Puff

Puff: A stroll through the Grass Lands

A member of Vaunt de Vire Society performs with Jazz Mafia at Grass Lands. Photo by Jon Bauer

PUFF While music acts like Paul Simon and Childish Gambino took to the main stages of San Francisco’s annual Outside Lands this month for a three-day music festival (see our colorful pics here), a new goal line was crossed by the cannabis industry. As of 5am on the Friday of the festival, the city and state gave the go-ahead to permit cannabis to be sold and consumed publicly in an area designated as GrassLands. 

“We’re talking going live at 11am,” said Chris Violas, co-founder CEO of Blaze, which handled distribution and point-of-sales software for Grass Lands. “We’re bringing thousands of units on-site, distributing those to the brands, getting the manifests in place, it was a lot. It was a rush,” he told SFist.

It was a rush that paid off on a Gold Rush level as the area made over a million dollars in the three days it was running. According to many people there, prices were fair and even competitive with dispensary prices. Some places even had $5 options for a couple of small pre-rolls or medicated gummies.

Getting stoned at a concert has always been a “must” for me. My whole life, I would wait until the lights go down, pull out my joints or pipe, and lit up before I missed my favorite song. All this while trying to avoid scrutiny from security, which never happened for me, but I did spend a freaked out moment at a Garbage concert when my sister used her husband’s “good stash” to roll us a joint which made me incredibly high just as I realized a cop was standing next to me. My freak out level was at 15 from 1-10, but he never even looked at me, as luck would have it.

Now with GrassLands happening, in the future, I can go to a concert or event, shop for an ideal cannabis product for the evening, and enjoy it there. 

Grass Lands: The future of cannabis at music fests?

Interestingly enough, afterwards, GrassLands was left cleaner than the areas that sold alcohol and it reported no instances of illness, overdose or violence. That is good news for future events that want to sell cannabis on site for usage.

“I think in states that have already passed adult recreational use, there will be some major changes in the next 1 to 3 years,” said Veronica Guevara who works for Flower to the People, one of the few local dispensaries given a permit to sell at Grasslands. “I’m confident in saying people outside of California are taking notice. I’m sure events like Coachella, Clusterfest, How Weird, etc, will add support to this change. Example, I can picture cannabis consumption and sales at a concert in Red Rocks in Colorado or at Lollapalooza just outside of Chicago.”

Times, they are a-changin’—and you can smell the cannabis smoke in the wind. Grasslands was technically not the first festival with on site consumption. Northern Night Music Festival was actually first, but it was not near the size of Outsidelands.

So with two successful festivals where cannabis was legally consumed, what does that mean for the future of recreational weed at concerts, events, bars and parties in the Bay Area?

“The Office of Cannabis is erring on the side of caution so we won’t have a new full set of rules most likely until 2021,” Guevara said. “Private parties are different but honestly, I really don’t know if we will be able to be able to legally have alcohol consumption and cannabis consumption at bars.”

She points out that no one can predict the entourage effect or how alcohol and cannabis will behave in everyones’ systems or how to ensure the cannabis products available at parties and events are safe and tested.

“As cool as it would be to pop in, hang out, and take a toke off someone’s joint as they pass it to you, there could be an asshole who decided to put fentanyl or spice/K2 in it and wants to mess with people….” said Guevara. “At festivals and events though, I can see San Francisco embracing positive change.”

”The more we can show the powers that be that we, the cannabis business community, are responsible and respectful, the more they’ll have our backs,” she said. “However, I really don’t think we’ll ever be able to sell dabs next to Jello shots”

So here we are watching the tides of history change as acceptance of recreational cannabis in a concert arena has made a big step forward for the movement, thus giving us another win in the battle that keeps on moving, slowly and surely, with a big ole doobie hanging from its lips.

Now it’s time to light up!

Puff: Notes from a serious (and seriously interesting) cannabis expo

Puff's Dan Karkoska (right) and friends at the NCIA expo

PUFF Last week in San Jose, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) held its yearly Cannabis Business Summit and Expo at the convention center for three days to upsell everything cannabis.

If you get the idea I was going to a stoned-out party full of hippies, weed and tie dye—you’re wrong. There was no actual pot anywhere except in everyone’s bag going into the event. Even in the showrooms, fake weed plants or just potted plant stand-ins took the place of actual cannabis. 

