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Weed is Making a Comeback as Good Medicine

joe-dolce-7

Pot is back.

Science is supporting several medical claims and, as more states start to legalize it, the benefits and economics of the industry can no longer be ignored. Joe Dolce is a journalist who dove in and took a look at the history, the politics, the health claims, and the drama surrounding the industry.

Did you know that Cannabis got a name change in the 1920’s to Marijuana to help the US administration push an isolationist agenda and stigmatize Mexican immigrants? Nixon and Reagan repeated the strategy in similar ways for political gain.

Joe Dolce made sure he wasn’t just reading “stoner paranoia” when pulling out the history for us in his new book, “Brave New Weed“.

Great guy- great interview – and fascinating subject. Enjoy!

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Summary of the Show: 

  • All the research coming out of the US has been skewed to show the dangerous aspects of cannabis
  • 99.9% of most Americans don’t know about the endocannabinoid system
  • The drug war started as a racist movement trying to keep the Mexican immigrants out of the country- the renamed it to Marijuana to make it sound more Spanish
  • In the 1960s Nixon used pot to nail the hippies and heroin to blame back power
  • Reagan used this again to beat Carter
  • They started breeding shorter and more potent plants to grow them indoors- pot got stronger
  • Medically speaking, the bred out the CBD to push for THC high
  • CBD is an incredible anti-inflammatory
  • CBD can come in an oral spray, topical, tincture…
  • No cannabis receptors in the lungs and the heart so you can’t overdose- also why it’s not addictive
  • Our brains produce a TCH analog called Anandamide
  • Micro-dosing may be the way to good
  • Old weed has a metabolite called CBN that makes you tired and helps you sleep
  • Estimated $2-4 billion in tax revenue if CA goes legal

Interview Notes From The Show:

Pedram:

Hey, welcome back to the show. Today, we’re going to talk about something real fun. Unlike Snoop Dog, I didn’t bring my bong to have here on set, because I’m dumb, and it turns out, people don’t smoke out of bongs anymore, so shows what I know. We’re talking about weed and weed is all over the place. There are several states now that have legalized it. There’s 4 states that have recognized it and then there’s recreational and medical. We got a big initiative coming up in November in California. Weed is back in a big way.

Today, with me, is Joe Dolce, who’s just written a new book called “Brave New Weed,” amazing cover, by the way. They’ve designed the world with weed nuggets. Most people nowadays wouldn’t even know what the actual plant looks like, because they’re getting it out of some vape pen. I think that this is an interesting topic. It’s a provocative topic and it’s one that we can’t ignore and, at The Urban Monk, we don’t ignore. We’re here to hang out and talk about it. Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe:

Thank you, sir.

Pedram:

How did you get into looking into weed as a subject in general? Give us a little bit of your background.

Joe:

I’m a journalist and I hadn’t really smoked for about 15 years. I gave up, it was too strong, it made me too paranoid. I think a lot of people in my generation went through this. I just went to wine, it was a very easy transition. A couple of years ago, a cousin of mine woke me up in the morning and said, “Hey, you want to see this new hobby of mine?” He brought me downstairs, under his garage, under the house, and unveiled these Mylar bags in which half-a-dozen plants were growing.

Then, he said, “Here, check it out. It’s something called ‘Super Lemon Haze.'” It was a strain that I was unfamiliar with, I had no idea of strains. I had no idea of anything, really. I did smoke it and then he went and he showed me all these incredible photographs of trichomes and oil sacs on the plant, none of which I had ever seen. I thought, “This is sort of interesting, this guy’s taught himself all this.” I embarked on a journey to figure out, really, what is this plant that is ubiquitous in our lives and yet we know so little about? Part of the journey was to try to understand why we, in fact, knew so little about it.

Pedram:

Why do we know so little about it?

Joe:

The US, in the drug wars, they made it very difficult to research the science of this plant. They really wrapped it up in red tape. What’s crazy is that we, through the National Institutes of Health, support research abroad, most of which happens in Israel, but we don’t support any of it here in the US. Meanwhile, we are the world’s largest producer of Cannabis, and high-quality Cannabis, as a matter of fact, yet we have-

Pedram:

Legally or illegally?

