Grow Light Introduction


Lamp size & type

The lamps size (wattage) and type (spectrum) is essential for ensuring plants receive adequate light. When using HID or fluorescent lamps, lux* meters are useful for checking if all foliage is receiving the correct amount of light . Ensure to check both high and low:

Clones /seedlings: 5,000–7,000 lux. Use fluorescent.
Vegetative growth: 15,000–50,000 lux. Use MH lamp.
Flowering: 45,000–70,000 lux. Use HPS lamp.

*PAR meters are more accurate and can also be used to test LED lights, however they are very expensive.

Too little light?
Can be caused by foliage being too far from the lamp i.e. lamp is too high, or plants are too tall, or area of coverage is inadequate (see below). May also be due to shading from over-planting, inadequate plant shaping/ training, incorrect lamp size/type, or due to a faulty lamp or incompatible ballast. Insufficient light will produce sparse foliage, spindly branches and poor flowering.

Too much light?
Can be caused by the lamp being too close to foliage or incorrect lamp size. Symptoms will be evident on upper most foliage and may include stunted growth, and folding, bleaching or burning of leaves.

Area of coverage
The lamps wattage will largely determine the size of the ‘effective’ growing area – see Fig 3.3 and Table 3, “Area of coverage”. However, to unleash the lamp’s full potential, it is critical to also choose a lamp shade that provides maximum reflection efficiency and focuses the light evenly (without hot spots) and with the correct amount of spread i.e. not too wide or narrow. The use of reflective material on walls and other large surfaces helps ensure that light is not wasted through absorption.

Plant height
Light intensity diminishes rapidly as distance from the lamp increases. Therefore, along with choosing the correct wattage, it is important to ensure the majority of foliage is positioned within lamp’s “sweet-zone”. This is best achieved by training plants into a low, wide and flat canopy (Fig 3.2) – see section on Topping and LST (Fig 8.1).

Lamp height
To best utilize lamp output, position the lamp as close as possible to the top of plants without causing photo-respiration or burning of foliage (see Table 3 for “minimum gap” guidelines). Air cooled lights should be used because they enable lamps to be positioned closer to the foliage. These are particularly beneficial for 1,000W lamps (Fig 7.2). Ensure lamps are hung so that their height can be easily adjusted as the plants grow.

Plant density / shading
Shading becomes an issue when plants are positioned too close to one another. It is generally more productive to plant fewer plants, rather than more.

For more see page 19 of the FloraMax Hydroponics Manual.

© Andrew M Taylor

Topping and LST training by Floramax

How to prune and train plants to achieve higher yields

Indoor grow lightsTo obtain higher yields, the most productive indoor growers manipulate their plants into a low, wide and flat canopy with multiple flowering sites at the ‘same’ vertical height. This allows a larger proportion of your plant to bask in the “sweet zone” enjoying optimum light levels within a temperature range that is ideal for photosynthesis.
This ‘form’ can be achieved through a combination of “topping” followed by Low Stress Training (LST):
1. Topping is effectively used to obtain multiple, even-sized floral sites.
2. LST is then used to bring these floral sites to the same height to maximize grow lamp efficiency.

STEP 1. Topping. When and how to ‘top’?

topping a plantTopping is best done when the plant is very young (less than 2-3 weeks old) and has only 2-5 nodes in total. Topping is the removal of the plants ‘top’ growth just above a node (fig 2). Once topped, the two axillary buds immediately below the cut will then grow out into two new branches. Once these new branches grow out to 1 or 2 leaf sets (or nodes) they can be topped again (Fig 3a). This second round of topping will grow out to form four even-sized branches (potential bud sites – see fig 3b).

Important points for topping:

1. Topping can be done more than twice however doing so will increase time in vegetative phase. Test to see what is most productive. Some experienced growers will top up to 5 times (or more) to obtain 32 branches and can be well rewarded for their efforts.Topping & LST

2. Healthy plants usually take 2-3 days to recover from topping. After topping, do not remove the leaves from that node as these are needed to power growth of the branches from that node.  Never top during flowering as it causes too much stress – which slows growth and inhibits yield. Do not top unhealthy plants. Also, avoid topping older, thicker growth as this takes longer to heal.

STEP 2. Low Stress Training (LST)

After topping (done twice in the scenario above – Fig 3b) there are four quality branches (or bud sites) growing vertically from what was originally the top node. LST involves pulling these branches downwards (to horizontal) and outwards (i.e. “star” configuration) so that all four branches are spread apart from one another, horizontal and at the same height (Fig 4). The lower branches from the nodes ‘below’ where topping occurred are now also closer and more exposed to the light. As these grow up they can be topped and manipulated using LST.

Important points for LST:

low stress training (LST) plants1. When to start and finish LST?  LST should be started as soon as possible during the vegetative phase. Flowering phase can commence once all major branches are horizontal and level with each other. Budding can be triggered by switching lights to 12-on, 12-off. LST should continue during early flowering as vegetative growth continues. Maintain a flat, level branch structure. Vegetative growth will eventually stop when the plant is putting most of its energy into flowering.  Minimal adjustment is required after this point – apart from keeping shade away from key areas.  It can be beneficial to remove small, lower growth as this helps improve ventilation through the canopy and prevents infestations or infections due to foliage being in contact with soil.

2. Bending branches: Young growth is easier to bend than older growth. Also some species/ strains are easier than others. Do not rush to get branches horizontal, do this in stages. When a branch is first bent, growth will be slowed. Foliage will re-orientate towards the light then eventually start to grow. LST again once it grows another 3 inches or so.

How to secure branches for LST?

Adopt a method that is strong enough to support the plant during flowering and allows access to manage the growing plants, conduct cleaning and other maintenance:

screen or netting for LST1. Gardening wire or landscape stakes: This method is effective during the early growth stages soon after topping.  Branches can be held in place with wire that is anchored to screws in the pot, or some other structure.  As the plant grows the wires need to be tightened however ensure the main stem remains vertical.

