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Can You Get High Off Terpenes? Maybe…

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The more we learn about weed, the more we learn about the different compounds within, and how those compounds affect our health and how we feel. When we talk about feeling high, we’re generally talking about the THC aspect, or even the CBD. But what about terpenes? Is it possible to get high off terpenes, and if so, which ones are best for this purpose?

What does it mean to get high?

Kind of weird question, right? To a certain degree, we all understand what this means, but at the same time, there are sometimes misconceptions. Consider people who never do drugs. Their idea of what ‘high’ means could be very different from a person who regularly uses different substances. And getting high off of different drugs produces different subjective experiences. So how do we define this idea?

According to Wictionary, the term to ‘get high’ means “To intoxicate oneself with drugs or other substances.” Merriam-Webtser uses the word ‘stoned’, and defines it as 1) “Drunk sense,” or 2) “Being under the influence of a drug (such as marijuana) taken especially for pleasure : high.”

These definitions are interesting. Both say that it involves taking something, but the first definition also implies that it merely involves intoxication, which itself does not have to be a pleasurable experience. Intoxication is defined as 1) “The condition of having physical or mental control markedly diminished by the effects of alcohol or drugs,” 2) “A strong excitement or elation,” and 3) “An abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning,” meaning it doesn’t have to be associated with a good feeling.


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Under these definitions, any drug that effects personal control or creates an abnormal state, is considered intoxicating, and therefore a part of getting high. This, indeed involves CBD as well as THC when it comes to the cannabis plant. Though often touted as a non-psychoactive compound, CBD’s sheer ability to affect mood, proves this an untrue statement. And depending on personal reactions, it can certainly have an effect on physical control.

All this is simply to say that the idea of ‘getting high’ isn’t as explicit as some think, and can be applied to different feelings, not necessarily just feelings of euphoria. However, for our purposes, we’ll stick to looking at getting high, as taking some substance to make a person feel good, to whatever level this means.

What are terpenes?

Now that we’ve covered what it means to get high, let’s look at the compounds in question, terpenes. The word has certainly gained popularity of late, as the cannabis plant in general gains prominence for its many benefits. And while we usually spend more time looking at the cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBC, among others, there are other entirely different compounds to consider; both in how they create a synergistic effect with cannabinoids, and for the effects they specifically give.

Terpenes are compounds produced almost solely by plants, and usually of the conifer grouping. They’re unsaturated hydrocarbons, meaning they’re made up of only hydrogen and carbon. There are also terpenoids, which differ in that they can have other elements like oxygen included. The number of carbon atoms is a differentiator for different kinds of terpenes. Monoterpenes have 10 carbon atoms, sesquiterpenes have 15, and diterpenes have 20.

Terpenes are a part of a plant’s defense system against herbivores and pathogens; while also being what attracts pollinators, mutualists (anything that forms a symbiotic relationship), and promotes possible communication between plants as well. They do this by way of strong smells and flavors, which is how we know them. These constituents are primary in essential oils, because of their very potent smells and tastes.

When it comes to cannabis, we know that terpenes play a role in creating a synergistic effect with other compounds like cannabinoids and flavonoids. A synergistic effect – often called the entourage effect when speaking of cannabis – simply means that the different components work together to create a combined effect that wouldn’t exist if one of the components was missing.

Cannabis compounds have synergistic effects
Cannabis compounds have synergistic effects

The cannabis plant is still very much under construction in terms of what we know about it. We know a lot, sure, but scientific research uncovers new things every day. So, when speaking about it, it’s always good to remember that we don’t know everything yet. What we do know, is that an average cannabis plant has approximately 400 different terpenes.

It’s said that over 30,000 exist across the plant kingdom. Of these, we really can only identify the effects of a few, though as research continues, this number should increase. Since we can’t say what they all do, we can’t rule in or out effects, but we can speak to the ones that have already been flushed out more.

