As we wind down the year here at Beard Bros. Pharms and SkyBlue Vapor, the societal slowdown around the holidays offers us a chance to reflect back on the year that was, the ups and the downs, and to give thanks for all that the cannabis plant has provided to us once again. 2019 gives the opportunity for an even deeper dive into the retrospect as the end of this year will also mark the end of a decade and if you have love for cannabis like we do, the past decade has given us all plenty to be thankful for.
Cannabis brings people together unlike any other plant. Despite persisting pockets of a Reefer Madness level of misunderstanding of the plant, and despite even the most progressive cannabis reform laws so far neglecting to adequately address social consumption, we continue to come together and blaze. Whether it is two lifelong buddies sharing a joint while bass fishing or tens of thousands of like-minded heads descending on culture preservation events like The Emerald Cup in Northern California, the only thing better than smoking bomb weed is smoking bomb weed with friends.
As we reminisce on it all, we truly are thankful for the grassroots cannabis culture that has bloomed some of our closest and dearest friendships. The smartest, kindest, hardest working people we know all love cannabis, and that is not a coincidence and it is nothing new.
Throughout history, prominent cultural luminaries have bucked the social stigma surrounding cannabis and have used their heightened platforms to propagate a message of positivity, often employing marijuana as the messenger. As we know, mankind has an ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship with the plant dating back at least 5,000 years, and historical evidence of its use can be traced to some of the most celebrated minds right out of our textbooks.
Clay pipes still containing centuries-old cannabis resin were discovered on the estate of William Shakespeare back in 2015. As further evidence, the famed wordsmith even penned a sonnet with a reference to a “noted weed”. His works have inspired countless artists across all mediums – from Bob Ross to Bob Marley – expanding human consciousness just as the cannabis expanded his creative mind so many years ago.
While Shakespeare crafted popular prose about the eternal mysteries of the night sky, Carl Sagan brought the living universe into our living rooms, sparking the imaginations of millions of curious fans around the world. In 1969, from the dark side of cannabis prohibition, Sagan penned an anonymous article under the pseudonym “Mr. X”. In it, Sagan laid out a compelling early argument for the wholesale legalization of the cannabis plant in America. He openly and vocally advocated for medical marijuana reform later in his life though it was not until three years after his death in 1996 that we were able to confirm that he was, indeed, the infamous Mr. X. Sagan’s ability to convey to Earthlings that we are all residing on a “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam” humbled most of us as we realized that the pale blue dot in his imagery is our home and that it is the only one we’ve got.
With recent Pew polling showing that at least 2 out of every 3 Americans surveyed were in favor of nationwide cannabis legalization, it is easier than ever to come out on the right side of history and we have no shortage of celebrities, athletes, and even whole companies doing exactly that. However, today’s Shakespeares and Sagans come in the form of the military veterans who are on the front lines of the fight for all of our cannabis rights, as well as the unwell – particularly the children – who find relief or even a second lease on life through cannabis, and the prisoners still being neglected their very freedom based on cannabis charges yesterday that are turning corporate profits today. These are our heroes and we are very thankful that they continue to fight.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
Most intoxicants, whether natural or man made, have a fairly predictable course between ingestion and their inevitable result. Sort of like the crazy pharmaceutical commercials that we see on television all the time that not only make claims about what the medication will do to the user, but also warning of predictable side effects. Even though there are countless types of beer and alcohol, and all of the brands and products associated, we know what happens when anyone has too much of it. As such, we have a pretty good idea about how much of it is too much for anyone, and we have clearly defined (and rather strict) laws surrounding this knowledge.
Cannabis throws a curve at this traditional way of handling recreational intoxication for several reasons:
- MEDICAL – The medicinal value of cannabis is now undeniable even though the federal government still has the plant on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, foolishly claiming that it carries no such value. If that was the case, why then does the federal Department of Human Health & Services hold U.S. Patent #6630507B1? This patent covers the use of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Sounds pretty medicinal to us! The fact that the plant can be utilized in so many ways to effectively treat so many ailments automatically makes any half-baked comparisons to alcohol or tobacco pointless. The bottom line is that not everyone is consuming cannabis in order to “get high”. Even those who might say that they use it “recreationally” rather than “medicinally” are still getting preventative health benefits from that use.
