Cannabis and Mental Health: Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety may sound like something we all experience at times in life, and that is true. It is natural for a person to feel nervous or anxious in situations like being alone in a new place or going on a first date. But for those living with social anxiety disorder, those instances of anxiety can be prolonged to the point that it can drastically affect a person’s life.

Not to be confused with general shyness or introversion, social anxiety disorder goes further. It tends to make a person want to avoid everyday activities like school, work, and other social gatherings. They will still feel the daily pressures and anxieties like everyone, but may also find themselves analyzing their actions and heavily scrutinizing every move they make. Expecting the worst of outcomes is another symptom that may indicate that a person is suffering from social anxiety disorder.

Patients often begin to experience symptoms around their teens but may start in adulthood. The Mayo Clinic lists inherited traits that may be factors. They include brain structure and a person’s environment. It also lists several risk factors. Family history, negative experiences, a person’s temperament, new demands in work or social situations, as well as having an appearance or condition such as a disease or disfigurement can all play a part.

Data from the National Institute of Mental Health found that 7.1% of U.S. adults suffered from social anxiety disorder in the past year. The NIMH also found that women had a higher prevalence of the disorder compared to men at 8% to 6.1%.

One concern worth noting is not cannabis use itself, but how mental health is addressed and diagnosed. A 2015 analysis of anxiety disorders found that “[a]lthough effective psychological and pharmacological treatments exist for anxiety disorders, many affected individuals do not contact health services for treatment, and of those who utilize these services, a high percentage is not diagnosed correctly or not offered state-of-the-art treatment.”

While far from state-of-the-art, cannabis has become a treatment option for some trying to overcome their social anxiety. As is the case with any medical condition and cannabis use, not everyone is sold on the practice.

A 2009 study detailing marijuana use and social anxiety disorder found that people living with the condition were more likely to have “cognitive/behavioral impairment and global negative expectancies.” Meanwhile, a 2014 analysis of several studies found a positive association between anxiety and cannabis use.

Dr. Mark Hashim is a Florida-based practicing physician. He also works with the medical cannabis portal Arfinn Med. The board certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain management specialist is also a cannabis educator and speaker. He has certified over 3,000 medical cannabis patients and notes “a very large population” of patients suffer from anxiety, including PTSD and social anxiety disorder.

He also reported that many of his patients with social anxiety disorder see improvements when consuming cannabis. “I can honestly say that well over 90% of the patients with a SAD diagnosis do extremely well using medical cannabis and are able to decrease, and in most cases, eliminate big pharma medications altogether,” said Dr. Hashim.

The doctor also pointed towards a 2014 NYU School of Medicine study of CBD and its potential to treat anxiety disorders. Its conclusions stated, “Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects.”

Jon Deak is one person who believes in cannabis as a treatment for social anxiety disorder. Deak said that his “anxiety was off the charts” before someone introduced him to marijuana. He noticed an almost immediate effect. Today, Deak uses both THC and CBD oil.

Deak also started his own online vape shop, Hot Juice, which sells CBD vape options. He credits using CBD with helping his company grow. “To build up my business, I had to attend a lot of networking events, meetings and run presentations. Meeting and greeting this amount of people in such a short space of time wouldn’t have been possible before.”

Elana Cohen is a public relations professional who suffers from social anxiety disorder. She was diagnosed eight years ago but remembered getting anxious in social situations as a child. By the time she was 22, Cohen said her slight anxiousness felt like it became a social anxiety disorder overnight.

“I sought help immediately because I was terrified at the fact that I felt physically ill when I tried to leave the house or went somewhere as simple as the grocery store,” she explained.

Cohen says the most significant driving force to seek out help was her fear of mental illness. After losing her mother to suicide when she was 15 years old, Cohen resolved to do what she could to combat her own mental health condition. “Once anxiety took ahold of my life I swore I would never ever let it win.”

However, Cohen was told what many have to hear from physicians: to consume prescribed over the counter medications. While useful for some, Cohen did not feel right. “I basically just felt like a robot, and I was trapped in my own body.”

Cohen credits the team at Chicago’s Columbia Care dispensary for helping her find specific THC and CBD products that work well with her social anxiety. She now reports feeling less robotic while being able to go to social functions without an anxiety attack. “I truly thank the plant every day for helping guide me through my anxiety-ridden life and making me feel joy again.”

As is the case with every mental health condition, cannabis is not a fix-all for people. While the accounts detailed above show positive results, others may experience different outcomes. Consult with a medical professional to discuss the potential side effects and results of using cannabis if you have social anxiety disorder.

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Cannabis ETF Diversifies Risk for Investors

With the legal cannabis market expected to hit more than $66 billion by the end of 2025, many investors are ready to try to take advantage of the new sector. But with that explosive growth comes a lot of volatility and the risk of an unproven industry, two factors that can scare away many potential investors. To help manage and mitigate some of that risk, several exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been launched to help diversify investment in the industry.

Matt Markiewicz, the managing director of investment company Innovation Shares, told High Times that his firm’s new Cannabis ETF (THCX) can serve as an entryway into the marijuana industry to investors at any level.

