Cooking with Cannabis, Part One: Decarboxylation

When I tell my mother I'm cooking with cannabis, she imagines some misshapen square of store bought brownie mix, the seeds and stems baked right in, and the dosage anyone's guess--an all around "hope-for-the-best" sort of situation. When I explain the process, the steps, the science, she's a bit blown away.

Anything that uses oil or butter is something that can be infused with cannabis, and over the past few years connoisseurs have tried to put it in everything. In the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, the possibilities are endless. And with proven benefits to back up the medicine, cannabis themed dinners and articles have become mainstream.

Generally, the effects of cannabis edibles come on gradually, but then last much longer than smoking or vaporizing--making it easy for a single dose to last all day. This can make edibles an extremely cost effect way to medicate but it also is why you need to be careful. When it comes to edibles, it's best to remember: You can always have more, but you can't have less.

When you ingest cannabis, THC is metabolized by the liver, meaning it's broken down to be used as energy (and that I googled "what does the liver do?"). When broken down, the THC is converted into something called 11-hydroxy-THC, and this, the active form of THC, is very effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier, the filtering system that blocks certain substances from getting to the brain. Benefits include extreme pain relief, nausea relief and much more, however the side effects can be a stronger body high, and in excessive doses, effects can be almost psychedelic.

Because of the way edibles are processed through the stomach and into the liver, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the effects to be felt. However, the effects can last for several hours. This is one likely reason why many patients report having negative experiences with edible cannabis. They don’t wait the correct duration, eat more, and then, when the effects do arrive, they are overwhelming.

Again: You can always have more, but you can't have less.

This needs to be kept in mind when purchasing edibles, or making them yourself: Dosage can be very tricky, so always do the math and calculate mg dosage or go by the recommend dosage on the package. In Colorado, 10 mg is considered a "standard" dose with mild effects.

Here's a quick note on how to roughly calculate the amount of cannabis in the finished product. If you put a gram of cannabis into your butter/oil that is 20% THC, then your oil will roughly have 200 mg of THC. 

Anyway, the first thing that has to happen is decarboxylation, a chemical reaction that removes acids from the chemical allowing it to be absorbed by the body--converting the THCA in cannabis into THC. This occurs when cannabis is smoked or vaporized however, we need to complete this reaction before the cannabis can be effectively used in edibles. 

But how much cannabis do you use? The short answer is, as much as you want. You have to keep in mind the amount of oil or butter called for in a recipe, and how much each person is going to consume. Think about how big your batch of edibles is going to be and how many pieces you want the user to eat before they feel the effects.

Below you'll find two recipes. The first for decarboxylation, which is easier than it sounds;  and second, for making Cannabis butter.

Decarboxylation

      Preheat oven to 240*

      Break up cannabis with a grinder and spread as a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

      Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure it toasts evenly, a light to medium brown color.

      If saving to use later, remove the baking sheet and allow cannabis to cool. Store in an airtight container until needed.

*When heating cannabis at a lower temperature it loses fewer terpenes during the decarboxylation process. Terpenes are the oils in cannabis that give each strain its unique smell and flavor--berry, mint, citrus, pine--as well as, provide a number of medical benefits, such as relieving pain or increasing focus.

Once decarboxylated, the cannabis can be used to infuse oil or butter for baking desserts, sautéing veggies, frying up your morning eggs, or spreading on toast. 

The type of oil to use depends on what you'll be making.

Olive Oil -- sautéing/salad dressing

Coconut oil -- desserts/baking

Butter -- baking/frying

 

Cannabis Butter 

Ingredients

      4 grams Decarboxylated Cannabis

      3/4 cup Butter

Yield

      1/2 cup Cannabis Butter

Method

Melt the butter on low heat in a small saucepan. Add the Decarboxylated Cannabis, and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain the butter through a piece of cheesecloth into a dish, one with a tight-fitting lid if you're storing the butter to use later. With the back of a spoon, smash plant matter to squeeze out every drop. When you're done, discard the plant matter. Use the butter right away, or you can refrigerate or freeze it until needed.

Be sure that you remove all the plant matter before storing, otherwise it can get moldy after a while in the refrigerator.

You can easily scale this recipe up for larger batches. One pound of butter (4 sticks) can absorb a half ounce of cannabis, but it should simmer for 60 minutes. Keep in mind too though that you will loose some of the butter in the cooking process.

 

REPORT CARD: Grading the Candidates on Cannabis

With the next election fast approaching, we are once again asking ourselves, who is the most qualified to lead the free world? When it comes to the President of the United States, the ideal is someone who sees the world through a lens like our own, able to see the world as evolving, with a background and experiences we can relate to—who can relate to us.
 
Despite the overall lack of policy change, Obama has gradually expressed his support for a marijuana policy that's rooted in science and that doesn't unfairly punish users.1 In 2004 he stated his support for decriminalization, but made it clear he was not for legalization.2 Since 2008, 13 states have legalized medical marijuana, bringing the current total to 23, including the District of Colombia, with 7 more putting forth initiatives in 2016. In 2014 the Obama Administration directed federal prosecutors to stop enforcing drug laws that contradict state marijuana policies.3
 
Simply endorsing medical marijuana however is not enough. Many feel, including the chairman of the marijuana Majority, Tom Angell, that the President should use the executive powers to reschedule marijuana and protect dispensaries.4

REPORT CARD 5
 

THE REPUBLICAN ELEPHANT
Jeb Bush: C-
Ted Cruz: C+
Carly Fiorina: C+
John Kasich: C-
Rand Paul: A-
Marco Rubio: D
Donald Trump: C

 
THE DEMOCRATIC DONKEY

Hilary Clinton: B
Martin O'Malley: B-
Bernie Sanders: A

THE REPUBLICAN ELEPHANT

Jeb Bush (R)
•    Has a long history of supporting the War on Drugs and opposing marijuana legalization.
•    He and his wife are on the board of the Drug Free American Foundation—a primarily anti-marijuana organization.
•    In 2014 he opposed a medical marijuana initiative in Florida, and in a December 2015 interview, he said he supports decriminalization, but called marijuana "a gateway drug," and "highly toxic."
•    Has said he supports states' rights to set their own policies on marijuana.
 
