Sensi Magazine - Boston (October 2018)

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Morning Radio GLORY Pizza +Caviar Fog as ART OCTOBER 2018 3

4 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

ISSUE 8 // VOLUME 1 // 10.2018

FEATURES 22 Now I’m a Belieber

Exploring the Mt. Olympus of pop culture with Brian Coleman.



High On Hops

Once considered a threat to the alcohol industry, cannabis is the new darling of the beer industry.

44 Gut Feelings

THESE ARE HOPPIER DAYS Beer and cannabis living happily ever after.


Cannabis could be one part of a holistic depression treatment that starts with the gastrointestinal tract instead of the brain.

every issue 07 Editor’s Note 08 The Buzz 14 LifeStyle


18 HighProfile


48 The Scene

08 EGGS AND CHEESE of the fanciest variety


50 HereWeGo


Sensi magazine is published monthly by Sensi Media Group LLC. © 2018 SENSI MEDIA GROUP LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. OCTOBER 2018 5

sensi magazine ISSUE 8 / VOLUME 1 / 10.2018









Robyn Griggs Lawrence CONTRIBUTING EDITOR sensimagazine



Rheya Tanner, Wendy Mak Josh Clark, Deb Matlock sensimag



Sean Curley Maia Jolicoeur ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS



Hector Irizarry DISTRIBUTION

M E D I A PA RT N E R S Marijuana Business Daily Minority Cannabis Business Association National Cannabis Industry Association Students for Sensible Drug Policy

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The last month has provided enough ups and downs in

the local and national cannabis news front to keep even the most voracious info junkie breathless. Unless you’re a savage maniac living inside the news and social matrix all day every day like me—something I don’t recommend for well-adjusted adults in these weird times—it feels right to kick off the October issue with field notes from the ether. Last month, Manhattan’s DA dropped more than 3,000 NYC open marijuana smoking and possession cases—some stretching back to the Carter Administration—to right some of the wrongs regarding racial disparities over decades in the failed drug war. Nice. A cannabis bill was approved by a U.S. House panel overseeing federal drug enforcement efforts to require the Department of Justice to start issuing licenses for cultivation and research at the federal level. However, a nasty little provision preventing anyone with “a conviction of a felony or a drug-related misdemeanor” from inclusion in said cultivation and research made it in there to the chagrin of activists, and for good reason. Have a non-violent, low level good-old-days weed pinch on your record for spreading the medicine? Tough luck says the bill, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the weathered opponent of weed reform who reportedly wouldn’t budge on a compromise that would have lifted those restrictions. Nice work, Bob. Locally, Cannabis Control Commissioner (CCC) Steve Hoffmann told WGBH there are almost a dozen provisional licenses for retail operations in the state in the pipeline as of early September, and he was hoping the final inspections for full licensing would happen by the time you’re reading this. The Massachusetts Growers Advocacy Council has gotten some spotlight after threats of bringing the CCC to court. After the commission bent to pressure from lawyers for municipalities and voted 4-1 in opposition to reviewing the byzantine Host Community Agreements, community activists and even commissioner Shaleen Title voiced concerns of the dangerous precedent being set when all the work to date on structuring the industry to be fair and equitable for all, not just the most well financed and connected, is already being stomped on before the first shop has even opened for business. Once that business gets going Wall Street analysts are predicting a $47 billion-dollar US cannabis market. Thumbs up. Another one: GFA Credit Union of MA announced it will be the first to offer banking solutions to recreational cannabis businesses after a year of research and prep. And a report published in September analyzing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows US adults over the age of 50 are consuming at increasing rates signaling, like Massachusetts, the American public has decided the useless war on drugs (as far as cannabis is concerned) had long since reached the point of diminishing returns. In short, your sweet Aunt Ethel has never been more chill. Happy October

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Michael Marotta and Boston’s enduring indie

radio spirit

For wised-up music hounds in the Hub, Michael Marotta needs little introduction. Before he co-founded Vanyaland (VANYALAND.COM), long the go-to dedicated music and pop culture website for Greater Boston, Marotta was the music critic at The Boston Phoenix, and is still a staple at local venues and festivals. This summer, Marotta teamed up with local upstart digital streaming radio station Indie617, which came together Voltron-style via former staff from WFNX and Radio BDC, and now he’s behind the DJ booth with a new rise-and-rock show, Morning Glory. We caught up with him to talk streaming radio, morning routines, and why the future of quality radio must be a twoway street.

Why get back behind the DJ booth, so to speak? Michael Marotta (MM): We launched Morning Glory on Indie617 on July 30 for Indie617, the new 24/7 live-streaming radio station based in Boston. After the team at Indie617 was established from the WFNX and Radio BDC crew, they wanted to create a music-focused and driven morning show.

Isn’t there a rash of morning shows already? Most of which could be strapped to a rocket and sent to space without many people caring? MM: There are plenty of morning shows in Boston, no doubt, but we’re talking sports radio, wacky “zoo” morning shows, the old traditional washed-up type of formats. But most people wake up in the morning and don’t know what they want to listen to, more so in the age of endless streaming. There was nothing really in town that was purely music-focused for mornings, so we wanted to create a news and music show, where the star of show is music first and foremost, and supporting the acts we play. 8 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

What’s the difference between what Morning Glory is going for and just turning on terrestrial radio, or even a weekly selection playlist from Spotify? MM: Something about having an actual human being selecting your songs—because it’s raining on a Tuesday and someone is checking that, or picking tracks befitting a scorching August afternoon—having an actual live person create an attitude and theme has value. Not an algorithm building the music, but a person guiding what’s playing in a reactive sense. Maybe because there is a band in town tonight that people need to know about, or an artist played last night and everyone in the music community is talking about it that next day. It’s geared toward that, the intelligent music fan who knows about Bon Iver or Poppy or whatever. This is the show to turn on while getting dressed, where you don’t have to worry about music and playing cool shit discussing what’s relevant to music fans in the morning. No kooky and wild bits, definitely not sports, it’s just filling a void for the people who are into that kind of morning.

What’s your take on the Boston music scene?

MM: There are a lot of new artists in town, lots of young talent coming into the city and making a mark. Not everyone knows who they are, so you’re taking a chance going to see them or a local show or opener. That spirit carries over to Morning Glory. You may know a song by Franz Ferdinand or whatever, but you may not know the Sophie song before. So, there’s an element of music discovery built into our playlists. Our listener is a very intelligent music fan, and we don’t dumb it down. We present a snapshot of the day and a playlist that is comforting, and we also play some deeper cuts along with singles or dance floor fillers. We’ll take stuff you heard 10 years ago and got into, pair up a brand-new artist with

someone you may not know, and if you stick with us, it becomes part of the discussion within Boston’s cultural fabric.

we feel our listeners are connected to us via social media and the two-way street of communication there.

