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A Few Reasons Why You Should Tip Your Budtender

*This Article was Originally Created for and Featured on BuddyJane.com. Please visit BuddyJane.com for all articles I have contributed to their site.*

Why you should tip your budtender-2

One of the least talked about topics, in my opinion, is tipping your Budtender. Yes, a Budtender role is quite different from a Bartender or Server role, where tipping is common practice. But when we take a closer look at the role of a Budtender in the Cannabis industry, it’ll show why it is important to leave them a tip.

The typical salary of a Budtender ranges from $12-$14 an hour, depending on your location. Their wage is usually right at, or just above, minimum wage. This is one of the lowest paying positions in the industry, besides being a receptionist. Budtenders in the Cannabis industry are not usually seen at a seniority level, nor mid-level, but more as an entry-level position. Medical benefits are usually not provided to people in these roles, only with few exceptions.

With that being said, here’s what is generally expected of a Budtender:

Budtenders are required to have a vast amount of knowledge on the science and application of cannabis. They are expected to know the chemical composition of the plant and how it can interact with the human body. Good Budtenders should also have some understanding of the common ailments that Cannabis can help treat, such as; insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety disorder, cerebral palsy, arthritis, migraines, etc. Not only that, Budtenders also need to know every product in the store; from the way it was made, to the ingredients, suggested dosage, and possible side effects.

Even though legalization is on the rise, there are still very few general health practitioners that are for Cannabis. As a Budtender at a dispensary that serves both medical and recreational patients, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard patients tell me they’ve been dismissed from a doctor’s office because they’ve used Cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Or how many times I’ve had nurses come in and know nothing about the Endocannabinoid System and how Cannabis interacts with it. Because of this lack of formal supervision on medical cannabis use, a Budtender is also responsible for making sure to keep track of their patient’s progress with Cannabis. Budtenders should take the initiative to learn and educate their patient(s) to the best of their ability on the side effects of Cannabis and what possible outcomes may occur when taking certain prescriptions with it. In essence, Budtenders are Pharmacists, and one of the most important roles in the industry. Now, doesn’t that sound worthy of being more than just a $12-$14/hr position to you?

So, next time you are at a dispensary and your Budtender helps you select a great product and answers your questions, you should tip them. Period. The amount is never based off of a certain percentage, it’s all up to you and what you feel is deserving. Some shops do not allow tips so if you do not see a tip jar, ask your Budtender if you can leave them a tip. I promise you, even if they aren’t able to accept your tip, the idea of someone appreciating the work they are doing is just enough of a reward.

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Terpenes- The Essential Oils of Cannabis

If you are familiar with Cannabis, you know that there is a variety of strains, and each have their own unique scent. A Kush strain will smell more earthy, while a Tangie is going to smell more citrusy. Terpenes are the reason for strains having their own unique aroma. Terpenes not only affect the way a strain may smell, or taste, but play a HUGE role in how a strain is going to affect you. With legalization on the rise, testing standards are now adding testing for terpenes as a requirement, which is so great, because terpene content is so important! Instead of thinking of your flower as just an Indica, or a Sativa, or a Hybrid, you really want to be looking at the terpene profile.

Terpenes are oils that, in Cannabis, are produced in the resin glands of the plant (the same location THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are produced). These oils secrete a natural aroma, and are not only found in the Cannabis plant, but can be found all over nature; in lavender, mangoes, hops, basil, cloves, pine, the list goes on! Terpenes are already being used as therapy by health practitioners and this method is known as Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a method of healing through inhaling the scent of Essential Oils, although you can also eat or topically apply these essential oils as well. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience showed the positive effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils. Below is a quote from their findings:

“EEG activity, alertness, and mood were assessed in 40 adults given 3 minutes of aromatherapy using two aromas, lavender (considered a relaxing odor) or rosemary (considered a stimulating odor). Participants were also given simple math computations before and after the therapy. The lavender group showed increased beta power, suggesting increased drowsiness, they had less depressed mood (POMS) and reported feeling more relaxed and performed the math computations faster and more accurately following aromatherapy. The rosemary group, on the other hand, showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power, suggesting increased alertness. They also had lower state anxiety scores, reported feeling more relaxed and alert and they were only faster, not more accurate, at completing the math computations after the aromatherapy session.”

