NORTHERN STANDARD https://www.northernstandard.com Premium Cannabis Extracts Mon, 09 Dec 2019 04:59:26 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://www.northernstandard.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/cropped-cropped-favicon-100x100-1-100x100.png NORTHERN STANDARD https://www.northernstandard.com 32 32 The Cannabis Industry Has a Big Plastic Problem https://www.northernstandard.com/the-cannabis-industry-has-a-big-plastic-problem-and-there-are-no-easy-solutions/ Fri, 06 Dec 2019 11:19:24 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=5489 The post The Cannabis Industry Has a Big Plastic Problem appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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Archives

In 1955, LIFE Magazine celebrated the advent of cheap, versatile, and ultimately disposable plastics with an article titled “Throwaway Living.” It was a portrait of a world of wonderful convenience, courtesy of the post-war plastic revolution.

Throwaway Living

But nothing comes without cost, and the conveniences of our society’s apex now threaten our future. The non-profit organization Plastic Oceans estimates that 300 million tons of cheap plastic waste are produced worldwide each year, over 8 million tons of which ends up in our oceans. Once there, it breaks into microplastics, poisons our water tables, threatens our sea life — and re-enters the food chain (which is why you now eat about a credit card’s worth of plastic each week).

We face a severe pollution crisis, and with global plastic production set to triple by 2050, it will almost certainly get worse.

 

Small Volume, Big Waste

When it comes to waste, no industry is blameless. But the complication facing cannabis companies is that they must use more plastic than manufacturers in other sectors, because their packaging must adhere to childproofing requirements.

Nearly every state with legalized cannabis has child-resistant (C-R) packaging requirements on the books. For its part, the State of Colorado has indicated that edible cannabis products “must be packaged in a single serving, child-resistant container”, and that all flower and vape extract packaging must be both opaque (which entails the use of thicker plastics) and child-resistant.

Most child-resistant (C-R) packaging, which has been required in the US since 1972, has closures that require two dissimilar actions to open. Today, C-R packaging used by cannabis producers includes mylar envelopes with built-in zippers, bulky slide boxes with plastic trays, and “doob tubes”, which can use as much as 40.5 grams of plastic to secure a single one-gram joint. All of this packaging is used but briefly, to transport cannabis products to the home, where it’s usually just thrown away.

The cannabis industry’s waste output will increase as sales do, and they’re increasing quickly. April and May of 2019 were Colorado’s best-ever months for cannabis sales. Meanwhile, nationwide cannabis sales are projected to hit $30 billion by the year 2023.

This all begs the question — can’t we mitigate the pollution crisis by doing a better job of recycling our used packaging?

Unfortunately, recycling isn’t the solution we thought it was.

Recycling Reconsidered

The admirable, ambitious concept of recycling is flawed in execution. Even if you toss your plastic bottle in the designated bin, it will probably still end up in an incinerator, a landfill, or the ocean.

That’s because, despite what young students are taught in school, the majority of plastic waste is never recycled. There are seven different categories of plastic waste, and they must be separated from each other at recycling plants, a task which is next to impossible due to the sheer volume of plastic waste produced.

There is also a diminishing demand for recycled plastics. Brand-new “virgin” plastic is generally a cheaper purchase than recycled plastic, and with the bottom line in mind, most companies (including cannabis producers) choose the former.

Until recently, the US recycled just 9% of its plastic waste, something that was typically accomplished by exporting it to foreign waste management companies. That changed on January 1st, 2018, when Chinese officials announced that the country would stop accepting a majority of waste imports, a move that essentially crippled the US recycling market overnight.

Recycling has now become more expensive than ever. This March, the New York Times reported that hundreds of American communities had eliminated their recycling programs entirely, and former EPA Administrator Judith Enck estimates that the US now recycles less than 5% of its plastics.

Related: The Guardian examines the UK’s waste management system, “Plastic Recycling is a Myth.”

 

What’s the Next Move?

Just because plastic is king (for now) it doesn’t mean we don’t have sustainable options. Compliance rules make it impossible to entirely eschew the use of plastics, especially for cartridges and disposable bags — but not all products need to be shrouded in plastic.

At Northern Standard, our solution to the plastics and recycling issues is to package our vape cartridges in aluminum tins. It’s a more expensive option, but aluminum tins, while they do cost more to produce, give a sturdier, sleeker alternative to the cardboard and plastic packaging that line dispensary shelves.  We cans also clean, disinfect, and re-use tins that are returned to us in usable condition. Besides that, using aluminum makes sense, as recycling aluminum is a process that actually works as envisioned – it requires 95% less energy than extracting new aluminum resources does. That explains why, according to The Verge, “almost 75 percent of all the aluminum ever produced to date is still in use today.”

Our plastic pollution crisis requires radical solutions. But it’s within the cannabis scene, which is built on challenging the status quo, that we may be able to find the innovation needed to shape tomorrow’s industry practices.

At Northern Standard, our concentrates are packaged with high-quality glass and metal materials, and available on-shelf in aluminum tins.

 

 

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The Best Cannabis Podcasts Out Right Now https://www.northernstandard.com/the-best-cannabis-podcasts-out-right-now/ Wed, 15 May 2019 05:16:28 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2894 The post The Best Cannabis Podcasts Out Right Now appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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The Best Cannabis Podcasts Out Right Now

There are more than a half-million podcasts in production today — and hundreds of them are devoted to cannabis.

Just starting to sift through them? Here are seven cannabis podcasts we recommend. Load one up on your phone, grab your vape pen, and enjoy.

Getting Doug With High

Not the first podcast to bring cannabis into the studio, but it’s probably the most popular. Hosted by comedian Doug Benson (you might remember his starring turn in the 2007 documentary “Super High Me”), it’s chill, giddy show in which Benson and his guests light up and talk shop. Past guests include Kevin Smith, Sarah Silverman, and Jack Black — making Benson’s show the closest we’ll ever get to trading hits with A-listers.

Listen to Getting Doug with High on Apple Podcasts | Watch Getting Doug with High on YouTube

Doug Benson

Weed + Grub

Comedian Mike Glazer and former High Times editor Mary Jane Gibson (actually her real name) talk cannabis, comedy, cooking, and culture. The free-form show usually involves “smoking and snacking” with celebrities and other guests. Fan-favorite episodes include #47 with Jim Belushi and #21 with the legendary Tommy Chong.

Listen to Weed + Grub on Apple Podcasts

Cannabis & Main

Produced by Civilized, C&M is a series of carefully-researched 20-minute episodes that examine the effects of cannabis on medicine, lifestyle, and drug policy. The show is hosted by Ricardo Baca, a veteran journalist who worked as the Denver Post’s first “Cannabis Editor” in 2013.

