10 Pot Stories That Will Define 2018

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As 2018 beckons, there will be a whole host of new dank developments and cannabis current events that will shape the progress of pot politics and the legalization landscape from sea to shining sea—and beyond.  With that in mind, rather than the typical look back at the year that was, we’re taking a prognosticating peek at the year to come in cannabis.

The most encouraging aspect of crafting this particular list is that there were far, far more than 10 items that could have been included. In fact, there are so many potentially impacting pot stories around the bend, in some cases, we broke them down into categories to sneak in multiple mentions! 

So take note of this soon-to-be news and these future newsmakers that will define the dank in 2018, and one year from now, look back at how much these stories ending up meaning when it came to legal marijuana.

10. Pot Pop Culture  

10 Pot Stories That Will Define 2018

The year 2018 will surely bring another slew of cannabis-themed TV shows, movies and music, along with other THC-inspired art forms.

Included in the medium of celluloid will be the documentary film, Lady Buds: Women Elevating the Cannabis Industry. Talk about a pot-doc that’s long overdue—it’s been reported that 26 percent of U.S. cannabis businesses are owned or founded by women—so it’s high time they were featured in their own film! With a $500,000 budget, this documentary aims to shine a wide spotlight on the females who have made their mark when it comes to legal cannabis commerce. Per the film’s IMDb page, Lady Buds is directed by Chris J. Russo, and the film features Karyn Wagner, the founder of Paradigm Medical Marijuana

If comedy is more your thing, there’s the upcoming TV series The High Five, described on the show’s website (without a listed network) as a quintet of “best buds” running a cannabis business. The cannabis cast includes Olivia Solomons playing “Indica,” though the most intriguing character to us might be “Uncle Lungs,” played by Darren Andrichuk. 

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How Cannabinoids Interact With Pain Circuits

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Often times when we think about how cannabis is affecting the brain, we consider its effects on the dopaminergic tracts in the central nervous system. And why not, that is the primary region of the brain that produces our experience with cannabis. But there is far more to the biochemical propensity of exogenous cannabinoids and the receptors they act on. Researchers are now looking into cannabinoids for pain, and in the midst of our nation’s opioid crisis, cannabinoids for pain management is a hot topic.

I have known from personal experience that cannabis can help dull pain when the going gets tough, but I have often wondered, “Is there actually a reduction in pain or is my perception of it diminished?” Questions about cannabinoids for pain management like these were explored in an extensive review article by the German scientist, Jörn Lötsch, in the European Journal of Pain. I have done my best to untangle a small portion of this vast review, so that the general public may better understand cannabis’ role in modern health and society.

Our nervous system can be broken up into two primary components: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS is composed of our brain and spinal cord; whereas, the PNS consists of every other nerve in our body that receives a stimulus to transmit to the brain. Cannabinoid receptors (CB-1, and CB-2) are expressed everywhere in our body; however, different regions have a higher concentration of one over the other.

While we often associate all of our cannabinoid interactions with CB-1, the neuronal process of pain is one that requires both receptors. There are many different sub-systems in our brain, made up of different types of cells. The neuronal circuit that is implicated in pain is known as nocioreceptors. These are the neurons responsible for relaying information on pain to the brain. They exist in both the CNS, as well as the PNS.

While pain is a complex process in our bodies, we can attempt to break it down to the relative activity of nocioreceptor neurons. When they are active, we call that the sensation of pain; thus, their activity (number of synapses per second) is directly proportional to the amount of pain we feel. If we can modulate their activity, we can modulate pain.

Cannabinoid-mediated activation of CB-1 leads to the inhibition of the neuron that they are bound to, but this can sometimes lead to a net result of activation down the stream of information. In the case of nocioreceptors, which are often glutamatergic (excitatory, glutamate-expressing) neurons, the activation of CB-1 will inhibit their activity.

The resulting conclusion from an article published in the esteemed journal Science was that activation of CB-1 in glutamatergic nocioreceptors, and the subsequent inhibition of the receptors, is the primary mechanism for pain reduction.

This is but one theory for the direct reduction in pain due to inhibition of pain receptors, yet there is another way to look at this issue.

If pain is something we feel/perceive, then it is directly related to the structure and function of our brains. Thusly, the two components of pain are the pain signal (us getting hurt) and the perception of the pain itself.

Remember how I said that CB-1 may activate another circuit downstream as a result of inhibition of its parent neuron? Well, that is exactly what is happening in our hippocampus, known generally as the part of the brain responsible for memory formation. While glutamate is an excitatory signal, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory signal. Cannabinoid-mediated inhibition of GABAergic neurons in the hippocampus leads to changes in our memory of aversive stimuli, as described by Jimok Kim, and Bradley Alger in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

This may lead to what another group of scientists (Marsiacano et al., Nature, 2002) proposed; a net activation of inhibitory networks may lead to cannabinoid activated loss of aversive memories and fear. Now we already knew that cannabis may have some effects on our short-term memory, but I had no idea that bad memories were specifically targeted. Good guy cannabis, helping you forget the bad stuff!

