Only the Best: Inside the Tissue Culture Lab at House of Cultivar

In Seattle’s industrial SoDo neighborhood sits House of Cultivar, an award-winning indoor cannabis farm with a passion for growing and preserving premier cannabis genetics. No matter what genetics they run, either seed or clone, all start in their tissue culture lab.

With a steady rotation of new and exciting strains, House of Cultivar puts out an evolving mix of trending flavors. Each is grown with their insightful approach, close attention to detail, and acute vision of quality.

Tissue culturing is the process of propagating fresh plants by growing them from a cellular level in a controlled and sterile environment. Also known as micropropagation, tissue culturing can mitigate risks that pests and pathogens pose to cannabis. It allows plants to grow robustly and vigorously, giving each a clean slate from which to grow toward their ultimate genetic expression.

“We operate with the motto that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Matthew Gaboury, Founder, House of Cultivar

There are many advantages to utilizing tissue culturing in cannabis farming. It can reduce overall cultivation costs, especially when you consider the resources needed to maintain a large and diverse library of genetics.

Starting and sterilizing genetics at a cellular level gives House of Cultivar the ability to rejuvenate old, tired genetics and to cleanse new genetics coming into the garden that may have questionable health or potential genetic defects.

They’re also able to manage hundreds, if not thousands, of genetic variations without having to dedicate the space and labor needed to keep mother plants alive and healthy.

Watch the full episode of Only the Best to dive deeper into the tissue culture process and see how House of Cultivar applies these innovative, sustainable practices to produce high-quality characteristics from their expansive genetics library.

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Watch This Rejected Cannabis Super Bowl Commercial

It almost happened: Cannabis nearly made its way to primetime television with Acreage Holdings’ Super Bowl ad about medical marijuana. Featuring testimonies from patients who have seen the plant’s healing benefits, this one minute-long ad sets a somber mood of, “Oh wow, it’s ridiculous that this medicine is illegal.”

While the ad’s intent is to jar up heartfelt emotions about cannabis prohibition, it ultimately falls flat by seeming too vanilla and exclusive. The commercial discusses the injustices of cannabis, but never shows any messaging or imagery that acknowledges the truest injustices of cannabis (such as the War on Drugs and the demographics of people who have suffered most for companies like Acreage Holdings to be able to exist in the first place).

Ultimately, CBS decided to say, “No thank you” to this multimillion dollar commercial, so in that sense, the war rages on.

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Reach Your Fitness Goals With This Natural Cannabinoid

When starting a new health plan, more often than not, people share the common goal of better fitness. It can be hard to develop a routine and stick to it; finding the motivation to workout sometimes means making deals with yourself or practicing self-discipline. However, there is one very good reason to workout, and you may be surprised that it has to do with cannabinoids.

Anandamide is the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoid–very similar to THC–and it can be accessed through movement. This neurotransmitter was discovered when scientists realized that there must exist a natural cannabinoid for us to have developed cell receptors that interact with THC. After its discovery, it became clear that anandamide is produced at greater volumes during exercise.

Like THC, it relieves pain and anxiety, and anandamide has the added benefit of increasing dopamine production.

If you want to get (and stay) in shape this year or develop healthy fitness habits, explore three great activities that harness your natural cannabinoid and get the anandamide flowing.

Running

Running is the perfect choice for getting in shape and enjoying the positive after-effects of your workout. As an activity, it requires little more than a place, a good pair of shoes, and determination. Start out with small, obtainable goals, such as running for twenty minutes every day, or one lap around the local park. Slowly work up to longer times and greater distances.

The more you put into this exercise, the more you will get out in terms of not only fitness but anandamide production (there’s a reason many runners say the activity is addictive). Enjoy every minute, because when you finally stop, there will be a blissful euphoria waiting to reward you.

Yoga

Yoga and anandamide go hand in hand. In fact, the word “anandamide” comes from the Sanskrit word “ananda,” meaning pleasure. Yoga and anandamide both leave you feeling peaceful, centered, and happy. It’s an excellent choice for your fitness goals due to its extensive health benefits.

Since anandamide is more easily produced through harder physical activities, it will pay to choose a practice that is fast-paced. Consider a higher level vinyasa yoga class, which will keep you steadily and efficiently moving through each pose.

