this is the first time you hear about the white whale and only now does ishmael hear about the great white whale that this entire book is about and so this is finally where i reveal 1992 the isolation and characterization of anandamide the first neurotransmitter cannabinoid found in humans in mammals and all aspects of life this is our humble hemp patch 5 000 years of medical cannabis use we’re learning about other cannabinoids marijuana is grown in every state in the union i’m lex pelger director of education at cv sciences and this is the lex files it’s a lovely rainy day here i thought it’d be a nice time for a walk down memory lane and perhaps a small whaling voyage as well our season one is finished and we’re very proud of it you still have some time to go back and catch the episodes you missed before we start up with season two i wanted to begin today by saying thank you to you all the listeners thank you for all of your comments and thumbs up and encouraging emails they have been a great deal to me and to everyone else who works on this show thank you for all of your support and thanks for sharing the show online and letting your friends know about us it all helps tremendously and of course a huge thanks goes out to all the guests who graciously donated their time to share from their wisdom and experience for me and you we had experts on cannabis sex psychedelics race the bible prohibition ufos addiction and stress it’s been a tremendous amount of learning and next season we hope to go deeper into some of those subjects and explore some new ones as well so thank you to all of you guests who said yes also at the end of this show i want to say thanks to everyone who works here behind the scenes so please stick around for that now for this episode some of you have been asking me about my cannabis graphic novels based on moby dick so i’m going to lay out some of that here today i’ve already written and published two of these books you can see them on my site at and i’m working the next chapters right now of course how they begin is a story of hubris years ago i was a drug writer i had a background in biochemistry i knew a lot of people who were experimenting with psychoactives so my angle was being able to describe the neurochemistry of how those drugs worked along with how they were actually getting used out there in the real world i wrote about things like bath salts associatives and psychedelics and i like publishing journalism but to take things the next level you gotta have a book where’s your book you don’t have a book i’d have a book so i started to write my first book about cannabis how hard could it be take me six months or a year then i had my first book and their dear listeners was the hubris i thought i was some hot shot young drug writer but i didn’t know anything about cannabis i didn’t know who jack herrera was i didn’t know about anandamide and i had no idea about how deep the human history went so it took me five years of research before i was ready to start writing at all i had to travel all over the world interviewing experts read a hundred books and talk to a lot of scientists before i finally started to get the breadth of the picture though i still didn’t know what angle i could use to frame such a big story i had just one last research trip around the country to see the last couple of legal states and sit down with some people and whenever i go on a road trip i take one big fat fiction book that i always meant to read this time i took moby dick because i kept calling anandamide my great white whale but i didn’t really know what that meant and before it even left pennsylvania the book hooked me it’s like nothing i’ve ever read before since and it was written by an obsessive dutchman who grew up in the church and i was an obsessive dutchman who grew up in the church the book just made sense to me and i realized immediately that this was a skeleton on which to hang my cannabis story captain ahab is the war on drugs and the racism of prohibition the whales are the cannabinoids and the more i read the more it all worked i finished the book on my trip and when i got back to new york city i immediately read it again and for each of the 135 chapters of moby dick i hung a note card on the wall with the most important thoughts written on it then i went through my cannabis notes and started matching up the ideas to the chapters and things fit perfectly i broke the book up into three segments the first 50 chapters which i’ll be covering today followed the american story from the golden age of cannabis after the u.s civil war up until prop 215 in california legalize medical marijuana the second third started over at the beginning of history with the evolution of the

plant its pre-history with humans and how it was involved in every great empire we’ve ever heard of then the last third would dive into the depths of the science and all the amazing complications of the endocannabinoid system so i proved this concept by writing chapters 25 and chapters 37 the ones you can see online and now that i know it works i’m starting at chapter one and in fact i hope to have that one ready to show in a couple of weeks if you’re curious about the new chapters you can sign up for my no-nonsense mailing list at of course the outline has changed some now that i’m digging into it but today i’ll share the vision from those first 50 note cards and how they tell the deep dark story of cannabis in america the last thing i’ll say before i begin is there will be spoilers in this if you haven’t read moby dick i would encourage you to stop this podcast now and go find a copy and read it or listen to it i really do believe it is the best thing i’ve ever seen published on the american continent though right up there might be yosa’s war at the end of the world you don’t have to read moby dick either there is an audiobook version by this guy frank miller and it’s on audible or just email me i will email you a copy to my dropbox folder i learned more from my first listening by frank miller than i did for my first two readings because he was a shakespearean actor who was the great audiobook reader of his generation and he really makes it come alive how funny it is how strange it is how unreliable the narrator is and since moby dick is based primarily on the bible and shakespeare as two of its biggest sources of inspiration frank miller just makes it come alive so if you can find the audiobook version of moby dick it’s only 20 something hours and a couple weeks of commuting you could have the entire whale down and is such a perfect allegory for so much of what’s going on in the world today both in the united states and the world in general so there will be spoilers there’s my warning chapter one call me jasper in the beginning of moby dick it’s about how sailors travel the ocean to hunt the whale and what we’ll be talking about in this course of chapters is how scientists explore the brain and the body to elucidate truth and in this case to elucidate the cannabinoids and we get a small taste of ishmael and what he stands for here but really that’s the hunt that’s the reason how does science work in chapter two the carpet bag or in my version the messenger bag we talk about two of the earliest influences and one is mordecai cubic cooks seven sisters of sleep and this is an amazing book from well before the american civil war and this drug writer from england uses that kind of 19th century poetic style to write about the seven major psychoactive drugs that humans have been using through history and he calls them the seven sisters of sleep and it is one of the finest examples of beautiful drug writing uh from before 1900 and so we focused on that as well as the scientific version of that which is the 1841 uh document by o’shaughnessy about this cannabis indica from the indian continent o’shaughnessy was this genius doctor who helped put together the indian rail system as well in the british colony of india and he saw and learned from the locals about the power of cannabis to treat all these different diseases and he wrote an essay and really was the west’s introduction to cannabis as a medicine again that was somewhat known through the the middle ages and the renaissance but not particularly it was the first scientific piece that really caught the attention and one of the best cannabis science newspaper journals right now is called o’shaughnesses after him and so those are two of the most important things have happened in this early western history then in chapter three which he called spouter in and i call california 101 after the the beautiful highway in the story jasper is leaving uh burning man going hitchhiking through california meets traveling kids who live on weed whose business is trimming weed during the season and the rest of time they’re just wandering around falling to grateful dead or some other band and jugging for gas and spanging along the road and just getting by living a life of cannabis almost completely and that refers back to in history fits you ludlow who is an amazing towering figure in both american literature and american drug literature he was the first one to write about this in a really large

