Marijuana Crop

Organic Marijuana: Fiction vs. Fact

Alright team, it's time to talk about Organic Marijuana. In the age where people are particularly concerned about the quality of what they eat or drink, it's no coincidence that the same concern applies to the quality of cannabis they smoke or ingest.

The term “organic” isn’t thrown around lightly. Food and beverage manufacturers go through arduous procedures and regulations when it comes to producing a product that can be deemed organic. An organic orange is by and far different from a normally produced orange. Now this isn’t to say that a non-organic orange is “unsafe”, but the quality of the product is noticeably different. Think of it this way; a Chevy Impala and a Ferrari 458 Italia are both cars that will get you from point A to point B, however there will be a difference in what you experience during that drive.

 

                       I’ll take the red one…

So it's no wonder that the same level of concern over quality applies to the booming marijuana industry in Oregon. As recreational use rises, so has the demand for high quality or “organic” marijuana. Dispensaries all over Oregon have begun to offer “organic” marijuana, and much to the users’ delight. High quality cannabis usually results in a high quality experience.

That said, “Organic” marijuana is not actually a thing. At all. It’s not real.

Now that’s not to say that high quality cannabis isn’t out there; quite the opposite. The Clean Green Certification and Certified Kind program is a new means of ensuring quality cultivation practices from growers, ensuring a high quality product for the consumers to enjoy. Their basis of testing for high quality cultivation is nearly identical to the practices of the USDA: Soil quality, pesticide use, environmental impact, etc. Plus, most smaller farming operations take care to produce a crop that they are proud of, something that they would enjoy consuming themselves.

No there is a different reason why “Organic” marijuana is not a thing. In order for a product to receive the Organic label, it must first go through a series of tests and certifications through the USDA. In short, to receive the Organic label, the producer must ensure that the product is:

  • Produced without excluded methods, (e.g., genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge).

  • Produced using allowed substances. (No synthetic soils, no harmful pesticides, etc.)

  • Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.

So why can’t these regulatory practices apply to marijuana? The USDA is prohibited from working with cannabis.

The USDA is a federal agency that oversees all organic labeling requirements, setting the standard across the US for producing Organic products. Now, being a federal agency, do you think the USDA is in a position to apply the same Organic labeling practices to marijuana? No way. The federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic, and as long as cannabis stays on as schedule 1, we will never see “Organic pot”.

So what does this mean for the consumer who seeks out only high quality cannabis. What about the driver who wants the Ferrari 458 and the 458 alone? This is where the Clean Green Certification and the Certified Kind program comes in. Independent from federal and state governments, these organizations provide the standardization and regulation processes similar to the USDA’s Organic labeling in order to ensure a high quality marijuana product produced under sustainable and “clean” practices. These programs check for:

  • Use of organic cultivation methods

  • Prevention of soil erosion and nutrient runoff

  • Water conservation methods from a legal water source

  • Carbon Footprint Reduction (CFR) program

  • Fair trade/fair working conditions

  • Legal compliance/non-black market

Each of these programs go above and beyond what the USDA requires for the organic label, and provide both standardization to the quality of cannabis products as well accountability to the grower. So those looking for “Organic” pot should seek out Clean Green Certified and Certified Kind strains and dispensaries (like Gorge Greenery!)

Recreational and Medical users alike need to be vigilant when they purchase their marijuana. Oregon is home to 400+ legal marijuana dispensaries, but any dispensary that claims they sell “Organic” marijuana should be given a second thought. This isn’t to say that their quality of cannabis is sub-par (quite the opposite; it’s probably pretty darn good if they call it “Organic”), but to call the product “Organic” is false advertising. The USDA will never put the true Organic label on cannabis, not until major change at the federal level is achieved. So when you’re shopping for your high quality bud, anybody claiming to have “Organic” weed is pulling your leg. If you want the quality experience, look for the Clean Green Certified or Certified Kind logo, and you’ll be on your way towards high quality elevation.

