what are they and why do they matter?
Terpenes are responsible for a plants smell and taste. Not exclusive to cannabis, terpenes are found in all plants. They act as an attractant for helpful bugs like bees or as a repellent for pest's like aphids. Different terpenes have different effects on the human body. For example lavenders terpenes tend to have anti-anxiety effect while pine enhances memory and is antibacterial. In cannabis however terpenes are rather important. They play a big roll in the overall effect a strain will take on your body. Terpenes can boost the effect of cannabis, otherwise known as the "entourage effect." Ever gotten crazy high off a lower THC strain? That's probably because of the terpenes present in that plant. Each terpene profile is unique, no one plant will smell, taste, or smoke the same unless grown from clones in the same environment. That means your favorite strain will feel a little different from different climates/growers. Familiar with essential oils? They are simply the separation of plant matter from the terpenes used for anxiety, stress, sickness, nausea and more for centuries. Some extraction methods used today strip cannabis of it's terpenes. Other companies are adding synthetic terpenes to boost aroma and flavor. After reading this you'll appreciate the blast of scents coming from the next jar of bud you open. Below is the terpene wheel further explaining the effects of many of our favorite plants/fruits. Take a look, or a sniff...
The do's and don'ts when buying bud....
A lot has changed since weed was legalized. From old timers to fresh 21ers going from the "black market" to proper, legal purchasing means leaving improper habits behind. Here are some tips I gathered across the web and from our dispensary staff to make your visit easier.
420 is the biggest and most looked forward to bash for dispensaries and cannabis lovers. No need to question a such a happy holiday. But recently I was asked what the significance of the numbers 4,2,0 are? So I did some research.
Many rumors have spread, from mathematical equations, conspiracy theories, Adolf Hitlers Birthday, or police codes. All of which are false. Turns out "that a group of men who called themselves 'the Waldos' went to high school in San Rafael in California during the 1970s, when the Grateful Dead lived there and the hippie culture reigned supreme. One day they heard a story from a friend about a patch of weed being grown by a U.S. Coast Guard member near the coastal town of Point Reyes. The Coast Guard member was too scared to go harvest it, so the Waldos decided to go on a treasure hunt for the marijuana patch. They decided to meet at a Louis Pasteur statue near campus at 4:20 p.m. to accommodate their school schedules, before heading off in search of the green gold, according to 420Waldos.com, a website set up by the high-school group of friends. The Grateful Dead lived in San Rafael at the same time as the Waldos, and the group sometimes hung out in "deadhead" circles, even lingering backstage after shows. Gradually, their terminology spread through the Grateful Dead community into the wider stoner culture, Bloom said." (source) The term "420" caught the most wind in concert culture when fliers would be handed out inviting people to light up at 4:20 on 4/20.
Working in a dispensary I get a lot of questions about topicals and their effectiveness. Do they work? How do they work? Do they get you high?
I personally have had a lot of success using topicals. From relieving my tennis elbow to taking the edge off a splitting headache. There is just about everything out there now from THC massage oils, to CBD essential oils, patches, lube, bath bombs and more. Today I'll break down how it works, what it works best for.
First of all topicals are best used for localized pain and areas of irritation. I usually recommend topicals for people dealing with arthritis, muscle spams, nerve pain, or skin issues like psoriasis, hives, etc. Topicals work by attaching to the cannabinoids receptors in our skin and nerves. But does it get you high? No, topicals don't reach the bloodstream "For THC to have a psychoactive effect, it needs to enter the bloodstream and pass the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain." Transdermal patches are however designed to enter the bloodstream and dose your medicine slowly. another common question is will THC show up in a UA? No. Some brands choose to decarboxylate (activate) the THC while others use raw THCa. The effects last 1-4 hours depending on potency and severity of pain. Topicals have also been used for insect bites, gout, menstrual cramps, migraines and more. Hemp CBD topicals are becoming more and more common and are legal to buy in any store. If you have ever heard of RSO or Rick Simpson oil, it too was used topically by Rick himself in a successful attempt to relieve his skin cancer. Topicals make a great gift for anyone, we all get aches and pain every now and again. It's also great for traveling and for those times you can't medicate with bud or concentrates. Here at the Healing Green we offer 10% off topicals every single Tuesday.
