• All
  • Cannabis Knowledge
  • Cannabis Warnings

You’re buying weed wrong and so is everyone else!

There’s much more to cannabis than THC—for solid proof, look no further than the CBD boom—but when it comes to moving product on the legal recreational market, only two numbers matter: the list price, and the THC content.  Super-potent cannabis flower, with THC percentages of 25 percent and up, dominate dispensary shelves. High-THC cannabis will sell out very quickly while lower-percentage weed gathers dust.  When cannabis tests at more than 25 percent THC, dispensaries can justify charging $75 or more for a store-bought eighth—because there’s a very good chance people will pay it, confident that they’re taking home the best and most potent weed available. If the weed’s in the teens, well, it had better be cheap. The problem is that this is all wrong. All of it. THC shopping is almost as bad and dumb as buying wine based on how cool the label looks (which is also how some people buy weed).  Not only does THC content have nothing to do with how “good” the weed is, as recent research conducted by the University of Colorado and published in JAMA Psychiatry found, THC content is also a poor indicator of potency.  High-THC weed doesn’t even get you “more high”! Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Institute of Cognitive Science documented the experiences of 121 cannabis users. Half the study participants were users of cannabis concentrates—very-high THC cannabis extracts—and the other half preferred cannabis flower.  Both groups received cannabis at varying “strengths”: flower users tried cannabis flower at either 16 percent or 24 percent THC, and extract users received oil at either 70 percent or 90 percent THC. Researchers checked study participants’ blood and monitored their mood, cognitive function, and intoxication level before, immediately after, and one hour after use. As the researchers expected, the concentrate users had very high levels of THC in their bodies after use. But they weren’t “more high.”  In fact, every participants’ self-reported “highness” was about the same—“as were their measures of balance and cognitive impairment,” as CU noted in a news release. Medium THC flower, high-THC flower—all the same high! This was not what the researchers were expecting.  “People in the high concentration group were much less compromised than we thought they would be,” said coauthor Kent Hutchinson, a professor of psychology who studies addiction, in a CU news release. “If we gave people that high a concentration of alcohol it would have been a different story.” Consider the cannabis flower users. Sixteen percent THC compared to 24 percent THC is a big difference—50 percent “stronger.” How can users of such different “strength” products report such similar psychoactive effects? The short answer is a theory that cannabis connoisseurs and cannabis scientists have been saying for years: There are many more factors at play than THC. Put slightly longer: Judging a cannabis strain on its THC content is not unlike judging a film based on the lead actor. The THC number isn’t going to be an indicator of the performance.  (One very large exception to this: edibles. If one edible says it has 100 milligrams of THC, and another says it has 10 milligrams, and you eat the 100, you will absolutely be higher, longer, than if you ate the 10.) There are a host of cannabinoids, including CBD as well as more than 100 others—most of which aren’t even tested for. (Even if they were, would the average buyer know what to do?)  There are also aromatic compounds called terpenes that dictate how cannabis affects the mind and body. All of these work in concert, a phenomenon known as “the entourage effect.” This is why synthetic THC simply didn’t have the same medical effects as smoking weed. A good way—maybe the best way—to determine if cannabis will be good, or at least good for you, is to smell it. But in legal markets like California, that’s now impossible. Pot is sold in prepackaged containers. And the coronavirus pandemic eliminated what limited opportunities there were to smell cannabis. Some shops let you wave under your nose a designated “smell jar”—a few buds in a container with a perforated lid. No longer. But back to THC numbers. Cannabis researchers know it’s not an indicator. Cannabis growers and sellers know it’s bogus. And yet, here we are. The market simply hasn’t caught on—and merchants, by putting high-THC cannabis out on the shelves to satisfy the misdirected market demand, are ensuring that the misunderstanding continues. “It’s a shame,” said Neil Dellacava, the co-founder of Gold Seal, a San Francisco-based cannabis brand that specializes in high-end flower. “I find stuff that’s absolutely amazing that I have to throw in the trash because it tests at 18 or 19 percent.”  At that level, despite “an amazing terpene profile, the best smoke I’ve ever had” simply will not sell, he said.  “People just don’t understand,” he added. “When people go shopping, they look for two things: they’re looking for price, and they’re looking for THC percentage.” The THC fallacy persists despite everyone’s best efforts. Both Instagram influencers as well as cannabis entrepreneurs and advocates have tried to explain that the THC number is, at best, a rough estimate (and a number that, depending on the lab that came up with it, might be inflated or suspect).  With this much momentum, it’s unlikely science will change anything. It will take a long time for buyers to adjust their habits and realize THC content isn’t like alcohol by volume on a beer label after all. Until they do, connoisseurs can take advantage of the market inefficiency, and take home superior pot with lower THC levels at a reduced price. It will just require a little more work on the consumer’s end.  But it will also require cultivators of lower THC, higher-high weed to have demand high enough to keep them in business, and that’s far from guaranteed. Source: …

