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Cannabis Tincture

 

Baked goods and other food creations are a common way to deliver THC, CBD and other chemicals from cannabis without the risks of smoking/vaping.

 

However, there is another method of preparation that can be taken orally with great effect. Tinctures are liquid mixtures of substances (often medicines) dissolved in alcohol. Cannabis can be delivered in tincture form, or more specifically, the chemicals in cannabis (cannabinoids) can.

The alcohol in tinctures is not added for its effects on the human body, but instead acts to extract the desired chemicals from cannabis and to keep them dissolved throughout its liquid base [1]. Despite the fact that the alcohol used is extremely high proof (many home recipes recommend Everclear), cannabis tincture dosages are typically limited to a few millimeters at a time, so virtually no alcohol intoxication should take place at all.

There are several ways that tincture can be taken [2]. The most direct method is to place it underneath the tongue (sublingually) using a dropper. Beginners are advised to start with a single (1mL) drop on the first day to test their reaction to the potency. If desired, an additional mL can be added each following day until the desired effects are observed. Drops can also be placed on foods or in beverages if desired, as long as it is added after any cooking/heating processes.

Tincture was once one of the (if not the) most common ways to ingest cannabinoids prior to the widespread prohibition of cannabis in the first half of the 20th century (3) and it is poised for a comeback as new laws are established. Standardized production methods will allow for the precise addition of specific cannabinoids dependent on the desired effects of the tincture (pain relief, sleep aid, etc.), presenting a reliable and simple alternative to other methods of cannabis delivery.

The Rising Popularity of Cannabis Edibles

 Cannabis consumption continues to grow in popularity as many governments move toward relaxing or eliminating criminal laws against the production and usage of the plant. This is in large part due to a gradual amassing of evidence supporting its many health benefits, like pain control and anti-epileptic properties. There are many ways that cannabis can be prepared and distributed within legal markets. Raw plant matter and concentrated resins are common examples, but edibles may hold the most potential for benefits to consumers and businesses alike.

A recent CNN article [1] has labelled cannabis as a “superfood” because of the many health benefits associated with ingesting the chemicals produced by the plant (collectively called cannabinoids). It can be incorporated into butter, oils, drinks and doesn’t taste out of place in a salad. Approaching the plant as a food opens up a new level of creativity for production purposes and broadens the appeal of cannabis consumption in general. On the flip side, food-based businesses may benefit from adding cannabis edibles to their operations (where legal), presenting an avenue for B2B developments.

There are a number of additional reasons that cannabis edibles are rising in popularity. Many people who would benefit from cannabis usage simply do not want to inhale smoke or vapors to ingest the product. Edibles are the perfect solution for such consumers, as they can get all of the important chemicals into their system by doing something they do every day: eating. On a similar but more serious note, lung problems and other medical conditions can eliminate the benefits of inhaling any type of cannabis fumes. The availability of quality edibles allows people with such limitations to enjoy the desired effects without suffering from collateral damage.

In total, the future of cannabis edibles appears to be quite bright. They can be engineered to deliver specific medical effects (via cannabinoid control), may take the form of several fundamental foodstuffs and can be consumed by anyone who can eat or drink. Edibles are well positioned to become the most popular form of cannabis consumption over time.
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The Importance of Product Standardization in the Budding Cannabis Industry

Setting and maintaining standards will be a critical part of establishing stable and safe cannabis markets as legalization processes move forward. Standardization will come in many forms, from law enforcement to growing regulations, but at the level of product the main concern is establishing reliable measurement methods for all of the key chemicals in cannabis (aka cannabinoids). Recently, a plea for such a system was made during a meeting of the international standards society known as ASTM [1], where it was noted that current measurement comparisons between companies often conflict.


The amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the product (be it plant matter, concentrate or other) is a central focus for standardization purposes. High levels of the chemical are associated with the classic “high” that is sought by most recreational users. Numeric values for THC content will undoubtedly be the go-to statistic for potency-based decisions, but things will get confusing and frustrating quickly unless a standardized measure is adopted throughout the industry. Without consistent measures, consumers may come to feel that businesses are trying to take advantage of them, potentially sowing the seeds of distrust in an emerging consumer base.


THC also has valuable medical applications in the treatment of conditions like chemotherapy-related nausea, multiple sclerosis [2] and neuropathic pain. However, high levels of THC may also induce seizures [3]. This property exists in stark contrast to the observed effects of another key cannabinoid, called cannabidiol (CBD), which has been successfully used as a treatment for epilepsy [4]. Standardized measurements based on consistent research findings will be critical to ensure that medical patients receive the most effective and, most importantly, safe dosages of each applicable chemical.


