Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 4

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


Lessons Learned

I moved to Los Angeles to focus on municipal-level compliance documentation for legal cannabis businesses. Immediately prior to relocating, I developed more than 100 county-level applications for outdoor cultivation in Humboldt County, California. Before that, I was developing state-level cannabis business applications for clients in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

In this installment of Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, let’s discuss what I didn’t know before I came to Los Angeles to help legal cannabis businesses get permitted.


Most of us know that the “greenrush,” the label for the fledgling and disjointed cannabis industry in states like California and Colorado, is a hot market.

While the rumors and mainstream press give the impression that there’s more money in the industry than there actually is, there is certainly plenty of opportunity (and some folks are currently making bank). Especially for insightful, humble, hard working entrepreneurs.

Lesson #1: Clients Need Strategy

I have to, somewhat embarrassingly, admit that I anticipated moving to Los Angeles and jumping right into the hardcore development of permit applications for legal cannabis businesses.

I’m spending much of my time, however, consulting clients on strategy and direction. Big picture decisions, such as which market segment to enter.

Take an individual, non-institutional investor with between half a million and three million dollars. Do they launch a delivery business? Transportation? Maybe distribution? Will cultivation and dispensing be such crowded markets that margins will become too thin?

Ah, the questions. I am spending so much time in this strategy determination phase with clients because they know that, two to five years from now, they’ll either be multi-millionaires or one of the 70-90 percent that didn’t make it.

Lesson #2: Cultivation Will be Crowded

I moved to Los Angeles to surround myself with cannabis industry professionals. All of the smart kids I talk to are cautioning clients to think very carefully before getting into cultivation. Some industrial players in Colorado have, according to rumor, gotten production prices down to about $300 a pound.

Now that’s probably nothing to write home about in terms of top-shelf quality. But look at Budweiser’s market share in the beer industry.

Think transportation, security, distribution, and delivery. Think different.

— Gooey Rabinski


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.


 

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Gooey’s Cannabis Queries, Part 3

Welcome to the third in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at exactly 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).

— Gooey Rabinski


Today’s cannabis query comes from Michelle Benton, one of Alabama’s leading advocates for cannabis legalization and decriminalization. Michelle asks: “What is the difference between live resin and resin.” Great question.

Resin

Resin is the sticky substance produced by the trichomes of the plant’s flowers and sugar leaves. Trichomes are the nearly microscopic secretory glands of the mature female cannabis plant that are the source of all cannabinoids and terpenes and that consist of mostly resin. This gooey substance produced by the trichomes acts as protection for the cannabinoids and terpenes, shielding them from things like UV light or being gobbled by predators.

An example of master gardening in Humboldt County, California.

In fact, terpenes (which are responsible for the sometimes pungent aroma of cannabis) are an evolutionary defense mechanism employed by the plant to prevent predators, like insects and animals, from eating the flowers prior to their reproduction.

In some parts of the North America, resin is the name given to the black tar that builds up in one’s pipe if not cleaned on a regular basis. In actuality, resin is resin is resin, whether it has been combusted with a flame or not.

To learn more about resin, check out this article I wrote for WoahStork.

Live Resin

Live resin is a full-spectrum (also called “full-plant”) concentrated extract involving expensive laboratory equipment. It is a process by which a smokeable or vapable concentrate is produced from a freshly harvested cannabis plant.

But one doesn’t produce live resin using equipment found in their kitchen or garage. Why? Because this process involves cryogenic freezing (at temps below -292 degrees F) of the plant immediately following harvest. Also, live resin production typically involves the entire plant, not just the flowers.

A live resin vape cartridge from Los Angeles-based Alpine.

The appeal of live resin is the fact that it supposedly captures a more robust and complete cannabinoid and terpene profile than other, more traditional extraction processes (such as BHO [butane hash oil] and CO2 extraction). Fans of aromatic terpenes gravitate toward live resin.

During the drying process, some experts have estimated that up to 60 percent of a plant’s terpene content is lost! Because live resin involves post-harvest cryogenic freezing of a plant, this loss is prevented.

For more about live resin, check out the piece I wrote for MassRoots.



All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 1

To visit other articles in this series:


In the spring of 2016, I decided that I simply could no longer reside or work in a state that prohibits the cultivation, possession, or consumption of cannabis or products made from cannabis. I investigated moving to both Portland and Humboldt County, but ultimately opted for the latter option because of compliance documentation opportunities (my other job).

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A young woman in Ohio enjoys some cannabis.

Since my relocation to Humboldt County, I’ve immersed myself in the cultivation science and business politics of cannabis legalization. Behind the scenes, I’ve been helping clients develop permit and license applications—from small and midsize farmers in the Emerald Triangle to large corporate clients in states like Pennsylvania.

I haven’t taken nearly enough photos, but that is changing quickly. I have been talking to people, however. Family farmers, small-batch craft cannabis companies, well-funded processing companies, and patient advocates have been educating me about the reality of legal cannabis in the United States.

My initial conclusion? Even the most seasoned experts in the cannabis culture/business are confused right now with regard to what legalization will look like in places like California and Nevada after regulations are in place. The culture war that brings conservatives wishing to maintain the status quo (Luddites) up against progressives who support important issues like LGBTQ+ rights, medical cannabis, and hemp is raging across the nation.

No longer illegal in states like California, Nevada, and Maine.

But nowhere is this culture war burning hotter than on the West Coast of the United States, where a wall of legal adult use states, from Washington to California, has alarmed conservatives everywhere from the local town council all the way to Washington, D.C.

Washington State is now charging a 37% sales tax on retail cannabis sales. Oregon’s conservative, backpeddling regulations are forcing small businesses into bankruptcy with illogical and insensitive packaging requirements that have wiped products off shelves from Portland to Eugene.

Meanwhile, California, where I currently reside, is awash in “meh.” Why?

Because Prop 64, which passed with more than 57% of the vote on November 8 of last year, was highly contentious. Many of the voices I most respect in our culture were pro-64. I rode the fence at first, trying to remain objective as I developed articles about the topic for media outlet clients like MERRY JANE and Herb.co.

California stands divided over its new pot legality.

Then one client approached me about an article regarding why Prop 64 was a bad idea. Having already written a piece for youth-oriented Herb.co about why so many California cannabis cultivators were against the well-funded voter initiative, I declined the opportunity.

Intelligent, seasoned voices—like those of Los Angeles NORML director Bruce Margolin and veteran canna-comic Ngaio Bealum—were hard-core pro-64 and screaming it from their social media. I thought about it carefully, searched my soul, and drank their Kool-Aid. I had joined the pro-64 bandwagon.

I don’t regret supporting Prop 64 in California—and I’m happy it passed. However, I can still empathize with small family farmers in places like Oregon and the Emerald Triangle of California. These independent businesspeople, who are often very good at cultivating or processing the kind herb, are sometimes not so good at running a business. And the paperwork that comes with going legit in states like California is detailed, tricky, and expensive to develop. Props to those who get their shit together enough to pull it off. 

The complex regulations being introduced at the municipal, county, and state levels in states like California and Colorado are making even old school attorneys and the most experienced consultants confused.

A 40,000 sq. ft. commercial cultivation facility in Eugene, Oregon.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the “greenrush,” the emerging cannabis industry in the coming years. Yes, states like California, Oregon, and Colorado will lead the way in this cultural and economic revolution. But don’t forget about states like Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine—all of which legalized adult use cannabis last year in the November elections.

— Gooey Rabinski


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Craft Cannabis Series: Colorado’s DuraBowl

In my cannabis travels, one of the most prominent themes I encounter is that of small craft businesses that fear the onslaught of large corporations during the current emergence of the American cannabis industry that is popularly labeled the “green rush.”

Often motivated almost entirely by profit—and with little true understanding of the cannabis plant or our culture—some fear that the megacorps will drive out the small players. The “mom and pop” shops, so to speak. 


Welcome to the first in a series of articles regarding the craft cannabis business in America in 2016. For this debut piece, an obvious candidate rose to the top of my list: Lauren Ely, the founder of DuraBowl

Craft Business Focus

Craft business lies at the heart of Americana. Millions of immigrants have come to this country to enjoy a way of life predicated on hard work, a competitive spirit, and the provision of quality and value to customers. It’s simply good karma. 

Wall St. profit mongering and mega-corporations may seem as “American” as Twitter, M&Ms, and the latest iPhone to the youth of today, but these social elements decidedly were not the goal of the founders of this nation. Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave—and that is not an intentional double entendre. 

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The DuraBowl: All the hip kids know. (Credit: DuraBowl)

DuraBowl is one such small company. Based in Colorado and founded by Lauren Ely, a passionate advocate of freedom and human rights, this startup provides convenience, value, and practicality to its customers. 

I love being outside. Seems I’m either madly pumping my carbon fiber ballerina (bicycle) down a Texas highway to stay healthy or I’m stomping through shrubs and climbing sharp rocks to get that perfect sunset photo.

Regardless, I’m in love with the DuraBowl. Why? It simply works.

[The unit accommodates up to six grams of finely ground flowers, but concentrates can be added for a more medicated weekend. The solid ceramic construction means the DuraBowl is always cool to the touch. Allow the chamber to cool post-toke and replace the child-proof cap and you’re once again safely and securely on-the-go.]


Outside Medicine

When exploring the great outdoors, safely and conveniently storing and smoking cannabis is essential. Rainstorms happen (and are wonderful). However, smart stoners don’t take their heady glass when visiting the nation’s mountains, rivers, and beaches for good reason.

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Inclusive philosophies—and the execution thereof. (Credit: DuraBowl)

What about those in newly legal states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington? Or the stalwart genesis state of all things quality cannabis: California?

Coincidentally, these areas offer a wealth of outdoor activities and support what are arguably the most vibrant tourism markets in the nation. However, dropping an $80 glass pipe onto a rock face in Boulder or off a cliffside in Santa Cruz isn’t the type of pyrex problem that puts a smile on the face of most pot smokers….


DuraBowl = Tough Kit

Enter DuraBowl. This unique product, produced in Colorado by a small startup company, is what my British toker mates would call “tough kit.” I personally cherish my DuraBowl because it embodies a creative solution to smoking on-the-go. It is this innovative spirit that is at the heart of great products that serve customers of today—not yesterday.    

Affordable, practical cannabis smoking products—made in America—aren’t necessarily easy to find. With so much low-quality stuff mindlessly and unethically stamped out in China, products aimed squarely at fans of the cannabis culture, that also put Americans to work at fair wages, are a very refreshing change.

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In style at the cabin with the DuraBowl. (Credit: DuraBowl)

DuraBowl. It’s so simple. Maybe that’s the genius of it. But you don’t want to hear me wax lovingly about this affordable product. The words of Lauren Ely are much more impactful.

