of newly incident cannabis use for adults aged 21 years and older after the removal of prohibitions against cannabis retail sales. For those aged 12-20-years-old, the study estimates support the hypothesis that RCLs did not affect the occurrence of newly incident cannabis use for underage persons.”

And that “We offer a tentative conclusion of public health importance: Legalized cannabis retail sales might be followed by the increased occurrence of cannabis onsets for older adults, but not for underage persons who cannot buy cannabis products in a retail outlet.” As dispensaries are meant for adults to use at will, and are only barred to underagers, this hardly presents a problem, while backing up that legalizations really don’t increase cannabis use among younger residents.

Are new adult smokers a problem?

This study shows that legalizations don’t increase use in kids, and don’t result in every kid running out to start smoking weed. In fact, it maintains that this isn’t a reason for worry at all. What it does point to, is the possibility that more adults 21 and above might start to smoke after legalizations.

I expect this will be enough for some politicians to latch onto in their quest to link legalizations with a pothead culture. But the problem with this, is that a legalization, and legal dispensaries, are meant to allow this very behavior, indicating that its not a dangerous enough behavior to warrant concern. In fact, not only is it not dangerous, but the array of states with medical legalizations might argue that cannabis is beneficial, which makes it not only not a bad thing for more adults to use cannabis, but possibly an overall beneficial one.

Plus, having an issue with adults smoking, is silly at best when considering how many bars there are, and retail locations to buy alcohol, the drug with one of the highest death counts, and overall global rates for death and disability. And one of the only drugs (along with the idea of smoking in general) that regularly hurts those not partaking, in the form of drunk driving incidents. And though legislators like to point at cannabis for causing danger on roadways, this too has been evaluated in studies, which actually found lower incidence rates of driving accidents in states with medical legalizations.

Should we care that a legalization measure meant to make something completely available to adults…is being used by those adults? Even if in higher numbers than before? I mean, that is the purpose of the industry, right? And given how excited everyone is about the tax value of the cannabis market, it kind of seems like increasing adult smokers, was always the goal.

Uruguay study already showed similar results

Though investigators in the study mentioned above say “This cannabis policy evaluation project adds novel evidence on a neglected parameter”, referring to research on how prevalent new underage smokers are post legalization; this is not correct. Other investigations about whether legalizations do or don’t increase use are already published on this topic, including a recent one from Uruguay.

Uruguay says no increased use

Uruguay was the first country in the world to go against global mandate and legalize the recreational use of cannabis back in 2013. So it easily has the longest running data stream for how a legalization effects smoking onset in different age groups. In May of this year, a study was published, which “measured whether Uruguay’s non-commercial model of recreational cannabis legalization was associated with changes in the prevalence of risky and frequent cannabis use among secondary school students.”

The study used collected cross-sectional surveys filled out by both Uruguayan and Chilean secondary school students (8th, 10th, 12th grades), from 2007-2018, with a total of 204,730 persons for which data was collected. They used a full range of kids in the 12-17 age range, as well as a specific group in that range that mentioned past-month or past-year use, as well as another group of 18-21 year olds.

They particularly looked at changes in frequent or risky cannabis behavior in past-month and past-year models, with special interest in changes just after the legalization kicked in, in 2014. Investigators used the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test for risky cannabis behaviors, and established frequent use as 10+ days in the last month.

Study results found that there was not an increase, but a decrease in both past-month and past-year use directly following the start of the industry, in the 12-17 range. Though there was a slight uptick in the 18-21 range right after the market opened, risky use quickly decreased soon after. In fact, risky use decreased in all the following samples: participants who used in the past-month, who used frequently in the past-year, and those that claimed frequent use from the entire sample.

Not only does this study indicate no issue with raised cannabis use in the underage community after legalization, but it shows a decrease in overall risky use for all groups. Plus, this is the second study of this nature out of Uruguay. In 2020, the study The impact of cannabis legalization in Uruguay on adolescent cannabis use was published, which came to its own conclusion that “We find no evidence of an impact on cannabis use or the perceived risk of use. We find an increase in student perception of cannabis availability (58% observed vs. 51% synthetic control) following legalization.”

This indicates that students are wholly aware of the increased availability of cannabis, yet aren’t running out to go get it. The study sought to “estimate the impact of legalization in Uruguay on adolescent past year and month cannabis use, perceived availability of cannabis and perceived risk of cannabis use.”

Conclusion

legalizations don't increase use

How long will we keep hearing the line that we’re all going to be pot junkies if a legalization occurs? And how many more studies must show that legalizations don’t increase cannabis use in younger communities, before the powers that be get the point? As the line sounds like an excuse to begin with, I’d say we’re not even close to that backwards sentiment being wiped off the boards, and it will take time for the logic to fully filter down. Luckily, the process is most definitely underway, thanks to recent research.

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Switzerland Implements Wide-Reaching Medical Cannabis Program

All eyes are on Switzerland as the country makes big moves to start its own cannabis industry. The country announced plans for a recreational measure last year, and now Switzerland is introducing a wide-reaching medical program that goes far beyond its previous limits.

Switzerland is on a rampage, both widening its medical cannabis program, and awaiting new recreational legislation. Cannadelics is an independent news source focusing on the cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Remember to subscribe to The Cannadelics 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! 


Switzerland up until now

Switzerland is all over the board these days, but up until recently, this was not the case. So what was the deal with Switzerland up until its impressive moves of late? First off, Switzerland is not a part of the EU, so it never had to go by EU regulation. Whereas products with up to .3% THC are legal in EU countries, Switzerland has a max THC level of 1%. Outside of this, cannabis is illegal.

In 2012, the country instituted a decriminalization measure which allowed for small amounts of cannabis (up to 10 grams) with only a 100 Swiss Franc fine, and no jail time included. Once either the 10-gram limit is gone over, or the 1% THC limit, a violator is subject to both a fine, and a prison sentence up to three years.

A lot happened in 2012, though it didn’t all stick. That year, certain cities gained the ability to legally grow low-THC hemp, up to the 1% limit. But then, Just months after this started, the government itself nullified this ability, because it said it was in violation of federal drug laws. Switzerland operates like many multi-state countries where cannabis penalties vary between its different states.

In another 2012 measure, legislation was instituted that made both selling cannabis, as well as possessing amounts enough to affect as many as three people, punishable by up to three years in jail, along with a possible fine. This was updated in 2017 to exclude possession, and to only fine those actively using; which allowed many states to drop possession cases for small amounts.

In terms of Switzerland and a medical cannabis program, the country didn’t have a comprehensive one until current events. The Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances in 2008 (implemented in 2011) allows Swiss doctors to get special permits to prescribe cannabis to terminal patients, for 12 months at a time. It also requires patients to apply for authorization from the FOPH (Federal Office of Public Health). Only tinctures and oils were approved by this measure, and its hardly wide-ranging, with only two pharmacies able to provide such medications.

This didn’t stop the pharma medicine Epidiolex from gaining approval in 2018, even as flowers and resin are both barred. From this time, however, pharmacies have been able to create specific CBD formulations for patients. Overall, the ability to access cannabis medicines has been highly restricted in Switzerland, though recent changes are now opening the country to much wider usage, with even bigger plans for the future.

Switzerland updates medical program

Everything just mentioned about Switzerland and its medical program, has now been updated thanks to a new amendment put forth by the country’s seven-member Federal Council, which is the country’s joint head of state and federal government. This amendment updates the Narcotics Act to erase the ban on medical cannabis, which in turn creates a much wider market.

Starting in the beginning of August, patients no longer have to apply for the authorization from the FOPH, and can now get a regular prescription, straight from their doctor. The new amendment isn’t just meant for patients in Switzerland, but predictably for an export market as well (very few legalizations of this sort don’t include the ability for an export market). Less was stated about an impending import market. The limit for THC is still the same for all products, at 1%.

Part of the reason for this change, was due to increasing demand for medical authorizations, which had grown to the point of burdening the government with extra administrative work, which led to treatment delays for patients in need. The conditions for treatment also expand under this new amendment, letting more people benefit from cannabis medication.

medical program market

According to the government, this update should be beneficial to those suffering from spastic diseases, and pain issues. Prior to the update, approximately 3,000 approvals for medical cannabis were given yearly to those suffering from the likes of neurological diseases, MS, and cancer.

In order for the amendment to take effect, it required changes to the Narcotics Control Ordinance and the Narcotics List Ordinance. Cultivation regulation for this new medical industry falls under the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic).

Nothing was updated concerning reimbursement for cannabis medications by the healthcare system of the country. As medical cannabis is only reimbursed in the most dire of cases, this indicates that many people will be paying out of pocket for their cannabis medicine, even when legally prescribed by a doctor. The reason given for this omission is that there isn’t enough available evidence on cannabis as an effective treatment, which makes very little sense since it was considered effective enough to be legalized for this purpose.

What about a full recreational legalization?

Switzerland looks like it will be the first country in Europe to set up a regulated sales market, along with trials meant to help establish new regulation. In 2020 I reported about the Swiss government green-lighting trials for recreational cannabis, a project that has been in the works for many years. The trials will allow the legal production and sale of cannabis, but only in specific locations and with many restrictions. In September of 2020, the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances was officially amended by way of parliamentary approval, which allows scientific trials for selected groups. This went into effect May, 2021.

