Curated educational and scholarly articles on cannabis education

Recipe: How to Make Herbed Cucumber Avocado Cannadip


This recipe from our friends at the Stoner’s Cookbook comes out of their latest production titled HERB, a crowdfunded cannabis cookbook looking to restore the plant’s rightful place in the kitchen. Be sure to show support by reserving your copy and helping to give this project legs!

This light and refreshing dip comes together easily and is the perfect replacement for ranch on your next veggie tray (make sure it’s a cannabis-friendly gathering!), or even tossed on your pasta or quinoa for a quick lunch. Bursting with nutrients, you can indulge in this creamy herb dip knowing you’re eating to your health!

Recipe for Herbed Cucumber Avocado Cannadip

This recipe is sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free.

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Time in Kitchen: 20 minutes

Serves: 8 people

Cannabis extraction method used: Cannabis cooking oil


  • 1 large cucumber (1 cup), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp packed fresh dill
  • 1 large avocado (or 2 small), pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu, organic
  • 1/4 cup coconut cannabis cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, blanched in boiling water for 45 seconds and shocked in an ice bath
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
  • 3/4 tsp course salt



  1. In a food processor, add the cucumber and process until almost smooth. Add the herbs, cannabis cooking oil, avocado, silken tofu, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
  2. Process until smooth, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Place in an airtight container and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Serve immediately.


Note: The amount of cannabis oil specified in this recipe is a very loose suggestion; the actual amount you use should be modified based on the strength of your cannabis oil and the potency you desire. Dosing homemade edibles can be tricky (click here to learn why), so the best way to test for potency is to start with one portion of a serving, wait one to two hours, then make an informed decision on whether to consume more. Always dose carefully and listen to your body, and never drive under the influence of cannabis.




A Guide to Cannabis Allergies and Symptoms

Ross Scully - Leafly

A Growing Need for Information About Cannabis Allergies

Nobody likes allergies, right? In fact, everyone I know absolutely despises them. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. Cumulatively, that’s a huge number of people who will experience some sort of allergic reaction at a point in their life, whether it be to a particular variety of food, pollen, mold, or perhaps a more specific irritant such as cats.


What if, however, you found yourself with an allergic reaction to your job, or to something you greatly enjoyed, or, even worse, to something that you need? Stories of cannabis allergies have been emerging at a growing rate since legalization and reveal that they can frequently strike down budtenders, recreational consumers, and medical patients with a variety of symptoms.




For example, here is one of the typical communications we receive on the topic:

"I have tried one medical marijuana, and I used it for about 12 days. I found I was allergic to it. Then just to verify it was the hemp, I smoked a little, and got the same reaction. Bad allergies, total constant nasal drip, watery eyes, stuffy head. My eyes would even burn at times. Is there something equivalent for pain, that will not give me such bad effects? Or is there somewhere I can investigate further? I think it really does some of my arthritic pain. Thank You." – Anonymous

Given the increasing frequency of these stories about people being allergic to cannabis, and the apparent need for more information, we felt it necessary to investigate the matter further.

An Unusual Background: Cannabis Allergy Research


After scooting beneath the radar of the scientific community for the longest time, marijuana allergies appear to be on the rise. Just as cannabis consumption has been trickling towards the mainstream in the U.S., cannabis allergies have been attracting increased attention from researchers. The correlation between the rise in allergies and the increase in legalization initiatives is surely significant.

From the outset, we should outline a number of quixotic attributes specific to cannabis and its production that make it particularly interesting as a source of allergies. First off, similar to plants such as ragweed, cannabis pollen grains are very buoyant, allowing for distribution across many miles, which can increase their effectiveness as an irritant. Though typically only produced by male plants, pollen can also be produced by females that express hermaphroditic male flowers. That there are a variety of preparations of cannabis sativa adds another level of complexity.




As you might be well aware, there are a multitude of ways in which cannabis products can be consumed. They can be smoked, vaporizedchewed, taken as a tincture, or used as a topical lotion. In addition to these factors, the isolation of female flowering plants, which aims to prevent pollination, increases the plant's psychoactive properties by raising its THC content. As a result, the potency of cannabis has increased drastically over the years. Tragically, this could also play a role in allergic disease because THC has been suggested as a potential cannabis allergen.

