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Why Social Equity and Cannabis Reparations are a Well-Intentioned Mirage



road to nowhere cannabis social equity programs

The Road to Nowhere: Why Cannabis Reparations Are a Well-Intentioned Mirage


Lately, politicians pushing cannabis legalization frequently cite a “moral responsibility” to rectify past war on drugs damages through social equity programs. On its face, righting historical wrongs sounds noble. But scrutinized closely, the promise of cannabis reparations leads nowhere.


Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently affirmed intentions to amend pending federal banking reform to ensure “criminal justice provisions like those included in CAOA are part of the SAFE Banking Act.” He envisions resentencing, expungements and more restorative measures.


No doubt these aims arise from genuine compassion. Yet they fundamentally misapprehend the nature of justice. True reparations require relinquishing all controls that created harms in the first place. Bandaging prohibition’s wounds simply prolongs underlying dysfunction.


Consider alcohol prohibition from 1920-1933. As it proved unenforceable, temperance campaigners insisted any repeal must address the fallout of speakeasies and mob violence prohibition directly fueled.


But the only pragmatic solution was fully restoring legality. No amount of restorative policy could undo harms still actively inflicted by banning alcohol itself.


Cannabis today parallels this myopia. Legalization advocates dangle “social equity” policies to soften prohibition, not sincerely end it. But half-measures merely redirects the damage of black markets into mass incarceration’s revolving doors.


Either consensual adult activities remain banned, feeding organized crime and police corruption. Or they are fully legalized, replacing dangers with regulation. Reparations tinker in purgatory between these realities.


If government assumes responsibility for drug war damages, as advocates urge, its only logical remedy is abolishing controls enabling them. Not conditional pardons still branded with criminality.


Until cannabis is descheduled like alcohol, politicians exploit dreams of restorative justice to perpetuate cultural prejudices against cognitive liberty and nature’s bounty. But thinly-veiled puritanism helps no one.


True leadership would simply end prohibition outright, not devise new ways to condemn peaceful choices while begrudgingly taxing them. But such courage remains rare in halls of power divorced from real people’s lives.


So lawmakers cling to magical thinking – that they can prohibit, punish and extract revenue simultaneously. But years of compounding contradiction expose this charade.


Either drugs are banned outright on moral grounds, or pragmatically regulated as agriculture. Reparations are rhetorical cover to avoid confronting this choice. Because ending prohibition fully means ceding social control, trusting people over fear. And that remains taboo.


The road to justice follows no middle ground. Policies arise from principle or from theater. And people suffer while politicians posture.



Politicians pushing cannabis reform tout “social equity” provisions as the answer to past harms. By empowering marginalized communities in the newly legal industry, the wounds of prohibition will supposedly heal. But this well-intentioned reasoning misses the mark.


In reality, nothing can retroactively undo generations traumatized by a senseless drug war. That damage is done, and no current policy alters the past. Preferencing some citizens now cannot miraculously erase systemic oppression already inflicted.


Yet advocates cling to social equity as legalization’s moral imperative, imagining present actions can somehow compensate for history’s suffering. But just as banning alcohol created Al Capone, prohibiting drugs fueled the damage reformers now seek to redress.


Did temperance activists make amends for bootleg violence by granting extra liquor licenses to poor communities after repeal? That would have insulted those communities as somehow culpable, not helped them.


Likewise, creating cannabis business advantages for groups targeted under prohibition perversely rewards state violence that foreclosed any opportunity in the first place. It attempts to remedy a gunshot wound with a bandaid.


And fundamentally, establishing any legal distinction among citizens to correct past wrongs still perpetuates division and control, even benevolently intended, But cannabis users of all races suffered equally under blanket prohibition. The war on drugs made no exceptions based on identity, nor should its cessation.


In practice, such preferential policies breed resentment and allegations of favoritism, helping few while changing nothing systemically. The only pragmatic solution is fully ending the policies still actively causing harm to all. Reform should lift everyone equally, not play judicial favoritism.


