New Strains Alert: Bubba Fresh, Double Mint, Tesla Tower, and More

This week’s New Strains Alert has some flavorful favorites and some potent backcrosses. For those of you who don’t know, backcrossing (abbreviated “BX”) occurs when a hybridized offspring pollenates a parent strain. This process seeks to stabilize and fortify genetic attributes, which in many cases leads to higher potency, but a more narrow gamut of variable attributes. For example, Double Mint is a backcross of the strain’s mother plant, SinMint Cookies. This partial backcross double dips on the indica-dominant, Cookies-forward effects, leading to a generally more sedative, euphoric, and minty strain. Pink Starburst has an AJ Sour Diesel “BX3” which means the strain was backcrossed three times (or AJ Sour Diesel x AJ Sour Diesel x AJ Sour Diesel). This process can seriously amplify potency as illustrated in Pink Starburst’s 32% THC content.

May your long weekend be rich in good company, good food, and good cannabis! Cheers!

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Bubba Fresh by NorStar Genetics is a new take on Pre-98 Bubba Kush. This delicious cut combines the earthy, chocolate coffee aroma of Pre-98 Bubba Kush with the fruity sweetness of Banana OG. Its dreamy buzz and carefree effects help abate depression while enhancing mood. Enjoy Bubba Fresh’s sweet flavors and relaxing attributes later in the day to maximize effects.

Double Mint by Natural Genetics Seeds is an indica-dominant cross of signature genetics. By pairing SinMint Cookies with Mint Chocolate Chip, NSG backcrosses Mint Chocolate Chip with its mother plant, reinforcing the sweet, minty terpenes of this strain’s resinous, rock-like buds. Double Mint has a punctual 63-day flowering time and generous resin production, making it a perfect strain for extraction. Its sedative effects and mind-numbing euphoria make it an ideal “end of the day” strain to shrug off stress and be so chill, you’re minty.

Grimace OG by Archive Seed Bank is an indica-dominant cross of Purple Urkle and Abusive OG #4 BX. This strain won 3rd place at the 2013 Los Angeles High Times Cannabis Cup, and descends from the original Purple Urkle from Humboldt County. Known to produce fast flowering plants thick with trichomes, Grimace OG emits a range of terpenes, from grapey sweetness to pungent, sour OG stank. Grimace OG’s classic OG effects offer relaxation and euphoria that is perfect for turning down stress and turning up your mood.

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Mint Chocolate Chip is a rare cross of opposing genetics. Created from SinMint Cookies and Green Ribbon BX, this strange hybrid is mentally uplifting while remaining grounded in functional relaxation. The terpene profile is sweet, minty, and herbal, and the buds are dense with resin. Mint Chocolate Chip remains functional in smaller doses, but shows its distracting and relaxing qualities with continued consumption.

Pink Starburst by Manali West is an ultra potent hybrid that smells like it sounds. This deep cross of (DJ Short’s Blueberry x Headband) x AJ Sour Diesel BX3 is a genetic layer cake of potency crossed for potency. The flavor is distinctly floral on the inhale, but reveals its candy-like sweetness on the exhale. Pink Starburst’s buzz combines tranquil, positivity-driven euphoria while remaining cognitively clear.

Sweet Skunk is the supposed cross of Northern Lights and Skunk. This pairing of opposites creates a potent hybrid strain with a strong cerebral bent while offering mid-level body effects. The aroma is a mixture of pine, spice, citrus, and a chemically aftertaste that speaks to the strain’s name. Due to the Sweet Skunk’s powerful head high, consumers of all experience levels should mind their dosage.

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A cross of Lazy Bee Garden’s favorite sativa hybrids, Tesla Tower is a robust strain with cerebral effects. This in-house cross offers the creative attributes of White Fire OG with the uplifting, energetic high of Snowcap, creating an upbeat buzz that is both stimulating and motivating. This strain is a helpful companion while getting chores done or going on an adventure. Tesla Tower was also runner up Best Sativa at the 2017 Dope Cup.

Agenda Glitch Could Delay Nevada’s July 1 Cannabis Start

Nevada officials have been hustling to get the state’s adult-use cannabis market up and running by July 1, but a complaint filed by a local attorney now threatens to delay that launch date—by as much as two months.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week that a complaint filed by Jim Hartman, a Douglas County-based lawyer, claims that the Nevada Tax Commission violated the state’s open-meetings law by failing to mention cannabis on its recent meeting agenda:

Hartman, from Genoa, filed the complaint Wednesday with the Nevada attorney general’s office. The complaint references the May 8 meeting in which the tax commission adopted temporary regulations to allow recreational marijuana to be sold starting July 1 — about six months earlier than called for by Question 2.

Hartman claims the meeting’s agenda violated the law because it did not reference “marijuana,” “early start” or “Question 2.”

