By Dalton Rosario

To anybody living under a nugget let me catch you up to speed. At the molecular level Cannabis is composed of a chemical ratio between THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). THC is responsible for the psychoactive properties linked to feelings of euphoria, while CBD is responsible for pain relief, anti-anxiety and a myriad of other wonderful effects that we will explore shortly. THC cannot be present without CBD and vice versa, so the dual nature of these compounds play an integral role in our understanding of the various cannabis strands and their unique medicinal benefits upon consumption.

Academic research centers and medical publications throughout the nation are studying CBD oil to fully grasp its effectiveness in curing neurological disorders like PTSD and other severe conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. However, its applications are universal. With CBD extract, users experience a relief from stress, anxiety and pain; but that is just the beginning. Studies in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology have proven a reduction in risk of artery blockage, blood sugar levels, small intestine contractions, seizures, vomiting and nausea. As cited in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, CBD has proven use as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, inhibiting cancer cell regeneration and promoting bone growth. And to top it off, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology documented CBD as being neuro-protective, combating neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. 

The real question is what can’t CBD do. Having since been approved this November by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the form of the drug Epidiolex, there is much to be said about CBD and its multifaceted use. But breaking down archaic stigmas about cannabis in light of scientific achievement is not where this story ends unfortunately, as CBD oils are still illegal at a federal level, with statewide inconsistencies for regulation.

By Dalton Rosario

413 Marylanders died in 2017 due to prescription opioid related overdoses from the likes of Methadone, Oxycodone and Tramadol. This number only grows ten-fold after including the 1,078 Heroin related deaths and 1,594 Fentanyl (opioid analgesic) related deaths in 2017 accounting for 2,009 opioid related deaths in Maryland last year alone. The sheer numbers are staggering. This is our community and the families affected by this tragedy cannot go understated. The weight of this problem is ours to share and so is the responsibility to take action. 

There is a clear correlation between the abusive behavior from overdosing coupled with the ease of access for obtaining prescription opioids and pain-relieving benzodiazepines. The latest statistics published by the Maryland Department of Health (bha.health.maryland.gov) present the following: 88% of all intoxication deaths that occurred in Maryland in 2017 were opioid-related (heroin, prescription opioids and non pharmaceutical fentanyl), which increased 8% between 2016 and 2017 and 70% between 2015 and 2016. Benzodiazepine-related deaths have increased by 16% between 2016 and 2017; and 51% of all benzodiazepine-related deaths in 2017 occurred in combination with fentanyl, 45% in combination with prescription opioids, and 39% in combination with heroin.

Despite sound evidence and valiant attempts on part of the DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) organization and Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ) organization to evoke reformation through state legislation, a cold shoulder remains unwavering towards medicinal cannabis replacing prescription opioid referrals. A seeming conflict of interest arises in the fact that Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD 1st District) has monetary ties with pharmaceutical companies, having received over $200,000 from health professionals, making Harris “one of the top recipients of pharmaceutical funding in congress” according to the MDMJ.

If there is a legislative stalemate, what we need is compromise. A healthy mediation resulting in physicians lawfully relaying the benefits and side effects of prescription opioids and medicinal cannabis as to allow patients the right to decide for themselves what is best for their wellness. This is a necessary step towards providing an extensive body of research that quantitatively validates the medicinal benefits of cannabis. A pivotal prerequisite for declassifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug recognized by federal law as eliciting no medical benefit along the lines of Heroine and Cocaine.

 

By Dalton Rosario

Despite policy shifts decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing its possession since the issuance of the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment in 2014 and Initiative 71 in 2015, a major segment of the population continues to be disproportionately targeted in our Nation’s capital. Of the 926 cannabis related arrests made in 2017, an overwhelming 841 of these cases involved African Americans and 1:5 were under the age of 21. If we dot not recognize this as a systemic abuse of power then we are turning a blind eye towards social injustice. 

What is arguably most concerning about these findings are the unspoken implications of this broken system’s intent. It is a commonly agreed principle that when the youth pursues higher education, a reduction in poverty and crime rates liken to proportionately increased wellbeing and standards of living. However, when charged with a cannabis related crime - whether that be distribution, possession with or without intent to distribute and public consumption - one can no longer apply for and receive federal student aid. 

