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How to Find the Best Marijuana Dispensary Near You

Whether you’re new to cannabis or a connoisseur looking to add to your list of favorite dispensaries, trying to find a marijuana dispensary that’s right for you – especially if you live in a legal state like Colorado, with more than 1000 medical and recreational businesses, or California, at almost 2,800 – can feel pretty overwhelming. So, where do you start when you want to find the best dispensary for your individual needs? It’s easy, all you need is PotGuide! In case you haven’t seen it on the site, we’ve created the Find Nearby tool to help consumers gain increased access to dispensaries in their area and narrow down which ones are a good match.

Find Dispensaries Near You

Using the PotGuide Find Nearby tool is extremely easy. All you have to do is click on the “dispensaries” tab for whatever state you’re in, then click “find nearby,” and voila! Nearby dispensaries automatically populate a map listed in order of geographic proximity. Clicking on a dispensary will feature it on the map with a phone number, address and link to the store’s profile page, making it very simple to gather information or contact them.

Find Nearby
Example of PotGuide's Find Nearby tool.

A challenge of finding a dispensary that’s a good fit and one that you actually like is combing through reviews, and reading through them is an important part of the selection process. Cannabis doesn’t come cheap, especially if you are a medical patient, so finding a dispensary with great product, happy customers, and good staff reviews is vital for both you and your bottom line. And as fun as is it is to fall into a Yelp hole, there’s no need for you to go to all that trouble.

By using PotGuide’s Find Nearby feature, simply click on the name of the dispensary and a whole helpful universe awaits. We’ve done the work for you, showing photos of the dispensary, business hours, and an easy way for you to go to the website or check out their social media. Here, you can read the reviews of others, or even write your own.

Now that you are in the know with the Find Nearby tool, here are some other things to consider when choosing a dispensary.

Utilize Online Menus and Product Information

Since there are more dispensaries than ever, competition has increased, and businesses are more interested than ever to earn and hold onto your loyalty. Keep an eye out for dispensaries that offer incentives like punch cards, bonuses, point systems, or other methods to help make your products more affordable.

Any dispensary worth their salt will feature an online menu and price points. Looking at a few dispensaries in the same area will help you get a sense of how much products in the area cost, or point to price disparities for similar products. And, checking out how much things cost on the website will lead you into the other feature of an awesome dispensary, variety.

Find a Dispensary that Sells the Products You Like

You will definitely want to find a dispensary with a large variety of quality strains, and other options like concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals – basically anything you like to shop for! A broad selection of consumption methods is also a good sign. Look for a dispensary with options like pre-rolls, vape pens, vaporizers, and different types edibles, and don’t be afraid to visually inspect your purchase for quality.

The knowledge and customer service of the staff is also a consideration when choosing a dispensary. Do the budtenders seem knowledgeable about strains? Are they able to direct you to products that are specific to your condition or needs? Are they attentive to your questions? If not, there is a business nearby that will.

Cannabis consumers are usually a pretty close-knit bunch and more than willing to share the inside scoop on their favorite dispensaries and those who have great deals and an educated staff. Asking their opinions could help narrow your search.

And last but not least, the atmosphere of the dispensary should suit your particular taste. Perhaps you’re not really into a sterile-feeling business that literally seems like a doctor’s office. In that case, maybe something with more warmth or a dispensary that emits a Zen-like vibe is more up your alley.


With so many things to consider, choosing a dispensary can feel like a chore. But use Find Nearby, and most of the work is done for you. Happy hunting!

Photo Credit: Jamie Street (license)

Why Robbing a Cannabis Dispensary is Unwise

If you’ve ever thought about robbing a cannabis store, like the criminals who recently hit 7 dispensaries in Colorado (you know, purely as a hypothetical exercise because that’s just the kind of deep philosopher that you are), it would be hard to blame you. Maybe you’ve heard about the string of dispensary robberies recently, or maybe you just wonder about it while you’re waiting in line for your budtender. After all, a dispensary seems like a perfect target for the criminally inclined: There’s a lot of cash inside, and a lot of drugs that can be either sold for extra cash, enjoyed for free, or traded for different drugs (to later enjoy or sell).

However, as anyone who has ever worked in a dispensary will tell you (and as many criminals now facing felony charges can also attest), robbing a dispensary is actually one of the highest risk, lowest reward crimes that you can commit.

As good at grand larceny as you may in theory be, the truth is that robbing a cannabis shop is incredibly unwise no matter what level of criminal mastermind you are. Even if you already have your Oceans 11 heist team all set up, you should know that there’s a reason that dispensaries are robbed at far lower rates than liquor stores or tobacco shops. Basically, there’s not a lot to get out of it and a great chance you’ll get caught.

Dispensaries Don’t Have Much Inventory or Cash On-Hand

First off, it’s not like dispensaries have all their weed and cash stored in one big pile behind a wall of safety glass and next to a collection of loose masonry bricks and duffel bags. Because loose cash on hand is a magnet for crime, dispensary managers and owners tend to transfer it to a separate location as soon as possible. Ditto for the registers. On a busy day, managers will remove cash out of a register multiple times, leaving just enough to make change. And any cash in the dispensary is going to be held in a pretty expensive, heavy safe that can’t be accessed quickly.

Cash
Dispensaries keep much less cash on hand than people think. photo credit

Similarly, the cannabis in a dispensary doesn’t spend a lot of its time all together and out in the open. The bags, jars, or other containers of nugs are constantly coming into the dispensary from cultivators and are transported by some type of protected, guarded vehicle. Most dispensaries don’t start the day with all the cannabis they’ll sell, and will be accepting deliveries throughout the day. This makes it hard to just run in, toss it all in a sack, and bolt out.

Security and Inventory Tracking at Marijuana Dispensaries are No Joke

Another reason why it’s unwise to rob a dispensary is the security. First off, most shops will have some type of armed security waiting near the entrance and spotting for anyone trying to bring anything besides a love of the herb and a valid ID into their shop. If not that, there will at least be an electromagnetic lock system to the door that keeps out anyone looking suspicious. Add to this that you’ll have to show ID just to enter the shop and that’s a lot of time spent having your face and name being seen. There are also plenty of silent alarms throughout the building that will be tripped at a moment’s notice.

ID Checking
Your ID will be checked by security and you will be on camera at all times when visiting a dispensary.

Adding to this, every dispensary that is still open knows that the federal and state governments are incredibly interested in where all their weed goes. A full accounting of every gram sold must be kept, and every ounce that travels to the shop must be tracked and accounted for. Because of this, dispensary owners and managers are understandably paranoid about what goes on within their shops and what happens to their weed. If they are not, they can be facing the closure of their dispensary and a potentially bankrupting amount of fines. This is why dispensaries have multiple cameras on hand capturing every face and every transaction that happens in their shop. From the moment you walk near the entry, your face has been recorded on film.

Robbing a Dispensary is Seriously Illegal

There’s also the matter of the law. While robbery, and especially armed robbery, is not looked highly upon by the courts, throwing weed into the mix can make things really interesting. As we’ve covered in a previous article, guns and weed don’t mix well thanks to the federal prohibition of cannabis. If you rob a pot shop while armed, you’re going to be adding even more years onto your sentence and facing federal prison time.

Also, there’s really no good time to rob a dispensary. Try it during the busy time and there are plenty of witnesses that you’ll have to wade through just to get to the register that may or may not have just been emptied. Try it after the store has closed and there won’t be much product to take besides a couple of displays. Even if you manage to grab the weed that’s out in the open, you’re not going to get nearly enough to make it worth it.

At mentioned above, dispensaries do get robbed from time to time. Check the news and there will usually be a string of dispensary robberies that pop up, but they die out just as fast since they’re not the best way to make money from crime. A liquor store is far more likely to be robbed, mostly due to the lack of security and the ease of entry. There’s also the fact that dispensaries tend to be located in lower crime areas.

So, if you’re wondering whether robbing a dispensary is a good idea, the answer is no for all the reasons mentioned above. Of course, you weren’t really going to do it in the first place. That would be wrong, and besides, weed is legal now. There’s no reason to be mixing it up with crime.


Have any dispensaries near you been robbed? Share your stories and experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: S_Salow (license)

What is CBC? Exploring the Cannabinoid Cannabichromene

Cannabinoids extend beyond the well-known duo of CBD and THC. Of the over 100 identified cannabinoids in cannabis, several have been identified for playing their part in the healing of people and other animals. As the popularity of cannabis increases across the world, so too does the awareness for lesser-known cannabinoids.

Such is the case with cannabichromene (CBC). Though known for its ability to produce healing effects on its own, the cannabinoid is one that appears to work better in tandem with others, creating an entourage effect. However, unlike CBD, its ability to bind to specific receptors allows CBC to stand out for its own potential healing factors.

An Introduction to Cannabichromene

Discovered in 1966 by Gaoni and Mechoulam, CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Consumers don't experience the "high" associated with THC, making it more relatable to cannabinoids like CBD.

Found in low levels of cannabis plants, CBC descends from the cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG) and is categorized as a major phytocannabinoid.

CBC shares a similar molecular structure as THC and CBD – as well as others such as CBN and THCV. CBC also acts as a chemical precursor to CBG, CBD and THC.

How CBC and the Body Interact

CBC has been credited with influencing the effects of cannabis without making a consumer feel high. This is believed to be achieved through its indirect binding with the body's endocannabinoid system. Such examples include the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. Both are suggested to play a role as they are stimulated by the cannabinoid.

The body's receptors also play a factor. Some have suggested that TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors may be affected. As such, there is a belief that CBC can modify a myriad of functions and reactions. They include body temperature, sensitivity to pain and inflammation brought on by the nervous system. That said, despite being non-psychoactive like CBD, CBC does not appear to bind much with CB1 or CB2 receptors.

The Potential Benefits of CBC

While additional studies are required to verify how CBC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, it is widely believed the cannabinoid has a beneficial impact on the previously mentioned TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors. As such, it is thought that CBC can benefit people with a range of conditions and symptoms, including:

Potential Medical Conditions CBC Can Help:

Consumers should keep in mind that CBC may or may not be a better option for their treatment, depending on the condition. For example, while it can serve as an anti-inflammatory, a combination of CBD and THC is mostly believed to be more productive. On the other hand, CBC has been considered a more effective antidepressant than CBD.

That said, a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, or the entourage effect, is often encouraged. Other research over the past decade has supported such combinations. They include a 2010 study that noted the subset of the impact mice received from using CBC. However, its effects were enhanced when combined with THC, with researchers determining THC produced anti-inflammatory effects when CBC's results were not CB1 or CB2 receptor mediated.

Cannabis Strains with High Levels of CBC are Hard to Find

Finding a strain of cannabis high in CBC content is not going to be a walk in the park. Unlike THC or even CBD, most strains do not possess high levels of CBC in their profile. Dating back to the '70s, researchers have noted that landrace strains emanating from India had the most substantial levels of CBC, even appearing next to top CBD levels.

Charlottes Webb
The strain Charlotte's Webb is known to be high in CBC.

Today, those seeking high levels of CBC are encouraged to find younger plants. As the plant ages, it loses its CBC, degrading over time until it becomes cannabicyclol (CBL). In addition to aging, this process is created through exposure to heat and light. This follows the same occurrence that happens when THCA becomes THC without using decarboxylation.

That said, if you want to source strains high in CBC content, the pickings are slim. One of the more popular options is Charlotte's Web. The phenotype may be best known for its CBD and the story of its namesake, Charlotte Figi. That said, it is also known for having a CBC level of roughly .4%. Other options include Maui Dream, Purple Cadillac and 3Kings among a few to choose from.


Have you ever experienced the effects of CBC? Share your stories in the comments below.

Insomnia and Cannabis: Can Marijuana Help with Sleeping Issues?

