What Is CBDV (Cannabidivarin) & What Does This Cannabinoid Do?

CBDV, or cannabidivarin, is one of many molecules derived from cannabis and hemp plants. These molecules, commonly referred to as cannabinoids, are partially responsible for the many effects and therapeutic benefits cannabis has to offer.

CBDV is structurally similar to CBD (cannabidiol). Like CBD, CBDV is not intoxicating when isolated, so it won’t cause the euphoric high associated with high-THC cannabis.

Research has so far demonstrated that CBDV is found mainly in C. indica landrace strains sourced from Asia and Africa, as well as strains naturally lower in THC. Strains that are high in CBD also typically tend to be higher in CBDV.

Much of the research around CBDV has centered around its effect on seizures. GW Pharmaceuticals, which developed the first FDA-approved CBD drug called Epidiolex, is actively developing a CBDV-based drug known as GPW42006 to reduce or prevent epileptic and other forms of seizures.

Their research has shown that CBDV affects the neurochemical pathway of the capsaicin receptors involved in both the onset as well as the progression of several types of epilepsy. GW reports that CBDV has shown anti-epileptic results “across a range of in vitro and in vivo models of epilepsy.”

CBDV is also showing promise in several other areas of medicine:

  • According to a 2018 rodent study, CBDV has shown promise in helping the neurobehavioral issues associated with Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is caused by an X chromosome mutation that affects girls with seizures, speech issues, and muscle spasticity. Interestingly, CBDV seems to help with both the genetically determined and chemically-induced forms of this and similar diseases.
  • In an animal study published in 2019 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, CBDV was found to rescue memory defects in mice that have the same genetic defect as people with Rett syndrome. CBDV also helped with neurological defects, but the effects were transient.
  • In a similar 2019 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, CBDV was found to possibly benefit patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This disease is characterized by chronic inflammation and irreversible skeletal muscle damage and degeneration. CBDV may reduce inflammation and restore and even enhance muscle function. CBDV also improved locomotion, highlighting the compound’s potential as a novel therapy for DMD.
  • Childhood intractable epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often go hand in hand. CBDV is being investigated as a potential treatment of some of the more significant ASD issues, such as repetitive behavioral problems, cognitive challenges, and communication and social functioning issues.
  • CBDV may also be a powerful anti-nausea agent. Initial research on rodents shows that CBDV likely acts as an agonist to the CB1 receptors, thereby blocking the nausea response.

Although CBDV was discovered 50 years ago, research is just commencing in an appreciable way. With GW Pharmaceuticals and their CBDV clinical trials underway, this is a hopeful beginning in unlocking the secrets of another potentially powerful cannabinoid.

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CBD Science Update

The 29th annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) symposium, which convened last month in Bethesda, Maryland, featured new developments in CBD science that have far-reaching implications for many areas of medicine.

Over 200 scientists from around the world attended the four-day conference, which included 65 oral presentations and nearly 200 posters covering a wide range of topics – with the caveat that researchers had to present new, unpiblished data.

Harvard University scientist Staci Gruber shared encouraging results from “the first open-label to double-blind clinical trial” assessing the impact of a high-CBD, low-THC sublingual tincture in patients who experience moderate anxiety. None of the participants had been using any cannabinoid-based products prior to this study.

Preliminary data “suggests significant improvement following four weeks of treatment when compared to baseline,” Gruber noted. “Specifically, findings suggest that the use of a custom-formulated, whole plant-derived high CBD sublingual tincture results in less severe anxiety and fewer anxiety-related symptoms.”

After the completion of this open-label trial, Gruber intends to undertake a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment that will generate “empirically sound data regarding the efficacy of sublingual CBD for anxiety.”

CBD for hypertension

Human subjects were also recruited for a CBD study at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, where Saoirse E. O’Sullivan and her team examined the acute and chronic effects of cannabidiol on cardiovascular function.

Previously, the Nottingham scientists had shown that “acute oral administration of CBD (600 mg) causes a reduction in blood pressure at rest and in response to stress.” But would tolerance develop with repeated dosing, thereby mitigating CBD’s hypotensive effect?

To find out, twenty-six healthy males were given 600 mg CBD or a placebo orally for seven days in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel study. The results were mixed. Measurements of resting blood pressure revealed that tolerance developed in response to chronic CBD administration, but CBD’s ability to lower blood pressure persisted during stress.

“The reduction of arterial stiffness, and improvements in internal carotid artery blood flow and endothelial function after chronic CBD treatment, indicate a positive effect in vascular function that warrants further investigation in relevant patient populations,” O’Sullivan reported.

Preclinical promise

ICRS 2019 included several talks devoted to clinical studies, but most of the CBD presentations showcased cutting-edge data based on preclinical research. The astonishing depth and range of this research underscored CBD’s versatile therapeutic potential.

