As the scope of our cannabis knowledge rapidly expands, we're learning more about how our bodies process phytocannabinoids and terpenes. In this episode Curt Robbins discusses what we know, what we suspect, and where the science of cannabis is going. Listen, learn and share!
Enjoy yoga? There's a way to get even more out of it: Combine your yoga practice with cannabis. Stacey Mulvey, founder of Marijuasana says cannabis can help increase circulation, decrease inflammation, reduce muscle spasms, and get you in the right frame of mind for a great stretch. It's a great way to optimize your next yoga session.
Listen and learn! Nameste!
Welcome to episode 28 of the Kannaboomers podcast. It's Tom back again with another wellness episode. This time we're talking about yoga, specifically how cannabis can supplement your yoga practice in surprising ways. We're talking with Stacey Mulvey of Marijuasana. She's been at this for a few years and does a great job with resources online, and she's a trainer of trainers helping grow this movement across the country. Very interesting episode. You can check out all the previous episodes at Apple, at Google Play, at Stitcher, anywhere you can find your finer podcasts. We're there or look us up at Kannaboomers.com. We also have another series called “Twenty 4:20” with Curt Robbins where we go for 20 minutes on 20 different topics of interest to cannabis users. Check it out. I think you'll like it. It's very educational and you'll learn a lot, so thanks for tuning in and enjoy the episode. This is, “Let's talk about Weed” the Kannaboomers podcast, CBD microdosing, and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.
Kannaboomers: (01:06) Hey, it's Tom. I'm back with Kannaboomers. Today we're talking with Stacey Mulvey of Marijuasana. Hi Stacey.
Stacey Mulvey: (01:13)Hi.
Kannaboomers: (01:14) I'm really excited for this episode. My friend kept telling me that you've got to try smoking some cannabis and doing some yoga and you specialize in that and you have a great class, a great session online that people can download. I did that over the weekend and I found it was really amazing. The benefits of it are multifold and, it's, it's a lot of fun.
Stacey Mulvey: (01:34) Yeah. Yay. Yeah, it's fun. And, um, how did it feel when you did it?
Kannaboomers: (01:39) Well, you're much more in touch with your, your musculature, I think. And you do a great job of saying, you know, listen to your body, listen to your ribs, listen to your back. Um, and I think you're naturally more aware of that when you've had some cannabis.
Stacey Mulvey: (01:55) Yeah. You know, is it part of why that is? I mean, there's so many reasons that we can go into, which I guess is kind of the point of us talking, but there are so many ways that cannabis overlaps with doing exercise, especially exercise that incorporates, you know, using the mind, body connection to do the exercise, but like a real just like basic reason is the part of our brain, like the part of our body, the way that we, you know, govern, and coordinate our motor skills and um, just process our, our sense a feeling, our body in space. It has a really high expression of cannabinoid receptors. So being able to, you know, basically like synergize, like getting cannabis in your body and starting to, to move around and you know, just kind of feeling those effects of cannabis. Um, you know, when you're hearing cues about your body and you're hearing like information about like, yeah, where is my body in space? Like your sort of prime near prime state due to the cannabis to interpret that and like, you know, maybe hear it differently or think about it differently. So there's the aspect of like, yeah, it just feels good to do, but there's also the aspect of like thinking of your body in a new way, you know, perceiving it in a new way.
Kannaboomers: (03:12) Is that proprioception, is that the right word?
Stacey Mulvey: (03:15) Right? That's correct.
Kannaboomers: (03:17) Which just means awareness of your body basically.
Stacey Mulvey: (03:20) Yeah. It's like how you sense where, you know, if you walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you know right where the light switch is, that's because your proprioception is working because you've turned the light switch on so many times it's just like, oh, I don't have to look at it. I know where I am, where my hand is in space on the wall, you know, relative to the wall to turning on the light switch. So that is your proprioception at work. And we all, you know, of course we all have it, we're all born with it. But you know, kind of, kind of like anything. If you don't use it, you lose it. So if you're sedentary and you're not active, I mean, of course you're always going to have the ability to sense it, but you know, it might not be as finely tuned and responsive as if you know something that you're using all the time.
Stacey Mulvey: (04:04) So, you know, when you're, when you're moving mindfully, like exercise regardless is good, right? Moving is good. But if you're moving in a, in a slow and controlled way where you really are thinking about like, where am I in space? You know, and I'm moving this stuff around in space, like I am moving myself around his thing. You know, you're just kinda continually coming back to that you're, you're really stimulating your mind. You're, you know, you're opening up your mind, you're like kind of requiring that focus. But then when you're doing it along with cannabis, you know, cannabis also has that effect. Cannabis can literally, you know, like the, the way that you are perceiving your own like state and status can be affected by cannabis. So it's like, it's like a dual dose of like mindfulness and awareness, if you will.
Kannaboomers: (04:55) Well, you know, you talk about kind of knowing where the light switch is. We all have muscle memory, right? I mean, if you're a golfer, you know your swing, but when you do yoga, you're literally stretching yourself into different positions. So you're kind of challenging yourself and finding your boundaries a little. Maybe
Stacey Mulvey: (05:14) You are, you're always going back to like, how can I increase, you know, this heightened sense. How can I increase this like alignment that I've found, you know, how can I get even more aligned? How can I get it even more linked in or released or whatever you're trying to balance out, right? Because sometimes, you know, it's like you can do yoga and be certain ways, be extremely flexible. And like for me, when I started doing yoga, I've always had this innate flexibility that turns out actually wasn't really healthy. You know, it was just because everything was like a little too loose and a little too stretched and a little too like out of control. So, um, you know, doing yoga and pilates, like an actually getting a practice going brought that into my awareness because it was like, you know, here I am thinking I'm doing something good for flexibility. But when I actually started thinking about it differently, which cannabis kind of gives you that ability to do right? It kind of gives you space and the ability to be like, you know, what if I did this like slightly different this time or what if I, what have I thought about it in a new way and kind of came at it from a different perspective. It gives you, it gives you that awareness to start, you know, realizing like, you know, I'm actually maybe, I'm open here, but it's because I'm so weak, you know, and I actually need to strengthen this and how do I kind of balance this out and increase the level at which I'm coming to, you know, this pose or to this exercise.
Kannaboomers: (06:40) Well, something we've talked a lot with other guests about is CBD and the way that it helps you achieve homeostasis, getting back to a balance, you know, maybe that's some of what's happening too.
Stacey Mulvey: (06:52) Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it, for me it's just like so synergistic. I was actually in like going through and, doing some writing and a lot of the effects that we're trying to achieve your exercise, especially an exercise like yoga is like, you know, regulation of the breath. Um, you know, balancing the load, making sure you know, you're not collapsed on one end of the body, but you know, you're like distributing the load throughout your body. You know, increased circulation, increased physical awareness. So all these things are like, well, I'm trying to do this. Like, this is the effect that we're going for when we do this type of exercise. It's like, well, that's the exact same effect we know gets produced when we, when we supplement with CBD. It's kind of like an odd, like a “no duh” type of thing, you know? Um, but yeah, it's like a really easy correlation of like, you know, what we're doing on just trying to produce the body's like own effect. Like it's natural effect. What's actually happening is us trying to activate our endocannabinoid system. So, right. We're looking for like the body's own ability it's innate ability to produce the analogs to CBD. So why not also, you know, give it some help with a phytocannabinoid of CBD, like here, you know, we're going for these effects. You want to activate your endocannabinoid system. Like there's some, some great CBD oil that you can, you know, that you can use to start like a, you know, building up that that body's tone as they say. I don't know if you're familiar with the endocannabinoid tone concept.
Kannaboomers: (08:28) Oh No. Tell me more. Wow.
Stacey Mulvey: (08:31) Oh yeah. Just started to understand it. But it basically, it's along the lines of like, if you have a, if you're low in tone as far as your, your, your endocannabinoid tone, you would really need to build it up to, to get to where like a therapeutic dose would start for you. So to kind of further explain that there's this theory that a lot of people are deficient in endocannabinoid and just in cannabinoids period, right?
Kannaboomers: (09:08) I'm familiar with that idea. And then the idea that you can supplement with phytocannabinoids, right?
Stacey Mulvey: (09:13) So what you're doing to like bring a to supplement and to become, you know, not deficient anymore is you're building up the endocannabinoid tone.
Kannaboomers: (09:23) Almost like a muscle that you would exercise.
Stacey Mulvey: (09:25) Exactly. Yeah, it's fine. It's again, it's amazing how the, you know, how well the analogy works, but you know it's exactly, it's like okay, you're really poor toned. You need to really build it up so that now when you know, exercise or when you supplement or you know, what have you, you are coming from a space of like strength. You know, you can actually like apply power or whatever, you know, in case of like a muscle. But then also it's like, okay, well when you supplement with us, like, you know, standard dose of CBD, it's because you've built up your tone towards actually effective and you're not just like filling in all that negative space that you've been so depleted. If that makes,
Kannaboomers: (10:03) Okay, so kind of a sweet spot that you're aiming for?
Stacey Mulvey: (10:06) Yeah, and it's so interesting that like the, it's a system of our body, you know, that supposedly like that, you know, as far as the research that's coming out that it's like, okay, it's responsible for this homeostasis and yeah. Can you imagine being depleted in that? And you know, just common sense. Even just like picturing that like, okay, you know, the, the, our body's ability to respond to its environment if we're, if we're, we're so depleted in that the processes of that system, that system's ability to, to maintain that. Like, no wonder we're so unhealthy. Like, no wonder we're so, you know, we find it so hard to get going with an exercise program or just like getting out of bed in the morning and just be in the modern world.
Kannaboomers: (10:53) We've talked a lot on the show about foundations of wellness and you know, a good night's sleep is really foundational and, and cannabis can help you there and pain and mood and appetite and all those basic building blocks of health. Yoga and giving yourself that kind of stretch is part of it too.
Stacey Mulvey: (11:10) Absolutely. And you know, and, and those positive effects that you're getting are actually, you know, you triggering your endogenous cannabinoids in your body. So that's the high that you're getting from, you know, the wellness activities that you're doing. It's like you are actually just like naturally producing cannabinoids within yourself. To me, that's the coolest part about it.
Kannaboomers: (11:31) Right. I've been a distance runner for a long time and you know, a long time ago they were talking about endorphins. You get this endorphin rush that gives you the runners high. But lately I've heard that no, that might be all your endocannabinoid system.
Stacey Mulvey: (11:45) There's a study that came out in April, from CU Boulder. It's called the new runners high and there, that's what they're actually saying. They're saying endorphins don't really explain that mood boost that you're getting from exercise. The typical runner's high, it's been attributed to endorphins, but they're like, actually that's, you know, they don't explain that feeling, but endogenous cannabinoids actually might, you know, of course it always like they're always seeing like more research needs to be done and of course it does, you know, so they're not, it's not conclusive, but they're like, hey, this is actually like a better explanation than the whole, like endorphins, this conception that we need to clear up.
Kannaboomers: (12:28) Yeah. The science does keep advancing. And along with that so do our attitudes, I guess. And I want to ask, 10 years ago could you be doing what you're doing now? It seems to me it was kind of unheard of at that time.
Stacey Mulvey: (12:40) Yeah. I don't think I could, like, I think I would just get completely laughed out of the room of anyone and I say that with a grin because I'm, you know, I barely passed the muster anyway. Like I do think a lot of people see it as a joke. Um, which is kind of frustrating because I take it very seriously in that, um, you know, like anything, it's like I really believe in it. And so I take it seriously, not because like I can't, you know, laugh at the fact that so many people do laugh at it and find it a joke, but right. It's just like, okay, I care very passionately and there is science. It's so grounded in science, like there is just like this overwhelming science that we can point to on the fact that, you know, combining the two is beneficial, and why they're beneficial for each other. But the, one of the typical questions that I get, and it's been asked so many times is um, oh, you know, like I'll tell people like what I do and they'll be like, oh, have you ever heard of Goat Yoga? Um, which is like, ah, okay. That tells me that they just, they see it as like this crazy combo of yoga, you know, and I get it. I mean, that makes sense. Like, that's where their mind goes as they're like, yeah, just combine all sorts of random stuff with yoga, you know, with the trend and um, you know, and it is a trend, which is part of why I'm able to do that now. You know, I'm able to like actually kind of put this out here cause people have been, their minds have been opened to you know, stuff with Yoga. But I think it has staying power because it is such a beautiful modality for increasing your own wellness. You know, whether you're doing it in a class or just on your own, you know, moving your body and then moving your body. Like moving your body alone is, is huge. But moving your body with cannabis as a supplement is, you know, to me it's just like the holy grail of, of mental wellness, physical wellness, just, you know, an overall approach to having a healthy lifestyle. It's like if you, if you can move and get cannabis, you're, you've, you've checked off a lot of boxes there.
Kannaboomers: (14:47) Well, and I guess that question comes from my own cultural lens. I, it's possible. And I don't know if you know the history, but what about India? There's been yoga over there forever. There's been cannabis there for a long time. Is there a history to this?
Stacey Mulvey: (15:00) There is. And um, I need to be careful on, you know, stating the specific history because I don't know many of the details other than to say that there are, there's a festival, uh, that I was introduced to called Comella, which is basically like a lot of Indian mystics kind of gathering. And there's a lot of like smoking, like, um, like medicinal consumption of herbs involved. But it's not like the primary focus of the, the festival per se, but it's like heavily involved. And, um, there are several, you know, figures and myths in India of people and like even like the basic myths and um, Upanishads will talk about, uh, an herb from heaven and like how it actually gave rise to consciousness and that type of thing. So it's, very, uh, integrated with the history of yoga. It's just been, you know, Yoga. The thing with yoga is there's this assumption that the way we see it now goes back like thousands and thousands of years exactly as it is, but it's actually been changed so much from the way, you know, from, from the original, the writings of Yoga, the, the, the original like exercises, like people, like anything, right, have integrated into their lives and then it's changed over time. It's adapted to the needs of the population and the opinions and thoughts, you know, the beliefs of whatever society as it, as it grows. And it's only been in the last hundred years or so, even less that the western world started to be introduced to yoga. And, um, and they, you know, even just their awareness of it started to change what the physical exercise aspect of yoga actually meant. Um, you know, some people started inventing different poses and inventing different names. Um, you know, you and you can go back and you can find The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and that's probably, you know, that probably the original writing that everybody can go back and look too, but it's not, it's very different from the world of Yoga as today. So it's something I like to point out that people who might have this assumption like, oh, well that's not what, you know, that's not what yoga is. Yoga is this other stuff. And it's like, well, you know, let's look at what you think yoga even is right now. Because your perception might be just this modern version. You know, it might just be something that we started to invent as a modern society, like probably only like 20 years ago.
Stacey Mulvey: (17:30) I mean, there's, there's different styles. There's, there's different schools. Um, there's, there's a lot of different aspects to it.
Kannaboomers: (17:36) As long as you understand the philosophy and you've, you know, you're staying sincere about that. It's like the human, the human body has, have so many options. We're so creative, you know, we're so adaptable. Of course there's going to be innovation as far as, you know, how we, how we interpret that, how we interpret something. You know, something that kind of teaches us how to move.
Kannaboomers: (18:00) Now you're in Las Vegas?
Stacey Mulvey: (18:01)Yes.
Kannaboomers: (18:02) And I'm in San Diego and there's a lot of yoga, you know, up in Encinitas, there's tons of yoga. Do you think there's a west coast east coast dynamic where there's more of it out this way?
Stacey Mulvey: (18:11) That's a good question because you know what's funny is I actually, my largest and most loyal audience is actually based in Boston. And so, um, I will see though I have seen that it is concentrated on the coast. You know, the people that are enthusiastic are definitely more concentrated on the coast. Yeah. But you know what's so funny and really cool is I just released a teacher training program and it's done online. And I actually have several trainees that are in, well, several applicants that I have a trainee in Oklahoma and a trainee in Iowa that want to be cannabis yoga instructors. And so they're like, you know, they're really just going after this from this pioneering spirit of like, yeah, there's, there's little hope for, you know, for, well, I shouldn't say that, but you know, it's like clearly they have an uphill battle as compared to say somebody in San Diego or Las Vegas, right to do that, to do what I'm doing. But they're still, they still signed up, you know, they still want to learn. They still want to start holding the space for when their state does become legals. So, um, so to answer your question, yeah, I do see it as kind of being concentrated and I don't know if there's an east coast, west coast rivalry. There's definitely different flavors that I've noticed. Um, both are great but, but there, but don't count out the, the, the Midwest and like the, you know, the interior part of the country because they're holding it down as much as they can.
Kannaboomers: (19:41) Sure. We're still in this odd period where prohibition is gradually being rolled back and state by state until there's some kind of federal action. But the stigma is lifting and it's becoming more acceptable. And you've got something that kind of brings it into the health realm more so than, than many people want to accept it at this point. But so when you go back to Boston, are you given trainings back there or how, how does, how does your business work?
Stacey Mulvey: (20:08) Well, so I do limited time events in different cities. So I will schedule basically a pop up class in Boston or, um, I haven't done any in San Diego, but it just, you know, in whatever city I did one in LA and I'll schedule it and put it out there to, you know, social media and the world and say, you know, this is the class that you can come to. Um, I, you know, it's been a challenge because there's only one of me. Right. And so, you know, trying to to be everywhere, I'm wasn't working. So that's, you know, that's how I was doing it for the most part. Um, I, this last year though really slowed me down cause I was like, okay, this isn't sustainable on several levels. So let me get a teacher training program together. Um, so that I can train other people to do this and you know, do the teaching so that they can teach and I can be, you know, they can be my like emissary if you will. Um, so the, I, you know, I can kind of be in so that way when I do, so when I do travel is it's great. It's not pressure to like be in one city all the time. It's like, okay, if they have other teachers available, then they can be giving this, this benefit from doing these classes. But then also, you know, I, it kind of like opens up my net where it's like, yeah, no, I really can travel between the coast and do, um, do more of like a focused class on, uh, you know, teaching the teacher, um, is kind of, you know, what, what everything's shifting into as far as my business is concerned. But then also just people who maybe don't have been to some of my classes before and are like, yeah, you know, this is, since it is limited time and I'm not here permanently, that they, you know, want to get in and get a lesson with me. So.
Kannaboomers: (22:00) So you're sort of an evangelist, you're out there training the trainers and
Stacey Mulvey: (22:04) Yeah, I would say so. I didn't think of myself as an evangelist, but I'll take that. That's a good word.
Kannaboomers: (22:12) What sort of uptake have you seen? I mean, how many years have you been doing this and do you see it growing?
Stacey Mulvey: (22:18) So I, oh, I see it growing so much. I absolutely do. And it's really starting to gain traction in this last six months or so, I would say. But personally, I've been teaching classes publicly and like, you know, putting it out there that this is what I do for about two and a half years, coincidentally. And, you know, maybe I still don't know what to think about it, but I, my first class that I taught as Marijuasana, was election night in 2016 so it was November eight. So I always wait. So that's how long it's been public, you know, a thing out there for the public to consume, you know, I was kind of, I had an idea of what I wanted to do for a couple months prior to that though. As far as being a teacher.
Kannaboomers: (23:13) That was right when people started to need it.
Stacey Mulvey: (23:18) That I, I think of it that way where I'm like, cause it, you know, it was such a roller coaster of emotions that night, like being so like thinking everything was going to go one way, right? Like everybody assumed like, okay there's going to be a winner. We all we already know. And then, you know, my heart was broken in my opinion. It was an awful thing, that it wasn't who we thought it was going to be. So, but it was like, oh but this is so exciting. Cause I just taught, you know, the thing I've been wanting to teach for so long and it's, it's finally coming out, but, oh no, no, no. Well the press, so we, we've been coming back.
Kannaboomers: (23:56) Maybe perfect timing is just what the world needed.
Stacey Mulvey: (23:59) Yeah. But I was gonna say, I've been teaching for about 10 years, so my professional teaching career started about 10 years ago. And you know, I had my own journey with physical fitness and then, you know, teaching physical fitness and then understanding how cannabis actually was, was, you know, really integral for me in maintaining and understanding, just even, even, you know, being at that level of fitness, maintaining it, but also even just like achieving that level. Cannabis was fundamental for me. With that
Kannaboomers: (24:29) Was that like a light bulb moment or did you gradually think, what if I tried this and how did you come to that realization?
Stacey Mulvey: (24:37) I kinda came at it from, like a cyclical way. Like I was using cannabis pretty regularly when I started working out. Just as like, okay, I, I did have this epiphany where I was like, oh my God, like my, my body's only going to get, you know, more sore and, and more aged as time goes on. And like, literally the only thing you can do about it is start, you know, moving. I mean, it just, it was like this kind of like, Aha type of moment. So I kicked my own ass and started like, you know, okay, I've got to move, I've got to move, I've got to exercise. So that was a profound shift. But, I went, you know, a bunch of life happened and I came to this realization after a while that cannabis wasn't serving me. I was feeling depressed and alienated. I had just moved from the city where I grew up in to a new place and I was, you know, just sad and just kind of going through that shift. And so I decided to stop using cannabis. Um, and so I did and it actually was a really positive decision for, so for two years I, you know, was able to get out of the, I was just getting so much anxiety. Like climbing the walls, anxiety. I was able to just kind of break out of that. Right. And, um, so in the midst of everything, you know, just life is going along. I was like, okay, I'm actually going to quit my IT job and be a pilates teacher. Like I felt that strongly about hating my career where I was and I was like, this is my passion. I want to teach yoga and pilates. And so pilates had this really rigorous program that required a lot of education to complete. So I was like, okay, that's it. You know, I want to do pilates and I want to go as far as I can with, you know, this mind body training and, take the hardest course I can. So I was nearing the end of that course and I was really struggling like my physical abilities, physical intelligence, and just understanding of what the program required. It just wasn't making sense in my body. It was like I'm trying as hard as I can and it's just, you know, I just felt like the clumsy just disconnected person as any, which was, I think, you know, it really sucks. Um, but in that last, those last couple of months, I just so happened to get invited to, the cannabis cup, the first, the high times cannabis cup that was on us soil from being in Amsterdam and it was held in Denver.
Stacey Mulvey: (27:02) So I was really lucky. I got an invitation and I was, you know, it was like, oh, we know what the, how I'm at, C'mon, I'm at the Cannabis Cup. I'm going to break this, you know, this, self induced prohibition and you know, what, why not? Well, that was, uh, you know, that in itself was amazing. Like, oh my, what was wrong with me? Like I feel like I'm so back on, on board with cannabis and, so I had a really good at great experience there. Went home and you know, just proceeded with my, my practice getting ready for the test that I had coming up for graduating my program and just had the most profound like alignment of the, and this was after I took a really high dose of CBD and smoked and THC, um, just this amazing perception where everything really lined up with the way I was able to move and being able to perfectly control my movement through my thought process. And, um, you know, it was, it was, it was like this spiritual experience, but what was amazing, it was just like so profoundly spiritual, but it was like, there's nothing like outside of myself right now. It's just me, you know, it's just me inhabiting my own body, my bones and my muscles, my mind just perfectly United. Um, you know, and I get that, you know, that Samadhi of yoga and flow, you know, it's a western psychological concept of, you know, just complete immersion in the activity. And it was just, it was still amazing. And I, from that point, the strings and like understanding and just the connections that I was looking for in my body were, they were just there, you know? I mean, of course it was like still, it took like some efforting to be like, okay, I know I needed, you know, here's how I did the exercise. But it wasn't the struggle that it was. It was like, you know, something just sort of like aligned and Kinda like, I dunno, came online if you will. And I really, you know, it's anecdotal, I don't have proof or anything of like, oh, this is what, you know, A, B, and C, you know, equals D in my case, anecdotally, I, I knew that it was cannabis that was, um, you know, where I was finally able to kind of get to that point with my training and my understanding and my body. So, um, yeah.
Kannaboomers: (29:22) Well that makes sense. And you kind of came at a separately, kind of like if you put peanut butter and chocolate together, you knew that exercise was good and you, you had your experience with cannabis, you knew what it was about and then once you put them together…
Stacey Mulvey: (29:35) Right, yeah. And then you're so funny when you do it too. You're like, what, where was this all my life? You know, why didn't this, I mean, and it's what's funny is I was like, I needed to, kind of put it down though, to really come back to it and just be like, no, this is so, so obvious and I'm, and that really was what inspired me to want to teach others. You know, I was like, this, this is profound and everybody deserves to have this feeling. This is like our birth right. To just feel completely embodied and feel strong and healthy and contained in our bodies. Um, yeah.
Kannaboomers: (30:10) Some of the negatives of cannabis. I mean if you don't dose right, it can make you anxious or paranoid or get into couch lock or something. But this is something you can do that requires you to bring yourself to it and to do something.
Stacey Mulvey: (30:24) Yeah I like to bring up, couch lock because there is something really interesting about that effect that this study that I brought up before. Part of what they found is that cannabis actually helps with motivation and then running in turn actually kind of, it helps regularly endocannabinoid levels. So let me backup and kind of unpack that. So it's like, so if we, if we are supplementing with cannabis, right? And you're exercising obviously like you are like, you're using the exercise to like circulate the cannabinoids in your system, circulate blood, you know, exercise has its own intrinsic benefit, but when you're exercising, like socially, you're exercising on its own and you're not, you know, you're not supplementing with anything. Exercise alone actually increases the circulation of your body's own cannabinoid levels. So it's like this bi-directional motivation loop. So you know, like the more you're exercising, the more you're actually like increasing your own motivation to exercise. And um, when, you know, like in these animal studies that they, that they did just to kind of like study the effects of exercising cannabinoids. Um, they had some mice that they'd bred for voluntary running, you know, just like these mice are going to be bred to just like want to run on their own all the time. And so when they were given a cannabinoid antagonist, they, so basically it was like, hey, we're just going to reduce cannabinoids for you. Your endocannabinoids, they stopped running, they stopped their own voluntary running. It's like they got lazy. So instead of cannabis making them, you know, losing their motivation, like taking cannabis away is what killed their motivation. And then they have minds that they've read. This is where a lot of science from cannabinoids and the effects of the endocannabinoid system, they knock out the CB 1 receptor. They're called CB one knockout mice. So they're basically take out the receptor for anandamide and THC or they're just like your bread. Like they just, your, they're not capable of, of that receptor like theirs, it's just not in their body. And because of they basically can't get high so they reduce their levels of voluntary exercise. They basically become lazy. So it's the ones that can't get high or the lazy like stoners and to me it's like, okay, so, you know, like knowing all of that, if you are experiencing couch lock, if you're like, gosh, this is like so hard. I'm like, I'm always like a lot to the couch. I get up and get up and start moving, like actually start to move your body because you know your, you will able to kind of bypass that effect of like whatever. You're just like not motivated to get going. Like if you start to move, that motivation will actually just start to increase as an effect of the cannabis that you, that you've got that you've supplemented with.
Kannaboomers: (33:12) Yeah. You can kind of jumpstart your desire to move. You just got to get started. Do you know of other teachers who are doing this? I mean you're not the only person out here. It's still in.
Stacey Mulvey: (33:24) Yeah. And they're very lovely. Um, so like several a have actually reached out to me and I've enrolled in my teacher training program, which is, which is like such an honor. Like, wow, I, you know, ah, like it's a little bit, um, you know, overwhelming and intimidating, but, you know, I, I'm so grateful. But then there are also, yeah, there are other people that are out there doing that have been, you know, pioneers like myself, you know, again, spreading the word and getting going. Um, there is a woman in California named Dee Dussault. She actually wrote a book called Ganja Yoga and um, she's amazing. And then there's a colleague out in Colorado named Rachel and you know, she's got an amazing cannabis grant. I actually, I'm unfortunately have not been able to take lessons from either one of them, but it's my dream to do so one day just to be the student and let them teach me. But, but yeah, and especially like I said, you know what the teacher training program, there are so many people that are hungry for this knowledge and that wants to be teachers or you know, some people just come at it where they want to deepen their own practice with, with yoga and cannabis and just understand more, you know, and maybe not necessarily teach but just have that information and that, that knowledge, but it's just increasing, you know, people are just like so hungry to learn about it and, and start increasing their understanding. It's definitely just going to get more and more popular in my opinion. That's my prediction.
Kannaboomers: (34:55) It's one of those things that just makes so much sense and I think you begin to see a groundswell where east coast, west coast, Midwest is, it starts popping up because the, the stigma is falling away. People are looking for wellness and it's interesting.
Stacey Mulvey: (35:11) Yeah it's fun to see how it resonates with people. Um, there is a stereotype of like, you know, certain people that do yoga or this image of who does yoga and who doesn't do yoga. And what I've loved to see. Yeah. Like what I love to see in my classes are that stereotype, just being completely irrelevant. You know, like I see every age group come to my class, see every, you know, type, um, you know, every skin color, every class, every, you know, gender, you know, everywhere, every category you could name, you know, like they shop at whole foods, you know. Yeah. Yeah. And that's, and that's what I actually think is so powerful about it because it is breaking even the yoga stereotype, you know, it's like, it's pulling in people who are like every type of person you can imagine. It's still resonating in their brain and the fact that they are coming. And so many of those people that show up where it's like, you know, they had the residents or they're like, I just, I want to do this. It's their first time doing yoga. So that to me, that tells me that they saw, you know, they kind of knew yoga was something that they wanted to do or you know, explore, see if they wanted to put it in their life. And something about the aspect of cannabis being there, you know, that it made it so that they finally went to a class, like they finally actually tried it and you know, hopefully that takes them on a path of like further, you know, exploration of yoga or some sort of, you know, whatever it is with, you know, their wellness journey. But what got them there was the fact that, you know, maybe it was the social aspect that they knew people were going to smoke weed and so they must be pretty chill and accepting. Um, or, you know, or just maybe it was like a physical aspect that they're like, you know, I kind of as helps me with my pain and so yes, I can medicate and, um, you know, being in a safe environment while I moved my body and kind of work through my pain then, then I wanted, I want to try it that way instead of, you know, the typical class environment,
Kannaboomers: (37:19) You know, crossfitters can get injured and you can hurt yourself doing a lot of different exercises. Um, I, you can hurt yourself with yoga too.
Stacey Mulvey: (37:26) With yoga especially, I mean, not all types of yoga or like this or all teachers teach this way. But for me it's really important to teach people in a, in a slow and controlled way because that's, that's going to give you the ability to start honing that proprioception, like how many, that ability to really move yourself around with control and you know, with your mind so that you know, you are, you're solid and you're aware of, of your physical existence and your wellness and that in that way,
Kannaboomers: (37:59) I've been hearing people, instead of calling it strain, they like to call it cultivar. Do you have a preferred, indica or sativa? And do you, do you prefer smoking or vaping or edibles?
