Sniffer-Dogs

Weed News High-Lights

It’s been an amazing few weeks in marijuana news.  The Surgeon General of the United States acknowledged the medical benefits of marijuana on public television,  plans are put forth to transform a former jail into a massive grow room in Colorado, new research emerges on multiple fronts including marijuana for Alzheimer’s prevention.  But let’s not forget to chuckle a little now and then. Here are some of funnier things that happened in weed news this week:

Eating Weed In New Jersey

This week Jasmin Jeter was riding shot gun on the roads of Elmwood Park when police pulled over the car, at which point Jeter allegedly consumed several bags of marijuana to avoid getting busted.  The cops smelled Jeter’s raw cannabis breath from a mile away and brought her down to the station.  Jeter refused any medical help and said that she felt absolutely fine.

As Barry Bard put it, “Eating raw weed is a bad enough punishment for trying to get a high in New Jersey’s land of prohibition–this girl is no criminal and does not deserve this type of criminal label.”

Do you know how many kilograms of marijuana a person would have to consume in 5 minutes to die from overdose?  227!

New Mexico Woman Finds 13 Pounds of Weed in Her Car!

Ten years ago, a woman bought a used Chevy Van from a dealership.  This week something wasn’t working right with the door handle.  When she had a friend come over and try to fix it, he saw something strange in the siding of the car.  When he opened it up to see what was there… it was THIRTEEN POUNDS OF WEED!!!

The woman immediately called the police who came and remanded the evidence.  Word on the street is that ten year old weed is too old to smoke in any case.

Oregon Drug Dogs Forced Into Early Retirement

While overall employment rates in legalization states are rising, many canines are forced to draw from their pensions or find new jobs.

It may sound silly, but dogs specially trained to sniff out marijuana now have nothing to do.  Some can be retrained and will stay on the force, but many pot sniffers will be out of work.  We hope they will find loving homes.

The cost of a pre trained drug dog is about $10,000, and training drug dogs are another $50,000.  Unfortunately, those already trained to sniff out weed cannot be untrained.

 

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Hempfest Promotes Legalization Of Marijuana

Cannabis is Good For Your Memory

I’ve been smoking weed since I was about 12.  Regularly since about 15 with some pretty significant hiatuses here and there.  My memory at this point is pretty fuzzy and I often wonder if it’s because of years of marijuana use or just time.  It’s true that marijuana use can affect memory function in multiple ways.  And not all of them are bad!

We must first understand that memory works differently for the old and the young.  The same neurotransmitters have different jobs depending on their hosts age.  The two main players are acetylcholine and glutamate.  They are the neurotransmitters responsible for committing important events and information to memory, and eliminating old or not useful memories.  The healthy young brain is in perfect balance, remembering and forgetting the right things at the right time.  Marijuana use effects these functions and can sway the balance, causing an impaired memory.  But the brain of an ageing person is not in perfect balance.  It often suffers from inflammation, and neurogenesis (creation of new neurons) slows nearly to halt.

Small amounts of cannabis can aid the ageing brain and restore balance.  Just one puff can reduce inflammation, encourage neurogenesis and by preventing the destruction caused by neurotransmitter glutamate.  Often the aged don’t want to get high.  The last thing many elderly want to feel is a little disoriented or out of body.  Scientists will likely attempt to isolate the cannabinoids responsible for these brain improving functions from psychoactive compounds like THC.  The benefit of isolated cannabinoid treatments is that people who don’t wish to get high don’t have to and can still reap some medical benefits from reefer.  The down side is that there are likely unknown synergistic effects of consuming the marijuana plant as a whole.

Studying the location of neurotransmitters and receptors belonging to the endocannabinoid system provides researchers with incredible insight to the medical benefits of marijuana.  Endocannabinoids in the feeding centers in the hypothalamus cause us to feel hungry (when bonded to cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 or CB2), but cause an aversion to food when blocked by a different kind of neurotransmitter.  Cannabinoids in the cortex and limbic areas make us euphoric when stimulating the receptors or depressed when the receptors are blocked.  And of course, as discussed above, memory function.  These are just a few example out of what appears to be an infinite number of neurological and physiological functions controlled by the endocannabinoid system and stimulated or blocked by marijuana use.

by Suzanna Mountain

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vivek-murthy

Surgeon General Endorses Medical Marijuana

Last Wednesday, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, appeared on “CBS This Morning” and said “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful… I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking,”.  He is hopeful that we will get more data on the efficacy of marijuana as more states legalize marijuana and loosen the strictures on marijuana research.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government of the United States.  Unfortunately for the feds, this is a category reserved only for drugs with zero medical value.  And now that the Surgeon General of America   has publicly stated that marijuana has untold medical benefits and that he expects more data to be found as research expands, shouldn’t that change the classification of marijuana in America?  Starting with California in 1996, 21 states along with the District of Columbia have legalized or decriminalized medical marijuana.