Can You Really be Allergic to Cannabis?


Allergies are an immune overreaction by the body attempting to protect the respiratory system from outside invaders. The antibodies produced by the body succeed in keeping the perceived foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses. Pollen, the most common allergen, is a powder released by trees, grasses, and weeds to fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants. Mold, somewhat differently, is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves, and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, many types of mold thrive in moist conditions.




Perhaps not so shockingly, given that both these allergens are associated with cannabis, researchers in Belgium recently published an article entitled "Emerging allergens: Cannabis.” The researchers focused in particular on cannabis sativa, one of the two species we all know colloquially as marijuana. They found that the plant can cause a number of allergic symptoms such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), conjunctivitis (pink eye), skin rashes, and asthmatic symptoms when smoked, inhaled, or chewed. Yikes! On reading that our interest was piqued. This is a thing; an actual thing!

What are Cannabis Allergies and Their Symptoms?


Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, it's important to differentiate between legitimate cannabis allergy symptoms and allergic reactions to substances found in cannabis that are actually not inherent to the plant, such as molds. Put simply, cannabis can become moldy when stored and people with mold allergies may have reactions. Some people could even experience reactions to both the plant and mold.

It’s a tad confusing, but we do have proof. The presence of fungal contamination in marijuana samples has been demonstrated, occasionally being capable of putting patients with sub-par immune systems at risk for invasive disease. A case of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis attributed to the fungal contamination of a patient's marijuana supply has even been described. Doesn’t sound good, right? It took a course of steroids to remedy the situation.

To be pedantic, a true cannabis allergy is a reaction to a specific substance contained within the cannabis plant. In “Cannabis Sativa: the unconventional 'weed' allergen”, Ocampo and Rans provide an excellent review of the existing literature on the subject. They outline how reports in the medical literature have described episodes of allergic reactions, hypersensitivity, and even anaphylaxis to cannabis in its various forms.

Cannabis pollen inhalation has been noted to cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. Pollen or smoke exposure has resulted in nasal congestion, rhinitis, sneezing, conjunctival injection, pharyngeal pruritus (itchy throat), coughing, wheezing, and dyspnea (difficulty breathing).

Cases of skin irritations thought to be associated with cannabis consumption have been described. Skin contact through the handling of plants has been associated with urticarial (hives), generalized pruritus (itching), and periorbital angioedema (swelling). Anaphylaxis (a serious reaction) associated with ocular symptoms, urticaria (hives), angioedema (swelling), dyspnea (difficult breathing), and dysphonia (difficulty in speaking) has been reported as a result of hemp seed ingestion. Allergic asthma triggered by seasonal and occupational exposure to cannabis also has been reported.

Cannabis consumption has even been speculated as a contributing factor in a case of eosinophilic pneumonia where the symptoms began after recreational exposure to marijuana. (And you were about to complain about those itchy eyes, you big softy!)

Varying Means of Exposure to Cannabis Allergens


Much like other airborne substances that can trigger allergic reactions (pollen, we’re looking at you!), cannabis sensitization can be influenced by aerobiology. People who live in areas where large quantities of marijuana plants are grown may be especially prone to experiencing allergic reactions to the pollen.

In Omaha, Nebraska, where the plant reportedly grows wildly and commercially, one study looked at cannabis sensitization. This study noted that 61% of 127 patients with allergic rhino conjunctivitis and/or asthma symptoms had a positive cannabis pollen skin prick test reaction.

Rhino conjunctivitis is characterized by one or several of the following symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • post-nasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Red eyes
  • Itching of the nose or eyes

Seventy three percent of randomly selected patients in a cannabis-sensitive subgroup reported respiratory symptoms during the cannabis pollination season. Sensitization associated with cannabis consumption also has been suggested. Ominously, this study demonstrated a higher prevalence of skin test reaction positivity in marijuana smokers (14.6%) and even more so in those who reported frequent consumption (18.2%) compared with nonsmokers (5%).

