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I Tried Compressed Cannabis ‘Pucks’ and They’re Strange, But Really Good

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I remember buying weed from my friend’s boyfriend one muggy day the summer after I graduated high school. After whispering an ashamed “hello” to his wheelchair-ridden grandfather in the living room and avoiding the tiny, yapping pomeranians nipping at my ankles, he shuffled me up the stairs. His loft, if you could call it that, consisted of no more than an old couch in front of a massive television with an XBOX and some crooked Grateful Dead posters pinned to the scuffed walls. The smell of half-smoked joints and Nag Champa hung thick in the air.

“You can sit if you want,” he mumbled with a crooked smile through his dreads. Before I could get comfortable on the stained cushions he handed me a clear hose.

“Breathe in. It’s just weed,” he reassured me. As I inhaled, he held up the other end of the hose to a small, wooden, electric pencil-sharpener looking device. I noticed the taste first.

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“It tastes just like weed smells,” I remember thinking in awe as I mentally compared it to the rips from my dirty bong I had grown to love. Floating, I handed him a twenty, took my sandwich bag eighth of mids and left.

While dry herb vaporization remains my favorite consumption method to this day, I rarely partake, purely out of convenience and portability. A Massachusetts cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! startup is attempting to change that narrative with the introduction of HUUE.

These weird little Lifesaver-sized pucks of compressed cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! flower and THC-A diamonds are designed for use with any portable or tabletop dry herb vaporizerThis post contains affiliate links!. It pops in and out like a coffee pod, minus the single-use packaging.

Ever the dry herb vaporizerThis post contains affiliate links! enthusiast, but also the laziest person ever, I tried these nifty little pucks, which come seven to a tin, in the co-branded GPen that comes free when you buy the box set of all three blends. Cheekily named for their intended effect, Get Sh*t Done, ROFL, and (Un)Wine are composited from six different strains cultivated by Resinate and The Heirloom Collective.

Born from a desire to “make dry herb vaping a popular method of consumption among consumers, while educating them on the health benefits, efficiency, and full usage of the plant”, co-founder Michael Sheldon continues, “HUUE was initially conceived as a revolutionary way to enjoy flower vaporizing, to make it as convenient and pre-dosed as oil vaping, with the full spectrum benefits of flower but without the smoke, and with the quick onset benefits of inhalation (vs edibles)”.

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While HUUE pucks are intended to be used in a dry herb vape for a whole-plant experience, they can be combusted in a pipe or bong, smoldering slowly for about ten hits. They also function as an edible. Spent post-vape pucks are technically decarbed cannabis and can be eaten directly or infused into oil, butter, or made into tinctures for full 100% consumption, the co-founder explained in a comment.

Courtesy of HUUE

But is the Weed Actually Good?

The three effect-specific blends, compiled from iconic strains like Chem Dog and Lava Cake, are sourced from two of Massachusetts top cultivators. Massachusetts is only one of three states in the legal market where you can find the authentic, gassy Chem Dog—legacy genetics with early 90s origins at a Grateful Dead lot in Indiana.

Other blend cultivars include the sugary, limonene-rich Grape Pie which “gives off a high that may initially bring you up with euphoria before landing you down on the couch for munchies and TV”, according to Leafly, in addition to the skunky, aptly-named Grandpa’s Stash, a “mix of legendary old school strains: 1994 Super Skunk, 1992 OG Kush, and a 1970s cut of Afghan Kush.”

The flavor is rich, the vapor is nearly invisible, and, most importantly, the high is exactly how I’ve always remembered it: euphoric. HUUE pucks pack a tad more punch than a typical chamber of ground flower, thanks to the addition of diamonds and a 30%+ THC content, but it remains a gentle, steady high. Cleaning up was a breeze and zero residue was left in the chamber.

“It is way healthier, way tastier (you can actually taste the plant) and more discreet than smoking flower and each puck provides all of the beneficial compounds produced by the plant. HUUE takes dry herb vaporizing to another level, by making it convenient, quick, clean, tasty, and evenly dosed,” Sheldon concludes.



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Higher Profile: Zane Witzel, CEO, Cannador

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Zane Witzel founded Cannador, a humidor storage system for cannabis, in an effort to raise the bar for cannabis storage. But, his conservative Catholic upbringing, combined with a Christian college education, makes him an anomaly in the cannabis industry.

“I was baptized Catholic, but rejected practicing and attending in grade school,” he shared. “My parents knew that I had my own feelings and voice at a young age. I believe in allowing your child to choose their own path where religion is concerned.”

The first time he tried cannabis was in high school where he grew up in Upstate New York. In a setting similar to That 70s Show, a group of friends sat in a circle in someone’s basement and passed around a joint. He said he enjoyed it right away, never feeling guilty about his use. 

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“I played on the Lacrosse team and was Class President of both my Junior and Senior classes, pulling As and Bs, so no one could call me a non-productive stoner in high school,” he laughed. “I proved the stereotype wrong and leaned into my use and belief that the plant was not harmful because of the kind of person I was. The stereotype just didn’t apply to me or my friends—it never has.”

Witzel set his sights on California for his first degree in telecommunications from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. Pepperdine is one of the top private Christian universities in the country, with the perk of overlooking the tawny beach town of Malibu and the Pacific Ocean.

Courtesy of Cannador

Every Seed Bearing Plant

God said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit, they shall be yours for food.” – Hebrew, Genesis 1.29

Witzel said he was well aware that Pepperdine was run by the Church of Christ, and that his cannabis use may be in question, but the campus overlooking the ocean was compelling.