Has that bled over into development? Sounds like it could.

How do you mean?

MM: We’re cultivating artists in town as well. There’s a discovery element that’s really exciting. There are tons of great new bands and artists, so it’s always a matter of people finding them. Not every great new band is featured by Spotify or on classic terrestrial radio. Here you have very connected music fans at our core and what we think can make a daily playlist. New stuff. Familiar. Classics. Deep cuts. It shapes your attitude toward the day, and that’s what we’re going for. And those listeners of ours share that sentiment.

What’s your choice “just got up, let’s blast tunes” track right now? Local band preferred.

MM: We just hosted a show with NYC band Uni—still on rise, still unknown, but we hit the pavement promoting them and drew an awesome crowd to Bill’s Bar just with that endorsement from our show. There’s a traditional faith placed on a station to help determine what’s great or valuable in music and what isn’t. But the erosion of the record industry and the big labels means the structure to prop them up and break through is largely gone for most bands. Bands like Uni don’t have that platform or get listed on Spotify, so we put them on our playlists. We’re online, and

MM: In the past, an FM station was a one-way street, just a jock on air throwing songs into ether. Maybe a call-in here or there. With Indie617, we think of a station as a dialogue, a two-way street with listeners. Every morning I pitch a question of the day to Twitter, say: “Give us three new songs for a mixtape for someone to impress.” The inspiration was to prove tons of new music is coming out that listeners may not know about. The old “today has no good new bands” formula is simply not the truth. There is great music out there by great bands; we help expose people to it. With 20 seconds of our Twitter question, our listeners were telling us the new songs they were psyched about, so we get to see what listeners are listening to, etc. Just getting real-time feedback and suggestions and interacting with listeners. Once listeners feel like they are contributing to the discussion, and their tastes are now part of the dialogue, you have a listener locked in.

Any standing rule for the station or the Morning Glory show? MM: If it sucks, we don’t play it. Period.

–Dan McCarthy

Check out Morning Glory from 7–10 a.m. / Weekdays on INDIE617.COM or on the Indie617 iPhone/Android app

Pizza-Caviar For Everyone

Beloved East Boston Oyster pop-up party masters are ready to caviar up your Santarp’s. Life is complicated. Bills, traffic, weather, Donald Trump. Yes, things can get hairy fast in life. That’s why it’s refreshing to see an outfit zero in on a few things that are (or should be) universally loved, for the good of the Commonwealth–or at least within delivery range of East Boston. The sumptuous party barons at East Boston Oysters, already known for their flare in the pop-up mollusk meal game, are on their way to making all your earthly dreams come true, provided they involve parties, pizza, and the salty luxe decadence of properly selected caviar. All mashed together.

EBO’s new pizza party delivery service couldn’t be simpler. Step one: Have a party (even if it’s a party of one). Step two: Give EBO at least a day or two notice for your order, which will involve one glorious cheese pizza from the GOAT of Boston pie, Santarpio’s Pizza in Eastie, topped with selections from EBO’s incredible top-shelf caviar. Step three: Eat. Why bother? You might want to take it from EBO founder Alexis Cervasio, who told Boston magazine: “Santarp’s cheese [pizza] with caviar is the best.”


Check out EASTBOSTONOYSTERS.COM for details OCTOBER 2018 9



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You’ve got the rest of the month to drink awesome local beer at the TAPPED Beer truck’s pop-up garden in Braintree.

Beer gardens have been popping up with various levels of frequency and brickand-mortar-ness throughout Boston as of late. There’s Trillium’s fantastic Greenway beer garden, Nantucket’s Cisco Brewers new offering in the glittering and controversial New Seaport, Castle Island’s outpost at Constitution Wharf, and so on. But sometimes you want to veer away from the bustle and head outside the city for the hops. Especially once you realize Chubby Chickpea food truck owner Avi Shemtov is taking his TAPPED mobile beer truck, launched in April 2017, to Braintree as part of his inaugural series of pop-up beer gardens. Pop-up beer gardens have always been part of Chubby Chickpea’s long-term plans, Shemtov says, “in particular where there is less stuff going on for people looking for this kind of thing.” Shemtov’s aim is to create family-friendly events focused on craft beer, and he says the mayor of Braintree made it easy versus navigating the more byzantine Boston process. Now through the end of October at the Braintree Town Hall Mall, Shemtov will park his vintage 1966 Chevy P36 step van with custom cutting-edge beer tap tech every Saturday, with beers from local craft producers, including NightShift, Barrel House Z, Widowmaker, Castle Island, and Exhibit A, on rotation.

“I’m pretty loyal to South Shore breweries,” Shemtov says. As the weather turns, so will the offerings, skewing into heavier IPAs, briefcase porters, and unique barrel-aged brews. A network of food trucks will be part of the project. Because food trucks make –DM everything better. @TAPPEDBEERTRUCK

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by J A M E S O N V I E N S

The Emerald Necklace is Boston’s largest park sys-

Fujiko Nakaya for Fog X FLO, five interactive exhibits spanning

tem, spanning more than 1,000 acres and 7 miles to

the park’s length, starting in the Back Bay Fens and moving

connect Boston Common with Franklin Park. It’s consid-

along the waterway to its terminus at Franklin Park. The in-

ered the crown jewel of American landscape architect

stallations use potable water vapor to cover varying land-

Frederick Law Olmstead’s career (along with a lit-

scapes, including Leverett, Jamaica Pond, Clemente Field in the

tle-known park in the center of New York City you may or

Fens, and the spooky Overlook Shelter ruins near Roxbury.

may not have heard about).

During the events, running from August 11 through Oc-

It’s a treasure in itself, and it just got better. To celebrate the

tober 31 (the significance of Fog X FLO’s Halloween wrap

park system’s 20th anniversary, the Emerald Necklace Con-

date is not lost on savvy visitors), hundreds of small noz-

servancy has commissioned 85-year-old Japanese fog artist

zles choke and sputter to life, spilling a dense, enveloping

14 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

cloud from the canopy above. All vision and sense of di-

others take refuge in the brief respite from the heat by hiding

rection is obscured in the heavy mass of spreading vapor.

in the fog. “What a great idea to set this up with it being so

Sound scatters, voices become disembodied. Fog clings to

hot,” a young woman says as she runs through the park.

the insides of your nostrils, fills your mouth, collects in

Because the fog’s behavior is dependent on the weath-

shallow puddles on the ground. People laugh nervously.

er, each experience is novel. If you’re lucky enough to visit

Shapes move through the miasma, somewhere in the

the fog canopy when there’s hardly any wind, the experi-

mist, a group of children chasing each other.

ence can be delightfully disorienting, with water vapor so

Some visitors approach curious and cautious, like a

impenetrable that any sense of direction is quickly lost.

slow-moving bank of clouds spreading across the Fens during

Guests have to watch their feet to keep their balance and

a pickup soccer game. Some are confused and hesitant, while

avoid bumping into something hidden in the haze. OCTOBER 2018 15

“We’re in the middle of a cloud!” a mother shouts to her children. “I feel like Winnie the Pooh!” says a child. Sometimes local artists like composer and sound-artist Beau Kenyon, who plays Boston International Newcomers Academy immigrant student voice recordings while projecting costumes and interactive dancers, will perform. Kenyon, the first composer-in-residence for the Boston Public Library and current artist-in-residence at Northeastern University Center for the Arts, worked on his performance for the better part of a year. “This has been a dream project.” Kenyon says. “A driving force in this piece is to connect voiced perspectives of hope and family throughout Boston.”

