Tag: Cannabis 101

How to Help Your Friends That Are Smoking Cannabis for the First Time

“The First Time I Got High” is the name of a short story that most of us have written in our heads, but of course the ending is different for just about everyone. In an ideal world, they all have happy endings. Maybe you meet a new crawdad friend, or discover the misunderstood nature of the scorpion, or run around town using dog beds as hats (all of which are true stories according to Leafly reviews).

Unfortunately, not everyone has such a whimsical time. Some first experiences come with anxiety, paranoia, dissociation, racing heart or thoughts, and/or other unpleasant sensations. A bad trip can even be enough to swear off cannabis for a lifetime, so when introducing someone to cannabis for the first time, it’s important that you know how to do so properly.

RELATED STORY

How Cannabidiol (CBD) Works for Treating Anxiety

So listen up, trip sitters. Here’s some semi-obvious advice that will help ensure your smoking buddy will sing songs of cannabis’s glory forevermore (or at least smoke with you a second time).

1. Create a comfortable set and setting.

Create a comfortable setting for enjoying cannabis
Think about how much your environment affects you while you’re high: when you’re around your best friend versus a crowd of strangers; when you’re inside versus outside; or when you’re at home versus at a busy grocery store. Setting and mood is everything.

RELATED STORY

The Pros and Cons of Going to the Grocery Store While High

If it’s someone’s first time trying cannabis, help them do so in their happy place. Anxiety-prone individuals might want to try it out at home first with a friend that he/she is comfortable around. Put on some music. Plan an outdoor adventure. Load up on funny movies (may I suggest The Room). Order in food or have a picnic. Boot up Mario Kart.

There are endless ways to design a perfectly chill first-time experience. What’s most important is that the person feels in control of their environment and surrounded by people and activities he/she enjoys.

 2. Know that THC sensitivities differ from person to person, and consider a high-CBD strain.

Cannabis strains and joints
Too many times, I’ve heard heavyweight stoners pushing cannabis on newbies. “Come on, that was a wimpy hit. DO IT AGAIN,” like they’re an initiate at THC boot camp.  If someone’s putting THC in their body for the first time, let them process that wimpy hit. That might just be plenty for them at this point.

RELATED STORY

Cannabis Strain Recommendations for Beginners and Low-Tolerance Consumers

If your curious friend or family member is iffy on high-THC strains, try offering something high in CBD. A minimally psychoactive strain or product can be the perfect opportunity for one to dip a toe into the world of cannabis. It also helps to demonstrate that cannabis doesn’t have to be about becoming a twice-baked potato. Relaxation and stress relief, it turns out, doesn’t have to cost your ability to function.

3. Don’t whip out the 3-foot bong first.

Cannabis vape pens
Unless your friend demands the 3-foot bong because that’s how he/she always pictured this moment, maybe start with something less intimidating. Consider a small pipe, or better yet, a vaporizer. These apparatuses allow for better dose control, and they’re less likely to scorch your buddy’s throat (redemption points for the sensei who keeps throat coat tea with honey on hand, just in case your friend biffs the inhale).

4. If you’re doing edibles, start small. Very small.

Start small with cannabis edibles
I’ll start out by saying that edibles are a bad idea for first timers. Anyone who’s tried cannabis-infused edibles knows that they can push euphoria’s ceiling to the psychedelic heavens, and large doses can drive one into temporary insanity. To the cannabis virgin, even standard doses can be overwhelming.

RELATED STORY

5 Tips to Safely Dose and Enjoy Cannabis Edibles

So, for the love of all things good in this world, start small. Try a 5mg edible (that has been tested and confirmed), and let them ride the peak before introducing more.

 5. Key into your friend’s head space and know what to do if they’re having a bad time.

Take a walk with a friend who may be overwhelmed by first-time cannabis consumption
Despite your best efforts to create a perfect first-time experience, sometimes cannabis just doesn’t agree with its consumer. Keep a pulse on your friend’s mood and head space by checking in with them; if they’re experiencing unpleasant symptoms, here are a few ways to help them manage them.

RELATED STORY

Why Does Cannabis Cause Paranoia in Some But Helps Anxiety in Others?

Some people experience increased heart rate, dizziness, headaches, and other unpleasant symptoms, but know that these should pass with time. Most bad trips induced by cannabis manifest simply as anxiety or paranoia (my friends and I like to call this beast “The Fear”). In this instance, try exercising a few of these tips:

  • Relocate to a comfortable place if you aren’t already. Sometimes simply being home solves everything.
  • Relax with music, a hot shower, and/or aromatherapy (black pepper oil is particularly clutch for acute anxiety).
  • Laughter is the great weapon of anxiety; throw on a stupid movie, crack some jokes, or read some really stoned strain reviews.
  • Pump the water. Hydration can help prevent many discomforts caused by cannabis.
  • Get some fresh air. Going for a walk outside and filling your lungs with fresh, clean air can be immensely therapeutic for anyone undergoing anxiety, whether induced by cannabis or not.
  • Try a CBD-only product. CBD is known to counteract some of THC’s anxious side effects, especially when combined with any of the relaxing activities listed above.

RELATED STORY

8 Ways to Counteract a Too-Intense Cannabis High

And above all, remember that no one on earth has died of a cannabis overdose and everything will be okay. (Besides, if our friend Josh survived a 2,080mg edible, we’re confident your friend will make it, too.)


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

A Guide to Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

When you decide to start growing cannabis, you might find yourself looking at online seed catalogs. Here you’ll see companies offering strains that are dubbed “autoflowering,” but what does this mean and why might a grower choose autoflowering varieties of cannabis?

What Is Autoflowering Cannabis?

