Canadian Chefs Share Which Cannabis Strains Add Extra Spice to Their Lives

Hungry Canadians are easily smitten by the latest food trends and all the delicious food porn dished out on Instagram. But if you ask anyone who has ever worked in a professional kitchen, the descriptions of what happens behind the scenes can be less than glamorous.

Each and every single day, it’s a chaotic shuffle to make and serve up beautiful dishes to hungry customers. And, for every professional chef at work, there’s no shortage of workplace hazards: physical injuries, non-stop shift work, lack of benefits including paid sick time, standing for 10 hours without breaks, and cramped kitchen spaces, just to name a few.

Many chefs, young and old, are often drawn to the demanding profession to create food that people desire but find themselves at a crossroads, for their mental and emotional health, when stuck in toxic kitchen environments.

This is why so many are turning to cannabis and the various products and strains available on the market to help with anxiety, as an appetite stimulant, and as a sleep aide.

We spoke to four Canadian chefs about their relationship to the plant and how it has changed their relationship to food.

Travis Petersen, Vancouver, BC

When Travis Petersen first appeared on TV screens in 2016 on MasterChef Canada, he had decided he needed a change in life. He was a business development manager in the oil and gas industry in Alberta and wanted to do something different and take a risk– filming MasterChef Canada was it.

When filming was over, he decided to follow his heart and become what is now known as The Nomad Cook, a private chef. “For the first two years, I traveled around the country doing private and pop up dinners,” but it wasn’t until he came back home that he decided he wanted to try his hand at something a bit different: cannabis-infused dinner.

As an avid cannabis smoker, who has used the plant for anxiety, he launched his first infused dinner for 4/20, serving 164 guests over four days, 10 people per seating.

While Petersen typically smokes after work, he finds he is drawn to smoking sativa strains but explains that since fully incorporating himself in the culinary world, he finds that distillate is the perfect sleep agent. Petersen shares “I tend to wake up a lot throughout the night and I found the right [dose] will help me sleep throughout the night, without me waking up the next day too cloudy.”

Right now, he believes the future of food and cannabis is really in CBD sharing, “I had the flu a couple of weeks ago and made myself chicken noodle soup, but I used a CBD-based broth and infused my noodles with THC, it helped me.”

Find Sativa Strains Near You

Ebeni Skinner, Prince Edward Island

Ebeni Skinner

Kitchen culture reigned supreme when Ebeni Skinner was growing up.

“Anytime there was a big get-together, there was always food around, […] laughter in the kitchen, and just like, good times no matter what.”

Although nobody in Skinner’s family worked in the hospitality industry, their passion for food inspired her to follow her own dream to pursue food and re-create that kitchen culture for others. She enrolled at The Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown where she was mentored and given hands-on training on the different standards for in the kitchen.

As a medical cannabis patient, Skinner typically uses the plant for her ADHD, which she’s had trouble with since a child. “As I got older and I started to learn the benefits of cannabis, I began to realize how helpful this could be and then I found the right strains for me,” she explains.

Before work, Skinner will smoke from a black and white glass bong named ‘Cruella Deville.’ She’s been really into smoking Gather from the Solei brand but prior to that, she exclusively smoked Girl Scout Cookies.

“When I have the right strain, it’s like I’m focused and my nerves are gone. I’ll just sit down, smoke a bowl and then after a little while, I’ll start to feel myself relax and able to focus again.” Right now, Skinner is working at Terre Rouge, which was named one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants in 2016.

Find Girl Scout Cookies Near You

John MacNeil, Calgary, AB

john macneil

Born and raised in Cape Breton, Nove Scotia, John MacNeil attributes his interest in food to his father who brought him to markets and local docks as a young boy, sharing with him an appreciation for local produce and the bounty of the sea.

Upon his graduation from school, he decided to pursue the culinary arts as his career path enrolling at The Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown. “I really found the passion of what food can be and the high-quality ingredients coming from Canada,” MacNeil professes. After graduation, he worked in kitchens in Calgary, Banff and Switzerland which he explains became “huge influences in my life and my cooking style”. Upon returning to Calgary, he began working in different kitchens and he also discovered the benefits of medical cannabis.

“After being on the line, you’re not really that hungry after work and I found myself sometimes not being able to really eat,” also noting that sometimes he’d be ready to turn his brain off for a bit, but would be hit with a wave of anxiety or a lack of sleep.

Under the advisement of a doctor, MacNeil applied for his Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) and has become what he calls a ‘novice grower’ with two to four plants growing at a time.

He admits, “Work can be very stressful when you’re doing [service for] anywhere between 50 to 100 people per night,” but something that he looks forward to is rolling a cone of the Jack Herer or DelaHaze sativa strain, while Pink Kush is his go-to for edibles.

His love of edibles helped him to develop a line of products, reTreat Edibles, which blends cannabis infused oil or concentrated oil from licensed producers with premium quality ingredients.

Find Jack Herer Near You

Lida Tuy, Toronto, ON

Lida Tuy

For as long as she can remember, Lida Tuy has been working in kitchens. All throughout high school, she worked in food service and loved the energy, so she decided to enroll in George Brown for Culinary Management.

