Vaping Cannabis May Reduce Tobacco Use

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Vaping has been all over the news lately, especially with all of the research coming out of Portland State University, in my home state of Oregon. We have seen studies looking at the health benefits/losses of e-cigarettes, and we are starting to see some more research on BHO concentrates.

All of the available research has focused on the direct health consequences of vaping and not its effects in a more holistic view. A group of scientists researching addiction (to tobacco) has started to see a trend appearing in the U.S. and Europe that they believe is worth further investigation. The author of a letter to the editor published in the journal, Society for the Study of Addiction, believe that vaping cannabis, either whole plant or extract may reduce tobacco use and addiction.

The study cited by the letter to the editor aimed to compare differences in routes of administration (ROA) for cannabis in different regions of the world.

In Europe, the most common form of cannabis use is in a spliff, or part tobacco, part cannabis. This means of smoking marijuana helps to solidify a psychological relationship between cannabis and tobacco, typical Pavlovian conditioning.

According to the study, many Europeans are introduced to tobacco through smoking marijuana, an effect dubbed as “Reverse Gateway.” It should also be noted that smoking cigarettes is, in fact, more common in Europe than in the U.S. and Canada. Furthermore, the researchers noted that those who do vape cannabis tend not to mix it with tobacco concentrates (makes sense to me), and they found a lower incidence of tobacco use in areas of increased cannabis vaping.

But let’s take a step back right quick because anyone who’s anyone knows that correlation does not imply causation.

The authors realize this and are making the argument for further research. Surely the scientists have a hypothesis as to why this correlation exists. After all, they do believe there is a relationship.

As a practicing biochemist, my first instinct is to think there is a direct chemical relationship. But the nature of this phenomenon is believed to be of psychological association. Of course, this isn’t to say that a psychological association isn’t inherently physiochemical; after all, brain structure leads to behavior.

Since our friends across the Atlantic often mix their weed with their tobacco, there is a strong association between the two. When they are done smoking the wacky tobacco, they maintain regular tobacco use. Since mixing e-juice with cannabis concentrates is less prevalent, vaping cannabis will not yield the same associations.

The authors of the letter speculate that the normalization of vaping cannabis may lead to a generation of cannabis users who are not exposed to tobacco or nicotine. Of course, things are never as simple as they may seem. Due to vaping (BHO) being a relatively new technology, more research needs to be done to ensure that we are not replacing one unhealthy habit with another. At the end of the day, we can only wish for the best, and hopefully, we will see this research funded in the coming years.

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Should I Add CO2 To My Indoor Garden?

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Looking for information regarding CO2 and cannabis cultivation? Wondering if supplemental CO2 will boost your yield? High Times Cultivation Editor Nico Escondido answers all of your grow questions in his weekly Nico’s Nuggets column.

The Question: Should I Add CO2 To My Indoor Garden?

What’s up, Nico!

First-time indoor grower here, but I am no noob. I grow BIG outdoors in NorCal, but this offseason, we are going indoors. My question is about CO2—should I add CO2 to my indoor garden? Will supplemental CO2 really help boost yield? I am used to growing 14’ outdoor trees, where yield is less of an issue than achieving higher quality, so now the tables are flipped, and I am indoors. I expect quality to be high, but what about yield? As always, you are da man! Thanks for everything High Times!

— JimmyGrowsBig

The Answer: How To Use CO2 To Pack Weight Onto Buds

Howdy, Jim, thanks for reading and writing in with a question!

It is true that the ongoing debate over outdoor vs. indoor growing often really comes down to quantity (yield) vs. quality (potency and flavor), with outdoor holding the former position and indoor the latter. However, this is not to say that high quality and potency are not achievable outdoors, nor large yields impossible to achieve indoors. One step towards increasing yield in an indoor garden is to supplement with CO2, which does aid in packing weight onto buds.

Let’s take a closer look at how plants use CO2 and the levels necessary for optimal plant (and flower) development.

CO2 & Cannabis Plants

Should I Add CO2 To My Indoor Garden?

Large-format indoor gardens utilize gas burners to create added CO2.

When we talk about adding extra carbon dioxide (CO2) to marijuana gardens, the science behind the theory isn’t specific only to cannabis. All plants need CO2 to grow, develop and live healthy life cycles. However, for flowering plants such as marijuana, adding CO2 to a garden can greatly increase the yield of each plant. Over 90 percent of the dry matter of cannabis is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The sole source of the carbon is from CO2 in the air.

It is important to note that a plant only needs and uses CO2 during daylight hours. And the more light that is available to a plant, the more CO2 it needs for photosynthesis. It is in this process that the carbon-fixing reaction occurs, splitting CO2 molecules into carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) to create food for the plant in the form of sugars and starches.

CO2 is measured in parts-per-million, or PPM. Ambient CO2 levels in the outdoor atmosphere average about 300 – 400 PPM, which is adequate for plants outside in nature. However, indoor gardens can control atmospheric conditions and sometimes choose to boost these levels in order to quicken plant development and pack weight onto buds. Increasing CO2 levels from 400 PPM to 1500 PPM can increase plant growth by nearly 40 percent.

