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When To Take a Break from Cannabis

Take a Break From Cannabis

There are many reasons you might decide to take a break from consuming cannabis.  Perhaps you just landed a new job and they require drug testing or you have been getting pressure from family or friends to rein in your marijuana use. One of the most common reasons for a cannabis break is called a tolerance break and happens when over time your body builds up a high tolerance for the cannabinoids in cannabis and you stop feeling that wonderful buzz when you consume cannabis.  You may not even feel high at all despite the immense quantity you smoke, vape or the edibles you eat.  Regardless of the reasons for a break there are a few important things to keep in mind and expect from a successful cannabis break.

Preparing for a Drug Test

If you have just received word that your new employer requires a drug test or your existing employer is going to start random testing, don’t panic but don’t ignore the situation.  The standard wisdom for urine tests is that you need to be cannabis free for approximately 2 weeks.  Completely cannabis free.  One small toke off your friends blunt counts and so does one small gummy. Tough to give it up completely, even temporarily but if you decide you want the job, or want to keep a job, it must be done. Spending hundreds of dollars on high priced detox methods may help, but not much and you may end up making yourself sick in the process.  The best way to detox is to eat as clean as possible and drink lots of water but don’t go too crazy with the water. Keep things simple with regards to what you eat and drink, try and get some moderate exercise as well but once again don’t wrap yourself in Saranwrap and go for a 2 hour jog.  Some sites do offer test kits if you are approaching your official test date and want to make sure your system is cannabis free.  If they are from a reputable source, testing yourself first may give you some peace of mind.

Pressure from Family and Friends

This type of cannabis break is the most controversial because if you let other people, even people that you care about, dictate your lifestyle choices, resentment may soon follow.  That being said if a friend or family member voices their concerns regarding your marijuana use, hear them out.  Ask questions if you need to but if you agree with what they have to say and decide you are going to take a cannabis break it’s crucial to set boundaries right away.  Assuming you are an adult, have a friend or family member monitor your “progress” will do absolutely nothing but stress you out and be counterproductive towards a successful break.  Let them know that and be completely transparent that this is a break and you will decide how long that break will last.  If they respect your boundaries, great, they will make a good sounding board if you are struggling.  You may want to reach out to other people on social media who are also taking a cannabis break.  It can truly be helpful to hear from others going through a similar situation.

Tolerance Break

Probably the most typical type of break from marijuana use is known as a tolerance break.  As described above, you will know when it’s time to take a tolerance break.  Are all your friends super stoned while you remain completely unaffected by a few good bong hits?  Time for a tolerance break.  How long the break is depends on a number of factors.  It takes approximately a month for cannabis to be completely out of your system.  Not the same as taking a drug test, this type of detoxing takes longer.  For many people this is too long of a time period and they may have medical or personal reasons for trying a shorter break.  If you just need a good reset from your cannabis use, start with a week and see how you do.  Some people choose a longer break than even a month and that is also perfectly fine, if you are doing it for the right reasons and are happy with your choice that is the most important aspect.

Will I Experience Cannabis Withdrawals?

There is not a yes or no answer to this question.  The honest answer is, it depends.  It depends on how long you have been using cannabis, how much you have been consuming and the reasons you consume cannabis. For most people that consume cannabis to treat medical conditions, whether it’s anxiety, pain or nausea from chemo you can expect the symptoms to get worse so if you plan on taking a long break, it’s wise to talk to your doctor about how best to manage your symptoms in the meantime.  If you are a pretty light marijuana user you may notice some sleep disturbances, especially the first week and a few mood swings.  If you are a more serious cannabis user those issues will likely be worse and go on for a longer period of time.  Plan ahead and find out ways to minimize problems like sleeplessness and anxiety during a cannabis break.  4 am on the second night of a break is probably not the best time to decide you need alternatives.  For some cannabis users, even ones who have been consuming cannabis daily for years, they can take a break with no negative side effects.  This is pretty rare so if you decide to take a cannabis break, prepare ahead of time to make it a positive experience.

Be sure to check out: Greening Out with Cannabis – What to do if it happens to you or a friend.

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Get to Know Your Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis Concentrates

Most cannabis users, especially newbies know what a flower is in the cannabis world.  They are familiar with edibles and may have tried both flowers and edibles.  These two ways to consume cannabis are easy, require little in depth knowledge and the effects are fairly well known if not sometimes unpredictable.  The world of cannabis concentrates is a foreign world for many cannabis users and some choose to avoid them simply because they don’t quite understand how to use cannabis concentrates, what the effects might be or what equipment they need to have on hand.  We will explore some of the more popular concentrates.

Live Resin

If you buy frozen fruit or veggies, you already know what live resin is.  The fresher the cannabis plant, the more cannabinoids and terpenes it retains and the better quality product you end up with. Live resin is flash frozen almost as soon as the cannabis plant is harvested, much like fruits and veggies, so it retains almost all the THC and terpenes.  Its best not to let live resin sit around for too long though, store it in a darker container in the refrigerator or a cool place.  Usually dark amber in color, the consistency varies depending on the cannabis strain used.  You consume live resin much the same way you do with flowers but with a bit more specialized equipment such as a dabbing rig or a vaporizer designed for live resin.  A powerful buzz awaits you.