Lauren Ely, Founder/CEO DuraBowl

“I saw Ben Cohen, of Ben and Jerry’s fame, speak at the national convention in Vegas in 2014—I was so inspired. I hope to build a company known not only for its high-quality products, but also with a reputation for excellent ethics that gives back to the community.

“We have seen the result of profit at the expense of workers and the planet; it’s time to reverse that disastrous course.”

Q & A

The following Q&A was conducted with Lauren Ely, the founding CEO of DuraBowl, in May of 2016. I’ve met many greedy, shortsighted founders in the emerging cannabis industry; Ely isn’t one of them.

Toker tip: I have found a small 3/8″ screen to work perfectly in the DuraBowl.


Gooey Rabinski: “When did you decide to build a better pipe for cannabis consumers on-the-go?”

Lauren Ely: “This is something that most definitely evolved from my own experiences. I am a Gen Xer from the East Coast, so I grew up during the “Just Say No” years of prohibition. Not only was the brick weed terrible compared to Colorado kindbud, but the prevalence of paraphernalia was also limited.  

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Leaves on the flowers of healing.

“There is a saying in the cannabis culture that if you give a stoner some weed, but no pipe, they will suddenly become MacGyver in terms of their ingenuity.

“In college, I remember smoking out of apples, tin foil, and aluminum cans. Not only does metal taste terrible, it is being linked to Alzheimer’s disease! I wanted a better solution. I have also shattered many a glass bowl while away from my carpeting. I was also tired of my pockets and purses lined in weed. So we solved these problems with DuraBowl.”

[Ed: As shown in the photos herein, the DuraBowl features a child-proof twist-lock lid that prevents herb from escaping during transport or storage.]

GR: “How did living in Colorado inspire the design of your durable pipe?”

LE: “Colorado is an incredibly outdoorsy state. The culture here revolves around being outside in many different ways. We’re known for our winter mountain sports, of course. In the summer, there is hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and tubing. Most Colorado people love being active!

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DuraBowl: Part of one’s waterproof outdoor kit. (Credit: DuraBowl)

“For less physical culture, we have a great local music and comedy scene and our breweries are second to none. And, of course, even if you are just hanging out with buddies for a smoke sesh, the ease of transporting a loaded DuraBowl—or three—will make you a welcome and honored guest. Especially if it is filled with dank Colorado kindbud.

“I wanted something easily transportable to enjoy all the culture Colorado has to offer.”

GR: “Living in Austin, my house is 100 percent ceramic tile floors. I dropped the DuraBowl on the floor recently and was more concerned about the tile than your ceramic bowl. Fortunately, both survived my sloppiness….

“How important was achieving a reasonable price point so consumers can have two or three DuraBowls for a weekend of medicine and fun?”

LE: “Very important, not only for the purpose of having several you can load up and take out, but also because these pipes are brandable. I can brand with logos for companies (ask your local dispensary), but I can also do more fun branding.

“Holidays, festivals, jam bands…even personalized wedding pipes. We can do all of these things. So we wanted to achieve a price point that would allow our customers not only to have several for daily use, but as commemorative pieces as well.  

“The alcohol industry is doing this with wine labels now, so I wanted the cannabis aficionado to also have brandable, affordable item. It’s also a great price point for a small gift for the cannabis lover in your life. We are similarly priced to the larger, mass-produced bowls made in China. DuraBowl offers many more advantages, however.”

cannabis-for-performance-enhancement-gooey-rabinski-4

Respecting the plant and patients.

GR: “What does the future hold for DuraBowl?”

LE: “We are currently out-of-stock and about to produce our next run. We are a baby company, indeed. But we’re excited that we have gotten some really good reviews—as well as some helpful suggestions regarding how we can improve our product as we grow.

“I would definitely like to offer more design options for our consumers in terms of color, cap design, and different bore sizes—for both the novice and experienced smoker.

“We also are looking at adding some other products that fit with our mission, which is brandability and portability for the smoker on-the-go. Hopefully soon you will find the DuraBowl on the shelves of local dispensaries, head shops, and convenience stores that sell pipes.”


I got “lifted,” as my Austin-based CBD mentor Dr. Ed Martino would say, to write this article with some graciously accepted Northern California outdoor organic—stuffed in a DuraBowl while listening to vampire songs on Spotify.

It was pretty groovy. I encourage you to try it.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Being Legal

[Updated February 13, 2017]

Last year,  my friend and colleague, Paul Christopher in British Columbia, suggested that it might be time for me to move “up north” to take advantage of Canada’s liberal cannabis laws and a more enlightened culture.

After months of soul searchingly pondering my direction in early 2015—and seriously considering leaving the cannabis movement to return to corporate America—I made the decision to move the West Coast of the United States.


Location, location, location. The mantra of retail sales affects other areas of our lives, the most dominant being our residence. I’ve made no secret of my intention—and need—to relocate to a state in which cannabis is legal, culturally accepted, affordable, and readily available.

I recently joked in social media that an enticing role would be that of Editor-At-Large for a magazine, traveling the United States seeking out patient stories and gorgeous photos of everything cannabis.

how-will-cannabis-advocates-leverage-2016-4

The southern point of the Emerald Triangle.

In the end, we are all the Editor-At-Large of our own life. We have the option of pursuing adventures and taking risks, of venturing forth in the direction we are led by positive influences.

Risk. Vulnerability. It’s all frightening.

I’m scared. You’re scared. Unsanctioned authorities are always in our way, fighting compassion and the efforts to educate and re-legalize cannabis. It is a daunting struggle, our cannabis legalization gig.

Sometimes we have to sit down, introspect with humble intention, and make some decisions.

Mine has been to relocate to Northern California. I came this close to moving to Portland (and may ultimately end up there), but business opportunities in Humboldt County attracted me to this particular location.

image

Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California.

I don’t know enough about the cannabis plant. I don’t know enough about how it helps patients. And, when living in places like Austin or Cleveland, I can’t conduct face-to-face interviews with third generation family farmers or photograph their gardens.

In 2017, I’ve re-emerged in a more enlightened area of our great nation. I’m lucky; nothing was holding me back.

But I will dispense with some kind advice: Surround yourself with people of intelligence, enlightenment, compassion, and drive. Business colleagues and friends who lack these qualities will pull you down. Your goals are your own, but fellowship with likeminded others should be a very selective process (do not easily give your trust).


Postscript: I’ve been in Humboldt County now for six months. I haven’t posted much because I’ve been taking on new freelance clients and traveling (the Seattle Hempfest was educational). Watch for reports of my adventures from Twelve High Chicks, Herb.co, CannaBiz Journal, and The Emerald Magazine.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Herb.co, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads,  CannaBiz JournalWeed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and The Emerald Magazine.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Vampire Bar Series: Werewolves of London

Welcome to the latest installment in the Vampire Bar series. You can check out previous articles here. 666 words for your convenience.


The song “Werewolves of London” began streaming through the British speakers from my Spotify playlist The Muse Loves Cannabis.

He was so mellow, I think he’s still not pissed that he’s dead.

I remember meeting Warren Zevon when an undergrad. I’d love to say I was intelligent enough to have interviewed him, but no. He was the most humble and chill famous dude I ever met. He was so mellow, I think he’s still not pissed that he’s dead.

But I digress. The Muse certainly wasn’t dead. She was very much alive.

toking-you-are-doing-it-wrong-gooey-rabinski

A beautiful young toker at a celebration in Ohio.

She freaking saw me. Great. She’s one of those. Jaded pessimism—delicately delivered via a combination of hormones, endorphins, cannabinoids, and neurotransmitters in my body—crept over me.

Goddamnit. Now what?

After all, the only reason I came out of the vampire and cannabis closets was to give a little perspective to this whole herbal prohibition topic. Prohibition: What a friggin’ joke.

I’d spew a plethora of profanity (what one new powerful female friend says is a sign of intelligence), but I made a commitment to mostly PG-rated writing. I don’t want to repel the very people we are trying to educate: Average American voters who need to approve state-level ballot initiatives to legalize cannabis.

Most vampires live a very long time. And are exceptionally healthy. And require little food. And need relatively few hours of sleep. But we still must have some sleep or, like humans, we will lose our minds and experience significantly degraded performance.

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Buds resting on a copy of SKUNK Magazine.

The lust for Scrabble and motorcycles: That’s pretty much just me. Although most vampires are pretty fast with a keyboard or touch screen under their fingers. We have good dexterity, which comes in handy….

Not all vampires drink tons of coffee, indulge in frequent dabbing, or have a thing for dangerous, beautiful woman with above-average vocabularies.

Vampire culture is one of the few areas of life that is more overwhelmed with false stigma and misinformation than the cannabis culture. Think about it.

Those who have spent any time with me in the past: I’m sorry if your skin is crawling and you’re freaking out a bit right now. Yes, that’s right, I was in your living room. I may have used your bathroom after a couple of local craft beers. Note that I didn’t bite you or suck your blood.

Well, there was that one brunette from California. And the Aussie writer chick in Portland with the amazing vernacular. But again, I digress….

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Blues/folk virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter from Cleveland.

Back to The Muse (silly distracting Spotify): She literally looked in my mental and spiritual sock drawer—and I didn’t even know someone had entered the bloody house—let alone was in the room and standing at the foot of my bed.

I’m going to have to think about this one for a while. In the meantime, I’m partnering with some of the most innovative, creative, and powerful voices in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry to bring you their stories.

Maybe that will be the end of my vampire life. When words are no longer used and everyone just sucks down all their news, entertainment, and communications on YouTube or via some crazy Snapchat plug-in.

My daughter Bean (vampires can reproduce, both with themselves and humans), who has 12,000+ Instagram followers, says most of them “use emoji as a second language.”

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Bean Rabinski embarrasses her father on Instagram.

Yes, dear readers, this vampire will have no reason to live after words are no longer an accepted or mainstream channel of communications. The Ducati will hit a tree at 140 MPH amd that will be all she wrote.

Or all I wrote, rather.

But fear not. Like I said, vampires live a very long time….


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Vampire Bar Series: The Muse

Welcome to the second installment in the Vampire Bar series. In respect to your time, articles in this series will be exactly 666 words (just as those in the Gooey’s Cannabis Queries series come in at precisely 420 words each).

Check out “The Vampire Bar,” the first piece in this series. It resulted from a pleasant Sunday afternoon on 6th Street in Austin, Texas while drinking a Shiner beer—with no anticipation of discovering a real vampire bar.

Little did I know how that single yellow Shiner bottle would change my life. And, as a vampire, that’s a very long life. You don’t wanna know.

