Puff

A cure for the munchies?

Join Puff columnist Dan and friends at the PUFF happy hour this Sunday at the Stud

PUFF You wake up after a fun night out with friends. You had a few drinks and everyone brought their weed to pass around and share. Nothing is better than OPP (Other People’s Pot). You always get higher than on your own.

You are lying there in your warm bed cuddling up remembering the highlights of the night, and then you sit up. That’s when you notice it. The empty bags—candy, cookies, dry cereal, chips, dips, jerky. The crumbs. You got the munchies.

The munchies are one of the side effects of taking cannabis. For those who are ill and have lost their appetite, it can save the day and create that urge to eat and nourish the body. For us recreational users, it’s usually a shame ritual. I have learned that if I buy the yogurt-covered pretzels or ice cream that I will not eat them at an appropriate time for me to work off the calories before bed, but late at night in front of the TV after consuming a lot of pot. The next day will be spent trying to wipe all the yogurt particles off my dark grey sofa, and like Edgar Allen Poe’s Telltale Heart, they just keep coming back to haunt me.

Well stoners, there is a cure out there, and it comes from the plant itself. It is THCV, ​or tetrahydrocannabivarin, and is a compound in cannabis that offers a unique array of effects and medical benefits that sets it apart from other ​cannabinoids​ like THC and ​CBD​. ​As its name suggests, THCV is similar to THC in molecular structure and psychoactive properties, but it provides a variety of pronounced and altogether different effects.

So, THCV is an appetite suppressant. It actually makes you feel full—and it is made of weed! Take that Jenny Craig!

Other benefits include regulating blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance to aid those with diabetes, helping with anxiety attacks in PTSD patients, reducing tremors, motor control and brain lesions caused by Alzheimer’s disease and stimulating bone growth by promoting the growth of new bone cells. 

If THCV did one of these things, it would be a miracle drug, but doing all five things plus getting you high puts it up there in Homer Simpson’s bacon category.

Of course there needs to be more testing done to further the acceptability of THCV as a genuine medical breakthrough—and I am sure Big Pharma is excited about that. Since the FDA will only allow cannabis testing in approved labs—with the only such lab being in Mississippi—and Gov. Brown vetoing House Bill 1996 which would have built a lab in California, it won’t happen soon.

That is why I am here to enlighten you with PUFF.

As soon as Gavin Newsom is sworn in as Governor, we need to educate him on cannabis and the positive effects of THC, CBD and THCV and on the need for further examination of this amazing plant that supplies so much more than just the tie-dyed buzz we once associated with it.

Until then, we will have to deal with those munchie demons on our own. Good luck, and remember, those yogurt pretzels will never let you forget. Thump-thump, thump-thump.

Now it’s time to light up!

Cannabis: Can we bring back compassionate care?

PUFF Late in September, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed three marijuana bills meant to begin the shifting process of correcting some of the needs left by Prop 64.

Assembly Bill 1996 sought to open a cannabis research clinic in California; so far the only FDA-approved clinic is in Mississippi and does not provide quality product to research. Veto.

Senate Bill 1127 wanted to give parents the right to treat their child with cannabis-based medications on school grounds, instead of having to pick them up or meet them off-campus. Veto.

Senate Bill 829 sought to shield compassionate care centers that offer free medical marijuana to certain low-income individuals from state cannabis taxes. Veto. 

The governor cited Prop 64 as the reason he vetoed most of these legislations. These bills will be re-worked and re-introduced in another session, but from this instance, I want to know: Where is your compassion California, and how can we start making the changes that were promised before we passed 64?

Flash back to a year ago when everyone was debating whether 64 should become law. I attended so many meetings where people lobbed the questions about it back and forth. The one thing that was always said was to just pass the bill, get people out of prison, and there will be time to make amendments later. Let’s just take the plunge.

Californians had it pretty good with Prop 215 which was passed in 1996. It was easy to get a card or a doctor’s letter. You had access to all strengths of edibles, flower, and concentrates. There were lots of businesses, thus competition was good at keeping the prices down. If you weren’t sure about a product, most companies would give you a sample to take so you could see how it worked in your body.

Not long ago, there were pot fairs where you tried all kinds of samples and left with a few in your pocket. Parties had gift bags that would blow your stoner mind. Most of all, there was compassionate cannabis medicine for those who could not afford it.

Now, no samples are allowed under Prop 64. This was a staple of the compassionate care world. When those shot boys go around giving away free shots of booze at a bar, I guess that’s not dangerous, but too many of those drinkies could lead to a car wreck or injury. If you get too stoned off a sample, most likely, you will have a nice nap.