The concept of autoflowering strains is simple: in time, they will automatically flower as opposed to waiting for a specifically timed light cycle. In other words, the plants begin to flower all on their own after a relatively short vegetative period of 2-4 weeks.

This unique process is created when breeders fold in genetics from Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies of the cannabis plant that is known for its autoflowering attributes and short stature.

RELATED STORY

What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?

Crossing the autoflowering ruderalis with indica and sativa varieties results in a plant that doesn’t rely on photoperiods to flower, but rather grows and flowers on its own time.

The Pros and Cons of Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

There are a number of reasons to consider autoflowering varieties for both indoor and outdoor cannabis:

  • When grown outdoors, autoflowering plants will start producing buds no matter how many hours of sunlight you are receiving; this means you don’t have to worry about running a light deprivation system or supplementing light if you are trying to achieve multiple harvests in the season.
  • When growing indoors, autoflowering strains allow you to rapidly grow strains from start to finish as they generally complete maturation after three months.
  • Autoflowering plants can receive more than 12 hours of sunlight a day and create bigger buds in less time than many regular cannabis plants.
  • Autoflowering plants are small and stealthy; they are perfect for closet grows or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.

RELATED STORY

Growing Cannabis Indoors vs. Outdoors: 3 Key Differences

There are, however, reasons why autoflowering plants are not as popular as regular cannabis indica and sativa plants. Autoflowering strains are small in stature and do not produce large yields. Other issues with autoflowering strains include higher electricity bills and an inability to really train your plants to make the most of your grow space.

Since the introduction of original autoflowering strains in decades past, significant improvements have been made to these genetics. First, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction. Also, there are now hundreds of types of autoflowering seeds being sold, giving you a large selection to choose from. Because of these improvements, autoflowering seeds are worth a shot for any curious gardener looking to try something new.

How to Grow Autoflowering Cannabis Strains 

Autoflowering strains require some preparation, as they will grow quickly and start to flower whether or not you’re ready for them. However, follow these steps and you should find success in your autoflowering garden.

1. Training Your Plants

Generally speaking, you’ll want to train your plants while they are in vegetative growth. For autoflowering plants, this period could be as short as two weeks which means time is limited.

RELATED STORY

How to Train Your Cannabis Plants for Better Yields and Potency

To start, consider topping your plant after it has developed three nodes to promote a more even canopy. Another LST (low-stress training) method involves training your plant by pulling it down sideways to create new upward growth. Once your plants do begin to flower, you should not top them. Prune your plants conservatively for no more than one week into flowering.

2. Climate Considerations

When you are growing autoflowering plants, you’re allowing plants to flower when they should be in a vegetative growth. Because you don’t need to follow photoperiod light cycles, many people start autoflowering plants early in the season (e.g. March) or late in the season (e.g. September). For this time of year, it’s important to remember that the plants still need warmth to grow, and there also might be considerable rain putting the buds at risk of rot. To combat these issues, consider growing in a greenhouse to provide protection from the elements.

RELATED STORY

How Autoflowering Cannabis Strains Became So Popular in Central Europe

3. Go Easy on Feeding

Autoflowering strains do not need to be heavily fed due to their small size and the short amount of time they spend in the vegetative cycle. Feed very lightly and understand that they don’t need as many vegetative growth nutrients such as nitrogen. Also note that these vegetative nutrients are best put to use if they are readily available for the plant to utilize quickly.

RELATED STORY

What Are the Best Nutrients for Growing Cannabis?

4. Harvest Gradually 

Autoflowering plants often do not have time to develop a canopy, which means you will be keeping buds that are lower down on the plant. Because of this, it’s a great idea to harvest your plants sequentially. First take the colas, then allow more time for the lower buds to dense up before they are harvested next.

RELATED STORY

When Is the Right Time to Harvest Cannabis?

5. Prepare Your Next Crop

To get the most out of autoflowering seeds, it’s a good idea to prepare your next batch of plants as you are harvesting. This means popping seeds before you harvest your current plants so that your room is continually producing. Because the plants autoflower, you can have plants that are just starting out in the same room as those that are finishing without worrying about the lighting.

RELATED STORY

Cannabis Seeds 101: All You Need to Know and More

How to Find Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

Autoflowering cannabis seeds are most easily found through seed banks and seed banks online (note: just be sure to read and understand the legal fine print about purchasing seeds online). Seeds may also be purchased at some local dispensaries, though depending on where you are, they can be difficult to track down at retail outlets.

Have you tried growing autoflowering strains before? Share your experience in the comments below and let us know how they turned out!


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

The THC Detox: Myths, Facts, and Tips

Separating THC Detoxing Facts From Myths

So the time has come for a cannabis detox. Perhaps you have a drug test coming up for a new job, or maybe prohibition-era laws have got your goat. Maybe you’ve even just decided to take a T-break (tolerance break) and want to flush your system before beginning anew. Whatever the reason, there are a few ways to approach a cannabis detox, as well as certain things you’ll want to avoid.

RELATED STORY

Can a Tolerance Break Rejuvenate the Effects of Cannabis?

What Is Detoxing?

I just need some time off...
A detox is the process of abstaining from consuming a substance in order to cleanse the body of any trace. In this case, the goal would be a THC cleanse. By abstaining from consuming cannabis, the body is able to flush THC from the system.

This process may be simple for some and difficult for others; it often depends on how heavily you’ve been consuming cannabis and whether or not you were doing so for medical purposes. For heavy and/or medical consumers especially, the detox process may give rise to unpleasant symptoms, some of which include:

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia

RELATED STORY

Is Cannabis Addictive?

There’s some debate over whether or not these effects can be considered withdrawal symptoms, or rather simply a result of discontinuing a medicine that once helped alleviate the aforementioned discomforts. But we can all agree that they’re unpleasant; luckily, Part 3 of this series can help you alleviate some of them.