This story reminds me of the time I toured the Spoetzl Brewery where Shiner is lovingly crafted. You could smell the vampires—and not necessarily friendly ones—in that ancient little Texas town. But that is a story for another time….


The irony of this installment is that it didn’t occur at the vampire bar. In fact, certain humans literally conspired (with herself, but who’s counting?) to prevent said vampire cannabis writer from even reaching his favorite bar.

She was successful. I never saw 6th Street on Saturday evening (as I had planned for nearly a week). Tsk tsk. Hidden agendas are always tripping me up. I must be a young soul.


I could smell her—even though she was 1,768 miles from my comfortable seat in North Austin. Her scent, mixed with a bit of this superlative Jack Herer sativa cross from the Pacific Northwest, had me thinking about the music in the air.

The songs of Pete Townshend, delivered via magical Spotify data packets and shitty service from Time-Warner Cable, wafted through my home office. Only minutes earlier, images of her had appeared on multiple touch screens in my vicinity. Then she evaporated, as if she was only a daydream that rapidly diluted into reality.

“Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!”

Now it was Thomas Dolby and the 1982 classic “She Blinded Me With Science” steaming from my playlist. “Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!” sang Dolby (or whomever he hired for the bit) in that satirical faux mad scientist voice.

My delicate relationship with the very organic muse was like a geeked-out spring romance—only with more purpose and solid business undertones (vampires gotta pay the bills, after all). But the emotional and intellectual tension: One could slice it off and spread it on their toast like cannabutter. Yea, that powerful.


Truth be told, I can barely smell humans. These details will be revealed as time goes on, but don’t believe the Hollywood memes and that whole approach to vampires. It is almost—almost—total crap.

Hollywood’s treatment of vampires has been total crap.

You see, all humans aren’t the same. And that’s not to support some Nazi bullshit that claims we can discriminate based on skin color, socioeconomic background, age, or gender preference. Holy shit, what is this, 1820 and we’re Amish? Please.

However, not all humans are the same. But I believe all are worthy of a fair shake. If they waste it…well, I’m not nature. I’m not karma. I’m not the one who catches up with them and requires payment. Again, not a vampire thing. Most of us are not vigilantes or blatant justice seekers, like some twisted dark Marvel superhero.

This muse, she was different. Her image seared right through my cover story as Arctic Monkeys drove home those gritty, sensual, drum-inspired rock songs.

She knew. How could she know?


Bite into the next episode in the Vampire Bar Series….


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

CBG-A: The Mother of Cannabis Cannabinoids

If you don’t have time to read or are driving, check out this audio interview I did with Cannabis Health Radio in May 2017: Episode 132: Cannabis Chemistry 101 with Technical Writer Gooey Rabinski.

— Gooey Rabinski


Let’s talk about cannabis efficacy for patients. Not just those with terminal cancer or severe epilepsy, but also any human with any ailment involving an imbalance in their endocannabinoid system.

The CBG-A molecule.

My personal goal is to educate. I want to change voter behavior. I want to give patients and adult users a better understanding of the medicine they are putting in their bodies. Or considering putting in their bodies.

This article is just such an attempt. It is the result of a need to clarify misunderstanding and make the relatively complex and often confusing world of cannabis chemistry more palatable to the average consumer and voter.


Many cannabis consumers are familiar with the major cannabinoids THC and CBD, and even minor variants such as CBC. Some are also aware that these miraculous molecules are formed within the nearly microscopic shimmering resin glands of the cannabis plant called trichomes.

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The clone room in a commercial garden in Eugene, Oregon.

These miniscule medicine factories appear mostly on the flowers and sugar leaves of the plant. However, they can also sometimes be found in different forms on the fan leaves and even stalk of the plant and produce all of the cannabinoids and terpenes within the kind herb.

111 cannabinoids have been discovered in this plant since 1940, when THC was first identified (although it was later independently discovered in 1964 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the date that is typically cited).

For simplicity and clarity, this article will consider four primary, common cannabinoids within the plant: THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG — as well as their universal acidic precursor, CBG-A (more about precursors below).

One should informally consider the “g” in CBG-A to stand for “genesis.” This unique cannabinoid is the chemical source of many others, including all of those mentioned above. In fact, cannabis would offer zero euphoric value and be of very little medicinal significance if it weren’t for these particular cannabinoids.

CBG-A is a special acidic precursor that gives birth to cannabinoids that are therapeutic for a wide range of diseases and conditions, from arthritis to Crohn’s to cancer. In fact, a 2013 research study in Israel revealed that cannabis puts Crohn’s into full remission in about 50 percent of cases—yet many states in the U.S. continue to exclude this severe condition from their medical cannabis laws.

Intelligently Target a Disease

This article could easily transmogrify into a 5,000 word academic treatise. As an alternative, readers are encouraged to investigate the links embedded herein to understand the tremendous efficacy of cannabinoids like CBG (the source of which is CBG-A), including the major players CBD and THC. Armed with this and a basic knowledge of acidic precursors, the endocannabinoid system, endocannabinoid deficiency, and the entourage effect, readers can more intelligently target their disease therapy or lifestyle goals with the most optimal strains and forms of cannabis.

There are an estimated 1,000 or more strains of cannabis available throughout the United States (some sources, like Mara Gordon in California, cite as many as 6,000 strains). Selecting between the categories of sativa and indica and drilling down to a particular variant, such as Girl Scout Cookies or Durban Poison, is an exercise of no small consequence for patients and adult users.

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A backyard bush in Toronto, Ontario.

Understanding the basic chemical components of cannabis involves the reward of targeted therapy, harm reduction, and enhanced anxiety relief—even for those relegated to playing black market bingo in prohibitionist states.

For regular middle class smokers and vapers, cannabis can be a considerable expense within one’s monthly budget. A core knowledge of the plant and its interplay with special receptors in the human body can help save money—or, at least, help one spend the same money on a considerably more satisfying blend of cannabinoids and terpenes that best fit their personal metabolism, preferences, and condition.

Acidic Precursors

In the world of botany and biology, chemicals beget chemicals beget chemicals. Molecules morph under certain conditions—such as heat, light, and oxidation, to become slightly modified cousins of themselves. While their new chemical structure might be only slightly different, it is often enough to cause a dramatic shift in medicinal efficacy for patients or a different psychoactive effect for adult users.

Acidic precursors are slightly different versions of cannabinoids that, under the right conditions, change to become the familiar molecules used to medicate or gain euphoria for millions of patients. Take THC, for example. It is the most common and abundant cannabinoid (by volume) in most strains of cannabis. It is created by its acidic precursor, THC-A (sometimes denoted as THCA or THCa).

When heat is applied to THC-A, as from the flame of a lighter during smoking or the hot air stream produced by a vaporizer, this precursor drops a carbon dioxide (COO) cluster to become everyone’s favorite molecule, THC (this process is called decarboxylation, because it decouples a carbon and two oxygens).

Similarly, CBD, CBC, and CBG are also created by acidic precursors: CBD-A, CBC-A, and CBG-A, respectively. All of these acidic precursors are themselves born from CBG-A. In this aspect, CBG-A is a mother of many critical and medicinal cannabinoids. In effect, CBG-A is indirectly responsible for a wide range of positive medical therapies, including the following:

  • Anti-cancer: THC-A, CBD-A, THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG
  • Analgesic (pain killer): CBG-A, THC, CBD, CBC, CBG
  • Anti-inflammatory: THC-A, CBD-A, CBC-A, THC, CBD, CBC, CBN-A, CBN
  • Anti-spasmodic: THC-A, THC, CBD
  • Appetite stimulant: THC
  • Appetite suppressant: THCV
  • Bone stimulant: THC-A, THCV, CBD, CBDV, CBC, CBG
  • Bronchodilator: THC
  • Sleeping aid (anti-insomnia): CBD, CBC, CBN

Therapeutic Conclusions

The chemistry of cannabis can become complex and confusing for laypeople. However, a small chunk of knowledge regarding the role of a few dominant cannabinoids can be helpful in delivering insight into the therapy of the plant and why it is considered by many to be such a potent medicine that is almost completely lacking in addiction or harmful side effects.

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Macro shot of a hybrid strain cannabis leaf.

Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for asthma sufferers. However, upon further investigation, it is learned that it is actually THC that is delivering relief in its role as a bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory, the two types of relief most critical to patients directly prior to or during an asthma attack.

Several other cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBC, and CBN, also deliver anti-inflammatory efficacy, but only THC provides a specific bronchodilator benefit. In addition, the significant ability of cannabis to fight anxiety, one of the primary triggers of asthma attacks, means that it is a superb preventative. The best asthma attacks, of course, are those that never occur.

In 1973, Dr. Donald Tashkin, a professor of medicine and lung expert at UCLA, discovered that cannabis (in the case of his study, smoked) acts as a bronchodilator. Of course, vaporized cannabis is equally, or more, effective while avoiding potentially harmful carcinogens and other impurities present in smoke, but not vapor.

Because Tashkin understood that it was the THC molecule that was delivering efficacy to patients, he attempted to develop a special inhaler. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful due to the relatively large size of the THC molecule. Tashkin also cited too much coughing on the part of patients.

It should be understood that several studies have indicated that CBD offers excellent anti-inflammatory properties for sufferers of conditions like asthma, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even bursitis. One 2012 study conducted in Europe indicated that CBD is effective in reducing inflammation in acute lung injuries, while research from 2015 found that CBD not only reduces inflammation in asthma sufferers, but that it also results in a decrease of mucus hyper-secretion, a major symptom of this bronchial condition.

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Pre-prohibition. Cannabis tinctures populated every shelf….

Perhaps it is fortunate that most commercial and black market strains of cannabis feature more THC than any other cannabinoid. Note that it is the only appetite stimulant listed among this set of cannabinoids, including their acidic precursors. When combined with its role as a bronchodilator—and considering that it is also an anti-spasmodic, fights cancer, is a powerful pain killer, and acts as an anti-inflammatory—it is no wonder so many cultures across the globe have celebrated cannabis for tens of thousands of years.

More About THC

It just so happens that THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has a strong binding affinity with the CB1 receptor within the body’s endocannabinoid system, mimicking similar chemicals produced within the body called endocannabinoids (such as anandamide). Thus, in a literal lock-and-key metaphor, THC molecules precisely fit into the CB1 receptors found primarily within the brain and central nervous system. The result: Medicinal efficacy and psychoactivity, sometimes in the form of euphoria.

THC is the only major cannabinoid to provide a psychoactive effect and epitomizes the often stereotyped and stigmatized characterization of cannabis that portrays the herb as delivering nothing more than couchlock, intense appetite, and a lack of motivation. Strains high in THC, especially sativas, have been found to be especially effective in battling depression, PTSD, and anxiety while allowing patients to remain productive.