“The beauty of an ETF is that it’s the most democratized investment vehicle on the planet,” Markiewicz said in a telephone interview. “My grandmother can buy five shares or you can have a pension fund buy $15-20 million in one trade. So it really spans the gamut of who can buy. We’re looking to appeal to any investor that wants to get exposure to cannabis.”

Managing Volatility and Risk

However, he adds, many potential investors are leery of the new opportunity because they don’t understand just how varied an industry cannabis has become.

“One of the challenges in explaining the cannabis investment case to investors, especially financial advisors, is to convey that cannabis is more than just growing and selling pot,” says Markiewicz. “There are a lot of other businesses that are involved in the industry that don’t necessarily involve the retail aspect of it.”

Cultivation and retail are just the ends of the cannabis supply chain. In between are other firms who add value to the product such as extraction operations and testing labs. Ancillary companies including packaging businesses and fertilizer manufacturers are increasing sales for the industry without touching the plant. Even some pharmaceutical makers are part of the sector as they seek to produce FDA-approved medications that harness the therapeutic value of cannabinoids.

Companies like these with a market capitalization of at least $100 million are candidates for inclusion in the Innovation Labs Cannabis Index, which is the basis for the passively-managed Cannabis ETF. Investments in the various subthemes within cannabis help the fund realize the growth capable in all aspects of the industry while diversifying the portfolio.

“Exposure to a broad range of companies involved in the cannabis ecosystem is what we’re trying to achieve with THCX,” explains Markiewicz, adding that “the idea is that you’re building a portfolio that investors can feel good about from the diversity as well as a size and liquidity perspective.”

Passive vs. Active Management

Innovation Shares’ decision to passively manage the Cannabis ETF by following the index with a monthly rebalancing eliminates the temptation for an active manager to overreact to the volatility inherent in the cannabis industry.

“By removing a lot of the human emotional bias out of the decision-making process,” says Markiewicz, “we feel it’s a more efficient way to get access to what is a very volatile sector.”

With “this systematic rules-based approach to rebalancing, we […] will better serve investors who are looking to eliminate the volatility often associated with cannabis investing,” he explains.

Historically, he adds, actively-managed funds haven’t proven to be a better investment than those that follow an index.

“Active management over the long-run has not proven to generate any outperformance, and most times, the active management strategy charges a higher fee,” says Markiewicz. “So, not only is it underperforming, but you’re paying more.”

Markiewicz notes that even investors who don’t believe the hype and think that stock prices in the marijuana sector are headed lower have an opportunity to make money with the Cannabis ETF by taking a short position in the fund.

“Whether you have a view on cannabis and you want to be long in the stocks because you think there’s good value at that point in time in the sector or if you think the sector is overvalued, you can also short our ETF, too. So from the long or short perspective, it’s a very efficient capital markets tool to express a view on cannabis.”

Shares of the Cannabis ETF, which trades on the NYSE Arca Exchange, were trading at $22.32 per share on Wednesday morning, down more than 5% from Tuesday’s close.

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Hash Washing Evolved

Cannabis concentrates have been on the rise in recent years—so much so that some reports, including one from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics in 2018, forecasted that concentrates will outsell flower by 2023.

Additional data the following year from BDS Analytics detailed just how significant the concentrates market is. As of August 2019, concentrates accounted for 37 percent of the market share for June 2019, totaling $90.9 million in total sales. Colorado was another state that saw significant performance stats from cannabis concentrates.

The data from BDS Analytics covered concentrates extracted using both solvents and solventless methods. For some time, manufacturers almost exclusively relied on using solvents to generate large yields in a time frame that would meet market demand. In recent years, technological advancements have made solventless methods feasible for large-scale commercial production.

With innovation and scalability on the rise, solventless products will no longer be made with suboptimal equipment. No one trying to make an impact in cannabis should be using hair straighteners to press rosin. This is especially true for hash. The versatile concentrate is used to create numerous other solventless cannabis products and should be revered for its impact on the cannabis community. For bubble hash producers, the days of using garbage containers and washers meant for other purposes are over.

Today, top producers need equipment meant for
solventless extraction and only that. If your operation makes the investment, it will likely see gains in its overall product and its bottom line.

Courtesy of PurePressure

Use Equipment Meant for Solventless Rosin Extraction

While the trend is fading, too many producers still rely on DIY equipment. This has to stop. Not only is it a bad look for the industry, but segments of the market demand that much more clarity on their cannabis products. Patients who treat cannabis as medicine are unlikely to want medicine that was partially developed in a garbage can—regardless how many times they are told the can is clean and used strictly for extraction purposes.

Or, think of it this way: you wouldn’t use non-food-grade products to prepare food, would you? Then, why do it differently with a consumable product like cannabis? Sure, marijuana may not be entirely legal at this time in all places. However, its acceptance so far has ushered in an era where you don’t have to use garbage containers and other products not meant for cannabis extraction.

