Extreme Dabbing: Fun or Frivolous?

With the tide of legal cannabis continuing to rise, so has
the popularity of hash oil concentrates and dabbing — accompanied by the trend
of concentrate aficionados using homemade videos to showcase their love for inhaling
slabs of oozing, golden THC extracts. The average dab is well below a half gram
(just a small pearl of the potent stuff), but stoners like those in the videos
have taken dabbing to an extreme. So now that taking a dab that weighs multiple
grams in one hit has become a trend in cannabis culture, we have to ask: Is it
effective? Is it worth it? And are people insane?

Social media, of course, is the avenue for sharing these moments of massive dabbing. For example, a Colorado artist who calls himself Visualfiber runs a group on Facebook that has over 6,000 members dedicated to dabbing and often features videos of people dabbing multiple grams at a time. After dabs became his preferred way to ingest cannabis, Visualfiber says taking hits of up to 6 grams at a time became a personal challenge.

“I started pushing myself to see how much I could dab,” he
says. “And if there was an audience, I would try to make it look fun.”

Unsurprisingly, many dab videos on the internet or dab
stunts at events are part of building a personal or professional brand. In his
case, Visualfiber usually includes his dab-related artwork in his videos
alongside his globbing and says that he uses his platform to help others with
questions about dabbing.

But what risks are these artists running in the name of fame? While it’s impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis (and these videos are certainly proof of that), dabbing all that hash at once isn’t without its drawbacks.

According to Regina Nelson, Ph.D., a medical cannabis specialist, author and a founder of eCS Therapy Center, larger dabs increase the chances of experiencing unpleasant side effects like drops in blood pressure, which can lead to fainting, paranoia and coughing fits.

“Other than for recreational shock effects, few people really dab large amounts,” she says. “Most people will take several days to a week or more to consume only one single gram of cannabis concentrate via small dabs.”

Especially for folks that do not regularly consume cannabis, a tiny dab is definitely the way to start off. It’s easy to take a second hit, but impossible to erase a first one that was too ambitious. Dabs take effect within moments of consumption, so taking it slow until finding the right level is easy and recommended.

Rig choice matters, too — especially when it comes to making sure that you’re not too wasteful in your quest for excess. Pick a rig that won’t easily clog, will cool the hit by filtering through water and will allow reuse of the excess hash. This residue, called reclaim, is still good useable material. While not as potent as the initial concentrate, a study done by Massachusetts-based MCR Labs showed that among four samples of reclaim, the residual THC percentage ranged from 23 percent to 58 percent.

The reclaim is decarboxylated, good for both dabbing and edibles. Even in legal states, concentrates are pricey because of the amount of material and processing expertise required to produce them, so the ability to reuse is important. Using a drop-down attachment to separate the nail from the rig and give the reclaim a dry place to collect is ideal, making it easy to harvest in an immediately useable form.

Ultimately, the goal of cannabis consumption should be to
have a positive experience medicinally or recreationally, not to try to impress
anyone. Even for experienced users, it’s important to know the body’s limits.
Since multiple-gram dabs involve taking many inhales in a row, Visualfiber
recommends stopping if it’s hard to take a full deep inhale or the cold sweats
start. Those are signs it is time to sit back and enjoy the high, rather than
pushing it further.

In the end, it is much more efficient to take many small
dabs than a single big one. So instead of 10 grams all at once, consider that
even though such a feat is possible, the potency of concentrates means that
little is actually needed to achieve a delightfully stoney result. Plus, less
hash consumed now means more hash left for later!

TELL US, have you
ever taken a multi-gram dab?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Using Cannabis Edibles to Help Treat Anxiety

For the modern American, anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness, affecting over 40 million adults — 18 percent of the national population.

Characterized by feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness, anxiety can greatly impact quality of life and can even cause physical symptoms like heart palpitations, dizziness, tingling in hands and feet, shortness of breath, nausea, tense muscles and insomnia. These symptoms can be extremely debilitating, painful and frightening.

But some patients report that using cannabis has helped them ease symptoms and reclaim their life.

Just a Spoonful of Cannabis Coconut Oil

Just ask Joely Balazs, a residential property assessor from New Brunswick, Canada, who thought her first panic attack was a heart attack. Now 47, Balazs has been suffering from anxiety for the last 23 years; at times it was so bad she had thoughts of ending her life.

