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.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 7.28.50 PM.png

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!

Advertisements

Cherry Pie Cannabis Strain to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review

[Durban Poison x Grand Daddy Purple][60% Indica]

Sometimes my first experience with a strain is in back genetics, that is how I first met Cherry Pie. I noticed that the strain was a back genetic in Girl Scout Cookies which I absolutely love. So when I finally had the opportunity to medicate with Cherry Pie herself I was so dang excited. Bay Area growers restructured the classic Cherry Kush to create this relaxing and uplifting hybrid strain that is taking the medical states by storm. The strain can be found at different dispensaries in Arizona and is worthwhile for anyone with chronic pain, insomnia or severe anxiety. This isn’t a super heavy strain so don’t worry beginners, you can enjoy this medication too.

How Does It Hit the Senses?

Bud structure of Cherry Pie is bulbous and more rounded than other more spear or pine tree shaped nuggets. It is so blanketed in trichomes that the color appears almost light green with tinges of deep reddish purple. These trichomes that are found generously coated across the bud make each nugget super sticky, you’ll gum up a cheap grinder with this one. In the smell there is a rich blackberry sweetness that is only complimented by a bright saffron that combines to push forth an almost minty aroma. Real Cherry Pie will have a hint of Thin Mints in both the flavor and the taste of the smoke.

What are the Effects?

Medicinal effects will begin to take hold anywhere from 3-10 minutes after inhalation. Effects begin in the ocular region and immediately take hold in the mind where you’ll feel an immense need to just let go. Cherry Pie will have you feeling uplifted and ready to take on the day, no matter what it entails. There will be some minor pain relief as the effects slowly loosen up the intricate muscles surrounding the spine. Manage both stress and anxiety with an extremely alert and active mind for the first couple of hours after medicating. There is a bit of an Indica couch lock that creeps in as the bud begins to wear off, beware of those overwhlemingly lethargic feelings.

Acapulco Gold Cannabis Strain Review

Product Review, Sativa Cultivar

[Mexican Landrace Sativa]

Smelling a strain is important. Whenever I had a patient at the dispensary that was unsure about a strain I would just tell them, “Your nose knows.” and I’d raise the jar to their face and have them choose only with the smell and not their rational thinking. Acapulco Gold is one of those strains that would sell to any patient despite their personal preferences because of the utterly seductive aroma it emits. Pair this delicious Sativa strain with a cup of coffee in the late morning for a productive and blissful afternoon. This is also a strain name that popped up a lot with old timer stoners at the dispensaries. If these beloved patients ever listed off the strains from the “good old days” for me Acapulco Gold would be thrown in there.

How Does It Hit the Senses?

Once the jar is open you will truly become overcome with the aroma of sharp sandalwood embedded with sweet saffron. It is immense, and it is one of those scents that embodies the sativa aroma and engulfs a room when you open the jar or bag. The fat & chunky buds grow in a bulbous structure. They’re generally semi-dense and appear in a rich dark green hue with some light green notes. The taste is rich and vibrant that is quite reminiscent of the aroma but with a nutty almost almond aftertaste.

What Are The Effects? 

At first, your mind will wander. It will wander off to weird crevices that you didn’t know existed in your own realm of thought. But then! Then something fantastic happens, all of that creative energy that has sent your thoughts ablaze comes to a fine point. Every time I’ve medicated with Acapulco Gold I’ve become a woman of words. I have finally opened up my floodgates to write poetry, I find streams of immense work flow from my fingers to the laptop and I feel …simply put… lighter. In every sense, Acapulco Gold will alleviate dark feelings and emotions, it will help you to put aside the gloom and just be. Don’t expect too much pain relief from this one, I’d supplement with CBD tincture or mix with a good Indica if you deal with pain. Also don’t worry about munchies, this isn’t Girl Scout Cookies, you won’t have any horrible need to eat half a pie (last night got weird) when medicating with Acapulco Gold.

Gorilla Glue for Deep Introspection

Indica Cultivar, Product Review

[80% Sativa][Sour Dubb x Chem Sister]

Once in awhile a strain comes around that absolutely blows my mind, and trust me after 5 years working in the medical cannabis industry this is truly rare. Joesy Whales accidentally created this strain when a Sour Dubb plant got a little to handsy with Chem Sister in his grow room, so I guess that we can thank the universe for this happy accident. Although it is a Sativa and Chem based, I don’t get headaches or anxiety from this heavy hitter. If you’re sensitive to Sativa strains I would take a long, relaxed look at Gorilla Glue.