16 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

Fog X FLO is Nakaya’s first exhibit in Boston, and possibly her most extensive. She has mastered fog art, her preferred medium, over a five-decade-long career of award-winning work that has been showcased in Australia, Japan, Latvia, Spain, and several cities in the United States. “It’s the most generous of mediums,” Nakaya says, as the mist interacts with the visitors and what they bring with them. Karen Mauney-Brodek, president of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, says the project is designed to spark greater awareness of and engagement with the park system and reintroduce locals and visitors to Frederick Law Olmstead’s design, “encouraging new interactions with nature and fostering an appreciation of this extraordinary natural, recreational, and cultural resource.” “The goal of this exhibition is to build visibility, understanding, and appreciation of the important role the Emerald Necklace parks play,” says Conservancy Board chair Benjamin Taylor. Olmstead intended the string of parks not only to provide recreational opportunities for Boston citizens but to act as a vital connector, flood protector, and cultural convener for Dorchester and Roxbury through Jamaica Plain, Longwood, the Fenway, and Back Bay, Taylor says. Visitors can learn more at a redesigned Shattuck Visitors Center, under development near the Museum of Fine Arts. Officials estimate Fog X FLO, the first of three major projects in honor of the anniversary, will have brought a million visitors into the parks by the time it’s over.” Fog X FLO runs hourly from dawn ‘til dusk until October 31. For more information regarding exhibit locations and upcoming performances please visit: EMER ALDNECKL ACE .ORG/C ALENDAR/2018-10

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{highprofile} by D A N M c C A R T H Y

MENSING AROUND The rise of a local weed lawyer comes (hopefully) at the expense of racist prohibition and Mids-growing greed in Mass Grass.

For cannabis lawyer Blake Mensing, co-chair of the advisory committee for the Boston Bar Association’s first-ever cannabis law event on November 1, the decision to focus on weed law full time was a no-brainer. A cannabis enthusiast “since [his] very first blunt during the summer of 1997,” the 35-year-old lawyer has moved through legal jobs focusing on transactional real estate, advising consumer protection cases, defending people against debt collectors, as well as suing banks for trademark horrendous malfeasance, to arrive at his current place.

18 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

But it was working in municipal law throughout the Commonwealth, and his work on environmental issues, zoning bylaws, and the nascent medical cannabis program in Mass (see: municipalities and letters of non-opposition) that eventually made things click for where his talents and experience could overlap with cannabis. It just took a while for that click to happen. “It didn’t occur to me that focusing specifically on cannabis law was a thing I could do professionally,” laughs Mensing. But since April of this past year his independent practice has taken off, and already has worked with a couple dozen cannabis companies on the local front. Focusing on the startup and entrepreneurially minded businesses rising around the state has been eye opening, as well as life-affirming, par-

FEEL THE BERN: Blake Mensing and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who looks like he could use a dab.

ticularly in the prospect of spotlighting and working for restorative social justice at the center of the industry.

“I’ve met a lot of cannabis attorneys that say ‘well, I

“People of color are disproportionately jailed and impris-

don’t partake’ as some kind of disclosure, and for some

oned for use of this substance in comparable rates to every

reason they always say it formalistically like that, ‘I don’t

other ethnicity, and the history of prohibition is underpinned

partake…’,” says Mensing. “And in that split second I do

by racism,” he says. “So I’m happy that there are legal ave-

judge them a little. Why [get] into cannabis law if you don’t

nues to focus on for righting some of the wrongs of the

enjoy this plant?”

failed drug war, by focusing on clients most deserving, and

While abstinence alone isn’t a marker of the enemy, so

those that have a true and genuine reverence of the plant.”

to speak, for Mensing farcical grasps on now common

During a recent trip to Washington DC for the National

facts about cannabis definitely is, especially when it’s

Cannabis Association Lobbying Days, Mensing says he and

coming from the mouths of state officials.

his team were completely unremarkable among the other

“I was at a community outreach hearing a few months

lobbyists gathered. Which wasn’t always the case. “No-

back, and a city councilor was in attendance in an unoffi-

body gave us dirty looks, and considering the first one eight

cial capacity,” says Mensing. She inquired about “all the

years ago there were only 20 cannabis lobbyists in atten-

deaths by marijuana” which, as anyone with access to

dance, and this had over 200 for cannabis, it’s a testament

Google can tell you, is ridiculous. “I had to raise my hand

to how this is the fastest-growing industry in the country.”

and tell her it’s wildly false. Not a single recorded death

But with growth comes greed ("I'm not interested in cli-

from cannabis [exists] in all of human history. And she

ents growing mids to make a quick million"), and Mensing

only responded, ‘oh, I don’t want to get in a debate with

says while he understands the dollar is a powerful moti-

you,’” says Mensing. “I said it’s not a debate. Check the

vator, it’s when he’s with peers the real obvious lines in

DEA, CDC, World Health Organization. It’s actually a fact.

the sand can be seen.

Ignorance, I can forgive. Willful ignorance, I can’t.” OCTOBER 2018 19

20 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

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22 OCTOBER 2018 Boston


the methodology behind writing AS A “GRAB BAG OF PROCEDURES, 1963



MAILER FOR MAYOR?” ON THE COVER OF THE APRIL 10, 1969, VILLAGE VOICE, THE ALTERNATIVE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER HE CO-FOUNDED. The 55-year-old newsprint I’m staring at in late summer 2018 is in mint condition. So are the stack of copies of the same issue in perpetual rest on a shelf nearby. Behind it, a cavernous, open chamber of chaos-theory organization, forming an island-state of privately collected music memorabilia, local and national media, vintage artifacts, and pretty much anything else you could imagine. This Mount Olympus of local pop-culture booty is the David Bieber Archives in Norwood, Massachusetts. This hallowed ground of hoarding fueled both the method and the vision for local author and hip hop historian Brian Coleman (Check The Technique I and II, Rakim Told

Me) and his latest book, Buy Me, Boston: Local Ads & Flyers 1960s-1980s. Vol. 1. A sort of “fan zine on steroids,” the book is a curated choose-your-own-adventure-of-memories concerning bygone Boston, told through scanned print advertisements, menus, promotional flyers, and seemingly random finds in a stream-of-consciousness style meant to be dropped in and out of depending on where exploration takes you. It’s part experiment, part obsessive labor of love, and ultimately an exercise in mining the ore of what Coleman calls “the cutting room floor” of local cultural history, thanks in large part to treasures sourced the Aladdin’s cave of wonders located in the Norwood Space Center.