beautiful way bayard taylor wrote some essays first which are very good but fitzhugh ludlow wrote the hashish eater and it is an amazing book and he talks about all the highs and lows of cannabis he was only 21 when he published his book it made his fame uh unfortunately he died only a decade or so later from tuberculosis and had a rough life in there just trying to provide for himself and his family as a writer but this book was what lit him on fire in the literary world and he was eating hashish and it’s a really important difference from what we see today because the use throughout places like india and the sufi traditions in the middle east and even the early north american tradition they were eating hash it was another level of intoxication almost none of us listening have probably gotten it as high as you would from eating that much cannabis when you smoke cannabis it goes directly into your lungs and it hits quickly and it goes away more quickly everyone hears about edibles and how much stronger they can be a that’s because your liver will convert the traditional delta 9 thc to delta 11 thc which is something like five to seven times stronger cannabinoid in its psychoactive effect so the same amount of cannabis that you eat is going to get you much much higher and these uh explorers weren’t eating just regular old edibles with stuff baked in them they were eating straight up hashish you know a gram or two or three grams of potent hashish at a time so this is when cannabis gets into truly psychedelic realms much much more intense than what most of us have experienced and so he talks about the amazing highs of this and the visions that he sees that are much more like a long deep acid trip or dmt trip than they are what we normally think of as getting high on pot and he describes them so beautifully in that kind of long elegant 19th century style but eventually he becomes addicted to it and the drug turns on him as drugs tend to do when you push them too hard for too long you know anyone who says that cannabis isn’t addictive has been paying attention hasn’t been out there that much anything is addictive behaviors and even though cannabis generally is not physically addictive there’s some small parts of that it can be very mentally addictive it’s a way to escape your troubles and that’s exactly what uh people can do it also has a dopamine effect so it can be pushing a button just like stealing can be pushing the button or sex can be pushing the button and so in this book at this place that i promise every harm i can find from cannabis i will share with the readers because it’s really important both to the for the credibility of the science of the work as well as sharing what’s actually true and known they’re as far as amazing as cannabis is in all of these medical directions and spiritual directions it’s it’s silly and dishonest to say that there aren’t some moderate negative harms here that can become great harms if you’re taking huge huge levels like they were more standardly in the 19th century so fitzhugh ludlow’s the hashish heater is still worth reading it’s still an amazing book and david m gross did an annotated edition not too long ago that really helps give you the background to it so if you really want to dive in that would be the addition to get and i actually have a verse that would have ended this chapter um from psalms 107 about these scientists about these explorers of the antiquities of the mines they that go down to the sea in ships that do business in great waters these see the works of the lord and his wonders in the deep the wonders of the cannabinoids chapter four which i call papers is about some of the earliest writings in the medical sense in the united states there is john greenleaf whittier who wrote the first poem that mentions hashish he’s actually talking about slavery he was a great abolitionist but there’s also the ohio state medical society which collected a number of papers from its members about what they were seeing about cannabis because after the works of both fitsu ludlow in the recreational sense and o’shaughnessy in the medical sense the pharmaceutical companies of the day saw there was a a market here and they started importing indian hashish and usually putting it into an alcohol solution and selling it it was an effective medicine that way of course as you can imagine the potency would vary greatly even with the same product it’s still something that bedevils the cannabis today is that you it’s very hard to standardize the plant and it was especially hard when you’re buying it from india and having it shipped across the oceans and put into alcohol and so it was a notorious problem but still

this allowed physicians to start buying it at their corner pharmacies or recommending it to their patients and seeing what would happen and the ohio state medical society whose works is collected in the marijuana medical papers collected by todd mcgorria who is one of the great uh backers of the california uh push towards medical cannabis he collected all of this uh work into his marijuana medical papers to show the history of this and some of the most convincing things is the ohio state medical society talking about how effective it was in all of these different directions and even for a cannabis doctor today this would be worthwhile reading it’s very anecdotal and that’s where a lot of the truth is with this plant because it affects everybody so differently often the best way to learn about it is to listen to a thousand people’s stories and you get what the majority response is the minority response and then those always rare strange responses that happen with something that affects the endocannabinoid system which is so different and so widespread in every human body every mammal body the other part that was happening at this time partially thanks to fitzhu ludlow was treating opioid addiction with cannabis this was one of the heights of the constant recurring cycle in united states history of the greater population getting addicted to some type of opioid and this type in this case it was morphine it was very easy to get it was available at all the corners it was a very it was seen as a very white upper middle class disease there are lots of stories of women getting addicted to this and so uh you can even see something like that in gino neil’s a long day’s journey into night which was actually very personal play about his mother’s addiction to morphine and this was a story that keeps resonating throughout the generations and fits you ludlow is one of the ones to say that cannabis is a potential treatment here he kept saying there is no cure-all there’s nothing easy here but he was a self-studied scientist in contact with all the great thinkers around this across the united states across the world looking for cures trying to help his fellow addicts at this point because of the for pain treatment he got addicted to morphine with his tuberculosis and it was plaguing his life and he never really quite beat it he did at some points and not at others and so he was one of those great citizen scientists collecting whatever would work and he knew that cannabis helped some people just like today it doesn’t help everybody but it’s a tool that needs to be known and needs to be at least looked at for people struggling with addiction to opioids and so it also speaks to the very racist nature of the drug laws because around this time 1875 was the first anti-drug law and was against the chinese and their opium in san francisco they couldn’t make chinese people illegal though many of the city fathers would have wanted that but they could make their drug illegal and harass them that way and that became the tool of the early drug war there’s all this nonsense about it being about business and takeovers and things like this it was not everything about the start of the war on drugs in this country had to do with racism it was cocaine because of black people it was cannabis because of latino people the first laws were in el paso and the very very first laws were the chinese and their opium the interesting thing about opium is it speaks to what’s so important about cannabis because the way that we discovered our body’s own endorphin system our pain system uh which could also be called endogenous morphine it’s because from using the opium plant we discovered the morphine molecule that was the active ingredient and that was like a hook that we could drop down into our brains and bodies and discover this endorphin system this pain system the exact same thing is going to happen with cannabis because scientists would get so curious how does this one plant have such a wide range of mental and physical effects in different people and that hunt is what would lead us to the endocannabinoid system the plant introduced us to a piece of ourselves chapter five is called breakfast in moby dick and it’s all of the sailors sitting around a breakfast table at the inn and i jump a little bit ahead in my version and it’s about the different types of scientists that are out there doing this kind of work the citizen scientists the lab rat the many different ways that people go about hunting for the truth and it get called science in 1912 there was an essay from victor robinson talking about the hunt for hashish and its medical uses and it really speaks to a scientist very much involved in the world a polymath and the importance of hashish for for causing laughter and that being one of the medical benefits of it it’s a fun interesting essay that you can find online and it’s just one more type of scientist doing this kind of work and

it being scientifically valid uh it’s interesting that science is moving more and more to this dry third person uh setting uh or it has been and now it’s moving back a little bit more to personality and personability which is an interesting rise and fall of how science is being done right now in chapter six the street ishmael is walking around looking at all the amazing marvels of this little new england village that has the entire world going through it because of the whaling industry a much more diverse place than you would see almost anywhere else in that part of united states and so i call it the show and this is when cannabis is finally really coming into its own in united states history it’s really the golden age at the 1876 centennial in new york they had a hashish parlor people were just going and eating hashish at this place that the entire world was gathering to look at the new things to come and because of fitsu ludlow’s work by this point every major american city would have its own hashish parlor that would be somewhat underground but known about and it’ll be very much in the eastern tradition of you know thinking of the arabian nights and things like that that’s what it was linked with and so there was besides this kind of upper crust place to imbibe it there was also the dog and pony show of all of the snake oil salesmen going around the country especially the american south selling various tinctures that would or would not have their labels of what’s on them but mostly they would contain grain alcohol opium and cannabis in various mixtures they would put in other special secret ingredients and things like that but those were the three things that were around that people liked they responded to and they all had medical uses to them and so this was a big part of how this was going and there was a great musical tradition that came out of this these uh hucksters going around the uh the places would have to entertain people to get them to buy their products to stick around all day and so they would hire um musicians to entice people in to keep them there and buying the products and so some famous musicians got their start there of course this led the problems because people didn’t know what was in their products and so by 1908 it led to one of the first legislations that dealt with anything like this and was a 1908 pure food and drug act and that basically said that stuff had to be labeled and it was a big dent in the snake oil salesmen who were selling true junk but and it did put a dent in people putting cannabis and opium into their products because the consumers often didn’t want to see that on the label if it wasn’t on the label and they didn’t know it then they could still go to church on sunday and be okay with it but once it’s on the label it would make sales decline and so cannabis was still able to be purchased from these kind of places but more and more it was being purchased from your corner pharmacy in nice clean bottles that looked much more medical in chapter 7 of moby dick it’s called the chapel and it’s this amazing scene of ishmael wandering into a chapel dedicated to whale men and all of the plaques on the wall of people who died on the hunt and so i called it the press room because this is when the the yellow press really started to go after cannabis especially in 1910 pancho villa was the great mexican revolutionary who was starting to win against the federalist mexican republic and so there was a big rise of yellow journalism equating his soldiers with smoking a lot of marijuana before they went into into battle it was also the linkage of marijuana uh to call this plant instead of the more scientific sounding name cannabis and people often would be confused that it was actually the same thing that they were talking about and there are um great songs about the soldiers of pancho villa using cannabis to to be better soldiers be able to keep going and going on their marches even la cucaracha they say is about a cockroach soldier type being able to smoke marijuana and keep on going and it was one of the things pancho villa was known for was how fast his troops would move which is often so important in military campaigns as being the quickest and he could make his troops just show up anywhere which means long long marches through the night and it was marijuana that helped power these victories and it was also the rise of marijuana being seen as a motivational the idea that it saps away your energy