  • CBD for stroke. A meta-analysis by scientists at the University of Nottingham surveyed the effects of CBD in animal models of focal ischemic stroke. The study found that CBD limited the damage caused by induced brain injury: “CBD significantly reduces infarct volume and improved early functional outcome in experimental stroke in rodents.” University of Nottingham researchers also conducted hands-on, preclinical research that examined the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), the raw, unheated version of CBD found in the cannabis plant. “Like CBD,” the researchers concluded, “CBDA is effective in reducing blood brain permeability and inflammation in a cellular model of stroke.” A compromised blood-brain barrier is a key factor in the secondary injury cascade that wreaks havoc on the brain during ischemia-reperfusion. CBD and CBDA restore BBB integrity by activating the 5-HT1a serotonin receptor, which also mediates CBD’s and CBDA’s anti-inflammatory effects. In Spain, neonatal animal experiments have paved the way for clinical testing of CBD on brain-damaged babies.
  • CBD for substance abuse. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction. So, researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) set out to assess the CBD’s as an anti-cocaine remedy. The NIDA team gave CBD to cocaine-addicted rats and observed that systemic CBD treatment “shifted cocaine self-administration dose-response curve downward,” meaning that CBD tempered the rats’ craving for cocaine. “These findings suggest that CBD may have therapeutic utility to blunt rewarding effects of cocaine,” the NIDA researchers surmised. They also identified several molecular pathways whereby CBD conferred an anti-addictive effect on lab animals. These included the 5-HT1a serotonin receptor, the CB2 cannabinoid receptor, and an ion channel receptor known as “TRPV1” (pronounced trip-vee-one). When chemical “antagonists” were administered to block the signaling of these receptors, it negated CBD’s anti-addictive effects.
  • CBD for prostate cancer. Italian scientists conducted follow-up research into the combined effect of two plant cannabinoids – CBD and cannabigerol (CBG) – on aggressive prostate cancer. A previous study had shown that 1:1 combination of CBD:CBG “significantly reduced tumor relapse in animals with hormone refractory status, and, in vitro, inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis.” Their latest findings, as reported at ICRS, disclosed “how purified plant cannabinoids (CBD and CBG) affect the metabolic system of malignant tumors,” leading to “notable shifts of specific oncogenic related signaling pathways” in prostate cancer cells. This proves “the efficacy of phytocanabinoids as metabolic reprogramming agents,” which could form the basis of a breakthrough therapy for “highly malignant hormone refractory prostate cancer,” according to the Italian researchers. Scientists at Auburn University reached a similar conclusion regarding the antitumoral properties of CBD and THC, which inhibited prostate cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. This is encouraging news for the one out of nine men who will develop prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among American males. The preclinical experiment at Auburn suggests “that cannabinoids could be developed as novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of prostate cancer.”
  • CBD for arthritis and gum disease. A team of Israeli, British, and American scientists analyzed the anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects of synthetic CBD in an animal model of arthritis. “CBD was shown to exert a potent analgesic effect” in preclinical research, which shed new light on CBD’s “anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action.” Another preclinical probe, conducted at the University of Leeds School of Dentistry in the UK, documented the potent anti-inflammatory effects of CBD on gum disease. The ability of CBD to modulate immune function “could provide possible therapeutic applications in the field of periodontal research,” the Leeds study concluded.

CBD oil products

There’s good reason to be excited about CBD’s potential health benefits, but a word of caution is necessary. Administering pure CBD to animals in a controlled laboratory setting is not the same as human consumption of a CBD oil product purchased from an unregulated internet storefront.

The Prague-based International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) analyzed the quality of 70 hemp-derived CBD oil samples available in the European Union, and the results reported at the ICRS symposium were sobering, to say the least. Twenty percent of the samples contained less CBD than indicated on the label. THC was present in 89 percent of the samples, but in most cases no amount of THC was provided. And traces of highly toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were found in all the oils tested, underscoring the strong need for better extraction and processing practices by CBD product-makers.

Similar problems plague the CBD market in the United States. Inaccurate or incomplete CBD product labels undermine a consumer’s ability to make well-informed decisions. According to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Washington University in St. Louis: “Recent studies have demonstrated that hemp-derived CBD products purchased over the internet are frequently mislabeled, contaminated, or are outright fraudulent (contain no cannabinoids whatsoever). Therefore, patients are more likely to receive medical benefit from products that are routed through state-licensed cannabis markets, where lab testing for CBD content is required.”

Licensed cannabis dispensaries and delivery services also need to up their game and improve their product offerings. “Despite the obvious medical benefits, the availability of CBD-containing products in state-licensed retail stores is highly variable and surprisingly sparse. In one Pennsylvania store only 20 of products (39 or 196) contained CBD,” the U.S. researchers noted. “Results highlight the need for expanded patient access to CBD products.”

Martin A. Lee is the director of Project CBD and the author of several books including Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific and Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD – the CIA, the Sixties and Beyond.

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After Legalizing Marijuana, Colorado Saw ‘Significant Decrease’ In Opioid Prescriptions, Study Finds

Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, the amount of opioid prescriptions for pain fell significantly compared to two states where access to cannabis for adult-use is still illegal, a new study finds.

While a robust body of research has demonstrated a link between legal access to medical marijuana and lower use of opioids, less is known about how broader adult-use laws affect the prescribing rates of pharmaceuticals used for pain management. Researchers at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and the University of New England were interested in addressing this gap in the literature.

For their analysis, they chose to compare Colorado with Maryland and Utah based on the fact that those two states are similar to the first-to-legalize jurisdiction in different ways: While Maryland has similar demographics in terms of population size, home ownership, education level and uninsured rates, Utah was the most geographically similar state with comparable Body Mass Index and median household income.

According to the study’s findings, which were pre-published on bioRxiv earlier this month and have yet to be peer-reviewed: “Colorado had a larger decrease in opioid distribution after 2012 than Utah or Maryland. Therefore, marijuana could be considered as an alternative treatment for chronic pain and reducing use of opioids.”

“There has been a significant decrease in the prescription opioid distribution after the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.”

Using data from a federal program managed by the Drug Enforcement Administration to keep an eye on the distribution of certain narcotics, the study’s authors looked at the prescription rates from 2007 to 2017 for nine opioid pain medications (oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, tapentadol, codeine, and meperidine) and two medications used to treat opioid use disorder (methadone and buprenorphine) in the three states. For a baseline comparison, they converted the amount of each drug distributed into what the equivalent would be in a dose of oral morphine in milligrams (MME).

According to the study’s analysis, Maryland had the highest amount of total pharmaceuticals distributed during the study period: In 2011, the weight of all 11 opioids peaked at 12,167 kg MME. That amount was more than twice the weight determined in Colorado and Utah, which peaked at 5,029 kg MME in 2012 and 3,429 kg in 2015, respectively. The two narcotics distributed the most in all three states were oxycodone and methadone.

