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Raphael Mechoulam, RIP – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana



Raphael Mechoulam, the Israeli chemist who first isolated THC, died in his home. He was 92 years old.

The American Friends of the Hebrew University confirmed his death. Mechoulam had been a professor at the university since 1966.

Who Was Raphael Mechoulam?

Raphael Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam was an Israeli organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Cannabis research and Mechoulam are essentially synonyms.

This, of course, is likely due to his discovery and isolation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis.

In the 1960s, Mechoulam and his research team were the first to identify and synthesize THC.

This not only illuminated the chemical structure and pharmacology of cannabis but eventually led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. 

Medical cannabis wouldn’t be a thing without Mechoulam’s work. His work earned him the title “the father of cannabis research.”

Throughout his career, Mechoulam received numerous awards and honours for his contributions to the field of cannabis research, including the Rothschild Prize in Chemical Sciences and Physical Sciences, the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society.

Why Did He Study Cannabis?

Raphael Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam’s interest in cannabis began in the 1960s when a cultural shift embraced the plant. But Mechoulam was more interested in science than culture.

“Morphine had been isolated from opium in the 19th century, early 19th century,” Mechoulam said in a 2014 interview. “Cocaine had been isolated from coca leaves mid-19th century. And here we were, mid-20th century, and yet the chemistry of cannabis was not known. So it looked like an interesting project.”

His team isolated THC and its effects on the brain and body. They also isolated other cannabinoids and their effects, including cannabidiol or CBD.

“I was surprised to note that an active compound had apparently never been isolated in pure form,” Mechoulam said. “And that its structure was only partially known. Even the structure of a major crystalline component, cannabidiol (CBD), which had been isolated more than two decades previously, was not fully elucidated.”

And while known as the father or grandfather of cannabis research, Mechoulam also researched the pharmacology of the khat plant, which many people in East Africa and the Middle East often use as a stimulant.

In the West, manufacturers often synthesize it into cathinones or “bath salts.”

“Most of the human and scientific knowledge about cannabis was accumulated thanks to Professor Mechoulam,” Asher Cohen, the president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in a statement. “He paved the way for groundbreaking studies and initiated scientific cooperation between researchers around the world. Mechoulam was a sharp-minded and charismatic pioneer.”

How Did Mechoulam Study Cannabis?

“When we started work many years ago, there was essentially no interest in cannabinoids,” Mechoulam said in a 2019 interview.

He applied for a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States in the 1960s. They told him that Americans aren’t interested in “marijuana.” That it’s something only Mexicans use. 

Eventually, the NIH reversed course and supported Mechoulam’s research. But this general attitude that cannabis was irrelevant in the 1960s shows that the NIH has always been out of touch.

The current head of its drug abuse sector is the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky. She has a clear bias toward the brain-disease model of addiction. Because of one person’s values, funding for research goes one way. It becomes like an ideology. 

For Mechoulam living in Israel, where cannabis was also illegal, he made contacts within police departments for a steady supply. As he said in an interview, “I didn’t have a car at the time. I was on the bus carrying five kilos of hashish. People were just saying, ‘It’s kind of a strange smell.’ We tested that on a few volunteers, including ourselves.”

As Mechoulam wrote in the Annual Review, he and his team “extracted the hashish and, by repeated column chromatography, were able to isolate about 10 compounds — most of them unknown — and elucidate their structures.”

In 1980, he was in Brazil conducting CBD research on people with epilepsy. Within a few months, he and his team found that none of the people in the study reported seizures. 


Of course, it’s always sad to hear about the passing of a great scientist and innovator like Mechoulam. We will remember his contributions to cannabinoid research for years to come.

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Basic Cannabis Economics – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




Basic cannabis economics. Wherever you find reefer madness, a poor grasp of basic cannabis economics is right behind it.

For example, public health busybodies demand THC limits. As if adults choosing high-THC strains of cannabis will simply shift their demand to lower-THC strains once public health tells them what their preferences should be.

Most, if not all, government workers lack an understanding of basic economics and, therefore, basic cannabis economics.

So let’s clear up some misconceptions. First, let’s start with a definition from economist Thomas Sowell.

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

Politicians Who Don’t Understand Basic Cannabis Economics

Basic Cannabis Economics

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau legalized cannabis in 2018, three years after pledging to do so.

