How to Blind Test Cannabis for an Elevated Experience

Cannabis can be tasted and appreciated like fine wine and the idea is gaining momentum nationwide. Over in the global ganja epicenter of California, encouraging people to blind test cannabis is nearly standardized. 

Local chef, entrepreneur and industry veteran Chip Moore, 36, is the founder of the 4 and 20 Blackbirds collective and has been treating its members to the blind tasting concept — wherein participants don’t learn strain names before sampling, followed by discussion about the key characteristics of tastes, smells and effects.

In the hippy hamlet of Fairfax north of San Francisco, the newly formed Herba Buena collective, whose co-founder Alicia Rose comes from the wine industry, incorporated blind wine-style tastings as well. 

Alicia said the “effusiveness of the aromas” should guide aficionados through the tasting process. She’ll often make collective members smell a jar of Herba Buena’s ultra-organic cannabis before revealing the strain. “I like them to smell and experience the flower before identifying it,” she says.

It’s not a totally surprising development. The San Francisco Chronicle mentioned treating cannabis like wine as far back as 2007 and magazine The Clever Root — a farm-to-table foodie publication backed by the wine industry — has included an entire column devoted to cannabis. The magazine Marijuana Business Daily now publishes the results of blind taste tests in each issue.

As cannabis continues to be normalized and elevated through taste-testing events like these, industry leaders are wise to borrow from the wine and food culture, further illustrating how cannabis can offer as much of a connoisseur experience as wine or fine chocolate.

How to Conduct Your Own Blind Smell & Taste Test

1. When you blind test weed, make it blind. “The main difference is that when someone knows the strain they are tasting they have already categorized how it’s supposed to smell and taste based on their previous experience with that strain,” said Moore.

2. Pick rare strains. Don’t choose popular favorites like Sour Diesel or OG Kush — aficionados can identify their signature lemonhead or pine-sol funk aromas in one whiff, and the results lead to sample bias.

3. Pre-roll some joints. Unlike wine, cannabis strains can be identified visually from across a room, rendering moot the whole point of the blind taste. “I want to challenge the participants to use their senses,” says Moore, “particularly smell to reach past their preconceived notions and really get to know the bud they are smoking.”

4. Take a “dry hit.” Draw on an unlit joint to taste its terpenes at room temperature. A dry toke reveals a lot about the quality of the herb. It should have a clean herbal taste without any sharp salty notes which can indicate the presence of unflushed fertilizers.

5. Fire it up, but no bogarting. “I tell them to start off slow, not take one of those big, ‘I’m not going to get this joint back’ hits,” laughs Moore.

6. Write down your notes. Privately record initial impressions and share joints to taste how the joint changes as it smokes. As leading cannabis judge Swami of Swami Select says, “Each joint is a journey and each tells its own story, how well it was flushed, whether it’s indoor or sungrown, this kind of things.”

7. Use coffee beans as a palette cleanser. Coffee beans help refresh noses over-exposed to the onslaught of cannabis terpenes and smoke.

8. No spoilers. As the joint burns, Moore asks folks to continue to record their observations, but don’t shout out what they think the strain is. It creates expectation bias. 

9. Don’t overdo it. Wine tasters spit out the wine. Smokers just need to go slow. “The purpose is not to get so high they forgot what they’re doing,” says Moore with a chuckle.

10. Guess the strain. Write down your last impressions, along with any possible guesses as to what the strain is. Discuss.

11. Repeat. The best way to elevate your cannabis critiquing is to keep practicing.

TELL US, how do you choose your cannabis?

Originally published in Issue 21 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

The post How to Blind Test Cannabis for an Elevated Experience appeared first on Cannabis Now.

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6 Strains for a Morning Pick-Me-Up

If you are trying to reduce the amount of coffee you’re drinking every morning, save some money by slowing down on your twice-a-day cafe run or just cut down on caffeine in general, there are strains that you can still enjoy in the morning or midday that won’t leave you feeling drained, sleepy or low on energy. As a bonus, some of them can even help melt away tension in your body like a tight neck and shoulders and improve your mood all while stimulating your mind.

