High-strength cannabis increases risk of mental health problems | Society


Frequent cannabis use and high-strength varieties are likely to increase the chance of mental health problems among users, according to researchers behind the largest study of its kind.

Experts have previously flagged a link between cannabis use and psychosis, particularly among vulnerable people with heavy use of the drug. Now research suggests the potency of the cannabis is also important, with patterns in cannabis use linked to how often new cases of psychotic disorders arise in different cities.

The study estimated that 30% of first-time cases of psychotic disorders in south London, and half of those in Amsterdam, could be avoided if high-potency cannabis was not available. The team says that equates to about 60 fewer cases per year in south London.

“If you are a psychologist like me who works in this catchment area and sees first-episode psychosis patients, this has a significant impact at the level of services and, I would also argue, family and society,” said Dr Marta Di Forti, the lead author of the research, from King’s College London.

High-strength cannabis, such as skunk, has levels of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) above 10%. According to data released last year, 94% of police cannabis seizures in the UK were of high-strength varieties. These varieties also contain very little cannabidiol (CBD), a substance that might protect against psychosis.

Writing in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, Di Forti and an international team of researchers report how they studied patient data – including cannabis use – collected between mid 2010 and mid 2015 for 901 adults under the age of 65 who arrived at mental health services in one of 10 locations in Europe, or one in Brazil, and received their first diagnosis of a psychotic disorder that was not down to, for example, brain tumours or acute drug use.

For comparison, the team asked more than 1,200 healthy individuals from across the same areas about their cannabis use. The strength of cannabis was estimated from the name individuals gave to the drug.

After taking into account factors including drinking, education and use of other drugs such as ketamine, the team found those with a psychotic disorder were more likely to have used cannabis at some point in their life than those without the condition.

Frequency of use was also highlighted by researchers: the chances of having a psychotic disorder were 40% greater among those who used the drug more than once a week compared with those who rarely, if ever, used it, while the chances of having a psychotic disorder were more than three times greater among those who used cannabis daily compared with those who rarely if ever used it.

What is more, daily users of high potency cannabis were more likely to have a psychotic disorder, compared with never-users, than those who used low-potency cannabis every day.

The biggest link between daily cannabis use and having a psychotic disorder was in Amsterdam, where the chances were seven times higher than for those who had never used the drug: almost all cannabis sold in “coffee shops” in Amsterdam is high-strength, while varieties with 67% THC have been found in the Netherlands. Incidences of psychosis were higher in Amsterdam than most other locations studied, with only south London surpassing it.

“Daily use of high-potency cannabis and how this varies across Europe explains some of the striking variations we have measured in the incidence of psychotic disorder,” said Di Forti.

However, she noted that not all daily users of high-potency cannabis develop a psychotic disorder, meaning it is important to work out who is most vulnerable, and that other factors are also at play.

The study had limitations because it relied on self-reported use of cannabis and only small numbers of participants were involved at each site. Also, THC and CBD content of the cannabis was not directly measured while the results might, at least in part, be down to those at greater risk of psychosis being more likely to use cannabis.

Prof Sir Robin Murray, another author of the study from King’s College London, said the study has implications for the debate on whether cannabis should be legalised.

“If you are going to legalise cannabis, unless you want to pay for more a lot more psychiatric beds and a lot more psychiatrists, then you need to devise a system where you would legalise in a way that wouldn’t increase the consumption and increase the potency,” he said.

Dr Adrian James, the registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “A good drugs strategy should focus on preventing and reducing harm, not on diverting people to the criminal justice system,” adding that well-provisioned and staffed addiction services needed to be restored.



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Survey Indicates Teen Marijuana Use in Colorado is Lower Than National Average


If this were a segment of The Daily Show, this article might begin with a montage of Republican lawmakers decrying the “reckless, irresponsible” message marijuana legalization sends to youth. In legislative chambers across the U.S., opponents of marijuana reform, when all else fails, fall back on the argument that legal weed will surely cause more young people to consume cannabis. Their case rests on a simple—and simplistic—assumption: make something legal, safer, better-regulated, and more people will do it. But a new survey of teen marijuana use in Colorado is beginning to put the lie to that assumption.