Listen to Cannabis & Main on Apple Podcasts

The Roll-Up

This is the official weekly podcast from Leafly. The site’s editors track legalization efforts and unpack the newest stories from the cannabis world. Leafly calls it “the news and culture podcast that hits the sweet spot between stoned and solidarity.” Over the past few weeks, The Roll-Up’s hosts have covered CBD burgers, cannabis banking regulations, and the history of 4/20.

Listen to The Roll-Up on Apple Podcasts

Roll-Up Co-Host Dave Schmader. Image courtesy of Leafly.

What Are You Smoking?

Also from Leafly, this is the sister podcast to “The Roll-Up.” A lifestyle show geared for the curious consumer, it specializes in product reviews and strain recommendations (something we’ve done a little homework on ourselves). Recent guests on the pod have discussed “cannabis etiquette”, why you might not want to take edibles before a flight, and cultivating new strains.

Listen to “What Are You Smoking?” on Apple Podcasts

Hustle Cannabis

Host Chris McKushington (probably not his real name) sits down with budtenders and entrepreneurs to talk about making it in the cannabis industry. He’s interviewed the founders of WeedTube, Solsgreen, and dozens of other startups. A charming and engaging host, McKushington has seen his audience grow quickly — which provides invaluable exposure for his guests.

Listen to Hustle Cannabis on Apple Podcasts

Hustle Cannabis. Image courtesy of Apple Podcasts.

Lit and Lucid

Ayurvedic plant medicine? “Craft” cannabis? CBD jelly beans? You name it, hosts Jarrod and Lucy are talking about it. Veteran connoisseurs, they launched this pod to help educate consumers about all facets of the rapidly-growing cannabis market. Check out their live episode with millennial cannabis entrepreneurs here.

Listen to Lit & Lucid on Apple Podcasts

What’s your favorite cannabis podcast? Did we miss any good ones? Let us know at contactus@northernstandard.com.

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The Future of Cannabis https://www.northernstandard.com/the-future-of-cannabis/ Fri, 03 May 2019 07:31:55 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2858 The post The Future of Cannabis appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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The Future of Cannabis

The Future of Cannabis

The American cannabis industry has grown so quickly that some might forget that it barely existed a decade ago.

Then the voters got their say, new markets opened, and in 2018 we saw $10.8 billion of legal cannabis sales in the US. That figure is predicted to reach $47.3 billion by 2027.

But besides higher sales, what else should we expect from the industry over the next decade?

Here are some areas where we expect to see significant changes.

Cannabis Bars & Restaurants

Social consumption will shake up American nightlife. In ten years, happy hour might revolve around vapes, not beer.

The arrival of cannabis bars and lounges has already started to remake the social scene in states that have legalized. Los Angeles, Denver, and a handful of other cities have granted licenses for establishments where patrons can smoke and vape cannabis and choose from a menu of edibles. And while alcohol and cannabis currently can’t be consumed on the same premises, guests can order cannabis “drinkables” and mixers by the glass. These aren’t wildly popular today, but they’ll only grow in popularity as new products debut and cannabis venues proliferate.

Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes have already arrived in the US

Other states are watching. Last year, legislators in New Jersey drafted a bill that would have permitted public consumption venues and allowed for cannabis-friendly hotel rooms. While this measure failed, similar bills will probably pass elsewhere, perhaps clearing the way for a cannabis cafe in your city.

Take a look inside some of San Francisco’s cannabis lounges here.

Meanwhile, while we have our pick of chocolates and other edibles, we’ve only just begun to integrate cannabis into our cuisine.

A number of CDB products became legal at the federal level when President Trump signed the Farm Bill in December, but the FDA hasn’t yet approved adding CBD to food and drinks — meaning most restaurants don’t serve cannabis-infused meals (in New York, regulators recently ordered establishments such as pizzerias and tea shops to stop serving food items with CDB). We’ll have to wait until the regulations change (there’s a public hearing on the matter set for May 31) to see CBD options on the menu.

We can’t have our of CBD pizza — not just yet.

But there is still a demand, and some private chefs are stepping in to meet it.

LA-based chef Chris Sayegh (who’s dubbed himself the “Herbal Chef”) serves clients dishes prepared with THC and CBD oil. As a piece in Nation’s Restaurant News puts it, he’ll plan a meal by “front-loading with THC so the guests were euphoric by the fourth course, and then adding CBD to soothe them as they had dessert.”

In cannabis-infused dishes, cannabinoids work in symphony with the food’s flavor, making the experience about both taste and effect. Cannabis will add a new dimension to American food culture. It’ll be a new way to eat green.

Canadian chef Travis Peterson (aka “The Nomad Cook”) travels Canada and prepares in-home cannabis-infused meals. Read an interview with him here.

Mass Production & the Rise of Custom Cannabis

Amateur hour is over. Competition between cannabis companies is driving innovation as new markets open.

And as far as quality is concerned, it’s now a race to the top.

New agricultural technology allows cannabis producers to set up high-end grow rooms that give them precise, data-driven control over lighting, irrigation, and soil conditions. We’re also starting to see tissue replication of the cannabis plant (Rolling Stone takes a look at this topic here) that will make it easier for brands to source high volumes of affordable, mass-produced cannabis.

We’ll see more companies mass-producing cannabis — but there will always be a market for artisanal organic cannabis plants.

But just as some of us are partial to craft brews — there will be always be connoisseurs in the market for naturally-grown, small-batch, artisanal cannabis. Discerning producers will continue to select natural plants for use in their production and extraction processes.

They’ll also continue combining terpenes and cannabinoids in different ways. This ongoing experiment will result in “designer” strains that will suit a consumer’s specific preferences. Enthusiasts will be able to achieve a “custom high” as they find strains uniquely tailored to their endocannabinoid systems.

We’ll see breakthroughs in our vape tech, as well. The “Internet of Things” will further enhance the user experience as apps that can sync with vape pens become more common. They’ll be able to parse user data in real-time to control the pen’s temperature, potency and frequency of the hits. (It’s easy to see how this will benefit medicinal consumers who use cannabis as a remedy for chronic pain and other ailments.)

From precisely-formulated strains to smart vape gear, we’ll soon enter an era of “custom cannabis.”

IoT technology will enable an interactive, customized vape experience for connoisseurs.

Investment & Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis startups seeking capital may find themselves in luck, as many investors today are bullish on cannabis. Leading alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical companies will surely get in the cannabis game as well and make acquisitions as the market grows.

Gary Vaynerchuk, an investor in Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo, purchased a 50% stake in a cannabis-focused branding agency last year.

“It is so black-and-white obvious to me how large the cannabis industry will be over the next 30, 50, 70 years,” he told Green Entrepreneur. “I’m an entrepreneur. And to me it’s a combination of merit and opportunity.”

