New stoner-centric stuff is always sent to CC for review, so we’re finally giving products the promotion they deserve – for better or for worse!
Advertisers, promoters and manufacturers are always hitting us up to “review” their products. As an editor, I hate reviews. If you give anything other than “props” and love, the advertiser hates you and likely takes their business elsewhere. Sometimes they offer, “If you review my product we’ll buy an ad,” which, if you accept, leaves you thinking, “Oh sigh, I’m such a whore.” We here at Cannabis Culture unfortunately find fault with so many “new” products that we’ve avoided regular reviews because some items would never, ever sell with our blunt honesty. To avoid that, I had decided not to print bad reviews, and only cover products we really like a lot. Product merchandising is properly in the sphere of advertising. A review is just free promotion, and to me as a publisher that sucks because it diminishes the desire and impetus of the company to pay for advertising. Ad payments are what keep our magazine afloat – everything relies on paid ads, except for printing, which is covered by the retail sales of every issue.
All of our advertisers have our personal endorsement as honest, reliable dealers. If the advertiser is fly-by-night or has any signs of sketchiness, we won’t take their ad. If we get any complaints about any of our advertisers, we look into it immediately, and if a problem remains unsolved after the complaint and our investigation, we discontinue that advertising relationship. Reputation is everything! Our advertisers must be serious and reputable before we accept any money or run any promotions. After years of using that principle, complaints about our advertisers are extremely rare, next to none. Their integrity reflects highly on us, and our integrity does the same for them.
One of the aspects of Cannabis Culture that our readers often praise is that there are no “fake bud” ads. Even though those companies provide a deep pool of sleazy advertising revenue to exploit, we will not take a dime from, or ever recommend, any of them. Our pages are meant to enlighten and illuminate our culture. Cannabis Culture and Pot.tv are the real deal when it comes to “high” standards in our culture’s media!
But we still get flooded with stuff to review, so I wondered: Can blatant promotion and honorable journalism co-exist? To find out, I decided to devote ten pages of this issue to reviews – that is, product promotion. But not without looking at what makes something “good” or “bad” from our perspective.
The unfortunate truth is that some products just totally suck. For example, we got this orange disc solar joint lighter; it’s shaped like a makeup compact, with a hole in one side for the joint tip to fit into. You’re supposed to guide a strong sunlight beam via the convex mirror toward the tip of the joint in the hole, but you have to suck on the joint to get it burning and your eyes are right in the path of concentrated light! It’s a dangerous laser beam that has to be clumsily aimed at the joint, and … aaagh! “Blinded by the Light” indeed! Lordy, are lighters getting scarce? Why would someone make a solar blinding device? In fact, solar bowls or sunlight combustors (or “vaporizers”) are a novel idea that never caught on. BC Vaporizer put one out in summer 2006 but it was too awkward to use and only a few people bought one at “Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters” (CCHQ) store. The great thing about a simple disposable lighter and good ol’ rolling papers is they are easy to find, very reliable, and portable.
Of course we had to review the new transparent rolling papers. They look like plastic or cellophane, but are merely transparent wood-pulp cellulose. Brands like Aleda®, Trip®, and Smokeclear® made an immediate impact in the marketplace with their popular see-through rolling sheets. There are questions about what these are really made of and if they’re safe to use, so I researched all kinds of papers, and realized there’s a small risk of combustible pollution for almost every type. Rolling paper preference gets down to a very personal level.
