A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.


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Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.


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2020 Update: Kratom’s Legal Limbo

Kratom's legal limbo hasn't become any easier to navigate. In fact, with the many hurdles of 2020, we have quite literally fallen into a legal limbo2020 has closed our courts and town halls, forcing people to confer over zoom calls and social media forums. In a lot of ways, this internet connection has brought communities together more than ever before. The internet isn't inhibited by the constraints of distance. But, as court cases continue to be pushed back, it has also slowed the fight for Kratom legitimacy with the FDA. 

Our Pre-2020 Wins 

In 2017, the FDA lifted the federal ban on Kratom, solidifying its legality on a national level. The fight was taken to the states. By 2019, all but six of our fifty states legalized the sale, purchase, and consumption of Kratom. Today, in the United States, you can freely purchase Kratom almost anywhere. From your local head shops to wellness stores, to the internet. You can even find Kratom bars popping up in major cities in the United States. 

In 2018, Thailand finally lifted their Kratom ban, allowing the plant to return to its seat among the region's cash crops. For now, Thailand's Kratom suppliers, producers, and researchers can manufacture Kratom as long as they have the government's proper licenses. Users must obtain a prescription to use Kratom medicinally, so Kratom is finally legal for those who genuinely need it. 

The Impending Indonesian Kratom Ban 

In 2019, the American Kratom Association (AKA) sent a delegation to Indonesia that included Congressman Matt Salmon, Senator Curt Bramble, and Dr. Jack Henningfield. These representatives were sent in an attempt to dissuade Indonesian officials from the impending Kratom ban. This regulation must be lifted so that Kratom growers in Indonesia do not convert their land to other crops. 

While AKA's representatives were able to make some headway, connecting with advocates overseas and educating those in Indonesia's Ministry of Health, they could not stop the FDA from pushing the ban through. 

The Ministry of Health initially set the ban to be implemented in 2024. This was to allow farmers enough time to find a new means of subsisting. Advocates hoped to utilize this time to continue the fight for Kratom in Indonesia and find a new home for their favorite botanical to be produced. 

Unfortunately, all other trips to Indonesia were canceled as a result of Covid-19. 

The Limbo Year

March of 2020 saw the beginning of the Coronavirus, which shut down courts and town halls across the country. With people confined to their homes, advocates were unable to gather as they once had.

Not all was negative in this limbo year. As the world slowed down, people were able to find new methods of gathering and communicating. This shift pushed people to web-based advocacy, connecting people who had not been connected previously. People were tuning in to AKA's webinars, dialing in to combat local governments from home, and finding their advocacy communities on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 

In May of 2020, the American Kratom Association proclaimed that they were in the final stages of crafting the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). This monumental piece of legislation is paramount to keeping Kratom legal across the nation. Sometimes, life slows down just enough for you to catch up. 

Mostly, this year hasn't seen much in terms of passing legislation. Most proceedings have been put on the back burner while the country regains its footing and gets used to working from home and zoom calls. At least not in the United States. 

While the AKA was reaching out to Indonesia's officials via zoom calls and updating and educating advocates with consistent posts, the Indonesian Kratom ban was pushed forward from 2024 to 2022. This is an unfortunate move, undoubtedly secured by the FDA. This time constraint is a huge blow to the Indonesian farmers growing Kratom, but also to advocates here in the states. 


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CBD and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, blew the gates wide open for CBD across the nation. The CBD craze is potent nationwide. Today, you can find it everywhere, from beauty products to gas stations, to your local craft brewery. As waves of cabin fever are sweeping the nation during this year of quarantine, you might be reaching for your CBD products more than ever. So today, we'd like to take a closer look at its benefits concerning your happiness and mental health. 

What is CBD

If you're a reader of Club13's blog, you're already well aware of what makes CBD so unique. But, just in case, I'd like to give a quick overview. 

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in hemp plants. CBD is one of the upwards of 150 unique compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants known as cannabinoids. 