For people who need a little help staying focused, getting motivated or boosting their creativity, a quick sesh can make a big difference but it’s all about the strain choice. Need some help? Check out these hybrid and sativa-dominant strains that are known for their uplifting, energizing effects that still allow you to focus, be productive and stay mentally clear as you blast through a day full of activities or catch your breath while you get your second wind.

Super Lemon Haze from CRAFT cannabis

(PHOTO Gracie Malley)

Super Lemon Haze

This bright, citrusy strain tastes just as good as it smells thanks to its limonene content. This potent terpene can aid in increasing energy, improving your mood and helping you feel invigorated when you need a bit of a kick and. It also has some great medical benefits from boosting your immune system to reducing inflammation which can help on days that you’re not feeling your best or a little tense from sitting at your desk all day.

Green Crack Morning Strains Sativa

(PHOTO SeedFinder.Eu)

Green Crack

Although the name might sound a little daunting for the uninitiated, those who are familiar with this powerful strain will swear by its ability to beat fatigue and a bad mood without fail. It has a euphoric, long-lasting buzz that may have your head in the clouds if you overdo it, so less is definitely more if it’s your first time trying it out or if you need to remain present and focused without mentally floating away.

Golden Goat Outdoor Morning Strains

(PHOTO SoFresh Farms)

Golden Goat

Chill out without getting too sleepy with a balanced hybrid strain that will leave you feeling pleasantly calm and energized. This may be better suited for the tea drinker who gets their buzz from caffeinated brews and is looking for something just as smooth and subtle without a big jolt of misdirected energy. It’s also great for stress, anxiety and tension from burnout and back-to-back busy days.

Sour Diesel Strain Review by Cannabis Now Magazine

 (PHOTO Julia Daigle)

Sour Diesel

Lovers and loyalists of Sour D will attest that there is no shortage of energy or creativity after a few hits of this uplifting, motivating sativa. You can plan to feel happy and energized with a nice cerebral buzz. It’s a good pick for people that consistently wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need some assistance improving their mood and combating stress and depression that might be associated with feeling overwhelmed about your day.

A Close-Up Image of the Strain AK-47

(PHOTO Serious Seeds)


Though you can expect a mellow but invigorating high that will help you focus and maintain mental clarity as you start your day, this potent hybrid can hit really hard if you don’t take it easy. This strain might be a good choice for people who want a noticeable buzz from just a hit or two that will linger for much longer than expected. If you have the tolerance, though, you can settle in for a nice sesh and still be ready to face the day.

Candyland Strain in plastic bag sativa

(PHOTO Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now)


Feeling frustrated or irritated? This fast-acting strain is good for mornings or coffee breaks where you don’t have a lot of time to medicate but need something to bust through an unpleasant attitude and keep it moving. It’s good for meetings and other activities that call for being upbeat, social and alert.

TELL US, do you have a go-to morning strain?

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Cannabis & Artificial Intelligence: The Arrival of Robopot?

Artificial intelligence technologies are now being crafted specifically for the cannabis industry, and boosters say these two business spheres are on the cusp of a revolutionary convergence.  

New applications of AI in various aspects of the cannabis biz — from cultivation to marketing to financing — are being unveiled at a dizzying clip. 

Smart Growrooms 

Royce Birnbaum, co-founder of CEAD, a Phoenix-based company that develops artificial intelligence applications for the cannabis industry addressed the technology with Grit Daily. CEAD seemingly does not have its own website yet, but is said to be testing its technologies at an R&D center, where the focus is on cultivation. Their systems monitor plant nutrition, growth rates and life cycles. The collected data helps determine feeding and pruning schedules and head off such phenomena as pest outbreaks.  