“Most people think ads and flyers are garbage. They may glance at them, use them for utilitarian purposes, but OCTOBER 2018 23

"Sometimes a footstool is just a FOOTSTOOL, and other times there's a story behind it that just needs the right HISTORICAL CONTEXT to be meaningful" — David Bieber

24 OCTOBER 2018 Boston


they’re mostly ignored or forgotten,” he says. “So the chal-

along with the other vintage local and national concert

lenge was to create a narrative—not a comprehensive one,

posters and artifacts, from Flower Power to Fight The Pow-

but a narrative that would visually tell this story about a

er and beyond. You could move in here for a year and never

Boston that doesn’t exist anymore except in the collected

see the same item twice.

cultural memory of locals.”

In fact, you could move in for a year and never see all the

Inside the archive, every turn or shift of the eye causes

items once. As of late summer, The David Bieber Archives

something else to jump out at you. And it’s not just that the

housed an estimated—and regularly growing—16,000 LPs,

archives have one of something rare or long gone. It some-

45s, cassettes, 8 tracks, and CDs; nearly 50,000 magazines,

times has two. Or five. Or 300. Tucked into their own cor-

books, and newspapers; more than 70,000 movie posters

ners or shelves are the private collections of his friends

and photos, and more than 125,000 random pop culture col-

and colleagues, people like DBA logistics head Chuck

lectables. And that’s just what they know about.

White and legendary music collector Jeep Holland. The

For media and history nerds, particularly rogue deep-

sheer girth of the collection is matched only by how seem-

cut local history, it’s a gold mine. Sean Maloney, the local

ingly random it is. Random, but awesome.

author of 33 1/3rd: The Modern Lovers, part of Bloomsbury’s

A lifesize cutout of Teddy Pendergrass standing shoul-

series of releases on seminal music albums, was floored

der to shoulder with Conway Twitty and Elvis Costello,

when he saw a flyer, hand drawn in pencil, for a 1972 show

who’s taking your picture with an old camera. A half dozen

at Somerville High School for the iconic Boston rockers

lapel pins marking the release of the 1989 sports comedy

published in his book. “I knew of those shows but never

classic Major League. Hub political propaganda from a half

found confirmation of dates,” he says seeing it for the first

century ago. Wall-mounted weapons caches full of sharp-

time and learning of the source. “Wow.” Maloney’s reaction

ie-marked disc jockey radio sound-effect filler tapes from

a common sentiment for most entering Bieber Mountain.

WBCN. Mysterious hand-drawn charcoal portraits of

“This place is nuts,” Prime Minister Pete Nice, founding

young Frank Sinatra. Original Newport Folk Fest concert

member of the seminal hip hop trio 3rd Bass, said while

posters featuring a cherubic Bob Dylan and Joan Baez,

filming a podcast video at the archive. A collector and ar- OCTOBER 2018 25

chivist in his own right as co-owner of McGreevey’s on

onto everything,” says Lance Salemo, a designer and archi-

Boylston, a champion of Red Sox and local political histo-

vist for the DBA.

ry, Nice said: “You look around anywhere and see amazing stuff everywhere. It’s insane.”

Finding the Thread Currently, David Bieber serves as curator for Boston’s rock-and-roll Verb Hotel ongoing exhibition of Boston

“I have articles from 1974 where he’s already talking about an archive,” Coleman says. “He had it in his head he wanted this someday. It wasn’t a casual thing for him. If he looked ahead 50 years, what is here is probably some version of what he had in mind. Some stuff in here has never been opened in 40 years—just perfect condition.

memorabilia, and long served as director of creative ser-

Finding originals and rarities drove Coleman’s structur-

vices for culturally important radio stations like WBCN

ing of the book’s first volume, focusing on Boston in the

and WFNX, as well as The Boston Phoenix, where bulk

1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the latter epoch anchored by his

swag would cross his desk daily. When word was out about

own memories of some of the restaurants, block parties,

his affinity for taking anything and everything, new

and music venues shaping the non-linear narrative.

means for collecting would surface regularly. He got calls

Stitched together, the book creates a Sepia-toned snapshot

when the Boston Globe was tossing file cabinets full of old

of three different decades in Boston told entirely through

stock film and celebrity photos or someone had a base-

cultural clippings mixed together in both category and

ment filled with back issues of now-dead publications. His

year—there’s an index if you get lost—culled from every-

running mantra was, “Don’t throw it out, I’ll take every-

thing from vintage Red Sox game flyers to rogue event in-

thing.” And he did, always with money out of his own

vitations and DIY flyers and a kaleidoscope of Boston me-

pocket and time and assistance courtesy of a small pack

dia, much of which doesn’t even exist anymore.

of equally passionate friends, who have often lent their

“That’s the beauty of this project and why the

backs and trucks to shuttle new additions to the ever-ex-

stream-of-consciousness narrative form had to be the way

panding collection.

I produced this,” Coleman says. “It creates these sudden

“David started collecting when he was a kid, and he held

26 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

touchpoints for readers and locals that can go in any direc-

tion, with people saying they worked there back when. Vi-

see importance of as well as the urge to preserve and keep

sual reminders that rush back to you seeing these old ads

things from the landfill,” Bieber says.

and flyers, some from media long dead. It’s not life chang-

On the Live From The David Bieber Archives podcast,

ing, but I think it’s important for people, and it’s inspired by

Bieber explained that his collection is meant to represent

a wide array of different triggers.”

“a cultural moment that actually existed in time, and for

Think: Boston Rock, The Avatar, The Boston Phoenix,

The Real Paper, Boston After Dark, and loads of other neighborhood newspapers, circulars, and landmark rags rising and falling through the years. While the Bieber ar-

the most part was discarded.” The collection, he said, “tells the story of what happened in Boston.”

