Silver Dabbers

words by Josh Delzell

A study by Dr. Benjamin Han, assistant professor of internal medicine at NYU, found that between 2015 and 2016, 9 percent of adult between the ages of 50 to 64 had at least tried cannabis in the past year, and 3 percent over 65 had also tried it within the same time period. While these percentages may seem small, it’s actually a statistic on the rise. In 2013, 7 percent of middle aged people had tried it, and 1.4 percent of those over 65. Is cannabis use normalizing for older Americans, or is the devils lettuce still too infamous for baby boomers and beyond?

At a minimum, there’s less of a stigma around cannabis use in certain areas than there once was. In 2018, 10 states — as well as the District of Columbia — passed laws legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and several others pushed for new legislation or took the first step with legal medical use. The number of states that may pass legal cannabis is also rising in 2019, with states like New Mexico passing a bill that would legalize cannabis.

Doug Fuchs, a Eugene resident and older generation cannabis user, noted the rise in cannabis use for people his age.  “A lot of people my age started using [cannabis] in the past 4-5 years since it has been legal,” said Fuchs. “My inlaws are in their 80’s and lived through the anti-cannabis era. Now they are using it because of its medical purposes.”

Fuchs also helps run the Oregon Homegrown Challenge, in which contestants bring their own flower to be judged, and many of the participants fall into the baby boomer category — not only consuming cannabis, but taking the industry by the reigns. It’s like a brew contest, but for cannabis. Currently, Fuchs is working on establishing The Willamette Valley Homegrowers as a local cannabis gardening and network club, an organization Fuchs founded himself.

Medical relief is also a huge motivator behind older generations increasing use of cannabis. These properties come from the benefits that cannabinoids provide for easing common ailments like nausea, pain or spasticity. Medical cannabis also has shown to provide positive benefits for diseases like parkinson’s, which tends to affect people over 40.

The Alzheimers Society recognizes the ability of cannabis to soothe symptoms of alzheimer’s such as aggression or agitation. Dr. Joshua Briscoe of Duke University told NPR that even the most modest benefits of cannabis use would be beneficial to the elderly. “We prescribe substances that are far more dangerous than cannabinoids,” Briscoe told NPR during an interview on elderly use of cannabis. He also noted that the elderly are far more likely to experience side effects from medication in general.

While cannabis can be helpful for older patients, because of the strict federal regulations on cannabis, it’s hard to fully know the benefits and risks cannabis can have on elderly users. Dosage amounts are especially important for older consumers, because of metabolism rates slowing with age. Sticking with a smaller dosage until comfortable with cannabis is a good idea for older users to avoid potential side effects that can come with a heavy-handed edible or preroll.

Whether or not cannabis helps elderly users is still up for debate in an empirical sense, because of the lack of research, but anecdotal evidence has shown that it can help tremendously.

Cannabis use is increasing every day as states begin or continue the process of legalization, storefronts pop up across the nation and the stigma slowly fades. Baby boomers and older generations were raised with a dark image of cannabis, and old habits are undeniably hard to break. Despite this, education is spreading and the healing properties of cannabis are starting to dominate the conversation — regardless of your age.

That being said, maybe your parents have been using cannabis behind the scenes. I just found out only a couple months ago that my dad has been smoking since he was in his teens. Do you have a fun or hilarious story about learning that your parents use cannabis? Message us on Instagram or Facebook @greeneugenemag!

Runner’s High

words by Josh Delzell
photos by Connor Cox

Lazy, dull and careless; all stereotypes to describe stoners.  While it can be nice to give in to couch lock and watch a movie, not all “potheads” are lazy, despite what cultural stigmas may have you believe. Many stay active, and while the science is still murky on whether or not cannabis is beneficial to an active lifestyle, many swear by it. Active runners have said that it helps them push through the pain of a workout because of the high. Former NBA player, Matt Barnes, swears by cannabis use. Barnes said “All my best games I was medicated,” in an interview by Bleacher Report for their B/R x 4/20 piece. While most professional athletes are still hesitant to discuss their cannabis use, recreational athletes can talk more candidly about their consumption. Take Ruben Estrada for instance.