These compounds work hand in hand in our body's endocannabinoid systems, sometimes referred to as the ECS. Together, these cannabinoids keep us healthy by regulating and balancing numerous parts of the body, including our immune system, communication between cells, appetite, metabolism, gut health, and mental health. 

So, how does CBD work for your mental health?

CBD's Bliss Molecule

The endocannabinoid system which lives in all of our bodies came out of scientists' attempts to understand the effects of cannabis and hemp on the human body. It was discovered that cannabinoids actually exist outside of our bodies (exogenously), like THC and CBD, found in cannabis. Our bodies actually produce cannabinoids of their own (endogenously). 

Endogenous cannabinoids act as keys to a network of receptors within us and can unlock some impressive properties. 

In the 1960s, a chemist named Dr. Raphael Mechoulam discovered the molecule known today as Anandamide. Anandamide comes from the Sanskrit word Ananda, which means "happiness, pleasure, joy, and bliss." Hence the nickname, the "bliss molecule." 

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter produced in our bodies that can bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Dr. Mechoulam found that Anandamide helps maintain our general homeostasis and improves mood by reducing anxiety. 

CBD as an Anxiety Treatment

In 1993, a study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology about the use of CBD and anxiety. In this study, 40 subjects were asked to complete a public speaking simulation. Public speaking simulations are typically situations that can quickly induce extreme stress. Each person was given either CBD or an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication like Valium or ipsapirone. This was to see what kind of effects the substances would have on their anxiety. 

The subjects of this study were evaluated using the Visual Analogue Mood Scale and State-trait Anxiety Inventory. They found that while the antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications did work to decrease the anxiety of the public speakers, they also impaired the subjects. The medicines caused the speakers to forget their lines and slur their speech, despite showing no stress. Whereas the subject given a dose of CBD could control their anxiety while maintaining perfect clarity. 

Which begged the question, why take harmful pharmaceuticals when you could turn to a natural botanical like CBD?

It took a long time for our nation to catch up with what researchers already knew. It took even longer for our government and FDA to catch up with mainstream opinions.


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What’s That Smell?

If you've been around cannabis or hemp at all, the first thing you probably noticed was the unique odor. Some people find it pleasant, like a flower, others overwhelming, like a skunk. And some people, cannabis and hemp connoisseurs, can pick up the distinct smells of individual strains.

For example, the popular strain "Sour Diesel" is infamous for its pungent citrus odor mixed with kerosene notes. Banana Kush smells and tastes like the name suggests - a smooth blend of bananas and good Kush. Other strains are known to smell like pine, berry, mint, even cheese. 

So, why do different strains smell different? It's a simple question with a relatively simple answer.

Oh, the Terps! 

Terps! Or, more specifically, terpenes. Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Depending on the plant, terpenes can serve different functions. Sometimes they manifest as protective odors, like in the skunk cabbage, that deter sensitive-nosed herbivores. In other plants, they serve the exact opposite purpose and act as a seducing or attracting agent, like the smell of a rose. These smells attract pollinators like bees, birds, and butterflies.

Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions - protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity and providing a base for pollination. As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD. 

So even though they are responsible for some of our favorite smells, they also serve these practical purposes for the plant which produces them. But the scents are really terpenes' claim to fame. Without terpenes, there would be no perfumes, aromatherapy, or essential oils. 

Just as terpenes make plants, and thereby our world, smell better, they make us humans smell better. And only as terpenes serve practical protective purposes for the plants, terpenes can help practical, and even medicinal, purposes for humans. 

Terpenes are used in conventional and alternative medicine. They can be found in the steroids prescribed to you for colds and asthmatics inhalers. 

Terpenes explained further..

Humans have a lot going on in our endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for regulating and balancing numerous parts of the body, including our immune system, communication between cells, appetite, metabolism, gut health, and more. 

Organic compounds like terpenes help by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. They assist cannabinoids in entering the bloodstream. This process is called the entourage effect. 

The entourage effect is the process at which cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that exist within the cannabis plant work better when used in conjunction with one another. In other words, neither THC, CBD, or any particular terpene act alone. Terpenes interact with CBD, THC, and more than 400 trace compounds, creating what's known as the entourage effect. 

