Leaf411’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide: PHoto of a couple opening holiday gifts by a Christmas tree

Leaf411’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

To help you out with your holiday shopping, we asked our Leaf411 business members to share their products they’re most excited about this holiday season. If you’re looking for gift ideas for hemp CBD or cannabis lovers, these products would be a great place to start!

You’ll find hemp CBD products listed first, followed by cannabis products available in select Colorado dispensaries. Product details were provided by the manufacturers or retailers.

Be sure to read all the way through! You won’t want to miss Nové Luxury Edibles’ exquisite cannabis-infused chocolate bar or Seed & Smith’s holiday gift sets specially priced for all kinds of budgets, and more!

The best hemp CBD gifts for friends and family

Hemp CBD makes the perfect gift for friends and family who live too far away to visit in person, since hemp products are federally legal and can be mail-ordered and shipped. Of course, hemp CBD is also a great option for local family members, friends and neighbors who are interested in health, wellness and relaxation during the busy holiday season!

Elixinol Calm Stress Support Capsules and Everyday Rapid Reset Liposome

Elixinol Calm Stress Support Capsules pair Ashwagandha – a natural root known for its calming effect – with CBD to help relieve occasional stress. Perfect for just about anyone who could use a little help combatting daily stress during the holiday season!

Looking to boost your non-alcoholic holiday beverage? Elixinol Everyday Rapid Reset Liposome

tincture leverages liposome technology for efficient CBD absorption. Liposomes are microscopic bubbles that carry CBD, making it easy and efficient for your body to absorb. They give your body more CBD per serving that might otherwise be lost in the digestive process. The product tastes delicious too, as it is naturally flavored with orange & lemon extracts. Click here to learn more about Elixinol’s current promotions and products.

WelCel CBD Sleep Creme

Support a restful night’s sleep with WelCel’s CBD Sleep Creme featuring 3,000mg CBD Isolate per bottle. This groundbreaking product doesn’t contain drugs or hormones, only the power of CBD and natural botanicals. Welcel Sleep Creme effectively relaxes your mind and body so your body can do exactly what it is designed to do at night – SLEEP!

When developing this product, WelCel founder Dr. Lisa Gardner started with an amazing antioxidant creme that has both natural and organic ingredients, without harmful chemicals or hype. She then sourced the highest quality ingredients and essential oils like Organic Aloe Leaf Juice, Vitamin E, Organic Rosemary Leaf Extract, Vitamin C, Organic White Willow Bark Extract, and Organic Lavender. Next, she infused this amazing creme with 3,000mg of powerful pure CBD! WelCel CBD Sleep Creme makes the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for your loved ones this holiday season. Order at Thrive Apothecary via this link.

Myriam’s Hemp Gift Bundle

For the friend who loves exploring new products: Myriam’s Hemp offers a wide range of hemp topicals and tinctures featuring CBN, CBG, and even CBDA (a cannabinoid that Leaf411 recently covered in our blog). Even better, Myriam’s Hemp offers options to customize with terpene boosts and your favorite flavor. Diana Peña, Myriam’s Hemp co-founder, suggests putting together a gift bundle with their bestselling CBN and CBG tinctures, together with their CBD balm topical cream. Keep an eye on Myriam’s Hemp website for holiday deals.

RESTART CBD CBN Sublingual Oil

Relaxation is at the front of RESTART CBD co-founder Shayda Torabi’s mind as holiday parties gear up. She recommends RESTART’s CBD CBN Sublingual Oil 1200mg as a great gift for busy people, explaining that CBD:CBN Oil is typically used for calming nighttime relief that standard CBD extracts can’t fully solve. Depending on how you respond, it might help you chill out after a long day, loosen up for a social situation or get some solid rest. CBN alone could bring relief, or it might benefit your routine as an addition to CBD so that you get the entourage effects of multiple cannabinoids working together. CBN Oil can also be added to THC therapies to elevate its effects. Find RESTART CBD’s full product lineup, including CBD flower and vapes, at this link.

Calm Better Days Holiday Box

Want to give your friend the gift of product support along with a collection of great hemp products? Calm Better Days has you covered. Not only do they sell over 20 well-known CBD brands, many of them woman-owned, but they also provide free consultations where consumers can learn the basics of CBD and complete a personal assessment to discover which products are best for their specific health situation. This holiday season, Calm Better Days is also offering the Women of Wellness Holiday Box featuring the best CBD products by woman founders in cannabis. The curated set includes different CBD products for the best self care experience, from bath bombs, tea, oral spray, intimacy oil, facial oil and more. Click here to learn more.

Hemplily Menopause Complex Tincture bottles and roses, pairing two great gift ideas.

Hemplily Menopause Complex Tincture

Maintaining good mind/body balance is more important than ever, especially for women with menopause symptoms. The new Hemplily Menopause Complex tincture with full-spectrum hemp extract (FSHE) plus Ashwagandha and Reishi Mushroom is great for helping to manage mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats and more. Hemplily also offers Everyday CBD tinctures, topicals and gummies that will appeal to health-minded friends of all ages. Visit Hemplily at this link for the latest deals and product information.

Ology Essentials Full Spectrum CBD Muscle Gel

Looking for that perfect warming product to soothe and nourish your body? Ology Essentials has formulated a product specifically for you – the hemp CBD Muscle Gel is a beautifully synergic product with 300 mg of full spectrum hemp CBD, capsicum, menthol, hyaluronic acid, and a powerhouse of essential oils. Click here to find product information and holiday deals.

CAASI CBD products including CBD Bath Bombs, Water-Soluble Drops, Scalp & Skin Soother, and Soothing Transdermal Body Lotion.

CAASI Water-Soluble Drops and Scalp & Skin Soother

CAASI’s flagship Water-Soluble Hemp CBD Beverage Drops are perfect for the athletes, cooks, bartenders, home hosts or anyone that wants to relax. These drops are available with either broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, providing a convenient option for adding CBD to food or beverages.  

Looking for a topical gift? CAASI Scalp & Skin Soother is perfect for anyone looking for new options to help with scalp psoriasis or eczema, conditions which are often aggravated by dry winter air.

CBD Garage – Foria Wellness Intimacy CBD Quickie Kit

Intimacy plays a big role in wellness, and this year CBD Garage has you covered with a special Foria Wellness Intimacy CBD Quickie Kit. Whether you’re already a Foria fan or new to CBD in the bedroom, this bundle includes all the bestsellers from their Intimacy collection, in deluxe mini sizes: Awaken Arousal Oil, Sex Oil and Intimacy Suppositories. With an unwavering commitment to clean ingredients, organic and regenerative farming, and responsible packaging, Foria is on a mission to support lifelong sexual wellness and pleasure. 

CBD Garage carries hemp products, nutritional supplements and adaptogens made by over 20 different high-quality brands, many of them Colorado-based. Check out CBD Garage’s full catalog at this link.

Foria Wellness The Quickie gift set showing Awaken Arousal Oil, Sex Oil and Intimacy Suppositories.

Cannabis options for celebration, relaxation and wellness

Cannabis can make a great gift for yourself or for friends who you know enjoy the plant’s many benefits. Of course we recommend sticking with legally-manufactured products that have undergone testing and are compliant with state laws. Remember as well to always start low and go slow when trying new products so that you don’t become too high. After all, the goal is to enjoy and savor the product!

Nové Luxury Edibles Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Bar with 10mg THC per piece and 100mg THC per bar.

Nové Luxury Edibles Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates

New from the creators of incredibles, Nové Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates are the perfect infused edible for everyday luxury. There’s no need for wrapping paper with their sophisticated and sleek packaging, which happens to be environmentally friendly. Recyclable, biodegradable, and made with 33% post-consumer materials, the eco-conscious would appreciate this elevated gift, as would the foodie! Crafted with a sprinkle of fleur de sel, 38% single-origin cacao sourced from Venezuela, and filled with decadent caramel, this flavor is sure to impress both the canna-curious and the cannabis connoisseur. Available to adult use consumers, packages contain ten 10mg THC pieces. Please remember to consume responsibly, waiting at least two hours before eating more than a single serving.

Nové is luxury without the luxury price tag, averaging $20 retail. Find Sea Salt Caramel as well as other Nové chocolates and gummies at exclusive Colorado retailers including Medicine Man, Euflora, and Rocky Road Aurora. Check Nové’s online store locator for more information.

Ripple Gummies

Putting together a cannabis-infused gummies gift basket? You’ll want to be sure to include Ripple Gummies! Ripple Gummies combine everyone’s favorite edible with a high that’s clinically proven to be 2 times faster than the leading gummy. Available in delicious, all-natural flavors and a wide range of doses, there’s a Ripple Gummy for every high. Learn more and find retailers at this link.

A man shares two cannabis-infused Ripple Gummies with a friend.
Gift-wrapped Seed & Smith Holiday Vape Bundle featuring the Dart battery which uses Live Dart Pods.

Seed & Smith Holiday Vape Bundle

Give the Gift of Happy with Seed & Smith! Starting December 6, you’ll find holiday bundles at multiple price points exclusively at Seed & Smith retail locations: 5070 Oakland St, Denver CO 80239, and 1413 Hecla Way, Louisville CO 80027. Our Holiday Vape Bundle includes two Live Dart Pods, a Limited Edition Holiday Dart battery, two Live 1gram carts and a Seed & Smith 510 battery for a special low price that you won’t want to miss! Visit Seed & Smith’s website to learn more.

Give the gift of knowledge by supporting Leaf411

If you’ve spent much time talking to others about cannabis and hemp, you know that the old stigmas and myths are going strong. Even experienced cannabis users may have questions as new product types roll out, and everyone is looking for reliable sources of information they can trust. That’s where Leaf411 plays a vital role–but we need your support!

As you plan your holiday giving, please consider giving the gift of cannabis guidance by contributing to our Leaf411 GoFundMe campaign at this link. By joining the movement, you’re providing access to cannabis education from cannabis-trained RNs with the goal of supporting safe consumption and effective use of plant-based medicine.

Interested in supporting Leaf411 as a business member? Visit our Business Membership page to learn the benefits of supporting Leaf411

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Hands holding a heart, representing how to support Leaf411 with your contributions.

