Allowing homegrown marijuana is the right thing to do

Despite the noise emanating from both the Senate and Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec’s Minister for Canadian Relations, the current debate over whether federal or provincial law should decide if cannabis can be cultivated at home is misleading.

Arguments against home growing for safety reasons are thinly veiled attempts at establishing and maintaining a government monopoly on cannabis sales.

While federal-provincial tussles are quintessentially Canadian, this debate masks the bigger issue: limiting citizens’ rights to grow recreational cannabis at home. This right should be upheld at all costs because it makes sense legally and economically.

First, a ban on home growing would have serious consequences for Canadian taxpayers. The Allard decision in 2016 set a legal precedent favouring growing cannabis at home. The case found that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that patients have “fair access” to cannabis, and it found that a licensed-producer-only system did not sufficiently support this.Challenging this ruling will be no small fight. Health Canada has already been under legal attack due to its inability to keep up with the demand for homegrown medical marijuana licenses. With existing delays on this issue in 28 active court cases, it is apparent that Canadians in every province are ready to fight for their right to grow. A prolonged legal battle will fall on the shoulders of already overburdened taxpayers.

Despite waits of up to six months for home grow licenses, Canada now has a critical mass of home cannabis growers. The process has been, in aggregate, unbelievably safe and successful. Today, more than 14,000 patients are growing cannabis at home.

Most patients grow between five and 15 plants indoors, although some grow more. Expert witnesses in the Allard case testified that this number of plants pose no increased risk of fires or mould, and these experts were right.

Part of this is due to the nature of home cultivation and what the average home growing setup looks like. Under the proposed Bill C-45, homeowners will be allowed to grow up to four plants at a time. This is entirely different from a commercial setup that typically has hundreds or thousands of plants. Growing hundreds of any type of plant at home would cause issues.

Israel first country to approve medical cannabis vaporiser

Israel has become the first county in the world to grant medical device approval to a vaporiser for the use of medical cannabis extracts and formulations.

The Israeli Ministry of Health has granted initial approval as a medical device to the  vaporiser used for cannabis oil formulations.

The company claims that the combination of the approved vaporiser and the targeted formulations will enable medical cannabis patients to receive more effective, consistent, and accurate dosing and delivery methods than currently accepted medical cannabis treatment methods.

Most medical cannabis patients today consume their cannabis by smoking. vaporisers remove the risks of smoking and have been proven more effective than other delivery methods.

“This approval is a significant announcement for the medical cannabis patients in Israel who will be able to use the medical vaporiser for the first time.

“We expect that due to the transition of most of the cannabis consumers to the use of vaporisers, our company is projected to reach $10 million in sales within three years in the Israeli market, while the Israeli cannabis market is expected to reach $100 million in sales within three years. The Israeli market is a platform to deliver our technology to global markets in North America and Europe.

Vaporisers will be available through the co-op.

Canada: Cannabis ‘genetics bottleneck’ a growing concern for budding licensed producers

As the number of licensed cannabis producers skyrockets ahead of federal legalization, industry leaders in B.C. fear a “genetics bottleneck” will stop newer growers from acquiring and growing unique strains.

Health Canada has doubled the number of licensed producers since last May to 88. But as these new growers sink millions of dollars into facilities, their access to diverse starting materials — seeds and seedlings — is hampered by stringent Health Canada rules that require them to be bought from a legal source, usually an established licensee or through government-approved importation from outside the country.

Meanwhile, the illicit market offers an almost-infinite variety of strains, with many cultivated and tweaked over decades by small growers whose unique crops are sought after in dispensaries. Black-market seeds can be ordered online but are not available to the licensees.

Jonathan Page, co-founder and CEO of Anandia Labs, a cannabis biotech and testing firm, said the “genetics bottleneck” is particularly troubling for new licensees seeking starting materials that will set them apart from the others, giving them a competitive edge.

