La Salud Mental y El Cannabis: La demencia.

¿Se puede tratar la demencia con cannabis?

Se diagnostica un nuevo caso de demencia cada tres segundos.

Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, la demencia es un síndrome demasiado común que no es una parte normal del envejecimiento. La OMS informa que 47 millones de personas en el mundo sufren de demencia a partir del 2015. De ellas, el 63% viven en países de ingresos medios a bajos. La OMS espera que este número aumente al 71% para 2050.

La demencia es un término que describe los síntomas de una pérdida en funciones específicas del cuerpo: comunicación, rendimiento diario y memoria. El síndrome, no una enfermedad, se asocia más comúnmente con los ancianos, y su probabilidad aumenta a medida que una persona envejece.

Si bien algunos combinan la demencia con la enfermedad de Alzheimer, es importante tener en cuenta la distinción de que la enfermedad de Alzheimer es una enfermedad específica agrupada bajo la demencia.

El daño causado por la demencia a menudo se extiende más allá del paciente y en la vida de sus familiares. Si bien intentamos contactar a las familias afectadas por la demencia, ninguno pudo proporcionar a High Times sus cuentas personales. Sin embargo, un blog personal publicó la historia de su familia, describiendo algunas de las decisiones difíciles que una familia podría tener que tomar con respecto a sus seres queridos.

“Cuando el Alzheimer de mamá progresó hasta el punto de que se volvió combativa y la higiene personal se convirtió en un problema, mi hermano planeó llevarla a un hogar de ancianos, pero dejé mi trabajo para cuidarla. La mudé a Portland conmigo y me hice cargo de su cuidado, para centrarme en la calidad de su vida restante ”, dice la publicación.

La cuenta pasó a enumerar los numerosos medicamentos que tomaba la madre del escritor antes de cambiar al cannabis. Incluyeron cinco medicamentos de venta libre y tres inhaladores, así como medicamentos para el asma, convulsiones, alergias y otras dolencias.

Además de los blogs personales, el tratamiento de la demencia con cannabis atrajo la atención nacional, es el caso de la familia Spier. Alexander Spier, el patriarca de la familia, fue un sobreviviente del Holocausto que se convirtió en propietario de negocios en los Estados Unidos. Los dos años previos a su muerte por afecciones relacionadas con el Alzheimer en 2017 fueron, previsiblemente, dolorosos para él y su familia, e involucraron episodios como abandonar su hogar de ancianos dos veces, lo que requirió que la familia de Spier lo trasladara a Florida a un centro de atención dedicado.

Hoy, la familia opera la Spier Family Foundation, que ofrece apoyo a varios hospitales y sus esfuerzos de investigación médica.

El Dr. Rahul Khare es un médico que trabaja en estos esfuerzos. El fundador y CEO de Innovative Express Care & Innovative Ketamine Care dijo que su trabajo incluye el estudio de los usos terapéuticos del cannabis medicinal y el CBD para varias afecciones mentales y físicas.

El médico con sede en Chicago ha utilizado CBD, THC y otros compuestos en el perfil de la planta para abordar los síntomas y afecciones de los pacientes. Dijo que el cannabis puede ser más adecuado para tratar el comportamiento agresivo de un paciente. El Dr. Khare explicó que, tradicionalmente, un paciente recibiría una benzodiazepina, como Ativan o Valium, para abordar dicho comportamiento. El resultado final es una persona que está fuera de servicio durante cuatro a seis horas.

En cambio, el médico recomienda una tintura de cannabis en las encías o un aerosol nasal. “Es mucho más probable que los pacientes cumplan con el consumo de cannabis debido al perfil de efectos secundarios más bajo que otras drogas en el manejo de estos síntomas agresivos de demencia”, explicó el Dr. Khare.

En febrero de 2019, un aerosol oral de THC / CBD mencionado por el Dr. Khare, Sativex, fue parte del primer ensayo importante para determinar los efectos del cannabis en pacientes con demencia. El medicamento había sido aprobado previamente para pacientes con esclerosis múltiple.

Otros creen que el cannabis puede ser una opción de tratamiento en los casos en que se requieren drogas si otros métodos no producen resultados. El Dr. Krista Lanctôt es profesor de la Universidad de Toronto y científico principal del Programa de Investigación de Ciencias del Cerebro Hurvitz en el Centro de Ciencias de la Salud Sunnybrook. En julio de 2018, escribió cómo los problemas de agitación deberían tratarse primero con soluciones no farmacológicas, aunque algunas afecciones requieren medicamentos, incluido el cannabis. El Dr. Lanctôt pasó a comparar soluciones médicas estándar y cannabinoides.

Ella escribió: “De hecho, los medicamentos que tienden a ser los más efectivos a veces pueden provocar un derrame cerebral o incluso la muerte. Los cannabinoides, por otro lado, interactúan con el cuerpo de manera diferente, lo que significa que podrían ser más seguros y más efectivos en general para alguien que experimenta agitación “.

El médico agregó: “Algunos de [los] efectos [del cannabis] incluso se cree que ayudan a reducir la muerte de las células cerebrales”.

