3 Most Popular Cannabis Strains

Whether you have been a long-time user of medical cannabis, or you are new to the world of recreational use, you have certainly discovered that there are many different strains out there. And while some people might tout that they only indulge in the “best cannabis strains” available, it is tough to quantify a single strain as the “best.”

Sure, there are many popular cannabis strains, and some are even consistently considered the most popular cannabis strains of all time, but to find the single best cannabis strain is to find what works best for you.

Cannabis is Personal

Everyone who uses cannabis does so for a different reason. There are some people who might be looking to ease their pain, while others might need assistance sleeping, and still, others might enjoy the euphoric and creative feeling that using cannabis inspires. There are top cannabis strains for each of these different scenarios, and depending on your situation, some might be more right for you than others.

However, there is a reason that the most popular cannabis strains have earned their reputation. And because they are popular, there are plenty of reviews and information about them, helping you narrow down what might be the best new cannabis strain for you.

Here are three of the most popular cannabis strains:

1. Banana Punch

Banana punch is considered one of the best new cannabis strains largely in part because of the “punch” it provides. Boasting a THC content of 26%, this top cannabis strain is not for the infrequent smoker. Those who do partake will enjoy its euphoric and relaxing sensations.

2. OG Kush

OG Kush is a longtime popular cannabis strain that is known for promoting strong feelings of relaxation. OG is an acronym for “Original Gangster,” and it has upheld this title to this day. Developed in the early 90s, this top cannabis strain has a high THC count and has been known to have a mixed head and body effect. When it comes to relaxing, the consistency of the OG Kush still makes it one of the most popular cannabis strains of all time.

3. Blue Dream

Another contender for best cannabis strains of all time, Blue Dream has proven time and time again that if anxiety, nausea, or chronic pain are your ailments, this strain has you covered. One reason for its growth in popularity is due to its balanced properties and 18% THC count, making it approachable to both experienced users and newcomers.

Which Cannabis Strain is Best for You?

As mentioned, there are all types of cannabis strains, and while some are more popular than others, some might be just what you need. While we offer the ability to shop and order online, we also have various locations, offering you the chance to come in and chat with our experts. They will be able to help you navigate your situation, and find the best cannabis strain for your needs.

Order online for convenient opickup at one of our locations in Bend, OR today!

5 Cannabis Strains for Migraines

Migraines are a mystery yet to be solved; they are excruciating headaches that can last for hours or even days. Many people only get migraines a few times a month, but some people experience chronic migraines that never really go away.

A migraine can make you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck, but thankfully, there are ways to alleviate the pain. More and more people are turning to different cannabis strains for migraines as a means of easing stress and pain. Marijuana use has been said to lessen migraine pain and duration, making them a lot easier to handle.

It’s crucial to remember that every cannabis strain is unique, and a strain that works for one person may not work for another. That being said, here are a few of the most popular and best cannabis strains for migraines.


ACDC is a cannabis strain that has a high CBD content but no THC-related psychoactive effects. It is regarded as one of the most balanced strains because it has a balanced mix of Sativa and Indica characteristics. This is one of the best cannabis for migraines because it helps users feel relaxed and uplifts their mood. It has also been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and inflammation.

2. Harlequin

Harlequin is a great cannabis strain for migraines because it has a higher CBD content while still providing a moderately psychoactive high. It has attracted a lot of attention for its capacity to relieve migraine sufferers of the pain, swelling, nausea, and anxiety that come with them. It works best when taken as soon as migraine symptoms appear, giving it time to take effect before the headache becomes more severe.

3. Northern Lights

Northern Lights is a popular Indica dominant cannabis strain for migraines because it’s known for its calming and pain-relieving properties. It tones down muscle pain, acute pain, and insomnia and has a relatively lower CBD content. Popular terpenes like limonene, humulene, and terpinolene collaborate to reduce anxiety and relieve discomfort prior to a migraine.

4. OG Kush

This marijuana strain is a pain-relieving powerhouse and is widely considered one of the best cannabis strains for migraines. The high THC content of this hybrid, which is well-known for its potent sedative effects, provides general pain relief and eases depression. Additionally, it has the power to induce sleepiness, euphoria, and relaxation in its users.

5. Purple Kush

With a high THC concentration and terpenes that induce sleep, Purple Kush is a potent, 100% Indica sedative strain. It works best when used in small doses and has benefits for treating insomnia, acute pain, and muscle pain. High concentrations of myrcene and linalool are extremely calming, helping users feel sleepy and relaxed before their migraine symptoms reach their worst.

Find the Right Cannabis Strain for Your Migraines

With so many different cannabis strains for migraine recommendations out there, it can be challenging to find a cannabis strain that works for you. In order to help you choose the best cannabis strain for relieving migraine symptoms, Substance Cannabis Market is here to guide you through our entire selection.

Order online and pick up your purchase at any of ourseveral  dispensaries in and around Bend, OR.

Women sleeping soundly in bed

The 3 Best Indica Strains for Sleep

Marijuana continues to impress both consumers and medical professionals when it comes to the benefits the flower can provide. From appetite to relaxation to pain, there are all sorts of uses for marijuana. And as you may or may not know, sleep is one of the biggest reasons that people turn to marijuana. 