“On the business side, it’s acute,” said Page, also an adjunct professor at the University of B.C. A new licensee will approach an established one for seeds or seedlings, but the established one may not be willing to part with their best genetics without onerous financial terms such as a contract for royalties, Page said.

“Essentially, they’re sort of being asked to enable their competitor or their future competitor,” he said. “It’s a system that makes it difficult for the new licensees.”

In its proposed framework for legalization, Health Canada has said it will create license categories for “micro-cultivation,” which would bring small growers on board, and “nursery” cultivation, which would provide a legal source of starting materials and allow development of new varieties.

Page believes such measures will help Health Canada toward its goal of quashing the black market, possibly allowing some to cross over from it. But he believes the new system must allow adequate variety to serve the needs of medical patients, who want options so that they can strike the right balance of THC and cannabinoids in the products they use. Cannabis market-tracking website CannStandard counted 263 dried cannabis products from 25 licensed producers as of this month, though thousands more strains exist in the black market.

When legalization comes, recreational consumers will call for diversity, too, Page said.

“Health Canada’s going to have to find a way to allow those existing genetics into this industry,” he said. “It seems pretty unlikely that they’ll allow the (regulations) to come in and say to people, ‘Oh, don’t grow the plants you’ve been growing for 20 years — go off to another licensed producer and get new genetics.’”

Page compared the issue of genetics-sharing to farmers who offer a neighbour some seeds or seedlings from their tomatoes, corn or roses.

“Really, Health Canada needs to come to grips with the fact that cannabis is a plant like any other,” Page said. “A freer, more open system of cannabis genetics is what’s needed in Canada.”

Abbotsford lawyer John Conroy, who successfully challenged Health Canada on its cannabis rules during the famous Allard case, calls the genetics bottleneck the “first seed” or “God seed” problem. He questioned why black-market growers who have been perfecting a strain for decades should have to abandon that legacy if they wish to legitimize.

“They’ve got a seed or a strain that they’re making (products) from and, in the future, it’s going to have to be from a licit source, so the issue is, how do you make that seed or strain legal going forward?” Conroy asked.

Conroy believes the answer is amnesty for those producers: “Declare what your starting product is and from now on you either use that or you get one from other legal sources.”

You May Want to Avoid These Ingredients in Cannabis Oil Vape Cartridges

By now, you’ve probably seen or tried firsthand a vaporizer with an oil cartridge. These portable vaporizers are becoming increasingly popular as they’re easy to dose and operate. Visiting a dispensary, you’ll notice different brands made with different strains, solvents, and additives. Which ingredients are safe, and which ones should be avoided?

Burning cannabis oils can produce some of the same free radicals that are formed when you burn cannabis or tobacco, which is why people have turned to vaporizing (vaping). Vaporizing means that cannabis is heated without combustion. Active ingredients are released by the heat into a fine-mist vapor. Since combustion does not occur, smoke is not created.

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People who vape cannabis perceive vaping to be safer and less harmful to their health than smoking. Cannabis vaporizers are specifically designed for inhalation without harmful smoke toxins, but how safe are materials being inhaled?

Harmful Agents to Avoid in Cannabis Oil

When vaporized, cannabis oils are frequently mixed with thinning agents for better performance in a vaporizing device. However, when some thinning agents are heated, potentially harmful carbonyl compounds can be produced.

Carbonyls are a group of cancer-causing chemicals that includes formaldehyde, which has been linked to spontaneous abortions and low birth weight. A known thermal breakdown product of propylene glycol, formaldehyde is an International Agency for Research on Cancer group 1 carcinogen.

Research in this area first began with e-cigarettes. Cannabis and e-cigarettes use different thinning agents and are heated and vaporized at different temperatures, but there are parallels that have now led researchers to begin similar research on cannabis thinning agents.

However, there is no research regarding heating of thinning agents in vaporizing devices specifically designed for cannabis. Most research of this nature has been done on e-cigarettes, which have been around for nearly a decade. One of the first studies was a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed hidden formaldehyde in the aerosols of e-cigarettes.

