Cannabis and Your Pets

By Sarah Weiss

Humans have been using cannabis and hemp for their therapeutic benefits for thousands of years. Following the federal legalization of hemp products and multiple states’ legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, research has only just begun to show the numerous therapeutic benefits cannabinoids can provide through human consumption. As we look into the benefits of these wondrous plants for ourselves, it’s only natural to consider the possibilities it could provide our furry friends.

Almost all animals, vertebrates and invertebrates alike, have endocannabinoid systems (ECS), just like humans. Insects being one of the few observed species to be devoid of said system. “The endocannabinoid system modulates the nervous and immune systems and other organ systems through a complex system of receptors and chemical signaling molecules to relieve pain and inflammation, modulate metabolism and neurologic function, promote healthy digestive processes, and support reproductive function and embryologic development.” (Silver, Robert)

Like us, animals produce their own cannabinoids to interact with and signal the ECS. And, like us, animals are subject to effects from the introduction of external cannabinoids, such as THC & CBD. While all animals have an ECS, that doesn’t mean we all process cannabinoids in the same way. So just because you enjoy a THC high, doesn’t mean your pets will.

Photo by Erin Hinterland

Why THC isn’t recommended for animal consumption?

THC is considered toxic to dogs and cats. The severity of the toxicity depends on the manner of ingestion and the quantity ingested. Instances of exposure to secondhand smoke and the ingestion of raw cannabis plant material are fairly unlikely to be fatal. However, THC exposure can affect your pet’s heart rate and body temperature, and even lead to tremors, seizures, and coma. Additionally, the consumption of large amounts of activated THC, like one could find in a medical-grade edible, could be lethal.

Severity of toxicity also depends on the animals’ size. The same amount of THC is likely to  affect your Boston Terrier more than it would affect your Great Dane. “certainly not all pets follow a single pattern of intoxication. A small amount may affect one pet more than another, so there is no official safe level of exposure.

What does THC intoxication look like in animals?

Signs and symptoms your pet could be experiencing THC toxicity include difficulty walking and maintaining balance, vomiting,  lethargy, excessive drooling, dilated pupils and/or glossy eyes, and urinary incontinence. Additionally, your pet may experience elevated blood pressure, a slowed breathing rare, and fluctuation in body temperature. Fortunately, these symptoms are often short-lived, lasting anywhere from 12-96 hours.

What to do if your pet is showing signs of THC toxicity

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to cannabis and is experiencing THC toxicity, you have a few options. If your pet is a little wobbly but seems mostly comfortable, it might be best to let it pass at home. However, if your furry friend is unable to stand, eat, or drink, it may warrant a trip to your local emergency vet. Your vet may choose to pump your animals stomach or give them some charcoal to help absorb whatever it is they’ve ingested. It’s important to open and honest with your vet and disclose that your pet may have been exposed to cannabis in order for the vet to formulate the best course of treatment.

Photo by Erin Hinterland

What about CBD for animals?

Recent research has shown that CBD does not have the same toxicity to animals as THC. In a 12 week study in which dogs were given CBD-infused dog treats twice daily, the most notable side effect was loose stool, which only occurred around 3% of the time. Physical exams revealed no abnormalities or changes in behavior throughout the study. So while there is little evidence to the positive effects of CBD in animals, the same can be said about the negative.

Many believe CBD has the potential to treat a variety of medical conditions in animals, such as anxiety and seizures. However, there is no current scientific research to back these beliefs. This doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t an effective tool in the treatment of these ailments, it’s just that we don’t know for sure yet.

Additionally, drug interactions between CBD and veterinary pharmaceuticals have not been studied as of yet. If your four-legged friend takes a prescription medication, it is unadvised to administer any CBD without veterinary approval and/or supervision.

If you are looking into a CBD treatment for your pet, we recommend checking out your local pet store or CBD shop instead of your local dispensaries. This is because according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commision, no dispensary may sell products that are specifically to be consumed by animals.

 

Works Cited:

Deabold, Kelly A et al. “Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats.” Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI 9 (2019): n. pag.

