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Marijuana for sale in Michigan is contaminated with mold and yeast, a group of cannabis testing labs is warning.
Moreover, the state is no longer allowing a specific marijuana testing method.
But the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association said Wednesday it disagrees with the lab group's findings, saying the state's move to pause one of the methods to test for contaminants was made "out of an abundance of caution," but "there's no evidence" the pot is actually tainted.
"From our perspective, there has not been any indication there is contaminated product in the system," said Robin Schneider, the association's executive director. The issue, she added, is an "ongoing scientific debate" and not a public safety matter.
Because lab tests were not done with regulatory oversight, the results are questionable, Schneider said.
Properly dried and cured cannabis flower buds burn evenly and have a smooth, rich taste. When smoked, the embers have an even glow and enter the body smoothly. When vaporized, there should be no apparent “green” taste.
If flower buds are dried too quickly, chlorophyll and other pigments, starch and nitrates or other fertilizer salts are trapped within plant tissue, making it burn unevenly and taste unpleasantly “green.” If buds are dried too slow, or not at all, they rot.
Gardeners can lose some or all of their crop to poor drying and curing cannabis techniques. Here’s how to do it right:
Drying converts 75% or more of a freshly harvested plant into water vapor and other gases and converts carbohydrates to simple sugars. Drying also converts chlorophyll and other pigments so that no “green” residuals remain.
You can harvest an entire plant, individual branches or strip flower buds from branches to dry. When stems are severed, the transport of fluids within the plant continues, but at a much slower rate. The natural plant processes slowly come to an end as the plant dries. The outer cells are the first to dry, but fluid still moves from internal cells to supply moisture to outer cells, which are dry. When the drying and curing processes occur properly, plants dry evenly throughout. Removing leaves and large stems upon harvest speeds drying; however, moisture content within the “dried” flower buds, leaves and stems can become uneven.
The website you’re ordering from should look legitimate, like it was designed in this century, and should also have recommendations from publications and reviews from different customers.
Marijuana’s slow but steady movement towards federal legalization has been heavily documented, gaining support across the nation and with more and more medical and recreational programs gaining approval. But there remains a lot of mystery in the purchase process, with many turning to black market marijuana because it seems simpler and less intimidating than legal weed.
Legal marijuana still has some growing pains, but it has slowly become a simple and more intuitive process. Now, depending on the state where you live, you’re able to purchase marijuana online, at times having it delivered or scheduled for pick-up. Here’s how to buy weed on the web.
Do your research
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Unsplash
When ordering marijuana flower and marijuana products, it’s important to account for where you live, since you won’t have access to these services if you live in an illegal state.
University of Queensland researchers have revealed cannabidiol can kill a wide range of harmful bacteria – including those responsible for gonorrhoea, meningitis and legionnaires disease.
A collaborative research project between UQ and Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:BOT) could result in the development of antibiotics for tackling bacteria resistant to conventional medicines – an increasingly pressing issue. In the case of gram-negative infections, there have essentially been no novel molecular classes discovered and approved for clinical use for more than 50 years.
“This is the first time CBD has been shown to kill some types of Gram-negative bacteria,” said UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Associate Professor Mark Blaskovich. “These bacteria have an extra outer membrane, an additional line of defence that makes it harder for antibiotics to penetrate.”
Assoc. Prof. Blaskovich says it’s thought cannabidiol’s action involves bursting the outer cell membranes of bacteria – but it’s not clear how this occurs and further research is needed. CBD, in this case a synthetic type of cannabidiol, was also effective at breaking down biofilms that help some types of bacteria survive antibiotic treatments. Importantly, cannabidiol also showed a low tendency to cause resistance in bacteria.
The results come at an important time, with Neisseria gonorrhoeae becoming increasingly resistant to conventional antibiotics and infections on the increase in Australia and elsewhere. Some “supergonorrhoea” strains have no reliable antibiotic left to treat them. In Australia, gonorrhoea infection rates increased 63% between 2012 and 2016.
Marijuana isn’t a big threat to the environment, but there are ways of supporting the right businesses and of minimizing the amount of waste you create.
Cannabis isn’t normally associated with environmental dangers; on the contrary, it’s an activity that’s long been associated with the good things that come from the earth. Now that we’re all more aware of the threat of global warming, large percentages of people are looking for ways of helping out the environment in any way they can, be that by recycling or by reducing the amount of energy they use.