Joe:

Illegal, yes, since we’re not legal in this country. Were we to be legal, we would flood the world. This is the US’ next huge boom industry. Everybody seems to know it, yet we’re not ready to embrace it yet.

Pedram:

We’re giving Israel money to do the research for us on stuff that we’re growing under the radar, but we want to know about, but we can’t know about here?

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Joe:

The Israelis discovered THC in 1964. They were the beginners of this. They were at the beginning and they’ve really led the way. The US has its own little sad crop at the University of Mississippi that they grow and they test it in ways to find the harmful effects of Cannabis only. That’s all they’ve ever tested for. That’s why all the research spinning out of the US is all about the supposed dangers of Cannabis.

Meanwhile, most of that research has been just crap, essentially. None of it’s really proven anything, very much. Meanwhile, in Israel, they’re really trying to investigate the health benefits of the plant, break down its constituent parts. That’s where they discovered the endocannabinoid system of receptors within the human body. I would say 99.9% of most Americans, including doctors, don’t really understand or know about this endocannabinoid system.

Pedram:

First of all, if you’re trying to prove a thesis that this thing is bad for you, then that’s the science that’s coming out. The culture here is so anti-drug, period, right? It had been for generations, really.

Joe:

Even the idea of lumping Cannabis into a drug category, as opposed to a plant category, is an interesting, let’s say, change of mind, if you will. Up until the 1960s, it wasn’t considered a “drug,” it was considered a plant. Really, before then, up until about 1930, it was considered a tincture, a medicine that doctors made and pharmacists sold. We really had a complete reinvention of Cannabis. It actually started in the 1930s, but the Nixon Administration, in our lives, really made it codified.

Pedram:

What happened? Without getting too far into the Big Brother stuff, did it just hit this critical mass where then the Government decided that this is dangerous, this isn’t in our best interest, is it making people lazy? There’s a lot of history that I don’t know about.

Joe:

There’s a fantastic history and you read it and you think I’m making it up. I’ve researched this for years and I had to go back and back and back to original sources to make sure this wasn’t stoner paranoia. It started as a racist thing in the 1920s. They wanted to keep Mexican immigrants, we’re having a parallel moment in time here, out of the country. We were in the Depression, illegal labor was flooding and they found that if they took this plant and blamed it, they actually re-labeled it from “Cannabis” or “hemp oil” to “Marijuana” to make it sound more foreign, and they enacted all these laws against it.

That trundled along and didn’t have much impact on anybody until the 1960s. When the hippies discovered it and they were causing such anxiety to the Nixon Administration, the Nixon Administration turned around and said, “Oh, great, we’re going to blame the hippies on pot and we’re going to blame the black riots on heroin.” They fingered these 2 drugs and they really successfully waged a very powerful campaign against them. In the 1980s, Reagan picked up the mantle when he was in his anti-crime stance. That helped him defeat Jimmy Carter, but it also fueled the second wave of the drug wars.

Pedram:

Wait a minute, hold on. I got to wrap my brain around this. In the ’20s, there’s a depressed economy, Mexicans are coming across the border, we take Cannabis, we rename it, by “we,” I mean whoever the hell did it, “Marijuana” to make it sound more Mexican and then basically be able to have this drug war, paranoia created around it? What does that have to do with the labor? It’s fascinating that this is even used as a political pawn.

Joe:

All the time throughout history. It’s crazy. No, it has to do with labor. Labor was flooding across the borders and most of that labor was coming from Mexico. A couple of people in the Government saw Cannabis as a very easy way of telescoping trouble, “Mexicans are coming, they’re going to rape your white women, they’re going to take your jobs and they’re going to create all this violence based on this locoweed.” Remember the film “Reefer Madness”?

Pedram:

Yes.