Si bien no es suficiente para probar más allá de una duda, los estudios a lo largo de los años han concluido que el cannabis tiene el potencial de ayudar a abordar muchos efectos secundarios adversos provocados por la demencia. Esto incluye un estudio abierto de 2019 que descubrió que el cannabis puede mejorar el comportamiento de los pacientes con demencia. Un estudio abierto de 2016 también encontró que los síntomas del cannabis “disminuyeron significativamente”, incluidos los delirios, la agresión, la irritabilidad, el sueño y la apatía, lo que también resulta en niveles más bajos de angustia para el cuidador.

A pesar de los hallazgos de los estudios individuales, no se puede establecer una asociación positiva entre el cannabis y el tratamiento de la demencia en este momento. Mientras que algunos médicos como el Dr. Khare creen que el CBD puede ayudar a calmar a un paciente, y el THC puede actuar como un sedante rápido, otros se preocupan por la cognición general del paciente. El científico asociado del Centro de Ciencias de la Salud Sunnybrook en Toronto, Dr. Nathan Herrmann, fue uno de los que pensó esto. “Hay buenas razones para preocuparse de que los cannabinoides puedan empeorar la función cognitiva, ya sea por efectos directos o por la sedación excesiva”, dijo una vez.

El Dr. Herrmann y su equipo citaron la falta de estudios, muchos de los cuales señalaron pocos o ningún efecto positivo. Los investigadores tenían como objetivo proporcionar mayor claridad con un análisis propio. Los hallazgos de su primer ensayo clínico con cannabinoides sintéticos como tratamiento para el Alzheimer se publicaron en julio de 2018. Los resultados indicaron que el medicamento Nabilone puede ayudar a mejorar los síntomas de un paciente. El equipo espera llevar a cabo un estudio más extenso para confirmar sus conclusiones sobre la agitación mientras determina si Nabilone puede mejorar el apetito de los pacientes y disminuir los niveles de dolor.

Como siempre, consulte con un profesional médico antes de tratar la demencia o cualquier afección relacionada con el cannabis.

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House of Representatives Passes SAFE Banking Act

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve a bill that would allow legal cannabis businesses access to the nation’s banking system. The measure, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, was passed with a House floor vote by a margin of 321 to 103.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing banks that choose to serve cannabis firms doing business in accordance with state law. Under current regulations, banks are subject to penalties under federal money laundering and other laws for servicing such companies, leaving the cannabis industry to operate in a risky environment heavy in cash.

Activists Laud House Vote

Justin Strekal, the political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), noted the historical significance of Wednesday’s vote in the House.

“For the first time ever, a supermajority of the House voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization.”

Steve Hawkins, the executive director of cannabis policy reform group the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that passage of the bill will result in greater opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking licensure under state and local social equity programs.

“It is important to recognize that the SAFE Banking Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, would strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of the cannabis industry,” he said.

“Many states that have legalized cannabis for adults have launched efforts to ensure that there are economic opportunities for communities of color that have been most severely impacted by marijuana prohibition,” Hawkins added. “Access to capital remains an obstacle to this goal, and the SAFE Banking Act would help to address this problem.”

Senate Action Needed Next

In the Senate, a companion bill (S. 1200) was introduced by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in April and now has 33 cosponsors. Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, called on senators to follow the House’s lead.

“Now, it’s time for the Senate to take swift action to approve the SAFE Banking Act so that this commonsense legislation can make its way to the President’s desk,” said Smith. “This bipartisan legislation is vital to protecting public safety, fostering transparency, and leveling the playing field for small businesses in the growing number of states with successful cannabis programs.”

Neal Levine, the CEO of industry group the Cannabis Trade Federation, called on lawmakers to quickly pass the bill into law.

“This is a serious public safety matter that needs to be addressed by Congress this session,” Levine said. “It is only going to grow in urgency and magnitude as states continue to roll back cannabis prohibition policies. Enacting the SAFE Banking Act would greatly bolster states’ efforts to promote safety, regulatory compliance, and equity within the cannabis industry. Cannabis-related companies are lawfully operating in states around the country, and they deserve the same access to banking that is afforded to every other type of lawful business.”

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Governor of Pennsylvania Asks Legislators To Consider Legalizing Recreational Cannabis

Tom Wolf, the Governor of Pennsylvania, now numbers himself among Pennsylvanians who stand in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis. It took some time for Gov. Wolf to come around to this position, and the efforts of his Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, are largely to thank for evolution on the issue of legal marijuana.

On Wednesday, Wolf held a press conference announcing his office’s publication of the report on Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s statewide cannabis listening tour. That report showed significant majority support for recreational legalization among those who attended listening tour events, as well as residents who weighed in online. As a result, Gov. Wolf said that he now supports legislative efforts to make recreational cannabis use legal. And he’s calling on lawmakers to draft a bill that puts criminal justice reforms at the heart of the state’s plan to legalize weed.

Listening Tour Report Persuades Gov. Wolf to Support Recreational Legalization

Public officials in Pennsylvania began 2019 with some serious momentum toward legalizing recreational cannabis. In addition to an early 2019 poll placing pro-legalizing support at 59 percent among Pennsylvania voters and an overwhelming show of support for legalization among attendees of Fetterman’s listening tour events—with one county offering unanimous support—Pennsylvania senators introduced a bill in March, SB 350, to legalize adult cannabis use.