All cannabis products now have to be California Cannabis Tracked and Traced (CCTT), as in tracked to the person who bought it and traced back to the plant it came from. I get it but, why? When I order my Stoli martini, I don’t ask what potato it came from, or the seeds for my rye. 

I’m sure there are many valid reasons these things are in place. It all just seems out of balance with all the proof that cannabis is much less dangerous than alcohol, and is a valid medicine.

I see these local cannabis companies jumping in and out of hoops to get the correct packaging, get the correct licenses, and get the right tests. I see the state doing nothing but changing their minds, causing more uproar about compliance. Companies trying to get a foothold and survive are being punished.

So where is the compassion California? You promised there would be changes made to correct anything that wasn’t working with Prop 64. Is big time pharma and alcohol that big? Were bigger cannabis companies using this to shut down competition from the get-go? These are just questions I have.

No one else seems to be asking them in the media. The public is just excited to get legal weed. They happily line up at the dispensaries and order delivery. So much has been achieved, but unless the public is made aware of all these other issues the industry faces, they cannot be educated as to why there needs to be change.

I call on everyone who reads this column who feels some compassionate care should be brought back into the cannabis business, to please contact your city and state representatives and let them know. Otherwise, it will take a long time to see anything happen.

There is a Facebook group called Axis of Love if you are interested in more information. Prop 64 must be amended, and amended now. Let’s bring compassionate care back to California.

Need a little lift? Meet the local queen of microdosing

Mymilligram's Marcia Gagliardi. Photo by Nieto

PUFF As effervescent and bubbly as some of the products she promotes, Marcia Gagliardi is a glittery swirl of personality and microdosing information via her website Mymilligram.com and newsletter.

Mymilligram connects low-dose products with those looking for just a little lift, without the lethargy and munchie-attacks. (Although, as the head of essential SF foodie guide Tablehopper, she certainly knows where to feed the beast.) Gagliardi not only showcases the perfect products—many locally made—but also dispenses self-care advice and tips on how to find and manage just the right amount of milligrams to help you through your busy day. And hey, she curates special sample boxes so you an explore along with her.   

I first encountered Marcia at her spectacular mymilligram launch party last May, which was bursting with product showcases and colorfully dressed people. “You’ve got to meet Marcia” all my friends were telling me, and what a pleasure it was. Dressed up in a beautiful muumuu with her hair done up and a cocktail in hand, Marcia was a social force. She was quick, witty, easy to laugh with, and a great hostess. I had a wonderful time—and anyone who gives out goody bags from the back of a limousine has my attention.

So I went home and caught up on her newsletters, visited her website, and decided I wanted to know about this microdosing maven. I hit her up with some questions, and her answers are fantastic.

Marcia grew up in San Mateo, moved away to explore Italy and higher education, and has been back in the Bay Area since 1994 when she lost her Los Angeles apartment to an earthquake. She started in advertising, became an event planner, and has been writing about the San Francisco food scene since 2002 eventually launching Tablehopper

“​I’m a NorCal native, and used to enjoy smoking weed in my twenties and early thirties,” Gagliardi said. “But about 10 years ago, I noticed it was becoming too strong for me. I wasn’t enjoying the high as much—I’d get paranoid and feel like I couldn’t communicate or connect very well, which is tough for a people person like me,” she said. “So cannabis was relegated to being a very occasional thing in my life, maybe a teeny tiny toke at a show or friend’s house party.

“Flash forward to a few years ago, when some friends let me check out their vapes and Kiva blueberries. And after exploring and dialing in my optimal dose with Pot d’Huile cannabis olive oil, I realized I really enjoy cannabis at a low milligram dosage. Once I figured out the right amount (and methods) for me to consume cannabis (I love sublinguals!), and that I can be in charge of my dosage, Mary and I high-fived again. Now we snuggle on a daily basis.”

Gagliardi loves little scoops of Mondo Powder while she’s writing. Photo from the @mymilligram Instagram

This lead to her to create Mymilligram newsletter.

“Many canna-curious folks are wondering how cannabis may help them with a variety of issues—from insomnia to pain or anxiety, to just unwinding after work instead of hitting the chardonnay—and I got inspired to share how to explore cannabis in a low and slow and careful way through well-made and high-quality products. With my background in food, how things are sourced and made is very important to me,” Marcia said.

“I thought people could use a trusted guide to help navigate this world, so the idea of Mymilligram was born. I launched with a newsletter that features a quality, low-dose product each week, and I explain how I like to use it, how it feels, and what it may help with. My rule of thumb for mymilligram is: “Would I give this to my mother, and what would I tell her about it?” My mom now uses ‘low and slow’ in conversation and I just love it.”