Not since I lived in San Francisco have I been so pleasantly surprised by the well roundedness and sheer audacity of strain as I have been with the Gorilla Glue that I’m slowly parcelling out right now. We put a small nug on the top of the jar it was in and it actually stayed stuck there even when the jar was turned upside down. Sticky, stanky and transcendental; everything I look for in a cannabis strain.

How Does It Hit The Senses? 

The Gorilla Glue bud structure can only be described as turd like, you know those strains, don’t make that face at me. The buds are longer and reaching but still have that thick bulbous body with a dense compaction of calyxes. Rolling dark green and white green combine to make the buds almost seem to hold a green white sheen. That sheen is also probably due to the epic trichome seas that are washed over the entire bud. In fact the strain gets it’s name from how the trichs “glue” up the trimmer’s scissors after curing. Their aroma is absolutely breathtaking. The aroma overwhelms the senses with a strong lemon citrus that finishes with the tiniest hint of mint, much like Durban Poison but with more lemon than pine. As you inhale the vapor or smoke from Gorilla Glue the taste buds are enlivened with a rich chocolate flavor that finishes with the unmatchable diesel aftermath just lingering around as the effects come into play. If you are attempting to grow Gorilla Glue be patient you’ll get a moderate yield after 9-10 weeks.

What are the Effects?

Immediately after inhalation you’ll feel the ocular and brain systems dissipate any pressure that you may been holding onto. Unlike a lot of strains that I feel drizzle down my spine to deliver their pain relief, this one slides into the heart space to release shoulder tension and lighten the hearts connection to the mind. Feel relief from depression and anxiety as worries seem to just melt away within minutes of medicating. As the effects kick in you will certainly maintain your mental faculties, although I tend to get lost within them so I don’t recommend driving or handling any heavy machinery before medicating with Gorilla Glue. This is where the introspection comes into play, Oh Man. I’ve had writers block, I’ve been feeling hopeless about many of my career plays recently and I’ve been downright lazy; Gorilla Glue changed all of that. Medicate with this strain and write an epic poem or enjoy an enlightened conversation with a loved one; and if you’re feeling so inclined it will facilitate some epic TV watching. Also, don’t worry too much about munchies with this one. I’m immensely impressed because Sativa strains don’t generally get me this hard but I’m converted now after some serious time with Gorilla Glue.

The Origins of Carajuana

Lifestyle

I’ve been writing on this blog for awhile and it was all under the assumption that I was giving people instruction on how to utilize cannabis as a medicine. But recently it was called to my attention that not everyone automatically assumes that’s the case. In honor of 420 I thought that I would share with the interwebs exactly what cannabis as medicine means to me. In high school and even my first year of college, smoking weed was a recreational thing. I use that vernacular because cannabis is medicine, weed is a party drug; shifting the perspective starts with specification of vernacular. Anyways, it wasn’t until I quit college soccer and started medicating my severe depression and mild anxiety with binge alcoholism that I began to search elsewhere for a means of medicating this internal pain.

I was drinking quite a lot of vodka every single night until I threw up or passed out with the spins. I had sallow, yellowed and broken out skin and never had good digestive tendencies; everything hurt. A therapist had told me to take anti-depressants but I was REALLY on the fence about messing with my body chemistry like that. My roommate at the time was a medical cannabis patient in California and drew me into her world of cannabis. Going into a dispensary for the first time opened my eyes to the different strains, edibles and hashes that existed in the world. I was enthralled that the right cannabis strain or product could remove my depression and anxiety while also not making me barf my brains out and feel like shit. It seemed silly that the whole world wasn’t hip to the jive of this beautiful plant. Around this time I also started practicing yoga and I found that the combination of the two was pretty legendary. Right then and there I set a goal to make it a priority in my life to share with other people that they can overcome their severe depression with the right combination of different holistic methods. You don’t always have to medicate yourself and remove the color and vibrancy from your life, take a different step first.

After about 5 years medicating I was called up to the big leagues. That means that I got a job at one of the hippest cannabis dispensaries in San Francisco city. I felt on top of the world and I immediately decided that I needed to be a sponge. That I now had the opportunity to learn from the source of retail and come into contact with all aspects of the medical cannabis industry. Since the industry wasn’t very researched yet, I think that the most important and educational experiences for me in the dispensary scene were conversations with my fellow budtenders (now consultants.) With out research most of the knowledge was gathered from field work, meaning that we all talked about strains and their effects and learned about these things from each other. Flash forward and I’ve now worked at 4 dispensaries in 2 states and have used my little brain sponge to gather so much valuable & reliable information. With all of these little tips and tricks I plan to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible, and I also hope to post information here as a means to share my passion for natural health and wellness with all of you. Happy 420 to all of you beautiful human beings, please remember that cannabis is medicine and use this holiday for the greater good! If you’re at Hippy Hill give a cop a Highhh five and then shout “CARAAAJUAANNNAA” and run away for me.