As extensive of research about cannabinoids for pain management as this is, it still only encompasses half of the receptors in our body. CB-2 is widely expressed in the CNS and PNS, with specific implications for immune activity. CB-2’s promiscuity in our “health-networks” may be why we see so many health benefits of CB-2 sans psychoactive properties. There is always more to be learned in the ever-growing field of research regarding cannabinoids for pain management. Stay tuned!

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Canada’s First Nations Demand Say In Cannabis Economy

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Amid the controversies about federal versus provincial control of the cannabis biz, as Canada prepares for legalization, another jurisdictional issue has emerged. At the annual meeting of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Ottawa December 6, leaders of Canada’s indigenous people demanded the right to set the laws that will oversee cannabis within their own territories.

Chiefs attending the conference expressed wide-ranging views on the pending plan for legalizing cannabis by next July 1, according to a write-up in the Globe & Mail.

The report indicated some tension between native communities seeking a more tolerant or more restrictive approach to the herb. Some leaders said they are looking forward to sharing in the revenues that will be generated by the new industry.

Others, in contrast, actually called on the AFN to ask for a delay in the implementation of Bill C-45, which is now before Canada’s Senate, saying their communities have not had time to prepare for a legal cannabis economy and have been left out of the process.  

But there was a general consensus that First Nations—not the federal or provincial governments—should determine the rules around the use and sale of cannabis on Canada’s reserves.

The AFN has called a committee—led by Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and Quebec Regional Chief Ghislain Picard—to address the question.

“Above all, we do need to look at this from a jurisdictional lens,” Day said. “Our people are going to say, ‘Listen, we have aboriginal treaty rights, we have economic rights as First Nations people. Who is Canada to say we can’t have a dispensary in our community?’”

By way of example, Day cited the possibility of First Nations seeking a more restrictive regime.

For instance, a province may set the legal age of marijuana consumption at 18, “but what if a [First Nations] community says we want it to be 23 or 24 because the studies show that the development of a young person’s brain isn’t complete until they are in their 20s?” 

Randall Phillips, chief of Oneida Nation of the Thames, near London, Ontario, went further. Stating that his community is applying for a federal license to cultivate, he struck a defiant note.

“We will decide who gets it. We will decide how it gets distributed. We will decide how it gets protected, and we are going to look at all those things. But I don’t need a regulatory framework,” he said.

He added that his community is already home to a cannabis dispensary and that the people who operate it do not believe they need a federal licence.

In comments to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Isadore Day protested the marginalization of Canada’s indigenous peoples in the political process on legalization.

“There was very little inclusion of First Nations in the development of the bill, very little consultation,” he said. “Every First Nation community has the right to choose and because the province didn’t include us in the front end, there’s no existing framework for us now going forward.”

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What Are These Creepy Creatures In This Dude’s Attic?

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Have you ever been hanging out, minding your own business and all of a sudden, you see some creepy creatures in the crawlspace? Your mind immediately goes to some dark and twisted places. You swear that you have some sort of cryptid or monster in your house. Or maybe, you think for sure that you’ve just made first contact with an alien species. You hope that, whatever the situation really is, you make it out alive. That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago in a city in India. Was this a Close Encounters of the Third Kind situation? Or was it much more benign and terrestrial?

First Contact?

In the Indian port city of Visakhapatnam, a shipyard worker stumbled upon a terrifying site. Two strange, creepy creatures with huge dark eyes, pointed faces and stiff, upright postures in the crawlspace of the employees’ lavatory. They’re striking, for sure. But what are they? The shipyard worker who made this wild discovery did what most of us would do in our era of “pics or it didn’t happen”. He took a video.

The video by itself is fairly chilling. The creatures, standing upright, stare down the worker with the camera. They’re small—remember, the worker found them in the crawlspace— but the way they stare unflinchingly at the camera is entirely unnerving. The grainy quality of the video adds to the horror-sci-fi vibe. Unsurprisingly, the video went viral in India. People who watched it were convinced that aliens were hanging out in a bathroom in a Visakhapatnam shipyard.

Final Hit: What Are These Creepy Creatures?

