Picking The Perfect CBD Cultivar

Cannabinoids, Cannabis

Finally, CBD is getting the recognition that it deserves. Don’t get me wrong, every compound in this lovely plant is playing a role. We don’t even know everything that is going on yet in those little sticky pine trees. But as that research is done let’s take a look at what each CBD-rich cultivar has to offer us. We’re also going to take a shallow dive into the genetics that have combined to make our beautiful little squatty CBD-rich plants exist in the first place.

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I want to reiterate, as I always do, we’re each working with our own personal endocannabinoid system. It is for this reason that I’m not going to be ranking these in a listicle. Oh, I know Google and click-bait artists, you loves yourself some bullet pointed lists ranked to the best one. I just can’t, it doesn’t do this plant justice. What I have done is make a list of the three CBD cannabis strains that I always grab if they’re available at my favorite local dispensaries.

Harlequin

One of the benefits of having worked and lived in three different legal cannabis state’s industries is that I’ve met many versions and genetics of the ‘same’ plant. That being said, I’ve only met one Harlequin that was high THC and low CBD. These things do exist, I can’t ignore those genetics, although I simply believe they don’t have real Harlequin. However, all of the other beautiful, forest green buds with thick orange pistils of Harlequin I’ve smoked have been 1:1 CBD to THC.

When I purchase my high-THC cannabis flowers for the week I like to pick up one gram of a CBD strain. If possible, it’s Harlequin. Added to bowls of higher THC content it will smoothe over the edges of the high without diluting it. When blazed by itself it’s a nice, even almost undetectable effect. Because of the 1:1 ratio it’s also ideal for tinctures and topicals.

Charlotte’s Web

This cultivar is world-renowned at this point, and rightfully so. The Stanley brothers originally created and grew Charlotte’s Web for a little girl named Charlotte who suffered from a chronic seizure condition. The low-THC was meant to help reduce the psychoactive effects of the plant medicine while maintaining the powerful aspects of Cannabidiol (CBD). Because of this, I grow weary of anyone growing Charlotte’s Web without knowledge of The Stanley Brothers.

The most reliable way to get real Charlottes Web is directly through the official CW Hemp brand or verified retailer. The cultivar tests with about 18-20% CBD and 1 or less percent THC. It is wonderful for manipulating into tinctures or topicals. When ripping it in the bong expect very little noticeable effect. Instead take note when small aches and pains come back, or anxiety begins to be unmanageable again. This type of CBD cultivar is more noticeable when it wears off than when it kicks in.

 

Stanley-Brothers

The Stanley Brothers

 

ACDC

Sometimes this one will have a hint of lemon, or maybe a tinge of dirt in the aromatics. It also has sort of an awkward dark brown look to it, really isn’t the most attractive on the shelf. But it does have a deep, silky effect that is quite wonderful for my aches and pains from old sports injuries and new workout soreness. It will generally test like the Charlotte’s Web with 18-20% CBD and 2 or less percent THC. ACDC is a phenotype of Cannatonic, a CBD cultivar that actually gives me a bit of a headache. Those headaches are surprising now seeing as how I love me some ACDC from Eagletrees Farms. ACDC provides the same heavy CBD content of Charlotte’s Web but is more available to i502 growers. Having a gram of ACDC around is a necessity around my house, especially if there isn’t any Harlequin.

 

These three CBD cannabis plants grow flowers that simply agree with my anxious, depressed, overthinking modalities. Are there some cultivars that you love that I’ve missed? (CBD Revival, Sour Tsunami, Harle Tsu, etc.) Perhaps your experience with Cannatonic was different? let me know in the comments.

 

 

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CBD Illuminations from Verdelux

Cannabis, Edibles, Product Review

Living in Bellingham is a dream for so many reasons. One of these reasons is the immense pride that Bellinghamsters have for locally made products.

The same goes for cannabis flowers, edibles, and concentrates in the city of subdued excitement. Literally any type of cannabis user can find a cannabis product valuable to them that is made within a stone’s throw of Bellingham-city proper. Verdelux Chocolates is one of those local Bellingham cannabis companies that remains a favorite both to the locals and visitors alike. The company is located right in the artistic Sunnyland neighborhood and can be found in tons of local shops like Satori and Smoking Crow. Being local isn’t the only reason I find Verdelux chocolates worth supporting, the company is also focused on using the highest quality, health-filled ingredients. No palm oil or high fructose corn syrup here, just raw ingredients you’d find in your local grocer or co-op.

Lemon+CBD+Illuminations

Talk about transparency!

