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Preparing for Resource-Draining Lawsuits: Civil Litigation Can Be Expensive



It is common for businesses and individuals in the United States to resolve their disputes with lawsuits. Unfortunately, the maturing cannabis industry appears to be like any other when it comes to this kind of dispute resolution. Participants increasingly are engaged in civil litigation involving 1) consumer-oriented claims, such as product liability, personal injury, and consumer fraud; 2) commercial disagreements, such as claims for breach of contract in consulting agreements, insurance policies, or supply agreements; 3) partnership claims, such as disputes over ownership interests and performance payouts; 4) intellectual property claims, such as trademark infringement or trade secret/non-compete violations; and 5) employment-related claims, such as harassment, workers’ compensation, and wage-related claims.

While these types of lawsuits are common in most industries, because of the cannabis industry’s youth and the unique federal and state regulatory issues involved, businesses or consumers bringing, maintaining, or defending a civil action may be in uncharted waters. There have yet to be any real precedent-setting cases to establish the playing field. Consequently, lawsuits may be more challenging for litigants, and thus potentially more disruptive and costly.


Some of the most high-profile cannabis legal proceedings to date have involved enforcement actions by federal and state government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service and state licensing bodies. These types of proceedings, regulatory in nature, typically involve businesses interfacing with local, state, or federal agencies or administrators. They also normally involve novel questions of statutory and constitutional interpretation. While they may require payment of regulatory penalties, forfeiture of a license or certification, or a change to the business structure, the objective of these types of actions is often a defined outcome. Depending on who initiates the action, the outcome may be removing (or securing) a permit suspension, nullifying (or imposing) a fine, or obtaining (or withholding) government approval. In contrast, when a party embarks on or is roped into civil litigation, the remedy sought almost always is money damages and the amount is almost always uncertain until it is determined by the judge or jury—or between the parties in a settlement. The only certainty in civil litigation is that it is a distraction and a burden.

While a single aggrieved consumer might not seem like a big deal, that consumer could wind up being the canary in the coal mine.

As experienced trial lawyers who have litigated civil actions involving a number of different industries and who have focused on advising clients with a broad range of cannabis-related interests, we have set forth below examples of the intersection between civil litigation and cannabis, with a focus on tips for planning ahead to avoid or resolve quickly an otherwise resource-draining civil action.

Consumer-oriented claims

Consumer-oriented product claims arise when product consumption or use allegedly causes some type of injury. Frequently, the consumer (either alone or on behalf of a purported “class” of injured individuals) will claim the product suffers from some type of “defect.” Often, the suits charge the product was designed or manufactured in such a way that it was unreasonably dangerous to the end-user; sometimes litigants will argue the company failed to warn consumers about some known danger. Relatedly, consumer lawsuits, including consumer fraud actions, accuse businesses of misrepresenting their product, typically by falsely labeling, packaging, or advertising the product on a mass scale. Other suits in this category are based on the defendant company’s marketing tactics, even where they’re not (even allegedly) fraudulent or misleading. Consumer claims are common in all consumer-products industries—particularly the pharmaceutical, tobacco, and automotive industries.

Recently, the cannabis industry—albeit primarily in the hemp space—has seen an uptick in product-liability-related and consumer-oriented cases. For instance, in Ellis v. RK Endeavor, a truck driver claimed he purchased a bottle of CBD oil that, unbeknownst to him, actually contained THC. Later, allegedly, he was fired because a drug test detected THC in his system. Another truck driver, in Darrow v. Just Brands USA, alleged “JustCBD” watermelon rings caused him to test positive for THC, even though the labels advised “No THC,” resulting in his termination. In Snyder v. Green Roads, a CBD products manufacturer was sued in federal court in a proposed class action for allegedly selling infused gummies, tea, and oil with concentrations of CBD different from the amount advertised. Highlighting the fact courts are grappling with how to deal with many cannabis-related issues, the judge in Snyder decided to stay the case pending development of federal regulations concerning the use of CBD in consumer products.

Some consumers have used the hazy federal regulatory landscape to their advantage, filing putative class actions against a number of CBD product manufacturers including Charlotte’s Web and CV Sciences, arguing the companies’ sale of CBD-infused ingestible products (such as dietary supplements and gummies) is simply illegal under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, echoing the position taken by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in recent warning letters.

Other putative class actions filed in federal court have relied on alleged violations of different federal laws to target businesses in the cannabis industry. In Williams v. Eaze Solutions, for instance, the plaintiff argued Eaze—which operates a mobile application to facilitate the delivery of cannabis products from dispensaries to consumers—violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending repeated, unsolicited text messages. Eaze argued the case did not belong in court, as the plaintiff—when she signed up for the app—agreed to a mandatory arbitration provision. The plaintiff countered that because the object of the agreement was marijuana (illegal under federal law), no contract was formed. The court ruled that even though the contract’s object was marijuana and the contract was thus void and unenforceable, it had still been formed. Because it found the Federal Arbitration Act applied and the contract required arbitration of gatekeeping issues of arbitrability, the court found in favor of Eaze, requiring arbitration under the contract even though it simultaneously found the agreement could be unenforceable if a court ultimately found its object was unlawful.

Reflecting yet another sort of consumer-type action, a number of CBD companies selling their products online have been sued in putative class actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the grounds their websites are not accessible to blind customers.

While most of the product liability and consumer fraud litigation has taken place in the hemp industry, the marijuana market has not been entirely immune. In Wilcoxen v. Canna Brand Solutions LLC, filed in the wake of the vaporizer/e-cigarette lung illness outbreak, the plaintiff alleged manufacturers of THC vaporizer accessories had produced and sold defective products, leading to the consumer’s injuries.