Cannabis & Yoga: A Match Made in Heaven

Lifestyle

There is a longstanding tradition of assuming that stoners are lazy, fat, and have a bag of Cheetos permanently attached to their hand. But this isn’t the case… all the time. There was actually a study done at the University of Nebraska that showed pot smokers to have a smaller waist circumference than those who have never smoked marijuana. With this in mind and due to the fact that I always rip a huge bowl before I go outside to practice yoga I thought that the world should know, cannabis paired with yoga practice can heal ailments.

When I was about 19 I had first started binge drinking and fell into a serious depression. I cried all the time and drank a fifth of vodka every 2 days. My skin was sallow and broken out in acne and most of all my heart was absolutely empty. I had always smoked cannabis but mostly as a party tool, something used to have fun or make me want to eat a ton of pizza. At this age I went to the doctor and got my first cannabis card, a piece of paper with a little metal seal that granted me access to all of the medical cannabis dispensaries in California, which was like Disneyland for a 19 year old in San Francisco.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 8.22.27 AM.png

@carajuanabends

Going into dispensaries, seeing & smelling different strains, actually knowing what I was smoking; these things all helped me to realize that cannabis is a powerful medicine for the body and mind. Amidst this period in time I also started practicing yoga from Kate Potter’s Namaste series for FitTV as a mode of exercise since I had just quit the college soccer team and was starting to flab up. I noticed that together, yoga and cannabis were helping to brighten my life and dissipate my chronic depression. When all the psychologist wanted to do was prescribe me a pill that would strip the vivacious spirit within me along with my sadness, I could use this plant that grew from Earth and a sequential movement of my body instead. My practice slowly became less about being fit and more about finding a space of nothingness in my mind with which to heal it. Combining these two metaphysical tools built a foundation of health in my mind, body and spirit that was unmatchable at the time in my life to any personal realization.

This post has evolved, I had meant to make a case for medicating before practicing yoga. But instead I have remembered a goal that I set for myself back at 20 when I grew and started on my path to spiritual awakening. People need to know that combining yoga and cannabis can quiet, calm and relax the depression, anxiety, anger ridden mind when used correctly. I call out to everyone who has trouble being happy or who suffers from irrational mood swings. Talk to your doctor about cannabis, go take a yin yoga class. These things will help, you don’t have to be alone. You’re not weird. Brains are intense and it’s often those who think and feel deeper than the average bear that end up battling mental disease. I love you, if you read all the way down thanks. Apparently I needed to let that one out. ❤

 

Trinity Blueberry: The Happy Hybrid Strain Review

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review

[Trinity County Kush x Blueberry][55% Sativa]

I’m not one for Sativas, but I know that my endocannabinoid system is one of a kind and so is yours. So with that in mind I’ve been searching for some Sativas that I find super intriguing to review here for you. One of the most delightful ones that is available from time to time here in Northern AZ is Trinity Blueberry. Ok, you got me it’s totally a hybrid, but it’s Sativa dominant so I’m getting closer. Perhaps one of the reasons I’m such a big fan is because this strain usually tests with very high CBD, probably because of it’s Blueberry parent genetics. Roll with the Trinity Blue if you’re feeling like having some perfect daytime pain relief or for the Sativa users maybe a bit of an anti-depressant in the late afternoon or evening.

Trinity

Image Source: High Mountain Health

How Does It Hit The Senses?

Buds are a dark rich purple with so many visible trichomes to the naked eye that they lighten the appearance, almost like there was light snowfall on each bud. Each tree has beautiful spear like bud structure and grows extremely dense. Experience a smell of deep, sweet musky blueberry finished with light and airy bergamot. When you inhale the smoke or vapor from this beauty, the terpene profile is represented with a fresh blueberry taste that finishes in a lemon pine.

What is the Effect?

While this strain has high CBD it also has extremely high THC, topping out sometimes in the 20th percentile. After taking a rip all of the receptors in your brain will ignite, making you feel a slight pressure that is in no way painful in your cranium that moves to your ocular system. The face will feel alive and the mind will feel alert and active almost immediately after inhalation. After about 5 minutes you will begin to feel the joints and muscles in your body release in all of those tense places. The relaxation will seep into your body while your mind remains quite stimulated with a very engaged and present sense of energy. With the pain of your body subsiding and the light in your mind’s eye shining you should experience an anti-depressant euphoric effect.