When Balazs had a breakdown in her doctor’s office, her doctor suggested she try medical marijuana.

“The lowest it got, I just felt nothing — at least that was what I felt like most of the time,” Balazs says. “I thought… ‘I might as well start thinking of things completely differently — like I’m starting all over.’”

Balazs says she was healed over the last three years by using cannabis edibles: With a spoonful of cannabis-infused coconut oil in her coffee, Balazs began to feel like it was easier to handle her anxiety and deal with underlying issues.

“Now I was living and I didn’t want to pull out in front of a Mack truck anymore,” she says. “And I was genuinely healed; I didn’t kill the pain, I embraced it and pulled the hood off and saw myself. I really credit the uplifting source of pot for helping me do that.”

Doctors Look at New Ways to Treat Anxiety

Balazs isn’t the only one to find cannabis helpful for anxiety.

Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD — an online portal connecting medical cannabis patients to doctors — says that anxiety is one of the top three conditions patients report treating with cannabis.

And research published in the August 2017 issue of the scientific journal Psychopharmacology shows that using cannabis can actually blunt stress reactions, reducing the release of cortisol (a stress hormone) and lowering subjective stress ratings from patients.

Still, Dr. Solomon has words of caution for patients considering edible cannabis treatments for their anxiety.

“Edibles, in general, are a little bit less predictable than any other way of using cannabis, be it smoking, vaping or tinctures,” he says.

With edibles, it takes longer for the effects to begin, and they last for a lot longer, so edibles are less helpful for treating acute anxiety when it hits. Edible absorption can also vary based on what else you’ve eaten and the time of day, so there are more variables to keep in mind than with other methods.

Still some chronic anxiety patients — like Kathryn Grant, one of the founders of tinctures and topicals company Forest Nymph Botanicals — report the long-lasting effects of edibles to help keep anxiety more manageable throughout the day.

Keep Doses Low & Take it Slow

Grant uses edibles to treat her chronic anxiety, and if she’s having an acute anxiety attack, she combines a high-CBD sublingual tincture with smoking a joint. She says smoking XJ13 and Dream Queen work best for her.

For individuals considering using edibles for your anxiety, both Dr. Solomon and Grant advise starting with low doses and paying careful attention to what strains work best for you.

“Everyone is different and what works for one person definitely may not work for somebody else,” Dr. Solomon says.

Grant echoed these sentiments, encouraging people to take the time to try different things and “have enough self-awareness to discriminate what’s good for them and what’s not.”

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Top 10 Cannabis Strains For Your Sunday Wake & Bake

Lovers of the morning session must pay careful attention to their strains of choice, though, or the rest of their day could be spent trying to muster up the energy to shake off the need to take a hearty nap. When waking and baking, it’s a good idea to opt for uplifting, mood-boosting strains that activate the mind, inspire productivity and energize the body.

For this reason, we’ve sifted through the endless list of sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids to find the best picks to get you ready to face the world.

1. Sublime

Start your day off with this pleasantly earthy and sweet strain designed to boost your mood and your energy level. If you’re into fruity, light flavor profiles, Sublime is a good pick to get things going in the morning.

2. Voodoo

These dense buds pack a powerful punch with uplifting and long-lasting effects that are great for kicking depression and fatigue to the curb. Fall in love with the beautifully green and crystal-covered nugs, but stay for the euphoria and increase in creativity.

3. Fire Haze

If you wake up stressing about what you have to get done during the day, Fire Haze is the perfect pick. Known for reducing tension, improving focus and relieving headaches, this sativa strain will get you through the pressure of a demanding day.

4. Space Jill

Skip the coffee and go for this strain that produces an enjoyable high-energy buzz great for staying productive all day. Be careful, though: too much of this delicious, sweet-smelling herb could make users with low tolerances feel a little edgy.

5. Maui Waui

Like the name suggests, this classic sativa has a tropical flavor profile that some say tastes like pineapple. Maui Waui provides a nice, motivating high that is good for people that plan to be physically active throughout their day.

6. Grapefruit

Get rid of a stress-induced morning headache with this strain known for relieving mental tension. You’ll be able to float off on a cloud of happiness while still being coherent enough to handle your business.