Take a moment to recognize the paradox that is presented. Tuition rates increase every year requiring reliance on federal student loans, grants and scholarships for the majority of students. Cannabis crimes in D.C. have been decreasing historically since reformations have been outlined, yet African Americans continue to be subjugated to this biased and archaic penal system; costing personal time and accruing fines and court fees that do not allow for the issuance of student aid upon completion of probation. To make matters more apparent, in 2017 roughly 45% of cannabis related arrests involved individuals between the ages of 21-29 and only 7.3% of those arrests involved women. As it stands, we are confronting a crucial issue that affects the livelihoods of young men during a critical stage of building future prospects and opportunities. 

To fight this ongoing problem we need to take a grass-roots initiative by formalizing scholarships that secure funding for students who are college-bound but opted out due to denial of financial aid. Application of knowledge is the greatest gift we can contribute to our allies. This affects more than offsetting an outdated stigma of social misconduct. This presents a means for betterment where no other alternatives are provided. A call to action that will be heard by the Cannabis Rights Alliance in tandem with joint collaboration from cannabis sympathizers and political platforms throughout our District. You heard it here first folks. 

By Dalton Rosario

With former top cop Jeff Sessions’ official resignation, headline publications from Time Magazine to Rolling Stone are asking what does this mean for the current state of Cannabis prohibition. As infamously remarked by Sessions two years prior, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” But now that the federal ‘tip-of-the-spear’ against cannabis rights activism is a non-factor, the country is mobilizing as popular opinion converges with state legislation. Following yesterday’s midterm elections, Michigan has legalized recreational and medicinal cannabis use; and Missouri and Utah have approved cannabis for medical use.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker does not have an official stance supporting the federal legalization of cannabis, though we will see in the coming weeks how the U.S. will become impacted by the forward-thinking legislation of Canada’s nationwide legalization of cannabis and Mexico’s Supreme Court recognition of laws criminalizing recreational cannabis use by adults as being unconstitutional. The United States Marijuana Index saw a spike in stock value following the resignation of Sessions, which speaks highly of the financial market’s views of cannabis as a cash cow commodity. Looks like good people like to smoke good weed after all Jeff.   

By Dalton Rosario

“It felt like someone gently tapped me against my forehead and said just relax…

Look no further than the bottom of a Snapple cap. If the most potent cannabis plants highest in THC concentration are female, then it comes as no surprise that our estrogen levels increase accordingly upon consumption. But what does this really mean for us fellas who are day-to-day users and cannabis connoisseurs? Anyone who has slept through a Psych 101 seminar this past century can tell you that the precise levels of our hormones determine our behavioral norms. Recall that happy hour with the quite co-worker turned boisterous drunk. It is real.

Despite enjoying the nostalgia of a midnight toke as much as my favorite rapper - BRRR - I avoid abusing cannabis so I can cultivate a go-getter mentality that’s conditioned to get the job done. Point blank period. If you consider yourself an activator - one who is abrasive in demeanor and unapologetic in spirit - then uncharacteristic qualities of self-doubt, apprehension and complacency are not in your nature. So after the initial buzz has passed, how come the simplest of tasks can become an uphill battle of negative sloping momentum to control one’s urges and refocus one’s energy. Am I alone in having lost a Saturday afternoon to a morning wake and bake gone viral? Cascading into a cyclical frenzy of pleasure-seeking compulsions that ultimately amount to nothing effective whatsoever. And after the midday haze clears, the sun begins to set and you awaken from the fog in a bewildered stream of consciousness wondering what the fuck just happened. As if this time would be any different than the last.

It makes me cringe when I identify cannabis in my seasoned adulthood with words like tired, gassed, dazed, unfocused, passive, unproductive, indecisive, drained and energy zapped. But the principle of the matter is simple. Every day we must wake up and decide what we are going to do. And any choice which leads to putting off commitments and taking away the drive to get it done now, discourages us from making the tough decisions that determine who we are becoming, where we are going and how we are getting there. If you aspire to be sharp and steady with your daily rituals, relentless with your physical routines and purposeful with your consistency of daily output then why kid yourself. You know better than anyone else. Listen to your gut. Clean out the bong. And put away the bud.

Until after the job gets done.

