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.


How to Store Your Hemp CBD Products

We talk to experts about CBD expiration dates, and get their tips for storing hemp CBD for product potency and lifespan

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

We’ve all been there before—eyeing a recently expired hemp CBD product in our cabinet, wondering if it is still safe or if it will be as effective as when we first bought it.

This dilemma prompted us to ask manufacturers of high-quality hemp for their tips on storing CBD to ensure product quality and potency over time. We also asked about expiration dates, as well as what not to do when it comes to storing hemp CBD.

These hemp experts are made up of some of our own fully-vetted Leaf411 business members who manufacture hemp CBD products, as well as a few other industry leaders suggested to us by Alan Greenberg, Founder and CEO at CBD Garage. (See the bottom of this post for a complete list of hemp industry professionals who shared insights.)

Top tip: Store hemp CBD in a cool, dark, dry area

Across all hemp CBD categories, the hemp experts agreed that storing products in a cool, dark area improves product lifespan. Fortunately, most hemp CBD products are packaged in amber or solid-colored containers that block light, making it easier for consumers to ensure a dark environment.

A dry environment can help prevent mold; however, with hemp CBD flower, an overly dry environment like the refrigerator can cause the product to dry out prematurely. (See below for tips on storing hemp flower.)

Avoid sunlight, heat and excessive exposure to air

Heat and sunlight are the biggest culprits when it comes to CBD degradation. While it may seem easy enough to avoid storing your hemp CBD under these conditions, it’s worth paying attention to special situations, like when you bring your hemp CBD with you when traveling.

CBD can also break down faster when exposed to air for a long time due to oxidation—for example, if a hemp product is left open on a countertop for days at a time. To prevent this from happening, you will want to store your hemp CBD in its original container with the lid tightly closed.

Retro refrigerator with door open, indicating cold storage

How cool is cool enough?

We can hear what you’re thinking: “When you say ‘cool,’ just how cool is that? Is it better to store my CBD in the fridge?”

Room temperature works perfectly well for most hemp CBD products. Cannabinoids from the hemp plant (CBD, CBG, CBN and others) are oily by nature. Most oils, including CBD oil, are shelf-stable at room temperature and do not require refrigeration.

Also, many hemp CBD tinctures use MCT oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil as carrier oils—the base that the CBD is added to. You can think about how these oils are commonly stored unrefrigerated on dark pantry shelves—the same rules apply to CBD hemp products made with these ingredients!

In fact, in some cases, an oil-based hemp CBD tincture liquid may become too thick or difficult to use if refrigerated.

On the other hand, for some products like pills and capsules, refrigeration could extend the product’s lifespan. For example, Lauren Stall from Trill Pills says, “We only state to customers one-year shelf stability out of the fridge since that is certified by the state. However, my personal experience is that Trill Pills can be kept in the fridge for longer with no deterioration.”

Does hemp CBD stay good past its expiration date?

For hemp CBD products made in Colorado, the state sets a standard one-year shelf-stable expiration date. However, most high-quality hemp products may remain good for up to a year after the expiration date has passed as long as they have been properly stored.

Now that we’ve covered some general questions, let’s dive into the best ways to store hemp CBD tinctures, edibles, topicals, flower, vapes and transdermal products.

Wana Wellness Rest Quick hemp tincture bottle showing manufacture date. The tincture utilizes nanotechnology to more rapidly deliver CBD. More info here.

Mary’s Nutritionals Remedy full-spectrum hemp CBD tincture. More info here.

How to store hemp CBD tinctures

  • Store in a cool, dark, dry area. (One exception is Wana Wellness Quick hemp tinctures, which can handle warmer temperatures due to their proprietary manufacturing technology.)
  • Avoid leaving tinctures in sunny areas like on a windowsill or in a hot car.
  • Shake tincture before using.
  • When using a tincture dropper, do not let it touch your tongue or mouth where it could pick up bacteria that would then be transferred to the bottle. If your dropper touches your mouth or other unsterilized surfaces, it can be cleaned using soap and water and rinsing thoroughly before returning it to the bottle.