When researchers looked specifically at medications prescribed to help people who misuse opioids–that is, methadone and buprenorphine–they found Utah had cut back by 31 percent over the study period. Colorado and Maryland both increased these prescriptions by 19 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

For pain medications specifically, Utah had lower rates in every year and in every drug compared to Colorado. However, its prescription rate increased by almost 10 percent over time. Meanwhile, Colorado’s prescribing rates decreased by approximately 12 percent during the decade studied, while Maryland saw a decrease of 6 percent.

“This finding was particularly notable for opioids indicated predominantly for analgesia such as hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl.”

“Colorado and Maryland experienced an overall decrease in opioid distribution, but Colorado’s decrease was larger,” the study states. “While the nation as a whole was experiencing a decrease in opioid distribution, it was promising that Colorado’s greater decrease gives consideration to the potential impact of recreational marijuana.”

It’s unclear why Colorado saw such a significant drop in prescriptions for pain medication, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Colorado legalized marijuana for adult use in 2012. Recent research also shows that many customers purchase marijuana from recreational dispensaries for the same reasons medical cannabis patients do: to help with pain and sleep.

There may be other variables at play, however, including guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 to address prescribing narcotics for chronic pain, the study states. Additionally, Maryland lawmakers passed a medical cannabis law in 2013, while Utah voters didn’t approve medical access until 2018.

Importantly, the authors say that lawmakers “have the duty” to consider other options to address the opioid crisis, including “marijuana as a treatment option for chronic pain.”

“If there is an initial reduction in opioid distributions in states with recreational marijuana laws, it is conceivable that opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose deaths could also fall,” they conclude. “Therefore, it may be time to reconsider the practice of automatically discharging patients from pain treatment centers for positive marijuana screens, considering this use might actually reduce their overall opioid use.”

Patients Are Substituting Marijuana For Addictive Pharmaceutical Drugs, Two New Studies Show

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Tips for Using CBD to Enhance Your Cannabis High

When it comes to choosing between a high-THC or a high-CBD cannabis product, it really comes down to your personal needs and preferences.

For some, CBD is the preferred cannabinoid; it doesn’t get you high, and it offers certain medicinal benefits like relief of anxiety and inflammation. Others prefer THC, which comes with its own unique therapeutic and mood-boosting properties. For some of us, the reason we choose THC products is simple: they get you high.

Even if your main goal with cannabis is to get high, that doesn’t mean CBD has no place in your routine. There are ways for you to toss it into your body and supplement–even enhance–your high. Ya know, like tossing dried cranberries on a salad that would’ve already been good regardless.

Using CBD to Tame or Enhance THC

THC can leave some people feeling anxiety, short-term memory impairment, or simply too high. While CBD can’t cancel out the effects of THC, it can help mitigate them and leave you feeling a little more balanced.

Example: You’ve gotten too high on Orange Cookies, and now you need something to even it out, else you’ll be in Stuck Mode for hours. That’s a great time to use a CBD tincture, take a CBD edible, or hit a lil’ CBD vape pen and puff-puff yourself back down to earth a bit.

But just know that CBD’s ability to round out an intense high is all about dosage; low doses of CBD may enhance your high while larger doses have been shown to curb THC’s intensity. Speaking of CBD vape pens…

CBD Vape Pens Are Your Friend

Though CBD on its own won’t get you high, a CBD-dominant vape cartridge once showed me that CBD can deliver a super relaxed feeling that almost feels like a high.

For this reason, THC enthusiasts would be doing themselves no disservice by purchasing a CBD vape pen (or even some CBD dabs) the next time they’re hitting the canna-store. It’s a great tool for keeping you afloat in between THC sessions.

Personally, I vape my CBD cartridge (at a very high dosage) in between THC joints to keep me high and happy until it was time to roll up my next blunt. Think of it like snacking on Pringles until you can finally eat a whole pizza.

Smoke CBD-Dominant Cannabis Flower

CBD-dominant cannabis strains contain a spectrum of compounds, even if they only occur in trace amounts. In other words, they not only contain CBD, but also lower levels of other cannabinoids and terpenes.

So if you smoke or vaporize a CBD-dominant flower, you’re still likely to feel a little high, even if it’s not at the level that you’d normally get from the majority of strains.

These types of strains, with their mild highs, are great for group sessions where you want to keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, but don’t want to get burnt out. Strains like Harlequin, ACDC, and Pennywise are all CBD-dominant, but still possess a touch of THC for a lightly euphoric experience.

Combine a Joint With CBD Bath Bombs

Bath bombs are all the rage, and so is CBD. So it’s not hard to believe that CBD bath bombs are becoming particularly popular these days.

Sitting in a tub full of 100mg of CBD as you puff on a king-size Elements paper full of Grape Ape might just lead you to the most relaxed high of all time. This is perhaps the most perfect example of how a THC lover can infuse CBD into their life and enhance their cannabis experience.

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That Alarming CBD Liver Damage Study Is Bunk–And the Media Should Know Better

It’s 2019 and we still live in a world where one small study, on mice, with a highly questionable methodology, published in a marginal journal, with major flaws, leads to a clickbait media panic.

Recently, you may have seen a Forbes article headlined “Marijuana Study Finds CBD Can Cause Liver Damage” that reported on a study out of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

It’s scary stuff:

Shockingly, researchers discovered that the mice given higher doses of CBD showed signs of liver damage within 24 hours. To that end, 75 percent of these animals in the sub-acute phase had either died or were on the verge of death within a few days.

But this panic and misinformation is nothing new–back in 1974, a study conducted at Tulane University supposedly showed that “the active ingredient in marijuana [THC] impairs the brain circuitry,” leading the press to dutifully run articles claiming that pot causes brain damage without a trace of skepticism.