For all the aspiring budtenders out there, allergic reactions associated with occupational exposure to cannabis sativa have been shown. A medical marijuana grower, who previously tolerated personal recreational marijuana consumption, developed skin irritations from handling plants. Two patients who did not consume cannabis noted nasal and respiratory symptoms after several years of work in a laboratory. One patient had more pronounced symptoms with handling of the sinsemilla (high-THC marijuana from the female plant), suggesting the possible allergenic role of THC in this case.

Whether in or outdoors, it seems that there might not be anywhere to hide. Not only that, but some European studies have investigated potential cross-reactivity between cannabis and other plants. Gamboa et al reported on a case of a 28-year-old cannabis smoker with progressive allergic symptoms who went on to develop urticaria to peach peel, food pollen syndrome to several foods, and anaphylaxis to tomato, pepper, and fig. Ebo et al further suggested allergic cross-reactivity to fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and even the possibility of a “cannabis–plant food syndrome."

Identifying Cannabis Allergens



As we have seen so far, cannabis pollen has been shown to cause allergic reactions in several studies, and individuals who show sensitivity to it are usually also sensitive to pollen from other plants. However, this does not explain the cases of cannabis allergy caused by female plants with no signs of hermaphroditism. In these instances, something else must be to blame.

There have been efforts to identify specific allergens for cannabis with scientists pinpointing a number of possible culprits. A study published in 1971 suggested cannabinoids as allergens based on positive skin prick test reactions in case patients. As we’ve already mentioned, THC was specifically suggested in the case of a forensic laboratory worker handling sinsemilla variants of cannabis sativa.

More recently, a study identified a nonspecific LTP (ns-LTP) relevant to cannabis and named it Can s 3. LPTs (Lipid Transfer Proteins) are responsible for the transfer of lipids and other fatty acids across cell membranes and are often involved in food allergies. Further investigation by both Larramendi and Ebo supported the potential of Can s 3 as a major allergen in cannabis allergy.

Additional studies have found ns-LTPs on immunoblotting, an analytical technique used to detect specific proteins. One study, aiming to define cannabis allergens, identified potential allergens including a protein called RuBisCO and a 23-kDa oxygen-evolving enhancer protein 2. Other less consistently demonstrated allergens included adenosine triphosphate synthase, phosphoglycerate kinase, glyceralderhyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and luminal binding protein.

Though a lot of this terminology may seem impenetrable to the layman, the identification and characterization of cannabis allergens is crucial to the further understanding of allergic sensitization specific to this species of plant.

How is a Cannabis Allergy Diagnosis Made?


If you think you might have a cannabis allergy, what's your next step? What do you do? Where do you go? Well, it’s pretty simple. You book an appointment with an allergist, of course.

The evaluation of cannabis allergies is dependent largely on skin testing. A skin prick test can detect if a person is sensitive to a specific allergen. If sensitive, to protect the body from a perceived threat, the immune system produces a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). An allergen-specific IgE blood test is done to check whether a person is allergic to a particular substance. Because IgE antibodies are unique to each allergen, checking for specific variants in the blood can help determine if an allergy is present. The tests are not invasive and tend to produce quick results.




A positive skin prick test to a particular allergen does not necessarily indicate that a person will experience a reaction caused by that allergen. Therefore, healthcare practitioners must compare the skin test results with the time and place of a person’s symptoms to see if they match. If the results of prick tests are negative, they may be followed by intradermal tests, which give allergists more details about what’s causing the underlying symptoms. After either test, the area of the skin is observed for about 15 minutes to see if a reaction develops. The “wheal” (an itchy, red bump) and “flare” (surrounding redness) indicate the presence of an allergy antibody. The larger the wheal and flare, the greater the sensitivity to the allergen.

Although skin testing may seem simple, it must be carried out by trained practitioners with an understanding of the variables and risks of the testing procedure. Extracts for testing are typically created with crushed buds, leaves, and flowers of the cannabis plant. Differences in source material and extraction techniques can introduce significant variability while contaminants and additives in the native allergen can cloud diagnostic evaluation. Consequently, without reliable standardized diagnostic testing options and often poor correlation between testing and true clinical allergy, the importance of patient history in making evaluations is paramount.