Tax commissioners, the Review-Journal reports, said at the meeting that they believed the agenda did not violate the law, and they voted to adopt the early-start regulations. But it’s possible the attorney general’s office could disagree, concluding that the commission did in fact break the open-meetings law. Such a finding would force the tax commission to re-hear the agenda item on June 26. And that could delay the adult-use market’s launch date by nearly two months.

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Challenges along these lines are common in state and local government, especially when official actions are particularly controversial. While some can cause severe delays or even scuttle government actions, most end up going nowhere. Still, with the launch of Nevada’s cannabis market little more than a month away, even a slight delay could cause headaches for business owners, tourists, and consumers eager for a summertime start date.

From Cocaine to Tranqs to Cannabis: Stevie Nicks’ Journey to the Dark Side and Back

The ethereal lead singer of Fleetwood Mac is shrouded in mystique (and in long, flowing garb) that adds to the intrigue behind her gypsy persona. Known as the Queen of Rock n’ Roll, she is famed for her wild and wanton ways, including quite a bit of drug use in her heyday that has since devolved into small amounts of cannabis for that creative spark.

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The petit singer stands just 5’1’’ but she brings a powerful presence to the stage when she performs. During guitar solos, the gold dust woman twirls and dances, making use of her flowy garments to put on quite a show. “The reason I wear the ponchos and the big shawl-y chiffon things,” she explained to Rolling Stone reporter Rob Sheffield, “is because I realized from a very young age, if you were 5 foot 1, and you wanted to make big moves and be seen from a long way away, if you weren’t twirling a baton of fire, you needed something that was gonna make you show up…If you’re gonna dance, you gotta really dance.”

“Nobody had any idea how insidious and dangerous and horrible cocaine was.”

Stevie Nicks

She has a dance she refers to as “the Crackhead Dance,” a slow burn that gradually builds with intensity, reminiscent of the uninhibited dance of souls lost in their own addiction. “It’s me being some of the drug addicts I knew, and probably being myself, too–just being that lost girl on the streets, freaked out with no idea how to find her way,” she reminisced. “When Christine [McVie, fellow vocalist in Fleetwood Mac] saw it, she said, ‘Wow, we’ve always known that ‘Gold Dust Woman’ was about the serious drug days, but this really depicts how frightening it was for all of us and what we were willing to do for it.’ We were dancing on the edge for years,” Nicks mused.

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When Lindsey Met Stevie

Stevie Nicks met Lindsey Buckingham, who would become her future musical and romantic partner, when she was just a senior in high school. At a Young Life youth group meeting, he started playing “California Dreaming” and they clicked, but it wouldn’t be for another two years before they would put their talents to good use–in a psychedelic rock band called Fritz.

Fritz was popular enough that they opened for both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, which Nicks pointed to as a source of inspiration for her own live performances. The band broke up in 1972, but Nicks and Buckingham continued to write songs while Nicks waited tables. It was during this period that she wrote two of her most famous ballads, “Rhiannon” and “Landslide.” She also tried cocaine for the first time.

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Before the ‘Landslide’

Nicks is surprisingly open and honest about her past cocaine use. “It was amazing how when people talked about it, how not a big thing it was,” she marveled. “Nobody was scared. Nobody had any idea how insidious and dangerous and horrible it was.”

Buckingham and Nicks pursued an intimate relationship together, and Nicks ultimately chose to pursue a musical career over an education. This decision caused inner turmoil for Nicks, and it was these complicated emotions, juxtaposed with the beauty and epic majesty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, that inspired the lyrics for “Landslide.”

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“I was definitely doing a whole lot of reflecting when I was up there. Lindsey was on the road with the Everly Brothers and I was very unhappy and very lonely,” she recalled of the uncertain time period. “I realized then that everything could tumble, and when you’re in Colorado, and you’re surrounded by these incredible mountains, you think avalanche. It meant the whole world could tumble down around us and the landslide would bring you down.”

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‘Rumours’ Had It

Within two months, Mick Fleetwood called them both, and the rest is rock n’ roll history. Their first self-titled album was an international success, and “Rhiannon” was eventually voted one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone, but it was Stevie’s live performances that truly began to catch everyone’s eye, along with her soaring voice and eclectic style. Fleetwood later said, “She’s not a person that half cooks anything, so her ‘Rhiannon’ in those days was like an exorcism.”

“When I’m writing, I will allow myself to smoke a little bit of pot. It’s my one little thing that I can do.”

Stevie Nicks

As the band gained commercial success, the relationship between Buckingham and Nicks suffered, and Nicks ended the relationship. The emotional bedlam provided ample material for their next album, Rumours. “It made for some hurtful times,” Buckingham later told VH1. “It made for some times that were definitely rife with anger. And you had to push through, anyway.”