Frye, Gregory. “CBD for Pets: How CBD Can Increase the Quality of Life for Our Furry Friends.” Substance Cannabis Market, 6 Aug. 2018, www.substancemarket.com/cbd-for-pets/.

Graham, J D, and D M Li. “Cardiovascular and respiratory effects of cannabis in cat and rat.” British journal of pharmacology vol. 49,1 (1973): 1-10.

Gollakner, Rania, and Lynn Buzhardt. “Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication in Cats and Dogs.” Veterinary Centers of America, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/marijuana-intoxication-in-dogs-and-cats

Hauser, Wendy. “THC Toxicity in Pets.” ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, ASPCA, 13 Aug. 2020, www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/thc-toxicity-dogs-cats/.

Janczyk, Pawel. “Two Hundred and Thirteen Cases of Marijuana Toxicoses in Dogs.” ResearchGate, Mar. 2004, www.researchgate.net/publication/8899436_Two_Hundred_and_Thirteen_Cases_of_Marijuana_Toxicoses_in_Dogs

Janeczek, Agnieszka, et al. “Marijuana Intoxication in a Cat.” Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, BioMed Central, 1 Jan. 1970, actavetscand.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13028-018-0398-0

Peterson, Michael E. “Small Animal Toxicology – E-Book.” Google Books, Elsevier Health Sciences, 7 Aug. 2013, books.google.com/books?id=BLkPFlB15v0C.

Silver, Robert J. “The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.” Animals : an open access journal from MDPI vol. 9,9 686. 16 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/ani9090686

Plastic Packaging Blog Post

The Plastic Problem – Conscious Consumption & Retail Cannabis

By Kit Ryn Foreman

Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide every year — and half of it is single-use. Of those 300 million tons, over 8 million tons are dumped into our oceans. Every week, the average human consumes approximately one credit card’s worth of plastic due to plastic breakdown in the ocean – plastics break down into microplastics, which find our way into our water and our food. Former EPA Admin Judith Enck estimates that the United States now recycles less than 5% of its plastics.

Of all that plastic, nearly half of it is used for packaging. Food packaging, drink packaging, packaging for all sorts of consumable items… including cannabis.

In the cannabis industry, packaging regulations vary from state to state — in Oregon, cannabis must be packaged in tamper-evident, child-resistant, resealable containers… or must be placed in a resealable and child-resistant exit package (ORS 845-025-7020). These plastics do not have to be “virgin” plastics, they can be recycled, but recycled plastic packaging leads to higher material costs — which makes its way to the customer in the form of higher prices.

There are some companies that are at the forefront of change in the cannabis industry:

Sana Packaging makes both hemp packaging and ocean-harvested packaging (meaning packaging made from plastics harvested from the ocean).

The Ocean Cannabis Company, a California-based company, also uses ocean-harvested plastic for their packaging of other products.

SunGrown Packaging uses a tab-locking cardboard system, similar to what our customers may see in our PAX cartridge packaging.

A company called ReStalk recycles and repurposes organic cannabis waste into paper.

Additionally, aluminum is significantly more recyclable than plastic; 75% of all the aluminum ever made is still in circulation. As a result, some cannabis companies are moving towards aluminum packaging as a replacement for plastic.

The bottom line is this: the laws that govern the packaging of cannabis increase the need for plastic use and, consequently, increase our plastic waste as a company and your plastic waste as a customer. The packaging laws surrounding cannabis are significantly more complex than the laws governing alcohol packaging, and they contribute significantly to the sheer amount of plastic use in the cannabis industry.

As a company, Substance has made strides toward reducing our carbon footprint. We avoid the use of pop-top containers for cannabis flower because they are made with petro-chemicals and, due to being big and bulky, are difficult to ship and store. The mylar bags that we use for our grab-and-go flower packing are, in many ways, the least bad option available to us under the current OLCC regulations.

