Tag Archives: cannabis

Synthetic Cannabis and its Dangers

K2, spice, or whatever term you’ve heard to describe synthetic cannabis products, have absolutely nothing at all in common with natural marijuana and the chemicals that the plant produces.  A few years back, it was normal to hear about the drug being sold at convenience stores and the crazy effects it had on the people who chose to smoke it.  On shelves, they were simply labeled “not for human consumption” and sold legally as an herbal blend with unknown synthetic compounds sprayed on top.  None of these chemicals are present in cannabis and were constantly tweaked in order to avoid the expanding list of illegal drugs.  The short-term and long-term effects of the drugs sprayed onto these products have not been tested and remain unknown.  These compounds grew in popularity, largely as a result of the drug testing practices in our country.  The youth are the largest percentage of users of spice and are under the impression that it is similar to marijuana, allowing them to pass drug tests for probation, school, parents, etc.

The reason these drugs are classified and known as synthetic cannabis is that they simply bond to the same cannabinoid receptors that weed does.  HU-210, one of the prevalent compounds in spice products, is 100 to 800 times more potent than natural THC.  This is not to mention it is a single chemical by itself and isn’t balanced out by the presence of CBD or any other natural cannabinoids.  The negative physical effects of these types of chemicals include symptoms as extreme as kidney failure and dangerously high blood pressure.  Whoever markets these harmful chemicals as synthetic weed and legal highs is doing an enormous amount of damage to the community.  Attracting a customer base by selling this poison as “man-made” marijuana has destroyed lives and even killed a few this past month in the state of Illinois.

While it’s great that the years of gas station sales are over, the drug is still being sold by dealers on the street.  In Illinois, four people died this past month due to uncontrolled bleeding from the eyes, ear, mouth, as well as internal bleeding.  Officials are saying this likely is a result of the presence of rat poison in the spice.  Spice that seized from two dealers in the same area of the deaths was tested and came back positive for brodifacoum.  This substance interferes with the body’s ability to blood clot, causing serious amounts of blood loss.  While these people probably died from something added to synthetic cannabis, don’t think for a minute “untainted” spice is in anyway safe.  The psychotic state of mind that is induced by these drugs is not something anyone should want to experience.  On top of dangerous physical side effects, users easily get addicted.  Many users ignore the reports of internal bleeding and continue to use because of dependence.  The Illinois Department of Health says the cases of k2 abuse continue to pour in throughout this month.  These drugs are even more dangerous than many of the traditional controlled substances available on the black market.  It seems the semi-legality of these drugs is fooling people to believe that they are somewhat authentic.

Hopefully this is isn’t the beginning of another deadly trend like the opioid/fentanyl epidemic that’s spread across the country. The best way to minimize more new users from using is to spread factual information about these synthetic drugs to as many people and children as possible.  It needs to be associated with many of the same negative consequences addictive drugs like meth and heroin have on a users health and life.

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Experiencing Florida’s Cannabis Culture

This past week I was lucky enough to escape the never-ending 6 month winter here in Michigan and visit one of my favorite destinations, the sunshine state.  From my past travels I came to the conclusion that a vacation isn’t really the complete package until you’re able to experience some of the best local flavors.  I knew that the possibility of smoking without any existing connections in the area could be a challenge, and decided to bring some great lakes ganja along for the journey.  Even though I’m a daily smoker, I did not bring enough to meet my usual consumption. It was just one of the strategies to help me stay under the radar.  Being conservative with my medicine was not really a problem because almost immediately my tolerance had drastically dropped.  There was a constant temptation to burn the stash quickly because of perfect weather and a community with a very relaxing environment.

It didn’t take me long to cross paths with another smoker who was also a medical marijuana patient in Florida’s program.  While out shooting hoops and hitting my vape pen, another basketball player joined the court and started shooting around with me.  He acknowledged the vape cartridge, and to my surprise also told me he had even brought his own along.  After hitting the “sherbert” flavored cartridge, I was in shock.  Never had I hit something so tasty that still packed a strong punch when it came to potency.  It was better than any of the countless brands I have tried from the dispensaries here.  The medial marijuana producers in the state have really done well with what they are working with.  Being limited to strictly producing non smokable forms of the plant allowed them to master the process of producing high quality medicine in vapor form.  At that point I felt comfortable asking for some direction on where to find some dank buds.  To my surprise the first person I met there was down to help me out.  I felt pretty lucky considering how sketchy it can be for dealers to deal outside their main circle.