Woman who uses THCV standing on scale celebrating weight loss

How to use THCV to support weight loss goals

The non-intoxicating THCV cannabinoid helps with appetite control and focus 

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

THC or CBD are probably the first things that jump to mind when you hear about cannabinoids. However, THC and CBD are only two out of over 100 unique cannabinoids that have been found in cannabis and hemp, although many exist at very low levels and have not been studied. THCV, a cannabinoid that Healthline dubbed “Diet Weed” is one of the lesser-known cannabinoids that is rapidly moving into the spotlight.

THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) recently popped up on our radar with the launch of Wana Fit THCV gummies as a non-intoxicating option to help reset eating habits. Wana is one of Leaf411’s supporting members and is an industry leader when it comes to integrating cutting-edge science and technology into cannabis and hemp product development.

For their Wana Fit THCV gummies, Wana partnered with ECS Brands to source proprietary organic THCV and utilized Azuca TiME nano-encapsulation technology, creating a gummie with faster onset and increased bioavailability of THCV and other cannabinoids when compared to traditional edibles. You can read more about Wana’s product development process at this link.

What is THCV?

THCV only has one additional letter—the letter “V”—when compared to the more well-known THC. However,  when it comes to potential effects, there’s a world of difference between these two cannabinoids which are molecularly different.

In fact, THCV affects your body’s endocannabinoid system differently than other cannabinoids. Mike Hennesy, Vice President of Innovation at Wana, offers an easy-to-understand explanation using the example of a car’s gear shift as an analogy for the CB1 receptors found throughout your endocannabinoid system.

(Need a refresher on the endocannabinoid system? Check out our 101 blog here.)

“Some cannabinoids put the CB1 receptor in neutral, while others put it in second gear or high gear or even put it in reverse gear,” Mike says. “That’s why you can find very different effects depending on the product or flower strain you’re using.”

Mike continues, “Using THC is like putting the car in “drive” with a range of effects including the intoxicating ‘high,’ while CBD is like putting the car in ‘neutral,’ or downshifting the car to a lower gear if someone is also using THC at the same time. THCV has an even different effect, like putting a car in ‘reverse’ with effects that are nearly opposite what the user would get with THC.”

Person in glasses with wondering expression looking at THCV molecular diagram
Close-up of word “cannabinoids” in a research journal

Will THCV make you high? What are THCV’s effects?

Because THCV works differently on CB1 receptors, it does not create the intoxicating high that you would get from the more well-known THC. You can see a breakdown of the differences between THC and THCV in the table below.

Table showing how THC and THCV effects differ.

(Research sources: https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-020-0016-7  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576603/ )

Will THCV help you lose weight? Here’s what the research says

We are guessing that many of you are interested in THCV’s potential to help with weight loss goals. What does the research say on this front?

ECS Brands, which Wana sources its THCV from, recently ran a 90-day, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical study on their proprietary Nitro-V THCV with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Participants did not make any other changes to their diet or exercise. 

Among those participants who were assigned to the daily THCV group:

  • 100% experienced weight loss, with participants losing up to 22 pounds over the 90-day study
  • 61% reported a reduction in hunger
  • 40% reported fewer food cravings
  • 52% reported a reduction in anxiety
  • Average body mass index (BMI) dropped by 3 points

In contrast, among the study’s placebo group (the participants who did not take THCV), only 36% lost any weight, and average BMI remained unchanged. 

Wana Fit THCV gummies use the same Nitro-V THCV extract that was used in the ECS Brands study, but with the additional technology of Azuca TiME nano-encapsulation, meaning that bioavailability is improved.

The word “research” spelled out with wooden blocks representing THCV research
Wana Fit THCV gummies label information showing dose per piece: 0.5mg THCV, 10mg CBD, and 0.1mg THC, with 10 pieces per package.

Interested in adding THCV to your routine? Here’s what you need to know.

Your success in using THCV will hinge on setting realistic expectations and building an overall routine that supports your goals, whether that’s healthier eating habits or reducing stress.

Remember that THCV is a tool, not a magic wand. You still have to put in the work, but THCV can make it easier to overcome challenges and setbacks. If you’ve been trying to lose weight you’ve likely learned that a mix of strategies that includes mindful eating, exercise and adequate sleep is the best approach. Sustaining those good habits can be tough, though, especially in the face of cravings, holiday treats and less daylight hours for getting outdoor exercise. That’s when a cannabinoid like THCV can be useful as a tool for reinforcing your wellness goals.

In other words, THCV won’t cancel out the calories in that pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but it may make it easier for you to stick with one serving as an after-dinner treat instead of polishing off the pint while watching a movie.

A special caution for consumers who face workplace drug testing

While Wana Fit THCV gummies won’t cause intoxication, they do contain very small amounts of THC (0.1mg per serving). This THC is converted into the THC-COOH metabolite and stored in body fat, where it accumulates over time. It doesn’t get you high, but it could trigger a positive workplace drug test result. Click here for more information on workplace drug testing, THC and CBD, and call our special Wana hotline number at 844-WanaFit (844-926-2348) if you have questions about how Wana gummies may impact workplace drug testing. 

Caution sign warning consumers that Wana Fit THCV gummies may trigger a positive workplace drug test.

How to use Wana Fit THCV gummies

At Leaf411, we are very excited to see Wana Fit THCV gummies become available to consumers, given the company’s reputation for bringing high-quality, all natural, trustworthy products to market. 

We thought we’d answer some basic questions here.

Bottle of Wana Fit THCV gummies with “How to Use” spelled out with stacked wooden blocks.

Q: When starting with Wana Fit THCV gummies, what’s a good starting dose?
A: We suggest starting with either a half-gummie or one gummie, and then adjusting your dose based on your tolerance. On this front, it can be helpful to use a journal to record how the product is affecting you. Some consumers have found that half of a  gummie is a good dose while others have found two gummies to be most effective for focus and energy. 

Q: Should I take the gummie at the same time each day?
A: Wana Fit THCV gummies should be taken in the morning to help with focus and energy. Take the daily gummie with food to help increase bioavailability (absorption). 

Q: How long will it take before I notice a difference from taking THCV?
A: Most consumers report an immediate effect with regard to focus on and energy

Q: If it doesn’t seem like a single gummie is working, what’s the maximum dose I can take?
A: We suggest that you may increase your daily intake to two gummies a day if you are not experiencing any changes taking one gummie a day. Remember that journaling the effects of the product will help dial in your dose better to achieve maximum benefit.  

Of course we encourage you to call the FREE Leaf411 WanaFit hotline at 844-WanaFit (844-926-2348) if you have specific questions about how to use THCV, or have other questions about potential medication interactions or even something as simple as how to read the product label.

Stacks of cards spelling “stack” alluding to adding THCV to an existing cannabis stack or regimen.

How will THCV impact your ongoing cannabis or hemp regimen?

If you’re adding Wana Fit THCV to your ongoing cannabis or hemp CBD regimen, we suggest reviewing the products you’re using to know how many total milligrams per day of each cannabinoid you are consuming in case your clinical team asks. For the record, each Wana Fit THCV gummie provides 10mg of CBD, 0.1mg of THC and 0.5mg of THCV, so be sure to add that to your journal.

Also, if you already use cannabis, you may be wondering if THCV will impact the familiar high you get from THC-dominant products like cannabis flower. Indeed, we talked earlier about how THCV acts very differently on your endocannabinoid’s CB1 receptors than THC.

Does that mean that THCV can actually cancel out intoxication, for example when you over-consume and feel too high? Unfortunately, research is very limited in this area. One small study reported that THCV seemed to dampen the effects of THC based on participant reports; however, at this point it is not possible to make general conclusions from that one study.

Close-up of keyboard key that says “Hotline” indicating the Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline offers both chat and call options.Leaf411 can help you with your questions about THCV

Our Leaf nurses have completed extensive education on the THCV cannabinoid as well as Wana Fit THCV gummies and are ready to answer your questions about this new non-intoxicating option for improved focus and appetite control. In fact, Wana has even partnered with Leaf411 to launch a special toll-free hotline number, 1-844-WanaFit (1-844-926-2348) that’s being shared with consumers who are new to Wana and the world of wellness-driven cannabis. Leaf411 nurses are also providing in-person consultations during special pop-up events at dispensaries in the Denver area. Keep an eye on Wana Brands or Leaf411 social media for dates and times.  

Access to trustworthy information is especially important as Denver begins allowing cannabis delivery, which means that consumers may not be able to ask budtenders product-related questions like before. And of course budtenders are not qualified to answer medical questions about using Wana Fit THCV gummies or other products–but our Leaf411 nurses are fully up-to-date on the research and qualified to answer your questions!

Call the FREE Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat with us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

For more information on Wana Brands’ Optimals product line, visit https://www.wanabrands.com/optimals/

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


CBDA oil tincture in a dropper held above a bottle.

Exploring the Benefits of CBDA in Hemp Products

Exploring the Benefits of CBDA in Hemp Products

Leaf411 member Myriam’s Hemp shares insights on CBDA and the importance of hemp consumer education

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

We recently talked with Myriam’s Hemp Co-Founder and CEO Diana Peña about the company’s wide range of hemp products. The brand offers hemp topicals as well as tinctures featuring CBD, CBG, CBN and CBDA, as well as an Enhanced CBD Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO) packed with hemp plant compounds. Myriam’s Hemp also creates custom blends for customers with unique terpene profiles. 

Diana Peña, Co-Founder and CEO of Myriam’s Hemp

Diana Peña, Co-Founder and CEO of Myriam’s Hemp

When we asked Diana which of the cannabinoids she felt was most underrated, she was quick to respond.

“People are paying more attention to the different cannabinoids found in hemp and how they deliver different results. However, the product that we’ve always carried at Myriam’s Hemp and that I still think to this day that doesn’t get enough attention is CBDA,” said Myriam.

We’re guessing that many of you have never heard of CBDA (it’s different than CBD!) and thought it would make a great topic for today’s blog post after talking with Diana. We’ll also share tips for finding hemp products that truly deliver the CBDA and other cannabinoids they claim to contain.

Hemp is more than just CBD: Understanding hemp’s beneficial compounds

Usually when people discuss hemp, they’re talking about CBD (cannabidiol), but in fact, the hemp plant contains hundreds of plant compounds including other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and essential fatty acids (a good fat!).