From the beginning, we covered what Justin Trudeau meant by legalization (i.e. Corporatization) and what he should do instead (remove cannabis from the criminal code and rely on our common law/customary traditions for regulation).

But Justin Trudeau does not understand basic economics, including basic cannabis economics.

The trust-fund prime minister believes federal budgets balance themselves. That economies grow “from the heart outwards,” which must be doublespeak for running up the credit card.

The former drama teacher also thinks inflation isn’t a concern for “families,” which he claims to care about.

Justin Trudeau is a textbook example of a politician that places “compassion” and what sounds good over what works. He is the type of politician that ignores scarcity.

But the problem isn’t only in Canada.

Basic Cannabis Economics

Connecticut, for example, is trying to enforce THC limits unsuccessfully. Retailers can’t sell flower higher than 30% THC; concentrates are capped at 60%.

But convenience stores, gas stations, and CBD-only stores can get around these limits by focusing on delta-8 THC.

Obviously, a politician with an understanding of basic cannabis economics would declare THC limits a failure. They would find another way to persuade people to consume lower-THC cannabis. Maybe by trying a method based on consent rather than coercion.

But Democratic Representative Mike D’Agostino thinks the problem is that the rules aren’t strict enough. As he told the House, 

All we’re trying to do is make sure that any products that are sold with a significant amount of THC in Connecticut are sold in our regulated marketplace through the dispensaries, where there’s labeling requirements, there’s per package requirements, there’s per container requirements.

And all Fidel Castro was trying to do was create a “new socialist man” who would set aside all personal interests, goals, and desires to devote his life to building a communist society.

It may look like a stretch to compare THC limits to systemically dismantling the market economy for a utopian ideal, but the principles are the same.

Politicians who don’t understand basic cannabis economics will destroy the cannabis industry before it can thrive. 

Look at Canada’s cannabis sector. Even large producers struggle to keep up with the government’s criminal excise tax structure.

Politicians who don’t understand basic cannabis economics are the biggest threat to cannabis legalization. The world can now look at Canada and conclude, “I guess cannabis legalization doesn’t work.”

Basic Cannabis Economics in the Edible Market 

Basic Cannabis Economics

Economics studies cause and effect, showing what happens when you do specific things in specific ways. With basic cannabis economics, we should look at the incentives certain decisions create rather than the stated goals.

In other words, consequences matter more than intentions.

Canada’s public health busybodies say because children are attracted to cannabis edibles, THC limits and other restrictions are justified.

It’s easy to declare good intentions and blame others for the problems. But, by understanding basic cannabis economics, you can see how Health Canada‘s strict edible rules have led to counterproductive, even disastrous, consequences.

The Canadian government hasn’t changed consumer demand. People still want potent edibles. The consequences have been

  • a) continued revenue streams for “illicit” edible makers and;
  • b) legal producers are focusing on potent cannabis extracts.

Health Canada sees the consequences of their actions but refuses to take responsibility because they don’t understand basic cannabis economics.

They released a statement decrying “copycat” cannabis edibles, especially since they appeal to children. (Ignoring that refined sugar is generally terrible for children or that teens are experimenting with “safe supply” opioids in B.C. An issue much more severe than illegal cannabis edibles).

And instead of acknowledging that THC limits are counterproductive, they go after potent extracts they consider “edibles.”

Health Canada may argue that child-resistant packaging and THC limits are necessary “for the children.” But, at the same time, they complain that legalization and “privately-owned for-profit” dispensaries have resulted in higher hospitalizations and E.R. visits by children who have accidentally consumed cannabis edibles.

So which is it?

Basic Cannabis Economics 

Basic Cannabis Economics

Many people think economics involves money, finance, and banking. And it does. But at its core, economics, including basic cannabis economics, is about the logic of action.

Consider a clean-up crew arriving after a cannabis festival. Maybe the garbage cans are piled high. Cannabis roaches and lost paraphernalia litter the ground. The clean-up crew is confronted with an economic problem.

Where to start? They must allocate their scarce resources (cleaning supplies and equipment), which have alternative uses. Do they start with the bathrooms or by emptying the garbage cans?

Perhaps a discarded joint starts a small bushfire. The clean-up crew would be wise to begin there.

Human life consists of allocating time and resources efficiently. This is an inescapable fact of reality. 

In this example, no money has changed hands, and there’s no market in the traditional sense. But the choices made by the clean-up crew are necessarily economic.

