What Is Biohacking? And Why Should You Care?

In today’s emoji-driven, tweet trending, social influencer landscape, keeping up with the latest nomenclature can be challenging.  Lately, we at MJNews have been hearing a lot about ‘biohacking’ or DYI biology.

What exactly is biohacking? And what does it have to do with your endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

Technical writer @RobbinsGroupLLC explains the science of biohacking and the human ECS in this 1750-word investigation of the topic:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/biohacking-your-ecs-curt-robbins/

New DNA Test Determines Cannabis Compatibility

Endocanna Health Creates New Paradigm of Personalized Medicine Connecting Human DNA with Cannabis Genetic Profiles

CALIFORNIA: Endocanna Health this week launches its Cannabinoid DNA Variant Test”  — billed as the most comprehensive personalized cannabis DNA test available on the market today. Developed by a team of renowned scientists at Endocanna Heath, a biotechnology research company, this direct-to-consumer DNA test kit, analyzes an individual’s DNA markers and provides science backed recommendations based on their specific DNA in a way no other test has been able to do before.

Until now, there was no comprehensive way to test one’s unique DNA and align it with the latest research to predict how humans may respond to cannabis. For example, some individuals with a specific variant in the gene CYP2C9 may not metabolize THC well and should be cautious about consuming edible products. The test also screens for genetic variants linked to the tendency to experience greater levels of anxiety, drug dependence, and a host of other traits. Therefore, this test allows people to have positive outcomes, helps individuals demystify their cannabis experiences, and further establishes cannabis as a viable solution to alleviate health and wellness issues.

Endocanna HealthEndocanna Health utilizes a patent pending algorithm and process to develop its Cannabinoid DNA Variant Report™. DNA for the test is obtained through either a simple saliva swab or existing genetic data from popular DNA testing services like Ancestry, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA or MyHeritageDNA. Consumers can then use their personalized reports to discover the right products for their specific genetics with product suggestions from Endocanna Heath, providing a full spectrum experience.

“Our goal in establishing Endocanna Health is simple,” says Len May, Endocanna Health co-founder and CEO, “to provide individuals with the tools and confidence to incorporate cannabis into their lives using the most up-to-date research available today. Information that is accurate, but most importantly personal and unique to an individual’s DNA. The goal of our reports is to help people identify which products may help them, and try to give them the best possible outcomes with cannabis. We are gratified to help the millions of people who use cannabis or who may want to begin using cannabis make the most informed decisions when it comes to using the plant.”

Facts About Urine Drug Testing Procedure

Just like its name suggests, urine drug testing procedures test the urine for any traces of substance abuse. The procedure is quick and painless, as it simply requires you to provide your urine as a sample for the test. Using this sample, your urine can be tested for alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, opioids (narcotics), PCP, and benzodiazepines.

A lot of companies these days are requiring their employees to go through drug testing procedures. One of the main reasons why this is done is because a good number of states mandated to drug test workers. However, it’s not all about that because there are also certain policies that protect the privacy of the tested person. Nevertheless, if you are required to take a drug test by a potential employer or for any other reason, it’s important that you know what to expect from the procedure.

Types of Urine Drug Tests

Today, there are two different types of urine drug tests. Immunoassay is the first test type which is a cost-effective drug test that yields results quickly. There are, however, drawbacks to using this kind of urine test. This is because the test sometimes gives out a false positive result, wherein the test brings a positive result for drugs even though the person is not taking any drugs. This is due to medicinal residue left in the system that can trigger drug tests in numerous ways. When this happens, you’ll have to retake the test again.

Once the drug test comes out positive but you deny using any drugs, you’ll be required to take the second urine drug test type known as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The second test uses the same urine specimen as the first test. These tests are usually more expensive and could take longer to produce test results. On the plus side though is that they rarely give out any false positives.

Taking the Urine Test

No matter what drug you’re testing for, taking a urine test at the lab and at home basically follow the same process – you urinate into a cup. At home, you’d need a specimen container and a drug testing kit to administer the test. At the lab, the following steps normally take place:

  • You will receive a specimen cup from the person administering the test
  • You will have to leave behind your belongings in another room as you take the test. There are some instances wherein you may be required to change into a hospital gown so you can easily take the test.
  • To make sure that you don’t try to skew the test results, a nurse or a technician may accompany you into the bathroom.
  • Before starting, make sure to clean your genital area with the provided moist cloth.
  • Start urinating into the toilet, as you would normally do.
  • While you are urinating, make sure to catch sample into the cup midstream. Don’t let the cup touch your genital area.
  • When done, put a lid on the cup. Bring it to the technician so it can be processed.

