Okay! So they aren’t exactly calling it quits. Regulate Florida, probably the most notable
organization working to get adult use marijuana on Florida’s 2016 ballot, has abandoned their efforts to
for 2016. However, the group assures the marijuana community of Florida that they will make another,
more organize and better funded, attempt for the 2018 ballot. Stating that it has become apparent that
they will be unable to reach the one million signed petitions needed to get on the 2016 ballot.
For now the group is asking it’s supporters to responsibly discard any of their printed petitions
and pick up some of United for Care’s petition. United for Care is heading an initiative, similar to their
initiative in 2014, to legalize medical marijuana in 2016.
Carlos Jose Angel Hermida, M.B.A.
Deputy Director, Central Florida NORML
Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with interesting, creative and tasty ways to entertain guests when you’re planning a party. And sometimes you want to get your entire party lifted! Here are eight yummy dishes in which you can substitute cannabutter for regular butter. There are numerous recipes for each of these dishes, so you can use virtually any one you like.
Popcorn just isn’t popcorn without butter and cannabutter makes this simple and classic snack extraordinary. Drizzle melted cannabutter over a freshly popped popcorn. Microwave popcorn is fine to use. Use the same amount that you would use if it were regular butter. Salt or season to taste.
This party snack isn’t as old as popcorn, but it does date back to the 1950s.You can substitute cannabutter for regular butter using any chex mix recipe.
Cheese Cake or Pie Crust
Desserts are a staple of any party. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to make a dessert rather than go to the store-bought route, you can incorporate cannabutter into the crust if you’re making a pie or cheesecake.
Who doesn’t like cookies? There are so many recipes to choose from and most of them call for butter. If you’re feeling a little bit lazy, you can use a cookie mix. No one has to know and your guests will probably be so delighted that they won’t even suspect that they aren’t made from scratch.
This is probably one of the most traditional marijuana snacks. There are countless recipes for brownies and virtually all of them call for butter. They can be as basic or as elaborate as you want. Like with cookies, you can use a mix if you’re low on energy and or time.
Macaroni and Cheese
In the past this was considered a side dish, but nowadays some people consider it to be an entrée. Use cannabutter and your mac & cheese will be the star of the show. It’s recommended to make it from scratch, but even from a box, with cannabutter it might be so magical that your guests might not care.
This Italian appetizer has so many variations! If you want to give your happy gathering an upscale feel, this will do it. Spread cannabutter on your bread before grilling and then top with your other ingredients. Make sure to grab a few for yourself because these will vanish quickly.
These have been around for a bit, but have recently become extremely popular. Most variations of this recipe require you to spread butter on bread before grilling or toasting. They may be small, but just a few of these hearty little sandwiches will satisfy most appetites.
Written by: Chris Cano M.P.A.
Executive Director of Central Florida Normal
Central Florida Norml
In the second installment of this multi-part series on cannabis and health, we will examine the certain components of the plant known as cannabinoids, in particular, cannabidiol or CBD. These neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors regulate the human body at the molecular level in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells culminating in a neuro-network called the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond.
Most people have heard of the chemical called THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana that gets users high. But recently, attention has shifted to another compound in marijuana called CBD — and for good reason. While doctors for political or philosophical reasons can’t seem to look past certain side effects of THC, CBD doesn’t seem to present that problem. Evidence of CBD’s medical benefits continues to grow.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel stoned and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains makes it an appealing option for patients looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.
Scientific and clinical research, mostly sponsored by the US government, underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere.
Even though CBD shows much promise as a medicine, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. CBD is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States and a Schedule II drug in Canada. Yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a request to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug is made by GW Pharmaceuticals and is called Epidiolex. According to the company, the drug consists of “more than 98 percent CBD, trace quantities of some other cannabinoids, and zero THC.” GW Pharmaceuticals makes another cannabis-based drug called Sativex, which has been approved in over 24 countries for treating multiple sclerosis.
