Choosing CBD: What Things to Consider

Choosing CBD: What Things to Consider

As a former budtender, now a journalist and writer in the cannabis industry, friends, family, and followers frequently ask about how to choose the right CBD products. Unfortunately, there’s not really a straight answer I can provide them. Cannabis and hemp products have as many variants as we humans do. With little regulation established, several factors impact the quality, safety, and efficacy of products available on the market today.

Choosing CBD: What Things to Consider

Kristina Etter

Kristina Etter

@CannaJournalist

Because of this, as well as the differences in our body chemistry, metabolism, and even DNA structure, cannabinoids can’t be prescribed like aspirin — there’s no standard dosing regimen. Similar to how one might try other herbs, such as turmeric or curcumin, for health and wellness, hemp and cannabis-based supplementation takes a little experimentation to achieve the desired effects.

Plus, the CBD industry is booming, despite having little regulation. So this landscape attracts the vultures, the fly-by-night snake oil salesmen, and the greedy, do-anything-for-an-extra-buck con-artists. Buyers beware, in the early days of this new market — you need to look for the warning signs and be vigilant about doing your homework.

First of all, know the terminology of various products. Similar to taking your car to the mechanic, if you’re not at least somewhat educated, a shady salesman may try to sell you something you don’t want or charge you for changing the air in your tires. Arming yourself with information is never a bad idea:

  • Full-Spectrum — these products contain a full representation of the cannabinoids found in the original plant material, so the final product will contain some level of THC.
  • Broad-Spectrum — these products contain all the cannabinoids, except for THC. Many times they’ll be labeled “THC-Free.”
  • Isolates — this is only CBD — no other cannabinoids, no other terpenes, just CBD.

The biggest thing to note between products is that cannabinoids and other compounds in the plant tend to work together to enhance the effects of the CBD; this is called the “Entourage Effect.” CBD isolates can’t take advantage of the other cannabinoids because they’ve all been removed. My personal experience is that CBD isolates don’t work as well as other broad or full-spectrum products.

Legality is still a consideration. First and foremost, depending on where you live, you need to look at your lifestyle and determine whether or not it’s worth the risk. While CBD products, derived from hemp, are considered legal in most states, there are some caveats to consider.

One of the top headlines we see year after year involves how the CBD industry is failing with inaccurate testing and labeling. In the latest reports from the FDA, only 45% of the sampled products fell within 20% +- of what their label said — and that’s a pretty big gap for inaccuracies. This revelation means, although the label states the product is THC-free, it may not be. While this may not be a problem for many people, it may create unwanted side effects, or cause the consumer to test positive for THC. Unfortunately, in many states, THC can lead to a plethora of problems, like job loss, denial of housing, even losing custody of children.

For example, let’s say you live in Iowa, and you’ve been using a full-spectrum CBD tincture to help you fall asleep at night. You’re confident the product is legal because the label says it has less than .3% THC. But, on your way home from work, you’re involved in a fender-bender, and the officer determines they want to do a blood test on both parties to determine intoxication. The other driver comes back right at the legal limit with a .08 BAC, and your test comes back positive for THC because of your CBD tincture. Who do you think is going to get blamed for that accident in a conservative state like Iowa?

Once you know you’re not in any legal danger from using a mislabeled CBD product, next, you need to ask yourself a few questions about your current health and lifestyle.

Are you taking any life-saving prescriptions? CBD is considered a “competitive inhibitor,” which means it can actually prevent or reduce the efficacy of certain pharmaceutical medications. Similar to how grapefruit juice can interfere with some drugs, CBD can do the same. If this is the case, you absolutely want to discuss your plan with your physician before you start experimenting.

For what purpose do you want to try CBD? Your goals for adding CBD should be taken into consideration as well. Are you trying to improve your sleep? Maybe to reduce anxiety? What are your intended outcomes? Different products and formulations may impact your end goals, so being aware of what you’re attempting to achieve will help narrow down where to start. For example:

  • Sleep formulations may include melatonin or CBN
  • Anxiety formulations may include terpenes like limonene or linalool
  • Other products may include a combination of herbal constituents

How do you want to consume CBD? Although smokeable hemp products are gaining popularity, many people these days do not want to spark a joint to ‘medicate.’ Fortunately, thanks to the legalization of cannabis and hemp, the various products have evolved. Today, consumers can choose from tinctures, capsules, or vape pens, as well as a wide range of edibles and beverages. Now, before you answer too quickly, let’s take a look at the science of bioavailability. Different products absorb differently in the body:

I know, I know — I can’t have this conversation without someone saying, “Just smoke it, yo!” But, since I’ve been involved in the cannabis industry, I’ve learned there’s good reason to be particular about what you’re consuming. Cannabis and hemp absorb the toxins in their environment, so if the cultivators don’t take great care, the end products could contain toxins, as well.