That bill included many provisions to address disparities in cannabis law enforcement and earmark tax revenue for schools and other public services. Specifically, SB 350 would have not just expunged criminal records for non-violent cannabis convictions and halt any pending marijuana cases, it also would have commuted the sentence of anyone currently behind bars for misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

At the time, however, Gov. Tom Wolf had signaled only that he supported taking a closer look at recreational legalization. He did not yet have a clear stance on the issue. Even while hesitant to embrace full legalization, however, Gov. Wolf still championed marijuana policy reform. Beyond his long-time support for decriminalizing marijuana, Wolf signed the state’s 2016 medical marijuana bill into law, and this summer his administration oversaw a significant expansion to the state’s medical cannabis program. But it was Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s report on his statewide tour that ultimately persuaded the Gov. Wolf to endorse recreational.

Gov. Wolf Gives Legislators Three Recommendations for New Legal Weed Bill

Tweeting after a Wednesday press conference, Gov. Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to implement three key recommendations in any new cannabis-related legislation. The three recommendations stem directly from Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s report. First, Wolf wants lawmakers to draft a bill to decriminalize low-level cannabis offenses, a position he has himself long held. Beyond that, Wolf wants lawmakers to pass a bill to expunge past convictions of minor cannabis-related crimes. And finally, Wolf wants legislators to have a serious debate over the issue of legal recreational cannabis. Should lawmakers side with legalization, Wolf signaled Wednesday that he would sign such a bill.

It’s so far unclear whether Wolf would support a bill that would commute the sentences of those currently serving time for marijuana offenses, as SB 350 proposed this past March. But during the Wednesday press conference, Gov. Wolf reminded Pennsylvanians that expedited pardons for low-level marijuana convictions are already available from the governor’s office. In other words, those with cannabis-related criminal records don’t have to wait for lawmakers to pass an expungement bill.

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Massachusetts Issues Emergency Ban On Vaping Products

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts issued an emergency order on Tuesday that bans all vaping products in the state. The governor’s move comes as he declared a public health emergency with the ongoing rash of serious lung illnesses that have been linked to vaping.

The ban was swiftly approved by the Massachusetts Public Health Council on Tuesday and went into effect immediately. The prohibition on vape products is currently scheduled to end on January 25 of next year, although it could be extended by Baker or the council.

Baker said at a press conference at the State House on Tuesday that a meeting with healthcare professionals last week prompted him to act, saying he found their experiences with the crisis “deeply troubling.”

“One of the experts said that, ‘We don’t have time to wait. People are getting sick and the time to act is now.’ I couldn’t agree more,” Baker said.

Dr. Alicia Casey, a pediatric pulmonologist at Boston Children’s Hospital who appeared at the press conference with the governor, said that some of the hospitalized teens she has been treating required ventilators to survive and could have permanent lung damage.

“I can assure you that these products are not safe,” Casey said. “This ban is a critical and necessary step to combating this epidemic of youth vaping.”

Ban Widely Criticized

Baker’s action is already being criticized by small business owners, the state’s nascent cannabis industry, and even state regulators, who note that it is mostly unlicensed cannabis products that have been implicated in the lung illnesses. Shaleen Title, a member of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, blasted the move by Baker.

“This is a terrible decision,” Title wrote in a tweet. “Purposely pushing people into the illicit market—precisely where the dangerous products are—goes against every principle of public health and harm reduction. It is dangerous, short-sighted, and undermines the benefits of legal regulation.”

The Washington, D.C.-based industry group the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF) also disagreed with the ban, saying that “media reports suggest that unregulated products containing THC may be a primary source of the epidemic.”

“While we share Gov. Baker’s concern for public safety and his desire to address the epidemic of lung illnesses, we are fearful of the unintended consequences of a ban on the sale of state-regulated cannabis products used in vaporization devices,” said CTF in a statement on the ban. “By banning cannabis vape products that are produced according to state regulations, it significantly increases the likelihood that individuals will seek to purchase those products from unregulated sources.”

David O’Brien, the president of the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association, called on state officials to quickly determine if licensed cannabis products are involved in the spate of lung illnesses.

“There seems to be a conflation of all things vaping,” O’Brien said. “Stores will do what they’re told, but let’s not have an elongated time-out—let’s figure out what’s at issue, and if legal cannabis is not the issue, then let it be sold. I strongly suspect it isn’t.”

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Northern California’s Flow Kana: The Best Weed Under The Sun

When Mikey Steinmetz, the CEO of Flow Kana, tells his company’s origin story, one can feel his enthusiasm for cannabis, for the family farms of Northern California and for the wider world.

“I moved to California with my wife in 2013, and really the project was started by both of us,” Steinmetz says. “We spent a good year and a half just doing research, just trying to understand the industry.” And so he networked around San Francisco, went to conferences, met a lot of people and volunteered in a large East Bay dispensary. Eventually a broker there invited Steinmetz and his wife, Flavia Cassani, up to see the verdant crops and brown hills of the Emerald Triangle, the spectacular confluence of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties to the north.