Understanding CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most recognized cannabinoid found within the plant. It provides considerable medicinal relief, but delivers no psychoactive effect. It has its highest binding affinity with the body’s CB2 receptors found throughout the immune system and related organs. CBD is most effective in fighting cancer, pain, inflammation, and seizure activity. It is also one of only two bone stimulators in this group of cannabinoids and, along with CBC and CBN, is an excellent sleep aid for those with insomnia.

CBD oil is a popular therapy for childhood and adult epilepsy sufferers, many of whom find little or no relief in traditional pharmaceutical drugs. More than a dozen states have passed CBD-only laws allowing a very limited set of conditions—sometimes only epilepsy—to qualify for use of this non-euphoric oil. Some anecdotal cases have revealed that CBD-only oils may decrease seizures within some epileptic children from a hundred or more per day to only a couple per month. For both sufferers and their parents, the efficacy of this special cannabinoid is no small matter.

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Macro shot of trichomes in Humboldt County, California.

However, it should also be noted that new research is indicating that only about 30 percent of childhood epilepsy patients experience a significant reduction in seizure activity on a CBD-only therapy. The vast majority of patients—about 70 percent—gain the greatest efficacy from a THC/CBD blend. Some children have even experienced an increase in seizures following a daily regime of CBD-only oil.

Said Jason David, the father of a seven-year-old boy with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy:

“The worst seizures Jayden ever had on medical cannabis was while we were using [CBD-only oil].”

Brian Wilson, a former East Coast resident who moved to Colorado in 2014 to take advantage of its medical cannabis legislation, is another parent of a child suffering from Dravet syndrome epilepsy. During an interview with Ladybud in 2014, he said:

“CBD is a very important part of the mix, but only part. We saw minor seizure control and developmental progress with CBD alone, but we didn’t see real seizure control until we added measurable levels of THC to the mix.”

Understanding CBC

CBC, or cannabichromene, is a THC booster and pain killer. Along with THC, CBD, and CBG — as well as their acidic precursors — CBC has been found to fight cancer. It should also be noted that many major terpenes also feature anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties, including limonene, pinene, and myrcene. In fact, myrcene, like CBC, is a THC enhancer because it helps a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes pass through cell membranes. In this manner, it allows more THC to reach brain cells.

Consider two fictitious strains of cannabis, Bubba’s Boutique and Purple Revenge. Both have a THC potency of about 15 percent. But assume that Bubba’s Boutique has a small percentage of CBC and more myrcene than normal, while the Purple Revenge doesn’t. Bubba’s would deliver a more potent THC effect in the form of medicinal efficacy and psychoactivity due to the CBC and myrcene that went along for the ride, acting like traffic cops in paving the way for THC molecules to reach their CB1 receptor destinations in the brain and be most effective.

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

Lake County, California (2006).

CBC’s analgesic ability is believed to be the result of an interplay with THC. It is theorized that CBC’s anti-pain powers are derived from its role in increasing THC’s pain relieving properties — not necessarily CBC’s ability to do so independently. This is an excellent example of the entourage effect and how cannabinoids, terpenes, and the body’s own endocannabinoids work together synergistically to produce psychological and physical relief.

Understanding CBG

CBG, or cannabigerol, is the “princess of pot” in terms of being the child of the queen of cannabinoids, CBG-A. It delivers a significant amount of medicinal benefit. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid has been found to be a pain killer, an anti-cancer agent, and — along with CBD and CBC, an anti-depressant.

It is, in addition to THCV, CBDV, and CBC, among the small subset of bone stimulants in this group. It is present in large quantities in many types of hemp, the variety of cannabis almost completely lacking THC. (Legally, in North America, a strain of cannabis can contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be defined as hemp.)

Another potential advantage of CBG is that it seems to counter the paranoia that is delivered by some high-THC strains of cannabis. In this respect, it conveys the opposite effect of myrcene and CBC. Strains high in CBG have been found to be effective in treating glaucoma due to how this cannabinoid helps decrease pressure within the eye and expedites the drainage of fluids.

The value of CBG is being recognized by the cannabis breeding and cultivation communities, which are responding with new strains that are high in CBG, which is typically present in only small quantities within most varieties of cannabis. One example is TGA Genetics Subcool Seeds, which has created a strain called Mickey Kush that is rich in both THC and CBG.

Why Is So Little Understood?

These chemical processes become even more complex when one considers that THC sometimes degrades into CBN, which in many respects is simply stale THC. Likewise, CBC-A can result in CBLA, a cannabinoid about which very little is know other than that it is an anti-inflammatory.

Given the stunning medical value that has been uncovered to date by only limited research studies and anecdotal reports from patients and caregivers, the fact that research is being discouraged in the United States is a travesty to tens of millions of patients suffering with dozens of diseases related to or resulting in pain, nausea, inflammation, or depression.

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A small backyard grow in Cleveland, Ohio (2005).

In the big picture, humans are relatively ignorant of the cannabinoids and terpenes in this herb, including their delicate interplay. Until cannabis is removed from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, little research and no human trials will occur in the United States. This is despite the fact that international studies and volumes of patient testimonials indicate that cannabis is a powerful, holistic, and versatile medicine—for both physical and psychological diseases—that carris few or no negative side effects.

Under Schedule I, however, cannabis is considered to have zero medical value and to be dangerous and highly addictive, where it resides with drugs like bath salts and heroin.

In fact, both methamphetamines and cocaine reside in less-restrictive Schedule II, meaning they can be prescribed by a physician and are supposedly less addictive than cannabis. Until Congress and more corporate and policy leaders act to change this situation (a logical solution would be moving cannabis to Schedule III), consumers and patients will continue to suffer under ambiguity and a lack of scientific fact.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Understanding Medical Marijuana

I wrote Understanding Medical Marijuana to reach average, middle class Americans in an attempt to convince them that cannabis is real medicine for patients and no threat to “recreational” users.

You can download Understanding Medical Marijuana – Gooey Rabinski here.

Please spread the knowledge. Enlighten others. Don’t complain about pot prohibition, high prices, or pesticides and then  do nothing. All it takes is a bit of understanding for voters to change their habits and push national legalization in the United States over the edge.

Victory is in sight. But we must push harder than ever now….

—  Gooey Rabinski


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, MERRY JANEThe KindSKUNK, Grow MagazineCannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, CannaBiz Journal, Herb.coGreen Flower Media, Twelve High ChicksCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

The Vampire Bar

I had time for only a quick Shiner Bock and then the slow, colorful walk up 6th Street to the truck. I didn’t want to leave.

The low light, cheap burgers (vampires know good meat), and charismatic staff had me glued to my bar stool.

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A cheerful patron in his early 40s—but who gave the impression of a guy in his 30s—plopped down beside me and we began to talk.

At some point in the conversation, as I always do, I had to broach the topic of work. Everyone—including the waify woman at the UPS Store in my neighborhood—had reacted positively to the topic of herb in Austin.

“I can’t believe I make my living writing about weed,” I quipped baitingly.

“I can’t believe I make my living writing about weed,” I quipped baitingly.

As the conversation continued, the tall vampire redhead behind the bar with the alluring tatts politely interrupted.

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and the fact that you write about pot for a living. I’d like to talk to you more about that….”

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and the fact that you write about pot for a living. I’d like to talk to you more about that….”

“Please don’t tell my family. They don’t understand weed or vampires,” I retorted as I slipped the concentrate vape pen from my pocket. A few clicks of the button and the battery was fired up as I handed it to one of the few real vampires I’ve met in a long time.

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As she walked to the back room to avoid violating the smoking and vaping laws she’s obligated to enforce upon her customers, the dude beside me and I continued our dialog.

“Pot?” asked my temporary compatriot.

“Yea. Some dirty Austin BHO supposedly from California. It’s called ‘honey oil’ in places like Canada and Oregon. But you can’t trust any of these black market labels. It’s mostly bullshit.” I said.

“This stuff is potent, however. And better than most,” I added. “The concentrate wizards of Portland laugh at it. But it’s the best I’ve found on the Austin market, considering that I haven’t been co-mingling with humans much….”

My impromptu drinking buddy queried, “Do you have a business card?” After toting those slick green laminated bastards with me for weeks in Portland, I suddenly found myself without them. Had frolicking among the humans caused me to forget work for a brief period?

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“Um, this is kind of a no-work day. Although I can’t stop taking photos—but that’s par for the course. Sorry, Presbyterian joke.”

I leaned over and asked, “You have a smartphone, right?”

“Sure,” he replied as he whipped out his iPhone.

“Type ‘Gooey Rabinski’ into the search engine of your choice.” Voila, instant business card. I love the 21st century.

About then my tall vampire friend returned and ever-so-stealthily slid the vape pen across the bar and into my hand—complimented with a sultry smile that I’ll forever cherish.

Returning the smile, I finished my Shiner and bid my new friends goodbye. But not before promising to return to the bar to discuss the kind herb with the tall redhead vampire sporting the dangerous smile….


Bite into more articles in the Vampire Bar Series:


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

Finally, a Diversity Summit

Thanks to loyal readers for tolerating my walkabout time in Portland, Oregon over the past few weeks. I’m back in Austin and enduring cannabis prohibition with the Rolling Stones and Arctic Monkeys playing in the background….

What is on my mind, however, isn’t rock music. Or even cannabis prohibition. It’s inclusion. My time in ultra-progressive Portland impressed me with the inclusiveness of its culture. Which is great for Portland and the state of Oregon….

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The clone room of a 40,000 sq. foot commercial garden in Eugene, Oregon.

What about the rest of the country? The fledgling cannabis industry is struggling to promote the voices of many minority players, plain and simple. This is only exacerbated by the introduction of big money to the game. Old, established powers are simply rebranding themselves—often under a nefarious cloak—and entering the green rush in an effort to boost their existing profit margins.

Unfortunately, the values of the establishment often clash with those of various segments of the patient and adult user cultures—as well as the various leaders, businesses, and organizations that populate this highly fragmented movement.

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry, commonly known as the “green rush,” has left many segments of the movement-cum-mainstream-business adrift in uncertainty.

Will the future of legal cannabis be diverse and inclusive across socioeconomic, gender, gender preference, and racial lines?

What will be the influence of—and opportunity for—minorities as legal cannabis products and services begin to produce trillions of dollars in revenues and billions in taxes?

Many fear that those who have been marginalized in mainstream society will also suffer within the newly emerging cannabis industry. To ensure a healthy economic ecosystem, the green rush must produce companies and leaders who are capable of breaking from the old rules to embrace a more collaborative framework that truly serves the needs of patients and adults users in the 21st century.

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Cannabis Diversity Summit organizer Charlo Greene (photo credit Go GREENE).