your will you simply are more of a blob and that was being spread because that was a tag being slapped against latino population of the american south that they’re all lazy and part of that was because of marijuana and that also led to the ban of cannabis in el paso the first anti-cannabis law in the u.s was in 1914 106 years ago and it was only because that’s what the latino people were doing and all of the local anti-cannabis laws that far preceded any state laws or federal laws they followed the latino population in their migration northward and one of the culminating places there was denver which had a big latino population and a big racist pushback against that latino population so that’s where some of the harshest laws got enacted and so again the the war on drugs has has was birthed in racism that is what powered it from the very beginning all of us mammals share an endocannabinoid system that’s why you hear so many stories of people using cbd rich hemp extracts for their pets it works for dogs it works for cats it works for all of us for the plus cbd line of pet products we only made a few tweaks between what we give to us humans and what we give to our animal friends it’s still full spectrum hemp extract with all the rich fatty acids terpenes and minor cannabinoids that help the cbd to work better it’s still made with the highest quality to produce the most reliable hemp extracts on earth the only difference is that we adjust the flavor palette to make it easier to give to your dog or to your cat with flavors like chicken beef peanut butter and salmon it’s easy to drop it into their food and allow them to enjoy the healthful benefits of cbd try plus cbd’s pet products today by using the coupon code lexfiles at for 25 off give your pets the gift of health that’s lex files at chapter 8 the waiting room where we talk about opium and opiate addiction because you can’t talk about cannabis without talking about opium they’re the two oldest plants in human history and around this time 1912 1914 there was a big opiate addiction problem in the united states and is being fueled predominantly by doctors and so 1914 was the harrison act the first drug control act in u.s history and it was also the death of maintenance of heroin which is now seen as a very safe and effective way to to treat people have a problematic substance use disorder with heroin give them good clean safe heroin and they generally start to use less and get down to nothing or get down to a maintenance dose and so unfortunately the harrison act and the doctors of the american medical association served to kill that idea that would have saved a lot of people and that’s still continuing today and interestingly fitzhugh ludlow was one of the people talking about using cannabis for opiate addiction and his work was still being cited during that time even as that model was being moved away from to the detriment of society this leads to chapter 9 the sermon which in movie dick is a great scene where this preacher comes out and in the moby dick movie it is none other than orson welles playing this incredible sermon scene and if you’re really in the moby dick the side note here is that the writer of the 1956 moby dick movie directed by john ford which is a great movie it’s very much worth watching but there’s a book about it because the writer of that movie was ray bradbury the great science fiction author so he wrote a book about writing that movie in ireland with john ford and it turns out that john ford is a bit of a captain ahab character himself all over the place lots of drinking lots of drama and so the book is a beautiful beautiful tribute to both the irish people and what it’s like for a writer to be working with a crazy director so that is definitely worth checking out so if chapter eight was about opium chapter nine is about alcohol because in 1919 is the volstead act and that is the prohibition of alcohol the beginning of of that kind of prohibition as well in new orleans they were starting to talk about blacks using cocaine and it was the start of this very racist trope about black men taking cocaine and being impervious to bullets and the new york times itself published some really awful screeds about this and it led to all across the south of the united states police going up to stronger guns like the 38 special because they needed bigger guns because of this myth of the enraged negro on cocaine

it’s part of the first militarization of police departments directly linked to the war on drugs and while this is all happening in 1925 is the infamous panama study where the us army is down in panama and they’re realizing that some of their soldiers are smoking cannabis from the local supply and they get very nervous about this as the army tends to do and they did a giant study about what was happening and the findings of the study were about what you’d expect that it really isn’t doing any harm to the soldiers and that this isn’t a big deal and no action is recommended of course that study got ignored and action was taken to prohibit soldiers from using it but that was what their own researchers told them chapter 10 is our first friend and it’s about cbn cannabinol because this was the first cannabinoid that was fully fleshed out in terms of its structure it’s the only major cannabinoid that doesn’t have chiral centers chiral centers or stereochemistry so it’s basically in chemistry right and left-handedness and this is a really big deal in chemistry there are certain drugs like thalilamide that was being used for pregnant women and the right-handed molecule was helpful for nausea and the left-handed molecule calls birth defects and they were simply mixed up and that’s what caused the wave of flipper babies so molecules with different handedness can have wildly different effects and so cbn didn’t have those different handedness it had no chiral centers it could spin around to make a mere isomer of itself and so it was much easier to solve it’s very difficult to tell which hand a molecule is since cbn didn’t have any of that they simply figured out the structure itself and so that was one of the books i’ve already written is how they figured out the structure of cbn and what is cbn cbn is the oxidation product of thc so it’s the breakdown product so if you have a plant filled with thc at the end of a harvest the longer you leave it to sit uh over years decades centuries millennia we found stashes of the cbn levels are going to keep going up as that thc naturally converts into cbn cbn is often called the sleepy cannabinoid but that really only goes back to uh dr russo and it seems like him and some other researchers were vaping straight cannabinoids and they thought that the cbn one was one that caused sleep and so they wrote that up and it’s become the dogma ever since and so there’s been a lot of scientists trying to replicate that and see if that’s actually true and it seems like no perhaps it isn’t but it is forever known now as a sleepy molecule and we’re still figuring out exactly everything it does anyway chapter 11 the nightgown continues on the sleep theme because sleep is such a huge problem right now we have melatonin and barbiturates and some other things that don’t work all that well but the cannabinoids can be really helpful for people’s sleep but it can also be incredibly hard to study because the endocannabinoid system is so different for everyone that the cannabinoids affect them differently for instance with cbd i often hear about people who never take it after a certain time of night because it keeps them up like a cup of tea keeps them up and for other people it’s right what they take before bedtime and for another set of people it doesn’t affect their sleeper energy levels at all and there’s no way to know which category you’re going to fall into without simply trying it for yourself but it things like that are worth trying especially for studies of ms and alzheimer’s where there’s lots of sleep disturbances various concoctions of cannabis and hemp have been found to help people asleep while they’re experiencing these neurodegenerative disorders chapter 14 the states the rise of state-based prohibition and the rise of harry ainslinger the first head of the federal bureau of narcotics he was actually from pennsylvania like i’m from pennsylvania but it’s not a point of pride he was an ardent racist who knew that this was a way to increase his budget he was a very good bureaucrat he was an awful racist and so he knew that the federal government at that time had really no power to reach across state lines and regulate the drug trade the federal government had far less power than we think of it uh having today so one thing he did was worked with the press and people like william randolph hearst and spread his lies about how cannabis causes violence and not to say it doesn’t cause violence sometimes but he collected every story of cannabis induced violence from across the country and kept a violence file that he would send to all journalists and you know you have teenage kids and you tell them smoke a reefer and you’re going to be better to fight they’re going to listen to you and do it and it’s going to work there is actually a long tradition of people using fighting with cannabis including the sikhs of india who are maybe the greatest warriors of the entire indian subcontinent

