The CORE issue with the legal status of Cannabis

In any conversation about pot legalization, you will hear many different perspectives, ranging from “it should be legal” to “throw em in jail”. But the reality of the Marijuana controversy is really quite simple and comes down to one basic fallacy.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. By definition, a Schedule 1 narcotic is a drug “with no medical value”. This literally means that under Federal law, not only can it not be possessed, sold, or grown, it cannot even be used for research.. That’s right — even universities are not allowed to do research on marijuana. No wonder there are no documented studies of the myriad of medical benefits of Marijuana. It is illegal to conduct them. And this is patently ridiculous, and against everything America stands for.

While there are at least a few reasonable arguments against legalizing Marijuana completely, (and numerous ones in favor of it) there is simply NO REASONABLE ARGUMENT that can be made suggesting the Marijuana has no medical value, or should not be available for medical research.

This is the fundamental flaw in the US marijuana policy. The debate on legalization is a complex one, but the suggestion that Marijuana is a Schedule 1 narcotic with no medical value is just plain wrong, false, incorrect, untrue, pick your word. Millions of people will swear to the medicinal value of Marijuana. Tens of thousands of doctors will swear to the medicinal value of Marijuana. That alone should be enough to require that it be rescheduled. Once it becomes a Schedule 2 drug, the real clinical trials and research can be conducted to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Marijuana is literally a miracle drug.

Once rescheduled, the government will have no recourse for prosecuting those growing or selling the drug legally under state laws. They can only require a specific and consistent level of regulation and enforcement, as they do with any prescription drug.

This is where the war to protect patient’s access to Medical Marijuana must be fought. We the people must mobilize a national petition to reschedule Marijuana to the proper definition. Schedule 2. We win this war and the battle is over. Whether you believe it should be legal of not, there is no reasonable argument for prohibiting Marijuana from being used in research and prescribed by doctors. NONE.

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I’m Coming Out (of the smokey closet)

Great piece from the “Raving Liberal”

Ok, I’m coming out… I’m not the first or the last one to do so, but it’s time to do so. I’m certainly not famous enough for anyone to really care, but it’s important to me.

I use marijuana. I am a legal, medical marijuana patient. There I said it..

Let me first say that I do not, and have never felt any compulsion to use it. Much like with other prescription and over the counter drugs, I am consistently more inclined not to do it, for I am generally more effective in my life sober. But I use it occasionally because I like what it does to me..

It reduces my back pain.
It reduces my headaches. It helps me sleep..
It tunes me into my guitar and to music in general.
Ironically, it suppresses my appetite (the opposite of most people) and keeps me from getting hungry again for snacks after dinner.
It makes me really enjoy giving a massage to my wife.
It makes me very intuitive in the massage. Very healing. I really connect with her.
It makes me nicer. Mellower. More considerate. More affectionate. More relaxed. I am a very intense person, and yes my wife knew what I was going in. So she really likes me high.. Not all the time maybe, but she’d like me to be high far more than I choose to do it. Maybe it’s those massages….

OK, I admit, when high I might start 10 different things over the course of an hour without ever finishing anything, so I just don’t do it when I have things that need getting done. I admit I talk through movies after a puff or two. Speed chess is probably out.. Also, I personally might not want to drive when I’m high. Do they give tickets for going too slow?

But are these side effects really any worse than those long disclaimers read by part-time auctioneers for Valium, or Vicoden, or Prosac, or Phenergen, or Ambian, or Tylenol, or any of the other 50 or so prescription and over the counter drugs that Marijuana replaces all or in part. Are the effects of Marijuana really worse than the Stepford wife stare of the emotionally numb Prozac patient? I can stop pot anytime with no ill effects. None. Nada. Prozac takes weeks of slowly reducing the dosage to stop using it. That or face horrible withdrawals. And hopefully you won’t get the permanent leg jerks, or the face twitches, or liver damage, or nightmares, or suicide, etc… etc… etc… that are real side effects with long-term use that are conveniently absent from the disclaimers.

Chronic Pain, Nausea, Glaucoma, Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, Multiple Sclerosis, Anorexia, Headaches, Crohns disease, Arthritis, Cancer, the actual list of serious conditions and diseases helped by Marijuana use is too long for this forum. The real irony of the war against marijuana is that I challenge anyone to find a single pharmaceutical drug that is beneficial for such a wide range of conditions. Marijuana is truly a miracle drug to millions.. Studies even suggest it may stimulate the creation of hippocampus (the brains file manager) cells in the brain, the ultimate irony..

But the most important thing the magical Mary-Jane does for me is it instantly changes my perspective. It puts me totally in the moment. And by doing that, it also breaks me out of bad emotional cycles. When I get stressed out, or am under a lot of pressure,(even that mysterious self-imposed kind) like many people, (maybe most people) I get a little fixated on the problems, or the disappointments, or the wrong soap. Whatever. I fixate on the past and / or the future. But after getting high, I only see right now, and right now everything is fine, and amazingly once sober again, the fixation is gone. I’m calm and centered again. It’s like a having a shrink in the house.. An instantaneous new perspective. A kinder, gentler perspective. Nobody fights on grass…They makeup.