“Aside from Pepperdine being a great university, with an excellent communications department taught by A-listers in the TV and film industry, the location was a definite draw,” he said. “I lived on campus, and though the university had strict rules about drugs and alcohol, I found my tribe of cannabis users pretty easily. The tribe finds each other, no matter where you are. Turns out, Christians like weed as much as anyone else.”

Cannabis as a superfood is how the plant began its life on earth. We as a species have upped the level of THC over the decades via hybridization. 

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When the late Lawrence Ringo from Southern Humboldt, California, hybridized cannabis plants to have lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), he referred to his first high cannabinoidThis post contains affiliate links! (CBD) cultivar as the “God plant,” as the original plant measured in at around four percent of the psychoactive compound before human hands messed with it.

Witzel said there was never a discussion with his colleagues on the status of cannabis within the church, the Bible, or any guilt associated with its use.

“I never understood why the church rejected cannabisThis post contains affiliate links!,” he said. “There were many in my tribe at Pepperdine who were way more into Christianty than I, and they used cannabis. I never read anything in scripture saying thou shalt not partake of this plant. My cannabis use has nothing to do with my relationship with God or my faith. To date, no one has proven to me that weed is heatheness.”

To put his Pepperdine tribe experience into perspective, Witzel detailed fellow students as brilliant and gifted, with better test scores than he had, all partaking of the plant. To get into Pepperdine you had to be smart, and if you didn’t have a full scholarship, you pretty much had to come from money. This fact further cements the truth of the demographic of the plant, crossing lines of race and status in society.

He likened one classmate to the Nobel Prize winning mathematician, John Nash, profiled in the film, A Beautiful Mind.

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“We shared a wall in the dorms, and I could hear him tap, tap, tapping, as he worked out these long, complex mathematical problems on a board on the wall between us—much like Nash did at Princeton University. My point in retelling this story is, the students who used cannabis at Pepperdine were not slackers. We didn’t fit the stereotype at all. These were believers of God from conservative and, for the most part, upper class families.”

With a love for movies and TV shows, Witzel set his sights on a career in the entertainment industry, but upon graduating in 2009, on the crest of a global financial crisis, projects went astray. He also wasn’t thrilled at the aspect of working from project to project, as is common in the entertainment industry.

Realizing he had to pivot, he enrolled in the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University; 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

With a focus on strategies in business, Witzel worked for a management consulting firm while studying at Claremont. Still smoking cannabis and hanging out with friends, he had what he calls a “lightbulb moment,” when a buddy set a shoebox on the coffee table, with his stash in disarray inside.

“I thought to myself, we can do better than this,” he laughed.

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Courtesy of Cannador

A Functional Stash

After some research, Witzel came across a humidity control system originally used for cigar humidors. After making a few adjustments to the product, he was able to adapt the humidity setting to accommodate a lower relative humidity, which is necessary for cannabis. Witzel then purchased the patent from the original owner and rebranded it to “VaporBeads.”

Citing a study from 1975, Cannador’s website educates on weed storage, “The Stability of Cannabis and its Preparations on Storage,” wherein the best storage was found to be at room temperature in a dark, sealed container. The researchers observed the plant material for two years, noting changes in potency.

The outcome showed that properly stored cannabis plant material with a correct amount of moisture retains higher terpene and cannabinoid counts—the compounds where flavor, scent, and medicinal efficacy is found. 

The study also confirmed that humidors made for cigars have a higher moisture content, and are not suitable for cannabis. It’s a fine line of humidity that keeps cannabis fresh, flavorful, and mold-free.

A big difference between cigar and cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! humidors is the interior wood and the way they maintain humidity. Most cigar humidors maintain a higher relative humidity and utilize chemicals like propylene glycol. Additionally, cigar humidors are lined with cedar, whereas cannabis humidors should be lined with a more neutral wood like mahogany. Cannador’s patented VaporBeads allow just the right amount of moisture to maintain the terpene’s aroma and taste by only adding water. A relative humidity (RH) for cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! is best kept between 58 to 65%. Anything over 70% RH runs the risk of mold growth.

Witzel
Courtesy of Cannador

Keeping the Faith, Keeping it Fresh

With the holiday season upon us, Witzel is gearing up for gift-giving season, offering up his limited edition 3-strain Cannador Artist Collaboration, designed by Chelsea Van Voorhis, who specializes in working with veneer products.

Also in the mix are his handcrafted walnut and mahogany roll trays, and leather toolkit for travel. 

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Giving back in the cannabis industry is important and Cannador is passionate about sustainability, pledging to plant one tree for every Cannador purchased, as part of Plant-it 2020, a global non-profit operating in Colorado, dedicated to properly planting, maintaining, and protecting as many indigenous trees as possible.

For Witzel, his mission is clear, provide the best and most beautiful products to keep cannabis as fresh and flavorful as possible—because, after all, he too still enjoys the plant.

“I still enjoy cannabisThis post contains affiliate links!, but not everyday,” he said. “I really like good wine, and if I’ve had too much I like to reset by smoking cannabis. It helps get me out of my shell and converse more easily with people. I like to vape or smoke joints, but no more bong rips for me. Everything in moderation—and that actually reflects what the Bible says about alcohol.”

Witzel’s focus is still as clear as it was in college, on being a productive human.

“My alma mater probably doesn’t want to hear this, but cannabis always made everything more interesting for me,” he concluded. “I still love listening to music while high. I balanced school, sports, and work around my cannabis use. I don’t think there always has to be some kind of trade-off, you simply work hard and have fun responsibly along the way—and cannabis will always be a big part of that for me.”

