Redefining the Standard for Quality Cannabis

Or does quality even matter anymore when there’s a $ store on every corner?  I believe that like everything else in the world, the definition of quality is relative and subjective and thus can be mere personal preference.

Yet for those of us who strive to define or redefine quality, the game still rages on.  A higher quality product draws a higher monetary value and there is almost always a bidder for every level of quality.  So in the world of Cannabis, what makes a quality flower?

In my opinion, the four main factors in the creation of Cannabis that directly affect its quality are genetics, growing, trimming/curing, and preservation.

Genetics encompasses so many things, more every day as technology sharpens.  Heirloom or GMO?  Do you use feminized seeds or do you prefer to play “where’s Waldo?”  The genetics of a Cannabis strain also identify the expected cannabinoid ratio of the plant as well as the terpene make-up if grown to optimum health.  A strain’s genetics decides its smell, taste, and potency as well as how it affects you and your biology.  It could be argued that genetics are the #1 factor in deciding the quality of Cannabis.

A seed with superior genetics can still rot if left to sweat while germinating.  Careful attention to detail is the gardener’s best tool and knowing what to look for takes time and practice. And a bit of failure too.  Many a gardening genius has suffered the woes of lost ladies in the throes of flowering.  Fertilizing, watering, light distribution, these are all things that must be managed daily or even several times a day.  Fans, C02 machines, ladybugs for spider mites!  The umbrella of products and techniques that growing Cannabis encompasses is vast, to say the least.  I believe it could also be argued that how Cannabis is grown has the most effect on its quality.

How much leaf is too much leaf to hug your glistening nug?  For some, trimming means everything and the hours perfecting some trimmers’ techniques leave them with aching hands and sticky fingers.  I’d trim all day long for free if I could take the latex gloves home with me!  It seems like the trim is all about aesthetics. But it can also be about taste and experience since smoked or vaped flower definitely tastes different than leaf.

A well-cured nug of Cannabis can mean the difference between a headache and pure herbal bliss.  Proper curing is a time-consuming yet crucial oft-skipped step in the creation of quality Cannabis.  After proper drying, you store your dried and trimmed buds inside an airtight glass jar to allow the sugars and organic terpenes to ripen, ferment, and break down the chlorophyll. This makes for a smoother, sweeter smoking and vaping experience.  

Further conversion of cannabinoids occurs during this period as well so a good cure most definitely can affect more than just taste, but the effect as well.  Once again, one could argue that the curing and trimming of the nug is a big part of what makes quality.  I’m here to say though, that I see a fourth aspect to add to your arsenal of tools for creating quality Cannabis.

Growers have been judging dryness with such vague measurements as “when the stem easily snaps” for too long.  And many have suffered the loss of mold-covered medicine because they jarred it up while it still had too much moisture in it.  Now there is a product called Boveda that can control the relative humidity of your medicine for months and months.

Boveda packs work using a reverse-osmosis membrane. Inside is a solution of natural salts and purified water vapor either exudes or absorbs moisture to keep your nugs fresh and free from mold or harmful micro-organisms.  Studies have shown that Cannabis flowers can lose up to 15% of their terpene content when they are over-dried.  Boveda is now the trusted product in two-way humidity control used to preserve everything from Humidors to Cannabis to Guitars.  They come in various sizes and RH levels which for Cannabis range between 58% and 62% relative humidity.

So since it’s all relative anyways, I’d love to know your opinion of what affects the quality of Cannabis.  Either way, we can now agree that the final step is always proper preservation and storage of your nugs.  And the best way to do that is with Boveda.

Learn more about Boveda for Herbal Medicine on the Boveda Home Page.

– Dianna Donnelly
Dianna Donnelly is a Cannabis educator, blogger, and free-lance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.

MMJ vs Crack and Cocaine Addiction

If you’ve been keeping up with recent headlines pertaining to the medicinal use of cannabis, you’ve no doubt noticed the influx of studies that point to the plant as a viable treatment for curbing opioid addictions. Researchers have also garnered similar results for benzodiazepine users, proving the immense value that marijuana has on eliminating dependence on highly addictive prescription pills. 