Distillate

A distillate form of cannabis improves on an already good thing by taking simple cannabis concentrates and basically removing all the “extras” through the distillation process.  What you are left with is a highly potent product.  A specialized product though because the distillation process removes all the terpenes from the cannabis and for users who love their terpenes, this can be a surprise.  For cannabis users who are only interested in CBD for medicinal purposes, distillates are the way to go.  Some distillates are all THC while others are all CBD so check your labels carefully at the dispensary.  Most distillates are a light amber to yellow color and can be used with a vaporizer and are super convenient once you choose the right vape device.

Terp Sauce (sometimes called just Sauce)

If you know and love your terpenes, this one is for you!  The super potent cannabis concentrate contains pure THC and terpenes.  The liquid, it’s not actually an official concentrate is pretty versatile.  You can either find it in vape cartridges at your local dispensary or you can dab it if that is your thing.  It can also be a pretty potent addition to a bowl, bong or pipe, your choice or infused into a blunt.  Use caution though as Terp sauce can be pretty intense especially if you’ve never tried it before so vaping it first to get an idea of what you are working with is a good idea.  Then you can add it into some of your other favorite cannabis consuming methods.

BHO (Butane Hash Oil)

This concentrate is a broad category and likely includes a number of types of cannabis you may have already heard about or even tried.  BHO is created by using butane, a highly flammable solvent so DO NOT try this at home) to extract the THC and other cannabinoids including terpenes. Depending on the method used and the marijuana strain, different consistencies will result.  Which one you choose depends on how you plan to consume it and what you feel like trying.  Remember, it’s your cannabis experience.  One popular consistency is shatter, which as the name indicates, is a hard amber colored concentrate that quite little shatters when broken apart or dropped.  Easy to put into a bowl or a blunt, shatter can also be dabbed.  Another common BHO consistency is crumble and the consistency is much like a cookie and is not translucent like shatter but is equally as versatile in the way you can consume it.  Yet another BHO cannabis concentrate is Badder or sometimes called Budder and yes you are right it has a somewhat buttery texture.  More like salt water taffy.  Wax is the most popular variety of BHO concentrates and like the others it’s all up to you to decide if and how you want to try this type of concentrate.

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What are Cannabis Terpenes and Why Do They Matter?

Cannabis Terpenes

For the recreational cannabis connoisseur, understanding which cannabis terpenes are most beneficial can help them achieve the ultimate experience.  For the strictly medicinal cannabis user, selecting a strain with the right terpene profiles will provide the expected benefits without any unwanted side effects.  For the marijuana newbie or the occasional user, learning about which terpenes interact best with their own body’s chemistry can be nothing short of enlightening.  Not convinced yet that terpenes are worth knowing about?  For the recreational user, have you ever purchased that “perfect” strain, you know the one that promises so much, all your friends love it and the THC percentage is north of 30% only to wonder if you bought a bad batch or if your tolerance is past peak?  It happens more often than you may think and rather than continue your quest blindly, take some time to understand which cannabis terpenes work for you.

So what exactly are terpenes?  Broadly speaking terpenes are present in almost all plants and are what gives that plant its aroma and flavor.  Think Lavender or Rosemary.  Now back to the important plant.  Terpenes in cannabis are formed within the little hairs (trichomes) of the cannabis buds.  What terpene profile a strain has is determined by both the spectrum and intensity of light during the growing process.  Terpenes, besides giving marijuana it’s smell and flavor interact with the cannabinoids, THC and CBD, to produce the overall effect for the user. This full cannabis plant interaction is known as the “entourage effect”.  Terpenes can strengthen or weaken the cannabinoids in a strain so knowing which ones matter to you is crucial to achieving your cannabis consumption goals.

Two important considerations before we explore the most prevalent cannabis terpenes.  There are well over 100 cannabis terpenes in cannabis and more are being discovered all the time so for today we will focus on the five most significant.  Second, carbonization essentially destroys terpenes in cannabis as well as the cannabinoids so if you are using a vaporizer with temperature control, do some research first so you keep the temperature optimal for not just the cannabinoids but the terpenes as well.  Different terpenes remain stable at different temperatures.  Now on to the five key terpenes.

Alpha Pinene

For this terpene, the name says it all, pine.  The aroma of pine, and well the flavor too for those so inclined is key to this terpenes profile.  This terpene is found in some sativa and sativa dominant hybrids.  Big strain names you may recognize are Jack Herer, Bluedream and Chemdawg.  Strains with Alpha Pinene help with focus and memory.  Students over 21, this terpene is your friend!  Other pretty amazing benefits are that it is an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial terpene.

Linalool

Feeling anxious, stressed, in need of some relaxation and sleep?  Welcome to the power of the Linalool terpene.  Mostly found in Indicas and Indica dominant hybrids, think LA Confidential and Amnesia Haze when it comes to typical Linalool strains.  Interestingly this terpene is also found in cotton and linen.  Maybe that explains the relaxation aroma.  For those prone to seizures, this terpene has anti-epileptic properties and is also an analgesic (pain killer).  Impressive!

