Cannabis Trailblazers- Justin Marshall

In an ever aging society very few have not been touched in some way by a serious illness such as cancer, either directly or through someone they care about. As the dark mask of cannabis prohibition is slowly but surely being lifted off the beliefs of our population, cannabis is coming ever more into the forefront as a means to treat an ever increasing number of conditions.

The ability of the THC component of cannabis to kill cancer cells was shown in laboratory settings in the United States, in a study published in 1975 in the ‘Journal Of The National Cancer Institute‘. Yet much of the progress since with regard to what conditions cannabis can benefit has been done by activists and those willing to forgo their own freedom to provide sick people with a benign, beneficial plant.  Due to the dire cost of mainstream science and research, countless sick and dying patients have been told by doctors that they would not support  cannabis treatment because of a lack of scientific evidence to say that it actually works.

Not that there are no studies; there are, plenty. The majority of these studies are done overseas, but many of them are simply ignored or discarded by caregivers. In North America, the War on Drugs has aggressively prevented researchers from investigating the potential benefits of cannabis for an ailing population. With cannabis being a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, researchers there face an extremely difficult environment. The scenario leaves North American caregivers with a dearth of reliable information from which to evaluate their options.

First-hand accounts and patient testimonials are in abundance for good reason. A few minutes on your favorite search engine reveals thousands real accounts from real people who have used a form of cannabis to treat everything from acne to PTSD, cancer and much more. The patients who are getting the most attention are children who are combating horrific seizures with cannabis oil to reduce both the frequency and severity. In some cases, the seizures can be eliminated entirely.

Many parents who have treated their children in this way have had to do it illegally and live with the very real fear of imprisonment. Many have moved thousands of miles to a place where they can access this medicine so their child would not suffer. They are trailblazers who would say they are no more than loving, desperate parents.

Trailblazers come in all forms. Rick Simpson is a well known and persecuted example. His use of raw cannabis extract began as a curiosity after watching David Suzuki on The Nature Of Things-Reefer Madness 2, which aired on October 17th 1998. That program aired 20 years to the day before Canada would legalize recreational cannabis. Coincidence?

Rick Simpson took great inspiration from that episode and shortly afterward made his first batch of whole-plant cannabis extract, which he promptly put on a shelf and forgot about for about a year. When facing a recurring melanoma the next year he remembered the show and the oil he made. Simpson put some of the oil on the returning cancerous growth and it wasn’t long before everything changed for him. And for so many others since.

We as living, breathing, thinking beings are truly miracles of evolution. We are the wonders of our invention and creation. That said, we can be prone to sometimes missing the obvious, simple things that are right in front of us. That is a big part of this story.

Rick Simpson Oil, also known as simply RSO, while incredibly effective in restoring health under some conditions, has always had one effect that many did not want: it makes you high. Especially in the higher doses that are suggested and used for aggressive cancer, the psychoactive properties of THC may be considered unwanted or inappropriate by certain patients, especially children.

The high from RSO had always simply seemed a known but unavoidable side effect for which there was really nothing that could be done. This non-trivial side effect led many to not want to use RSO for treatment. Here is the funny thing, however: With all the effort to grow low-THC and high-CBD strains to circumvent the cannabis medicine ‘high’, the simplest answer was right in front of us all along.

Don’t cook it!

When you eat a raw cannabis bud — no matter how potent it is to smoke — you will not get high from it. The reason is there is no decarboxylation to convert the THC from its default non-psychoactive form to a psychoactive form. In the process of making RSO, low heat is used to aid and speed evaporation. This process effectively converts the THC to its psychoactive form.

When you do the same process, but do not use heat for evaporation, there is no decarboxylation taking place. As such, the THC doesn’t become psychoactive. The result is that the RSO has all the beneficial goodness of the whole-plant cannabis extract without the intoxicating effect. No high!

The reality of this came to me when I learned of a man named Justin Marshall on social media who was describing how he makes and uses an oil he calls JMO. When I learned why he calls it JMO and how it was very different than RSO, I became curious. The more I think about this simple change and resulting effect, I can’t help but think of those I have known who would have taken this treatment were it known to us. All the whole-plant compounds are in both JMO and RSO. RSO gets you high; JMO does not.

I asked Justin to tell his story and he agreed. Below is his article in his own words.


My name is Justin Marshall and I was diagnosed with late Stage IV metastatic colon cancer over 4 years ago . At that time, the doctor said there was nothing they could do for me and that I had approximately two months to live. I was very shook up, yet I knew there had to be something that could be done. So, I started researching and I learned about Rick Simpson’s oil. I found this encouraging because I have been a cannabis advocate all my life and was very familiar with the world of cannabis. I immediately learned how to make Rick Simpson’s oil and started taking a gram a day.

After 3 months of taking the oil daily, I flew to California to access a large amount of organic cannabis to continue making into oil. Once in California, I did another CT scan, which showed that the cancer was not growing or spreading but was dying. I realized this oil was working and keeping me alive. I did do a couple rounds of chemotherapy in conjunction with the oil and I feel that if it were not for the cannabis oil, I may not have survived the chemotherapy as it was very brutal.

About a year later, my dad was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer that spread to his brain. He wanted to try the cannabis oil, so I made him a batch of RSO. Unfortunately, he was not even able to take one tenth of a gram because it made him feel too high. I decided to make him a special batch of cannabis oil that was not activated. Basically, I extracted the cannabinoids using food-grade alcohol and then I evaporated the alcohol off at room temperature. I never heated the cannabinoids at any time during the extraction or evaporation process.

My dad was able to take a full gram of this JMO each day and it did not have the psychoactive effects. It did, however, have the cancer-fighting properties. Over the last 2 years, I have been taking JMO everyday and I am using myself as a clinical test patient to see how well this works. It is working well and keeping me in remission. I find this oil to be very beneficial for elderly patients and children who cannot handle the intense high.

When I am selecting strains for my JMO, I always pick strains that are high in THC and CBD and I only use organic cannabis. I feel that if pesticides were used on the Cannabis, it would be not good to use as medicine. I truly believe in the healing power of cannabis and I am living proof that this cannabis oil works miraculously well. It is very easy to make and I find that from one quarter pound of cannabis I can get 30 grams of oil. I found that taking 90 mg of oil in 90 days is enough to destroy cancer.