“One struggle most growers are facing is…the need to have successful, continuous cultivation cycles without potential for deviation or disaster as we see so often in the industry,” Birnbaum said. “CEAD provides any grow operation an unparalleled ability to predict when to water, fertilize and harvest. This will enable an upsurge in quality, while reducing manpower needed to maintain each plant, as well as give a comprehensive overview of all operations and outcomes related to cannabis cultivation.” 

An overview of evolving AI applications for cannabis in Medium notes that devices such as high-resolution crop sensors are being used to give accurate growroom conditions, while robotics are employed to automate or remotely control aspects of plant care. 

Medium cites the Israeli start-up Seedolab, which is offering a self-contained automated hydroponic cannabis “grow box.” As Cannabis Now noted last year, the company is plugging the net-linked device as the world’s first fully automated organic cannabis cultivation product. 

A similar overview on the tech site Produvia says “Automated Marijuana Operations” can “track the growth rate of cannabis plants in their vegetative stage using machine vision and artificial intelligence.” This methodology can also “recommend malting setting and schedules based on CO2, temperature, humidity and PH using artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT’s).” Montreal-based Motorleaf is named as one of the companies pioneering this kind of hi-tech growroom monitoring.

Smart Strain Personalization 

Medium lists several applications beyond the growroom. In Canada, more than 30,000 different strains are being offered on the legal market, often leaving medicinal users at a loss as to which is best for their specific needs or condition. AI is being used to parse existing data from studies and peer-reviewed journals to match strains to symptoms and ailments. Namaste Technologies and Citizen Green are named as companies developing such systems.  

The latter has teamed up with a firm called with Spartans AI to devise the app Prescriptii for this purpose. A promo video for the app on YouTube says it “transforms the patient-retailer relationship and creates better medical outcomes while driving business growth by leveraging innovative technologies and a cryptocurrency-based loyalty rewards program.” 

User reports on effects from particular strains build up a database that over time will refine the process of connecting patients and products — a method that has been used by researchers before

The Produvia review calls this a system of “custom tailored marijuana strains” that can “find weed strains best suited to treat symptoms (insomnia, asthma and cancer) by reading peer-reviewed medical journals and surfacing relevant studies on cannabinoids…” 

CNBC reported on another app called Potbot that uses AI to “read” through medical journals to find studies on cannabinoids, pairing 37 symptoms with branded cannabis strains. 

Potbotics CEO David Goldstein said the company has raised $5 million to date. The app is available in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store. 

“We definitely see there’s interest in the industry, for sure,” Goldstein told Produvia. “It’s one that has real potential in the United States and internationally. A lot of investors like non-cannabis touching entities, because they feel like they are hedging their bets a little bit.” 

The financial end of the biz is of course also utilizing AI. Produvia reports that researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens, are developing an app to “predict stock markets based on social media mentions of #marijuana using data mining.” 

Smart Unemployment?

There is definitely a sense of anxiety underlying the enthusiasm here, however. In a YouTube exercise in mutual promotion, Lior Romanowsky, founder and CEO of Spartans, was interviewed by Yael Rozencwajg, CEO of its partner Blockchain Israel. Romanowsky said cannabis companies “are at a point where they understand that f they don’t implement artificial intelligence today or tomorrow, they will be at a disadvantage relative to all their competitors… and that’s really crucial.” 

And amid this seeming inexorability, the same questions are raised about potential social displacement caused by automation of the cannabis industry as in any other economic sector. 

A March 2017 headline in the New York Times vindicated what many Americans have long intuited: “Evidence That Robots Are Winning the Race for American Jobs.” The story quoted an MIT study that found: “Robots are to blame for up to 670,000 lost manufacturing jobs between 1990 and 2007… and that number will rise because industrial robots are expected to quadruple.” In some areas, “each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by 6.2 workers and wages by 0.7 percent,” although nationally the effects were smaller, because jobs were created in other places. In Detroit, “each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by three workers and wages by 0.25 percent.”

This inevitably brings to mind the recent news from British Columbia, where the leading Canadian licensed producer Canopy Growth has shut down two huge greenhouse facilities, laying off hundreds of workers. The decision seems to have been informed by a determination that the market had been overestimated, and that outdoor cultivation is more cost-effective. But in the near future, the lure of robot-grown cannabis may also enter the accounting of downsizing and worker lay-offs. 