Nearly everyone has gone through insomnia at least once in their lives. Maybe it’s one restless night of staring up at the ceiling, unable to sleep. Maybe it’s a couple of months spent tossing and turning. Either way, not getting enough sleep can have a huge impact on your life in both the short and long term. That’s why insomnia is one of the top reasons that people turn to cannabis for the first time (the other being pain relief.) No one likes lying in bed awake as the hours tick past, knowing that with each one you’re only going to be more tired tomorrow.

People may suffer from insomnia for a wide variety of reasons. They can be stressed about their job, their bank account, or their relationship. There could also be deeper issues such as anxiety or depression. Light pollution from too much screen time, medication interactions, and genetic sleep disorders can also be factors, among many others.

Or maybe you just pay attention to the news. It’s nuts out there. Making insomnia even more difficult to deal with is the fact that there’s no real one-size-fits-all cure out there. Sleep aid medications can be habit forming or have unwanted side effects. A little night cap of booze can disrupt your sleep cycles and leave you hung over and dehydrated the next day. Herbal remedies and supplements such as chamomile, lavender, melatonin, or valerian root can only go so far and may leave you relaxed without necessarily asleep.

Awake in Bed
Marijuana might be able to help with sleepless nights. photo credit

So, what about marijuana? Can smoking some pot before bed bring the sandman back to visit? Will a dessert edible help you get that solid eight hours of shut eye you’ve been lacking? Could that evening dab get your body and your bed to reconcile?

Cannabis, Insomnia and Sleeping

First off, weed can be a great method for getting your eyelids nice and heavy. Whether it’s a powerful indica that does the trick, smoking a bedtime bowl or popping in a cannabis gummy or two could punch your ticket to dream town. If stress is keeping you awake, an uplifting, chill hybrid or a high-CBD strain could help your head hit the pillow. But, as with many things, marijuana is not a magic cure-all. At least, not for the majority of people.

While that joint may get you to sleep, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a full, restorative eight hours. One reason for this is that THC can have a big effect on REM sleep. Both clinical studies and anecdotal experience have shown that THC and CBD can lengthen the restful sleep cycle before entering REM sleep, but shorten the amount of time spent in REM sleep. 

In other words, smoking a bowl before bed may send you to dream town, but it could be a much shorter visit than if you fell asleep without it.

Since REM sleep is where dreams happen, disrupting your REM cycle can lead to some real problems the following day. According to some theories, dreaming is your body’s way of downloading your day from short term memory into long term memory. Even if this isn’t totally accurate, deep REM sleep is still the time of night when your body and brain can recover from the day’s exertions. Shortening the REM cycle can have effects on your ability to focus, learn, and retain information the next day. Disrupted REM sleep over time has also been linked to an increase in accidents as well as health issues such as obesity, mood disorders, and memory problems. It’s important to note that if you’re only using pot to sleep in the short term, your REM sleep should bounce back once you stop consuming before bed. You’ll know when it does because your dreams will be especially vivid.

How Cannabis Helps with Sleep Issues

For some people with sleep disorders, making sure dreams don’t happen can be an important feature of using cannabis to treat their insomnia.  There’s a reason veterans and others suffering from PTSD have been consuming marijuana as medicine for decades. Being able to sleep without being woken by disruptive or traumatic dreams can help maintain a healthy night’s rest. Even if it means that they may not be as sharp the next day, it’s a lot better than waking up multiple times a night in a panic.

Sleep
Cannabis has anecdotally helped many people with sleeping issues. photo credit

Similarly, those suffering from multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or chronic pain conditions have found weed to help prevent them from waking up in the middle of the night because of severe aches or discomfort. Again, a night of consistent sleep is much more preferable and much healthier than a sleepless night, or months of them in a row.

Cannabis may also help to prevent sleep apnea. This condition causes sleep disturbances by blocking your airway as you sleep, causing you to wake multiple times a night to breathe again. If you’re suffering from a sleep disorder like insomnia, it can take a lot of experimentation with cannabis before dialing in the right method that works for you. Each person has a different experience with cannabis based on many factors, including the strain, their own genetics, and even their method of consumption. Indicas might keep you up all night but sativas could knock you out. Concentrates could wind you down while edibles get your mind spinning. Flower could be the cure for your particular insomnia but only if it’s smoked out of a dry herb vape.

Tips for Consuming Cannabis for Better Sleep

Since there are so many things to consider, it might help to keep a sleep journal. Write down what strain you’re smoking as well as any details about it. If you find that a low-THC/high-CBD strain works best for you, there’s your starting point. You can narrow it down further by focusing on the major terpenes. If berry flavored strains or lavender scented ones work best, ask your budtender about similar ones at your next visit. See which edibles work best for you and why. Find out how many dabs at bedtime have you greeting the morning the next day.

Combining sleep remedies can also make an enormous difference in curing insomnia.

Maybe smoking cannabis gets you to sleep, but also taking some melatonin and magnesium supplements help prolong that REM sleep that THC curtails. Washing down an edible with some relaxing chamomile tea could work better than either on their own.

While there is no cure-all for insomnia, marijuana can be a great tool for at least getting you back to your regular shut eye. Some experimentation may be in order before you figure out the combination or method that works best, but with a little attention you’ll be back to a full eight hours in no time.


Have you ever used cannabis to help you sleep? What were the results? Share your tips, tricks and experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Morgan Lane (license)

Why Do Edibles Make Some People Tired?

Some cannabis consumers swear that edibles – regardless of whether they promise energizing, upbeat, or heady effects – make them feel sleepy and sluggish. It’s true that edibles can have unpredictable effects for a few reasons, and cannabis in general affects everyone differently. Though there is a lack of quantifiable research, there are a lot of educated guesses as to why edibles make some consumers sleepy.

It Could Be in the Terpenes

Terpenes are aromatic compounds deployed by plants to protect them from predators. Though there is paucity of authoritative research on how terpenes and cannabis work together, current thought holds that terpenes do more than determine cannabis’ distinctive smell, but may also provide therapeutic benefits like those associated with cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Terpenes also provide plants with their signature scents. For example, citrus fruits like lemons are replete with a terpene called limonene, which is thought to be energizing, while lavender, via the terpene linalool, is believed to be relaxing.

Sleepy
Certain terpenes might make a consumer feel tired. photo credit

A possible answer to the sleepiness could be that the edible contains a terpene like myrcene (found in lemongrass and mangoes), associated with couch lock and sedation, or linalool, which not only has a sedating effect, but is also believed to reduce anxiety and pain.

Sleepy From Over-Decarboxylated Edibles?

Before any of cannabis’ euphoric effects can be felt via the cannabinoid THC, it must go through a process called decarboxylation that converts the cannabis precursor THCA into THC. But cannabis is sensitive to temperature, and any overheating could not only degrade terpene quality, but also the quality of cannabinoids like THC.

In fact, in cannabis that has been over-decarboxylated (heated on too high a temperature for too long), THC may convert to CBN (cannabinol), best known for its sedative effects. Knowing whether or not your store-bought edible has been decarboxylated is pretty near impossible to tell unless you decarboxylated it yourself.

Maybe it’s the Trim

At certain points of a marijuana plant’s life cycle, growers will trim leaves from the plant to put energy and focus on the cannabinoid rich buds. These excess snippings, called “trim,” instead of getting dumped in the trash, are often shipped off to edible manufacturers instead, who typically purchase and receive trim bags from multiple growers – if they are not growing their own cannabis already, of course. Upon arrival of trim, some manufacturers don’t separate indica from sativa, or trim could be the only cannabis material used during the manufacturing process. Not every edible is specific to indica, sativa or hybrid, and manufacturers often use blends of all three to create their edibles.

If possible, it’s always a good idea to seek out edibles that come in indica, sativa or hybrid specific options. There are even some edible manufacturers that produce strain-specific varieties.

Fully understanding how edibles work in the body is still nascent. The making of edibles has moved far beyond making a small batch of homemade brownies, and large-scale edible manufacturing and how that process effects cannabinoids and terpenes is not yet fully backed by scientific research.

Another factor to keep in mind is that every individual has unique body and brain chemistry and will react differently to cannabis. Finding the right consumption method and strain that works for you has long been a matter of trial and error, and that still stands for edibles. Either way, knowing exactly how that edible is going to make you feel, regardless of whether it says “energizing” or something similar on the label, is nearly impossible to predict without some trial and error.


Do you ever feel sleepy when consuming cannabis edibles? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Kyle Glenn (license)

Cannabis Legalization 2020: Which States are Likely to Legalize Next?

Over one month into 2020 and much remains the same in the American cannabis community – for now. With over half of the country now allowing cannabis in one form or another, the question becomes the same one professional wrestling icon Bill Goldberg has been asking since 1997: Who's next?

Potential Next States to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

With activity well underway early in 2020, here are some states that might legalize cannabis for adult-use this year:

New Mexico

New Mexico is on the verge of cannabis legalization and could be the first state to legalize in the New Year. As of January 29, 2020, state lawmakers in The Land of Enchantment have passed a measure to legalize cannabis through the Senate Public Affairs Committee at a vote of 4-3.

New Mexico
New Mexico could be the first state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020. photo credit

If the law is approved, dispensaries would be required to also provide coverage to medical patients as well as recreational consumers.

New York and New Jersey

Oh, hey! Funny seeing you two here again… After failing to pass adult use laws in 2019, both New York and New Jersey are back at it again, but in different forms. For New Yorkers, it's back to the capital in Albany, where lawmakers will attempt to pass legislation once again. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently prioritized it in his state of the state speech for the second year in a row. He went so far as to vow legalization will occur in 2020.

Cuomo's vow may appear risky. Just ask the Garden State and its governor, Phil Murphy, who made a 100-day claim for legalization when inaugurated last year.

For New Jersey's second attempt, voters will decide on the measure in November after lawmakers punted on the decision due to a series of political spats. Recent data suggests that 62% of voters appear to support the measure, indicating that New Jersey could be one of several states legalizing on Election Night.

Arizona

Arizona's thriving medical market may soon be joined by adult use laws if it makes the 2020 ballot. With 54% of support, optimism runs high in certain circles of the Arizona cannabis community. With such support, many in the state feel that the law will finally pass this time after it failed to do so in 2016. That said, advocates need to obtain the required 237,645 signatures by July 2, 2020, to be included on the ballot. 

Arkansas

After three years of waiting, Arkansas' medical marijuana market began sales in May of 2019. Since then, the state has made progress in the form of two adult use measures filed. However, advocates face what some consider an uphill battle to legalize. The bill needs 90,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, and it faces struggles in a lack of funding. Combined with a conservative state that may not be ready for cannabis, and the effort may be a long shot. However, time will tell.

South Dakota

South Dakota currently prohibits all uses of cannabis, but that could significantly change soon. The Mount Rushmore State spent little time before making cannabis progress in 2020. Just days into the New Year saw a measure to legalize adult use legislation qualify for the November 2020 ballot. If approved, adults 21 and over would be allowed to possess marijuana, distribute up to an ounce and grow up to three plants of their own.

South Dakota
Would the founding fathers be happy if cannabis reform was passed in South Dakota? photo credit

Voters will also have a chance to vote on medical marijuana legislation in South Dakota after it qualified for the ballot back in late 2019.

Missouri

Just a year into its medical marijuana program and Missouri is thinking expansion. Ballot initiatives seeking 21 and older laws and 15% taxes have already been filed. Additionally, in January 2020, the group Missourians for a New Approach received approval to start its own signature gathering drive, needing over 160,000 by May 2020 to qualify. After passing medical cannabis Amendment 2 by a 66% to 34% margin, legalization could be on deck if a measure makes the ballot.

Florida

Florida's medical market has been surging as of late, boosted by its 2019 decision to allow flower sales. Now, with a burgeoning med market, advocates are pushing for adult use laws. In November 2019, the group leading the drive, Make It Legal Florida, qualified for its petition to receive judicial review after it exceeded the 76,632 needed signatures.