Leaders serious about addressing the drug war aftermath would focus resources into ravaged communities for healthcare, education, jobs, infrastructure, and economic opportunities prohibited by generations of oppressive policies. Not create a regulatory caste system as some symbolic act.


But even these substantive measures only mitigate, not undo, the violence inflicted on generations through “carceral” threats pressuring conformity. Ultimate justice means simply ending prohibition so no more share that trauma.


No law can restore lost lives, families, careers and dreams destroyed by self-righteous persecution. But ending the war that wrought such damage would honor those sacrificed for nothing. That reform alone is the greatest justice we can offer fellow citizens still living in fear.


Social equity might sound righteous but promises the impossible – to rewrite history with policies when only shared humanity can heal trauma. The pragmatic path forward should be non-judgment and freedom.



While past harms of prohibition can’t be undone, we can take concrete steps to acknowledge injustice and ease reintegration for those still suffering under oppressive policies soon to be abolished. Financial reparations represent one pragmatic transitional measure.


For every year someone spent incarcerated for a non-violent drug offense, the government could provide the monetary equivalent of one year’s median income plus benefits as if they had been working a union job instead. This retroactively compensates for lost opportunities.


So those jailed for a decade may receive around $500,000 or more upon release, proportional to their sentenced time served under unconstitutional policies of persecution. They can invest this new capital towards rebuilding life on their own terms after years sacrificed to ideology.


This money empowers starting businesses, pursuing education, purchasing homes, or simply enjoying simple pleasures long denied behind bars. A small token of recompense for freedoms robbed that can never be retrieved.


Some may argue they don’t “deserve” such generous compensation for technically breaking the law at the time, despite its injustice. But obeying immoral rules merits no punishment – and rectifying past enforcement necessitates assuming full responsibility.


Financial reparations acknowledge the government’s own culpability in destroying lives, rather than demonizing victims of its aggression. Compensating those still suffering is the only moral response, even if no dollar amount restores what was lost.


Moving forward, these individuals should also receive permanent waivers on any related taxes, fees, or restrictions related to consensual activities previously prosecuted. Never again should they face harassment from the state.


Additionally, their records must be completely expunged, liberating them from stigma and constraints on employment, housing, education, and civic participation. They deserve a clean slate after years enduring dehumanization.


However, no policy can undo the psychological trauma of incarceration and family disruption. We must acknowledge money alone cannot truly compensate for the nightmare of being caged for victimless choices. But it represents a starting point of taking tangible accountability.


The funds should come directly from the DEA’s budget and asset forfeitures, not general taxpayer money. And programs reinvesting legal drug tax revenue into devastated minority communities should accompany individual reparations.


A cynic may condemn these measures as superficial, noting the time lost can never be reclaimed. And they would be right that it pales against the depth of suffering induced. But the practical mechanics of restorative policy must start somewhere. The debt owed is unpayable yet must be addressed.


In the end, only ending prohibition offers true justice by halting the ongoing harms. No laws can resurrect the dead or restore lives warped by fear. But pairing abolition with compensation provides a blueprint for accountability, good faith and reconciliation. It says we as a society have learned from past evils, grown wiser, and now must make amends however imperfectly. The first step is pronouncing unconditional freedom.




Social justice and equity make for enticing buzzwords. But uplifting those harmed by prohibition requires relinquishing control, not inventing new ways to tax and regulate freedoms.


The drug war’s injustice cannot be abolished through bureaucracy. No law undoes the trauma of lives warped by fear. And no preferential license repairs the economic wreckage in marginalized communities targeted under puritanical policies.


Reparations provide rhetoric to mollify reformers high on empty idealism. But they avoid confronting the root injustice – prohibition itself. Half-measures only redirect damage through revolving prison doors and street violence feeding organized crime.


The charade has gone on long enough. If we as a society are remotely serious about making amends, it begins by ending the oppressive policies still actively harming fellow citizens. No exceptions.