Joe:

That was in the 1930s. It was to say to parents, “Keep your children away from this locoweed, because girls will start sleeping with boys, even worse, there’ll be miscegenation. You’ll have white girls sleeping with people of color or Mexicans. It’s going to be trouble.”

Pedram:

God forbid. Yeah, interesting. Sorry, say that again?

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Joe:

It’s so hard to believe. You’d think I’d been smoking a bong when I tell you this, but that’s not the truth. The research is there and there’s reams of it.

Pedram:

Then, at this point, Nixon jumps on it, Reagan jumps on it and it’s working, right? It’s like, “Hey, this thing got me and my buddies into office. This thing helped us create an enemy,” and this thing is now fueling a stance that now we’re stuck with? What happens after that?

Joe:

Let me tell you the great irony of all this, okay? When Reagan comes along and starts spreading Paraquat over the fields and driving the growers, especially the West Coast and in Hawaii, indoors, what do they do? They figure, “We got to get shorter plants that are a lot more powerful and stronger, so we can increase our yield in less space.”

They start breeding super powerful plants, which is why in the 1980s and ’90s, pot got so strong. If you were around then, you knew that something had changed. It kept getting stronger. They were responding out of a practical response of this drug war going on. Ironically, Reagan made pot very strong, he really did.

Pedram:

We could thank him for a thing or 2, huh?

Joe:

Yes. Medically speaking, it was a disaster, though. There’s 2 main compounds in pot, one’s THC and the other is CBD, which has started to get a lot of media attention now. CBD is not very psychoactive. It gives you a throb, more than a high. More of a mid, I would say, than a high.

They started breeding it out because they were smoking it and not really getting anywhere. That’s why also pot took a detour into this super strong stuff that was a little off balance, because we’re missing that modulating effect of CBD in the plant. It’s a very interesting turn of events, very interesting.

Pedram:

CBD is trending big time and for good reason. There are doctors out there that are singing “Hallelujah” and seeing amazing results with patients. I’ve heard things like remission of cancer to seizures and “Charlotte’s Web” and a lot of the things that have come along the way, I’d say in the last 5 years, really, with this CBD literature. For my listeners and viewers who have no idea what we’re talking about, let’s talk about CBD real quick, if you could just get into what’s happening with the promises?

Joe:

A lot of promise, obviously, and not a lot of research. CBD and THC together are like an old married couple. They’re antagonists, but when they’re getting along, they get along really well. They amplify each other. In terms of inflammation and oxidation, CBD is a fantastic thing. It’s anti-inflammatory, it’s an amazing product. I’ve got a little arthritis in my aging joints. I put a CBD unguent just on the joints and, for a couple of hours, I get real relief.

Now, they’re now starting to use tinctures of CBD. This, I think, is going to be an enormous boon to my generation of baby boomers. We are all at a point where our brains are still intact and our bodies are starting to, let’s just say disappoint us a little bit, right? We’re not as invincible as we thought we might be.

I have found my own experiments with CBD have been pretty promising. It’s not a fool-proof thing. When it’s combined, it could be as an oral spray, it can be inhaled, it could be vaporized, it could be put on as an unguent. The potential of pain relief, anti-inflammatory is very big.

The Israelis have found that CBD/THC, in some proportions, is effective for things like traumatic brain injury, a lot of the stuff that NFL players are complaining about right now, diabetes type 2, certain schizophrenias. It’s a calming plant, when used with the correct dose in the correct circumstances in the right ratios. It’s very promising.

Pedram:

I’ve seen a number of studies. I got a lot of friends that are getting into the business. It’s a bit of a gold rush. When there’s money, it’s really hard to know how to separate the baby from the bathwater, because everyone is just trying to hawk shit, too. You’ve got to be careful. What I’m leaning towards is saying, “Okay, what did the Israelis find?” You go to the researchers.

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Joe:

That’s right, you could find it. It’s all been published. If you use PubMed, you have to wade through some very dull inside baseball medicalese, but there’s a lot of promise. One of the things I didn’t tell you is that they have found that it increases the rate at which bones heal. It’s not going to stop things like osteoporosis, but if you break a bone, it’s incredible. I can’t remember what the factor is, but it really hastens the reparation of bones.

