According to a study published Feb. 13 in JAMA Network Open, when THC was combined with CBD in edibles, they produced significantly stronger subjective drug effects, greater impairment of cognitive and psychomotor ability.
The study supports what Harvard Professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon and many others have said all along: that CBD combined with THC produces stronger effects, part of what’s often called the entourage or ensemble effect.
The findings indicate that CBD in edibles inhibit the metabolism, or breakdown, of THC, which may result in stronger and longer effects. In the study, impairment was considered an adverse effect.
Researchers observed 18 adults, 11 male and 7 female from January 2021 to March 2022 at the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Study volunteers took part in three sessions eating infused brownies, separated for a week or more. In each session, participants ate a brownie with either 20 mg of THC, 20 mg of THC and 640 mg of CBD, or no THC or CBD as placebo. Neither the participants nor the investigators knew in advance what was in the brownie that participants ate as a double blind study.
Participants were also given a drug cocktail consisting of five cytochrome (CYP) probe drugs: 100 mg caffeine, 25 mg losartan, 20 mg omeprazole, 30 mg dextromethorphan, and 2 mg midazolam, 30 minutes after eating each brownie.
Researchers noted that the maximum amount of THC measured in participants’ blood samples was almosttwice as high after consuming a brownie containing a CBD-dominant extract (with 640 mg of CBD) than after eating a brownie with only THC, even though the dose of THC in each brownie—20 mg—was the same.
Researchers acknowledged that edibles are metabolized very differently than other delivery methods.
“The fact that THC and CBD were orally administered was very important for the study, and played a large role in the behavioral effects and drug interactions we saw,” study author Austin Zamarripa, Ph.D. said, as quoted by News Medical.
“Overall, we saw stronger subjective drug effects, greater impairment of cognitive [thinking] and psychomotor [moving] ability and greater increase in heart rate when the same dose of THC was given in a high CBD cannabis extract, compared with a high THC extract with no CBD,” said Zamarripa.
To allow for comparison, blood samples were collected from study participants before each session, along with their vital signs, and their cognitive and psychomotor performance were measured. Participants provided blood and urine samples at timed intervals for 12 hours and then again about 24 hours after eating a dose.
Self-reported effects were measured using the Drug Effect Questionnaire (DEQ), a standardized tool used to measure aspects of subjective experiences after being given a psychoactive drug (in this case, cannabis).
Using the DEQ system, participants rated subjective effects from the edibles with a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 being “not at all affected” and 100 being “extremely affected.”
Participants reported greater increases in overall drug effects when they took the high oral dose of CBD.
“We have demonstrated that with a relatively high oral dose of CBD [640 mg] there can be significant metabolic interactions between THC and CBD, such that the THC effects are stronger, longer-lasting, and tend to reflect an increase in unwanted adverse effects,” says Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s senior author.
The study differs from previous findings. A study published in November 2022 in the journal Neuropsychology attempted to determine if CBD reduces the adverse effects of THC, which could be considered as including impairment. But they found that CBD doesn’t necessarily show evidence of reducing adverse side effects.
Researchers said that future studies are needed to better understand the impact of CBD and THC doses.
Zimbabwe increased the THC limit for industrial hemp from 0.3% to 1%, making significant changes for the African country’s hemp industry.
In 2018, Zimbabwe became the second nation in Africa to legalize medical cannabis and cannabis production for medical and scientific purposes.
Zimbabwe Independentreports that the THC level increase makes significant changes for CBD manufacturers, who will now be able to produce the entourage effect combined with other cannabinoids.
The amended bill, called the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, 2002 is proposing the amendment of section 155 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) to remove industrial hemp from the list of dangerous drugs.
“By the insertion of the following definition,” the bill reads, “‘Industrial hemp’ means the plant cannabis sativa L and any part of that plant, including the seed thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than one per centum on a dry weight basis.”
Zimbabwe, like many other countries, is technically in conflict with the United Nations international drug convention, which still dictates global drugs policy over the past 60 years.
However, by amending the legislation and providing clarified definitions as outlined in the Amendment Bill 2022, Zimbabwe is establishing an environment in which a wider range of line mixes and ultimately hemp varieties may be produced and supplied.
An increased THC level gives industrial hemp farmers a bigger trove of options, allowing them to select genetics worthy for the production of a broader range of markets.
This is particularly important, Zimbabwe Independent notes, because studies have shown that certain genetics that combine CBD and THC produce better fiber qualities and also an entourage effect with synergistic therapeutic benefits.
As new CBD products are currently being tested by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, they may be more effective and therefore more appealing to consumers.
The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) was directed to “reform and restructure by 2025,” making itself a center for national research, development, and innovation in tobacco and alternatives.
The country developed an objective to advance agricultural profitability and development in Zimbabwe. Industrial hemp was among the crops of interest. TRB has been testing and developing hemp varieties that are acclimated to Zimbabwe’s climatic conditions over the last few years.
The 0.3% THC requirement is an arbitrary quantity—mirroring THC limits in the U.S.—that makes it difficult for breeders to create and grow varieties with other desirable synergistic properties.
Five Years into Medical Cannabis in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe legalized medical cannabis in 2018, making it among the first countries in Africa to do so.
In 2019, Zimbabwe abolished its ban on cannabis cultivation, which set the stage for the country’s farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp to export. That same year, the country issued the first license to a medical cannabis company to begin cultivation.
In May 2022, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned a $27 million medical cannabis farm and processing plant to be run by Swiss Bioceuticals Limited in West Province, Zimbabwe.