The measure has received pushback from the state House of Representatives and could receive more from a politically mixed state like Florida. Despite that, October 2019 polling data suggests that 64% of citizens support legalization.

UPDATE: As this article went to submission, Make It Legal announced it would shift its focus to 2022 after it became clear verification of its over 700,000 signatures could not be completed by next month's deadline. However, a new bill introduced to the Florida Senate in late January keeps legalization via the legislature a possibility.

Keep an Eye on Election Day

The presidential election should already be big enough to circle your calendars. But be sure to do so doubly on account of its possible impact on the cannabis community. With numerous states possibly voting on adult use, the tides could significantly turn for marijuana in America. 

The same could be said for medical cannabis programs. Nebraska may become the 34th state to allow cannabis as a therapeutic option on Election Day. So far, a signature drive is underway for the Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative. While somewhat dated by now, many outlets point to 2017 polling data that show 77% of voters prefer passing the measure. As such, watch for 2020. It could be a momentous year for American cannabis.


What state do you think will legalize cannabis next? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Are Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) in Cannabis Cultivation Harmful?

Few people buying cannabis at a dispensary put much thought into the plant growth regulators that may be present in their product. While growers and producers are intimately acquainted with them, there aren’t many on the consumer end that even know what a plant growth regulator (PGR) is, or their role in a flower’s growth cycle. However, a basic knowledge of PGRs is important for anyone who enjoys weed, as there may be potential health risks involved in consuming PGRs in marijuana.

What Are Plant Growth Regulators?

Plant growth regulators are naturally occurring, hormone-like chemicals specific to plants. The function of PGRs is to mimic or inhibit the expression of a plant’s normal growth hormones during its lifecycle. This includes when the plant begins to germinate, when its fruits ripen and drop, as well as the length, width, and shape of the plant’s roots, leaves, and stems.

PGRs have been used in agriculture and landscaping for nearly a century. Depending on the PGR, their use ranges from increasing the number of apples in an orchard to slowing the growth of grass in a golf course so that can be mowed less often.

Plant Growth Regulators come in two types. Naturally derived PGRs include kelp, chitosan, and trichontanol. Chemically derived, synthetic PGRs include Daminozide (Alar), Uniconazole. These PGRs are sprayed on plants or added into fertilizer to help plants grow more uniformly or to manipulate certain attributes.

How Are PGRs Used in Cannabis Cultivation?

For marijuana, PGRs are mostly used to alter the appearance of the buds, increase yields, or make the plant size more uniform for indoor growing. Some growers also claim that PGRs add to the overall health of the plant, making it stronger and more resistant to disease. However, much of the problems with PGRs, especially synthetic ones, come from less than honest growers looking to increase profitability at the expense of quality and consumer health. This is especially noticeable with how PGR manipulated buds appear after curing.

Trichomes
Always look for intact trichomes when selecting flower at a dispensary.

Much like the fashion industry, the cannabis industry has helped to set an unrealistic standard of beauty on their flowers. Dense, tightly packed buds look much more appealing in the package than fluffier, leafy ones. Consumers may also believe that a luxurious coat of orange hairs means a stronger strain overall. Adding PGRs to a plant can also increase the weight of the end product.

Of course, what determines quality in a bud is the levels of terpenes and cannabinoids contained in the plant’s trichomes, not the shape of the bud. Synthetic PGRs also have a large impact on trichome functions as well. 

What Are Some Synthetic PGRs?

Besides being potentially dangerous for human consumption, synthetic plant growth regulators also affect the quality of the plant being grown. Some of the most common synthetic PGRs and their effects are listed below.

Paclobutrazol 

This PGR retards a plant cell’s ability to elongate. When used on cannabis, this means that the cells pack much tighter and denser on the flower. While this bud may look like a higher value product, Paclobutrazol actually hinders the development of key terpenes in the cannabis plant. This has a much greater effect on quality than just how the flower tastes and smells.

By hindering the creation of terpenes, it affects how well the cannabis functions on a psychoactive level with the user. THC and other cannabinoids bind much less effectively in their neurotransmitters without those key terpenes due to the entourage effect. Of even greater note, Paclobutrazol also kneecaps the plant’s ability to create the compound THC, which most in the weed community would rank as #1 in importance.

Daminozide

Also known as Alar, Daminozide is used by growers to maximize bud yields. It does this by minimizing the growth of stems and leaves so that the plant can put more resources into flowering. However, like Paclobutrazol, this PGR decreases the production of terpenes, as well as cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and THC. Basically, it severely restricts resin production in the plant overall, meaning fewer trichomes.

Again, the appearance of a denser nug on a dispensary’s shelf comes at the expense of flavor, potency, and, in the case of PGRs, potentially the consumer’s health.

Chlormequat Chloride

Chlormequat Chloride actually slows down plant growth in certain areas, which in turn helps to encourage flowering. Adding it to plant also can make their size much shorter and more uniform, which makes growing plants indoors a lot easier.

Are Synthetic Plant Growth Regulators Bad for Your Health?

Long story short: yes. Exposure to high doses of synthetic PGRs can be very dangerous to people’s health in both the short and long term. In the late 1980’s, the EPA issued a recall of Alar (Daminozide) for food uses as testing found that it could be classified as a carcinogen in high doses. It’s been banned from human consumption since 1989 and has led to several agricultural recalls. Many synthetic PGRs have been similarly banned as further tests have been done.

The EPA also has concerns that Paclobutrazol might cause liver damage, and may also affect fertility in both men and women. While Chlormequat Chloride has not yet been shown to be hazardous to people’s health, testing is still being done.

Flower
There are several health concerns surrounding synthetic PGRs in cannabis.

Unfortunately, the fertilizers and PGRs used by growers in the cannabis industry are not as tightly regulated as in agriculture. Without a regulatory body overseeing the industry’s standards, unscrupulous growers can use PGRs to improve the appearance of their yields.

Still, even if you’re a heavy weed smoker, you don’t need to run to your doctor for a battery of tests right away. While you should undoubtedly try to avoid ingesting synthetic PGRs, the effects of short term of exposure are not fatal and the amounts in your cannabis are small. You’re at about as much risk from eating an apple with PGRs as you are from the flower you’re smoking through it. But with any potential carcinogen, it’s better to play it safe and avoid it. Over long periods of time, the damage can add up.

How Do I Avoid PGRs in My Marijuana?

The best way to avoid synthetic plant growth regulators is to ask your friendly neighborhood budtender. They should have some idea of their grower’s reputation. You can also call the producers themselves and request information.

If your budtender is uncertain or the producer uncommunicative, there are certain things to watch out for when buying your flower. The first is incredibly dense buds. Of course, dense buds can also be a mark of a master grower, which is why you should make sure they’re also dusted with trichomes.

Synthetic PGRs tend to decrease resin production. This means a less sugary bud overall, which also means a less potent one, since it’ll be lacking those necessary cannabinoids and terpenes. The bud may also be spongy and more brownish but lacking a strong smell. Luckily, with a little knowledge and these helpful tips, it can be easy to avoid buying weed grown with synthetic PGRs. Being a conscious consumer in this regard can go a long way – happy consuming!


What are your thoughts on the use of plant growth regulators in marijuana cultivation? Share them in the comments below.

Cannabis and Sex: 7 Marijuana Strains to Enhance Pleasure

It’s Valentine’s Day and that means spending time with that special someone in your life. This year, why not add some cannabis to your love-filled day to make things even sweeter? It’s no secret that marijuana and love go hand-in-hand, and that extends to the bedroom as well. Follow along as we showcase some of the best strains to sample this Valentine’s Day if things get intimate.

Top 7 Marijuana Strains for Sex

Cannabis can be used to improve many things – food, music, sleep – but one of the best ways to use weed to improve experiences may be to use it to enhance sexual pleasure. Though some may find cannabis to be too brain heavy for sex, the majority of cannabis consumers claim it improves sexual experiences. Find out for yourself with our pick for top cannabis strains for sex:

Purple Dream

Purple Dream

The first strain on our list is Purple Dream because of its ability to help people relax and enjoy the moment. This sativa strain is uplifting and euphoric with most of the “high” being experienced in the limbs and body rather than the brain. Purple Dream is ideal for people who get lost inside of their heads during sex because it helps silence the internal.

Blueberry

Blueberry

Blueberry produces a strong, immediate body high that lasts for hours. We suggest smoking this potent strain right before sex without waiting too long; if you sit still, you might fall asleep! Nevertheless, its sweet, candy-like flavor and powerful head high serves as an awesome addition to pre-bedtime sex.

Gorilla Glue

A sativa-dominant hybrid, Gorilla Glue is perfect for seasoned smokers thanks to its invigorating high and quick onset. Though its high THC content can make some consumers anxious or paranoid (which could hinder a sexual experience), its euphoric, pain-relieving high can help increase physical pleasure while taking the mind off more persistent discomforts.

Lemon Skunk

Lemon Skunk

Lemon Skunk will add spunk to your sexual experience. Known for its ability to relax the body and inspire social connection, this sativa-dominant hybrid is a great catalyst for communication both in and out of bed. Use this opportunity to explore one another, talk about your most intimate desires, and take in all the sensations that come with a little bedroom boogie.

Elevation

Elevation

Elevation is a sativa-dominant hybrid with a high that comes in waves to amplify orgasm. Though it may start as a heavy head high, it could easily morph into a relaxing body high then back to an invigorating head high. Though the high may cause a fluctuation of sensations throughout the body, the mind maintains its euphoric feeling for hours making it easier to bond with your partner during both sex and foreplay. Once the deed is done, Elevation makes it easy to drift to sleep in the arms of your lover.

Agent Orange

Agent Orange

This strain is a fun one to throw into the bedroom because it inspires quick thought (albeit a bit scatterbrained at times) lending itself to a whole world of spontaneous sexual experiences. Did a new position pop into your mind? Agent Orange will inspire you to voice it in the heat of the moment when inhibitions are low and pleasure is high. You’ll have a lot of energy after smoking this one, though, so keep it on the nightstand ready for some morning nookie.

Skunk #1

Skunk #1

A true classic, Skunk #1 is notorious for its ability to increase libido while relieving pain and relaxing the body. It elevates mood while slowing a racing brain which is perfect for those who tend to stress about performance. However, please note that this strain may cause cotton mouth so keep a bottle of water close by if you need to rewet your tongue for any reason.

Tips for Using Cannabis to Enhance Sex

Marijuana is well-known to improve sensations, but when it comes to weed and sex, balance is key. Avoid uncomfortable paranoia or the dreaded “performance anxiety” by consuming only half of your usual dose. Remember, cannabis affects everyone differently, so some strains might work better for you than others – so try out a few strains and see what works best for you!

If possible, consume cannabis with your partner as a form of foreplay. “Shot-gunning” a hit into your partner’s mouth can be a sensual way for the two of you to get high together, as can a pre-game massage (especially if incorporating some weed-infused intimate oils in the mix).

Smoking with your partner is a great way to bond over a shared activity but can also increase intimacy and sexual pleasure. Though some strains that are high in THC can be too racy for a comfortable (successful) sexual encounter, others make a perfect addition to some bedroom fun. So kick your Valentine’s Day and sex life into high gear with these sexy strains.


Do you have a favorite strain for sex? Share it with other readers in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Unsplash (license)

First Boston Recreational Dispensary to Open Soon

The city of Boston is finally scheduled to open its first recreational dispensary and the owners, Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart, are proud to be examples in what is hopefully the first of many steps towards progress and equality.

With the granting of their license on Feb 5th, Pure Oasis is slated to become not only the first adult-use dispensary to open in the city, but also the first to take advantage of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC) Economic Empowerment Program, which aims to aid communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition benefit from legalization.

A Move Towards Equality

The owners of Pure Oasis are making history, not only in location, but in racial representation. As Hart told The Root, “It’s our responsibility to take this win we got today and make sure people of color realize they have the same opportunities.”