Courtesy of PurePressure

Today, extraction tech developers aim to meet the highest standards on the market, thus proving the reliability of their equipment for producers and consumers alike. The team at PurePressure followed California’s rigorous testing standards to ensure that the Bruteless™ hash washing line met the highest standards in the market today.

The team also strove to include features hash producers need. These include containers with no nooks or crannies for easy cleaning, as well as a removable false bottom, an insulated sleeve, and three drainage ports to give a production what it needs to produce hash properly.

When searching for equipment to produce bubble hash or other concentrates, be sure only to choose food-grade machinery. Ensure a company is FDA compliant. Seek clarity before making any purchases.

Courtesy of PurePressure

Proper Machinery Produces Proper Solventless Concentrates

Some have called ice water hash production a difficult process. Those who do tend to point to its low yields generated from the extraction process.

And they are right. That is, they were right, until recently.

Technological advancements across cannabis are now helping increase yields and justify their inclusion in product offerings. Hash washing is now starting to produce worthwhile returns on investment. This includes seeing daily eight-hour workday yields reaching between 300 grams and 1,800 grams of hash.

The total yield depends on the size of the container and the amount of product used. Those seeking larger returns may want to consider the Bruteless™ 65-gallon option, which can wash upwards of 15,000 grams of fresh frozen flower at a time, in total generating an estimated daily revenue between $27,000 and $54,000.

Whether going for a large or smaller option, using proper cannabis extraction technology is going to help produce better products. Not only should quality increase, but so should quantity, thanks to larger containers that are made for smooth production and easy cleaning.

Courtesy of PurePressure

Giving Producers More Insight with Sight Inside

In storytelling, going through the looking glass represents seeing a world that is not quite what it seems.

Thankfully, that is not the case with hash washing. Instead, a looking glass— more specifically, a sight glass—allows producers to get a better look at the hash washing process in real time.

Instead of having to wait it out and see the results, producers who use sight glass can see the results take shape as they
occur. So what? You get to watch flower being washed. Is that it? Far from it!

The sight glass allows producers the ability to make changes if the process is not living up to expectations. In broad strokes, producers get to create excellent water management practices, thanks to having a better look at how their flower is washed.

Still don’t think it’s a valuable addition? Think about other aspects of the hash making process. Would a freeze dryer be better with or without a look inside? With the former, producers are opening and closing the container, exposing the product to the outside elements, and introducing unneeded warmth to the process. The same is now the case for the washing machine, which only needs to be opened if any alterations need to be made to the water.

Courtesy of PurePressure

Not Every Product Lives Up to the Billing

The previous points about tech advancements are still valid. Innovations have certainly increased capacities and yields in
solventless cannabis extraction, especially with ice water hash production. That said, not every product lives up to the standards needed today. That’s why producers must consider each aspect of the machinery before making any purchases.

Sure, a machine can produce the yields and hold the amount of cannabis needed to satisfy a commercial production. That,
however, isn’t all that needs to be considered. Modern technology, especially solventless, has to consider the full plant experience. Unlike solvents, where terpenes and other parts of the plant’s profile are often stripped out, solvents need to retain the whole plant experience. Otherwise, the machinery and its products fall short on delivering.

Consider tech on the market today. Some being billed as the superior options can only produce four-star hash at such high
volumes. Often, this is due to equipment parts, like the uses of mixing blades that are tough on the plant and can damage its trichomes. So, while the production can produce the yields needed, it falls short on providing high-quality products consumers demand.

In short, these types of equipment aren’t worth the investment. PurePressure took these points into consideration when developing their Bruteless line. They understand that producers need quality equipment that produces not only the yield but also the plant profile that consumers expect from a full-melt cannabis extract. The same goes for other applications using the Bruteless line, including mechanical separations of THCA and terpenes.

Going solventless can be cost-effective and serves as a viable method for generating revenue quickly using a product in demand. If the proper research is conducted, a producer can save thousands
compared to startup solvent extraction lab costs. The key to achieving this outcome is doing your research and purchasing FDA-compliant products made for hash washing or other solventless extraction methods.

Do your research. Make the right purchases. See your revenue and customer satisfaction soar in no time. Go solventless today.

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Inside the Launch of Gary Payton’s New Cannabis Company, CannaSports

As the sun set over a busy Hollywood Boulevard, in the upscale but secluded Liaison Restaurant & Lounge, former NBA player and Hall of Famer Gary Payton celebrated his 51st birthday and the launch of his new venture, CannaSports. CannaSports offers a line of THC and CBD vape cartridges, along with collectable batteries that mimic the color schemes of his former team jerseys. With his brand, the former athlete is looking to take his big-time game that he showcased on the basketball court and translate it into success for his new cannabis company.

The invite-only event welcomed celebrities, former athletes, and Gary’s close family members, all there to support and help change the narrative about cannabis.  The venue boasted an open bar, an open-air patio where members of Puffy Co. were handing out free dabs…and a variety of signs with snarky phrases like ‘Don’t Do Coke in the Bathroom’.

The main objective of the launch party was to promote the benefits that come from smoking weed and to show how CannaSports, which is affiliated with P&S Ventures, can become an industry leader by spreading their message through Gary’s voice.

