Tag: sponsored article

What to Look For In A Vape Cart Manufacturer

This article is sponsored by Transpring, a professional vaping device manufacturer and supplier.

As vaping gets more and more popular, there’s an ever-growing number of suppliers entering the market with cartridge refills featuring their own oils and extracts. And that’s great for the industry! A lot of these producers, after all, know a ton about cannabis and oil extraction.

A stock vape pen from Transpring. (Courtesy of Transpring)

When it comes to getting that product into a cartridge, though…maybe not so much. And it’s no wonder! Producing vape cartridges that hold their flavor and don’t leak is tough work and something that numerous companies are working full-time to perfect.

Since crafting a quality product means getting both cannabis and cartridge right, many extraction companies are turning to professional vape cartridge suppliers to make sure they’re going to market with the best refill available. To find a partner whose carts do justice to the oils you’re extracting, there are a few ground rules everyone should know.

Where to Start

Like so many things these days, if you’re looking for a cartridge manufacturer, you’re likely starting with a Google search. And that’s certainly not a bad instinct, but there are also other options to consider. Many reputable cartridge suppliers are already advertising in a host of cannabis industry publications.

What’s more, cartridge crafting is often an international concern, especially for US purveyors trying to keep their costs low. Instead of leaning on Google, you may try the search engine Alibaba, which can serve as a more direct line to seasoned suppliers in manufacturing hubs like China.

Know What You Need

Before you start talks with a manufacturer, it pays to do your homework. Are you looking for a traditional metal cartridge, or a design that employs environmentally friendly tempered glass like Transpring’s patented A3 cart? How should your customers be able to refill it? What kind of oil intake hole are you looking for?

Transpring’s A3 cartridges with a variety of mouthpieces. (Courtesy of Transpring)

This homework can also help you understand what kind of companies you’re dealing with. How do they stand by their work, for instance? Offering a guarantee to replace any defective cartridges is a good sign you’re dealing with professionals.

These may seem like little details, but each one can change the experience your users have with a cartridge. Don’t reach out until you’ve got a good idea of the sort of product you’re looking to develop and the details that will help you get there.

Getting in Touch

Since it’s likely your cartridge supplier will be in a different time zone—and maybe a very different time zone—you’ll likely be conducting a lot of business via email. That means it pays to deal with a supplier that comfortable and consistent in responding to your messages right off the bat.

A showroom in Transpring’s US offices. (Courtesy of Transpring)

These early emails not only provide a sense of how responsive your prospective supplier is to your needs; they also offer a chance to get some important questions answered. Does a supplier have minimum order numbers you’ll have to meet? And how might the size of an order affect not only the production timeline, but the price you pay? Most manufacturers offer a discount on larger orders—even in China, things are still cheaper by the dozen—but those large orders will take longer to fulfill. Your needs will dictate what sort of balance between cost and speed you can strike while not sacrificing quality.

Getting a sense of a supplier’s timeline and pricing structure—and what sort of wiggle room is available in both—makes sure everyone is starting this new partnership on the same page. It’s also a great chance to get a sample of the product you may be shipping to customers. After all, you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first—why would you order a batch of cartridges without having a sense of how they treat your customers?

Understand your Partner

If you do end up working with an international supplier, it helps to understand what their needs are as well. Get a sense of when important holidays take place and how they might impact production schedules. Chinese New Year celebrations, for instance, can slow things down for weeks at a time.

A Chinese New Year celebration in the Transpring offices. (Courtesy of Transpring)

When working with an international partner, it’s important to understand their limitations as well. Cannabis oil testing, for instance, is illegal in China. That makes it important for Chinese cartridge manufacturer to have a trustworthy research center in the United States. Domestic branches like these can improve testing and help smooth out communication.

Luckily, as long as you’re communicating well with a partner you trust, it should be no problem to build allowances for these cultural differences into your schedule.

Interesting in placing a cartridge order? Learn more at Transpring’s website.


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.

From Dry Sift To Pure Rosin in One Squash

In this four-part series, The Original Resinator and four partners discuss the equipment, support, and methods they use to produce pure and potent cannabis concentrates and extracts. Part 1 is sponsored by The Original Resinator, the largest capacity multi-use botanical extraction unit on the market, and Support the Roots, makers of the Sasquash Rosin Press.

