Raising the Standard for Dispensary Education: Building a Better Budtender

At the National Cannabis Industry Association’s (NCIA) Cannabis Business Summit and Expo last week there was a presentation titled, “Raising the Standard for Dispensary Education: Building a Better Breed of Budtender.” Speakers included Adam Cole, learning and development specialist at Native Roots Dispensaries and Dr. Aseem Sappal, provost and dean of faculty at Oaksterdam University. Nancy Whiteman, owner of Wana Brands, was the moderator. Let’s look at some of the ways they have standardized their process in cannabis retail education.Health effects achieved in one patient are not always replicated for every patient. This is true of all medicine.

The standard education module at Native Roots (20 retail locations throughout Colorado, and were awarded licenses in Manitoba, Canada) for onboarding a budtender includes laws and compliance, ID checking and sales limits, customer service and physical effects. Oaksterdam University provides cannabis education and focuses on botany, introduction to the endocannabinoid system, bioavailability, CBD, and edibles vs. smoking as a delivery mechanism. In addition to the already mentioned classes, Wana Brands also teaches the concept of sustained release and capsules (due to product specificity). The Native Roots educational program contains continuing education in the history of cannabis, the endocannabinoid system, methods of consumption, phytocannabinoids and terpenes. For those of you in medical professions beginning your cannabis education, these modules provide a great outline to launch your own learning and development program.

How can dispensaries integrate the medical profession at the point of distribution?The presentation highlighted the legal aspects of providing cannabis information and cannabis products. A licensed medical professional oversees all educational content and everything is run through a legal department. It is important that all cannabis providers use language that offers no definitive medical outcomes. Health effects achieved in one patient are not always replicated for every patient. This is true of all medicine. At Native Roots Dispensary, they address symptoms not diseases. They have specific language to avoid giving medical advice. For good reason, there is a state regulatory body called the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) that oversees dispensaries and their adherence to the “no medical advice” decree, along with a slew of other regulatory compliance issues.

Dispensaries offer careful symptom-based product recommendations to many types of consumers. How can dispensaries integrate the medical profession at the point of distribution? Native Roots has partnerships with doctors and the Rocky Mountain Cancer Institute. Additionally, the CEO of Wana Brands mentioned the use of medical kiosks in some dispensaries. My question to Adam Cole was, “Would you like to see trained cannabis nurses on staff or on board as a consultant in dispensaries to deal with patients and have the budtenders service the customer?” His answer: “Absolutely.”

The post Raising the Standard for Dispensary Education: Building a Better Budtender appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.

German Drugs Agency Issues New Cannabis Cultivation Bid

Lessthan a week after Cannabis Industry Journal reported that BfArM had finally cancelled the first German tender bid for cannabis cultivation, and after refusing to confirm the story to this outlet, the agency quietly posted the new one online, at 3.45pm Central European Time, July 19.

First Thing’s First

For those who have not seen it yet, here is a first look at the “new” bid auf Deutsch. It is basically identical to the last one. For the most part, Europe is shaping up to be a high volume ex-im market.For now, that is all that exists. However,a move is on in Europe to translate the bid into English. Why? To hold BfArM accountable. And to help educate all the foreign and for the most part, non-German speaking investors who want to know what is required to get the bid in the first place. The process last time left a great deal to be desired.

Bid Redux

Apart from this, however, very little seems to have changed from the last time. Notably,the amount to be grown domestically is the same. This means that the government is deliberately setting production below already established demand.

german flag
Photo: Ian McWilliams, Flickr


As has become increasingly clear, the German government at leastdoes not want to step into the cultivation ring. Further,because they are being forced to, the government wants to proceed slowly. That means that for at least the next couple of years, barring local developments, it is actively creating a market where imports are the only kind of cannabis widely available – for any purpose. And in this case, strictly medical. With many, many restrictions. Starting with no advertising.

Import Europe

For the most part, Europe is shaping up to be a high volume ex-im market. This was already in the offing even last year when Tilray announced the constructionof their Portuguese facilities last summer, and Aurora and Canopy began expanding all over the continent, starting in Denmark, but hardly limited to the same.

These days it is not the extreme west of Europe (Spain and Portugal) that are the hot growingareas, but the Balkans and Greece. Cheap labour, real estate and GMP standards are the three magic words to market entry.

Can This Situation Hold?

There are several intriguing possibilities at this point. The simple answer is that the current environment is simply not sustainable.

In an environment where the clearing firm for all German securities has refused to clear any and all cannabis related North American public cannabis company stock purchases from Germans (and just updated the list to include companies like Growlife), citing “legal reasons,” it is clear the “fight” (read banking and finance) has clearly now landed in Europe.

The significance of all of this?

Clearly, it is two-fold. The first is to deleverage the power of financial success as a way of legitimizing the drug if not the “movement.” Further, if Germans want to profit from the legal cannabis market it is going to be very difficult. See the bid last year beyond this new development.