7. Candy Jack

Put a little pep in your step with this sweet strain created from a mix of Skunk #1 and Jack Herer. Candy Jack can help kickstart your appetite if you have trouble getting food down in the mornings and will also help you get focused on the day ahead of you.

8. Chocolope

This earthy strain is probably best for people who work from home or have slow-paced plans for the day that don’t require them to be incredibly alert due to its heavy cerebral effects. If you’re going to be spending the day making art or other creative endeavors, Chocolope is a good pick.

9. Golden Goat

Need some help with achy muscles after a night of tossing and turning? With levels of THC up to 23 percent, Golden Goat provides a full-body high with strong effects that will still allow you to move through the morning fog thanks to its fatigue-beating characteristics.

10. Laughing Buddha

Like the name suggests, this strain will have you feeling good and giggly. Laughing Buddha a fitting option if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need a little help looking on the brighter side of life.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Strain Hotspot: WiFi Mints

It starts as a tale of great genetics, as most
strain stories do. Today, WiFi Mints from Seed Junky might be garnering the
most hype of any new strain up and down the West Coast — and that’s thanks to
its legendary parents.

One side of the WiFi Mints lineage comes from the WiFi 43 bred by California seed breeder OG Raskal and hunted down by famed Los Angeles cultivators the Jungle Boys. The other side of the lineage is the very same Animal Mints male that Seed Junky used to create the similarly popular Wedding Cake strain. (Animal Mints is a cross of Animal Cookies paired with Blue Power and Girl Scout Cookies.) The results are buds that smell like both mint and pine, with a light fuel note in the background and a hard kush flavor punching through.

But a notable heritage isn’t the only thing establishing WiFi Mints as a strain to watch. WiFi Mints has garnered so much enthusiasm because one of the top breeders in the world at the moment — The Village — added it to his rotation.

The Village has been working with WiFi Mints for over a year and a half. He received a cut of the strain from the Jungle Boys, who originally scored the most-famed WiFi Mints phenotype from Seed Junky, who in turn was gifted the strain by the grower who popped it. In an Instagram post describing the lineage of how the cut got around, Seed Junky noted that in The Village’s hands, Wifi Mints was being grown to its full potential.

The Village told Cannabis Now that he received
the WiFi Mints cut the second time he linked up with the Jungle Boys. “I didn’t
know much about it. The [Jungle Boys] were just like, ‘Here, try this.’ And it
was right when Seed Junky was blowing up,” he said.

Though he thought at the time that it was cool to
get another strain from Seed Junky, given the buzz Seed Junky was starting to
create, The Village still didn’t know much about the gem he’d gotten his hands
on. After his first batch was harvested he realized it was impressive.

“I had some buddies try it and they were like, ‘Dude,
this is some of the best kush I’ve ever tasted.’ It actually has that minty
kind of kush taste,” he said.

From there, The Village did a full run of the
WiFi Mints in one of his rooms. He brought the resulting flowers to the High
Times Sacramento Cannabis Cup in 2018. While The Village made it to the podium
with his personal cut of Mimosa and not WiFi Mints, some of the most excitement
that weekend swirled around the WiFi Mints.

“Sacramento was where we released it and it got
pretty big, because everyone just loves it,” he said. “I always tell people
nine out of ten times I’m getting tagged online, it’s because of WiFi Mints.”

The Village said he has yet to make any extractions with the WiFi Mints because the flowers are just so nice and in demand. Of course, he says, he wouldn’t mind smoking some fat WiFi Mints THCA diamonds, but part of the fun is seeing that immaculate flower through to the final end stages — holding high quality in your hands before you roll it up and flaunt it at the world of boof pre-rolls.

To go along with the
flavor and eye-catching buds, WiFi Mints is also enjoyable to grow.

“What I like is it doesn’t stretch much,” The Village said. “I have never grown the WiFi 43 from the Jungle Boys, but it has a short-grown kind of style. I wouldn’t say it is like a bubba or indica-leaning [strain], because it just doesn’t have any crazy internode spacing or anything
like that.”

The Village also enjoys that it stays short when
it enters the flowering stage, which is always a plus for indoor cultivators.