TELL US, do you think growing cannabis will become something that is fully automated?

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Wake & Bake: 3 Cannabis-Infused Brunch Recipes

A cannabis-infused brunch is the best way to start the day. If you’re looking for a gentle buzz that will keep you focused and clear in the morning, one of these items will do you fine. And who says it has to be served for breakfast anyway? Everyone loves stuffed French toast for dinner! Especially if it’s accompanied by bacon.

Stuffed French Toast


Starting your day with cannabis-infused French toast seems just too good to be true. The ricotta and the jam combine to give this dish the right level of creamy, tangy sweetness.

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • 4 slices of white bread
  • 2 teaspoons canna-butter, melted
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup jam of your choice
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish (optional)


1. Brush 2 slices of the bread with the melted canna-butter. Layer the 2 slices with the ricotta cheese and then the jam. Top off each sandwich with a slice of bread.

2. In a wide, shallow bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture.

3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the sandwiches. Cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, and then turn and cook on the other side until golden brown.

4. Place on serving plates, cut in half, drizzle with any remaining jam, and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, if using.

Chef’s Note: For picture-perfect confectioner’s sugar sprinkling, use a small tea strainer or sifter. Feel free to vary the jam flavor as you like; apricot is always a good choice.

Bacon & Egg Muffins


This is an easy breakfast that everyone adores. It looks like it was tons of trouble to make, but it’s a cinch. It’s really yummy with shredded Swiss cheese as well, and you can also substitute sautéed spinach for the bacon.

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 4 teaspoons canna-butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Salt and black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 340° F.

2. Press the flour tortillas into 4 cups in a standard-size muffin pan. Brush the inside of the tortilla cups with the canna-butter.

3. Divide 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese among the tortilla cups. Top with the chopped bacon. Carefully break an egg into each tortilla cup. Top evenly with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

4. Bake until the eggs are set, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chef’s Note: If the tortillas seem brittle, heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften them. To bring the eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl of tepid water for 20 minutes.

Oatmeal with the Works


Try to use the best-quality oatmeal you can afford because it really does make a difference. Steel-cut oats are nice and chewy. This cannabis-infused brunch item is such a cozy way to start the day.

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 3¼ cups water
  • 2 cups steel-cut oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons canna-butter
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons honey


1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the oats and salt and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 2 minutes. Stir in the canna-butter.

2. Divide the oatmeal among 4 bowls and evenly top with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Chef’s Note: When I have leftover oatmeal, I make pancakes. Add an egg, a few splashes of milk, a bit of baking soda, and whatever spices you like to the oatmeal. Dollop the batter onto a griddle, and you have recycled one great breakfast into another.

These recipes were excerpted from “Cooking with Cannabis,” published by Quarry Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

TELL US, do you wake and bake? What cannabis-infused brunch would you make?

Originally published in Issue 30 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Topicals: The Real Gateway Drug for Senior Citizens

Cannabis topicals are having a moment. From
A-list celebrities using Lord Jones balms to soothe aching feet at the Golden
Globes to professional athletes debuting their own line of muscle rub,
transdermal products infused with cannabinoids seem to be everywhere.

But it isn’t just millennials and the Hollywood elite jumping on the bandwagon. An increasing number of senior citizens are also turning to topicals, often desperate to alleviate a painful and often debilitating condition that affects nearly 54 million American adults: arthritis.

The disease, which causes aches, swelling and stiffness in the joints and muscles, is typically treated with a combination of medications including steroids and opiates, which may have dramatic side effects. However, cannabis is becoming a popular and viable alternative. Infused creams and lotions work when the products’ cannabinoids bind to the network of cannabinoid receptors called CB2 receptors on the skin, without needing to enter the bloodstream. This means people using topicals infused with psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC will not feel a cerebral effect — only localized relief. Transdermal patches, however, do allow the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream and travel to receptors in the brain, but because the release is so slow, it’s also unlikely to impart a high feeling.

