October 2019

What happens when you try all the CBD products you can find?

Would the alleged magic of cannabidiol have an effect on me or is it all snake oils and placebos?

Shortly before I sat down to begin writing this, I squirted a 1 milliliter dropper of full-spectrum hemp extract, also known as CBD oil, under my tongue. It contained according to the bottle 6.25 mg of CBD per dosage, and tasted also per the bottles label of cold-pressed oranges.

I wasnt sure what to expect, if anything. But with the mania around CBD approaching fever pitch, I was curious to know if I, too, could in some way be touched by its allegedly remarkable powers of stress reduction, relaxation, and all-around wellbeing. We live in dire times. Whats the harm in trying to get away from it all without actually having to go anywhere?

I bought the oil a week ago at the 420 Store, which bills itself as New Yorks first luxury, dedicated CBD store. Most of its wares are displayed sparingly on pristine white shelves, and run the gamut from bath salts and skin creams to flavored gummies and tinctures. All contain some amount of CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabis compound (different from THC, the plants main psychoactive compound).

The wide variety of OTC CBD products sampled. Photograph: Cole Wilson

The shop has a self-serious, high-gloss ambience, with a touch of wellness-derived spirituality thrown in, like some hybrid of Sephora and a Burning Man prayer circle. It made me want to laugh, but also made me mad, which is the same reaction I have to most attempts of the wellness industry to commodify and market the myriad stresses that accompany our attempts to exist in the modern world.

The 420 Store opened its doors in June, six months after hemp was removed from the FDAs list of controlled substances. Although there were already plenty of CBD products on the market, this had the effect of ungating a dam; suddenly CBD seemed to be everywhere, from bodega counters to subway ads to shiny Soho storefronts to Walgreens. CBD had effectively become the new pumpkin spice, sprinkled on products high and low and everywhere in-between in an attempt to cash in on its alleged magic.

CBD is purported to provide relief from a host of bodily ills like inflammation, pain and digestive problems to stress and anxiety. As such, the market is now crowded with CBD-infused chocolate bars, beverages, gummies, body lotions, pills, tinctures, face masks, and pain creams. The products are not limited to humans: a reportedly growing number of pet parents now turn to cannabidiol as the latest remedy to treat their pups.

I had read a lot about CBD in preparation for my experiment and had mixed, which is to say highly skeptical, feelings about it. On the one hand, I know plenty of people who have found relief from a host of ailments in both medical cannabis and CBD products. On the other, where opportunity appears, snake oil quickly follows. A 2017 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association compared 84 different CBD products sold online and found that almost 70% of them under- or over-labeled their dosages.

The effect of Wingeds Happiness softgels: I felt nothing (aside from disgust for the companys car salesman-esque messaging). Photograph: Cole Wilson

Dr Jordan Tishler founded and has run the Boston-based medical cannabis practice InhaleMD for six years (which in the cannabis world, makes him one of the old guys, he said). Hes also an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He takes a slightly dim view on the CBD gold rush. Im like, this is a side step; this is foolishness, he said. People are so obsessed with talking about CBD that theyve stopped talking about cannabis. And at the end of the day, cannabis is what helps my patients. CBD is close to useless.

Topicals, Tishler explained, wouldnt do anything to me (Theyre another mythology cannabinoids dont go through your skin, he said). Ingestible products such as vapes and oils might have an impact, but have been known to contain heavy metals like arsenic and mercury. The FDA doesnt regulate cannabis products, and many of them arent subjected to third-party laboratory testing. Tishler recommended buying products only from legitimate dispensaries that require a medical marijuana card, which I didnt have, so I went for the OTC variety.

I started with the topicals: TriBeautys CBD Superfood Mask, Tribe Revives CBD-infused pain cream, TriBeautys CBD eye cream, and Uncle Buds CBD body lotion. All of them smelled nice; the pain cream had a pleasant wintergreen aroma, while the face mask was redolent of pineapple (it doesnt actually include pineapple, though it does include kale, spinach, and green tea). And all of them were, well, creamy; I appreciated their ease of application and lack of discernible oiliness.