Getting stoned was for socializing outside of the venue during breaks. At that point, all kinds of cannabis and smoking devices popped up everywhere. It was nice seeing it as the normal thing it is, a bunch of people legally smoking pot. There was a time when I couldn’t fathom that happening. It was an uplifting moment, especially with the weed.

All the cannabis terpenes you desire, aah the Floraplex Terp Bar.

I myself had some handy pre-rolls from Pacific Stone, which I love. I can usually get a 14-pack for around $40, and they are handy to take out with me. I saw a number of awesome pipes, vaping devices, and portable rigs at the event—including a handy rig from Puffco Peaks. Very cool, and still on my holiday wish list.

Back inside, there was a whole showroom of booths appealing to a large variety of interests. This expo wasn’t so much about selling cannabis and smoking devices, as it was selling all the things that lead up to selling those products. There were companies hawking everything from how your product will taste, look, and smell to how it will be packaged, manufactured, shipped, shelved, lit, stored, and more. 

I was there to cover the event and promote my queer cannabis party PUFF (August 8 at the Stud), since we are offering new sponsorship opportunities (hint, hint). I saw lots of friends in the industry and handed out plenty of cards. It felt good getting out there and meeting new people and seeing all the cool devices and products on display.

A complex looking extraction set-up from Biohazard, Inc.

There were conferences and workshops on licensing, regulations, compliance, cultivation, advocacy, community, processing, distribution, retail, business services, and more with many fantastic panel members and moderators. I sat in on a couple and enjoyed listening in. The one I made a point of attending was Social Media + Digital Marketing: The Secret Sauce. I was hoping to snag a few new tricks of the trade, but ended up realizing I was already on the right path. I did enjoy listening to the stories from the panel because I always learn something from other people relating their experiences.

A plethora of products on display

At the end of the day (I was there on Tuesday), there was a lovely happy hour party sponsored by Khyrsos Industries, Inc with a drink ticket and appetizers. (If you are hungry, always locate the entry/exit door for the waiters with trays of hors d’oeuvres, and set up nearby. You are guaranteed plenty of fresh noshes all night long.)

We even had Jim Belushi and his band there to perform for us. Yes, John’s brother Jim of television and movie fame. He bought land in Oregon and is growing cannabis. He came on with his spiel about being a farmer and part of the land. He doesn’t smoke much weed but enjoys microdosing. He said if his brother had been a pothead, he would still be alive today. 

Jim Belushi sings!

I don’t know if everyone bought his authenticity (I didn’t), but it was nice to have a celebrity in attendance, and his band featuring performers from San Francisco was excellent. Belushi joins Willie Nelson, Snoop Dog and Bob Marley’s estate to create the first celebrity brands on the emerging market. It will be interesting to see how they fare. Sadly, no free samples were handed out.

Afterwards, as I left the building, I ran into a reporter friend of mine, and he told me the best part of the conference was the after-parties, which I guess is the truth about all these kinds of things. I went to a nice party nearby with were free tacos, an open bar, cupcakes and plenty of friendly people to eat with and meet. I always love stoner events because they never forget to have good food.

CBD and THC Processing solutions at the Tractor Depot booth

It was a fascinating day experiencing and exploring the cannabis expo—not only the cool gadgets on display and the discussions about all things cannabis but also the ordinariness of it all. We are still in the beginning stages of creating (or recreating) one of the biggest businesses in the state, eventually the country, and this is where all the building blocks are being laid… or smoked.

Now it’s time to light up!

Puff: Light up, it’s Pride time

Plus’ Rainbow Sorbet Pride gummies

PUFF  This is the week of a thousand parties and events in the Bay Area as we celebrate LGBTQ Pride. You are going to be on the go, so I am recommending a few items items you can stick in your pocket to effectively get you high as a rainbow, so you can celebrate your Pride to the fullest.

First off you must get a tin of Plus’ Rainbow Sorbet Pride gummies. They are beautiful to look at, taste great, and give you just enough of a sativa hit to keep you going from event to event with ease. Plus they are super cool to offer some cutie you have your eye on. A great Pride ice breaker!

You always want to have some flower with you to smoke. It’s my preferred method of getting high. I’m a big proponent of the preroll. You can just slip a few in your pocket or bag and they are less bulky than a pipe. I also like saving money, so I have been buying Leprechronic joints from Grassroots for $5 each. That’s right, five dollars! A fresh rolled pot o’ gold, they taste good, smoke well and do their job getting you high.