However, there is such a thing as too much CO2. Much like human muscles on steroids, plants that take in too much CO2 can start to have tissue deterioration issues. When plant flowers are pushed towards these limits, the quality of the buds may start to diminish.

CO2 Garden Levels

Should I Add CO2 To My Indoor Garden?

For smaller indoor gardens, a CO2 regulator and timer are used with CO2 tanks for supplemental CO2 infusion.

Consider the following: In a California greenhouse, a plant in full sunlight at midday will receive approximately 5,000 lumens per square foot. At this light intensity, a cannabis plant can process up to 2,000 PPM of CO2. For 3,000 lumens per square foot, the plant could use up to 1,500 PPM. At 1,000 lumens per square foot, this amount drops to ambient levels of 300 PPM.

However, it is important to remember that these guidelines use lumens as benchmarks, whereas PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) is the better barometer for measuring the ratio of light-to-C02 in your garden.

This is because lumens measure all available light coming from the source, not the light that is actually utilized by the plants. Light that the leaves cannot sense for various different reasons becomes completely wasted as its photons do not get absorbed or used in the carbon-splitting process mentioned above. Thus, it would be better to calculate needed CO2 using PAR measurements. However, since PAR values within an indoor garden are difficult to ascertain (specialized equipment is needed), a safe recommendation is to keep indoor gardens around 1,000 PPM when supplementing your environment with CO2. This can increase garden yield by as much as 20 percent, while also keeping potency high and quality intact.

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Medical Marijuana Reverses Tobacco Caused Ischemia

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I don’t think I am making a controversial statement here by saying that weed is probably safer than tobacco. Sure, we are still producing minor carcinogens when combusting cannabis—but without all of the gross additives in cigarettes.

Aside from the big one (cancer), smoking cigarettes can cause a whole plethora of other problems, one being Thromboangiitis obliterans (TO), a disease that displays itself as the clotting of capillary blood vessels in the arteries/veins of our digits (fingers and toes) from inflammation of surrounding tissue. A case study out of Israel found that extensive use of cannabis reversed the effects of TO.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how cannabis may be doing this, let’s quickly go over some of the medical terms we will be seeing. Though the patient exhibited signs of Buerger disease (another name for TO), it was found because of what is called ischemia.

Ischemia is essentially the dying of tissue (skin/muscle)  due to lack of nutrients (i.e. glucose, oxygen, etc.) from poor blood circulation. This lack of blood flow was caused by the clotting from T.O. The disease is a direct result of tobacco use, whether it is smoking or chewing. While the mechanism by which tobacco produces these symptoms is unknown, the only people who have Buerger’s disease smoke tobacco. Interestingly, it appears as though men have a greater likelihood of acquiring Buerger’s disease, though this could be attributed to a higher rate of tobacco usage with men.

OK, let’s now get into the story. How did the doctor know to prescribe cannabis, especially when this relationship between medical marijuana and TO had never before been looked at before? The truth of the matter is that the doctor did not initially prescribe pot.

The patient, who we will refer to as Bob, was a heavy smoker, nearly 2.5 packs of cigarettes per day. Bob came into the hospital with severe pain in his foot; he had a massive infection and ischemia due to T.O. It had progressed so bad that Dr. Robinson recommended an amputation below the knee. Bob refused and opted to self-medicate with marijuana, twice daily. After the first six months, his pain had reduced, and it continued to reduce for the next two and a half years. During this time, he also cut back on his cigarette smoking.

With the first six months down, Dr. Robinson was able to prescribe Bob medical cannabis in the form of what is called MCT (medical cannabis treatment), and Bob’s MCT dosage steadily increased over the course of a few years. After three years of MCT, and antibiotics for the initial infection, Bob’s ischemia had almost completely reversed—leaving minimal scarring.

Dr. Robinson attributed the cannabis’ action to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, gradually returning blood flow to the ischemic limbs. He did note, however, that this is a case study, and no statistical significance can be attributed to cannabis’ effects on ischemic-reversal until further research is done. Until then, I think this is a beautiful study further showing the potential for cannabis in modern medicine and society!

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Why Smoking Weed Causes You To Dream Less

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Is there a clear relationship between weed and dreams? If you’ve ever heard the claim that smoking weed causes you to dream less, or have “marijuana dreams”, stick around. We’re going to dive deep into the science behind marijuana and dreams.

I don’t know about all of you but, when I have trouble sleeping I turn to a nice, full flavored indica to help knock me out.

It’s super effective; I typically wake up feeling rested and ready for the day, but something peculiar has been happening, something that was missing, something I didn’t realize until a friend asked me a simple question, “What was your dream last night?”

I was racked my brain trying to remember but then thought, I don’t recall my dreams from any of the times I toked before bed. After talking with some friends, and going through the /r/trees subreddit, I found that other reefer-sleepers had the same phenomenon—no stony marijuana dreams.

Luckily for us, we can sift through the archives of Google Scholar to find a scientific answer to the dreamless conundrum! Or rather, the marijuana dreams conundrum.

There is no doubt that smoking pot makes us drowsy, especially heavy indica strains. But have you ever wondered why?

Before we discuss sleep research, we should first remind ourselves of the sleep cycle and the brain waves associated with them.