In the cannabis plant, some of the main terpenes (or, at least, main ones that we talk about now), are pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene. You know how some strains smell a little lemony? Well, that’s likely limonene. Or maybe it has a strong earthy pine scent? That’s the pinene. These compounds don’t just come with funky scents though, they also come with their own effects.

Can you get high off terpenes?

There isn’t a definite answer to this question. Some sources say they just contribute to a THC high, others claim psychotropic effects. And anecdotal evidence backs up both. If the claim of psychoactive effects is true though, then it certainly seems like if those psychotropic effects are positive, and make a person feel good, then they’re producing a high.

In today’s cannabis world, many products are based on the idea of extracting something that might only occur in small amounts, and making concentrated products. This is true of terpenes too. Though they exist in tiny amounts in the cannabis plant, some companies are already selling products such as terpene tonics, which are chock full of the compounds. And anecdotally, these concentrated terpene products are said to make people feel differently. In fact, terpenes are already associated with certain effects.

Like myrcene, which is associated with pain relief, and that intense couch locking feeling that weed can sometimes produce. Couch locking is when you essentially don’t feel like doing anything except lay on your couch. It’s a sort of mental and physical laziness. For me, it comes with a cloudy head, and a feeling of impairment…which classifies as intoxication as it affects my abilities.

Does terpene myrcene get you high?
Does terpene myrcene get you high?

Myrcene is thought to produce feelings of relaxation; it stimulates the release of endogenous opioids, which help with pain relief. Conversely, though this happens in higher levels, in lower levels, myrcene is associated with producing more of an energetic effect.

Linalool also has a reputation of producing relaxing effects. It’s used in sleep aid products, and has anti-convulsant abilities. By bringing on feelings of relaxation, it has a psychotropic effect. Likewise, the terpene limonene is associated with anxiolytic, anti-stress, and sedative effects due to upping serotonin and dopamine levels. Pinene on the other hand, is more associated with energizing effects.

Then there’s caryophyllene, which is said to have anti-depressant and anti-anxiolytic qualities; and terpineol, thought to be calming while boosting mood. All of these effects mentioned, change a mental state, and it could be considered that they make you high.

Whether these effects mean you get high off terpenes, is perhaps more subjective, and based on personal definitions, than anything else. A microdose of mushrooms is still considered getting high, even though the effects are minimalized. In that same sense, terpenes can be considered high-inducing, even if not the standard idea of high. And who knows, perhaps in the future scientists will identify a terpene that really does cause a strong euphoric effect. It could already be argued that they do now, so long as they’re in concentrated form.

Terpene products

Terpene products exist in the market already. In California, interested buyers can enjoy Olala infused sodas which use both THC and terpenes. Sodas come in Blue Raspberry, Guava, Orange Cream, and Mango.

Then there are companies like the Terpene Store, which sell a range of materials for use by producers in their own products. The store functions online, and through retailers, and sells products which are FDA approved for food and flavor use. The company sources terpenes from many different plants, with just a selection coming from cannabis plants (specifically hemp). Its catalogue includes different formulations, including a line called ‘Vibe’ which breaks it down to physical/mental states: Awake, Focus, Passion, Relax, Relief, and Sleep, each with a multi-terpene profile meant to create this effect.

Does terpene limonene get you high?
Does terpene limonene get you high?

True Terpenes is yet another terpene vendor in this burgeoning market. It also sells high grade formulations to producers for product infusion. Much like the Terpene Store, it uses terpenes both from cannabis, and other botanical sources. It also offers a line of products based on physical/mental states. It’s offerings here are: Rest, Recovery, Creative, Energy, Focus, and Calm.

Since one of the benefits of terpenes is their powerful scents and flavors, many companies are now capitalizing on this through making terpene-infused rolling papers which smell great, while also giving a nice burst of terpenes. Like the well-known Zig-Zag, which puts out terpene-infused hemp cones in flavors like Limoncello, and Clementine.