Responsible legalization means abolishing adult restrictions on any substance alongside reasonable regulations on sales, manufacturing and labeling for public health.


It liberates consumers to make informed choices based on personal ethics and medical facts, not government force imposing contested moral agendas fueled by lobbyists and ignorance.


This pragmatic freedom respects the underregulated botanical bounty of nature itself. And it channels markets from violent cartels into above-board small businesses accountable to their communities. Jobs replace cages.


True social equity means equal rights for all to explore consciousness and manage pain as they see fit. Not special privileges doled out condescendingly like crumbs. The drug war made no racial exceptions to its devastation, nor should its cessation.


Real reparations start with financial compensation to those still incarcerated for victimless offenses, proportional to time served. Records should be expunged and taxes waived going forward. Some token of repentance for lives disrupted.


But rhetoric must now yield to actions if reformers wish to be forces for justice, not just noble lies that perpetuate injustice by degrees. Otherwise such hollow efforts insult those sacrificed during this ongoing tragedy.


Prohibition cannot be regulated away incrementally. Its fundamental premise is flawed beyond redemption. A policy disaster this epic requires decisiveness, not piecemeal compromise.


The sticky bottom line is that truths once seen cannot become unseen. And the drug war now teeters on the cliff of its own contradictions as empires always do before the fall. Of course, those who benefit from this system will fight for its preservation, or evolve it in a way that seems beneficial to society but in reality is just another trap that benefits the few at the expense of many.





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What Percentage of Legally Sold Medical Marijuana Tests Positive for Pesticides, Mold, or Yeast? A. 75% B. 50% C. 25% D. 0%




spraying cannabis testing pesticides

Do you remember the story on how Colorado regulators are catching all sorts of cheating on lab testing for legally sold cannabis?  The premise destroys the idea that you should be paying more for lab-tested, legal weed, because, well, it was safer than street sold marijuana.  Now, not only are Colorado regulators catching legal suppliers spraying and cheating on lab results, Maine has popped up as a big problem for legal buyer of medical marijuana. 

Two recent studies reveal that up to 50% of products in Maine’s medical cannabis market may be tainted with pesticides, harmful microbes, yeast, and mold. Unlike recreational-use products, medical cannabis in Maine currently does not undergo mandatory testing.

However, there are indications that this might change. The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy conducted tests on 127 medical cannabis samples, applying the same standards as the recreational-use program.


Shockingly, approximately 45% (57 out of 127) of these samples would have failed the testing, indicating the presence of prohibited substances. In a separate, more extensive study by Nova Analytic Labs, a licensed cannabis testing facility, nearly 21% of approximately 1,400 medical cannabis samples would have failed the pesticide testing panel for recreational use.


This contrasts with just under 4% of the 3,200 samples from the recreational-use market that failed the same testing panel. The samples that failed the tests commonly contained varying levels of myclobutanil, also known as Eagle 20, piperonyl butoxide, bifenthrin, bifenazate, and/or imidacloprid. These substances have the potential to cause mild to severe health issues in humans.  Lab shopping for the highest THC results is one problem labs are facing from cultivators.


Christopher Altomare, the CEO of Nova Analytic Labs, pointed out that the medical samples were provided voluntarily. Since the samples came from providers who chose to test their products rather than being part of a randomized selection, Altomare believes the contamination percentage is likely much higher.


Altomare estimated that only 10% to 20% of the lab’s business comes from the medical market, and most of those cases involve testing for potency rather than pesticides.

The medical cannabis market in Maine generated $305 million in revenue last year, with nearly 1,900 medical caregivers serving 106,000 medical card holders in August. According to Altomare, the medical market has evolved beyond its origins as a cottage industry of small-scale operations catering to a limited patient base.


Altomare emphasized the necessity for comprehensive testing regulations in the medical market, stressing that the primary goal of testing labs is to ensure public and patient safety. He expressed concerns that current measures must be revised to protect Maine patients adequately.