I have been taking very careful notes and, so far, I have found that the strain called Fire OG has worked best for fighting colon cancer, yet I am currently developing some new strains that hopefully will work even better. Justin Marshall Oil ( JMO ) is an amazing medicine that has been used for centuries by civilizations around the world, so I cannot take credit for it. I am simply just reintroducing it to the world as an effective way to fight cancer.


We want to give Justin a huge Thank You for sharing his story with us and for his work to spread the word on the benefits of JMO. JMO really does bring a whole new meaning to …

Health. Healing. Herb.

It is with great sadness that we at MellowMeds learned of Justin’s passing from cancer on February 19, 2019. His passing serves as a reminder that there is no single silver bullet with which we battle the Big C. Godspeed, Justin. You can visit his memorial page here:

https://www.gatheringus.com/memorial/justin-b-marshall/304?c=423

PTSD and Cannabis, What do we know?

PTSD What comes to mind when seeing those letters? The quick answer when asked will invariably be the same, soldiers and 1st responders. Many might be very surprised just how prevalent PTSD is in our society.  Would you believe it affects up to 80% of the population, if not more? How you view that question will be filtered heavily by your interpretation of what PTSD is and any personal experience dealing with it, or lack of same.  But the reality is everyone has met or knows someone who has PTSD to some degree. That shy kid at school, the nice girl at the office who does not like to make eye contact, the guy who looks at the ground whenever passing by someone on the street, the unusual looking lady who looks almost terrified being on public transit, the healthcare worker in your social group who always drinks a bit more than the rest, the multitude who are introverted and must work from home,  anyone unwilling to talk about a troubled past. The main reason PTSD is so widely misunderstood, by the public and medical community, is it’s unique to the individual nature. No two sufferers are alike in symptoms, depth of trauma and cause. A soldier doing his duty will not be affected in the same manner as a paramedic, yet it can be equally debilitating, an endless list of comparisons could easily be formed here. Fortunately I am not that cruel. In reality PTSD has been around always, however recognized as merely expected traits as a result of certain experiences. Great war soldiers who came home and were unwilling to talk about the time spent overseas was common and almost an expected understanding that is just how it was, with no further thought into it. A mole to be left untreated. A mole that looks benign, yet turmoil, grief, rage, regret and so many other dark eddies than ever imagined churn beneath the surface. What is not yet widely known, or understood, is what exactly causes PTSD in an individual. Strong and horrible to imagine examples would be a dramatic 6 o’clock news way to try and make this next point, I’m going to try and find a way around that. What would you consider a bottom of the barrel traumatic experience? Would that same experience  be more traumatic to say perhaps a child? Or for someone who is experiencing it for the second or multiple times? The sum of the PTSD experience is the result of a combination of vast possibilities and  the trigger for one does not have to be significant to another. The sound of a very loud firecracker going off at an unexpected moment will for some be a quick adrenaline thrill, for others a strong scare that imprints that time, place, setting and all other factors to create a conditioned response to avoid those combination of factors. How many have even some mild form of PTSD just from watching the news? Yet for each brave patriot that had the good fortune to come home and try to live a peaceful long life, the effects were very different. For the medical community, researchers and caregivers this presents a unique problem. Great strides in medicine has brought us to the point where a great many conditions have a medical fix. Medicine is based around informed logic, just as an auto mechanic, thankfully with very different levels to the education standards. Diagnosing a patient is not vastly different than a technical troubleshooter finding and solving an issue with a vehicle. The main difference being the complexity of the machinery. As recognition and subsequent methods of treatment were being researched and developed, standard approach methods were being developed that were aimed at being beneficial to a profiled demographic who fit a particular diagnosis requirement. Well intentioned and based on prior, repeatable formulas that have proved so successful for a long time, how and why we get to where we are now is understandable. Finding help in standard medical avenues can be a very difficult path to navigate, for a number of reasons. While the medical community seeks to try and understand PTSD cause and effect, providing that information can be anything from horrendous to simply impossible. For the PTSD patient conveying to a caregiver the cause or nature of the trauma is like putting themselves back in the moments that caused the illness. Further exacerbating an already spiraling world of despair. The reality for many of those with PTSD is they find little relief in traditional medicine. That is slowly changing however as old once again becomes new and cannabis medicine is more and more becoming part of the treatment discussion. A discussion that is taking place more and more as word of mouth is a very different beast than it was even 25 years ago. Social media has brought about a means for those finding relief to share their struggles and those seeking relief to see what is working for others. More and more that discussion revolves around cannabis treatments. Many who found benefit years ago would not share for fear of persecution or worse, prosecution. But as we see the demise of ignorance and fear based legislation attitudes are shifting as well, people are less and less fearful to share how they found relief by breaking the law. Cannabis as medicine is only possible as a discussion because of one thing. Our endocannabinoid system. Spread throughout or bodies very much like our nervous system and crucial in regulating countless systems. Physical as well as psychological. Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters that function differently than others. “In general, cannabinoids function like a “dimmer switch” for presynaptic neurons, limiting the amount of neurotransmitter (e.g., dopamine) that gets released, which in turn affects how messages are sent, received, and processed by the cell.” ref*1(http://headsup.scholastic.com/students/endocannabinoid) The ability of cannabis to create a strong mood is at the heart of why it is so effective in PTSD treatment, as long as it is the correct type. It is well known different cannabis strains have different affects, for PTSD relaxing non-anxiety strains of Indica will be most effective. The reason it is effective is due to the neurotransmitter abilities. The same processes that produce fear and anxiety responses are the same ones responsible for producing the emotions that makes us feel good. When consumed cannabinoids take over and chemically tell the brain we are feeling something different. Or prevent or reduce the strong adrenaline based fight or flight response affect when experiencing a triggering event. There is many end results for those medicating with cannabis, protection mechanisms being told to chill out may allow someone the ability to go out in public, despair being replaced with messages that you are going to be OK. The truth is cannabis medicine and recreational use allows millions to feel better, more content, more social, become less isolated and perhaps even at peace. With the world, with family or with the demons no one can see. For anyone reading this and wishes to know more, for their own use or as a caregiver or family members, there is links at the bottom of this article to any referenced material as well as PTSD in relation to cannabis information and help resources in the U.S. and Canada. Here in Canada is an interesting experiment crashing in glorious style, prohibition. Recent legalization is finding that Canadian cannabis users number well into the millions. While there are also several hundred thousand registered medical patients I do not believe that is a fair or true estimate of the actual medical numbers, as black market access and the ability to covertly grow has been a very easy road to walk as a consumer prior to legalization. So any real numbers are vague at best but it is safe to say an overwhelming number of Canadian like cannabis. In terms of PTSD self medication with cannabis is nothing new. Many have been perfectly willing to risk sometimes incredibly harsh costs to freedom, family and assets, in order to experience the relief they find only a form of cannabis medicine provides. How badly would you have to be suffering to do the same? To risk everything for some sense of sanity and peace. It is odd actually, but cannabis appears to benefit the vast majority of PTSD sufferers in a similar way. Odd in that PTSD is so vast in it’s root causes, yet one plant can provide the same relief. The last couple of decades have shown a boom in not only information sharing via social media but also a very speedy expansion of the types of cannabis products that are readily available. While it is the same plant, it’s genetic differences are well known even if not as well understood, and adding the combination of different strains and effect to the variety of end user products, well it becomes an extremely large variety pretty quickly. While precise science, and what busy little molecules and chemical interactions are up to during everything that’s going on is still not clear, the reported effects of cannabis medicine are. Individuals who have found cannabis effective report an overwhelming majority of common beneficial results. Restoration of healthy sleep patterns, including a drastic reduction of nightmares where applicable, clearly improved sense of well being, more relaxed, less on edge, comfortable, reduced anxiety. Often drastic reductions in anxiety. It would very much seem that, regardless of how an individuals PTSD was manifested, the desired goal in treatment is common in where to go, and cannabis is the most popular way to get there. ref*1 http://headsup.scholastic.com/students/endocannabinoid PTSD and Cannabis:
How Cannabis Can Help Treat PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
http://veteransformedicalmarijuana.org/content/general-use-cannabis-ptsd-symptoms If you are in need of more immediate care please contact. USA:
Hotline / Crisis Numbers
Home
Canada: http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/canada-suicide-hotlines.html
PTSD
https://www.ptsdassociation.com/ http://www.legion.ca/support-for-veterans/mental-health-ptsd

