Do mushrooms have terpenes and an entourage effect?

Mycologist, Paul Stamets, gave incredible wisdom with a specific type of psychedelic mushroom during a MAPS presentation. This advice is perhaps only needed for the strongest of the species known to man, but as it turns out, there is more to a shroom than psychoactive tryptamines. Lab tests have revealed that fresh mushrooms contain the more delicate […]

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How to Combat Cold Symptoms With Cannabis

When the weather begins to change, it’s common for cold symptoms to start to pop up. It usually starts with a bit of congestion and little sneezing before blossoming into a full-blown mess of running or stuffy noses, high fevers, headaches and a sore throat. It can be difficult to avoid catching a cold, especially once it starts going around. It can easily spread through saliva (by sharing a drink or kissing), skin-to-skin contact (handshakes or hugs) and even through the air if someone with the virus coughs or sneezes without properly covering their mouth.

Thankfully, most people can recover from a cold in just a couple weeks with their own at-home or over-the-counter treatments. In the meantime, you can also include cannabis to help with managing symptoms. If you’re heavily congested, dealing with a sore throat or trying to avoid coughing, smoking is probably not the best option for improving your symptoms. In fact, it could exacerbate them and make you feel worse. For people who feel like they need to smoke out of preference or habit, vaping is the way to go. It will be easier on your lungs and will most likely not make you cough if you’re intentional about taking gentle, slows pulls.

You can experiment with different terpenes like pinene which can act as a powerful expectorant and antimicrobial that can improve airflow functioning in the lungs. Just look for strains that have a high pinene content to help ease respiratory issues. Just remember that during this time it is not a good idea to share any paraphernalia with another person, so you’ll need a pipe or vape that is exclusively for your own personal use during this time until your symptoms completely subside.

If necessary, you can skip smoking and vaping altogether and go for pre-packaged edibles or cannabis-infused foods and drinks made at home. Soups and hot drinks are helpful as the weather cools down and there are lots of great recipes like vegetable soup with medicated garlic croutonskief-infused chicken soup and cannabis-infused bone broth. You can also try making your own cannabis tea made with roots and stems or make canna-honey to add to herbal tea. Tinctures are an easy way to medicate as well by taking a dose underneath your tongue or adding it to tea, soup or something else. Don’t forget that edibles will take longer to feel the effects than smoking or vaping so be patient and don’t over do it in hopes of feeling better faster.

Some people find it unpleasant to feel high when they’re under the weather, so microdosing or CBD strains and products would be a good idea. For aches and pains, a topical or infused bath salts can help you feel better. Detox baths with Epsom salt and essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus can help speed up your recovery and the added benefits of cannabis can reduce discomfort in your body so that you can rest and relax. You can also try rubbing an infused topical into any tense areas for some relief. Some studies have shown that cannabis can help reduce inflammation, which can be helpful if you’re experiencing uncomfortable nasal pressure or throat pain, so with topicals you can still experience some of the benefits without getting any kind of buzz at all.

Keep in mind that cannabis won’t help to make your cold go away but can help you feel a little better while you recover. Whether you decide to treat your cold naturally or with over-the-counter treatments from your local drugstore, remember to pay attention to how you feel, observe your symptoms and visit a doctor if needed.

TELL US, have you ever used cannabis to support you while kicking a cold?

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High Hospitality: How to Host the Perfect Cannabis Party

Whether you love her, hate her or hate to love her, you’ve got to admit that when Kim Kardashian West makes a move, the world watches. So when the social media starlet announced that her fourth baby shower would be “CBD-themed,” with A-listers like Paris Hilton, Chrissy Teigen and, of course, the entire Kardashian clan blissing out with a sound bath and making custom CBD bath salts, cannabidiol had officially gone mainstream. With millions of fans watching along on Instagram, it’s easy to imagine countless mental lightbulbs going off as people mused: I can entertain with cannabis, too!

I’m obliged to give Kim K. props for her contribution to normalizing cannabis, but it’s just the tip of the cola, if you will, when it comes to the world of high hospitality. Entertaining with cannabis can take many forms, from infused dinner parties to elegant joint tray-passing affairs. But no matter what sort of cannabis party you’re hosting, the most important thing you can do to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable is to ensure that they’re educated about any cannabis products they’ll be consuming throughout the evening.

(PHOTO Rachel Burkons)

Serving infused bites? Let guests know the dosage! Mixing up mocktails? Tell them about your tinctures! Staging a beautiful bud bar? Know what’s what, where it’s from and what your guests can expect from each product. Welcoming your guests with knowledge demonstrates not only mindfulness and consideration of your guests’ experience, but also calms the inexperienced, who will appreciate your efforts.

