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German Federal Court Ruling Creates Confusion About Impending Legalization

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So, Germany is just about to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Initial draft guidelines were even released. Which makes it strange that the German Federal Court of Justice just enforced a ruling against two guys who sold hemp flowers with not more than .2% THC. In fact, it sounds a lot like what we already went through when France tried to stop imports of CBD into the country, and had to be shut down by the EU. Will this change anything?

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First off, what just happened?

The story starts well before Germany made the decision to legalize recreational cannabis. In 2021, two guy were convicted in a court in Berlin for selling CBD flowers in large quantities. This decision was recently upheld by the higher German Federal court, even despite it not making sense with EU law, or upcoming German law. The flowers didn’t have more than .2% THC, and at the time, that was the industry cut off for what is legal and what is not. Hemp flowers under that amount, have been legal for awhile.

Yet on October 14th, 2022, despite the THC limit not gone over, and despite laws in the works that literally invalidate all of this, the German Federal Court confirmed the earlier ruling which convicted the two men; with suspended sentences that include years of jail time. In a press release on the matter, it was stated:

“The 6th criminal senate of the BGH has now decided that CBD flowers – as long as they have not been de-resinized or only contain traces of THC in negligible amounts – are narcotics, since abuse of these products for intoxicating purposes cannot be ruled out.” Which means the court actually considers that the men were dealing in narcotics, even though they weren’t breaking EU law.

Cannabis in Germany
Cannabis in Germany

To be clear, its not like the court is even saying the guys were trying to sell the products illegally. They state in the press release: “According to the judgment of the district court, the main defendant – with the support of the second defendant and an unknown third party – acquired 60 kg of cannabis plant flowers with a high proportion of the active ingredient cannabidiol (CBD) in September and October 2019. He sold the CBD flowers to wholesalers for a profit, who in turn sold them to late sales outlets and CBD shops.”

Yet it goes on to say these next confusing statements. First this: “the district court rightly classified the CBD flowers as narcotics within the meaning of Annex I to the Narcotics Act (BtMG). The flowers did not fall under a cannabis exemption. They did have an active ingredient content of 0.2% THC and thus did not exceed the limit specified in the exemption.”

But then after essentially pointing out that legal limits were not exceeded, says, “However, there was no requirement that abuse for intoxicating purposes must be ruled out. If the flowers were heated during baking, for example, this led to the release of further THC, which could produce a cannabis intoxication when consumed by the end user. The main defendant was aware of this, but his assistant was indifferent.”

One could realistically ask what the point is in having legal limits if a court is going to so badly trample on them.

What about EU law?

Even if the German high court wants to get wonky with this ruling at a completely inappropriate time considering national policy for recreational use is on the way, it still brings up something else. Compliance with EU law. You see, the flowers in this case weren’t grown in Germany, but in Spain. By barring them, it would mean barring Spain from being able to trade a product deemed legal by EU law. EU law upholds the ability for free trade between member states without issue. The recent case of France vs the EU should have put this idea of banning CBD products to rest already, since France lost the case, and with it, the ability to bar imports of CBD.

And it seems this idea was on the mind of the court, which seems to think simply saying its not breaking with the mandate, somehow makes it not break with the mandate. Which it in reality seems to be doing. It sounds like the court knows this is an issue, because before anyone could say anything, it added in this to its statement:

German high court ruling
German high court ruling

“Contrary to the opinion of the appeal, the conviction for trading in CBD flowers does not constitute a violation of the free movement of goods under European law (Art. 34 TFEU) that the flowers were legally produced in Spain.”

But, doesn’t it? I mean, wouldn’t you need a really good reason? Apparently, the best the Court could do was reiterate that “Because the flowers were narcotics, with which trade is prohibited from the outset and which are therefore not subject to the free movement of goods.” I mean, maybe that would make sense, if the EU also agreed that this classifies as a narcotic. But it doesn’t.

Yet the Court’s statement really wants to put words in the EU’s mouth. It goes on, “The standards of European law on which this assessment is based were so clear according to the relevant legal norms and so far clarified by the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) that there was no reason to obtain a decision from the ECJ on compatibility with European law (Art. 267 TFEU ).”

So the German high court made the decision on behalf of the EU that it was okay to classify these flowers as narcotics even though the EU has a standard that allows for .2% THC (actually changed to .3%). By sheer definition the EU most certainly doesn’t agree, and the German court just brushed off the need to even ask.

It concluded with: “In view of the possibility of a health-endangering misuse of CBD blossoms for intoxication purposes, the Senate did not see any violation of the constitutional prohibition on excess in the punishability of trading in them.

The judgment of the Berlin Regional Court is now final.”