The exit bags that we are legally required to include with any non-child resistant products are reusable and made from recycled materials using wind power. Please reuse them. Keep one in the glovebox of your car or in a pocket of your backpack, bring it back when you come back to Substance for your next purchase (they also make great bags for marinating meat, so I’m told).

Per Substance owner Jeremy Kwit, “While we have researched and discovered options for recycled content and biodegradable flower packaging, it is not air-tight nor available in small containers for single grams. Unfortunately, the environmental impact of cannabis packaging has a lot to do with well-intentioned but misguided policy. Most children can operate scissors, and parents can leave open their packages. The best results for child resistance is good parenting, not cumbersome packaging. Open and honest communication, relationships built on trust and boundaries, will do much more to keep kids away from cannabis (and all drugs).”

Now that you know what we’re doing as a company, what can you do as a consumer?

  • Try to purchase products that come packaged in glass, hemp plastics, paper, or recycled plastics

  • Make sure you bring your exit bag

  • Stay vocal and speak up; demand environmental accountability from your favorite cannabis brands

  • Lobby for change in current OLCC policies

Resources:

“Plastic Pollution Facts: PlasticOceans.org/the-Facts.” Plastic Oceans International, 4 Feb. 2021, plasticoceans.org/the-facts/

“Reducing the Cannabis Industry’s Plastic Problem.” Cannabis Tech, www.cannabistech.com/articles/reducing-the-cannabis-industrys-plastic-problem/.

Schlanger, Zoë. “An Environmental Expert’s Strategy for Unwrapping Our Plastic Recycling Crisis.” Quartz, Quartz, qz.com/1740516/the-worlds-recycling-crisis-is-wrapped-in-plastic/.

Incarceration & Cannabis : A Closer Look

by Kit Ryn Foreman

The United States leads the world in cannabis-related incarceration, with an estimated 40,000 people behind bars. The federal government has stepped back and allowed states to legalize or decriminalize cannabis. Arrest numbers have fallen drastically in legalized states. Numbers have also fallen (if more modestly) in decriminalized states. However, arrests are still occurring in legalized and decriminalized states. These numbers continue to reveal a significant racial disparity, as the ACLU says in their research report:

“Marijuana legalization should be — and indeed is — a racial justice issue. But thus far, racial justice has largely been a peripheral or incidental goal of legalization, resulting in continued racist enforcement of marijuana laws, the exclusion of people of color from participating in, leading, and building wealth from the marijuana industry, and the failure to repair the harms done to communities of color by the drug war.”

In the nine years between 2001 and 2010, there were 8.2 million cannabis-related arrests in the United States; according to the ACLU, 88% of these arrests were for possession of cannabis. Black people were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white people.

Between 2010 and 2018, there were over six million cannabis-related arrests. These arrests were more likely to involve a Black person. The ACLU states in their research report, that “Black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana.” Nine out of every ten arrests, according to the report, were related to possession of cannabis.

The battle doesn’t end when someone’s sentence has been served to completion. According to Richard Bronson, founder of 70 Million Jobs (a staffing agency serving formerly incarcerated people): 70 million US residents have extreme difficulty finding employment due to previous incarceration and people of color bear the brunt.

Currently, eleven states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis. Fifteen states have reduced legal consequences for cannabis-related activity. The state-by-state solution becomes complicated when viewing cannabis through a medical lens. People who rely heavily on cannabis to treat a variety of symptoms (from PTSD to chronic pain) cannot bring their medicine with them when they fly because it remains federally illegal. They also cannot bring cannabis across state lines without breaking federal law. They must purchase new cannabis products when they arrive (if they travel to a legal state) or go without entirely.

Substance is proud to be a founding member of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA) — ORCA’s mission is to “represent and advocate for the unique needs of cannabis businesses and consumers in our region.” In 2020, Substance joined the ORCA Board of Directors in order to have a bigger hand in their strategic focus and legislative priorities and helped create ORCA’s Comittee for Social Equity & Racial Justice, to build political and economic power for communities of color.