One of my personal favorite ways to kick off a cannabis kiki is with a well-appointed joint tray, served alongside some bites and non-alcoholic beverages. I’m a firm believer in the joint tray as the perfect pot party-starter because when done well, a joint tray is more than just beautiful — it’s also an ideal way to encourage your guests to mix, mingle and meet. After all, who hasn’t made a new friend over a shared joint or a quest for a lighter? Make your guests feel at home, at ease and fancy AF by following some of these tips for building the perfect joint tray to accompany any cannabis culinary event.

(PHOTO Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now)

The Necessities: Start with your favorite flower and roll enough joints to have one for every two people. This will encourage guests to make new friends as they puff, puff, pass. Also, make sure you have plenty of lighters, as we know those have a way of disappearing into people’s pockets and purses.

The Details: Decorate your tray with florals for the season. Summertime calls for fragrant roses, hibiscus and lilies, but fall seeks brightly colored leaves for an autumnal harvest look. Fresh-cut citrus makes for a beautiful winter display, and if you’re offering up a high-limonene variety, it will celebrate terpenes and offer another educational touchstone for your guests. Anything green and in-bloom from your garden is perfect for a springtime celebration. A few High Hospitality pro tips: Keep your joints from rolling by placing long, flat leaves in an “x” across your tray, and lining the joints on top. I’ve had success with all kinds of leaves, especially fern leaves. Wrap leaves loosely in a damp paper towel until you’re ready to place on the tray in order to keep them from becoming dry and brittle.

The Pairings: Match the flavors in the variety you’re passing with a bite you’re offering. Have a high beta-caryophyllene Purple Punch? Match it with parmesan popcorn with fresh-cracked black pepper. Working with a pinene-heavy In the Pines? Try rosemary roasted potato bites. Remember, you don’t need to be a professional chef to create perfect pairings if you let terpenes be your guide.

There are no right or wrong answers to bringing this experience to your guests, so feel free to experiment and find what works for you and the occasion you’re enjoying. Happy hosting!

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Alpha-Pinene Terps Shine in this Sparkling Cannabis Cocktail Recipe

Holiday drinks enjoyed while celebrating friends, family and finding the light through dark winter nights is a tradition long held around the world. With pine trees inextricably part of those same warm gatherings, few things so strongly mark the arrival of the winter holidays quite like the unmistakable smell of fresh pine.

Did you know the fragrant terpene alpha-pinene is directly responsible for that unique scent we all hold near and dear during the holiday season? Found abundantly in edible plants all over the world (i.e., rosemary, juniper berries, eucalyptus, holy basil and the like), alpha-pinene’s charm also shines through in specific cannabis strains like Jack Herer, Cherry Pie and Purple Kush.

These holiday drinks in particular were inspired by pine needle syrup, a traditional Scandinavian remedy for sore throats made from pine needles foraged when the trees are just budding (the young shoots have the best flavor). Since it stunts the trees’ growth to remove the fresh buds and since not every pine tree is safe to eat, I recommend foraging with an expert or sourcing the pine needles from a reputable local or online shop. Longleaf, Shortleaf, Virginia, Spruce and Loblolly are some of the preferred trees for making pine infusions, but as with all plant consumption, take care with identification and defer to experienced knowledge before eating any plants.

There are two versions of this wintery, celebratory pine and cannabis drink: one made with sparkling wine and no added sugar, and the other infuses a simple syrup to be mixed with sparkling water–dealer’s choice.

Happy holidays, cheers!


1 1/2 – 2 cups cold filtered water

3.5 g dried and cured cannabis flower or trim

1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin (found in health food stores or online)

1/2 cup organic cane sugar (if making simple syrup, omit if making mixer for champagne cocktails)

1-2 cinnamon sticks

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (plus one sprig each per serving)

Sparkling white wine or sparkling mineral water (for the mixer)

Decarboxylate Cannabis

Preheat oven to 245ºF. Keep an eye on the heat using an oven thermometer.

Coarsely chop/breakup cannabis flower.

Spread cannabis evenly over a parchment lined baking pan, then cover tightly with two layers of foil.

Bake for 25 minutes, keeping an eye on the heat with an oven thermometer.

After baking, let cool fully before removing foil.

Spritz cannabis lightly with Everclear/high-proof alcohol (to help break down plant matter and cannabinoids, a genius method developed by Tamar Wise).

For Mocktail with Pine Needle Simple Syrup (no alcohol)

Boil 1 1/2 cups water, then add 1 cup pine needles.

Turn down heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain needles out through a fine mesh strainer, returning the liquid to the pot.

While the liquid is still warm, whisk in 1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin.

Stir in 1/2 cup sugar until it’s completely dissolved.

Pour liquid into a heat-proof glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid).

Add the decarboxylated cannabis, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the liquid.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for 12 hrs/overnight, shaking the mixture periodically.

Strain the solids out of the liquid through a cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer (more than once if necessary to get all the bits out of the liquid).

Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage.

Add desired amount of the now cannabis-and-pine-needle-infused simple syrup to sparkling water over ice. Stir, garnish with a sprig of rosemary, and serve.