Understanding different cannabinoids can make all the difference when it comes to finding the best hemp product for your needs, whether you’re seeking relief or boosting overall wellness. In fact, you might have even tried a few of the minor cannabinoids—for example, CBN (cannabinol) or CBG (cannabigerol), though chances are that you’ve not heard as much about CBDA.

Two people looking at product test results showing beneficial hemp compounds.

CBDA: The precursor to the more well-known CBD

CBD itself is no slouch, with many people finding that CBD is a powerful tool when it comes to health concerns.

But did you know that CBD doesn’t start out as CBD in hemp/cannabis plants? In fact, the compound starts out as CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) which is found in fresh raw hemp and cannabis.

When CBDA is exposed to heat over 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit), it converts to CBD. The scientific term for this process is “decarboxylation.” Typically, decarboxylation occurs either during the extraction process or when someone smokes, vapes or cooks with the hemp flower, heating it up to over 110 degrees Celsius.

However, some hemp extraction techniques don’t involve heat. When these extraction techniques are used, CBDA may remain in the hemp product.

Whiteboard drawing of CBDA’s molecular structure

Is CBDA better than CBD?

CBDA works differently in your body than CBD. How? CBDA has a different mechanism of action. Instead of binding directly to CB1 or CB2 receptors found in the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBDA acts on COX-2 receptors which play a role in inflammation as well as 5-HT receptors which produce serotonin.

CBDA’s different mechanisms of action means that it provides different and wide ranging results which are currently being researched to better understand its potential. CBDA may also be far more potent than CBD when it comes to managing nausea and vomiting based on research that Dr. Ethan Russo shared in a review published last year.

While most research shows that THC is best for nausea, someone could start with CBDA if they are adverse to THC, or if they live in an area where cannabis is not legal. Our Leaf411 nurses suggest CBDA is best for anticipatory nausea. 

CBDA may help in other ways as well. At Myriam’s Hemp, Diana hears from customers who say that CBDA works well to help with multiple concerns.

“Some people have various ailments—they’re not just dealing with anxiety, but have anxiety, inflammation, pain and mood swings all happening at the same time. Those are the customers we hear from who tell us that CBDA has been especially helpful for them.”

CBDA is thought to be more water-soluble than CBD and in turn is more bioavailable, meaning that CBDA can be more effective at lower doses compared to CBD. This might address how it may be “better” or more effective than CBD. The lower doses can help people avoid side effects that may come with higher doses of CBD and it can be more cost effective.

At Leaf411 we suggest there may be a potential to use CBDA as a first line treatment option due to the lower doses needed for possible symptom relief. There is less research on CBDA metabolism so we always suggest  approaching it with caution. If THC is a barrier to a new cannabis user, CBDA could be an option as well due to easier access and again lower doses which could mean less side effects and drug-to-drug interactions.

Three arrows on the ground pointing in different directions, indicating choices about which hemp product is best.

How to make sure you’re getting high quality CBDA

Hemp products containing beneficial amounts of CBDA can be challenging to find. Obviously, when you shop for a CBDA product, you’ll want to make sure that it contains the cannabinoids being advertised.

How do you do that?

Look for companies that regularly test their hemp products via an independent third party laboratory. Test results will be provided as a product Certificate of Analysis (COA) showing the different percentages and amounts (usually milligrams per gram or “mg/g”) of cannabinoids in the tincture, edible, topical or other product. For example, the first page of Myriam’s Hemp COA for their CBDA tincture batch #2138 is shown below listing cannabinoids found in their tincture.

Five stars lined up on a tabletop, indicating high quality.
Screenshot of the top portion of Myriam’s Hemp CBDA Certificate of Analysis. The COA also shows results for terpenes and potential contaminants, and is available on the product page.

Screenshot of the top portion of Myriam’s Hemp CBDA Certificate of Analysis. The COA also shows results for terpenes and potential contaminants, and is available on the product page.

Some manufacturers like Myriam’s Hemp go beyond the basic tests to also include lab results for potential contaminants like solvents, heavy metals and molds. This voluntary extra level of testing helps ensure product purity for consumers.

When it comes to Myriam’s Hemp full spectrum CBD tincture, the brand even includes lab results showing the amount of beneficial terpenes in the oil.

Beyond independently lab-testing every lot, Myriam’s Hemp has built a long-term relationship with an Oregon organic hemp grower to ensure consistency and reliability in the plants that are grown for the brand. This attention to detail really sets Myriam’s Hemp apart from other hemp brands that may get their raw materials from the cheapest source, with little regard for product consistency.

Exploring Myriam’s Hemp’s full range of products, including the new Sunshine Orange flavor

 In addition to CBDA, Myriam’s Hemp also offers tinctures featuring CBG, CBN or CBD and Enhanced CBD Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO), along with CBD balms and pet CBD. 

Tinctures are available in unflavored olive oil, natural vanilla flavor or the new natural Sunrise Orange flavor. When ordering a tincture, you also have an option to add a terpene boost designed to promote specific effects, including calm, focus, energy or immunity.

The company can also formulate custom blends with unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles personalized to individual needs. For more information about how to customize your product, click on this link.

Freshly picked oranges in a fruit crate, mirroring Myriam’s Hemp’s newest Sunshine Orange flavor.

A personal connection to the healing power of hemp and cannabis

Talking about CBDA, COAs and product quality can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. At Leaf411, we understand! All of our Leaf411 staff have been there before, not sure where to start with investigating the therapeutic potential of hemp.  

In fact, Diana shares a similar story as our own co-founder, Katherine Golden, RN, when it comes to a family member’s health concern that brought Diana to the hemp space. 

In 2013, Diana’s mother Myriam was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor which launched the family on an exhaustive search for alternatives to manage Myriam’s pain and improve her quality of life while facing a terminal condition. The family’s journey ultimately led to the creation of Myriam’s Hemp with a focus on providing consistent product quality and transparency to other patients and consumers who were also seeking plant-based alternatives. 

From their own experience seeking out plant-based alternatives for an ill family member, the Myriam’s Hemp team knows that education is incredibly important when it comes to targeting specific cannabinoids to health goals.

Two hands holding a paper doll family, reflecting caring and connection.
Example of CBD journaling taken from Myriam Hemp’s Facebook page.

Example of CBD journaling taken from Myriam Hemp’s Facebook page.

How much CBDA, CBG, CBN, or CBD should you take?

While Diana is comfortable talking about the unique features of each of their hemp products, when it comes to dosing, she is thankful to have Leaf411 as a resource to share with consumers. 

“We provide a lot of education on our website and provide general information about starting low and going slow with hemp products,” said Diana. “However when it comes to individual questions about dosing, we refer consumers to the Leaf411 nurses who have the education and research to lead the consumer in the right direction.”

Some consumers reach out to Myriam’s Hemp wanting a thorough medical consultation, but Diana notes the cost may be prohibitive to many people.

“We have some really great doctors we can send people to, but to be honest with you, some of them are very expensive, up to between $600 and hour and $750 an hour. A lot of people can’t afford that,” Diana says. “Leaf411 helps fill the gap by providing free clinical guidance to patients who might otherwise be left to try and figure out everything on their own.”

Myriam’s Hemp supports Leaf411 as a business member to ensure the public has access to clinically-sound guidance at no cost, as one of many ways the company supports consumers. 

In fact, Diana points to the brand’s customer support as another element that really makes Myriam’s Hemp stand apart from the competition. 

“We get feedback from customers saying that other companies do not provide the same level of help and information that we provide,” Diana says. “I’m always happy to hear that type of feedback, because we have worked hard to make sure our own staff is really knowledgeable and able to help.”

Myriam’s Hemp also offers a Compassion Program for veterans, seniors, and people who may struggle with the cost of plant medicine, based on the belief that “good health should never be out of reach.”

Let our expert Leaf411 nurses help with your hemp questions

Our Leaf411 hotline nurses are knowledgeable about the wide range of hemp products available today, and are ready to answer your questions about the best options for your health and wellness needs, whether that’s CBD, CBDA, CBG, CBN or other cannabinoids. Our nurses also help with dosing, identifying potential medicine interactions and troubleshooting when a hemp product isn’t providing the anticipated effects. Best of all, our service is FREE to callers, built on the belief that cannabis education should be accessible to all. Call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

Also, if you share our belief that knowledge is power when it comes to plant-based medicine and want to support our mission, we encourage you to visit our fundraising campaign at: https://www.classy.org/campaign/leaf411/c350217  

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Smartphone with “Q & A'' displayed on screen. Leaf411 hotline RNs are ready to answer all your hemp and cannabis questions.

side view of mature woman with closed eyes sitting on sofa and holding joint with legal marijuana

Finding Low-THC Cannabis Strains

Low-THC cannabis can be a powerful option for relaxation and relief

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

Many mature cannabis consumers wax poetic about the old days when they could smoke an entire joint for relaxation without ending up too high.

Yet as states legalize cannabis, cultivators have prioritized breeding high-THC strains that can quickly intoxicate a user with just a few puffs. Not everyone is looking for the intense “high” that these high-THC strains often deliver, though. 

Additionally, low-THC cannabis flower strains allow users to consume more of the other beneficial plant compounds, including terpenes and plant flavonoids, without going overboard on THC. While some patients do need high-THC products, we’ve found that many people achieve maximum relief with minimum intoxication when using lower-THC products, based on the caller feedback we receive at Leaf411.

How do you find low-THC strains in a marketplace that prioritizes high-THC flower? We were thrilled to see our Leaf411 business member Where’s Weed tackle this question on their blog, including recommended low-THC strains along with a search feature to find these strains near you.

Click here to read the Where’s Weed’s article, 5 Low THC Strains You Should Try

side view of mature woman with closed eyes sitting on sofa and holding joint with legal marijuana

To know exactly what you are purchasing, always ask the budtender about the product’s test results showing the cannabinoid potency. Why is that?

Even though a specific strain’s name (like Blue Dream) may be the same from one dispensary to another, the plant’s genetic structure along with the environment in which it is grown defines its final form. A plant with similar genetic makeup, when grown in a different environment (for example, in a different region or under different greenhouse conditions) will bring out a different trait from the plant’s genetic code resulting in a unique color, shape, smell and resin production. 

Remember, too, that our cannabis-trained nurses can help with any questions you have about cannabis potency or use. Call the FREE Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat with us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Takoma Wellness Center medical dispensary counter displaying cannabis flower.

An Insider’s View on Washington D.C.’s Best Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Takoma Wellness Center medical dispensary counter displaying cannabis flower.