Some inexperienced THC medicaters should  be prepared for the liftoff of the mind or they could experience some anxiety with the onset of this strain. If this is the case mix the strain with a CBD high THC low strain (Harlequin, Cannatonic, ACDC, Harley Tsu etc.). This will counter those THC effects and heighten the pain relief and seizure relief.

Use this to aide with: Anxiety, Depression, Pain Relief, Relaxation, Stress Relief and Light Seizures (Check test results for CBD levels of each batch for medicating seizures.) 

Cannabis Strain Review: Qrazy Train Hybrid

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review

[Space Queen x Trinity x Purple Urkle x Train Wreck][50/50 Hybrid]

I am such a huge fan of this strain, it’s a beautiful hybrid with awesome properties for healing. It is such a great choice for pain relief and relaxation. Any stress case can appreciate this amazing hybrid strain for it’s properties of release. It helps you to relax the mind and body together, to fully mellow.

Adequate for those that are sensitive to both Indica or Sativa since it sits right in the middle of the hybrid realm.

How Does it Hit the Senses?

I love the way that this bud looks, it might be one of the main reasons that I wanted to review it. Each of them is more round and semi-pine cone shaped. You’ll find the color to be an endearing bright light green with extremely vibrant, light orange hairs. Seriously, the pistils are absolutely beautiful and so electrifying in color. Now for the scent, you’ll almost smell cheesy notes. I believe it’s a combination between a sweet clove smell and a slight tropical citrus scent.

When growing Qrazy Train expect an 8 week flowering cycle. The buds will shoot up like bean stalks and can be recommended for any level of grower.

What is the Effect?

Inhalation really brings out the cardamom smell in your taste buds. With the taste you lose a bit of the sweetness and gain flavors of rich saffron. The effects will take place in mere moments deeply behind your eyes. I first felt the strain’s relaxing properties in my facial muscles and then in my neck and shoulders. Shortly after the relaxation an uplifting mind effect takes place, first it is accompanied by some anxiety but that begins to melt away and you just feel layers of happiness roll over you. As the initial effects wear off and you ride out your high you’ll simply feel light. This lightness is both in your fascia body, relieving your pain; and in your mind relieving the worries you may take on in your life.

Enjoy the feelings of relief for daily woes for about 2-4 hours. Definitely settle in for some intensity just after medicating and then settle in for a very comfortable experience.  Anyone who has high anxiety or worry would benefit from this hybrid in high stress situations. A person who does not manage stress well or is going through adrenal fatigue will definitely find benefit from Qrazy Train as well. Train Wreck is a strain in the genetics of this hybrid and it can be really intense for some patients. Be careful to try this strain when you aren’t in a high stressful situation before using it to medicate in your daily life.

Use to Aide with: Depression, Stress Management, Pain Management, Anxiety, Panic Attacks

Pineapple Queen: Cannabis Strain Review

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review

[Shimla x Pineapple][65% Indica]

We play a fun game at the dispensary that I work for where we like to ask ‘What is your spirit fruit?’. It all stems from the lovely lemon faery that I mentioned in my review of Moby Dick. Basically it’s like a spirit animal, but a fruit! Well I tell you all of this because my spirit fruit is a Pineapple, and Pineapple Queen (also known as Pine Queen) could also be called my spirit strain.

It has a divine fruit filled smell and harnesses all of the beautiful Indica properties that heal my heart while still keeping an active mind. We slowly toked on a gram of this nug while cowboying on horseback for six straight hours, let me tell you that my sit bones would not have made it without the queen involved. I believe there is a dispute between growers between the name Pine Queen and Pineapple Queen, but since I’m a pineapple I will go with the latter.

How Does It Hit Your Senses?

Each bud is so dense it’s a waste not to use a proper herb grinder when preparing it for toking. Each fat pine tree changes between a dark forest green and a frosted emerald green. Pistils are dispersed in light orange brown tufts throughout each nugget. When you get your nose into it you’ll first experience a rich tropical pineapple aroma followed by a sweet sandalwood finish.  The taste is just as delicious as the smell. You can taste the pineapple notes and rich musk so intensely when you finally take a hit.

Pine Queen is an easier strain to grow, it gets huge quickly and flowers in 9-13 weeks.

What is the Effect?