Cannabis Detox Methods That Do Not Work

Cranberry

There’s a lot of bunk information out there with “quick fixes” for detoxing. Most of them are bogus and will not accomplish the results you seek. Some faulty methods to avoid include:

  • Cranberry juice
  • Excessive water consumption
  • Detox teas
  • Vinegar
  • Niacin detox
  • Bleach (do not, under any circumstances, ingest bleach)

RELATED STORY

Threatening Truths or Misleading Myths? Uncovering 5 Cannabis Misconceptions

Most “quick fix” methods are based in myth and should not be trusted. Don’t default to questionable and unreliable methods. If you’re wondering how to pass a drug test for cannabis without taking a cleansing break, know that detoxification is a lengthy process. No vitamin, juice, tea, or chemical will magically flush the body of cannabis overnight or in a short period of time.

Cannabis Detox Methods That Do Work

Two fit women running on treadmills in modern gym

Now that we know what doesn’t work, let’s delve right in to what does.

The best option for detox is using natural methods that can take up to six weeks to flush the system of cannabis. This is the most effective, fool-proof way to flush THC from the body. In addition to the guidelines outlined below, there also exists a number of products aimed at detoxification.

How to Detox THC Naturally

The best method of cannabis detoxification will always be a natural cleanse. Although it takes the longest, it is by far the most thorough and effective. There are several methods of natural detox, all of which may be used in conjunction. Most are pleasurable and good for the body, making them positive habits to practice for good health whether detoxing or not. Consider the following for an all-natural detox experience.

1. Abstain

This is pretty obvious, but in order to perform a THC flush, it will be necessary to halt all consumption of cannabis. Whether you choose to go cold turkey or ease into it, the process of detoxification cannot truly begin until cannabis is fully out of the picture.

2. Exercise

First and foremost on the list is to get up and move. As discussed, THC is stored in the fat cells of the body. This means that for those who have more fat, it will take longer to detox. Exercise such as cardio and weight training will help burn fat and increase metabolism, thus speeding up the detox process.

A happy bonus to this method will be an increase in production of anandamide, which is the body’s natural “bliss” molecule. If you’ve ever experienced a “runner’s high,” you know the euphoric sensation this endocannabinoid provides. Thus, exercise will help you decrease detectable cannabinoids while simultaneously soothing the transition with endocannabinoids.

RELATED STORY

The Runner’s High and the Endocannabinoid System

3. Drink Water

Drinking plenty of water during this period will assist with cleansing the body. No need to overdo it–drinking excessive amounts will not speed up the process, but staying well hydrated will increase health and help your body expel toxins of all kinds.

4. Practice a Healthy Diet

Avoiding foods that are high in sodium, sugar, and fat will aid in the detoxification process. These types of foods, such as red meat and junk food, increase water retention and slow metabolism, which is in direct opposition to the body’s ability to shed THC metabolites. Instead, opt for a nutritious, healthy diet of vegetables, lean meats, fruits, and plenty of leafy greens.

RELATED STORY

Weekend Weirdness: If You Smoke Marijuana, You’re a Slave to Vegetables

Many greens increase metabolism as they are high in iron and other essential vitamins. Incorporate more spinach, kale, and other greens into your diet to assist the detoxification process. Healthy fibers will also be beneficial during this period, so incorporate beans, legumes, peanuts, unenriched whole wheat, and other good fibers for an added boost.

These key detox foods will also have the added side effect of assisting in stabilizing mood and even sleep, helping ease possible withdrawal symptoms.

5. Drink More Tea

Opt for teas with high levels of antioxidants, or liver-cleansing teas such as dandelion or milk thistle. This is a simple, enjoyable way to help the body along with the detox process.

6. Take Care of Your Mental Health

If you are suffering from higher levels of depression, anxiety, or even irritability while detoxing, it will be extra important to be gentle with yourself and take care of your mental health. This may mean different things for different people. For some, exercise or activities such as yoga and meditation may be a valuable resource to stabilize mood.

RELATED STORY

Yoga, Cannabis, and You: 6 Best Practices for Pairing Yoga with Marijuana

For others, it may mean putting less on your metaphorical plate and allowing yourself to use the detox time as a vacation from usual stresses and agitations.

If depression and anxiety are more clinical, consider taking advantage of resources such as therapy. Whatever the reason, be kind to yourself during detox.

7. Nurture Yourself

On the note of treating yourself kindly, be sure to nurture yourself during detoxification. The process of detox is already a very nurturing, healthy journey, with improvements to diet and exercise. Consider the experience a chance to take care of yourself and you may find your entire perspective of detox shifting. Think of this time as a vacation, where you give yourself permission to worry less and pamper more.

RELATED STORY

Survey: More Cannabis Consumers Seek Wellness, Not Intoxication

Buy a fancy bath bomb and take a relaxing soak, spend more time with your closest friends, visit your favorite parks or nature centers for picnics or light strolls, garden, read, dance, or pick up an instrument. Whatever healthy habits makes you happy, give yourself permission now to enjoy them fully.

How to Detox THC With Products

The following products are not all aimed specifically at removing THC, but instead at detoxifying the body in general by removing impurities and toxins. Some of these may be considered in conjunction with natural detox methods.

Note: we have not tested these products and cannot guarantee their efficacy in reducing THC and THC metobolites. Use them at your own discretion.

Bentonite Clay – A popular clay, made of aged volcanic ash, bentonite clay has many detoxifying properties as it’s known for absorbing toxins, chemicals, impurities, and heavy metals. It has external as well as internal uses, and can easily be incorporated into a detox regime. Use a bentonite clay detox in a bath, on the skin, or even in a glass of drinking water.