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For more information on Cannador & VaporBeads visit, www.cannador.com https://vaporbeads.com/ 

Visit Cannador’s Limited Collections page here, https://cannador.com/collections/limited-edition 

Visit its accessories page here, https://cannador.com/collections/accessories 

For more information on Plant-it 2020 visit, https://plantit2020.org/



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Creator Explains Patented Process To Extract Cannabinoids From Smoke

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Extracting cannabinoids from smoke is now a reality, using a patented extraction method, activating compounds at levels only achieved via smoking. Why? Imagine edibles made with an oil that provides more of the impact you normally only get from smoking.

Boston, Massachusetts-based Real Isolates announced on October 24 that it has been issued a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a novel method used to extract cannabinoids and other compounds—from cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! smoke. 

The company introduced a new brand as well as two products in oil form: Smokenol Day™ is a CBD-forward cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! smoke extract derived from hemp. The THC-rich extracted oil created by this method, on the other hand, is sold, and licensed under the brand name Smokenol™, is rich in common and rare cannabinoids and enables a new category of oral, topical, and inhaled cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! products. Profound Naturals™ is the brand under which hemp derived Smokenol Day™ CBD products are sold.

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Creator of Smokenol™ and Vice President and co-founder of Real Isolates Andy Westerkamp explained the concept and products using Real Isolates novel extraction method.

The reasoning behind the new extraction method comes down to common consumer preferences: “Do you prefer edibles or smoking?” Westerkamp asked High Times. “I prefer smoking, my wife prefers smoking, and most of my friends do. If you look at consumer preference surveys, or sales data in the cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! industry, it’s largely going to show you the same thing—consumer sales are smokeable products, whether it’s flower, concentrates, or you name it. Smoking feels different than edibles.” 

The reason smoking feels different than edibles is that through your liver, cannabis is metabolized through your liver, transforming THC into 11-hydroxy-THC in your liver. Smoking feels different because of the way compounds are transformed under high heat. In any case, some level of decarboxylation or transformation of the compounds is necessary.

“So basically, to put in perspective, the ember on a joint, or a cherry on a bowl, is probably somewhere between 900 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit,” Westerkamp said. “That’s really high. The lighter burns at 2000 plus degrees Fahrenheit. So when we’re applying that amount of heat to the input material, you’re going to transform everything.”

patented
Courtesy of Smokenol

For Real Isolates’ first experiment, the team took 99%+ pure CBD isolate, burned it in a dab rig and sent it through a special filter, allowing them to extract 18 different cannabinoids. 

“Every single one of those cannabinoids in the input material, there are over 100 in the plant, or you know, a variety in your concentrate of choice—those are going to transform significantly before you inhale,” Westerkamp said. “So essentially, when you’re smoking, you’re consuming a completely different chemical product than when you eat a traditional edible or extract. So for us, we designed a special filter that we call ‘the lung’ internally.”

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Given that millions of people are unable to smoke due to chronic respiratory conditions and so forth, this method allows them to feel some of the effects.

Westerkamp said they designed this filter “to selectively capture those compounds out of the smoke, so that we can deliver them in different formats like specifically edibles, but edible tinctures, topicals, suppositories, vapes, you name it. So we can take that profile, that chemical fingerprint that you would only get from smoking, and now put it into other things. And our trademark there is, you know, our slogan is ‘We smoked it for you,’ which is literally what we’re doing.”

You don’t necessarily have to decide between edibles or similar effects compared to smoking. If you’re curious about learning more about Real Isolates unique extraction method and products, visit the website.



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A Trip Through the Booming Industry of Semi-Psychedelic Products

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Though psychedelics won’t be legalized in the United States any time soon, a beverage containing psychoactive substances can now be consumed without fear of persecution. Distributed by retailer Urban Outfitters, of all businesses, Psychedelic Water is not going to make you feel like you’ve taken DMT or even LSD. However, its main ingredients more or less belong to the same taxonomic family.

Launched in February 2021, Psychedelic Water can be purchased at Urban Outfitter stores across the country, including states where cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! is still considered a schedule 1 narcotic. Beverages are also sold on the brand’s own website, where chrome-colored cans go for $33,- per six pack. Flavors include Prickly Pear, Oolong + Orange Blossom, Hibiscus + Lime, and Blackberry + Yuzu.

Urban Outfitters is but one of many corporations trying to carve out a space for itself in the up and coming psychedelics market. Back in April, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel hosted the very first Benzinga Psychedelics Capital Conference. Under the heat of the scorching Florida sun, entrepreneurs speed-dated with investors from Big Pharma and Silicon Valley to see if, together, they could take America’s psychedelics industry “to the next level.”

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It’s an industry with several faces. On the one hand, there’s activists campaigning for the recreational usage of LSD, MDMA, ketamine and any other psychedelics under the sun. On the other, there are rogue researchers hoping to use these drugs not for fun, but to develop revolutionary treatments for physical and mental illnesses. Last but not least, there are companies that promote products made using less potent and—crucially—legal varieties of psychedelics.

These varieties can be found in tinctures, topicals, eye drops and other concoctions whipped up by forward-thinking wellness and beauty brands. Like homeopathic remedies, they are said to cleanse auras, remove negative emotions and stimulate lucid dreaming. They might include Mucuna pruriens—a legume that contains a type of DMT—or boa vine, one of the main ingredients of ayahuasca.

Mucuna pruriens / Shutterstock

It’s also one of the main ingredients in Lun, an oral tincture sold by the wellness company Soul Drops. “With only a few drops per day,” their website declares, “Soul Drops can empower your self-healing and optimization. Our clients report that they feel healthier, positive, energetic, emotionally balanced, focused, creative, inspired, calm, relaxed, intuitive, and grounded.”