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP

Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

We recently caught up with Stephanie Kahn, BSN, for her perspective as a cannabis nurse and Takoma Wellness Center medical dispensary co-founder. Stephanie shared her insights from leading Washington, D.C.’s longest running legal medical dispensary and what she wished every new cannabis patient knew before visiting a dispensary.

(Note: This blog post was edited on 9/9/21 to more accurately reflect Washington, D.C., cannabis regulations.)

Takoma Wellness Center’s logo is a blue hamsa with a red heart in the palm.

Step into Leaf411 member Takoma Wellness Center medical cannabis dispensary in Washington, D.C., and the first thing you’ll notice is the hamsa, a hand-shaped design that is believed to offer protection and good fortune, that traces back to ancient Mesopotamia.

The hamsa symbol is fitting, given that it shares a long history that runs parallel with cannabis. The cannabis plant can also be tracked back thousands of years ago when it was used medicinally, including in Mesopotamia. The hamsa symbol also holds an important place in the Jewish culture shared by founders Stephanie Kahn, BSN, Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn and their son Joshua Kahn.

Stephanie Kahn in front of a wall displaying a large hamsa collection at Takoma Wellness Center.
Front door of Takoma Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, D.C.

With a background in healthcare and the spiritual community, the Kahns already had extensive experience helping patients before entering the cannabis industry. One cannot help but think of Takoma Wellness Center’s extensive hamsa collection as a symbol of their caring and hope for the patients who visit the store.

Takoma Wellness Center’s Cannabis Shopping tips, which are covered in the article.

Navigating Washington, D.C.’s unique cannabis landscape

Takoma Wellness Center holds a unique spot as the oldest and longest running legal medical dispensary in Washington, D.C. While cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, the plant is legally sold for medical use in the nation’s capital, and possession of small amounts for personal use has been decriminalized.

District residents also support adult use (recreational) cannabis; however, Washington, D.C., is unique in that it’s not a state but a district that is ultimately governed by the US Congress. So far, Congress has blocked the district’s efforts to create a legal adult use cannabis marketplace.

U.S. Capitol dome with U.S. flag flying in front in D.C., where medical cannabis is legal.

District of Columbia dispensary Takoma Wellness Center accepts out-of-state MMJ cards

Cannabis cannot cross state lines, but marijuana medical cards can in a few states as well as in Washington, D.C. Medical dispensaries in the district accept valid medical cards from any state with a legal medical cannabis program, when that person is visiting the district and buying medicine in-person. (Dispensaries are not allowed to deliver or ship product across state lines due to ongoing federal prohibition that regulates all interstate commerce.)

For Takoma Wellness Center which is located only a few blocks from the Maryland state line and approximately 10 miles from Virginia, this means that over 50% of their customers come from outside the district, mostly from neighboring states. As nearby state marketplaces evolve, however, the mix of patients continues to change.

“We used to get a lot of patients from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but as their own state programs have improved, there’s less need for their residents to travel to find cannabis medicine that works for their needs,” Stephanie says.

Of course, the capital is also a popular place for people from around the country to visit. For patients who are unable to bring their cannabis medicine with them when traveling, finding a trustworthy local source like Takoma Wellness Center can be a godsend.

Building a medical dispensary around the needs of cannabis patients

Takoma Wellness Center was built around not only providing a wide range of products but also exceptional service to patients, with patient consultants (similar to budtenders) who spend time educating visitors on different options. That commitment has remained even during pandemic challenges.

“Prior to the pandemic, we would spend a lot of time with our patients. That all changed last year with restrictions and the need for social distancing,” Stephanie says.

“A lot of the changes were positive. We were allowed to implement online ordering, curbside service and delivery. The downside, though, was that we were not able to spend the same amount of time in store consulting with patients.”

In response, Takoma Wellness Center developed virtual consults and protocols for patients to check in outside, reducing the time most people needed to spend inside the store. Stephanie says that their relationship with Leaf411 has also helped, with Leaf hotline nurses who are able to guide patients on the phone while looking over Takoma Wellness Center’s extensive online menu.

Patient consultant stands next to Takoma Wellness Center’s cannabis flower display, ready to help patients with questions.
Graphic with a quote from Katherine Golden, RN, Leaf411 CEO saying, “Based on the calls we receive from Takoma Wellness Center customers, we can tell that their staff really care about helping patients only purchase what they need, saving them money and reducing buyers remorse by providing resources like Leaf411.”

What are the top reasons patients turn to medical cannabis?

Takoma Wellness Center serves patients who are seeking alternatives for a wide range of conditions.

“Pain and anxiety top the list, when it comes to the information that patients share with us. We have patients visiting us who have autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis (MS), Lyme disease, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibromyalgia, cancer pain and chemo side effects, who are seeking relief,” Stephanie says.

“We also have a couple of pain doctors in the area who are suggesting cannabis as an alternative to opioids for some of their patients. In my mind, this is a very positive development,” Stephanie says, though she also acknowledges that many other pain clinics continue testing patients for THC, with positive THC tests disqualifying them from continuing with prescription-based pain medications.

Tag with an idea lightbulb and tag saying “tips and tricks” in front of a green background.

Advice for both new and experienced cannabis patients

Stephanie has spent years helping patients understand the ever-changing cannabis landscape, with Takoma Wellness Center’s product selection informed both by Stephanie’s cannabis nursing background and years of experience hearing from patients on what has worked best. She’s also seen common missteps that new patients make on their first dispensary visit and has some general advice to share.

“A lot of cannabis naïve patients come in wanting to try edibles first. However, we really encourage them to first try tinctures instead. It’s much easier to adjust your dose with tinctures, which is especially important if you’re starting low and going slow,” Stephanie says.

She also sees both new and experienced cannabis users missing out on the full potential of plant medicine when they only focus on finding the highest-THC products.

“Whether the patient has been buying on the street for 30 years or they’re new to cannabis, we often see them looking for the highest THC product when a ratio product containing a balance of THC and CBD might actually provide better relief,” Stephanie says. “Obviously we’re not going to force education on them, but we do encourage patients to explore different product types and often have discounts to make it easier to try new things.”

When trying new products, Stephanie suggests that patients resist the urge to “stock up,” since cannabis products cannot be returned to the store.

“We’ve had customers who are brand new to cannabis who want to buy a half-ounce of cannabis flower or an extra-strength tincture because they believe it will be better than regular strength. While we’re not going to deny them that purchase, we do try to educate them and explain what the problems they might encounter,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie as well as Takoma Wellness Center staff also suggest that patients start low and go slow, understanding that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different.

“The dose that works best for your friend may either be not enough or way too much for you. The best way to find your ideal dose is to start low and go slow, building up to the dose that works for you,” Stephanie says.

Framed photos and news articles covering Takoma Wellness Center’s work in the Washington, D.C. area.

Looking for the best local, family-owned D.C. dispensary with deep ties to the area?

Today’s patients and consumers have more options than ever when it comes to shopping for cannabis medicine. Many are eager to support local businesses that are making a difference and building a sustainable, equitable cannabis industry.

Takoma Wellness Center’s ties to the community run deep. Both of Stephanie’s parents grew up in Washington, D.C. within blocks of the medical dispensary’s current location. It was her parents’ experience using cannabis on doctors’ recommendations that inspired the Kahns to open a medical dispensary. As Stephanie says, “The story of medical cannabis in our city is personal to us—it’s also our family story.” (Read more about their story here.) 

Stephanie is humble when it comes to ways the dispensary reinvests in the community. When asked, she shares that Takoma Wellness Center hires from the community, offering full health benefits, paid time off and above minimum wage pay. The dispensary has also participated in National Expungement Week and supports various community groups and programs. 

Takoma Wellness Center has earned Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. Best Dispensary award for five consecutive years thanks to its commitment to patients and the community, as well as its vast product selection.

Also, as a Leaf411 business member, Takoma Wellness Center also helps ensure that cannabis education is freely available to all patients, regardless of where they live. 

Katherine Golden, Leaf411 founder and CEO/ED says, “Based on the calls we receive from Takoma Wellness Center customers, we can tell that their staff really care about helping patients only purchase what they need, saving them money and reducing buyers remorse by providing resources like Leaf411.”

Check our fully-vetted Leaf member directory for the best cannabis stores and brands

Thousands of cannabis brands compete for your attention and dollars. How do you sort through all the options to find incredible businesses like Takoma Wellness Center? We suggest starting with our Leaf Member Directory located under our Resources tab on our home page, to find cannabis and hemp CBD companies located throughout the United States. We carefully review all our supporting members and are confident in referring members of the public, our callers, friends and family members to these businesses.

Remember that the non-profit Leaf411 is a resource available at no cost to you, the public. Whether you would like help understanding an online dispensary menu, or have questions about product dosing or potential interactions with other medications, our cannabis-trained nurses can help. Call the Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT. 

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Workplace drug testing urinalysis cup on edge of toilet, testing for THC.

CBD and Workplace Drug Testing

Can hemp CBD make you fail a drug test? It depends.

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

Our Leaf nurses recently heard from several upset callers who unknowingly tested positive for THC on workplace drug tests, despite limiting their use to hemp CBD products. How did this happen? What can you do to reduce your risk of failing a drug test as a result of legal CBD use?

Full-spectrum hemp CBD tincture bottle and liquid dropper with hemp leaves behind it

Natural hemp contains trace amounts of THC

Hemp is actually a form of cannabis that has been cultivated for specific characteristics, including high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) as well as very low levels of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Federal law requires legal hemp plants to test at under 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. This hemp plant matter is then used to make the CBD tinctures, gummies, creams and other products that many of us rely upon for wellness and relief.

Graphic explaining different types of hemp CBD products: Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.

How much THC are you really getting in your hemp CBD?

The product you are taking may meet the legal limit for a hemp CBD product because it registers at 0.3% dry weight of THC. But after processing and packaging, the amount of THC per milliliter may exceed that amount. 

Our Leaf nurses have seen many products on the hemp CBD market that are over 1-2 milligrams of THC per milliliter (1 milliliter is typically one dropper full). 

Unfortunately many consumers may start off consuming 1-2 droppers full of full-spectrum hemp instead of a lower dose due to limited education when they purchased the product. As a result, they may unknowingly test positive on a drug screen because they are actually consuming 1-2 milligrams of THC on a regular basis.