Detox Drinks – Refreshing beverages full of detox-friendly ingredients like lemon, mint, and watermelon are easy to assemble and enjoy. There’s a plethora of recipes available on sites like Pinterest.

In addition, there are plenty of pre-assembled detox drinks for THC available on the market. That said, as mentioned previously, there aren’t many “quick fixes” for the detox process, so use discretion and mind ingredients if you opt to try this route. If the goal is to find a detox drink for a drug test, remember to weigh the pros and cons before choosing this method.

Detox Kit – Detox kits for THC often include various items such as herbal capsules as well as instructions about how to properly use the kit’s system to rid of the body of toxins. Bio Cleanse Detox, for example, can be used as a THC detox kit and includes “90 herbal vegan capsules of Digest Power formula to stimulate the bowels and organs, 300 grams of Toxin Remover powder, to absorb the released toxins and carry them away safely, and also 30 veggie caps of vegan probiotics.” The kit also comes with instructions and a choice of either a nine or 14 day cleanse.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How to Change a State Cannabis Law

Are you passionate about changing your state cannabis laws (or introducing them, for that matter)?

Once you’ve found an issue that you strongly care about, such as cannabis legalization, it can be infuriating to watch your legislators discuss and reject the issue over and over again. However, enacting change at a state level as a citizen is not as daunting a task as it may seem.

If you’re not a born leader, it can be hard to step up to the plate and take the reins, but if you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and determination, you can enact positive policy change at a level you will directly benefit from.

RELATED STORY

Cannabis Legalization Bills Make Splash in Congress

Follow these steps to make change happen:

1. Determine whether your state allows voter initiatives or referenda.

The simplest and most effective way to propose major changes to state law is to write a voter initiative. This will involve a bit of research on your part to determine whether your state allows voters to propose initiatives, state statutes, constitutional amendments, or referenda to alter current state law.

2. My state doesn’t allow voter initiatives. What now?

Some states do not allow voter-proposed initiatives or referenda, but you can still get involved! Go to your local government public hearings. When there are opportunities for public comment, speak up. You will have limited time, so come prepared with comments on why this issue is important and why your city council or representative should support the issue when it comes to a vote.

RELATED STORY

3 Federal Loopholes and Hypocrisies That Create Problems for the Cannabis Industry

3. My state allows voter initiatives and referenda. What now?

First, you’ll have to draft the initiative. Now is the time to do your homework! We recommend reading similarly written state statutes on similar topics to see what will be essential in drafting your initiative. What sort of definitions are needed? Does it require ballot title approval?

For this step, joining forces with a local advocacy group or politician can make a world of difference. Chances are a larger advocacy group has experience drafting legislation, and with the support of a state politician, you’ll gain an ally who can fight for your cause politically.

4. I have drafted a voter initiative that I want my state government to consider.

To move forward with a drafted proposal to change state law, you’ll need to gather signatures. This is where your leadership and organizational skills will be put to the test. The number of signatures required to make it onto the ballot vary from state to state, so check your state’s requirements. Generally, the number of required signatures is based on the total number of registered voters in the state, and usually lies somewhere between 3 and 10 percent of the number of votes cast for the governor in the previous election.

RELATED STORY

Two-Thirds of Police Say Cannabis Laws Should Be Relaxed, Survey Says

5. I have gathered the required number of signatures for my initiative.

This step is one of the most crucial to ensure that your initiative has a fighting chance. Most groups who collect signatures try to gather significantly more than the required number. Once you’ve submitted your petition and signatures for review, the Secretary of State will need to validate the signatures. Some signatures may be deemed invalid for various reasons–if a voter changed addresses or registered twice, for example, their signature may no longer be valid. Submit your petition to your state election officials and proceed to play the waiting game.

6. My initiative was not approved. What now?

Often, initiatives may need to be revised before being approved for the ballot. A ballot title or description may be rejected for lacking a thorough description of the measure, and officials may ask for certain areas of the measure to be addressed. Don’t be discouraged if your petition doesn’t make it through the first time! Some measures may take countless revisions and a whole lot of support before being placed on a ballot for voters to decide on.

For example, the Arkansas Secretary of State rejected seven separate petitions for medical cannabis since taking office in 2014 due to slight discrepancies on the ballot title and description before finally approving a measure to be on the ballot in 2016.

RELATED STORY

Which States Are Most Likely to Legalize Cannabis Next?

7. My ballot title was approved–huzzah!

Now things are heating up. You’ll need to team up with local advocacy groups and legislators to gain support. If you have a well-funded campaign, airing commercials in support of the issue on local channels will help raise awareness. Circulating signs and flyers and spreading the word through a grassroots campaign will give your ballot a boost.

One of the most important steps is to gain government allies. This can be your state representative or senator, governor or mayor, or city council member. These allies will represent you in Congress and their support will give your initiative a powerful boost stronger than a grassroots movement alone.

RELATED STORY

How Did Florida Pass Its Medical Marijuana Initiative? Ben Pollara Tells All

Making a lasting change to a state law takes months, and often even years. It may seem fruitless to try, but it truly is the best way to learn how your state government works. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! The very first time cannabis legalization was proposed was in California in 1972. It took more than 40 years of hard work, persistence, and dogged determination on a national scale before legalization was finally approved in Colorado in 2012. Keep these efforts in mind as you take the necessary steps to effect change–your strength, patience, and persistence will pay off in the long run.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Is Charas Cannabis Concentrate?

Cannabis, also known as ganja, grows wild throughout Northern India, with particular prevalence along the foothills of the Himalayas. Although it is considered illegal in most parts of the world, certain forms of cannabis, most notably bhang, a cannabis and milk mixture, are sold in government-sanctioned shops with great popularity.