The ACLU reports that black Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white Americans, though the two groups have nearly equal usage rates.

This issue has been central to the national debate on cannabis legalization, but has yet to be addressed with much real-world implementation. Though many legal cannabis states have taken the initial step of clearing past marijuana offenses from criminal records, few have gone on to create a larger system of helping establish minority-owned businesses. The pending opening of Pure Oasis might prove to be the most influential in changing that standard.

Arrests
Cannabis-related arrests have disproportionately targeted people of color over the years. photo credit

In the first handful of states with legislation for adult-use, stipulations to foster equality were sparse, if present at all. Even Denver, the epicenter of adult-use cannabis, lacks a solidified way to help minority entrepreneurs navigate the many roadblocks to starting a cannabis business. Denvergov.org states prospective moves for the future, but as of this writing, no firm plans have been set or implemented.

The First Recreational Dispensary in Boston Sets New Standards

Pure Oasis’ success stands in stark contrast to similar programs who have yet to enact their potential promises, as the company claims victory in possibly the most coveted available market in the Northeast.

While Massachusetts at large has been a quick up-and-comer on the market since rolling out recreational cannabis sales, Boston, the state’s largest city, and perhaps most popular cultural export, has watched the action from the sidelines. Dispensary storefronts now pepper nearby neighborhoods, but none have found their way into the city proper.

Pure Oasis
Pure Oasis will be Boston's first recreational dispensary. photo credit

When Pure Oasis opens at the doors at 430 Blue Hill Ave., they'll be at the forefront of a new era of cannabis. Although an official opening date has yet to be announced, the owners plan to open within a month, and are awaiting only the final go-ahead.

As the last major Massachusetts holdout joins the fold, the hypothetical nature of social equity moves closer to being realized, in turn paving the way for future initiatives to learn from Boston’s successes and failures, and increase the efficiency and efficacy of programs that follow.

The Way Forward

Pure Oasis will have the eyes of the industry on it going forward as the pilot entity in the CCC’s equity program. While this may temporarily place a heavy burden of success on the young Boston dispensary’s shoulders, they will likely have some company as the year progresses.

Three other cannabis businesses have had licenses are approved under the CCC’s Economic Empowerment Program. In just a few short years, the social equity component of cannabis reform has gone from a tangential to a central issue, one that will likely become a standard of reform moving forward.

After the decades of irreparable damage that cannabis prohibition has caused to minority racial communities, it is high time to see equality take center stage. Though establishing appropriate systems and regulations surrounding social equity may temporarily delay legalization in a given area, the resounding effects that successful equality measures can impart on the industry at large have the potential to spur monumental change. The divisions that were once used to keep cannabis suppressed may become the diversity that pulls the industry forward.


Excited for new things in Boston’s Cannabis scene? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo Credit: Robbie Shade (license)

Exploring the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds from the cannabis plant (and our own bodies!) that make us feel “high” or at least psychoactive to some degree. But cannabinoids would not have an effect at all if it weren’t for their interaction with the human endocannabinoid system. All mammals have an endocannabinoid system as an evolutionary means of survival despite the sometimes-harsh environments. The endocannabinoid system serves as a vital mechanism through which all cells communicate to elicit some pretty powerful effects.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system is comprised of a series of receptors located throughout the brain and body. There are two primary types of receptors, CB1 receptors, which are located in the brain and spinal cord, and CB2 receptors which are located throughout peripheral tissue like the stomach and skin.

Cannabinoid receptors were first discovered in the brain in 1988 which aided in the development of Marinol, a synthetic form of THC used to treat nausea. With Marinol, researchers were able to map an abundance of receptors in the brain which prompted the question: “why are there unique receptors in the brain for plant-derived chemicals?”

Research
More research could lead to greater insight into the endocannabinoid system. photo credit

It wasn’t until 1992 that researchers discovered anandamide, a cannabinoid produced inside of the body. A second “endocannabinoid” (internally-produced), 2-AG, was discovered a few years later. By watching the interaction of these endocannabinoids with endocannabinoid receptors, researchers discovered something amazing.

These receptors, which were more plentiful than any other neurotransmitter receptor in the body, help regulate our general well-being by facilitating communication between different cell types. In this way, cannabinoids help regulate mood, pain, inflammation, stress, and yes, even cancer cell apoptosis in some cases.

How Different Cannabinoids Interact with the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids are an interesting bunch of neurotransmitters because they work backwards through the synaptic gap. Unlike other neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, adrenalin, etc.) that send electrical signals forward to elicit the action of other neurons, cannabinoids travel backward – retrograde neurotransmission – to help determine if the initial neuron will send a signal at all. This helps explain why certain cannabinoids are so good at relieving pain, anxiety and inflammation (your body won’t react to stressors if it’s not told to).

But cannabinoids don’t all interact with CB receptors in the same way. Some reduce pain, others stimulate appetite, and others stop bacterial and fungal growth all by helping determine which neurons fire their messages (either positive or negative) in the first place.

And then there’s CBD. This cannabinoid works not by binding to presynaptic receptors but rather by blocking them to a degree. Their shape is slightly different than other cannabinoids, allowing them to bind partially to cannabinoid receptors. This helps them determine which cannabinoids can activate presynaptic neurons in the first place. Think of them as the hall monitors of the endocannabinoid system, dutifully standing their posts to see that everyone gets where they are going without letting any troublemakers get in the way. This not only explains how CBD can help tame a marijuana high, but also explains why its list of potentially therapeutic benefits is so extensive.

Cannabinoid Deficiency

Believe it or not, cannabinoids are an essential part of our overall health. When endocannabinoids are lacking, they can lead to a number of complications including chronic anxiety, migraines, gastrointestinal problems and more.

In 2001 (and again in 2016) Dr. Ethan Russo proposed a theory on endocannabinoid deficiency after noting an anandamide deficit in people suffering from chronic migraines. Anandamide is one of the most prominent endocannabinoids in the body and is responsible for regulating things like appetite, mood, motivation and pain. It therefore stands to reason that an anandamide deficiency would have a negative effect on these areas, and that cannabinoid supplementation could help rectify the problem.

CBD
CBD could potentially help maintain anandamide production in humans. photo credit

Interestingly, CBD helps increase natural anandamide production thanks to its amazing ability to regulate the rate at which cannabinoids get produced and absorbed. By slowing anandamide degradation, CBD can help maintain healthy levels of the endocannabinoid thus potentially improving things like anxiety, pain, and a whole myriad of other illnesses and discomforts.

Cannabis can do amazing things all thanks to its profound impact on the endocannabinoid system. By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, people can live happier, healthier lives naturally. When people have endocannabinoid deficiencies, cannabinoid supplements like CBD tinctures or even a little puff on a marijuana bowl can do wonders.

Photo Credit: Hal Gatewood (license)

Cannabis News Recap: January 2020

The cannabis news cycle is non-stop these days. What once used to be a trickle of underground news is now a thriving section of journalistic reporting. From business to healthcare to culture, news breaks on a near-constant basis. With so much going on, it’s virtually impossible to keep up, or even write a comprehensive monthly recap of it all!

To help get you caught up on a broad level, this monthly breakdown aims to recap some of the most significant happenings on the grander scale of America's cannabis market and community.

In January, news from Capitol Hill to the Land of Lincoln broke that could affect patients, military members, industry workers and plenty of others. That said, let’s dive into some of the cannabis news that had people talking.

Scores of States Pushing for Legalization

Cannabis legalization was on the tips of political tongues in January. States like New Mexico saw Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham push for lawmakers to legalize adult use marijuana. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used his State of the State address to push for legalization once again after the measure failed last year. The same call to action occurred in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Connecticut believe its bill will advance this time around after stalling on critical provisions in 2019.

Illinois Sells Over $3 Million on Day One

Adults of legal age in Illinois braved the New Year’s Day chill of the Midwest to line up and purchase legal cannabis on its opening day. In doing so, the throngs of shoppers across the state helped push first-day sales to nearly $3.2 million. Like many other states upon opening, Illinois did run into a supply issue that could linger for some time. However, thanks to state requirements, the medical market will continue to have its supply for patients.

Federal Lawmakers Urge for Cannabis Research

The federal government is warming to legalization, as evidenced by the flurry of bills to make their way through the Capitol in recent sessions. On January 15, lawmakers across the aisle urged the Congress’s Energy and Commerce Committee to improve access to cannabis research. To improve access, the plant must be rescheduled from its current Schedule 1 status.

Cannabis Research
It's great to see federal lawmakers encouraging better cannabis research. photo credit

Dubbed the first hearing of its kind for the subcommittee, no one from the cannabis industry was invited to provide testimony. A second hearing was announced. The second hearing is said to include "additional stakeholders," according to Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo.

Cannabis Gets Its First Union

It didn't take long for the cannabis industry to go from entirely illicit to a maturing market. One of the latest steps in its maturation is the first formation of an industry union.

On January 15, workers at Chicago-based multi-state operator (MSO) Cresco Labs voted to unionize at a 58-32 margin.

Opting to be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, the decision impacts 100 of Cresco's 130 workers at the location. Those excluded include cultivators who couldn't vote due to federal labor laws.

In the lead up to the decision, pro-union Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders endorsed the workers and the idea to unionize.

Cannabis Banking Picks Up Where It Left Off in 2019

In addition to research, federal lawmakers continue to discuss cannabis banking solutions. On January 22nd, lead sponsors from the U.S. House of Representatives urged Senate Banking Chair Mike Crapo to take up the matter. The bipartisan insistence effort attempted to appeal to Crapo on several points. A key talking point focused on public safety risks stemming from a billion dollar cannabis industry that is mostly blocked from traditional banking means.

The group urged Sen. Crapo to advance the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the House in September 2019 by a 321-103 vote. Crapo, on the other hand, has reportedly been mulling his own version of the act.

President Trump on Tape: Marijuana Makes People "Lose IQ Points," Cannabis Banking Coming Right Along

Noted teetotaler and 45th President of the United States Donald Trump saw a 2018 video resurface, where he discussed traditional conservative talking points concerning cannabis. The video, provided by Rudy Guiliani associate and close Trump ally Lev Parnas, recorded Trump mentioning increased traffic accidents in Colorado. The President would also state, "It does cause an IQ problem."

On the other hand, the President did believe cannabis banking was progressing, as he told Parnas "That whole thing is working out.”

No CBD for the Military

Near the end of the month saw America's armed forces double down on the federal cannabis ban when it reiterated that CBD remains off-limits. The Department of Defense (DOD) directive stated that cannabidiol remains banned, and joins similar recent clarifications from the Air Force and Military Health System.

Military
CBD is strictly off-limits for military members. photo credit

Air Force members were warned that disciplinary action would come to those violating the command. Such punishments could include a reduction in rank or "involuntary separation from the Air Force."


That’s just the tip of an active January 2020 for the cannabis space. Be sure to follow PotGuide as well as additional reliable sources like the ones mentioned in this article. We’ll be back in February with another recap of all the latest in the cannabis space. Stay tuned 'til then!

Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder (license)

Odor Eliminator: How to Get Rid of Cannabis Smell in Your House

For most cannabis consumers, there is no better, safer, or more enjoyable place to smoke weed than in your own home. After all, where else can you find a couch, a bed, a refrigerator and a TV all so close at hand? (Probably at an Ikea or a Sears showroom, but they won’t let you stay there and smoke, even if you ask nicely.)

Let’s face it, smoking marijuana at home is pretty much the best. Besides the convenience, you don’t have to worry about bothering anyone else with your smoke, driving anywhere, or interacting with anyone besides the friends you have over (and maybe the person delivering the food you ordered, but they’re probably cool.)

However, while smoking weed at home clearly rules, your home smelling like cannabis smoke afterwards does not.