For many cannabis users, concentrates like budder and shatter are a delicacy—something to be enjoyed on special occasions, and savored like a good meal. And just as with any good meal, ingredients matter, and you won’t find ingredients much finer than live resin, extracted directly from freshly harvested cannabis.

A batch of dry sift kief from a Resinator. (Courtesy of The Original Resinator)

The Original Resinator’s innovative freeze, fracture, and extraction process uses high-quality micron screens, powerful custom motors, and liquid CO2 to lower temperatures well below freezing, allowing users to harvest trichome-rich live resin quickly, efficiently, and without the use of solvents that many consumers aim to avoid. Sub-zero temperatures are great for any extraction, but especially helpful for extracting from live or uncured cannabis, where CBD and THC-A are at their highest levels. Frozen trichomes instantly fracture and then fall through the micron screen, so that you get the good stuff and leave the rest behind.

With The Original Resinator, pulling a big batch of dry sift kief from some killer flower is satisfying in the extreme—but it’s not the end of the road by a long shot. You can send that material for a second spin, this time with the addition of water and ice for a “bubble while you tumble” experience. Filter the resulting water through a series of micron-sifting bags and you’ll separate the liquid and plant material from the resin, coming away with potent, resinous bubble hash or live ice resin.

The Original Resinator can extract both of these concentrates from up to 15 pounds of flower or sugarleaf in as little as 20 minutes from setup to teardown, without using any harsh chemical solvents—just the power of physics.

Those beautiful batches of pure, clean kief and bubble hash are sights to behold; but they’re also ingredients in their own right. Like turning coal into diamonds, the right amount of heat and pressure applied with a rosin press can bring out the best in these concentrates—literally.

“Hash rosin and sift rosin is the most exciting way to make rosin. When you press hash and sift rosin properly, a river of oil comes pouring out that smells and tastes just amazing,” says Matt Ilich, president of Support the Roots, which manufactures the Sasquash Rosin Press.

Under pressure, live resin gets transformed into concentrate. (Courtesy of Support the Roots)

While a big batch of sift is impressive to behold, you’re going to need some serious machinery to unlock its full potential by crushing out the oils as delicious, dabbable concentrates. That’s where the Sasquash comes in. Fabricated in California, these presses use precision-machined steel plates to apply heat and pressure—up to 20,000 pounds of it—to material, squeezing the good stuff out of flower, kief, and hash alike. They also come in a variety of sizes suitable to a wide variety of applications.

“Our plate sizing is designed around commercial and manufacturing use,” says Ilich. “That means you can process a lot of product at once, while also carefully controlling the pressure, temperature, and plate speed—all essential factors in getting a good squish from dry sift or hash.”

What kind of extract you end up with depends on how you treat your hash or sift during a press. Low temperature presses will take longer to melt the trichomes, resulting in an extract like budder or crumble. Higher temperature operations melt material more quickly, producing more stable extracts like shatter. And keep in mind—temperatures are all relative, and materials like sift and hash should be pressed at lower temperatures than flower, between 150 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit.

Post-press extract from a Sasquash Rosin Press. (Courtesy of Support the Roots)

Whatever temperature you’re pressing at, though, you’ll want to apply pressure nice and slowly to avoid blowing out the bags that enclose hash and sift during a press extraction. Nothing can spoil a batch of budder or shatter faster than exploding a bag into it.

If you’re looking to get those stunning streams of amber oil running strong from the Sasquash, though, you need to start with the cleanest sift or hash available.

“The yield you get from sift or hash all depends on the purity of what you’re putting in. The less plant material, the more of a yield you’re going to get,” says Ilich. “The Resinator is a great product to make really pure sift from, so it goes hand in hand with a rosin press like the Sasquash.”


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.

Hands-On With the Vivant Dabox Wax Vaporizer

Sponsored by VaporNation, your online vaporizer superstore.

The Leafly office recently got a chance to take Vivant’s new Dabox concentrate vaporizer for a spin. We put this wax vape in the hands of product guru Darren Harris and dab virgin Ian Chant, then had the two of them compare notes. Here’s what they had to say after a week with Vivant’s newest offering.