Oh, Canada! Our Home of Could Have Been

As of October 17, Canada implemented its promised cannabis legalization deadline. Along the way, various police chiefs requested the date for implementation be delayed, citing the reason as increased police costs in jurisdictions that have already legalized cannabis.

As a half-centurion who has long been awaiting sensible cannabis reform in Canada, the announcement of legalization was met with incredible hope for the future. This marvellous healing plant that so many have been victimized for would finally be freely available.  Laws would at last align with social attitudes. The proud patriot in me who grew up believing my country was a beacon of hope and freedom to the world was beaming.  I Believed we would take the best examples of legalization seen around the world and make them our own to create something the likes of which never seen before.  Once again, Canada was about to stand on the forefront of global leadership and human rights.

The initial announcement came as an election promise, one that served to ensure a majority  government with the parliamentary clout to actually get it done. When the now-sitting majority government announced they were indeed going ahead with full cannabis legalization as promised, it was an exciting time. Pride and hope were at peak levels; so much so that some of the legislators announced who would be involved in implementing this great change did not seem much of a concern. After all, legalization to any normal person strongly suggests things such as enforcement costs and criminal penalties would be drastically reduced.

Optimism reigned supreme for many months; however, little holes were being put in the balloon at such a rate that deflation was inevitable. Now with ‘legalization’ here, the reality is disheartening to say the least.

Looking back, the first sign we were in trouble really was at the very beginning, when a former police chief and long time anti-cannabis advocate, M.P. Bill Blair was chosen to lead the team charged with the task of reforming Canadian cannabis laws to reflect and represent a legal framework.  But, hey, this was new ground for both Canada, and Mr. Blair, so it was very easy to offer the benefit of doubt and believe he would do what was best for Canadians.

The attitude of government at the time of the announcement was what we would want and expect. They said they would open dialogues and listen to those with years of experience on the forefront of the cannabis movement and make full use of the valuable contributions they were fully qualified to offer. That attitude suggested we could wait to have it done right and that it would be worth it.

The sign posts were easy to miss if you were not looking or were distracted by the rare good news offered by large media. Media stories themselves were really the first indications things were heading the wrong direction, as they were always the same type of story ‘celebrity set to get richer as cannabis investment expected to reap huge profits’. The bulk of any other related story in the last couple of years were mostly focused on the persecution of brick-and-mortar suppliers, of which many were seeking to establish a place in the upcoming legal retail market.

As time progressed more and more startling realities came to light, it became apparent that the balloon was fast losing air. More and more the most visible cannabis advocates were sounding the alarm of concern. Rightfully so, too, as all those at the forefront who were promised a voice by the government were going unheard. Any consultations that were done were purely agenda based, as shown when a group of Canadian legislators travelled to the U.S. to meet with staunch anti-cannabis believer A.G. Jeff Sessions, yet completely bypassed the opportunity to meet with state officials where cannabis has already been legalized. That was a hugely wasted opportunity. As it turned out, it was also a running theme.

It was becoming very clear grassroots operations were seen as a threat and being treated as such. Not a threat to society mind you, but a threat to the greed-based business model over which the government was now salivating. The proposed tax that applied to recreational and medicinal use alike was the most clear indication to date; our government does not truly distinguish between the two. Age-old propaganda and blatant lies are still very much part of the vernacular, all carefully used to play on existing stereotypes and further a pure profit agenda.

Profit itself is not a bad thing. A good business cannot continue without it. But we are not looking at a wealth of new private business opportunities on a bright horizon. We are looking at pure government monopolies and cash cow mentalities that seek to capitalize control and sales while incarcerating citizens who walk outside the lines with far greater penalties than prior to legalization.

What inspired this rant was police seeking increased funding for cannabis legalization. Other states and countries that have legalized cannabis have all reported significant reduction in police, court and imprisonment costs. So why the strong press for more funds for Canadian police? Are we so unique in the world that legalization will have the opposite effect as elsewhere? Or is there something else at play?