Most legal psychedelic products, however, come in the form of beverages. This should not come as a surprise, as the market for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is bigger, busier, and more lucrative than ever before. Products competing in this market must cater to an increasingly fragmented audience: Spiked seltzers are for college students who want to get shitfaced without gaining weight; CBDThis post contains affiliate links!-infused beers allow stoners to drink with non-stoner friends; LaCroix is for disillusioned office workers who’ve already had their 10th cup of coffee.

Psychedelic Water, says CEO Pankaj Gogia, is “for the people who are interested in, unsure about, or unfamiliar with psychedelics.” Gogia tells High Times their product acts as an “entry point into the wider world of these substances and their many benefits” and resonates with those “who just want to sip on something that tastes good, makes you feel good, is better for you than alcohol, and won’t have you texting your ex or waking up with a hangover.”

The three ingredients that make Psychedelic Water psychedelic are kava, damiana and green tea leaf extract. Kava, the supposed star of the show, is a plant native to the South Pacific that—when grounded, mixed with water, and taken in small doses—relaxes the muscles and produces a feeling of euphoria without impairing your cognition. Aboriginal Australians have been brewing kava for centuries, for ceremonial purposes. Kava bars have also become popular in major American cities.

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psychedelic
Kava / Shutterstock

Damiana is a shrub native to Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. Its leaf and stem can be fashioned into a homeopathic medicine that treats headaches, constipation, stomach cramps, bedwetting, and depression, as well as bladder, urinary and sexual problems. It is also used as an aphrodisiac, boosting arousal in both men and women. Damiana causes a subtle high that nicely compliments kava.

Last but not least: green tea leaf extract. Though not psychedelic, the extract is a natural source of caffeine. This caffeine is used to balance out the effects of kava, a depressant which can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. When mixed, these three ingredients produce a sensation which—though vastly different from weedThis post contains affiliate links! or alcohol—is nonetheless suitable for social settings.

The public image of psychedelic substances is changing rapidly. During the War on Drugs, they were presented as dangerous and addictive. Modern research has dispelled this myth, with drugs like ketamine now being used to treat depression, PTSD, and other forms of mental illness. At the same time, Netflix documentaries like Fantastic Fungi, Have a Good Trip and How to Change Your Mind are trying to normalize recreational usage.

And yet, despite these major developments, many people remain hesitant. This is, admittedly, kind of understandable. In the not-so-distant past, the only way to start exploring psychedelics was to jump in the deep-end, popping a pill at a music festival and praying to God for a good trip. Nowadays, you can start your journey by cracking open a can on your couch while pacing yourself with every sip.

Gogia says Psychedelic Water makes him feel “similar to the way I feel about five minutes after ingesting some psilocybin. There’s this short window, prior to visuals beginning to kick in, where I just feel nice. This wave of relaxation and positive feelings roll over me (…) Psychedelic Water takes that feeling and holds it.”

To be clear, Psychedelic Water will not cause you to see any kaleidoscopic visuals. Or, at least, it isn’t meant to. Instead, the beverage was designed to capture some of the milder and subtler effects of conventional psychedelics and allow consumers to experience them in a new way.

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If you prefer your drinks hot, you might want to turn to Third Eye Tonic, a lucid dream-inducing tea offered by Anima Mundi Herbals. It’s made up of nervines, or plants that are consumed to support the nervous system. Ingredients include kava, passionflower, organic skullcap, and blue lotus, the latter of which targets the same receptors as MDMA and, when prepared in a slightly different way, causes hallucinations. “[These plants] basically lay the foundation for you to secrete your own chemicals yourself,” Anima Mundi’s Costa Rican founder, Adriana Ayales, told the trade publication Beauty Independent.

As exciting as these semi-legal psychedelic products are, they do raise a couple questions. Do these products offer any real, tangible benefits, or are the fleeting sensations they produce just placebos? Are some of these companies actually steeped in indigenous traditions, or are they merely exploiting them for monetary gain? It’s been known to happen elsewhere, with North American mezcal producers faking their Mexican heritage. Also some of these down-to-earth beauty brands, which supposedly contain water from the Amazon river, don’t sound particularly sustainable.

Psychedelic Water has also been scrutinized by the press. As MEL magazine points out in their review of Psychedelic Water, “doctors aren’t sure how much kava a person can safely consume.” Scholarly articles identified a possible link with long-term liver damage, a discovery that led countries like Australia, Canada, France, and Germany to issue warnings or even ban over-the-counter sales.

Gogia is intimately familiar with these articles, which were published during the late 90s and early 2000s, when attitudes towards kava were still shaped by the War on Drugs. “In the majority of these accounts,” he tells High Times, “other factors such as alcohol consumption and use of certain medications are relevant, as well as consumption of improperly harvested and stored kava.”

As production quality improved over the past few decades, the connection between kava and liver damage was again called into question. This time, studies reached different results. As early as 2004, an evaluation of Food Standards Australia New Zealand determined “there is no evidence that occasional use of kava beverage is associated with any long-term adverse effects, including effects on the liver.”

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Their conclusion was reiterated as recently as 2016 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which stated that “on balance, the weight-of-evidence from both a long history of use of kava beverage and from the more recent research findings indicates that it is possible for kava beverage to be consumed with an acceptably low level of health risk.”

These concerns stem from the same social stigma that’s surrounded psychoactive substances since the 70s. Gogia and his colleagues know the stigma won’t disappear overnight. Still, they hope the success of Psychedelic Water might speed up the process a little: “We feel having a psychedelic-branded product on the shelves of your local convenience store, between cans of Red Bull and jugs of milk, could have a significant impact on the public perception and normalization of psychedelics.”



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Jon’s Stone-Cold Cop List #26: The Post-Holiday Hash Rundown

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Seems like we’re past due again. Go figure. Oh well, this one’s a doozy!