You can never have too many choices when it comes to inhalation devices, but some need to be tweaked a bit before mass retail distribution. For example, the Space Case Hash Globe is a hazard waiting to happen. It works great with hardened import black or brown hash, pressed kief, or any hash that doesn’t melt or liquefy. (Budder, bubblehash, sticky hash, and oil don’t work.) A chunk of hash is stuck to the pin protruding from the base. You light the hash until it begins to burn and smoke, then put the glass globe on top and suck on the hose. Air pulls in through a hole in the base and the hash burns, giving you a hit. The smoke is contained in the globe so you don’t lose any of it – a positive – but the globe is made from very thin glass almost guaranteed to break within 24 hours – definitely a negative. The glass globe doesn’t have any secure attachment to the base, so it fell off very easily several times within the first hours. Ultimately, it rolled and hit the wall, exploding into jagged pieces! Another test unit was broken elsewhere within hours, even after a warning about the very fragile globe. The Space Case Hash Globe should obviously be made of heavier glass or Pyrex™, and be latched or screwed on to the base. That’s the big flaw with a number of products introduced to the market: parts break. That flaw is fatal if the broken part isn’t universal or easily obtained, as it renders the entire product unusable. Fortunately for the Hash Globe, we discovered that a standard cheap ($2) heavy-glass tea/coffee cup sits comfortably and (more) securely on the Space Case Hash Globe base, making the product usable again. Space Case produces our favorite grinders, but this Hash Globe does not meet the standards required for a US$100 piece of equipment.
We get daily feedback on products at the CCHQ store. For example, in two years we have sold about 200 Volcano vaporizers and have never had a complaint or return; customers just adore it. The makers, Storz & Bickel, promise to replace any Volcano that malfunctions, but the only complaint was about one working erratically after being dropped by the customer. We endorse the Volcano because it works perfectly and stands up to the test of time. Customers love their investment and always tell us so.
The CCHQ store has sold over 300 Hot Box Vaporizers in two years. A total of eight have been returned when an inside part broke; Hot Box Vapors replaced all returned models immediately and fixed the problem with the part. We love that kind of product backing. Hot Boxes are easy to use and come in different materials (stone, ceramic) with dozens of different colors and designs. Customers have loved their Hot Boxes for a long time, which is why we asked Hot Box Vapors to sponsor our Pot Puzzler prizes in every issue of Cannabis Culture.
Another effective vaporizer is the Vapor Tower. This is a favorite in the $200 range because it’s easy to operate, works well, has no breakable parts, and of the 20 we’ve sold from the CCHQ store in six months, there have been no complaints or returns. The new Silver Surfer vaporizer is also popular, and we’ve received no negative feedback from customers thus far.
Unfortunately, some vaporizers and smoking devices don’t catch on because they are too finicky and gadgety for most stoners. We have had a Vapormatic Deluxe prominently displayed in our counter for six months and haven’t sold even one model at US$299. Similarly we find Voodoo vaporizers, and the now-renamed Mystifire, confusing and unpopular with their little round metal capsules for weed that have to be inserted into a slot or drawer for hot air to be blasted over it with a manual control… the capsule things are too small, difficult to open and close, and get scalding hot. You also have to control to learn and operate. Dials, containers, bags, tubes, and knick-knacks of all kind just get in the way after the novelty has worn off. Stoners need straightforward, heavy-duty products that are easy to operate and won’t break or cause damage if left on or forgotten. Vaporizers.ca (the Vapormatic/Mystifire advertiser in Canada) used to get a half or full-page ad from us if they could pay in wholesale product. If the product sold, that was fine by us, and some of it did. But by the time Cannabis Culture #65 ad renewals came up and we couldn’t move their product anymore, we told them so. They became upset with us, so that’s why there is no Vaporizers.ca ad in CC anymore. Remember I said I don’t like doing product reviews because advertisers get upset and take off? There you go. The truth is that those gadgety products are just too complex for most buyers and don’t sell when there are more effective, simplified devices in the market to choose from.
Some products do their designated task but can be messy or impractical in the process. The Gravity Vortex Bong representatives sent us models to test, as did the Gravitron promoters, but the glass stems and bowls broke on both models within 48 hours of use. Because the stems on both items are not universal, they both became useless. In the time we were able to test the bongs, every single person ended up splashing water all over the place by accidentally moving something the wrong way; that’s why the Gravity Vortex bong in the photo is being tested in a big glass dish! The hits from the Gravitron and Gravity Vortex get rave reviews, but the designs require a bit of practice to make them work without error every time. We told the reps that we wouldn’t handle their products until a universal stem was incorporated in the design – and even though they said they were going to fix the problem and send a new version to review, we haven’t received anything yet.