The fear-mongering going on in Canada is astounding, bypassing facts and realities for vague suggestions that the sky is falling. The truth is, the single biggest change that can and will come from cannabis legalization in Canada will be users switching from the black market to legal sources. It’s unlikely there will be a massive increase in the numbers of recreational users. There will be some new users, of course, as the freedom to choose cannabis over alcohol will sway people. The more who choose a healthier alternative to alcohol the better. That alone would see a reduction in policing costs: fewer drunken fights is never a bad thing. The true sadness is that biggest change will be strongly hampered by the greed based government monopoly. Prices and quality in government stores, particularly here in Ontario, will ensure the black market continues to thrive as it provides a superior product at a significantly reduced price.

The next biggest change is very much looking like increased arrests and criminal cases brought before the courts for cannabis infractions. We are progressing from (I use the term lightly) 8 cannabis criminal offences to well over 40. Is that legalization or marshal law? Police are frothing at the mouth to get more funds to arrest more people. Why? Are they really expecting to be arresting that many more people for cannabis crimes? If so, why?

I vividly remember, while sharing a puff as a teen, saying that if the government legalized cannabis, the tax alone would eliminate deficits and fuel the nation to immense growth and stability. This is nothing like what we had imagined. The government retail monopoly alone is a massive detriment and the biggest wasted opportunity. Free market, licensed retail operations would be able to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge currently existing in the population and create ten times or more the amount of new decent paying retail jobs. That would be a huge benefit to every community, particularly small-to-mid-sized communities that primarily rely on seasonal income.

Perhaps it is foolishness on my part to have thought that Canada would shine on this issue as a global leader of progress. Right now I feel pretty foolish, and a little more so each time I see another story on the news about a wealthy celebrity cashing in on a system that is set to, and designed to, persecute or profit from everyday Canadians for either medicating with or using cannabis recreationally.

Oh Canada, what have we become?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Prevent Or Reverse Marijuana-Induced Memory Loss

digital image of human brain on blue backgroundI think it’s fair to suggest that most of us who’ve gotten high have, at some point, walked into another room to do something and realized we have no idea what we went off to do. If you’re like me, you probably had a laugh at your brain fart and then hit the fridge for more munchies. If you’re lucky, you experience very few such episodes and they happen at times when it isn’t an inconvenience.

Some people, however, really struggle with short-term memory loss associated with chronic marijuana use. Worse, the impairment may have more negative effects than bailing on a task and going for the stash of munchies instead. If you’re at all concerned about preventing marijuana-induced memory loss or perhaps even looking for ways to reverse it, we may have a few tips that you’ll find worthwhile.

1 – Exercise

For a regular head, exercise might be the furthest thing from your mind. That said, the body has evolved to require movement and work load to maintain its homeostasis of well-being. Exercise affects everything from our muscle tone, core strength and skeletal fitness to the quality of our sleep, our intelligence and, yes, our ability to recall. Both short-term and long-term memory are affected by whether we engage in regular exercise, and that effect is that the more regularly we exercise, the better our memory works.

Photo of girl doing yoga
Yoga is great for improving mobility, blood flow and core strength.

We literally get smarter through regular exercise. One of the ways exercise helps us improve our smarts is through Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein found in the brain and is known as a growth factor. BDNF works to support existing neurons and promote the growth of new ones and is active in the hippocampus, cortex and basal forebrain. These areas of the brain are all vitally important to both learning and memory.

Without going into extreme detail, BDNF is important for our brain health because of the way it promotes neuronal health and development. With regular exercise, we create more BDNF, which promotes the well-being of the neurons upon which we rely for efficient memory, learning and higher thinking.

2 – Meditation

Meditation works in remarkably similar fashion to exercise in that maintaining focused awareness promotes neuronal development, encourages synapses related to focus and awareness to grow closer together and, finally, helps the left and right hemispheres of the brain to synchronize their activity instead of working in more isolated fashion.

photo of girl meditating outside
Meditation is about focused attention, not zoning out.

When combining meditation with controlled breathing, blood flow in the body normalizes, blood pressure is reduced and serotonin and dopamine are released. Meditation really does help you to feel better. Not only will it make you smarter, it will improve your physical well-being and improve your mood!

3 – Choosing Appropriate Strains

While it might not be immediately obvious, the strains you choose to smoke are an important factor in how your memory may be affected. One of the aspects of marijuana that is of serious interest here are the terpenes present. And in that light, one of the terpenes that is strongly implicated in memory performance is pinene.

Ball-and-stick model of the alpha-pinene molecule
Alpha-pinene is a terpene found in Cannabis Sativa and is implicated in memory performance.

Pinene, unsurprisingly, has a somewhat piney scent or flavour. As such, if you’re smoking a strain that has a piney aroma, you’re most likely dealing with a strain that is high in pinene. Consider a strain such as Jack Herrer as a way of increasing your pinene intake.

photo of Jack Max nug
Jack Max is a Jack Herrer and Island Max hybrid that has increased pinene. Click the image to visit TrueMeds and get some.

As well as choosing strains with increased amounts of pinene present, consider high-CBD strains or even mixing a CBD strain such as Charlotte’s Web in with your Jack Herrer, etc. The reason for this is that while THC has been implicated in memory loss, CBD has been shown to help mitigate those effects. By creating your own CBD-rich blend with a high-pinene content strain, you get the best of all possible worlds.

Pro Tip: CBD can help to mitigate an anxiety response to high THC doses and, at the same time, prolong the actual high. This gives a moderating effect of potential psychotic episodes, yet stretches those moderate effects out for a longer duration. To me, that seems like pure win.

4 – Diet and Supplements

Finally, while it’s fun to chow down on bags of Oreos and scarf down an XL pizza, it’s abundantly true that we are what we eat. Nothing that we ingest has zero effect on our state of well-being. As such, if you want to be healthy, then you’ll need to eat healthful foods. The less processed foods you eat, the better. Fresh rules here, so don’t skimp.

For supplementation, I like going heavy on high-quality fish oils to get my Omega-3 fatty acids, which are strongly associated with mental acuity and memory performance. I take a vast array of vitamins, but Omega-3 fatty acids are the #1 go-to with regard to staving off memory lapses and keeping myself sharp.