Look at it like this; the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and tobacco industries have already proven that, when given the opportunity, greedy men will do whatever it takes to increase their bottom line. Likewise, without regulation and oversight, shady cultivators and producers will do whatever is necessary to increase their profits as well, including using dangerous pesticides, fertilizers, and additives, which can be deadly to the consumer.

Need more proof? Last year, the industry was plagued with illicit vape cartridges loaded with Vitamin E acetate. Even in the early days of the legal industry, commercial cannabis growers were testing positive for Eagle20. Regulations protect the consumer from inconsiderate manufacturers.

So, how can you tell a good CBD producer from a bad one? Look for these red flags:

Origin: Unfortunately, newly legal hemp states haven’t figured out all the rules yet. Try to stick with products that are made in Colorado, Oregon, California, and Kentucky. These states have well-established laboratories for testing, and they have more state-enforced regulations than most other states. If they are secretive about their production location, run. Counterfeit CBD can be purchased out of labs in China and Hong Kong and has been known to make people sick.

Third-Party Lab-Testing: Look for the potency of both CBD and THC, as well as any toxin reports. All CBD products should be tested for heavy metal contamination. If they don’t list this test, ask for it. If they can’t provide it, I wouldn’t buy it.

NO MLMs!: Multi-level marketing companies are the shadiest of them all. Do not fall into this trap.

So, before I make a list of CBD companies, know that I won’t recommend a product I haven’t personally tried, and I make nothing from recommending these companies. I am not an affiliate, and I haven’t received any kick-backs for mentioning them:

1) Mary’s Nutritionals/Mary’s Medicinals — this is a Colorado-based company, and their products played a significant role in ending my husband’s opiate addiction. Their cannabis-derived products are sold under the Medicinals brand in several legal states, while hemp-derived products are sold online under the Nutritionals line. Marys has a wide range of product forms, including gel pens, capsules, tinctures, and even transdermal patches.

2) Bluebird Botanicals — another Colorado-based hemp company, Bluebird has been recognized for how well they manage their batch testing and provide complete, accurate test results with every product.

3) Wyld CBD — a newcomer to the market, this is an Oregon-based company. They have a unique and delicious product line. I just had the opportunity to try their THC gummies last week for the first time out of a dispensary in Pueblo.

4) Mountain High Selects — Mountain High Suckers was a pioneer in the Colorado cannabis industry. Now, they have a full line of delicious suckers and candies made from hemp-derived CBD, with no THC, so that everyone can enjoy them!

5) QuantaCBD — nano-emulsion and increasing the molecular vibration, makes these CBD products second to none in efficacy. Quanta salves are incredible for joint pain and post-workout sore muscles.

No single person is created the same. Likewise, CBD products can vary from brand to brand and even batch to batch. If you don’t achieve the results you want from one product, try a different one. Almost everyone who’s found success with cannabis or hemp did so through experimentation. Always start with a low dose and stick with that dose for a few days before you increase your dose. I encourage you to keep a journal to help you determine which products work well for you and which ones don’t.

Remember, learning how CBD affects you is a personal learning process, so while our friends can make recommendations, and tell us what works really well for them, bear in mind, you might not have the same results. Keep reading, keep learning, and keep trying.

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I Stand Corrected: The Truth about Delta-8 THC

I Stand Corrected: The Truth about Delta-8 THC

My career as a cannabis advocate and writer has morphed over the years. In the early days, after witnessing the miraculous difference it made for my husband and me, I was your typical, biased cannabis advocate. I thought cannabis was the savior for mankind. — “Why the hell aren’t we putting CBD in the water supply, rather than mind-numbing fluoride,” I often wondered. My blogs consisted of all the miraculous things cannabis can do, our successes, and all the things I was learning as a budtender and a part-time blogger.

I Stand Corrected: The Truth about Delta-8 THC

Kristina Etter

Kristina Etter

@CannaJournalist

And then I became a journalist. The difference between blogger and journalist is that as a journalist, I had to explore both sides of the argument. I had to understand things, not just from the eyes of an advocate, but as a lawmaker, as a public health official, as a regulator… in other words, as the opposition. And over time, I started to develop a different perspective.

Interviewing scientists, researchers, and the people behind the scenes of the cannabis industry, I gained a new perspective. The more I learned, the more conservative I became in my stance, the more respect I gained for the pioneers who came before me, and the more I appreciated the freedoms I have in Colorado.

I learned how intricate and complex the cannabis industry really is, and most of all, I’ve learned that all cannabis is not created equal.

Call me a purist — but I like my plant medicine actually from a plant and not from a lab. This is why we started using cannabis instead of pharmaceuticals in the first place, and this is precisely why I’m publicly changing my stance on Delta-8 THC.