Gagliardi swear by Level tablinguals, especially the “Elevate” level. Photo from the @mymilligram Instagram

When asked about her favorite products, Marcia was quick with a whole lineup of items, “I have a buffet of products I love to microdose with—I enjoy taking little dips of Mondo powder when I’m writing, especially in the evening (or a bigger scoop when I’m going out for my afternoon walk). Somatik coffee bean Sparks are always in my purse, along with Level Elevate Tablinguals. I munch on Satori’s CBD-rich almonds and strawberries when I’m getting stressed—Somatik’s goji berry Sparks are also great chill pills.”

She makes 2.5mg ice cubes out of California Dreamin’ soda and pours bubbles on them when it’s time to unwind or get ready to go out. She likes Garden Society’s Bright Blooms for daytime and Bliss Blossoms at bedtime because they are so well-made and effective. And she takes Kin Slips Cloud Buster strips with her on trips—including a recent trip to Russia for the World Cup. 

I asked her about the current state of cannabis as legalization has rolled out this year.

“Right now, I’m sorry to see so many small, artisan makers and growers suffering with all the new regulations and testing, with many being phased out of or unable to be a part of the adult-use market,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to feature smaller makers in Mymilligram as they come back to the market right now (or are being released for the first time)—and I’m very committed to supporting women in the biz. Fempire rising!

Mymilligram’s “Summer Festival Party Packs” were a must this year.

 “It’s exciting to see the stigma around cannabis use vaporizing away,” she said. “I’m thrilled to see older adults and Boomers and seniors seeking out information and guidance with cannabis use. In a recent study, 5.7 percent of respondents aged 50 to 64 said they’ve tried cannabis in the past month!

“And the more success stories and studies we can read about people getting off of medications with cannabis—from sleeping pills to anxiety meds to opioids—is also really hopeful.”

With people like Marcia educating through mymilligrams, we have another warrior for the cause.

“When I was exploring local dispensaries a couple years ago, budtenders would try to sell me weed with the highest THC levels and edibles with terrifying amounts of THC. I would ask for low-THC products, and they’d just look at me and shake their heads quizzically and ask, “Why?” I soon realized I wasn’t the only one who was seeking out low-dose options, and I was getting really excited by all the new, cutting-edge products coming out. As a curious writer, I knew I had to start covering this world and jumped in.”

You can subscribe and read more about all these products at ​Mymilligram.com​, and get many of her favorite products delivered at ​getsava.com/mymilligram.​ She also does her own photography and her ​@mymilligram​ Instagram account is full of fun eye candy.

Thank you Marcia!

Now it is time to light up.

Puff: Ode to a bong

PUFF Recently a dear friend gifted me his glass bong. It is a beautiful green piece, heavy and sturdy. My first reaction was, “Don’t give that to me! I will break it!” His response, “Well if you do, you do, but enjoy it until then.”

The bong has always been my preferred method of smoking flower. As a beginning stoner, I surmised that you save the most smoke for your lungs with a bong. You can keep unused smoke trapped inside until you take the next hit.

You light a joint and it just starts burning with good smoke just floating away… lost for use. Of course this is also probably the most social way of smoking cannabis, handing it over, hand to hand, sharing. The preroll is nice especially if it is infused with hash or shatter. At that point, it doesn’t matter if smoke escapes because an infused preroll will probably fuck you up no matter how much smoke floats into the ether.

Like every good Bay Area resident, I have my pipe, which I dutifully stand with outside of bars, businesses and movie theaters and pack to pass around to friends. It works. Pipes are cute. They can get a little ashy and clogged up, and every once in awhile you get that bitter, acidic hit that chars the back of your throat.

In the end, give me a nice big bong. The water cools and filters the smoke as it enters your lungs. You can always add ice to the water for an even smoother hit.

It turns out the term bong is an adaption of a Thai word “baung,” a cylindrical, wooden tube cut from bamboo. It is a cousin of the hookah and is also known as a water pipe, billy, bing or moof. Bongs have been used in Laos, Thailand and all over Africa for centuries. ​One of the earliest recorded uses of the word in the West is in the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944, which describes one of the meanings of ​bong​ in the Thai language as, “a bamboo water pipe for smoking kancha, tree, hashish, or the hemp-plant.” 

There are two kinds of bong etiquette. You have the solo smoker where each person is given a bowl of weed to smoke all on their own, and then you have the group pass and smoke, where everyone takes a hit off a giant bowl and passes it around the room. If this is the case, always clear your bowl. Do not pass a bong that still has your smoke left in it!