These cases and others like them present several takeaways. First, cannabis operators (cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers) and ancillary businesses who cater to them should take quality control (QC) seriously. Implementing QC and compliance policies, including strict adherence to safety standards and required testing protocols, can mitigate the risk of selling products that do not comply with the law or reflect what’s stated on the package or label. Because the national cannabis regulatory framework is a patchwork of varying state laws and regulations, many of which are in contravention of federal laws and regulations, businesses must pay close attention to the specific requirements not only of the states where they’re producing products, but also of the states in which they intend to sell the products to end-users. In addition, businesses would be wise to take consumer complaints seriously. As product liability and consumer products litigators know, while a single aggrieved consumer might not seem like a big deal, that consumer could wind up being the canary in the coal mine—a signal of an impending wave of litigation.

Some of the most high-profile cannabis legal proceedings to date have involved enforcement actions by federal and state government agencies.

In most consumer-oriented product claims, there won’t be a contract governing the relationship between the manufacturer and the end-user. But in consumer cases involving situations where agreements do control, such as in the Eaze case, businesses should give serious thought not only to the content of dispute resolution provisions, but also to the choice of law or venue provisions. It’s unclear, for example, whether Eaze’s argument in favor of arbitration would have fared as well as it did were the case heard in another jurisdiction.

In addition, given the increasing prevalence of ADA lawsuits brought against cannabis companies, businesses need to keep in mind they are subject to the laws and regulations generally applicable to businesses regardless of industry. As such, while ensuring compliance with cannabis- and product-related rules is critical, operators should not overlook the importance of adhering to more “standard” types of business regulations.

Finally, it’s also a good idea for companies operating in the cannabis space—like those in any other consumer-facing industry—to maintain adequate lines of product liability insurance to help mitigate the costs of expensive litigation in the event a lawsuit develops. While it may be relatively difficult for marijuana businesses to find insurers who are ready, willing, and able to work with them, identifying such insurers could prove invaluable. In some cases, having adequate insurance can mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy.

Commercial contract disputes

All industries are dependent on commercial relationships, such as arrangements between firms regarding product development, supply and distribution, and sales and marketing. Not surprisingly, commercial contract disputes represent a substantial portion of civil litigation in this country. The cannabis industry is sure to continue to experience a growing number of commercial lawsuits.

In Mann v. Gullickson, a company claimed it was due money under an agreement pursuant to which it provided consulting services to marijuana businesses. The defendant argued the federal court hearing the case should refuse to enforce the consulting agreement on the grounds marijuana is illegal under federal law. The court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, writing that it could grant the relief sought in the case without requiring either party to violate federal law: “[M]andating… payment does not require Gullickson to possess, cultivate, or distribute marijuana, or to in any other way require her to violate the [Controlled Substances Act (CSA)].” The state court in Green Cross Medical Inc. v. Gally reached a similar result but for a different reason. In that case, a medical marijuana dispensary operator sued its landlord for breach of the lease agreement; the landlord argued the lease was illegal and was thus unenforceable. However, the court disagreed, holding that although marijuana is illegal under the CSA, Arizona (where the case was pending) had passed a medical marijuana law and the Department of Justice was prohibited from prosecuting individuals compliant with state medical marijuana laws. Green Earth Wellness Ctr. LLC v. Atain Specialty Insurance Co. concerned enforcement of an insurance contract where the insured product was marijuana. After the insurer denied the claim, arguing the contract was void because its insured could not have an “insurable interest” in federally illegal marijuana, the insured sued. The federal court rejected the insurer’s defense, noting federal marijuana regulation has undergone substantial changes in recent years and holding an insurer who knowingly insures marijuana cannot later escape its obligations under the agreement by asserting the illegality defense.

What may be the most noteworthy about the cases discussed above is what’s unremarkable about them: In each of the three cases (two federal and one state), the court did not abstain from enforcing the parties’ contractual obligations solely because the contract at issue pertained to marijuana. While parties may want to include provisions restricting the ability to invoke the federal illegality defense as an added layer of protection, a key takeaway from the cases explored above is, as a general proposition and with a number of caveats, it appears as though courts have been willing to entertain contractual disputes concerning marijuana businesses. The relevant caveats are 1) the cases described in this section have been decided by courts in states that have legalized marijuana in one form or another, and 2) the parties in these cases did not seek a remedy that would require a court to order violation of the CSA. Given the second caveat in particular, parties instituting lawsuits or counter-claiming against a plaintiff may want to seek remedies in the form of monetary payments rather than shares in a business, because, as we explore below, courts have shown a reluctance to grant the latter type of relief in marijuana-related cases. Finally, deals among businesses are generally governed by agreements; as such, in these types of situations, companies are given the opportunity to take prophylactic measures (such as crafting provisions on dispute resolution, choice of law, and venue) that are unavailable in the absence of a contractual relationship. 

Partnership disputes

Partnership disputes can be particularly contentious in the cannabis industry. In the nascent industry where licenses are highly coveted and hard to come by, individuals and businesses have been willing to invest in litigation as a means of securing their proverbial piece of the pie. Plaintiffs in these sorts of rows, as in other industries, may seek a variety of remedies, from an award of monetary damages to an order requiring the transfer of a particular ownership interest from one to another.

In Polk v. Gontmakher, an individual claiming entitlement to an equity share in a marijuana operation sought a court order granting him that equity stake. Explaining a federal court cannot grant a remedy that, in effect, mandates illegal conduct, the court dismissed the complaint. (Compare this result to the one in Gullickson, in which the party sought relief in the form of payment and the case was not dismissed.) In Left Coast Ventures Inc. v. Bill’s Nursery Inc., the same federal district court addressed a contract dispute as to the rights to a licensed medical marijuana facility in Florida. The court issued an order to show cause why the case should not be dismissed on the grounds that, as stated in Polk, awarding interest in a marijuana entity would be mandating illegal conduct. While the defendant argued that the court could not enforce the contract because marijuana is illegal, the plaintiff argued, among other things, that deciding the case would entail simply enforcing a routine contract and public policy favors enforcement of contractual agreements. The court ultimately decided not to dismiss the suit but to abstain from deciding the issue because of the primacy of state law concerning the subject matter of the contract. As such, the case was sent back to state court.