Cannabis in a bottle, or Sativex® to be exact, is an amazing product that’s unfortunately next to impossible to obtain. Bob Nightingale, our resident Science Guy, suffers from gastric heterotopias and was prescribed Esamet® (pharmaceutical-grade synthetic THC) and Sativex® (whole-spectrum natural cannabinoids), which costs CDN$270 for a 5.5 milliliter spray vial. It contains 150 milligrams of delta-9-THC and 137 milligrams of cannabidiol. It’s pretty much pure cannabis without the plant, and Bob relates the pros and cons of this Canada-approved pharmaceutical “medical marijuana”.
A lot of potential advertisers sent us cannabis clothing – not all hemp-made, but at least with a cannabis theme for the most part. It seems that the modern availability of quickly produced and distributed products
stamped with anyone’s logo has brought a barrage of “420”, “Humboldt”, “Budz”, “Calyx”, and “Blaze” images emblazoned on everything from hooded sweatshirts to tiny thong underwear. Some of these logos and so-called companies have nothing to do with cannabis besides a pot-inspired name and a mass-market campaign for stoners, usually featuring sultry chicks with bongs posing in generic panties and t-shirts with a superimposed logo thrown into the picture. But hey, they’re aiming to make money with marketing rule number one: sex sells! Can’t blame them for trying.
The hottest new stoner book is Naked Girls Smoking Weed, a compilation from 420Girls.com. For the uninitiated, that’s a website with thousands of nude photos submitted from stoners worldwide: girl-next-door chicks hitting bongs; porn stars posed in grow rooms; and natural beauties holding bountiful buds. This book is surprisingly good in a number of ways. The design and layout are clean and obviously not cut rate (it’s hardcover); text only comes in the form of short, non-distracting quotes dispersed throughout; and the women cover all bases from gorgeous babes to cute girls, sexual sirens to innocent pin-ups. Some are clearly stoner girlfriends toking in the bedroom, while others are obviously professional models in large grow rooms or with huge bongs. When this book was passed around for reviews both men and women enjoyed it, and gave only positive comments. You may think I’ve really “sold out” on this one, but it’s actually a quality publication that has something for everyone.
It’s hard to make a great calendar. Calendars are actually two things: art you have to look at for an entire month; and a day planner and time management tool crucial for keeping your life in order. I learned (the hard way) publishing my own calendars from 1984 to 1989 that they rarely make money, and many things can – and usually do – go wrong. There are millions of calendars available, including a lot of free ones. They are perishable, and have to be prepared and distributed everywhere well in advance. Cannabis calendars are especially difficult to distribute because the content is unwelcome in many mainstream stores. I like Ed Rosenthal’s “Big Buds” calendar for day-to-day reference because it has practical space on the dates to write appointments, and the buds and hash photos are good – though I am hoping they get way more spectacular for 2008. My favorite calendar to look at right now is “Kottonmouth Kweens” by photographer Derek Plank, featuring hotties hanging out and getting high in grow rooms. Some of the calendar’s photos are from the Kottonmouth Kings’ Cannabis Culture #56 photo shoot.
Green Harvest invited me to their local factory while they were making cannabis butter and assembling Pollinators. I re-ceived a hands-on tour of all the new stuff they’re working on, including a very interesting (and expensive!) Verdamper vaporizer, a metal grinder that ejects weed, and an updated PieceMaker hash press.
Cannabis Culture is taking up the cause of all the great cannabis videos being released these days. We are going to sell all videos reviewed here at $20, which is the cost the distributor charges us. No mark-up. In my cannabis retail experience the only video that really sells well is Jorge Cervantes’ outstanding Ultimate Grow Video because it’s a $40 investment that can help the buyer make thousands of dollars in return. The problem with selling movies is that the new generation raised on file-sharing and “free” music balks at paying for any information or entertainment. I’ve asked the filmmakers, “Why don’t you upload it to YouTube in parts if you want people to see it?” but of course these videos required tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to make, and the money must be recovered in some small part at least. We are hoping $20 per video, with all of the $20 going to the filmmaker, is a fair low-ball price and that’s what we sell DVDs for at the CCHQ store. Some are extremely good, like the 5-award-winning Waiting To Inhale; that film in particular should be played in town halls, churches, and on cable access shows!
