Dispatches

McPartland’s Correct(ed) Vernacular Nomenclature

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January 4, 2015  By O’S News Service

An ambitious call to standardize the names used by non-scientists in reference to Cannabis plants —to create an accurate vernacular nomenclature— was made by Dr. John McPartland at the 2014 meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society and will be published in O’Shaughnessy’s upcoming print edition. McPartland’s ICRS paper, co-authored by Dr. Geoffrey Guy, used “DNA barcodes” to determine whether or not Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are separate species. The answer was not. C. indica and C. sativa are subspecies —separate varieties of one Cannabis species. read more

Jim Clark Could Give Marijuana Smugglers a Bad Name

Sheriff Jim Clark

From O’Shaughnessy’s News Service January 5, 2014 

A new movie recreates the March 7, 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama that was violently suppressed by law enforcement and shamed Congress into passing a voters’ rights bill. 

Howard Zinn had spent time in Selma with SNCC organizers whose voter-registration drive led up  to the march. (SNCC, pronounced Snick, was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.) Their nemesis was Sheriff Jim Clark, the personification of racist law enforcement. A big man, 6’ 2”, 22o lbs, Clark was quick to use cattle prods on demonstrators and wore a button that said “Never” to express his position on integration.  read more

Anatomy of a CHP Pot Bust

From the Anderson Valley Advertiser, December 17, 2014

[Ed note: The bustee’s name has been changed since no charges were filed against him.]

Arrest/investigation report, August 8, 2014.

Location: Southbound Highway 101 North of Nelson Ranch Road near Hopland.

Arrestee: James B. Teknes, San Diego, a white male, age 27. Driving a rental car.

Report of Arresting CHP Officer: C. Ramsey

On August 8, 2014 at approximately 9:25 AM I was traveling northbound on US 101 north of Lake Mendocino Drive in the number two lane. I was driving a fully marked California Highway Patrol vehicle. The patrol car was equipped with an Applied Concepts Inc. DSR radar system unit #BS041956. I checked the function of the radar system prior to beginning my shift and it was working properly. The radar system was independently calibrated on August 12, 2013.

My attention was drawn to the suspect’s vehicle, a white Ford Focus. The Focus appeared to be traveling well over the maximum speed of 65 mph. I visually estimated the vehicle to be traveling approximately 85 mph. read more

The Meaning of Mistletoe

Seasons Greetings

By Fred Gardner

Why does the presence of mistletoe —a parasitic plant that roots in oaks and other host trees— confer the right to kiss whoever you’re with?mistletoe

The answer occurred to John Lee, MD, a family practitioner in Mill Valley, back in 1967. Lee was then editing the Marin Medical Society Bulletin and on the lookout for topics for his monthly column. He came across an article in a Harvard alumni publication describing the pagan rituals of the Celts who lived in the British Isles in the millennium before Christ. For their winter solstice celebration, the Celtic priests —Druids— would collect berries from trees bearing 

Coincidentally, Lee had just read an item in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating that mistletoe contains a compound very similar to progesterone. He had an insight: “The berries were life in the middle of that cold European winter, when everything else was bleak and apparently lifeless. The Druids called mistletoe ‘a gift from the gods.’ They would take these berries and mix them with hot mead [an alcohol drink made from fermented honey] and they would all have a weeklong party where gifts were exchanged and they would celebrate that the sun was going to return and winter would not mean the end of the world.

 “When a woman takes progesterone and then quits, a period is induced. I realized the mead laced with mistletoe would decrease everyone’s inhibitions and increase everyone’s libido for their four- or five-day party. It was free sex! And after four or five days of celebration they would quit. All the women would have their periods, and no babies would occur. No wonder they called it ‘a gift from the Gods!”   

Lee compares the discovery that mistletoe prevented pregnancy to the discovery that limes prevented scurvy —a major advance in the annals of medicine. “The sailors didn’t know it was Vitamin C. The Celts didn’t know it was progesterone. They just knew it worked.” Lee hypothesized that kissing under the mistletoe is a form of “symbolic sexual promiscuity” going back to the days when the berries served as a birth-control device during pagan winter solstice parties (the persecuted Christians having scheduled their own holidays to coincide with existing celebrations).

read more

The Situation in Florida

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By Fred Gardner / O’Shaughnessy’s News Service December 4, 2014  

The “Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative” —better known as Amendment 2— seemed very likely to pass as of July 2014, when 88 percent of prospective voters supported “allowing adults in Florida to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it,” according to the respected Quinnipiac University poll.