Maybe you have company coming over or live with someone who doesn’t indulge. Or maybe you just came back from an out of town trip and are reassessing your place with a fresh pair of nostrils. Whatever the reason, getting that weed smell out of your home can become a priority and PotGuide is here to help. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about exorcising the ghosts of bowls past from your home, whether you only have an hour to clear out the smell or have a couple of days to erase it completely.

Eliminating Weed Smell from Your Home with Less Than an Hour

If you’re in a desperate hurry, don’t panic. Even if your boss, your landlord, or your parole officer called on their way over for an unexpected visit, (or all three are coming because you are terrible at planning a dinner party), there’s still hope. Yes, your place may currently reek like a wet wool poncho after a Phish concert, but that can change quickly.

Open Window
Opening your windows and airing your home out is quick and easy, but won't get rid of cannabis smell instantly. photo credit

First, open up all your windows and doors. Get some fresh air in there and get it circulating. If you’ve got a ceiling fan, yank down on that chain and get those blades spinning.  If you have a rotating fan or a box fan, plug it in and face it out the windows. The closer to the window frame you can put the fan the better. Empty out all your ashtrays, dump the roaches, flush your bong water, and take out the trash. Next, douse the place with a spray air freshener. Your place may now smell like a spring meadow that someone left a wet poncho from a Phish concert in the middle of, but there’s enough plausible deniability that you can skate by.

Cleaning Cannabis Smell from Your Home When You Have a Day

Say you have a little bit more time. You’re still hosting that dinner party for your boss, landlord, and parole officer (you really should have planned this better) but it’s happening tomorrow. With that much time, you have your pick of methods to get that cannabis smell out of your place.  

Incense

The age old trick. While incense has been historically used in religious ceremonies, it’s also great for masking any number of odors. Grab a stick or two, find a bowl or other holder to catch the ash, and light it up. The pungent smell will mask any odor, and maybe you’ll seem cultured and refined.

Scented Candles

If you’re not feeling the Eastern temple vibe, scented candles are a more Western way to cover for whatever joint spirits still haunt your place. Like incense, you’ll cover the smell.

Scented Candle
Scented candles are a great way to mask marijuana odor. photo credit

However, with scented candles you won’t have to deal with ash residue. You’ll also have a wider selection of scents to choose from, depending on if you’re in a New England Beach or Sandalwood kind of mood.

Air Freshener Plug In

If you don’t want to deal with fire at all or have to leave your house for a while, plug-ins will cover any odor. Plus, there’s the added benefit of a constant supply of fresh smells to cover any marijuana odor that might be trying to stage a comeback.

Ridding Marijuana Odor from Your Home When You Have a Weekend

If you’ve got some time on your hands – say on a weekend of chores, or while you’re doing some spring cleaning – then get some brushes, rags, and buckets together and put some music on the stereo. Or a Netflix show that you can tune out, most likely about baking or true crime.

Thanks to gravity, nearly everything eventually ends up on the ground. That’s also true of smoke and if you’ve got a carpet, that’s where that odor will remain.

Vacuuming will take care of a lot of the smell, but if you can’t remember the carpet’s original color beneath the spilled bong water and grubby haze, or you’re trying to get your deposit back, you’ll need a carpet shampooer. Luckily, many grocery and hardware stores offer them for rental and they’re pretty easy to use. Just pour some hot water and detergent into the tank, flip on the power, and watch the magic as it returns your carpet to its original, fresh condition. 

Next, get some Lysol or other cleaning agents and give all your hard surfaces a swipe. Old resin, crumbly charred bits of weed, and sticky bits of tar all add up to one overwhelming odor of old weed. Once they’re wiped up you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. Finally, finish it all off with an odor remover. While air fresheners may mask the smells that can come right back, odor remover spray will go one step further. These sprays and absorbent pillows will suck the cannabis smells out of the air rather than just covering for them.

How to Prevent Weed Smell in the Future

If you’re looking to avoid having your home smell like cannabis in the first place, concentrates are a safe bet, odor wise. However, if you’re loving the flower for its terpenes and cannabinoids and want to keep your smoking au natural, a dry herb vape is a great compromise.

Dry herb vapes are relatively inexpensive on the low end, with handheld devices retailing for less than $150 on the lower end. Because dry herb vapes vaporize the terpenes and cannabinoids rather than burning up the flower, there’s no smoke and barely any smell. This keeps your place smelling fresh. As an added bonus, when you’re done smoking you can use the leftover “ABV” for edibles or tinctures.

Handheld Vaporizer
Handheld vaporizers are discreet and give off minimal smell.

In order to keep the weed smell from settling in in the first place, be sure to blow your smoke out the window and take your trash out regularly. Empty your bong water after you’re done using it, for odor and for health reasons, or smoke in the bathroom with the shower and the fan on. Finally, keep your weed in airtight containers to keep those terpenes contained. With a little precaution and a little extra effort your place will keep smelling fresh.

There’s no reason to have to choose between smoking up in the privacy and comfort of your own home and having to live in the aftermath of your pot session. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to strike that balance with ease.


How do you keep your home smelling fresh and clean after a smoke session? Share your tips, tricks and experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: petr sidorov (license)

Marijuana Legalization and the Next U.S. President: What Will Happen?

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recently announced that if elected, he would legalize cannabis nationwide on Day-1 of his presidency. In fact, three of the four leading democratic candidates – Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg – have all thrown their vocal support behind national cannabis legalization. Andrew Yang has also made it a point of his platform and, though mostly quiet on the topic, both Amy Klobuchar and Tom Seyer have come out in favor of legalization, completing the democratic electorate. Of the Democrats, only Joe Biden, unfortunately, pushes decriminalization over legalization.

President Trump and his administration have continually acted against cannabis interests during his time in office, with little indication that that will change. However, with the majority of sensible candidates favoring legalization, it is possible we will see some form of national reform in the next administration.  While this would undoubtedly usher in a new era of cannabis in America, what exactly would that look like?

The Possibility of Nationwide Cannabis Legalization in the United States

Say Sanders is elected in November and plans to do exactly as promised, instantly issuing in broad and sweeping reform on his very first day in office via executive order. Time to bust out the champagne and shatter, right? Well, maybe. There is some debate over whether the new president would even be capable of solely passing legalization outright on day 1.

Amending the Controlled Substances Act (the piece of legislation that sets federal drug policy, and is responsible for cannabis’ “Schedule I” designation) is possible, but might not be able to be implemented in such a short time.

Rescheduling substances is something the POTUS has to power to do, but would probably need cabinet appointees to enact.

As Forbes explains, “the details of the process involve steps by the attorney general and the health and human services secretary—Sanders designees unlikely to be installed on his ‘first day.’” However, the rules of presidential power have been forever augmented by the current administration. Now more than ever, it’s unclear just what a president can get done if the force of the House and Senate are behind the president’s agenda.

In say, a Sanders administration, the president might direct no federal funds to be used in the prosecution of cannabis infractions, similar to the direction of the Cole Memo for legalized states (that is, of course, before Trump rescinded it).

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders has pledged to legalize cannabis nationwide on his first day in office if elected as President. photo credit

Though it could take more time to formalize full legalization, the new president might be able to make cannabis effectively legalized through this or some other novel idea. The law would temporarily remain, but would be unenforceable.

It is at least conceivable that consuming and possessing cannabis in one’s private residence could become legal (or effectively legal) nationally on the first day the executive order is made. However, if you’re looking to light up with impunity, we wouldn’t suggest holding your breath. 

How Legalization Would (Probably) Unfold

With all things cannabis and the government, the reality is always slightly more of a bummer than the sales pitch. Just as we have seen with individual states that have legalized, other than the initial step of being free from prosecution for simple possession or consumption in a private residence, most things are likely to stay the same on day one.

Even if cannabis is federally legal, you could still potentially get in trouble with local laws.

Each state will want their own regulations in place. Alcohol prohibition in America ended 87 years ago, yet vast disparities in regulation still exist from place to place. You are free to walk the streets of New Orleans with a beer in hand, but will need to order an appetizer if you want a second round in Salt Lake City.

If a city or state criminalizes certain aspects of cannabis culture, an individual could still be prosecuted by state or local laws, regardless of federal legal status. For example, owning a Pit Bull isn’t federally illegal, but has been outlawed by many jurisdictions. States will likely petition the government for time to establish individual systems and, if current trends are any indication, will then go way over the estimates for those timelines. Just ask New York and New Jersey, who promised to pass legislation within 100 days, a few hundred days ago. 

Every time cannabis reform has been passed; it takes months, even years to be implemented. Federal legalization might expedite the process, but bureaucracy is still bureaucracy and moves at bureaucracy’s pace. The sad truth beyond that is that there are places where a taxed and regulated cannabis market will likely always be banned – although with federal legalization adults of legal age would never have to worry about possession laws again. But don’t forget, in 2020 Jack Daniels whiskey is still produced in a dry county.

Federal Marijuana Legalization in America

Still, slow bureaucracy or not, with a new president at the helm, the actual timeline for federal marijuana legalization might be much faster than what we’ve seen. 11 states have legalized thus far and 33 allow some form of medical cannabis access. It is clear the way the country is trending. Even FOX News’ polling reveals that a majority (63%) of Americans favor national legalization of recreational marijuana.

While it is unlikely to happen with the speed or satisfaction the public wants, legalizing on a national level would still have resounding effects on the cannabis industry, and rapidly advance progress by comparison to today's pace.

Inter-state commerce and the allowance of normal banking services alone will transform the market in ways we can only guess at now, and a wave of expunged offenses could drastically reshape both the demographics and economy of the country.

American Flag
Whenever it happens, federal marijuana legalization in America will take time to roll out. photo credit

In essence, what has been happening in places like Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois will simply happen everywhere, quicker, with slight differences. We won’t really see the kind of massive changes we expect for a few years, it will happen little by little, and then all of the sudden, it will seem normal.

If any potential pro-cannabis candidate wins the nomination, they are primed to make sweeping changes now more than ever, and we will more than likely see some form of large-scale progress in cannabis within the next 4 years. How fast change will happen is anyone’s guess, but change appears inevitable.


What do you think national cannabis legalization in America would look like? Cast your visions for the future in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Bill Oxford (license)

Glass Pipes 101: Different Pieces You'll Encounter as a Marijuana Consumer

Far and away, glass is considered the preferred option for smoking cannabis. It is durable, can withstand high temperatures without degrading, and is easy to clean. Despite its popularity, in many states, it is still illegal to call a bong a bong. Instead, countless shelves across the land proudly display “water pipes” that are strictly “for tobacco use only,” leading to confusion among new and experienced smokers alike.

Well, just what is a “water pipe?” Is it different from a bong? Or a bubbler? Do I need a license to drive a steamroller? What else is out there? After so long in the shadows, many are unfamiliar with some of the most common glass smoking devices. Though there is an endless array of novel glass formations, we’ve collected the most popular and recognizable to everyday smokers.

Buying Glass Pipes for Cannabis Consumption

A quick note about acquiring some of these wonders of engineering: We hate to be the one to spill the beans, but the majority of glass on the market comes from the same select sources. A Roor is a Roor, whether you buy it at the head shop down the street or from a website. More than likely, most of what’s in your local shop came from the same websites you would buy from. Unless you’re a connoisseur seeking local art glass pieces, what you’re actually seeking out is a trusted glass dealer.

Pipe
There are many different types of glass pipes used for cannabis consumption.

Do your research before dropping some serious coin on a glass piece. If you can, look for reviews and find out where pieces are being sourced from. Though it’s good to support local businesses, buying from a brick-and-mortar shop isn’t always ideal, or even possible, depending on the area. Some shops like to haggle prices, and selection is limited to what’s on the shelves. It’s tough to know whether or not you’re getting a good deal.