New Survey: 81 Percent of Colorado Teens Don’t Consume Cannabis

On Tuesday, public health researchers in Colorado released a report detailing the results of a youth marijuana education and prevention campaign called High Costs. Researchers measured the efficacy of that campaign with a survey. The survey reached more than 55,000 teen respondents, including 500 in the City of Denver. And according to that survey, teen marijuana consumption isn’t just dropping in Colorado. It’s also falling below the national average for the first time.

The report’s “respondent snapshot” reveals that 59 percent of Colorado teens have never consumed cannabis. An additional 22 percent of teens have only consumed cannabis once or twice ever. Another 8 percent consume cannabis once a month or less. In other words, just 10 percent of Colorado teens use cannabis more than once a month. So 81 percent of Colorado teens don’t consume cannabis with any regularity, have only tried it or have never tried it at all. The national average for teen’s who don’t use cannabis hovers around four out of every five. Colorado teens just barely surpassed that mark.

High Costs Cannabis Awareness Program Is Helping Reduce Underage Use

Colorado’s cannabis laws earmark a portion of marijuana tax revenue for drug awareness and outreach programs for young people. The City of Denver, for example, has spent millions on its High Costs campaign. And based on its new report, High Costs says it’s money well spent. In addition to surveying teens on their cannabis consumption habits, High Costs also polled respondents about their familiarity with High Costs’ campaign materials. 78 percent of Denver teens reported that they were familiar with the campaign. And of those, 75 percent said High Costs’ messaging discouraged them from using cannabis.

High Costs is also the organization behind the online game show, Weeded Out. Weeded Out is the country’s first marijuana education game show, and it was the focal point of High Costs’ 2018 campaign. Of the teens who watched the game show, 87 percent reported discussing it with friends and family. In short, High Costs is getting its message out there. And the vast majority of teens who are aware of it find its content clear, educational, trustworthy and likable.

And for the rest of the nation, the effectiveness of Denver’s youth awareness and prevention campaign sends an important message. It shows that it is entirely possible for legal-weed states to safeguard young people and teens from the health and legal risks of underage cannabis consumption. And further, it shows that smart, well-funded programs can do way more to reduce teen cannabis consumption than prohibition and harsh criminalization.





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Oregon NORML Files “Legalization Justice Act of 2020” – Weed News


oregon norml

Chief Petitioners Madeline Martinez, Leia Flynn and Angela Bacca filed a ballot measure to be known as “The Legalization Justice Act of 2020” at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, March 18. All three women are longtime West Coast cannabis advocates.

Madeline Martinez is the executive director of Oregon NORML and the only Latina member of the board of directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). She generated international headlines when she opened the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in 2009, the nation’s first public-facing cannabis consumption lounge.

“This is about equal rights because whenever you pick a certain group and treat them differently that is discrimination. Patients, renters, the poor, people of color and women are still marginalized for their cannabis use, despite legalization,” said Martinez.

Leia Flynn is a legal assistant at a firm that works with cannabis businesses and the owner of Flight Lounge, a members-only private cafe allowed under the City of Portland’s social consumption guidelines. A former medical cannabis caregiver and member of Oregon Green Free, she has put her voice out into the public in order to create safe spaces for cannabis consumers.

“We are in a situation where we have legalized it and anyone over the age of 21 can purchase it, but you cannot smoke it anywhere unless you own your home,” Flynn says. “That is discrimination.”

Angela Bacca is a Portland-based writer and editor who has been covering the national cannabis industry for over 10 years. Having witnessed the early days of medical cannabis caregiving in California as a patient living with Crohn’s Disease, Bacca feels it is imperative to protect patients’ rights to botanical medicine.

“I would sum up our policy as ‘do the right thing’. Let’s create legal cannabis policy that acknowledges both science and reality,” Bacca says.

Background

The Oregon Justice League does not believe the State of Oregon has implemented Measure 91 in the spirit under which the law was passed. The OJL seeks to right these wrongs as well as provide a model for other states to implement a more just version of cannabis legalization.