These regulations set maximum THC limits to 20%, come with limits for pesticide residue, and also mandate warning labels. In order to be a part of these trials, and have access to this recreational cannabis, individual cities and municipalities must first prove that recreational cannabis is not hurting their current population.

As of April 2022, the first of these recreational test programs was authorized specifically for Basel, Switzerland. This specific program is meant to last two years, includes 400 adults, and essentially is meant to provide data for future pricing and consumption regulation, for a full recreational market.

Switzerland cannabis legalization

Though the pilot studies sound interesting, they’re really only to help with what’s coming. Even before the programs officially started, a parliamentary commission made a vote in October 2021, which ruled that cannabis shouldn’t be banned, and that the country must establish legislation to officially legalize it. In essence, Switzerland has legalized recreational cannabis, and is simply waiting for a bill (the vote doesn’t change anything without written legislation).

The whole thing is a little confusing. Switzerland is pushing for scientific trials to assess how to run a recreational market, while already working on the legislation to set up that market. And to make it more confusing, the basics of this began before Switzerland even implanted a full medical system, which is only happening now. Somehow none of this seems like its in the right order, but one thing for sure is, progress is great, no matter how it comes. And Switzerland is sure in the fast lane to major cannabis reform.

Conclusion

Perhaps competition with Germany is part of what’s spurring this on so quickly. The neighboring countries are both planning for recreational legalizations, and are both getting amped up to enter the global market. Switzerland for its part is working on both ends. Updating its medical program, before instituting its recreational one.

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THC Limit: The Point That You Don’t Get Higher

Our standard way of thinking about drugs is that the more drugs you take, the more intense an experience you’ll have. In this model, not only does more mean more intensity, but it also means the possibility of taking too much, and overdosing. Can this happen with cannabis? According to research, THC has a limit, and if you keep smoking past it, you don’t get higher. Take a look.

Do we have THC limits within us? Is there a point of smoking when we don’t get higher, no matter how much we smoke? According to research (and life), yes, there is! Our 100% independent news publication focuses on stories in the growing cannabis and psychedelics spaces. We provide the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter for readers to stay updated, and offer tons of deals for a range of products, from smoking devices to cannabinoid products like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC. You can find deals in our ‘best of’ lists, for which we ask you only buy products you are comfortable with using.


Drug behavior

Before getting to the study, and the ‘official’ documentation, let’s first think about smoking behavior. Sure, not everyone is a giant pothead, but there are plenty of giant potheads out there, and even lower-level smokers might encounter a specific time period of mass smoking whereby they can assess the situation of what happens with increased amounts of THC.

If you keep taking opioids, you’ll get super high, and then eventually, you’ll take too much for your system to handle the depressive aspects of the drug, and your body will shut down. We call that an overdose. Many drugs lead to death when too much is taken, by essentially flooding the body with a compound it can’t remove fast enough, or balance the effects of, for regular function. Some drugs are more likely to kill than other drugs, but even a non-fatal reaction can result in a seizure, unconsciousness, or bodily injury of some kind.

However, this isn’t the case for all drugs. And technically, for pot, we know this doesn’t happen fatally because there are enough smokers out there, that this kind of information is understood. We know people don’t die from pot because no death statistics exist. And because no one has seen it happen before. But what does that mean for super heavy smokers? Are they simply never getting to the death limit, or is there no limit to get to? And if it won’t cause death, does that mean it stops working at some point?

Standard life tells us, yes. As a regular smoker myself (and a sometimes full-out pothead), I’m well aware that if I take toke after toke after toke, that eventually, I’m not going to feel any difference anymore. After a certain point, my brain will remain at the same level of mush, and I don’t get higher, despite possibly smoking way, way more. I might burn my throat if I’m smoking joints or pipes, or set my asthma off (both things that are avoided by vaping), but I’m not going to enter into some new high headspace with each new drag.

Technically, every smoker knows this, even if they never thought about it logically. For one thing, if we did continue to get to higher points, it would be written about extensively, and its not. At all. And for another thing, that seeming inability to die from it indicates that at a certain point, there is no further bodily response. A couple years ago, a study came out that helped show this logic, and which backs up the idea that with THC, there is a limit. And after that limit, smokers don’t get higher.

The study

The study in question, is called Association of Naturalistic Administration of Cannabis Flower and Concentrates With Intoxication and Impairment. The goal of the study was to assess if there is an “association of legal market cannabis flower and concentrates with cannabis intoxication and neurobehavioral impairment?”

In order to do this, study researchers designed a cohort study with 121 cannabis flower and concentrate users. The participants were in groups per their choice of general product (flower or concentrate), and then randomly split within user groups into two groups, a higher-THC product group, and a lower-THC product group. The study used legal market cannabis flowers for the flower group, with a range of 16-24% THC, and concentrates with 70-90% THC for the concentrates group. 55 of the participants used cannabis flower (41.4%), and 66 of the participants used concentrates (49.6%).

Investigators measured plasma cannabinoid levels, as well as subjective drug intoxication of the users, and performance results on a range of neurobehavioral tasks to test attention, memory, inhibitory control, and balance. Researchers found that it didn’t matter which product the participants used (flower vs concentrate), as users showed similar behavior on a neural level after acute use.

The concentrates caused uniformly higher THC blood plasma levels across the board (.32 vs .14 μg/mL). In nearly all metrics, though, neurobehavioral measures were not changed by short-term cannabis use. There was a delay in impairment of verbal memory and balance in general, but apart from these factors, there was no different outcome based on the type of product or potency level.

get higher

Researchers concluded that though cannabis concentrates provide higher THC exposure, that the difference in subjective and neurobehavioral impairments in the short term, is not specifically associated with the strength of the product used.

According to researchers, “In general, across most cognitive measures, acute performance changes following cannabis use were minimal. In 1 exception, delayed verbal recall performance was impaired after use, which is consistent with prior work demonstrating reliable cannabis-associated impairment in this memory domain.” And that “across forms of cannabis and potencies, users’ domains of verbal memory and proprioception-focused postural stability were primarily associated with THC administration.”

One limitation of the study, was that there was no control group used, so all participants received THC, with no group which did not. Investigators were also required to go by federal mandate, which restricted drug dosing, as well as control of other aspects of administration. A last restriction, they had to pre-assign the major groups of flower-users vs concentrate-users based on pre-existing user behavior, due to ethical limitations. Even with these limitations, the results still say a lot about how little the effect changes when a person has more THC.

What it means

The researchers weren’t testing to see at what level a person stopped breathing, or keeled over and died. However, the research pointed out why we don’t worry about these things with cannabis. If low and high THC users essentially show the same functional reactivity, it indicates that past a point, no further effect is felt by increasing THC.

Though this doesn’t provide a direct answer as to whether a person can die from too much THC, or too much cannabis in general, it does imply this is unlikely. Death results from the body being pushed past a limit, for which stronger and stronger doses of a compound will show a leveled increase in whatever is being measured. After the point the body can no longer handle this, it shuts down, or changes in some way.

This study implies that though THC plasma levels increase, and though some neurobehavioral change occurs (mainly in verbal memory and balance), that results are effectively the same regardless of THC amount. This means that even if the THC in the blood continues to increase, it shouldn’t show any further change with neurobehavioral activities. This study did not asses effects on heart rate, breathing rate, or blood pressure.

cannabis high

If one was to make the assumption that such changes in these other processes would be indicated by differing brain behavior, then it could be assumed (while still requiring official testing), that increased levels of THC intake, past a point, do not alter other body functions like respiration, heart rate, or blood pressure, either. Once again, this study did not attempt to answer these questions, but as cannabis isn’t associated with a death rate, the implication is that these factors don’t increase out-of-range either.

Conclusion

This study backs up why there’s no death count for marijuana. It might not explain why the body reacts the way it does, but it does show a certain ability to withstand increased amounts of THC. This leaves plenty more questions for the future, but does elucidate why when we get to the point of smoking joint after joint, or taking vape hit after vape hit, or bong rip after bong rip, that the end result, is about the same. And that somewhere along the way, we hit a THC limit, whereby we don’t get higher.

This is not to say that a user won’t experience bad effects from using cannabis, even if death isn’t one of them. However, having said that, there is also no indication that these negative responses accumulate with use, either, indicating that there is also a limit to the bad feelings that can come from smoking marijuana.

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How Popular Are Psychedelics In America? Survey Says ~30% Have Tried

The psychedelics industry is gearing up for a massive debut, and opinions on the compounds are changing for the better. How popular are psychedelics in America right now? New survey results show that these compounds are not unknown to the American public, and that close to 30% of respondents, have already tried them.

With the psychedelics boom underway, we now ask the question, just how popular are psychedelics in America? A recent survey has some interesting results on this matter. Welcome to out completely independent news publication focusing on cannabis and psychedelics reporting. We offer the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter to provide regular updates for readers, along with some top notch deals on all kinds of products including smoking paraphernalia, edibles, and cannabinoid compounds like the uber popular Delta 8 THC, and HHC. Head to our ‘best of’ lists to check out offers, and make sure to only purchase the products you are fully comfortable using.