At the end, your savasana will have you soaring more than ever as you feel your body relax and open, and your mind clear and awash with the natural high of anandamide.

Dancing

How do you combine intense physical fitness with fun? Dancing. Whether it’s free-form to your favorite music or in a class with a guide, dancing is a phenomenal way to get fit and enjoy every second. This is a full-body exercise that will burn calories, loosen muscles, and keep your heart in shape. It’s also an activity that can be adjusted to suit many different people; whether you prefer hip hop, salsa, or jazzercise, there is bound to be a style and a music that gets you excited and moving.

Due to the intense physical nature of dancing, it’s also a great way to get that anandamide flowing.

There are plenty of great options to stay in shape and enjoy our body’s natural cannabinoid. Whether it’s running, yoga, dancing, or another activity like swimming, pilates, or lifting, there are so many great ways to get moving. With anandamide on your side, the result will not only leave you healthier and fitter, but pleasantly happier and higher as well.

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Quick Hits

By Adrian Devitt-Lee On January 24, 2019

Some recent highlights and curiosities from the amazing world of cannabis science and therapeutics:

  • CBD and autism. In his first article of the new year, Raphael Mechoulam and other Israeli scientists look at the “real life experiences of medical cannabis treatment in autism.” Published in Nature, the study found that just under a third of patients report significant improvements and over half report moderate improvements while using CBD-rich oil derived from cannabis (30% CBD, 1-2% THC). The improvements include decreased aggression and agitation, fewer seizures, and better sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate. Around 10-20% of patients stopped taking various medications (mostly antipsychotic and antiepileptic drugs) within 6 months of starting cannabis treatment. One quarter of people experienced some negative side effects like sedation or restlessness, but none were severe. And about one in 5 stopped treatment because it wasn’t effective. Even though there remains a lot to be discovered about how and why CBD can improve the lives of people with autism, it is clear that cannabis can be used safely by this population and should be studied further.
  • Cannabis and ADHD. A study in Molecular Psychiatry with tens of thousands of people found an association between ADHD and cannabis use. Their data suggests that ADHD causes later cannabis use, which may support the notion that THC is used to self medicate (although ADHD is associated with heavier use of many drugs). Previous research has found that THC may be effective for some cases that do not respond well to Ritalin.
  • Self medicating for endometriosis. Endometriosis is a poorly-understood condition causing severe chronic pain and alterations in a woman’s menstrual cycle. As an understudied disease, treatment is limited. Scientists surveyed over 400 Australian women to see what actions they took to treat their pelvic pain. Cannabis, heat, CBD oil, and dietary changes were rated most effective by women, in that order. Unfortunately, more women used alcohol than cannabis to manage symptoms; self-medicating with alcohol promotes chronic inflammation and led to worsening pain and fatigue in over half of such women. This underscores the importance of not treating cannabis like alcohol in the ongoing saga of legalization. (Note: endometriosis is diagnosed with an invasive surgical procedure, and so many women who likely have endometriosis go undiagnosed. The group that responded to this survey had a confirmed diagnosis.)
  • Concussions and alcoholism. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to numerous problems, including alcoholism and suicide. New findings indicate that endocannabinoids aid TBI recovery: When researchers boosted 2-AG levels shortly after injury, rats displayed less anxiety and less interest in alcohol. This is significant since alcoholism is a serious comorbidity of brain injury. The researchers link the protective effect of 2-AG to changes in glutamate transmission in the central amygdala, the part of the brain that processes traumatic and fearful memories. Other preclinical research has demonstrated that endocannabinoids can play a protective role after traumatic brain injuries, like concussion, by ameliorating glutamatergic toxicity.

Adrian Devitt-Lee, a Project CBD contributing writer, is a graduate from Tufts University with a degree in mathematics and chemistry.

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New Study on Cannabis and Autism Supports Parents’ Longtime Claims

Parents of some autistic children have long reported that their kids calm down with cannabinoids, are better able to communicate, and can do more tasks by themselves. But because of the restrictions on cannabis research in the United States, there have been precious few real-world studies to confirm those anecdotal reports.