Wouldn’t a consumer feel it if they were ingesting a couple of milligrams of THC? Sometimes yes and that’s why we have callers complaining that a CBD hemp product made them “high.” Not everyone will feel this type of effect, though, due to the low dose and fact that CBD impacts how THC is absorbed when both are taken together.

How to read a hemp CBD Certificate of Analysis (COA)

You may be wondering about the hemp products in your own cabinet, wondering where you can find information on the amount of THC in your full-spectrum CBD. The best place to look is the product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA) showing lab results from third-party testing.  

  • The amount of THC (milligrams per gram or “mg/g”) number is typically the last row on the right hand side (see example below). 
  • This number, mg/g, is approximately the same as milligrams per milliliter–in other words, the amount of THC that you will get per each milliliter (mL) dropperful. (Visit this article to learn more about volume conversion between different cannabis products.)
  • Looking at the example COA below, you would expect to get about 0.4 mg of THC in each dropperful of the hemp tincture that was tested.

Young man leaning toward his open laptop, reading a hemp test results on his computer.
Screenshot from a third-party testing lab Certificate of Analysis (COA) for Elixinol’s Everyday Daily Balance Full-Spectrum CBD Tincture, showing CBD content as well as trace amounts of Delta-9 THC and other minor cannabinoids.

Screenshot from a third-party testing lab Certificate of Analysis (COA) for Elixinol’s Everyday Daily Balance Full-Spectrum CBD Tincture, showing CBD content as well as trace amounts of Delta-9 THC and other minor cannabinoids. 

Understanding how much THC is really in your hemp is one part of the puzzle when it comes to potential drug testing. Another clue can be found in how those small amounts of THC are stored in your body, building up over time, when assessing whether your hemp use puts you at risk of failing a workplace drug test. 

Leaf411 understands how complicated understanding medical formulations can be and that’s where our hotline nurses can help! If you have your COA in hand, our nurses will do the math for you and figure out the amount of THC you are taking with each dose. Call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT for help in understanding COAs and hemp CBD dosing, at no cost to you.

Person adding full-spectrum hemp CBD tincture to their tea in the morning.

Understanding how THC is stored in the body

Many people prefer full-spectrum hemp CBD, finding it provides better quality symptom management for them than broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products. 

With full-spectrum CBD, different plant compounds including minor cannabinoids and small amounts of Delta-9 THC are believed to work together to create an entourage effect. In other words, all the plant compounds working together have a stronger effect than any one compound would have by itself.

THC levels in full-spectrum hemp CBD products are low. However, they can pose potential risks when it comes to workplace drug testing.

Why is that?

When you ingest full-spectrum hemp either orally or through inhalation (smoking or vaping), the trace amounts of Delta-9 THC breaks down into non-active metabolites (THC-COOH) that stay in your system for days or even weeks. While these non-active metabolites don’t make you “high,” they are the markers of cannabis use that urine drug tests look for as evidence of previous cannabis use.

These THC-COOH metabolites accumulate or build up in your system over time, stored in fat cells until they are more slowly excreted, showing up in urine and saliva.

As we just mentioned, this buildup of THC-COOH does not cause intoxication or any other side effects, and is not a problem for most people–unless they are subject to drug testing.

In fact, the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) has come out against urine-based workplace drug testing due to the fact these tests are unreliable and do not accurately measure on-the-job impairment, with positive test results negatively impacting nurses and other workers who use hemp CBD and cannabis responsibly and legally while off the clock. Click on this link to download the full ACNA resolution regarding workplace drug testing of nurses for cannabis.

Do small amounts of THC from full-spectrum hemp build up to a detectable level?

Unfortunately, research is sparse on how small amounts of THC-COOH metabolites accumulate in full-spectrum hemp CBD users.

In regular cannabis users consuming higher-THC products, we know that these THC-COOH metabolites can stick around for up to a month following discontinuation of daily marijuana use, based on research.

We can also assume that even though the amount of THC in full-spectrum hemp is very small, it will accumulate in daily hemp users the same way that larger amounts accumulate in marijuana users, stored in fat cells with levels of THC-COOH increasing over time.

This is one plausible explanation for recent calls our hotline has received from daily hemp users who failed workplace drug tests based on the levels of the THC-COOH metabolite in their urine, even though they were using an average daily dose of full-spectrum CBD. We’ll discuss what amounts of THC-COOH the drug tests look for further down in this blog post.

Also, it is important to note that workplace drug tests look for evidence of Delta-9 THC, not other cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, or even hemp-derived Delta-8 THC which is created through a chemical process. (Learn more about Delta-8 here https://leaf411.org/answering-your-delta-8-questions/.)

Row of dominoes falling, triggering a red domino which represents a positive THC drug test limit.
Two people sit looking at graphs that indicate good CBD product quality.

Hemp CBD product quality matters

When investigating why hemp users may fail workplace drug tests, another potential issue comes up as well—product quality.

The hemp CBD product market is largely unregulated for now, putting the onus on the consumer to research product quality and trustworthiness.

The most powerful tool available to a consumer is the product Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third-party laboratory (i.e. the product is not tested by the company itself); however, lab testing and COAs are completely voluntary for hemp manufacturers, and hemp lab testing technology lacks precision when it comes to very small amounts of cannabinoids when compared to drug testing technology. (To learn more about COAs, what they show and how to read them, we suggest checking out the article and video at this link.)

You can usually find product COAs on the manufacturer’s website, checking them out before you purchase a product.

We took a quick look at some of our Leaf411 hemp CBD members’ sites, and found that links to the COAs may be found either on the top menu or on the bottom of the main website, as well as on product pages themselves. You can also directly contact a manufacturer to request the COA for a particular product. If they don’t offer COAs, it might be best to keep looking for a different brand that does.

Product COAs provide a good start. If you’re buying from an established high-quality brand, you can be more confident that the COA can be trusted. Unfortunately some shady brands have been known to make fake COAs for their products. 

Keep in mind, though, that a lack of standards across different third-party labs as well as the natural variability in plant-based products can result in cannabinoid levels that fluctuate between product lots or even individual product items, meaning that even honest companies face challenges in accurately reflecting the amount of THC in their products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently tested 147 hemp CBD products on the market, with some surprising findings:

  • Over half (108) of the products did not contain the amount of CBD listed on the label. Of those, 18% contained significantly less CBD than advertised, and 37% contained significantly more CBD than advertised.
  • Nearly half the products contained THC levels above the limit of quantitation (LOQ), which is 3.1 mg per serving.

(Read the FDA summary in pdf format here.)

In other words, even reputable companies face challenges in accurately reporting precise test results, and less savory CBD companies often take advantage of the lack of standardized testing to sell products that don’t come near their product label claims.

Looking for hemp COAs? Check the manufacturer’s home page header, footer and individual product pages” with screenshotted examples from Leaf411 member pages.
50 kph speed limit sign, alluding to the 50ng/ml THC limit used by many workplace drug tests.

What are your workplace drug testing policies?

We’ve talked a lot about the CBD and THC cannabinoids in full-spectrum hemp, and how THC-COOH metabolites are stored in the body. Now, let’s turn to the urinalysis drug testing process, a topic we’ve written about before, but geared more toward marijuana users.

Most workplace drug tests, as well as the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), use a 50ng/ml limit for presence of THC-COOH metabolites. Hit that number or any higher, and you will fail the test.

In fact, drug testing laboratories are even able to test urine for lower levels of THC-COOH metabolites, at either a “sensitive” level of 20ng/ml, or an “extra-sensitive” level of 15ng/ml.

Is it possible for regular, responsible full-spectrum hemp use to put someone over the 50ng/ml limit? Based on recent calls to our hotline, we believe so.

Leaf411’s guidance for hemp CBD users who are subject to drug testing

  • Be proactive. Take a look at your daily hemp CBD regimen, including all tinctures, gummies, beverages and other products you use to get an approximate idea of how much THC you might be ingesting or inhaling on a daily basis. As we mentioned before, though THC amounts are small, they can build up over time.
  • When looking at the hemp CBD products you use (including those that claim to be THC-free), check if the manufacturers provide their COA lab results online on their website. COAs provide an extra level of assurance that the company is committed to transparency and high quality standards, though it’s not an absolute guarantee due to variations in lab testing techniques.
  • Find out your workplace’s drug testing policies, as well as what sensitivity they test at. If you have a pending test scheduled at a lab, you can contact the lab directly to confirm what level they will be using. As we mentioned before, 50 ng/mL is the most common level employers use.
  • Consider doing your own home drug testing with plenty of time before you face any potential workplace drug tests. We suggest utest which offers marijuana drug tests at different sensitivity levels, including 15 ng/mL, 20 ng/mL, and the standard 50 ng/mL, so that you can prepare based on what you know about your workplace’s testing policies.
  • If you find that your current hemp CBD use triggers a positive THC drug test result, you may want to consider either taking a break from hemp CBD altogether, or switching to broad-spectrum or isolate products which should be THC-free. Of course, you’d want to repeat your home test in a few weeks to ensure your levels of the THC-COOH metabolite have gone down. 
  • For nurses and other healthcare workers: Consider sharing the ACNA position statement on workplace drug testing with your organization (click this link to download). Alternatives exist to more accurately test on-the-job impairment.

Keep in mind that our Leaf411 hotline nurses can help guide you in this process, at no cost to you. Call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

A Leaf411 cannabis nurse sits at her work computer with a phone headset on, answering CBD questions.

Cannabis flower strains displayed in glass jars at a dispensary.

Cultivars, Clones and Kief: Your Guide to Common Cannabis Flower Terms

Written by Whittney Wacker, BSN, RN

The world of cannabis has changed with legalization, and that includes the terminology used to describe cannabis flower (buds). Whether you’re brand new to cannabis or returning after a long hiatus, today’s terminology and flower options can be intimidating.

At Leaf411, we can help! Today, we’ll explain common terms you’re likely to hear when shopping for cannabis. These terms reflect the life cycle of dispensary-grown cannabis plant flower products.

Lightshade’s Green Crack cannabis strain being grown.

Cultivar: Another word for cannabis strain

The term “cultivar” refers to any species of plant (not limited to just cannabis) that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding of two parents with specific and desired profiles, not a wild type/species. Plants like tomatoes are often referred to as different “varieties” instead of “cultivars” but they mean the same thing.

