By Nikki Lastreto on November 5, 2017
This has been a most unusual harvest season in the Emerald Triangle. First of all, after such a wet year in 2016 — when rains started in late September and went until early June — everyone expected the same thing this year. Humans are such creatures of habit. Clearly we have yet to fully accept that climate change is real. As the weatherperson is prone to say, “Expect increasing frequency of random catastrophic meteorological events.” In other words, anything can happen.
Last year it was the same thing only different. The drought had become such a constant reality that no one foresaw the rains that poured right through October, leaving lots of mold and mildew on cannabis plants in their wake. Drying rooms were not properly prepared and you couldn’t find a dehumidifier between here and San Francisco. Naturally, we went out and bought two beautiful new de-hues this year to be ready and we have barely used one of them. Surprise surprise, it’s been a gorgeous dry harvest season with perfect curing weather so we really can’t complain.
The other unique aspect of this season is of course the horrific fires which raced through Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties. While Sonoma and Napa were devastated, including a fair amount of their 2017 cannabis crop, greenhouses and processing buildings, Mendo’s cannabis farmers were also hit hard. The damage was primarily in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley, areas in the southeast part of the county. Entire communities experienced the trauma of being evacuated, while worrying about their homes, animals and plants left behind in the rush. The unfortunate ones lost everything; eight people died.
Living beings have been teased and tortured by fires in Mendocino County since time immemorial. The forests are dense and often run deep into narrow mountain valleys making it difficult to fight fires. We have experienced several summers with the fear of a flare up somewhere nearby, it doesn’t take much at all when it is so hot and dry, almost crispy. I don’t like to even think the word “fire.” But those conflagrations were different from what happened this October.
In the June 2008 the Mendocino Lightning Complex Fires started on June 21, consumed nearly 55,000 acres and only two structures (a residence and an outbuilding) and unfortunately a volunteer firefighter died. But the fuels which spread the fires were timber, brush and grass. Thick dark smoke hung in the air for weeks, but it was still early in the season, no plants were in flowers and that was “clean wood smoke.” This was quite different from the toxic stew which comes from a high percentage of burning buildings containing all the other manufactured “stuff” we humans think we need, a majority of which is made from some combination of plastic petroleum chemical ingredients.
Cal Fire reports that in the Mendocino fires this past October 36,523 acres burned. In Redwood Valley and Potter Valley, 545 homes were destroyed and 43 damaged. This is a much higher percentage of homes to acres burned than in the 2008 fire. All the toxic chemicals mixed together to create a dark and dangerous cloud that spread across the entire southern region. Our ranch is in far northern Mendocino County and the deadly winds were blowing strongly from the north, so we only experienced some smoke for maybe 24 hours. Yet a feeling of compassion and sense of loss enveloped us all, as just about everyone knows someone who lost everything in the fires.
Just thinking about the lonely buds still on the branch, sizzling in the intense heat and foul air, makes me want to cry.
Evacuated farmers were not allowed back onto their properties for several days. I can’t even imagine the feeling of knowing your flowering girls are out there with no water, enveloped in smoke at the height of harvest season. It could not have come at a worse time. Several people cut their plants early to get them inside, yet the cloying smoke seemed to seep in everywhere. Now the big worry is what did the smoke do to the finished bud that did survive? Certainly toxic ash was circulating in the air everywhere for days and fell onto the unharvested flowers. How clean can they be?
The height of unfairness is for the cannabis farmers who were burned. For the few on the road to legality, they are most probably like the many of us right now: at a point in the process of coming into compliance of having spent most of their funds to cover licenses, professional fees, permits, taxes and all the myriad expenses being thrown at us all at once. But these folks are burned out with no insurance and no crop left to help cover costs. What they do have is an incredible community coming out to help in every way. What else can we do?
So, on top of the fires and surprising dry weather, there are yet several looming questions: What happens when it is really legal in California? Is this the last year we can enjoy the process of drying, trimming and curing on our own ranches, unless we have commercial-permitted buildings with ADA toilets and all the other permits? How do we get our product to the stores after Jan. 1? Will our county, which is naturally distracted by the disasters from the fire, actually issue any more permits before the new year? Does it matter? How do I have to package my product once it is officially recreational? Ah, life used to be so simple!
It is with all this on our minds that we have made our way through what has actually been a stupendous harvest season. The days have been warm and dry, for just long enough to get everything cut and inside without any pathogens forming. Those of us fortunate enough to have been out of the tainted smoke’s path are discovering delicious terpenes and generous crystals on our buds. Sometimes the only thing to do is revert to the old hippie adage: Go with the flow. We just have to have faith it will all work out, that sungrown cannabis from the wilds of the Emerald Triangle will exist forever.
Link to article here.
Nikki Lastreto has been a judge in The Emerald Cup since it started in 2003 and is co-founder of Swami Select cannabis brand and educational website: www.swamiselect.com
By Amber Ferguson October 23
When Alex Roth’s mother sent him an article announcing a new degree program being offered at Northern Michigan University, the sophomore immediately switched his major. Roth is now majoring in cannabis.
The program, Medicinal Plant Chemistry, is the first program to offer a 4-year undergraduate degree focusing on marijuana, according to Brandon Canfield, the associate professor of chemistry who started the program.