While there was a long line of people wanting to talk and snap photos with “The Glove”, we were able to catch up with him after getting the ok to enter the V.I.P area. When we entered he was surrounded by friends and family, but eagerly greeted us and gave us a cool ten minutes to talk about his brand that he truly stands behind. Even though he is not a smoker, he firmly believes the medicine CannaSports is providing will help all who are in pain.

Can you explain what we’re doing here tonight?

We’re out here celebrating the launch of my new line, CannaSports by Gary Payton. I’m trying to help and provide a more natural way of medicating using THC and CBD. I was thinking about my mother, when this idea came about using natural stuff—cannabis— that would help her get off her medication and help her feel better. That’s where I’m coming from, and that’s what I’m trying to promote.

What is your product like? How is it going to shake up the industry?

It’s a great product. What it’s going to do for the industry is that it’s going to change a lot of things like style, and then it’s going to make it more relaxing for people to bring it out without them being scared of doing so, because it’s not all about always smoking and trying to get high; there is a reason why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m doing it because of the health benefits, and if they see that, the more others are going to get more involved. Then is going to open the door for others to see that this isn’t just a drug to get high and spaced out with. This is a healthier alternative.

Do you consider yourself a transcender by being one of the first Hall of Fame athletes that is openly involved with cannabis?

At first this was all about my mother, but when CannaSports started to become big and people started to see the name Gary Payton, I said to myself, “I should start doing a lot more things, like let’s do water, let’s do bomb baths, let’s do deodorant, let’s do everything that can help.” And when they said “you can make it; you’ll be the first one doing it”. It got me thinking that if I can be the first one and be a popular one, that would get everyone on to it [cannabis], it would be a great move for myself and a lot of people.

Are you an avid smoker?

No, I’m not.

Did you take your game on the court and translated it into the cannabis game?

I’m always going to translate my game. I’m aggressive, I’m going to be a talker, I’m going to go out here and promote it the right way, I’m really really really really going to be arrogant with it too, and that’s what the swagger is, that’s why people like it, because they saw my swagger in basketball. That’s why you see my logo, The Glove imprint, on my product.

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Curaleaf Fined Big Time in Massachusetts

According to Masslive.com, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission fined Curaleaf $250,000 “for failing to disclose a change of ownership and ask permission from state regulators before completing the transaction.” The news comes just weeks after the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to Curaleaf President Joseph Lusardi for making unsubstantiated health claimsand for misbranding their products as drugs.

Steven Hoffman, Chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission

Curaleaf, one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States, has dispensaries in a handful of locations across Massachusetts, with plans to open more locations. Curaleaf Massachusetts went from being a non-profit to being a for-profit business, then merged with a Canadian company to access the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The $250,000 fine is the largest penalty assessed by regulators to a state-licensed cannabis business to date. Curaleaf and the Cannabis Control Commission came to an agreement, signed in early August. “In assessing this fine against Respondent, the Commission acknowledges that Respondent’s violation was the result of Respondent’s good-faith but mistaken interpretation of the Commission’s regulations, that Respondent has fully cooperated with the Commission’s investigation, and that the Respondent has accepted responsibility,” reads the agreement.

Steven Hoffman, Chairman for the Cannabis Control Commission told the public that he thinks the company has been “very constructive and collaborative” in working with the Commission. “I think they were wrong, but I can understand they were acting in good faith,” says Hoffman.

The post Curaleaf Fined Big Time in Massachusetts appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


The High Priestess: How to Have a Hot, Stoned, Spiritual Summer

Although summer doesn’t officially end until the Fall Equinox on September 21st, one could argue that energetically it ends as soon as Leo season ends on August 23rd. This is when we enter earth sign Virgo season, when we enter “back to school season,” also known as Pumpkin Spice season and autumn. In this way, our endless summer is truly at its climax right now, as the sun shines happily in Leo, the lion. As I mentioned in my Stoner’s Guide to Leo Season, this isn’t a time to play small, to be embarrassed about what we have to say or what we believe in. This isn’t a time to dim our light, no matter how loud or sexual or stoned it is.  As Megan Thee Stallion coined, it’s officially “hot girl summer,” which means that we get to live our best, hottest lives. Sky’s out thighs out forever. 

Hot girl summer is not only for everyone of every gender expression, it’s also whatever you want it to be. And in this part of the internet, we believe in being hot, stoned, and spiritual, so that’s what why I’m dubbing 2019 “Hot Stoned Summer” as well. If you care to join your High Priestess on this journey, grab some cannabis and your favorite method to partake in it, a journal, some crystals, and the blood of your enemies (jk about that last part). Let’s get to it. 

Hot Stoned Spirituality

One of the major themes that Leo season has brought up for this Aquarius is that of EGO. Ego being the part of ourselves that our mind can identify with, that labels us, and that keeps us living in fear, identified with form. Ego likes to keep us “safe.” It can try and keep us small by comparing ourselves to other people. And in the height of summer, when it feels like everyone else is doing the most and flaunting whatever it is they’ve got, it can feel especially precarious to be proud of who you are and not compare yourself to people.