A freshly unboxed Dabox. (Julia Sumpter for Leafly)

First Impressions

DH: So I use a standard dab rig pretty regularly, and I enjoyed using the Dabox. I’m used to pulling as much as I can, and so the first few times, I held it down for a nice long time. I realized later that you don’t really have to hold the heating button down for more than five seconds or so to get a perfectly good pull off this and blow out a cloud that was pretty massive…

IC: It’s probably more reflective of how new I am at this, but it took me a couple of times putting it through its paces for me to be comfortable and feel like I knew what I was doing. But once I had a handle on it, the Dabox did really right by me.

DH: It’s kind of odd that there’s a learning curve, because functionally, it’s very simple—it’s one button, no temperature changes, you just hold and inhale. The thing you need to figure out about that is how long do you need to hold the button. For me, it took a day or two to learn that I could really just hold it for a second or two and kind of sip off of this. Because if you want to get super-smacked, you can just rip this thing two or three times and you’ll be right there. But if you want to work your way up to that level of high, you have to kind of learn to finesse it.

IC: Design-wise, I really liked the Dabox too. It fits right in the palm of your hand, and it’s got a nice heft to it that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. It feels really good when you’re holding it. The heating coil was easy to swap out, and the swing-open chamber was really smooth. Taken as a whole, it just feels really well-crafted.

DH: Yeah, I’ve used a number of concentrate vaporizers that feel cheap, whether it’s a plastic mouthpiece or the actual construction. This does not feel like something you’d expect to find at this price point.

The chamber of the Dabox swings out for easy loading and coil replacement. (Julia Sumpter for Leafly)

Just Add Wax

IC: So what concentrate were you using with this?

DH: I was using the Middlefork honey crystal from Oleum, which is one of my favorite brands. And in the Dabox, you really get that blast of terpenes that is so tasty. Then later, I tried a sugar resin from Oleum, which was not as messy as the honey crystal. How about you?

IC: I was using an Oleum sugar resin as well, which was really kind and very easy to load. I’m not sure would want to go with anything that was much viscous than that.

DH: Yeah, loading honey crystal into the Dabox, which has kind of a shallow chamber, was tough; sugar resin was a lot easier to break off and drop in. I’d definitely recommend a more solid concentrate like sugar resin or shatter that you can break apart easily over a more viscous product, which is going to be more time consuming and involve some extra cleanup.

On The Go

IC: As far as portability, I would be super happy to take a Dabox to a friend’s house for a barbecue or for a hike in the woods. But because you are going to regularly be loading wax into the chamber, I would feel on the conspicuous side using this vaporizer at, say, a concert or a park.

DH: Yeah. I think that this won’t be my main go to piece for dabs, but if I’m going to a friend’s place or going to be on the road for a weekend, it makes a perfect side accessory to get that experience on the go. And that’s one place I’d give this an edge over even some things that bill themselves as portable dab rigs, which still have things like an e-nail that are gonna get you some looks.

IC: This is definitely pretty anonymous. I felt like once this is loaded, I could walk around downtown Seattle without anyone giving me a look.

DH: Well, that’s exactly what I did, so yeah, you can.

An included scoop and charger make sure the Dabox is ready to go right out of the box. (Julia Sumpter for Leafly)

How To

IC: As someone who is new to using concentrates, and especially to a concentrate vaporizer, I feel like I could have done with some more documentation. For something that bills itself as easy to customize by swapping out coil heads, I would love to have seen that explained out just a little more.

DH: I agree. I would have liked a little bit of a warning on that front and some pointers on how to easily clean stuff.

IC: Even as someone who’s generally disinclined to read instructions, I read these thoroughly and I still had some questions. And as we talked about, most of that stuff I figured out just through use, but I think they could have eliminated some of that trial and error period.

DH: Something I did find annoying was the silicon filter, which got clogged a lot.

IC: Yeah, I was taking a toothpick to mine pretty regularly.

(Turns out, there’s an instruction manual available online that was more thorough than the one that came packaged with the Dabox we tested.)

Dabbing for Beginners

DH: I was curious, since you’re new to this experience, did it make you more likely to use a vape in the future, either for concentrate or for flower?

IC: Yeah, this thing definitely piqued my curiosity on vaping, and also on concentrates. I’ve been curious about things like sugar resin and shatter since I moved back to Washington, but I think any process where two of your main tools are a torch and a nail… you’re going to scare some people off, me included. The Dabox, though, is pretty simple and feels familiar.