Stacey Mulvey: (38:11) Yes, totally. And keep in mind it is subjective and that's what's, um, tricky about cannabis and cannabis and wellness. Just as a, you know, a topic because every person has their own therapeutic window, so like their own therapeutic dose and they're going to respond to different terpenes and different cannabinoid in different ways. Um, I don't know a lot about some of that because, you know, there's some, there's some stuff I've heard where even like, you know, specific types of cancers need certain culpa virus. And to me that's like, I don't, it's hard for me to really speak to it if I don't understand it. But that all that being said, like I have not, I have not found that there's a particular strain or I'm sorry, cultivar, um, or you know, the whole indica and sativa thing is, um, you know, that's a, a complex subject because it was described. Those don't really just those describe the appearance of a plant. Right. Those describe the morphology, right. Although I know that the industry has adopted those as like, okay, there are indica effects and there are sativa effects and we're just going to say that that's indica and sativa. I feel like for myself, I just go for a hybrid cause I'm like, you know, like they're pretty much all hybrids anyway. And it's, that's what I respond to. So it's, it's really like whoever, if you know, if you're like, well, what should I take? And I don't know what to do. And you know, I would say, okay, give it a sniff or give it a taste. And do you like this one? And if you're like, yeah, I really like this one as opposed to this other one, then that go with the one that you're responding to because that is your body telling you like, Hey, this, you know, I actually maybe need these terpenes or you know, whatever, whatever entre for entourage effect you've got going on. Um, you know, you, you and enjoying that experience, that's, that's telling you something. But to really answer your question for myself, I really like orange cookies. That's a strain out here, um, in Nevada that I've just really started to love. It's a Girl Scout cookies and I want to say, ah, little Runge cross. I don't, I know it's Girl Scouts. This is one of the origins.
Kannaboomers: (40:39) It's orange cookies, you said?
Stacey Mulvey: (40:41) Oh, and I like to smoke. I personally like to smoke flower. I'm just an old fashioned girl I guess. But I like this just so straightforward. This is how I've always done it. And so, you know, I'm not opposed to like vaping or edibles or anything like that, but I just, I'm just so used to, my typical way that I just stick to that.
Kannaboomers: (41:06) Yeah. Kind of straight up. A lot of what you've talked about is listening to your body.
Stacey Mulvey: (41:12) The fact that that is like what you have to do as you start medicating with cannabis and you start doing it with yoga is that you are taking, you're empowering yourself. You are taking your own health and wellness into your hands and you're saying, okay, I now in charge of this experiment of wellness and this experiment of cannabis, like how do I feel? Do I feel better? You know, did, did I improve or not? And that alone is so powerful and will start to ripple through your life as far as your own health because you took your own power back. You're not, you're not putting it in the hands of, you know, some external force like the doctor that, you know, just like, just give me pills and just tell me what to do. Put me under the knife. You're like, well wait, I want to start figuring this out. And, and, and you, you know, like I said, it's your, you're empowering yourself and that's just, that is so important. Meaningful in terms of your own wellness.
Kannaboomers: (42:11) That's a huge, huge problem. I think we could reform our healthcare system right around, you know, just getting people to be, take ownership of the results that they through their health habits. Um, I have to tell you when I did follow your video, which is so great to have online, it felt the muscles relaxed and everything and then the visual, the visualization you do at the end was amazing. Is that something that came to you or is that a technique that you learned or where does something like that come from?
Stacey Mulvey: (42:41) It came to me, you know, obviously I've been influenced by teachers and other, you know, meditations and, you know, kind of synthesize that all my brain, but that specific relaxation, um, can me describing the bones of the body and um, you know, sort of releasing the, just are not real. Just in just letting this, the thought process of like, what to do with your muscles, that just focusing on the bones, like it just takes you to this really like neutral place because we store emotions in our bodies and we, you know, they're like different triggers and like patterns that kind of get activated through our muscles. So speaking to the bones and, you know, just kind of, it's like you're just kind of like clearing out what's in the way. Um, I've found is a really cool, a really effective way of, of relaxing people and like, you know, we're just kind of letting them like, think about, uh, like I said, something more neutral. It's like almost like a more neutral substance than muscle. Like you can kind of neutralize whatever's happening in the muscles by speaking to the physio. Physiology of the bones and bones are universal. Like everybody, everybody knows what their side bone feels like, you know, but not everybody knows how, you know, he described some sort of muscular action, like what it's like to swing a golf club. You know? I was like, what? I don't know. I don't know. I feel, I think it's this way or I learned it that way. You know, there's like all these different interpretations, but it's like this really like universal, like neutral landmark that we can all relate to. Um, and so yeah, so you know, that visualization was just kind of evolved over time, you know, just kind of noticing that and wanting to, um, wanting to speak in a, in a also, you know, besides, I'm neutral as far as the actual brain that's hearing it, but also neutral in terms of like any like philosophy or um, you know, anything like that. Like there's no religious connotation is completely secular, completely universal. You know, if you're a human and you're hearing that, it's like, oh, I get, I, I get that. You know, you don't have to filter, you don't have to filter like a belief system. So, um, yeah. So that was another reason for that.
Kannaboomers: (44:56) Well, it's nice because most of us are just, we take our bones for granted. We don't really think of them that much, but you intentionally kind of draw our attention to just about every bone in our body. And that's pretty amazing.
Stacey Mulvey: (45:07) Thats very, very good. I feel glad to hear that, Tom.
Kannaboomers: (45:10) Yeah. And I want to encourage all our listeners to go ahead and do the same experience because it's, it's pretty amazing. And you, uh, put that, make that available online. So we should tell people where to find you online.
Stacey Mulvey: (45:21) Yeah. marijiasana.com or, um, at marijuasana on Instagram and all, you know, all the different channels. Um, and the way that that's spelled is M A R I J U A S A N A .com. And it's basically, it's if the word of marijuana and the word asana, which is a Sanskrit word for pose, basically. So all yoga poses and in the word asana, so there's like tricanasna, or halasana. So, um, so it's a, it's a [inaudible] like brunch, right? Like breakfast and lunch, but the happy middle there. So marijuasana, marijuana, and often, uh, cannabis and yoga. Yeah.
Kannaboomers: (46:11) It's a great mash up. Yeah. Well, thank you for taking the time. Um, we really appreciate it and I think you're really on to something. I know this is gonna become a, a much bigger movement as it grows. And, um, maybe, uh, you know, six months or a year down the road, we can have you back on and you can tell us about how huge it's gotten in time.
Stacey Mulvey: (46:27) I would love that. Thank you so much. This has been a real pleasure.
Kannaboomers: (46:31) You've been listening to, “Let's Talk About Weed” the Kannaboomers Podcast with Thomas J. For more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomers.com
Don't want to smoke? You don't have to! Cannabis is a versatile medicine that can be administered in multiple ways, each with its own advantages. In this episode Curt Robbins explains the various ways to get cannabis or CBD into your body. Listen, learn and share!
Welcome to “Twenty 4:20” the bite sized educational podcast from Tom at Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins, author of more than 500 articles about the science of hemp and cannabis. We're giving 20 cannabis topics 20 minutes each to help you get smarter about terpenes, cannabinoids, cultivars and much, much more. And our show starts now.
Hey, we're back with episode three, segment three of “Twenty 4:20” our ongoing bonus series with cannabis expert, Curt Robbins. Hey Curt, how are you?
Curt Robbins 00:37
I'm doing well and enjoying Los Angeles, getting a lot of writing done. Have a lot of exciting projects right now.
All right, well today we're talking about a common cannabis confusion and there's a lot of confusion out there, but there's some common myths that we're going to knock down today. We're starting out with consumption avenues.
Curt Robbins 00:53
Well, there's, you know, obviously smoking has been a very traditional form of consuming cannabis, especially on the underground market over the last century, but there's really a lot of different ways to consume the cannabinoids and terpenes that we've been discussing in this series. And there are primarily four different avenues of ingestion. Or consumption is what I should say because ingestion is one of them. It's when we eat the plant in some form could be a baked good because cannabinoids are absorbed by fats really well. Milk and butter and things. It's a not water soluble, so therefore it works great in baked goods. Then of course there's inhalation and that's smoking or vaporizing. We'll talk more about that in a second. And then there's sublingual. Sublingual is different than ingestion because it's absorbed through the mucus membranes and the mucosa under the tongue, and it is a completely different route into the body, but it gets a little confusing because they both go in the mouth, right. And a lot of people are engaging in sublingual absorption, at least to a certain extent, and they're not even aware of it. Now, typically it's kind of a sloppy model because some will be ingested and go through the stomach and liver, but when it goes through under the tongue, it goes directly into the bloodstream. That's what's unique about this avenue, and it gets a little more complicated than that. And we'll talk about that in a second with onset times.
The other avenue is topicals. And this is going to be a really huge market in the future because topicals are already a tremendous market both for medical care and wellness. And also beauty aides. Topicals can come in many different forms, balms, creams, lotions. And one of the newer applications of it is these topical patches or transdermal patches. And they can apply CBD or, THC or even, you know, full spectrum formulation. Now the patches are typically, and topicals over all are typically used for localized treatment. So if you sprain your elbow playing tennis or you're an athlete, you know, you're just maybe regular exercise, right? This is Kannaboomers after all. And uh, sometimes just a couple of miles on the treadmill can give you some, make some pains as you get a little older. Topicals are great for treating things like that.
That's my experience. A topical balm can really help the knee or elbow and, uh, it's odd that it's so localized, but I guess that's, uh, a trick of it. It, you know, you're absorbing it into your entire body, but it sure seems to work locally too.
Curt Robbins 03:42
Yeah, it does work really well and some of these cannabinoids are absorbed readily and efficiently into the skin, into the Epidermis, and they do their thing. So that's a really excellent option. Again, the stereotype is we see Cheech and Chong or the Scooby Doo and people smoking joints or bonds, but that's really only a small slice of the options that are available for patients and consumers. So let's talk a little about bioavailability. Now, technically, medically bioavailability is the amount of a drug or a chemical that is in the bloodstream and considered active. It's doing its thing and it will eventually be metabolized and you know, exit the bloodstream and it's only going to have efficacy for so long. In terms of what we're discussing here, let's think of bioavailability as three things, onset of effect, peak effect, and overall duration and that type, if we're to to define bioavailability like that, it is different for these different avenues of consumption. So for ingestion, and we've all heard these crazy stories of people getting too much cannabis in their system, especially if they're new to it. And the issue there is that ingestion requires 45 minutes to two hours just for onset. That's not peak. And that's not duration. Duration can be six or eight or ten hours or more depending on the potency. And again, how versed the consumer is in eating edibles. If it's their first time and they have six times more than they should, it's probably not going to go very well. And there's a reason for that too. And this reveals a little about the chemistry of cannabis. Now again, we've got 200 terpenes, 113 cannabinoids, 20 flavonoids and they all get in there and mix up. But let's just talk about the most famous THC. When it's digested by the liver, it converts to some form of the molecule called Delta 11 when it's inhaled, smoked or vaped, it's Delta 9. To add confusion to the issue there's also a delta 8 issue, but we'll talk about that later. Well, it out. That one study I was reading last week showed that Delta 11 is about five times more potent than Delta 9. So that's why consumers have to be very careful when they're eating. And, so often edibles are produced, it's backyard barbecue time, right? It's not labeled, it's, it hasn't gone through a laboratory or a distribution channel. It's on the underground market. And if there's 60 milligrams of THC in a brownie and a new consumer really should be getting five, perhaps ten, you can see where the problems resolved,
Right. And the classic mistake is you eat one brownie and wait half an hour, an hour, you're seeing no results. So you eat another one and then you're set up for a kind of a negative experience.
Curt Robbins 06:50
That is exactly how it happens, because the consumer is anticipating the efficacy and the onset of smoking or vaping, and it's obviously much different. In fact, smoking or vaping, uh, the effects begin to be felt in approximately two and a half minutes. It enters the lungs where it is transferred directly to the heart and the heart takes it and pumps it directly to the brain because those THC molecules are destined for CB 1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system. In fact, if they don't cross the blood brain barrier, they cannot create that psychotropic, that psycho activity for which it's so infamous.
If you don't mind, can we back up a second to inhalation and talk about the different experience between inhaling smoke and inhaling vapor? What do we know about that?
Curt Robbins 07:42
They look very similar, obviously, and some consumers really don't even think about the difference. Vapor is much healthier. We there are known carcinogens in the process of combustion regardless of what you're burning. So just because you're burning cannabis instead of tobacco doesn't mean that we escape all of those carcinogens. So there, there is some bad that comes with smoking, but often people argue, well, there's a lot of good that comes with smoking too. So you know, again, shade, shades of gray that we're getting at. If you're a daily, especially if you're a patient with a weakened immune system, maybe you're fighting cancer or MS or epilepsy it, you know, medical professional would always recommend vape, if you're going to go with inhalation, vaporization over combustion.
Now, I've also heard that when you vape you can set your boiling point and access various terpenes. Is there science to support that?
Curt Robbins 08:38
Yes. The terpenes have different boiling points. So like let's say you have a desktop vaporizer and its temperature adjustable, you're going to be getting a different terpene profile than at a lower temperature. And it's kind of neat. You can start to, if you have an accurate desktop unit, sometimes they cost a few hundred dollars because the lower priced ones, you know, the accuracy is not so great. So you, so you really don't know what you're uh, getting in the end. But you can start to target particular terpenes, and some patients. Well because they have different efficacies. If one is going to stimulate appetite and kill pain, reduce systemic inflammation, if that addresses your particular ailment or condition, then you can start to really dial it in. In terms of saying, okay, these are the terpenes that I want to, um, optimize so to speak in the vaporization process. So it gets complicated because it's not only the inherent terpene profile of the product, of the cannabis that we're using, but then it's the process by which you quote unquote processes, you know, you that you inject what you consume it. So, uh, what you get in the end, the final bioavailability is often not what we think because it's, it's not necessarily what goes into the machine.
I've heard people say that they get a clearer high too when they vape. I don't know if there's any science behind that or if that's just a subjective sort of perspective.
Right. And one, probably the most common way of vaping is with the, the mobile vape pens, you know, that you're just dropping your pocket that have the five, ten parts on them. And uh, you know, there's pros and cons with that too. There are good versions of that and there are bad versions of that have, uh, nasty chemicals in them haven't been tested. There's always going to be good and bad products. So it's definitely buyer beware.
Well, I know you were going to address a isolates and broad spectrum versus full spectrum.
Curt Robbins 10:39
Yeah. If we're talking about consumption here, there's a lot of confusion I find even among medical professionals about the different primary forms in which you can consume cannabis regardless of the consumption avenue. So we have isolates now as their name implies, an isolate is a single molecule and we capture it so to speak as purely as we can. And there are 99.9% pure isolates of CBD and THC and they can be consumed in a variety of ways. They can be smoked, they can be dabbed. We hear about this process of dabbing, which is a form of high temperature vaporization. Okay, so dabbing is a type of vaporization, but if the temperatures are not controlled accurately, dabbing can be a combination of combustion and vaporization. That can happen easily.
And that's a very intense sort of inhalation. I mean that's a very, a high potency experience, right?
Curt Robbins 11:45
Oh yes. I did it with CBD a couple of years ago and it was very interesting. It was a, not a powder, it was in the form of a crystal, which always looks very interesting. And uh, you know, I definitely felt the, uh, the effects of it. I felt like zero pain in my body. Um, not everybody likes dabbing and especially with, this was CBD that I was doing, but with THC dabbing can really knock you on your butt. It can be, it's one of the most potent other than edibles, one of the most potent ways. And again, you're going to get hit and two and a half or three minutes. So, uh, sometimes people do a couple of dabs and if they're not very versed on it, they got to sit down for a while. So again, people, consumers should be careful with some of these avenues of consumption.
Yeah, it sounds overwhelming.
Curt Robbins 12:33
So we've got isolates and without talking about them too much, there's pros and cons with isolates because you're getting just that single molecule. So if that's what the consumer needs for their ailments or their condition, whatever their state of being they're trying to achieve an isolate might be a good way to go. But often, especially for general wellness, like if we're consuming cannabis as a preventive mechanism and we're not treating a specific disease, broad spectrum and full spectrum products are often preferred. Now broad spectrum means that it's been filtered basically that when the extract or the concentrate was created from the plant that something was taken out and typically it's THC and this is so we can have a product that is below the 0.3% THC so it qualifies as legal. It can be sold in all 50 states and a lot of consumers don't want any psychoactivity, I don't want the people fly on my planes or driving my cars or taking care of my kids or you know, the air traffic controllers, I don't think I want them getting all looped out on THC. So there's really a good place for broad spectrum products containing trace amounts or no THC on the market regardless of the medical efficacy of THC. I think there's a good place for those full spectrum as the name implies, is everything from the plant. Now it should be stressed here that manufacturing and processing techniques typically strips something away. Terpenes and cannabinoids, especially terpenes are very volatile delicate molecules and literally just the transport of cannabis can't like in a vehicle, you know, with the jostling can cause these molecules to deteriorate or morph into, you know, a different form in their lifespan.
This also brings to mind the whole concept of the entourage effect. All these things are working together, right? And if you have an isolate you're not, you're not getting any entourage effect.
Curt Robbins 14:41
If you believe in the entourage effect, which is technically a theory right now, we need more research, but there is a lot of evidence, both anecdotal and clinical study, uh, pointing toward the validity of it. You're getting the most entourage effect benefit with a full spectrum obviously, but you do get some with the broad spectrum. Uh, but you know, there are people who don't like broad spectrum whatsoever cause they say, hey, everything's in the plant for a reason. They really embrace full spectrum or what's sometimes called whole plant formulations. Uh, they've done their homework. They know there's a lot of medical efficacy in THC. So many consumers and medical professionals will use full spectrum exclusively actually.
Okay. And then, uh, I think we were going to talk about how long one can store cannabis. Cause some of us, maybe we're not consuming at a, at a high rate and it sits in a jar. How long can you keep it and still have that efficacy?
Curt Robbins 15:41
The joke here is that, you know, who keeps cannabis sitting around long enough for it to go bad? And all of the daily consumers in the room can chuckle and laugh at that. But you know, many people just consume only when necessary to treat a particular ailments or socially. And it's just a couple of times a week. So I actually get this question quite a bit and some people are shocked to think, “What marijuana goes bad? Really?” Well what happens here is again, all of these molecules are very volatile and THC tetrahydrocannabinol, breaks down, it degrades in its life cycle into CBN. And CBN is a cannabinoid that is very much bedtime for Bonzo. It's great for insomniacs. If I can get it in a decent enough quantity. So if yes, we let, we'll we're entering legalization where there was this, uh, you know, there's talk in Canada, there's talk in the United States about distribution channels like we have in other industries, right? And if you go to 7 -11 and you bought a Pepsi Cola, uh, it was not made yesterday, it sat on a shelf, it went through distribution for whatever length of time. So a study was conducted in 1999 and it's really nice because they, it's a multi year study and basically in the end what they found was that the quantity of THC decreases by certain percentages over time. And the first year the sample lost almost 17% of the THC. Again, most of that converted to CBN. So if you had an uplifting, cerebral, energetic cultivar of cannabis, if it was stored long enough, it could be quite different in its efficacy. After all, a lot of, a lot of that THC degraded to a CBN and I don't want to bad mouth CBN it has its place too. If you're an insomniac or suffering, extreme anxiety and CBN might be one of your best friends.
Curt Robbins 17:43
In terms of cannabinoids. After two years, the sample, uh, lost about 27% of it's THC. After three years it lost about 35% and after four years, again an unlikely scenario, the rate of decline actually decreased a bit, but it was about 41% THC lost after four years of storage. It should be stressed that this is storage at room temperature and basically the more you raise it, the higher the degradation. So there's a lot of mitigating factors here. There are, you know, obviously we're in the green rush. So there are companies right now working on technologies on services and products that will, for example, a nitrogen storage system, one is being talked about that could store for about seven years. They're claiming you could have a shelf life of seven years with no loss whatsoever. But in a basic model, I don't know the details of what they're doing. You're replacing the oxygen with the nitrogen, the oxygen is going to cause the degradation of the THC. So you want to get the oxygen, the heck outta there. Now, if you can put something else in there that acts as a preservative, well all the better.
Sure. So in that instance, they're putting it in a, in a can or an airtight jar or something where oxygen can't get at it as you say.
Curt Robbins 19:08
Yes. And there are products on the market that uh, sometimes they have like a press valve and, and they just push all the air out of it. You know, there's always going to be a little air left in there. And again, if you're consuming your cannabis, you know, fairly quickly over a couple of weeks, it's not going to be critical. And that's why I like sharing these numbers, finding, you know, science and real studies like this so we don't have to sit around and, and dredge up anecdotals, “My uncle Bob, he found half an ounce that, you know, from before his divorce, it was sold and we smoked it and we all thought it was great.” That's a good story, you know. But that doesn't really tell us what's going on here. Uh, here, we get to see hard percentages. It's really almost shocking if this research was done 20 years ago.
Well it definitely makes a difference to have something fresh and , I mean, some people wonder, do you put it in the freezer? Does that help or are you probably better just getting it fresh.
Curt Robbins 20:05
Exactly. The master cultivators that I've interviewed over the years always tell me fresh is best. And when I've visited, farms and gardens and gotten something that they had just gotten through the cycle of drying and curing, I have to admit, it's some of the most potent yet enjoyable cannabis I've ever consumed.
That's awesome. Well, we ran a little over our 20 minute target, but, um, we can't stop talking about something that has so much value to all of us. So, um, thanks Curt. That kind of wraps it for this week, but we'll be back soon with episode 4.
Curt Robbins 20:39
Thank you, Tom.
You've been listening to “Twenty 4:20” a special edition podcast series from Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins. Want to learn more and help grow the cannabis movement? Spread the word and follow us on your favorite podcast platform or at kannaboomers.com
We've all heard that cannabis prohibition is about racism. But how did it really happen?
This is how: Government authorities systematically stoked fear of Mexicans and African Americans, and used that fear as a wedge to keep cannabis illegal, and minorities under control. For decades.
It's quite a story, and Box Brown did the research and put it all into his epic comic book “Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America.”
It's a fun episode as we explore the socio-economics of cannabis prohibition, with tangents on Box's books on Andre the Giant and Tetris. You'll also hear the story of how Box got busted for smoking weed at age 16, and how that fateful event changed the course of his life.
Hey, it's Tom. Welcome back to the Kannaboomers Podcast. You know, you've probably heard that our current cannabis laws are due to our racist policies in the past. And maybe you've accepted that as a bit of unconventional wisdom. Our guest this week, Box Brown, author of “Cannabis, the Illegalization of Weed in America,” has dug deep into that subject and put together a really nice readable graphic novel, although it's not a novel, it's nonfiction, but a very long comic book essentially about Harry Anslinger who had a decades-long obsession with making cannabis illegal in the United States. And it's a very thorough, comprehensive look at this and how it came about as well as the history that brought cannabis to America and many other aspects of it. I really enjoyed our conversation. We dug deep into the culture and economics and science of cannabis. And it was very interesting to hear Box's story, including, the story of his arrest as a young man and how that led him to write this book many years later as sort of a catharsis. So I hope you enjoy the episode and enjoy the book. And as always, thanks to Danny for setting us up and making us sound good, and come and see us at Kannaboomers.com. We've got transcripts if you don't feel like listening and lots of other good stuff. Enjoy the show.
This is, “Let's Talk About Weed”, the Kannaboomers Podcast, CBD, micro dosing, and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.
So with us is Box Brown out of Philadelphia, who has authored “Cannabis, the Illegalization of Weed in America” I read it. It's a great book. It's a new way to learn about cannabis and the history of it in this country, which a lot of us are unfamiliar with. So I really recommend it. Box, how did you get started on this journey?
Well, on this particular book, I would say that my first interest in cannabis was not. I mean, I, you know, I was, I was curious about it when I was a teenager and ended up getting arrested for a possession when I was 16. Well, yeah. Uh, I was not a in any kind of a cannabis expert at the time. It was probably like the, I dunno, 10th time I ever even smoked pot like in my life. And then, uh, so then I was arrested and um, uh, it was scary. You know, they handcuff you and throw you in the back of a police car going 100 miles an hour down these little, um, suburban streets. Um, you know, they're trying to scare you and then there's a whole. There was a whole court proceeding and I had a, I had a probation officer and I was drug tested and um, you know, they, they had a lot of, they would say, you know, hold a lot of things over your head. You know, if you get caught caught while you're on probation, you're going to juvenile detention center and all these different things. It left a big impression on me. Like I don't think, I don't even know if I would be as interested in cannabis at all as an adult if that hadn't happened to me as a teenager. You know?
Right. They made you into a criminal.
Yeah. They made me into a stoner for half. So I mean, uh, because it just became more a scare, you know, exciting. Because it was a tad more taboo.
Elicit. Yeah. Well, one of the facts in your book, I think you mentioned that there were in the early eighties there were about 400,000 arrests a year in the U.S. for cannabis.
Box Brown: (03:26)
Yeah. It still is happening in the U.S in states where it's not legal in a big way. I mean, you know, we've gone through 83 years of prohibition where, where hundreds of thousands of people were arrested each year. Uh, it's interesting because the year that I was arrested, a 1996 that was the year that cannabis arrests doubled in the U.S. under Bill Clinton. So, you know, I got wrapped up in the, in the Bill Clinton war on drugs of 1996 and it's still happening like in New Jersey where they all have medical cannabis and they are ostensibly trying to legalize, they've had a bunch of bills. Try to almost get to the governor's desk, but not all the way there. And uh, they're still arresting like something like 33,000 people per year and just in New Jersey for cannabis. So, you know, despite what we know about cannabis and how it's used as medicine and it's safe and all of these different things, we're still seeing people criminalized, people being stigmatized, use being stigmatized. Even in legalization laws, there's, there are things that continue the stigma for instance. And a lot of these east coast laws that are coming up, we see a language in there that keeps anyone that's ever been arrested for cannabis cannot even be a budtender in the cannabis legal cannabis business, which is preposterous. I mean, imagine if there were no, if restaurants were illegal and then suddenly they made restaurants legal, but anybody that had been being a chef for, for any amount of time, anyone with any experience was barred from legally being a chef. Yeah, it would make no sense.
Well, and I think you can also make the statement that people of color are disproportionately large in that number of being, being arrested. So this gets to one of the foundational things of your book where you, you know, we explain the origins of cannabis, um, and culture sort of in India and then how it came over to Mexico. And then the whole thing in the U.S. with Harry Anslinger who made a career out of demonizing cannabis. And we're feeling those effects 75 years later, you know, if those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. You know what, what can we learn from this whole multi-decade episode?
Box Brown: (05:56)
Well, reviewing it and looking over the history of how cannabis is treated by America. Because this is an American idea. I mean, this was something that we did here. We made it illegal here and then, um, forced the rest of the world to do it as well and treat this plant like contraband all over the world. So if you think about the millions of lives that have been incredibly impacted negatively by this idea that Harry Anslinger had and that he pushed for and in for the, for the purposes of careerism and created all these lies and narratives that people still buy into today, even people that people that are pro legalization still buy into a lot of the stigma and even some of the lies that are still being perpetuated every day.
And an incredible impact from one determined person.
Box Brown: (06:56)
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, he, um, he really, really affected a lot of people and, and in a way, you know, hurt the economy of the world, you know. I think there are a lot of the people that are for prohibition of cannabis are these people that are very pro anything that is going to grow the economy. And here we have a multi hundreds of billions of perhaps trillion dollar industry worldwide. It would be unknowable how big this is and, and the people, and there's still people in power pushing against it that don't want, don't want the biggest, the biggest new industry imaginable in their state or in their town or in their own backyard and that type of thing.
And that's not even considering hemp and everything you can make from hemp that we've denied for the same number of decades. You know, the Farm Bill passed last year and finally we're going to start being able to have hemp clothing and hempcrete and some of the other things.
Box Brown: (08:01)
It's just, you know, this is an easy to grow plentiful natural resource that we could take advantage of that we in a world where were constantly running out of natural resources. Here's a renewable one that we can take advantage of in every possible way and we're not.
And then something that's good for insomnia, arthritis, anxiety, pain has never killed anyone as opposed to the opioids that they've been shoving down our throats.
Box Brown: (08:29)
Sure. Everything in the pharmacy, if you took too much of it would make you sick or possibly kill you. You know everything over the counter, every one of them, even Tylenol, take the whole bottle and see how it see what happens, you know what I mean? Like so we hear something with, with no, you know, no deadly side effects and they're still, even with all that we know they're still fighting against it. I think at this point it's all money and there's people that make their money by supporting prohibition and there's people that are trying to make money on legalization for themselves, creating middlemen and red tape and all this type of stuff, unnecessary regulations and just endless stuff like this. What we really, really want to do, I need to do is legalize the black market essentially. If you want to be an importer or exporter of cannabis or cannabis salesperson or cannabis grower or cannabis producers anywhere in this country, you should be able to do that.
Yeah. The market as a good way of sorting things out.
Box Brown: (09:36)
If people want product that's tested, it'll show up and it'll be third-party tested for purity and pesticides and everything else, and they'll know exactly how much THC and all the cannabinoids are in it. Um, that's how the market would handle it.
Box Brown: (09:51)
If you think about the way we test food, right? This is food that we eat and ingest. You know, we don't get a molecular breakdown of every piece of lettuce that we buy. That just doesn't happen. We don't, every hamburger that we buy at a restaurant isn't tested down to the molecular level. They come in randomly and check stuff out and we are okay with that. But for some reason, cannabis, every single batch has to be tested down to the molecular level. And we have to track every gram down to from seed to the patient and all these different things. It's if you did it with any other products, even alcohol, you see the way that that's tracked and checked and things like that. Cannabis is so over-regulated.
One more thing before we leave the whole Harry Anslinger saga. You put your finger on it in the book, that racism was really the lever that he used to instigate fear of this substance in fear of other people. And there's parallels to that happening today. I think, you know, we, we still haven't gotten past that. And again, the effects are monumental. People being incarcerated, people not having access to the, uh, substance that can help them live better. It's just kind of astounding.
