Cannabidiol (CBD) is extremely popular right now.

In fact, it is so popular that Google search data for the last few years shows that CBD is searched more often than THC.

For many decades THC was the cannabinoid that most scientists and cannabis enthusiasts focused on, however, that has clearly changed.

Products containing CBD are far more legally available in the global marketplace compared to products containing large amounts of THC.

That, combined with a growing body of peer-reviewed studies that find CBD to be an effective medicine, has resulted in exponential growth in the use of CBD worldwide.

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As more research finds that CBD can be a useful medicine for dogs and cats, the compound has become one alternative medicine that’s being considered much more now than ever before.

In the U.S. and many other countries, dogs and cats alike are adored as loving family members. The ASPCA has estimated that in the U.S., 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned and treated as pets. Similarly, 44% of all American households have a dog as a pet, and 35% have a cat. Due to the abundance of pet dogs and cats, the demand for medical and veterinary services is significantly high, and it keeps growing.

For decades, pharmaceutical medications and traditional treatment methods tended to be the norm. However, in recent years, cannabidiol (CBD) has been making a large splash within the veterinary medicine industry. So, stick around to learn about the unique relationship between cannabis, but specifically CBD and modern-day veterinary medicine. 

CBD Usage and Pet Mammals—What the Research Says

As more research findings are released about CBD’s medicinal properties that can be reaped by mammals including dogs and cats, the compound has become one alternative medicine that’s being discussed and/or considered much more now than ever before.

To date, publications from Colorado State University (CSU) and Cornell University have documented the pharmacokinetics of CBD in dog subjects. The study reported that orally administered CBD (by mouth) is absorbed more effectively than transdermally administered CBD (applied on the skin’s surface). The study also found that orally administered CBD was well tolerated, which supports CBD’s solid safety profile.

photo of man hugging tan dog

At this point we all know there are different ways to consume cannabis. The most common way is to simply light it up, but these days, more people are vaping, dabbing, drinking infused drinks, using skin creams, and of course, eating it. In fact, one of the strongest forms of marijuana, is the kind that comes when its eaten, and this explains the ultimate power of edibles. Plus, without causing the same kind of damage as smoking, eating cannabis edibles is becoming very popular.

If you’ve ever eaten a ‘special’ brownie, you know that it’s not like smoking a joint. There is no immediate feeling of anything, and when the high does kick in, sometimes 1-3 hours after ingestion, it doesn’t quite feel the same either. That’s because the compound producing the effects is not the same as the one in the dry flower of a joint. It’s a little bit different, and significantly stronger.

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What is 11-hydroxy-THC?

Much like the name implies, its simply a form of THC. In standard cannabis consumption, when the plant is lit on fire and inhaled (or vaped and inhaled), the THC – which becomes what it is through a decarboxylation process from the heating – has this chemical structure: C₂₁H₃₀O₂. This chemical structure is not found in an actual living cannabis plant in high amounts, but instead starts as this: C22H30O4 which is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. As stated, this compound is transformed into delta-9 THC by a heating process which creates a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group (COOH), hence the name decarboxylation.

The explanation above leads to delta-9 THC, but that’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is what happens when delta-9 THC is ingested. When cannabis is smoked, THC is taken in through the lungs, transferred to the bloodstream, and then onto the brain, and the rest of the body. When cannabis is eaten, it goes directly to the bloodstream where it is absorbed, and then to the liver, the rest of the body, and the digestive system where its broken down even further. A part of this whole process is that delta-9 THC (C₂₁H₃₀O₂) is transformed into 11-hydroxy-THC (C21H30O3). As you can see from the chemical formulations, it’s not a huge difference. But one of the things we know about chemistry is that slight tweaks in chemical formulas can mean entirely different compounds that do entirely different things.

