New Bruce Hornsby: “Absolute Zero”.

From the NY Times review: “One way for a songwriter to invigorate a long career is to keep breaking routines, to change up methods and parameters and solve different puzzles with every album. It’s a modus operandi that has carried Bruce Hornsby from radio hits in the 1980s through bluegrass, jazz, a stint in the Grateful Dead and, lately, collaborations with a younger-generation fan, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. “Absolute Zero,” his 21st album, is one more daring, rewarding turn in his catalog: 10 knotty, thoughtful yet rambunctious songs that juggle scientific concepts, history and human relationships.” Read the whole review here.

Cannabis and Creativity

For many, a favorite use for cannabis is as an aid to creativity. It’s said that marijuana use heightens the senses, alters one’s perspective, stimulates ideas and can increase the ability to make connections between otherwise unrelated concepts. (Which in turn can lead to endless bouts of hilarity.) But is the effect real? And if so, how best to go about using it for that purpose?

There have been studies done to try to measure the effect of cannabis use on creativity, to differing results. Creativity is, of course, an inherently difficult thing to measure. One of the latest studies, the 2015 study from Leiden University in the Netherlands tested participants on two classic creative processes associated with creativity. Interestingly, they found that creativity increased with low doses of the drug, but actually DECREASED with higher doses.

Another interesting finding suggested that if you’re already creative, cannabis won’t make you much more creative, but if you’re not creative (or in a creative rut), it may help you.

From Leafbuyer.com here are three tips to help you use cannabis to jog your creativity:

Pick the Right Strain: It’s crucial to choose a strain that suits the activity you’re about to do. Do you prefer your thoughts calm and serene, or are you trying to open the floodgates into a stream of consciousness? That will dictate whether you choose a racy sativa or a stony indica. If you’re trying to get actual work done, choose a strain you already know and love. But if you just want to experiment, it’s worth doing some strain research to find the best one for you.

Start Slow: According to the studies we looked at, a moderate amount of THC is what does the trick. Smoking a whole bowl carries the risk of descending into paranoia, or simply losing your motivation to start or complete your activity. And worst of all, it may actually decrease your creativity levels, like in the University of the Netherlands study. Just take a few puffs, wait a few minutes, and see what comes to you. If you’re a heavy smoker, it may be worth a tolerance breakto get the creative benefits of marijuana back.

Focus on Your Senses: While marijuana can increase your creativity, it doesn’t just manufacture it from nowhere. Creativity is in part a mindset, and using basic mindfulness techniques in combination with cannabis is where things really get cooking. Pay attention to the sensory expansion you begin to feel. Examining and savoring the effects is a surefire way to heighten your experience!

Here are links to more information on the topic:

Psychology Today – Cannabis and Creativity: Should drugs be used to facilitate creativity?

Leafbuyer.com – Marijuana and Creativity

Psychedelic Times – Does Cannabis Increase Creativity?

These States Are Most Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2019

“With the results of last month’s midterm elections—which marijuana basically won—ten states have now legalized cannabis for adults, while 33 allow medical use. Those victories at the ballot box capped a year in which the fight to reform prohibitionist cannabis policies advanced significantly at the state, federal and international levels.

The tally of states that allow the use of marijuana is poised to jump in a big way again in 2019, largely because a slew of pro-legalization candidates for governor also won at the ballot box on Election Day—giving cannabis reform bills a huge boost toward being signed into law sooner rather than later.”

Get the full scoop at Forbes.

‘Marijuana Justice Act’ Would End Weed Prohibition Throughout The Land

The bill introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker would not only legalize cannabis nationally but would seek to reverse the damage to minority and veteran populations.  “The question is no longer ‘should we legalize marijuana?’; it is ‘how do we legalize marijuana?’ We must do so in a way that recognizes that the people who suffered most under prohibition are the same people who should benefit most under legalization,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy associate for Drug Policy Alliance. “From disparate marijuana-related arrests and incarceration rates to deportations and justifications for police brutality – the war on drugs has had disparate harm on low-income communities and communities of color. It’s time to rectify that.”

You can read the full article here in Forbes.

So What Exactly Is the Difference Between THC and CBD?

We found this good, succinct explanation of the difference between THC and CBD on a site called PopSugar.

“If you’re familiar with marijuana, you may already know what we’re about to tell you. But no matter if you’re for or against medical or recreational marijuana, learning about its components is undoubtedly fascinating. Because it’s so complex, there are many different uses for marijuana. Heck, you can even match the right strain of weed to your zodiac sign. Or use weed to spice up your sex life. Or try medical cannabis to boost your workout.

All that brings us to THC. It’s an acronym for its full chemical name: tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s a cannabinoid compound that comes from the resin of the cannabis plant, and most notably, THC is the part of marijuana that’s psychoactive. CBD oil, in contrast, is a different component of cannabis and is like liquid Xanax from Mother Nature, if you ask us. (Studies show CBD and THC each act on the brain in different ways.)

Simply put: THC alters your mood, and you get high. Along with that, you may also feel relaxed, happy, and/or snacky. If you’re having problems with nausea, THC will also help deliver relief. Take too much, though, and you may swing the other way and experience not-so-pleasant side effects like hallucinations, anxiety, or even panic.

Interestingly, levels of THC in marijuana today are nearly three times what they were in the 1990s. Be aware, though, that how you take marijuana affects levels of THC in your bloodstream. If you eat edibles, THC’s effect is delayed by 30 minutes to an hour thanks to your body’s need to digest the food, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Less THC also makes it into your bloodstream with an edible, blunting its effects compared to smoking. That said, it’s all too easy to think you haven’t taken enough, overcompensate, and experience ill side effects, NIDA warns.

All that is to say, whatever decisions you make (and depending on the laws in your state), the most important thing is knowing what’s going into your body. With that info, you can make the best decision for you.”

The Rise and Fall…and Rise of Marijuana in America

The NY Times interviews Emily Dufton,  author of this latest exploration of cannabis in America:

“Only the weather seems to change more frequently than marijuana laws have in recent years. The constant flux around governance of the drug, whether for medical or recreational use, is kept churning by impassioned activism on all sides of the debate. In “Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America,” Emily Dufton tells the story of how those activists have won and lost their battles over the past several decades.”

Read the interview here.

Marijuana As A Sexual Aid? Here’s What The Experts Say

“According to the study, non-users said they had engaged in sexual intercourse between five and six times in the previous month. But daily marijuana smokers reported having intercourse about seven times over that same period. The frequency was somewhere in between for people who smoked marijuana less often, on a weekly or monthly basis. They reported having sex more than abstainers, but less than daily users.

For every group, the more marijuana use that they reported, the more sex they reported as well,” Eisenberg said. “So that … made me think that there could potentially be some biologic explanation here.”

Get the whole story on The Fresh Toast.

Survey: Nearly Half Of People Who Use Cannabidiol Products Stop Taking Traditional Medicines

Evidence in favor of medical cannabis vs traditional pharmaceuticals is growing: “The largest survey on cannabidiol or CBD usage to date found that women were more likely than men to use CBD and once they started using it, were likely to drop their traditional medicine.”

Read more in Forbes.