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In a very recent* August 2017 study, a team of researchers summarized the e-cigarette pulmonary toxicity by looking at human studies, animal models and cell culture studies. They described the field of research as rapidly evolving and identified research gaps and challenges, but warned that when heated to high temperatures, propylene glycol can break down into microscopic polymers that can cause damage to lung tissue.

Another 2017 study conducted at the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Arizona, researchers looked at the byproducts produced when vaporizing cannabis oil. These popular cannabis thinning agents were studied:

  • Propylene glycol (PG or PPG)
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 400
  • Medium chain triglycerides

These thinning agents were heated to 230°C (450°F), and scientists tested the resulting vapors to detect the presence of harmful compounds like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein.

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The results showed that polyethylene glycol 400 produced much higher acetaldehyde and formaldehyde byproducts than the other three agents. Heating of the thinning agent propylene glycol also produced significantly greater formaldehyde byproduct. Researchers concluded that individuals who vaporize cannabis oil utilizing these thinning agents may risk harmful exposures to the byproducts.

Furthermore, there has been a lack of adequate safety testing for the vape pen devices. Pre-packaged oil cartridges are not well labeled in some cases, and thinning agents are frequently developed in countries that have no regulatory controls. There are many vape pens on the market, all of which have a different heating source with different activation and temperature.

But is there conclusive evidence that vape pen consumers will develop pulmonary illnesses or cancers? No. Very little is known about either short- or long-term effects of inhalation of thinning agents like propylene glycol and others.

Thinning Agent Alternatives in Vaporizer Cartridges

Producers of vaporizer cartridges are making a mass exodus away from these thinning agents due to their health risks and the unpleasant taste they tend to carry. Instead, many are turning to terpenes as they help thin the oil while improving flavor. Others are using different extraction methods such as distillation to achieve an oil thin enough to be consumed in a cartridge without the need for additive thinners.

As vaporizing oil cartridges becomes more popular, products specifically designed for this purpose are emerging in the marketplace. When purchasing oil cartridges for your portable vaporizer, check the ingredients to see if propylene glycol and/or polyethylene glycol 400 are listed. If so, you may want to avoid them and reach for an alternative product that utilizes terpenes or more health-conscious thinning agents.

*Update 8/22/17: Since the original publication of this article, a new study from the American Physiological Society on pulmonary toxicity was released. It has since been added to this article’s analysis.

Medical marijuana has no health risks, WHO declares

Medical marijuana carries no health risks and is a useful treatment for epilepsy and palliative care, the World Health Organization has declared.

The report, published today, states: ‘There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care.

‘Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components.’ ‘Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.’ They concluded that  ‘current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol’, and declared that taking medical marijuana would not lead to being addicted to it.

Raul Elizalde, who campaigned to get his epileptic daughter CBD treatment, welcomed the new report. He told Daily Mail Online: ‘I’m ecstatic that these international health leaders agree that CBD is a substance that should not be scheduled and has therapeutic value for a variety of medical conditions.’ ‘It has changed our life.’ Elizalde, who is founder and president of HempMeds Mexico, added: ‘We look forward to continuing our conversation about its many benefits in 2018.’

 

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Homemade Cannabis Oil Is Being Used To Treat Cancer – Here’s The Recipe

The re-entrance of marijuana into the main stream consciousness has come on the back of revelations that the herb has massive cancer curing potential. The cannabinoids, molecules within the plant, enter the human body on consumption and bind with receptors that are already in place. Our bodies are made to handle this stuff.

The re-entrance of marijuana into the main stream consciousness has come on the back of revelations that the herb has massive cancer curing potential. The cannabinoids, molecules within the plant, enter the human body on consumption and bind with receptors that are already in place. Our bodies are made to handle this stuff.

The resulting endocannabinoids that are released by the human body perform a variety of positive effects, including regulation of cell growth. The fact that we have receptors for the chemical seems to indicate that we are evolved to eat the plant and the positive impact the chemicals have on our system further implies that.