Whereas patents generally expire after twenty years, trademark protection can last for a potentially unlimited amount of time.

A couple of noteworthy lessons emerge from a review of Polk and Left Coast Ventures. First, in drafting partnership agreements (and, as discussed above, commercial contracts more generally), parties may want to carefully specify approved methods of dispute resolution and the governing choice of law or venue; in addition, they may want to require that all parties waive the right to invoke certain bases for dismissal—including the current treatment of marijuana under federal law. However, on the latter, this may go only so far. Case law has shown courts’ willingness to sua sponte consider the issue of federal illegality in determining whether consideration of the matter is proper. Additionally, while the decisions of one federal district court certainly do not amount to precedent, the type of remedies sought appears to matter. Where the relief requested is a share in a marijuana business, courts have appeared wary to take up the case for fear awarding such relief itself could be a violation of federal law. In contrast, a breach of contract suit seeking purely monetary damages would not, under the cases explored above, register the same issue, perhaps presenting a more viable alternative to a litigant hoping to survive a defense rooted in the illegality argument.

Intellectual property infringement

Common types of intellectual property (IP)-related disputes involve claims of patent infringement, copyright infringement, and trademark infringement. While patents and copyrights are within the exclusive domain of federal law, claims may be brought for trademark infringement under federal or state law. Also unique to the realm of trademarks is products for which trademark protection are sought must be lawful under federal law. Currently, that would not include marijuana products.

KIVA Health Brands v. KIVA Brands involved a dispute over rights to the name “KIVA” between a health foods company (Kiva Health) and a marijuana-infused edibles company (Kiva Brands, or KBI). Although Kiva Health initiated the lawsuit, KBI countered with its own claims, among them that KIVA Health’s registered trademark should be canceled and, under the federal Lanham Act, KIVA Health actually infringed KBI’s marks, which had been used before KIVA Health’s. KIVA Health moved to dismiss the counterclaims, arguing KBI’s manufacture and sale of federally unlawful products rendered it unable to maintain the claims.

The court agreed. In a ruling issued late last year, the court explained “[t]o hold that KBI’s prior use of the KIVA mark on a product that is illegal under federal law is a legitimate defense to KHB’s federal trademark would ‘put the government in the anomalous position of extending the benefits of trademark protection to a seller based upon actions the seller took in violation of that government’s own laws.’” (In a similar case, Woodstock Ventures LC, et al. v. Woodstock Products Co. International Inc., et al., SDNY 1:18-cv-01840-RWS, a team of Duane Morris lawyers led by Seth Goldberg represented a cannabis-infused products manufacturer in a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the founders of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival of 1969 concerning the rights to the “WOODSTOCK” trademark in connection with cannabis-related products.)

Another trademark case recently decided in federal court further illustrates the branding complications posed by the treatment of marijuana under federal law. In Tapatio Foods, LLC v. Arfarh, Tapatio Foods accused the alleged makers of Tiowaxy THC medicated hot sauce of diluting Tapatio’s brand name. Arguing that Tiowaxy sounds similar to Tapatio and that the products share a similar font and label designs, Tapatio asserted that its brand had been tarnished due to its association with the defendant’s product, infused with a Schedule I controlled substance. Ultimately, the court granted a permanent injunction in favor of Tapatio, though that ruling was predicated on the defendant’s default in the litigation.

The KIVA ruling suggests a hostility, at least on the part of one federal court, toward trademark claims based on conduct that is unlawful under federal law. As such, this may incentivize cannabis businesses to pursue trademark claims under state law, rather than federal, to avoid the result in KIVA. (It is unclear whether the result in KIVA could be expected in a patent dispute rather than a trademark case, as there is no “lawful use” requirement for patent eligibility as there is for trademark protection under the Lanham Act.) The KIVA case also demonstrates IP rights in the cannabis industry—as in other consumer product markets—can be incredibly valuable. Whereas patents generally expire after twenty years, trademark protection can last for a potentially unlimited amount of time. As such, cannabis businesses should invest in protecting their IP while remaining cognizant of certain courts’ and jurisdictions’ wariness of rewarding conduct that violates federal law. Firms should also recognize that potentially infringing behavior may lead not only to a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement or unfair competition—a plaintiff might also seek to capitalize on the fact marijuana (and THC) is illegal under federal law, as the plaintiff did in Tapatio, to support a theory their brand has been tarnished or its value diminished.


The potential for employment-related legal issues exists in every workplace, from the potential for race discrimination or sexual harassment suits under federal or state law to wage-related claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or its state-law equivalent. As businesses with employees, companies operating in the cannabis space are not immune from these sorts of issues and they have begun to face these sorts of claims.

One significant case shines a light on the intersection of federal employment law and business illegal under federal law. In Kenney v. Helix TCS, the plaintiff sued his employer (Helix), a company that provides security services to businesses in the marijuana industry. The crux of the case was Helix classified Kenney as an “exempt” employee, meaning he was not eligible for overtime pay. Kenney’s suit argued he should not have been so classified and was owed overtime under the FLSA. Helix argued Kenney was not entitled to the protections of the FLSA because marijuana—the industry in which Helix operates—is unlawful under federal law. A federal appellate court disagreed, stating in no uncertain terms “employers are not excused from complying with federal laws just because their business practices are federally prohibited.”

A primary takeaway from Helix is companies in the cannabis industry, like those in any other industry, should develop and implement procedures to ensure compliance with all state and federal employment regulations (including those implemented under the FLSA). The Helix case confirms the “federal illegality” defense has its limits; as with tax cases concerning the application of Internal Revenue Code § 280E to cannabis businesses, the fact marijuana is federally illegal will not protect employers who otherwise run afoul of federal law in operating their businesses. This case, like the contract dispute cases discussed above, demonstrates legal obligations may not simply be ignored on the grounds they concern marijuana. Given this reality, making compliance a pillar of a company’s business plan can help mitigate the risk of costly litigation.