I Feel Betrayed by Commercial Delta-8 THC

As an ‘isomer’ of Delta-9 THC — meaning it has the same atoms, they are just arranged differently, Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in 

tiny, minuscule quantities. So, since it technically does occur naturally, the marketers are calling it a natural substance. But what they don’t tell you is that not one single Delta-8 product on the market today is naturally extracted. None.

Yes, Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid, but it is NOT a naturally extracted cannabinoid in the commercial market. ALL of it is produced in a lab. I asked Christopher Hudalla, Founder and CSO from ProVerde Labs, if it was even possible to extract Delta-8 naturally for commercial production. Here’s his response:

“Could Delta-8 THC be extracted & purified from hemp? Possible, yes. Economically feasible, no.

In the analysis of over 18,000 samples [of hemp], 98.5% had NO measurable concentrations of Delta-8-THC. Of the ones that did contain Delta-8, the average concentration was only about 0.0018%. CBD is easy to recover from hemp by extraction and recrystallization. THC cannot be isolated quite so easily. Ignoring the challenge and costs associated with recovering Delta-8, you would have to process approximately 55,000 kilos of hemp to produce 1 kilo of Delta-8-THC. Continuing to ignore the challenge with isolation and purification of the THC, if you assume that a kilo of hemp is around $400, then the cost of just the biomass to yield a kilo of Delta-8 THC would be somewhere around $22,000,000.

If you start to factor in the amount of work necessary and the cost associated with extraction and isolation of the Delta-8, I would estimate that a kilo of Delta-8-THC, extracted and purified from naturally sourced hemp, would be somewhere between $200,000,000 and $500,000,000. Maybe with some economy of scale, you could cut that price in half, maybe $100,000,000… Again, not economically very feasible…”

Sure, 90% of the product might be Delta-8, but what if the other 10% is something that could kill you?

Marketing Deception

Why the deceptiveness in marketing? Because the CBD market is tanking, and producers need to turn a profit. CBD is produced in mass quantities in hemp, and a little goes a long way, so the current market is drastically over-supplied. According to Julie Lerner at PanXchange, the entire industry only needs 59 acres to support the current CBD market.

So, producers are taking their hemp-derived CBD extract to a lab, where they use chemicals like acetic acid (and in many cases, bleach) to convert the CBD to Delta-9 THC and then to Delta-8. Because a product that promises to get consumers high legally — is flying off the shelves.

Terrifyingly, Josh Swider, CEO of Infinite CAL, a highly respected cannabis testing lab in California, told me that many producers making these products cannot carry a chemistry conversation. So, as the demand increases, amateur chemists are finding ways to make the product and do it as inexpensively as possible in the good name of capitalism.

Then, they shop around for the best lab report they can find — which might be some unaccredited lab in some dude’s basement. There is no federal regulation on testing protocols, which means test results will vary from lab to lab. Plus, for hemp, there are no federally mandated testing requirements. So, many producers are ‘cherry-picking’ the report that best supports their cause — profit.

In other words, the cannabinoid craze, combined with legalized hemp with little to no oversight did exactly what we feared — turned hemp producers into pharmaceutical salesmen who will say anything and sell anything as long as they can turn a dollar. Unfortunately, in these cases, profits often come ahead of consumer safety — the very thing that medical cannabis pioneers sought to avoid.

Now, Delta-8 THC isn’t the equivalent of K2 or Spice; those are lab-made, chemical substances that mimic cannabinoids. Delta-8 THC is an actual cannabinoid, but, calling commercial Delta-8 THC a “hemp-derived” or a “natural” product is the equivalent of calling codeine a “poppy-derived, natural” herbal supplement.

The Dirty, Bathtub Crank of Hemp

Some of the articles I’ve read about producing Delta-8 THC call it a simple process. But speaking with two of the biggest, most respected labs in the cannabis industry, as well as Ph.D. chemists, I can tell you it is anything but. Improperly done, the chemical conversion can spell catastrophe for consumers.

Infinite CAL tested more than 2000 samples of Delta-8 products last year. Of those samples, only six were compliant with the legal limits of Delta-9 THC, and just two were actually pure Delta-8 THC extract. It is impossible not to create Delta-9 during the conversion process, and isolating and separating the two cannabinoids is difficult, even for the best labs.

Unfortunately, excess Delta-9 is the least of my worries with these products. In testing, many of them showed much more than consumers bargain for with numerous unidentified components found in the test results. In fact, Swider told me in an interview that “some of them looked like a rain forest on the chromatogram.”

But why stop with just one lab? Speaking with Hudalla from ProVerde, about Delta-8 THC through a conversation on LinkedIn, he sent me this chromatogram. Understand that every visible peak on this is some type of substance — then take note of how many of them are unidentified.

As Swider said, “Sure, 90% of the product might be Delta-8, but what if the other 10% is something that could kill you?”

What if one of those peaks is bleach? Many California-born products in the early days were made with bleach. Bleach is a carcinogen. Would you want to inhale bleach in any quantity?