One of the most popular ways to consume the plant is by smoking it, but the excess chemicals from the fire can cause unnecessary damage. Rick Simpson, a pioneer in the medical cannabis field, has mastered the art of cannabis oil production and released his technique to the world for free.

You can support Rick on his website; here is a condensed version of the process of making hemp oil.

Start with one ounce of dried herb. One ounce will typically produce 3-4 grams of oil, although the amount of oil produced per ounce will vary strain to strain. A pound of dried material will yield about two ounces of high quality oil.

We suggest finding an expert to guide you through the process, as this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a guide.

1. Place the completely dry material in a plastic bucket.

2. Dampen the material with the solvent you are using. Many solvents can be used. You can use pure naphtha, ether, butane, or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Two gallons of solvent is required to extract the THC from one pound, and 500 ml is enough for an ounce.

3. Crush the plant material using a stick of clean, untreated wood or any other similar device. Although the material will be damp, it will still be relatively easy to crush up because it is so dry.

4. Continue to crush the material with the stick, while adding solvent until the plant material is completely covered and soaked. Remain stirring the mixture for about three minutes. As you do this, the THC is dissolved off the material into the solvent.

5. Pour the solvent oil mixture off the plant material into another bucket. At this point you have stripped the material of about 80% of its THC.

6. Second wash: again add solvent to the mixture and work for another three minutes to extract the remaining THC.

7. Pour this solvent oil mix into the bucket containing the first mix that was previously poured out.

8. Discard the twice washed plant material.

9. Pour the solvent oil mixture through a coffee filter into a clean container.

10. Boil the solvent off: a rice cooker will boil the solvent off nicely, and will hold over a half gallon of solvent mixture. CAUTION: avoid stove-tops, red hot elements, sparks, cigarettes and open flames as the fumes are extremely flammable.

11. Add solvent to rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on HIGH heat. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and set up a fan to carry the solvent fumes away. Continue to add mixture to cooker as solvent evaporates until you have added it all to the cooker.

12. As the level in the rice cooker decreases for the last time, add a few drops of water (about 10 drops of water for a pound of dry material). This will help to release the solvent residue, and protect the oil from too much heat.

13. When there is about one inch of solvent-water mixture in the rice cooker, put on your oven mitts and pick the unit up and swirl the contents until the solvent has finished boiling off.

14. When the solvent has been boiled off, turn the cooker to LOW heat. At no point should the oil ever reach over 290 degrees F or 140 degrees C.

15. Keep your oven mitts on and remove the pot containing the oil from the rice cooker. Gently pour the oil into a stainless steel container

16. Place the stainless steel container in a dehydrator, or put it on a gentle heating device such as a coffee warmer. It may take a few hours but the water and volatile terpenes will be evaporated from the oil. When there is no longer any surface activity on the oil, it is ready for use.

17. Suck the oil up in a plastic syringe, or in any other container you see fit. A syringe will make the oil easy to dispense. When the oil cools completely it will have the consistency of thick grease.

For dosage information you can check out more on Rick’s website.
Originally published on Minds.com

IMPORTANT: These instructions are directly summarized from Rick Simpson’s website. Be VERY careful when boiling solvent off, the fumes are extremely flammable. AVOID smoking, sparks, stove-tops and red hot heating elements. Set up a fan to blow fumes away from the pot, and set up in a well-ventilated area for whole process.

A Simple, Inexpensive Piece Of Tech Is Upending The Burgeoning Marijuana Industry

Behold: The small, cheap device that’s disrupting the $7 billion legal cannabis business. This tiny combination of plastic, glass, and metal is a disposable cannabis oil cartridge. It costs anywhere from $30 to $70 (depending on the oil inside), is easily carried in your pocket, and produces little-to-no smell when consumed. You simply screw it into an inexpensive, rechargeable pen and inhale. That’s it.

It’s this tiny device that’s quickly taking over cannabis consumption in America’s largest cannabis market: California. Nearly a quarter of sales from 2016, tracked by marijuana delivery service Eaze, were for cartridges.