Did any of them make me feel anything? No. Of course they didnt; the only thing I felt was the menthol in the Tribe Revive pain cream, which made my arm tingle like Id slathered on Bengay. The amount I was getting from the creams was miniscule, in the ballpark of 1 to 5 mg. The doses that tend to be effective in humans, says Tishler, are 10 to 20 mg per kilogram. The average human is about 70 kg, he says. Thats 700 to 1400 mg of CBD per day. Nobody can get that.


Annoyed but not surprised, I pressed on to ingestibles. I bought the Vitamin Shoppes Ancient Nutritions organic CBD hemp caplets (10 mg) and Wingeds Happiness mood support complex, (15 mg of CBD per soft gel, uniquely formulated for women). From the 420 Store, I bought Wylds blackberry gummies (25 mg per gummy); Grns Fair Trade dark chocolate bar (100 mg per $23.99 bar yes, you read the price correctly); and Toasts cold-pressed orange tincture (250 mg of CBD per one-ounce bottle) the one I took before I started writing this. From TribeTokes, I tried Tribe Tincs full-spectrum CBD tincture (1,500 mg of CBD per one-ounce bottle).

Had I taken them all at once, I would have easily exceeded the 700 mg mark, but the thought of potentially incapacitating myself with CBD was not appealing. I had a job and shit to do. So I proceeded with some vague sense of moderation.

Unlike the lack of effectiveness of the topicals, the ingestibles presented a spectrum of results. On one end were capsules by Winged. One capsules evening primrose oil and good mood complex, it read, may support balanced hormone levels as well as the brains happy neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Get your smile on girl! Instead, I felt nothing (aside from disgust for the companys car salesman-esque messaging) .

Toasts tincture did taste and smell just like oranges, as advertised, but was similarly uneventful. As for the Grn bar, it tasted like any other decent artisan chocolate bar, but the idea of eating the whole thing just to glean some kind of purported CBD effect was unappetizing. So I gave up, unaltered.

Wylds 25 mg gummies seemed to alter my outlook on the day. Photograph: COLE_WILSON/Cole Wilson

Trying to toe the line between Tishlers recommended effective dosage, my need to be a functioning adult, and, at this point, determined to feel something, I took the Tribe Tincs prescribed 50 mg dosage. While I disagree with its claim of flavorlessness to me, it carried a definite note of weedy funk it did produce a noticeable feeling of general wellbeing, a sense that life had somehow become something I didnt need to worry about very much.

I felt my mind stray from thoughts of deadlines, rising sea levels, and the presidents sphincter-like visage to how beautiful my bag of frozen compost looked when I removed it from the freezer. Whether this was because I took it on the weekend or wasnt feeling particularly anxious to begin with, I dont know; theres also the possibility of the (very real) placebo effect. But what I can say is that, for whatever reason, 50 mg of CBD seemed to have a positive effect on me, insofar as it seemed to redirect my mind to a more sunny locale.

Likewise, taking one of Wylds 25 mg gummies seemed to alter my outlook on the day. It helped that the gummies actually taste like blackberries and are thus delicious; they also have a pleasing soft-chewy texture. Not long after taking one, I started to feel somewhat relaxed so relaxed that I literally walked into traffic later that afternoon (thankfully, it was moving slowly, as was I).

For my last adventure in CBD, I decided to go big, and also straight to the source. On a sunny Thursday afternoon, I climbed a flight of stairs to the snug but brightly lit Lower Manhattan office of Tribe Tokes. There I was greeted by Kim Byrnes, the companys cofounder, who proceeded to guide me through a CBD dab. Byrnes, clad in midriff-bearing athleisure wear (shes also a longtime pilates instructor) is an incredibly enthusiastic proponent of both CBD and THC both, she told me, have helped her treat her ulcerative colitis and other ailments. She sounded almost encyclopedic as she talked about the numerous methods of CBD ingestion and their comparative merits.

The Grn CBD chocolate bar costs $23.99. Photograph: COLE_WILSON/Cole Wilson

A dab is a highly concentrated form of CBD, containing about 10-15 mg of CBD. You inhale its vapor through a dab rig, a close cousin to the bong. The result, Byrnes said, is a body high it feels nice and relaxed and calm.