Ted Cruz (R)
•    Has repeatedly opposed legalization.
•    Says he supports states' rights to set their own policies on marijuana legalization, but he criticized Obama for not enforcing federal marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.
 
Carly Fiorina (R)
•    Is against legalization for any purpose, medical or otherwise.
•    Has recently expressed support for decriminalization, as well as states' rights to establish their own marijuana policies.
 
John Kasich (R)
•    "Totally opposed" to the legalization of marijuana in any form, including medicinal.
•    Supports states' rights to set their own policies on marijuana legalization.
•    About medical marijuana, he has said, "we don't need that, there are other ways to [treat pain].”6
 
Rand Paul (R)
•    Has consistently supported states' rights to establish policy regarding marijuana.
•    Vocal supporter of decriminalization and reduced penalties for marijuana possession.
•    Sponsor of the CARERS Act - a bipartisan bill that would allow states to set their own policies regarding marijuana legalization, without interference from the federal government.
•    Co-sponsor of a bill that would allow marijuana-related businesses access to the banking system.
 
Marco Rubio (R)
•    Has shown some support for non-psychoactive forms of medical marijuana, but he is opposed to legalization.
•    Says he supports states' right to set policy, but he would enforce federal law in states that have repealed marijuana prohibition.
 
Donald Trump (R)
•    In 1990 he favored legalizing all drugs, but now he opposes legalizing, or even regulating marijuana for adult use.
•    Supports legal access to medical marijuana,
•    Supports states' right to establish policy regarding marijuana.

THE DEMOCRATIC DONKEY

Hilary Clinton (D)
•    Has expressed support for safe access.
•    Supports medical marijuana, and would like to see more research into its benefits.
•    Supports states' right to set policy.
•    In 2015 she said she supports reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug—allowing for more research into its medical benefits.
 
Martin O'Malley (D)
•    As governor of Maryland he spoke out against marijuana use.
•    Despite his personal opinions:
•    In 2014 he signed bills into law that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
•    Established a working medical marijuana program.
•    In 2015 he said he supports reclassifying marijuana to Schedule II drug.
 
Bernie Sanders (D)
•    Supports allowing states to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana.
•    Has been consistently critical of the War on Drugs.
•    Has said he would vote to legalize and regulate use in NV in 2016.
•    Intends to propose legislation that would remove marijuana entirely from the federal drug schedules. This would allow:
•    Access to banks by marijuana businesses.
•    Marijuana to be regulated, like alcohol—state by state.
•    Access to tax deductions not available because of federal regulations.
 
 
1 http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/04/19/3648671/obama-medical-marijuana-support/
 
2 http://2012.presidental-candidates.org
 
3 http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-medical-pot-20141216-story.html
 
4 http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/04/19/3648671/obama-medical-marijuana-support/
 
5 https://www.mpp.org/2016-presidential-candidates/#cfiorina

6 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ubgad9h5v0

•    

Remove the Negative Connotation

There are so many helpful benefits to medical marijuana, some we see or experience ourselves, and others we just hear about. It seems like the number of medical treatments it helps grows by the day. Marijuana has the potential to heal so many people in need, yet it is so far from reaching it full full potential as a medicine.

Moving to a medical state has changed my idea of what it means to medicate. At first I was a bit apprehensive about this term, because I came from a town that wasn't too fond of marijuana. I was labelled as a "pothead" and a “stoner” and was told to “get my life in order”. Little did they know, I was, in fact, getting my life in order. I was using marijuana to get over a horrible depression and marijuana helped me! What a “Wild place!”

The negative connotation that marijuana carries is a burden on society and has done so much damage. It has prevented millions from taking advantage of medical benefits of marijuana including my father. He has been diagnosed with MS, which could ruin his ability to live a full life. MS is a very rough disease that breaks down your central nervous system, leaving you completely disabled or even leading to early death. There haven't been any super successful stories yet curing or even reversing the disease, so the sooner you know the sooner you get treatment. Hence those two words, “treat it"! That means, the medicine recommended for patients with MS can help slow it down, maybe even stop it from progressing, or it could do nothing at all. Yet, all of these drugs can really impact the body, and in some cases lead to horrible side effects. The side effects include nausea, fatigue, feeling of needles and pins throughout the body, appetite loss, and many other problems. If you are a patient, and use medical marijuana, then you know that these side effects can be controlled with marijuana. It is very close to resembling what cancer patients go through with chemo-therapy. Many researchers have found that the use of medical marijuana with MS can be a great alternative treatment to the daily or monthly treatments of MS medicines.

I have seen many of these side effects take over my father’s normal functions, prohibiting him from living to his fullest. He can no longer enjoy a lot of activities that he use to do, such as golfing and golfing, due to tremors, or his inability to fully control the his voluntary movements. His central nervous system is slowly cutting off some of these connections between his brain and the rest of his body. This can also cause a form of depression, due to his inability to do things he once could. I’ve tried numerous times to educate my father about the medical benefits marijuana could provide him, like the benefits it can have in mitigating the negative side effects of his treatment. Yet, due to Pennsylvania not being a medical marijuana state, it limits my full potential to help him see what this could offer. He doesn’t smoke, but as all medical marijuana users know, smoking is not the only way to use marijuana. A tincture or some kind of edible could be used instead. Yet, I still have not found a way to reason with him, or find someone who could convince him of the medical benefits of marijuana.

