Jump to content

Not That High.


greenbuddha
 Share

Recommended Posts

Not That High Posted by CN Staff on March 20, 2013 at 14:33:39 PT

By Emma Marris

Source: Slate

 

cannabisicon.gif USA -- My brother is a weed scientist. Every weekday morning, he drives to work in the Freemont neighborhood of Seattle, throws on a lab coat with “Northwest Botanical Analysis” stitched over the pocket, and starts putting tiny samples of ganja through a gas chromatography machine, among other gadgets. He tells breeders and the “dispensaries” that that currently distribute pot under the local medical marijuana system the potency of their various colorfully named strains as well as the relative amounts of the many subtly different compounds, called cannabinoids and terpenes, that make each one a different experience to smoke. He checks for mites, pesticides, and mold (a common problem with bud grown in Seattle’s damp basements). These days, he’s talking to the state Liquor Control Board as it works on the rules and regulations for retail sales of dope starting later this year.

 

When I tell people about my brother’s job—that is, when I tell people who are roughly in my demographic of thirtysomething and fortysomething parents—I nearly always get the same response: “Really? Can he score me some weak weed?”

Clearly, there’s a market segment out there that isn’t being catered to by the dope industry. And these relatively affluent customers want something more like a glass of wine at the end of the day than the effect summarized by one recent review of the guava dawg strain in Northwest Leaf magazine: “lung expansion, flavor worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, and the ability to instantly make my face feel like it’s been shrink-wrapped.”

Marijuana is much stronger than it used to be. Lots of the strains for sale at medical marijuana dispensaries are approaching 25 percent THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in the plant known for getting you wicked high. Sitting around a winter solstice bonfire in the Seattle area this December, I heard a woman in her 60s tell a story about her husband taking a tiny toke on a joint that was going around a dinner party, only to pass out in his chair. Another friend and her husband, in their 30s, decided to share a marijuana caramel after their daughter went to bed. They got way too stoned and entered a shared freak-out about how they would deal if she came out to ask for a glass of water.

An elder statesman of Generation X, comedian Louis C.K., has a bit in his Live at the Beacon Theater special about taking “big hits. Like big, 1970s, jean jacket, Bad Company hits” of modern, high potency dope, and then everything going terrifically terrible. “When I was a kid you could just smoke a joint for a while. Now you take two hits and you go insane,” he says. “It's not doable anymore.”

“Our potencies here are off the scale,” confirms longtime grower Todd Ellison, co-founder of Colorado Marijuana Marketing, a one-stop shop for weed-related entrepreneurs in search of marketing help. “I have a guy who taught me to grow, who has been growing since the ’60s. And this stuff blows him away.” And Ellison agrees. “I am almost 40. I’ve got three kids. You don’t want something that is going to lay you out and make you stupid all day.”

Why is dope so strong? Because plants with big, strong buds maximize the profit of the basement grower. Plus, the people who grow it and sell it also smoke it, and they’ve got high tolerances and a deep fondness for its effects. They like it strong.

When my brother, Andrew Marris, got into the weed-analysis business, he expected that growers would be pouring over readouts detailing the concentrations of the various psychoactive components, trying to create perfect, complex masterpieces. Instead, though, he found that many of his customers were obsessively focused on just one statistic: the percentage of THC.

This THC obsession has created a bimodal weed supply. There’s the carefully bred marijuana, with excellent flavor and aroma and pleasing suite of effects—which are ridiculously, hallucinatory, time-stutteringly strong for a casual user. Then there’s ditch weed or Mexican brick weed. Sure, you can smoke it around the campfire until the stars go out, but it smells bad and tastes bad, and nobody is going to bother testing it or perfecting it. What’s missing is lower-potency, high-quality dope.

“Right now, higher potency is a signal of quality product,” says my brother, “because weed grown poorly loses potency.” Good genetics and plants grown by careful, competent growers will result in a “medium-to-high-strength” product, he says. “It has an agreeable smell, vibrant colors.”