She put a concentrate of 7 Point Naturals CBD Terp Sauce, a mix of CBD crystals and cannabis terpenes (organic compounds) in the rigs nail and heated it up. I sucked the resulting vapor deep into my lungs, and, because Im a rank amateur, scorched my esophagus. But on my second pull, I managed to get light-headed for a minute, and then felt fine.

It was only after leaving the TribeTokes office that I began to understand what Byrnes was talking about. All of the afternoons obstacles seemed to fall away from me, leaving me to walk a clear, gloriously smooth path through the rest of my day. Tourists walking four abreast down the sidewalk? Whatever, I thought. Theyre just enjoying my citys unparalleled beauty. A 15-minute wait for the train home? Not a problem, I thought; more time to watch adorable rats frolic on the tracks.

I felt beatific rather than annoyed by all of the obstacles the city placed in my path. But more than anything, I felt lucky. I am lucky that Im at a point in my life where Im not suffering from aches and pains or even much anxiety, aside from the usual geopolitical-climate-crisis-end-of-days variety. Had I written this story a few months ago, when I was dealing with the aftermath of a terrible relationship and wrenching shoulder and back pain, I might have been much more receptive to the claims being made by the CBD industry. But on this day, I was a contented skeptic.

My head felt clear, my limbs felt loose, and the world rolled out its carpet in front of me, beckoning me to bask in the sunshine of my minds own invention.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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5 Takeaways From Tuesday’s Democratic Debate: The Elizabeth Warren Pile-On

The fourth Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night confirmed what has been evident in the polls for some time: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has overtaken former Vice President Joe Biden as the front-runner in the race for the party’s nomination.

The other candidates on stage in Westerville, Ohio, treated the senator from Massachusetts as the new favorite, hammering her repeatedly over her evasiveness when confronted with questions about her health care and wealth inequality plans.

Biden, in contrast to the previous debates, often seemed like more of an after-thought. The former vice president still got in his hits against President Donald Trump, but his rivals mostly ignored him.

Here are some key takeaways from the debate.

Welcome to life as a front-runner, Elizabeth Warren.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and businessman Andrew Yang all took shots at Warren.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar got that bandwagon going early when they criticized Warren for not giving a straight answer to a question about whether middle-class taxes would go up under “Medicare for All,” a government-sponsored health care proposal she has backed.

“Your signature is to have a plan for everything, except this,” Buttigieg said. “No plan has been laid out to explain how a multitrillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for All plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”

Klobuchar quickly piled on: “I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but … the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done.”

Warren responded by repeating her usual answer when challenged on this point, focusing on the bottom-line effect the plan would have on middle-class families and pledging she wouldn’t support a proposal that raised overall costs for them.

Republicans have also attacked Warren over not being willing to address the question, which she has dismissed as “Republican framing.”

Klobuchar and O’Rourke also went after Warren over her proposal to levy a 2% tax on the super-rich.

“I want to give a reality check here to Elizabeth; nobody on this stage wants to protect billionaires,” Klobuchar said.

In a nod to Tom Steyer, the wealthy hedge fund manager who just recently entered the presidential race and was participating in his first debate, Klobuchar wryly added, “Not even the billionaire wants to protect the billionaires.”

O’Rourke joined in by accusing Warren of being “more focused on being punitive or pitting one part of the country against the other instead of lifting people up.”

Yang called out Warren for not addressing the threat automation poses to U.S. workers. That prompted several other candidates to address his signature universal basic income proposal ― perhaps the biggest coup for his campaign so far.

Biden meandered in talking about the Ukraine flap.

Biden didn’t directly answer if it was wrong that during his tenure as vice president, his son Hunter served as a board member for the Ukrainian company Burisma Holdings ― which spurred Trump’s controversial phone call to Ukraine’s president, which in turn could lead to Trump’s impeachment.

“I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything to do with Ukraine. … We always kept everything separate,” Biden said about his son’s work overseas. “There would be no potential conflict. My son made a judgment. I’m proud of the judgment he made … the fact of the matter is this is about Trump’s corruption.”