Inclusion, diversity, and a passion for patients will be an inherent part of our culture and industry if Anchorage-based cannabis legalization activist and entrepreneurial dynamo Charlo Greene has anything to say about it.

Cannabis Diversity Summit

Her advocacy group, Go GREENE, has organized the first Cannabis Diversity Summit, a unique event intending to—as its name implies—offer education, inspiration, insight, and networking for minority participants wishing to succeed in the cannabis industry.

“Cultivating diversity and inclusion is our proud duty,” Greene told me during an exclusive interview. Unlike much of the old money entering the cannabis industry, Greene’s passion isn’t rooted in profits.

“Cultivating diversity and inclusion is our proud duty.”  — Charlo Greene

To maximize benefit to participants, the Cannabis Diversity Summit is a free event and will also be livestreamed online at charlogreene.com. It will be held Sunday, May 15 at the smoke-friendly Nativ Hotel in scenic Denver. The Summit will be an opportunity for all participants to network and exchange ideas. Mentoring relationships will be encouraged to help new members of the cannabis industry gain knowledge from seasoned experts.

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Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

The Cannabis Diversity Summit will include a Saturday, May 14 VIP networking mixer and dinner—featuring a special speaker—on the evening prior to the event .

_______________________________________

Charlo Greene Q&A

Gooey Rabinski: “What motivated you to organize the Cannabis Diversity Summit, something that has not yet been done in this industry?”

Charlo Greene: “It’s clear that ensuring an inclusive industry for black and brown people is the last priority of cannabis event organizers. Do you know anyone living in a community devastated by prohibition that can afford a $1,000 event pass to gain access to the opportunities the cannabis industry offers?

I don’t.

So I’m taking it upon myself to bring the information and opportunities to the people that really need it—at a price I know they can afford: Free.

Why? Because if not me, who? I cannot, in good conscience, sit idly by and watch the opportunity to re-empower the communities that have been abused by our broken justice system pass. We only have now.”

GR: “Charlo, what do you hope the effect of your Cannabis Diversity Summit is a month into the future? What about six months or a year from now?”

CG: “A month into the future, I expect to see more black and brown faces publicly advocating for cannabis reform and starting cannabis businesses than ever before.

Six months from now, I expect to see black and brown community leaders rallying against voter initiatives that claim sick kids matter, but black lives and the lives of everyone else needlessly locked up over cannabis don’t. And I expect current members of the cannabis industry to no longer sit in silence when watching their colleagues advocate for higher barriers of entry into the industry.

A year from now, I expect the advocates with Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, and the Drug Policy Alliance that are helping write voter initiatives and policies to realize that people of color are now watching. They can no longer make concessions that will allow police to continue using cannabis to criminalize members of our communities.”

GR: “Is this the beginning of more efforts to cultivate diversity in our new industry?”

CG: “Absolutely. The Cannabis Diversity Summit happening in Denver is the first of many long-overdue community discussions that we know will inspire immense change. How? By providing education and opportunity to the people the really need it. All free-of-charge.”

GR: “See you in Denver on the 14th….”

CG: “I’m looking forward to it!”


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The cannabis-friendly Nativ hotel in Denver, site of the Cannabis Diversity Summit.

All participants in the cannabis industry can do more to embrace and create an inclusive, representative culture that fosters collaboration and strong creative forces and fairness within the industry. In fact, without this cooperative spirit, the industry will miss an opportunity to do things right.

Let’s begin with a common base of knowledge and a perspective worthy of this amazing plant and its ability to help humanity. The Cannabis Diversity Summit is a great start. Let’s hope we see more of this type of organized activism in the future. 


Cannabis Diversity Summit Agenda

  • Cannabis industry pioneers sharing how to get into the new legal industry.
  • Game-changing activists offering invaluable insight on winning the fight for reform.
  • As a show of unity, representatives from all active cannabis advocacy and industry organizations with a focus on diversity will have the opportunity to present.

Perspectives from thought leaders of color on the following topics:

  • Legislation
  • Regulation
  • Law enforcement
  • Advocacy
  • Marijuana as medicine
  • Mass incarceration
  • And more….

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Cannabis for Spirituality

I recently explored the topic of coming out of the cannabis closet, comparing this life event with the traditional LGBTQ+ definition of the term.

In the past, I’ve explored the topic of holistic wellness, use of cannabis with intent, and the conceptual framework of mind, body, and spirit. Today, let’s focus on spirit.

This is undoubtedly the most diverse and ambiguous of the three major areas in which cannabis can help humans. For some, spirituality is a devoutly religious area of their lives. For others—many of whom are agnostic or atheist—spirituality is different. It may encompass anger management, improvement of interpersonal skills, athletic prowess, sexual performance, or even the quest for purpose in life.

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Grinding cannabis flowers old-school at the NW Cannabis Club in Portland.

One’s spirituality is also strongly influenced by their particular place in life. Have they recently received a big promotion? Maybe they’ve suffered the untimely death of a loved one. The discovery of new romance is always a spiritual energizer. Divorce can be both defeating and liberating at the same time. Other positive milestones include a diverse set of life events experienced by close friends and loved ones (think graduation, one’s first home, a new motorcycle, or a highly anticipated pregnancy or birth).

For me, spirituality is seeking truth. This obviously occurs on two levels: The objective, physical reality around us (tech, social media, and communications advancements are all based on this increasing scientific knowledge) and our subjective, personal perspective.

It is this personal perspective for which I gain such tremendous benefits from cannabis. Like many of you, I’m not very happy with the state of things in the world at the moment. Yet, the reality is that things are better than ever.

Wealth distribution still sucks and minorities—including Hispanics, African-Americans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community—are still marginalized and persecuted on a daily basis. But things are still better than at any point in history (aren’t you glad you weren’t born 300 years ago?).

And then there’s cannabis prohibition. If you’re like me and you’ve decided to medicate daily and with intent to improve wellness, life in the majority of the United States can be challenging and frustrating. Obtaining safe, quality cannabis medicine that’s most appropriate for one’s condition(s) and lifestyle is between impossible and very difficult (not to mention exceedingly expensive and never covered by health care).

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The clone room in a 40,000 sq foot commercial facility (Eugene, Oregon).

Thus, I use cannabis to tone my frustration, so to speak. To help put things in perspective and give me that elusive state of mind we call patience.  The ability to employ a careful, slow strategy in one’s career, activism, or personal relationships is often paramount to success. Does cannabis help with this?

If one has clean, quality medicine: Yes.

At least it does for me. Recently, my use of cannabis with intent for thoughtful introspection and strategizing my career and personal life has resulted in a desire to explore the specific subcultures touched by cannabis.

I’ll need cannabis more than ever to put things in perspective and help prevent me from drinking anyone’s Kool-Aid along the way. I’ll need it to gain the confidence to proverbially walk into entrenched, cloistered subcultures to gain their trust and learn their stories. Specifically, stories of how cannabis helps them with mind, body, and spirit and is woven into the fabric of their personal, financial, and social lives.

The next time you’re feeling down or are on the verge of losing hope, think of the long game. Imagine national legalization of pot. Visualize every city in the United States sporting dozens or even hundreds of legal dispensaries (just like beautiful Portland, Oregon), most of which offer safe access to laboratory-tested, premium-quality cannabis medicine.

A lofty goal, no doubt.

Seeing beyond the ignorance, bigotry, and stereotypical thinking of prohibitionists and conservatives is no easy task. Bearing the brunt of daily criticism or even rejection from neighbors, friends, or co-workers because of a simple cannabis lifestyle is just part of the reality of being a modern user of the herb.

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A cannabis legalization activist in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada).

While many of us, especially journalists, focus on the states and cities that have progressively legalized cannabis, like Portland, Seattle, and Denver, we must also remember that most of the nation doesn’t enjoy such luxury and safety. We must redirect our anger, align our thoughts, and push forward into the 21st century with optimism and a knowledge that cannabis will be legalized nationally within most of our lifetimes.

Because we didn’t come this far just to let the bad guys win, did we?

#crappleasesayno


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Project Portland: First Impressions

Welcome to the second in the series Project Portland, an exploration of what it’s like for regular cannabis consumers (including patients) to relocate to a state in which adult use of cannabis is legal.


I arrived in Portland shortly after midnight on April 19. I hadn’t considered the fact that this would be Oregon’s first 4/20 in which adult use cannabis was legal. While it might seem overly dramatic, I have to admit that it was an honor to spend 4:20 pm on 4/20 at the top of Mount Tabor in Portland. Both the young punks and the old school Deadheads were authentic in their mellow, passionate embrace and love of the kind herb.

And to all those who helped me with directions as I was looking for the entrance to this volcano mountain park (while running behind schedule and wondering if I would make it before 4:20 pm): Thank you.

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Yes, I will replace this with one of my own.

I recall a particular dreddied dude and his girlfriend with whom I briefly chatted as I was cranking up the mountain on my carbon fiber ballerina. Amongst the thousands of cannabis consumers on the mountain, turns out he and his cute partner were friends with the cultivator smoking the monster joint in the photo below.

Small world, eh? He looked at me and said, “You worked hard to get up the hill. This is your karma…” as I dragged on the large cone handed to me for the third time. Dig the sharing culture.  #warmandfuzzy

I have been staying in the SE section of the city. I quickly learned that this town is basically split into quadrants, each with its own culture, affluence, and art and food scenes.

I do have to admit, the presence of good dispensaries and a very robust cycling culture—in addition to my new favorite coffee shop on Division, Dapper & Wise—has attracted me to the southeast area.

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A 25-year-old legal cultivator at the 2016 4/20 celebration on Mt. Tabor in Portland.

After a few days in this city, I can say that I had had to adjust my understanding of “good” cannabis. Yea, I’ve had good stuff before in places like Humboldt County, Vancouver (Canada), and Toronto. But not via legal dispensaries. For the first time in my life, I was able to walk into a shop and ask “Do you have Durban Poison?”

And when the friendly budtender replied “Yes,” I got shivers down my spine. Holy shit, Batman, this is the way this stuff is supposed to work. This is a culture feeding itself. This is amazingly enticing. For potheads, that is.

I endured blinding snow storms in New Mexico, failed brakes (thanks, Enterprise), and 2,100 miles of driving—instead of the comforts of a flight—to fully understand what it’s like to be a cyclist in Portland. While I have been blown away by legal cannabis, I have been even more impressed (and borderline shocked) by the sheer number of hardcore commuting cyclists in this city.

People here do everything on bikes. Don’t think “let’s go for a bike ride after dinner.” Think: “I go to the coffee shop, the dispensary, work, and the club on my bike.” Yea. And in numbers like you have never imagined. And yes, there are too many Toyota Priuses.