Now, when I say brain waves, I literally mean waves! There is an instrument that is commonly used in sleep studies called an electroencephalogram or EEG for short. It works by measuring the total (averaged) electrical activity throughout your entire brain. Through many years of research, neuroscientists have been able to assign a frequency, and amplitude to specific stages. There are five stages in a single sleep cycle, ranging from 1 – 4, and then rapid eye movement (REM).

Stages 1 – 3, associated with beta, alpha and theta waves respectively, are the stages of sleep that involve the transition of being awake to falling asleep. The most restorative stages of the sleep cycle are 4 and REM, associated with delta (deep sleep), and gamma (dreaming) waves. We repeat the following cycle approximately three times a night, if you get your full eight hours. Now that we are feeling rested and refreshed on our sleep cycle knowledge, let’s see what the science of pot has in store! Is there a relationship between weed and dreams?

A research study done by Pivik et al. looked at the effect of orally administered THC and a synthetic ortholog (similar compound) before sleep and measured the brainwaves with an electroencephalogram (EEG) to observe the relationship between marijuana and dreams. They also had the subjects (volunteers) have their brainwaves measured during drug-less sleep as a control.

What they found out about the question of whether smoking weed causes you to dream less or not was rather interesting! So what is the relationship between weed and dreams?

While there were relatively minor changes in the sleep activity of stages 1 – 3, they noticed that, in a dose-dependent manner, higher THC both increased stage 4 (deep sleep) whilst decreasing REM (dream sleep).

This study about marijuana and dreams answers two questions. Why does smoking before bed help us feel rested? More deep sleep. Why is that smoking weed causes you to dream less? Less REM sleep.

There is a certain elegance with scientific experimentation that keeps pulling me back for more. Hopefully, you feel the same way! Stay tuned for a deeper look into the biochemistry of cannabis and sleep!

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Run The Jewels & The Power Of Symbolism

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Heavy smoke wafts through the air in Run the Jewels’ trailer as Killer Mike puffs on a joint. His partner in crime, El-P, is sitting comfortably on the couch after the duo’s Maha Music Festival set in Omaha, NE, was cut short due to an impending storm. With the driver of a black Cadillac Escalade patiently waiting to whisk them away, they are still eager to discuss their meteoric rise to fame.

After all, it was only five years ago that Mike asked El-P to produce his 2012 solo album, R.A.P. Music, the project that started it all. In 2013, the Georgia native/Outkast affiliate and New York–underground hip-hop legend officially teamed up under the Run the Jewels moniker—and the rest is history.

“We did not anticipate this,” El-P explains. “There’s really no way around it. We just didn’t—certainly not when we were doing the first Run the Jewels project, ’cause we were just doing it for fun. We didn’t think it would become the main thing we were doing. We just didn’t have anything lined up. We were just hanging and being creative with each other. We just did it just because we loved making music.”

Run the Jewels released its self-titled debut in 2013 to critical acclaim and followed up with Run the Jewels 2 in 2014 and Run the Jewels 3 in 2016. Since then, the duo’s stock has soared and they’ve simply been enjoying the wild ride. Mike has always had one goal in mind, and, evidently, his plan is working.

“I’m fucking nuts, so I’ll say it, like, ‘We’re going to take over the fucking world.’ We are becoming what we always wanted to become, and that’s one of the best rap groups. We wanted to do what we saw Outkast, EPMD, the Beasties, 8Ball & MJG, and UGK do—hang out, make dope music with your friends and rock the crowd.”

Together, El-P and Killer Mike offer more than just clever rhyme schemes, explosive production and intriguing lyrical content. They’re a symbol of what it means to put any perceived differences aside and bust through stereotypes. Considering America’s political climate and ever-evolving divisiveness, Run the Jewels’ outspokenness couldn’t come at a better time.

“We just are friends,” Mike explains. “Our friends inspire people. We aren’t mad about it inspiring people, because I would love to see kids in this country overcome these issues. We’re given racism, classism and suspicions of one another. We’re kind of given that by our parents, aunts and bigger society. I’m happy to see kids coming up using our friendship and saying, ‘You know what? We cool.’ That’s not why we’re friends, though. We’re just fucking friends.”

“The power of the symbolism doesn’t escape us, especially in these times, but it’s a by-product of a genuine friendship,” El-P adds. “This is just the reality of our friendship. This is just the truth.”

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Inside sofresh farms

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Oregon tokers are spoiled. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you can’t even give away shitty weed here. Bud that would trip everyone’s trigger in another state doesn’t even disarm the safety here. And sofresh farms’ products, with buds as dank as they get, are miles ahead of those of the state’s average grower. The farm has the best genetics, and its growers know how to maximize each strain’s potential. If you want the best pot products on the market, sofresh is the call. So sit back, roll a joint and come along on a trip through an award-winning Oregon farm.

Driving up to sofresh farms is a little underwhelming. A large fence keeps the premises out of sight from prying eyes. Once inside, though, it looks like a standard farm, not unlike one you’d expect to see elsewhere in rural America. But, of course, the cultivated plants here are anything but average. The man behind the grow is Tyson Haworth, whose bond with the plants he cares for is palpable. Haworth’s passion for growing is infectious, and everyone around him feeds off his enthusiasm. It’s hard not to get caught up in his passion when he talks about growing cannabis, and his products are considered by many to be the best of the best.