When it comes to cannabis, there are a few things conscious consumers can do in order to be more mindful of the environment and to truly know where their product is coming from. Here’s how to use marijuana in ways that are environmentally conscious:
Avoid baggies and recycle bottles
Photo by Zummolo/Getty Images
Packaging is an issue with most consumer products. When it comes to cannabis, one of the perks of legalization is the increased use of glass containers and the disregard of plastic, one of the most difficult elements for the environment to process. Whenever possible, go for glass containers, since these can be washed and repurposed. Once you’re done with them, make sure to recycle them in your nearest dispensary or by ensuring that your community recycles glass and dropping them in your recycling bin.
Legal cannabis is spreading. According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach US$73.6 billion by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent.
A survey of over 1,000 US consumers found that the modern cannabis user is largely representative of the general population. Moreover, cannabis consumption today blurs the lines between strictly recreational or medical. In fact, more than 50 percent of consumers report using cannabis for both purposes. As THC and CBD products make their way into an even wider array of product categories, our frame of reference for the modern cannabis user will continue to evolve.
In 2019, the medical cannabis market took home a leading revenue share of 71 percent, driven by the widespread adoption of cannabis as a pharmaceutical alternative for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more. A growing need for effective pain management therapies is expected to boost product demand even further.
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This story is adapted from From Seed to Success: How to Launch a Great Cannabis Cultivation Business in Record Time (2020) by Ryan Douglas
The future of commercial cannabis cultivation will be a marriage of technology and nature—as commercial cannabis growers are likely to face increased pressure to minimize their carbon footprint. Cultivators can help ensure their future competitiveness by adopting more ecologically sound growing practices today. Not only are these methods less damaging to the environment and less energy-intensive, in most cases, they also lower the overall cost of production.
Cultivation entrepreneurs have the opportunity to become pioneers in the industry by adopting cutting-edge technology and incorporating the use of biological agents in their cultivation program. Genetics selection with an eye to crops that require less energy and fertilizer will go a long way towards reducing the energy inputs required to grow a commercial cannabis crop.
Work with the sun
Cannabis operations of the future will move away from indoor growing facilities and towards greenhouse production. For every gram of cannabis produced, greenhouses consume 26 percent less power and release 42 percent less carbon emissions than indoor cultivation facilities. New greenhouse technologies and materials will provide the grower with greater control over the environment while minimizing the facility’s carbon footprint.
One such advancement is the use of specialty shade cloths to manipulate the spectrum of light that enters a cultivation facility. Shade cloths have traditionally been black or white in color, and are used inside greenhouses to refract light and lower temperatures in the growing area. Scientists have discovered that by using different colored shade cloths, also called photo-selective shade netting, growers can modify the light spectrum to naturally repel insects, alter plant physiology, and increase flower production.2 This material has the potential to help cannabis growers minimize pesticide use while realizing larger yields.
The amount of liquid marijuana seized in Japan has been surging, putting police and customs authorities on high alert.
The estimated amount of marijuana in liquid form confiscated by Tokyo Customs in 2020 jumped nearly 70 times from the previous year’s level. A customs official described the situation as “an explosive increase.”
The liquid extracted from marijuana plants has a higher content of hallucinogenic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than dried cannabis and can be used in a similar way to electronic cigarettes.
“Many users are youngsters,” an official at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department said. “My impression is that it has been in wider use for the past 10 years or so.”
According to Tokyo Customs, the liquid marijuana seizure amount was roughly 400 grams for the whole of 2019, but it jumped to some 9 kilograms in the first half of 2020 and to 18 kilograms in the following five months through the end of November.
Not all cannabis testing is equal, but the USA’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is aiming for it.
Legally speaking, the only thing distinguishing hemp from marijuana is its THC level. Not so long ago, the presence of any level of THC in cannabis made it marijuana at a federal level in the USA, but the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp with less than 0.3% THC legal.
THC testing can be a particularly difficult task where the cannabinoid is at low levels and one lab’s results may differ from another due to different methods or even just plain old human error. There can be a lot at stake – a farmer’s crop.
“If you’re going to confiscate a farmer’s crop, or subject a person to prosecution, you want to be sure that measurement is accurate,” said NIST research chemist Brent Wilson.
NIST has issued an invitation to labs to participate in a study that will assist them to produce the accurate measurements required to make a reliable call as to whether a cannabis sample is hemp or marijuana.
Did you know that we’re supposed to get 5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day? This equates to roughly two cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables. Although this is the recommended amount of fruit and veggies we should eat according to the USDA (United States Dietary Association), most of the American population doesn’t come close to meeting these guidelines.