2. Screen or netting:  A square or rectangular frame needs to be securely erected with either netting stretched over it or create a grid pattern using string woven through eyelets that are screwed into the frame.  The holes in the grid or netting need to be at least 2×2” or 5x5cm.  Depending upon the species, the screen is normally mounted low enough (approx 1-1 ½ ft / 30-45cm) from the plant’s base so all the lower branches can grow up to the screen and gain access to direct light (Fig 5). As the plant grows, the growing tips need to be lowered back under the netting and directed into the next empty space in the screen.


Trying cannabis for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience, making it hard to know where to begin. Weed is meant to be relaxing. So, to help take the stress off, here is what you need to know before your first time.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Two pot smokers will happily share a joint, even if they don’t speak the same language. The true spirit of the cannabis community is this; If you and I both use cannabis in some form regardless of whether we have met, we are cannafamily. We all started out exactly where you are. So, never be intimidated to ask questions or feel like you ‘should’ know something. When it comes to cannabis, there is so much out there to learn. New and exciting information is being released every day, so remember, everybody is learning with you. There are no stupid questions, just funny ones.

Cannabis is non-fatal

cannabis effectFact: It is physically impossible to fatally overdose from cannabis. When THC interacts with our CB1 receptors, we experience a psychoactive effect. CB1 receptors can be found in high concentrations, all over the body with one exception: the brainstem. As it happens, this part of the brain controls involuntary functions such as heartbeat and lung function. Because there are so few CB1 receptors within the brainstem, it is impossible to overstimulate this area using cannabis and cause a shutdown.

enjoy with cannabisWhat this means: No one has ever caused their heart to stop or stopped breathing because of weed. No one ever will. If you get a little bit too baked or start to feel uncomfortable, just remember that the effects will pass.

Type of cannabis

The effects of cannabis come from a blend of different cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds, found within its strain genetics. From plant to plant, these compounds vary, producing different results. To categorize this, each strain gets labeled as an indica, sativa, or hybrid, based on common characteristics.



Here is a phrase to help you remember the difference between indica and sativa:

indica will put you in da couch.


The golden rule of dosing – start low, go slow.

The effects of cannabis can sneak up on you so give it some time to kick in.


smoking weedWhen THC is inhaled into the lungs, it enters the bloodstream very quickly. The effect is usually felt within 10-15 minutes, making it easy to judge for dosing. If you choose to smoke weed for your first experience, your biggest challenge is how to do so.


  • Ask to purchase pre-rolled joints. If they are not available, ask if someone can roll it for you. Asking for this might feel awkward the first time, but, this question is a common one. Many long time cannabis users cannot roll joints.


cannabis smoking

  • If you are using a pipe, grind up the bud first. That way, you ensure it burns evenly.
  • There can be a little hole on the side of the pipe called a ‘choke’. When inhaling and lighting the bud, be sure to keep your finger over this hole. After inhaling, there may be some lingering smoke in the pipe chamber. Lifting your finger off of the choke, allows you to clear this.


first time cannabisA lot of people avoid cannabis because they don’t want to smoke it; that’s where edibles come in. If you are going to go this route, be aware of a few things:

Dosing is different.

  • You absorb more THC through your digestive system than you do through the lungs. Eating it will make the most of those milligrams.

Edibles need to be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

  •  It will take longer for you to feel an effect if you eat cannabis, instead of smoking it.
  • The amount of food present in your stomach will impact how quickly you feel it.

Your source

Cannabis is safe to use but if done incorrectly, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable. Factors such as dosing, strain, and quality make the difference between a therapeutic, enjoyable experience, and one you never want again. It’s all about trusting that your source of cannabis knows exactly what they are doing. Wherever you get it should provide more than just weed, they should be there to educate as well. Before you decide whether to purchase from a legal or ‘grey market’ source, be aware of a few things:

The Government Stores

The benefits of going to a licensed cannabis retailer include convenience and legal purchasing. There are some good ones, but the price, quality, and availability can’t be guaranteed. Plus, they cannot provide any medical advice. These retailers have to play by government rules and do not have the same options as a normal business.

cannabisOn top of that, there can be a lot of money to be made in the cannabis industry, making it irresistible on the corporate level. Many long-standing, small cannabis businesses have been sabotaged as legalization has taken effect. Thanks to the provincial model, the pot dealers doing the most social damage wear suits, and operate legally. Still, there are some decent places that won’t rip you off.

Grey Market Sources

Never shun a source solely because they are unlicensed. When it comes to legal cannabis, you cannot rely on the government to know what is best because their interest is purely financial. If it wasn’t, regulations for medical cannabis would have been prioritized over recreational use. As it stands, the only options for medical patients are extremely expensive licensed producers, and accessing them is very difficult. In the meantime, grey market sources fill in the gap. Here are some things to think about when sussing out a new source:

trying cannabis

  • What kind of experience and passion do they have when it comes to their products? There are many long-standing compassion clubs that have had to fight to stay open. The only reason that these places put themselves at risk is that they believe in what they are doing. If you find a source that has been under fire before but preserves regardless, they might be worth a second look.
  • Ask about their quality control and gauge their responses. Someone who is on it will not hesitate to tell you all about it; in fact, they will likely be excited. For example, If money was spent on third-party testing, they will be thrilled to tell you about it.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to trust your source.

How was your first time using cannabis? Do you have any advice to share that we missed? Please add it to the comments below!


Marijuana and hashish are commonly spoken as synonymous buddies (pun intended!) but are very different in nature. Let’s dive into what is marijuana and hashish are so you can get stoned the way you want to.


marijuana and hashishCannabis refers to three plants known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis rudealis with psychoactive properties. When you harvest and dry the flowers of these plants, you are left with one of the world’s most popular medicines. More than 120 constituents known as cannabinoids are made up in cannabis. Experts still aren’t sure what each cannabinoid can do, but two of them, known as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are very well established. So what exactly is THC and CHD?