Pedram:

This is CBD?

Joe:

It’s the mixture of THC/CBD, yes.

Pedram:

There’s a clinic in Southern California that is doing things. It’s under the radar, because everything is under the radar, still, in certain areas. They’re doing high-dose CBD/THC, to the point where you’re so stoned, you can’t even think or talk. They’re administering it at night and people are just staring at the ceiling. The results that are coming are staggering. I’ve looked at some of them, I’ve looked at the blood work and it’s just like, “Come on.” It’s hard to believe how good it is.

Joe:

Is this to treat certain forms of cancer?

Pedram:

Yep.

Joe:

Yeah. There’s 300 different types of cancer, so let’s be clear, this is not a panacea and it is not a cure for cancer. There is no such thing as a cure for cancer, but there are certain types. Glioblastoma is a brain cancer. I’ve interviewed people who’ve at least been able to forestall its affects. It’s a very fast moving cancer. It’s called the “Terminator,” because it moves so fast. There are people who’ve been alive for years using some of these high-dose oils.

Something else it’s good for is apparently skin cancer. Again, it’s not the CBD alone, it’s this mix of THC/CBD, but you put these oils on and apparently it removes lesions. You have to do a maintenance dose forever, for some reason. We really don’t understand the science or the mechanism of how this stuff is working, but it really does seem to be working.

Pedram:

What else? You’ve been on the road interviewing. You’re a legitimate journalist who does things with journalistic integrity. You know bullshit when you see it and you’re asking the right questions. What have you seen that has just made you go, “Whoa! Man, that’s promising”?

Joe:

I think the fact that there’s this system within our bodies, this receptor system, called the “endocannabinoid system,” that, by the way, was discovered in the mid-80s, is rather fascinating. Receptor systems, in general, are interesting, because we don’t really understand what they do, but they’re communication systems within the body. I think of it like a solar system and the Milky Way of that solar system is in our brains. That’s why Cannabis works in the brain, as well as in the body. We have receptors all throughout our bodies.

However, interesting, where we don’t have receptors, in the lungs and in the heart, which is why Cannabis has never killed anybody. Unlike an opiate, which will shut down the lungs and the heart if you overdose, you cannot overdose on Cannabis. There are no receptors in these organs. You can smoke too much and be uncomfortable, but you will always wake up and continue living, okay?

That’s also why it’s not addictive, because we don’t have the receptors in the addiction areas of our brains. Again, a lot of the prohibitionists will tell you it causes dependency and addiction and all this stuff, but in fact, it’s a different sort of dependency, not that physical dependency. I thought that was interesting.

This is how I came to understand it. We have another kind of receptor system in our body, which is called the “histamine system.” We thought of it at first only for allergies. Then, as we learned about it over time, we learned that we had histamine receptors in our stomachs, in our guts. That’s why this whole group of medicines called “Prevacid” and all these antacids, I don’t use them, so I’m not familiar with them, but “Zantac,” I think is one of them also, those are histamine receptors that they’re attacking. They’re attacking them in the gut, not in the nasal passages.

Receptor systems are very interesting and very nuanced and require lots of research to really understand in depth. I was fascinated to know that we have a system of cannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies and that our brains produce a chemical which is an analog to THC. They’ve named it “anandamide.” You know what “ananda” means in Sanskrit? I’ll bet you do.

Pedram:

Nu-uh (negative), I don’t, actually.

Joe:

It means “bliss.” This is a THC analog that our own brains are producing, perhaps to give us feelings of happiness or joy or perhaps to form different chemical emotional components of our being. When you start to think about this, my mind reels when I start to think of the depth that this could lead us to in understanding the chemistry of emotion, really. We don’t really know much about the chemistry of emotion. It’s very complicated and abstract.

