Cannabis Gummies: Nice treat Or Bad Trick

Photo of cannabis gummies

Cannabis use was once so simple. Once flower was procured, ingestion was a simple decision: Smoke a joint or smoke a bowl. Even the twenty different ways to describe it basically came down to those two choices. Once in awhile you might come across some ‘special’ hash brownies or cake baked with some canna butter. Depending on the method and experience of the baker, the taste would vary from weedy to hard-to-finish.

Over time, as extraction methods other than making butter became more and more common, options for culinary cannabis enhancement also grew as the green unpleasant flavours were lost. During this early shift, most of the jurisdictions that now see cannabis legal in one form or another were legislated otherwise. The result? This burgeoning cannabis edible market is, for the most part, entirely unregulated. The end result could have been predicted. Faced with no resistance or guidelines, any movement will naturally progress to the extreme. This is where we find ourselves today.

The extreme nature of the edibles market has clinicians voicing concern and suggesting a serious look at how some cannabis edibles are being sold. Some are even asking whether certain types of products, such as child-familiar gummies, should be sold at all. It’s clear that no responsible individual would make THC-infused gummies intended for children. For adults, it is our right to medicate as we see fit; however, it’s possible that we’re lacking sufficient education on the risks that such edibles pose for children. As well, there need to be sufficient punitive measures for irresponsible parents whose child found some treats and ended up in the ER. Some will oppose any such measures based on what they perceive as continued ‘Reefer Madness’ drug war propaganda. The reality is that a child who stumbles upon a bag of 80-mg gummies and eats a handful of them could be in very serious danger.

Some of the earliest products that became available to me via the Canadian online grey market were completely snack based. Rice Krispie squares, peanut butter cookies and gummies were some of the most common. Novelty effect is real and trying a few of these treats was kinda fun. They certainly tasted better than the party cakes of the past and such products led to me and my Mrs. discovering our required dosages for noticeable effect, 350+ mg and 30 mg respectively.

It was fun trying those treats. Learning how much more effective orally ingested cannabinoids are for therapeutic purposes was, however, the valuable take away for us. Dosage consistency and ease of ingestion — you don’t always want a cookie — led us away from treats and into using CBD and whole-plant THC oil in a capsule as a daily-dose medium. Any treat-based edibles we now consume are only what we make from our own butter.

I do not even have full exposure in Canada to the incredible range of products found in different parts of the world. Seeing 1000 mg chocolate bars online seemed fairly inert at first glance and may have elicited the thought, “That might be fun”. Yet, something seemed off and gave me pause for thought.

There have been plenty of times in recent years where cannabis edibles have made the news in some notorious fashion. Children mistakenly taking them to school or unfamiliar adults calling 911 in fear from an edible-induced anxiety attack are just a couple of examples. Social media responses are predictable, ranging from blind disbelief because “cannabis is harmless”, mockery and even abuse from the ‘no regulation’ side. Those advocating for common sense controls are typically shouted down and end up muted in the din of recreational outrage. Such is the modern internet.

An objective venture into the issue circles around some key basic questions:

  • Is the availability of infused sweets a public health issue?
  • Is the availability of infused sweets an education issue?
  • Is the availability of infused sweets an enforcement issue?
  • What is the most responsible approach?

The above questions are easy to ask, yet answers pose more of a challenge. As a public health issue, adding additional concerns to the sugar addiction our society is already dealing with is never going to be a good idea. That, however, is truly minor in comparison to how serious an edible episode can be. It is not at all uncommon for someone to experience some mild anxiety from ingesting edibles. For some, the anxiety can be extreme and downright terrifying. Imagine being in such a state of fear that you feel you are going to die. While those stories seem to draw much ridicule, it is anything but funny to those facing an overwhelming and impending sense of death.

An education issue?

I don’t think that anyone would be opposed to a well-informed public. That may remain difficult, however, while there is still such distance between the opposing sides and inconsistent positions among governments. One person’s information is another’s propaganda. It turns out that another victim of the drug war is clear and concise truth.

An enforcement issue?

It would be unsurprising to see some governments attempt a heavy-handed restrictive approach that mirrors past prohibition policies. Legalization in Canada, for example, has in its initial approach taken a very restrictive ‘harm reduction’ stand with clear lines between legal and illegal activities. We do not yet know what the laws regarding edibles will be until the federal government releases them later this year. Those laws are to go into effect as of Oct 17th. I think it is very likely the laws will be extremely restrictive in the THC levels that can be present, as well as what can be sold.