I was basically verklempt for nearly an hour as my attractive co-cycling host led me through streets like Clinton and Division on our way to the famous bridges on the river. It was in the 80s and sunny. I had not yet developed an appreciation for the fact that, at this time of year, these were some very special days involving relatively immaculate weather.

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Wild West Growers in Eugene, Oregon. Look for the feature article in June.

Today it is 59 degrees with scattered showers. But it’s fine. The wealth of artsy sculptures and a mellow environment at my purple “magic” house Airbnb is refreshing. The back yard is mesmerizing (I’ll share pics and video later and begin doing the Periscope thing).

If you love cannabis or are a patient and feel your batteries running low, plan a road trip to Portland or Seattle. Wipe your chalkboard clean. Blow out the carbon.

Regardless of what you call it, simply do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

Because sometimes tomorrow is too late. Me? I probably got lucky. But don’t underestimate the power of a blinding snowstorm and second life.

More to come….

P.S.: To Ally, the smart Aussie chick with the masters in English Literature: You’re a better writer than you think. Never give up; never surrender.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Project Portland

I am beginning to focus on developing several series of articles regarding cannabis wellness and science, not just standalone pieces. This has two advantages: 1) It allows for the creation of smaller, more easily consumed articles while 2) simultaneously permitting readers to explore a specific sub-topic in greater detail, if they please.

In other words, presenting learning content in the form of an article series, including multimedia elements, is a more practical way of consuming educational materials. If our overarching, collective goal as a movement, culture, and emerging industry is to educate average voters in the real science and value of cannabis, we must make facts and opinions easy to consume and comprehend.

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A cannabis legalization activist in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Our educational materials can’t require too much time or effort on the part of our target audiences, plain and simple. We must entice and reward, both intellectually and spiritually, those who question the efficacy of cannabis or its benefits to patients with PTSD, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, depression, anxiety, pain, and sleep disorders—among many other conditions.


Welcome to the first installment in one of these series: Project Portland.

Travelogues have never been my specialty. However, tens of millions of cannabis consumers across North America fantasize about living in a place where the cultivation, purchase, possession, and consumption of cannabis flowers, and derivatives thereof, are fully legal.

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I’ll replace this image with one of my own. Nice vantage point.

There are a few places in the United States—if you’re a cannabis advocate, way too few—where consumers can enjoy these progressive liberties. The shortlist includes Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Anchorage.

Exploring Oregon

Readers deserve to see beyond media hype, aggressive marketing, and social stereotypes to know what it’s really like for a patient or regular cannabis consumer to live someplace like Portland.

Because good investigative journalism doesn’t come easily and I like a good challenge, I’ll be spending a week in Portland over the 4/20 High Holiday to check out Oregon’s largest city (what better time, eh?). Just for safe measure, I’ll also be traveling south to Eugene to check out some of the local gardens and personalities.

Portland is known for many things, including its support of craft businesses (think breweries, coffee shops, dispensaries, and new companies like Smuggle Portland). It is arguably best known as the most bicycle-friendly metropolis in the United States. To test this part (because life is about more than just cannabis), I’ll be taking my bike.

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A backyard bush in Toronto, Canada.

Perhaps a more organic exploration of the city, via walking and cycling—while leaving the internal combustion engine car at home—is appropriate for the culture in Portland that embraces organic farming, cannabis medicine, the arts and music, and great food.

What Do You Want to Know?

Project Portland will be more impactful for all of us if you tell me what you want to know. Do you live in Ohio? Kentucky? Florida? Is prohibition weighing down on you like a 10-ton boulder—and making you wish lived in Boulder?

During 2016 and 2017, more than a dozen states will consider the legalization of cannabis for adult use. For the wave of legalization to continue, Americans must be educated in the real science of this plant and how it helps everyone, from terminal patients and those who need to survive current or previous abuse to those who simply need to mitigate stress.

We must, against all efforts of the U.S. federal government, throw off nearly a century of propaganda, misinformation, and fear mongering to achieve a more enlightened, science-based view of cannabis among the masses.

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A home garden in the American Midwest.

So let’s all gain an education together. I’m suited up with a new camera and several mobile devices to help ensure that the photos and videos that accompany the words herein are as entertaining as they are educational.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Gooey’s Cannabis Queries: Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at exactly 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).

— Gooey Rabinski


Today’s request comes from Nurse Mary J Hemp Tattoo Aftercare. She sells a groovy hemp-based lotion that ensures that your tattoo stays as perfect tens years from now as the day you got it. She is also a big supporter of cannabis education and learning. Which is how I met her.

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Nurse Mary J Hemp Tattoo Aftercare (Photo credit: Nurse Mary J).

Nurse Mary J is curious about the most common misconceptions of our favorite plant, cannabis. Great question, Nurse Mary J….


The Toke Hold: It might as well be called the “choke hold,” because holding one’s breath when inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor is actually counterproductive. Your lungs nearly instantaneously absorb the THC and other cannabinoids found in cannabis smoke or vapor.

According to Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, human lungs are able to accomplish this feat in part because they feature the surface areas of a tennis court.  In fact, when one holds one’s breath, all they achieve is depriving their brain of oxygen (a decidedly bad thing).

Cultivation Collateral: Some home cannabis cultivators falsely believe that allowing plants to grow as long as possible results in more cannabinoid-bearing resin or more potent resin. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true.

In fact, once the trichomes (nearly microscopic resin glands) on the flowers become cloudy, the harvested cannabis medicine will increasingly be narcotic indica-like. Less cloudy generally results in a more sativa-like, energizing effect.

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A home garden in the American Midwest.

Amotivational Syndrome: Many cannabis critics cite the ability of some strains to produce a lack of energy and motivation (what those in the culture often call “couchlock”). In reality, there are two types of cannabis: Sativa and indica.

Sativas have a reputation for being uplifting, energizing, and promoting creativity and productivity. Indicas, on the contrary, are often better for pain management, sleep, and appetite stimulation (great for patients with Crohn’s, cancer, and those undergoing chemotherapy).


Mango Mania: Let’s close with an urban legend regarding cannabis that’s actually true. Eating a mango can really amplify the effects of smoked or vaporized THC. Why? It’s because the mango contains a terpene called myrcene (pronounced “mur-scene”). Myrcene is known to amplify THC.

Steep Hill Labs in  San Francisco claims that >0.5% myrcene (by volume) in a plant results in an indica, whereas below this level will produce sativa-like effects in patients. 



All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, instructional designer, and photographer who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The Kind, Emerald MagazineSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, WoahStorkWeed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, CannaBiz Journal, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

The Universality of Coming Out

Recently, a colleague approached me with some feedback regarding a popular social media campaign within the cannabis community.

He’s not turned on by the fact that the #comingoutgreen campaign “borrows” on the LGBTQ+ theme of coming out of the closet—a metaphorical reference to the act of a person of alternative gender identity or sexual orientation no longer hiding their true feelings and intents.

The Act of Coming Out

When fully exercised, coming out involves either no longer hiding or even directly informing friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors of one’s position in terms of how they identify and what they want.

Coming out may have become a recognized life event for some because of the LGBTQ+ community, but it is an equally powerful experience of courage, rebirth, and honesty for millions of pot smokers and even those with serious diseases.

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Macro shot of a fuzzy backyard bee in Cleveland, Ohio.

Let’s explore the act of coming out, both in terms of one’s sexuality and also their cannabis consumption. And if you really want to give your evangelical Republican Aunt Mildred from Cleveland a heart attack, tell her you smoke weed, are gay, and are an atheist—all in the same sentence.

I’d like to be there for that one….


Coming out is a grand catharsis; a significant life event involving a brave defiance and self-confidence with which most straight, middle class “conforming” Americans simply cannot relate.

Catharsis & Truth

Coming out is the act of recognizing one’s true nature and declaring it for all others to see—with pride and determination.

It involves embracing catharsis and truth. We could argue over whether these elements are necessary for the happiness and contentment of the human spirit until the cows come home. My point isn’t to debate philosophy, but rather to proclaim the healing powers of honesty to oneself and those around them.

If the benefits of catharsis and truth are so great for one set of people, why not for another? Ok, so we have catharsis and truth behind the power of coming out. But there is an even more important theme: Inclusivity.

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A backyard cannabis plant (Toronto; 2007).

The entire concept of coming out, optimistically speaking, is that the majority will accept the minority member who is doing the coming out. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t always true.

For some, coming out has had very negative repercussions. I certainly don’t want to trivialize these challenging and sometimes even horrific experiences, especially for teens in homes with little or no sensitivity to their situation.

Inclusivity

Just as society at large must accept and, preferably, embrace alternative viewpoints and preferences like homosexuals and cannabis users as they emerge from the shadows, the leaders of the cannabis movement/industry/culture must also focus on inclusivity if they wish to accomplish their goals. This includes all users of cannabis, be they straight, gay, black, white, rich, poor—and regardless of how or if they pray.

Whether your goal is to see national legalization, help those in the cannabis and patient communities, or just to make a boatload of money with a business based in a legal state, the topic of inclusivity won’t go away. Groups like Women Grow and others are sincerely battling with this issue every day.

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Folk blues virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter (Cleveland; 2015).

Coming out requires boatloads of bravery and is not always without punishment of the innocent. Optimistically, however, it can result in a soul-liberating catharsis and integration of truth into one’s life.

But without inclusion, coming out doesn’t work. This fact is as important for the cannabis community as it is for LGBTQ+ people revealing their true selves to society.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

Cannabis for Performance Enhancement: Part 3

As promised, please find herein another episode of the intrepid adventures of a canna-cyclist who likes to get high and play in Texas traffic. That’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.

To catch up with the party, check these out:


I have to admit, the efficacy of cannabis for exercise—be it of the endurance nature or just a quick ride around the block—proved itself to me on my last cycling adventure in a way I simply had not anticipated.

Mechanical Meltdown

I should have guessed that a particular sound meant a mechanical breakdown was imminent. But the distracting click came and went. And when it wasn’t present, I was a happy, ignorant pig in asphalt mug, ignoring reality while I tried to avoid a close encounter with a Ford F-150.

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It no longer sits in the snow. #NotAustin

Not even two miles out, it happened. The manifestation of a mechanical meltdown. I was mired in merciless melancholy.

Actually, I was barely frustrated. In fact, I was slightly entertained.

I squinted at the evening sun as I considered pausing the Foo Fighters song on my iPod. Instead I elected to simply begin the awkward walk home. Those cleated cycling shoes are worthless off the bike (I deserve a prize).

Being late in the evening, with only about an hour of dusk left, I was out of commission for the day. I had screwed the pooch, as my U.S. Air Force-trained father would have said.