In a cover story for Dope Magazine, he explained why he thinks cannabis will have enduring mass appeal. “I so genuinely believe… that cannabis is a far better thing for many human beings than a lot of things that are legal in the United States on a federal level,” he said.

Gary Vaynerchuk is convinced that the future will be green.

But even after they secure capital, tomorrow’s cannabis brands will still need to solve the marketing puzzle.

CBS considered running a medical cannabis ad during the Super Bowl this year, but ultimately decided against it. While this underscores just how far we’ve come from the anti-cannabis propaganda of the 1930s, cannabis brands are still working with limitations. They’re banned from the airwaves, and advertising on social media can get them deplatformed.

So, while they’ve waited for policy to change, they’ve written a new playbook that relies more on organic and influencer marketing — and these strategies may well pay the most dividends in the long run.

“In 2040,” Vaynerchuk predicts, “cannabis companies are going to be the ones influencing the way diapers, tires, soda, and shampoo are being sold.”

The New Green Wave

We may not see legalization at the federal level in the next ten years. But we’ll surely see dozens of small legislative and bureaucratic changes that will create a new cannabis culture — one with new products and experiences to be enjoyed. We, along with connoisseurs all over the map, are ready for it.

Until then, though, you can find us at the dispensary.

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Strains for Anxiety, Pain Relief & More https://www.northernstandard.com/our-recommended-strains-for-anxiety-pain-relief-more/ Wed, 17 Apr 2019 10:51:59 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2746 There Are Hundreds of Strains.  Which Will Work for You? Finding the right cannabis strains for you takes experimentation. Strains aren’t one-size-fits all. Cannabis has been linked to mitigating anxiety and insomnia, alleviating pain, and providing a creative boost. But the endless combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes will register with everyone’s endocannabinoid system a little […]

The post Strains for Anxiety, Pain Relief & More appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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There Are Hundreds of Strains.  Which Will Work for You?

Finding the right cannabis strains for you takes experimentation.

Strains aren’t one-size-fits all. Cannabis has been linked to mitigating anxiety and insomnia, alleviating pain, and providing a creative boost. But the endless combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes will register with everyone’s endocannabinoid system a little differently.

So which of them will work for you?

We’ve been doing our homework on this (which is pretty fun!) for a few years now, so we can get you started with some recommendations. Here are some strains we think you might enjoy:

Strains for Pain

Whether it’s a sprained ankle or a slipped disc — everyone will need pain relief at some point. The National Institutes of Health has reported that the dynamic cannabinoid duo of THC and CBD can help alleviate pain and inflammation. (And the ancient Chinese were using cannabis as pain medicine in 2700 BCE).

With this in mind we can turn to a strain like Yummy, which many people say provides a subtle body high that lends pain relief without bringing on drowsiness. There’s also Rocket Fuel, an indica-heavy hybrid with notes of spice. And there are more than a few enthusiasts who also say they use like to this one to decompress at the end of the day.

Nausea often accompanies chronic pain, and that’s where Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) could help. It’s a hybrid with an aromatic, earthy flavor that’s said to bring both a head and body high

Look for strains with these terpenes: beta-caryophyllene and myrcene

There’s a strain that tastes like Girl Scout Cookies? Sign us up.

Strains for Anxiety

Dose it right, and cannabis might even things out and relieve tension. Further studies by the NIH support the theory that CBD, in particular, alleviates anxiety for many as it interacts with serotonin receptors.

The diesel-flavored Chemdawg X hybrid is one of our go-tos. Leafly says Chemdawg has “secured itself a permanent place in the cannabis hall of fame” due to the number of consumers who report it helps them achieve a relaxed, chill mindset. It can be pretty potent, though, so beginners should stick to a low dosage.

We can also vouch for Gorilla Glue #4 as a sweet, full-bodied hit (and don’t be surprised if you pick up some grace notes of chocolate and coffee.) Though it’s high in sativa, some consumers claim it can still help them unwind

Out at a party this weekend? Some users say the Banana Kush indica can help blunt social anxiety. (Just make sure you Uber home).

Look for these terps: beta-caryophellene, myrcene, and limonene

Many cannabis users have found strains to mitigate their anxiety.

Strains for Insomnia

When you need to calm your mind and pass out, an indica with a moderate concentration of THC could help, according to a breakdown by The Fresh Toast.

A textbook indica is Alien Blueberrya sweet, smooth strain that Leafly users rank highly on the relaxation scale. We also recommend trying the Tarzan hybrid — some consumers liken it to hitting a “power down” switch. Keep in mind that Tarzan is a little higher in THC, so it’s a better fit for more experienced connoisseurs.

And don’t forget about edibles. They do take longer to hit, but try a chocolate square before a Sunday afternoon nap and see how it feels.

Look for these terps: linalool, myrcene, terpenol & alpha-pinene.

A large number of us will eventually deal with insomnia.

Strains for Creativity

Scholars, and scientists will tell you that cannabis can optimize your creativity and help you gain new insights. (Read our article on how cannabis helps musicians elevate their work here).

To get into a creative space, we recommend the sativa-dominant Pineapple Express for its citrusy flavor and heady, steady buzz. Another of our favorites is the tangy Green Crack, a daytime strain that many have reported sharpened their focus and gave a nice kick of energy. We also like Golden Goat for its sweet, piney notes and uplifting boost.

Look for these terps: limonene and pulegone

The Right Strains for You

Finding the right strains will take some experimentation (and that’s part of the fun). What’s been working for you so far? Let us know at contactus@northernstandard.com — we love talking with other enthusiasts. And to find more strains and get specific recommendations, remember that we’re always running dispensary popups. Come see us at one near you this week!

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Our mission at Northern Standard is to produce the highest-quality extracts possible.

That’s why we’re proud to introduce our brand-new Native Elite line of CO2 vape oils. Native Elite oils are extracted from award-winning, single-strain cannabis, and only contain cannabinoids and terpenes native to the cannabis plant. 

Native Elite is available in Ghost Train Haze (with notes of overripe pineapple and stretched leather), Pucker (a citrusy strain with eggnog flavor), and Devil’s Fire (hints of Malbec, candied grapes and tamarind). Ask your Northern Standard reps at one of our popups where you can try these strains.

The post Strains for Anxiety, Pain Relief & More appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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4 Anti-Cannabis Myths Debunked https://www.northernstandard.com/4-anti-cannabis-myths-debunked/ Thu, 28 Mar 2019 12:17:46 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2664 The post 4 Anti-Cannabis Myths Debunked appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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4 Anti-Cannabis Myths Debunked

The map is getting greener. Last fall, cannabis ballot initiatives passed in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.

But reform is not a given. In that same election, a recreational measure failed in North Dakota. Legalization also stalled out in Oklahoma, where a petition to get recreational cannabis on the ballot came up 20,000 signatures short.