When it comes to my favorite offering from the confectionary company, having a package of CBD Illuminations lemon hard candies on hand is a must. Each candy contains 10mg of CBD and anywhere from 0.9-0.5mg of THC depending on the flowers used in the distillate. Wondering what flowers are in each batch? Not to worry, they also label the back of every package letting us know exactly what flavor and grower the original flowers came from.

So how do I use these little drops of CBD magic? There are so many ways. Those who have been reading for awhile know that I struggle with anxiety throughout the day. Some days I just know that I’m going to have a rough go of it with anxious thoughts, and on those days I keep a CBD candy in my pocket. When it gets weird I just pop that 10mg of CBD into my mouth and keep on truckin’. They’re also phenomenal when dealing with inflammation or muscle soreness. If I’ve been on a crazy long hike, hucked through some gnarly problems at the rock gym, or pushed it hard in yoga 10-30mg of CBD can be just what my body needs. These little candies offer just what I need in lots of ways, and I’m thankful they’re made right down the street from where I purchase them.

My Cannabis Diary Vol. II

Cannabis, Dear Diary

This is an extension of my series ‘My Cannabis Diary’, a weekly discussion with myself about how life and cannabis are constantly intertwined.

Doing time math when you’re officially three decades old can make you feel… extra experienced. For example, I’ve been smoking weed pretty much every day for ten years. In that decade there have been a weekend to two week break from smoking, eating & vaping here and there. But this was more due to lack of legality or availability rather than a desire not to get high or medicate. In the last few months I’ve felt a calling to just take one week off of smoking altogether to reset and see where my endocannabinoid system is at now. This isn’t a new idea either, what I’m talking about here is a tolerance break.

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When I began medicating with cannabis it was primarily for depression. In that time I have picked up quite a bit of anxious habits and thoughts, and now that too is something that I medicate for. Since my body doesn’t metabolize alcohol well I also tend to smoke or eat edibles when going out to an alcohol-heavy party or gathering. Many researchers believe that endocannabinoid deficiencies could be at the root of some conditions. If that is the case, it’s possible that with all the cannabis floating around my system I may no longer be deficient where I once was. This is why a tolerance break is surely in order, and I’m ready to start… tomorrow.

To prepare I’m going to want to have lots of fruits and vegetables around and probably start the first few days with a CBD tincture to take the edge off. It’s also a great idea to stay plenty hydrated. I am actually a little excited to refocus my drive and redefine my relationship with cannabis.

Have you ever taken a tolerance break? How long? What helped you get through? Let me know in the comments!

Lavender Kush by Ravengrass

Cannabis, Indica Cultivar, Product Review

Whenever I get the chance to try Lavender Kush from Ravengrass I take it, find out why in this i502 product review.

This relaxing cultivar from Ravengrass is a personal favorite. Actually, almost any Lavender cannabis that I meet becomes a must-try for me. That’s because Lavender cannabis is the perfect oil for my engine, or in this case, my endocannabinoid system. Lavender Kush from Ravengrass is up there as one of my favorites I’ve found in my travels. Ravengrass is an Olympia, Washington based i502 company focused on providing us with ‘Guaranteed Good Vibes’, their company motto.

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Why Ravengrass?

Another reason Ravengrass is so wonderful is because of their attention to detail. Each batch is tested for terpenes along with both major & minor cannabinoids. Even the grams come in sealed jars frosted to protect buds from the light while they’re in the store. They’re also each stamped with the Vera Terra stamp. This indicates that they are running a transparent brand utlizing pest deterrents that are approved for USDA Organic certified farmers.

Now, Let’s Talk Bud

Each bud is fluffy, that means they’re not the densest, but that’s no issue. Flowers are light green with small tinges of dark forest green. The aroma is a complex convergence of mint and musk that ends in a pleasant almost floral bouquet. Buds are fluffy and loose, not the densest. Light green with slight touches of dark green. Aromatically musky with a minty undertone that converges into a pleasant floral bouquet. The flavor is very on trend with the smell filling us to the brim with a sweet mint.

Moments after hitting a brimmer of Lavender it feels like there is a little balloon blowing up in the cranium. As that imaginary balloon deflates it leaves behind simple space where there was once anxiety and/or stress. Right after hitting the bowl there is a supreme high and lethargy coinciding with the come-up. When we’re not too careful it can induce laziness, but that can be avoided with proper planning. Just stay focused on whatever task is at hand before taking on Lavender Kush. I personally love this one for anxiety & depression, I’ve also found it quite lovely for stress relief and muscle tension. Check out the terpene and cannabinoid content below, and if you’re in Bellingham stop by Smoking Crow on Pacific Highway for some before it’s gone.