While research on the efficacy of topicals is limited, there have been some promising results. A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pain found that, when applied transdermally to rats with arthritic joints, the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) offered relief. Another study conducted in 2017 on rats with osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis, wherein bone cartilage breaks down over time) concluded CBD prevents pain and nerve damage. In fact, scientists are also exploring evidence that concludes CB2 receptors themselves may be responsible for regulating inflammation — one of the main issues arthritis causes.

The science is still early, but according to Radicle Health founder and nurse Eloise Theisen, CBD topicals appear to help with inflammation and itchiness, but people should try a THC topical — or a combination of THC and CBD — if they’re not finding relief from a CBD-only product.

Since the average senior citizen in the United
States takes around five prescription medications daily, concerns about
interactions between drugs, side effects and potentials for abuse have many
seeking another way.

And since those who might be averse to getting high from smoking or eating cannabis are often not intimidated by using a non-psychoactive cannabis balm, topicals offer a way to discover the healing properties of cannabis while eliminating the fear of Grandma and Grandpa getting too buzzed.

‘Once He Went Off the Pharmaceuticals….’

Karen Rumics Averill is a 63-year-old business
owner from Oregon who began making her own cannabis-infused topicals a few
years ago to help her husband. He was suffering from a severe type of arthritis
called ankylosing spondylitis, also known as “curved back syndrome.”

“He was initially put on Enbrel, which is an
injection, and he was actually receiving twice the dose that is normally
required,” Averill said. “Then, [the doctors] put him on Oxycontin and Vicodin
and then all of a sudden one day, at two in the morning, we’re rushing him to
the emergency room for a bleeding ulcer and they had to remove him from all of
those drugs.”

She believes the drugs her husband had been
prescribed were actually making his condition worse.

“Once he went off of [pharmaceuticals], he became
more mobile, more active. He wasn’t comatose on the couch because he was

Averill began experimenting, utilizing byproducts
from top-shelf indica strains to infuse in coconut oil, creating a THC-infused topical.

“Actually, my 94-year-old aunt is now using it
for her arthritis. She called me
yesterday and said it works great!” Averill said.

Bringing Seniors to Cannabis

For many within the cannabis industry, one of the biggest challenges is getting accurate information to the general public — without being overwhelming or unconvincing. After getting phone call after phone call from seniors asking about their transdermal product, the team at NanoSphere Health Sciences decided they needed to focus not on getting their products to seniors, but on bringing the seniors to them.

“A lot of times, the way that a senior gets our
product is because a niece or nephew, granddaughter, son or daughter has gone
in, bought them the product and then told them that they need to use it, versus
them actually going into the dispensary and purchasing the product themselves,”
said Crystal Colwell, marketing director for NanoSphere.

So the company decided to partner with several dispensaries in their home state of Colorado, offering residents of nearby assisted living facilities and 55-plus communities round-trip bus rides to their locations in order to educate them on the many useful applications of cannabis. They also work with the non-profit group Realm of Caring in order to further their outreach towards the senior citizen demographic. Colwell says the feedback has been remarkable.

“We had one woman who had such severe arthritis
in her hands that she was unable to open her hands all the way,” Colwell said.
“One of her most favorite things to do is to write letters and handwritten
notes. She started using NanoSerum on her hands and she was using it once a day
for a month and after the first month she was able to open her hand and hold a
pen or a pencil in her hand again. Within a two-month time span, she was
actually able to write handwritten notes again.”

Colwell adds that while it will take time to
dismantle all the misinformation about marijuana and the ways it can be
consumed, topicals offer a non-threatening introduction to a medicine that
could make all the difference.

“A lot of misconceptions that senior citizens
have is that the only time you can get relief from cannabis is if you smoke it
or you ingest as an edible,” she said. “Once they learn that there are
alternative applications, that’s when they become intrigued and it gets their
mind going.”