A recent study out of Israel, which approved cannabis research in 2007, gives parents new evidence to back up those claims. Published Jan 17. in the journal Nature, the study found that yes, cannabis can relieve some of the symptoms suffered by many autistic people, including seizures, restlessness, and rage attacks.

“Cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD.”

The study, “Real Life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism; Analysis of Safety and Efficacy,” followed 188 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients over a six-month period. The subjects were mostly male (81.9%) and had a mean age of 12.9 years, with 14 of the participants younger than five, 70 patients between six and 10, and 72 patients between 11 and 18. Their autism symptoms included “restlessness, rage attacks, agitation, speech impairment, cognitive impairment, anxiety, incontinence, depression and more.”

“Although many with autism are being treated today with medical cannabis, there is a significant lack of knowledge regarding the safety profile and the specific symptoms that are most likely to improve under cannabis treatment,” wrote the study’s authors, Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, Raphael Mechoulam, Naama Saban, Gal Meiri, and Victor Novack.

The aims of the study were straightforward: “to characterize the patient population receiving medical cannabis treatment for autism and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this therapy.”

Its conclusion is emphatic: “Cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD.”

Treatment and Findings

Parents have often reported that cannabis and CBD help calm their autistic children and help them focus. And for children who suffer from epileptic seizures, cannabis can help decrease the frequency. Parents such as Brandy Williams, a cannabis activist in Arizona, gave cannabis to her autistic son Logan, who experienced epileptic seizures, and noticed significant changes. He stopped rocking back and forth, and he was able to communicate more clearly.

Most of the subjects in the Israel study were given cannabis oil (30% CBD and 1.5% THC). One month into the trial, respondents were asked to rate their quality of life using the Likert scale “ranging from very poor to poor, neither poor nor good and good to very good,” and report side effects to provide a better yardstick for the final results.

At the end of the study’s six-month course, 155 subjects of the original 188 were still in active treatment. Others had dropped out or began a different treatment option. Of those 155 patients, 93 had been assessed through questionnaires.

Of those 93 patients, 28 (30.1%) reported a “significant” improvement, 50 patients (53.7%) reported a “moderate” improvement, and six (6.4%) reported a “slight” improvement. Only 8 patients (8.6%) showed no change in their condition.

Roughly a quarter of the assessed patients (25.2%) experienced some form of side effect, but most were minor. The most common was restlessness, which was reported by 6.6% of subjects. Others included sleepiness (3.2%), a psychoactive effect (3.2%), increased appetite (3.2%), digestion problems (3.2%), dry mouth (2.2%) and lack of appetite (2.2%).

The patients reported that their quality of life–that is “their mood and ability to perform activities of daily living”–had improved in six months. Prior to the study, 31.3% said they had a good quality of life. After, that figure more than doubled, rising to 66.8%.

“Quality of life” isn’t some nebulous thing. It has real-world meaning. For instance, the subject’s parents found that patients could dress themselves more easily after six months, an improvement of 21.5%.

Autism and Epilepsy

Nearly a third of autistic people are diagnosed with epilepsy–a condition that has been shown to respond well to cannabis treatment.

In the Israeli study, 14.4% of the participants had epilepsy. As in many studies involving autism, the subjects were usually taking other medications, which can make it more difficult to assess the effectiveness of cannabis treatment. Some of the patients in the study, for example, were also taking antipsychotic, antiepileptic, and antidepressant drugs.

Of the 93 patients who responded to the final questionnaire–about a third decreased or stopped some of those medications. After six months, 11 of the patients had stopped taking antipsychotic medication altogether.

Dosing Depends

The doses were not a one-size-fits all application–some patients received a drop of oil three times a day that contained 15 milligrams CBD and 0.75 mg THC. Others received up to 20 drops of oil three times a day.

Though the study is a step forward for demonstrating that cannabis can help autistic people, the researchers believe more work needs to be done. “While this study suggest that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patient’s quality of life, we believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients.”

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How to Maintain a Perpetual Cannabis Harvest

There’s nothing like having your own freshly harvested cannabis whenever you want. Growers can make this happen by maintaining a garden year-round through a system known as a perpetual harvest. The idea behind it is to cut down a little bit of cannabis many times throughout the year as opposed to harvesting one big batch once a year. Depending on how you set it up, you can harvest cannabis every week, two weeks, month, or any other interval that you like.