The psychedelics revolution

100 years ago psychedelics weren’t a thing yet, at least not in Western medicine. Though they’ve enjoyed a wide and long-ranging tenure in different cultural traditions, their use as a recreational or medicinal drug in today’s modern, Westernized world, was still far off 100 years ago. 50 Years ago, legislation to get rid of psychedelics from society in general, already went through. Yup, in just a 50 years period, drugs like LSD were discovered, found to have great therapeutic properties, and then were promptly illegalized, both by the US government, and the UN.

What started blossoming out as a beautiful answer to issues of mental health and addiction, was snuffed out in favor of the pharmaceutical antidepressant market, which was never effective, so long as you never listened to pharmaceutical reps, or paid-for research, which is a significantly bigger issue than most people realize. And it happened so fast, that most people never gained awareness of the benefits these compounds provide. In fact, psychedelics existed mainly as a black market for recreational purposes, and were roundly associated with hippies and the anti-war movement of the 1960’s.

So, it’s a major change in climate to go from scare-tactic videos showing people jumping out of windows (part of my DARE program in high school), to news articles blaring about how quickly drugs like magic mushrooms and ketamine help with treatment resistant depression. It’s even more eye-opening that Oregon passed legislation to legalize psilocybin mushrooms, and that Washington, California, Michigan, and Colorado are working toward legalizations as well. And lets certainly not forget that the US government actually did legalize a form of ketamine in 2019 (esketamine) for depression, though in a very quiet manner.

Beyond treatment resistant depression, psychedelics are being studied in earnest for their ability to help with addiction issues, pain management (particularly ketamine), obsessive-compulsive issues, and post-partum depression. In fact, ketamine is already being openly used for all of the above in a clinic system that allows its prescription, because of its place as an approved anesthetic.

With the line changing from ‘psychedelics are dangerous’ to ‘psychedelics are good for you’, it’s not that surprising that such compounds already have a relatively high use rate in a place like America. How high? Different surveys give different estimates, but one says that psychedelics are already so popular in America, that about 30% of the population has already tried them.

How popular are psychedelics in America Latest survey

How popular are psychedelics in America right now? It’s hard to get concrete answers to questions like this because its hard to survey the entire country. Surveys take representative measurements – where a small portion of the population is questioned to represent a greater population, and they come with a lot of issues, particularly when samples are small, or not collected to reflect a greater population. Having said that, since polling every individual for opinion is not possible in a country the size of the US, surveys are about the best we have to go on.

A recent survey conducted by YouGov, a British internet-based data analytics and market research company, found that almost 30% of Americans already tried psychedelics at least once. Now, this survey has massive limitations. For one, only 1000 people were questioned, and though they were picked to represent the US, they unlikely did in a comprehensive way. It should be expected that this particular group is not representative of the US at large. Even so, when it comes to this topic, there’s not much to go on, so this is what we’ve got.

According to the report, the sample was weighted “According to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as news interest and 2020 Presidential vote (or non-vote).”

The survey, conducted between July 22-25 of this year, showed that of the seven psychedelics asked about (LSD, magic mushrooms/psilocybin, MDMA/ecstasy, DMT, mescaline/peyote, ketamine, and salvia), 28% of respondents had already tried at least one. Of those drugs, LSD was the most popular psychedelic in America according to this sample, with 14% of respondents having tried it. Second was psilocybin, which 13% had tried. MDMA was third with 9%, ketamine was done by 6%, DMT also by 6%, and salvia by 5%.

Psychedelic mushrooms
Psychedelic mushrooms

Though the survey has plenty of holes, it does show something for sure; that psychedelics are accepted and popular enough for a good chunk of this sample to already be familiar with them. Psychedelics are Schedule I controlled substances, with the exception of ketamine which has Schedule III approval as an anesthetic, and its half-brother esketamine which is also Schedule III for depression. It says a lot about how people see them, and the lessening fear associated with them, that so many in the survey had already done them.

What does other research say?

Obviously, its cool to see the results of the survey mentioned above, because it shows how popular psychedelics are in America, despite years of smear campaigns against them. But, how much can these results be generalized to all of America? Let’s take a look at other research done in the last decade on psychedelic use in the US.

One interesting study, which came out in 2013, called Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States, looked to establish an “estimated lifetime prevalence of psychedelic use” by using data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which sampled 57,873, 12 years and older. The study specifically looked at LSD, magic mushrooms, and mescaline, and found that as of 2010, there were over 30 million people who had used psychedelics in their lives. The greatest use category was for 30–34-year-olds.

In a study like this, whether results are liked or not, it should be remembered that all data is taken from other data sets which were not collected for the specific purposes of this study, and that study investigators had no way to control for confounding factors (a confounding factor is anything that can influence the outcome outside of what is being investigated). In the study, the authors state, “This study was exempt from review by our Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics because all data are available in the public domain without any identification of personal information.”

Researchers were also specifically estimating, meaning they weren’t taking direct outcome numbers, but using direct outcome numbers to form estimate numbers via the online Survey Documentation Analysis, which comes from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Even with these limitations, being able to estimate that nearly 1/3 of Americans have tried psychedelics, certainly says a lot for their general prevalence.

Let’s look at just LSD now. According to a DrugPolicy report from 2017 using already collected 2014 survey data, in the age group of 12-17 year-olds, .3% of the collected 16,875 respondents were current LSD users. That percentage was also relevant to the group of 18-25 year-olds, for which there were 11,643 data points. In terms of actively using adults aged 26 and above, .1% of the total 33,750 sampled, were active users. Active use in this case means used within the last month. This is different from looking at surveys that establish whether someone has ever done a drug in their lifetime, which helps explain the lower numbers.

Psychedelics acid

Another study also looked at just LSD. This study from ScienceDirect, entitled Trends in LSD use among US adults: 2015–2018, used a secondary analysis of National Survey on Drug Use and Health data from 2015–2018. This involved the use of data from 168,562 adults ages 18 and up, which means this study also only took from previous data compiled for different research projects, in which the investigators could not control for anything.

According to results, use of LSD rose 56.4% between the years of 2015 and 2018. It showed that usage for the age group 26-34years of age increased to 31.1% from 19.6%, and that for the age group 35-49, there was an increase to 8.82% from 2.73%. The oldest age group of 50 years and up also saw an increase in use to 2.66% from 1.83%.

Conclusion

How popular are psychedelics in the US? Popular enough that nearly 30% of a US sample have already tried them. Popular enough for their use to come full circle from their initial rise to popularity in the 60’s and 70’s, and popular enough for individual states to begin to legalize them. With legalizations in place, or on the way, it should be expected that these numbers will only rise in the future.

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Mescaline and San Pedro Cactus, The Sacred Plant of Peru

When most people think of mescaline, peyote cactus is what generally comes to mind. Peyote, which was somewhat popularized in the 1970s (think Jim Morrison tripping in the desert), is illegal to cultivate, possess, or consume in the United States, unless you’re a member of the Native American Church.  

Luckily, many other plants contain mescaline, and one of the more popular alternatives to peyote is yet another species of cactus from Peru that also has thousands of years of cultural and historical use under its belt: the San Pedro cactus.   

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What is San Pedro Cactus? 

San Pedro (Trichocereus/Echinopsis pachanoi) is a tall, thin flowering columnar cactus that hails from the Andes Mountain region of South America. It is also referred to as aguacolla, cardo, cuchuma, gigantón, hermoso, huando, and Peruvian torch. It grows well in the Southwestern US, as far north as Colorado, although it truly thrives in California and Arizona, where it can be seen with regularity in residential areas and shopping centers.  

San Pedro contains mescaline, but unlike peyote, it’s not very strictly regulated – in the United States or globally. Additionally, it’s one of the longest-studied psychedelics, as well as the first cactus to be labeled with the term (psychedelic). San Pedro has a long history of use in various indigenous cultures – for both spiritual and medicinal aims. Traditionally, San Pedro can be consumed either on its own or mixed with other plants in a psychedelic, ceremonial brew called cimora.  

Today, San Pedro can be obtained with relative ease, regardless of where you are in the world. You can buy it online from websites that ship to numerous countries (including the United States). In South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador from where the plant originates, San Pedro can be found at “witches’ markets”, also known as El Mercado de las Brujas and La Hechiceria.  

More About Mescaline  

Mescaline is a naturally occurring, plant-based psychedelic protoalkaloid belonging to the phenethylmine class. It’s known for its powerful hallucinogenic properties, comparable to those of LSD and psilocybin. In addition to Peyote, mescaline can be synthesized from a few other cactus species as well such as the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), the Peruvian torch (Echinopsis peruviana), and others. 

A common dose for mescaline is roughly 200 to 400 mg, depending on the person’s size, level of experience with the compound, and other factors. Traditionally, San Pedro dosing is calculated at roughly 3.75 mg/kg of weight. However, potency can vary wildly from cactus to cactus, so it can be quite difficult to get consistency in dosing. For example, 50 grams of powdered cactus can have anywhere from 150 mg to 1,150 mg of mescaline. Factors such as where and how the cactus grew (the plant’s terroir) and access to water and sunlight can influence the plant’s potency. 

Mescaline binds to virtually all serotonin receptors in the brain but has a stronger affinity for the 1A and 2A/B/C receptors. It’s structurally similar to LSD and often used as a benchmark when comparing psychedelics. Proper brain function is dependent on accurate signaling between these receptors. 