Likewise, in cannabis, the word “strain” is often used in place of “cultivar.” While there are a lot of strong opinions in the industry about whether we should push to use the scientifically correct term “cultivar,” the reality is that most dispensaries use the term “strain” for the flower products they sell. Don’t get too hung up on this—both sides are talking about the same thing!

Different cultivars are crossbred to develop specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles for their desired effects, with their names reflecting their lineage. This is where we get some of the fun, crazy, and creative names of cannabis strains today, like the ones shown below:

Seed & Smith Purple Trainwreck (Trainwreck x Mendocino Purps)

Seed & Smith Purple Trainwreck (Trainwreck x Mendocino Purps)

Seed & Smith Malibu Sunrise (Malibu Pure Kush x I95)

Seed & Smith Malibu Sunrise (Malibu Pure Kush x I95)

Lightshade Primus OG (303 Kush x Arcata x Trainwreck)

Lightshade Primus OG (303 Kush x Arcata x Trainwreck)

Lightshade Green Crack (lineage is less certain, but likely Skunk x an Afghani landrace).

Lightshade Green Crack (lineage is less certain, but likely Skunk x an Afghani landrace).

We can look at the cultivar DJ Short Blueberry to see how new cultivars are developed. DJ Short Blueberry reflects the namesake of its creator, the legendary Oregon cannabis breeder DJ Short. The Blueberry cultivar’s parents are Afghani and Thai cultivars that were crossbred to create the Blueberry genetic that is known for its fruity aroma and euphoric, relaxing high. DJ Short went through multiple filial (f1, f2, etc.) generations to arrive at the world-renown genetics of the Blueberry F5

Shopping for cannabis at Takoma Wellness medical dispensary in Washington, D.C.

Shopping for cannabis at Takoma Wellness medical dispensary in Washington, D.C.

Cannabis flower products

Now let’s take a look at the flower options you’ll likely find at your closest dispensary.

Flower is raw plant material/bud that can be smoked in joints, blunts, bongs or pipes. Heat converts (decarboxylates) the primary cannabinoid from THCA (which is not intoxicating) to THC which provides many therapeutic benefits as well as the sensation of being “high” at certain doses.

Flower is typically sold either by the gram or in 1/8 ounce (3.5 gram) amounts. Each legal state sets its own limit for how much cannabis flower consumers and patients can buy in a day. You can find an updated list of laws by state at this link

When people talk about cannabis, flower is usually what first comes to mind, along with smoking the buds in bongs, pipes or rolled joints.

Some cannabis manufacturers like our business members Lightshade and Seed & Smith use flower to make their pre-rolled joints or “pre-rolls.” Other manufacturers may instead use shake or trim, which we’ll discuss further down.

Bonkers top shelf flower

Bonkers top shelf flower displayed at Nature’s Gift Shop medical and recreational dispensary in Pueblo West, Colorado, sold in grams, eighths, quarters, half-ounces or ounces. Bonkers is a fruity strain with calm, happy effects.

Flower from Maryland’s Herbiculture medical dispensary packed into bong bowl.

Flower from Maryland’s Herbiculture medical dispensary packed into bong bowl.

Seed & Smith pre-rolls are made with full cannabis flower, not shake, and use all-natural rolling papers.

Seed & Smith pre-rolls are made with full cannabis flower, not shake, and use all-natural rolling papers.

Lightshade pre-rolls are made with full-flower cannabis, not shake, and are available in three different sizes catered to different consumer needs.

Lightshade pre-rolls are made with full-flower cannabis, not shake, and are available in three different sizes catered to different consumer needs.

Flower can also be used in dry herb vaporizers such as the iconic desktop Storz & Bickel Volcano, the Storz & Bickel MIGHTY, the Pax2 or Pax3 or the Arizer ArGo. These dry herb vaporizers heat the flower enough to convert THCA to THC and also release many of the flower’s terpenes without burning them. Because vaping doesn’t actually combust the flower, some people find it offers a smoother inhale than joints, pipes or bongs.

Flower’s versatility extends to using it to make tinctures, cannabutter and edibles, a topic we’ll cover in a different blog post. 

Buying flower is more expensive than popcorn buds or shake (discussed below); however, flower is cheaper than other products like edibles and is flexible in how it can be used.

Popcorn buds available at Nature’s Gift Shop medical and recreational dispensary in Pueblo West, Colorado.

Popcorn buds available at Nature’s Gift Shop medical and recreational dispensary in Pueblo West, Colorado.

Popcorn buds are smaller buds that come from the part of the plant that did not get the same light exposure as the topleaf of the plants. These buds are typically deemed “B grade” as they are not aesthetically pleasing to the eye as “top shelf” buds and are therefore lower in cost. There’s no medicinal difference in popcorn buds, although in some cases the concentration of trichomes (where many terpenes are found) may be reduced due to breakage. Popcorn buds may be sold in larger quantities of 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce.

Shake/Trim-leftovers/scissor clippings are created when the cannabis buds are harvested, made up of bits and pieces that fall off or are cut off the main bud, as well as an occasional stem or seed. Shake also includes the “crumbs”—little bits of bud—leftover in dispensary jars. Shake is often the lowest-cost raw flower product offered by a dispensary, selling for up to 80% cheaper than full bud.

Shake is used by some cannabis brands to make pre-rolled joints. It can be an affordable ingredient option for making homemade cannabis edibles. Manufacturers also utilize shake for making hash or other concentrates.

A few dispensaries like Lightshade and Nature’s Gift Shop in Colorado as well as Takoma Wellness in Washington, D.C., sell their trim by the cultivar/strain; however, most do not. That means when you buy shake or trim at most dispensaries, you will likely get a random mix of all the strains they sell (some older, some new). That is the unfortunate part if you are looking for specifics for your medicine because you don’t know the exact potency of the THC, CBD and terpene profiles you are buying.

Two different strain-specific shake/trim options at Nature’s Gift Shop medical and recreational dispensary in Pueblo West, Colorado.

Two different strain-specific shake/trim options at Nature’s Gift Shop medical and recreational dispensary in Pueblo West, Colorado.

Herb grinder designed for cannabis flower. Kief is shown in the compartment on the right side, after passing through the screen in the multi-chambered flower grinder.

Herb grinder designed for cannabis flower. Kief is shown in the compartment on the right side, after passing through the screen in the multi-chambered flower grinder.

Kief is not to be confused with shake, though it also comes off of buds. Kief is a powder-textured substance made up of resinous trichomes from the cannabis plant that have fallen off the flower bud after it has been harvested and cured, and often contains high amounts of terpenes and cannabinoids. 

Kief is sometimes added to prerolls or sprinkled on top of home-rolled joints or bowls to add potency. It can also be added to cannabutter or made into hash or press rosin using pressure and heat.

Adding kief to your cannabis flower routine? Keep in mind that kief packs a potent punch, and that you’ll want to use less product for the same effect.

You bought cannabis flower—now what?

Let’s get back to the basics—cannabis flower. You’ll need to prepare your cannabis flower, grinding it before rolling it into a joint or packing it into a bowl or a herb vape. 

How do you grind cannabis flower? Most people use a handheld herb grinder designed to grind or break up raw flower buds into a smaller, more manageable size for placement into pipe, bong, joint, or flower vaporizer. 

Check out this link for a video of our Leaf nurse Natalie Murdock, BSN, RN, demonstrating how to use a flower grinder.

Some herb grinders have multiple compartments separated by screens. Ground flower is captured in one compartment. Then another compartment, separated by a screen, catches kief.  

Only grind as much flower as you plan to use in a session, so that your remaining supply stays fresh longer.

How to store cannabis flower

The dispensary grower and the cannabis plant have worked hard to produce those potent, healing flowers. By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure that your cannabis doesn’t turn into dry, crumbly bud that has a harsh smoke and no aroma. 

Dispensaries often sell raw flower product in dark-colored, childproof plastic containers. These may not be the best storage to preserve your flower and the terpenes contained within as plastic may be porous and allow for air exchange. 

Also keep in mind that when cannabis is exposed to light, air and heat, then degradation of the cannabis flower can occur. In extreme cases, for example if you leave your flower in a hot car, decarboxylation may occur (THCA converting to active THC).  

cannabis flower in storage jarWhat is the best way to store cannabis flower? A glass jar that is amber colored with a tight fitting lid may be the best way to preserve the fresh aroma (terpenes) and potency of the raw flower. You can also use a clear glass jar to store cannabis flower, but be sure to keep it in a dark spot away from direct sunlight.

If preserving the terpenes and quality of the bud is important to you, it may be advantageous to look for a humidity packet that helps keep the flower at optimal humidity while it is in storage. Boveda packets are just one brand of desiccant that can be placed in a jar to aid in the preservation. They can be found at this link 

Using clones to grow your own cannabis

Dispensaries that are vertically integrated (grow their own product) may sell clones of their cultivars if local and state regulations allow the practice. A clone is a marijuana plant clipping that is planted and grown, creating an exact genetic replica of the mother. Buying a clone is much like buying a plant start at a nursery. You know exactly what you’re getting. 

Growing your own plants from clones may be ideal if you want to grow your medicine at home, and it can be very cost effective. In fact, last year’s pandemic-related lockdowns sparked new interest in gardening and other self-sufficient practices, including growing your own cannabis. 

If you decide to go this route, you’ll first want to fully research city and state regulations that outline how many plants you can own, as well as where they can be grown on your property. For example, Denver, Colorado, requires that home grows be located indoors in a locked area. Details like that are good to know before you invest in a pricy outdoor raised bed for your clones!

Why not use cannabis seeds to grow? Put simply, your odds of success are much higher with clones. When it comes to seeds, there are a lot of ins-and-outs, including finding the best phenotype of that specific cultivar and ensuring the plants you sprout are female and not male. Male plants produce pollen but not flowers, and that pollen can wreak havoc on any female plants you’ve been carefully cultivating, with the pollinated female plants shifting their energy to creating seeds, not bigger buds. 

Cannabis clones ensure you know what you’re getting when growing your own.

Cannabis clones ensure you know what you’re getting when growing your own.

Shopping at A Therapeutic Alternative cannabis dispensary in Sacramento, CA.

Shopping at A Therapeutic Alternative cannabis dispensary in Sacramento, CA.

We can help with your cannabis shopping questions!