I’ll be honest – trying to compete with the ever-rising barrier to entry that I’ve created for myself for these lists is exhausting. First I was going to make this edition ALL hash focused, as 7/10 was obviously earlier this month, but y’all know I’m a flower guy first & foremost. Initially it was going to be the ‘7/10 list’, but as everyone was doing that, I pulled back. To make matters worse, I saw Jimi drop a list for the holiday that included two of my initial picks – is it cheating for us to like the same shit? Does anyone else notice this stuff? Trying to be different while trying to do your best is stressful.

Anyway, as everyone was doing a 7/10 thing I decided to hold out, wait for the holiday to pass, and then remind y’all that hash is a lifestyle, not specific to one day out of the year. As such, most of the attached extended post-holiday edition is focused on slurpable terps. And instead of re-listing classics that I’ve praised before, like 710 Labs, Kalya, Holy Water & Helios, we’re going with all new labels to my collection. That said, I couldn’t let the other dopeness that launched recently pass me by, so here’s some hash, a little flower and some snacks, as a treat.

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Ogre Farms

Courtesy of Ogre Farms

I’m not sure if these guys are operating in the rec market yet, but trust me when I tell you, if an opportunity to snag one of their jars presents itself, you’re going to want to take it. Put onto my radar by the cultivation master Life is Not Grape (formerly Candypaint), I have yet to see a jar from this crew that doesn’t seriously impress. I know this is common verbiage at this point, but I still feel weird saying this: shit is WET. I’m not always the best with remembering to put things back in the fridge, or even putting the cap back on, so trust when I tell you that I have run these products through the gamut and they’re still best in class, even after I’ve fucked ‘em up.

Frosty

Courtesy of Frosty

Not to repeat myself, as I know I’ve said something similar about Kayla in the past, but Frosty is one of those guys you just love to be around. While the hash they produce is world-class, for me, it’s almost more important to know that great people are involved in the process so you know the love really went into it. In my experience that’s usually the key differentiator between good and great. I can say confidently that no matter the tier of product, everything I’ve tasted from the jolly trichman’s team clearly had nothing but love poured into it, bc the flavors are *chef’s kiss*!

Heads That Roll’s Honey Banana

Courtesy of Heads That Roll

Over the past year or so there’s been a certain hash cultivar that I’ve really dug, and although I historically haven’t been a massive hash head, I’ve kept a jar of Honey Banana around pretty much at all times since discovering it. I’ve tried countless versions, and while they’re all delicious, few are as special as what I experienced from Heads That Roll, and almost none pack the same amount of flavor. While this cut stinks with little effort, driving home that pallet staining taste isn’t as easy. This one’s a must cop.

West Coast Cure’s Live Rosin

Courtesy of West Coast Cure

This might be a world premiere, I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain most of the world doesn’t know that West Coast Cure’s about to drop a live rosin line. If that wasn’t enough to excite you, here’s this: it SMACKS. Available as live or cold cured, having tasted the line there are some real winners in this camp. Classics like Fatso are represented as well as they’ve ever been, but it was a newcomer for me, the Strawberry Jelly, that I couldn’t put down. Crazy enough, the Jelly was actually one of the Cold Cure jars, so while definitely better for the longevity of the product, don’t discount the terps coming from those bad boys.

Trichadelics

Courtesy of Trichadelics

Another sweet soul who deserves a nod is Trichadelics. While for sure running some of the cleanest product I’ve seen to date, Trichadelics is also the perfect example of a highly productive, successful AND energetic stoner – which for some reason people are still questioning whether or not they exist. Not only is dude pumping out top tier hash that’s getting name-checked across the country, but following him on insta is like having your own personal trainer. You will hear, at least once a day, that smoking hash and pedaling fast is possible. Don’t let the terps slow you down, Trich’s proof that it’s mind over matter.

Moxie

Courtesy of Moxie

For me personally, this is one of the OG’s in the hash world. While I’m not claiming they were the first to do anything, I will say they were one of the first true hash brands I saw when I came to California, and I’ve been floored by both their presentation and their quality since. You see, hash was still, for a long time, the grungier side of the industry. And while they were certainly true hash heads, there was a certain degree of cleanliness about their brand from the jump. I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but what I’m trying to say is that from my perspective, these guys are godfathers of this shit, and they paved the way for a lot of what we’re seeing now. Product still bangs, too!

Cold Fire

Courtesy of Cold Fire

I don’t know the history of Cold Fire as well as the last one, but maybe the biggest co-sign I could offer for these guys is that in a time when I had totally written off the cart game, Cold Fire changed my mind. In fact, Cold Fire gets me hooked. While other carts can sit in my house for basically ever, these carts never last long. They simply provide the best vapeThis post contains affiliate links! experience I’ve had to date. Not only that, but they’re constantly running material from the big dogs, so everything from Biskante to Giant Fuyu has graced their menu. I’d recommend these to anyone, but if discretion is still important in your life, this one’s a no brainer. 

HAF Hash Rosin

Courtesy of Hash and Flowers

Closing out the Hash portion of the list is Hash and Flowers. While they indeed provide both in spades, it’s worth noting that this is another brand who recognizes the fiscal hurdles it takes to consume top tier cannabisThis post contains affiliate links!, and provides not only top shelf meds, but also more entry level products for those who don’t want to mortgage their home to get high. While the single source is great, and I don’t want to make them out to seem like some bottom of the barrel brand, I mention this because the lower tier stuff is actually significantly better than that next to it on the comparable shelf.