Substance is also currently contributing to fundraising efforts to establish scholarships for BIPOC individuals working towards a career in cannabis. These scholarships cover the costs of cannabis worker permits and support ongoing professional development. Additionally, Substance has recently joined an advocacy group called the Cannabis Workers Coalition. The CWC is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that actively lobbies for policy change and is heavily focused on community, advocacy, and education.

Substance is dedicated to using our agency and power to represent under-served, criminalized, and stigmatized populations. We remain dedicated, as ever, to helping to establish cannabis policies that are, in the ACLU’s words, “equitable, smart, [and] reparative.”

Cannabis Consumption Methods

A Brief Guide to Edibles

As of June 2, edibles can be purchased in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market. Here at Substance, we decided it was high time to put out our own guide for this brand of cannabis consumption. Whether you are a first-time user or a veteran looking for a refresher, we hope you find this guide useful.

Dosage

The new regulations allow for Oregonians over the age of 21 to purchase “one low-dose cannabinoid edible” a day. Low-dose here is defined as 15 mg of THC or less. Why so low? The answer is that edibles tend to have much stronger, longer lasting effects than smoking.

Your smoking tolerance may also be higher than your edible tolerance; it’s hard to know beforehand. Furthermore, once you have put the cannabis into your system, all you can do is wait for the effects to wear off. While not toxic for your body, consuming too much THC can be very unpleasant.

This is why first-time consumers are encouraged to start small and work their way up. Colorado has even initiated a ‘First Time 5’ campaign, encouraging those new to edibles to begin with just 5 mg of THC per serving.

Delivery System

Edibles have a stronger effect than smoking because of the way the THC enters your system. Once metabolized by the liver, the THC becomes more potent and bypasses the blood-brain barrier more quickly. This means that while edibles hit harder for longer, they also take longer to set in. On average, you can expect anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes to begin feeling the effects. Peak effects may not arrive for up to 2 hours, and can last for several more.

The THC in an edible is absorbed into the bloodstream one of two ways: sublingually or gastrointestinally. Those absorbed sublingually, or “under the tongue”, set in much faster, as they enter the bloodstream directly through tissues in the mouth. Sublingual edibles include tinctures, suckers, lozenges, and hard candy.

Gastrointestinal methods tend to take longer, as they must enter the intestinal tract before you feel the effects. Expect a longer turnaround time for brownies, cookies, baked goods, savory snacks, and drinks.

Ultimately, everyone is affected by edibles differently. So start low, go slow, and play it safe until you find what works for you.

Chem Dawg Strain

New Products Available for Oregon Recreational Marijuana Market

As of June 2, adult cannabis users in Oregon have legal access to a whole new range of items. Adults over the age of 21 will now be able to purchase edibles and extracts, in addition to flower. More specifically, adult users can now buy:

  • One low-dose edible a day (15 mg of THC or less)
  • Topicals (therapeutic, non-psychoactive cannabis products applied to the skin) with a THC content under 6 percent
  • One extract with less than 1,000 mg of THC

As for flower, you will still be able to purchase up to a quarter ounce of bud per day. Adult users can purchase up to 4 clones through December 31, 2016.

Shifting Regulations

Oregon’s recreational marijuana market opened last year, allowing dispensaries to sell limited cannabis products to adult users. Since October 1, 2015, dispensaries licensed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) have been able to sell up to a quarter ounce of bud a day and four clones to all 21+ consumers.

The new regulations allow these same adults to have access to the full range of cannabis products, albeit in limited quantities and dosage levels. All adult use cannabis products sold at medical dispensaries are subject to a 25% sales tax.

Shifting Regulators

Oregon’s recreational marijuana market as a whole, however, is still in its experimental stages. Adult cannabis sales at medical marijuana dispensaries are part of a trial period in which the OHA remains the primary regulator. After December 31, 2016, however, purely recreational stores are expected to open, licensed and regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

Sales taxes on cannabis products at OLCC stores will range between 17 and 20 percent. While these recreational stores will have all the same products as medical dispensaries, dosage levels are likely to be limited, and are being determined in coordination with the OHA. The OHA and OLCC will likely be looking closely at the June 2 changes when making their final decision.

