Oct 24, 2019
By Alicia Rose
I try to eat organic and support local, family farms and craft wine producers. I try to avoid consumable products that are over-processed or infused with artificial ingredients or additives. And I expect the same level of purity and quality from my cannabis - perhaps more so. The problem is, that finding these products is harder than you might think.
While California’s cannabis market is bursting with countless new brands and flourishing with innovation and sophistication, with products in gorgeous packaging, a surprising majority are made with mass produced, low quality ingredients like distillate, isolate and corn syrup. Gasp. The fact that many of us are just happy to be able to legally acquire cannabis products has precluded many of us from asking the important questions about the source and quality of a product – specifically such a powerful one that affects our mind, body and spirit.
The term 'conscious cannabis' is a way to summarize this holistic, wellness driven ethos, and should be something all of us discerning and newly educated consumers should demand.
Farming: Just like in every other agricultural sector, there are both industrial growers and small-scale family farms. Because cannabis is such a special, magical plant, it’s extra important to buy from growers and purveyors who employ sustainable, health centric practices at every level. Currently the term “organic” can’t be used in the context of cannabis so seek out other reputable eco-labels, including Certified Demeter Biodynamic, Sun + Earth, and DEM Pure, and those who are transparent about their cultivation methods.
Cultivation Methods: An organic heirloom tomato from the farmer’s market will always taste better than one grown in a greenhouse, out of season. Look for cannabis that’s been grown outside, in the soil, and allowed a full season to ripen into its full therapeutic potential. Avoid indoor cultivation or “light dep” because they force the plants to flower multiple times per year. Why does this matter? Think about a grapevine that's grown indoors and forced to bear fruit multiple times per year… the resulting wine would be awful. Since the function of cannabis is to help us achieve a greater state of balance and health, its extra important to ensure the plant has been allowed to develop naturally over the full season.
Extraction: There are dozens of extraction methods available to cannabis producers. We avoid all volatile and toxic substances used for extraction including butane and other hydrocarbons. Rather we trust the tried-and-true methods, used successfully for centuries in herbal medicine, such as infusion in butter or other organic oils, or extraction that employs ice, temperature and pressure, or organic alcohol/ethanol or CO2 (carbon dioxide).
Full Spectrum: Full spectrum extraction methods help ensure most of the 500+ therapeutic compounds are captured to maximize the therapeutic potential. Avoid isolate and distillate, which is generally used to concentrate the THC or other singular compound, to the exclusion of all others (and often a result of the necessity to remediate cannabis that wouldn’t otherwise past testing). Distillate is to cannabis as corn syrup is to corn, or pure grain alcohol is to wine. Why bother.
Other Ingredients: Speaking of corn syrup, we avoid it in our foods, so why should we tolerate it in our cannabis edibles? When it comes to vape cartridges, we highly recommend staying away from any additives including coconut oil, propylene glycol or fruit terpenes. There have been no studies to confirm the safety of inhaling these vaporized compounds over the long term, though we do know that coconut oil turns into formaldehyde in the lungs, and that “natural” fruit terpenes can volatize into type 1 carcinogens when heated.
Alicia Rose is the Founder & CEO of HerbaBuena. She is committed to leading the cannabis industry with an unwavering set of quality standards to ensure the highest expression of this sacred plant medicine to deliver vibrant health and wellness for people and planet. Informed by an extensive career in wine, having worked with a handful of 100-point winemakers, she is a pioneer in the craft and conscious cannabis movement.
HerbaBuena offers a thoughtfully curated collection of conscious cannabis products, available for delivery throughout California and same day delivery in Napa, Sonoma and Marin, as well as personal health consultations and private guided cannabis tasting experiences in wine country. www.HerbaBuena.com.
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