Hunter Biden acknowledged in an interview with ABC airing Tuesday that it was “poor judgment” on his part to join the venture, and conceded it was likely that his last name helped him professionally.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker actually gave a more succinct answer in defense of Biden, noting the hypocrisy of Trump and Republicans seeking to attempt to make hay of the matter, given the financial conflicts of interest that cloud the Trump administration

“We are literally using Donald Trump’s lies, and the second issue we cover on this stage is elevating a lie and attacking a statesman,” Booker said, referring to Joe Biden.

Buttigieg, Klobuchar made a play for the middle lane.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar may have delivered their best debate performances yet.

Buttigieg, in particular, seemed to put more sustained effort into positioning himself as an alternative for centrists to Biden. He played up his small-town roots by recalling driving past closed factories while growing up in the post-industrial Midwest. The 37-year-old also repeatedly expressed his aversion to Washington elites, calling out “senators” and “congressmen” who have not gotten many things done during his “entire adult life.”

During a conversation on foreign policy and Trump’s recent decision to withdraw troops in Syria, Buttigieg drew applause after he called for the U.S. to stand by its allies.

“The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values,” he said. 

Buttigieg made another nod to more moderate voters when he called out O’Rourke for not giving more details on how the Texan’s proposed mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns would work.

“I don’t need lessons from you on courage ― political or personal,” Buttigieg, a military veteran, told O’Rourke in one sharp exchange.

Bernie Sanders bounced back.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders didn’t look or sound like a guy who had a heart attack two weeks ago. He was as animated as ever, landing sharp blows against Trump and other Democrats on stage.

“I’m healthy, I’m feeling great,” said the 78-year-old when asked about his health and age.

After Booker jokingly interjected that Sanders supports medical marijuana, Sanders quipped, “I’m not on it tonight.” The line elicited laughter and applause from the audience. 

But Sanders’ best moment may have been a fast-ball at Biden after the former vice president asserted that he knew how to “get stuff done,” and that he didn’t simply offer plans about how to do so.

“You know what else you got done? You got the disastrous war in Iraq done. You got a bankruptcy bill that’s hurting middle-class Americans all over the country,” Sanders retorted, referring to positions Biden took as a senator from Delaware.

There were some missed opportunities.

Steyer, whose focus is on combating climate change, started strong in the debate’s opening act, saying that “every candidate here is more decent, more coherent and more patriotic than the criminal in the White House.”

That may have been his only good line of the night, however, as the debate hummed along and he barely made his presence felt.

California Sen. Kamala Harris also needed a breakout moment ― similar to the one she enjoyed in the first debate in June ― to reverse her struggling poll numbers. She won applause and good marks from women’s rights groups when she noted that none of the previous encounters had featured any direct questions about reproductive rights, calling the omission “outrageous.”

Ultimately, this debate did feature such a query. But Harris, meanwhile, had nothing that would qualify as a standout remark or exchanges.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Chicagos Black Leaders Voice Equity Concerns Over New Illinois Marijuana Law

Chicago passed city zoning regulations for Illinois’ new recreational marijuana law, but some of the city’s Black leaders are concerned about the lack of minority-owned business participation.

City Council approved, on a vote of 40 to 10, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed zoning rules Wednesday for where marijuana dispensaries can operate. The council’s Black Caucus previously tried to hold up the vote over concerns that Black residents aren’t represented among the owners of nearly a dozen existing medical marijuana dispensaries who would get a head start in the city when recreational sales begin Jan. 1.

Eleven existing businesses will be allowed to use their current location to sell recreational marijuana in the first year of legalization, according to a plan by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development. These same businesses will also be allowed to exclusively open a second recreational site until late spring of 2020, when other new businesses get a chance to bid. All of the selected business owners are white, according to Alderman Jason Ervin, chairman of the 20-member Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus.

“Of these 11 businesses … there is zero Black ownership. Let me repeat this: zero Black ownership of the existing lottery,” Ervin said at a news conference before the council meeting, criticizing the current plan. “Social equity means … ownership. People who look like the folks standing up here having an opportunity for ownership. Not participating as workers.”