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which will not “high” you. It is frequently used to reduce inflammation and to relieve pain. Nausea, migraines, headaches, and anxiety can also be treated. The usefulness of therapeutic use is still being tested by researchers.

THC is the most powerful psychoactive in cannabis. The “high” of cannabis associated with most people is responsible for THC.


hashHashish is a drug extracted from a cannabis plant’s resin. Hash resin is extracted from the cannabis plant and refined to form a potent form of marijuana, typically used for leisure. Hash resin is forced into condensed hash balls or bricks. Small bits are then broken down and smoked. Hash doesn’t burn on its own quickly, so it is usually mixed with other herbs such as cannabis or tobacco.

So what’s the difference between marijuana and hashish?

Let’s begin with what marijuana and hashish have in common is the obvious thing: both come from the same cannabis plants. Pot is the floral bud of the female cannabis plant, as you probably understand. Hash consists of the same buds, however, it is handled in a different manner. The flower buds are harvested while a cannabis plant is in full bloom, and a farmer will go in one of two directions from this moment on. The flowers will be hanged to dry in the case of marijuana. The resulting product is the plant, which we all know so well, once it has completely dried out every seed, spring and excess leaves are removed.

It’s up to you what you prefer between marijuana and hashish, but the road to all the benefits of cannabis is through your own knowledge. Do your research before you smoke, and as always, subscribe for more tips and tricks!

Interested to know more about THC and CBD, read the following article:

It’s hard. Self-isolation sucks big time, but in order to keep each other safe, this is what we have to do. The good news is that the social distancing measures put in place to combat the spread of pandemic COVID-19 are paying off as the rates of new infections are slowing down.Sick or not, this pandemic is scaring everyone and stress levels are rising as the days go on. For many of us, the toll taken on our mental health is hard to handle. Still, as long as we keep on, keeping on, we are going to make it through this crisis.

To try to ease the discomfort and make it a little easier, here are some tools to help you maintain good mental health.

Move it

Boredom sucks. Battle it by getting baked and staying active. Sure, it’s really easy to just sit around unsatisfied, as you binge watch movies, bored with life during self-isolation in this pandemic. But it doesn’t have to be this bleak. Mix it up. Keeping busy means keeping on. Stoned or not, a pot smoker in a pandemic can find joy in simple pleasures and the mental health benefits are surprisingly effective. Beware the trap of doing nothing and laying around. It’s really hard right now but get your mind into moving mode and it will be easier to pass the days.

Look at Art

We use vision in order to interpret the world around us. When we look at an image, blood flows to our brain as nerves fire, helping us to make sense of what we see and how we respond. Looking at art has a profound effect. In one study, research showed that art significantly stimulated the emotional regulation center of the prefrontal cortex; the result was a physical reduction of stress within the body. Taking some time to look at art and analyze what you see, biologically, will help calm you down. To maximize that effect, look at a piece and ask yourself some questions:

  • Describe to yourself what you see and what is lacking.
  • Think about the deeper meaning behind the piece and what the artist wanted you to experience.

Meditate…your way through this pandemic

Think of meditation like taking vitamins: you may or may not always notice an immediate effect, but when used regularly the benefits can be life-changing. Try adding a five-minute meditation to your daily routine. It’s all about breathing, and as long as that is your focus, understand that there is no wrong way to do it. If you would like some instruction, there are beautiful guided meditations on YouTube and through apps. The bonus for a stoner is that regular meditation can help increase your lung capacity, helping you take bigger tokes. If meditation is a struggle for you, here are some tips to help make it easier:

  • Focus on your breathing. If you can’t turn off the voice inside your head, imagine turning down the volume.
  • Give yourself instant forgiveness. Your body and mind is responding to meditation as it should, each time and every time. Let go of any expectations you have for yourself and just breathe.
  • No time, focus or patience? Choose a song to listen to as you meditate and focus on your breathing for the time that it plays. Pick something that affects you personally and deeply. It doesn’t matter what genre it is, as long as the sound massages your soul.

Author Suggestions: Acid Raindrops by People Under the Stairs or 93 ’til Infinity by Souls of Mischief 

Reorganize your house

If you are going stir crazy and you need to be in a new environment, create one by rearranging your furniture and artwork. It’s amazing how different a room can feel when you simply move some things around and the effect is instant. Plus, physical activity can help you burn off any anxious energy and stress.

Practice healthy living habits

No one is going anywhere unless they absolutely have to, thus we all have time for the daily routine activities that keep us all healthy. Not only will you reap the rewards of these activities, but each completed task also provides a sense of accomplishment. When there is nothing to do but stay at home, feeling productive can be a breath of fresh air. Think of the things that you can do for yourself that will benefit you for the rest of your life, for example:

  • Drinking water
  • Getting a decent sleep
  • Stretching and yoga, or a full workout at home
  • Getting some exercise – depending on individual abilities


Check out online e-book subscriptions. Most services will offer a free trial and they let you keep the book, even if you don’t stick with the service. Now is the time to finally learn about any subject that makes you curious or to read for pure pleasure. Plus, finishing a book gives you a sense of accomplishment. If you’re not into reading, you just haven’t found the right book yet but doing so will open your world. Life rarely affords us the time to devour a good time, so take advantage of this opportunity, and read.

Get away and tour a museum…from your living room

Did you know that there are several museums offering free virtual tours? Smoke a bowl and go take a trip to The Louvre or The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sick of art and feel like something a bit different? NASA offers an online tour of The Langley Research Center in Virginia and it pairs nicely with a strong sativa. You can also tour The Vatican. Search for free online tours to save yourself the lineup and plane ticket – what’s out there will surprise you.

Touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing…

Trying to think about something other than the pandemic coronavirus is pretty hard these days and it’s really easy to let your fear take over your touch with reality. Sensual awareness is one way to practice mindfulness, bringing attention back to the present. When panic hits and you need to calm down, try directing your focus to all five senses. Think about activities that trigger them and the effect it has on you – cannabis, for example. Touching a sticky bud, the sight and smell of that emerald, dank chronic. The taste of a dry toke and the sounds of the lighter strike. Yep. Simultaneously stimulating the senses can be a potent way to ease tension during this pandemic lockdown!

The next time your mind begins to run away, stop and take inventory of all of your senses. Even if you don’t have something nice to focus on, this practice will bring your mind back to the present.

Connect with a loved one

With the technology available these days, there is no reason to feel disconnected from society. If you’re starting to panic but you’re forced to stay indoors, get online or on the phone. Keeping in contact with friends and loved ones will help keep you sane. Plus, thanks to skype and FaceTime, we have visual contact, germ-free, and a daily session online at 4:20 is a great way to stay connected.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you are struggling right now with this crisis, you are not alone. Everyone is managing the stress of the situation differently and we are not all equipped the same. If it is becoming too much to manage, mentally and/or physically, ask for help. Do not be afraid to call your network or emergency services, regardless of whether you feel the situation calls for it. It’s better to act rather than wait for a problem to get worse.

Call the need crisis line for stress and mental health. Counsellors are available 24/7, plus the service is free and anonymous.

During his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt said that we have “nothing to fear but fear itself” and those words ring true right now. They speak to the fact that fear and how it affects our society, is the only thing that truly stands in our way. Through determination and action, we can surmount any obstacle, regardless of how bleak the circumstances may appear.

We are going to make it through this pandemic as long as we continue our course of action. Stay at home and socially distance yourself until told otherwise, but in the meantime, breathe and remember that this is going to pass. Find ways to take care of yourself to stay happy and healthy.


For anyone who has stepped into a gardening center, the selection of cannabis nutrients has always been kinda daunting. There you will find a wide variety of products in different sizes and containers. It can be difficult to wade through all these different options.

As a grower we want to make 100% certain of the content of the solutions we’re feeding our cannabis plants.

One question I keep hearing is “What’s the difference between a powder cannabis fertilizer and a liquid fertilizer?”. Besides it’s obvious state of matter, the difference can be hard to determine from just reading package labels alone.

While some growers might simply say one is better than the other, advance growers know that there’s a time and place for each. Let’s compare powder cannabis fertilizers to liquid ones, so we can make an informed decision on what to feed our plants.


Obviously a liquid cannabis fertilizer will dissolve in water much more easily than a powder. If powder fertilizer isn’t dissolved properly then it won’t work as effectively.
The easiest way to ensure that a powder fertilizer is diluted properly is to dissolve a little first. Dissolving the recommended dose of powder in a small amount of water first is best. Once you have this solution evenly mixed, you can add it to your water can (or reservoir for hydroponic grows).
Liquid fertilizers also have elements that can settle. When using liquid nutrients before to shake up the jug before measuring your dose.


Many liquid base nutrients will come with an “A” solution and a “B” solution. The reason for this is that the elements in the liquid fertilizer solutions will react with each other when combined. These solutions need to be added separately to your water supply.
This is not the case for powder cannabis nutrients. Dry nutrients won’t react with each other, so having a part “A” and “B” is not necessary.


Liquid fertilizer are made of mostly water. This makes liquid fertilizer heavier and harder to ship. Moving around huge jugs of nutrients can be very hard on the back. If you’re ordering nutrients online, liquids can be more expensive to ship.
Powder fertilizers are lighter because you add them to the water yourself. Because your dealing with a powder, there’s also way less of a chance of spillage and waste. Ordering them online usually comes with cheaper shipping options.


The best cannabis fertilizers should have a grow and bloom formula. Each one designed for the two crucial stages of the cannabis life cycle; vegetative and fruiting.
Using a powder cannabis nutrient like Reefertilizer can make the growing process much easier for beginners. Their grow and bloom fertilizer are perfectly suited for all types of cannabis plants. They also come highly recommended by their users.


As the United States slowly warms to the idea of legal cannabis, many entrepreneurs are finding new and exciting ways to grow and expand the industry. From cannabis infused drinks to specialty lighters, there are countless new products being developed. But one product is changing the way people think about growing cannabis, and it could prove that you don’t need to be a master grower in order to grow your own. That product is powdered cannabis fertilizer, and it’s taking the industry by storm.

But what makes cannabis fertilizer different from other fertilizer products on the market? All plants have specific needs with regard to certain nutrients, and cannabis plants, in particular, have different requirements for each phase of growth. For this reason, the best results are achieved with a multi-stage fertilizer formulated specifically for cannabis plants.

In the earlier vegetative phase of plant growth, cannabis plants like a high level of nitrogen. However, once they’re ready to flower, they do best with low nitrogen levels and higher quantities of other nutrients, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Many cannabis fertilizers take this into account, offering specially formulated nutrients for the initial starting stage, the growth stage, and the flowering stage of cannabis plant growth.

For many years, small growers had very little choice with regard to commercial nutrients or fertilizers available. Although specially formulated cannabis fertilizers are now readily available, the more commonly available liquid format has its fair share of limitations. Powdered fertilizers, on the other hand, are just as effective as any liquid fertilizer on the market, with a wealth of benefits over their liquid counterparts.

Powdered fertilizers are more concentrated than liquid fertilizer, allowing the user to tailor their nutrient dosage more specifically for their needs. But the higher concentration of nutrients per unit weight in powdered fertilizer also means that less packaging is required, and shipping costs can be substantially reduced. Powdered fertilizers also have a longer shelf life than liquid nutrients, meaning less wasted product and lower costs in the long run.