What are cannabinoids? How do they work with our body?
Many plants contain cannabinoids. "The marijuana plant produces as many as 113 different cannabinoids. Among these cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most prevalent and the most well-understood. Marijuana’s cannabinoids are produced and stored within the trichomes (crystals) of the plant. These trichomes give marijuana flowers their shiny and sparkly appearance. Most strains of marijuana sold today are cultivated with higher levels of THC. THC is known for its psychoactive properties, and is the reason you feel “high” after ingesting marijuana. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and actually works to counteract the high. CBD also has numerous benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. While THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are many other cannabinoids in marijuana that offer health benefits. Some of these include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC)." (source) "Cannabinoid receptors, located throughout the body, are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. Cannabinoid receptors are of a class of cell membrane receptors in the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. As is typical of G protein-coupled receptors, the cannabinoid receptors contain seven transmembrane spanning domains. Cannabinoid receptors are activated by three major groups of ligands: endocannabinoids, produced by the mammillary body; plant cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol, produced by the cannabis plant); and synthetic cannabinoids (such as HU-210). All of the endocannabinoids and plant cannabinoids are lipophilic, such as fat soluble compounds." (source)
Alternative Plants Containing Cannabinoids:
"According to a 1976 study published by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. Further, there are countless varieties that fall into further classifications within the species Cannabis Sativa.”
However, depending on how theplant is grown and utilized will determine which term is correct. For instance, the term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes). These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties. Hemp, on the other hand, is used to describe a Cannabis Sativaplant that contains only trace amounts of THC. Hemp is a high-growing plant, typically bred for industrial uses such as oils and topical ointments, as well as fiber for clothing, construction, and much more. Only products made from industrial hemp (less than 0.3% THC) are legal to sell, buy, consume, and ship. This single factor (0.3%) is how most people distinguish between what is classified as “hemp” and what is classified as “cannabis." (source) Hemp CBD products are finding their way across shelves from grocery stores to pet stores to hair salons. Hemp CBD products allow you to reap the healing benefits of CBD without the high or legal requirements of it's sister Cannabis. Hemp would be my first recommendation because of it's potency.
"The medicinal uses of Echinacea are well known and far reaching. This plant can do a little bit of everything–from fighting the common cold to relieving symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, arthritis, migraines, and other ailments. Funny thing, these are many of the same conditions that are eased with marijuana. Turns out, some species of echinacea contain compounds that engage the ECS sort of like cannabinoids. More specifically, they contain cannabimimetics. These herbal cannabimimetics are a bit different from those found in the marijuana plant, but they engage the endocannabinoid system nonetheless. These compounds are known as N-alkyl amides (NAAs). The cannabimimetics in Echinacea interact with the CB2 receptor. This receptor is largely responsible for regulating the immune system and inflammatory response. In cannabis, psychoactive THC is the primary stimulator of the CB2 receptor. THC’s affinity with this particular receptor is partly why it is expected to be so effective in treating inflammation-related disorders. Oxeye plants (Heliopsis helianthoides) are also known to have these types of cannabimimetics." (source)
"Some marijuana strains like Hash Plant have a peppery taste and aroma. The reason for this? They contain high levels of a particular terpene called beta-caryophyllene (BCP). A terpene is an aroma molecule that’s found in plant essential oils. Unsurprisingly, this distinct flavor is also found heavily in black pepper. Fairly recently it was discovered that BCP actually functions as a cannabinoid. Like many of the other plant compounds listed in this article, BCP has a binding affinity with the CB2 receptor. Research has suggested that the anti-inflammatory compounds of this terpene make it therapeutically valuable for treating conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis. Other research has indicated that BCP can increase the efficacy of anticancer drugs. Though, these trials are preliminary and not conclusive."
"The Kava plant (Piper methysticum) has grown in popularity for its anti-anxiety and calming effects. Kava root has been used traditionally by Pacific island cultures who make a medicinal drink from the roots. The concoction is thought to provide sedative, pain relieving, and euphoric effects. These effects are primarily produced by compounds called kavalactones. One kavalactone in particular, yangonin, interacts with the CB1 receptor. This is the same binding place for THC and is most predominant in the central nervous system. This interaction may be partly responsible for the anxiolytic effects of the plant."