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Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

The second song to be released from Rumours was “Go Your Own Way,” penned by Buckingham. Nicks called “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way” twin songs–the two sides to a complicated and toxic romantic relationship, ultimately resulting in the immense success of the album.

“Even though ‘Go Your Own Way’ was a little angry, it was also honest,” Nicks wrote in the liner notes for the 2013 reissue of Rumours. “So then I wrote ‘Dreams,’ and because I’m the chiffony chick who believes in fairies and angels, and Lindsey is a hardcore guy, it comes out differently. Lindsey is saying go ahead and date other men and go live your crappy life, and [I’m] singing about the rain washing you clean. We were coming at it from opposite angles, but we were really saying the same exact thing.”

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Although the wounds from her split with Buckingham were still fresh, in 1977, Nicks began an affair with Mick Fleetwood, who was married with two children. “I was very much in love with Stevie,” Fleetwood admitted. The affair was short-lived, however, due to the immense guilt Nicks felt. “I was horrified. I loved these people, I loved his family.” The affair ended almost as quickly as it began. “It began, it was, and it was over. Mick will tell you–and I will tell you,” she informed Classic Rock Magazine, “that a lot of the reason our relationship didn’t continue was because we knew it would be the end of Fleetwood Mac.”

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Drugs Take Over

Cocaine use was rampant during the recording of Rumours, so much so that the band seriously considered thanking their cocaine dealer in the album credits. Nicks turned to cocaine for energy to deal with the rigorous demands of a grueling recording and touring schedule, as well as the devastation of continuing to work with her former love. During this period, she explored other musical ventures, including a tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a band she has always admired.

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Her cocaine use, however, was so extreme that she nearly wore a hole in his nose. A plastic surgeon warned her, “You’re going to have a lot of problems with your nose if you don’t stop doing this.” Fearful of damaging her singing voice, Nicks checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic in 1986 and kicked the habit once and for all. She recalled performing with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and feared becoming a casualty of rock history. “I would be very sad if some 25-year-old lady rock and roll singer 10 years from now said, ‘I wish Stevie Nicks would have stopped and thought about it a little more.’ That’s kind of what stopped me and made me really look at the world through clear eyes.”

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Unfortunately, it would not be the end of her struggles with substance abuse. After releasing the album The Other Side of the Mirror, a doctor prescribed her Klonopin, a heavy tranquilizer. “This doctor was a groupie–he just wanted to hear me tell stories about rock and roll. So he kept upping my dose for years,” she recalled. Nicks was heavily medicated with Klonopin for eight years, which left her struggling to write songs and perform. Once again, she checked herself into rehab to kick the habit. “Forty-seven days in rehab to get off Klonopin was way more horrific than 30 days to get off coke,” she shuddered.

Cannabis as a Creative Aid

After all these years, she doesn’t touch cocaine or Klonopin, but she does occasionally use cannabis as a creativity aid. “When I’m writing, I will allow myself to smoke a little bit of pot,” she told Rolling Stone. “It’s my one little thing that I can do. I use it as a tool, and I’m very careful, you know? And I get results. However, if I thought it was going to lead me back to something worse, I’d stop.” She’s finally happy and healthy and performing with Fleetwood Mac, with the exact same lineup they had way back in 1975. “It’s always intense to look back, but it’s always good to remember who you were and what it was like, then. It makes me remember how beautiful and frightening it all was.”

DEA Chief Repeats Claim That ‘Marijuana Is Not Medicine’

Marijuana is not medicine.”

That’s according to Chuck Rosenberg, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s acting chief, who made the comment Thursday during a speech at the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit hospital in Ohio.

The sentiment is nothing new from Rosenberg, who’s been at the helm of the DEA since 2015. Under then-President Obama, he famously called medical marijuana “a joke.” But in light of recent anti-cannabis comments from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other members of the Trump administration, it could be yet another cause for concern among cannabis patients.

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“If it turns out that there is something in smoked marijuana that helps people, that’s awesome,” Rosenberg said in Ohio on Thursday. “I will be the last person to stand in the way of that. … But let’s run it through the Food and Drug Administration process, and let’s stick to the science on it.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Rosenberg did acknowledge that some studies that show cannabis may offer medical benefits to children with epilepsy, and he reiterated that the DEA takes recommendations about how to classify drugs from the FDA.

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The problem, of course, is that cannabis continues to be classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, categorized alongside drugs such as heroin and LSD. That means considerable regulatory red tape for researchers trying to actually study the plant and its health effects. Even when scientists do secure federal approval to conduct research, the government-grown cannabis used in clinical trials is of significantly worse quality than cannabis in legal markets. PBS Newshour described one sample as “green talcum powder.”

Another Cleveland Clinic speaker, former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, echoed the call for more medical marijuana research in the US, adding that public policy shouldn’t be made on “guesswork.”