That means everyone else is going to have to get creative. The industry, advocates and patients have seen similar moves before. Patient access and profitability are not necessarily the same thing.An increasing numbers of companies are finding ways around being cultivators to get their product into the country anyway.

What Now?

The only problem with such strategies, just like banning German firms from competing in the bid, is that “prohibition” of this kind never works.

It will not keep cannabis out of Germany. The vast majority of the medical cannabis consumed by patients in Germany will come from the extremes – of east and western Europe – with Canadian, Dutch and even Danish stockpiles used as necessary. It will also not discourage the domestic cannabis movement here, which is critical as ever in keeping powerful feet to the fire.

It will also not discourage German firms from entering the market – in a variety of creative ways. Most German cannabis companies are not public, and most are setting themselves up as processors and distributors rather than growers.

So in summary, the bid is back. But this time, it is absolutely not as “bad” as ever. An increasing numbers of companies are finding ways around being cultivators to get their product into the country anyway.

As for raising money via public offerings? There are plenty of other countries where the publicly listed, now banned North American companies can raise funds on public exchanges (see Sweden and Denmark) as they target the cannabis fortress Deutschland.

The post German Drugs Agency Issues New Cannabis Cultivation Bid appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.

After Cannabis, Canadian Government Won’t Decriminalize Any Other Drugs

Despite the legalization of cannabis currently underway in Canada, the country will not be decriminalizing any other drugs, according to a government official. Thierry Belair, a spokesman for Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, told the CBC that the federal government has no plans for further decriminalization. The government announcement comes amid calls from major Canadian cities to remove criminal penalties for the consumption and possession of small amounts of drugs.

Civic officials and public health advocates in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal have called on the federal government to enact such changes. Fardous Hosseiny is the national director of research and public policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association, a group that supports the decriminalization of drugs. He said that criminalizing drug use prevents people from getting the help they need and that it is time to try a new strategy.

“Given the scale of the opioid crisis in Canada, we know that we need to take bold action,” Hosseiny said. “We know that evidence tells us that the war on drugs hasn’t worked, so criminalization really stigmatizes people and creates barriers for them accessing treatment and accessing help when they need it.”

Health Canada reported last month that in 2017, almost 4,000 Canadians had died of an apparent opioid overdose.

Cities Call For Change

Earlier this month, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, said that the stigma of criminalization perpetuates the addiction crisis.

“It forces people into unsafe drug use practices and creates barriers to seeking help,” Dr. de Villa said. “While considerable work has been done, the situation remains urgent and too many people are still dying. This is why I am calling on the federal government to take urgent action,” she added.

Dr. de Villa also said continued criminalization magnifies the negative effects of drug use and addiction.

“Those potential harms are always exacerbated or made worse when people are forced to consume, or produce, or obtain those drugs in the realm of the illegal,” she said.  “What we need to do is take a more public health-focused approach, treating drug use as a social issue rather than a criminal issue which our current regime does.”

In Montreal last week, Dr. Mylène Drouin, the city’s public health director, echoed those sentiments, saying decriminalization of drug offenses is “one of the measures to consider in the public health response to a problem without precedence in numerous Canadian cities.”

And in Vancouver last March, Mary Clare Zak, the managing director of social policy, said that other nations that have tried decriminalization have seen public health successes.

“What we’ve learned from countries, for example like Portugal, is that when you decriminalize then people are feeling like they’re actually safe enough to ask for treatment,” she said. “People who are dying are more likely to be indoors and struggle with accessing help or assistance because of their illicit drug use.”

Federal Government Responds

Spokesman Belair said that the federal government acknowledges the consequences of stigmatization and has taken measures to address the issue. He cited simplifying access to non-opioid therapies and the approval of 25 supervised injection sites as examples of the government’s action.

The post After Cannabis, Canadian Government Won’t Decriminalize Any Other Drugs appeared first on High Times.

How Long Do Edibles Last?

Newbies to ganja often bite off more than they can chew—literally. Many common rookie mistakes happen when novice cannabis consumers try their first edible. Some dive in without any thought to important questions like, how long does an edible high last? This behavior is reasonable, considering that today, there is a Willy Wonka-like diversity of edible products on the market. Look anywhere edibles are sold, and you’ll discover teas and chocolates, cakes and microwavable meals, lattes, and gummies. Home chefs are testing their chops from pot cooking shows on Netflix. And celebrity chefs toil over masterpieces made with marijuana, some offered up as spreads for gatherings like “Dankquets”. Edibles come in all shapes, sizes, and quantities of THC or CBD.

Their variability makes answering the question of “how long do edibles last?” easy. Every edible and every body is different. There is not an exact science for how long an edible high lasts. Nonetheless, there are some factors to help you determine the potency of your dank delectable and how long you’ll be riding the waves of the high it gives you.

