Author Toke of the Town

David Schubert, the senior author of the Salk Institute study on THC and Alzheimer's disease.Courtesy of the Salk Institute

David Schubert, the senior author of the Salk Institute study on THC and Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study suggests that marijuana may have potential for protecting brain cells against Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in the June 2016 issue of Nature, the study found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, and other active cannabis compounds could block the progression of the disease.

Lab tests by the Salk Institute, a Southern California, non-profit research organization, showed that marijuana compounds could remove harmful amyloid beta proteins, the plaque that accumulates on brain cells, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The compounds in the study also significantly reduced cellular inflammation, a major contributor to the onset of the disease.

For more on the study, read L.A. Weekly‘s article on the effect of marijuana on Alzheimer’s disease.

BuzzFeed reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis on Merry Jane's show, Highly Productive.Courtesy of Merry Jane.

BuzzFeed reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis on Merry Jane’s show, Highly Productive.

Housed in a nondescript brick building in West Los Angeles, there’s a revolution brewing in marijuana media.

And Snoop Dogg is at the helm.

In late 2015, with the help of media entrepreneur Ted Chung, the hip-hop star launched Merry Jane, an entertainment company that creates pot-centric editorial and videos extolling the positive benefits of cannabis. Other big-name partners on board include Seth Rogen, Guy Oseary and Miley Cyrus, who haven’t been shy about their love of pot.

For more, read L.A. Weekly’s full story about Snoop Dogg.

Mary Jane’s Medicinals is one of a few cannabis companies that offer "hash baths."Andrea Berry

Mary Jane’s Medicinals is one of a few cannabis companies that offer “hash baths.”

The night Dahlia Mertens first dropped some marijuana leaves in her bath was a revelation. “I couldn’t believe how relaxed it made me feel,” Mertens says. Soon after she created her signature “hash bath” mixture. “It’s essentially a big tea bag of cannabis mixed with lavender, chamomile and peppermint and some bath salts,” Mertens explains.

The “hash bath” is part of Mertens’ Colorado-based Mary Jane’s Medicinals topical product line, which she founded in 2010. Mertens currently works with a growing number of Los Angeles dispensaries that offer her non-psychoactive, marijuana-infused massage oil, lip balms, salve and bath products.

For more, read L.A. Weekly’s story about pot’s role at the spa.

ask_a_stonerWestword

Dear Stoner: Read your answer about smoking without the smell last week, but what can I do about removing the smell from my car? I don’t smoke in it, but it reeks every time I leave weed in there for more than thirty minutes.
TC

Dear TC: You don’t like the smell of skunky jet fuel after a long day? I suppose it can be quite a tease if you have a long drive ahead of you. Still, I’d love to have Durban Poison or Texas Hash Plant air fresheners — but that’s just me.

If you don’t want your friends, family, dates, Uber passengers, etc., smelling your stoner habits when they’re in your ride, throw your weed bottles in a Mason jar — and throw that jar in the trunk. Even if you were already keeping your stash locked in a childproof container, it’s still better to keep it in the back in case an overzealous cop pulls you over and notices it. (Think of it as an open container of beer.) If you’re too lazy to walk to your trunk, leave some fast food on the front seat for a half-hour or so. You could also smoke a cigarette, but I like the smell of french fries more.

KIND Financial's CEO, David Dinenberg, at the company's headquarters in HollywoodDan Smarg

KIND Financial’s CEO, David Dinenberg, at the company’s headquarters in Hollywood

When KIND Financial began in 2014, it was supposed to be the Wells Fargo for weed growers and dispensaries.

“I was initially going to be KIND Banking,” CEO David Dinenberg says. “I was going to be the marijuana bank.”

He says the idea struck when he was watching a 60 Minutes segment on marijuana businesses, which mentioned that the industry had no banking, credit cards or financial services. “If you had sneezed or coughed during the 15 seconds that this information was presented, you’d have missed it,” the impeccably dressed Dinenberg says, sitting in an airy conference room of his Hollywood office. Soon thereafter, he began learning about the cannabis industry. “The research evolved into a business plan,” he says. “I gravitate toward a problem and not the story.”

To learn more, read L.A. Weekly‘s full story about KIND Financial.

Thinkstock

How important is pot to Colorado tourism? “It is the elephant in the room,” said Cathy Ritter, the new state tourism head, who moved here from Illinois, shortly after she started in January. “Everyone does want to know about the impact of marijuana in Colorado.”