However, just recently, I met someone who has MS and has been medical marijuana along with their traditional treatment. The purpose of the cannabis medicine in this instance it to help overcome the negative side effects, or completely absolve the negative side effects of the traditional treatment. She has trouble moving around the house, like walking from floor to floor because of the fatigue and lack of energy that result from MS treatments. But when she medicates correctly, she feels a relief because she can move again. These pain and aches aren’t as intense as they could be, allowing her body to gain much more movement then before. The eating side effect, for the most part, is completely nonexistent. Overall, she seems much happier and alive, because of the positive results that medical marijuana affords her. She can move again, still not as much as before she had MS, but it’s also helping with her emotional and physical state. It isn’t a perfect solution or miracle cure, but it offers a great deal of relief for those with this nasty disease.

I believe we need to continue to research this medicine and find out more about its positive applications, so we can, most importantly, strip this medicine of its negative connotation so that people like my father and many others with life threatening illnesses can lead happier, healthier lives. That's why our work is so important, and why we must lead by example. So that, instead of viewing marijuana as a recreational gateway drug with no health benefits, the masses begin to see it as a bonafide medicine and begin to use it themselves.

Rocco Levine


Seniors Find Relief In Medical Cannabis

In 1937, the federal government made cannabis illegal. For forty years, cannabis was not legally available in any form until 1990s when its medical benefits began to be recognized, and medical cannabis was provided to the first few patients in need. Since then, our understanding of cannabis and its effects have grown exponentially. Twenty-three states, as well as Washington DC, have legalized medical cannabis, and of those, four have approved the recreational use of cannabis–with more set to follow their lead. 1

In that time, the conversation about medical cannabis has evolved, as well as who is a part of that conversation. Physicians who had once been opponents of medical cannabis are forced to challenge their conventional thinking as the number of conditions found to be treated by cannabis continues to increase -in particular, those afflicting older patients, including arthritis, chronic pain, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s. 2 Cannabis offers a wide variety of medical benefits for seniors, all while greatly reducing the dependence on painkillers and decreasing the number of accidental deaths caused by narcotics. 3

How it all works

The human body produces cannabinoids naturally within every living person. They attach themselves to specialized cell receptors in the body controlling our appetite, sensation of pain, effecting our mood and our memory. As the body ages, and when it is not working as it should be, it produces less and less cannabinoids, causing negative effects on our appetite, excess pain and array of different psychological disorders. 4

However, and luckily, it is these same cannabinoids that occur naturally in cannabis–giving seniors living with chronic pain, or previously called "untreatable" conditions, a chance to not only feel better, but to actually get better! 

The Benefits

Of all the benefits from medical cannabis, there are a few in particular that serve the unique needs of the senior community. 

First of all, cannabis is safer than most commonly prescribed drugs. Unlike many prescription medications, there are no significant side effects of using medical marijuana. Every year people are hospitalized due to side effects of medications that are meant to help them. Headaches and muscle pain, blood clots, bowel discomfort, and even death are common side effects of regularly prescribed drugs.  Medical marijuana is incredibly safe and no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. Discontinuing the use of marijuana is also safe and easy, unlike many prescription drugs. And it does not have to be smoked. Marijuana can be ingested through vapor, cannabis-infused oils, and can be mixed into just about any recipe. 5

Marijuana has been proven to alleviate chronic pain.

Scientific studies have shown that cannabinoids provide relief from arthritis and neuropathy pain, as well as the inflammation caused by long-term conditions such as Hepatitis C, lupus, and or even irritable bowel syndrome. With advances in modern cannabis medicine, there have become an array of different intake methods, most of which are geared toward getting the cannabinoids in your body without having a large psychoactive effect (i.e. without getting high).  The discovery and isolation of CBD was a massive breakthrough in this regard, however, Marijuana-infused ointments are also very effective for joint and muscle pain, offering comfort without the high.

Marijuana can reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Marijuana encourages new neural pathways, essentially stalling, and even preventing further degradation. Marijuana can even improve brain function by slowing the formation of plaque that kills brain cells in Alzheimer’s patients. It can also significantly reduce pain and tremors in Parkinson’s patients and provide them relief and improved sleep. 6

Marijuana is an effective appetite stimulant.

One of the biggest health risks to seniors and adults with cancer is the loss of appetite and resulting weight loss. Medical marijuana has proven to successfully alleviate nausea, vomiting, and the loss of appetite that accompany chemotherapy and other prescription medications. Decreasing nausea helps seniors and cancer patients to stabilize their weight by increasing their appetite, and allowing them to enjoy eating food again. 

Marijuana can be used to treat eye disease such as Glaucoma. 

Glaucoma occurs when fluid inside the eye increases in pressure and damages the optic nerve, resulting in a loss of vision. Marijuana relieves the build-up of pressure in the eyes and can even slow the progression of the disease, helping patients keep their vision.

Why do seniors need Medical Cannabis?

Doctors see all sorts of social injustices that are written on the human body, one person at a time. But this one - the rote denial of a palliative care drug like marijuana to people with serious illness–smacks of pure cruelty precisely because it is so easily remediable, precisely because it prioritizes service to a cold political agenda over the distressed lives and deaths of real human beings. 

Washington bureaucrats - far removed from the troubled bedsides of sick and dying patients–are ignoring what patients, doctors and health care workers are telling them about real world suffering. In a society that has witnessed extensive positive experiences with medicinal marijuana, as long as it is safe and not proven to be ineffective, why shouldn't seriously ill patients have access to it? 7

Antona Stanley

If your still skeptical about seniors using medical cannabis, watch this video of "Grandmas Smoking Weed for the First Time". (Click the image below)


Red-Eyed Rover

Recently, we happened to meet a veterinarian while out with friends for dinner, and 

with this golden opportunity, after a few glasses of wine, we had to ask. In his 

professional opinion, “What’s the deal with pets using cannabis?”

