Historical Cannabis Use in Japan

Hemp was used in ancient Japan in ceremonial rights and for purification with and emphasis on driving away evil spirits. In Japan, Shinto priests used a gohei, a short stick with undyed hemp fibers to create sacred space and purity. According to Shinto beliefs, evil and purity cannot exist alongside one another, and so by waving the gohei the evil spirit inside a person or place would be driven away. Clothes made of hemp were especially worn during formal and religious ceremonies because of hemp’s traditional association with purity.

Nowadays, the attitude towards cannabis is quite different. Modern Japan takes a comparatively conservative approach to cannabis use, with a strict no tolerance policy towards marijuana and marijuana products. This is reflective in the percentage of the population that has been reported to ingest cannabis – approximately .1%. Compare that to the United States, which is approximately 13.7%. Keep in mind that these measurements cannot account for the percentage of the population that did not anonymously report their cannabis use. Especially in countries with strict regulations around cannabis, the stimagization and shame of cannabis use can be a profound silencer.


If you are interested in reading more about the percentages of cannabis users in populations around the world, check out the reports from several of the World Drug Reports right here.

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

Raw cannabis contains a lot of THCA which is not psychoactive. When you smoke weed, the THCA molecule loses its carboxylic group (COOH) in the form of water vapor and carbon dioxide and becomes THC. In short, THCA becomes THC and your cannabis becomes psychoactive. This process is called decarboxylation.

When you smoke or vaporize marijuana, you decarboxylate the cannabis by heating it. If you ingest cannabis and want the full psychoactive effect, you need to first decarb your cannabis before you cook with it.

 

Temperature

The lower the temperature, the longer it’s going to take to decarb your cannabis. Keep in mind that a lower temperature will allow you to lose less terpenes.

 

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the pungent oils that color your cannabis with distinctive flavors such as berry, mint, citrus and pine. There are many medicinal benefits to terpenes; some will successfully relieve your stress while others will promote focus and awareness.

 


Table – Decarboxylation Temperatures and Times
Temperature Heating Mode Plant Material Time Kief / Hash Time Cannabis Oil
310F Oven 10 – 18 minutes 5 – 10 minutes
250F Hot oil bath Until bubbles taper off
240F Oven 50 – 60 minutes 30 – 40 minutes
212F Boiling water bath 90 minutes 90 minutes

 


Decarboxylation Methods:

Tip: Grind your cannabis first! A course grind will allow your weed to evenly dry without losing potency from over grinding.

Flower

  1. Preheat your oven (see table above). Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature.
  2. Sprinkle your cannabis in a pie plate and then cover it well with silver foil by crimping the foil along the edge of the plate.
  3. Place in the oven (see table above) – less time for older drier material, more for fresher material.
  4. After required time, turn the oven off, and remove cannabis. Let it cool down slowly before you unseal the container to allow any cannabinoid/terpenes vapor to reabsorb into the cannabis.

Keif/Hash

  1. Preheat oven (see table)
  2. Sprinkle hash/keif on pie plate, cover with silver foil and crimp foil along edge of plate. Place sealed dish in oven for (see table).
  3. Remove plate and let it cool down slowly without removing cover to allow any vapors to reabsorb into cannabis.

Boiling Bag method:

  1. Place the cannabis flower/keif/hash into a boilable cooking pouch. Seal it.
  2. Place in boiling water for 90 minutes. Make sure water does not boil dry.
  3. Take bag out of water. Let it slowly cool before opening.

Cannabis Oil

  1. Place heat proof container of cannabis oil into a cooking oil bath (canola oil works well). Heat cooking oil to 121C/250F.
  2. Stir cannabis oil to break up bubbles.
  3. Remove cannabis oil from heat when bubble formation starts to slow down — or leave on heat until all bubbles stop for increased sedative effect.

