Almost overnight, cannabis extracts came in and flooded the market with rigs, dab tools, butane torches and little silicone containers. You can’t go into a head shop these days without seeing tons of vaporizing accoutrement. It is safe to say that dabs are the “hip, new thing” when it comes to cannabis consumption, but have you ever wondered where they came from?
Actually, it all started with the infamous Project MK Ultra in the 1950s, during which the CIA tested psychoactive drugs on thousands of people, often without their knowledge or consent. During these experiments, a highly concentrated liquid extract of cannabis indica was tested for use as a truth serum during interrogations. Unfortunately, most of the records documenting this were destroyed in 1973 when the program officially ended.
Around the same time, the scientists at the US Army Chemical Corps were using cannabis to create THC acetate ester in order to study it as a non-lethal incapacitating agent. In 1974 detailed instructions for how to create this compound were laid out in D. Gold’s Cannabis Alchemy: Art of Modern Hashmaking. The product is a brown oil with two to three times the potency of regular THC, however, unlike today’s cannabis extracts, it is synthetic and impure.
Finally, in 1999, an article was published on Erowid.org titled “Hash Honey Oil Technique”. The author, tired of searching for hash in a dwindling market, had come up with a way of concentrating dried cannabis flower, modeled after the Supercritical Fluid Extraction techniques used in industry. The article describes the resulting “deep amber, almost orange oil” as being of “amazing purity” and suggests melting it over buds for consumption. This method, now referred to as “open-blasting”, does produce the same extract that is popular today, but can be quite dangerous if not done properly. A machine called a closed loop system was invented shortly thereafter to contain and recycle the hazardous vapors produced in the process, making it much safer.
Even with this, cannabis extracts did not start to gain popularity until 2005, when a man using the alias BudderKing revealed in a cannabisculture.com article that he had produced the most highly concentrated extract ever. After accidentally leaving his oil out in the sun, he discovered it had gained potency and changed consistency. He named the material budder, in reference to its thick texture and invented a device to be used for vaporizing the product, the earliest dab rig.
The increase in marijuana legalization helped fuel the dabbing trend, and dispensaries all over the country began stocking and promoting the product. In 2010 the High Times Cannabis cup featured oil for the first time in a category of its own. Since then the popularity of extracts quickly flourished and continues to grow, now compromising thirty to sixty percent of all legal cannabis sales.
~ C. McLaughlin
Jamaica is regarded as a paradise, a beautiful island in the sun with white sand beaches and delicious local food offerings. In recent times however Jamaica is greatly associated with Reggae, Rastafarianism and marijuana. It is often said that no other country has a higher consumption of marijuana than Jamaica and with the recent legalization of the herb, the country is expecting to cash in greatly on the marijuana trade.
There have been strict marijuana-related laws in the country for decades, but two years ago the ‘ganja law’ was passed. This law decriminalized marijuana but only to a certain extent stating that Jamaicans can cultivate and consume marijuana on a daily basis but the number of plants per household should not exceed five and smoking should be restricted to family and friends and within your home.
Rastafarians have a lot more freedom as they can grow and transport unlimited quantities of marijuana as long as they consume it during religious practices and don’t sell it to other parties. Marijuana legalization has the Jamaican government looking to establish a medical marijuana industry, boost tourism through new initiatives, invest in future plans to create jobs and will end the longstanding agitation between consumers of the drug and the state.
Establishing A Medical Marijuana Industry for Revenue
Since the recent legalization of marijuana the main aim of the government is to create a community that will establish a new foundation for building a medical marijuana industry to effectively produce cannabis products. Jamaica is expected to earn up to USD $300 million over the next three years if the government moves in to capture what is described as a rapidly growing global market.