The two oils that they used, Lavender and Rosemary, have the same terpenes found in Cannabis; Linalool and A-Pinene. Strains that have these terpenes, have similar effects as those mentioned in the study above, funny huh? When you have a strain that’s predominant in Linalool, it’s effects will include full relaxation, anxiety relief, mental clarity, and possibly some mild sedation. When you have a strain with alpha-pinene, the effects typically include high alertness with an increased ability to focus. Since Pinene is also known to combat the paranoia, along with the short term memory loss that may be caused from THC, strains with this terpene can also provide a more relaxed, centered feeling overall.
In aromatherapy, you typically have isolated essential oils, and not a large range of variety in one mixture. When it comes to cannabis though, you can have a greater variety of terpenes (amounts vary, but you can typically find at least 3 and can go all the way up to 15, labels usually show only the top 3-5 though), which all interact with one another, and not to mention that they also interact with the Cannabinoids as well. This is actually the reason why Indica’s are generalized as more of the “In da Couch” strains, while Sativas are generalized as more of the creative, daytime strains. When in reality, it’s just the terpene combination. I’ll be creating more posts going into depth of each terpene, but I’ll give you one of the basics right now, so we can understand the idea of how Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids get their generalized definition.
Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in Cannabis and is also found in mangoes, peaches, sweet basil, and hops. It has the ability to produce feelings of full body relaxation, sedation, pain relief, and also works as a regulator for other terpenes and cannabinoids, and by doing so, can basically amplify their effects. For example, it helps THC reach the brain cells, allowing for a more intense high. If you find myrcene in a flower that has a high range of THC, Beta-Pinene, and Limonene; you’ll most likely think of this flower as a Sativa or a Sativa-Dominant Hybrid, because the myrcene will have the body feeling light and relaxed, will enhance the psychoactive effects of THC, will boost beta-pinene’s ability to increase alertness and focus, and will create a happy, uplifted mood thanks to the Limonene.
If you find myrcene in a flower that has some THC and CBD, Limonene, and Linalool, you’ll probably think of this flower as an Indica, or an Indica-Dominant Hybrid. The myrcene will create a full body relaxation, will enhance the synergetic effects of THC and CBD, allowing for great pain relief, the Limonene will allow the mind to decompress and de-stress, and the Linalool will just add to the calming of the body and the mind, this combo can potentially lead to a nice sedating feel, good for sleep, or may just be a nice combination for someone looking to unwind at the end of the day.
Not only do terpenes affect the way a certain strain makes you feel, they also have huge medicinal benefits! From helping treat certain cancers to mood disorders. Learning your terpenes is the best way to be able to medicate properly. It’s important to note though, that everyone is different, and some terpenes may not suit well with your chemical composition. Instead of generalizing cannabis into just three groups (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid), and completely steering clear of one or the other, let’s become more aware of what’s in your medicine in order to truly understand what you like, and what you dislike.
Also, as much as I love the labels and knowing what is in my flower, I do believe that our body communicates with us in regards to what it needs. When it comes to terpenes, sometimes following your nose can be your best option. If a certain strains aroma is super enticing to you, then you more than likely may be needing whatever is in that flower. Cannabis is a great medicine that allows us to enhance our intuition and ability to self heal. Next time you’re at a shop picking up some flower for yourself, let your nose do the looking first, and then check the labels to see what your body is asking for at that time.
References:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00207459808986469
http://theleafonline.com/c/science/2014/09/terpene-profile-myrcene/
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The Benefits of Raw Cannabis and the Entourage Effect

When talking about Cannabis, many people are familiar with THC and CBD, (which are cannabinoids that work with our Endocannabinoid System to restore balance within our internal system), but little is known about the raw cannabinoids;  like THC-A and CBD-A. Before we continue, here’s a little background info; most of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are typically in their acidic form. In order to get a psychoactive effect from Cannabis, THC-A must be heated to 220 degrees in order to convert to THC, which is psychoactive. Since Cannabis is popular for it’s psychoactive effect, most studies are on the decarboxylated cannabinoids. Recently, more studies have been done on the non-decarbed Cannabinoids and have shown to have many potentials in the treatment of cancer, musculoskeletal diseases, inflammation, and more.

