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Are Pre-Rolled Joints Worth the Cost?

pile of pre-rolled joints

Have you ever wished you had a joint, but didn't want to roll one? That whole process of grinding, packing, rolling, and wrapping isn't easy, especially when you're stoned! Pre-rolled joints are the inexpensive, high-quality alternative to rolling all your own joints. No more lugging around that pipe, bong, or bubbler! Now you can leave behind your entire stoner toolkit and get high anywhere with nothing but a pre-rolled joint (and a lighter, of course). They're perfect for testing new strains without having to commit to buying an entire eighth of unknown weed. Even better, pre-rolled joints come in so many varieties that everyone can find one that suits their preferences and price range. So call your local dispensary and ask about pre-rolled joints if you, like most stoners, love smoking joints (but not rolling them).

What are Pre-Rolled Joints?

one pre-rolled joint on white background

Unless you're a master joint roller, chances are high that any pre-rolled joint you buy is better than what you can make at home. The whole appeal of a pre-rolled joint is the convenience and the quality of a professionally-rolled joint! Your typical pre-rolled joint is conical in shape, meaning the tip (where you light up) is wider than the base (where you inhale). Filters are common in pre-rolled joints and are effective for many reasons: they protect your fingers and lips from resin and heat when you smoke and also allow you to get the most of your weed! Having a filter in your joint means you're not throwing away perfectly smokable cannabis just because it happened to be at the end of the joint. Most pre-rolled joints are between two to three inches long though sizes can vary dramatically in either direction. Pre-rolled joints give you all the convenience of smoking a joint without having to do any of the work to roll it. And when in doubt about your pre-rolled joint, just ask your budtender for their advice- after all, it's their job to help you choose your weed!

Buying Pre-Rolled Joints

pre-rolled and pre-packaged marijuana joint

If you want to buy a pre-rolled joint, you're in luck. Since cannabis legalization is sweeping the globe, finding places to buy pre-rolled joints is pretty easy. Just call up your local dispensary and ask about what they have available and in stock! Most dispensaries, medical or recreational, carry pre-rolled joints. In fact, one of the best ways to judge a dispensary is on their in-house pre-rolled joints. Expect a symmetrical joint with a generous packing of weed and a tight (but not too tight) conical roll as the iconic pre-rolled joint you'll find at most dispensaries. If you're looking for something a little fancier, brand name cannabis businesses have even started producing pre-rolled and pre-packed joints for sale in dispensaries. You can expect a good joint if you're buying it pre-rolled and packaged – and for the price, you definitely should be getting a good joint. So long as you are over the age of 21 and/or have a medical marijuana card, you can enjoy a nice pre-rolled joint. And after smoking it, ponder this stoner thought: Aren't all joints pre-rolled, if you really think about it?

Are Pre-Rolled Joints Worth the Cost?

person lighting up a pre-rolled marijuana joint

Honestly, unless you roll joints all day every day, any pre-rolled joint you buy will be worth the cost. It's rare to buy a pre-rolled joint that doesn't knock your socks off, but it can and (sadly) will still happen on occasion. You're most likely to encounter three kinds of pre-rolled joints: top shelf shake joints (also called TSS), regular pre-rolled joints, and brand name pre-rolled joints. Top shelf shake is the term used for pre-rolled joints made with the shake of their top shelf weed. Shake, for those who don't know, is all those little nugs and sugar leaves at the bottom of your bag of weed after you remove the more desirable, larger nugs. Top shelf shake pre-rolled joints sell at around $7 to $10 depending on where you're buying it. If you buy an in-house pre-rolled joint from a dispensary and they do not specify it as top shelf shake chances are it is made from regular ol' weed. These kinds of joints should sell for about $5 to $7 each. The most expensive form of pre-rolled joints are the brand name kind with a broad price tag from $15 to $50, but keep in mind that these can come in packs, which means your money goes a long way. With the expanding cannabis market, you can probably expect to find $100 joints rolled in gold-leaf and filled with moon rocks soon enough. If you enjoy convenience, good joints, and weed in general, then it’s definitely worth trying pre-rolled joints for yourself. At the very least, you can form your own opinion and decide whether or not pre-rolled joints are worth the cost.

Jolly Cannabis Christmas Cookie Recipes

red and white christmas sugar cookies on a plate

The holidays can be a hectic; between shopping, socializing, and spending time with loved ones, burning the candle from both ends can leave you low on Christmas spirit. But with a little time in the kitchen (and maybe a trip to the dispensary), you can update your favorite Christmas sugar cookie recipe to bake up a batch of Christmas chronic cookies to replenish your Christmas spirit.

These delights are based off of classic Christmas sugar cookies recipes are cannabis infused for optimal festivities. All three are simple, delicious, and perfect for a relaxing body high during the bustling holidays.

So, whether you are hosting a "420 Friends-mas," or just mixing up some cannabis edibles for yourself, these Christmas sugar cookie recipes are perfect for any reindeer games you have in store.

Merry Musts

cannabis kief in a grinder to be used in a sugar cookie recipe for cannabis edibles

All of these recipes require a pre-prepared source of cannabis, such as cannabutter, canna-flour, or kief, that has been properly decarboxylated.

If you’re inexperienced or unsure about dosing, always lean on the side of caution and go with a smaller amount of infused ingredient.

And after baked and decorated, keep your cannabis edibles in an airtight storage container for freshness, and just like with any cannabis-infused product, keep them out of the reach of children.

Santa's Sativa Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

decorated christmas sugar cookies

This chronic twist on the classic Christmas sugar cookie recipe is the ideal choice for anyone low on holiday cheer. Depending on what cannabis strain your cannabutter is infused with will determine if your cookies are truly sativa or indica.

Ingredients:

flour shaped into a christmas tree, ready for baking christmas sugar cookie recipes

  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of cannabutter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Beat cannabutter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  3. Add dry ingredients to cannabutter mixture a little at a time, stirring until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Cover dough and refrigerate for an hour or longer.
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 375°F.
  6. Roll dough on a generously floured surface to approximately ?" thick. Cut and transfer to lightly sugared baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden in color.

Remove from oven, transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Royal Icing Recipe

decorating christmas sugar cookies made into cannabis edibles

Here is a standard recipe for Christmas cookie icing that is simple to mix and makes decorating a snap. To make different color icings, separate after mixing and add 1-3 drops of food coloring for each individual color.

Ingredients:

sifting confectioners sugar for a christmas sugar cookie recipe

  • 4 cups confectioner sugar, sifted
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 3 tsp meringue powder

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl.
  2. Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes, or until icing forms peaks.
  3. Divide into separate bowls if making multiple colors.
  4. Add food coloring. Start with 3 drops, mix well, and add more if needed.

Note: Icing can dry out quickly, keep covered when not in use.

Mary Jane Christmas Cookies

hemp heart christmas cookies made into cannabis edibles

Her’is a Christmas cookie with some heart; hemp hearts, specifically. These festive cannabis edibles are a little nutty, a little buddy, and it will be a Christmas miracle if any are left over.