I have a preference for glass bongs. Other common choices are plastic and ceramic. Of course, my main problem is breakage. I am a major breaker of bongs! My favorite head shop in San Francisco is Jeet Big Times on Polk near California. Years ago, I told the owner, “If you give me a good deal on a glass bong, I promise you that when it breaks, I will return and buy another one from you.” After the fifth or sixth time this happened, the owner would chuckle and walk to the water pipe section of the store as I entered. I did not lie, it was a good deal for him in the end.

One way to combat this senseless breakage is silicone. I discovered the Roll-Uh-Bowl, a portable, folding, silicone bong that is unbreakable! It comes in many colors (including glow-in-the-dark!) and a couple of sizes. You can even adapt it as a dab rig. It runs from $35 to $60, and you can just stick it in your bag for travel, pull it out and smoke it anywhere, and then just rinse it out and tuck it away for the next time.

Roll Uh Bowl’s Big Green bong

Now I have this beautiful glass piece gifted to me by my friend Birdie. I brought it home and found a secure place for it, and it has endured (knock wood). I try and keep to the rules. Do not leave the bong on the cheap tv tray by the couch. Do not leave the bong on the very edge of a desk or table. Do not leave the bong on the floor where I could kick it. It seems so simple until I walk into the room and find it exactly in one of those precarious places. What is my problem! (I’m a stoner, would be the obvious answer).

I did have a close call. I moved a giant CD tower out of my living room. Yes, I still have CDs. I had to go get something in the other room, and as I left I brushed against the tower. Well it decided to go all Towering Inferno on me and fell forward crashing into my side table sending CDs spilling across the room. A favorite pipe took a direct hit and was crushed. The new bong was hit as well! I inspected it. It wasn’t leaking or cracked, but I couldn’t get a hit off it. The inner glass stem had shattered. A quick $8 visit to Jeet who was obviously a little disappointed I didn’t buy a new bong, and bingo, the Birdie bong was like new again!

I think the lesson learned was a cheap glass bong will always easily break, but a nice heavy glass piece is worth the investment and will endure. In the end, of course, it will break someday too. So goes life. Just enjoy it until then.

Puff: Growing like a weed

Mary Lou is growing up!

PUFF My little Mary Lou is growing like a weed. Of course she is weed—she’s the cannabis plant I have been raising from a seed from my www.apotforpot.com kit.

In April I wrote a column about the company and its kit which was a way for anyone, especially urbanites, to grow their own cannabis plant and harvest it. I started my own at that time and have been tending to Mary Lou (Mary Jane’s cousin) since then.

At the time, I had reservations because I never had a green thumb or the urge to garden. Although all that may still be true, I am happy to report that I have been an avid and devoted caretaker to Mary Lou.

I have watered her, sprayed her with a special potion and carried her outside daily for a sun bath.

I’ve been posting pictures on social media about her growth like any devoted new parent would. “Isn’t mine just the cutest!”

First she was a little seedling wrapped in a paper diaper. After a while I transferred her into her own pot. It was such a day of celebration. Then came the day she needed training wheels, so I slid two chopsticks in the earth on each side of her and tied her up with a piece of twine. Now she could learn to stand tall.

In the beginning I sprayed her every couple of days with a mixture of water, Neem Oil and dish soap to keep the bugs away. I was aware of every new millimeter of growth on that plant. I feared that I was a bad parent and my weed plant wouldn’t grow any buds. Luckily, my friends in the cannabis community have calmed my nerves, kind of like a cannabis Dr. Spock.

Baby Mary Lou

I am her Sunchaser, pushing her on a cart from sunny area to sunny area all day to insure her buds grow big and strong. I am lucky to have a backyard area to do this in, but a couple of sunny windows can have the same effect.

Of course it hasn’t been all sunshine and happiness. A few days ago, someone broke through my security gate and ransacked through all my stuff stored outside. This jerk also assaulted Mary Lou! During the scuffle, he grabbed my beloved pot plant and yanked her up! When I found her, she looked bad. Luckily enough, the assaulter grabbed only the two chopsticks. The twine that had been holding her up was actually still on the plant holding her together at the top like a umbrella. Once I pulled down the twine, the plant was fine. The buds were safe! What a close call.

The last few days I have been watching her bloom into her adulthood. She no longer needs her training wheels and is standing tall. Puberty has brought mini buds under her leaves and they have begun to smell.