Till next time, may you enjoy Health, Healing and Herb.

Gourmet Hash: Death Pepper

Photo of finished Death PepperWelcome to the next installment of Gourmet Hash.

The recipe this time around is super simple and super rewarding. We used just two ingredients this time, Death Star Sugar Crumble and kief.

The kief we get from TrueMeds is very consistent, making a project such as this a little easier and our results more consistent. The kief has a nice bright aroma with a hint of floral and spice.

Photo of kief atop melted Sugar Crumble
Kief atop melted Sugar Crumble

Death Star Sugar Crumble is a very enjoyable smoke on its own. Bright terpenes dominate the scent giving it an almost fuel-like smell. Like any fuel with high octane, it has some kick. It produces a very bright high as would a strong sativa, with a very energetic influence. It’s great for daytime use and getting stuff done.

photo of sugar crumble
Death Star Sugar Crumble

Gentle warming of our crumble caused the wax-like appearance to give way to a thick brown semi transparent goo. Warming a bit more to just below the bubbling point made it thin enough to stir in the kief. The warm Sugar Crumble was very absorbent of the kief. I added additional kief twice to reduce the super sticky nature of the warm crumble.

Photo of melted sugar crumble
Death Star Sugar Crumble melts nicely after applying the right amount of heat.
photo of hot mix on dab tool
Our hot mix is shiny and dark.
photo of new Death Pepper hash
Fresh Death Pepper mix isn’t sticky, so it’s now ready to cure for a day.

It’s always fun to open the jar and experience the scent released by our newly cured batch. After opening the jar, a strong and very pleasant scent greeted my sinuses. The aroma was spicy and a touch earthy. The scent was somehow familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.

This batch remained softer and more flexible than previous recipes and showed no tendency towards wanting to crumble. The colour lightened overnight to a medium brown and was more tan on the inside when broken open. It really appeared to be enjoyable to smoke!

photo of the finished product
The finished product: Death Pepper

Sample time was very enjoyable. The mix was still very melty and bubbled a fair amount. Once it started to combust, the hit was super strong with a flavour that was earthy, spicy and something I could not quite figure out. The high was a very pleasant balance of head and body high, which was a surprise since neither ingredient alone has such effects. Both are very sativa like. The body high was very hash-like and surely had to be a result of mixing the ingredients.

The only noticeable difference in the high compared to a good black hash was strength. The higher THC content of the Sugar Crumble naturally made for a very high-THC hash. Because of the high THC content, the effect was strong and lasting. This hash is a great companion for a soft seat, a big bowl of popcorn and a good movie or, perhaps, a relaxed evening of conversation with friends. This mix has been a great after dinner treat. Late into the evening, it would not be so suitable, as it would inhibit sleep.

I reached the end of the process for this edition of Gourmet Hash, but something was still gnawing at me: The scent. What was that familiar part? I spent a good 2 hours over a couple of days just sniffing this creation trying to identify it. I finally took the chunk to the Mrs to have her give it a sniff. It only took her about ten seconds to solve the mystery! “Pepper,” she announced. That was a very unexpected twist. The name “Death Pepper” came right behind the epiphany. How fitting.

I really love mixing terpenes. Thank you for joining us for another edition of Gourmet Hash. There is something special in the mix for the next episode so be sure to tune in.

Until then may you be blessed with Health, Healing and Herb

If you’re interested in creating your own hash, visit TrueMeds to purchase your ingredients:
Visit TrueMeds Now

Gourmet Hash: Frankenstein’s Monster

Death Star Sugar Crumble, Walter White shatter, Death Star Greenhouse pull-n-snap shatter and Hindu Kush live resinWelcome back to the Gourmet Hash series. We get to start this edition with the excitement of delivery day. Each order placed mostly contains products we have not tried before. Most of you might agree that trying new strains and experiencing the taste and effect is a joy all its own. This order contained Death Star Sugar Crumble, Walter White shatter, regular Kief, Pink Blueberry Kief Hash and some Comatose indica bud.

I was in the middle of giving each new item a good hello sniff when my eye caught sight of some of the items from the previous order and the bulb went off. Why not make a batch with more ingredients? This adventure being brand new, I had imagined using basic recipes while learning what the different combinations would bring. Yeah, that didn’t last.

<insert maniacal laugh here> 

Since caution had now been thrown to the wind, it was time to go Mad Scientist. Lining up all the available ingredients from the previous and new order, we went with 0.2 grams each of the following:  Death Star Sugar Crumble, Walter White shatter, Death Star Greenhouse pull-n-snap shatter and Hindu Kush live resin.

Death Star Sugar Crumble, Walter White shatter, Death Star Greenhouse pull-n-snap shatter and Hindu Kush live resin
Death Star Sugar Crumble, Walter White shatter, Death Star Greenhouse pull-n-snap shatter and Hindu Kush live resin

I gently heated the four ingredients until all were melted into a thick liquid and then thoroughly mixed them together. Once everything was well mixed, I slowly re-warmed the jar and the thick goo was allowed to settle on the bottom of the jar. I topped the contents with a little under 0.2 grams of Pink Blueberry kief, capped the jar and warmed it again for a couple of minutes. Once everything was up to temperature, I mixed everything together with the dab tool.  I stirred the mix and slowly added kief until the mix did not stick to fingers.

Heated concentrates in the mixing jar
Concentrates are heated to a goo, then allowed to settle to the bottom.
Pink Blueberry kief added to mixing jar
Pink Blueberry kief gets sprinkled on top of our goo. Looking tasty!
Contents in mixing jar getting less gooey
Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix …

Once our batch could be worked by hand, I packed it into a tight chunk. From the picture, it looks still very shiny and sticky. Oh, and it looks tasty as hell. It also looked much greener than expected, considering none of the ingredients were that colour. Even the kief was a consistent tan colour, indicating the highest quality. While it was tempting to play with this new creation, however, it went in the jar to be better examined the next day.

Pressed hash, looking rather green
That’s some lovely looking hash!