Legalization was sold to Oregon citizens as a way to grow, develop and sustain our small business economies, end the discrimination of citizens based on their interactions with the cannabis plant and uphold, protect and ensure the right of medical cannabis patients to safe botanical access.

Therefore, the Legalization Justice Act of 2020 would make the following changes to Oregon law.

Summary of language:
Tax Revenues: Redistribute recreational cannabis taxes in a way that promotes the social justice goals of cannabis legalization. Once passed, the LJA would designate 25 percent of tax revenues to funding community development and micro-lending initiatives that promote small businesses in minority and underserved communities disproportionately affected by the failed War on Drugs. An additional 25 percent would be designated to subsidize medical cannabis purchases for low-income patients with qualifying conditions under the OMMP who have lost their access to direct caregiving from growers. The remaining 50 percent can continue to be used at the state’s discretion.

Changes to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program: Recognizing that cannabis as a botanical substance is recommended, not prescribed, a patient’s right to choose botanical cannabis in their medical care in consultation with a doctor must not be impeded. Patients with incurable or chronic illnesses must be allowed by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to be issued a lifetime card if a qualifying physician recommends their cannabis use. Patients awaiting an organ donation cannot be removed from a transplant waiting list for using cannabis. The JA expands qualifying physicians under the OMMP to naturopaths, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners.

Producers of recreational or medical cannabis may enter into caregiving relationships with qualifying patients and provide medicine directly. The value of the product can be deducted from state cannabis excise taxes if the patient qualifies for low-income subsidization.

Social Consumption Spaces: Legalize and regulate cannabis social consumption cafes in a fashion that removes the discriminatory provision under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act so that cannabis users can inhale inside. This section does the following (1) The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act must be amended to allow smoking and vaporization of cannabis indoors. (2) Directs the OLCC to regulate and oversee the licensing and regulation of cannabis lounges. (3) Allows existing cannabis dispensaries to add a social consumption space. (4) Allows for OLCC licensed farms to host tours and tastings, as regulated by the OLCC. (5) Directs the OLCC to license and regulate cannabis social consumption spaces at public events. Allows delivery of cannabis to temporary residents and residents of municipalities that have banned cannabis dispensing storefronts.

Employment Protection: Create employment protections under the law to protect off-the-job cannabis use and prevent conceptually flawed drug testing from being used to discriminate against cannabis consumers.

Protect Oregon’s Craft Cannabis Community: Direct the state to directly advocate to the federal government for its craft cannabis community, specifically export of product out of Oregon’s borders.

Photo of Madeline Martinez available HERE.

Photo of the measure being signed available HERE.

###

NORML‘s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality marijuana that is safe, convenient, and affordable.

Find out more at www.norml.org and read our factsheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country at www.norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets

Source: NORML press release



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Family of Man Killed by Bulldozer After Growing Pot Sues Police • High Times


The family of Greg Longenecker, the Pennsylvania man killed by the state police’s bulldozer when he was discovered visiting his 10 cannabis plants last July, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the law enforcement agents, state police, and the game commission on Monday.

“They killed a beautiful human being, a caring, loving man,” said plaintiff Mike Carpenter, who is Longenecker’s uncle.

“His behavior was despicable,” said Berks County District Attorney Adams, in contrast. “They yelled to him, they asked him to surrender. He did not surrender.”

It is unclear how Longenecker ended up caught in the treads of the police’s bulldozer, which was apparently moving at a speed of one to two miles per hour. The man who the Associated Press describes as “a short-order cook and avid vegetable gardener with a passion for the [Grateful] Dead” ran from the police when they found him and a friend visiting the marijuana plants they grew for personal consumption on state game lands outside of Reading, roughly 75 miles from Philadelphia. Officers employed a bulldozer to clear a path into the underbrush to which they had seen Longenecker flee.

Longenecker was with his friend David B. Light when the two were surprised by the police. Light surrendered to the officers, and rejects the official story of Longenecker’s death; that the 51 year old man, high on methamphetamines, crawled underneath the bulldozer to escape capture and got caught when the machine made a turn.

“That morning, Gregory was not high or under the influence,” Light wrote in an affidavit. “There is no way Gregory crawled underneath the back of the bulldozer. It is unthinkable and ridiculous that anyone would say he crawled underneath.”