An Introduction to Cannabis Edibles Pt. 2

Learning to Classify Edibles Correctly

Though there are untold varieties of edibles available on the market today, they can all be split into three basic categories: those geared towards gastrointestinal uptake (digested through stomach), those geared towards oral uptake (through saliva), and a few that fit into a hybrid category that targets both. The most common edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal absorption. Any edible where the cannabinoids are absorbed through the stomach, like a brownie, cookie, cashew bar, or crepe falls into this category. These edibles tend to take longer to activate within the body (sometimes as long as two hours), but produce a longer-lasting effect (up to eight hours of relief).

uptakemethods

On the flipside, edibles geared towards oral uptake can affect a patient almost immediately, but tend to wear off faster (within two to three hours). Edibles that you hold in your mouth for an extended period of time like suckers, lozenges, or tincture, fall into this category. Some items, such as drinks and chocolates fall into a hybrid category, because they are designed to be absorbed in both the mouth and the stomach. These edibles are a middle ground between oral and intestinal absorption, offering fast-acting relief (patients usually feel this type of edible within a half hour) that can last for four hours or more.

How do I know which edible is best for me?

When selecting an edible, it is very important to pay attention to the potency of the product. This will help you determine how much of the product to eat, as many edibles are designed to be split into multiple doses. However, the exact potency of an edible can be tough for a patient to determine because the strength of an edible depends on the potency of the product used to infuse it.

“Just like the old saying goes, you get out of it what you put into it, and the same is true for edibles. ie. A candy bar that contains five grams of shake or poor quality bud is not necessarily going to be stronger than one that has two grams of primo bud.”

Some manufacturers list their products in strengths such as 10x, 20x etc. Although these numbers help a bit with dosages (typically 5X per dosage, so 20X is 3-4 doses) it is impossible to determine exactly how much cannabis is in one of these products without asking. Other edible companies label their products with the amount of cannabis that is infused in grams. The problem with this, is that unless you know how potent that gram of marijuana was, there is no way for you to tell how potent the edible will be. The same goes for manufacturers who test their products for total cannabinoid content and list the number in milligrams (mg). These numbers can be misleading because they completely disregard the individual bioactive compounds in the plant (THC-A, THCV, CBD, CBN, CBG, etc).

Nonetheless, 30-100mg of active cannabinoids is considered a daily dose by most patients (depending on your experience). 10-30mg is a good place to start if you are brand new to ingesting cannabis. However, only you can determine what dosage works best for you, and this often requires experimenting with different potencies and types of edibles. Long story short, look for edibles that use quality ingredients and use the numbers on the packaging as a rough guideline. Never hesitate to ask your budtender about a product, they will be more than happy to give you advice on edibles (they will know best because they have probably tried all of them).

Are there any health risks associated with consuming edibles?

Unfortunately, because there is no solid system in place to oversee edible or infused products production, patients must exercise caution when purchasing edibles. Most states require nothing more than a commercial cooking license to sell to a dispensary.

“Although edibles companies are supposed to operate out of commercial kitchens, following all health and safety regulations, there is no entity currently in place to assure compliance with these regulations.”

In addition, the quality of the cannabis that is used to infuse dispensary-bought edibles is nearly impossible to determine. Some companies use edibles as a way to dispose of marijuana that otherwise couldn’t be sold; like buds heavily laden with spider mites or mold. Because of this, it is very important to get your edibles from a trusted source.

Patients with severe allergies are advised to use extreme caution when selecting edibles, as the kitchen could be contaminated with trace amounts of nuts, gluten, lactose, or even pet dander. All we can do now is cross our fingers and pray that our edibles aren’t coming from the kitchen of a crazy cat lady!

Edibles Help Patients With Cancer & Other Debilitating Illnesses

Edibles offer patients one more wonderful way to get medicated. They can be extremely beneficial to cancer patients undergoing radiation, as well as those suffering from debilitating illnesses of the stomach, nervous system, or muscular system. Edibles are not only a great tasting, safer alternative to smoking, but also a great way for patients to introduce high levels of certain cannabinoids to the system. They are allowing patients to treat their illnesses with more efficiency than ever before.

Marijuana Drastically Shrinks Aggressive Brain Cancer, New Study Finds

Over the past few years, research has revealed that marijuana can both destroy certain cancer cells and reduce the growth of others. Now, a new study in mice has found that when combined with radiation treatment, cannabis can effectively shrink one of the most aggressive types of brain tumors.

In a paper published Friday in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapies, a team of researchers from St. George’s University of London outlined the “dramatic reductions” they observed in high-grade glioma masses, a deadly form of brain cancer, when treated with a combination of radiation and two different marijuana compounds, also known as cannabinoids. In many cases, those tumors shrunk to as low as one-tenth the sizes of those in the control group.

