Tag Archives: cannabis

Meet the Moms Who Treat Their Kids’ Autism with Cannabis on ‘WEEDIQUETTE’

On a new episode of VICELAND's show WEEDIQUETTE, Krishna Andavolu meets the mothers breaking federal law to treat their children's autism with cannabis. Though the local government might prohibit it, these parents have a conviction that helping their kids shouldn't make them criminals.

WEEDIQUETTE airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on VICELAND.

Plus, BONG APPÉTIT is back with a new episode, and Abdullah Saeed is teaming up with the founders of LA's Trap Kitchen to infuse their signature dish with a generous helping of cannabis oil. Abdullah and his buddies serve up the potent pineapple bowls—filled with jasmine rice, beef short rib, and lobster—to Slink Johnson, the comedian and actor who stars in Adult Swim's Black Jesus.

BONG APPÉTIT airs Wednesdays at 10:30 PM on VICELAND.

Want to know if you get VICELAND? Head here to find out how to tune in.

VICE Talks Weed with Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at VICE Canada's Toronto office to discuss the government's weed legalization bill at an exclusive live event on April 24th, 2017. Trudeau and MP Bill Blair, who has been the Liberals' pointman on this file, were questioned about the new legislation at the live event, hosted by Manisha Krishnan. They also took questions from guests who will be directly impacted by the new laws and through those conversations, touched on harm reduction, the possibility of pardons, how dispensaries will fit into a new system focussed largely on big licensed producers, and how the government plans to keep the products from licensed producers safe.

The UK’s National Health Service Prescribed Cannabis for the First Time

A doctor has prescribed medicinal marijuana to an 11-year-old boy, in what is believed to be the first example of the National Health Service utilizing a UK ruling last year allowing the prescription of drugs derived from cannabis.

Billy Caldwell, from Northern Ireland, had been traveling to the US to procure cannabis oil to treat his epilepsy, which at its worst had him suffering from up to 100 life-threatening fits every day. When his supply of cannabis oil was running out and a trip back to Los Angeles was not possible, his mother, Charlotte, took him to see a general practitioner.

After acknowledging what he called a "unique and unusual" situation, Dr. Brendan O'Hare opted to prescribe Caldwell an oil containing cannabidiol (or CBD)—the compound in cannabis with medicinal qualities—but not THC, the psychoactive element of the plant. Charlotte was able to pick up the oil from her local pharmacy.

Photo by Charlotte Caldwell/Facebook

Charlotte has long been campaigning for people to be given access to the treatment and said: "It's a huge step forward. It's an alternative treatment, and it's worked out well for Billy."

Norman Lamb MP, the Liberal Democrats' health spokesman, said: "It's wonderful that Billy has been helped in this way with what is potentially life-saving treatment. I don't think anyone seriously argues against him getting access to treatment that has had such a dramatic impact on his life. There is no logic in denying it to others if it can be equally effective. There's lots of evidence, particularly in conditions involving lots of pain, that medical cannabis can be extraordinarily powerful and effective."

Top photo: homemade cannabis oil, made by DIY weed doctors in Scotland

We Fact-Checked a Bunch of Shitty Weed Myths

It's 4/20, which means everyone, including people who normally don't give a shit about weed (looking at you, media pundits) feels compelled to express their ill-informed opinions on it.

Just last week, a radio host tried to tell me that weed can send a person into a ketamine-induced dream state and that swapping spit while sharing a joint is a health concern—you can listen to the entire train-wreck interview here (it starts at the 22-minute mark).

This year is a double whammy because the Canadian government just announced its plans for legalizing cannabis by July 2018. And stateside, Donald Trump's administration seems to be pushing the war on drugs with a renewed enthusiasm.

But not all hot takes are created equal. Depending on a person's profile or platform, some can be far more damaging than others. Without further adieu, here's a handy shortlist of some of the worst ones we've seen in recent years:

Pot Makes You Drive Better

Admittedly, Marc Emery, Canadian cannabis activist, knows a lot about pot; fighting for its legalization has been his life's work. But this week, in response to the government's proposed overhaul of impaired driving laws, Emery told Global that pot actually makes you a better driver.