Puffco Proxy Travel Kit

Courtesy of Puffco

I wrote about the Proxy earlier this summer when it dropped, so you should know already that I love this thing, but for those of you who couldn’t get past the dry hit element, now you don’t have to. The gang has already released its first accessory pack, and while not quite introducing an artist edition, they HAVE satisfied the water element, offering their first Proxy bubblerThis post contains affiliate links!. They’re also releasing the travel accessories for the original device, as well as the flower attachment, for those looking to turn their proxy into a traditional bowl… perhaps after you’ve acquired a more unique custom housing for your device? On the real though glass blowers hit me up, I want to see the magic you’re building around this thing!

The Terp Shank (Bubba’s Face)

Courtesy of Bubba’s Face

This is a special one. Over the past few years I’ve (reluctantly) become more attracted to natural materials like crystals and precious metals despite wholly not understanding their value previously. Now, as I’ve gone down this headiest of path, there’s one name that’s been thrown out quite a few times, and everything I’ve seen from him so far has just been stellar. That dude is Bubba’s Face, who while I still haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, I did manage to get my hands on one of his terp shanks, and I’ve gotta say, while a hot knife is easy, this thing just feels better somehow. I know, it’s heady magic, but it’s real. Plus it comes with this cool sheath, so you really do feel like you’re walking around with a shank, but don’t worry, you probably won’t stab yourself with it.

Haupia Malasada

Courtesy of Haupia Malasada

Ok, flower time. I know this one’s making a bunch of noise back east right now, and they actually beat me to the punch for a change. Christopher’s Bakery’s Haupia Malasada is delightful. Named after the Portuguese confection, this shit doesn’t just smell like donuts, it hits smooth as cream filling. I had tried his Guava cut awhile back and while that was good, this one is the dialed in older sister you’re going to want to get to know. This is definitely one that will be easier to find on the traditional market, so hit up your local plug and let ‘em know you’re looking for some fried dough terps!

Alien Labs Y2K Launch

Courtesy of Alien Labs

Before you say anything, I know. I know Alien Labs is on here a lot, and I hear you when you say you don’t love repeats, but honestly, if they weren’t so far ahead I wouldn’t have to keep bringing them up. Because they need to keep raising the bar, these guys dropped their latest, Y2K, at select dispensaries via a happy meal, complete with a plush alien toy and a real burger to eat. While I missed the live event and didn’t get to try the actual burger, both the flower and the cute lil alien are worth writing home about. Not that they ever really miss, but this one was a grand slam.

Mary Jones

Courtesy of Mary Jones

Y’all know I’m a sugar fiend before anything, and this one’s a fun full circle moment for me. Remember Jones Soda? Those delightful Canadians pumping out full flavor colas like FuFu Berry and the Thanksgiving bundle? We’ll they’re in the game now! Launching first with four flavors of micro dosed deliciousness, I can attest that these things taste just as good as the original. They’ve got gummies and syrup coming down the pipe later this summer so get pumped because this is just the first of what will be several delicious new treats.

Daily High Club’s Fidget Spinner Lighter

Courtesy of Daily High Club

I get a lot of promo boxes, so I’m just about stacked with all the lighters, grinders, and papers I’ll ever need. At this point, I didn’t think it was possible to get me to accept another. Well friends, here’s something that I’m actually excited about. We all saw the fidget spinner craze a few years ago, and while I definitely had a few I think I was just too old for the craze to really affect me. Well friends, turns out when you throw em on a lighter, these things get addictive as hell. I’ve walked around with this thing in my hand on calls or even just while i’m relaxing basically non-stop since receiving it, so if you need a fidget toy and it’s good to have a lighter handy, DHC’s got ya.

Kool-Aid Jammers

This one’s really a bonus, but I feel like much of the world forgot these exist, and I want to make sure that I’m bringing them to your attention because turns out they still smack as adults. I know, I know, drinking out of sippy things are weird past 12, but you know, the juice box was invented for a reason, and that reason was portability, not child friendliness. Tropical Punch is my favorite, but all their red flavors are elite. It’s worth noting that I’m also mentioning this here hoping they’ll recognize and adopt our audience, as stoners and delicious snacks go hand in hand. What up Kool-Aid Man? Can we fill ya with weedThis post contains affiliate links!??





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Here’s What Happened When I Used a CBD Topical for Getting Tattooed

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Tattooed people are some of the toughest individuals around. The heavily tattooed aren’t prone to lifting heavier weights or be more likely to capture an MMA championship. But they sure can take a shit-ton of pain. Be they a glutton for punishment, a lover of art, or something else entirely, the tattooed sit through the oft-suffering experience of several needles at speeds between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. And we keep coming back for more.

While the machinery and process have improved over the years, getting tattooed is still painful for the artist and customer alike. Penetrating through five sublayers of the epidermis, or 1/16 of an inch into the skin, a tattoo can make even the stiffest of upper lips wince. For the artist, years of tattooing in hunched-over positions does a number on the body. Back, eye, and neck pains are typical, as well as headaches.

The tattoo community is like any other: a lot of people consume pot. Artists do so on or off the clock for recreational and medical reasons. Some tattoo clients report satisfying results using cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! topicals, highlighting their efficacy during aftercare. The two to three-week healing period for a tattoo is critical. Mistakes can lead to health concerns and a new tattoo lacking saturation.

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An abundance of topicals are already on the market, but few have focused on tattoo aftercare. More rare, few, if any, have attempted to address client pain and inflammation during tattooing.

A few months back, while getting tattooed at Brooklyn’s Electric Anvil, my artist, Tron, mentioned a CBD cream explicitly focusing on tattooing and aftercare. Tattoo Nectar, the Michigan-based, 250mg full spectrum CBD topical startup, was launched this past 4/20 by grower Orcannica, Green Fish Seeds and veteran tattoo artists Julian Bast and Danny G.