Nutraceuticals and medical cannabis are seen as the cash cows that the country needs. Jamaican Scientist Dr. Henry Lowe advised the government that if Jamaica is to compete internationally then swift action must be taken to avoid being overtaken or becoming redundant. Known internationally for his cancer and nutraceutical research he said that if Jamaica is to overcome its financial crisis through exports, the country needs to move away from relying on banana, sugar and bauxite to non-traditional products and services.
Pills, oils, nutrients, creams and inhalations are expected to become a vital part of the industry. Cannabis is seen as Jamaica’s most lucrative product yet it is far behind countries such as Europe, Israel and the US as it relates to legislation. The government will benefit as well as planters once everyone is familiar with legislation and standards before the cultivation begins.
Boosting Tourism Through New Initiatives
The legalization of marijuana in Jamaica is truly geared towards tourism profits! When you want sunshine, beaches and marijuana you think of Jamaica. The Cannabis Licensing Authority is looking to create kiosks or dedicated desks where visitors can pick up a license to sample some of the best marijuana in the world. These kiosks would be regarded as ‘ganja atms’ and are gaining popularity in several countries. It is mainly aimed towards persons seeking marijuana for medical purposes but persons seeking it for recreation can have up to two ounces throughout their stay in the country.
It is said that the dispenser system for tourism is expected to bring in significant revenue with proper regulation and permitting. The government wants to maintain good control of the regime for tourists seeking to get the ‘real Jamaican ganja experience’. The kiosks are expected to be handled by persons with medical experience and will be providing additional jobs as soon as the project is kick-started.
Investing in Future plans for Job Creation
The newest innovative forms of cannabis regulations in Jamaica are expected to improve the local economy by creating jobs and improving agriculture. Having Jamaica as a team player in the cannabis industry will have benefits across the board, even for the industry itself. It is no secret that Jamaica’s land and climate is ideal for growing and with a cash-cow like marijuana, the country may finally experience true development.
The country has opened its doors to international companies and investors that will encourage more research and development for both a production and medical standpoint. Now that marijuana laws are relaxing internationally the government is embracing its most lucrative agricultural commodity without fear of public scrutiny. It is working hard to make Jamaica the epicenter of cannabis production and research.
Legalization Ends the Agitation
Growing marijuana has been one of the most stressful jobs for planters as most of them usually have to sleep close to the fields due to fear of raids and robberies. Police officers are usually their biggest fear as they burn marijuana fields upon discovery or cut down and confiscate the crops. This is why the new law paves a positive road for the cultivators as they will now be able to reap rewards from their hard labor. There is still much fear for police officers and this has resulted in ganja cultivators putting trust in the Minister of National Security who has vowed to protect them.
Time will show whether or not the ‘island in the sun’ with develop itself as a major player in the marijuana industry as it already has the most important commodity needed for a successful start. Its best asset apart from the weed itself is the terrific climate conducive to growing top-notch marijuana plants. The regulations have to be strict for the time being to encourage a professional and healthy cannabis climate. In the meantime there should be much education done across the board to ganja farmers and those looking to enter the industry.
If you are a regular cannabis user, chances are you having a smoking ritual. Some people like to sit in solidarity on the back porch and puff on a bowl, others like to go for a long drive with some good friends and a fat blunt. My husband and I like to sit on the couch after our son goes to sleep, pass the bong back and forth and talk about our day. Since it was discovered, and as cannabis has spread across the planet, different cultures have adapted the use of the plant, and each of them have developed unique customs for its consumption.
In North America, certain indigenous tribes historically smoked cannabis out of pipes. In addition to the famous peace pipe, there were prayer pipes, blessing pipes, emblem pipes, ceremonial pipes, and a few others. Some families would designate a member to be the pipe-carrier, which was considered a ceremonial duty. The herb was sometimes integrated into food, medicine, and smoking blends or used as a daily prayer and meditation herb
Bhang is an edible form of cannabis which is consumed during the festival of Holi in India. Hindus believe that the god, Shiva, created the plant from his own body in order to purify the elixir of life. The consumption of bhang is believed to cleanse sins, unite one with Shiva and help you avoid hell, and although it is illegal in India today, it’s usage during the festivals is somewhat tolerated due to the cultural significance. It is also believed to have medicinal benefits.