Marijuana users understand the importance of deep sleep and know they have options when it comes to aiding sleep. The first option is a choice of ingestion. For example, you might prefer tinctures on the tongue, or maybe your method of ingestion is through gummies. From chewing to sipping to smoking to swallowing, your options for marijuana ingestion are seemingly endless,  appealing to an ever-increasing base.

The second option is in the form of the cannabis strain itself. It is commonly accepted that if sleep is the goal, indica strains are preferred over sativa. This is not to say that all indica and sativa strains should be placed into opposite categories, but more often than not, indica strains are those found to have exceptional sleep benefits. This is largely due to the types of terpenes that reside within indica strains. 

And whether you are a light sleeper looking for some added depth or one who struggles with insomnia, there are indica strains for sleep that can match your needs. 

Best Indica Strains for Sleep and Insomnia

Even though each indica strain has unique aspects that identify with individuals differently, here is a list of some of the best indica strains for sleep:

Grandaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is an indica strain recommended for sleep because of its muscle-relaxant and sedative effects. However, it is worth noting that one of the reasons this strain is impactful against insomnia is because of its high THC count. For first-time users of cannabis, this high THC count should be considered and used in small doses. 

Northern Lights

Another common indica strain for sleep is called Northern Lights. People enjoy the euphoric feeling it provides from head to toe, and the fact that it boasts a high THC count means that a little bit goes a long way.

Girl Scout Cookies

With a name like that, how could you refuse? Girl Scout Cookies has been a popular choice for a long time, being hailed as one of the best indica strains for insomnia and overall strongest indica strains for sleep. Providing full body relaxation, this cannabis strain for sleep eases pain as well as overall sedation. 

Order Online

With so many benefits, marijuana should be made easily available to all who want to take advantage. Because of that, we provide the ability for our customers to order online, check our inventory and peruse at their own pace. 

If you are in the Bend, Oregon area and want to consider an indica strain to help you sleep, order online and visit one of our four locations to pick up, ask questions, and learn more about how cannabis strains can benefit you and your lifestyle.

Man trimming cannabis buds

A Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Flowering Stages

Whether you are a long-time marijuana user or are new to the game, it is well known that marijuana is in fact a plant that grows from soil and that it flowers to produce the cannabis that everyone loves and enjoys. But this doesn’t mean it has the same growth pattern as any other flower that goes into the ground. Sure, seeds are planted, watered, and there is a waiting time, but there are flowering stages of cannabis that are important to be aware of and help you better maintain your cannabis plant’s growth cycle.

So what are these cannabis flowering stages? And what are some common questions that first-time growers tend to ask during these flowering stages of cannabis? Check it out:

Conditions for Seedlings

First of all, when planting cannabis seeds, the conditions need to be ideal. Cannabis is not a weed (no pun intended) that will simply take off once it’s in the ground. It needs care and conditions that help it grow. These conditions include moisture and warmth. If you are using lights, they should be raised along with the plant’s growth.

And though moisture is important, it is crucial not to overwater your cannabis plant. In fact, water your seedlings as minimally as possible, while making sure the space they are growing is a moist environment. And in these early days, it is best to keep the plants in a small container before moving them to a larger, and permanent container. Once you move them over to larger pots, you will also start to adjust the amount of light they get per day, keeping them in darkness for 10-11 hours every day. This light cycle will trigger the cannabis flowering stage, which can last anywhere from 7-9 weeks, although it is common that some sativa plants might take a bit longer.

Cannabis Flowering Stage: Weeks 1 – 3

The plant won’t stop growing during this time (in fact, they are likely to double its size), but it will certainly slow down. You might notice white hairs on some of the leaves, which are known as “pre-flowers,” and are attributed to female plants. And toward the end of the third week, it is common for buds to start forming where the branches and the stem meet.

Cannabis Flowering Stage: Weeks 4 – 6

At this point, the growth of the plant itself comes to an end and the plant focuses its energy on flowering. You should notice the buds starting to fatten and the odors starting to become more prominent. And once this cannabis flower growth starts, it proliferates quickly. If there were some places where flowers were already sprouted, you will notice these flowers thicken, and you’ll notice others start to populate where there were no flowers previously. It’s important to keep a healthy feeding schedule during this time, as the nutrients will help the buds fatten and prepare for harvesting, which is an upcoming next step in the cannabis flowering stage.

Cannabis Flowering Stage: Weeks 7 – 8

At this point in the flowering stage of cannabis, THC will start bursting through the flower’s glands. Caps will begin to swell with resin and the buds will stand more erect. At the end of this week, your plants will be in their peak zone, full of odor, color, and bursting with THC. After this peak point, they will start to deteriorate, so there is no reason to wait any longer. Once the cannabis flowering stage is complete, it’s time to harvest and enjoy.

Order Online

There are all sorts of options when it comes to cannabis products, from tinctures to pre-rolls to seedlings that you can plant and grow yourself. And what’s better, is that it is easier than ever to find something that works for you, and by ordering online, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.

Check out our selection and order something online that works for you today.

Woman alone in nature enjoying the quiet and smoking marijuana

3 Best Cannabis Strains for Depression

Cannabis has made leaps and bounds in the public eye when it comes to being a prominent answer to all kinds of illnesses. Least among them, depression. And this is for good reason. As more and more people turn to cannabis as a way to lighten their mental load, stories of success arise.  