Look what we found at the end of the rainbow.

For more money you can go the infused route which always leads me to my perennial favorite, Fuzzies by Sublime which are infused with extracts and rolled in kief. If this doesn’t get you high AF, I don’t know what will.  

Somatik, the maker of medicated coffee and chocolate-covered coffee beans and goji berries has a new product, chocolate-covered Golden Berries. They have 4mg THC and 4mg of CBD. They are sweet, tart and chocolatey. I love them. They give you not so much a buzz as a lift to keep you going. Unless of course you eat the whole bag and which will get you nice and high and there is nothing wrong with that! Somatik is gay owned and operated, and Christopher and Clayton are donating 5% of all sales this month to the Transgender Law Center. Now there is community support within the cannabis industry!

Another gay owned product I heartily recommend is the Qwik Eaze shot from the Wulf Pack who own Manzanita and Madrone. It is a 100 mg shot of zesty THC tonic that you can travel with easily. Share a sip with friends or guzzle it all on your own and hit the dance floor at your favorite Pride bash! This will get you super high in the best way possible. Tastes great too!

Pride daze, Hot Nife.

Many of you like to vape, and I just tried a new pen from Hot Nife at a Pride event last weekend. These have a nice weight to them and taste great. I also like the 80s throwback color scheme they use in their packaging. A vape is a great thing to take on a trip or to your favorite gay bar.  

Most of these products are available at your neighborhood dispensaries. If not, consult their websites or Weed Maps. Since it is Pride, I recommend ordering them from Sava. Sava is the only gay owned and operated cannabis delivery service in San Francisco. So show them some Pride love by using their service. If it is your first order, you get $10 off!

Remember, if you get too high, drink water, eat some food or CBD. Buy a vape pen with a lot of CBD in it ahead of time. Keep it with you and when someone gets too high, just have them take a few puffs. It will help immediately. That is one of the great things about cannabis products, you will come down a lot quicker than with alcohol or other party drugs. Then you can just get high again and you won’t need to pass out, puke, or wander the streets muttering to yourself.

You can find me at the Pilsner Inn on Church & Market this weekend. I will be hosting the Pitchers & Catchers drag show on Saturday, June 29 from 6-10pm and then spinning at the Tea Dance with DJ Dingbat on Sunday, June 30 from 3-7pm. No cover!

I wish everyone a fun and safe Pride season. May you find the acceptance, love, lust, friendship you seek and some great parties to celebrate our wonderful, colorful LGBTQ life. If you see me, let’s light up and enjoy a toke together!

Puff: The art of the roll

PUFF I just had a friend tell me that her new goal for this year is to learn how to roll a joint before she turns 40. This quickly hit a sore spot. I, too, had made a dream of learning how to roll a perfect joint many years ago, and here I was way post-40 and still trying to master the art of the roll.

Now my style of rolling a doobie is the Dollar Bill Method. I grind up my weed. (I tear cannabis for bongs and pipes and grind for joints.) I get my rolling paper (orange Zig-Zags if I have my way), and I fold a trough at the bottom, opposite from where the glue is. I then roll my paper along the trough up and down to loosen the paper and make it want to roll up.

I get a used dollar bill—new ones are too stiff and very old, used ones can be too soft. I crease the dollar bill in half and place the rolling paper on the bill with the folded edge of the trough along the crease in the middle of my dollar bill. I carefully sprinkle the weed along the trough.

I pick up the bill carefully and start rolling my fingers along the bottom edge slightly condensing the weed into its final shape. Then I press and roll up with my thumbs and if I am lucky and the paper wants to roll, and it just rolls right up and out pops a joint. Voila!

Sounds good but it can easily lead to a too-tight doobie which is difficult to smoke. Sometimes the paper is being a pain and won’t roll but goes straight up leaving me with a trough of weed with no paper rolling around it. It just won’t catch. 

If I try and roll without a dollar bill, I usually get a torn paper or a joint that rattles like a maraca when I shake it, and everyone is sad. The few times I used a rolling machine, they came out too tight.

Now if you are hanging with Big Stoners, you will want to impress them with your joint rolling skills which is great if it goes well but embarrassing if it turns into a mess.

One of the greatest joint-rollers I ever came across was a production manager named Bruce, who hired me to work on a dinosaur documentary that a Canadian crew was shooting in the Dallas Metroplex. It was a small crew, and we all got along well—so well they hired me to help with the rest of their shoot. 