Pondering what might come of this new creation, I spent some time giving each ingredient a good smell so the distinct aroma of each would be fresh in my mind when the new monster was unleashed. As unique and aromatic as each singular item was, it did not prepare me for what awaited when I opened the the jar. While trying to imagine what it smell like, it never occurred that it would be the most simple outcome possible. It smelled like what it was: Hash. Not just any hash, though. It smelled like that super-premium, old-school Afghani, black, sticky goodness of years ago. The scent was clean, bright and earthy, with a hint of floral. I was pleasantly surprised that something so new reminded me so much of the old school goodness.

While manipulating the solid chunk in my fingers, it started to come apart and crumble. That’s something that should be better controlled in future episodes when I add a kief press to the process.

Trying the new creation was a pleasure. It melted and liquified when heated, so adding more kief, pressing and heating the batch would give a more even burn. Going by the smell, the taste was no surprise, but was certainly no disappointment. It tasted like a brighter, somewhat flowery version of old-school black hash. The smoke was smooth and easy to inhale, which made enjoying the exhale very easy. Rich hash flavours left their trace behind for you to enjoy a second time.

The effect for a small amount was very cerebral and suggested a sativa like influence. This was quickly overpowered by heavy indica effects when more was consumed.  Couch lock and relaxed muscles became the most prominent effect, but did not overpower the cerebral effect enough to let you forget you were not going to be doing anything too complicated for the next couple of hours.

In this case, it meant that writing this article was not going to happen as planned that day. Remembering my name would have to be the hardest thing attempted while under the effects of this new monster. This super potent hash would need a name that befits its strength and character: Frankenstein’s Monster.

Sounds about right.

Until next time, may you be blessed with Health, Healing and Herb.

Frankenstein's Monster hash
Frankenstein’s Monster under the spotlight.

Gourmet Hash: It’s All Falling Apart

Hindu Resin HashWelcome to the third installment in the Gourmet Hash series! We’re venturing further and further from our comfort zone and heading deeper into the unknown. Since the last article, there have been some interesting developments.  Mainly, everything has fallen apart. As I mentioned in the previous installment, the UK Cheese/kief hash was fairly crumbly. I was a bit surprised to see that the shatter itself became crumbly.

After some research and seeking advice from well informed extract specialists, I was relieved to learn this is a very normal outcome. It turns out that by removing the shatter from its wrapper and placing it inside silicone containers, the shatter is able to absorb moisture from the air. The increased moisture causes the material to crystalize. The crystallization is not a bad thing in terms of potency or taste. In fact, the major upside is that the shatter is much easier to work with due to it not sticking to the paddle end of the dab tool. That enables it to be scooped up in small amounts, much like you might with kief.

Ok with that out of the way, on to the ingredients for today’s Gourmet Hash. The kief used was a higher-grade, lighter-colour and slightly more expensive kief that was selling for $14/gram at the time this was written (late February).  The light kief has a less earthy smell than others and it offers a very nice taste on its own. It is rich in mild terpenes, which results in almost a skunky spice flavour.

Light Kief
Light Kief

 

The chosen extract was Hindu Kush live resin from Diamond Concentrates. The aroma of the Hindu Kush live resin is bright with overtones that are more like cedar than pine, and a hint of pineapple. Terpene-rich, the resin looks very wet in the jar, like a mass of tiny globs suspended in a thick oil. Sampled on its own, the flavour very much matches the smell. It has an earthy, almost spicy, exhale. It is very enjoyable on its own.

Hindu Kush live resin
Hindu Kush live resin

We started with close to a half-gram of the resin placed in the mixing jar and warmed it to just shy of being too hot to touch. I expected better kief absorption than we saw with the shatter, so I went started with 1/4 gram of kief. I put the kief in the jar and closed the lid to allow everything to come up to temperature.

The dab tool atop the mixing jar
The dab tool atop the mixing jar

Using my trusty dab tool, I stirred the mix together. The rosin, as expected, absorbed far more kief than the previous batch I made with shatter. After I thoroughly stirred the mix, I compressed it by hand into a nice clump. I then sealed it in the mix jar and left it to cure for 24 hours.

When I opened the jar the next day, there was a wonderfully complex aroma that much more closely resembled a bud of premium flower than hash. The hash was a nice. light colour with an almost translucent appearance that showed the kief was well wetted and absorbed. It was very soft and was easily pressed and played with without sticking.

I placed a sample of this new hash in a bowl and gave it a try. Under heat, it maintained the properties of resin, bubbling and melting into the little bit of kief underneath. Getting a thick rich draw was very easy, featuring a very smooth smoke with wonderful flavours of soft spice, earthy cedar and, perhaps, even a hint of skunk. Very enjoyable.  The name I gave it is simple: Hindu Resin Hash.

Hindu Resin Hash
Hindu Resin Hash

The onset of the high was fairly fast, with an initial cerebral rush that was followed by a mellow, body-relaxing wave of calm. In small doses, this would be a wonderful companion to almost any task. In higher doses, it would be perfectly suited to a relaxing evening with friends, a movie and a pizza or candle light and dinner for two.

A couple of days and a fair amount of exposure to air, it happened: The hash went from soft and shapeable to a drier texture and began to crumble. Worked and poked with the dab tool in the container, it totally crumbled very much like the shatter hash did.

The crumbling really doesn’t present an issue, as the potency and flavour remained unaffected. Adding a pollen press to the process, however, seems like it would be a good addition. A press might reduce or even prevent crumbling in some of our final products.

Until next time, may you be blessed with Health, Healing and Herb.

 

 

Gourmet Hash: Planned Madness

Hash made from UK Cheese Shatter and OG Kush KiefFrom the very start, the first “Gourmet Hash” session was a really fun experience. Browsing the dispensary selection alone took hours. With four kinds of kief and forty five types of shatter, wax and resins, live and regular on the menu, there are tens of thousands of combinations possible. If we play with the ratios of each ingredient we decide to use for a blend, we literally wind up with a near-infinite number of permutations of Gourmet Hash. Oh, the possibilities! Narrowing down our choices to just a few ingredients was tough, only made a little easier by the reality of having to work within budgetary constraints.

As this is very much a learning curve situation — and everything we are doing is, if not unique, quite new to us — we decided on a balanced mix of ingredients. I ordered  2 grams of Kief, 2 grams of OG Kush Kief, 1 gram Death Star Green house Pull&snap Shatter, 1 gram UK Cheese Green house Pull&snap Shatter and — saving the best for last — 1 gram of Hindu Kush Live Resin. The total cost of the order was a little less than $200.