Test Results

Once you have supplied your specimen sample, the technician or nurse will inform you of when your test results will be available. With the use of an Immunoassay test, you should be able to get your results right away. In the event that your test results to positive for illegal drugs you haven’t taken make sure you request for a GC/MS test right away.

The Symbiosis Of Soil

By Ralph T Henninger, Founder Royal Knight AG

“Symbiosis is the relationship between two different things that depend on each other in any particular ways, each getting specific benefits from the other” -Cannabis bible, second edition

Female plants count on male plants to pollinate them: symbiosis. It is my personal theory that symbiosis is dependent on healthy plant roots.

Roots depend on the nutrients, and the plant itself depends on the roots. Healthy soil makes the plant’s life easier. Oxygen exchange happens more readily, allowing the plant to breathe and stay healthier.  A healthy plant and is better able to naturally fight off pests.

IPM. Integrated pest management is a carbon neutral approach to managing bugs.  When we look at any plant. including cannabis, we need to check out the environment that it is in. Is it hot? Is it dry? Is there a tree branch? Is there a puddle? Is the irrigation water good? These are all variables that can make a plant healthy or will can make a plant stress when maybe stress is unnecessary, when examining the IPM triangle its only when we have the Host plant, environmental conditions that stress the plant and a pest will then attack.

When pests attack a plant – which is very common — the plant will become more susceptible to disease, and more vulnerable to attacks from other types of pests. This is why when we monitor plant health, we need to check out the weather, water and all scenarios around our host plant. This will dictate the strength of the plant and the overall IPM program that you have your on.

How to naturally resist pests?  There are strains of plants that have been breed to better resist pest attacks, something to keep in mind when selecting seeds and clones. And there are advantages to growing outside.  We are more likely to see infestations breakout wall to wall or all over in an indoor condition before we see a giant outbreak in an outdoor condition. Don’t over water. Water is essential to plant health, but too much water can also hurt the plant. Root system of the plant should never be allowed to clog. Carbon Neutral is maintained by the natural flow and cycle of sun, soil and water through the plant.

The Dirt On Growing Green: Soil Texture & Composition

By Sunny Kaercher

Every grower has their own approach to cannabis. Varying techniques and products are plentiful, but one thing that remains constant is that healthy plants depend on healthy roots. This is the beginning of a series dedicated to creating and maintaining a vigorous root zone, also known as the rhizosphere. These articles will range from horticultural to scientific, with the goal of educating cannabis growers about natural cycles and what makes the perfect organic growing media.

My name is Sunny Kaercher and I work with Miller Soils. We offer all-natural, cannabis-specific container media catered to growers that want to minimize their inputs and see big, beautiful yields. We design our medias to mimic and support ecological balance, both within the container and out. Now, let’s dig in.

This being the opening piece in The Dirt on Growing Green, it seems appropriate to cover some of the basics of soil science.

One of the first things to understand is soil composition; what’s in your dirt?

45% of soil is composed of mineral particles, which originate from the parent material several horizons below the surface of the earth. These particles, sand, silt and clay, are measured and identified by their diameter. Together, their ratio determines soil texture, which greatly affects important soil properties. Sand, the biggest of the three (.05-2mm), is great for drainage, but has a very low holding capacity. Clay, on the other end of the spectrum (less than .002mm), has a high surface area for adsorption of water and nutrients. Though this retention is cornerstone to a thriving rhizosphere, too much clay leads to compaction, meaning inadequate drainage and roots that cannot breath. A balanced soil, called loam, will have all sizes of particles, and in turn embody all characteristics.

Another 5% of soil is composed of organic matter (including roots) and soil organisms. These I will tackle another day… but what about the remaining 50%?

The remaining half of soil is a delicate flux of air and water, existing in the pore spaces between the physical substrate and active biology. This pore space, though ‘empty,’ is incredibly important to the success of any plant. Unlike leaves, plant roots breath in oxygen (O2) and respire carbon dioxide (CO2). Soil microorganisms and fauna need porosity for this same reason. Soil must allow gas exchange with the greater atmosphere. Water also moves through these pore spaces, but it is infinitely more complicated. There are 3 types of soil water, gravitational, capillary and hygroscopic. The latter is adhered so tightly to particle surfaces, plant roots cannot absorb it. Gravitational water drains from the soil in a matter of days, whereas capillary will be available for longer. This is directly tied to pore size and porosity. It is critical to understand soil water behavior in your cannabis container, whatever it may be, because it affects everything else, from pH to watering/feeding schedule to root vigor.

Now that we’ve covered the foundation of life in soil, air and water, we can move on to the food web.