TELL US, have you used cannabis topicals?

Originally published in Issue 37 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Cannabis Art Creations to Inspire You During Lockdown

It’s day whatever of the COVID-19 lockdown and you’ve binged Tiger King. Now what to do with all that extra time on your (thoroughly washed) hands? If you need a break from the current coronavirus news cycle, we’ve curated a list of our favorite Cannabis Now articles about cannabis art and artists to help take your mind off things.

From kaleidoscopic cannabis photography to work-of-art joints that look (almost) too good to smoke, these articles will get your creative juices flowing.

READ: Visual Artist Makes Beautiful Pieces with Rolling Papers 

One night art school student Cliff Maynard was making a miniature mosaic while smoking with a stack of magazines on one side and a pile of roaches on the other. That evening, something clicked when he began incorporating the pre-smoked, stained pieces of rolling papers into his collages and his art was never the same. 

READ: The Art of Cannabis Embroidery 

British artist Chloe O’Malley updates embroidery hoop art with deliciously detailed cannabis portraits. Her incredible creations feature images of living cannabis plants in a realistic style, reminiscent of scientific illustrations. Each piece of her cannabis art depicts a different strain and, working with color, shape and texture, she somehow manages to capture the unique quality of each cannabis variety.

Allie Beckett Cannabis Now

READ: Higher Self: Cannabis Kaleidoscopes 

Cannabis photographer Allie Beckett uses her profession to develop a spiritual practice and meditation mandalas. Calling it “sacred ganjametry,” Beckett creates kaleidoscopic cannabis mandalas for meditation purposes.

Pot Podcasts

READ: 5 Trip-Tastic Art Album Covers 

Getting lost in cover art can contribute to your enjoyment of music. Here are a handful of beautiful (and “out-there”) covers that — especially with the aid of a little ganja — might make you think twice about the tunes themselves.

Cannabiscapes & the Art of Dankness

READ: Cannabiscapes & the Art of Dankness 

Cannabiscapes crafts images out of weed itself, using stems, ground nugs and concentrates to create art. Over the past couple of years, Cannabiscapes has evolved from fun small mixed-media landscape pieces to larger-scale portraits that look awesome.

READ: Glass Review: Kimmo Glass 

Kimmo has been blowing his beautiful flower and cosmos-inspired art glass for nearly two decades. 

Natural Ganja Cannabis Now Magazine

READ: Natural Ganja: Cannabis Curiosities and the Art of the Joint 

Not all joints are created equal — and Natural Ganja proves that point with their extravagantly adorned cannabis curiosities. 

TELL US, have you ever made any cannabis-inspired art? 

The post Cannabis Art Creations to Inspire You During Lockdown appeared first on Cannabis Now.

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How To Decarb: Make Cannabis Psychoactive With Heat

In order to derive the greatest potency from the cannabis plant when making edibles, always decarboxylate your material before infusing it in another substance such as oil or butter.

Decarboxylation is the process of heating up plant matter to initiate the active compounds in cannabis, namely THC and CBD. This process is called decarboxylatation because heating bud breaks off the natural carboxyl chain of molecules attached to raw THC, thus allowing THC to cause euphoria. That’s why eating raw pot plants yields no psychoactive effect.


Any amount of cannabis, buds or trim.


Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 240º F.

Step 2: Break apart any large buds with your hands.

Step 3: Spread the cannabis on a baking sheet that has sides.

Step 4: Place in the oven.

Step 5: After 45 minutes, remove the cannabis from the oven, it should now be lightly browned and decarboxylated.

Chef’s Note: When decarboxylating at a low temperature you are preserving the maximum amount of terpenes, or the oils in marijuana that inform plant flavor profiles, as well as some of the health benefits.

Excerpted from “Cooking with Cannabis,” published by Quarry Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

TELL US, have you ever tried making your own edibles?

