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Reefer Madness 2.0 – Is New Govt. Study Linking Cannabis To Suicide?

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When most people think of government smear campaigns against cannabis, what usually comes to mind is Anslinger, Reefer Madness, and the onslaught of prohibition back in the 1930s. But a new study published June of this year in JAMA Psychiatry, claiming that cannabis use leads to suicidal ideation, shows that the practice of our government lying to us about marijuana remains alive and well to this day.    

According to the study, researchers state that cannabis use leads to an increased risk of suicide. Let me preface this by saying this particular study is different than most deceitful cannabis studies we come across. While conflicts of interest exist with nearly all of them – usually relating to competing industries or big pharma – this study is special because it’s funded by the US Government. It is literally a government smear campaign against cannabis, a real-life conspiracy come to fruition.

PLEASE NOTE – This article is my interpretation of the cited study, formed from the conclusions that I have reached based on numerous different sources of information. The US Government has a long and questionable history when it comes to cannabis legislation. For decades they’ve been lying to us about nearly every aspect of this plant, minimizing the benefits and exaggerating the risks. This is why cannabis industry writers, like myself and other CBD Testers authors, are very passionate about spreading unbiased information about marijuana. For more articles like this one, or to read about basically anything pertaining to cannabis, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter. And if you’re having thoughts of suicide or self harm, don’t hesitate to reach out. Whether you talk to someone from your personal life or a support group or hotline, there is someone out there who cares and can help you!


Initial Thoughts

The government does benefit from prohibition in numerous ways, so believe it or not, keeping cannabis illegal at the federal level is high on their list of priorities. This is why it has never mattered whether the president was a democrat or republican, or what kind of promises they made on the campaign trail, we have yet to see any substantial progress in the way of federal cannabis legislation. And don’t expect much to change anytime soon either.

Now back to the study. Even the authors admit that their research method is flawed and results may vary. Very few confounding variables were accounted for in the study, and, let’s face it, trying to pinpoint one specific factor that leads to increased thoughts of suicide is a long shot The main point that can really be taken home from this study is that both suicide rates and cannabis use have increased over the last decade… whether or not they are related is an entirely different story.

So, starting with the obvious, people are more stressed these days, financially and just in general – and this statement is confirmed by interviews with more than a dozen experts on mental health and suicide. Also, statistical data collection and record-keeping has vastly improved over the last 10 years resulting in a wealth of knowledge on people’s emotional health and daily habits, information that was less publicly available decades ago.

However, one of the most important questions that arises from this study, is what if increased cannabis use was associated with higher rates of suicidal thoughts because when people felt suicidal, they used cannabis to feel better? It’s more likely that cannabis didn’t cause the suicidal thoughts but actually alleviated them, and if suicidal thoughts returned a person may have gone through another period of more excessive consumption.

I sometimes struggle with anxiety and depression and when I’m going through a rougher point emotionally, I use more cannabis and stronger products because it helps with the symptoms I’m experiencing. So even in my own life, periods of depression do correlate with heavier cannabis use, not because the cannabis is causing my depression, but rather because I’m self-medicating with weed products. Correlation versus causation, it matters a lot when making heavy-handed claims such as this one.

About the Study

Over 281,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 participated in the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health between 2008 and 2019. The participants answered questions related to cannabis use, depression and major depressive episodes, suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempted suicide. Using SUDAAN Software and adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, nicotine dependence, alcohol use disorder, and cocaine use disorder, they basically put all the vague, self-reported, statistical data they collected to be analyzed through a computer-generated algorithm.

In reality, they didn’t do very much with the additional information and they didn’t even ask about prescription medications and illicit drug use other than cocaine, even though the rate of prescription drug misuse is nearly double that of cocaine. Researchers assembled four groups for the study — those who used no marijuana, people who used marijuana daily, people who used marijuana non-daily, and individuals with ‘cannabis use disorder’ (CUD). According to their results, even occasional marijuana use was linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, but the risk was greater for regular and CUD users. They also state that women were more strongly impacted than men.

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Apparently, there was even a risk for people who did not suffer from depression at all. “Regardless of whether you had a history of depression or not, cannabis significantly increased the risk of suicidal behavior. It wasn’t a small effect. It was a large effect. I expected an association, but it just took me aback,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA. “Cannabis use also increases impulsive behavior, and for some people suicide is an essentially impulsive act,” Volkow added. “You more or less feel OK and then all of sudden there’s this urgent need to kill yourself,” she said. “Those impulsive acts of suicide have been associated in the past with cannabis.”