Now it is lots of water and sun and patience. I’m even leaving her under my oven light at night, just in case. I also talk to her and play beautiful music for her to grow to.

Where does the time go …

People have asked me whether I know the strain of the plant or whether I want to find out ahead of time and you know, I don’t care. It’s all weed to me. I will love Mary Lou if she is a sativa or an indica…or even a hybrid. I will love her, and harvest her, and smoke her like any proud grower would.

Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. There are many exciting things for us to enjoy together before harvest. She has much more developing to do, and I more lessons to learn.

I will always think of these sunny days and nights in 2018 as one of the best times of my life because I am a first-time grower, and no one can ever be that again.

Now it’s time to light up!

Happy trails! Checking out portable cannabis dab kits

PUFF My good friend Philippe found a portable mini dab kit for $40 on, of all places, Walmart.com. That is right, you read it correctly, Walmart. That’s where we are the cannabis revolution.

We were talking at a party about making a rig on the cheap, so Philippe started investigating. He found something called the Happy Dab Kit. He conferred with some experts at the party and was told, yes, it was a nectar collector with everything needed to dab. Ecstatic, Philippe ordered it. (Happy Kit offers a variety of “discrete travel kits” for cannabis users.)

We have been using the Happy Dab Kit for a few weeks now. As a matter of fact, Philippe is spreading dabs like a minister passing the good word to his flock. The other weekend at a backyard BBQ, I tried chatting with my friends only to discover happy, stoney zombies in Philipe’s dabbing wake. They loved that BBQ though!

You simply take a small dab of concentrate and put it in a silicone cup provided in the kit. The the metal end of the collector is heated to glowing red hot by a blow torch. You count down from 8 and then use the collector to suck up the small dab which is immediately turned into steam. It’s like a line you suck up rather than snort up. Yes, it is a little druggy, but I have enjoyed dabbing out and about. I find the high to be more social than smoking flower can sometimes be.

My review of the product would be a solid B. The nectar collector is great and easy to use. It all fits into a nice, small, well-made case with plenty of room for all your concentrates. The problems are the dabbing tool included which is used to scoop up concentrates was way too small and delicate, and the mini-blow-torch lighter was a piece of junk that barely made it a week.

So Philippe bought a fancy portable blow torch. An added cost to that original $40 investment. A proper dab tool would cost another $10, so now the total investment is $65-$70.

The Happy Dab Kit

I started thinking, are there even better deals out there? So I checked.

First of all, the Happy Dab Kit is no longer available at Walmart.com. (You can still get it on the Happy Kit site.) After some investigation, I found evidence it had been available at Walmart through a Pinterest posting, but that link was dead. Funny, they were also selling a Rosineer RNR-MV2 Manual Rosin Press last year which is used to squeeze concentrates out of cannabis plants. It is not currently in stock. Were these listed out of ignorance of their use or is the nation’s biggest retailer branching out into cannabis with these test items? The mind reels. After all, this is the Walmart that would only sell censored versions of music.

Something like the Happy Dab Kit is available on other sites. Amazon has a couple of interesting items, but the first item that came up when I filtered “dab kit” was a $14 blowtorch which made me chuckle. They knew what was what. I found a cute nectar collector kit for only $16.88. It is interestingly labeled as a “Great Holiday/Birthday Gift Box” but it came up in my filter anyway. Just add the blowtorch and a dab tool to that, and you have a bargain. But how portable is it? Not very, it seems.

Vape pipe by Anlerr Homles

Next was this groovy portable vaporizer from Anlerr Homles. It promises you can vabe herb and also dab concentrate, but investigating the pipe’s specs, I found that the chamber doesn’t get hot enough to actually dab concentrate. The pipe goes up to 149-224 degrees Celsius and you want around 377 degrees Celsius for dabbing. You always need to check these things out, no matter what the pitch is. 

So it looks like Philippe did indeed get a very good deal with portable Happy Dab Kit. It is a great way to try out dabbing and do it almost Old School (that would be hot knifing) with a blow torch.

When I was in Mendocino at a cannabis event recently, I met a CEO of a cannabis company who had his own electronic dab pipe made to his specs. It looked like something Sherlock Holmes would have smoked out of, and it hit great with no blow torch needed. I snapped a pic of it and was immediately asked to delete it. Top Secret! So there is definitely more portable dab madness coming our way soon!

Now it’s time to light up…or dab!

Giving your pet some CBD love

Tallulah, the official Puff mast, taking a nap after a My Best Bud treatment.