Let’s break this down. A country currently developing laws to allow recreational THC products, has a high court that just not only upheld the convictions of two men following EU law perfectly, but was ballsy enough to make a statement saying it was so sure of itself, it didn’t even need to ask the EU for permission.

EU cannabis law
EU cannabis law

What comes next?

Is this supposed to be some sort of hail Mary pass for all those unhappy with the new regime of Germany, and the move toward legalization? Is it expected to change the trajectory? Did someone actually think it would? Truth is, once the new laws come out, all this is invalidated anyway. The court might want to call it a narcotic, but the country is about to legalize it.

Plus, the men in question can do exactly what the two French guys Sébastien Béguerie and Antonin Cohen, did. Take their convictions to the EU high court. After all, if the EU doesn’t agree, the convictions can be invalidated. Those guys were convicted of marketing and selling hemp-derived CBD vapes in France, that came from the Czech Republic, which was within EU law. When France went against the EU and tried to ban the imports, it lost the case, because that violated EU trade law, which allows products to be sold without issue across borders.

Now, Germany is upholding the convictions of two men for almost the same thing. Giving those men the ability to take it to the EU. The question is whether the EU high court will see fit to hear the case. On the one hand, if it doesn’t hear the case, it allows its own ruling with France to be invalidated. On the other hand, doesn’t it have more important things to do than continuously look at the same issue? Personally, I hope it takes the case, and it might given the attention on it now. Or, it could ignore it, and figure that like it or not, Germany’s new laws will also end up invalidating the issue.

Conclusion

Most of all, the latest German high court ruling shows silliness, and petulance. How childish does a court system have to be to make such a judgement 1) as laws are literally in construction to invalidate the effort, and 2) when such a similar case was already lost by France so recently. Sure, maybe not everyone is on board with everything, but making it into such a temper tantrum when a legalization is coming? Stop being such cranky child, Germany!

This case won’t stop the legalization. It just serves to waste time and money, both for Germany, and for the EU if it must now do more work to uphold a ruling it already made.

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What Is A Jamaican Steam Chalice? And Should You Try Smoking Weed Out Of One?

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Although smoking marijuana is widespread throughout the world, Jamaica has one of the most profoundly rooted cannabis cultures. The Rastafari, a 20th-century movement that reveres marijuana as a sacred plant, originated in Jamaica. They believe that smoking marijuana fosters calm, love, and depths of reflection and medication that can serve as a gateway to the divine.

Suppose you’re looking for more conventional ways to enjoy cannabis, or you’re tired of your regular routine. In that case, you should try burning with a Jamaican steam chalice. These organic devices are said to be the first and original vaporizers. The steam chalice, which originated with the Rastafari faith in Jamaica, vaporizes weed using bamboo sticks, coconuts, and hot coals instead of electricity.

cannabis marijuana flower
Photo by Yarygin/Getty Images

The steam chalice may be used by contemporary non-Rastafaris for various reasons. There are several methods to consume weed, but burning plant material harms the lungs. Hence, many cannabis consumers are switching to alternative forms of use, such as edibles, drinks, and—increasingly—vaporizers.

Why not choose the Jamaican steam chalice, which has the most heritage and personality, if you’re going to smoke a vape? It’s a one-of-a-kind, highly potent, spiritually charged way of consuming weed.

What Is a Steam Chalice?

The Jamaican steam chalice is a traditional method of inhaling cannabis, although it is distinct from other conventional methods. Why? Because it does not burn the flower but rather “steams” it. The steam chalice could be considered the earliest vaporizer. This method of inhaling weed, similar to modern vapes, frees up terpenes and cannabinoids without generating as many potentially toxic byproducts as combustion.

Surprisingly, the steam chalice combines all significant elements: fire, air, water, and earth. Looking at the components, steam chalices are made up of four essential parts:

Coconut: The steam chalice’s main component is a coconut. It is comparable to the bong’s chamber. Its water content aids in filtering the vapour that is produced from the bowl to produce smoother hits. When holding and smoking a steam chalice, the coconut acts as the “handle.”

Cutchie: A cutchie is a clay pipe that resembles a sizable bong bowl. This part of the steam chalice supports the flower over the downstem. It keeps it out of the heated temperatures when THC and other phytonutrients are released from the charcoal.

Bamboo tubes: The downstem and the mouthpiece of a steam chalice are made of two bamboo tubes. In contrast to typical bongs, this one has a downstem and bowl positioned precisely above the chamber and a mouthpiece extending from the coconut’s side.

Gritty: This essential clay grate rests above the flower and has many tiny holes. It limits direct contact and burning of the plant material while acting as a base for the burning of charcoal.

Now that you’re acquainted with steam chalices and their components, it’s time to learn how to handle one.