So, as per this study, cannabis alone can make someone so crazy that they might spontaneously attempt suicide. In the event that someone is feeling totally normal one minute than dangerously suicidal the next, it much more likely that the issue is an undiagnosed mental health condition. Relating suicide to casually to impulsivity is also dubious and numerous experts claim that suicide is very rarely in impulsive act. Although people who commit suicide are often more impulsive in other areas of life, the act of killing oneself is usually a result of long-term thinking and planning and most suicide attempts have some level of foreseeability to them.

Correlation or Causation? Experts Weigh In

“It might be that people prone to suicide turn to marijuana as a potential form of relief, rather than pot spurring them to suicidal thought and action,” said Dr. Elie Aoun, an addiction psychiatrist with the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. “We have to think about whether it’s the cause or the consequence, or just factors that happen to coexist at the same time.”

Mitch Earleywine, an advisory board member for the advocacy group NORML and professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany., believes this is a self-medication issue. “We happen to be looking at data during a time when both suicidal ideation and cannabis consumption have increased, but the notion that one causes the other seems less likely than a spurious link among each of these and a lot of other economic, social, and legal issues,” said Earleywine.

According to Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, interest in using cannabis to treat mental illness has been growing. “Most people who use cannabis are not suicidal and most people who have attempted suicide may not have used cannabis, so cannabis is neither necessary nor sufficient to ‘cause’ suicide or mood disorders,” D’Souza said.

Major Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest pose substantial problems for professional, patient, and general public trust in research and healthcare. Conflicts of interest compromise the integrity of research projects, and these days, so many exist that you really have to dig deep into who’s paying for a study and what their underlying motives are. Usually, the focus has been on the relationship between authors and companies or pharmaceutical stocks, but we need to look closely at funding from government organizations as well.

There are a few different ways that research results can be manipulated. These include altering the research design, data falsification and fabrication, and suppression of results. Studies of government-sponsored research show that the “incidence of research misconduct is low, but still significant”. Various studies estimate the frequency of research misconduct in government-funded studies to be somewhere between 1% and 9%.

Now, think about the significance of a government-funded study against cannabis. Our government has had a long, questionable, and prejudice relationship with pot since the 1930s when Harry Anslinger led numerous campaigns against “marihuana”, funded smear campaigns, and assisted in the production of films like Reefer Madness.

As it currently stands, our government profits immensely from federal cannabis prohibition and they have their hands so deep in marijuana money that they actually get income from both – states that strictly enforce cannabis regulations and those that permit state-legal recreational programs. In short, the government is making a lot of money on cannabis in both legal and restricted states, and it’s safe to assume they’re not interested in switching things up anytime soon.

How Prohibition Increases Government Tax Revenue

Although cannabis is federally prohibited, state-legal recreational and medical programs are permitted. However, because these businesses are dealing with a schedule 1 narcotic, they aren’t allowed to claim deductions at tax time and are forced to pay effective tax rates as high as 70 percent, as opposed to the more typical 30 percent rate for other industries.

It’s hard to say an exact number regarding how much tax money the government makes off marijuana’s illegal status, but the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates they will collect roughly $5 billion dollars from state-legal cannabis businesses over the next few years.

The government’s gain on illegal enterprise all circles back to one small tax code provision known as 280E, which states that anyone in the business of dealing with Schedule I or Schedule II narcotics cannot claim and exemptions on their taxes. It was written into law back in the 1980s as a way to hit mobsters where it hurts, in their wallets, but it has recently become the focus of an ongoing dispute between state-legal medical and recreational cannabis businesses, and the federal government. As it stands, the government stands to make way more money off all the taxes they collect from 280E as opposed to what they would get if cannabis businesses were charged fairly like every other industry.

“In order for the legalization to be considered, there would need to be a significant excise tax imposed on the sale of cannabis,” says Pat Oglesby, an attorney who specializes in cannabis tax policy. “The federal government is not going to do this for zero, and an excise tax would need to be very high in order to compensate for 280E.”

Profiting Off Cheap Prison Labor

The prison system in the United States is very complex. Here, we have both private and public prisons, and there are some striking difference between the two as far as how they operate, what kind of inmates they house, and where they get funding and spend their budgets.