Marijuana is a multi-billion-dollar value-added industry, so naturally some very high-end products exist for those in the “mother business” who want only the best. One thing I’ll say for the high-end products out there is you really get what you pay for. I’m a believer in saving up money and getting the good stuff, because quality items last longer and work great, no matter what it is. For example, Bubbleman’s Bubble Bags and BubbleNow machine are the preferred hash-making kits among growers. There have never been any complaints over six years of selling Bubble Bags – no structural flaws, no breakage, and no negative reviews whatsoever. Bubble Bags are the perfect example of how maintaining the highest standards in production breeds success, which begets more success. Reputation really is everything!
The S&M hash screen is outstanding for dry-sifting trim to get kief. They come in different sizes, the one shown here being the largest at 20 inches by 25 inches. We took 80 grams of very dry Afghani Bullrider trim and sifted the same pile over six days, netting six grams of very excellent kief in total (2.5 grams on the first run, and then 3.5 grams over the next five days). I was surprised that working the same trim repeatedly produced kief day after day – we must have stripped every trichome from the pile! The S&M screens are expensive but sturdy and efficient, so I very much recommend them.
I hope you enjoy the following pages of product reviews. We’ll do this blatant promotion thing again in future issues of Cannabis Culture, but still providing all the facts behind every product so you never feel we have hyped up something unworthy of your consideration.
Please write us about any products you love, hate, or can suggest improvements to, and we’ll follow up on your kudos or brickbats. Write to “CC Product Reviews” at 307 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, Canada, V6B 1H6.
Transparent Rolling Papers: What Are They Made Of?
By Marc Emery
All rolling papers are made from cellulose, a polymer that is a synthetic or natural substance of interconnected molecules. Wood, paper, cotton and hemp all contain cellulose. Wood pulp is used to make most rolling papers, and is brown in its natural state. The pulp is processed with caustic acids that extract lignin, whereupon by-products are dumped in waterways; calcium carbonate is added to give paper its white appearance and slow burn. Because of the toxic processes involved in pulping trees to make rolling papers, a market emerged for papers made from rice, hemp, and other cellulose bearing plants.
Recently, a new type of rolling paper hit the scene: transparent cellulose “papers”. In the first four months of 2007, transparent papers were among the most popular at “Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters” (CCHQ) store. The top selling brands of rolling papers are RAW, Juicy Jays, Rizla, Skunk, blunts of all brands – and now Aleda/Aledinha, Smokeclear, and Trip, which are made in Brazil. Other transparent papers include Smokin’ Clean and Pure. Most regular-sized rolling papers (100 leaves) cost $1.75, and king-size (33 leaves) $2.25, whereas transparent Trip or Aleda regular (50 leaves) cost $2.25, and king (40 leaves) $3.25. Smokeclear blunt-size transparent papers (20 leaves) are $3.25.
Although transparent papers appear to be plastic, they are made with wood pulp. Aleda and Smokeclear are made from reforested hybrid Eucalyptus trees in Brazil. According to Smokeclear owner Anthony, “reforested” means a tree is planted for every one harvested. Smokeclear and Aleda are 80 percent plant cellulose, 14 percent glycerin, and 6 percent water; Aleda papers are 0.35mm thick, and Smokeclear 0.28mm thick.
When we asked buyers of the transparent papers what they liked, they cited a couple things. First, you can see the weed inside the joint, which is definitely the “cool” factor. Second, joints should burn slowly; and third, they don’t burn unevenly or “canoe”. Transparent papers don’t have glue, but simply seal with moisture, like a blunt. People who didn’t like the papers said they “taste weird” and “smell strange”. Some commented that joints go out too easily and are difficult to relight, while others felt apprehensive smoking something that “looks like plastic”. There were a few concerns expressed about the burning of glycerin, which transparent papers contain as a binding agent.