What is the responsible approach?

Each side will have a very different answer on the outer edges, ranging from outright banning to fully unregulated. As with anything however, agreement on some basic truths on each side usually points towards a happy medium. Or a balanced discontent.

Is banning prepackaged, cannabis edibles that are too easily indistinguishable from normal dessert treats from being sold the right approach? Perhaps. An entire sector of the cannabis industry is very much hoping for minimal regulation knowing this could potentially be a huge market. Some believe the edible market share will come to rival the dried flower market. The possibility of a billion dollar marketplace is squarely at odds with public health.

Is there a form of prepackaged edible that fully appeases health care concerns? It’s unlikely. Is there likely to be a version that is far more acceptable and meets some of the main concerns? Chief among such concerns are edibles looking like anything a child might find in the candy isle of the local general store. Finding an acceptable product could be a tough call. Sweet treats were a natural evolution from the brownies and cakes of old. There is no obvious substitute. The next best — frankly, for some, better — alternative is the active ingredients in a capsule form. While it would be very effective, it’d hardly be the fun of a good cookie.

Where do common sense, public health and public demand all find acceptable common ground? Surely public health concerns are better met with legislated controls. Ensuring safe dose levels would, in all probability, put an end to the 1000mg chocolate bar type offerings.

Perhaps the only solution is strict dosage limits. It serves harm reduction well, but not perfectly. Nothing I can think of, in fact, serves to fully appease any of the relevant positions. It may be in that grey zone where the only possible solution is found. One thing is certain: No one side is happy, but all are equally unhappy.

The Name Game: Indica and Sativa

The evolution of language involves a complex history that is written daily. Trends, fads, songwriters, events, etc., all nudge and influence what we say and how we say it. Language is fluid and dynamic, being driven by popular usage. In relation to the popular cannabis terms, Indica and Sativa, there is a growing number of voices declaring those terms to be incorrect or even irresponsible and invalid.

Everyday people by the hundreds of millions use popular and familiar cannabis terms such as Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis, Hybrid and Hemp to effectively and clearly communicate in any number of cannabis-related discussions. The clarity of these terms is such that a consumer at a dispensary who is asking for a nice, sleepy-time, bye-bye Indica to help offset insomnia will almost assuredly get exactly what he or she wants. That clarity is akin to walking into a pharmacy to get aspirin and actually walking out with aspirin. These few terms are incredibly effective and efficient at creating the desired outcome.

The history of these terms and their widespread use is another byproduct of prohibition and research restrictions. Left without the benefit of scientific coevolution, the medical cannabis civil disobedience movement grew and learned as they went along. Breeders were able to buy strains based on these predications and to consistently and effectively achieve the desired results.

That same special breed of cannabis devotees grew, bred and learned about what this plant would offer. They learned about phenotypes and chemovars, how they interact and how to cross-breed for desired results. Such learning was mostly done without the input of the greater scientific community and the many relevant specialties. Yet when effectively communicating about cannabis, the terms Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, Ruderalis (AKA auto flower), etc., are still very much the most used tools in the cannabis vernacular toolbox.

Enter The Shift

Realistic attitudes are spreading globally at a pace cannabis proponents could only have dreamed of even a mere 10 or 15 years ago. Laws are being changed and attitudes are changing. The science that medical advocates and patients have desired for decades is finally seeing promise. The answers as to why cannabis is so beneficial on so many levels are finally going to be known.

One shift that was not so easily foreseen, however, was the effort to convince hundreds of millions of people that suddenly, after many decades, everybody is saying it wrong. There are many who claim that the terms in popular usage are invalid, an exercise in futility and/or total nonsense. That presents a couple of problems. Because research is just at the beginning of the journey, many of the whys, particularly regarding entourage effect, are still unknown. Aside from discussion of terpene profiles and specific terpene effects, science is only beginning the path to understanding the millions of ways cannabis interacts with our bodies.

The other problem is imposed, unnecessary context. A teaching physicist for example, will use terms that are familiar and understandable when speaking to the general public to help explain a broader meaning. When conversing with colleagues, however, that same physicist will revert to terminology with colleagues that would leave me — and most others — dizzy and confused. The language used is of critical importance to the context.