Some people are starting to think about this now. On a super intellectual, physical, medical level, scientific level, I thought all that was fascinating. Then, just on the practical level of what people are doing with Cannabis and making oils and making edibles and making unguents, all these new ways of imbibing this plant is really fascinating.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with this stuff, but you can now take a very small concentrated dose of an oil, it’s called a “dab,” and really get a very powerful high from that or a powerful medical response from that. It’s very concentrated. It’s powerful, so it’s not to be toyed with, but it’s quite amazing, really. You’re not carrying around bags of flowers anymore, it’s a whole different world, or, as you said, people are vaporizing out of pens. A complete revolution in the world of Cannabis, really, and more to come, much more.

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Pedram:

You’re not smoking stems and twigs and stuff that probably are harmful to your lungs. Taking impurities in through your lungs probably isn’t the best way of delivering the chemicals that you want. Personal question for you, you didn’t like this stuff, you stopped this stuff. It made you paranoid, you didn’t like it, like most people in that generation. It’s like, “Whatever, wine’s so much easier.” Did you go back? This new blend, these new delivery vehicles, whatever, did they bring you back to the world of Cannabis?

Joe:

They did, and I learned some things, also. I learned about micro-dosing. I learned that if you just take 2 or 3 hits, you can get to a very nice place. You can have a change of mind, a shift of consciousness, and it won’t zonk you. It will not zonk you.

Pedram:

Right, high, not stoned.

Joe:

I like that. Yeah, it’s enhanced, not stoned. I also learned that you can use different strains very mindfully to get different effects. Certain people I interviewed along the way were using this, mostly in the arts, but were using it to enhance their work. For example, in my book, in “Brave New Weed,” I talk about a filmmaker who uses a high dose dab of Sativa variety to produce lots of thoughts when he’s generating ideas. Then, when he’s editing his work, he’ll use a different strain and a different dose, because it gives him a deeper focus. I thought this was fascinating.

Once you understand the chemical components, which again, this is not for everybody, this is up at connoisseur level, if you will, but once you understand these different components, you can adjust, play, toy with to get a different effect. I have tried some of the stuff myself and I have to say, it’s great.

I want to be clear, though. I don’t advocate doing your work or living your whole life in an enhanced state. I think, personally, there’s a human urge to change consciousness, whether it’s through dancing or Yoga or going to the gym or swimming or using a substance, basically. I have found that Cannabis is good bang for the buck with relatively little aftereffect.

Pedram:

Okay, so you drink enough wine, you’ll know about it the next morning. You smoke enough weed, you get a little foggy, you wake up, you’re fine. Any other side effects? There’s people out there taking anxiety medication. There’s so many medications that people are taking that have really severe side effects versus some of the benefits you can get from a Sativa that might be a lighter hit.

Joe:

Yeah, again, people our age, my age, I’m not sure how old you are, but adults are wanting to pull back from the pharmaceutical industrial complex. There are heavy side effects in all of those single bullet medications. They’re strong, but stronger meds have stronger side effects and we don’t always know what they are.

Sometimes, if you’re taking a lot of pills, you’re getting a whole crazy overlap of side effects and some might be potentiating others. That doesn’t happen with Cannabis, because Cannabis is only hitting the endocannabinoid receptors. You’re clear, basically, of all the other meds. You’re not going to get a doubling-up effect.

Yes, people are using it for anxiety. Look, a lot of people in New York can’t sleep. I have said to them, “Hey, look, if you have any old weed, use it to sleep.” Old weed has a metabolite called “CBN,” it’s one of the many compounds in Cannabis, that makes you tired. It makes your muscles relaxed and it puts you into a very relaxed, easy state of sleep.

Smoke some a half-an-hour or an hour before you go to bed, your high will dissipate by the time you’re hitting the pillow and you’ll drift. You’ll just float into a nice state of sleep. That seems to be a lot better than “Ambien,” to me. If it works for you, that seems like an easy, natural way of using the plant that’s on Earth to get you to places. I think that’s always been the allure, frankly, the plant-based.