These benefits translate to a more environmentally friendly product that creates less waste, less packaging, and reduces emissions related to packaging and shipping of the products. Powdered fertilizers are also easy to use: simply mix them with water and shake to fully dissolve, and plants can be easily fed in any type of growing medium.

Cannabis is awesome!

For these reasons, it’s no surprise that many industry leaders have already made the switch to powdered cannabis fertilizers. As such an easy to use and environmentally friendly alternative to liquid nutrients, powdered cannabis fertilizers are proving to be a gam

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is a well known active ingredient of the Cannabis plant, but did you know you can get it in oil form?Yes, we’ve already written about “What is Cannabis Oil?“, but the thing is…. CBD oil appears to be all rage right now.You probably know someone who has either tried it or sang the praises of its medical benefits. Its popularity among Canadians appears to be skyrocketing while globally, many countries are waking up to the remarkable health benefits offered by this exciting extract.With a broad and growing range of therapeutic capabilities and a host of studies to back them up, it’s fair to say the hype about CBD oil is real. As with any new medicine attracting interest, many questions from the public arise.

Like, how do you know if your CBD oil is pure? How does it work? And, what conditions has CBD oil been proven to help?

If you’ve only scratched the surface of this therapeutic cannabinoid, read on as we dig deeper into the versatility and medical scope of CBD oil.

Are CBD and cannabis oil the same?

Oil is a healthier alternative to smoking and has gained popularity with recreational and medicinal users. But what’s the main difference between CBD and cannabis oil?

Simply put, they aren’t the same thing, however it’s complicated.

Its many monikers make cannabis oil tricky to nail down because it’s a blanket term for a range of oils with different purposes. Hemp oil, hash oil, CBD oil, and THC oil all fall under that blanket along with others. Hash oil alone is another blanket term so yeah, it’s pretty complicated.

The main difference between CBD oil and cannabis oil is usually that the latter contains THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you ‘high’.

Let’s be clear though, THC is not the enemy unless abused and/or smoked over long periods of time. In fact, THC has its own array of medical benefits but it’s also very therapeutic when combined with CBD.

The ‘entourage effect’ happens when the cannabis plant’s most famous compounds unite, along with help of terpenes. This term refers to strength in numbers — better together than alone — when it comes to creating a medicinal force. Basically, when cannabinoids and terpenes all work towards the same goal, you’ll notice stronger overall healing effects.

While technically a cannabis oil, non-psychoactive CBD oil is never really used recreationally due to its lack of buzz. It’s primarily a healer. Although scientists believe more studies are required, it is definitely the star cannabinoid of medical cannabis and has the capability to treat numerous conditions and diseases.

Evidence suggests that it’s effective in the treatment of severe pain, epilepsy, anxiety disorders, arthritis, and schizophrenia just to mention a few.

Is CBD legal in Canada?

The short answer is yes, but you’d be forgiven for thinking the legality of CBD oil would be a formality in Canada.

A bird’s eye view of its qualities and capabilities would instantly lead you to think so. It’s a non-psychoactive compound with very few side effects that don’t get you buzzed.

So what’s the harm right?

Thankfully, CBD oil is legal but there’s still a ways to go. Alternative sources of CBD oil and other related products are not yet endorsed by the government for retailers. Meanwhile, any CBD products made by a licensed cannabis producer are fully endorsed by the government (just FYI, hemp oil is also a government-approved product).

So here’s where it gets tricky.

You may be a medicinal cannabis patient intent on using only government-approved products. Let’s say you have a joint (no pun intended) or muscular pain and buying a CBD topical seems like the next logical step. Currently, this would not be possible as the government has yet to approve cannabidiol creams or any cannabinoid edibles for that matter.

It really depends on how cautious and particular you are about where you obtain your CBD oil. If you need that government seal of approval then the cream and edibles will have to wait. If you are confident in your source — be it an online retailer or a local headshop — and happy with the quality of that CBD oil then this is not a problem for you.

Ultimately, these are cannabis or hemp-related products sold in a country where cannabis and hemp are completely legal. So there’s nothing illegal about buying CBD oil through unregulated channels.

Hemp vs. cannabis CBD?

For a simple comparison of hemp and cannabis, you could say that the values of the former are industrial and nutritional while those of latter are medicinal and recreational.

When all forms of marijuana were illegal in North America, hemp — a non-psychoactive relative of the cannabis plant — was incorrectly labeled and destroyed. Regularly and systematically chopped down and burned by the US government for its tenuous connections to cannabis.

Thankfully, we are now living in more enlightened, evolved times so hemp has made a comeback. This durable and versatile plant is used to make shampoo, clothing, makeup, food, building materials and more. However, when it comes to the production of CBD it comes a very distant second to the cannabis plant.

While both plants produce the therapeutic compound, hemp has nowhere near the same medicinal value as cannabis. This is due to its extremely low concentration of CBD and THC.

Contrast this with cannabis which can boast THC and CBD as its two most present elements. CBD oils are extracted by licensed producers with the sole goal of delivering maximum medical benefit.

This could be a THC/CBD mix to treat the likes of multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, nausea, certain cancers and psychological problems. Or maybe pure CBD oil to help those suffering from arthritis, epilepsy, anxiety disorders and many other conditions.

Explore In-Depth: The difference between cannabis CBD oil and hemp CBD oil.

But CBD is CBD so why should you care what plant it comes from if the end product is 100 percent CBD? Whether made through isolation from natural sources, or by synthesizing in a lab CBD from cannabis and hemp are identical.

So how does hemp CBD oil differ from that of its ancestor cannabis?

The extraction process reveals the real truth. Hemp oil is pressed and extracted from the plant seeds (which double as a nutrient-rich health food). While it is high in polyunsaturated fats and is popular in the cooking world it barely contains any CBD and almost no THC.