PUFF I was on the phone with my sister Rebecca the other day catching up. She lives in Seattle with her husband Jim and their dog Maya. I mentioned I was trying to think up a column idea for Puff, and seeing she is cut from the same journalistic cloth as myself, it tickled her fancy, and she just started rattling off one good idea after another.

My favorite idea was talking about giving our pets CBD (Cannabidiol) to keep them calm when taking them to the doctor or groomer. I flashed immediately back to every Fleet Week here in San Francisco, where the Blue Angel jets go zipping over the city giving our pets and a few residents conniptions. My first time, I was ready to take my cat Tallulah to the vets because I was convinced she was going to die, but she was just freaking out over the jets. She would body-crawl under the bed or in the closet not to be seen for many hours, poor thing.

Of course, the 4th of July is just around the corner as well, and that means fireworks, BBQs, and guests which could also put an emotional strain on our pets.

With this in mind, I hung up with Rebecca and started doing some research.

Well, she did too, and the first thing I saw the next morning was a text and pics for a Colorado Hemp Honey Chill Stick from Frangiosa Farms. “Experience the power of raw honey and hemp extract. Supports anti-inflammatory and antioxidant response. Terpenes, Vitamins & Minerals. Omega 3 and 6.” 

According to Rebecca, it’s $2.75, and was recommended by her Doggie Daycare to give to Maya one hour before bringing her in to get bathed and clippered. Evidently, it had the desired effect, and the dog loved it. On further research, humans can enjoy these honey hemp treats as well!

My research led me to My Best Bud, which sells a formula that has a 4:1 CBD to THC ratio (a 1:1 formula is available as well). It is a triple-tested, organically grown, pesticide and solvent-free, non-GMO cannabis liquid supplement combined with a proprietary blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, and organic MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil made from 100% coconuts.

According to the website, it’s available locally at Bay Care Delivery on Cesar Chavez and Waterfall Wellness Cooperative on Ocean Ave.

My Best Bud is listed as helping with anxiety, arthritis, allergies, behavioral problems, digestive issues, GI problems, inflammation, skin conditions, joint and mobility issues, loss of appetite, pain, restlessness at night, seizures, and pancreatitis. (Of course, this supplement does not take the place of any veterinarian prescribed medicine.)

I was curious. Does it help a pet to use a CBD treatment? How would I figure this out? Simple, I volunteered my 15 year-old tortoise-shell cat Tallulah as a test subject.

Tallulah is in good health, but I have noticed lately she slowly gets up and lays down like she has a little arthritis happening. Plus she has always been a bit of a grouch. (All my friends who know her are laughing right now.)

So for the last two weeks I have been giving her 1 drop from a syringe every 24 hours into her nighttime meal. The directions said to start small and watch your animal. Well, Tallulah is from a stoner household. She has had second-hand cannabis exposure her entire life and will occasionally walk into my bong exhale and then chill on the couch for a few hours, so I knew she would most likely react in a positive manner to a mere CBD supplement.

As predicted by the instructions, she slept a lot the first few days which is not exactly a jaw-dropper—she is a cat after all. She has been mellow and friendly. I feel like her fur is a bit softer. After the first week, she started stretching more, which I was told is the animal feeling some looseness in their bones from the CBD.

Nothing earth-shattering, but I am still interested in continuing the treatments to she how she continues to react to it. If it provides her a nice chilled attitude and less pain in her joints. I am thrilled. Time will tell.

Tallulah and Daddy

There are a lot of CBD animal products out there—tinctures, oils, sprays, cat and dog food, snack bites, creams. Consult with your veterinarian and local dispensary for more information. If your vet does not know much about these treatments, urge them to do some research. I know what CBD has done for pain relief in my human family, so I know it has to be beneficial to my pet as well.

So when the jets go “zoom,” the fireworks go “pop” or you have to take your pet to the vet or groomer, think about helping the little critters chill out using cannabis. Anytime I can use a natural product and not a chemical from a lab to help them out weighs well on my soul. We love them, they give us so much love and companionship in return, so let’s all get high and chill together.

Now it’s time to light up!

Puff: A little dab will do ya

PUFF Recreational and medicinal cannabis users are flocking to the world of concentrates. A few you might have heard of are kief, hash, wax, resin, and shatter. They are super-strong in comparison to smoking actual flower and can add a bit of HIGH to your high.

A lot of people just like to sprinkle a little on top of their bowl or in a joint. This is especially good for kief and wax because they are easy to crumble over your weed. Smoke gently to enjoy all the terpy goodness.

When it comes to the shatter and resin, however, you’ll experience something more oily which will stick to everything. The most popular way to smoke them is dabbing. I had not heard of dabbing until a couple of years ago. I thought I knew it all about smoking weed until this came up.