Pedram:

That’s it. Listen, gold standard, if you could calm your mind, breathe a little bit, go to sleep, no outside stimulus, you win. If you’re taking a bunch of drugs and if Ambien and “Lunesta” are taking turns and you’re trying to figure out what the hell’s going to put you down tonight, the natural solutions seem like the obvious transition, if the alternate nostril breathing isn’t quite doing it for you yet.

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Joe:

Yeah, exactly. Listen, I like alternate nostril breathing.

Pedram:

It’s amazing.

Joe:

I do all that, also. It works. That also works, but some things are more efficient. I’ll tell you one other thing I’ve noticed. I’m a presentation trainer and coach by profession, that’s what I do in my day job. There have been reports that CBD and THC really reduce anxiety. I tried it on myself. I tried it when I was doing a workshop once.

Pedram:

During workshop?

Joe:

I did, yeah. It was my little secret. I was facing a group of 12 strangers and, even though I do this as a profession, there’s still a little anxiety that comes up sometimes when you’re facing a group of strangers and you want them to succeed and you want them to benefit from what you have to give them. I tried it and I had a wonderful experience.

Pedram:

Did it reflect back amongst the dozen people? Did they say, “Hey, listen, you were great”?

Joe:

They generally like what I have to offer, because I’m giving them some skills that they can use in their lives, but no, no one knew that I was trying this experiment on myself. I had tried it before just in social situations, so I knew nothing powerful was going to happen. It was just, again, a slight-

Pedram:

Micro-dose.

Joe:

Yeah, a micro-dose. It was an edible, I took a very small milligram, 2.5 milligrams, which is tiny.

Pedram:

Yeah, it’s amazing how much of our lives are lived under this kind of cloud cover of anxiety and stress that we don’t even know about because they’re so much more tolerated now. Everyone else is stressed out, so you can’t even tell that you have anxiety, because everyone else is also twitching. The whole thing, the bar needs to just come down on everything, right?

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Joe:

Anxiety, I don’t find it useful. I’m a journalist as well, so a certain level of stress has always been endemic to my life, but I actually find it more distracting now. I used to get off on it, I think, because it used to fuel me. I find it distracting and withering, in a certain way.

I think if you have a plant that you can use to your benefit and know how to use it mindfully, again, it’s this idea of lower dose, selected strain, right circumstances. I’m old enough to know that I don’t like to walk into a big party high. There’s too much going on, it’s overly stimulating to me.

Pedram:

“I’m not going to remember any names.”

Joe:

Exactly, but I’ve now learned to use it for sex or an intimate conversation in a quiet space and it’s been revelatory, I got to say. Go on, please.

Pedram:

What’s the line? I think our culture, through the ’80s, thanks to Reagan or Madonna or whoever else you want to blame or thank for it, we metabolized anxiety. We metabolize stress. It was what drove us. It was that fight that we took and internalized and went and “You can rest when you’re dead” and all that kind of stuff. There’s a certain amount of that that gave us edge. A lot of us can owe our success, maybe, to the efforts we put in under that type of mindset.

How much of that do we lose? How much of that do we keep? I think a lot of people feel like that’s where they had found their edge, so they’re afraid of losing that edge, because laziness is also a loser quality. There’s this big delta between relaxation and laziness, but most people can’t really separate the 2 in our culture.

Joe:

I think it’s a great point. I was going to take your workshop to guide me to that. Listen, I think it’s something people have to come to at a certain point and, usually, it’s after you burn out. That’s what I find. Look, you read all of the corner offices in the New York Times on Sunday and most of them will say, “Oh, I only sleep 4 hours a night.” That sounds like hell to me, because I would be so unhappy if I only slept 4 hours a night.

How do we find the balance? Life is a balance. I find the whole metaphor of Cannabis as a balance, as a metaphor for life. Here, you have CBD and THC, they’re in balance. They’re monitoring and modulating each other. You’re going to work hard. I work my ass off and I like it, but at a certain time, I have to stop. I have to think about love or intimacy or food or just pleasure or whatever it is going to be. I have to shift my mind. I find that that’s necessary in life. I’m driven, but I just don’t want to only be driven in 1 thing.