To complicate things further, each type of terpene creates distinct smells, tastes, and effects that make your cannabis experience unique. 

One of the most abundantly found terpenes is called Myrcene. Myrcene is described as tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones. This terpene increases cell mobility and allows cannabinoids to be absorbed faster than they would otherwise. There is a long list of Myrcene's potential therapeutic benefits. To name one, researchers have found that Myrcene has anti-inflammatory effects on cells. 

Another prominent terpene is called Limonene. This compound is associated with fruity, citrusy aromas. Limonene is also known to have numerous therapeutic benefits, like increasing your serotonin levels and helping relieve stress. This means that these compounds can influence neurotransmitters in our brain.


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The Bitter Truth About Kratom

Let's be honest, Kratom doesn't taste like sugar plums or cherry pie. I personally don't mind the earthy, sharp taste, but many people have trouble stomaching the bitter botanical. Kratom was first consumed centuries ago by southeast Asian laborers who were known to chew on the leaves to keep themselves energized and capable of continuing with backbreaking work. We should thank the memory of these overworked laborers who discovered the mystical properties of our favorite botanical. But, considering we have 21st-century luxuries, we don't need to harden our taste buds to consume it. 

A lot of effort goes into making our leafy friend go down easy. Whether it's encapsulated in pill form or a steeping hot tea. Here are some tips on how to cut through the bitterness and enhance your experience. 

Kratom Tea 

Not long after Kratom was discovered in Southeast Asia, it found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical. Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used in the rural villages of the subsistence workers and Southeast Asia farmers, not by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Today, consuming Kratom in Tea form remains one of the most popular ways to destroy the plant. It's easy to brew Kratom Tea from the comfort of your home, and the tasty additives are endless. 

So, let's talk about preparation! 

You'll want to choose your favorite strain of Kratom to start. This is entirely dependent on your individual journey and the results you're looking for. While Kratom strains may vary in effects, the plant consistently tastes the same. 

Once you've chosen a strain, you'll want to portion out the powder intended for your tea. The recommended dosage for one to two cups of tea is 1-2 grams of Kratom. 

Next, you'll want to steep your Kratom leaves. You'll handle this process just as you'd take any loose leaf tea. Once you've gathered your dose, you can then fill the leaves in either fillable tea bags, a mesh strainer, or a cheesecloth. Once you've done this, it's recommended that you place the portion in simmering hot water, as boiling water can affect Kratom's natural alkaloid content. Adding lemon to the brew is also a sure-fire way to enhance the alkaloid content and enhance the tea's flavor. The longer you steep your tea, the stronger and more potent it will be. 

Now that your tea is piping hot, it's ready for some fun flavor additives! 

Lemon and Honey are a classic flavor combination. The acidity of the lemon not only cuts through the bitterness, but it also enhances the alkaloid content of the Kratom. And honey coats and sweetens the distinctly earthy taste. 

Coco-Kratom 

If Kratom tea doesn't strike the right cord, perhaps you need to step it up a notch. The smooth, bold taste of chocolate is the perfect pairing for bitter, earthy Kratom. 

Kratom Capsules 

If you're aiming for efficiency, look no further than the Kratom Capsule. Capsules are tasteless and pre-portioned.


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Cooking with CBD

Navigating the landscape of 2020 looks wildly different than it did in 2019. Integrating hobbies and self-care into your day to day has never been more critical than it is now. With our passion for wellness products like CBD Tinctures and Oils, we at Club13 hope to help you feel better and more grounded, one dropper at a time. 

CBD tinctures and gummies have taken off into the mainstream the past few years. It was no surprise when restaurants and bars began taking it to the next level by incorporating it into food and drinks. Having said this, cooking with cannabis does not take a professional chef. Everyone is experimenting with Cannabidiol. You can easily switch up your CBD habit to be as delicious as it is functional. 

CBD Tinctures

Websites and local head shops tout a vast array of Tinctures and Oils. But what exactly separates one from the other? If you're considering cooking with CBD, it's essential to understand their distinctions. 