Implementing Changes Requires Time and Careful Consideration.

The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy has been pushing for the introduction of a mandatory testing requirement and a track-and-trace program. The goal is to empower officials to trace the origins of outbreaks or contaminants.


Nevertheless, the proposal encountered significant resistance from medical providers, known as caregivers in the industry, who contended that the suggested requirements would impose a substantial burden and incur high costs. This opposition raised concerns about potential closures of businesses or the need to pass increased prices on to consumers.


In accordance with a 2022 law, any significant rulemaking by the department necessitates approval from the Legislature. Since then, the Office of Cannabis Policy has not officially proposed a testing requirement. Yet, during a recent webinar, John Hudak, the agency’s director, hinted that this situation might change soon.


“If a business model finds it too costly to produce clean cannabis, there’s an inherent problem with that business model,” remarked Hudak, underscoring that, despite the introduction of additional testing requirements this year, the price-per-gram in the recreational-use market has decreased.


Stressing that patient health will not be sacrificed for profits, Hudak, who is a medical cannabis patient himself, revealed a personal stake in the matter by disclosing his decision to avoid using medical cannabis in Maine due to the absence of testing. He voiced criticism against the state, asserting that it has not taken adequate measures to guarantee the protection of patients.


Presently, the state’s cannabis markets are confronting proposed changes from the Office of Cannabis Policy, with neither proposal featuring any substantially drastic alterations.

Hudak mentioned that it will likely be a considerable amount of time before his office proposes any testing requirement. This move is expected to face resistance from industry stakeholders. He acknowledged that they have encountered significant opposition from within the Legislature and certain medical cannabis groups in the state.”


Hudak stressed the significance of proceeding with caution, emphasizing the need for well-informed implementation of policies and establishing a solid regulatory framework. He underscored that taking these steps is crucial to safeguard patients’ health and the integrity of the medicine. Hudak noted that this process will necessitate time and creating an efficient track-and-trace system.


Currently, the Office of Cannabis Policy faces limitations within the medical cannabis program. In contrast to the recreational-use market, where officials have the authority to enforce a product hold or order product destruction in the event of a problem or contamination discovery, no such power exists within the medical cannabis program. Hudak expressed frustration with this constraint, describing it as significantly limiting.


Mainers with Medical Vulnerabilities

During the panel on Tuesday, Steph Sherer, the founder of the medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, emphasized that contaminants are often unintentional errors. She clarified that it doesn’t imply a sinister plan to harm patients.


Sherer explained that cannabis acts as a bioaccumulator, absorbing and retaining pesticides and heavy metals present in the soil. Additionally, due to the resin on the flower, the plant easily captures bacteria from the air. She characterized this as a natural aspect of dealing with an agricultural product.


Sherer pointed out that some of the pesticides, chemicals, and other analytes tested by the department have acceptable thresholds, such as arsenic, commonly found in Maine soils and water.


However, according to Hudak, substances like myclobutanil, E. coli, and salmonella are strictly prohibited. Commonly known as Eagle 20, myclobutanil is a widely used pesticide for fruit and vegetable cultivation. While it can be washed off and is typically not a concern, the issue arises because Eagle 20 transforms into cyanide gas when burned.


Consequently, it is banned in cannabis, even in trace amounts. In the medical samples collected by the office, myclobutanil and mold ranked among the highest-tested analytes. Although mold is not entirely banned, some samples contained 30 to 40 times the allowable threshold, as noted by Hudak.


He remarked that the market comprises medical patients, often individuals with suppressed immune systems. The impact of these contaminants is detrimental for anyone, and this is particularly exacerbated when we’re discussing medically vulnerable Mainers. Sherer said, “I fail to comprehend any argument against testing medicine for a patient.”

Hudak mentioned that the office intends to publish a comprehensive report on its testing study in the forthcoming weeks.