A patent awarded to the U.S. Health and Human Services in 2003 (US6630507) clearly covers the use of CBD as a treatment for various neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This medical evidence should be proof enough that prohibition and the War on Drugs are leaving casualties outside of the streets. It’s leaving them in our hearts every time we lose a mother or father, grandmother or grandfather to these age-related neuro-inflammatory diseases.
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, and his co-workers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, elucidated the exact chemical structure of CBD in 1963 and of THC the following year. It was generally assumed for almost two decades that the cannabinoids exerted effects not by binding to a specific receptor but “nonspecifically” by altering the lipid structure of cellular membranes. Mechoulam established that the action was specific by purifying THC and showing that only the natural version of the molecule —and not its synthetic mirror image— was exerting the effect.
In 1988 Alynn Howlett found that THC was indeed activating a receptor. It was dubbed “CB1” and was found in those areas of the brain involved in movement, stress, cognitive function — “everywhere it would be expected,” said Mechoulam, given what was known about the effects of cannabis on people. “A receptor doesn’t exist in the brain just because there’s a plant out there,” Mechoulam reasoned, “chances are there are endogenous compounds that will act on these receptors —so we went after them.” Whereas others were looking for peptides, Mechoulam figured the CB1 receptor would be activated by a lipid. Sophisticated analytical techniques and brilliant, dedicated lab workers enabled Mechoulam to isolate a cannabinoid produced by the body itself —arachidonoyl-ethanolamide or AEA, which his colleague William Devane dubbed “anandamide,” incorporating the Sanskrit word for “bliss.”
Mechoulam’s lab isolated a second endogenous compound, arachidonoyl glyceride, or 2-AG, which is more abundant in the body but less potent than anandamide. Although their structures are different, AEA, 2-AG and THC have similar pharmacological effects. The receptors to which they bind weave in and out of the cell membrane and are coupled to a protein that triggers events within the cell leading to slowed release of neurotransmitters. Because the cannabinoids affect the intensity with which other neurotransmitters are firing, they modulate numerous systems within the body. Mechoulam said, “There is almost no physiological system that has been looked into in which endocannabinoids don’t play a certain part.” CBD binds to a second cannabinoid receptor —CB2—originally found in spleen cells by S. Munro of Cambridge University in 1993 and subsequently found in the stomach, liver, heart, kidney, lymph and immune cells, bones, endocrine glands, and throughout the peripheral nervous system.
CBD’s lipid-solubility enables it to get into places in the brain that conventional neurotransmitters cannot reach. It is a potent anti-oxidative agent. It turns out to be an antagonist to a recently discovered receptor called GPR-55 to which THC and 2-AG bind as agonists. It blocks the uptake of adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that may promote sleep. It blocks the formation of various cytokines (signaling compounds not released by nerves or glands) under certain circumstances. It activates the serotonin receptors. No wonder, then, that CBD plays a role in many clinical conditions.
Paul Consroe and colleagues in Brazil led an experiment in which CBD was tested as a treatment for intractable epilepsy. Patients stayed on the anticonvulsants they had been on, which hadn’t eliminated their seizures, and added 200mg/day of CBD or a placebo. Of the seven patients getting CBD over the course of several months, only one showed no improvement; three became seizure-free; one experienced only one or two seizures; and two experienced reduced severity and occurrence of seizures.
Dr. Mechoulam has and is still currently investigating CBD’s use as a treatment for diabetes, nausea, PTSD, chronic pain, and treatment of substance abuse. Yet, barriers to research and approval for treatment in Western Civilization remain hindered due to cannabis’s current prohibition.
Today marijuana is still demonized for its effects on the human body by prohibitionist forces such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Drug Free America Foundation. With such scientific evidence, and the call for a removal of research barriers, to continue to support prohibition is to promote death sentences on our families. But, in today’s self-serving interests of American politics, science and compassion seem to be considered anathema. This would explain why eighty years of prohibition steeped in racism and conjecture still remains the status quo. Choose to fight back against the status quo by arming yourself with facts. Understand the real value in cannabis. It is that value that makes it such an integral part of human life for the last 10,000 years. Its integral nature and value can rarely be replaced by man-made substitutes, and for this reason, the powers that be continue to push prohibition. But, that is a conversation for another time…
Article Written by: Christopher Cano, Executive Director of Central Florida Norml
Many people have been smoking since they were teenagers. Some began as adults, while others have waited until their golden years to fire up. Yet, regardless of when you took your first toke, a responsible person should always know what they are putting into their body. Moving beyond peer pressure or getting with the latest craze, anyone who utilizes cannabis whether therapeutically or as a party favor should be educated on its components and their effects on the human body. In this multi-part series on cannabis and health, we will journey inside the plant to the molecular level and take a look inside the human body to better understand cannabis.