“We’ve shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults,” Dr. Wai Liu, one of the study’s lead authors, wrote in an op-ed earlier this week. “The results are promising…it could provide a way of breaking through glioma and saving more lives.”

In an email to The Huffington Post, Liu pointed out that while research surrounding marijuana’s cancer-fighting properties is nothing new, his team is the first to document its effect on the disease when used alongside radiation. “The results showed that the final effect was superior to the sum of the parts,” he said. “Hopefully, these results will support calls for formal trials in humans to test these combinations.”

Liu and his colleagues examined mice that had been infected with glioma and subsequently treated with radiation alone or in combination with varying levels of two cannabis compounds: THC, the psychoactive compound associated with the “high” sensation, and CBD, which doesn’t produce psychoactive side effects.

They found that the tumors were best treated by low doses of both THC and CBD that, when used in concert, made the tumors more receptive to radiation treatment. “Our data suggests a ‘triple threat’ approach using all three may be of value,” Liu told HuffPost.

The researchers also found that together, the low doses of THC and CBD produced a similar effect to a large dose of either compound, which is noteworthy because it indicates that patients may ultimately experience fewer side effects.

THC and CBD are just two of the dozens of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. While research surrounding the therapeutic effects of these compounds has been limited, a team of scientists from the U.K. last year found that a combination of six different purified cannabinoids can kill the cancerous cells found in individuals with leukemia.

Meanwhile, when used alone as a form of treatment, THC has been shown to reduce the size of other cancerous tumors and stop the spread of HIV, and CBD strains of marijuana have had a profound effect on children and adults who suffer from debilitating seizure disorders.

Despite these findings, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, meaning the federal government believes it has no medicinal value. The federally-funded National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grows a limited supply of marijuana in Mississippi, which is used for government sanctioned research. Whilecritics have long accused NIDA of only funding experiments that examine the substance’s negative effects, the agency has conducted a handful of studies that look at its potential benefits.

Although 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, many experts argue that the lack of federally regulated studies of cannabis limits doctors’ and scientists’ understanding of the full medical benefits of the plant, resulting instead in a trial-and-error attitude towards treatment.

“You can find publications from the ’70s and ’80s that show pure cannabidiol is an anti-convulsant,” Catherine Jacobson, the director of research at the Epilepsy Foundation, told HuffPost last month. “And here we are 40 years later and we still don’t have any new information about this.”

 


 

For more posts like this, visit the Huffington Post right here. 

Stop the Marijuana Witch Hunt

A letter to the editor of the Bend Bulletin, as penned by our very own Jeremy Kwit.


10/29/14

Stop pot witch hunt

I write with human rights, sensible social policy and balanced criminal justice in mind. Nineteenth-century philosopher, political economist and social servant John Stuart Mill argued we are each our own sovereign nation. Individuals are rational enough to make decisions about their well-being. If adults of sound mind want to drink alcohol or consume cannabis, they should be able to do so.

In our time of increased libertarianism, I’m surprised so many people want to waste precious state resources creating a crime where none exists. Cannabis consumers cause little, if any, harm to themselves or to society. Squandering police, court and jail resources citing and arresting nonviolent, nonharming cannabis consumers is borderline ridiculous. Perpetuating prohibitionist policy serves only to perpetuate fear and hysteria.

Doing so obscures the lack of evidence or valid reasoning supporting the stated conclusion. Believing that marijuana is harmful for adults because marijuana is illegal is like concluding water should be illegal because someone once drowned in a lake.

Let’s consider facts. Let’s recognize and use data to support our public policy creation. Let’s stop the witch hunt.

I would prefer our schools to be adequately funded. I would prefer that prevention and rehabilitation services be available to individuals with addiction issues. I would prefer that our police have the guidance and resources to focus on violent criminal actors. I would prefer that we not clog our courts or jails with individuals choosing to use a botanical product for their own relaxation, stress-reductionor enjoyment.

Jeremy Kwit

Bend


For the full Bend Bulletin article, please click here.