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“Should we be reducing the administrative and other barriers to researching that in the government? A hundred percent,” he said. “But what we should not do is make policies based on guesswork. When we do that, what we do is put people at risk.”

Murthy also said that problem drug use in young people can spiral out of control.

“When you develop a substance use disorder at a young age, it actually increases the likelihood of you developing an addiction to other substances,” he said. “So in that sense addiction to marijuana or any substance, including nicotine, during adolescence and young adulthood when the brain is developing is very concerning.”

While more research is essential for better understanding how cannabis affects the human body and how it might address various illnesses, available evidence suggests that, in adults, cannabis may actually curb some types of drug use. Last month the National Institute on Drug Abuse updated its website titled “Is marijuana safe and effective as medicine?” to note that three recent studies—two of which it funded—suggest cannabis could help reduce opioid use in pain patients.

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“Though none of these studies are definitive, they cumulatively suggest that medical marijuana products may have a role in reducing the use of opioids needed to control pain,” the NIDA website says. “More research is needed to investigate this possibility.”

Trash Talk: 4/20 Organizers Forced to Step Up Their Garbage Game

Early in the morning after the massive 4/20 rally in Toronto last month, organizer Chris Goodwin drove past the public square where the rally had taken place. He liked what he saw.

“The square looked like we had never been there,” he says. “That is what we wanted — clean in, clean out with no damage to anything.”

That’s not the rule in every city. Last week Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration declared that the organizers of this year’s 4/20 rally would not be issued permits for the event for at least three years. The reason? Trash, among other things.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.05.02 AM(Denver Post)

After this year’s rally in Civic Center Park, which featured a concert by 2 Chainz, mounds of trash remained in the park the following morning. “Leaving the trash overnight in the park, even if bagged, is not effective or timely removal of trash from the park,” city officials wrote in an 11-page letter to event organizers.

Rob Corry, general counsel for the group organizing the event, told the Denver Post that the event permit allowed the group to continue the cleanup through the following day, and “we leave the park cleaner than we received it.”

It may be an issue of when that cleanup was done. Timeliness and public perception matter. On April 21, the Post ran a headline (“Who trashed Civic Center Park? Denver wakes up to a sea of garbage, but organizers say park was cleaned after 4/20 rally”) over a story that included photos of boxes, newspapers, packing peanuts, and discarded banners strewn about Civic Center Park.

Meanwhile, Up North…

In Toronto and Vancouver, there were few complaints about garbage removal after 4/20. What made the difference? In part, budgeting and planning.

The 4/20 rally in Toronto is a major event. Thousands jam the square to enjoy live performances, visit booths selling everything from T-shirts to paraphernalia or grab a bite to eat at one of the many food trucks nearby. Organizer Chris Goodwin tends to every detail of the event — and takes steps to ensure there is no messy fallout. He says he spent about $5,000, approximately 10 percent of the event’s total budget, on garbage cleanup.

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As required by the city, he paid a crew affiliated with the local Business Improvement Association (BIA) to circle the area surrounding the square, two or three blocks away from it, and pick up garbage left by people leaving the rally.

He also bought a hundred industrial-sized garbage bins and spread them out across the square. “But no matter how well you manage the situation, no matter how many times you empty the bins, there is still going to be trash on the ground,” he says, speaking from experience. So additional steps have to be taken.

At the end of the festivities this year, Goodwin cut the zip ties holding up a 30-foot banner and, with the help of five others, walked through the square with the banner fully extended, prodding stragglers to leave the area the way a cowcatcher at the front of a train clears the track of obstructions.

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When the square was empty, 20 employees of a private cleaning company Goodwin had hired sprang into action. They swept back and forth across the square with giant shovels, clearing the garbage like a snowplow clearing Toronto streets in winter. There was nary a complaint from city officials.

What’s the key to effective garbage management at 4/20 rallies? It’s simple, says Goodwin. “The key is to stop relying on volunteers because they’re not accountable. They just leave when they’re tired,” he says. “I notice that some rally organizers have been recruiting volunteers by offering incentives such as free marijuana or T-shirts. I don’t do that. I just hire professionals to do the job.”

Vancouver: 35,000 People, 5,000 lbs. of Trash

Vancouver 4/20 organizer Dana Larsen recruited volunteers to clean up the trash at this year’s event at Sunset Beach. “We had about a dozen people collecting garbage during the event but we were still cleaning up at 3 a.m. and many of the volunteers had gone home by then,” says Larsen, who was still in his official rally attire, a three-piece suit, at that point. “Those of us who were left had to drag the trash to the top of a hill for the sanitation trucks to collect it — and that was taxing.”

Larsen and his volunteers even made the trash cleanup a feature of their Twitter feeds that day.