and one of their gurus was famous for getting for drinking a whole bunch of bong before a battle and going in there and being able to kill the battle elephant from the other side it was a tremendous feat and they still sing songs about it today and other groups seems like they’ve also used cannabis and it seems like it’s even being done uh with child soldiers in different parts of the world so cannabis can be a drug that can be used for many things including the inducing of violence but here anzinger way overplayed that and made it a very racist thing about how it induced violence and he also spread the lies about the old hashishins the assassins of the um the crusade times and how they were using cannabis for their activities which doesn’t seem uh likely at all at least for their their killing but he used this to invoke fear all over the country and he also used parents groups uh to do this as well one of the first instances of using these homegrown organizations as a front for the things you want to say and so he created the uniform act and it was simply his version of drug prohibition and he wanted to get it passed in all the states and he did a pretty good job of it a whole bunch of states passed his code exactly like you wanted to prohibit drugs to make his job easier and so the states were the ones to take the first move so remember local localities were the first ones to put in anti-drug laws then the states started doing it and then eventually it was a federal government that did it but it actually worked its way up from the bottom it was much less a conspiracy than it was a natively american racist outpouring it was unfortunately a very american thing on a continent founded on genocide and fattened on slavery the war on drugs was simply the next link in that chain chapter 15 in moby dick is called chowder and there’s a recipe for the chowder so we’re calling chapter 15 film slash silver for the silver screen that helped advance this marijuana reefer madness idea 1927 was the first loco movie of people smoking cannabis and going mad and hurting people very badly around them 1934 was both marijuana menace and assassin of youth which are two famous movies for people going crazy on cannabis that were so laughably bad that in the 60s 70s and 80s they were being played in college uh students around the country who would usually get stoned and then go watch these movies about how much violence stoning would cause but it was hollywood being partially funded by the us government pushing this narrative chapter 14 his mark and this is the mark of harry insinger on the early united states society it was very embarrassing for him how little he was capturing of the drug trade cannabis and opium and the other things he was supposed to be getting there wasn’t a whole lot of quote unquote addicts in the country at the time only by expanding his focus to cannabis could he justify getting a bigger budget and so he hunted for the famous jazz musicians and other figures of the day who are known users of cannabis to bedevil them and to make them the enemy and one of the big ones was billie holiday if you want to read terrible stories look up what harry ansinger did and how much he harassed billie holiday into the grave arresting her on her in her hospital room and probably planting the cannabis there that they arrested her for it’s a terrible story uh johan hari the author tells that one really well here’s an essay you can look up about that but harry enslander had a plan to arrest all of the famous jazz smokers at one time all across the country luckily that never happened but it was a indication of how widely he was throwing his net he was a little bit like the j edgar hoover of the drug scene and one of his mortal enemies comes up in chapter 19 the little flower because laguardia mayor laguardia of new york city who the airport is named after was known as the little flower of new york and he was a little pugnacious guy but he was famous across the country and one thing that he did was he heard all these problems about cannabis and he had a big city so he appointed people in the health department to study cannabis and they put out an incredible study that’s still worth reading today about how basically it’s not that dangerous it’s the kind of moderate harms that we still talk about today but in general this is not a giant harm to society and that the stories of underage use and things like that were highly overrated and there was a takedown in there of the addiction and insanity trope that is often thrown out there not to say that cannabis cannot lead to schizophrenia i think there’s clear evidence that there’s a minor to moderate link there but at the time it was seen as a straight shot to the looney bin and that was wildly overplaying the evidence and so between him and the scientist linda smith there was a lot of

scientific censorship of these findings that went against what the federal government was pushing for their own nefarious reasons so it is fun to read about the little flower of new york chapter 20 all a stir hitler is starting to stir in europe the united states sees the writing on the wall even though a lot of people are trying to keep us out of that war but by on the cannabis front by 1941 just as the war is starting cannabis is removed from the u.s pharmacopoeia after several decades in this big textbook of useful pharmaceutical drugs cannabis is simply removed for no good reason in 1947 right after the war war sinhaksel was invented that’s the first synthetic cannabinoid it never came to much use but at least it was invented it was at the same time that the famous dr roger adams was doing his first structure activity research and that’s where you modify what a cannabinoid looks like and see what that does when you put it into animals and so he was also one to solve some of the first structures of cannabinoids and it was one of the great uh thinkers of this early cannabinoid revolution on the flip side chapter 21 is more the ahab side going abroad and this is about the cia and the mob and they really started working together right after world war ii and even a little bit during the war to keep the waterfront safe but it be it began this unholy union that lasted for decades where the cia used the mob as a tool and vice versa because in 1945 the oss the forerunner to the cia was working on truth serums and they’re using all kinds of mad drugs in terrible ways i mean the nazis were doing lots of terrible drug experimentations too but the oss was doing their own uh set of things that are terrible to behold and one of the uh most potent truth drugs that they had turned out to be red oil which was an incredibly concentrated cannabis extract and so for all the drugs they had like mescaline and barbiturates and using them in all these different ways with light technology and and tying people into place it turned out that a huge dose of thc might have been the best thing to get people talking chapter 22 merry christmas mr boggs in moby dick the ship finally leaves the shore after 22 chapters and in our narrative the beats finally come to their own the beat generation is some ways who introduced cannabis to the wider white cultural milo and into the the books and the novels of the time and it really became a symbol of the outcast rebel-type figures and because of this it started to get eradicated more and more around the country and in 1956 was the boggs act it’s actually a series of three different laws over a few years but boggs’s laws he was a senator were remain the most restrictive point of the laws ever taken by the federal government against cannabis they weren’t always used against that many people but in terms of penalties for weight and distribution and such it never got worse than the laws passed in 1956 by boggs and then in 1961 was a single convention by the un and this was the entire world community coming together and deciding on a drug scheduling system and of course it put heroin and cannabis in the most restrictive no possible medical use category for of course no really good scientific reason when there’s plenty of evidence for the medical use of cannabis and opium so the with the 50s with the post-war cold war era came this tightening at the u.s federal level and at the international level about drugs chapter 23 edgewood this is a us army research center uh they actually took in a bunch of nazis after the war operation paperclip if you want to see one more terrible thing in american history it’s uh forgiving nazis because they’re good scientists and taking them into the us but this is where uh some thc isolation happened as well as some studies on using thc as a weapon chapter 24 is advocates these are the first great voices to stand up and say hey we’re being crazy on this cannabis thing dr aldrich was the first person to get his phd in cannabis history and became a very vocal voice alan ginsberg wrote his manifesto to end the bring down which was one of the some people say the first lucid thing written about cannabis for the popular press

and then todd makeria of california started gathering his data about how helpful cannabis is also andy weil was starting to talk about how important cannabis is and this was the birth of this pro-advocate movement for cannabis chapter 25 postscript i call it pharma and this is about the rise of the pharmaceutical industry in the 60s when it really started to become a powerhouse on the american scene especially with the sale of downers that’s why it’s talk those are talked about so much barbiturates and things like that as well as the oft fabled quaaludes which are very prominent on the scene and it was during this time that the u.s population became famous for their over consumption of pharmaceuticals the united states has always been known as guzzlers of head twisters de tocqueville talked about it when he toured the country how much the americans drink and smoke tobacco and that was always just kind of a trope about americans and it only has gotten stronger since pharmaceuticals and you can count how many pills americans take and how many more it is than the rest of the world chapter 26 and chapter 27 are both called knights and squires and it’s about some of the heroes who did good work during this time there was the schaefer commission nixon appointed a commission that he wanted to finally put a nail in the coffin of this cannabis thing so he thought this guy schaefer was going to be a pushover to give him the kind of negative things he was looking for but schaefer couldn’t do that in good conscience because once you start reading the evidence it’s very clear and so he released a mind expandingly open ideas on how safe cannabis is and how open we should be about it of course nixon hated it he never did anything with it but it did get published and it was a big nail in the coffin of the scientific community being able to stand on its legs and say oh there’s no there’s no helpful things here um cannabis was also in the rise in britain and there was the wilton commission and they found something similar about the the help from cannabis um the rise of the sds the panthers and the yippies um one of those groups was really into uh smoking pot and that was the yippies the other two tried to avoid it because they said stoners don’t make good revolutionaries also during this time was the rise of conantel pro which was the federal government and the fbi going in and disrupting these protest movements to consolidate their own power they talk a lot about how the come on intel pro was against you know sds and some of these other white college peaceful movements but that is very overplayed con intel pro was almost uh majority against the black power movement in all kinds of ways there were murders in people’s beds there were all kinds of terrible tricks to try to bring down everything around black power and at that time there was timothy leary and ken kesey who were preaching more about psychedelics but that made cannabis seem so much more easier to swallow and then of course lastly you have the cia in haiti ashbury in the hashberry cia had a was testing out some of these drugs on unwitting citizens at their own personal brothel and so one they had one in new york city and they had one in san francisco and they would dose unsuspecting people just to see what would happen and that was only a little bit of the terrible experience that happened with psychedelics in context of mk ultra to continue on knights and squires it was nixon who really took the war on drugs the next level 1970 was the new scheduling of drugs and switching drugs to the justice department and so of course cannabis and lsd went in the most uh restricted care category schedule one in 1971 the war on drugs was declared and in one of those famous quotes of this entire time nixon’s policy advisor john ehrlichman said this quote we knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily we could disrupt those communities we could arrest their leaders raid their homes break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news did we know we were lying about the drugs of course we did and it worked it worked incredibly well and it’s still working to this day chapter 29 ahab or in our version chapter 29 richard nixon in this part it’s about vietnam heroine and the golden palace and heroin was becoming a real problem among the gis in vietnam for obvious reasons it was available and they were in a