When it came to the buds themselves, I was able to secure a batch of some mango kush.  The bag appeal was not too bad although noticeably different from what I’m use to seeing in Michigan.  While the buds were covered in orange hairs and pretty dense, they lacked that light green color and were not coated in trichomes.  I was not about to complain though as my new friend had gone out of his ways and it looked decent.  The flavor was surprisingly fruity and it burned really well.  It didn’t pack as strong of a punch as the joints I had brought along, but it definitely was a nice relief to my diminishing supply.  The price was higher then what I would pay at home, but I’m sure if I sticked around for a while and made some connections, I could secure comparable pricing.  The same goes for the quality of the bud.  I know people have top shelf medicine down south, it’s just not as prevalent and accessible.

From my short time there I met several consumers, and even caught some wiffs of dank while walking around the neighborhood.  Just as many people seem to smoke, but in a more discreet manner.  With not many people enrolled in the medical marijuana program, and those enrolled not allowed to have buds, there is a greater threat of police enforcement.  While I was able to find a connection relatively easy, I think it came down to getting really lucky.  With some of the country’s nicest beaches and weather its a trade-off when it comes to the state’s accessibility to weed.  If you plan on visiting, I would suggest bringing some of your locally grown weed along for the ride and not to plan on having a lucky encounter such as mine.  I would also definitely recommend trying the vape cartridges produced there if given the chance, I guarantee they will not disappoint.

 

Cannabis Drying Technique

In order to grow the best quality medicine, you need to have an understanding of the techniques growers have been using for decades to dry their harvests.  Nobody wants to put 3 plus months of effort and investment into a beautiful crop that will not burn or taste right due to poor drying technique.  There is far too much at stake to rush the process or not research what methods work best for your precious flowers.  Just like the cultivation process, there are many different ways to accomplish positive results.  Whether you decide to whole plant dry, trim when you harvest, or some sort of combination, with the right technique the drying stage will go smoothly and you’ll be left with some top shelf buds that are ready to cure.

The method that has brought the most pleasing results to my harvests, is to trim each branch as you go before placing them on hangers.  This is my favorite method because not only has it brought great results, but it makes the trimming process easier as leaves and stems are easier to remove when the plant is fresh.   Once all the small leaves harden and dry up into the buds, it becomes very difficult to get stems without removing parts of the flowers as well.  When you are dealing with large yields, trimming is enough work on its own so there is no reason to make the process more tedious then it has to be.

In the drying area your nipples should be hard because you’ll need a cool dark and well ventilated space.  It is definitely important to have a fan circulating the air around the buds but you do not want to have the fan blowing directly on them.  The buds will dry up much faster and have the potential of being too crispy and breaking up into dust when you grind it.   In these environmental conditions the drying stage should take around 4-5 days.  Another good way to verify that they are actually ready to begin curing is to break one of the branches.  If it snaps clean then it’s already too dry and you left them hanging too long but if you break it and it fractures slightly without much resistance that’s the sweet spot.  Getting it down inside the correct time frame is so key because curing too early leaves the possibility of molding out your due to trapped moisture.  Taking them down too late will also make buds lose the sticky feel connoisseurs are looking for.

Timing and using your best judgement on buds appearance/feel is essential to maximizing your product’s potential.  I don’t think people weigh the importance of the drying stage and treat it as a minimal stage in the cultivation process instead of a determining one.  While the method of drying can change, the drying environment can not so don’t settle for using drying racks or not properly controlling/ventilating the designated drying space.  I truly wonder how much of the lower shelf medicine available was actually grown professionally but ended up how it did due to poor processing techniques.

 

Using Tents vs. an Open Grow Room

One of the many decisions that you will have to make as a cannabis cultivator is how exactly you want to use the available space at your disposal.  If you have a bedroom or basement that can be transformed into a cultivation facility, should you purchase and put up a bunch of separate tents or just use the space as it is?  I would like to say that it’s a straightforward answer and everyone should be using tents but like most things in life each option has it’s benefits.

To start off, lets go over why I have used grow tents in all of my medical marijuana grows.  In my situation space has always been a constraint when it comes to producing the amount of plants that I would like to.  If you only have one room that you can dedicate to your garden there is no reason why you shouldn’t be using tents unless you’re really short on cash for equipment.  By adding tents you can have multiple stages of growth going on all contained and controlled separately.  This is a huge advantage because if you have grown cannabis in the past you know it takes a minimum of 3 months for the entire process from plant to harvest.  If you didn’t buy any tents and didn’t go through all the work of separating your room into a bunch of individual sections, your entire garden will be in the same growth stage.  To trigger flowering requires that there is only 12 hours of light per day, so if you want to have different growth stages you have to block the light from entering the flowering area.  In this business it’s all about the turnaround and if you can have another tent right behind your flowering one, there will be many more harvests in the same amount of time.