They say, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” In the world of civil litigation involving the very young cannabis industry, the laws are still developing, so there are unknowns. As evidenced by the spike in cannabis-related litigation in 2019, and as the industry matures it seems like it may mirror most other U.S. industries in the sense participants will resolve disputes with litigation. Counsel experienced in both civil litigation and cannabis-specific issues such as the federal/state conflict and state-by-state patchwork of cannabis regulations (and therefore not needing to be “brought up to speed”) will be essential to guiding litigants to cost-effective resolutions. However, planning ahead by incorporating some of the tips set forth above—especially those relating to internal practices and procedures concerning federal and state regulatory compliance—could reduce the time and expense of a cannabis-related civil action.

The information provided in this column does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to legal matters.

seth goldberg esq headshot

Seth A. Goldberg is a member of Duane Morris’s trial practice group. He also serves as team lead for the firm’s cannabis industry group, where he advises core and ancillary cannabis and hemp companies in regulatory and business matters, as well non-cannabis companies evaluating their participation in the cannabis space.


Justin M. L. Stern is a member of Duane Morris’s trial practice group and the firm’s cannabis industry group. Focused primarily on complex litigation in heavily regulated industries, he routinely provides strategic advice to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of cannabis-derived products. Source:


Roger Adams and the Unexpected Discovery of CBD



The name Raphael Mechoulam has gained prominence in the last several years, as he is the man who first isolated delta-9 THC. Not as many people are familiar with the scientist Roger Adams, though he was just as important in the early research on cannabis. The story of Roger Adams and the unexpected discovery of CBD marks one of the biggest milestones in today’s cannabis research. Here’s how it happened.

Not everyone knows the name Roger Adams, or that he made the unexpected discovery of CBD. Just like not everyone knows what delta-8 THC is, or how it relates to marijuana. Both are very important. Roger Adams made some of the biggest discoveries related to identifying cannabinoids; and delta-8 THC represents what that research provided – an alternate form of THC which causes less psychoactive high, less anxiety, and less cloudy head. We support cannabis research, and all the great stuff that comes out of it. Check out our deals for delta-9 THCdelta-8 THC, and for a range of other minor cannabinoids like THCVTHCPdelta 10HHCTHC-O and more, to experience the outcome of decades of research!

Who is this Roger Adams?

Born in 1889, Roger Adams was an organic chemist from Boston, Massachusetts. Adams is from the same family as former presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and is a direct descendent of John Adam’s grandfather. Adams attended Harvard University starting in 1903, and completed his undergraduate degree in three years. He went on to earn his PhD at Radcliffe College in 1912. He was such an outstanding student that he won the Parker Traveling Scholarship for 1912-1913, and used the money to work in laboratories in and around Berlin for that time period.

In 1913, Adams returned to the US, and began working as a research assistant, teaching organic chemistry at both Harvard and Radcliffe. He left the world of Harvard in 1916, upon accepting an assistant professor position at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He remained at this university for 56 years. Adams spent the majority of this time as the department head for chemistry, taking the role from his predecessor William A. Noyes.

While working in this position, Adams accomplished several things. Together with students he created the Adam’s Catalyst, something used in hydrogenation reactions along with an apparatus for using this catalyst. He also elucidated the composition of complex vegetable oils and plant alkaloids. In the late 1930’s he began research into the cannabis plant and isolated the cannabinoids CBN and CBD, synthesized both, found delta-9 THC, and did a partial synthesis of that as well. He also synthesized analogues of these compounds. In this way, Roger Adams was the first guy to create a synthetic cannabinoid.

discovery of CBD, there’re two other guys who need to be mentioned, Thomas Easterfield and Robert S. Cahn. As science builds on itself over time, Easterfield’s and Cahn’s discoveries were what led into some of the bigger milestones in cannabis research. It all started with the desire to find what ended up being THC. In the search for the compound that caused intoxication, cannabis was first distilled into a ‘red oil’, which was the first form of it to be studied in modern times.

This red oil was discovered in the late 1800s by Doctor Thomas Hill Easterfield, a member of the Cambridge Group, who had been lecturing at Cambridge University at that time. In the late 1800s when he wrote about the red oil, he called ‘cannabinol’ a narcotic, which it was later clarified not to be by Cahn. At that time cannabinol was the main focus of the cannabis plant, first thought to be the intoxicating factor, but there was intense confusion around it.

Both the red oil, and the compound within, were given the name cannabinol. Though deeper questions were not answered at that time, cannabinol was the first cannabinoid to be isolated, and this was done by Easterfield.

All research was stopped, and Easterfield moved to New Zealand, following a couple incidents. One that involved the death of two collaborators in a lab accident, and one that involved the voluntary ingestion of a large dose of cannabinol by another collaborator, which led to the guy being out of his mind, and wondering around the lab as it caught fire around him. The fire was put out, and he returned to normal, but the news of these accidents was exaggerated and used in smear campaigns against cannabis, with claims that it was causing death and injury to researchers. This stymied research at the time, and it took about three decades for the next major breakthrough, brought by Robert Cahn.

In the 1930s, Doctor Robert S. Cahn began studying the structure and bioactivity of CBN. Cahn called the red oil ‘crude cannabinol’. He used the name ‘cannabinol’ specifically for the pure compound within the oil which he was able to show did not have intoxicating properties, ending the idea that CBN was the psychoactive constituent of the plant. Cahn was able to map the structure of CBN, using the relative position of specific atoms and groups of atoms within the compound, but there were still several questions that didn’t get ironed out until Roger Adams and Alexander Todd began studying the compounds later that decade.