The pair were discovered when their illegally parked vehicles were seen by a Pennsylvania Game Commission employee, who alerted the police. Adams insinuated that the use of the bulldozer to find Longenecker was necessary, given that the man could have been injured when he escaped into the “completely uninhabitable” undergrowth.

“They were damned if they did or damned if they didn’t,” said Adams.

But a police procedure expert interviewed by the Associated Press disagrees. “It’s outlandish,” said retired New York Police Department commander and lawyer Walter Signorelli, who has experience overseeing investigations into police pursuits. “This is the craziest thing I’ve heard in years. It seems like they were more concerned with the chase than the danger to themselves and the public and the guy they’re chasing.”

Though a pair of Pennsylvania senators introduced a recreational cannabis bill on Monday, it continues to be illegal in the state to grow marijuana for personal consumption — even by authorized participants in its medical marijuana program. Cannabis flower became available for purchase by medical marijuana patients in dispensary in August of last year.

Regardless of the details surrounding the killing of Longenecker, his family is not ready to accept that his death was necessary. “He’ll never be able to share his life with us, or us with him, again,” said Carpenter. “For no reason. He wasn’t hurting anyone.”





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The Benefits Of CBD Vape Juice – Weed News


The Benefits of CBD Vape Juice

CBD oil has become a very common topic among many people in the world today. It is a derivative of cannabidiol which is extracted from the hemp plant
and this is the reason why there have been many debates on the legitimacy of its use for medical purposes. In many parts of the world, CBD has been
accepted and is being utilized for the treatment of many diseases.

However, it is important to first check with the relevant authorities before you begin using the product. This is because the product is branded as illegal. There are many forms in which you can take CBD oil, from vaping, using tablets and even liquid and solutions, depending on your preference. Due to the popularity of CBD vape juice, companies like Canada E-juice have ventured into the production and distribution of the product.

The benefits of CBD vape juice

As mentioned above, there are very many forms in which you can consume CBD oil. Many people are turning to this form of CBD oil to treat diseases and
illnesses. Here are some of the top benefits of CBD vape juice compared to other forms of consumption of the CBD oil:

It is mainly used to eliminate the side effects of diseases and preventive measures for diseases. In most cases, the people that are affected by
diseases like cancer, high blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases consume CBD oil in the form of CBD vape juice.

This is because medical practitioners have envisioned this product as more of a preventive tool than a healing tool. The effectiveness of this product in alleviating the side effects of these diseases and preventing their occurrence has not been scientifically proven. However, many doctors still recommend its use because it has been working for a long period.

It can be used by normal healthy people. Unlike most of the other forms of CBD oil, this is a form that can be utilized by healthy people without any side effects to the body. For example, people that are at a high risk of being affected by some diseases can take low doses of CBD vape juice to prevent
the occurrence of the disease or to lower the risk of being affected by the disease.

It is however very important to ensure that you consult with your doctor to first give you the go ahead to use the CBD vape juice. It is also important to ensure that you get the correct dosage from your doctor before you begin using the CBD vape juice to prevent the occurrence of unwanted side effects.

CBD vape juice generally lasts longer compared to most other forms of CBD utilization. For instance, a normal bottle of CBD oil can be around 25-300mg.
This quantity is too little and it is close to impossible for you to use it for more than 3 days. The same quantity of CBD vape juice on the other hand can last for up to 14 days, depending on how much you use on a daily basis and the frequency of use. Even with these factors, it is clear that the CBD vape juice lasts for a significantly longer time compared to other forms of CBD juice, making it more economical and convenient for use.

In most cases, in the initial stage of utilizing the CBD oil, you may require higher quantities, but the quantity you use will decline gradually. This is because the body will begin adjusting to the CBD oil and therefore the demand will go down with continued use over time.

Conclusion

Even though the science behind the role of CBD oil in treatment of diseases, it is undeniable that CBD is effective and doctors and other medical
practitioners are referring their patients to try it. Since there are many forms of the CBD oil, it is important to consult with your doctor to find out what form is most suitable for you.