A team of Canadian researchers has recently released a report showcasing similar benefits for people suffering from a crack or cocaine addiction. Between 2012 and 2015, 122 individual participants reported that cannabis helped reduce their crack use. The study ultimately concludes that “further clinical research to assess the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of crack use disorders is warranted.”

Although the study was primarily focused on crack use, the substance is pharmacologically identical to powder cocaine. Rates of substance abuse disorders related to crack and cocaine both land right around 6 percent, and these findings are especially significant seeing that there is at this time no pharmaceutical treatment for this type of addiction. This particular drug epidemic might have peaked in the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s, but statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that almost 1.4 million Americans still have some level of dependence on cocaine.

While this research offers promising results, it’s not the first study to show that cannabis use can help reduce the severity of crack and cocaine addiction. In 2015, Brazilian researchers investigated the effects that marijuana had on the quality of life of crack users. They found a noticeable reduction in addictive behavior and aggressiveness; some even claimed that marijuana helped relax them to the point where they no longer felt the need to use their normal amount of cocaine.  

Similar studies have also been conducted using mice as subject instead of people. A collaborative research group from Beijing and Baltimore took mice that were intentionally addicted to cocaine, and who were also taught to self-administer it. Once they were treated with a synthetic cannabinoid compound, their desire to intake more cocaine had subsided tremendously. Researchers in Barcelona made a similar discovery back in 2005 by altering the cannabinoid receptors in mice. 

Cocaine and crack addiction may not be as prevalent and lethal as opioid abuse, but these recent findings are still critical to the cannabis movement nonetheless. By showing the crack users were able to wean off of the extremely addictive substance by using marijuana, another argument is added to the increasingly long list of reasons why cannabis needs to be made available to those suffering from serious drug addictions.

Marijuana and Anxiety

For every story of panic resulting from being too high, there is another about how marijuana has provided life-changing relief from chronic anxiety.

Studies show that marijuana has anti-anxiety properties, which can help people with disorders such as PTSD and social anxiety.

Many factors contribute to marijuana’s effect on anxiety. Strain composition, drug tolerance, environmental factors and pre-existing conditions can all influence whether you feel panicked or relaxed after using marijuana.

Here we look at the evidence and explanations underlying both sides of this complex story.

Relief from anxiety is one of the most commonly cited reasons for using marijuana. What’s more, scientists are starting to uncover evidence that marijuana may be a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders.

The use of cannabis for treating anxiety was first described in 1563 when Portuguese physician Garcia de Orta claimed that cannabis could deliver sufferers from “all worries and care.” The effects of marijuana have been described as calming, relaxing and even hypnotic.

Many long-time users of marijuana report that the drug reduces their anxiety, citing relaxation and stress relief as the main benefits.

In addition to anecdotal evidence, there is some science to back up what many users claim.

A 2014 study from Vanderbilt University found that smoking marijuana can increase the presence of naturally occurring brain chemicals called endocannabinoids, which are reduced as a result of chronic stress. Some researchers think that a reduction of endocannabinoids could be a major cause of anxiety disorders.

Marijuana may also be more safe and effective than traditional anxiety medications.

A recent Canadian study found that within 90 days of using prescribed medical cannabis for anxiety and pain, 40% of patients were able to stop using benzodiazepines — a commonly prescribed anxiety drug with a number of side effects, including a high potential for abuse.

Studies also suggest that marijuana could be an effective treatment for PTSD. Since marijuana is known to play a direct role in memory extinction, some experts believe that it could help PTSD sufferers forget bad memories and negative experiences.

Much more about Marijuana and Anxiety at Leaf Science

The Terpene Linalool vs Opioid Addiction

An individual strain of cannabis can contain a mix of more than 200 terpenes. One of these terpenes, linalool, has been shown to offer a wide variety of medical benefits.

Terpenes like linalool, which are available in a variety of aromatic herbs (not only cannabis), have been used for millennia to treat a wide array of medical conditions. Modern research has confirmed the practices of ancient civilizations, revealing strong medical efficacy for many severe conditions.