All calls to our free Leaf411 hotline are answered by cannabis-trained fully-licensed RNs who are familiar with the wide range of products on dispensary shelves today. If you’re looking for a flower strain or product to help manage a specific health concern, a quick call to our hotline may help save you money and time.Our RNs will help point you in the right direction based on your specific concerns. 

Even in areas without legal cannabis, we can suggest hemp CBD products that may help you achieve health and wellness goals.

Our fully-licensed Leaf RNs are ready to help answer your questions at no cost to you. Call the Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Older Asian woman holding her hand on her shoulder with expression indicating pain.

Looking for Alternatives for Chronic Pain?

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

If you’ve ever dealt with chronic pain, you know that relief can be elusive. Popping an aspirin rarely resolves the issue. However, many long-term prescription medications used to manage chronic pain are problematic, with concerning side effects.

Have you ever thought about giving cannabis a try when dealing with chronic pain? If so, you’re not alone.

Keep reading to learn how increased knowledge about plant-based medicine, along with expanding availability of fully-tested legal products, is making it easier than ever to find a hemp CBD or a higher THC product that can provide targeted relief that fits your lifestyle.

Also, consider watching a replay of our July 2021 Leaf Learning Series event, Exploring Cannabis for Chronic Pain, on the Leaf411 YouTube channel at this link. You’ll instantly access Dr. Dustin Sulak’s discussion on how both cannabinoids and opioids work to reduce pain, along with insights on how cannabis serves as a safe alternative for chronic pain for many people.

Chronic pain is a major health issue in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2019, over 20% of U.S. adults had chronic pain, and that percentage is increasing among all age groups. Chronic pain encompasses a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritic pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Migraine headaches
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Psychogenic pain (associated with psychological factors)
  • Post-traumatic pain

Many people try to tough it out, but the documented long-term effects of chronic or persistent pain can be serious, including anxiety, depression, insomnia and chronic fatigue.

Prescription pain pills next to opioid prescription bottles.

Opioid therapy for chronic pain: An imperfect solution

While the causes of chronic pain are far ranging, solutions have been limited until recently, relying heavily on opioid-based pharmaceutical painkillers.

Prescription opioids have therapeutic value in the short term, but may become problematic with long-term use, with side effects including constipation, brain fog and reduced functionality for daily living.

Ironically, in some people, long-term opioid therapy may even lead to increased sensitivity to pain, also called opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH), and increasing tolerance that requires higher doses of opioids for relief.

Long-term and larger doses of opioids also increase the risk of opioid-use disorder (addiction) and overdose, according to a 2015 systematic review of research).

Physician in background pointing to cannabis flower in foreground as a recommendation for pain.

Growing recognition of cannabis as a safe alternative for pain

Despite the ongoing status of cannabis as federally illegal which limits research, an increasing number of medical professionals are taking a fresh look at the plant as a safe alternative for managing chronic pain conditions.

In a recent conversation with one of our Leaf411 supporters, Takoma Wellness Center medical cannabis dispensary owner Stephanie Kahn, BSN, noted that some D.C.-area pain clinics were beginning to recommend medical marijuana to their patients as an alternative to pharmaceutical pain relief.

Within the pain specialist community, practitioners are sharing information on cannabis’s potential for treating chronic pain, but there’s an ongoing education need for both clinicians and patients on how to use cannabis for effective pain relief.

Fortunately, organizations like Radicle Health and Leaf411 are stepping up to collect and share the latest research, with education geared toward consumers and practitioners.

Screenshot from previous Leaf Learning Series, where nurse Natali Murdock, BSN, RN, explains how to use cannabis flower as medicine.

Screenshot from previous Leaf Learning Series, where nurse Natali Murdock, BSN, RN, explains how to use cannabis flower as medicine. Watch the full video at this link.

Patient resources on cannabis and pain

Are you a patient or consumer who’s interested in learning more about using cannabis to manage pain? We suggest starting with our two-part series:

How Cannabis May Help with Different Types of Pain

Finding the Best CBD:THC Ratios and Products for Pain

Our Leaf Learning Series events are also a great resource. Check out the recorded sessions on our Leaf411 YouTube channel.

Of course, we recognize that you will have specific questions, from asking about the cannabis products available where you live to concerns about integrating cannabis into your existing pain management regimen. That’s why our free, RN-staffed hotline exists—to help with your unique situation and questions!

Reach out to us on our free, anonymous hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411), or chat us from our Leaf411.org homepage during hotline hours.

Radicle Health’s Cannabinoid Pharmacology education

Radicle Health’s Cannabinoid Pharmacology education available at this link. Check out Radicle Health’s YouTube channel for additional webinars and video blogs.

Cannabis education for medical professionals

If you’re a physician, nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist or other provider, you’ve likely had patients ask about using cannabis for chronic pain.

We encourage you to share the Leaf411 hotline information with your patients. We are a patient-centered service dedicated to the safe, effective therapeutic use of cannabis and hemp CBD. Calls to the free nonprofit hotline are answered by a fully-licensed RN who has completed additional professional development in cannabis therapeutics. 

As a provider, are you interested in learning more about cannabis so that you can better serve your patients? Our partner Radicle Health offers a range of courses designed for health practitioners, including a two-part series on chronic pain. Visit this link for a full list of available online courses. CEUs are available to California registered nurses.

Mobile devices: phone and laptop

Our Leaf nurses are ready to answer your cannabis questions

Whether you’re a patient or a provider, our fully-licensed RNs are ready to answer your health-related questions on cannabis and hemp CBD. From newcomer questions like “will CBD get me high?” to concerns around dosing and potential medication interactions, our cannabis-trained nurses are uniquely qualified to help. Best of all, our service is available at no cost to you, reflecting our mission to tackle healthcare inequality by providing balanced education and support on the safe use of cannabis for free to everyone.

Call our free Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat with us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Gloved hands holding a vial of Delta-8 tincture oil in front of a hemp plant.

Answering Your Delta-8 Questions

Written by Eloise Theisen, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, and Whittney Wacker, BSN, RN

Delta-8: An increasing popular cannabinoid on hemp product menus

In recent months, our Leaf nurses have gotten a lot of questions about Delta-8, which is sold in many states. Though Delta-8 is made from hemp, its effects are very similar to Delta-9 found in cannabis. Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 are forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has an intoxicating effect, though the effects of Delta-8 are said to be less intense. 

Hemp CBD companies have been adding this cannabinoid to their menus, offering it as a new option. Even though Delta-8 THC is readily available, quality education around this cannabinoid is missing. Consumers are confused, with questions like:

  • What is Delta-8?
  • Will Delta-8 get me high?
  • Will Delta-8 help manage health conditions?
  • Is Delta-8 legal?
  • Will Delta-8 cause me to fail a drug test?
  • How do I safely use Delta-8

Below, we’re sharing answers to these common questions about Delta-8. Of course, we always encourage you to call our free RN-staffed Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411), as well!

What is Delta-8?

Delta-8 THC is found naturally in the cannabis plant, but only in small amounts. It occurs through degradation of Delta-9 THC. The higher amounts of Delta-8 THC seen on the market are coming from hemp. According to Project CBD, “Nearly all the Delta-8 on the market today is produced by chemically tweaking CBD in a laboratory. In other words, it is not directly extracted from the hemp plant but is synthesized from CBD that is directly extracted from the plant.” 

In order to get the larger amounts of Delta-8 THC found in vapes, gummies and tinctures, CBD is converted to an isolate. From there, a solvent is added to liquify the isolate and an acid reagent is added to create a chemical reaction that produces the Delta-8 THC.

A lab flask of Delta-8 sitting on top of a Certificate of Analysis showing test results.

How are Delta-8 products tested for potency and safety?

Testing for Delta-8 THC in products and people is another gray area. There is no limit on how much Delta-8 a product can contain. However, in order to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill, these products must also meet federal hemp guidelines with less than 0.3% of Delta-9 THC (the other THC found in larger amounts in marijuana) at dry weight to be compliant.

Leafreport recently tested 38 products to see how much Delta-8 THC was in the product. Twelve out of the 38 products tested within 10% of the label claim, which represents 32% of the total products tested. Additionally, of the 38 products, 20 of them tested above the legal limit for Delta-9 THC. 

When looking at companies who are selling Delta-8 THC, be sure to choose ones that provide a certificate of analysis (COA). Without a COA, it is hard to know how much THC or other cannabinoids may be in the product. The COA is the best way to verify the claims made on the company website.

A group of friends sitting in a park, with the focus on a woman who is laughing.

Will Delta-8 get you high?

Radicle Health describes Delta-8 THC as an isomer (same formula but a different arrangement of atoms) of Delta-9 THC with subtle differences. 

We know that Delta-8 THC interacts with our endocannabinoid system (attaches to the CB1 and CB2 receptors just like Delta-9), and research suggests that it is about two-thirds as potent as Delta-9 THC. 

It is likely that consuming Delta-8 THC will produce similar euphoric and impairing effects to Delta-9 THC. Consumers may also experience dizziness, drowsiness, increased appetite, feelings of relaxation, dry eyes and dry mouth.

Middle-aged man in glasses with eyes closed and pained expression, holding his hand to his temple

Is Delta-8 good for pain, inflammation, insomnia or other concerns?

Research is sparse on the medicinal benefits of Delta-8 THC. A total of nine studies have been completed. Five animal studies, two meta analyses, one lab study and one human trial with eight patients. Those studies looked at Delta-8 THC to treat pain, inflammation, nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation and the majority were inconclusive. 

With limited data, it is difficult to draw conclusions as to whether Delta-8 THC is effective at treating pain, inflammation, appetite and nausea and vomiting. Yet we see claims all over the internet promoting Delta-8 THC for a variety of conditions. The truth is the evidence is not there to support most of these claims.

Changing Delta-8 laws represented by book with scales of justice and “2021” printed on cover and a court gavel.

Is Delta-8 legal in your state?

Despite the lack of evidence, Delta-8 THC products have hit the market and consumer interest has exploded. Products range from gummies, vapes, flowers and tinctures and are available online or through local retailers. 

Delta-8 THC is being sold under the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp. Whether or not this is legal is still a bit of a gray area. The Farm Bill does not allow for synthetic cannabinoids and the current process for the majority of Delta-8 THC on the market goes through a synthetic process converting CBD to Delta-8 THC. Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stated in an Interim Final Rule, that synthetically derived substances are a schedule I drug. 