“Overall, it’s just an easy plant to grow,” he said. “I don’t have to do anything crazy if she’s happy overall. She throws down. She doesn’t change much on the look when other strains might change batch to batch. I enjoy growing her and basically have had her in every room for a long time now.”

The Village said the WiFi Mints is a staple
strain for any garden, which is high praise from a guy who needs the space to grow
all his own original genetics. When asked how a strain like WiFi Mints seals
the deal on getting real estate in one of his grow rooms, he said the process
changes, but he tends to keep an eye out for trends and what people are liking.
That methodology has led to the WiFi Mints in every room.

“Lately, I’ve been switching it up with other
strains,” The Village said. “We just got that Modified Grapes I’m trying to get
in every room. We just got a Kombucha cut we’re trying to get in every room. So
it changes as I find things, but WiFi Mints, Jungle Cake, Wedding Cake —
those are kind of my go-tos.”

The Village also noted that he’s not really growing
Banana Punch or Mimosa anymore because they’ve gotten so popular. This might
mean that one day, WiFi Mints will be phased out of his grow room. But for now,
it’s the star.

TELL US, have you ever smoked
WiFi Mints?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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How CBD Oil Can Result in a Failed Drug Test

When most people think about getting drug tested for a job, they tend to think the test is looking for drugs like cocaine or cannabis. They might assume that hemp-derived CBD oil purchased over the counter from a convenience store won’t cause any problems, given it’s not supposed to contain any THC. But is it safe for someone to use CBD-rich products derived from hemp (with 0.3% THC or less) before a drug test? In reality, it’s risky, though the reasons why are complicated.

In order to understand the conundrum, it’s important to understand what the drug tests are looking for. Tests look for the analytes of drugs, rather that the presence of the drug itself. So, instead of testing for “cannabis” (which contains over 100 cannabinoids), tests look for just two of the cannabinoids: THCA and THC.

Tests aren’t looking for CBD, but given that there is currently no FDA regulation on CBD products (except the seizure drug Epidiolex), there’s no certainty that hemp-derived CBD oil is actually THC free. And over the past few months, reports have surfaced that people in multiple states have been fired or not hired due to testing positive for THC after using CBD-rich hemp products.

Guy DuBeau, a Wisconsin-based attorney who has written legal advice for people whose CBD usage resulted in a failed drug test, said that a big reason these failures happen is because hemp-derived CBD products are not regulated.

“You are getting companies importing stuff that is supposed to test as hemp, but it actually tests at three to four times the amount of THC it should have,” DuBeau said.

Annie Rouse, co-founder of the online CBD shop Anavii Market and a member of the Hemp Industries Association’s board of directors, agrees that regulation is the way to go.

“This is something we need to figure out on the federal level so people can actively take CBD,” Rouse said, adding that she has been “in conversations with Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office,” specifically about the issue of raising the testing limit for THCA on Department of Transportation drug tests.

PHOTO Canna Obscura

Currently, the Department of Transportation mandates a very low testing limit of 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. Rouse has proposed to McConnell’s office that the department raise its testing limit to mirror the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who does the drug testing for Olympic athletes. In 2013, WADA increased its testing limit to 150 ng/mL of THC.

“I am a small person and I take 100 milligrams of CBD a day,” Rouse said. In that dose of CBD, there’s a small enough amount of THC where Rouse said she “would fail a drug test by the [Department of Transportation], even though I am not actually taking THC and not being intoxicated by it.”

An individual’s body type and metabolism matter, too. “If you have more muscle and less fat, cannabinoids will not stay in your body as long,” said Rouse.

None of the experts Cannabis Now spoke to could say if the method of consumption of hemp-derived CBD, including edibles, topicals, tinctures and vapes, would affect test results,

Ultimately, the experts recommended that if you are using high doses of CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC, you should discontinue use at least a week before you anticipate a drug test to minimize the risk of a false positive. Rouse suggests that if you get one, request “a confirmatory test,” which does a better job of distinguishing between different cannabinoids, but also has a lower limit of 15 ng/mL.

Given the prevalence of this issue, Rouse’s home state of Kentucky is currently considering a bill, which, if passed, would give CBD users in that state protections in hiring and firing. However, as Rouse said, the drug-testing reform and CBD regulations would have to be enacted at the federal level, not just in the states, before people can consume hemp-derived CBD worry-free.