Depression impacts different people in all sorts of different ways. For this reason, it is a very personal illness. But thankfully, cannabis takes on unique forms of its own as well, and this makes it a powerful ally against depression, because these different strains target different aspects.

Simply put, there are cannabis strains that help with depression. But the best cannabis strains for your depression might be different than the best cannabis strains for another’s depression. 

As mentioned, cannabis strains are unique, but you can break them down to understand them better, and find the best cannabis for your depression, as unique as it might be.

Cannabi for Depression: Understanding Terpenes

Generally speaking, people often associate the highs and lows of cannabis into two categories: indica or sativa. While these generalities have formed almost like stereotypes, there is much more to each cannabis strain than whether or not it is indica or sativa. 

Terpenes, for instance, are the natural oils of the plant, contributing to the smell, taste, and effects of its cannabis. Some of these effects can be beneficial to the person who ingests it, depending on their situation. For this reason, it is important to know your terpenes.

Limonene, for example, is often recommended for anti-depression and stress relief. This is because this particular terpene is potent and is able to lower the tension of the body. And limonene can be found in many different strains of cannabis. 

Another popular terpene is alpha-pinene, which has been known to boost energy and even help with asthma. Getting the energy to get up and go for a walk goes a long way in the battle against depression. More energy can sometimes make it more manageable, if that is what works for you. 

There are many other different types of terpenes as well, and to find the best cannabis strain for your depression, find some terpenes that make sense to you and how you are feeling. 

Cannabis Strains for Depression Recommendations

As mentioned, everyone is unique in their situation, both with their depression as well as how they respond to different strains of cannabis. But there are some cannabis strains that are more popular than others because they have been shown to help many people with their depression. 

While it is still worth learning what specifically is the best cannabis strain for your depression, here are some cannabis strain for depression recommendations:

1. Granddaddy Purple

This strain of cannabis helps depression by increasing your appetite as well as calming and soothing your body. It contains the terpenes myrcene, which is an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer, and caryophyllene, which relieves pain and anxiety. You can see how this can turn into a calm evening.

2. Harlequin

This strain of cannabis helps depression because it has a generally evenly balanced ratio of THC to CBD, meaning it can ease anxiety and pain without having an impact on your mental clarity. The terpene caryophyllene is also present in this strain, as well as alpha-pinene. 

3. Blackberry Kush

Blackberry Kush is widely considered one of the best cannabis strains for depression because it provides a meditative calmness. It can be incredibly beneficial to those with insomnia, as it eases nervousness, calms anxiety, and instills a calmness throughout the body. It contains myrcene and limonene, which, as mentioned previously, eases the tension of the body.

Find the Right Cannabis Strain for Your Depression

There are all kinds of cannabis strains out there, but finding the right cannabis strain for your depression means doing some research and having a conversation with the pros at Substance Cannabis Market. We are happy to walk you through our selection, and help you identify the right cannabis strain for your depression. 

It’s convenient to order online and pick up in person. Our staff is helful, non-judgemental, and supportive, at every trun. Contact us today!

Menstruation & Marijuana

By Sarah Weiss

There is ample research available to support the theory that cannabis can help ease our aches and pains. It’s not a stretch to acknowledge these medicinal properties can extend to the pain and discomfort often associated with a menstrual cycle. So why isn’t this potential remedy shared far and wide between uterus-owning individuals?


There is currently a large amount of stigma revolving around cannabis, especially in the United States, and there has been for over half a century. In the early 1900s, Mexican immigrants introduced recreational cannabis to the United States. Shortly after came the Great Depression, during which Americans experienced widespread unemployment. This, in turn, increased the public’s resentment towards the Mexican immigrants – and the marijuana they’d brought with them. 29 states had criminalized marijuana in some way by 1931. The famous anti-cannabis propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was released 5 years later, in December of 1936.

Nearly forty years later, in June of 1971, Nixon would officially declare the “War on Drugs.” Nixon had signed the Controlled Substances Act into law the previous year. The Act outlined 5 “schedules” of drug classification, based on a substance’s addictive potential. Heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana are all classified as Schedule 1 drugs – meaning they are the most addictive. Oxycontin, cocaine, and methamphetamine are Schedule 2. Even today, as many states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, marijuana remains federally classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

But an even wider-spread and longer-running stigma is placed on the reproductive cycle and a person’s period. The stigma transcends cultures and religions. In parts of Nepal, many still participate in Chhaupadi, a practice in which menstruating women are sent to live in segregated huts for the duration of their period. This practice stems from the belief that menstruation is inherently dirty or “unclean.” In some parts of the Caribbean, it was believed menstrual blood holds magical powers and can be used to control the minds of others through consumption. Therefore, menstruating people may have been prevented from preparing food.

These practices may seem extreme in America. However, one can still observe our culture’s blatant aversion to menstruation through our use of language. Using the term “feminine hygiene products” implies something about menstruating is inherently dirty or unhygienic. Additionally, the euphemisms we’ve created to refer to a person’s menstrual cycle are practically never-ending. “It’s shark week,” “Aunt Flo’s visiting,” and “I’m on the rag,” are but a few of the things we’d rather say than “I’m menstruating.”

These social stigmas make discussing either topic taboo. It is only logical that two taboo subjects combined would not be a frequent topic of discussion. Even as such discussion could generate a mass of potential benefits. We have evidence to show cannabis has been used in the treatment of menstrual discomfort and other uterine issues throughout history. However, due to these stigmas, there is likely a much larger history that was lost to time.

