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Know Your Type: Cannabis Classifications

If you’re familiar with cannabis basics, you may have heard of two common terms used to describe different types of weed: indicas and sativas. These terms refer to two different species of marijuana, cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. Indicas and sativas look, smell, and taste different. Indicas tend to grow shorter and stockier, while sativas grow taller and thinner. Indica bud may have a purplish appearance.

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More fundamentally, these differences refer to the plant’s easily observable traits, or its phenotype. While they do correlate with certain effects — indicas are known for their stoney body highs, sativas for their more cerebral high — we’ll have to dig deeper to get a better understanding of what lies behind the many psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant.

Phenotypes, Genotypes, and Chemotypes

We mentioned that a cannabis plant’s phenotype — its easily observable traits — tends to correlate with certain effects. But correlation doesn’t imply causation, so what causes those pleasing, therapeutic benefits that we associate with marijuana? To get a better understanding of what some of those causes may be, we’ll have to explore two additional terms: genotype and chemotype.

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A genotype is a living being’s genetic makeup. While phenotype refers to external, observable traits, genotype refers to the genetic, internal blueprint that a being inherits from its parents and ancestors. A genotype outlines the set of possible characteristics that a being could have or pass on to its offspring.

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Image Source: http://www.honest-essential-oils.com/eobbd-essential-oils/botanical-definition/

While a plant’s genotype refers to its genetic makeup, its chemotype refers to its chemical makeup. That is, what chemical compounds are most prevalent and in what combinations.

Cannabis Types

As noted above, indica and sativa refer to different phenotypes of the cannabis plant. More accurately, they refer to different phenotypic expressions. The plant’s genotype is what outlines the possibilities of what it can taste, smell, look, and feel like, and its phenotype is what actually shows up. That means that even if a plant has a strongly indica-like appearance and smell, it may still be storing some sativa genetics, or vice versa. This can lead to unexpected effects. With the ever-expanding range of hybrid strains out there, mixed genetics are also becoming more and more common, and mixed effects along with them.

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Image source: http://www.bestfriendsamsterdam.com/wp-content/uploads/indica_vs_sativa.png

Chemotypes in cannabis refer specifically to its THC versus its CBD content. These are two of the better-known cannabinoids, one of the main “active ingredients” in cannabis. Cannabis comes in three different chemical variations, or chemotypes. Type I refers to the so-called “drug type”, meaning that its high THC to low CBD ratio induces psychoactive effects, as well as other therapeutic benefits. Type III refers to the “fiber” or “non-drug type”, also often called hemp, because its high CBD to low THC ratio means that it induces little-to-no psychoactive effects, although it can still offer many therapeutic benefits. Type II is a sort of intermediate.

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A hemp field. Photo credit: Barbetorte – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7558724

While these basic chemotypes are helpful for understanding some of the effects a particular strain may have, it is important to remember that there are at least 85 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and that they produce different therapeutic benefits. Cannabinoids are not the only factor at work, either. Terpenes, the essential oils of the cannabis plant that give it particular smells, also play an important role in cannabis’ psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits.

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Image source: https://s3.amazonaws.com/leafly/content/cannabinoids-101-what-makes-cannabis-medicine/PLUe6NdETsirqg7Y9Hkf_Cannabinoid-Wheel-(Final)—English.jpg

We hope this breakdown has helped you understand what you’re getting with any one strain, and will help you find what works for you.

Heck Yeah, We Do Sell Recreational Marijuana Here!

Gone are the days of, “Pssst! Hey, do you know where we can score some pot?” It is now legal for participating Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to sell marijuana to adults who are 21 or over.

That’s right, folks, you can all (21 and over) come in to Substance and buy marijuana from us, legally. For real.  No code words or secret handshakes are necessary. You know what makes us extra awesome? We accept credit and debit cards, so you don’t even need to drive by the ATM first.

Violet-Delight--SoFresh-Farms_3
Photo by Steve Hubbard

Oregon Recreational Marijuana law states that we may sell up to 7 grams – 1/4 ounce – of flower per day to someone who is at least 21 years old.  We also have seed packets available and a list of clones that are available to pre-order.

Due to the high demand of our client base, we rotate through a variety of marijuana flowers –buds – and our selection is always changing.  Flower is packaged in 1 gram, 3.5 gram, and 7 gram bags and we have a wide selection of pre-rolled joints available.  We also carry a selection of pipes, grinders, lighters, and other non-medicated items.

Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholders have their own sales island and are allowed to purchase all of our flower products as well as our tinctures, edibles, concentrates, oils, candy and beverages.  Unfortunately, those products will not be available for the recreational users until the end of 2016 due to pending legislation.  We highly recommend you obtain your medical card to have access to all of our delicious products.

Photo by Steve Hubbard
Photo by Steve Hubbard

Please be respectful and don’t spark it up in our parking lot.

Recreational or Adult Use, Marijuana or Cannabis: Which Term to Use?

If you’ve ever been to a dispensary, you might have noticed some slightly different language to refer to the products and services inside than you have heard colloquially or in the popular media. In this post, we give a brief breakdown of why we use the language that we do.