This speaks to lingering prohibitionist pushback from a lobby that continues to propagate several anti-cannabis myths. But the best way to defeat old myths is with new data.

Here are several claims commonly made by opponents to legalized cannabis — rebutted with recent studies and evidence.

Getting there. Image courtesy of DISA.

 

States that legalize have higher crime rates

Last year, the editorial board of the Australian media outlet The Conversation analyzed crime statistics from America’s 30 “green” states that permitted medical cannabis. (There are 33 today).

Their resulting study, which is here, says that “Medical marijuana legislation does not contribute to crime, and possibly helps to reduce it.”

The largest body of data on this topic comes from California, where violent and property crime has decreased by 20% since 1996. This suggests that the availability of legal cannabis has undercut the black market and its associated violence. Additionally, decriminalizing cannabis has freed up police resources to thwart other crimes.

And in 2017, Snopes reviewed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ assertion that the nation was seeing “real violence” in American communities as a result of cannabis use.

Their researchers analyzed a collection of recent studies and found that “Violent crime decreases in states with legal medical marijuana.”

 

Cannabis is a gateway drug

The Center for Disease Control’s official stance on this stubborn myth is that “more research is needed to understand if marijuana is a ‘gateway drug.’”

But their website also states that “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances.”

This runs counter to prohibitionists’ claim that individual cannabis users who also use hard drugs is proof of common causation.

As legalization unfolds we’re receiving new reports that cannabis is actually being used as an “exit drug”. A 2018 survey by Harm Reduction Journal of Canada (where medical cannabis has been legal since 2001) found that 59% of respondents who substituted cannabis for opioids eventually stopped using opioids entirely.

Another 45% of those surveyed stated that cannabis helped them dial back (or completely quit) drinking alcohol, and 30% said it helped them “exit” cigarettes.

Cannabis has helped thousands of people dealing with opioid dependency.

 

Legalization will create widespread cannabis use

This is the “think of the children” argument — if cannabis becomes culturally acceptable and more widely available, then underage students will experiment in greater numbers.

For this one, we turn to the ongoing legalization experiment in Colorado. A federal study published in 2018 revealed that the state “is not experiencing an increase in youth usage of marijuana.”

Another 2018 study, this one from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, lends deeper insights: Cannabis use among the state’s middle and high-school students has decreased by a full percentage point since 2013, the year before dispensaries opened. And cannabis use among students age 13 and under has also decreased.

It’s not just Colorado. In 2016, the Center for Disease Control reported a 2% collective nationwide drop in teen cannabis use. (See the complete study here.)

In 2019, there is more thorough awareness of cannabis in the public space — and that can partially explain these downward trends.

Cannabis lowers your IQ, makes you lazy

This one is debunking itself in real-time as political leaders, CEOs, scientists, and accomplished artists of all stripes publicly own their cannabis use. The “lazy stoner” myth is on its way out.

But in the interest of bringing scientific research to an anecdote fight, we can point to a multi-institutional 2017 study performed by the National Academy of Sciences. It tracked the effects of cannabis on IQ scores in pairs of twins over a ten-year period.

The study’s authors wrote, “marijuana-using twins failed to show significantly greater IQ decline relative to their abstinent siblings.”

As more official data comes to us from our green states (and from our fellow consumers in Canada as well), it will further shape the debate ahead of future elections.

And these next few years may well be remembered as a watershed moment for the cannabis movement.

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Musicians on Cannabis (In Their Own Words) https://www.northernstandard.com/2571-2/ Thu, 14 Mar 2019 06:43:33 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2571 The post Musicians on Cannabis (In Their Own Words) appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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Musicians on Cannabis (In Their Own Words)

Last year, six Japanese teenagers and avid concert-goers were arrested for cannabis possession.

“We wanted to be like foreign musicians,” they explained to Tokyo police. “So we smoked weed.”

Their endearing defense, while it didn’t save these kids from probation, is well-founded: cannabis use has long been part of the rock star image.

And you’ll find no shortage of enthusiasts who’ll claim that it enhances both artistic appreciation and inspiration.

Studies have shown that cannabis can facilitate divergent thinking, a spontaneous and “non-linear” brainstorming method in which creators draw connections between two seemingly unrelated thoughts. It’s easy to see how divergent thinking could lead to new insights and poetic expression in the context of a recording studio.

We’re already covered how the “time-slowing” effects of cannabis helped create the wildly-improvisational tempos that jazz music became known for. Now, here are some of music’s most prolific artists on cannabis and expression.

The Legends

Bob Dylan was first introduced to cannabis in the early 1960s while gigging in cafes in Dinkytown, Missouri.

One night, he was smoking joints backstage at a Joan Baez concert in Massachusetts with Eric Von Schmidt, a fellow harmonica player.

The two players were “in a zone,” Von Schmidt remembers, and then Baez suddenly called Dylan to the stage, where he worked through a flawless rendition of “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”. Von Schmidt said Dylan played what seemed like “a hundred verses… I was amazed by his ability to function.”

It was one of his first major impressions Dylan made on the music scene. A few short years later, he was playing live on the BBC.

In 1963, Playboy interviewed Dylan about his alleged drug use. He told the magazine: “…hash and pot, those things aren’t drugs. They just bend your mind a little. I think everyone’s mind should be bent once in a while.”

Dylan’s six decades of global influence (and a shelf of accolades that include a Nobel Prize for Literature) indicate that whatever his creative process is, it’s working.


Dylan’s contemporary and fellow icon David Bowie didn’t have much to say (on the record, at least) about cannabis — but we know Ziggy Stardust was a connoisseur. Here’s the story of the time he was arrested in 1976 with “a half a pound” of cannabis while on tour with Iggy Pop.

Bowie’s mugshot after his arrest.


Credit also goes to Dylan for introducing The Beatles to cannabis. In 1964, he joined the Fab Four in their room at New York’s Delmonico Hotel for drinks, and he suggested that the group share a joint.

John Lennon replied that the group had never tried cannabis, surprising Dylan, who had thought the lyrics to The Beatles’ hit “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” were “…and when I touch you, I get high.”

Lennon said, “Those aren’t the words. The words are ‘I can’t hide, I can’t hide.”

So Dylan had his road manager roll joints for the group — unaware that in doing so he was about to influence a new era of rock music.


Bob Marley obviously partook in cannabis (he’s quoted as saying that “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself”) — but he didn’t do so recreationally. Read more here.


After Paul McCartney took his first hit, he said he was “thinking the first time, really thinking.”

He told his own road manager (who had also consumed) to find a pen and paper and follow him around to write down everything he said.

The next morning, though, he discovered the road manager had only managed to transcribe a single sentence: “There are seven levels!

McCartney said that the band found this hysterical — but later he said, “Looking back, it’s actually a pretty succinct comment; it ties in with a lot of major religions but I didn’t know that then.”