CBD topicals are a dime a dozen, and someone is always looking to cash in, even on niche markets. But the combination of tattoo and cultivation expertise piqued my interest. Maybe this isn’t just a cash grab claiming CBD cures another random pain.

To find out, I got some Tattoo Nectar, selected a pot-themed flash tattoo from Tron, and set out to see if CBD tattoo care is a hunk of bunk or a possible new option.

Tattoo Healing Methods

Depending on the artist, the recommended aftercare process may vary from lax to almost regimented, with specific product recommendations to pick up at the local pharmacy.

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A commonly recommended method includes lightly applying an over-the-counter skin care ointment, typically Aquaphor, for three or so days. Then switch to an unscented lotion, like Aveeno, for approximately 11 more days. Application amounts will vary depending on the shop recs.

Another method is the product-fee dry healing method. Some artists say the process is a safe, all-natural approach, while others feel it carries risks to your skin and tattoo quality. Weirdos like myself endorse it because it makes the bed you share with your girlfriend colorful with skin flakes for a few days. How someone puts up with me remains a mystery, but that’s for another article.

There are also skin adhesive bandages, like SecondSkin, where clients keep the same dressing over the wound for several days. I tried the method earlier this year in Austin, Texas. I’d definitely do it again, especially if I can avoid the familiar “ink sack,” where excess ink and plasma slosh around between your epidermis and the bandage. It’s kind of like a gross human waterbed.

Prior to starting development on Tattoo Nectar two years ago, Bast recommended clients rely on antibacterial soap and avoid direct sunlight early on. He suggests unscented lotion in the following days, applying only when the tattoo itches. He also used adhesives at times, but advises against Tegaderm after two tattoo-damaging experiences of his own.

Tron recommends nothing for the first 5 days then switching to an unscented lotion. However, she and other artists note that, like drug consumption, everybody reacts differently. If you don’t experience an ideal effect, consult with a professional and consider changing course.

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No matter your preferred aftercare method, tattoos should be kept away from direct water exposure while healing, save for quick cleanings in the shower or sink. The tattoo will likely go through several noteworthy healing phases. Expect blood and plasma leakage early on. A few rounds of scabbing may come afterward. The urge to itch will rise as body hair grows back in. Fight the desire to scratch or risk pulling off unhealed scabs and diminishing ink saturation in those spots.

Ointment application guidelines remain the same as well. Start with a small amount covering a fingertip. Begin to cover the tattoo in a thin layer of jelly. Avoid using excessive amounts or risk washing out your tattoo, making it look like it’s been on your skin for a decade.

“Less is always always more in any case,” Tron said.

Getting Tattooed With CBD Cream

Orcannica emphasized using the cream during the tattoo process, piquing my interest. Tattoo artists typically use petroleum jelly to help keep blood at bay and bactine as a minor numbing agent. I was excited to see what CBD might be able to do in place of these two items.

Bast feels CBD’s oft-reported anti-inflammatory and skin hydration properties, and a shea-butter based cream, benefit both artist and client.

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“Tattooers are used to the feel of the weird layer of petroleum and glide over it,” he said, noting that shea butter absorbs into the skin, leaving less of an oily surface for the artist to work with.

I wasn’t expecting any topical, save for a numbing agent, to entirely remove the pain. But what I did notice was a slight cooling relief when getting tattooed. The effect was particularly noticeable when resuming tattooing after a quick break. The first one or two touches from the gun to my skin after a break are the worst moments during any of my tattoos. Those first couple interactions still hurt with Tattoo Nectar, but the cooling effect cut into the pain, making the transition back to the needles less jarring.

The most beneficial impact of CBD was by far on the final product. After several hours of tattooing, skin is often red and swollen from the trauma it just endured. It’s one of the many reasons why artists request follow-up photos several weeks afterward to see their work in its healed glory. Note the difference between Tron’s tattoo in June to the results after a three-hour quarter sleeve session with the incredible Yoni Zilber back in 2011.

Photo: Jon Bradley/Bradley Visual Co.
Artist: Yoni Zilber, 2011
Artist: Yoni Zilber, 2011

This comparison also reminds me how badly I washed out the black ink in Yoni’s sleeve with excessive ointment. Much of the black is now a blue-grey, a look I enjoy but not what I set out to get. Time to book a touch up session.

Using CBD For Aftercare

Ever the habitual over-applier of ointments, my first non-dry healed tattoo in several years was a new but familiar experience.

The first difference I noticed was the sensation between CBD creams and petroleum jelly. Even the lightest dab of Aquaphor can be a greasy mess on clothes or anything it comes in contact with. Someone like me who erroneously layers it on might as well put a bubble around that new tattoo or risk leaving a trail of oily touchpoints for the next few days. That in mind, I remained conscious of running into people or objects with CBD cream on. I still felt more moisture than usual, but it didn’t feel like I had sticky goop on me. Rather, the feeling went away like any other shea butter topical might. 

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Overall, I didn’t notice much of a difference between Tattoo Nectar and Aveeno. Though, my skin appeared to stay moist longer with the Tattoo Nectar. Instead of applying a lotion three or four times a day, I used Tattoo Nectar once in the morning and evening.

After two weeks of applications, my new tattoo healed equally to others that utilized dry healing or other ointments. As a proponent of dry healing, CBD/Tattoo Nectar didn’t convert me on aftercare methods. Still, after two and half weeks, my tattoo maintained its saturation. My skin still needs to heal but that is common for me.

Taken 2.5 weeks after the tattoo/Photo Credit: Tron

Piquing my interest most was its effect on tattooing and pain management. Tattoo Nectar provided a noticeable cooling sensation while keeping inflammation slightly at bay. Tron and others at the shop took notice as well.

