Now it is official. Germany will be legalizing recreational use of cannabis as early as 2022.

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Cannabis and Anesthesia

Doctors Anesthetizing a women before surgery
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Both cannabis and anesthesia affect your central nervous system, but does that mean your anesthesiologist needs to know about your last toke? 

The short answer is yes. Marijuana can affect your intake of anesthesia during surgery.  

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Alerting your health care practitioner about your cannabis use might sound like an intimidating conversation to have, but it’s an important act of self-advocacy. Your doctors and anesthesiologists can’t give you the appropriate care if they don’t have an accurate picture of your overall health, including the last time you consumed cannabis. 

Cannabis Consumers Need More Anesthesia 

Remember that one medical drama when the patient woke up in the middle of surgery? Well, if you consume cannabis daily and don’t let your doctor know before you go under, that frightening and painful experience could happen to you. 

Frequently using cannabis can significantly impact your tolerance to anesthesia. According to one doctor writing for Harvard Health Publishing, “compared to nonusers, regular marijuana users (daily to weekly) need over three times as much more propofol to achieve adequate sedation for endoscopies.” 

That’s a massive difference in dosing. Unless you want to feel every second of your upcoming colonoscopy or begin gagging in the middle of an endoscopy, let your doctor know exactly how often and how much cannabis you consume. This information will help your doctors provide you with enough sedation to put you out (and keep you out). 

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Smoking weed doesn’t only impact anesthesia’s potency. If you use cannabis regularly, you should also be aware of the potential physical side effects of consuming the day before or the day of your procedure. 

Risks of Using Cannabis Right Before Surgery 

Weed relieves stress, and surgery is stressful. But consuming cannabis immediately before surgery can interfere with the anesthesia and even lead to serious side effects, including the following:

  • Increased phlegm production
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Respiratory infections
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Increased airway sensitivity to the breathing tube
  • Increased postoperative pain
  • Difficulty sleeping during the postoperative period 
  • Anxiety, paranoia, or psychosis upon waking up post-surgery

Ingesting edibles before surgery is particularly dangerous. Edibles can produce intense, long-lasting effects in the central nervous system. Additionally, the American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends that patients fast from solid foods six to eight hours before surgery to prevent the inhalation of food into the patient’s lungs. So ingesting edibles poses a double risk: the risk of reduced anesthesia potency and accidental food inhalation.  

Cannabis consumption can also lead to hypotension (low blood pressure) and an increased heart rate. This combination can trigger a heart attack in patients with compromised cardiovascular health and is an elevated risk in patients who are under anesthesia. 

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How to Tell Your Doctor About Your Cannabis Use Before Surgery 

Your doctor or a nurse will ask you to complete a survey before your procedure. Inevitably, there will be a section devoted to your alcohol or drug use. If you’re going to undergo a procedure in which anesthesia is necessary, answer these questions honestly. 

Medical cannabis is legal in most states. It’s lost most of its social taboo, which means that some patients might genuinely think it unimportant to share their cannabis use with their surgeons.  

Other cannabis users may worry that their doctors will judge them or, worse, report them if they live in a state where consumption remains illegal. 

But the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects your doctor-patient confidentiality. HIPAA is a set of heavy regulations safeguarding personally identifiable health information, and HIPAA violations can result in civil and criminal penalties. In other words, your doctor can be on the hook to pay up to $1.5 million in fines and serve up to ten years in prison for spreading your business. 

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A doctor and patient dicussing something while sitting at a tableA doctor and patient dicussing something while sitting at a table

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Even if HIPAA wasn’t standing between your privacy and someone else’s meddling, most doctors aren’t interested in getting you in trouble or making judgments about your lifestyle. The number of people who accept cannabis as a beneficial therapy is growing, and large swaths of that population belong to the medical community. Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other health care workers want to do their jobs effectively (and most don’t see a problem with cannabis). 

