Weed and Western Animation

written and illustrated by Renee Thompson

For me, the relationship between weed and animation has always been clear.

Although it goes unspoken, it is apparently a familial tradition to smoke weed and watch cartoons. First, my grandfather watching Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings in the 60’s, and then there’s present-day me: smoking a bong in the wee hours of the morning watching Ranma ½. There is a certain wonder and magic about animation, about seeing art come to life. It exposes you to different perspectives, and perhaps because people don’t take it as seriously, there is more room to explore the world of cannabis. Animation is relaxing, beautiful, and more often than not, it’s funny. This stellar combination makes watching animation the perfect companion to a cozy night in with a joint (or three).

When cannabis is ingested, perception is altered in many possible ways. While every person reacts to cannabis differently, as well as having varied responses to various strains, most people do report heightened focus abilities and other changes in their senses. Spanish vision researchers at the University of Granada in 2021 found that cannabis use does affect vision, and the participants of the Effects of cannabis on visual function and self-perceived visual quality study reported seeing halos and other small visual distortions. As someone who watches animation both sober and high, I have noticed slight color, hue, and shade changes as well as small light halos which do slightly alter the works while being under the influence. For most cannabis consumers giddiness, hunger, and fatigue are common side effects to consumption that go well together with watching a funny cartoon and eating your favorite munchies.

After consuming animated works for some time, one begins to notice repeated symbols, metaphors, and other coded language that is used to bring cannabis into the audience’s mind. In adult animated T.V. series, like The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and South Park, references to cannabis, like South Park’s Towelie, are in-your-face even if they were produced when cannabis use was illegal in the U.S. Characters in these types of shows can be seen purchasing cannabis from dealers, consuming cannabis, and may even have a designated stoner character. In some cases, watching these types of shows were many people’s first encounter with cannabis related concepts and rituals. I feel that animation is also largely affected by the creatives that make them, and since cannabis has been known to alter creativity, it makes sense that artists who may use cannabis would slip in these references into the art they make. Even though animators like Adventure Time’s Pendleton Ward, Steven Universe’s Rebecca Sugar, and Gravity Fall’s Alex Hirsch have been speculated by fans as cannabis users, none of them have ever made any public comments about using cannabis. 

Animation made after cannabis legalization in America, like Midnight Gospel, seem to be moving away from more joke-like cannabis use and focus on real conversations embedded in the dialogue. Midnight Gospel opens with cannabis activists being eaten by zombies as the main character, Clancy, interviews the President of the United States, played by Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction medicine specialist, about the pros and cons of drugs. Together, the characters have an in-depth conversation about sensations, experiences and research related to psychedelics. The animated fictitious tale combined with real interviews created a new type of storytelling that I had never seen before.

Animated films on the other hand, are not as cannabis-friendly as adult animated T.V. series. Most likely due to the fact that a majority are made for children. However, there are some exceptions. In the animated film Persepolis, a film based on the autobiographical comic The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Marjane recounts her use of cannabis as a way to forget about the troubles she left in war-torn Iran and connect with her new friends in Europe. In the film, which was made in France,  you see Marjane buying cannabis, consuming cannabis, and reflecting on her own use of the substance. Whether displayed as exaggerated use, as shown in shows like American Dad with the golden blunt, or a more realistic use as seen in Persepolis, adult animation is where you see the bulk of cannabis references and use.

 As for non-adult animation, references are more hidden. In season 4 of Hey Arnold!, Arnold’s grandpa insists he cannot go back to school because he, “lost too many brain cells,” and insinuates Woodstock for being partially responsible. There are also more blatant references in shows like Bob’s Burgers, which is rated 13+, but also shows the Belcher children working on an illegal weed farm and selling weed to other characters. In the realm of advertising, the partially animated Expensify commercial featuring rapper 2 Chainz, which aired during Super Bowl LIII in 2019, shows a scene where the musician helps the reindeer he is riding smoke out of a bong. In that same Super Bowl, an Acreage commercial calling for medicinal cannabis legalization was blocked from airing.

There is something extremely nostalgic about cartoons, animated films, and anime that reminds me of simpler times. Even though the days of walking to Blockbuster video to get the latest Studio Ghibli movie are over, animation has never been more accessible. Today’s streaming services offer thousands of choices, and one could watch animated works for years without watching anything twice. Animation has always been a stage to talk about real life, as distorted as some of the creations are. This is also one of the few mediums that has been able to implement cannabis culture, possibly because of the artists behind the animated works and/or the audiences that consume them. I hypothesize that as cannabis consumption becomes more normalized, we will continue to see realistic, and perhaps less humorous, cannabis use in animation. 

For those that are looking for some recommendations, here are some of my favorite animated T.V. shows and movies not yet mentioned in this article. Most of these titles are available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or HBO Max, but you could also find some of these works at your local library.

Movies:

         1. The Secret of Kells, 2009

         2. My High School Sinking Into The Sea, 2016*

         3. Loving Vincent, 2017

         4. Disney’s Fantasia, both 1999 and 2000 versions

         5. Chico and Rita, 2010*

T.V. Shows:

         1. Bee and Puppycat, 2013

         2. Daria, 1997*

         3. Tuca & Birdie, 2019*

         4. Disenchantment, 2018*

         5. Brad Neely’s Harg Nallin’ Sclopio Peepio, 2016*

*Related to cannabis, or has cannabis references. 