One day after a hard night of drinking, we had to shoot an interview with a scientist in Glen Rose, TX which is below and just west of Ft Worth. So there we were, hungover, driving through Dinosaur Valley State Park which looked like the middle of nowhere. The heat was beating down on us. In order to get to this guy’s compound, we had to go off-road on extremely bumpy terrain. 

I’m driving a big van with Bruce by my side. I watched as he casually pulled out a paper, dribbled weed into it and just rolled it into this perfect joint sphere. The van was knocking us all over the place and he never stopped talking while performing this amazing feat.

We toked in that bumpy van. The joint was delish, but I got way too high. When we finally get to this scientist’s compound, I had to babysit an emu, which is like a silvery cousin to an ostrich. It was taller than me and took a shine to my belt buckle and kept on trying to peck at me.

It was a very surreal experience. 

To this day, I think of Bruce rolling that joint with such ease in those extreme circumstances. A Zen stoner master. The Art of the Roll is something few can master and the rest of us spend a lifetime trying to achieve.

I really respect those who piece together several rolling papers and roll a mega Cheech and Chong joint. Now that’s talent!

Of course these days I can cheat and just buy an awesome pre-roll at a dispensary, but sometimes I still hear the call of the wild, and I will get out that grinder and papers to roll my own. When it does go well and you lick that adhesive edge to seal your smokable art, you are a truly a master of your stoner domain. 

It’s part of our cannabis history.

Please share with me in the comments section below any tricks of the trade you use to roll a doobie. I hope I learn lots of new things. 

Best of luck to my friend Veronica. Girl, I hope you are rolling killer joints as 40 comes a knocking.

Now it’s time to light up a hand-rolled spliff!

Puff: Welcome to the spaced race

PUFF Fly me to the moon, I just found something new that will send you spinning into that what-the-f*ck atmosphere. Moon rocks. They’re the new stoner sensation sweeping the nation.

There I was minding my own business at my local watering hole (The Cinch Saloon, the last gay bar on the Polk), when a friend showed up. “Hey Dank, I was hoping you would be here,” he said. Turns out he had a friend who had passed and he ended up some of his friend’s possessions. He found a jar of what he thought was coal for a hookah.

Upon further examination, he said it looked like it was some form of weed. “I was hoping to run into you here so you can look at it and tell me what you think about it.”

Well you don’t have to ask me twice for an opinion or something about cannabis, especially after having a couple of beers. So, we headed outside for a toke break. He pulled out a few hard looking rocks and cracked one open. You could see a crust around the edge. We sampled it in his pipe on top of a pile of my flower. Good flavor. Obviously strong.

We go inside and 15 minutes later I’m on another planet. People are talking but I’m just not able to grasp everything. I’m ultra-stoned, and I love it. 

“I think these are moon rocks,” I managed to blurt out from my fine stoney fog. 

Fun times.

I first heard of moon rocks via some clickbait on Facebook. I “liked” the photos, but didn’t give it much thought. Now that I tried it, I was suddenly their biggest fan. My buddy at the bar gave me a few from his stash, so I have been able to do some professional research aka smoking it in my bong at home watching movies, and I do love their potency and buzz.

They can be pricey at dispensaries, but the great thing is you can make these yourself! That’s right! Choose your ingredients and get going. 

Basically you need some of your best hard, medium size, tight nugs, trimmed of stems and leaves, cannabis oil and either hash or kief. 

The higher quality your ingredients the better the rock.

Kief is all the stuff that falls off your buds while handling and grinding them…I wish. Many times your grinder or tray has a tray the collects it. Kief is also packed full of trichomes (which contain cannabinoids and terpenes).

Tweezers, some paper and a small brush the size of your pinky with firm bristles will help the process.

Take your tweezers and pick up the nug, put a nice coat of cannabis oil all over the bud and carefully roll it in the kief or hash. Set it on a piece of paper to dry for an hour. Then you put them in a container and store them in a dark area (no sunlight) for as long as you want, pulling them out when needed. 

You will get these hard little nugs ready to smoke!

Do not grind them! If so, it ruins the buzz and all the oil can get in your grinder. Simply break off small pieces and lay them in a bed of ground cannabis in a bong or pipe or roll them into a blunt. They are not recommended for vaporizers or dabbing.

Light up and take off!