Another well-known company, RAW, also gives some terpene-infused offerings. Like the terpene-infused Strawberry Tree Cones, as well as a limited offering Terpene candle, and a Terp spray that you can spray onto your regular paper or cone, to get the full terpene flavor and effect. Sprays come with different terpene variations, and include RAW Sour Apple Terp Spray, RAW Orange Soda Terp Spray, and RAW SFV OG Terp Spray. Interested buyers must find a local RAW retail location.

In fact, terpene-infused papers were one of the biggest trends at 2022’s Las Vegas based MJBizCon convention. With some products I had to question whether it was terpenes used at all, or some other chemical agent; as the flavor seemed unnatural and wouldn’t quickly wear off what the paper touched (like my hands, or bag). This could signal that new production methods have intensified them, or that some companies might be using non-terpene chemical agents, and masquerading them as terpenes.

Conclusion

Can you get high from terpenes? Well, maybe, depending on which terpenes, the concentration, and how you define being high. The reality is that terpenes might not cause a massive effect on their own in the amounts found in plants; but in today’s biotech world of chemical enhancement, its more than possible to make concentrated products that can do a lot more.

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Biocapton

The Lowdown On Syria As The New Captagon Narco State

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The Mid-East countries might be outwardly against drugs, but that doesn’t mean their people aren’t using, or involved in the trade. From published research showing the growing trend of hash among youth in Saudi Arabia, to Syria and its new position as a Captagon narco state, it kind of seems like the Mid-East, is right in the middle of it all.

What’s a ‘narco state’?

We hear the term ‘narco state’ a lot, particularly when talking about the international drug trade. For those who don’t follow the news, the word ‘narco’ is still pretty out there, what with the array of television shows portraying the lives of famous illicit drug entrepreneurs. But what exactly does it mean? According to collinsdictionary, it’s pretty simply:

“A country in which the illegal trade in narcotic drugs forms a substantial part of the economy.” That certainly paints a picture, but more in depth definitions explain the concept even better. Oxford reference explains it further, saying,

“A nation state whose government, judiciary, and military have been effectively infiltrated by drug cartels, or where the illegal drug trade is covertly run by elements of the government. It can also refer to a region under the control of organized crime for the purposes of producing or trafficking drugs where legitimate political authority is absent.”


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It then goes on to explain that the term “‘Narco state’ is more a journalistic phrase than an entity under international law. It has been used to describe Colombia, Guinea-Bissau, Suriname, and Mexico at various times….”

Basically, a narco state refers to a situation whereby those who control the drug trade, also hold a substantial power in governance. This generally undermines the political parties and/or laws of a country, often making such entities look rather powerless in comparison (though they’re often involved). Take Mexico, for example. It’s one of the most well-known examples of a country which is essentially run by its criminal organizations, and where very few people expect the government to do much about it.

A country dubbed a ‘narco state’ can go from being a narco state to a non-narco state if the structure that allows the criminal organizations their power, is fundamentally changed. Likewise, a country not known by this term, can easily become associated with it, if for some reason its drug trade is suddenly elevated. Such is the current case with Syria, as the drug Captagon propels it to narco state status.

What’s Captagon?

A country can become a narco state based on the trade of different drugs. Some of the drugs most responsible for incurring large drug trades, include heroine (opium), cocaine (coca), and cannabis. But there are plenty more drugs that rise and fall in popularity, and right now, the Mid-East is home to one of the burgeoning drugs to create a narco state – Captagon.

Captagon – or fenethylline – is a codrug and prodrug of amphetamine, meaning it works well with amphetamine, and breaks down into it within the body. It also goes by the spellings phenethylline and fenetylline, and by the names: amphetamin​oethyl​theophylline and amfetyline. Its been marketed under the names Captagon, Biocapton, and Fitton, as a psychostimulant. And as of now, it comes with no identifiable death toll. At all.