Fortunately, though, another plant consumed for centuries due to its plethora of medicinal, therapeutic, and nutritional benefits is cannabis. Recently, numerous researchers and physicians have labeled cannabis a superfood, worthy of incorporation into your diet in some way or another. Here’s why.
Medicinal, therapeutic, and nutritional value
Cannabis’s many medicinal and therapeutic benefits have been well established, but the nutritional benefits of cannabis are still gaining recognition and public coverage. According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), superfoods are unprocessed foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, which are often derived from fruits, vegetables, and other herbs. Under this definition, numerous doctors believe cannabis can be grouped into the ‘superfoods’ category.
Besides cannabis’s array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits, the plant is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. In general, there are various parts of cannabis that can be consumed such as its leaves, stems, and buds whether they’re heated up or not. To reap cannabis’s nutritional benefits though, consuming raw parts of the plant is the way to go.
Cannabis sativa (hemp) seeds:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still inching its way towards developing consumer protection standards relating to CBD.
Back in 2019, it appears it came as a shock to many Americans federal standards for cannabidiol (CBD) hadn’t been developed. The FDA has repeatedly stated this has been due to gaps in its knowledge and it’s a situation that continues today.
But the agency hasn’t quite been sitting on its hands as some might suggest – for example, last year it revealed some interesting results from testing of 147 CBD and hemp products it purchased.
Last week, the FDA provided an update on its efforts to “CBD” (Collect Better Data) on the use of cannabidiol and its safety profile.
While the FDA says it has appreciated input from various parties in helping develop better data on the use and safety of products containing CBD, these efforts are “generally not adequate” – citing observational studies that are too small or using poor techniques for ensuring data quality. But in the months to come, the FDA intends developing and refining plans for research projects to address the gaps in current CBD data research capabilities.
There’s an ancient botanical that millions of Americans take for epilepsy, cancer pain, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and other serious and debilitating conditions.
The drug is cannabis. But American researchers who want to study cannabis are thwarted at every turn. Federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, a list that includes highly dangerous and addictive drugs such as heroin. The government says cannabis has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Even cocaine is not a Schedule 1 drug.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration limits research to poor quality cannabis from a sole supplier. Researchers who want to study the cannabis that patients are actually taking today are out of luck.
The majority of Americans now live in a state where medicinal cannabis is legal. Yet objective research into what strains help — or hurt — specific conditions, as well as the best dosages, is hindered by federal restrictions. Don’t blame researchers. Can we expect them to jeopardize their research grants, even their medical licenses, to study cannabis?
The time to change the classification of cannabis and open the door to quality research is now. The U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted recently to reclassify cannabis. In Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives voted to pass the MORE Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. The House also passed the Marijuana Research Act, which would allow scientists to obtain cannabis for research from states that have legalized the drug. Right now, the University of Mississippi is the only federally approved source of cannabis.
The cannabis plant is arguably the most dynamic plant on earth. It can be used for medical purposes, it can be converted into fuel, and it can be made into countless types of textiles.
In many ways it would be easier to come up with a list of things that the cannabis plant cannot do versus compiling a list of everything that it can do.
The cannabis plant’s versatility has been on display for many centuries across the globe, with a number of civilizations incorporating cannabis into their cultures.
It wasn’t until cannabis prohibition was implemented in the 20th century that the human use of cannabis for various purposes started to decline, and with it, humanity’s quest to know more about the cannabis plant.
Prohibition’s Impact On Research
During the 20th century most countries around the world expressly prohibited all things cannabis.
The Hemp Act of 2020 proposes four significant amendments to the federal laws currently governing the production of hemp, including increased THC concentrations.
As reported by Hemp Grower magazine, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced legislation on December 15 that would amend the definition of hemp from .3% THC to 1% THC. The bill would also make other major changes to the USDA’s interim final rule, which would affect hemp growers, processors, manufacturers, and shippers. The legislation is titled the Hemp Economic Mobilization Act (the “Hemp Act of 2020”). The Hemp Act of 2020 proposes four significant amendments to the federal laws currently governing the production of hemp.
First, the Hemp Act of 2020 would amend the federal definition of hemp by striking “.3 percent” and inserting “1 percent.” As hemp businesses know, the 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as cannabis sativa with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than .3 percent on a dry weight basis. The USDA then adopted a “total THC” testing requirement that further burdened growers and others in the industry.