THCA

Every serious grower has a set of tools that are used every day to monitor and tend to their crops. If you’re thinking about taking the step from curious cultivator to master grower, there are a handful of tools that will be essential to the plant’s success and using them on a daily basis will ensure that the next (or first) crop will be healthy and bountiful. Check out this list of suggestions below for resources to get you growing with the best of them.

pH Meter

There are a few ways to measure the pH of the nutrient solution with effective pH meters that are inexpensive yet simple to use. You may purchase a vial of litmus fluid to test the pH. Simply take a sample of the nutrient solution and put a few drops in the vial. After shaking it to mix it thoroughly, the color of the nutrient solution changes. Compare this color with the gauge that’s included and that’s the pH.

A more effective but costlier method is to purchase a pH meter, which is recommended if there’s more than one crop being grown. It’s a simple meter to use and can be found at any hydroponic supply store. Fast-growing leafy plants generally like a lower PH in the range of 5.2 to 5.9.

PPM Meter

The concentration of the nutrient solution is measured in parts per million (PPM). This indispensable tool is used every day to monitor and mix the nutrient solution to make sure there aren’t any nutrient deficiencies. Young, established seedlings or rooted clones are generally started at 500 to 600 PPM. This value is increased to 800 to 900 PPM during the peak foliage growth period. During the flowering period, the PPM is raised even higher to 1000 to 1200 PPM. That’s a lot of nutrient. And it’s needed – every drop. It’s at the flowering time that the plant will need the most resources.

24 Hour Timer

In order to have a healthy crop, a lighting cycle must be religiously adhered to. The norm is to have a cycle that has 18 hours with light and six hours without it. This is accomplished with an automatic timer. It’s important to have a setup that allows the night cycle to be absolutely black. It’s recommended to not even enter the room they’re being grown in to check on them during their night cycle.

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Down a rural farm road on the outskirts of Bergheim, 40 minutes north of San Antonio, lies the green pasture nurturing Texas' first legal hemp farm. At Texas First Hemp, visitors can take a look inside the farming operation, demystifying some of the stigma and buying samples on their way out.

Owners Jennifer and Austin Ruple were some of the first to receive hemp-growing permits after the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1325 in June 2019, legalizing hemp farming in Texas. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains less than .3% THC, a compound known to produce psychoactive effects. The Ruples primarily focus on cannabidiol, or CBD, a naturally occurring extractable compound found in hemp plants. Hemp has been used in everything from soaps, clothing, and diapers to paper, foods, and building materials.

The Ruples became licensed in spring 2020 just after COVID-19 hit, and they were the first in the state to have seeds planted that would grow into the first legal hemp plants in Texas.

“People think of this industry, and they think long hair and beanies, but it’s all about integrity,” Austin says. “It’s all above-board. It is becoming more popular and so much more mainstream.”

Now that those seeds have blossomed into 8-foot plants with leaves and buds, they’re ready for harvest, and the Ruples have opened the farm to tours. While nearby Fredericksburg attracts wine lovers, people with an appreciation for hemp can go behind the scenes of the process.

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The global cannabis industry has seen an explosion of new infused beverages, confections and topicals over the past few years. As cannabis is increasingly normalized, these trustworthy, accessible and mass-marketable products are bringing in diverse consumers and facilitating steady and promising growth for the industry as a whole.

If infused products are gaining traction, it’s first and foremost because they actually work. That’s where emulsion technology comes in.

Emulsion 101

Raw cannabinoids are extracted from the plant in the form of distillate or isolate, which are highly oil soluble (hydrophobic) but not water-soluble. Infusing these raw cannabinoids straight into a beverage, edible or topical (usually hydrophilic) often involves an intensive manufacturing process, but results in inconsistent product quality and user experience.

Emulsification is the key processing step between raw cannabinoids and infused products that help avoid these inconsistent results. The emulsification process applies physical energy to break up the cannabinoid oil into tiny droplets and immediately stabilizes them with an ingredient called an emulsifier. The emulsifier is designed to lower the surface energy between oil and water, thus stabilizing the finished emulsion system. By this transformation, the cannabis emulsion can then be infused into a water base, creating stable and consistent infused products.