Strain of The Month: Forbidden Fruit

 written and photographed by Renee Thompson

There’s just something special about having purple flower. I don’t come into contact with it a lot, but it’s nice every once and a while to treat yourself to something different. Having an inclination to the more fruity flavor profiles, when I saw Forbidden Fruit at the dispensary, I knew I just had to have it. A cross of Tangie and Cherry Pie, this indica works great in a joint, blunt, pipe, or bong. Technically purple flower, whose color is produced with the help of anthocyanins, Forbidden Fruit is more of a mixture of dark purple and dark green accented with orange pistils, which look like little hairs or whiskers. Fun fact: anthocyanins are also responsible for the color of blueberries.

The Forbidden Fruit I sampled this month was purchased at Lucky Lion, located at 2164 W. 7th Ave. in Eugene. I personally have had nothing but great experiences with this location, the budtenders are always so helpful and kind to me. I feel that I have been extremely lucky with my timing, as I have been the only customer in the shop on a handful of occasions. Perhaps it is the steep construction of the parking lot, or the location of the shop altogether, that has kept this dispensary under the radar, but I have always found that these hole-in-the-wall dispensaries give the best service. The general layout and decoration of the shop is nice, it reminds me of visiting a rich friend’s basement. If we were not in a pandemic, Lucky Lion would be a place where one could hang out for a bit or admire the flower buds on Greek-style pedestals.

The key side effects I experienced while using Forbidden Fruit were relaxation, creativity and euphoria. If you identify as a creative-type, I strongly recommend trying Forbidden Fruit. Unlike some indicas, this strain did not put me in-dah-couch. I felt very much like cleaning, organizing and creating. While smoking this strain, out of a bong mostly, I took on to cleaning and seasoning cast irons—which is a tedious chore if you use them as much as I do. I also started to art journaling more, an activity that worked well with this strain.

While smoking Forbidden Fruit, I didn’t feel like I was using more than I usually do, even though I have been stressed out lately. The Forbidden Fruit flavor profile lives up to its name. Fruity, specifically that of tart blackberries and sweet blueberries, is the first and strongest flavor. There is also a certain tea-like or earthy flavor. If you do smoke through quite a bit of this strain, or another purple strain, you’ll find that your kief catch will be decorated in dark purple dust. Overall I would rate Forbidden Fruit a 10/10, and according to Leafly it is still available at Lucky Lion.

Simplifying The Indoor Home Grow

written by Kaylynn Wohl, photographed by Kimberly Harris

Extended time in isolation has fueled the sparks under our joints to finally pursue the indoor home grow. Although there’s ease with mastering the outdoor grow during Oregon’s glorious 12 hour day/ night cycles, there’s also intrigue to leveling up by bringing the buds inside. 

When parenting your own micro ecosystem, every tiny detail and decision is crucial for the success of your plant babies. Being a baller on a budget creates some constraints on the process. It may be intimidating to start. This simplified guide serves to inspire every homebody home grower to get the process started. Doing your own research for your unique situation is highly encouraged. 

Step 1: Where are you growing?

My first attempt at an indoor grow had failed miserably in Arizona while choosing to set up in a closet with very little airflow. I was also in the process of moving which undoubtedly put the youngling under immense stress during relocation. My research on setting up in a closet was very limited which is how I quickly learned the hard way after coming home to a crispy green carcass.  

The first question you should ask yourself is: where will I grow?

If choosing a room, remember that any and all light the leaves can access will induce photosynthesis. As each strain requires its own specific lightcycle, access to other light may confuse the plant if it’s outside of the scheduled ‘daytime.’ The amount of intended light the plant receives should be consistent. It’s also necessary to monitor for signs of too much or too little light as indicated by the leaves. 

Closets are ideal for a DIY situation, it’s just crucial to make sure the space between the plants and the light source are far enough to prevent burning the leaves or cooking the plant entirely. Depending on the strain choice, some plants may need to be closer to the light source than others. In small closed off areas, you’ll most likely need fans for cooling and venting purposes.

Step 2: What are you growing?

If you’re a real baller on a budget, odds are you may have stored some random seeds you found in your buds. Experimenting with these are low stakes; alhough, the sex characterstics of these seeds will be unknown until investigating after the vegetative stage and before the flowering stage. I do encourage doing your own research if going this route. 

Back to elementary bean sprouts, starting cannabis seeds can be as easy as wet paper towels and a plastic bag. This route allows you to witness sprouting and daily progress growth. Otherwise, using a seed starter that places seeds directly into a soil can feel like a guessing game, though totally manageable.

Researching beginner strains is helpful in the long run while causing far less stress on a new grower. Autoflowering strains are known to provide successful yields due to strong genetics that allow the plant to do most of the work with low maintenance. Personal favorite strains like Jack Herer, Northern Lights or Blue Dream can be a good place to start, depending on what the grower wants for the end product. 

Local shops do provide seeds, though some hunting is required. These are relatively pricier than what I was able to find online like Seedsman Seeds, a European company known for super discreet packaging. Online options are seemingly endless, allowing any grower to find exactly what they’re looking for and see reviews of the process or yield. 