Modern research has confirmed the practices of ancient civilizations, revealing strong medical efficacy for many severe conditions.

Linalool has been shown to be a major anti-inflammatory, meaning it helps those with cancer and arthritis. Research has also proven the value of this terpene for treating anxiety and insomnia due to its sedative properties.

Linalool is actually one of the minor terpenes available in certain strains of cannabis. It is found in smaller quantities than major terpenes like myrcene (the most common), pinene, and limonene. It emits a floral, sometimes spicy aroma. Hundreds of species of plants produce linalool, including a variety of mints and herbs.

Linalool relieves a number of symptoms, including pain, depression, seizures, and inflammation. Because it acts as a sedative, it is helpful for treating insomnia – its tranquilizing effects can help many who suffer from a variety of types of psychosis.

Because of its analgesic, or pain-killing, properties, Linalool is a powerful treatment for several diseases, including multiple sclerosis, dystonia, chronic pain, and arthritis.

When used in combination with major terpenes and cannabinoids (like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBC), this powerful terpene is serious medicine in a patient’s pain management arsenal.

Linalool’s value is of special note during a modern epidemic of opioid use and addiction to pharmaceutical drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin.

A study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine in 2002 showed that linalool is a major anti-inflammatory agent, potentially helping with ailments such as cancer and arthritis. The same research team, in a follow-on study in 2003, discovered that linalool is also a pain killer.

These researchers again, in 2006, conducted another linalool study that further examined data from animal models. This study reinforced the fact that linalool is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

The sedative qualities of linalool were proven in a 2008 study published in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal. The research estimated that 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety-related ailments and revealed linalool to be a sedative capable of providing real efficacy to them.

In a world crippled by addictions to opioids and other pharmaceutical therapies, the value of natural terpenes in the treatment of serious disease if of special merit.

Patients can often – through the consumption of herbs that contain terpenes like linalool, including cannabis – reduce or avoid the negative side effects of synthetic drugs.

via: Herb

Myrcene: the Terpene found in Mangos

Cannabis cultivators and dispensaries owners claim that the future of marijuana is in terpenes (fragrant oils). Terpenes will attract the majority of medical marijuana patients and weed connoisseurs with smell and taste as well as numerous health benefits.

Those who feel high because of the smell of a pine and need to reduce inflammation will look for alpha-pinene in their strains.

Those who want to reduce the level of stress at work should pay attention to limonene that smells like citrus.

Linadol with the smell of lavender will be useful for those who want to cope with anxiety.

But let`s speak about myrcene, the terpene of the future.

What Do Researchers Say about Myrcene?

Swiss scientists in their 1997 study determined that myrcene is one of the most common and abundant terpenes in cannabis. It can reach up to 50% of the whole terpenes volume.

Myrcene has a puzzling smell of earth, herb with undertones of musk. It`s a bit difficult to define it because it is not as distinct as the smell of a pine.

It is one of the terpenes that helps other terpenes to form. Along with thujone, another marijuana terpene, myrcene can help to battle the symptoms of diabetes. This was the conclusion of American scientists in a 2007 study. GW Pharmaceuticals found out that myrcene can manage pain effectively.

A 2011 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology  revealed that myrcene has effects that were only cannabinoids could possess.  Myrcene served as muscles relaxant in animals, helped to fight insomnia and cooperated with of the cannabinoids effectively.
Thus, working with CBD myrcene could reduce inflammation and manage pain or even battle cancer. Combined with THC myrcene turns out a real hypnotic sedative.

5 Most Important Effects of Myrcene:

Prevents tumors formation;
Reduces anxiety, serves as a sedative;
Reduces inflammation;
Helps to fight with insomnia;
Has powerful analgesic effect

Mango is Another Source of Myrcene 

There is a myth that eating mango before smoking weed can enhance the psychoactive effect of marijuana, and this myth has a scientific basis.

Myrcene from mangos will make you high even higher increasing the level of THC in your brain.