Don’t you know it, after a lunch/toke break and thrifting in the Mission, I‘m on the Muni coming home and  finished the article I was reading earlier about sun rocks, which are like moon rocks only stronger. 

Now, sun rocks contain that same firm, hard bud center but they are rolled in CO2 oil and then kief or hash. CO2 oil is more potent than cannabis oil from 60% to 80%.

The spaced race is on!

I’m willing to explore new galaxies of highdom. Meet new alien strains. To boldly go to a higher plane I have never been to before. So I will seek out these Sun Rocks and make peace with their galaxy.

Now it’s time to light up and take off.

Puff: Not so fast, Jelly Belly chairman

[Editor’s note: This column has been edited to clarify that it is Jelly Belly’s chairman, separately from the company, who is starting the line of cannabis jelly beans] 

PUFF Everyone loves jelly beans and Jelly Belly is one of the big names in the industry. There has been much excitement and sharing on social media that the chairman of the company has announced a line of  cannabis-infused jelly beans. Although this makes for some colorful posting, one thing sticks in my craw: Is he still anti-trans rights?

In 2013, the Huffington Post reported that the company’s chairman of the board, Herman G. Rowland, Sr. donated $5000 to Privacy For All Students, a coalition fighting for a referendum effort to repeal transgender rights legislation California Assembly Bill 1266. The bill, signed into law by then California Gov. Jerry Brown, required the state’s transgender students to be allowed to “participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

The article also pointed out that Rowland had donated to conservative causes before. During the 2012 Presidential election he donated to three GOP candidates and had a rally at Jelly Belly for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

At the time, prominent LGBTQ groups including the Transgender Law Center, the National Center For Lesbian Rights, Equality California and the National Center For Transgender Equality issued a statement, ​”The School Success and Opportunity Act restates existing requirements that all California students be allowed to participate fully and equally in all school programs and facilities. This law is necessary because, all too often, transgender students are excluded from many activities, programs, and facilities because of their gender identity—programs that inspire creativity and challenge kids to be better learners.”

As for a response from Jelly Belly, I cannot find one. In 2015, Actress Anna Kendrick started a Twitter storm about the controversy and a Boycott Jelly Belly Facebook group formed: A member said they received a message from the company which read “​Mr. Rowland, a father of four, grandfather of 11 and a great-grandfather believes that the California Legislature can and should come up with a solution that does not violate the privacy expectations of all California’s students” and that his donation was “personal” and the company’s donation guidelines forbid supporting “organizations that limit membership based on race, religion, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age or national origin.”

Jelly Belly has never commented publicly about the issue. For myself, as a producer of shows in the Bay Area, I strive to include all voices in all my ventures. People who ignorantly deny anyone in the LGBTQ spectrum their rights, should not make money off of it. If they would actually take the time to meet a transgender person, they would immediately see the folly of their myopic views.

In the Cannabis Community, a community that has stood for love and compassion to all people for years, we should strive to protect all of our members. When someone is trying to break into the cannabis market with a mindset that does not uphold our best ideals, we should ignore and boycott their product.

Besides, there are many companies already with just as flavorful gummy products to satisfy your needs out there that value our gay, lesbian and trans family. Guaranteed they need your business more than some giant corporate entity that is willing to ignore trans rights and has never bothered to take a stance.

“​It’s an older issue but the company has deliberately not publicly spoken about their chairman’s position. For that person to now be entering the CBD market, a market originally founded off the needs of the sick, some of whom were trans, is pretty disgusting if you think about it” said Veronica Guevara, Associate Publisher of prominent cannabis lifestyle magazine Sensi. She went on to say she would not feature any of Rowland’s products in the magazine.

It’s time to light up!

Welcome, Puffragettes! ‘Mary Janes: The Women of Weed’ comes to town

Windy Borman, director of 'Mary Janes.' Photo by Rise Above Social

PUFF I heard that the cannabis industry was predominantly a male-driven industry when I first got involved in it, and while I’ve met many men who work in cannabis, it has been women I see the most.

Maybe it’s from my standpoint of working in San Francisco, but my experience has been that ladies run a lot of these companies, and are out there working long hours promoting their brands. They work hard, play hard, and kick ass. When some douchey bro makes anti-female or lurid remarks on social media, they will call him out to the whole community, pronto. None of that, thank you. Take that attitude back to the cavemen.