Ingredients:

large spoon full of hemp hearts for a cannabis christmas cookie recipe

  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup cannabutter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Beat cannabutter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, nutmeg, hemp hearts, and salt.
  3. Mix the butter and flour together.
  4. Add milk one tablespoon at a time to appropriate consistency for soft dough. Knead, then chill for about 2 hours.
  5. Roll dough to 1/4″ thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Remove excess, reform, reroll and cut.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 minutes.
  7. Cool on wire rack before frosting.

Snicker-Doob Treats

cannabis edible snickerdoodle cookies on a cooling rack

This snickerdoodle-inspired Christmas sugar cookie recipe is more 'Dutchie' than Pennsylvania Dutch. Deceptively simple; it's only cinnamon and sugar that gives them their unique flavor, but it’s the kief that makes them magical.

Ingredients:

close up of a snickerdoodle christmas cookie

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2 grams kief or hash (adjust potency according to preference)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda until well combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and remaining sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle in kief or ground hash and beat until cannabis concentrate is evenly distributed in the butter. Beat in the egg, then beat in the vanilla.
  6. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually mix in the flour mixture just until blended.
  7. Scoop out cookies, about 1-1/2 tablespoons each, and roll between your hands into a semi-flattened ball.
  8. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture to completely coat the outside and then place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until fairly firm and just beginning to brown.
  10. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Last Crumbs on Christmas Cannabis Edibles...

decorated christmas sugar cookies

Now, you should be all set to impress any seasonally stoned santa that you might encounter, because these Christmas sugar cookie recipes have enough pot to make anyone jolly.

Circle your cyber-sleigh back to Leafbuyer for more marijuana-infused holiday recipes, and for spectacular seasonal deals from dispensaries in your area.

Breaking Down Different Strains of Weed and Their Effects

holding a cannabis nug up outside

When you're new to cannabis, all the different strains of weed and their effects can be confusing. What’s the difference between indica and sativa strains? What's a hybrid? How should all these make me feel and why? Keeping your weed strains isn't that hard once you get the hang of a few basic concepts.

For one, indica strain effects are relaxing, felt largely in the body, and can send you to sleep. Sativa strains, on the other hand, have a high with energetic, focusing effects that present mostly in the mind. The more you smoke and the more you pay attention, the easier it is to discern between certain effects. But are any of the different strains of weed better than others? No, not really! It's all about what you enjoy, so read up and learn which of the different strains of weed and their effects suit you the best!

Indica Strains

indica cannabis plant

Indica cannabis strains are great for relaxing, relieving stress, and inducing sleep. Indica cannabis strains are used medicinally to treat anything from chronic pain to insomnia but are also great for recreational consumption. If you’re learning about different strains of weed and their effects, most agree that it’s best to smoke indica strains in the evening or at night to avoid demotivation or unwanted naps.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is a well-known indica strain bred from crossing Thai and Afghani. With a THC content of 17-26 percent, Northern Lights is potent and stoney. Expect a fast, hard-hitting high with the stereotypical indica effects of relaxation and an uplift in mood. Northern Lights should be consumed at night or on days with few obligations since the strain is known to reduce motivation and keep you feeling happy, relaxed, and ready for bed.

Grandaddy Purple

If you want a famous indica, look no further than Grandaddy Purple. The offspring of Purple Urkle and Big Bud, Grandaddy Purple truly is an indica worth trying. Though this strain's THC content clocks in around 17 percent, it still presents with a heavy high – probably coming from Grandaddy Purple's recognizable, resin-coated nugs. This strain of weed and its effects are different from most indica strains since Grandaddy Purple has been known to induce a high as cerebrally stimulating as it is relaxing. While you probably won't be running a marathon or finishing a dissertation after smoking GDP, you also probably won't care. After all, no one smokes an indica strain looking for motivation.

Indica-Dominant Hybrid Strains

indica dominant hybrid bud

Indica-dominant hybrids are similar to more pure indica strains but lack the full indica effect. While you will still experience a heavy body high with indica-leaning strains, it won't be as pronounced as with heavier indicas. Expect a balance of effects and perhaps less couch lock than with a pure indica.

Headband

Headband is the offspring of notable strains Sour Diesel and OG Kush. As its lineage would suggest, this strain produces an awesome, indica-leaning high with a potency ranging between 17 to 20 percent THC. Smoke Headband one bowl at a time to avoid this strain's noticeable creeping effects or else you might end higher than you intended to be! Expect a slow-hitting high with spacey side effects. Headband's more balanced effects as an indica-dominant hybrid mean you're unlikely to end up locked to the couch, so feel free to smoke this strain whenever you want. Headband is great for hiking, chilling, or even creative pursuits – so long as you don't smoke too much of this potent strain, that is.

Tahoe OG Kush

If you want an indica-dominant hybrid with all the relaxing effects of an indica and just a hint of a sativa-like body high, then look no further than Tahoe OG Kush. Mellow, uplifting, and oh so relaxing, Tahoe OG Kush is perfect for unwinding after a long day. As the offspring of Tahoe OG and SFV Kush, Tahoe OG Kush really is a perfect blend of indica and (just a little) sativa influence. Smoke this strain to combat pain, stress, or even anxiety! Tahoe OG Kush hits fast though, so be ready for a fast-acting high.

Sativa Strains

close up shot of marijuana bud showing different strains of weed and their effects

When looking into different strains of weed and their effects, you’ll find that the effects of pure sativa strains are energizing, focusing, and should definitely not send you to sleep. Perfect for smoking anytime, especially during the morning if you want to spend your entire day productively stoned. Cannabis consumers with demanding jobs or busy lives tend to smoke sativa strains for their energizing effects. Pure sativa strains are known to make some mental conditions (such as anxiety) worse, so make sure to take it slow if you've never tried a pure sativa strain before!

Green Crack

If you have things to do, people to see, and only a little time to smoke, Green Crack is the strain for you. With a respectable THC content of around 17 percent, Green Crack is just potent enough to get you high and keep you there without taking it overboard. As a pure sativa weed strain, Green Crack should present with energetic effects. This strain is also known for causing unusual side effects like arousal, inspiration, and increased motivation. So pick up some Green Crack and see for yourself just how energizing a little weed can be. Who knows, you might even end up cleaning the house, doing your taxes, and calling your mom (though, realistically, you probably won't).

Jack Herer

Jack Herer, named for the late politician/weed activist, is a pleasant sativa with a THC content clocking in around 16 percent. Don't let the mid-range potency fool you though; Jack Herer is a popular strain for a reason. With its fast-acting high that leaves consumers feeling happy and uplifted, Jack Herer is perfect for daytime consumption. As a pure sativa strain, Jack Herer's high is very much in the head and should not cause fogginess or any sort of hazy high feeling. Smoke this strain before getting creative or brainstorming ideas since its stimulating high will keep you as entertained as you are focused.

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid Strains

container of cannabis flower showing that different weed strains and their effects

Sativa-dominant hybrids are perfect for people who want to smoke during the day but don't want the possible side effects of pure sativa strains. Uplifting, but with the relaxing weight of an indica influence to keep sativa-dominant weed strains from inducing overly-energetic highs. If you’re new to learning about different strains of weed and their effects, you might not know what you like. The general sativa hybrid advice would be to smoke sativa-dominant hybrids if you enjoy a clear-headed high that won't leave you feeling anxious.