“I definitely plan to use it more and see how that affects other tattoos,” Tron said. Since our session, she reports tattooing seven to 10 additional clients with the cream, all to positive results. She reports other artists at the shop showing interest in using Tattoo Nectar or CBD creams, particularly with black and grey tattoos.

With CBD/Tattoo Nectar seemingly holding up to the first challenge, I’m now excited to see if it can sustain its results during a more extended tattoo session. I’d also like to try other CBD topicals and doses to assess their effect.

I’m also interested to see if the company can survive. CannabisThis post contains affiliate links! is an oversaturated market where even quality products struggle to break through. Meanwhile Tron wonders if it can be made into a spray as a bactine replacement.

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Bast said the company continues to remain a small batch organization, promoting through word of mouth recommendations in the tattoo community. Acknowledging the long and often sacred uses of tattoos, cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! and psychedelics alike, he said the company hopes to honor each practice properly.

He said cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! and psychedelics are excellent for connecting with one’s self. In tattooing, “You submit to the pain and you accept that I have to take the ride,” he explained.

Use this experience as you will, and remember that everyone’s experience varies depending on a range of factors. Stick to trusted products that offer clear test results on their website and/or product packaging.





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Garcia Hand Picked Launches in Colorado

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Garcia Hand Picked, the cannabis brand founded by the family of legendary Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, entered its fifth legal cannabis state today with an expansion into Colorado’s competitive recreational weed market. A collaboration between multistate operator Holistic Industries and Colorado craft cultivator Veritas Fine CannabisThis post contains affiliate links!, the Garcia Hand Picked line of cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! products and merchandise was created in partnership with the family of the late Jerry Garcia.

“It’s an honor to finally have a presence in Colorado, one of our nation’s most discerning cannabis markets,” Trixie Garcia, one of Jerry’s daughters and spokesperson for the Garcia family, said in a statement. “Garcia Hand Picked works with an exclusive network [of] local growers in each market we’re in that have become part of the Garcia Hand Picked family, and we’re excited to bring only the highest quality, curated cannabis to our fans and friends in Colorado.”

Garcia Hand Picked debuted in California in 2020 and is now available in more than 300 dispensaries in California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon, with plans to expand to Michigan soon. According to market analyst BDSA, the collaboration is the leading celebrity cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! brand in the United States. The strains available for the Colorado launch, which are named after songs written by Jerry Garcia and are selected to be perfect for any time of day, include Morning in Marin (Sativa), Love in the Afternoon (Hybrid) and After Midnight (Indica), among others.

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In California, Garcia Hand Picked recently launched a program called Hand Picked Farms to support independent and legacy farmers, offering flower that is “Sun and Earth Certified,” meaning that it is sungrown in the ground without chemicals by farmers who are paid fairly for their work. Consumers can look for the “Sun and Earth Certified” Hand Picked Farms sticker on packs of Garcia Hand Picked flower sold in California dispensaries.

The Garcia Hand Picked line also includes a curated selection of premium indoor cannabis flower in collectible and re-usable glass jars. Each product is paired with a specially selected playlist of Jerry Garcia’s music that corresponds with the strains to create a unique brand experience. Fans can go to the “Music Never Stopped” section of GarciaHandPicked.com to listen to the musical selections.

Holistic Industries notes in a statement from the company that Jerry Garcia rarely smoked weed by himself, instead preferring a shared joint, which “became a bridge between him and those around him.” To honor that spirit, the Hand Picked Garcia line has emphasized pre-rolled joints featuring a custom glass tip with Jerry’s handprint, offered in eco-friendly packaging made from recycled paper. Other products in the collection include Jerry’s Picks, cannabisThis post contains affiliate links! gummies shaped like Jerry’s actual guitar picks, which will be coming to the Colorado market soon. Merchandise, including apparel and accessories with original artwork by Jerry Garcia, the Garcia Hand Picked logo, and other designs will be available.

Courtesy of Garcia Hand Picked

Jerry Garcia: Groundbreaking Artist and Weed Icon

Jerry Garcia was the co-founder, lead guitarist, vocalist, and lead songwriter for the counterculture rock band the Grateful Dead, which rose from the 1960s San Francisco Bay Area scene of drugs, music, and social change. A groundbreaking artist with a career that spanned more than 30 years, Garcia was inducted with the Grateful Dead into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, just a year before he died of a heart attack at a California drug rehab facility.

To celebrate the upcoming 80th anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s birth on August 1, the Colorado launch of Hand Picked Garcia will feature Bertha, a custom Airstream trailer that tours the country filled with music and merchandise, at The Jerry Garcia Symphonic Experience at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado on June 29. Bertha will then tour select dispensaries across the state through the Fourth of July holiday weekend to mark the launch of Hand Picked Garcia to the Colorado market.

“Playing music in Colorado was always a high point for Jerry, he dug the closeness of the audience and the energy that flowed more freely in the mountain air,” said Jerry’s daughter Annabelle Garcia, a spokesperson for the Garcia family. “The hidden stories in the rocks were a source of cosmic speculation and inspiration on the long drives to and from the shows. For Jerry, every ridge held a secret treasure, or an alien spacecraft, or a Bigfoot listening to the shows.”

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“Red Rocks is the perfect venue to celebrate our Father’s 80th birthday! Where the sky and mountains meet, we will make a joyful noise and spread some good lovin’,” added Trixie Garcia. “The symphonic interpretation of these cherished tunes elevates them to an otherworldly place, and when ‘Terrapin Station’ erupts, and the big instruments start to resonate, it’s going to be very powerful!”



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