How to store hemp CBD edibles

  • CBD gummies, chocolates and other hemp-infused edibles are just like any other food product when it comes to storage and product lifespan. The hemp CBD is relatively stable, but other ingredients may have additional considerations. For example, Mike Hennesy, VP of Innovation at Wana Wellness, points out that gummies may begin to dry out and lose their soft consistency over time, particularly in arid climates in places like Colorado or Arizona.
  • Make sure packaging is always tightly closed to help reduce product drying out. For items like a half-used chocolate bar, store the remaining product in a sealed ziplock bag.
  • If an edible tastes or smells “off” or has mold on it, throw it out. You may also want to contact the manufacturer if you believe the product spoiled prematurely despite being correctly stored.

Wana Wellness Mixed Berry hemp gummies. More info here.

Elixinol Sports Gel topical containing CBD, capsaicin, arnica and other botanicals. More info here.

How to store hemp CBD topicals

  • Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
  • Always replace and tighten the lid on the container after use.
  • If possible, use an applicator like a tongue depressor or firm cotton tip to scoop topicals out of a jar,  instead of using your fingertip. This will help prevent bacteria from your hand getting into the product. 

How to store CBD transdermal patches

  • Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
  • Use the transdermal patch soon after opening the package, or put the unused patch in a sealed ziplock bag away from light.
  • If you are cutting a patch in half or quarters for a smaller dose, then store the remaining unused portion in a sealed ziplock bag, says Jeremy Riggle, PhD, Mary’s Nutritionals. “If stored correctly, the patch portions will stay good for up to a year. If the half or quarter sections are not stored properly, then its shelf life drops to a few months.”

Mary’s Nutritionals hemp CBD transdermal patch allows cannabinoids to be absorbed continuously throughout the day. More info here.

RESTART CBD hemp flower which can be smoked or vaped to provide faster onset and offset of hemp CBD effects. More info here.

How to store hemp CBD flower (buds) for freshness

  • Store in an airtight glass container in a cool, dry area.
  • Avoid storing in direct sunlight.
  • For a partially smoked hemp pre-roll, snuffing it out by putting it in an airtight container (glass jar or the plastic tube it came in) is better than stubbing it out (grinding the end on a hard surface the same way people put out cigarettes) according to RESTART CBD co-founder and CEO Shayda Torabi. Airtight storage tubes can be found online by searching the term “doob tube.”
  • When it comes to humidity and rehydrating bud, some people turn to humidity packs; however, Torabi urges caution, noting that if not used correctly, humidity packs can cause hemp CBD flower to mold, making it unsafe to use. “If you want to re-hydrate your bud, do it with small amounts of flower you are going to use within 48 hours. Don’t leave your humidity pack in the jar with your flower for extended periods of time, and make sure to follow the instructions on the humidity pack to ensure the best experience,” Torabi says.

How to store CBD vapes

  • Store in a cool dry area, in an upright position to reduce the risk of leakage.
  • Do not leave your vape in a car since extreme temperatures can impact the consistency of the vape liquid, as well as product quality.

Other product ingredients also make a difference

Your favorite CBD chocolate bar or flavored tincture contains hemp-derived cannabinoids, but it also contains other ingredients that impact shelf stability and overall product lifespan. Other ingredients—water-based ingredients in particular—can limit product lifespan in some cases.

Ryan Lynch, co-founder of Boulder Hemp, explains that high water content more readily supports microbial growth if the product has not been pasteurized or sterilized. Oil-based products, on the other hand, should last longer due to the lack of water content.

You only need to look as far as your kitchen to see examples of how water content impacts shelf life. Most foods with higher water content, like fruits and meats, have a shorter lifespan. They are either stored in a refrigerator or are canned, which sterilizes them and makes them shelf-stable until they are opened.

On the other hand, cooking oils are stored at room temperature even after opening. The lack of water, combined with a lack of sugar or other ingredients, makes ingredients like olive oil and MCT oil shelf-stable at room temperature for long periods of time. These are the same oils used in many hemp CBD tinctures.

In short, when thinking about how to store your hemp CBD, check the manufacturer guidelines and consider all the ingredients in your product to help guide you. 

trupura CBD chocolate-covered cherry flavored chocolate bar. More info here.

Need hemp CBD answers? We can help at no cost!

Our Leaf Nurses are happy to answer your hemp CBD questions about any product on the market today—the brand does not need to be one of our member businesses, either. Call our free 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.