Do Edibles Hit Harder Than Smoking?

Keep in mind when consuming your cannabis through ingestion that eating edibles differs considerably from smoking. Some contend that eating an edible feels like a stronger high than smoking. For someone unfamiliar with edibles, this is a crucial point to consider before mowing down a bag of THC gummies. Unlike smoking, which allows you to ingest your weed incrementally, an edible delivers a full smack of a high. This effect is because half of orally ingested THC gets converted into 11-hydroxy-THC, a more powerful version of THC. When smoking or inhaling marijuana vapor, 11-hydroxy-THC does not form or get sent to your brain like it does when you eat  an edible.

So when trying out an edible high, approach it differently than smoking, since orally ingested THC is unique in its processing throughout the body, and in its effects. Even a seasoned smoker may feel the knock-out effects of a potent edible. And so even a frequent smoker should ask themselves, how long does an edible last for me? Before unwrapping that individually wrapped baked good, remember: just because you’re a smoker doesn’t mean you don’t have to concern yourself with the effects of an edible high. You should also consider: how long do edibles last?

Purchased Edibles: Look at the Label

A great facet of the wonderful world of legal and medical marijuana is that labels state the level of THC or CBD in a consumer product. Candies could be 5-30 milligrams of THC or CBD, or higher. Larger edibles can weigh in at even larger doses. These goodies come with warning labels to help consumers understand the high levels of THC or CBD and keep themselves under control. Reading the label for the amount will give you an idea of what is contained in the marijuana-laden morsel. However, remember that like homemade goodies, company-made edibles can still vary in amount from product to product. Their accuracy can be a little off because of the distribution of the THC or CBD throughout the batch. Nonetheless, the label provides an estimate that will help in determining “how long does an edible last?”

But remember that the amount of drug is not the only factor in determining the answer to “how long does an edible high last”. Another consideration is the body size of the consumer. A larger person may require a larger dose (additional helpings) in order to feel its effects. Remember to start small, and gradually introduce more into the system to feel in control of your high. Noting the approximate amount of the drug in the edible and the size of the person will help determine “how long does an edible last” in an individual’s body.

How Long Does an Edible High Last When You Make Your Own Batch From Scratch?

A factory-produced edible’s label gives an approximation of the amount of THC and CBD. When cooking with cannabis in your own kitchen, it can vary even more. Consider that distribution of THC in batter or liquid may be uneven across individual servings. Still, it is best to follow a calculated dosage when baking a batch of bud-infused treats. This dosage allows you to estimate how much each of your servings may contain, after some simple math. As with an edible manufactured by a company, enjoying smaller portions rather than eating all of it at once will help you control your high. This pace will allow you to get to the level you want to be at. Again, no exact science exists when asking the question, “How long do edibles last?” The guess and check method—or taking it one bite at a time—may be the best option.

Keep in mind that in order for homemade edibles to be effective, they need to undergo the process of decarboxylation. For a higher potency product, remember: longer times at lower temperatures work best when cooking cannabis. How well a homemade goodie is decarboxylated will change the answer to the question “how long does an edible last?” If it’s done well and for a lengthy time, the high will last longer.

Peaking Past the Point of No Return

Eating an edible is generally a situation rooted in the tried and true method of trial and error. Anyone, seasoned smoker or not, approaching a goody loaded with weed wonders: how long does an edible last? Finding out how a certain type of edible affects your body with your individual health, size, and tolerance relies on testing. This check will help you to see how certain amounts and types will affect you. There are no 100 percent effective means in determining the exact answer to the nagging question”how long does an edible high last?”

What this means is sometimes you may hit the point of no return when eating an edible. An edible high can feel overpowering and overwhelming, overtaking your body and your mind. But don’t panic. The answer to “How long does an edible last?” will never be: forever. There are ways to come down from a strong edible high.

Nonetheless, starting small if you’re new to edibles is advisable until you know the answer to, “How long do edibles last for me?” Starting at a recommended dose of 5mg of THC or CBD can help determine a baseline. After that’s defined, a consumer can add incrementally, finding the right edible high slowly and safely. Patience, and you’ll find the answer for your own body to the question, how long does an edible high last?

So How Long Does an Edible High Last?

When it comes to edibles, slow and steady works as the best method. Even if you’re an experienced smoker, don’t feel weak for starting out at a smaller dose. You can always graduate to heavier-hitting goodies. You may not know “how long do edibles last” in your body, so your body will thank you for your patience. Not to mention, you can discover the perfect edible high for you. With thousands of products on the market and the infinite ways you can jazz up your drinks or snacks with cannabis, a testing phase may need to happen for each different edible.

Tasting and testing your way through edibles may answer “how long do edibles last?” for you. And this type of high homework hardly seems like a problem for a person who loves cannabis. After all, who doesn’t want to test out the crazy flavors and concoctions available nowadays?