“When my friends hear what my major is, there are a lot of people who laugh and say, ‘wow. Cool dude. You’re going to get a degree growing marijuana,’” Roth told The Washington Post. “But it’s not an easy degree at all.”
The former environmental studies major won’t be getting high in class or growing his own plants. Instead, his required courses include tough subjects such as organic chemistry, plant physiology, botany, accounting, genetics, physical geography and financial management.
Twenty-nine states, including Michigan, have legalized medical marijuana. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Forbes projects the sale of recreational marijuana to jump to $11.2 billion by 2020. “I want to be on the forefront of this industry and be a part of the normalization of marijuana,” Roth said.
Several accredited colleges and universities offer credit and noncredit courses in marijuana. The University of California at Davis has an undergraduate course on the Physiology of Cannabis, the University of Denver offers a course on the Business of Marijuana and Vanderbilt’s law school has a Marijuana Law and Policy course. Oaksterdam University in Oakland calls itself America’s first cannabis college but offers a certificate rather than a college diploma, according to its website.
But Northern Michigan University in Marquette is the first to offer a degree in the sprouting field.
“The historical stigma associated with cannabis is quickly vanishing,” says the school’s website, “and although there is a surge in businesses related to the marijuana economy, there is a major gap in educational opportunities available to prepare people for this field.”
Canfield told The Post to think of it as getting a science degree with a minor in business. He said he got the idea to start the major last year after attending the National Conference of the American Chemical Society, where there was an official cannabis chemistry division.
During the conference, he learned about the increasing need for trained professionals in the medical cannabis industry and developed the curriculum with a group of his colleagues.
Once university officials learned that the program would focus primarily on laboratory analysis and chemistry of cannabis, he said there was really no backlash. The school began publicizing the program in March. Since then, about a dozen students have officially declared in the major. Canfield said some students heard about the program and transferred to NMU over the summer.
“We’re receiving all sorts of calls and emails expressing interest in the program from retirees all the way down to your traditional first-time freshman,” Canfield said.
One required course, appropriately titled Chemistry 420 (in honor of the unofficial so-called pot holiday), is an advanced analytical course where students study various classes of bioactive compounds and their plant origins and metabolite chemistry. The syllabus includes the history of medicinal plant use and cannabis chemistry, along with a lab in which students will perform plant tissue extraction for alkaloids and terpenoids and study purification procedures of different plants.
Next semester a 50-minute seminar series course will be offered for the first time for students in the major to come together to discuss current issues or trends in the cannabis industry, including legal issues and economic trends.
Students will be required to choose a recent article on medicinal plant chemistry and lead a discussion on it. In week six a guest speaker will talk to the class on entrepreneurial opportunities in the field.
Roth said he was attracted to the major after seeing a family friend with a 2-year-old daughter suffer from a rare genetic mutation. Once the child started using nonintoxicating cannabinoid (CBD) her seizures decreased and quality of life improved. He said he wants to “be part of a whole new side of science and normalize marijuana.”
Roth’s roommate, Benjamin Ritter, also switched to the Medicinal Plant Chemistry program. He said his mother has multiple sclerosis and also takes CBD to manage her symptoms.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of work but I definitely think it’ll be worth it. I really want to help patients,” Ritter said.
Canfield said he thinks more programs like this will be popping up around the country soon. “It’s kind of a taboo subject and the response we’re getting is that a lot of people are interested in actually pursuing legitimate educational programs focused on [cannabis] . . . As the legality increases there will be more opportunities for peer-reviewed research.”
Canfield said upon graduating from the program, students will be qualified to work in a number of different laboratory positions. They could choose to open their own dispensaries or go on to work with the medicinal and therapeutic properties of marijuana.
Despite not being able to handle actual marijuana on campus, there are still opportunities for NMU students to handle the plant offsite.
“We’ve got a long list of licensed Michigan businesses who want to take our students for internship programs,” Canfield said.
Link to article here.
By David Downs
Friday, October 13, 2017
California’s $21 billion cannabis economy is reeling from likely more than a billion dollars in crop losses related to the deadly wildfires sweeping through the cultivation heartlands of Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties this week.
Compounding the losses is the cannabis industry’s legal status: Though sanctioned by California and other states, its product remains an illegal drug under federal law. Unlike wineries, cannabis farmers generally cannot obtain crop insurance. Those that do get insured pay high rates for skimpy coverage. Cannabis businesses are also not eligible for federal disaster relief.
Up to one-third of the annual outdoor cannabis crop in Mendocino and Sonoma counties could be destroyed or damaged as wildfires continue to burn in Northern California. Crops that survive the flames may be damaged by the smoke.
“We’ve been watching the community come apart at the seams,” said Kevin Jodrey, who runs an annual cannabis competition called the Golden Tarp in Humboldt County. In conversations with wholesale cannabis buyers across the state, double-digit percentages of the annual outdoor harvest are assumed lost.
Tawnie Logan, chair of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance, saw a $2 million crop in a Santa Rosa greenhouse reduced to ash Sunday night. “There’s no way for them to recover the millions in anticipated revenue they just lost,” she said. “It’s gone. It’s ashes.”