What is a steam chalice for smoking weed

How to Use a Steam Chalice

Mastering the steam chalice can take a few tries, especially if you’re a dedicated joint smoker. Even if you’re used to working with massive and complex glass bongs, a Jamaican steam chalice will undoubtedly feel strange in your hands at first.

We’ve included some simple instructions below to help you get started with this vintage piece of equipment. Follow them carefully for an easy introduction to this innovative cannabis use.

RELATED: What Is A Chillum?

Fill the coconut with water first before doing anything else. The mouthpiece can be pulled from the coconut’s side to accomplish this. After that, add water below the orifice before reinstalling the bamboo mouthpiece. Take a bare tear. The sound that comes out should closely resemble the bong’s bubbling. If you don’t hear that distinctive sound, the water content of the coconut is either too high or too low.

The cutchie needs to be filled with herbs next. However, traditional cutchies link to the downstem through significantly larger holes in the bottom. So, to prevent flowers from falling into the chalice, many chalice users put in the part or whole torn buds. If you’d instead grind your bud, cover the hole with a large enough sheet of metal gauze before adding the flower.

Put the gritty in the cutchie after it has been filled. Depending on your type, some cutchies have a lip where you can insert the gritty to keep it from touching the herb below.

steam chalice
Photo by Nigel SB Photography via Unsplash

At this stage, things become even more unusual. You’re undoubtedly used to flicking the lighter or vape button before inhaling. You’ll find yourself grabbing into a bag of coal instead when using a cannabis chalice. Fill the top chamber of the cutchie with adequate charcoal. Then, use a blowtorch lighter to light the pieces. You’re ready to go when the charcoal chunks are steadily burning.

RELATED: Kratom Vs. Cannabis: What You Should Know

Now comes the exciting part. In the same way, you would hit a pipe or bong, place your finger over the coconut’s shotgun hole and hit the steam chalice. To clear the coconut, let go of your finger at the end of every hit. You’ll feel a clean, terpene-rich, and slightly vegetal flavor; keep in mind you’re vaping weed, not burning it.

You’ll need to wash your cutchie at the end of the operation. Remove the hot charcoal pieces with care and empty the steamed cannabis. Pour the water from the coconut and save your marijuana chalice for later use. Use a couple of pipe cleaners to clean the inside of the bamboo sticks every now and then.

Conclusion

Thinking of owning a Jamaican steam chalice? An expertly designed smoking chalice will be easy to buy online. However, if you’re thinking of executing a do-it-yourself project, you’ll get a pretty good understanding of how to build one from scratch by watching a YouTube video or two.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.



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Does Marijuana Legalization Increase Teen Use? New Study Has Answers

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A federally funded study has found no correlation between marijuana legalization and cannabis use among teens, which is relief for marijuana enthusiasts. At the same time, this study, which was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), has poked holes in the theory that’s often fronted by legalization opponents — that legalization will increase teen consumption of marijuana.

Currently, adult-use marijuana is legal in 21 states and DC. Maryland and Missouri joined this list through the midterm elections that happened barely a month ago.

teens high school
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reviewed data collected from three longitudinal studies relating to use of cannabis among teens in New York, Oregon, and Washington between 1999 to 2021. The researchers found that teens in states that have legalized cannabis are not any more likely to abuse cannabis than teens in states that have not legalized cannabis.

RELATED: Does Marijuana Legalization Increase Alcohol Use? A New Study Might Surprise You

Though preliminary, the results from this study offer a glimmer of hope that marijuana legalization could have more benefit than harm to offer. Study author Jennifer Bailey has, however, advised cautious optimism, saying, “Although things look encouraging now, as we note in our paper, alcohol use increased slowly over 40 years after the end of alcohol prohibition.”  

This article originally appeared on MyCannabis.com and has been reposted with permission.



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Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Does CBD modulate the effects of THC? No, says a new study.

For years, both experience and research have indicated that CBD has a mitigating effect when consumed with THC.

For example, budtenders suggest a THC-strain balanced with CBD for new consumers to avoid overwhelming them.

When an experienced stoner has eaten an edible or taken some oil and feels too high – they use CBD to take the edge off.

But a recent study suggests this is all placebo.

How Could CBD Modulate THC?

CBD Modulate THC

More extensive studies will conclusively determine if CBD modulates THC. But for now, we’ll have to rely on conflicting research and anecdotal experiences.

CBD and THC have drastically different effects. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the most famous of all cannabis compounds. THC binds to our cannabinoid receptors to produce the “high” feeling.

CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t directly bind to our cannabinoid receptors. It is more like a psychedelic in that it targets the serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, which we find primarily in our stomach.

CBD also prolongs the life span of our endogenous cannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

These endogenous cannabinoids bind to our cannabinoid receptors. Researchers figure that because CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide in the cannabinoid one receptor, THC can’t fully bind and thus has a muted effect.

