Bud

Debunking the THC Myth: Why a Higher THC Percentage Isn’t Necessarily Better

THC isn’t everything. Our friends at Phyre do a wonderful job of explaining why in their recent blog post. 

Introduction

Imagine walking into a liquor store in search of the perfect bottle of alcohol. “Which one’s the highest proof?” you ask the clerk, scouring each label for the alcohol content of each.

After carefully reading each label, you walk out with several bottles of 190 proof, 95% alcohol, “might-as-well-be-drinking-battery-acid” Everclear.

Seems unlikely, right? Even ludicrous?

Unfortunately, this scenario is not unlike what’s happening at cannabis retail shops and dispensaries across the (legal) nation: Many consumers are walking in and demanding the highest THC content available, often without realizing that the THC percentage of any particular flower is only one indicator of the resulting high.

You don’t choose your wine or liquor based on alcohol content — so why would you choose your cannabis based on THC percentage?

No cannabis connoisseur I know chooses her weed based primarily on THC content, and here’s why: First, this method overlooks a multitude of factors that contribute to the ultimate effect of any given flower. (Think about the wide array of factors that contribute to the effects of a glass of wine, for example.) Second, it turns out that THC isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of potency in the first place.
Yes, you heard me right: Perhaps the biggest myth about THC is that it has ever been a reliable indicator of potency in the first place.

“The most potent strain I’ve smoked,” said Dr. Donald Land during a Green Flower Media talk, “was in Jamaica and it was 12% THC.”

Phyre co-founder Stefani Malott has had a similar experience:

“This OG Kush is one of my favorite strains,” she explains. “It gives me the giggles, melts away my pain, and it just makes me feel so happy. And at 14%, it hits me a lot harder than most strains testing in the mid to high twenties.”

Maybe you’ve noticed this before, too: lower-testing flower might have hit you harder than expected, or perhaps higher-testing flower has sometimes turned out to be — ahem, slightly underwhelming in effect. Whatever the case, you can almost certainly relate to holding a preference for the effects of a particular strain over those of another.

What causes these kinds of differences among cannabis varieties? If THC content alone cannot reliably explain variations in effect and potency among strains, what can? And if not based primarily on THC content, how should we choose our weed?

We’re glad you asked.

Cracking the THC Code

David Mapes, founder and researcher at Epsilon Research in Sacramento, California, has been researching the therapeutic use of whole plant cannabis for years.

“You must remember that cannabis is not just about cannabinoids [such as THC],” Mapes states. “It also contains numerous types of constituents that are responsible for the various ways that those cannabinoids will act and how the body will react.”

In other words, like your Facebook relationship status, it’s complicated. With over 430 unique compounds identified in the cannabis plant, the way in which the various components interact to create a range of effects and potency levels is complex.

As a simplified analogy, you might think of THC as just one of many colors in an artist’s watercolor palette:

Blue plus yellow = green.
Blue plus red = purple.
Even when both combinations contain the exact same amount of blue, the end result is entirely different.

Likewise, in the context of cannabis, two plants with the exact same THC percentage can produce very different effects and potency levels depending upon the specific combination of additional compounds present in the plant.

It’s not the THC content that matters most, but how the THC combines with other compounds in the plant to create unique synergistic effects of varying magnitude and effect.

For example, you may already know that CBD has been found to soften the effect of THC — so much so that for most people a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD results in a very mild psychoactive effect, if any at all. In comparison, a flower with the same THC content but, say, one-twentieth the amount of CBD would undoubtedly result in a much stronger high for the user.

That’s just one illustration of how the properties of different compounds can interact to create a unique synergistic profile. But in addition to cannabinoids like THC and CBD, what other types of compounds play a central role in determining the effect of any given flower?

If you guessed “terpenes,” you guessed right.

Terpenes are a class of organic hydrocarbons responsible for giving cannabis its glorious range of aromas, from fruity to skunky to earthy and beyond. It turns out that terpenes do much more than provide a pleasing aroma, however: In large part, they are responsible for a vast range of effects that cannot be explained by THC or other cannabinoids alone.

What’s the difference between an Indica and a Sativa? Why is it that two strains with the same THC content can affect an individual so differently? Terpenes, it turns out, have a lot to do with this.

What Combination of Terpenes is Right for You?

Just like a fine whiskey or wine, cannabis comes with many flavors and subtleties, many of which are deeply influenced by the plant’s terpene content. So when selecting your cannabis, it’s important to consider the effects you’re seeking.

Are you using cannabis to relax and unwind? To energize? To aid your sleep, ease your pain, or calm your anxiety? Do you like a heady high or a body high? A lighter or a heavier effect? Do you have any medical concerns you’d like to address using cannabis?

As a starting point for helping you determine your personalized terpene profile, consider the effects of five of the most common terpenes listed below.

Table 1.1: 5 Common Terpenes and Their Respective Effects

How to Determine the Terpene Profile of Your Flower

There are a couple of ways to determine the terpene content of your flower.