Dab Review: Headband Gold Label by Om Extracts

Here’s what Steve has to say about his recent experience with Headband Gold Label from Om Extracts —

I really have to give it up to the guys over @OMExtracts for their quality lately, and this Headband Gold Label was another brain stopper.

Visually speaking this stuff looks like bright fish eggs, and when you easily pull away exactly how much you’re looking for, you’ll enjoy the sticky crunch consistency.

As usual I went for a low temp flavor dab first, and the flavor was a little on the light side, but definitely got that Headband lemon flavor.

Second dab I went in for the kill, and it was executed. I do have to say it was a little on the harsh side, but I immediately got the “Headband” feeling around the top of my head, and had a decently long lasting experience for me.

So if you’re looking for some stylish new headwear, I think the OM Extracts Headband Gold Label will look nicely on you.

-Steve Hubbard

Thanks, Steve!  Substance is super excited about limited recreational sales of extracts starting on June 2nd.  Recreational marijuana users will be allowed to purchase 1g of CO2 or BHO extract per day.  Start making your wish list today! 

Substance Market Dab Reviews

Dab Review: Chem Dawg and Dutch Treat Rosin

Sterling Gold’s Rosin is the first Flower Rosins (SHO) I’ve personally had the pleasure of trying, and they were delightful!

I’ll admit, I was one of the skeptics in the group about people using hair straighteners for science. But now with the industrial presses we are seeing around, I see the light!

The looks of these two really speak for themselves, and the smell matches the flowers amazingly! That was my first big surprise with this rosin, the smell literally smacks you across the face.

The consistency of both were very manageable. I would even say you could use your hands, but I was pulling and snapping with my dab tool.

The second surprise with these Rosins was the flavor. Simply put, it’s delicious! Reminds me of fresh “greens” from some sweet chronic back in the day. I think we all remember our first, fresh delicious “greens” rip?

Along with amazing flavor, these rips were super smooth. Easy to puff tough and not kill yourself. Even higher temp nail rips weren’t bad, so that’s a real win in my book.

Experience, well let’s just say it took me 2 weeks to finish this review 😉

-Steve Hubbard

Dab Review: Charlotte’s Webbing Cake from Sterling Gold Extracts

This week I was very excited to review one of my personal favorite processors, Sterling Gold Extracts. They are the in-house extraction team of Liontree Farms in Southern Oregon, and these guys know what they are doing. When it comes to quality and consistency with their products, Sterling Gold Extracts hits the mark every time.

Charlotte’s Webbing Cake has a great 2:1 THC:CBD ratio with 44.8% THC and 23.2% CBD, beautiful color and clarity and a sweetness to the aroma. As expected with a higher CBD content, the consistency is a bit on the sap side, but on a cold morning it pulled and snapped just fine for me.

First dab I went with a nice low-temp nail for flavor. The sweetness and CBD mint combination was delightful, the taste of cake really does come to the palate. Second dab as usual, I went in for the big “Steve Size” dab to see what Charlotte had for me. With that nice 2:1 ratio, the inhale is really nice and smooth even on a higher temp nail, and the experience was just as smooth.

This concentrate really clears the mind in a soft and soothing manner. There was a perfect balance of effects to the head and body and I kept thinking how refreshed I felt with each dab. This would be great concentrate for anytime of day and for all levels of users.

I don’t normally crash weddings, but I’d crash Charlotte’s party for some cake any day.

~ Steve Hubbard

*It’s a pretty rough job sampling these dabs for research purposes, but Steve gets it done like a champ.  Try out our ever-changing selection of extracts at Substance.  We love feedback and want to hear about your experiences!*

Your Endocannabinoid System

My what?  Endocannabinoid System.

It’s OK to talk about it.  We all have one.  We just didn’t know that it existed until the 1980’s. Your endocannabinoid system is a complicated body-wide system that helps promote homeostasis.  Homeostasis is when your body is at rest, not stressed, just chilled out and kicked back and doing what it does. Your endocannabinoid system has complex actions in all of your body’s organs and even in the intersection between cell types, like blood vessels and neurons, so it literally acts as a bridge between your body and mind.