Although many growers focus on hydroponic solutions using synthetic nutrients, Haworth prefers 100 percent organic techniques. His farm has an outdoor grow area alongside a large greenhouse and several indoor growrooms. Everything is cultivated in naturally amended soil using proven organic methods. In fact, sofresh does more than just claim its products are organic; the farm has literally passed the test.

Everything sofresh farms grows is Clean Green Certified—a program that regulates cannabis products to certify they’re grown organically. Generally speaking, organic growing methods work in harmony with Mother Nature. But sofresh farms takes this organic approach to a whole new level. However, even though a perfect organic environment ensures the best possible results from a given genotype, it you don’t start with the right genetics it’s all a waste of time.

Inside sofresh farms

Plants maturing in a greenhouse at sofresh farms. (Photo by StinkBud/High Times)

And Haworth starts with excellent genetics—some of the best in the world. He acknowledges that growing the right strains is crucial to the foundation of any grow, and he’s always on the hunt for outstanding genetics. Selection is crucial to sofresh’s customers, so the company always keeps a couple dozen strains running. Additionally, sofresh makes sure that a few of their most popular varieties are always on hand—but even some of the farm’s most legendary strains sell out quickly.

At sofresh farms, Haworth doesn’t run mother plants. He prefers to take his clones from vegetative plants instead. That way he can run a large selection of strains without having to waste valuable space and resources keeping the mother plants alive. In his experience, he hasn’t had any issues with genetic drift using this technique. In fact, Haworth claims that you can take a plant that looks like it’s been experiencing genetic drift and place it in a healthy environment, and the plant will take off like it was a brand-new seedling.

Haworth feels that clones root better if you cut them right after the first week of flowering, as the plants are already in a transition phase and they tend to root more easily. He uses a hybrid cloning technique that utilizes a root plug inside a traditional aeroponic cloner. He takes cuttings from the healthiest plants, dips them in rooting gel and places them into the plugs.

Inside sofresh farms

Buds are cured at the perfect temperature and humidity. (Photo by StinkBud/High Times)

Haworth takes large cuttings, looking for fresh, green stems with no woody growth, and he uses a razor blade to make a clean, sterile cut. The clone room is kept very humid with a large humidifier, and the cuttings usually take seven to 14 days to root. Haworth prefers fluorescent lights for clones, as they promote vegetative growth and are mild on the plants. He explains that too much light can cause the plants to wilt: “You want just enough light to promote root growth without killing the plants—we want roots, not leaves.”

After the clones pop roots, they are moved into either 1- or 3-gallon pots, depending on the genetics. Haworth prefers to use smart pots for the vegetative stage of growth. He explains that smart pots help prevent transplant shock, which plants can experience for up to a week. Smart pots can practically eliminate this, and they also allow roots to breathe more easily and have the added benefit of air-pruning the roots.

At sofresh farms, the veg plants are kept in a greenhouse with supplemental lighting providing 18 hours of light. A combination of sunlight and artificial light allows the plants to “harden” and acclimate to the sunlight. Plants can get sunburnt just like us humans, and hardening the plants is similar to giving the plants a base tan. Then, after they’re acclimated to the bright lights or sunshine, the plants are moved into the flower stage—and that’s where the real magic begins.

The sofresh indoor growing area uses a closed-loop system with no-till raised beds. Haworth prefers to use high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, but he’s always testing new systems and reflectors. Lately, he’s been researching three different light configurations to find the most efficient system possible. Haworth’s also been measuring the differences between a closed-loop system with supplemental CO2 and a hybrid system with fresh-air ventilation. In the winter, sofresh farms brings in cool air from the outside instead of using air-conditioning. This not only uses less power, but it also replenishes CO2 naturally. But during the hot summer months, sofresh farms runs air-conditioning to keep the temperature below 85°F. This keeps terpene loss to a minimum, which helps with fragrance intensity.

The raised-soil beds that sofresh farms uses stand about 2 feet high and comprise a mixture of peat moss, pearlite, worm castings and compost, as well as other common additives, with the ultimate goal of creating synergy between the plants and soil. Haworth creates a “living soil” by building an environment that is perfect for both beneficial bacteria and the cannabis crop. He starts by inoculating the plants early in the vegetative stage and then carries it through to flower. Haworth brews his own tea, but instead of adding bacteria to the brew and letting it ferment, he adds the compost extract directly to the soil and lets the beneficial bacteria break it down. Basically, he’s feeding the bacteria that help his plants. This makes the beneficial bacteria very healthy and happy, and they respond by breaking down the nutrients the plants need in order to flourish. This symbiotic relationship is a key element to any successful organic grow.

If you’ve ever hiked down a dirt trail, you already know how soil gets compacted by people walking on it. Haworth says that one of the worst things that can happen to soil is having it compacted so much that all the minute air pockets are destroyed. Those small spaces not only store oxygen, but they also act as water reservoirs and allow roots a place to grow. That’s why Haworth built wooden walkways above his flower beds, which help keep the soil fluffier than grandma’s pancakes and the buds as sweet as syrup.