Like the vape crisis of 2019, it’s only going to take one distracted chemist to cause a national uproar over these products. The question is, why do we have to wait for someone to get sick when test results clearly show that many of these products are questionable?

What Makes Cannabis Any Better?

While I frequently remind people that cannabis and hemp are the same plant, grown in different ways, with different genetic variations. The two industries are light years apart.

Legal cannabis is regulated at a state-level. This doesn’t mean the regulations are ‘less-stringent’ — remember there are no federal regulations about cannabis cultivation because it’s still illegal in the fed’s eyes. State regulations are very strict, and violations are severe. Every single thing that goes into the cultivation of those plants is monitored, tested, regulated, and controlled.

In today’s world of legal cannabis, consumers know exactly what they are consuming. Numerous companies have been shut down for contaminated products, improper dosing, and blatantly ignoring regulations. Ingredient labels spell out every nutrient that was used during cultivation.

Unfortunately, the same is not true for the hemp industry. There are no mandated testing requirements, there are no labeling requirements, and enforcement of shady marketing practices is nearly impossible. In fact, some of these companies are labeling their products “THC-free” — despite the fact that Delta-8 is, itself, a form of THC.

Delta-8 Is NOT Legal

Delta-8 producers are banking on semantics in the game of legality. As I stated earlier, they claim because Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid and the process starts with CBD extracted from hemp (and not just chemically produced) that Delta-8 THC is not technically “synthesized,” instead it’s “converted” using laboratory processes.

In other words, they claim “synthesized” means made entirely in a lab, whereas “conversion” is the chemical alteration of one natural substance to another natural substance. Tomayto/Tomahto — it’s made in a lab.

You want to know the irony of this… in Colorado (and 10 other states) — Delta-8 THC is explicitly illegal by state law. A cannabis and hemp-loving state has banned the sale of Delta-8 THC. Several states ban Delta-8-THC in their state laws. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. Why? Because they know it is a man-made cannabinoid. Why is this bad?

The USDA Final Ruling states explicitly that ALL synthetic forms of tetrahydrocannabinols are federally controlled substances. Why do they want to do this? Because they prefer pharmaceutical-grade chemists to create synthetics for specific medical use. Not a junior lab technician in a lab that opened six months ago, and definitely not “Joe Hemp Farmer” in his Morton building, who watched a YouTube video about how to do it.

Be Patient, The Real Deal is Coming

As Lerner stated in her year-end report on the hemp market, when the pandemic hit, cannabis was deemed essential, ultimately causing the industry to boom. Unfortunately, the opposite was true of the CBD market. She said, “Why have a non-fat, decaf, sugar-free latte when you can have the real deal?”

Look, I get it — people want to get high, especially those who live in non-legal states. But is it worth stomping on the legacy of an industry and bastardizing the natural plant to chase it? Legal cannabis is coming, people… find patience.

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Low-THC Cannabis: A New Twist on Hemp

Low-THC Cannabis: A New Twist on Hemp

Low-THC Cannabis: A New Twist on Hemp

Written by ketter74

February 4, 2021

Without question, the 2018 Farm Bill opened up a world of opportunity for the farming industry with the legalization of hemp. Suddenly, hemp became the trend and was being added to everything under the sun, including foods, beverages, cosmetics, and even bedsheets. CBD became an instant sensation, as producers carefully labeled their products “hemp-derived,” separate themselves from its controversial cousin, cannabis.

Cannaflower is hemp by legal definition, the way it is grown, harvested, and marketed makes it more akin to cannabis.

Taking a completely different strategy, one hemp producer, Cannaflower, is leaning into, and aligning itself with, the more infamous herb. With consumer education at the core of their mission, CEO and co-founder Will Treinens hopes to blaze a new path with smokable, low-THC cannabis.

I recently sat down with Will for an interview to discuss their approach and the impact it has on cannabis stigmas, and here’s what I learned.

What’s the Difference Between High-CBD Hemp and Low-THC Cannabis?

In a word, NOTHING.

Hemp is cannabis — by scientific classification. The standards of THC potency are imposed by governments, not Mother Nature. So, although Cannaflower is hemp by legal definition, the way it is grown, harvested, and marketed makes it more akin to cannabis.

The variants in the cultivars allow professional breeders to perfect characteristics, no differently than Pioneer DuPont worked for decades to perfect corn genetics. Stabilizing the genetics of a plant takes years of selective breeding. While the recreational cannabis market is working to produce higher and higher THC content, low-THC producing cannabis cultivars are highly sought after in the hemp industry.

Watch this video on our YouTube Channel: Seed & STEM!

Will explained that their methods for growing hemp aren’t what you’d expect. When we think of hemp farms, we typically think of vast, expansive fields of tall, stringy industrial hemp. Yet, hemp grown for consumption purposes is grown much, much differently.