So what were these creepy creatures in the ceiling? Were they aliens? Were they interdimensional creatures sent through some portal to wreak havoc and destruction? The truth isn’t all that earth-shattering. As it turns out, the creatures that the shipyard worker filmed were owls. Barn owls, to be exact. They were severely malnourished, which is why they vaguely resembled Roswell Greys. Since Indian law protects the barn owl species, locals have speculated that animals were safely removed so that they could be nursed back to health and rehabilitated to go back into the wild.

Or is that explanation too convenient? Check out the video below and decide for yourself: alien or owl?

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Germany Is Burning Marijuana For Heat

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When it comes to combating the wicked war on weed, it is typical for law enforcement agencies all across the globe to destroy seized marijuana. It is sort of a chubby middle finger buried in the sphincter of the culture of all highness, a combustible sacrifice to the proverbial gods of government, just to let them know that pigs are still running the farm.

But in Germany, where President Trump’s version of American politics was born and bred through occult magik, incestuous orgies and good old-fashioned brute force, police are apparently using the marijuana confiscated from large black market busts to heat the homes of Munich residents.

That’s right, the pigs are turning pot into power.

According to a recent report from Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s customs officials spent the majority of last week trying to devise a quicker method of getting rid of more than 1,200 pounds of Albanian Kush, rather than simply tossing it on the fire pit out behind the station.

The shepherds of all things imports and exports had been storing the sizeable load for some time. The shipment, which was confiscated just south of Nuremberg last December, contained enough green mamba to roll nearly 3.8 million joints, the report showed—about $6 million worth of weed.

It was evident that the agency’s more traditional means of doobie destruction were going to be subpar in this particular case. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to have customs agents standing around a fire trying to wipe 60 moving boxes full of weed off the face of the planet.

That’s when someone in the department proposed the idea of trucking the exceptionally large stash over to the waste-incineration plant where it could be turned into power.

The report goes on to say that the seized marijuana, which was shown to have a THC content of 16 percent, was incinerated at temperatures between 900 and 1,000 degrees Celsius.

This means we are roughly 100 percent sure that there isn’t even enough left in the incinerator to get a resin hit.

Although the seized weed can no longer bring holiday cheer to the locals; over the next few days, it will provide them with light and a warm place to lay their heads while they scour the neighborhood for a new dealer.

“The incineration of the material is used to generate heating and electricity for the people in the region,” plant manager Thomas König told the news source.

On the upside, maybe Munich residents are catching a fiendish buzz every time the heat kicks on.

Germany made the decision last year to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, but it is still illegal at the recreational level. However, the average stoner doesn’t really have much to worry about in the grand scheme of legal troubles. It is considered “self harm” to smoke pot in Germany rather a crime, according to a recent report from Newsweek.

Some believe this policy is the best version of decriminalization, as it really only leaves hardcore dope slingers open to have their skulls cracked against the walls of the criminal justice system. Because of this, there is a substantial black market in Germany for recreational reefer. In fact, the latest cannabis cremation was reportedly pulled out of a big rig driven by a 61-year-old driver from Serbia. That cat is still sitting in jail because he has, so far, refused to reveal the exact origin of the herb.

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Purdue Pharma Looking To Settle Opioid Lawsuits

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In a desperate attempt to avoid being sued into the pits of bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the rock star painkiller OxyContin, is on the move to settle opioid lawsuits all over the country. A recent report from Bloomberg suggests the company could offer states “payoffs” to keep from being implicated in the U.S opioid epidemic.

It seems the orders coming down from the boardrooms of Big Pharma is to throw money at those states affected by the opioid crisis and hope that it is enough to keep the situation out of court. Apparently, Purdue has sent a legal team out into the field to see how well received the concept of a settlement is to state attorneys general. The goal is to strike up a preliminary deal and prevent more states from launching investigations.

The company has to do something to stop the bleeding.

Earlier this year, a number of cities and county jurisdictions filed lawsuits against opioid manufactures in a manner that has been compared to the litigation that once surrounded the tobacco companies.

As it stands, there are more than 40 attorneys general elbow deep in the probe, all of whom are searching for someone to blame for allowing prescription opioids to spiral into a national death rattle.

Some of the latest data shows that 64,000 people died in 2015 as a result of an opioid overdose—a large portion of these deaths have been attributed to prescription painkillers, like OxyContin and Percocet.

However, multi-billion dollar corporations like Purdue argue that they should not be held responsible for the demise of those tens of thousands of American because the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved their product, as well as its safety warnings.

In these cases, judges are saying that they must look to the findings of the FDA in order to determine whether painkillers, like OxyContin, were branded with the appropriate risks.

But the problem here is not with the fact that these drugs are manufactured and sold. These lawsuits suggest that the opioid situation became a public health crisis because of the way Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies were allowed to market the drug.

The drug companies are frightened by the prospect of losing this fight, which is why they have come, loaded for bear.