Estrada, a senior at the University of Oregon, has been active for most of his life. “Running has been a hobby of mine for a while,” he said. “I’ve played soccer since I was kid.” Estrada tries to get in a strenuous workout at least three days a week, and he does this all while utilizing cannabis.  He declared that he smokes every day,— following up with a clarification that he typically doesn’t smoke before classes, but occasionally indulges in the classic wake and bake on weekends.

Estrada even used to actively run after a smoke sesh. “It depends on the strain,” he said. “But with a sativa, a two hour plus run, even when the high was coming down, I still felt a little boost to add onto the runner’s high.” Estrada reflected on competing in the last Eugene Marathon. “My parents kind of made me do it. They didn’t force me or anything, but they started to really get into fitness by the end of my high school career.” Estrada felt as if he was getting ‘lazy’ while his parents were whipping themselves into shape. “My dad ran the Portland marathon, and my mom ran the half. I was like ‘dang, they’re in their 40’s, I can do this too!’” Estrada also wanted to challenge the ‘pothead’ stereotype in a way. “It was fun taking a bong rip and following up with a two and half hour run, and thinking, ‘most people won’t do this.’”

Estrada wanted to push back against the stigma of cannabis being detrimental to an active lifestyle, when in reality, it’s more common than you’d think.  “There are so many people that use it, that are professionals and are active on a daily basis.” Despite connotations, some people use cannabis and still go for a run or hit the gym. “I ran a marathon, and there are a lot of people who don’t smoke cannabis that didn’t. So, you can laugh your way to the bank knowing you’re doing stuff others aren’t even when they doubt your lifestyle.”

Estrada unfortunately suffered a knee injury during the marathon. “It was the classic, ‘mile 22 will get ya’,” he said. He suffered an LCL injury, and is currently doing rehabilitation for his knee, but unfortunately doesn’t run as much as he used to. However, Estrada continues to use cannabis as a pain reliever for his knee. “It’s a great pain reliever, it relaxes the pain.” THC and CBD have many anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an effective pain reliever for active lifestyles. THC also relaxes the nervous system which can help with muscle spasms.  “I work for UO Concessions, so I worked all the football games, and I would end up running around 10 to 12 miles a game,” he said. “So at the end of the day, my knee was pretty sore… cannabis made it easier to go to sleep without a nagging injury keeping me up.” Estrada uses cannabis infused topical cream for his knee. He likens these topicals to Icy Hot. “You can slap it on your knee, back, shoulders or anything. It’s a great soother and relaxer,” he said.

Despite the benefits that cannabis provides to athletic lifestyles, it is still banned in most high profile athletic events. The Olympics and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) lists cannabis as a performance enhancing drug, due to “having the potential to enhance sport performance” and “representing an actual or potential health risk to the athlete,” according to the USADA Marijuana FAQ page. However, according to a study done by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, no evidence was found of cannabis being a performance enhancing drug. They even touched on the potential cannabis could have to help with traumatic brain injury after further research. “There is no science that says it’s a performance enhancing substance in the context that it gives you an unfair advantage,” said Estrada. “There are ex-NBA players that have come out saying they used it, and it was their saving grace [for their injuries]. I would like to see a time where people  start to understand and empathize with the medical benefits from it, because I see it as a really therapeutic substance.”

With evidence that indicates cannabis can help athletes, it remains banned by high level athletic competitions. Many stigmas about cannabis come from a lack of knowledge and experience. People like Estrada challenge old stigmas and show that cannabis doesn’t make one lazy; how you use cannabis is up to you and your personal lifestyle. While reflecting on his experience in the Eugene Marathon, Estrada left with an anecdote that sums up what it’s like being an athlete that uses cannabis: “At the marathon I was wearing a t-shirt that had a pot leaf on it, and at mile 20 when I was feeling it a little, there was a group of people and one of the guys yells ‘Yeah! Powered by weed!’ and that was a motivator!”