In fact, Cannaflower is following in the footsteps of the cannabis industry in how they cultivate their products. Much of their products are grown indoors using regenerative techniques to ensure a clean, quality yield that is also environmentally friendly. But they don’t just trust the processes — they rigorously test their plants throughout the entire seed to sale process.

Cannaflower provides laboratory analysis for each of their products, including potency, terpenes, contaminants, and heavy metals.

Why Smoke Low-THC Cannabis?

Many traditional cannabis consumers look at smokable hemp the same way many alcohol drinkers look at non-alcoholic beer. What’s the point?

However, with low-THC cannabis, there are several segments of consumer who I believe might enjoy the lighter version:

· Make Tolerance Breaks Tolerable — Tolerance is a dirty word to the recreational consumer. To combat the body’s ability to build a THC resistance, consumers must take an occasional break to bring their tolerance back down. Low-THC cannabis offers smokers the ability to reduce their tolerance without giving up the cannabis.

· Kick the Nicotine Habit — many people have reported being able to reduce or altogether quit smoking nicotine-based cigarettes using smokable hemp. One thing is for certain, hemp is showing potential for health benefits — cigarettes have no redeeming value whatsoever.

· Functional Effects without the Paranoia — look, not everyone can handle the psychoactive effects produced by the highly potent cannabis strains in the legal cannabis industry. Low-THC cannabis can provide a functional, light effect more conducive to productivity, focus, and clarity.

Is Low-THC Cannabis for You?

Before you run out and buy some, there are a few caveats I feel I need to mention. Although hemp is legal across all of the US and Cannaflower can legally ship their product to all 50 states, it’s up to you to find out how your state feels about the smokable products.

For example, my Iowa friends — you may want to think twice before purchasing smokable hemp products. Unfortunately, your Republican Governor, Kim Reynolds, vision is tainted. Rather than merely decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana and reducing the police’s workload, she opted to criminalize smokable hemp and increase their workload and overcrowd jails. As a serious misdemeanor in Iowa, retailers selling smokable or inhalable hemp products, or consumers caught using them, face up to a year of jail time and a fine of $315-$1,875.

Why? Because roadside tests used by law enforcement in the state can’t tell the difference between low-THC cannabis and the real thing. So rather than adapt to a new industry, Iowa lawmakers choose to criminalize it.

Other states that have enacted some type of smokable hemp ban include:

      • Idaho
      • Indiana
      • Kentucky
      • Louisiana
      • Massachusetts
      • Texas

My Two Cents on Cannaflower

So, I have been on a mission lately to taste and compare smokable hemp, aka low-THC cannabis. As a former budtender and daily cannabis consumer, I feel like I have higher-than-average standards for the products I consume. I have a strong background comparing the various products in the cannabis market, so why not spend a little time evaluating this new segment in hemp?

But first off, I want to thank Cannaflower for sending me samples of their products in exchange for an honest review.

As a writer and content creator, I’m so impressed with Cannaflower’s marketing. From their packaging to their content — this company is on-point, taking smokable hemp to a whole new level with a simple twist in perspective. Calling their products low-THC cannabis, rather than smokable hemp, immediately sets it apart from other companies.

Additionally, the quality of their flower is top-shelf. When I worked as a budtender in Denver, we had several strains of low-THC cannabis we carried on our dispensary’s medical side. Strains like AC/DC and others that naturally produced low THC levels often brought premium prices at $40-$60 an eighth, and this rivals them all for half that price.

I tried several different strains from Cannaflower, including Hawaiian Haze, Lemon Drop, and Sour Space Candy. The first thing I noticed was the aromas of each of the varieties. The nose on the different strains was impressive; these products are obviously terpene-rich.

Smoking them was even better.

The effect of these products is light and mild, especially for seasoned cannabis consumers. However, despite a high tolerance, these products’ effects were calming, clear-headed, and alert. Although I felt relaxed, I didn’t feel sedated, which provided a lovely, productive mood that carried through the morning.

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One Unexpected Way Hemp Can Enhance Your Endocannabinoid System

One Unexpected Way Hemp Can Enhance Your Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all vertebrate animals. Since its discovery in the early 90s, researchers and scientists have only started to uncover all of the functions of the mysterious system.

If we compare the systems in the human body to software applications, then the ECS would be the operating system that allows them to communicate and controls when and how the applications respond.

The ECS acts as a modulator for all the other systems in the human body. It searches for imbalances that it can correct. While much research is still needed to fully understand how the system works, we know it consists of receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes. We also know the ECS plays a role in these and many other natural functions:

One Unexpected Way Hemp Can Enhance Your Endocannabinoid System

Kristina Etter

Kristina Etter

@CannaJournalist

Terminology Disclaimer

Before I go any further in explaining this, let’s get a little basic terminology out of the way.