In subsequent days, there was a public hue and cry about damage to grass; much of the park’s turf had turned to mud during the rain-drenched rally, and park officials said the area would have to be closed for five weeks to recover. Larsen offered to have his organization pay to have the area re-seeded, and park officials agreed.

Despite their anger over the turf, however, officials commended organizers on trash management. Howard Normann, director of parks, said he was pleased to find that most garbage — almost 5,000 lbs. of it — had been picked up by volunteers. “Generally, it’s looking pretty good this year compared to last year,” he told the CBC. “I’m quite pleased with the lack of garbage.”

Nonetheless, Larsen now believes there is a better way to get the job done. “It’s surprising how much garbage people can generate. We’re going to hire a professional crew to take care of it next year,” he says. “We’re learning more as we go.”

Microdosing With Cannabis: Benefits Without the Buzz

In the midst of a potency obsessed market where high-THC marks mean everything, there is a growing community of cannabis advocates that are pushing for less consumption as opposed to more. This tactic is called “microdosing,” a growing trend as cannabis consumption becomes more mainstream.

What Is Microdosing?

Practitioners of microdosing are taking small amounts of cannabis in order to reap the medical benefits of THC while avoiding its psychoactive effects that can interfere with the demands of daily life.

“Microdosing is something that is very personal. There is no magic bullet for all patients; it is different for each one.”

Michelle Ross, Founder of IMPACT Network

“Most people don’t know about microdosing,” says Michelle Ross, founder of IMPACT network, a nonprofit organization that uses empirical medical research to find new cannabis-related treatments for patients. “They just blast their system with cannabis or high amounts of THC, and that is not always the best approach for whatever condition they have.”

While microdosing has typically been associated with hallucinogens like LSD, many experts now believe that the threshold for the medical benefits of THC is far lower than many people think.

And sometimes, too much of a good thing can quickly turn disastrous.

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“When you raise the dose sometimes you get diminished benefits, and sometimes you get the opposite of what you are looking for,” says Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic physician based in Maine who treats many of his patients with small doses of cannabis. For example, while a little cannabis can help reduce anxiety, too much can actually cause it.

What Medical Conditions Lend Themselves to Microdosing With Cannabis?

According to Sulak, patients are now turning to microdosing in order to treat conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, pain, and to help improve focus and promote sleep.

While a substantial amount of empirical evidence is still lacking, there is some clinical research suggesting that less is in fact more when it comes to medicinal cannabis.

In a 2012 study, for example, patients with advanced cancer who were unresponsive to traditional opioid painkillers were given nabiximols, a THC/CBD compound, at low, medium, and high doses. Patients who received the lowest dosage of cannabinoids showed the greatest reduction in pain, while those receiving higher doses actually experienced more pain.

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In another study, a group of incarcerated individuals were given low (four milligram) doses of Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, to help treat their posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated symptoms. The results, published in 2014, showed significant improvements in PTSD-associated insomnia, nightmares, general symptoms, and even chronic pain.

Sulak also points out that cannabis can be effective for helping to control other chronic conditions. “If I see someone with multiple sclerosis who is in the middle of a flare-up and having a really hard time, she may need a higher dose to get the symptoms under control,” he says. “But as she gets well and heals, her daily dose will go down and down and down, until the point where microdosing becomes a maintenance plan.”

Indeed, Ross takes several small doses of cannabis each day to help manage her own persistent health issues.

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“I have a lot of chronic health problems including neuropathy and fibromyalgia, and cannabis has been the only thing that has enabled me to surmount them,” she says.

Sulak has also found that microdosing is beneficial on a daily basis, adding, “I find that a sub-psychoactive dose of cannabis helps me stay healthy, reduce stress, and stay sharp and focused at work.”

What Is the Optimal Dosage for Microdosing Cannabis?

The short answer is, it depends. There is tremendous variance in the amount of THC that will result in feeling high. This can be affected by individual differences in liver metabolism, genetics of cannabinoid receptors, and previous usage, to name a few.

“The goal is to use the dose that gives the most minimal noticeable effect,”

Dustin Sulak, Osteopathic physician

“Microdosing is something that is very personal,” says Ross. “There is no magic bullet for all patients; it is different for each one. So keep experimenting until you find the dose that works for you.”

Ross generally recommends that first time microdosers start off at 2.5 milligrams, maintain that level for approximately three days, and increase if necessary. But that can sometimes be difficult.

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“In Colorado we have a saying: start low and go slow. But the lowest dosage that they start off with for consumers is 10 milligrams and I think that is already too high.”

Meanwhile, Sulak advocates starting at even lower doses, and has created a step-by-step guide to microdosing for both experienced and novice consumers.

For those using cannabis regularly, Sulak recommends an initial 48-hour period of abstinence, which he believes is enough time to reset the endocannabinoid system. While this might seem like a relatively brief window after years of usage, a brain imaging study published last year tracked the number of cannabinoid receptors during a period of abstinence from cannabis. The results indicated that even in heavy smokers, the receptors bounced back to baseline levels after just two days.