Visualize pot farmers stuck in the middle of nowhere watching their crops growing, looking for something to do. How about figuring out how they can get even higher? Sounds good.

So hot-knifing was born. You heat up two knives with a blowtorch, place a nug of concentrate in the middle and you compress them together. The resulting smoke or steam is collected in a plastic container and inhaled.

Nowadays, the knives are gone and the process is now called dabbing. In a bong-like pipe with a nail that is lit until glowing red. This can be done with the classic blowtorch method or even better with an e-nail which plugs in and you can control the heat.

According to Extraction Magazine, dabs can be unhealthy if you dab at too high a temperature. The higher the heat, the higher you get, but you lose the flavor of the terpenes and can create methacrolein and benzene. These are toxic substances also found in cigarette smoke. Keeping the temperature at 377 degrees Celsius or below should keep these toxins from forming.

So if you go to a dab bar, make sure and ask them what temperature their rigs are set at. You can always ask for a lower temperature and still get the psychoactive high you want.

We shouldn’t freak out too much yet because these tests were done on terpenes which flavor marijuana and not the actual marijuana oil. So until we get a definitive study, keep your dab temperatures lower, just in case.

My first time dabbing was at a dispensary. I walked to get my bus, and I just stood there as my bus came and went time after time. I guess after 20 minutes or so I snapped out of it and actually walked on to the bus. I made it home in time for a big face-planted-in-bed nap.

Since then, I have become better at dabbing.

An array of dab and flower choices.

If you want to try it, I suggest starting small. When you walk up to the bar, you will probably be asked what concentrate you want to try. I suggest a nice sativa to keep everything upbeat and peppy. Dabbing an indica guarantees me a nap within a couple of hours. At this point, the budtender will wipe off the rig’s mouthpiece with alcohol or hand you a swab to do it yourself. Then the budtender will slice a small amount of concentrate off and hold it over the nail.

You’ll need to lean over the rig and have your mouth just over the mouthpiece. Give him the nod or say you are ready, and he will drop that dab on the nail where it will sizzle and melt. You immediately start sucking up the vapor. Once the steam is gone, you are dabbed. Say thank you, get out of the way for the next person, and look for a place to sit.

After my weekend at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, I am a dabbing pro. I dabbed 20 or more times in a day and came to realize that you can only get so high—and you also build up a tolerance over time.

People ask me if I want to own a dab rig. I say “No” because I don’t want to get used to it. Too many people have told me after dabbing for a while that they don’t get high on regular flower anymore. I want to experience the full range of cannabis products in all their glory, so dabbing is for parties and special events. That makes it more fun and special to me.

Get me to the party, and I am first in line for a dab. When I am at home, I prefer a nice bowl of flower to gurgle in my bong, but it is nice to have a little wax or shatter on hand for those times when I want that little something extra.

Now it’s time to light up.

Puff: More joys of microdosing

Somatik's revved-up, chocolate-covered goji berries and coffee beans.

PUFF I’ve sung the praises of microdosing before. Gummies, sprays and mints can deliver a small amount of of THC and/or CBD, 2-10mg per dose, so you can control just how much cannabis is in your system. Lately, I discovered three new small dose products that taste great and deliver a mild boost needed to relieve me of hangovers! That’s right, microdosing helps you fight that morning-after hangover.

Let me take you back to Easter. I had a fun Saturday night celebrating life with friends at a local watering hole with a bartender who possessed a heavy pouring hand—and I wasn’t saying no. I was supposed to be going to the Sisters of Perpetual indulgence celebration in Golden Gate Park the next day. As my eyes opened that bright and sunny Sunday morning at the crack of 11am, I could feel that pulsating headache beginning in my head. As I sat up, it swirled down into my stomach. Ugh.

At first I was just going to turn over and go back to sleep, but then all my friends started calling and texting me to see if I was ready. I struggled out of bed and into the bathroom where I threw back a couple of glasses of water and pain reliever. That didn’t do much, so I grabbed a Kwik Ease from the fridge and downed it.

Kwik Ease ($5 at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, $12 for the 100mg) is the new 10mg cannabis shooter made with honey, lemon juice, ginger and quillaja bark put out by Manzanita and Madrone, known for delicious infused sodas and effective Fire Cider Tonic. Boom, a few minutes later the hangover was lifting. It didn’t go away completely, but just rose enough off my shoulders to be manageable.