Stay tuned for next time!

New Study Explores The Diversity of Phytocannabinoids of Different Botanical Origin

An international team of leading researchers have paved the way to exploring the biomedical potential of phytocannabinoids, going beyond the THC structural motif and their occurrence in cannabis.

SPAIN: In the first ever attempt to include phytocannabinoids from additional natural sources apart from those derived from C. sativa, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the University of Córdoba, the Universita` di Napoli Federico II, the Universita` del Piemonte Orientale and Phytoplant Research S.L. have created the first comprehensive, critical, integrated and unified inventory of phytocannabinoids of different botanical origin.

The article focuses on the remarkable chemical and structural diversity of phytocannabinoids. As a result of a modular biogenetic scheme, phytocannabinoids are elusive in terms of chemical definition, and chemists found themselves in the situation of the US judge that, when asked to define pornography, answered: “I do not know how to define it, but I can recognize it” as commented one of the authors of the article.  To solve this issue, the authors propose a definition of “cannabinoid” inspired by the way these compounds are formed in Nature.

Cannabinoids are very important for the study of brain function. “Using a musical metaphor, if neurotransmitters are notes, endocannabinoids are their overtones, what make the sound of a violin different from that of a flute or a car’s horn,” said Professor Giovanni Appendino at the Universita` del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Novara.

The study explores the relationships between phytocannabinoids from different sources like higher plants, liverworts, bacteria and fungi. It outlines the basic chemical and biological profile of the various structural types of phytocannabinoids, their biogenetic relationships, chemical interconversions and biomimetic synthesis from terpene derivatives and resorcinols. The paper also highlights the opportunities that the psychotropic constituents of marijuana (Δ9-THC, its isomer Δ8-THC and CBN) offer to access desirable drug-like space beyond those associated with cannabinoid receptors and narcotic targets CB1 and CB2.

Regarding the medical potential of cannabinoids, Professor Hanuš commented: “Man cannot beat nature and patients cannot be prohibited from taking medicines that help them.”

Twins Study Finds No Evidence That Marijuana Lowers IQ In Teens

UNITED KINGDOM: Roughly half of Americans use marijuana at some point in their lives, and many start as teenagers. Although some studies suggest the drug could harm the maturing adolescent brain, the true risk is controversial. Now, in the first study of its kind, scientists have analyzed long-term marijuana use in teens, comparing IQ changes in twin siblings who either used or abstained from marijuana for 10 years. After taking environmental factors into account, the scientists found no measurable link between marijuana use and lower IQ.

“This is a very well-conducted study … and a welcome addition to the literature,” says Valerie Curran, a psychopharmacologist at the University College London. She and her colleagues reached “broadly the same conclusions” in a separate, non-twin study of more than2000 British teenagers, published earlier this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, she says. But, warning that the study has important limitations, George Patton, a psychiatric epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, adds that it in no way proves that marijuana—particularly heavy, or chronic use —is safe for teenagers.

Most studies that linked marijuana to cognitive deficits, such as memory loss and low IQ, looked at a single “snapshot” in time, says statistician Nicholas Jackson of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, lead author of the new work. That makes it impossible to tell which came first: drug use or poor cognitive performance. “It’s a classic chicken-egg scenario,” he says.

 

Five Major Types of Extraction 2.0 Clarified

By Fritz Chess, Founder/Chief Scientist, Eden Labs

WASHINGTON: I have been asked to respond to a recent article by Dr. Rien Havens in regards to the safety and efficiency of various Cannabis extraction methods. As the founder of Eden Labs, I have worked with all the methods in the article and our company builds extractors for all these solvents and more, for multiple botanicals. In responding, I hope to close a few loops (pun intended) in the issues raised.

For 20 years our goal has been to promote healthy extractions across every industry. Therefore we applaud Dr. Havens for offering some insight into the world of extraction as we can use all of the help we can get in helping the public, as well as governmental and legislative bodies understand the Pro’s and Con’s of differing methodologies for producing and processing any plant, not just Cannabis sativa L. in either of its cultivar’s.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.  It is absolutely true that water combines with co2 to form carbonic acid which can cause oils to turn rancid. This problem occurs frequently in co2 extractions done at very high pressures (over 5000 psi). However, Cannabis is usually extracted between 800-2,000 psi and at these lower pressures, the concern is that moisture will cause low oil yields and pull chlorophyll. Therefore Eden Labs suggests co2 operators reduce the moisture content of their herb below 10%.