CBD vape juice is one of the most common and popular forms of CBD oil that many people know of and prefer to use. When you are looking for the best
CBD vape juice to buy, it is important that you consider the manufacturers to ensure that it is completely safe for use. It is also important to consider the laws concerning the use of CBD oil in your region before you start CBD oil.



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Yareem Barnes-Ivey Balances the Two Worlds of Cannabis


Editor’s Note: Welcome to one of our newest bi-weekly columns, High Folks: the cannabis-infused version of Humans of New York, in which we take an intimate look at people’s relationships with our most beloved plant. The connection between humans and cannabis is primal, dynamic, and profound. But it’s something that’s increasingly overlooked in the new age of weed. So in an effort to combat the superficiality of cannabis in the social media-age, High Times is proud to present to you a collection of work that highlights one of life’s most beautiful gifts: connection.

“It’s like having your feet in two different worlds,” says Yareem Barnes-Ivey who’s in Orlando, FL., on business for a Home and Garden Landscaping company he owns. “One foot in because you know you’re in a cutting edge industry; you’re at the forefront; you’re at the beginning and there is a lot of opportunities.”

His other foot rests in a world where cannabis gives Black Americans two options: covert therapy or public persecution. As a cannabis grower, the 35-year-old—like most Black Americans—has learned the art of shapeshifting, as he oscillates between growing herb and owning a mainstream business. Residing in Colorado Springs, Barnes-Ivey’s has nurtured an experimental relationship with the plant. It’s a new privilege– but he doesn’t experience it all the time, as he travels frequently around the United States for work.

Barnes-Ivey’s love for the outdoors and her gifts runs deep. As a boy, he loved playing with bugs and getting his hands dirty. “I’ve always been intrigued by nature,” he says.

Experimenting with growing clones came later. In 2007, he grew Yem OG, Tangerine Haze, Purple Urple, Afghani Haze, and Pineapple Express in his closet. “From those clones, I didn’t get a very big yield,” Ivey tells High Times. “I didn’t know about the environment, having the right [parts per million, feeding, and temperature. So all of my plants weren’t hitting on all cylinders when I first started.”  

Before Barnes-Ivey began his relationship with the herb, he says he acted as the “weed police” on Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s (FAMU) campus before he experiencing his first joint.

“I would literally grab guys blunts out of their hands and step on them,” he says. “I was in D.A.R.E and wanted to be an FBI Investigator growing up.”

Then, in 2001, Barnes-Ivey started heavily using pain pills as a freshman to deal with the pains of being a competitive football player. He also had toothaches caused by soft teeth. “Taking pain killers, like Tylenol, had always made me lack emotion, so I got to a point on the pain killers where I was like, ‘You know what? This is kinda bad. Let me see if I can find an alternative.”

That’s when he approached his neighbors in the Sampson Hall dormitory who were known for always having marijuana. “I went next door and talked to my neighbors, smoked a joint with them, and realized that [cannabis] was medicine, and I didn’t have to take pain pills anymore.”

During his senior year, Barnes-Ivey interned with the Gadsden County Public Defender’s Office in Quincy, FL., as an investigator working on small possession charges. His perception of cannabis drastically shifted because it showed him that the number of Black men in the Quincy jail was more than 20:1.

“People of color […] are vital to the future of the cannabis industry,” says Christopher Cano, the executive director of NORML’s Central Florida chapter and longtime friend of Ivey “Prohibition has caused damage to communities of color including disparities in arrests and convictions as well as mass incarceration. With rich White men making millions in a new industry that for years was kept afloat by the black market at the cost of communities of color, having more people of color […] will bring some form of social justice in the grand scheme.”

Jesce Horton, co-founder and chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), believes that the green revolution we’re currently experiencing is bittersweet for Black Americans. “The opportunity for economic empowerment and community wellness is amazing,” he says, “but we will inevitably leave behind [most of those] who were disproportionately affected by cannabis arrests unless we make drastic improvements towards industry equity.”

Barnes-Ivey says being a black man in the cannabis industry is similar to being a black man in any other industry: there is a lack of resources available for minorities looking to expand into the larger market. “For me and what I want to accomplish, finances are my issue, which is the issue [for] most small growers trying to compete or stay afloat with big businesses moving in,” he told High Times.