Now I may not be an MS in Psychology or a Doctor, but I am smart enough, and in-tune with myself enough to know what helps and what hurts me. Marijuana provides me many benefits with virtually no harm whatsoever. I even use a vaporizer which all but eliminates the harm to your lungs.. So why is it still illegal? Can anyone really justify denying me all these benefits with virtually no side effects whatsoever, except maybe the occasional misplaced giggle or unclosed peanut butter jar? And honestly, all the “gateway to hard drugs” nonsense is complete propaganda. The only reason it could facilitate someone moving into “harder” drugs is because they are forced to buy it from black market drug dealers who often also sells… you guessed it… harder drugs. But more often the pot dealer it just a friend—ie. just a local person trying to get their pot for free. But somewhere up the tree is one dangerous SOB. The inarguable justification for abolishing prohibition of all the organic drugs is removing the money from the black market, for with it goes the violence and the exposure of our kids and our neighborhoods to those elements.

The prohibition of Marijuana is a travesty and it’s clear to anyone who really looks objectively, or actually listens to patients. And yes, many people just do it recreationally. Same as most of America has a drink after dinner. Why do they do it? Because it makes them feel good, and happy, and relaxed. It helps them sleep. All the things I mentioned earlier and more. Isn’t that what all medicine does? Make you feel better?

Does Exposing Your Plants to UVB Increase THC Production?

ALS-cannabis

By Silas Sativarius

Back in the early years of the medical cannabis industry, some savvy individual made the connection that the strongest marijuana historically has come from the lowest equatorial latitudes and the highest altitudes. It was speculated that possibly it was the higher levels of UVB found in the tropics or at high elevations that might be a direct link to THC production. One popular theory reasoned that the THC effectively served as a sunscreen to protect the sensitive seeds from UVB damage, much like melanin protects human skin. But the actual mechanism was not then understood.

Today, if an internet search shows that there is quite a bit of information on this topic, and even some thorough if somewhat unscientific tests using various UVB sources such as UVB “lizard lights” (reptiles need UVB supplementation to remain healthy without sun exposure) in indoor grows with pretty significant results. A good example can be found here. [LINK: http://medicalmarijuanagrowing.blogspot.com/2013/02/uvb-uva-lighting-study-results.html ] In every test case, the results appear to be positive, showing increases in THC levels of 3-5% by weight.

Finally, researchers appear to have identified the actual pathway of exactly how UVB affects THC production. While the analysis is somewhat technical, we’ll do our best to outline the results below. Ready?

UVB causes damage in plants in much the same way as it damages human skin, and plants created defenses against UVB in the form of a protein called UVR8.

UVR8 is a protein molecule which senses UV, and then “tells” plant cells to change their behavior. Exactly how UVR8 molecules sense UV was recently discovered and is pretty interesting. UVR8 is what chemists call a “dimer,” which simply means that it’s made of two structurally similar protein subunits. When UV light hits the two protein subunits in UVR8, their charge weakens and they break apart. To help visualize this, imagine rubbing two balloons against one another. The balloons will stick together because of a static charge. Now imagine the balloons get rained on. The water takes the static charge with it and the two balloons fly apart. In this example, the balloons are the two protein subunits and the rain is UV light cascading down on the plant cell. After the protein subunits break apart, they head to the cell nucleus to deliver their information.

One of these changes caused by this reaction is very important in your cannabis garden. UV stress stimulates cannabis’ production of chemicals via the phenylpropanoid pathway, specifically malonyl-CoA and phenylalanine. Why is this important? Because cannabis uses malonyl-CoA to make Olivtol, which it in turn uses to make THC. So finally the specific pathway which increases Cannabis potency when exposed to UV light is understood, and we can use this information to our advantage.

UV light is already generated by the mercury found in all HID (i.e. HPS and Metal Halide) light sources, but it’s typically blocked by the bulb’s outer glass jacket. Ordinary glass blocks over 90% of UVB radiation, so UVB levels will naturally be a little higher using open fixtures with no glass lens.

Be aware, there is a threshold where the damage to yield caused by high level UVB will exceed any benefits in potency, so caution and careful design protocols MUST be used when attempting to supplement UVB. It is also VERY important to be EXTREMELY careful using off-the-shelf UVB sources like lizard lights that are not specifically designed for human exposure, because while sunlight has quite high levels of UVB, the intensity of the sun prevents people from staring straight at it. UVB is invisible, so your eyes can’t tell you if they are getting too much UVB from a UVB light source in your grow room, and your eyes and skin can be damaged if the levels are too high. So it’s worth repeating: Extreme caution must be observed when using secondary UVB supplementation.

LED Grow lights provide a special consideration when it comes to the effects of UVB on Cannabis THC levels. LED’s are extremely frequency specific, and a typical LED grow light with Blue, Red or even White LED’s will generate absolutely NO UVB radiation. While an absence of UVB will not eliminate THC production, it is now proven that it will reduce the THC levels below those grown under sources with adequate UVB levels.

So far, California Lightworks is the only LED grow-light manufacturer in the Hydroponics industry I know of that has integrated independently switchable UVB Lamps into their U.S. manufactured LED Grow Light fixtures, although other manufacturers I suspect will be following them soon. LED’s are the future, so I have acquired a few  California Lightworks fixtures,  and I will report on their use and efficacy in future posts.