Public prisons are run by state governments, whereas private prisons are operated by private, third-party companies that receive their funding from various different government contracts. Most of these contracts are based on how many inmates the prison houses and their average length of time onsite. Private prison finances are unregulated and they are not required to report many details about their economic infrastructure, who the holding companies and executives are, how much they receive in funding, or how they spend their annual budgets. Also worth mentioning is that the majority of inmates in private prisons are low-level offenders serving for non-violent crimes.

All that said, the conflicts of interest are frighteningly apparent… but it gets worse. The federal government is the largest utilizer of private prisons in country. Let’s take a quick look at UNICOR, also known as the Federal Prison Industries Program. According to their own website, UNICOR is “a wholly owned, self-sustaining Government corporation that sells market-priced services and quality goods made by inmates.”

UNICOR makes just over $61 million per year in net sales by using prison labor, and while they sell ‘market-priced goods and services’, the inmates earn only 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. And despite getting paid only a fraction of the already-offensively-low federal minimum wage, they must immediately turn around and pay half of their earnings to cover expenses while incarcerated. UNICOR is only one of many companies making millions off almost-free prison labor.

Because incarceration is an industry, prisons are naturally incentivized to expand operations and get more funding. There are many politicians, private contractors, and even stockbrokers that all have a vested interest in keeping prisons profitable, and the only way they can do that is by cutting healthcare and security costs, pushing for extended confinement, and of course, filling any empty beds as quickly as possible. The fact that you can actually buy stock in a system that is supposed to rehabilitate people shows how prison has become a money machine and nothing more. But regardless, these are people with money and connections so lobbying for harsher punishments for low-level crimes, like marijuana possession, to keep people rolling through the prison system is a regular occurrence. Corporate-criminality is a phrase that certainly comes to mind here.

“Various complex financing entities that fuel a built-in incentive to consolidate, monopolize, and expand the incarceration system, and the sentencing and legal processes that keep it humming,” mentions Bianca Tylek, director of the Urban Justice Center’s Corrections Accountability Project (CAP). Tylek says their report aims “to help people understand just how big this space is,” particularly because, often, “companies spend their money in a way to further entrench or expand the use of our criminal-legal system, and who it ends up touching.”

Final Thoughts – Cannabis, Suicide, and Government Misinformation

It’s very common for people with all sorts of underlying mental illnesses, who may also have a pre-existing risk for suicidal thoughts, to use marijuana therapeutically. Numerous experts have chimed in to say that it’s impossible to link any one specific factor to a condition so complex and much more research is needed to understand the link between cannabis and suicide. And considering the government’s questionable history with cannabis, it’s not surprising people are skeptical of studies like this one.  

While we keep being told that cannabis needs to remain prohibited because it is ‘unsafe’, ‘immoral’, and ‘hasn’t been studied extensively enough’, it’s getting tough to ignore all the financial incentives the feds have for keeping it illegal. If the government continues to be motivated by the almighty dollar, it might be a very long time before we see any progress on the cannabis legalization front.


If you are having thoughts of suicide, don’t hesitate to get help because cannabis and other methods for self-medicating are not always effective. If you feel depressed, TALK TO SOMEONE! A friend, spouse, relative, support group, or suicide prevention hotline, there is someone out there who cares and can help you!

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your source for all things cannabis-related. Don’t forget to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one!

If you want to learn more about the new exotic cannabinoids, such as Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THCV and THC-O and get our exclusive 25% discount, then your best choice is subscribing to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter.

*** This is an opinion piece that mainly reflects the author’s opinion about a subject ***





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Cannabis Legalization Leads to Less Driving Accidents, Says Study

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The governments of legalized states are doing everything they can to cash in on new cannabis legalization policies, and this includes THC driving laws to collect traffic fines. Now, new research sheds light on the smear campaign that smoking weed leads to more traffic accidents. As it turns out, it’s the opposite, and states with medical cannabis legalization measures, have shown to have less driving accidents and lower insurance rates, according to a new study.

A new study shows how a medical cannabis legalization doesn’t lead to more driving accidents, as shown through insurance premiums. We cover all kinds of stories in the cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Keep up with industry news by subscribing to the THC Weekly Newsletter, and get some cool product promotions, along with your news updates. We’ve also got tons of offers for cannabinoid products like HHC-O, Delta-8, Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP, and HHC. The world of cannabis products is huge, and everyone should buy the products they are most comfortable with using.