Leo season’s message is two-fold; while it can be dangerous to be egotistical and identify our worth as a human with what we’ve accomplished, and whatever measure of “success” we have, we also need (a little bit) of ego!  We are allowed to have desires, to have ambitions, to have something that we strive toward. We are allowed to bask in our accomplishments, making sure we’re looking and feeling good, and we can use cannabis and ritual to help us do just that. 

Stoned meditation

Meditation can feel like a scary hurdle if you’ve never done it before, but I promise; there’s no wrong way to meditate. And in fact, cannabis can offer you some solace with this, especially if you don’t know where to begin. If you’re going to be smoking before you meditate, try taking a hit of a hybrid strain of cannabis, the idea being that you can quiet your mind and stay present in your body without falling asleep. Working with CBD would also be a potent and healing option for some high meditation. 

Too much sativa and your mind may start to race- too much indica and you may get a little too comfortable. Once you choose your method of inhalation, take a second to find a comfortable seat, either sitting up or laying down. You may wish to set a timer, starting with 3, 5, or 7 minutes if you’ve never meditated before. Close your eyes and find a comfortable breath. You may wish to practice the fourfold breath, inhaling- holding- exhaling- holding and beginning again, starting with 4 seconds for each part of the breath and then working up to 5, 6, or 7 seconds.

As you find a steady breath, start inhaling golden white light, filling your body with this healing. As you exhale, allow any worries to drift away, releasing any tension or anxiety you’re carrying in your body. Give yourself permission to exist in the present without any worry. You may wish to repeat a mantra to yourself as you continue inhaling white light and exhaling any worries. Some options “I am abundant.” “I am magick.” “I am divine love.” “I am at peace.” Whenever you’re done with your meditation, you’ll simply open your eyes and come back to your surroundings. 

You can also use an app like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer for guided meditations after you partake in your cannabis of choice. Extra points if you meditate outside under the sun to fuel up during Leo season under Leo’s planetary ruler.  

Ivory Woods

Offering of release

If imposter syndrome or ego is making it hard for you to believe in yourself, take some time to let that shit go! Write what you want to release on a piece of paper, and take a hit (or two or three). Let your ego know this is an offering for it, so it can stop feeding on you. Spend some time meditating on what you want to release, why you want to release this and why now’s the right time. Notice any resistance come up; honor this, recognizing how this resistance has helped you in the past. Take the time to journal and process around whatever you’re feeling and when you’re ready, you will burn this list up in a fireproof dish, cauldron, or over a pot of water on the stove. As you do this, tell the universe why you’re ready to release this. Let your ego know this is what it can feast on! Flush the ashes down the toilet, drink some water, smoke some more weed, shower, and know that it’s done.

Stoned adoration

Once you’ve mediated and released, it’s time to remind yourself that you’re hot shit! I love rituals of glamour, and Leo season is the time to indulge in these. A ritual is anything you can come back to that connects you with an intention. Your intention can be to feel powerful, to feel sensual, to ground, to heal, or to manifest big money. It doesn’t matter! This ritual will help you feel like the best version of yourself you can be. 

Set up your space however you wish, playing some music that makes you dance and move your body, lighting incense and candles, turning your phone on silent. Wear something that aligns with your intention- you may wish to put something like lingerie on, or you can always work naked. If you wish to eat an edible or use a tincture, now is the time. I suggest an indica-heavy hybrid for this ritual, so you can be present with how you’re feeling in your body without getting too caught up in your thoughts. Now is the time to smoke, enjoying the inhale, and hit. When you’re ready you’ll start moving or dancing in front of a mirror and complimenting yourself. Say this out loud, admiring the way you move your body. Cannabis can help you release your inhibitions, so take more hits as necessary. If you don’t feel comfortable practicing this ritual, try only dancing or only complimenting yourself. Baby steps! Repeat as necessary.

TL;DR: Another way to do this ritual is to smoke naked in front of the mirror and admire your damn self. 

Hot Stoned Style

Spirituality helps us find confidence from the inside-out, and style can help us find confidence from the outside-in. Summer is a time for living vibrantly and for owning our personal sense of style, and while stoners get a bad rep for not having the best #aesthetic, we can redefine hot stoner style this summer with a few easy tips.

Wear red, gold, orange, or yellow

It’s just a thing that everything is energy; everything we perceive as matter is just particles vibrating so fast we see them as solids. Everything has its own frequency including our thoughts and including colors! And colors are magick in their own right, and an extremely easy way for us to get into a specific energetic state. 

If you want to channel the bold, luscious, loud and dramatic power of Leo this summer, may I suggest wearing red, gold, orange or yellow? There are infinite ways to do this, but if you really want to experience some color magick, I suggest wearing a monochrome outfit. 