Too High? Don’t Panic!

words by Skyla Patton

Marijuana carries with it a plethora of medical benefits, relaxing qualities and an overall mellow vibe for most consumers. However, it’s still possible to take just a little too much and end up having a bad time. This is known as “greening out.” Eating a dosage too high for your tolerance or even taking one puff too many on a joint can lead to some undesirable side effects, but fear not; If you ever end up with unpleasant side effects, there are a few things you can do to nullify the experience. Check out these guidelines on taking the appropriate amount and how to calm down if you get a little too high.

Take 5

When trying an edible for the first time or experimenting with a new one you’ve never had, dosing can be a daunting challenge—especially because the right dosage isn’t always clear with every product. A good rule of thumb to follow is the “take five” standard, introduced by Leafly in an article a few years back. For most beginners, 5mg is the sweet spot with most edibles. It’s a great way to test the actual strength of the product without taking too much and ending up greening out. For veteran cannabis users, you’ll eventually want to go beyond the standard 5mg to 10mg or even 15mg, depending on the product. Still, it’s always better to stay on the safe side, especially the first time. Once you’re used to an edible, experiment with larger doses as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.

Tips to Calm Down

You’re a little too stoned, and that’s OK—it happens to the best of us. It’s important to remember the bottom line: you’ll be okay! If you’re feeling weird or starting to experience anxiety, follow these tips to mellow out and stay calm.

1. Find A Quiet Place

Whether you’re at a party or with friends when you start feeling uncomfortable, you’re more prone to feel paranoid or anxious in stressful or high-energy environments. If possible, separate yourself and take a short walk outside or find a quiet room where you can sit or lie down for a few moments to gather yourself. If you’re in public or can’t leave, take a bathroom break to breathe or find a comfortable seat to relax in until you feel more in control.

2. Controlled Breathing

A common practice for panic or anxiety attacks is controlled, structured breathing. This will control your heart rate and give you something to focus on. Along with this, breathing slowly and calmly will serve as a good reminder that you’re okay and help you concentrate on relaxing your body and mind. Popular exercises include breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, or the 5/7 rule: inhale for five full seconds, hold it for a brief moment, and then exhale slowly for seven seconds.

3. Play Calming Music

Music is a tool for many different ailments and can rapidly relax your mind even in high-stress situations. Headphones are ideal for isolating your thoughts, but if that sounds uncomfortable, playing something soothing on a stereo or the TV works just as well. Despite your regular taste, try to avoid music with rapid tempos or intense rhythms — even though you usually enjoy it, it can be stressful when experiencing negative side effects. Opt for something calm like indie instrumentals or music designed for sleeping.

4. Eat Some Snacks and DRINK WATER!

Drinking water is literally never a bad idea. Keeping your body hydrated is crucial for overall health and can actually help regulate your system effectively enough that it can nullify anxious feelings or stress. Along with this, eating a few light snacks like crackers or a piece of toast can add some substance to your stomach and get you a step closer to normality.

5. Distract Yourself

If all else fails, finding a task or something relaxing to occupy yourself with can absolutely help calm your mind and provide your busy brain with something to focus on instead of the nervous feeling in your stomach. The worst thing to do is remain in an environment or situation where all there is to do is concentrate on your rising anxiety. Journaling, watching a TV show, or even a hot bath (or cold shower) can help you concentrate and relax your body and mind. However, it’s important to listen to your body and not shut out everything; pay attention to your symptoms in case you need help or some extra TLC from a friend.

Knowledge Over Stigma: River Valley Remedies

words by Delaney Rea | photo by Michael Davies

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“Destigmatize.” It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in conversation about the cannabis industry. We’ve all heard canna-advocates express their desire for wider acceptance and deeper understanding of the plant, but how does it become a reality? What tangible steps can be taken toward reaching recognition of the full form and function of cannabis? According to River Valley Remedies, the answer is simple: education.