Read More

Cannabis and your Heart

Cannabis has been legal for medicinal use in Canada since 2001. Since 2018, many cannabis products have been legal for recreational use, including dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis seeds for cultivation. In 2019, cannabis edibles, topicals and extracts (including cannabis vape products) became legal.  There is currently little high-quality scientific evidence about the impact of recreational cannabis use on heart conditions and stroke.  Emerging evidence shows an increased risk for heart disease and stroke from the effects of cannabis on blood pressure, inflammation of the blood vessels and cardiac arrhythmias1,2,3,4  Other reports link cannabis use with cardiovascular emergencies, including heart attack, arrhythmias, heart failure, stroke and cardiac arrest  Some research shows that long-term or excessive use of cannabis, increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.1,3,8  Respiratory illness and deaths in the United States have been linked to vape products, many of which are cannabis (THC) vaping products obtained through informal sources.9  Heart & Stroke recommends reviewing the Lower-Risk Cannabis User Guidelines to assess the safest modes of cannabis use. Consumers should follow guidance and advisories from Health Canada related to vape products and if vaping cannabis, always obtain THC extracts for vaping from authorized dealers.  Source; www.heartandstroke.ca  …

Read More

Canadian Cannabis Laws: Summarized

Federal Cannabis Laws: purchase 30 grams of dried cannabis or the calculated “equivalent”. There are dried cannabis equivalent calculations for Cannabis products OTHER THAN dried cannabis flower; edibles, extracts, concentrates and topical cannabis products. Each vary so refer to packaging details.  possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form in public;  grow up to four cannabis plants per household (not per person) for personal use, from licensed seeds or seedlings from licensed suppliers;  share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent with other adults;  make legal cannabis-containing products at home, such as food and drinks, provided that dangerous organic solvents are not used in making them.  Provincial Cannabis Laws: Where you can use it  The government has enacted the following rules for using cannabis, both medical and recreational.  Where you can smoke and vape cannabis  Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (for example, long-term care and retirement homes)  Many outdoor public places (subject to the smoke free Ontario Act)  Designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns  Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (for example, if they have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)  Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes)  Controlled areas in: long-term care homes  certain retirement homes  residential hospices  provincially-funded supportive housing  designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements and the policies of employers and property owners.  Where you cannot smoke or vape cannabis  Indoors  You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in:  indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences  enclosed public places and enclosed work places  non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns  Schools and places where children gather  You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:  at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20 metres of these grounds  on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds  in child care centres or where an early years program is provided  in places where home child care is provided — even if children aren’t present  Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities  You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:  within 9 metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public and private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities  on outdoor grounds of hospitals (public and private) and psychiatric facilities  in non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices  Publicly owned spaces  You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas.  Vehicles and boats  You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping and eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or will be driven.  Other outdoor areas  You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:  in restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9 metres of a patio  on outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings  in reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations  on grounds of community recreational facilities and public areas within 20 metres of those grounds  in sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (for example, a bus shelter)  Cannabis and Driving: Overview  Driving a vehicle while you’re impaired by cannabis is illegal and dangerous. This includes cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles.  You are not a safer driver when you’re high. Cannabis affects your judgment, coordination and reaction time, and increases your chances of being in a collision. In 2016, 74 people were killed in collisions involving a driver under the influence of drugs in Ontario according to police reports.  Barely high is still too high to drive – don’t risk your future or your life. Never get behind the wheel after using cannabis.  Zero tolerance for young, novice or commercial drivers  Just like alcohol, you are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved drug screening device) if you are driving. The penalties for violating Ontario’s zero tolerance law include licence suspensions and financial penalties. Repeat offenders face longer suspensions and additional consequences such as mandatory education and treatment programs.  Medical cannabis users  You will not be subject to the zero tolerance drug requirements. You may still face penalties and criminal charges if your ability to drive has been impaired.  How to avoid impaired driving  Impairment from cannabis begins almost immediately and can last up to 6 hours or more, depending on factors such as THC levels and how it is consumed. The effects can last longer if you’re a new user, have consumed a lot or have combined cannabis with alcohol.  Since the effects of cannabis vary, there is no way to know exactly how long to wait before it’s safe to drive. Even if you think the high has worn off, your ability to drive may still be impaired.  The best way to avoid impaired driving is to not take a chance. Plan another way home:  have a designated driver  use public transit  call a friend or family member for a ride  call a taxi or ride share  stay overnight  Enforcement and penalties  If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug or alcohol, you will face serious penalties, including:  an immediate licence suspension  financial penalties  possible vehicle impoundment  possible criminal record  possible jail time  Transporting cannabis  Similar to the rules for alcohol, it is illegal to transport cannabis in a motorized vehicle (such as a car or boat) if it is:  open (“unfastened”) and not in its original packaging  not packed in baggage and is readily available to anyone in the vehicle  It is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border. For information on transporting cannabis in an airplane within Canada, check with your …