Trainwreck

Trainwreck, as the name would suggest, is a hard-hitting sativa-dominant strain with a whopping THC content of over 20 percent. A cross between Mexican Sativa with Thai Sativa and Afghani, Trainwreck's high is a pleasant mix of mental and physical relaxation. Expect to feel a notable cerebral buzz from the heavy sativa lean, followed by a mellow body high. This strain is great for sedentary conversation, but should not be smoked before big events. So clear your schedule for your own personal Trainwreck and you'll enjoy a potent sativa-like high with just a little bit of indica-induced body relaxation.

White Widow

White Widow is a sativa-dominant hybrid strain with an intimidating THC content of over 24 percent. Bred by crossing Brazilian and South Indian Indica, White Widow has made a name for itself as a famously well-balanced strain. White trichomes, dense nugs, and a pungent scent are traditionally found on White Widow buds. This strain should smoke smoothly and is great for socializing. Expect the traditional sativa effects with a boost in energy, mood, and sometimes creativity. White Widow is the perfect weed for smoking at any time and can be used from dawn until dusk (and even the hours in between)!

Question the Cannasseur: What’s the Difference Between CBD and Full-Spectrum CBD?

As the cannabis and hemp industries continue to expand, consumers may be confused by industry jargon. Not all cannabis and hemp products are created equal, so this week's question from Quora gives us the opportunity to review the terminology so you can make the appropriate choice. So, let's answer this question:

What's The Difference Between CBD and Full-Spectrum CBD?

cbd oil and hemp leaves

To understand the difference between CBD and full-spectrum CBD, we need to talk about the plant first. It’s important to realize that hemp and cannabis are the same species of plant, cannabis sativa L. Hemp is grown in outdoor fields and produces less than .3 percent THC by legal definition. Marijuana, on the other hand, is grown in highly controlled, ideal conditions specifically to generate higher amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes, explaining why cannabis is more valuable and more aromatic than hemp.

Besides being low in THC, the fact is hemp produces fewer cannabinoids and terpenes than cannabis in general. Due to this decreased cannabinoid production, it takes much more plant material to produce the same amount of product. Another fact to note is that the flowers and leaves produce the majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant. Stalks and seeds contain few cannabinoids and terpenes and have little value beyond fiber and oil.

The Evolution of the Extraction Process

cbd and thc extract in glass beakers to be made into full spectrum cbd

After harvesting the plant, the processor extracts the cannabis oils from the plant material using a variety of extraction methods such as butane, ethanol, or CO2 extraction. In the early days, many of the minor cannabinoids and terpenes were lost during the extraction process. However, as extraction methods evolved, manufacturers learned how to preserve more of the volatile components found in the plant.

Using purification processes like short path distillation and chromatography, producers can also isolate particular cannabinoids. FDA-approved Epidiolex is an example of a CBD isolate. Although isolates are pure, there's a debate on how well they work.

The Benefits of Full Spectrum

hemp leaves and cannabis oil that could be full-spectrum cbd

Also called “whole plant extracts,” full spectrum cannabis and hemp extracts contain a variety of active compounds from the plant, such as minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and others. Additionally, a full-spectrum extract also contains the flavorful, aromatic terpenes, like limonene or linalool. Together, these compounds alter the way we respond to cannabis and hemp.

The Entourage Effect is a well-known phenomenon in the cannabis industry. Defined by the way cannabinoids and terpenes compliment each other, it is theorized that cannabinoids work better together than they do alone. Often compared to cooking a recipe, if you're baking cookies and forget to add the sugar, chances are good your result won't be what you expected. Likewise, some believe that the true healing benefits come from a natural recipe of ingredients, not just one compound alone.

The best, scientifically proven example of the Entourage Effect is the way CBD counters the adverse effects of THC. Thus, a full-spectrum CBD oil that contains trace amounts of other cannabinoids and terpenes may or may not enhance the results or benefits of the product.

Don't Fall for a Buzz Word

hemp seeds and hemp oil in a bowl

No one wants to be taken advantage of, but unfortunately, the current state of the CBD market very much allows buzzwords and snazzy marketing schemes to get the better of us. Due to the lack of regulation and standards, as well as, a severe lack of public cannabis education, many CBD products are not what they claim to be. Watch for a few clues:

  • If the product says full-spectrum, it should come with test results showing the full cannabinoid and terpene profile. If they don't have test results, how can they attest to full-spectrum?
  • If it states "Full-Spectrum Hemp Seed Oil" ? it’s likely misleading you. Hemp seed does not have a spectrum at all. The oil, produced by cold-pressing hemp seeds, contains beneficial fatty acids and is rich in Vitamin E, which is excellent for the skin, but it does not contain CBD or any other cannabinoid.

CBD isolate does have benefits of its own or Epidiolex never would've made it to market. However, most agree full-spectrum extracts provide superior benefits over and above singular cannabinoids. As with all CBD products, do your homework on the product, learn how its produced, and research the company before you commit to purchase. Ask for proof of the "full-spectrum" designation and avoid companies that can't provide adequate test results for their products.

The Best Places to Snowshoe and Smoke in Colorado

man snowshoeing in colorado

Colorado is a land of contradictions. In November 2018, we elected the first openly gay governor in history. We also opted to continue to allow fracking near our schools and playgrounds. In 2014, we opened the first recreational marijuana dispensaries in the country. Colorado felt like the land of the free. Then, in 2016, Coloradans accidentally voted to keep slavery legal here.

Colorado is often called the most purple state in the nation, thanks to a near-equal split between conservatives and liberals. The liberal population is clustered in the Front Range, which includes Denver and Boulder. (The Front Range is on the eastern side of the Rockies). Colorado's redder politics can be found in the rural areas. It's been said that Colorado is a microcosm of the country: the Front Range represents the coasts, and the Western Slope symbolizes the rest of America.

But disagreements across the state don’t seem to bring us down. Maybe it's because we have great snow. Or, because we’re all smoking cannabis.

But if our contentious climate gets to be too much for you, you may need to escape to the mountains, where you can combine Colorado's best activities: snow sports and legal pot.

When Coloradans are raving about fresh powder, they're usually talking about skiing or snowboarding. But there are some times when you may need to swap out your boards for snowshoes and head to the best places to snowshoe in Colorado.

Why Snowshoeing Is Awesome

close up of person showshoeing after finding the best places to snowshoe in colorado

Sometimes, ski passes just aren't in your budget. Day passes at Vail and other iconic destinations can run upwards of $140 each. (Many Colorado residents invest in a multi-mountain ski pass at the start of the season so we don't have to pay the insane prices.)

Or maybe someone in your group can't ski. Or, in typical Colorado fashion, maybe you're recovering from a skiing-related injury. (Luckily, you're in a pot-friendly state, so you're probably smoking cannabis for pain relief)

In a slightly more awesome scenario, maybe you're snowshoeing with your snowboard on your back to reach epic backcountry terrain that can't be accessed by chairlift. Or maybe it's a weekend, and you just need to escape the crowded lift lines.

No matter what the situation is, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to snowshoe in Colorado instead of ski.