Psychostimulant is a nonspecific word that goes hand in hand with the word ‘uppers’. It applies to drugs that increase activity in the central nervous system, and bring on positive feelings like euphoria. The category includes everything from cocaine, to methamphetamine, to caffeine, to Captagon.

Captagon was first synthesized in 1961 by German chemicals company Degussa AG. For many years it was used as an alternative to amphetamine as it provides a milder response. One of its benefits over amphetamine, is not causing quite as extreme an increase in cardiovascular function. Even as it proved safer than amphetamine, and enjoyed use as a medication for narcolepsy, ADHD, and depression; the US illegalized it, putting in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances list in 1981.

This was followed up in 1986 by the World Health Organization adding it to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, essentially leading to its illegalization in much of the world. And this while amphetamine remained legal, with Schedule II designation in the US. Though the drug certainly exists in many places, it’s found most in the countries of the Middle East. Like most any illicit drug industry, this also means the trafficking and sale of counterfeit Captagon.

As is stands now, Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest Captagon consumers, and the majority of the drug gets trafficked in through Syria. The industry has grown so exponentially in the country, that Syria has become a Captagon narco state.

Saudi Arabia biggest Captagon importers
Saudi Arabia biggest Captagon importers

Syria and Captagon

Syria – the Syrian Arab Republic – sits in Western Asia. To its west are the Mediterranean, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel; to its south is Jordon; to its south and east is Iraq; and to its north is also Turkey. Arabs are the largest ethic group in the country, but are joined by Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Albanians, and Greeks. The most common religion is Muslim, but there are also plenty of Christians, Alawites, Druze, and Yazidis.

Since March of 2011, there’s been civil war in Syria, mostly because of the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, who took over in 2000, upon the death of his father Hafez al-Assad. The current leadership has been roundly associated with human rights abuses like executions of political prisoners, and wide-ranging censorship. Assad’s rule is challenged by political groups like Syrian Interim Government, Syrian Salvation Government, and Rojava. This civil war has claimed the lives of over a half million people, and led to a refugee crisis involving upwards of seven million displaced residents, and around five million refugees.

All of this is important because it shows the instability of the leadership of the country. Captagon at one point was associated with Islamic State fighters (part of the a militant Islamist group that promotes the Salafi jihadist branch of Sunni Islam), which makes it less surprising that its manufacture and use has spread so far. In fact, this illegal $10 billion/year industry is directly tied to al-Assad…as well as his enemies. According to international French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), Captagon exports dwarf all legal exports out of the country.

Now, to be clear, there are no hard numbers for an illegal drug industry, or at least none that get reported. The size of an illegal industry is approximated through drug busts and seizures. Which realistically means that a country that puts more effort into rooting out drugs and making seizures, could look to have a bigger industry than a country with more drugs, but less push to catch them. It’s said that Syria is the biggest producer and Saudi Arabia the biggest importer, but these assumptions are only based on who has been caught.

In the case of Captagon, its approximated that pills average at about $5. A real Captagon pill costs approximately $25 on the high end, while a knockoff can be as low as $1. In 2021, 460 million pills were taken in seizures, which leads to the total estimate of 2.3 billion pills produced, if 80-90% of trades go through. And this accounts for about $10+ billion in revenue. It’s expected that for every shipment which gets intercepted, that nine others likely make it alright. In reality, the $10 billion estimated from 2021, is probably a low number.

Whether Syria really is the biggest narco state, is arguable at best. Though it makes for killer headlines, its hard to imagine Syria outdoing a country like Mexico. Even so, the real meat of the story, is simply that the growing popularity of Captagon, has led Syria to join the list of countries considered narco states.

Further details of Syria and its relationship with Captagon

Captagon has its place in Syria as a party drug, but its cheapness, and ability for discretion make it a popular choice over the more socially unacceptable alcohol. As the kind of stimulant associated with pulling an all-nighter in school, and for helping soldiers fight longer, its not shocking its used by workers who want to get more work done. There are even stories of bosses spiking their worker’s drinks with the pills, in order to get more work out of them.