The post How To Decarb: Make Cannabis Psychoactive With Heat appeared first on Cannabis Now.

from Cannabis Now


How To Decarb: Make Cannabis Psychoactive With Heat

In order to derive the greatest potency from the cannabis plant when making edibles, always decarboxylate your material before infusing it in another substance such as oil or butter.

Decarboxylation is the process of heating up plant matter to initiate the active compounds in cannabis, namely THC and CBD. This process is called decarboxylatation because heating bud breaks off the natural carboxyl chain of molecules attached to raw THC, thus allowing THC to cause euphoria. That’s why eating raw pot plants yields no psychoactive effect.


Any amount of cannabis, buds or trim.


Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 240º F.

Step 2: Break apart any large buds with your hands.

Step 3: Spread the cannabis on a baking sheet that has sides.

Step 4: Place in the oven.

Step 5: After 45 minutes, remove the cannabis from the oven, it should now be lightly browned and decarboxylated.

Chef’s Note: When decarboxylating at a low temperature you are preserving the maximum amount of terpenes, or the oils in marijuana that inform plant flavor profiles, as well as some of the health benefits.

Excerpted from “Cooking with Cannabis,” published by Quarry Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

TELL US, have you ever tried making your own edibles?

The post How To Decarb: Make Cannabis Psychoactive With Heat appeared first on Cannabis Now.

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Cannabis Shortages Spur New Interest in Growing at Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered businesses and sent people hunkering down behind closed doors from coast to coast. In addition to stocking up on canned and dry goods, consumers are worried about maintaining cannabis supply. 

The outbreak was having an impact on the North American cannabis industry weeks before it actually reached the continent’s shores. But with the imposition of “shelter-in-place” orders, tokers started to worry about where their next batch of bud would be coming from. 

On March 16, when six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area issued such orders, there was an immediate run on dispensaries. Spared was Alameda County, where cannabis shops were deemed to be an “essential” service. Facing a public outcry, authorities in San Francisco just one day later decided to follow Alameda’s lead, and lifted the order for dispensaries to close. On March 20, when a statewide lockdown was declared, dispensaries were excluded as an essential service. 

Similar scenes in Denver caused authorities to likewise reverse themselves there.  

But in some places, dispensaries are closed—such as Massachusetts, in spite of the public outcry. And even before the current crisis, cannabis users were turning to the long-languishing American ethic of self-sufficiency to ride out shortages. 

Urban Herb in the Windy City 

The Chicago Tribune profiles the case of local epilepsy sufferer David Kurfman. Following shortages at Illinois outlets,  he recently established a basement grow room. Relying on cannabis oil with a 2-to-1 CBD-THC ratio to control his seizures, Kurfman took advantage of the personal cultivation provision of the state’s legalization statute. Having invested $5,000 in lights, fans and other necessary equipment, he now has his legally permitted five plants putting out their first buds. 

“There’s a statewide shortage of all products, and patients are suffering from that,” Kurfman told the Trib. “I hope to transition to growing my own medicine.” 

A well cared-for five-plant grow can produce far in excess of the one ounce of bud that “recreational” users may possess legally, or the fortnightly 2.5-ounce purchase limit for medical patients.

State law allows medical cannabis patients 21 and over to grow their five plants in an “enclosed, locked space.” There are other restrictions too. Landlords may ban cultivation on their property. It also remains illegal to sell or give away cannabis from personal plants. 

This was actually a compromise measure in the legalization statute signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last June. Earlier versions of the legislation allowed all adults to grow five plants each at home. But law enforcement groups lobbied against this provision, and it was stricken from the bill. Under final version, only patients enrolled with the state’s medical marijuana program are permitted to cultivate at home. The original 2013 medical marijuana law included no provision for homegrown.  

Home-growers may purchase seeds from licensed dispensaries. However, few are offering them for sale—so Pritzker’s administration is working on opening new avenues.  

“The administration is working with various state agencies, cultivators and dispensaries to develop a clear process that will allow the sale of seeds to medicinal users,” Charity Greene, a representative for the governor’s office, told the Tribune. 