It was there in the summer of 2014 that Steinmetz and Cassani had their road-to-Damascus moment. “Obviously, I had known about the Emerald Triangle my entire life,” Steinmetz says, “but I had never been up there and never knew about the amazing ecosystem that existed.” The couple started in Arcata and northern Humboldt, and worked their way south to Mendocino, visiting dozens of farms over three or four days. “It wasn’t until we went to Happy-Day Farms, run by Casey and Amber O’Neill, and it really opened my eyes to what this industry could be and the amazing new world that we could build through this industry.”

His epiphany came, as it often does, in the great outdoors. “I saw for the first time the cannabis plant in its rightful place,” Steinmetz says, “in the soil and underneath the sun, and for the very first time saw it next to cabbages and carrots and tomatoes and celery…”

Steinmetz’s fervor rises as he explains his big idea: “It was so inspiring, I can’t even begin to describe how it changed the trajectory in my life and really put the path of Flow Kana forward.” Seeing these very valuable green trees growing next to rows of sunflower seeds and strawberries inspired this insight. “The idea that cannabis could be a small-farm subsidy that could basically subsidize all kinds of vegetables that farmers could all grow collectively,” he explains.

Most of the costs of production, Steinmetz reckons, are incurred after the harvest. “Somewhere down the line I figured out how to centralize everything post-harvest,” the drying, curing, processing, packaging and distribution. The farmers are only on the hook for the costs of cultivation. Essentially what Flow Kana is doing is coordinating a very diverse set of independent, decentralized entities, and then centralizing the packaging and distribution end of the production line.

“We often compare ourselves to the car-share service Lyft,” Steinmetz explains. With 21st-century technology, that company “created an entirely new economy of powering decentralized independent drivers into a huge driver and brand network.” Unlike a drive-sharing app, however, which can ruin other independent workers, such as old-school cab drivers, the Flow Kana model seeks to protect and preserve the little guy, the farmer.

A better comparison would be with a certain orange empire. “Sunkist is the largest citrus brand in the world, but they don’t grow a single orange,” Steinmetz says, as he speaks of Sunkist’s “aggregation hubs” and centralized packing house and juicery, all coordinated to bring vitamin C to the world. How impressed is he with the orange giant’s work? Impressed enough that Flow Kana just hired Sunkist’s chief operations officer, John Striff, a 16-year veteran of building the vast supply chain of oranges, enlisted here to pull off the same feat with weed.

Flow Kana is the top-selling brand of cannabis in California, but its flowers are grown by others—100 or more small farms, all of them dedicated to sustainable practices, with roots throughout the tri-county Triangle. They have names like Elysian Fields, Flying High Farms and Sol Grow, boasting such attributes as “100% organic and peacefully solar powered” or “off-grid homestead…using sustainable and Earth conscious methods passed from father to daughter” or “cannabis agricultural cooperative built to keep the value of the plant within their community.”

Flow Kana in The Emerald Triangle

When Flow Kana launched in 2015, it made a name for itself with herb-tasting events in and around San Francisco. The tastings often featured the farmers, who put a human face on the product and helped people think about where their medicine comes from.

We all know the outdoor-versus-indoor debate. At a time when THC and CBD are being generated from brewer’s yeast, the means of production, so to speak, in cannabis are changing rapidly. Flow Kana is all about preserving less radical, earth-friendly means of growing a consumable product, using deeply eco-conscious practices and a lot of sunshine. Cannasseurs swear by the Emerald Triangle flavors, saying a full terpene profile can only be truly coaxed out in the relatively long growing season of the region.

Since California went full legal, its evolving regulatory schemes have threatened smaller players, who might not have enough capital on hand to bear the brunt of unexpected costs-mandated childproof packaging, for example—and so there have been “massive extinction events,” as Steinmetz calls them, whereby the little guys, and not only farmers, are driven out.

The Emerald Triangle breeds a hearty people, however. Many are multigenerational farmers with a deep connection to the land, and many have suffered the slings and arrows of the prohibition years, subject to things like helicopter raids on their land or violent attacks from criminal elements. They are survivors.

While prohibition was so damaging, says Steinmetz, it did leave one valuable legacy: “an incredible ecosystem of small, fragmented farms,” an estimated 53,000 small cannabis farms statewide which, unlike other agricultural businesses, have remained small. “The larger you got, the more risk you had of getting caught, arrested. It naturally left the [farms] to be small and fragmented. The industry grew and grew, but the farms stayed small.”

While the small family farm is the heart and soul of the Flow Kana project, it should be remembered that the company itself is going large. In February, Flow Kana scored $125 million in financing from Gotham Green Partners, described by Forbes as “the largest private funding round of a cannabis company executed in the United States to date.”

Paradoxically, it is this ramping up of scale that can protect smaller players. The clearinghouse that consolidates the “fragmented” farms is the Flow Cannabis Institute, launched in April 2018, described this way on the company’s website:

“Just as a small coffee farmer grows beans all year round and takes them to a centralized facility to get dried, roasted, processed and packaged at scale…the 85,000-industrial-square-foot Flow Cannabis Institute provides a centralized location for independent cannabis farmers to test, dry, cure, trim, process, package, manufacture and distribute farm products cost effectively, and at massive scale.”

Put another way, this facility is an outlet for small-batch, craft-cannabis farmers who might not otherwise have the resources to bring their products to the world. The sun-kissed crops out of the Emerald Triangle are delicious, and the environmentally friendly ethos that produces them are planet-savers. The tender care that these farmers invest in their plants and land might be as close to sustainable agriculture as we’re going to get.

