A new year can bring new resolutions—and for some, that involves either quitting or cutting back on marijuana.
That’s why each New Year’s Day for the past seven years, an online community meant to support people who want to transition away from cannabis puts out an open invitation on the popular pro-marijuana subreddit r/trees.
And, believe it or not, the members of r/trees welcome the pitch with open arms, voting the posts to the top of their cannabis enthusiast forum.
“We’re not anti-pot at all, we just support people who have decided that it’s not for them anymore,” this year’s post from the moderators of r/leaves reads. “If that’s you then you’re welcome to come by.”
People who join are empowered to take what they need from the group but not necessarily adhere to any structured abstention routine. Users share stories about their own experiences, offer tips on what helped them curb cannabis and cheer each other on. One of the only rules of r/leaves is that comments and posts must be supportive and respectful.
“We have a pretty narrow scope,” r/leaves founder Dave, who asked that only his first name be used, told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview. “We don’t make any claims or have any mission towards providing a cure or a system to have them emerge out the other side not as an addict. You don’t even have to define yourself as an addict or any of that kind of stuff—you just have to decide it’s time to quit.”
Sometimes that decision making time comes around the unofficial marijuana holiday on 4/20, the other time of year that r/leaves promotes its community on the 1.3 million-member r/trees forum.
While cannabis isn’t physically addictive in the way that other drugs like cocaine or heroin are, a subset of consumers can become dependent on it. The problem is that some who find themselves in that boat face stigma—and not just from the usual anti-drug suspects but also from marijuana enthusiasts who don’t accept that cannabis use can become problematic.
But that’s starting to change, Dave said. As more information about cannabis becomes available and more people start talking about their difficulties managing usage, the marijuana community has increasingly embraced the kind of work r/leaves does. The forum features several posts from r/trees users who simply wanted to express their support for the mission, even if they’re not interested in quitting.
“If you look at the r/trees community, the r/trees community has been overwhelmingly supportive of r/leaves,” Dave said. “It’s amazing and heartwarming to me.”
“I think there’s a growing recognition that you don’t have to say there are no dependency problems with cannabis. We can say, ‘yeah, you know what some people get dependent, but that’s OK.’ We can deal with this as a community and do it the right way.”
The best advice Dave said he’s heard on the forum sounds simple at first, but for someone with a dependency problem, it can be the toughest part to accomplish: ask yourself—and be fully honest with yourself—whether you are problematically dependent.
“That I think is the key—to really look at negative consequences, really evaluate whether they are worth cutting back or quitting,” he said. “And if you say, ‘yes,’ then try to cut back and if you can’t, then that’s why we’re there is to help you quit.”
The r/leaves community was formed partly as a response to the rapid evolution of the marijuana legalization movement over the last decade. But Dave said he’s not at all opposed to cannabis reform even if it was part of the inspiration. In fact, he said he’s “unequivocally in favor of recreational legalization at the federal level.”
“Anyone who wants to use the group as any sort of evidence that cannabis shouldn’t be legalized will find no friend in me,” he said. “We are just the opposite. We are showing that we can recognize that some people who try cannabis can become dependent, that we can talk about that openly, and we can take care of those people and make them better even as legalization progresses.”
Presidential Candidate Jokes About Why Denver Decriminalized Psychedelic Mushrooms
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) joked on Thursday that Denver voters approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms because they thought the state of Colorado was running low on marijuana.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate made the remark during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The host asked Bennet if it was “true that magic mushrooms are going to be legal in Colorado.”
(The measure actually simply decriminalizes psilocybin mushrooms for adults, and only in the city of Denver.)
Bennet slapped his knee and quipped, “I think that our voters just voted to get Denver to do that, and I think they might’ve thought that we were out of marijuana all of a sudden.”
“And by the way, we’re not out of marijuana in Colorado,” he said.
“That’s what it says on the state flag now, right?” Meyers said.
“Yeah, exactly,” Bennet replied.
The senator, who previously served as the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, has cosponsored several wide-ranging cannabis bills in Congress, including legislation to federally deschedule marijuana and penalize states that enforce cannabis laws in a discriminatory way.
But before his state voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, Bennet stood opposed.
It’s not clear how he voted on Denver’s historic psilocybin initiative.
At least Bennet is aware of the measure and was willing to joke about it, though. Several of his colleagues who have worked on cannabis issues declined to weigh in on decriminalizing psychedelics when asked by Marijuana Moment recently.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Horses Should Lay Off CBD, Equestrian Sports Regulator Says
Hay is for horses, but CBD isn’t.
That’s according to the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF), which set the rules for most horse-related sports in the country, including dressage, jumping and endurance riding.