Red- The densest color. Grounding, passion, power, influence, authority, to be seen, heard, and listened to

Orange– Sexuality, eroticism, strength, purpose, vigor

Yellow/ Gold– Confidence, inner strength, center, abundance, warmth, wealth, happiness, joy

Some other ways to incorporate colors into your wardrobe: Nail polish, eyeshadow, lipstick, a hat or scarf, a bag or backpack, jewelry, a patch or pin on a jacket, or a single piece of clothing like a jacket or shirt. Before you head out with your new color coordinated fit, work with cannabis for a confidence boost so you can remember that the only thing you need to “pull something off” is your own permission. 

Smoke with gold joint papers

If you want to feel like a million bucks and look like it, and if you have $45 to splurge, why not try wrapping your next joint with gold paper? Brands like Shine make literal 24k  blunt wraps and gold rolling papers for the bougie stoner bitch in us all. 

Hot stoned selfies

Leo season is about the sizzle of putting your best foot forward, and sometimes we have to remind ourselves of just how hot we are before we walk out the door to #hotgirlsummer. A simple ritual you can perform when you want to feel your best? Taking some selfies. Get ready, do your hair, put on your favorite look, get stoned, grab your vape or joint, and then snap some photos. It doesn’t matter if you post them or not, these are receipts for YOU to remember your power.  

Ivory Woods

Hot Stoned Sex

Is there anything better than weed and sex? The options are really endless when it comes to the divine tango of these two vices. Not only can cannabis act as an aphrodisiac, it can also be turned into a wonderful lube and can be used as a gateway for us to reconnect to our bodies and pleasure. Summer is a time when we can relish in the senses and surrender to sensuality, and this wouldn’t be hot stoned summer without some sex. 

Try experimenting with forced intox

If you’re looking to try something new this summer, may I suggest forcing your partner to get stoned, consensually of course? Forced intox, short for forced intoxication, is a consensual act where someone forces their partner to inhale smoke, in our case from cannabis. This can be done by making the submissive partner, the one who’s being “forced” to smoke, take hits or consume an edible. This can also be done mouth to mouth, by blowing smoke directly into the face of the sub, or through an apparatus like a gas mask. Whether or not you you’re kinky or already have an established power dynamic in your relationship, if this is something you’re interested in, talk to your partner! Negotiate how much cannabis would be consumed and how, safe words why you want to try this, and what you hope to get out of the experience. Fellow sex and weed witch Sophie Saint Thomas wrote an excellent article with more on how to play with forced intox safely, and don’t forget to do your own research as well.

Masturbate and meditate

You know that feeling you get after masturbating where every cell in your body is just vibrating and as you feel like you drift into a cloud? That’s a pretty meditative space to be in! Next time you have a solo-sex session, make it a stoned, spiritual one. Set an intention as you work with the plant medicine before you begin to masturbate, taking time to enjoy consumption method you’re choosing to work with. Enjoy your masturbation session and when you’re done take a moment to close your eyes and drift into a stoned meditate state. This is a great time to do any sort of gratitude or mantra practice, and you may wish to take a moment in this cloud of pleasure to say thank you to the universe for the things you have and the things you wish to receive. Breathe into this feeling of deep thankfulness and bask in this afterglow as long as you need. 

Stoned sex

The good ole classic stoned sex. Share some flower with your lover, and get at it. If you want to up the spiritual ante and really make this hot stoned spiritual sex a moment, you may wish to perform some sex magick! Let the high guide your lovemaking, dedicating the energy you raise to an intention you set with your lover- if you wish. Take the time to have fun and enjoy the process, sharing some post-coital cannabis as you like. When you’re done, do something with your partner to bask in this energy! Eat breakfast, tan naked outside, take a shower, eat some honey, go out for something sweet- the idea is to celebrate LEO, the lover of love, glamour, and joy. 

Ivory Woods

Hot Stoned Stuff to Do

So now you’re stoned, satisfied, centered and ready to take this magick into the world. While anything can be an adventure if you’re stoned enough, these are a few carefully curated activates that are best completed on a hot, high summer day.

High Tea

It’s pretty much already in the name, but having high tea (or tea with plenty of fancy finger foods and hors d’oeuvre typically served in the early afternoon) is peak ganja God/dess. Just think; being blazed and surrounded by tiny little deserts and fancy dishes. Big Alice in Wonderland vibes! Check out Yelp and Google to see if there are any local tea rooms in your area. You may wish to eat an edible before you head to time for a longer lasting effect, but if you don’t want to ruin your appetite you may prefer to smoke or vape. Or, go full Alice in Wonderland and work with some mushrooms for another way to experience some high tea.

Picnic at the park

Another easy as hell way to celebrate Leo season? Spending time under the sun. And of course, weed is invited. Grab your friends, a picnic basket filled with water, edibles, and your favorite treats and head outside. You may wish to bring some tarot cards or crystals to help you tap into your intuition as you get high and connect to your higher self. Set an intention for what you want out of your experience, whether it’s to enjoy the sun or to connect more with yourself or whoever you’re with. After you’ve enjoyed time outside, don’t forget to thank Mother Earth for her blessing and for the sweet plant medicine she’s shared with you.

No matter how you celebrate your hot, stoned, spiritual summer, may it be the the highest vibe and sexiest yet. May you shine boldly and brightly this Leo season. And so it is!