If you’re hoping to get growing sooner, skip the germination process entirely. Plenty of dispensaries around town offer clones. It’s like pet adoption, but they won’t pee on your couch. 

Step 3: What lights do you need?

This question also reflects how much you wish to yield. Monthly energy cost is also a considerable factor. Before making the purchase of what is considerably the biggest investment within this process, I highly recommend surfing the internet for used lights first. 

The three ideal types of lighting for indoor growing are fluorescent, high intensity discharge and LED. For the purpose of simplification, fluorescent lighting is ideally a good start. CFLs (swirly-looking light bulbs) provide an average yield of one to two ounces, great for a beginner. These can be beneficial for smaller spaces where big lamps wouldn’t fit. T5 tube fluorescents are also recommended for a higher yield and can be easily found in gardening and home improvement stores. 

For a slightly spendier commitment, LED lights are highly common for indoor growing. These have a safety component by having built-in cooling elements while also not needing to be frequently moved like fluorescent lights. Typically, more vertical space is needed between the plant and the LED light. Fans are still recommended since LED lamps can be tricky to get the hang with no set standard.

Step 4: What containers, soil, nutrients?

On a tight budget, I’ve tried using local compost but the critters that came along with it made it hard to control the indoor environment the way that I needed to. I was able to bake the soil at 140 degrees F, killing the pathogens and allowing beneficial microorganisms to survive. If needed, I could go this route with cannabis while more attention to nutrient levels would be needed.

Soil is something I don’t mind spending on. Foxfarm soils provide a nutrient dense environment that plants thrive off of until needing later-in-life assistance. During the vegetative stage, your plant is craving nitrogen (N). The flowering stage calls for very low nitrogen, instead needing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Getting to know the plant’s signs throughout the process is helpful in understanding when to feed it what. Don’t be shy, these are your children. 

When choosing a container, keep in mind that the size of the root space is relevant to the size of the growth. Breathable root pouches are my go-to: they last a long time, washable/reusable and provide the root space sufficient aeration and drainage. Otherwise, five gallon buckets with proper drainage are plenty fine.

Step 5: Happy Growing!

Of course the process of successful cannabis cultivation requires far more intermittent steps and a healthy dose of trial and error. Get to know your grow; usually it will communicate in some form about what it needs from you. If you’re ever unsure, YouTube has everything. We all start somewhere. 

Hopefully this simplified guide reminded you of your green thumb while taking away some of the intimidating aspects. Besides, it’s pretty cool to be able to give your friends a nug you raised. 

If this guide assisted your set up, show us on Instagram @GreenEugeneMag!

Niche in the Neighborhood

written and photographed by Annie McVay, with additional photos provided from the Oregon Historical Society and Lane County History Museum

Have you ever wondered about the history behind the building a dispensary occupies? Featured below are two local dispensaries with rich background stories you may not have heard before. If any readers out there know of any others, please share them with us @greeneugenemag!

Jamaica Joel’s – 37 W. 13th Ave. Suite 201

photo provided by Lane County History Museum

The building Jamaica Joel’s occupies has a genuinely unique Art Moderne and International Style architecture, popular in the post-war era. The use of aluminum railings, curves, and reinforced concrete may remind you of similar building characteristics from the Fallout video game series. According to the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Architecture Database, the building design was the first independent commission done by Harry Robert Wilmsen, a local Eugene Architect. Earnest W. Ellis started his photography business in 1920 and requested the commission from Wilmsen. Ellis moved his studio there once construction was finished in 1947.   

Ellis owned the building until he passed away in 1976. Thankfully, Kennell Ellis Photography continues to live on today. The plethora of photos of the building from the 40s exists today precisely because of the Kennell Ellis studio. Upstairs, there was Gredvig Beauty Studio and the Kennell Ellis Photography Studio. Below was Morse’s Women’s Wear, which must have realized how much the curved glass display window added to the elegance of their women’s clothing. The striking Kennell Ellis neon sign continues to decorate the building today.

Locally owned and operated, Jamaica Joel’s truly is a dispensary for the people. Before COVID-19 put a halt on public events, the dispensary even hosted “Joel’s Jams” and featured independent hip-hop artists such as Zion I. Using the dispensary as a venue to spread creativity, art and ideas for the people is something we all hope to see again in the future! Remember to support your local dispensary so they make it through these tough times. 

Cannabliss & Co The Sorority House – 588 E. 11th Ave

photo provided by Lane County History Museum

The Sorority House was built in 1902 for the historically well-known banker, attorney, and State Legislator Windsor W. Calkins. Given the distinctive Queen Anne Style architecture and prime location, the Calkins house is surely as hard to miss these days as it was back then. The fanciful conical-roofed corner tower, wrap-around open-air covered porch, stained glass window panes, and the plethora of ornate interior woodwork are all staples of the Victorian Era architectural style. The Queen Anne Style was popular from 1880 to the early 1900s. Windsor, following family tradition, modeled the design off his childhood home in northern Minnesota. The Calkins family never could have guessed what a delightful dispensary their home would become!   

Way before Green Eugene took an interest in this dispensary’s rich history, another student from the University of Oregon had acknowledged the home’s unique value. Kimberly Goddard, at the time a graduate student at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, prepared the form to have the Calkins house registered nationally. Previously, Eugene citizens voted on keeping the house in the community using  taxpayer money, but the measure failed. Then in 1976, the home was titled a City of Eugene Historical Landmark. Thanks to Goddard, on December 9th, 1981, it was published in the National Register of Historic Places. The Calkins house is one of the last of the elegant homes from this historical period, even outliving the famed Patterson house featured in Animal House.