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Strain Spotlight: Jack Herer

Jack's Trichromes

Jack's Trichromes

Strain Spotlight: Jack Herer

The world of cannabis is full of many different strains. Today we are going to spotlight a classic Sativa-dominant strain who’s name carries a great deal of notoriety: Jack Herer.

First off, lets talk a little about the strain itself. Here’s the Strain Highlights from Leafly:

Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant cannabis strain that has gained as much renown as its namesake, the marijuana activist and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Combining a Haze hybrid with a Northern Lights #5 and Shiva Skunk cross, Sensi Seeds created Jack Herer hoping to capture both the cerebral elevation associated with sativas and the heavy resin production of indicas. Its rich genetic background gives rise to several different variations of Jack Herer, each phenotype bearing its own unique features and effects. However, consumers typically describe this 55% sativa hybrid as blissful, clear-headed, and creative.

Jack Herer was created in the Netherland in the mid-1990s where it was later distributed by Dutch pharmacies as a recognized medical-grade strain. Since then, the spicy, pine-scented sativa has taken home numerous awards for its quality and potency. Many breeders have attempted to cultivate this staple strain themselves in sunny or Mediterranean climates, and indoor growers should wait 50 to 70 days for Jack Herer to Flower.

Given the information provided by Leafly, Jack Herer makes for a great daytime and clear-headed experience. Medicinal patients may be fans of this strain as it would not cloud the mind as much as a potent indica strain. Recreational users may enjoy this strain for its creative factors, or perhaps the uplifting effect associated with sativas to energize oneself for a full day ahead.

But who was Jack Herer? Why did he become so revered in the cannabis community?

From Wikipedia:

Jack Herer was a renowned hemp activist and author of the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Starting in 1973, the story begins when Jack Herer takes the advice of his friend “Captain” Ed Adair and begins compiling tidbits of information about the Cannabis plant and its numerous uses, including as hemp and as a drug. After a dozen years collecting and compiling historical data, Herer first published his work as The Emerperor Wears No Clothes in 1985. The eleventh edition was published in November 2000, and the book continues to be cited in cannabis rescheduling and re-legalization efforts.

This dedication to seeking the truth about cannabis and hemp, plus his presence in the cannabis community and protests against prohibition, Herer became a legend, often referred to as the “Emperor of Hemp”. As an activist he fought for the plant to be decriminalized and argued that it could be used as a renewable source of fuel, medicine, food, fiber, and paper/pulp and that it can be grown in virtually any party of the world for medicinal as well as economical purposes. He further asserted that the U.S. government has been deliberately hiding the proof of this from their own citizens.

Jack Herer never stopped fighting cannabis prohibition up until his death on April 15, 2010. He still remains a legend among the cannabis community to this day, immortalized by his book and the strain in his name. Watch the full Jack Herer documentary below.

Test Results anyone? THC, THCA, Formula...

States that have legalized in cannabis require testing for potency and contaminants in cannabis, and lab-testing cannabis is quickly becoming an important part of the industry. The tests for pesticides, mold, contamination, etc. don’t require any new or special analytical techniques and are part of standard practice for other agricultural products as well. With the right lab equipment, chemists can measure cannabinoids to a certain degree of precision if they do it right, but the lack of a standardized way of looking at the data has everyone confused.

The subject of this issue is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which occurs naturally in the plant. THCA needs to be heated so it changes into THC, the active form that gets you high. All cannabinoids occur naturally in their acid forms, that’s just how their enzymes make them. The difference between THCA and THC is a carboxy group. Upon smoking, cooking or vaping heat gets rid of the carboxy so THCA gives of CO2, loosing about 12% of its weight in the process. Why does this matter for lab testing? Because THCA is heavier than THC, and lab results are given in percent mass.

The root of the confusion is the fact that different lab techniques give inherently different potency values. Depending on the lab, the analysis machine might use one of two separation methods: gas chromatography (GC) or liquid chromatography (LC).