Currently, people are making cannabis purchases, getting what they want and are quite content using the terms with which they are familiar and prefer. Were those serving the needs of customers to start trying to ‘educate’ every customer beyond that familiar vernacular, they would likely lose a lot of business. Of course, there is a place in the discussions for terpene profiles. Consumers and providers are not at all unfamiliar with the technical details that they require and wish to discuss. That stated, almost every discussion centred around ‘What are you looking for?’ will invariably have Sativa, Indica or a hybrid variation as an initial qualifier.

Terms such as Indica or Sativa have evolved into entry points for discussion. They are a predictable indicator of what you are seeking. It’s not about species anymore. Instead, such terms are more of an amorphous designation that enable us to quickly and clearly drill down into specific detail.

As research develops, horticulture, plant biology, biochemistry, etc., will all bring with them new ways of describing specific plant function and composition. That will drastically change how the cannabis plant is seen in the learned community and the language used to describe it. That is what we all want. We do not, however, all want to become scientists. Just as it is not a requirement of every day life to know the exact molecular make up of your favourite beer, it is unrealistic to expect the general public to suddenly learn an entire new cannabis language.

Although the current terms are not conforming to the new profiles being discovered, they’re still extremely useful. It is counterintuitive to expect that the suggested changes would be welcome and accepted. Without an easily explainable alternative that can serve as an adequate replacement, how could they be? The general public converses in common, everyday vernacular; that will never change and attempting to change it is futile.

While terms such as Indica and Sativa will find they have no place in laboratory or horticultural settings, they will remain with the public. Does that mean they are not translatable or usable when endeavouring to explain the science in laymen’s terms? Perhaps.

Ultimately, the terms have come to mean something else entirely. When I enter a discussion about obtaining a specific phenotype, generalized terms such as Indica or Sativa and the meaning behind it is end result effect. Growers will attest that Indica and Sativa do indeed show different growth traits, with hybrid versions expressing variations. Beyond that, specific lineage and terpene profiles are the relevant factors in the conversations. So, in pure science terms perhaps they do not translate.

Indica. Sativa. Hybrid. These are basic roadmap terms that provide information similar to describing directions, such as north and south. They are effective terms that serve the basic purpose for which they are required. Nothing more, nothing less.

There is no need to require everyone to be able to understand the physics of an engine in order to drive a car.

Farewell, Justin — We’ll Miss You

It’s with sadness that MellowMeds has learned of the passing of Justin Marshall. Justin was a cannabis advocate who recently graced our pages in a blog post.

For me, the poignancy of his happening serves as a reminder that none of us who deal with cancer — I currently am dealing with skin cancer — have to take every possible avenue of treatment to improve our odds of success. Personally, I’ve been remiss in doing all I can. I’m not eating as well as I could be and I still have a relationship with that demon alcohol.

Putting my situation into a broader context is that my MellowMeds partner, Al, lives in Canada and is a long-time cannabis producer. With the legal landscape in Canada, his access to cannabis is assured. I, on the other hand, have been in Japan since 1991, where cannabis and even CBD oil are illegal. The frustration is real.

When Justin shared his story with us, I was excited at the prospect of JMO (basically, uncooked RSO) as a solution of getting a high-CBD product without the high. Excited and frustrated, because as promising as JMO sounded, I have no legal means of access. And I am disinclined to explore illicit means of access here in Tokyo. Incarceration is simply not an option.

The availability of cannabis products should be universal. Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant and it is positively ridiculous to me that it somehow became illegal to possess something that grows in nature. People are messed up. Anyway, I’m currently looking forward to being able to visit Al in Canada to sample his fine product. I’ll be looking forward to sampling some herb, RSO and — courtesy of Justin — some JMO.

Godspeed, Justin. Your passion for cannabis lives on. You can visit Justin’s memorial page via the link below:

Canadian Black Market Cannabis- A Protected Landscape

It’s been almost five months since adults in Canada have had the legal right to consume cannabis for recreational purposes. The reality of the new legal landscape is that so much has changed for so little to change.