The 1974 study was deeply flawed. In Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, author Martin Lee called out this exceedingly small study of rhesus monkeys as “a textbook case of scientific fraud”:

Shackled in air-tight gas masks, Heath’s monkeys were [regularly] forced to inhale the equivalent of 63 high-potency marijuana cigarettes in five minutes. Lo and behold, the primates suffered brain damage from suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning, but Heath attributed the results to marijuana toxicity.

Lucky for us–if not Forbes readers–Project CBD, a non-profit dedicated to boosting science-based understanding of cannabidiol (CBD), have just released a detailed rebuttal to the Forbes article.

The Rebuttal

Much has changed in the last forty-five years, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) still holds a monopoly on the sole supply of cannabis that can be used for federally-approved studies. And the research they approve remains laser-focused on finding harm–either that or trying to create a pathway to patenting synthetic THC as a prescription drug.

Regardless of your feelings on the CBD study, it is hard to argue with dead mice–even if you are an all-knowing marijuana expert.

Mike Adams, author of the Forbes, wrote another article in which he claims there’s no such thing as an expert in cannabis because not enough is known about the plant and its effects on human beings. That’s a highly questionable claim, and I suppose it explains why he didn’t quote anyone in his article who might have poured cold water on the study’s more alarming claims.

For example, Project CBD.

In their rebuttal of the Forbes article, Project CBD says:

The breathless reporting in Forbes focuses on a single, flawed, preclinical study and exaggerates it to the point of falsehood… A close examination of the Molecules study reveals a Pandora’s box of strange statements, problematic publishing, and unreasonable experimental design. On the first page, the abstract makes a claim that is fundamentally impossible, stating that, with chronic administration of CBD, ‘75% of mice gavaged with 615 mg/kg developed a moribund condition.’ But there were only 6 animals that received this dose! One doesn’t need an advanced degree in science or math to recognize that something is amiss. Seventy-five percent of six equals 4.5.

Dead mice aside (or rather, dead half-mice), the biggest problem with the study, according to Project CBD, is that just like in the 1974 rhesus monkey study, the dosage administered was astronomically high.

Scientists force-fed mice a single dose of CBD, ranging from the supposedly ‘low’ dosage of 246 mg/kg up to a mega-dose of 2460 mg/kg CBD… The maximum human dosage recommended for the CBD-isolate Epidiolex is 20 mg/kg, which is over 100x less than what the Little Rock researchers force fed their experimental mice.

The researchers explain away this mega-dosing by pointing to something called allometric scaling, which is basically a set of guidelines for estimating an equally potent dose of a substance for humans and other animals based on body weight and body-mass index.

But Project CBD argues that allometric scaling is a rule of thumb at best, and cannabinoids in particular are a very poor fit for the model: “The ridiculously high doses in this study will saturate the body’s metabolic machinery, preventing relevant dose-extrapolations.”

False Claims in a Sketchy Journal

In their critique of the study, Project CBD flatly charged the University of Arkansas researchers with producing “A hit piece against CBD, not legitimate scientific work.”

Specifically, the Project CBD article cites instances of cherry-picking previous research on CBD to downplay benefits and hype harms, which obscures how unreliable past studies on mice have been in predicting how humans will react to cannabinoids, and which also presents false or deliberately misleading information.

Project CBD points to the study’s claim that “numerous reports have demonstrated neurological, cardiovascular and reproductive toxicities subsequent to CBD use”–the researchers cited nine sources to back that claim, but the only one to actually involve humans did not show toxicity.

In fact, when contacted by Project CBD, Saoirse O’Sullivan, that study’s lead author, said, “Our research showing that CBD causes a small reduction in resting and stress-induced blood pressure does not support the authors’ claim that we demonstrated cardiovascular toxicity of CBD. In fact, most of our work is about the potential protective effects of CBD in the cardiovascular system.”

Project CBD also called into question the credibility of Molecules, the journal that published the CBD liver study.

MDPI, which publishes the journal Molecules, has been called a predatory publisher. MDPI has been criticized for publishing unsound articles… Even if such allegations are true, it doesn’t mean that good work can’t end up in one of MDPI’s 213 journals. But it underscores the importance of checking scientific work, rather than diligently repeating and amplifying whatever claims are presented.

And that really gets to the heart of the issue.

Because it’s 2019, and we still live in a world where one small study, on mice, with highly questionable methodology, published in a marginal journal, with major flaws, can lead to articles like the one in Forbes.

Which get clicks for sounding the alarm–without a legitimate reason to do so–while simultaneously drowning out more reasoned discussions of CBD’s potential dangers, and how they can best be mitigated.

A Final Thought Experiment

One thought experiment occurred to me while researching this article.

I came across this Leafly article describing a day of testimony this past May before the FDA. In particular, I was struck by the words of Alice Mead, on hand to represent the interests of GW Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in developing pharmaceutical drugs extracted from cannabis plants–including Epidiolex, the world’s first FDA-approved CBD drug.

Normally, when Big Pharma talks to the FDA about their products, they make every effort to present the rosiest picture possible. But Mead took pains to mention that CBD is “potentially toxic to the liver” and “has powerful drug-drug interactions.”

But the real tell was when she argued for a “strong regulatory framework.”

Because what that really means is GW Pharmaceuticals wants a regulatory framework for CBD so strong that only they can surmount it. Leafly has been reporting on the company’s attempts to win temporary monopolies for its products in a number of US states since 2017, and there’s certainly no reason to believe GW wouldn’t prefer a blanket monopoly on the entire country.

And so here’s the thought experiment:

You’re GW Pharmaceuticals, and you’ve invested heavily in both time and money to create a patented CBD drug. Now you’re about to go to market, and want to make a huge return on that investment without having to compete with CBD hamburgers and truck stop snake oil.