So eat one mango, smoke some El Nino marijuana strain to achieve the largest volume of myrcene possible. Basil is another source of myrcene in nature.
via: CannaSOS

More about Terpenes and Myrcene

Gateway to Health - From Pills to Plants

The idea that Cannabis is a gateway drug is still very much ingrained in some of our minds.  I can’t help but agree. For me, this plant with my naturally occurring cannabinoid receptor system has been a gateway to many good things. For people like myself, Cannabis is a gateway to sleep, smiles, sex and good health just to name a few. 

Gramma and Grampa are both on the herbal and the canes are flying out the window.  Children and seniors alike are going to legalizing clinics in droves so they can finally live free.

For many, it means living pain-free and addiction-free for the first time in their lives.  I’m speaking of those in the midst of the opioid epidemic or even those on the cusp.  They are a faceless, yet growing statistic that we all read about daily. The thing is, there are faces to these statistics and they’re as common as your Gramma and Grampa. Doctors prescribe opioid pain medications to children and seniors every single day. Some are for simple procedures that used to require a popsicle and an aspirin when I was young!

With each dose of Cannabis oil, opioids get titrated down. Each puff of cannabis vapor quells aches, pains, tremors, and metal illnesses.

There’s a very good reason why Cannabinoids are replacing so many pharmaceuticals for so many conditions.  Not only does our endo (naturally occurring) cannabinoid system contribute to our immune system, improving our health, but it also has a way of lessening the negative bias a depressed, sick, or stressed brain can have.

As you know, different regions of the brain are responsible for different things. The two Cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 are in the region of the brain that controls our emotions. Cannabis turns your frown upside down and makes you giddy for a reason. A veteran friend of mine who recently changed from pills to plants told me he couldn’t believe how many emotions he felt now, where before he was numb. Opioids, and recently Acetaminophen in studies confirm their ability to deaden emotions.

This can feel like a good thing and is often one of the reasons why people continue to take them.  When the side effects are this bad, numb is good.

Every day I read testimonials of healing from new patients using this plant in its many forms.  Many enjoy the experimentation and subjective nature of it. You do have to start low and titrate slowly with whatever ingestion method you choose.  Many also report other health changes they weren’t expecting but welcomed gladly. With receptors in almost every single part of the body, it’s no wonder why this plant just does a body good!  So the next time you hear the rhetoric of Cannabis being a gateway drug, challenge them with your knowledge and remember to duck for flying canes!

– Dianna Donnelly
Dianna Donnelly is a Cannabis educator, blogger, and free-lance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.

Originally Posted on the Blog

Cineole the Memory Terpene the Smells like Eucalyptus

There are so many important cannabis chemical components that even an experienced cannabis user can get lost easily. You just want to smoke a joint but a budtender starts telling you about CBD, THCV, pain relief, anxiety management, THC, smells…

If you don`t want to feel like Alice in Wonderland in a dispensary you need to remember few basic things about weed. Cannabis has:

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds such as THC, CBD, THCV, CBG. They produce specific effects (for instance, THC is the one gets you high while CBD reduces anxiety). There are more than 100 of cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most important and the most studied so far.

Terpenes (fragrant oils) make you strain smell in a particular way. Health benefits of terpenes are undisputable. Limonene will give your Pineapple Express Strain or Trainwreck strain the smell of citrus. Terpenes were evolutionarily predisposed to defense the plant from predators and insects that is why their smells are often strong and even repulsive.

Recently scientists paid attention to a particularly stimulating terpene- cineole or eucalyptol. This terpene has the charming smell of eucalyptus, rosemary and fresh mint.

Cineole the terpene was also discovered in other plants, such as rosemary. People learned to use it for the skin and the gums because of incredible health benefits of terpenes.

However, cineole terpene can even be better than it seemed at the first glance. Apart from its incredible scent it has a positive effect on human memory and can potentially reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer`s disease.