While she’s only been cooking ‘professionally’ for five years, she feels like she has learned so much, not just about food but also, about herself as a person. As a medical cannabis patient, Tuy discovered that working in kitchens, “you have to numb yourself to that dull craving for food constantly, and it kind of gets a little frustrating because a lot of chefs don’t eat for the whole day because they have to dull that sensation of hunger, and you just have to get through your day.”

As a person who has struggled with anorexia, she found that cannabis pre- and post-work helped her with her appetite. Tuy will make a batch of cannabutter, which has been super helpful for her metabolism issues because of how slow it is to dose. “Since I don’t know when it’ll hit me, I’ll just feel the comfort or the relief.”

Currently, she works in hotel banquets and finds herself in the position of working long hours while pushing out 80-100 meals in a day. This rate can often lead to a lot of general body discomfort and pain, which Tuy shares strains like Blue Dream are super helpful with.

“The first time I got my prescription and went to a dispensary, the first strain that I saw on the list was Blue Dream, and I thought it just sounds cool. I smoked some, and I was having really bad back pain that day, and within five minutes of smoking this bong hit, I just was feeling such relief.” For Tuy, using the plant has helped her “feels almost like that rock is being taken off of my shoulder, it’s like it’s easier to breathe.”

Find Blue Dream Near You

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Barr Tells Senate He Won’t ‘Go After’ Cannabis Companies

At his opening Senate confirmation hearing today, former-and-possibly-future attorney general William Barr called the current state-federal standoff on cannabis legalization “untenable,” but stopped short of expressing any intent to disrupt state policies on the issue.

At times, Barr seemed like a man who’d emerged from a previous era.

Unlike his predecessor Jeff Sessions, who was never shy about his antipathy toward legalization, Barr downplayed any interest in solving the state-fed split or imposing federal will on the states. Though he disagrees with cannabis legalization, the nominee said he was not “going to go after companies that [relied] on the Cole Memorandum.”

Mueller, Mueller, Mueller…

After a morning full of questions about the Robert Mueller investigation, Barr faced more traditional law-and-order queries from Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) on Tuesday afternoon. Booker has long been an unabashed leader on cannabis policy, and Harris has more recently aligned with her state’s legalized stance.

Trump’s nominee doesn’t want to ‘upset settled expectations’ on cannabis, he said.

Booker asked for Barr’s opinion on the Cole Memorandum, the Justice Department cannabis policy guidance that Sessions rescinded in Jan. 2017. Should federal resources be used, he wondered, to interfere with states’ legal medical and adult use cannabis operations?

Barr said he had no intention of using federal powers to destabilize businesses relying on the memo. “My approach to this would be not to upset settled expectations and the reliance interests that have arisen as a result of the Cole memoranda,” Barr said. “Investments have been made, so I don’t think it’s appropriate to upset those interests.”

He stopped short of calling for federal legalization as a solution to the state-federal split on the issue. Going that far, he said, would be “a mistake.”

On Criminal Justice Reform

Booker pressed Barr on his understanding of systemic racial inequality in American justice. Barr agreed to look at the latest data on racial disparities in incarceration and, after some pressing from Booker, to have a “heart-to-heart” discussion in the senator’s office, as he had done with other committee members.

Barr similarly seemed to promise to follow up on other issues he wants more time to consider. Earlier in the day, after being pressed by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on ballooning civil asset forfeiture practices in the United States, Barr expressed some willingness to pick up Sessions’ guidance on reigning in the practice. However, Barr also emphasized his awareness that law enforcement often considers it a “valuable tool” for self-equipping.

Reforms Will Go Through

In response to questions from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Barr said that he would indeed implement the criminal justice reforms passed by Congress late last year, which include lowering mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. In response to Grassley and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), who sought similar assurances, he also offered explanations from his time in the Justice Department three decades ago as the reason why he has been against such reforms. In 1992, in fact, Barr wrote an influential policy report titled “The Case for More Incarceration.”

Barr described the impact of the crack epidemic on urban America as “like nuclear weapons,” and suggested that fentanyl and its analogues are “kind of the new crack.” He also suggested that today, as in the 1990s, the “head of the snake” exists outside the country–namely China via the Mexican-American border for fentanyl-type drugs.

During a series of lecture-like responses about the 1990s and the call from local communities to combat violent gangs, both Booker and Harris assured Barr that they recalled being young black people at the time, and knew what that enforcement felt like. Booker also pushed back on some of Barr’s language, stating that the use of such “tropes” about inner-city violence made him “worried and concerned.”

After one round of bipartisan grilling, it remained unclear how Barr would treat cannabis and criminal justice issues going forward, or how long it will take for him to catch up–as he repeatedly expressed interest in doing–on American politics lately.

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A Guide to Buying Cannabis Seeds

The beginning of the new year is a great time to start planning your cannabis garden and get a head start on the outdoor grow season, which roughly runs from March to November. Navigating the cannabis seed market can be challenging when states have different degrees of legality and with some great genetics produced overseas. This guide will answer your questions on buying seeds so you can be on your way to growing your own cannabis.

To learn more about seeds in general, check out Leafly’s article on cannabis seed basics.