Author Mindy Sink wrote her first Moon Denver guide back in 2008, when the green rush to Colorado was just beginning. The third edition came out last month, and the fact that Moon Denverhas expanded to include Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins isn’t the only new twist. The subjects covered have expanded, too, with dispensaries added to the more standard tourist recommendations for sights, restaurants, nightlife and accommodations. That makes it the “first general-interest travel guide to be published with marijuana tourism included,” according to the publisher, Avalon Travel.

Budtender Jason McDaniel behind the counter at Sticky Medz in Los Angeles.David Futch

Budtender Jason McDaniel behind the counter at Sticky Medz in Los Angeles.

Behind every counter at L.A.’s medical marijuana dispensaries is an expert who knows what strains are best for pain relief and which brownies best quell nausea caused by chemotherapy.

These experts are called “budtenders,” and their profession is a new career choice, whether they’re stocking the shelves and studying labels or learning medicinal properties and caring for the afflicted.

To get to know this quirky group, read more about California’s budtenders via L.A. Weekly.

ask_a_stonerWestword

Dear Stoner: I have a metal pipe that I can unscrew and clean, and the other day I had a great idea: What if I put a nug in there to get nice and sticky after smoking a few bowls? Will it be more potent?
JustBlaze

Dear Blaze: Now I know why natives get so annoyed with transplants, because no one who grew up here would ever think of doing such a stupid thing. No offense. Yes, sticking a nug in a pipe while you smoke can be a jailhouse way of coaxing it to get you a little higher, but it comes at the cost of your tastebuds, lungs and brain cells. That black stuff that covers the inside of your pipe is basically tar with some THC in it. Smoking it gets you high, but it’s not worth the damage it does to your lungs or brain cells while you’re coughing for five minutes — and it tastes like Bigfoot’s dick.

Take advantage of the beautiful state you live in, where pot enhancement is readily — and, more important, legally — available. A small drop of hash oil over a bowl will get you higher than a tar-coated nug ever could; some dispensaries even sell buds that are coated in the stuff. A small pinch of kief will also do the trick, and you can collect that yourself if you buy a grinder with a screen in it. Whatever you do, stay away from the metal hardware.

tinctures.800Westword

Dear Stoner: I just got some pot brownies, and I’m not planning to ingest them for two weeks. Do you think the potency will still be the same, and if they’ll be okay to eat? Can I heat them up if they go hard?Tasnim

Dear Tasnim: We’ve talked to multiple cannabis bakeries and kitchens about the shelf life of edibles, and all of them have said that edibles are pretty hard to tarnish in terms of potency, so two weeks definitely wouldn’t be long enough to harm your brownies. The “normal” ingredients in them are what you need to worry about, because they’ll decay much faster on your kitchen counter than THC would. Throw the brownies in the freezer if you’re scared of spoilage, but that’s just to fend off mold, not THC degradation. Freezing definitely beats food poisoning — and what a waste of pot that would be!

Take care when heating up frozen edibles — which usually have the texture of cold turds — as THC will slowly start to fade at temperatures over 200 degrees Fahrenheit (and die altogether at 392 degrees Fahrenheit). But most microwaves don’t take food above 212 degrees, so there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference in potency after the short fifteen seconds it takes to warm your brownie. Throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or wash it down with a fatty glass of whole milk to increase the effects.

ask_a_stonerWestword

Dear Stoner: I hate dry pot. My roommate says he puts his on the bathroom counter, turns the shower on hot and lets the steam bring it back to life. Thoughts?
Monte

Dear Monte: Few things are worse than pinching a bud and seeing it crumble to dust — as so many of your dreams have. But cheer up: We’re here to help. First, dump whoever is selling you withered pot. This isn’t Kansas; there are plenty of people selling healthy weed in Colorado. If you need to resuscitate some dying nugs, though, don’t use the shower method. It’s not a bad idea in theory, but I’ve heard stories of mold appearing after this procedure. Besides, there are other options that use much less water.

Skin your favorite citrus and put a few of the peels in a jar (no bags) with the dry herb for a day, shaking the jar every few hours and burping it for fresh air. Or substitute slices of bread, lettuce leaves or tortillas for the citrus; they’ll do the same trick and won’t add a fruity flavor. You should only need a little of whatever you’re using; check the buds frequently to make sure they’re not getting too wet. My favorite method is to throw one or two fresh, damp buds in with the dry ones and let them spread the moisture. Keep trying until you find a system that works for you.

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