DH: I think this is a great entry point device. I have friends who are curious about dabbing, but often I end up kind of doing everything for them—it’s an intimidating process. If you’re interested in dabbing but you’re not quite sure where to start, the Dabox is a great way to affordably give yourself a dab experience before you jump in entirely.


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.

In Photos: Take a Trip Inside a Modern Hydroponics Facility

Indoor cannabis cultivation has moved out of the dimly-lit basements and garages operated by renegade activists, patients, and green thumbs. Nowadays, massive legal grows occupy sprawling warehouses and multi-million dollar agricultural facilities. As budgets and plant counts scale up, so do the technology and sophistication of these gardens.

To share a view of what the modern hydroponics facility looks like, Leafly visited Caliva, a premier cannabis dispensary and cultivation center in San Jose, California.


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 Feed Chart and How Can It Improve Your Cannabis Garden?

A helpful tool used by diligent cannabis cultivators is a feed chart. Feed charts are specific recommendations and guidelines provided by nutrient companies to help farmers achieve the healthiest and best crop possible. How and when a nutrient is introduced will trigger responses from the plant, and feed charts can help you understand what products you need to use and when they should be applied. This knowledge is particularly important in hydroponic gardens where you have complete control over nutrients.

Cannabis can be fed varying amounts of nutrient concentrations depending on the strain, stage of growth, and environment; introducing too many or too few nutrients to a cannabis plant can cause great harm to your garden. This is where feed charts come in handy. They provide specific instructions indicating when and where nutrient products should be applied.

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What Are the Best Nutrients for Growing Cannabis?

It’s important to note that different plants have unique nutritional needs during each phase of the growing cycle. Feed charts can provide an excellent foundation for novice growers, but as your skills develop, you may find it necessary to adjust feed charts based on your plant’s specific needs. In time, you’ll be able to create customized charts that take into consideration strain attributes, climate, water quality, and other factors. Remember, horticulture is a form of art, and practice makes perfect.

Reading Feed Charts for Cannabis Gardens

Although the concept of a feed chart might sound simple, you’ll first need to learn how to read one. Generally speaking, a feed chart is broken down into a grid. One axis lists nutrients while the other axis provides timeline information. For example, a hydroponic feed chart may be broken down in a week-by-week format, with different nutrients assigned to different weeks.

Example feed chart from General HydroponicsClick to view a PDF version of this sample feed chart

Most feed charts provide a ratio of nutrients per gallon of solution. Let’s say week one calls for 2.5mL of a nutrient—you would simply add 2.5mL of that nutrient per gallon into your solution. If you’re making 50 gallons of solution, multiply 2.5 by 50 and you’ll find that you need 250mL total in your 50 gallon tank.

Once you have mixed the nutrients into your solution, use a PPM (parts per million) reader to ensure the nutrient solution isn’t stronger than the chart advises. Additionally, feed charts may instruct you to add specific nutrients prior to other nutrients.

How to Adjust a Feed Chart

Feed charts provide loose instructions on how to effectively feed your cannabis, but they can always be adjusted to better suit the specific needs of your garden. To adjust a feed chart, first familiarize yourself with the suggested chart and know how your plants respond after these recommended feedings. Understanding a plant’s response to any given nutrient will help you predict how it will be affected when you increase or decrease that nutrient.

The key to successfully adjusting a feed chart is to record everything using a daily journal. Write down what the plants are being fed and when, as well as how the plants responded to the nutrients. By doing this, you can start identifying trends. For example, you might notice that you aren’t increasing vegetative nutrients fast enough to keep up with the size of your plants, or that bud growth is lacking in specific weeks. Having observed this through your notes, you’ll know to increase your nutrient solution at a slow pace.

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Diagnosing Cannabis Nutrient Deficiencies in Sick Plants

When adjusting a feed chart, be aware of nutrient lockout and how it compares to nutrient deficiency. A lockout will occur when there is a buildup of nutrients in the grow medium, which then prohibits your plants from uptaking nutrients. This is the opposite of a nutrient deficiency, but they end up looking the same since, in both cases, the plant is not receiving its nutrients. However, by keeping track of your feedings, you should easily be able to tell if you have been underfeeding or overfeeding your plants.

Common Questions About Feed Charts

Below are some frequently asked questions about feed charts. Knowing the answers will help you successfully keep and maintain a feed chart of your own.

What’s the Difference Between Simple and Expert Charts?