Little did we know, we had asked a fairly large question. Our new friend was 

reluctant to answer, or be named for this article, he said, because any answer would 

lack support. Not only is there simply too little research done on the subject to make 

any real claims, but veterinarians, unlike medical doctors, have not been given the 

legal pathway to prescribe cannabis medically. It may or may not be similar to 

humans. Factually and legally, he just couldn’t say. 

There are, however, a few things we do know. Our new friend informed us of a few 

things shaping the debate around pets and cannabis:

Absolutely, positively, keep your edibles away from your pets.

By and large, consuming cannabis in either raw or prepared forms is going to be an 

uncomfortable experience for your cat/bat/rat/boa constrictor. Do not take Rover’s 

eagerness to eat cannabis as a positive sign. Pets become lethargic and anxious, and 

in some cases, incontinent. Imagine if you got high and didn’t have the capacity to 

understand it. Veterinarians observe that many of the side effects that humans 

encounter with cannabis can be more pronounced in pets. 

This is especially risky for anything containing cannabutter, the primary mode of 

delivery for baked goods and many other popular edibles. The butter alone will hurt 

Fido or Fluffy and could cause serious, even fatal reactions. When combined with 

cannabis’ natural ability to suppress nausea, it makes getting this harmful substance 

out of the pet’s system all the more difficult. Another risk factor is chocolate, which 

is toxic to many pets, especially dogs, and very prevalent in medicated edibles. In a 

2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 

reported that cannabis toxicity in pets had increased fourfold since the legalization 

of recreational cannabis in Colorado, yet only two of these cases proved fatal. In 

both of the fatal cases, baked goods were consumed, and researchers were unable to 

determine if the fatality was caused by the actual cannabis or the other ingredients 

of the edibles. 

However, veterinarians are interested in cannabis’ medical properties for pets.

Much like humans, most vertebrates, and even a few invertebrates have an 

endocannabinoid system, and much like humans, the naturally occurring 

cannabinoids in the cannabis plant bond to endocannabinoid receptors in their 

brains and alter feelings, mood, pain, memory and healing. A 2013 article in the 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association documents the benefits of 

the use of cannabis over the traditionally prescribed Tramadol and how it helped a 

12-year old black Lab suffering from terminal cancer. Much like human cancer 

patients, the dog experienced an easing of pain and a return of appetite. Miles was 

dosed using a glycerin tincture, avoiding many of the potential risks previously 

mentioned with giving pets edibles. Doses were also carefully measured and 

administered, further reducing risk. The article also details anecdotal evidence of 

various pets experiencing many of the same benefits as humans with medical 

cannabis, and that veterinarians are responding in kind, championing the plant’s use 

in the field. 

-There’s still much to be learned, proceed with caution.

Dr. Eric Barchas is a Bay Area veterinarian who has seen lots of cases of cannabis 

intoxication in pets. On his website, which he maintains as a free resource for pet 

owners, he details the many effects and hazards associated with pets and cannabis 

(http://drbarchas.com/marijuana). However, extreme risks seem minimal. He 

notes, 

“[I]n my personal experience dealing with many hundreds or perhaps even 

thousands of cases of marijuana intoxication none of my patients has ever 

suffered a significant long-term complication as a result of marijuana 

ingestion. These include a number of patients who had consumed massive 

quantities of the product (I have treated patients who consumed several 

pounds of market-ready plant material, or dozens of doses of potent medical 

grade edible products).”

Yet, the unique ways that cannabinoids interact with various pets are still unknown, 

and until research and testing can be done to discover and quantify these effects, it 

is best to err on the side of extreme caution. They might be different from the 

unique way that cannabis interacts in the human system, and what is good for the 

pet owner might not necessarily be good for the pet. Rex or Spot might seem to 

enjoy an occasional puff when their owner is medicating, but it is best to not let 

them partake. 

If your pet were suffering from an extreme condition, it would be wise to take into 

consideration the many factors, both legal and medical, before attempting to 

medicate with cannabis, and if that choice is made, to go about it in measured and 

cautious steps. There are promising things on the horizon, but for the time being, 

the risks are unknown. We encourage medical cannabis patients to support 

scientific research and legislation that would allow us to further our understanding 

of the interaction between cannabis and pets, and for now, to make sure all 

medicine is safely secured to avoid accidental ingestion. Pets need advocates too, 

and now, as the national climate regarding medical cannabis is shifting, is the 

perfect time to explore what we can do to effectively and safely help our fellow life 

forms in times of suffering.

What can be done–PTSD & Cannabis

To date, there are 2.5 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of whom have served multiple deployments, and return home to face the struggle of re-adjusting to their old lives. Doing the things that were sources of hope during battle, like being with family, going to the grocery store, watching tv, going for a walk, the things they reached for when the fight was hardest, have become a struggle instead.

For some, the scars are physical, but for many combat vets the return home brings with it long-lasting psychological trauma.

It has been estimated that more than half a million veterans struggle with the effects of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Defined by the American Psychiatric Association as an anxiety disorder triggered by an extremely stressful or traumatic event, sufferers continually re-experience their trauma, even years after it occurred. Vivid memories, auditory hallucinations, flashbacks, and nightmares disrupt their lives on a daily basis. Twenty-two percent of veterans commit suicide everyday–a frightening statistic, even more so when you learn it is only an estimate. (Cannabis Now; 2015)

Facing an overwhelming sense of fear and alienation, feeling disconnected from their friends and family, combat vets find themselves stuck, unable to relax to life outside the battlefield. Panic attacks, shortness of breath, a fear of being closed in, depression, and, unfortunately, violent outbursts are all too common. An array of treatment options is not. As a condition, the first case of PTSD was not treated until 1980, and because of this the research is limited.