"Rosemary, black pepper, and cannabis all contain a compound called beta-caryophyllene (BCP). BCP is a terpene that acts like a cannabinoid. Terpenes are flavor and aroma molecules found in plants. BCP is what gives all three of these plants a peppery punch.
BCP has quite a bit of therapeutic potential. The terpene engages CB2 receptors, which are predominant in the immune system. Recent research has also shown that BCP has antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. When combined with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, the terpene may help heal stomach ulcers and aid addiction recovery."
"Many of these plants contain compounds that directly engage cannabinoid receptors. Yet, other plants contain compounds that act like nonpsychoactive CBD. CBD has many functions in the body. One of these functions is blocking an enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids (enzyme FAAH). Endocannabinoids are the body’s own THC. Preventing the breakdown of endocannabinoids increases the amount of them in your system. This can cause a cascade of effects, including mood stabilization. Compounds in Maca (Lepidium meyenii) called N-benzylamines block FAAH. This improves endocannabinoid tone, boosting the system overall."
So while Cannabis and Hemp are both potent and magical plants with many healing properties they aren't alone. Try maca in your next smoothie, juice some rosemary with lemon, cucumber and apple. The best part about plant medicine is that they are non addictive and non toxic. If you have a loved one who is interested in CBD's direct them to this blog or tell them to check out their local hemp cbd selection!
It's almost hard to keep up these days, with new and improved products coming out weekly. We have all heard the term "concentrate" and some of us have tried it a time or two but what is it exactly? Simply put, concentrates are extracts of the cannabis plant that result in a highly concentrated, sticky matter. The different names like sap, shatter, crumble, wax, honey, etc refers to the concentrates texture and purity. Some concentrates are better compatible with dabbing while some are better with a vape pen. There are even edible forms of concentrate that are put into tinctures. Ask you budtender what's best for your preferred method.
Now down to the process...
BHO: BHO is made by blasting bud in a tube with a pressurized solvent. While the same process can be done using propane or hexane they all result in a little different flavor, purity and consistency. The problem with butane is that it is toxic to the human body. At the end of the extraction process the BHO is required to be evaporated from the product. Unfortunately many people attempt to make BHO resulting concentrates that can be detrimentally harmful to your body. In Oregon it is required that concentrates are tested for solvents and impurities so do yourself a favor and only buy BHO from dispensaries and not your neighbor Chad.
CO2: Is an environmentally friendly way to extract many things like cannabis, perfumes, tobacco and so on. It is also less dangerous than the BHO method eliminating the potential for explosions. CO2, under heat and pressure can be converted from a gas to a liquid, to a solid. The CO2 is passed through the cannabis extracting it's terpenes and trichomes and then sent through a separator. The CO2 naturally evaporates at room temperature making CO2 concentrates a more tasty, healthy choice.
Rosin: A solvent-less extract made using heat and parchment paper. The bud is pressed between the paper and exposed to medium heat for various amounts of time.
Kief: The fine dust or trichomes on the cannabis buds are sifted from the plant using drums, machines or grinders. This is the most unaltered method of smoking higher concentrates of THC.
Hash: Is extracted many ways. Most commonly in ice water where the trichome glands of the plant fall off and are isolated and gathered to form globs of hash.
RSO: Better known as "Rick Simpson Oil." RSO is extracted with heat and alcohol. It can be ingested or used topically. Made famous by Rick Simpson himself for resolving his his skin cancer by applying it topically.
Winterization: This is done after a concentrate is extracted. The product is washed in alcohol then froze for 48 hours. This process is sometimes done once or repeated to purify the oil. The downside is many terpenes are eliminated. The upside is the product is more pure and concentrated. I wouldn't recommend it simply because terpenes have many health benefits themselves. This can be especially damaging to high CBD products.
While smoking in any form will take a toll on the lungs I would suggest avoiding concentrates that are made with solvents such as butane, propane, alcohol and so on. Rosin, kief and hash are the most natural process's with CO2 coming in second. I would also suggest to concentrate lovers to try vaping. Vaporizing burns concentrates below the temperature of combustion but high enough to extract the THC/CBD. This creates a cleaner, less harsh smoke. Another hot tip when it comes to smoking flower or joints is to use a hemp wick so that you avoid the inhalation of BHO from a lighter flame.