Ervin introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would delay the start of recreational sales in Chicago to July 1 so that the council can find more equitable options that boost minority ownership. That proposal was referred to committee.

Alderman Anthony Beale, a Black Caucus member who has been a vocal critic of Lightfoot, said Wednesday he would vote against the mayor’s zoning rules to influence city officials to correct mistakes in the state law.

“When we look at the fact that the Black and brown community has been adversely affected by the cannabis industry ― jails have been filled up, people have been locked up ― and now we are being locked out of benefiting from this particular ordinance,” Beale said. 

“How do we start a game already down 22-0? That is a travesty,” he added. “We have an opportunity to make sure our community can get a piece of the pie. I guarantee you … when these licenses are rolled out, and the first 22 are people not of color, they’re going to have a 12-month head start before we even start trying to level the playing field. How do we do that?”

Alderman David Moore, also a member of the Black Caucus, agreed with Beale, saying that zoning regulation “is our only leverage.”

“This thing only comes once in a lifetime where we can gain some ground finally,” Moore said, recalling memories of friends getting arrested for small amounts of marijuana while growing up.

“There’s so much to look at when you look at the lottery piece. They say that’s equal, but it’s not equitable. You put 44 white balls in and one black ball and what’s the probability that a black ball will get chosen?” he continued. “There is no equity. The zoning is right, but there is no equity.”

Ervin still supported voting in favor of the zoning regulations Wednesday, urging his fellow members of the Black Caucus to prioritize zoning and focus on the issue of equity at a later date.

“I agree with you that there are issues of equity in this conversation, there is no question, there is no doubt I stand 100% on it,” Ervin said. “But what I do not want to see is these places opening at portions of our community or anywhere in the city that the local community, the aldermen and the city of Chicago do not want them to be. … We will deal with the issue of equity.”

Beale and Moore continued to be two of the 10 council members who voted no on the ordinance.

A spokesperson for the Black Caucus did not immediately answer questions from HuffPost about voting in favor of the zoning regulations despite the lack of minority ownership, as well as what the caucus thinks is the likelihood that the measure introduced Wednesday will pass.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been criticized over the zoning regulations connected to new recreational marijuana law.

Lightfoot, who was at the council meeting, stressed that concerns about giving Black business owners a fair chance at recreational sales should be taken up with the state, not the city. The mayor said Chicago has very limited movement under Illinois’ recreational marijuana law when it comes to sales and that the main channel the city can control is through zoning rules. Lightfoot’s zoning plan splits the city into seven zones and excludes part of the downtown Loop area.

“I will be your partner in joining and addressing equity issues where they can be addressed, which is in Springfield,” she told the council Wednesday, referring to the state capital. Lightfoot has been under pressure to avoid a delay so that the city could get the much-needed revenue from marijuana sales to help fix Chicago’s debt.

The Black Caucus said it is willing to work with Lightfoot and state lawmakers to amend the law in favor of social equity and boosting minority-owned businesses, according to CBS Chicago.

“In the end, we want to see people that look like us in this business profit from it,” Ervin said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill in June legalizing the possession and sale of recreational marijuana, making Illinois the first state to pass a measure on comprehensive legal pot sales through its legislature rather than as a ballot initiative. The state legalized medical marijuana in 2014.

The law was marketed as equity-focused, with a social equity program meant to help small minority-owned businesses enter the industry through grants and loans, as well as a program that puts a portion of the industry’s revenue back into communities that were disproportionately affected by the drug war. The law also includes expunging marijuana convictions for up to 770,000 cases.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Bernie Sanders jokes he didn’t use medical marijuana before tonight’s debate

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) cracked a joke during Tuesdays 2020 Democratic debate that he didnt use medical marijuana before getting on the stage after being asked about his health.

Sanders, who recently suffered a heart attack, was asked by a moderator about his health as part of a larger discussion about the age of a potential president.

The Vermont senator quickly tried to assure that he was in good health. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) interjected, noting that Sanders was in favor of medical marijuana use.

In response, Sanders joked that he was not on it tonight.