Some History About San Pedro 

San Pedro cactus has a long history of use that can be traced back to the pre-Columbian Chavin culture that developed in Peru between 1300 to 200 BCE. This is evidenced by numerous stone carvings depicting mythical beings holding San Pedro cacti, the oldest of which was discovered in an old temple at Chavin de Huantar in the northern highlands of Peru. Numerous other artifacts from the region bore San Pedro symbolism as well, and perhaps the most concrete proof of its use are the 3,000-year-old cactus cigars found in the same cave as the carvings.  

San Pedro has been used therapeutically and ceremoniously throughout South America for over 3,000 years and can be obtained at stores, farmers markets, and “witches’ markets” in the region. Originally, it was known as Huachuma, but European settlers renamed it San Pedro, after Saint Peter who is believed to guard the entry to heaven.  

Chavin De Huantar archaeological site

What’s interesting about this, is that the name implies that even the European missionaries knew the plant had healing and spiritual properties, despite their over-regulation of indigenous San Pedro use. But because of their strong contempt for native culture, they were very negative in their reporting of plant therapies and ceremonial traditions, and thus, very harsh laws developed against the cultivation and possession of psychedelic plants – San Pedro included.  

Regardless, while knowledge and documented information on other plants like peyote and mushrooms was nearly wiped out in many regions, San Pedro managed to stay relatively lowkey and was able to fly under the radar for centuries. A handful of shamans and other spiritual healers continued conducting ceremonies with Huachuma, and in recent years, it has gained popularity in Europe and US as the psychedelic renaissance flourishes in the west.  

How to Prepare San Pedro 

The standard native preparation of San Pedro consists of boiling slices of the stem for a few hours, then simply drinking the cooled liquid. It was sometimes mixed with other psychoactive plants such as coca, tobacco, Brugmansia, Datura, and Anadenanthera; but more often it was used on its own. 

The basic technique has remained comparatively the same over the years, meaning the most effective and common way to prepare San Pedro for consumption is by making a tea. Below is one of the most common methods: 

Step 1: Estimate your dose – As previously mentioned, this isn’t always easy to do with entheogens, but based on the somewhat standard measurement of 3.75 mg/kg of weight, you can get a rough estimate of how much cactus you’ll need. A recommended beginner dose is around 200-300 grams of fresh San Pedro.  

Step 2: Prepare the cactus – First you will need to remove the spine, but make sure to leave as much flesh intact as possible. Then peel the waxy, translucent outer layer off the cactus, again, leaving as much flesh as you can. Once you do that, you can continue to remove the lighter colored flesh, leaving only the dark green part of the cactus. This isn’t a requirement, but some people believe it helps to prevent nausea. The final step is to break the cactus down into small chunks, either by chopping or using a food processor.  

Step 3: Make your tea – Place the cactus bits into a saucepan or slower-cooker. Fill will three times as much water as there is cactus, and cook on low heat for a few hours (6ish). Some people like to add lemon juice to the boil, claiming that it helps with the mescaline extraction. Although this is somewhat common practice, I couldn’t find any solid sources to back up this theory.  

Step 4: Remove the bulk and reduce volume – After simmering for some hours, use a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any excess plant material. Then continue simmering for a few more hours to boil out some of the extra water, this will leave you with a more potent final product so you don’t have to drink a ridiculous amount of tea to feel the high.  

Step 5: Enjoy or store your tea – Whatever you don’t use right away, you can store in the fridge for up to one week. After that, you can separate it into doses and put it in the freezer, but make sure to split it up first so you’re not defrosting more than you need at one time. You don’t want to defrost and refreeze your San Pedro brew too many times.  

How it Feels  

Let me start by mentioning that I have not had the opportunity to try it myself (but plan to in the very near future, now knowing how easy it is to obtain San Pedro). That said, it’s described as a powerful empathogen (or entactogen) which can increase feelings of empathy benevolence, overall connectedness with others. 

The effects take roughly 15 to 40 minutes to kick in, and usually peak in about 3 hours. San Pedro highs are very long – anywhere from 10 to 16 hours – so make sure to prepare mentally and physically. You can do this by getting in the right set and setting (you don’t want to enter an all-day or all-night psychedelic high being in the wrong state of mind), and making sure to eat a light, healthy meal at some point before your trip (a few hours preferably). Additionally, San Pedro leaves a “lasting afterglow”, similar to psilocybin, so it might be difficult to sleep after you come down – something to prepare for as well.  

In higher doses, San Pedro will produce visual distortions that can include flashes of light and color, auras and ghostly outlines around people, and the infamous kaleidoscope effect that is almost standard with these types of substances. One common thread I noticed in the way people describe mescaline, is that many were surprised at how different it felt from other psychedelics that they were familiar with.  

Something unique about San Pedro, it that despite a potent high, users till feel very “in control”. Take this person who described their high on Reddit: “It was like all the best effects from all the drugs all put into one… the great body feeling and incredible empathy and understanding of ecstasy… the focus and energy and drive of acid… the journey effect that I always enjoyed from shrooms… It was the soberest we had ever felt in our life.” 

All of this often culminates what is most commonly described as “a clear and connected thought, self-realization, empathy, and euphoria.” However, “bad trips” and dysphoric symptoms may still occur, and are more likely to happen in people who have a history of mental illness and those who don’t pay attention to set and setting.

Final Thoughts 

If you’ve been wanting to try mescaline, but finding peyote has been a challenge (as it typically is) then consider San Pedro as an easy to access and legal alternative. It’s potent and easy to prepare, and you’ll be able to stock up on it much more easily than you could peyote and other sacred plants.

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Mescaline Makes Life Better, According to Study

The world of psychedelics is a huge place, and we’ve only investigated a portion of it. One of the main and most intense psychedelics from nature is the compound mescaline. While DMT, (and its derivatives magic mushrooms and bufotoxins), has gained prominence in this new psychedelic awakening, we’ve not heard as much about this other compound yet. However, it looks like it too can do some good for humanity. According to a 2021 mescaline study, this compound reportedly helps with psychiatric improvements and for making positive life changes.

Recent mescaline study highlights how the drug helps to improve the lives of those who use it. We’ll probably hear way more about it in the future. This news publication offers independent reporting on the growing cannabis and psychedelics spaces. Keep up with everything by signing up for The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and get yourself in first place for all new product promotions.


What is mescaline?

Mescaline (3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound, unlike drugs like LSD and MDMA which are made in a lab. Mescaline joins other natural components like DMT, psilocybin mushrooms (also a form of DMT), and Salvia divinorum. It’s found in nature in the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), the Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana), San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), and in the Cactaceae plant and Fabaceae bean families. It’s of the phenethylamine class of drugs, and like LSD and mushrooms, is serotonergic in how it works in the human brain.

Peyote has been used for ritualistic activities as far back as 5,700 years. Mescaline containing plants are found mainly in the South of North America and below, so mescaline use in history was done mostly by Native Americans in Mexico, and throughout South America.

In terms of modern use, mescaline was isolated from a peyote plant in 1897 by German chemist Arthur Heffter, and first synthesized by Ernst Späth in 1919. It was one of the first drugs used by the likes of Aldous Huxley, who went on to describe it as “The Doors of Perception” in a 1954 essay.

The drug produces a number of subjective effects, like hallucinogens, including both open and closed-eye visuals; distortion in time, vision and sound; introspective and conceptual thinking; ego loss; and euphoria. It’s actually considered more gentle, and more insight-producing, than other psychedelics

Much like other psychedelics, bad trips are experienced by some users, and this can include anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and psychosis. However, bad trips aside, mescaline has never shown to be addictive or physiologically toxic. It’s not as common as other drugs because of the time to grow it and the cost of production. Often the term ‘mescaline’ or ‘synthetic mescaline’ simply denotes other non-mescaline compounds, or derivatives like 2C-B.

The mescaline study

In 2021, the study Naturalistic Use of Mescaline Is Associated with Self-Reported Psychiatric Improvements and Enduring Positive Life Changes, was published. The purpose of the study was to measure mescaline’s psychotherapeutic potential. This was done through the administration of a questionnaire to adults who had reported mescaline use. The survey was anonymous, and there were 452 respondents, all of whom reported using mescaline in natural settings.

The survey covered questions about any benefits in mental health that respondents thought were attributable to mescaline. Study investigators assessed self-rated differences in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol and drug use disorders.

Researchers found that of the subjects who reported histories of these conditions, 68-86% described improvements in their own opinion following a more memorable experience with the drug. Researchers also found that those who reported such improvements, also reported trips which were more likely to have “mystical-type, psychological insight, and ego dissolution effects”, more so than their counterparts who did not report psychiatric improvement.

Subjects often rated a mescaline experience as one of the top five experiences in their lives, in fact 35-50% did. It was also found that when there were more intense experiences of insight during a trip, that there was an increased rate of reporting on improvement in depression, anxiety, and drug use disorder symptoms, in the study.

Mescaline cactus

The authors concluded, “Additional research is needed to corroborate these preliminary findings and to rigorously examine the efficacy of mescaline for psychiatric treatment in controlled, longitudinal clinical trials.”