Roger Adams and the unexpected discovery of CBD

The whole idea with the research previous to Adams, was to locate the intoxicating element of cannabis, which was first thought to be cannabinol. Roger Adams began his research into cannabis after the Marihuana Tax Act was passed in 1937, meaning he couldn’t legally study the plant anymore, and had to receive authorization to do so. Prior to getting into cannabis research, Adams had been studying biphenyls and their atropisomerism. What this means is less important for our purposes, than the understanding that cannabinol is a biphenyl derivative, meaning Adams was already well versed in compounds similar to cannabinol, and this made him a great choice to study it.

Hemp-derived Delta 9 THC

It was actually the Bureau of Narcotics of the US Treasury Department which requested Adams do the research into cannabinol, in an effort to locate and isolate the intoxicating element. Funny enough, it was the general misunderstanding about cannabis at the time, that led to the confused discovery of CBD.

You see, cannabis was not well understood, and instead of providing Adams with high-THC cannabis (marijuana), he was provided with high-CBD cannabis (hemp). Using hemp to study THC is much harder, as there is considerably less of it there. THCA is the precursor to CBN, and it only exists in small amounts in hemp, whereas CBDA is more prevalent, but is the precursor to CBD, not CBN. This made it very difficult for Adams to isolate the already-known-about CBN from the plant.

It was this attempt to isolate CBN from the red oil which led Adams to try different methods of isolation. He could not get a direct crystallization of CBN by acetylation (a specific kind of chemical reaction). He instead tried other reagents, eventually finding himself with a previously unidentified crystalline substance. This substance ended up being CBD. In order to isolate the CBN, Adams had to go through a process of purification from the crystalline CBD, which means Adams had to identify a new cannabinoid, in order to isolate the one already found.

What about Alexander Todd?

The story of the discovery of CBD, is twofold. Though Roger Adams is the one who gets credit, there was a parallel discovery around the same time, and that was made by British chemist Doctor Alexander Todd. The two scientists were rather competitive in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, each publishing their discoveries as they came across them, and likely spurring each other on to work harder and do more.

There was even some contention between them as they both raced to find the same thing – THC, and though neither did find it, they did identify the other major component of the plant. In later years they actually became friends and formed a partnership, but I expect the competitive nature between them is what sped up the discoveries they made.

Anyway, Alexander Todd is more notorious for his winning of a Nobel prize for his work with nucleotides, but before this happened, he got into studying cannabis at the relatively young age of 32. He worked out of the University of Manchester with a very small research group, but was still able to isolate CBD from a sample of Indian hash. The hash had to be carefully gotten to him, as cannabis was illegal in Britain starting in 1928. When he published his paper in 1940, Todd was required to register at the Home Office for holding 2.5kg of hash.

These two scientists exemplify the often meandering line it takes to get from point A to point B in scientific research. And though neither reached the goal of finding the intoxicating agent, in attempting to do it, they both became pioneers in the world of cannabis research. Together, yet separately, they discovered one of the main aspects of the cannabis plant.


It’s quite possible that Roger Adams and the unexpected discovery of CBD was very much helped along by his rivalry with Alexander Todd. Either way, neither scientist reached the goal of isolating THC, though Roger Adams was able to identify it. It took another 25 years until Raphael Mechoulam finally did the job in 1964.

In a way, CBD was found completely accidentally. Though it would likely have been discovered at some point, it wasn’t even conceived of at the time it came to light. Roger Adams and Alexander Todd were trailblazers when it came to cannabis research, paving the way for Mechoulam, and the industry as we know it today.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Albert Hofmann: The Finding and Self-Experimentation of LSD



The psychedelic boom is just beginning, with legalizations occurring, and new bills working their way through local governments to provide more psychedelic freedom. For those still unaware, psychedelics have been proving to be a valuable medicine in the fight against mental illness. When looking back in the history of medical psychedelics to where it started, it all comes down to one man, Albert Hofmann, and his discovery of LSD.

Albert Hofmann sure started something big when he discovered LSD, but it might be a while longer before LSD is legalized. If psychedelics continue like the cannabis industry, it should happen eventually. Luckily, for now we’ve got cannabis, and all its great medicinal and recreational compounds, like delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC, and a range of other minor cannabinoids like THCV, THCP, delta 10, HHC, THC-O and more. You can go ahead and check out our weekly deals.

What are psychedelics?

Psychedelics are drugs that contain chemical compounds that cause a psychoactive reaction in a user. Such reactions include experiencing hallucinations, which means hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling things that aren’t there. Psychedelics are also associated with creating spiritual experiences and can promote feelings of connectedness between the user and others around. Users experience euphoria, relaxation, and well-being, while also experiencing mystical sensations. Psychedelics can alter mood, perception, and cognition, though different drugs can cause different effects, and the amount taken is important.

Psychedelics are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs, which themselves are a subset of psychoactive drugs. They can be found in nature, like magic mushrooms or peyote, or made in a lab like LSD or PCP. Though psychedelics have been found generally safe in testing, getting the dose correct is important. This is the same with any type of medication, and is not specific to psychedelics. A person who takes too much oxycontin might overdose and die, a person who takes too much LSD might have a bad trip.

‘Bad trips’ are characterized by negative, or even scary, hallucinations. Users can experience feelings of dysphoria, anxiety, and panic, as well as physical symptoms like dizziness, irregular heartbeat, numbness, vomiting, and sweating and chills. Bad trips have not been known to result in death, but can certainly be a negative experience for the user, and back up that careful dosing is very important.

Albert Hofmann LSD

Many psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning they interact with serotonin receptors in the brain. This will usually cause a rush of the neurotransmitter, followed by blocking reuptake to allow for more absorption. The neurotransmitter serotonin is responsible for many functions in the human body, from mood regulation and involuntary muscle control, to transmitting signals throughout the brain.