The difference between simple and expert charts is based on the number of nutrients used. Simple charts will supply your garden with everything it needs to thrive, but expert charts will introduce a longer list of nutrients to improve your garden. The additional nutrients may increase the plant’s yield, enhance aroma, and flavor, and/or lend an extra boost to its growth and immune system.

Botanicare sample standard simple feed chartClick to view a PDF version of this sample standard/basic feed chart, as well as an example of an expert feed chart for comparison

What Are Drain-to-Waste and Recirculating Systems?

Drain-to-waste systems use nutrient solutions only once, whereas a recirculating system will recycle the runoff. Both of these systems have upsides and downsides.

The advantages of a drain-to-waste system include:

  • Nutrients are more fresh and consistent
  • The pH stays stable
  • Undesirable pathogens are less likely to spread between plants

On the other hand, a drain-to-waste system wastes nutrients that are left in the runoff.

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Tips for Watering Your Cannabis Plants Effectively

Recirculating systems are more economical as they maximize nutrients. However, there are some issues associated with recirculated nutrients:

  • The pH and nutrient levels of your solution can change as old nutrients are recirculated into your feeding tank
  • Recirculating your solution may allow unwanted pathogens to be spread between plants

Why Do Numbers on the Bottle Differ From the Chart?

Numbers differ between feed charts and bottles because a feed chart plans for the combination of multiple nutrients, while the bottle accounts only for the use of a single nutrient in isolation. Using only the recommendations on each nutrient bottle, you may find yourself with a solution that is too strong for your plants to handle.

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The 5 Easiest Cannabis Strains to Grow for Beginners

What Does PPM Mean?

PPM (parts per million) is a measurement that is used to identify the density of a nutrient solution. Using a PPM reader allows you to accurately measure the nutrients going into your garden, information that is vitally important when addressing nutrient lockout or deficiency.

Why Are pH Levels Important?

If the pH level is too high or too low, your plants cannot uptake the nutrients they need to thrive. Keeping a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 for hydroponic grows–or 6.0 and 6.8 for soil gardens–is absolutely necessary for your plants to reach their full potential.


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.

From $600 to $5 Million in Three Years: Smoke Cartel’s Story

Sean Geng and Darby Cox, at only 23 years old, have built Smoke Cartel into one of the most successful online head shops in a growing industry. Smoke Cartel is now a leading online retailer of glass water pipes, vaporizers, and any other smoking accessory you can think of, but it started off a lot smaller.

Smoke Cartel founders holding glass pipesSmoke Cartel’s founders Sean Geng and Darby Cox with some of the site’s wares. (Courtesy of Smoke Cartel)

Smoke Cartel was born in early 2014, when Geng and Cox were both students at Savannah College of Art and Design. The pair scraped together $600, bought some inventory, and started a small online glass business out of their apartment. By 2016, that business had grown to fill a 40,000 square foot warehouse and made $5 million in revenue.

Here are five factors that have helped them succeed along the way—and that they’re counting on to carry them further in the future.

Identify Your Market

“We saw a need in the industry for a clean, well-built, and professional online headshop,” says Cox. “The reaction we’ve gotten from customers shows that many other people saw that need as well.”

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Smoke Cartel’s founders feel there are a few things that set them apart from the growing pack of online headshops:  great customer service, fast and dependable shipping, and transparency in an industry that, despite burgeoning legalization efforts across the country, is subject to more than its share of scrutiny.

“Even though Smoke Cartel doesn’t touch the plant itself, our business is closely associated with cannabis, and it’s certainly not something we shrink from,” adds Geng. “That has forced us to confront numerous challenges, such as not being able to rely on advertising tools like Facebook or use Google AdWords.”

Be a Change Agent

Those challenges, though, have forced Smoke Cartel’s founding partners to get creative when it comes to getting the word out about their business. It’s also turned the duo into advocates and educators for the cannabis industry.

“As we were getting Smoke Cartel off the ground, we were turned down for leases because of what we do and encountered plenty of banks that initially didn’t want to do business with us,” says Cox. “We’ve had to do a lot of work to overcome that stigma, but ultimately it’s been really inspiring seeing individuals who originally thought negatively of our industry begin to embrace it.”