Rocky Mountain National Park: One of the Best Places to Snowshoe in Colorado

frozen lake in rocky mountain national park that's a perfect place to snowshoe in colorado

If you're on the Front Range, Rocky Mountain National Park is only about an hour's drive from Boulder or Denver – and it's one of the best places to snowshoe in Colorado. Plus, you're pretty likely to see elk. You can access great snowshoe terrain from the Bear Lake Trailhead.

If you're driving there from Boulder, make sure to stop in the friendly town of Lyons for some locally grown bud. You need to stock up before reaching Estes Park, the town at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, because they have a local ban on dispensaries. (Plus there's no room for dispensaries, due to the abundance of salt water taffy shops inexplicably lining the streets.) In Lyons, The Bud Depot is conveniently located right on your route. Almost all the flower on their shelves has been harvested from their own grow facilities in Boulder, where they grow their unique strains in soil for optimal flavor.

After your snowshoe expedition, check out the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, the town at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It's famous for inspiring Stephen King's "The Shining" – and it has one of the largest whiskey selections in the state.

Tips for Snowshoeing and Smoking Cannabis

black and white photo of someone smoking a cannabis joint with lots of smoking

Snowshoeing is a great activity to pair with pot. It's nearly impossible to get lost, because you can follow your snowshoe tracks back through the snow. Of course, if it starts snowing, that trick won't work.

Before you embark on your snowshoe expedition, you may want to double-check that you actually need snowshoes for these conditions. On heavily trafficked trails, the snow gets compacted, and normal boots will work just fine. Nobody likes walking with clunky flippers on their feet for no reason.

On the other end of the spectrum – if there's tons of that fresh, light powder Colorado is known for – you'll want to make sure your snowshoes can actually support your weight. (Also, you'll probably want to have skis or a snowboard strapped to your back for the epic downhill.) If your feet keep breaking through the surface, and sinking through several feet of snow, you are technically no longer snowshoeing. This situation is called "post-holing," and it's exhausting.

Brainard Lake: The Gem of the Front Range Snowshoe Scene

snow melting in brainard lake in colorado

If you're sticking around the Front Range, another one of the best places to snowshoe in Colorado is Brainard Lake Recreation Area. While technically not a National Park, Brainard Lake is a wealth of breathtaking grandeur. Bonus: You can get in for free during the winter. Due to the snow, the road to the lake is closed, but you can park near the entrance and walk in.

Pro tip: If it's absurdly windy, which it usually is, take the snowshoe trails through the forest, where you'll be protected from the harsh gusts. Super pro tip: You may come across a cabin operated by the Colorado Mountain Club, where you can warm up by a cozy wood stove. And they sometimes give out hot chocolate on the weekends!

Check out the Western Slope for Quintessential Colorado Views and Culture

close up of cannabis plant with pretty bud perfect for smoking cannabis

If you're traveling beyond the Front Range, you'll find boundless places to snowshoe in Colorado. Steamboat, Aspen, Crested Butte and Telluride all have incredible views, awesome dispensaries, and beautiful trails.

You'll want to choose trails where snowmobiles aren't allowed. When you're enjoying a quiet moment on the trail, being overtaken by a pack of noisy snowmobiles can be a real buzzkill. (That's part of why Rocky Mountain National Park and Brainard Lake are such great options for snowshoers. In designated wilderness areas, snowmobiles aren't allowed.)

Depending on where you decide to snowshoe, you'll probably encounter some backcountry skiers and snowboarders. They'll probably be smoking cannabis too, and hopefully carrying beacons and other avalanche gear. Feel free to high-five about all the powder you're crushing.

Because even when you're on snowshoes, you're still crushing pow, technically. If anyone tries to tell you differently, you can remind them of an old Hawaiian sentiment: You surf the wave, not the board – so even if you're using a pink child-sized boogie-board, you're still surfing.

In Colorado, you crush the powder, not the skis. So even if you're on snowshoes, you're still crushing pow.

A Good Snowfall Brings Us Together

fresh snow on pine trees in the mountains, a perfect place to snowshoe in colorado

It's been said there are "two Colorados." There's the liberal, hipster Colorado, packed with yoga studios and students; and there's rural Colorado, where cattle ranches are tucked among the spread out landscape. Maybe there's a Colorado where everyone is smoking cannabis, and another Colorado where they probably should be.

Still, across the state, there are some things we agree on. Like how getting out to enjoy the snow can heal the soul.

It may sometimes appear that there are two Colorados. But under a thick blanket of snow, it starts to look like one.

Congress Has Passed The Farm Bill, Will Trump Sign It Into Law?

hemp leaves in the sun, hemp could become fully legal with the 2018 farm bill

Despite the gray legal status of cannabidiol or CBD, the demand and the market for CBD products have been steadily growing since the introduction of the industrial hemp pilot programs allowed by the Farm Bill in 2014. With the Senate agreeing to move the bill forward, the House now has the opportunity to weigh in. With Congress in agreement on Farm Bill 2018, only one more person stands in the way of creating a significant shift for hemp and cannabis... the President.

As a promising step in the right direction, the cannabis sector is anxiously waiting for the new Farm Bill to pass, signaling a historic change for the illustrious plant. But what exactly will the new Farm Bill change?

'Marihuana' Gets Redefined

large cannabis plants in a field

Because hemp and marijuana are the same species of plant, cannabis sativa, historically, the federal law saw them both as equals. Since the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the legal definition of marijuana included any part of the cannabis sativa l. plant species, regardless of cannabinoid content. An exception was made for industrial hemp stalks and seeds, but the flowers and leaves of hemp were always considered a forbidden part of the plant. With the passage of this bill, hemp plants producing less than .3 percent THC will get an exemption from the federal definition of 'marihuana' altogether.

Controlled Substances Act Gets Updated

cannabis sativa plant with thc molecule drawn on, showing that only small amounts of thc are in hemp CBD products

Additionally, the new Farm Bill promises to amend the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp, or commercially cultivated cannabis sativa plants producing less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), will be removed from the list of controlled substances. With this amendment, all cannabinoids produced in hemp will no longer be prohibited, even the minimal amount of THC produced by hemp is legal according to the language in the bill:

"TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL. – Schedule I, as set forth in section 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812(c)), is amended in subsection (c)(17) by inserting after 'Tetrahydrocannabinols' the following: ', except for tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp (as defined under section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946)'.

New Rules to Play By

hemp plant being examined by farmer who will be helped by the 2018 farm bill

Although the 2018 Farm Bill promises to allow hemp production all across the United States, the bill also indicates that there's a new sheriff in town. By designating the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Attorney General as the authorities over hemp production, hemp producers are likely to see a new set of regulations and standards enforced in hemp cultivation and production facilities. Specifically, CBD producers are likely to see new cultivation regulations for products intended for medical or dietary purposes.

Expect the FDA to Get Involved

marijuana gummies and chocolates

According to the current stipulations made by the FDA, CBD is not approved as an ingredient in food products or any other type of dietary supplement. Therefore, in conjunction with new regulations expected from the USDA on cultivation, producers, and consumers will also likely see new rules and regulations regarding CBD supplements as well.

New Farm Bill Levels the Playing Field

indoor hemp plant grow house

While there may be new rules enforced regarding cultivation and production, the passing of the Farm Bill opens a plethora of essential business tools the industry has otherwise been denied including banking, marketing, and advertising outlets. Plus, as a legitimate crop, hemp producers will be able to apply for farming loans, crop insurance, and water access rights like other crop farming operations. With necessary protections in place and clearly more profit opportunity, more farmers will take notice of the crop.