By Dalton Rosario 

Here we are presented with a classic point of contention as old as Time. Do the very terpenes and trichomes which give our favorite strands it’s unique qualities of aroma, flavor and THC/CBD potency act against us in clouding our head with anxiety? - Or do they work with us in clearing our mind of stress. Opposing testimonies and opinions on this matter are split down the aisle in as much as the implications for the outcome of Dr. Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. But a short search on leafly.com confirms the horticulture literature. Terpenes like Limonene, Linalool, Myrcene, Beta-Caryophyllene and Alpha-Pinene are specifically profiled and sought after in strands like Granddaddy Purple, Cannatonic, White Fire OG and ACDC for the very purpose of relieving anxiety, stress and related bouts of insomnia and depression. So if the science is sound then why do objections arise?

To begin with, tolerance is crucial when considering the context for cannabis causing or curing stress related feels. For those who are unaware and unprepared, a large dose of THC can tear someone right out of their element. Some may advise to counteract this reaction by incrementally increasing consumption as a means of getting over those tingling altitude jitters. But the irony is that an increase in frequency of use leads to an increase in estrogen intake which can be associated with self-limiting thoughts and negatively impacting beliefs of fear, worry and doubt about one’s capabilities, self-image and surroundings.

A widely debated cultural movement emerging from this ongoing discourse is that medicinal cannabis can replace benzodiazepines - prescribed anti anxiety sedatives - like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Ativan, as the golden standard for a greener alternative. What makes this rising viewpoint appealing in the eyes of an educated consumer base is the constant confrontation of horrific details from opioid abuse across our country featured in mainstream media. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.gov), over 115 Americans lose their lives daily to opioid overdose. Over one-third of those fatalities are directly related to benzodiazepine abuse. And although currently deemed safe for medicinal use as a Schedule IV Drug, its misuse continues to grow astronomically.

As often referenced, cannabis on the other hand is infamously ranked as a Schedule I Drug with the likes of Heroine, LSD and Cocaine. This is determined by the federal government based upon a lack of conventional medical use and “highly addictive attributes which pose a severe risk for public safety.” Even though to date there is no readily accessible research that denotes overwhelming proof for cannabis overdosing with moderate to excessive use, the stigma remains.

But we know better. And we are acting upon it. Illinois State Senator Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, sponsored a bill titled SB 336 to recommend medicinal cannabis as a healthy alternative to opioids late August. This is a historic catalyst and now that the nation is watching, green states throughout the country ought to embrace this principle as a prime example for policy shift. And with our Canadian neighbors up north being the first industrialized country to federally legalize recreational cannabis use this past June, it is plausible within our lifetime to witness a shifting of the tides in favor of cannabis earning its rightful spot as a viable means for anxiety treatment. Whether medical or recreational, progressive legislation and popular opinion agree on one thing. Cannabis is the cure. 

Whether it’s a legitimate concern or a worry for the future, chances are most male cannabis users have thought about the possible correlation between lighting up and developing a certain unwelcome bodily change; man boobs, or moobs as the google search bar so intuitively suggested for me. The clinical name for this phenomenon is gynecomastia and it’s caused when the ratio of testosterone and estrogen is favored by the latter, resulting in excess breast tissue.

At this point in time there isn’t conclusive evidence demonstrating a correlation between marijuana use and man boobs. Animal studies do show that THC, one of marijuana’s active ingredients, lowers testosterone, reduces the size of testicles, and causes abnormalities in sperm. There’s conflicting evidence whether or not these findings apply to human subjects but there are some studies that indicate marijuana users have lower testosterone levels than non-users, and that early use can delay the onset of puberty, confusing natural hormone levels.

The weed-moob theory has been around for years, but due to the illegality of marijuana large-scale, long-term studies just haven’t been possible. With the legalization of pot in recent years it’s likely we’ll soon see more conclusive evidence based on large population sample sizes. And possibly more cases of man boobs. Although we lack statistical data of a direct correlation between marijuana use and the development of man boobs, many physicians and plastic surgeons feel the link is apparent, stating that male breast reduction is on the rise and a majority of recipients self report as weed smokers.