The post How Long Do Edibles Last? appeared first on High Times.

What Exactly Is A One-Hitter Pipe?

With all of the various types of cannabis paraphernalia in today’s day and age, it’s pretty easy to forget the one-hitter pipe. Between dab rigs, extravagant glass bongs, and elaborate bubblers, the one-hitter weed pipe has certainly been overshadowed.

But that’s not to say it’s not super useful.

Sure, nowadays there are easier ways to get high on the low, thanks to vape cartridges and increased access to edibles. But not everyone likes the fancy stuff. Sometimes, the green is the way to go. So if you’re looking to get high (relatively) discreetly, you may want to look into the benefits of a one-hitter pipe. Let’s dive into what exactly a one-hitter pipe is, the different kinds of one-hitters, and how to use them.

What Is A One-Hitter Pipe?

Even the most inept could figure out the answer to the question “what is a one-hitter?” Look no further than its name for your answer.

What is a one-hitter weed pipe? It’s essentially, any pipe designed and built to take, well, one hit.

Article over.

Just kidding; let’s get into some of the specifics.

There are a few different types of one-hitters, but they all have the same basic function and make. Most hold around 25 milligrams of cannabis, which is good for a single, fairly large hit. They’re specifically designed for both discretion, as you can pretty much carry it anywhere and it (sort of) looks like you’re lighting a cigarette, and for the conservation of bud, simply because you can’t pack it with too much weed.

Typically, a one-hitter is tube-shaped and made out of glass or metal. One side will be flattened in the shape of a mouthpiece, and the other will be slightly enlarged to pack your buds.

A bat is a common type of one-hitter. It get’s its name because it is literally shaped like a bat—the mouthpiece looks exactly like the bottom of the baseball bat, and the pipe gets larger and wider from there. Bats are mostly made of metal, but they can vary.

A chillum is another common term for a one-hitter. The chillum originated all the way back in the 18th century and was used by Hindu monks. Originally chillums were made of clay; they are primarily made of glass today.

Another member of the one-hitter family is the dugout, which is more of a setup than a single entity. A dugout is a convenient two-part device. It has a chamber to hold your ground-up bud, as well as the one-hitter itself. The good thing about a dugout is that it makes it super easy to pack your pipe. Simply take the one-hitter, put it into the spot where your bud is held, and it pretty much packs itself.

How To Use A One-Hitter Weed Pipe

Using a one-hitter is easy. Almost as easy as deciphering what it is based on its name.

Pack the one end of your one-hitter with ground-up buds. You’re going to want to hold it up vertically, so none spills. Make sure you pack it tight, so none of it falls out when you smoke it.

Now, put the mouthpiece in your mouth and light it on the other end like a joint. Hold it on a slight angle upwards so, again, none of the bud falls out.

Light up, inhale, and you’ll be stoned. If one hit isn’t enough for you, then we suggest using a dugout, so you can pack it multiple times with ease.

Other than that, there’s not much else when it comes to the one-hitter. Now you’re an expert too!

The post What Exactly Is A One-Hitter Pipe? appeared first on High Times.

Georgia Quietly Becomes the Latest Country to Legalize Cannabis Use

Georgia has quietly become the next country to legalize cannabis use after action from the nation’s Constitutional Court on Monday. The court’s ruling was handed down in a lawsuit brought by political activists. The decision eliminates administrative penalties such as fines as punishment for the consumption of marijuana.  However, the court’s ruling does not legalize cannabis cultivation or sales in the nation of nearly 4 million people at the crossroads of Asia and Europe.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Zurab Japaridze and Vakhtang Megrelishvili contended that the use of cannabis is a personal decision that does not put others at risk.

“It can only harm the health of the consumer, who is responsible for the results of the action,” the lawsuit read.

Constitutional Court Agrees

In its ruling, the panel of four judges agreed, deciding that the use of cannabis is not a threat to society at large.

“According to the applicants (Zurab Japaridze and Vakhtang Megrelishvili), the consumption of marijuana is not an act of social threat,” the court said. “In particular, it can only harm the users’ health, making that user him/herself responsible for the outcome. The responsibility for such actions does not cause dangerous consequences for the public.”

However, the court also found that there are some situations where cannabis consumption can affect those in the proximity of the user. In those cases, administrative penalties for the use of cannabis do not violate the nation’s constitution and may continue to be imposed by the government.

“In addition, the Constitutional Court highlights the imposition of responsibility of marijuana consumption when it creates a threat to third parties. For instance, the Court will justify responsibility when marijuana is consumed in educational institutions, public places, such as on public transport, and in the presence of children,” the court continued.

Court Decriminalized Pot Last Year

Monday’s decision by the Constitutional Court of Georgia follows a ruling last year that effectively decriminalized cannabis use. The court ruled then that harsher sanctions were not constitutional for the use of marijuana and other forms of cannabis.