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Edibles Company Reportedly Donated Over $60,000 to San Francisco LGBT Center

California cannabis edibles manufacturer Plus Products has donated more than $60,000 to the San Francisco LGBT Center, according to a statement from the company. The donation comes from Plus Products’ sales of its Rainbow Sorbet limited edition gummies. The company’s donation totaled $60,937, which represents a $1 contribution to the SF LGBT Center for each package of the gummies sold.

Plus Products manufactures cannabis edibles at its licensed facility in Adelanto, California and is headquartered in San Mateo, in the San Francisco Bay area. Jake Heimark, the CEO and co-founder of the company, said that Plus Products is committed to giving back to the communities where it operates and sells its products.

“This limited edition and the accompanying donation is just a small way for PLUS to show support for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Heimark. “Our company was honored to have the opportunity to work with the SF LGBT Center this year. We care deeply about being a truly engaged partner and look forward to finding more opportunities to work together in the future.”

Serving the LGBTQ Community

The SF LGBT Center helps connect LGBTQ people to each other and opportunities and resources that strengthen and unify the diverse community. Dani Siragusa, the director of development at the SF LGBT Center, said that the donation was an example of the community support the non-profit organization needs to accomplish its mission.

“We’re proud to partner with local businesses that are committed to supporting the SF LGBT Center and building a better Bay Area,” said Siragusa. “This generous donation demonstrates PLUS’s investment in the LGBTQ+ community as well as the overwhelming enthusiasm of fellow Californians to work with us to create a more welcoming, equitable world.”

The SF LGBT Center provides community support including arts and cultural programs, housing, employment, and financial services. The center also offers resources and information for other members of the LGBTQ community including small business owners and queer youth.

Plus Products’ line of cannabis edibles is available at more than 300 licensed dispensaries and delivery services in California. The company also expects to expand its reach by entering the Nevada regulated cannabis market by the end of summer.

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Governor of Illinois Signs Bill to Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Program

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed two bills on Monday that expanded access to the state’s medical marijuana program, which currently stands at over 80,000 patients. The legislation ensures the medical marijuana program’s status as a permanent system, and adds to the ways in which patients are able to access their cannabis.

“We’re telling each and every one of those patients, we’re on your side,” Pritzker said during Monday’s news conference.

Senate Bill 2023 ensures the permanency of the program and institutes 11 new qualifying conditions that are accepted for entry into the medical cannabis program. Those include autism, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, and polycystic kidney disease, among other conditions.

The new legislation also guarantees the right of patients to be able to have a home grow operation of up to five plants as of January of next year. Under current provisions, the cannabis plants must be out of public view, and in a locked area. Effective immediately, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants will be able to certify patients for inclusion in the program.

Pritzker continues to make good on his campaign promises to ensure the state’s residents’ rights to marijuana. In June, the state legalized recreational marijuana. That legislation has sidestepped many of the issues other states are having with providing retroactive justice to those with past cannabis offenses by expunging and pardoning the records of some 800,000 individuals with prior charges. It takes effect at the start of 2020, and will ensure that the state’s residents may possess up to 30 grams of marijuana at any time. For out of state visitors, the limit will be 15 grams.

Senate Bill 455, another change made to the state’s marijuana policy on Monday, involved the kinds of cannabis access allowed to kids in their schools. Now, underage registered cannabis patients will be able to take their medicine on school grounds, granted that they are being supervised by school staff. That bill also ensures that no one under the age of 21 will be able to purchase smokable marijuana in the state.

This is not the only expansion to the state’s medical cannabis program. In February, the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program was implemented, ensuring that individuals with opioid abuse issues have a fast track to temporary access of medicinal cannabis.

Medical marijuana was originally instituted in the state when Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation into effect in 2013. Originally meant as a four-year program, it was seen as one of the strictest such programs in the nation due to its ban on patients growing their own medicine. Medical marijuana users were required to have a doctor’s written recommendation, and obtain a registered photo ID. Patients were allowed to have 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks, and pledge not to use it in public or around children.

“We are ensuring only those suffering from the most serious diseases receive this treatment,” said the bill’s sponsor, state senator Bill Haine at the time. “This law takes additional steps to prevent fraud and abuse.”

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Arizona Voters May Have Recreational Cannabis on the 2020 Ballot

A campaign is underway in Arizona to put the question of recreational cannabis legalization on the ballot for 2020. The group spearheading the effort, Smart and Safe Arizona, was behind a push to legalize cannabis in 2016. Their previous campaign faced major opposition from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. But Smart and Safe Arizona says their new proposal addresses the problems and concerns state officials had with the 2016 measure. The current proposal would allow adults 21 and over to legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis.

Arizona Group Starts Petition to Put Legal Pot on the 2020 Ballot

The last time Arizona tried to legalize recreational cannabis, the state tried to do it through the legislature. In 2018, a bipartisan pair of House lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize possession up to an ounce and permit home cultivation of up to six mature plants. The bill also would have banned public smoking, and like statutes in many states, it would have let municipalities opt out. But Representatives Todd Clodfelter and Mark Cardenas couldn’t get their proposal past the judiciary committee.