It’s sort of a chicken and egg situation. Does the weed smoking give you man boobs, or do you smoke weed because you have man boobs? Just kidding. If, like many before you have, you find yourself worried that smoking weed is causing or going to give you man boobs, rest assured that there are several actually proven causes of man boobs. Medications including antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, antibiotics, steroids, ulcer medications, and heart medications have been linked to gynecomastia, as well as alcohol and street drug use. Man boobs are also largely linked to various health conditions including natural aging, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition and… wait for it… weight gain. Even herbal products such as tea tree oil and lavender lotion are linked to man boobs. Long story short, I’d wait until there’s conclusive evidence before making the decision to quit your cannabis use solely to avoid man boobs. Perhaps try to imagine the crushing regret of waking up 15 years from now with man boobs anyways, realizing you could have just smoked weed the whole time.

 

Over the years since our country was founded, there have been a number of movements that the populace has eventually rallied around and fought for. We’ve had our initial fight for freedom against Great Britain. The fight against slavery. The fight for civil rights. More recently, the fight for gay marriage. Each of these moments in American history had its opponents. Sometimes these opponents have attacked other constitutional rights in a balls to the wall effort to carry the day, no matter what freedom is infringed upon.

So it is with the legalization movement. More recently, in the state of Illinois, nearly two years after a decision was reached that medical marijuana users could own firearms, four residents and medical users were told by the state that their firearms licenses would be taken away. The agency sending the letters has spoken out about this and rescinded those letters. It also removed language on its website asking firearm owners if they were medical marijuana card holders. The state police agency responsible for this claims that this was all a mistake. However, Tyler Anthony, with the Canna Law Group states the following,” The opposite is probably true. Even taking their word for it, they shouldn’t be careless with citizens’ constitutional rights, especially when their position lacks any clear legal basis.”

The movement to legalize cannabis has its roots in our constitutional freedoms. It doesn’t surprise anyone that there are those opposing the will of the people in this area who would be willing to usurp other constitutional rights in an effort to win the day, or make sure that Big Pharma continues to be paid. The movement has made significant strides in the past few years, but the incident in Illinois reminds us that the struggle is still ongoing, that some are willing to encroach on our freedoms in other ways to influence final outcomes, and that we need to be vocal and vigilant. We won’t accept anything less than a final and full legalization without any retaliation or penalty elsewhere. Period.

 

Source- Associated Press, Chicago.

"The only rolling tray you will ever need."

 

The Stashtray - Starter Kit  $99

The Stashtray Starter Kit is the perfect way to customize your Stashtray at an affordable price. The kit includes the all stainless-steel rolling tray, two strain containers, and a spike ashtray with bowl stand. Complete with a sheet of magnetic stickers to keep your rolling papers and other accessories in one accessible place. 

 

 

The Stashtray All-in-One Rolling Tray $150

This kit includes everything you need for an efficient ritual. The stainless steel tray is accompanied by one strain container, a 4 chamber Myster grinder, a magnetic lighter case, and the ashtray with cleaning spike and bowl stand. We have also included a sheet of extra magnetic stickers and a microfiber cleaning cloth to keep your Stashtray neat, clean, and organized. 

 

 

The Stashtray - First Full Edition Bundle $199

The upper echelon of rolling trays has arrived.  The First Full Edition bundle features the finest of tools for those who take their sessions seriously. In addition to all of the necessities from the all-in-one tray kit, this bundle also includes a magnetic dabber, a Myster non-stick mat, and a first edition book. The book allows you to very cleverly and discreetly pack up everything and place it on your shelf. It's like a liquor cabinet for those who enjoy other fine things...

 

by: Sara Jane Ghaly, The Stoners Cookbook 


Photo Credit: Bloomburg 

Cannabis cocktails are the latest experiment with cannabis cuisine. This latest craze of infusing alcohol with marijuana is sometimes more than just a process of putting some weed in some wine. It can take anywhere from days to hours to infuse alcohol with wine. The latest commercial crazes with alcohol involve specifically choosing flavors to bring out the taste of the buds.

Although marijuana is legal recreationally in some states in the USA now, we are still some time away from having bud get-togethers at bars and clubs.

If you prefer to replace your alcohol with buds for a healthier alternative, there are also cocktails for you non-drinkers out there. These are bud infused cocktails that have fruity additives and don’t contain any alcohol at all. So that way you can enjoy a healthier alternative to alcohol, and get the medicinal benefits of marijuana, too!

 

- Read the entire article at The Stoners Cookbook 

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