Perpetual harvesting can benefit both the homegrower and the commercial grower. It allows both the ability to look after and control their plants better through each phase of the growing process. Commercial growers can also manage their labor needs and operations easier by providing consistent work on a weekly or monthly basis, instead of having to bunch up labor when planting a crop and harvesting it with a seasonal grow.

What Qualifies as a Perpetual Harvest?

Indoor perpetual harvesting is a horticultural design system that maintains a steady rotation of crop through the different phases of the cultivation process. With cannabis, plants in different phases–seedlings, vegetative, flowering–have different photoperiods, meaning that you’ll need separate spaces for plants in each phase because they need different durations of light.

Maintaining a perpetual harvest is all about timing. When a set of plants is done flowering and ready for harvesting, you’ll replace them with a set of plants from the vegetative stage. Plants moved from the vegetative stage will, in turn, be replaced by clones or seedlings. And as those clones or seedlings replace the veg plants, you’ll take more clones or grow more seeds, and so on, cycling plants through the whole process like a revolving door.

Click to enlarge. (Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Spaces Needed for a Perpetual Harvest

You’ll need separate spaces for each phase of the growing cycle. Make sure each space is light-tight so light from one space doesn’t affect plants in other spaces. Also, make sure that plants continually get the right amount of light in each phase. If you use timers, be sure to check them periodically to make sure they are functioning properly.

You don’t want plants in a certain phase to receive more or less light than they need because it will disrupt their ability to grow. Vegetative plants that receive too little light will start flowering early and flowering plants that get extra stray light can revert back to a veg state.

Although clones and seedlings are on the same photoperiod as plants on a vegetative light cycle, growers usually have a separate space for them because they’re more delicate and need to be looked after more closely.

Clones/Seedlings Space–18 hours of light/6 hours of dark Photoperiod

These love warmth and high humidity and require very little space compared to plants in the veg and flower phases because of their small size. You can have a separate closed-off space for them or just keep them in your vegetative space.

Clones and seedlings should have their own light, which is directly over them–small T5 fluorescent lights will be sufficient. If using clones trays, put heat pads underneath for added warmth and humidity domes on top to keep in moisture.

Vegetative Space–18/6 Photoperiod

Your vegetative area can be a little smaller than the flower space, as they won’t be as big as flowering plants. T5 fluorescent lights will work well, but high-powered lights like LEDs or HIDs may be more useful for facilitating explosive growth.

At this phase of the growth cycle, your plants will also need fans to provide airflow throughout the space.

Flowering Space–12/12 Photoperiod

Reserve the largest grow space and most powerful lights for the flowering space. It’s imperative to keep this space and the vegetative space separate and light-tight as the amount of light changes. HID, HPS, LED, and CFL lights are all solid options to give plants the light and energy they need to mature and produce buds.

Plants in this stage will also require fans to create airflow within the space, as well as inline and exhaust fans to bring clean air into and out of the space. Fan filters are also recommended.

The Good & the Bad of Maintaining a Perpetual Harvest

Operating a perpetual harvest year-round isn’t for everyone. It requires more time and planning than a seasonal grow and creates constant work throughout the year. But if done correctly, there are many benefits.

Pros

  • You can have freshly harvested cannabis throughout the year. How much and how often depends on how you scale the operation.
  • The workload is spread out more evenly over time. You won’t have to hire a bunch of trimmers for the fall harvest when everyone else is looking for them.
  • Mitigating a garden catastrophe is more manageable. You can reset your garden easier with a minimal loss of the crop.
  • Perpetual harvests give the grower more control of plants in each phase of growth.

Cons

  • Perpetual harvests require constant attention and careful management at all times, throughout the year. Planning time away from the garden can be difficult.
  • Not all strains are suitable for perpetual harvests–some varietals need more time or more physical space than others, which can disrupt the steady flow of plants through the process.

Tips for Perpetual Growing

Several factors can easily make or break the success of perpetual cannabis harvesting. Maintaining plants in each phase and preparing each for the move into the next step is a delicate balance. Here are some factors to consider before setting one up.