"This idea, one of the many myths I have to clear out in the next 18 months, is that pot impairs you. Marijuana makes you more self-aware of your situation, so you'll be a better driver if you smoke pot regularly."

Now, there are definitely potential issues with proposed Canadian regulations, which include fines and up to ten years of prison time for testing positive for five or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood within two hours of driving. Officials have said it's hard to assess how much THC results in impairment, further complicated by individual tolerance and metabolism.

And there are studies that show that alcohol causes far worse a driving impairment than weed.

But claiming weed makes everyone a better driver seems like a stretch. The safest bet, obviously, is to drive sober. Lulling people into thinking they might enhance their driving skills by taking a psychoactive substance is irresponsible, especially when young drivers are already statistically more likely to get into crashes, and realistically, they're probably going to have a lower pot tolerance than someone who has been blazing for 50 years.

Weed Is Almost as Bad as Heroin

US attorney general Jeff Sessions (who is definitely not down with sessions) told a crowd of law enforcement officials last month that marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than heroin.

Here's the full statement:

"I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that's only slightly less awful."

Let's compare. Weed has killed zero people. You cannot overdose on weed. While some people can become dependent on weed, it is not highly addictive and physical withdrawal symptoms are very rare.

Heroin is an opioid. In 2015, 33,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose. Meanwhile Canada is currently in the grips of a fentanyl crisis; drug overdoses were responsible for 922 deaths in 2016 in British Columbia alone—575 were caused by fentanyl.

America and Canada are the top two consumers of opioids in the world. And much of that stems from doctors' painkiller prescriptions (e.g. Oxycontin) that later led patients to become addicted. To that end, research shows that opioids are not a good treatment for long-term chronic pain, but cannabis could be and it is far less harmful.

Pot Has Ruined British Columbia

To be fair, this one is from January, but it is one of my favorite bad weed takes.

Writing in the Calgary Herald, Barry Cooper, a political science professor from the University of Calgary, said we should look to BC as a cautionary tale of all the ways pot can destroy a society.

How did he reach that conclusion?

Well, he went to an Abbotsford steakhouse and ordered a bad steak and determined that his server and the manager were "stoned." Then he complained that there are too many dispensaries and the "Vancouver police don't bother to enforce what is still Canadian law." From there, he leaped into the opioid crisis, stating: "There is also a gloomy side to the drug scene in BC" That's true, but he didn't explain what weed had to do with it.

Cooper ended by speculating that weed use was behind a spike in bizarre 911 calls in BC, noting that one caller asked for advice on how to turn off his razor and another wanted help getting his drone out of a tree.

"It was unclear whether these emergencies involved pot or just stupidity," he wrote. I'm unclear as to how any of the things he complained about are relevant to his thesis.

Legal Weed Will Cause All Hell to Break Loose

I think there are probably a lot of terrified parents who can relate to this op-ed, which claims that weed legalization in Canada will be a "national disaster."

Written by Benjamin Anson for the Montreal Gazette, it is the height of pearl-clutching, "think of the children!" hysteria.

Anson assumes that weed going legit will cause "untold suffering for countless families in the form of impaired driving accidents, workplace accidents, and adverse health consequences."

As mentioned earlier, driving drunk is worse than driving baked (even if the latter isn't recommended.)

Anson believes the easy access to bud will encourage dealers to focus on selling weed to children, since the adult market will use dispensaries.

"The youth market is particularly price sensitive and will be excellent customers for the illegal growers and pushers," he writes. (By "pushers," we assume he means gangsters in stairwells.)

He may have a point that the black market could undercut the legal regime, but it seems a bit premature to assume that kids are going to be the primary target. Not to mention Canadian teens lead the world in smoking pot, so clearly they already know how to get their hands on it.