“This milestone is a testimony of the successes of my Government’s Engagement and Re-engagement Policy. It further demonstrates the confidence that Swiss companies have in our economy through their continued investment in Zimbabwe. I extend my profound congratulations to the Swiss Bioceuticals Limited for this timely investment in the medicinal cannabis farm, processing plant and value chain, worth US$27 million,” Mnangagwa said in the announcement of the plant.
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe said on July 26, 2022 that it would begin accepting applicants from cannabis and hemp producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, and retail pharmacists, in a seismic shift away from tobacco.
The more we learn about weed, the more we learn about the different compounds within, and how those compounds affect our health and how we feel. When we talk about feeling high, we’re generally talking about the THC aspect, or even the CBD. But what about terpenes? Is it possible to get high off terpenes, and if so, which ones are best for this purpose?
What does it mean to get high?
Kind of weird question, right? To a certain degree, we all understand what this means, but at the same time, there are sometimes misconceptions. Consider people who never do drugs. Their idea of what ‘high’ means could be very different from a person who regularly uses different substances. And getting high off of different drugs produces different subjective experiences. So how do we define this idea?
According to Wictionary, the term to ‘get high’ means “To intoxicate oneself with drugs or other substances.” Merriam-Webtser uses the word ‘stoned’, and defines it as 1) “Drunk sense,” or 2) “Being under the influence of a drug (such as marijuana) taken especially for pleasure : high.”
These definitions are interesting. Both say that it involves taking something, but the first definition also implies that it merely involves intoxication, which itself does not have to be a pleasurable experience. Intoxication is defined as 1) “The condition of having physical or mental control markedly diminished by the effects of alcohol or drugs,” 2) “A strong excitement or elation,” and 3) “An abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning,” meaning it doesn’t have to be associated with a good feeling.
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Under these definitions, any drug that effects personal control or creates an abnormal state, is considered intoxicating, and therefore a part of getting high. This, indeed involves CBD as well as THC when it comes to the cannabis plant. Though often touted as a non-psychoactive compound, CBD’s sheer ability to affect mood, proves this an untrue statement. And depending on personal reactions, it can certainly have an effect on physical control.
All this is simply to say that the idea of ‘getting high’ isn’t as explicit as some think, and can be applied to different feelings, not necessarily just feelings of euphoria. However, for our purposes, we’ll stick to looking at getting high, as taking some substance to make a person feel good, to whatever level this means.
What are terpenes?
Now that we’ve covered what it means to get high, let’s look at the compounds in question, terpenes. The word has certainly gained popularity of late, as the cannabis plant in general gains prominence for its many benefits. And while we usually spend more time looking at the cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBC, among others, there are other entirely different compounds to consider; both in how they create a synergistic effect with cannabinoids, and for the effects they specifically give.
Terpenes are compounds produced almost solely by plants, and usually of the conifer grouping. They’re unsaturated hydrocarbons, meaning they’re made up of only hydrogen and carbon. There are also terpenoids, which differ in that they can have other elements like oxygen included. The number of carbon atoms is a differentiator for different kinds of terpenes. Monoterpenes have 10 carbon atoms, sesquiterpenes have 15, and diterpenes have 20.
Terpenes are a part of a plant’s defense system against herbivores and pathogens; while also being what attracts pollinators, mutualists (anything that forms a symbiotic relationship), and promotes possible communication between plants as well. They do this by way of strong smells and flavors, which is how we know them. These constituents are primary in essential oils, because of their very potent smells and tastes.
When it comes to cannabis, we know that terpenes play a role in creating a synergistic effect with other compounds like cannabinoids and flavonoids. A synergistic effect – often called the entourage effect when speaking of cannabis – simply means that the different components work together to create a combined effect that wouldn’t exist if one of the components was missing.
The cannabis plant is still very much under construction in terms of what we know about it. We know a lot, sure, but scientific research uncovers new things every day. So, when speaking about it, it’s always good to remember that we don’t know everything yet. What we do know, is that an average cannabis plant has approximately 400 different terpenes.
It’s said that over 30,000 exist across the plant kingdom. Of these, we really can only identify the effects of a few, though as research continues, this number should increase. Since we can’t say what they all do, we can’t rule in or out effects, but we can speak to the ones that have already been flushed out more.
In the cannabis plant, some of the main terpenes (or, at least, main ones that we talk about now), are pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene. You know how some strains smell a little lemony? Well, that’s likely limonene. Or maybe it has a strong earthy pine scent? That’s the pinene. These compounds don’t just come with funky scents though, they also come with their own effects.
Can you get high off terpenes?
There isn’t a definite answer to this question. Some sources say they just contribute to a THC high, others claim psychotropic effects. And anecdotal evidence backs up both. If the claim of psychoactive effects is true though, then it certainly seems like if those psychotropic effects are positive, and make a person feel good, then they’re producing a high.
In today’s cannabis world, many products are based on the idea of extracting something that might only occur in small amounts, and making concentrated products. This is true of terpenes too. Though they exist in tiny amounts in the cannabis plant, some companies are already selling products such as terpene tonics, which are chock full of the compounds. And anecdotally, these concentrated terpene products are said to make people feel differently. In fact, terpenes are already associated with certain effects.
Like myrcene, which is associated with pain relief, and that intense couch locking feeling that weed can sometimes produce. Couch locking is when you essentially don’t feel like doing anything except lay on your couch. It’s a sort of mental and physical laziness. For me, it comes with a cloudy head, and a feeling of impairment…which classifies as intoxication as it affects my abilities.
Myrcene is thought to produce feelings of relaxation; it stimulates the release of endogenous opioids, which help with pain relief. Conversely, though this happens in higher levels, in lower levels, myrcene is associated with producing more of an energetic effect.