Inside Smoke Cartel's warehouseDarby Cox and Sean Geng show off the Smoke Cartel warehouse. (Courtesy of Smoke Cartel)

Sweat the Details

Another factor that has contributed to Smoke Cartel’s rise is a site that’s both user-friendly and analytically minded. Thanks to his experience as a programmer, Geng knew what he had to keep in mind when developing an e-commerce site—fast load times and optimizations that make it easy to find through search—and how to execute those features.

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5 Traits to Look for in a Quality, Modern-Day Head Shop

“When you’re selling something on the web—especially something that most customers are accustomed to buying in person—every detail counts,” explains Geng. “From making sure that people can find you to creating a platform that’s easy to use to using data to be sure you have the things people want to buy on hand, you can’t leave anything to chance.”

Hire for Diverse Skillsets

While Geng spent his time focused on infrastructure and analytics, Cox took point on purchasing products, spearheading marketing efforts, and understanding their customers.  Though they now employee dozens of people, the complementary teamwork that shaped the company when it was just a two-person operation still drives their hiring practices.

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“We’ve built the company by finding people with different strengths who could support Smoke Cartel as it grows,” Cox points out.  “It is so key to find a reliable team that you trust, people will grow with you and support the company.”

Don’t Settle

As the industry grows and legalization expands across the country, Geng and Cox expect Smoke Cartel to continue growing with it. They’re always looking for opportunities to expand, but their top priority is always making their first product a little bit better every day.

“You also have to be constantly working to make things better for customers,” advises Geng. “I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with the our platform as-is. There’s always something to improve.”


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’s the Future of Ethanol Extraction?

This article is sponsored by Capna Fabrications. Capna Fabrications is an industry-leading extraction equipment manufacturer and research facility based in southern California whose mission is to research and develop safe, innovative ethanol extraction technologies for the cannabis industry.


Ethanol is a tried and true solvent that’s been used for centuries to craft tinctures, essential oils, and similar substances. In modern times, this lab-grade alcohol is still among the most commonly deployed solvents, used in products from food flavorings to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil. That latter use is no accident, said Gene Galyuk, chief development officer at Capna Fabrications.

(Courtesy of Capna Fabrication)

“Rick Simpson designed his method around ethanol because he knew that the residual solvent in his medicinal oil would not adversely affect the consumer,” Galyuk said. “He also knew that ethanol was very aggressive at extracting all of the essential constituents in cannabis.”

Today, though the solvent remains the same, new technologies and processes are helping to unlock its true potential.

Ethanol Catches Up

While ethanol is a time-tested solvent, the industry standard today is to use butane or CO2 to create extracts like oil for vape cartridges. But next-generation tools are making food-grade alcohol an increasingly attractive extraction option by turning what has been seen as a weakness of ethanol into a strength.

In recent years, some have viewed ethanol’s structure as a strike against its potential as a solvent. Ethanol molecules have polar and nonpolar ends, making them able to bond with different kinds of molecules on either side. That means that while ethanol draws cannabinoids and terpenes out of the plants, it also brings other players along for the ride.

“There are aldahydes, esthers, ethyls, ketones, and a range of other chemicals that make up the full spectrum of beneficial compounds in cannabis,” said Capna’s principal chemist Erwin Sibal. “Because of the dual role ethanol plays as a solvent, it is capable of extracting the whole of the plant better than any hydrocarbon or CO2.”

(Courtesy of Capna Fabrication)

The downside of a whole-plant oil? It can often look like the whole plant is in there. Ethanol extractions have long had a reputation as being murkier than some of their counterparts crafted by other means, a side effect of molecules like chlorophyll that were extracted along with the cannabinoids.

The Next Generation

New ethanol extraction technologies, though, are placing this traditional solvent in the same sphere as popular extractors like butane and CO2. A system like the Ethos 4 by Capna Labs can draw 98.5% of the THC from a batch of cannabis, while also leaving the extract fully dewaxed and devoid of chlorophyll. The result is a rich golden hue unlike previous ethanol extracts that still maintains the essential oils and flavonoids found in cannabis flower.

(Courtesy of Capna Fabrication)

Operating at cryo temperatures (that’s really, really, really cold), the Ethos system works by spraying cannabis with 200-proof ethanol at freezing temperatures. After several re-circulations over the material, negative pressure transfers the resulting solution to a collection chamber where additional impurities are removed by micron filtration.