Similar growth rates are showing up outside of California as well.

States like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon — where cannabis is legal — are showing massive percentage growth for “concentrates” (cannabis oil), according to BDS Analytics.

Notably, this seems to be a growth trend connected to convenience.

As “flower” (traditional marijuana buds) is messy, complicated, and requires preparation to be smoked, it’s no surprise that easier forms of marijuana product are growing so quickly.

Though cannabis oil (“concentrates”) are making huge gains, the same can be said for pre-rolled and edibles. Edibles are simply eaten, and can be “dosed” out so you don’t overdo it; pre-rolled joints are as simple as lighting a cigarette — no rolling skills required. Cannabis oil marries the convenience of both.

On top of those conveniences, oil cartridges are inexpensive and travel easily. Best of all, using a cannabis oil vape produces none of the characteristic smells or clouds of smoke associated with traditional cannabis consumption.

All that growth has led to tens of millions of dollars in sales thus far, with an even brighter future expected as the market expands — despite huge wins for recreational cannabis sales in November 2016, regulation and implementation doesn’t kick in until January 2018 in many states. As commercial sales begin and more of the public tries these easy-to-use, disposable cartridges, expect even more explosive growth.

Monthly marijuana sales of $100 million the ‘new norm’ in Colorado

May sales hit $127.7 million, marking the 12th consecutive month the state’s cannabis sales have topped $100 million

While it’s still unclear where the Trump administration stands on marijuana, one state might as well have discovered its own El Dorado.

Per The Cannabist, Colorado has been hauling in $100 million a month in marijuana revenue through May, when it reached a total of $127.7 million. What’s more? That’s not even the record month. That would be this past March, when sales crested at $131.7 million. (According to the publication, sales totals include “flower, edibles, and concentrates.”) And May’s total marks the 12th consecutive month of $100 million sales or greater.

“I think that $100 million a month [in sales is] the new norm,” Bethany Gomez, director of research for Brightfield Group, a market research firm focused on the cannabis industry, told The Cannabist.

Of course, those revenue totals aren’t just a pat on the back for marijuana industry purveyors; the state of Colorado brought in nearly $223 million in taxes and license fees, too.

The Top 7 Health Benefits When Using Vaporizers

  1. Sight
  2. Preconception
  3. Smell
  4. Hear
  5. Taste
  6. Touch
  7. Vestibular

Finding the right method to consume your THC is never really a problem. However, the devices you use or the way you indulge in your favorite strain can be right or wrong when it comes to your health. There are 100’s of ways to satisfy your craving for Cannabis, but not all are beneficial. In this blog, we discuss the healthy benefits and how vaping meets your seven senses while you’re happily puffing.

Sight can be affected by any second-hand smoke. Ever get a smoke bomb in your eye after smoking a cigarette? Smoking can increase your chances of getting cataracts, glaucoma and eye diseases. While people are treated for glaucoma and dry eye syndrome with a medical marijuana therapy, the doctors most likely prescribed pure THC and not necessarily rolled paper joints. By using the vaporizers, you give your eyes more protection.

Proprioception means “Sense of Self.” To clarify, using vapes is great to have a more meaningful sense of self. When we become, relaxed and are focused, we become more aware. This awareness can be beneficial to self-esteem or can help lower anxiety. Vaping tends to give people a little deeper buzz without the stink.

Beyond smell, health cannabis, in general, piques your sense of smell along with the other senses. However, when burning a fat spliff, those smoldering vapors can irritate the nasal passages causing things like inflammation. That inflaming will cause a person to lose their sense of smell sometimes indefinitely. By using Vape Pens, you’ll be lessening smoke up the nose avoiding issues with smelling.

Not many people realize that smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from hearing loss than non-smokers. While we know, you love your buzz; there are alternative methods to getting that way without jeopardizing your health.

Can you imagine getting the munchies and wanting to go on a complete food frenzy when you realize that everything, EVERYTHING tastes like envelope glue!!! You’ll notice things will taste better and more favorable switching to the pen.