Linalool also has a reputation of producing relaxing effects. It’s used in sleep aid products, and has anti-convulsant abilities. By bringing on feelings of relaxation, it has a psychotropic effect. Likewise, the terpene limonene is associated with anxiolytic, anti-stress, and sedative effects due to upping serotonin and dopamine levels. Pinene on the other hand, is more associated with energizing effects.
Then there’s caryophyllene, which is said to have anti-depressant and anti-anxiolytic qualities; and terpineol, thought to be calming while boosting mood. All of these effects mentioned, change a mental state, and it could be considered that they make you high.
Whether these effects mean you get high off terpenes, is perhaps more subjective, and based on personal definitions, than anything else. A microdose of mushrooms is still considered getting high, even though the effects are minimalized. In that same sense, terpenes can be considered high-inducing, even if not the standard idea of high. And who knows, perhaps in the future scientists will identify a terpene that really does cause a strong euphoric effect. It could already be argued that they do now, so long as they’re in concentrated form.
Terpene products exist in the market already. In California, interested buyers can enjoy Olala infused sodas which use both THC and terpenes. Sodas come in Blue Raspberry, Guava, Orange Cream, and Mango.
Then there are companies like the Terpene Store, which sell a range of materials for use by producers in their own products. The store functions online, and through retailers, and sells products which are FDA approved for food and flavor use. The company sources terpenes from many different plants, with just a selection coming from cannabis plants (specifically hemp). Its catalogue includes different formulations, including a line called ‘Vibe’ which breaks it down to physical/mental states: Awake, Focus, Passion, Relax, Relief, and Sleep, each with a multi-terpene profile meant to create this effect.
True Terpenes is yet another terpene vendor in this burgeoning market. It also sells high grade formulations to producers for product infusion. Much like the Terpene Store, it uses terpenes both from cannabis, and other botanical sources. It also offers a line of products based on physical/mental states. It’s offerings here are: Rest, Recovery, Creative, Energy, Focus, and Calm.
Since one of the benefits of terpenes is their powerful scents and flavors, many companies are now capitalizing on this through making terpene-infused rolling papers which smell great, while also giving a nice burst of terpenes. Like the well-known Zig-Zag, which puts out terpene-infused hemp cones in flavors like Limoncello, and Clementine.
Another well-known company, RAW, also gives some terpene-infused offerings. Like the terpene-infused Strawberry Tree Cones, as well as a limited offering Terpene candle, and a Terp spray that you can spray onto your regular paper or cone, to get the full terpene flavor and effect. Sprays come with different terpene variations, and include RAW Sour Apple Terp Spray, RAW Orange Soda Terp Spray, and RAW SFV OG Terp Spray. Interested buyers must find a local RAW retail location.
In fact, terpene-infused papers were one of the biggest trends at 2022’s Las Vegas based MJBizCon convention. With some products I had to question whether it was terpenes used at all, or some other chemical agent; as the flavor seemed unnatural and wouldn’t quickly wear off what the paper touched (like my hands, or bag). This could signal that new production methods have intensified them, or that some companies might be using non-terpene chemical agents, and masquerading them as terpenes.
Can you get high from terpenes? Well, maybe, depending on which terpenes, the concentration, and how you define being high. The reality is that terpenes might not cause a massive effect on their own in the amounts found in plants; but in today’s biotech world of chemical enhancement, its more than possible to make concentrated products that can do a lot more.
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What will the 2023 cannabis industry look like? Mergers, acquisitions, branding, and the entourage effect, according to HEXO‘s President and CEO, Charlie Bowman. HEXO is an award-winning cannabis brand with a solid reputation among Canadian consumers. After acquiring their competitor Redecan, they became the number one cannabis company in Canada in the third quarter of 2021. Since then, the company has been busy building its brand and maintaining its loyal customer base. Their president and CEO, Charlie Bowman, was able […]
We know that plant-based medicine has been part of civilization since the earliest humans walked the earth. Even today, up to 25 percent of OTC and pharmaceutical drugs contain plant extracts, or synthetic versions of the natural compounds. But we’re not the only animals that use substances to relieve pain, regulate the body, or alter our minds. Many of our animal brethren – from intellectually advanced primates to instinctive insect colonies – do the exact same thing.
Think about some of our most common animal companions, cats and dogs. If your furry friends spend any amount of time outdoors, there’s a strong chance you’ve seen them eating grass. Some experts believe it’s to aid in digestion, treat intestinal worms, or boost vitamin levels; but the bottom line is, this is a self-medicating behavior that has been observed in wild, feral, and domestic species.
In Eastern medicine and many societies where people live a more traditional and natural lifestyle, the difference between food and medicine is negligible. Take the term “ishoku dougen” a Japanese phrase that directly translates to “medicine and food are of the same origin”. This can explain why so many people report substantial health benefits (such as lowering of blood pressure and managing diabetes) after switching to a plant-based diet. If we consider that natural medicine has healed us and kept us alive for so long before modern pharmacology came into play, the idea of animals self-medicating the same way we do becomes much more plausible.
The act of animals self-medicating is referred to as zoopharmacognosy (“zoo”, “pharmaco”, “gnosy”), a term with Greek roots that can be roughly translated to mean “animal”, “remedy”, and “knowing”. It’s a relatively new field of biology, officially documented for the first time in 1987 and still considered a somewhat fringe concept.
That said, there are hundreds of instances of animals, even carnivores, using plants medicinally and sometimes recreationally. Similar to us, animals self-medicate with a few different delivery systems, depending on the compound and the condition they’re trying to treat. Like our prescription medications, plant-based treatments can be eaten, inhaled, applied topically, and so on.