Amendment 2 was intended to legalize marijuana use by patients coping with any “conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks.” Also, to legalize “medical marijuana treatment centers,” otherwise known as dispensaries. 

How did it happen that a medical marijuana ballot initiative supported by almost 90% of Florida voters in the summer was defeated in the fall? Let us count the ways. read more

All Vape Pen Oils are not Created Equal

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A Quick and Easy User’s Guide to Pre-Filled Cartridges By Melinda Misuraca & Michael Hayes

Vaporizer pens are all the rage these days. Sarah Silverman flashed one on the red carpet (“This is my liquid pot,” she quipped). Whoopi Goldberg wrote a gushy love letter to hers, affectionately nicknaming it “Sippy.” Snoop Dogg has his own proprietary model, which comes cloaked in a map of his old Long Beach ‘hood. The Oxford English Dictionary recently crowned “vape” its Word of the Year.

It seems that everywhere you turn someone is sucking on a sleek, sexy, subversive little wand. People are vaping cannabis oil on the street, in restaurants, movie theaters, airplanes, even sporting events. You feel like you’re getting away with something sneaky when you vape in public. Being a stoner has never been so easy.

A vape pen — or “personal vaporizer,” as they are sometimes called — is a classy, high tech gizmo that heats cannabis oil to a temperature just short of combustion, releasing a smokeless, lightly-scented mist free of toxic tars and carbon. There are many vape pen brands, but the key factor, really, is what’s inside the disposable cartridge. How potent is the cannabis oil? How pure? What, if anything, is the oil cut with? How expensive per milligram is the THC content? Is the oil strain-specific or a psychoactive blend?

O’Shaughnessy’s looked at a total of 19 cannabis oil samples from 13 popular cartridge brands and did a side-by-side comparison based on analytical data from SC Labs in Santa Cruz. (Measured in milligrams per milliliter of concentrate, the data is posted on sclabs.com.) Regarding THC levels, Pure Cure and Absolute Xtracts topped the chart at 71 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Neither is cut with an additive. Absolute Xtracts features a line of strain-specific oils (OG Kush, Chem Dawg, Girl Scout Cookie, etc.), while Pure Cure is presumably a mixture of several unnamed cultivars as no strain designation is indicated. These two brands also rated highest in terms of bang for buck with Absolute Xtracts priced at 10 cents per milligram of THC and Pure Cure at 11 cents/mg. 

vape pen chart

Compare those numbers to O-Pen Vape Panama Sativa Red, for example, which contains only 26 percent THC at cost of 24 cents per milligram. Some vape pen cartridge oils rated even lower in terms of THC content, yet higher in price per milligram. The least potent sample, BD (Black Diamond) Vape Sour D, tested at 14 percent THC, while selling for 28 cents/mg of THC. Although they look golden and pretty, the weaker oils are typically diluted with propylene glycol, a relatively benign solvent that sometimes causes sore throat and dry mouth. Avoid vape pen cartridges that include ethylene glycol, an unhealthy compound used in antifreeze.

So buyer beware: Many vape cartridge brands are available in the unregulated cannabis market and it’s not always obvious what you’re getting. Deciding between vape cartridges is somewhat like choosing between a vintage scotch and a flask of moonshine, though in this case purchasing one of best whiskeys of the cartridge world might actually leave you with a few more greenbacks in your pocket.  

A Note on Methodology Used to Determine Value of Vape Pen Cartridges Based on Potency & Pricing

Samples of vape pen cartridges were purchased in October 2014 at random dispensaries in Northern and Southern California and submitted unopened to SC labs for testing. Hyperlinks to all test results posted on the SC Labs website are provided for verification of cannabinoid content.

All samples purchased were either labeled as or represented as being extracted by the Super Fluid Critical CO2 method.

To determine pricing information, two prices were found online for each product. When available the first listings on Weedmaps were used. If the price listings could not be found on Weedmaps, general Google searches were done to find price listings. The two prices found were then combined to find an average price per product. 

(Price searching was made somewhat problematic by the lack of a consistent naming nomenclature from dispensary to dispensary.)

Once a product listing was found, the size of the vape pen cartridge was multiplied by potency % to determine total THC content. For example a .5ml (500mg) vape pen cartridge at 50% THC level (per SC Labs) would contain 250 mg of THC. That is 50% x 500mg.

The amount of THC per product was then divided into the average retail price to determine cost per mg of THC. Using the example above a product with 250mg of THC that sold for an average retail price of $50 would represent a THC cost per mg of 20 cents.

Products that sell retail for under 15 cents / mg of THC were deemed as excellent value. Products that sell retail for between 15 to 20 cents / mg were labeled as good value. Products that sell retail for between 20 to 25 cents / mg were deemed fair value and products that sold for over 25 cents /mg of THC were labeled as poor value.  

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 Analysis was performed by Michael Hayes. He can be contacted at mhayes399@comcast.net. 

Tod Mikuriya, MD on the Scheduling Question

THM '99 in Acapulco

Doctors and activists frequently discuss the question of rescheduling or descheduling cannabis. Soon politicians and bureaucrats will be taking up the matter. Its “Schedule I” status is indefensible. 

One of Dr. Tod Mikuriya’s political goals was to see cannabis moved to a schedule of its own. “Given its unique therapeutic properties, cannabis should be categorized as an ‘Easement,’”  he wrote in a 2001 paper presented as a poster at the International Cannabinoid Research Society meeting. “Contemporary categorization of cannabis as a psychotropic drug has been largely incorrect. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies ‘Marihuana’ as a hallucinogen with high potential for abuse, lack of accepted safety, and no medicinal use… 

“The term ‘Easement’ most aptly characterizes the unique medicinal effects of cannabis. While usually associated with legal terminology dealing with property, the first meaning given for Easement in Webster’s 3rd New Unabridged Dictionary is ‘An act or means of easing or relieving (as from pain, discomfort, or burdens).’”

Mikuriya cites Roget’s Thesaurus, which lists  “easement” under “relief,” along with “deliverance, softening, mitigation, palliation, soothing, lullaby, cradle song, berceuse, solace, consolation, comfort, encouragement, lenitive, restorative, remedy, repair, refection, refocillation, refreshment, and regalement.”

Mikuriya notes that “Peter Mark Roget was a British physician and fellow of the Royal Society.”  

Bear in mind, as you read the following excerpts from his  paper, that Mikuriya had monitored cannabis use by thousands of patients and studied the pre-prohibition medical literature, whereas the authorities knew absolutely nothing about its effects. 

“Cannabis has properties that are unique and distinctly different from other categories of drugs, according to persons who have discovered its utility for the management of a wide range of chronic diseases both mental and physical. 

“Cannabis calms agitation, anger, and mania. Painful, disruptive, and frequently incapacitating symptoms are brought under control with minimal side effects and rapid relief when inhaled. Cannabis promotes sleep and permits relief from wakefulness without hangover.

“Cannabis relaxes both smooth and skeletal muscles. Obsessive and mood-driven cognitive patterns soften and can be put into emotional perspective.

“Appetite and bowel normalcy is restored, cognition is reconnected with somatic and affective awareness. Unlike sedatives, opioids, anxiolytics, stimulants, or antidepressants, cannabis is free from unwanted effects, save for ‘euphoria,’ which is not generally obtainable by those using the drug to achieve homeostasis and a sense of normalcy.

“N.B.: The therapeutic properties described above apply to experienced users managing chronic conditions, not naive subjects trying to treat acute problems. Cannabis exerts a complex spectrum of effects that defy categorization as narcotic, sedative, or hallucinogen (although an overdose of oral cannabis might qualify as the latter).  ‘Easement’ would be a more meaningful and accurate description based upon ethnographic, medical, and pharmaceutical literature, as well as clinical observations of patients making appropriate therapeutic use of inhaled or oral cannabis.

“Semantic characterizations are important in shaping not only personal experience but institutional policy as well.”

It was at the 2002 ICRS meeting that we first heard cannabinoids described as “retrograde messengers” that work by toning down signals. Even before the biochemists figured it out, Tod Mikuriya —an observant clinician— inferred from the effects cannabis has on people that its mode of action was unique and that it modulated multiple systems within the body. —Fred Gardner

  —

Marijuana and the Developing Brain

By Fred Gardner, August 2014

Because so many Prohibitionist mouthpieces are liars, it’s hard to take seriously their assertions about marijuana use harming “the developing brain” of young people. Much of the alleged evidence involves studies in which young rodents were given stupendously high doses of THC. Then there’s the flimsy, flawed study attributing an eight-point decline in IQ to heavy, early marijuana use. The politicians and the corporate media treat this IQ loss as a well-established and significant fact. To cite one of a thousand ready examples…

Earlier this month, after the New York Times editorial board came out for legalization, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked Times columnist David Brooks for his expert opinion. “I have two basic issues,” Brooks pontificated with his evil-chipmunk grin. “One, the effects on the teenage brain really are pretty significant…” read more

Sophie’s Progress

From Tracy Ryan, June 24, 2014   Sophie has been on high concentrated THC and CBD cannabis oil at a gram a day since she started chemo in October of 2013. We worked her up to that dose slowly and the only side effects she ever had was a little sleepiness that completely went away as she acclimated to the oils.  Now her only side effect is hunger which is amazing since the chemo can affect her appetite.

When we give Sophie her medicine we separate them into 4 doses and give them 3 hours apart.  The experts that we work with believe that by separating the THC and CBD it allows the THC to attach to the CB1 receptors, and the CBD to attach to the CB2 receptors without competition which results in better absorption.  We truly believe that THC plays a huge part in killing her tumor, and she has continued to be on approximately a 2:1 ratio of THC to CBD.  The results we are seeing are just incredible!

Sophie’s tumor has surpassed everything that doctors told us was possible with chemo alone, and we are only at month 9 of a 13 month chemo protocol.  Because of the amount of shrinkage we are seeing we truly believe we’ll be able to quit chemo after her next set of scans in 2 months. read more

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Best newspaper in America Dr. Tod – The Movie The Society of Cannabis Clinicians was formed as a project of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group in the Autumn of 2004. Project CBD is a non-profit educational service dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical utility of cannabidiol (CBD) and other components of the Cannabis plant. News and political analysis Dr. Lester Grinspoon, M.D. is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Grinspoon was senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston for 40 years. Moving Sustainable Medicines Forward Consultant VaporNation Newhead News Political allies CRAFT Law Office Omar CBD specialists

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Feds ‘Justify’ Marijuana’s Sked 1 Status Again

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From O’Shaughnessy’s Clipping Service, December 18 2014: Stories you might have missed… • The brain is “the most beautiful thing on earth, hands down,” according to neurosurgeon Kathryn Ko, who is …

Sony’s Boffo Misdirection Play

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By Fred Gardner, December 19, 2014        Two big stories had just broken: “Senate Exposes CIA Torture” and “Sony Chiefs’ Racist Emails Revealed.” Immediately —and in concert— the National Security …

Happy Hanukkah, Monica

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December 17, 2014    The looming effort by Congress to disallow marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C. —despite the citizens’ voting for legalization by a 2-1 margin in November— echoes events that went …

Some of us have spent too much of our lives away from the world

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Report Identifies Dr. Mikuriya’s Accuser at NIMH

John Ehrlichman

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Oysters in Lake Merritt?

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November 7, 2014   There is hope after all! A terrific piece by Matt O’Brien in the Oakland Tribune describes the return of marine life to Lake Merritt (an estuary …

Deputy AG Cole Threatens California Medical MJ Providers (and Users)

Deputy AG James M. Cole

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Warrantless Raids in Lake County Ruled Unconstitutional

Joe Elford a few years ago.

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California NORML: No on 46!

California NORML's Dale Gieringer

October 7, 2014  Dale Gieringer of California NORML has written to the Friends Committee on Legislation decrying their support for a proposition (46) placed on the November ballot …