terrible situation and you had to pass your piss test at the golden palace hence the name in order to get home and nixon swept all of this under the carpet and tried to deny if there’s any problem and it led to another surge of heroin back in the states because people would come home addicted to heroin and spread it into their communities because a veteran with no other options becomes a dealer and then they they start turning on the rest of their community chapter 29 enter nixon to him elvis and so a lot happened during this time nixon orders the cia basically into the drug game and you can read the politics of heroin in southeast asia by dr mccoy that was the book that broke open how complicit the cia was in running much of the opium and heroin trade out of the golden triangle where vietnam was being waged and during this time in 1973 the dea was created the drug enforcement agency which still rules today and the badge collector elvis presley who loved to have official badges for some reason he got officially inducted into the dea to help with some kind of mission for them especially i think spreading the message to young people that drugs are bad uh yeah the twisted story of nixon elvis we don’t have time to dive into right here but it is fascinating the last thing to mention is this is also when the rockefeller drug laws came into effect this was by the new york governor rockefeller and he put in incredibly strict laws into new york state that have hampered the empire state ever since and led to it being one of the enforcement capitals of the entire planet in fact when i was in new york not too long ago and living there it was the most arrest for marijuana per capita of anywhere in the entire world chapter 30 the pipe now cannabis is really hitting the mainstream it’s 1973 oregon decriminalizes cannabis the rise of normal uh the first uh lobbying organization for cannabis this is also the rise of paraquat poisoning the dea was working with the mexican government to spray paraquat a very strong herbicide that was also being used in vietnam to spray paraquat over the cannabis fields and so that would kill the the cannabis plants as soon as they got hit the thing was that all the farmers realized that if your field got sprayed if you simply harvested right away then the buds would still look good so it might be an early harvest but at least you’re getting something out of it so all of that poisoned paraquat neurotoxin cannabis was getting shipped up to united states and normal was trying to make a big deal about this and paraquat poisoning was a really big fear among the uh cannabis users of states at that time also the parents movement started to get very big partially funded by the dea led by a woman named chuchard and she and a bunch of other worried parents started a somewhat homegrown funded by the dea campaign to demonize cannabis especially because cannabis was starting to win the the 60s had been in full swing for quite a while now the the idea of the 60s really goes from 1965 to 1975 in terms of the age of protests and what we think of as the age of aquarius and so cannabis was becoming normalized and you couldn’t really ignore it but people are working together like uh ross perot had a road show going around the country trying to demonize cannabis during this time also was a paraphernalia ban where the pipes and the head shops and the places selling things that were helping people get high that became illegal and it was unevenly enforced but you only have to do a couple of federal raids against different establishments to make everyone else really nervous and a bunch of them to close up shop so that was the effect of this paraphernalia ban chapter 31 is in moby dick is called queen mab the fairy queen and we call it chapter 31 king born this is actually a very sad weird story dr peter bourne probably represents the high mark of sensitivity that came into the drug enforcement regime and this was under jimmy carter and this was another psychiatrist psychologist in charge of drugs and peterborne really seemed like he wanted to do the right thing here look at the evidence look at what would actually help people and carter was seen as the gentle liberal who was going to change things and really allow marijuana liberalization to happen as was already happening on the state level he might have even been the guy to legalize it

was the thinking but then born gets caught doing lines of cocaine with hunter s thompson and because of this coming out in the media it completely discredits him makes jimmy carter look terrible and moves him away from marijuana and just continuing the war on marijuana and the worst part was the confirmation in the media that born had been doing these drugs was keith stroup of normal keith stroup was mad that bourne wasn’t taking greater action against the pearcott sprains and so he dropped the dime on bourne and confirmed the media yes i saw him doing cocaine now at this time everybody was doing cocaine especially at the highest levels of power you just didn’t tell everybody in the press about it but stroup did that and completely damaged born and led to carter being anti-marijuana again and really closing the door it’s not what he meant to happen he regrets it today but that’s how it went down so in ruby dick this chapter 32 is cytology the study of wales and it’s a great big fun over the top chapter about how little we know about whales which is still true so i called it herbalism because of how little we still know about cannabis and how to do things right but by this time there was a thriving underground market it has stopped being imports from thailand and india and places like that homegrown from mexico it now be starting to become an underground united states market based in california the underground growers and so one of the great heroes of this movement was jack herrera and he was this radical visionary beautiful speaker who spread the dogma that hemp could heal so many of the planet’s wounds that hemp can be used to make thousands of different products which is true and that the history of cannabis has been well understudied which is also true and so he did a road show across the country trying to promote hemp as a really important agricultural product that was very important in early united states history he would also take acid in front of the white house where his stand was set up and just preach for hours on hemp and i talked to a number of his friends who saw him doing it and they said it was just incredible the intellectualism the facts that he had at his fingertips he was a great researcher he often would go beyond the facts in some cases and you have to look at his research with a discerning eye these days but he was one who really paved the ground to do this another important figure was mountain girl she was on ken keezy’s bus she was his partner she was also a partner to jerry garcia for a while so she was seen as one of the great muses of this time period but she was a great thinker on her own uh in her creative works and she had one of the best grow tricks of i heard anywhere which is the best way to make your cannabis grow is to make love in your pot patch it’s beautiful huh so this time people are really trying to figure out how to grow this stuff by themselves do you use seeds versus clones what hormones and growth factors do you give it what kind of water soil uh how much carbon dioxide how much oxygen what are your light cycles what kind of nutrients which kind of lights um what when do you prune it pruning’s a huge chart how when do you harvest how long do you cure it how do you dry it how do you store it how do you trim it all this stuff was figured out underground over and over and over again until it resulted in all of the great geniuses of botany of that day they went into this market and it all stayed underground and stayed in anecdotal silos and it’s one of those fascinating pieces of u.s history is everything that came out of this underground california grow scene chapter 33 biphasism and here we talk a little bit about the origins of cannabinoids no one not knows why the cannabis plant makes cannabinoids there’s some theories that’s to keep insects away insects are one of the few organisms on the planet that don’t have cannabinoids in them endocannabinoids and it’s also a theory that it could be protective from uv light but no one really knows terpenes do those things as well terpenes are the most wide class molecules on the planet and they’re for smelling it’s how plants communicate is via their smells and cannabis has an especially wide palette of terpenes and so and cannabinoids are could be seen as terpene-like molecules but more specialized and so no one knows why cannabis remains the one plant to produce very large amounts of cannabis it’s cannabinoids are produced in maybe half a dozen other plants but at pretty low levels but something about the cannabis plant it made a lot of them and we still don’t know why but there was a lot of work at this time to figure out how they were working we knew that some of the cannabinoids would cause hypokinesia and hypothermia as in less movement less body temperature at very high doses it could cause catalepsy where