How to Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider About Cannabis

While medical cannabis has had a rocky history for the past century, as more people are becoming comfortable with it, each year more places have been legalizing cannabis for medical use. It can be difficult, however, to navigate all of the information out there. So, how do you know that medical cannabis is right for you? The first step is to ask your doctor. It is only through close work with your healthcare provider that you can decide whether or not cannabis will be helpful to you.

We know that talking about medical cannabis can be intimidating and confusing. Our goal is to remove the stigma surrounding this industry and empower patients to ask the right questions so they can get the treatment they need. Here’s a list of questions you can ask your healthcare provider to determine if medical cannabis is an option for you and, if so, what your next steps should be. These basic questions will help start the conversation between you and your healthcare provider. However, it may also be beneficial to write down a few questions that are specific to you and your medical history. Use this conversation as a way to debunk myths about cannabis use and figure out the facts.

 

  1. What are the health risks associated with cannabis use?
  2. What types of ailments can be treated with cannabis? Does cannabis seem like a good option for my ailments?
  3. What is your suggested cannabis consumption method? Should I smoke it, use medibles, or what about vaporizers?
  4. Does medicinal cannabis seem like a good option for my lifestyle?
  5. Where can I find more information on medicinal cannabis?
  6. Will I be able to perform my everyday duties while using medicinal cannabis?
  7. As a parent, will I be able to use my medicinal cannabis around my children?
  8. How do I stay safe while using medicinal cannabis?
  9. Will cannabis interact with my other medications?

 

In addition to asking your healthcare provider questions about medical cannabis, we encourage you to check out the Leafly Knowledge Center and our other blog posts on this site to educate yourself about the medical cannabis industry. If you do some research before you meet with your doctor, you can ask specific questions and will be better prepared to have a thoughtful conversation with your healthcare provider.

For more information on cannabis doctors in the Central Oregon area, check out our page here. To learn more about the general process of getting your OMMP card, please refer to our page right here.

Storing Cannabis

Proper storage of cannabis is critical for keeping it as potent as possible

While storing cannabis is not difficult, there are four important factors that affect its freshness and potency:

•  Rule # 1: heat will dry it out and too much moisture can cause dangerous bacteria to grow,

•  Rule # 2: light is harmful to the trichomes (the sticky resin glands attached) ,

•  Rule # 3: air will dry it out and lessen its potency

•  Rule # 4: too much handling causes the trichomes to come off.

The best way to store your medical cannabis is in an airtight mason jar that has a good seal. One of the old time dark colored cheese jars with the wire swing top is ideal if you happen to have one. They are ideal for keeping out air, heat and light.

Store the jar in a cool dark place. You can store it in the fridge (not the freezer), but keep an eye out for mold. Fresh bud will actually “cure” better using this method, producing some sweet smellin’ buds!

When your medical cannabis was grown, our growers waited until the trichomes were just right before harvesting to create the best potency possible from those plants. You want to preserve those sticky resin glands and handle them gently as they fall off easily.

The two biggest myths about storing cannabis are that keeping it in clear plastic bags and freezing it helps preserve it, but these actions actually break most of the rules we mentioned earlier.

When you freeze cannabis buds, those potent little trichomes become like tiny icicles. This makes them stiff and brittle and actually makes them fall off and break off the buds. The more you handle the buds in and out of the freezer, the more you lose those active ingredients that help alleviate the symptoms you ‘re trying to address.

Also, all plastic bags have some static, and even this static attracts the resin glands that you are trying to protect and keep intact, which means you are reducing the potency slightly. If you must use plastic bags, use them seldom and for small quantities.

It’s also a good idea to keep the quantity of cannabis you wish to store separate from your daily supply

If you don’t have a jar, you can put it in brown bags (or any dark paper), and then place it in your plastic bags and remove any air that you can.

Refrigerate, or keep in a cool place (a basement works well) where there is no light and little activity – prevent any constant movement or handling. This will keep your medical cannabis both fresh and potent for a very long time.

We at Substance also carry lovely Boveda packs which regulate the amount of moisture present in your cannabis storage area. They’re very helpful in particularly arid or humid environments and are a viable option for anyone who wants to preserve more than a quarter ounce of cannabis flower.

These guidelines also apply to concentrates—just use a smaller jar!

To protect the potency and taste of your cannabis for long periods, smart storage is a must! Rough handling, heat, light and air exposure degrade trichomes!