Box Brown: (11:08)
Yeah. When I started working on this book, you know, these what we see here today where there's more people of color being arrested and put in jail for cannabis, even though use rates are the same. We're seeing that in our daily lives. But it was surprising to me, I guess, or stunning that when I look through the history started researching the history of this, that that was the point from the beginning. You know, like that's not something that happened recently because we're, you know, the courts have become racist or something like that. Like this law was a racist law from day one and it was there to help crack down on Mexican immigration and to basically control the African-American population. There was all kinds of laws like this. This is just one of them, all are vagrancy laws and things like that. Laws against jay walking and things like this stuff that you could get arrested for, for doing basically nothing — walking. All of this is control for control of, um, of a certain population. And if you look at a lot of our laws, they are steeped in racism from the beginning. And this especially.
Yeah, I don't know that that is commonly known. You know, I encourage people to pick the book up and the way you lay it out is really fantastic.
Box Brown: (12:32)
You went from that very formative experience of being arrested and then hauled down the narrow streets to jail and turned it into something positive eventually. I mean, that percolated for quite awhile. You, you've written a few books in the interim, but I like the graphic novel aspect to it. Um, for, for people who are reluctant readers, it's easy to pick up and kind of immerse yourself in.
Box Brown: (12:56)
Yeah. Um, I got into comics, you know, I, I read comics when I was, you know, 12, 13, 14, and then stopped kind of doing anything for a while in my teens and early twenties, and then kind of got back into it later when I, I liked to draw a lot when I was a kid. And then I kind of quit because I wasn't really good at it or I wasn't the best in the school or whatever. And I lost confidence in myself and then got back into it later just because I liked doing it and I liked sitting quietly and drawing a lot and got into making comics. And um, I found a comic called, um, “American Elf“ by James Kochalka and a number of other, um, autobiographical comics. And these were the first time I saw comics that you, where you could make a comic that was just about everyday life and not about superheroes or robots or something like that.
Once I figured out you could make comics about any subject, it kind of like took off from there. And, um, then I got, you know, I was doing all kinds of different stuff, but I eventually did this biography of “Andre the Giant” cause I love pro wrestling and um, I love Andre and uh, and that ended up being doing well. And, um, and uh, I just really like nonfiction, doing nonfiction comics. I like, like teaching myself things and making comics is a way for me to do that. And then I, you know, and then when it's done, you've learned something. And then I got a, I have a whole book to book, you know, the, so that's kind of how I got into this. And then I did the book about Tetris, the video, the history of the video game, Tetris and, uh, a book about comedian Andy Kaufman.
Those are all really super-interesting topics. And, um, you know, you found a nice niche there where, you can tell a visual story. I mean, Andre the Giant who's not interested in that guy?
Box Brown: (14:46)
Sure. It's, I think of them kind of like documentary film where I get to do every aspect of the film, you know, write it and direct it and all of that stuff, but with no budget at all. It's just the drawings. So that's kind of how I think of them.
Yeah. Well, and I was looking at the bibliography in the back of the cannabis book and it's very well researched. I mean you obviously dug deep into the topic. How long did that take you to kind of get to a level where you felt you were ready to go?
Box Brown: (15:17)
Um, well what happens really is that, you know, you end up, I ended up collecting a lot of material and reading a lot of stuff and then kind of thinking about it for six months. You know, that's like a long process that happens very gradually and then sometimes very intensely and stuff while I'm working on other things, the book before that, that usually, uh, I'm researching the next one while I'm working on the drawing, the other ones. And then I kind of write out how I see the story. And then, um, while I'm working on that, I'm going back and researching each individual part to find more specific information as specific information as I could find. You know, that also involves like in Tetris book that's calling, you know, interviewing people and they, all of the, all of the books involves interviews with people and stuff like that too. So it's like a journalism thing.
Sure. I just heard the Tetris guy interviewed on NPR last week. Did they have some anniversary?
Box Brown: (16:19)
Yeah, it was the 35th anniversary. Um, I love Alexi. I mean he's a, I love Tetris because it was a game that was made of a piece of art that was made without any profit motive because Alexi lived in communist Russia and it was, was not even in his, in his understanding at all to sell the game. It was just to make it, uh, to make something that he thought it was cool and it became like this huge thing and uh, like the purity of it, it's so great. And then it ended up becoming this huge commercial success and exposing Alexi to, like some of the horrors of capitalism as well.
Yeah, it’s like the biggest video game of all time, isn't it?
Box Brown: (17:02)
Yeah, I mean, one of them, I mean, it's hard to say what's the biggest and what's not, but I mean, certainly it's in the canon of video games and at the time was like one of the biggest sellers for Nintendo and things like that.
And then he gradually came back and got the rights to it, didn't he?
Box Brown: (17:17)
Uh yeah, they ended up, he ended up getting the rights to it and, uh, you know, now since ‘96 or something like that, he's, he's owned a piece of Tetris again. So he eventually got paid, but not the big money when it was, you know, I think they sold like 80 million units or something like that. Like that's all gone.
Well, it's probably more addictive than cannabis, right?
Box Brown: (17:40)
Sure. Oh, for sure.
Just to bring it back around. So, another thing that jumped out at me from the book was, um, the story of Billie Holiday, who, a black woman that Harry Anslinger just had to go after. Yeah. She, I guess she hit all the buttons.
Box Brown: (17:58)
Yeah, he hated her. He was like obsessed with her and probably in a way like in love with her and he just hated black people and he hated jazz music. Um, he just saw it as like this embodiment of like evil or something like that where, where it was like offensive to him in this perverted way. And Billie Holiday, you know? Like you said, she hit all these buttons. She was a woman. She was black, she was a jazz musician. She was, she went against society's norms. She was a drug user and he, you know, he used every, uh, everything in his power to make her life hell. It's, it's absurd really. I mean, it's, it's, it's disgusting. It's awful. I mean, it's, it's, he contributed to her death.
She was arrested as she was dying of cirrhosis of the liver?
Box Brown: (18:48)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's just like she was being harassed constantly not to, not the, you know, she was, she is an extreme case, but it was not uncommon for jazz musicians to be harassed in this way. Right. Uh, Louie Armstrong getting arrested while the cops are saying that, telling him that they liked their music, they like his music.
And that's the legacy. I mean, this is our grandparents and great grandparents. Um, the baby boomers grew up in the sixties and seventies, and in our era was, well, eventually the Reagan Era, “just say no” you know what Nancy Reagan and all that stuff. So it was just stacked decade upon decade of these mistruths and outright lies that it's gonna take a while to undo.
Box Brown: (19:35)
Yeah, I mean, I think about it like the way, like the way people think about, um, like how, how men aren't supposed to cry or something like that. Like, um, it's these stereotypes about gender that are built in to every single aspect of culture and, and you know, cannabis, that being a bad drug is like baked into every aspect of culture. And it was for really, really, really, really, really long time. Like off all of everyone that is alive lifetimes, you know, uh, there's very few people that were adults when cannabis was legal that are still alive, if there are any. And so like it's, it's in every part of our culture. I mean I have read an interview with Bill Maher or it's on Howard Stern the other day. He was talking about when he was on and on his show, “Politically Incorrect.” That was the show on, on ABC before his HBO show. If they talked about cannabis in the 90s, they had to have somebody also come in to talk about how bad it is and say the entire do the entire government propaganda speech.
So like the Fairness Doctrine on the the opposing side. Right.
Box Brown: (20:53)
But there was no Fairness Doctrine at the time. Like they could have done whatever they wanted, but yet they still held to that for cannabis.
Yeah. This mythology that was the official government line for so long. And you know, it's not a binary state where you just flip and everybody recognizes that, oh no, this is actually an organic substance and we have an endocannabinoid system in our bodies. We have receptors for it. It's, it's, it's a legit medicine. That story needs to be told. And, and you're one of the people telling it. But how long do you think it's gonna take for it to be normalized?
Box Brown: (21:27)
I mean I think it's happening extremely rapidly. I think. Um, and there's certain things I feel like that, you know, the whole state by state thing is so slow and methodical and really unfair to the individual states. Like especially the east coast, we're seeing like these, not new England, but like the New York, New Jersey, PA, Delaware, Maryland, this area of the country is just getting absolutely tortured with high prices at Ohio too. Same thing, really, really high prices. The Midwest seems to be avoiding this in some way. New England seems to be avoiding this in some way, but then there's this whole large swath of the country that's still just getting their first medical laws now. So, but if we see movement at the federal level, like if there's de-scheduling that can pull the rug out from everybody and then we could see like Oregon just passed a state law already that as soon as anything like that happens, they are going to, they a state law says that they're allowed to import and export cannabis.
So they're like set up now to be the exporter for the entire country because if it gets scheduled and it's legal, one day there will be a shortage. Right? In the beginning there always is when all of these states where they legalize right in the beginning there's a shortage because everybody wants to go buy it. So Oregon is set up to ship to everybody across the country and that's what's really gonna make legalization feel like a real thing. When you can order it on Amazon, when you can get anything you want at a good price from all over the country, none of these little people people taking over states and charging. The cost for patients in New Jersey is just out of control, is out of control. It's like $600 an ounce. It's costing these people like one to five dollars an ounce to produce. I mean when you have that much of a profit margin, there's only room for corruption. And so we, what we need is this big national market. And you know, I think we could see that that could happen quickly. But the slow state by state things, if that's all we, if that's all we get, I mean we're looking at 20 to 50 years.
You know, it's very expensive in California, the taxes amount to probably 35%.
Box Brown: (23:56)
Right? The taxes in California are out of control, but the market in California is so robust that if you live in California, you can get decent prices if you shop around, you know what I mean? Whereas in Ohio, there's no shopping around. Like there's none. There's, they actually sell weed in tenths, not even eights. They sell tenths for $70 so, so that's a $700 ounce to looking at.
Well yeah, oregano doesn't go for that much.
Box Brown: (24:27)
I mean, think about it. I mean like this is, we're talking about something that like tomatoes is or something like that. Imagine if tomatoes are $5,000 right pound or something like that. Like what? Does that make sense?
Yeah, we would be growing around here for sure. Yeah. Well yeah, state by state, I think you're right. If there is a federal move to de-schedule, which there should be pretty soon. I mean we, we flirt with that. That could be the linchpin that really drives a sensible nationwide policy. I think the majority of people are behind that. It's just can we get the politicians to recognize it?
Box Brown: (25:01)
Yeah. Well I think we've got to get the right politicians in there. Yeah. Make it an issue. The people that are pro cannabis are more popular. I mean, and it's an, it's an easy, I think once politicians this and see how easy it is to go in and say, look, there's 70% of the people want this. And then you'd go in and say, all right, we're going to, I want to give it to you. That's a lot of people that are going to get behind you. And so I think a lot of politicians are now seeing dollar signs with it in these really specific ways, like ways that they can individually make the most money themselves, like enrich themselves is what I mean.
Um, well that's how stuff works. Right?
Box Brown: (25:38)
Right. But I mean if you think about it from the perspective of growing the economy, it's a way to do that by the same politicians own definition is not as to remove regulations and that's what increases jobs. That's what would build this business. And you allow a market to develop and, and we'd get real prices. We'd get the best stuff would come to the, would come to the top and the worst would go out of business. All of these things that happen in the capitalist market that we live in with every other product.
Yeah, you can talk about the science that again, we have an endocannabinoid system and we have receptors and it's legit medicine, you can talk about the cultural backstory. You know this, what happened over the last eighty years was not just or, right. And you can talk about the economic impact and all those together. It should be a slam dunk.
Box Brown: (26:32)
The problem is there's a lot of people profiting from prohibition. There's private prison systems, there's rehab places that get that where people get arrested for cannabis and then get sent to rehab that they have to pay for on their own dime. So those, those companies have, have a stake in cannabis being illegal. We see a lot of police that want cannabis to be illegal because it's another tool in their toolkit. When they pull somebody over, they could say they smelled cannabis, even if there was no cannabis, you know, all of these things. They want that tool. And so when there's these powerful moneyed interests behind prohibition, that's worth more than than um, uh, political. Someone's, it's worse. It's worth money is literally worth more than goodwill. And so, so we're fighting against that too. And so it's just a long, seemingly endless process. But you know what? Gay Marriage has passed. Um, that was a long, long process. And, um, change can come at the national level. I, you don't really get well one day…
And if you, if you set aside the logical and even emotional arguments and just go with the economic, then the forces that would profit from a legal market have to outweigh the vested interests and either the best interests get bought off or they become the losers in this game. But I think you're right, you follow the money and there's so much to be gained, even if this isn't ridiculously overpriced, it could become an economic juggernaut.
Box Brown: (28:12)
Absolutely. At a regular regular prices like, yeah, I like $50 ounces would still make a ton of people preposterously rich.
And you wouldn't be incarcerating people for really no reason.
Box Brown: (28:26)
Which is saving, saving government money and saving lives and keeping people employed instead of in jail instead of that's what you're allowing them to make money instead of paying for them to be tortured in jail basically. I mean like it defies all logic.
Let the invisible hand work.
Box Brown: (28:47)
Right, exactly. These are the people that are all about the invisible hand of the market and now they, now they don't believe in it suddenly.
Well, hopefully we're getting close to that point cause it's just state by state where it's like a teeter totter. We're at 32 states now for medical, I think 11 or 12 for “recreational adult use.”
Box Brown: (29:08)
Yeah, the Illinois law was big for me because they made, um, a lot of compromises that I think will work on the east coast and I want to see them do that. Like for instance, to big thing. Um, and, and uh, northeast that they don't want is this is home grow, which is a must have. And so, and the Illinois law, it's legal to home grow for if you're a medical patient and if you just are a recreational user and you get busted for home grow, it's like a $200 fine. So they like defacto legalized home, grow, it decriminalized home, grow. Um, and I think if that's the type of compromise that would move the levers for New York and New Jersey and PA, I feel like that is something that, that is agreeable instead of no home grow. Because you know, it's not just people hear homegrown, they're like, “oh everybody…” no one is going to grow, start growing weed. It's going to be a very small part of the cannabis consumers that grow their own cannabis. Just like it's a small part of beer consumers that brew their own beer.
But the important thing with home grown is that it keeps the producers honest about pricing. If someone knows how much it costs to grow an ounce of weed and you're charging $700 for it, it's not going to fly. They will grow their own weed at that point, you know, and you'll lose the customer. Uh, the other thing that's really important with home grow is that it pushes the recreational market to try new things and do new things. If you look at the Seattle market, uh, there's no home grow and there's also like almost no craft concentrate market there. It's a very small, whereas like in California, Colorado where there's home grow and people are experimenting and stuff like that, the craft concentrate market, it's huge and it's like super popular. Like a Hash Rosin is like enormously popular, uh, in those, in those places. And it's not in Seattle because of the way there are laws work. And I think also the fact that there's no home grow pushing for that. I mean there's no home producers pushing the market to do new things.
Right. Innovation kind of bubbles up from, from below. Right. Really the objection to home grow is probably coming from corporate growers who don't want the competition and were afraid that those interests…
Box Brown: (31:39)
Also, you hear the argument that home grow will, will continue the black market and make it easier for teens to get to get cannabis. Which is preposterous because teens — don't tell me a teen that's getting there, their beer from a home brewer every weekend like that is just not happening. And tell me a, a teen that's going to a party where it's everybody's drinking homemade wine, like that's just not happening. They're getting elicit kegs and cases of beer for finding somebody to buy it for them. It's not the home brew market that's, that's, it just makes no sense to me. I mean when those things stop making sense, I just assume it's a money to interest
And growing it is not that simple. I mean, it's a seed you put in the ground, you water it and it needs sunshine, but doing it right…
Box Brown: (32:28)
Yeah. Oh my God. I know. Forget it. I mean, listen, I've done an unbelievable amounts of research on how to even growing cannabis my first try doing it was awful. It did not go very well at all. And it was just like total absolute waste, uh, in every way. And that's what it's like gardening and you can't just sit down and, and grow the best weed in the world. And once like a house plant or like a, something like that, I mean, you really need to work on this. So, you know, yeah, just the idea that home grow is going to, is going to be where kids are getting their weed from. It's just silly.
You gotta be a total nerd just devoted to your plant, which is great. You're giving it compost and tea and making sure it doesn't mold and, and all that stuff. And again, like you say, the parallel is it's a lot easier to go buy a six pack then to brew it in your bathtub. Absolutely. We've talked about de-schedulization and states, hopefully they're getting smarter. Maybe Illinois looked at what happened, Canada and Colorado and California and had sort of an informed process. Do you have a guess as to when, when we might see de-schedulization?
Box Brown: (33:42)
That's the thing that makes me think that de-scheduling might be coming sooner than, than later. Is this bill going through that, um, federal bill banking bill that will allow banks to sell weed basically, um, and allow, you know, all these different dispensaries to take credit cards and things like that. I don't think there shouldn't be a special carve out for the banks. I mean, there shouldn't, we shouldn't suddenly at the federal level be like, okay, regular people can't deal with this substance, but the banks can. So because de scheduling would solve that problem with the banks and it would also be the fair thing to do and the right thing to do without making a special carve out just for banks. And I feel like there's people making the same argument and that is how we could see that bank banking bill end up.
You would think the banks would get behind it because you know there's a good reason for not allowing cartel money to be laundered through banks, but cannabis money is not like heroin money, you know. Let's separate the two and say this is an agricultural enterprise. It's just like people growing corn or soy, they need credit, they need to be able to do transactions and let's integrate that into the economy rather than forcing this weird sort of credit card transaction. But again, you're right, it goes back to the money. So you get the banks involved in, they see that this is good for their business. Then maybe that brick gets pulled out of the wall and we're on our way.
Box Brown: (35:14)
Yeah, I mean, I can't imagine, you know, banks get in and you can, you can see something like that. You see Wells Fargo is like a west coast bank right? I mean there are an awful bank that screws over their customers constantly, but they operate across the country. And if they start seeing what this is, this is doing for their business, they, but they should just know this and be lobbying for de-scheduling. Now instead of doing these little, this little carve out for the banks, I just makes me so furious because like, I know that the cannabis companies need banks and, I know that it would be helpful for them and I know that it would eventually knock down walls, but I just hate seeing the banks getting special treatment where the people are not.
Well, it's just another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy that just gums up the whole thing.
Box Brown: (36:07)
The whole system. You're right.
So I mean, I think we can look forward to rapid change once that de-scheduling happens. And like you said, you’ve got to vote smart, you've got to listen to the candidates, you've got to make it an issue. And, um, you know, a book like yours hopefully gets people talking. How have your sales been?
Box Brown: (36:26)
Yeah people always ask and, I don't know, I mean, um, you don't actually find out about sales until like a year over a year later. It's like insanely long tail. I haven't heard anything from my publisher about anything, so I have no idea. They used to have a New York Times bestseller list for comics and that's where my book, Andre the Giant ended up. And so you had a good shot of getting on the list because it was all comics. And now a comics are just kind of lumped in with miscellaneous books, including like “how to's” and a self-help books and things like that. So I mean, uh, the week my book came out, Oprah had a new book out, which I'm sure it took up most of that, all the money. So, um, did it make the bestseller list.
Good timing, good timing. Do you refer to it as a comic or as, as a graphic novel?
Box Brown: (37:18)
I don't know. I always say graphic nonfiction or I say like graphic novel, but it's not really a novel because as a nonfiction there's like no terminology, correct terminology really. If anything, I would say graphic novel just so people understand that that's a book. But amongst myself, I always call everything I do comics.
So there's no category at Amazon because a lot of people will go there and check on their sales.
Box Brown: (37:42)
Oh, perhaps, I don't know. I don't, I told like to do that because it just makes me, I don't want to think about it. I don't like to think about it at all.
Right. Yeah. You don't want to end up checking that every hour.
Box Brown: (37:51)
I don't like to read the reviews. I don't like do any of that stuff.
Well, has the book, opened doors for you? Have you had a lot of interviews?
Box Brown: (37:59)
Oh yeah. I did tons and tons of media. I was on, um, “Getting Doug with High” a few weeks ago. Yeah. Um, which was amazing with Larry Charles, which I, who, I didn't know it was going to be on the show until I got there, and I've been doing, started doing comics for Leafly recently. Oh yeah. Um, so, uh, yeah, all kinds of stuff like that. My ultimate thing that I would like to see one day is to be a judge at a Cannabis Fest.
Box Brown: (38:28)
That'd be cool. Like those, like on “The Voice” or whatever, you know? Yeah. So that would require you to sample product and stuff?
Box Brown: (38:36)
Yeah, that's what I, that's what I would love to.
Well let's put that out there. You know what the universe sometimes the universe delivers. Yeah. Well, um, I think we've had a pretty good interview here. I'm really glad we were able to get you in. I guess I'm kind of glad you got arrested so long ago.
Box Brown: (38:52)
Yeah it was a rough some years.
So what I'm just curious, were you walking on the street or?
Box Brown: (38:59)
Oh no. We were, if we a were, it was really stupid. We were in like a Little League ball field and uh, it was sitting in the dugout and a bunch of our friends are kind of like screwing around in the field and it was like a place, now I think about it that, that, that cops just like go every 15 minutes all night, you know, like it was just like a really stupid place to go.
Shooting fish in a barrel.
Box Brown: (39:22)
It's like, why would you go there? Like that's just where they would go. Like, that's my why. My, why don't you just go to the police station?
Well, you were kids being kids.
Box Brown: (39:33)
Yeah, we just did it. I was just like, well, there's no houses around here.
So did friends get nabbed with you or were you on your own?
Box Brown: (39:39)
Oh, one other friend did get arrested with me and then we all had to go down to the police station. There was like 10 of us, but only two of us were actually arrested. The other ones just have to have their parents come pick them up.
What a trauma.
Box Brown: (39:52)
Yeah it was scary. I was scared.
Well, I'm glad you were able to turn it into a positive after all these years. And again, I think the book is great. It's really easy to read and it's chock full of the kind of history that people need to know about. I'm worried sometimes that young people, we'll just take all this for granted and won't realize that as you say, millions of people have had their lives really disrupted in negative ways and we owe those people, a debt of gratitude and we owe it to them to get this right.
Box Brown: (40:20)
Yeah. I mean like they did the black market did everything. Like everything that we enjoy was like, um, absolutely created by the black market. You know, every, uh, the fact that we have these big, seedless, amazing buds is because of the black market. All of their innovation, those people that were taking all this huge risk for us to enjoy for soccer moms to get high in the 90's. And stuff like that. When they were taking this huge risk, doing amazing things, you know, working at the highest level really of botany and, and uh, development of product and all these different things. And then I'll, you know, now all these corporations are kind of taking the credit for and, and, and charging thinking that they are pharmaceutical companies and charging exorbitant prices because of research and development. But they didn't do any research and development. The black market did, the people that were in that were jailed and are in jail still and are paid huge fines and now can't even join the legal market. Those are the people that made those innovations.
Yeah, I hate it when people are on third base and think they hit a triple and they didn't.
Box Brown: (41:35)
They didn't do anything.
Yeah. And I, I think you're right on with its market forces. That's what we should pay attention to. You know? Ultimately it's the economy. It's the invisible hand of what people want and how you supply it. Right. A really eye-opening book. Thank you for writing it and sharing it with us and thanks for being a guest and hopefully we can, we can get you back on again.
Box Brown: (41:57)
Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.
You've been listening to “Let's Talk About Weed” the Kannaboomers podcasts with Thomas J. For more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers, visit us at kannaboomers.com
Welcome to episode 2 of our bonus series featuring cannabis expert Curt Robbins. In this episode we start by exploring the types of research studies; look at how different dosages and cultivars of cannabis can affect us all in different ways; consider the amazing ways in which cannabis compounds mimic substances we produce in our own bodes; and look at how we've really just scratched the surface in terms of our knowledge of how our bodies interact with this plant.
It's episode 2 — we're just getting started! Listen, learn and share!
Welcome to Twenty 4:20 the bite-sized educational podcast from Tom at Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins, author of more than 500 articles about the science of hemp and cannabis. We're giving 20 cannabis topics 20 minutes each to help you get smarter about terpenes, cannabinoids, cultivars and much, much more. And our show starts now.
Welcome back to Twenty 4:20 the special bonus series of podcasts from Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins, who is really knowledgeable about this topic. Our first episode was a primer on the endocannabinoid system. Today we're going to do a deep dive into how we know about the efficacy of cannabis. Curt's going to talk about some foundational studies. We've got a lot of ground to cover, so let's jump right in.
Curt Robbins: (00:52)
And Tom, thanks for having me.
You bet. We're going to talk more about the basics and understanding research studies.
Curt Robbins: (00:58)
You know, there's a lot of talk and a lot of controversy about the efficacy, the medicinal efficacy of hemp and cannabis and cannabinoids and terpenes that we talked about in episode one. And we talked about the endocannabinoid system, this network of cellular receptors that are these microscopic receptors on the cell membrane surface and they're basically neurotransmitters. And so these molecules from herbs like hemp and cannabis enter our body through ingestion or inhalation and they plug in and almost a literal lock-and-key binding mechanism with that receptor network throughout the body. So we have all these claims of, of medical efficacy, how, you know, how do we get to that? How do we know that, oh, there was a child having, you know, hundreds of seizures per week or per month. They uh, consume certain cannabinoids and terpenes and now they have two seizures, go from 400 seizures a month, two seizures a month, or possibly no seizure activity whatsoever.
That's getting into like miracle territory, right? And then there are understandably people who, and I think this is a good thing, who are cynical about that. Good question. It because there are claims of miracles. And we really, I know you had Mara Gordon on as, as a guest a few weeks back, and she says, look, this is not a panacea. This is not a miracle. This is chemistry. That's a science. And you know, we have to make sure we don't get into a position where we're kind of worshiping in this plant. So how do we get this information and make a conclusion why cannabis reduces seizures, cures cancer, or maybe helps reduce tumor size? Let's try to be careful with the word cures, right? And we have two routes. We have formal research studies, and we have anecdotal evidence. Now, anecdotal evidence can be anything. It can be an article in a lifestyle magazine for someone saying, I had cancer, the doctors gave me three months to live, so there's nothing we can do. And I started taking this oil, this hemp oil, and it's saved my life. That's not science. That is an anecdotal report. And that doesn't mean that there's no validity to it, but that's not hard science.
So let's look at the research side because this is where we're going to convince any cynics of, you know, the reality of the science. There's basically two categories in vitro and in vivo. And this is Latin in vitro is basically petri dish experiments. Okay. Laboratory not involving living creatures and these are the least reliable, but we sometimes get very good data and some, you know, amazing findings from these studies. So we don't want to discount them too much, but they do not involve living creatures. And that's the next level. Those in vivo Studies, now there's different levels of those two. Sometimes it's a rat study or a mouse or another animal.
Curt Robbins: (04:02)
They have endocannabinoid systems also. In fact, the ECS is in all vertebrates, not just all mammals. So this is why we see products aimed at dogs and cats, but all vertebrates have an ECS. So there is a lot of validity. People who say, Oh, well you did that study on a rat, not a human. So that's true. But when we get down to the science of it, when some of these, uh, when the ECS shows some very similar characteristics in these creatures, we can get some valid data that way. But the gold standard is a human trial. And in fact, it's a certain type. It's a placebo controlled double blind human research trial.
Is this what's meant by a clinical trial?
Curt Robbins: (04:45)
Yes. And they're expensive. They're multi million dollars. Typically they happen over years. Uh, typically federal funds are tied to them. So on the political side, it's a lot of red tape and very difficult, and then you've got to use the government cannabis and it's very low quality. There's, there's all these big headaches that we won't get into those details right now. But basically we've got research and we've got anecdotal reports and we need to understand the differences there. And when it is research, you know, we see a lot on social media, right? Research study says what kind of research study, you know, we need to dig just a little deeper. And also on the human trials, it's a matter of how many participants. So the more participants, the better. In theory, if you have 12 participants versus 300 participants, you're going to get some better, more detailed data from the 300.
Right. And I don't want to go deep into this, but pharmaceutical companies do this routinely, right? With new products. But for a plant growing in your backyard there, there hasn't been the budget or the will to do this?
Curt Robbins: (05:52)
Right. Yeah it went underground in the teens, the 19 teens, not if we didn't have to wait until 1937 individual cities and states began outlawing cannabis. El Paso, Texas was the first in 1914. So it's been well over a century where we're, we're making up for lost time with this research, if you look at different systems within the body, okay, right now we're considering the endocannabinoid system and the molecules that plug into that. But if you look at, uh, other systems, they've been researched relatively thoroughly. They were at the stage that we are now with the ECS and cannabinoids and terpenes. A hundred years ago, 150 years ago. Just kind of learning about these basic mechanisms.
We have a lot more science, scientific tools and techniques to uncover what's really going on.
Curt Robbins: (06:44)
Yeah. And again, we get into the political controversies. So anytime there's federal funding attached to that, there's going to be problems, right? So again, if you have a human clinical trial that cost $2.6 million and is conducted over 28 months, you know, there has to be a lot of cooperation to make that project happen. And unfortunately there's just a ton of roadblocks, which, okay. The good news is there is excellent research going on in Israel and there's terpene research in China and the Canadians are doing a lot of research and getting ready to do a lot more research. There's American companies who are saying, Oh yeah, you're going to put roadblocks in our way. And so they're doing the research in a different, some outside the U.S and a place like Canada. So in the next few years, you know, some writers have referred to the period we're entering as a golden age of medical cannabis research because of what we're about to see.
That's exciting. You mentioned Israelis and um, you know, Dr. Raphael Meshulum was a foundational figure in all this doing his work in Israel, right?
Curt Robbins: (07:47)
Yes. In fact, he was, he and his team were involved in something we want to talk about now called the entourage effect. In 1998, Rafael Meshulam and his team published a paper and it was called An Entourage Effect and Endogenous Fatty Acid Glycerol Esters, Enhanced Cannabinoid Activity. This coined the term entourage effect. No one had, you know, this dialogue did not exist prior. Yeah, it was really advanced. Uh, this idea of an entourage effect, and it is a theory, uh, was advanced in 2011 by American Dr. Ethan Russo. He published another research paper and these are easy to find online and, and folks can do their own research and get into the details. It was called Taming THC, Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid Terpenoid Entourage Effects. And this paper really took our understanding of a potential entourage effect even further. So let's talk about what it is. It is the idea that we've got 113 cannabinoids, 200 terpenes. Now they don't all manifest in a particular cultivar of hemp or cannabis, their potential they're the genome, and they can manifest just like in humans, not everybody gets blond hair or blue eyes or long legs or whatever characteristic it might be, and that's called a profile, a cannabinoid profile and a terpene profile and an individual sample of hemp or cannabis has these profiles and we can look at those profiles. If we analyze a sample from a laboratory, right, it's called a Certificate of Analysis or COA, and that can show us exactly what's what's going on in there. Well, depending on the exact composition and ratios, this is important, the ratios of those molecules. Okay. I might have a bunch of THC and a bunch of CBD. What's the ratio? 20 to one three to one? And we can determine that when we formulate products. So it gets even more complicated.