After this neural cleansing, micro hopefuls should gradually reintroduce cannabis into their system, starting with just one milligram.

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“The goal is to use the dose that gives the most minimal noticeable effect,” says Sulak. “You are not trying to get stoned, you are not trying to get total relief from symptoms–you are just trying to get a little something. And then once you get to that dose where you feel a little something, stay there for a few days and then you can start gradually increasing if needed. And that typically falls somewhere between one and three milligrams per dose.”

Sulak has also noticed that the use of lower doses can actually lead to increased sensitivity to cannabis over time, thus underscoring the importance of staying at low levels for the first few days of microdosing. While this is merely observational, Sulak notes that tests on animals suggest that low-level doses of THC can result in an upregulation of the endocannabinoid system (for endocannabinoid production as well as expression of its receptors).

“If you are building tolerance to THC, you are building tolerance to your body’s own cannabinoids, which are there for the purpose of promoting balance and health,” says Sulak. “So having a highly sensitive endocannabinoid system is extremely valuable for responding to illness, injury, and stress, and people can achieve that with low doses of cannabis.”

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For those who are using cannabis irregularly or for the first time, Sulak suggests one milligram of THC combined with one milligram of CBD and gradually increasing the dosage (while maintaining the 1:1 ratio) until they feel something, then stay at that level for four days.

“Everyone is going to get to the point where they increase their dosage and it will not work as well as it did before,” he says. “And that means they have passed their optimal dose. That optimal dose is different for everyone. Finding it means going past it.”

What Is the Best Way to Microdose Cannabis?

There are numerous methods available for microdosing cannabis, but some may be more effective than others. Smoking or vaping is one option. Using this approach, Sulak recommends that cannabis minimalists take just one puff, wait five minutes to feel any effects, and then take another if necessary. Yet, precisely controlling the amount of THC in your system using this approach can be difficult.

“We need to change our relationship with cannabis from something that we use for recreation or to treat severe symptoms to something that we use to stay healthy, like we would a multivitamin.”

Dustin Sulak

Instead, many experts recommend products such as tinctures, oils, or edibles that allow users to more accurately control the dosage. When it comes to edibles, however, users should exercise caution. Untested edibles are especially unreliable in their ability to deliver a low dose of THC.

“Imagine cutting a brownie that has 100 milligrams of THC into portions and trying to eyeball 2.5mg—that’s not going to work,” says Ross. “And most edibles are not consistent in their dosage in that range.”

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However, there are now a number of products on the market that lend themselves to microdosing. For example, KIVA Confections, a California based company, offers a variety of mints and chocolates with THC concentrations starting at 2.5 milligrams that are suitable for microdosing. Yet, it can take over an hour to feel the effects of some edibles. For those seeking immediate relief, an alternative is THC-infused tea, such as products from Stillwater, which can calm the nerves after just 10 minutes.

Ross also notes that products like these can be a good option for first-time consumers. “If you are given a product that is 2.5 milligrams, you are much less likely to have a bad experience. So I think microdosing is really the best way to introduce new people to cannabis.”

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Should CBD Also Be Used to Microdose?

While microdosing generally refers to THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, it can be beneficial to add an equal ratio of CBD as well.

“When we add CBD to THC we tend to get a wider therapeutic window, which means we are less likely to see side effects of THC and more likely to see benefits,” says Sulak.

Yet, it’s important to note that doubling the amount of cannabinoids for each dose can be financially crippling, because CBD is very expensive. Sulak also mentions that for some people, CBD acts as a mental stimulant and should be avoided in the evening prior to bedtime.

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While many have already started to benefit from the wonders of THC frugality, many challenges still remain.

“There are still not enough low-dose products on the market. I would definitely like to see a wider range,” says Ross. “I feel like every dispensary should be carrying these [products].”

Meanwhile, Sulak believes that the greatest roadblock to microdosing is societal. “We need to change our relationship with cannabis from something that we use for recreation or to treat severe symptoms to something that we use to stay healthy, like we would a multivitamin,” he says.

For many, it may be difficult to cut back as cannabis has become widely available. But for those seeking to remain sharp, calm, and collected, you may want to think twice before taking that extra hit because the new buzz is, in fact, no buzz.

Are Cannabis Clubs Coming to Oregon? The Proposed Bill Sounds Promising

An Oregon Senate bill could bring cannabis clubs to the state, giving locals and tourists alike a legal place to consume in a social setting outside their own homes.

“The same way as Oregon and our City celebrate our craft beer and wine industry, Portland welcomes and wants to provide opportunities for our emerging craft cannabis industry.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly , Letter to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation

Senate Bill 307 would allow state-licensed lounges to permit cannabis consumption among adults 21 and older, provided the city or county has not banned cannabis establishments.