First, a brief history: River Valley began operation in 2015 as a medical farm in Salem. Marion County, which the capital city resides in, was one of the areas that opted out of recreational sale. While this made the idea of sale in the area a non-starter, another Oregon city lay waiting in the wings. On the eve of 4/20 this past year, River Valley opened shop as a dispensary in Eugene.

Natalie Raulin, River Valley’s resident marketing guru, is one of the core staff who helped the Eugene venture find its initial footing. Raulin’s mother, a midwife from Scotland, introduced her to a healthy dose of medical knowledge as a child. Much of this involved non-Western, medicinal plant practices. This background, along with her chemistry studies, fits River Valley’s approach like a glove.

“[Non-Western] medicines have been around for thousands of years. We wanted to present that tradition to Eugene,” says Raulin.

She’s far from alone. Much of the River Valley team comes from a background in plant medicine, which helps them cater to customers’ medicinal needs. With a pre-existing population in Eugene that was open to non-traditional medicine, it hasn’t been a challenge for River Valley to convince the community of the utility of their products. They essentially operate like a classic apothecary, guiding their patrons individually to make effective use of their services, whether they be medical or recreational. However, this isn’t to say that the dispensary deals solely in cannabis-based remedies. In fact, much of its herbal section doesn’t include cannabis-based products at all.

To help the community better comprehend the benefits of cannabis, River Valley has made concerted efforts to provide them with proper education. As Raulin puts it, the public has a habit of simply looking at the indica and sativa properties of the flower they choose to consume. An approach like this can allow only a skin-deep experience. River Valley combats this with workshops, panels and more events that encourage deeper, more informed interactions with cannabis. Raulin also writes a monthly Q&A with cannabis experts for the Eugene Weekly, which helps River Valley reach a broader portion of the Eugene community.

Educational events occur every month at River Valley, including workshops on how to grow mushrooms and how to create your own tinctures. Tinctures, which are alcohol-based cannabis extracts, were a primary form of cannabis medication prior to the enactment of cannabis prohibition. They serve as an entry point for many users to smokeless cannabis use. River Valley has hosted recurring tincture making workshops, and the events are among their most popular with community members. Since initiating the series, River Valley has only seen attendance to its various events grow as more people become interested in broadening their cannabis knowledge.

“Two months into the business, we had around 20 people showing up. Now, we see more than 100 attendees at [events like] our psilocybin talk,” says Raulin.

Psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound produced in over 200 strains of mushrooms, is another type of holistic medicine River Valley aims to bring to those in need. Research suggests that the compound could be effective in treating depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Currently, there are restrictions in place that restrict them from offering products that use the compound. However, that could change in the near future.

The Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) is a group working to bring awareness of and access to psilocybin in Oregon. OPS works in response to increasing research surrounding the safety, benefits and risks associated with controlled psilocybin consumption. Currently, the group is working on the Psilocybin Service Initiative (PSI), an effort for which they are trying to land a spot on the 2020 Oregon general election ballot. If passed, the measure would create access to psilocybin services in Oregon. By holding events that address subjects like psilocybin, River Valley helps raise awareness about the compound.

Coming up, it won’t be a simple task for River Valley to achieve its goals. Oversaturation in the market will prove a challenge to overcome. “There’s a shop on every corner on our street alone,” says Raulin. “We don’t want to compare ourselves to other stores, but we are aware that they’re there.” Despite the competition, Raulin says they don’t want to see competitors fail. They encourage efforts by other locations to provide similar education, with success of the overall industry reflecting well on them in the long run.

So how does River Valley set itself apart? Developing strong relationships with farms is a start, especially as the farms themselves face an uphill battle to move their product out of their warehouses and into the hands of consumers. According to Raulin, there’s an excess level of unused flower in farms around Oregon that far exceeds the amount of consumer demand. River Valley has experienced a resulting influx of farmers attempting cut deals to unload their product. By making it a goal to avoid the lure of this cheaper, typically lower-quality product, River Valley strives to maintains the integrity of their existing farm partnerships and continues to deliver superior-quality flower to their customers.