What you're describing sounds like two very foundational studies in, you know, at the top you talked about in vitro and in vivo where these petri dish experiments or how did they begin to kind of corral the complexity of all, all these different compounds and ratios and all that?
Curt Robbins: (10:09)
Some of the most valuable studies are actually literature reviews where they review everything that's been done prior, so they might not be doing a human trial themselves, but they can be analyzing the data obtained from other human trials. And really what these studies did is they were from respected professional, serious researchers who were saying for some of the first times in our history, hey, this looks like we've got efficacy here and here's some numbers to back it up, right? We know cannabis and hemp had been used for thousands of years going back five, 6,000 probably 10,000 years. But we don't have a whole lot of science behind those mechanisms at work and modern life and people like the FDA and cynical consumers. We want science behind it. We want to know how it works and why it works, and the entourage effect helps explain that. So basically it says that all of these molecules co-mingling, offer an efficacy that is greater than the sum of their individual efficacies. They start to buffer and boost and change the efficacy of each other. And we get new efficacies.
For example, if we just have this single molecule called an Isolet, it might increase appetite or decrease pain or reduce inflammation and swelling or something like that. When combined with a different molecule, the efficacy might be significantly different. For example, the molecule THC increases appetite. Okay? It has a molecular cousin, it's barren version called THC V. And THC V reduces appetite, which would be good for somebody with type two diabetes or obesity and other conditions like that. Whereas you know, they don't want to do THC because that's their issue. They don't want to increase their appetite.
There's another wrinkle that I know you've researched and I've heard you mentioned before, and that's the, the biphasic response that some of us have.
Curt Robbins: (12:14)
Uh huh. And this is where it starts to really get a little complicated, right? Because we love to make blanket statements. We're a newsfeed society. We'd like to say, you know, cannabis is good, cannabis is bad. That's kind of ridiculous because again, we've got these hundreds of molecules, terpenes and cannabinoids and flavonoids floating around them. They're so too talk about that set of molecules as just a single thing that's either good or bad is a, is kind of ridiculous. But THC is a great example. The biphasic response for means that in low quantities, low doses, a molecule has a certain efficacy, but in high dose as potent doses, it has a different efficacy and sometimes that efficacy is polar opposite. And that's what's a little frightening about this because now we can't even say, oh, THC is good for X, Y, Z, what's the dosage? And we're not even taking subjective efficacy into account pair, right? So with anxiety specifically, THC reduces the anxiety in low doses, the mellowing effect, right? Let's, let's chill n' Netflix kind of thing. Right? In high doses, especially for new consumers, people not acclimated. Their endocannabinoid system is not acclimated to consuming these molecules and in high doses it can increase anxiety, lead to disorientation, quote unquote spun out, you know, as the kids say and even blatant panic attacks, you know, people show up in the emergency room because they had two brownies and they should have had half a brownie or however it works.
Right. So it's another layer of complexity on top of the, the entourage effect. Another aspect of it too is the idea that you could be deficient. I mean as we talked about in the first episode, we have this endocannabinoid system, we have endogenous cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids, but can you talk about the possibility of being deficient and how you might supplement your, your body with phytocannabinoids?
Curt Robbins: (14:16)
Back to Dr. Ethan Russo in 2004 he published a research paper called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency or a CECD: Can This Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Treatment-Resistant Conditions. I know it's kind of a verbose title, but accurate nonetheless, right? Yeah. And basically, again, this is a theory as as, uh, Mara Gordon pointed out on one of your previous episodes, what Russo observed was that if have a mental model of a deficiency in the ECS, why would it be deficient? Well, we don't get enough exercise. We have poor diets with a lot of processed food. Uh, you know, we're all stressed out about rush hour traffic. Uh, we might have genetic issues, you know, all of us have imperfections in our code and our physiology, right? We have pros, we have pros and cons. And uh, so, so we have all these potential causes of this deficiency in the ECS.
Well, we should talk a little about endocannabinoids versus phytocannabinoids, which I know we talked about a bit in the first episode, but if the endocannabinoids become deficient, it's like taking vitamin C because your body is not producing. We produce a lot of our own medicines. I know it's a crazy concept and western medicine doesn't embrace it, right? So we have these endocannabinoids, like anandamide and 2 AG, and we're producing our own medicine basically when, when we have those, well if we have deficiencies in those levels, it turns out that molecules from plants like hemp are memetic molecules and they evolved after the endocannabinoid system. So the plants are inviting themselves to our party, but it's our party, not their party. Hm. Plants evolved molecules like CBD and THC and limonene and pinene and all the terpenes and flavonoids after the Mammalian endocannabinoid system. So it's really cool concept called mimetic molecules. So THC mimics and anandamide and CBD from what we understand right now mimics 2 AG and kind of a rough model there, but there's just so much. We don't know. There's other, you know, there's receptor types. We have the CB one and CB two right now, but there's receptor types that are both theorized and not even theorized yet. We just don't even know they're there.
That's really fascinating. I mean, the relationship between this plant and anybody with an endocannabinoid system, there's sort of a synergy going on here, I guess.
Curt Robbins: (16:55)
Turns out this as a really critical system because, well, we all know someone who's got arthritis or fibromyalgia or Crohn's disease or cancer or one of these conditions that Dr Russo is saying can be prevented if we achieve a state in the endocannabinoid system called homeostasis. And it's just a fancy word for balance. Okay. But as Mara Gordon pointed out in an earlier episode, it's not so much that we're trying to balance the ECS. It's we want a healthy ECS because it balances all the other systems immune response. How important is your immune response? I mean, holy cow, right? So healthy immune response that ECS is in charge of that. That's what we've learned over the last couple of decades.
That's some mind blowing stuff when you consider how long we've neglected this plant and how crucial it is to balance.
Curt Robbins: (17:45)
Yeah, I know we're all busy and that's one thing we're trying to do with this series is not talk for two hours. Talk for 20 minutes. Right? And let people learn as efficiently and easily as possible. But the reality is this is complex science. You know, for me the epiphany moment was the bi phasic response curve where I'm like, wow, we just cannot make definitive statements. Especially when we start considering different use case scenarios. A six year old child with Dravet syndrome epilepsy versus an 87 year old with osteoporosis. Those are very different scenarios.
And each consumer has to be involved themselves. Test and learn, see what works. There's no blanket statement you can make about this plant.
Curt Robbins: (18:26)
Yeah, just, just dosing alone is a, I don't want to call it a game, but it is an activity or exercise and trial and error, especially difficult for, let's go back to the child patients where they're growing, right? Their physiology is changing. Uh, maybe they're entering puberty or you know, hormonal levels are changing, but regardless, so dosing can be a real headache for parents of special needs. Children who are using CBD or cannabis and hemp products, uh, because the child's physiology is changing literally on a weekly basis, uh, and they have to go through, the dosing determination. Again, it's a, it's a moving target.
Well, it requires a lot of attention and care on, on the side of anybody who's using this plant. And that's why we're doing this series. And, and uh, hopefully this episode was useful to people who want to know about the efficacy of the plant and we'll be continuing this series uh, for 18 more episodes. But that's about it for today. And I want to thank you, Curt, for taking the time. We look forward to connecting on the next episode.
Curt Robbins: (19:31)
Thanks Tom, let's do it again.
You've been listening to Twenty 4:20 a special edition podcast series from Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins. Want to learn more and help grow the cannabis movement, spread the word and follow us on your favorite podcast platform at kannaboomers.com.
Welcome to the first segment of our new series of 20-minute educational podcasts featuring Curt Robbins, author of more than 500 articles on all aspects of cannabis. Ready to learn something new?
In this segment we explore the endocannabinoid system, which governs bodily functions including sleep, pain, appetite and mood. Get to know your endocannabinoid system!
Welcome to Twenty 4:20, the bite-sized educational podcast from Tom at Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins, author of more than 500 articles about the science of hemp and cannabis. We're giving 20 cannabis topics 20 minutes each to help you get smarter about terpenes, cannabinoids, cultivars and much, much more. And our show starts now.
Kannaboomers: (00:29) Hey it's Tom with the Kannaboomers podcast. I'm here with our very special guest, Curt Robbins. Hey Curt.
Curt Robbins: (00:34) Hey, how are you, Tom?
Kannaboomers: (00:35) Doing great. And I'm so glad to bring this to our audience. We had this brainstorm for a series. We were going to call Twenty 4:20 sort of borrowing from ESPN’s 30 for 30 if you will, but there's so much to learn about cannabis. And Curt, also known as Gooey Rabinski, has written more than 500 articles on the topic, has encyclopedic knowledge of all aspects of it. So we thought it just made really good sense to do 20 20-minute sound sound bites on various aspects of cannabis. And we're going to start today with a little primer on the endocannabinoid system.
Curt Robbins: (01:06) You know, often I hear from patients or consumers, is “cannabis good? Is cannabis bad.” And sometimes we hear horror stories, uh, maybe contorted urban legends, but people do have negative responses to certain cultivars, certain varieties of cannabis. And it gets more complicated because in a low dose you might get one efficacy, on an a higher dose, you can have actually a polar opposite efficacy. So I just kind of want to, you know, set the framework there for understanding that, uh, this is subjective. Efficacy is a real challenge for medical professionals and for patients and consumers. You know, if one of your friends says, “Hey, I have some really great cannabis, you want to come over Saturday night and check it out?” it might be great for them. They might really enjoy the experience and again, someone else can get a panic attack or, you know, just not have the pleasant experience that they're seeking.
So it's really kind of deep science. It turns out that all vertebrates, not just mammals, and certainly not just humans, have this thing called an endocannabinoid system. And the reason it's important is because it regulates all these different bodily functions, mood, cognition, sleep, appetite. And it gets into these core foundational body systems. So we have this endocannabinoid system also known as the ECS. It's a bunch of cellular receptors, microscopic cellular receptors throughout the body. They're concentrated in two primary areas, the brain and central nervous system. And there's a particular type of receptor that we've called CB 1 and then the immune system, which is throughout the entire body. It's the tissues and glands of the immune system. And that goes from head to toe. And that is primarily a different type of receptor called CB 2 and we get into the science of this. Certain cannabinoids and terpenes found in plants like cannabis have different binding affinity for the different types of receptors. And where it gets a little tricky is we found that different humans have different numbers of receptors in their bodies. So yeah, Gosh, uh, two people, they consume the same amount of cannabis in whatever form. One person, it's extremely potent for them. And another person feels very little. That might be due to the fact that they have different densities of receptors in their bodies. So if you have half as many receptors as I do, you could theoretically feel less efficacy.
Kannaboomers: (03:46) Excuse me. There's also the fact that we endogenously produce cannabinoids, right?
Curt Robbins: (03:51) Exactly.
Kannaboomers: (03:52) There's cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids.
Curt Robbins: (03:54) Well, let's talk about the cannabinoids for a second. So we have this system called the ECS that can receive these cannabinoids, but there are two categories of them. There's phyto-cannabinoids produced by plants outside of our bodies, and then there's endocannabinoids and those are produced by our bodies. There's a lot of stuff going on here, right? We can't just say there's two endocannabinoids, but the research to date has shown two primary ones that we know about this. The science is still, you know, we need a lot more research, but it's called anandamide and another one is 2 AG.
Now anandamide has gotten the nickname the bliss molecule, because research has shown that it plugs into the ECS and the ECS can control mood and other bodily functions. Sleep. Another thing which is important for all, you know, for good mood and good cognition and everything. So these core functions, well, it turns out molecules like cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, these phytocannabinoids plug to the ECS and they're basically memetic molecules, meaning that they're in a way almost impersonating. They're getting into the party by saying there's somebody on the list, but it just so happens that THC and CBD and well there's 113 cannabinoids that we know of today. There's about 200 of these terpenes on the terpenes are responsible for the aroma of cannabis, but we used to think that was it and we've learned that they have medical efficacy that's just as great as the cannabinoids. So we've got all these outside molecules and they plug right into the receptors throughout the brain, central nervous system and immune system.
Kannaboomers: (05:41) Now obviously that's a tremendous number of combinations. I mean, if we did the math, you have 113 cannabinoids, and so there's a lot of variability in this plant. You know, what you're describing is sort of a neurotransmitter network that I think it gets to balance to, right, a homeostasis?
Curt Robbins: (06:00) Yeah, that's an important term. Homeostasis is balance in the endocannabinoid system. So basically the a good convenient mental model for the average consumer is like if you take vitamin C or vitamin E or vitamin B, you're supplementing your body, right? We call those supplements. Well, if you consume phytocannabinoids from the plant like hemp or cannabis, you're supplementing your ECS. And that brings up a theory of endocannabinoid deficiency where because of lack of exercise, poor diet with processed food, lots of stress — I live here in LA, traffic will give you lots of stress, right? We all have stressful lives and all these factors may be maybe genetic tendencies. Most of us in modern life, again, the theory goes, have a deficiency in our endocannabinoid system. Consuming phytocannabinoids, THC, CBD, and all these great aromatic terpenes, in theory, supplements the endocannabinoid system, brings it up, brings balance. And now we have homeostasis. And so homeostasis is a state of health and wellness the way we're supposed to be.
Kannaboomers: (07:09) So that gets to supplementation and bringing yourself back into balance, uh, with this plant product.
Curt Robbins: (07:15) Exactly. And you know, it's not just about cannabis. I'm, I'm not a life coach, but uh, it's also diet. You know, the quality of your sleep. If you're under so much stress, your you suffer insomnia, then you know your health is going to go downhill just from that one cause alone. But uh, exercise exercise generates anandamide and again anandamide, has efficacy very similar to THC, so it can improve mood, it can lower anxiety and there's all these other physical benefits warding off to see if you have a stronger immune system, you're less likely to get sick. So a lot of this is also preventative, not waiting until we have that traumatic disease to start consuming cannabis oil or CBD oil to, to deal with it, but also considering things from that preventive perspective. If we're in homeostasis, we're theoretically the least likely to incur those diseases in the first place.
Kannaboomers: (08:14) Right? It gets to wellness. And this can be a component in the wellness program for anybody who, as you say, sleep is such a fundamental component maybe an indica could help to get better sleep and you wake up the next day more ready to work out.
Curt Robbins: (08:27) Right. As you said earlier, this gets really complicated and in the past that there were about 6,000 known cultivars or what is more commonly called a strain. Technically a strain is like a virus, so it's not the best label, but it's common and people can relate to it. Well, recently for Cannabis Aficionado Magazine, I wrote an article about a company in Humboldt County, Humboldt Seed Company, and they did something last year. An expensive large, long-term project in which they call it a phenom mega hunt. They were looking for the best cultivars, the best varieties of cannabis. Now ’best’ is subjective. That was, you know, determined by sometimes CBD content and medical efficacy. There was a very much a medical focus on it, but they started out, this is kind of mindblowing, with 40,000 cultivars. They worked with local nurseries in the Emerald Triangle and started out with 40,000 then they narrowed it down to the best 50 and again, that's, that's just based on their criteria. But it was a, it was a massive project. The mind-blowing part of this is they started out with 40,000 varieties. So, yeah, it's very ignorant and primitive to say cannabis is good or cannabis is bad. If I do that strong, what we call indica, it takes me down, lowers my energy, helps people get over insomnia it acts. Uh, those varieties act as a sedative, but we call these things indica and sativa, sativa being the one that energizes and gives you cognitive, uh, creativity and energy. But what's really going on there is those 113 terpenes and that's just what we know about, and are 113 cannabinoids, rather other 200 terpenes. Yeah. Think about the mixes that we can get 40,000 cultivars and we're producing more every day. So if you have a bad experience on cannabis, it might just be the type that you had. You know, maybe you didn't like that Toyota Corolla and you need to get a Chevy.
Kannaboomers: (10:34) Right? There's so much that we're learning. If you're a student of this, you know that, uh, in Israeli scientist, Raphael Mechoulam, if I'm not mangling his name, he did a lot of work on THC from the sixties through the seventies. And I think some point around the 80s, they discovered the endocannabinoid system. And since then, there's not as much science being done as there should be, but we are rapidly accelerating our knowledge. Is that a fair statement?
Curt Robbins: (11:00) Yeah. And you know, we have a dearth of research here in the United States because most academic research is tied to federal dollars and cannabis is still Schedule 1. So it's considered as dangerous as heroin. In fact, cocaine is Schedule 2, uh, legally a doctor can prescribe cocaine because it's considered by the government, less dangerous than cannabis. Kind of interesting.
Kannaboomers: (11:25) Yeah, that seems so wrong.
Curt Robbins: (11:27) A lot of this credible research is being done in Israel. There's terpene research going on in China, the UK. So yeah, these uh, prohibitionist policies that we have here in the States unfortunately mean that some of the best research is coming from outside the US. Canada is doing a great deal, especially with their federal legalization that went into effect last October. Um, I think we're going to see a lot more research out of Canada.
Kannaboomers: (11:52) And meanwhile there are medical, legitimate medical uses of the plant that are kind of underground in a lot of states. I mean I think we're legal in 32 states are so for medicinal purposes we're really just scratching the surface of, of the applications of the plant.
Curt Robbins: (12:08) Yeah. Sometimes anecdotal stories, they're not double-blind, placebo-controlled gold-standard academic research. Right. But they can be very educational and enlightening. There are parents of children with epilepsy. One rare form is Dravet Syndrome that I've written about before where they have hundreds of seizures per week or per month and they consume like a CBD oil or a tincture and their seizures go down to a two or three a month. Now think your child is very sick and having hundreds of seizures and every time they have on those seizures are kind of wipes out their memory. It puts them back to a blank slate. All the progress they've made neurologically as growing humans is, is just wiped out. You know it's really a horrific condition. If you can get these phytocannabinoids and terpenes and they can decrease the incidents of those seizures. It's just, it's kind of interesting.
I was talking to a client yesterday and she specializes in CBD tinctures and has a special needs child and works a lot with other parents of special needs children, told me a story of a child having about 450 seizures per month, started using a CBD tincture that had, you know, below the 0.3% THC. So it was not THC-free because it's a full-spectrum product, but it had trace amounts very, very little. So most of the efficacy was coming from CBD and the other cannabinoids and terpenes in this product. Anyway, the child goes from 450 seizures a month to zero for several months. The child was able to not have a single seizure for several months and I think 450 a month. So yes, this is getting the attention of parents who sometimes get the efficacy they need from traditional pharmaceutical treatments on the medical system, but they often do not. And when they don't, you know, that creates a desperation and they start looking for solutions and they don't all get great results like that, but sometimes they do. So it's an option that needs to ethically, it needs to be available to consumers and patients because it might work for them.
Kannaboomers: (14:30) Yeah. Because save a life, um, you know, it has that kind of story is it makes you angry to think that anybody would be against it. Our job on this episode is in, in these segments is to be informative, not necessarily persuasive, but in a case like this, I think, yeah, if anybody's against this, then they deserve to be opposed by evidenced based reality.
Curt Robbins: (14:52) Right. Like we're saying, there's a lot more research going on, so, so we need some of these sick children and adults to be studied. Right. Let's take that anecdotal story. Let's, let's get some, some hard research on that so we can convince the cynics, you know, a hundred, almost a hundred years of prohibition. This all started in the 19 teens at the city, at the municipal and the state level, uh, with narcotics, a sweeping narcotics, uh, regulations. And such. So we truly have had a century of stigma about these phytocannabinoids and terpenes, unfortunately based in politics and bigotry and racism and all that beautiful 20th century stuff. Hopefully we can get beyond it. Now we've got the power of social media to promote the science and not everybody's tuned in to the science, but I try to ignore the politics and some of the emotions because it gets so contentious and say, OK folks, let's go back to the science because we've got some amazing numbers here. And the mistake is to consider cannabis as like a cure all. Perhaps it has cured somebody's cancer. A lot of people claim that, but I think it's more intelligent to think of it as one tool in the toolbox. A lot of smart doctors are like, “Hey, don't just say I'm not going to do chemo. I'm not going to do radiation. I'm not going to do traditional treatments. And all I'm going to do is, you know, take this, uh, CBD oil or whatever.” And hope that that saves me. It may be a variety of approaches that one of those tools is terpenes and cannabinoids along with other things.
Kannaboomers: (16:32) Right? Again, you're talking about prohibition and the fact that, you know, our great grandparents could have walked into a drugstore and, and gotten a tincture for many different conditions and we're just now, you know, a hundred years later, getting back to that sort of scenario and as you mentioned, we were smarter about how we share knowledge. We've got social media, we have better science happening. We can really uncover the basics of the endocannabinoid system and terpenes and all that stuff and just step forward into the future. Smarter about how we can use this plant for better wellness.
Curt Robbins: (17:02) Yeah, it's very difficult to get away from the stigma, you know, Cheech and Chong, Scooby Doo, all that. Uh, you know, we've got a lot of Seth Rogen movies out there. You know, some of that's all fun and good, but, uh, unfortunately there's a lot of people who are culturally opposed, if you will, to cannabis and hemp. But I personally think that's because of ignorance. You know, I'd like to think they're not bad people, but they just instantly think of that the kids smoking pot when the parents are on vacation and having a party. And really what we need to be thinking about is that kid with Dravet Syndrome and they go from 450 seizures to zero. Okay. That's really the magic I think. And that really opens a lot of people's eyes.
Kannaboomers: (17:45) Yes. And for many other conditions in general too as we mentioned. So we're going to be exploring a lot more of this in future episodes. Um, I don't have an exact timer on this one, but I think we're getting close to 20 minutes and I want to thank you, Curt for kicking this off and I look forward to the next 19 episodes and then we'll see where we go from there. But this is a deep topic and you have such great knowledge and I really look forward to sharing all this with listeners and bring all of us up to speed on the science of cannabis.
Curt Robbins: (18:14) Yeah, thanks Tom. It's going to be, it's going to be fun to explore it. Like I say, it's, it's deep science, but sometimes it doesn't take much to have that epiphany moment where a reader or listener gets it. Right? They finally understand what this is all about. It took me years, quite honestly. I had to really dig into the chemistry and I had to talk to lots of patients and you know, it was research studies and anecdotal evidence is really what it's all about and we just have to spend a lot of time learning to understand unfortunately, or we just need to do it.
Kannaboomers: (18:47) Well, thanks for sharing your knowledge and uh, looking forward to episode two already.
Curt Robbins: (18:51) Thanks Tom
Kannaboomers: (18:51) You've been listening to Twenty 4:20, a special edition podcast series from Kannaboomers and Curt Robbins. Want to learn more and help grow the cannabis movement? Spread the word and follow us on your favorite podcast platform or at Kannaboomers.com
As cannabis science unfolds, the medical profession is catching up to the healing and protective powers of the plant, thanks in large part to organizations like Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. Founder David Nathan, M.D. joins us to talk about how DFCG helps shape cannabis policy, the non-profit's involvement with NFL players, and much more.
Hey, it's Tom. Welcome back to the Kannaboomers podcast. This is episode 26. You know we talk a lot about wellness and the ways in which cannabis can help you live a better life, and I don't know about you, but anytime I've brought it up to a doctor, I've been disappointed in the response. A lot of times they don't even know the difference between CBD and THC. They aren't advocates for it, in my experience. So we went looking for somebody who represents the opposite point of view and we found Dr. David Nathan, a psychiatrist in Princeton, New Jersey, also founder and board president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation and he talks about a partnership with the NFL that they have about what you and I can do to help move the movement forward and lots of other things in this episode. I think you'll enjoy it. As always, come by and see us at kannaboomers.com and as always, thanks to Danny and Milwaukee for helping us put this episode together. Hope you enjoy it. Here is Dr. David Nathan.
This is Let's Talk About Weed, the Kannaboomers podcast, CBD micro-dosing, and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.
Dr Nathan, I want to thank you for taking the time. I know you're a busy guy. You have lots going on there in Princeton, New Jersey.
Hi. Thank you so much for having me. Tom.
So, you're in private practice and three years ago you started Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.
That's right. Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is the first and leading national physicians’ association dedicated to the legalization, taxation and, above all, the effective regulation of cannabis in the United States.
Well, that's a big mission. We're at a point in time where there's more and more people realizing that the old prohibition was not a great idea. It was an unjust prohibition and a lot of that can be refuted now and your organization walks a fine line between being a pure advocate for usage and just stepping back from prohibition. Is that accurate?
Yeah. I think if you had to categorize one aspect of our work or to boil it down to one particular direction, we're not so much pro-cannabis as we are anti prohibition. It's not enough to simply say, “Well, the drug shouldn't be prohibited.” What we really need is effective regulation that serves the interest of both public health and social justice. And social justice is highly relevant for two reasons. One is that the war on drugs and specifically the war on cannabis has had devastating effects on communities of color and inner cities. Um, it has also been one of the biggest factors to a worsen than the poverty of the impoverished in this country. And by doing so, it has limited access to healthcare because there is no demographic feature of an individual will limit his or her access to health care nearly as much as poverty does. So, we're really fighting against prohibition. We're fighting against the foolishness of trying to prohibit a drug that is less harmful for adults than alcohol and tobacco. We're also fighting against poverty when we're doing what we're doing. I think that's why we've met with so much success among doctors is that, regardless of your opinion on the affirmative medical uses of cannabis, it is essential that it be regulated well, and I think doctors are coming to understand that more and more.
When you talk about, um, regulation, is there a model for it? Are we talking about how we regulate alcohol or tobacco or pharmaceuticals, or is there a different thing that you have in mind?
I would say it's different. People ask me, “Do you think that we should regulate cannabis like alcohol and tobacco?” And my answer is no. I think we need to do a better job because we really haven't, as a nation done a great job of making sure that our, our laws and regulations around tobacco and alcohol reflecting the needs of public health in this country. I think with cannabis being a legal industry built from the ground up and essentially starting from scratch as far as regulations go, we can really do a much better job. And that's why Doctors for Cannabis Regulation has a Platform of Regulations that you can find on our website, which is dfcr.org, or doctorsforcannabisregulation.org and this is a set of seven principles that really outline what essential features any cannabis legal framework and regulatory framework should have. The first three are public health issues regarding government oversight, proper labeling and prevention of underage use. The last four of them are about social justice, proper taxation of adult use cannabis to fund equity programs in the communities hardest hit by the drug war, and those are, of course, mostly communities of color. We actually recommend that states institute limited home cultivation to allow limited home cultivation by private individuals. We also favor, of course, expungement of cannabis arrests, charges and convictions from all criminal records. And then to the degree to which people are still stuck in the system where they are still either on probation or incarcerated, we believe that there should be re sentencing because expungement is a little bit different than re-sentencing. So, we need to do that as well. Finally, as a matter of social justice and also just as a matter of practicality in this country, we need to bring the communities of color into this new industry to give them a chance to bring jobs into their communities that have been so devastated by the prohibition of drugs.
Well those are some big goals, and I've heard you mentioned several times already, social justice and that's a big component of this and I noticed you wrote the Declaration of Principles, right?
I would say about 90% of it was mine.
And the first one was, “We believe cannabis prohibition is harmful.” And I guess that dovetails nicely with every physician's first rule is first do no harm. Right?
Exactly. And when you lay it out that way – you listed the first of three things and I imagine you're going to talk about the other two – but the harm of prohibition, the failure of prohibition in its most basic intent and the lack of real necessity of prohibition against adult use a, those are really the three core issues that doctors connect most with. When thinking about the merits of our cannabis policy, I'll take a second just to back up and say that we all drew, I dunno about you, but myself and the people around me, we all grew up as drug warriors. We grew up believing that drugs were bad, that the people who use them were bad, and that the people who had anything to do with the distribution of these drugs were unworthy of their freedom. It's hard when you've been indoctrinated in that point of view to think differently, even when presented with evidence showing that the prohibition, particularly the prohibition of cannabis – which I think more doctors regarding as kind of a no-brainer, when you get the evidence about the harms of prohibition relative to the potential health harms of cannabis – it's not a close call. It took me a little while in medical school to start understanding this. I think that there are many doctors who still haven't gotten there yet, and that's part of our mission at DFCR. You might think with us discussing regulations and trying to spread our message, that it's a very big lift. But when you think about where we're coming from, it's not a very heavy lift when the facts, are so clearly aligned on the side of regulation over prohibition or even regulation over decriminalization.
Couple of things you noted there, the long standing narrative that we all grew up with, it's not an overnight thing to overturn all the subtle things that, that stay in people's minds about this substance. Even though as you say that the evidence now is overwhelming and I guess on the Internet you can spread the word faster than, than you could during those 70 to 100 years of prohibition. But the cat's out of the bag now there's more and more studies. There's just more evidence that no one has ever died from this plant and it has a lot of efficacy as a medicine for a number of conditions.
Sure. No, I, I completely agree with that.
Yeah. The, the first principle is, “we believe cannabis prohibition is harmful.? Second one is “we believe cannabis prohibition is ineffective.” And then, “we believe cannabis prohibition is unnecessary.” Have you gotten traction? How big is Doctors for Cannabis Regulation now?
But we've actually never really done a recruiting campaign and that's on our strategic plan for this year. But we already have hundreds of doctors who signed up just by word of mouth and many of those doctors are actually spokespeople. So we have a very active membership. We also have an incredibly active board of physicians and one of the leading pharmacists on cannabis as medicine and several nonprofit experts in the field of social justice, and people are really working well together to promote the message. We've done so on an almost completely volunteer basis. It’s really heartening to know that doctors whose schedules are so busy find this important enough to put in the time to go to their state legislature and testify to write opinion articles for local newspapers as well as national publications and to be interviewed and to take speaking opportunities both in front of their fellow physicians and healthcare providers, but also before the general public, because I think the case needs to be made to both groups. You talk about the Internet as being a major factor, I do see a certain parallel between the change in the public's attitude toward cannabis legalization, which as I'm sure your listeners know, is now supported by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in this country. So it's, it's one of those few true bipartisan issues. I think the reason a public opinion has changed so radically is because of the availability of good information and not just this sort of fear mongering cherry picked data that that has often characterized our nation's approach to drug policy. That's somewhat akin to the change that we saw with marriage equality. People had clearly changed their minds about marriage equality from 10 years prior to when the Supreme Court ruled on it up until that point because people understood that this really isn't a threat to our society. The idea of doing this is not hurting anyone. And the idea of making changes in how our government treats these things is actually good for everybody.