Is Treatment Available for Cannabis Allergies?


William Silvers, a Colorado allergist, published an editorial in February 2016 discussing three recent patients with symptoms suggestive of marijuana allergies. He provides a great insight into the practical experience of an allergist dealing with potential marijuana allergies in a state where cannabis has been wholly legalized.

One patient, a frequent marijuana smoker, experienced nasal congestion that later developed into a chronic cough once he began work as a trimmer at a marijuana growth facility. Treatment with a nasal spray and inhaler helped to reduce symptoms.

A second patient, without any prior history of asthma or allergies, demonstrated symptoms after exposure to marijuana when he began work in a grow facility and dispensary. He was diagnosed as having asthma exacerbated by marijuana exposure with hay fever, eye inflammation, and suspected contact dermatitis to marijuana. Treatment recommendations included minimizing his environmental exposure to marijuana as much as possible. The patient significantly improved with a prescribed medication program.

The final patient, a heavy marijuana consumer, was referred by an emergency department physician with suspected anaphylaxis after exposure to marijuana smoke. He admitted to smoking concentrate, a carbon dioxide extracted marijuana wax, that contained up to 60% to 70% THC levels. Puzzlingly, he showed a lack of sensitization to marijuana extracts and pollen tests were negative. The wax concentrate might have contained a contaminant or additive to which the patient reacted.




Despite the low, mumbled presentiments of an epidemic, in Dr. Silvers’ opinion:

…the relatively low numbers of “presentations since legalization of marijuana in Colorado suggests that cannabis sativa is a mild allergen, with significant exposure required to elicit respiratory and dermatologic allergic reactions.”

This sounds like good news for cannabis lovers and, as demonstrated, treatment is available for allergy sufferers depending on the seriousness of the reaction. Unfortunately for the chronically-allergic cannabis consumer, as with other allergens, avoidance is recommended.

Still, factors such as local aerobiology and occupational exposures need to be taken into consideration. Antihistamines, intranasal steroids, and nasal decongestants can be used to treat symptoms of allergic rhino conjunctivitis. Asthma can be treated with Beta agonists or an inhaled corticosteroid if required. EpiPens should be prescribed for patients with a history of anaphylaxis.

There have even been rare cases of treatment with immunotherapy in the literature. One report demonstrated desensitization in two patients and improvement was noted in a cohort of hemp workers who received immunotherapy extract twice a week for a year. For those experiencing symptoms, we’re not claiming that a cannabis-allergy Kryptonite has been discovered, but there are certainly a variety of options out there.


Although still relatively uncommon, allergies associated with cannabis are being reported with increased frequency. Allergic reactions as severe as anaphylaxis attributed to cannabis have been noted with sensitization associated with pollinosis, cannabis consumption, occupational exposure, and potential plant cross-reactivity. However, there is no reason to panic. It’s to be expected that the reporting of cannabis allergies would increase as cannabis consumption became more mainstream.

Cannabis allergies can be treated in much the same way as other allergies but the lack of standardization in testing limits validation and the widespread applicability of diagnostic testing. Much research is still needed to more accurately define allergens, develop a standardized extract, establish diagnostic specificity, and clarify treatment options for patients.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the legal limitations to obtaining cannabis extracts poses challenges as the only federally approved source of cannabis species in the United States is located at the University of Mississippi, while the illicit nature of cannabis consumption is still creating obstacles for patient reporting. If we’re to learn more about cannabis allergies, we need to overcome the former by enabling more wide-ranging research, while eliminating the latter by encouraging silent cannabis allergy sufferers to breach the surface of public opinion and engaging them in a non-judgmental way.



Horrible Cramps? Marijuana Might Just Be the Answer


March 14, 2017 by ANNIE GABILLET

Women often rely on heating pads, painkillers, and their go-to chocolate bar to deal with PMS each month. And then there's Midol. Since the 1930s, the over-the-counter acetaminophen-based drug has been marketed to women for their "periodic pain." Beyond that, there haven't been many new mainstream medical options available to alleviate stubborn menstrual discomfort. Searching for remedies, women have turned to various holistic and alternative medicine treatments like chasteberry, Mayan abdominal massage, or acupuncture.