The 2014 Farm Bill allowed pilot programs in some states for industrial hemp production and prohibited production on tribal lands. The new farm bill language allows hemp production in any state, for any use, including cannabinoid extraction, and opens up production opportunities for Native American tribes, as well.

But, Time is Running Short

congress building in washington dc with waving american flag, waiting for congress to pass the 2018 farm bill

With a deadline of December 21st, Washington threatening a shutdown, and scrambling for funds to build a wall, the bill is running short on time to receive approval before 2019. The House and Senate have passed the law, but predicting the President's actions is nearly impossible. Should the bill pass and receive the final approval from the President, hemp, and therefore, CBD will be completely legal as of January 1, 2019, for all states and all residents of the United States.

This would be a huge step for the industry, and we have no idea how things are going to change. New regulations on CBD products will be put in place, presumably more testing will be required, prices may rise, and we’ll likely be able to buy CBD products at stores across the country. Will there be an age minimum? Will CBD driving laws be put in place? Will insurance start covering CBD products?

There are lots of changes on the way, so make sure to stay up to date with Leafbuyer for all your cannabis needs.

Does Marijuana Kill Cancer Cells? Animal Studies Look Promising

Marijuana has been used as medicine among humans for millennia. From treating cramping, earaches, malaria and everything in between, marijuana has had a long-term influence on the medical world. While there may have been no scientific basis for using marijuana back then, research about the cannabis plant's medicinal properties has become more and more common.

With the recent medical marijuana movement, marijuana is finally getting exposure as a reliable alternative medicine. Though marijuana was made illegal in 1947, several movements pushed against the statutes, arguing the medical benefits of consumption. Marijuana was then placed on the Controlled Substances act of 1970. It was labeled a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it had high probability of abuse and no medical use.

Despite this, several researchers began conducting experiments to see if marijuana really did have medical qualities. Some studies found that marijuana helps glaucoma, and other inflammatory diseases. Most notably, researchers found that when marijuana was given to patients undergoing chemotherapy, undesirable side effects decreased. Patients felt less nauseous, and were able to eat again. While these studies may be over 50 years old, they paved the way for more current research and hypothesis.

Today, many researchers are focused on new ways marijuana can be utilized in the medical field. One newer notion is the possibility of cannabis killing cancer cells, something that has only just begun being researched on. Though studies may be limited, we can evaluate how marijuana affects the body and if it really could kill cancer cells.

Current Knowledge

medical marijuana coming out of a pill bottle begging the question does marijuana kill cancer cells

As we all know, medical marijuana has become legal in 32 states within the last decade. Though it is still not federally legal, these states recognize the medical benefits that marijuana can have on certain conditions. Common qualifying conditions for medical marijuana include epilepsy, HIV and multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

Though marijuana may affect conditions in different ways, the effects are a result of the cannabinoids. The human body holds an endocannabinoid system, which serves as a regulating mechanism throughout the body. Cells throughout the body hold cannabinoid receptors, which make us feel high when they’re activated by THC. However, the receptors (commonly known as CB1 and CB2) also help maintain other processes throughout the body, like sleep, mood, appetite and pain. Just think of it as another system our bodies have in place to ensure everything functions properly on the cellular level.

By understanding how compounds in marijuana interact with a person's endocannabinoid system, we can hypothesize how the plant can treat other conditions or diseases. Research has already found that several different cannabinoids can regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation or work as sleep aids. While research is new, these studies show promising results for the use of cannabinoids.

Does Marijuana Kill Cancer?

person lighting a marijuana joint

While we know that marijuana helps with a variety of conditions, do we know if marijuana can kill cancer cells? While some studies point to yes more than no, it’s important to break down the research to really understand the results. The National Institute of Cancer (NCI) even recognizes marijuana research may point to a breakthrough for treating cancer and tumors. Delving into the current research is important to understand just how effective marijuana can be in killing cancer.

Some of the first research on marijuana and cancer was conducted by Dr. Christine Sanchez. She focused her work on the antitumoral properties of cannabinoids in breast cancer and other cancer cells. In one trial, Sanchez discovered that when a brain tumor cell interacted with cannabinoids, the cancer cells were killed. They then also used breast cancer cells from animals, and found the same results. This was the first step in discovering marijuana's power against cancer cells.

In a study from 2013, researchers sought to explore the activity of six different cannabinoids with normal cells as well as a combination with leukemia cells. They found that a several few cannabinoids "resulted in dramatic reductions in cell viability," meaning it killed off the leukemia cells. Researchers have stated that the results prove potent anti-cancer ability, and the cannabinoids can target and switch off the pathways cancer can use to grow.

Overall, these two studies suggest that certain cannabinoids really can kill cancer. The NCI also reviewed 34 studies of cannabinoids and glioma tumor models. After review, all but one of those studies showed that cannabinoids can kill cancer cells without harming other normal cells in the body. Though these studies were less specific and not conducted on living creatures, the results are promising.

Cannabinoid Effects on Different Cancers

While the previously mentioned studies were more general, several more studies have been focused on specific types of cancer and their interactions with marijuana. Though cannabinoids can have an effect on a variety of cancers, the ones discussed explain the common basis for reducing tumors.

Breast Cancer

young cannabis plants in pots

Many researchers have chosen to focus on breast cancer cells in hopes that cannabis would diminish the tumors. Breast cancer also happens to be the second leading cause of death in women, and is responsible for around 30% of new cancer diagnoses each year. Finding a cure for tumor growth would be a tremendous step in saving lives. A study conducted in 2018 evaluated the cancer cells of triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive type. By creating a combined treatment of CB2 receptors and a translocator protein, the triple negative cancer cells were inhibited and failed to grow.

In another study from 2009, researchers found that CB1 and CB2 receptors helped slow tumor growth of breast cancer. These receptors have such a strong influence because they are found in 72% of breast tumor tissue. Cannabinoids can also mitigate tumor spreading; this happens by inhibiting key signaling targets that cancer cells typically use to grow.

There are a number of other studies detailing more proteins and receptors in breast cancer that can be influenced by cannabinoids. Though these studies are limited, they have solid evidence that treatment or combined treatments involving cannabis can thwart the growth of cancer cells.

Prostate Cancer

cannabis flower in a pill container with other pills, showing that marijuana could help kill cancer cells

Prostate cancer is another cancer that is all too commonly diagnosed. Though many treatments involve castration to prevent spreading, research has turned to cannabis as an alternative option. A 2015 study focused on not only cell line treatment, but also the signaling pathways that are involved. Results showed that treatments with cannabinoids produced a cell growth inhibitory effect for all prostate cancer cultures. This was traced back to the activation of the CB1 receptors. By using cannabinoids, an increase in dead cells and cell viability among the cancer cells was found. The study concludes that endocannabinoids might be an alternative option to those who to not respond to common therapies.