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Buy a Lottery Ticket or Invest in a Psychedelics Company?




psychedelic stocks

If you are a regular reader of you may remember our write-up of the Benzinga Psychedelics Show in Miami where we stated, if you thought cannabis stocks and investing was the Wild West, well then psychedelics are on Mars and Jupiter right now.  We had presentations by people dressed up as Robin Hood and Roman warriors carrying shields.  We predicted that there were be massive failure and zombie companies out there that will end of going nowhere fast.

It appears the rest of the stock research world is hot on our trail!


In a recent report, Water Tower Senior Research Analyst Robert Sassoon has boldly predicted a continued shakeout in the psychedelics market. According to Sassoon, the industry is poised for ongoing consolidation, and there will be a notable reduction in the number of publicly traded psychedelic companies.


This anticipated shakeout, he argues, is intricately linked to the current state of the industry’s hype cycle and the hurdles that need overcoming for psychedelic-assisted therapies (PATs) to thrive in the market.

The Psychedelic Winter

Amidst a surge in clinical studies delving into the transformative potential of psychedelic drugs, an intriguing paradox has emerged within the market dynamics – a notable disparity between the expanding realm of scientific exploration and the lagging valuations of companies operating in the psychedelic sector.


Robert Sassoon, the Water Tower Senior Research Analyst, illuminates this incongruity by shedding light on the prevailing bearish trend in psychedelic stocks, drawing a compelling parallel with the challenges witnessed in the cannabis industry.


Sassoon’s scrutiny focuses on the AdvisorShares Psychedelics ETF (PSIL), a representative index of the psychedelic sector. Its trajectory since its listing in mid-September 2021 mirrors the challenges faced by the industry as a whole.


The ETF has undergone a staggering 85% decrease in value, underscoring the persistent struggles of psychedelic stocks in the public market. This significant decline in valuation symbolizes the broader headwinds confronting companies navigating the uncharted waters of psychedelic medicines.


Further accentuating the analogy with the cannabis industry, Sassoon draws attention to Canada’s Horizons Psychedelic Stock Index ETF (PSYK). This ETF, representing the psychedelic landscape, has faced a comparable downturn since its listing on the NEO exchange in January 2021.


The echoes of the struggles witnessed in the cannabis sector reverberate through these declines, reflecting the challenges that innovative and pioneering industries often encounter in their early stages of development.


Catalysts on the Horizon

While acknowledging that investors may not witness immediate benefits, Robert Sassoon astutely points to a series of catalysts looming on the horizon, poised to breathe life into the psychedelic industry and potentially steer it towards a path of recovery. Chief among these catalysts is the pivotal progression of clinical trials, a crucial step in substantiating the therapeutic efficacy and safety of psychedelic-assisted therapies (PATs).


At present, only two programs within the psychedelic sector are slated for Phase III trials, signifying a significant milestone in the journey from experimental studies to the cusp of regulatory approval. However, Sassoon soberly notes that the most critical developments arising from these trials may not unfold until 2024.


The anticipation surrounding the outcome of these trials is palpable, as they represent a critical juncture in establishing the viability of psychedelic therapies for widespread adoption.


A measured dose of patience is warranted, as Sassoon advises investors that the final results of these Phase III trials might not materialize until 2026 or 2027.


This prolonged timeline underscores the meticulous nature of the regulatory process, emphasizing the need for comprehensive and rigorous evaluations before psychedelic-assisted therapies can attain the green light for clinical application.


In navigating the complex terrain of the psychedelic industry, launching a viable product is a pivotal factor that holds the key to the sector’s future trajectory. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), renowned for pioneering MDMA therapy, finds itself at the forefront of this challenging landscape.


However, the path ahead is fraught with obstacles, and one of the most significant challenges comes from stiff competition from Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Spravato, a breakthrough therapy already available to patients.


MAPS finds itself at a critical juncture, navigating the uncharted territory of seamlessly combining therapy and psychedelic drugs. The successful integration of these elements is not merely a logistical challenge but a pioneering endeavor that could potentially set a precedent for others within the industry.


The spotlight is on MAPS to unravel the complexities of this novel therapeutic approach, establishing a roadmap that could redefine the standard for psychedelic-assisted therapies.


Insurance companies pose yet another challenge, as the cost of psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions is currently a deterrent for traditional payors. The industry’s growth could be significantly boosted if insurance companies become more amenable to covering these treatments, broadening the market’s appeal.


MAPS Dilemma: IPO or Not?

A prominent focal point within Sassoon’s report demands careful consideration: the potential contemplation of an initial public offering (IPO) by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). As an entity committed to the principles of nonprofit status, MAPS has steadfastly adhered to its dedication, steering clear of the conventional trajectory of going public.


Nevertheless, amidst the seismic shifts in the pharmaceutical landscape and a transformative period for the psychedelic sector, the pivotal question of whether MAPS will opt for an IPO now takes center stage.


MAPS, widely acclaimed for its pioneering efforts in advancing MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, stands as a beacon of hope in the burgeoning realm of psychedelic medicine. The organization’s nonprofit status has afforded it the flexibility to navigate the delicate equilibrium between innovation and altruism.


Yet, the journey ahead is fraught with financial challenges, especially about the potential marketing endeavors associated with its MDMA drug, contingent on approval by the FDA.


Sassoon’s insightful analysis predicts that the pressure on MAPS to secure additional funds might force a reevaluation of its stance on an IPO. The report suggests that, despite the organization’s reluctance, an IPO could be the most viable avenue to ensure the financial backing for the extensive marketing endeavors associated with bringing its revolutionary therapy to the masses.



The psychedelic industry is at a crossroads, facing both challenges and opportunities. Sassoon’s report sheds light on the hurdles that currently impede the market’s growth, from clinical trial timelines and product launches to insurance reimbursement and the strategic decisions of key players like MAPS.


While the industry grapples with a winter of skepticism and market turbulence, the potential catalysts identified by Sassoon suggest a brighter future. As clinical trials progress, products hit the market, and insurance barriers break down, the psychedelic industry may well emerge from its current shakeout stronger and more resilient than ever.


Whether MAPS chooses the IPO route or not, its journey will likely play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s trajectory in the years to come.


Investors, researchers, and industry enthusiasts will watch as the psychedelic landscape evolves and transforms, navigating the complex terrain of regulation, public perception, and financial viability.






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Are Stoners More Empathetic and Understanding to Other People’s Struggles?




cannabis and empathy

Baked and Benevolent: Are Stoners More Empathetic?


Picture the archetypal cannabis user – long hair, tye dye shirt, blissed-out gaze. Media tropes paint tokers as chilled out, easygoing free spirits gliding through life mostly unbothered. The friendly neighborhood pothead floating downstream without many worries.


Even old-school anti-drug hysteria casts the zonked stoner slouching on couches as harmlessly detached rather than violently unhinged. Fast food and vibes rank higher than much else in their lowered states of consciousness. Fairly nonthreatening overall despite the reefer madness descriptors.


And while obviously stereotyping varies widely among the immense diversity of human cannabis enthusiasts, a general vibe of relaxed benevolence does seem more prevalent compared to drinkers’ unpredictability or stim users’ fidgety edge.


Recent research now suggests substance behind the stoner serenity beyond just legendary cultivars like Blue Dream and Sour Diesel. Cannabinoids may directly enhance qualities like empathy according to new studies.


A 2023 clinical study found regular cannabis consumers demonstrate greater emotional intelligence and perspective-taking on written tests and brain imaging. Specifically, cannabis users showed more comprehension of others’ subjective emotional experiences over non-users when analyzed through MRI scans and assessments.


Researchers believe the plant’s effects on neural regions related to affective states may modulate social processing. In less technical terms – weed’s natural pharmacology seems to physically boost relatability and social intuition.


So the chilled out caring disposition of many stoners likely derives at least partially from biological mechanisms heightened by the plant. Turns out kind bud might truly kindle kindness!


Of course correlation still skirts causation. Pre-existing personality differences could draw more empathetic people to cannabis initially rather than vice versa. Or other confounds like lifestyle routine may contribute too.


But the preliminary data points clearly enough – from brain imaging to anecdotal stereotypes, cannabis seems connected to emotional intelligence and social bonding rather than apathy or isolation.


So let’s dive deeper into the study’s design and implications. Science may confirm what intuition already knows – passing a joint opens hearts and minds to each other.


Talk about reefer gladness!



This provocative research came from a team of Mexican neuroscientists comparing empathy levels between regular cannabis consumers and non-users.


They utilized both written evaluations and MRI brain scans to assess various aspects of empathy. This combined subjective self-reporting with objective neuromapping to strengthen methodology.


The specific test employed breaks down empathic abilities into multifaceted competencies like emotional recognition, emotional comprehension, and cognitive perspective-taking. Researchers then examine them individually.


On the core Emotional Comprehension segment evaluating understanding of others’ subjective experiences, cannabis users scored significantly higher than control subjects. This suggests enhanced social intuition possibly stemming from cannabis components modulating key brain regions involved in affective processing.


The study cites the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as one pivotal zone rich with cannabinoid receptors and deeply tied to emotional states. It theorizes cannabis may directly boost this area’s functions through its pharmacological binding effects, thereby expanding social-emotional insight.


As the lead researcher summarizes, “The differences in psychometric scores suggest that users have more empathic comprehension.”


Intriguingly, this matches earlier research the authors reference indicating frequent marijuana consumers often exhibit stronger emotional regulation abilities alongside regular use:


“Given previous studies of the effect of cannabis on mood and emotional detection, we believe that these results contribute to open a pathway to study further the clinical applications of the positive effect that cannabis or cannabis components could have in affect and social interactions.”


So in this lens, cannabis occupies a unique neurological niche aiding emotional clarity in various modalities – both internally and interpersonally. Far from deadening senses, it seems to energize social functioning through fine-tuned cannabinoid modulation.


Of course the study has limitations to contextualize. Participants self-reported their cannabis use; biochemical validation would strengthen methodology. Causation arguments also remain speculative absent longitudinal monitoring.


Equally, the Mexican-grown cannabis possessed far lower THC concentrations than modern American commercial cannabis strains. So effects observed may compound significantly with higher potency products.


Nonetheless, these provocative preliminary findings contribute one more plank towards dismantling outdated stereotypes. Rather than hampering relational capacities, cannabis appears intrinsically supportive given proper precautions and contexts.


This broader theme echoes through earlier research on cannabis enhancing runner’s highs and yoga practice via anti-inflammatory relief and mood elevation. The common motif suggests appropriately aligned biological synergy.


While more data is still needed, these snapshots illuminate potential mechanisms behind cannabis-induced empathy and wellbeing so culturally prevalent yet scientifically unestablished before.


The study authors summarize appropriately – “We believe that these results contribute to open a pathway to study further the clinical applications of the positive effect that cannabis or cannabis components could have in affect and social interactions.”



While more studies must replicate this research before changing paradigms, provocative possibilities emerge from cannabis positively influencing empathy. Might this plant tool improve conflict resolution and social harmony in mainstream settings if findings hold weight?


The deepest implications concern destigmatizing cannabis to leverage such benefits. Transformative potential awaits not just individually but societally once outdated prohibitions crumble to embrace cannabis consciousness wholeheartedly.


For example, imagine if clinicians could recommend marijuana adjunctively in couples counseling to foster perspective-taking and emotional vulnerability by lowering defenses. Arguing spouses may find warm reconciliation impossible without that empathic spark rekindled.


Under proper guidance, a shared dispensary experience may nurture reciprocal understanding and rehumanization – the true foundation for compromise. Once gripped by negativity, only opening hearts allows progress.


Or what if psychologists incorporated cannabis components into group talk therapy protocols to dissolve biases and forge interpersonal insights organically? By easing social barriers, long-unspoken truths flow freely to bind communities.


The criminal justice arena equally cries for reform through compassion. Mandating cannabis-literacy training for police and guards could radically transform enforcement from paramilitary excess towards connecting with civilians as fellow struggling humans.


Equally, allowing monitored cannabis access in prisons may alleviate violent tensions by awakening inmates and staff to shared fundamental realities beyond surface judgments – our universal search for purpose and belonging beyond bars. Recidivism rates could plunge accordingly.


politicians too might benefit personally and professionally from periodic cannabis-induced institutional empathy check-ins. Devoting monthly sessions to inhabiting voters’ realities could manifest transpartisan wisdom to guide policy. Leadership means deeply hearing those governed, after all.


Even global diplomacy and conflict resolution domains might incorporate elements of intercultural cannabis communion in the highest stakes negotiations. Breaking bread through bongs supersedes translators in building bridges between even the most alienated nations.


The principle animating such explorations suggests that recalibrating default consciousness states periodically can radically reshape what possibilities we process and priorities we honor collectively. Our mindsets dictate the world we co-create.


While still hypothetical, perhaps cannabis really does hold unique crossover potential to enrich emotional health both individually and societally after all. If so, transcending reductive stereotypes promises a paradigm shift through elevating human relations to sacred importance above all else.


Of course, risks and complexities abound regarding dosage, set and setting protocols, moral debates, etc for mainstream integration. But around the medicinal margins, some intriguing innovation already occurs. And the larger premise persists indelibly.


What if wider humility and goodwill indeed lives but a few tokes away?



Rather than instantly prescribing synthetic pharmaceuticals to address mood disorders or emotional issues, perhaps cannabis should occupy the second line of therapy – with lifestyle changes and holistic practices the first resort.


This honors the intrinsic wisdom of our evolved endocannabinoid system while maximizing natural self-healing capacity through commonsense wellbeing strategies – sleep, nutrition, community, physical movement, introspective practices like meditation or journaling, etc.


If such grounded rituals falter in managing trauma, anxiety and depression, cannabis then offers a safe supplemental ally for many before considering standard alienating psych meds. And should cannabis not lift the darkness, other empathogens like psilocybin may before serotonergic drugs.


This medically pluralistic framework thus places power and responsibility in clients’ hands rather than defaulting reflexively to diagnosing “chemical imbalances” treatable only through lifelong pill regimens at risk of zombification.


The emerging science confirms psychedelics’ disease potential uniquely through activating neuroplasticity, emotional sensitivity, social connectivity and sense of meaning frequently damaged in mood disorders – unlike numbing side effect-laden antidepressants.


So whether as daily microdosed companions or structured high-dose sessions, their value proposition strengthens against traditional Monopoly medicine waging war against symptoms rather than holistically nurturing people’s healing relationships within.


The sticky truth remains – our life matrix encompasses countless variables beyond assumed serotonin shortages extractable through isolate chemicals. Thus consciousness itself proves the master tool allowing navigation of many complementary modalities.


Cannabis and other plant teachers belong in this expanded care ecosystem as powerful catalysts realigning patients to their sovereign authority and primacy as psycho-bio-social beings against system perspectives.


If research continues confirming intrinsic mood and social benefits of cannabis, its adoption as first-line emotional aid only quickens. The plants stand ready to uplift human hearts and minds through inner alignment above all modern pharmaceutical promises. And the people seem hungry for this reclaimed power.


The pandemic of despair will turn as the second Renaissance of cannabis dawns. All that awaits is shedding the last vestiges of fear still clouding clinical conservatism from welcoming this ageless ally home as divine healer reborn. But the momentum gains speed.





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