Still eyeing Juul, Altria invests $1.8 billion in Canada cannabis company Cronos

Damn! Big Tobacco’s Altria is either scared to death or just plain greedy. After trying to lure Juul into a multi-million dollar deal, then now purchase 45% of a Canadian cannabis company for $1.8 BILLION
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Altria Group JUUL Chronos #vaping #eliquid #vapes
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Still eyeing Juul, Altria invests $1.8 billion in Canada cannabis company Cronos

Big Tobacco’s Altria Group issued an announcement last Friday claiming that it has agreed to purchase a 45 percent share in the Canadian cannabis company Chronos for a staggering $1.8 billion.  Just the week prior, additional rumors swirled around the Marlboro manufacturer’s alleged attempts to entice the world’s leading vaping retailer Juul into a similar minority shareholder agreement.   The latter discussions could be finalized by year’s end.

Altria has good reason to be interested in broadening its portfolio of products into vaping and marijuana alternatives.  Since the year 2000, Altria’s U.S. cigarette volume has diminished by nearly 50 percent as smoking becomes increasingly less popular worldwide.  Previously selling about 212 billion units 18-years ago, the company now boasts an abysmal 116.6 billion units in 2017.  In fact, Altria’s cigarette shipment volume plummeted 6.3 percent during the first nine months of 2018 alone. 

Altria has a fiduciary responsibility to its investors to find new ways and products that make money.  Vaping and now cannabis are two of the more obvious options.

Since Canada recently passed legislation allowing for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level, Altria and other global conglomerates across multiple industries are pouncing on the Canadian cannabis market as a possible cash cow for new product lines. Even the Coca-Cola Company is said to be in “serious talks” with Toronto-based Aurora Cannabis over a new line of CBD-infused soft drinks.

Related Article:  Coca-Cola in ‘serious talks’ to produce CBD-infused beverages

Juul executives remain relatively silent on the proposed deal with Altria, saying that they do not like to issue statements about “rumors.”  Meanwhile, The Chronos Group is only too happy to confirm reports of Altria’s infusion of financial capital into its fledgling enterprise. Chronos spokesperson Howard Willard issued the following statement courtesy of The Street

“Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria.  We believe that Cronos Group’s excellent management team has built capabilities necessary to compete globally, and we look forward to helping Cronos Group realize its significant growth potential.”
 
Willard further states that Altria is “the ideal partner for Cronos Group, providing the resources and expertise we need to meaningfully accelerate our strategic growth. The proceeds from Altria’s investment will enable us to more quickly expand our global infrastructure and distribution footprint, while also increasing investments in R&D and brands that resonate with our consumers.”
 

When the announcement of the Chronos Altria collaboration hit Wall Street last Friday, December 8, Chronos stocks soared a whopping 21.7 percent.  Already, the move has proven extremely profitable for a young marijuana company as well as its shareholders. 

Why would Juul or Chronos want to partner with Altria?

Employee reaction to the news that Juul is considering taking on Altria as a minority shareholder was swift.   On December 1 just days after the news was leaked to the mainstream media, Gizmodo reported that many employees refused to believe the rumor since Juul products are designed and marketed as an anti-smoking alternative.  One worker is alleged to have said that if the rumors are true, then the proposed investment by Altria is “a deal with the devil.”

Related Article:  Juul employees angered over Altria ‘deal with the devil’

So, why would a vaping company, especially one like Juul which has repeatedly distanced itself from Big Tobacco, choose to allow one of the world’s most profitable cigarette companies to become a significant minority investor?  One possible motive is Altria’s extensive history and expertise in fighting government regulations through aggressive courtroom litigation.

Meanwhile, Altria theoretically gains a toehold in the vaping market after trying unsuccessfully to do so on its own.  Its lackluster e-cigarettes brands of MarkTen and Green Smoke have recently been pulled from store shelves.

Furthermore, just last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a nationwide ban on the sales of flavored vapes through conventional brick-and-mortar stores.  FDA Commissioner followed up with an immediate and rather aggressive warning to both the vaping and tobacco industries-at-large.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Gottlieb stated that if teen vaping rates do not decline quickly and at an ”astonishing” rate, then more FDA bans are sure to come.  Additional FDA regulations might be enacted without warning which could ban everything from menthol cigarettes to flavored cigars and even the sales of all flavored e-liquids entirely – even online.