Other than taste, your sense of touch may improve as well. We’ve all done it, passing a roach around that is too small. Your fingertips can become charred from the hot ash. But, your digits can become numb if they’re burned enough. Be cautious by kicking it with a vaporizer. These devices typically don’t get heated at all.

Besides the risks of hearing, smell and touch your balance can become dysfunctional from smoking. Putting yourself on a vapor regimen allows you to avoid become imbalanced. Inflammation and swelling in the ear can occur when smoking. At the same time, labyrinthitis can develop causing you to lose your balance.

Since the idea here is to switch to smokeless methods, consumption of Mary-Jane allows for some sensible alternatives to smoking. In fact, if you think about this, your experience basking in your favored hobby, will be much better when you can do things like hear, taste and smell. We won’t tell you how to live, but knowledge is power, and it’s up to you to make logical decisions without losing your senses. Wouldn’t you agree? Pass it along.

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Nova Scotia board says insurance must cover man’s marijuana prescription

Nova Scotia’s human-rights board has ruled that a man suffering from chronic pain must have his marijuana prescription paid for by his employee-insurance plan, with advocates saying the decision opens the door for patients across Canada to push for similar cannabis coverage.

Gordon Skinner, from a community just outside Halifax, had argued that he faced discrimination when he was denied coverage by the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan. He has been using medical cannabis to treat pain from an on-the-job car accident that forced him from work as an elevator mechanic more than six years ago.

In a written decision posted online Thursday, the provincial inquiry-board chair found that Mr. Skinner’s plan could not exclude paying for his cannabis because it required a doctor’s prescription. The ruling states that the insurance plan contravened the province’s Human Rights Act, and must now cover his medical-marijuana expenses “up to and including the full amount of his most recent prescription.”

“Denial of his request for coverage of medical marijuana … amounts to a prima-facie case of discrimination,” the ruling states. “The discrimination was non-direct and unintentional.”

In Canada, only veterans, some first responders and a small number of private citizens get their medical marijuana covered by health-insurance providers. That’s because Health Canada has not approved marijuana as a medicine, so insurers are less inclined to offer coverage.

Deepak Anand, executive director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association, said the ruling is significant and could see a number of people apply for coverage through their provincial human-rights commissions.

“If they could start to use this avenue to try to get their employers or insurance providers to start covering it, I think that’s going to be significant and we are going to see more of that,” Mr. Anand said. He said he knew of one other instance where an insurance company agreed to cover medical marijuana – for University of Waterloo student Jonathan Zaid in 2015.

Mr. Zaid, who now heads the patient advocacy group Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, said Thursday’s ruling could extend to other medical-cannabis patients that have similar contract language in their employee plans.

“All patients can use this and show the feasibility of insurance coverage and how it’s a human right and how medical cannabis should be treated just like any other prescription medication,” Mr. Zaid said.

However, he added, the exclusion of cannabis coverage from many people’s plans hinges on the drug not having been issued a unique number by Health Canada that identifies its manufacturer, product name, active ingredients, strength, pharmaceutical form and route of administration.

Mr. Zaid said he is hoping Ottawa unveils a legalization framework later this spring that ensure patients have reliable access to the drug, regardless of how recreational marijuana ends up being sold.

Thursday’s ruling states Mr. Skinner must buy his medical marijuana from one of the 30 large producers licensed by Health Canada or a person legally authorized to produce for him.

“I’m elated, I’m still in shock, it’s really still sinking in to be honest with you,” Mr. Skinner said in a telephone interview from his home outside Halifax.

He argued his own case before the board last October after being denied coverage three times, and said he hoped the inquiry-board’s ruling would set a precedent.

“Hopefully, this will help other people in similar situations and eliminate the fight that myself and my family have had to endure and the hardship that this has resulted in.”

The board found that Mr. Skinner’s chronic pain has been under managed as a result of the denial of coverage, resulting in “profoundly negative effects on the complainant and his family.”