Table of Contents

(Courtesy of Humboldt Seed Co./Nugshots

Cannabis seeds are considered cannabis products just like flower, edibles, and concentrates. Their legality depends on which state you live in. People living in states with adult-use legalization can buy, produce, and sell seeds within their own state, but seeds can’t cross state lines. People living in states with medical legalization can only buy seeds if they have a medical card.

Seed companies in other countries are only allowed to sell to people in the US for “souvenir purposes only” because of US laws. A lot of people buy seeds this way, but US Customs will seize any cannabis seeds that they find in packages or on a person.

How & Where Do I Buy Seeds?

Many world-renowned seed banks are overseas in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, and other countries where cannabis laws are less restricted. Seed banks provide seeds from a variety of different breeders. You can buy their seeds online, but again, US Customs can seize any cannabis products that they find.

In states with adult-use legalization, you can buy seeds within your own state, either at a dispensary or through a specific seed company’s website.

Buying Cannabis Seeds Online

Before you purchase seeds online, you’ll need to figure out what strain you want to grow and what breeder you want to buy from.

Because US federal law still prohibits cannabis, it can be hard to find information on seed banks and breeders. Breeders who have a long history and positive reputation are usually a good place to start. To get an idea of what well-established breeders look like, check out:

You can also do some research and find an online grow journal that details the whole growing process of a specific strain from a particular breeder. Through these, you’ll be able to look over another grower’s specific notes and see pictures of the final results.

If you grow some seeds and like the results, try growing another strain from that same breeder and see how it goes.

Shopping at the Dispensary

Although this option is only available to people living in states with medical and adult-use legalization, buying seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward. However, your options are more limited.

Dispensary staff should be able to give you information on the seeds they’re selling, but keep in mind that a lot of dispensaries focus on selling flower and end-products. It’s a good idea to call ahead and talk to staff to see if they are knowledgeable about seeds and can give you specific information on growing.

Get in Touch With a Nearby Dispensary

How Do I Know If I’m Getting Quality Genetics?

(Sunshine Seeds/iStock)

Breeders talk about “unstable genetics,” meaning that a seed’s origin is unknown. Make sure that when you buy a packet of seeds that it or the breeder who produced them can list where the seeds came from and how they were crossed and/or backcrossed to get the seed that you hold in your hand. If you can’t get a seed’s history, it could be anything and the results of poor breeding practices.

An inexperienced breeder might cross a male and a female one time and sell the resulting seeds as a new hybrid strain, but professional breeders usually put their strains through several rounds of backcrossing to stabilize the genetics and ensure consistent plants that reflect those genetics.

What’s the Difference Between Regular, Feminized, and Autoflower Seeds?

Regular Seeds

If you buy a packet of regular seeds, they’ll come with a mix of males and females. A lot of cultivators prefer to grow these because they haven’t been backcrossed–essentially inbred–as much as feminized or autoflower seeds. You’ll need to sex out the seeds once their reproductive organs show during the flowering phase and discard the males (because they don’t produce buds and will pollenate females, resulting in seeded flowers).

Feminized Seeds

Seeds can come feminized, meaning that you can just put them in soil and start growing for buds. These seeds are guaranteed to be bud-producing females, and growing them cuts out the step of having to sex out plants and discard the males.

It also reduces the risk of having a stray male sneak into your crop–just one male can pollinate a huge crop, causing your females to focus their energies on producing seeds instead of buds.

Autoflower Seeds

Autoflower plants change from the vegetative to flowering state with age, not the changing of their light cycle. They have a short grow-to-harvest time and can be ready to harvest in as little as 2 1/2 to 3 months from when you put the seeds in the ground. The downside is that, typically, they are less potent, but autoflower seeds are great for people who want to grow cannabis but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it.

How Much Do Seeds Cost?

Cannabis seeds usually come in a pack of 10 or 12 seeds and start at around $40 a pack and go up from there. Some high-end genetics can run between $200 to $500 a pack.

Feminized and autoflower seeds will cost more because more breeding work was put in to creating them and they take less time for the grower to get buds.

How Many Seeds Should I Buy? Are They All Going to Survive?

(PierceHSmith/iStock)

When you grow any amount of seeds, a percentage of them won’t germinate, even if you get them from a reputable breeder. Always count on having a few not germinate or die off, or roughly 2-4 times the total you put in the ground.

When growing regular seeds, some won’t germinate and some will have to be discarded because they’ll turn out to be males. With feminized and autoflower seeds, some won’t germinate, but a higher percentage of them will turn into flowering plants.

If you want six total cannabis plants to harvest for buds, when growing regular seeds, start with about 4 times as many, or 24 seeds. Some won’t germinate and some will turn out to be males, and then you’ll want to discard down to the six best phenotypes. If growing feminized or autoflower seeds, start with about twice as many seeds (about 12) in case a couple don’t germinate, and then discard down to the six best phenotypes.

Make sure to always stay within your state’s legal limit of growing plants.

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Welcome to the Country’s First Cannabis Speakeasy

As diverse a group as we are, it’s safe to say that almost all cannabis smokers have a common dream: to see cannabis integrated into the public spaces of our everyday lives. And while a few states like Oregon are currently leading the way when it comes to offering space for cannabis public consumption, it surprises no one that Nevada’s already broken through the glass ceiling.