Perhaps we just need to look back to ancient times for another viable remedy: cannabis. Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states and Washington DC, and cannabis is on the rise as an innovative solution for managing PMS. That's good news for women dealing with cramps, headaches, or irritability.

Relief For Common Symptoms

While marijuana has been a medicinal remedy for millennia, there is a lack of modern research on it. That's because it is difficult to acquire research grants from the National Institute of Health while pot is still illegal at the federal level. But a few promising studies do exist, and reviews of existing literature have concluded that cannabis effectively treats otherwise treatment-resistant conditions, including pain management. Despite the lack of research, many "green doctors" consider PMS a qualifying condition for a marijuana prescription to provide relief from common PMS symptoms.

"Cannabis definitely plays a role in pain reduction," says Dr. Jennifer Berman, a cohost on The Doctors who specializes in women's sexual health. She notes that cannabis has been effective for people with chronic pain and those with inflammatory autoimmune conditions; in light of this, it should also work for menstrual cramps. Whether eaten, smoked, or inserted vaginally, Dr. Berman says cannabis may "help modulate and minimize muscle spasm and pain" by relaxing the muscles in the uterus and increasing blood flow.

"If you don't get relief from Ibuprofen, [marijuana] would be something I would recommend you try."

The standard of care for severe menstrual cramps is Ibuprofen, according to Dr. Berman. If that doesn't work, mainstream medicine will prescribe narcotic pain medication. Both options come with downsides. "Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, like Motrin or Advil, can have side effects if taken consistently over the course of 24 hours," she explains. "It could be hard on your stomach. They may interact with other medications. They can cause bleeding." In addition, narcotics use can become habit. While she notes there isn't hard data to back it up, her patients have found success in using cannabis products to relieve PMS. "If you don't get relief from Ibuprofen, this would be something I would recommend you try."

Alle Weil is one of many women who have felt the positive impact of cannabis. Weil is a certified holistic health counselor who has seen results both professionally and personally. Weil often works with women to solve menstrual-related issues when mainstream medicine doesn't work. "Based on various accounts, positive feedback, research, and my own personal experience, cannabis is a growing resolution for a number of inflammatory issues associated with a woman's cycle," Weil said.

What to Look For

If you're going to explore the world of medical marijuana for PMS, you'll have to learn a few things. First, you'll want to understand your state laws and get a medical marijuana prescription. Before visiting a dispensary, you'll also need to know the difference between cannabinoids THC and CBD, the chemical compounds found in cannabis. Dispensaries very often categorize their products by the amount of THC and CBD they contain. Here's a crash course on the two:

  • THC: Stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It simulates your CB1 receptor, the part of your central nervous system that processes appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. THC has psychoactive properties. You tend to feel more relaxed, and it also helps with pain. Negative side effects of THC include anxiety (that oft-described paranoid feeling) and sedation.
  • CBD: Stands for cannabidiol. It reduces THC's ability to stimulate the CB1 receptors, reducing some side effects of THC, including anxiety, increased appetite, and the feeling of being "high." It also has anti-inflammatory properties of its own.

Studies suggest there is a benefit from combining THC and CBD, because it allows you get more results with fewer side effects. Depending on what your symptoms are and what side effects you're comfortable with, the levels of CBD are often the determining factor. Put simply, choose more CBD if you don't want to feel high. In addition, there are other strains of marijuana, like THCV. Both THCV and CBD have been shown to reduce appetite. These "skinny cannabinoids" might be ideal for PMS, since "the munchies" often increase feelings of bloatedness.