The word on the street is that Purdue has brought in attorney Sheila Birnbaum to handle the settlement issue. Birnbaum is the 76-year-old shark credited with winning a number of high-dollar mass tort cases, including the $765 million NFL concussion settlement. There is very little doubt that she will go for the jugular in an attempt to resolve this matter.

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High Times Holiday Gift Guide

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If you’re still doing last minute holiday shopping, we’re here to help. Have a loved one with an appreciation for or an infatuation with cannabis? Any connoisseur will appreciate the items in our holiday gift guide. In fact, we sought out the best products for weed in every category. Every listed item is guaranteed to enhance the cannabis smoking experience in some way. You’ll find something for all your weed-loving friends regardless of whether they are smokers, dabbers or vapers.

O.Pen 2.0

High Times Holiday Gift Guide

O.Pen

 

With the rapidly increasing popularity of THC cartridges, having a 510-thread battery that won’t burn out your prefill is a must. So you know we had to include at least one in our holiday gift guide. One that will vary in voltage is better for using a wide variety of cartridges. You don’t want to ruin the surprise by asking them which battery is best for their pre-filled cartridge.

Instead, you can get a vape pen that’ll work with any of them.

We recommend the O.pen 2.0 because you can use any cartridge with it. Start on the lowest setting and see if you get enough vapor. If not, there are three stronger settings for you to cycle through. Most pre-fills work fine on the first two settings, but stronger atomizers require max power.

Price: $39.95

Pros: The O.Pen 2.0 comes with a lifetime warranty so your loved one won’t have to keep purchasing batteries every time a cheap one dies out. It’s slim with the same circumference as most popular vape pen cartridges. The four settings make it capable of working with just about any cartridge on the market. Comes in a wide variety of stylish colors.

Cons: The glass of cartridges remain exposed with this battery. So if you drop it, you might lose your medicine.

Why We Like It: Works efficiently on just about any pre-filled cartridge on the market today.

Crafty

High Times Holiday Gift Guide

Planet of the Vapes

 

Is your significant other burning weed too fast? We recommend getting them a quality dry herb vaporizer so you can save all kinds of greens. Not to mention, vaporizing is a healthier option than smoking weed. Best of all, the smell won’t linger for anywhere near as long as smoking would so it’s easy to get away with getting high on the go. Look out for your loved one’s money, health and privacy with one of the best dry herb vaporizers on the market—and on our holiday gift guide— today.

If you want something that’s guaranteed not to confuse or disappoint, the Crafty vaporizer by Storz & Bickel is one of the best gifts you can find in our holiday gift guide. The company recently dropped the price of the device and increased battery life by 20 percent.

Price: $279.00

Pros: Perfect for solo use or sharing. You don’t have to pack a particular amount to get the best function. You can easily pass this around with a group of four and have everyone get medicated off a single full oven. There is a smartphone app for the Crafty which makes it easy to change the temperature and track things like usage and battery life. The vapor is never harsh because it has to travel through a cooling chamber before reaching the mouthpiece. Airflow isn’t restricted so it’s easy to get medicated without stressing your lungs out.

Cons: No digital screen so you’ll have to rely on the phone app for precise temperature control. Bulkier than some of the similarly priced portable vaporizers on the market.

Why We Like It: Puts out some of the largest, most flavorful clouds of visible vapor with minimal effort.

VapeXhale Cloud Evo Hydratube Starter Kit

10 Best Desktop Vaporizers of 2017

Know somebody who hates going outside to smoke? Desktop vaporizers won’t smell anywhere near as much as lighting a doobie up indoors. If you take the proper precautions, you should be able to get high AF with a desktop vaporizer indoors without alerting any “nosy” neighbors. Best of all? A desktop vaporizer will get you higher with less weed than a portable one.

We recommend the VapeXhale Cloud EVO. It is a new take on the desktop vaporizer built with water-filtration in mind. With the hydratube attachments, the Cloud Evo is one of the best desktop vaporizers out there. The Hydratube Starter Kit is one of the best deals on our holiday gift guide because you can use their holiday codes for a discount or free gifts, including bonus water attachments.

Price: $449.99

Pros: Gives off some of the largest clouds of visible vapor you’ll see from any desktop vaporizer. You won’t have to inhale hard for 30 seconds just to get a satisfactory cloud of vapor. The water attachment makes it rip like a bong without the harshness to the back of your throat. It’ll feel like your breathing just air, but you’ll see how much you actually got when you exhale.

Cons: The temperature is controlled by an analog knob. Costs $100 more when you get the hydratube set, but we wouldn’t want to go without it. You can choose the 20 percent off deal, instead of the free gift, if you’re happy with the water attachment that comes with the Hydratube Starter Kit.