Value, value is the most important factor to any plant when attempting to determine its relation with human beings. We humans have been on this planet in our current form for at least the last 150,000 years. Over that time span, we have discovered the medicinal benefits of some plants and the lethality of others. Each plant according to its perceived value has impacted our relation to it and our relations with each other. Human beings are in a constant struggle of life and death on this planet. Plants that have any effect on either of these conditions tend to be highly valued. Plant derived poisons have been used for thousands of years for assassinations and murders. And, plant derived medicines have been used for just as long to achieve the opposite effect, to extend a healthy life. The usefulness of plants have shaped human society.
Dr. Carl Sagan, famed American astronomer and cosmologist, theorized that the Agricultural Revolution is what spurred modern human evolution. This event occurred around 10,000 years ago. Interesting enough, Dr. Sagan points to the discovery of cannabis fibers used in ancient Chinese pottery dating back that far as the basis for his hypothesis that cannabis was the first crop developed by humans. This of course, through the Agricultural Revolution, lead to modern civilization. Whether humans have cannabis to thank for their culture and society, one thing remains clear, humans significantly value the cannabis plant.
Let us delve into why humans see such value in this plant. Cannabis has many uses. Its seeds are high in nutritional value and contain 20 different varieties of amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids. Some essential amino acids can’t be naturally produced by the body and these seeds have the capacity to supplement them in the body. They contain high amounts of protein, which helps in strengthening the immune system, thereby, reducing the instances of diseases, besides helping in excreting toxins from the body. Studies in the recent past have shown that consuming cannabis seeds whether raw or in oil form, has the capacity to aid in the healing process of diseases related to immune deficiency. There is no other food substance which contains such high quantities of essential fatty acids found in cannabis seeds, higher than even flaxseed and other nut or seed oil as well as containing high amounts of vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. This won’t help correct your omega balance if it’s off, but it gives you the right balance to start with. Furthermore, the protein content of the cannabis seed is more digestible than most health food alternatives. Cannabis seed protein does not cause bloating or gas, like whey and other protein shakes. And, unlike soy which has super high amounts of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals, cannabis seed doesn’t contain phytic acid. In addition to nutrition, cannabis has found its usefulness in mankind’s greatest achievement, war.
Fibers derived from the stalk of the cannabis plant have been used for clothing, armor, and bow string for thousands of years. Chinese warlords who utilized cannabis fiber strings found that their armies’ arrows flew much further and with deadlier force than their enemies who did not. British warships ruled an empire that spanned the globe using cannabis fibers for their sails and riggings and utilizing its sticky resin for building materials. During World War II, the American Government even commissioned a film encouraging farmers to grow cannabis in order to produce the necessary materials for the rope and riggings on our naval ships. So humans have found the value of cannabis in furthering life and death, yet it’s most precious value will always be in personal use.
Humans are willing to risk loss of freedom and go to great lengths to hide this plant from authorities who seek to destroy it. We wage political campaigns and spend millions of dollars to legitimize its use. One must ask, why?
The easiest answer is, it makes you feel good when you use it. This simplistic answer goes back to man’s simplistic nature. For all our advancements, we still find the time to kill one another over petty and trivial things. So if humans’ basic impulse for protecting and using cannabis is self-driven pleasure, then let us delve into why this plant has such an effect on the mind and body.