This is why hemp is not a controlled substance and overseen by the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR). Additionally, hemp is a bio-accumulator meaning it absorbs large amounts of whatever is present in the soil in which it grows.

This is a real downside since the growing methods and conditions for industrial hemp aren’t federally regulated. So, it’s hard to know when you’re getting a high quality, clean, and safe product. In the past hemp has been known to absorb pesticides, toxic spills and other dangerous chemicals and metals from the soil.

Cannabis, on the other hand, is often grown using soilless methods like aquaponics and hydroponics. These techniques eliminate the possibility of outside contaminants tainting the end product.

When processing marijuana the flowers, leaves, and stalks are used to create cannabis and CBD oil, both of which have a multitude of medical benefits. Due to its high CBD and THC content, it is instead regulated by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) and the Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR).

Under the IHR, it is forbidden for hemp oil to contain any CBD at all and more than 10 parts per million of THC (0.3%) when it’s sold as a nutritional food. Since these are the cannabinoids known to possess therapeutic qualities be wary of any person or company lauding the medicinal value of hemp oil.

Why is CBD experiencing such a spike in popularity?

All across the internet comment threads on health-focused cannabis websites are filled with sentences like:

“It’s done wonders for my anxiety, I feel like a new person!!”

“My severe arthritis is all but gone thanks to CBD oil.”

Or, “I’ve had regular epileptic seizures for 12 years but since I’ve started taking CBD oil I’ve been seizure-free for 5 months!!”

Yes, comment threads themselves are often seen as the underbelly of the internet and with good reason. They play host to trolls and scam artists but they also allow good people suffering from bad illnesses to interact, help each other and voice their opinions.

It’s hard to deny the countless positive and genuine CBD oil reviews out there sprinkled across the web like nuggets of hope. These statements of elation and relief are organic proof of CBD’s ever-growing popularity.

The adoration for this medicinal compound is hardly a noodle scratcher. It’s a cannabis product for people who don’t like cannabis. Not only does it not get you ‘high’ but it could help you treat a devastating condition you are afflicted with.

So, let’s take a look at why the popularity of CBD oil is currently through the roof.

What does the research say about CBD oil?

Research on CBD wasn’t exactly plentiful before the turn of the millennium. Now, since the advent of cannabis legalization in Canada, it is probably one of the most researched substances out there.

Science has pointed to the relationship between the cannabinoid and our CB1 and CB2 receptors as the reason why it possesses such therapeutic value. CBD interacts best with CB2 receptors which aid in the regulation of appetite, pain management, and immune system functions like inflammation.

Explore In-Depth: Cannabinoid Receptors 101 – Why Do We Have Them?

Although experts recommend more studies be conducted on the subject, evidence is emerging that CBD may be a potent inhibitor of cancer growth. It has already shown promise as a treatment for several forms of the disease including lung cancer, leukemia, colon cancer and to a lesser extent glioma (brain cancer) and breast cancer.

Research also suggests that CBD is a neuroprotective compound that could repair the damage done to the brain by THC. It encourages neuroplasticity as well which is crucial to people in their twilight years. Additionally, scientists have proven — thanks to a deeper knowledge of the endocannabinoid system—  that CBD can ease or alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy as well as anxiety disorders, depression, and psychosis.

CBD oil could also become a popular mood stabilizer in the future. Its anti-convulsive, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and antipsychotic actions with minimal side effects make it seem like a good fit. On top of all this, it has had a positive impact in treating certain sleep disorders and addiction to cannabis itself.

There is a downside

While most CBD oil users don’t experience adverse reactions, possible side effects do exist. These include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and dizziness. Also, please always consult with a doctor before using CBD oil as it could interfere with medication you are already on.

The many uses of CBD oil

Backed by hundreds of peer-reviewed sources in scientific journals it has been proven that CBD may be therapeutic for the list of conditions below. Since it is still an understudied cannabinoid, future research could reveal even more of the compound’s medicinal potential in all of these conditions and possibly more, including:

Acne, ADD and ADHD, addiction, AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, anorexia, antibiotic resistance, anxiety, atherosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, autism, bipolar, cancer, chronic pain, digestive issues, depression, diabetes, endocrine disorders, epilepsy and seizures, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, heart disease, Huntington’s disease, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, migraine, mood disorders, motion sickness, multiple sclerosis, nausea, neurodegeneration, obesity, OCD, osteoporosis/bone health, Parkinson’s disease, prion/mad cow disease, PTSD, rheumatism, schizophrenia, sickle cell anemia, skin conditions, sleep disorders, spinal cord injury, stress, stroke and TBI.

What makes a ‘good’ CBD oil?

CBD oil is rapidly expanding and barely-regulated industry. This wild-west, ‘Green Rush’ scenario is sure to attract plenty of scam-artists trying to rip you off with below-par products.

Unfortunately, determining which CBD oils are high quality and trustworthy is a tricky business. Its surge in popularity means new sellers and brands are surfacing regularly, claiming their oil is the best.

Researchers in the US confirmed our worst fears about the number of fraudulent and unscrupulous sellers online. After analyzing the content of 84 CBD products purchased on the internet the results were concerning and rife with inconsistencies. Labeling inaccuracies and incorrect concentration levels were the two biggest offenders.

When compared to their advertised concentrations, products were badly mislabeled with 26 percent containing less CBD than stated on the label while 43 percent contained more, resulting in a dangerously high degree of variability. In addition to CBD mislabeling a bigger concern emerged. THC was detected in 21 percent of samples.

It’s completely understandable if this has made you wary of buying CBD online. To ensure you purchase the high-quality CBD oil you seek, allow us to ease those concerns by passing on some useful buying tips. These should help you to weed out the online scammers.

Manufacturing matters

With different CBD oil brands come different extraction methods. Beware of low prices as these companies may be using cheap extraction methods to achieve greater profits. Since CBD can be extracted using solvents some companies will use lower grade solvents to get the job done for fewer dollars.