Why We Like It: Large, smooth clouds of vapor and unmatched function when compared to any other desktop vaporizer on the market.

Puffco Plus

High Times Holiday Gift Guide

Puffco

 

Is there a daily dabber in your life? A vaporizer for concentrates that won’t take away the flavor of their top-shelf terps is the perfect gift. Most OG vaporizers for dabbers were wax pens that were made with rods wrapped in metal wire that would burn red hot when fired. They let off unpleasant tastes, which made dabbers reluctant to put their flavorful concentrates in.

If the person you’re gifting is a traveling terp hunter, they’ll appreciate a Puffco Plus more than anything else on our holiday gift guide. The Plus is made with the connoisseur in mind. It is the first-ever pocket nail, separating itself from every other inferior wax pen. You can drop a fat dab of your favorite concentrate and catch the full flavor profile. Then, you Q-Tip it like you would with a low-temperature dab. As a result, your next dab will always taste as fresh as the first. With most other pens, you would just let the oil build up until the atomizer no longer worked and each hit would taste worse than the last.

Price: $99.99

Pros: Works like a nail in your pocket. Best taste from a wax pen we’ve ever come across. Tangie Live Resin tastes just like oranges. There is no taste of plastics, wires or cheap metals like you may find with other wax pens. There are two ways to use it: sesh mode or the same you would with any other vape pen. Sesh mode allows you take huge hits, comparable to an actual dab. If you feel like spreading it out or taking it easy, you can hold the button down for a smaller dose at a time.

Our favorite part is the dart attached to the mouthpiece which acts as a carb cap, tool and splash guard all in one. You won’t get wax on your lips or even on the tip of your mouthpiece like with other vape pens. Furthermore, you won’t have to carry around a sticky and stinky tool. Puffco’s ceramic dart stays hidden and contained when attached to the atomizer.

Cons: It gets hot with continuous use, but Puffco provides a sleeve to keep your fingers away from the heat. The battery doesn’t last too long but it recharges within 30 minutes.

Why We Like It: There’s no better way to discreetly enjoy your concentrates while on the go.

Dr. Dabber Boost

High Times Holiday Gift Guide

A portable e-nail is a great addition to any dabbers travel kit. Even at home, a portable e-nail can be more convenient than having to torch and wait a minute for cooldowns. You’re better off with a portable e-nail on a nearby desk when you’re gaming. Desktop e-nails don’t come with a rig to use it with. Portable ones come with water attachments so you won’t need to purchase a rig, nail and carb cap on top of an expensive e-nail set up before getting to dab.

As part of our holiday gift guide, we recommend Dr. Dabber’s Boost for smooth, stacked clouds of concentrates vapor. As for taking it on the go, the Dr. Dabber comes in a pre-plucked travel case that has slots for every component you’ll need to dab while mobile.

Price: $159.95

Pros: Comes with a carrying case for easy transporting. The battery will only have to be charged once every few days. In fact, a single charge is enough for 20 to 30 uses. Comes with both a traditional metal dish and a quartz one for flavorful dabs. The water attachment provides an experience more similar to using a nail and torch than a wax pen would. The water makes it easy to stack big clouds in the chamber without the need to cough. The dab tool attaches magnetically, so you can separate them to scoop and drop your dab in. Then, pick up the carb cap half with the magnet, cap the nail and watch it milk.

Cons: Despite being a portable device, it is still too bulky to just bust out and use while you’re walking down the street. Best used when you take a break during a hike, while playing video games or when you’re going to see a friend with no rig.

Why We Like It: More convenient than using a butane torch and nail.

Chad Bro Glass Terp Trunk 2.0 Carb Cap

10 Best Carb Caps of 2017

A quality carb cap is an affordable option for the dabber in your life this holiday season. If their go-to method of medication is a torch and quartz banger, they’ll love a new carb cap. If you don’t want to ruin the surprise by asking them which caps fit their quartz, you can go with a cap that fits just about all of them.

We recommend the Chad Bro Glass Carb Cap if you want a cap that’s solid in every aspect. Best of all, it fits on just about any banger, so you won’t have to figure out the size of your friend’s favorite nail before shopping. If you want further versatility, Chad Bro has a Hybrid Terp Trunks 2.0 Cap that has a bubble cap on one side and a directional on the other, so it’ll function great on literally any banger.

Price: $59.99

Pros: One of the widest, thickest rimmed carb caps on the market. Creates the perfect seal on any flat top or gaveled banger. The indicator arrow makes it easy to know exactly what direction your airflow intake is. The Terp Trunk 2.0 should fit on the smallest sized buckets to a custom nail with a huge 35 mm sized bucket.