Same As It Ever Was

chives provided the lion’s share of sources, Coleman also

Coleman says his process of curating and selecting was

relied on his own collection and that of Kay Bourne, a long-

supercharged by his ability to levy personal knowledge—

time writer for The Bay State Banner, whose impressive

all the parochial nuances that come with that—from the

personal archives are housed at Emerson College.

collectors themselves. Be it a 1963 Filene’s ad in the Boston

“I was given this trust by [David and Kay] to actually take

Advertiser announcing store closings in the wake of the

all these mint condition, rare artifacts and pieces of Boston

JFK assassination, a 1980 Celebrity Awards program ad for

history home to work on my project, something that would

New England Black Weekly, or just the DNA of live music

never happen with, say, rarities at a library or any universi-

peppering the Hub’s cultural tapestry, Coleman whittled

ty archives,” Coleman says.

down the options for book material learning about it from

That’s the point of the archive in some ways. Instead of

people who were there. “They were the ones who could tell

commanding over what Bieber calls “the debris of the cul-

me what resonated or was important for the time, even if I

ture” like a silver haired Smaug atop his hoarded mountain

wasn’t there for it,” Coleman says.

of golden artifacts, Coleman wants this stuff to be seen by

Take the Boston Tea Party, the legendary (if short-lived)

a wanting public. “I love to witness the stopping power the

psychedelic Boston music venue in the late 1960s playing

room has on people who appreciate items others may not

host to a cattle-call of 60s rock legends, including Cream, Dr.

Coleman says his process of curating and selecting was supercharged by his ability to levy personal knowledge—all the parochial nuances that come with that—from the collectors themselves. OCTOBER 2018 27

John, Pink Floyd, and The Who (The Velvet Underground’s

time. Most bands would come to Boston first if coming in

Lou Reed said in 1968 it was the band’s favorite venue in the

from Europe, because they knew after Boston the word

country). While Coleman was in the research-assembly

would get out. The best music journalists and media infra-

phase, he would discuss with Beiber and others what the

structure was here. It’s not like there was nothing going on

room smelled like, what its ads looked like (hand-drawn DIY

in NYC, and I guess people could argue with me on this, but

feel with trippy font work and black ink-staining page place-

I think everyone forgets how important Boston was as a

ment) and the memories seeing them years later would con-

music city. The two cities were more than comparable.”

jure from the dusty attics of the collective cultural memory.

And that, as far as salient takeaways of the book go, is

For readers, landing on an old music flyer may similarly

what Coleman hopes people remember. Even if they’re just

serve as a novel window into their own past. But with

discovering (or re-discovering) “how important and cool

someone like David or Chuck, Coleman says they would

Boston was in the cultural upheaval of the late 60s in

“launch into the time they saw Sun Ra there, and it was

America, how cool those ads and flyers were, what they say

the best thing they’ve ever seen in their life, with vivid

and record about the time and Boston through the years.”

memories. So I wanted this to exist on its own but be a

While thumbing through the first issue of the first run

simple visual portal into something broader depending on

of local eccentric and 60s counterculture icon Mel Lyman’s

the reader.”

pivotal indie paper, The Avatar, Coleman points to an ad for

Glory Haze

a long-dead club in Brighton Center called Crosstown Bus, promoting a show for The Doors in 1967. “Like right there,

“What I found interesting is where Boston is and was

that’s almost Wild Style graffiti in look,” he says, evoking

culturally,” Coleman says. “If you go back to the Village

the original 1983 hip hop film. “I’m a punk kid but also in-

Voice issues at the start of the paper and look at the ads for

terested in hip hop and local history and media. I’m by far

music in the Boston media back then, what was going on

not the only person who could do this kind of project. I just

in Boston in the late 60s and early 70s was setting the stage

have the want to do it on my own time and dime, so to have

and leading the way for the rest of the country during that

access to this caliber of stuff is incredible.”

28 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

While Coleman is clear the project was never intended to be comprehensive on any one topic, he did want to produce a birds-eye view of the Hub through snapshots of how culture and media talked to one another across the racial, class, and geographic diaspora. “A lot of times, books with this general idea of contextualizing history do it from one vantage point or another—a white person’s view of Boston or a black person’s view of Boston, rich or poor,” he says. “Rarely are they all of those.” Rarer still is the singular drive and unquenchable fire David Bieber has for his quest of gathering what could be the largest archive of local and national pop culture history, if it isn’t already. Wondering if there was any kind of method to his own craft in collecting, I hoped to see the man in action, peek behind the wizard’s curtain, know the magician’s code. And as I was leaving the archives, Bieber himself arrived, a stack of packages under one arm and an ancient wooden footstool inscribed with “Dale 1946” under the other. I asked about it, and turns out hometown rocker Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band gave it to him. “I could tell you why, but I’d have to kill you,” Bieber responded through his trademark chuckle. “Because he’d kill me if I told you.” OCTOBER 2018 29

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Once considered a threat to the alcohol industry, cannabis is the new darling of the beer industry.

Keith Villa is no stranger to beer. THE CREATOR AND FORMER HEAD


the CERIA label that will be on shelves in the coming

adult sales this month and which has far fewer regulatory hurdles than states in the US where cannabis is legal.

months. Instead of alcohol, these beers will contain

“This is an enormous opportunity to create a full indus-

THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis. The goal

try comparable to the beer industry,” says attorney Steve

is to offer a THC high with the predictability of beer, and

Lenn, a partner at the Greenspoon Marder business law

he hopes to have it on the market by fall. “You know

firm, which works largely with mergers and Fortune 500

what happens when you drink one or two or three

companies. He says an investment this large helps legiti-

beers,” he says. “We want you to get that same experi-

mize the industry. “Think of what that means in the ramp

ence every time.”

of opportunity,” he says. “This kind of money is going to

It’s a tall order, but Villa is just one of many entrepreneurs loitering at the growing juncture between craft

draw investment bankers like honey to bees. In terms of the world market, I don’t know how big it could become.”

beer and pot. People love beer, and they love cannabis,

In the States, hemp/hop beers are popping up around the

and who can blame people for trying to find some syner-

country. Colorado beer maker New Belgium sells Hemperor

gy between the two? You can get cannabis in tinctures

HPA—a new style of IPA made from hemp and hops—and

and salves and consume cannabis oil via vaporizers and

Lagunitas Brewing Company, a California brand owned by

dab rigs. Why not inside a carefully crafted beer?