So what’s the biggest threat to your bottom line–that people think CBD is too dangerous, or that people think CBD is too safe?

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A Visual Guide to Taking the Perfect Dab

Dabbing is an effective way to consume cannabis and also a great ritual. Similar to cooking a great meal or mixing a refreshing cocktail, the process of preparing and executing the perfect dab can be meditative and provide a moment to decompress. Like a baseball player stepping up to the plate, as dabbing becomes more familiar, you’ll fall into a routine with your own methods and motions.

Once you know how to dab, there are a number of different techniques you can use to dial in the experience and find the method that work best for you to can achieve the right dab at the right temperature.

To take your dabbing experience to the next level, here are some pro tips and techniques, and explanations as to why you should include them in your dabbing routine.

Always Use a Carb Cap

dabbing, cannabis, dabs, oil day, concentrate, cannabis oil, cannabis extracts, marijuana, carb cap(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: After you apply your dab to the banger or nail, apply your carb cap over the top to achieve a flavorful, low temp dab with thick vapor quality.

A carb cap is an essential dabbing accessory that will help you dab at lower temperatures and vaporize your hash and concentrates more effectively. There are a number of different styles and types of carb caps available, but they all serve the same general purpose–to trap heat and emphasize true vaporization while agitating the oil to spread it across the hot dabbing surface.

Protect Your Banger With an Insert

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(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: Use a quartz insert to keep your banger clean, extend its life, and to never take a dab that’s too hot.

An insert is a small bucket typically made from quartz or other precious heat-retaining materials like ruby. These small buckets fit inside your banger and will help keep an even temperature for vaporization, while also keeping your quartz clean by avoiding chazzing or devitrification.

Once your banger is hot, simply drop in the insert and cap your dab. Then give it a few seconds as heat transfers from banger to insert and gradually heats the dab to the right temperature.

Dosing and applying dabs is easy as you can preload them into the insert and drop it right in. They’re easy to clean and you can keep a few around and use them interchangeably. They’re great for dab seshes with friends!

Cold Start Your Dab

Tip: Try a cold start dab to get the perfect hit at low temperatures without wasting any of your oil.

Cold start dabbing is the process of loading your banger with concentrate first, before you heat it–this is why it’s also known as reverse dabbing.

By applying light heat to a capped banger until the dab starts to vaporize, you are able to control your temperature easily and avoid the risk of dabbing too early on a hot banger. If you don’t get the full dab the first time, you can reheat with your torch again until you’ve completely vaporized your hash.

Spin Some Terp Pearls

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(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: Use quartz beads in your banger to add some action and area to the dabbing surface.

Quartz beads, popularly known as terp pearls, are small beads made from inert, heat-retaining materials and are placed directly in your banger. When heating the banger they will hold that heat and increase the available warm surface area to vaporize your dab off of.

Couple terp pearls with a good carb cap to watch them spin and enhance the way you agitate your dab when vaporizing at low temperatures. The small balls mix and move your concentrate around the warm banger the way a bead in a can of spray paint mixes the paint.

Heat Your Banger Evenly

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(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: Heating your banger or nail evenly will ensure a balanced dabbing temperature.

What might seem like a no-brainer can actually have a huge effect on the quality of your hit. Using your torch to evenly heat the banger will help avoid hot and cold spots and ensure that you are thoroughly vaporizing your dab. Avoiding extreme temperatures with even heating will also extend the life of your nail.

I like to start by heating the bottom of my banger and working up and around the sides, where oil likes to splash and where you agitate your dab with a carb cap. Be cautious not to apply too much heat around the joint or neck areas of the banger as they tend to be more susceptible to cracks.

Time Your Dabs

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(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: To dab at more consistent temperatures, use a timer to keep track of how long you heat and cool your dabs.

Using the timer on your phone or another way of tracking time, you can gain more consistency in temperature from dab to dab, and you can be confident that they are all reaching about the same temperature every time. Same goes for cooling–as your quartz holds heat and slowly releases it over time, you can track how long it takes to cool to the temperature you prefer and then repeat, time after time.

Each nail will have its own heating and cooling time depending on the quality and thickness of the material, but as a general rule, I like to start with heating for 30 seconds, cooling for a minute, and then adjusting both timers as needed to dial in the experience I’m looking for.

Clean Your Banger After Every Dab

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(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: Clean your banger after every dab to ensure a smooth, flavorful dab every time.

Maintaining a clean banger is simple if you follow a few easy steps. First, don’t dab when you’re nail is too hot–dabbing at lower temperatures helps avoid char, ash, and any other residue from sticking or burning into your expensive quartz banger.

Second, use a cotton swab to soak up and wipe away any residual oil or char left after each dab.

Third, if you have stubborn oil stuck on or dark carbon spots, you can use isopropyl alcohol to help loosen and remove them. For really stubborn spots you can heat-clean your quartz using a torch, but do this sparingly as repeated heating of dirty quartz or glass will cause particles to bake into the banger and slowly deteriorate its ability to retain heat.

Store Your Dabs in the Fridge

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(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Tip: Preserve the flavor and consistency of your hash, concentrates, and extracts by storing them in a cool, dark, dry place.

Cannabis concentrates are relatively stable products with a long shelf-life. However their form, flavor, and overall composition can change over time when exposed to heat or light.

The terpene content within your extracts is especially volatile and can begin to deteriorate even at room temperature. Because of this, it’s a great idea to store your oil in the refrigerator or freezer.

Short-term storage of grams I know I’ll be dabbing regularly I keep in the door of my fridge. If I have larger quantities of extract or something special that I want to hold onto for longer, I store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

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Most Addiction Specialists Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Study Finds

People who shop at recreational marijuana dispensaries aren’t just using cannabis to have a good time. In fact, a new study reports that many adult-use customers consume marijuana for the same reasons medical cannabis patients do: to help with pain and sleep.