I raise my eyebrows about all this color and aroma talk. I chalk it up to stoners who wish they had the same cultural approval as guys who sit around swilling wine all day and talking about oakiness and jam. Dope smells like skunky wet laundry, no? My brother pops into the lab’s back room and comes out with a few samples. Some of them smell like tropical fruit and have strain names to match, like tangerine dragon. A strain called blueberry cheesecake smells exactly like blueberry cheesecake. Super lemon haze actually smells good to me. The complex chemistry explains the bouquet. For example, a terpene called myrcene that they’ve identified in strains like white dawg is also found in mangoes.

These terpenes affect the high as well as the sensory experience of smoking. It is called the “entourage effect.” As the industry matures with legalization and gets beyond its THC obsession, says Muraco Kyashna-tocha, director of the Evergreen State Cannabis Trade Alliance, “We'll learn we like the 15 percent THC lemon haze with myrcene way more than the 20 percent THC lemon haze with no myrcene.”

Yes, the marijuana industry is about to change, any minute. You can’t exactly walk into a grocery store and buy a sack of weed, but that day may not be that far off. Colorado and Washington state officials are currently hammering out rules and regulations for how the drug can be bought and sold, and by the end of the year, you might be able to pop into a state-run or private shop for a few ounces of the sticky icky on your way home from the office.

Will this new legality expand the market of marijuana customers beyond the current core demographic of guys in their 20s in hoodies and baseball caps with a callous disregard for regular shaving? Yeah. Probably. At least, that’s the read of industry insiders. “Now that the stigma of being a criminal in the eyes of the law (at least here in Seattle) is gone, we foresee a gradual increase in consumption, though perhaps in more benign forms like edibles, drinkables, and topicals. They are much more fun and much less threatening since you don't have to engage in the act of smoking,” says Lisa Dank, the media coordinator and web consultant for one Seattle dispensary, North Seattle Med. Co.

Back in Colorado, Ellison says that as of now, the demand for straight-up bud comes from men in their 20s, and they pay for potency. “They want to party and get wasted,” he says. But if customers demand something mellower, the industry will supply it. Ellison predicts that large corporations, such as beer companies, might fill the gap, producing large quantities of midgrade weed: not as flashy as the current Cannabis Cup winners, with their crystals of THC glistening under glamorous lighting, but not as pathetic as ditch weed either. “If the big boys come in and come out with a mid-grade” he says, then that new market will be served.

Until then, newbies and those who have been burned by strong weed have a few options. They can make sure that the marijuana they are buying is mostly Cannabis sativa rather than Cannabis indica. Sativa is said to be more cerebral, more placid. Indica, on the other hand, is known for inducing what industry insiders refer to as “couch lock.” If you are in your 40s or 50s, the dope you smoked in high school was probably sativa. “Most of this country, people over 40, the fond memories we have of way back when, when pot made you want to play the guitar and dance in the field, were of sativa,” says Kyashna-tocha. “We were importing from tropical places. But then we started having indoor production. If you grow indoors, you shift to the stuff that is going to maximize production: fast, short, and big impressive-looking buds. That is indica. The shift went to this more stupefying stoned high.”

One caveat about that sativa advice, though. My brother says that there are few, if any, truly pure strains available. Everything has been hybridized many times over in basements and grow rooms from California to Spain.

Another strategy is to go for the bargain parts of the plant. “Oftentimes the dispensary will have the shake and the leaf, which is going to have the same taste, but what you end up with is a less potent pot,” explains Ellison. “That way you maintain the taste and the high but you are not overdoing it.”

My brother says that it takes five months to a year to create a new strain of dope. It might take longer than that for a culture obsessed with potency to realize that there’s a market for something you can smoke after the kids go to bed or on a camping trip of retirees. Marijuana advocates have long countered worries about increased potency with research that smokers adjust and smoke less. But what if people don’t want to smoke less? We don’t all take tiny shots of strong liquor to get our drink on. No, we nurse 5 percent beer so we can keep drinking.

“People don’t want to take one micro-puff of a tiny little doobie and say, ‘We’re done,’ ” my brother says. “They want to share in the social aspect.” He moves his hand in a circle to indicate the archetypal joint-passing ring.