Perhaps Altria wants to cover all possible bases.  If the FDA criminalizes vaping at some point in the future as Gottlieb is threatening, then Altria will always have marijuana products as a fallback. 

Related Article:  FDA’s Gottlieb: If teen vaping doesn’t drop at ‘astonishing’ rate, FDA will kill vaping entirely

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Vaping CBD to boost fitness results for gym rats and athletes

While scientists are only beginning to scratch the surface of the many potential health benefits that CBD products can provide, dedicated athletes and fitness buffs have known for quite some time.  Hemp-based cannabidiol may soon become legal this week nationwide, if everything goes well in Congress, which paves the way for millions of athletes to take advantage of its many magical properties.

The human body produces only two primary cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG.  CBD, on the other hand, contains approximately 100 variations along with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids instrumental in building muscle mass and expediting workout recovery.  These additional compounds can help fitness enthusiasts to boost the overall efficiency of the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for nearly every major function of the human body. 

Related Article:   The medicinal benefits of vaping CBD for heart disease prevention

This internal system relies heavily on a delicate combination of neurotransmitters which help to regulate and maintain a balanced state of homeostasis involving the following functions.

  • Immune system
  • Endocrine system
  • Circulatory system
  • Digestive system
  • Neuroprotection
  • Regulation of emotion and mood
  • Stress responses (Fight or Flight)
  • Inflammation and pain perception
  • Metabolism
  • Thermal regulation
  • Muscle movement and agility

Sometimes when athletes consistently engage in high-intensity training, the body’s production of anandamide and 2-AG has trouble keeping up with demand, which results in the endocannabinoid system running inefficiently, at best.  When this state of inefficiency occurs, workout recovery times tend to increase, advancements in muscle building and athletic performance tend to stagnate or diminish, and overall progress in reaching fitness goals often plateaus.  Each of these adverse side effects can easily lead to decreased motivation in the gym, as well.

Hemp-based CBD is non-psychoactive

There are two primary types of CBD oils for vaping.  One is marijuana-based.  The other is hemp-based.  Many athletes worry that vaping CBD is going to get them high, which would not only hamper their workout routines but might even be potentially dangerous.  The trick to keep in mind before purchasing a CBD product is to know the differences between the two.

  • Marijuana-based cannabidiol

The marijuana plant contains larger amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC as compared to hemp.  In fact, when manufacturers extract CBD oils from marijuana plants, the resulting liquid contains as high as 30 percent THC.  It is this THC compound which causes the feeling of euphoria among users, which is a significant reason that the federal government still considers marijuana illegal even against the outcries of numerous state legislatures.

  • Hemp-based cannabidiol

Hemp-based CBD contains only a tiny fraction of THC compared to its marijuana-based alternative.   Products derived from hemp plants typically contain around 0.3 percent THC, or about 100 times less than marijuana-based options.  Hemp-based CBD products contain about 100 times less THC – or about 0.3 percent – compared to the marijuana-based alternative.

Due to this lower THC content, the user rarely achieves the cerebral stimulation of conventional cannabis strains.  There’s also another option for athletes preferring zero-THC in their CBD products.  Hemp-based cannabidiol “isolates” are typically THC-free. 

CBD versus conventional medications

Both hemp-based and marijuana-based CBD products are natural anti-inflammatories which help to speed the repair of torn muscle tissue resulting from high-intensity workouts.  When muscle tissue gets damaged during heavy weight lifting in the gym, for example, the body’s neurotransmitters automatically instruct the brain to feel pain and send nutrient-rich blood to repair the affected area which causes inflammation.

Vaping CBD supplements this muscle repair process while simultaneously reducing the athlete’s chances of experiencing muscle cramps, spasms, sprains, and strains. Meanwhile, gym rats benefit further by preventing possible disruptions in their workout regimen due to injury.

Related Article:   Once upon a time, there was a girl named Charlotte: The story of CBD-based Charlotte’s Web

CBD products are also antidepressants which aid in producing high-quality sleep and stabilizing circadian rhythms.  For the body to recover properly and expediently from high-intensity workouts, it requires the fitness buff to sleep deeply and uninterrupted for a significant stretch of time.  It is during these periods of prolonged sleep that the body produces the human growth hormones and proteins so crucial in building muscle mass and expanding one’s physical endurance.

