Redefining the Standard for Quality Cannabis

What does it mean to have a quality product?

Or does quality even matter anymore when there’s a $ store on every corner?  I believe that like everything else in the world, the definition of quality is relative and subjective and thus can be mere personal preference.

Yet for those of us who strive to define or redefine quality, the game still rages on.  A higher quality product draws a higher monetary value and there is almost always a bidder for every level of quality.  So in the world of Cannabis, what makes a quality flower?

In my opinion the four main factors in the creation of Cannabis that directly affect its quality are genetics, growing, trimming/curing, and preservation.

 

Genetics:

Genetics encompasses so many things, more every day as technology sharpens.  Heirloom or GMO?  Do you use feminized seeds or do you prefer to play “where’s waldo?”  The genetics of a Cannabis strain also identify the expected cannabinoid ratio of the plant as well as the terpene make up if grown to optimum health.  A strain’s genetics decides its smell, taste, and potency as well as how it affects you and your biology.  It could be argued that genetics are the #1 factor in deciding the quality of Cannabis.

 

Growing:

A seed with superior genetics can still rot if left to sweat while germinating.  Careful attention to detail is the gardener’s best tool and knowing what to look for takes time and practice. And a bit of failure too.  Many a gardening genius has suffered the woes of lost ladies in the throes of flowering.  Fertilizing, watering, light distribution, these are all things that must be managed daily or even several times a day.  Fans, C02 machines, ladybugs for spider mites!  The umbrella of products and techniques that growing Cannabis encompasses is vast to say the least.  I believe it could also be argued that how Cannabis is grown has the most effect on its quality.

 

quality cannabis orange

 

Trimming and Curing:

How much leaf is too much leaf to hug your glistening nug?  For some, trimming means everything and the hours perfecting some trimmers’ techniques leave them with aching hands and sticky fingers.  I’d trim all day long for free if I could take the latex gloves home with me!  It seems like the trim is all about aesthetics. But it can also be about taste and experience since smoked or vaped flower definitely tastes different than leaf.

A well-cured nug of Cannabis can mean the difference between a head ache and pure herbal bliss.  Proper curing is a time-consuming yet crucial oft-skipped step in the creation of quality Cannabis.  After proper drying you store your dried and trimmed buds inside an airtight glass jar to allow the sugars and organic terpenes to ripen, ferment, and break down the chlorophyll. This makes for a smoother, sweeter smoking and vaping experience.  Further conversion of cannabinoids occurs during this period as well so a good cure most definitely can affect more than just taste, but effect as well.  Once again, one could argue that the curing and trimming of the nug is a big part of what makes quality.  I’m here to say though, that I see a fourth aspect to add to your arsenal of tools for creating quality Cannabis.

 

 

 Preservation:

Growers have been judging dryness with such vague measurements as “when the stem easily snaps” for too long.  And many have suffered the loss of mold-covered medicine because they jarred it up while it still had too much moisture in it.  Now there is a product called Boveda that can control the relative humidity of your medicine for months and months.

Boveda packs work using a reverse-osmosis membrane. Inside is a solution of natural salts and purified water vapor either exudes or absorbs moisture to keep your nugs fresh and free from mold or harmful micro-organisms.  Studies have shown that Cannabis flowers can lose up to 15% of their terpene content when they are over-dried.  Boveda is now now the trusted product in two-way humidity control used to preserve everything from Humidors to Cannabis to Guitars.  They come in various sizes and RH levels which for Cannabis range between 58% and 62% relative humidity.

So since it’s all relative anyways, I’d love to know your opinion of what affects the quality of Cannabis.  Either way, we can now agree that the final step is always proper preservation and storage of your nugs.  And the best way to do that is with Boveda.

 

Find out more or try us out!

 

– Dianna Donnelly

Dianna Donnelly is a Cannabis educator, blogger, and free-lance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.

Gateway to Health – From Pills to Plants

cannabis gatewayThe idea that Cannabis is a gateway drug is still very much ingrained in some of our minds.  I can’t help but agree. For me, this plant with my naturally occurring cannabinoid receptor system has been a gateway to many good things.  For people like myself, Cannabis is a gateway to sleep, smiles, sex, and good health just to name a few. 

 

In fact, the number of people switching from pills to plants is rising so quickly that heads are turning.

Gramma and Grampa are both on the herbal and the canes are flying out the window.  Children and seniors alike are going to legalizing clinics in droves so they can finally live free.

 

For each, living free means something different.  

For many, it means living pain-free and addiction-free for the first time in their lives.  I’m speaking of those in the midst of the opioid epidemic or even those on the cusp.  They are a faceless, yet growing statistic that we all read about daily. The thing is, there are faces to these statistics and they’re as common as your Gramma and Grampa. Doctors prescribe opioid pain medications to children and seniors every single day. Some are for simple procedures that used to require a popsicle and an aspirin when I was young!

 

With each dose of Cannabis oil, opioids get titrated down. Each puff of cannabis vapor quells aches, pains, tremors, and metal illnesses.

 

Is Cannabis a gateway drug even when it gets people off of hard drugs?