For more useful information regarding cannabis, visit Harborside Health Center’s website.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction

What is Supercritical CO2 Oil?

This particularly clean and safe method of cannabis ingestion is simply CO2 in a gas or liquid state which has been pressurized into a “Super Critical” state. During the extraction process, as the gas is passed through it pulls the oils, waxes and other materials out of the cannabis plant to create an infused product which is often vaporized or ingested sublingually.

Why use Supercritical CO2

Subcritical/supercritical CO2 oil extraction has several advantages over other extraction methods:

  • CO2 is non-toxic and is Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA for use in food products.  Other extraction solvents, such as hydrocarbon based propellants like propane and butane, hexane and pentane, or ethanol/alcohol mixtures require additional processing beyond the extraction process in order to ensure the product is safe for consumption.   With CO2 oil extraction, no toxins, heavy metals or hydrocarbon materials come in contact with the extracted oils.  The spent material is also free of residual contaminates so it can be re-used as well.
  • CO2 is non-flammable.  Flammable solvents must be processed in a NEMA Class 1, Division 1, 2 or 3 (explosion proof) environment.  CO2 is not flammable and does not require costly explosion proof facilities.
  • CO2 is “cold” – Botanical oil extractions can be done at temperatures that are native to the botanical material, minimizing thermal degradation of the plant material and the extracted oil.
  • CO2 is “tunable” – the solvency power of CO2 can be adjusted simply by increasing or decreasing pressures and/or temperatures.  The ability of the CO2 to selectively extract affords the ability to create unique extractions that have varying levels of desirable oils and waxes.  Less desirable plant constituents, like chlorophyl, can also be “de-selected”.  Once the extraction is complete, secondary processing is not required to have a useable product.
  • CO2 is environmentally friendly.  Industrial CO2 comes from byproducts – primarily hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing and fermentation for ethanol.  CO2 used for extractions does not contribute to the overall atmospheric CO2 levels.

Cooking with Cannabis – Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 8 large white mushrooms, stems removed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3-4 tablespoons partially skimmed ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon infused extra virgin olive Cannaoil
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean mushrooms, remove stems. Chop stems and any extra mushroom.
  3. Heat olive Cannaoil in a saute pan, add chopped stem and mushrooms.
  4. Halfway through cooking, add crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit in a small mixing bowl. Add ricotta and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan.
  6. Fill mushroom caps with cheese mixture and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes
  8. Enjoy – and bring us your leftovers, because this recipe is delicious and wonderful.

 

For more tasty recipes just like this one, check out the Stoner’s Cookbook right here.

Topicals

Cannabis Topicals and Dermatology

Cannabis topicals are good for a variety of ailments. Some of the salves that we currently have in stock help treat symptoms related to psoriasis, melanoma, arthritis, migraines and symptoms like dry and itchy skin. Cannabis topicals come in several varieties, such as roll-on oils, nourishing salves and ointments, and in some cases even products such as soap and sprays.

Topicals are applied directly to the skin, where they are absorbed and utilized by the body. Even though the cannabinoids are being effectually used in the healing process, cannabis topicals are non-psychoactive as long as they are not orally ingested… which is not a course of action that we recommend. It is also important to avoid using cannabis topicals on new, open and bleeding wounds. They can certainly help your body heal cuts and bruises after they have closed up, however.

The anti-inflammatory properties present in a multitude of cannabinoids are remarkable; cannabis topicals are therefore very helpful for folks recovering from injuries and for people who suffer from ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Topicals help reduce the time it takes to heal from injuries, and promote the functionality of joints and reduce nodule formation.

Cannabis topicals essentially combine the effects of antibiotic ointment with the healing effects of a salve to produce lovely products that can even help heal burns, eczema, rashes, fungus, and annoyances like warts and blemishes. The uses of topicals are still being explored, but the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence of their efficacy in treating all of the ailments we have listed, and more, is undeniable.

Some healing or relieving effects of topicals

  • anti-inflammatory effects
  • analgesic effects
  • relaxing effects on muscles and other body tissues
  • muciparous decongesting effects
  • regenerative effects on body tissues

There are so many conditions that cannabis topicals can help with, and they might just be able to help you too. Stop by the shop and browse our wide selection of topical salves, balms, sprays, and oils to find something that works for you.