According to county surveys, the number of cannabis gardens in Sonoma County might be anywhere from 3,000 to 9,000. Revenue from cannabis is unknown but likely total in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the county, and Santa Rosa had emerged as the epicenter of the modern legal pot economy in California.
“I had one conversation today where the family was in tears, saying, ‘We don’t know how we’re going to make it to January, let alone next planting season,’” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.
He said the fires have resulted in “the worst year on record for California’s growers.”
Many farms also had all-cash savings on-site because of banking limitations on cannabis commerce, said Josh Drayton, communications director for the California Cannabis Industry Association. “I know we definitely have multiple members that have lost their homes and have lost their savings.”
Ben Bradley, CCIA’s operations director, said dozens of CCIA members have lost crops and homes in the marijuana commerce epicenters of Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
At least 21 CGA members have lost their entire farms in the blazes burning near Santa Rosa, Mendocino County’s Redwood Valley and beyond. “This is going to leave a deep scar,” Allen said.
The fires could not have come at a worse time for many producers, as the annual outdoor harvest season was in full swing and many farmers intended to pick their crops through the end of the month.
The rest of the cannabis supply chain has suffered, too. The fires have leveled seed sellers’ properties, storage warehouses and oil extracting facilities.
Much of the industry in Sonoma and Mendocino counties was also in the process of seeking local and state licensing to enter the recreational-use market in 2018. Operators had been spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for things like water permits and leasing warehouse space that is now rubble.
“It’s going to be a fatal blow for quite a few of those people that went through all the trouble and challenge to be legitimized,” said Tim Blake, who runs the Emerald Cup cannabis competition from Laytonville in Mendocino County. “They hadn’t had a chance to sell their crops and now they’re losing their home. Where do they even go?”
Although many operators are still in danger, relief efforts have begun across the state. The CGA is coordinating donations to Mendocino County relief, and the 140-employee CannaCraft marijuana processing plant in Santa Rosa is hosting and feeding 200 Red Cross staff for the next five weeks.
Losses are expected to climb as the fires continue to rage through the weekend. “This isn’t going to stop until the rains come down,” said Jodrey.
On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast a 30 percent chance of rain in about five days. Meanwhile, new evacuations were being ordered in Santa Rosa, and Sonoma faced ongoing threats and evacuations as well.
“We have a lot of people who have lost their farms in the last 36 hours — and their homes,” said Logan. “We’ve got about 30 percent of our farm still sitting out there —just covered. It’s going to be tough. All of our product is covered in ash and soot and billows of smoke.”
Smoke destroys the value of cannabis and makes it more susceptible to disease, leading to unhealthy levels of mold, mildew and fungus. “Especially when it’s ripe — I can tell you from personal experience, wildfire definitely will make your cannabis have a smoky flavor to it, just like (it would to) wine,” Kristin Nevedal, executive director of the International Cannabis Farmers Association, based in the Humboldt County town of Garberville, said in an interview last month.
Leading San Francisco dispensary SPARC was preparing to harvest its outdoor crop Tuesday. Early Monday morning, SPARC’s farm in Glen Ellen sustained major damage from the Nuns Fire, director Erich Pearson said. “The whole thing was on fire,” he said.
Wednesday he said, “There’s no fuel left. You see a stump burning and there’s nothing around it, so we leave it,” he said.
Further north in Mendocino County, the cultivation-rich Redwood Valley remained on fire Friday, with 34,000 acres burned and ten percent of the Redwood Complex Fire contained as of the afternoon. Redwood Valley is a hotbed of multi-generational, mom-and-pop craft cannabis cultivators. Thousands of them live and work gardens in the rugged, remote hills. The fire has downed communications systems and cut off residents from the outside world.
“So many people have their livelihoods where they live. Here, people lost everything — homes and livelihoods — in one fell swoop,” said Amanda Reiman, a Redwood Valley resident who is the vice president of outreach for the cannabis company Flow Kana.
“Some of our neighbors up the road didn’t make it out in time,” reported Redwood Valley music group MendoDope on its Instagram page.
“A lot of people had crops in their barns and hadn’t sold anything yet, because everything is selling so slow,” Blake said. “This is beyond anything I’ve seen in my life.”
A noted cannabis breeder and seed seller who goes by the name of Subcool reported Tuesday losing his home, seedstock and source plants used to make cuttings, called “mothers.”
Subcool’s colleague reported on Instagram that he refused to leave his farm. “With flames soaring in the air he yelled, ‘Come get me. Here I am.’” Sheriffs reportedly had to escort him away.
Another farm, Sonoma County Cannabis Company, sustained major losses, according to multiple reports. “There are no words right now to describe the loss, the heartbreak and the trauma that our beloved home and community is going through,” the company posted to its Instagram account. “We are trying to save what we can.”
Major Santa Rosa cannabis manufacturer CannaCraft closed its 110-employee business Monday but reopened Tuesday with a skeleton crew working amid “awful” air quality, said spokeswoman Kial Long. All employees are accounted for, but losses have been felt companywide.
“We have no employees that were not impacted in some way or another,” Long said. “A lot of family, a lot of friends and a few employees did lose their homes.”