Recreational vs. Adult Use

With legalization in Colorado and Washington, and now in Oregon as well, you’ve probably heard the term “recreational marijuana” to refer to cannabis use outside of medical marijuana programs. Here at Substance, we refer to cannabis usage for adults over the age of 21 who do not hold Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cards as “adult use”.

recreational cannabis/marijuana use - joint
Image Source: https://thejointblog.com/d-c-council-votes-unanimously-to-prohibit-pre-employment-drug-testing-for-cannabis-use/

We use this term because we believe that responsible adults can and should be able to determine what cannabis usage means to them. The medical vs. recreational binary creates a false choice for cannabis users, reinforcing the idea that non-medical users of cannabis are making inherently risky or reckless decisions. Sensible, adult cannabis users who do not have qualifying conditions for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program should face no more stigma than adult users of alcohol. Adult beer drinkers, by comparison, do not have to go to the ‘recreational beer store’.

Cannabis vs. Marijuana

Cannabis and marijuana essentially refer to the same thing. Technically, cannabis refers to the parent plant, which can be broken up into Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Sativas and indicas are what we seek on the medical and adult use markets – ruderalis lacks the cannabinoids that provide those sought-after therapeutic benefits. Hemp is used to refer to a low-THC variety of Cannabis sativa that is often harvested for industrial use.

illustration of the three types of the cannabis or marijuana plant - indica, sativa, ruderalis

Marijuana is generally used to refer to higher THC (or CBD) varieties of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. However, the term has not always been so commonplace. Widespread usage of the word ‘marijuana’ began following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, when the United States saw a large influx of Mexican migrants. Many of these migrants used cannabis as a medicine and a relaxant, and as anti-Mexican sentiment went on the rise, racist propaganda spread fear of the Mexican “Marijuana Menace”.

Mexican marijuana menace newspaper story
Image Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/11/29/415310/-Marijuana-Mormon-Racists-Mexican-Bandidos-and-Crazy-Queen-Carlotta

Because of the history of racism associated with the term ‘marijuana’ in the United States, and the general applicability of the term ‘cannabis’, we use the latter. Considering this history, and the stigmas still surrounding cannabis use today, we feel that using the term ‘adult cannabis use’ over ‘recreational marijuana’ helps combat the negative associations that we as a society have with the cannabis plant.

We hope this post has been informative. Thanks for reading, and we look forward to seeing even more of you join our community of adult cannabis users come October 1st!

Strain Review – Blue Magoo

Blue Magoo, not to be confused with Blue Goo, is a lovely indica dominant hybrid strain with a rich lineage stretching back to the mid 90s where it was originally cultivated by one of the many great growers of Oregon. The mother of the strain was the ever popular indica Blueberry, which was pollinated by Major League Bud (also known as William’s Wonder F2)

A fusion of berry, fruit, and other floral notes make up the aroma and taste of Blue Magoo, resulting in a palate as colorful as its pastel purple and green buds. A tight bud structure is not uncommon in this strain, with dense and resinous nugs absolutely covered in beautiful frosty trichomes.

trichome

Blue Magoo is a favorite among patients as it combats a variety of symptoms including pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and appetite loss. Many patients have claimed that Blue Magoo is a fast acting pain reliever that does not generally carry with it some of the anxiety-inducing effects that higher THC cannabis strains sometimes have. The lack of paranoid side effects, coupled with the rapid and efficacious symptoms relief and palatable fruity taste, make Blue Magoo a very approachable strain and one that any patient would be pleased to experience. 

Substance is currently carrying this strain on our shelves. It starts at $9 a gram, $31.50 an eighth, $60 a quarter, $110 a half ounce and $220 for a full 28 grams. Testing at 20.15% THC and 0.45% CBD, this flower is lovely and exceptional by all accounts. Stop by and see it for yourself.


To read more about Blue Magoo, check out Leafly’s feature right here.

Strain Review – Afghani Pakistani

Recently we at Substance started carrying a new flower, known as Afghani Pakistani, or Afpak for short. A couple of the staff members here have gotten a chance to try this lovely flower, and we would be delighted to share our experiences and opinions on it with you all.

First things first…some basic Afghani Pakistani knowledge for your brains.

The Afpak…

  • is a heavy indica
  • comes from Aghani Landrace and Pakistani Landrace strains
  • is commonly used to help with insomnia, issues with appetite, and pain relief

My first impressions of the strain were very positive. It looks gorgeous, with beautiful purple coloration, prominent orange hairs and a decent bud structure. The Afghani Pakistani’s trichomes are abundant, making it look rather frosty and visually appealing. The smell is just as good, with a sweet candy-like aroma. In fact, I would best describe its appeal as being like “purple candy”.

The bud was clearly cured very well. The flowers are not dry, nor are they full of moisture which would suggest it was harvested too early. Rather, the process appears to have gone very well and provides the flower with a lovely consistency. The texture is sticky and balanced just right.

afghani pakistani

Now, moving on to the effect…

I loaded my pipe with the Afghani Pakistani flower as my day was winding down to an end. I was tucking in for the night, ready to relax and listen to some music. I was hoping that the strain would be perfect for such a setting, given that it is a heavy indica – and it was. The taste of the smoke was just as sweet, if not more so, than the flower itself. The resulting effect was a pleasant heady buzz that made me feel very relaxed and helped to ease my muscle tension.