Liver Cancer

human body image highlighting the liver

Hepatocellular carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the liver and is the third leading cause of cancer-related death around the world. The survival rate is low, and when the tumors are advanced there are few treatment options. In 2011, researchers sought an alternative way to fight these tumors. They found that cannabinoids reduced the viability of two different cell lines in hepatocellular carcinoma. Tumor growth was also inhibited, as well as a reduction in swelling. These antitumor effects are yet another step towards using marijuana to kill cancer cells.

Skin Cancer

patient being examined for skin cancer, which could help us find out does marijuana kill cancer cells

Melanoma is currently the most dangerous and deadliest form of skin cancer. Currently, prevention and early detection are the best treatments, though the latter requires finding the cancer early on. In this study from 2006, researchers found that melanoma cell lines have CB1 and CB2 receptors. When these receptors were activated, melanoma cells in mice decreased in growth and amount and increased cell death.

Like these other studies, CB1 and CB2 play a large part in reducing tumors. These receptors can be activated by certain compounds in marijuana, and they are found in numerous cell lines throughout the body. Since the cannabinoid receptors are so common, marijuana may easily be used to treat a variety of cancers.

Cannabis with Chemotherapy

patient undergoing chemotherapy that could be helped even more with the addition of CBD

Chemotherapy is a widely used treatment for cancer. Though many of these studies are aiming to find an alternative treatment with marijuana, chemotherapy is still known to be the most effective treatment. But what if something could be used to make chemotherapy even more effective?

A recent laboratory study has also found evidence that CBD, a component in cannabis, could help chemotherapy be more effective. When conducted with human glioma cells (glioma is a tumor often found in the brain), CBD was more effective at killing cancer cells without harming normal cells in the body. In another study, mice with pancreatic cancer cells were given CBD along with chemotherapy. They found that the cancer cells were inhibited, and survival rates of the mice tripled. Both of these studies are important for anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Though there were no human trials, CBD can be used for a variety of purposes. By finding that a combined treatment with CBD has the potential to be more effective for the patient.

Limits of Marijuana Research

researcher examining cannabis helping to answer the question "does marijuana kill cancer cells

So, does marijuana kill cancer? While the studies point to yes, we can't quite jump to that conclusion. The main problem with these studies is that none of them have been conducted on people. This is due to several factors, all leading back to marijuana still being classified as a Schedule 1 substance.

The first issue is that since marijuana is federally illegal, researchers have a difficult time obtaining a way to even get marijuana to use for testing. Right now, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is responsible for overseeing marijuana for research. They establish production quotas and give out licenses, but they have only issued one license at this time. The sole license went to the University of Mississippi, which has a contract with the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Since they are the only place in the country with marijuana grown for research, the limited supply can hinder those studies. If a researcher seeks cannabis for research, they must apply through the NIDA drug supply program.

The other issue is that with marijuana being a Schedule 1 substance, studying the effects on humans is difficult to get approval for. Currently, a study must obtain both a DEA registration and demonstrate scientific validity. This will then be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration, where they will ensure the safety and rights of the subjects, as well as assess if the study will have data that could meet the statutory standards for drug market approval.

Because of the roadblocks set up by the government, there is little that researchers can do to try and study cannabinoids and cancer in human subjects. While petri dish and rodent experiments are promising, they likely do not entirely compare to the makeup of humans. Until marijuana is removed from a Schedule 1 substance, human trials will likely be far and few between.

The Future of Marijuana and Cancer

researcher examining specimens, cancer research will involve marijuana in the future

While the marijuana’s place in the medical world is continually evolving, there is much to be done to ensure we find all of the benefits the plant can offer. While advocates have pushed for marijuana reform for years, the federal government needs to step up and at least allow more researchers to study it. If we dive deeper into the ways that marijuana kills cancer cells, we may find more significant and effective treatments for those diagnosed with a variety of cancers.

The good news is that we’re heading in the right direction. The DEA recently announced that they will allow new growers to register with their program in order to grow more marijuana for research. If more marijuana is grown, researchers will likely have an easier time attaining the drug for trials. Additionally, more states have legalized weed as each year passes. While 33 states have medical marijuana, 10 also have legalized recreational weed as well. If states enact more relaxed laws regarding marijuana, the government may soon follow.

All in all, the current research shows a potential for marijuana to kill cancer cells. Until we legalize marijuana on a federal level, studies will remain limited within the field. If more marijuana is grown for research, and more people are approved for human trials, we may just find out the answer. But in the meantime, we must continue to push for researchers to have more authority in the field. If cannabinoids can help kill cancer cells, we should be pursuing every avenue until science can support the previous research.

An Inside Look at Cannarado Genetics

Marijuana genetics is what brings the entire cannabis industry to life. Without quality genetics, there is practically no industry. The backend of the marijuana market is not a new sector. Cannabis genetics has been a focal point for marijuana enthusiasts since the beginning of time. The old-school strains like Pure Kush, OG Kush, and Chemdawg are what set a precedent for higher-echelon genetics. Fast forward to the market today, and it is tough to keep up with all the different strains available. That said, we now have the pleasure of knowing what breeders produce specific genetics and how their quality stands out amongst the rest. Now, let’s take a look at Cannarado Genetics which happens to be one of the largest cannabis seeds and genetics companies in the state of Colorado!

The Mission of Cannarado Genetics

marijuana plants grown from cannabis seeds growing in a field

Cannarado Genetics has been around since 1998 and is now home to some of the best genetics on the market. It’s no shock Cannarado has maintained a steady reputation among cannabis growers and consumers, considering their genetics tailor to nearly every type of consumer. The core values of Cannarado Genetics are all about providing the industry with the quality genetics it deserves. Considering Cannarado has been a leading genetics company since the start, they know what they’re doing.

Cannarado Genetics is dedicated to bringing the best strains to the public in seed form. With our emphasis on quality we are sure everyone will find some keepers in every pack!”

Cannarado Genetics may be local to Colorado, but their genetics come from around the globe. Even the very first strain to come from Cannarado Genetics began with a seed from Amsterdam. It was a classic cross between Pot of Gold and Shiva Shanti. With their first cross on the books, Cannarado turned to the world and began crafting a unique collection of premium cannabis genetics.

Cannarado Cannabis Seeds

a pile of cannabis seeds like ones you can buy from cannarado genetics

Cannarado Genetics is renowned in the industry for their stellar collection of strains. Granted, being in the midst of the massive Colorado market sure does help with brand awareness and consumer engagement! Nevertheless, Cannarado Genetics has their processes down, and it shows in the consistent quality of its strains. When sifting through Cannarado Seed strains, they’re broken down into three different genetic lineups: Grape Pie, Frozen Margy, and Lemon Tree. In each of these strain’s collections, they are the sole father plant for every cross in that lineup.

Grape Pie Strain Collection ? Grape Pie x GSC Forum x Tahoe OG bx

close up of trichomes on marijuana plant

The Grape Pie collection is all about flavor and potency. It’s the perfect collection of grape-like strains with a burst of terpenes in every puff. The Grape Pie father is rather noticeable in nearly every cross in the collection. It averages around a nine-week turnaround time and produces moderately strong yields.

  • Blue Grapes
  • Blueberry Shortcake
  • Butterscotch Pie
  • Charcuterie
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Grape Dosi v2
  • Grape Drop
  • Grape Gelee
  • Grape Margy
  • Grape Nana
  • Grape Willy
  • Lemon Slushee

*All of these seeds are regular cannabis seeds. There are ten seeds to a pack, and each package is $100.