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If approved, the bill would also allow “consumption and sale of marijuana items at temporary events,” according to the text from the bill.

Consumption and sale of alcohol beverages and tobacco products on the licensed premises would be prohibited, along with the use of video lottery games. Would-be club operators would need to apply for a state license and pay associated fees.

The measure has a number of noteworthy backers, especially in the Portland area. Portland Mayor Tex Wheeler and City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly have released a joint statement in support of SB 307.

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“Since Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 91 in 2014 legalizing and regulating cannabis, there have been questions about where cannabis can be consumed if consumers can’t (or don’t have the desire to) consume it at home,” the statement says. “Consuming cannabis in public, such as on a sidewalk or in a parking lot, is not legal.”

The statement also highlights the problems tourists face when visiting the Beaver State:

“Visitors to our state may also find themselves in a regulatory conundrum: while they may be able to legally purchase cannabis here in Oregon, they may not have a legal, regulated, and safe place to consume it. The same way as Oregon and our City celebrate our craft beer and wine industry, Portland welcomes and wants to provide opportunities for our emerging craft cannabis industry. SB 307 would provide the regulatory framework for tourists to enjoy the products from Oregon’s growing craft cannabis industry legally and safely, outside of the home and outside of public view.”

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Portland Trail Blazers' Cliff Robinson drives past Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan during game in Chicago, December 5, 1992. Jordan played after sitting out one game with an injured foot. (AP Photo/Fred Jewell)Portland Trail Blazers’ Cliff Robinson drives past Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan during game in Chicago, December 5, 1992. Jordan played after sitting out one game with an injured foot. (AP Photo/Fred Jewell)

Joining forces with the Mayor and city commissioner was Portland Trailblazer great Cliff Robinson, who himself owns a cannabis brand, Uncle Cliffy. Robinson wrote an open a letter advocating for SB 307, emphasizing the racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests and citing Seattle arrest rates:

“A study of Seattle police enforcement’s arrest of public cannabis consumption found that African Americans made up 36 percent of those arrests, while only comprising eight percent of the city’s population. Studies have shown that marijuana is used at the same rate across all races, so these arrest statistics are very troubling.”

The next steps for the bill are unclear at this time, as it is reportedly not scheduled for a hearing or work session. Nevertheless, the Oregonian notes that the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation in Oregon does not “adhere to the same deadlines as other policy committees,” meaning the bill still has a chance to become law.

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Backers of Cannabis Legalization Hope for Compromise in Vermont

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Supporters of a bill vetoed by Republican Gov. Phil Scott that would have legalized marijuana in Vermont said Thursday that they are hopeful that a compromise on the legislation can be reached next month, but lawmakers aren’t so confident.

On Wednesday, Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the bill, saying he was sending it back to the Legislature with recommendations for changes, such as more aggressive penalties for smoking cannabis while driving or in the presence of children and clearer and tougher penalties for selling and dispensing marijuana to minors.

“There’s no reason that we couldn’t come to an agreement with the governor next January that would still be effective July 1, 2018.”

Sen. Richard Sears, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman

Eight other states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational marijuana. All did it through a referendum. Vermont’s bill would have legalized possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis for adults.

“There’s an opportunity to get this done this summer and have Vermont be the first state to do this legislatively,” said Matt Simon of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

Democratic Sen. Richard Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he reviewed the governor’s suggestions and there were a few issues legislators would agree with and a few that would require more examination. However, he questioned whether a compromise could be reached during a one- or two-day veto session in June if House Republicans aren’t willing to suspend the legislative rules to allow legislation to move more quickly.

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“There’s no reason that we couldn’t come to an agreement with the governor next January that would still be effective July 1, 2018,” Sears said.

House Republican Leader Don Turner has said GOP representatives support the veto and he sees no reason to expedite or circumvent the legislative process by suspending the legislative rules.

The governor’s spokeswoman said a rules suspension is not required for lawmakers to stay and work on a compromise.

Scott noted Wednesday that he doesn’t believe marijuana legislation is the highest priority in the state.

“There’s nothing that says we have to do this,” he said.

Australia’s First Med School Course on Cannabis to Launch in Victoria

Victoria’s Deakin University is on track to offer Australia’s first-ever medical school course on cannabis in light of a recent announcement by Cann10, an Israeli cannabis start-up accelerator that will deliver the new course.

Dubbed the Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program, the eight-week program aims to give students an overview of the cannabis plant, its medical applications, and the industry developing around it. You won’t get a degree at the end of it, but participants will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment.

If you’re keen, classes start in August.

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The course is based on programs Cann10 has run in Israel and the United States, which have a strong commercial focus. According to the company, the program will “provide a comprehensive approach to cannabis education including historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, commercial, chemical and agricultural aspects.”