Myrcene

So you have found the perfect Netflix series are now you need the perfect cannabis accompaniment.  Found in strains considered to be fairly balanced hybrids and a big contributor to the sometimes requested “couch lock” effect is the slightly earthy, a little fruity Myrcene terpene.  If you are a fan of any pure Kush strains, you are already a fan of this terpene.  Some classic strains include White Widow and Granddaddy Purple.  This terpene profile includes spectacular benefits.  It’s an analgesic, a muscle relaxant and has antibiotic properties.

Beta Caryophyllene

This is a happy terpene.  With a spicy, sometimes peppery aroma and taste, Beta Caryophyllene is one of the most sought after cannabis terpenes for true hybrid fans.  Some of the most well-known strains are Bubba Kush and the very popular Girl Scout Cookies.  Recommended by cannabis users with PTSD, depression or for anyone who just wants a little slice of happiness with a pinch of euphoria.  Major benefits include its antioxidant, anti-anxiety antidepressant properties. This one really handles all the unwanted “antis”.

Limonene

Once again, the aroma and flavor profile is in the name, just spelled a bit differently.  This is a citrus based terpene and is one of the key components of the talkative, social and energetic high.  This one is for true Sativa lovers.  Not much chance of couch lock with this terpene.  Strains that you have probably heard of are Lemon Haze and Sour Diesel.  Not surprisingly, this terpene helps to improve your mood and really who doesn’t want that?  Other benefits include anti-anxiety and immune system booster properties.

Improve your cannabis experience exponentially by improving your cannabis terpenes knowledge.

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How To Make Cannabis-Infused Butter or Cannabutter

cannabis butter

This is a beginners guide to making cannabis butter or cannabutter. Once you master the process, you will be able to make all sorts of edibles from brownies and cookies to dousing your favorite vegetables.

This recipe roughly translates into 30 milligrams of THC per tbsp of cannabis butter or oil. Your ideal dose will vary, but 10 mg is standard.Begin by testing 1/4 teaspoon of this weed butter you create and wait for about an hour. Observe how you are feeling and let your body tell you if this is an excellent amount, if you want more, or if you need less. Erring on the side of care will make certain you really enjoy yourself and have a positive experience.

Step 1: Decarboxylation

The first thing you are going to need to do is decarboxylate your own cannabis. Also called”decarbing,” this requires you to bake your marijuana, allowing the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids to trigger. Additionally, it allows for lipids in oil and butter to readily bind to your weed to your best cannabis infusion.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 oz of marijuana
  • Hand grinder or scissors
  • Glass baking dish or sheet pan
  • Oven

Things to do for Cannabis Butter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220° F.
  2. Gently split apart the desired quantity of weed using a hand-grinder, scissors, or with hands till it is the perfect consistency for rolling a joint– nice, but not too fine. Anything too fine will slide through cheesecloth (or a joint, for that matter). You need your cannabutter and oil to be clean and as clear as you can.
  3. Evenly disperse your plant material on the glass baking dish or sheet pan. Pop in the oven on the middle rack for 20 minutes if using old or reduced quality weed; 45 minutes for treated, high quality cannabis; or one hour or longer for anything that’s been recently harvested and remains wet.
  4. Check on the marijuana regularly while it is in the oven, gently mixing it every 10 minutes in order to not burn it. You will see that the color of your herb will vary from bright green to a deep brown green. That is when you know it’s decarboxylated.

Step 2: Cannabis Butter Stovetop

What You Will Need:

  • 11/2 cup water
  • 8 oz clarified butter, melted butter, or oil
  • 1/2 oz decarboxylated cannabis
  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Thermometer, discretionary cheesecloth and/or metallic strainer

What to do for cannabis butter:

  1. In a medium saucepan on very low heat, add butter and water.
  2. Once the butter is melted, add the decarboxylated cannabis, mix well then cover.
  3. Let mix gently simmer for 4 hours. Stir every half hour to ensure that your cannabutter is not burning. For those who have a thermometer, check to be certain that the temperature does not reach over 180°.
  4. After simmering for 4 hours strain with a strainer or cheesecloth into a separate container. Allow the butter cool to room temperature. Use immediately or keep in fridge or freezer with a well-sealed mason jar. You should be able to store your cannabis butter for up to six months.

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Cannabis Strains and How to Combine Them

Cannabis Strains

Most of us have our favorite cannabis strains, but who said you need to restrict yourself to one? You’ve got countless indicas, sativas, and hybrids to choose from, and the probable combinations are near-endless. The best breed combos, however, are made in consideration of the genetics, cannabinoid profiles, and how their terpenes blend.

There are thousands of special cannabis strains out there. Some are designed for stimulation, others for soothing our heads. Some are bred for effectiveness, and some purely based on preference. Most consumers have their own favorite strain that hits that sweet spot for them. Continue reading Cannabis Strains and How to Combine Them