The Flow Cannabis Institute is billed as “the world’s first cannabis campus” (Oaksterdam University, among others, might take issue with that descriptor, but never mind). By consolidating the goods of many small farms, the farmers are endowed with the might of a Big Ag monster, but with none of the monstrousness.

A number of observers have noted that Flow Kana’s project to support the Triangle’s high-quality cannabis is akin to the kind of curation (and branding) that elevates wine regions of renown, such as Napa or Bordeaux. The comparisons are apt, to a point, not least of all because the Flow Cannabis Institute sits on property that once housed the Fetzer family winery (which, though relocated, also happens to champion sustainability). Flow Kana bought the property in early 2017, and Steinmetz and Cassani have made it their home.

While prohibition was, and in many places still is, a cruel joke, when it is finally lifted at the federal level, it should be a boon for companies like Flow Kana and could potentially even help the small farmer. When descheduling arrives, distributors will be able to launch interstate sales, and Steinmetz and the farmers who produce the goods will be well positioned for growth. “We’re setting ourselves up for that federal moment and national expansion,” the CEO says. “We’ll have the supply chain.”

And so, for those of us concerned that gigantic corporations will come to dominate the cannabis market, it is with some optimism to see the farmers of Northern California hanging in there, and with a real opportunity to thrive as the industry grows. “I think the momentum we have nationwide is a matter of when, not if,” Steinmetz says. “We are very bullish on the whole thing.” This is good for farmers—and for the world.

Originally published in the June, 2019 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

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The High Priestess: How to Take A High Vibe Tolerance Break

As we officially enter Autumn on September 23rd, we’re led into our shadows, into our subconscious, and deeper into the darkness that the season brings. This is when we give thanks to all the abundance that we’ve cultivated since spring, as well as observe the patterns, habits and attitudes that are serving us; and those that are not. For those of us who have an intimate relationship with cannabis, Fall can help us reassess the way we work with this plant medicine, and act accordingly if our relationship with it isn’t as healthy as it can be.

Cannabis is a miracle worker; whether you’re in it for the anti-inflammatory and healing effects of CBD, or for the creative and psychoactive benefits of THC, this is one plant that packs some potent power. As a daily cannabis user, I have found so many benefits to working with this earth medicine, and the healing effects of this plant. Not only do I like to work with cannabis to help ease my anxiety and stress, but I also enjoy it recreationally and to help me feel more present in my body. In this way, cannabis is an act of self-care for me; a way to honor myself, my spirit, and my mind.

But like anything else, moderation is key. There unfortunately comes a time when too much of a good thing becomes too much, and so I’m realizing with my own relationship to ganja. I recently started having an unexpected side effect when I would smoke weed; my heart wouldn’t only beat fast, but hurt. I also began to notice my lungs were feeling a bit off; and of course, this freaked me out! As a Priestess of the mystical, numinous, and mind-altering, I want to make sure I’m actually honoring my body and the medicine I put in it. So, I decided I would take a tolerance break to cleanse and reset, and instead of smoking once I was done, I would eat edibles to continue helping my lungs heal. But breaking a habit can be tough, and sometimes you have to ask for help!

So to get the most out of my high vibe tolerance break, I decided to hit up Ganja Goddess Jerico Mandybur; canna-authority at Miss Grass, author of the self-care infused Neo-Tarot, and spiritual coach for some advice we could all use. In the past, while she was working as Editorial Director for Girlboss, Jerico headed the Self-Service podcast, making self-care accessible for all. I knew Jerico would be the perfect 420-friendly witch to help all of us who need some TLC when quitting THC… for now.

Although some people taking a tolerance break may still wish to work with CBD, you may wish to opt for a non-full or broad spectrum CBD, so there’s not any THC in it at all. You may wish to not use CBD while you take this break either. Do what feels right for you, and then read on for some High Priestess approved tips for making the most out of your cannabis cleanse.

Ivory Woods

Get rid of all your weed and be compassionate to yourself

If you’re like me, and you love the ritual act of lighting up a joint or hitting the bong, then it can feel extremely challenging to quit cold turkey. This is especially true if you don’t drink, smoke cigarettes, or have another “vice.” For this reason, you may wish to slowly ween yourself off of cannabis before your cleanse, smoking less and less until you decide to actually quit.  The easiest way to actually begin your cannabis cleanse, however, is to get rid of all your weed. Smoke it, give it to friends, and just make sure it’s not around. This will make the temptation to partake lessen and will hopefully get you in the right mindset to let that ish go. Also, letting any other cannabis loving friends know you’re going on a cleanse is a good way to not only keep yourself accountable, but to also avoid temptation and maybe even have a partner in cleansing while you’re at it.

Then, hold space for yourself in this process! If you’re a habitual cannabis user, then it can be tough to quit. But setting an amount of days you want to cleanse can help you keep your pledge. Although it can take up to two weeks to rid your body of THC if you smoke daily, if you’re not doing this to pass a drug test, then you don’t actually have to cleanse for that long. Start with committing to not using THC a week if you can, though two weeks to a month is optimal, but do what you can. Even five days is better than nothing; plus you can always keep going after you hit your intended goal.