Hemp CBD manufacturers and retailers who shared tips for this post: Alan Greenberg, CBD Garage; Mike Hennesy, Wana Wellness; Jeremy Riggle, PhD, Mary’s Nutritionals; Shayda Torabi, RESTART CBD; Erika Sauerwein, Elixinol; Abigail Nueve, trupura CBD; Ryan Lynch, PhD, Boulder Hemp; Lauren Stall, Trill Pills

 

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.


Hand holding sign that says “National Nurses Week” celebrating cannabis nurses.

Recognizing Cannabis Nurses During National Nurses Week

Cannabis-trained nurses hold a unique spot in the nursing field 

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

Patients have long known the potential benefits of cannabis, though the medical establishment has been slower to acknowledge cannabis’s therapeutic potential. Between federal prohibition and outdated stigmas, cannabis has faced an uphill battle gaining credibility among many healthcare providers. However, as additional states legalize and research rapidly grows on cannabis’s potential as an alternative to opiates and other pharmaceuticals, more doctors and nurses are giving cannabis a fresh look.

Cannabis leaf in foreground, being held by a medical marijuana doctor.

Healthcare pioneers have long supported medical marijuana

Pioneering nurses and doctors have been chipping away at cannabis misconceptions and stigmas for over 50 years. In 1971, Dr. Lester Grinspoon published Reconsidering Marihuana, supporting the safety and efficacy of cannabis. Ironically, when he first began researching cannabis his goal was to prove the plant was dangerous, but the research resoundingly said otherwise. (The late Dr. Lester Grinspoon is the father of Dr. Peter Grinspoon, keynote speaker at our most recent Leaf Learning Series.)

Dr. Lester Grinspoon wasn’t the only healthcare professional interested in cannabis therapeutics prior to legalization. The organization Patients Out of Time was formed in 1981, and the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) was first envisioned at the Fourth National Patients Out of Time conference in 2006, with ACNA formally founded in 2010. Our own Leaf411 Chief Nursing Officer and Board President Eloise Theisen, AGPCNP-BC, is the current ACNA President, and all our Leaf Nurses are members of this visionary organization.

Unique challenges in cannabis nursing

Nurses have been on the forefront of cannabis therapeutics all along, often with very little professional support and at risk of losing their nursing licenses or jobs. In many cases, these nurses became interested in cannabis after seeing its benefits firsthand in patients they were caring for, or after diving into research on cannabis as an alternative to medications that have worrying side effects.

Nurses in blue scrubs sitting at a classroom table, learning about cannabis therapeutics.

Unlike their nursing colleagues in more conventional specialties, nurses pursuing cannabis specialization have often had to go outside of their organization and spend their own money on professional development. These nurses also miss out on bonuses and incentives that large healthcare organizations often offer for other speciality certifications.

Needless to say, these nurses—including our own Leaf Nurses—are driven by a passion to provide patient-centered care that addresses the whole person and considers all available research-backed options to restore health and quality of life.

Fortunately, when it comes to healthcare the tides are turning. In 2016, the American Nurses Association (ANA) released a position statement in support of cannabis, urging reclassification to allow for more robust clinical research on the efficacy of marijuana and related cannabinoids. Two years later, in 2018, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) released guidelines for nurses caring for patients who use medical marijuana. Eloise played a central role in developing a nursing continuing education (CE) module for the ANA on this topic, and led creation of a clinical dosing regimen to the cannabis space.

Smiling cannabis nurse in background, holding up stethoscope with a marijuana leaf image printed on it.

Cannabis nurses offer knowledge in an emerging field

For now, cannabis nurses like the Leaf411 Nurses who staff our hotline hold a unique place in healthcare. More people are accessing plant medicine, yet many mainstream medical providers don’t have the necessary background or professional education to answer patients’ questions about cannabis therapeutics. Cannabis-trained nurses help fill that gap.

At Leaf411, we’ve seen the demand on our hotline, with calls increasing by 50% during the first two months of 2021, and we only expect that demand to increase as more states legalize medical and adult-use (recreational) cannabis. Public support for cannabis is also at an all-time high, with 91% of U.S. adults saying medical and/or adult-use cannabis should be legalized, according to a Pew Research Center report released in April 2021.

Stacked wooden blocks with up arrows,indicating increasing support for cannabis legalization across the U.S.

Access to legal cannabis is expanding and attitudes are changing, but patient resources remain scarce. We launched the nonprofit Leaf411 hotline with the goal of providing balanced, accessible cannabis information to the public while also paying our fully-licensed Leaf Nurses a fair market rate, acknowledging the time and resources they have invested into pursuing a cannabis specialization. 