Though becoming a full-time grower would be ideal, Barnes-Ivey says that he got into the industry—first and foremost—because it gives him peace of mind. “I’m just doing it because I really enjoy it. I love being apart of the industry, and I love growing for myself and for a couple of other patients.”

Through his entrepreneurial skills and love for playing in mother nature’s garden, he wants to show his two young sons the importance of following their heart and not letting systems of mental and physical oppression stop them from cultivating their own freedom.





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New Jersey Assembly Lawmakers Vote In Support Of Marijuana Legalization – Weed News


new jersey marijuana

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee voted in support of legislation (S2703/A4497) that would the legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 years and older.

Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, issued the following statement after today’s votes:

“Today’s votes are an important step toward legalizing adult-use marijuana in New Jersey.  Although this bill is not perfect, we greatly appreciate the changes that the sponsors of the legislation have made based on the recommendations of advocates.

“While we are encouraged by the inclusion of provisions that our coalition has advocated for – such as expanded expungement – to better address fairness and equity, we are disappointed that there is no provision that allocates tax revenue generated by marijuana sales back to the communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to ensure that New Jersey achieves fair and equitable marijuana legalization that is centered in racial and social justice.”

For more background on the New Solutions Marijuana Reform Campaign’s fight for fair and equitable marijuana legalization in New Jersey, visit www.legalizenj.org.

Source: Drug Policy Alliance



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What to Smoke For Spring • High Times


Editors Note: High Times is thrilled to present our newest bi-weekly column The High Priestess. Written by author and practitioner of magick, Gabriela Herstik, this column will explore the relationship and intersections of cannabis, witchcraft, sex, wellness, and everything in between. At High Times, we strive to keep our minds and our hearts open while centering and uplifting those whose views and practices have traditionally been denied a platform and excluded from the discussion. After all, what is the cannabis space if not inclusive? 

On Wednesday, March 20, we’re greeted with a Full Moon, a new season (SPRING!) and the Astrological New Year. The Spring Equinox marks the transition from winter to spring, and the Astrological New Year, the move from watery Pisces season (the last sign of the zodiac) to fiery Aries season (the first sign of the zodiac). Day and night are equal lengths on the equinox, and we’re officially a few short months away from the longest day of the year on the Solstice. Plus, we have a Full Moon in air sign Libra, the sign of the scales. This sign is ruled by the planet Venus, so it’s all about pleasure and victory, justice and beauty.

And yes, Mercury is retrograde right now, so if you’re feeling any sort of anything right now, you’re not alone.

After a long and dreary winter, Spring marks a return to the light, to the sun, to the warmth. Even if it’s still dark and cold right now, we know summer is closer than it seems. Many of us are feeling called back into ourselves, into the energy of expansion and freedom that Spring invites us into.

Florals for spring aren’t groundbreaking, and neither is smoking herbal blends. But there’s just something about working with herbs and cannabis together that feels so right and potent for the current astrology and energy. So, that’s what this column is about.

If you’ve been inspired to try mixing different herbs with your cannabis, I’ll be sharing four of my favorite herbs and how you can work with them this Full Moon and Spring. I only smoke organic herbs and I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. Try adding a pinch of the herb to whatever cannabis you’re smoking, and then play around with different blends to figure out what you like. Get creative!

Please do your homework before smoking any herbs if you’re on any medications!

The High Priestess: What to Smoke For Spring

Alexandra Herstik

Smoke to Relax and Heal: Lavender

Lavender is one of the most relaxing herbs out there, and chances are you’re already familiar with its sweet and soothing aroma. The lavender plant is veiled in mystic lore, and can be used in magick for healing, protection, and divination.

Ruled over by the planet Mercury, lavender is perfect to smoke during Mercury Retrograde (Rx). This is when it looks like the planet is spinning backwards, causing communication, technology, and travel (what Mercury rules over) to go haywire. During this time exes come back, travel can become tricky, and we’re discouraged to sign contracts.

But what this really means is that we have the chance to slow down, get really clear and precise, and surrender. It can be hard, and thankfully lavender and cannabis can help us do to the dirty work of surviving Retrograde with some compassion and tenderness.