Inside sofresh farms

Environmental control is essential to success. (Photo by StinkBud/High Times)

Have you ever been out hiking when your feet get soaking wet, and then when you take off your shoes your feet look like a couple of raisins from hell? Plants don’t like their feet—their roots—getting that saturated with water any more than you do. That’s why keeping the soil’s moisture content in perfect balance is so important. Anyone can throw some water on the ground, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. Haworth is the master of moisture balance. How does he do it?

First, Haworth uses a thin layer of straw mulch on top of the soil to keep moisture from escaping while still allowing the soil underneath to breathe. He’ll push aside the straw and stick his hand in wrist-deep, pulling out a clump of deep black soil that he compacts in his hands, making a small dirt clod. He explains that if the soil is too dry, the dirt clod won’t hold together. The clod should break apart easily. If it doesn’t, there’s too much moisture. This simple technique allows Haworth to keep the soil at exactly the right balance.

Haworth feels that there are benefits to growing plants together in the same bed. They’re able to share microbes and worms, and they also communicate with one another. Plants need room to grow both above- and belowground. Haworth accomplishes this by preparing the soil deep below the raised beds so that the plants’ roots grow freely. Growing large plants in small pots is like trying to squeeze into last year’s swimsuit. You could pull it off, but no one is going to be happy about it.

Whether you feed your plants synthetic or organic nutrients, the goal is usually the same: tasty bud! Haworth believes that an organic approach is best for both his plants and his customers. So not only does he hunt down the finest organic ingredients money can buy, he also makes his own.

At sofresh farms, they take the leaves and stems from the thinning and trimming process and put them into large 55-gallon containers. Water and lactic-acid bacteria are added to the mix and allowed to stew until the concoction smells like an old gym locker. When the mix stops bubbling, the lid is removed and the alcohol is allowed to evaporate. What’s left is the perfect blend of nutrients in the perfect ratio. During the flower stage, Haworth adds more stems and less leaves. This blend, combined with naturally amended soil, makes for beautiful and healthy plants.

Haworth’s sofresh farms takes organic pest control to a whole new level. It’s called “integrated pest management,” or IPM. Under a canopy of a cannabis growth, other plants such as grass and clover are planted. The purpose in growing cover plants is to provide an environment that is friendly to predatory insects, and it also creates a symbiotic relationship with the cannabis plants. Haworth explains the different types of plants he uses.

“Trap plants” attract the bad bugs, and basically act as an all-you-can-eat buffet, featuring all kinds of yummy stuff for these bad bugs to eat. Haworth closely monitors the trap plants for any signs of pests that could mean an infestation for his crop.

In addition to trap plants, the farm also uses “deterrent plants” that help keep pests away. Plants like rosemary, mint and peppers repel problem insects and mites. These deterrent plants are like growroom bouncers, keeping away any unwanted guests. Haworth views trap plants and deterrent plants as the first line of defense for the grow. But he also uses other methods to keep pests at bay.

Inside sofresh farms

Flowers form on budding branches. (Photo by StinkBud/High Times)

Not every type of bug is bad for your plants. There are many types of predators that eat the insects that eat your plants. Most likely you’re familiar with many of the common types of predator insects, such as ladybugs and praying mantises, but you may be less familiar with nematodes or fungi. When these little fellas invade the host’s body, they eat it from the inside out, and then use it to eliminate other pests. This natural approach to pest management helps eliminate pesticide use and creates a healthier environment.

The last line of defense against garden pests is the use of organic sprays such as soaps and neem, cinnamon, lemongrass and other types of oils. These sprays either suffocate the pests or make the plant taste bad to them. Neem oil has been used for centuries and controls virtually every type of pest, and a small amount of it is all it takes to make the bugs dine elsewhere. Haworth also uses PFR-97, an organic solution that contains a naturally occurring fungus which kills many of the bad bugs on leaves and in the soil.

There’s a large greenhouse at sofresh farms in which budding plants are spread out as far as the eye can see. Some of the greenery resembles mini-skyscrapers, while other verdure grows low and dense. There are three levels of netting laid out into 6-foot x 6-foot grids, each with a 1,000-watt light over it. Haworth explains that the netting helps train the plants to create a solid canopy of dense buds roughly two feet thick.

Haworth inspects the plant’s trichomes to determine the correct harvest time, looking for the heads to be mostly cloudy with some turning amber. He doesn’t like to wait too long for harvest, as a plant’s terpenes can start to degrade. Harvest time is strain-dependent, so over the course of a month, plants will be pulled and processed.

There are multiple drying rooms set up to accommodate sofresh farms’ various crops. Some hold large, untrimmed outdoor plants, while others contain rows of buds hanging from the ceiling. These are from the indoor grow and already have their fan leaves removed. It looks like all it would take is a couple of good snips for these buds to be ready to enjoy.

Haworth starts the buds out at a fairly low 40 percent humidity level and raises it over a few weeks to 50 percent, with the ultimate goal of hitting 60 percent. He explains that anything above that adds moisture to the bud, and anything below that dries it out.

When the buds reach the perfect level of dryness, they are hand-trimmed by some of the best trimmers in the world, who cut a staggering amount of marijuana every day. The buds are handled very carefully; workers avoid touching the pot with their bare hands and only use the tips of their scissors. Every kickstand and crow’s foot is clipped with only frosty goodness left behind. Every flower is trimmed to the perfect size—not too big, not too small.