The Various Products and Methods

When it comes to actual treatment, there is no shortage of specific period products. Foria Reliefrecently gained notoriety as the "weed tampon." A vaginal suppository you can use along with a tampon, it releases pain-decreasing cannabis in your uterus, helping to relieve cramps. The suppository can also be inserted rectally to relieve pain in the back and hip areas. Foria Relief contains both THC and CBD and does not cause psychoactive effects in most women, in part because it is inserted vaginally. While Foria is developing a study to further understand the benefits of vaginal delivery, the current understanding is that the suppository prevents the liver from processing THC, allowing the medicine to be absorbed locally without getting you high. In addition to reducing the effects of being high, CBD relaxes muscles and acts as an antianxiety and anti-inflammatory agent, according to the company.



Mathew Gerson founded Foria, which started off making a line of cannabis-infused female pleasure products. Gerson told us why it's important that women don't get high from the Foria cannabis suppository: "The number of women who could benefit from what it [cannabis] has to offer with respect to menstrual cramps is a much larger number if they didn't have to deal with being stoned." He says the suppository delivery method still allows for a high cannabis potency, but since it won't get you high, you can go about your day — going to work, taking care of your family, or enjoying time with friends. Currently, Foria is available only online to California residents with a valid physician's recommendation letter or at dispensaries in Colorado and California.

Since it doesn't get you high or put you into a more relaxed state, Dr. Berman says Foria might not be able to treat other symptoms of PMS, like irritability, but sees little downside to the product. "The only limitations are the regulatory restrictions state to state, that it takes 20 minutes to work, and you have to lay down." She also says the potential for abuse is always a concern when you're dealing with any drug.

Whoopi Goldberg has also launched a new line of cannabis products designed to give you relief from menstrual pain. Goldberg teamed up with Maya Elisabeth, the founder of Om Edibles, to create Whoopi & Maya. Elisabeth says they are currently in about 270 dispensaries in California and experiencing a positive response to their products.

Currently, the line has four cannabis-infused products: Soak, Savor, Rub, and Relax. Soak is an epsom bath salt meant to decrease aches and pains. Elisabeth says the bath salts are among their most popular products, as they also help with anxiety, depression, and sleep. "Cannabis is wonderful for PMS support because it can be a mood elevator," Elizabeth explains. "It can really take the edge off when someone's feeling irritable and can be very supportive for emotional ups and downs." As for the rest of their line, Savor is a raw cacao spread that will improve your mood and help with inflammation and cramping. Rub is a body balm meant to relax cramping and relieve back pain. And Relax is a tincture that promises to reduce cramping and improve your mood. Before the US criminalized cannabis in 1937, tinctures were among the most popular ways to ingest the drug. Today, they remain an effective, inexpensive, and smoke-free way to use marijuana.

"The benefit of inhalation is that you'll have a more instant effect."

But what about old-school smoking? It still comes into play for many women. For eight years, Danielle Geen has worked at Harborside, a leading medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, CA. Geen has used cannabis to treat PMS, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis. She has found relief using a mix of tinctures, topicals, and suppositories, as well as inhalation and edibles. "The benefit of inhalation is that you'll have a more instant effect," Geen explains. She's also found that while products with CBD will reduce inflammation and provide comfort similar to a heating pad, THC will more directly combat acute pain. As for edibles, she likes that the effects can last for six to eight hours, depending on your metabolism.

Weil has also turned to inhalation for her stubborn symptoms. "Topicals are great for aches and pains, but unfortunately do nothing for my severe cramps," she explains. She has tried the Foria suppositories, but found that her cramps were too severe. Because she's a holistic nutritionist, Weil is wary of the carcinogens produced by smoking. "I am always looking for the healthiest ways to incorporate natural solutions," she admits. She recommends using a vaporizer with high purity standards for "the fastest and easiest way to ease cramping." In addition, for severe pain, Weil suggests seeking out strains that have been developed especially for cancer patients.

Why You Should Consider Cannabis for PMS

The media frenzy that dubbed Foria Relief a "weed tampon" was inaccurate. It's not a tampon, and it won't get you high like the weed you may be used to. But overall, Gerson believes the exposure was positive. "It piqued interest," he says, which is the first step to acceptance of marijuana as a medicine. "It's not that cannabis is going to take the place of other drugs, but let's accept it and do more research on the many benefits that it has and put it out there as a viable alternative."

