Recreational marijuana becomes legal to buy Saturday in Nevada, but that doesn’t mean anything goes in the place where most people think anything goes.
There are many fascinating things to know about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive in cannabis. While much of the mainstream conversation revolves around whether or not THC is safe to consume, these conversations often miss highlighting some of the odd and unique characteristics of this plant molecule. For all of the cannabis enthusiasts out there, here are six random things you should know about THC.
1. THC is a fat
Did you know that THC is a lipid? Lipids are fat molecules, and cannabis contains a lot of them. Since the primary active compounds in cannabis are fats, this means that they like to hang out in your fat after you consume them.
After inhaling cannabis, THC is absorbed by the lungs and then enters the bloodstream. From there, the psychoactive quickly makes its way to the fatty tissues it likes to call home, including the brain.
It is this quality that prevents THC from quickly exiting the body after consumption, which is why the average cannabis consumer can test positive for the herb for around 30 days after consumption.
For more information on how long THC stays in your system, check out the full article here.
2. A bunch of THC is released with fat burning
Okay, this THC discovery is a bit surprising. There is some evidence that after an intense event which burns through a lot of fat, such as heavy exercise or rapid weight loss, levels of THC may be released back into the bloodstream.
There are some reports of ex-cannabis consumers testing positive for THC simply because they lost a lot of weight prior to testing.
On a more somber note, in 1997, a report highlighted anecdotal autopsy reports which showed abnormally large quantities of THC in the blood of drowning victims, who must have burned through significant amounts of fat before passing away.
Other research suggests that something as simple as 25 to 35 minutes of exercise in a cannabis consumer can elevate blood plasma levels of THC. Interestingly, one study shows that the larger a participant’s BMI, the more THC could be detected after exercise.
3. Most THC comes out in your poop
So, THC gets itself into the bloodstream, then is stored in your fat cells where it is re-released into the bloodstream over time. But, where does THC go after that?
While it’s possible for a heavy cannabis consumer to test positive for cannabis metabolites in a urine test for up to 77 days after abstaining from the herb, most THC and THC metabolites are excreted in bowel movements.
In fact, it is estimated that more than 65 percent of THC consumed is excreted in the feces, whereas only 20 percent is excreted in urine.
Many people hoping to fake a drug test take advantage of this fat by consuming fruit pectin, a natural fruit fiber that theoretically forces more THC out through the stool rather than in urine or blood. However, there is no data on just how effective this method is in actuality.
4. Small amounts of THC can be found on you even if you don’t consume
Interestingly, there may be a lot of THC floating around out there that you don’t even know about. Trace amounts of the cannabinoid are excreted in sweat, as well as in skin and hair oils.
When you shake hands with a cannabis consumer or touch things that they have touched, there’s a good chance that very tiny amounts of the herb can show up on you as well.
Some researchers in Germany think that this may be one of the reasons to argue against hair testing as a way to detect cannabis consumption. The standard theory suggests that cannabis ends up in the hair by transfer through the bloodstream.
However, these researchers have found some evidence that makes them question the standard beliefs about hair testing. In a tiny 2015 study of just two people, researchers tested hair growth during a time that each participant was given a controlled dose of a synthetic THC.
Hair grows at a fairly consistent rate in most people, meaning that each centimeter of hair provides a snapshot into your daily habits. After being treated with THC for 30 days, the researchers tested the participants’ hair. Surprisingly, they did not detect much of the stuff.
Even more surprising, when the researchers tested hair from a time the participants’ did not consume cannabis, compounds from the plant were present.
This lead the researchers to conclude that a good amount of the THC on the hair and the surface of the skin comes from external sources, like the environment and contact with the plant and those who love it.
5. Plants and fungus with similar compounds have been found
Interestingly, other plants and some types of fungus have been found to contain compounds similar to THC. Black truffles, delicacies that can sell for $800 or more, have enzymes needed to create anandamide, the same THC-like compound that humans produce naturally.