To investigate concerns about the safety of burning glycerin, I did some research. First I went to the website Journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_glycerin.html, which is a pro-glycerin site. There, glycerin is promoted as a very useful, safe, non-toxic molecule, but with one potentially disturbing caveat: “The glycerin by-product burns well, but unless it’s properly combusted at high temperatures, it will release toxic acrolein fumes, which mainly form at between 200 and 300 degrees Celsius (392-572 degrees Fahrenheit). Professor Michael Allen thinks complete and clean combustion of the glycerin by-product requires a burning temperature in excess of 1,000?C (1,800?F).” Acrolein is described as a colorless or yellow liquid with a disagreeable odor that dissolves easily in water, burns very easily, and quickly changes to a vapor when heated.
When I spoke with Anthony at Smokeclear about the glycerin concern, he cited a study found online at Physlink.com. They had performed a series of experiments in order to determine the actual temperature of a lit cigarette: “Temperature without drawing: side of the lit portion where the paper is, 400?C (or 752?F); middle of the lit portion, 580?C (or 1,112?F). Temperature during drawing: middle of the lit portion, 700?C (or 1,292?F). A standard Fe-CuNi digital thermocouple thermometer was used in all trials. Numbers represent the average we obtained by performing several trials and can be considered accurate to within 50?C.”
Cannabis Culture wanted to run our own test so we got out a $45.00 Tempgun.com heat sensor, which is accurate within approximately 10?F. This version of the Tempgun heat pen only reaches 475?F, and anything above that registers as “hi”. When we burned a joint rolled with a Trip transparent paper, the Tempgun registered 456?F at one-quarter of an inch away from the cherry (the “lit portion”) while the joint was being inhaled. Once the heat pen got within one-eighth of an inch of the cherry, the temperature registered “hi”. We can assume that as the cherry consumed the paper, some cellulose glycerin may have burned between 300 and 600?F, and some of the fumes may have contained acrolein – however, very small amounts of acrolein also enter the air when trees, tobacco, plants, gasoline and oil are burned. It has not been determined if acrolein vapor exposure leads to anything more serious that throat irritation, runny noses, and eye irritation. We can conclude that when smoking with transparent rolling papers, burning glycerin isn’t an urgently serious health hazard.
There still remains a drawback with transparent papers: they are wood pulp based and, as such, require more caustic chemicals to process than hemp or flax. If you want to use truly natural, unbleached, chemical-free, vegan rolling papers, RAW brand’s thin translucent brown paper – with patent pending – is for you. (Translucent means light can pass through but is diffused, whereas transparent means completely clear.) Visit www.rollingsupreme.com for RAW information.
Major Rolling Paper Company Convicted for Using Carcinogenic Materials
CORRECTION ABOUT THE FOLLOWING CC#66 ARTICLE, published in “Letter from the Editor” of CC#67: “Last issue we got it wrong when we said that Miquel Costas Y Miquel paper makers in Spain were convicted of using inferior materials in certain brands of rolling papers. There was in fact an investigation into an accusation but a Barcelona judge analyzed all the evidence and declared that using pine tree or eucalyptus is in no way hazardous in the paper making process and no evidence existed to show that any MCM paper product is hazardous. Numerous other Spanish and English media also reported the story incorrectly, where CC got its original information. We apologized to MCM for reporting the court decision inaccurately, which I realized when I obtained the English language transcripts supplied by the Barcelona court. I have every confidence that MCM is doing only top-notch manufacturing and encouraged them to allow us to photograph the MCM rolling paper making factory in an upcoming issue of CC. They agreed and were very gracious about getting the message out that their rolling paper making process is very safe with the highest levels of quality controls and emphasized that no court, judge or civil matter has ever established any irregularity of any kind in MCM’s rolling papers, including such brands as Bambu, Smoking, Bob Marley brand.”
It should be pointed out that you might not be safer with conventional paper even if it advertises itself as a hemp, linen, flax, organic or ‘all natural’.
The world’s oldest rolling paper business was founded in Spain by Miquel y Costas Hermanos in the early 1800s. Cigarette paper booklets first appeared in the 1860s; Miquel y Costas Hermanos’ specialized experience and research into pulp, paper and booklet production produced new cellulose-based products that burned safely at temperatures between 250 and 1,800?F. (Spanish law requires rolling papers to produce the fewest possible negative by-products.)