Historical use of psychedelics

Though we treat psychedelics like we don’t know much about them in mainstream life, there is plenty of evidence they’ve been used for thousands of years, although the context they were used in, may have been different from how they’re used today. Information that we do have was obtained from ancient texts, findings, and rituals.

For example, in the Sora River Valley of Southwestern Bolivia, a pouch was found containing traces of different psychedelic compounds including both harmine and dimethyltryptamine – used to make ayahuasca; bufotenine, a psychedelic compound found in toad skin; and psilocin, a psychedelic compound of magic mushrooms. The pouch is said to be from around 900-1100 CE according to mass spectrometry carbon dating. This is the earliest finding to show the use of the plants that combine to make ayahuasca.

Other research has pointed to use of psychedelics in Mesoamerica by the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, and Zapotecs. The Mayans were known for drinking balché from Lonchocarpus bark extracts, which together with honey produces a psychoactive effect (the bark can itself, but is milder without the honey). It was used for group ceremonies to get intoxicated. The cultures mentioned used the peyote plant for mescaline, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and ololiuhqui seeds, which contain lysergic acid amide, a relative to LSD.

The near-East has also been a hotspot for ancient psychedelic findings. Several artifacts have been made in that region including residues, fibers, pollen, and carbonized seeds. In fact, traces of Blue Water Lily extract, a strong narcotic, were found in Tutonkamen’s tomb which dates back to the 14th century BC. In Lebanon, 10 liters of Viper’s Bugloss was found in a storage jar in Kami del-Loz temple from the late bronze age. Viper’s Bugloss is a very strong hallucinogenic compound.

What led up to Albert Hofmann finding LSD

History is all fine and good, but in today’s world we study things in labs. In modern times, the practice of studying psychedelics began in Switzerland with a chemist named Albert Hofmann. Born in 1906, in Baden, Switzerland, Hofmann finished his chemistry degree at the University of Zurich in 1929. Immediately after graduation, he began working for the chemical company Sandoz.

When Sandoz hired Hofmann, the company had only opened a pharmaceutical department a few years before in 1917, even though the company was founded in 1886. The pharmaceutical department started with the isolation of a compound called aotamine from a fungus called ergot, which can be found in tainted rye. Ergot has been used in natural medicine traditions for many, many years, since in small doses, it has been known to quicken child birth, as well as help with the bleeding after. However, when found in tainted rye, ergot can cause incredible illness. The scientist who isolated the compound, Arthur Stoll, wanted to isolate the part that caused the constriction that allowed for the medical advantages only.

He was able to do it, isolating the compounds ergotamine and ergobasine, which enabled the ability to dose very precisely, and without other compounds from ergot getting in the way. Within the next few years, researchers at the company were able to elucidate the chemical structures of different compounds of ergot thought useful, all of which share a common nucleus. This point at which all the compounds start, is named Lysergsaure (in German), or lysergic acid. These discoveries made a lot of money for Sandoz, and helped launch a pharmaceutical department for further research and development. This is the climate that Hofmann walked into when he was hired in 1929.

Albert Hofmann and the unexpected finding of LSD

When Albert Hofmann entered the picture, the Sandoz lab was busy studying ergot, and the compounds within. Hofmann was able to establish a synthetic process to build the ergot compounds using the chemicals that make them up. He was able to synthesize active components of ergot, along with similar compounds from other plants, that were thought to be possible for medical use. Hofmann did a lot of experimentation, combining lysergic acid with other compounds to see what kind of results occurred. He did this about 24 times before something big happened.

Hofmann had been trying to find a combination that could stimulate circulation and respiration. On the 25th occasion of combining lysergic acid with another compound, Hofmann used diethylamine, a derivative of ammonia. The compound it created, was called LSD-25 at the time, or lysergic acid diethylamide. Though it did not meet the needs specifically of what he was looking for, it was noted that the created compound caused excitability in animals during testing. At the time, LSD-25 was put on the backburner, but Hofmann couldn’t forget about it, saying it was “a peculiar presentiment—the feeling that this substance could possess properties other than those established in the first investigations.”

Five years later, he felt the urge to recreate this compound again, and this time, something very strange happened. He started feeling strange. It was a Friday, so he left the lab early and returned home. When he came back into the lab the following week, he wrote this to Stoll, who was his boss at the time:

“I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dream-like state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted steam of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

What did he do next?

When Albert Hofmann first discovered the effects of LSD, he didn’t know what caused them. First, he thought he had been exposed to some kind of chloroform solvent, but when he intentionally breathed in fumes, he didn’t get the same response. It finally occurred to him that he might have actually ingested some of the LSD-25 he was working with, despite the fact that the only place he had made contact, was his fingertips. As it was understood ergot compounds could be toxic, a lot of measures were taken for safety. Upon realizing it might have been the LSD-25, Albert Hofmann did what any good scientist would do, he began experimenting on himself.

On April 19th, 1943, Hofmann dissolved 250 millionths of a gram of lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate (the crystalized version of LSD-25), and drank it down. He did this without giving a heads up to anyone at Sandoz except his lab assistant, and he didn’t expect anything to happen. He had taken such a small dose – with the intention of slowly increasing to find the right amount, that he hadn’t expected the response that he got. After about 40 minutes, he wrote this:

“Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh.” Due to his condition, he had to have his lab assistant take him home, which due to wartime restrictions, meant riding on bikes. One can only imagine how funny that bike ride must have been! He later said this about the experience:

“Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor and request milk from the neighbors.”

Though the symptoms were frightening, as they were unexpected, a doctor’s visit confirmed that nothing was actually wrong with Hofmann. When he had calmed down, and could speak clearly about his experience, he said this: “Everything glistened and sparkled in a fresh light. The world was as if newly created. All my senses vibrated in a condition of highest sensitivity, which persisted for the entire day.”