There is a vast number of people who have been working in the cannabis underground, supplying literally millions of Canadian cannabis consumers. Recent polls have shown that cannabis use among adults post legalization has not risen noticeably. These results show not only that usage has remained mostly stagnant, but that those who wanted to use cannabis prior to legalization had no problem doing so morally. Moreover, the adult-use cannabis market in Canada was in truth far larger than the government ever imagined.

The adult use numbers run somewhere around 4.5 million Canadians, and those are poll estimates that cannot factor in how many choose to say no based on decades of stigma. Pondering for a moment just how big that number is, consider how many people would need to be involved in that underground market from producer to consumer. Also consider that the underground market has next-to-no automation or factory farms and labor use is extremely high. Add to that the quality of the product being supplied; one can find product as good as anything found in the best markets around the world.

Within this underground market, we have a labor-driven, experienced workforce with a start-to-finish market providing some of the best product in the world. This workforce numbers in the many tens of thousands. Accurate estimates are really impossible to glean, but how many people would it take to service up to 5 million Canadian consumers with reliable supply of quality product?

Then came legalization, something a great many had been calling and hoping for for a very long time. With legalization, many looked forward to being able to step proudly from the shadows of the underground market into legally doing what they enjoy as a profession, with a skillset honed over years and an eagerness to continue. We saw in other markets, where legalization came with an inclusive approach that was not overly restrictive, that smaller underground growers were able to transition to craft status. The result? Markets that without undue — and expensive — harm reduction policies are reaping incredible benefits through tax revenue. Not only that, market demand is dictating what people want and what they are willing to pay.

In Canada, however, our hopes quickly began to fade as the players who would be in control were announced and the direction of the legislation defined who would supply Canadians. So many limiting changes have taken place in the last two years that the public perception of legalization amounts to an attempt to hand corporations and cronies the golden key to riches. And Canadians are none too happy about it. Nothing has done more to reinforce that opinion than when consumers were finally able to purchase Licensed Producer (LP) cannabis.

Since legalization, Canadians have seen everything from recalls, illegal black-market purchasing of product by an LP (one way to get good product), mold, seeds and stems in prerolls — suggesting they are floor sweepings (a tobacco producer trick) — and more commonly, reports of dry, flavourless, weak-potency product.

In the meantime, the underground market trundles along. Big-city, same-day service is becoming the norm. Online providers continue doing business, with increasing numbers of customers becoming aware of them due to failed legalization. Post-legalization, there was no mass exodus from the black market. If anything, they have become more entrenched due to not only a continued failure of the legal providors to supply product that is comparable in either price or quality, but in some cases impossible to legally obtain. With no legal storefronts, Ontario citizens have only the OCS online store as a legal option. Unless, of course, you do not have a credit card. Such roadblocks leave many with a sense of financial discrimination and lead them to the underground market to hook up.

In the move to legalization, lawmakers failed to sufficiently examine other jurisdictions that had legalized the cannabis market to see what was most effective. Public consultations were minimal and pubic opinion seems to have been largely ignored. The result left us with no real sense of normalcy in the Canadian Cannabis market. Nothing in the past two years welcomed the millions of cannabis consumers into a new and emerging legal marketplace. Nothing in the last two years was intended to include the thousands of Canadians who served — and continue to serve — the needs of millions.

We want to see and be serviced by cannabis professionals with experience in the industry, who understand the needs and wants of the customer base, speak the same language and who have earned the trust of millions for decades. An entire industry of talented and experienced people are there, willing and wanting to become part of a massive legal-cannabis marketplace. Until we start to see these skilled professionals being included, far fewer reports of expensive-yet-inferior product and fewer pictures of massive, factory-automated farms (corporate dick pics), nothing will change.

The hearts and minds of the consumers cannot and will not be won by reaching even further into the pockets of Canadians for poor quality. As well, many provincial laws surrounding legalization are so restrictive that many users find themselves facing incarceration anyway. Overbearing laws seem to serve the courts more than the public.

We are not a cash cow waiting to be milked by the rich and connected. Let small growers grow and provide craft product without needing investor millions. Let a free and sensible market dictate supply and demand. Let corporations compete on a playing field that is even for all.

For goodness sake, let common sense prevail. This is madness.

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:

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( 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 PTSD and Cannabis:
How Cannabis Can Help Treat PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) If you are in need of more immediate care please contact. USA:
Hotline / Crisis Numbers

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.