Geen has also found luck with the suppositories and has this advice for any women considering cannabis as solution for PMS: "Start with the tinctures. It has high CBD so it's nonpsychoactive." If you feel comfortable with the tinctures, topicals, or the suppositories but need stronger or longer-lasting effects, she recommends adding in inhalation or edibles.

While some critics worry about dependence, Dr. Berman says that's true of any drug we take. She believes cannabis is "probably safer for people who have severe disabling cramps and have to take narcotic pain medication." She would tell those patients to consider products like Foria for their cramps in lieu of stronger mainstream medications. "Taking those products orally puts you at risk. They're habit forming, while this is not." If you are considering trying cannabis for PMS, be sure to obtain it from a regulated medical dispensary. "If you get it any old place, you're not sure from batch to batch how it's handled," Dr. Berman cautions. Check to make sure your dispensary has a permit.

Cannabis really could be the miracle drug women need once a month. "It has helped to reduce overall inflammation, fatigue, midmonth pain associated with ovulation, and endometriosis, as well as period cramping," Weil shares. "It has also provided focus to varying energy associated with monthly ups and downs." What more could you ask for?

Image Source: Getty / Luis Robayo




Dabbing with Dani's 2016 Cannabis Holiday Gift Guide!

It's that time of the year again! If you are looking to treat your canna friendly loved ones or friends with the perfect gift, look no further! Below you will find my list of my fave top 5 cannabis products on the market!


1. Annabis  Handbags



10% off with the promo code DANI

AnnaBís helps women feel stylish, free and secure when carrying their cannabis, but there’s something deeper. Women personalize all the important aspects of our lives. We have gorgeous wallets for our money and covers for our phone, lovely glasses cases and cosmetic bags. Why don’t we have something beautiful customized for our cannabis? I never leave home without my "Melissa" from Annabis! 

2. Vaped Honeybird by Nector Collector

Enjoy full size hits from this pocket sized, water-cooled vertical vaporizer. The Honeybird is Nectar Collector's next generation of vertical vaporizer that offers unparalleled ease of use and portability. The 2.5 boroscilicate glass spill-proof bubbler has a 510 threaded collar that fits any ego style battery and is ready for action whenever, where ever you go!

3. VapeXhale

10% off when you use promo code DaniKush 

The VapeXhale is hands down one of the best vaporizers on the market! VapeXhale features a gridded barrel percolator that spins the water as you inhale, creating a visually stimulation experience with superior flavor! Amazing for preserving the terpene profile in both flowers and concentrates! 

4. The Firefly 2

This is the portable vaporizer we've all been waiting for. It vaporizes loose-leaf and concentrates, heats in seconds, and delivers consistently superb vapor quality. It’s 55% lighter and 33% smaller than Firefly 1, with customizable temperature settings, an efficient fast-charge battery, and delightful ease of use. Great hand held device for vaporizing your concentrates! Love the Firefly app, as it allows you to change the temp depending on if you are vaping flowers or concentrates!

5. The Nail Crown

The Nail Crown is the perfect accessory for the concentrate lover! It is the best smoking multi-tool device on the market. You can cover your hot nail without the risk of burning yourself. The super cute crown also have 6 dabs tools, so you can keep them clean and all together in one area. Plus it comes in 18 different colors!! I never leave home without mine!


                Happy Holidaze!!! 

I’m Just Mad About Saffron & Other Spices that Activate the Endocannabinoid System

By Martin A. Lee on August 31, 2016

Modern science is starting to catch on to the wisdom of our ancestors, who knew a lot about using aromatic herbs and spices for medicinal purposes. The use of spices for cooking, healing and dyeing fabric has shaped much of human history. In ancient times these highly precious commodities were traded along well-traveled spice routes throughout Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe. Some spices were literally worth their weight in gold.

Yet it’s only recently that scientists have discovered the bioactive constituents and molecular mechanisms of several common kitchen spices, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation while modulating multiple healing pathways simultaneously. A number of scientific studies confirm that the health-promoting properties of various spices are mediated by the same receptors in the human brain and body that respond pharmacologically to cannabis.

