Puff

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.

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, 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. 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, 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!