Cannabis from Licensed Producers vs. cannabis from dispensaries and grey market:
When people purchase cannabis from a dispensary and the grey market, they are taking a risk. Unlike Licensed Producers, dispensaries do not have to answer to Health Canada. This means they can use whichever fertilizers and nutrients they like. They can handle the flower however they choose with no standards to be held to. There is nobody holding dispensaries accountable for their growing practices, handling practices, packaging practices, etc.
Licensed Producers are licensed through Health Canada. We are inspected and given authorization by the Government to grow, process and sell cannabis. We have specific Health Canada standards and guidelines to meet and follow. We are regularly inspected. We are audited. Our products must pass specific testing. And this ensures that our cannabis and cannabis products are safe and meet every standard set in place by Health Canada.
Hemp is often planted to clean up industrial spills as it is great at drawing contaminants from soil. Unless you know where the hemp has been grown, or in what soil, you could be exposing yourself to harmful toxins. When it comes to CBD oils, a large quantity of hemp is needed to extract a small amount of CBD, meaning there is greater risk of exposure to contaminants. Not to mention, growing conditions are not federally regulated for hemp like they are with cannabis, so your health could be at risk when using hemp-based CBD oils and products. Another important question is, what process is being used to extract the CBD from the hemp? Are they using butane, hexane, CO2? Licensed Producers of cannabis CBD oil must disclose this information.
CBD from cannabis from a Licensed Producer is 100% regulated by Health Canada. There is no question about growing practices, or risk of contaminants. Health Canada regularly audits Licensed Producers to be sure that Good Production Practices are being followed. And every aspect of growing facilities are monitored with security cameras to ensure standards are being upheld. Licensed Producers must have their dried cannabis tested and pass testing for contaminants and microbes before they are allowed to release it to the public for consumption, or before the Licensed Producer is able to process it to make cannabis oil. These rules and regulations are part of what sets CBD from cannabis apart from hemp CBD.
Another aspect of CBD from cannabis is something called “the entourage effect”. When extracting CBD from cannabis, the whole plant is being used. It is believed that cannabinoids work together to provide relief from ailments and conditions, but when the cannabinoid is isolated, it does not provide the same relief or treatment. Researchers theorize that the entourage effect is why cannabis is able to treat some conditions that synthetic THC/CBD can not.
What Is Cannabis?
Cannabis contains cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Our body contains cannabinoid receptors naturally; these chemicals attach to our receptors causing different effects depending on the chemical. Cannabinoids are a diverse group, there are over 600 active compounds that scientists are currently aware of in the Cannabis plant.
Is Cannabis legal?
Cannabis is still a controlled substance, and possession of Cannabis for recreational purposes is a criminal offence. Cannabis is only legal when used by an authorized and prescribed patient for medical purposes in the same way as any prescription medication.
Is Cannabis Safe?
While prescription painkillers cause thousands of overdose deaths each year (16,652 in 2013 alone, CDC), no one has ever died from a Cannabis overdose.
While the focus for most people may be on the THC and CBD content of cannabis, another important group of compounds that cannabis produces are terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic, oils that contribute to the many different characteristic scents you find in different strains of cannabis. These smells can be earthy, fruity, citrusy, piney, etc. Terpenes interact with THC and CBD, but also have effects of their own. Common terpenes found in cannabis are:
This plant is typically used for its physically relaxing and calming qualities.
Sativa plants are often known for their uplifting effects, as they are noted to enhance positivity and affect people’s mood.
There are a large variety of Hybrid plants all being a combination of Indica and Sativa. Botanists used natural breeding techniques to strengthen or bring out desired traits. The combination varies, as hybridization can create plants that can have more of the Sativa genes, Indica genes, or a balance of both.
Methods of Consumption
Oils and Extracts
Cannabis oils take a different path because they are ingested and not inhaled. Cannabis oils are processed by the liver, and work best when taken with food or taken sublingually (under the tongue). Unlike combustion or vaporizing, Cannabis oils that are taken with food take longer to set in, with a wait time of 60-90 minutes before the effects begin. Peak effects begin within 2 hours of ingestion and last for 6-8 hours after ingestion. Cannabis oils that are taken sublingually have an onset time of approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
Vaporizing is a great alternative to smoking Cannabis as it releases 95% of cannabinoids without destroying a majority of them in the heating process. Some patients find that when vaporizing, they are using less Cannabis due to the reduction in the waste of cannabinoids that is caused by the combustion when smoking Cannabis. A dried herb vaporizer is required for this method, but they are a variety of both hand-held and desktop devices.
Vaporizers heat the Cannabis to the boiling point point just before combustion, releasing the cannabinoids into the water vapor to be inhaled. Vapourizing offers a fast acting effect but only last for 1-2 hours in the body.
This is a popular method for consumption because the effects are almost instantaneous. However, it is not the recommended option as the smoke can be damaging to your lungs. The smoke can also mask the flavours of the terpenes, causing a burnt taste. If you are going to choose to inhale Cannabis you should invest in a proper handheld vaporizer. This is because many of the cannabinoids are destroyed due to the high heat from the combustion.
There are products on the market that specialize in combustion consumption, they are designed to heat up the product but not burn it, helping the burn rate of the cannabinoids.
As a medical patient you are legally allowed to turn your Cannabis into butter, oils and into edibles. They are a great choice when consumed responsibly; edibles can be potent and body-focused, meaning they are great for people who suffer from pain, nausea or lack of appetite.
A grinder is a tool used to break/grind up dried cannabis. They can be in a few different shapes but most work the same way.
By now most of us have heard about vaping, but there are still many misconceptions as to how the process actually works.
A vaporizer will heat the medical cannabis to the point just before it burns, turning the active cannabinoids into a gaseous/vapour state which can be inhaled. Vaping is considered a safer alternative to smoking, as using a vaporizer eliminates up to 96% of the carcinogens associated with smoking. When vaping, you also have less irritation of the throat and airways, meaning there will be less coughing. Vaping gives off little odour and the smell doesn’t linger like it does with smoking a joint or a using a pipe.
Decarboxylation: When you receive dried cannabis flower from a Licensed Producer, it is not decarboxylated, unless it is labelled this way, meaning it is not psychoactive. Many assume the dried cannabis flower has the cannabinoid THC in it, but it actually has THCA in it. This THCA converts to THC naturally over time and with heat. So when you see a label on your medical cannabis that states “potential/actual”, that’s because they’re accounting for what is currently present (from the dried flower being stored and the natural decarbing occuring) as well as what could potentially be in the dried flower once full decarboxylation happens.
When you smoke or vaporize dried cannabis, this instantaneously decarboxylates the cannabinoids via the extremely high temperatures present. This makes them available for absorption through inhaling.
To make edibles of your own, you will first need to decarboxylate your dried cannabis. A simple way to decarb your cannabis is to “bake” your dry cannabis at 240 degrees F, for 50 minutes. You’ll want to “tent” tinfoil over the cannabis to keep the good essential oils and terpenes from evaporating off. Let it cool with the tent still covering the dried flower. Once cooled, you can use this decarbed dry flower to make butter, oil, capsules, etc.