We help patients and consumers cut through marketing claims and anecdotal data to find cannabis and hemp CBD product types and potencies that fit their goals, lifestyles and overall health regimen. We are not beholden to one brand, but instead help consumers sort through the options where they live, whether in a fully legal state, medical-only state, or even an area where cannabis has not been legalized yet hemp CBD is available.

During National Nurses Week, we want to acknowledge our Leaf Nurses’ commitment to making the Leaf411 hotline a leading resource for cannabis patients and consumers. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only RN-staffed cannabis hotline in the United States that provides this service for free to the public, and we couldn’t do it without the incredible passion and dedication that our nurses bring to their work.

Sticky note that says “Share This!” encouraging readers to share the Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline as a resource for others.

Spread the word about Leaf411 and help us grow!

One of the best ways you can support Leaf411 is by spreading the word about our service:

  • Have a friend with questions about cannabis? Point them in our direction.
  • Visiting your favorite dispensary for your cannabis medicine? Mention how Leaf411 has helped you, and suggest that they look into a business membership to help support patients like yourself.
  • Know a physician, nurse or other allied health professional with questions about cannabis therapeutics? Point them to us—we also serve as a resource for healthcare professionals.

We also appreciate individual donations, no matter how big or small. Visit this link to learn different ways you can support Leaf411’s work via direct donation or Amazon Smile. 

For cannabis businesses, a Leaf411 business membership provides a valuable educational resource for your customers while also demonstrating that you care about healthcare inequality. Leaf411 business membership can also set you apart in the increasingly crowded cannabis and hemp CBD marketplace, an issue we tackled in a recent blog post

We have revamped our business membership model to meet you where you’re at, whether you are a newly-launched brand or an industry heavyweight looking to make your mark on the future of patient-centered cannabis education and support. Keep an eye on our Business Membership page for more details, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter below!


Seed & Smith live resin cannabis concentrate shown on the end of a dabber scoop.

Is Live Resin Cannabis Worth the Cost?

Taking a closer look at what makes live resin different and its potential therapeutic benefits

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

Live resin is really all about terpenes, the delicate aromatic plant compounds that pack a therapeutic punch but can be destroyed during conventional extraction processes. Live resin is extracted using specialized processes that preserve terpenes and other plant compounds, retaining more of the whole plant instead of adding terpenes back in later on.

These terpenes play a big role in the effects you get from different cannabis chemovars (strains), a topic we’ve covered before on the blog.

As dispensary shelves become more crowded, cannabis manufacturers are looking for new ways to differentiate and offer products that meet unique consumer needs and tastes. Products containing live resin, including concentrates, vapes and even edibles, are one way manufacturers are looking to stand out. But from a consumer perspective, is live resin worth seeking out?

What is live resin?

Live resin is full-spectrum concentrate made from freshly harvested cannabis plants that are quickly flash frozen, retaining most plant compounds, including the delicate trichomes containing terpenes and flavonoids. This differentiates it from other concentrates made from dried and cured cannabis plants.

(Wondering what trichomes are? Tomatoes are another familiar plant with trichomes. If you’ve brushed across the tiny hairs on tomato leaves and stems, releasing a strong-smelling substance, then you’ve had a firsthand experience with fresh trichomes!)

Seed & Smith live resin concentrate
Seed & Smith live resin concentrate
Seed & Smith fresh flower featuring terpene-packed trichomes
Seed & Smith fresh flower featuring terpene-packed trichomes

How is live resin produced?

Back to our live resin. The plant flash-freezing process is followed by carefully controlled extraction at low temperatures, retaining all the plant compounds. Some popular extraction methods include hydrocarbon extraction and butane hash oil (BHO) extraction.

It’s important to note legal cannabis manufacturers use modern laboratory equipment and follow commercial fire and safety protocols to ensure the extract is safely produced and tested for any residual solvents. Butane hash oil extraction is something you should NOT try at home!

The live resin extraction process contrasts with more conventional methods where cannabis plants are first dried and cured with heat and decarboxylation to create THC distillate. Depending on the product type, manufacturers may re-introduce terpenes, CBD and other cannabinoids, along with flavoring and other ingredients later in the production cycle to create specific product effects.