Tents are great for more then just separating the light cycles from the different areas of growth.  They also make containing the scent of your buds much more manageable than an open room full of skunky scents.  Adding a carbon filter to the air that is trapped inside will make it near impossible for uncleaned air to exit the tent.  In addition, all tents that I have installed also have hanging poles on the top making it easy to hang fans, lights, and carbon filters without any extra equipment.

If tents are so great then why do so many people still opt to go with the open grow room?  The most likely scenario where you would see rooms with no tents is in warehouses full of 5,000-10,000 plants.  If you are going to be producing on a large scale then using tents is going to be a waste of resources and just more unnecessary costs that you don’t need.  People that have multiple rooms can do the same separation I spoke of before, but on a much larger scale and without tents.  Rooms can be climate controlled just as easy as a tent so that is not an issue either.  When it comes to smell, the warehouse cultivation centers in recreational states don’t have to worry as much as most home growers with neighbors.  Hanging all your equipment and keeping plants of different heights at the appropriate distance from lighting will just take some extra creative designing on your part but still makes much more sense than installing a bunch of separate tents.

For those that grow on a small to medium sized scale at home,  I would highly suggest using tents to get the most money out of the same amount of time.  There is no doubt in my mind that it’s possible to grow high quality buds without containing your grow inside tents, but at the end of the day you might just have less bud and a stinky house.

 

 

 

Migraine Headaches and Cannabis Treatment

Everyone has heard that a joint helps the day after you have a hangover and the worst headache.  This actually can be applied to those of us who suffer from the physical pain involved in migraines headaches.  I thought it would be helpful if I shared my own personal experience and how I’ve found what type of cannabis treatment works best to treat the horrible side effects from migraines.  To this day, I’m still experimenting with the different available plant forms and strains to see what works best for not only the pain but the horrible nausea  that can accompany them.  The funny thing is that even if I took any of the many popular strains that are being grown today, it would  still work far better than the pharmaceutical drugs I got prescribed or could have got prescribed had I continued traditional treatment.  If you are in a similar situation and all you have tried are painkillers or other drugs with negative side effects, try whatever form of marijuana consumption you would be most comfortable with obtaining.  There are many places even in the United States still today that don’t make it easy to find specific strains to fit your medical needs by continuing prohibition.  Unfortunately all you can really do is take whatever Bob the black market dealer has, or gain the skills and equipment to produce your own medicine.  It may not only reduce the discomfort you experience during an episode, but more importantly prevent the frequency that they occur in my experience.  There are also new studies supporting this idea popping up the past few years.

For those of us lucky enough to live in a place where locking people in cages for having a plant has lost its popularity, we have a wide selection of not only strains but edibles, oils, drinks, lotion, and anything you could imagine.  The general rule that I live by when it comes to treating my migraines is that indica dominant hybrids work best.  They provide the most pain relief while relaxing the whole body making the pounding sensation much less intense and manageable. There are most definitely specific strains in this category that work better than others, but when in doubt or lacking specific info, go with this category of strains.  By sedating the body and providing a lot of pain relief  it makes the dizziness subside and patients able to relax.   As far as consuming these strains I find smoking and vaporizing far more ideal then edibles or other methods because they take a while to produce effects.  Migraine suffers much prefer immediate relief because in 40-50 minutes the worst of it likely has passed in most cases.  It’s often hard to anticipate one coming until you’re already experiencing the symptoms.

Before I was being more general by saying to look for a indica dominant strain, but I would like to get more specific and point you in the direction of some strains I’ve found help me greatly.   One of these are sativa dominant and that’s why the indica/sativa differentiation is only applicable in general and is not a cut and dry rule whether your talking about treating migraines or any condition.  First to start off, if you can get your hands on it, is the classic and arguable most popular marijuana strain OG Kush.  I think that this may be the best strain ever, not only for how much it has helped me with pain relief and nausea but  it amazes me with the best effects ever.  When this is professionally grown and is the authentic genetics it doesn’t get any better.  Most of the good strains that took off in popularity have this in it’s genetics.  It packs the punch required to treat severe pain and makes you feel extremely euphoric.  Another good option that won’t put you out for the night is Tangerine Dream.  I would use this if I had to work or go to college because it really finds a way to kill the pain and give motivation.  There are a lot of strains that do this but the flavor on this one is amazing!  Hopefully this info can lead you to the same relief I have experienced since discovering medical cannabis for myself.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Cannabis