Surprisingly, Dr. Murthy is not the first Surgeon General to endorse medical marijuana.  In 1993, 3 years before California pioneered the  movement by being the first state to legalize medical marijuana, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was pro legalization.  That was during the Clinton Era!  And people are still serving jail time for possession!  Elders has since campaigned for cannabis legalization in several states.

The medical consensus is that marijuana has medical benefits and the classification under federal law should be changed.  Now it is up to the Attorney General. And he has good reason to do so.  A recent news report claimed that painkiller deaths have dropped significantly in states with legal pot.

Potheads have long known of marijuana’s analgesic properties.  And it seems that pill poppers are catching on too.  America has a pill addiction, specifically to opiates such as OxyContin (essentially an analog of heroin) which is not difficult to over dose on.  In 13 out of 21 states who have legalized medical marijuana, pain killer over doses have decreased by 25% since marijuana legalization.  There is no way of knowing for sure if addicts abandoned their opiates for cannabis in an attempt to legally eliminate pain, but the research does point in that direction.

The Attorney General might also bring his attention to declining crime rates in states with legal recreational cannabis since legalization.

Overall, marijuana, when used responsibly by responsible people, makes us healthier, happier, and less likely to go out on a crime spree, because we’re just having too much fun at home.  We’re glad the Surgeon General realizes that.

by Suzanna Mountain

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Bhang – Sacred Cannabis

Today in America we talk a lot about medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.  The other day I read about legalization in Jamaica, where the use of marijuana is a central practice in a major indigenous religion, Rastafarianism.  Possession of less than 2 ounces will be decriminalized and a legal system will be put in place for medical and sacramental use of cannabis.  Sacramental Cannabis – Marijuana has been used in entheogenic contexts for at least 4,000 years. Entheogenic: Using a chemical – naturally occurring or synthesized, for a religious or spiritual purpose. Both  modern and ancient is the ritualistic use of cannabis for mind expansion.  I myself am a religious person and the thought of being guided on a spiritual cannabis journey by one of my communities wisest and holiest is quite appealing.

The atharvaveda, or the fourth veda, is one of the ancient spiritual texts of Hinduism.  It was written sometime between  1500 BCE and 1000 BCE.  This veda refers to ganja as one of its five sacred plants.  It was not the highly bred THC monster that we know and love,  rather a weedy version of our modern weed, but it did the trick.  Ancient Hindus consumed marijuana in three forms; bhang, ganja and jaras.  Jaras is similar to hashish.  It consists of the resinous buds or extracted resins from leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant.  Ganja is the plant tops and leaves when smoked.  And lastly, and most common, is Bhang.  Bhang refers to leaves and plant tops when infused into a beverage.  Bhang is a deliciously intoxicating beverage, often consisting of cannabis boiled in milk along with cinnamon, poppy, various nuts, sugar and ginger.

Hindus believe that cannabis was a gift from Shiva to bring them happiness and eliminate fear.    One of the prevailing mythologies attributing bhang to Shiva is this; he was walking angrily through the forest trying to shake off some residual anger from a large family argument.  He laid down to rest and when he awoke he found himself under a large cannabis plant.  He tasted the plant and became elated.  From then on he drank bhang regularly and thus began his legacy.

Cannabis is still very prevalent in modern India and Nepal.  Shadus, Hindu ascetics who praise and serve Shiva, fast, pray and use marijuana sacramentally to attain spiritual clarity.  Common laborers will drink some bhang after a hard day’s work just to take a load off.  Large Shiva festivals abound where children enjoy sweet Bhang Lassi and Shadus smoke chillums freely.  And yet, it is worth noting, marijuana is still illegal in India,  though the laws are stricter on paper than actually enforced.

by Suzanna Mountain

 

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Marijuana and the Human Genome

Marijuana memory lane… When I was young I used to get high with friends and sit around for hours and hours;  laughing, munching, listening to music, getting lost in a maze of deep yet incomprehensible thoughts.  You know, the usual.

I’m a loud person.  I have something to say about everything and I usually say it.  But when I’m high, my mouth just shuts.  I used to sit around on those high school afternoons watching my friends chat and just wonder, “how can they possibly talk when they are this high?  How do words even make it from their brains to their mouths?”  It was like I couldn’t even formulate words, while my friends were more poetic and articulate than ever.

Turns out that researchers worldwide have wondered why marijuana affects different people in different ways.  The answer, it turns out, is written in our DNA.

One study which compared the behaviors and genotypes of nearly 90 pot smokers with that of nearly 60 individuals who don’t get high.  What they were looking for was the effect of daily marijuana use on executive function, or cognitive control.  This is the ability of a person to function like a normal person while doing day to day cognitive tasks such as paying attention, planning and decision making.  The researchers hypothesized that marijuana would negatively affect cognitive control to some degree.  It was found, as most cannabis lovers know, that daily use does not significantly decrease cognitive control.  How do they know?  They compare puffers and non puffers with similar genomes.  The average persons executive functionality is usually based on their genetic makeup, and not on their marijuana use.