If you’re looking for something that your local shop doesn’t stock, just want to browse a wider array of offerings, or hunt out better pricing, modern consumers shouldn’t fear shopping online so long as the retailer is reputable. Sites like Vaporizer Chief provide a central location for many brands and products to sell their goods. Choosing from an online head shop like Vaporizer Chief allows consumers to see a wide variety of marijuana bongs, bubblers, chillums, dab rigs and other glass products all in one central location. Plus, you can find all these products at affordable prices, with all the quality assurances and purchase protection you’d find at any major online retailer.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular types of glass for cannabis consumption.

Different Types of Glass Pipes

What are Water Pipes?

“Water pipe” is the catchall term for many types of smoking accessories that filter smoke through water, and does not specifically refer to any one form factor or smoking use. Hookahs are water pipes, as are bongs and bubblers. The thing is exactly what the name implies: any pipe that integrates water as a smoke filter is a water pipe.  Aside from being a generic classification of pipes, it’s almost always employed in response to federal regulations against drug paraphernalia. It’s rarely something you’d hear from an experienced consumer.

Bongs

Bongs have existed throughout modern human history. They are literally older than Jesus. In 2015, solid gold bongs were excavated in Russia dating back 2,400 years. Thus, it’s no surprise that most smokers know the bong style. A cylindrical tube closed off at the bottom is intersected by a down stem (basically a smaller tube) sticking out the side at an upward angle. Cannabis sits in a small detachable holder at the end of the smaller tube (the “bowl”).

Bong
Bongs can come in all shapes and sizes, from tall to short and big to little. photo credit

When ignited, the consumer inhales from the open end of the larger tube, smoke is drawn through a water reservoir in the larger tube to be delivered to the smoker. Finally, by removing the bowl, air can flow through the down stem and mix with the cannabis smoke to be inhaled. The water in a bong serves to cool the smoke and remove some impurities and particulate matter, though the filtration does slightly reduce THC content. Cannabis consumers have been happy to make this trade off, as the long tube and water-cooling allow the smoker to take large, smooth inhalations.

There are countless variations to the basic bong style, with all sorts of engineering to further cool and filter the smoke. Recyclers, ash catchers, and vortex elements are all common, but do the same essential task. Bongs may not be the most portable smoking devices, but they allow for large, smooth rips unlike any other, and have stood the test of time for thousands of years as an ideal smoking method. 

Bubblers

Bubblers are another form of water pipe, similar to a bong, but with a form factor closer to a traditional “spoon” pipe. Bubblers come in a range of shapes, from functional to flashy, but rarely sport the big angular tubes of a bong, and operate with a carburetor, instead of a slide. Because of the generally reduced chamber volume, bubblers often do not allow for the same large rips that bongs do, but are usually easier to transport and use.

Bubbler
Bubblers can sometimes be harder to clean than bongs. photo credit

The intricate inner workings of bubblers can sometimes be more difficult to clean, and near impossible to fix if broken, however considering their portability and smooth delivery are an attractive option for water-cooled consuming on the go.

Spoon

To most smokers, there is no “spoon,” just a “pipe.” The shape is so widespread that even experienced cannabis consumers are often unfamiliar with the proper term for these pipes. A spoon pipe is what people typically mean when they say they smoke marijuana from a pipe, even though everything on this list is a form of pipe. The name comes from the shape of the pipe, a bowled end connected to a handle, looking like a spoon.

Spoon
Example of a spoon pipe packed with cannabis flower. photo credit

The pipe is hollow, and has a small side opening to act as a carburetor. The consumer closes the carb opening to light the flower, then draws smoke into the pipe. When the carb is released, fresh air mixes with the smoke to cool it and make it palatable for inhaling, allowing it to flow into your lungs. Spoon pipes allow for small personal hits that can be adjusted to the smokers liking on the fly. They are portable and easy to use, but require frequent dumping and refilling.

The lack of water and short stem also make hits hotter and harsher than other glass. Still, they are classics for a reason. New smokers may fumble with the carb, but once you’ve been taught how to use it, the few things are as familiar in the world of cannabis.

Sherlocks and Wizards

An extended version of the spoon pipe, with a curved or flowing stem. The term “Sherlock” is purported to have come about from a popular pipe used in stage productions featuring the famous gumshoe. The name is broadly attached to any pipe with a large curved or flowing stem, and similarly, if the stem is long but straight, or only slightly curved, it’s often referred to a wizard’s pipe (made famous by Gandalf the Gray’s characteristic wooden accessory).

The smoke must travel a longer distance to the smoker, and will come in contact with more surface area (thus reducing the heat). However, the direct pull and lack of water filtration still has some heat deal with. These pipes have a fun aesthetic appeal, but are not always the most practical or portable.

One-Hitter/Dugout/Bat

There are a number of names for these small, straight pipes that only hold a pinch of pot, but all have the same concept. The one-hitter’s use is easily understood in the name (though they can often vary in size, and some can technically hold more than one hit). Regardless, with no carb, a short smoke path, and only a tiny opening to hold flower, small hot hits are all they’re good for.

One Hitter
One-hitters are great for personal consumption. photo credit

The one hitter is ideal for discreet personal hits. The miniscule size makes them easy to transport and to stash, and the small pinch of flower means it’s done in a flash. Consumers with lower tolerance or fans microdosing often prefer these pipes, but they are good for anyone looking to take the quickest of tokes.

Steamroller

In essence, steamrollers are slightly reworked spoon pipes. The carb is located at the end of the tube instead of on the side, allowing for a different ergonomic grip. Much like a spoon pipe, the short stem distance and unfiltered hit can be a bit harsh, but nothing most smokers aren’t used to. Steam rollers typically have larger chambers and openings than spoon pipes, ideally allowing for larger hits.

Dab rigs

Dab rigs are typically bubblers with special collection pieces on the end to vaporize concentrates. However, the end cap is really the only major difference in function. Many dab rigs have interchangeable flower and concentrate options. While rigs can be as simple or complex as other bongs and bubblers, they are essentially the same, with different levels of cooling and filtration.

The key feature in a dab rig is the dabbing element, allowing the consumers to vaporize concentrates. The standard today is a glass cup, but there are many variations to this basic design (inserts for example). If you’ve never dabbed before, or need some clarification, check out our video on dabbing.

Choosing the Right Glass

In the modern cannabis market, consumers can choose from endless varieties on these basic forms, it is best to choose one that suits your smoking needs. A one-hitter might not be satisfying to an advanced cannabis consumer, or a busy consumer might not care for the intricate cleaning required of a bubbler. Maybe you smoke more at home, and a bong is the way to go.

In the end, the perfect glass piece is one you enjoy using. Many cannabis consumers have different pieces for different occasions, and that's just fine too.

Again, using an online head shop like Vaporizerchief.com can help with browsing all the options out there and avoid being overwhelmed. You can even buy a few options and find what you like without breaking the bank, or find a good deal on a bigger investment.


What’s your go-to glass piece for cannabis use? What do you love about your favorite smoking device? Let us know in the comments!

4 Reasons to Try Cannabis Concentrates

There’s no doubt about it, cannabis concentrates like live resin, rosin, sauce, shatter, wax and budder are far outselling cannabis flower and edibles in the United States, according a recent report from BDS Analytics, a cannabis market research firm providing consumer insights, research and analyses, and Arcview, another research firm evaluating the cannabis space. Their combined study showed that in 2018, sales of concentrates grew by more than 50 percent, and are predicted to reach $8 billion by 2022, largely due to consumer demand. However, concentrates are also very appealing to cannabis producers because of the decreased production costs.

There is minimal difference in yield and quality among concentrates from indoor and outdoor crops – that is for most undiscerning consumers (connoisseurs and concentrate enthusiasts would beg to differ). In fact, concentrates from outdoor crops can allow for higher profit margins for growers because there is simply more room to grow, and the setup is more environmentally sustainable, since growing cannabis indoors is very energy intensive. Concentrates also take less shipping space and require less fuel to move than flower.

And to pot purveyors, they are very attractive because the price per unit is often more profitable than flower. As a result, and because of a concentrates versatility, they bring in higher sales numbers. But the real driving force behind the popularity of concentrates is the consumer. Here are the top reasons why canna-consumers love concentrates:

1. Higher Potency

When you smoke cannabis flower, the potency is around 10 to 25 percent THC. Concentrates, however, typically deliver between 50 and 80 percent, with some as high as 99 percent. Because of the extraction process, you are simply consuming terpenes and cannabinoids and not combustible plant matter.

2. More Efficient and Economical

Even though the cost per gram for a concentrate is higher than flower, you get much more bang for your buck because concentrates last much longer for the average consumer. Concentrates also have a longer shelf-life than flower. If kept in a cool, dark place like a refrigerator or freezer, your product could be good for months (though terpenes can degrade if unused for too long).

Try Concentrates
Here's why you should try cannabis concentrates if you're a cannabis consumer of legal age.

Generally, concentrates are much more discreet than using flower, simply because they are much less pungent. There is need to set up a dab rig, but using a simple dab pen will suffice and circumvent any delayed setup times.

3. Concentrates Provide Fast Relief

If you are a medical marijuana patient in pain, the last thing you want to do is wait anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to feel relief from a marijuana-infused edible. Flower delivers a quicker high, but still not as quickly as a concentrates. Plus, many concentrate consumers have reported that they experience a clearer, less foggy high than they experience with flower. The higher potency is also a boon for medical patients who may need to consume high doses of cannabis for relief.

4. It’s All About the Terpenes

Concentrates are stripped of plant matter through an extraction process, and what’s left over are  cannabinoids and terpenes, more than 100 of which have been found in cannabis plants. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that influence the flavor, aroma, and effects of cannabis strains.

A concentrate high in a common terpene like limonene, for example, could help to elevate mood, alleviate stress, ease depression and anxiety.

Concentrates can also deliver the “full spectrum” effect when extracted from the whole plant, where cannabis’ beneficial molecules, like CBD, THC, and terpenes, all come together to bring you the wide range of cannabis’ potentially ameliorative effects.

At first glance, concentrates can seem intimidating, and they are definitely not for novices. When looking to include concentrates as part of your cannabis consumption routine, make sure to speak with an experienced budtender to show you some concentrates good for newcomers, or ask a trusted canna-connoisseur to show you the ropes.


Do you enjoy cannabis concentrates? What kinds are your personal favorites? Share your opinions in the comments below.

Creative Writing and Cannabis: Does Being High Help or Harm Writers?

Does getting high help your writing? According to some anecdotal feedback, yes. However, it often comes with its own caveats that can derail the writing process. To better understand the matter, it’s vital to dive into both the information provided by data and the creative writing community taking part in some pot.

Studies on Marijuana’s Impact on Creativity and Writing High

There is little to no actual data linking cannabis and creativity. That said, you've likely heard at least some person along the way discuss how getting high helps them with the creative process. Turns out, that's a rather common response among smokers, even if they can't back it up.

A 2017 study out of Washington State University found that of the over 700 smokers and non-smokers they polled, cannabis smokers self-reported higher levels of creativity.

While possibly true, subjects weren't asked to produce any work, be it writing or otherwise, to prove their self-estimation. Smokers were also more likely to be extroverted and open to trying new experiences. So, consider that how you'd like.

Another 2017 study intended to focus on mood as well as creativity. The research, conducted at Humboldt State University, not only focused on pot's influence on the creative mind but also the notion that a depressed artist is more creative than one in good spirits.

Creativity
There isn't much scientific research on cannabis and creativity. photo credit

The study's researchers did not report a link between cannabis and creativity. That said, its conclusions did acknowledge heavy consumers having a higher lifetime creativity score. "Thus, with respect to the perspective that cannabis use increases creativity, we concluded this is only a perception for momentary creativity. However it is possible that heavy cannabis use is associated with increased creativity over lifetime (CAQ)," the report concluded.