Years of propaganda have tried to form a connection between dumb/forgetful people and the use of marijuana.  What is ironic about this completely inaccurate stereotype is science is now proving it can help your brain fight off the worst memory disease imaginable also known as Alzheimer’s.  The same plant that has been criticized for its reputation to make the average person more lazy and stupid, could save you from a devastating fate that leaves  your family members  feeling strong emotional pain.  The mainstream media as well as common knowledge will tell you that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  However there have been many new studies connecting marijuana and THC to the prevention of protein buildup known to cause the symptoms of the disease.  When there is protein buildup there is also inflammation of the neurons which cannabis has proven over and over again to reduce any type of cell inflammation.

I find all this information very fascinating even already knowing all the different medical conditions this plant can treat.  This may be one of the biggest finds for the plant yet as 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimers with no real light at the end of the tunnel.  There are families connected to each one of these individuals so there’s even more lives that can also be positively impacted through effective cannabis treatment. Investigators at The Scripps Research Institute in California in 2006 reported that THC inhibits the enzyme responsible for the aggregation of amyloid plaque — the primary marker for Alzheimer’s disease. (Norml.org)  They also found that it can be used not only to slow the progression of someone who is already been diagnosed, but for those who do not have any symptoms of the disease at all.  It’s preventative and responsive treatment all in one drug.  From what I have researched on forums and from people who have tried different strains as treatment the general consensus seems to be sativa works better for stimulating the mind and having conversation.  It also appears people have had a lot of relief from indica as well, so I think it’s all helpful and more of a patient preference then anything.

For me, the only person in my family that suffered from this disease was my great grandmother.  She passed away when I was very young and I hardly remember her, but I do remember her forgetting who the family was when we visited her in the hospital.. I can’t imagine the pain had it been someone in my immediate family or close friend.  If any of my readers knows someone suffering from this disease and have had a positive experience using cannabis I would love to hear about it.  I’m sure there’s tons of helpful information held by people who have actually used it as a treatment first hand.  If you didn’t have any idea about cannabis potential as a natural treatment option, spread the word!  This type of information should be available to everyone and we should be able to do more in depth research without any government interference.  Something tells me this health information will help erase the stigma that continues to restrain this medicine.

No Effect from Edible Cannabis?

This is a topic where I need feedback from the cannabis culture readers because I can’t find much information on this topic other than through other friends in the cannabis community.  To this day I’m annoyed and confused as to why there isn’t an edible that has intoxicated me in the way it has to everyone else I’ve taken them with.  There is no possibility that they were made incorrectly as I’ve tried edibles from all different sources.  I’ve baked my own , purchased from dispensaries, and been given some quality samples from trusted friends.  There was always no noticeable effect from any of these options and I  usually ate much more then the recommended dose.  It’s pretty much a completely different drug because it’s being processed by the liver and converted to 11-Hydroxy-THC.  Most people would describe the effects as more intense and longer lasting then typical smoked marijuana.  Like I said I’ve seen what it does to a group of people while I sit there wondering why I didn’t just smoke instead.

I do know one other friend that claims to have the same problem as I do but from research online and asking around it seems to be an extremely rare condition.  It’s unfortunate and i don’t know if something is wrong with my liver that makes it unable to convert the THC or what but I wanted to reach out and hear your guy’s experiences.  When you take edibles how many milligrams are you consuming at once?  I’m sure previous  consumption levels  play an effect into how intense a edible experience will be.  I consume cannabis daily, but have a hard time believing that explains I feel nothing from 300mg +of infused-cannabis foods.  If I were to take a few hits of a joint or vaporizer, it would be a far more enjoyable experience to me so clearly it’s not a tolerance issue either.  At this point I’ve pretty much finally given up on purchasing and consuming edibles.

I know I would definitely take advantage of this consumption method if it was effective for me and it’s actually more of a concern for me when I reach old age.  Smoking might not always be a possibility or the most ideal when your body and lungs are more worn out and performing worse.  Either way I plan on using cannabis especially more so when I get older to the increasing number of health problems. If I could find a way to gauge in any way how many people have this issue or know more information about what the problem might actually be please comment below and let me know!