Cons: Won’t sit on slanted nails without assistance. You’ll need to hold this one the whole time you’re doing a low-temperature dab on gaveled bangers, but this is everyday stuff for hardcore dabbers.

Why We Like It: Durability, versatility and flawless function at an affordable price.

Nuggy Hybrid

7 Stocking Stuffers For Stoners

A multi-tool designed specifically for cannabis users is a great gift for just about any kind of cannabis consumer. It can help with rolling blunts or packing and emptying bowls. Some multi-tools make dabbing much less of a hassle as well.

If you want something compact that’ll make every session simpler, we recommend the Nuggy 2.0. This all-metal multi-tool has functions that benefit all types of smokers and even dabbers. They have different versions to accommodate different types of users but the hybrid is an all-in-one.

Price: $46.95

Pros: The Nuggy Hybrid has six tools that fit into the sleek and slim design. The tools are easier to pull out than with their original model. The former plastic shell was replaced by an aluminum oxide shell which functions as a carb cap for any flat top or gaveled banger.

Cons: Not ideal for cannabis consumers who don’t roll or pack their own. This is for the person in your crew who always rolls up or brings the bong.

Why We Like It: Has everything you need to solve any problem you might have during a smoke or dab session.

Prometheus Nano

10 Best One-Hitters Of 2017

Does the person you’re gifting have a reliable pipe for smoking on the go? If they love smoking on the go but constantly break glass pipes, we recommend looking into Pyptek’s Prometheus Nano.

Pyptek makes stylish and durable high-end glass pipes designed for traveling. Despite being glass pipes, all Pyptek Prometheus Pipes are surrounded by a body of metal for added durability. The Nano is their one-hitter design, which will fit snug in your pocket without breaking. They let you choose the color of your Nano’s metal exoskeleton when purchasing online. You should also be able to find these at your local smoke shop, but you better hurry on over before they’re sold out for the holidays.

Price: $50.00

Pros: The glass straw combined with a metal armor makes the Prometheus Nano durable and enjoyable. You can separate the pieces for easy cleaning; just be careful with the glass components.

Cons: A little bulkier than the average one-hitter because of the metal body.

Why We Like It: Portable, durable and it won’t harsh the flavor of your top-shelf buds. It’s an essential on our holiday gift guide.

Genius Pipe

10 Best Bowls Of 2017

Looking for a pipe that’ll accommodate a health-conscious smoker? If you’re buying for a constant cougher, they may benefit from a pipe with added filtration. The best bowls on the market today have innovative designs that make smoking a smoother experience.

If you’re shopping for a sophisticated smoker, you can’t go wrong with the Genius Pipe. This is another perfect option for clumsy weed smokers. You won’t lose your pipe for life if you drop it, making the Genius Pipe a welcome addition to our holiday gift guide. On top of that, smoke is filtered to reduce the harshness that can sometimes accompany a bowl rip.

Price: $79.95

Pros: One of the slimmest pipes you’ll find. The lid makes it easy to slide into your pocket without getting debris and lint into your bowl or resin into your pocket. The interior and bottom layer is covered with 2,000 dimples made to filter and cool smoke while removing tars. Despite having to travel through all those dimples, the pipe has a smooth and unrestricted pull. It’s as if you’re hitting a regular bowl but the smoke is much smoother. It is made of anodized aluminum, which is completely safe to use and practically indestructible.

Cons: More expensive than most glass bowls, but you won’t have to replace it and the experience can’t be matched by a traditional glass pipe.

Why We Like It: It filters smoke like a bong without the need for water, and it’s much more portable.

CVault Humidity Control Airtight Stash Container

CVault Medium Humidity Controlled Storage Container

A necessary part of every cannabis smoker’s kit is a storage container. So we couldn’t have a holiday gift guide for cannabis consumers without at least one solid recommendation. When it comes to the best storage containers for cannabis, you want something that will protect weed from outside forces that can deteriorate the quality, like light and air. Furthermore, you want something that will contain the smell so your friend or loved one isn’t blowing up their own spot for no reason.

We recommend the CVault for keeping your buds fresh as day one. It has a slot for holding Boveda humidifier packs, which can bring moisture back to totally dried out buds or prevent them from ever getting to that point.

Price: $24.95

Pros: The several clamps on each CVault keeps the smell of weed from leaking out of it. It also keeps buds safe from light and air better than most storage containers designed for weed. You can store humidifier packs in the CVault to keep buds fresh during long-term storage.

Cons: Customers have complained that some of the latches aren’t welded on tightly enough. If they’re loose, the smell can leak out.

Why We Like It: Helps to contain the smell of weed while preserving the quality over long periods of time. Of course we had to include it in our holiday gift guide!