This super-cold, low-pressure means of extraction allows users to skip time-consuming processes like dewaxing and winterization and makes it possible to process up to 48 pounds of plant material in just one eight-hour shift. It’s not just fast, though—the closed loop of ethanol extraction makes it a safe bet as well.

“Fire marshals love the design of the Ethos,” said Galyuk, “It prevents any solvent or flammable vapor from ever exiting the system or venting into the extraction room where the system operates.”

Ready for Prime Time

Galyuk and his team were initially using a carbon dioxide-based system to craft cannabis extracts. After a few months, though, they got tired of using ethanol to dewax the resulting product. If they were going to have to keep ethanol on-hand anyway, why not try to develop a process that improved on the ways that solvent had been used previously?

Capna’s first few months of working to develop a new ethanol-based extraction system were marked by just enough successes to make the failures all the more frustrating. “For a very long time, we could not replicate our results,” said Galyuk. “Sometimes we would get a solution that was pristine yellow, and other times we would get a solution that was green and obviously contaminated with chlorophyll.”

After about six months of research and development, Capna’s ethanol extractors were fine-tuned and producing a uniform amber extract on every run, letting them focus on automating the process to minimize the potential for human error. Further improvements lowered ethanol consumption, improved system cooling, and minimized the number of electrical components operating near solvents. Years later, the “proof of concept” system for the Ethos extraction technique is still running strong at Capna’s southern California production facility.

(Courtesy of Capna Fabrication)

Once the system was working at full bore, it was intended for internal use only—Ethos-type systems have been the force behind Capna’s extracts. Now, the same technology is being made available to other producers

“Going to market was a hard decision to make, as it was never our intent for these machines,” said Capna Fabrications CEO Vitaly Mekk. “But we know we have something unique, and it makes us very proud to be at the forefront of an industry that, in our opinion, could benefit from our technology.”


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 Are Canadian Patients Using Medical Cannabis?

This article is sponsored by Tilray, one of the largest and most sophisticated producers of medical cannabis in the world. Tilray is dedicated to providing safe, consistent, and reliable products to patients and furthering clinical and observational research examining the therapeutic potential of cannabis.


It seems like every day brings a new study about the ways medical cannabis can be used in healthcare. But how are patients already accessing medical cannabis, and in what form? And more importantly, how is it impacting their quality of life? A new study led by Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access for Tilray, and Leafly’s own Nick Jikomes, PhD, provides some of the first answers to these questions.

Tilray’s Philippe Lucas presents data from the company’s latest patient research. (Courtesy of Tilray)

The Tilray Patient Survey 2017 saw the company partner with academics and researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria on the largest survey of Canadian medical cannabis patients ever conducted, tracking the responses of 2,032 patients across Canada.

Patient Preferences

Medical marijuana patients who responded to the survey were a median of 40 years old, and men outnumbered women almost two to one. About one in five respondents (22%) had private insurance, but just 3% got financial assistance to help defray the cost of their medical cannabis prescription.

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Respondents were more or less evenly split between their preferences for indica (25%), sativa (22%), and hybrid strains (21%)—just ahead of users who had no preference at 17.5%. High-CBD strains were favored by just 14.5% of respondents, but CBD-heavy varieties made a strong showing among respondents who used extracts and concentrates—50% looked for a high-CBD strain in those products.

Medical Cannabis Instead Of…

Nearly 70% of users reported that they substituted medical cannabis for a previously prescribed medication. The leading substance that medical cannabis replaced? Opioids (36%), with antidepressants (21%) and other pain medications following close behind.

“In 610 mentions of opioid medication, 59% of patients stopped using these painkillers completely, and another 18% cut their consumption to a quarter or less,” said Lucas, the lead author on the study. “This suggests that cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.”

Tilray cannabis oil capsules. (Courtesy of Tilray)

These findings are consistent with US-based research by Bachhuber et al. (2014) showing a nearly 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths in medical cannabis states compared to neighboring states that did not allow the medical use of cannabis.

It wasn’t just prescription drugs that cannabis helped patients phase out, though. Nearly a third of participants (31%) reported that using medical cannabis had helped them cut their tobacco use, and half of those respondents had quit using tobacco altogether. In addition, 44% of those surveyed reported that medical cannabis helped them consume less alcohol, and 26% said that cannabis products served as a substitute for illicit drugs.