What has been made clear though, is that along with flashbacks,  and unwanted memories, nightmares are one of the most common ways sufferers relive their trauma. Waking up feeling stressed and exhausted, returning combat soldiers spend their days agitated and anxious, in a constant state of combat readiness.

There are five stages of sleep. Stages 1 through 4, and a stage called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM. Each stage is progressively deeper and the complete cycle is repeated several times during the night. When awakened during REM sleep, subjects report dreaming. Why we dream during sleep is still unknown, there are many theories, but nothing definitive.

What someone with PTSD needs most is to sleep, a chance to rest, but more often than not, they can't do so. Dreams bring back harsh memories and often times, Veterans with PTSD are reliving the horrors of battle during the time that should be resting softly. Medication used to help patients sleep offer more sleep, but without the restfulness, and often accompanied by harsh side effects.

But what do know about cannabis and its effects on sleep?

Unfortunately, not much. Most of the research on cannabis and sleep was conducted in the 1970s. But what was found, and has continued to be reported amongst users, is that cannabis, even in low doses, reduced time spent in REM sleep. Cannabinoids, compounds active in cannabis, have been found to mimic chemicals found naturally in the brain. These chemicals and their biological pathways make up the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is,  among other things, responsible for regulating sleep.

Cannabis has been found to affect sleep in five distinct ways. To lessen the time it takes to fall asleep, while increasing the time spent asleep, providing deeper sleep while shortening REM sleep cycles, and helping patients to breathe more easily. And while research is restricted based on the legal status of cannabis, veterans have been fighting for their right to access medical marijuana from the very beginning. In February 1978, the first medical cannabis law was enacted thanks to the efforts of two men, a veteran, Lynn Pierson, and the very first medical cannabis patient and its strongest advocate, Robert C. Randall. (Cannabis Now; 2015)

Today returning combat vets  struggle with the complicated task of re-adjusting to civilian life. They dream not of the good things they did, or the people they saved but instead are haunted by the things they were unable to prevent, and by the violence they witnessed.

Veterans use cannabis for many of the same reasons as most patients: anxiety, chronic pain, depression, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, however, with no other condition has cannabis proven to be more helpful than it has with treating PTSD.

4th of July: Out Reach

The 4th of July is upon us, which of course means it’s time for the annual watching of Independence Day!

On a recent viewing, while getting choked up at Bill Pullman’s rousing presidential address, before the citizens of earth battle aliens for the fate of the world, (you know the one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoLywiaM6PA) something stuck with us here at Bloom Room, “we will be united in our common interest…”

Here in California, we were wise to have been early adopters of the amazing medicine that cannabis is. While there are still many struggles faced by the medical cannabis community within the state, we are very fortunate to have safe and dependable access to medical cannabis. Elsewhere, many Americans are still suffering.

Twenty-seven states still lack any form of access to medical cannabis, and many of the legalized twenty-three (and D.C.) lack actual infrastructure to support the laws that have passed.

In Illinois, for example, medical cannabis was passed into law “effective” January 1, 2014. In the year and a half that has followed, 2,500 patients have been approved for medical cannabis. While initial patient numbers were hopeful, applicant numbers have begun to trickle recently for some reason.

It might be that of the 2,500 approved patients in the state, not a single one has legal access to medicine yet.

This is because Illinois just approved its first growers and dispensaries for operation in February of this year. The matter was in bureaucratic gridlock for months (http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Rauner-Awards-Medical-Marijuana-Licenses-and-Permits-290584431.html), and it will be some time before dispensary doors open. No exact date is in sight, only hopefully “by the end of the year.”

And Illinois isn’t alone: earlier this month Rolling Stone profiled seven states (in addition to New York) where medical cannabis is technically legal, but far from a reality. (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/7-states-where-medical-marijuana-is-legal-but-barely-accessible-20150609)

So, this 4th of July, we’d like to urge the California medical cannabis community to reach out to the politicians of other states and show our support of our fellow ailing Americans, sharing some of our personal and state-wide success stories with cannabis treatment. The tide is already changing, and every little bit of support can help make that process faster and smoother.

If personal writing isn’t your cup of tea, The Marijuana Policy project has a good form letter, available here: https://secure2.convio.net/mpp/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=415

And of course, a list of our state senators, all of whom have a quick and easily accessible electronic contact: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

While we celebrate our independence, let’s also take a moment to express our solidarity. As medical cannabis patients, as Americans, and as human beings. 

Living Art Installation

Ask someone why they have a particular houseplant, or any houseplant for that matter, and the answer usually falls somewhere between, “someone gave it to me,” and “I thought it looked cool.”

It’s that gift you get for someone when you have no idea what to get them. Or maybe you get excited and buy one every time you move—lucky if you’re still remembering to water it six weeks later.

I choose something that isn’t terrible, and that doesn’t cost more than everything else, hope it doesn’t take too much responsibility, and figure it’s worth more than flowers, that it’ll last longer at least, since it isn’t dead to begin with.

In elementary school, middle school, high school, we learn about photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide, plants release oxygen—more nature means more breathable air. I had always thought we were talking about trees, redwoods, whole rainforests—the Amazon. Turns out though, a houseplant is more than just some pretty face, that these small attempts to green up the place are in fact making our lives happier and healthier.