CannaCraft pledged to give $40,000 worth of medicine to affected patients and donate a portion of sales proceeds to benefit Red Cross relief efforts in the area.
The cannabis community has decades of experience taking care of its own, said Blake. “We’re resilient. The thing about cannabis people is we’ve had our asses beat so many times. With the federal raids, robbers, crop failures — we’ve gone through so much of this. People will survive and go on and we will support each other and find a way to do that.”
Even with the record crop losses, California as a whole promises to deliver a record cannabis harvest to consumers in 2017, Blake said. Humboldt County remains warm and sunny, with record harvests coming in. Monterey County and the southern California desert cities are also flooding the market with A-grade product.
California’s cannabis economy is too vast and dispersed to be crippled, said Blake. The rest of the “Emerald Triangle” growing region of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties will make up for what’s lost. “Redwood Valley is the sweet spot — it’s prime growing area. But it’s a small percentage of the Triangle. There is a bumper crop coming in that’s bigger than anyone can even dream of.”
Link to article.
By Debra Borchardt
The largest survey on cannabidiol or CBD usage to date found that women were more likely than men to use CBD and once they started using it, were likely to drop their traditional medicine. A new survey from Brightfield Group and HelloMD covered 2,400 of HelloMD’s community of 150,000 members and did a deep dive into the usage of CBD products and their effectiveness. HelloMD is an online community that brings together doctors and cannabis patients.
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound that doesn’t give users the feeling that they are high or stoned. Instead, it is known to have medicinal qualities. Contrary to the image of men being the predominant consumers of cannabis, this survey found that 55% of the CBD users were women, while men preferred the THC-dominant products. Brightfield Group, which helped conduct the survey, studies consumption patterns and demand trends and is committed to providing accurate data in the cannabis industry which seems to be rife with unsupported claims.
The most common reasons people used CBD were to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety and joint pain, according to Dr. Perry Solomon, the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD. Forty-two percent of the CBD users said they had stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol pain relievers or prescription drugs like Vicodin and had switched to using cannabis instead. Eighty percent said that they found the products to be “very or extremely effective.” Only 3% or less found the product to be either ineffectual or only slightly effective.
One of the areas that the CBD producers will have to work on is educating the consumer about CBD products. There are more than 850 brands of marijuana-derived CBD products on the market and 150 hemp-derived products. (Marijuana and hemp are the two variations of the cannabis plant.) Eight percent of the consumers surveyed admitted they didn’t know which CBD product they had used.
Adding to the confusion is the murky legal status of CBD. Technically, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) labels all CBD products as illegal. However, hemp-derived CBD is available in just about every state and even online through Amazon. Marijuana-derived CBD tends to only be found in states with legal medicinal marijuana. “This confusion is actually helping the producers of these products as consumers are turning to reliable and trusted brands,” said Dr. Solomon. Care by Design is one of the top marijuana-derived brands in the California market, followed closely by Bloom Farms, a leader in the cartridge oil market for vape pens. Kiva Confections is the third favorite choice in the chocolate market. The survey found that these three brands dominated leaving the rest of the market very fragmented. One of the complaints from the CBD users in the survey was that marijuana-derived CBD products were more expensive than hemp-derived products.
When it came to hemp-derived CBD products, that market was led by Charlotte’s Web by the Stanley Brothers, which gained fame from the CNN reporter Sanjay Gupta. It was followed by Plus CBD oil and Mary’s Nutritionals. The complaint from the hemp-derived users was that it was less effective than the marijuana-derived CBD and that might explain why 90% said they would only buy marijuana-derived CBD. All users preferred vaping for consumption followed by traditional marijuana buds or flower with edibles as the third preference. They also spent between $20 and $80 a month on CBD products.
Dr. Solomon noted that patients using vapes feel the effects of the CBD faster than if they use an edible. If they are looking for relief, they want it quickly. However, in the case of insomnia he said a vape method of consumption works best if you have trouble falling asleep, but if you have trouble staying asleep than an edible is the better choice. “This landmark survey, in terms of its size and depth, shows the tremendous value that these products have for patients," Dr. Solomon said. "Hopefully, access for products such as these will help patients all across the country who cannot obtain medication that contains THC.”
Link to article here.
Growing weed has a reputation for harming the environment. Here are the growers trying to change that.
By Lauren Williams, The Cannifornian
Inside a warehouse in an industrial part of downtown Los Angeles, where rats can be as big as seagulls, the one thing standing between some aggressive rodents and a lucrative crop of cannabis is Ghost, a 2-year-old black and white cat.
What, no rat poison?
Ryan Jennemann, co-founder of THC Design, doesn’t believe in it. For his Southern California cannabis farms he employs two rescued cats and dogs to deter rodents from chewing on the stalks of his crop, killing the plants. And his conservation mindset extends to other aspects of THC Design.
A series of pencil-sized tubes runs from his plants to drain runoff water into a recycling system. A dehumidifier captures water from the air to reuse and nourish the strains of cannabis, which sell under names like Blueberry Dome, Agent Orange, XJ-13 and Skywalker OG.
At its best, Jennemann estimates THC Design captures and reuses 1,500 gallons of the 2,000 total gallons every day — nearly four times more the average American family of four uses each day.