These young men definitely look like they partook from time to time.

The Beatles would use cannabis both in and out of the studio for the rest of the decade. You could make a fair argument that it informed some of their more mellow and experimental mid-60s tracks on Help!, Rubber Soul, and Revolver. (Revolver’s “Got to Get You Into My Life” was specifically clarified by McCartney as being an “ode to pot.”)

On the set of the film Help! the band was “smoking marijuana for breakfast”, according to Lennon, and almost constantly stoned. “We had such hysterics that no one could do anything,” said Ringo Starr.

The band later openly hinted at their proclivity for the plant when all four members signed a 1967 advertisement in the Times of London that petitioned for the legalization of cannabis and dedicated research into its medicinal benefits.


The anti-cannabis ad The Beatles signed in 1967.


Today’s Artists

Lady Gaga, whose stylistic reinventions are beginning to echo those of Bob Dylan, gave a brief insight into her creative headspace when she said she created her first trio of albums while “high, not drunk.”

And then there’s folk singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, who has been nominated for fifteen Grammys (winning two), and has also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Ahead of an album release in 2015, Etheridge broke down her writing process in detail — and explained how cannabis is a part of it.

“I love to light up a good sativa,” she says, “which I can best describe as the caffeine of cannabis. It makes your brain start thinking, yet it relaxes everything else.”

Etheridge further explained that cannabis “quiets the voice” of what she calls her “internal editor.”

Etheridge performing in 2015.

A prime example from one of today’s most popular genres is Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa, who has transcended the one-hit wonder status to remain on the music scene for a decade. He pays homage to cannabis as a contributing factor to his staying power. (It should also be noted that Wiz Khalifa is a protege of Snoop Dogg — who has perhaps done more PR work for the cannabis cause than any other musician. He even got Martha Stewart to light up!)

In an interview with Vice, Khalifa said that cannabis helps “free my mind, slow my thoughts down, and think about everything in a more poetic way… it just makes it more vivid. Back in the day people just got stoned and had dope conversations — that’s how a lot of great songwriting began and how a lot of great concepts came to be.”

Wiz Khalifa on stage in 2011.

These accounts confirm what we’ve already known about cannabis and creativity — and as the stigmas surrounding cannabis continue to fade, it’ll be fascinating to see some more of our favorite artists opening up.


At Northern Standard we believe that cannabis enhances some of the best things in life. And to enhance the best things, you need the best cannabis.

This is why we create premium, full-spectrum cannabis extracts via our proprietary CO2 extraction process. We do not use cutters, fillers, or additives of any kind.

Go here to see where our extracts are available, and view our new line of vape accessories here.

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Cannabis in Sports https://www.northernstandard.com/cannabis-in-american-sports/ Tue, 29 Jan 2019 11:49:45 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2526 The post Cannabis in Sports appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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Cannabis in Sports

Professional athletes who have been suspended for cannabis use include NFL Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss, star Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant, Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders, and Michael Phelps — the most decorated Olympian of all time.

This shortlist might make it seem like cannabis use in pro sports is a rare anomaly. But actually, about 80% of professional athletes are said to use cannabis.

Perhaps the most successful stoner of all time. Image courtesy of The Chicago Tribune.

80% is a figure that at first seems like it must be a typo — but it’s not, and it’s actually on the low end of estimation. A dozen former NBA and NFL players interviewed by Bleacher Report last year said that anywhere from 80-90% of the players they knew in the big leagues were cannabis users.

Some of them, incredibly, consumed before games (they must have favored sativa), and then turned in championship-level performances. Former Golden State Warriors small forward Matt Barnes won a ring in 2017 while “under the influence”.

“All my best games, I was medicated,”

he says.

Barnes (right) at the 2017 Finals. Image courtesy of sfgate.com.

Shaun Smith, a nine-year NFL vet who played for the Dallas Cowboys, stated that he “smoked two blunts before every game.”

Players like Barnes and Smith can be this forthcoming now that they’re retired. American sports leagues list cannabis as a banned substance (putting it in the same category as PEDs and cocaine), and players who test positive for it can be forced to forfeit game checks, enter rehabilitation programs, and sit out entire seasons.

Players fight and bleed for their roster spots. So, if one draw from a vape pen is all it takes to violate policy and lose your golden ticket — why risk it?

Here’s why they think it’s worth it to roll the dice.

When Your Business is Pain

Big-league games are battles, and NFL players take huge hits every Sunday. Quarterback Tom Brady calls getting tackled “a scheduled car crash.”

But banged-up players do not currently have access to a full range of treatment options.

“Pain is constant in the game,” former Denver Broncos wide receiver Nate Jackson wrote a 2014 New York Times op-ed. “…and opioids are passed out for every injury. I think marijuana is a healthier alternative.”

Opioid painkillers might do the magic work of short-term pain relief, but taking them “ruins your liver,” says retired tight end Martellus Bennett. “It starts to eat at your kidneys and things like that.” These pills are also ripe for abuse.

When this is your job, Advil just may not cut it.

“Marijuana helped us avoid the heavy haze of pain pills,” Jackson added. “It kept us sane.”

Cannabis, of course, is now prescribed as a remedy for chronic pain in 32 states, but the NFL does not currently allow their players a medicinal cannabis exemption, no matter where the team is based.

Many football players manage their pain with cannabis anyway — because they can get away with it. The league randomly tests players in the summer, before the season actually begins. Fail, and you’ll live under the microscope from that point on, getting tested as often as ten times a month throughout the rest of the season. But if you pass? You won’t be tested again until the following year.


Eugene Monroe of the Baltimore Ravens is retiring at age 29 and calling for the NFL to lift its ban on medical cannabis. Read more here.


Every athlete takes knocks, but there’s one sport that’s more savage than the rest.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz, his eye sockets bruised neon-blue after getting drilled by Conor McGregor, hit a vape pen at the UFC 202 press conference in 2016.

“It’s CDB,” he explained to reporters. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation and stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”

An unapologetic consumer, Diaz was issued a public warning by the UFC — but he was not suspended.

Diaz’s infamous vape pen moment. Image courtesy of YouTube.


Go here to read a timeline of “Sports in the Age of Cannabis.”


A Cure for the Nerves

Don’t forget the significance of going pro. Even getting signed by a “struggling” sports team signifies elite talent. (There are millions of competitive basketball players in the world, and only 435 slots in the NBA). Professional athletes are deemed by front offices to be worth million-dollar gambles.

And once you’re reached the mountaintop, odds are won’t be there for long. Turnover rates are high in the pros. Players are fighting for their livelihood during games, and they’re doing it on the national stage. One “off” night — and sometimes even one bad play — and they’re off the roster and applying for a real estate license. Cue performance anxiety of the highest level.