RELATED STORY

What Is Bhang? A History Lesson and a Recipe

The Cultural Significance of Charas

Another popular form of cannabis, known as “charas,” plays an important cultural role in India. In the Hindu religion, the god Shiva is known for his love of cannabis, and cannabis is widely used during the Hindu festival of Holi. Shaivs, a sect of Hinduism devoted to worship of the Lord Shiva, smoke charas freely as part of their religious practice.

In modern practice, young professionals and sadhus, or religious ascetics, continue to use charas regularly, usually by smoking it out of a small clay pipe called a chillum. Before lighting the pipe, they will often chant the many names of Shiva. The Shiva sahasranama is a “list of a thousand names” exalting Shiva in his many forms.

RELATED STORY

A Gift from the Gods: The History of Cannabis and Religion

Unlike the edible cannabis-based drink bhang, charas is a hand-rolled form of hashish that is smoked rather than ingested in a drink. One of the similarities between the two most popular forms of cannabis available in India is that they both require freshly harvested cannabis vs. cannabis that has been dried and cured, as is the standard in Western culture.

Charas is similar to hash in that they are both concentrated forms of cannabis, but hash is generally created with dead, dried cannabis flowers, while charas is created using fresh cannabis buds a few weeks from full maturity.

RELATED STORY

5 Differences Between Cannabis Concentrates and Flower

The Origin of Charas

View of Parvati ValleyView of Parvati Valley.

The cannabis acquired to create charas is usually sourced from Northern India, typically in the Parvati Valley, Malana, and Kashmir regions, where ganja plants grow wild in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.

From the Parvati Valley, a local hashish known as Malana Cream is known for its high THC content and requires at least twice as much time to create the same amount. Malana Cream commands a high price in India, not only for its potency, but also due to the inaccessibility of Malana cannabis. Malana is in the Himachal Pradesh region, which is known for its abundance of cannabis. However, due to the area’s lack of access roads, cannabis must be gathered and transported by hand or mule, making it a prominent cash crop.

Another well-known charas is Kerala Gold, also known as Idukki Gold or “Neelachadayan,” famed for its high-potency content. Idukki Gold became famous after a 2013 Indian film of the same name, which follows five friends who set out on a journey to find Idukki Gold, the first strain of cannabis the friends tried in their youth.

In reality, Idukki Gold is no longer as prevalent as it once was in Kerala region. Crops were burned in police raids, and what cannabis was left has been crossbred with local plants to create a new strain, “Sheelavathi,” which is more suited to grow in the region’s climate. The local strain may be sold as Idukki Gold, but the quality is inferior and yields low-potency cannabis containing about eight percent THC.

RELATED STORY

The Cannabis Origin: What Is a Landrace Strain?

How to Make Your Own Charas

To make your own charas, the process is quite simple, albeit a bit messy:

  • From a cannabis plant that is 2-3 weeks from full maturity, pick a handful of cannabis flowers
  • Trim the excess leaves from the cannabis buds, but leave a portion of the stem
  • Slowly begin to rub the buds between your palms.
  • As the flower releases oils and THC, gradually increase your hand motions
  • Use your thumb to press the oils against your palm
  • The plant material will secrete a black, tar-like substance
  • Continue rolling the charas ball until it stops secreting oils

The highest quality charas requires much patient and slow, careful hand movements. The faster you rub the charas between your hands, the more resin will be lost in the process. During hand-harvesting, one might easily make 8-9 grams of charas in a day, but if you want the highest quality charas, it’s necessary to go much slower.

RELATED STORY

How to Make Rosin Dabs

The process is sticky and resinous, and your hands will likely become blackened with resin. If you’re hoping to avoid sticky hands, you might consider wearing latex gloves, or you can easily clean the mess off your hands with heavy-duty dish soap.

Once you have formed a ball of charas concentrate, it can be either placed in a pipe or chillum to be smoked, or it can be mixed with tobacco and rolled into a spliff, another popular form of cannabis consumption in India.

Have you ever tried charas concentrate? Would you consider making charas from your own cannabis plants?


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Benefits of Humidity Level Control for Cannabis

This article is sponsored by Integra by Desiccare. Integra™ by Desiccare manufactures a complete line of humidity control products for the cannabis industry.  Whether you’re drying, curing, storing, or preserving edibles, they have the solution to keep the freshness, potency, taste, and overall quality of your product. 


If your only experience with cannabis has been purchasing it from a store, you might not realize how much care goes into its production. From selecting genetics and creating an ideal grow space through feeding and harvest, countless hours are invested in creating a quality product. Beyond that, two critical steps can make or break a harvest: curing and storage.

In general, the largest factor impacting curing and storage of cannabis is humidity. Humidity is often measured using the term “relative humidity” (RH% for short), which represents how much moisture is in the air surrounding the product. So how do skilled cultivators go about controlling humidity in these two critical steps, and why is it so important?

How Humidity Affects Cannabis During the Curing Process

For those unfamiliar with the process of growing cannabis, curing refers to the delicate process by which cannabis buds are slowly dried to remove moisture while retaining important compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids.

While curing cannabis, maintaining an appropriate RH percentage is required. If the RH% is too high, it will cause the cannabis to mold and become unsafe for consumption. On the other hand, if the RH% is too low, the cannabis will dry too quickly which makes for a harsh and unenjoyable product.

But if the RH% is just right, the product will thrive in the following ways:

THC Production

Once cannabis is harvested, chemical changes can still take place that will change the chemical composition of the final product. For example, a compound known as THCA will slowly convert to THC over time, due to physical processes. Slowly curing cannabis will allow more THCA to convert to THC (although heat exposure from a lighter or vaporizer will be where the bulk of the THCA gets converted to THC).