Letting your doctors in on your cannabis routine helps them give you safe guidelines as you prepare for your surgery. Your doctor will likely ask you to abstain from all cannabis use for at least 72 hours before surgery to play it safe. Since cannabis can directly impact how your body metabolizes anesthesia, we recommend that you follow your doctor’s instructions and take a few days off weed. 

As difficult as it might feel, let your doctor know if you consume cannabis on the day of surgery. There’s a time and a place to use eye drops and spray Febreeze to cover up your weed use, but the day of surgery is not it. Worst case scenario, your doctor will ask you to reschedule your procedure. That’s a small price to pay considering the potential side effects of going under anesthesia while high. 

We aren’t medical professionals — the information on this page is not meant to be a substitute for your doctor’s advice. Talk to your health care practitioner before incorporating cannabis into your wellness routine, especially if you have an upcoming surgical procedure requiring the use of anesthesia. 

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How to Spot Powdery Mildew on Buds

A Cannabis plant outdoors suffering from white powder mildew
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Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that thrives in moderate temperatures and humid conditions. In other words, it’s the stuff of nightmares for cannabis growers. Powdery mildew can take out your entire harvest if left untreated. Keep reading to learn how to:

  • identify the signs of powdery mildew contamination
  • prevent powdery mildew from contaminating your weed
  • and manage powdery mildew post-harvest 

We’ll help you catch powdery mildew on weed (before it catches you). 

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What Does Powdery Mildew on Weed Look Like?

Powdery mildew looks like a coat of white or light beige dust. Powdery mildew tends to impact cannabis leaves first, but it can move to the buds and can even attack the stems. If you see discoloration on your cannabis leaves or smell sweat, ammonia, or rot, scan your cannabis plants carefully — your cannabis garden may be hiding a severe infestation of powdery mildew.  

The scope of the mildew coat increases as the disease progresses. In its early stages, the mildew will appear as just a few spots on the plant’s leaf. The spots will become larger and more prevalent as the mildew grows (until your plant’s foliage is entirely covered in the dust-like fungus). Powdery mildew may not appear very scary when it first emerges, but it’s an aggressive and extremely dangerous threat to your cannabis garden.

3 Places to Check for Powdery Mildew on Your Cannabis Plants 

The best way to save your plants from powdery mildew is early detection. Regularly scout your weed in the following areas to prevent an infestation: 

1. Interior Leaves

The shadiest leaves (the ones closest to the plant’s main stem) are the most vulnerable to mildew. The shade increases humidity and protects immature mildew spores from disruptive air flow, allowing them to develop and spread. The interior leaves are also the most hidden from view, so you’ll need to be especially intentional about monitoring them for mildew.  

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2. Both Sides of the Leaf

Powdery mildew tends to favor one side of the leaf rather than appearing on both sides. For example, the top of the leaf may appear perfectly healthy while its underside shows signs of mildew contamination.

The backside of a green cannabis leafThe backside of a green cannabis leaf

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It takes time, but checking both sides of your plant’s leaves is essential for the early detection of powdery mildew. 

3. Buds Post Harvest

Powdery mildew consumes the entire cannabis plant at its most advanced state, including the buds. By the time you see flour-like specks on your buds, you probably already know that your plant has a powdery mildew problem. All the same, look for pale discoloration on your flower to make sure you don’t accidentally ingest powdery mildew (or give your friends contaminated weed). 

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Is Powdery Mildew Dangerous on Cannabis? 

Touching and smoking powdery mildew probably won’t kill you, but we highly discourage the inhalation of this common allergen. If you’re allergic to mold, beware of the following symptoms as a result of exposure to powdery mildew (a type of mold): 

  • Itching 
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing 
  • Runny nose 
  • Dry skin 
  • Sinus pain
  • Pulmonary inflammation 
  • Wheezing 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

Powdery mildew is especially dangerous for immuno-compromised medical marijuana patients, such as those taking chemotherapy or people managing AIDS, diabetes, asthma, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.  