Harold Han is the Founder and Chief Science Officer at Oakland-based infusion technology company Vertosa. PHOTO BY VERTOSA


While the cannabis industry and regulators have focused on testing the concentrates in vaporizers, they have done minimal testing on the actual aerosol (or vapor) produced by these devices. Shouldn't we also be making sure that the vapor users inhale is safe? 

Thankfully, one state is taking the lead on this issue: Colorado. The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division recently announced new regulations that will go into effect at the start of the year requiring testing on emissions. Here is why that is so important.

You don't know what you're vaping.

The combination of fluid mechanicsthermodynamics, and chemistry causes a change of state called vaporization. 

A simple example of vaporization is boiling water. When water reaches its boiling point of 212ºF, the molecules move so rapidly that they break free of the attractions that hold them together in the liquid state. The result is vaporization, as the liquid becomes a gas. The temperature of the boiling water remains constant until all the liquid turns to steam.

Now let's go back and compare this process to heating cannabis oil. Oil is composed of big organic molecules containing long carbon chains. Unlike water, heating oil does cause molecules to stop attracting each other. Instead, the larger, fragile molecules break up. Oil has no boiling point, which makes it impossible to turn it into gas. But you can produce something similar to oil vapor, which consists of tiny droplets of liquid oil. We call this aerosol.

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In 2018, Denmark started a four-year programme to assess cannabis-based medicines and build a base of what could become a domestic medical cannabis supply framework.

According to the new FW European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem report by First Wednesdays, Denmark’s programme is two trials running parallel: one for domestic medical use and another for domestic cultivation.

In Denmark, cultivation has an open-ended system. This means there is no cap on production volumes or limits on licensed businesses.

The aim is to achieve a certain high standard in cannabis cultivation, with the help of a clear framework that would see producers being engaged with plant scientists, breeders, AgTech, and pharma engineering firms.

Hybrid

The Danish cannabis model is a hybrid model. While exporting the drug is vital for the economy, domestic patients and doctors are prioritised.

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A new cannabis vending machine, called Anna, has hit the market in Colorado, with other states on the horizon, but the automated dispensers must overcome a host of challenges to become a regular part of the marijuana retail landscape, according to a Marijuana Business Daily report.

The machines can improve customer throughput and reduce wait times, and can serve as additional sales venues in stores and as points of sale in remote areas that can't support a full dispensary.

Challenges for marijuana vending machines include:

Regulations favoring human oversight of cannabis transactions.Technical issues such as integration with point-of-sale systems.Limited product capacity,.Costs that might make cheaper solutions more attractive.
 
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Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will receive $4.2 million in federal, provincial and industry funding to study enhanced cannabis cultivars, with a particular focus on disease resistance.

In partnership with Aurora Cannabis, the project, titled Fast-Tracking Breeding of Powdery Mildew-Resistant Cannabis, is led by UBC researchers Loren Rieseberg and Marco Todesco.

“Our plan is to develop a genomics-enabled breeding pipeline that will increase the speed and precision of cannabis improvement and bridge the gap in genetic knowledge and breeding resources that currently separates cannabis from other modern crops,” Rieseberg told UBC News.

“In collaboration with Aurora Cannabis, we’ll apply this pipeline to solving a major limiting factor to large-scale cannabis production, susceptibility to powdery mildew.”

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that is difficult to eradicate and can destroy cannabis crops if left untreated. The goal is to establish a breeding pipeline of cultivars with “superior agronomic performance” that are less susceptible to disease and are better suited for large-scale production.

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Cannabis dispensary professionals are all too familiar with constantly juggling their inventory, customer engagement programs, employee success efforts, and everything in between. On top of the day-to-day grind, dispensaries are under do-or-die pressure to maintain pristine records to stay compliant with local and state policies. If they fail to do so, dispensaries run the risk of being fined up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially having to close up shop.