Study about cannabis legalization and driving accidents

On June 12th, a study was published called Medical cannabis and automobile accidents: Evidence from auto insurance, in the publication Health Economics. The study investigates cannabis legalization on driving accidents and safety. In order to do this, study investigators researched auto insurance premiums between the years 2014 – 2019, right down to the zip code.

The study results found that in states with a medical cannabis legalization, premiums decreased by an average of $22 per year after the legalization measure passed. This decrease is more substantial in areas close to dispensaries, and is more noticeable in places where drunk driving was more common prior to legalization. According to the authors, “we find premium reductions are larger in states with greater patient enrollment and in states that allow smoking.”

Study investigators estimated “that existing legalization has reduced health expenditures related to auto accidents by almost $820 million per year with the potential for a further $350 million reduction if legalized nationally.” This is quite different from the standard – yet always statistically unsupported line – that driving while high is dangerous.

cannabis legalization driving accidents

Their final conclusion? “Our results indicate that the legalization and access to medical cannabis positively impacts auto safety.” They also explain why other comparable research turned up different results of either no difference, or a negative difference. “Other literature on this topic (which mainly finds null or negative results) has been limited by the reliance on data that only involve fatal accidents. We conduct a more comprehensive analysis by focusing on the direct effect on auto insurance prices.”

What does other recent research say?

The study investigators in the auto insurance premiums study make a good point. Not all studies ask the right questions. Like this one, Medical Marijuana Laws and Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana and Alcohol, which examined the number of people caught driving under the influence of cannabis. According to the authors, “We assessed the possible association of MML and individual-level driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC), and also under the influence of alcohol (DUIA).”

The study examined three other cross-sectional studies: The National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey from 1991–1992, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions from 2001–2002, and the NESARC-III from 2012–2013. This included a total number of 118,497 participants, although they were all participants in other studies, and all information comes from other investigations.

The study found that between 1991–1992 to 2012–2013, the prevalence of driving under the influence of cannabis went up to 1.92% from 1.02%. Higher amounts were found in states with medical marijuana programs. Study authors concluded, “Medical marijuana law enactment in US states appears to have been associated with increased prevalence of driving under the influence of cannabis, but not alcohol.”

This is great, but an increase in the amount of antidepressants on the market also logically means an increase in the number of people who will drive with those drugs in their systems, whether its ever tested for or not. Yet no one is worried whether this increase has a negative effect on traffic accidents, since it doesn’t come up as a big threat. Increased rates of driving under the influence of cannabis mean nothing if there isn’t an increase in driving issues, which the first study implies there are not. This study never even asked the question of whether it’s a problem.

In this report by the CDC in 2019, it says that in a four-year-period, the number of people 16-25 willing to admit to driving on weed, went up by 47%, from 2014-2018. This equals a 12 million person increase. To give an idea of how this compares to alcohol, in 2018 20.8 million people claimed to have driven after drinking. While this was used to seemingly raise fear, the agency was not able to provide accident numbers for cannabis.

drunk driving

However, this study published in the publication Addiction, did. Called Traffic fatalities within US states that have legalized recreational cannabis sales and their neighbours, it investigated crash fatalities in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. It found there was only a one-per-million rise in road deaths the year after legalization, and that a year after that, the numbers returned to previous levels. As the results weren’t statistically significant to begin with, and didn’t remain, this doesn’t say much for there being an issue with driving while on weed, or for government agencies or publications that say there is, especially when they don’t provide backing for their arguments.

So why are there drugged driving laws for cannabis?

This is a great question. If cannabis isn’t resulting in a greater number of accidents, which can be seen in lowered premiums rather than raised premiums, why does anyone get punished for it? We all understand why drunk drivers get their licenses taken away, and why so much is done to prevent them. They cause real damage. Damage that is so obvious, that we all know about it. We all know someone who died in a drunk driving accident, or a friend of a friend who did.

Very few people have a story about their friend, or a friend of a friend, who died in an accident due to weed. Does this mean it’s impossible? No, not at all, and there should be some actual stories out there. I, personally, can’t drive when stoned, but I seem to be one of the few people I know who has this issue. The thing is, being stoned isn’t the same as being drunk.

Drunk people are known for not being able to consider circumstances or consequences, and therefore making bad decisions. Stoners, not so much. I’m not good at driving stoned, so I don’t do it, because even when stoned, I’m not so blown I can’t make the right decision. Conversely, I have had to have keys taken away from me when drunk, since in that state I indeed thought it was okay to drive. I would never approve of doing that while sober, or stoned.