Now there’s a documentary making the rounds called Mary Janes: The Women of Weed by Windy Borman, and there will be a special screening of it to commemorate International Women’s Day and Women’s Month on Friday, March 8 at Neyborly in Oakland from 7-10pm. Tickets are $20 plus fees and may be purchased here.

“Through marches, political, and social media campaigns, and formidable grassroots organizing, people across the globe are galvanizing for a future that is gender equal,” the press materials state. “And It’s no different in the cannabis industry. Many of the key players in this green economy are women from diverse backgrounds who are closing the gender gap in business and shaping the industry playing field.”

“​The event will feature the 80-minute documentary film screening with local guest appearances, an educational marketplace and community social mixer showcasing female entrepreneurship and leadership in our local cannabis space. Attendees will have a chance to meet social justice organizations and learn more about a variety of cannabis brands by local cannabis makers.”

Special guests include activist and actress Beata Pozniak who campaigned congress to get International Women’s Day recognized in the United States.

“Gathering a group of likeminded ‘Puffragettes’ together to celebrate the female pioneers and leaders growing this pioneering industry is of landmark importance. This has not been easy, yet, our community is strong, brilliant, and full of allies and supporters. Joining community and business to share in each other’s accomplishments and ideas is changing the face of business as we know it. We felt International Women’s Day was the perfect time to launch this event,” said event organizer Tali Eisenberg of Getter Done Productions and Design.

As for Mary Janes: The Women of Weed, I’ve only heard great things about it since I was thinking about doing a 420 Film Festival last year. (I’m still working on it. If you know of an interested venue, please reach out in the comments!).

The filmmaker, Windy Borman, started making the documentary as a cannabis novice and after interviewing women in the industry she discovered cannabis liberation intersects with the most urgent social justice issues of our time—environmental sustainability, ending the War on Drugs and the Prison-Industrial Complex, and the destructive domination of Big Pharma.

I am excited to see women brought to the forefront in this documentary and event. I want to see womens’ amazingness represented and appreciated. Within the sphere of my family history, women and men have always had equal standing. No one was going to tell my mom she couldn’t do something because of her gender, and my dad had no problem doing things that would be considered “women’s work” by some men.

During this #MeToo moment in time, as we look to our future, let’s just realize we are all equal. Men and women can do whatever they want — grow weed, run for president, create a company, be superheroes, travel to space, teach, fight, bring peace, learn and love. We are all alive on this crazy spinning ball in space trying to get from one day to the next and somehow make a difference. Life is tough enough without outdated and ill-informed preconceptions about what we can or cannot do.

In the end, thank goodness there is cannabis, and there are definitely equal rights in getting high after a long hard day and making everything float away in a puff of smoke (or vape, edible or tincture… whatever your stoney thing may be).

It’s time to light up!

Puff: The best weed to help you sleep

Image via Pixabay.

I stayed up late last night watching movies and woke up, well, my cat jumped on my head for giggles and scared me awake, just four hours later. After a good scream at kitty, I turned over and tried to return to that sleepy place. Instead, the radio station in my head put on an annoying ear worm that just spun around in my head and would not let me go back to sleep.

I finally decided to stop acting as if I was going to fall asleep anytime soon, get up and write another column. Hey! Maybe look into cannabis and sleep?

I have been to admit that I have been stressed out. I had a big show last week with tons of details (It went well!), and I have been on the job hunt (I’ve had three whole interviews in as many months!), so I have been experiencing light insomnia.

Cannabis has been used as a sleep aid for centuries. According to research, it can help those with sleep problems fall asleep 30 minutes faster and half that time for those without a problem.

Cannabinoids are one of the keys. There are over 100 of these in the cannabis plant. Recently I talked about the benefits of THC, now let’s talk about CBN and THC.

Cannabinol, or CBN, appears to have powerful sedative effects, which may be enhanced when it’s combined with THC. CBN also has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest CBN stimulates appetite. CBN is found in aged cannabis, when, over time, THC converts naturally to CBN.

CBN interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and it can affect the function of many hormones and neurotransmitters, which in turn influence mood, energy, cognition and focus, appetite, immune function, and pain. Chemically similar to CBD, CBN has several of the same effects in the body, including relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.

Insomnia getting you down? Emeryville company Kikoko offers its Tranquili-Tea (dark blue label) as a cannabis sleep aid. Photo courtesy of Kikoko.