A growing body of research has shown the health benefits of legal medical marijuana access, including an association with lower use of opioids. The problem with these laws, however, is that they usually require a physician’s recommendation and/or registration with the state’s medical cannabis program in order to get access. That means many people who live in states where medical marijuana is legal and face barriers to health care are still unable to access cannabis to help alleviate their symptoms.

New research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs this week, however, shows some people in areas where broader adult-use legalization is in effect are side-stepping these requirements to get the relief they need from cannabis retail shops.

“In a survey of adult use customers,” the study states, “we found that the majority reported taking cannabis to relieve pain or to promote sleep. In addition, most respondents taking cannabis for pain or sleep reported substituting cannabis for prescription or over-the-counter analgesics or sleep aids.”

Researchers surveyed 1,000 people who shopped at two Colorado dispensaries and were not certified to access marijuana for medical purposes. The study’s goal was to get a better understanding of how these customers use cannabis to treat their symptoms as a substitute for prescription and over-the-counter medications (OTC).

In addition to gathering sociodemographic information, researchers asked participants about their health status, how cannabis had changed their use of OTC and prescription drugs and if and how cannabis impacted their pain and sleep.

The majority of respondents said they used marijuana to relieve pain (65 percent) and help them sleep (74 percent).

“Among respondents taking over-the-counter pain medications, 82% reported reducing or stopping use of those medications,” the study states. “Among respondents taking opioid analgesics, 88% reported reducing or stopping use of those medications.” Additionally, more than 80 percent of participants who had taken sleep aids, including those obtained with a prescription, also said they reduced or stopped using those medications altogether.

“[T]he majority reported that cannabis decreased their medication use. Adult use cannabis laws may broaden access to cannabis for the purpose of symptom relief.”

“Our findings suggest that de facto medical use may be highly prevalent among adult use customers, and that access to an adult use cannabis market may influence individuals’ use of other medications,” the study’s authors wrote. Despite the fact that adult-use laws are often called “recreational,” the findings suggest that many customers are more interested in consuming cannabis for its therapeutic benefits.

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said he wasn’t surprised by the results.

“Several prior studies similarly show that the use of cannabis by qualified patients is associated with the reduction, or even the elimination, of certain other prescription drugs — specifically opioids — over time,” he said. “These findings speak not only to the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis as an alternative analgesic option, but also to its potential role as a harm reduction agent.”

In a statement, Dr. Gwen Wurm, an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and study co-author, explained the significance of the findings: “Approximately 20% of American adults suffer from chronic pain, and one in three adults do not get enough sleep. In states where adult use of cannabis is legal, our research suggests that many individuals bypass the medical cannabis route (which requires registering with the state) and are instead opting for the privacy of a legal adult use dispensary.”

She cautioned, however, that more research is needed to understand the benefits and side effects of cannabis, as well as the ramifications of substituting cannabis for pharmaceuticals.

“The challenge is that health providers are far behind in knowing which cannabis products work and which do not,” Wurm said. “Until there is more research into which cannabis products work for which symptoms, patients will do their own ‘trial and error,’ experiments, getting advice from friends, social media and dispensary employees.”

Patients Are Substituting Marijuana For Addictive Pharmaceutical Drugs, Two New Studies Show

Photo courtesy of Ndispensable.

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7 Factors That Affect Your Cannabis High

Ask a dozen smokers what their favorite strain is, and you may receive a dozen different answers. Some prefer their high to be mellow, others like it buzzy, some want to feel it in their body, and others yet, in their head. There are a lot of factors that go into personal preferences when it comes to enjoying cannabis, but there are also many factors outside of simple likes that can affect your high.

By understanding the circumstances that can affect your high, you can empower yourself to have better experiences with a variety of strains and narrow down what works best for you.

Here are seven factors that affect your cannabis high.

Set & Setting

Your environment plays a crucial role in the effect of your cannabis high and should not be taken lightly. Sometimes, if you smoke the same strain on two different days, you can have very different experiences.

Next time this happens, ask yourself–what was your mood and environment like before you smoked? Were you relaxed, happy, comfortable? Tense, anxious, or uneasy? At ease with the people in your company? Out in nature, or in a crowd?

Different scenarios can wildly affect your high. It’s important to consider your comfort level before indulging. Perhaps you know that getting high before you have to enter a stuffy waiting room will make you feel anxious, or maybe you know the best time for you to indulge is right before bed.

By being aware of your surroundings, you can figure out what set and setting work best for you, and better prepare yourself for enjoying the best possible cannabis high.

Delivery Method

Smoking, vaping, and eating edibles may all be ways to ingest cannabis, but every delivery method comes with its own variables. Eating a pot brownie and hitting a vape will, generally speaking, affect you differently. Your body processes cannabis from each method differently, and the amount you consume usually differs between methods. On top of that, the duration of a high with edibles can be much longer, and the effects are often reported as stronger.

It’s also easier to control your dose with some methods more than others–vaping for example, as opposed to eating an edible. Additionally, you can get a more potent hit from dabbing oil than from puffing on a joint, and it’s easier to visualize how much you’re consuming with a joint than with a vape. All of these factors can play a role, affecting the quality and length of your cannabis high.

As a result, it’s important to know your own limits with each individual method. Just because you can smoke a blunt every evening doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy half a pot brownie.

Dose

Dosing can be tricky, especially when indulging in edibles or a new strain. Starting low and going slow is essential.

Dosing may in fact be the most important factor to take into account when considering what will affect your high. Too little and you may feel like you shouldn’t have even bothered; too much and you may wind up sunk in the couch waiting for the high to wear off while the sound of the neighbor’s lawn mower freaks you out (I’ve been there too).

Hitting that sweet spot, and knowing what your sweet spot is, can make a world of a difference when enjoying cannabis.