TELL US, has CBD ever given you a false positive on a drug test?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Start Strong: Tips for Choosing the Right Clones

Growing quality cannabis requires a harmony of many factors. There’s some amount of leeway with light, pH amounts, pests and even mold – but most of these can be easily dealt with as cultivators surf that often-challenging and unforgiving wave of cannabis’ flowering cycle. However, without healthy, vibrant plants at the onset, even the best effort can be for naught and that highly-anticipated Super Silver Haze will likely look and smell more like Super Silver Hay.

Plants that are unhealthy do much the same as humans do when they’re sick – they rest and try to get better. While its healthy sisters race towards the light, be it artificial or the real deal, a weakling plant’s growth stops and stalls. As its leaves clench in frustration, nutrients stop being absorbed and the plant sits in a state of stasis that it might not ever fully recover from. If thrown into flowering, there’s a small chance that the plant might snap out of its slump but that’s pretty unlikely. What will result is a plant that is low in resin, terpenes, potency and yield that gives up the ghost long before finishing time.

Here are a few tips to help with choosing the best clones and getting the best results.

ROOTS

There’s an ancient saying that goes, “From the fruits you shall know the roots.” With cannabis, however, the opposite makes a better maxim. Look for vibrant white roots that are actively shooting from the medium, reaching for more water and nutrients so as to grow strong and healthy. Avoid roots that look brown and inactive. It’s a good indication of what the plant wants to do at that moment in its life. White roots want to thrive; brown roots want to slumber.

LEAF TIPS

Growth is what it’s all about, so the next inspection should be plant tips. Do they have the bright green of fresh growth? Do they look active? If not, the plant may be locked up and is going to take some time to recover. Unless you’re prepared to wait until that plant is good and ready – which will definitely be long after you are – move on to a fresher specimen.

COLORATION

The above two points are easily the most essential aspects to look for when shopping for great clones. However, there are more signs an astute cultivator can tune into to see if the young plant is ready to get it on. For instance, a slight yellowing of the leaves (of an otherwise happy plant) is a sign that the plant wants more nitrogen and is ready to grow more. Develop an eye for what makes a healthy clone and the skill will serve you well in the long run.

A yellow grided card attracts bugs to it, rather than the cannabis plant.

SICKLINESS

Avoid any plant with either current or past signs of insects, be it spider mite webs, pocked leaves or powdery mildew, which presents itself like fuzzy white areas. This probably seems obvious but it’s worth stating again to underscore the fact that unhealthy young plants are a flashing sign that something is wrong.

CONFINEMENT

When importing a starter plant into your garden, have a quarantine space ready that is well lit and with good air circulation, so your new ward can live in a safe little bubble while you treat it with preventative measures.

Harry Resin is a world-renowned cannabis breeder and cultivator with figurative roots in Amsterdam

CULLING

When taking your own clones from your own garden, use only the best and throw away the rest. Some of the most experienced cloners throw away the weakest 25 percent or more of any tray, with the thought that a weak child makes a weak adult. If you want the best possible chance at big robust flowers, you want to start with the best from the very start.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Treat the Aches & Pains of Aging with Cannabis Topicals

Almost half of adults aged 65 or older have arthritis. The Center for Disease Control says arthritis and other rheumatic conditions represent a leading cause of disability among U.S. adults — and the leading cause for the past 15 years.

And since the risk of arthritis increases with age, there will only be more patients searching for effective alternative treatments for pain as the senior population grows.

Among them is Jane, a 67-year-old woman who suffers from osteoarthritis and has found relief by using cannabis.

Jane developed osteoarthritis in her knee from years of working on her feet, a condition exacerbated by the weight she gained over the past 20 years.

She uses a cane to walk and says her pain medication leaves her groggy and depressed, with no desire to leave her home. Her daughter saw the negative impacts the medication was having on her mother’s mood and gave her a topical salve containing THC and CBD. It relieved her pain enough to be able to set aside her cane when she is at home.

Seeking further non-euphoric relief, Jane explored different ratios of CBD and THC in capsule form to help with her pain (especially at night) and found a balance that not only reduced her use of pain medication, but also relieved her anxiety and depression.