Read More

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes give cannabis strains their unique aromas.  HIGHLIGHTS  Terpenes are fragrant oils found in many types of plants that produce a unique taste and smell.  The tastes and smells of the terpenes in cannabis products have a very diverse range of aromas. Strains can produce a terpene profile that is earthy, woodsy, herbal, spicy, diesel or cheesy, all the way to citrusy or sweet.  Many terpenes are unique to cannabis.   Cannabis gets its scent from compounds in the plants called terpenes. Terpenes are fragrant oils found in many types of plants, especially coniferous (evergreen) varieties. The chemical compounds they secrete give fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs their signature scents. There are over 100 identified terpenes, many of which are unique to the cannabis plant.  Although cannabis is often generally associated with a certain musky aroma, each strain of cannabis has its own scent. The individual scent of a strain will be based on the amount and type of terpenes present and which ones are dominant. Terpene scents range from earthy, woodsy, herbal, spicy, diesel or cheesy, all the way to citrusy or sweet.  Making this equation even more complex, each terpene can itself have multiple aroma profiles. Also, terpene levels can vary from crop to crop, which can lead to inconsistencies in the scents within the same strain.  Why are Terpenes Important?  We all have individual preferences for smells and tastes, so knowing the terpene profile of a cannabis product can help you choose one with a scent and flavour profile you’d most likely prefer.  Since many terpenes are associated with various types of plants and herbs used in naturopathic remedies, some theorize that terpenes play a role in the effect of cannabis. For instance, linalool, a common terpene found in lavender, may be associated with relaxation. Some also believe in the theory of “the entourage effect,” referring to the possibility that cannabinoids and terpenes work together in the overall effect of cannabis. As of now, these are just theories- the impact of terpenes beyond flavour and aroma has yet to be scientifically proven.   Top 6 Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis  LIMONENE – Scents: Lemon or Lime – Found in: Citrus Fruits, Juniper or you.    PINENE – Scents: Pine, Rosemary – Found in: Pines, Conifers, Rosemary, Sage  CARYOPHYLLENE – Scents: Peppery Spice, Wood – Found in: Black Pepper, Cloves, Balsam  TERPINOLENE – Scents: Smoke, Gasoline/Diesel, Wood – Found in: Apples, Cumin, Lilac, Tea Tree Oil, Conifers  MYRCENE – Scents: Musk, Earth, Ripe Fruit – Found in: Mango, Lemongrass, Hops, Thyme  LINALOOL – Scents: Sweet Flowers, Citrus – Found in: Lavender and Many Flowers, Mint, Cinnamon  Source; Ontario Cannabis …