As long as this important step is followed, no moisture issues will occur unless the co2 is “wet” when purchased. Most rancid oils have more to do with improper storage. I have been in many botanical extraction facilities (Kava Kava, Sandalwood, Echinacea, Cannabis etc.) and seen containers of extracted oils in open containers sitting on shelves at room temperature. Not good. Note: you’ll notice that Hemp seed oil is always in the refrigerated section of a store. Cannabis oil should be kept refrigerated.

The other toxicity issue was the ability of co2 to pull pesticides and other chemicals out of plant material. This is true as well. It is also true that all the solvents listed as better alternatives would also pull these chemicals. Co2, ethanol, butane, propane and ether are all non-polar solvents. Although they are all at different points on the polarity scale, they all are in the range where oil is soluble in them which means that most, if not all, of these other agricultural chemicals are also soluble in all of the listed solvents. Which brings up a point that should never go unsaid when this issue is raised…all consumable botanical products should be grown organically. That’s the bottom line.

The same pesticides that are in Cannabis products are ubiquitous throughout our food supply. It is hoped by many in the Cannabis industry that we will help lead the way towards a healthier future through better production methods. Any of the protocols listed in Dr. Havens article would be superior to the conventional hexane extraction that is common in the food industry.

Having said that, here are all the contamination issues with the solvents in the article: co2, as mentioned, can have water. Ethanol can have acetone and methanol that form during the fermentation process. Propane and butane can be contaminated with a host of impurities including, but not limited to, pentane, heptane, heavy metals, and what people call “mystery oil” which is pipeline lubricant. Steep Hill Labs has documented this. With proper research, all of these solvents can be procured in a pure form so contamination is avoided.

The final issue was the source of co2 and the other solvents. Unfortunately, every solvent in the article is mostly made from petrochemicals. Even ethanol is often synthesized from chemicals derived from crude oil. It is possible to source ethanol and co2 that is produced naturally by fermenting plant sugars. A wonderful addition to our industry would be a cellulosic ethanol plant that takes waste plant fiber from hemp and cannabis production and converts it to ethanol and co2 to be used for extraction.

It should also be noted that co2 and ethanol have the added benefit of being disinfectants. Bacteria, viruses and molds will be killed by these solvents although molds will not necessarily be rendered harmless. Propane and butane  extracts, on the other hand, will actually attract certain types of bacteria that feed on hydrocarbons. For this reason, it is always advisable to double wash these extracts with ethanol to sterilize and to purge the trace amounts of hydrocarbon that become trapped in the thick oil.

As to the notion that co2 is too costly and inefficient, my first thought was that it sounds like he is describing our competitors! Eden Labs has the fastest and most efficient co2 extractors on the market. While it is true that a first stage hydrocarbon extraction is far faster and cheaper than other methods, by the time you figure in the time of the residual solvent purge and the cost of meeting the safety requirements, all the perceived advantages disappear. In addition, it is clearly evident and more cost effective to build out a production facility with the gratitude of local governmental bodies and the medical sector. This is a nascent industry, it has challenges and we feel our responsibility is to offer a path of least resistance and efficacy for our clients.

In conclusion, we have found that on a cost/benefit comparison, ethanol is most efficient at small scale production. On larger scale commercial/industrial production co2 wins, which has been proven by the hops industry.

 

Soap Lake, WA Resident Petitions Council To Embrace Marijuana Culture

WASHINGTON: A Soap Lake resident is petitioning the city council to embrace marijuana culture and bring marijuana-related businesses into the city.

Gary Gregg spoke to the council Wednesday night, asking the council members to consider taking advantage of legislation that permits and regulates the production, distribution and possession of marijuana for people 21 and over in Washington State.

“What I would like to talk to you guys about is the opportunity that Soap Lake has that, quite frankly, it will never happen in any of our lifetimes, if ever again. That is the chance to get this place into a bustling town. A place that we all envision it to be,” Gregg told the council. “And that is the idea of embracing something that would not cost us virtually any money. And that is the marijuana culture that is going on in this state, Colorado and across the country.”

Gov. Hickenlooper Orders Pesticide-Tainted Marijuana Destroyed

COLORADO:  Colorado’s governor ordered the destruction Thursday of marijuana treated with unapproved pesticides, his first action on the matter after months of product recalls and media warnings about unhealthy pesticides on pot.

The executive order by Gov. John Hickenlooper called marijuana treated with certain pesticides a “threat to public safety” and said it should be destroyed.

The governor acknowledged that there’s scant scientific evidence about which pesticides and fungicides are safe to use on marijuana, but he said that questionable pot should be destroyed until more is known.

“When a pesticide is applied to a crop in a manner that is inconsistent with the pesticide’s label, and the crop is contaminated by that pesticide, it constitutes a threat to the public safety,” the order said.