Even the stems and branches cast off by Jennemann’s discarded plants are re-used, donated to a company that makes recycled paper.
“Cutting a thing here or there to make an extra buck, I think, is very shortsighted,” Jennamann said. “I think being environmentally friendly is the best way to make that money.”
Not everybody in the cannabis industry works that way.
Though California is expected to turn marijuana farming into a multi-billion dollar legal business over the next decade, it’s also expected to remain host to a vast world of illicit farms, often grown without permission on state or federal lands. Often, these mini-farms, known in the industry as “trespass grows,” are nothing short of environmental disasters.
Pot pirates steal water from public watersheds. They use poisons and fertilizers that eventually work into the food chain, harming species as diverse as Northern spotted owls and the Pacific fisher.
“They’re the worst of the worst,” said Scott Bauer, the senior environmental scientist supervisor with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Watershed Enforcement Team, referring to illicit pot farmers.
“These trespass grows, they divert all the water out of a stream. They’ll often put dams on streams and pour the chemicals right in there. … They bait these sites with hot dogs laced with poison. A bear will come in and eat their human food.
“It’s some really sad stuff.”
The problem is getting worse, experts say, even as the state develops a legal — and environmentally regulated — cannabis industry.
Mourad Gabriel, executive director of the Integral Ecology Research Center, a nonprofit that studies wildlife, has studied the decline of the Pacific fisher, a member of the weasel family that looks like a cross between an otter and a badger. In his work, he’s looked at how trespass grows affect the environment, and noted that the land captured for such uses has grown steadily in recent years.
“This is such a metastasizing problem,” Gabriel said. “Every national forest has been impacted by this.”
Gabriel added that the problem is bigger than any single government agency.
“We need to take an interdisciplinary approach. We… need to be honest and state these are our public lands and unfortunately, right now, law enforcement is inadequately staffed, and (lack of manpower) opens the door to the illegal drug trade.”
The pirates have a huge advantage over cannabis entrepreneurs like Jennemann — money. Squatting on public land and using pesticides can generate bigger profits.
As a result, environmental groups see cannabis regulation and oversight as key factors going forward.
“It’s so important to get the marijuana industry out of the black market and into a regulated market,” said Jonathan Evans, the environmental health legal director and senior attorney for the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity.
“(California) has to make sure there is a level playing field, and make sure the ones that are cutting corners aren’t given a competitive advantage.”
Trespass grows aren’t the only ones with a significant impact on the environment. Indoor cannabis grows, like THC Design, use tremendous amounts of energy replicating nature’s seasons, sometimes depriving plants of light while other times bathing them in simulated sunshine.
In 2012, when only medicinal cannabis was legal, marijuana cultivation consumed 3 percent of California’s electricity consumption or roughly the amount used by one million California homes. That same year, grows were estimated to make up 1 percent of energy used across the United States.
With recreational cannabis becoming legal in California as of January that energy is expected to increase.
“We need to see carbon neutral cannabis that reduces the types of energy (consumption),” Evans said. “Higher solar energy would really reduce the impacts of electricity use.”
Jennemann, among others, wants to install solar panels but he’s hesitant. Before he invests big money into panels he wants some certainty on the fate of the industry. And even if he makes that investment, it will make only a small dent in the company’s energy consumption.
An element of Prop. 64 is the allocation of funds to environmental conservation. Through the measure, which will create a legal recreational cannabis industry starting next year, 20 percent of the proceeds from marijuana sales will be set aside for restoration of open spaces. It is estimated that within the first year $200 million may go toward cleaning up watersheds and habitats ravaged through illegal trespass cannabis cultivation.
Nonprofit environmental groups like Gabriel’s have already begun working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove dams and waterlines that divert water from streams in favor of trespass grows. They’re removing tons of trash and hazardous material left behind by the illicit farmers and they’re reintroducing vegetation to former grow sites, Bauer said. The agency recently devoted $1.5 million toward restorative efforts.
“As the voters wanted we need to be making sure we have an environmentally friendly marijuana production processes,” Evans said. “I think there’s a real opportunity here for California to be the leader on this issue.”
That could please consumers like Tanya Reeves.
A medical user, Reeves frequents the Evergreen dispensary in Santa Ana because she believes the cannabis there is grown without the use of pesticides.
“For me, the environmental factor is very important,” Reeves said. “I think about it with everything I do.”
Reeves and those who share her view are key customers create a strong market for growers who want to tout their product as being environmentally friendly and carbon neutral.
“I’ve been in cannabis for 30 years,” said Scott Davies, who owns Winterbourne Farms in Humboldt County, which he describes as a carbon neutral grow. “I’ve waited my whole life for the chance to differentiate what I do as a farmer from the environmentally disastrous, headline catching growers.
“Absent the regulatory framework, we haven’t been able to differentiate what we do from the more abusive components of the cannabis industry,” he added.
Davies said the trespass growers, and the publicity they’ve generated as polluters, has been “galling,” particularly because he spends energy and money creating a cleaner product.
“It’s something that has defined the face of the industry for far too long,” Davies said. “Its exciting to see a different narrative about what cultivation should look like.”