There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.

Yes, public health can limit THC and demand child-resistant plain packaging. But the trade-off incentivizes others to produce high-THC edibles in packaging that are pleasant to the eye.

Why must ‘copycat’ cannabis edible appeal to children? Are adults not allowed to enjoy the marketing of their favourite chips, candy, and chocolate brands?

Making choices is at the heart of economics. Understanding basic cannabis economics means understanding that you can’t change people’s preferences by affecting supply.

All you do is frustrate consumers and incentive black markets. It’s not like public health is trying to keep the public from consuming tide pods or inhaling aerosols.

In fact, if they took the heavy-handed approach to those issues as they did with cannabis, they would lobby for the prohibition of those goods. 

Which would create a black market (or at least incentivize alternatives, like the popularity of synthetic cannabis in places with strict cannabis prohibition).

Public Health is a Joke

Public health busybodies wonder why some people don’t listen to them.

Imagine going to the doctor, and he gives you financial advice. It may be sound financial advice, but it’s not their place to provide it. Not in that setting.

Likewise, I expect medical professionals to take a cautious, conservative approach to high-THC cannabis edibles. They have every reason as “public health” to provide prudent insights and opinions.

But enforcing these opinions through government laws is one step too far. It ignores basic cannabis economics and reduces individual adults to an infantile state.

It also doesn’t work.

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Cannabis Sending Pregnant Women to Hospital: Study – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




Cannabis is sending twice as many pregnant “people” to the hospital, says a new study on cannabis use during pregnancy published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

(And yes, the study calls pregnant women “people” in an attempt to be “inclusive” by insulting women and rejecting biological facts.)

The researchers looked at over 950,000 pregnancies between January 2015 and July 2021. They found the rate of ER and hospital visits related to cannabis use during pregnancy doubled.

Ergo, legalization has failed Canada’s pregnant “people.”

Of course, doubling the rate sounds bad until you ask what the baseline is. Before legalization, for every 100,000 pregnancies, hospitals saw 11 women seeking care for consuming too much cannabis.

After legalization? It’s 20 women per 100,000. And as per the study, these women were “very high” and thus seeking help.

In other words: the reefer madness hysteria drummed up by this study is not justified.

Cannabis Sending Pregnant Women to Hospital: Study

cannabis pregnant cannabis use during pregnancy

As per the research, pregnant “people” have “cannabis use disorder” and thus cannot control or stop their use even when they’re pregnant. They came to this conclusion because 22 percent experienced withdrawals.

But how does one casually link physical withdrawals of a substance to physiological dependency? They are two different processes. One is the physical state of the brain and body excreting a drug; the other is the subjective experience of that phenomenon.

The study suggests that “cannabis use during pregnancy is associated with adverse perinatal and neonatal outcomes, including stillbirth, preterm birth and neonatal morbidity and mortality.”

Additionally, they cite “evidence” of an association between cannabis use during pregnancy and autism. But the study they refer to emphasizes a “cautious interpretation” due to confounding factors.

Likewise, the other studies they refer to rely on self-reported cannabis use. One of them doesn’t even support the conclusions they claim it does.

Consider one of the papers they cite: “Maternal marijuana use, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and neonatal morbidity.”

It says, “After adjustment for tobacco, clinical, and socioeconomic factors, marijuana use was not associated with the composite adverse pregnancy outcome.”

It goes on to say,

Similarly, among women with umbilical cord homogenate and serum cotinine data (n = 765), marijuana use was not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes (adjusted odds ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.18–5.66). Neonatal intensive care unit admission rates were not statistically different between groups (16.9% users vs 9.5% nonusers, P = .12).

They admit that “marijuana use was still associated with composite neonatal morbidity or death,” but only after controlling for “tobacco, race, and other illicit drug use.”

How cannabis use during pregnancy differs between ethnic groups remains to be seen.

As well as adjusting the results not to include tobacco damage is also suspect. Especially when both cannabis and tobacco use were self-reported.

Methodological Problems with the Study

As always, researchers love to use specific tools that will provide the results they expect. This study is no different from many studies that paint cannabis as a toxic substance.