A study conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals focused on the effects of CBD, CBDA, CBG, CBGA, CBGV, and CBGVA on leukemia cells, and found the following:

Cannabinoids reduce cells by being cytostatic- This means that the cannabinoids inhibit cell growth and division (stops cancer cells from spreading).

Cannabinoids alter cell signaling protein- The means that the cannabinoids interact with the receptors found in the cells.

Cytotoxicity can occur through break in treatment- This is huge!!! Researches found that cells treated with cannabinoids, were still able to kill off cancerous cells, even while not being in the cannabinoid solution. By giving the cells two days to recover from Cannabinoid treatment, cytotoxicity actually increased!

Cannabinoid Activity is influenced by drug combination and treatment schedule- Researchers tested out three different treatment plans for the cancerous cells, and found that all treatment plans showed less cells within 4 days. Which led to the analysis that the key to efficiency in treatment, is in the combination of cannabinoids, rather than using just a singular cannabinoid (CBD).

The last finding of the research is what I would like to highlight; the combination of cannabinoids, increased their own individual benefits to such a degree, that lower doses were needed of each cannabinoid when combined. If we take a look at this logic, we can understand how the Entourage Effect works in regards to Cannabis. The combination of CBD, CBG, CBGV, and their acidic forms showed an ability to help kill Leukemia cells in the study above, this is the Entourage Effect. If you combine CBD and THC, CBD will enhance the medicinal values of THC, such as it’s pain relieving and anti-cancer properties, and will reduce some of the psychoactive effects of THC, and THC will vice-versa, enhance CBD’s ability to ease inflammation and it’s neuro-protectant properties, this is the Entourage Effect. Cannabinoids work better together than separate.

Decarboxylated cannabinoids have a faster acting effect and are recommended for those seeking treatment for a serious disease. Adding raw cannabinoids to your treatment can enhance the benefits even more. The acidic form of the Cannabinoids are being shown to be a slower acting method towards rebalancing your endocannabinoid system, by bringing your internal system back to balance through a synergetic method. For those using cannabis as a way to prevent health problems, supplementing your routine with raw cannabinoids may be something of interest.

So, how can you find Raw Cannabinoids? There’s a couple of ways:

  1. Cannabis Plant Itself- You can juice the leaves or the flower, or add them to a salad or as a zest to any meal. You ideally want to use flower that is fresh, as Cannabis that is sold in dispensaries typically goes through a curing process, which means that some of the THCA may have converted to THC, or potentially CBN, depending on how old the cannabis is. (But, I’d honestly still do it if I had no other option, as those are still beneficial cannabinoids, just make sure you’re getting pesticide and microbial free flower.)
  2. Check out a Dispensary- There are certain tinctures coming out on the market today with raw cannabinoids. One of the products that I have most commonly recommended to patients is Nternal. They have micro dose sprays with a number of acidic and decarboxylated cannabinoids, to help patients regain harmony within.  These tinctures are typically non-psychoactive.

 

Cannabis is truly a holistic medicine and a reminder to focus on the whole picture, rather than the minor details, as major as they may be. Through the way it heals; by restoring homeostasis, allowing the body to essentially heal itself. To the way we view it as medicine; not just CBD, not just THC, but as a whole medicinal plant itself. When we begin to appreciate all there is, life begins to be a path of ease and joy, because no matter the bumps along the way, your gaze will stay towards that which brings you bliss.