Even if you don’t have a medical condition, buds covered in powdery mildew smell and taste “off.” If you grow your own weed (or spend money on top shelf buds), make sure they’re clear of mold and mildew so you get the experience you’re after. 

3 Reasons There’s Mildew on Your Bud 

Mildew growth is preventable if you avoid creating mold-happy conditions. If you spot powdery mildew on your weed, chances are you’ve got one of the following issues in your grow space

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1. The air is too still. 

Powdery mildew is an airborne fungal pathogen, so movement, contact, and even ventilation can help it spread. However, the spores develop best in environments with little airflow. That’s because the lack of ventilation protects their spores from agitation, allowing them to grow. Continuous ventilation (with a fan, for example) can stop mildew from maturing and spreading.  

2. There’s too much humidity.

The ideal temperature for powdery mildew growth is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is also the ideal temperature for many cannabis strains. The trend applies for humidity levels as well. Mildew loves humidity above 55 percent.

A hand holding a humidity sensor checking a cannabis plantA hand holding a humidity sensor checking a cannabis plant

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Cannabis plants love RH levels between 60 and 80 percent. Keeping your grow space well ventilated and the RH levels between 50 and 60 percent will protect your cannabis plants from powdery mildew.  

3. Your plant’s leaves are touching.

Contact between leaves accelerates powdery mildew’s spread because it reduces airflow and makes the journey from one leaf to another much easier for the spores to make. Reduce the risk of powdery mildew by thinning out your plant’s foliage and making sure that there’s adequate space between each of your plants. 

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How to Handle Mildewy Weed

The best way to handle mildewy weed is to prevent it. The following methods are easy hacks for preventing the growth of powdery mildew on weed:

  • Thin out plant foliage
  • Use a fan to improve air circulation
  • Burn sulphur in your grow room 
  • Keep your humidity as low as your cannabis plants can tolerate 

Even the most vigilant and careful cannabis growers still find themselves with infected plants, so don’t beat yourself up if you spot a case in your cannabis garden. The good news is that early detection can save your crop. Continuously scan your plants for mildew and take immediate action to stop the spread.

If you see powdery mildew, prune the diseased leaves immediately. Clean your shears afterward so that you don’t inadvertently spread more spores. Reduce the temperature in your grow space to 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit to slow the mildew’s growth until you get the contamination under control. 

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You can also use the following treatments to kill existing mildew:

  • Hydrogen dioxide
  • Milk and water solution (¼ milk and ¾ water) 
  • Potassium bicarbonate
  • Baking soda solution (1 tbsp baking soda, 1 tsp castile soap, and 1 gallon water) 

If you lose your harvest to powdery mildew, take it as a hard-earned lesson for your next batch. Then find the dispensary with the highest reviews near you to get fresh buds in the meantime.

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Germany Poised to Legalize Cannabis

Bundestag meets in the Reichstag
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Current Laws and What Might Change

Currently, the sale of recreational cannabis is not legal in Germany, though medical cannabis is permitted. Now that Chancellor Angela Merkel is stepping down after 16 years, leaders from three separate parties are taking over. Those groups say they plan to work on regulation of the adult-use market. The main goal of the legislation is to remove criminal penalties for use of cannabis by those old enough to be protected by the law and to set up a process for its sale. How exactly that would be done is still up in the air. 

The bill does address the potential dangers of drugs, creating spaces where people could bring their drugs to have them tested for contaminants or the presence of any other potentially harmful substance that is not supposed to be present in the drug. It would also ensure quality control ahead of time by creating standards by which the cannabis and companies selling it would need to adhere. 

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The law would protect children, too, making sure advertising for cannabis-based products could not be done in a way to attract children’s attention. Stipulations like that typically keep products from being advertised as candy-like or in other ways that could make kids more inclined to use them.  