For a Sparkling Cocktail (mix with your favorite sparkling wine)

Boil 2 cups of water, then add 1 cup of pine needles.

Turn down heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain needles out through a fine mesh strainer, returning the liquid to the pot.

While the liquid is still warm, whisk in 1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin.

Pour liquid into a heat-proof glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid).

Add the decarboxylated cannabis, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the pine-needle infusion.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for 12 hrs/overnight, shaking the mixture periodically.

Strain the solids out of the liquid through a cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer (more than once if necessary to get all the bits out of the liquid).

Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage.

Add the desired amount of the now cannabis-and-pine-needle-infused liquid and a sprig of fresh rosemary to your favorite sparkling Brut. Cheers!

Dosage: Both recipes make about 1 2/3 cups liquid. I use tablespoons as my measurement for dosage, with 1 tablespoon per drink. There are 16 tablespoons in a liquid cup, so 1 2/3 cups is very loosely 26 tbsps, or 13 servings. If I start with a cannabis flower that tests at around 20% THC, using 3.5g would make the total amount of THC in the syrup all in about 700mg THC. Dividing that total by 26 tbsp. servings, each tbsp. would contain approximately 27mg THC per serving.

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Doc Ray on the Battle to Save Heritage Growers and Genetics

Small-scale cannabis farms—the very pioneers of the industry—are being purged out of the legal market as the wholesale price per pound plummets, while at the same time, invaluable genetics are ripped off and renamed, often inaccurately.

Anybody who has been in the game long enough knows that craft cannabis grown in the Emerald Triangle—Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties—is among the finest in the world, representing a different class of flower.

Doc Ray is a U.S. Army Green Beret, a former art professor and a respected cultivator and breeder in Emerald Triangle for about 50 years. He’s the creator of countless terp-ridden strains—the type of varieties you want to write home about. He’s also a storyteller, with tales such as gun fights with DEA agents in the hills of Northern California since the ‘70s. He chatted with High Times to discuss his mission: save heritage cultivators and unveil a new collaboration with some of Emerald Triangle’s rising heavyweights.

“I’m an old-school outlaw cultivator,” Doc Ray told High Times. “I’m kind of an open book at this stage. I’ve been around the block a few times. I’m an old school Green Beret. I’m a little rough and crusty. At this stage in the game, I just call it like I see it.”

As a Phenotype-Specific Geneticist, Doc Ray owns some brands such as Doc Ray Genetics—with mouthwatering beans such as Malawi Gold Mango. He also operates a microbusiness in cannabis cultivation in Arcata, California. As an old school breeder, Doc Ray has gotten himself into all kinds of facets of cultivation.

But lately, amid unprecedented thievery and competition with cheap “deps,” Doc Ray has been exploring patented strains, intellectual property (IP) and blockchain technology as a means to protect small scale growers and the strains they love, almost like one of their own children.

Doc Ray examines a plant. Photo courtesy of Terps By Doc & Bentley.

“I just don’t want outlaws to come in and rip me off all the fucking time. That’s the model I’ve built, which is apparently pretty fuckin’ popular now. Three years ago, people said, ‘I can’t believe you’re going to patent plants!’” -Co-founder Doc Ray

Doc Ray’s Road to Divine Genetics

Doc Ray has been smoking grass since the ‘70s. “I was a kid in high school and smoked my first joint,” Doc Ray said. “Vietnam was tapering off. One of my buddy’s older brothers came back from ‘Nam in the summer of ‘72 when I cultivated my first plant. That was my first experience in cultivation. I grew up in Northern Mendocino County. It’s just a lifestyle there. Not like it is now—a Holy Grail mecca type of place as the Emerald Triangle. It’s a way of life.”

Doc Ray always had a hand in some sort of cultivation role. “Even when I was in college or teaching, I always had a closet grow or something going on in my garden,” he said.

Doc Ray was incarcerated in the mid-’80s over a miniscule amount of pot. But it didn’t cause him to deviate from his path. “I just shifted my game—going completely underground,” he said. “My voter registration card took you down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and it just stopped. I’m one of the original Mendocino outlaws—you know, green mountain boys. We were considered guardians of the valley so to speak. The ones in their ‘40s and ‘50s know me now. We kept everybody out. You just didn’t roll up in there, or you had to deal with us. We were all ex-Special Forces and are all hard, riding motherfuckers. That’s just how we were.”

Doc Ray got into an altercation with the County Sheriffs in the early ‘90s and over the next 10 years, the industry he once knew sort of slowly vanished before his eyes. Doc Ray was a Prop. 215 caregiver in Mendocino County in 1997—the first year anyone could. His travels to embark on cultivation-related projects would take him to Big Sur, among other destinations. 