Having legalized cannabis on July 1st, 2017, the state has already generated $55.53 million in tax collections since recreational sales began. It’s also the home of the biggest dispensary in the world (the 112,000 square foot Planet 13) and is now also home to the world’s first cannabis “speakeasy.”

“When we decided to create this experience in our dispensary, we wanted to offer a safe and comfortable place for consumers to learn about product offerings.”

Ed Bernstein, Co-founder of Las Vegas ReLeaf

Named Dana’s Place, it sits snugly inside the Las Vegas ReLeaf Dispensary–500 feet off the Strip. The story behind the name is sure to tug a heartstring or two: Named for the late Dana Bernstein, the daughter of Las Vegas ReLeaf co-founder Ed Bernstein, who succumbed to a lifelong struggle with Crohn’s disease in 2017.

“Dana was an inspiration for us when we first opened Las Vegas ReLeaf. She found comfort in medical cannabis, as it eased her painful symptoms,” said Ed. “When we decided to create this experience in our dispensary, we wanted to offer a safe and comfortable place for consumers to learn about product offerings. And naming the space after Dana was a natural way for her legacy to live on.”

Having only just opened on December 10th, the speakeasy is small but cozy. It straddles the area between reception and sales floor, looking like a friendly bar in every respect. A tap handle pours out Cannabiniers’ Two Roots beers, with several brews (IPA, blonde, lager, wheat) available.

Each “beer” contains less than 0.5% of alcohol, with 5mg of THC per can. Individual cans are priced at $8, with a 6-pack going for $37-40 after tax. It’s the first of several Cannabiniers tasting bars that’ll crop up throughout dispensaries across the country, all of which will showcase the Two Roots Brewing line.

(Courtesy of Dana’s Place)

The beers themselves taste more or less identical to their non-infused counterparts. That’s probably because the beers are imported from California and infused with THC on-site, ensuring consistency in every beer. A few shelves hold other cannabis merch, including Just Society cold brew coffees and BASKiN health and beauty products, with the hopes of adding on other items like the Creative Waters Beverage Company “mocktails” at a later point in time.

It’s a promising step forward in the fight for public consumption, one I hope other states will be inspired by. Grabbing a cannabis beer before sauntering over to the counter for a joint is definitely the best way to spend an evening in Vegas.

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Denver Unveils New System for Clearing Cannabis Convictions

DENVER (AP) — A simplified program will make it easier for thousands of people to seek the elimination of low-level marijuana convictions that occurred in Denver before recreational use became legal in Colorado, officials said Wednesday.

Mayor Michael Hancock said the change “is about equity for our communities of color and individuals who were disproportionately impacted by low-level marijuana convictions that are no longer crimes in Colorado.”

Based on a review of digitized court records between 2001 and 2013, Denver officials have estimated 10,000 convictions could be eligible.

The new program requires people seeking help clearing their convictions to fill out an online form or attend an event. Prosecutors working for the district attorney or city attorney will then seek court approval to dismiss the convictions and seal court records.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann called the effort a matter of “justice and fairness.”

Colorado was among the first states to broadly allow the sale and adult use of marijuana in 2014, but cities elsewhere have led the way on automatic expungement of past convictions.

Seattle, San Francisco and some prosecutors in New York City last year rolled out programs to toss hundreds of marijuana convictions, saying now-legal activity should not bar people from getting jobs or finding housing.

States also have sought solutions to the problem. Washington state’s governor announced this month that he would pardon thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession, and Michigan’s governor has said she would consider a similar approach.

California has a new law requiring the state Department of Justice to provide lists of marijuana convictions eligible for erasure or reduction to local prosecutors.

Colorado currently allows people to petition courts to remove marijuana offenses, including possession, from their records. Advocates have criticized that approach because it puts the onus on people with convictions and can become expensive and time consuming.

Denver officials said Colorado law doesn’t allow them to take the kind of sweeping action used in other cities. So they said they decided to make the state’s process of petitioning courts easier for people who want to eliminate convictions.

Denver’s new program still requires people to take the first step toward clearing their records, either by filling out a form online or attending an event set up by the city.

The Denver district attorney or city attorney will then seek court approval for the convictions to be eliminated and follow up with state agencies to make sure records used by employers, landlords and others during background checks have been updated.

Most people will not be required to pay anything to have their convictions eliminated. The Marijuana Industry Group that represents growers, sellers and other sector businesses is helping cover court fees.

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‘Better Than Ever’ Cannabis Coalition Hits the Ground Running

In a call with reporters after November’s midterm election, US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) predicted that 2019 would be a big year for cannabis. “The incoming Congress will be better than ever,” he said on a Nov. 7 conference call. “I think that we will continue to see more bipartisan progress.”

“It’s good to be back with Rep. Blumenauer, showing that bipartisanship can still shine.”

US Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH)

On Wednesday, Blumenauer revealed the lawmakers who will lead the charge in the nation’s capital, announcing the latest co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The group, co-founded by Blumenauer in 2017, aims to update the nation’s drug laws to accommodate state-legal cannabis.

“The Cannabis Caucus was the first of its kind to create a forum for elected officials to collaborate on ways to address our outdated federal marijuana laws,” Blumenauer said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Congress is clearly out of step with the American people on cannabis when national support for federal marijuana legalization is at an all-time high and we saw several states move toward legalization last November.”