Young Black woman with questioning face shrugging, unsure which cannabis product to buy.

Is live resin better than THC distillate products?

Does live resin’s unique extraction process make it superior to products made with THC distillate? Not necessarily.

Live resin is only as good as the quality of the plants that went into its production. In addition, the live resin extraction process is complex and time-consuming. If a manufacturer takes shortcuts, they risk losing valuable terpenes or end up with a product that contains residual solvents.

Also, THC distillate made from dried and cured plants often proves more efficient for ingestible products because it can be more precisely measured into a uniform dose.

Both budget and personal preferences also come into play. You may try a live resin product and love the effects and flavor or alternately be left wondering what the hype is all about.

When it comes to therapeutic benefits, live resin may have an edge, given that it preserves more of the whole plant compounds, including a higher concentration of naturally occurring terpenes than you’ll find in dried flower. Terpenes play an important role in cannabis’s healing power, with a wide range of effects. In a previous blog, we provided tips on how to identify the best terpenes for your needs. 

However, everyone’s endocannabinoid system is just a little bit different when it comes to cannabis, which really is individualized medicine. Our Leaf hotline nurses are experts when it comes to terpenes and the pros and cons of live resin products. They are ready to help with your questions via our free hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).

Middle-aged white woman reviewing cannabis information in a notebook, with laptop open on table.

Learning more about live resin product types

Live resin is popping up in more legal cannabis products on today’s dispensary shelves. It can be confusing to sort out all the options! Here’s a quick primer on different live resin products:

Seed & Smith live resin concentrate in a jar with packaging in background.

  • Live resin concentrates: Live resin concentrates can be dabbed (smoked using a specially-designed dab rig), or sprinkled on top of cannabis flower before smoking to enhance flavor and boost potency. Remember that a little goes a long way! Leaf411 supporting member Seed & Smith produces a range of high-quality concentrates extracted from unique, small-batch flower strains. You can see examples of different concentrates at this link. 
  • Live resin vapes: Vaping is a common way that people use cannabis concentrates, and live resin vapes are quickly growing in popularity as consumers look for options that reflect the full plant profile. Live resin vapes also should not contain cutting agents like Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Propylene Glycol (PG) or MCT oil, which can be found in some distillate-based vape cartridges.

Escape Artists Live Resin preroll shown with packaging and included glass tip

  • Live resin prerolls: If you’re curious to discover how live resin can enhance a joint but not sure about rolling one yourself, some brands are now offering live resin-infused prerolls, including our supporting member Escape Artists. Of course, quality matters, which is why Escape Artists combines the best full buds (not shake) and live resin for their prerolls. Remember that a live resin joint is more potent than your standard joint–one puff may be all you need! 
  • Live resin edibles: Live resin edibles are newer to the scene. While terpenes primarily interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system via smell, they can also affect the digestive system where many endocannabinoid receptors are located. Brands like Dialed In Gummies are now offering single-strain edibles produced using low-heat sous vide methods to retain all the original plant compounds. (Technically, Dialed In Gummies uses live rosin, which is very similar to live resin, except that extraction does not involve butane or other solvents.)

How to get started with live resin

When trying out a live resin product for the first time, our advice is to start with a low dose and go slow. A little goes a long way! This is especially true with cannabis concentrates that can be very potent, containing up to 90% THC. Going slow also allows you to appreciate the complex terpene profiles you’ll find in live resin products.

Nurse working on laptop and calculator

But is live resin worth it?

Circling back to our original question, which we’re sure is on your mind as well: How much more does live resin cost and is it worth it?

Based on a quick look at two of our Colorado dispensary supporting members, Lightshade and Nature’s Gift Shop, live resin products fetch a premium, typically costing more than their distillate-based counterparts. This makes sense given the time-consuming, complex extraction processes used to make live resin. If you’re eager to explore a wider range of cannabis products, the extra cost may be worth it.

However, if you’re looking for a specific therapeutic benefit from cannabis, the answer is less clear. A lot depends on the health issue you’re dealing with, as well as the type of relief you’re seeking. Our cannabis-trained, fully-licensed Leaf RNs are more than happy to help you determine whether live resin may be a good option, or if a distillate-based product may provide targeted benefits at less cost.

Call our free, anonymous hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411), or chat us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for help with your live resin questions or any other cannabis or CBD hemp questions on your mind!

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.