Research performed under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions suggested CBD can reduce the unpleasant effects of THC.

Other research disputes this. But what about this new study?

Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study

psychosis

According to the latest study no, CBD does not modulate the effects of THC. Published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacologythis randomized, double-blind cross-over trial was thorough.

Researchers recruited 46 healthy volunteers ranging from 21 to 50 years old. They’d used cannabis before but not more than once per week during the previous year. Researchers asked them to inhale cannabis vapour containing 10mg of THC combined with different levels of CBD. 

So per experiment, they consumed a 10:0 ratio, then a balanced 10:10 ratio, followed by 10:20, and then 10:30. In other words, by the last experiment, participants were inhaling more CBD per milligram than THC. 

After each experiment, the researchers asked the participants to complete a set of tasks. Researchers measured “psychotic symptoms,” including “cognitive, subjective, pleasurable, pharmacological and physiological effects.”

For example, THC is associated with delayed verbal recall. The study said CBD did not improve those scores.

The study concludes, “There was no evidence of CBD modulating the effects of THC on other cognitive, psychotic, subjective, pleasurable, and physiological measures.”

Even going further to suggest, “This should be considered in health policy and safety decisions about medicinal and recreational cannabis.”

Yet, did this study conclusively determine these results? Even the authors admit their research can only go so far without a placebo-controlled group.

To suggest that “no evidence that CBD protects against the acute adverse effects of cannabis,” while other double-blind clinical trials have shown otherwise, indicates more to the story.

Building a CBD Tolerance 

CBD Modulate THC

This latest study suggested that CBD does not modulate the effects of THC in the short term. But what about the long term?

Cannabis connoisseurs know about tolerance. If you smoke weed daily, you build up a tolerance to THC. You can take a few days off and let your cannabinoid receptors reset. When you return to the herb, you’ll feel the effects more with less.

CBD might work the opposite way. It may promote receptor sensitivity, meaning you need less over time.

CBD may also reestablish homeostatic levels (bringing balance to your endocannabinoid system). So while it may give the impression it’s not doing anything, CBD is working with your system without producing the “psychotic symptoms,” of THC. 

At least one study suggests the longer you use CBD, the lower dosages you’ll need. Which is another way of saying: you need to build up some CBD in your system before it can work. 

With that in mind, how accurate was this new study? A short-term look at people inhaling THC-CBD vapour after a year of virtually no consumption?

And no placebo-controlled group, to boot.

Yet, these researchers want their inconclusive opinions “considered in health policy and safety decisions” about cannabis.

The Problem With the “CBD Doesn’t Modulate THC” Study

Langara College grant

Of course, the apparent problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its short-term aspect, the lack of a placebo group, and the cannabis delivery method.

Cannabis is a complex plant, and if you consume THC or CBD through edibles, the body will process the cannabinoids differently.

Same for plant extracts. Were the volunteers of this study taking THC and CBD isolates in vape format? Or were these full-spectrum products containing other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN?

What would result if a participant ate 10mg of CBD edibles for two weeks straight and then smoked a one-gram joint with 25% THC? And what if we paired them with a participant who didn’t consume CBD two weeks prior? 

This is why more research is needed before inconclusive results should be “considered” in government policy. 

But the big problem with the “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study comes down to bias.

The study says, “Cannabis users may reduce harms when using a higher CBD:THC ratio, due to the reduced THC exposure rather than the presence of CBD.”

Throughout the paper, the researchers engage in a priori extremism by labelling THC “harmful” without further discussion. It’s one of the biases built into the study. And we saw it earlier by referring to THC’s effects as “psychotic symptoms.”

But what evidence links cannabis, particularly the effects of THC, to “psychotic symptoms?”

When we consume THC, we don’t become “psychotic.” We get high. We become stoned. The fact that they didn’t use a neutral, scientific term to describe THC’s effects brings the entire paper into question.

Not to mention, English and Australian universities funded this study. Two countries not exactly known for their legal recreational cannabis markets. (Even their medical program is strictly controlled and absurdly risk-averse).

Furthermore, we have conclusive, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that prove that CBD reduces anxiety. And since higher concentrations of THC cause anxiety in some people, it’s no surprise we have past studies indicating that CBD modulates the effects of THC. 

What Did This Study Prove?

CBD Modulate THC

The problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its bias and limited scope. They created a category of “psychotic symptoms.” Then they tested this theory on a small group of participants in the short term without any placebo-controlled group.

It may be that CBD isn’t the modulating agent we think it is. Further studies may validate the conclusions of this study. 

But further research is needed. Governments destroyed nutrition science in the 20th century by accepting half-baked theories and biased research as proven facts.

With cannabis legalization sweeping the world, we cannot allow the same thing to happen to cannabinoid-based therapies. 





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