By the time it got to the early 2000s, things started shifting and Doc Ray couldn’t stand it anymore, with the price per pound reaching new depths. He was responsible for producing a lot of medicine for a lot of people. Twenty years ago, what goes for a few hundred dollars now, used to be worth thousands of dollars for the same flower. And nothing’s changed—if anything, growers have gotten better at it. The price for cultivators nosedived as adult-use took form.

His gears shifted over the past 10-12 years, after barely surviving a serious motorcycle accident in 2009, when he returned to Humboldt County. “I got my eye knocked out and I was left for dead on the side of the road,” he said.

Over the last 12 or so years, Doc Ray has been playing with genetics. The number of patented cannabis genetics continues to grow in 2021, as plant patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety—not to mention utility patents that also abound. The understanding of law is often murky. “Now I’ve got patented plants, and half a dozen flower lines and all this other stuff. It wasn’t there seven years ago, and it’s all here now. Now all of a sudden I’m involved in this project with my company and with Bentley [Rolling]. We’ve been working on the Terps By Doc & Bentley flower release, which is showcasing how badass cultivators here in the Emerald Triangle are, which I have access to. They’re part of my network.”

Cannabis for Veterans

Doc Ray slowly started working behind the scenes to fortify and protect his genetics, and in addition, also took part in studies on the efficacy of medical cannabis for veterans. “That’s one of my things,” he said. “My Bluestone genetics. My Bluestone has been around for awhile. It’s all sativa-forward now. There’s no purple. It’s heavy smoke. Most of my young friends they all love it. My daily smoke. It’s a Blue Dream x Skunk #1 cross that I’ve been playing around with forever. The breeder of Skunk #1 here in Humboldt is one of my mentors. He’s been gone for a long time. It’s an homage to him. The creator of Blue Dream is a friend. It’s an homage to her.” 

Dr. Sue Sisley is Principal Investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial in the world examining the efficacy of smoked marijuana flower in combat veterans with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“The plants now are patented for post-traumatic stress therapy,” Doc Ray said. “It’s on the list with Dr. Sue Sisley and the Scottsdale Research Institute for one of the plants. It’s in pre-clinical trials for post-traumatic stress for veterans. I’ve been talking to a lot of medical experts at the University of Davis. Five years ago, nobody gave a fuck about it.”

Doc Ray explained that everybody wants it for stress relief as it’s one of the most grounding flowers around, with a calmness that rolls over you. “I’m old school,” Doc Ray said. “I have a lot of shit on my head from my military career and from my civilian life. This helps me get the ghosts and demons out of my head. Twenty minutes later, my back and shoulder doesn’t hurt anymore. That’s the advantage of this plant. Put it on a shelf in a retail environment, for the adult consumer.”

Bentley Rolling examines a specimen.

“When I first started Terps with legendary Heritage Cultivator Doc Ray, I had no idea this was going on. I just knew I wanted to help him get his phenomenal genetics out to more people.” -Co-founder Bentley Rolling

Saving Heritage Growers

Doc Ray explained that he’s growing top-tier, five-star indo, and his price point isn’t where the outdoor market is. “I’m at the top of the food chain,” he said. “Not at the bottom of the food chain. I have all these friends who are world class growers.”

He explained that small-scale growers are getting crucified under current conditions. People demand AAA bud, but nowadays they’re paying in the ballpark of $450 per pound. He finds it insulting—given the cost of manpower, payroll and workman’s comp., not to mention the overhead.

“That’s what this whole thing that I’ve mulled over these past couple of months,” Doc Ray said. “Supporting heritage farms, and [recognizing] the plight of small mom-and-pop farmers. Most of them don’t produce 1,000 pounds of flower, they don’t produce 200 pounds of flower annually. A lot of them are the 50-100 pound range. It used to be that you could get $2,000 per pound and make a living at that. At $400, that doesn’t even get you out of the hole to pay your bills and fees. They’re quitting left and right. Or even worse. On a personal note, I had a buddy kill himself because he didn’t see any alternative. When the hell did people kill themselves in this game?!”

When Proposition 64 rolled out, the whole landscape began to change, and fast. Around the year of 2015, Doc Ray started noticing people who were saying they’ve been ripped off of their genetics. He knew that it was going to happen eventually. 

That’s why Doc Ray and other OG farmers in the area started to consider legal protections a bit more seriously, despite the limitations of working in the “grey area” given the federal status of cannabis.

Doc Ray takes a break from a long day. Photo courtesy of Terps By Doc & Bentley.

Intellectual Property

“I’ve got the best IP lawyer in the country,” Doc Ray said. “I have a legal team now. I’ve got people that represent me. The whole nine yards: License branded agreements. I want minimum purchases. I don’t take percentages. I want a dollar a stamp for everything you cut. I want a percentage of every pound that’s turned. This is how it rolls now.”