But the court at that time upheld the right of the government to impose administrative penalties such as fines for cannabis consumption. Monday’s ruling now protects marijuana use in private settings.

Activists Celebrate Ruling

After the court’s ruling, plaintiff Zurab Japaridze recognized the activists who had made the lawsuit possible.

“I would like to congratulate everybody on the decision made by the Constitutional Court,” Japaridze said. “Through this decision, Georgia became a freer country. Administrative punishment for consumption of marijuana was revoked by the Constitutional Court, which means that consumption of marijuana in Georgia is now legal.”

Japaridze is the leader and a founder of the The New Political Centre—Girchi party, a liberal political group that split from the United National Movement is 2016. In April, he announced his intention to run for president of Georgia in the elections to be held later this year in October.

After Monday’s ruling, Japaridze said the lawsuit was a matter of personal liberty.

“This wasn’t a fight for cannabis, this was a fight for freedom,” he said.

The post Georgia Quietly Becomes the Latest Country to Legalize Cannabis Use appeared first on High Times.

The Overwatch League is Real, and It’s Fantastic

I approached Barclay’s Center to take in Saturday’s Overwatch League Grand Final match alongside a group of prototypical eSports fans: nerds in their late teens. One girl in this group was relaying to her friends the rumor that a new player-character would be announced at this, the conclusion of Overwatch League’s (OWL) wildly successful first season.

That’s when a 40-something mom turned around and confidently corrected the young woman: they wouldn’t be introducing a new character, but new “skins” for existing ones.  My surprise doubled when one of the young men responded “Maybe they’ll have DJ Khaled make the announcement—We got a new skin! And another one! Another one! Another one!” That’s how I discovered that DJ Khaled was the warm-up act for that afternoon’s live video games, and that I officially I had no idea what I was in for.

The Overwatch League is Real, and It's Fantastic

The jumbotron showed live gameplay as well as all 12 players’ avatars; Sam Roos/ High Times

A quick primer for readers unfamiliar with Overwatch: the game is a first-person shooter (FPS) featuring two teams of six competing head-to-head. Each player chooses one of 28 characters, each with unique strengths and weaknesses, to compete in various types of games, including king-of-the-hill and capture the flag type contests. The style of the game is bright and cartoonish, a family-friendly anime aesthetic, but the strategy is intricate and the pace of play blistering. The game is as much a contest of quick-twitch muscles and hand-eye coordination as it is teamwork and game theory.

When I offered to cover this event for High Times, I thought there might be a story in the role marijuana has amongst Overwatch fans. Personally, I associate video games with getting baked on a couch for a couple hours of Mario Kart with friends. Obviously, the professional players aren’t high, but what about the fans? Did they play like stoners, or like professionals? This was my planned angle of inquiry.

The Overwatch League is Real, and It's Fantastic

Cosplayers grouped up for pre-match pictures; Sam Roos/ High Times

But that line of questioning was quickly proven reductive. Overwatch fans are much too diverse to be generalized. All races seemed well represented amongst the crowd of over 11,000 people. Roughly half the attendees were female. Of course, there were some young nerds in thick glasses and anime t-shirts, but I passed a couple in their 50’s rocking Shanghai Dragons jerseys and spotted a yuppie couple still wearing their VIP lanyards at a nearby boutique grocery store later that day. The crowd-watching cameras kept finding a black woman in an incredible gender-bending cosplay of the character Lucio, and a white man doing the same in an elaborate Zarya costume. There were children of all ages, bros pounding craft beers, and High Times journalists sneaking hits off their vape. Truly, the OWL welcomes all kinds.

Before heading to my seat, I toured the venue. I chatted with a group of men and women in their 20s while we waited to take photos of the cosplayers (there were about two dozen “serious” cosplayers in all at Barclay’s, all but one or two of them paying customers). These fans were disappointed that the local team, NYXL, had fallen short of the finals, but they were still thrilled to be there. All of them kept coming back to the same thought: they couldn’t believe the scale of this event.

That sense of disbelief remained the throughline as I chatted with other fans. People were waving signs (there was a sign-making station in the concourse), everyone was outfitted with flashing LED wristbands, and DJ Khaled did indeed perform a very strange 15-minute hype set. Everyone—my neighbors, the announcers, me—kept coming back to the same word: “insane.”

My seat was next to a group of Philadelphia Fusion fans who had driven up from Philly to watch their eSports team take on the London Spitfire team in the finals. They were far from the only ones to travel. I met a family that had driven down from Nova Scotia, and fans from Pittsburgh and Colorado were interviewed pregame on the enormous LED screen. They also interviewed the London Spitfire GM Susie “lilsusie” Kim, who, in any other sport, would be making national headlines as a woman of color running a men’s team, and Philadelphia coach Yann “Kirby” Luu, who wore a coat and tie that evoked a 1950s football coach. The players themselves were perhaps the least diverse group in the building: all of London’s players are South Korean men, as are half of Philadelphia’s six-person starting lineup (although Philly’s extended roster also has players from England, Israel, Finland, Canada, Spain, France, Russia and Sweden). The lack of female players (the league has none) is perhaps the only part of the OWL that could aspire to diversify further.