• Endocannabinoids are endogenous cannabinoids produced in every healthy human body. To date, we know of two endocannabinoids produced in the body, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). However, it is widely believed there are others that haven’t been discovered yet.

Cannabinoids, also known as phytocannabinoids, are derived from plants. Cannabinoids are found in hemp, cannabis, and a wide variety of other plants, spices, and herbs. Regardless of where they are sourced, they elicit a particular response in the body by binding with receptors. THC and CBD are cannabinoids exclusive to the cannabis sativa plant variety.

Fueling the ECS

Just as your muscles need protein, your endocannabinoid system needs basic dietary requirements to function correctly. Believe it or not, endocannabinoid deficiency is a clinical disorder.

So what does the ECS need to fuel its balancing act? The answer probably isn’t what you’d think.

Dr. Dustin Sulak, a well-respected cannabis researcher, and physician contributed an article to Leafly that reviews natural ways to enhance our ECS. The first item he lists is essential fatty acids — omega-3 and omega-6. While the western diet isn’t short on omega-6, most of us don’t consume enough omega-3 through a natural diet. Dr. Sulak recommends increasing our omega-3 intake with foods like eggs, walnuts, hemp seeds and oil, and others.

Hemp Seed Oil

The hemp seed itself does not contain cannabinoids, because the cannabinoids are formed in trichomes produced on the flowers and leaves of hemp and cannabis. Interestingly, the oil pressed from hemp seeds is rich with a perfect balance of essential fatty acids necessary for endocannabinoid production.

In fact, research has suggested that omega-3 deficiency may impact the inflammatory response, pain perception, and other vital physiological processes. Other studies suggest a diet low in omega-3s may affect brain function and cannabinoid receptor activity, too.

The good news is hemp seed oil is readily available and has been considered safe for consumption by the FDA for years. However, in light of the recent legal changes regarding hemp, we can expect to see this market grow exponentially as consumers learn about its nutritional value.

How to Easily Add Hemp Oil to Your Diet

Let’s face it, many healthy diet changes suck. Nobody likes to add gritty protein shakes or granola bars that remind us of eating bark and twigs. Most of us also refuse to pay three times the amount for a healthy alternative of a product we use daily.

Here is a couple of hemp, and hemp oil, products I found that won’t break the bank and could significantly impact your health and wellness.

Good Hemp Beverages

With a slogan like “Better Products for Your Everyday Living,” Good Hemp aims high with its brand of hemp oil-infused beverages. These beverages contain no cannabinoids, only the beneficial oils pressed from hemp seed.

If you’re an energy drink kind of person, Good Hemp offers a hemp oil beverage for you. CannaHemp comes in three flavors, mango, blueberry, and original. It is packed with 50mg of hemp seed oil, natural flavors, and organic caffeine.

Like the bubbles? Good Hemp Fizz contains 50mg of hemp seed oil, prebiotic fiber, and natural flavors like mango, blueberry, and citrus twist.

Looking for a little more? Good Hemp 2oh! is a 20-calorie, naturally flavored water containing 10mg of THC-free CBD hemp extract. Available in six flavors, these bottled waters are an easy replacement for something you use every day — water.

Humming Hemp

This company produces an entire lineup of hemp snacks and foods made from hemp seed. Humming Hemp has several options for blending a little hemp nutrition into your day, from cooking oils to deliciously flavored granola bars (I highly recommend the pumpkin seed & spice and the honey cinnamon — they will get you high on flavor alone!) and flavored snackable hemp hearts that are great on dish — sprinkle them on a salad, on your pastas, anything that you’d like that extra special crunch!

Of course, you can find hemp hearts, hemp milk, and hemp oils at many grocery outlets and health food stores, and they provide the same nutrition. It’s also good to note that hemp oils are not intended for high heat, so don’t plan on doing any kind of frying or the like with hemp oils. However, they are great for salads, sauces, and lower-temperature meals.

The Value of Cannabis & Hemp Unrivaled

One thing is for sure, whether you’re consuming the leaves, the flowers, or the seeds, hemp and cannabis have a long list of health-boosting potential. In fact, in theory, healthy consumers could maintain their health by simply adding a little hemp oil to their diets. On the other hand, cannabinoids from the mature plant may one day prove to help with symptoms of various conditions.

However you look at it, hemp is a multi-purpose plant packed with promise.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you make a purchase through them, I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you. Please see my full disclosure policy here.

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The Many Faces of THC

The Many Faces of THC

One of the biggest perks to being a journalist and writer in the cannabis industry is that I frequently get the opportunity to try new products — many before they hit the market. With a niche in cannabis technology, I often get the chance to use and evaluate new tech gadgets, like the tCheck, Gpen Connect, and even the new DAVINCI vaporizer.

As an experienced cannabis consumer living in a legal state, I also have sampled a broad range of products available in Colorado — mostly out of curiosity. I will seek out products with interesting new features, such as nanoformulations.