Retired point guard and 2004 NBA champion Chauncey Billups didn’t name names, but said that many of his teammates smoked cannabis, and that “They played better like that. Big-time anxiety… [marijuana] brought ‘em down a bit. It helped them focus in a little bit on the game plan.”

We don’t who they are. But we know they partook.

A player in the Billups era could use cannabis to level things out and find his zone. But this is no longer feasible in today’s NBA. In 2015, the league began conducting random tests four times a season. MLB players, though, have more leeway; they’re only drug tested on a “for-cause” basis.

Athletes also turn to cannabis to deal with bouts of insomnia. Can’t sleep, and you need to get rested for a two-a-day session tomorrow? Well, there’s a remedy for that.

The Cannabis Enhancement

“We are not just lonely runners pounding out the miles, but living creatures running on the Earth. When we acknowledge that, we feel alive. We do not have to fight our environment.”

–Sakyong Mipham, “Running with the Mind of Meditation

If you’re reading this article in the first place, you’re probably aware that cannabis works as a creative aid and enhances many life experiences — including workouts. Few people have more experience with the performance enhancements of cannabis than Colorado ultra-marathoner Avery Collins.

He commonly lights up or eats an edible before his 100- to 200-mile runs, and say it puts him in the moment. Collins says, “It’s a very spiritual thing to get high before a run. If you can find the right level, [marijuana] takes the stress out of running… you’re more in tune with your body.”

Collins. Image courtesy of Leafly.com.

Collins also uses CDB topicals to soothe his muscles after trail runs (some of which can last up to 24 hours). It’s become part of his post-workout ritual, along with stretching, massages, and ice baths.

Collins and his counterparts in the worlds of hiking, climbing, and cycling might count themselves as lucky that their athletic pursuits led them to a place where they don’t have a league to answer to.


Read Greatist’s breakdown of cannabis in the distance-running world here.


Policy vs. Public Opinion

Cannabis suspensions are handed down by sports leagues that, like many power structures, operate on outdated rules that lag behind the will of the people. Today, 61% of Americans approve of medicinal cannabis, and 75% of them consider it to be less harmful than alcohol.

When will public opinion be reflected in league policy?

The NBA and NFL Players Associations are lobbying for a more urgent focus on medicinal cannabis research. And their respective leagues have responded with diplomatic responses that nonetheless show glimmers of promise.

“Marijuana is on our banned substance list,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “We are, however, interested in better understanding the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s spokesman said. “There is is more to learn about cannabinoid compounds as they may relate to their potential treatment of acute and chronic pain.”

The door is open for change, and change begins with conversation. And fortunately, for athletes in the cannabis community, it’s a conversation that retired pros have already started.

League offices are paying lip service, but we’re waiting for real change. Image courtesy of USA Today.

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The History of the Vape Pen https://www.northernstandard.com/vape-pen-history/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 11:33:33 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2494 The post The History of the Vape Pen appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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The History of the Vape Pen

On the Shoulders of Giants

Just as we wouldn’t have the Ferrari without first making the Model T, we wouldn’t be carrying vape pens today if it weren’t for the Ancient Egyptians.

Here’s the story of where our vape gear came from.

Traders from Asia brought cannabis to Egypt in the 12th century BCE, and by the 5th century BCE the Egyptians had created an early method of vaporization. They laid herbs and hemp seeds on red-hot stones and heated them to just below the combustion point. Instead of smoke clouds, this produced a light, aromatic vapor that was inhaled during rituals and celebrations.

Two thousand years later, Iranian physician Abu’l-Fath Gilani invented the hookah. Aristocrats in the Mughal Empire used it to create vapors tinged with cannabis, opium, and flavored tobacco.

Hookah smokers in Persia in 1755. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

The hookah — which was little more than glassware connected to rubber hoses — was vaporization technology at its most advanced, and it would be four hundred years before the next breakthrough.

False Starts

We nearly had vape gear before World War II.

In 1927, Joseph Robinson went to the US Patent and Trademark Office in New York with specs for a “Mechanical Butane Ignition Vaporizer.” He intended to create a “vaporizing device for holding medicinal compounds which are electrically heated to produce vapors for inhalation.” The device seemed good on paper, and Robinson received his patent in 1930 — but that was the last we heard from him. He never produced a prototype.

Joseph Robinson’s plan for a vaporizer. Image courtesy of govype.com.

But in 1963, a scrap yard worker named Herbert A. Gilbert did.

“I am just your normal, average, logical guy,” Gilbert said in a 2015 interview. “And logic told me to define the problem and then develop a solution.” The problem, as Gilbert defined it, was recreational smoking. Ubiquitous as it was, he sensed its risks were more profound than commonly realized. (His hunch was vindicated the following year, when the surgeon general’s “Smoking and Health” report first warned the public of the link between cigarettes and lung cancer).

Gilbert said, “I had to find a way to replace burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air.” He built and patented a battery-powered “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” prototype that he simply called “The Smokeless”. He then brought it to tobacco companies and pitched several different flavors, including mint, rum, and cinnamon.

Big Tobacco passed. As Gilbert reported, they “did what they could to protect their markets.” They assessed the Smokeless as a threat, and (correctly) figured they could kill Gilbert’s brainchild by simply ignoring it. The Smokeless didn’t find a producer.

Gilbert’s design for “The Smokeless.” Image courtesy of ecigarette.com.

In the late 1970s, Phil Ray took a swing at vape tech. Ray had helped develop the first microprocessor and had also held a management position in the Apollo Space program. And, like many of his counterparts of the day, he was also a smoker, and sensed that Space-Age tech had the potential to modernize the cigarette (which he must have viewed an absurdly primitive nicotine delivery system, especially in this new age of unmanned rockets and jets).

Ray and his collaborator, Dr. Norman L. Jacobson, created a smokeless cigarette prototype that produced “tobacco-flavored air.” They founded a company, American Tobacco Products, Inc., and secured a press run. However, they hit a snag when pursuing FDA approval. The product never launched, and the reign of the cigarette continued.

A Spokane Daily Chronicle headline from February 16th, 1980.

One key part of Ray and Jacobson’s legacy, however, endures; they were the first people to use the word “vaping”.

The Final Breakthrough

American efforts to create a mini-vaporizer had stalled out, so as it happened the first successful vape tech came out of the East. The e-cigarette as we know it was conceived in 2003, when a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik had a dream.

Formerly a three pack-a-day smoker, he’d kicked the habit after his father died of lung cancer. As Hon tells it, he routinely fell asleep with a nicotine patch on is arm, and night dreamed he was lost at sea. But before he drowned, the ocean water turned to vapor, allowing him to draw breath and reach solid ground.

Hon drew up an early design for an electronic cigarette. It called for a “high-frequency, ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine.” The final version of his e-cigarette used an atomizer (a heating element) to vaporize a liquid nicotine solution. It hit the Chinese market in 2004.