You mentioned, um, taxation once or twice. That's another avenue to go down in terms of policy and why it makes sense to make this change and it's happening state by state. None of us have a crystal ball, but are you hopeful for a federal de-schedulization and an eventual legalization?
of course I'm hopeful because the majority of Americans are behind it and the numbers just keep going up. so I think even the opposition, this as mostly a matter of time, and my real disappointment in the opposition is not so much that they have concerns because their concerns can be legitimate. It's that they're not really helping in coming up with actual solutions. They say they favor decriminalization, which would reduce penalties on users, but would still prosecute the supply chain and we can talk about why that's a terrible idea. Better than prohibition, but not a lot better. The regulation is really where the changes can be made that best bring cannabis under control. Taxation is an interesting issue because on the one hand you want to generate revenue that is good for the government, and that would suggest that we want to have higher taxes on cannabis. Another reason to have higher taxes is that when you look at potentially harmful behaviors, whether it's gambling or alcohol consumption or tobacco use, we may not feel particularly enthusiastic about the government profiting from these industries. But one of the few things that's known to reduce tobacco use for example, is the cost of the tobacco. So, taxes actually have been effective in bringing down the costs of tobacco. And before your listeners start writing their emails, I will now give the other point of view, which is that you can't tax the market too high for a few reasons. One is that it's simply not proper because taxes on things like tobacco, as on other kinds of products that are taxed, those taxes are often regressive in the sense that they tend to tax mostly people of more modest means. So that's one issue with making taxes too high, making taxes higher than they should be. The other argument is that if you have a tax rate that's too high, then people will continue buying cannabis on the ill in the illegal market, which really defeats the purpose of trying to control the market, trying to ensure that people are getting a product that it's properly labeled and tested and it's depriving the government of revenue that it really needs, and I've heard it said many times by advocates that it's not for the revenue that we need to legalize cannabis. It's not as though the taxation is going to solve a lot of problems because here in the state of New Jersey where our deficit and debt is in the billions of dollars cannabis, which would be taxed to the tune of perhaps $3 million of overall revenue generated going from prohibition to regulation. That's not going to solve our problems. So that's not the reason to do it. It's important nonetheless, the taxes be at the right level high enough that it will help control excessive use, but low enough that it is fair for the public and that it is able to keep the illegal market to a minimum.
You know, I'm in California and the taxes out here amount to almost 35% when you go to the dispensary, which is for some people a disincentive. I mean, there is a, a pretty healthy illicit market here.
Absolutely. And if you don't mind me commenting on that specific number, that number's too high. So when I talk about whether it should be higher or lower, a number like 35% is too high for exactly the reason that you cite, which is that it leaves a thriving illegal market, which is not good for the public. Imagine if bootlegged alcohol, which can actually be dangerous, was a viable alternative to alcohol that's purchased in store for the most part. People don't do that because it is inexpensive enough that they'll stay in the legal market. So when I say there's a sweet spot, I would say it's somewhere in the neighborhood of say 14 to 15%. Overall what I suggest and unfortunately what a lot of states are not doing, including my home state of New Jersey, what I think is, is really the best approach to taxation of cannabis in newly regulated markets is to start with a low taxation rate, maybe even as low as 5% something that is really modest to help encourage the legal industry and to encourage individuals to purchase from the legal industry with time. I think a graduated tax rate makes a lot of sense. What the exact numbers should be is hard to say, and I'm not an economist who would really know that, but I could tell you that as you've said, California's rate is 35% that's too high. That is going to maintain the vitality of the illegal market and we really want both sellers and purchasers to move into the light of day and to have a safe product that's regulated and where the, where the revenue goes, where it's needed.
Yeah. Well and from a consumer's perspective then you know that their product has been tested for pesticides and heavy metals. You know the percentage of THC in it. You can have a confidence that you're not going to have when you're buying it from some other source.
That's right. You will sometimes see messages from the opposition in social media or in articles where they'll note that there was a recall of cannabis either because of a pesticide that was used or because the label wasn't accurate, and they cite that as being evidence of why it is the cannabis should not be legal. To me, this is actually quite the opposite. This is evidence of why cannabis should be legal because we can test the product, we can enforce recalls when needed. We can make sure that there aren't any dangerous pesticides and we can make sure that the label is accurate. So when we see something happen in enforcement around the legal cannabis industry, it's by no means an indication that the system's not working. It's an indication that the system is working. It's not to say that all regulation is good regulation, there can be regulation that's just not strong enough to ensure proper labeling. We need to make sure that products are properly tested and that regulations are sufficiently strong. We also want to make sure that they are sufficiently modest that the legal market can remain competitive with illegal sources that operate outside the law.
Absolutely. So we've been talking about policy and I want to shift a little bit too. You're a psychiatrist and a trained medical professional and I've had several family doctors over the years and and spoken to my father's physicians and I have run into a lot of resistance about cannabis. I mean I talked to an oncologist who equated CBD with THC. He didn't seem to know there was a difference between those two. And the attitude was, “Yeah, you want to take it, go ahead, whatever you want to do it, it could be any supplement.” Do you perceive a need for education, and how does that progress? I mean I've talked to some people who say 15% of medical schools even touch on CBD or THC. Does that sound accurate?
That sounds about right. I mean, I would say there is no medical student who spends four years in medical school and doesn't hear anything about cannabis. At the same time, the education may be really perfunctory. So in my case, when I was at the University of Pennsylvania, which I think is a great medical school and did a really good job in education overall back then in the early 1990s the degree of didactic training of formal training we had on cannabis was limited to, it's a potential for harm, which because physicians who actually understand the data understand the cannabis, isn't that harmful, means it didn't even get a lot of discussion in the context of substance misuse. So what I basically learned was that cannabis is not the worst of drugs. Some people think it's a gateway, but others don't. And it by itself doesn't tend to create a great deal of problems and that there might even be some use of it for cancer patients and nausea. And they like to use it even though it's not legal. That's how it was back then. I like to think it's better now, but I don't think it's a lot better from everything I hear from medical students around the country and it's not rocket science. If I can kind of mix educational metaphors there to teach people about the basics of cannabis science. The endocannabinoid system is something else that got very little mention in my medical school, in fairness to our teachers, we didn't have a lot of practical application of any medicines in the endocannabinoid system because very little research had been done into the affirmative uses of cannabis or cannabinoids. Now we understand much more about the endocannabinoid system, its regulatory functions and the ways in which cannabinoids do and in the future will more so hold potential for various kinds of therapeutics. Both in my field of psychiatry and in the related field of neurology but also in other fields as well. of course, including pain management.
So I hear you saying, um, there is more instruction now than there was more people are aware of the endocannabinoid system, but as people look to their doctors, do the doctors, know what they're talking about or how are we going to educate this whole healthcare system on the efficacy of cannabis?
It's a great question and it actually is a question that just came up a couple of days ago in d FCRs monthly board of directors meeting. Though we remain a, an organization that is very much focused on ending prohibition in establishing good policies and good regulation. We have an obligation to make sure that physicians are not only educated about what good cannabis policy looks like, but also what the medicinal properties of the plant and of cannabinoids are. And that's because physicians, in order to understand the basis for good policy, they have to have at least a basic education on the science of the plant and the medical properties of the plant. And that's something that Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is working on. I'll be in Chicago next week speaking at a physicians’ meeting about the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program. And, of course, we're going to talk about cannabis as medicine as well as what the regulatory framework look like.
Another thing that I noticed on your website is your involvement with the NFL. And that's certainly a high profile case and the kind of thing that could sway the public. I think as you, as you gained some traction with your initiative with the NFL.
Absolutely. We were approached three years ago by some NFL players including the first NFL player to actively support legalization while he was inactive player. And that was Eugene Monroe who had recently retired but as an active player, had advocated for legalization and his friends and NFL colleague Derek Morgan, the two of them asked whether Doctors for Cannabis Regulation would be willing to join them in advocacy. And I think they really had a great idea, which is that anything related to athletics and professional sports and especially the NFL is able to capture the interest and attention of the public. And they could do that. It was the physicians like us who could then present the facts very objectively not over or underestimating the health effects of cannabis to persuade people about why the NFL is policy needs to change. So as your listeners may know, the NFL policy that bans cannabis for any purpose has led to the suspension of many players. And because most of the NFL players are African American, likewise, most of the players who have been suspended for their cannabis use have been African Americans, same is true in the NBA. And contrast those two leagues, which again are primarily played by people of color, with hockey, the NHL and baseball, the MLB major league baseball. Those two leagues do not suspend their players for cannabis use. And I think that although we're only talking about a few thousand athletes in professional sports in these different leagues, that's simply a microcosm for what's going on in society and just as individuals are being improperly punished for an activity that should never have been against the law and should never have been against NFL policy. Likewise, Americans all around the country are similarly suffering. And I think if we can affect change in the NFL, then I think that also will give us a more momentum for the national effort for all Americans.
You know, one of our earlier guests was Linea Miron who is married to Ricky Williams who has his own line of CBD. One played the game at a higher level than Ricky Williams, but he understood before the rest of us that this was a medicine that helped him andhe paid the price. He was suspended a number of times.
Very much so. And I know that football fans, especially if they were from The Saints, or one of the teams he played on might have mixed feelings about him taking the stand that he did. But both Linea and Ricky are friends of mine and they are people of great personal conviction. And Ricky is just one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He is a guy who stands on principle and he stood up for what he thought was an unjust ban. And you're right, he paid a heavy price for that. I think he also helped pave the way for players like Eugene Monroe and Derek Morgan and many of the other former players who are a part of our NFL campaign, like Jim McMahon and Boo Williams. And there are actually some other active players who are thinking about going public with their support, though it's been a dangerous thing for them to do. It's really Ricky Williams and other folks from his generation have made it possible for us to be where we are now in terms of the advocacy the NFL, which three years ago when we launched the campaign was saying, we will defer to our doctors on this and we have no plans to change the policy while the doctor is upon which they say they're relying are doctors who are paid by the NFL and they're not going to contradict what the Commissioner's office wants. We've talked to some of those doctors privately and they've made that real clear. Now we've gotten from that point where there was a great deal of intransigence to the NFL saying, look, this is an issue we might be able to come to an agreement with in the collective bargaining agreement next year in 2020. Well, the collective bargaining agreement is about salaries and responsibilities of the players. I believe that player health has absolutely no place in the collective bargaining agreement player's health. Should not be negotiable. And if cannabis use is a reasonable alternative for the use of opioids, for the pain control of players, or even if they just make the adult choice to use it, they shouldn't be punished for that player health should not be subject to negotiation.
That's a huge point. We've talked about the NFL and the kind of promise of social change there and everything that you've been doing with your organization for the last three years. Do you sense that we're nearing an inflection point and what excites you most about the state of cannabis right now?
I think what excites me the most is the degree to which this is a bipartisan issue in a political era that is not known for bipartisanship. Andthat actually very closely relates to the other part of your question, which is that point of inflection where the momentum shifts. I think that's already happened because what you're seeing is that for example, there is a congressional cannabis caucus that was started by both Republicans and Democrats and you're finding there are Republicans as well as Democrats who are very outspoken about their support for full legalization of cannabis for adults and not just limiting it to the medical use. As physicians you would think that our main concern would be legalizing cannabis for medical purposes, but that's only part of the answer. We need full legalization. And now that you see that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans favor legalization, that's the point of no return. When most states have legalization of medical marijuana and now I believe it's 10 states plus the District of Columbia and Guam have legalized cannabis for adult use, New Jersey. My home state is likely to change soon. I know that New York and Pennsylvania are close and Doctors for Cannabis Regulation has listed a number of priority states, which also includes Illinois for full legalization, and Texas for both decriminalization and for medical legalization. Both of those things are likely to happen this year. So the momentum has already shifted. And if I could have one wish, it would be that the opposition to legalization, much as they might not be happy with the changes that they're seeing, they really need to join with us in coming up with good regulation and make sure that their concerns are heard, not just as arguing against everything that we want to do, but rather cooperating with us in making sure that cannabis legalization and regulation optimize public health and the needs of social justice.
Right. So they have their concerns heard. And we've talked about the NFL and not to be a conspiracy theorist, but there, there are vested interests, right? There are alcohol companies, beer brewers who maybe have marketing deals and are resistant to sharing that pie with cannabis. How do you resolve some of those issues? There's limited dollars everywhere and here's a new, a new player.
As my friends know, I tend to be bitter than anti conspiracy theorist. I often think there's less than meets the eye with a lot of things that look nefarious. It's often said that we overestimate people's maliciousness and underestimate their ineptitude. And in this case, I think a lot of the resistance that you see, whether it's from other industries or the NFL commissioner's office or the public at large, what you're seeing is basically an ignorance of what the pros and cons of a prohibition of any drug like cannabis really is. Weighing the pros and cons. It's not a close call. Cannabis should never have been against the law. It was made against the law because there was the claims made that it was a gateway to the later use of hard drugs. And we now know that there's no evidence supporting a causal effect of people using cannabis then going on to use other drugs. It was said to make users violent, and we know that's not true. These kinds of myths die hard. And in many people, including physicians who you would think would be willing to take a more objective look at the evidence they haven't gotten out of this drug warrior mentality. And I think little by little we're chipping away at that. Andone of the things that helps is when you see community leaders like professional athletes taking a position on this like government leaders and, of course, like physicians in Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, law enforcement action partnership where they favor cannabis legalization and clergy in an organization started by Reverend Al Sharp in Chicago called clergy for a new drug policy. We're out there saying, look, we care about public health, we care about justice. And we're telling you that when you really look at this evidence in a broad way, you will see that the harms of prohibition in virtually every measure eclipse the harms of the drug itself.
Well, and that's a powerful message and the authority of your organization behind you and the veracity of your status as a psychiatrist and a medical doctor. For the rest of our listeners who are not not doctors. How do we help support this message anddo you have any practical suggestions for our listeners on how to help move this movement forward?
Well, the first thing is to talk to your government leaders, talk to your legislators. That's the big push that we have here in New Jersey right now because we've got a good bill for legalization that really does advance the dual causes of public health and social justice and all that's left to do is to convince the few holdout legislators who with the best of intentions are concerned about what will happen when cannabis is legalized. They need to hear from the public who recognize that what will happen is that we're going to be incarcerating fewer people were going to be making fewer arrests of otherwise law abiding citizens. We're going to be regulating a drug that until now has been sold illegally in the streets without any checking of Id to make sure that underage users aren't obtaining it. Those same dealers may be dealing in harder drugs. That then does kind of put those two drugs together. That's a bad idea. When we talk to our legislators and make clear to them that their constituents are unequivocal in their support of legalization and unequivocal in their supportive good regulation, that's going to be the biggest factor making change from the grassroots on up. It's the same for physicians, so patients need to talk to their doctors and say I hear what you're saying about your concerns about adult use of cannabis, but it really doesn't seem to match with what the evidence says and there's plenty of information out there including on DFCR's website that is fully annotated and reference telling you what studies demonstrate the advantages of legalization and regulation over prohibition. Share that with your doctor. If you're a doctor, share it with your colleagues. Doctors collectively should be talking to their state medical organizations is we are and little by little we're going to make sure that our cannabis policy for the first time in 82 years, will finally reflect the science and not the hyperbolic claims of people who have a misguided moralistic approach to cannabis prohibition. That's really not science based, but rather based in ideology. An ideology makes for terrible health policy.
Absolutely true. Well, and a lot of what you said there assumes the stigma has faded enough that people can step forward and talk about this freely. And I think that's true in a lot of places. And in some places there may still be lingering ignorance, but yeah, be more vocal. Talk to your elected representatives, email people, write letters, get involved.
Absolutely. My father recently started medical cannabis because he has Parkinson's disease and it's helped a great deal with his abnormal movements. It's also helped with his neck and back cause he's had almost lifelong orthopedic issues with his neck and back. I asked him, “Would it be okay if I talked about this publicly?” And he said, “Absolutely.” He is of the opinion that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that for people to be willing to come forward and be public about their personal use can be a very valuable thing. I think it's difficult for doctors to be public about their use, whether medical or recreational because of the potential jeopardy to their license. Individual citizens out there really can make a difference in undoing the stigma of cannabis use by being willing to say, look, I do it and I don't think that there's anything that I need to be ashamed of. And I'm very proud of my father for having been willing to be public about his.
Yeah. That's great. So we can find who we know. We can find you a dfcr.org. Where else can we find you online?
You can find us on Twitter. We are @dfcrorg. There's no doubt in there. My personal Twitter handle is @DavidNathanMD and my website is NathanMD.com and you can google Doctors for Cannabis Regulation to see what we're doing in the news. You will hopefully be hearing a lot more from us as we go forward and make the changes that this country needs so badly.
Well, I hope so. Um, I look forward to seeing headlines about your progress with the NFL and elsewhere, and I know you're super busy. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with our listeners. I know they're going to love this episode.
Oh, it's been an absolute pleasure. Tom. Thank you so much for the insightful questions. I hope this is helpful for your listeners.
Thank you Dr. Nathan.
You've been listening to, let's talk about weed the Kannaboomers podcast from Thomas for more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomers.com
The cannabis dinner party… it's an idea whose time has arrived. But where do you start? How do you make a dish that's both tasty and has the perfect amount of THC to make it a fun event for your guests? Rob Mejia has done so many times. The author of “The Essential Cannabis Book: A Field Guide for the Curious,” he shares his knowledge on how to throw a successful cannabis dinner party, and much more, in this episode.
Hey, I'm Tom. Welcome back to the Kannaboomers podcast. For Episode 25 we have Rob Mejia of our community harvest. Rob Is an interesting guy. He has a couple of books about cannabis, general topic for education, but he's also really into cooking with cannabis, which for a lot of us we kind of scratch our heads and go, well, how does that work? You put flower into Lasagna or whatever. Rob Takes the time in this episode to explain a very simple method of extracting cannabis oil and getting it very precise so you know exactly what dose is in the single serving of the dish you have or the bigger dish. And he describes what sounds like a really fun time at parties where he cooks great dishes that are infused with cannabis. And invariably the guests ask him, uh, how do I do this at home? How can I have a party myself? So I think you'll enjoy this episode it. It gives us a lot of information about something that I think is going to be a growing trend and sounds like a ton of fun. Episode 25 here you go.
This is, “Let Talk About Weed” the Kannaboomers podcast, CBD micro dosing and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.
Well, I'd like to welcome to the podcast Rob Mejia, who runs “Our Community Harvest.” Hey Rob.
Hey Tom. How are you?
Doing great. How are you doing?
I am doing very well. Thanks.
So we were just chatting and you're in New Jersey?
I am. I'm about to 25 miles north west of New York City.
Well, Jersey is struggling with cannabis laws, right?
We are. It's kind of getting been back and forth and a lot of us were very excited because on March 25th it looks like there was going to be a vote, but the Senate was a few votes short and so they decided not to have the vote. And so it looks like we're in delay now. So one of two things is likely to happen. Uh, it looks like they might be another vote in May. If that doesn't happen, then it might go all the way until November with the possibility that it might go on to a public vote, which a lot of us are hoping doesn't happen. Because if we can do this by legislature like Vermont did, it gives so much more flexibility and you can make changes in the program. You can make fixes. It is just so much more efficient than if we do it by public vote.
Well, there's lots of learnings going on across the country with different states in different approaches. So fingers crossed that it goes well there.
Yeah, and actually what's interesting is New Jersey can actually be a leader if we get our stuff together here. So two of the big things that would be very different than any other state is that from the outset we would have expungement of, um, simple possession, uh, expunged from people's records. So it gets some people out of prison, we'd clean up their records. That would be a very big deal. And then the second thing is they're also planning for consumption lounges. So they would be connected to the dispensaries. So people would actually have some place to partake because, um, if you go to say Colorado, unless you go to somebody's, private residents, you can't smoke the sidewalk, you can't do it in a federal park. Uh, you can't do it in a hotel, um, apartment, federal housing. So you're very restricted as to where you can partake, even though you could walk to a dispensary as an adult and get whatever product you want.
Those are big things. I mean, you know, in California we were still struggling with a lot of rules that the dispensaries are kind of shackled with and it's turning out to be more big business friendly than little guy friendly. So it evolves. But, uh, hopefully in Jersey you'll, you'll take the right course.
Well we have a few of those issues with a big business as well. So home home grow is not going to be allowed and that's a big deal for some people. Um, and then also at least initially the licenses have gone to some of the bigger players and there is a provision provision for micro licenses that you still have to be pretty well financed in order to get what are those micro licenses and those are only going to be about 10% of the licenses that are available.
It kind of blows my mind that they wouldn't allow home grow. I mean it's something you can grow on your balcony or in your backyard. It's just kind of amazing that they would prohibit that
At what are the cannabis meetings I was at. I asked the director of health who's been running a lot of these and helping to set some of the regulations and his response was that, oh well people will sell the excess. And I thought, I thought, well that's a response for someone who's never grown before. They can then say being him because it actually takes quite a lot of, um, effort to grow and to grow so that you would have “excess.” Plus by the time, especially if you're growing indoors, by the time you pay for your electric bill, your water, all the nutrients you need, all the time you put into it, uh, it's a pretty good, it could be an inexpensive proposition.
Yeah. Well, I had a guest a few weeks ago talking about growing and, you know, it does seem very simple and fundamental on the surface, but as with anything, there's a lot of nuance and subtlety to doing it right. You know, what, what if people had access and sold it to each other? I don't get the downside of that even.
Yeah. What they, what they would say is that, well, the product has not tested, but if somebody's home grows, I mean, they know whether they've used pesticides, they know what they've done to, uh, make it a good product. So they could certainly let somebody who purchased it know about that.
Let's shift gears and talk about “Our Community Harvest” um, to tell me about what you guys do.
Sure. So “Our Community Harvest” um, the uh, second part of the company name is “A Cannabis Education Company” and that describes exactly what we're all about. So we're very much about um, educating people about cannabis. And I like to say that we're interested in, in forming, not persuading. And so the way we go about trying to educate people through cannabis is, first of all, I did spend a couple of years doing some pretty intense research and I wrote a book that is really a cannabis one on one book and it's called “The Essential Cannabis Book: A Field Guide for the Curious.” And it covers the history of cannabis both domestically and internationally, which is really intriguing. Covers some science, a little bit of botany, medical possibilities, methods of consumption, social issues. It has resources like annotated websites that people can go to. It has 70 bullet points. So even if you didn't want to read the whole book, if you read those 70 bullet points, you would actually get some pretty good cannabis knowledge.
And then because one of my passions is cooking, there's also a very good cooking section that will show people how to infuse oils. Um, how to use micro dosing as a technique and actually haw to do a cannabis dinner party. So all of that is packed into 140 oh, sorry, 184 pages. And it also includes uh 20 stories from people in the cannabis community. So we have profiles of the sheriff had Aspen, a nuns in California who grow and who heal people with CBD, we have medical patients. We have some really intriguing stories because I find that once people find out at the stories come from, oh, people who are your relatives, your neighbors, people you may have gone to church with people you play tennis with, that it really breaks down the barriers and you could see the possibilities of what cannabis might be able to do for you. So a book is kind of a cornerstone of what we're doing. I do have a medical journal coming out in the next couple of weeks that will help medical users track their usage and adult users. We also are doing online content for uh, universities. And then also I do a bunch of seminars and so I speak to groups, whether it's a, a bunch of retirees, college students, basically wherever I can, I can book to speak. I'm happy to do it.
Wow. You are a busy guy.
Yes. It's all good.
You got a lot going on. I liked it. You have the, the book as the cornerstone. That makes a lot of sense to me as a resource. And you know, and I love the fact that you have case studies in there from real people. I mean, that makes it real for you and I and our neighbor when they read about someone who's just like them, who discovered some of this about this plant. And it takes some of the stigma away.
Exactly. And stigma is such a big part of it. We've been taught all these lies for so many years, and it's become part of embedded in our culture that once you can actually open up somebody's eyes and say, you know what, actually between 1850 and 1937 if you wanted medicine, you could go to your pharmacist or your compounder. They would pull out their copy of the US Pharmacopeia and they could make you some cannabis for a lot of different conditions. And it was accepted medicine and big companies like Eli Lilly, Tilden's, Brothers Smith, they all made it and they all packaged it and then it was widely available.
Yeah. Our our great grandparents had access to it.
Yeah it's funny. I love seeing those vintage bottles.
Where can we find your book? Is it at ama- I'm sorry. At amazon?
It is. Amazon.com On Barnes and Noble. Target.com Walmart.com local bookstores. Actually quite a number of college bookstores.
Wow. You've got quite a reach. Tell me, how is the book opened doors for you? Um, do you have some measure of notoriety?
I do. And what's interesting is I love it when people reach out and they'll say things like, I was reading your book and I have this particular question. Or when is your journal coming out? Or, or how do I read a label on a CBD bottle, which is, um, very difficult for some people. So I know that people are using it, they're reading it and I think it's helping some people, which is fantastic. That makes me very happy.
You know, our, our audience I think runs the gamut, but we started out saying, we're for baby boomers who people my age have. We had experienced with cannabis 20, 30 years ago when we were in school maybe. And then a lot of us, uh, became social drinkers and didn't use cannabis as much. But now there's been so much science in the last 10, 15, 20 years that we know it is a legitimate medicine. Uh, we know we can do things like microdose. There's different ways besides, you know, hitting bongs and joints. There is a lot of education among baby boomers and I think all generations.
Yeah, you're right. What's interesting is when I wrote the book, I kind of had my, my mom and the back of my head and my mom, is 80 years old. She needs, she's open minded but also definitely skeptical. And so I thought what I want to do is make this information accessible and make it a brief enough and to the point and also acknowledge some of the potential dangers that might be out there. So I try to give a very balanced view. But, um, I do think that the book really is targeted towards primarily boomers and then also people who might have knowledge about one part of the process. So I do find that some of the younger people who read the book, they know a lot about vapes because they've grown up with it. Oftentimes they'll know more about vapes than I will, or they might know about the joints and blunts and things like that, but then they may not know about all the other, uh, types of consumption types that are available. They might not know a lot about CBD. They definitely know, don't know about cooking with it. So I think it actually hits a lot of, um, a lot of, a lot of uh br- it's a broad audience.
You mentioned dangers. Can we talk about that a little bit? About what are the things to look out for if you're stepping into cannabis for the first time in a while?
Sure.Well what's interesting is I do find that I had to address the very first question that is the most googled and that is, is it addictive? So that's the thing that people will ask right away. So if they want to try it, maybe even want to try CBD. Some people are very afraid because they might've had a run in with opioids or they've heard all these things about quote drugs. And if they think of cannabis as a drug, then they're afraid. So I did address the question of addiction. The other question that comes up is dependency. Then there is a driving while impaired. And then there's also, um, uh, whether insurance pays for the pays for the medicine. And then there's kind of the broad question of what about the kids? And you kind of have to get people to define what their concern is about children. So I do address each of those issues in the book.
And then as you said, sort of at the top, this is about informing, not persuading. You're not twisting anyone's arm, you're just saying, here's, here's what you need to know if you want to do this.
Exactly. And in, in some cases I'll say things like, well, if your family has a history of a bipolar or depression or schizophrenia, then maybe you want to try just with CBD to start and see how you do and then, um, take the low doses, move up. If you do want to try THC, maybe get a product that's a one to one ratio. And I list some of the strains that, uh, have that consistency. So basically my message is about responsible consumption. If that's something that somebody wants to choose.
Well, and makes a lot of sense then to introduce a journal to your readers so that they can track their consumption and really get smart about it.
Yeah, I think it's a little bit like, um, if you pay attention and you're very mindful about what works and what doesn't work, you can make good progress. And it's also often a longterm process because I have found that a lot of people in the, in the, when they look at cannabis, they have to become their own advocates because their doctor might not know a lot about it. Their nurses might not know a lot. Their neighbors, other people they really look to for information. And so they have to do the research and they have to basically go through the steps carefully to find out what works for them and taking those notes and noting what product they purchased, how much they used, how they felt five minutes into the process, 30 minutes, two hours next day. All of that really helps to, um, make sure that they have the best experience possible.
The word mindfulness, uh, you mentioned that and cannabis gets a rap as being very personalized. We all have different genetics. We might respond differently to different strains. Set and setting can make a difference. But you know, I had a guest a couple of weeks ago, Mara Gordon who said, you know, that's true of a lot of pharmaceuticals. Everybody has different responses to different molecules. So it's, it's not just cannabis, but if it does help you be more mindful about your health, that's a really good thing.
That's a great point. And actually I think especially for people who are, um, who are boomers, that they are starting to look at cannabis as part of a wellness regimen, which I think is fantastic. And so I think they realize that you do need things like a proper night's sleep. You do need to exercise, you have to take care of your nutrition, you have to make sure that you have friends around you because as you get older, social isolization is a big deal. And if people don't have a support system, friends to talk to families, et Cetera, it can take a big toll. So I'm seeing more boomers in particular that are adding cannabis to the mix and they're using it as either a sports recovery or to help them sleep better or to tamp down their anxiety. But really looking at it as more of a holistic, uh, product and process versus just just a using cannabis.
You know, you mentioned sleep and that makes so much sense for a lot of people. It's such as foundational aspect of your health in a lot of us, you know, if we're anxious or you know, there's a lot of reasons for insomnia, many of us might have, you know, reached for a cocktail that might help you sleep, but that doesn't always work either. So here's, um, you can try an Indica, try different strains and see if it helps you sleep. And from there then you're, you're more likely to wake up, ready to work out, ready to have a good day. That kind of thing.
Absolutely. There there's some research that shows that uh, the two biggest reasons that people will seek out cannabis. What is pain relief? And that also dovetails a little bit with people who might be using opioids, but we, we all get pain and uh, we all need to find out ways to, um, to take care of that, to mitigate it. And then also the second one is a relaxation and sleep. There are so many people who have sleeping issues and uh, it's been found that cannabis certainly is a great pain reliever and definitely helps people to sleep.
You mentioned cannabis dinner parties. I'm kind of curious about that and how you got into that and some of the, some of the aspects around that. Let's talk about that.