Botany, agriculture, cultivation, clinical science, manufacturing, and R&D will also be addressed during the intensive program.

Deakin University School of Medicine Dean Jon Watson endorsed the program while at the same time acknowledging that some have been surprised at the new offering.

“This is very unusual,” he said, “but also fit for purpose.”

Cann10 says it has recruited prominent figures from the cannabis industry in Australia and around the world to deliver lectures. Speakers include Peter Crock, the CEO of Australian Cann Group Ltd, which was the first company to be granted a commercial cultivation licence for medical cannabis; Phil Warner, managing director of Ecofibre; director of Zelda Therapeutics Mara Gordon, as well as a number of respected academics and researchers.

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The hope is that participants will graduate with knowledge of the industry “as well as practical tools to help build their commercial and scientific projects.” Participants are also encouraged to network with the aim of accelerating growth in an industry still prone to dramatic regulatory shifts.

With a price tag of $6,200 (USD $4,600) before tax, the program isn’t cheap. It will run in partnership with the Deakin’s new commercial arm, DeakinCo.

Deakin University has a mixed history with medical cannabis. In 2015, academics from the university published a groundbreaking paper exploring the potential for cannabis to treat obesity. But the same year, a clinical lecturer at Deakin, Dr. Michael Vagg, wrote critically about medical cannabis. “Simply put,” he wrote disparagingly, “THC-derived products are about as useful as paracetamol [acetominophen] for pain.”

In 2016 the university published a debate article on its content site, This, which reductively described medicinal cannabis as “using illegal substances to treat medical conditions.”

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The announcement that Deakin will partner with Cann10 to deliver the Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program indicates a shift in the university’s messaging.

Deakin isn’t the only university in Australia hoping to capitalize on commercial cannabis. In October 2016, Sydney University hosted Seedlings, an event that brought together entrepreneurs, patients, doctors, and researchers to hear cannabis start-up pitches and brainstorm the future of the medical cannabis industry. Smaller institutions such as the Cannabis Training University are also positioning themselves to take advantage of the trend, offering what’s billed as a Master of Marijuana Certification for $199.

PTSD, Insomnia, and Cannabis: What’s the Evidence Say?

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), psychotherapy and sleep aid medications are the most common first-line treatments for solving PTSD-related insomnia. Beyond making sufferers sleepy and irritable the next day, chronic insomnia is associated with serious long-term health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Medical marijuana is a particularly popular option for veterans who don’t want the side effects of the pharmaceutical suggestions most often used, such as sedatives like zolpidem or other drugs like clonazepam and trazodone.

Some research suggests people using medical marijuana may fall asleep easier and sleep longer.

Beyond anecdotal evidence from medical marijuana advocates who are military veterans, scientific research suggests that medical cannabis may be a promising option for treating insomnia.

Though more research is needed, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the global pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis funded a study that showed consuming THC enabled subjects to fall asleep easier and more quickly.

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Other research has been similarly suggestive that medical marijuana may help people have an easier time falling asleep and sleep longer and better, helping facilitate deep sleep, which in turn is thought to play a vital role in the natural bodily restoration process.

To hear more about PTSD, insomnia, and medical cannabis, listen to the third episode in the Zana/Leafly insomnia podcast, “Eyes Wide Open.”

Listen to “Zana HealthLab” on Spreaker.

PTSD as a Qualifying Condition

While the VA says more scientific research on PTSD and medical marijuana is needed, the anecdotal evidence is strong.

Amanda Berard, a military veteran from Texas, wrote about PTSD and medical marijuana for her master’s thesis in nursing at the University of North Texas. The sexual assault Berard experienced in the Army at age 19 led to PTSD that she says led to depression and hypervigilance. In Texas, her condition is typically treated with pharmaceuticals.

“You’re given a cocktail of medication,” Berard explained in a February 2017 interview with San Antonio’s KENS5 news. “A cocktail of pharmaceutical pills. I have five or six different medications that I’m supposed to take. The prescriptions, I feel, are like a Band-Aid solution.”

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Berard is now an advocate with the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Like other veterans, Berard is working to try to raise awareness of the many lives that might be transformed for the better if medical marijuana were an option for veterans in all states. That’s available to veterans in many legal MMJ states—but not all. Some states do not include PTSD on their list of qualifying conditions. Berard fought to advance a medical marijuana bill in the Texas state legislature this past spring, but the bill ultimately died in mid-May.

Other states have been more progressive, although it hasn’t been without a fight. (Surprisingly, one state you’d assume would have PTSD as a qualifying condition years ago — Colorado — is only now on the verge of adding it.) PTSD is now a qualifying condition in most other jurisdictions where medical cannabis is legal.

And, that’s certainly good news for vets who find cannabis is not only more effective than prescription treatments, but safer and less addictive.