Cannabis can be utilized at therapeutic levels for both pain relief and the maintenance of inflammation. Many seniors start with non-euphoric solutions like cannabis topicals, which can mean using lotions, salves, roll-ons and even medicated epsom salts for soaking or hot compresses.

Jane likes that using topicals and edibles gives her the ability to enjoy time with her family and manage her pain without grogginess — and without the smell that comes from smoking.

She isn’t alone; many patients with inflammatory arthritis have been successfully treating it with topical use and experimenting with ratios of CBD to THC in edibles. And there’s data to back up those personal experiences — research is showing that topical administration of cannabis has proven to have analgesic effects in animal models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, especially for the control of breakthrough pain.

In fact, a study published in Rheumatology discovered that rheumatoid arthritis patients have more CB2 receptors on their cells than other arthritis patients. Recent research also found that psoriasis plaques can be treated with topicals high in CBD because the anti-inflammatory effects help reduce the plaques, without thinning the skin like a steroidal cream.

Maria Mangini is a pioneer of the medical cannabis and psychedelic research movement, and a family nurse practitioner. She says that 70 percent of the patients she consults see her for pain issues and noted a large percentage of those patients suffer from some type of arthritis.

She says osteoarthritis patients may benefit from the synergistic effects THC has with opioid receptors, creating greater pain relief with less opioid use. She added that if the joint pain is not too deep (as in hip joints), a topical medicine could prove useful in treating pain as well.

With the opioid epidemic still in full swing and the FDA’s recent warning that all non-aspirin NSAIDs put patients at increased risk for heart attack, stroke and heart failure, is it any wonder that our fast-growing senior population is becoming more open to alternative therapies? Or that cannabis — one of the most effective natural medicines on Earth — is now becoming a bigger part of the conversation?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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What Is CBN: Inside the Cannabinoid That Relieves Insomnia

There is perhaps no cannabinoid more misunderstood than cannabinol, or CBN as it is better known.

Once thought to be the primary source of the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana, CBN has an ancient tie to cannabis’ first concentrate, hashish, and is now being explored and isolated to provide relief for conditions like insomnia.

The Mysteries of Indian Hemp

When the United Kingdom assumed control over India in the mid-1850s, it was inevitable that the subjects of the British crown would eventually encounter and consume cannabis in one of the plants primal regions of cultivation.

The nation’s subsequent interest and concern in the plant’s resinous products led to the formation of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission in 1893. This commission represents the first major Western attempt at understanding cannabis, the humble beginnings of the path that with current social tolerance allowing for greater research and access, we now see being being freshly paved into an ultra-modern freeway.

In the years following the commission, some scientists were intrigued enough to pry apart the mysteries of “Indian Hemp.” CBN was the first cannabinoid successfully isolated from charas (otherwise known as hand-rubbed hashish) by British researchers in 1896 and, in 1933, was the first cannabinoid to have its chemical structure successfully elucidated.

A Cannabinoid in Decay

In the early years of cannabis research, CBN was immediately and wrongly singled out as the primary instigator for cannabis’ psychoactive effects. This confusion persisted until Dr. Raphael Mechoulam isolated THC in 1964. By 1975, Mechoulam and his associates had fully explained CBN’s existence as a product of THC’s degradation by heat and light.

In this way, CBN is almost the “ghost” of THC. Years later in 2008, when Dr. Ethan Russo and an international team of scientists examined a well-preserved sample of cannabis flowers that were roughly 2,700 years old, they deduced that the flowers had a relatively high THC content because they found a large amount of CBN during testing.

Being that CBN is a product of THC’s decay, one might be asking what purpose CBN might serve, but —  as with all cannabinoids —  it seems to have a fair amount of therapeutic potential. Those early researchers weren’t entirely wrong about what CBN was doing to our bodies, though slightly confused about its place in the entourage, so to speak. Writing in 1907, English scientist David Hooper stated, “Cannabinol when taken internally induces delirium and sleep.” Modern research has backed up this statement.

“Of all the cannabinoids, CBN appears to be the most sedative,” says Steep Hill Labs.