For instance, chimpanzees swill the leaves of Aspilia plants in their mouths, which releases toxins that kill gut bacteria. Another example would be formic acid created by ants, known to kill bird lice. Over 200 species of birds are known to roll around in ant nests to aggravate them into spraying this lice-killing acid. And speaking of ants, wood ants control disease and fight pathogens within their colonies by building their nests out of conifer tree needles, whose sap contains potent antimicrobial compounds – this is the equivalent of disinfecting your home.
Animals also use plants in proactive and preventative ways, akin to our utilization of vitamins and supplements. A great example of this is seen in various tropical species such as parrots, bats, and sifakas, who consume dirt and clay containing very high levels of minerals and nutrients. Brown bears have also been observed taking an active stance on plant medicine, by making pastes out of mashed, wet osha root and rubbing it on their bodies to prevent insect bites. And of course, our beloved dogs and cats eating grass as mentioned earlier, which has been reported by many pet owners, but you can also find a published study on the topic here.
Learned or instinctive?
Most actions and behaviors of modern-day humans are learned through a combination of personal experimentation, observation, and passed-down information. Because adult humans rely so much on higher reasoning and technology, we have very little reason to be instinctive in today’s world. At this point, we barely even need to have a sense of direction anymore. Sure, we might get some gut feelings that seem important, and we try to listen to them, but we tend to override these so-called instincts with logic and experience.
An instinct, on the other hand, is “an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli.” Lions hunt instinctively, snakes brumate instinctively, and human babies cry instinctively – but at around 6 months of age, our instincts, often referred to as “baby reflexes” begin to give way to learned behaviors and intentional actions.
Self-medication has always been thought of as a learned methodology, perfected over centuries thanks to trial-and-error coupled with the detailed record-keeping of our ancestors. However, emerging research on both, animals and natural healing, has poked a few holes in this theory. The first documented examples of animals self-medicating came from studies on primates, a species that also can watch and absorb information (monkey see monkey do), but the fact that this behavior has also been observed in several different insect species indicates that it could be more hard-wired.
Animal communities and social medicine
We tend to think of medicine as being very personal and individualized, which it is to an extent, but there are many social aspects to it as well. Medicine varies culturally, and society often decided collectively what type of medicine is practiced and how it is applied. Even in psychiatric settings, society concludes what is considered abnormal behavior, and how such behavior should be dealt with.
Historically, many different forms of medicine existed throughout the world. Although some overlapping practices and theories did exist, overall, physical and mental disorders were known to be caused by a number of different factors, many of which were genetic and regional – such family medical history, diet, and weather. Initially, the diagnosis and understanding of health disorders was social, and based on people simply making observations about themselves and others. Over time, we developed multidisciplinary approaches to better recognize and manage these disorders.
A good example of social medicine is in the implementation of vaccinations or quarantines. Pandemic craziness aside, just during bad flu seasons it was common for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to recommend that people be extra vigilant about washing their hands and avoiding crowded spaces. I gave birth to my second son during a particularly nasty flu season, and the hospital had a lot of restrictions in place regarding cleanliness and visitation. For example, I could not have more than one person in the room with me at any given time, and no one under the age of 18 was allowed in the labor and delivery area.
In nature, animals often live in groups, and when we look at insects, many live in colonies of up to millions of other organisms; like some of the world’s most populated cities. Social insects such as fruit flies, bees, and ants participate in a phenomenon known as social prophylaxis, a process consisting of various methods to preserve the health and well-being of their society, but often it’s accomplished by collecting antimicrobial resin from trees. The insects consume it, and also feed it to their young in order to prevent disease. Although resin-collecting is practiced by many different species of insects, they time and method of collection varies.
Do animals like getting high too?
This is the million-dollar question. The idea of animals using plants therapeutically is not so farfetched, but animals getting high… is that even a thing? As it turns out, yes. Animals are much more like us than many realize. Not only do they learn how to harness their local resources in a medicinal fashion, but they’re not afraid of a good time either.
Just like us, different animals prefer different highs. Some like to trip, others just want to relax, and quite a few prefer to get drunk. The Smithsonian reports on adventurous dolphins who intentionally instigate toxic pufferfish. When threatened, pufferfish release a chemical cocktail that can be extremely potent and dangerous, but in small doses may produce a trance-like, hallucinogenic state. Cats like getting high too, using a plant in the mint family called Nepeta cataria – commonly known as catnip, nicknamed so because roughly two-thirds of cats exhibit an intense attraction to this plant.
In Siberia, it’s not uncommon for reindeer to eat Amanita muscaria mushrooms to experience their psychotropic effects, although how ‘high’ they actually get still remains up for debate. Some experts theorize that, while humans seek out these specific compounds to foster feelings of spiritual connection, the reindeer might use them to make the monotony of a cold, bleak, depressing winter a bit more tolerable.
Horses also engage in recreational drug use. They enjoy a plant known as locoweed, which has similar effects on horses as pot does on people. Locoweed is the only green plant that grows throughout the winter in some areas, so horses initially find it as a food source then keep coming back for the high – to the point that ranchers have to constantly monitor their pastures out locoweed plants to keep their stables sober. Then we have elephants, which are pound-for-pound the largest land animals on earth, and they enjoy getting drunk. And elephants can get pretty destructive when they’re on a bender, often wandering into towns and demoing small buildings and other structures.
And the observations don’t stop there: bees high on orchid nectar, goats eating magic mushrooms, birds affinity for marijuana seeds, rats, mice, lizards, flies, spiders and cockroaches on opium, moths gravitating to the hallucinogenic datura flower, drunk monkeys abandoning their children, and mandrills tripping on iboga root.