Japanese and New Zealand liverwort, which are non-flowering plants, have also been found to contain compounds with similar actions to THC. These compounds are perrottetinene and perrottetinenic acid.
While the psychoactivity of these plants is questionable, the perrottetiene seems to activate the same cellular pathways that THC does, according to recent research.
Researchers have also genetically engineered yeasts that can produce the enzymes that create THC. Since the cannabis plant is illegal, this yeast might be a way for scientists to legally create natural THC that can be used for the large-scale production of medicines. However, this research is still in its early stage.
6. THC taps into our natural bliss pathway
Have you ever wondered why consuming cannabis feels so good? Well, THC just-so-happens to tap into our body’s natural bliss control. As mentioned above, THC replaces a compound called anandamide (AEA) in the body. The word Ananda is Sanskrit for bliss, making anandamide our natural bliss molecule.
Both THC and anandamide bind to the same locations on cells. As it turns out, THC latches on to these cell sites for a little longer than anandamide, which is perhaps why the cannabinoid seems to have such a strong effect on the mind and body.
Anandamide was only discovered relatively recently, and there is still much to learn about the molecule’s role in the body.
However, a few interesting tidbits about the compound are known. Anandamide helps maintain mood, tells you when you’re hungry, is partly responsible for that feel-good high after exercise, and has many other key functions in the body.
A certain few who have won the genetic lottery have genes which hinder the breakdown of AEA. This may make these lucky folk naturally a little more chill and less anxious than the unfortunate majority without the needed gene mutations
Rep. Mike Coffman suggested he’d use congress’ power to appropriate money for the administration’s budget.
DENVER — Rep. Mike Coffman is suggesting he might use the power of the purse to protect Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.
During a telephone town hall Wednesday evening the Republican congressman was asked about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threat to crack down on states like Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Coffman noted that he opposed the ballot measures that legalized both medical and recreational marijuana in the state. But he added that since voters approved them they are now Colorado law. He said the federal government should not interfere and he hopes Sessions doesn’t follow through on his warning.
If Sessions does take action Coffman said he’d “have to fight the Attorney General on this.” He suggested he’d do so through congress’ power to appropriate money for the administration’s budget.
Less than two years after the Drug Enforcement Administration officially admitted that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana,” new Attorney General Jeff Sessions revisited that comparison in remarks today before law enforcement officials in Richmond:
I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.
Sessions remarks are contradicted by a wealth of medical and policy research.
For starters, researchers and policymakers aren’t suggesting that marijuana legalization will “solve” the heroin crisis. As I noted late last month, there is, however, abundant, peer-reviewed evidence suggesting that legalizing medical marijuana has led to decreases in opioid overdose and mortality rates in a number of states.
Video of Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking equating Marijuana to Heroin
And my list is already out-of-date: A new report published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence last month found opioid hospitalizations decreased in states that allowed medical marijuana. Furthermore, those states saw no increase in the incidence of marijuana-related hospitalizations.
That speaks to Sessions’s second point: that marijuana dependency is “only slightly less awful” than heroin addiction. Drug dependency of any kind is, indeed, awful. And marijuana dependency is quite real.
But there is a spectrum of “awful”-ness of drug dependency, and evidence and common sense suggest marijuana and heroin are miles apart. For starters, heroin is lethal and kills 13,000 of its users each year. Nobody ODs on marijuana alone.
Second, the federal government’s own research undermines any equivalency between dependency on marijuana and heroin. You can often gauge how bad a given drug addiction is by looking at what happens when a user tries to kick the habit. For heroin, the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists withdrawal symptoms including “muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, uncontrollable leg movements severe heroin cravings.”
Finally, researchers have generally ranked marijuana use as far less harmful to individuals and society than heroin use. In a 2010 Lancet report, dozens of researchers and public health experts rated the harm potential of a variety of drugs on a 0 to 100 scale, with 100 being the most harmful. Heroin scored in the mid-50s. Marijuana was rated at a 20.