Oh sure. And that actually kind of dovetails into my story on how I got involved with cannabis in the first place. And that is, I was pretty typical. In then I used during high school a little bit college a little bit, but it really was not a big part of my life. And um a few years ago and I'm actually from a huge family. I'm one of 13 kids if you can believe that. Um, and, and from Denver. And so several years ago, my sister Theresa, who was in her mid fifties, healthy, exercised, ate well. She was not on any Pharma. She got uterine cancer and it spread pretty quickly. And she was put on a regimen of opioids to the point where she really didn't even know who or where she was. And then also she lost her appetite. And being a, being a Mejia and growing up in such a big family, we always had a lot of us at the dinner table and most of us are very good cooks. And so meals were such a big part of our life. And I felt kind of trapped because there, my sister was wasting away and I couldn't feed her. I couldn't nurture her. And so that, um, that really struck me. And so I, and so one of the things that I learned how to do was to cook with cannabis because I thought if I'm in this position again and someone who I love is suffering like this, I'll be able to cook with cannabis for them, which I know is going to help their appetite. And so I actually learned with a chef Lori Wolf and Laurie's out in Portland. She has done for remarkable cannabis cookbooks, including one of my favorites called “Herb” just H-E-R-B, um, which also has 200 amazing photos from her husband, Bruce, who's a professional photographer. So if you're interested, it's a good book. Um, but anyway, so she was nice enough to show me how to cook with cannabis and that's kind of how I learned.
Wow, that's a great story. So my wife is a great cook. I'm not, but uh, you know, I watch her and I learned, I chop some vegetables for her and stuff, but you know, she's got instincts I just don't have, but she knows that sweet and salty go together and you know, there's umami and when you are using cannabis, what flavors are you infusing into the food? And I, I imagine it takes some trial and error to get the desired taste. And then how about the psycho activity? How do you govern that?
Great question. So there's kind of two parts to that. So the first thing is one of the goals when you cook with cannabis is pretty much to mask the flavor. Um, so some people don't mind the flavor, some people actually like it a little bit. I personally do. Um, but if you can kind of mask the flavor with the complimentary spices and dishes that go well with it, that's kind of the goal. So a simple example is if you choose a, um, a sativa strain, which is kind of what you usually start your party with because you want people to have energy, you want them to laugh, you went up to their senses to be heightened. So they really enjoy the food, the music. So you might pick something that has a, a kind of a lemon terpene with it and kind of a lemon flavor. And so if I'm doing that, I'm going to pick dishes that go well with citrus. And so maybe if my main course is fish, for example, I might do a fish in parchment and I would use that kind of infused oil that has the lemon flavor to it to kind of compliment the fish. So basically what I do is I pick particular strains that have a particular smell and terpene profile and then I picked dishes that go with that. So there's some that are kind of mushroomy and earthy, so you pick earthy dishes. There are some that are kind of Piney. Um, and with those, maybe you go with something that has kind of a very bright, sparkly counterpoint to it. But anyway, so you, you mix the food so that it tastes good. You don't taste the cannabis, you start with a sativa and then, uh, by the end of the meal you get towards a, a nice indica dessert, send people on their way and they have a great night's sleep.
And what form are you using flour or are you making it into an oil or a butter or a how are you infusing it into your dish?
Uh, pretty much I infused oils and I'm actually a huge fan of infusing olive oil. I find that goes especially well for appetizers, side dishes entrees. I use infused butter or coconut oil for desserts. Um, and then I usually use two processes. So if I'm with people who are brand new and they've really never had edibles before, then I do a micro dose technique? And so basically what I'll do is I'll infuse olive oil and I'm very careful with my math so I know exactly what the potency is. And I also kind of pull the guests and find out what their experience level is and I start them at a very low dose. Some people come to the parties and they'll start at two and a half milligrams. And what I'll do basically is drizzle that into a complimentary dish. So if I make a despacho, for example, that already has a little bit of olive oil in it, so it's very easy to add another half teaspoon or a teaspoon of olive oil at two and a half milligrams, mix that up. It'll be very tasty people know exactly what they're getting. And then when it comes to salad, again, I do a little drizzle on a salad dressing if they want. So I pick a lot of dishes that I can kind of finish with the oil in a micro dose fashion. If somebody brand new, if it's a party where people are experienced, uh, then I do full dishes. But I also again do the math to tell them what they're getting. So it will say on a card, for example, if you eat one tablespoon of this hummus, you will be getting five milligrams of THC from this strain. So there, there is a lot of careful calculation that goes along with this.
Yeah, a lot of planning and making the oil itself and then even having cards that notify your guest. That's a great idea. And the technique you're describing so you can do this by a single serving or the overall dish.
Yes And actually the other thing that I'd like to point out is when you infuse oil, if you're in a state that, um, allows legal adult use, you can do the traditional method where you basically take, and I'll give kind of a little formula, especially for people who are brand new. If you're brand new to this, take a quarter ounce of a sativa strain at 15%. You want to crumble, cut, tear, put it in a single sheet on a, uh, on a little cooking dish. And you actually put that in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour. Or you can also do it at 240 for 40 minutes. That decarboxylated, which is a fancy word for slow roasting. And that slow roasting is what activates the THC. So once you do that, you take that out, you let it cool, and then you take two cups of your olive oil, put that on a very low simmer. You wrap up your slow roasted, uh, cannabis in a little cheesecloth. You put that in the olive oil, let it simmer again about an hour. You press it every so often. Uh, you take out your little a sachet, cheese cloths, sa- sachet, a squeeze it again, and then you basically have your infused oil right there, two, two cups worth. Then you strain that and put it in a mason jar and you mark it with the potency. If you start with a quarter ounce, seven grams of a 15% THC sativa, what you end up with is oil. That's um, who's potency is 25 milligrams per tablespoon or eight milligrams per teaspoon. So that makes it easy to dose. And, um, you have good product that will actually last you a while.
That's very detailed and, and not too hard to follow. Even for me. I think I can do that.
And, and the second technique I'd like to mention is actually called sous vide and sous vide means underwater. And so basically in the end, these are particularly good for states where adult use is not allowed or you don't want your house to smell like you'd exactly think it what smell if you, uh, decarboxylated weed for an hour. So basically I won't go into the full thing here, but it's in my book. But basically what you do is you set your sous vide at 200 degrees and you seal your cannabis in a plastic bag without air. You put it in there and again, you let it sit in there for an hour and that also activates it through kind of a cooking and water. And that's a technique that a lot of restaurants use. And then from there again, you take it, you take it out, put it in cheese cloth, and then you simmer it in oil in the sous vide with a lid on the mason jar. So again, no smell escapes. You do that for an hour, squeeze it again, take it out. So you've almost produced no smell, but you've also infused oil, um, at the same potency that I mentioned with traditional method. So sous vide is pretty cool.
We have one of those. It's great for cooking steaks perfectly. Um, but yeah, there's another use. So I might have to try that. So when you throw parties, who comes, I mean is everybody a cannabis enthusiast? Are they Luke warm to the idea. What does that look like?
It is a very mixed bag. I call them all the Canna curious and so it, and so what happens is people invite me into their homes and then they invite friends who are interested and it's anywhere usually from about Oh eight to 20 friends who show up. And I make it as much educational as I do a dinner party. So when people come in, I have non infused appetizers and I tell right away these appetizers are all good. You're going to nibble. We're going to talk about what this experience is going to be like. Ah, you'll be educated and then you can decide to eat some infused food if you want or not. Cause I always make not infused dishes so someone can actually come to one of these parties, uh, hear about everything, learn about everything but not try it if they're not ready. And the other thing I do too is I go to the host's home early and actually show them how to make the oil. And I show them how to dose and I do it in a sous vide so it doesn't smell. So they get a lesson on infusing, they get to keep half of the oil at the end of the party. And then at the beginning of the party, again, I tell people, here's how animals work. First of all, if you take some, you're not going to feel anything for 30 minutes up to two hours. And it also doesn't seem to matter whether you're extremely fit, tall, short, um, uh, you know, somebody who's an occasional user, somebody who's a regular user, it just hits when it hits. And so I give them that bit of information and then we talk about dosing that I recommend. If you've never done it started two and a half milligrams. If you want to go a little more by the time you get to the meal, uh, you might want to do another two and a half milligrams. Um, and then we talk about dessert will be infused with an indica that's usually more relaxing, especially with certain terpenes. So you can have your Brownie all abode. And then I'd recommend you get home within about an hour and then you can go to sleep. So I, and actually during the courses, people ask so many questions and it's as much as seminar as it as a dinner party.
So it's a social event, really it's and educational event. And I imagine it gets fairly relaxed as well.
Absolutely. It is so much fun. And then what happens is 90% of the time, if not more, someone from that Group of Eight or 20 will call me separately and they have their own group that they want to do it again and people often reserve it for special occasions, 50th birthdays, retirements Bachelorette parties, you name it, they know that it's kind of a special occasion and I make it a special occasion for them.
This is a nice little a referral business you have going.
Yeah. Yes it is.
So do you draw a line between recreational and medicinal? I mean the story you told about your sister was giving yourself a tool for medicinal purposes, but you've just described sort of a very recreational, a manifestation of your technique?
You know, it's funny in some ways I think that all cannabis use is related to health. Even if you're “a recreational user” or an adult user, I think oftentimes if not always, you're still looking for some kind of relaxation. You're still looking for some stress relief. You might be replacing that use for alcohol use or for other things. So I think, I think mostly it really is, it really does come down to medical. Um, and I do have, I'd say a little bit more interest on the medical side, but on the adult use side, I really think it should be just treated like alcohol. And if somebody chooses to use it in whatever form they want, 21 and over, they're not hurting anybody else. Go for it.
Well, in the scenario you described people aren't going off the deep end and unless you're a really big eater and you devour the whole dish, but it's measured, it's not hitting a bong 12 times, it's, it's more discreet and measured.
Yeah. I think that's part of the experience is to find out where you're at kind of at your level. So I actually encourage people not to drink alcohol during the infused parties or just a little bit so that they don't combine the two and they don't know whether it's, they've had too much alcohol. So that's the effect or whether it's cannabis. Um, and then I also add, tell people they should probably refrain from smoking in between courses too because that interacts so quickly with your body that they should just try it as an edibles experience and find out where they are. And so for me personally, I know that I'm like 53 minutes to an hour 10. That's when it happens. And it feels like a, um, kind of a nice warm blanket that goes over you and it's kind of a body high and a head high, very comfortable and uh, and safe. I've actually never overdone it because I started, I started low. I know my doses, I know my time is and so it's always a good experience for me.
Do you have favorite dishes?
I do. I'm always say, um, well I'm always a big fan of seasonal ingredients. Being here in New Jersey, I will say that, uh, once the tomatoes come in a spot, you know, gazpacho here is kind of unrivaled. So it'll always be a big fan favorite. I do like a fish in parchment for small groups because it's a very fancy meal, but it's also very easy to do. And easy to time and easy to infuse. Um, I'm a huge fan of key lime pie and deep dish pizza. I make deep dish pizza all the time.
Those all sound fantastic. So essentially you're, you're sort of a custom caterer.
Yes, I definitely am. Oh the other dishes I should mention too is a Mexican food. Coming from a big Mexican family, I make home made tortillas. I make Spanish rice, I can make enchiladas, Reno's, whatever. And um, Mexican food is really good for infusing
Uh Huh? Well, in San Diego, that's a large staple in my diet. We eat a lot of burritos and a, I'm going to have to try this. And, and the guests, it sounds like you make a lot of converts, you open some eyes and, and you get good feedback.
Yeah we do, I mean what's interesting is, um, a lot of the conversation does turn towards CBD high find. And that's either for individuals at the party who have some kind of aches and pains are often they're asking for their parents or friends. And so it's, it comes to a conversation about CBD. And then also there's a lot about sort of policy or what's happening in New Jersey. You know, how many dispensaries are going to be open, what, what's the price of an ounce of cannabis? All kinds of just general questions about if this really happens, kind of what can I expect, where can I get it? Um, how can I consume it? But I do find there are some kind of common themes that come up,
Well, I don't want to say this too loudly, but you're sort of underground right now, right? It's not, it's not quite legal there.
It is not quite legal here. Although we do have a medical program. And so the bulk of my clients are a medical patients and it's actually a big service to them to teach them how to dose their meals so that they can incorporate that into a healthy lifestyle. So I'm only a little bit underground. I really do try to keep things as transparent as possible. Work with medical patients. They always get the product. It's not me getting the product. Um, and then also what I do the adult use dinners. They are in Colorado, Oregon. I've done California, Uruguay and Columbia.
Wow. So you've taken the show on the road, typically you, you show up in someone's kitchen with a bunch of ingredients and a, I mean, are you packing your knives and everything when you, when you go off to Uruguay?
I don't pack any knives and I do use the kitchen center, available to me and every now and then it does get a little tricky because some kitchens have a limited, uh, pots and pans or whatever. But, um, but I'm also pretty creative my friends sometimes actually call me “McGuyvez” cause I can sort of get her bike, I can do a lot of work arounds. And so I, I've not been a star B did a kitchen yet and I hope to keep that going.
You mentioned CBD and I'm curious, um, we've all seen CBD oil is pretty expensive, so I mean, your guests are curious about it. Do you actually cook with it or are you more strictly, uh, using cannabis oil?
It kind of depends on what type of party it is. So at the very beginning some people will designate that they do want it just to be a CBD and so it and so that's all we focus on. And then there are other people who do want THC. So that's, that's the route that we go in terms of expense. And then it's kind of interesting because CBD is, and it isn't, I mean per per dose on average it is about $2. Um, which if it is a new expense for somebody and especially someone who's old that can get pretty pricey. And so I am looking forward very much to the day when insurance will pay for some of that. I had done, one of my clients who is an 80 year old woman who had arthritis and she was using CBD to good effect her dose was a little bit larger than normal, but it was a new expense for her and she couldn't pay for it. And so she went back on Pharma where she had a $5 deductible and got whatever she wanted for the month. And I thought that is such a, it's such a shame that has to happen.
Yeah. When you have a plant based alternative to something that is readily available, have you ever had a guest say they didn't like the experience? I had a negative reaction to it.
Yeah. What's kind of funny is you, you read the crowd just like anything else. So you see sort of who's, who's responding well, every now and then you'll see somebody who looks a little startled or it looks a little uncomfortable and you know that that person is probably having a bad experience. Um, in my book I do talk about what to do when you get too high. And so when I see somebody like that I do often just pull them aside and talked to him a little bit and I try to help them out. Some of the things you can do is there's a hydration you can try to distract them, uh, with a walk or something. You could actually use CBD drops or CBD gum works pretty well. A pet peppercorns, either chewing them or smelling them also helps out a little bit. And then also just assuring them that it's going to be time and that there'll be okay.
I would love to go to one of these parties. So if you get off San Diego, you got it. We'll have to set something up. I like to ask my guests and kind of in general, what excites you about the state of cannabis right now?
Wow. There are a lot of things that are pretty exciting right now I think. Uh, is that, um, I think that the area that I've chosen, education is a good area and something that's growing and something that's necessary and something that I'm passionate about. So I think my future prospects are good and whether that education continues to be more books, which I will continue to write. Um, I also do a column for the spokesman review in Spokane on kind of their “Dear Abby” of cannabis. So every month I do a Q and a column. My first one ran last month and it was on CBD and dosing. The second one, which is coming out in a, in a day or two here, April 1st, that is going to be on edibles. Um, and then I'm also doing profiles of people. So I have, uh, you know, a little page interviews with people in the cannabis industry. So I'm excited that I'm, I'm doing what I like and I'm educating people. So I think I am making change it and a little difference in that way. And then the other thing that I'm pretty excited about is that I'm part of an industry that's getting shaped from the ground up. And so we have amazing opportunities to include people of color, women, vets, people have been wronged by the criminal justice system and to build an that is more equitable, that is helpful to people and that can actually, um, slowly change the world. So I'm excited about a lot of that.
I'm aligned with you and a lot of that, I mean the opportunity to spread the word about, as you said earlier, something that has been kind of misrepresented for almost a hundred years now and really get the truth out there and remove some of the stigma is such an exciting thing. I know you're on Twitter, I've seen you there and we'll con- continue to share some of your stuff and especially, uh, you're column in Spokane. Uh, you're, you're on both coasts so that's great.
Yes. Trying to try to expand my reach as much as possible. And my website is ourcommunityharvest.com and the one thing you'll find they're too is if you're a cook, there's actually a dosing calculator. So if you can't get flower that's at 15% you can actually get at whatever percentage it is and you plug in the numbers, you plug your plug in, the servings, how much oil you're making and it will tell you the potency. So I worked with us on another chef and I'm actually kind of proud of it. And now I think it will be very helpful for people because I have to say the first couple times when I was doing this and trying to figure out, all right, so this strain is 18.2 so what does that mean at the end? I'm going to tell you it's a lot of steps to get there, but now there's a calculator on my website.
That's an awesome resource. So I guess we should mention, I mean if you're a home growing you would have to test your, your harvest to see, uh, what the percentage is. But if you're a legal state, it's going to say on the, on the packaging what that percentage is and that's going to factor into your, your processing. Right?
True. I mean the one thing I have found it by people who home grow, often they don't test because there are not a lot of resources for them to test, which is kind of a shame. When I was in Uruguay, they had this convention and they had this awesome truck that pulled up and people lined up and they had their home grow. And for 20 bucks, what you did is you get, you gave it to the person in their mobile lab, they tested it and then you got your results back in 10 or 15 minutes. Uh, so in-expensive, accurate. And I thought someday in the U.S. That will be so nice when we have home grow and you can have a truck that will pull up, test your product in the front window and then maybe sell tacos out the back.
Yeah I love that idea. Now Uruguay went legal a year or two ago right?
Yeah, they've actually been legal. I think they're going on like four years now. But what's it, what's interesting is when they started the program there, president, uh, Jose, uh, Mojica was very much behind it. And so he developed a program where the product was very inexpensive. It was like a dollar a gram. You could buy 40 grams a month at a local pharmacy. Uh, but what happened is a lot of the pharmacies couldn't sign on because they were tied to the American banking system. And as we know, American banks are tied to the FDIC federal and so federally cannabis, even CBD, if you look at it in some ways it's still illegal. So that really slowed down everything that was happening in Uruguay. And then they got a new president, uh, Jose, uh, Vasquez I think it is. And he was an oncologist. He was not excited about the program, didn't really want to implement it, so it kind of dragged his feet a little bit. So they're just kind of get getting going now. But if you're looking at um, international countries on the move, certainly Canada, but do not overlook Columbia. Columbia has a, it a lot of their country, it's 12 hours of sunlight, 12 hours of night, nighttime, which is perfect for growing. And then they have courts, they have Carta Haina which easy trip to get up to a Florida and the east coast. Go through Panama Canal. You're in Europe, you go south and you're in South America. So I predict that Columbia is going to be dominant in terms of a cannabis production, distribution, et cetera going forward. And who knows? I may go live there someday.
Definitely in the 70s. We were always excited about Columbian. Maybe it hasn't changed so much. True. Well, rob, you've given us a lot of great information and I know our listeners are going to be really excited about this and, I'm excited about giving it a try in the kitchen. Uh, you really spelled out step by step how to proceed. So I'm excited and I want to thank you for sharing your expertise and, uh, look forward to seeing you online.
Absolutely. This was my pleasure and I'd be happy to do it again at anytime.
You've been listening to “Let's Talk About Weed the Kannaboomers podcast with Thomas J for more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomers.com.
The cannabis movement has come a long way in a short time, thanks to people like Mara Gordon. She has brought scientific discipline to the field, developing cannabis treatment protocols, quality standards, and an abiding compassion for patients with serious diseases.
If you have any interest in how cannabis helps fight disease, don't miss this episode. We talks about her new-found fame as the central figure in the documentary Weed the People, recent developments with Mara's company Aunt Zelda's and much more. Time spent with Mara is time well-spent!
Hey. It's Tom. We're back with another episode of the Kannaboomers podcast this week. I'm really excited to bring you an interview with Mara Gordon. Central figure in the documentary. “Weed the People.” And if you haven't seen that yet, I strongly recommend that you do see it. It's a great story about how medical cannabis can help young kids with pediatric cancer. Mara Gordon has an incredible brain for the science around this. So give this episode and listen. I think you'll enjoy it. Enjoy the show
This is Let's Talk About Weed, the Kannaboomers podcast, CBD micro dosing and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers, from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.
Welcome Mara. Thanks for being here and it's great to have you. I guess we…
I'm happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
I guess we'll just jump in to the, uh, the documentary and tell people about how that came about for you and how it went for you.
Okay. Um, uh, well I want to say that like starting about, oh gosh, I guess it's been about six years now cause it was like at the very beginning of 2013. Um, I was introduced to Christian Evans who was, um, uh, married to Ricki Lake at the time who has since passed away, uh, from mental illness. The man, unfortunately Christian, uh, committed suicide a couple of years ago from a, um, mental illness. Uh, anyway, he and Ricki, his wife were working on this documentary. Apparently this a little girl that had followed Ricki around when, as a fan when she was on Dancing With the Stars, had reached out to her. Um, uh, her mother did, she had a very serious disease and they were looking at using cannabis. Um, long story short, the, uh, family decided not to go that direction, but at that point it had sparked the interest from, uh, Ricki and her, you know, we always, we call her her work wife, Abby Epstein and the brilliant director to do this documentary on cannabis medicine and how it affects pediatric patients that are, that are dealing with the actual disease.
And the side effects of some of the standard treatments. And they asked me if they could, you know, watch me and help me treat these patients, uh, to say the least. That was a huge leap of faith. Um, I had been asked to be in, you know, numerous documentaries over the years because there's not that many of us that have been around a long time doing science and doing medicine. So that, you know, I get asked a lot, not because I'm so great necessarily, but just because you know what, you know, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king, you know? And so I had asked, you know, obviously I had to trust them. Yeah. Which I did and we started the journey and then the film follows me and a number of my pediatric patients that we took our, our pediatric patients that we took care of for over five years.
Yeah. It's a tear jerking kind of film. I mean, it's not easy to watch. Mostly it's a happy endings. Um, we don't will spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but, uh, it's, it's really, uh, a message that needs to get out there.
Absolutely. Absolutely. So the, the thing about it is, is it nobody has ever died from cannabis. So it's actually a very low risk, um, method or, or option for people to parents to try and with their children or anyone of any age for a loved one because there just simply is no fatal dose that we're aware of at this point, especially if you have something that's clean and you know, you're not going to worry about toxicity. Uh, you know, as long as you're using clean lab tested medicine that has no heavy metals, pesticides are, but you know, etcetera, then a, or you know, toxins you're going to be okay. And these parents were desperate and took that leap of faith.
Right. Well, and as opposed to chemotherapy, which you know, can kill you.
Well, you know, chemotherapy is a nondiscriminatory, a killer, no question about that. Most of the chemotherapy drugs are designed to work on proliferating cells. Uh, yeah. And you know, unfortunately it's not just cancer cells that proliferate your hair falls out because those are proliferating cells youth vomit because you're, you're a gastrointestinal digestive years is proliferating cells. So it's nondiscriminatory. Uh, the reality is though that these, those people who have been diagnosed with cancer who are using standard protocols from the medical community, um, are smart to still do that, just do it and include or incorporate cannabis into the treatment protocol. We would never tell somebody not to use a standard treatments in conjunction. Uh, we're big proponents of integrated, not alternative because first of all, there are studies that show that when you combine them, in some cases, the cannabinoids along with the chemotherapy drugs, that together they have a synergy that makes each of them work better than they would individually.
The other thing is you never want to hit something like cancer from one direction, especially on something that has only been tested at this point, um, definitively in mice and in Petri dishes. You know, we're very, very good at killing cancer in mice. But you know, uh, mice does not mean that it's going to be the same thing with humans and with over 200 different types of cancer and each one having its own genetic and cellular component to it. Um, just because it works on one person, even with the diagnosis isn't a foregone conclusion that it's going to work on the next one.
Right. There's tons of anecdotal evidence, right, but right. In terms of clinical studies, there's not that breadth of science that you would want.
Right. Well, let's Donald Abraham says in the film, you know, uh, anecdotal times anecdotal does not mean a science. This means you have more anecdotal.
There is a need to be careful about overstating the healing potential of cannabis maybe.
Well, I really, absolutely and anyone who's ever seen any of my talks or anything knows that I have this one slide that I show over and over and over again. I've been showing it for probably seven years now. That shows a snake oil salesman and a with an overlay of a circle and a red circle and cross because it is not a panacea. You know, if it, if you lose your arm, you're not going to grow a new one. But if you talk to some people, uh, you don't need anything but cannabis and if you have cannabis, you shouldn't be using any other, any other treatments at all, and that is completely irresponsible, utterly irresponsible. Um, there are instances, for example, um, I can, I'll just speak for myself, uh, because I would obviously keep any patient information. Um, uh, secret, you know, it's private, but, um, I at one point was on 26 pharmaceuticals, including a fentanyl patch and Gabapentin and a number of others. And, uh, using, uh, cannabis, I was able to, uh, eliminate the need for 23 of them, but those three that I'm still using, I need those and I have to have them. And if I don't have them, I'm in very, very serious danger physically. So, you know, I always am very grateful for all the pharmaceuticals that we have. I'm just not grateful for big Pharma and I don't think the two should be confused. Cannabis is an amazing, amazing drug medicine, food, fiber, fuel, whatever it is you need it to be. If the one of the most amazing things about it, but it's not a one that's not for everything, the answer.
And so it's important that people are, uh, incorporate it and try it and look at some of the options with it, but not say, I'm just going to do this and I'm not going to do that. And I really object to some of the bullying I see going on in social media when you'll see parents and one of the parents in the film in particular had made the decision. I mean, they, all of those kids were on chemotherapy except for one that had to stop it for various reasons. But, um, uh, she was, uh, ha had her son on the chemotherapy, a protocol along with the cannabis and people were writing all sorts of disparaging things on her, on her Facebook page about how she was poisoning her son and all these things. And that's just irresponsible and frankly nobody else's business.
Right. You were taking 26 pharmaceuticals. Can you share your condition?
Sure. Um, I had had bacterial spinal meningitis back in 1996 that left me. I mean, there's like a 2% survival for the type that I had. And so I was left with a myriad of health problems. Um, uh, for example, I had stage three kidney disease and my kidneys. Now we're perfectly fine, uh, from, uh, taking the cannabis. When I started using cannabis, um, I was able to eliminate any of the other pharmaceuticals. And then when I have blood work done, my numbers are perfect. Um, I am a chronic chronic pain patient. I was in a wheelchair for a while. I used a walker. Um, I was in pretty bad shape. Now I am absolutely high functioning. Um, and I haven't been on an opioid since a dash, I want to say 2007 now. Um, so haven't taken a single one.
Uh, other than I think I, I think that while I had some surgery once they gave me some in the hospital without, without me even knowing it in my IV. But other than that, I'm fine. Um, uh, I do have the side effects and half into something like that, but, uh, now I'm able to do it with some, you know, there was some damage to my lungs and there was some damage, uh, to my thyroid from the treatment. And so those things unfortunately did not heal themselves all the way. So I still have to take some medicines for that.
That's an amazing success stories though. Are you essentially self taught? How did you develop your knowledge around this?
Well, that's a very good question. So when I first started this, there really was not a lot of information out there other than what didn't work. Uh, because you know, there were no studies out there of what was working. It was what would doesn't, other than with rare exception of a few here and there from, you know, ages ago, uh, like Michelle and from, you know, uh, you know, a couple of decades ago kind of thing. Um, so, uh, the very first thing I did was start going on forums. Now, this was before there was no Leafly. There was no, um, MJ magazine. There were nothing you had High Times, you know, with a bunch of naked women on the front with fig leaves or excuse me, pot leaves. And I mean that was about the extent of the thing. And I was only interested in the medical. So I started looking around through obviously the pub med and then laboriously, I mean, this is one instance where I'd have to say Wikipedia does a darn good job. If you look up the endocannabinoid system and then you click through and you read it and you click through every link, you're going to get a pretty good starter information on understanding the vocabulary of it in some of the mechanisms of action. Um, my background, I'm a process engineer and I was interested in figuring out dosing and that's been the part that I have always been focused on and still am. And that is solving the, the dosing questions so that this could be adopted as a full blown medicine into the medical community as a whole plant and not as an, uh, an isolet. So, um, I, from the very beginning, I started, uh, making it, weighing it, measuring it. We started lab testing at the very beginning of 2011, uh, back when, you know, there was really very little of that at the time, there wasn't even really any available.
We were testing with Halan labs at the time, which was a scientist out of a biochemist out of um, UC Davis was doing it. So, uh, we were early on on collecting the data and seeing what worked and what didn't and then we would track with, with the people using the oils what was working, what wasn't working and started building up the data that way and learning from it and making it self learning so that we see it keeps getting smarter and smarter. And then the more people that we started treating for various diseases, we were able to then take and start extrapolating from the data what the best possibility of profiles would be based upon the medicinal values of the different terpenes and also the different cannabinoids. And then started ramping on the dosing and then started collecting and correlating the day, the dose, the number of milligrams of the cannabinoid per how many times a day. And figuring that out and figuring out if that was based on body weight or age or demographic, whatever the other demographic information was. Um, and so, I mean we're still in a state of learning, but now we're doing trials to validate a lot of the studies. For example, I started Zelda Therapeutics, um, a few years ago and we're in phase two studies now on insomnia utilizing a formulation that I had created through Aunt Zelda's and I had and it loads of anecdotal information about what was working and what wasn't. And now we're taking that very impressive anecdotal data and validating through clinical trial.
So you're doing a ton of data analysis?
And there's a ton of data to be analyzed. So just a couple of things to try to pull the threads together. I mean when you talk about all the things that were wrong with you, with spinal meningitis and finding the right dose, finding that the correct terpenes, finding the correct medium, is it, is it smoking it as a taking it on an oil? There's, there's so many moving parts there. We've all heard about the homeostasis that occurs. When do you, when you balance out the endocannabinoid system, do we know how the healing happens or is it through that mechanism of balancing out your body?
So it's the endocannabinoid system. It's not that you're balancing out the endocannabinoid system. It's the endocannabinoid system's job to balance out the body.