This time, however, Arizona legalization advocates want to put the issue directly to voters. It’s the same approach the state took in 2016, when voter initiative Proposition 205 made it onto the ballot, only to lose by fewer that 100,000 votes.

But this time is different, says Stacy Pearson, who’s leading the campaign to get recreational legalization on the 2020 ballot. “It’s just simply a better policy,” Pearson said. “We’ve had four additional years to see what’s happened nationally,” she added.

In 2016, 899,605 people voted in favor of Proposition 205. And to get the new measure on the ballot, Smart and Safe Arizona only needs to collect about 240,000 signatures. Smart and Safe Arizona has already filed the paperwork with the Secretary of State to put its proposed measure on the ballot. The high likelihood that the campaign will succeed could pressure lawmakers to forward their own proposal ahead of a voter referendum in 2020.

Arizona Divided on Cannabis Legalization

Arizona has had legal medical cannabis since 2010, when Proposition 203 eked by with 50.1 percent of the vote. That split over cannabis has persisted, and well-funded opposition could hinder the latest push to put recreational legalization to voters in 2020. This time, however, advocates feel like they have the evidence and the arguments to convince the opposition to change its tune.

Pearson said the argument her campaign hears most is that cannabis products aren’t safe. But that “doesn’t mean it’s not here,” Pearson said. “What we’re asking voters to do is take something that is on the black market currently and move it to a place where it’s tested, taxed, controlled, regulated, and ensure that it’s not being sold to minors.”

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce has stated it’s willing to give legalization proposals a new hearing. But in light of past opposition, the burden of proof will be high. “The new initiative for the 2020 ballot—we’ll look at it with fresh eyes,” said Garrick Taylor, Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Communications for the Chamber of Commerce.

That look should pick out a few different things this time around. Borrowing for successful legalization measures in other states, Smart and Safe Arizona’s proposal includes provisions for expunging criminal records for prior marijuana convictions. It would also ban certain “candy-type” edibles in an effort to head off arguments about legalization’s risk to children.

Tax provisions in the new proposal might also bring some state officials on board. The measure would tax retail sales like any other consumer product, while including an excise tax of 16 percent. Smart and Safe Arizona says revenue from excise taxes alone could raise more than $300 million for the state budget.

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Choosing Filling Machinery for CBD and THC Products

As the legalization of cannabis continues to spread across the U.S., both THC and CBD products are rapidly growing in popularity, and we can expect that popularity to increase in the coming years. The cannabis industry alone is expected to account for nearly $16.9 billion in revenue this year.

Subsequently, there is a rising need among infused product manufacturers for sufficient filling machinery for CBD and THC products. These products, including CBD oil cartridges, require filling equipment that can provide quick turnaround, detailed parts and simple changeover and cleanup, among other factors. Let’s go over the different types of filling machinery used for these products.

Vial Filling Machines

For small vial packages made of glass, metal or plastic, vial filling machines are available. Often used for a variety of pharmaceutical products, they’re now suitable for filling liquid THC and CBD oil. Vial fillers are also often suitable for filling liquid products of varying viscosity levels, with either the installation of peristaltic pumps or volumetric filling stations.

Rotary Fillers

Rotary fillers can also fill containers at high speeds and with quick turnaround, and are ideal for filling various types and sizes of containers made of materials such as plastic, metal or glass. A good rotary filler will be able to meet the demands of high-speed environments consistently and with accuracy.

Fixed or Variable Volume Cartridge Filling ToolsAs the industry develops more demand for high-quality filling and other types of equipment, more machines are likely to be manufactured or configured specifically with these types of products in mind.

Fixed and variable volume cartridge filling tools often feature a single-handed operation and are used to rapidly fill cartridges for THC and CBD oils used for vaping. With fixed volume fillers, you’ll be able to designate a specific and consistent volume, while variable volume models allow for different fill volumes for applications requiring versatility.

Automatic Fillers

Automatic filling machines will be able to fill a large number of products at varying speed settings, without the need for manual operation. These machines can fill many different types of products with consistency that helps maintain optimal productivity. As with other fillers, automatic fillers are often customizable in a wide variety of configurations.

Filling Syringes

For concentrates, filling syringes are ideal in many cases. Many patients are in need of a specific dosage of oil, and a syringe can allow for accuracy through the inclusion of measurement indicators. Many dispensaries sell syringe units, so this type of packaging method is likely to continue to rise in popularity.

Other Types of Equipment for Liquid Cannabis Packaging

In addition to reliable filling systems, manufacturers should make sure every other aspect of their packaging lines is covered with high-quality equipment. Facilities will require a variety of conveyors to transport products from one end of the line to the other, cleaners to ensure that bottles or other containers are clean prior to filling, and labelers to apply custom labels to packaging, among other machinery.

With one or more of these types of liquid fillers in a facility, companies can maintain accuracy and efficiency throughout their operations when filling CBD or THC products. As the industry develops more demand for high-quality filling and other types of equipment, more machines are likely to be manufactured or configured specifically with these types of products in mind.

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