France24 spoke with several illegal operators out of Syria, and though most required anonymity, they were able to shed some light on the situation. Said one fixer and trafficker, a big shipment is usually organized by five or six different entities in order to cover the cost of the raw materials, transporting, and necessary bribes; all of which can total around $10 million.

Captagon
Captagon

He explained, “The cost is low and the profits high,” and that getting intercepted sometimes isn’t the worst thing because even just one shipment out of ten making it, means enough profit for all involved. In terms of who these people are, he explained “There’s a group of more than 50 barons… They are one big web, Syrians, Lebanese and Saudis.”

Though the Syrian government plays some role (or at least takes money from it), much of the trade happens through Bedouin confederation Bani Khaled, which can often support the entire process of production in Syria, through delivery in a country like Saudi Arabia. This means less hand offs between different organizations, and an easier ability to maintain control. As the network reaches to Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, from Syria and Lebanon, this gives a large area to work within with one entity overseeing it.

Syria is currently the biggest producer of Captagon, manufacturing approximately 80% of the circulating Captagon globally. This is according to security services, that go on to say that the Captagon trade is worth three times the entire Syrian national budget. Assad-controlled areas are some of the biggest hotspots for this trade, though Assad’s brother Maher al-Assad plays a role as well, and is said to be one of the biggest winners in the Captagon game. It’s reported that many labs get “the raw material directly from the 4th Division, sometimes in military bags,” of which Maher is the de facto head.

The trade has done well to build up groups like Hezbollah, which is said to play a part in patrolling the Lebanese border to ensure safe trafficking. Said an ex-Syrian government adviser who remains anonymous, “Syria is in dire need of foreign currency, and this industry is capable of filling the treasury through a shadow economy from importing raw materials to manufacturing and finally exporting.”

The trade is big enough that many other organizations, including rebel groups, are in on it, particularly in the south of Syria. Sweida and Daraa, two provinces along the border with Jordan, have smuggling routes to Saudi Arabia. Abu Timur, a spokesman for the armed group Al-Karama, explained,

“The smuggling is organized by the tribes who live in the desert in coordination with over 100 small armed gangs,” and that “Captagon brought together all the warring parties of the conflict… The government, the opposition, the Kurds and ISIS.”

Syria might be the new Captagon narco state, but the drug isn’t killing anyone. If you look up ‘Captagon deaths,’ nothing comes up; which greatly begs the question why this matters. Why would anyone go this far to care about something not causing a problem? The only real assumption, is money. The situation has now gone so far, that this no death-toll drug, is reason for a shoot-to-kill policy in Jordan, concerning traffickers of Captagon out of Syria. Meaning a drug that doesn’t kill anyone (much like cannabis), is now the reason for many deaths.

Conclusion

While its always nice to see different sides come together, perhaps the pursuance of a drug trade isn’t the best reason. However, low-grade knock-offs aside, Captagon isn’t the most intense drug, and far better than other options like opioids, which cause many deaths.

If you had the choice, you’d probably prefer your kid took a couple Captagon pills, over ever popping a fentanyl; but today’s reality is that you can get shot and killed over a drug, that doesn’t actually kill anyone.

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All about Cannabis

Health Canada: Let’s Ban Potent Cannabis Extracts  – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Despite a healthcare system already on the verge of collapse pre-COVID, Health Canada bureaucrats have focused on cannabis companies selling extracts.

Health Canada recently requested federally licensed cannabis companies to discontinue the sale of cannabis products the bureaucracy considers mislabeled. Health Canada is concerned adults are consuming products labelled “extracts” as “edibles.”

The move is expected to cost cannabis companies millions of dollars. And it comes at a time when most publicly traded cannabis producers are still losing money.