Even my grandmother used to have an alcoholic parrot that would dip its beak into any uncovered glass of alcohol that it came across, until it was wobbling drunkenly all over the kitchen counter. And it wasn’t just a one-time thing, it was a regular occurrence for this party bird. I currently have a cat that looooves the smell of weed. When I start smoking, he’ll often come over and get in my face to try and catch a whiff; then he’ll purr and paw at me until I finish.
Why this all matters
As resistance of microorganisms to various forms of medication continues to rise, researchers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to fight illness and infection. Since so many of our existing therapies already contain plant compounds and synthetic isomers, it makes sense to continue searching in nature for novel treatment options.
Making note of what plants the animals are using can be helpful in determining what we can treat with these compounds as well, and while that may seem like a somewhat foreign concept to many, it was a smart survival strategy in a time when doctors, pharmacies, and antibiotics were not available. Take the brown bears I mentioned earlier. Several Native American tribes witnessed them using osha root paste, and they adopted the method for themselves.
And just as important as finding new medicines, if not more so, is the knowledge that we gain about the environment around us, the importance of natural food, and how to conserve it. Much like the idea of the entourage effect, when we eat from the earth we benefit from the diverse interlinking of primary compounds and secondary metabolites found in plants. When we, as humans, truly understand the importance of plants in their natural state, as opposed to mass-produced factory-farmed vegetables, we will put in the necessary effort to salvage what is left of our environment.
In that same vein, research about animal self-medication can help us learn about the most effective ways to care for certain species. Take the common honeybee. For decades, beekeepers have been choosing bees that collect less resin, because excess resin makes it much more challenging to collect honey. However, resin is known to protect bee colonies from pathogens, and knowing how quickly an entire beehive could succumb to disease, it could be worthwhile to let the bees collect resin as they naturally would.
As far removed as we are from some the animals on this list, we still share similarities. It seems that all species on earth have a want, urge, or instinctive need to feel “good”, whatever that means to them. It could be as simple as relieving minor pains or stomach aches, to a full-on psychedelic trip that completely alters one’s perception of the world around them, and everything in between.
Psychopharmacologist Ronald Siegel sums up the “rampant drug use” in the animal kingdom in his book, Intoxication, like this: “[The] pursuit of intoxication with drugs is a primary motivational force in the behavior of organisms.”
Sounds about right.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.
When browsing major US media outlets on any given day, you’ll likely find a fresh article about cannabis, if not several. Make no mistake about it: When it comes to legal weed, business is booming. Though once relegated to the shadows, today the public’s appreciation and desire for the plant known scientifically as Cannabis sativa has surged to historically high levels. And, as a result, modern consumers are now being bombarded by a whole new lexicon of terms. Understanding how hemp and cannabis-derived CBD products stack up can help you make purchase products best suited for your needs.
It can be a bit overwhelming, certainly, but before you stress over the nuances of different concentrate forms and dig into the deeper end of terpene research, the best place to start is establishing a firm appreciation for the differences between cannabis and cannabidiol (more commonly known as CBD). When we talk about cannabis, we’re referring to the whole plant, whereas CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a specific cannabinoid that plant produces. You’re likely already familiar with the other cannabinoid Cannabis sativa naturally produces in high concentrations: THC (short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
Choosing the Right CBD and Cannabis Products
In the simplest of terms, THC is the cannabinoid that makes one feel intoxicated or “high.” CBD, on the other hand, can’t be felt psychoactively, but it can offer many physical and mental benefits, such as easing anxiety or soothing aching muscles. Adding to the complexity is the fact that today’s marketplace is fractured into what one will find at a licensed dispensary and what’s available at your nearest gas station.
The key distinction in that situation stems from the source of the CBD, which can be derived either from hemp or Cannabis sativa. Unlike Cannabis sativa, however, hemp does not naturally produce significant levels of THC, though both are, technically speaking, types of cannabis plants. Thanks to the success of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3% THC) are now federally legal, though some state laws continue to prohibit them.
By contrast, cannabis-derived CBD products remain illegal in the eyes of the federal government but are available in states with legal cannabis markets. Given the CBD produced by both types of cannabis (hemp and sativa) is molecularly identical, you may wonder why it would be necessary to shop at a dispensary—and pay a higher price—for CBD when you could just grab some on your next run to the grocery store.
Consider the Source
There are, it turns out, several valid reasons to consider, including the fact that a lack of regulation on the part of hemp-derived CBD products makes the validity of what you’re purchasing difficult to trust. It could be as advertised, no question, but very little is happening behind the scenes to ensure that is the case.
However, the CBD you’ll find on dispensary shelves and available through licensed delivery services is beholden to strict regulations that include testing for safety and accuracy. Furthermore, there’s another facet of the equation: the entourage effect. The idea behind this concept is that cannabinoids may be the most effective when they’re working together. Thus, taking a form of CBD with no more than 0.3% THC may not be as potent, in the medicinal sense, as consuming cannabis-derived CBD products that also feature minor amounts of a given strain’s other cannabinoids and terpenes. Collectively, such formulas are what’s known as “full-plant medicine,” which remains the gold standard for entourage effect disciples.
Adding ballast to this deluge of information are the encouraging studies and testimonials we’re seeing that highlight the ways in which CBD is helping people live better lives.