Hofmann continued experimentation with himself and a couple close friends. He found the setting to be a very important factor in how the trip played out. Hofmann went on to introduce this new compound to psychiatrists in the mid-1900’s like Humphry Osmond and Ronald Sandison. Osmond conducted the Saskatchewan trials in Canada. In the studies, alcoholics were given LSD to quit drinking, and according to the studies, an entire 40-45% were able to do so for at least a year after only one dose. Sandison operated out of the UK, doing his own experimentation with acid. One of his experiments included using 36 psychoneurotic patients, all of whom were cured or showed improvement after using LSD, save for two. Both doctor’s developed their own strategies for the emerging psychedelic-assisted therapy, all based on Hofmann’s experiences.

Albert Hofmann LSD


The story of acid is obviously much longer than this, but this is how it started, with Albert Hofmann and his self-experimentation of LSD. Though LSD is currently Schedule I in the US, both psilocybin and MDMA have been designated by the FDA as breakthrough therapies, and Oregon has already legalized psilocybin for medical purposes. On top of that, esketamine, a close relative of ketamine, is already approved for depression and suicidal thoughts, and is in use in clinics all over America.

LSD is a synthetic psychedelic compound, though it has roots in the ergot plant. While it was the most commonly used medical psychedelic in the mid-1900’s, it was illegalized and demonized shortly after, only now gaining attention once again for its medical benefits. With the impending legalization of other psychedelics, one can only imagine that LSD will be coming soon too.

Welcome to, your premiere location for the most current and thought provoking cannabis and psychedelics-related news worldwide. Check out the site daily to stay abreast of the quickly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, so you always know what’s going on.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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The Economic Impact of Cannabis | Cannabiz Media



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Research and economic data collected in recent years shows that the cannabis industry positively affects the economies in states and municipalities by creating more jobs, increasing real estate values, and generating tax revenue that is used for a wide variety of purposes. 

Employment Benefits from the Cannabis Industry

With the opening of cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, dispensaries, and retail stores to support the legal cannabis industry, jobs are created. In addition to jobs that are directly involved with the marijuana supply chain, there are hundreds of ancillary jobs needed to keep the industry going. These include accountants, lawyers, and many more.

It is estimated that the legal cannabis industry employed 321,000 full-time workers across the 37 states in the United States with operational medical and/or cannabis programs as of January 2021. Of those full-time jobs, 24% (77,000) were added during 2020 showing a significant growth trend as more states launch and expand cannabis programs.

When you add in the estimated eight to 10 ancillary businesses that are thought to support every one licensed cannabis company, the employment numbers skyrocket. Based on this data and future predictions, it’s clear that regulated cannabis markets benefit states’ economies by creating thousands or tens of thousands of new jobs.

Real Estate Benefits from the Cannabis Industry

States that have legalized medical and/or recreational cannabis are seeing a significant increase in property values and lease rates where licensed cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries, and retailers can operate. 

Due to strict zoning laws in many areas, marijuana businesses have a limited supply of properties to choose from to build their facilities. Property owners understand this and face their own risks when they rent to cannabis-related businesses. As a result, lease rates and property values skyrocket.

It’s not just commercial property and land values that benefit from the marijuana industry. A study of Colorado municipalities published in January 2018 found that housing values increased by 6% with cannabis legalization.

Tax Benefits from the Cannabis Industry

One of the easiest ways to track the economic benefit of the legal cannabis industry to states and local municipalities is through tax revenue, particularly in states that have legalized both recreational and medical cannabis since adult-use taxes are typically much higher than medical taxes. In fact, some states don’t tax medical cannabis at all, but it’s not unusual for adult-use cannabis to be taxed multiple times (excise tax, state sales tax, and local tax) and at rates as high as 15%, 17%, or even 37%.

How much do all of these taxes bring in for states? According to Motley Fool, California brought in $1,031,879,926 in tax revenue in 2020 – the most of any state. In Washington State, tax revenue in 2020 reached $469,200,000, and in Colorado, 2020 tax revenue was $387,480,110. 

Taxes collected by states and local municipalities are used for a variety of purposes – from funding community programs, education, and law enforcement to paying for the costs to run the state or town’s cannabis program.

The Cannabis Industry Provides a Positive Economic Impact

When a state allows the sale of medical and/or recreational cannabis, its economy benefits. That’s the conclusion numerous researchers have made after analyzing a number of economic factors over the past several years. Specifically, employment rates, real estate values, and tax revenue all increase with the approval of medical and adult-use cannabis.

MJBizDaily reported economic data in its 2021 Annual Cannabis Business Factbook that puts the economic impact of a legal cannabis market into perspective. Consider these facts:

  • Total U.S. economic impact from cannabis sales in 2021 is expected to reach $92 billion (up more than 30% from 2020).
  • Total U.S. economic impact from cannabis sales will increase to upwards of $160 billion in 2025.
  • For every $1 consumers and patients spend at retail locations, an additional $2.50 will be injected into the economy – much of it at the local level.
  • California’s legal cannabis industry is expected to add nearly to $20 billion to the state’s economy in 2021.
  • Legal cannabis markets in Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington will each add more than $10 billion to their local economies in the coming years.
  • Nevada’s economic impact per person from the legal cannabis industry will be approximately $1,917 in 2021.
  • Legal cannabis markets in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon will each deliver approximately $1,500 per person into their economies this year.
  • California will deliver an estimated economic impact per person of $500 in 2021.

Bottom-line, the data shows that the cannabis industry has a positive economic impact on states and communities, and that impact hasn’t peaked yet.

Originally published 11/13/18. Updated 9/24/21.

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CBD (Cannabidiol) Explained – The Real Benefits of this Trendy Cannabinoid



While a fringe, alternative treatment option only a decade ago, today, CBD is everywhere you look – in wellness supplements, beauty and hygiene products, FDA-approved prescription medications, food and beverages, dental products, and even pillows, mattresses, and other random household goods.