According to the EPA we spend nearly all of our time indoors, almost 80% of it. We go from our homes to school, or work; to the library, and the coffee shop, and out to dinner, and to the movies; into stores and on public transportation, and then back home again—and bringing everything that we’ve picked up along the way right back inside. Everything from carbon dioxide to pesticides to something simply referred to as “volatile organic compounds.” If you really want to be grossed out, read the EPA’s Indoor Air Report.

So, NASA scientists did a study, as they’re known to do, and what did they find? What is it keeping all those toxins at bay?

Drumroll please…

Houseplants!

Houseplants filter out toxic air pollutants the same way any tree would. They’ve even been found to help fight the common cold. 

Being under their influence houseplants can reduce anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and can significantly reduce feelings of fear and anger by replacing them with a sense of calm and well-being.

But if you fill your apartment with potted plants and Ficus trees, there’s a good chance someone is going try to have you committed. Plus I’d have to figure out how to get a tree home on the bus.

What you can do though, is hang them from the ceiling and everyone will think it’s coolest thing ever.

And if you’ve been by Bloom Room recently you may have noticed our small attempt to add a little more green to the space. Having replaced the holiday snowflakes hanging just over reception with a whole array of plants that little, if any care.

You can use any type of low light houseplant. We used common ivy varieties, and Tillandsia air plants, but you can use anything that has a solid root system in place (not succulents though).

Air plants are great because they take hardly any attention at all. They absorb everything they need through their leaves—no soil, no potting,  no plant food. Instead of staying rooted in one place, they can grow just about anywhere, on rocks, in glass jars, or on dead branches, using their roots to keep themselves grounded wherever they might happen to be. And even better, they thrive on neglect! A little mist of water once a week, some circulation, and they’re good.

Ivy isn’t much work either. Once you get them set up they’ll get growing all on their own. You start by taking apart the plant and root systems. Remove the entire root soil bundle from the pot and spread it out on a larger surface to work the roots apart. Rinse the soil off of the roots before placing them in the jar, fill with enough water to submerge the roots. Make sure to keep the water filled, and that’s about it.

They’ll be cleaning up your air in no time. Or you can come by Bloom Room and breathe in some of ours.

Reception

Guess who's coming to dinner???

Heyo!

It's been a minute since we posted in our Blog. You'll notice us start to use it more now, but first things first.

We felt overwhelmingly compelled to share this with the world.....

WE HAVE BOTH OUR AWARD WINNER STRAINS IN STOCK @BLOOMROOMSF

Black Magic (I/S) and Hawaiian Gold (S)

Black Magic (I/S) and Hawaiian Gold (S)

Hawaiian Gold THC 20.0%, CBD .1% [Pineapple X Super Lemon Haze]

Hawaiian Gold

THC 20.0%, CBD .1%

[Pineapple X Super Lemon Haze]

[Blueberry Yum Yum x Super Lemon Haze] THC 20.3%, CBD 0.1%

Black Magic

[Blueberry Yum Yum x Super Lemon Haze]

THC 20.3%, CBD 0.1%

Plus, another one of our house favorites:

[Burmese x God Bud] THC 25.6% CBD 0.5%

Ambrosia

[Burmese x God Bud]

THC 25.6% CBD 0.5%

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San Francisco Mint Plaza

MintPlazaThingstoAccomplish

54Mint

Everything is exceptional - from the antipasti to the dolci: the menu at 54 Mint in Mint Plaza bursts with mediterranean flavor steeped in rustic-italian inspiration. Try the pizzetta (think homemade flatbread & homemade sausage)  and make sure you try each and every dish at least once. If you try 54 Mint Ristorante in San Francisco - you’ll meet old-country flavor without leaving the 7x7.

bluebottlecoffee

The aroma alone is worth a fifteen minute wait. Drip coffee happens over time - it’s never rushed. Hot water washes warm notes of hazelnut and chicory into your single serving - and voila!

“My freshly dripped Blue Bottle Coffee is now ready for cream and sugar.” At least, that’s your initial response. Sip it without modification and indulge.

sffirecu

Located at 12 Mint Plaza, this branch of the San Francisco Fire Fighter’s Credit Union is straight across from the SF Chronicle Building on Mission Street. SFCU reimburses for all ATM fees (in other words use any and all other bank ATMs and SFCU will pay your fee without question - automatically!) and they have a groovy SF Fire Credit Union iPhone app and the sleek SF Fire Credit Union Android app as well 

mezzanine

“Mezzanine is San Francisco’s premiere live music venue, nightclub, and event space, showcasing DJs and live performances from some of the newest, most talented artists in music, and hosting performances that span all genres – from Indie-rock to Hip Hop, Nu-disco to New Orleans Brass.

Mezzanine has steadily become one of the Bay Area’s primary destinations for live music, giving both the artist and concert goer the finest amenities, hospitality and performance quality. Centrally located in the heart of Downtown San Francisco, Mezzanine features two state-of-the-art sound systems, and industry renowned lighting.”

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Everyone knows Bloom Room SF! Think 4G eighths, tax always included, and lab-tested premium flowers! We also carry an epic array of concentrates and edibles. We do Medical Marijuana the way Blue Bottle does Coffee. We take this medicine seriously - and that’s why we offer our patients serious value!

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“As one of San Francisco's most unique boutique salons, we are an experienced team of fashion forward and passion driven stylists who pride ourselves in providing outstanding and personalized customer service; as well as behind the chair, behind stages of fashion shows and editorial photo shoots.

Located in the city's newest urban oasis of Mint Plaza, we're nestled in a sunny corner unit with 360-degree view provided by our 8th floor accommodations.

We provide personalized and detailed attention to our top quality work in a convenient and comfortable setting. Whether it's color, cut, extensions, a fabulous style or blowout; a total new look or something for a special occasion – there is a stylist here to fit your personality and needs. We also give great thought and consideration into the products that are used here in the salon.