Once the match finally began, any lingering thoughts that this crowd was any less passionate or knowledgeable than an average professional sports crowd went out the window. It was among the loudest sporting events I’ve ever attended (rivaled only by my visits to the Golden State Warriors’  Oracle Arena and the Seattle Seahawks Centurylink Field, notoriously two of the loudest buildings in sports). Fans screamed for some players and booed others, gasped as they saw plays developing the way you often hear in soccer matches, and rose to their feet routinely to celebrate superior play. Watching the gameplay via the massive Jumbotron was actually fine; unlike in basketball or hockey, where the action is often far from your seat or at a bad angle for your view, everyone in the building saw exactly the same thing.

The Overwatch League is Real, and It's Fantastic

The champions London Spitfire accepting their trophy; Sam Roos/ High Times

The only failing of the event was that it was over too quickly. London had won the first match in a best-of-three series the night before, and on Saturday they made short work of Philadelphia, winning the first and only match of the day 3-0. As London crept closer to their victory, you could feel the building rooting for Philly to rally, to give us a show. And while the Fusion fell short, they did make an improbable overtime comeback on the third map that had all 11,000 of us on our feet screaming. That moment proved to me that this league, and eSports in general, have a legitimate future in the professional sports landscape. Say what you will about video games’ worthiness of the term “sport”— from my seat, the experience was indistinguishable from a live NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB experience. We did the wave. They had five-dollar hot dogs. Celebrities were featured on the crowd-cam. It was sports.

Ultimately, I learned very little about marijuana in the Overwatch community. The Philly fans next to me like to sometimes get stoned and watch, but when they play, they stay sober. The six-man team on the other side of me identified with the way I often combine video games and pot, but had a strict rule that they only got baked before casual gaming, never before ranked play as a team. I’m sure a proper survey of the crowd would have turned back wildly different answers on all areas of that spectrum because this isn’t a niche interest anymore. This is mainstream entertainment, and we’re only going to see more of it.

The post The Overwatch League is Real, and It’s Fantastic appeared first on High Times.

Oklahoma and Pennsylvania Could Soon Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

Oklahoma and Pennsylvania are at different places on their respective paths toward adult-use cannabis legalization. But on Monday, both states took significant steps toward that end. In Pennsylvania, State Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) announced his plan to introduce progressive marijuana legislation. And in Oklahoma, the cannabis advocacy group Green the Vote announced it had acquired the required number of signatures to put a vote for adult-use legalization on the ballot in November. Both build on the considerable momentum recent efforts to reform drug policy have generated in those states.

Oklahoma Could Vote on Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization This November

One month ago, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788, legalizing cannabis for medical use. Almost immediately, lawmakers and officials opposed to the measure began adding restrictions to the new program, including a highly controversial ban on smokable medical marijuana.

Oklahoma Republicans joined Democrats to call for the Oklahoma Board of Health to revise draft regulations for the program. The board released their revised version last Friday. The new rules remove many of the major restrictions for which the anti-cannabis Oklahoma State Medical Association had successfully lobbied.

As part of that battle, a persistent anti-cannabis talking point had been that Oklahoma voters did not know what they were saying yes to when they approved SQ 788. But voters and lawmakers pushed back, vowing to fight for the program as they had voted for it.

Building on that momentum, the pro-cannabis group Green the Vote circulated a petition to put a question on legal adult-use cannabis on the November 2018 ballot.

On Monday, the group announced that it had collected nearly 10,000 more than the required 124,000 signatures needed by Aug. 8 for the measure to make it on the ballot.

Those signatures still need verification. And that means there’s a slight chance the question could not make it on the ballot this November. But if that happens, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin can call a special election. Otherwise, the question would have to wait until the next statewide election in 2020.

Pro-Cannabis State Rep. Will Introduce Legalization Bill in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania isn’t just working toward legal adult-use cannabis. Progressive prosecutors, mayors, and lawmakers are making social justice a focal point of their campaign to reform drug policy.

The election of Larry Krasner to Philadelphia District Attorney has already led to sweeping changes in the way courts handle drug cases. Pittsburgh Mayor Pill Peduto is teaming up with Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to advocate for cannabis as an alternative to prescription opioids.

DePasquale also just released an economic report on the benefits of legalization that estimates Pennsylvania could bring in $581 million in tax revenue from legal weed.

Seizing the momentum and the moment, Demcratic State Rep. Jake Wheatley is planning to introduce legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis. Wheatley’s measure would furthermore expunge criminal records for non-violent, misdemeanor marijuana convictions. Similar expungement proposals are in the table in Vermont and Delaware.