Timing

It’s crucial that plants are ready to transition phases at the right time or else the flow will bottleneck. You’ll have a number of plants at different stages of growth, so knowledge of each growth stage is critical. Plants develop at different rates because of a myriad of factors, including:

  • Plant genetics
  • Environmental factors (temperature, humidity, light spectrum, airflow, CO2 exposure)
  • Feeding/nutrient schedules
  • Root health
  • Plant training

Genetics Management

Every cultivar grows differently. Some varietals grow tall and lanky while others are squat and bushy. Certain strains also take longer to mature and flower than others. This information is important to know ahead of time so that you’ll have a sense of what kind of space you’ll need and how to time everything, especially when growing multiple strains.

Data Collection

Staggering plants within a perpetual system requires keen awareness of each element of the entire operation. Track progress by taking notes on:

  • Rooting time for fresh clones
  • Environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, light intensity
  • Vegetative growth milestones
  • Plant training dates and procedures
  • Flowering times
  • Watering and nutrient schedules
  • Transplant dates
  • Troubleshooting, including pest management, deficiencies, environment anomalies

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Here’s Why You Should Consider Dabbing With Quartz

Perhaps no other material has made as big of an impact on dabbing culture as quartz has over the past several years. Initially created as an alternative to materials like titanium and ceramics, quartz is now regarded as the gold standard for dabbing rig pieces.

Quartz can withstand and retain heat with less risk of breaking and it can preserve concentrate flavors better than other materials.

What makes quartz so great for dabbing cannabis concentrates? It can withstand and retain heat with less risk of breaking and it can preserve concentrate flavors better than other materials.

Here we look at what makes quartz so popular, how quartz nails and accessories have evolved, and best practices for quartz cleaning and maintenance.

What Is Quartz?

Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), also known as clear-fused quartz or fused silica, is a solid, amorphous (non-crystalline) material comprised of silicon and oxygen. While very similar to traditional glass, the two are distinct in that quartz contains no other materials.

In order to create fused quartz, pure silica sand containing quartz crystals must be melted or fused. This purity gives quartz a high thermal conductivity, and it’s also often used in laboratory-grade materials.

Why Dab With Quartz?

Quartz is great for low-temperature dabbing, the practice of using reduced temperatures when heating a nail in order to preserve terpene flavors during the sublimation and inhalation processes.

When used in conjunction with a carb cap or any other device designed to create convection, quartz nails preserve terpenes because they can maintain a lower temperature for a longer period of time before cooling off. This creates a much more robust and enjoyable dabbing experience compared to other nail materials, which can burn off terpenes with higher temperatures.

Quartz is also a champ when it comes to thermal conductivity. It can withstand high temperatures over time with less risk of breaking, and can also retain steadier temperatures for longer periods, making for easier and less rushed dabbing without the fear of cooling.

The amount of heat a quartz nail can retain depends on its thickness, and this is usually advertised by the retailer.

A Brief History of the Quartz Nail

Before 2010, low-grade flathead nails were easy to produce and often accompanied early versions of dab rigs. These impure glass nails would break easily, so quartz began to show up as a stronger, more resilient alternative.

The introduction of the quartz domeless nail was the turning point when quartz became a major contender for nails.

But the flathead design of early quartz nails was still imperfect. Although it fit well with early dab rigs that had domes for creating convection, concentrates would often melt off the ridges and go to waste. Cupped designs proved to be a better option with domed rigs, but these nails couldn’t retain heat long enough.

The introduction of the quartz domeless nail was the turning point when quartz became a major contender for nails. Designed to be used without a dome, these nails could hold concentrates easier and retain heat longer. Quartz domeless nails were quickly recognized for providing a better flavor when dabbing, compared to titanium and ceramic nails.

As it grew in popularity, several influential American glassblowers started custom designing nails with quartz. Out of this explosion of creativity came several designs, including the Honey Bucket model from Mothership Glass, the Quartz Club Banger from Quave Glass, and the Trough from Joel Halen.

While each of these designs are still popular today, the simplified banger nail has easily become the most popular for quartz enthusiasts because of its functionality, simple and sleek design, and easy replicability. Quartz nails complement glass more than other materials like titanium, bringing a more attractive aesthetic to expensive dab rigs.