More research coming…

It’s not shocking that research efforts are increasing around mescaline, as its yet another untapped drug source that looks to provide benefits for consumers; especially those of a psychological nature. The company MindMed, publicly traded under (Nasdaq: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ), announced last year that it had been approved by a local Swiss ethics committee to begin trials for a mescaline study. The purpose of the study is to evaluate “the acute effects of different doses of mescaline and the role of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor in mescaline-induced altered states of consciousness.”

The location for trials is the University Hospital Basel Liechti Lab, in Basel, Switzerland, and the study was slated to begin already a year ago, so its underway now. The investigation will look at subjective effects of the drug at different doses with the use of modern psychometric measurements. This, as well as exploring how the 5-HT2A receptor reacts in mescaline-induced states of consciousness, by using a 5-HT2A receptor blocker called ketanserin before high doses are given.

The study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, which contains six separate dosing possibilities. Everything is randomized so neither subjects nor researchers know which exact medication (or placebo), each participant gets.

MindMed President Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli put it this way: “At present there are no modern studies that we are aware of using validated psychometric outcome measures that directly compare different doses of mescaline. With our rigorous clinical trial, we aim to characterize the subjective effects of different doses of mescaline and provide a description of the acute mescaline effects to help clarify the involvement of the 5-HT2A receptor in mescaline-induced altered states of consciousness in healthy people.”

She continued, “We believe the drug will have a powerful effect on enhancing the communication between different parts of the brain in unique ways that are otherwise inaccessible to the conscious mind. As we move forward, further studies on patient populations will be targeted to help us distinguish the relationship between the drug-induced experience and its integration into the psychotherapeutic process.”

Mescaline study

She concluded, “The hope is that this will then allow a better understanding of the behavioral changes and the unique effect of these powerful drugs on neuroplasticity.”

Mindmed for its part is a Swiss biotech company that is already knee-deep in psychedelic research. The company is currently investigating how LSD and MDMA can work together, and developed MM-110, a synthetic version of the natural compound ibogaine.

Mescaline preparation

Cacti like peyote and San Pedro are popular mescaline plants, but they’re not as easy as eating a mushroom, or smoking weed. They involve a lot more time and work. The growing process for peyote, for example, is not short, and can take over 10 years for the plant to reach maturity, highlighting why other plant compounds are more popular. In traditional cultures, when dealing with peyote, the top of the plant is cut down to ground level, leaving just large tap roots, which then grow new heads. The heads are the important part, and after they’re cut off, they’re dried into disc-shaped buttons that the user can chew. Alternately, the heads are soaked in water, which the user can drink.

The more modern process is to grind the head into a powder which is put in capsules. This is preferable to some since peyote has a bitter taste which makes it difficult to get the plant down directly. The average mescaline head button has about 25mg of mescaline and is 76mm (3″) in length. Humans generally consume between 200-400mg of mescaline sulfate, or 178-356mg of mescaline hydrochloride

What’s the difference between mescaline sulfate and mescaline hydrochloride? They’re both mescaline salts, but which you end up with depends on the extraction technique used. For basic instructions on extraction processes, look here.

Conclusion

10 years ago no one was talking about CBD vs THC, or any of the other cannabinoids that came into prominence in the last few years. But we sure talk about them now. The same is with psychedelics like mescaline. It might not be the most talked about drug at the moment, but as the psychedelics industry expands, there’s no doubt that in a few years from now, it’ll be the next big thing.

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Drugs and Intelligence: Famous Geniuses and Their Substances of Choice  

Recreational drug use is not generally regarded as a benchmark of intelligence; but maybe it should be. In addition to your everyday intellectuals, many notable, brilliant minds in science and technology have experimented with all sorts of illicit drugs – from marijuana to psychedelics, and even amphetamines. But what is the reason behind this? Do drugs breed intelligence, or are already intelligent people more likely to use drugs? Let’s dive deeper into this phenomenon, as well as explore a short list of famous geniuses who were very open about their love of psychoactive substances.  

Scroll down to check out our list of famous geniuses who dabbled in drugs, and to stay current on everything important happening in the industry, subscribe to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter. Also, it’ll get you premium access to deals on cannabis flowers, vapes, edibles, and much more! We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


Drugs and the mind  

According to a 1970 British Cohort Study that reviewed data on nearly 8,000 people, there is a link (however indirect) between intelligence and recreational drug use. Verbatim, the results of their research stated that: “High childhood IQ may increase the risk of illegal drug use in adolescence and adulthood”. To reach this conclusion, the sample population had their intelligence quotient (IQ) tested at ages 5 and 10, then again at ages 16, and once more at 30. 

As per the results, the individuals with the highest IQ scores were more likely to use cannabis, cocaine and other stimulants, alcohol, psychedelics, ecstasy, or a combination of some or all of the above. This was especially true for female participants. When it came to women, those with IQ scores in the top 33% were more than twice as likely to have tried various drugs than those in the bottom 33%. Other studies over the years echoed these results, like this one from 2009.  

In addition to an obvious correlation between intelligence and drug experimentation, other studies have found that drugs and creativity are also connected. Creativity is often thought of as artistic only, but inventive and scientific innovation also falls under the umbrella of creativity; and one of the bedrocks of creativity is divergent thinking.  

Divergent thinking is a key factor in the ability to take creative thoughts and apply them practically, outside the mind. A handful of studies (although each of them small), paired with decades of anecdotal evidence, suggest that numerous different drugs can improve divergent thinking such as cannabis, LSD, ayahuasca, psilocybin, and cocaine.  

The next logical question, is whether there is a connection between intelligence and creativity, since both have a link to higher risk of drug use. The answer: yes, but only to a certain degree. Psychologist J.P. Guilford mentions that, “A high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among people with personality traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.” 

The general consensus is that IQ and creativity correlate positively up to a score of around 120, after which point that seems to level out. Meaning, a person with an IQ of 110 might be more creative than someone with an IQ of 90, whereas a person with an IQ of 130 or above would likely exhibit similar levels of creativity to someone with a slightly lower IQ, in the 110-120 range. As a hypothesis, I would suggest that those with higher IQs tend to see more possibilities, therefore increasing their odds of producing something original and useful (i.e., creative). But people with extremely high and genius level IQs are often thinking more analytically (convergent thinking).  

The Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis 

There aren’t too many theories as to why this is, but the one that makes the most sense to me is the Savanna-IQ interaction hypothesis. Savanah-IQ was introduced by psychologist and writer, Satoshi Kanazawa. His ideas are based on natural evolutionary adaptations. All life evolves to become better adapted to certain environments, this is true in humans and animals and it’s what has helped us not only survive, but thrive, for thousands of years.  

The Savanna hypothesis maintains that intelligence evolved as an adaptation to solve new and unfamiliar issues related to survival. While this is still incredibly beneficial to us, we don’t need to use our problem-solving skills in the same way our ancestors did. This leaves the people with higher intelligence and creativity with a need to generate their own novel intellectual and sensory experiences, and one of the easiest ways to do this is with drugs.  

According to Kanazawa, “Humans who leave their ‘savanna’ – or their natural environment, would be both intelligent and inclined to try new things, like alcohol and drugs. This link and hypothesis would be the reason why intelligent people do drugs; the mere fact that drugs are unhealthy would be less relevant than the fact that drugs are a more novel scenario for which we have a hard-wired response to want to try.” 

LSD and Francis Crick’s discovery of the double-helix DNA structure  

Francis Crick (along with James Watson) was responsible for discovering the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953; and he claims to have made this discovery while under the influence of LSD. He told numerous friends and colleagues about his experimentation with psychedelics, and said that during one trip he spent hours working to “determine the molecular structure that houses all of life’s information.” 

During a 2004 Daily Mail interview between Gerrod Harker and Dick Kemp, a close friend of Crick’s, Kemp mentioned that many of Cambridge University’s researchers at the time were using “small doses” of LSD as a “thinking tool”. He also stated that he is one of the friends Crick confided in about his double-helix discovery while using the drug.  

Thomas Edison and his cocaine elixirs  

Edison is best known for his inventions in fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures. Less known is the fact that he enjoyed nightly cocaine elixirs to help him unwind. Now, let’s backtrack a little bit. In 1863, French chemist Angelo Mariani invented a drink that he aptly named “Vin Mariani”. The drink consisted of a Bordeaux wine infused with coca leaves. The ethanol from the wine would extract cocaine from the leaves in concentrations of roughly 7 mg per fluid ounce.  

Edison, who, aside from being a prolific inventor, was also a notorious insomniac – claiming to sleep no more than 4 hours per night. Knowing that he consumed Vin Mariani on a regular basis, it’s not hard to see why he suffered from lack of sleep. Edison claims the cocaine wine gave him energy and helped him focus.  

Therapeutics and cocaine, Sigmund Freud 

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for evaluating and treating pathologies in the psyche through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Freud used cocaine regularly, and not just for recreational aims – he believed it was a legitimate miracle drug that could be used for many things.  

In a letter he wrote to his then-fiancee Martha, Freud stated: “If all goes well, I will write an essay [on cocaine] and I expect it will win its place in therapeutics by the side of morphine and superior to it … I take very small doses of it regularly against depression and against indigestion and with the most brilliant of success.” 