Davies — who also co-founded Humboldt Legends,which markets and retails the cannabis he grows — describes his cannabis like the grapes of a fine wine, imparting flavors of the local landscape.
He believes cannabis cultivators shouldn’t draw water from tributaries and can be carbon neutral. On his farm, in the town of Honeydew, he has a large reservoir and solar panels that he says meet his energy needs. The job of pesticides, he says, is done by good fencing.
“Cannabis is and needs to be a forbearance crop,” Davies said.
“We forbear withdrawing any water from our watershed during the dry months of the year, from March to October. Not water from creeks, springs or rivers. The only way around that is to store water. It’s very simple: Store water when there’s lots so you can use it when there’s not.”
As Davies sees it, good stewardship and business practices are not only compatible but one and the same.
“By the time you need to spray Eagle 20 (a pesticide) or something like that, things have gone horribly wrong,” Davies said. “It’s sloppy. It’s messy. It’s bad for the consumer. It’s bad for the farmer.
“It’s bad all the way around.”
Link to original article here.
By Tom Angell
Sep 18, 2017
Last November, California voters approved a ballot measure to legalize marijuana. Now, the state's lawmakers are formally calling on the federal government to reclassify cannabis.
"The Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use," reads a joint resolution approved by the California Assembly on Thursday with a vote of 60 to 10.
The Controlled Substance Act's Schedule I -- the most restrictive category -- is supposed to be reserved for drugs with no medical value and a high potential for abuse. Researchers have long complained that marijuana's classification there creates additional hurdles that don't exist for studies on other substances.
Heroin and LSD are also in Schedule I alongside cannabis, yet cocaine and methamphetamine are classified in the less restrictive Schedule II category.
The California resolution, which previously passed the state Senate by a margin of 34 to two, also calls for changing federal law to allow for "the legal commerce of marijuana or cannabis so that businesses dealing with marijuana or cannabis can use traditional banks or financial institutions for their banking needs, which would result in providing a legal vehicle for those businesses to pay their taxes."
Because of ongoing federal prohibition, many banks are reluctant to provide financial services to marijuana businesses. That means most operate on a cash-only basis, which makes them targets for robberies and presents difficulties in the collection of tax revenue on their sales.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee expressed concern that marijuana's current Schedule I status impedes research, and directed federal agencies to issue a report on the topic.
Under California law, joint resolutions don't require gubernatorial action. The text of the cannabis measure will now be transmitted to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It will also be sent to California's two U.S. senators and the state's 53-member U.S. House delegation. In 1996, California became the first state to allow medical cannabis.
Link to original article, here.
Marijuana with relatively high levels of a compound called cannabidiol may be less risky to smoke over the long term, because this ingredient may counteract some of the drug's harmful effects, according to a new study in mice.
The study found that adolescent mice injected with frequent doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the ingredient in marijuana that produces a "high" — showed signs of impaired memory and increased anxiety over the long term. But mice that received daily doses of THC combined with an equal amount of cannabidiol (CBD) did not experience these negative effects.
The study "suggests that strains of cannabis with similar levels of CBD and THC would pose significantly less long-term risk due to CBD's protective effect against THC," study author Dr. Ken Mackie, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, said in a statement.
Over the last several decades, THC levels in marijuana used in the United States have increased 300 percent, while levels of CBD in marijuana have decreased, the researchers said. But the long-term effects of exposure to THC and CBD need to be studied further, they said. [25 Odd Facts About Marijuana]
Studies on whether CBD can counteract the negative effects of THC have been mixed, according to a 2013 review paper on the topic. For example, some studies have found that people experience fewer symptoms of anxiety when they smoke marijuana with high CBD levels, compared to when they smoke marijuana with high THC levels, but other studies failed to replicate these results, according to the review. Another study, published in 2011, found that people who tended to use marijuana products with high CBD levels were at lower risk for psychotic symptoms over the long term, although the effect was subtle.
In the new study, the researchers examined the effects of THC and CBD on both adolescent and adult mice. The mice were divided into five groups: a group that received THC only; a group that received CBD only; a group that received THC and CBD; a group that received a placebo; and a group that received no treatment. The mice in the first four groups were injected with the substances every day for three weeks. The researchers examined the mice shortly after their drug treatment and after a six-week drug-free period.
The researchers found that, immediately after treatment, the mice exposed to THC alone showed signs of impaired memory and increased obsessive-compulsive behavior. Six weeks later, the adolescent mice still showed these symptoms, while the adult mice did not. (This finding agrees with research in humans suggesting that teens may be at greater risk for long-term problems from marijuana, compared with adults.)
However, both the adolescent and adult mice that were exposed to THC experienced long-term increases in anxiety.
In contrast, mice that were exposed to both THC and CBD together (in equal amounts) showed no changes in their behavior, either over the short or long term.
"This is the first study in a rigorously controlled animal model to find that CBD appears to protect the brain against the negative effects of chronic THC," Mackie said.
Animal models allow researchers to conduct experiments in a controlled way, without putting people at risk for harm from the study. But findings in animals don't always translate to humans.
More studies are also needed to determine how CBD counters the effects of THC, and how much CBD is needed to confer a protective effect, the researchers said.