The most accurate method is to obtain terpene test results that have been performed by an accredited laboratory. A few forward-thinking dispensaries, including Zion Cannabis in SW Portland, make this easy for you by listing the terpene profiles of each type of flower right on their menu.

Other dispensaries have terpene test results available for some (but not all) of their flower if you inquire, so it never hurts to ask your budtender to dig into a particular flower’s test results and verify whether terpene testing was performed. Here at Phyre, we test all our flower for terpene content. The terpene analyses we receive from our lab look something like this:

 

Pretty cool, right?

In the absence of terpene laboratory tests, you can also utilize your sense of smell to get an idea of the prominent terpenes present in a particular strain. As noted in the chart above, Pinene smells strongly of pine, Limonene smells of citrus, and so on.

Take the THC/Terpene Challenge

Go ahead, we dare you: During your next visit to a dispensary, purchase a variety of different strains ranging in THC, CBD, and terpene content — and try each one out for yourself. Pay careful attention to the smell of each flower, the terpene concentrations as indicated by laboratory testing, and your budtender’s recommendations.

As you consume your cannabis, take note of the subtle (or not so subtle) differences in how each variety affects you. How does your body feel? Do you feel couch-locked or energized, sleepy or creative, anxious or euphoric? How strong of a buzz do you get from each strain in relation to your comfort level?

When a 14% strain knocks you off your ass or you finally find a variety that calms rather than agitates your anxious mind, you’ll know firsthand: There is so much more to cannabis than just THC.

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! 

What’s it Like to Work in a Weed Store?

Working in a pot shop is not exactly “high” times, like some may expect.  Unfortunately, we can’t sit around all day taking bong hits and eating marshmallows. (If anyone knows where I can get paid to do that, please let me know!) This is a job, after all, and we are professionals. Despite the rules and regulations that we must follow like any other business in the state, however, we are free to be who we are and to have a good time.

My fellow employees are a fantastic group of people.  We cover a broad spectrum of ages, origins, and marijuana experiences.  Some of us are wives and mothers while others are barely out of high school.  Some of us are old school and like taking bong rips while others are dabbers and others prefer edibles.  Our varied perspectives bring something extra special to the Bloomwell community.

Is anyone wondering how I explain my job to other people? There’s not much explaining to do.  I tell people that I work in a marijuana dispensary.  My kid knows where I work and what is going on here, my parents know what I do, my friends know what I do… There’s no reason to hide in the closet because I’m not doing anything wrong.  If anything, working at a weed store has given me an outstanding opportunity to talk about cannabis with others and to dispel myths about what’s legal and what isn’t.

One of the best parts of this business is that I have a front-row seat to cannabis legalization and that’s really exciting. I love meeting interesting people from all over the world and from all walks of life who like using marijuana for whatever reason.  Cannabis is the plant that brings people together.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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”.

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!

October Adult Use and Recreational Marijuana Sales

As of October 1st, 2015, Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensaries may choose to begin selling marijuana for adult (recreational) use to persons who are at least 21 years of age, under the regulation of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).  Here are some important snippets of information to learn and share with your friends.

Who can buy it?

  • Adults who are at least 21 years old (and, of course, medical marijuana cardholders)
  • A valid government issued photo ID showing name and date of birth is required.
  • Only the date of birth of the purchaser is recorded to maintain compliance with the OHA.

Where can we buy it?

  • Current OHA-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries may choose to sell to adults 21+ along with OMMP cardholders.
  • Recreational marijuana stores licensed by the OLCC will not be open for business until fall of 2016 at the earliest.
  • It is legal to purchase cannabis from a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
  • Marijuana cardholders are allowed to share cannabis products with persons 21+

What can we buy?

  • Adults 21+ may purchase up to 7 grams (¼ oz) of marijuana (pot, weed, bud, flower) each day.
  • Adults may also purchase up to 4 immature marijuana plants (clones) and seeds per day.
  • Medical marijuana cardholders can still purchase all cannabis products that are available, including hash oil concentrates, edibles, tincture  and topicals.

Where can we consume it?

  • Consume marijuana on private property, presumably out of public view.
  • Marijuana cannot legally be consumed in public (your car, bars, parks, sidewalks, etc.)

Where should we keep it?

  • Don’t keep an open container of marijuana in your vehicle; keep it locked safely in your trunk.
  • Consider obtaining a lock box to keep children and pets safe.
  • Remember that marijuana bud is a perishable product so keep amounts to a minimum to ensure freshness.

Why should I renew my OMMP card?    Most medicated items — hash oil concentrates, edibles, tinctures and topicals — are only available for medical marijuana card holders.  You may be missing out on many amazing new products if you don’t renew your medical marijuana card!