Chlorophyll Breakdown

Chlorophyll is essential to photosynthesis, the process by which cannabis converts light into energy. It’s also what gives plants their green pigment. Unfortunately, it’s also what gives improperly cured cannabis its harsh smoke. When curing cannabis, chlorophyll is broken down and released from the buds.

Terpene Preservation

Aromatic oils called terpenes are what give plants their specific aromas. While cannabis dries and cures, some terpenes will naturally break down. However, by drying and curing slowly and properly, terpenes can be better preserved to create a product that not only provides better flavor, but a more nuanced high as well.

Moisture Removal

When cannabis is curing, your product should already feel sufficiently dry. However, moisture still exists in stems and centers of the buds. By curing the buds properly, you allow this moisture to seep out slowly. This helps create the desired dryness, resulting in a quality product that can be stored for extended periods.

The curing process is what’s largely responsible for separating good cannabis from exceptional cannabis. Once the cannabis reaches its peak potential through a long healthy cure, it is then necessary to hold onto these qualities in storage. Again, humidity largely dictates how well the product will last. Stored cannabis can go from great to awful if you let humidity fluctuate. Too much humidity and the cannabis will remoisten and make for an unpleasant smoke. Worse yet, the buds may mold.

On the other hand, if you allow humidity to drop, the cannabis will become dry and brittle which causes trichomes to break off, buds to crumble, and the smoke to become harsh. Additionally, fluctuations in either direction will break down terpenes, causing the cannabis to lose its flavor. This is why it’s important to protect your cannabis in storage by maintaining an ideal RH%.

How to Ensure Safe Cannabis Humidity Levels

cannabis-mold-1

The best way to maintain a controlled RH% is to use a product that can do just that. In combination with an airtight container, humidity regulators such as Integra Boost packets ensure your product maintains a specific relative humidity. Integra’s Boost packets can either maintain a 62% RH or a 55% RH, depending on your preference and needs.

Both styles of humidity regulators are able to keep cannabis safe from mold during the curing process, while allowing the cure to bring out the full potential of the harvested buds. After curing, the packets can then ensure that the buds hold onto the qualities that create an enjoyable smell, flavor, and smoke. If cannabis is properly cured and stored, it can keep its quality for over a year depending on your climate and the strain.

It takes a lot of time and money to create a quality bud. However, after harvest, it is relatively inexpensive and requires few tools to ensure the cannabis is brought to its full potential. Investing in humidity regulators is just one easy way to put your mind at ease.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How to Press and Dab Solventless Hash Concentrates

There are many types of concentrates available in the cannabis industry today. When it comes to choosing one that is right for you, it’s always important to keep your desired consumption method in mind. Although there is certainly more than one way to enjoy a concentrate, dabbing is often touted as the paradigm, mostly because it is universally accommodating to almost any variety of product.

RELATED STORY

What is Dabbing and How Do Dabs Work?

However, given the diversity of concentrate varieties in existence, it can be a bit confusing figuring out which ones are easier to dab than others. Granted, certain “hash oil” varieties such as solvent-based shatters and waxes are inherently simple to dab. Alternatively, if you were to ask your budtender for a “solventless” concentrate, it’s not guaranteed that the products you’ll be offered will work seamlessly with your current dab rig setup.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prepare yourself for knowing which products are easier to dab and which are not, as well as a few tricks you can use to manipulate some of your more tricky solventless cannabis concentrates into fully “dabbable” hash oils. It’s super easy, takes no time at all, and only needs a few common household items.

Your Concentrate’s ‘Dabbability’ Depends on Its ‘Melt Factor’

Your Concentrate's 'Dabbability' Depends on Its 'Melt Factor'
When identifying what products are capable of being dabbed, the make or break mechanism at play is a concentrate’s melt factor. If you want to dab a concentrate successfully, it’s going to need to melt virtually effortlessly on your nail with little to zero residue left behind. Hash oils, which have been manufactured with chemicals such as butane and propane, tend to melt at a 100% rate due to their extremely refined nature. On the other hand, some mechanically separated solventless concentrates such as sifts (kief), ice water extracts, and rosins can experience varied melt factors based on their individual purities.

For instance, highly refined dry sift which contains nearly 100% separated pure trichome gland heads can indeed melt completely on a nail, whereas a lower-quality product of the same classification may may have a harder time melting due to maintaining a higher concentration of fats, lipids, and/or other particulates left behind in the less refined separation process. This isn’t to say that the quality in lesser-refined concentrates is necessarily lacking; however, because certain particulates are left behind in the hash, carbon residue is highly likely for these types of solventless concentrates. This buildup over time is not desirable for dab rig nails and can end up compromising the integrity of future pulls.

How Can You Determine Your Concentrate’s Melt Factor?

How Can You Determine Your Concentrate's Melt Factor?
There is no universally adopted method for identifying and determining melt factors as they pertain to solventless hash varieties. However, many industry professionals refer to a star rating scale that was introduced in the community a few years back to give a base classification to a concentrate’s meltability. This system is based on a 1-6 star classification system, with anything over 5 stars representing a near to full melt and anything under 3 stars identifying products that do not melt well if at all.

Unfortunately, this particular system, although still in use, does little to help the undiscerning hash enthusiast determine a product’s melt factor while at the retail counter. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to tell is to ask the budtender if the product is safe to dab and whether or not it will melt completely on a nail. Most of the time, they should be able to provide you with an acceptable answer.

RELATED STORY

Ask a Budtender: How Do You Determine Cannabis Quality?

If not, color can be a potential indicator of melt factor if you know what to look for. Samples displaying an off-green hue tend to exhibit lower melt factors as the pigment is an identifier of chlorophyl presence within the concentrate. Darker concentrates can also contain contamination, but not always since darkness can also be an indicator of properly aged trichome gland heads (as is the case in premium old world hashishes).