a body simply is frozen or stuck you heard a lot about that about people eating huge amounts of cannabis in india centuries ago and you could simply lift their arm and would stay lifted for a couple of hours and after a couple of hours or days they would come out of this uh in cadillactic intoxication of course the cannabinoids are also helpful for pain control it’s one of the things that they’re known best for these are often known as the tetrad assays things that you could test for in animals because at this point there was no very good way to chemically test how much thc or cbd or cbn was in your cannabis plants especially for scientists they would give extracts of these plants to dogs or cats or mice to see what would happen and they would measure different assays to see how much was in there that was kind of the most accurate as far as the early 70s and the whole idea of this chapter was going to be the biphasic effects of cannabis the idea that little bits are good and a lot can be bad sometimes that’s especially true on thc and it’s something that’s true in nature oftentimes as paracelsus said the dose makes the medicine you know things that in small amounts are very helpful heavier amounts can be poison it’s one of the things you see in the literature around cannabis all the time the term yin and yang which is not something you see in the peer-reviewed literature that often but because of the biphasic nature of cannabinoids that it’s both a fiber and a flower it’s both a medicine and a menace it’s both a sacrament and a recreational intoxicant that it’s both a gift that you give and a commodity that you sell that there’s two sexes that they’re sativa versus indica and as we’ll see there’s cb1 versus cb2 it is a plant of dualisms 34 the unwritten revolution more about the underground growing the discovery that if you don’t pollinate a female cannabis plant then her trichromes get bigger and bigger and juicier and stickier trying to catch some pollen an unfertilized female plant is basically one crying out to be fertilized to reproduce and that’s what you’re smoking this was also the rise of all the strains of the underground coming from different parts of the world had very different cannabis plants known as land races the uh by the way the word strain is not a true botanical term that only comes from the underground if we were talking about any other plant we would use the terms cultivar so i generally try to uh to defer to that word and so what’s amazing about the underground growing in the 70s was all of these cultivars being crossed over from india from afghanistan from thailand from africa a lot of the durbans are high in thcv which is a psychoactive with a slightly different feeling that’s why some people like myself prefer durbins if we can find them but it’s not just the cannabinoids that matter in fact um some people see that as a as a red herring that it’s really the terpenes that make the difference between the strains because if you have a certain percent of just thc cbd and cbg it’s going to affect you the same way the terpenes affect how the cannabinoids get into your system it’s a little bit like the in the alcohol world the wine or the spirits that you’re taking the other things in that wine or that sake or that whiskey is going to affect how the alcohol works they could have the exact same alcohol concentration but you’re going to feel very different depending on the context of molecules that it’s in and that seems to be very important for the terpenes in this plant and that’s why the growing is so magnificent because you have such a wide spread of terpenes so some people see the dea’s burning of wild cannabis plants across the country as a genetic genocide against those plants very famously there was a entire perhaps subspecies of cannabis in the americas called cannabis reuteralis that got destroyed during these times and is now gone those genetics are completely lost never to help invigorate the plant again and so there’s always this movement of trying to find more untouched plants new genetics to try to broaden the gene pool and make cannabis plants that are better suited to various human uses both medically and recreationally so strain hunting around the world is something you can just watch on fun television shows if that’s what you’re into chapter 35 the compassionate ind this is actually incredibly sad story though there’s a big hero in it robert randall was suffering from very bad glaucoma and he realized that when he smoked pot his eyesight got better and so he studied the law and figured out that he could sue

the us government saying that they’re blocking him from getting his medicine and it was a long story but he did eventually win his suit though he had to go through incredibly painful proofs that nothing else on the planet would work for him again and again he had to go without cannabis to prove that the entire pharmacopeia of what doctors had to offer only made him feel worse and certainly didn’t help at all and so he eventually got approved and the federal government was forced to send him tins of cannabis every month pre-rolled joints from the university of mississippi the only legal source of cannabis in the u.s for federally funded research and which is still unfortunately the case because it is the lowest quality grass it has no comparison to what’s being sold in recreational state legal markets today and unfortunately that’s all researchers can work for if they want to if they’re working with a dime of federal money the sad part of the story is a number of people got approved for this compassionate ind program and robert randall helped them and then the aids crisis hit and george bush saw that a bunch of people were applying getting this program because cannabis was so obviously working and that’s when he shut down the program it was incredibly cold hard-hearted maneuver and the people were already in the program like robert randall were grandfathered in allowed to keep getting their tins but there were only a few at that point and today there’s only a handful of them still alive but there are people in the country that still every month get a tin of poorly rolled marijuana cigarettes from the us government chapter 36 the mandate this is about the rise of the war on drugs and it’s ugly as nietzsche said mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong this involved rudy giuliani this involved nancy reagan the fourth amendment miranda rights the fbi and rico they were using all of these new tools of bail and parole and the exclusionary rule herbicides getting the military involved in the war on drugs it is a chilling time to see the militarization of the war on drugs during this era as well reagan’s drug czar was this guy carlton turner uh who was a chemist wildly unqualified for the job he knew his chemistry well but he knew nothing about addiction or how drugs were being used in the real world he was just a very good chemist and he was a big proponent of the gateway theory which wasn’t a big theory before then there was the idea that perhaps cannabis led to harder drug use but it was just kind of an idea floating in the ether under reagan and carl and turner this became the holy writ of the land is that cannabis absolutely led to harder drug use now that is seen as a discredited theory and that cannabis can be seen as a gateway away from harder drug use there’s also the rise of straight incorporated which is there’s some documentaries you can watch online it is the rehab programs for young people that were profit driven and they were terrible terrible brainwashing techniques and the things that were done to young people probably by put in there by concerned parents who thought they were helping it was torture it was torture of young people for drug use and it was to read the stories to watch the documentaries about this is uh really an awful thing to watch by 1984 reagan had induced introduced his big crime bill he had redeclared the war on drugs and he really weaponized asset forfeiture as a way to to knock out the bad guys in drug dealing but it became a tool by police forces to enrich themselves and to just steal money uh vehicles houses from anybody they wanted and it still is a huge problem today uh if you reading about the history and the current use of acid forfeiture is one more example of what’s going terribly wrong in the united states in chapter 37 this is the explanation of how medical marijuana became an idea in the public consciousness it is the early 80s people understand that marijuana isn’t going to kill you or drive you instantly insane the hippies and the 60s proved that but nobody thought of it seriously as a medicine it was still a big joke that it worked for glaucoma but then the aids crisis hit and the modern medical establishment was both criminally indifferent to this as well as completely impotent against it there were no drugs there were no tools no one knew what to do and so the story i focus on is in san francisco where some doctors start to realize that their

patients who are smoking pot simply for their anxiety are also the ones who are doing best through the course of their treatment for hiv and aids and this starts leaking out to the journalists who finally start spreading it to the land and it’s guys like dennis perrone the queer vietnam vet who was openly selling all over the city getting busted all the time as he said the all those cops hated that little faggish fairy and just loved busting his head in but he kept going the other amazing hero was brownie mary and she was a grandmother who had lost her child and she was a nurse in the city of san francisco and she realized that these pop brownies were helping people and so she just started giving them away to her kids and her kids were anybody in that city dying alone and abandoned by their family because of hiv or aids and some weeks she was baking a dozen dozen brownies and giving them out to everybody and she got arrested three times and every time she would march in the court covered in pro cannabis pins sharp red lipstick yelling and cursing at the judges the cops anybody and of course the media loved her and between her and dennis perrone and the easily available stories of how efficacious cannabis was for this disease that was ravaging the country it finally started to make people believe that this would really work there was also dr donald abrams who was starting to do the first studies on this getting blocked at every turn of course helping to prove it to the medical establishment that this was real this just wasn’t supposed to be dismissed as anecdotal evidence which is what scientists often apply to anything that they that goes against their dogmas the dark counterpoint to that story is in 1983 was the camp campaigns and operation delta nine those were california cops uh in league with federal troopers who would go in and just burn cannabis groves all over humboldt county and the north cannabis growing scenes of california at the time when this was being viewed more and more as medicine the cops are getting more and more brazen and just destroying everything they could find and the stories of camp are terrible it is way outside the bounds of what we would call law and order and reasonable behavior by the police and so if you want to read that story it’s on my website that’s chapter 37 sunset and also if you like uh the great play by tony kushner angels in america it’s basically based on that chapter 38 murky waters this is when it really gets exciting there’s been this long debate about how is thc causing these widespread effects in humans why do some people get happy other people get sad some people get violent some people fall right asleep and the same cannabis can have a different effect on a person on a different day how do you explain all this inter-individual variability most drugs don’t do that whether it be opium or ketamine or whatever it usually does the same thing to the same people marijuana tends to get people wildly high in wildly different ways what explains that the big scientific argument at the time was that either there is a receptor specifically for this thc or that the because the effects are so widespread perhaps the thc and the other cannabinoids are just completely disrupting the lipid membrane around the cell which is what some drugs do and it might be what causes such a widespread array of effects and so the debates are going back and forth and finally it was dr erlin howlett who discovered the cb1 receptor and it was the big breakthrough the story goes it was a kind of a perfect look at how science should work because the u.s federal government realized we didn’t know enough about how cannabis worked and the federal research agencies got together a bunch of researchers from academia and from the pharmaceutical companies working on things like that and so dr lynn hallett came from her university uh two blokes came from pfizer and they met at this nida research summit on the halloween weekend of that year which i think is one of the great parts of story and she found out that they had a radioactive probe for cannabinoids they were basically tying a radioactive molecule onto the end of a cannabinoid so they could find out where it was going and she knew that was just a breakthrough she needed she asked them to send that to her and she they did and pretty quickly she used that to discover the cb1 receptor where it was binding and she was doing this with the brains of a pig and so she applied this probe to the brains of the pig she took the x-ray and she looked and she thought something must not be right