“CBD has become an integral part of my training and post-fight regimen helping my body’s natural healing process.”
 
~ Anthony Pettis former UFC Lightweight Champion (“Showtime”)
 

Conventional sleeping aids and anti-inflammatory medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, can offer much needed relief.  However, these medications often come with a combination of possible negative side effects.  Some drugs can cause nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, acne outbreaks, and even liver or kidney damage.  Vaping CBD, on the other hand, is considered very safe as well as non-addictive. 

Related Article:  For a groovy holiday visit, New York hotel offers CBD-enhanced food menu

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The Goldilocks effect: Choosing the perfect e-liquid nicotine strength

For smokers trying to quit by switching to vaping, choosing the perfect nicotine strength for e-liquids may be a critical decision. Selecting one that is too low may not quench those nasty cigarette cravings that can easily lead to a smoking relapse.  Choosing a nicotine strength that is too high can result in the vaping experience being too intense while perhaps resulting in a burning throat hit sensation.  If vaping isn’t enjoyable right from the very beginning, the chances of a quitting smoking permanently are almost certainly doomed.

Vapers need to find their very own Goldilocks effect.  The best place to start is in learning the typical nicotine dosage of a standard combustible cigarette.  On average, a tobacco cigarette has between 8-20mg of nicotine with about 9mg being the standard.  Light brands contain less, and cigars and cigarillos tend to have more.  Meanwhile, e-liquid nicotine percentages can range from zero nicotine to 36mg and above. 

Starting with a low nicotine e-liquid increases chances of smoking relapse.

The medical community is torn.  Should they endorse e-cigarettes and vapor products as a tobacco harm reduction tool or not?  Those who do almost always encourage their smoking patients to begin with an e-liquid nicotine level that most closely resembles that of their favorite brand of combustible tobacco product.

A smoker’s body has already become accustomed to a certain amount of nicotine at very specific times of the day.  For example, how many smokers simply must have a cigarette (or two or three) with that first cup of morning coffee?

Related Article:  E-cig study: Compared to smoking, vaping is a breath of fresh air

Choose the wrong nicotine strength, and the user might be more apt to either engage in dual-use to compensate for their depleted levels of nicotine consumption, or they might just switch back to smoking altogether.  If the aspiring vaper usually smokes a regular strength cigarette, then a 9mg option is probably a very good place to start.  If the vape juice is not available in a 9mg nicotine strength, then perhaps look for another brand that does, or consider purchasing the nicotine strength closest to 9mg. 

Starting with a high nicotine e-liquid may overload the senses.

Just like different brands of tobacco cigarettes taste either harsher or lighter based on the preferences of the individual smoker, different vape juices produce various types and intensities of throat hit sensations.  Newbies to vaping should strive to find an e-liquid nicotine percentage that most closely mimics the throat hit achieved by their favorite tobacco product.

Vaping e-liquids with significantly higher nicotine strengths compared to the vaper’s traditional combustible tobacco product may result in some rather odd side effects.  If the newbie vaper is accustomed to smoking a 16mg cigarette but begins vaping with a 36mg e-juice, then the chances of feeling dizzy or lightheaded also increase proportionally.  Avoid overloading the body (and the senses) with too much nicotine.

The Goldilocks effect of e-liquids maximizes vaping enjoyment and relaxation.

Newbie vapers need to find their own sweet spot when it comes to choosing the best nicotine strength.   The e-liquid should be enjoyable to vape without producing an uncomfortable throat hit.   The vaper should also feel relaxed after vaping as opposed to jittery or overstimulated. 

Veteran vapers often recommend that newbies begin by purchasing a small bottle of 16mg e-liquid in a couple of different flavors.  They can then proceed to adjust the nicotine percentage up or down accordingly based on their personal vaping experiences.  Once they find that perfect Goldilocks percentage, they can gradually decrease the milligrams over time if their ultimate goal is to quit smoking and vaping completely.

The important thing is to not rush the process.  Science has already determined that the mere act of switching to vaping from smoking reduces carcinogenic intake and toxicities levels by as much as 95 percent, according to the Public Health England.  

Related Article:   Science shows vaping propylene glycol kills pneumococci, streptococcus bacteria

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