As we wrote back in January 2019, the .3% threshold was created by a Canadian researcher in the 1970s who set a dividing line of .3% between hemp and marijuana for purposes of establishing a biological taxonomy. The dividing line was never intended to be used as a practical measure for countries to differentiate between hemp and marijuana for commercial purposes. We at the Canna Law Blog wholeheartedly support changing the threshold from .3% to 1%.
Second, the Hemp Act of 2020 would require testing of hemp-derived products rather than the hemp flower or plant itself. The USDA interim rule requires that growers test hemp plants within 15 days of the anticipated harvest. As we have explained, this can prove an impossible obstacle for growers in some circumstances. The Hemp Act of 2020 proposes a significant statutory fix. Current law requires a State or Tribal plan to include a “procedure for testing . . . delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration levels of hemp produced in the State or territory of the Indian tribe” (italics added). The Hemp Act of 2020 would replace “hemp” with “products derived from hemp plants” (italics added again.)
Rocky Mountain Extraction Services (RMES) has come a long way since incorporating 18 months ago.
The 2018 Hemp Farming Act was the catalyst, although opening their doors wasn’t quite so simple.
“Originally, we felt like [the Hemp Farming Act] was a green light,” says CTO Jerry Van Sickle. “What we found was that it was more of a yellow light.”
RMES office in the morning. Photo courtesy of RMES.
Because of hemp’s association with recreational marijuana, Van Sickle and CEO Scott McWhorter discovered challenges in commercial property leasing and banking for RMES — even though they were specializing in manufacturing organically-sourced CBD extracts and distillates rather than THC.
Drug development today is a long, arduous and expensive proposition. Since the first half of the 20th century, the standard of care in medicine and the pharmaceutical industry  is developing medications using nationally standardized protocols for medication safety and efficacy along with precision dosing for any new drug. Formulation development of drugs is key to ensure standardized quality, control over precision dosing, safety, accurate quantities delivered as well as the delivery to the correct site of action.
Using botanically derived medicines with their high degree of variability is why most drugs today, despite them being derived originally from compounding natural substances from plants, are now chemically synthetic versions made in laboratories. For example, the drug digitalis (or digoxin) which was originally derived from the foxglove plant is now synthetically made. Cannabis, like many botanicals presents challenges to drug development and formulation. One of the biggest challenges is the ability to fully demonstrate and prove consistency in its chemical composition due in part to its complexity.
Cannabis is composed of over 100 cannabinoids and about 500 other compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids. Additionally, there are over 550 different strains/chemovars of the plant all with differing ratios and combinations of these cannabinoids such as THC and CBD and compounds such terpenes. And efficacy for one chemovar does not establish efficacy for another due to the interaction of the varied and different ratios of components in each. It practically requires individual testing and proof that each particular chemovar variety of cannabis be evaluated for efficacy for a specific health conditions.
Additionally, the federal illegality of cannabis does not allow for nationally systemized controlled agricultural practices and growth conditions to guarantee more consistency in the final product. This is left to each separate state’s government requirements, therefore creating overall quality issues that make formulation development difficult but important.
When we look at cannabinoid drug development, accurate dosing is major issue. And since oral administration is usually the preferred route for drug compliance and use, this is the first hurdle to overcome. All cannabinoids are lipophilic and have poor water-solubility. When there is poor water solubility there is potentially slow oral drug absorption and that can cause variable bioavailability, which can become a rate-limiting step to achieve therapeutic plasma concentrations and ensuing pharmacologic response.
For the diehard cannabis connoisseur, one whose only mission in life is the quest for the eternal buzz, tracking down that one marijuana strain that really kicks them in the boo-boo can be tough. It means visiting one dispensary after another, where, often, none of the staff ever seems willing to break out the secret stash from the back. And we know they’ve got one! So there is a lot of trial and error in this process. And this search for perpetual highness can also dwindle away at the old bank account, too, which really sucks, because it can be difficult to hold down a steady job when one’s life’s work consists of only hunting down the strongest marijuana in the land.
If only there were a way to determine the potency of a plant without having to dedicate so much time, money and lung power to the cause.
Well, it turns out there are some old school physical properties of a cannabis plant that are meant to tell us just how mighty the marijuana is before we ever put in our pipes and smoke it. A study published in the Plant Journal finds that the frostier the buds, the more likely it is for the pot to pack a punch.