Here are the issues with the study saying cannabis is sending pregnant women to the hospital:

  1. It’s an observational study. Researchers cannot establish casualty. The other paper referenced (linking cannabis to autism) was aware of this limitation. This recent study ignores the problem and cites observational research as scientific evidence.
  2. This study relies on Ontario, Canada’s population of pregnant “people.” While it’s safe to assume what is true for Ontario‘s pregnant women is true in, say, Montana, the specific population sample limits the generality of the findings.
  3. As mentioned, the data in this study and the others rely on self-reporting. What kind of cannabis did the women consume? Sativa? Indica? Low-THC high-CBD strains? How strong was it? What was the terpene profile like? What were the primary delivery methods? What about other non-cannabis-related hospital visits? Maybe these 20 women out of 100,000 would also visit an ER for a bruise or scrape. What was the mental health of these women like?
  4. The paper mentions using multivariable logistic regression models to identify cannabis and pregnancy risk factors. But the researchers don’t provide details on these models, including the variables used or how they measured them.
  5. This paper focuses on acute care visits related to cannabis, comparing it to acute care visits for non-cannabis substance use as a control. But the researcher’s choice of control introduces biases. Cannabis and other “non-cannabis substances” can’t be compared.

Cannabis Sending Pregnant Women to Hospital: Study

cannabis pregnant cannabis use during pregnancy

Should you use cannabis for morning sickness? That’s a question for you and your doctor. Whether cannabis use during pregnancy causes problems, including stillbirth, the jury is still out.

Toronto Star article on this study interviewed a range of doctors who said cannabis use during pregnancy was a bad idea. They also insultingly referred to pregnant women as “pregnant people.”

But at the end of the article, buried at the bottom, was one doctor, Dr. Lisa Graves, who dared speak the truth.

She said there is too little research on cannabis use during pregnancy.

Of course, “cannabis use” is not a thing. I don’t “use caffeine.” I have a cup of coffee. Sometimes I have two or three. Rarely do I have a fourth.

Likewise, when my sister-in-law was pregnant, her doctor said, “One cup of coffee a day is fine.” Apparently, too much coffee is bad for an unborn child.

And it could be that too much cannabis is harmful to them as well. It could be that in the future, more rigorous studies find that more than 10mg of THC daily is detrimental to healthy development.

The problem is we don’t have any conclusive studies on the topic. Is cannabis sending pregnant women to the hospital? No, women are sending themselves to the hospital. 

Their cannabis consumption use may be the reason for the visit. But this study tells us very little (if anything) beyond that. 

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Three Signs of Reduced Cannabis Stigma – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




What are three signs of reduced cannabis stigma? Don’t get us wrong – cannabis stigma is still alive and well. But in the past week, we’ve encountered three new stories that indicate the needle is moving in the right direction.

From British Columbia declaring that cannabis retail shops don’t have to cover their windows to Switzerland expanding their legal cannabis pilot. Progress may be coming at a snail’s pace, but it’s something.

What is Cannabis Stigma?

We can’t identify reduced cannabis stigma without asking: what is cannabis stigma? What is stigma?

Earlier this year, Dr. Julian Somers told CLN that stigma was like a scarlet letter. “There’s a sign about you,” he said. “Maybe you sound less formally educated or you look like you’re a little undernourished, maybe you’ve got some piercings and ink on your neck or something. Things like that.”

While Dr. Somers was speaking in context to the drug and homelessness problem in all major Canadian cities, you could say the same for cannabis stigma.

Indeed, there’s a stigma associated with reggae music, bongs, Cheech and Chong, and other 20th-century stereotypes about cannabis consumers.

Non-cannabis users tend to view cannabis consumers as more dopey or less intelligent than the more “sophisticated” types that prefer to drink cocktails after work.

There’s a stigma associated with smell: too many medical cannabis patients have been victims of this. Especially during those “sobriety checkpoints” the police like to set up.

There certainly wasn’t any reduced cannabis stigma when Canada legalized cannabis. If anything, cops and public health busybodies amped up the drug war propaganda to eleven.

#3 Reduced Cannabis Stigma: Window Coverings 

reduced cannabis stigma

A significant cannabis stigma in Canada is window coverings. Despite cannabis being legal and hidden behind opaque plastic child-resistant containers – governments demand retailers wrap their windows so no one can see in.

After a series of robberies and break-ins, the British Columbia government finally agreed with cannabis retailers. These opaque window wrappings are more harmful than helpful.