Despite what was lost, the historical data we were able to recover on the use of cannabis for menstrual discomfort is believed to date as far back as 1550 B.C. One of the oldest medical documents ever discovered – the Ebers Papyri from ancient Egypt – described a practice in which ground cannabis was mixed with honey and applied vaginally to “cool the uterus.”

Before Epidurals and Pitocin, there was cannabis.

The first medical documents found written in Arabic, known as the Al-Aqrabadhin Al-Saghir, were dated back to 9th century Persia. These documents explain that the juice of cannabis seeds was mixed with a variety of other herbs and administered intranasally to calm uterus pains and prevent miscarriage.

Although modern medical science suggests it may be best for pregnant people to avoid cannabis consumption, throughout history cannabis has been used as an aid during the delivery process. For example, a burial tomb from approximately 600 B.C. was discovered in Palestine in which the skeletal remains of a 14-year-old girl were found. After investigation, it became clear the girl had died in childbirth. Ash was also found in the tomb, which was later revealed to be burnt cannabis. It is believed the cannabis was burned and administered as an inhalant to the girl during her difficult labor.

By the mid-1800s, using cannabis – often referred to as “Indian hemp” in medical publications – to help facilitate labor was a well-documented medical practice. At the time, the most popular way to induce labor was through the use of Ergot fungi. These fungi, which are poisonous to humans, can be lethal, and often led to stillbirths. Ergot is also incredibly psychotropic. Clearly, cannabis made for a less intimidating alternative, being non-lethal and less psychoactive than the fungi.

As time and science progressed, inhalation lost out in favor of oral administration, usually in the form of a tincture. This is because oral administration allows for a more controlled dose of desired cannabinoids. In 1852 John Grigor published an article in the Monthly Journal of Medical Sciences in which he stated “I have noticed the contractions acquire great increase of strength and frequency immediately on swallowing the drug, and have seen four or five minutes ere the effect ensued; … when effectual it is capable of bringing the labour to a happy conclusion considerably within a half of the time that would other have been required.”

In fact, many doctors of the era wrote of cannabis’s ability to cause contractions and facilitate labor. In 1851 Sir Alexander Christison of Edinburgh wrote “Indian hemp appears to possess a remarkable power of increasing the force of uterine contraction during labour… Shortening of the {pain} interval was, in general, a more conspicuous phenomenon than prolongation of the pain.” It should be noted again that the consumption of cannabis while pregnant is currently not recommended by modern physicians.

With modern-day legalization, we saw a rebirth of cannabis-based solutions for menstrual discomfort. Medicated tampons, suppositories, and lube are just a few of the items to hit the market in recent years. Here at Substance, we have a few favorite products we like to recommend for these uses.

Luminous Botanicals Cannabis Tonic

This tonic is made with a base of coconut and almond oil. Luminous can be ingested as a tincture. It can spread on the skin topically. But the real treasure here is that their all-natural formula has been approved for internal application. This means it can be used sensually for lubrication. (Being an oil-based lubricant, it is not recommended for use with latex condoms). A budtender tip? Add a few drops of this tonic to a tampon to help ease cramping! It is worth noting, however, that the vagina is a very absorbent part of the body. This means that any cannabinoids are likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. Because of this, if you choose either of the formulas containing THC, you may feel some psychoactive effects.

Synergy Skin Worx Patches

Transdermal patches are a staff favorite when it comes to pain relief. Slap one of these on your lower abdomen and feel your discomfort melt away. Be careful though, patches are the only topical that can penetrate the blood barrier. This means that a patch infused with THC may cause some physcoactive effects.

High Desert Pure Soak & Fizz

It’s fairly common knowledge that a warm bath can help ease menstrual pain and discomfort. High Desert Pure Soak & Fizz bath salts can aid in muscle relaxation. Their bath products contain a potent 1:1 THC+CBD blend. In combination with their delightful essential oil blends, High Desert Pure has managed to create a bathing experience unlike any other.

Celebrities & Cannabis: Seth Rogen’s Houseplant

By Kit Foreman

In early August of 2008, two little films went head-to-head at the box office. Surprising nobody, The Dark Knight came out on top – but a little cannabis comedy called Pineapple Express came in second. Overall, it grossed $101.5 million dollars worldwide, and wrote Seth Rogen into the annals of stoner history.

Still image of Saul and Dale from Pineapple Express
Pineapple Express - Cinematographer: Tim Orr

Now, Rogen has made stoner history yet again with the 2021 release of his cannabis line, Houseplant. Houseplant is a joint venture with his long-time partner Evan Goldberg (not coincidentally, the man who co-wrote Pineapple Express with Rogen). Though it was originally released only in Rogen and Goldberg’s homeland of Canada, Houseplant has made its way to a small group of distributors in the United States and can now be purchased in California.

There are really two sides to the Houseplant company; the “house” side, and the “plant” side. On the plant side, of course, is the cannabis – their website describes their cannabis as “for people who love weed, by people who love weed.” They state that Rogen and Goldberg have “hand-selected (and constantly smoked)” each strain under the Houseplant brand.