That’s why I like to meditate. I find that meditation makes my life qualitatively better. I don’t know why 15 minutes in the morning is going to change it, but I now know, after 30 years of an intermittent meditation practice, very intermittent, that I have a better day when I sit in the morning. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a reset going on. You tell me, come on. You’re a scientist. What do you think?

Pedram:

Yeah, it helps you illicit the brainwave states that are far more relaxed. You go the Alpha rhythm, versus Beta, High Beta and all these places. Once you could find that gear, it’s easier to stay in it and especially when the bullets are flying. It’s really about building the resilience of the consciousness to live in a place that’s less exertion-oriented.

It’s very un-American, right? You sound so European when you talk about wanting to relax, like, “How dare you?” Culturally, it’s just we’re not used to that as part of our paradigm. That’s also where we’re waking up in America, is we’re going to die if we don’t relax. Meditation does that, certain botanicals do that. What you found in your research is something that millions … What percent of America smokes pot?

Joe:

It’s hard to say. The research is that, I think it’s 38% have tried it.

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Pedram:

Okay, 38% of 350,000,000 people.

Joe:

Yeah, but to me, maybe it’s the circles I travel in, it seems like a lot more than that. It seems like it would be hard to be in your ’40s or ’50s and not have tried it at least once. The new generation is very clued into it. They really are extraordinary. If you go into a dispensary in California, you’ll find very educated patrons there who really know a lot.

I think probably we don’t have any real good data on it. I’m sure people lie when the researchers come around and say, “Have you ever tried it?” I think a good number of people have tried it. That’s what’s interesting, they’ve tried it and there’s not been a whole lot of deleterious effect.

What I do think is true is that certain people really just don’t like it. I don’t know why. I’m sure it has something to do with their endocannabinoid system, the way certain people don’t like scotch or certain people don’t like alcohol or certain people don’t like whatever, you name it, chocolate. I don’t know the actual percentage, no one really does, but a lot of our generation and younger have experience with it.

Now, what’s interesting, is that an older generation is using it, too. When, in my research, when I was at the senior communities, they’d come in in their track suits and their big visors and they’d be smelling the different strains and saying, “Oh, are the Girl Scout cookies in yet?”

Pedram:

“Grandpa! What are you doing?”

Joe:

They also make transdermal patches. Have you seen these?

Pedram:

Yeah.

Joe:

They come in CBD or THC or balances. You put them on and you get 4 hours of infusion with no smoking, no ingestion, nothing. It’s just going through your skin. It’s pretty interesting.

Pedram:

Yeah, for people who are in pain and people who have physical ailments, I’ve seen them radically transform lives, even with people with anxiety, man. There’s so many people that they spent their lives being stressed out, whether you thought the Soviets were going to nuke you, whatever the hell was happening in your history, there’s been a lot of stress lately.

You know one of the things I’d love for you to help us pick apart? You might not be the super expert on this, but just in your research, most people don’t even know the difference between, say, Sativa and Indica. What is in the salad bar and how do we look at them differently to say, “This might be more suitable for my disposition”?

Joe:

Sure. The way it’s currently categorized is: Sativa, Indica and Hybrid. I’ll break that down for you with the caveat that it’s a false classification. The Sativa tends to be a more energized mind-stimulating variety. Cannabis was started in Hindu Kush of India and the strains went in different directions. Those that went to the West became the Sativas. They ended up in Africa and they’re tall-growing, gangly plants, very narrow leaves.

The other ones, the Indicas, went to the East. They became the shorter, bushier, they stay lower to the ground, they’re able to survive colder weather more. They’re more productive. The Indicas are more for relaxing, for a body high. They’re the ones that zonk you, what I feel is a high, typically.

People know what they like. Apparently, there’s an old myth that may be true, that when you smell the buds, follow your nose. The scent that appeals to your nose is what your body’s going to like. Now, here’s what’s interesting, we have the Sativa, the Indica and the Hybrid, the mixture of the 2. What we’ve now learned is that there’s a whole other component to Cannabis, which are called “terpenes”. Do you know what terpenes are?