In a more wholly un-American move than I have pulled in several months, I was happy in the face of bad news. Instead of the ignorance-infused hate spewed by many eager candidates during this election season, I was going mad scientist Aussie and laughing at the crock.

It had been a stressful week. Disruption is often good and sometimes bad, but always stressful. I was in need of a beating on the bike. I had jonesed it for the duration of the day. As I finished my work, the anticipation of the ride continued to build, like some primitive lust for a harsh, familiar lover. (Meh, remind me to rewrite that….)

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Master garden in Humboldt County, California (2006)

Normally an episode of this nature could elicit more than a few select—and decidedly crude—words from my otherwise PG-rated lexicon. But not this time.

Having consumed cannabis during my funky deep-toking breathing exercises prior to my ride, I was medicated enough to do no more than silently laugh as I walked my carbon fiber ballerina the 1.8 or so miles back to the house.

As traffic zipped past on the busy boulevard, I smiled at a cloudy, puckered sunset. I doubt I would have noticed it had I been madly pushing down the road, all bike parts fluidly co-mingling in the synchronous mesh I like to call “the shit works.”

I certainly wouldn’t have taken it in as I was at that time, my skinny dilapidated two-wheeler in tow and the very real prospect of a fairly pricey repair bill awaiting me (enough to purchase plenty of herb on the Austin black market).

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The stuff that doesn’t always work….

Mechanical breakdowns, flats, and other maladies of the road are an inherent part of cycling. They’re actually a large slice of what make it special, if you can follow that twisted logic. A long ride lacking a breakdown or tire puncture is obviously always one for the win column.

“Suffering such problems is merely part of the risk. And maybe why I and a couple million other road cyclists get so excited about it.”

Performance = Rolling with the Punches

My breakdown was actually one of the best days of the cycling season. As ironic and mildly psychotic as that sounds, it’s true. I know my nature. I know how I typically respond to things.

If conservatives want to balk at my playing in traffic “high,” I’ll simply counter with the fact that I’m not the one popping pills and sucking down sugar and alcohol all day long as I text and check Facebook in rush hour traffic.

You think I don’t see the flasks, fries, and ADD-addled driving when I’m on the road?

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Home grow in the American Midwest

I don’t believe cannabis is a drug; it’s an herb. Pot is no more a “drug” than the oak tree in my backyard. People need to use those slick smartphones for more than Twitter and sexting and research stuff every now and again.

But let’s assume cannabis is a drug. Ok, fine. My “drug” helps me deal with stressful situations with calm alertness, maturity, and rational confidence. Try that with booze or pharmaceutical drugs.

Pot doesn’t shut down my mind or perceptions. In fact, it heightens them. This is why some get paranoid, especially newbies who don’t have solid canna-mentors. With cannabis, regardless of the situation, I can retain my manners and respect for others. Unlike booze, I can maintain my personal dignity—even when the shit hits the fan.

Pot vs. Booze and Pharmies

I seem to recall friends and colleagues who took a variety of pharmaceutical drugs over the years telling me how they experienced disturbances in sleep or sex drive or became angry or depressed or experienced anal bleeding or any number of truly nasty symptoms. Anecdotally, it seems that well over half the time, the condition for which they were taking the drug never—or only temporarily—abated.

For those of you afflicted with TV commercials: If the narration must speed up by a factor of 2.5 to include the legal disclaimers for a drug commercial, you might wanna reconsider your wellness strategy.

Oh yeah, cannabis for performance enhancement. Now where was I?

Professional cyclists have gotten so pissed that they’ve thrown their bikes into the ditch. Anger is a nasty beast. The ability of cannabis to mitigate the anxiety resulting from mechanical breakdowns when on the road is…well, let’s say significant. At least in my experience.

Once such a lesson in calmly dealing with a crappy situation is experienced, and the benefits become apparent, the same intelligent strategy can be employed—with or without cannabis. Just because one learns a lesson when experiencing the mild (or not so mild) euphoria of THC is no reason they can’t remember it and live by it at all times—high or not.

Workday Benefits

Invaluable is the ability to roll with the punches and live with a happy memory—instead of the embarrassment of having blown a gasket (mine, not the bike’s).

If cannabis can do this during endurance exercise, what can it do during the workday? When caring for children? Reports say quite a few Americans—as in possibly 10 percent of the workforce!—consume cannabis before or during their workday.

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Cannabis eased the pain of the brakes being applied to my ride

Are they gaining similar benefits to my experience? Are they not “going postal” on an unreasonable boss or an incessantly obnoxious co-worker because they’ve experienced the calming and sometimes positive intellectual effects of a good hybrid or sativa cannabis?

The cycling season in Austin began in mid-February. It will last until November. We all still have a lot to learn. There will be plenty more unanticipated pros—and possibly cons—of consuming cannabis with the goal of performance enhancement.

Stay tuned and subscribe so you don’t miss any future installments in the Cannabis for Performance Enhancement series.


All text and photos Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a senior technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, SKUNK, Cannabis CultureHeads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Exposing the Lies of Cannabis Prohibition

I’m having another challenging day.

Not drunk-throwing-whiskey-bottles-across-the-room challenging, but I’m sufficiently frustrated that it’s putting a dent in my mood. It’s nice that cannabis has the power to calm one’s mind, mitigate anxiety, and put us on a path to intelligent introspection that may lead to better decisions.

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Era of final-stage pot prohibition.

Once again, I’m pissed off by cannabis prohibition. I was raised to approach life from a science-based perspective and to employ critical thinking and logic when assessing a situation.

You can see why people of this mindset might get a tad frustrated with the situation of cannabis being illegal in the United States. This is a situation that has pervaded for 80 years (as of August of this year).

Everyone has an opinion. I try to respect them all. But the chemistry of the human body is not an opinion. The behavior and nuances of neurons, cell walls, metabolites, endorphins, long-chain proteins, and endocannabinoids cannot be swayed by propaganda or corporate agendas.

Nearly each day, I communicate with very sick patients around North America. Many are so ill they cannot hold a job. Some scream out in pain over social media because they are relegated to prohibition regions where black market bingo is the only game in town. They either have poor medicine, cannot find cannabis, or simply can’t afford it.

As a result, many patients are financially constrained. In New Jersey, Chris Christie’s twisted example of a state medical cannabis program charges such patients $500-550 for an ounce of top-shelf cannabis medicine. Now that’s one for the WTF file….

What’s wrong with this picture? I could toss out dozens of other examples for why the seemingly science-fearing, anti-cannabis mindset (and behavior) of conservative forces in the United States hurts patients on a daily basis.

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New Jersey governor Chris Christie. M&Ms aren’t his only problem (not my photo).

I honestly don’t want everyone in the world to think like me. I enjoy being unique, as should you. I’m not trying to convince prohibitionists that I’m right. I’m trying to convince the citizens who voted for them that their elected officials are hypocrites and propagandists.

I don’t see another way to oust the corrupt leaders whose actions prove they have no compassion whatsoever for society’s most frail citizens. We’d be fools to further tolerate their smoke and mirrors.

Could it be time for our smoke?

Unfortunately, dethroned politicians typically just slither back to their law firms and corporate consulting gigs—if they can resist the temptation of lobbying money. But the masses hold the power. General Motors and Toyota are nothing if no one purchases their vehicles. Johnson & Johnson will wither and die if nobody buys its bandages and toothbrushes.

Even a cursory overview of the hard research (as in human trials) reveals a strong efficacy of cannabis for patients. Conditions from cancer to anxiety to multiple sclerosis to dystonia can benefit from pot. As I’ve discussed in the past, this is simply because cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and THC-A are such powerful medicine for symptoms such as inflammation, nausea, and pain.

Cannabis advocates have the moral high ground. They have science.

The situation sometimes makes me think that, if we allow prohibition to continue longer, it’s our bad. I’m not suggesting violence or militant rebellion. But we need—as a culture, movement, and industry—to better communicate to the masses the science of cannabis and how it truly helps patients.

My parents don’t get it. Yours likely don’t. Despite our progress, the majority of the country is mired in ignorance that has spawned decades of suffering and billions of dollars wasted in a fruitless war on drugs begun more than 40 years ago.

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Some beautiful homegrown plants from the American Midwest.

But don’t waste your time trying to convince the staunch conservatives and Luddites. It’s not worth it. Focus on the innocent—and often naive—citizens who elected them in the first place.

Make them smart, give them science, and touch their hearts.

Even conservatives and arguably most evangelicals are pissed off by patient suffering (the recent actions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints notwithstanding). Human compassion permeates political allegiances and programmed partisanship. Take advantage of their humanity and simply give them the information and examples that they need.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

The Power of Critical Thinking

Recently, I was feeling beaten. Battered. Tired of the game of cannabis prohibition, I was yearning for more progressive neighbors than I find in Central Texas.

Despite the trendy music and art culture and hipster neckbeards abundantly scattered throughout Austin, the fact that I’m a daily consumer of cannabis—but live in a prohibitionist state—was weighing on me.

And the real kicker: This is the case with the majority of cannabis consumers in America. Despite great progress in states like Oregon, California, and Washington, most patients and adult users are simply playing the same ol’ game of black market bingo, often with stiff penalties if they get caught.

Anger & Intelligence

Anger isn’t an intelligent emotion. It almost never improves a situation or is a recommended strategic interlude during one’s planning sessions. Like tens of millions of other cannabis advocates around the world, I was not happy.

I took my downtrodden, pathetic self and attacked the road on my bike (think carbon fiber, not Harley Davidson). It was a blatant and desperate effort to forge through the mental and emotional fog that was thwarting some of my best attempts to be productive and drop insightful words into articles.


Research is a big part of the jobs of writers. While finished articles, books, and courses are often sexy (stick with me, here), the research that enables their creation typically isn’t. From flakey Wikipedia entries to bad links buried in academic research papers, my days often aren’t worthy of entertaining discussion at the weekend barbeque.

With such a torrent of information passing through my eyes and ears, I’ll admit, standout pieces are rare. I sometimes just shut it all down and go spend time in nature or playing in traffic (cycling) in an effort to escape from the same tired memes and oversaturated article topics streaming through social media.


Then, one evening, after a restless post-ride sleep that, while physically refreshing, left me mentally frustrated and still full of angst, I found a burning bush.

The Burning Bush

I was trying to rationalize my state of mind. “Challenging days are good,” I thought to myself. “Hard days give you empathy for patients, like folks who can’t get out of bed or are relegated to a wheelchair,” I preached to my jaded mind.

I imagined what a traumatized sissy I was, waylaid by a single mildly confrontational day. I was able to physically get out of bed this morning. I was able to work. My fingers functioned on the keyboard. I was able to eat unassisted.