A Hit or Miss Sort of Solution for Creative Writing

In our independent research while writing this article, most respondents said that they used cannabis to help free their minds from mental blocks or stimulate themselves in a similar process. "I've found that the insights I gain from the experience of getting high help me make sense of my world and then write about it," said speaker and entrepreneur Melissa Drake.

Ben Bryant has used cannabis on and off for decades. In the early '80s, Bryant was writing a screenplay called Warrior, influenced by Carlos Castaneda's books. When stuck writing, he'd reach for a joint made of his own homegrown pot. "When I was writing and got stuck, I’d have a couple of hits, and the mental logjam would dissipate," he explained.

However, Bryant found himself having to adhere to the cannabis version of "write drunk, edit sober." The screenwriter explained, "The resulting writing was always way too loquacious, as was I in conversation when high. So after breaking the block with the garrulous green and regaining my normal state I’d edit the verbose verbiage and proceed with my normal process."

Writing
Many writers have different opinions on writing while high. photo credit

Writers considering getting high should consider the project being undertaken, as Fashion Blogger and Copywriter Snezhina Piskova detailed. After four years of college and writing in the Netherlands left Piskova with distinct experiences between assignment and personal writing. Stoned assignment writing was not a pleasant combination, she recalled. “I tend to stress out about not having enough time, of failing, and of being judged, and this stress is all just too much for me to handle sometimes.”

On the contrary, when writing for personal gain, Piskova said her mind is in a different state. “Since I don’t have to answer to anybody, I can allow myself to smoke a joint and indulge in curious and interesting whims that pop in my head.” Piskova added, “I use [cannabis] as a means to more openly express myself and to see how wacky my imagination can get. In these moments, I can completely relax and go on autopilot.”

Does Marijuana Dosage Matter?

Dosage may be crucial when it comes to working high in the writing field. Steven Mike Voser, a freelance journalist and musician, found success in small applications. "At work, for example, I've found that a microdose just before I start writing an article can help me stay focused on that particular task," said Voser. On the other hand, large doses left Voser losing track of his work and anxious during presentations or meetings.

Like many of the writers who responded to this article, I have had mixed experiences as well. For me, I feel as if I catch a wave of creativity, sometimes even clarity when I first light up. Similar to Melissa Drake, I do often gain insights that may not have been as present beforehand. That clarity can often come as a rush of thoughts, sending me into a flurry of typing.

Cannabis
Be sure to experiment with dosage and strains to find what works best for you.

Often, the speed of that rush from my thoughts to my hands can make it extremely difficult to keep up. What usually ends up happening is I fall behind on typing down ideas, omitting key details or entire ideas in the process. Or, I’ll get sidetracked by one idea and go down a rabbit hole of researching and building one aspect out. Eventually, I’ll get tired and either want to smoke more or take a break, which often ends the writing for the time being.

If you find yourself in a situation like the one above, record your thoughts into your phone or a recorder. Doing so lets you dump out your thoughts as quickly as you can speak. You may end up with a wealth of ideas. Or, you may have something to have a laugh at when all is said and done.

Cannabis Affects Everyone Differently

Since there is minimal research out there surrounding cannabis and writing, it’s important to remember that marijuana affects everyone differently and that you might have a completely different experience than someone else. As evidenced by the varying perspectives from cannabis consumers above, people have different opinions on the effectiveness of marijuana as a creativity booster when writing.

The one consistent aspect when it comes to writing high is that your own personal relationship with cannabis plays a large role.

If you find cannabis to be a motivator that keeps you focused, writing high might be right up your alley. Conversely, if you get self-conscious, overwhelmed, or cloudy-headed when consuming marijuana, writing high could just as easily stall out your process. If you find writing high to be difficult or distracting, you may also want to do research and experimentation with other strains. Finding the right strain for you could be the key to achieving more productivity while high. Ultimately, it all depends on how you interact with cannabis personally and whether or not being high helps your creativity.

If your results are different than the ones described in this article, assess how cannabis makes you feel and the effect it has on your work. Remember that marijuana and its effects are far from one size fits all. Figure out how it works, or doesn’t, for your creative writing process and get to filling up those empty white pages.


Do you ever write while high? Do you feel it helps or harms your creative process? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Nick Morrison (license)

Yellow Leaves on Cannabis Plants: Tips to Fix Common Grow Issues

You've taken great care of your cannabis plants; you water them, feed them nutrient-rich foods, provide the ideal light cycle for their different developmental phases, and prune them just enough to promote light exposure and optimum growth. You've done everything right and yet your marijuana plants just don't look as lively as they should. Specifically, your cannabis plants are showing signs of stress through yellow leaves. Despite all the love and attention you've given them, they just aren't growing into the bountiful beauties you had hoped. 

Fear not fellow cannabis cultivators! Just because your cannabis leaves are turning yellow does not mean they are done-for. In fact, there are steps you can take right now to correct yellow cannabis leaves and prevent it from occurring again. But first, let's discuss why cannabis leaves turn yellow in the first place

Why Cannabis Leaves Turn Yellow

The most common reason plant leaves turn yellow is because of stress. Whether due to inadequate watering, excessive heat, or pest infestations, yellow leaves are a sign of sickly cannabis plants and must therefore be addressed as soon as possible. To understand the science behind this, we must first look at the contents of a typical leaf and its relationship to the plant’s overall health.

Leaves are made up of plant cells. Plant cells are made up of organelles called chloroplasts. These chloroplasts contain pigments that absorb different wavelengths of light. Though most of these pigments are green chlorophyll, other pigments are also involved. Most notable are the yellow and orange carotenoids that hide under the dominant chlorophyll.

Nitrogen Deficiency
Example of a cannabis plant experiencing nitrogen deficiency.

The roll of chlorophyll is to absorb sunlight and transform it into energy via a process called photosynthesis. When plants have ample access to resources, chlorophyll thrives. When plants are stressed, however, the chlorophyll begins to degrade revealing the yellow carotenoids below.

Note that carotenoids cannot directly transform light into energy via the photosynthetic pathway and must pass it onto chlorophyll to finish the job. Therefore, while a minor yellowing leaves will not stop photosynthesis, excessive or unaddressed yellowing can either stunt plant growth or kill the whole thing entirely.

Diagnosing and Curing Yellow Cannabis Leaves

If your marijuana leaves are turning yellow, don’t panic! This is just your plants’ way of telling you something is wrong. It is up to you to determine what that is so you can treat the problem without making it worse.

The first thing you should do when cannabis leaves start to turn yellow is to measure the pH of your grow medium (soil, water, rice hulls, expanded clay, etc.). That’s because an improper pH balance – whether too high or too low – can actually block nutrient absorption.

Watering Problems

After measuring and adjusting pH, take a look at your watering schedule. The most common cause of yellow leaves is either over- or under-watering. Plants that are over-watered will have leaves that seem swollen and droopy while under-watered plants (though much less common) will be thin and frail. Poor drainage can also contribute to overwatering so always grow your cannabis in pots with drain holes.

Nutrient Deficiencies

If the yellowing occurs primarily at the base of the plant, the issue is likely a nutrient deficiency. The most common nutrient deficiency in cannabis is nitrogen, though note that excessive nitrogen can also cause yellowing (plus curled, claw-like leaves). If the problem is caused by a deficiency, slowly increase the concentration of your cannabis-specific fertilizer until new growth appears. If the yellowing is caused by excessive nutrients, flush the root system with pure water then add a half-dose of your fertilizer instead. Magnesium deficiency, characterized by a yellowing around the leave’s green veins, is most commonly caused by an improper pH balance. Use magnesium supplements to correct this issue

Magnesium Deficiency
Example of a cannabis plant experiencing early-stage magnesium deficiency.

Iron deficiency can also cause yellow leaves, though this occurs on new growth only (old leaves remain bright green). Iron deficiencies are also caused by improper pH and can be remedied with iron-fortified fertilizers. When iron is given to deficient plants, the leaves should start to turn green beginning along the edges until the whole leaf is bright green.

Light Burn

If you notice yellowing toward the top of the plant (specifically, nearest the light source), your plants are likely suffering from light burn. Light burn can happen in temperature-controlled environments as easily as those in high-heat if the leaves get too close to the lights. We liken this to getting a sunburn on the ski slopes.

The best way to correct light burn is to move you plant away from your light source, usually between eight and 20 inches depending on the watt and lighting type.

Excessive Temperatures

Temperatures outside of the ideal range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit also risk discoloration and curl leaves. These oddities are most common in leaves toward the top of the plant and can easily be remedied with a fan (if too hot) or root insulation (if too cold). We also recommend growing plants off a cold cement or tile floor; use a milk crate or stool to raise them off the ground when necessary.

Pests

If your yellow leaves come with spots or bite marks, they’re probably infested with pests. Though you can often see the infestation, this is not always the case – a tell-tail sign (aside from the remnants of the buffet) is a plant that lacks vigor in addition to other symptoms associated with things like overwatering or poor air circulation.

Unfortunately, pests are perhaps the hardest condition to correct, so it’s best to avoid try and avoid them all together. To start, never bring plants or clones from an outside grow into your sanitary grow space and try to avoid entering your grow space directly from the outdoors. Always wash hands, cover your hair and avoid letting pets anywhere near your grow space.

Fungus gnats, which live in wet soil and feed off roots, are the most common pest in cannabis gardens. The best way to rid your garden of fungus gnats is to restrict watering until absolutely necessary (this prevents the gnats from laying eggs in the soil). A general best practice is to only water your plants when the top inch of soil is dry.

Growing your own marijuana is very rewarding, but it can be really nerve wracking, too, especially when those bright green leaves start turning a worrisome yellow. If your cannabis leaves are turning yellow, use these steps to stop the yellowing before it’s too late.


What do you do to fix yellow cannabis leaves? Share your feedback in the comments below.

Pre-Roll Joint Quality: How to Know What's Inside?

Stopping into your local dispensary for a pre-rolled joint is one of the greatest conveniences that cannabis legalization has offered. It’s cheap, easy, and perfect for a quick toke alone or with friends while you’re on your way to whatever fun you’re looking to have. It makes an amazing birthday gift and is equally great for any event, from concerts to summer barbeques.

However, it can be hard to know what’s inside that pre-roll even after you pop the top, unless you have some type of futuristic stoner technology, such as a cannabis X-Ray or MRI (Marijuana Rating Instrument). Scientists nowadays are all apparently too busy to invent such devices – probably researching climate change or teaching rats to mix baking soda and vinegar inside tiny volcano dioramas – but there are ways to tell the quality of your pre-roll before taking that first puff.

History of Pre-Rolls

Before getting into what’s actually in your pre-rolled joint, we should begin with a short history of pre-rolls and how they gained their less-than-stellar reputation. We would all like to believe that each dispensary rolls their joints with top shelf bud, using the same love and care that your friend Molly did back in college so that you could all have a good time together. But this is the real world and dispensaries are less like your friend Molly and more like your weed dealer, Andy, who was hella cool but also in it to make money.

To that end, most pre-rolls are basically produced as a way to squeeze a little bit more profit out of each marijuana harvest.

Usually, they’ll contain the lower-tiered cannabis shake, the bottom ends of jars, or even ground up trim. These are then mixed together, sometimes from different strains, and poured into pre-rolled cones that are then machine shaken and twisted off by hand. All this to say, there’s a reason most people consider pre-rolls the culinary equivalent of Ballpark Hot Dogs.

This isn’t to say that all pre-rolls are necessarily bad or that some aren’t made with care. The shake in a pre-roll may be as potent as the flower it comes from, but it’s just more likely to have been dried out and will have lost a lot of its kick.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are some truly fire pre-rolled joints out there, however, they won’t be the ones that you find for bargain marijuana prices. You are not always going to have to settle for some low quality joints and the potential headaches, paranoia, or sore throats. So, how do you know if you’re buying a quality pre-roll? Here are some tips.