At present, the benefits of CBD are being researched in the treatment of everything from epilepsy and seizure disorders to opioid withdrawal. THC, meanwhile, is commonly cited as a treatment tool in relieving conditions ranging from insomnia to pain. Naturally, the two cannabinoids share a sizeable stretch of common ground when it comes to their potential powers, but as researchers continue to probe further, it’s likely we’ll also soon know more about what sets them apart from one another.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
In the interim, the best course of action is to wield your purchasing power as an informed consumer. Know if what you’re buying is hemp or cannabis-derived CBD. The verdict on CBD’s efficacy is still out, at least in the court of public opinion, so trying to ensure the products you’re using are valid, high-quality reflections of this essential cannabinoid is imperative if we’re to create a marketplace that ultimately consists not of choices between real versus fake, but simply brand of preference.
We may not be there yet, but the day is rapidly coming, so with a full appreciation for the differences between cannabis and CBD, hopefully you now feel empowered to make the most of what this incredible plant — and some of its most notable cannabinoids — have to offer.
Have you tried the new entourage products? Several companies have recently introduced what they call “Entourage Vape Cartridges”, a combination of three new psychoactive cannabinoids: Delta 8 THC, THC-O and HHC with some CBN, CBD & CBG for the final touch.
Simply put, entourage vape cartridges are new blends, that combine different cannabinoids, in-order to reach the most-wanted ‘Entourage Effect‘ (AFA the ‘Family Effect‘ – the way different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together to offer health benefits you can usually only get when consuming the entire plant in its natural state). This is why the best hemp products are usually either full spectrum or broad spectrum and not made from isolate. However, it is much more complicated when you are trying to create hemp-derived psychoactive entourage vape cartridges, as some of the compounds are not naturally occouring, or exist in only small amounts.
That’s why, until recently using psychoacative entourage vape cartridges felt somewhat ‘hollow’, as there were just not enough cannabinoids to create the full-image needed for a deeper experience. All that changed when the new cannabinoids such as Delta 8, THC-O, THCV, THCP and even HHC entered the game. Now, for the first time ever, you can create sophisticated blends that that gives you a much more rewarding experience.
While these new products are psychoactive, some even very potent, they are sold online, as unlike regular Delta 9 THC, they are hemp-derived and not coming from cannabis. This loophole provides hemp-suppliers a legal way to sell psychoactive products, such as Delta 8 THC, THC-O, HHC, Delta-10, THCP, THCV and starting this month, allowed them to create ‘entourage vape cartridges’ – advanced products with tailor-made blends that effectively takes you to the next level.
A word of caution before looking into the new entourage vape cartridges: these are high-potency carts, so start low and grow slow, as you are among the very first to ever try them and the right dosage haven’t been calculated yet. Always make sure you buy from a company you trust and be patient as some cannabinoids need more time to kick in. Last but not least you should keep in mind that blended products might affect people differently, so be open for an experience, as everything is possible with new blended products.
As always, the subscribers of the Delta 8 Weekly are the first to put their hands on new cannabinoid-based products. Subscribe today, get our 25% discount code and learn more about the exciting entourage vape cartridges, as well as on other new products.
Leave it to the creative minds of Utoya to come out with this great product: a THC-O based sativa vape cartridge, blemded with CBG, CBN, Delta 8, CBD and HHC (in that order, see image above). This ‘sky-high sativa’ is the most popular of all three, providing a strong euphoria coming from a very fulfilling smoking experience. If you are looking for a sativa vape cart, this is the product for you!
You might want to know that the sativa entourage vape cartridges, as well as the indica and the hybrid carts, are made with live resin terpenes, which results in a more quality product with better flavor. The vapes taste exactly like the flowers they are name of, simple as that. In addition, there are no cutting agents in the preparation of the products, which meands no PG / VG / MCT or Vitamin E will be inside your carts.
Choose between Maui Wowie, Blueberry Diesel, Jack and Fire OG
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Another great product is the hybrid entourage cart, featuring three psychoactive cannabinoids: HHC, Delta 8 THC and THC-O, with some CBN, CBD and CBG to flavor things up. This well balanced product is perfect for people who like to see how does it feel to vape a product high in both THC-O, HHC and D8. If you are looking to try a new hybrid psychoactive product, this is the one you should try.
Choose between OG Kush, Sunset Gelato, L’Orange and Mimosa.
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No product line is complete without a good Indica product. These indica entourage vape cartridges are using are based on HHC, Delta 8 and CBN, with a small amount of CBD, THC-O and CBG (in that order, see image above). If you are looking to buy a strong indica cartridge, this your best choice, as it allows you to experience the combined effects of HHC, Delta 8 and CBN. You must try it to see how effective they are when working together.
Choose between: Deathstar, GG#4, Pineapple Diesel and Biscoti.
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Want to try something new? The Delta 10 VIBIN’ Tincture is everything you ever hoped for and even more!
With 300mg Delta 10 and 700mg Delta 8 in every bottle, this best-selling product will let you experience the unique benefits of Delta 10 THC, softly blended with Delta 8, which we all know to love. If you are looking for a ‘mental euphoria‘ and wish to feel ‘happy and motivated‘ this product might be the one for you!
Medical cannabis offers benefits for many different ailments, and one of the predominant ones in medical literature is connected to sleep. Which part of the plant is responsible for this? It looks like cannabinoid CBN might be partially responsible, at least in conjunction with other elements of the plant. CBN sleep products are already becoming quite popular.
Delta-8 THC is a great reminder that not all THCs are created equally. Whereas delta-9 THC is known for causing anxiety in some users, and leading to couch-locking effects, delta-8 does neither of these things. This provides a better option for those disenfranchised with the anxiety and heaviness of delta-9. If you’re looking to switch up your THC, give our collection of Delta-8 THCdeals a look-thru, and we’ll ship you out your products ASAP.
What is CBN?