Earlier this year, Canada issued new guidelines for how people can lower their risk of health problems linked to marijuana use, if they choose to use the drug. (In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the country.) One of the recommendations was to choose products with high levels of CBD relative to THC, which the guidelines also said may be "lower- risk" products.
Original article on Live Science.
Among the cannabinoids in cannabis, the main psychoactive compound, THC, often outshines the one that provides a natural anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic and antipsychotic effect.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, lacks the colorful high commonly associated with your traditional marijuana high and doesn’t have much of a noticeable effect when isolated. When combined with THC, the relaxing effect combats any feelings of paranoia or panic that can sometimes be felt under the influence.
While lauded for it’s effect on epilepsy, recent cannabis research has identified CBD as the component responsible for a great deal of marijuana’s medical benefits.
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Here are 10 medical use for CBD that you might not have known about:
1. Cigarette Addiction
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 24 smokers were randomly chosen to receive either an inhaler of CBD or a placebo. Participants were asked to take a puff every time they had an urge to puff a cigarette. Over the week, those with placebo inhalers saw no change in their total number of cigarettes consumed, while those who were taking CBD saw a nearly 40 percent drop in their intake. Using the inhaler decreased the number of cigarettes without increasing their craving for nicotine, pointing towards a purpose for cannabidiol in the withdrawal process.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the National Institute of Health discovered that CBD can provide treatment for acne. Researchers used cannabis-derived cannabidiol on the human sebaceous glands and came to the conclusion that CBD acts as a highly effective sebostatic and anti-inflammatory agent by inhibiting lipid synthesis.
In a study using CBD, the development of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice was prevented. Although there wasn’t a direct effect of cannabidiol on glucose levels, the treatment prevented the production of IL-12 by splenocytes. Preventing this cytokine is important because it plays a huge role in many autoimmune diseases.
Common treatments for fibromyalgia are anti-inflammatory medications, opioid pain medications and corticosteroids. A 2011 study that focused on CBD treatment for fibromyalgia produced very promising results for future uses in treatment. Half of the 56 participants used CBD, while the other half used traditional methods to treat their condition. Those that used cannabis saw a great reduction in their symptoms and pain, while those using traditional methods didn’t see much of an improvement.
5. Prion/Mad Cow Disease
Cannabidiol has been shown to halt prions, the proteins that cause neurodegenerative diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and mad cow. The formation and accumulation of prions was prevented with the aide of cannabidiol during a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2007. For mice that were infected, CBD increased their survival time by about a week.
6. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
CBD is known to produce anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects when ingested by slowing everything down and calming the user. Those with PTSD are often overcome with anxiety and stress, so patients frequently find relief by using cannabidiol. The antipsychotic benefits provide a stable mental environment for those that need it most.
In 2012, a group of German researchers published a study in the journal Translational Psychiatry. The potent antipsychotic Amisulpride and CBD were compared between 42 schizophrenia patients. The two treatments were deemed effective, but the short side-effect profile of CBD out shined the pharmaceutical option.
8. Crohn’s Disease
Some scientists say CBD could be an effective treatment for bowel diseases like Crohn’s Disease. THC and CBD interact with the system that controls gut function in the body, something that Crohn’s patients suffer issues with. The component of cannabis’ anti-inflammatory ability brings a lot of relief to those suffering from this condition.
9. Multiple Sclerosis
Scientists at the Cajal Institute used animal models and cell cultures to find that CBD reversed inflammatory responses and served as durable protection from the effects of multiple sclerosis. Mice with 10 days of CBD treatment had superior motor skills and showed progression in their condition. Using this information, researchers concluded that CBD has the potential ability to reduce various aspects of MS.
One of the few side effects of CBD is tiredness, but for many, it’s what they seek out in the natural herb. Since pharmaceuticals for aiding sleep pose risk for addiction and leave you feeling groggy the next day, it’s best to go the safe route with non-habit forming CBD. When searching for strains to combat insomnia, try staying with Indica and CBD-heavy strains to knock you out when you need it most.
Link to article here.
By: Martin A. Lee
It doesn’t get you high, but it’s causing quite a buzz among medical scientists and patients. The past year has seen a surge of interest in marijuana’s CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabis compound with significant therapeutic properties. Numerous commercial start-ups and internet retailers have jumped on the CBD bandwagon, touting CBD derived from industrial hemp as the next big thing, a miracle oil that can shrink tumors, quell seizures, and ease chronic pain — without making people feel “stoned.” But along with a growing awareness of cannabidiol as a potential health aid there has been a proliferation of misconceptions about CBD.
“CBD Is Medical. THC Is Recreational.”
Project CBD receives many inquiries from around the world and oftentimes people say they are seeking “CBD, the medical part” of the plant, “not THC, the recreational part” that gets you high. Actually, THC, “The High Causer,” has awesome therapeutic properties. Scientists at the Scripps Research Center in San Diego reported that THC inhibits an enzyme implicated in the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia.
The federal government recognizes single-molecule THC (Marinol) as an anti-nausea compound and appetite booster, deeming it a Schedule III drug, a category reserved for medicinal substances with little abuse potential. But whole plant marijuana, the only natural source of THC, continues to be classified as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical value.