Miquel y Costas Hermanos’ international brand “Smoking” was introduced in 1924, and the company adopted its present name, Miquel y Costas & Miquel (MCM), when it incorporated in 1929. MCM is now one of the largest paper manufacturers in the world, producing the following brands: Smoking (including Deluxe, Red, Blue, Green, Eco, etc.); Bambu (Hemp, New Flavored papers, etc.); Randy’s (paper by MCM, wires by CTC); Mantra (new flavored paper); Pure Hemp; Skunk; 4:20; Rips Rolls; Guarami; Bugler Papers; STYX; and Bob Marley.
In May of 2006, MCM was convicted of a “crime against the public health”. The Spanish Health Authorities accused MCM of replacing safe materials with carcinogenic ones to save costs. After hearing overwhelming evidence from a six-year investigation, the Judge in Barcelona Court #9 concluded that the director of MCM, Jordi Merchant, consciously allowed components like linen and hemp to be replaced by wood and esparto to save costs. Over time, smoking esparto, wood, and inferior fibers can cause cancer of the larynx, lip, and lung, and is banned from the production of smoked rolling papers in Europe. The Judge affirmed that these rolling papers were a “danger for the health of the consumers” because of this willful contamination, and convicted Merchant. In addition to major brands like Smoking and Bambu containing carcinogenic materials, even the Bob Marley brand is affected, which is profane!
This news, affecting potentially 25,000,000 North Americans, was never widely circulated and is still virtually unknown to almost everyone who should have been told – the consumers of these papers. The contamination took place over several years and is just now being heard about. Not only are Bambu papers made prior to 2006 suspect in their composition, their flavored papers were very recently advertised in High Times as 100% natural. On May 10, 2006, Bambu wrote a letter to consumers – not about the discovery of carcinogenic materials in Bambu brands, but to confess, quote: “our paper products have been promoted as ‘100% Natural’ and ‘All-Natural’. It has recently come to our attention that some of our paper products – specifically the flavored paper – contain saccharin, which is not a natural product. We are in the process of removing this part of the advertisement for this part of the product line. Our products are high quality products, and we hope we can earn your loyalty in the future. Sincerely, Bambu Sales, Inc.”
Drug War DVDs
By Greg Williams “Marijuana Man” and Marc Emery
These are three fairly recent movies that have hit the stoner scene, and we “highly” recommend all three! These and other marijuana-related DVDs are sold at Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters for only CDN$20.00 each, with every dollar supporting the independent filmmakers who made them.
The War On the War On Drugs
Written and directed by Cevin Soling, this film is absolutely hilarious and one of the most poignant attacks on the drug war that I’ve ever seen. Along with a troupe of actors, Soling has put together over sixty vignettes that parody the already bizarre world of prohibition. He hits you square in face with how absurd the drug war is, and by using a ton of different com-edy styles, keeps you laughing the whole way through – a great way to de-liver the message and the perfect film to show to the unconverted. The pace is fast and the satire is very well crafted. The entire group has done a great job; I’ve watched it a bunch of times and it just keeps getting funnier. Roll a big fat one, sit back and be ready to laugh like you were smoking for the first time.
Waiting To Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine, and the Law
This is a sophisticated film that was made by an experienced American documentary filmmaker, Jed Riffe. Without question, it is the most credible film on the struggle to access legal medical marijuana in the United States. I was able to meet Jed at a film screening in Vancouver where activists, politicians, a retired judge, and
ex-cops against prohibition (Law Enforce-ment Against Prohibition, LEAP) gathered to watch two films about prohibition. The first movie was the LEAP-focused film “The Damage Done: A Drug War Odyssey” by Connie Littlefield, a great one-hour National Film Board of Canada documentary that has run twice on Global TV.
“Waiting To Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine, and the Law” was the second feature. This is an outstanding documen-tary about the medical marijuana move-ment meant for public broadcasting, but no net–
works have picked it up – making this the first film by Riffe not to air on television. It’s quite an affecting tribute to the determined individuals whose public strug-gles under great hardship have greatly advanced the cause. And yet, 35 years after “Patient 0” Robert Randall made the first effort to legally possess marijuana for
medical reasons, the struggle continues.