While the official documents state the Calkins house site was acquired through part of Hillyard Shaw’s first donation of land to Eugene in the 1860s, it is essential to acknowledge this land first belonged to various Indigenous Peoples. Earlier agreements in the 1850s made by the Congress-appointed Willamette Valley Treaty Commission did not end with any Indigenous Peoples agreeing to leave the valley. Unfortunately, these agreements were not ratified because they did not make the tribes relocate East of the Cascades. By January 1855, after constant encroachment, harassment, and diseases brought by American settlers, the Indigenous Peoples signed the Kalapuya Treaty (also known as the Willamette Valley treaty). The Kalapuya, the Clackamas Chinook, and the Molala peoples were removed by force from the Willamette Valley during the following winter.   

In 1886, the property passed from Robert Scott to Mary Scott, who then sold the land to Windsor Calkins on April 17th, 1902. The house continued to stay in the family after Calkins died in 1945, leaving the property to his daughter, Jeannette. In 1975, Thomas and Nelly Link and Anne Kimball bought the house, saving it from otherwise slated demolition. The new owners began many restoration efforts, such as fixing the foundation, porch, siding, roof and replacing support beams plagued with dry rot. The original hardware found in the house was also reused, and missing pieces were replaced with vintage hardware from the period. They later opened the Calkins house as a bed and breakfast, which required few alterations to the building’s authenticity.  

Cannabliss & Co acquired the property in 2016 and dubbed this new location ‘The Sorority House.’ Besides the sign in the spacious and sprawling front yard, many would think it was just that, especially given its prime location near the University of Oregon campus. Cannabliss & Co did an exceptional job in this first year of business, impressing so many customers that The Sorority House took first place for best dispensary in Emerald Media Group’s 2017 Best of Campus. The Emerald Essentials article featuring this accomplishment by Delaney Rea noted how knowledgeable the budtenders were and the wide selection of products – both of which are still true today!  

High Recommendations: 42° Farms Remedy Hemp Balm

written and photographed by Skyla Patton

They say that you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of what they carry in their bag. I think this is a true statement to a certain extent, but I’d take it a little further: you can tell a lot about how a person takes care of themselves by what they carry in their bag. Whether it’s an army of chapstick, hand sanitizer galore or a total lack thereof, our care-regimen superstars are revealed by whether or not we can leave the house without them. For example, if you were to dig through my old canvas backpack, you’d get a good whiff of OG-something-or-other (and disregard the alarming amount of empty Tums rolls while you’re at it). But as of late, I have a new all-star in my lineup that has saved the day when it comes to self-care and pain management on the go: let me introduce you to 42° Remedy Hemp Balm. 

Turned on to me by a close friend and fellow cannabis-enthusiast, this CBD-packed balm is crafted from the best savory ingredients, like beeswax and coconut oil, along with a perfect blend of peppermint essential oil to soothe the muscles and awaken your senses. The hemp extract used is grown in the heart of Southern Oregon, just outside of Ashland, and the effectiveness of the product tells the story of the hardworking hands and love that went into the plants. My personal favorite is the travel-size 2oz tin, which fits conveniently into any of my backpacks, pockets or purses, and is loaded with a whopping 375mg of CBD. 

As someone who is a regular consumer of both THC and CBD products (with what is sometimes a disturbingly high tolerance) I have to give this product the shout out that it deserves in packing a serious punch when it comes to pain relief. Depending on the area and genre of pain, I’ve found relief with this product that can act as fast as just a few minutes beyond application and popping it back into my bag. Because of the way that CBD and CBG products are regulated, it can be easy for less-than-quality products to slip through the cracks and onto the shelves, and even easier for unsuspecting consumers to spend insane amounts of cash on duds. 42° Farms conducts third-party testing to ensure consistency and safety for all of their products, as well as making their balms in smaller quantities to focus on the quality (and love) in each batch. Curious about the details? Test results are posted with each product on their website for your review. 

This balm is fast-acting and provides an added layer of immediate comfort with the soothing peppermint scent (a personal favorite for headache relief as well) and smooth, silky texture. Unlike other topicals I’ve tried in the past, this product leaves no sticky or greasy residue behind and melts into your skin like butter after just a few moments of massaging it in. Sensitive-skin approved, this moisturizing balm is cool to the touch and a little goes a long way so the smaller travel size is plenty for most occasions—although as a self-admitted CBD junkie, the next size up to 750mg doesn’t look half bad either. The 2oz travel size clocks in at a cool $20, $35 for the 4oz, which is a total steal either way for how long the tin will last you.

As someone who struggles with chronic pain, some of my most favorite things to do in the world are often cut short by the way that I’m feeling: hiking, swimming, traveling, all confined by aches and pains when I should be exploring worry-free in my 22-year-old vessel. The instant relief provided by a quick lather of Remedy (a namesake meant to be interpreted verbatim) has fueled my adventures for the last several months and allowed me to climb mountains, both metaphorically and literally. It’s a backpack essential as far as I’m concerned and you won’t catch me on a trek without it anytime soon. 