I hopped in the shower and then got dressed. On the way out the door I grabbed my box of Sparks, the medicated chocolate coffee beans from Somatik (​​Sava Delivery for $19 a box, also Purple Star, CBCB and Barbary Coast). These pack a light but lifting punch at 3mg of THC each plus caffeine. (Somatik just released a new Spark, a chocolate goji bean with 2mg CBD and 1mg of THC. Available at Society Jane and Barbary Coast.) Three or four of those babies and, bang, I was walking with a skip in my step. I was actually hungover and in a good mood.

I made it to brunch. I didn’t actually make it to Golden Gate Park, but we did make it to Dolores Park and had a wonderful time enjoying the splendors of the City. I kept popping another Spark in my mouth (maybe 2) every hour or so, and I not only made it through the day, but I felt good. I had energy. I fully believe that microdosing saved me that day.

Kwik Ease from Manzanita and Madrone

It doesn’t have to be a hangover. Anytime you feel tired or a little out of sync with the day, pop a couple of these low dose cannabis products, and you will not feel high like smoking a joint, but just a little more revved up. Of course, you can always eat the whole box and get plenty high. They are made of marijuana after all.

People have also experimented using low dose cannabis to help with depression. A friend on Facebook did this and reported feeling better. Still, the government makes cannabis a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance that “has ​no currently accepted medical use in the United States” along the lines of cocaine and heroin.

So who do you believe? Your own experience or what the ill-informed (biased by Big Pharma, I am sure) government tells you? I believe the government is on the wrong side of history. So I’m going to pop three Sparks into my mouth and shoot a Kwik Ease and feel good about my decision on how to feel good. 

Puff: In Mendocino, Flow Cannabis Institute dreams big (and artisanal)

Press and marijuana luminaries gather for a tour of the Flow Cannabis Institute.

PUFF A few weeks ago, on a beautiful, sunny day in the rolling hills of Mendocino County, Flow Kana opened the doors of its new venture, the Flow Cannabis Institute. Nestled inside an old winery in Redwood Valley, the institute’s mission is to help small, local farms keep up with their larger competitors in the exploding marijuana market.

With its “Respect the land and the medicine that it produces” mantra, Flow Kana is positioning itself as a leader of “artisan cannabis.” (It’s also got some canny marketing ideas: For Mother’s Day, a current marketing campaign suggests, why not help mom find a favorite strain by gifting her some pre-rolls or eighth jars? Of course they’re calling it  “Mama’s li’l helper.”) The new institute will be a center of processing, manufacture, education, and leisure—a full complex of cannabis bliss.  

But I was here to see how how its small grower process worked. The proposition is for the institute to serve as a kind of umbrella company that will shepherd a farm’s cannabis crop, after it’s harvested, to established market. A tour for the press and marijuana luminaries gave us a sneak peek.

Basically, a farmer delivers their marijuana crop to the institute for storage in a temperature and climate controlled environment. When the time is right, the institute will test, trim, sort, weigh, package, label, box, and distribute the marijuana to dispensaries for the farmer. The institute also hopes to showcase the best sustainable farming techniques available.

Inside the processing room at the institute

I asked some of the experts at the event if this was a good model, and they all agreed it was. It just depended on whether the institute could pay the farmers enough while still having money for everything else they want to do.

The sprawling 80-acre property houses the 85,000-industrial-square-foot institute, a number of historical buildings, some giant art pieces, a pool, spa, and the infamous Mad-Dog Saloon. Companies can have retreats, throw parties, or use it as a weekend getaway to relax and learn the newest in cannabis horticulture.

At the opening ceremony party, there was a Wild West theme to go with the saloon, with free food, a bar and live music. Inside the saloon, patrons ordered pre-rolls made to their specifications or used available bongs. This was a far cry from saloons of yore, but it sure was fun and educational sitting there watching the budtenders roll joints.

Off to the saloon

(Side note: This is where marijuana party rules kick in. 1. Do not smoke all of anything at one time when you first get there. 2. Eat in stages because once you get too high, eating brings you down. I made multiple trips to the pizza oven throughout the event. 3. Drink more water than booze. 4. Don’t eat or drink any tincture or edible given to you by a really buzzed stoner. If that concoction made a pro that messed up, just imagine what it will do to you! Say “Thank You” and put it in your pocket for later.)

At the end of the event, it was easy to see how much work and effort Flow Kana made getting this far with their dream institute. The testing facility and storage spaces were still under construction, and there was still plenty to complete.

As we see so many marijuana farmers and companies going under because of the changes brought on by legalized adult usage, it’s nice to see a company trying to do something to save the small farmers and help them flourish.

I’m eager to see what comes next at the Flow Cannabis Institute. Now, it’s time to light up!