the whole upper part of the brain was lit up bright as a christmas tree she thought the probe must be binding indiscriminately that it was binding to other places this couldn’t be true but it turned out to be true and it how important that is takes a little bit of of neurochemistry so there are a number of different receptors on the outside of a cell or a neuron and a lot of them are ion channels that let small electrical molecules through and things like that some allow the fusion of bigger molecules through but the most complicated are called g-protein-coupled receptors these receptors cross through the membrane seven times and there are hundreds of them in the body and brain many of them we still don’t know what they do we just know they’re there from the genetic code and so the g protein couple receptors are absolutely the most complex receptor in the human brain uh half a dozen nobel prizes were awarded for figuring out different parts of the signaling mechanism of how these work and how they transmit their signals if you think of a cell as a big city like new york the g protein coupled receptors would be the very specialized ears on the outer wall of the city listening for all kinds of things whether it be humidity or radar or incoming news messages the g-protein-coupled receptors are amazing antennas for many many different factors outside the cell that the cell needs to know in order to survive and to thrive and so it turns out that not only it was cb1 a g protein coupled receptor it is the most widespread gt protein couple receptor in the human brain to a neurochemist this is a fantastic deal and it’s amazing that you know many doctors still aren’t being taught about cannabis in med school but they’ve always been a conservative lot but many neurochemists don’t realize that this is how widespread this molecule is it still hasn’t spread to the entire scientific community that this receptor is so vitally important and goes to all these different places in the brain so she discovered that by 1990 it was cloned so it was easier to study and they realized it was a great receptor for targeting for pain and that was going to be important for a lot of other targetings but it was the beginning of the endocannabinoid system the little hint is is that that receptor wouldn’t have been sitting around waiting for these monkeys to stumble out of africa and encounter this shrubby plant in central asia if there’s a receptor there the brain must be producing something that goes into that receptor receptors are too expensive just have laying around for no purpose so it hinted at something greater going on chapter 39 first pharma whales people wanted to start utilizing this endocannabinoid system so by 1981 there was nabalone which mimics thc by 1985 there was marinol which was simply synthetic thc the fascinating part about marinol was it was incredibly difficult to produce and the story goes that two or three labs that were that got uh orders to produce it for this pharmaceutical company gave it up because the during the processing things kept exploding so instead of getting thc from a cannabis plant in a nice easy method we were creating the labs in a process so dangerous that companies said we don’t want your money we just want to not be producing this molecule anymore the other molecule has been invented around this time was lavana tradol which was being used for pain and again even though this one didn’t last into the modern era very much it was seen to be biphasic small amounts of this would help people with pain but if you give them large amounts of this it would make pain worse and you can imagine that if you have a little bit of pot in your system and you hit your hammer your thumb with a hammer you can probably brush it off if you’re super high and you get hurt your brain can focus on that like nobody’s business and so it’s not only the mental effects and the anti-annoyaception concept it is everything that goes into our experienced reality of pain chapter 40 darkness on the edge of town back to the war on drugs back to the mandatory minimums which are something like the fugitive slave acts of the modern era that judges had no choice but to give long prison sentences for sometimes not very much drugs there was also the crack cocaine disparity that showed the racist nature of the war on drugs crack was penalized by weight a hundred times worse than cocaine that was the literal number for the amount of weight you had to be carrying to meet those mandatory minimums

it was a hundred times worse for crack and that’s because cocaine was being seen as being used by upper class white people and crack was being used by black people on the streets and so even though these drugs are pretty much exactly the same drug cocaine and crack is only a very slight difference between them it’s more like tea and coffee the racism was what made cocaine and crack so different in its application under the law part of this crackdown was the very sad story of len bias and he was a famous basketball player he was a first draft pick from his high school directly into the nba he had the world at his fingers tips and it does seem like he did just a little bit of cocaine for the first time in his life and he died from it it was a very sad story but even sadder was how that death was used to justify incredible violence against the black community for decades to come this was also a time when just say no came into existence under nancy reagan and made it a moral imperative that drugs were simply bad this was not a medical thing this was not a perhaps necessary life choice of someone in pain this was a moral failing it’s a very puritanical american response and she recruited comic books she recruited her friends in hollywood kids campaigns to hammer this mess this message home it also was the era of the drug testing craze when the federal government and many companies jumped in and you can have no trace of anything in your system besides alcohol or tobacco which are easily the biggest killers uh on in in the united states by far all the drug deaths combined aren’t even a 10 of what gets killed by tobacco and alcohol every year they’re not even close but that’s the american way chapter 41 back to the science and moby dick chapter 41 is finally called moby dick this is the first time you hear about the white whale they’ve been on the boat for so long they think i’ve already rounded the cape and only now does ishmael hear about the great white whale that this entire book is about and so this is finally where i reveal 1992 the isolation and characterization of anandamide the first neurotransmitter cannabinoid found in humans and mammals and all aspects of life this was actually found in israel dr mushulum was leading the team who initially found the complete structure of thc in 1964 and then it was him working again in 1992 with dr bill devane working on the tip that if cv1 exists there must be an endogenous ligand for it if there is a if there is a lock sitting in the surface of the cell there must be a key to go in that lock a non-dimide was a cannabinoid key so in terms of neurotransmitters we had known about serotonin and dopamine and these other sexy ones but if you view the ocean as the human brain and the analogy that powers this book then anonymized is your great white whale and not only did we find out that there was a great white whale swimming around in our brains it turned out there were billions of them and that they were as widespread or more widespread than any of the other great creature neurotransmitters of the sea that we had known up until this point it was a gigantic discovery that was still unraveling until this day but at least finally now you dear reader hear about anandamide and i can mention it throughout the book and keep talking about its various aspects but just like melville can never really get every aspect of the whale into his book i’ll never get everything we know about anandamide into one book it’s a gigantic piece of literature and we’re always learning more and more how it modifies homeostasis and balance around the body it is a fascinating neurotransmitter and only the first of a number to be discovered chapter 42 and moby dick is the whiteness of the whale talking about the horror of whiteness we call ours the horrors of prohibition and it goes more into the aclu fighting against the district attorneys and the irs who are using all of these things that we would consider extra legal in the war on drugs there is talk about using cannabis for ptsd but it’s quickly squashed the war on drugs is seen as one of the great growth industries of the 80s and its abuses just continue to mount up and this leads us to chapter 43 which is very short but is about how the cia is still involved in many aspects of this the idea that they’re