Ask Your Budtender What’s in the Pre-Rolls

Any trustworthy budtender knows that their tips and their good name are on the line when questions of cannabis are brought to the fore. They would rather dash themselves on the rocks from the nearest cliff, no matter how far the drive, than lead you astray with any sort of false representation of their wares. Or they may just be working a low-wage retail job because they like weed.

Pre-Roll
A budtender should know what's actually inside a dispensary's pre-rolls.

Either way, your budtender is always a good place to start when you have any questions about your product. They’ll either have tried the pre-roll themselves, or have a general idea of the feedback from any coworker or customer who’s smoked them previously. While not every budtender is the best informed or the most committed to their job and the customers they serve, a simple question such as “How is this pre-roll?” should be easy enough to answer.

Check Who Makes the Pre-Roll

There is a demand for quality pre-rolls and cannabis companies are beginning to rise to that occasion. Several producers specialize entirely in pre-rolls and are putting out quality joints whose contents are the exact same finely curated flower as they sell in canisters, bags, and jars. Even if the pre-roll isn’t being made by a specialty company or wholesale brand, most high-quality grows will still put out joints as well with comparable quality to their flower. If it’s coming from a grower, or a company who is banking their financial success on pre-rolls, it’s a safe bet that it’ll be decent.

You Get What You Pay For

Look, there are some real diamond-in-the-rough pre-roll joints out there. Sometimes you’ll come across a nice five dollar pre-roll that is so terpene rich and potent that you don’t even have to hold a flame to it. The light shining down on it is so brilliant that the end will spontaneously combust.

However, five bucks is five bucks, and if that’s what you’re spending then you can’t really be expecting too much out of your pre-roll besides getting you stoned in a cheap, convenient, and mobile way. The same can be said for penny joints being offered as promotional products from some dispensaries. They’re making their money somehow, and it’s not through acts of charity.

Pennies
When it comes to pre-roll quality, you get what you pay for. photo credit

On the other hand, if you’re buying a quality pre-roll or a pack of them for twenty dollars or more, you can be pretty certain you’ll be having a much better experience. Charging a premium price for a pre-roll is a producer’s way of telling you that you’ll be back for another soon. If your pre-rolls come in a tin or well-designed packaging, that’s another tip that they’re putting their money into quality. You can also be pretty certain you’ll have a better experience if the pre-roll is strain specific. A Gorilla Glue or Blue Haze pre-roll will generally deliver what it promises more than a “house blend.”

The Nose Knows

Pop the top of your pre-roll if it’s not sealed and take a whiff. If it’s grade-A cannabis, you’ll know it from the rich blend of terpenes and fresh, dank aroma. If you’re getting a hearty blend of pine, lemon, lavender, cloves, diesel, berry, or any of the other common scents, you know it’s good.

If you’re having a hard time placing the smell besides that it smells like weed (or if it smells like hay), then it’s probably a little dried out and not the best of the batch.

Another scent to notice is if it’s especially woodsy, smelling like bark or a campfire. This tells you that there’s probably stems ground up and mixed in with the flower. Synthetic smells are also something to watch out for, since they mean pesticides were used in the harvest.

Of course, there is a middle ground between buying a cheap pre-roll and tossing down extra for a premium joint. Our elders, and their elders before them could roll a decent joint with nothing but paper and some torn cardboard for a filter tip. There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same and plenty of YouTube videos to help you along. Buy a gram of quality weed, crumble it up into your paper (or better yet, use a grinder), and roll that sucker up and you’re good to go. It may be a little less convenient, but you’ll always be certain of what you’re getting, and you’ll have that sense of accomplishment that all your hard work paid off.


What are your thoughts on pre-rolls? Do you love them, hate them, or have indifference toward them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Can You Get Sick from Smoking Marijuana with Friends or Strangers?

Not to harsh the mellow of any smoke sessions going on, but let’s be blunt: pot smoking can be a pretty gross activity. This isn’t a condemnation of anyone out there, and it sure isn’t knocking pot. The truth is, mouths are nasty. They contain an array of bacteria, fungi, viruses and quite a bit more. Thankfully, the antibodies in us keep these elements at bay. However, that isn’t the case when we’re sharing joints, pipes and the like when consuming cannabis.

A 2019 study by Moose Labs revealed that smoking can expose you and others to high levels of bacteria. So much so, that the researchers determined that a marijuana pipe had almost 1.5 times more bacteria than a public toilet seat. The report highlighted critical possible germ exposures, including aspergillosis, pseudomonas, flavobacterium, streptococcus species and E. coli.

It should be noted that the lab study was conducted by a mouthpiece brand looking to verify their own product's efficacy. That aside, the results are still worth considering. With scores of smokers around the world, what is one to do? Should we go back to smoking solo? Do we need individual joints? Before doing anything too rash, let’s consider the facts.

How Do Germs Spread?

Hate to break it to anyone fearful of germs, but you’re going to run into them. Even if you stopped smoking with friends, you'd end up exposed to bacteria in some way or another. Typical exposure to germs happens during an everyday activity such as:

Common Activities for Germ Exposure:

  • Encountering or being in the area of someone feels unwell
  • Touching public or personal objects that several people come in contact with (handrails, doors, money, phones, keyboards, etc.)
  • Pre- and post-eating
  • Handling food and pre-made items
  • Touching garbage

In short, it is virtually impossible to avoid germs. However, you can do your part to minimize its spread. Simple steps like covering your mouth when coughing, sneezing, yawning, etc. are immense bits of help. As is thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom, coughing, sneezing or handling garbage. Whenever doing any of these actions, reach for the soap or hand sanitizer shortly after.

Are Germs Spread While Smoking Cannabis Any Worse?

The germs you run the risk of encountering when smoking marijuana are the same as any other interaction. However, the exposure does appear to be higher when sharing a joint or pipe. As such, you may be giving yourself a higher chance of developing conditions, including:

Potential Illnesses from Cannabis Smoking in Groups:

  • Influenza (The flu)
  • Meningitis
  • Mononucleosis
  • Norovirus
  • Oral herpes
  • Pharyngitis (Sore throat)

Most of the discussion to date has centered on anecdotal findings. In some instances, experts have reported that they’ve never encountered any specific cases from people sharing pipes. Some have likened the risk associated with sharing pipes to be on the level with kissing the person next to you.

In the end, many believe that germ exposure and risk comes down to saliva. Any moisture from the mouth can expose others to germs.

So, try not to soak the piece with your spit. Practice the fine art of lightly touching your mouth to the joint or piece of glass. And don’t believe the hype around torching the end to rid it of any germs. It’s ineffective. 

What Does The Science Say?

Germaphobes may have every right to get the willies over sharing their pipes or joints. But, they could also be missing out on the potentially positive qualities cannabis provides. This isn't some newfound belief, either. Cannabis has been part of ancient herbalist regimens for thousands of years. Much more recently, lab studies have suggested that cannabis could play a role in fighting off infections and "superbugs."

A 2008 American Chemical Society report stated that five cannabinoids -- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabinol and cannabichromene, all showed the ability to kill germs against drug-resistant strains like Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Joints
Studies show that several cannabinoids actually help kill germs.

In 2017, a study found that "contact with cannabinoid compounds can affect different types of infectious agents, by allowing their replication or by eliminating them." The results supported the growing and ongoing belief that the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in stabilizing many of the body's functions, with certain cannabinoids having a substantial effect in the process.

Studies in the area have continued to come in as the medical interest in cannabis continues to grow. In 2019, Australian researchers published their findings, which found that CBD killed all of the strains of bacteria it was introduced against. Such bacteria included those often resistant to traditional antibiotics. Further research is required. However, for now, there appears to be enough evidence that pro- and anti-smoking advocates can weigh in on smoke sessions and their germs.

How Do You Protect Yourself from Germs During a Smoke Session?

The top rule is, don’t smoke with a group if you’re sick. Doing anything else is selfish and reckless to those around you. If you insist on taking part in the group, smoke from a separate bowl or joint. While the cannabis community emphasizes sharing, this is one time you can make an exception to the rule.

Sick
If you know you're sick, don't smoke cannabis with your group of friends. photo credit

You can take additional measures if no one is sick, but you still aren’t comfortable with the germs. Like Moose Labs suggests, an individual mouthpiece can work. Though, most don’t carry those around. You could also try using rubbing alcohol after each hit. Though, you’ll need to let the piece dry before using again to ensure the process is taking effect. Time will add up quickly there.

Otherwise, you don’t have many options. You are always going to run into germs when smoking in groups. And yes, the process will likely result in a higher risk of germ exposure than most other activities. On the other hand, the potential benefits of consuming cannabis could outweigh any likely negative effects. Since the jury is still out on this, consider taking precautionary steps, but it’s nothing to overreact about.


Do you try to keep your smoke session germ free? Share your tips and tricks on to keep things sanitary in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema (license)

Are CBD Drug Tests Real?

It seems like you can’t go anywhere nowadays without running into some store selling the non-intoxicating cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD), THC’s fame-stealing sister. Vapes, tinctures, gummies, and topicals are showing up in places you wouldn’t expect, like the coffee shop, in your cocktail, or oddly, your neighborhood gas station. Reported to help with many conditions like anxiety and pain, CBD continues to take way more than its 15 minutes of fame. 

But exactly what is CBD is and how much, if any, THC it contains, remains a mystery to many consumers (and is sometimes unknown or withheld by CBD companies – more on that later). And even as more states enact adult-use cannabis laws, many employers continue to test employees and prospective employees for the THC metabolite, THC-COOH. This has resulted in some people who believe they are taking CBD only fail drug panels. Now, CBD is not supposed to show up on a drug panel like THC. So, are CBD-specific drug tests a thing?

Drug Testing and CBD

Drug panels typically come in three forms: five, eight, and ten panel tests. The large majority of employers use five panel tests, but if you work for the federal government, are a medical professional, or work in law enforcement, you may be required to take the ten panel test. 

Five panel tests, generally in the form of urine screenings, are looking for these substances:

Panel Drug Test Information:

  • THC 
  • Opiates like morphine, heroine, and codeine
  • Amphetamines such as MDMA (ecstasy), and methamphetamine
  • Cocaine (crack)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Note that CBD is not included in the five panel test, nor is it part of the eight or ten panel. This is because CBD is a distinctly separate chemical from THC, and drug tests, as they exist now, do not test for CBD.

Want to know if you can fail a drug test by consuming CBD? Follow this link to learn more.

However, hemp-derived CBD, which is what is available to purchase online or at your local drug store, frequently contains trace amounts of THC. If you have been taking CBD only and test positive on a drug panel, you’ve definitely been consuming – most likely accidentally – at least a little bit of THC.

Increased Availability of CBD

When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, advocates everywhere were rejoicing. After more than 80 years of prohibition, the hemp plant and hemp-derived CBD would ostensibly have all the benefits of being considered a commodity under federal law and all the legal protections that entails. But the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) quickly said, not so fast.

5 panel drug test
Some CBD frequently contains trace amounts of THC, which can result in testing positive in a drug test. photo credit

While the FDA continues to sort out the details for the regulation of CBD, purveyors of the compound continue to sell it online, in stores, and in restaurants and bars, hoping that the FDA will look the other way. And some not so savory CBD players who do not do their due diligence of testing for things contaminants, heavy metals, and yes, levels of THC, are putting consumers in harm’s way. 

If you have a job where regular drug panels are routine, or are looking for work where drug testing is a condition of employment, not knowing exactly how much THC is in your CBD could be a very bad thing indeed. 

So, are CBD-specific drug tests a thing? No, not really. It is definitely not part of a standard five panel drug test, and your employer would have to specifically ask for CBD to be added (and then cover the expense). Since CBD does not get you high or cause work impairment, the likelihood of CBD showing up on a drug test is very low indeed.


Have you or someone you know been drug tested for CBD? If so, why? Share your comments and experiences below.

Photo Credit: Cover Photo (license)

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