The next time you go to a cannabis dispensary or purchase marijuana via a delivery service, do yourself a favor: Ask to see the weed’s lab results. Demand to see proof that the “medicine” you’re about to consume is free of contaminants—bacteria and fungus, as well as dangerous pesticides.
As a recent episode where a cancer patient was close to beating leukemia but died after from a rare lung infection demonstrated, your health depends on it.
There’s a pesticide contamination scandal building in the cannabis industry. Last year, cannabis products in Colorado were recalled more than a dozen times for containing banned pesticides.
In Canada, two of the country’s 38 licensed marijuana producers were caught using pesticides containing myclobutanil—a toxic chemical banned for use on tobacco, because when heat is applied, it turns into hydrogen cyanide, which is a deadly poison gas.
Several Canadian marijuana patients were poisoned. In addition to difficulty breathing and “non-stop vomiting,” some now suffer from rashes, itching. They may also develop unknown long-term health impacts as well as their original maladies from which they sought relief using marijuana.
Currently, marijuana in California is lab-tested only as an optional courtesy. Mandated lab testing does not come into effect until Jan. 1, 2018. Until then, cannabis with all manner of contaminants can be sold over the counter.
Before we at Northern Emeralds send any of our cannabis to a dispensary for consumption, we have it tested for purity as well as potency. If, for whatever reason, a batch turns out to be less than clean, we do not sell it. It will not appear on the marketplace.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for every other cannabis producer in California. After several cancer patients receiving treatment at UC Davis Medical Center fell ill with fungal infections, with one dying, researchers discovered both had used marijuana.
Commissioned to study whether the fatal infection could have come from cannabis, Oakland, California-based Steep Hill Labs found contamination in twenty random samples of marijuana submitted to the lab for testing—including the fatal fungus.
So how do you stay away from contaminated cannabis? The best you can do is to be demanding. Demand to see lab results. Ask the budtender to verify the batch you're looking at was tested. If the dispensary doesn't share lab results or acts shady, walk out--immediately. Your health could be at stake.
George Zimmer credits marijuana for saving his life.
Zimmer, 68, is the gravel-throated founder and former CEO of clothing chain The Men’s Wearhouse, for whom he also served as chief pitchman, achieving near cultural icon status while doing so. (You’ve seen him in commercials before. I guarantee it.)
He has also smoked weed for roughly 50 years.
While coining a catchphrase in a smart suit, Zimmer became a hero in marijuana reform circles for his relentless advocacy for cannabis use and cannabis legalization, providing material support for the latter with a $50,000 contribution to California’s Prop. 19 in 2010.
But to be in that position, Zimmer had to kick a deadly drinking habit. And, as he told Business Insider recently, he credits marijuana for his recovery from alcoholism.
Zimmer first used cannabis while a college student in the late 1960s (didn’t everybody?). He went into the clothing business almost immediately and founded the Men’s Wearhouse when he was 25 years old. This is the tail end of the Mad Men era, so it’s easy to picture a young, smart-dressed entrepreneur spending plenty of time on the cocktail circuit. For Zimmer, it was destructive. At 33, he finally quit drinking, and it was smoking weed allowed him to wean himself off of booze, he says.
What Zimmer did is known as “harm reduction” or “replacement therapy” in recovery circles. There are well known and accepted replacement therapies for tobacco and heroin; we would know them as “the patch” and methadone.
Though there are online communities dedicated to alcoholics using cannabis to recover, and other marijuana icons have similarly kicked alcohol in favor of copious amounts of cannabis, among them Dennis Peron, not everyone buys into it. The few times medical researchers have dove into the topic, the results they came up with were inconclusive. That is, it appears to work for some people, but why and how to predict its efficacy are elusive.
A lack of scientific consensus on the issue doesn’t matter much to Zimmer, who is absolutely positive cannabis is what saved him. You could say that—yes—he guarantees it.
"The fact is — and I mean the scientific fact — [marijuana] is less toxic and dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol, which are the main drugs in the United States," he told Business Insider. "I refer to [marijuana] as harm reduction. So the way cannabis helps is, when you lose your job, you don't go on a two-week bender."
It’s also hard to argue with some basic statistics. Alcohol and related diseases kill 88,000 people a year in America. Marijuana, of course, kills nobody—and, in the cases of people like Zimmer, saves an unknown number of lives.
Nobody likes stale cannabis. Finish off your stash and head out to re-up at one of our partner dispensaries, where a fresh drop of Northern Emeralds is waiting for a new home.
Exhale Med Center, 980 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. Durban Poison.
Medmen WeHo, 8208 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Sapphire Kush.
Buds & Roses, 13047 Ventura Blvd, Studio City. Durban Poison
Venice Beach Care Center, 410 Lincoln Blvd, Venice. Durban Poison
Beverly Alternative Relief Collective (BARC), 432 S San Vicente Blvd #100, Los Angeles. Durban Poison.
River City Phoenix, 1508 El Camino Ave., Sacramento. Sapphire Kush, Titan OG, Durban Poison
SF BAY AREA
Magnolia Wellness, 161 Adeline St., Oakland.
SPARC and SPARC Haight, 1256 Mission St. and 473 Haight St., San Francisco. Sapphire Kush and Northern Sunset rosin!
Spring has returned to Los Angeles for a few days. Keep your shine on while the rain and clouds return this weekend by paying us a visit at BSE’s Patient Appreciation Day on Wednesday.
(Read: Come collect free stuff from us and other high-end purveyors of artisan California cannabis, while enjoying steep discounts at one of L.A.'s oldest and finest cannabis dispensaries.)
We’ll be out at BSE from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15. Our legendary prize wheel will be spinning, releasing free joints, t-shirts, and other Northern Emeralds product and swag to lucky rollers. Come early to hang with other vendors, and stay late—the dispensary is offering 15 percent off purchases all day long.
See you there!
In a real way, heroin helped hand the White House to Donald Trump. The areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan hit hardest by the country’s opiate epidemic—with the most overdoses and deaths attributable to abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin—came out strongly for Trump. All of those states went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. If they stayed blue, Trump is not president.
Trump’s plan to solve the opiate crisis and make these areas great again is one we’ve heard before. He wants to go to war. Police solutions to public-health crises have a clear track record of success—that is, they are colossal and costly failures. If Trump or anyone else in America were serious about stopping the carnage, they might try marijuana instead: According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, a common cannabinoid appears to diminish heroin cravings.
We already know that cannabis may be useful as a replacement drug to use instead of habit-forming prescription pain medication. Fifty million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Imagine if cannabis had been available or suggested as a remedy rather than painkillers, prescriptions for which have quadrupled in America since the turn of the millennium. But cannabis may also be useful as a tool in the fight against addiction itself, not just an alternative to the flood of opiates drowning economically depressed areas in the Rust Belt.
HIGH TIMES recounts the discoveries made by neuroscientist Yasmin Hurd, who believes that several studies conducted on rats shows cannabidiol, or CBD, could also quell opiate addiction in humans. The research on humans has yet to happen, and with anti-marijuana former Georgia Rep. Tom Price serving as Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, the prospects of the next four years being a boom times for cannabis research in the United States seems slim.
That would be a tragedy. Doctors want this knowlege, and science wants to do the research. After a massive review of more than 24,000 marijuana studies published last month, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that there's enough evidence to support rescheduling cannabis from the list of the country's most dangerous drugs.
If Trump's administration doesn't listen and keeps pursuing a failed war that hasn't stopped his supporters from dying, you have to wonder what his real aim is. It won't be making anyone great again, now or ever.