 

 

References:
http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/33/10/4373.full.pdf+html
http://pureanalytics.net/blog/2012/05/09/acidic-versus-activated-cannabinoids-tips-on-how-to-choose-the-therapy-regimen-that-is-right-for-you/
http://www.greenbridgemed.com/patient-with-myasthenia-gravis-markedly-improved-with-cbd-thc-and-thc-acid/
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The Relationship Between Cannabis and Anxiety

Many of you may have experienced anxiety after consuming Cannabis, or know someone who has. I have some patients who want to steer away from Sativa strains, because they feel extreme paranoia when smoking straight Sativas. There’s some people who have been chronic cannabis consumers, that have built a tolerance towards the effects of the plant, and all of a sudden get anxiety and are unable to smoke again (I’ve been there). On the contrast, there’s many studies on patients who have suffered with anxiety and gain relief from Cannabis. People with PTSD have shown to greatly improve with Cannabis and replace their antidepressants with this healing herb. So how can this Medicinal plant cause anxiety in some, while removing it from others?

Let’s start off by explaining what anxiety is. Anxiety is a term for a group of  anxiety disorders that each have different ways of manifesting, with different symptoms as well. Some of the main types are; Stress, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, PTSD, and Social Anxiety Disorder. Most people have experienced stress throughout their life, and when this stress becomes an habitual state of being, it can lead to Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which can then lead to Panic Disorder, which is where the person suffers from multiple panic attacks (I’ve been there, too).

For people who go through stress from daily life, lighting a joint or smoking a bowl, may be the equivalent to drinking a glass of wine at the end of the night to unwind. Cannabis has certain cannabinoids and terpenes that can help relax the mind, and the body (ex. THC, Myrcene, Linalool, Nerolidol, Farnesene). Low doses of THC have been shown to be helpful in combatting stress and mild anxiety (8-10MG). Patients with PTSD may find THC dominant strains helpful, as THC can help by in essence, erasing their memory of the traumatic event, by rewriting the emotion they attach to that event. The way that cannabis does this is by the THC cannabinoid. THC activates the CB1 Receptors, many which are found in the brain region, and specifically in the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for our perception of emotions. When our CB1 Receptors are skewed due to the result of insufficient endocannabinoids, this affects our ability in eliminating fear, and allowing anxiety to take place. By replenishing the missing endocannabinoids, with THC, we are able to replenish our system and alter our brain chemistry to a balanced state.

So, how can cannabis induce anxiety in others? A study done in 2008 showed that cannabis raised cortisol levels in a dose dependent manner. Chronic cannabis users showed to have altered cortisol levels than the typical baseline. Cortisol is a hormone that our adrenals produce as a stress response. When too much cortisol is produced, this can drain the adrenals (Adrenal Fatigue), which has been linked to anxiety. So what is adrenal fatigue? Our adrenals are an organ within our body that secrete hormones, which regulate our moods, specifically with stress. When we experience chronic stress or go through a traumatic experience, we can potentially tire out our adrenals. This is one of the underlying reasons people experience anxiety disorders and a possibility in solving the double edge sword Cannabis has on anxiety. There are some people who can not even tolerate a single inhale of cannabis without going into anxiety mode, and this may be related to the current states of their adrenals. Luckily, CBD has been shown to be helpful in reducing cortisol levels, and helping people treat their mood disorders, along with counteracting the paranoia that can be felt from too much THC.

Anxiety can manifest for a variety of reasons, and taking a look at the root of your anxiety is the best way to choose how to go about treating it with Cannabis. For most patients who are suffering through extremely stressful situations or anxiety, I would recommend a CBD product. If you are a chronic cannabis consumer and enjoy high amounts of THC to help your stress, supplementing your intake routine with CBD products is a great way to ensure that you are receiving the best benefits possible from your cannabis experience.