The Many Faces of THC

Kristina Etter

Kristina Etter

@CannaJournalist

Through my career and involvement in the cannabis industry, I have had the opportunity to learn that not all forms of THC are created equal. So, let’s explore the variations and what consumers can expect from each of them.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most widely known and infamous cannabinoid because it is the compound in cannabis, creating the euphoria cannabis consumers love. However, what many don’t realize is that there are many forms of this exciting compound.

We can look at this cannabinoid as the raw, natural form of tetrahydrocannabinol. This cannabinoid is the acidic version of the compound and is found in the raw plant material. THCa, in this form, is non-psychoactive. Many hemp and cannabis advocates swear by consuming raw cannabis leaves or even juicing them, as THCa is purported to carry a wide range of health and wellness benefits.

This is the form of THC most everyone is familiar with because when you put flame to dry cannabis, the heat converts most of the THCa to Delta-9-THC. This conversion is referred to as ‘decarboxylation.’ Most home cannabis bakers use this process to increase their butter and oil potency by heating cannabis before they extract it. Most legal cannabis producers use Delta-9-THC to make various products like edibles and beverages.

Delta-9-THC binds with the CB1 receptors in our brains to create the iconic effects of cannabis. THC works very similar to anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced by the human body, that scientists call “The Bliss Molecule.”

This form of THC does not exist in the plant itself. Instead, when someone eats Delta-9-THC, enzymes produced by the liver metabolize the compound. This process changes Delta-9-THC to its more potent metabolite, 11-Hydroxy-THC.

Because it takes digestion, this causes a delayed effect from edible products, but this form of THC packs a punch when it does kick in. Often, this gets consumers in trouble. A THC overdose won’t kill you, but it can be terribly uncomfortable for the duration.

*Note: When you’ve overconsumed a THC edible — do NOT eat fatty, greasy foods. THC is a lipid, so it binds with the fat calories in your digestive system. Therefore, the more fat calories in your system, the more THC you will metabolize.

The THC Newcomers in the Cannabis and Hemp Industry

Update: My retraction of support for Delta 8 THC began in January of 2020, when I was hired to interview Josh Swider from Infinite CAL Labs and learned the devastating truth about these synthesized cannabinoids. The more I dug into the subject, the more I didn’t like what I was learning. Find out more about what I learned and why I feel betrayed by Delta-8 products.

This form of THC is a newcomer to the legal market and the dark horse of the hemp industry. Delta-8-THC is psychoactive, but the effect is much lighter than Delta-9-THC and creates less paranoia than its more infamous predecessor. Naturally, as with all cannabinoids, more research is necessary to determine the medical potential for the cannabinoid, but preliminary studies are promising.

For the record, I am not opposed to the cannabinoid itself – I am opposed to the way it’s created and misrepresented.

Delta-8-THC in the legal hemp industry presents an interesting conundrum. As the hemp legislation is written, all cannabinoids derived from hemp are legal. However, in hemp, Delta-8-THC is produced in tiny amounts. Therefore, many producers use a synthesis process to convert CBD to Delta-8-THC to produce enough of the cannabinoid for commercial purposes. And the DEA is beginning to question the legality of this process.

Another cannabinoid that is not present in the plant itself and requires laboratory processes to create, THC-O-Acetate, is still relatively difficult to find in the legal market. Last year, Honest Marijuana, a legal cannabis company here in Colorado, let me try their new products: a THC-O vape pen, pain cream, and infused honey.

Unlike Delta-8, THC-O is not produced naturally — it is a cannabinoid made from THC, using chemicals to alter the cannabinoid. THC-O is said to be about 3x as potent as THC and is supposed to create a more psychedelic, spiritual effect.

My experience wasn’t extraordinary with THC-O, but you can read all about it here. Long story short, THC-O felt more like a rave drug than a natural compound.

THC is Not the Big Bad Wolf

While THC has received a bad reputation based on outdated stereotypes and myths, THC can be consumed with responsibility. As science continues to uncover the mysteries in the various compounds in cannabis, expect to see more in terms of THC’s medicinal uses in all its forms.

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What My DNA Taught Me about Cannabis

What My DNA Taught Me about Cannabis

I had my first DNA test done more than a decade ago, shortly after my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother survived breast cancer years earlier, and my aunt died of multiple forms of cancer. Naturally, the frequent occurrence of cancer in the women within my family tree terrified me, so I asked my doctor for a BRCA test — a genetic test that could determine whether or not I was predisposed to breast cancer. At that time, genetics tests were on the cutting edge of medical technology, and I had to prove to my insurance company why I was worthy of the $3,000 analysis.

What My DNA Taught Me about Cannabis

Kristina Etter

Kristina Etter

@CannaJournalist

Today, genetics tests average around $200 and are just a click away. Dozens of online companies offer DNA analysis for everything from ancestry information to specialized diets and even fitness programs. While these tests have always piqued my interest, I honestly had a bit of skepticism that kept me from ordering one.