This movie is absorbing and deeply moving, but never cloying, sentimental or lecturing,
as it shares valuable information about the drug war and patients who fought back.
The Naked Queen
Take a documentary about cannabis, grind it together with a stage play, roll it up in “What The Bleep Do We Know”, and you’ve got “The Naked Queen”. Director/producer/writer Daryl Verville mounts an ambitious presentation to make his point about the failure of the drug war in this lovingly done regional film from the Kootenay Mountains of British Columbia. The subject matter unfortunately isn’t new, but Verville’s entertaining approach is.
Verville presents the film in the opening moments as an obsession that might be driving him insane, a whimsical story of dreams and visits with historical figures like Beethoven, Gandhi and Carl Jung. These giants of passion and insight seem quite at home in the log-built homes and bohemian residences of the Kootenay Mountains. Historical figures giving their views on prohibition and the misuse of power dovetails sometimes quirkily into segments the history of hemp and cannabis, and the rise of the prohibitions that make this film necessary. “The Naked Queen” exposes both the need for this herb and the total insanity of the drug
war through comments from lawyers, activists, professors, pot growers and politicians. Marc Emery appears in short but intense clips throughout, as do other cannabis activists/experts such as Paddy Roberts, John Conroy, Hilary Black, and Richard Stratton.
Everyone in this film is clearly a supporting player in bringing Verville’s obsession to life. This very personal film took eight years and cost $200,000 of the director’s money to complete (Verville’s own grand piano used by “Beethoven” in the movie was even sold, and the auteur director even competently arranged the score – most movies are ensemble works with input from editors, actors, scriptwriters, producers, and directors. This film may not teach many of us anything we didn’t already know about the war on cannabis, but it is easily presentable to a straighter audience. The many talents of the director are showcased but he does not lose focus delivering the hard facts about the atrocities of prohibition and the obvious solutions. “The Naked Queen” is highly recommended. (And for those of you who are wondering, yes, the “queen” makes a nude appearance!)
Itch-A-Way Hemp Seed Oil
By Gale Leitch
Itch-A-Way skin first aid is 100 percent pure, fresh, cold-pressed, extra-virgin certified organic hemp seed oil. It smells fresh and feels wonderful, light and finely textured. Hemp seed oil is a high source of vitamin E and Omega 3, 6 and 9 in perfect balance. You can drink it, eat it, or apply it to a variety of skin irritations, and it’s an excellent sunscreen that won’t hurt fish when it washes off (unlike conventional sunscreen). The promoter of Itch-A-Way claims he and thousands of customers have had great results using it for ailments including acne, athlete’s foot, burns, chapped lips, cuts, cold sores, jelly fish stings, fungi, jock itch, hemorrhoids, insect bites, mange, yeast infections, rashes, sunburn, and poisonous plant infections.
I was given a bottle of Itch-A-Way to test on my hands’ eczema – inflammation and itchiness of the skin. Even though Itch-A-Way didn’t claim to treat eczema, I tried it on my hands anyway. It did feel soothing, but didn’t stay on my skin long enough to provide constant relief. However, it did heal my chapped lips and cold sore in two days! I haven’t come across any mosquitoes, sand flies, fungus, jellyfish, or coral in my daily routine, but I am positive Itch-A-Way will give me relief if I do.
Itch-A-Way is made by American cannabis and hemp activist William Conde. He lives in the isolated Caribbean town of Chumox, located in the upper right corner of Belize in Central America. For thirty years William owned and operated “Conde’s Redwood Lumber Inc.” in Oregon, and organized the World Hemp Festival. Being involved with lumber meant dealing with old growth redwoods, which left an impact on his conscience. From 1991 to 1993, with scientists of the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University, William proved the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite building materials as a viable alternative to wood. He began to develop hemp fiber for commercial use.