Two technology-focused entrepreneurs, Cree Robinson and Louis Masensi, are hoping to simplify this process with their new software company touCanna, which automates and connects all of a dispensary’s work in one place.

Origin story

The pair decided to launch into entrepreneurship after years working in tech, and learning that the corporate world wasn’t always welcoming of new ideas. Tired of hearing the words, “Your ideas are great, but that’s just not how we do things here,” they wanted more freedom to create and help make people’s lives easier. So they chose to use their tech skills to empower cannabis dispensaries.

"I was determined to create within spaces where women and people of color had been excluded from or did not have as much opportunity as other groups," says Robinson. "We're both long time believers in cannabis and have seen first hand the power of its healing capabilities, so getting involved was a no-brainer." With set goals and a vision in place by summer 2018, the pair chose to understand and solve dispensary pain points rather than the entire supply chain.

The problem

Dispensary owners and operators face many challenges, from staying on top of the changing laws and making sure they remain compliant, all the way to managing the smallest details of their employee workforce. After analyzing dispensary operations across the country, Robinson and Masensi noticed two things:

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CBD products continue to thrive in various industries such as healthcare, cosmetics, hospitality, food, pharmaceuticals, and pet care, among others. Hemp-derived products are expected to saturate huge industries in the years to come; in fact, the CBD market is foreseen to surpass the $20 billion mark by 2024.

This is no surprise at all, as CBD continues to gain popularity ever since the legalization of cannabis as an agricultural crop in the United States. More and more countries are considering the same, so we can all expect the market growth to remain exponential in the next few years.

Producers rely on technology to create leverage in coming up with new and innovative methods. How is technology reshaping the industry now, and what can we expect in the near future?

GMO Cannabis

Genetic engineering has been around for a while now, with food items being bioengineered in different ways; and it is probably just a matter of time before we have genetically-engineered cannabis, as well. CanBreed, an Israel-based company founded in 2017, was able to secure a patent and hold a license to use genetic-editing technology in cannabis products. CanBreed claims that using stable seeds partnered with CRISPR technology, inherent challenges in cannabis farming will be addressed. These challenges include cost, sensitivity to humidity, and genetic instability, to name a few. The company believes that they can help optimize farming by editing specific cannabis genes and traits. CanBreed still has to overcome a lot of hurdles especially in terms of regulation in order to expand, but it is worth noting that such innovation in cannabis farming is now in the works. 

Nano CBD

CBD bioavailability or the amount of CBD in one’s bloodstream as a result of traditional ways of consuming CBD products is very low. That is because CBD is naturally not soluble in water, but soluble in fat. Humans have more water than fat in our system, so most of the CBD taken in are flushed out of the system together with urine, leaving only around 20% of the CBD consumed. Enter, nanotechnology. Nano CBD is being marketed as “water-soluble.” However, that might be erroneous because CBD’s hydrophobic nature cannot change no matter how small you make its particles. But, it is worth noting that nano CBD are small enough to pass through membranes that normal-sized CBD particles cannot penetrate; so, in theory, nanotechnology can increase CBD bioavailability. Although it needs further research, we might be looking at a future where Nano CBD may be favored over regular CBD.

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Cannabis has been used for its antimicrobial properties for thousands of years, but only recently have these benefits surfaced in Western medicine. A recent study highlights previously unknown antimicrobial properties of cannabis.

While the study focuses on several cannabinoids, it brings out CBG as a cannabinoid to pay attention to in terms of its antibiotic abilities.

What is CBG?

CBG – cannabigerol – is a cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. Unlike it’s counterparts THC and CBD, it is found in only very small quantities, making up approximately 1% of a harvest-ready plant. Like CBD, and unlike THC, it doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect. CBG comes from its acidic precursor, CBGA. CBGA in turn is converted into cannabinoids like THCA – tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, CBDA – cannabidiolic acid, and CBCA – cannabichromenic acid. What is left of the CBGA converts to CBG through decarboxylation. This is why so little of the plant is made of CBG.