He explained that it didn’t used to be that way. As an open-source guy, Doc Ray originally embraced open source genetics in the Emerald Triangle. But the truth of it is, he says, is that they’ve all been tried, ripped off, and stolen from and taken advantage of for decades. And today, you have people in suits who have never grown a plant in their lives taking over the industry.

He started experimenting how to get genetics in a position where small-scale growers can keep them from being ripped off. “Most breeders don’t get it, honestly, much less growers,” Doc Ray says. “I’m not asking for a lot, I’m asking for a few pennies on every transaction with the intention that it’s going to be millions and millions of transactions. That’s where I put this thing at now. I own all of my genetic patenting; I’ve got a couple of small principal partners who are invested in what I do. I control all of my genetics. I control who I work with. I have a couple of branding partners here in the state of California who represent me. You can get gear, but you can’t dilute it. And by that I mean, and I tell them. If you see Kit-Kats roll in without paperwork, they don’t get my gear.”

If a grower rolls into town and has his paperwork, his Metrc, etc.—Doc Ray will work with them by all means. “I just don’t want outlaws to come in and rip me off all the fucking time,” he said. “That’s the model I’ve built, which is apparently pretty fuckin’ popular now. Three years ago, people said, “I can’t believe you’re going to patent plants!”

Doc Ray explained that old school growers in the area see the “rockstars” as musicians or book writers. It makes the difference between a world class novel and a trashy tabloid article. He explained that the royalty portion of his genetics has to be through a controlled source. “You can make a killing on it, but you have to pay a little bit back to the source. That’s something that we’ve skipped over until now.”

Left to right: Doc Ray, Jerry Savage and Bentley Rolling. Photo courtesy of Terps By Doc & Bentley.

Registering Strains

Recently, Doc Ray is diving into intellectual property rights, with a little help from technology like Canopyright. Last October, Canopyright launched a beta version of its secure, free-to-use web platform on Hedera. Canopyright is the first and only cannabis herbarium where breeders can both register their unique strains.

“Canopyrights made a test project—a blockchain project—that’s just here in the Triangle right now,” said Doc. “But if we can get the thing to go out, it will be a way for mom-and-pop cultivators or breeders who have that one-of-a-kind can protect it by filing the paper with a digital timestamp on the blockchain that gives you some protection. And I went to my guys, and said, ‘will our thing be their thing in the court of law?’”

Doc Ray admits that there are a lot of hypotheticals. Anybody who’s not playing by the rules—this thing doesn’t protect them from shit. “My guys take DNA samples, and if it’s our DNA, we own your ass. That’s why genetic plant patenting is so important. That’s what I’ve done. The blockchain allows people to still barter their plants with the system. It protects them and gives them a little bit of control without having any real monetary expense to it. My way is not expensive.” Doc Ray said he thinks the next five years are going to be critical for the black market. 

He sees younger people entering the industry, and some are on their way to becoming breeder legends. “We have to work together, or we’re doomed,” Doc Ray said. “I’m known for small scale. You’ll never see more than 25 pounds of anything. You just don’t see that anymore. I’ve been holding my price point up.” Doc Ray wants to leave something for his grandkids.

Enter Terps By Doc & Bentley

Terps By Doc & Bentley provides heritage cultivation with its own patented genetics—also providing a path to market for other heritage cultivators in the area including Jerry Savage of Savage Farms and Sean Stamm of SoHum Royal Cannabis Co.

Jerry Savage of Savage Farms. Photo courtesy of Terps By Doc & Bentley.

The company was formed by old school Emerald Triangle legend Doc Ray and Bentley Rolling—both of whom set out to protect heritage cultivators and their original strains. There are two sides to the brand—its main flower line, with genetics grown by Doc Ray in-house; and its heritage Terps line featuring Emerald Triangle-based legends. 

“When I first started Terps with legendary Heritage Cultivator Doc Ray, I had no idea this was going on,” Co-founder Bentley Rolling told High Times. “I just knew I wanted to help him get his phenomenal genetics out to more people. He created and stabilized some of the most rare terpene profiles in existence, including Cup-winning Orange Cream Frost, Black Apple Kush, Blue Skunk and Pheno Select #5.” Bentley Rolling is also a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and photographer, who turned to cannabis for anxiety, like many others. On Bentley’s website, you can find advocate-oriented merchandise with slogans such as “Save Heritage Terps” or “Support Small Cannabis Farms.” 

FollowTerps andTerps By Doc & Bentley on Instagram or visit

The post Doc Ray on the Battle to Save Heritage Growers and Genetics appeared first on High Times.