And he went on to do just that. In 1884, he published a review titled “Uber Coca”, which suggested the used of cocaine as a drug substitute in therapeutic treatment for morphine addicts. While now know that methodology can be problematic, his ideas of drug substitution therapies are still used to this day. 

Paul Erdös: Mathematics and amphetamines 

Erdös, who was born in Hungary, was perhaps one of the most well-known mathematicians who ever lived. He had a reputation for being a hyperactive insomniac who worked 19-hour days and would show up unannounced at his friends’ and colleagues’ doorsteps telling them to “open their minds” to mathematical concepts.  

According to him, the secret to his success was amphetamines, which he claims to have used on a regular basis. Nothing really explains his relationship with drugs better than the following excerpt from a book published in 1998 by Erdös’ biographer, science writer Paul Hoffman, titled “The Story of Paul Erdös and the Search for Mathematical Truth” 

“Like all of Erdös’s friends, [fellow mathematician Ronald Graham] was concerned about his drug-taking. In 1979, Graham bet Erdös $500 that he couldn’t stop taking amphetamines for a month. Erdös accepted the challenge, and went cold turkey for thirty days. After Graham paid up — and wrote the $500 off as a business expense — Erdös said, ‘You’ve showed me I’m not an addict. But I didn’t get any work done. I’d get up in the morning and stare at a blank piece of paper. I’d have no ideas, just like an ordinary person. You’ve set mathematics back a month.’ He promptly resumed taking pills, and mathematics was the better for it.” 

Carl Sagan on cannabis, creativity, and space  

Carl Sagan – astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator – was also a somewhat well-known proponent of cannabis use. He claimed that he smoked it regularly and that it helped substantially in his intellectual endeavors. He even contributed to an essay that was published in the 1971 book “Marijuana Reconsidered” in which he highlighted some of cannabis’ many attributes under the pseudonym, Mr. X.  

In his essay, Sagan wrote: “[T]he illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” 

LSD was a “big deal” for Steve Jobs 

On numerous different occasions, Steve Jobs has mentioned how significant LSD was to him. As a matter of fact, he claims that experimenting with LSD in the 1960s was one of the “two or three most important things he has done in his life”. Interestingly, he added that he often kept these experiences to himself because he feared that many of his friends, who weren’t experienced with psychedelics, simply would not understand.  

This sentiment is highlighted in his recent biography, in which Jobs even claims that Bill Gates’ lack of imagination is likely due to not having experimented with psychedelics. “Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas,” Jobs says about Gates. “He’d be a broader guy, if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.” 

Final thoughts 

The connection between drugs and intelligence is still poorly understand, but one thing is proving relatively consistent: intelligent people are more likely to experiment with recreational drugs than those with below average intelligence. In addition to the people on this list, plenty of other well-known thinkers are reported to have used drugs throughout their lives and careers including Kary Mullis, Richard Feynman, and Albert Einstein (although I could not find any solid sources to back up the latter).  

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact reason for this, and there could be many, but overall it seems related to the fact that intelligent individuals tend to get restless with mundane, day-to-day situations. The yearning for new and unorthodox experiences is very human, and one of the most convenient (and honestly, one of the safest, if done correctly… big “if” there) ways to do this is by experimenting with drugs.  

Welcome all! Thanks for dropping by Cannadelics.com, a top offering for comprehensive news covering the burgeoning cannabis and psychedelics industries. Stop by daily for a dose of news on these dynamically changing fields, and sign up for The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re up on everything important going on.

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Ketamine Vs Opioids, What’s the Deal?

As overdose rates rise, governments seem more willing to loosen drug restrictions, than to find actual workable solutions. Opioids are responsible for the biggest number of these deaths and the numbers only grow more each year. What if a possible answer already exists, and we’re simply not being told about it? When it comes to opioids, the issue of pain is integral, and the question of ketamine vs opioids for modern treatment, is a thing. So how does ketamine compare to opioids for pain management, and can it be a substitute?

The opioid issue is getting to a fever pitch, and the question of ketamine vs opioids is gaining prominence, and for a good reason. We’re an independent news site focusing on the growing cannabis and psychedelics fields going on today. Keep up with everything by subscribing to the THC Weekly Newsletter, which is also a great source for deals on items like cannabinoid products including HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC. Check out all your choices, and make sure to make the best purchase possible.


Opioids and the overdose toll

We’ve been talking about it for years now. How every year more and more people overdose on drugs, with the grand majority doing so on synthetic opioids. Opioids are a class of synthetically made drugs based on the opium plant. These are unlike the natural components taken out of the plant which are called opiates. Opiates are compounds like codeine or morphine. Opioids are represented by drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone.

Opioids attach to receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, and in the gastrointestinal tract. There are three main opioid receptor classes: μ, κ, δ (mu, kappa, and delta), though a total of 17 are known. Opioids are primarily used as pain relievers and anesthetics. They are also prescribed medically for issues like diarrhea and cough suppression.

Users experience an intense euphoria on opioids, which often leads to a sedation and a semi-unconscious state. Opioids are respiratory depressants, which is the main reason they cause so many deaths, as its easy to overdose on them. This happens a lot when tolerance to the euphoria or pain-killing effects increases, leading users to need more and more to get high. Other effects of the drugs include itchiness, nausea, confusion, and constipation.

Opioids can be deadly on their own, but become that much more dangerous when mixed with other drugs, particularly other drugs with a depressant effect. It’s common for overdose victims to have drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepines in their system as well. Alcohol is commonly mixed with other drugs (probably because of its own prevalence in society), and benzodiazepines are often used with opioids to combat the sickness they bring on.

In terms of where we are with overdoses, the latest numbers come from a CDC release on May 11th, 2022. These preliminary numbers show an overdose total of 107,622 for the year 2021. This number includes all drug overdose deaths, with no specific number given for opioid deaths. How do we therefore know the majority are opioid related? Well, we know that in 2020 there were 93,000 overdose deaths, and that there were 73,000 in 2019. We also know that of the 73,000 from 2019, 48,000 were from synthetic opioids, and that 68,000 of 2020’s numbers were related to synthetic opioids as well. It stands to reason that well over 70,000 of 2021’s overdoses, were due to these medications.

Ketamine

One of the big problems with the current crisis, is that its not just about getting people off of a drug they’re addicted to, but providing an ongoing way to handle the issue that got them addicted in the first place. If people are experiencing pain, and using opioids to treat their pain issue, it’s hard after acclimation to a working treatment, to not offer something else. Perhaps if a patient is never given such a medication, they may be fine without it. However, after acclimating a patient to a medication, it can create a situation where they now need it and its expected effects.

Obviously, people have undergone and withstood extreme pain for millennia without the help of synthetic opioids, so there is really no case to continue their use under the circumstances of their danger. However, the question of how to get people off these highly addictive medications still remains. And one of the best answers, is sadly not only not being used, but is barely mentioned at all. And this despite the skyrocketing death toll.

Ketamine is a dissociative hallucinogen created by Parke Davis Pharmaceutical company in 1962 and cleared by the FDA for use as an anesthetic in 1970. Though it was understood from preliminary testing on prisoners that ketamine could treat acute pain, and without the death toll of drugs like opioids, the FDA never officially cleared it for this purpose. It was, however, subsequently used on the fields of Vietnam, if this is any indication of its actual abilities.

Ketamine is legal for off-label use, and this has spawned a gray-market ketamine industry, whereby ketamine is prescribed and administered by doctors in medical clinics. In these settings, the ketamine is used for any purpose the prescribing doctor sees fit, and has become a new mainstay for the treatment of both pain, and psychological issues like depression.

Ketamine vs opioids

Alright, so they’re both painkillers, but the most important question in the conversation of ketamine vs opioids, is can ketamine work for the same things? After all, it wouldn’t make sense to try to replace one drug, with another that can’t help in the same way. Luckily, there is already research into this exact question, and the results look promising for ketamine use in place of opioids.

In 2020 a review was published called Ketamine vs Opioids for Acute Pain in the Emergency Department. The review looked at 870 adult patients who ended up in emergency rooms with acute pain. In all cases the pain could have been trauma or non-trauma related. The patients came from two meta-analyses, in which 11 trials were done in total. Pain measurements were made using the VAS – Change in Visual Analog Scale.

Of the two meta-analyses, Karlow et al. contained trials that directly compared “a sub-dissociative intravenous dose of ketamine with a single IV dose of opioid/opiate analgesia.” While ketamine was related to more adverse effects (e.g. agitation, hallucination, dysphoria, and confusion), the only life-threatening event was associated with morphine.

ketamine for pain

The other main part of the review came from the Ghate et al. systematic review which compared “low-dose ketamine with opioids in adults with acute pain in the ED.” The eight studies looked at included a total of 609 patients. The review found that “Both low-dose ketamine (dose range: 0.1-0.6 mg/kg IV/SC/IM) and morphine (dose: 0.1 mg/kg IV or 0.5 mg hydromorphone IV) appeared to provide some level of analgesia in individual studies (compiled data was not reported), but no significant difference was demonstrated between the two agents.” This review also found more adverse effects with the ketamine, but nothing life-threatening.

Between these two separate reviews, the authors concluded that “ketamine appears to be comparable to opioids for acute pain control.” They did stipulate that there were several limitations to the studies done, including comparing single doses rather than longer term treatment. They end by saying more research into the matter should be done.