While both products are, in fact, it's derived from the hemp plant, CBD is suspended under at least 60% distilled alcohol. By diluting the it with alcohol,  Tinctures have a longer shelf-life as compared to oil. This dilution also allows for a vast array of tincture flavors like peppermint, vanilla, lavender, and even basil. 

Because of the distillation of the Tincture and the lack of protective fatty oils, it's best if kept away from high, boiling heats. Having said this, Tinctures are tailor-made for smoothies, teas, and cocktails. Tinctures integrate seamlessly just like any other alcohol, so you get every last drop. The myriad of tincture flavors is also ready-made to enhance a cocktail with a lavender dash or sweeten a hot tea with a splash of vanilla. These edgy drinks are perfect for any occasion. 

CBD Oil

CBD oil is created by an extraction process that pulls out the oil from the hemp plant. Out of all the CBD forms, CBD oil is the most potent. In general, oil works as a carrier agent, which allows the body to more easily absorb the CBD. Most CBD Oils are actually combined with a carrier oil to intensify this activation and enhance the flavor. These carrier oils range from coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable, and canola oils, to MCT oil and Hemp seed oils. CBD is fat-soluble. This means it's recommended that if you're cooking with pure CBD Oil, you pair it with one of the carrier oils mentioned above to make it most useful. 

So, if you're to hit the kitchen with our Wellness products, the most effective route is by incorporating your choice of CBD Oil. 

If you're just starting with CBD, it might be wise to start with something you're already familiar with. Cooking with CBD can be as simple as using CBD-infused oil to top off a salad. You can also use oil in sauces, like pesto, or drizzle it over a steak. 

You might be similar to myself from a culinary standpoint and find extracts with bold flavors more exciting. The taste of cannabinoids is distinct and unique. It can enhance similarly bold flavors like hops, basil, mint, matcha, and my favorite, chocolate! 

Stay Safe and Keep Reading

The options for incorporating CBD into your foods and beverages are endless. While we hope you have fun finding creative recipes and flavors, we at Club13 recommend starting with low-low doses. While CBD does not get you high and is a beneficial botanical, you should still be wary of your intake and what you are consuming it with. If you're mixing it into a beverage, it's recommended that you ingest no more than 10-15 mg. If you're enhancing your foods with CBD, it's recommended that you start with 20-25 mg. 

That being said, keep your ears to the ground as product knowledge is ever-changing. Ere on the side of caution. With anything new, there's a learning curve. 

As you probably know, the most efficient and discreet way to absorb CBD tincture is by simply squeezing a dropperful under your tongue. But it's important to understand that the options for CBD are endless and can be creative. For those looking for a more creative locomotive for their CBD antics, you might want to start turning your dropper towards your food and drinks.


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Indonesian Kratom Ban Update

In June of 2019, the Kratom world was stunned to hear the announcement of an Indonesian Kratom ban. Given that 95% of the world's Kratom comes from Indonesia, this ban would cripple Indonesian Kratom farmers and the Kratom supply in the United States. Understanding this ban's why is essential, albeit tricky, as the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is undoubtedly involved. 

Indonesia's King Cash Crop 

Kratom is native to Indonesia and Southeast Asia. This abundantly growing plant was a ready-made cash crop for opportunity seekers when popularity first surged here in the United States. The Kratom market is unique. It is free from monopolization and has remained open to individual farmers trying to better their station in life. 

Today, Kratom is one of Indonesia's biggest cash crops, rivaling palm oil, and rubber. Compared to palm oil or rubber, Kratom production is simple, quick, and takes up less land. Raw Kratom leaves are worth more per kilogram than rubber or other crops. 

Additionally, growers of Kratom have personally exported hundreds of tons of Kratom a month. This commodity has allowed Indonesian farmers to climb the economic food chain. For the first time, farmers increased their living standards, sending their children to schools with full bellies. 

Unfortunately, this surplus will come to a crashing halt with the introduction of the ban. 