Anson claims the anti-drug and anti-tobacco efforts are going to be "set back by light years." On the contrary, the evidence suggests we should've gotten rid of prohibition decades ago.

Dispensaries Will Attract "Riffraff"

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens, a self-described "big guy," recently told the Windsor Star he was nervous about all the "riffraff" he saw while visiting a Denver dispensary last summer.

The dispensary was run efficiently, he said, but on the streets, he apparently witnessed "a lot of erratic behavior."

"The riffraff and the undesirables were rampant. I was looking behind my back as I was walking because some of these people truly concerned me. These were very aggressive people." He said he was concerned legalization could bring about the same impact at home.

It's impossible to know exactly what Dilkens saw, but the implication that people who use drugs are "undesirables" is not cool—they are already highly stigmatized.

Maybe Dilkens should focus on improving his own city's reputation.

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.

Using Weed to Save Football

In this 3-part series, Kyle Turley takes us on his journey to to deal with the damaging effects of football through the use of marijuana. After an NFL career that saw him take home NFL All-Pro honors, Kyle was diagnosed with pre-CTE. After taking a laundry list of pharmaceutical drugs in order to deal with the associated issues, Kyle found marijuana to be the best available treatment for the problems that he was facing. In this episode, we meet Kyle and see the beginning of his journey.

El catador de Marihuana

ES Creador de la página web www.marijuanagames.org, donde sube sus reseñas y guía al público y a los consumidores hasta las mejores variedades de yerba de Barcelona, el día a día de Russ Hudson es ir de club en club y encontrarse con managers y expertos del sector. El host de DIARIO VICE Pedro García y Russ, que fuma a diario desde los 13 años para tratarse la ansiedad y se echa un canuto antes de correr 10 kilómetros cada dos días, recorren los sabores y efectos de una planta que, según Naciones Unidas, a pesar de que solo en España hay más de 300 clubes de cannabis, sigue siendo la sustancia ilícita más consumida del planeta. VICE habla con el catador y consultor de marihuana Russ Hudson y con varias figuras y expertos de la industria del cannabis que, como él, se preocupan de la calidad del producto. ---- EN Russ Hudson is the creator www.marijuanagames.org, a website in which he publishes cannabis reviews and consumer guides of the best varieties of weed in Barcelona. His everyday life consists of going from club to club, and meeting up with managers and industry experts. DIARIO VICE’s host, Pedro García, meets up with Russ, who smokes daily since he was 13 as a treatment for his anxiety, and smokes a joint before running 10 kilometers every two days. Russ goes over the flavors and effects of a plant which, according to the U.N., is the world’s most consumed illegal substance. Only in Spain, there are more than 300 cannabis clubs. VICE spoke with the marijuana consultant and taster Russ Hudson, as well as with many industry experts, who, like him, are invested in the quality of this product.

‘WEEDIQUETTE’ and ‘BONG APPÉTIT’ Are Back

The third season of WEEDIQUETTE premieres Wednesday on VICELAND, taking Krishna Andavolu to the front lines of the war on weed—a conflict coming to a head now that the drug is legal in several states. Krishna embeds with smugglers, doctors, immigrants, children, and cops across the country to learn how weed affects their lives and what role they fill in the ever-changing ecosystem that is marijuana in America.

WEEDIQUETTE airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on VICELAND.

Plus, VICELAND is debuting an all-new season of BONG APPÉTIT, in which our resident edibles expert explores the infinite ways you can get stoned through cannabis-infused cuisine. Starting Wednesday, Abdullah Saeed will be throwing his craziest 4/20-friendly dinner parties yet, inviting world-class chefs to hit up a freshly stocked pantry—filled with dozens of ingredients and potent strands—to whip up some wild meals.

BONG APPÉTIT airs Wednesdays at 10:30 PM on VICELAND.

Want to know if you get VICELAND? Head here to find out how to tune in.