It is important to know your state laws on cannabis and hemp. Some states have started to enact legislation banning Delta-8 THC. Here is a map of states that have banned Delta-8 THC, as of May 21, 2021:

THC drug test strip beside a urine sample in a cup.

Will Delta-8 show up on a drug test?

The biggest question that remains is whether consuming Delta-8 THC will lead to a positive urine drug test. If you look on the internet, you will find a variety of blogs that claim you will and others that claim you will not. 

Some of these websites state that all forms of THC can be detected in a urine drug screen and it doesn’t matter whether it is Delta-9 or Delta-8. However, there is no science to validate this claim. It gets even more complicated when you consider that most Delta-8 THC products are synthetic. Synthetic cannabinoids are not likely to be detected in a urine drug screen

At this time, it is difficult to say with certainty whether current drug panels will detect Delta-8 THC in the urine. There is a chance that the product may contain levels of Delta-9 THC that would be detected in a urine drug screen. Until we know more about testing for Delta-8 THC, it is important to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming cannabinoids if you cannot afford to fail a drug screen.

Young woman’s hand holding peach-colored Delta-8 gummies.

How to use Delta-8 products

Consumer interest and use has outpaced education and research once again. While it appears that Delta-8 THC is similar to Delta-9 THC, there are still a lot of unknowns with regard to side effects, dosing and clinical applications. 

For those who are curious and want to explore Delta-8 THC, be sure to look for products that are lab tested and always start low and go slow when increasing your dose. 

  • We suggest starting with a dose between 2mg and 5mg of Delta-8 THC. 
  • You may need to split a single gummy into several pieces or only use a small amount of a tincture to get a low dose. 
  • Remember that cannabinoids taken by mouth may take between 30 minutes and 3 hours before you feel any effects. One of new consumers’ biggest mistakes is thinking that the Delta-8 is not working and ingesting more, before the original dose had time to take effect. This can result in you feeling more intoxicated than desired.
  • While Delta-8 and Delta-9 are similar, they are not the same, and many consumers report different effects from each. Even if you’re an old pro with cannabis products containing Delta-9, we suggest starting low with Delta-8 so that you can get a sense of how your body reacts to the cannabinoid.

Not sure how to split a Delta-8 edible into smaller doses? We know it can be confusing! Call our Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) and our Leaf Nurses will guide you on how to split your edibles, tinctures or other products into an optimal starting dose.

Leaf411 can help answer your Delta-8 questions

As the science around Delta-8 continues to grow, our fully-licensed nurses on the Leaf411 hotline are ready to educate and update you on this potentially therapeutic cannabinoid, regardless of whether you live in a legal state or not. Call us at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).

Article Sources


A bee gathers nectar from a New Zealand tea tree flower

Manuka Honey-Infused CBD: A Natural Wellness Boost

Questions about CBD and Manuka honey? Our blog has answers about the potential anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of these two powerful natural compounds 

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

Hemp CBD is showing promise for managing a wide range of health concerns, from inflammation and pain to stress and sleepless nights. Some hemp brands are even adding familiar ingredients like melatonin, turmeric, skullcap and other natural compounds to create products tailored to these different needs and preferences.

On this front, one of our members, Bespoke Extracts, recently launched an updated Manuka honey-infused CBD tincture and topical cream. Their product launch piqued our interest in the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects that both hemp and honey share.

Bespoke UMF15+ Manuka Honey Infused CBD Cream with 1,000mg broad spectrum CBD per jar, and Bespoke UMF15+ Manuka Honey Infused CBD Tincture, available in a a 60ml bottle with 1,800mg CBD isolate per bottle (30mg CBD per serving), or a 30ml bottle with 1,000mg CBD isolate per bottle (33 mg CBD per serving).
Manuka honey used in Bespoke CBD products has a thicker consistency and richer color.

What makes Manuka honey different, and why quality matters

Manuka honey comes from bees that pollinate certain species of tea tree plants in Australia and New Zealand. The honey has a different appearance than you may be used to, with a thicker consistency and cloudy yellow color thanks to the bees’ diet. The bees’ diet also appears to give Manuka honey extra oomph when it comes to potential health benefits, but like with any other ingredient, quality matters. 

“We import premium grade UMF 15+ Manuka honey directly from the source in New Zealand,” says Danny Pollack, Bespoke CEO. “There aren’t many other companies combining CBD and Manuka honey to begin with. Among the products that are available, ours is on the higher end when it comes to UMF grade, setting us apart from the competition.”

These new products join Bespoke’s line of hemp products containing CBD, CBG and CBN.

Danny pointed out the Manuka honey base is also very flavorful—his favorite way to consume it is in his tea. 

“We offer several different flavors in other Bespoke hemp tinctures, including berry and citrus flavors. They taste great, but you still get that little bit of an aftertaste—that earthy hemp flavor that is off-putting to some people,” Danny said. “However, with the Manuka honey tincture, you really get the sweetness of the honey without that aftertaste of hemp. It smells and tastes great.” 

Indeed, Manuka honey not only tastes good, but is also gaining attention for its unique chemical profile and health potential above and beyond other types of honey.

Close up Manuka honey CBD cream being applied to a minor abrasion on a woman’s knee.

Benefits of honey for healing

Last summer, Leaf411 co-founder and CEO Katherine Golden, RN, learned firsthand about the healing power of honey when she volunteered with the City of Denver’s COVID testing program for the homeless population. 

“The other nurses and I also volunteered in the day clinic which provides general medical care for the homeless. The most requested treatment was wound care. It was fascinating to see the use of honey sheets in the clinic to promote rapid healing,” Katherine said. 

In fact, honey has been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat skin wounds and bacterial infections, though research has only recently begun to fully understand the underlying mechanisms.

Wooden frame from a beehive, full of honey with light shining through.

While honey may look like a simple product, studies have found that it’s quite complex, made up of over 181 different substances including natural sugars, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, polyphenols and even hydrogen peroxide. Together, these ingredients have measurable antibiotic potential, as described in an International Journal of Microbiology article:

“Many factors have been shown to contribute to the antibacterial activity of honey, such as its high viscosity, mostly due to a high sugar concentration and low water content, which helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. In addition, the mild acidity and hydrogen peroxide content have obvious antimicrobial effects.”

Other research has shown that honey may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can serve as a useful tool when managing coughs and GI issues, and also may help with mouth sores that occur as a side effect from radiation therapy.

What level of Manuka honey is best?

Of course, not all honey is the same. The bees’ diet, along with environmental factors, impact honey’s antibacterial properties. 

Even within the world of Manuka honey, quality matters, with a UMF grading system used to indicate the potency and antibacterial activity of the honey. The UMF rating can range from 5 to 25+, with a higher number indicating more of the beneficial compounds are present. You can learn more at this link.

Bespoke Extracts uses premium UMF 15+ Manuka honey sourced directly from New Zealand, which contains optimal levels of leptosperin, methylglyoxal (MGO), and other compounds that are unique to this product and contribute to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

How to use Manuka honey infused CBD for wellness and recovery

Both hemp and Manuka honey share anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so it’s not surprising to see the two ingredients appearing more frequently together in products geared toward wellness and recovery.

Bespoke UMF15+ Manuka Honey Infused CBD Tincture, available in a 30ml bottle with 1,000mg CBD isolate per bottle, or a 60ml bottle with 1,800mg CBD isolate per bottle.

CBD Manuka honey tinctures work much like other traditional hemp CBD tinctures, providing more generalized relief from chronic conditions like pain, inflammation, insomnia and anxiety. 

  • Most people will feel effects within 30-90 minutes, with effects lasting 4-6 hours.
  • If you are new to CBD, it is best to start with the lowest dose possible (we recommend 5mg). 
  • Not feeling effects yet? We suggest sticking with the same dose for at least 3 days  Before increasing your dose.
  • Build up your dose by adding 5mg  every 3 days and slowly work your way up until you achieve symptom relief. 
  • If you are experienced at using CBD tinctures, you can start with your current dose or even a little less and work up from there. Not all products are created equal and taking a little less to start helps avoid potential side effects.
  • Some people may find that CBD tinctures cause drowsiness, diarrhea or appetite changes. We suggest first trying new CBD products at home when you don’t have a busy schedule, just in case you have any of these side effects.

Honey, just like CBD and many other natural compounds, may interact with other medications, in particular anticoagulants like clopidogrel (Plavix) and warfarin (Coumadin), as well as certain anti-platelet drugs. If you are unsure whether your medications will be affected by CBD-infused Manuka honey, call our Leaf Nurses at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) for answers to your questions, at no cost to you.

Bespoke UMF15+ Manuka Honey Infused CBD Cream with 1,000mg broad spectrum CBD per jar.

The combination of Manuka honey and CBD in products like Bespoke UMF15+ Manuka Honey Infused CBD Cream allow for anti-inflammatory benefits and pain relief without side effects that can possibly occur with ingestion. Topicals also provide a good option for targeted relief on the go, helping to relieve itching and soothe sunburns and other minor burns, as well as providing gentle relief for achy joints, muscles or other painful areas. 

  • Apply CBD Manuka honey topical cream to the affected area. Most people feel relief within 15-20 minutes, with the effects lasting several hours. 
  • Keep in mind the other ingredients in any topical products you use. Bespoke UMF15+ Manuka Honey Infused Manuka Cream also includes natural menthol and peppermint oil, so you should expect a cooling effect.

In fact, one thing we really appreciate about all of Bespoke’s products, including their CBD, CBG and CBN lines, is that they include a full list of ingredients and Certificates of Analysis (COAs) on their website. 

Bespoke also offers discounts for frontline workers, U.S. military veterans and people aged 55 or older, as well discounts for shoppers who sign up for emails. Check out the Bespoke homepage for more details.

Plain amber bottles lined up, representing the array of hemp CBD options on the market today.

Sorting through today’s hemp CBD options

Manuka honey is only one of many natural ingredients showing up in today’s hemp products. While these products offer exciting potential, we recommend starting low with your dose and going slow to find your optimal dose. 

Also, we recommend consulting with your primary care provider before adding CBD, Manuka honey or other supplements to your regimen to ensure there are no potential medication interactions or other concerns like an allergy to honey. 

Our fully-licensed Leaf RNs can also help answer your questions at no cost to you. Call the Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.