using this to enrich their pockets they’ve been in bed with smugglers for decades is very well proven there’s nothing about this conspiracy theory it’s just well-founded journalism about how duplicitous the cia has been in getting drugs into the american system and profiting from that it’s why moby dick makes so much sense captain ahab is the war on drugs is this racist prohibition that is simply a continuation of slavery and the jim crow laws in a more bureaucratic system of course the book to read is by michelle alexander and it’s called the new jim crow chapter 44 the pathways cb2 is discovered the second cannabinoid receptor at first it’s thought not to be found in the brain but it’s found pretty much on every organ in the human body and it’s because cb2 is intimately tied up with their immune systems and that’s very important because the immune system is perhaps our most mysterious system inside the body and cb2 is right there coordinating it and it turns out that there is cb2 in the brain we just got discovered decades later it’s just at low amounts but it’s in the glial cells the support immune cells of the brain which are much more widespread than the neurons themselves are these support cells and even recently we’re learning that the glial cells actually help control what the neurons do they’re always seen as just support players but nothing the brain or body is ever that easy it turns out that these glial immune cells that have tons of cb2 receptors on them respond to all kinds of insults to the brain they get activated and help the brain respond to injury and coordinated by cb2 this leads us to chapter 45 the affidavit and this is a chapter about addiction addiction is coming back in the public consciousness again during these times and it seems likely that cb2 is a reasonable target for addiction and that still seems true that work still comes out every other week i see about targeting the cb2 receptor for helping with addiction and the idea becomes more and more widespread that perhaps cannabis can help people with their addictions and perhaps the pain underlying those addictions chapter 46 surmises this is about the firm gw out of england who got approved for the drug statifx a one-to-one of thc and cbd in sesame seed oil and they initially got it approved for ms multiple sclerosis and the reason that it makes so much sense to use cannabinoids here is that ms is both a neurodegenerative disease and a autoimmune disease the body’s immune system is actually attacking its own myelin sheaths around the neurons and so the three systems most intimately tied up with the endocannabinoid system is the hormonal system the neuronal system and the immune system and so that’s why i’ve heard one scientist say over his beers he wouldn’t say it on a pla on a public stage but he said if you told me that the endocannabinoid system is where the body meets the soul i would believe you it seems to be a master regulator of hormones neurons and immune cells and someday according to researchers like dr candice pert we’ll see the separation of those three systems as a false trichotomy that really a white blood cell should be seen as a traveling neuron and a hormone should be seen as a slow working neuron and they’re all really working together and you see that kind of interplay and how they talk and the endocannabinoid system seems to help coordinate that and so it makes sense for ms specifically because it’s both neurodegeneration and autoimmune disorder and that’s something that’s the two areas where cannabinoids do especially well and so the use of cannabinoids for ms in a pharmaceutical context helped to get people more interested in looking at these as pharmaceutical drugs to try chapter 47 resistors here melville talks about the crew and i talk about the various resistors people like woody harrelson and dennis perrone and brownie mary and you have academics like ethan nadelman who are studying this from the inside and forming movements like the drug policy alliance to help put academic lobbying thought into ending this incredibly vicious war on drugs and it’s small homegrown pockets around the country of resistors whose work bubbles up till it finally reaches a big enough consensus at states and national levels that real action finally starts to take place but it isn’t this top-down directing it is all of these little resistors banding together and making things happen chapter 48 first penetration more science 2ag is discovered this is the second well-studied

neurotransmitter cannabinoid and it is very important it’s often called the yin tanonides yang one place that’s really fascinatingly found is in human breast milk and in all other mammals as well it turns out that 2ag is what helps young animals young humans learn to suckle if you engineer a mouse mother so she has no two aging her milk the infants have what’s called failure to thrive basically they don’t learn to suckle they’re not getting the proper reward from the from the milk that makes them keep going back for more it’s the 2ag this cannabinoid that actually makes it happen so when you joke about oh baby has a big drink of mama’s milk and then they look like they’re a little bit high and they go right to sleep that is absolutely and exactly what is happening they are getting effects from the 2ag and the mother’s milk if it isn’t there that’s not a good thing it’s one of the reasons breast milk is such a good thing and it is the 2ag it is the cannabinoid in human breast milk that is one of the things that makes it such a potent force in making us all who we are today we also learn more about the controls of this there are two enzymes mgl and dgl and they can help create 2ag or knock it down and you have to remember around all of this there is very specific control measures a lot of the neurotransmitters out there are proteins the interesting thing about the cannabinoids is they’re lipids they’re fatty and they’re much less of an on off switch than they are very delicate analog dial that you can turn up and down they’re not as much on off as something that you can delicately tune and you do that with enzymes that can bring down the levels of this neurotransmitter or create more of it and it took a lot of work in uh pre-clinical models and mice and rats do this and often in terrible experiments we forget how much the biomedical knowledge that we have can only be gleaned from mice and rats but it’s terrible things that happen to these animals i’ve worked in labs i’ve done this research i know what all this is based on and i don’t know what the right answer is but there should at least be a statue in the middle of the country 100 feet tall to all the research animals who have died painful death in order to rest this knowledge of our own biochemistry out of the ether chapter 49 the octopus this is about the pha enzyme fatty acid ami hydrolase f-a-a-h this one was discovered in 1996 and it was very important because this is the one that breaks down a non-dominant and so it is the control mechanism so you don’t have too much nondimide in your brain it’s become a huge target of study because if you disable it it’s going to allow you to gently increase your anatomic levels in your brain that’s one thing that cbd does it somewhat deactivates the pha enzyme and allows your body’s a non-dominant molecule sometimes called your neurotransmitter of bliss to gently rise but not strongly rise that’s why it’s been looked at for anxiety pain and depression it’s one of the mysterious control mechanisms that we are still trying to discover and i think the octopus is a correct term because the endocannabinoid system and its controls is a little bit like an octopus sitting at the base of your skull that has tentacles that reach out all over the place so different organs the different parts of your body different control places and glands and it just is gently moving the dials and often when you take cannabinoids and you don’t need them for health reasons it they don’t do that much to you but if you need your dials to be adjusted the cannabinoids help your endocannabinoid system and that octopus to readjust all the thermostats and achieve homeostasis chapter 50 is the big one lundgren’s choppers and crew baron this is about 1996 and prop 215 this is when the state of california passed their medical cannabis law the first medical cannabis law by a state in the country and it was an immense effort to get this done and at the same time people like lundgren the district attorney was trying to destroy any of the underground dispensaries and oaksterdam places that would teach and did everything in his power to destroy this prop 215 even though it was voted on by the citizens of his state it’s a fascinating story of the overreach of government officials going against the will of the voters versus a whole bunch of activists who aren’t always the

most united but do get the jobs done it’s a very inspiring part of the story if you want to read about how prop 215 came to force in california and that’s where i’m going to end it for today with the first medical state cannabis law in the united states if you enjoyed this i can do another episode in the future where we go back to the beginning of human history and we talk about the early evolutionary history of the plant and then how it arose through all the great empires and then through the middle ages through the renaissance and back to where we are again today so that’ll be the next 40 or 50 chapters so if that interests you let me know if you want to read these books they’re at and i’m pleased to say that i’m working on the first chapters from the beginning call me jasper so i think i should even have something ready to release in a couple of weeks here so if that has any interest to you sign up for my newsletter at i hope you enjoyed this and thank you so much for listening to the lex files so far we have a lot of great stuff coming up for season two and i’m glad you’re along for the ride after this great first season i want to say my first thanks to matt payne our producer and audio engineer who makes every episode sound so good and does much of the writing as well he’s also a musician and an author of weird and wonderful works that you can see at the link is in the episode notes if you’ve never seen the youtube version of our podcast i encourage you to go check them out they look fantastic and that’s thanks to brendan cleak here at cv sciences he also produced our trailer for season one of this show and you can see his photos and films at i also must thank stuart tomc shane hart and brendan hawkins who’ve been the main pushers for this show and helped to shape it from the very beginning with words of encouragement and guidance on direction a special thanks to tina molnar who’s in charge of the podcast visual designs and jasmine morris for the weekly asset generation tyson liomo was the one who made my personal site look so snappy and that’s you can read these moby dick cannabis graphic novels that we’re talking about so a big thanks to him also i want to say thank you to cv sciences for sponsoring this show also i want to say thank you to cv sciences for sponsoring this show it’s pretty amazing for a publicly traded cbd company to have the guts to give me the space to explore psychedelics sex spirituality and more but they really are dedicated to the transformation of health and everything we talk about here is aimed towards that i’m also proud to work for cbd company that makes such damn good products so please check them out at and our new immune products at use that coupon code lexfiles for 25 off and last but most certainly not least many thanks to my wife claire for her patience and for her wisdom through this whole project and beyond thank you my love and to our toddler sophia if you grow up and listen to this years from now know that papa loves you and that he hopes you enjoy these see you all in season two thanks for tuning in to listen to other episodes find us at or on youtube or on all the podcast platforms subscribe to the cv sciences youtube channel to see each new episode and if you’d like to buy any of our fine products use the coupon code lexfiles for 25 off if you have any questions compliments or suggestions feel free to write me at research or follow the podcast on twitter at the lex files show if you enjoyed this program please rate us on itunes or share a link to your social media it means a lot to us the lex files is produced by matt payne our chief advisor is annabelle de la cruz the music is by jake bradford sharp the youtube videos are by brendan cleak and our sponsor is cv sciences makers of america’s favorite cbd oil remember the coupon code lex files and i’m lex pelger signing off