How to Make Salad Dressing That’ll Get You Stoned

If you're looking to get blazed from a bowl of green without smoking, Abdullah Saeed is your guy. With a few simple ingredients, VICE's resident pot expert walks through how to make a tasty salad dressing using cannabis-infused olive oil.

Olives [This graphic has been modified]
By Parkjisun

Olive Oil [This graphic has been modified]
By Lee Hills, GB

Weed [This graphic has been modified]
By Kemesh Maharjan, NP

Drop [This graphic has been modified]
By Olivier Guin, FR

Kitchen Timer
By Christopher Beach, US

Zoom Out [This graphic has been modified]
By icon 54

Bag [This graphic has been modified]
By Linseed Studio, US

Growing Weed Is Pretty Bad for the Environment

Almost everything good is extremely bad for the environment.

Binging Netflix. Using disposable chopsticks with your takeout. Washing your clothes after slobbering noodles all over yourself while binging Netflix.

Oh, and smoking the joint that started the whole damn mess.

Of course, we've known about the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation for a long while. But now that Canada's Liberal government has finally decided to fulfill one major election promise and legalize weed by July 2018, it will also have to start seriously grappling with how to minimize the associated environmental impacts.

"Letting regulators and the public see this as an agricultural crop is really key," said Jake Brenner, associate professor of environmental studies at New York's Ithaca College and researcher of environmental impacts of cannabis agriculture.

"We treat it like a medicine," he said. "We treat it like a drug, but we don't treat it like what it is—which is a regular old agricultural crop with a fleet of environmental implications."

For one, weed plants are thirsty. A 2016 working document prepared for the Oregon State Legislature reported that a single mature weed plant can consume almost 23 liters of water per day, compared to 13 liters for a wine grape plant. That fact matters especially in dry regions and seasons, which we'll likely see extended in the coming decades from climate change.

On the plus side, regulating currently illegal operations could help ensure that streams and fish aren't damaged by excessive withdrawals for irrigation, a major problem in California.

But the problems go way beyond water.

Let's start with artificial indoor operations, which are ideal for growing year round in many parts of Canada due to the country's frigid winters. The indoor cultivation of weed requires an enormous amount of electricity.

It makes sense when you think about everything that's required: many high-intensity bulbs, ventilation, dehumidifiers, and air-conditioners. In fact, a 2012 journal article found that 3 percent of California's electricity usage goes to powering indoor weed cultivation.

Scale that up to the US context, and it makes up a full 1 percent of the country's total power consumption, equivalent to about 17 million tons of carbon dioxide per year or the output of seven sizable power plants.

"One misperception that folks have is that growing cannabis indoors means they get off without a hitch in regards to the environment," Jennifer Carah, senior freshwater ecologist at the Nature Conservancy in California, said. "That's not really the case."

Of course, each Canadian province will have a different joint-to-pollution ratio, depending on the respective "energy mix."

Provinces like Manitoba, Quebec, and Newfoundland are almost entirely powered by hydroelectric dams, meaning they could dodge the problem of increased emissions from weed cultivation and perhaps present a lucrative opportunity for investors once the nationally mandated carbon price kicks in.

Other provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia will be using fossil fuels for the foreseeable future; while the transition from coal to natural gas is a positive one from a climate perspective, it still has serious emissions implications (especially if you are remotely skeptical of the exceedingly low methane leakage rates that some provinces assume.)

On the bright side, legalizing marijuana will mean that weed growers who were previously attempting to stay hidden by using off-grid electricity from diesel or propane will be able to connect to the relatively cleaner grid and reduce emissions.

In addition, greenhouses—which would only need artificial heating during cold nights—become a more viable option, as growers don't need to physically conceal their goods.

But say we're talking about one of the unusually warm parts of Canada, such as southwestern Ontario or the southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia. In such places, it's more feasible to grow outdoors for a longer portion of the year. That means that growers don't have to use electricity for bulbs—instead relying on the sun—and effectively eliminates the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, cultivating outdoors comes with another set of problems.