Santa Cruz Shredder Grinder

High Times Holiday Gift Guide

Santa Cruz Shredder

 

Know someone who is always breaking up bud by hand because they don’t have a proper grinder? Make their lives easier this holiday season with one of the best grinders of 2017. After all, what’s a High Times holiday gift guide without a grinder? A cheap grinder’s teeth will fall or things might get too sticky to twist. The latter is an issue for medical patients with pain in their hands or wrists. A top-tier grinder is the perfect item on our holiday gift guide for anyone with a cheap grinder or no grinder at all.

Santa Cruz Shredder makes all types of top-tier grinders. Their two and three-piece grinders provide the perfect grind every time with ease. If you’re concerned with catching kief, their four-piece will have a mountain of kief waiting at the bottom chamber for you in no time.

Price: $74.50

Pros: The textured grip makes it easier to twist for patients in pain. The magnet they use is powerful enough for you to leave buds in the grinder without having to worry about the lid popping off during travel. The teeth are designed to break down the stickiest material without getting stuck.

Cons: Not the most ideal grinder for catching kief. Other brands make grinders with replaceable screens, so you never have to replace it once the screen stops letting kief through.

Why We Like It: Durable and it shreds nugs effortlessly for a consistent grind every time.

Final Hit: High Times Holiday Gift Guide

You shouldn’t have to look beyond this holiday gift guide if you’re shopping for someone who consumes cannabis regularly. Whether they’re a traveling vaper or a stay-at-home smoker, there is something on the list that’ll make their lives better. You can still find holiday deals on most of the listed products. There should be just enough time to get those last minute gifts shipped. If you wait any longer, you’ll have to settle for what your local smoke shop has left in stock! Now’s the best time to make use of that Amazon Prime subscription.

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Coast Guard Intercepts Submarine-Like Boat With 3800 Lbs Of Cocaine

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A self-propelled, semi-submersible vessel that was smuggling more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine was intercepted by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, off the coast of Texas, according to a statement released on December 8, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels are low-profile vessels designed to navigate low in the water to avoid detection.

However, on November 13, a CBP and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) crew, in coordination with interagency partners, pursued a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel engaged in cocaine smuggling.

CBP and AMO apprehended the three-person crew during joint operations in international waters. All three suspects will face charges in the U.S.

Allen Durham, the National Air Security Operations Center Corpus Christi Director, said in a statement that drug cartels are “relentless and extremely innovative” and that “interdicting self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels requires expertise and the right aircraft.”

“Air and Marine Operations will continue to beat the cartels at their own game to protect our borders,” Durham added.

The multi-day operation from surveillance to interception, according to CBP, involved several interagency sea-faring partners including the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.

Marine Operations controls maritime patrol aircrafts from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida. They conduct long-range aerial patrols and surveillance missions along the U.S. borders and in drug transit zones in Central and South America, according to CBP. The aircrews are trained to detect and disrupt drug smugglers before they reach the U.S. borders

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Haiti: Narco-Compromised Army To Be Unleashed On Drug Gangs

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After 13 years of occupying the country—during which they fired on protesters and accidentally introduced cholera to the island, setting off an epidemic—UN “peacekeepers” were finally withdrawn from Haiti in October. To take up the slack in fighting drug gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince, the United Nations has called for increased international support for the 15,000-strong Haitian National Police.

But this call is cast in a dubious light by a harrowing November 18 Al Jazeera report on what appears to have been a police massacre during a supposed anti-gang raid on a Port-au-Prince school. The raid ended in at least seven dead—including students and teachers, all evidently unarmed. Local residents are saying the number of dead may actually be higher and assert that there were no armed men inside the school when National Police troops charged in and opened fire.

Some of the victims may have been killed execution-style in retaliation for the slaying of two police agents elsewhere in Port-au-Prince earlier that day.

Deja Vu For Dictatorship

Amid all this, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise is moving to re-establish the country’s army after 22 years—in the name of fighting the narco-gangs, of course.

On November 16, he named former army colonel Jodel Lesage as acting commander-in-chief, moving troops closer to full operation, Reuters reported. The appointment still needs to be approved by Haiti’s Senate But two days later, Moise welcomed the army’s anticipated return with a parade featuring dozens of camouflaged soldiers toting rifles in the northern coastal city of Cap-Haitien

Haiti has been without an army since 1995, when populist president Jean-Bertrand Aristide disbanded the military after returning to power following a coup. But veteran officers of the disbanded army were behind the 2004 coup that ousted Aristide for a second and final time. And some of these same veteran officers are themselves implicated in the narco trade.