As far as cannabinoids go, CBD, or cannabidiol) is the most widely accepted. Not only is there a growing body of clinical research to support its benefits, but it is non-intoxicating which makes it much more likely for laws to be passed in its favor – as is evidenced by the fact that CBD is federally legal in the US and many other countries, while THC still is not. But when it comes to CBD, what are some actual legitimate uses for this compound, and which ones are just marketing gimmicks? Let’s take a look at some of the real, science-backed benefits of CBD.

CBD is amazing, and so incredibly versatile. To learn more about this compound, and for exclusive deals on CBD flowers, as well as on Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OTHCPHHC and even on legal Delta-9 THC! , make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things CBD-related.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the most prominent, non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants. When most people think of cannabis, they’re thinking about marijuana, which is the type so cannabis that is high in THC and associated with feelings of being “stoned”. Some types of cannabis, hemp for example, are high in CBD and contain only trace amounts of THC, meaning these plants can be considered non-intoxicating, by all accounts.

CBD is gaining popularity as a safe, non-toxic, non-addictive, natural treatment option for many different chronic and debilitating ailments; both mental and physical. Not only is CBD itself non-psychoactive, but when taken in combination with compounds that are, like tetrahydrocannabinol for instance, CBD can minimize the likelihood of negative side effects such as paranoia and anxiety that are occasionally associated with THC use.

The reason CBD (or any cannabinoid for that matter) works in the human body at all is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) – a complex signaling system made up of numerous receptors, as well as some naturally produced endocannabinoids, that exists in the bodies of nearly all animals (except insects). Researchers have discovered two different endocannabinoids so far, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA), plus the two most studied receptors, CB1 and CB2. This quad makes up the majority of existing cannabis research.

As a whole, the ECS regulates numerous different functions and processes in our bodies and maintains internal balance and homeostasis. Many cannabinoids engage directly with the ECS receptors. Others, like CBD, have indirect connections by activating other receptors that will then interact with the endocannabinoid system. Specifically, CBD activates the TRVP1 receptors, which in turn activate receptors in the ECS and also function as ion channels.

CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory

One of the most common uses for CBD is to treat inflammation, which is the body’s process of fighting against pathogens and other hazards, such as infections, injuries, and toxins. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system, thus causing inflammation.

The phrase “too much of a good thing” really applies in the case of inflammation. When this inflammatory response lingers after your body is done fighting the infection or whatever it is trying to overcome, this leaves your body in a constant state of stress and unrest. Chronic inflammation can have devastating effects on the tissues and organs and research indicates that it’s the root cause of many ailments including arthritis, contact dermatitis, acne, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes, asthma, and cancer.

Cannabidiol is becoming a very popular alternative for standard NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) drugs like Aspirin. Long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to various health problems such as heartburn, stomach pain, ulcers, headaches, dizziness, and even damage to the liver and kidneys.

CBD to Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is another condition that’s been researched extensively to determine how well it responds to cannabis therapies. Cannabidiol targets cell receptors in the body and brain that regulate your mood. Many mood disorders, including anxiety and depression, have a few things in common, including a lack of naturally produced endocannabinoids.

Treating mood disorders with CBD is becoming more widespread is among the top-rated treatment options for young adults ages 25-40. According to a study conducted a couple of years ago, thirty-four percent of millennials prefer to manage their mental health with natural and holistic remedies, and 50 percent of millennials believe CBD oil is the best way to do this; and this number continues to grow.

The main reason cited was a fear of being prescribed a medication that is too potent for their level of symptoms. Because CBD doesn’t have the mind-numbing and other unwanted side effects of prescription drugs, nor is it psychoactive like THC, it can be used all day like any other medication or supplement.

CBD for Controlling Seizures

One of the first, medically-accepted, modern-day uses for CBD was to treat epilepsy. There are many studies out there researching its effectiveness. As a matter of fact, there is even an FDA-approved, cannabidiol-based medication, Epidiolex, that’s used to treat two rare and severe forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS).

Epidiolex is currently being prescribed in the United States, many countries in Europe, and Japan. Epilepsy medications can have some very serious side effects, and that’s why more natural alternatives are becoming the go-to ­­way to treat children and younger adult patients who suffer from epilepsy.

CBD for Pain Management

Although not common, many patients turn to a CAM, or complementary alternative medicine approach, to manage chronic pain. CBD is at the top of the list for those looking for natural, yet effective, alternative remedies. Because inflammation is the root cause of so many conditions that cause chronic pain, it makes sense how CBD eliminates pain.

Numerous different studies have found that cannabinoids like CBD can help with chronic pain from multiple sclerosis, cancer, and neuropathy. CBD and CBD topicals help with pain — if you suffer from chronic pain, CBD oil may help, as well. Chronic pain can be the main source of a diminished quality of life — CBD may give you hope for getting pain-free, or at the very least, reduced pain, and anything is worth a try.

CBD for Skin Conditions

Studies have shown that CBD can provide relief for the symptoms of various skin disorders, such as eczema and allergic reactions. Reverting back to ​inflammation, we know that cannabidiol can be used internally inflammatory conditions, and now we also know that it does the same when applied topically.

Topical creams containing CBD have been shown to ​or greatly reduce and sometimes even completely eliminate itching and dryness​ ​in sufferers of eczema. The chemical ‘histamine’, which is largely responsible for the irritating itches we experience, has been shown to react well to topical cannabinoid therapy. One study​ ​found that in almost 59% of its participants, their dry and scaly skin significantly reduced with the regular use of a cannabinoid cream, which reduced itching and as a result lead to less sleep loss.

Final Thoughts on Cannabidiol Benefits

Simply put, cannabidiol is an incredible compound. It’s non-psychoactive, non-toxic, and non-addictive; and it can be used to treat dozens of different health conditions. The ones covered in this list are the most common uses for CBD, but it can be utilized for many other ailments as well. Do you use CBD? And if so, what do you use it for? Drop us a line in the comment section below!

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. To learn more about weed, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, topicals, and other products, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter.

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