Like with any agricultural crop, an expansion in demand can often lead to increased clearcutting of forests and construction of roads. That in turn can dramatically increase erosion, habitat destruction, river diversion, and forest fragmentation.

"It can pollute the lands and waters in the areas where it's cultivated, as well as poison wildlife through the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and petroleum fuels," Carah said.

Chemicals are often used to kill woodrats and other small rodents that can damage the crop. Unfortunately, these rodenticides can make their way into the food chain and pose significant risks to predators. Carah said that in California's public lands they put the rare Pacific fisher and northern spotted owl in serious danger.

Legalizing and regulating could help mitigate such issues. But weed producers are often opposed to having pesticide use restricted due to severely lower yields. In October 2016, the Denver Post reported that Colorado's lobbying by the marijuana industry significantly weakened state pesticide regulations, with the former agriculture commissioner calling it the "biggest obstacle we had."

It's a good example of Brenner's argument that regulating weed isn't a silver bullet to minimizing environmental destruction: "Regulating this like an agricultural crop is a step in the right direction," he said. "I don't know that it's any guarantee that the environmental impacts will disappear."

Luckily, other jurisdictions have been trying to figure this out for a while, meaning that Canada can benefit from what they learn. For instance, Boulder, Colorado, requires growers to directly offset 100 percent of electricity and other fuels used in production by using renewable energy or paying into an Energy Impact Offset Fund. Utility companies in Oregon have offered cash incentives to reduce energy use.

Carah said that upcoming regulations for both medical and recreational marijuana in California will include conditions of licensure, which will require compliance with water-quality laws. In addition, the state's legalization initiative dedicates 20 percent of tax revenue to preventing environmental impacts and cleaning up environmental impacts of the past.

Over time, there will also be the possibility of Canadian growers tapping into government-led energy-efficiency programs and investing in energy-saving technologies such as LED grow lights, as well as plenty of research and development to reduce costs. That could also include proper enforcement of building codes and product labeling. The 2012 journal article estimated that energy usage could be cut by at least 75 percent by applying "cost-effective, commercially available efficiency improvements."

There's also the potential for rural economic development that will replace jobs lost in the national phase out of coal-fired power.

"However we can figure out how to bring this under the guise of an environmentally regulatory framework has got to be a good thing because there's a lot of potential there," Brenner said.

But let's be real.

Smoking marijuana has some environmental downsides. But there are many other far more serious personal behaviors from an environment and climate point of view, such as driving large internal-combustion vehicles like trucks and SUVs, or air travel, or consuming large quantities of factory-farmed meat.

Legalizing weed won't be an easy process. But chances are that if done right, it can help mitigate some of the worst byproducts of growing the stuff illegally, especially if politicians are willing to acknowledge that marijuana is here to stay.

Follow James Wilt on Twitter.

How to Make Pot Pancakes with Weed Butter

Abdullah Saeed knows what's up when it comes to waking and baking. On this episode of 'Smokeables,' follow along as VICE's pot expert whips up a couple of pancakes using weed butter and just a handful of other ingredients.

Weed Leaf [This graphic has been modified]
By Sixth Planet, UA

Butter [This graphic has been modified]
By Alberto Gongora, CA

Arrow
By Giovanni Pompetti

Kitchen Timer
By Christopher Beach, US

Beep Signs and Slam Sign
By Courtney Nicholas

Zoom Out [This graphic has been modified]
By icon 54

Bag [This graphic has been modified]
By Linseed Studio, US

Cookies
By Nathan Stang, US

Cake
By Nook Fulloption, TH

Beef
By Kokota, EE

Roast
By ProSymbols, US

Popcorn
By IconDots, IN

Pancakes
By Nherwin Ardona, PH

Arrows Pointing at Milk
By Courtney Nicholas

Batter Being Poured from Cup
By Courtney Nicholas