The Upcoming Ban 

The Indonesian Anti-Narcotics Agency initially planned for the ban to go into effect in 2024. Recently, due to pushes given by the FDA, the date has been rescheduled to 2022. This move by the opposition has allotted Kratom advocates a mere two years to fight back. 

Kratom producers and advocates worldwide hope that the Indonesian Kratom ban might somehow be delayed to allow farmers time to find new, economically sustainable crops. 

Today, Mitragyna Speciosa is illegal to produce and export in its alternative homes of Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar. So, advocates have rallied to find a new home for the beloved plant. There's some hope of production in Kratom's native Papua New Guinea home, as no laws are on record concerning the plant. 

Two years is simply not enough time for Indonesian farmers to transition their crops or for advocates to find a new production location.

Even though the ban in Indonesia has already been issued, representatives from the American Kratom Association and the Botanical Education Alliance have not found a reasonable resolution with the Indonesian government. In Indonesia, these representatives met with the Ministry of Health. 

While the first meeting with the Ministry of Health went well, anti-Kratom Indonesian organizations have blocked any further discourse. 

There's still hope that the Indonesian government will take a stand. Regional governments, such as the Kapuas Hulu Regency, have declared they will continue to allow production in their region in support of their local economy. Especially in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has shattered Indonesia's economy. 

Advocacy 

If you're ready to fight the ban from home, here are some helpful tips

  1. Educate yourself: Before you jump headlong into the thicket, make sure to educate yourself. You should know where Kratom is legal, grown, and what makes it unique before diving into the fight. The American Kratom Association and we at Club13 plenty of information to help you on your journey. 
  2. Connect online: There may not be a local shop for many Kratom users where you can assemble. Especially considering this fight is taking place all the way in Indonesia. Show your support online by signing petitions and reaching out to our representatives taking the lead. 
  3. Support Good Practice Suppliers: You should only buy your Kratom products from reliable companies engaged in the market's leading business practices. Whether it's their sources, production, or product management, it is essential to support a vendor you can trust and a vendor who follows the rules. These vendors are sourcing their Kratom products from Indonesian farmers who follow the rules and regulations set before them. 
  4. Spread the word: Finally, the most important thing you can do as a Kratom advocate is to spread the word.

https://www.americankratom.org/update/update-on-indonesia-and-their-proposed-kratom-export-ban.html


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Kratom Around the World: Papua New Guinea

Club13 has walked you through much of Southeast Asia's archipelago, a region rich in Mitragyna Speciosa. Kratom has grown abundantly from the steppes of Indonesia to the coastal cities of Thailand for centuries. These countries share a rich and vibrant history. Today, we journey to the 3rd largest island country in the world, Papua New Guinea. Home to one of the world's most culturally diverse populations, this island is also home to our favorite plant, Kratom. 

Ecology and Geography 

Papua New Guinea is a Southeast Asian country, also included as a part of the Australasian realm. This realm includes Australia, New Zealand, eastern Indonesia, and several Pacific island groups. 

The island of New Guinea is located just north of the Australian mainland. Consequently, the native people and many birds and mammals found in New Guinea have close genetic links with those found in Australia. Notably, both land masses are home to marsupial mammals, including kangaroos and possums. 

Papua New Guinea's geography is extremely diverse. The New Guinea Highlands is a spine of mountains running the length of the island of New Guinea. This populous highlands region is covered with tropical rainforests. Rainforests can also be found in the lowland and coastal areas and a vast wetland area. 

Ever hear of the Pacific Ring of Fire? Well, if you're a native New Guinean, you're well educated on the subject. Papua New Guinea is situated right on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a point of collision of several tectonic plates. This means that there are several active volcanoes and frequent eruptions. Also, you're guaranteed earthquakes and the occasional tsunamis. 

Agriculture and Growing Conditions: 

If you're at all familiar with Kratom's specific growing needs, your ears are pricked and ready. Kratom grows best in humid, subtropical terrains. 