Yet the fear of drunk drivers is instilled in so many of us, that we desperately want to know that something is being done to help the situation. And for good reason. In the US alone, someone dies from a drunk driving related incident every 50 minutes, with an average of 29 deaths a day. 10,497 people died in 2016 from drunk driving accidents, which accounted for 28% of all road deaths that year. Of the total road deaths for 2016, 1,233 were children, and 17% died due to drunk drivers.

Regardless of legalizations, weed has been a popular drug in the US for a hundred years, and no similar statistics exist on driving under the influence of cannabis. This study from 2010 called The Effect of Cannabis Compared with Alcohol on Driving, investigated cannabis and alcohol driving incidences, and came to the conclusion “Epidemiological studies have been inconclusive regarding whether cannabis use causes an increased risk of accidents; in contrast, unanimity exists that alcohol use increases crash risk.” That says a lot.

driving accident

Drugged driving laws

Even if a cannabis legalization doesn’t lead to more driving accidents (or a negligible rise), this hasn’t stopped several states from making specific legislation to try to catch high drivers. Why would they do this with no official information stating an increased danger? My guess is to collect fines.

While most states have some form of drugged driving laws to cover driving while on drugs other than alcohol (not a bad idea considering how many people are on drugs like opioids and Ambien), some specifically target THC, and give blood THC tests.

Washington has a max THC level for drivers, which is five nanograms per milliliter, or higher, of THC in the blood. Both Colorado and Montana uphold the same standard. Nevada is even more intense, and considers drivers to be under the influence if they have two nanograms of THC in their bloodstream, or five nanograms of metabolite. This measurement of THC in the blood is done by looking at nanograms per milliliter of blood.

States like California, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Alaska, Maine, and Arizona make the judgement based on impairment of the driver, and not specific amounts of THC in the system. And states like Massachusetts have zero-tolerance policies for any drugs while driving. Not to beat a dead horse, but plenty of people in that state are driving around with antidepressants in their systems, and antidepressants are psychotropic medications that specifically have effects on neurological activity, and come with all kinds of warnings. Yet once again, no one has an issue with that. Zero-tolerance seems to be zero-tolerance, only when its convenient for lawmakers.

Conclusion

The weirdest part of all this, is that legalizations have created the logical fallacy that no one drove while high before legalizations happened, and that this whole issue only exists because of legalizations. This makes no sense. People have been driving high as long as being high has been a thing. Trying to change the narrative to collect fines, is a pretty low endeavor for any government that does it. Luckily, the research sets the record straight.

For those looking to travel with weed, but are unsure if this is a good idea, check out this guide for a range of tips and smart travel options.

Welcome to the site! We appreciate you joining us at Cannadelics.com (formerly known as CBDtesters.co), a wholly independent publication focusing on comprehensive coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics landscapes. Read-thru the site regularly to stay on top of industry changes, and check out The THC Weekly Newsletter, for regular updates on everything happening.





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The Laser Bong You Never Knew You Needed

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The technology of smoking has improved greatly over the last couple of decades. First it was vaping, and the ability to no longer burn the weed. Now it’s the new laser bong, and a technology that takes the butane out of smoking.

The laser bong is the newest in weed-smoking technology, and it’s a pretty cool looking piece of equipment. If you’re a person who needs the next thing now, you definitely need this bong! We report on tons of stories in the cannabis and psychedelic industries, which you can play along with by subscribing to the THC Weekly Newsletter. This also gets you prime access to promotions on all kinds of items like vapes, edibles, and paraphernalia, along with premium deals on cannabinoid compounds like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP, and HHC. As always, we do remind customers not to purchase any product they are uncomfortable with using.


What’s a regular bong?

A bong, or waterpipe, is a smoking device that uses water to filter the smoke. These devices come in different sizes, and shapes, and though they sometimes look very different, the functional design in the same.

A bong is made of a water chamber, which is connected to a mouthpiece in one place, and a bowl in another, and sometimes a carb hole as well, although this is not necessary if the bowl is removable and able to work as a carb. The point of this function is to let in air to clear the accumulated smoke in the water chamber. The chamber needs to be air and watertight when the user puts their mouth to the mouthpiece. The weed is put in the bowl and lit on fire.