A quartz banger nail. (Julia Sumpter for Leafly)

Proper Quartz Hygiene

A fresh quartz nail, translucent and free of cloudiness and debris, will give you better dabs, allowing you to taste the flavors and terpenes of concentrates better.

Because of the amorphous nature of fused quartz, its atomic structure is in a perpetual state of imbalance. When heated to extreme temperatures, a process called devitrification occurs, when the atoms of quartz attempt to reorganize into a crystalline structure.

This can happen when cooled quartz is exposed to various elements, including extreme temperatures, like a red-hot torch flame, the introduction of contaminants like oil reclaim, or continued and prolonged exposure to oxygen as a byproduct of oxygenated torching.

When devitrification occurs, quartz becomes cloudy. This process is irreversible without lab-grade chemicals and it can negatively affect the function of the nail. To avoid this altogether, be proactive in taking care of your nail:

  • Never expose a nail to extremely hot temperatures. This is the easiest way to ruin a fresh nail.
  • Don’t dab on a hot quartz nail. Always wait for the nail to cool a bit before applying a concentrate.
  • After each dab, immediately clean the nail with a cotton swab or similar material to rid the skillet of carbon residue or reclaim.
  • Don’t leave a nail dirty for a prolonged period for risk of creating carbon build-up, which will devitrify the quartz on the next heating session.
  • Don’t clean your nail with water, as this will also cause devitrification.

An old standard for nail care was seasoning–heating a new nail until it clouds and turns red, seasoning it like you would a cast iron skillet. But seasoning is, in fact, not considered a best practice for nail hygiene these days because the extreme temperatures cause devitrification.

Exciting New Quartz Technology

The world of quartz dabbing accessories continues to grow with new technologies, fueled by a never-ending pursuit to create a quality low-temperature dabbing experience. Here are some exciting innovations in quartz to look out for:

Thermal Banger Nails

Quartz bangers can create build-up and residue of concentrates inside the nail stem. This occurs when oil either bubbles over or solidifies within the stem when taking a dab. Thermal bangers mitigate this with their design: With a large cylinder to redirect airflow, residue can’t reach the downstem of the nail.

Bubble Carb and Directional Caps

Carb caps are designed to create convection when dabbing, allowing concentrates to sublimate more evenly over longer periods of time when exposed to lower temperatures. Bubble carb and directional caps help facilitate this process by siphoning airflow toward every corner of the skillet.

Their unique design allows the dabber to manipulate the direction of incoming air when taking a dab by moving the cap around. The result is less reclaim at the end of the dab and a better flavor when low-temperature dabbing.

Quartz Inserts

One way to ensure that high-end quartz nails don’t suffer the fate of devitrification is to use a quartz insert or skillet. These skillets are designed to be pre-loaded with concentrates and placed in a heated flat-top nail. This lets the concentrate be sublimated inside of the skillet, leaving the nail basin free from the potential of residue buildup.

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First Senate Marijuana Bill Of 2019 Would Force Study On Medical Cannabis For Veterans

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced last week that she will be seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2020. Here’s a look at where the congresswoman, who received a B+ grade from NORML as well as an earlier endorsement from the advocacy group, stands on marijuana reform.

Legislation And Policy Actions

Gabbard has cosponsored a large number of cannabis-related bills during her time in Congress, and she was the lead sponsor of a measure to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana legalization.

Gabbard signed onto far-reaching legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and withhold federal funds from states that disproportionately enforce cannabis laws.

Other bills she’s backed would shield medical marijuana states from federal interference, legalize industrial hemp, protect banks that service cannabis businesses, provide tax fairness for the cannabis industry, address various aspects of the federal-state marijuana policy gap, remove roadblocks to research and exempt CBD from the CSA.

She was the lead Democratic cosponsor of a measure to federally deschedule marijuana.

Gabbard, who served in a medical unit in the Hawaii Army National Guard, has also cosponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at expanding access to medical cannabis for veterans. That includes one bill that would block the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from denying benefits to patients who use marijuana and another that would require the VA to survey patients and caregivers on cannabis use.