Like that of Indonesia, the island of New Guinea is humid, subtropical, and steeped with mountainous rainforests, perfect for naturally growing Kratom trees. Papua New Guinea's tropical climate makes it well suited to cash crops such as Palm Oil, Cocoa, coffee, and our favorite, Kratom. 

The plant Mitragyna Speciosa, more commonly referred to as Kratom, is a cousin to the plant Coffea Arabica, more commonly referred to as coffee. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. Papua New Guinea is hot and humid, and the soil is perfect. "Perfect" for Kratom means a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5, high humus levels, and exceptional fertility.

In Southeast Asia, monsoon rains and the hot, humid rainforest-like climate maintain this delicate moisture and chemical balance.

In Papua New Guinea, agriculture for subsistence and cash crops provides a livelihood for 85% of the population and 30% of the GDP. 

On New Year's Day 2022, the Indonesian Kratom ban will officially be put into effect. This looming date is detrimental to Kratom consumers in the United States. Almost all of the United States' Kratom supply is exported from Indonesia, where Kratom is native. 

Unfortunately, little is known about Papua New Guinea growing Kratom as a cash crop. It definitely is grown there, both natural and farmed, for recreational use. There is also no indication of a Kratom ban in the region, which has drawn many Kratom advocates' attention. Because of the recent waves and the dreaded prohibition of 2022, Papua New Guinea may be the most viable option for growing and exporting Kratom. This could mean big things for the island country and its economy. 


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CBD and Gut Health: Why It’s Important

CBD is known to be helpful for anxiety, depression, pain relief, and even heart disease. Did you know CBD is also a useful tool for maintaining good digestion and general gut health? 

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) 

Sometime in the late '80s, researchers discovered two new receptors within every human body's organ system. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2 and are, in fact, cannabinoid receptors. Later, researchers began piecing together the mechanics of these two unique receptors. What they found is that we make our cannabis-like compounds called endocannabinoids (EC's). And with those endocannabinoids, we also have enzymes to produce and degrade them. This "new" system in our body is our Endocannabinoid System, which helps us respond to stress by modulating endocrine function, regulating "fight or flight," and supporting a healthy inflammation/immune response. 

If you truly want to understand the mechanics of CBD and it's various benefits, it's pivotal to first understand the Endocannabinoid System. Now, having gained an understanding of ECS and its functions, where does CBD come into play? 

Well, CBD functions as a supportive tool, balancing the ECS through subtle effects on the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD also works alongside other receptors that modulate serotonin-like GABA, dopamine, and many other neurotransmitters that impact behavior and inflammation. 

CBD and the Digestive System

The ECS actively participates in gut functions, and CBD works as an immune modulator and a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It also helps to balance the ECS, and therefore has tremendous benefits and positive impacts on various digestive issues. 

In layman's terms, CBD works as an anti-inflammatory agent similar to probiotics and cultured foods. The ECS is especially crucial for regulating food intake, especially fat intake. Our cannabinoid receptors can assist us in digestion mobility, hunger signaling, nausea, inflammation, cancer cell proliferation and stomach permeability. 

Lifestyle Tips for a Better Digestion 

If you're wondering how to help better your healthy gut system, Club13 has a couple of beneficial tips for you: 

  1. Eat cultured foods! Foods packed with probiotics and healthful immune-boosting ecologies like probiotic yogurts, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi, and kombucha are guaranteed to aid your digestion. 
  2. Healthful Fats: Some fatty acids are essential to the endocannabinoid systems and are recommended as a daily dietary need. These essential fatty acids are omega-3 fish oil, sardines and anchovies, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, ghee, and coconut oil.
  3. Cannabinoid rich foods and herbs: Did you know some foods are rich in cannabinoid and terpene? They are! Some examples are dark chocolate, black truffles, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, oregano, basil, lavender, and rosemary. These foods naturally produce terpene that keeps your ECS and Gut happy and healthy.  
  4. Stress-free with CBD: Managing your stress is key to a happy digestive system. Supplements like hemp oil tinctures and CBD rich gummies can easily aid in reducing your stress. Find what works for you, and make things easier on your nervous system. A healthy mind equals a healthy body.

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