Weed breeders, take note. You can take your time on that 10 percent THC strain with the complex symphony of canabinoids and terpenes, calm muscle relaxation, creative headspace, and beautiful tropical aroma. But those rich baby boomers and Gen-Xers aren’t getting any younger.

 

Emma Marris is a freelance writer specializing in the environment. She is the author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World.

Source: Slate (US Web)

Author: Emma Marris

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Copyright: 2013 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

Contact: letters@slate.com

Website: http://www.slate.com/

URL: http://drugsense.org/url/W8GiAB5F

CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives

http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml

 

 

Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help facebook.gif stumble.gif diggit.gif reddit.gif delicious.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 63
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

It is difficult oftentimes to squqre the published qualities of a given variety with the results. I recently acquired a strain that was described in glowing terms. Mind you, it is verry good, but does not make me to jump up and down with bells on like the reviews suggest it will.

 

Welcome to Marketing 101.

Edited by GregS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is difficult oftentimes difficult to separate the published qualities of a given variety from the results. I recently acquired a strain that was described in glowing terms. Mind you, it is verry good, but does not make me to jump up and down with bells on like the reviews suggest it will.

 

Welcome to Marketing 101.

 

 

The entire point of the article was to put forth the idea that in those states that have legalized cannabis, and in those that 'will' legalize, there will be a market for MJ that has, consistantly, a moderate level of THC for those 'recreational users' that want a shorter lasting and less impactful MJ 'experience'.

 

A short course in market development, 102.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The article was thought provoking.  With cannabis for years being smuggled or grown illegally, it made the most sense to maximize the impact per gram. 

 

Today in legal states though, it might make sense to grow a less potent strain to appeal to different segments of the population.  Sort of like distributing wine coolers along with wine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The entire point of the article was to put forth the idea that in those states that have legalized cannabis, and in those that 'will' legalize, there will be a market for MJ that has, consistantly, a moderate level of THC for those 'recreational users' that want a shorter lasting and less impactful MJ 'experience'.

 

A short course in market development, 102.

Yeah. I get that. My remark regards a finer, and admittedly more minor, point, but one that is worth mention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The article was thought provoking.  With cannabis for years being smuggled or grown illegally, it made the most sense to maximize the impact per gram. 

 

Today in legal states though, it might make sense to grow a less potent strain to appeal to different segments of the population.  Sort of like distributing wine coolers along with wine

 

Exactly, Wash.

There will be all kinds of new markets involving cannabis.

This article only covered one of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To the article...

This whole thing about smoking two hits now and going crazy is comical. They said it in the 90s, the 00s, and now again the weed is somehow crazy better than ever before and after one hit people are passing out in chairs...nonsense.

I smoke between 3-7 grams a day of nice flower with no issues. I'm sure most people here do also, it's not that big of deal. I would be glad to show Louis C K that I can take "Bad Company" hits and be just fine.

 

There's something that endlessly annoys me when amateurs try to speak for the community. If anything, with higher CBDs counts Marihuana is more manageable to the patient as the paranoia is mitigated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the good labs used liquid spectrometers or something, not gas chroma. I think it is good to remember how it feels to have that first hit after weeks or months without, it hits you a lot harder than when you smoke regularly. Or if you have never smoked before, you don't want to start on something too strong. I didn't get high the first few times I smoked, and was told that was normal. But the first time I did feel it, it was pretty intense, noting I was a very young teen at the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marketing + hype = journalism 201

 

Pro Canibus +5

informative     +1

Marketing     +4

Journalism    +5

 

oa 80% = C+  , good

 

Sola, 80 % is usually around a 'B'. Do appreciate your expert opinion though.

 

To the article...

This whole thing about smoking two hits now and going crazy is comical. They said it in the 90s, the 00s, and now again the weed is somehow crazy better than ever before and after one hit people are passing out in chairs...nonsense.

I smoke between 3-7 grams a day of nice flower with no issues. I'm sure most people here do also, it's not that big of deal. I would be glad to show Louis C K that I can take "Bad Company" hits and be just fine.