Then remember to hold space for yourself. Do the best you can! Have compassion for yourself. Beating yourself up for slipping up isn’t going to help you. Just try your hardest and start again. And keep in mind why you’re doing this in the first place; whether it’s to reassess your relationship with cannabis, to heal your body, or to simply get a better high once you’re done.

Ivory Woods

Commit to self-care during your tolerance break

If you smoke a lot, it can be harder than expected to ditch the habit of indulging in some mind altering THC. But thankfully, you can get the same “high” from other practices and experiences. If you feel like you just want that one hit from a j, try thinking of an alternative self-care practice. 

“My advice for people looking to self-care during a tolerance break is to lean into the things that give your mind and body a similar high, without the THC. That could look like running, hot yoga, kundalini meditation, chanting—anything that alters your consciousness and goes you a natural high,” explains Jerico. “Also, if microdosing psychedelics or taking a nootropic feels like a healthy alternative for you, try that! Do as many creative and therapeutic activities as you can, so you can fully integrate the experience and get as much out of it as you can. Treat it like a wellness retreat, basically.”

Cannabinoids bind to fat, which means that working out and moving your body, as well as eating healthy food and drinking a lot of water, can help you detox. Other practices you may wish to adopt can include taking a bath, going for a walk or run, stretching your body, meditating, masturbating or having sex, making some tea, or putting on a face mask. And just because you’re not smoking doesn’t mean you can’t work with CBD or topicals. Taking time to practice rituals of self-love can help you counteract symptoms of withdrawal you may be experiencing. Setting an intention for your tolerance break may also motivate you to keep going; whether it’s for health, clarity or to be radically honest about how your relationship with this plant is actually serving you, or not. Write this down, meditate with it when you’re feeling stressed, and give yourself some credit for even taking this step in the first place.

Commit to something new

You  may also wish to use this tolerance break as an opportunity to commit to a project or something new. What book have you been longing to read, but haven’t had the time? What new venture or class were you dying to try but just weren’t motivated enough? Having something new and exciting to focus on when all you want to do is get high can help you be more present, aiding you in letting go of your need for weed. This commitment can take on many forms but make sure it’s something you’re excited about. Personally I’m going to commit to learning more about shibari, or erotic rope bondage, as an alternative to my nightly joints. 

“Replace your regular smoking routine with a new routine and stick to it. If you used to punch a cone every night when you got home from work, find something equally relaxing that alters your brain chemistry when you get home from work,” suggests Jerico.”If you don’t expend your time and energy in new healthy ways, you’ll inevitably want to smoke. Don’t leave it to chance. Also, commit to do serious soul searching (therapy, journaling, etc.) around why you were over-dependent on it to begin with.”

Remember, the goal is for this cleanse, or tolerance break, is to uplift; so commit to practices that do this!

Ivory Woods

Meditate, work with your breath and take time to process

Just because you’re taking a tolerance break and not smoking doesn’t mean you can’t work with your breath. In fact, breathwork may turn into one of your biggest alleys.  If you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious and find yourself dreaming about your favorite strain, close your eyes and begin to connect to your breath. You may wish to practice the four-fold breath to help you find grounding and some clarity in the present moment. You’ll begin to inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold for four seconds before beginning again. You may wish to increase each part of the breath to five or six seconds, but start with four and see what works.

You also may wish to meditate- you can find guided meditations on youtube, or use an app like Insight Timer or Headspace if you rather practice a guided meditation and don’t know where to start. Taking time to meditate on your relationship to cannabis, and how it’s actually enhancing or diminishing your sense of well being is vital, especially as you ween yourself off of it.

Readjust your relationship with cannabis

“I had to have a big break from smoking cannabis when I was in my mid 20’s, not because I built up a tolerance but because I wasn’t aware of the nuance between responsibly self-medicating for an issue and trying to escape an issue by abusing the plant,” Jerico explains. Instead of seeing cannabis as its own form of self-care, Jerico suggests we reframe our relationship to the plant as an addition to the self-care practices we already have for ourselves. Cannabis can help enhance meditation, ritual baths, healing rituals, yoga classes, walks, journaling practices or whatever else you do to keep your mind and body healthy; but it’s not a replacement for this work.

“Cannabis is like a flavor that can be thoughtfully added to any of the self-care practices we have, that already work for us, to enhance them even more. It’s a lens to look at life through. And life is about balance,” Jerico reminds us. 

You can reflect on this in meditation, with your eyes closed, as you get completely present with yourself and allow yourself to converse or connect with the cannabis plant and what it means to you, and why you use it. Or you can reflect through journaling and writing down whatever it is you’re feeling. Allow whatever comes up to come up, and use creative self-care practices like poetry, free-writing, doodling, collaging or whatever else helps you to process and and understand this relationship. Working with tarot and other forms of divination as a way to dive even deeper into this is also another alternative; Jericos’ deck “Neo Tarot” has a self-care practice for every single card, which makes it a perfect tool to work with as you untangle your patterns with weed, and whenever you’re feeling like you could really just use some THC.