How to Dab Hard-to-Melt Cannabis Concentrates

How to Use Hard-to-Melt Cannabis Concentrates
Solventless cannabis concentrate products of all melt factors can be used safely with any dab rig if the proper tools are handy. Here are three tips that you can use to help with concentrates that have a hard time melting.

1. Use a Screen

Copper and silver screens designed specifically to house melting concentrates are available for pennies to the dollar at most dispensaries and head shops. To use one, simply load a screen with your concentrate and place it directly on the top of your nail using tweezers, tongs, or a special dabbing tool. This allows the carbon residue to build up on the screen and not your nail.

RELATED STORY

How to Choose the Best Dabber Tool for You

2. Press Your Hashish

Sifts, ice water hashes, and other difficult-to-handle concentrates with higher melt factors can be pressed lightly between two warm surfaces to make for a more functional and workable products. Here, the heat and pressure actively melt the gland heads together, forming a uniform sheet or patty that can be easily dabbed on a nail or screen (depending on meltability). This can be done with either a slightly warm (not hot) hair straightener, or even your fingers.

3. Make Rosin

For situations where you have a sift or hashish that simply will not melt, and/or if you want to convert any type of solventlesss concentrate into a “hash oil,” making rosin is the way to go. With the rosin technique, you can effectively convert low to zero melting hash varieties into golden melty hash oil in seconds using the correct amounts of heat and pressure. Try this tech out yourself at home using a low temperature (<300f) hair straightener, some parchment, and your starting material. When it comes to making rosin, there are all kinds of products out there to help assist enthusiasts with more efficient and productive ways to achieve consistent and flavorful yields.

RELATED STORY

How to Make Rosin Dabs

Whether you’re feeling like an extract artist and want a DIY approach to making your own full melt hash oil at home or simply want a better way to identify solventless concentrates at the dispensary, these tips should keep you grounded when figuring out the age old question, “Will it dab?”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How No Till Cannabis Farming Methods Can Improve Your Crop

There are two major problems casting a shadow over cannabis cultivation as a whole: chemical safety and sustainability. Although these problems are not exclusive to the cannabis industry, their unique impact on both the industrial and cottage markets as well as with home growers alike is noticeable.

A potential solution to both of these problems lies in a farming practice known as “no till gardening.” This technique incorporates organic practices and natural systems to create a thriving environment conducive to growing healthy plants with less input. No till  gardening is both organic and sustainable, offering a safe and efficient way of cultivating cannabis without the need for chemicals and wasted energy.

What Is “No Till” Farming?

What Is “No Till” Farming?

Contrary to conventional agricultural practices which involve mechanically disturbing the soil, no till farming incorporates natural mechanisms that leave soils undisturbed. This principle is based on the foundation building a thriving biology within the soil, a process which is severely compromised when a soil is tilled.

No till farming and organics go hand in hand, building upon the philosophy that natural systems within the soil will provide the plants with fully bioavailable nutrients with very little need for external input. These natural systems work together in symbiosis to support a flourishing biological community ripe with fungi, bacteria, and more.

What Are the Benefits of No Till Methods for Growing Cannabis?

What Are the Benefits of No Till Methods for Growing Cannabis?
With traditional cannabis farming techniques, soils are either tilled and amended with nutrients between plant cycles or tossed out altogether. While these practices can be highly effective for growing cannabis, they aren’t very efficient as the never-ending need for chemical inputs and the consistent tilling or tossing of soils is anything but promotional to building a soil biology.

No till cannabis farming, on the other hand, eliminates the need for input altogether by letting nature do all of the work. This saves not only time and money, but the hassle of having to worry about using potentially harmful chemical inputs such as pesticides or plant growth regulators. Furthermore, untilled soils can be reused for years on end with almost zero input whatsoever, making this the most sustainable way to cultivate cannabis.

Common Misconceptions About No Till Farming

Common Misconceptions About No Till Farming

One misconception about no till cannabis farming is that this practice is difficult to scale in either direction. This couldn’t be further from the truth. No till farming is just as accessible to the home grower using 3-gallon pots as it is to the top tier farmer cultivating on a massive scale. The power of no till lies within building a thriving soil food web. This concept can be successfully achieved in any spacial capacity, offering the same security and sustainability.

Another common misconception with no till farming is that it promotes pest populations. This is only partially true. A thriving soil microbiology is teeming with all sorts of life. Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, mites, worms, protozoa, and even larger insects and animals all encompass the web of life that can exist in a fully charged, untilled organic soil medium. These lifeforms are not only beneficial to the plants themselves by making nutrients in the soil more bioavailable, they actively control harmful pest populations such as spider mites and fungus gnats through naturally occurring systems.

RELATED STORY

Spider Mites, Fungus Gnats, and Root Aphids: How to Deal With 3 Common Cannabis Pests

One of the worst misconceptions about no till cannabis farming is that the practice is incapable of producing the same quality and quantity that traditional agricultural methods can. Nature itself is a perfect example of why this isn’t the case. The richest ecological environments in the world are those least disturbed.

Take the old growth Redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest for example. The microbiological climate in this part of the country is staggering as a result of the undisturbed natural mechanisms that have been in place for thousands of years. In these same regions, cannabis farmers are utilizing similar techniques to produce some of the industry’s leading products in terms of flavor, yield, and safety standards.

Creating a No Till Cannabis Garden at Home

Creating a No Till Cananbis Garden at Home
If you want to incorporate no till farming practices into your home cannabis garden, getting started is both simple and surprisingly inexpensive. Start by building yourself a super soil using a mix of organic ingredients such as composts, amendments, and a bit of aeration through the form of perlite or lava rock. Mix these ingredients together and use them as your grow medium.