In the Sikh religion, soldiers called Nihangs, still live nomadic warrior lifestyles in the Punjab region of Northwestern Indian subcontinent. They call bhang Sukhnidhaan, and use it to manage the pain of their intense martial arts training, as well as promote relaxation and help facilitate meditation. The Nihangs are generally respected by the people in the villages which they travel to, and will traditionally donate food and money, which the soldiers use to help feed entire communities of poor people. Recently, the authorities have moved to outlaw their use of Sukhnidhaan, but the majority of citizens support the soldier’s traditional use of the ancient herb mixture.
In the mid-1800s, the Bashilenge tribe in central Africa was home to a cult of cannabis-smokers who called themselves Bena Riamba, meaning “sons of hemp”. These men showed their devotion by smoking as frequently as possible, which they accomplished by fashioning small bowls out of gourds. They believed that the herb had magical powers to ward off evil and would not hold holidays, trade agreements, or peace treaties without it.
Without a doubt the group that is most known for their smoking practices has to be the Rastafarians, and their culture is often mimicked by American smokers. Rastas consider smoking cannabis to be a sacrament, it most often practiced during bible studies, or “reasoning sessions” in which they discuss their own perspectives on life. They most often smoke out of water pipes called chalices, and will dedicate them to His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie before smoking.
Individual traditions vary, and we all experience them differently, but there are common themes to these rituals that unite us as smokers. Throughout history, people have used marijuana to relax, promote well-being and bond with peers, and we continue to do the same today. No matter how you consume your cannabis, I think we can all agree that Brian Griffin was right when he said, “Everything is better with a bag of weed”.
1. The Scythians were the first people to get high on cannabis.
The Scythians were a group of nomadic people who migrated from Central Asia to southern parts of the Ukraine and Russia during the 8th and 7th centuries BC. These people were of Iranian descent, and artifacts show that they were culturally advanced for their time. During a visit to their territory, the Greek historian, Herodotus described a ritual in which the Scythians would ingest marijuana smoke. “The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed[probably dried flower], and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this vapour serves them instead of a water-bath; for they never by any chance wash their bodies with water.” (Herodotus (440 B.C.). The History of Herodotus. Book IV, para. 76. http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.4.iv.html ) This is the first written account of cannabis being used for its psychoactive effects.
2. The true purpose of THC to the cannabis plant is unknown.
There are over 400 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Of these the only one with known psychoactive properties is THC. It is possible that the compound provides the plant with some protection against harmful UV rays and it has also been theorized that the trichomes that contain the THC exist to repel insects. However, research has yet been conducted to support or contest those claims.
3. Our bodies have the ability to synthesize cannabinoids.
During the nineties scientists found two receptors located in our central nervous systems that bind specifically to cannabinoids, named CB1 and CB2. When our CB1 receptor is activated, it leads to the feeling of being high. It was later discovered that our bodies are able to produce synthetic cannabinoids that can activate both receptors in response to the neurologically induced elevation of intracellular calcium levels. In plain English, the “runner’s high” we experience in response to exercise is the same as the “pot head’s high” we experience when we hit the bong.
4. The Petrochemical Industry lobbied for marijuana prohibition.
Hemp pulp has the potential to not only replace petroleum as the primary source of fuel in the United States, but also produce a variety of paper products cheaper, cleaner and more efficiently than wood. During the thirties, when marijuana prohibition first started, Harry Anslinger was chosen to head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The man who appointed Anslinger to this position, Andrew Melon, was also a member of the board of directors for DuPont Chemicals. Familial ties between the two men raise the suspicion that Anslinger may have painted cannabis as a dangerous drug that inspires violence in users at the request of Melon in order to keep hemp from becoming competitive with the products sold by the petrochemical industry.