“Some in China called it the ‘fifth invention’,” Hon says. “After navigation, gunpowder, printing, and paper.”

His employer, Golden Dragon Holdings, took the e-cig to Europe in 2006. (In 2007 the company briefly changed its name to Rú Yān, which literally translates to “resembling smoking.”)

Hon Lik. Image courtesy of vapetrotter.com.

A half-decade later, e-cigarettes arrived in the US. The vape option had mass appeal and a subculture formed around it; in 2014, the Oxford Dictionary word of the year was “vape.” By that year, recreational cannabis had been legalized in several states. Entrepreneurs saw an open lane and began repurposing vape technology for cannabis extracts.

The Age of the Vape

It’s a new chapter for cannabis consumption. The market is growing, enthusiasts are building custom mods, and cultivation and extraction techniques are continually being perfected. By 2025, the vaping industry is projected to be worth $46.9 billion.

Many, though, still enjoy the ritual of rolling and smoking cannabis. It’s the classic method of consumption, but smoke is hard on the lungs, and it’s often laced with carbon monoxide and carcinogens such as tar and benzene.

Consumers can avoid this by choosing well-designed vape gear and naturally-balanced extracts. This approach tends to win new converts based on taste alone; vaporizing an extract doesn’t incinerate the cannabinoids, but rather it preserves the strain’s flavor and native terpene profile.

It’s said to be a more wholesome method of consumption — one that today’s industry leaders will continue refining. And the connoisseurs of tomorrow will reap the benefits.

 


At Northern Standard we create premium, full-spectrum cannabis extracts via a proprietary CO2 extraction process. We do not use cutter, fillers, or additives of any kind.

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Vipers & the Gage: Cannabis in the Jazz Age https://www.northernstandard.com/vipers-the-gage-cannabis-in-the-jazz-age/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 11:33:34 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2438 The post Vipers & the Gage: Cannabis in the Jazz Age appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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Vipers & the Gage: Cannabis in the Jazz Age

“Come on, sisters, light up on these weeds and get high.”

-Cab Calloway, “The Man From Harlem” (1932)


Here’s Louis “Pops” Armstrong, jazz legend. You’ve seen dozens of photos of King Louie, eyes gleefully bugged-out as he worked through a blistering trumpet solo.

Did you know he was probably high in all of them?

We’re now a century removed from the Roaring Twenties, and we’ve forgotten that jazz, the soundtrack to the era, was then was the most radical style to ever hit the music scene.

Jazz took traditional orchestral arrangements, cranked them up, and laced them with ragtime rhythm. The hyper snares and swinging beats of jazz numbers drove young couples to the dance floor, and it drove their parents crazy.

US Ambassador Henry van Dyke said that jazz was “…not music at all. It’s merely an irritation of the nerves…” The New York Times (falsely) reported that Siberian villagers used jazz music to scare away wild bears at night. And Harry J. Anslinger, the man who successfully lobbied for the US Congress’s cannabis ban, despised jazz (mainly due to ethnicities of those who played it). He called it “Satanic” and denounced it as an erosion of all that was good in America.

The Jazz Age of the 1920s coincided with the Prohibition — a time when, ironically, alcohol was nationally-banned, but cannabis was not. You could get a joint at any big-city “tea pad” (marijuana bar) for 20 cents. Jazz players who used cannabis were called “vipers,” named so for the hissing sound produced by taking a big draw.

A young Louis Armstrong became a viper himself when, in the early 20s, he traveled from his native New Orleans to Chicago to seek music gigs. His search didn’t last very long; he was quickly hired by a local band. Louis had learned to play the trumpet as a young boy in reform school, and then he spent his teens playing shows every night aboard steamboats on the Mississippi River. He put in the hours, and though he was barely over the age of twenty when he pulled up in Chicago, he’d already developed a genius for improvisation.

After dark, the vipers played in downtown speakeasies, but they eschewed booze in favor of cannabis. It gave them a creative kick without the hangover. They called musicians who drank between sets (and grew sloppy as the night wore on) “bottle babies.”

Clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow, an Armstrong contemporary, said, “We were on another plane compared to the bottle babies (…) we liked things to be easy and relaxed, mellow and mild (…) while their tones became hard and evil, not natural, soft and soulful.”

Armstrong first tried “the gage” (one of the many name street names for cannabis at the time) during intermission at a performance at the Savoy Ballroom.

“It’s a thousand times better than whisky”

Armstrong later explained to his biographer.

“We always looked at pot as a sort of medicine, a cheap drunk and with much better thoughts than one that’s full of liquor.”

Louis partook in the gage nearly every day from that point on, and if anything, his new habit only accelerated his rise. Throughout the 20s & 30s, he appeared in more than sixty Hollywood films, and his radio show brought his wild solos and fast-paced, gravelly scatting into homes around the country. Armstrong had made it to the A-list… as a Black man in Jim Crowe-era America.


(Go here for an amazing story of then-Vice President Richard Nixon helping Armstrong smuggle cannabis through airport customs in 1953).


In 1931, when cannabis had already been made illegal in California, Armstrong was caught with a roach in an LA parking garage before a performance. But the arresting officer, a fan of Armstrong’s radio show, let him finish his gig before taking him downtown. Louis spent nine days in county jail before being released. (He was sentenced to six months in prison, but the sentence was suspended).

Armstrong continued to use cannabis at all of his shows, even after it was outlawed nationally in 1937. Before a performance? A stick of the gage. In the studio, about to record? The same. It was part of the vipers’ process. They used it to bond as a band, and to loosen up before riffing.

“…the fairly small community of jazz musicians… constantly practiced together, brainstormed together, and smoked marijuana together,” Peter Webster noted in a 2001 study titled Marijuana and Music. “The herb was often used as a stimulus to creativity, at least for practice sessions, many such as Armstrong praising its effects highly.”

“If ya ain’t got in ya, ya can’t blow it out,”

Louis would say.

Vipers commonly shouted out cannabis in tracks such as Cab Calloway’s “The Reefer Man” and Stuff Smith’s “If You’se a Viper.”

Cab Calloway, one of Armstrong’s fellow vipers.


(Prhbtd.com put together a list of the best jazz “cannabis” songs from the 1930s — the last decade cannabis was still legal throughout most of America)


Jazz songs were driven by a bouncy, staccato tempo. It was the pop of its day, and the first style of music that made middle America move. And there’s evidence that cannabis was a catalyst for this groundbreaking new sound.

Most of us know that cannabis can slow things down and put you in a relaxed, zen-like state. Now, let’s extrapolate — how would a professional musician operate in this space?