Why target products that have been on the market for three years? Health Canada has not responded to any media on the topic, including Cannabis Life Network’s request for clarification.

Health Canada: Let's Ban Cannabis Extracts 

While Health Canada’s targeting of cannabis extracts surprises many, others, like CLN, have been expecting this move for a while.

In the letter seen by MJBizDaily, Health Canada said that “upon further review of the products in question, Health Canada has assessed that this product is edible cannabis and, consequently, it contains a quantity of THC that exceeds the allowable limit of 10 mg per immediate container.”

The letter goes on to define “extract,” “edible,” and “food.”

“Health Canada has determined that (the products in question) are consumed in the same manner as food, and therefore fit the definition of edible cannabis,” the Health Canada letter says.

Cannabis extracts cannot exceed 1,000 milligrams per container, one hundred times more than Health Canada permits in the edible class. Ergo, companies would instead produce extracts than edibles.

However, the line has gotten blurred, and this is likely what concerns the bureaucracy’s busybodies. For example, New Brunswick-based cannabis producer Organigram has a “Jolts” product advertised as a lozenge. While each candy is 10mg, the entire pack of 100mg.

Likewise, Redecan has a cannabis extract containing 800 to 1000mg of THC per bottle. However, the oral dispensing syringe caps each “dose” at 8-10mg. 

Are these the products Health Canada wants discontinued?

Health Canada On Extracts: Useless

Health Canada: Let's Ban Cannabis Extracts 

Why Health Canada? And why now? Why at all?

Industry sources expect to lose tens of millions if Health Canada demands extracts and lozenges get pulled from the Canadian cannabis market. They also expect the illicit and legacy markets to fill the void.

Regardless of what you think about public health and safety or an individual’s freedom to consume as much THC as they want, there’s significant concern about how Health Canada is going about this.

This kind of regulatory enforcement is akin to banana republics. Health Canada has already approved these products. Organigram’s “Jolts” have been on the market for over a year.

Producers of these extracts followed all the rules and regulations. And now Health Canada will arbitrarily limit (or ban) these products because… what? Canadian consumers prefer potent extracts over weak-ass edibles?

The lesson here is to remove all THC limits, not bring the hammer down on companies producing legal products. This is not how you regulate an industry.

Infantilizing Adults

While Health Canada hasn’t responded to a request for comment, I suspect the justification will likely be over “public health” and “increased hospitalizations from high-THC products.”

Another way of saying: we’re so bad at delivering health care that instead of improving it, we’re going to start controlling the behaviours that may lead people to need a hospital bed.

That’s the most insulting part of all of this. Health Canada treats adult cannabis consumers like children by limiting their autonomy and decision-making.

Actions speak louder than words. Health Canada bureaucrats (who live off our taxes) lack trust in cannabis-consuming adults to make their own choices and take responsibility for their actions.

When regulations are not based on evidence or are not well-reasoned, they are an infringement on personal liberty and autonomy.

Even with “conventional thinking,” in which government regulations are effective and immune to corruption and politics, it’s essential that regulators balance the need to protect public health and safety with the need to respect adults’ autonomy and decision-making abilities.

Health Canada’s crackdown on cannabis extracts clearly violates that balance. 

This situation would be like if Health Canada discovered that vodka and whiskey were stronger than beer. And so they order distilleries across the nation to arbitrarily limit their alcohol content and take the products off the shelves.

Health Canada has no business regulating cannabis. 

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Bring On the Psychedelics: States Looking to Reform Policy in 2023

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2020 brought us Oregon and the first legalization for psychedelic mushrooms in the US. 2022 brought us Colorado doing the same, but with more compounds legalized, and a separate pre-emptive legalization for MDMA. Now, it’s a new year, so let’s take a look at which states are looking to reform their psychedelics policies, going into 2023.