Inside sofresh farms

Hanging branches to dry preserves delicate trichome glands. (Photo by StinkBud/High Times)

After the nugs have been trimmed, they’re placed in large totes to cure. This process takes from a few weeks to a couple of months’ time, depending on the strain. The totes aren’t airtight, allowing the buds to breathe and slowly cure to perfection. Cure time can make a huge difference in how the finished cannabis smokes.

After spending time in the large totes, the pot is transferred into gallon jars. Haworth pulls a bud out of one and holds it up, bending the stem until, at a certain point, it snaps. That’s exactly what he’s looking for. If the stem bends but doesn’t break, it’s still too wet. If the stem snaps right away, the bud’s too dry. Haworth views the moisture content of the flowers as crucially important to the quality of the final results.

The product from sofresh farms is legendary in Oregon, and for a good reason—it’s the best of the best. Sure, the farm has won many awards, but what really sets it apart is its staff. After spending time with the sofresh crew, I can’t help but feel amazed at their vast knowledge of growing technique. Plants come and go, and all those beautiful buds are just a hit away from disappearing in a puff of smoke. The farmer, not the plants, makes the farm, and Tyson Haworth is without equal. The next time you’re in Oregon, stop by the nearest pot shop and ask for sofresh farms.

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Researchers Are Trying To Find Most Effective Anti-Drug PSAs

The post Researchers Are Trying To Find Most Effective Anti-Drug PSAs appeared first on High Times.

Although previous studies have shown that anti-drug campaigns, like Nancy Reagan’s infamous “Just Say No” digital bowel movement on the children of the 1980s, are mostly ineffective when it comes to preventing Americans from experimenting with the wonderful world of illegal drugs, researchers now claim that everything we know about the overall effectiveness of these advertisements is wrong.

A team of scientists at the University of Ohio recently embarked on a mission to determine whether anti-drug PSAs could actually work to persuade the generations of tomorrow to stay away from dope.

To do this, they assembled a group of 28 students and had them watch dozens of 30-second advertisements designed to make them want to avoid good substances like the plague.

But rather than simply ask these folks for a review of the ads, the scientists connected them to a brain scan (fMRI scanner) and monitored their responses in real time.

The results determined that those with a low-risk for drug abuse were able to properly articulate which PSAs were effective, while those with a high-risk for drug abuse could not.

Richard Huskey, one of three co-authors involved with the study, says there is a defensive mechanism at work when it comes to people in the high-risk classification and their views on what they believe is anti-drug propaganda.

“It is very difficult to ask potential drug users which anti-drug PSAs work best. They are generally very defensive and are apt to say that none of the messages is convincing,” he said. “Even though they often say that none of the anti-drug messages are effective, their brains tell a different story.”

Once researchers were in possession of documented opinions and connectivity patterns on the initial 28 respondents, they then put together two more, much larger groups to see if they could predict individual responses to the PSAs without connecting them to the MRI.

Both groups consisted of around 600 people—one was representative of college-aged students, while the other was a sample of adolescents.

What they found was that the self-reporting method was a bust when trying to measure the effectiveness of the PSAs. People with a high-risk for drug abuse are apparently not very straight-forward when it comes to revealing which advertisements had the most impact. It was only after the self-reported reviews were combined with the brain scans that researchers began to get a grip on which PSAs worked the best.

But no MRI results were necessary when trying to determine which PSAs had the greatest affect on low-risk drug abusers.

“That’s because low-risk subjects are accurately telling us which messages are most effective with them,” Huskey said. “We don’t need fancy technology to figure out which messages work best for people who are at low risk—we can just ask them.”

As for those people who simply do not buy into the concept of PSAs having the power to keep kids off drugs, only the brain scans were able to determine their true feelings.

The goal here is to eventually use this data and future studies like it to scientifically design advertisements that will discourage drug use in the high-risk category, even when these people are under the impression that the message has fallen on deaf ears.

Perhaps hitting the topic from an honest angle with respect to various controlled substances—rather than airing ads scripted to invoke fear—would be a good start.

Kids should be given the truth about the risks associated with all drugs (even the legal ones) to give them the ammunition needed to make intelligent decisions later in life. What we don’t need is more of the lies that the federal government has spent billions of dollars selling the American youth (and their parents) over the past few decades.

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Stoned Science: Cannabinoid Receptor-1 (CB-1) & THC

The post Stoned Science: Cannabinoid Receptor-1 (CB-1) & THC appeared first on High Times.

In the observable world around us, there are processes happening that are seemingly magical, such as trees growing to produce oxygen or even the division of cells as means of reproduction. Every process one can imagine is a function of the collection of atoms abiding by the laws of physics. Therefore, how these atoms are arranged (structure) can give us intimate detail about how they do what they do (function). Back in July of 2016, just one year ago, the THC receptor cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB-1) was discovered. This was, and is, a huge deal as the discovery tells us the three-dimensional position of all of the atoms inside the protein.

This particular class of proteins is called g-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are some of the most important receptors in the human body, accounting for over 60 percent of all drug targets. These receptors are important because they regulate a phenomenon known as cellular signal transduction, a means of communication both between two or more cells and within a single cell.