So, which is a little different because it's, its role is to create homeostasis within the body. Or at least we believe that's what it is. Um, I don't know that anybody has actually definitively said that or if it's just a theory anymore than Ethan Russo's theory of endocannabinoid deficiency. I hear people talking about it as if it's a defacto thing and it's a theory. Um, there has been no measurement yet done on, on, you know, living people have, whether their endocannabinoid deficient and whether that's responsible for disease. Um, so we do know, uh, through, you know, just other, uh, other mechanisms, what the purposes are of different terpenes as far as their effect on you. For example, let's use linalool when a little is found in lavender. Lavender is used for relaxation and calm. Correct. And you know, anyone that goes for a massage, the pillow usually is sprayed with a light lavender essential oil or something. Um, so to calm you, they may have a diffuser in the room to calm you. And so having a, a cannabis based product that has linalool, it as an example is, you know, at any kinds of uh, uh, uh, above and nano, um, amount would have some sort of a calming effect. So you start adding and you start looking at the profile of these products, uh, after you get your lab results and you're able to determine from looking at them what the chances are of how the it's going to affect you. The other thing is at this point, um, you know, you look at the genetics and the insanity of the way that these names, the naming of these, these products or these, these, uh, cultivars makes no sense. So you have to look at the genetic lineage to find out if it comes from like an Afghani or if it comes from um, another one that's getting, either have a very somnolent or very uplifting effect. And based upon understanding that on the lab result, you can do a pretty good job of predicting how a person is going to respond to it.
Okay. Does that make sense? So you do have to look at the cultivar and who knows if sour diesel is going to do this or that. But once you know it's a genetic back onto the plant and you can begin to predict the effects, it might have,
Well, interesting that you should use sour diesel as an example. And the reason I say it's interesting is because it originates right here in Sonoma county where I am and if it, in fact you can look at a lab results and know if it's really sour diesel or if it's something else that they just put the sour diesel name on because they think it will sell better. Um, so that's part of it also is there is no um, requirement right now that the name actually matched the genetics of the plant. But let's say it is a sour diesel and let's say that with the lab results prove out that it is, if that is the case, then we can then look at that and say, okay, if this is a sour diesel and you have uh, you know, OCD or PTSD or you know, basically just, you know, you tend to run a little faster, a little ADHD, whatever then a ADHD or ADD, then it's probably going to be the perfect, uh, um, cultivar to help, uh, focus you. If you are somebody like me who doesn't have that, I use it and it makes me feel like I've taken speed. So on one group of people that's going to calm them down and another group of people, it's going to amp up. And you know that over time and through experience, which is why I always tell people to start very, very low and increase so that you don't have a bad experience. Because if it's not the right one for you, then go to something else. But you have loads of other options
And that complicates it a little because it is a personalized medicine and everybody may have a different reaction to different cultivars.
That is true, but I cannot stress enough the fact that all medicine is custom medicine and then people will have different effects and different responses. Um, it's, it's, you know, people say, Oh, this, you know, it can never be dosed because, you know, doctors won't know how much to give you, but anyone who's ever been on an SSRI or a pain medication or, um, a thyroid medicine or hormone replacement, all of those things can tell you that they have a medicine cabinet filled with ones that they bought that they tried once or twice or even for a week and they didn't work. And then the doctor put him on something else. The only difference is in this case, the doctor doesn't know how many drops are milligrams or, or, or grams for you to take of it. See the difference. But they, all medicine is bespoke medicine. Otherwise, we would only have one chemo drug, one painkiller, one SSRI, one thyroid, one hormone, you name it. We would only have one if it worked for everybody.
Yeah, that's a great distinction because people speak of cannabis as if it's the only herb, only medicine in which that's the case.
Right. It's just not, and because it's whole plant, if there's not, if I actually am a big proponent of whole plant, um, and if, if, because it's whole plant. It's not, you're not, you're going to get sick and, and puke long before you ever would have any kind of toxicity. Whereas if you're, when you're using isolates and things like that, then you have problems with the potential of overdose, et cetera. I don't know if people overdosed from, uh, when they were eating poppies when it was the full plant or if they, or if they got sick before they had a chance to overdose. But when it's synthesized, then you have problems.
So with an isolate, you might get too much of a, of a molecule that is mediated by other molecules.
Well, the thing you'll certainly wish you, you were dead. You probably won't still die, but you'll wish you did for a few hours anyway. Um, there aren't any a known receptors where let's, let's say there are no receptors that are just in the brainstem of their own to activate. However, we don't know what happens if there's a tumor or something in the brainstem, if there is in fact their proliferation of, of, um, cannabinoid receptors in us for us to target. So, uh, we still have a lot we need to learn.
Yeah. It's up to each person to, to approach this with an open mind and, and sort of experimentally, I'm going to try this. I'm going to test and learn this cultivar, this cultivar, this method.
Right. You know, when I first tried cannabis back in the early seventies, I hated it. I thought it was awful. I couldn't understand what the big to do was. It made me paranoid. It made me feel insecure. It made me feel, I mean, I just hated everything about it. And, you know, all the kids were all passing around joints from, you know, what we used to Mexican ditch weed, which is what we used to get back in Texas. And uh, I just thought it was awful and I tried it and you know, from time to time over the years, like probably a handful of times and 30 years and still didn't get what the whole big deal was. And then when I tried it for pain and I took like two puffs off, uh, uh, a woman I know she had, she was visiting me and she was, I was making her go out in the garage to smoke cause I didn't want that nasty thing in my house.
Um, the irony of that is unreal, but, um, I sent her out in the garage so you know, no one would know. And um, I went out there and I took uh two puffs off of her little pink pipe and, uh, uh, I was just furious because my pain, I was few thrilled, but my pain went away. But I was furious that nobody had told me that this was an option. So the next time I did it with her, I took a, we were just, we were talking and I wasn't paying attention and I took four and it was too much and it was that old horrible feeling I used to have. Um, and this time I said, okay, I am going to just pay attention to this and see if I can figure out what it is that people love about this so much because I'm still not getting it. And, but then I realized, and this was that Aha moment of clarity that shifted everything for me, that, that, that it was the medicine. It wasn't me. And as long as I focused on the feeling I was having that I didn't really like very much that too much psycho activity, not just a little to get rid of the pain, but to the point where I felt dissociative and I realized that that was about the medicine and that I was fine. And as soon as it wore off, I'd be back to me. It didn't bother me anymore. And it's never bothered me since,
That's a good trick. I think a lot of our listeners identify with that story are interested in, you know, taking the smallest dose and just seeing how it goes. We all remember being in college and getting too stoned or something and you know, as adults you have to be responsible and, but you get to a point where maybe you don't want to drink alcohol, maybe you need to relax, maybe you have pain, maybe you have insomnia, inflammation, so many things that this plant can address.
Right. You know, one of the saddest things for me, Tom, is when somebody says to me, Oh, I tried it and I didn't like it. Or oh, I tried it and it was awful. Or Oh, I tried it and it didn't work. Because if you've tried one, you've tried one and there are thousands of different options for you. Not only in the actual profile of the medicine itself, but in the delivery methodology in the, you know, whether it's a tincture or a sublingual olive oil or whether it's a gummy bear or whether you smoke it or whether you use it as a transdermal patch. There are so many different ways to, uh, use this same product or the same medicine in different types of products that, you know, maybe the sour diesel gummy bear wasn't right for you. But that doesn't mean that the granddaddy purple topical won't be. So people, I will, I would, you know, I would urge people to keep an open mind when they're set looking at products and one does not work well for them or it's not the profile they want or it's not the experience that they're looking for that they just marked down that they don't use that one again, but not automatically assume that if you've tried one, you've tried them all.
Right. You're a data scientist, so that's how you come at it and it does make sense. I've interviewed someone who makes, you know, journals, cannabis journals, where you can jot down exactly what the conditions were, what else might've been going on, how much you took and in what form is the Cultivar, all that stuff, which is definitely worth tracking.
You know, one of the things I think that's interesting that's come out of we the people is, um, you know, uh, anybody that knows me knows that. I mean, I, I would rather I'd rather educate than do just about anything in the world other than to, you know, be one on one talking to, uh, uh, the kids that I've helped to take care of. And the other, you know, people of all ages I'm going to have taking care of pregnant women and I've taken care of, you know, 98 year old, uh, uh, men and women as well. So, I mean, everything in between, um, is that they, there is a, the “Weed the People” showed how much people were depending on somebody in their kitchen, but the difference between what I was doing and your average person in their kitchen as I was applying science at the same time, you know, at the, you know, so that we were, we were starting it from that point, but I kept saying, I don't want this in my hands.
I want this in the hands of the medical community. It shouldn't be me. It should be science. It should be chemists and biologists and botanists and medical professionals all working to figure this out. And, uh, I think that we've done a pretty good job of getting that message across. And the film has certainly given us a larger audience to do that. I know that Ricki Lake was on the view, I believe last week or something recently. And Megan McCain, uh, mentioned how she had wished that her father had had access to this. And sadly I had reached out to him through a mutual, a friend and he didn't want anything to do with it. So, you know, there's a lot of things that this movie is going to do. A lot of hearts and minds are going to be open. We have a lot of work to do and you know, uh, destigmatizing, uh, especially those people who grew up yeah. During D.A.R.E. And grew up during the whole prohibitionist, uh, propaganda since the 1930s
Almost a hundred years of propaganda to, to overcome. I saw some feature, some stats last week that said, the millennials are more in favor of legalization than baby boomers, which surprised me a little bit. I guess when there's a concerted effort to put out that much misinformation over the many decades, it's going to take a while to overturn people's opinions.
I mean, I just think of the frying pan. You know what the egg, this is your brain on drugs. Well, you know what? It's not true. It's just not true. This is my brain when I don't have it in a way to get out of, out of, out of pain, or this is my brain when I'm having an anxiety attack. Or this is my brain when I'm have, when I'm absolutely freaking out and then let me put something in there to help calm it all down. And that's cannabis, right? So, you know, when they did the fry the egg like that, if they had then, you know, put a lid on it, that would have been the lid. They should've been added a lid anyway to update myself.
And when you filmed this six years ago, it was a different landscape in terms of how many states were legal and the whole underground nature of it. I mean, it's slowly coming above ground and as you said, it's going to take a lot of work. But what excites you about where we're at today?
Well, one of the things, interestingly enough that I'm excited about is the Farm Bill. I'm excited about the fact that, uh, that people are having access to hemp based products, um, in parts of the country and parts of the world where, uh, they're still, for whatever reason, this, you know, this silly fear against actually having a feeling from THC. Um, so I'm excited about the transformation and the cultivars that I've seen over the last probably five years. Well not even then, let's say maybe three years. Uh, when I first was in this and people would talk about hemp versus cannabis as far as, you know, sourcing for medicine. Most of the hemp you saw, you know, there may have been 5% CBD in it and then a whole bunch of cellulose and other junk. Now they're creating these much more robust profiles that they've developed, you know, through reading programs so that they have these cultivars that are, that can be grown as row crops to be able to get products into the mainstream. And I think what that's going to do is I think that's going to free up the licensed channels, which is like where I am, um, for, uh, focusing more on the higher, um, on some of the other cannabinoids like the higher THC and THC-V and CBG and CBGA in, in the raw cannabinoids that we can work with. I'm very excited about the fact that there's a lot more groups that are coming out with a new ways of delivering the medicine. For example, I had a call a little while ago with a company that's doing a, a nano encapsulation. Uh, they're using a non synthetic emulsifier so that it actually does stay blended. And, uh, this is good for Earl for a very, very fast onset. Um, for example, if you have somebody who's in severe chronic pain, uh, and they're, you know, and they're not able to get it under control or they have an instance that makes it to where it's, you know, uh, they're in crisis, they can use something that has a, you know, 30 second to 15 minute onset.
Um, and then at the same time take something that has a slower build, you know, more of like an hour to take effect. And then that has a, you know, six to eight hour timeframe for giving them release. So it's the, it's the myriad of products that are out there. It's not just, you know, when I first started this, the only reason I started doing any of this is because there was nothing out there. I went to a dispensary and it was the big, huge, beautiful, fancy dispensary and they had a lot of flower and they had, um, Rice Krispie treats and brownies and caramel corn. And I think that's about all they had. Now you can get these really well dosed products. Um, I'm working with a company called, uh, Gabby where we're offering all the way full spectrum across from him better, you know, from wellness products, healthy foods, wellness products with low dose of, of hemp based, uh, uh, for the conventional marketplace so that somebody can go into, uh, their supermarket potentially and buy it and be able to know that it's also well made and lab tested. And then continuing of course, doing all of our research and our products on our Aunt Zelda side of things. So I'm just excited about being able to get this to be in everybody's medicine cabinet, whether they're in a legal state or not.
And we should say, the most exciting news that you have came today?
Yes, yes. So, um, we have been in uh under, we have been operating in the state of California and Sonoma counties since, uh, January. Um, let's see, it was January of 2018, uh, going to back to 2017 when it was issued under prop 64. We've been operating under something called a penalty relief and that was they, they had a program for companies such as mine. We were a mutual benefit nonprofit corporation that had been in compliance with the compassionate use act. Uh, those of us that were operating, you know, as good players and paying taxes and paying taxes on our employees and workman's comp and not being an illegal facilities and things like that. We were able to continue operating while the state figured out the licensing process. Well, it has been a nightmare in California because, uh, we were all given like three months, a temporary under penalty relief and that has been renewed a over and over and over again with a notice going out in January. I believe it was uh saying, there will be no more renewals. So we're all looking around going in three months, we're all going to be out of business or we're going to be black market we'll be, we'll not, we won't operate as black market, but we will no longer be a legally compliant company. Well today was my hearing, um, and Sonoma County and we were issued our five year uh use permit to continue to operate as a cannabis business as a type six manufacturer in Sonoma County. And so now the state will just uh stamp that and we will have our full license.
Talk about a relief. I mean, what a weight off your shoulders.
What I mean, because we're a manufacturer. Um, it's not like, you know, we're just got a bunch of people sitting there with scissors, trimming bud, you know, we have a huge capital expenditures for equipment and security and all sorts of things and the amount of money that we've been spending and uh reticent to spend on faith that we would get the license now that's removed and now we can just, you know, full steam ahead.
That's a lot of stress to get all your financing and get your equipment and not know if you're going to be licensed.
Right. It's crazy. Exactly, exactly. It's like, it's like planning a wedding and setting the date and having, you know, the cake and the orchestra and the flowers and the dress and the and everything and then not knowing if you've met your soulmate yet, hoping that by that date you've got someone to marry.
Well, congratulations on getting licensed. And then what does that mean for consumers in California? Can they look for, are we talking about Aunt Zelda's that they can find in their dispensary or
They've already been, well the, the outcome was we will now be now we'll see. We'll keep expanding. Um, Aunt Zelda's has been available a nonstop. We not stopped having that be the case. Um, uh, our websites, we had some, uh, somebody that did a malicious redirect yesterday, so unfortunate, I hope it's back up today. Uh, but, uh, we were already available in a numb- through a number of dispensaries and delivery services up in northern California. But, uh, we also are available statewide in California through True Pharma's website. You can, um, you can go to True Pharma and you can see what they have in inventory. You can go to Aunt Zelda's website under products and it'll show you where things are. And if you have a place that you need to have it that's closer to you, um, and you don't want delivery, you know, ask your dispensary, uh, to start carrying it it, cause we're really ramping it up.
So what sort of menu of products do you have? You know, say you have a person of a certain age who has a certain kind of cancer, how do, how do you know what to select?
Uh, well, that's a very good question. If somebody has a very serious disease like cancer, we usually recommend that they have a consult with a doctor and they do it under medical or a or a nurse and do it under medical supervision. Uh, because you don't want to, you want to also be careful of things like potential interactions with some of your pharmaceuticals, um, on timing, especially if you have things like people that are taking immunotherapy drugs and all that. More and more you have people that are using immunotherapies to fight cancers and we just do not have enough information yet to know how they interact. So we have a very specific way in the way that we recommend that a person take their cannabis based medicines along with immunotherapies. Having said that though, um, you know, cannabis is a very forgiving medicine. Even if you take it wrong, it can still be helpful because there is no such thing as wrong.
It's just not as right. Um, you take uh, somebody who is of a certain age and you know, I'm going to say a certain age somewhere up in there in like in their sixties, and they have uh, let's say they have stage two ERPR positive breast cancer. Let's just put it like right there. I would start that person on probably a one to one, uh, um, uh, formulation. And based upon what their, uh, previous cannabis experiences, I would start titrating them up, um, pretty quickly. Cause anytime you've got someone with cancer, you don't want to take your time, you want to go as fast as you possibly can without making the person miserable and keep going until they're body was not able to any longer acclimate to it. And then you back off to the previous place where you could acclimate. But somebody in their sixties with stage two that has, you know, has some experience and is not an, you know, not inverse or are frightened by it. Um, you know, they may end up in a hundred milligrams of cannabinoids of each, uh, or they may or they may get to 50 and not be able to go any further or they may go to 500 stay, I'm fine. Um, but a one to one is going to be really helpful for that. Yeah.
And you're talking CBD to THC.
Well actually I'm always talking THC to CBD, but I always put THC first and CBD is second because that's the way it appears on lab results. And so that's the way I always do it on the labeling as well. But yes, I am talking about one to one of the major cannabinoids. Um, in that case, um, and, and you know, you, you're not going to go wrong. I would have you do, you know, often in what I had with the kids like you see in the film is these kids are using the extract, uh, which is highly concentrated in some cases are our extracts are in excess of 800 milligrams of primary cannabinoid in a gram of oil. Um, but if you have somebody who's got whose daily dose is, uh, you know, they take 300 milligrams twice a day or something crazy like that or 300 milligrams of THC and 200 milligrams of CBD or a hundred 50th CBD is something like that that, and if you're taking something that's got 10 milligrams per milliliter in it, that's a heck of a lot of oil. So you don't want somebody having to take so much olive oil or so much volume. So by having it in the extract, we're able to get a high level of concentration in a much smaller dose. So somebody could take a very small volume of medicine, you know, put it on a piece of rice paper, stick it under your tongue or between your cheek and your gum and let it dissolve. And that's how the higher dose patients tend to take it. Okay.
Okay. What you were talking about earlier with some of the nano formulation. So does that give you the option of delivering a higher dose in a smaller package?
You know, that's a very, very good question. And I'm not sure yet. And I'm not sure, frankly, that if I was, uh, if, uh, somebody my own personal loved one or somebody I loved, and I, and I would say the same thing to obviously to anybody since I'm saying it on the radio, so to speak, but, um, I would not use those products, uh, for cancer treatments. Um, I would use those products for, um, things like, you know, pain, nausea, anxiety, uh, maybe sleep, maybe recreational, that sort of thing. But when you're starting to, when you're trying to treat a systemic disease, you don't want to mess around. Um, and not only that, you want something that's going to be, um, in effect with a blood level consistently within your body. So you're going to want something that, the same reason I don't recommend smoking if you are treating cancer, because yes, smoking has the highest bioavailability, but it has the shortest time frame. So you want him to have something that's in the blood consistent over hours and hours and hours. And so I would use, um, some of the other, now I have to see the PK studies and I have to see some of the, uh, uh, bioavailability studies on some these nano, uh, encapsulation. Uh, I hear, I mean it's, you know, a few years ago it was CBD, CBD, CBD and then it was CBG everything. And now those THC-V everything. And now this is the new buzz thing, you know, and transdermal where the bus, everything is like a cyclical buzz, whatever products or you know, rushing to get to market with everybody with their patents and there, you know, and what they do is better and different than everybody else. But I, you know, I take a scientific approach to it. Data driven and I need to see the studies, I need to see the science and then I need to see it double blind tested in humans.
That make sense? Has “Weed the People” open doors for you? Are you getting calls? Has, has it increased your fame?
Well, um, it has, it increased my fame? One of the things that's interesting about it is I would have to say yes, um from the standpoint that, um, uh, as more and more people see it, people are like, uh, you know, I have been recognized a few times, which is kind of an interesting thing. I got on, uh, uh, not too long ago, I got on the, uh, airport, uh, airporter express to go from Sonoma County to uh San Francisco airport and a woman, uh, went to pay the guy and she turned around and she noticed I was in the seat behind her. And of course that was the end of the trip. I heard, I had talked to me the whole time, which is fine because she was telling me about her health and her issues and all, and I'm always happy to, you know, be of service where I can, but, you know, that was kind of a weird experience for me because I'm basically, well, I am, I'm an introvert who puts on a facade in order to educate and go out and be in public. So it's not my, I wasn't looking for fame, you know. Um, has it opened doors? What it has done is it has opened eyes and hearts of people who may in the past have dismissed me. Uh, I remember going to a, an investor, uh, conference that I don't normally go to those things. But I've been asked to come, uh, because they wanted me to be talking about methods of extraction and, uh, just, you know, as an educational panel. And there was a gentleman there that I have seen, Gosh, a dozen times or more, we've sat, you know, five feet from each other kind of thing over the years. And He, his eyes would glaze over past me as if I didn't even exist. And all of a sudden he's my best friend, you know, it's like, oh, Mara, you know. And then other people have said to me, you know, I always knew you were a badass, but now I really know you are.
So, you know, things like that. I think that it also gives a little bit more street credit to the fact that not, um, I've been in this business a long time, but I am not like I'm, I'm not a hippy dippy. And I think that people understand that I have the street credit of the fact that I, I, I learned it all and I came up learning it all through, um, you know, self taught through, you know, self sacrifice and all the things that those of us that worked under the compassionate use act did. And then the fact that I've made it through legalization, especially now that I actually, today I'm officially made it through. Um, uh, I think it surprised people because I'm not some corporate person with a marketing background who is white-labeling somebody other's product. Uh, so they see that we're the real deal. Um, I think that once it's on Netflix that it's going to get, cause it's on iTunes and Google play and I dunno, um, uh, Amazon and some other ways you can get it now. But I think when that goes on Netflix, I think that's going to be the big, uh, the big game changer as far as how many people will see it.
Well, yeah, I think it is on Amazon Plus, I've been telling people to watch it there and it certainly deserves a wide audience. And I think the scene you were describing there, there was a scene, something like that towards the end of the film where there was a conference and uh, yeah, all of a sudden there's people who see the money to be made here are gravitating towards it. But you've had the singular focus for a long time just on the healing potential of this and, and letting the world though and using the mind of a data scientist to, um, put together the right formulations like we talked about in the beginning. There's, there's a lot of data to be sorted here. So you're exactly the right person to to, to bring that focus.
Well, thank you for saying that. That means a lot to me because you know, it's what I've seen so much in this, in the evolution of this space. And I think that it's some of that scene in the film unfortunately is, you know, there's nothing wrong with making money at this if in fact when I see people posting on, you know, all sorts of social media and whatnot, and they'll, and they'll say things like, oh, it all should be free and everybody should have access. And I'm like, okay, great. So I'm spending $1 million on equipment to be able to make this doing all the things that I have to do, jumping through all the hoops, millions of dollars in things to be compliant and get this done. And then I'm supposed to give it all away. Okay. I could, if I had $1 million, I could do that once. But what are you going to do for your second round of medicine?
You know, this is how the world works and it's how pharmacology works. You, you have to have capital. And like you said, there's nothing wrong with making money. That's what motivates people to change the world.
Exactly. And it's like, it's not my personal motivation, but if I'm not able to be self-sustaining, then I would be, I'd have all the great intentions in the world and no ability to carry them out. On the other hand, it's the people that I have a hard time with are the ones who really have no, um, nothing unique or, uh, that they're bringing to it other than a fancy label and marketing piece and uh deep pockets. So, you know, you go to the average event and you walk around and you go from booth to booth and you ask the most people what their backgrounds are and far too many of them have marketing backgrounds and far too few of them have science or engineering or data backgrounds.
I hear you. And I'm, I'm a marketer so…
Well, you understand what I mean then. You might have the most beautiful label in the world, the gorgeous, you know, and then what's inside the products though
Right. It needs to be tested. You need to have a clean product. All the things that we've talked about that can help solve problems have to come first.
Exactly. And there's a place for, you know, I actually, I'd give, I gave this talk a couple of times once in Columbia and once it at a YPO event on, um, you know, all the different entry points to this industry that there are, whether it's through legal or accounting or marketing or branding or PR or farming or lab testing or packaging or transportation and on and on and on. There's like no part of the economy that cannot be done. Whether you're even a teacher that could be done through the cannabis space. So stay in your lane.
Stay in your lane, bro.
And you know what I mean? Just stay in your lane. Yeah. I mean, you can be in this space, but do it with what you knew, know. You know, you don't, you know, everybody, you know, every athlete I talked to has a product, you know, and every, uh, every, you know, sick child's parent thinks that they're a, you know, a cannabis expert. It's like, come on, stay in your lane
There's room on the bandwagon, but at least know a little bit about what you're talking about. And there's, there's plenty of room for everybody to jump on.
Well, Mara, I want to thank you for taking the time on a momentous day for you. Congratulations again on, on getting licensed and tell us where we can find you online besides watching the movie.
Okay. I'm going to actually, I'm going to go on my computer right here and see if we're still down before I okay. With auntzeldas.org is the website and I think it might still be down, so please give it another chance if it's down today. Yeah, it's, we're having problems, uh, on this redirect there. There are server people are working as fast as they can to get it back up. We took everything down so that nothing would get, uh, uh, destroyed. Of course, all of our data is on its own server sitting in a box in a, you know, under lock and key and guard.
Did you say- was there a, was there a malicious attack? You said somebody came after you?
It's called a malicious redirect. Um, and it's like you would go to us and it would take you somewhere else. So it actually wasn't going into our site. Uh, fortunately everything was safe on ours and backed up and, and, and secured. It's just, we're having a little bit of, you know, all the little troubles getting it back up again. But auntzeldas.org you can also, in the meantime, if anybody would want to reach out to us, they can write us too at Info at firstname.lastname@example.org send us an email and we'll be happy to help you out that way because of course our email servers are all still up sells.
Well, thank you so much.
You've been listening to, “Let's Talk About Weed” the Kannaboomers podcasts with Thomas J. For more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomers.com
Do you like cannabis? Cocktails too? Then you're going to love this episode, with culinary cannabis expert Warren Bobrow, also known as The Cocktail Whisperer. Author of six books, including Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics, Warren is a trained chef who brings his considerable curiosity and professional palate to the question of how to make THC tasty and drinkable. Whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, you'll find that sipping your cannabis might be a great option for you.
Hey it's Tom bringing you another episode of the Kannaboomers podcast. Delighted this week to have Warren Bobrow on the show. Warren has written six books. The most recent one was “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics” all about how to infuse your cocktails with a little bit of THC and uh, we talk a lot about dosing flavor, all of the things that you have to know if you're going to go this route. And Warren has an encyclopedic knowledge of this stuff. He was a trained chef and got into using THC in his cocktails as treatment for his own glaucoma. So he knows it as a medicine and he appreciates all the effects that cannabis brings and I'm happy to have them on the show. As always, thanks to Danny in Milwaukee for making us sound good. Enjoy the show
This is, “Let's talk about Weed” the Kannaboomrs podcast, CBD micro dosing and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.
We're here with Warren, Bobrow. That's quite a niche you've carved for yourself. Do you have six books on cocktails?
I do have six books, and one of them is in French.
How did you get into this speciality?
I had a dream, uh, originally, initially, maybe not completely originally, initially, but my second career as opposed to my first career. I had it in my mind that I wanted to become a chef and I had a newly minted degree in film from Emerson, but I really didn't do so well on the television or the film industry. So I became a dishwasher that I worked my way up the the ladder and became a certified chef. But, uh, it was my passion and that was what I wanted to be doing. Unfortunately, it wasn't a big money maker because this was back in the 1980s and there wasn't a whole lot going on in the culinary arts that it was just waking up at that time.
It's almost the Anthony Bourdain route.
Uh, after, well, he's a little older than I, but for very much the same route. Whereas he worked in New York City. I was doing my, my stint as a pot scrubber dishwasher up in Maine because I had fallen for a girl up there and I was living up there and I really liked it and it was nice place to live and there weren't a whole lot of tourists like there are now. And it was just a good place to learn how to be a cook, but, uh, it wasn't a good place to be poor. And as I, as I learned that if you wanted to go further and almost any career that you want to go into, you have to have the right education. And I did not. So I was struggling and I took a job down in Charleston, South Carolina, which was a certainly a nice warm environment down there. And uh, got into Johnson and Wales for culinary school and uh, and did that for a couple of years and I founded a fresh pasta business down there and lost it in Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989.
I borrowed money from my father and grandfather, uh, who were living at the time, and it took me 20 years to pay them off. I got a job working in a bank. Well, again, starting at the bottom, worked my way up, but I started as a teller and I ended as an executive assistant to C level and above in private banking.
You know the restaurant industry, the food service industry and you know, banking and you know,
I know film. My, you know, I worked in motion pictures and television.
You have a, a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Uh, I'm, I'm an excellent failure.
Well, fail forward, right? I mean, that's the…
Yes that's what I do and it's, it hasn't come without its struggles. I went bankrupt. There was a divorce. I lost my house, I lost my car. Um, I was disowned. What else is there in life?
So you found some passion and I dunno if solace, but some expertise in crafting cocktails.
Oh, absolutely. I'm a master mixologist in cocktails, but my true expertise is crafting THC infused cocktails.
Now that's really interesting because, um, it's just emerging now. I mean, and I imagine it takes a lot of experimentation to figure out what works.
Tom, what it takes is a lot of overdosing. That's what it takes. And, and I figured it out through the overdosing in it and it's not overdosing. Like, you know, taking uh, you know, a massive dose of LSD or mushrooms and, and being destroyed for, for the rest of your life. This isn't like that this is your body reacts, your gut reacts differently to, to edibles then than other food stuffs, it passes through your liver differently, like some people get sick and I got sick probably more than others and I figured out that if you take a little bit of a fresh lemon juice and some, uh, peppercorns together, it eliminates that problem.
You know, I've had edibles and they, we all know they can sneak up on you. I mean the Marine Dowd story, when she was curled up in the closet and Colorado, you can easily take too much.