- METHODS – Blunts, bongs, dabs, doobs, edibles, pipes, topicals, tinctures, suppositories and, of course, high quality and reliable vape pens… did we miss anything? Yeah, we probably did since it seems like every day the market sees a new way of effectively infusing oneself with the full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The time window of the active effects of each method will vary based on many factors, but generally speaking, THC laden edibles will have a much longer period of active effects than a vape pen loaded with CBD-rich oil. Trying to police them all the same is unrealistic and shows a distinct lack of understanding about the plant by our lawmakers and our critics alike.
- NORMALIZATION – If a person drinks booze every day, you can tell. If a person has a daily meth or heroin habit, you can tell. But the age-old stereotypes about cannabis users continue to go up in smoke as more people feel comfortable coming out of the cannabis closet to profess their passion for the plant. No, we are not all overweight, basement-dwelling, anti-social, unemployable conspiracy theorists. We are teachers, we are artists, we are youth sports coaches and PTA members, we are jogging around the block and then Christmas shopping with our kids. We are getting up every day and trying to make the world a little better than it was the day before. If that sounds hard to pin down, that’s because it is. The good news for law enforcement is that we aren’t their problem!
- TOLERANCE – The biggest hurdle that lawmakers and prohibitionists face when trying to confine cannabis into such a narrow category is that it quite literally hits everyone differently. Then, to compound the confusion, traces of past cannabis use can remain detectable in the human body for 30 days or more, even after just one use! There is no set number to impose on all of society to determine a person’s level of intoxication due to cannabis. This throws a wrench into so many facets of the potential overregulation of cannabis. Things like motorists’ rights since they just cannot figure out how to constitutionally dole out weed DUIs…yet. Or employment eligibility since employers are finding it increasingly difficult to deny job placement or fire employees due to personal cannabis use. Novel concept, right? Your boss cannot ruin your life over two tokes three Saturdays ago… imagine that!
Some folks feel the need for a half gram dab of OG Kush as soon as they roll out of bed in the morning. Others can take a modest puff of Blue Dream bud and be good for hours. For years, we here at Beard Bros. Pharms and SkyBlue Vapor have been preaching to all who will listen about the importance of the full spectrum of cannabinoids when it comes to getting the optimal desired effect from your cannabis.
You may have heard the term “Entourage Effect” as well as Full Spectrum, as they essentially mean the same thing which is ingesting the naturally balanced ratio of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids that are unique to each individual strain or cultivar. Anyone who has ever smoked or vaped Beard Bros. Extreme Cream certainly appreciates the variety that the cannabis plant provides by way of those various strain-specific spectrums.
With so much focus on the cannabis plant’s two most abundant cannabinoids – THC and CBD – it is important to understand that there are at least 120 different cannabinoids known to us so far, each lending its own characteristic wellness qualities to the desired Entourage Effect / Full Spectrum.
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with THC and CBD and typically associate the former with partying or “getting high” and the latter with healing or wellness. The fact of the matter is that THC also plays a crucial healing role in many ailments and through the beauty of the variety of the cannabis plant, the evolution of extraction and manufacturing methods, and state of the art delivery methods, an ideal balance of THC can often be introduced without the anxiety, munchies, or other common fears that may make someone shy away from THC.
Here are a handful of other prominent cannabinoids that are cropping up on more lab test result sheets and have cannabis researchers intrigued.
- THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). The main precursor to THC, this cannabinoid is actually non-psychoactive and is mostly found on live or freshly harvested cannabis samples. As the plant dries, that THCA converts into THC. Heat expedites that process, so all THCA becomes THC as soon as your flame hits it.
- CBG (Cannabigerol), like CBD, tends to exist in cannabis plants in a relatively inverse ratio to THC. The more THC, the less CBG, generally speaking. Most strains exhibit less than 1% total CBG content but research has shown it to be highly effective in treating inflammatory illnesses, especially those located within the intestinal tract and digestive system as CBG interacts primarily with CB2 receptors located in those areas. Cannabis breeders are already targeting this newly prized cannabinoid hoping to create the CBG strains of tomorrow.
- THCv (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) is structured like and acts much like THC from the neck up, but studies are revealing some rather curious effects it has throughout the body. Interesting studies show THCv can stimulate bone growth, potentially expediting recovery and improving quality of life for those who need it by supplementing THCv-rich cannabis into their medicinal regimen. So far, this elusive cannabinoid has not been bred into substantial ratios, but African landrace strains seem to naturally exhibit more of it. A great reason to fire up some Durban Poison or Red Congolese!