Indica And Sativa Are Wrong, Study Finds You Buy Cannabis For Terpenes

Cannabis cultivars — informally known as “strains” — stretch across a spectrum of effects and aromas, spinning into various products. Consumers commonly divide this spectrum into Indica and Sativa while incorrectly focusing on THC percentage. However, a recent study supports that we’re selling cannabis wrong — Indica and Sativa are misleading, and consumers buy weed […]

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Cannabis & Depression: Studies Suggest Marijuana Can Help

There’s no denying that life, with its unpredictable twists and turns, can be a bit overwhelming a lot of the time. Though many people don’t like to talk about it, depression has become a common ailment among both teens and adults, with more than 300 million people affected by it worldwide. Some people have found ways to cope and manage depression through exercise, diet, self-care, therapy, prescription pills or other alternatives that seem to lighten the load. But for others, these methods might be helpful but they still struggle with consistent and intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, chronic fatigue, loss of interest and low self-esteem.

Some studies have shown that cannabis can effectively reduce some of the symptoms of depression. One study recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that smoking cannabis can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. It also suggests that high-CBD/low-THC strains were most effective among their participants. The study specifically looked at the effects of smoked cannabis.

Researchers found that after just two puffs, participants began to feel relief from symptoms of depression and after 10 puffs, they could feel their stress levels drop.

If smoking is not an option for you due to health reasons, your living situation or otherwise, you can still utilize cannabis in other ways, such as through edibles or tinctures, if you find it helps with your depression. Because depression can vary from moderate to severe, each approach will be different but should consider your tolerance, lifestyle and how you want to feel before you start using cannabis as a remedy. As the study suggests, strains that are high in CBD and low in THC may provide relief, but you may consider looking into the terpene profile of particular strains when you are deciding what will be best for you. Strains that are high in linalool or myrcene may help you feel calmed and relaxed, while strains with limonene can help boost your mood and increase energy.

The study suggests that low amounts of cannabis can be helpful with depression, so microdosing appears as if it could also be an option if you are interested in experiencing some relief without any strong intoxicating side-effects. Microdosing — or utilizing small amounts of THC, usually around 2.5 mg of THC or lower — has been shown to provide benefits that can be helpful in relieving some of the root problems that can lead to depression, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia and isolation. Because it is hard to tell how much THC you’re inhaling when smoking, microdosing with tinctures, oils and edibles is best. Medical marijuana doctors usually recommend starting with one dose per day and then gauging how you feel after a few days. If needed, increase to taking microdoses twice a day. Continue to monitor how you feel and adjust as necessary.

If you experience body aches or tension related to depression, you can also try using an infused topical. There are creams, lotions, salves and even bath salts that you can use to relieve the discomfort. You can feel free to use them daily without any psychoactive effects whatsoever.

It’s important to note that the study also suggests that cannabis may be best as a short-term treatment, so it may be a good idea to employ other strategies as a part of your long-term treatment. Depression is a serious condition that may require medical treatment and supervision, and relying on self-medication isn’t always effective. Cannabis is just one resource of many for treating depression. It can be useful, but don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you are not experiencing relief from your symptoms or find that they are getting worse.

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Indica and Sativa Labels Can’t Be Trusted, Study Indicates

Most indica and sativa labels on cannabis are incorrect, results from a new analysis show. Cultivars are generally sold as indica, sativa or hybrid of the two, promising energizing or calming effects, but this classification system probably amounts to nothing more than a trend that refuses to die. 

A new study published October 14 in Nature Plants re-analyzed nearly 300 samples of cannabis, and found surprising results. Researchers from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada joined a team from Wageningen University & Research institute in the Netherlands to process the data.

Researchers gathered and analyzed 297 samples, which were previously quantified for terpene and cannabinoid content, as well as genotyped for over 100,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. The results indicated that sativa- and indica-labeled samples were “genetically indistinct” on a genome-wide scale. 

“Growers worldwide label their cannabis strains quite subjectively with the terms ‘Indica’ and ‘Sativa.’ There’s nothing scientific about that. Unfortunately, retailers and consumers cannot rely on the labels that are stuck to the jars,” said Dr. Sean Myles, Associate Professor at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture and lead author of the study. “There is now a broad scientific consensus that the current use of the Indica and Sativa labeling is misleading: these labels do not provide reliable information about the genetic or chemical makeup of the plant.”

Check Terps Instead for Effects

While labeling cannabis as sativa or indica is a poor and unscientific way to categorize cannabis, researchers noted that labeling cannabis by certain terpenes is probably a better way.

“Our results demonstrate that the Sativa–Indica scale currently used to label Cannabis poorly captures overall genomic and metabolomic variation,” researchers wrote. “Cannabis labeling is instead probably driven primarily by a small number of key terpenes whose concentrations contribute to the characteristic aromas commonly associated with Sativa and Indica and whose variation we genetically mapped to tandem arrays of terpene synthase genes on chromosomes 5 and 6.” 

Researchers noted more of a correlation between terpenes and labels. Myrcene, as well as three sesquiterpenes (guaiol, β-eudesmol and γ-eudesmol) were strongly associated with “indica” labels, while bergamotene and farnesene were strongly associated with “sativa” labels.

The sativa and indica labeling might have little correlation with the cultivars’ genetic background and origin.