Ingredients ordered for our 2nd Gourmet Hash blend
Two kinds of shatter, two kinds of kief and a wonderful live resin was our order for this Gourmet Hash extravaganza.

After a few days to get everything individually sampled and evaluated, it was time to create the first batch. For this run, I chose the OG Kush kief and the UK Cheese shatter in large part because the UK Cheese is a hybrid. I hoped it would be Sativa-like and suitable for daytime use and periods of activity.

The tools and accessories I used were basic, as this was an unexpected offshoot of a bigger, ongoing project. As the series progresses, we will learn what the needs are, look at what the market has to offer and then obtain and review the best choice for a given task. We started this batch having a small torch; two metal dab tools; a glass, 1-gram wax jar for warming and mixing; and a marble container, which is used to hold and transfer heat to our glass jar.

Pull&snap shatter is soft at room temperature and is pretty sticky stuff. Hand rolling the shatter into little balls, as some shatter users do, is not possible with this shatter. Even when cooled, this shatter warms very quickly with hand contact and begins to stick. To counteract this tendency towards warming, I used a margarine container out of the freezer as a working surface to gently cut away the desired amount with a clean razor. The result was quite effective.

We started with close to one third of a gram of the shatter and placed it in our glass jar. The marble was heated until hot to the touch, but short of being too hot to touch. I then heated the jar by placing it on the hot marble and gently warming the jar with a low and small torch flame in a continuous circular motion. As the desired temperature is neared, it is good to stop and let the heat equalize. It takes a few seconds for the heat to transfer to the inner part of the glass.

Once the shatter was up to temperature, we added a bit less than a quarter gram of kief to the jar. We then placed a cap on the jar for thirty seconds to let the kief get up to temperature. This is where the marble shows its value. Because marble maintains its temperature well, we do not need to use the torch often.

Photo of in-progress hash brew
OG Kush kief sprinkled atop the heated UK Cheese shatter base.

When I took the cap off to give the blend a stir, the first hint of what this blend would smell like filled the air as the warmed kief added its colour to the scent palette. While taking a moment to enjoy the aroma, the realization of what was about to happen struck me: “You are taking these wonderful extracts on their own and mixing them together. This is planned madness”.

That hint of madness did not stop me from grabbing the dab tool and mixing the warmed ingredients together anyway. Should someone suggest I am crazy for doing this, just tell them, “He knew and he did it anyway”.

It was obvious almost right away this batch was mixing a little differently than the first batch did. This batch was a lot less sticky. Our first gourmet hash included a rosin and it absorbed the kief like a sponge. The shatter mix, when cooled, was a nice looking dark hash, but very crumbly. It could not be packed into a stable mass at all. The best option? Add more shatter.

I rewarmed the batch and added a small amount of warm shatter. This brought the amount of shatter in this mix up from 0.25 of a gram to 0.40 grams. This made the mix much more sticky warm and it packed together nicely. When cooled, it was again not as sticky, but it could now be pressed into a stable chunk. When trying to remove small amounts from the single piece, there was still a lot of crumbling. I decided to leave it in a crumble state, as working with it was easier.

While working with this batch and adjusting to the loose texture, it became clear that one of the first tools we need to add to the Gourmet Hash kitchen is a kief press. For the amounts we are working with right now, a small one will do. Since they are reasonably inexpensive, I should be able to order one fairly soon.

As with any great dish, the best part comes when served. After letting it sit for a day, it was ready. Well, even if it wasn’t ready, I was and was not waiting.

The UK Cheese shatter / OG Kush kief final product!

Opening the jar was a treat! The aroma blend that came about from this mix was pure magic. The UK Cheese shatter is mild and piney on the scent side and the OG Kush Kief is an earthy, piney blend that proudly reflects its Kush heritage.

What the final mix produced was nothing like either of the ingredients, which was very pleasant surprise indeed. Imagine the most pleasant, soft sandlewood fragrance with the barest hint of fruity melon. Sitting and just smelling it for ten minutes made it no less sensational. If there were a cologne with that fragrance, I would buy it.

Risking my elation to get an unbiased opinion, the wife was recruited to offer her thoughts on its scent. Immediately, she had a pleasant reaction. After taking a few really good whiffs, she told me if there were an incense with that scent, she would love it. I did not share my cologne thought; why risk walking away with less than a win?

Sampling this hash was just as enjoyable. The flavour was once again a unique blend, very much tasting as it smelled with a notable exception: an added earthy, old-school hash flavour. It was smooth and mild to smoke in conservative amounts. The effect was much as I’d hoped, with a mild yet present body buzz that was very relaxing and a cerebral head high that was very suitable for energetic or mentally engaging tasks. This was a strong high. It was clear that getting engulfed in a task for long periods and losing track of time was very possible with this very potent mix.

Coming out of the first planned Gourmet Hash making session, the results are exciting and encouraging. I had hoped to come up with something unique that exceeded the qualities of the separate ingredients. In this case it was a complete win! What came out of the proverbial oven was a half a gram of unique wonder that smells and tastes amazing along with a wonderful kick.

I am naming this creation: UK SandleKush.

I very much look forward to making the next batch.

Thank you for reading. Please, feel free to comment.

Until then may you be blessed with Health, Healing and Herb.

 

Gourmet Hashish: And So It Begins

Homemade gourmet hashOh, the times we live in.

I was born in the sixties and started to become aware in the seventies. By the time the eighties rolled around, we were kinda lost. The hippie movement had come and gone and the biggest influencer it left behind was Cannabis. Cannabis was everywhere; even our parents smoked it. For many like myself, Cannabis itself became the culture. Merely getting high was the goal of many. For others, there was something magical and mysterious about this funny looking plant.