To first understand the effects of cannabis, one must first look at the anatomy and molecular make-up of the plant itself. The cannabis plant is an annual flowering herb. This means that it completes its life cycle from germination to seed production within one year. The plant is dioecious in nature, meaning that individual plants have either a male or female sex. It is an angiosperm, better known as a fruiting or flowering plant. This means that the cannabis seeds are produce within an enclosure such as a flower. Lastly, the cannabis plant is an herb. Herbs are plants used for food, medicine, or spiritual practices.
The cannabis plant is indigenous to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, however, today due to humans, it can be found on all six populated continents in almost any climate. The cannabis plant’s natural evolution on steppe and mountainous regions of Central Asia means that it evolved in a region where there is thinner air and much sunlight. This increase in sunlight means more ultraviolet radiation. As a natural defense to ultraviolet radiation, the plant evolved trichomes. Trichomes are “hairy” outgrowths from the plants skin. Contained within the trichomes of the cannabis plant are cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are a specific class of plant-based chemicals that activate cannabinoid receptors in the human body.
There are anywhere between 60-110 phyto-cannabinoids theorized by scientists to exist in the cannabis plant. However, less than a dozen have been extensively studied. The most studied cannabinoid is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol or better known as THC. THC is known to be the principal psycho-active component of the cannabis plant. It was first isolated by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel in 1964. Since that time, it has been found that the human body and all vertebrate animals contain a system of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors known as the endo-cannabinoid system. This system regulates a number of physiological processes in the human body such as appetite, pain, mood, memory, motor learning, and in some cases the immune system. Endocannabinoid receptors are activated by naturally produced chemicals in the human body known as endo-cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid identified as anandamide effects eating, sleep patterns, and pain relief. Anandamide is also a necessary chemical for human embryos to attach to the uterus. Anandamide and two similar like chemicals have been found in chocolate, which obviously explains chocolate’s therapeutic effects. THC, as found in the cannabis plant, is chemically identical to anandamide. This means that THC when introduced into a human body lacking sufficient levels of anandamide, due to genetics, poor diet or environmental conditions, acts as a vitamin.
Unfortunately, most human beings do not have safe access to the cannabis plant due to eighty years of prohibition in America and its global War on Drugs. Research barriers and prohibition have limited the available scientific data in America, however, based on foreign studies and anecdotal evidence in certain states, cannabis is one of the most beneficial plants to the human body.
Anandamide is a necessary chemical in treating anxiety and depression, therefore, THC is a great anti-depressant. THC is also great for improving nighttime breathing and reducing sleep interruptions, this makes it a vital treatment in combating sleep apnea. THC is an excellent bronchodilator, this makes it effective for asthma sufferers since it reduces resistance in the respiratory airways. One effect of THC that some scientist purport as a negative effect is temporary memory impairment. However, active memory for someone suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can trigger violent episodes and lead to depression. THC counter-acts this and has been shown in some cases to allow a normal life. Currently, Dr. Mechoulam is conducting studies of cannabis as an effective treatment for PTSD in Israel. THC and its companion cannabinoid, cannabidiol or CBD, have been found to work synergistically to act as neuroprotectants and anti-cancer agents. This means that all those fried egg commercials from the 1980s describing marijuana as killing brain cells were pure propaganda. Dr. Xia Zhang, from the University of Saskatchewan, noted in an interview with Science Daily: “Most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis. Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis.” It has been found that THC act as a neuroprotectant against oxidative and inflammatory neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s’ and Parkinson’s. All these benefits, however, are for naught without legality from the United States Government and legal proliferation internationally.
Today THC is still demonized for its effects of making one feel good and not stressing about life’s struggles. This is a sad development for such a rational and advanced civilization as ours. But, in today’s American politics, rationality and civility seem to be rare qualities. This would explain why eighty years of prohibition steeped in racism and conjecture still remains the status quo. Choose to fight back against the status quo by arming yourself with facts. Understand the real value in cannabis. It is that value that makes it such an integral part of human life for the last 10,000 years. Its integral nature and value can rarely be replaced by man-made substitutes, and for this reason, the powers that be continue to push prohibition. But, that is a conversation for another time…
Article written by: Christopher Cano
Director of Central Florida Normal
Washington State, Washington, D.C. and Colorado have blazed the trail for ending prohibition. Through legal means these areas have adopted the recreational use of marijuana, freed the market for patients, opened the flood gates for entrepreneurs, and tax revenue for the states and districts. Based on research we have complied a list of states that will be vying for ending prohibition and legalization. With an election coming in 2016 all of these states on the list are going to have a measure on the ballot regarding marijuana. These are exciting times, friends. If you live in one of these states, be on the look out in November 2016 to vote for the right thing for our country. Enjoy.