We’re all pretty aware of what the cannabis plant is at this point. We’re all pretty aware, whether we agree with the statements or not, that there is a growing body of medical research in support of the positive benefits of marijuana for a number of different medical issues, as well as for recreational purposes. By now, most of us are even aware that the US designates higher-THC cannabis as marijuana, and lower-THC cannabis as hemp, with a cutoff line at .3% THC to make the designation.
When looking into the plant closer, we can designate different effects of the plant to different molecules like THC, CBD, and limonene. We know there are cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant constituents, some of which are useful, and some of which we aren’t as concerned with. THC, of course, is the main psychoactive component, with a Schedule I spot in the Controlled Substances list of the US, while also being in Schedule I of both the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
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THC isn’t the only psychoactive compound though. Not only does delta-9 THC oxidize to form another version of THC called delta-8, but there are other cannabinoids – albeit showing up in very small quantities – that also have psychoactive properties, and one of these is CBN, or cannabinol.
CBN was the first cannabinoid of the cannabis plant to be isolated, and technically way before any other cannabinoid. In 1899 Thomas Wood, W.T. Spivey and Thomas Easterfield obtained the molecule from a sample of charas, which is a form of cannabis resin. They used alcohol to extract from the charas, and then ran the tincture through a fractional distillation process to produce a viscous oil. From here, they performed the chemical reaction acetylation to discover CBN. In the 1930’s, Robert S. Cahn was the first person to figure out its structure – giving it the name cannabinol, with the first synthesis done in the early 1940s by Roger Adams.
Cannabinol is a cannabinoid that is formed when the precursor acid to THC – THCA, is exposed to air and sunlight over time. THCA converts to cannabinolic acid (CBNA), which further decarboxylates (loses a carboxyl group – COOH) to form CBN. For this reason, CBN is more likely to be found in aged plants than fresh ones. CBN is much more mildly psychoactive than THC with some researchers putting it at 4/10 the strength, and the compound prefers CB2 receptors to CB1 receptors in the brain. While both THC and CBN activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors, there is a fundamental difference between the cannabinoids.
CBN vs delta THCs
CBN and tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) both activate CB receptors in the brain, both have pscyhaoactive effects, and are both cannabinoids. But there is a fundamental difference which comes down to structure. The thing that delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 THCs all have in common is that they have the same chemical structure of C21H30O2. They are isomers of each other because this chemical structure stays the same, with the only variation being in the placement of a double carbon bond. In delta-8 THC its on the 8th carbon atom in the chain, for delta-9 on the 9th, and for delta-10 on the 10th.
On the other hand, CBN has this chemical structure: C21H26O2, which is different than tetrahydrocannabinols. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinols which are isomers of each other, CBN has no stereoisomers or geometric isomers, meaning it doesn’t share its chemical structure with another molecule that has the same number of atoms of each element, but different configurations. So, whereas several different tetrahydrocannabinols have been found, only one CBN exists.
CBN isn’t specifically listed in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, or the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, like THC is. This means that all signing countries of these conventions are not bound by international law to regulate CBN. This is in direct contrast to THC which is listed in both treaties. In the US, CBN is illegal under federal law just like THC. This covers its use medically as well as for use in food products or as additives. CBN is not specifically named in the DEA Controlled Substances list, but it remains a Schedule I controlled substance.
The sale of CBN products, and having possession of them is prosecutable by the Federal Analogue Act. CBN is an analogue of THC because the chemical structure is nearly the same, with also very similar pharmacological and medical properties. This is a debatable point as no clarification has been made about CBN in the Interim Final Rule by the DEA, or the Final Rule by the USDA.
The first thing to understand when looking into CBN sleep products, is that cannabinol has not been studied intensely. Though its easy to believe that claims about it have merit since we know cannabis is associated with lots of medical benefits, the jury is most definitely still out as to the exact effects of CBN. However, one of the most spoken about benefits of CBN, is for sleep. This, unfortunately has not really been medically verified, and requires more study.
In fact, two of the only studies that point in the direction of CBN being useful for sleep have to do with a combination of THC and CBN. In this 1975 studyEffects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinol in man, there was found a possible synergistic effect with delta-9 THC in five men. The study investigators made this statement about delta-9 and CBN being used in tandem:
“With combined drug treatment, volunteers reported feeling more drugged, drunk, dizzy, and drowsy than under the delta9-THC condition alone… It appears that CBN increases the effect of delta9-THC on some aspects of physiological and psychological processes, but that these effects are small and cannot account for the greater potency which has been reported when plant material is used.”
This other study: Pharmacologic interaction between cannabinol and delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol from 1975 also looked at the interaction between delta-9 and CBN in mice, rats and rabbits. It found CBN to be less potent than delta-9, but otherwise mimicking delta-9 effects. According to the study authors: “When the mixture delta9-THC + CBN was used, a synergistic effect occurred on most of the depressant effects.”
Apart from this, there haven’t been other studies that specifically identify CBN as a sleep agent. The thing is, when looking at overall cannabis research, there are often tons of contradicting study articles, with information gained over time that better elucidates what starts off as confusing and inconsistent. So ruling out CBN is also just as silly at this point. There does seem to be plenty of anecdotal evidence backing up this property…which is also the way cannabis as a medicine started to become big – through personal experiences being shared. These reddit posts exemplify that people do seem to be getting a sedative effect (although whether these are paid-for posts, or confused users can’t be said).
CBN sleep products
In the tradition of waiting for more information before making judgements, and in trying new products to see what can work, here are some of the CBN products on the market that can be tried for help with sleep. All of these options are combinations including CBN.