Honor your body by treating it right

And last but not least, you may wish to add some other healthy habits to your routine.  You’ve already started to explore your relationship with cannabis in a holistic way, and now you also want to make sure you’re treating yourself right! Taking supplements can help you get your lungs back to their fullest health as you let your bod detox from cannabis. Vitamin C and Magnesium can assist your body in repairing the lungs and vitamin E can help reduce anxious thoughts. You can also work with herbs like mullein, mushrooms like reishi, or herbal blends like this Lung Care Extract from Mountain Rose Herbs for optimal respiratory function. Drinking lots of water and moving your body are also important especially during a tolerance break.

No matter why you decide to take a little vacation from cannabis, just remember to do your best, give yourself compassion and to lean into rituals of self-care. And if you want even more stellar advice from Jerico to help, don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and visit her online. See you on the other side!

The post The High Priestess: How to Take A High Vibe Tolerance Break appeared first on High Times.

Marijuana Delivery Service And Consumption Cafes Coming To Massachusetts

Massachusetts regulators voted on Tuesday to allow marijuana home delivery services and onsite consumption cafes to operate in the state. The decision by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission was made with a vote of 4-1 by the commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

Before home delivery of cannabis can begin and marijuana consumption cafes can open, potential business owners will be required to complete agreements with the host communities where they plan to operate before being licensed by the state, a process that could take months, if not longer.

Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman said that he believes that the regulations drafted to govern cannabis delivery services and consumption cafes take the interests of various stakeholders into account.

“We feel like we have got a good balance between trying to meet the will of the voters but recognizing that there are concerns from a public health and a public safety standpoint,” said Hoffman.

But Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan, who cast the sole dissenting vote, expressed concerns about public lounges that allow the use of marijuana onsite.

“I think it’s too early for social cafe consumption licenses,” she told reporters.

“I think we need to stand up this industry, making sure the retail and cultivation and microbusinesses all get priority before we start to do home delivery and social consumption,” she added.

Flanagan also expressed concerns for public health, noting that Massachusetts is already dealing with the fallout of the opioid crisis and recently began responding to the ongoing rash of lung illnesses that have been linked to vaping and e-cigarettes.

“We talk about social consumption, we’re looking for places for people to go and consume this product, mostly by smoking or vaping,” Flanagan said. “I have concerns about that.”

Social Equity Applicants to Receive Priority

Under the rules approved by the commission, for the first two years both licenses for marijuana delivery services and cannabis consumption cafes will be reserved for applicants who qualify as social equity and economic empowerment applicants, which include businesses owned by minorities, those convicted of drug offenses, and members of communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.

Applicants will incur a $1,500 application fee and a charge of $10,000 to renew the license annually, although those fees are waived or reduced for social equity and economic empowerment applicants.

The regulations for delivery services include requirements that drivers wear body cameras to record all transactions while making home deliveries of cannabis products, a provision sparking concerns among privacy advocates. To address those concerns, Commissioners Shaleen Title and Britte McBride proposed at Tuesday’s meeting that law enforcement officers who wish to view the recorded footage obtain a search warrant or court order, and the commission unanimously agreed to the proposal.

“No one will be able to go in and fish through that footage,” Title said.

Hoffman said that licenses for delivery services are at least months away and that approving social consumption cafes will take even longer while a necessary change to state law is made.

Massachusetts voters legalized the recreational use of cannabis in November 2016. Legal sales of recreational marijuana began at licensed dispensaries two years later.

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Governor of Utah Signs Revised Medical Cannabis Law

A new set of medical cannabis laws were just signed into law in Utah. The development is the latest in what has become a protracted battle over medical marijuana in the state.

Most notably, the new medical marijuana laws do away with a prior plan to institute a centralized, state-run distribution system that many advocates said would become hugely problematic. Now, Utah will implement a much broader framework for distributing medical cannabis to patients.

Governor Signs New Laws

The new laws will immediately go into effect, as Governor Gary Herbert has officially signed off on them. The set of marijuana-related amendments signed by the governor are the outcome of a special legislative session held last week.

Changes to the state’s distribution system are among the most significant amendments. In the version of Utah’s medical marijuana program that immediately preceded these amendments, patients would only be able to get medicine through a “central fill” system.

This distribution system essentially required state government employees to distribute medical marijuana. After receiving significant pushback from many in the state, lawmakers revised this provision.

Now that the new amendments have been signed into law, Utah will do away with its state-run dispensing model. In its place, the state will allow for privately-owned and operated medical cannabis dispensaries.

Importantly, the new amendments double the number of cannabis pharmacy licenses the state will give out. Additionally, the new amendments allow for home delivery. Specifically, the home delivery provision is designed to service patients in rural locations.

Replacing a Broken System

Prior to these new amendments, Utah’s central fill system was very controversial. Specifically, it came under fire both for how it was passed into law and for how it would operate.

In 2018, Utah voters approved medical marijuana. But almost immediately, state lawmakers—acting largely at the behest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—held a special legislative session in which they quickly replaced the voter-approved medical marijuana program with a dramatically different program. And central fill was one of the key differences.

At least two medical marijuana advocacy groups filed lawsuits. In general, the suits attacked the state for undermining a voter-approved initiative.

Additionally, the suits also raised problems with central fill itself, arguing that the system would essentially require state employees to break federal law. And this, they said, could severely hamper the effectiveness of the central fill distribution system, thereby making medicine extremely inaccessible.