I did want to mention this though-  One thing that I have learned through my own battles with anxiety, is that no matter the root of the problem, if we continue to give unwanted thoughts the ability to hold space in our mind, the anxiety will never go away, no matter how much THC or CBD we consume, Meditating or Breathing practices we do, or whatever you can think of. If there is something in your life that you dislike, then change it. If it is a job, leave it. If it’s a relationship, end it. Do what makes you happy, NOW, not tomorrow, or the next day, or next year. You’ll find another job, you’ll find another relationship, but nothing can ever replace your mental health and ability to be happy in the present moment. Your mental health is more important than anything. And once you have your mind right, all else will fall into place, trust me.

Cannabis is a medicinal plant with psychoactive components, allowing it be a psychedelic if you will. Most psychedelic medicines have the ability to amplify what is happening internally, creating a picture of all of the intricacies that go on in your mind and body.  When you are present with the whole picture, you have the ability to choose the perspective that best fits you. If you have anxiety when smoking Cannabis, allow yourself to observe that fear without being consumed by it (I know, easier said than done, but it can be done!). Is it fear of dying? Is it a fear of those around you? Cannabis is a tool to heal oneself and restore ourselves to a perfect balance. Anxiety is merely a tool to reach this balance as well; by amplifying the thoughts that are impeding complete wholeness and happiness, we are able to eliminate all fear, and in turn live a life rich with happiness and confidence.

 

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2863108/
http://www.ukcia.org/research/EndocrineEffects.pdf
https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8257923
https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html

 

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Cannabis & Your Endocannabinoid System-Bringing You Back to Center

Balance, it’s all about balance. From our diet, to our lifestyle, to our relationships; there are so many things going on in our world, it is important to allow ourselves to embrace all extremities of life, from the highs to the lows, in order to have a more complete and whole experience. The key to not getting lost in all the chaos, is to remain centered in where you are on the spectrum of things. In a physical sense, our bodies also require balance to function. I’m not just talking about balance in the sense of being able to walk, but balance in our bodies ability to regulate every single function happening within it. This process is called homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the stable condition of an organism and its internal environment, despite fluctuations in its external environment. Homeostasis allows us to remain at an optimal functioning condition (ex. Body Heat Temp, Fluid Levels, Blood Sugar Levels, etc.) The way that homeostasis works within all organisms is through three different components- Receptors, Control Center, and Effector. In Humans, these three components are known specifically as our CB1 and CB2 receptors (there are more receptors, but these are the two most studied in regards to the subject), Endocannabinoids, and Metabolic Enzymes.

These receptors are located at the surface of the cells, and transmit information to the inside of the cell, to allow for appropriate cellular responses. CB1 Receptors are predominantly located in the brain, whereas CB2 Receptors are typically found outside of the nervous system, like in the immune system. Endocannabinoids, are molecules that our body creates on demand that bind to and activate our Receptors. The Metabolic Enzymes ensure that the cannabinoids are used for what is needed, and then removed once no longer necessary.

Below is a quote from Dustin Solak, DO giving an example of how the Endocannabinoid System works:

“At the site of an injury, for example, cannabinoids can be found decreasing the release of activators and sensitizers from the injured tissue, stabilizing the nerve cell to prevent excessive firing, and calming nearby immune cells to prevent release of pro-inflammatory substances. Three different mechanisms of action on three different cell types for a single purpose: minimize the pain and damage caused by the injury.”

So, how does Cannabis come into play? The cannabis plant has an array of Cannabinoids that are exactly shaped as our own endocannabinoids. The most popular cannabinoids being THC and CBD. THC binds to the CB1 receptors, which accounts for the psychoactive effect THC has, seeing as the CB1 receptors are more abundant in the brain region. Whereas CBD binds to neither receptor, but actually inhibits the break down of anandamide, (the body’s own natural endocannabinoid) by Metabolic Enzymes, allowing it’s release to last longer.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency tends to be the reason why certain illness can increase in severity, and the reason why Cannabis has helped treat so many conditions. It is restoring the body’s own mechanism to heal and re-center itself!

 

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241751/
https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeostasis
http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system