 

There's something that endlessly annoys me when amateurs try to speak for the community. If anything, with higher CBDs counts Marihuana is more manageable to the patient as the paranoia is mitigated.

 

   

Harv, the article is aimed at 'recreational users'... NOT people that use every day and have built up a tolerance to THC.

  

  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To the article...

This whole thing about smoking two hits now and going crazy is comical. They said it in the 90s, the 00s, and now again the weed is somehow crazy better than ever before and after one hit people are passing out in chairs...nonsense.

I smoke between 3-7 grams a day of nice flower with no issues. I'm sure most people here do also, it's not that big of deal. I would be glad to show Louis C K that I can take "Bad Company" hits and be just fine.

 

There's something that endlessly annoys me when amateurs try to speak for the community. If anything, with higher CBDs counts Marihuana is more manageable to the patient as the paranoia is mitigated.

 

I certainy understand, Harv.

 

A guy grows a few plants, does a little smoking, learns a few technical terms and suddenly he's an expert on the subject and believes everyone else should be listening to him.

 

A real pain in the arse for most of us everyday folk that have to listen to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The entire point of the article was to put forth the idea that in those states that have legalized cannabis, and in those that 'will' legalize, there will be a market for MJ that has, consistantly, a moderate level of THC for those 'recreational users' that want a shorter lasting and less impactful MJ 'experience'.

 

A short course in market development, 102.

Rec users want something strong that lasts long most of the time.  If they wanted it to be weaker, and less longer lasting, then you just smoke less. Everyone knows that. Marketing 103 is lying for money, like those fancy charts the dispensaries have that lie to patients about them knowing exactly what works and what doesn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rec users want something strong that lasts long most of the time.  If they wanted it to be weaker, and less longer lasting, then you just smoke less. Everyone knows that. Marketing 103 is lying for money, like those fancy charts the dispensaries have that lie to patients about them knowing exactly what works and what doesn't.

 

Res, if I could read the minds of ALL 'recreational users' as you seem to be able to do... wow. If you can teach that ability, I'll be the first in line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I could read the minds of all 'recreational users' as you seem to be able to do... wow. If you can teach that ability, I'll be the first in line.

I've know a few... quite a few. I've never heard one ask for something a little weaker. "Hey, where's that lame stuff you had"? LOL

 

Most everyone knows you adjust by how much you smoke. Everyone wants the strong stuff because it's a better value.

 

Does that fit with your experiences or not? Or you just don't have any experiences to speak from?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've know a few... quite a few. I've never heard one ask for something a little weaker. "Hey, where's that lame stuff you had"? LOL

 

Most everyone knows you adjust by how much you smoke. Everyone wants the strong stuff because it's a better value.

 

Does that fit with your experiences or not? Or you just don't have any experiences to speak from?

 

Res, I'm sure I've 'forgotten' more 'experiences' than most other people have ever had the pleasure of having.

 

But when I become an 'expert' on 'experiences' as you appear to be... I'll be a very happy camper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Res, I'm sure I've 'forgotten' more 'experiences' than most other people have ever had the pleasure of having.

 

But when I become an 'expert' on 'experiences' as you appear to be... I'll be a very happy camper.

HINT: More about the subject and less about personalities would be better for all of us. You still haven't said why I'm wrong yet. I'm listening and not learning yet. What do you have to say about the subject?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote from your post. "Or you just don't have any experiences to speak from?"

 

Sounds just a tad 'personal', Res.

 

Wish I had more time for this... but I don't.  Got a busy day coming up.

It's all in your point of view. If you saw it that way then I apologize. I really think I was right using info from my personal experiences with cannabis since 1978. Never once have I heard someone ask for 'The Weaker Stuff'. They just smoke less of the good stuff. I think someone who wrote the piece was trying to prop up their trashy cannabis. LOL SERIOUSLY. Who really wants swag?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had people say they didn't like a particular strain because it was too powerful, or too high anxiety, too narcotic like. You get the drift, the point is some strains are just not what everyone wants. I think to say they want "less powerful" strains may be a bit misleading tho. More like they want strains that are powerful in the right ways for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share




×
×
  • Create New...