In a press releasing announcing the bill, Wheatley said it was time for Pennsylvania to abandon the ugly stigma of cannabis. He also wants to see PA take advantage of the same opportunities legalization has generated in other states.

The post Oklahoma and Pennsylvania Could Soon Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis appeared first on High Times.

CBD vs. THC: The Difference Between The Two Cannabinoids

THC and CBD are the most well-known and sought-after chemicals produced by the cannabis plant. But in the battle of CBD vs THC, who comes out on top? Is it the legendary THC, producer of wonderful sensations and euphoric elation? Or will it be CBD, the newcomer surging in popularity due to its wide-ranging health and wellness benefits? What are the differences between the two cannabinoids? And is framing it as a contest— as THC vs CBD —the best way to think about those differences?

As cannabis markets expand, consumers have more choice than ever. And one of the most important choices cannabis consumers have to make is how much THC and CBD they want their products to contain.

Knowing the differences between CBD and THC is essential for making mindful, intentional choices in the dispensary. Understanding how they work together can help you create cannabis experiences that best meet your needs and desires.

CBD: A Very Short Introduction

Cannabidiol, or CBD, was one of the first cannabinoids scientists discovered and is, today, one of the most researched compounds in the cannabis plant. We can summarize all that research into two simple points—the most important things to remember about CBD.

First, CBD is non-psychoactive. In other words, it won’t make you feel high. This point is crucial because it makes CBD derived from hemp available in some places where marijuana is prohibited. However, hemp-derived CBD is still not technically legal in all 50 states under federal law.

Second, CBD is responsible for many of the significant medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis. And that’s why you’ll always hear people talking about CBD products when they’re using cannabis for health and wellness.

THC: A Very Short Introduction

Even non-consumers of cannabis have heard about THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol, a.k.a. THC, is the chemical that produces the euphoric, stimulating sensations from cannabis use we call being “high.”

THC isn’t the only cannabinoid that produces those effects, but it is the only one that exists in significant enough quantities in cannabis products to get a consumer high. For this reason, THC is the sine qua non of recreational cannabis use.

But that’s not to say there aren’t medical or therapeutic uses for THC. In fact, the mostly cognitive and psychological effects of THC on the human body, including pleasing alterations in mood, perception and thought, have a wide range of medicinal applications.

CBD vs THC: Key Differences for Recreational Consumers

Now you know about CBD and THC in a nutshell. And since we’re simplifying things, here are the two most important points of difference between the cannabinoids.

  1. CBD doesn’t produce a high, while THC will definitely get you high.
  2. Medical, health, and wellness users tend to put an emphasis on CBD, while recreational consumers tend to favor THC.

It’s important to stress that those neat divisions are only useful as a quick point of reference. The reality is that there are plenty of reasons for recreational consumers to want products with CBD. Just as there are many medicinal benefits to THC.

So, let’s dive deeper into the question of THC vs CBD. Beyond the simple difference that THC will get you high and CBD won’t, what are the key differences between the two for recreational consumers?

CBD vs THC: Mental and Emotional Effects

For most cannabis consumers, THC produces a palette of pleasing sensations that include euphoria, sensory stimulation, positive mood alterations and even feelings of improved cognition. Generally, these experiences aren’t overwhelming. But sometimes they can be, tipping into anxiety and paranoia.

CBD doesn’t produce any mental and emotional effects of its own. But it absolutely influences how THC creates those effects. For recreational users, CBD can act as a counterweight to balance and level out a strong reaction to THC.

Of course, the opposite is also true. For people who crave the sensations of THC and want nothing to stand in their way, eliminating CBD can effectively make a product more potent. That’s the point behind THC concentrates.

THC vs CBD: Physical Effects and Therapeutic Benefits

Recreational users who prefer a more body-focused high can benefit from cannabis products containing CBD. Cannabidiol has a calming effect on the body. It reduces inflammation and helps treat pain by blocking pain receptors.

These mellowed, relaxed bodily sensations can help round out a cerebral high for a more whole-body experience. The physical effects and therapeutic benefits of CBD can even highlight and emphasize the pleasurable effects THC has on your body in the first place.

THC vs CBD: The Key Differences for Medical Cannabis Users

For medical cannabis users, the differences between THC and CBD are very important. Both cannabinoids offer therapeutic and medicinal benefits. But CBD offers them without psychoactive side effects. For that reason, CBD is ideal for patients who do not desire the effects of THC or who cannot as safely consume THC, like children.

Indeed, CBD is so well-researched for medical applications because of the fact that it doesn’t produce the effects of a high. In many places, that’s enough to make CBD products legal, as long as they don’t contain THC above a certain threshold.

CBD vs THC: Health Benefits

In terms of their health benefits, one of the main differences between THC and CBD is the parts of the body that they affect. The endocannabinoid receptors in our body that bind with CBD are distributed throughout the nervous system and concentrated in the spleen. THC receptors, on the other hand, are concentrated in the brain.