Cannabinoid receptors are like little locks on the surface of cell membranes. They are present throughout the body and are believed to be more numerous than any other receptor system. Cannabinoids are the substances like keys that unlock or activate these receptors.  Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most psychoactive and certainly the most famous of these substances. Others, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) have valuable healing properties.

Researchers have, thus far, identified at least two cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly present in nerves, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs. CB2 receptors are generally found in the immune system and its associated structures. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action.

Whoa, that sounded a lot like science.  In a nutshell, scientific research has proven that our state of consciousness definitely affects our physical state of being and that cannabinoids facilitate the communication between our body systems.

Maybe the secret to world peace is that everyone really does need to sit down and smoke a fat bowl and chill?

Legal Recreational Pot

The goal was to ensure legal marijuana businesses, like growers and sellers of legal recreational pot could operate in the City of Bend, Oregon for years to come. Substance founder — or “Person Responsible for the Facility” if you want to get technical — Jeremy Kwit has spent months in meetings as part of the City of Bend Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee.

The nine-member panel included a diverse representation of Bend’s cannabis industry, community activists and concerned citizens. The City of Bend Marijuana Committee crafted a set of very balanced planning code changes, municipal regulations, and an operating license program for the entire marijuana industry — producers (growers), processors (hash and edible makers), wholesalers, retail pot stores, analytical labs —  with the city limits.

Commercial marijuana cultivation will be licensed in Industrial Zones. The processing of marijuana concentrates into butane hash oil or CO2 vape pen cartridges can be dangerous because of flammable solvents or high pressure extraction machines involved. Such potentially dangerous processors will also have to locate in an Industrial Zone. Recreational pot shops and edible makers can operate in Commercial Zones, but not in Residential or Industrial Zones. The Planning Department approved the Marijuana Committee’s zoning suggestions and so did the City Council.

For cannabis retail establishments (which sounds way fancier than recreational pot shop, doesn’t it?) the Technical Advisory Committee proposed a 150 ft buffer from daycare facilities. The Marijuana Committee researched and considered park buffers, but ultimately did not feel a buffer was necessary from parks since Bend law enforcement hasn’t seen any increase in marijuana activity in parks, and our parks already have police coverage.

The Committee did not propose any buffers between retail facilities, falling in line with Measure 91 and 3400. Personally, Jeremy Kwit, along with many others, thinks buffers are unnecessary, and feels (based on empirical research and data) that open, honest dialogue with our youth about alcohol and drugs is the best mechanism to keep them safe and sober. It seemed rather hypocritical to keep an legal marijuana stores many blocks away from a park when alcohol is sold INSIDE our parks in Bend. In fact, the Bend Parks and Recreational District applied for and attained an OLCC license to sell alcohol at the Simpson Ice Pavilion — get drunk, place metal blades on your feet, zoom around ice, then drive kids home.

Every issue was discussed thoroughly and debated aggressively by the Bend Marijuana Committee. There was no unanimity, and Marijuana Committee’s internal votes about every detail were frequently 5:4 or 4:5, in nearly every instance. All members of the Marijuana Committee were concerned about youth access to alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drugs; they disagreed on the best method to educate and create a culture of trust and communication about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. 

The City Council reviewed and discussed the City of Bend Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee’s findings in a work session until 11pm one night, and then during a City Council meeting that lasted until 1am another night. The two members of the technical committee who claimed that retail density leads to increased youth access and drug abuse presented spurious alcohol and tobacco research to the Council, striking fear into the hearts of our elected officials.

When all was said and done, the City Council added a 150 ft park buffer and a 1000 ft buffer between individual cannabis retailers. It’s a pretty good set of regulations overall, although nobody was really pleased. Opt-outs and egregious over-regulation are just prohibition in disguise. Amendments to our Planning Code and a marijuana business Operations License ensures that the entire cannabis industry will legally operate in Bend for the long term.