The first two: Oregon and Colorado

In the 2020 elections, Oregon put Measure 109 and Measure 110 to the voters, both of which passed, with 55.75%, and 58.46% of the vote, respectively. The first law is a measure to legalize some use of psilocybin mushrooms, and the second is a decriminalization measure for the personal possession of illicit drugs. Together they make for a full drug decriminalization in the state, as well as a drug legalization under certain parameters.

The parameters were made more clear in 2022 upon the release of rules for the new industry. For one thing, the legalization only covers psilocybin mushrooms, and of those mushrooms, only one species: Psilocybe cubensis. Furthermore, all legal use must be done in a certified center under the watchful eye of a non-medical tripsitter. Different municipalities have the option of opting out of this allowance.

In the 2022 elections, Colorado joined in as the second state to legalize some form of  a psychedelic, though Colorado went a bit further. Instead of focusing on just psilocybin mushrooms, the state made it about entheogenic plants as part of a natural medicine program, though not all medicinal plants are a part of this. It includes the compounds: psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, mescaline (minus Peyote), and ibogaine. It also sets up regulation for trip centers, but does allow administration of the compounds outside of this. It decriminalizes use of these compounds outside legal administration.


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Colorado made it so that when the measure passed, the entire state was obligated to oblige. Unlike Oregon, no individual locations have the ability to say no, making for a standard law throughout the state. Colorado also was the first state to pass a pre-emptive legalization for medical MDMA. This legalization lies in wait for a federal legalization first, and has no power until that happens. When it does, Colorado is set to go with regulations for its medical MDMA industry.

States to watch for psychedelics reform in 2023 – California and Washington

California and Washington are both coming off of failed psychedelics bills in the previous year. And both are already back with new bills to offer, both of which have been tweaked to create more passable versions in the hopes of having a better chance this time around.

California is offering SB 58 as an improved version of SB 519. SB 519 didn’t actually die like other failed bills, but instead was intentionally pulled by its creator, Sen. Scott Wiener. SB 519 would have decriminalized the possession of both natural and synthetic compounds, as well as legalizing medical use for patients in need, and mandating further research. The new SB 58 narrows its scope to the same five compounds as Colorado: psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline; with synthetics like LSD and MDMA removed. It omits the research requirement.

As the previous bill passed the Senate in California, as well as its first two Assembly committees, there’s plenty of reason this newer version should also do well. Wiener pulled the previous bill because of the edits made to it, which downgraded it to nothing more than a research initiative; taking out everything else. The hope is that with the scope minimized to just the chosen entheogenic plants, the bill will pass through.

Washington is coming back with SB 5263 to take the place of the failed SB 5660. Some of the revisions to this new bill include a longer implementation time of 24 months, to make sure everything goes smoothly; greater worker protections for those administering the drugs; the requirement of group sessions for drug administration; the ability for administration outside of a service center (like Colorado); greater privacy for users; and no maximum doses under 50mg. It also doesn’t allow individual locations to opt-out.

One of the other things this new bill does, is move away from the standards of tripsitting that have thus far been employed by the two legal states. Washington will instead require a new license that is earned with 120 classroom hours, and 250 practice hours. In comparison, Oregon only mandated tripsitters to go through 40 hours of training.

Classroom training for tripsitting license
Classroom training for tripsitting license

Other states looking for psychedelics reform in 2023 – CT, IL, NY

The psychedelics industry is moving at breakneck speeds, going from a snowball to an avalanche in no time at all. Connecticut is one state looking for psychedelics reform in 2023. It’s doing so with a bill (H.B. No. 5102) which legalizes “the use of psilocybin for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, including, but not limited to, the provision of physical, mental or behavioral health care.” The bill is being spearheaded by democratic democratic Representative David Michel, who had this to say:

“Decriminalizing will help end the targeting of certain communities… and authorizing psilocybin for medical and therapeutical use, I believe, is key when mental health is at an all-time low.” He went on, that “It’s more needed than ever,” and that its senseless to be “constantly going through pharmaceutical products when nature-based approaches can be very effective.”