On the flip side of the Houseplant brand is the “house” piece. In 2019, Rogen began sharing his handmade ceramics with his Instagram followers. They became unexpectedly popular and he brought his designs with him to the Houseplant brand. From table lighters to ashtrays, there are a variety of fun and funky things to peruse, and they all have a delightful midcentury modern flair. While they are not Rogen originals, they are heavily based on his designs (including an “impossible to lose” gigantic tabletop lighter).

So, are the plants of Houseplant so good they’ll make you feel “like a slice of butter… melting on top of a big ol’ pile of flapjacks”? Well, the strains available differ depending on whether you’re purchasing in Canada or California, but the general consensus seems to be that while Houseplant is expensive, it’s high quality.

“The THC in Houseplant packs a nice wallop, and the terpenes are impressive,” writes Mary Jane Gibson of Leafly. In her experience, it “lives up to the hype.”

Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz and Katie Heaney of The Cut write, “Houseplant is exactly what Houseplant positions itself to be: an ordinary smoking experience… something you might easily integrate in your day-to-day.”

Jackie Bryant of Uproxx even titled an article, “We Tested Seth Rogen’s New Weed and It’s Pretty Damn Great.”

As Rogen highlighted in an interview with The Cut in March of 2021, Houseplant also desires to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their brand. “Based on conversations with dozens of policymakers, investors, advocacy groups, etc., we [Houseplant] decided to invest in programs and partnerships that centered around leveraging our expansive network/unique skill sets to assist underserved entrepreneurs through mentorship and to raise awareness around policy issues and the terrible history of the war on drugs.”

Overall, while it may seem like celebrity cannabis has become the new version of celebrity fragrance lines, Houseplant is a company with the drive and the ability to make a high-quality cannabis with a solid ethical foundation. We are looking forward to keeping an eye on this venture — Seth, if you bring this to Oregon, call us!

Pride Month & Cannabis

By Sarah Weiss

Every June we see the rainbows roll out; flags and logos redone in rainbow serve to indicate that Pride Month has arrived once more. However, there’s a lot more to the history of Pride – and it all has a closer connection to cannabis than one might think.

Pride wasn’t always parties and parades. The first Pride was a riot.

Pride was created in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Riots, also known as the Stonewall Uprising, occurred in New York City in June 1969. The riot was in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in Greenwich Village. This raid was not abnormal, as the 1960s were marked by all-too-regular police raids of gay establishments in the city.

The raid of the Stonewall Inn began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The police arrested 13 people, including employees and patrons. Some of the documented offenses included violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute. “The majority of people at Stonewall were either drag queens or gay men of color,” Titus Montalvo, a hairdresser and makeup artist who was 16 at the time, shared in an interview with USA TODAY.

The LGBTQ+ community had had enough and thus began the Stonewall Uprising. Accounts vary on what exactly started the protests – one of the more popular stories is that a Transgender Black woman by the name of Marsha P. Johnson threw a liquor bottle (or a brick) at a police officer. In the years since, Marsha has become an idol in the movement, despite insisting in a 1987 interview that she had not arrived until after the protest began.

Regardless of how it started, the protests continued as the Stonewall reopened the following night and was once again raided. The violence escalated; police employed the use of tear gas against protestors. Over the next week, the Stonewall Inn became a gathering point for LGBTQ+ activists.

In total, the Stonewall Riots lasted six days. Although it was in no way the beginning of the gay-rights movement in America (or even the first documented riot induced by police mistreatment of LGBTQ+ individuals), it is considered a crucial turning point in LGBTQ+ history.

The first Gay Pride Parade was held on June 28, 1970, on the first anniversary of Stonewall. A hundred or so people marched down Christopher Street, where the Stonewall Inn still stands today.

Over 50 years later, cities all over the world hold pride events during June in remembrance and support of the long fight for LGTBQ+ equality.

But how are Pride Month and the gay rights movement intertwined with cannabis?

In recent history, a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual adults were more likely to use cannabis than heterosexual adults. But cannabis and the LGBTQ community have a relationship that goes back decades.

A large portion of support for the legalization of medical marijuana came in the wake of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, which disproportionately affected the LGBTQ+ community. Many began to see the medical benefits of cannabis when they started using it to ease nausea, appetite loss, and pain associated with AIDS. Many members of LGBTQ+ communities, particularly those in San Francisco, were experienced activists due to their involvement in the gay rights movement. These activists used this experience to jump-start another cause: legalizing medical marijuana. Two prominent figures in the original efforts to legalize were Dennis Peron and Mary Jane Rathbun, also known as “Brownie Mary.” Both individuals spent the majority of their lives in San Francisco, and both of them witnessed the impact of the AIDS crisis first-hand – which made clear the medicinal value of cannabis.

Dennis Peron, a man largely credited as the “father of medical marijuana,” began his journey into cannabis at seventeen. Shortly thereafter, he served in Vietnam under the United States Air Force. He returned from Vietnam with two pounds of cannabis hidden in his duffel bag. Paron settled down in San Francisco, eventually opening a restaurant, through which he sold weed from the establishment’s second floor.

The medicinal value of marijuana became rapidly apparent to Peron as the AIDS crisis began to take root. He was an openly gay man and his partner, Johnathan West, used marijuana medically to combat the side-effects of his AIDS medication.