Frozen Margy Strain Collection ? Sour Dubble x Chemdog D x OG

close-up of cannabis seeds

The Frozen Margy collection is full of premium cannabis strains. The original cross of Frozen Margy alone is unique. It’s best known for its distinct flavor and aroma which tend to be lime-like with a berry undertone. The average turnaround time on this collection is about 8 to 9 weeks long. It has a slightly better yield than the Grape Pie collection and tends to produce buds with larger trichome heads than other strains.

  • Candy Margy
  • Durban Margy
  • Gelato Margy
  • Goji Margy
  • House Margy
  • Lemon Margy
  • Margy Dog
  • Margalope
  • Maragritos
  • One Night Stand
  • Roasted Garlic Margy
  • Skunky Margy

*All of these seeds are regular cannabis seeds. There are ten seeds to a pack, and each package is $100.

Lemon Tree Strain Collection ? Lemon Skunk x Sour Diesel

close up of sour diesel strain used by cannarado genetics

Lemon Tree is a stellar hybrid with already classic genetics. Cannarado Genetics took its stellar father strain and made a unique collection of intense lemon strains. Any consumer who desires a citrus flavor profile will adore the Lemon Tree collection. It also has a turnaround time of about nine weeks and tends to be the highest yielding strain of these three collections.

  • Black Lemon Cake
  • Dirty Lemon
  • Goji Tree
  • Lemon D
  • Lemon Soul
  • Lemonessence
  • PeanutButter Tree
  • Scampi
  • Topanga Lemon
  • Wine Bush

*All of these seeds are feminized. Each pack contains six seeds and goes for $80/pack.

Where to Find Cannarado Genetics

beautiful mountain shot in colroado

Any consumer who has come across Cannarado Genetics is likely a big fan. Granted, it’s not always easy to find their seeds outside of their retail website. You’re most likely to see their genetics in the state of Colorado, but their seeds are available to purchase nationwide. For anyone looking to scoop up some cannabis seeds for their home grows, start searching their website first. It’s also a good idea to check out online seed vendors like Seeds Here Now or with local seed shops!

Check out other marijuana breeders and genetics, here!

What Are the Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s?

Humans have used cannabis in medical applications for thousands of years. All the way up to prohibition in 1937, the plant was used in a wide array of tinctures, creams, and other medicinal products. Today, we know that cannabis has beneficial effects for a multitude of conditions, including certain degenerative diseases. The benefits of medical marijuana for Parkinson's disease are still being explored, but we do know a fair amount about how cannabis helps patients cope with this difficult condition.

What Is Parkinson's Disease?

hand holding other hand to try to stop tremors caused by parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the nervous system, which primarily disrupts movement and motor skills. The disease is progressive, meaning it worsens over time. Parkinson's disease also has no cure, making symptom management paramount. We currently do not know what causes Parkinson's disease, but there may be hereditary factors involved. Key risk factors for Parkinson’s include age and sex; Parkinson's usually begins to develop in late middle age, and affects more men than women.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

human brain on white background

The main symptom of Parkinson’s condition is tremors. People with Parkinson's disease generally have shaky heads and hands, which are the most recognizable signs. The tremors worsen over time, making coordination-based tasks especially difficult. Stiffness is another hallmark of the disease, along with gradually slowing movement. 

The warning signs of Parkinson's disease are quite subtle. Lack of facial expression is one effect, as is difficulty speaking. Sufferers usually find their speech becomes quieter, and slightly slurred. Bradykinesia (slowing of movement) makes daily tasks a challenge. Painfully rigid muscles often restrict motion, and result in deteriorated posture. Many of these symptoms manifest due to a depletion of dopamine in the brain.

Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

medications in a pile showing that medications are used but there might be benefits of medical marijuana for parkinson's disease

Current treatments for this condition are non-standardized and vary from patient to patient. No treatment can reverse the damage done by the disease, but prescription medications can help ease symptoms. The main medications prescribed for Parkinson's disease are: Levodopa, MAO inhibitors, and anticholinergic (which blocks a particular neurotransmitter in the nervous system). These medications generally boost dopamine production, or replicate the function of dopamine. The desired results are reduction in tremors and rigidity, and the improvement of coordination.

In extremely severe cases where Levodopa has resulted in improvements, surgical intervention may be recommended. This can come in the form of deep brain stimulation, wherein a wire is placed in a part of the brain governing movement, and connected to a pacemaker-like device in the chest. The other option is inserting a tube into the intestine, where it steadily releases a form of the medication Duopa. These surgeries are extremely invasive, and only used as a last resort.

Parkinson's and Cannabis

cannabis oil tinctures outside with cannabis leaves around, cbd oil could be one of the benefits of medical marijuana for parkinson's disease

The available research on the benefits of medical marijuana for Parkinson's disease is fairly slim compared to the robust body of research on other conditions. The results of these studies generally conflict, with some concluding cannabis is beneficial for Parkinson's, and others concluding that more research is necessary. However, no study has flat-out stated that cannabis is detrimental for people with this condition, and plenty of anecdotal evidence shows it improves quality of life. To back that up, here are three of the most notable studies on the CBD in cannabis and Parkinson's disease.

A double-blind study followed 21 people with Parkinson's, and gave them CBD capsules totaling either 75 mg or 300 mg per day. The study was designed to determine whether CBD would improve motor symptoms in the patients, and followed a randomized, placebo-controlled structure. This study found no meaningful decrease in motor symptoms, but patients that received the CBD reported higher quality of life.

One symptom of Parkinson's is REM sleep behavior disorder, in which people act out dreams by thrashing about. An open-label study, in which both participants and researchers knew the patients were getting CBD, showed marked improvements in the disorder.

The most positive study was also open-label, and involved the consumption of smoked cannabis. This study found smoking marijuana did improve motor symptoms, by decreasing tremors and reducing slowness.

The theme in all three studies is small sample size, which makes them less scientifically viable. However, the studies provide ample support for the idea that cannabis does help people with Parkinson's disease live better lives. Even if the benefits of medical marijuana for Parkinson's disease don't include motor symptom improvement for everyone, it's clear that many of the peripheral symptoms are improved.

The Best Cannabis Strains for Parkinson's Disease

cannabis buds on top of each other on a table showing strains that might show benefits of medical marijuana for parkinson's disease

As the above studies point out, CBD is the main point of interest in studying the benefits of medical marijuana for Parkinson's disease. Given that most patients with this condition would need to medicate continuously, CBD-rich strains are the best way to go. Harlequin and ACDC are the most common CBD-rich strains, and can be found in nearly every state with a medical marijuana program. Parkinson's disease is a qualifying condition in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia.          

Can You Be Allergic to Marijuana?

hands touching marijuana plant, which may cause some to wonder can you be allergic to marijuana

Reports of cannabis allergies are rising. Earlier this month, researchers even found the allergy in a child whose parents smoked pot at home. But the sharp uptick in reported allergies doesn't necessarily mean that more people are becoming allergic. Allergy sufferers may simply be more forthright with their doctors about their marijuana habits, as more states legalize pot. 