The study also found that the two main conditions that drive patients to seek medical cannabis were chronic pain (38%) and mental health issues (40%), including anxiety and insomnia.

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Although cannabis use for medical purposes is gaining acceptance as patients choose it for a variety of health challenges, it doesn’t fit the traditional “take two and call me in the morning” format of other prescriptions. With so many ways to work medical cannabis into a healthcare plan, researchers asked participants how they prefer to get their daily dose.

Flower Power

Despite the variety of delivery methods now available for medical cannabis, respondents tended to stick with a classic: flower was far and away the most popular choice for patients. Most patients (74%) used cannabis on a daily basis, and average consumption was about a gram and a half every day, translating to just over 19 ounces a year. A lot of that was consumed as joints, the most popular method of smoking medical cannabis. 

A package of medicinal flower. (Courtesy of Tilray)

But while traditional flower was the most popular form of cannabis among Canadian patients, new ways of ingesting it are growing in popularity. Almost half (47%) of participants reported that their main cannabis delivery method was non-smoking. Vaporizers, including gear like e-nails and vape pens, were the favored method for 31% of respondents.

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Bringing up the rear, juicing was the least popular method of consuming cannabis, with just 0.2% of survey takers calling it their primary method of use. Topicals like oils and salves just edged it out as the most popular forms of cannabis consumption among 0.3% of patients.

Cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.

Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access, Tilray

Takeaways

The data patients shared with researchers demonstrates that the long-held promise medical cannabis holds for treating a broad array of conditions is starting to be realized. In particular, the initial findings of this study highlight the potential of medical cannabis to help address North America’s opioid crisis by providing a safer substitute in the treatment of chronic pain. Now, authors of the study are drafting the data into a number of academic publications that will help to better understand and contextualize the results.

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“I’ve had the privilege of working with medical cannabis patients for over 20 years, and it’s an honor to be able to share their experiences through studies like the Tilray Patient Survey 2017,” Lucas said.

Disclaimer: Tilray and Leafly are both subsidiaries of Privateer Holdings, Inc.


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.

Tips for Growing Critical Kush Cannabis

Ever wanted to grow your favorite strain? Leafly and General Hydroponics are teaming up on a series of grow guides that will equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to grow different strains successfully.


Strain Overview: Produced by Barney’s Farm, Critical Kush was bred by crossing Critical Mass with OG Kush. Known for its spicy, earthy flavor and overwhelming yield, this strain remains popular among growers and consumers alike.

Grow Techniques: Provide plenty of space for these plants when you grow them. Prune aggressively and trellis the branches so that the buds have room to fill in. Maintain low humidity while flowering and keep airflow up to prevent bud rot. Grow either hydroponically or in soil and keep the buds out of the rain if growing outside. Critical Kush is a great option for growing in greenhouses if you’re looking for a large harvest.

Flowering Time: 8 weeks 

Yield: High

Grow Difficulty: Moderate

Climate: Prefers a temperate to hot climate between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor/Outdoor: Suitable for either indoor or outdoor gardens. Works well in greenhouses where humidity can be managed effectively.

Feeding: Feed heavily while flowering to keep the buds swelling. If using liquid nutrients, also top dress the soil to allow the plants to take in a diversity of flowering nutrients at their desired rate.


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.

Tips for Growing Sensi Star Cannabis

Ever wanted to grow your favorite strain? Leafly and General Hydroponics are teaming up on a series of grow guides that will equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to grow different strains successfully.


Strain Overview: A classic indica bred by Paradise Seeds, Sensi Star has been around for decades and continues to hold its own amongst today’s many popular strains. Sensi Star is known for its powerful high as well as also being a heavy yielder that consistently produces buds blanketed in resin.

Grow Techniques: Paradise Seeds celebrates this strain’s ability to be grown indoors or outdoors successfully. They also note that growing hydroponically or in soil works well. Indoors, you can maximize the yield by using SOG (sea of green) or SCROG (screen of green) methods. Promote bushy growth by topping the plants while they are in vegetative growth. The buds produced are very dense, so keep them away from excess moisture to prevent mold.

Flowering Time: 8 to 9 weeks

Yield: High

Grow Difficulty: Moderate

Climate: Sensi Star likes a controlled, drier climate with temperatures between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor/Outdoor: Grows well indoors or outdoors.

Feeding: Feed this strain with a normal feeding regimen to achieve quality results.


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.