The critiques leveled against central fill seemed to come true a short time later. In June of this year, attorneys general in at least two counties advised against participating in the central fill system. The attorneys said that if there were ever a federal crackdown, state employees could not be protected by the Utah state government.

Ultimately, lawmakers decided to reverse central fill. And now that a new, dispensary-oriented system has been signed into law authorities hope to be on track to scale up the state’s medical marijuana program. Specifically, lawmakers are aiming to get medical marijuana treatments and products on the market no later than March 2020.

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Polish Authorities Halt Medical Cannabis Product Registration

In early September, Polish authorities halted medical cannabis product registrations.

It is still unclear what this was caused by. However, in conversations with the Dutch Cannabis Agency, Cannabis Industry Journal learned the Dutch government ran into significant problems with Polish acceptance of documents in the February 2019 timeframe. Further, CIJ has also learned that several other Canadian companies had apparently been trying to target Bedrocan products in Poland with this knowledge.

Even before authorities halted the registration process, it is clear that the often cut-throat game-playing seen in Germany frequently over the last few years, has also clearly entered the room just a bit east.

Is Cannabis Really Coming to Poland?

There is a national election in late October in Poland. There is a great deal on the line.

Including, of course, not just the dreams of Polish entrepreneurial hopefuls, but all of the largest cannabis companies on the planet. Poland has been a strategic and often unheralded market for most of them over the last 18 months. Aurora in fact, even announced its first import into the country last fall when the government announced a loosening of restrictions. And as the last country to enter into the EU-US MRA Agreement, with a conservative approach to cannabis at least in government, the country is ostensibly a big blue ocean for all things canna reform.

However, since most of the big companies use Germany as their product breakpoint, the news of a product registration delay nationally means that companies already in the room with EU-recognized product just got a big break.

Even if it is only short selling as much as they can into the market until product registration finally occurs.

A new kind of German-Canadian canna blitzkrieg of Poland is about to get underway this fall – certainly of the cannabis kind, although anyone with already registered EU product (see Germany for starters) has a big competitive leg up.

Cannapolitics Are In Play Across Europe

If this is the temperature in the room already, look for more machinations over the apparently pending Polish bid – although perhaps by that point, reform will have progressed far enough in Europe to prevent the same kind of local market hijacking by those with a public company and a will to dominate the market.

That said, expect backlash too, now from frustrated advocacy patient groups tired of more government blather about widespread reform that is clearly not mapped to come their way any time soon.

Here is the inconvenient and certainly unsolved reality in the room that so far has remained unsolved.

european union statesThere is zero way that even the largest companies in the room can provide enough product, local producers are on the rise, and there is clearly a building “green-vest” kind of uprising in the burgeoning industry itself. EU local and national sovereign producers are getting into the game and in a big way.

The reality is that this plant provides relief to pain of several kinds – from patients to locally starved municipal and state budgets.

Recreational Is On The Longer Term Horizon – But Major Hurdles Remain

While the largest companies have clearly been in the room shaping reform policy and in ways that are not necessarily in the best interests of the overall industry itself, let alone patients, there is the real potential for backlash right now. Particularly in Europe which has heard all the wonder stories about the economics if not other impacts of cannabis reform.

Europeans – even in the industry here – who venture to American state markets in particular, but also Canadian outlets – are very much in envy. However, most also realize that the market here will evolve differently.

That is why there are now starting to be all kinds of trials on the map – and of the recreational and medical kind.

The culture is in the middle of a massive, cannabis shift. The early market entry created by the political and economic clout of the early movers was important.

But as the world turns ever more green, local politics, and even more importantly, sovereign cannabis production and even export is increasingly a political issue in the room.

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Health Officials To Address Public Threats Of E-Cigarettes In Congress

The public health crisis surrounding e-cigarettes drew congressional scrutiny on Tuesday, as the House of Representatives commenced hearings on the spate of illnesses and deaths that have been linked to vaping.

A House Oversight and Reform subcommittee heard testimony from Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said that the U.S. should look into banning flavored e-cigarettes as a means to protect young people.

“We are extremely concerned about flavors and the role that they play in hooking young people to a life of nicotine, and we really want to avoid another generation being addicted to nicotine, so addressing flavors directly is a good idea,” Schuchat said, as quoted by CNBC.

Schuchat was among several doctors to testify before the panel, joining Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Dr. Albert Rizzo, the chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. In addition, the panel was also scheduled to hear from the parent of a teen who apparently fell seriously ill from vaping.

Tuesday’s hearing marked a continuation of a probe by the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s panel on consumer products—an investigation that was prompted by a lung illness that has affected hundreds of Americans that officials believe may be the result of e-cigarette use. Those cases have rattled doctors, and rocked a vaping industry that has grown enormously in recent years.

More than 500 people have been hospitalized by the vaping-related illness, while at least nine individuals have died. In response to those disquieting developments, state and federal governments, as well as private companies, are reconsidering e-cigarettes. The Trump administration announced earlier this month its intention to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, which are seen as particularly appealing to teenagers.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools, and communities,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a statement this month. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo likewise called for a ban on the flavored products. And Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has announced its plans to stop selling e-cigarettes all together.

In addition to Tuesday’s hearing, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is scheduled to hear testimony on Wednesday from the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

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