The new co-chairs are bipartisan and represent both medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis states. They are US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and Don Young (R-AK).

“Our movement is cresting,” Blumenauer said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside Reps. Lee, Joyce and Young to build on the bipartisan work we’ve done to end the senseless federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all.”

A number of cannabis reform bills have already been introduced in Congress. Among them is the STATES Act, which would exempt legal-cannabis states from federal cannabis law enforcement. It’s currently seen as the leading effort to end prohibition in the US.

But on Wednesday, Blumenauer also announced the introduction of another piece of legislation–the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act–that would remove cannabis completely from the federal Controlled Substances Act. The bill is conveniently numbered H.R. 420. (“While the bill number may be a bit tongue in cheek,” Blumenauer noted in a press release, “the issue is very serious.”)

“We must work to build an industry that is equitable and inclusive of the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

The new Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs represent a range of bipartisan interests and views around cannabis. Two of the newly appointed leaders, Lee and Young, hail from states that already have legal adult-use cannabis programs. Joyce, meanwhile, is from Ohio, which legalized medical cannabis in 2016 and is still working to get its program fully operational. Sales there are expected to start in the coming weeks.

Lee, of California, also becomes the first woman of color to co-chair the caucus. In a statement, she highlighted the need to ensure the legalization movement benefits more than just wealthy white businessmen.

“For far too long, communities of color and women have been left out of the conversation on cannabis. I am committed to ensuring that marijuana reform goes hand-in-hand with criminal justice reform so we can repair some of the harm of the failed War on Drugs,” she said. “We must also work to build an industry that is equitable and inclusive of the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

At a time when Washington, DC, is divided on partisan lines, the co-chairs stressed that cannabis reform is popular among Americans of vastly different ideologies, backgrounds, and beliefs.

“It’s good to be back with Rep. Blumenauer,” Joyce said, “showing that bipartisanship can still shine.”

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5 Ways the Cannabis Industry Has Matured

The legal cannabis industry has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, and it continues to improve each day. And with legality comes maturity–today’s world of weed is a far cry from that of yesteryear: there have been exponential improvements to the way we view cannabis, purchase cannabis, and live a cannabis lifestyle.

Find legal cannabis near you with Leafly finder.

Legalization has brought maturity, innovation, professionalism, and credibility to cannabis. Below, delve into five ways the industry has grown up.

Packaging That Appeals to Adults

Part of being taken seriously as a brand means paying attention to packaging, logos, and product design. With the cannabis industry belonging to adults 21 and over, it makes sense that brands within the industry would want to appeal to those looking for reputable products. At the end of the day, a package with a unique logo and sleek design says “credible” more than one that has a lackluster or juvenile look.

Companies have always strived to have their logos and brands be household names, and the cannabis industry is no different. Legal states can find professional products carving out their space in dispensaries with recognizable and well-designed looks aimed to make consumers feel confident in choosing their product.

Dispensaries Care About Interior Design

Stepping into a dispensary should feel like stepping into a professional establishment, not a shabby parlor or dealer’s den. Business owners want to be taken seriously, so they are putting in the effort by hiring interior designers and local artists to create beautiful and welcoming spaces for their clients. The result is well-established dispensaries, beautiful enough to catch the eye, and functional enough to cater to high-volumes of new and repeat customers.

Cannabinoids Have More Validity Than Indica/Sativa

Back in the day, one of the few ways to judge a strain was to ask, “indica or sativa?” We’ve come a long way since then. While indica/sativa labels can be a mildly helpful way to determine how a strain will affect you, it is ultimately a flawed classification that doesn’t compare to exact cannabinoid percentages and ratios.

It’s one thing to know that Blue Dream is a hybrid, it’s another to know your strain of Blue Dream has 24% THC, 0.2% CBD, and 0.01% THCV. Today, as the science has deepened, people can find these specifics in dispensaries across the nation. Approaching cannabis–medical or recreational–with scientific knowledge and understanding, vastly improves consumer’s experience and lends validity to the industry, which we can all benefit from.

Sexy Nurses Are Out, Legitimate Cannabis Doctors Are In

Scantily clad “nurses” in weed-themed apparel were not an uncommon sight in magazines and events just a few years ago and phasing out this old icon is certainly a sign of the industry taking itself more seriously. Instead of fake nurses, the cannabis industry has medical marijuana MDs at the forefront in interviews, events, and in doctor offices near you.

In addition, promoters advertising events, or editors picking their cover photos, are more often choosing to forego cheap gimmicks and instead put the spotlight on everyone’s favorite flower and all her lovely trichomes–which is exactly where the attention should be.

It’s Time to Shine for Organic and Healthy Edibles

The world of edibles has come a long way from cookies, brownies, and gummies. Sure, these products still exist and are available at any time to soothe a sweet tooth, but with maturity comes knowing when to opt for candy and when to choose something healthy. After all, for many, edibles are medication.

Many brands are now choosing healthier ingredients, and it’s even possible to find options for those who prefer organic, gluten-free, or vegan eats. There will always be room in our hearts for the classic pot brownie, but having healthier options goes to show how the industry is growing to cater to a wide range of people and dietary needs.