When the weed is lit, the user inhales through the mouthpiece, pulling in air through the bowl, through the water chamber, and into the user’s mouth. If there’s a carb hole, this must be covered during inhale, or it won’t work. Once the user has pulled as much air as they wish, they can let go of the carb, or remove the bowl, in order to clear out the chamber of built-up smoke.

bong

Bongs are used for smoking, but the same structure is also used to vaporize, via dabbing. Dabs are used as a way to vaporize concentrates, and use the same method of heating the concentrate, and then sucking the vapor through the water. The water works as a filter, trapping the heavier particles in the smoke/vapor, which makes for a smoother hit. The water also cools the smoke down, making it less harsh on the throat. Some bong use another piece called a percolator, which is a twisty glass structure, also meant to cool the air down further. It’s common as well to put ice cubes in the neck of a bong, or directly in the water chamber, for cooling purposes.

Because of the water filtration, bongs might be slightly less dangerous than waterless pipes or joints, but there are things to consider. The weed is still being lit on fire and breathed in, which like it or not, is smoke inhalation, the basis for smoking issues. Plus, the weed is lit with a lighter, which also means the user is breathing in butane fumes as well. This matters in that sometimes a flame is held for many seconds when smoking a bong, in order to burn the herbs adequately.

What is a laser bong?

Let’s be honest, just the term ‘laser bong’ sounds all futuristic and cool, and the best part is… it’s real. Smoking technology has certainly reached a pinnacle at this point in history, as its now possible to light your weed with lasers. How effective is this new method? And what’s the difference in terms of what you inhale?

The company Hitoki is the first to make this bong a reality, called the Hitoki Trident. The Trident is a cylindrical bong of mostly black airplane grade aluminum, with an air hose about 1/4-1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Above the air hose is a laser chamber that shines blue when in use, and below it is the water chamber that the smoke gets pulled through. The laser it emits is a 445 nm class 4 blue laser, hence the blue of the chamber. The water hose is either an actual hose – like what’s used for a hookah, but a bit thicker, or a more stable plastic hose-like mouthpiece, more akin to a standard bong.

The benefit of the laser is that it can heat to a very precise temperature, and doesn’t have to go as high as a lighter. It’s used to burn either dry herb or concentrates, and is very efficient, allowing for approximately 280 uses off of each charge of its battery. Something that can be done easily with its included USB charger. In all other ways beside the laser as a heat source, the Trident functions like any other bong.

In order to use it, the bong comes apart for loading the weed. It has two distinct pieces that lock back together with an FDA compliant interlock system. It’s about as simple as loading it, locking it, and lighting it, which is done with the push of a button. The laser has three power settings, with the lowest temperature for buds, the mid for dense buds, and the highest for concentrates. It also comes equipped with a carb button for cleaning out the smoke chamber.

laser bong

If you’re thinking this is a lot for a bong, you’re right! These bongs are so high scale, they even come in gold or rose gold, for those who want the extra fancy version. Even the regular version will set you back a bit, starting $499,99. Hitoki marks the first company to employ this laser technology for bongs, but it likely opened a can of worms that tons of companies will get in on. Hitoki boasts the cleanest smoking experience using the Trident, and that the smoke is the most flavorful possible.

Benefits of a laser bong

It’s not exactly a cheap piece of equipment, and therefore won’t be available to everyone. It can be expected that upcoming competitor models will retain the same high price, although if its out long enough, there’s surely a budget model somewhere in the future. For now, however, if you want this new smoking gadget, you’ll have to pay out. So, if the cost is so high, what are the benefits of using a laser bong?

For one thing, there’s no lighter, and no other material being burned in order to light the herb. Back a few years ago I had a boyfriend who bought a hemp wick (think hemp twine), which was also meant to clean out the lighting aspect. Instead of lighting the bong with a lighter, the lighter lit the wick, which was then used to light the weed. Honestly, it worked okay, but I found it difficult to use. The laser bong does remove the inhalation of any extra materials, although there isn’t much information on whether it itself creates byproducts which might not be desirable to inhale.

The laser is supposedly more efficient than using a lighter, burning the herb evenly, and requiring less weed to do the same job. Going through weed quickly is often an issue, particularly when a device does not heat evenly, or simply requires a large amount for a not comparable hit. Anything that can elongate the amount of time weed lasts, certainly provides a positive benefit. How much it does in this department, has not been made clear.