For the most part, any next-level Cannabis interest involves experiencing as many different kinds as possible. The early eighties most certainly provided far fewer varieties than we have today, but some of those options were every bit as potent then as the modern versions are today. In truth, things such as hash and the few different oil varieties were often far more reliable in terms of quality than the weed of the day. Back then, the weed of the day would range from dark, very earthy, pressed brick and ten dollar bread bags of leaf to buds that we would today consider tastes great, but just OK potency-wise.

peace sign made from sea shells

While weed was always easy to find, the most potent options of the day — Honey Oil, Cherry Oil and the best hash varieties — were much harder to come by. Decent hash was widespread and sometime in the mid 80’s there was a significant quality drop. What used to be a malleable, aromatic and pleasant tasting, knock-you-on-your-ass black Hash became a hard chunk that was difficult to work with and tasted like nylon brick.

Things stayed that way for many years. Good Hash rarely ever made it out of the big cities, but when it did, it was a real treat. Oddly enough, I found out during a five year adventure to the Maritimes that all the good hash was there. Perhaps that was part of the reason I stayed so long.

Fast forward to today and we find ourselves in a modern, hash lovers paradise. The varieties we have now are more numerous than at any time previous. If black sticky Hash is your preference, it can easily be found in most any dispensary. Along with the old school flavours, modern techniques such as ice and Co2 extraction allow for strain-specific varieties that combine all the best of old school Hashish with the broad range of effects found in what now number in the hundreds of Cannabis strains.

LA Confidential hash
LA Confidential Hash

I was browsing the site of my preferred dispensary and something caught my attention: While there were perhaps eight or ten varieties of Hashish, there were three or four times as many extract products. It made perfect sense. The popularity of dabbing extracts among the ‘baby bonger’ youth culture of today is not only prevalent, it is big business.

I thought it was a shame that there were not that many varieties of hash. The solution immediately followed: “Melt extracts, mix them with kief and make your own”. I very nearly dismissed the idea. Later, however, I remembered a conversation with a good friend where he was telling me how he loved the strong and different flavours of shatter. That got me wondering whether I was missing out on something because I don’t dab.

When it came time for my next dispensary order, I made some adjustments and ordered a gram of Gorilla Goo rosin and two grams of kief in two types. When the order arrived, there was a hint of excitement as I opened the package and it was time to inspect this rosin stuff. I have little experience with modern extracts; my only previous exposure was a little bit of shatter a couple of years ago and a more recent purchase of a gram of RAW distillate.

Gorilla Goo Rosin
Gorilla Goo Rosin

 

I opened the little jar of Gorilla Goo and released an attack on my sense of smell I was not expecting at all. It was a very strong terpene scent with all the rich wonderful overtones found in the best buds. I spent the next ten minutes just enjoying the thick rich aroma that very much reminded me of the terrific, bright smell that was produced in curing jars. So this is what I was missing! I smeared a bit on a paper so it could be sampled before mixing it. The flavours were as the odour, bright and brilliant. To a trained palette, however, there was something missing on their own. It almost tasted like the most premium flowers. Not to take anything away from it, mind you; it was very pleasurable to smoke. The taste and smell were fantastic, as was the effect.

The next day, I decided it was time to make my first, homemade, gourmet hash. I placed a gob of Gorilla Goo rosin equal to less then 1/4 gram inside a small, preheated, glass jar  and allowed it to slowly melt. Once the rosin melted, I added about an eighth of a gram of OG Kush kief to the jar and stirred it using a dab tool. The warmed rosin quickly absorbed all the kief and I gradually added more until the blob of G-hash was not sticky to the touch. The little jar was then sealed airtight and allowed to cool for 24 hours.

OG Kush Kief
OG Kush Kief

When I opened the jar, the odour was strong and very pleasing.  The smell was much the same, but somehow a little different. The chunk of hash now looked very much like a chunk of hash, except for the colour, which was a light brown/tan that did not seem to darken on the outside when handled and stored like finer grade ice hash does. The volume was considerably more than I expected and I ended up with a pretty nice chunk that was almost spot on a half gram. The texture was firm yet malleable and it softened with hand warmth. The texture was ideally suited to rolling into a long thin insert for putting inside a joint.

And Now To Smoke It

When consumed, the smell and taste are a bit richer and fuller than they were with the rosin alone. Combining the rosin with kief changes the flavour profile for the better. It tastes a bit more natural and maintains its very strong potency. Clearly, any end product is only going to be as good as the worst ingredient.

photo of gourmet hash
My gourmet blend is soft and malleable.

This initial test has created an area of interest that was unexpected, fun and exciting. There are many aspects that are of interest: How extracts are created, how kief is harvested, what combinations and methods result in the most desired end product, etc. Look for more stories in this series as we delve more into creating our own gourmet hashish from the best varieties of waxes, rosin, shatter and kief products.

Until then, may you be blessed with Health, Healing and Herb.

 

Storing your stash

Photo of empty glass jarA recent discussion on the impending legalization in Canada fostered an interesting thought as I looked over and saw my cigar humidor: “Bud storage is about to take a major philosophy shift“.

For many years the common approach was to simply keep your stash out of sight. To that end, storage containers had that primary goal in mind. Other considerations were only secondary.  Yet for cigars, the options for keeping them in a perfect state for consumption have been around a very long time and include fixtures that look wonderful in any furnished room.

So, how do we make the transition from false bottom pop cans and hidden compartments to visible and good looking storage solutions? The market has begun getting a sense of this coming need and has started to provide solutions. Not many, but some. I fully expect that some of the most interesting ideas will first come from individual creations.

 

Photo of cannabis humidor
A cannabis humidor available from Cannador

For a non concealed storage option, consider the wooden box humidor. They are available in different colors and sizes, so finding a match for your décor should not be a problem. Be sure to get one made specifically for weed use, as cigar humidors are made with Spanish cedar and those strong terpenes can affect weed flavour. There will be a need for non-concealed or furniture-style storage that does not fit the standard, cigar humidor image. Time will reveal just how that develops.

Concealed weed humidors come in a few different styles and shapes such as tool boxes or even a mini safe. Most humidors come with accessories such as a hygrometer to monitor humidity and some means of controlling humidity such as moisture absorbing materials that are specific to given moisture ranges. If a product you are considering does not have those essential features, you will need to purchase them separately.

Photo of marijuana stash box

If you have a nice homemade stash box that looks good and serves to keep your buds at the perfect humidity for smoking and preserving flavour, please email some photos of them to us and we will highlight the best ones.

Health. Healing. Herb.