Dr. James Munch, a Temple University pharmacologist and an associate of Harry Anslinger’s, said the following when he testified before Congress on the psychoactive effects of cannabis:

“…the chief effect [of marijuana] as far as [jazz musicians] were concerned was that it lengthens the sense of time… therefore they could get more grace beats into their musicif you’re using marijuana, you’re going to work in about twice as much music between the first note and the second note.”

While attempting to present cannabis as a vice of crazed, spastic degenerates (read: jazz artists), Munch inadvertently detailed its creative potential. The “time-slowing” effects of cannabis changed the jazz vipers’ perception — allowing them to slip on and off beat and transcend the time signatures on their sheet music. This resulted in the wild, bouncy, foot-stomping jazz we know today.

Cannabis also made performers less self-conscious, and prone to experimentation. Music psychologist Daniel J. Levitin wrote in his book The World in Six Songs that “THC… is known to disrupt short-term memory. What this does is keep you in the present, allowing you connect more fully with the music as time “stands still”…people stoned on pot live for each note, completely in the moment.

Was every jazz star a viper? Of course not. Duke Ellington, one of the era’s elite pianists, said that he “never smoked anything without a label on it.”

But imagine if there hadn’t been any gage at the Savoy Ballroom for Louis Armstrong to try when he was starting out in Chicago. He’d, of course, still have gone on to be the Louis we remember. But who knows how many killer solos we’d have missed out on?

Go here to see some of the mind enhancements of a cannabis high. And check out last week’s article on the history of cannabis in visual art.

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A Brief History of Cannabis in Art https://www.northernstandard.com/a-brief-history-of-cannabis-in-art/ Wed, 02 Jan 2019 12:58:20 +0000 https://www.northernstandard.com/?p=2377 The post A Brief History of Cannabis in Art appeared first on NORTHERN STANDARD.

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A Brief History of Cannabis in Art

The criminalization and stigmatization of cannabis is a strange, late-stage plot twist in humanity’s long association with the plant.

Because for most of our history, cultures the world over have embraced the ever-versatile cannabis sativa. As early civilizations discovered its industrial, psychoactive, and medicinal uses, they paid homage to it in their artwork.

The Chinese even dedicated a character in their language to it. Take a look at the ancient bronze script rendering of (麻) — the Mandarin character for “hemp” — and you’ll see that it’s actually an illustration of two cannabis plants hung to dry under a shelter.

Image courtesy of Richard Sears

This is one of the first visual representations of the cannabis plant, which is indigenous to Central Asia. Around the year 3000 BCE, the Chinese began using hemp to create clothing, rope, and paper.

It may not be the earliest rendering of cannabis sativa, though. Many scholars theorize that this painting, which was found on the wall of a cave in Japan, features two cannabis leaves. (They have seven stems — just like most other depictions of the cannabis leaf do).

Image courtesy of Japanhemp.org

This painting dates from 5,000 BCE (around the time when hemp was first cultivated in Japan) which would make it the oldest illustration of the cannabis leaf discovered thus far.


Northern Standard supports art! And our Poster Shop is becoming a showcase for art from our own team of illustrators and artists all around Colorado.

Are you artistically inclined? We just launched the “Show Us Your Art” contest on January 1st, and we want to see your work.

From now until January 14th you can submit original cannabis-inspired artwork via your Instagram page for a chance to win $200 of Northern Standard merch — and a $500 commission from us if we invite you to feature your work on our online store. See more info here!


By 1000 BCE, Hindu tribes on the Indian subcontinent were eating bhang — an edible form of cannabis ground into paste with a mortar and pestle. Here’s Shiva, the “Supreme Being” in the Hindu faith, prepping himself a portion:

Today, it’s still common for Indians to celebrate Holi Festival with a tall glass of bhang. Image courtesy of scoopwhoop.com

A painting from 1790 depicts a group of Hindus (and their dogs) enjoying bhang in Ancient India. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Traders from Asia brought cannabis to new lands. The plant arrived in Arab world around 1230 BCE, where it was smoked as part of religious rituals and rumored to have been enjoyed by the pharaohs. Take a look at this Egyptian carving of Seshat (the goddess of wisdom and knowledge) which is dated from that time period. The Egyptians didn’t leave us a caption, so we don’t know exactly what that symbol above her head was intended to be. Some archaeologists contend it’s an etching of a starburst; others hold that it’s clearly a seven-stemmed cannabis leaf.

What do you think — star or cannabis leaf? Image courtesy of Motherboard.

By the 12th century, the healing and restorative powers of cannabis sativa had earned hemp a reputation as the “elixir of life” throughout much of Eastern Asia — so much so it was even assigned a guardian deity. Here’s the goddess Magu, who was worshipped throughout Korea, Japan, and China. She was often portrayed carrying a variety of flowers and herbs on a branch or shoulder pole.

Magu (麻姑) was known as the “Hemp Maiden.” Her name is comprised of the Mandarin characters for hemp (麻) and “aunt” (姑). Images courtesy of The National Palace Museum

By the end of the Middle Ages, cannabis had been adopted throughout much of Europe. Botanists reported on its medicinal benefits in the pages of scientific journals alongside strikingly detailed illustrations. This one was produced in 1795 by German engraver Jacob Sturm:

And in this 1852 book by English physician Edward Hamilton:

The 20th Century: Prohibition & Beyond

When the US Congress outlawed cannabis in 1937, an anti-cannabis propaganda push ensued. Movie posters for films such as “Reefer Madness” warned that just one puff of “the Devil’s Weed” was all it took to conjure a demon who would then whisk your children off to hell.

Images courtesy of Mashable

Alongside the peace sign, the cannabis leaf later became one of the most prominent symbols of the American counterculture in the 1960s & 70s. Pro-cannabis advocates sewed patches like this onto their sleeves as they rallied for legalization:

Images courtesy of Gasoline Alley Antiques

Associating oneself with the cannabis leaf — which as a symbol had traditionally been celebrated by cultures the world over — was now a subversive move.

Cannabis as Inspiration

We’ve looked at some artistic representations of cannabis — but it’s also worthwhile to remember the huge role that it plays in expression. Artists of all stripes have consumed it to gain new insights. Notable connoisseurs include Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley, and The Beatles, all of whom gave cannabis credit for putting them in a relaxed, improvisational space.

As the anti-cannabis stigma fades, the modern art scene will see new flashes of creativity as more enthusiasts use it for inspiration.

“Super Plant” (1994) by Fred Tomaselli. Image courtesy of the James Cohan Gallery.

“Flaming Pulp” (2017) by Volkmar Hoppe. Image courtesy of The Natural Cannabis Company

And let’s not forget the handsomely-crafted pipes, bongs, and vape pens you’ll see in today’s head shops — these can be imaginatively-designed works of art in their own right.

Top images courtesy of Now Space.Vape pen image courtesy of Northern Standard.

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