There’s a very good reason why Cannabinoids are replacing so many pharmaceuticals for so many conditions.  Not only does our endo (naturally occurring) cannabinoid system contribute to our immune system, improving our health, but it also has a way of lessening the negative bias a depressed, sick, or stressed brain can have.

As you know, different regions of the brain are responsible for different things. The two Cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 are in the region of the brain that controls our emotions. Cannabis turns your frown upside down and makes you giddy for a reason. A veteran friend of mine who recently changed from pills to plants told me he couldn’t believe how many emotions he felt now, where before he was numb. Opioids, and recently Acetaminophen in studies confirm their ability to deaden emotions.

 This can feel like a good thing and is often one of the reasons why people continue to take them.  When the side effects are this bad, numb is good.

Everyday I read testimonials of healing from new patients using this plant in its many forms.  Many enjoy the experimentation and subjective nature of it. You do have to start low and titrate slowly with whatever ingestion method you choose.  Many also report other health changes they weren’t expecting but welcomed gladly. With receptors in almost every single part of the body, it’s no wonder why this plant just does a body good!  So the next time you hear the rhetoric of Cannabis being a gateway drug, challenge them with your knowledge and remember to duck for flying canes!

– Dianna Donnelly

Dianna Donnelly is a Cannabis educator, blogger, and free-lance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.

5 Common Questions About Boveda for Herbal Medicine

How does Boveda work?
Science has known for over 100 years that certain salts mixed with water will naturally regulate humidity to a specific RH (relative humidity). We just patented the way to make it practical for packaging herbal medicine. Boveda only releases and absorbs 100% pure water vapor.

Why the different sized Boveda?
Boveda is available in 8gram, (2.5×2.75″) and 60gram (3.5×5.5″) sizes. The grams refer to the amount of liquid inside the Boveda. The size of the storage container and the amount of cannabis will influence how many and what size Boveda you need.

How many and what size do I need for my container?
Because Boveda knows when to stop adding moisture, it’s impossible for them to humidify beyond the RH on the pack. Your only concern is using “enough”, so we recommend using the largest Boveda that will fit into a given container. Although you could get by with less, using more than the minimum will work more efficiently and last longer. For extra large containers, plan on using one 60g per pound.

Can I use Boveda to cure?
Absolutely. We still recommend you dry the plants with your normal method to a moisture content just below where you’d like them to cure. As a result, your normal method does the heavy lifting and Boveda will fine-tune it.

Can Boveda touch the medicine?
Absolutely. Boveda won’t damage anything through direct contact. Bury it at the bottom, set it on top, or hide it in the middle, the Boveda is keeping the proper moisture content in the plant to maximize color, aroma, flavor and strength.

When do I replace the Boveda?
The life of any Boveda depends on how quickly it need to give up water vapor. It could be anywhere from weeks in a frequently opened container, to months if rarely opened. When a Boveda is completely dead, it will turn into a solid wafer. It’s just short of that, when there are few spots left, that you’ll want to replace.

What’s the shelf life on unused Boveda?
Left tightly closed in the original packaging, Boveda will have a 2 year shelf life, even if you’ve removed some from the original package. This is due to Boveda’s packaging having a very high moisture barrier and you’re only making the Boveda “work” for the small amount of time the package has been opened.

Does Boveda make a storage container?
Boveda only makes moisture control packs, but there’s a growing number of container companies making containers specifically for use with Boveda.

Even after giving Boveda ample time in my container, I feel the plant is a little too moist.
There are some plants that respond better to a lower RH. As a result, we’ll be releasing a lower RH version by November. So based on plant type and personal preference, you might find our lower RH for cannabis even more to your liking.

Learn more about Boveda for herbal medicine:

Standardized storage conditions a key to wider herbal medication acceptance?

Medical marijuana is struggling to gain wider municipal and federal acceptance. While standardized storage instructions may seem irrelevant to loosening laws against medical marijuana, it’s not insignificant. Consider that all other forms of medicine have printed storage instructions and many pills contain a desiccant – which removes all moisture from the pill bottle. Moisture is an enemy of pills, but the right amount is essential for the smell, taste, burn and effects of medical marijuana.

While industry-recognized storage standards won’t magically bring to medical marijuana the same level of acceptance of pills, it’s a crucial step in legitimizing cannabis as a valid treatment. Standard storage conditions will not only give medical cannabis more of the acceptance it needs, but standardizing the proper Rh (relative humidity) has the ancillary benefit of standardizing the moisture content of the medicine. And for something dispensed exclusively by weight, this is important in order to know what you’re getting.

As the global leader in 2-way precision moisture control, Boveda has tested various strains of cannabis to determine that the ideal moisture content where the medicine is in the best possible condition, is 59-63%. So we went into production with a 62% product that will add or remove moisture as necessary to achieve 62% within your storage container. And it lasts for months.

This is important because Boveda within a patient’s storage device means they can store their medicine indefinitely. Time isn’t the enemy of medical marijuana, but too little or too much moisture is. Because our 62% product is available in various sizes, it can be used in many different storage containers.

The path to wider legal acceptance may come in steps. And standardized storage is the easiest and most patient-centered step.

Charles Rutherford