Of course there is good old-fashioned THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid we all fell in love with when it got us high. THC appears to alter time spent in stages of sleep. Specifically, THC has been found to reduce time spent in REM sleep and increase time spent in slow-wave sleep. This can reduce the amount of time we spend dreaming, something that could prove useful to those with PTSD. If you stop smoking weed, the body increases your time in REM, sometimes giving you big bursts of dreaming called REM rebound.

Next on to terpenes. Terpenes are tiny, aromatic molecules in cannabis that create its smell and taste. Not only found in cannabis, they are found in many natural plants, fruits and flowers. Some are thought to help with sleep including myrcene also found in mangoes, thyme and lemongrass; caryophyllene also in cloves and black pepper; limonene found in citrus peel which may also help with OCD behaviors and elevate serotonin levels in the brain. Terpineol which is also in lilac, eucalyptus and pine and, finally, linalool from lavender which which increases adenosine, a sedating hormone which promotes sleep.

Reading all those names can promote sleep too, but it is fascinating stuff to think about.

Speaking of fascinating, they are starting to do research on cannabis’ effect on sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep multiple times throughout the night. Most people who have it have to sleep with an oxygen machine strapped to their face or get surgery.

The Minnesota Department of Health cited recent research with dronabinol, a synthetic THC that is also used to prevent nausea in chemotherapy patients. The medication was a new approach to the treatment of sleep apnea because it targeted the brain instead of the physical problem of collapsing airways. This reflects the new idea that sleep apnea is not just a physical problem but may be caused by several factors, including poor regulation of the upper airway muscles by the brain.

Researchers at the University of Chicago think that dronabinol works by binding to cannabinoid receptors on the nerves that regulate the upper airway muscles. This inhibits activation of the vagus nerve, which increases muscle activity to stop airway collapse during sleep.

Of course this test is not on actual cannabis but a synthetic version of THC. Much more research needs to be done, but the idea is very intriguing.

In the end, maybe we just need something as simple as a cannabis tea to put me back to sleep. Kikoko Tranquili-Tea has been recommended to me by several folks.

I also find eating a few of Somatik’s delicious Sparks, the 2:1 CBD chocolate covered goji berries, does the trick as well. This I found out after eating half a container while watching TV one night and waking up on the couch hours later.

Now it’s time to light up and then take a nap. Pleasant dreams to us all!

Puff: A holiday cannabis wish list

Nothing says 'holiday' like cranberry shortbread Plus Gummies

PUFF  Every Christmas when I was a child I would wait with excitement for the Sears Wish Book catalog to arrive in the mail. I would plop that sucker down and grab my big writing tablet and plenty of pens. Then, page-by-page, I would study it to make the best and most accurate wish list ever. I would proudly turn in the multi-document list to my parents who probably had a good chuckle at some of my lofty holiday expectations.

After that, I would do the second most important thing with the catalog—look at the men’s underwear section, which of course would eventually lead to holiday wishes of a whole other kind, but that is for another column.

So here, Dear Santa, is my holiday wish list 2018.

For stocking stuffers, I want Somatik Sparks, medicated chocolate coffee beans that just won Best Cannabis Edible at the 2018 Emerald Cup. They pack a nice 3mg of cannabis and give you a little caffeine kick too. I call it going “up the down stair case.” A long time favorite, I never get tired of these. They can help with a hangover from too much eggnog as well. 

I also love gummies. My friend Todd has never been a stoner, but he has fallen in love with microdosing on Plus Gummies. I never met a pot gummy I didn’t like, but Plus has some great holiday flavors like Cranberry Shortbread. The gummy is the ideal way to microdose because they are made up of just a few ingredients and get into the bloodstream quickly. 

The stocking is almost filled, but I love me a pre-roll. Who doesn’t?! I have sung the praises of Fuzzies before, and I still love them. These days, I like going to Grassroots Dispensary at Polk and Post Street. They have good prices there and plenty of pre-roll choices. When I go to a holiday party, I’ll stop by and pick up a nice pre-roll to share with my friends. It’s just like bringing a bottle of wine, but better!

As for the kind of flowers you can buy me, lately I have been a big fan of Strawberry Banana and Jedi Mind Tricks. I’ve been hitting up Shambhala Dispensary in the Mission. They have discounts every day, with Thursdays being 15% off of flower and pre-rolls. I’m not too picky between sativas or indicas, I just love weed, especially flower.

To save money, I recommend joining the mailing lists of your favorite dispensaries so you can get coupons and notices of specials and sales. This is the first holiday season with recreational weed, and these dispensaries have all kinds of specials and goodies waiting for you to get me!