Sessions’s remarks are “a sort of starting gun for a new war on drugs,” according to Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group working to reform drug laws. “It’s very disappointing that this DOJ and this attorney general are so anti-science and anti-evidence and anti-facts.”
Video on Legal Medicinal Marijuana States
By Natalie Schwartz, Capital News Service
Patient registry begins this month, but concerned residents are worried that bills may push back the rollout date even further
Source: The Cannabist
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After Carey Tilghman’s 6-year-old daughter, Paisley, suffered from a stroke, doctors drafted a plan to use a round of Botox injections and muscle relaxers to treat her condition.
Searching for an alternative for her daughter, Tilghman found that a transdermal patch filled with cannabis, which has been linked to shielding the brain from stroke damage, could possibly be helpful to her daughter, but she hasn’t been able access the drug in Maryland’s stalled medical cannabis industry.
Maryland has had one of the slowest rollouts of medical marijuana in the country.
The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which grants the licenses to growers, processors and dispensers, has been hampered by legal battles and pending legislation in the Maryland General Assembly since the state legalized medical cannabis in 2014.
This legislative session, state lawmakers are considering a spate of bills outlining different solutions intended to address a lack of diversity in licenses, and two lawsuits that have delayed the rollout of Maryland’s nascent medical cannabis industry.
The commission expects medical cannabis to be available to patients this summer, according to Vanessa Lyon, a spokeswoman for the group. Patient registry for the drug begins this month, but concerned residents are worried that bills may push back the rollout date even further.
“We can’t delay access,” Tilghman said. “(Paisley) deserves to have a transdermal patch and play like a kindergartener can play. They want her on muscle relaxers; they want her to have surgery. How do you be a kindergartner on muscle relaxers?”
“You can’t,” she added, choking up.
The commission was tasked with ensuring racial and geographical diversity in their selection process, and on Dec. 9 it announced pre-approvals for 102 businesses to sell medical cannabis, which broke down into 15 growers, 15 processors, and 72 dispensaries.
However, preference for minority business owners may violate the Constitution, said Cheryl A. Brown Whitfield, principal counsel of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
The state would need to conduct a study to evaluate whether discrimination does exist in the medical cannabis industry before it could take race-conscious measures in awarding licenses, said Zenita Hurley, the attorney general’s director of legislative affairs and civil rights. This study could take up to two years.
The commission used Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute to rank the company applicants. RESI used a double-blind system that did not take into account the race of owners, which resulted in the commission failing to award licenses that ensure adequate minority representation, said Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore.
While the commission has listed the rankings of each company, it has not released the scores and the criteria for which they were ranked, said Darrell Carrington, policy director for the medical cannabis division of Greenwill Consulting, a government relations firm.
“We’re all flying blind right now because the commission refuses to release the scores,” Carrington said. “The rankings are meaningless if we don’t have the scores. How do we know how to move forward properly and know if we’re really making corrections to increase diversity and the like, if we don’t know the difference between (the companies) was 5, 10, or 30 (points).”
Maryland includes a black or African-American population of 30.5 percent, a white population of 59.6 percent, and 9.9 percent who identify as another minority, according to data collected by the U.S. Census as of 2015.
The majority of the companies selected for pre-approvals for growing and processing are led by white owners.
Of the 11 companies with pre-approved growing licenses that reported demographic data to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, about 85 percent of the owners are white, about 8 percent are black, and about 7 percent identify as another racial minority. The nine pre-approved processing companies that reported data showed similar numbers, with 73 percent white ownership, about 15 percent black ownership, and about 12 percent other minority ownership.
The companies selected have about 76 percent male ownership and 24 percent female ownership.
Moreover, after complaints surfaced that the commission didn’t fairly include representation in areas of southeastern Maryland, the commission revised their original unanimous decision on the 15 companies slated to receive growing licenses by bumping two higher-scoring applicants and replacing them with two lower-scoring applicants in the underrepresented areas.