Total Terpenes 2.18 

Linalool 1.05

αPinene 0.63

Δ3-Carene 0.42

βMyrcene 0.07

Total Cannabinoids 23.43%

THC 21.28%

CBD 1.54%

CBC <.01%

CBG 0.33%

CBN 0.27%

Smoky Lungs Tea Blend

Herbalism, What's In My Cup?

Welcome to smoke season here in our usually lush, rainy corner of Northwestern Washington. As fires in BC rage the smoke blows down to our little haven here in Bellingham, just like last year. The sun shines red and our throats all suffer as we watch the last days of Summer squeak by from the air quality in our own homes. Even if we stay inside as much as possible, however, we will eventually breathe in some smoke particles. This morning I finally made up a good herbal blend for this occasion, so maybe my throat and lungs will stop hurting.

Mix together the following herbs:

2 parts Peppermint

1 part Mullein

1 part Lobelia

With the uplifting spring of peppermint combined with the respiratory expectorant qualities of the lobelia & mullein this is a great cup to brew daily in times of low air quality. While waiting for the herbs to extract remember to hold the cup up to your face, deeply inhale the rapidly developing aromatic profile before you. This is a part of the tea magick, never forget to take a whiff.

This Cup’s Mantra

I expand and contract.

 

My Cannabis Diary: Vol. I

Cannabis, Dear Diary

It has been about ten years now that I have been using cannabis as a medicine. I got my first medical cannabis recommendation in San Francisco to treat anxiety and depression while in college. At that doctor’s appointment I was also taught that yoga and meditation could be valuable for my condition. All three -cannabis, yoga, and meditation- remain valuable to me as I enter my third decade on the planet.

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Medicating using cannabis in four counties across three different states has been a challenge. The federal illegality combined with the lack of consistent product made true treatment feel just out of reach. This has been a prominent running thought while I helped countless patients while budtending during that same decade.  Because of these experiences I’ve found myself taking personal calls, emails, Instagram messages and more from dear friends and family to absolute strangers helping people find the right cannabis products for their individual needs. I just know how badly people need a little help. The reality is that with the current lack of federally approved research I’m basing these tips completely off of tried and true experience. Trial and error led me, and now I’m going to write it all down here, in the dearest of diaries.

The first epiphany that is worth sharing is that cannabis must be respected as a medication. If we are medicating, then we must find the right dosage and apply it scientifically until we’ve dialed in. As fun as it is, taking bong rips just isn’t a medical application. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be packing brimmers with your friends on a Friday afternoon, though. It just means that the latter is recreational use, while the former is a medical application. For me, it has been necessary to identify to two as to not abuse my medicine into a place of addiction.

I’m going to be posting these weekly, if you have questions about how to use cannabis or specific products pose them in the comments or shoot me an email. I’ll make sure to address it here.

Happy blazing!

Holy Grail Kush by Budwise

Lifestyle

[Kosher Kush x OG #18][90% INDICA]

Holy Grail Kush is a strain that delivers what the name implies, the golden cup of Indicas. The mostly Indica strain has rightfully won the Cannabis Cup in both 2011 and 2012 and acquired the first ever perfect score in 2011. The bud delivers a solid Kush structure with big, dense, chunky nuggets. In this review, we’re talking about a phenotype grown by the Spokane i502 cannabis company Budwise. Budwise uses organic style practices and all but their grams are sold in jars to stay fresh.

 

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@budwise1

 

This one is pungent and effective, but the buds are more of a combination. Buds appear a bit sparse on the stem to the naked eye but are actually quite dense where the flower has populated. It smells spicily of musk with a fresh, lemon undertone. Upon inhalation prepare to be reminded of the taste of every designer OG running through California you have loved… mixed together. The Holy nugget can be grown both in and outdoor with a flowering time of 63-70 days.

After medicating prepare to feel immediate ocular relief that generates towards your temples while slowly trickling down your spine. This is a medical cannabis strain that it delivers a deep and long-lasting pain relief to the entire body. Mental relaxation is imminent but do be prepared for slight possibilities of paranoia while your anxiety melts away. After about five minutes medicating through smoking, there will be noticeable muscle tension relief and that familiar dry, red eye. Grab some eye drops for this one! Holy Grail Kush has been used to provide relief from nausea, pain, anxiety, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis & fibromyalgia. This strain is not for the novice smoker, it can make you extremely tired and it is advised to medicate wisely and in moderation.