Cannabinoid Profile

Currently, the cannabinoid profile of a strain is one of the best and most accessible ways to determine how a high will affect you. For example, some people really enjoy the effects of cannabis’ most famous cannabinoid, THC, while others find its effects too stimulating or may have bad reactions from it, like anxiety.

There are other cannabinoids to consider as well, such as CBD and more. Cannabinoid profiles can be diverse and vary widely from strain to strain, but they can also be a powerful tool in assessing how a strain will affect your high.

But it’s necessary to first know how each cannabinoid makes you feel, and this usually requires some experimenting. Once you know which ones work best for you, knowing the composition of a strain will put the power in your hands and will allow you to have the type of high you want.

However, the buck doesn’t quite stop there–other factors can come into play, such as the CBD:THC ratio of the strain, as THC can enhance CBD. Therefore, it is possible to have an unpleasant experience with one strain that is high in THC, but an enjoyable experience with another, simply because the ratio of the two compounds is different.

Terpenes

You’re familiar with terpenes even if you’ve never heard the word before. They are the lemon in your Lemon Haze, the berry in your Blueberry Kush, the fuel in your Sour Diesel. Terpenes give our strains the scents and tastes we love, but can they also play a role in the high? The topic is in need of further research, and it is a fascinating question, but some anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that it can, in fact, make a difference.

For example, a potential effect of limonene is said to be stress relief, and linalool may provide relaxed mood enhancement. It makes a kind of intuitive sense–linalool, for example, is also what gives lavender its signature scent, and no one questions the relaxing effects of lavender oil.

In the future, research will undoubtedly emerge to confirm the beneficial effects of terpenes, and cannabis consumers will be able to say with confidence which terpenes they prefer most.

Age

If you’ve ever asked your folks if they smoked when they were young, you might have heard that they enjoyed it back in the day but can’t tolerate it now. While you may have assumed they simply became uncool once they had kids, the truth is that age may have a surprising role to play in enjoying a cannabis high.

A 2007 study on rats found a link between age and the effects of cannabis. Adolescent rats were reported to tolerate the effects of weed much better than their adult counterparts, who showed more signs of stress, anxiety, and suppressed movement.

More research on age still needs to be done, but it may be wise to reevaluate how much and what kind of cannabis you’re consuming if the last time you smoked was in your teens.

Tolerance

No two people are exactly alike, and the same can be said for a person’s cannabis tolerance. The aforementioned age affects tolerance, as well as other factors, including frequency of consumption, body chemistry, and how long you’ve been smoking. It’s important to know your own personal tolerance, so you know how much or how little to consume, especially when consuming with others who may have different tolerances.

At the end of the day, only you can ascertain what your tolerance is, and by doing so, you will be empowered to have the type of cannabis high you want–whether that be relief, medical benefits, enjoyment, creativity, or whatever other effects you seek.

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How to Make Cannabis-Infused Condiments for Your Next BBQ

Infuse Your Next BBQ

Cannabis-infused condiments are an excellent way to elevate your next meal while also giving your fellow diners the discretion to dose themselves.

Each of the condiments below are designed to be low dose–8mg of THC per serving or less–but while we used a very controlled method to decarboxylate and then infuse cannabis into the desired medium, the potency depends on a number of factors* and we recommend using caution when recreating these recipes.

Just don’t forget to clearly label cannabis-infused foods to prevent accidental or unintended consumption, and always be sure to store away from underaged eaters.

Ketchup

Kick ketchup up a notch by making the classic condiment from scratch with a cannabis infusion. GET THE RECIPE


Honey Mustard

Sweet and tangy! This infused honey mustard will add a little zing to ballpark dogs and burgers. GET THE RECIPE


Mayo

Slather up a BLT, incorporate into deviled eggs, or dip some frites. This infused-mayo adds a little something extra to the dinner table. GET THE RECIPE


Barbecue Sauce

Get saucy this summer with an infused barbecue sauce that can be slathered over ribs and mopped onto grilled chicken. GET THE RECIPE


Green Goddess Dressing

Eat your greens. This creamy infused salad dressing gets its colour from avocados and fresh herbs. GET THE RECIPE

*Tips for Dosing Cannabis Infusions

The potency of your infusions depends on many factors, from how long and hot it was cooked to the potency of your starting material. To test the potency of your finished product, try spreading 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon on a snack and see how that dose affects you after an hour. Decrease or increase dose as desired. You can then use this personalized “standard” dose as a baseline for your recipes. Click here for more information on why potency is so difficult to measure in homemade cannabis edibles.

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What Causes Seizures?

By Dr. David E. Presti On June 25, 2019

A variety of different things may happen as a result of a seizure, depending upon the region of the brain that is affected. There may be sudden changes in sensory perception, such as visual disturbances or the smell of an unusual odor. There may be rapid and inexplicable emotional or cognitive changes. There are often involuntary muscle movements, and sometimes even complete loss of control over the movement of one’s body. Obviously, this could lead to serious consequences if someone has a seizure while, for example, driving a car. Amnesia, or memory loss, frequently accompanies the experience of a seizure. Severe seizures can produce a loss of consciousness and even death. Too much excitation is not a good thing.

Sometimes seizures are associated with particular identifiable causes. A tumor – an abnormal growth of cells in the brain – may disrupt neural circuitry, producing unbalanced excitation. New onset of seizures in an adult is always reason to check for the existence of a brain tumor. Brain infections and high fevers may trigger seizures. Traumatic physical injury to the head, such as from a car or bicycle accident, may disrupt the neural connectivity in such a way that seizures are a result. Drugs that increase brain neuronal excitability have the potential to produce seizures. Some drugs that produce the opposite effect of stimulants, inhibiting neural activity in the brain, can also increase the risk for seizures if these drugs are used regularly and then abruptly stopped. Examples of such drugs are alcohol and other sedative-hypnotics.