Because your cannabis will need certain macronutrients at certain times, layering the topsoil with various cover crops will eliminate the need for consistent amendments to the soil. Nitrogen-fixing cover crops are a great way to get macronutrients back into your soil.

RELATED STORY

How to Make Compost Tea for Cannabis Plants

Amending your super soil with worms is a great way to promote the production of fresh compost, otherwise known as “vermiculture.” In this system, worms digest decomposing organic material and create castings that replenish the soil with valuable nutrients, eliminating the need for the external input of fertilizers. With worms, growers are encouraged to add organic matter to their topsoil, a healthy worm snack that promotes healthy decomposition while constantly adding life back into the soil.

Whether it be to eliminate the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and other costly and potentially unsafe inputs, or to save money and time by reusing soils, no till farming is continuing to rise as a viable alternative to traditional cannabis agricultural practices. Both top-tier cannabis farms and home growers alike can harness the powers of no till farming for a safer and more sustainable crop that saves time and money. With little to no input overt time, no till farming could very well be the safe, sustainable answer that the cannabis industry has been looking for.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Is a Medical Marijuana Card?

What Is a Medical Marijuana Card and How Do You Obtain One?

A medical marijuana card (also known as “MMID” or “cannabis card”) is an identification card used by patients to enter medical dispensaries (or “cannabis clubs”) and purchase the plant to treat their corresponding health ailment or symptoms. It also allows for the patient to grow at home and use medical cannabis delivery services.

The cards are issued by the state, but the patient must first get a signed recommendation from a licensed physician to qualify. The patient and doctor need to agree that cannabis would be an effective treatment option, and the patient’s condition must be an approved condition by the state. With the doctor’s recommendation, the patient then needs to apply through the state and pay a fee, which will also vary depending on the state. Doctors can’t simply prescribe cannabis to patients due to the plant’s federally illegal status.

The technicalities of how to get an MMID and what it provides you will vary depending on the specific state’s laws and policies. As cannabis legalization expands, the process for patients continues to evolve, especially with more states legalizing recreational (adult-use) cannabis.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How to Prevent Mold While Storing Cannabis

This article is sponsored by Integra by Desiccare. Integra™ by Desiccare manufactures a complete line of humidity control products for the cannabis industry.  Whether you’re drying, curing, storing, or preserving edibles, they have the solution to keep the freshness, potency, taste, and overall quality of your product. 


Cannabis storage has come a long way since the days of plastic bags. But even with improved packaging, freshness is not the only thing that should concern you. Mold, which can develop in storage, not only threatens the health of your cannabis — it can threaten your health as well. What are the dangers of moldy cannabis, and how can you keep your products free of mold completely?

Causes of Cannabis Mold During Storage

Marijuana Bud Clippings Harvested From the Plant Commercial Grow Operation

When cannabis is taken from the curing room, it is generally free from mold as long as the producer has taken the necessary precautions in preventing it. At this point, however, the cannabis will be transferred to containers and this is when it can be exposed to higher humidity levels. This exposure to humidity will persist for the life of your product as you continually open and close the product’s container. This will also put your product at risk of mold.

There are two types of mold you hear about when discussing impacts to consumer’s health. The first, more commonly found while your cannabis is in production, is known as “bud rot” or Botrytis cinerea. The second is Aspergillus.

  • Botrytis cinerea is known for its destruction of the cannabis plant itself. It works from the stem outwards, starting as grayish-white wisps that eventually kill the bud, turning a dense cola into squishy, moist plant matter. Bud rot is only found on the plants and is most common in dense colas that receive little airflow and can retain moisture. It cannot develop on cannabis plants after they have been harvested.
  • Aspergillus is a very common mold that can be found on more than just the buds of the plant. When found in high concentrations in the air, Aspergillus spores can wreak havoc on those with damaged lungs or weakened immune systems. It is commonly found in soil or anywhere with a high moisture content, including the buds of a cannabis plant. Unlike bud rot, Aspergillus can affect cannabis plants during storage.

Mold’s Effects on Cannabis and Human Health

Tired business woman at workplace in office

When your cannabis is exposed to mold, it is rendered useless. Smoking a cannabis product with mold can cause serious harm to the consumer, especially if they have a compromised immune system. As cannabis pushes forward as a medical product, the concern surrounding mold and contaminants is of utmost importance. Cannabis with mold should be discarded in its entirety to protect consumer health.

Cannabis with high levels of Aspergillus can result in harmful infections. High concentrations can lead to the development of an aspergilloma, which can cause symptoms ranging from a basic cough to severe fatigue and hemoptysis. To those with weakened immune systems, Aspergillus exposure can turn into invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, which can spread to other parts of the body besides the lungs, and is capable of resulting in death if not treated properly.

Cannabis with bud rot also contains spores that can cause damage to your lungs, yet bud rot is not associated with risks as severe as Aspergillus.

Preventing Mold when Storing Cannabis

Marijuana

The best way to prevent mold while storing cannabis is to provide a consistent dry environment for your product. For most consumers, air-tight “nug jugs” are a sufficient option. However, as discussed previously, continued exposure to humid outside air can lead to mold development.

You can guarantee your product is stored safely is through the use of a humidity packet. Integra produces Boost packets in two different forms for this purpose: One packet ensures 62% relative humidity (RH) while the other ensures 55% RH. You can select a packet based off personal preference when it comes to how dry you want your product, but both will keep your cannabis protected from higher humidity levels that can result in mold growth. Additionally, the packets have indicator strips that will inform you when the packets need to be replaced to further guarantee that the quality of your cannabis is protected.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.