Heineken, last year released a limited run of SuperCritical

The market possibilities are mind-boggling. Legal

Ale, a THC-free brew made with hops and infused with can-

cannabis is now about a $15 billion business, but the il-

nabis terpenes. This spring, the company introduced Hi-Fi

legal market is at least three to four times larger than

Hops, an IPA-inspired sparkling water infused with THC, to

that, making it appetizing for investors. American con-

dispensary shelves in California. As legalization spreads, it

glomerate Constellation Brands, the corporate overlord

seems, the sky’s the limit for beer and pot.

of Corona and Modelo Especial beers, now owns a $3.9 billion stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, the largest

CBD in Hops Plants

Canadian cannabis grower, and there’s speculation that

Family bonds are another reason for the symbiotic

the move might be the beginning of a bid for complete

relationship between the cannabis and the hops plants.

ownership. At the least, it confirms a commitment to

Dr. Bomi Joseph was the first to identify the cannabi-

become seriously involved with Canopy.

noids THC and CBD in a plant that isn’t cannabis when

Molson Coors, Blue Moon’s parent company, is also looking into the Canadian market, which is set to open for legal

he found them in Humulus, or hops, which give beers their distinctive flavors. OCTOBER 2018 33

Cannabis and hops both belong to Cannabaceae, a small family of flowering plants that also includes

“And I wanted to get my hands on cannabidiol and couldn’t find it.”

hackberries. Joseph was seeking substances that might

He had to look elsewhere for a CBD source and found

have a positive effect on liver cancer cells when he ran

several strains in Humulus plants. Because all hops

across cannabidiol (CBD), and soon found out that it is

plants in the United States are controlled by beer com-

federally illegal because it comes from the cannabis

panies who find the right combinations of flavors and

plant. “I was restricted from using cannabis,” he says.

compounds, patent them, and reproduce them endlessly, Joseph roamed the Silk Road regions of India and Mongolia to find wild varieties. “We started looking for nothing more than wild hops,” he says. “If you want the wild stuff, you have to go into the wild.” Joseph spent nearly three quarters of a year collecting the plants he needed. “It took eight months of mucking around to get samples. I was possessed,” he says. “When I think about it now, today I wouldn’t have done it. My friends said, ‘What are you thinking?’” He came back with plenty of specimens and hired botanists and experts to crossbreed the strains, and they came up with an oil containing 18 percent CBD. He has applied for a patent for Real Scientific Humulus Oil (RHSO-K), the first non-cannabis CBD oil on the market, for sale at the


If you’re silly enough to drive…

company’s website, REALSCIENTIFICHEMPOIL.COM. Joseph admits the hops/cannabis connection is more marketing tool than reality. “Everybody uses the word hops for our stuff,” he says. “But if you’re a botanist, you say, ‘What the heck’s going on?’ It is a Humulus, the same species, but not the plant that gives you beer flavor.”

Buds and brew go together, brah, and sometimes they don’t. Mixing beer and pot isn’t generally a good idea, and it’s especially bad if you’re getting on the road. A 2017 Colorado Department of Transportation study found more alcohol-related deaths than any other, but it also found that the number of drivers with cannabis and some other substance in their systems rose dramatically–and that’s scary. There isn’t a lot of solid science on how cannabis and alcohol interact in the body. I know from personal experience that the effects of both become more profound and dramatic and I should stay the hell away from driving my car.

Big Science Blue Moon’s Villa explains that CERIA Beverages is vying to introduce a line of cannabis-infused nonalcoholic craft beverages containing THC. Basically, he says, they will brew beer, then extract all the alcohol and infuse it instead with special concoctions of cannabinoids and terpenes to produce the desired effect. His goal is for all consumers to have quantifiable, comparable experiences every time. There’s a lot of science involved, and CERIA partnered with Colorado-based cannabis research company Ebbu to create the infusions for the new brews. Ebbu has been researching terpenes and cannabinoids since 2013 and sells a line of exclusive oil products. Ebbu president Jon Cooper says the company is working with others beyond CERIA that are interested in cannabis and beer collaborations. There’s a growing market for cannabis-curious people who don’t want to smoke cannabis, he says. “We know how to drink. Our piece of the technology is to figure out how to control the experience like with a beer in a product that tastes the same and smells the same.”

34 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

Cannabis plants are notably dissimilar and contain

Staying Nimble

dozens of compounds that vary even from plant to plant.

After Lagunitas Brewing Company released Super-

“It’s like chemical chaos,” Cooper says. “How can we

Critical beer made with hops and hemp, the state shut it

create a consistent experience from the chaos of the

down. “We were told we couldn’t do that,” says Laguni-

plant? We tear it down to individual ingredients, so you

tas’ marketing rep Karen Hamilton. “No CBD or THC. It

have what you need to make a consistent product. To

was unexpected. We didn’t realize that.”

deliver that awesome experience, we have to get super geeky. It’s the same way we do in medicine.”

While waiting for things to change, the company did its research and came up with a fun idea in Hi-Fi Hops, which are 12-ounce cans of sparkling water in-



fused with cannabis. There are two varieties or doses: one with 5 milligrams of CBD and THC, and the other with 10 milligrams of THC. Both varieties are now on sale in California. The company is marketing Hi-Fi with some clever hints that it contains cannabis—“this drink will get you high, just don’t call it beer”—and Hamilton says that sales have been going strong in dispensaries. “It’s sell-

Ebbu scientists separate specific sets of cannabi-

ing like crazy, so we had to limit how much per person

noids to deliver certain experiences and eliminate any

each consumer could buy,” she says. “That’s a good

chemicals in THC that might make people anxious or

problem to have.”

paranoid. “I don’t believe in full spectrum,” Cooper says.

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At first, Hi-Fi was made from hemp flowers. When this ran afoul of the federal ban on hemp, so New Belgium started using de-shelled hemp seeds instead. New Belgium has partnered with Willie Nelson’s Willie’s Reserve cannabis company for an education campaign about bringing hemp back into the mainstream. “Right now all efforts are about using beer to have a conversation,” Claeys says. “We really think we have a good shot on the Farm Bill this year. Let’s get the laws changed and updated, and then let’s brew the beer we want to make.”

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Cannabis could be one part of a holistic depression treatment that starts with the gastrointestinal tract instead of the brain.


40 OCTOBER 2018 Boston




definitively, that “dysregulation to the gut microbiota is ca-

hole life becomes. Maybe you join the more than 30 mil-

pable of facilitating the behavioral and physiological symp-

lion Americans (one in seven women) who use antide-

toms of depression and anxiety.”

pressants, which are among the most prescribed, bestsell-

How can this be? Well, it turns out that some 90 to 95 per-

ing drugs in our pharma-soaked country. Maybe the

cent of our serotonin is produced not in the brain but in the

doctor promises, as she scribbles out the script, that

gastrointestinal tract, and production is highly influenced

Prozac will deal with the chemical imbalance in your

by the bacteria that make up our intestinal microbiome.

brain, and you take that and run with it, because who can’t

This, in turn, influences brain functioning and behavior.

see that something’s really, really wrong with your brain?