CB-1 is known to regulate the release and uptake of calcium channels in dopaminergic, dopamine-producing neurons, which, in turn, tell the neuron to release neurotransmitters or hold them.

CB-1 is paramount to the normal functioning of the human body; it isn’t just a fun button that THC can press. There are many other chemicals that are naturally produced by the body to bind to it and affect its structure.

Our bodies naturally produce a chemical known as anandamide (pictured below), which affects our brains in such a way that produces ‘normal’ thought. Since both THC and anandamide bind to CB-1, they must have different effects on the structure.

Earlier this year, researchers solved the structure of CB-1 bound to two different types of agonists (activator molecules). One such agonist is a very close analogue of the famous THC. This means that we will have not only insight into the structure of the receptor, determined last year, but now we will gain some insight into the dynamics, or movement, of the receptor.

Stoned Science: Cannabinoid Receptor-1 & THC

CB-1 is involved in many processes throughout our bodies and psyches, meaning that it too is involved in many diseases and abnormalities. Some of these include obesity, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. It has already been demonstrated that THC can help ameliorate the symptoms of the aforementioned diseases. That being said, the structure of CB-1 with THC bound can help us understand both how, and why, THC and other cannabinoids have beneficial effects.

Furthermore, it will help us gain a more fundamental understanding of the biochemistry of the brain. So the next time you find yourself tokin’ a smoke, appreciate the beauty of the situation in its entirety, from the thought-provoking cosmic ideas down to the microscopic, nanoscopic details.

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Where To Buy Legal Weed In California On January 1

The post Where To Buy Legal Weed In California On January 1 appeared first on High Times.

A new day, a new year and a new era dawn all at once on January 1 in California.

When morning comes to 2018, it brings with it the first day of legal retail sales of cannabis to all adults 21 and over. California was one of four states where voters legalized adult-use marijuana possession and sales on Election Day 2016, and it will be the second to begin what’s expected to be a multi-billion-dollar market. Dispensaries in Nevada opened over the summer.

In California, where medical marijuana sales have been going on in some form since the 1990s, retail outlets that shut their doors on December 31 as medical marijuana-only will open for business as adult-use dispensaries—but this momentous occasion will not happen everywhere in the state, and not all at once.

To be one of the first people to buy legal marijuana without a medical marijuana recommendation in California—or the absolute first; someone has to be the first—you’ll have to have queued up in Berkeley, San Diego, San Jose or Santa Cruz. Or, perhaps, depending on your proximity to the sun, near Mount Shasta or way out in the southern California desert.

Only cities with locally approved rules will be able to host sales. That won’t happen on January 1 in Los Angeles nor in San Francisco, the state’s most populous city and the historic cradle of cannabis legalization, respectively. In both cities, retail adult-use sales won’t begin until a few days or possibly a week into the New Year, depending on when permits are awarded, and to whom.

Where To Buy Legal Weed In California

Luckily for them and for you, other retail outlets are ready to open their doors on January 1 to all comers. As of December 21, a total of 15 temporary adult-use licenses have been awarded to businesses scattered throughout the state. Where are they, and where should you be?

Though a few more licenses may come through before the end of the year, if you want to start planning your New Year’s dispensary excursion, these are the cities we’d recommend to book accommodations, today.

Santa Cruz

The cool and chill beach town about two hours’ drive south of San Francisco is home to what could be the nation’s oldest legal medical marijuana dispensary, the venerable Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

A Santa Cruz business also secured what appears to be the very first license to sell recreational cannabis in the state—and since not every city will allow dispensaries to open at the ungodly early hour of 7 a.m., Kind Peoples at 140 Dubois Street is the place to be one of the first.

Thanks to Santa Cruz’s demonstrated interest in playing host to a viable marijuana economy, Kind Peoples was able to acquire a host of licenses from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control in mid-December. This means that as lines form outside in the dawn chill, the company’s hash-manufacturing operation will be in motion behind the scenes. Exciting, and vertically integrated. Not far away from Santa Cruz is Del Ray Oaks and Monterey Bay Alternative Medicine, which also has a permit valid as of January 1, according to the state.

San Jose

Purists and completists will want to stay closer to the Bay Area on January 1 in order to make a purchase from Number One—or, to be pedantic about it, 0000001, the license number assigned to Buddy’s. Securing the lowest of all numbers was “a life’s dream come true,” owner Matt Lucero told the San Jose Mercury News, and Buddy’s is stockpiling prerolls and $280 ounces of top-shelf to mark the occasion.

If you don’t care too much about the number on the permit behind the counter and are concerned instead with the number of grams in your pocket, other dispensaries in Northern California’s most populous city will be doing business on the same day. As per the state’s licensing authority, as of December 21, adult-use sales permits have been awarded to Airfield Supply and Purple Lotus Patient Center.

Berkeley And Oakland

If you’ve already booked hotel accommodations in San Francisco, you’ll want to be driving across the Bay Bridge to the cannabis-friendly East Bay on January 1—and you’ll want to be doing it before sun-up. Both Oakland and Berkeley will have at least one dispensary opening its doors at 6 a.m.

The state’s oldest continuously operating medical marijuana dispensary will be open for adult-use business at 6 a.m., meaning Berkeley Patients Group is a likely venue for the first legal gram in California—and the attendant gangs of television journalists eager to collect a sound bite from that early-rising cannabis consumer.