What other ways have you seen the industry mature? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Cannabis Strains You Should Be Excited About in 2019

I checked out a lot of exciting genetics at the Emerald Cup last month. Here, breeders and growers gathered to show off their very best strains–it was clear which seed packs were selling out and which new cultivars breeders were most proud of.

Last year, I found hits like White Tahoe Cookies and Mimosa. But ultimately, there’s no perfect science to forecast exactly which strains will perform well in the garden. Even if they do grow exceptional flowers, consumers will still have to buy them to ensure the cultural impact necessary to solidify their popularity.

So, as you scan dispensary menus, keep an eye out for these intriguing genetics. All show a lot of promise, but only time will tell if they become mainstays in 2019 and beyond.

Wedding Crasher

Already popping up on dispensary menus, Wedding Crasher is another exciting cultivar from Symbiotic Genetics. By combining the the smooth vanilla flavors of Wedding Cake with the sweet grape notes of Purple Punch, Symbiotic developed a mellow, earthy strain with sharp gassy highlights and a sweet berry finish.

Wedding Crasher flowers are caked with trichomes and their sweet and creamy flavors drive toward a calming, blissful headspace.

Symbiotic Genetics has a reputation for eye-catching flower in a range of complex and captivating flavor profiles. Their Mimosa (Clementine x Purple Punch) has been one of my favorite strains as of late, and their most recent release, Modified Grapes, a GMO Cookies cross, is sure to make some waves, too.

Find Wedding Crasher Nearby

PB Souffle

PB Souffle is a strain from the pHinest and Cannarado collaboration. The breeders worked together to produce a line of elite genetics that utilizes tissue culture to ensure vigor and minimize genetic flaws and susceptibility to disease.

The result of crossing Do-Si-Dos with Lava Cake, PB Souffle, or Peanut Butter Souffle, is a frosty flower caked with a thick, beautiful coat of resin. Tinged with dark green and purple hues, the chunky buds burst with nutty, earthy flavors reminiscent of creamy peanut butter. It puts the PB in your J!

The entire tissue-cultured seed line is worth checking out, but the PB Souffle specifically caught my attention. The dank citrus vibes of Lemon Lava (Lemon Heads x Lava Cake) is another from the pHinest-Cannarado project that I’ll be on the hunt for.

Find PB Souffle Nearby

Mint Chocolate Chip

I can’t get enough of Exotic Genetix’s strains. Their flowers are always big and bursting with a variety of flavors that are all on point. If you’ve tried strains like Cookies and Cream, Tina, or Grease Monkey then you already know.

More recently, there’s been a lot of excitement about Exotic’s latest Mint Chocolate Chip seedline. The entire lineup features an assortment of stacked hybrids that are a result of breeding Mint Chocolate Chip with all the heavy-hitters in Exotic’s stable of genetics. They all sound fantastic, but the stud male who fathered the entire line is the one I’m most thrilled to hunt down.

Mint Chocolate Chip is a 50/50 hybrid from a mysterious Cookies mom and a Green Ribbon dad. The combination creates a gassy, earthy mix of flavors that finishes with a creamy, cool mint note. It’s a happy strain with an exhilarating, euphoric tingle that is deeply relaxing without completely knocking you out.

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MAC

It’s already been a few years since the release of Miracle Alien Cookies, better known as MAC, but this is a strain you need to try if you haven’t already! Bred by Capulator, who crossed Alien Cookies with a select hybrid of Colombian and Starfighter, MAC is a gorgeous resin-covered flower with a dank, gassy musk and sour citrus highlights.

The smooth flavors of MAC have thick, zesty orange notes that are balanced out by floral accents with a sweet, earthy finish. Miracle Alien Cookies is a well-balanced hybrid offering mellow, relaxing effects and a blissful mood that doesn’t completely overpower you.

Recently, Capulator started dropping a number of exciting MAC crosses, so be on the lookout for other interesting hybrids like Concrete Slippers (MAC x Cement Shoes), MAC n Cheese (MAC x Alien Cheese), and Jungle MAC (MAC x WiFi #43).

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Blueberry Muffin

 

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We’re loving these pics by @allcalifarms the smoke is amazing too! We definitely endorse grabbing some of their flower @natural.cannabis.company in Santa Rosa! Repost- Fresh wet trimmed Blueberry Muffins (Blueberry Muffin bx8 x Purple Panty Dropper x Razzleberry) Bred by @thehumboldtseedcompany Grown by @allcalifarms Clones from @darkheart.nursery #darkheartnursery #calisfinest #indoorcannabis #topshelf #naturalcannabiscompany #stonernation #sonomacountycannabis #farmersfirst #emeraldtriangle #ganja #stoner #californiagrown #californiacannabis #blueberrymuffins #maryjane #weedlife #ogkush #cannabiscommunity #sonomacannabis #cannabisculture #terps #stonerchick #420girls #wakenbake #kushnation #hightimes #organiccannabis #kushlife #cannabissociety #thehumboldtseedcompany

Blueberry Muffin is not a new strain but it’s one of the many lines of fascinating genetics produced by the Humboldt Seed Co. As one of their signatures, Blueberry Muffin–sometimes called Blueberry Muffins–is an in-house favorite at Humboldt Seed Co. for its uniform structure and purple-tinted flowers.