However, I recently had the opportunity to put my skepticism to the test in an area I was already well-informed — cannabis and endocannabinoid function.

Setting the Stage: Cannabis Consumer Individuality

My husband and I swapped thirteen pharmaceutical prescriptions for cannabis several years ago. Taking a methodical approach to finding the products that worked best for each of us, we journaled every new product we tried and the effects we received from it.

Soon, we started to discover that despite taking the same doses, we often experienced very different effects. For me, certain strains caused racing thoughts, paranoia, and anxiety, but I learned that strains high in limonene with a strong citrus aroma helped tremendously. Meanwhile, my husband learned edibles help with pain better than smoking or vaping, and we learned he got a much different effect from edibles than I did.

As a former budtender, I saw the differences from client to client. Some consumers swore by topicals, while others swore off edibles after experiencing the adverse effects of over-consumption.

So, as a writer in the cannabis industry, I began to research why we experienced such profound differences in how these products affected us. My research led me into a rabbit hole of enzyme production, genetic variances, and drug metabolism. While everything I was learning made sense, I had no way to confirm my theories.

As a journalist and editor for a tech publication focused on cannabis and hemp innovation, I get dozens of pitches every day. But you cannot imagine my delight when the opportunity came up for me to do a podcast with EndoDNA, CEO, Len May

I immediately reached out to their PR firm, and said, “Hey, let’s make this super informative. Let’s do my DNA analysis and talk about the results on the show.”

Obviously, I realize I’m throwing my HIPPA rights out the window by putting my entire genetic makeup on the interwebs. Still, I felt like this was the only way to show my audience what a DNA analysis actually looks like and what type of information it can provide.

Additionally, because I am very well versed in how cannabis affects me personally, I felt I was the right candidate for validating the information provided by the report. I won’t lie, that little voice of skepticism was still lingering in the back of my mind, but this test would give me something tangible to compare my actual experiences too.

So, I waited patiently for my results and kept an open mind.

Skip back to 2009, although I tested negative for the BRCA gene, my doctor explained to me that this result didn’t mean I couldn’t get breast cancer, it just meant that I didn’t have an increased risk for the disease. So, I still try to be vigilant, take care of myself, and do my best to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Likewise, the DNA tests provided by EndoDNA and others are not meant to be taken as gospel. Instead, they are to be used kind of like the“Choose Your Adventure”books popular in the 1980s, to help you make more educated decisions about the sort of adventure you want.

For example, if you have the allele (genetic variation), which could make you prone to aggression with cannabis use, it doesn’t mean that you’re absolutely going to act like King Kong when you toke up. You could smoke your entire life and never trigger that gene, but the possibility is still there. Having your DNA analysis simply gives you a guidebook of areas you might want to take into consideration.

If you are aware that you have the genetic marker which makes you more prone to alcoholism, you might think more carefully about how much or how often you drink. Likewise, if you know you’re prone to adverse effects from THC, you might want to choose cannabis products that are THC-free or contain a higher ratio of CBD.

Making informed decisions means having all the information.

When I received my results, I was blown away by the detailed data the report provided.

When I received my results, I was blown away by the detailed data the report provided. Fourteen categories drilled down into 63 sub-categories, which look at hundreds of genetic markers. Additionally, the report flags any notable variants links in relevant research and explains the findings.

The report proved for me that I don’t produce enough the FAAH enzymes necessary to break down edibles, which is why they’ve never done much for me. The report also showed what I already know; I am predisposed to extreme feelings of anxiety or paranoia if I’m not careful, and that limonene is a vital terpene for improving depression.

The Wellness Plan breaks down exactly where the problem areas lie and even goes as far as to suggest formulas and beneficial terpenes — all of which lined up with what I had already learned through trial and error. I was shocked at the accuracy.

There’s no question; cannabis is not a drug that a doctor can simply hand to a patient and say, “Take two and call me in the morning,” which is probably what scares the professionals more than anything. However, science is catching up. Epigenetics and microbiology are deeply intertwined with cannabinoid research and endocannabinoid system function. I truly believe the days of mass-produced pharmaceuticals will soon be replaced with nano-formulations of specific compounds such as herbs, vitamins, and minerals.

For consumers, it pays to arm yourself with data. The more you know, the more aware you become, and sometimes a little awareness is all it takes to prevent a catastrophe.

Think of it like this; if you’re driving across the country and your GPS alerts you that there is construction ahead, you might choose to take a different route to avoid the hassle. This is a technology we can all appreciate. Likewise, if you have the data to help you avoid bumps in the road regarding your health, wouldn’t it pay to know?

Upload your raw DNA data now: EndoDNA Immune Function Report

Haven’t had your DNA analysis done? To save 20% use promo code: 
CannabisTechMedia 

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