What is so special about cineole, the terpene with eucalyptus smell:

Cineole has powerful anti-inflammatory effect
Cineole is able to reduce the swelling;
Cineole increases the effects of cannabinoids helping them to cross the blood/brain barrier;
Cineole increases the capacities of memory and concentration;
Cineole increases mental and physical energy.

Here are several studies that confirm health benefits of this terpene. Natural Health Research Institute published the study which revealed a positive correlation between the amount of cineole the terpene in the blood of the participant and his cognitive learning abilities.
It turned out that rosemary essential oil improved learning and memory: participants were able to answer questions faster when there was some amount of cineole in their blood.

Another study revealed that cineole can be effective for asthma management due to its anti-inflammatory and antoxidant properties

So cineole is really one magic terpene: apart from its fresh rosemary aroma, it improves memory and learning and reduces inflammation. It can enhance your smoking experience immensely.

Read more about terpenes at CannaSOS

Stoner Gift Ideas Under $30 The Mile High Mini Pipe

The Mile High Mini Pipe
by Elevate Accessories

With its deep bowl, this one hitter-style bat will make the perfect addition to your collection as a personal sesh pipe. 

Rather than a simple one-hitter, this pipe when fully packed will get about 4-5 big hits. 

Wooden mouthpiece firmly locks onto the glass, and the two detach easily for cleaning the glass. With regular use, the wood will not need any additional oils but will season over time. The wood can be cleaned with just a paper towel twisted on the inside.

Available at Elevate Accessories
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VIDEO How to Make Artisan Cannabis Oil by Jeffthe420chef

Stoner Gift Ideas Under $100 The XL Steamroller by Grav Labs

The XL Steamroller Pipe
by Grav Labs

Grav Labs Quality & Craftsmanship
18 inches in length
19mm Joint
50x5mm glass
Durability Of Borosilicate Glass

If you've been smoking for any length of time, you're likely very familiar with this incredible steamroller pipe. Made by Grav Labs, the Helix Steamroller pipe is a must-have addition to any pipe collection. 

The power of this small Steamroller is everything you would expect from a Helix pipe with a bit less bulk compared to it's larger counterpart. The borosilicate glass construction of this Helix steamroller makes it very easy to travel with discreetly by simply being tough enough to slip into a pocket or bag, without a case, and carrying it anywhere with no worry of breakage. 

Available at Billowby
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The Terpene Beta-Caryophyllene and it’s Benefits

Scientific Studies

Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a magical terpene! Scientists are still not able to assess all the benefits of this fragrant oil, present in black pepper, clover, hops, rosemary, and cannabis strains.

Some scientists are sure that BCP is so powerful that it can easily substitute many synthetic drugs.

Dr. Racz and Dr. Zimmer, who published their study of BCP in the European Pharmacology journal, suggest that:

“It is likely that BCP belongs to a group of common plant natural products with major potential impacts on human health.”

Their study conducted on mice showed that BCP has strong analgesic effects due to its interaction with CB2 receptors.

Another study found, that, BCP can be used effectively for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Anti-proliferative effect (reduces cancer cells growth) of BCP is also studied widely.

Beta-caryophyllene is also involved in the regulation of lipids, that is why it can mitigate the health problems that appear during diabetes. Numerous studies claim, that; Beta-caryophyllene is a perfect natural remedy for anxiety and depression:

"The possibility that BCP may ameliorate the symptoms of these mood disorders offers exciting prospects for future studies".

How Does Beta-caryophyllene Smell and Taste?

All terpenes give cannabis, and other plants, specific tastes and smell.

Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) the terpene gives plants unique spicy and woody aromas, which seem a bit pungent to some users.

If you want to imagine and feel the real taste and smell of this powerful fragrant oil, just try black pepper.

Health Benefits of Beta-caryophyllene:

Analgesic: helps to manage pain
Antibacterial: makes bacteria growth slower
Antidepressant: manages the symptoms of depressive disorders
Anti-inflammatory: reduces the level of inflammation
Anti-Proliferative: reduces growth of cancer cells
Antioxidant: reduces oxidation damage to body cells
Anxiolytic: manages anxiety

More to learn at CannaSOS

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