Surprisingly, Germans don’t seem to be too excited about marijuana overall, even though it’s listed as the most popular illicit drug in the country, accounting for 77% of drug offenses. CA 2020 study showed a slim majority of people in that country actually oppose legalizing cannabis for recreational use. When asked whether cannabis should be legalized and regulated for adults, 51% of respondents said they didn’t like the idea, where 46% said they support it. The older the respondents, the more likely they were to be opposed; women were more likely to be against it, too. 

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Person being arrested by German policePerson being arrested by German police

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The Free Democrats, a liberal faction in Germany, and the Greens have been pushing for regulated cannabis for some time. They’re now joined by the more moderate Social Democrats. That combined group, known as the “traffic light coalition” or in German, “Ampelkoalition” because it allies the “red, green, and yellow” parties, has agreed to work on compromises. 

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The Social Democrats won the election. In the past, that group had called for regulated distribution in moderated studies with participating adults to see how legalization might impact the country. The other two parties have been more gung ho in their approach, with the Free Democrats including legalization and taxation of marijuana in their election program, and the Greens arguing that legalization would reduce organized crime and get rid of the black market. 

The Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union had talked with the Free Democrats and the Greens in the past, too, hoping in 2017 to advance legislation. It seems they could finally get their wish. 

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Police unions are against the plan. The head of the German Police Union argued legalization is dangerous and risks trivializing the potential harms of marijuana. Proponents of legal weed argue the country would save money on law enforcement efforts to go after people for crimes that would no longer be considered illegal. 


Germany has already formed an extremely successful medical marijuana market, listed as the fastest-growing in Europe. 

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A study completed at the University of Dusseldorf estimates legalization and sale of recreational marijuana could raise Germany over €4.7 billion each year. That equates to about $5.3 billion, along with an estimated 27,000 new jobs. The FDP, however, has been much more reserved in its estimates, saying taxing cannabis similarly to cigarettes would generate more like €1 billion annually. 

Legalization in Germany would be good news for other countries too – namely the United States and Canada – because it would add to the European cannabis market and promote free trade. Several companies based in the U.S. and Canada have been attempting to enter Europe’s market. 

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Germany Isn’t Alone

As Wikileaf has previously reported, there are at least 50 countries across the world that have either legalized or decriminalized recreational cannabis to some degree. None, however, have done so in Europe. 

Luxembourg, which shares a border with Germany, has also just laid out legislation to legalize marijuana use and cultivation within a person’s own home. That differs from Germany’s plans, since the Germans are hoping to regulate the sale and use of recreational cannabis, and so far hasn’t touched at all on cultivation within a private residence. Luxembourg’s legislation is expected to pass in early 2022.

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View of the Old Town and Grund in Luxembourg cityView of the Old Town and Grund in Luxembourg city

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That makes the push for legal adult-use weed a race for the finish line for those two countries. Under that law, though, it would still be illegal to possess more than three grams of marijuana in public. That would remain a civil offense with a small fine, and the new law even aims to reduce the maximum punishment for that from €2,500 to €500.

Italy is moving to decriminalize marijuana, too. That referendum would decriminalize cultivation within a person’s home, and would also put a stop to administrative penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in public. It would provide the same leniency for psilocybin – the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms.” In October, activists turned in over 500,000 signatures to be able to vote on the bill at the start of next year. 

Other countries are moving forward with a more liberal view towards cannabis as well. France is supplying free medical cannabis to qualified patients through a pilot program. Switzerland is beginning a 3.5 year plan to start up scientific studies on recreational marijuana use and the effects of a legal cannabis market. Malta is also considering moving toward decriminalization of cannabis. 

Canada, Georgia, South Africa, Spain, and Uruguay all allow adults to light up, though the purchase and sale of the product is not always permitted yet. Those countries join 16 states in America, plus the District of Columbia and several of the United States’ territories. 

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Mexico’s legislature is planning to vote within the next few weeks on a bill that would regulate cannabis. The country had previously moved to prohibit marijuana, but its Supreme Court said the ban was unconstitutional. Now, Mexico is moving in the opposite direction, hoping to tax and monitor the product, rather than outlaw it.