True to its name, the Blueberry and Purple Panty Dropper cross smells like a tray of fresh baked muffins. Its berry sweetness is softened by a smooth, creamy finish and makes for a tasty joint. The gently energizing effects of Blueberry Muffin are a great mood enhancer, offering happy, euphoric vibes and a relaxed, carefree attitude.

If you like tropical terpene profiles, be on the lookout for Pineapple Upside Down Cake, another flavorful and fruity strain coming out of Humboldt Seed Co.’s bakery.

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The Latest in Medical Cannabis Research: Winter 2018

Medical cannabis gained substantial scientific validation in 2018. Studies have furthered our understanding of the beneficial effects of cannabis on a range of conditions including pain, depression, anxiety, healthy aging, and neuroprotection.

Pharmaceutical companies and beverage behemoths are hedging on cannabis’ widespread appeal and therapeutic benefits, and bipartisan support of the Agricultural Farm Bill highlights a shift in acceptance even among the federal government. The cannabis research momentum carried into the final quarter of 2018.

Here are the top five research stories to close out the year.

Studies at a glance:

THC Boosts Traditional Neuropathic Pain Medication

Many are turning to cannabis as an alternative to prescription medications–or as a strategy for finding relief when all else fails.

There are different types of pain, and each type comes with its own treatment strategy and its own challenges. Neuropathic pain is a common type of chronic pain that can greatly impair one’s quality of life. It’s caused by the constriction of nerve fibers (e.g., sciatica), causing persistent pain signals to bombard the brain. Some of the current first-line treatment strategies involve medications, such as gabapentin, that can have harmful side effects.

The combination of gabapentin and THC also expanded the therapeutic window in which the drugs could be effectively used with limited side effects.

While cannabis is emerging as a scientifically-validated strategy for pain relief, THC on its own, and THC-rich cannabis, is not always well-tolerated by everyone. Side effects such as sedation, motor impairment, anxiety, and paranoia prevent the widespread use of THC-rich cannabis as a primary treatment strategy. Identifying treatment strategies that work together to enhance pain relief may open up new and effective opportunities for integrating cannabis-based therapies in neuropathic pain relief.

Australian scientists assessed the pain-relieving potential of combining the common neuropathic pain medication, gabapentin, with THC in a mouse model of neuropathic pain. To test this, scientists constricted a bundle of nerve cells in mice, mimicking sciatica-like nerve pain in humans. As expected, this procedure caused long-lasting hypersensitivity to pain-inducing stimuli. They then tested the pain-relieving effects of gabapentin and THC alone, or in combination. Interestingly, the combination of the two reduced pain more than would have been predicted by simply their additive effects, suggesting that the two interact synergistically to greatly reduce neuropathic pain.

The combination of gabapentin and THC also expanded the therapeutic window in which the drugs could be effectively used with limited side effects. This study adds to others conducted in 2018 that highlight the utility of integrating cannabis-based medicines with current treatment approaches to achieve safer and more effective therapeutic results. Hopefully, these studies will spawn human clinical trials for combination therapies in the coming year.

CBD Blocks Toxin’s Ability to Cause Schizophrenia-like Symptoms

Exposure to certain toxins while the brain is developing can lead to the expression of schizophrenia symptoms later in life. Reducing the impact that these toxins have on brain development could be a promising interventional strategy to prevent the onset of schizophrenia down the road. These strategies aren’t currently available.

One of the more hotly debated topics is cannabis’ role in the development of schizophrenia. One side of the debate claims that THC exposure (i.e., an environmental “toxin”), when the brain is still developing, interacts with genetic and environmental factors to increase risk for developing psychosis. While the role of cannabis is controversial, some of the focus has recently shifted from its potential harm to its potential good.

These findings suggest that CBD treatment may be a protective strategy in high-schizophrenia risk cases that result from elevated environmental toxin exposure.

CBD is emerging as a promising anti-psychotic treatment strategy in many cases of schizophrenia. However, it’s unknown whether CBD can protect against some of the damaging environmental factors that promote risk for psychosis in the first place. In a collaborative effort involving scientists across Europe, researchers investigated whether CBD could protect against the schizophrenia-like symptoms caused by developmental toxin exposure in a mouse model of schizophrenia.

In this set of experiments, the scientists exposed mice to a neurotoxin during the mouse equivalent of adolescence, which caused the adult mice to exhibit schizophrenia-like brain alterations along with cognitive and social deficits. However, in one group of mice, the scientists administered CBD for 20 days following the toxin exposure. These mice given CBD were protected against the developmental consequences of toxin exposure and didn’t exhibit the schizophrenia-like symptoms shown by their peers.

These findings suggest that CBD treatment may be a protective strategy in high-schizophrenia risk cases that result from elevated environmental toxin exposure. However, these findings are limited to the cognitive and social deficit symptoms of schizophrenia. It will be intriguing to see if CBD can protect against some of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia (e.g., delusions and hallucinations) and whether CBD can also be used to protect against the inheritable risk for schizophrenia.

Expect to hear more about the promising benefits of CBD in treating schizophrenia in 2019.