CBD, therefore, produces strong anti-inflammatory effects on the body. And that’s good for a number of health reasons. Many diseases involve or are worsened by inflammation, so reducing it can help treat those diseases.

But CBD goes one step further. It can also protect cells, especially nerve cells, from damage and deterioration due to inflammation. This makes CBD a possibly effective treatment for seizures, epilepsy, MS, and arthritis. Some studies have shown that CBD can stop the spread of cancer cells and in some cases, shrink tumors.

THC vs CBD: Treatable Symptoms

THC, like CBD, also has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it great for treating pain, one of the most commonly recommended uses for THC. But because THC receptors are concentrated in the brain, many of the health benefits of the cannabinoid stem from the chemicals it releases there.

Often, medical cannabis users consume THC in order to produce the same effects sought after by recreational consumers. But in the medical context, those effects can actually help treat many of the complicating symptoms associated with severe diseases.

For example, THC can reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatments. It can stimulate appetite in people losing weight due to illness or treatments for the illness.

And importantly, THC can help treat mental and cognitive problems associated with illness. Often, severe and chronic diseases cause anxiety and depression, which THC’s euphoric effects can help remedy. Indeed, a recent study on THC and Alzheimer’s patients found that the cannabinoid can reduce agitation and other mood disorders in people with dementia.

CBD vs THC? More Like CBD Plus THC!

To conclude this guide to the major differences between CBD and THC, we should address the elephant in the room. That little “vs” standing between THC vs CBD.

That “vs,” or versus, implies conflict, a winner-take-all battle between the two most prominent cannabinoids. While CBD and THC compliment some of each other’s effects, that’s not the result of two warring chemicals—it is the result of their working together.

In the same way that CBD can balance a strong THC high and alleviate some of the perceived negative effects of THC, some of the effects of CBD are more potent if the cannabinoid is consumed with THC.

This cooperative relationship between cannabinoids is called the “entourage effect” or “ensemble effect.” It’s based on the principle that the cannabinoids in cannabis reach their full potential when they operate in concert.

CBD vs THC: Crafting Your Ideal Cannabis Experience

The differences between CBD and THC are real, and they make all the difference in your cannabis experience. So whether you like to think about it as CBD vs THC, or THC vs CBD, now that you know a little bit about what makes them unique, you can make more mindful, intentional choices about the cannabis products you use, while feeling confident that those products will produce the effects you want.

The post CBD vs. THC: The Difference Between The Two Cannabinoids appeared first on High Times.

Washington, DC Sees 300+ K2 Overdoses in Two Weeks

The dangerous and sometimes deadly synthetic marijuana drug called K2 has reared its head again, this time in the nation’s capital. Over the last two weeks, D.C. has seen an average of 25 K2 overdoses each day, totaling more than 300 overdoses so far. But Washington, D.C. is only the latest city to be hit by the drug, which is wreaking havoc across the United States.

CDC Is Searching for Answers to the National Synthetic Marijuana Epidemic

Calling “K2” or “Spice” a synthetic marijuana drug is being generous. In reality, the drug is a manmade chemical cocktail of various psychoactive substances. The chemical mixture is then sprayed onto dried herbs or plant material, giving the drug an appearance similar to botanical cannabis.

In other words, there’s no cannabis in synthetic marijuana. Far from it, K2 often contains an ad hoc combination of otherwise legal compounds, including chemicals like rat poison and blood thinner. Often those combinations create terrifying and harmful effects, from seizures to loss of consciousness and even uncontrollable bleeding.

Because K2 doesn’t contain anything that’s illegal on its own, the drug is incredibly common. It’s also cheap and easy to obtain, sold in colorful packaging under a variety of names at corner bodegas, gas stations, and smoke shops.

As a result, health workers and law enforcement are searching for solutions to the K2 problem. They’re unsure why overdoses keep going up, especially since cannabis is legal in D.C.

One reason might be the fact that synthetic marijuana generally won’t show up on a drug test. If you have to take a urine test, K2 use likely won’t trigger a positive. So if you’re on probation, or in a job where you’ll have to take a drug test, K2 might be a compelling alternative to natural cannabis.

D.C. Deaths Likely Linked To K2 Overdoses

According to NPR, D.C. Fire and EMS first responders have gone out on 463 calls for suspected K2 overdoses in just 12 days. When responders arrive, they often find groups of people suffering from the same conditions. They’re lethargic. They’re vomiting. And they’re generally zombies, barely conscious.

Of those 463 calls, EMS transported 340 individuals to hospitals for treatments for overdosing on K2. Some of those people died. And while officials haven’t confirmed a cause of death, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in D.C. strongly suspects K2 is the culprit.

The post Washington, DC Sees 300+ K2 Overdoses in Two Weeks appeared first on High Times.