A Good Night’s Rest

Alta California, a cannabinoid tincture company, offers an “Insomnia Relief” tincture that is advertised as being 50 percent THC and 50 percent CBN. CBN’s other wellness-enhancing properties include an ability to mitigate anxiety and PTSD conditions, which is what Prana Bio Medicinal’s P4 capsules and sublingual tinctures are designed for. And of course, as with nearly all cannabinoids, CBN is effective with pain conditions, and for such Mary’s Medicinals CBN-only transdermal patch may be a potential source of relief.

While more uses for this once overlooked cannabinoid continue to arise, the cannabis industry will be presented with a new challenge: sourcing CBN. The cannabinoid does not occur without degrading THC, and therefore must either be obtained by old product or by treating newer product to transform the THC into CBN. The latter could prove to be a costly solution for nascent companies wanting to explore the potential of CBN, but assuredly as the level of production of cannabis rises, the price for CBN will eventually reach an affordable level for all to enjoy. While one could call the cannabinoid a ghost, given its application for modern-day medicine perhaps CBN could be better understood as the benevolent spirit THC leaves behind.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Edibles Recipe: CBD and THC-Infused Energy Bites

These energy bites, baked in a mini muffin tin, have all the crunch and chew your cannabis-loving heart desires. Full of nutrients, these treats are perfect for a quick breakfast, to snack on before a workout or to bring along for a stroll in the woods.

These fruit and nut cups are almost vegan, with the exception of the honey. Vegans can easily substitute brown rice syrup or agave instead — though brown rice syrup is less sweet than honey and agave is more sweet, so adjust accordingly.

I recommend making coconut oil infused with Bruce Banner, one of my current favorite strains, to use in this recipe. The high from Bruce Banner is long-lasting and encourages productivity.

These energy bites can also be made with a CBD-infused coconut oil if you’re not looking to get high. As with all edibles, it’s best only to consume if you are aware of the dose that is right for you — as well as the THC:CBD ratio you prefer.

INGREDIENTS – Serves 24

  • 2 1/4 cups almonds
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup crisped rice cereal
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup honey (adjust for desired sweetness)
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons infused coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 325° F. Line a 24-cup mini-muffin tray with un-infused canola or coconut oil and set aside.
  2. Place the almonds and coconut on a baking tray with sides. Bake until the coconut has colored, about 7-10 minutes. Because oven temperatures vary, check after 5 minutes. Allow time to cool.
  3. Place the toasted almonds and coconut, along with the dried cherries, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse two or three times to cut up some of the larger ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the mixture of almonds, coconut and cherries with the crisped rice cereal, hemp seeds and turmeric. Toss well to distribute evenly.
  5. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the honey and cannabis-infused oil. Heat for one minute on medium, then stir and cook an additional minute. Stir in the vanilla extract. Immediately pour the infused honey over the dry mixture and toss to distribute well.
  6. Working quickly, spoon about two heaping tablespoons of the mixture into each cup of the mini muffin tray. With fingers lightly oiled (with regular, un-infused oil), press the mixture down.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Allow the bites to cool thoroughly before removing from the pan. If they stick a bit, just run a knife around the edge. They should come out easily if thoroughly cooled.

TELL US, how do you mix cannabis with an on-the-go lifestyle?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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5 Simple Ways to Be a Sustainable Cannabis Consumer

There are as many ways to use cannabis as there are cannabis consumers. Unfortunately, most of those consumption methods have a major downside: They create a bunch of waste in the process.

Cannabis business attorney Sylvia Chi says the most concerning environmental issue for the cannabis consumer is excessive packaging, especially when you compare cannabis packaging to non-medicated food packaging.

“There are definitely better ways to do it,” Chi says. “There aren’t good ways to reuse or recycle; most dispensaries say they can’t accept used jars, not to mention all the other packaging. What are you supposed to do with a huge stash of glass jars? Make candles?”

Chi also questions the usefulness of recycling in general, as recent upheavals in the market have lead to more recyclables ending up in landfills.

According to a July 2018 report from the EPA, American citizens recycle about 34.7 percent of waste that can be recycled. The United States usually sends about half of that plastic overseas to be recycled, but as of Jan. 1, China stopped accepting foreign waste — thereby rerouting millions of tons of recyclable products into the landfill or the ocean this year.

