- J. Salo
Marijuana can alter the way one processes their emotions, according to a new study. Colorado State University researchers found that pot can affect users’ ability to recognize, process and “empathize with human emotions.”
The study, published Monday in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at the brain activities of 70 participants over the course of two years. Researchers classified participants based on whether they considered themselves chronic, moderate or nonusers of marijuana.
“We tried to see if our simple emotion-processing paradigm could be applied to people who use cannabis, because we wanted to see if there was a difference,” said Lucy Troup, lead researcher and assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. “That’s how it all started.”
Troup and her team analyzed participants’ brains using an electroencephalogram (EEG), which shows the electrical activity of the brain. While each participant was hooked up to an EEG, they were shown photos depicting various facial expressions. Cannabis users demonstrated a greater response to faces showing negative expressions, such as anger, when compared to participants who did not use cannabis. The study also revealed that cannabis users were less responsive to happy faces.
- K. Matlack
Optimism ran high at the first-ever cannabis convention in the Lone Star state last weekend. On the floor of the Fort Worth Convention Center, purple-suit-clad hemp-butter salesmen roller skated through the crowd, retreating and venturing out from their home base, a (magic?) school bus. Families rocked sleeping infants while browsing glassware. Couples, just there to "check it out," strolled hand-in-hand past advocacy booths—for Texas NORML, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and the Marijuana Policy Project —offering fact sheets and selling Texas-themed tees. Job seekers in shined shoes talked shop with startup reps, one of whom assured me that only 30 percent of jobs created around cannabis are "touching the flowers".
This may be familiar terrain for cannabis industry veterans in Colorado, Washington, and California. But we don’t see this kind of thing every day in Texas.
This is a state infamous for its hard line against all things cannabis. As recently as 2011, Texas was ranked as one of the five worst states in which to get busted. Two years ago a teenager from Round Rock faced a potential life sentence for being caught with about a pound and a half of pot brownies. In Texas, mandatory minimum sentences are still in effect for cannabis-related offenses. Those sentences carry no chance of parole and offer judges no leeway to lessen the penalty.
There have been small signs of change. Last year Texas adopted the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients with intractable epilepsy to use low-THC cannabis. While it’s a step in the right direction, existing laws still bar nearly all Texans from accessing the bulk of the money-, health-, and happiness-making possibilities of the plant.
- T. Terps
One of the most appealing parts of cannabis is the scents and flavors associated with the various varieties of the plant. Organic compounds known as terpenes are produced by most plants as a defense against herbivores, who otherwise would consume them, and as semiochemicals that serve to communicate chemically with other living things. There are over 120 different types of terpenes that can be expressed by the cannabis plant, although some are only found in trace amounts.
Terpenes make up between five and 10 percent of the total oils that are produced in the trichrome glands. Although they are constantly being produced, they’re easily vaporized by heat and daylight throughout the day, making the morning an ideal time to harvest.
When grown in different soils or with different fertilizers, some strains can produce different profiles due to the variations. Besides making herb smell the way it does, these organic compounds also have mild physical effects and are also partially responsible for the different subjective effects induced by different strains of cannabis.