Online groups such as the Illinois Medical Cannabis Review Guide have meanwhile emerged to recommend seed banks. Home Grow Chicago, a private business, is also offering classes in small-scale cannabis cultivation. 

Under the mentorship of two experienced growers, Kurfman is now proud of the fruits of his labor—although he has yet to start producing oil. “It turned out magnificent,” he told the Tribune. 

Also quoted by the Trib was Illinois cultivator and patient Mickey Nulf, who produces the Prof. Budz Potcast, and hosts a Facebook page for home-growers. “Let’s put the power back into patients’ hands,” he recently posted, “and let’s take care of our community.”  

TELL US, do you know anyone who has started growing their own due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

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How to Understand CBD Lingo

It wasn’t too long ago that if you asked somebody what CBD was, they would look at you with a puzzled expression on their face. Today, CBD is on everyone’s lips, dominating the conversation on medical cannabis and its therapeutic effects and being touted as a health supplement at nutrition stores. It can also be purchased online and found in department stores, drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations and, of course, dispensaries.

With CBD’s popularity comes a learning curve for the discerning consumer. In order to find the best product for their needs, consumers need to know the terminology around CBD products.

First, What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-euphoric cannabinoid found in both hemp and high-THC cannabis. Cannabinoids are a closely related group of chemical compounds, which work synergistically together and with the other chemical compounds that make up the cannabis plant. CBD can be used for symptom management for things such as anxiety, certain types of seizures, inflammation and pain. It also has been found to have value in cosmetic use.

It’s worth noting that much CBD on the market today is derived from hemp, rather than cannabis, because hemp is federally legal. Hemp and cannabis are the same species, cannabis sativa, but they’re separated by an arbitrary legal definition that defines hemp as having less than 0.3% THC when tested.

Understanding CBD

Many people like to say CBD is not psychoactive, but that would be incorrect. “Psychoactive” is a term used to describe a substance that changes a mental state by affecting the brain and nervous system. Though CBD will not cause euphoria or intoxication, it may change a person’s level of anxiety or depression, which in turn would affect their perception of the world around them.

With the great interest in CBD and its effects come a large number of products and companies to choose from. The hemp CBD market is currently unregulated, so buyer beware. Be an empowered consumer: Look for lab tests to show that the product was properly made and verifies cannabinoid content. If you don’t see one, ask for it. A good company will always have test results available.

Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum vs. Isolate

When you are exploring different high-CBD products, you’ll notice that their content is described in different ways: broad spectrum, full spectrum and isolate. The difference between these three is the extraction method and the content of the resulting product.

Full spectrum means that the product contains most of the naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant, including THC, and most often it has been minimally refined. This means that the synergistic effects of the chemical compounds in the concentrate remain intact. These products will present themselves in ratios of CBD to THC and will vary in effects.

Broad spectrum is similar in that it contains most of the naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant, but does not contain THC. This may be a good choice for those who are sensitive to THC, but wish to maintain the benefits of the other naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes.

Isolate contains only CBD, as the extraction process purposely isolates the desired cannabinoid from other cannabinoids and terpenes. It will have a much higher percentage of CBD than full or broad-spectrum extractions. This product is highly refined.

CBD Hemp Oil vs. Hempseed Oil

Some people may be confused about the difference between CBD oil derived from hemp and hempseed oil — and it’s worth knowing the difference, because only one of those oils contains beneficial cannabinoids.

CBD oil from hemp is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant and, though rich with CBD, it contains less than 0.3% THC. It is used as a health supplement and for symptom management.

Hempseed oil is extracted from the seeds themselves, which contain no cannabinoids. Hempseed oil is great for the skin and very nutritious, as it is rich in in antioxidants, amino acids, vitamin E and omega fatty acids. Hemp seeds or hemp hearts from which the oil is extracted are also very nutritious, as they are rich in protein and fiber as well. You won’t have the same therapeutic effects as with CBD oil, but it is another tool for health.

TELL US, do you use CBD?

Originally published in Issue 40 of Cannabis NowLEARN MORE

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