Moving forward, River Valley aims to continue expanding their event offerings. For example, they just started their terpene presentations series, which will run through the rest of the year. Additionally, they want their education to reach beyond the existing cannabis consumer base.

“We want the whole community to be educated, not just [our patrons],” says Raulin. “We want to put our hands wherever we can help.”

River Valley Remedies’ hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are located at 1985 W 7th Ave. Visit them online at RiverValleyRemedies.net, and learn more about OPS at Opsbuzz.com.

 

Hemp Press: Saving the World One Sheet at a Time

Words by Kelsey Tidball | Photo by Sierra Pedro

Did you know that more than seven billion trees are cut down each year to provide us with paper products alone? Did you know that instead of cutting down all those trees, paper can be made out of hemp? And did you know that hemp paper is sustainable and can be entirely tree-free? Matthew Glyer has spent years of his life grappling with these questions, and when he opened Hemp Press in 2013, he became the proprietor of the first exclusively hemp paper print shop in the nation. Hemp Press is the only printing company of its kind, and it’s located right here in Eugene! The company specializes in creating and designing hemp-based packaging for hemp and marijuana-based products, labels, business cards and their trademark Crutch Cards.

“Hemp paper is controversial,” Glyer says. “The paper mills don’t want to make craft paper and the printers don’t want to print with it.” Glyer says this is mostly due to the fibrous nature of craft papers and the particularity of hemp paper, which is made from the core of the hemp plant.

“Most printers run the risk of having a piece of hemp break off and completely ruin the machine, but ours is equipped for that.” It took Glyer four years to figure out how to print on hemp paper, and now that he has cracked the code, he sees the opportunity to incorporate hemp paper into the economic and agricultural norm.

“Our big goal is to keep manufacturing in the United States and to source the fiber from the United States,” Glyer says.

Previously, the primary source for hemp fiber was Canada, where the government both subsidized and funded the industrial hemp industry. However, since the funds for hemp research and production dried up a few years ago, hemp growers and enthusiasts in the U.S. have been searching for a way to bring the industrial hemp industry to native soil.

“Currently, we do not really have the infrastructure in the U.S. to process hemp fiber,” Glyer says, expressing a desire to inspire farmers to actually grow hemp. However, the farmers need a guarantee that the hemp crops they grow will be turned into products that people will regularly buy and use. This is a promise that is becoming easier to make with the introduction of hemp clothing, beauty products and supplements to mainstream grocery stores like Costco and Whole Foods.

Glyer and his colleagues want to turn hemp into a mainstream agricultural commodity, and they hope their printing business will help people see that hemp is a useful and sustainable crop that could help save the planet.

Historically, hemp was widely used to produce products such as rope, clothing and even classic Henry Ford automobiles. However, following Prohibition, the hemp industry was shut down due to its association with marijuana and other illicit substances. This history of government restrictions makes it exceedingly difficult to restart the industry in the U.S. today.

“Part of getting hemp back in the market is branding,” Glyer says. “Hemp-based branding ought not to scream ‘weed,’ so our branding services aim to produce more subtle designs that connect with a broader market.” Hemp Press prints packaging for beauty products, lotions, smoking accessories and other marijuana-related businesses.

“Ultimately, hemp is good for the planet,” Glyer says. “That’s why we need to keep growing it and keep making everyday things out of it if we can.”

He’s right—hemp is naturally resilient, thus eliminating the need for most pesticides and herbicides. According to a study done by the American Chemical Society, hemp also cleans the soil, absorbs CO2 from the soil as it grows and can be used as a substitute for many non-sustainable products. This includes traditional plastics, building materials, and—of course—paper.

Instagram: @hemp.press

Website: www.hemp.press

Email: contact@hemp.press