The key is to expect the unexpected and also to smoke some lavender the next time you smoke your weed. This is one of my favorite herbs to blend into a joint— I love the slight taste and how it helps me to unwind and chill.

Smoke to Tap into the Warmth of the Sun: Chamomile

Chamomile is ruled by the sun, and it’s a perfect addition to your favorite strain if you want to tap into some warmth and light. This sweet herb can help reduce anxiety and release tension, and although it can be used to melt us into sleep (especially when mixed with some Indica,) chamomile is delightful during the day because it’s so joyous and warm. It brings the energy of the sun, which can feel deliciously soothing when it’s cloudy or gross outside.

Chamomile is also an herb of abundance and can help us manifest wealth. So if you’re looking to bring in some more money this spring, focus on what you want to grow as you smoke, exhaling an offering of chamomile to the universe for its help. Chamomile was a particularly delightful discovery–it has a very ethereal high that makes me laugh a lot. It’s a good herb to smoke if you need a pick me up and to invite some play into your life!

Smoke to Tap into Your Intuition and the Full Moon: Mugwort

If you’re looking to tap into your inner witch, then smoking some Mugwort may be the weed-witch way to go. Ruled by the planet Venus, Mugwort is used for clairvoyance, protection, and as a way to tap into intuition and psychic abilities.

The Full Moon is the energetic climax of the month–when all magical working is supported and our intuition is heightened and  “plugged in” to the cosmic energy matrix around us.

This Full Moon is in Libra, which is also ruled by Venus. So if you’re looking to ride the wave of the mystical, or if you’re looking to connect with your inner love goddess–or even Venus herself– then add some Mugwort to whatever it is you’re smoking!

Mugwort creates a really interesting high that, for me, is both in my body and my head. It makes me more receptive to the energy around me, and it definitely adds a different dimension to the high.

Try smoking some Mugwort on the Full Moon as you visualize the white light of the moon’s rays moving through your body as you inhale and leaving your body as you exhale. You can also smoke mugwort in a ritual setting, dedicating it as an offering to the Full Moon and Venus.

To Tap into Love and Your Heart: Rose

Another Venus-ruled herb, roses are well-known to be the love flower. You really can’t escape it and, honestly, why would you want to? Smoking roses can feel luxurious, the fragrance and taste adding sensual magnitude to a smoke sesh.

Fridays are ruled by Venus, and it’s an auspicious day to smoke some roses. And the Full Moon in Libra would also be a perfect time to mix some rose petals into your cannabis.

I find that smoking roses helps me relax and open up myself to others without expectations. It helps foster the energy of unconditional love which can feel like a really beautiful and necessary thing, especially as we move into spring and an energy of sensuality, romance, and love.

Even if the wooing your doing is to yourself, you can still bask in the essence of love and enjoy it for all its worth. Smoke rose petals if you’re looking to claim more pleasure and passion in your life. You can also visualize a bright pink light surrounding you and moving in and out of your lungs as you smoke this herb to help further draw in this flower’s energy.

To Smoke for the Full Moon in Libra: Cannabis, Rose, and Mugwort

If you wanna get freaky this Full Moon, roll a joint with some rose and mugwort and pray to the goddess of love. If you like having sex or masturbating when you’re stoned, there’s no better time to do it than under the Full Moon, and there’s no better blend than cannabis, rose, and mugwort to take you there. If you’re looking to reconnect with your sexuality, or to honor yourself, your heart, your beauty– I invite you to go for it.

Decide on an intention for your sex magick ritual (whether it’s connecting to your heart, beauty, sexuality, or partner) and then create a space that speaks to you by putting on music, lighting incense and candles, dimming the lights…etc. As you smoke this mix, envision yourself surrounded by a vibrant pink light. Feel this connection sensually and meld with the energies of rose; and intertwine to the internal wisdom mugwort offers you. You may wish to call on the energy of Venus or the Full Moon as well.

Then masturbate or have sex. Take it slow, enjoy the process and continue connecting to your breath. As you climax, hold your intention and envision sending energy up through the crown of your head into the universe. Use the afterglow to continue sending energy to your intention. And when you’re done, thank the universe, Venus (or whoever you called on ), and these sacred herbs for the experience. I always recommend recording any thoughts, visions, insights, or feelings for future unraveling and processing.