Illinois is another state looking for psychedelics reform in 2023. In the beginning of January, democratic Representative La Shawn Ford pre-filed the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act. This law would take psilocybin out of the controlled substances list of the state, and create an advisory board concerning therapeutic services for the compound. According to Ford, this bill, which would also expunge criminal records, is a main point for the season.

New York also wants in on psychedelics reform for this year. Democratic Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal pre-filed a bill early in January to legalize some entheogenic plants for an adult-use market of 21 and above. State statutes would be updated to allow the “possession, use, cultivation, production, creation, analysis, gifting, exchange, or sharing by or between natural persons of twenty-one years of age or older of a natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogen.”

The wording of the bill means inclusion of the standards like psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline, and could work to legalize more if not naming the drugs specifically. The bill would open up an industry of psychedelics services, and allow use of the plants in religious ceremonies (something that already applies to mescaline.)

Even more states looking to get in on it in 2023 – NJ, MO, VA, MO, MN, NH

No, we’re not done, there are several more states looking for psychedelics reform in 2023. Like New Jersey. Democratic Senate President Nicholas Scutari filed a bill last year that’s still in play. The bill would legalize not just the possession of psilocybin mushrooms, but their cultivation as well. Like most others of its kind, it would seek to set up locations where psilocybin services could be administered. New Jersey already signed off on a bill in 2021 to substantially reduce penalties for up to one ounce of psilocybin possession.

psychedelics reform to allow psilocybin
psychedelics reform to allow psilocybin

In Missouri, Representative Tony Lovasco re-filed a previously failed bill for psychedelics reform (HB 869), on January 18th of this year. The revised version would set up psilocybin service centers for issues like treatment-resistant PTSD and depression, and would require a doctor’s recommendation. Said Lovasco to Marijuana Moment, “We’re going to have to limit it to psilocybin initially as that’s what we have the most data and research on.”

Virginia also has a take on how to reform the issue. Out of several initiatives in the state, one of the most promising is from democratic Delegate Dawn Adams who put forth HB 1513, which would legalize psilocybin for “refractory depression or post-traumatic stress disorder or to ameliorate end-of-life anxiety.” All requiring a doctor’s prescription. The law comes with provider protections, and decriminalizes the non-medical use of the drug as well. Adams has yet another bill in play (HB 898) to decriminalize a host of psychedelic compounds.

A third bill in the state, filed by democratic Senator Ghazala Hashmi (SB 932), moves psilocybin from schedule I to schedule III. This bill would also seek to set up strategies for setting up psilocybin clinical services via a Virginia Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Next up is Montana which hasn’t released anything yet, but is working on two bills so far this year. The first would legalize medical psilocybin for psychiatric purposes. The second one is simply to set up a research initiative about psychedelics for medical use in general. Both are still in the draft stage.

Minnesota isn’t missing out, with a bill also in draft stage by democratic Representative Andy Smith. This bill would legalize, in some capacity, medical psychedelics. According to Smith, “For decades scientific research into the positive effects of psychedelic medicine has been muzzled by the ‘war on drugs,’ but that is [starting] to change.” No official bill is released yet.

Last up? New Hampshire. On January 5th, republican Representative Kevin Verville submit HB 328 which would institute an adult use market of 21 and above for a number of psychedelic compounds including synthetics like LSD, and entheogenic plants like psilocybin. The bill actually isn’t more specific than this in terms of exactly which drugs it applies to. Beyond creating an adult-use market for these drugs, it would work to lower penalties for the manufacture, possession, and sale of LSD and PCP.

LSD
LSD

Conclusion

It’s unlikely that all of the psychedelics reform bills for 2023 will go through, but some of them should. And then next year? Even more. The psychedelics world is really opening up, and within a few years we can easily expect the landscape to look very, very different.

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