Cannabis Protects Against Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Stomach

Cannabis has well-established anti-inflammatory effects, while alcohol is pro-inflammatory. Alcohol’s inflammatory effects underlie many of the long-term damaging effects of alcohol use such as liver cirrhosis and alcoholic gastritis, which is the erosive disease of the stomach. Alcoholics who also frequently use cannabis appear to be protected against the risk for developing a cirrhotic liver, but cannabis’ impact on the development of alcoholic gastritis was unknown.

Cannabis-using patients had a 25% lower propensity for developing alcoholic gastritis than non-cannabis users.

To address cannabis’ impact on gastritis, researchers assessed the hospital discharge records from over 60,000 alcohol-abusing patients across the United States and separated groups based on whether or not they used cannabis. Their comparisons revealed that cannabis-using patients had a 25% lower propensity for developing alcoholic gastritis than non-cannabis users.

These findings highlight how cannabis’ anti-inflammatory benefits serve to protect against the damaging effects of other risky behaviors. They also add to a growing body of evidence supporting the protective benefits of cannabinoids against long-term consequences of trauma, cardiovascular events, and neurodegenerative disease.

A Balanced Cannabis Approach Treats Spasticity in ALS

Cannabis has already been approved for treating muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. To assess its ability to treat muscle spasms across additional conditions, a Phase II clinical trial was conducted across Italy to determine if naboximols, an oromucosal spray of a 1:1 THC:CBD cannabis (GW Pharmaceuticals), could treat muscle spasms associated with motor neuron disease (i.e., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Patients treated with the balanced THC:CBD extract showed a small improvement in spasticity symptoms, while muscle spasms among those in the placebo group got worse.

59 participants across four treatment centers completed the study which measured spasticity scores over the course of a 6-week treatment period. The power of this clinical study came from its randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded nature that inherently limits bias and is strongly valued by the medical community.

The trial was a success. Patients treated with the balanced THC:CBD extract showed a small improvement in spasticity symptoms, while muscle spasms among those in the placebo group got worse. None of the participants had to be removed due to adverse side effects, supporting a strong safety profile that bolsters its potential for clinical integration.

This study was one of several clinical trials of cannabis-based medicines to be published in 2018. A lack of supportive clinical trials is frequently cited as a primary source of hesitation among physicians considering integrating cannabis in the clinic. Hopefully, with this study among others, the momentum is shifting as we enter 2019.

Cannabis Smoke Improves Working Memory in Underperformers

Cannabis is generally regarded as a detriment to working memory. For years, laboratory studies of mice and rats injected with THC perform worse on working memory tests. Turns out, however, most people aren’t injecting themselves with THC, so concern over the validity of those studies seems valid. Questions regarding the importance of additional cannabinoids and terpenes, along with the route of administration, in cannabis’ effects on memory and cognition have shadowed these pre-clinical studies for decades.

These studies cast doubt over the validity of previous studies employing injections of individual cannabinoids.

Scientists from the University of Florida (which is emerging as a hotbed for cannabis research in the United States) sought to overcome this interpretational challenge by exposing rats to smoke from either cannabis or placebo cigarettes and measuring performance on a working memory test. As in any test, across the 31 subjects, some performed better than others. Cannabis smoke did not appear to have any impairing effects, but interestingly, it improved performance in the “underachievers” of the group.

The scientists then carried out follow-up experiments where they injected the rats with either THC or a blocker of the CB1 receptor by which THC carries out many of its effects. Both of these conditions impaired working memory performance, which was the opposite effect as observed with smoke inhalation. These results are consistent with previous studies demonstrating THC’s alarming impairment to working memory function.

These studies cast doubt over the validity of previous studies employing injections of individual cannabinoids. Further, they highlight the importance of delivery method–along with additional cannabinoids and terpenes–in cannabis’ effects on memory. The exciting finding that smoking cannabis may actually elevate performance under some conditions is enticing and warrants further investigation into the factors that may facilitate these improvements.

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Sen. Cory Gardner fails to get marijuana reform into criminal justice bill

The federal government won’t be easing its laws on marijuana as part of a criminal justice reform bill that’s expected to pass this week. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, had hoped to attach an amendment to the proposed First Step Act to remove the threat of federal prosecution in states…
The post Sen. Cory Gardner fails to get marijuana reform into criminal justice bill appeared first on The Cannabist. […][unable to retrieve full-text content]

Sweet Leaf cannabis business co-owners hit with $8.8M judgment

The co-owners of the embattled Sweet Leaf cannabis business have been ordered to pay $8.8 million for breach of contract over properties they were buying in Denver.
The post Sweet Leaf cannabis business co-owners hit with $8.8M judgment appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

The embattled owners of a once-thriving string of cannabis businesses along Colorado’s Front Range have been ordered by a Denver judge to pay $8.8 million after finding they failed to honor commitments to the owner of properties they were buying in Denver.

The decision issued Wednesday by Denver District Judge Edward Bronfin said the co-owners of Sweet Leaf breached the lease agreements on four commercial properties owned by Ryan Fox. Matthew Aiken, Christian Johnson and Anthony Sauro failed to pay rent, late fees and interest, and failed to obtain surety bonds to guarantee lease payments, according to the court.

The business owners’ attorney didn’t return a request for comment Friday afternoon.

Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

 

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