As one of the pioneers in the medical marijuana movement, Cali is looking for support in 2016 to push cannabis into the recreational realm. As home to some of the top growers in the nation, one of the largest economies in the world, and possibly the greatest global media reach, California will be a powerhouse to end prohibition. If California and Oregon can pass the legislation, it will create a western seaboard that will have ended prohibition.
During the midterm-elections, Florida lost the vote to amend the state constitution to allow for medical use. The bill needed 60% to pass and missed the mark by 2%, tallying 58% for yes and 42% for no. The movement hasn’t lost momentum in the state, though. Now there’s a movement to have action taken in the state legislature. With Florida’s long growing season and major support for cannabis, look for Florida to legalize very soon.
Maine could be the northeast catalyst for states to adopt legalization. Maine has signatures on a statewide petition, and in some local elections, there has been a measure to see how a legalization bill would fare in the Pine Tree state. The numbers look favorable.
Massachusetts has a growing population of supporters for ending prohibition on marijuana. It also has a large population of medical marijuana patients, which helps get the state familiar with the product of cannabis. However, Massachusetts didn’t have any call to action on the midterm ballot. Instead, it posed non-binding public policy questions such as, “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol?” The question was posed to certain districts and the other districts asked for public opinion on “replacing the state’s restrictions on marijuana with a law that regulates the cultivation of and commerce in marijuana, by persons over the age of 21, in the same manner as laws that apply to the cultivation and sale of fruits, vegetables and herbs.”
Michigan has been making big headway towards the legalization of marijuana. This may be the first midwestern state to break prohibition. It will be interesting when the 2016 elections roll around.
Minnesota may have one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation, but it’s better than other states in the union. But even where the program stands right now, patients who need help are getting the help they deserve.
7. New Mexico
Not surprisingly, New Mexico doesn’t want to be left out of the green wave sweeping through the western states. Looking at their neighbors to the north, residents can see the windfall Colorado is having from the legalization of Marijuana. During the midterm elections, New Mexico posed a couple non-binding public policy questions and the results were staggeringly in favor of ending prohibition.
8. New York
New York is having quite year on the cannabis front. The governor signed the Compassionate Care Act. New York City has decriminalized possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana on any person. The governor has also stated that New York cares for its citizens. By ending prohibition, the state feels it would be giving the population great relief.
The “Show Me” state is an interesting case. There are groups fighting to get the measure on the ballot for 2016, but they need to get 8% of the voting population. Being one of the more conservative states on the list, Missouri is a wild card. But if they’re going to keep fighting for the cause, we can cheer them on by saying, “‘Show me, Missouri!”
World Famous Hawaii – beaches, surfing, pineapples and Maui Wowie! This far western state is known for self governance, an independent spirit and some of the best bud on the planet. But what will really make legalization happen in Hawaii is a voter-backed initiative and a strong focus on tax and tourism revenue.
Nevada may be conservative western state, but it’s also all about the Benjamins. Besides the many groups working together to gather signatures to put the measure on the ballot, Nevada’s executive branch is thinking about tourism dollars. Wouldn’t you feel better playing roulette while smoking a joint, instead of getting sloshed drinking whiskey? Las Vegas and Reno know how to put on a show and make people feel comfortable. After all, hospitality is their bread and butter. So who better take cannabis to the next level?
Another western state that is concerned with not being left behind, Arizona would be sharing borders with two newly legalized states. As much as Arizona wants the revenue, they will have to deal with the very conservative landscape, a very intense law enforcement scene, and that pesky border with Mexico. Not to mention, all of the problems that have been sneaking across the border.