Not too long ago, standardizing cannabis by chemical content would have been expected to be simple, as researchers were only aware of THC and its contributions to the psychoactive effects of the plant. Now they know better, as over 100 cannabinoids have been found within its resins [5], some with potentially groundbreaking health benefits that are still being discovered. It won’t be easy or quick, but standardization must become a pillar of stability supporting the evolution of both medical and recreational marijuana markets.

Considerations of the Pot Delivery Business


 In states where medical marijuana is legal, an important question must be answered. How can patients get their medication if they are physically unable to get to a dispensary? Not surprisingly, several entrepreneurial individuals decided that starting a marijuana delivery service would be a good way to make some cash by providing this service.

Unfortunately, it’s not always legal and there are other roadblocks as well. But that hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs. Across Southern California, medical marijuana delivery businesses now number in the hundreds. California is not alone. Nationwide, these delivery services have tripled in just three years, from 877 to 2,716 according to Weedmaps, a Yelp-like directory of marijuana businesses and dispensaries.

The delivery business has become so popular and in-demand that Eaze, a Silicon Valley company, received $12.5 million in venture capital for an app that allows medical marijuana patients to order their medication from the comfort of their own home. Eaze handles none of the product itself. Instead, it hooks people up with delivery services in more than 100 cities in California.

Delivery services provide conveniences to business who want to make money off of cannabis without owning a brick-and-mortar shop. Most cities in California have allowed these delivery services to operate freely since state medical marijuana laws fail to mention delivery services. Unlike cigarette alternative vapor pens or alcohol, cigarettes they do require special licensing to do the marijuana delivery business.

Roadblocks

But some cities, like Riverside, have banned marijuana delivery. And the newly-passed Proposition D prohibits mobile businesses. However, the L.A. city attorney’s office has yet to prosecute any. Yet some are calling for cities and municipalities to consider supporting delivery businesses as they eliminate unwanted store fronts. They also help to get much-needed medication to home bound patients or those in communities where brick-and-mortar stores are few in number or outright banned.

In 2016, Sacramento city officials began considering guidelines for the medical marijuana delivery business, including issuing delivery permits allowing for deliveries. Those deliveries would need to be from the city’s 30 licensed retail dispensaries.

Safety

In the pot delivery business, safety has become a serious issue. In February 2016, a medical marijuana courier was robbed when people in Antioch brandished a gun, stole his wallet, and his car. They made away with $8,000 in cannabis products. The following December, two Oceanside men were arrested after being implicated in the beating and robbery of a marijuana delivery driver, stealing a pound of marijuana.

Advertising Challenges

Massachusetts, a state where marijuana is legal for recreational use as well as medical, recently warned Leafly, another Yelp-like website that lists marijuana dispensaries, that listing ads for delivery services might be violating state law. In April, the site removed the ads, but the site put the ads back up after confirming their owners were state-licensed caregivers authorized to supply their patients with marijuana. However, the caregiver law limits caregivers to one patient at a time and prohibits them from profiting off of their patients. Lawmakers believe the delivery services are in violation of these provisions.

The only businesses allowed to sell marijuana to multiple patients are the state’s 9 licensed dispensaries. The state, as well as some patient advocates, are concerned that the delivery businesses are getting around strict background tests, lab testing requirements, and other considerations that are imposed on brick-and-mortar stores.

Beyond the legality of delivery businesses, there are other considerations of owning or starting a marijuana delivery business. One primary consideration is that the driver, or the delivery person, must be a medical marijuana patient themselves. Knowledge of how much one can carry at one time as well as verifying that their customers are also authorized to purchase medical marijuana is necessary.

Plus, the product has to be housed securely. Many marijuana delivery businesses work out of warehouses that do not serve walk-in customers. Some licensed dispensaries do provide delivery services, but some dispensary owners speak out against the delivery business, citing that it gets the owners out of state oversight and the often expensive and extensive testing required by state law.

Marijuana delivery may be a necessity for some patients unable to get to a brick-and-mortar storefront. They may also keep storefronts to a minimum in communities who don’t want dispensaries. However, the legality of owning and operating such a business will be a worry until state and local lawmakers take steps to either license delivery services or outlaw them entirely.

Author Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with healthy lifestyle obsession are his passions.