When we eat bad food that’s high in refined carbohydrates

You take the Prozac (or the Celexa, the Lexapro, the

and sugars and take other toxins such as alcohol into our

Paxil, the Zoloft, the Cymbalta, the Effexor, the Abilify… ),

digestive system, our guts respond with inflammation,

and serotonin—the neurotransmitter that regulates mood,

which eventually spreads to cause havoc in our brains.

appetite, and sleep—starts pumping in your brain. Despite

“Some 40 trillion cells, almost three pounds of your

the bloating, cramping, and gastritis you were told to ex-

body mass, is bacteria,” Dr. Jack Gilbert, a microbial ecol-

pect as side effects, you feel a bit better. Those thoughts of

ogist who directs the Microbiome Center at the Universi-

suicide? An unfortunate side effect. Those brain zaps

ty of Chicago, explained to the Chicago Tribune. “They

when you try to go off the drug? Totally normal.

live mostly in the intestine. It’s like an ecosystem, like a

Or maybe you’re among the 40 percent of people whom the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports

rainforest that lives inside of you—a living, breathing environment—which we can affect by the things we eat.”

can’t find any relief using antidepressants. That’s a lot of people, and that statistic (which many believe is lower than reality) has sent even mainstream medical institutions like the NIH scrambling to seek alternative therapies. They’re finding solutions, but not in the brain. The key to depression, it appears, actually lies in the gut.

Our Mood is What We Eat “Prozac was supposed to be a massive cure for depression that would reduce institutionalization. Instead, we’ve seen an increase in institutionalization,” says Dr. Mary Van, clinical director at ThriveX medical spa in Fort Lauderdale, who specializes in both pharmacy and nutrition. “It becomes readily apparent that mainstream medicine missed part of the puzzle.” In recent years, the microbiome (all the bacteria, fungi and viruses in your body)-gut-brain axis has emerged as a significant player in the development of depression, and medical researchers believe gut microbiota (colonies of organisms) may play a causal role. Regulating microbiota with diet, probiotics, and a new treatment called fecal microbiota transplantation may have important benefits for preventing and treating depression, according to an NIH report. The New York Academy of Sciences reports, more

Eat to Beat the Blues A plant-based, fiber-rich diet devoid of processed foods, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup has been proven to keep depression at bay. Include lots of the following: • Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and miso are rich in probiotics. • Cruciferous vegetables (sulfur-smelling ones like kale, cauliflower, and broccoli) provide roughage that feeds prebiotics in the gut, says Dr. Mary Van. • Legumes, seeds, and nuts are high in zinc and amino acids, which feed serotonin transmitters. • Black chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are being proven effective against major depression. (Herbalist Brigitte Mars soaks them in water, then adds other super-nutrient foods like blueberries, goji berries, bee pollen, and maca for depression prevention.) • Leafy green vegetables and lemon water help cleanse the liver, says Mars. • Organic extra-virgin olive oil should be your staple fat; avoid butter, canola oil, and palm oil. OCTOBER 2018 41

These discoveries have led to an emerging health care practice aimed at preventing and treating depression known as nutritional psychiatry. At its most basic, this “new” field recognizes that what we eat directly affects our brains’ structure and function and, ultimately, our moods, according to a Harvard Medical School report. Diets high in refined sugars promote inflammation and oxidative stress, which impairs brain function and worsens depressive symptoms. Studies have found that Mediterranean and traditional Japanese diets high in vegeta-

Cannabis and Depression: Still an Unknown

bles, fruits, unprocessed grains, and seafood and void of

Depressed people have been self-medicating with

processed and refined foods—those staples of the Amer-

cannabis for as long as cannabis has been available, and

ican diet—lower the risk of depression by 25 to 35 percent.

the modern medical community has been condemning

“We dig our graves with our forks,” says herbalist, author,

them for just as long. Traditional doctors argue that can-

and natural food chef Brigitte Mars. “We really need to stop

nabis use can trigger depressive episodes and make de-

thinking the body is not affecting the brain or that our

pressive symptoms worse over time. But if gut and brain

moods are not affected by our physiology. When treating de-

inflammation truly are major factors in depression, as

pression, a good holistic practitioner will ask if you’re eating

research is showing, it only makes sense that canna-

enough leafy green vegetables to nourish the liver and help

bis—renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties—

the body better utilize oxygen, and will make the diet more

could be good therapy.

rainbow-like with fresh, local fruits and vegetables. The

THC and CBD have been proven beneficial for depres-

American diet has gotten very beige, and that is depressing.”

sion in animal models, and states with robust medical

According to the “evolutionary mismatch” or “paleo-defi-

cannabis programs have seen a 5 percent decrease in to-

cit disorder” theory of depression, the poisons of modern

tal suicide rates and an even greater decrease in suicides

living—processed food, environmental toxins, isolation,

among men in their 20s and 30s, according to Project

constant stress—are pushing people into depression, which

CBD. But as is so often and sadly the case with cannabis,

according to holistic women’s health psychiatrist Dr. Kelly

clinical research is lacking.

Brogan “is simply a message from our bodies trying to protect us from the madness of the modern world.”

Toxic Gut, Toxic Brain

In one of the very few studies that has been done on cannabis and depression, researchers analyzed data from Strainprint, an app used by medical cannabis users to track changes in symptoms as they experiment with different

Van says most of the patients she treats for depres-

doses and strains, and found that 50 percent perceived a

sion also have digestive disorders such as diarrhea or

reduction in depression after two puffs. However, cannabis

constipation. “It’s all intertwined, and it’s all due to tox-

use appears to have exacerbated baseline symptoms of

icity,” she says. “Our bodies work in a biofeedback loop.

depression over time.

You cannot touch one part and not affect another part.

At Washington State University, researchers found

First and foremost, you have to understand that if you’re

that adults reported that their depressive systems were

depressed, it’s not just your brain. It’s every part of you.”

reduced after just one puff of medical cannabis high in

One of the first things Van must determine when

CBD and low in THC. Just like the Strainprint study,

treating a severely depressed patient is whether they’re

however, the researchers found that long-term use of

in crisis, or suicidal. If so, bringing down their anxiety

medical cannabis could aggravate depression.

level and getting them out of physical danger is crucial.

Cannabis is an unpredictable herb, says herbalist

She could prescribe medications like Xanax or Valium,

Brigitte Mars, who sometimes recommends it along

but she finds them too harsh. Instead, Van often recom-

with other herbs such as lemon balm, lavender, and St.

mends a high dose of one-to-one ratio of THC and CBD

John’s wort to patients as part of a holistic approach to

“just to get the edge off so the patient can think clearly.”

treating depression that includes dietary changes, light

“We have to get patients out of the red zone, where they’re freaked out and can’t think, they’re catastrophically indecisive, or maybe they’re shut down emotionally,” Van says. “Cannabis therapy with a high dose of THC 42 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

therapy, aromatherapy, and even feng shui. “I’m totally a fan of cannabis and every herb,” says Mars. “But don’t just take an herb.”

gives them a calming sensation, helps regulate their

mordial, but often that is the cause,” she says. “They’re not

sleep and helps them deal with anger issues and feelings

sleeping and not utilizing the bathroom properly.”

of not knowing what to do next. CBD also helps with anxiety and sleep, but THC evokes a more rapid response.”