What the hell was I whining about?

I was angered by things like placid bureaucrats and unresponsive senators. Stories of families uprooted from conservative states such as Kentucky, Ohio, and Kansas to move to more enlightened areas, where they or their children can gain safe access to laboratory tested, high-quality cannabis medicine, were a big part of my negative feelings.

Regardless of how much Denis Leary or The Doors I listened to on Spotify in an effort to improve my mood, it just wasn’t working. Even my mad, sativa-pimped cycling adventure missed the mark (losing myself in riding is typically my break-glass-in-case-of-emergency move).

Then I came across a photo on Twitter of a middle aged man in the suburbs urinating in the gas tank of a car (he resembles my deceased grandfather, sans the beer).

Research. Politics. Botany. Psychology. Chemistry. It all became seemingly so absurd in light of a photograph of an adult peeing into the side of a late model Ford Taurus, replete with a can of what appears to be Budweiser precariously perched on the trunk (maybe the Photochop experts in my reader base can discern this detail).

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And then something magically simple happened: The poster asked for feedback on a video he had put on YouTube.

You know what? It was one of the best damn videos I have watched in a long time. Was it the massive production budget? No. The amazing CGI effects? Um, not quite. The sexy cleavage heaving forth from a young blonde more intent on discussing her contrived opinion of rolling papers than the plight of sick patients?

No again. Thank effing god.

It was critical thinking. It was a young person brave enough to plug in his brain, use it, and speak truth to power—with his face on camera.

In a world enamored by a massive amount of shitty content, the good stuff sometimes seems oh-so-rare. Making it oh-so-fantastic when one finally trips across these golden nuggets of information.

Instead of me describing it further, why don’t you check it out for yourself? Watch it before you go to bed, and think about what you heard as you attempt to drift off. Especially if you’re getting to sleep with the pharmaceutical drug Ambien instead of a good cannabis indica.

How safe are the people who are being addicted to opiates by a medical establishment that places profits over patients?

The power of social media and mobile technology is creating a revolution in how information—and opinions—are expressed and shared. Don’t make my mistake and get so frustrated that you forget the power that resides in your keyboard or webcam.


All text Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a senior technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, SKUNK, Cannabis CultureHeads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His freelance work appears online at Green Flower Media, The Kind, Whaxy, and others.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Cannabis for Performance Enhancement: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series,  the topic of potential performance enhancement gained from the consumption of cannabis by folks indulging in exercise was discussed—specifically endurance athletes.

Can amateur or professional athletes really gain solid, measurable improvements in their performance via cannabis therapy? A lack of research prevents solid data from being presented to skeptics. However, disbelievers and prohibitionists have neglected or dispelled solid data for decades, so the availability of such metrics may not be the solution to convincing the unenlightened.


I’ve been thinking quite a bit—especially when on the bike—about the bronchodilation effects of cannabis. I’ve earlier written about how I perceive cannabis, when used with intent and breathing exercises directly prior to exercise, to purposefully expand airways within the lungs and, thus, aid in respiration.

This, in turn, can result in a significantly better exercise session. For endurance athletes specifically, it allows them to push harder and achieve milestones with greater efficiency and speed. Which is kind of a big deal.

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Some people balance their lives by hitting the road

One nice aspect of any form of exercise is that one can indulge at a minimal level, “taking it easy” on a run, ride, or swim. Likewise, one can push extremely hard, testing their limits. For those who like to push themselves, certain physiological results are typically predictable.

Burning Lungs

While all people are different (something very important to remember when considering the efficacy of any herb or medicine, including cannabis), most runners or cyclists can anticipate a certain set of results from a hard core endurance session.

During a session, these can include fatigue, shortness of breath, a runaway heart rate, and even dizziness, disorientation, or heat stroke—if one pushes things too far. These are symptoms that, especially for older individuals or those who are not in shape, are serious and should not be taken lightly.

When using cannabis to expand passageways in the lungs (via deep breathing exercises while smoking or vaporizing), I have noticed a decrease in the burning in my lungs that typically accompanies a hard ride and the accompanying rapid, intense breathing.

Pushing Hard

In situations where I want to push harder, like when I’m playing in traffic and racing cars off the line (fun is a serious part of a balanced life, no?), I find that I’m able to push harder and sustain a relatively higher level of effort. I can also sustain this greater level of effort for longer periods, it seems, than in the past.

I can simply exert, or achieve, a higher level of energy than when I wasn’t using cannabis with the intent of improving my performance. At least that is how it feels.

For the first time since I’ve purchased my current road bike, I’ve felt as if I am finally becoming in good enough shape to leverage the performance capabilities of this amazingly light road machine.

Some may label me a zealot, but I attribute much of this benefit—not experienced in years past when I was not using herbs with intent—to be derived from cannabis. The combination of a decrease in anxiety with the improved lung capacity delivered by THC is, to me, a winning combination.

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A young toker in Toronto, Canada

Because I don’t feel the burn in my lungs and the overall signs that I’m pushing my system to the limits of its capacities, I’m able to push harder and enjoy the ride considerably more. I understand that skeptics might argue that I’ve simply dulled my senses and am not aware of the damage I’m doing to my various parts of my body.

Resuscitating Ride Recovery

However, if cannabis was simply masking my pain (pain management is one of its most powerful capabilities, after all), I’d pay the price during not only the second half of long rides, but also in recovery for the next day or two.

But I don’t. In fact, my recovery seems to progress faster than ever. Pro athletes who use cannabis are telling me the same thing. In fact, when asked the number one benefit of pot for elite athletes like themselves, they note improved recovery.

In some respects, especially after a long ride, I’m shocked that within just a few hours to think that I covered the distance I did or achieved a particular average speed. I don’t seem to suffer the punishment that I did in the past when riding hard and trying to attain a weekly mileage goal.

I had always considered a certain level of physical suffering to be part and parcel to the endurance exercise experience: We push hard, our bodies hurt, and we recover. Rinse, repeat the next day.

Now, however, I feel as if my cannabis-free riding years were plagued by unnecessary pain, minor injuries, and slow recoveries that could have been not only faster, but also more pleasant. Meaning I could have pushed harder on the following ride, improved my training, and achieved a feeling of success (obtaining goals, in all areas of life, is certainly psychologically healthy).

There are numerous benefits to a faster recovery for any athlete, from the most casual amateur to the best of the pros. It really comes down to a more enjoyable experience and the ability to safely get back on the road or trail or in the swimming pool for the next session.

An important side benefit for the average athlete: A more enjoyable experience is one that a person is more likely in which to again indulge. Nobody, but nobody, will argue with the fact that, within reason, more exercise is better than less exercise.

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The gears that make it go

When using cannabis as an aid in recovery, many of the typical negative aspects of the beating to which I expose my body seemed to be significantly decreased—such as muscle soreness, injuries, low energy, and overall fatigue.

Also note that all of my observations are occurring at the beginning of this season of riding. I’ve been blessed with a nice climate in Central Texas, which allowed me to begin serious riding in mid-February. This is precisely why this is part of a series.

Take my testimony with a grain of salt now because of the launch of the season. Wait until July or August, however, to really see how things are going (subscribe to my blog and you won’t miss a single installment).

Preventing Injuries?

I spoke at length in Part 1 of this series about the way cannabis can reduce anxiety and, thus, improve one’s focus on their exercise. However, I also believe that this reduced anxiety may help aid in preventing injuries.

Stick with me here. When pushing hard on a bicycle or running in a pair of Nikes, our bodies are tense. They’re under load. If we are unnecessarily stiff, tense, or employing the wrong body position or form, the chances of causing or suffering an injury are objectively greater.

In my own riding, I have noticed that I am more easily able to position my body for the optimal riding position. Because my lungs are not burning, I can maintain that position for a longer period of time and exert more effort during the entire session.

thoughts-on-suicide-gooey-rabinski-6

A home garden in the American Midwest

Aches and pains that sometimes manifest themselves as minor injuries haven’t plagued me this season. That certainly doesn’t mean they won’t. So far,  a minor problem with my ankle and typically recurring  pain from a college knee injury have either disappeared or simply aren’t putting a dent in my performance.

That, quite frankly, has shocked me. It’s premature to attribute this preventative advantage to cannabis. It may simply be that I love the Central Texas air. Or maybe it’s lessons learned from past seasons that I’m unconsciously incorporating into my training that are producing a large portion of these positive pot perceptions.

The Psych Game

Most professional athletes will tell you that the main ingredient to success in competitive exercise is the right mental mindset. In other words, most of the secret sauce is in our heads (or not).

One element of the endurance exercise experience that is often neglected is an athlete’s emotions. Did they learn of a pending layoff at their company and are now worried about losing their job? Did they suspect that their spouse is having an affair? Have they encountered financial pressures? Are their children having difficulty in school or being bullied?

All of these factors can easily dull an exercise junkie’s edge during a session. If cannabis did nothing more than ease some of the stress that results in anxiety—which disrupts mental focus—it would be a wonderful supplement to one’s training diet and highly recommended.

thoughts-on-suicide-gooey-rabinski-1

Are we listening to our bodies?

Fortunately, cannabis also aids in reducing inflammation and pain, which is why pro athletes who use cannabis are telling me in interviews that they find the most efficacy from this herb in terms of aiding their recovery.

I’m curious to get the opinions of readers about the role of anxiety reduction in exercise. While most will probably focus on how cannabis can kill pain during or after strenuous exercise, I want to learn about how anxiety reduction aids riders or runners both physically and mentally.

Please Note

Please note that there’s no hard science behind my observations. They are purely anecdotal and very subjective. This isn’t a double-blind placebo-based human trials study being conducted by a reputable academic institution.

Also keep in mind that your proverbial mileage not only may vary from mine, it will. In fact, some folks just aren’t cut out for endurance exercise at all—like I’m not cut out for chess or cooking you dinner. We all have our things, and if exercise isn’t yours, the entire topic of performance enhancement from cannabis may be moot in your world.

However, those who do gain benefits will do so in sometimes markedly different ways.

And, just think: If cannabis can provide these types of fine-tuning results for endurance athletes, what could it do for you? Could it help your mental focus on the job? Could it help you be a better parent? A better student or volunteer?

Which begs the question: Does relieving pain, anxiety, and depression aid in performance? This one seems easy: Undoubtedly. I simply don’t need a research study to embrace this viewpoint. And neither should Congress.

How have you noticed cannabis helping your performance? Let me know in the comments below. 


I’m curious to get the opinions of readers about the role of anxiety reduction in exercise. While most will probably focus on how cannabis can kill pain during or after exercise, I want to learn about how anxiety reduction aids riders or runners both psychologically and mentally.


All text and photos Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a senior technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, SKUNK, Heads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.