“THC Is The Bad Cannabinoid. CBD Is The Good Cannabinoid.”
The drug warrior’s strategic retreat: Give ground on CBD while continuing to demonize THC. Diehard marijuana prohibitionists are exploiting the good news about CBD to further stigmatize high-THC cannabis, casting tetrahydrocannabinol as the bad cannabinoid, whereas CBD is framed as the good cannabinoid. Why? Because CBD doesn’t make you high like THC does.
Project CBD categorically rejects this moralistic, reefer madness dichotomy in favor of whole plant cannabis therapeutics. (Read the foundational science paper: A Tale of Two Cannabinoids.)
“CBD Is Most Effective Without THC.”
THC and CBD are the power couple of cannabis compounds — they work best together. Scientific studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects. British researchers have shown that CBD potentiates THC’s anti-inflammatory properties in an animal model of colitis.
Scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco determined that a combination of CBD and THC has a more potent anti-tumoral effect than either compound alone when tested on brain cancer and breast cancer cell lines. And extensive clinical research has demonstrated that CBD combined with THC is more beneficial for neuropathic pain than either compound as a single molecule.
“Single-Molecule Pharmaceuticals Are Superior To ‘Crude’ Whole-Plant Medicinals.”
According to the federal government, specific components of the marijuana plant (THC, CBD) have medical value, but the plant itself does not have medical value. Uncle Sam’s single-molecule blinders reflect a cultural and political bias that privileges Big Pharma products. Single-molecule medicine is the predominant corporate way, the FDA-approved way, but it’s not the only way, and it’s not necessarily the optimal way to benefit from cannabis therapeutics.
Cannabis contains several hundred compounds, including various flavonoids, aromatic terpenes, and many minor cannabinoids in addition to THC and CBD. Each of these compounds has specific healing attributes, but when combined they create what scientists refer to as a holistic “entourage effect,” so that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its single-molecule parts. The Food and Drug Administration, however, isn’t in the business of approving plants as medicine. (See the scientific evidence.)
“Psychoactivity Is Inherently An Adverse Side Effect.”
According to politically correct drug war catechism, the marijuana high is an unwanted side effect. Big Pharma is keen on synthesizing medically active marijuana-like molecules that don’t make people high — although it’s not obvious why mild euphoric feelings are intrinsically negative for a sick person or a healthy person, for that matter.
In ancient Greece, the word euphoria meant “having health,” a state of well-being. The euphoric qualities of cannabis, far from being an unwholesome side effect, are deeply implicated in the therapeutic value of the plant.
“We should be thinking of cannabis as a medicine first,” said Dr. Tod Mikuriya, “that happens to have some psychoactive properties, as many medicines do, rather than as an intoxicant that happens to have a few therapeutic properties on the side.”
“CBD Is Legal In All 50 States.”
Purveyors of imported, CBD-infused hemp oil claim it’s legal to market their wares anywhere in the United States as long as the oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC. Actually, it’s not so simple.
Federal law prohibits U.S. farmers from growing hemp as a commercial crop, but the sale of imported, low-THC, industrial hemp products is permitted in the United States as long as these products are derived from the seed or stalk of the plant, not from the leaves and flowers. Here’s the catch: Cannabidiol can’t be pressed or extracted from hempseed. CBD can be extracted from the flower, leaves, and, only to a very minor extent, from the stalk of the hemp plant. Hemp oil start-ups lack credibility when they say their CBD comes from hempseed and stalk.
“CBD-Only’ Laws Adequately Serve The Patient Population.”
Some U.S. state legislatures have passed “CBD only” (or, more accurately, “low THC”) laws, and other states are poised to follow suit. Some states restrict the sources of CBD-rich products and specify the diseases for which CBD can be accessed; others do not. Ostensibly these laws allow the use of CBD-infused oil derived from hemp or cannabis that measures less than 0.3 percent THC.
But a CBD-rich remedy with little THC doesn’t work for everyone. Parents of epileptic children have found that adding some THC (or THCA, the raw unheated version of THC) helps with seizure control in many instances. For some epileptics, THC-dominant strains are more effective than CBD-rich products.
The vast majority of patients are not well served by CBD-only laws. They need access to a broad spectrum of whole plant cannabis remedies, not just the low THC medicine. One size doesn’t fit all with respect to cannabis therapeutics, and neither does one compound or one product or one strain. (Read more: Prohibition’s Last Gasp: “CBD Only.”)
“CBD Is CBD—It Doesn’t Matter Where It Comes From.”
Yes it does matter. The flower-tops and leaves of some industrial hemp strains may be a viable source of CBD (legal issues notwithstanding), but hemp is by no means an optimal source of cannabidiol. Industrial hemp typically contains far less cannabidiol than CBD-rich cannabis. Huge amounts of industrial hemp are required to extract a small amount of CBD, thereby raising the risk of toxic contaminants because hemp is a “bio-accumulator” that draws heavy metals from the soil.
Single-molecule CBD synthesized in a lab or extracted and refined from industrial hemp lacks critical medicinal terpenes and secondary cannabinoids found in cannabis strains. These compounds interact with CBD and THC to enhance their therapeutic benefits.
Link to Article here.