While Dennis Peron was arrested many times on marijuana-related charges, one particular arrest in January 1990 served as his personal catalyst into cannabis activism. That winter, the police raided the home that Peron shared with West. The police found four ounces of marijuana and charged Paron with intent to sell. However, at Peron’s trial, West revealed the stash was his and the charges against Peron were subsequently dropped.

Johnathan West never received any charges in the matter, as he lost his battle with AIDS and died just two weeks after Peron’s trial.

His partner’s death catalyzed Peron. He wrote Proposition P alongside fellow activists, which was a ballot measure asking San Francisco to add marijuana to the list of substances that may be used to treat illnesses (such as AIDS, cancer, and glaucoma). The measure passed in 1991 with an 80% majority.

Brownie Mary, photographed by Maureen Hurley

Alongside Dennis Peron, there was “Brownie Mary.” Mary Jane Rathbun was a single mother working as a server at IHOP in San Francisco in the 1970s when she developed her renowned cannabis-infused brownie recipe. She began selling the brownies on the side to earn some extra income to support herself and her daughter.

Mary was arrested for the first time at age 57 when cops raided her home and found over 18 pounds of cannabis. In place of jail time, Mary was required to do community service, most of which she did for an organization known as the Shanti Project. The Shanti Project was an emerging program to support those diagnosed with AIDS during the emerging crisis. Here, Mary truly came to see the medicinal potential of marijuana.

Mary was increasingly interested in cannabis’s ability to combat “wasting syndrome” (weight loss of more than 10% of a patient’s total body weight, commonly seen during the HIV/AIDS epidemic) by increasing appetite and fighting rapid weight loss. By the mid-1980s, Mary was baking around 600 cannabis-infused brownies a day for patients in the AIDS wards in San Francisco.

This work is especially notable as AIDS was largely misunderstood and widely feared at the time. No one was sure yet how exactly the disease was contracted, and most patients had, at most, 18 months to live after diagnosis. This meant that AIDS wards were not frequented by guests, or even by hospital staff. Mary wasn’t just providing medical relief, she was also providing companionship.

Mary was arrested several times over the course of her career on cannabis-related charges, and after an arrest in 1992 she testified about the medical benefits of marijuana. Her testimony led to a decision to reduce cannabis possession to the “lowest priority” for prosecution.

That same year, Mary Rathbun and Dennis Peron joined forces and opened the Cannabis Buyers Club.

The Cannabis Buyers Club was created with the intention of being arrested. Once arrested, Paron intended to launch a defense based on the medicinal value of marijuana, and to bring awareness to AIDS patients who found the plant to be a necessary part of a comfortable existence. The issue was… the cops never showed. Instead, patients flocked to the club in droves.

Once inside the Cannabis Buyers Club, one could both purchase marijuana and consume it on-site. Besides providing medicine, the club naturally became somewhat of a social mecca. The Cannabis Buyers Club provided AIDS patients and LGBTQ+ individuals alike with a safe place to socialize. Several support groups formed within its walls, from those in cancer treatment to those living on the streets. It seemed that those from marginalized groups could always find some comradery at the CBC. On the weekends, staff would even go as far as to prepare a home-cooked meal for members. In the decades since its grand opening, many of the original members have been interviewed. Many patrons of the CBC reported not only the health benefits of marijuana itself, but the additional health benefits of being part of a healing, open-minded community.

We owe the origins of the modern-day dispensary to the work of Brownie Mary and Dennis Peron.

Here at Substance, we hope to continue in their legacy by creating a safe, welcoming space for everyone.

Substance is a proud member of the Welcome Here Project.

Cannabis Use in Ancient Egypt

Original Art by Sarah Weiss

By Sarah Weiss

Despite existing nearly 2000 years ago, Ancient Egypt remains one of the world’s most popular cultural fixations. This fixation may be due, in part, to just how much modern society has in common with this ancient civilization. One example of this commonality: regular use of the cannabis plant.

The time period we think of as ancient Egypt took place between 3100 B.C. and 332 B.C.

Why has our fascination with ancient Egypt held the tests of time? Perhaps it’s the fascination with the construction of the Great Pyramids. Maybe it’s the colorful polytheistic religion that is so starkly different from modern mainstream Christianity. But, more than likely, it’s because Ancient Egyptians created their own written language, known as hieroglyphs, consisting of pictures and symbols carved into stone. Because the stone carvings withstood the test of time, historians have been able to translate their writings and have gained first-hand insight into life in Ancient Egypt.

It’s because of these very writings that we have come to realize that we might have more in common with this ancient civilization than we think. For example, much like us, ancient Egyptians found methods of using the cannabis plant medicinally.

The first mention of cannabis historians came across was in The Ramesseum Papyrus, an ancient artifact considered to be one of the oldest medical records ever found, dating to approximately 1750 B.C. This document detailed the treatments used for all types of illnesses and ailments, everything from minor burns to childbirth. One of the treatments within this document calls for the use of cannabis. However, historians believe ancient Egyptians used the word “shemshemet” instead of modern-day terms like cannabis and marijuana.

The Ramesseum Papyrus describes a treatment for glaucoma that calls for a mixture of celery and cannabis. The plants were to be ground together and left to sit overnight. The mixture was then used to wash the eyes of the afflicted. It is incredible to see cannabis used to treat glaucoma almost 4000 years ago because it is still used today. we now have scientific evidence of the effectiveness of THC at reducing intraocular pressure, a key component of treating the disease.