Science Says

While the patient is getting cooled down, Van checks

The link between microbiota and depression is not a

out the inflammation in their brain and digestive tract.

new discovery. German physician Hermann Senator sug-

If it’s bad, and usually it is, she often continues cannabis

gested in the 1860s that mental health disorders could be

therapy with high doses (25 to 50 milligrams) of oral CBD

rooted in intestinal “self-infective” processes, and a new

to control anxiety and bring the immunological and in-

frontier of autointoxication research began exploring the

flammatory response down. She’ll also suggest the pa-

role of harmful intestinal bacteria in mental diseases.

tient change their diet to include more cruciferous vege-

“Oral bacteriotherapy” was a health trend in the 1920s, led

tables and probiotics, live bacteria and yeasts found in

by producers of probiotic-rich acidophilus milk and char-

yogurt and fermented food. She asks about their poop.

acterized by ads like this one for Walker-Gordon: “It’s a

Most patients—particularly older women who were

fact—and your doctor will agree—that your attitude…is

taught not to talk about such things—don’t want to dis-

largely influenced by the condition of your intestinal tract.”

cuss their chronic constipation or diarrhea, Van says,

Drinking acidophilus milk to build good bacteria, another

even though most of them have one or the other. She

ad promised, would bring results “nothing short of amaz-

jokes with them that they need 12 inches in their lives

ing. Not only a banishing of…depression but a flooding of

every day and recommends they add more fiber to their

new vitality throughout the system.”

diets to regulate their bowel movements. Having seen the

Today, we have science to back up these claims—and ev-

exorbitant amount of antidepressants elderly patients

idence is mounting. Earlier this year, Canadian researchers

take when she worked in nursing homes, Van is well

found in a clinical trial that 32 percent of people who

aware of how rampant depression is among that popula-

changed their diets went into remission from depression,

tion. “Sometimes we have to get very primitive, very pri-

while only 8 percent in a control group did. Australian re-


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“You cannot touch one part and not affect another part… If you’re depressed, it’s not just your brain. It’s every part of you.” —Mary Van, ThriveX Medical Spa

searchers found that one-third of study participants report-

consumed in Western diets, where we have substituted

ed significant improvement in symptoms of major depres-

certain types of beneficial fats—polyunsaturated and

sion after 12 weeks of eating a plant-based, fiber-rich diet.

monounsaturated in nuts, vegetable oils, and fish—for the

In perhaps the largest study to date, European researchers analyzed the diet and lifestyle of more than 12,000 peo-

saturated and trans fats found in meats, butter, and other products such as mass-produced pastries and fast food.”

ple over six years and found that polyunsaturated fats

More human studies and clinical trials are needed,

(fish and vegetable oils) and olive oil were associated with

everyone agrees. Gilbert, for his part, is pushing hard for

a lower risk of depression. The study’s authors wrote that

that to happen sooner than later. He’s driven, he told

they believe the global rise in major depressive disorder

The Scientist, because “there needs to be a revolution in

could be because of “radical changes in the sources of fats

how we deal with mental illness in our society.”


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The Doctor Is In Natick-based Dr. Uma Dhanabalan fights to make cannabis access and education the new normal in Mass. Back in July, Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, a doctor trained in Family, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, gave a speech at

But it’s here in Mass where Uma sees the change in the

the South Carolina State Senate. Dr. Uma, as has become her

conversational currents the most. The activist-doctor is

unofficial shorthand brand-wise, was speaking about canna-

working to help create jobs and income for the community.

bis as a Diplomate Certified cannabinoid medical practitioner,

“It’s an exciting time globally for cannabis,” Dr. Uma says. “I’ve

and her presence in the Bay State has been growing for years.

been saying open your hearts and minds, because people need to

Though the South Carolina video is her first bonafide 1-mil-

understand this plant is, in some form, for absolutely everyone.”

lion-views viral social media spotlight, the good doctor has

One of her main plights at the broadest level is focusing on

been working with and for cannabis since before the first

how we categorize cannabis in the modern age. Discussing

medical dispensaries opened in Massachusetts in 2014.

the distinction between “medical” and “recreational” that

From Tewksbury to Framingham, Boston to Natick, she

many often confuse as two different kinds of cannabis, the

has been helping communities in everything from community

doctor says pushing that labeling is a step backward in

outreach to patient caregiver sessions. She spoke at the first

thought. “There’s no medical endocannabinoid system, and

cannabis science conference in Bogota, Colombia last April,

then a separate recreational endocannabinoid system,” she

preceded by accompanying the Marley Brothers in Jamaica

says. “It’s either medical or legal in terms of how it’s accessed.”

for the first medical certification issued in the country. This

Her new non-profit, Dr. Uma CARE, (Choice, Alternatives,

past August, she spoke at the Cannabis Science Conference in

Research, and Education), is part of her efforts to alert the

Portland, Oregon, the largest technical cannabis science expo

world not only about the false stigma about cannabis, but to

in the world, where she won over cannabis supporter, cancer

educate on the basics of the endocannabinoid system. Ulti-

survivor, and actress Fran Drescher, a newly familiar face on

mately, Dr. Uma and her team aim to shine a light on the re-

the pot activist and social media scene.

search and data they’ve been collecting in her practice. As one of a handful of American cannabinoid-certified doctors, she has data points from four years’ worth of patients, and insists

Dr. Uma with Fran Drescher at the Cannabis Science Conference

the need to get that information published to combat cultural ignorance to the scientific realities of cannabis. “Only 15 percent of med schools even teach the endocannabinoid system. Why?,” she asks. “We haven’t made cannabis normal, so that’s part of my mission. Cannabis has killed nobody and I want to keep it that way. I want safe medicine. I’m looking at this as a clinician and scientist, and a human being. At the end of the day, we’re all patients.”

50 OCTOBER 2018 Boston

a n Can

Meet Sarah-Janna (rhymes with marijuana...really), or as she’s known to many of her patients, the Canna Warrior. Because when it comes to finding the right cannabis products for your needs, she is your steadfast champion. Sarah-Janna is just one of the many Revolutionary Clinics patient advocates who are passionate about connecting their patients not just to the finest products, but also to the people, resources and knowledge they need to get the most out of their cannabis experience.

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