Read More

RESETTING YOUR RECEPTORS

Tolerance is not necessarily a bad thing  Some medical cannabis users prefer to have a baseline tolerance to some of the effects of THC, such as dizziness, so that they can dose more comfortably while still functioning in their daily life. Each medical cannabis user will have their unique sweet spot to control symptoms while balancing other daily responsibilities. Please be aware that Health Canada’s guidelines around THC use and driving still apply for safety.  Tolerance should not be confused with addiction since cannabis itself is not addictive. The use and abuse of cannabis is a function of behaviour, with interrelated psychological and environmental factors at play. When you stop using cannabis for a short time to reset your tolerance, you will not experience a dependence-related withdrawal  What can I do to reset my tolerance?  1. Micro dose  Micro dosing, or consuming a minimal amount of cannabis on a regular basis, is a popular method of use for medical purposes. In this way, you can get the benefits of THC without developing a tolerance to its effects. By micro dosing, you can be medicated all day without overwhelming your CB1 receptors with larger doses.  2. Switch to CBD-rich strains  Both psychoactive THC and non-impairing CBD engage the endocannabinoid system. However, these two compounds work in fundamentally different ways. We know that CBD works on many receptors, and not just on our CB receptors. For this reason, it is much harder to become tolerant to the effects of CBD. Opting for a high-CBD strain may be helpful to those looking to decrease their tolerance to THC, but who still require the relaxation and pain relief cannabis offers.  3. Mix things up  Rotate strains or try using new consumption methods such as vaporizing. Change up your routine. For example, skipping consumption in the morning may encourage the onset of stronger effects during evening use.  4. Try a fast partial resensitization  Used to drop the amount of cannabis needed to achieve desired medical effects, this method only requires a few days’ break. Use no cannabis at all for two full days. On the third day, take one puff and then wait for five minutes. If you feel any effect of the cannabis at all, put down your cannabis and do not use anymore that day. If you don’t, however, feel anything in the five minutes of after first puff, then take one more puff and wait another five minutes. Continue this process until even the smallest effect is felt.  Once you hit that point, stop for the day. Continue this process of one puff, waiting, and ceasing as soon as you feel any effect, for the next three days. On the fourth day, resume your regular use and timing. You should find that your body requires much less, even up to only one-half, of the cannabis that you previously needed to achieve the same medical effects.  5. Do a complete tolerance break.  This method has a double effect of both increasing the amount of added receptors and restoring your baseline receptors to normal function. It requires stopping all cannabis use for at least two days and up to four weeks. CB1 downregulation begins to reverse surprisingly rapidly upon termination or decrease of cannabis use. Studies show that tolerance can start to change within two days of abstaining from using cannabis.  Enjoy your tolerance break by staying active as much as possible, and make sure to hydrate often. Engaging in rewarding physical activities will help make resetting your endocannabinoid system more effective. Eating well and focusing on proper nutrition will also give more positive results. Try going for a run, cooking a healthy meal, or taking on a hobby that will offer some positive reward or self-satisfaction.  Cannabis has an interesting and noble effect — it provides comfort, care, and treatment for genuine needs, at the level the user needs. As such, many see it as a spiritual plant and have great respect for its varied effects and how it communicates within our bodies to help bring things back to balance. Take this time to focus on the benefits of cannabis and make an effort to be mindful and thankful for what this plant has to …

Read More

Addiction to Cannabis

Contrary to popular belief, people can become addicted to cannabis. Continued, frequent and heavy cannabis use can cause physical dependency and addiction. Some people can develop tolerance to the effects of cannabis. Tolerance is characterized by a need for larger doses of a drug to maintain the same effects. Tolerance can develop after a few doses. In some people, tolerance can eventually lead to physical dependence and/or addiction. Addiction can develop at any age, but youth are especially vulnerable because their brains are still developing. Some people are also more prone to becoming addicted than others. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 who use cannabis will develop a problem with their use. It’s also estimated that 1 in 11 (9%) of those who use cannabis will develop an addiction to it. This statistic rises to about 1 in 6 (17%) for people who started using cannabis as a teenager. If a person smokes cannabis daily, the risk of addiction is 25% to 50%. Problematic cannabis use can include some or all of these behaviors: failing to fulfill major duties at work home school giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of cannabis use consuming it often and in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended being unable to cut down on or control cannabis use If you show most or all of these behaviors over a 12-month period you may have cannabis addiction. Comparison with other substances All substances that affect the mind carry their own set of risks and harms, some unique to the substance. The most well-established, long term harm of regular cannabis use is addiction. It is often difficult to compare risks and harms between substances. Nevertheless, based on what is currently known, the risk of cannabis addiction is lower than the risk of addiction to alcohol, tobacco or opioids. And, unlike substances such as alcohol or opioids where overdoses may be fatal, a cannabis overdose is not fatal. (Source …

Read More