Header image is taken from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Afgooberry by FDG

Cannabis, Indica Cultivar, Product Review

Afgoo (Afghani x Maui Haze) x Blueberry

A wonderful thing about the legal cannabis industry is knowing exactly where our cannabis is coming from. We feel lucky living in Bellingham where there are multiple companies in the city growing premium cannabis flowers. Fine Detail Greenway is one of those local businesses, and the Afgooberry is a favorite from the i502 cannabis producer.  This strain was grown indoors hydroponically.

The buds are fluffy and loose with a stunning with a robust purple hue resting in a bright green bed. Despite the combination density, Afgooberry does grow in a bulbous structure. Take a whiff of the bag for prominent pine aromatics with a sweet berry undertone. This is an ideal kind of bud for beginners as it won’t require a grinder and has a pleasant, familiar scent.

When smoking Afgooberry feel the initial effects come on in the temples just moments after exhalation. Slowly the effects will melt through the frontal lobe as tension releases. The eyes begin to relax and feel heavy as we settle in for the ultimate stress relief. About 10 to 20 minutes after smoking the effects are exceptionally mellow with this very gentle euphoria making for a pleasant but heavy experience. Expect munchies.

On the negative side, this is definitely a cultivar that can cause couch lock, dry eye, and dry mouth. 

 

Cannabis and Sperm

Cannabis

Despite the age-old rumor cannabis does not hinder sperm activity.

Currently, 1 in 6 Canadian couples experiences issues with infertility according to the Government of Canada. With national legal cannabis quickly approaching in the country, it is important that we further understand any possible connection with our ability to conceive children and smoking or ingesting cannabis. That being said, there is a long-standing rumor that cannabis use can decrease sperm count or fertility in some way.

But a new study led by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) discovered that cannabis use, both by women and men, doesn’t lower a couple’s chance of getting pregnant. The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and is the first of its kind to study a possible connection between cannabis use and fecundability.

The research team focused on 4194 women, 1125 of whose male partners also enrolled. Those surveyed were in monogamous relationships and not using contraception or fertility treatments. They were monitored for a period of three years (between 2013 and 2016). Just 12% of women and 14% of the men surveyed admitted to being cannabis users. After twelve cycles of follow-ups, couples that used cannabis showed the same probability of contraception as those who didn’t use cannabis.

These results should help Canadian legislators understand the effects cannabis may have on the healthcare system by way of fertility treatments. With more scientific research we can hopefully drive more intelligent cannabis legislation across the globe.

The Remedy To THC-Induced Anxiety

Cannabis, Lifestyle

THC-induced anxiety isn’t fun, but don’t throw away those nugs just yet.

It’s true, certain cannabis cultivars tend to give me anxiety. Unfortunately, despite my experience in the convoluted world of strain names every once in awhile I will end up with a strain that has me rocking back and forth trying to figure out an argument that I had in 2011. In a world where taxes have us spending a pretty penny on quality cannabis products, we can’t just throw away our flowers. For those of us on a budget we simply have to make it work, but how?

To tone down the anxiety, it is pretty much a given that I turn to Cannabidiol (CBD). In this case an edible option would technically work, but the time period between ingesting and the onset of effects is far longer than smoking. This means that we would have to eat the CBD edibles or hemp oil anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour before we smoke the anxiety-inducing strain. Instead of trying to be high and also have an exceptional concept of time, think of getting CBD-rich cannabis flowers instead.

If we can get our hands on a CBD cultivar that is 2:1 CBD to THC we can actually mix it with the other flowers that have been giving us trouble. Until we find out which terpenes are aggravators of our anxiety AND we have readily available terpene tests; from here we have to do some trial and error. I like to put equal parts of each strain in my grinder and test it in a place where I feel safe and comfortable (in case the ratio isn’t quite right and an anxiety attack comes). For those still feeling anxious, add more CBD. People that might want more psychoactive, play up the THC cultivar. To keep track of these mixtures, it is a good idea to keep a journal of our use. Goldleaf Journals just came out with a tasting journal that can work great for this purpose.

Also, please remember that there are other ways to deal with anxiety; whether it comes from cannabis or not. When a panic attack starts to swirl in I generally brew a cup of tea, get on my yoga mat, and/or go out into nature. My favorite CBD-rich strain for reducing anxious feelings? Harlequin. For all time. Yes, I’ve tried ACDC and Charlotte’s Web. I’ve had Cannatonic, Shark Shock, and Sour Tsunami. Harlequin is my jam.