But in 1998, police arrested William on a felony count of possession for one ounce of marijuana, and raided his property – confiscating computers, equipment, files, and personal property, effectively shutting down his lumber business. The next day he was hit with almost $50,000 in fines for allegedly violating county ordinances during two concert events held on his property. In 2000, the local government sabotaged his last Conde World Hemp Festival, so William gave up on America and moved to Belize with his family. It seems natural that a man with a background in forestry, an interest in sustainable hemp production, and a Belizean wife would find refuge and hope in a country where the government created the 6,000-acre Terra Nova Medicinal Plant Reserve, and 13,006-acre Noj Kaax Meen Elijio Panti National Park, which is essentially a bush medicine reserve.
Belize, a former colony of British Honduras, is only 68 miles wide and 174 miles long. The rainforest and Caribbean areas of Belize are the ideal testing grounds for products that bring relief to itching, swelling, burns, and sores. Belize is home to 4,000 species of flowering plants, 250 varieties of orchids, 70 varieties of forest with more than 700 species of trees, 400 species of fish, 139 species of reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of species of insects. Critters like mosquitoes, sand flies, ants, bottle flies, and the notoriously annoying “doctor fly” abound and pursue human beings with zeal. Fungi, coral, jellyfish, sunburn, and poisonous plants are normal annoyances, and all one can do is deal with the aftermath.
If you get the itch, er, urge to find relief for your skin irritation, try William’s Itch-A-Way, priced at USD$4.95 for a 37.5 milliliter bottle. William Conde “guarantees satisfaction”! Email William Conde with questions at [email protected]
Sativex®: Canada’sLatest Orphan Drug
By Bob High, The Science Guy
Sativex® is the world’s first whole cannabis extract spray, and currently legal only in Canada. The tiny 5.5 milliliter spray bottle costs CDN$270 (US$250) and is manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals in partnership with the original patent holders, GW Pharmaceuticals of England. Bayer has applications for government approval pending in the United States, The United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
I have an unusual disease as a result of my Scottish heritage that puts me in the hospital on a regular basis, a stomach deteriorating genetic disorder called gastric heterotopias. I am in pain, a lot. Doctors have prescribed me opiates for years, but in 2006 I became habituated to the painkillers and started buying street drugs when my painkillers ran out.
I suffer from nausea, and THC is effective for relieving that. Pain relief, however, is a bit more elusive due to the overwhelming number of physiological and personal variables involved. I was interested when I heard about the new cannabis medicine Sativex. Sativex contains 27 milligrams of THC/delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (from Tetrabinex® cannabis sativa L. extract) and 25 milligrams of CBD/cannabidiol (from Nabidiolex® cannabis sativa L. extract) per milliliter of alcohol-based fluid. This is light years ahead of any ingested synthetic-THC capsule like Marinol® (aka dronabinol); I did feel more relaxed, at ease, and in less pain when I used Marinol, but the capsules are impossible to swallow on certain occasions, such as when you’re throwing up frequently. This is where Sativex is perfect, because it’s a spray that goes under the tongue with rapid onset. Hypothetically it is effective in treating neuropathic pain, and I would attest to that having used it. I felt much better in five minutes after a dose.
The problems are, as usual, regulations and cost. One bottle of Sativex, which lasted me 12 days, costs $276.70. I am forced to rely on low dose Methadone (5mg daily) for chronic pain now as morphine created more problems for me, and Methadone costs $15.00 for the same period of 12 days. The first Sativex bottle I received from the hospital came with no charge as it was part of the hospital visit, which Canada’s socialized medical system covers the cost of. Any other bottles have to be paid for – I would gladly use Sativex in my medical arsenal, but cannot afford the cost of over $600.00 a month! Instead, the government has paid my tab for anti-depressants like venlafaxine and clonazipan, ergot-based anti-spasmodic meds, and opiates such as Oxycontin, diladud, morphine and methadone. I can get methadone without even showing ID, yet it’s still criminal for me to possess actual cannabis medicine even though cannabis diminishes my need for all these “big gun” drugs, sometimes eliminating my use of them altogether. I have applied to Health Canada for my medical marijuana license – which includes sixteen pages of forms, signed papers from my doctors, and signed passport photos – but have been stonewalled three times over the last year. I would use Sativex over anything else the pharmacist has to offer, but just like actual cannabis, the cost of Sativex is prohibitive.