However, one company called PL28 is actively cleaning plastic from the oceans and turning it into packaging for the cannabis industry. Jayson Adam Stewart, founder and CEO of PL28, says that his company chose to focus on the cannabis industry first because “we have an opportunity right now to shape how the industry grows, so bad habits don’t become too ingrained to fix.”

“Ocean plastic costs about the same as virgin plastic and 90 percent of plastic can be replaced with ocean plastic, so there really is no excuse,” Stewart says. “Consumers need to hold brands responsible for their choice of materials.”

Chi agrees that cannabis consumers have the purchasing power to reward companies attempting to fix pollution problems.

“As a consumer, I prefer to patronize companies with environmentally friendly practices, but am also wary about greenwashing,” she says, citing the practice of companies who attempt to appear sustainable despite acting otherwise. “As an attorney, I know that even though the law prohibits making deceptive claims and requires substantiation for environmental claims, lots of companies still get away with claims that are not sufficiently specific or qualified.”

Fighting greenwashing is especially difficult in the cannabis industry because the federal government refuses to certify cannabis products through its various environmental certification programs. While there are some private certification programs that have emerged without oversight from the government, individual states have been slowly building their own certification programs.

In California, for example, the state is required to establish an organic certification program by 2021 that’s comparable to the National Organic Program. Until then, Chi says, “consumers will mostly have to take it on faith when grower claim they’re using organic-like production methods.”

Beyond thinking about how your cannabis is packaged and certified, here are five other ways to ensure you are a sustainable cannabis consumer:

Using a hempwick helps to optimize the smoking experience and reduce the use of disposable lighters. Photo Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now.

1) Purchase From a Local Source

Purchasing cannabis from a local source makes sense for a number of reasons. Similar to why many environmentalists recommend eating local food, by purchasing local cannabis, more money stays within your community, the product is less likely to be spoiled or tampered with and you’ve reduced the distance the cannabis had to be shipped, which promotes better air quality and reduces pollution. Buying (or bartering) locally also can support small, organic farmers, making it less likely they will need to become part of a larger company to survive. Finally, you might be fortunate enough to get to know the product’s story and develop a relationship with your neighbors who produced it. Strong communities of growers and patients are crucial for keeping medicine affordable.

2) Grow Your Own Outdoors

Many states now have laws in place that allow medical or adult-use consumers to grow their own supply. If you are not able to grow your own, either due to physical limitations or because it is not allowed where you live, your state likely still allows patients to delegate this delicate task to a caregiver. Grow outdoors whenever possible to reduce energy use. There is no shortage of online and print resources on the topic of environmentally friendly growing methods. Keep in mind there are sustainable options for water supply, light sources, soil and pesticides.

3) Avoid Vape Waste

Disposable vape pens and cartridges are one of the most convenient ways to get cannabinoids into your system, but they create hoards of toxic waste and are not necessarily healthier than smoking. Pre-filled vape pens are not regulated for safety and the heating mechanism can transform solvents, flavoring agents and additives into carcinogens and dangerous toxins. Until recycling programs for vape batteries and cartridges are more widespread, consider purchasing a refillable vape. While some cities such as San Francisco are also starting to spread awareness about vape waste and are pushing to hold manufacturers accountable, it’s best to avoid disposable vapes until the vape recycling is available in your area.

4) Smoke Sustainably

Have you ever thought about the long-term health effects of inhaling butane from lighters or burned sulfur from matches? In addition to the health risks, lighters also emit flint powder and destroy terpenes. The solution? Hempwick! This is hemp twine dipped in beeswax that burns at a safer and more delicious temperature, plus it reduces how many disposable lighters end up in the landfill.

5) Buy Clean Green Certified Cannabis

Thanks to federal prohibition, marijuana cannot be officially referred to as an organic product because the USDA does not yet recognize it as a legitimate crop. Instead, for cannabis producers, Clean Green Certified is the next best option to the official organic seal. Since 2004, Clean Green Certified has been inspecting and approving producers who use sustainable, natural, organic practices. Until marijuana is legalized on a federal level, the cannabis industry will continue to innovate on its own and build its own sustainable systems — and conscious consumers should do their part to reward those companies and cultivators taking the extra step of respecting the earth.

TELL US, what steps do you take to smoke sustainably?

Originally published in Issue 33 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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