These crystalized hairs (trichomes) that have been held in high regard for decades by marijuana aficionados are what produces the chemicals that give the plant all of its psychoactive and medical properties, the study, which was conducted by the University of British Columbia, has confirmed.
This means that the more tiny, mushroom-shaped fibers on the cannabis flower, the more cannabinoids are present. These frosty attributes, which are a defense mechanism to protect the cannabis plant from UV rays and animals, also give the plant its pungent aroma, the study finds. In other words, cultivators that are hellbent on producing the best, stickiest, stinkiest cannabis known to mankind are going to need to be well-versed in manufacturing plants that are abundant in trichomes.
Australia’s Neurotech International Limited (ASX: NTI) has reported final results of in-vitro studies indicate its DOLCE/NTI cannabis strains exhibit potent anti-inflammatory activity.
Neurotech acquired an exclusive worldwide license to utilise proprietary cannabis strains from Dolce Cann Global, which it hopes could potentially be used to treat neurological disorders including autism, epilepsy and ADHD.
Neurotech’s analysis of 80 cannabis samples from the Dolce Cann Global revealed varying amounts of cannabinoids including CBDV, CBDA, CBGA, CBG, CBD, THCV, CBN, THC, d8-THC, CBC and THCA – some of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBDA was found to be present in particularly high levels.
The company has been undertaking a series of in-vitro* studies to assess the neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and neuro-modulatory activities of the strains. Neurotech says the final results indicate DOLCE/NTI strains examined have shown to significantly improve neuronal cell health, cell viability and have the potent ability to reduce inflammation.
“Preclinical studies suggest that these strains exhibit potent and unique properties when compared to CBD alone and warrant the further assessment of these strains in phase 1 clinical trials,” said Assoc. Prof. Fahey.
Pests and contaminates are a given in the cultivation of cannabis, and most standards developed to control these on other agricultural products don’t apply. This is why the U.S. Pharmacopeia has stepped in to provide analytical methods and risk-based limits for the industry to help protect public health, including looking at how cannabis is grown, not just at how it hits the shelves.
“Cannabis is susceptible to pest infestation whether grown indoors or outdoors, which means cultivators often turn to pesticides to ensure their harvest. However, pesticides can be quite dangerous if not used appropriately to make sure residue levels are not higher than they should be. This could be especially true if consumed by someone with a health condition who may be taking the plant for medicinal purposes” said Robin Marles, Ph.D., chair of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Botanical Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines Expert Committee.
USP has assembled an expert panel of clinicians, scientists and industry representatives from around the world to provide necessary information and guidance all laid out in the Journal of Natural Products, Cannabis Inflorescence for Medical Purposes: USP Considerations for Quality Attributes.
Recent cases in the U.S. and Canada of consumers being exposed to residues of pesticides unauthorized for use or used off-label on cannabis have resulted in recalls and increased public and regulatory concerns. In the U.S., crop-specific pesticide limits are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for foods, but no approved pesticide or pesticide limits exist for cannabis. And levels of pesticides deemed appropriate to protect public health and safety for food products may not necessarily apply to cannabis, since cannabis is typically smoked or vaped.
Although U.S. state requirements may provide some guidance to control specific pesticide contaminants, additional pesticide residues that are not expressly permitted by these states may also be detected on cannabis due to environmental drift or persistence or through incidental contamination.
Unlike the breathalyzer, which can detect alcohol impairment within seconds, Indiana’s new drug test experiment only shows that a motorist has used drugs.
As more states work to loosen their marijuana laws, and in many cases, make it part of legal society, some are still clinging to antiquated Drug War concepts in an attempt to disrupt progress. Indiana is one of those states. Not only are officials refusing to consider legitimizing cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes, they are also, at the same time, imposing policies that will undoubtedly lead to more marijuana-related arrests.
The state recently announced that law enforcement agencies are now using a new roadside drug detection tool to stop drugged driving. However, the test is seriously flawed and could put innocent people in jail.
More than 50 police forces all over the state (including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lake County and Muncie) have started using a roadside drug detection device that can determine, within minutes, whether a person has illegal substances coursing through their veins.
The device, known as the SoToxa Mobile Test System, is supposed to sniff out drivers high on cocaine, opiates, meth, and, of course, marijuana. The test’s manufacturer touts its ability to flag stoned motorists within five minutes by testing their saliva. The problem with this technology is that it scans explicitly for the presence of illegal drugs, not intoxication, making it possible for more sober motorists throughout Indiana to be prosecuted for stoned driving in 2021.