The most obvious example is a robbery in Vancouver earlier this year. Security footage showed the criminal trying to steal from the shop.

Typically, if you try to rob a store in broad daylight, people walking by are witnesses and can call for help. But with opaque window coverings?

Who knows what’s going on in there?

Notably, B.C.’s many public and private liquor stores don’t require window coverings.

#2 Reduced Cannabis Stigma: Switzerland Expanding Cannabis Trials to More Cities

cannabis in Switzerland

Ideally, Switzerland would legalize cannabis completely. If someone is fining you or sticking you in a cell for a nontoxic herbal plant, then that person is the criminal.

Statute law by governments is not the be-all, end-all of what’s right and wrong. You’d think this point would be well-known. But decades of government schooling and the erosion of religious values have us lost in the wilderness.

Regardless, Switzerland’s move to expand its strictly-controlled cannabis industry is toward reduced cannabis stigma.

Long-term, this may prove more advantageous. While many U.S. jurisdictions legalize in a manner more consistent with the values of individual liberty and private property – Switzerland’s top-down approach comes with one significant benefit.

The Swiss’s cannabis trials are decentralized and conducted by different universities. Multiple research findings will root out bias and narrow in on objective observations found in all studies.

In other words: cannabis legalization in Switzerland is a product of multiple researchers in different cities rather than bureaucrats implementing a one-size-fits-all regime based on their definition of “best practices.”

While legalizing in this way still indicates that cannabis stigma is alive and well – just the fact that the Swiss have embarked on this program (followed by the Netherlands and a non-profit German model) shows that reduced cannabis stigma is becoming the norm.

#1 Reduced Cannabis Stigma: Doctors Aren’t Drinking the Koolaid

reduced cannabis stigma

Last week, researchers published a study indicating that “cannabis use disorder” causes schizophrenia. Many in the media repeated this study’s findings without referencing its numerous methodological problems.

We covered it here, but you might be skeptical that a site calling itself “Cannabis Life Network” would give an unbiased account.

So here’s an article from an actual M.D. He, too, comes to the same conclusion.

The study says, “Assuming causality, approximately 15% of recent cases of schizophrenia among males in 2021 would have been prevented in the absence of CUD [cannabis use disorder].”

But as Dr. Chuck Dinerstein wrote: 

“I am not ready to make that leap. There is more science to consider. I am willing to consider cannabis, and for that matter, alcohol gateways to mental disease, but I believe it may be more critical to recognize that the gate swings both ways – that is, schizophrenia, in this instance, is a gateway to substance abuse…The narrative can go in either direction.”

Can cannabis trigger schizophrenia in individuals predisposed to the disease? Yes, all research indicates that. The same is true for any substance, and alcohol looks to be the worst of them all.

Is 15% of schizophrenia due to cannabis?

But will cannabis cause schizophrenia in otherwise healthy young, adult males? “Not likely,” says Dr. Dinerstein.

And for us, that is the number one sign of reduced cannabis stigma. With cannabis legalization becoming a force that governments and pharma lobbyists can’t stop, they are increasing anti-cannabis propaganda to protect their investments.

Like giving children hormone blockers (or homeless addicts free opioids, or criticizing the covid regime), many doctors are too afraid to speak out. We’ve returned to the pre-Christian values of public humiliation.

So for an actual M.D. to read this Danish study and publicly declare that the researchers made “a leap of faith” in connecting cannabis use and schizophrenia is a breath of fresh air.

It’s a sign of reduced cannabis stigma.

The Future of Cannabis

reduced cannabis stigma

We’re not out of the woods yet. Cannabis stigma is alive and well. But these three recent stories indicate that trends are moving in positive directions.

Public health can complain and cry like children all they want. The fact is: people are ditching their meds and alcoholic drinks for cannabinoid therapy. 

Treating cannabis retail like a Great Depression-era bookstore selling “Tijuana bibles” is coming to an end. Even the most conservative European countries (and U.S. states) are moving toward cannabis legalization.

And doctors aren’t afraid to call out drug war propaganda when they see it.

Hopefully, ten years from now, we’ll look back at this period as Reefer Madness 2.0. The era when the people demanded legal cannabis and the powers-that-be did everything to prevent it.

But, as the saying goes, facts don’t care about your feelings. No one says you must consume cannabis, so it’s time to stop worrying about what others are doing with their lives.

That means reducing your cannabis stigma. 

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