GC happens at high temperatures, enough to completely decarboxylate all the cannabinoids in the mixture. The oven it happens in decarboxylates THCA before passing on to the detector, so it only picks up THC. This makes GC almost useless for testing edibles, because you need to be able to tell the difference between orally inactive THCA and active THC. Furthermore, decarboxylation happens incompletely at those high temperatures in the injector port, conserving no more than 70% of THCA, according to one study.

Liquid chromatography happens at room temperature and does not decarboxylate any cannabinoids, giving separate values for THCA and THC, which are always both present. These results need to be interpreted correctly, and hold hidden information about how the sample was handled and temperatures it has been exposed to.

Let’s look at an example. Given one lab result you could get three THC potency readings depending on how you read it, but only one method really stands to reason. Consider a made up lab result of Hypothetical OG that used LC, say it has 22.32% percent mass of THCA and 2.41% percent mass THC (active THC).

If you just look at the THCA value, you might think it has 22.32% THC. If you add the THC value to that, you might think this strain has 24.74% THC. Neither of these values is correct.

To get a real potency value you need to consider both THCA and THC, but with a correction factor for THCA before you add in THC. To calculate THCTOTAL:

 

THCtotal = (%THCA) x 0.877 + (%THC)

 

0.877 is the molecular mass (mm) of THC divided by that of THCA; this factor boils it down to a simple formula: take 87.7% of the value for THCA, then add on the value for THC. This formula also holds true for finding the active CBD content (CBD TOTAL) because CBD and THC have the exact same mm. Therefore the correct value of THC TOTAL for Hypothetical OG is 21.98%, the weighted average of THCA and THC.

To get a real measure of the potency of a strain of pot, you need to look at THC TOTAL. This is because the relative amounts of THCA and THC depend on the amount of heat the flower, dry bud or extract has been exposed to. Since this is always different, lab testing needs to see past this variable.

Since GC doesn’t work for edibles, many labs are switching to LC to test for edibles. If you know you’re looking at a lab test that used LC, you’ll need to use this formula to get a consistent value of THC TOTAL.

When looking at lab results, make sure to take this into consideration. Be suspicious of lab results that just give you one number for %THC. If the lab used GC, you won’t have this issue at all. The %THC given from a GC machine roughly reflects THC TOTAL.

Read the original article from High Times HERE.

"If you have to use pesticides...you're doing it wrong."

Oregon on Monday issued a list of more than 250 pesticides cannabis growers may be able to use on their crops. The list represents the first clear guidance from Oregon agriculture officials on what chemicals the state's marijuana industry may use to defeat mites, mold, mildew and other common pests and problems. Top state agriculture officials made clear that the list is a "starting spot" for marijuana growers, who still have to follow pesticide labels. Lauren Henderson, assistant director of the agency, said regulators combed through more than 12,000 pesticides registered with the state to see which had labels broad enough to include cannabis. Ultimately, the agency came up with about 250 products. The list will be reviewed quarterly, said Henderson.

Aviv Hadar, an owner of Oregrown, a dispensary in downtown Bend, said growers shouldn't use pesticides at all.

"If you have to use pesticides," he said in a text message to The Oregonian/OregonLive, "you're doing it wrong."

But it's clear many do. Though Oregon mandates pesticide testing for marijuana, a combination of lax state rules, inconsistent lab practices and inaccurate test results has allowed pesticide-laced products to enter the medical marijuana market, an investigation last year by The Oregonian/OregonLive found.

Rodger Voelker, a chemist at OG Analytical, a marijuana testing lab in Eugene, said Oregon's list doesn't include some of the more common pesticides he sees in cannabis that comes through his lab.

He also said growers will have to figure out how to safely apply the chemicals on the state's list. Some are included in state-mandated lab testing. That means growers may be able to apply the chemical to their crop, but the product will have to test below a certain level before it lands on store shelves.

Click HERE to read the full article.