The researchers went further to the root cause of the confusion: “We hypothesize that Cannabis growers and breeders have been assigning labels to cultivars primarily on the basis of aroma profiles and purported effects, rather than genetic ancestry or overall chemical similarity.” 

Most Cannabis is Hybrid

Preserved landrace strains grown and stabilized naturally in isolated areas such as Durban Poison or Acapulco Gold might have a better chance at being a pure sativa, or an Afghani landrace for a more pure indica. Some have been preserved for generations. But mass cross-pollination makes it much more likely to come across hybrids in retail these days.

In 1753, all varieties of cannabis were defined Cannabis sativa, per Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus’ identification. Then came along biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785, who identified Cannabis indica. Finally Russian botanist D. E. Janischewsky identified Cannabis ruderalis in 1924. But this classification system is based entirely upon physical attributes of phenotypes such as shape, leaf formation, thickness, etc.—not based on effects. 

That said, cannabis effects can’t be defined by simply sativa or indica—nor are those type of labels likely to be scientific. In addition, many sativas can cause drowsiness, defying its categorization, and vice-versa with energizing indicas. Judging cannabis potency based purely on delta-9 THC content is also misleading.

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Why do we say indica or sativa?

When talking about a strain’s effect, why do we say indica or sativa? Technically, these are botany terms; they classify the subspecies of the cannabis plant. They have a lot more to do with plant genetics and characteristics than the way a bud will make you feel. It begs the question, why do we use […]

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The Real Difference Between Indica and Sativa Strains

When shopping for cannabis products, be it online or at a dispensary, you’ve likely noticed that aside from visibly posted THC content, the other way they are typically categorized is by whether they are indica, sativa, or hybrid. Most people use these groups as a benchmark for gauging potency and effects. But how accurate is this method, and what are the true differences between these strain types?

Indica, or “in da couch” as it is casually referred to, is said to be the stronger of the two, delivering super relaxing, often sluggish, “couch-locked” effects. On the contrary, sativa strains have the reputation of hitting users with those creative, lively, and energetic highs. This has been widely accepted as fact among cannabis consumers for decades now. If you have ever been to a dispensary, it’s highly likely you’ve had a budtender recommend strains based on these classifications (spoiler alert, they will almost always recommend an indica… sometimes a hybrid).

However, as research continues to emerge about the plant, it turns out the real differences between strains is the specific blend of compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) in each particular batch of flowers. As a matter of fact, the terms “sativa” and “indica” are rooted in geography and botany, having really nothing to do with what effects a user will experience. It’s like comparing apples around the world. In some regions they grow smaller or come in different colors, but they’re all still apples – just with a slight bit of variation based on where they are from. So for the sake of this article, think of cannabis like any other flowering plant, fruit, or vegetable.

Cannabis is a multifaceted plant with hundreds of active and inactive compounds working together synergistically. To minimize all that chemistry down to indica vs sativa makes very little sense and is actually, totally inaccurate. To learn more about the cannabis plant, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, your top source for all things weed-related as well as exclusive deals on delta-8 THCdelta 10thcvthcpthc-ohhc and even legal hemp-derived delta-9 THC.

What Are Indicas?

Cannabis indica refers to the intoxicating variety of cannabis that was originally discovered in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Northern India, where it grew comfortably in between 30-50 degrees latitude. In addition to being smoked, Cannabis indica was harvested for seeds, fiber, and hashish (hash) production (the world’s first cannabis concentrate). “Indica” technically means any plant that comes originally from India, although in the weed industry it has become synonymous with the stout, broad-leaf plants, believed to produce sedative effects with a powerful body high.

As far as cultivation goes, Indica plants are typically shorter and bushier with stout, wide leave and dense bulky nugs. There are many benefits to this smaller stature, first of which is that they require much less physical space to grow. They also flower considerably faster than Sativa strains, only taking about 6-8 weeks before you get a harvest. For these reasons, paired with the reputation of Indicas, they are most popular among modern growers and likely the reason you see more and more indica/hybrids on the market today.

More About Sativas

The exact origins of Sativa strains are less specific, although we do know that much of it hails from the latitudes of 0-30 degrees. Typically, it grew in warmer climates like Mexico, Columbia, Thailand, and Southeast Asia.  The term “sativa” was also used to describe hemp plants found throughout Europe, where it was cultivated for seeds, fiber, and other practical uses.

Sativa strains are associated with the uplifting “head high” that people claim makes them feel connected and euphoric. Again, these effects aren’t necessarily due to the fact that they are sativas and simply that, but rather because strains coming from those parts of the world may have different combinations of compounds than hardy, mountain Indica strains. My guess would be that it has a lot to do with the sun and warmth.

Sativa plants are tall and lanky. On average they get around 10-12 feet tall, although some can exceed 20 feet. The leaves are thin and pointed and the nugs produced by these strains are typically longer and fluffier than indica flowers. Sativas grow well outdoors and often require less maintenance than indica plants. Despite that, they are less popular for cultivators, especially those doing indoor and greenhouse grows.  