More research…

As emergency rooms are a great place to try out pain medications, yet another emergency room piece of research backs up the efficacy of ketamine in comparison to opioids. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Ketamine as an Alternative to Opioids for Acute Pain in the Emergency Department, looked at whether low dose ketamine is a safe and effective alternative to opioids in an emergency situation. The review covers randomized controlled trials which compare intravenous opioids to low dose ketamine.

As per the usual, more adverse reactions were seen with ketamine treatment, but none were deadly. The authors concluded “Ketamine is noninferior to morphine for the control of acute pain, indicating that ketamine can be considered as an alternative to opioids for ED short-term pain control.”

Another interesting piece of research came out in 2019, and is called Effect of Intranasal Ketamine vs Fentanyl on Pain Reduction for Extremity Injuries in Children: The PRIME Randomized Clinical Trial. The study examined intranasal ketamine vs intranasal fentanyl, specifically in children with pain in their extremities. The study included 90 children, half of whom were given ketamine, and the other half fentanyl.

Study authors found “Ketamine was noninferior to fentanyl for pain reduction based on a 1-sided test of group difference less than the noninferiority margin.” As with previously mentioned studies, there were more adverse effects in the ketamine group, but all effects were minor and went away quickly. The study authors concluded:

“Intranasal ketamine may be an appropriate alternative to intranasal fentanyl for pain associated with acute extremity injuries. Ketamine should be considered for pediatric pain management in the emergency setting, especially when opioids are associated with increased risk.”

What about chronic pain?

Emergency rooms are a great example of looking at the comparison of ketamine vs opioids for acute pain issues. But what about ketamine for chronic pain? Acute pain represents pain that’s intense and happening right now. Chronic pain denotes a pain issue whereby pain is experienced on a long term basis. Think of the difference between the pain of a standard broken arm, and pain from an ongoing bad back.

ketamine vs opioids

One of the interesting things found in this review, Ketamine for chronic pain: risks and benefits, is that ketamine treatment for at least some kinds of pain, can last way past the time of treatment. In fact, the review, which references several studies, says “Current data on short term infusions indicate that ketamine produces potent analgesia during administration only, while three studies on the effect of prolonged infusion (4-14 days) show long-term analgesic effects up to 3 months following infusion.”

They conclude, “Further research is required to assess whether the benefits outweigh the risks and costs. Until definite proof is obtained ketamine administration should be restricted to patients with therapy-resistant severe neuropathic pain.” Though the authors make a good point about needing more info, in this study, as per the rest, all adverse reactions were minimal. The main issues of concern brought up were around “CNS, haemodynamic, renal and hepatic symptoms,” though how much of an issue these actually are, is not very clear. Deaths did not come up at all.

Though indeed more research should be done, that several investigations have turned up this ability for such long-lasting effects from shorter treatment regimens, is not only incredible in general, but makes ketamine that much more of a better option vs opioids in the current situation. While we don’t know the extent that ketamine can do this, we do already know for sure that opioids will never last longer than the immediate time frame they are given in.

Another systematic review, Ketamine Infusions for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials investigated “the effectiveness of IV ketamine infusions for pain relief in chronic conditions”, in order to “determine whether any pain classifications or treatment regimens are associated with greater benefit.” To do this, the researchers used Medline, Embase, Google Scholar, and clinicaltrials.gov to gather information. They used “randomized control trials comparing IV ketamine to placebo infusions for chronic pain that reported outcomes for ≥48 hours after the intervention.”

The results? Three of the seven studies usable for the review showed “significant analgesic benefit favoring ketamine, with the meta-analysis revealing a small effect up to 2 weeks after the infusion”, backing up the idea of long-term effects from short-term use. They also found “In the 3 studies that reported responder rates, the proportion with a positive outcome was greater in the ketamine than in the placebo group.”

According to the authors, “IV ketamine is effective for a wide array of chronic pain conditions, although the benefits dissipate with time.” How long? “Use of IV ketamine resulted in a reduction in pain scores between 48 hours and 2 and 8 weeks after the infusion, but the pooled difference in pain reduction at 4 weeks fell shy of significance.” As in, on average, the effects lasted up to about four weeks, but became less significant at that point. When you think about it though… up to four weeks of chronic pain relief with a non-lethal option, sounds pretty damn awesome. Especially in the current situation.

Conclusion

There’s still plenty to learn, and plenty to research, but when it comes to ketamine vs opioids, one of the most important things to consider, is that one causes mass death, and one doesn’t. Evidence shows ketamine as noninferior in terms of both acute pain and chronic pain, and unlike with opioids, it has the ability to reduce pain for weeks after administration, at least in some cases. What with the awfulness of the opioid epidemic going on, once again I have to ask, why isn’t ketamine being substituted for opioids, immediately!?

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The Trip Killer: Using Benzos to Stop a Bad Trip

Although there aren’t many reasons someone would want to stop a trip, having a bad one qualifies. A bad trip can be very intense, and it’s more likely to happen if the user is already nervous or anxious when beginning their drug experience, or if they’re susceptible to intrusive thoughts and other mental conditions. Enter Benzos (benzodiazepines), a relatively quick and reliable way to come down.

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What Does it Mean to “Trip” on Psychedelics?  

In layman’s terms, “trip” can be described as a “temporarily altered state of consciousness”. This an accurate, albeit vague, explanation for something that can be so profound, transcendental, and utterly lifechanging. A “temporarily altered state of consciousness” can technically be achieved through the use of any drug that produces a “high”. Even sleeping, tobacco, and caffeine, will put you in what could be clinically describe as a “temporarily altered state of consciousness”.   

But psychedelic trips are different in that they are more sentient and thought provoking in nature. Trips can vary greatly in intensity, but they can affect all the senses and can change a person’s thought process, and their sense of time, space and reality. They are known to produce auditory, visual, and sensory hallucinations; however, some users experience no hallucinations at all, but rather a sense of general well-being, connectivity, and euphoria. Numerous factors make tripping a very subjective experience. Dosing and setting, tolerance, and other elements can significantly impact a psychedelic trip. 

Although a psychedelic trip can be achieved via meditation, sensory-deprivation, light therapy, and a handful of other methods; the easiest and most common ways to achieve this state of mind is through the use of psychedelic drugs. Psychedelic drugs, also referred to entheogens, are a subset of hallucinogens which contain compounds that can alter perception. The term entheogens come from Greek and can be roughly translated to mean “building the God within”. 

When we trip, regardless of what causes the trip, the brain reacts in a similar way – with an increased activation of delta and gamma waves and the suppression of alpha and beta waves. When we are awake and alert, the brain is dominated by alpha, beta, and gamma waves. When we sleep, delta and theta waves take over. The pairing of “alert” gamma waves and “sleeping” delta waves, could explain why psychedelics trips are akin to dream-like states that we experience while still awake. 

What are Benzodiazepines? 

Benzodiazepines, also referred to as “benzos”, are a class of depressant, psychoactive drugs whose core chemical structure consists of a benzene ring and diazepine ring fused together. Benzos are known to lower brain activity by slowing down the rate at which messages travel between the brain and body, which is why they’re commonly used to treat mental health disorders such as anxiety, OCD, insomnia, and seizure – conditions that cause the brain to run on hyperdrive, so to speak.  

Benzos are a bit different than other depressant drugs because they also work as mild tranquilizers. In addition to being used for anxiety, it’s believed that benzos can also help treat withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs, although this is still a questionable area of study since benzos themselves can be addictive and do have a relatively high potential for recreational abuse. They can also lead to overdoses, especially when combined with alcohol and narcotics.  

Benzodiazepines come in three types: short-acting, intermediate, and long-lasting. Short-acting have a shorter shelf life so they are processed by the body faster, but they are also said to have the worst withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines are known by their chemical (generic) name or their brand name. In each case the drug is the same – it’s just made by a different company. Some common benzodiazepines are: xanax, valium, alepam, murelax, alodorm, and normison.  

The Trip Killer 

Now, getting to the topic at hand; why are benzos known as “trip killers” in the world of psychedelics? Well, obviously it’s because they have the ability to “kill” or severely diminish your trip. Some people even take benzos to ease the come down from other drugs, mainly stimulants. But how exactly does it work? Simply put, it all comes back to the way benzodiazepines function as depressants and slow down brain activity.  

Not a lot of research is available on this topic, which is expected, but a few small-scale studies have found benzodiazepines to be effective in treating what is known as “LSD toxicity”. According to Medscape, “If placing a patient who has used lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in a quiet environment with minimal stimuli is not effective, a benzodiazepine (lorazepam or diazepam) is the medication of choice, especially in patients with dysphoric reactions. Benzodiazepines decrease central and peripheral sympathomimetic drug effects.” 

It’s worth noting that results are dose and tolerance-dependent, so the larger the dose of benzos, the less you will eventually feel your trip. For anyone looking to just take the edge off their comedown or turn their bad trip better, about 0.5mg will do the trick. To help you sleep right faster, which can be especially challenging after a day or night of tripping, 1mg should be good. To completely kill your trip, you’ll need 2mg or more. A full Xanax bar is 2mg, for reference.  