But the most notorious of these is Guy Philippe, a former paramilitary enforcer for the gang behind the 2004 coup, who was arrested by the DEA in Port-au-Prince in January and flown to Miami to stand trial on cocaine trafficking charges. In June, he was sentenced to nine years in prison after copping a plea—admitting to a money laundering charge in exchange for the dropping of a trafficking charge that could have sent him to prison for life.

And, as National Public Radio noted, Moise is bringing back the army just as angry protests are breaking out, demanding his ouster over his unpopular plan to hike taxes on Haiti’s already suffering poor.

So with the National Police already unleashing tear-gas and water-cannons on protesters, the army will once again be on hand to apply yet greater repression—as under the old regime of dictator-for-life Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, overthrown by a popular revolution in 1986. Baby Doc died in 2014 a free man, without ever facing charges for the long reign of terror by his army and paramilitary forces.

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Cannabis and the Environment: Navigating the Interplay Between Genetics and Transcriptomics

It is that time of year where the holidays afford us an opportunity for rest, recuperation and introspection. Becoming a new father to a healthy baby girl and having the privilege to make a living as a scientist, fills me with an immeasurable sense of appreciation and indebtedness. I’ve also been extremely fortunate this year to spend significant time with world-renowned cannabis experts, such as Christian West, Adam Jacques and Elton Prince, whom have shared with me a tremendous wealth of their knowledge about cannabis cultivation and the development of unique cannabis genetics. Neither of these gentlemen have formal scientific training in plant genetics; however, through decades of experimentation, observation and implementation, they’ve very elegantly used alchemy and the principles of Mendelian genetics to push the boundaries of cannabis genetics, ultimately modulating the expression of specific cannabinoids and terpenes. Hearing of their successes (and failures) has triggered significant wonderment and curiosity with respect to what can be done beyond the genetic level to keep pushing the equilibrium in this new frontier of medicine.

Lighting conditions can greatly impact the expression of terpenes (and cannabinoids) in cannabis.Of course genetics are the foundation for the production of premium cannabis. Without the proper genetic code, one cannot expect the cannabis plant to express the target constituents of interest. However, what happens when you have an elite genetic code, the holy grail of cannabis nucleotides if you will, and yet your plant does not produce the therapeutic compounds that you want and/or that are reflective of that elite genetic code? This ‘loss in translation’ can be explained by transcriptomics, and more specifically, epigenetics. In order for the genetic code (DNA) to be expressed as a gene product (RNA), it must be transcribed, a process that is modulated by epigenetic processes like DNA methylation and histone modification. In other words, the methylation of the genetic code can dictate whether or not a particular segment of DNA is transcribed into RNA, and ultimately expressed in the plant. To put this into context, if the DNA code for the enzyme THCA synthase is epigenetically silenced, then no THCA synthase is produced, your cannabis cannot convert CBGA into THCA, and now you have hemp that is devoid of THC.So what is the best lighting technology to enhance the expression of terpenes? 

With all of that being said, how do we ensure that our plants thrive under favorable epigenetic conditions? The answer is the environment; and the expression of terpenes is an ideal indicator of favorable environmental conditions. While amazing anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants and metabolic regulators for humans, terpenes are also extremely powerful anti-microbial agents that act as a robust a line of defense for the plant against bacteria and pests. So, if the threat of microbes can induce the expression of terpenes, then what about other environmental factors? I am of the opinion that the combination of increased exposure to bacteria and natural sunlight enhances the expression of terpenes in outdoor-grown cannabis compared to indoor-grown cannabis. This is strictly my opinion based off of my own qualitative observations, but the point being is that lighting conditions can greatly impact the expression of terpenes (and cannabinoids) in cannabis.

A plant in flowering under an LED fixture

So what is the best lighting technology to enhance the expression of terpenes? Do I use full spectrum lighting or specific frequencies? The answer to these questions is that we don’t fully know at this point. Thanks to the McCree curve we have a fundamental understanding of the various frequencies within the visible light spectrum (400-700nm) that are beneficial to plants, also known as Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR). However, little-to-no research has been conducted to determine the impacts that the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum (also categorized as ‘light’) may have on plants. As such, we do not know with 100% certainty what frequencies should be applied, and at what times in the growth cycle, to completely optimize terpene concentrations. This is not to disparage the lighting professionals out there that have significant expertise in this field; however, I’m calling for the execution of peer-reviewed experiments that would transcend the boundaries of company white papers and anecdotal claims. In my opinion, this lack of environmental data provides a real opportunity for the cannabis industry to initiate the required collaborations between cannabis geneticists, technology companies and environmental scientists. This is one field of research that I wish to pursue with tenacity and I also welcome other interested parties to join me in this data quest. Together we can better understand the environmental factors, such as lighting, that are acting as the molecular light switches at the interface of genetics and transcriptomics in cannabis.

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