It’s super cool. I don’t know how much this counts as a benefit, but in our world of constantly one-upping each other, and showing off our newest expenditures to those who want what we have, this bong certainly fits in line. Sure, it’s the mansion that’s probably too big, or the eighth car we could do without, but who doesn’t want a huge mansion, or to be able to afford eight cars? If the use of a laser does indeed make it a safer experience, then that is a massive benefit. Either way, in terms of ‘cool’ and ‘status’, this smoking device is the Rolls Royce of bongs.

It’s advertised that this laser bong uses lower temperatures to heat, and that this affects the overall feel. While this would have no effect on the negatives of combustion, it might make a difference in how a user feels the smoke in their body. Lower temperatures can mean a more comfortable time, and less coughing, as the heat can bother the throat and lungs. This is why bongs are often kitted out with extra measures to cool down the smoke.

laser

There is one massive thing to remember. If you’re looking at a laser bong as a healthier smoking option, this isn’t quite true. The biggest issue with smoking – and it doesn’t matter what’s smoked – is that something is being lit on fire and inhaled, and this is not changed through this particular design. It eliminates the added on butane fumes, that’s for sure, and therefore might net a smoke that tastes better and is slightly cleaner, but it won’t take out the overall dangers of smoking, not even by a little.

Quite honestly, in terms of actual benefits, there are some, but they’re not extensive. It does seem to promote a sleek, upscale, cleaner smoking experience, and the removal of butane is certainly helpful, along with the ability to make weed go further. Luckily, cool and futuristic are also benefits in our modern world, so if you’re looking for the newest breakthrough in smoking technology, and the most hip way to do it, this laser bong is definitely for you.

Conclusion

It should be interesting to watch other comparable models by other companies come out. With enough competition the design will surely be improved on, and with enough time, we can learn the true benefits (and detractions) of using laser bongs. For now, Hitoki certainly hit the nail on the head of cool, and I fully admit, I want to try this bong! Review upcoming.

Hey guys, thanks for stopping by! Welcome to CBDtesters.co / Cannadelics.com, a top web spot, offering well-rounded coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics landscape. Read-thru the site whenever possible to stay informed on the motions of these quickly-morphing industries, and check out The THC Weekly Newsletter, so you’re on top of everything big going on.





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South Africa Still Working On New Cannabis Bill

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Back in 2020, I reported on South Africa’s legal limbo after a Constitutional Court ruling made cannabis prohibition illegal. What exactly this means for the country has been undefined for the past few years, and South Africa is still working to finalize its Cannabis for Private Purposes bill.

South Africa should have a new cannabis bill soon, which is great, because we’ve been waiting for it since 2018! We’re a publication that focuses on independent coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics fields. You can join in by signing up for the THC Weekly Newsletter, and also get prime access to tons of deals on vapes, edibles and smoking devices. We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


How it started

Much like many other countries, South Africa instituted laws against cannabis in the early 1920’s. First in 1922 with the Customs and Excise Duty Act, which classified cannabis as a habit-forming drug, and then in 1925 by including cannabis in the country’s Dangerous Drugs list, putting it with the likes of cocaine and opium. Further to that, it was criminalized 100% in 1928 with the Medical, Dental, and Pharmacy Act, which is where it stayed all the way until 2018.

On March 31st, 2017, a judge ruled that it was not constitutional to bar cultivation and use of cannabis for private use. This was done with a justification that this is a non-justifiable personal privacy infringement. A previous case on the matter brought by Gareth Prince about 15 years earlier, focused on the idea of infringement of religious freedoms, but this case was unsuccessful at changing anything.

The 2017 case didn’t include religious aspects, but focused on the privacy rights – or inalienable rights – of the people. The right to privacy is guaranteed under section 14 of the Bill of Rights of South Africa. It states that every individual has the right to lead a private life without government interference. The judge in the ruling made this statement:

South Africa cannabis law

“A very high level of protection is given to the individual’s intimate personal sphere of life and the maintenance of its basic preconditions and there is a final untouchable sphere of human freedom that is beyond interference from any public authority. So much so that, in regard to this most intimate core of privacy, no justifiable limitation thereof can take place… This inviolable core is left behind once an individual enters into relationships with persons outside this closest intimate sphere; the individual’s activities then acquire a social dimension and the right of privacy in this context becomes subject to limitation.”