Ancient Egyptians also used cannabis in the treatment of menstrual discomfort.

The Ebers Papyri, another set of ancient medical documents, also contains treatments involving cannabis. It describes a practice in which cannabis was ground in honey before being applied to the inside of the vagina to “cool the uterus.” Cannabis has well-documented anti-inflammatory properties that are more than likely responsible for the efficacy of this treatment. This practice wasn’t left behind in ancient times either, as today we’re beginning to see more cannabis-infused tampons & personal lubricants hit the dispensary shelves – often aimed at relieving menstrual or sexual discomfort.

Historians believe cannabis was used in ancient Egypt because of translated medical documents, but hard science exists to back up the presence of cannabis as well.

Multiple mummies, including that of the Pharaoh Ramses the Great, were discovered to have traces of THC in their tissue, along with traces of nicotine and cocaine. The THC was most concentrated in the lung tissue, implying a somewhat regular inhalation of cannabis smoke.

We know cannabis was used in medicinal applications because of the discovered medical documents. However, it is thought that it may have been used recreationally, as well as in religious ceremonial practices.

The Egyptian Goddess of Cannabis

It is nearly impossible to discuss ancient Egypt without noting its colorful polytheistic mythology. Ancient Egyptians worshiped an array of gods and goddesses. There are well over 2000 individual deities documented. Some of the most popular figures from the mythos include Osiris (the god of the underworld), Bastet (the goddess of pleasure), and Ra (the god of the sun). However, when it comes to cannabis, there has been discussion around the goddess Seshat.

Seshat was the goddess of writing, scribe to the pharaohs, and protector of the libraries. 

With written language at the center of ancient Egypt’s culture, Seshat was a prominent deity. Seshat is one of the few Egyptian deities that appear human and is not associated with any particular animal, and therefore is identifiable through one prominent feature: her seven-pointed headdress. Seshat is depicted wearing a headdress composed of a seven-pointed star beneath what is believed to be a crescent moon. However, there is a lot of modern discussion over whether the seven-pointed star may be a cannabis leaf. This could suggest that cannabis had a larger role in their religious practices and day-to-day lives than we originally imagined. (We’ve included some photos of carvings of Seshat. I don’t know about you, but we think that’s a pretty funny-looking star).

Whether or not Seshat was indeed the god of cannabis, it is through her supposed gift of written language that we are able to understand just how valuable the cannabis plant was in ancient Egypt. Despite the centuries that lay between us, the medicinal properties of cannabis have persevered – possibly making cannabis one of the most modernly beloved wonders of the ancient world.

The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act

By Sarah Weiss

The War on Drugs was never really about the drugs.

As the newly legal cannabis industry continues to boom across the United States, with multi-millionaire celebrities like Seth Rogan and Martha Stewart cashing in on the craze, it’s become increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that many people are still sitting in jail on marijuana charges while a predominantly white demographic engulfs the newly legal market. The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act is a legislative attempt to rectify the damaging racist legislation, like the War on Drugs, and their lasting effects on marginalized communities.

The War on Drugs — a campaign launched by President Nixon in the early 70’s — created American legislation that unfairly targeted Black people and other minority groups in the United States. Decades later, the War on Drugs continues to disproportionately affect Black communities and people of color, particularly when it comes to cannabis. While both white and Black groups have historically used and sold drugs at similar rates, today 74% of those imprisoned for drug possession are Black.

In recent years, it appears that whether someone is praised as a cannabis entrepreneur or written off as a “drug lord,” has largely been determined by the color of that person’s skin.

The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act

Oregon has introduced legislation that aims to fight the lasting repercussions of the War on Drugs. The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act is legislation that was introduced in early 2021. Currently, the act is still in its drafting stage and has not yet been voted on by the senate – the first step in making the act become law. If passed, the law will be enacted August 22nd, 2022.

If you’d like to read the bill in its entirety, 40+ pages of legal jargon and all, feel free. I have also taken the liberty of breaking it down for you (you’re welcome).

The major portions of the bill are as follows:

  1. The Cannabis Equity Board

  2. Cannabis Equity Licensing

  3. Cannabis On-Premises Consumption Licensing

  4. Cannabis Delivery Licensing

  5. Shared Processing Licenses

  6. Convictions and Arrests + Data Reporting

  7. Funding Allocations

  8. Medical Marijuana Program

As you can see, the bill includes legislation that would allow for legal cannabis delivery in Oregon, as well as on-site consumption. This means in the next five years you could have your bud delivered to your front door along with your Domino’s, or you could spend Friday night trying a sample flight of different strains in a smoke lounge.

Additionally, the creation of shared processing licenses would allow for multiple processors to operate under one roof – reducing overhead costs which could lead to a reduction in price across extract and edible companies. We’re very excited about these possibilities, and will delve into them more in later posts.

For now, let’s stick to the issue at hand: equity in the Oregon cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Equity Board

The Cannabis Equity Board is essentially a board of directors created to oversee Oregon’s cannabis businesses. The board exists separately from, but within, the governor’s office, containing nine governor-appointed members. A Cannabis Equity Board member is a salaried position with a four-year term. Members appointed to the board must have prior knowledge of the cannabis industry and may not hold any other public office positions. Five of the nine board members may not have any financial interest in cannabis-based businesses.