My coworker made an excellent observation about the strain. He stated that while the Afghani Pakistani is a heavy indica, it nevertheless produced a very functional high that didn’t have the “couch-lock” effect that many indica strains tend to induce. I experienced a similar effect – body and muscle relaxation, pain relief, while still being able to stay up and do creative things like drawing or making music.

All in all, the Afghani Pakistani gets a rating of 9/10 from me. It’s a well formed flower with excellent appeal and a very pleasant effect. I would definitely recommend picking it up while we have it in the store, because it’s going fast.

 

Historical Use of Cannabis

For more than 6,000 years, cannabis and humans have crossed paths. The oldest archaeological record of cannabis was in central Europe in the Bylony culture. Archaeological evidence points to shamanic purposes as a historical use of cannabis. Cannabis may, in fact, have been the first cultivated plant. Cannabis Sativa seeds were recovered in Neolithic band ceramic in Thüringen, Germany. In addition to shamanic use, it was used for paper, textiles, food and medicine throughout human history.

shen nung and the historical use of cannabis
Father of Chinese Medicine, Shen-Nung

The ancient emperor, Shen-Nung (c. 2700 B.C.), is known as the Father of Chinese medicine. he was concerned about the suffering of his subjects, and looked to plants for cures.  According to legend, Shen-Nung tried poisons and their antidotes to experience their effect and then compiled the medical encyclopedia called Pen Ts’ao. The Pen Ts’ao lists hundreds of drugs derived from vegetable, animal and mineral sources. Among these drugs is the plant cannabis, known as Ma. Ma was a unique plant because it was considered both feminine, or yin, and masculine, or yang. Realizing that the female plant produced more medicine, the Chinese cultivated it instead of the male plant. Ma was used to treat female troubles (menstruation), gout, rheumatism, malaria, beriberi, constipation and absentmindedness. A famous physician, Hua T’o (110 – 207 A.D.), was known to use Ma-Fei-San (hemp boiling compound), with wine to anesthetize his patients during surgical operations on the abdominal organs.

Many other cultures have a history of cannabis use. The Scythians, an Iranian tribe inhabiting large areas in the Eurasian steppes from the 7th century B.C. up until the 4th century A.D. used cannabis for fiber and oil. According to Herodotus, a Greek historian, there was evidence that they used it as a narcotic in their steam baths. In India, historical medical literature has some of the earliest accounts of its medicinal utilization. It was used in combination with henbane as an anesthetic for surgery. They also used cannabis preparations externally as antiseptics and analgesics.

historical use of cannabis egypt

In Hellenic and Arabic medicine, cannabis extracts were used for irrigation of diseases of the anus and as compresses for sore toenails. Arabic medical traditions used cannabis both externally and internally for a variety of conditions – for example, an ointment combined with fat was applied antiseptically. In Egypt, according to Rhamses’ papyrus, cannabis was used for the washing of sore eyes.

The medicinal properties of cannabis became part of Western medicine in the mid-19th century when cannabis strains from Egypt and India were imported by the French and British. Between 1840 and 1940, English, Irish, French and North American physicians and pharmacists used various cannabis preparations for pain relief and other conditions including malaria, rheumatism, migraine headaches, gout and glaucoma. Cannabis was in the Canadian pharmacopoeia until it was added to a list of restricted drugs in 1923 with its possession, cultivation and distribution becoming illegal.

Indica

Indica strains of cannabis have a multitude of health benefits, which include but are not limited to:

  • Relief from body pain
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Reduction of seizures
  • Migraine relief, and
  • Appetite stimulation

Examples: Afghan Kush, Blue Cheese, Blackberry Kush


Indica plants developed in central Asia between the 25th and 35th latitudes, where the weather is changeable. Drought one year may be followed by cloudy, rainy or sunny weather. For the population to continue, the plant group needed different individuals that survive and even thrive under those specific conditions. Thus, in any season, no matter what the weather, some plants will do better than others.

Indicas, including Kush varieties, have broad general characteristics: they mature early, have compact short branches and wide, short leaves which are dark green, sometimes tinged purple. Their buds are usually tight, heavy, wide, and thick, rather than long. They smell “stinky,” “skunky,” or “pungent,” and their smoke is thick – a small toke can induce coughing.

Indica plants were developed for resin content, which was removed from the flowers to make hashish. It is only after these varieties were introduced to the West that their buds were consumed. The best indicas have a relaxing “social high,” which allow you to sense and feel the environment, without analyzing the experience.


Indica at a Glance

Height: 2′ to 6′ (0.6 to 1.8m)

Shape: Conical to bushy

Branching: Lots of side branching, usually wider than its height

Nodes: Short stem length between leaves

Leaves: Wide short leaves, short wide blades

Color: Dark green to purple

Flowers: Wide, dense, bulky

Odor: Pungent, sticky, or fruity

High: Inertia, desensitizing

Flowering: 6 to 9 weeks