Toxic substances such as propane, butane, hexane, and pentane are all examples of low-grade CBD extractors. Dangerous to our health, a product containing any of this quartet should be avoided. Ethanol — grain alcohol — or olive oil are viewed as the safest method of processing CBD oil for our consumption.

Last but not least, CBD oil can be extracted through “supercritical CO2 extraction.” This process happens using carbon dioxide under high pressure in ultra-low temperatures. Pricey, high-tech equipment is necessary for this method, the refinement of the oil is complex and specific expertise is required on the production side. The final product, however, is worth it as the CBD oil maintains its purity all the way through.

Using quality cannabis or hemp: Your source matters

This one is simple, to ensure quality use high-quality materials. This is especially important in CBD oil. Cannabis or hemp grown using hydroponics or aquaponics is ideal because both methods don’t require soil to consistently produce high-quality plants which in turn means very effective CBD oil.

Grown in soil both plants absorb whatever is present in the ground where it was cultivated. If the soil was rich and fertile then expect a safe, high-grade CBD oil but if the earth was laden with heavy metals like mercury and lead, the resulting oils will be tainted and toxic.

The presence of such metals in the oil would make it unsafe for humans to consume, especially children. Sadly, some manufacturers only have profit on their minds so investigate where the CBD brand sources their cannabis or hemp. Such information should be available on the retailer’s websites or via their customer service channels.

THC levels

THC is the celebrity cannabinoid present in both cannabis and hemp. This popular psychoactive compound is responsible for getting you “high.” The maximum and acceptable level of THC present in CBD oils should not exceed more than 0.3 percent, which is a trace amount. So be sure to check the labels or request lab results prior to making a purchase.

‘Whole-plant’ or ‘full spectrum’ labels

Another sign of a quality CBD oil is one that was manufactured using the whole plant. A 2015 study showed that using the entire plant instead of a single part ensures that your CBD oil gets the full range of primary and secondary constituents of the cannabis plant.

These include terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids that are generally believed to synergize with CBD, making the health benefits better than using CBD alone. Again, this is called the “entourage effect”.

Third-party lab results

A reputable brand of CBD oil will have nothing to hide. They will always provide third-party lab results to their customers. These independent labs exist to provide transparency. They ensure that CBD oil is everything it claims to be while protecting Joe Public from potentially-harmful impurities.

THC found more important for therapeutic effects in cannabis than originally thought


THC found more important for therapeutic effects in cannabis than originally thought

UNM researchers measure product characteristics and associated effects with mobile app




Researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) recently solved a major gap in scientific literature by using mobile software technology to measure the real-time effects of actual cannabis-based products used by millions of people every day.

Contrary to popular media-reports and scientific dogma, the psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC,” showed the strongest correlation with therapeutic relief and far less evidence for the benefits of relying on the more socially acceptable chemical, cannabidiol or “CBD.”

In a new study titled, “The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief,” published in the journal Scientific Reports, UNM researchers Sarah See Stith, assistant professor in the Department of Economics, and Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, found that THC and CBD contents were the most important factor for optimizing symptom relief for a wide variety of health conditions.

The findings were based on the largest database of real-time measurements of the effects of cannabis in the United States, collected with the ReleafApp, developed by co-authors Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling and Branden Hall.

Since its release in 2016, the commercially developed ReleafApp has been the only publicly available, incentive-free app for educating patients on how their type of product (e.g., flower or concentrate), combustion method, cannabis subspecies (indica, sativa, and hybrid), and major cannabinoid contents (THC and CBD) affect their symptom severity levels, essentially providing invaluable user feedback on their health status, medication choices, and the clinical outcomes of those choices as measured by symptom relief and side effects.

The study aimed to address the practical questions of knowing how fundamental characteristics of currently available and frequently used cannabis products, characteristics that often influence consumer choices, affect health symptom intensity levels. The average patient, across the roughly 20,000 measured user sessions and 27 measured symptom categories ranging from depression to seizure activity, showed an immediate symptom improvement of 3.5 points on a 0-10 scale. Dried flower was the most commonly used product and generally associated with greater symptom improvement than other types of products.

Cannabis is rapidly gaining popularity as a mid-level analgesic and promising substitute for prescription opioids and other classes of medications, which often carry undesirable side effects, dangerous drug interactions and risk of death. Presently, federal barriers restrict researchers from conducting cannabis administration studies in the U.S.

“We were able to fill the most significant absence in the previous medical literature, understanding the ‘efficacy, dose, routes of administration, or side effects of commonly used and commercially available cannabis products in the United States,'” said Vigil, quoting from the recently released report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana.

By studying products containing both THC and CBD, the authors were able to analyze the relative importance of these cannabinoids for symptom relief and side effect prevalence, advancing previous research examining either chemical in the absence of the other. One of the most striking patterns in the current results was that THC was generally associated with a more intense user experience, as measured by symptom relief and the prevalence of both positive and negative side effects.

“Despite the conventional wisdom, both in the popular press and much of the scientific community that only CBD has medical benefits while THC merely makes one high, our results suggest that THC may be more important than CBD in generating therapeutic benefits. In our study, CBD appears to have little effect at all, while THC generates measurable improvements in symptom relief. These findings justify the immediate de-scheduling of all types of cannabis, in addition to hemp, so that cannabis with THC can be more widely accessible for pharmaceutical use by the general public,” said Vigil.

“More broadly understanding the relationship between product characteristics and patient outcomes is particularly important given the lack of medical guidance received by medical cannabis patients,” said Stith. “Most receive only a referral for cannabis treatment from their healthcare provider with all other treatment advice coming from prior recreational experience, the internet, social interactions, and/or often minimally trained personnel working in dispensaries.