Gossamer puts out Dusk, a cannabinoid sleep aid with a variety of ingredients in each one-ounce bottle, like 300mg of full spectrum CBD, CBN in high levels, and terpenes: Myrcene, B-Caryophyllene, Linalool, and Citral. This product is sourced from pesticide and GMO-free hemp, and costs $65 ($58.50 with subscription).
Another option is Dr. Dabbs Everyday CBD Premium Nighttime CBD Gummy’s with 300mg of CBD and 30mg of CBN. This product is sourced from 100% USDA certified organic hemp, comes in a delicious blue-raspberry flavor, and contains 30 gummies in a package. Each package costs $65.
Yet another possibility includes delta-8 THC, an isomer of delta-9, which has already been shown to help with sleep, as well as anxiety. Whereas delta-9 can produce anxiety in users, delta-8 is not known for this. The company VIIA Premium Hemp Products puts out its Delta 8 + CBN – Sleep Vape Cartridge. This sleep-inducing combination contains a total of 1,000mg of cannabis constituents in this breakdown: 500mg delta-8 THC, 250mg CBN, 200mg of CBC, CBG, and CBD, with 50mg in terpenes. Each one-gram cart costs $40.
CBN Sleep Products – Conclusion
It’s hard to know the exact effects of CBN because it’s way too early in the research cycle to say. But, as mentioned, that doesn’t rule anything out, and sometimes the best way of figuring out which part of a plant like cannabis is good for what, is to just give different things a try. After all, not every product works the same way for everyone, and it takes time to figure these things out. So it doesn’t make sense at this point to rule out CBN sleep products at all. Especially when combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes. We’ll know way more about it in the next few years, no doubt.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.
Whether you’re a cannabis newbie, a longtime stoner, or calling yourself a cannaseur, you should be familiar with the term dry haul. If you don’t, then now is the time to get familiar with dry hauling as it allows you to taste your cannabis’ terpenes completely. So, let’s look into practicing the dry haul and […]
The average cannabis user living in states where marijuana is legal has the luxury of stepping inside his or her friendly neighborhood dispensary for access to a variety of pot products, like edible candies, pills, topicals, concentrates and even beverages. These processed variations of the cannabis plant are designed for those consumers who don’t necessarily want to smoke to achieve the desired effect. But when it comes to which method of consumption is best for patients suffering from chronic pain, a new study suggests that loading a bowl full of flower is still the most effective path to getting back to good.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico determined that people trying to manage pain through the use of cannabis are simply better off smoking bud than relying on other forms of the herb. The findings, which were published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, indicate that “whole cannabis flower was associated with greater pain relief than were other types of products.” The researchers go on to say that “higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels were the strongest predictors of analgesia and side effects prevalence across the five pain categories.”
These results are especially interesting considering that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant, is now being praised as a rockstar at taming pain. Even the folks pushing the hemp-derived version of this medicine, which is much weaker than the oils made from marijuana, swear that this sometimes truck stop novelty is the key to living pain-free. However, researchers beg to differ. They have concluded that the presence of THC, which produces the stoned effects we all know and love, is also essential if the user expects any discernible pain-relief results.
“Cannabis flower with moderate to high levels of (THC) is an effective mid-level analgesic,” the study reads.
But it just isn’t the existence of THC that makes smoking marijuana the best approach to pain management.
We have swelled into a society convinced that dissecting cannabis and separating its components into good and evil is the right approach to the plant. This is perhaps the reason that CBD has risen to such stardom in the past five years. The problem with this attitude is that it completely disregards the 100 or so other cannabinoids that the cannabis plant has to offer. It also discounts essential terpenes and flavonoids and thereby eliminates any possibility that the patient will benefit from the plant’s synergistic properties. Science established long ago that the entourage effect associated with whole-plant cannabis is what truly provides the therapeutic effects. So, all of you military service members prohibited from using CBD products, don’t worry, you’re definitely not missing much.
But what about kids suffering from epilepsy? Dr. Sanjay Gupta told us years ago that they needed the CBD compound to stop seizures. Sure, while some sick children might have had some luck controlling this affliction through the use of CBD alone, a study published found the compound was more effective at helping them stay seizure-free if it was complemented with just a hint of THC. Researchers found that the closer they got to allowing the two cannabinoids to work together, the better the results. “We saw a statistically significant reduction in motor seizures, and an increase in seizure-free days,” the study authors said.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex to be prescribed to young patients suffering from two rare forms of epilepsy, not even it is expected to be a miracle cure. The drug, which contains absolutely no THC, is only effective in around 32% of patients, according to the FDA. Parents with epileptic kids have long complained that CBD alone just doesn’t do the trick and that the efficacy of this compound has been hyped beyond belief.
The study out of New Mexico, however, provides some guidance for an America looking for answers as to whether marijuana can relieve pain or not.
A separate study published from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) shows that 75% of the U.S. population, most of them millennials, has a genuine interest in learning more about how pot can combat pain conditions. These folks, presumably those fed up with all of the anecdotal reports and the conflicting studies that emerge every other week, want to see the federal government finally roll up their sleeves on the cannabis issue and deliver real results.
Unfortunately, it seems that medical marijuana users are going to have to get high before they experience any noticeable pain relief. And that complicates things for a vast majority of the U.S. population — especially those in the workforce. Unlike over-the-counter pain remedies like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which eliminate some of the hurt without a buzz, smoking marijuana to combat minor aches could lead to impairment issues on the job. Just like most companies don’t allow workers to drink booze on the clock, medical marijuana is not likely to be any different, even after federal legalization finally takes hold. So, don’t sell your stock in Tylenol just yet.