It doesn’t take very long for the medication to take effects. For most people, about 15 to 20 minutes (which, if you’re having a bad trip can seem like an eternity) and they will see some changes. Again, in low doses, it kills the psychedelic headspace, so your mind isn’t racing and overthinking, but you still experience some of the physical and visual sensations. For many, the mindset is everything, but I can see how someone who is prone to anxiety, depression, or intrusive thoughts would benefit from removing the mental aspect from their trip.  

Any Non-Pharmaceutical Options? 

Taking high doses of benzos to stop a trip completely is one thing, but the idea of using low doses of medication to improve your high, this does beg some questions. We know that benzodiazepines will relieve your anxiety, but then again, so will simply convincing yourself that everything is fine. We already know how powerful the mind is in its natural state, but when on psychedelics you can be much more connected and in-tune with everything around you. Senses and feelings are heightened, and in the same way your mind can quickly put you in a bad trip, if you learn to control it, you can get back into a good trip just as fast.  

I stumbled on an interesting story from a reddit user while researching this topic. He states that: “When I have to deal with a naive psychedelic user having a difficult time, I use a technique I’ve heard described. I tell them ‘oh, no, that’s a known thing – you’re having what we call the 15-minutes jitters. It’s an interesting phenomenon, a lot of people experience it, it’s really bad, but it always last 15 minutes, and 15 minutes only. How long has yours been going for? 10 minutes? well, give it 5’ and lo and behold, 5 minutes later, they’re completely fine.” 

Summarized, the most reliable way (if possible) to get through a bad trip, is by thinking yourself out of it. Of course, this story could be fabricated, but it is completely plausible. When another Reddit user mentioned that chamomile tea “saved” them when they were “peaking hard and full of anxiety,” another tactfully replied: “Chamomile tea didn’t do much of anything to help you — what helped you was believing that you had just consumed something that would help you.” 

“The best way to reach the other side is to go through the experience,” says Chelsea Rose Pires, the harm-reduction manager and clinical support officer at the psychedelic harm-reduction and education platform Zendo Project. “This can include all the uncomfortable or difficult sensations or feelings that may arise.” This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. Pires says a bad trip has the potential to “offer meaningful insight and understanding about our lives,” and adds that “our biggest growth comes through challenging times.” 

That said, there are a few palpable things you could do to get calm and collected if your trip gets out of hand. First and foremost, it’s important to stay hydrated, no matter what substance you’re on or what you’re doing. Additionally, try having some snacks on hand, talking to a trusted friend, listening to music, going for a walk, or taking a shower. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery to get back in the right headspace.  

Final Thoughts  

Using benzos to get out of a bad trip is not something I have ever tried myself. Personally, I’m not too big on mixing drugs unless it’s cannabis – weed works with everything. But it’s something I’ve been hearing more about lately from friends and others in the industry, and it’s certainly some knowledge you’ll want to have in your pocket if you’re susceptible to anxious or intrusive thoughts and things start to go south.

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Thailand Giving Out a Million Free Marijuana Plants to Residents

Thailand isn’t just dipping its toe in the weed pool, its diving right in. The country has quickly gone through a succession of updates that led to a medical legalization, decriminalization, and now the giving out of a million free marijuana plants. Why is this happening? And what can we expect next?

Thailand is actually giving away free marijuana plants to its residents to grow for medical purposes, as celebration for its new cannabis decriminalization policy. Our publication specializes in covering the growing cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Play along by signing up for THC Weekly Newsletter, and also get access to awesome products including cannabinoid compounds like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 HHCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC. There are lot of cannabis products out there, and we only encourage consumers buy products they are comfortable with using.

Is Thailand seriously giving out a million free marijuana plants?

Indeed it is! And we knew it was coming. In May of this year, the government of Thailand announced plans for giving away a million free marijuana plants to households across the country. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, announced via Facebook on May 8th, that he wants weed grown like a household crop by the Thai people.

Why is Thailand giving away a million free marijuana plants? As a sort of promotion of its own new law. Stating on the 9th of June, cannabis was removed from the narcotics drugs list in the country, which decriminalized the plant. Along with that, a new allowance was put in place for Thai residents to legally cultivate the plant at home, so long as they notify their local government first. The catch is that the plants are only for medical purposes, and therefore must be medical grade, with a .2% THC cap.

The weed grown in homes can’t be used for commercial purposes, though there does seem to be a possibility to gain further licensing for this activity. In fact, the government wants Thailand to see cannabis as a cash crop. About 1/3 of Thailand’s labor force is in agriculture, making the home-growing of weed, kind of like an extension of general industry.

Thailand is indeed giving out a million free marijuana plants of .2% THC or less to its people. Charnvirakul confirmed the government’s intention to give out free test kits as well, so growers can ensure their plants don’t go above the limit. If the plants do go above the THC limit, they are no longer considered legal. The Thai government doesn’t promote the population getting high, it only promotes the cultivation of low-THC cannabis as a medicine.

There are other stipulations in place as well. Inspections can be made to ensure all cannabis is grown and used properly. Those that don’t notify their government of their intentions to grow, can find themselves paying steep fines. The same goes for anyone who is caught selling a cannabis product without the proper licensing, which can result in jail time along with a fine.

The kick-off ‘event’

Thailand is celebrating its legal change by giving away a million free marijuana plants, but there’s more to it than that. Several things happened the day the decriminalization law went into effect, creating an event-like atmosphere. Everything began June 9th when cannabis was removed from the list of narcotic drugs.

Another aspect of the decriminalization is that it covers cannabis in food products. Starting June 9th, restaurants began serving cannabis edible products to their customers. Such products are bound by the .2% THC limit, but are now otherwise legal for sale. In doing so, Thailand became the first Asian country to approve such products in its market. This new allowance has already led to many shops offering up cannabis-infused foods.

On the same day, over 350,000 registered applicants were able to start home cultivation, having signed up via internet application to do so with their local government. And 4,000 prisoners were released who had been held on cannabis-related charges, showing that this new law is not just meant for industry, but to correct social injustices as well.

The day after everything went into effect, the government of Thailand began giving out the million free marijuana plants. The first 1,000 were distributed in the north-eastern province of Buriram. Charnvirakul made the statement to the people upon this starting (roughly translated): “Don’t use it and sit smiling at home and not get any work done. Those things are not our policies. We have erased the stigma. It’s being washed away like removing a tattoo. Don’t let it come back.”

cannabis cultivation

Thailand and cannabis updates

Thailand sure has changed tack in the last few years, going through an entire overhaul of cannabis laws, and becoming the first in its region to pass a legalization measure. Thailand did this in 2018, when the National Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to pass a medical legalization in the country. This officially went into effect in 2019.

As is generally the case, this legalization did nothing to change recreational use laws, or any other laws surrounding cannabis. Cannabis remained a Category 5 narcotic, under the Narcotics Act of 1979 (though it was updated in 2019 for the medical legalization). Under the law, it meant the illegal possession of cannabis still incurred punishment of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of about 1.5 million baht (~$48,000).

On January 25th, 2022, Thailand went further and announced an intention to decriminalize cannabis by removing it from its narcotic drugs list. This new update was announced to come with home cultivation rights, so long as the growers first gained authorization from their local government. None of this went into effect right away, and still required further rules to come out for specifications. Unlike other countries that have taken (or are taking) a long time to get all this together, Thailand did it in just a few months, officially decriminalizing the plant June 9th.

Said Charnvirakul about removing cannabis from the narcotics drug list, this act “responds to the government’s urgent policy in developing marijuana and hemp for medical and health care benefits, developing technology and creating income for the public.”

What about the chickens?

Thailand is really getting into the marijuana groove, as evidenced by everything above. But that’s not where it ends. Thailand is even looking to change how it raises farm animals. In a recent study by Peth Lanna community enterprise in conjunction with the Faculty of Agriculture out of Chiang Mai University, it was found that cannabis can replace antibiotics for livestock.

For the study, farmers in northern Thailand’s Lampang village chose to give their chickens cannabis in light of an avian bronchitis outbreak, for which injected antibiotics didn’t work. When the chickens were fed cannabis, their immunity improved enough to fight the disease, and even allowed the chickens greater ability to survive in inclement weather, according to news publications. The community went as far as to say the cannabis improved the quality of both meat and eggs.

cannabis chicken

The community enterprise ended the use of antibiotics, and instead has opted to solely use cannabis. The meat and eggs produced by the community are now considered organic, which meets the needs of consumers looking for untainted products. This comes on top of warnings by the National Farmers Council of Prapat Panyachatrak, that antibiotics in meat can affect consumer health. The group now promotes the use of cannabis to raise the market value of chicken products.

Whether or not this will catch on as a standard practice in Thailand is hard to say. If the country’s recent push toward cannabis acceptance is any indication, this could certainly become standard operating procedure for raising chickens, and possibly other farm animals, as well.

Conclusion

Thailand is breaking strongly with its neighbors, not only becoming the first in the region to legalize medical cannabis, but now decriminalizing the plant, and offering it to residents for home-growing. The government of Thailand made a very strong statement by openly giving away a million marijuana plants to its residents, something which isn’t seen often. Or at all, until now. The only thing left for Thailand to do, is pass a formal recreational legalization. Though we’re not there yet, Thailand’s already existent and rich weed culture, could help make that happen in the future.

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