In a press release on Tuesday, the organization clarified that just because the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its derivatives such as CBD, that doesn’t mean that horses competing in various equestrian events are allowed to partake.
Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for CBD will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019. Read more 👇https://t.co/6M0MHo8Vq4
— US Equestrian (@USequestrian) May 14, 2019
“From time to time, new products appear on the equine supplement market claiming to enhance a horse’s performance,” USEF, which does not regulate thoroughbred horse racing, wrote. “Over the last several years, cannabinoids have gained increased attention and have become nearly mainstream.”
CBD, both synthetic and natural, “are likely to effect the performance of a horse due to its reported anxiolytic effects” and the products are therefore “no different than legitimate therapeutics that effect mentation and behavior in horses.”
“It is for these reasons that USEF prohibits CBD and all related cannabinoids,” USEF explained. “Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabimimetics will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019.”
It’s unclear whether USEF has already developed technology capable of testing for CBD metabolites, as standard cannabis testing instruments are generally only designed to detect for metabolites of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
However, USEF said that, in fact, “analytical methods are being implemented to detect CBD and similar cannabinoids.”
What about the human athletes involved in the horse sports? USEF referred anyone curious about that policy to the World Anti-Doping Code, which does allow the use of CBD while maintaining a ban on THC.
Professional golfers are also being warned about using CBD products. Last month, the PGA Tour published a newsletter urging caution when using CBD, as some products may contain trace amounts of THC that could turn up in a drug test.
As in equestrian sporting, golfers are also barred from using marijuana.
Jeopardy Contestants Are Getting Tested On Their Marijuana And LSD Knowledge
In another sign of the times, contestants on the wholesome, long-running game show Jeopardy have been challenged to answer questions about drugs like marijuana and LSD on at least three occasions in the past several weeks.
And, shocker: professional sports gambler James Holzhauer, who’s on the second-longest winning streak in the game’s history, got all three questions right.
Host Alex Trebek asked contestants on April 9 to name the “bitter buds” used for flavoring that are part of the cannabaceae family alongside marijuana. The first contestant to hit the buzzer guessed it was hemp. (His answer was initially deemed incorrect but he was later given credit by the show’s judges because the non-psychoactive cannabis cousin is indeed used to flavor some beers.)
Check out this Jeopardy question from last night about the relationship between marijuana and beer. pic.twitter.com/0cKUhYEleR
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) April 10, 2019
Holzhauer swooped in with the more obvious answer, hops. Researchers recently discovered that millions of years ago, marijuana and hops were genetically much closer—more like sisters than cousins—but they evolved to become more genetically distinct.
On April 22, Trebek said “Bubba Kush” on national television.
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) April 22, 2019
“On Jan. 1, 2014 in Denver, 1/8 ounce of Bubba Kush was the USA’s first legal sale of this for recreational purchases,” the host said.
Again, Holzhauer was on it and quickly answered “marijuana” for a cool $800.
But Holzhauer’s drug knowledge isn’t limited to cannabis. One of the $2,000 challenges on a recent episode was to identify the first part of the name of a “well-known hallucinogen” that ends “acid diethylamide.” The contestant said “lysergic,” as in LSD.
James Holzhauer correctly answered a Jeopardy question about LSD this week. pic.twitter.com/5mDF4QtF9A
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) May 3, 2019
While Trebek has a reputation as the family friendly face of one of the country’s longest-running game shows, he and the show’s producers are clearly not shy about incorporating drug questions into the show.
And The A.V. Club recently revealed that while Jeopardy bans contestants from wagering certain naughty sums like $69 and $666, as well as numbers associated with white supremacist groups, it’s totally fine to bet $420.
Trebek, in fact, has some personal experience with marijuana, albeit during an accidental encounter. In the 1970s, Trebek visited a friend in California to have dinner and let his chocolate craving get the best of him. Seeing a plate of brownies, he dove head first and unknowingly consumed half a dozen hash-infused treats in one sitting.
“I love brownies—I’m a chocoholic—and I didn’t realize that they were hash brownies,” he told The Daily Beast in 2017. “And… whoa. That threw me for a loop.”
“The dinner party was on a Friday, and I was not able to leave that house until Sunday afternoon,” Trebek said. “I spent the next day and a half in bed. It was not a good trip, and I have not done any of that stuff since!”
UPDATE: After this story was published, Holzhauer weighed in on Twitter:
If there’s no room for me on the VGK analytics team, maybe I can have a career as a counterculture icon. https://t.co/XkTuH0nBp7
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) May 12, 2019
Photo courtesy of Jeopardy!