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“Gentle Star is an original & progressive San Francisco medical spa, offering a portfolio of clinical skin rejuvenation services. Dedicated to the artistry of non-surgical esthetic transformation, Gentle Star's founders Dr. Thomas R. Ellis and Craig T. Shishido (Medical Esthetician) are inspired by the fusion of art, beauty and medicine.

Cutting edge medical esthetic treatments are delivered in a true San Francisco urban retreat. Tucked away in the historic 1907 Haas Candy Factory Warehouse across from San Francisco Shopping Center, Gentle Star is a quiet oasis where you can rediscover your inherent beauty. Come feel the beauty with us and get energized with a special experience that is uniquely Gentle Star.”

BloomBashSF to Celebrate Bloom Room SF's First-Year Anniversary

Raw Papers, Free Marijuana Joints, and Edibles All Day Saturday! You can also look forward to Samples of Bhang Chocolate's Caramel CBD Bar, Auntie Dolores Edibles, as well as the Volcano and Vapir Rise Vapor Hookah Experience!

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Kiva Confections: Chocolate Meets Medical Marijuana

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Bloom Room SF supports local flavor. Medical marijuana started here - and we're big fans of bay-area marijuana organizations who support quality, consistency, and safety. Kiva Confections is an exceptional chocolate producer; even without their key medical ingredient, cannabinoids - their chocolate is worthy of being in the fancy chocolate aisle at Whole Foods or Molly Stone.

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Kiva Confection produces Premium Medical Marijuana Infused Chocolate. They offer a variety of flavors - all of which contain 180mg of THC (the main ingredient often sought after by many medical marijuana patients in San Francisco0; while they don't offer a CBD-Rich variety (meaning more cannabidiol than THC per dose) - they have introduced a brand-new edible to our menu: Kiva Confections Terra Espresso Bites!
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These delicious coffee beans are wrapped with Kiva's velvety chocolate bliss. every bite brings wellness and a smile.

As with any medical marijuana edible, Kiva Confections should be broken into small pieces and ingested incrementally every 30-60 minutes. Leave some time between small bites to test your personal tolerance: edibles can last for several hours, so it's important that patients do not consume a large portion of this medicine right away!

In the event that you do consume too much medical marijuana chocolate - consider a CBD-Rich product like Alta California's CBD Tincture! Using CBD can help you dissipate the mental effects of THC. If your dose becomes to much to handle - a couple drops of the Alta California Tincture will help you avoid an unhappy experience.

Bloom Room Holiday Party Features Vaporizers, Freebies, and Fresh-Brewed Blue Bottle Coffee!

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Thanks for showing up Cannabis Times Magazine! Hope you enjoyed our Pax Giveaway!

Thanks for showing up Cannabis Now Magazine! Hope you enjoyed our Pax Giveaway!

We had our own Coffee Barista serving fresh-ground Blue Bottle Coffee by the drop. Perfect every time!

Coffee and Cannabis is the perfect combination. We even have exclusive giveaways for fans of Blue Bottle Coffee! Follow us on Facebook for details :)

The Pax vaporizer was up for giveaway, donated by LivingCannabis.

Is There Such a Thing as Marijuana Addiction?

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Let's define addiction first: According to the American Psychiatric Association, "Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences." So, for a person to have an addiction, compulsive consumption leads to negative consequences (like losing your job or health).

Now, let's explore what most people think of addiction (aka Physical Dependence): according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "the body adapts to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance) and eliciting drug-specific physical or mental symptoms if drug use is abruptly ceased (withdrawal)."

Therefore, when people think of an addict as someone who is trembling with withdrawal symptoms until they catch their next fix, they're really thinking of an individual with an extreme physical dependence! While someone might suggest that a medical marijuana patient who uses cannabis so often that they forget to show up for work is an addict, we are uncomfortable with the concept.

Nicotine Leads to Text-Book Physical Dependence

After all, addiction is a strong word! We think of nicotine addiction, heroin addiction, or caffeine addiction: in all of these cases, the user will experience withdrawal symptoms that damage their health and wellness because their biological material has been manipulated into thinking that it requires the substance to function "normally."

So, when it comes to medical marijuana, one is only "addicted" if use is negatively impacting life responsibilities; since using medical marijuana helps patients reclaim their life, happiness, and level of comfort - it's difficult to see medical marijuana addiction as being something that can actually exist! If your cannabis helps you stay functional, helps you maintain productivity, or enhances your ability to meet and exceed life's demands - than you can't be considered an addict!

How To Identify Medical-Grade Cannabis in San Francisco and Beyond!

Not all marijuana is created equal. All cannabinoids are medically valuable - but not all flower samples have the potential to alleviate your medical conditions. In San Francisco, patients have access to a range of different medical marijuana strains; the bay area plays host to a variety of providers and purveyors of cannabis - but, that doesn't mean that everything on every menu can be considered medicine. In order to be medical marijuana, your cannabis needs to possess cannabinoids - and the beneficial medical compounds are found in the highest concentrations within the resin glands know as trichomes. Though it is ideal to have lab data reflecting the medical potential of a given strain, there are various ways to assess the quality of any sample of medical marijuana. Next time you're at Bloom Room SF (or any other medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco), take a few moments to examine multiple strains for the following qualities:

Trichomes Are Where Most of the Medicinal Magic Happens!

1) STRUCTURE: When it comes to premium medical marijuana - trichomes matter most; since trichomes grow on the surface of the flower, density becomes an issue. If a bud is too dense, the trichomes will form and mature in a limited fashion rather than throughout the entire bud (you'll find them clustered on the outside of the flower or in pockets). Loosened flowers provide more surface area and thus a greater among of cannabinoid-dense trichomes.