- CBC (Cannabichromene) is like the bass player in the punk band – plays a crucial role but nobody knows about him. Discovered over a half a century ago, this lesser-known cannabinoid has been fascinating researchers for decades for its ability to activate and release the human body’s own naturally occurring endocannabinoids – called anandamide – making it a potential fuel to help fight depression, pain, inflammation, and even acne.
The list goes on… and on… but the takeaway is that every single cannabinoid is enhanced when combined with other cannabinoids. Those combinations are blasted with terpenes and flavonoids to create the OG Kush for that half gram glob or the Blue Dream for that teeny tiny toke. Our understanding of that whole symbiosis has come so incredibly far in the past ten years. As craft cannabis cultivators, we are so thankful to have literally had our hands in that process over that period of time.
HELL, IT’S JUST GOOD FOR YOU!
We have covered how the awesome variety exhibited by the cannabis plant can benefit all people, and how even recreational use is medicinal. We always have been, and continue to be, warned with propaganda that the normalization of cannabis use would certainly lead to the criminalization of society, but with maturing recreational cannabis markets in states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and others consistently providing statistics to the contrary, the adage that ‘the only dangerous thing about weed is getting caught with it’ remains, unfortunately, as true as ever.
Financially speaking, the plant – in both cannabis and hemp forms – has not even scratched the surface of its potential value to the U.S. and global economies. Analytical firm New Frontier Data estimates that federal cannabis legalization could create 1.1 million new jobs by the year 2025, but those jobs are already being created in state-sanctioned cannabis markets like here in California were 80,000+ jobs have been created to service the state’s new taxed and regulated recreational market. Statistics compiled in December of 2018 showed a 76% increase in cannabis-related job openings nationwide compared to just a year prior. Consider these intriguing facts about what weed is doing for our economy already:
- More Americans work in the cannabis sector than the coal mining sector
- The median salary in the cannabis industry is 10% higher than average
- Legal cannabis sales in 2018 topped sales of Oreo Cookies and organic produce
When we were told that legal weed would inflict a cost on society, we already were aware of the real cost. The federal government has spent billions of taxpayer dollars pursuing their failed war on drugs. They blew through more than $3.6 billion policing cannabis between the years 2000 – 2010, and the past ten have been no different.
Cannabis is also a benefit to the environment, particularly when it comes to its THC-devoid version commonly referred to as hemp. Hemp plants can remediate toxic soil by leeching all contaminants and storing them in the stalk of the plant. This amazing process keeps those undesirables from ever reaching the plant’s valuable flowers and can be harmlessly processed as biomass for textiles and building materials while the rest of the plant is used for CBD extraction, seed production, and more. Hemp/cannabis is a regenerative crop that grows rapidly and can be harvested multiple times per year. Anything made with plastic can be made with hemp instead. Nearly all building materials – from lumber to bricks – can be made from hemp. As the late, great, Jack Herer once said, “Growing hemp as nature designed it is vital to our urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases and ensure the survival of our planet.”
If you had told us ten years ago that 33 states would have medical marijuana laws on the books, that 11 of them would actually legalize it for adult recreational use, and that the federal prohibition of the hemp plant would all be a reality soon, we might’ve respectfully passed on whatever you were puffin’ but here we are and we are absolutely thankful for that.
Lastly, but not least-ly, thank YOU for your support. 2020 promises to be a big year for SkyBlue Vapor and for Beard Bros. Pharms as we continue our ongoing collaboration to preserve cannabis culture and provide safe, high-quality products for you. From our crews to yours, enjoy your holiday season.
GIVING THANKS YEAR ROUND
Every time you purchase a SkyBlue Vapor product, 3% of the proceeds are donated to pro-cannabis charities fighting for legalization and your right to grow your own. Also of note, ALL military veterans, as well as medical cannabis patients, are eligible for an additional discount in our effort to provide necessary products to those in need. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of your Military or Medical ID and SBV will send a coupon back to you!
Also, be sure to check out our past collaborations between Beard Bros. Pharms and Sky Blue Vapor like this great read about how our military vets are leading the charge on cannabis reform – thanks for reading!