One study looked at marijuana users and non marijuana users who carry genes associated with psychiatric disorders.  It seems that marijuana use can exacerbate psychiatric dysfunction in people who are genetically predisposed.

Whether marijuana makes you feel silly, paranoid, hungry, quiet, chatty, meditative or totally spaced is probably due to an interplay between the type of weed you are smoking and the type of genes written in your DNA.  This places a large responsibility on the individual consumer to be conscious of their own psychological needs.  Does smoking weed make you feel weird, paranoid or otherwise uncomfortable in your own skin?  Then it might not be your drug of choice.  Marijuana is not exactly to blame, it’s just amplifying low lying genetic tendencies.

by Suzanna Mountain

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Jamaican’s Can Finally Start Smoking Weed (legally)!

“Legalize it.  Don’t criticize it.  Legalize it, and I will advertise it… Some call it the Weed, some call it Marijuana, some of them call it ganja.  Never mind, got to legalize it.” – Bob Marley

This might be cheating, since it’s a marijuana blog and all, but let’s give it a try anyway; Let’s do a word associated game.  I’ll say “Jamaica” and you’ll write down the first 10 words that come to mind.  I’m willing to bet that at least one of your words was ganja, marijuana, pot, Mary Jane, weed or some synonym or another of cannabis.  It’s the reggae lyrics, the Rastafarians, even the dorky middle aged club med vacationers who get high for the first time in 20 years and then dance the night away.  Marijuana and Jamaica are indelibly connected in our minds.

And yet, marijuana is illegal in Jamaica.  Growing weed is illegal.  Smoking weed is illegal.  Selling weed is illegal.  And yet, the weed is flowing like water, sweet smoke filling the air.  I would have thought it was already legal.  This is because the illegality of marijuana is basically overlooked.  But people can still be jailed for it.

In a breakthrough step for Jamaicans, the cabinet recently passed laws decriminalizing up to 2 ounces of use for personal use.  This is a first step towards the legalization of medical marijuana on the Island.  Mr. Golding, Jamaica’s justice minister,  says that the bill should lay out plans for licensing, growing and distributing marijuana as well as paving the way for scientific research.  Mr. Golding said that it would behoove the people of Jamaica to make way for the kind of economic boom this growing industry can afford the country.

In addition to possession of 2 ounces or less, legalization will be extended to the growing of up to five plants and marijuana use for Rastafarians for sacramental purposes.  As one might expect, the debate in Jamaica has been a hot one for many years.  But with Big Brother America’s strict anti drug rules and “the war on drugs”, Jamaica, dependant on America economically in many ways, would not take the legalization leap without its support.  With legalization expanding across America, including recreational marijuana in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Washington D.C., Jamaica is now more free advance legalization platforms.

Jamaica will still maintain strict rules on international drug trafficking, as well as underage use of cannabis.  Portions of the revenue obtained through the new licensing board will be funneled into educational reforms and public health.

by Suzanna Mountain

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Apple Rejects Marijuana Apps

These days every business, even a marijuana business, has a hard time succeeding without being properly hooked up on the web.  If your site doesn’t come up in a google search, no one sees it.  And if your app can’t be accessed through Apple’s App Store, then you’ve got problems.  Unfortunately, Apple CEO Tim Cook is allowing for an anti-marijuana app policy in his $10 billion a year marketplace.

Denver based start up MassRoots, an instagram like social media site which connects marijuana users, had its app in the Apple Store for 14 months before it was pulled.  Ironically, the app was taken down by Apple the very day that voters opted to legalize marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.

When MassRoots CEO, Isaac Dietrich, called up Apple to find out why their app was pulled, the Apple representative he spoke with simply told him that his app was not the type of content Apple wants in their App store.   Apple was frustratingly vague when explaining to the slew of marijuana app programmers why their apps were rejected.  The long and short of it seems to be that Apple is worried about legal repercussions.  Remember that cannabis is still classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug.  Even in the wake of recreational legalization in some states, America as a whole has not embraced weed culture with open arms.  Even states that offer medical marijuana often make it difficult to obtain it.

Pot businesses are making known their drama with Apple, and they are hoping that Apple will get enough negative attention to back down.  MassRoots got over 10,000 signatures in their petition to Apple.  Countless other weed apps are expressing their disappointment in Apple’s policy.  New York’s HempDex, a LinkedIn style marijuana network, had already invested thousands of dollars into their iOS app development before they became aware of Apple’s policy.  NestDrop, a company that delivers medical marijuana (among other legal intoxicants) right to your door, was taken out of the appstore after just a few months.  NestDrop’s co- founder, Michael Pycher complained that Apple really doesn’t have a sense of what consumers want right now.  He said “It’s been beyond frustrating dealing with Apple, they don’t seem to have a pulse on what a lot of consumers want. And they’re not privy to listen.”

Google’s Playstore has been far more progressive than Apple, with weed related apps getting cleared in a matter of hours.  Developers have met no resistance in getting their apps on Android devices.  Maybe Apple will cease to be the chic device in marijuana using circles?

by Suzanna Mountain

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