“This is very different from how patients receive treatment using conventional pharmaceuticals that come with clear dosing instructions and a standardized, uniform product,” she added.

The authors caution that cannabis use does carry the risks of addiction and short-term impairments in cognitive and behavioral functioning, and may not be effective for everyone.

“However, I have seen many people use it as a primary medication for a full spectrum of health conditions as part of their broader desire to gain more control over their healthcare treatment,” says Vigil, a perspective that seems to gaining momentum as cannabis appears to be re-emerging as one of the most widely used medications in the U.S.


This investigation was supported in part by public donations to the University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

How to Make Great-Tasting Weed Brownies



How to Make Great-Tasting Weed Brownies


The foundation of a great cannabis brownie is the oil (or butter). A poor extraction in your oil or butter can turn great-tasting brownies into bitter-tasting bricks. This might be why Monica Lo, creator of Sous Weed, does not keep a brownie recipe in her arsenal. “I’ve eaten so many underwhelming and stale brownies from dispensaries,” Lo said, which is why she’s more likely to reach for salted caramel bark or a medicated cream puff when she’s in the mood for an edible. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to help you make the best butter and oil for your own cannabis brownie recipe. Another great option to help you fine-tune your weed brownie baking prowess? A recipe from Stephanie Hua and Coreen Carroll’s cookbook Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen (included below).

<h2=”font-size: 30=”” px”=””>Here is The Best Weed Brownie Recipe Ever!</h2=”font-size:>

But first, let’s talk about the basics you need to master in order to concoct truly delicious special brownies. Lo and Hua recommends infusing your butter using the “low and slow” method. For Lo, that means using the sous vide method, which involves sealing your ingredients in an airtight container and cooking them in temperature-controlled water; Hua simply keeps her cannabutter ingredients in a saucepan. Neither method requires appliances you don’t already have at home—everyone likely has a couple Mason or canning jars around these days, which are great for easy sous vide prep. The key to making a great cannabutter, especially if it’s your first time, is to aim low with the amount of flour you’re using. This is especially true if you’re serving brownies or other cannabutter-laced treats to friends, says Hua.

When you’ve landed on the right amount of flower, you’ll need to decarb (or decarboxylation) it, which will activate the THC in the cannabis prior to infusing it with oil. Since the infusion needs to be done on low heat for at least two hours, the cannabis won’t reach a high enough temperature to activate the THC compounds. The process toasts the flower at 300°F for 10-20 minutes. After that, you’ll first add the flower to your butter or oil and then add to water, either in an airtight jar that will be immersed in a temperature-controlled bath or directly in a double-boiler. Both chefs recommend using a candy thermometer to ensure the mixture remains at the same temperature through the process (approximately 185°F).

After straining the flower through a cheesecloth and letting the butter cool, the water in the mix will separate, which you can discard. Or, nab a resourceful had from Hua if you don’t want to waste THC-laden water: you can use it to boil pasta for an extra hit.

By keeping a careful watch (and low temperature) on your cannabutter, you’re destined to end up with great brownies. Hua also stresses the importance of using the high-quality flower. Just as you wouldn’t normally bake with ingredients that taste bad, you shouldn’t bake with a flower you don’t enjoy. Use something you already dig, rather than opting for whatever’s cheapest.

While the taste of cannabutter is nice and nutty, some people prefer to mask the grassier notes. Hua recommends spices that add a classic flavor to your brownies, though she thinks chocolate and cannabis are perfect bedfellows. If you’re not going for her Booty Call Brownies, which you can make using the recipe below, you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to add great spice factors to your own cannabis brownies.


8 oz. unsalted butter
1½ cups plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup plus ⅓ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¾ cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Line a 9” x 13” pan with parchment paper.

In a medium heatproof bowl over a double boiler, melt together the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, using a rubber spatula to stir the mixture occasionally until the butter melts and the batter starts to come together. It will look thick and grainy, and may even seem curdled. Don’t worry, it will smooth out later.

Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the batter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

One egg at a time, beat in the eggs on low speed, waiting until one is incorporated before adding the next, for 1 to 2 minutes per egg. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula about halfway through. When the batter looks shiny and smooth, add the flour. Mix for about 1 minute on low speed until it is incorporated and looks like the luscious, velvety brownie batter of your dreams. Alternatively, you can mix everything the old-fashioned way with a wooden spoon and some elbow grease.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan, scraping out the bowl with a rubber spatula. Bake for about 25 minutes until set. Let cool until you can touch the pan. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool faster.

1 cup all-purpose flour
6 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ tsp. Canna Butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. heavy cream or whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup mini chocolate chips

FINISHING TOUCHES: 3½ cups roughly chopped chocolate sandwich cookies
NOTE: Cocoa powders can vary in density, so weigh your ingredients if possible.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: You can bake the brownies and toast the flour one day in advance. Cover the brownies with plastic wrap and refrigerate them. Store the flower in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lower the oven temperature to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the flour on the prepared sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time. Let the toasted flour cool before using.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the unsalted butter, cannabutter, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Cream the mixture for about 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy, pausing halfway through mixing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cream and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again with your rubber spatula. Adjust the speed to low, add the toasted flour, and mix for about 1 minute until it is evenly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside at room temperature until the brownies have cooled.

TO ASSEMBLE: Using an offset spatula or pastry scraper, spread the cookie dough topping over the cooled brownies. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the cookie dough. Use your hands to gently smooth the dough into an even layer. Remove the plastic. Scatter the cookie pieces on top. Gently press them into the cookie dough spread.

Chill the brownies thoroughly (this is important to get clean cuts) for about 30 minutes before cutting. Run a knife along the sides of the brownie pan and use the parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut the brownies into 18 pieces, 3” x-2⅛” each. Wipe your knife between cuts to keep the cuts sharp and clean.

These are best enjoyed right away (as if you could resist!). Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for one to two days, or freeze for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.