CBG has been cited already as an anti-cancer agent, and now adds antibiotic to its repertoire of uses.

cannabinoids

Cannabis concentrates have become quite popular over the last couple of years. They are commonly used for their potent and high-intensity medicinal effects. Though most cannabis enthusiasts know how to use cannabis concentrates, very few are aware of how they are made. 

Therefore, if you are interested in the science that goes behind cannabis concentrates, you have come to the right post. Today we are going to take a deep dive into the process of extracting concentrates from cannabis buds, so keep reading, and all of your questions will be answered.

What are cannabis concentrates?

In broad terms, a cannabis concentrate is anything that is made by extracting compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes. There are various types of concentrates, which are used for different purposes. The method that was used for extraction, or the base strain or bud that is used, determines the attributes of the final concentrate. 

However, one thing that all concentrates have in common is that they are significantly more potent than regular marijuana. 

They can be used for both recreational and medical purposes; however, the increased potency makes them quite suitable for medical use in severe cases. 

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The cannabis plant produces literally hundreds of specialized molecules — cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids — that have been shown to deliver medicinal efficacy, lifestyle enhancement and even performance enhancement to human beings. For those afflicted with disease, medical cannabis has been found to offer a wide range of health benefits, from killing cancerous tumors to alleviating the pain of arthritis to reducing the number of seizures experienced by epileptic children.

Of these molecules, cannabinoids are the most cited and understood. The most infamous cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the molecule responsible for most of the psychoactive (psychotropic) and euphoric effects of cannabis, but that also has been found to successfully treat serious conditions, such as PTSD and cancer. Another notable cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), a mostly non-psychoactive chemical that has been found to provide a wide range of medicinal benefits, including reductions in pain, anxiety and depression.

Endocannabinoids vs. Phytocannabinoids

First discovered in 1964 by Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam, phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant interact with the human body by mimicking the molecular characteristics of chemicals produced internally. Called endocannabinoids, these internally manufactured molecules include anandamide and 2-AG.

Anandamide has been dubbed the “bliss molecule” because of its ability to decrease depression in humans. It plays a central role in the regulation and modulation of critical bodily functions such as mood, appetite, sleep, immune system efficiency and one’s ability to deal with stress and anxiety.

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids emerged in the 1970s and are created in a laboratory. An example of it would be dronabinol (Δ9-THC synthetic), which is the active compound of Marinol, a medicine that comes in capsules and has been consumed in the US since 1985 to prevent nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and loss of weight.

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Nextage Therapeutics has developed a system that allows cannabis molecules to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and reach the brain directly. The technology is based on research done at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and means that many side effects can be avoided and doses can be lowered in the medical use of cannabis.

Enabling the passage of medicine through the BBB could provide medical breakthroughs in a variety of treatments. Nextage's new technology is tailored for use with cannabinoids but may provide insight into other uses. Nextage research showed that it is possible to pass a wide variety of chemicals through the BBB.
 
Passing medicine directly through the BBB could minimize side effects caused by treatments spreading in other organs, it could also lower necessary doses by increasing the bioavailability of the medicine delivered directly to the brain.
 
Nextage will patent the new technology and will begin negotiating with companies interested in using the technology to develop treatments for brain diseases. 
 
The new technology could potentially help with the development of treatments for a variety of diseases including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, chronic pain, brain cancer and various psychiatric illnesses. 
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Arguably the most popular cannabinoid on the planet right now is cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD’s popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. 

In fact, CBD is searched for more often on Google compared to THC, and that has been the case for a handful of years now.

The rise in popularity for CBD has been paralleled by CBD’s availability in most countries.

People can purchase CBD products almost anywhere, from gas stations to online platforms.