Defining Hemp

Hemp is a term used to classify certain varieties of cannabis that have less than 0.3 percent THC (by dry weight). This is the legal standard by which hemp is defined in the United States and throughout most of the world, although some countries are leaning now towards a 1 percent cutoff. Generally speaking, Hemp is used to describe Cannabis types that are non-intoxicating and harvested for its industrial purposes.

There is evidence of hemp cultivation and use that dates back roughly 10,000 years, leading many to believe that hemp was the first crop ever grown and harvested by man. Because hemp is so versatile and can be used to create a multitude of essential items like food, textiles, housing material, plastic, and even biofuel, one can presume that hemp has been a catalyst for some of our most important inventions throughout history.

Hemp isn’t used only for industrial reasons though. Smokable hemp/CBD flower is growing trend that has really gained a lot of traction in the U.S. market these last couple of years; although they are by far not as popular as THC/marijuana strains. Feminized Cannabis sativa flower that produces low levels of THC, also produces smokable buds that taste, look, and smell just like the marijuana you would find at a dispensary or on the street.

The most obvious difference between the two is that hemp/CBD flower doesn’t get you high. It may feel relaxing in the same way that cigarettes are relaxing, but there are no actual psychoactive effects. Personally, I feel like most hemp flowers seem to have the same underlying flavor and there is much less terpene variety in these strains compared to marijuana. Hemp flowers certainly have their place in the market though and can be great for curbing anxiety and depression, relieving pain, treating neurological disorders, or just relaxing without the high if that’s what you’re into.

Understanding Hybrids

Hybrid is a relatively new term used to classify cannabis that is bred from parents of two different strains. Theoretically, a hybrid can offer users the most beneficial medical and recreational properties from both parents, but in reality, it depends entirely on which traits get passed down during the breeding process.

To further complicate the issue of hybrids, there is no scientific evidence to support this dichotomy of cannabis types because on a molecular level, indica and sativa strains don’t have patterns that differentiate the two “types” from each other anyway. From a chemical standpoint, most strains on the market today can be classified as hybrids. Because, just stop to think about how unlikely it is that you would come across a strain that has the original parent genetics from hundreds of years ago. Not only is that close to impossible, but you’d likely be disappointed with how unrefined those flowers were compared to what’s available today.

Hybrid stains that display more characteristics from either side of the spectrum are labeled “indica-dominant” or “sativa-dominant”. Common notes you may see on a flower label at a dispensary include a sativa/indica ratio – for example, 60/40 indica/sativa – or you may just see the percentage of the dominant characteristics – 80 percent indica, or 70 percent sativa.

It’s worth noting that hybrids don’t have to be a blend of sativa and indica. Breeders often use both indica parents, or pair sativas with each other. Jack’s Dream is a good example of this, using two very popular sativa strains – Jack Herer and Blue Dream – to create a super sativa hybrid. Or Bubba Purps, a combination of Pre 98 Bubba Kush and Granddaddy Purps, both of which are well-known indicas.

Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and The Entourage Effect

To find a strain that will provide you with specific effects, you have to search beyond indica and sativa and look at the entire package instead – strain name and genetics, terpene blends, and cannabinoid content. In reality, the entire indica vs sativa vs hybrid trend is basically just a big marketing ploy anyway.

The cannabis plant is composed of roughly 400 different compounds – over 100 cannabinoids and close to 150 terpenes have been identified so far. The two most abundant compounds are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Strains that are high in THC are generally very low in CBD, and vice versa, although some 1:1 ratio strains do exist. Both indica and sativa strains can exhibit similar cannabinoid and terpene profiles.

Terpenes are a very large and diverse class of organic compounds that are produced by a wide variety of plants including herbs, trees, flowers, and fruit. In cannabis, they are secreted by the same glands that produce all the most dominant cannabinoids. If it weren’t for these flavorful, aromatic compounds, weed would be nowhere near as appealing as it is.  

Not only do terps give cannabis its irresistible taste, but thanks to the entourage effect, they work synergistically with cannabinoids in the plant to offer us a better high and multitude of therapeutic benefits. Simply put, the entourage effect refers to the way different cannabinoidsterpenes, and flavonoids work together to offer health benefits you can only get when consuming the entire plant in its natural state. Even the slightest change in chemical profile (for example, switching out the limonene terp for myrcene, can result in noticeable changes in the way all the other compounds interact with each other, and thus, the effects felt but the consumer will vary as well.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, cannabis is so much more than just THC content, and indica versus sativa. With hundreds of active and inactive compounds all working together in this incredible plant, it’s no surprise that you get slightly different effects from every strain you consume. So, keep in mind that you’re short changing yourself and missing out on so many amazing flowers if you go straight for the indicas every time.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.

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