The board members must have representation from the following groups:  licensed healthcare representatives; cannabis producers, processors, and retailers; Equity operators; and representatives of community-based organizations that support individuals who are American Indian, Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, or Latine.

The board will oversee the following things:

  • Audit applications for Oregon Equity Licensing

  • Manage funding allocations from the Cannabis Equity Fund

  • Regularly report demographics under all cannabis licenses in Oregon

  • Oversee, measure, and report the outcomes of the Cannabis Equity Act

Cannabis Equity Licensing

Equity Licensing will be available to entities of which over 51% is owned by individuals who are residents of Oregon and meet the following requirements:

  • Has been convicted of a marijuana-related crime in any state & whose income does not exceed the area’s median income

  • Is American Indian, Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, or Latine, or is a member of another minority group that shows historically disproportionate community arrest rates for marijuana related crimes.

The bill also states that applications filed for equity licensing must be processed within 30 days of submission, a clause which will allow for these minority-owned businesses to open and operate within a small time frame. The OLCC will also be required to provide support, both financial and otherwise, to applicants throughout the application process as well as after licensure.

Convictions and Arrests

Under the Cannabis Equity Act, persons charged or convicted of  “Qualifying Marijuana Offenses” are eligible to apply to have these offenses removed from their records. This effectively moves to decriminalize cannabis and wipe records clean of acts that, although they were not at the time, are now considered legal under current Oregon state law.

Qualifying Marijuana Offenses are defined as follows:

  • Possession of less than one ounce of dried leaves, stems, and flowers of marijuana

  • Conduct that is now considered legal under ORS 475B.301, like the production or storage of four or less homegrown cannabis plants.

  • Child Neglect and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor charges that involved possession of less than one ounce of dried leaves, stems, and flowers of marijuana, or conduct now legal under ORS 475B.301

Setting Aside Convictions + Arrests

  • A person who has been convicted, arrested for, or otherwise charged with a qualifying marijuana offense may apply to have the record set aside.

  • Persons filling this application are not required to pay a filing fee, submit fingerprints, or submit to a background check.

  • If no objection to the application is filed within 30 days, the applicants record will be expunged and the relevant court documents sealed.

  • Upon clearing, the conviction or arrest is considered to have never happened, and persons involved may answer legal questions as such.

Probation, Parole, + Post-Prison Supervision

  • If you are an OMMP cardholder, abstaining from marijuana and marijuana products may not be a condition of your parole or probation

  • Forbidding a person from possessing or using marijuana may not be a condition of parole or probation unless abuse of marijuana was a factor in the original conduct.

Funding Allocations

When you get a speeding ticket or commit a crime for which the court decides to fine you, where does that money go? Those funds are deposited in an account known as a Criminal Fine Account, which are then distributed among state offices such as the states’ forensic services or public safety standards. However, the Cannabis Equity Act would allocate 10% of the Criminal Fine Account to the Cannabis Equity Fund.

Additionally, in the state of Oregon cannabis products boast a 20% sales tax. The money from this tax is put into an account known as the Oregon Marijuana Account. The Cannabis Equity Act would allocate 25% of the for the Cannabis Equity Fund, and another 20% toward mental health & addiction treatment programs.

The act also states that if the Marijuana Account fund were to ever exceed $11,250,000, the remainder shall be transferred to the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund.

Medical Marijuana Program

The Cannabis Equity act also makes some modifications to Oregon’s existing Medical Marijuana program.

One notable change is the creation of a public education program, designed to monitor and report on the known health effects, benefits, and risks related to marijuana use. The public education program will also serve to educate the public on the impact of marijuana prohibition on the overall health and wellbeing of BIPOC.

The cannabis equity act also allows for funds from the Oregon medical marijuana account to be used to provide drug abuse prevention, early intervention, and treatment services to individuals who are American Indian, Alaskan Native, Black, Hispanic, or Latine.

Additionally, the act requires the Oregon Health Authority to annually report on the population of BIPOC OMMP cardholders to ensure these groups have access to safe and affordable marijuana for medical use. This includes plans to eliminate barriers that prevent these groups from growing their own medicine at home, including zoning laws, plant limits, and issues that result from renting rather than homeownership.

So what does this mean for Substance?

Substance eagerly awaits the time when we can watch the market fill with minority-owned businesses here in Oregon. We are so excited for all the new farms and products, and looking forward to supporting those who were previously targeted because of this industry. We are also delighted to know that a portion of the tax money we collect here will directly impact the Black, Indiginous, and Latine communities in Oregon.

Substance is a proud financial supporter of the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act HB 3112, a bill leveraging economic growth of the cannabis industry to create equity in communities most damaged by racially biased enforcement of cannabis criminalization. You too can support equity for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities. Follow @CannabisEquityPAC on instagram to stay active and visit https://oregonequityact.com/ to donate, learn more, and sign the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act petition.

Sign the letter of support for HB 3112!

We’re trying to get as many people as possible to sign onto a letter of support for HB 3112. This letter will go to the folks on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which is where our bill goes next. We need to get the chairs of that committee to understand why this bill must be passed!

Here is the link to sign the letter of support: https://oregonequityact.com/letter-campaign/

Once you’ve done that, feel free to share the link to the letter with any folks in your networks that you think would also support these reforms.

Learn more about this and other cannabis causes supported by Substance at oregoncannabisretailers.com