Heres the full exchange:

Im healthy, Im feeling great, Sanders said in response to the question about a presidents age.

Senator Sanders is in favor of medical marijuana, I want to make sure thats clear as well, Booker said.

Thats true. Im not on it tonight, Sanders said, smiling.

The response from Sanders drew applause and laughter from the audience at the debate.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta on medical marijuana: We are in an age of wisdom, but also an age of foolishness

(CNN)When we released “Weed” in 2013, few people had ever heard of cannabidiol, or CBD. Now, two-thirds of Americans are familiar with the compound, and 1 in 7 have tried it. Most of the country, 93%, are in favor of medical marijuana and hemp-derived CBD itself, which has less than 0.3% THC, has been legalized in every state.

It’s not just public perception. The science over the last six years has grown by leaps and bounds, as well. Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil, went through clinical trials and is being prescribed for thousands of patients with seizures. The founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Epidiolex, told me they are now developing cannabis medications for everything from autism to anxiety.
The lives of characters we introduced you to in “Weed” have completely changed, as well. The Stanley brothers of Colorado — who literally bet the farm on CBD and couldn’t even afford a reliable car six years ago — now grow CBD on 800 acres in three states and have a marijuana empire worth an estimated $2 billion.
And Charlotte, sweet Charlotte Figi. Soon after birth, she started having seizures. By age 3, she was having 300 seizures a week, despite having tried more than half a dozen medications. Her mother, Paige, worried her daughter would stop breathing one day or go into cardiac arrest. Charlotte was not expected to live past her 8th birthday. Today, she’s 12, and has only two or three seizures a month, despite being off all of her other seizure medications. The only thing she takes is a CBD oil, called Charlotte’s Web. She represents countless patients who are alive today because of this plant, and this plant alone.
    For many in the medical marijuana community, these last few years have been the realization of a dream they never really believed was possible. But, there is a funny thing about dreams. As beautiful as they are, they are often fragile and ready to tear at the seams.
    Here is where the cannabis story took an awkward, ill-conceived and sometimes ugly turn.

    A bold promise, hijacked

    Last year, in a single moment, the legislation around CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, changed. With the passage of the Farm Bill, hemp, defined as any cannabis plant with 0.3% THC or less, became legal to grow, sell, and consume. For the cannabis community, it was like suddenly drinking from a fire hose in the middle of a drought. One day, it was taboo wrapped in decades of stigma, and now it is sold at the corner store.
    There are CBD-infused oils, mints, cheeseburgers, vitamin waters, shampoos and even sportswear. Most of this stuff couldn’t possibly offer the human body any benefit. Without the respect of being treated like the medicine it is, or reasonable regulation when it is purchased as a supplement, CBD has been hijacked by unscrupulous actors peddling crooked, corrupt and contaminated products. They’re making a quick buck and disappearing into the ether without a trace.
    It was really discouraging to see the results of a recent study in the medical journal JAMA where researchers analyzed 84 CBD products from 31 companies and found 69% were mislabeled. Some of the products had no CBD at all, some had too much CBD, some too much THC.
    Others studies showed that some CBD products contained dangerous synthetics that have been responsible for outbreaks of illness all over the country. The legitimate vendors of CBD, who took the time to ensure consistency, safety and quality, are now sadly lumped together with the dishonest and dodgy ones, leaving the consumer confused about where to turn.
    The general attitude we have long heard from CBD consumers is they think the product “might help, can’t hurt, why not.” But, when you can’t even count on the authenticity or safety of the product you are buying, that is no longer the case.
    In our latest investigation, “Weed 5: The CBD Craze,” we take you on board the cannabis rocket ship, that shot us from a barren wasteland of prohibition to the Wild West of the CBD craze, and we reveal exactly how we got here. We also provide a roadmap to help you navigate the landscape of CBD, including understanding how to read a “certificate of analysis” and determining what is legal and what isn’t.