#Quote boy @Joedolce via @Pedramshojai

Pedram:

I don’t.

Joe:

They are pharmaceutical grade smell molecules. They’re in all plants and they’re called things like “limonene,” which is the smell of lemon, “pinene,” the smell of pine, a crazy name, “beta-caryophyllene,” which is the back-note of pepper and clove. These smell molecules are why Cannabis stinks to high heaven, why you always know if you’re in a grow or if somebody’s smoking. They’re super powerful and they direct the high.

This is what we’re now learning, so that you know if your strain has a lot of lemon in it, it’s going to be a bright, uplifting high. If your strain smells more like black pepper, it’s going to be a more heavy body high, because that’s stronger in beta-caryophyllene.

Some of the names of Cannabis, like “Super Lemon Haze” or “Tangerine Dream” or “Blueberry Kush” are actually very descriptive names, because some very clever growers with good noses have sussed out, “These are the terpenes that are strong in these plants,” without even knowing what a terpene was, and putting a name on it that actually describes the smell.

Once you start understanding that, then you can say, “Okay, here’s Sativa with a lot of lemon. That’s going to move me up and happy. Here’s an Indica with a strong smell of pepper, that’s going to bring me down and make my body just feel relaxed.” Very interesting, right? I don’t know if that gives any clarity to the question.

Pedram:

It certainly does, and I thank you for that. What’s funny, is I was in the high Himalayas in Hindu Kush myself in Nepal back in 2001. I was on sabbatical, I was trekking around, but then I met some normal people out of my monk realm. We were hiking the Annapurna Circuit and we walked through a field where all of a sudden, I go-

Joe:

 In places like California. They’re trying to create an Appalachian system, much akin to that of French wines. They’re trying to brand their strains, so there will be a “Humboldt County Blue Dream OG” that is only grown in a particular micro-climate.

These are heritage strains that have come back from the hippie trail that have been preserved and nurtured and cultivated by some very dedicated growers over the last 40 years. They’re pretty pure strains. If we ever get to that, that will be much more reliable in telling you, “Okay, this is what it is, here’s how it’s grown, here’s what the soil components are, and this is the effect you can expect.”

Pedram:

It would be helpful if we could take this huge army of amazing scientists that we have in America and just. I’ve heard other pieces that wrap that narrative around, just mafia.

Joe:

Okay, you live in California, right? If Cannabis is legalized for recreational or what’s now known as “adult use,” that’s going to change a lot in America.  They guesstimate the revenue from the first year of legal use to yield between $2,000,000,000 and $4,000,000,000 in tax revenue. These are big numbers. I think that if California goes, it’s going to be a very hard reality to keep denying.

California grows more Cannabis than all of North America combined, just in [inaudible 00:40:14]. It’s the 6th largest economy in the world. It’s US, China, Japan, Germany, whatever, whatever, and California. What’s the next boom economy? It isn’t coal. Tech is sort of flattening out right now. I think it’s a game changer.

Pedram:

Back to agriculture. Yeah, and a lot of people agree. It’s obviously complicated, there’s a lot more to talk about this. We haven’t even talked about hemp and its use as a textile or a oil and any of that. Man, Joe, this is great. I would love to have you back, because we’re running out of time. The book is called “Brave New Weed,” by Joe Dolce. What’s your pub date?

Joe:

October 4, it’s officially out. I think you can get it on Amazon in the next few weeks, actually. I think it’ll come up.

Pedram:

Yeah, pre-order. Listen, thank you for doing this work. This is great. I really enjoy talking to an intelligent person who’s looked at this objectively and all of the testimonials and all that. That has been what’s been missing. I think, a lot, is you get a lot of stoner hype and you don’t know what to believe. It’s nice that a good journalist is looking at this.

Joe:

Thank you. I am an advocate by virtue of what my research has taken me to. I found that the facts are just incontrovertible. Thank you for your time and attention into it. I think it’s great.

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