A White Woman, Racism and a Poodle

A woman is repeatedly pulled over for no apparent reason until she realizes her poodle, who rides in the front seat, has been mistaken for a black man. Read the essay here.

The Moon Landing Inspired Pink Floyd’s Most Overlooked Song

50 years ago today Pink Floyd commemorated the moon landing with an improvised, seven and a half minute performance of a song titled, “Moonhead”, a spacey, atmospheric piece commissioned by the BBC that featured “cosmic guitar effects, pulses of percussion, and Waters’s ominously descending bass line,” “an eerie piece of improvisation that translates the breathtaking awe of the moon landing into music.”

The song was mostly lost to obscurity until being released in 2016 as part of the box set titled, “The Early Years 1965–1972” but as The Atlantic article says, “For seven and a half minutes on the night of July 20, 1969, Pink Floyd took thousands of BBC viewers to the moon. Of course, two men were already there: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 astronauts who became the first human beings to set foot on the lunar surface. However, the members of Pink Floyd—David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright—weren’t using science, calculus, and technology to transport people through space on that fateful evening. They were using music.”

Read the entire article here.

Long-Term Pot Smoking Doesn’t Seem to Harm Health: Study

By Mandy Oaklander This story appeared in Time Magazine June 7, 2016

Even after years of heavy use, marijuana doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on the physical health of the body.

So finds a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry, which analyzed data from a group of 1,037 New Zealanders followed from their birth until age 38. The researchers, led by Madeline Meier of Arizona State University, looked at whether cannabis use from age 18 to 38 was linked to several aspects of physical health, which were measured at several points throughout the years of the study through lab tests and self-reports.

The only bad effects pot seemed to have were on the teeth. At age 38, people who used cannabis had worse periodontal health than their peers, and nothing else appeared to be affected. By contrast, tobacco use was connected to all the expected declines: worse lung function, more inflammation and compromised metabolic health. Of course, the results come with a caveat; it’s possible that negative health effects of cannabis could show themselves after the age of 38.

Even more surprisingly, the researchers found that cannabis use over time was linked to a lower BMI, smaller waist circumference and better HDL cholesterol, suggesting that cannabis may be involved in metabolism. But it’s unlikely that this would have a major effect, the study authors note, since pot wasn’t linked to reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

“There are definitely health risks associated with heavy marijuana use, but there just aren’t as many as we previously thought,” says Dr. Kevin Hill, a marijuana addiction expert and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, whose new commentary on the study is published Tuesday in JAMA.

The same group of researchers discovered some of those health risks in their famous 2012 study. Using data from the same group of New Zealanders, Meier and her team found that heavy marijuana use had effects on the brain on teenagers. Using cannabis regularly was associated with up to an 8 point decline in IQ when people started before age 18. (When adults began using cannabis after age 18—even heavily—they didn’t see this decline.)

“The answers with marijuana aren’t exactly what we would have expected them to be, and this is a great example,” Hill says. “You need to be willing to change your mind on these issues.”

Write to Mandy Oaklander at mandy.oaklander@time.com.

Sixty-five years after he smoked his first joint, Willie Nelson is America’s most legendary stoner. ..

…and a walking testament to the power of weed. It may have even saved his life.

In addition to being the world’s most legendary country artist, Willie Nelson might also be the world’s most legendary stoner. Before Snoop or Cheech and Chong or Woody Harrelson, there was Willie. He has been jailed for weed, and made into a punchline for weed. But look at him now: Still playing 100 shows a year, still writing songs, still curious about the world. “I’m kind of the canary in the mine, if people are wondering what happens if you smoke that shit a long time,” he says. “You know, if I start jerking or shaking or something, don’t give me no more weed. But as long as I’m all right . . .”

Years before weed became legal, he spoke about the medical benefits and economic potential of weed if it were taxed and the profits were put toward education. “It’s nice to watch it being accepted — knowing you were right all the time about it: that it was not a killer drug,” says Nelson. “It’s a medicine.” Read the full Rolling Stone article here.

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.