To Smoke for the Spring Equinox: Cannabis, Lavender, and Chamomile

The Equinox is when day and night even out, and in Spring it means the approach of summer– the return of passion and the fullest power of the sun. For those of us who want to tap into the bright energy of the Spring Equinox and Aries season, smoking cannabis, lavender, and chamomile may be a good option!

This healing high has notes of joy and expansion, and can help us open up to spring while easing any nervousness or anxiety we have about what’s to come. And if Retrograde has been overwhelming, this blend can act as an offering, helping you ease into whatever this new season will bring.

If you still have the winter blues, this mix can help take the edge off; acting as a personal sun to help you navigate the last of the season. Smoke this blend under the sun as you call on his power and envision golden rays cleansing you of anything you no longer need. As you exhale, envision any unnecessary baggage from winter melting away. So it is!

The High Priestess: What to Smoke For Spring

Alexandra Herstik

The wonderful world of smokable herbs is vast and bright, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. May this guide lead you into your own discovery of what you do and don’t like to smoke! There will be more of these, depending on the astrology, what I’m smoking, and what I feel like writing about, so keep an eye out.

Until then, enjoy the Full Moon, the Spring Equinox and the Astrological New Year! And don’t forget to support Insight Garden Program, a California-based non-profit that uses gardening and landscaping as a vehicle to transform prisoners’ lives through connection to nature.

They’re doing extremely important work, using mindfulness and nature as a path to break the cycle of prisoners who leave the system only to return because they’re not given the skills and tools needed to thrive in the free world.





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New Jersey Lawmakers Begin Hearings for Marijuana Legalization • High Times


New Jersey lawmakers in two legislative committees will begin hearings on Monday for a marijuana legalization deal announced by Gov. Phil Murphy last week. The Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary committees are scheduled to consider the Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act when they meet on Monday. If the bill is approved by both committees, it could be up for a floor vote as soon as March 25.

Murphy said last week that legal cannabis could provide New Jersey with new economic opportunities.

“It is an industry [that] has taken root around the country. [It] has proven to generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity,” Murphy said.

The governor acknowledged in a radio appearance that cannabis legalization is still a controversial topic and offered a pragmatic approach to the issue.

“I don’t think any of us think it’s a no-brainer, and I don’t blame folks for not automatically getting there,” said Murphy. “But we’re not inventing marijuana. It exists. It’s in our communities. Our kids are exposed to it. The social injustices of the past exist. So if we can undo those social injustices, get the business out of the hands of the bad guys, protect our kids, regulate and tax it — and by the way generate some revenue and create a lot of jobs — that feels like the right combination. And if we don’t do it, there’s no good alternative to me.”

Bill Would Legalize Adult Use and Sales

The Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act would legalize the use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a framework to regulate and tax commercial cannabis activity. The bill also includes provisions for the expungement of criminal convictions for minor marijuana offenses. Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he “wasn’t far away” from the 21 votes needed to pass the bill and that Democratic leaders would be “talking to the Republicans pretty soon.”

Sweeney said that if legislators do not pass the bill this month, cannabis legalization might have to wait until after summer.

“It’s got to get done on March 25 or it’s not getting done until fall,” Sweeney said. “Trying to move a marijuana bill during a budget break is not healthy.”

Kevin McArdle, a spokesman for the Assembly Democratic caucus, said that the bill will only be scheduled for a vote next week if enough members have pledged their support for the measure.

“If we post that bill for a vote on March 25, it will pass,” McArdle said.

Legislative committees will also be considering two other cannabis bills on Monday. The Assembly Appropriations Committee will vote on Jake Honig’s Law, a measure to reform the state’s medical marijuana program. The bill would increase the amount of cannabis a patient is allowed to purchase, eliminate the sales tax on medical marijuana products by 2024, and legalize cannabis edibles. A third bill would streamline the process for the expungement of criminal offenses and establish a “clean slate” program that would allow those with a clean record for 10 years to have all eligible convictions erased.





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