    A story of facts, not faith

    With the release of my first “Weed” documentary and op-ed in 2013, some say I became an advocate for medical marijuana. At first I recoiled. To me and my journalist friends and colleagues, “advocacy” can be a dirty word. No doubt, it is sometimes necessary, to champion causes that would otherwise get little attention. To some, however, advocacy implies a certain lack of objectivity, a blind faith. Is that what happened with “Weed”?
    There’s one thing I can’t stress enough: The core story of cannabis has never required me or anyone else to follow blindly. With medical marijuana, you aren’t asked to sacrifice your objectivity or your skepticism. You too will discover it if you diligently study the evidence from all over the world, spend days in the lab to really understand the cannabis molecules — and visit patients whose lives truly depend on it.
    The real story of cannabis has always been rooted in facts, not faith.
    With the series of “Weed,” films, I wanted to shine a light on what would have been obvious, if people had taken the time to look. Echo chambers exist, even in the world of science. I wanted to show you that these chambers can grow bigger and louder with each generation that neglects to challenge them. For too long, the real story of cannabis was drowned out in those echo chambers. Marijuana was preordained as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. My team and I wanted you to hear the other side, the voices that had been drowned out by decades of this noise.

    Let science lead the way

    Over the last six years, I have continued to read constantly, discuss the latest scientific developments with researchers and spend hours with patients to really understand their experience with cannabis as a medication. Through it all, however, there has been something else nagging at me.
    I realized that CBD has become such a convenient political narrative, so easy to rally behind. Maybe too easy.

      Your brain on marijuana

    Indeed, CBD alone doesn’t make you high. You don’t have to smoke it. And the people it has helped the most are little kids like Charlotte. But that was never supposed to be the entire story. After all, “Weed” wasn’t just about CBD, it was about weed, the entire cannabis plant, comprised of hundreds of potentially therapeutic ingredients. And yes, one of those is THC, which to this day remains demonized with the rest of the cannabis plant as a federally illegal (Schedule 1) substance, even though it too has shown promise as an effective medicine.
    We are in an age of wisdom, but also an age of foolishness. We have made great strides with medical marijuana, but we’ve also repeated some of the same mistakes that led cannabis to be vilified and misunderstood in the first place. Hype and echo chambers are never a friend to science or clear-eyed thinking.
      Make no mistake: Cannabis is a medicine. Over the last six years, through countless articles and essays, and now five documentary films, my team and I have made that case and we have provided the proof. At times, it can heal when nothing else can. Denying people this substance represents a moral issue just as much as a medical one.

      Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

      I have always let science and facts lead the way. That isn’t advocacy; that is speaking truth to power. But yes, when you are certain of the evidence and people’s lives depend on it, then shout it from the rooftops, trumpet it loudly in medical conferences and make sure the world knows. If being called an advocate means you took the time to faithfully learn the issues, allowed yourself to change and even admit where you were wrong, then I will proudly own the title and honorably wear the badge.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

      adminDr. Sanjay Gupta on medical marijuana: We are in an age of wisdom, but also an age of foolishness
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      Vaping-related deaths in United States rise to 17

      (CNN)Alabama on Wednesday announced the state’s first death due to lung disease associated with vaping — bringing the nationwide total of confirmed deaths to 17.

      The Alabama Department of Public Health said the death was an adult man in the eastern part of the state.
      “While this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a statement Wednesday.
        The Virginia death, an adult from the state’s southwest region, was initially reported by Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina, on September 26. The New Jersey death, an adult from the northern part of the state, was reported to its health department in August.
        “I am deeply saddened to announce the first death of a Virginia resident related to this outbreak,” Virginia’s state health commissioner, Dr. M. Norman Oliver, said in a statement on Tuesday.
        Fourteen other deaths have been identified nationwide as part of the multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping: two in California, two in Kansas, two in Oregon, and one each in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Nebraska.
        The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that the agency is aware of 805 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use in 46 states and the US Virgin Islands.

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          A specific cause of the nationwide outbreak remains unknown, but health officials are zeroing in on potential clues — including the prevalence of THC-containing products among cases.
          New Jersey’s health department noted that, “to date, there have been no reports of serious lung illness associated with products sold in dispensaries permitted by the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program.”

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          adminVaping-related deaths in United States rise to 17
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