OMMP Cardholders

Possession

  • 24 oz (672 grams) flower
  • 6 mature plants & 18 clones

Max Purchase Allowed Per Day
Bud: 24 oz — that’s 1.5 pounds!Clones: 18 Seeds Oils & Concentrates — also up to 1.5 pounds! Edibles (hard and soft candy, taffy, chocolate, confections, caramel corn, etc.) Tinctures (alcohol or glycerin derived, with many herbs added) Topicals & Salves Beverages (ginger ale, kombucha, soda, etc.) Transdermal Patches

Taxes
None (covered by medical marijuana application fee)

Adult (Recreational) Consumers

Possession

  • 8 oz (224 grams) flower in residence
  • 4 plants per residence
  • 1 oz on person (not visible)

Max Purchase Allowed Per Day
Bud: ¼ oz (7 grams)Clones: 4 Seeds

Taxes
25% starting in January 2016

How do I get a medical marijuana card? We have copies of the OHA paperwork available in our lobby, and the State of Oregon has created detailed handbook PDF that is available to download and print.  Call Substance for the most up-to-date information and current lists of OMMP doctors.

Strain Review – Chem Dawg

Chem Dawg (sometimes Chemdawg) has secured quite the name for itself over the years. A series of successful crosses of this strain to make such powerful strains as Sour Diesel and OG Kush has made Chem Dawg a favorite amongst growers and consumers alike. Its potency is well known, being largely THC dominant, with strong traces of powerful terpenes to ensure its medicinal efficacy and strength, not to mention its distinctly diesel-like aroma.

Many patients enjoy using Chem Dawg to help them manage their stress, depression and anxiety, which is indicative of the strain’s heavy euphoric and heady effects. However, it is particularly effective at managing pain and painful body symptoms that can arise from a variety of conditions. When asked, many patients say that Chem Dawg is a truly exceptional strain and one whose experience they would not want to pass up.

Generally, THC levels of Chem Dawg average around 20%. That being said, the particular crop that we at Substance are currently carrying tested at 25% THC. That, coupled with its strong aroma and flavorful kick, certainly ensures that this is one of the best Chem Dawg crops in Central Oregon. Its potency may be a concern for some folks new to cannabis, but if that is the case, there are options for you to help you balance the intense cerebral effects of strains like Chem Dawg while still taking advantage of their notable medicinal applications. For example, you could pick up a CBD-intensive edible to help balance the cannabis experience.

Stop by Substance Medical Marijuana Dispensary soon and speak with our staff about THC, CBD, edibles, and strains like Chem Dawg to find out what will work best for you.

For prices and availability, visit our Online Menu. 

Vegan Stir Fry

Cooking with Cannabis – Vegan Stir Fry

Learn how to decarboxylate your cannabis before cooking with it, if you wish to achieve the full psychoactive effect. 

This recipe uses cannabis coconut oil. For directions on making cannabis infused coconut oil, check out this guide.

Ingredients

1 cub cubed pumpkin

1/2 cub cubed Japanese eggplant

1 cup trimmed green beans

1 red pepper deseeded and cubed

1 cup chopped coriander

1 lime

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 tablespoon crushed ginger

3 tablespoons gluten free sweet and dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons cannabis coconut oil

Hot sauce to taste

 

Directions

1. Steam pumpkin cubes for 4 minutes and reserve

2. Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan and add the eggplant and tofu. Fry till crisp before adding the garlic and ginger and stirring to combine

3. Add the soy sauce along with the pepper and the beans and stir fry until cooked but still crunchy. Add the pumpkin and stir to combine

4. Turn off the heat and squeeze in the juice of half the lime and most of the coriander

5. Garnish with hot sauce, remaining lime wedges and coriander

 

The most important thing to remember is that the vegetables you choose must be fresh. Serve this with some quinoa or wild rice if desired. Dose yourself safely and be sure to have a non-medicated side dish to help you fill up so you don’t eat too much. Clearly labeling leftovers and medicated items is recommended.


For more recipes like this, visit the Stoner’s Cookbook here.

Blue Magoo

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.

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.

The Cannabis Origin: What is a Landrace Strain?

We welcome the neverending flow of new crossbred strains. Patients are able to enjoy a vast spectrum of medical benefits, and connoisseurs bask in the diversity of their complex flavor profiles. For those only accustomed to plastic bags of nameless herb, signature varieties like Blackberry Kush and Red Haze introduce a new world of cannabis. But where did all these “Kushes” and “Hazes” actually come from?

Historical documents from around the world, some dating as far back as 2900 B.C., tell us cannabis has lived alongside humans for thousands of years, cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes. Many growers believe the earliest cannabis strains sprouted in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan and Pakistan and eventually spread to other areas, including South America, Asia, Jamaica, Africa, and even Russia. We call these indigenous strains landraces.

A landrace refers to a local variety of cannabis that has adapted to the environment of its geographic location. This accounts for genetic variation between landrace strains, which have been crossbred to produce the cannabis variety we see today. Landrace strains are oftentimes named after their native region (e.g., Afghani, Thai,Hawaiian), and traces of these forefather strains are sometimes detectable in the names of their crossbred descendants. A combination of environmental conditions and selective breeding by native populations gave rise to these stable varieties, the forefathers of all modern strains. Until its prohibition, cannabis remained a cultural cornerstone in these areas of the world.

Read the full story right here.