Most seizures, however, have not been associated with any identified causes. These are called idiopathic seizures. Idiopathic is a word widely used in medicine. It means that the condition arises from an obscure or unknown cause. The roots are from the Greek idios, meaning personal, private, separate, and pathos, meaning suffering.

Idiopathic seizures may appear spontaneously at any point in life, although they most often first appear in childhood. There are genetic and developmental components to idiopathic seizures, although these remain still largely uncharacterized. Certain configurations of neural connectivity arising during the wiring of the brain early in life can apparently increase the risk of occurrence of unbalanced runaway neural excitation, and thus of seizure.

Susceptible persons may develop idiopathic seizures without any precipitating factors. However, these seizures may be triggered in a variety of identified ways. Intense sensory stimuli, especially of a strongly rhythmic nature – such as brightly flashing strobe lights or other flashing visual displays – can set up powerful rhythmic neural activity in sensory regions of the brain that may lead to the explosive runaway activity of a seizure. Other possible triggering factors include sleep deprivation, stress, physical trauma to the head, stimulant drug use, and withdrawal from sedative-hypnotic drugs.

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David E. Presti is a neurobiologist, psychologist, and cognitive scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1991. He holds doctorates in molecular biology and biophysics from the California Institute of Technology and in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon.


This article was reprinted by Project CBD with permission. It may not be reproduced in any form without approval from the source.

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Is the Cannabinoid CBN an Effective Sleep Aid?

While working at a cannabis dispensary, I discovered the power of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), and how cannabinoids in cannabis–like THC and CBD–can interact with it to deliver a variety of stunning medical results. I’d also learned that the cannabinoid cannabinol (CBN) had a reputation for being a great aid to insomnia fighters.

At the time, cannabis laboratory Steep Hill reported, “The consumption of 2.5mg to 5mg of CBN has the same level of sedation as a mild pharmaceutical sedative, with a relaxed body sensation similar to 5mg to 10mg of diazepam.” They’re a widely respected company and this quote is all over the canna-net, so I bit.

I turned to a CBN product (a 1:1 CBD/CBN tincture, to be precise), which happily did seem to deliver comparable results to the pharmaceutical insomnia medications I’d been taking. Knowing that THC degrades and turns into CBN when exposed to elements like heat, air and light over time, I wondered if I could devise a more cost-effective way to make CBN medicines from regular ol’ THC flower.

I figured if I left buds sitting in a dish by the sunny window, it might result in higher CBN content–thereby, a handy DIY sleep medication. After doing so for awhile, I hadn’t noticed any differences in effect (just crunchiness), and so started digging to see if this was actually a feasible way to raise CBN levels.

But as I started digging into my DIY method, my objective (and methods–more on that below) quickly became questionable.

Things Get Murky on CBN and Sleep

It turns out, though there are numerous products in the cannabis industry that aim to promote sleep via CBN the link between the two lacks scientific foundation. In fact, only one (well-cited) study has signified that this effect is in play, but the study is highly problematic.

The results point to sedation only when CBN was used in combination with THC.

In addition to questionable methods, the results point to sedation only when CBN was used in combination with THC–a finding that could be attributed to the phenomenon known as the entourage effect, wherein cannabinoids work synergistically with one another, as well as with other components of cannabis (like terpenes and flavonoids), to create a stronger effect.

So Where Did the Supposed Connection Come From?

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, Director of Research and Development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, this might be due to people feeling tired after smoking old and/or improperly stored buds. He said that the sedating effects of aged cannabis are often misattributed to CBN because of the previously described degradation process that creates the cannabinoid. However, he says the sedative effects of old cannabis are more likely due to other components of the plant that change as cured cannabis ages.

He shared that old cannabis tends to be sedating due to a loss of monoterpenoids and a retention of sesquiterpenoids, which have a soporific (or drowsy) effect. He added that the addition of another cannabinoid, CBN in this case, to a cannabis sleep regimen may increase the aforementioned entourage effect–but that CBN hasn’t been shown to be sedative on its own, and he contends that it is not more sedating than other cannabinoids.

Then Why Does CBN Seem to Work for Some?

So, how come CBN products seem to work for so many rough sleepers? It’s possible that CBN is working that entourage effect, being the perfect addition their nighttime cannabis routine. Or, the product-in-question may have also had additional ingredients that worked effectively (like sesquiterpenoids).

As is often the case in cannabis, there’s a lot of research left to be done on this topic, but I did get my answer. Dr. Russo says, “Setting out cannabis in the sun is a good way to waste the monoterpenoid fraction and leave sedating sesquiterpenoids and CBN behind.” (However, he thinks this is likely to take a significant amount of time, and does not recommend my method.)

We reached out to Steep Hill for comment on that quote comparing CBN to diazepam. They didn’t reply, but did change their CBN text to read, “Initially, it was reported that CBN was a promising adjunct in the treatment of insomnia, but with the advent of a few small trials, sedative qualities have not been observed. Further study is required.”

Cannabis Is Still a Fierce Sleep Aid

For now, Dr. Russo informs us that the best known way to use cannabis for sleep is to combine THC with other sedating components, like the terpenes myrcene and linalool. He told us that cannabis isn’t such a successful sleep aid because it’s wildly sedating, but because it treats underlying conditions that are keeping people awake.

He emphasized the importance of treating what, precisely, is keeping the person from sleep. For instance, if you’re incredibly tired, but your mind is racing a jillion miles an hour–you probably want a good dose of CBD for anxiety in your nighttime routine.

So, reflect on the things that keep you up (he said pain and spasms are two more big ones), and do some research and experimenting to find the best approach to treating what ails, allowing your bod to get the rest it needs.

And as for CBN, time will tell as to if this cannabinoid has any particular super powers–but the jury is still out on whether sedation is one of them.

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