Effects take place almost immediately and are quite strong. You will immediately feel sedated and relaxed, these things combined can create a silliness in your mood. Attempting to do work or any task that requires complete focus can be hard when medicating with Pine Queen. You will definitely experience a heavy eye and a release of pressure in your cranium. In my experience I feel the pressure in my brain release and melt way the neck and shoulder pain that haunts my daily existence. This is very welcome, if you couldn’t tell. Ride out the effects, it may be intense at first to feel the release of your tensions and for a beginner it can get a bit uncomfortable at first. This is why I recommend trying a strain when you are in a completely comfortable place with people you trust, if not alone.

You’ll get a solid 3-5 hours of effects from Pineapple Queen, she’s a strong lady. Enjoy this beauty if you’ve been very stressed out. She will help to stimulate your appetite if you’re body actually needs food, no unnecessary munchies here. As you reach the middle hours of the effects you’ll feel a soft relaxation carry you through until they wear off. An advanced patient can use this for daytime pain relief but beginners should always stick to the evening with this one.

Use to Aide With: Anorexia, PMS, stress, depression, inflammation, pain, anxiety

Moby Dick: A Cannabis Strain Review

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review

[Haze x White Widow][65% Sativa][18.2% THC & 3.5% CBD]

I’ve been meaning to write this review for awhile now, mostly because this strain is so absolutely wonderful for almost EVERYONE. Not only have boyfriend and I play wrestled for almost an hour like joyous little kids after medicating with this strain, but it can uplift any ornery mood while also giving some pain relief with very little to no lethargic side effects. After running into my favorite lemon faery at the farmer’s market this morning I decided today’s the day to finally review her favorite strain.

Moby Dick first got attention when it won the High Times Cannabis Cup in 1995 on behalf of creator Dinafem Seeds. It was originally bred specifically for medicinal use and is a fabulous option for anyone undergoing chemotherapy since it has epic appetite stimulation.

How Does It Hit Your Senses?

This cannabis strain can range from a more loose bound bud to an extremely dense one depending on grow cycles. I guarantee that your grow will harvest at least one behemoth show bud. The nuggets are vibrantly light yellow green with deep hints of dark forest green sprinkled delicately throughout. Trichomes glitter all over and nugs are straight up dank. It will always hit your nostrils abruptly with a lemony pine scent that is unmistakable. The aroma finishes with a deep sandalwood for a very rounded smell scape. Your first hit will entirely retain all of the brightness that assaulted your senses when you smelled the strain, inhalation and exhalation are equal in bright lemon piney goodness. The flavor sends a richness throughout your sinus passages that is warm and inviting.

It is an intermediate strain to cultivate that takes about 10 weeks to flower. It grows well both in and outdoors but I’d recommended indoors as it requires specific lighting wattage. Test your pH twice daily if possible to avoid anything too high as it greatly effects these genetics. If you pay attention and treat her right, Moby is an extremely high yielder.

What Is The Effect?

For me Moby Dick takes immediate effect directly to my mind, I can actually feel pressure in my brain release in the first couple of moments after medicating. After the initial mental lift the release moves through the face to release eye and facial muscle tension. Slowly in the next five minutes you will feel the body pain and muscular tension slowly drip out of your system. I want to be clear about the special nature of this strain, it not only tests with the best of them in THC content but it also has an extremely high CBD level in comparison to almost every other sativa dominant strain. This combination of mentally uplifting euphoria (THC) and anxiety & pain relief (CBD) creates the perfect storm of happiness and relaxation. The coming hour after medicating with Moby Dick you will feel, as lemon faery puts it, like a cartoon in the most welcome way. You feel playful, joyful and most of all pain free.

Effects will take hold for about 2-5 hours. You will most certainly feel the hunger, just have some healthy snacks made and a big bottle of water near by. Moby awakens the tummy and can help to relieve any nausea; making it a great choice for anyone in need of help with their appetite. I also recommend this to any patient who has issues with mood imbalance, depression, anxiety or heavy stress. And I especially recommend it to all my ladies out there during their moon. It will make you stop hating everything for no reason, crying when you see things for no reason and basically all those ridiculous signs of PMS.. except the ones that compel you to eat a whole package of oreos.. it just helps that one out. It is possible you could feel drowsy about 4-6 hours after medicating, test for the first time in a safe zone in the afternoon as to not upset your sleeping cycle.

Use to Aide With: Depression, Anxiety, Nausea, Day-Time Pain, Anorexia, secondary effects of Chemotherapy, PMS