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2) FRAGRANCE: Medical-grade cannabis has a pungent aroma. While every scent differs from one strain to the next, a sample that lacks a distinct fragrance is generally old and/or dried out. If you notice the dominant scent of wet grass, then chances are that sample hasn't been properly cured and needs to dry out before consumption. Curing is an essential part to the process of harvesting quality medical cannabis! This process breaks down chlorophyll (which tastes/ smells like grass) and allows the terpenes (fragrance compounds) to express themselves. Patients shouldn't consume fresh medical marijuana by way of inhalation: it will taste disgusting and harsh. All proper medical cannabis has been thoroughly dried and properly cured.

3) MOISTURE CONTENT: One of the best ways to test a strain of medical marijuana for moisture is the crack test. To perform the crack test, simply bend the stem of your flower sample. If the stem bends, the sample is too fresh to be consumed by way of inhalation (either through a vaporize or smoking device); if the stem cracks with a clean break, the sample is properly dried and ready for consumption. Flowers that have been improperly stored can dry out resulting in a harsh experience for the patient.

4) STICKYNESS TEST: This relates back to both trichomes and moisture content. Proper medical marijuana should be sticky to the touch. Patients have reported their medical nuggets sticking to the top of the Bloom Room medicine tins when they first open their gram or eighth! Cannabis flower stickiness is caused by the trichomes' resinous surface: more sticky = more trichomes = great medical marijuana! No stickiness means the sample has few trichomes or that it is very dry. Consider cracking open a nugget to examine the stickiness within; sometimes the handling of large quantities of buds results in the nuggets losing their stickiness on the external surface. Cracking a bud can also help you get a great sample of the true fragrance for any particular strain. Consider getting a grinder to avoid losing trichomes on your fingers!

BR_Chart graphic_035) LAB TEST: At Bloom Room, we test all of our strains for potency and safety (mold and pesticide) with CW Analytical Labs in Oakland. They analyze the cannabinoid content for each strain - allowing us to inform patients about their medicine. Instead of relying on a name or lineage of genetics, patients can get to choose their medicine based on the symptoms they wish to alleviate; since each cannabinoid has different medical qualities, we think it's important for patients to have access to lab results when seeking out quality medicine.

What Is Happening in San Francisco for Labor Day Weekend?

Bloom Room SF Labor Day Specials 2013

"San Francisco Labor Day Events"

via SFGate.com

Dead Certain: A Critically Acclaimed Psychological Thriller on Union Square. Labor Day weekend special (click for more)

Friday, Aug 30 8:00p
Dead Certain is an "edge-of-your-seat" thriller -- NYC Retro Vision Media called this production "the sleeper of New York City's small theater season to date"...

Novela Bar Labor Day Celebration

Sunday, Sep 1 12:00p
Novela, San Francisco

For most people the Summer season typically comes to an end as the month of September falls upon us...

Hornblower Labor Day Beer Lunch Cruise

Monday, Sep 2 12:00p
Hornblower Landing, San Francisco

Come out on the San Francisco Bay for a true American style lunch buffet on the Labor Day Beer Lunch Cruise...

Pier Pressure SF – Labor Day Party Cruise

Sunday, Sep 1 3:30p
89 King St, San Francisco

“The Bay Area’s #1 Party Cruise Labor Day Weekend” It’s time to party and soak in the San Francisco Sun aboard the Cabernet Sauvignon...

Sunday, Sep 1 10:00p
Roe, San Francisco

Sunday Nite Kap is the Premier Bay Area event for the Socially Sophisticated, upwardly mobile, young professional...

Seat Geek's List of San Francisco Labor Day Events!

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Party Earth's To-Do List For San Francisco Labor Day!

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Bloom Room & San Francisco Thank Dr. Sanjay Gupta for Supporting Medical Marijuana!

Dear Dr. Gupta: On behalf of Bloom Room, and the many medical marijuana patients in San Francisco, we just want to say, "Thank You."

The polarized modern media machine rarely progresses a dialogue between opposites, antagonists, or volatile skeptics. Facts are doused with opinion and engulfed in the fire of the inflammatory response, accusatory remark, and unsubstantiated claim. Instead of getting caught up in the mix and mockery of our manipulative media culture, you stand as a beacon of medicine - as a pioneer of healthcare.

Thank you kind sir! We tip our beanies to you :D

Keep up the great work,

Team Bloom Room SF

Here are a few reasons why we want to thank Dr. Sanjay Gupta! Medical cannabis means a lot to the patients of San Francisco - and his support reaffirms the stability of a much needed resource:

1) Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the legalization of medical marijuana on CNN. He illustrates the outcome of the Colorado and Washington elections for complete marijuana legalization, and then he touches on the topic of medical marijuana with Dr. Julie Holland - author of The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis.

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2) Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses medical marijuana with Anderson Cooper on CNN. They talk about safety of medical cannabis and the effects of THC - the most potent cannabinoid in the plant - and how it affect the brain. Dr. Gupta illustrates the increasing potency of medical marijuana with a graph of THC percentages, and then mentions how the "loss of short-term memory" is only a short term side effect of cannabis.

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3) Dr. Sanjay Gupta travels around the world as he cuts through the smoke of medical marijuana to illuminate the truth about the patients who benefit from it. This is the intro for his CNN special report: WEED: A Sanjay Gupta Special

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4) The outcome of his year-long investigation of medical marijuana, Piers Morgan interviews Dr. Sanjay Gupta about him rescinding the statements he made in a 2009 in Time Magazine - Why I Would Vote 'No' on Pot. Dr. Gupta brings up the science of medical marijuana, and how the American public has been "systematically" mislead about it.

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