However, as this was a regular court, in order for this ruling to have full effect, it needed to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court. When expected appeals to the decision came in, this was done. In September 2018, the Constitutional Court made a ruling on the matter which confirmed the ruling of the lower court, setting it as law. Some of the included points of the ruling, were the following:

  • Cannabis use is permitted by an adult when done in private.
  • Cannabis use is not permitted around children, or anyone who does not consent.
  • Cannabis is not permitted in public, or for anything beyond personal use.
  • Cannabis is permitted for private cultivation so long as its for personal use.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar scenario to what’s going on in Mexico, where a court ruling created legalization case law, but which still requires a government bill for all particulars. In both cases, it was the use of personal sovereignty laws which led the way to make these changes. In South Africa, the Court ruling set a legal precedent, but it didn’t make clear the specifics of what is allowed. Since that time, draft legislation has come up, but nothing has been passed.

Cannabis for Private Purposes bill

After what has been a very long wait, the government of South Africa is getting closer to releasing formal legislation, in the form of the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill. This bill has been circulating since 2020, and has been updated throughout that time based on the comments of different people and organizations. Current additions were approved by the National Assembly on March 31st of this year, meaning the bill is now in a second round of public meetings.

Some additional points within the South Africa cannabis bill include:

  • Recreational cannabis commercial activities.
  • Rules for cultivation, possession and supply of cannabis for members of organizations specifically related to religious and cultural purposes.
  • Individual privacy rights for adults to use cannabis for medical purposes.
South African cannabis

It also defines what a ‘private space’ is. The definition includes: a building, house, room, shed, hut, tent, mobile home, caravan, boat, or any part of one of the above. Essentially, anything that can be closed (or is away from other things), and where the public doesn’t have direct access, is a private space.

Since its still open for public comment, nothing is a done deal yet. The latest to give comments is the country’s largest trade federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which supports the legalization of the plant on all fronts. It submit its comments at the end of May. Though the organization supports legalization measures, it said the current bill is ‘unrealistically bureaucratic and cumbersome’, and needs a lot of reworking.

In fact, it went as far as to say that the legislation is way too restrictive, and doesn’t decriminalize the plant as much as it should. This is highlighted by how the organization sees the issue of cannabis regulation for religious purposes, and its dislike of rules created to monitor how people use cannabis in general.

Regardless of edits, none of this means that South Africa will have a regulated market. That’s one of the big differences between how South Africa and Mexico are handling things. Mexico is expected to have a regulated recreational market, whereas South Africa is legalizing private use and cultivation of the plant only.

How personal sovereignty leads to cannabis rights

The legal change in South Africa was a result of a court case that relied on personal sovereignty laws, which are a part of inalienable rights. Inalienable rights are rights that every human has, and that a government can’t take away. They relate to natural rights, or what some would call God-given rights, and they are not to be altered by governmental laws. Personal sovereignty is the same as self-ownership. This is considered an individual’s right for bodily integrity, and to be the sole controller of themselves. Personal sovereignty, is an inalienable right.

Three countries now have updated cannabis laws due to court cases involving personal sovereignty rights. South Africa’s Constitutional Court case was in 2018, making the 2017 verdict an official one in terms of the country’s laws. Though it doesn’t seek to set up a regulated market, it will allow for the possession, use, and cultivation of the plant privately.

inalienable rights

2018 was a popular year for inalienable rights to kick in. Over in Georgia, another Constitutional Court case ended with a verdict that overturned prohibition. The Court ruled that it’s not constitutional to punish the use of cannabis, as it poses no threat to others. It said a punishment for cannabis use is restrictive of personal freedoms, so long as no 3td party is affected. However, Georgia never mentioned needing a bill to further clarify anything, and the country now resides in a weird gray area, where cultivation and buying/selling are illegal, but possession and use are totally cool.

The other example is Mexico, which became the 4th legalized country officially in 2021, when the Supreme Court dropped laws of prohibition for private use, upon the government simply not doing its job. It unofficially became the 4th country back in 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled on the last of five consecutive cases in favor of legal cannabis use and cultivation. It said, as personally developed human beings, we must be allowed to pick our own recreational activities without the government interfering. When the government did not turn in a corresponding bill on time, the Supreme Court went ahead and dropped prohibition laws a year ago. We’re still waiting on the full bill to begin the official sales market.

Conclusion

Truth is, none of the three countries to make legal updates based on constitutional courts, have totally gotten it together yet. Georgia is in a strange legal limbo, and Mexico and South Africa are both waiting on specific bills to pass. We certainly have to wait a bit longer on all fronts, but it looks like South Africa is getting that much closer to a formal legalization/decriminalization with updates to its cannabis draft bill. The question now is, which will be first, South Africa or Mexico?

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