You can, and I see, see, I wrote my book, cannabis cocktails, not for recreational users who are looking to get high quick. I was looking for someone like myself who has some sort of affliction. I mean, I hate the word affliction. It sounds like there's something wrong with me. But, uh, I, the one thing I did inherit from my late father was his, his eyes and he had glaucoma. And so do I. So I found that, uh, the cannabis through my ophthalmologists, cannabis works to reduce the intraocular pressure behind my eyes. And therefore, when you smoke cannabis or eat cannabis, as I've found out, uh, it reduces the pressure. And I wasn't, I'm not gobbling down a bottle of Advil every month because I had headaches all the time. So what I found is that when you smoke a joint in public, everyone knows your business. And that's not necessarily a good thing in a state like New Jersey where I live, where cannabis, although used widely, is still illegal. So you can get a the wrong idea, if you will, from members of the local constabulary. Even though I have a cannabis card and they're supposed to leave me alone. Still it's, it's the dialogue that you would have through getting caught smoking weed in public that I just don't want to go through again. So I, uh, I derived a way of inserting, if you will, THC into craft spirits and also in mocktails and a, the stuff hits in about five minutes or less. It's And because I've using what's called, um, doing a technique called “decarbing” and through decarboning you were releasing the THC-A from THC and THC is the stuff that gives us that euphoric feeling that we're looking for. And so the, the, the idea of cocktails was something that came very easily to me. And I know that cocktails are a very social adventure. And when you sit down with someone, you, you often say, hey, let's go out for a drink before you say, hey, let's go out and smoke a joint. So I figured out a way of putting that THC into your craft drink that hits amazingly well. It's a predictable high. It can be strong. It could have been medium, it could be weak. It's kind of like a eating Thai food if you will. And when you go out for Thai food, you wouldn't necessarily get it Thai spicy the first time around. I recommend a very small amount of THC in the drink. But if you're doing it for medicinal purposes like I was, you might want something that's a little bit stronger.
Right? Thai food, you tell him I want a three or a four or some people want an at 10.
Yeah. But I'm not one of them.
Me neither. I'm about a three usually. Do you talk to people about or do you instruct in your books? How did “de-carb” is that part of what you do?
Yes. I teach, I teach how to do it through, uh, the method of doing it in the oven in my book “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics” and that's not necessarily the best way. In fact, it's probably the worst way because most ovens are not calibrated as I found. Uh, the temperature that you're looking for is about 240 degrees and it should be an even temperature, not 240 one minute and 290. The next you find that you burn off the cannabinoids that are the health giving items in the, uh, in the cannabis and also the stuff that gets you stoned. So a, you don't want to heat it too high. So as I found that when you use an oven or, God forbid, use a microwave oven, which I explained how to do and you can do it with a microwave, but it's problematic as I learned because not every microwave is again, calibrated. Sometimes some are 900 degrees, some are 700 degrees and you can fry it up. But, uh, I learned by doing and that's, you know, part of the fun of being a trained chef is the fact that you don't always do things right and when you do things the improper way, that's how you learn. And I try to take away some of that mystery of learning in the book, cannabis cocktails, mocktails and tonics by making the mistakes for the reader. The reader doesn't have to make those mistakes because I explained it all.
So it's a, it's a test and learn thing and you are passing on your learnings. When you de-carb, you've got some flower and it sounds like essentially you're baking it?
Yeah. At a low temperature. It's not, you know, it's just over boiling, like, so it's a boiling is what, 212, you know, 240 degrees is kind of like a low simmer. So it's, it's toasting it if you will. It's not, it's not like putting your cannabis in a toaster oven. I did that too. And, and that was especially problematic, these, that really cycles in temperature.
Hmm. So then are you straining the resins or how do you, do you put the flower right into the cocktail or what's the last leg?
That's a great question because what I teach you to do is to infuse it into the craft spirits or into a simple syrup or into raw honey or into a condensed milk or heavy cream or even a Belgian Creek Lembeck. You know, a Belgian cherry beer. So I utilize a piece of equipment, uh, and I talked about it in the book very, very briefly because I had just gotten one for the first time and it's called the magical butter machine. And I really liked it at first and I still use it, but it doesn't give me the results that are really looking for and that I'm getting from the Livo oil machine. So I've been experimenting with, with technology a little bit, but in the book I teach you how to do all the infusions with double boilers. And the reason why that's important is because I teach you to, to extract the THC in a method which is very similar to becoming a saucier, which is my, my training in the culinary arts.
So I want to teach you how to take the flavors out of it, not necessarily the terpenes and not necessarily the flavors. But I guess when I'm trying to say is you want to take the flavors of the cannabis, the, the earthiness, the spiciness, the skunky-ness, the diesel fuel-ness, and you want to put those flavors into the craft spirits. But the craft spirits should, they should match those flavors. So you have to be very cultivar sensitive or strain sensitive because not every strain goes with every type of craft spirit as you will learn. So gin goes with certain types of strains and bourbon go with others and rye goes with others and mezcal with others and it takes, you know, a little bit of experimentation to find those things. But fortunately in my recipes, I make recommendations right there and they're pretty much pretty easily found strains. I mean, I, I found what I could and here in New Jersey, but I imagine if you lived in Maine or Massachusetts or California or Rhode Island or any of the places where there's legal cannabis, you'd probably do better.
So you've got a great background for this, having a chef's training and you have the palette. I mean, you know about sweet and sour and umami. I guess there's a lot that goes into this when you are considering what the cannabis tastes like. And like you said, there's different cultivars and not just the taste, but also the effect.
Yeah, it is the effect and the effect can be quite striking. As I learned, uh, two weeks ago I did a, uh, I was on the “‘Viceland” live television show and, they asked me to make CBD cocktails thinking that they were going to have a THC effect. And I, they asked me, they said, why don't we, why don't we feel anything? And I said, because there's nothing in there for you to feel anything. And that's the misconception when you have these bartenders all over the country and there were becoming superstars by using CBD and basically it's snake oil because to have any sort of health giving properties and CBD, it's negated by the alcohol. I mean that's just, just basic science. And then the other thing that I think is so funny is they say, well, you know, you take a couple of drops and you'll feel nice and relaxed. Well since there's no THC, there's no relaxation, there's no euphoria. The the properties are strictly health giving. But in order to get those health giving properties, you have to put literally 20 drops in a cocktail. It would be a hundred dollar cocktail. That stuff's expensive. Good, really good quality, full spectrum hemp derived CBD oil is 2 -300 dollars for a little tiny vial and it would be financially impractical to use it in craft cocktails the way it's supposed to be used.
Well, and you're, and you just said that the CBD effects are negated by the alcohol.
Of course they are.
What would the point be of CBD cocktails? Besides a marketing device.
But you know it's the same thing because I come out of classical liquor and I would tell you I didn't represent any mezcal companies. But if you see a worm and a bottle of mezcal pass, because that doesn't exist. That's something is created on Madison Avenue that doesn't exist in Mexico. There's no worms in the mezcal. It would be dirty. They're incredibly clean people that you know, the, the processes is sparkling clean. Even though it's ancient, it's still, you don't want to be adding worms to it. And this, same thing with, with CBD and in cocktails. I mean, why would you put CBD in a cocktail? I mean, I can't, I just don't get it. And other than the fact that it's a massive moneymaker, if you have a cocktail that normally costs 7 and you're charging 15 for two drops of CBD oil and it, you're making money, I want to know how that's done, but I'm here to call you out for doing it unless you're using something which I have a, you know, a philosophical difficulty with, and that's what they call, you know, hemp vodka, where they have, you know, pictures of cannabis leaves on the label.
And the anticipation is that through drinking this hemp infused vodka, you're going to get stoned. You know, I was at the Vegas bars show last year and the representatives from that company were there and I looked to them and I said, what are you doing? You know, you're sending a terrible example. People think that they're going to drink this vodka and they're going to get stoned on it. And nothing could be further from the truth, but it's permitted and that's allowed. So it's a moneymaker. And the same thing. You know, I'm a rum judge and I judged these rum events all over the country and I get these rums in front of me that are, you know, they add a ton of extra sugar, like a, there's big company called plantation. They, you know, not all their rums they add sugar to, but most of them they add sugar to. And I think it's unfair to the consumer because there's no rules in rum as there's no rules in weed. You know, no one's getting into trouble for putting a cannabis leaf on a, uh, on a bottle of hemp vodka, just like no one's getting into trouble for saying that they're, you know, cannabis has 29% THC when really it tests out to be 14. No one, there's no rules.
There was a story last month about a bunch of CBD products that had no CBD in them.
Well yeah, I mean, but since there's no, there's no governing body to determine, to make any, any rules, as I said, no rules. So, uh, you know, I'm not surprised to hear that. I think a lot of the hemp CBD oil that comes from it comes from China contaminated with heavy metals, not tripled, tested or quadrupled tested as is the recommendation here in the United States. Not saying that everyone is a bad player. Um, I would absolutely not say that everyone is a bad player, but there are a lot of bad players out there. I know there are a lot of bad players out there. When I started getting the spam emails about CBD curing cancer on my, uh, you know, every morning I would get a hundred emails, CBD cures, cancer, CBD cures, cancer. It's like, come on, you're not going to sell it to me. I'm not going to open that, you know, attachment. I'm not going to click on anything. But you know when, when the spammers are sending that stuff out, it's truly reached its snake oil capacity.
Yeah. I mean the pendulum has swung for 70-100 years. There was the, the propaganda that this is a bad plant and now we know there's science that says this is a medicinal plant with many amazing properties. Right. But yeah, it's swung so far in the other direction that now it's a miracle panacea. You know, we have to kind of police ourselves that, you know, I noticed too last week the US hemp authority has a certification program. So the industry has to police itself.
Of course it does. But yeah, you have to want to police themselves because there's no, no governmental oversight in this. It's not like the FTC and I have a very personal experience in this and I want to share that with you and share it with the reader, with their listeners as well. Um, my grandfather was in the patent pharmaceutical business and he manufactured over the counter pharmaceuticals that were sold all over the world and it made him a very wealthy man. And through his, one of his products, he gathered the attention of the federal trade commission as well as the FDA, which was a flexing their, uh, their newly found power. And his product was a product that was a vitamin tonic that, that people took twice, maybe three times a day, because they felt that they had something called iron poor anemia, where iron, you know, poor iron in their blood and it's something that no one has, but you know, but the American consumer is essentially stupid, so you could tell them anything.
And my grandfather developed a product, he didn't develop it, but he sold a product, manufactured a product named Geritol.
Geritol, yeah everybody…
Geritol did absolutely nothing and it, and I'm the eldest grandson of him, so none, none of my illustrious family members that never succeed at anything, you know, really. So I look at that with a lot of disdain because I say, although it, uh, it, it afforded me a wonderful upbringing. It is based on a lie because Geritol did everything but cure the disease that they said people had because really the essential ingredients in the product, were three ingredients, which said to me, whiskey and not even good whiskey. Uh, it was ethyl alcohol, caramel coloring, sugar and flavors. So four ingredients and that's, that's all it had. I mean, it didn't really have any anything else. It was only until after the FTC fined, uh, my grandfather's company, some obscene amount of money.
I mean the largest, uh, it was the largest case of false advertising in the United States history. And it was my grandfather. It totally changed the, the family diametric I'm sure it killed my grandmother. It was just all sorts of of badness. And, uh, so I, I look at snake oil and I look at CBD in the same light. Why would I, who writes for Forbes, who writes about THC? We'd go out on a limb and say that any CBD does anything. How could I possibly do that? Have I not learned anything from my own family experience?
Are you saying, you said the alcohol negates, the effects of it. And you know, CBD, as far as I know, is it's anti inflammatory, antispasmodic antioxidant. There's, there's all these properties that are supposed to be medicinal. The alcohol chemically change that the way that the cannabidiol, hooks up with the CBB receptors?
No, you know what, I'm not, I'm not a scientist. I know what? Cannabis, what THC does when it hits alcohol it goes into a beautiful suspension. And it's the way we used to preserve things in the days before, uh, before refrigeration took over. But, uh, with CBD it does the absolute opposite and I, I can't explain it but I, I will tell you that I did a, an event out in California in Humboldt County and they asked me to make CBD cocktails. And you could not tell the difference in flavor between the CBD ones and the ones that were virgin with nothing. You know, no CBD, no THC, no nothing. And the, and I just knew at that moment through my, you know, building that drink that the alcohol in the drink negated the CBD. There was no, I didn't even have any feeling of relaxation. Like people say, oh, it relaxes you.
You feel peaceful and calm. I was like, you know, B.S. nothing, no feeling at all. Just a panacea. It was true. It was truly like, you know, when you do a drug for a drug trial, there are certain, certain drugs that don't have anything in them it doesn't have the drug in them. And that's basically what it was. The the ones, the drinks that I put CBD in as opposed to the ones that I didn't, you couldn't tell the difference. It was not like bitters, it was not like adding THC where you can really taste the terpenes where you can really taste the spiciness, the earthiness of the strains. And so I have a, an intro difficulty working with CBD because I feel like I'm lying to people and I don't want to.
Well, and just to be clear, that's within the context of mixing it with alcohol. You're not saying it's going to be the alone is useless.
No, no, no. I'm not saying CBD alone is useless. I would because I, I'll tell you, I working as a bartender, I severed the meniscus in my right knee and the only thing that gives me relief as CBD cream, but I will tell you that, that it's like putting salonpas times 10 into my knee and I'm able to move and walk and, and not limp.
I've got similar experience myself. The balms are amazing.
They're amazing. And the best ones are the ones that are derived from THC, the, this, the lows, the high CBD strains that are derived from, from, you know, from, from the cannabis plant, not from the hemp plant, both marijuana, both, you know, both whatever, but there, but one has no THC. One has, uh, a little bit of THC. I find the ones that have THC in the work better.
I believe it. There's a medicinal effect and there's also a recreational effect. Well, I love the recreational effects. I love, and I'll, and I'll tell you why I love it because as I said, I used to work in the liquor industry. Our country was built on intoxication. There's nothing wrong with intoxication. Um, I do believe in something that we, because I have a servsafe license, so would always say responsible drinking. I believe it applies to cannabis use, responsible cannabis use. You know, I think I bought my first, I got my first bong probably like four months ago or three months ago ever. I never owned one before. Someone sent me a one for, for review. I've used it like three times. So I'm, I'm very much old school. I like smoking a joint and I like smoking, you know, cannabis out of a pipe. Um, but as far as sitting down and, and dabbing or any of that stuff, it's just way beyond me.
But I, I think it's, it's really important to have that technique, the ability of not antagonizing people. And that's a very important thing to know about me as a man as opposed to me as an author. Um, first wife and I are having dinner in New York City. I went outside as well as my practice to maybe smoke a little weed before dinner. Instead of having a cocktail. I went outside, lit up and was promptly arrested and thrown into jail for 48 hours. They sent me, they took me on the tour of New York City jails from the tombs all the way out to Rikers Island for less pot than, uh, than would fit on my pinky. And I have tiny hands. And it's really, really, it was so disappointing. I, I was entered into the system for something which should not be a crime. And although I was never charged with a crime and now I don't have a record, still the experience of being in handcuffs for 10 hours, it was not something that I, that I relish. And you know, rich kids shouldn't get arrested for weed, but they do. So, uh, that's something that happened. And so that's why I wrote cannabis cocktails. I didn't write it to give someone a brand new way of, of imbibing, you know, THC, what I did is created a brand new way of imbibing THC that won't get you arrested.
You can be undercover and subtle and the undetectable.
Undetectable, uh, and social cause you determine how much, you know, Yahya is in there. You determined that, you know, you may not go out and put an ounce of a, you know, 28 grams of, of a, of 30% THC. Uh, you know, cannabis into a bottle of liquor. You'd be totally destroyed, but you might want to put three and a half grams in and you know, and microdose yourself and make it something that's pleasurable and something that's, that's medicinal. And you know, and if you were take cannabis for medicinal purposes as I do, it's nice to be able to mix it in, you know, put a little dollop of canna-butter on your espresso in the morning and make it bulletproof for a or midday. If you're making a milk punch with a little bit of Bourbon, you know, if you live in New Orleans and you want to make it, you know, something a little more exciting. So you'd have a little bit of THC in that condensed milk or in the heavy cream or, or whatever you're doing.
You mentioned butter, but we were also talking about a tincture. I mean, are you de-carbing it down into a butter or…
I have, but I, but I don't use tinctures tinctures would throw a, uh, a craft cocktail out of balance. You would never use a tincture. It'd be too bitter because the basis of tinctures that are like 190 proof everclear. I would never use that in a cocktail. It would make it just undrinkable. So I, so again, we're, we're going back to the infusion technique. You take the whole flowers and you put them in a mason jar that's open, you don't seal mason jars that are filled with alcohol and you would put that into a double boiler and simmer it at 200 and not even 200 degrees, 160 degrees for about two hours. And then let it cool. And then and top off with fresh alcohol. So it puts it into suspension, drain it out through a, uh, through like a, a bubble bag or, or a cheesecloth. So it's strained out. The cannabis is fully activated into the craft spirit and build your craft cocktails as normal. I just gave you the keys to the kingdom.
So, and then again, it's going to be a period of trial and error. You're going to titrate this to the dose you want. Yes, very carefully, right?
I mean carefully and build a delicious craft cocktail. So what I did on Viceland the other night as they wanted to feel something, so I let them feel something.
Where you're at. You've been doing this for awhile. So I imagine you have the capability to dial it up and down.
I can do. And I met I so microdosed stem, they had abso- they had like less than five milligrams of THC. But what happened with what I learned from that experience, which is something that I didn't know before, is when you put equal amounts of THC with CBD, it supercharges the THC and I destroyed them.
Hmm. So that's a, that's a learning right there.
You bet. You bet. And they were not happy. And I learned my lesson and that's the second time this has happened. So I better get it together quick. But it wasn't like I overdosed some, I underdosed them. But the addition of CBD with THC, it just gives the THC a boost and it's something that I knew about, but I hadn't conceptualized how that would happen until I did it. And, uh, and of course I, I took the cocktail myself. I, I drank two of them and it had no effect on me. But I use cannabis in a different level than, than the people who don't drink and don't smoke.
Well, and this is a surprising finding because we just talked about the fact that if you put CBD in there alone, the alcohol negates it, but if you put it in with THC, then you have a turbocharged THC cocktail.
Turbocharged effect. Yeah. It's a, I can't explain it again. No science here. I'm a doctor, uh, don't even play one on television, but I will tell you that, uh, that it's the dynamic duo together definitely the dynamic duo. And, and for someone like myself who has, you know, a documented need to use medical cannabis, it's a gift. It's an absolute gift.
So let's talk about the flavor. I mean, cocktails are some people like sweet ones, some like, um, you know, there's, there's a whole range of things that people look for. When you add THC, are you getting sort of a grassy, dank flavor or…
Well, that's, that's a great question. Uh, you don't get a grassy flavor, but you get kind of the flavor of the smell of the cannabis that really does shine through. And so this terpenes, those essential oils that give us the smells that we seek in cannabis, those diesel fuel, male cat urine, soil, uh crushed pine needles, wet stones, all the things, you know, all of those descriptors that we know from the wine business exists also in the cannabis business. And, and why that works so beautifully is that it allows you to think like a culinarian and you start thinking about the drinks going along with different types of food and then different strains of the flowers and it becomes part of your culinary training. Even if you're not a chef, it'd be, it helps you think in flavor. And that's, that's my gift. And that's what I teach you how to do in the book, thinking, thinking, flavor and act in flavor.
But, uh, again, I, I don't make sweet drinks. So there are a couple of drinks that could be, can conceived as sweeter in the book, but I don't use a whole lot of, uh, extra sugar. In fact, I don't use any extra sugar. Um, I have one cocktail here, it's a breakfast cocktail. And I always say everything tastes better when your palate is open before you've covered it up with lunch. Um, it has cannabis infused heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, which is the really heavy stuff. Uh, coffee, ice cream just a scoop. Irish whiskey, brandy, Vanilla extract and a brew to espresso coffee. But you're getting the THC through an infusion of the cannabis flower into heavy whipping cream. It works like a pro. It is the easiest thing that you can do. You take the flower that's been decarbed, you drop it into a two cups of, uh, of heavy whipping cream. You heat it to 160 degrees for two hours and then strain it out and it's perfectly infused and it'll last for a week.
Hmm. It sounds wonderful.
The idea is to make you hungry and thirsty. Well, I do a New Orleans style milk punch that we were talking about. Uh, I was fortunate to work with a company named Barrel Bourbon and they just, they gave me free hand with, with their spirits. So I use an ounce of barrel bourbon, two ounces of cannabis cream made with heavy cream, whole milk non-medicated, simple syrup, little bit of Vanilla extract, some nutmeg, crushed ice, and then a cannabis infused cocktail bitters, which is so much easier than it sounds, but literally, uh, it's just bitters and a and THC and it takes three drops over the top and it's done. But, uh, the, the cocktail is built like a classic New Orleans style milk punch, except for only, you know, that there's enough cannabis, uh, you know, THC in there to drop down a family of rhinoceros charging the right to sleep. Um, you know, I also, I love drinks that are the classics like Manhattans. And I built one called the Mezzrow cocktail and has a wonderful backstory that I really like to share with you because Mezz Mezzrow, he was a jazz musician who lived in Harlem in the twenties and thirties. And as it turns out, Louis Armstrong, who was the, you know, the, uh, cornet player was living in Queens where he lived most of his life. And, uh, in fact, I visited as his grave recently and it was pretty interesting. But the, uh, the Mezzerow cocktail was named after Milton Mez, Mez Rowe, who was Louis Armstrong's weed dealer. So he, um, he sold Louie all this great, you know, at that time it was all Mexican weed, but he brought two or four or 6,000 pounds of Mexican cannabis up from Mexico and sold it in Harlem in the twenties and thirties. Not Illegal at the time, but if you ask for a joint or a refer, you probably would get the attention of the police and you didn't want that.
So a well rolled cannabis cigarette during the twenties and thirties was called a mezzrow named for Mezz Mezzrow who was Louis' weed dealer. And this one is a, uh, this was the Manhattan. It's a, it has some cannabis infused for mood. It has crushed ice, it has bourbon whiskey and it has bitters. And it's simple, simple, simple. But we really want you to use a sativa indica hybrid strain called Cherry Pie. It's redolent of sweet and Sour Cherries and it compliments the toasty oaky flavors inherent in the liquors as far as making the crushed ice. It's best to place the ice in something we call a Louis bag, which is a heavy canvas bag that's made for the job. What we're whacking it with a wooden mallet or a rolling pin, so it's crushed ice.
Wow. Again, we're, we're at the intersection of a multisensory, um, recipe where, you know, you're, you're bringing the terpenes and the flavor. There's an aroma therapy, sort of a function where all these things can affect your, your mood, they can relieve your pain. There's a lot going on when you put all those ingredients together.
Yeah. I, I, you know, I'm especially fond a drink called the, uh, the absinthe frappe because absinthe, as you know, is the bad boy of, uh, of, of liquor. People drink it and they think they're going to hallucinate and they say, oh, what the U.S. absinthe doesn't have wormwood in it. That's absolutely a lie. Uh, anything that's written about absinthe in the negative light was created by the French government because absinthe sales, were cutting into red wine sales and the farmers were, were upset. So the absinthe was vilified. Uh, the absent that we have today in the United States is the same, if not better than the absent that they had and the Fem Dsec, uh, because it's clean, it's pure, it's not going to get you sick. You're not going to go blind. Um, most of the absent that was drunk during the 1800's was very unclean alcohol. So I could see that there would have been problems with it. But I love the absinthe frappe because I Medicaid, uh, a absent from jade liqueurs called the [inaudible] adword absent, and it's a recreation with modern technology and modern recipe of the traditional recipe from the 1800's. So drinks completely differently than other absinthe. And I build it into the absinthe frappe, which is, you know, fresh mint leaves the absinthe a little bit of rich, simple syrup and Seltzer water, simple drink classic. And it gets, you buzzed. In two ways. You won't hallucinate
So our audience is baby boomers, people my age. And uh, we've got the normal things going on. We've got insomnia, we've got, some of us are getting arthritis and you know, in this world today you have anxiety. That's why a lot of us are gravitating back towards cannabis. And this is another way to have fun with it.
Well, I mean at the, at the end of the night there's always a digest tea for you want something that helps you sleep. And I have the perfect drink to help you sleep. It's a, uh, it's a drink that I called the Arden dreamer and it's built with Orange Cognac, liqueur kind of like Grand Marnier. Um, and then I use a, a cannabis infused extra anejo tequila. So an extra anejo is one that's a age extra long in Oak. So it has a very rich, earthy flavor to it. And I find when you add a little bit of pink grapefruit juice to it with the orange liqueur, you have a beautiful drink to put you right to sleep depending on the, uh, you know, the, the end end game, whatever strain that you used. I use actually liked using a, a a a hybrid called Gatekeeper OG and it's, they say it's sativa dominant, but I really believe it's indica dominant because it just puts me to sleep whenever I drink it.
Just give me an idea of what your kitchen looks like. How many infusions do you have on the shelf at any given time?
Absolutely none. My wife is completely against cannabis. She's worried that she's going to grab something and it's going to get her stoned. So I have one bottle of olive oil and every night she says, did you use that olive oil in cooking? I said, no, I didn't no if I, and if I did, I would use, do it on a separate dish on a separate plate, the separate cooking. I just won't do it. Um, I don't have anything really going on here. You know, that's, that's on in the kitchen. If I'm doing experimentation, it's with stuff that I'm doing in my office room, which is in the house. But uh, it's a way from, from curious eyes and hands. Okay.
For our listeners, if you make a couple of infusions then you've got your, your Cherry Hill, your Cherry Pie one, you've got a Sour OG or something. You've got different infusions for different purposes, right?
Of course. Yes. And when I, when I did the book, I created 75 so that was, that was pretty important. It gives us, first off, it's the first book on the topic. So no one has done this before. And creating 75 drinks for cannabis is a challenge for anyone's book. But then adding the liquor and then the, of course I did a bunch of mocktails as well. So you have to assume that there's a lot of experimentation involved. And I tried to make it easy for the reader and if, and, and fortunately if they were to buy my book, cannabis cocktails, mocktails and tonics, they get me. So if they have problems with it, they should reach out to me and I will walk them through it because I want to make sure that you're satisfied with the experience, that it's not overwhelming, that it feels good, that it does no harm.
That's the idea. I'm not looking to get people into trouble. I want to help them do better. That's what I'm looking for. And I know when you're, you know, a millennial, it's different than being a baby boomer. It's just different. You're more responsible, you've grown up a bit. You don't have time to, uh, to go to, you know, a weekend of rock and roll shows anymore as much as you want to. But you've got other stuff going on. And this, my recipes make it easy to have other stuff go on.
So you've got six books out, including “Cannabis, Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics” Do you have any new projects on the horizon? Uh, I'm, I'm, as I said, I'm writing for Forbes in the online space and the vices section. I really, really love what I do there because I pick and choose my own stories. Um, you know, I, I'm not planning on writing another book right now because I just don't have the time for it. I'm just trying to be good to myself. You know, I, I have a pretty big birthday coming up 58 in May, so a, I have a lot of travel planned. You know, I, I'm on a nonstop quest for information. That's what's going on.
Do you do private events or you know, like the thing you did for viceland, do you show up and treat people to cannabis cocktails?
Yes, I do. Uh, but I want to make sure they vet their guests lists really well because I really don't want to get arrested. Right. I think that's probably accurate.
Yeah. So you're in New Jersey, we're seeing prohibition being rolled back state by state. What excites you about that? Where do you think we're going? Um, do you think we'll see a federal, a Federal Movement to legalize?
Uh, I don't think under the current administration we're going to see anything towards legalization unless it's linked to something that's politically unsavory. Um, that's not what this conversation is about. A New Jersey is unfortunately the people who are in power. I voted for, I'm wondering why I voted for them because they're still on the first step of, of legalization in New Jersey. So that one is fully aside. I don't think New Jersey is going to go recreational anytime soon. I think Pennsylvania has problems with that as well. They just recently introduced medical cannabis. I, I've been to a couple, the of the, I went to one of the dispensaries in Philadelphia and they have a long way to go. Uh, New York state does not allow flower. They only allow oil. It seems like everyone in the world's smokes cannabis to the street in New York City. I don't know why they do. Police still arrest people for it. They obviously haven't gone through what I went through. So they don't care. Um, Nevada, Oregon, California, Washington state, there's no stigma. It's so laid back. You know, you may not be legally allowed to smoke in the street, but that doesn't mean that people don't, and they very rarely get arrested for that. So there, there are worse things that go on in life than that. Um, you know, I'm disappointed in New Jersey. I'm truly disappointed in New Jersey and I vote in every single election since I got my, uh, my voting rights at 18. And I think New Jersey's taking the wrong path, but, uh, you know, I can't discuss the, you know, I'm not going to go into the politics of it because it seems like the, uh, the individuals who are most against cannabis are the ones who are the most democratic.
So I, you know, what can I say? I don't want to piss anyone off and I just want to, uh, I, I vote for my heart and I hope that, uh, that, that others at least vote and they should, you know, the, the, the powers that be should put the, uh, the legalization effort into the open, you know, and, and to open vote rather than leaving it up to a, to politicians to vote, because they're just looking at money, making opportunities. They don't even smoke cannabis. Right. I mean, I look at the picture, I just got an email, the American cannabis summit countdown to legalization featuring former speaker of the house, John Boehner. No one ruined people's lives more than this guy. I would never invest in his company. I cannot imagine after the, the things that they, that went on during the Bush administration. But as far as cannabis, my father, my late father was friends with uh, with the, with the Bush people and you know, they had a house up in Maine next door to my fathers and they, they always said about me that I didn't pass the sniff test and now they want me to invest with them. I don't think so.
Well there's a lot happening. I mean we had a last week we had Amanda Siebert from Vancouver and she talked about the whole Canadian experiment and you know, I'm I'm in California and it's, um one step forward two steps back. Sometimes you want to make it friendly for small businesses and it's not quite as friendly as it is for the big businesses. And, but we've come a long way in a short time. I mean, it's astounding that the progress in the last five to 10 years, books like yours and what you're doing, uh, being, being on TV, on viceland and spreading the message that this is a legitimate medicine that can help you live a better life is, um, thank you for doing that. And thank you for coming on the show and sharing your expertise with our guests as well.
Tom Is my pleasure and if I could do anything in life, I wanted at least do what my passion is. And when you share your passion with others, it becomes irresistible. So I hope that anyone purchases this. My book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, independent bookstores and if they run into problems, they should contact me and I, and I promised that if I, if I don't have the time, I'll let you know. And if I do, we'll, we'll walk through it and we'll make it something that works
And I see you on Twitter. And where else can we find you online?
Instagram, Facebook, linkedin. I occasionally use Pinterest, although not really. Um, I have a website. It's cocktailwhisper.com so cocktail and then whisper.com
Perfect. We will look you up. Thanks so much. Warren
Fantastic being here. I appreciate your time.
You've been listening to, “Let's Talk About Weed” the Kannaboomers podcast with Thomas J for more in medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomerscom.