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Is Marijuana Linked To Abnormalities In Key Brain Region?

Category: Culture | Posted on Mon, November, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
brain-mj-abnormalitiesThere are celebrities, like Cheech and Chong, that have been smoking weed for years. Nothing terrible seems to have happened to them. While other famous people have overdosed on other drugs like heroin and cocaine, the stoner duo remains standing. Along with many others, Cheech and Chong are somewhat of living proof that weed doesn’t cause issues if you’ve been smoking it for years. But a new study from the University of Texas at Dallas is saying that heavy, long term marijuana use is linked to smaller volume in the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain where decision making takes place. This part of the mind also deals with addiction.
 
 
The research shows that when an individual starts using marijuana earlier on in life, the more pronounced the brain abnormalities. Additionally though, the same research shows that the brains of heavy marijuana users have greater connectivity in this part of the brain as compared to those who don’t use pot. But even with the enhanced connectivity, the research says that this key part of the brain loses this ability over time. The abnormalities aren’t known to cause any mental illness of emotional deficits yet.
 
 
Dr. Francesca Filbey was the leader of the study. She is the director of the university’s Center for BrainHealth and an associate professor in the university’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The study consisted of 48 adults who smoked marijuana three times a day for ten years, on average and 62 users who didn’t consume cannabis. Filbey and her team used MRI scanners to compare the brains of the two group. Their findings, while provocative, are acknowledged even by them, aren’t concrete evidence of cannabis contributing directly to the brain changes. Dr. Asaf Keller, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine wasn’t involved with the study but was asked by the Huffington Post to comment on the new data. 
 
 
“As this is a retrospective study - not a prospective one - it is impossible to determine whether individual differences in brain anatomy are related to genetic or environmental factors other than marijuana use. In sum, there is not indication that the anatomical difference in the brains of marijuana users are caused by marijuana use,” Dr. Keller told HuffPost Science. These results will have to be duplicated in similar studies for the data to be concrete. For now, cannabis users can still rest easy in thinking that cannabis has absolutely no negative long term effects.

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Is NY Safe For Smokers?

Category: Culture | Posted on Fri, November, 14th 2014 by THCFinder
is-ny-safe-for-smokersNew York has had many issues with cannabis since the 1990s and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be getting better with the recent report that the NYPD won’t be arresting people for small possession of the plant. Even though the cops are saying that they will no longer arrest people for having small amounts of the plant on them, people are skeptical. This isn’t the first time the police have made this statement, the first time being in 1977. Legislature in New York passed a law stipulating that small amounts of pot ket hidden from public view could not trigger an arrest. But as said above, since the 90s, the NYPD has targeted marijuana possession much more adamantly, issuing misdemeanors rather than tickets. There are tens of thousands of New Yorkers that are arrested every year for possession of marijuana, most of which don’t have a prior record.
 
New York especially has been the subject of the idea of extreme racial profiling when it comes to marijuana arrests. Within the first eight months of this year, 86% of those arrested for cannabis possession in New York were black or Latino. In a 2010 census, they made up just over 60% of the population in New York. Not only that but with such high arrest rates in the city, most of the people arrested for cannabis have no prior record and have their names tarnished by a ridiculous arrest charge for having a plant.
 
Joanna Naughton, a former NYPD officer and a member of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition says that this won’t be decriminalization. “People will be summoned into criminal court to answer criminal charges,” she said. If the people summoned to court don’t appear, then warrants can be issued for their arrests. The idea of a court summons without an arrest would also cause issues, says Kenneth P. Thompson, the Brooklyn District Attorney. A summons without an arrest warrant doesn’t get prosecutorial review and those who need to appear in court may not automatically be appointed a lawyer. “These cases will move forward even when due process violations might have occurred,” Thompson stated. 
 
So if you’re a current resident of New York, it’s a good idea to keep that bud hidden. With such a problem between the laws and what the police enforce, plus the discrimination aspect, it’s easy to see that the road to full cannabis acceptance is a rocky one. While New York may be making small steps, they definitely aren’t big enough for such a tough journey.

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Washington State To Hold First Ever Marijuana Auction

Category: Culture | Posted on Fri, November, 14th 2014 by THCFinder
wa-mj-auctionThere are auctions for cars. There are auctions for antiques. There are auctions for livestock. Now, in Washington State, there are also auctions for marijuana. As far as I know, there has never been a state sanctioned auction for marijuana. Usually growers just bring it into a store or dispensary and sell it. But, it appears that the State of Washington is taking a new approach, at least in this instance. Per Oregon Live:
 
Hundreds of pounds of Blue Dream, Blueberry Purple Kush, One Armed Bandit and other popular pot strains will be sold this weekend in Washington’s first state-sanctioned marijuana auction.
 
Randy Williams, the owner of Fireweed Farms in Prosser, said he hopes to auction off about 500 pounds of pot Saturday from his 450-plant outdoor farm in Eastern Washington. It will be sold in lots ranging from 5 pounds to 100 pounds.
 
Would you attend a marijuana auction if you had the chance? Obviously, the marijuana has to be sold to store owners since it’s in Washington and the amounts far exceed personal possession limits. I wonder if Oregon will ever take this approach, since outdoor cultivation will be very popular in my home state. I wonder what quality the marijuana will be? If I hear more about the auction results, I’ll make sure to post them.
 

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Why Is Cannabis Support Shrinking?

Category: Culture | Posted on Fri, November, 14th 2014 by THCFinder
cannabis-support-shrinking
Although past studies have shown that Americans are in favor of straight up legalizing cannabis, more recent studies have been a little more disappointing. A Gallup poll that was released recently still shows that Americans support legalizing but the number has gone down drastically in just a years time. According to the new poll, only 51% of American’s support legalizing the plant. This number is down 7% from the 58% that the polling company found a year ago when the same question was asking. This new number is actually a step back, showing results closer to the polls done in 2011 and 2012. 
 
 
Liberals had the highest support of the legalization of cannabis, around 73%, while moderates were at about 58%. Conservatives, however, came in at only 31%. Looking at the numbers regionally, the east and west coasts (primarily liberal), were the most supporting states, while the south and midwest (primarily conservative) weren’t feeling it. This makes sense, as most people know that the midwest is a rough place for those who are artistically inclined or a bit more open minded (in my experience, the midwest is my least favorite place to travel, solely based on my physical appearance, let alone my cannabis use). 
 
 
So what’s causing the drop? Simple answer; scare tactics. If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ll know that Colorado has been in the spotlight for some negative backlash regarding cannabis. More specifically, the edibles. Since Halloween just passed, many news stations were broadcasting the “be aware that some stoners might poison your kids with weed!” or perhaps you’ve read the stories about people losing control of themselves, committing suicide or even harming others. Even though some of these concerns are just, the alleged danger is less than what people are portraying it to be. 
 
 
Even though the Gallup poll numbers have fallen, marijuana advocates haven’t lost faith. Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said, “While most observers would agree there was solid majority support in 2013, many thought 58% was questionably high. Rarely, if ever, do you see a public opinion on a controversial social issue jump as much as seven points in the course of one year. Needless to say, things are moving in one direction when it comes to the tangible products of public opinion. I would take passage of laws in two states and our nation’s capital over some jumpy poll results any day. If Gallup finds 49% support in 2016 after five more states vote to end marijuana prohibition, I could live with that.

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United States of Cannabis

Category: Culture | Posted on Thu, November, 13th 2014 by THCFinder
united-states-of-cannabis
November is election month in the United States and the polls have since closed on a number of issues that Americans had the chance to vote on. While some states like Florida (it’s full of retired people, guys, did we really think cannabis would pass here?) shot down the cannabis measure, others have successfully passed measures to allow the use of cannabis. 2014 was supposed to be a big year for cannabis and it seems like that’s exactly the result from these last few polls/votes. It’s exciting to see people uniting around this plant. Here’s what to expect from the states that have now legalized cannabis for recreational use, following the precedent set by Colorado and Washington.
 
 
Oregon voters approved of the recreational use of cannabis on November 4th, 2014. Measure 91 has officially passed and the people are pretty amped about it. “We have ended a painful, discriminatory, harmful policy that has terrible consequences for our state,” Anthony Johnson, a long time legalization advocate, said at the Yes on 91 victory party. “We replaced it with a policy that is smarter, more humane… It’s a policy whose time has come.” the Yes on 91 campaign managed to collected $4 million in support of the measure, while the No on 91 scraped up a mere $200,000. It’s clear that Oregon is a green state and the people there are excited to join Colorado and Washington. The measure will take effect on July 1, 2015 and will allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis in public and up to eight ounces at home. “Marijuana was very low on the priority list in Oregon,” Clastop County District Attorney Josh Marquis stated of the measure passing. “And now it will essentially be crossed off.”
 
 
There are many things to be concerned with in the cold state of Alaska, one of which includes drunk people freezing to death in snowbanks after leaving bars. But after November 4, 2014, Alaskans will be allowed to ingest cannabis legally. Measure 2 allows adults 21 years or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants in their homes, with no more than three being mature, for personal use. The measure will also allow the manufacture, sale, and possession of cannabis paraphernalia, such as glass pieces for smoking or storage containers. Alaska has voted on recreational cannabis two times before, in 2000 and again in 2004. The state has had medical marijuana since 1998. Alaska joins the legal states of Colorado and Washington, standing to make over $800 million in combined revenue before 2020, all thanks to the sale of the plant.
 
 
Last but not least, the residents of Washington DC voted to legalize the use of cannabis. Initiative 71 allows adult marijuana use, possession of up to two ounces and home cultivation of up to six plants. The measure states, however, that the sale of cannabis remains illegal but the Council of the District of Columbia is considering making a separate bill that will allow the regulation and taxation of cannabis, much like Colorado and Washington. Since DC is the capitol of the nation, this step is huge for marijuana supporters. This is the federal governments home turf and now, cannabis is legal there. DC has had issues with arrest rates regarding the plant, with nine out of ten people arrested in DC were black, even though blacks make up just slightly more than half of the city’s population. Additionally, government surveys show that blacks are no more likely to smoke cannabis than whites. By passing this measure, DC hopes to end racially biased marijuana prohibition, as well as decrease arrest rates in general. Soon, they hope to join the ever expanding profit pool that legal sates are basking in. 

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Smoking Etiquette

Category: Culture | Posted on Wed, November, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
smoking-etiquetteWhen smoking with a bunch of friends, there are certain rules that stoners should follow as to not appear rude or new to smoking. There are just some things that you don’t do while sharing a joint/blunt/bong with friends. Most seasoned (and every the unseasoned) smokers know these rules. They’ve been embedded in our brains after years of getting told “Don’t bogart!” or “Pass it to the left, what the hell are you thinking?” We’ve all been yelled at for making one of these mistakes at one time or another. So this list will remind you of what to do while you’re smoking in a group, just in case you got too high and forgot!
 
 
Do NOT EVER torch the bowl! 
This could be considered the worst of the rude things you could do in a smoke session! If someone packs up a fresh bowl and you happen to be the first or second hit, don’t just jam the lighter in to the weed and blast through it all in one hit. Weed is not ice cream; you don’t smoke it from the top down. Weed is like a cake. You take pieces. Corner the bowl. Torching it not only makes you look like a newbie smoker but it also is incredibly rude and wasteful, as now a new bowl needs to be packed if anyone else in the circle wants to smoke.
 
 
Don’t double hit the bong!
While a joint may be “puff puff pass”, bongs are a bit different and should only be hit once, especially in a large group. And especially if you didn’t pay for the bud! Take your hit and pass the glass. Just remember that joints are supposedly okay to hit twice but hitting the bong or bowl twice can be seen as rude if the group is large (or even a small one).
 
 
Pass to the LEFT!
No one wants to smoke in a pentagon formation, alright? Pass the smoking apparatus to the left, in a circle, rather than going from Person A to Person D to Person B to Person… You get the point. So pass whatever your smoking to the person on your left. Keep things simple, no need to create a headache of a smoking group!
 
 
Try not to drool on the smoking piece!
We all know that you can hit a piece and cough so hard, you wind up drooling. This happens. It’s accepted. But what’s not cool is when you drool in to or on the thing that you’re smoking. Don’t duck-ass the joint and don’t leave your spit covering the mouthpiece of the bong or pipe. At least drool on a napkin or something. Never leave any on the glass, that’s just gross.
 
 
Don’t pass a beat bowl!
If there’s no more weed left, most people can tell. It’ll taste bad, look bad, and smell bad. In the unfortunate case that you take the last hit, don’t pass a beat bowl to anyone. By doing this, you can definitely be seen as rude. Plus, people will think you’re a noob if you’re constantly passing kicked bowls around. Same goes for a roach. Don’t pass it if it’s impossible to grab.
 
 
Use a grinder.
Some stoners don’t like using a grinder but when you break it up with your hands, you run the risk of wasting a lot of pot. While some people will claim that the grinder is what wastes the weed, it’s actually the bigger chunks of bud that are the waste. The weed will look cashed before it’s time, leaving the inside of these larger pieces unscorched by the lighter. Use a grinder to make sure that all of the smokeable weed gets smoked.

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