If you're rolling your eyes, and thinking this "allergy" is just another piece of anti-pot propaganda, you can stop that right now. Cannabis allergies are absolutely real. Every time I touch my pot plants, I break out in hives. And I'm not alone. 

The hives, itchiness, and sneezing don't prevent me from growing marijuana, because sneezing and feeling itchy seems pretty minor, compared to the profound ways pot has improved my life. But other people may not be so lucky. Other symptoms associated with cannabis allergies include rhinitis (inflammation in your nostrils), conjunctivitis (pink eye), and asthma.  

A Wide Range of Symptoms

woman blowing her nose because she is congested, which is a symptom of cannabis allergiesAccording to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), your symptoms depend on how you were exposed. If you touch the plant, you can develop rashes, hives, or swelling. If you inhale cannabis allergens, you may develop a runny nose, sneezing, itching, and swollen, watery eyes. 

There are even reports of anaphylaxis, which, if it leads to anaphylactic shock, can be fatal. However, this may only be linked to hempseed ingestion, not to marijuana itself. Hempseed is a common ingredient found in grocery stores across the country. 

So to put things in perspective, if you're a highly allergic person, you're probably safer in a dispensary than you are in a grocery store.

Can You Be Allergic to Marijuana?

lots of marijuana plants in indoor cannabis grow

Cannabis allergies are still poorly understood, and more research is needed. New studies are underway, and scientists have already identified several ways cannabis may be an allergen. In the western U.S., for example, the AAAAI reports that cannabis pollen may be an airborne allergen, similar to ragweed. For people who are vulnerable to airborne allergens, it can cause respiratory symptoms.

But this doesn't really explain the allergies seen in indoor cannabis grows, where the plants are almost exclusively female. Female cannabis plants don't normally produce pollen. (Female cannabis plants are the ones that produce buds, the part of the plant we recognize as "pot.") The only time female plants produce pollen is when they're stressed, when they become hermaphroditic, in a last-ditch effort to pollinate themselves. (This is what growers refer to as "herming out.") This results in seeds in your weed, so it's highly undesirable – and, for most growers, uncommon. So, while pollen may be a factor in some cannabis allergies, it doesn't explain the allergies reported in cannabis grow facilities.

This has led some people to wonder whether cannabis allergies are really a result of cannabis itself, or a reaction to pesticides applied to the plant during its life cycle. For example, some individuals are allergic to neem oil, an organic pesticide commonly applied to marijuana plants. People may also be allergic to the more toxic pesticides used in some commercial grow facilities. 

But some folks are definitely allergic to cannabis itself. (I grow my plants with nothing but sunshine and water, and I can't even remove a few leaves without hives spreading all over my arms.)  

Allergic reactions are commonly reported among marijuana trimmers. Most professional trimmers wear long sleeves and gloves to prevent skin reactions.   

What Causes Cannabis Allergies?  

hands trimming marijuana, which can cause cannabis allergies in some people

Evidence suggests that some people may develop their cannabis allergies only after prolonged exposure. 

Anecdotally, this appears to be true. Years ago, I trimmed happily in a variety of cannabis grows. I had no allergic reactions. I also worked in a dispensary, back when that involved a lot more contact with cannabis. (In the early days, medical marijuana was never pre-packaged; we weighed out each individual purchase. We also rolled joints by the thousands, and sold plants.) I've also toured licensed grow facilities all over Colorado. Hundreds of them, in fact. (I was Colorado's first state-approved wholesale weed broker, so I transported pounds in my Subaru nearly every day for several years.)  

You could say I've had a bit of exposure. A couple years ago, my allergy appeared.  

This is not uncommon for adult-onset allergies. Many adults are startled to discover they're suddenly allergic to a favorite food, like nuts or shellfish.  

Researchers have found that most adult-onset allergies stem from what they call "cross-reactivity." In other words, my body may be recognizing marijuana as a relative of something else – something to which my body was allergic already.  

And cannabis is apparently very cross-reactive. (This is ironic, because I smoke cannabis to avoid becoming either cross or overly reactive.)  

"There is reported cross-reactivity between marijuana and certain foods," reports the AAAAI. "Cannabis cross-reacting foods that have been reported to cause allergy include tomato, peach and hazelnut." 

Researchers at the Antwerp University Hospital in Belgium have named this the "cannabis?fruit/vegetable syndrome." In 2016, they found cannabis cross-reactivity with tobacco, natural latex, and plant?food?derived alcoholic beverages.  

Children Can Experience the Allergy Too

marijuana joint leaving lots of smoke that can cause cannabis allergies

Earlier this month, researchers at the conference of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reported the first known case of cannabis allergy in a child. The six-year old boy had poorly controlled asthma. His adult family members, who often smoked marijuana at home, weren't exactly helping.  

When they stopped smoking pot in the house, his asthma improved dramatically. Skin prick tests and blood tests confirmed that the boy was allergic to cannabis. Further tests indicated that cannabis allergies may have a genetic component: His grandmother, who sometimes broke out in hives after smoking pot, also tested positive for a cannabis allergy.  

(Reading this, I recall that my mom, who's never smoked pot, became allergic to peaches, after spending her childhood eating lots of peaches. And peaches are cross-reactive with marijuana, according to the Belgian scientists. I must have inherited her gene for adult-onset cross-reactive plant allergies.) 

These recent findings are important, because it's another huge reason to avoid smoking around kids.

"Children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke can become allergic to cannabis," said the report's lead author, an Allergy and Immunology Fellow at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. "[This] in turn may significantly worsen their asthma or allergy symptoms." 

When any child has uncontrolled asthma, doctors should consider cannabis allergies as a possible cause, the doctor told Reuters. 

More research is definitely needed. But it's clear you shouldn't smoke pot around kids, especially if they have other allergies or asthma. 

Possible Treatment Options for Cannabis Allergies

chocolate marijuana edible cookies

No treatments have been found. In the grand scheme of medical research, this probably isn't a huge priority. 

"In the absence of a cure," the Belgian researchers concluded, "treatment comprises absolute avoidance."

If that seems unacceptable, you could experiment with some solutions. (Although, if you're severely allergic to cannabis, you should probably see a doctor. And if you experience anaphylactic shock for any reason, you should seek emergency room treatment immediately.)  

If you're allergic to touching marijuana, you could try eating cannabis-infused food. Because while some people are definitely allergic to marijuana, nobody appears to be allergic to being stoned. So, edibles could be a great solution.

If your symptoms involve inflammation (like rhinitis), you could try treating them with cannabidiol (CBD). This non-psychoactive cannabinoid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. You could try hemp-derived CBD to avoid further aggravating your marijuana allergy. 

Maybe I'll give that a try, next time my cannabis allergy flares up. Luckily, I'm only extremely allergic to fresh plant matter, not dried and cured marijuana. (My allergy is basically a great excuse to ask my husband to trim our whole harvest every fall.) My allergies may get worse, as I've learned from researching this article. And I may suddenly become allergic to other things. In the meantime, I'm going to smoke pot, and eat a lot of peaches.  

DISCLAIMER: The content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for advice given by a health-care physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as advice for self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical illness or problem. Information and statements regarding the consumption of cannabis or certain cannabinoids have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Leafbuyer.com assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about health-related topics on this site.

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