GTI, one of the companies originally awarded a coveted pre-approval license, had already picked out a site in Washington County and began developing a plan to produce medical cannabis when they were replaced, said Delegate Brett Wilson, R-Washington. The company has since joined the other business bumped from the list, Maryland Cultivation and Processing LLC, in suing the commission.
The commission has been operating without oversight or transparency, Glenn said. “They can’t answer why they made the decisions they made.”
To address the lack of ownership diversity, the Legislative Black Caucus, which Glenn heads, has proposed two emergency bills that would overhaul the 15-member commission and reinstate it with members who reflect the racial and geographical diversity of the state.
Sarah Hoyt, director of government affairs for the commission, wrote in testimony that this emergency legislation would “substantially delay the availability of medical cannabis to qualifying patients” by as much as two years.
But Glenn said her legislation would not slow the arrival of the medical cannabis industry.
“The commission operated in an arbitrary, opaque and misleading fashion,” said Pete Kadens, CEO and director of GTI, adding that overhauling the “inefficient” commission would actually speed the rollout of the long-awaited industry.
Kadens said he supported the 15 companies who have been pre-approved to start operating immediately.
“Even though we were displaced for the purpose of geographic diversity, even though we scored higher on merit than five of the companies that now have pre-approvals for the state, even though we feel we were wronged, we do not want the patients of the state to be further distressed,” Kadens said.
One of Glenn’s bills would issue five to seven more licenses for both growers and processors. The bill would also give heavier consideration to businesses with majority black ownership.
The second bill would disband the current commission to create a nine-member Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Licensing Unit. This new group would award new grower licenses in future years and would have a fund to provide minority- and women-owned medical cannabis businesses with loans.
Wilson has proposed a separate bill that would increase the number of growers from 15 to 17 to reinstate the two geographically bumped companies’ on the list. This could fix what he called a “fairness issue,” adding that it will likely immediately stop any pending litigation, he said.
Wilson said he doesn’t oppose the other bills and that it’s possible a number of the five bills may merge into “one bill that accomplishes everything.”
“We’re not in conflict with other bills,” Wilson said. “We don’t stand against the other proposals in any way.”
Delegate David Vogt, R-Carroll and Frederick, has also proposed a bill that attempts to squash the pending lawsuits, while also increasing minority and women ownership. His solution would accept the commission’s next 10 ranked applicants, which have been selected as alternates should any of the 15 growing businesses that have been pre-approved fall through.
This bill wouldn’t impact how the commission measures any of the businesses that have been tentatively approved, but it would impact any new ones that haven’t been measured by requiring the commission to give extra weight to minority- and women-owned businesses.
Vogt’s bill also proposes to distribute grant money to the businesses’ local communities. The money would be used for infrastructure improvements, increased security and community development. He added that the amount, $250,000 for each area, is a “nominal amount” and that “ultimately, (the state is) going to get that impact money back — 10, 20 times over — with the tax revenue.”
Vogt, like Wilson, noted that he thinks it’s likely to create one bill that combined components from each to address the problems in the long-awaited industry.
However, Glenn said she only supports the bills she is sponsoring.
Brian Bickerton, chairman of Mazey Farms, an alternate growing company ranked twentieth by the commission, said while he supports Vogt’s bill, he’s in favor of any legislation that moves the industry forward. His company has been waiting to officially launch its business for over two years.
“(It’s) been a long and arduous process,” Bickerton said. “There’s been a lot of tears on our end, but we believe in what we do, we believe in this industry, and we believe in the much-needed medicine that needs to get to the patients.”
Mazey Farms is majority minority-owned, Bickerton said, adding that he thinks the best way to address the lawsuits and the diversity issues is to allow the commission’s next 10 alternative businesses to obtain licenses.
Carrington said it’s hard at this point to know which bill will be “the vehicle that will move (the industry) forward.”
However, taking the next 10 growing alternates, as Vogt’s bill proposes, would significantly address the diversity problem without a delay, Carrington said.
“I can’t stand another delay,” Tilghman said, her daughter, Paisley, leaning on her. “If another delay is put in place (Maryland will) lose a lifelong resident.”