A Brush in Both Worlds

Words by Renee Thompson, Lily Brennan, Kaylynn Wohl 

Green Eugene staff have the unique ability to peer into the realms of both cannabis as an industry and journalism beat, and also form their own perspective as creative artists of a multitude of different backgrounds. For the Arts & Cannabis Issue, we invited them to tell their story on this intersection here.

Renee Thompson

My cannabis journey started when I was in college, and emerged as a way to treat my anxiety and other health conditions. The first thing I ever tried was a tincture. But within a few months I was smoking out of pipes and bongs. As someone who had been making art my whole life, I was able to explore art in a new way. I don’t think that cannabis is something that works for everyone with anxiety, and I highly recommend seeking mental health support before trying any cannabis products. But once you make that decision to start using cannabis, you honestly might as well get into a hobby like making art. Especially if you are one that has trouble doing things while high. However, I don’t think one needs to smoke or ingest cannabis to be a great artist. Making art, sober or not, is it’s own experience. While I recognize that it is a helpful tool for others, I don’t feel like I need cannabis every time I create, it’s just fun. I also love the community of cannabis artists. Some people are more so in the canna-closet, but it’s always fun to swap cannabis and art stories. 

Ever since I could hold a pencil, I have been making art. I’ve made acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings as well as many mixed media hand-cut collages and many clay things. I was fortunate growing up to have a family that supported my art, and a Godmother who was going to UCLA for art history. She would let me play with old supplies, and even sneak me into a lecture or two. My parents have always been a big support, and always took me to museums and different festivals. So I grew up in a very art-friendly environment. When I was in school, I took every opportunity to take art classes. In my senior year of high school along with taking advanced placement art I was a teacher assistant for, you guessed it: an art class. However, it wasn’t until I took my second ceramics class in college that I got to experience making art while high.

My personal experiences making art while high have been excellent. Since I have been using cannabis for a while now, I feel comfortable doing intricate work. Sometimes it is hard to work on a piece when it enters a stage of being done. A misplaced stroke or cut could undo hours of hard work. This is especially true with ceramics, as it is an art process with several stages. But throwing clay on a potter’s wheel and getting lost in your own little world after smoking a joint with someone you love is a feeling unmatched by much in this world. While I didn’t make much cannabis-inspired art until I transferred to UO, the first piece I did create is titled High Tide. It is a 4”x6” hand-cut collage using a photo my grandfather took as a base. It combines recycled magazines and other ephemera and some golden paint. I think that the piece becoming cannabis-inspired came to me as a flash decision. Most of my collage work is based on flash decisions.

The first step is always looking through ephemera, magazines being my favorite. After flipping through and tearing out pages, I try and figure out what should go where. After meticulous cutting, everything is placed where it would be pasted, and I meditate on why I picked certain things. Placement and accumulated meaning is analyzed, and I do a second pass at my material to see if I can add anything new to the piece. Some people would think that using cannabis while doing art would lead to clumsy mistakes, but I find that it is easier to block out the busyness of the world and focus on art while high. Most of my collage work is inspired by my love of vintage things, reusing materials, and my mixed background. I love mixing together things you wouldn’t see side-by-side in a magazine but feels like you could. Things from the past are always being dragged back into the present, and to me it feels wonderful to make art out of things that people didn’t want anymore or were meant to be thrown away.

Like most artists, I feel like I go through phases. Drawing, painting, and sewing seem to always be in rotation, but I can’t wait to have access to a good clay space and quilting space. Currently I’ve been messing around a lot with digital work, and my roommate and I make pinback buttons and stickers. It’s been really fun to do as I was scared of making digital art for the longest time. I first started by making zines, and even tabled at the UO Zine Fest in 2019. It can be intimidating to enter a new phase, especially since it is so much easier to compare yourself to others on social media and such, but it’s always better to just bite the bullet and go for it. Who knows what phase will come next for me, but you can bet that it will be preceded and followed by a plume of skunky smoke.

If you’re interested in seeing Renee’s work you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or on her website.

         Instagram: @renee.eporita

         Twitter: @eporita

https://rethompson55555.wixsite.com/portfolio

Lily Brennan

The other day I was at Joann Fabrics just resupplying materials. If you’ve ever bought fabric from Joann Fabrics before, then you must know the dreaded question the workers ask you while measuring and cutting your desired items: “So, what are you making with this?”

I never know what to say. I always go with a safe white lie of, “Oh, you know. A costume.” Or even the occasional, “I’m making stuffed animals for a friend.” Those answers are much easier to swallow than the truth. The truth being that I’m making a six-foot-long orange octopus-esque creature with diamond-patterned skin, all of which I believe to be a guide of sorts to an afterlife.

Hard to swallow, right?

My name’s Lily Wai Brennan. I’m a multi-disciplinary textile artist, inspired by experiences I have with the in-betweenness of dreams and reality. These experiences manifest as critiques on queerness, the body, childhood speculation, and personal relations. I often imagine that my artwork exists in its own childhood TV show, and I’m the token human living in this absurd reality.

I’ve been making art professionally for seven years. I’ve probably been smoking pot for just as long. In ways they feel involved with each other. Since I make surreal, trippy work about losing touch with the borders of our realities, being high feels incredibly prevalent. Smoking is when all those borders really fold and push away, and you’re finally able to take a step outside of yourself. I crave those solitary moments where reality begins to morph before me. Senses are amplified, yet impaired. My thoughts race through uncanny scenarios. I’m at my best when I lose touch with it all.

When the media began blasting my eyes with the horrendous images of beaten Asian Americans earlier this year, I lit a joint and sat on my balcony. My body and its likeness to the images I was being fed felt hollow, and I knew I had to make art about it. So, I did. That day, as I smoked to calm my nerves, I decided to create a racial persona for myself, as an avatar to contribute to the Stop Asian Hate campaign. A few weeks later I presented a successful solo exhibition titled Yellow Kid, showcasing this new body of work I invented in my head when I was high.

I’ve never fully considered the role weed plays for me and my art, but in ways it does feel important. Not only does it manifest experiential inspiration for me while being high, but it also grounds me too. It is both an innovative tool and a coping tool. That being said, I never smoke while working. I prefer absolute silence and solitude as I slave away at my projects; any outside sensory puts me out of my focus. But, weed always comes in during my brainstorming process. So, if you’re ever stuck on any concepts, I high-ly recommend just relaxing and lighting up. 

You’ll be surprised at what you might uncover.

Instagram: @lilywaibrennan

https://www.lilywaibrennan.com/

Kaylynn Wohl

The first mediums explored in my leisurely art career included pen and ink, and acrylic and chalk/oil pastels. When drawing on weed, I often felt like I forgot how to draw, how to make straight lines, or how to accurately portray my vision. Whereas, pastels were a blast on weed. Getting messy and using my fingers was such a tactile exploration while learning to prioritize the process rather than the destination. Coating my hands in vibrant chalky hues and smearing them onto paper was such a wholesome joy. It wasn’t until 2016 when I tried clay on weed for the first time, and boy was I thrilled. Being stoned and all of the ASMR aspects of ceramics created a soothing environment that encourages me to trust the weird grasping tools attached to my wrists. The sound of dry clay scratching or the sound of the clay sludge sloshing around sounds much more appealing when high claying. Plus, it feels like a socially acceptable form of playing in the mud. Wheel throwing is a dizzying challenge where I’d get hypnotized by my spinning uncentered lump of clay. I try to stick to weed and clay on a motionless surface, where all ego must be left at the door. Regardless of being high or not, the clay will do what it wants to do and it’s best to listen and humble myself along the way. There is something comforting about smoking herbs and doing ceramics; both come from the earth. 

Our household is pretty weedy. After a solo silent session that increasingly got louder and more vivid, I realized we as adults were far better than our out-of-service-candle ashtray. I retired the once upon a time apple cinnamon candle and upgraded to using a “real” ashtray that is a functioning piece of art. 

Maybe it’s the little boy in me still giggling about genitalia, but I had the humorous desire to sculpt vagina ashtrays. After exploring the first few trials, my immature child self grew up and conspired the true reason to create these pieces. They’re meant to sit on your coffee table or on your porch or wherever one leaves their burnt bits. With guests who frequent this household utility, conversation spark after realizing what they’re ashing into. This unavoidable situation I frequently encounter has led me to witty and educational comebacks. I ask if they are uncomfortable with the piece and why. Would a penis be more comfortable for you? This question is tricky because the wrong crowd says yes and requests a custom made clay phallus. To be frank, the penis discourse is tiresome and unoriginal. I got to thinking, why isn’t all genitalia  taboo, or, better yet, why is the vagina more taboo? Within these questions lie the many implications of gender inequality. But for now, this is cannabis and ceramic cooters. 

My pieces are created to stir the pot, arouse the house guests, make some people uncomfortable but then reflect why, and of course to be a functioning vessel. Instead of continuing the hush-hush nature around the vagina while “penis” is shouted across the room, I hope to inspire conversation around body positivity. 

Kaylynn Wohl, staff writer and vagina pottery girl

Instagram: klaylynnsclay 

Cannabis Art History Around The World

written by Renee Thompson

Originating in Central Asia, the use of cannabis sativa hemp spread across into China around 2800 BC. Later, around 10,000 BC an artist in Neolithic Japan created what is thought to be the earliest visual depiction of cannabis in a cave near what is now Kyushu. The painting shows the leaf motif common in many cannabis inspired artworks, and also appears to show smoke, an animal, and a person. During this time, hemp seeds were used as a food source, fiber material, and smoked in Asia. Over thousands of years many cultures would use and alter the cannabis plant, leading to its use in many rituals and artworks, and a higher concentration of THC. Even language was impacted by the cannabis plant’s iconic leaf design. The Chinese character (麻), which is the character used for hemp, is thought to be two cannabis plants underneath a shelter. Thousands of years later, in 1800, East Asian art like ‘Lovers’ by Choki still showed the culture’s developed relationship with the cannabis plant.

As the cannabis plant traveled to the West through India and the Middle East, smoking cannabis became a ritualistic fashion. The Greek father of history, Herodotus, wrote about how Scythians in 440 BC would throw hemp on hot stones and breathe in the vapor and rejoice. This method of smoking cannabis could very well be the inspiration behind “getting stoned.” The style of ingesting cannabis by placing the plant on hot stones is thought to have originated in China, where cannabis was ingested using brazier’s and stones at funerals. Chinese researcher Yimin Yang believes that this practice was done in hopes of communicating “with nature, spirits, or deceased people.” These ceremonies usually included music and dancing, which could be the origin of the relationship between music and cannabis.

There are even visual renderings of cannabis gods and goddesses, which were seen in Egyptian, East Asia, India, and several other indigenous cultures around the globe. Most commonly, Mother Earth is shown as the patron goddess of Earth and everything green, cannabis included, which is why many modern cannabis-inspired works incorporate her image. In Egypt the goddess Seshat is the patron of writing, creativity, scripture, and mathematics. It is believed that she originated written language, and that she harnessed some power from the cannabis plant. Seshat is usually depicted with a cannabis leaf above her head. In China during the Song Dynasty, the goddess Magu is known as the Immortal Hemp Maiden. Ma Ku, a Taoist goddess whose immortality is said to be the cause of her knowledge and use of superior medicines like the Elixir of Life. In her folkloric stories, Ma Ku is said to have invited Taoist philosophers to smoke some herb, as well as eat foods from the heavens. In India, the god Shiva is known as the originator and lord of bhang, a cannabis based paste that was used throughout the country in 1000 BC.

As cannabis traveled to Europe, during Medieval times, the Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods lead to an influx in botany-based artworks. These were commonly works produced by monks studying plants and are more scientific in nature. Much like diagrams in textbooks, these artists would rely on the illustrations to further their understanding of the world. They would spend a long time illustrating things like the growing stages of the plant, the plant’s natural environment, and other organisms that may co-habituate with the plant.

During marijuana prohibition, there were many anti-cannabis propaganda works made, such as ‘Reefer Madness.’ These posters and works were meant to highlight negative stereotypes surrounding the substance and those who use it. Art made in, or inspired from, the 1960s is what most people have seen of cannabis art. It usually uses bright colors and is said to be influenced by other hallucinogenic substances such as magic mushrooms and LSD. One interesting artistic niche during this time was the alternative comix movement. This is when publications like Zap Comix by Robert Crumb would expand the comics medium to extend to more adult topics like sex, drinking, and drugs; like cannabis. There are many subtle and clear-cut references to cannabis use in alternative comics, like in Robert Crumb’s comix strip titled ‘Stoned Again.’ Rick Griffin, the illustrator behind ‘A Puff of Kief’ was also a part of the alternative underground comix movement of the 1960s.

In modern times, as legalization support is growing and with the increased connectivity of the internet, there is more cannabis-inspired artwork than ever before. Many ceramic and glass artists have taken to making intricate delivery systems for cannabis, and several illustrators have made cannabis art and merchandise. However, social media apps like Instagram and Facebook have been known to ‘shadow ban’ or penalize these cannabis artist accounts. Censorship in cannabis-inspired art is not new, and has been happening for hundreds of years, but that doesn’t make it any less harmful to cannabis artists and it won’t erase the rich ancient history humans have with cannabis.

Sources:

https://www.vice.com/en/article/78yvgz/a-visual-history-of-the-pot-leaf-weedweek2017

https://www.leafbuyer.com/blog/cannabis-art/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/2500-year-old-chinese-cemetery-offers-earliest-physical-evidence-cannabis-smoking-180972410/

https://hightimes.com/culture/internet-marijuana-censorship/

http://plantillustrations.org/volume.php?id_volume=6863

http://www.japanhemp.org/en/ukiyoe.htm

https://www.britannica.com/plant/hemp

https://www.northernstandard.com/a-brief-history-of-cannabis-in-art/

The Mother Plant of the Goddess — Cannabis

High Recommendations: WVA Gummies

Written and photographed by Alexandra Arnett

As a medical cannabis patient, edibles are some of my favorite ways to consume cannabis. To help with my anxiety I typically use 5mg-10mg of THC or a 5mg/5mg ratio of THC and CBD every few hours throughout the day. I also suffer from chronic pain due to a lower back injury I obtained when I was a gymnast, so in addition to regularly using cannabis topicals during the day, I do prefer to eat a high dose edible before bed so I can sleep through the night. There are hundreds of edible brands on the recreational market but few choose to branch out into having vegan options, especially when it comes to gummies. My favorite edibles are ones that are made with infused butter or coconut oil and use solventless concentrate. Cannabinoids bind with fat molecules to help your body absorb them better, instead of breaking down quickly and passing through your system. Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is one of the best infusion mediums for helping cannabinoids bind to fat molecules for better absorption.

Right now my favorite edibles on the Oregon market are from Willamette Valley Alchemy. I’ve been a long time fan of the company, particularly because they produce wonderful Live Resin cartridges and have strain specific vegan edibles. Finding vegan edible gummy options can be difficult and it is even harder to find ones that are made with quality ingredients, no food dyes, and so on. Willamette Valley Alchemy gummies are made with coconut oil, fruit purees, have no artificial flavorings or food dyes, and they now offer two vegan options! The first vegan option they offered were 1:1 THC/CBD vegan gummies. The particular package I have now was infused with Sour Banana Sherbet and Cherry Wine. 

Next up, a product they recently released are their vegan 50mg THC gummies, infused with solventless concentrate! The batch I have currently is infused with GMO x Sunset Octane. Both options come with 10 pieces, with the 1:1 ratio having roughly 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD per gummy and the 50mg THC option having roughly 5mg of THC per gummy. These vegan gummies are the perfect option for dosing throughout the day or if you just want to munch on a few gummies instead of a single one to reach that 50mg dosage. Occasionally I have seen limited edition flavors added into their product line, but each of their staple gummies come in a blend of five flavors per package. Strawberry Blast is my favorite, other flavors included are Passionfruit Punch, Blueberry Bliss, Sunrise Grapefruit and LaLa Lychee. If I’m being honest, all of their flavors are delicious.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try Willamette Valley Alchemy’s’ products yet, I highly recommend picking up any one of their products. From their Live and Cured Resin cartridges to their numerous strain specific edibles, this company is an Oregon cannabis industry staple.

Where’s the Weed, Anime?

Written by Annie McVay, photographed by Renee Thompson

If you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed an astounding lack of cannabis in anime. Growing up in the United States, we’re constantly bombarded with jokes and references to using cannabis. We know bloodshot eyes are a dead giveaway and that you’d better have a dang delicious drink to cure the oncoming cottonmouth. Even when pot was illegal in all 50 states, there were iconic films themed around Mary Jane. Cheech and Chong: Up in Smoke has long been praised for starting the stoner entertainment genre in the United States. With anime comprising 60% of the world’s animation-based entertainment, I have to ask: where’s the weed? 

But hey, let’s start with the fun part and recount the times cannabis has appeared in anime! Anyone who’s watched Samurai Champloo knows that hip-hop beats aren’t the only dank part of this action-packed series. In episode nine, “Beatbox Bandits,” Mugen is caught by the Tengu warrior-priests while on a mission to deliver a severed head, which inevitably leads to starting sacks of weed on fire in the storage shed to escape imprisonment. During the escape, Mugen inhales the purple haze emitted from the burning “holy grass,” causing a psychedelic fight scene. Although the warrior priests didn’t get to use their cannabis to start a revolution in the Japanese government, it did save Fuu and Jin from execution.

Besides that blatant representation of cannabis, anime has very obscure references and negative outlooks on the substance. In episode 20 of Assassination Classroom, Nagisa scolds Yuji, a minor character, for smoking cannabis. Detroit Metal City (highly nonsensical and full of jokes, not for the light-hearted) features the manager making the main character Souichi smoke cannabis in hopes of unleashing his true evil. If you’ve ever watched Eureka Seven, then you’re bound to have questions about Stoner, who is modeled after Che Guevara. And while Che Guevara never smoked the drug or promoted its use, we’ve all seen his image on smoking paraphernalia. Other honorable mentions would have to go to Brook from One Piece and Pannacotta Fugo from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, who both have “purple haze” incorporated in their respective arsenal.

 So what’s the deal? For so much anime out there, the number of cannabis references is ludicrously low. Things become a lot more clear-cut after considering Japan’s strict laws against cannabis and the history behind them. Using or possessing Mary Jane can get someone up to five years in jail, and a fine, wholesale, transport, or cultivation can earn someone a 7 to 10-year sentence. Cannabis has been illegal since the Potsdam Declaration after the end of World War II in 1948. Yet, before WWII, the entire country of Japan used cannabis for all sorts of ceremonies and traditions. Shinto priests burned cannabis to exorcise demons, pilgrims left it as offerings on shrines, and families even burned it outside their homes during Obon, Japan’s festival of the dead, to invite ancestral spirits. 

Japan is so staunchly against cannabis that they believe the substance is one of the most deadly drugs known to man. Ironically, Japan doesn’t classify cigarettes or alcohol as drugs, either. Drinking is so socially acceptable that no laws are prohibiting cracking open a cold one with the boys in public. Alcohol itself is sold 24/7 at convenience stores, supermarkets, and even in vending machines on the street. It’s also normal to show up to work hungover (so much so workers are not allowed to call out when hungover). Co-workers love to drink together after work, and refusing an invitation can be interpreted as an insult. 

While drinking in public and smoking cigarettes are a-okay, cannabis will land you in a world of social shame and criminal charges. Neighbors and even doctors will narc on anyone they suspect of smoking reefer. Various celebrities have been caught enjoying cannabis, and it kills their career. Junnosuke Taguchi, a former male idol of KAT-TUN, was initially facing the death penalty for smoking a joint with his girlfriend. Fans even lament their idols’ poor choices and rally at their subsequent press releases to express support for “getting clean.” 

But fear not! Shining through like a ray of sunshine is Michiko Kameishi, a determined lawyer who claims she’s “always thought that Japan’s Cannabis Control Law is absurd.” Kameishi is a skillful and intelligent lawyer who hates “unreasonable regulations that have no scientific basis.” After hearing how Los Angeles had trendy dispensaries and parties with frequent cannabis use, she knew the time had come to act. Japan may be steeped in propaganda surrounding cannabis, but Kameishi and the power of science may just change the country yet. And if attitudes about cannabis become more positive, we’re bound to see more references in anime.

Cannabis and the Environment

Written by Alexandra Arnett

You may notice a lot of farms throwing around the term ‘sustainable farming’, but what does that actually mean? Sustainability is defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. But is sustainability really sustainable? The purpose of sustainability is to maintain. Maintaining what was already there is simply not enough when looking at the bigger picture. As hard as we may try to maintain, the biodiversity of the planet is still suffering from our actions, thus we must make efforts to restore this biodiversity. Methods such as regenerative farming include taking part in a diverse bioecological system and giving back to the earth. Practices include planting complementary plants alongside your cannabis, growing various crops in the offseason to protect the soil, composting, using natural soil and avoiding chemical additives. Some farms have even been successful in dry farming cannabis plants which means they don’t use supplemental irrigation systems for their plants. Now, in a place like Oregon, this may produce cannabis that ends up molding, but for drier climates, this practice does show some promise.

Regarding “organic” cannabis farming, the USDA actually does not certify any cannabis as organic as it is illegal under federal law. Hemp, on the other hand, can obtain a USDA Organic certification. In an effort to obtain similar “organic” certification for cannabis farms, various organizations have been established that helps to ensure farms follow specific “sustainable” standards. Some of these organizations that work with farms in Oregon include Dragonfly Earth Medicine, Certified-Kind, Sun+Earth Certified and Clean Green Certified. Each organization has different requirements for getting certified and some are more stringent than others in regard to certain farming practices. [The various rules for each are linked above.] There are also a number of farms that make claims about having “organic” practices, but the reality is that we can’t be certain. In addition, everyone has their own idea of what “organic cannabis” looks like. Farms should make an effort to practice regenerative farming methods in order to give back to the earth.

I know we would all like to think that growing cannabis does no harm to the planet. But the reality is that growing cannabis in a way that benefits the environment wholly takes much more effort than simply choosing to grow outdoors. There are three main environments in which cannabis is commercially grown: indoor, outdoor and light-deprivation greenhouse. Some farms just grow cannabis using one of these methods, others may implement multiple methods if accessible. Typically, cannabis plants are grown in soil, either directly in the ground or in a planter pot. However, indoor cannabis growing operations may often use a hydroponic method of growing. Hydroponic growing involves suspending the roots of the plants in buckets of water and a medium such as perlite or coconut fiber.

Out of all the growing methods, outdoor growing is the one that would require the least energy and water. Greenhouse growing methods are also another good choice if you may be dealing with inclement weather for growing cannabis. Indoor growing and hydroponic methods are the most wasteful, in both energy and water consumption, especially when the methods are combined. If you want to choose the best method for the environment, growing cannabis in the earth’s natural soil provides a number of benefits to the earth and uses the sun rather than artificial lighting and energy.

While there is an overall lack of research on the effect indoor cannabis cultivation may be having on the environment, in 2020, one researcher Evan Mills published an in-depth follow-up study to a 2012 paper on cannabis energy use and cost. According to his data, indoor cannabis cultivation produces up to 15 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year and can cost upwards of $6 million a year. To compare this, Oregonians produce around 20 million metric tonnes per year in transportation emissions. However, there are ways to mitigate some of the negative effects of indoor cannabis cultivation there are a few steps that can be taken. Implementing things such as renewable energy sources, LED lighting, reusing water through reverse osmosis and even collecting rainwater for use are all ways indoor cannabis cultivators can help lessen their impact on the environment. 

Let us not forget though that there can be negative effects to the consumer if cannabis is grown in less than ideal environmental conditions. Not only does cannabis pull toxins out of the soil it is grown in, when it is grown outdoors there is a chance for dirt and other allergens to contaminate the plant. Overall, knowing your grow is the most important thing you can do to ensure you are getting the most quality product on the market.

Seth Rogen: Weeds Renaissance Man

featured image pottery by Kaylynn Wohl as inspired by Rogen

Written by Kaylynn Wohl

If anyone champions weed within the celebrity light, it’s Seth Rogen. Since breaking out from his late adolescent role in Freaks and Geeks, we’ve seen him in stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and Superbad with his contagious and blazed whole-bellied chuckle. He step-by-step taught us the ways of the cross joint and gifted us with “Bound 3,” a sensual parody featuring his close friend James Franco. The cannabis community is now witnessing Rogen’s evolutionary creations outside of cinema culture with his new (to the United States) company Houseplant.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s cannabis lifestyle brand launched two years ago in Canada. With simplicity in mind, they started with three flower strains: sativa strains Pancake Ice (33.32% THC) and Diablo Wind (26.29% THC) and indica strain Pink Moon (26.45% THC). Eighths of an ounce of Houseplant’s strains are suggested at $60 and are currently available in California through delivery services. The strains come in unique aesthetically pleasing containers that accompany info graphics and oversized striking matches. 

“All our strains are named after weather systems like we did with Pineapple Express,” Rogen described in a Twitter thread. 

The ‘house’ aspect of the brand entails weedy house goods from luxury table top lighters, car lighters, vinyl record sets, and even ceramic ashtrays and vases designed by Rogen himself. A triple LP vinyl box set was catered to the individual experiences of sativa, indica and hybrid strains to create a unique sound experience. Each session reflects the beat and vibrations of whatever mood is smoked. Despite the $95 price tag, fans of both Rogen and cannabis have raved with positive reviews. To combat the frequent site crashes and quick product sell outs after the initial launch, Houseplant offered users to enter an email address to be notified with a designated access link that had a 10 minute grace period.  

While Canada legalized cannabis in 2016, the fight continues in the US as acknowledged by the company’s website impact page. Houseplant’s ethics and political standpoints are made clear through deliberate discourse surrounding the environmental impact and the ongoing legal battles within the cannabis industry. Supporting any cannabis company that openly discusses injustices and imbalances within the industry feels just as good as smoking the strains themselves.

“We feel strongly about educating people about cannabis, a plant we love and believe substantially benefits society. We will always use our platform to educate people about the devastating history of the War on Drugs and help end the senseless, racist cannabis laws that, despite progress, still exist today. We won’t stop until every adult in America is able to enjoy cannabis without fear of being labeled a criminal,” reads the Houseplant website. 

In more recent years, fans of Rogen’s acting career have additionally been able to adapt their support towards his artistic pottery endeavors. This stoner’s connection to the herbal earth, fostered by loving cannabis, has expanded through connecting his hands to the earth material of clay. This passion for ceramic art pours over into Rogen’s fans who previously may not have expressed interest in pottery. The global ceramic culture and community benefit from this artist’s teachings of the alchemical world of clay. 

As a fellow ceramicist (or pothead if you will) I have witnessed immense growth in Rogen’s pottery. The evolution of his ashtrays is an inspiring phenomenon where I’ve even created similar pieces out of awe for his clayed mind. His signature style includes a short cup shape ashtray with a two-to-three inch-long tray added to the lip for easy secured display for any stick-shaped smoke. He provides a walk-through on how he creates these pieces on his Instagram, leaving out secrets only other potters can spot. After mastering these designs with over a year’s practice, Rogen has since created molds in order to mass produce his unique ashtray set. Pottery molds for slip casting are created with plaster where liquid clay is poured in then out to create a shell of the desired shape. 

Rogen’s exploration of sculpting bodacious vases and vessels melds with psychedelic glazes in highlighter hues. Required by a deep understanding of raw chemical interactions, some of his colored creations vibrantly replicate heat maps and splattered zombie vomit. Instances where the unglazed portions of the vessel pop with electrifying color are created by wedging oxides into the raw clay body. Rogen’s particular methods have been vaguely shared with his audience while his pottery updates usually only accompany a brief caption of “I made these.”

Aside from all the aforementioned dope shit this Canadian-American cannabis influencer has provided the weed community, Rogen wrote a book called Yearbook which is scheduled to be released in May. This novel is a series of true stories and humorous essays that I imagine will pair excellently with my blunt of Blue Dream. 

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 

‘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. 

Madame Mary Jane’s Harvest Horoscopes

illustration by Renee Thompson @renee.eporita

Aries (March 21st- April 20th)

Aries, there will be a small change that will seem chaotic or stressful to you, like maybe your favorite budtender leaving or your favorite strain disappearing, but don’t get too strung out over it. Instead, go with the flow and embrace this new change and break your old routine by trying something new like an edible or concentrate. 

Fall Tarot Card: The Tower (distress, adversity, disgrace)

Taurus (April 21st- May 21st)

Taurus, now is the time to splurge on something you’ve always been curious about. Perhaps it is a bit more in price or THC content than you’re used to, but as long as you’re comfortable you should reach out for that special something. If you’ve never tried it, try getting a pearl and watching a spooky movie. 

Fall Tarot Card: Three of Wands (effort, discovery, strength)

Gemini (May 22nd- June 21st)

Gemini, if you’ve been feeling stuck lately take a chance and trust the recommendation of your favorite stoner. Have they been raving about a certain strain? Does your budtender swear by this harvest’s Blue Dream? Now is the time to get out of your funk and find out what all the ruckus is about.

Fall Tarot Card: The Chariot (providence, triumph, chance)

Cancer (June 22nd- July 22nd)

Cancer, when you find yourself feeling dull and worn out from your usual 420 routine, consider taking T-break and cutting out or lower your THC consumption. Taking a T-break can help you ‘clear the fog’ you’ve been stuck in lately and heighten your next experience when you want to reintroduce THC again. 

Fall Tarot Card: Knight of Wands (absence, departure, flight)

Leo (July 23rd- August 23rd)

Leo, when you want to treat yourself to something new, think about trying an activated beverage. These drinks can be a great way to experience the modern advances of the cannabis industry and if you’ve ever wondered what a canna-twist on drinks like lemonade, soda, and beer taste like, bring it up to your favorite budtender. 

Fall Tarot Card: Temperance (moderation, frugality, economy)

Virgo (August 24th- September 22nd) 

Virgo, remember that the transition from summer to fall is harder for others. If you’ve been feeling slightly depressed or sluggish, try a fruity sativa like Grapefruit. You can also try doing activities in sunlight and exercising, like smoking a joint after an autumn walk or hike.

Fall Tarot Card: Nine of Swords (disappointment, despair, sluggishness) 

Libra (September 23rd- October 22nd) 

Libra, if you are ready to try something stronger than your usual THC treat, maybe it’s time to try concentrates. In my experience, concentrates made from OG strains are usually easy to find in the fall time, but this can change from harvest to harvest, so ask your budtender what they recommend next time you stop in on Shatterday. 

Fall Tarot Card: The Emperor (power, stability, reason)

Scorpio (October 23rd- November 21st)

Scorpio, this fall I recommend trying out more indicas. You’re in need of that calm, peaceful feeling that indicas are famous for producing. Now might also be an excellent time to get into making art or carving a jack-o-lantern. My personal favorite indicas have always been in the Kush family, mostly because there always seems to be fun combinations. Maybe you can try a few out and find a new favorite. 

Fall Tarot Card: Four of Wands (harmony, peace, prosperity) 

Sagittarius (November 22nd- December 21st) 

Sagittarius, this season you should spend your time diversifying your cannabis palette. One easy way to do this is to take advantage of gram specials. Now is a good time for you to settle on a favorite dispensary, or at least take this as an excuse to branch out more in your consumption habits. 

Fall Tarot Card: Three of Swords (removal, division, dispersion) 

Capricorn (December 22nd- January 20th) 

Capricorn, for this spooky season, I recommend experimenting with mild or low THC strains like R4 or Charlotte’s Web and focusing on mindfulness. But if you are thinking about trying more than one strain out this fall, try and keep a journal about your favorite CBD strains and how you interact with them. 

Fall Tarot Card: Eight of Cups (mildness, joy, modesty) 

Aquarius (January 21st- February 19th)

Aquarius, as someone who tends to be off in their own world, I would suggest at some point this season using a canna-bath bomb. Especially if you find your thoughts being more tangled than usual. Taking a nice canna-bath can give you time to mull things over and treat sore muscles. 

Tarot Card: Ace of Swords (love, triumph, excessive)

Pisces (February 20th- March 20th) 

Pisces, this fall is a time for you to return to your roots. For many of us, this means smoking a joint. This could also be a good time to go back to your first favorite strains if you’re feeling nostalgic. Whatever brings you back to your favorite moments, and if you haven’t learned yet, try rolling your own joints or carving your own apple pipe. 

Fall Tarot Card: The Hierophant (tradition, alliance, goodness)