Dear Saint Nick, I want The Peak by Puffco. It is a cute, portable dab kit that retails for a mere $379.99. I’ve seen this baby in action, and I covet it. Just pour a little water inside of it, and turn it on. Bingo, within minutes you are dabbing out the elves and reindeer all night long. I’ve been told Puff Puff Pass in the Haight carries it.

Since you are getting me a Peak, then pick up a few Jetty Dablicators to get the holiday party off to a rockin’ start. You can dial out as much cannabis oil extract as you like, and since it’s like a pen, it does help getting it where you want it to go. I always end up getting it everywhere BUT the bowl, so I am pro Dablicator. Viewing their current selection, I would go for the Super Lemon Haze, Alien OG and Reckless Rainbow. Yum!

Pilot Diary dab kit

(Of course, if you cannot afford the luxury of a Peak, then you can get a Pilot Diary ab straw kit from Amazon for $19.88 plus shipping.)

Lastly, please donate money, clothing and gifts to the less fortunate, especially to all the victims of the Northern California fires. There is The Red Cross, California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund, California Fire Foundation, and the North Valley Animal Disaster Group to name a few.

So Santa, my jolly good fellow, I hope you get my list, and make all my stoney dreams come true. I will leave out the traditional pre-roll and beer for you because it’ll make all that milk and those cookies taste even better. Go ahead and throw in some sexy Sears tighty whiteys for old times’ sake.

Happy Holidays!
Now it’s time to light up.

Puff: Traveling with your stash

PUFF As the year end holidays approach, many make plans to see those near and dear to our hearts all across this fair land. Of course, not all places are cool with cannabis. And knowing full well that you will be seeing all your family and hearing everyone’s point of view, you may require a little cannabis pick-me-up to keeping your sanity—and enjoy all those amazing desserts just that much more.

How to travel with it? Will they shake me down at the airport? These questions have plagued stoners for years. First of all, always check your bag containing your stash. I found out that San Francisco International Airport will not call you out on traveling with pot. If they find it, they are supposed to turn it over to the SFPD Airport Bureau, who will do nothing about it because it is such a low level offense, if you aren’t taking too much product with you. (Keep it to less than an ounce).

Of course, if your destination is cannabis-friendly, you have nothing to worry about anyway. I travel to Texas, so no such luck yet.

However, emboldened by information about SFO’s laxity, I packed my bag with several joints and some flower wrapped in a turkey bag, just for safety.

A turkey bag you say?

Yes, buy an oven bag that is made to cook turkeys inside of it. The material it’s made from is one of the few materials which will not let the strong scent of the cannabis escape.

I made it through unscathed. All my stash was there, and I happily shared California weed with all my stoner friends in Dallas. Years past have been hit or miss, though.

There was the time I had the bright idea to wrap up my joints and shove them down in my taint (look it up) for air travel. When I landed, our first stop was at a BBQ place. I excused myself from the table and headed into the bathroom planning on returning to the table with joints galore.

Well they weren’t there…anywhere.

I searched my body completely. Nothing. So I headed back toward the table with my head down scanning the floor for a small wrapper full of joints. My friends asked me what I was doing. After they stopped laughing at me, they joined in the search to the great consternation of the locals eating their brisket and potato salad.

Alas it was never found. I hope my taint-ed bag of herb found a good home for the holidays and got someone high.

I always put my stash in my shaving/toiletries (or make-up) bag. Preferably in a side, zip pocket. In my mind, when the authorities are x-raying my bags, the stash will blend in with the odd assortment of pills, brushes, tubes and stuff I travel with. It has always worked for me.

Then again, if you are worried about taking it, the best thing is to travel with a vape pen and edibles that can be easily disguised like mints or gummies. Just put them in another kind of container like for candy or mints. With vapes, just take the cartridges out of their packaging and they are difficult to tell from the e-cigarettes.

Many years ago, a good friend told me that I shouldn’t worry so much about it. “They scan hundreds of bags every hour. They are looking for guns and bombs and things that can harm the passengers on a plane. I doubt that the three joints in your bag will cause much of a fuss. You are not that important.”

It snapped me out of my my paranoia, and I have been traveling with a stash ever since. Just don’t go for the taint.

I hope everyone has safe travels and happy highs for the holidaze. Now it’s time to light up.