But that’s only if they’re somehow slower to the starting line than Purple Heart over in Oakland, which is also planning on opening at 6 a.m. Which to choose? There are a few days left to plan, and a few days left for other dispensaries to acquire a license and join the throng, and the growing gang of people who will claim to buy the first legal gram in the state.

San Diego

For those Californians living in the south, San Diego is the place to be buying marijuana on January 1. The biggest city in the state to take recreational cannabis seriously, San Diego will have at least five dispensaries open on January 1, according to state authorities: Mankind Cooperative, THCSD, A Green Alternative, Urbn Leaf, and Torrey Holistics. (Torrey Holistics, if you really really want to be serious about Number 1, also has a “0000001” permit, though for a retailer and not a microbusiness like Buddy’s. Don’t you love wonkiness?)

It’s not clear which will be the first to open its doors—and most appear to have normal operating hours starting at 9 a.m., but it’s nice to know that you could acquire an armload of legal marijuana all on the same morning without leaving the city.

The Desert, The Coast Or The Mountains

Travelers willing to go further afield or those locals who happen to sleep near Mount Shasta in far-northern California, the foggy Humboldt County coast or Desert Hot Springs in the vast sandy expanse between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, will be able to score legal weed on January 1. And should you truly be dedicated to buying legal weed in as many places as possible, you could, in theory, buy in the desert or mountains AND at the coast on the same day. Only in California, bro.

530 Cannabis in Shasta Lake, Ecological Cannabis Organization in Eureka and Green Pearl Organics in Desert Hot Springs all have licenses active as of January 1. All this to say that if your New Years’ plans involve skiing, camping or stalking Thomas Pynchon, you can also buy some legal cannabis.

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Plant Containers: Traditional Pots Vs. Grow Bags

The post Plant Containers: Traditional Pots Vs. Grow Bags appeared first on High Times.

Trying to figure out what type of container to use for your plants and medium? Well, you’re in luck! High Times Cultivation Editor Nico Escondido answers all of your grow questions in his weekly Nico’s Nuggets column, and today’s piece is all about traditional pots vs. grow bags.

The Question: Do You Recommend Traditonal Pots Or Grow Bags?

Dear Nico,

Thanks to you and High Times for years of great grow advice! Quick question on plant containers—do you recommend using traditional pots or grow bags to hold plants and medium? I know there are advantages to each type, but I am leaning towards bag culture. Any thoughts are appreciated and keep up the good work!

— Joel T. via the mailbag at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com

The Answer: The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Grow Bags

Howdy Joel,

Thanks for reading HighTimes.com and writing into the mailbag with a question.

Plant Containers: Traditional Pots Vs. Grow Bags

Fabric pots are a top choice of growers, offering breathability and great drainage.

First, let’s explain to our readers a little bit about bag culture. Bag culture can be defined simply as growing a plant out of a bag, the same way one would utilize a plant container or a pot. But bag culture can also be defined as a method for extending or expanding the volume of media available to a plant’s root structure. In the latter scenario, an already-potted plant would be placed inside or on top of a bag filled with new grow media. The original pot would have holes in the bottom or several slits made in it so that the roots can grow down and out of the container into the extended medium of the bag. Because of these aspects, container bags are a preferred method for many greenhouse and indoor growers looking to expand root zone volume.

However, whereas bag culture can be an add-on in this way, this is not the only use for grow bags. Grow bags can be your initial, stand-alone container for individual plants or for multiple plant sites within a garden or hydroponic system.

There are many advantages of using bags as containers, including the fact that they are generally cheaper than pots—to the extent that they can be disposable with little monetary loss—though, they then have to be replaced, rather than being reused or recycled like pots can be.

Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, comes with fabric grow bags, which are more durable than plastic bags and much more breathable than plastic containers or bags. This is an especially important consideration as many new growers underestimate the importance of getting air—specifically, oxygen—to the root zone. While the green parts of the plants (above ground) breath in CO2, roots actually breath O2, which is integral to their growth and development. It is for this primary advantage that many commercial growers chose fabric grow bags, as the size of the root structure is directly proportional to the yield of the plant.

Plant Containers: Traditional Pots Vs. Grow Bags

Plastic bags are a cheap and disposable option.

All of that being said, grow bags have a few drawbacks.

Sometimes drainage is less than ideal and additional holes need to be made at the bottom of the bags to aid in drainage. Additionally, grow bags may not be as durable as pots, lacking the structural strength that other more solid containers can provide. This can be especially true in heavy rain outdoors or in heavy-flow hydro systems. The larger bags can also be much more difficult to move because of the lack of sturdiness and the weaker fabric handles are prone to tearing with bags over 20 gallons. (Note: Fabric grow bags come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1-gallon to 200+ gallon bags for outdoor use.)

Plant Containers: Traditional Pots Vs. Grow Bags

Huge fabric containers like this can grow large outdoor trees above ground.

Overall, for indoor table systems that require less mobility, fabric bags provide an excellent option for growers. The same can be said for large-scale outdoor operations where plants are grown to tree-size and will remain in a permanent location. But for systems that are high-impact or require frequent plant movement, sturdier containers might be the better option.

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