She signed onto a House resolution last year that was meant to express the chamber’s sentiment that the drug war has failed and apologize to “individuals and communities that were victimized by this policy.” She also cosponsored a separate resolution calling on states to “address disparities in the cannabis marketplace participation and to address, reverse, and repair the most egregious effects of the war on drugs on communities of color, in particular to those who now hold criminal records for a substance that is now legal and regulated.”

Quotes And Social Media Posts

There’s no deficit of marijuana-related posts on Gabbard’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and her office has released numerous statements and press releases about the issue.

After then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era Justice Department guidance on cannabis enforcement priorities in early 2018, she posted an extensive thread about why the move “will exacerbate an inhumane, ineffective system that tears families apart.

Later in the year, she turned her attention on Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) after he vetoed legislation that would have made opioid misuse a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Gabbard has repeatedly touted research demonstrating that legal access to cannabis can reduce opioid overdoses and prescriptions, potentially mitigating a national drug crisis.

“With such a stark increase in prescription opioid use and dependence, heroin and synthetic drug overdose, and emergency room visits over the last decade, we must allow legal access to medical marijuana to help prevent opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths,” Gabbard said in a press release. “Understanding that people’s lives are at stake, I urge Governor Ige to reconsider and sign this legislation into law now.”

She also talked about the relationship between marijuana laws and opioid overdoses on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

“There are states that have legalized, whether it’s just medical or full legalization, there has proven to be a direct correlation to a drastic reduction in opioid-related deaths in those states where people have access,” she said. “If we know this, and every one of the leaders in this country are so concerned about this opioid epidemic, why hasn’t this been brought forward?”

In a 2017 interview with SFGate, the senator discussed legislation she cosponsored to remove marijuana from the CSA, saying that current federal cannabis policies “have turned everyday Americans into criminals, torn families apart, and wasted huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people for nonviolent marijuana charges.”

“The reality is, whether or not any individual chooses to consume cannabis is irrelevant. The important question is, should we really be sending people to jail and turning them into criminals for using a substance that is far less dangerous and harmful than alcohol? The answer is no. The fiscal and social impacts of our current policy, are having devastating effects on individuals and our communities and are only perpetuating the problem.”

Touting her Marijuana Data Collection Act on the House floor, Gabbard said “federal policies should be based on actual science and fact, not misplaced stigma and outdated myths.”

“For decades, bad data and misinformation have fueled the failed War on Drugs that’s wasted billions of taxpayer dollars incarcerating Americans for non-violent marijuana charges,” she said. “Our outdated marijuana policies have turned everyday Americans into criminals, strained our criminal justice system, cost taxpayers tremendously, and torn families apart–all for a substance that’s proven to be far less harmful and dangerous than alcohol.”

Prior to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized industrial hemp, the senator spoke out in support of allowing farmers to cultivate the crop.

“Our nation should empower our local farmers by allowing them to grow, cultivate and research industrial hemp that will create opportunity and strengthen our economy,” she said in a press release. “The DEA must honor and uphold the Congressional intent of federal legislation that allows states, like Hawai’i, to establish programs to research the benefits, cultivation, and market of industrial hemp.”

Personal Experience With Marijuana

It’s not clear whether Gabbard has personal experience with marijuana besides meeting patients and veterans who’ve benefited from medical cannabis.

Marijuana Under A Gabbard Presidency

Gabbard’s cosponsorship of a long list of cannabis reform bills and continual focus on the issue in public statements and social media posts indicate she would be an especially marijuana-friendly president if she were to earn the Democratic nomination and win the 2020 election.

Where Presidential Candidate Kirsten Gillibrand Stands On Marijuana

Photo element courtesy of Lorie Shaull.

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Selecting a Cannabis Phenotype: How to Get the Best Version of Your Strain

Ever wonder why the same strain of cannabis can be slightly different, depending on which store you get it at? A gram of OG Kush from one grower who sells to a particular dispensary will be slightly different from another grower’s OG Kush at the dispensary across town. Although they are the same strain, these are different phenotypes (or “phenos”)–different expressions of the same genetic material.

If two cats–one an orange tabby and the other a black and white calico–have a litter of kittens, some of the kittens will be orange tabbies and some black and white calicos. Some may even be black and white tabbies. So too, do different cannabis phenotypes have different traits from one or both of their parent strains.

