Cannabis Talk

Adam Rosenberg brought along examples of several ways to experience cannabis, including a large glass water pipe, during his presentation “Cannabis for Dummies.” - photo by Janet Hayes

NEW BUFFALO – The topic was “Cannabis for Dummies” but speaker Adam Rosenberg did his best to change the “dummies” into an informed audience during his presentation to the Friends of New Buffalo Library Public Forum session on April 2.

Rosenburg believes it is important to be educated on the subject of marijuana and to know what options are available.  To that end, he has become a cannabis and hemp industry specialist, with experience as a patient consultant at a provisioning center, an industry investment analyst and a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy.

Last November, Michigan became the tenth state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, making it legal to possess, purchase or gift marijuana and marijuana infused edibles.  It is also legal to grow up to 12 plants at home, as long as the plants are out of sight.  There is a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and amounts over 2.5 ounces must be secured in locked containers.

What is not yet legal is the sale of marijuana until the state develops its retail licensing rules, which Rosenberg hopes to happen by early 2020.  In the meantime, Rosenberg said a typical practice to get around this glitch is to offer a small dollar amount for a “very nice T-shirt” and get in return the shirt and plus an amount of marijuana as a “gift” to show the T-shirt seller’s appreciation.  

Responding to many questions along the way but not actually using any product, Rosenberg structured his presentation along the spectrum of the least healthy to the most healthy uses of cannabis and its derivatives.  The methods range from inhalation, such as smoking and vaporizing, to edibles and sublingual tinctures and on to the application of lotions and creams.  He said the reason of using these methods on consuming cannabis range from enjoying a nice, relaxing evening to reducing itching and relieving joint pain.

On the least healthy end, Rosenberg showed small glass bong and a cigarette or joint, which use the conventional flower or bud product and both of which involve inhaling over an open flame with no filtration.  He encourages exploring other consumption methods aside from smoking.   

The focus then shifted to the use of water pipes and vaporizers, including a desktop “volcano” model he compared to the equivalent of the first edition Apple Computer, soon to be replaced with newer models with fancier options.  While perhaps pricey at $800 new, he said less expensive, used products can be found on-line.  Also available are e-cigarettes, vape pens and PAX’s, a line of small hand-held vaporizers that use both flowers and concentrates.  These devices can be used with disposable cartridges or “fill-your-own” options.

Rosenberg said these devices are great if you like inhalation without the smoke.  He said the cost of the device is returned through the more efficient use of the product since nothing goes up in smoke and there is very little residual product.  He compared the pre-filled and the do-it-yourself options to buying packaged liquor or homemade moonshine.   

Edibles were next on the methods reviewed by Rosenberg, ranging from chocolate bars to gummy bears.  The potential risk with edibles, particularly those that are homemade, is that there is no accurate way to know the potency and the amount of cannabis that is used.

“It’s like being given a clear glass of liquid.  You may get really lucky and have a great time or you may not,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg gave a few hints when considering the use of edibles, including buying those that are divided into small pieces so you can control the amount you consume.  He also advises keeping in mind the conditions that will be used to store them, saying a chocolate candy product is probably not a wise choice on a sunny beach day.

Rosenberg said edibles sold in stores will have labels with “seed to sale” tracking information, a sign that the product has been produced by a state-licensed grower and has been tested for contaminants.  He suggests becoming familiar with labels and learning to know those that are trustworthy.  He said publicly traded companies are probably more reliable because they have reputations to preserve and shareholders to answer to.

Other ingestibles include tinctures, which can be applied to the gums and mouth areas, and the water soluble tablets which are growing in popularity.

Rosenberg said those who are interested in the medical side of cannabis use and don’t want to experience the intoxicating effects should turn to the rapidly emerging CBD products which are becoming a major trend in the form of balms, lotions and massage oils.  He said that as long as no medical claims are made about the products, there has been no enforcement action against their sale.

Rosenberg said these topical applications, which block nerve sensors and fight inflammation, are the safest form of cannabis products and are used in treating joint pain, soreness, arthritis and inflammation with no dependency or addiction risks.

Overall, Rosenberg said there is a very low incidence of cannabis abuse among regular users.  He said the incidence rate of cannabis abuse – meaning that it affects other aspects of one’s daily life -- is 9 percent, way lower than other substances.

Rosenberg said it is up to the consumers to decide what is the best fit for them in terms of product and method of use.  He urged the audience to read the labels and be an educated consumer.  He suggested finding a “bud tender,” a person that that is educated and informed, has some training and caring and can guide them in their use of cannabis products.

The soon-to-be graduate of University of Michigan in business administration, Rosenberg first became interested in cannabis when he was thinking of going into medicine and working as a patient consultant at a provisioning center in Ann Arbor.  He since has shifted his emphasis to the business side of this emerging industry and is the founder the nation’s first cannabis business student organization, Green Wolverine.  In less than two years, he expanded the organization to four states and earned sponsorships from some of the most well-known companies in the industry.  He spent a summer in California as the first-ever intern at The Arcview Group, a cannabis market research leader and largest angel investor network and is a guest lecturer for cannabis topics at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy.

This past summer, Rosenberg provided guidance for investment opportunities at a cannabis-focused venture capital firm in New York City, Tress Capital. He is published collaborator in The Green Regulatory Arbitrage, a white paper focused on investing in cannabis stocks, and founded GRAM Capital Holdings, focused on investments and consulting in the cannabis industry.

Rosenberg invited anyone with questions about cannabis use or products to contact him at amrg@umich.edu.

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