Endocannabinoid Deficiency and Cannabis Use Disorder

an opinion piece written by staff writer Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

It is my opinion that psychiatrists and psychologists may be misdiagnosing some people who use cannabis with Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). Now, my argument is not that people cannot misuse cannabis or cannot be addicted to it. Instead, I want to focus on how some symptoms of endocannabinoid deficiency can fit in with the diagnostic profile of Cannabis Use Disorder. It wasn’t until recently that cannabis education for medical and mental health professionals became more common, and maybe even more desirable to those professionals. Let’s start with some basics. Cannabis Use Disorder is defined as having 2 or more of the following symptoms; 

  1. Cannabis is often taken in larger amounts over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or insignificant effort to cut down or control cannabis use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain cannabis, use cannabis or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving or a strong desire or urge to use cannabis.
  5. Recurrent cannabis use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
  6. Continued cannabis use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of cannabis.
  7. Important social, occupational or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of cannabis use.
  8. Recurrent cannabis use in situations which is physically hazardous.
  9. Cannabis use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems that are unlikely to have been caused or exacerbated by cannabis.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either:
    1. A need for markedly increased amounts of cannabis to achieve intoxication and desired effect, or
    2. A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of cannabis.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either:
    1. The characteristic withdrawal symptoms for cannabis, or
    2. A closer related substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Again, I am not saying that cannabis is not addicting or that people don’t misuse it. It is very understandable for criteria such as failing to fulfill major obligations due to your use of cannabis to be cause for a CUD diagnosis. I generally agree with criteria 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9. The reasons I didn’t include 1, 4, and 8 are because I think that they can be easily misinterpreted in sessions, however, they do have standing when paired with other criteria and situations. For criteria 10 and 11, this is where I think endocannabinoid deficiency can provide a different explanation.

Cannabis tolerance is still a new research topic. It is very dependent on one’s own endocannabinoid system, for example, some people have developed a high tolerance in order to function on their dosage of medication. Some doctors may misinterpret this high dosage use of cannabis to indicate the cannabis tolerance is negative. One withdrawal symptom of cannabis is stated to be a lack of appetite, but what if that is the reason you choose to medicate with cannabis? Other withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, depression and irritability, several of the many reasons why people choose to medicate with cannabis in the first place. Therefore, it would make sense that these symptoms would occur when cannabis use is stopped. However, therapists and other mental health professionals often stigmatized the use of cannabis and may misdiagnose their patients, creating a problem that does not exist.

Humans have two major endocannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Research has found that the endocannabinoid system in humans plays a large role in several bodily processes and functions, including ones that occur in the above-mentioned conditions. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis. When someone is deficient in certain endocannabinoids, this can cause dysregulation of that homeostasis, which in turn may be the possible cause of several conditions and symptoms. Endocannabinoid deficiency has been suggested to be the cause of several types of disorders that before have not been found to have a specific cause. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, glaucoma, bipolar disorder, and more have all been suggested to be linked to endocannabinoid deficiency. 

As an example, let us take a brief look at migraines and the endocannabinoid system. From 1843 to 1943 when cannabis was put on Schedule I, cannabis was one of the main treatments for someone suffering from a migraine. While there are limited human clinical trials, the case studies and survey research that have been conducted have shown that cannabis use may help to treat migraines. From the research that has been done, individuals who suffer migraines show decreased anandamide and 2-AG levels. CBD acts via the TRPV1, a specific cannabinoid receptor, and also limits the production of the enzyme fatty acid amidohydrolase (FAAH) which is responsible for the breakdown of anandamide. THC on the other hand activates the CB1 receptors which may help treat migraines by potentially inhibiting the trigeminovascular system which plays a huge role in migraines and headaches. Supplementing with cannabis, THC and CBD can help bring the endocannabinoid system back into homeostasis. 

In addition to phytocannabinoids, there are things that an individual can do to naturally boost the body’s endocannabinoid system. We call these “cannabimimetic agents” and they include activities such as exercising, eating foods, or taking supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Activities such as these help to boost your body’s endocannabinoid system without using any part of the cannabis plant. While you may be able to boost your endocannabinoid system without cannabis, there are still many unknowns when it comes to treating things like migraines, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. If using cannabis helps mediate symptoms than your standard pharmaceuticals, then the concern needs to be focused on researching why cannabis is working to treat that disorder instead of stigmatizing and misdiagnosing patients.

References

Russo E. B. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009 

Cannabis and The Climate

written and photographed by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

If anyone has ever grown a cannabis plant or two, you know that they require a lot of love and can be a lot of work. There are both genetic and environmental factors that influence how a plant will develop and what it will look like. It is commonly known that the difference between “indica” and “sativa” varieties is the morphology, but somewhere down the line, it became misconstrued into describing the effects.  

Cannabis has two main subspecies, Cannabis sativa subsp. Sativa and Cannabis sativa subsp. indica. The domesticated varieties of these subspecies include: Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa var. sativa (Broad-leaf hemp or BLH), Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa var. chinesis (Narrow-leaf hemp or NLH), Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. indica (Narrow-leaf drug or NLD), Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. afghanica (Broad-leaf drug or BLD). If you’d like to read more about the indica vs sativa debate, you can do so here, but today we’re going to focus on Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. indica (Narrow-leaf drug or NLD) and Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. afghanica (Broad-leaf drug or BLD). These are the “drug varieties” of cannabis with moderate to high levels of THC. Plants within the narrow-leaf drug category are what some consider to be the standard morphology of a “Sativa” and plants within the broad-leaf drug category would be considered to have the morphology of an “Indica.”

Cannabis morphology is largely based on the genetic origins of the plant. Certain plant adaptations occur in cannabis due to certain climates that they develop in. This is why many Afghani/Hindu Kush strains can have purple shades to them—because they evolved in colder mountain climates, they genetically adapted to their climate by producing more anthocyanins. These plants are also shorter and bushier than other varieties due to their adaptations to colder climates. Through selective breeding of these purple genetics, we have strains today like Sirius Black from Oregon Breeders Group. In the case of your “sativa” narrow-leaf drug varieties, the plants are typically taller and the leaves less dense due to the hotter climates they developed in and adapted to. Next to genetics, the weather is one of the most important factors. The colder the weather, the more stressed the plant can become if it is not native or adapted to the climate. If the climate is too hot, the plant can get burnt by the heat. 

The cannabis plant comes in many shades, such as greens, reds, and purples. Much like chlorophylls give plants and leaves their green color, flavonoids like anthocyanins give plants their orange, red, pink, purple, blue, and even black colors. To begin, flavonoids are consumed by humans through fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods and drinks. Anthocyanins are a specific group of flavonoids. This group of flavonoids includes over 400 different kinds of anthocyanins. Just a small fraction of the anthocyanins you may see expressed in the cannabis plant include cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, and petunidin.

In addition to providing color to the plants, flavonoids and anthocyanins have shown to have both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties (Weston-Green, 2019). This is among the many reasons that people recommend using whole-plant extracts and concentrates like RSO and tinctures to aid in certain medical conditions. In particular, the cannabis plant also contains two specific flavonoids, Cannflavin A and Cannflavin B. Most recently, researchers have looked at their potential to help fight pancreatic cancer. Although the research is still new, it is something to keep an eye on in the future (Moreau et al., 2019).

References

McPartland, J. M. (2018). CannabisSystematics at the Levels of Family, Genus, and Species. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 203–212. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0039  

Moreau, M., Ibeh, U., Decosmo, K., Bih, N., Yasmin-Karim, S., Toyang, N., Lowe, H., & Ngwa, W. (2019). Flavonoid Derivative of Cannabis Demonstrates Therapeutic Potential in Preclinical Models of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer. Frontiers in oncology, 9, 660. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.00660

Weston-Green, K. (2019). The United Chemicals of Cannabis: Beneficial Effects of Cannabis Phytochemicals on the Brain and Cognition. Recent Advances in Cannabinoid Research, 83–100. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.79266  

Budtender Spotlight: Corey Yula at New Millennium

written and photographed by Kaylynn Wohl

How long have you been in the cannabis industry?

I’ve been working at New Millenium for the last two years. Before that, about three or so months working for a farm that my friends had just started. So it was early plant development and setting up the framework for how they were hoping to have things run.

Do you think those three months at the farm prepared you for working at a dispensary?

Definitely. It kind of gave me the knowledge to know what it looks like on the farm end of things. Any facet of the cannabis industry is important to know when it comes to being a budtender just because you never know what kind of questions you’ll get from people.

What kind of questions do people ask you? Anything strange?

I get weird questions all the time. It seems to be from older folks who are used to the old way of how it used to be where they would get what they got and use old terms to describe. So when I ask if they’re into sativa or indica more, or if they have any experience with CBD, they kind of look at me like I’m asking if they believe in aliens or I’m speaking in another language.

Why did you choose to join the industry for work?

I felt a passion for cannabis. I noticed the benefits that it could provide, and it just made sense with my customer service background. I just felt like it would be really cool to be able to direct people towards the thing that will work best for them, whether it’s flower, edibles, or topical. Making sure they leave with a product that’s going to work for them but also a positive experience makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing. I’m also raising awareness for cannabis in general. There’s still that stigma in a lot of places that treats it like this terrible thing. In 2021, I just think it’s time to get the bad stigma out and focus on helping people. So many people of so many walks of life could benefit from cannabis.

Do you feel like a weed expert due to how long you’ve been there?

In a way. The industry is constantly changing and especially now with more states legalizing and they’re able to do more research. My expertise is only applicable so long before more research comes out; it’s constantly evolving. It’s exciting to be able to learn about all of these new things. My job is to guide these people towards a product that’s going to work for them, so in a way I’m learning all this new stuff too. It never gets old. But yeah, I’m a weed expert.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

It’s been a lot of back and forth. Early on there was a lot of frustration with people not being able to smell the flower they wanted to get. A lot of people depend on their senses, and taking that away was difficult. As it’s gone on, people have become more understanding. It’s taken away a large portion of the experience though and they rely on us to be their guide more than before. They’re trusting us completely. Other than that, dealing with minor logistical things: deliveries for pop tops and our red warning stickers that go onto everything have a bigger delay, so that’s something we’ve had to keep in account for when ordering. A couple different times, we stopped allowing people coming into the store completely. At that point, we have to go off of their questions and look at everything we have and try to find what will fit their requests most specifically. There’s a lot more responsibility on the budtenders part.

How has your relationship with cannabis changed since becoming recreationally legal in Oregon?

To be honest I didn’t have too many experiences with cannabis before that. The ones I had were kind of negative. The psychoactivity was nerve wracking for me. I started trying new things, whether it was edibles or just flower. Cannabis taught me a lot about myself. I was able to recognize my anxiety by name, and I’m grateful for that. Since it became legalized, I’ve had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise and saw what it’s all about to form my own conclusions. A general respect has occurred over time.

When did you first try cannabis? Can you describe the situation?

The first time was around 2013. I drove up to Seattle with a close friend of mine, and it had just become legal there. A guy at the dispensary recommended us a joint. It was called Orange Dream. I’ll never forget the strain, and I’ve never seen it since. We had a plan to go smoke it at a park and see a movie. We didn’t get that far because I crashed my car into a friend of a friend’s car and ruined the day. I was totally sober. Probably anticipating the experience freaked me out. Later that night, my friend and I decided to smoke the joint. I sat down on my cousin’s couch and just stared at the wall. I swear I left the room. I’ve never had an experience like that since. I genuinely feel like I wasn’t even there. Honestly it was a terrible, terrible time. It held me back a long time from trying it again, but I did, and I had another bad experience. Then I tried it again later on, and it got progressively better as I started to understand the feeling. Avoid Orange Dream.

Do you have a favorite strain and why is it your favorite?

Not really. I think I’ve allowed myself to be open to really everything. So I go into each joint, each edible and be ready to see where it will take me. I like finding a joint with a really good flavor. Sometimes I’ll get a high that will get me really giggly and puts me in a great mood. It’s just so diverse, and it’s one of my favorite things about it to be like ‘okay what did I get today and what’s it going to do to me?’ Maybe it’s Orange Dream after all.

What’s your favorite method of consumption?

I’d definitely say joints. I think I have an oral fixation; I pick my hands sometimes, and I used to smoke cigarettes. I think joints naturally filled a certain predisposition with having my hands needing to be doing something. Plus it’s really nice to watch it burn.

What’s your favorite thing to do when stimulated by cannabis?

I use it most nowadays in my personal time, because I never know how it will play on my anxiety. I like to do creative writing or playing video games. If I have a good, visually interesting movie, I’ll light up before.

What do you do when you aren’t at New Millenium?

I hang out with my cats, I smoke weed, I play video games. I’ve been obsessed with New Girl lately. I feel like I’ve wasted all these years not watching it. Writing here and there. Otherwise, just staying inside and chilling out. I’m honestly worried for whenever the pandemic ends, and I’ll be expected to do stuff outside of my house. I might fake my own death…

What’s so special about New Millenium?

New Millenium genuinely tries to provide high quality products for affordable pricing. And I mean that. Before working there, I would go to different dispensaries to find prerolls. I was surprised how many don’t offer houserolled prerolls, and I was surprised how pricey they could be. We consistently have $2 prerolls. Half of the strains we have in flower we try to have in prerolls so people can try it before buying an ounce of it. In 2021, cheap weed should be the way of the world to give people their medicine—we’re not Big Pharma!

Is there anything you’d want the public to know about utilizing dispensaries during the pandemic?
Be understanding with your budtenders. Know that we are all experiencing the same thing you are. A lot of us are overworked, have lost family members or been forced to sacrifice as well. We are trying our absolute best to do what we’ve always done: to provide you a great experience, good quality cannabis and something that will help you out. We’re doing our best. We’re all people.

‘Magic Mushrooms’ and drug decriminalization join forces to reconstruct Oregon justice system

words by Kaylynn Wohl, IG @kdizzler

Oregon is the first state to approve the legalization of ‘magic mushrooms’ while also decriminalizing personal possession of all other drugs. Measure 109 allows the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to lead programs by licensed providers to conduct therapy that uses psilocybin-producing mushrooms. Measure 110 decriminalizes previously illegal substances, such as small possessions of heroin, meth, cocaine. By reallocating portions of the state’s cannabis tax revenue, mental health resources are to expand while repositioning the narrative around drug addiction and supporting Oregonians who struggle with substance use disorder. 

Measure 109 does not allow at home manufacturing, consumption or distribution of psilocybin. In therapy sessions, it can treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and other mental health disorders. Unlike pharmaceuticals which are taken daily with an array of side effects, psilocybin provides “breakthrough therapy” with plant based solutions. 

Drugs including fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and all others are still illegal to possess, distribute and manufacture. The change lies within Oregonians no longer being jailed for small possessions; instead, they could be cited or fined up to $100, rather than “the existing misdemeanor of one year in prison and a $6,250 fine.” A person can avoid the fine by participating in a health assessment. Large possession amounts and trafficking still remains a criminal offense.

About 58 percent of voters were in favor of Measure 110. This progressive change in legislature addresses a major problem that about one in ten Oregonians struggle with, according to a report released by the Oregon Substance Abuse Disorder Research Committee. About $6 billion is spent annually on addiction through funding policing, jailing and healthcare. Measure 110 mandates expansion of treatment facilities through widening resources partly funded through the state’s cannabis tax revenue. Afterall, jail and prison are not rehabilitation resources.

“My main concern for 110 is really how much it is pulling away from schools and mental health treatment,” said Alexandra Arnett, another staff writer for Green Eugene. “I think it’s unwise to divert funds from either as education and mental health really go hand in hand with steering away from addictions.”

The remaining 42 percent of voters in opposition of Proposition 110 worry about what this means for Oregon schools, which receive about 40 percent of the revenue generated. 

Measure 110 will directly affect people of color within the local criminal justice system. Black people are statistically and systemically more likely to be arrested for drug related offenses, and Measure 110 could benefit racial minorities who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. 

Discrimination is always present in the U.S. legal system, particularly within policing. Measure 110 reallocates portions of the police fund into the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund and Addiction Recovery Centers (ARCs), which will offer 24 hour access to care every day of the year starting October 1, 2021.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, “Nearly 80 percent of people in federal prison and almost 60 percent of people in state prison for drug offenses are black or Latino.” Decriminalizing drug possession could reproportion the representation of arrests and incarceration of people of color. More people will have access to treatment “when law enforcement resources are appropriately redirected to programs that help build healthier communities.”

It is estimated by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commision that Measure 110 will show a decline in over representation of convictions of racial minorities as compared to whites. Specifically, it’s estimated to show a 93.7 percent decline in Black convictions, 82.9 percent for Asians, 94.2 percent for Native Americans and 86.5 percent for Hispanics. 

Measures 109 and 110 join together to reposition the state’s participation in the war on drugs as Oregon continues to prioritize recovery for those who struggle with mental health. 

Is the MORE Act really ‘more’?

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

Much of the cannabis community was elated to hear that the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. I would like to preface this article by stating that the passing of the MORE Act by the House is indeed a momentous victory for the cannabis industry. The Senate, although not likely to pass it, have until the end of 2020 to vote on this legislation. However, the MORE Act is not without some major flaws that could do harm to the industry. In the days following the passage of the MORE Act, many cannabis and social justice advocates began speaking out about the changes that were made to the legislation before it passed the House. Throughout this brief article, I will highlight some of the positives as well as detail some of the flaws within this legislation.

One of the major things about this legislation, if it were to pass, is that it would completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This specific amendment to the CSA would be a game-changer for those who are currently conducting or who want to conduct cannabis research. In addition to the removal of cannabis from the CSA, the MORE Act ensures no person will be denied federal public benefits due to cannabis use or past convictions. The protection also extends to immigrants who may use cannabis or have cannabis convictions. The MORE Act also effectively changes how legislation refers to the plant, instead of “marihuana” the term “cannabis” would be used. Another positive aspect of the MORE Act would be the ability of cannabis businesses to work with banks and obtain business loans.

The biggest flaw in this legislation has three parts. The first is that you must be issued a federal permit to run a cannabis business, which can still be denied if the person is or has been involved in violations of federal or state laws related to cannabis. There are no provisions in the bill stating that those with permits issued in legal cannabis states will be automatically accepted. This means a higher cost to business owners who are starting out and another hurdle to jump through for those already running a state legal cannabis business. You can read the particular section here (Sec. 5923 (e)). The second is a particular section regarding the distribution of the Community Reinvestment Grant Program funds. Prior to being passed in the House, the text had a 7th provision in Sec. 3052 (a), which states where the funds must be allocated to help individuals harmed by the War on Drugs. This 7th provision stated, “services to address any collateral consequences that individuals or communities face as a result of the War on Drugs.” The Community Reinvestment Grant Program still provides help for those harmed via job training, reentry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth programs, and health education programs. However, the War on Drugs systemically harmed many individuals and their communities in more ways than that. It’s also important to note that from the Opportunity Trust Fund, the Attorney General gets 60% while the Community Reinvestment Grant Program gets 40%.

The third major flaw is that the MORE Act does not exactly call for automatic expungements for cannabis crimes as soon as the bill passes. It allows them one year from the date of enactment to order expungements for those convicted in cannabis crimes. You can read this particular section here. While it does allow for those convicted of crimes to petition the court themselves after its enactment, this puts an undue burden on people who may not have the resources to do so. Those currently incarcerated for cannabis crimes still have to go through a sentencing review hearing before they are released. In addition, only non-violent cannabis crimes will be eligible for expungements and sentencing hearings. Now, we are not saying violent crime isn’t a bad thing, but we know all too well how the criminal justice system treats minorities. This is especially true when it comes to drug crimes. 

Now, we must also consider the financial impact on businesses and consumers if the MORE Act were to pass the Senate and be signed into law. With the current legislation as written, there would be an annual tax on cannabis businesses of $1,000 and an initial 5% federal tax on cannabis products to consumers that is set to increase to 8% within 5 years. In states like Oregon, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington, this can bring the total taxes in these states to anywhere between 30% and 50%. Washington cannabis taxes are currently 37%, by adding an 8% federal tax within 5 years, this would mean consumers would be paying 45% in taxes alone. This puts an undue burden on the working class and makes it unattainable for some who need it the most, such as people on disability with limited income. On top of taxes for the product itself and the annual business tax, there is another tax on the packaging used for the product. This specific tax can also be left up to the discretion of the Secretary. On another note, testing of cannabis can still be required for federal employees.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what’s going on in the fine print, Nina Parks is a great activist and cannabis entrepreneur to follow. Her Instagram and business pages can be found here: @nina_parks, @equitytradecertification.