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We live in a world of synthetics. Most of our clothing is no longer cotton, but a mix of plastics. Much of our food is made of chemicals that can barely be pronounced. And now cannabis, our favorite smokable medicine and recreational pastime, might be replaced soon with legal synthetic cannabinoids.

It’s a world of synthetics

My mother used to work with a guy that had a great hookup for getting Coach bags. For anyone unfamiliar with the brand, Coach produces high quality leather bags, that come with a nice high price tag. My mother was buying tons of them, passing them on as gifts, and using a different one herself every day. They weren’t real of course, although I don’t remember how she found this out. They were knock-offs. Products that looked almost exactly the same, that felt almost exactly the same, but were actually made of entirely different materials, and overall of lesser quality. My mother was very unhappy when she realized what was going on, and never spoke again to her workmate who had bamboozled her, but buying synthetic products is pretty standard, and a lot of the time, most people never know that what they have isn’t the real thing.

Aren’t synthetic cannabinoids already a big thing?

Yes! Massive! In fact, if you read around the internet, you might get a little confused. Every time you see words like ‘spice’ and ‘k2’ being spoken about in reference to cannabis, its referring to synthetic cannabinoids. So, what’s the difference between these synthetic cannabinoids, and the legal synthetic cannabinoids that biotech industries are rushing to create and put on the market? Good question. While large biotech firms have the money and ability to make different concoctions, they aren’t technically producing anything terribly far off from the illegal version that people are constantly being warned against with terror stories of a few people dead over years of time. In the article cited it should be noted that most of the deaths weren’t even attributed to the synthetic cannabis, but rather a rat poison contaminant. Of course, somehow, those stories are all forgotten, or pushed aside, when the synthetics being spoken about come from companies that can sell their products above board, and have them taxed by the government. Funny how that works, right? While I suppose one could make the argument that its regulated vs unregulated, and that one is more dangerous than the other, the lack of relevant deaths from the unregulated version (no matter how much the very few that occur are publicized, let’s remember what it really means to have an epidemic of overdoses), and the standard story of putting down the one that doesn’t make the government tax dollars, while promoting the one that does – and which brings billions to large biotech companies – isn’t an unfamiliar story at all. So no, synthetic cannabis is far from new. I was smoking Mr. Nice Guy in Tel Aviv 10 years ago, and word on the street back then is that it was all synthetics. Now, with a massive 180º, the very thing being warned against constantly, is now the new thing being pushed by large biotech corporations.

synthetic cannabinoids

Raw marijuana doesn’t have THC, but this doesn’t mean that the the plant in it’s natural state isn’t healthy or worth trying.

A lot of amateur cannabis users don’t know the details about cooking with cannabis. They might think that adding raw marijuana leaves to their sweets and dishes might produce some sort of effect. While this isn’t at all true, raw marijuana does have some interesting health benefits.

Not that long ago, researchers began to notice the benefits of the other parts of the cannabis plant, removing their focus from THC and CBD. These compounds and terpenes are plentiful and vastly different, to a point where researchers don’t even know how many there are and what their effects are in full.

Consuming raw cannabis has been likened to eating leafy greens. While the plant in this state won’t get you high or produce any psychoactive effects, it might help in preventing diseases, providing vitamins, minerals and cannabinoids. It most likely will taste really bad.

For the THC in the cannabis plant to become effective — providing the high and the sensation of relaxation or creativity — the plant needs to go through decarboxylation. It’s the process many unfortunately skip before eating marijuana (edibles). Decarboxylation occurs when you apply heat to the plant, be that when smoking a joint or when preheating cannabis before adding it in to your edibles.

5 Predictions For The Cannabis Industry In 2020

This holiday shopping season will be longer and less traditional than ever.

This year, it’s being ushered in earlier and with far less fanfare.

Many retail trackers will begin their official holiday tracking October 13.

Best Buy’s new “Black Friday” and the start of Amazon’s Prime Day, rescheduled from its July launch due to COVID-19.

Holiday shoppers traditional buying preferences and patterns are shifting, too.

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