When a grower decides to produce a particular strain, they typically get a packet of seeds from a breeder, each one a different phenotype of that strain. After growing each seed, the grower will pick the best one because of its characteristics, picking for yield, bud density, smell, flavor, potency, color, and many more attributes, and discard the others.

This narrowing process usually takes a few generations of selection, and months, sometimes years, but in the end, the best pick will be mass produced for sale, and that’s the cannabis you buy off the shelf at the dispensary.

The Importance of Labeling

An example of the phenotype selection process. Growers typically mark and number each phenotype for tracking purposes. In this case, a grower is selecting OG Kush (OGK) phenotypes. Click to enlarge. (Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Selecting phenos is a meticulous process. Organization and keeping track of things through the long growing process is imperative. You’ll be taking clones of each phenotype and keeping some while discarding others, so it’s important to label clones according to their originals phenos and to not mix up any.

To start, plant all of your seeds and label each one with a separate tag. So if you’re growing 10 phenos of OG Kush, you would assign them “OGK 1,” “OGK 2,” etc., up to “OGK 10.” The order of the numbering doesn’t matter, but make sure that a number always stays with the pheno you assign it to.

Grow out each seed until they are 6-12″ tall, or big enough to clone. This will probably take about 3-6 weeks.

Take a clone of each phenotype and number each clone to its corresponding original: the clone of “OGK 1” would also be named “OGK 1” and so on.

If you’re starting out with ten seeds, you should now have 20 plants: 10 seedlings and 10 clones.

Clone, Flower, Discard

After you have taken clones, grow them separately in a vegetative state. When the original phenos are big enough, after at least 2 months in the vegetative state, put them on a flowering light cycle (12 hours of dark, 12 of light).

After about 8-10 weeks of flowering, these original phenos will be ready to harvest for buds. Some phenotypes might finish sooner than others and each will probably be slightly different. Now you will discard some of the phenos based on their poor quality and keep the ones that have good qualities.

A lot of seeds come pre-feminized, but if you are starting out with male and female seeds, you will need to determine the sex of the plants first and discard all of the males, because only females produce buds. Reproductive organs appear a couple weeks into the flowering cycle, and if you have any males, discard them and their corresponding clones and keep flowering the females.

When harvesting each phenotype, take meticulous notes of each pheno’s bud structure, yield, smell, density, and overall appearance. Some phenos can be discarded right away, as it will be easy to tell that they won’t produce quality buds. Whenever you discard a pheno, discard its corresponding clone that’s in the vegetative state.

You can still use the harvested buds from discarded phenos. This product may not be as desirable because it’s from the phenos that didn’t make the cut, but a lot of growers will sell this for pre-rolls or extracts, just usually not quality flower.

Repeat the Process

The process is repeated. If you started with 10 phenos and discarded six after the first round of flowering, you’ll be left with four. Take a set of clones off of these four–a second generation of clones, or clones from clones. Keep this new second generation in the vegetative phase separately, and flip the first generation of clones into flower.

This first generation should be big enough to flip into flower now because they were growing vegetatively while the original phenos were flowering. But you can always grow these out more vegetatively if you want bigger plants.

After flowering these four remaining phenos, harvest them and take more notes. Discard the ones with poor qualities and their corresponding clones and keep the ones with good qualities.

Continue this process until you’re down to one pheno. That is your winner!

You don’t want to discard a pheno with possible good qualities, but keep in mind that the less you discard, the more rounds of cloning, flowering, and discarding you’ll have to do.

Timeline

Often, commercial growers will go through at least three rounds of generations of this selection process to get the final pheno, sometimes even more.

You can see how this is a time-consuming process. Three generations of flowering phenotypes, if each round takes about 8-10 weeks, is 24-30 weeks alone. Add on top of that another month or so for the seeds to germinate and get to an initial size in which to clone off of at the beginning of the process, plus time to harvest, dry, and cure buds at the end.

So before that OG Kush from your favorite grower hits the shelves for the first time, they have been growing and narrowing it down for 7-9 months at least, to get you the best version of that OG Kush. That phenotype is now their “cut” of that strain.

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