Saffron: Nerve Tonic


A 2013 report by Iranian scientists in Pharmacognosy Review examined the neuroprotective effects of saffron extracts, which inhibited the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain in animal models of Alzheimer’s. The same article noted that saffron extracts could “prevent retinal damage [and] age-related macular degeneration.” An Italian research team subsequently showed that saffron can counteract the effects of continuous bright light exposure in lab rats by enhancing retinal blood flow. Saffron “engages” both the CB1 cannabinoid receptor and the CB2 cannabinoid receptor “in order to afford retinal protection,” the Italian scientists concluded.

Described as “the most expensive cultivated herb in the world,” saffron (Crocus sativus) is a much-revered food seasoning and a natural colorant. Cultivated originally in Persia and Asia Minor, this legendary spice comes from a light purple flower with thread-like red-orange stigma that contains 150 bioactive components, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and other potent polyphenols. A rich source of riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and free-radical scavengers, saffron has a long history of use as a folk medicine for treating cancer, convulsions, headaches, skin conditions, asthma, ulcers, premenstrual distress, and other diseases. The Ebers papyrus (1550 BC) refers to saffron as a “cheering cardiac medicament” and a cure for kidney problems.

Scientific studies indicate that saffron improves learning and memory by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine. Saffron also enhances the functioning of the GABA receptor, which explains in part its efficacy as relaxant and nerve tonic. Clinical trials evaluated the anti-depressant properties of saffron and concluded that it was more effective than a placebo and equivalent to Prozac.

Turmeric: Holy Powder

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a perennial plant of the ginger family, has a safe 6,000-year track record as a medicinal herb, a culinary spice, and a dye for fabric and food. The fleshy rhizome of this all-star botanical is ground into a deep orange-yellow powder and used to season South Asian cuisine. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curries, as well as a staple of Ayurvedic medical practice, which utilizes turmeric (typically in combination with other herbs) to treat indigestion, throat infections, metabolic dysfunction, common colds, and many other ailments. Known as “the holy powder of India,” turmeric is also applied topically as an antibacterial and antifungal remedy for skin sores and to clean wounds.

The Food and Drug Administration, the perennial handmaiden of Big Pharma, recognizes turmeric as a food-coloring agent but not as a therapeutic substance, despite more than 5600 peer-reviewed studies of turmeric and its main polyphenolic component, curcumin, that document numerous healing attributes. There is more evidence-based scientific literature (1500 science articles) supporting the use of curcumin against cancer than any other nutrient, including vitamin D. Much like saffron, curcumin is a potent antioxidant that confers neuroprotective effects through multiple molecular channels. Turmeric protects against alcohol-induced brain damage, improves insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular function, inhibits platelet aggregation, and facilitates the clearing of beta-amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s dementia. It's worth noting that the incidence of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases among people living in the Asian subcontinent, where turmeric is ubiquitous, is significantly lower than in North America.

Turmeric’s versatility as a medicinal herb derives in part from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which regulates numerous physiological processes. In May 2012, Neurochemical Research Identified the CB1 cannabinoid receptor as a mediator of curcumin’s antidepressant effect: “treatment with curcumin,” the report notes, “results in the sustained elevation . . . of endocannabinoids.” In December 2013, the European Journal of Pharmacology disclosed that curcumin reduces liver fibrosis by modulating cannabinoid receptor transmission.

Peppercorn: Black Gold


Employed since antiquity as both a food seasoning and a folk cure, black pepper (Piper nigrum) is the world’s most traded spice. Touted as “black gold,” the dried fruit of this woody vine -- the peppercorn -- was considered such a valuable commodity that it served as a substitute for money in business transactions. During the Middle Ages in Europe, black pepper was a luxury item only the wealthy could afford. Today, it is one of most commonly used spices on the planet.

The manifold therapeutic properties of black pepper have been validated by modern science. The essential oil of black pepper reduces nicotine cravings and eases withdrawal symptoms. An anti-spasmodic and anti-convulsant, it can also lower blood pressure and relieve digestive distress. Piperine, black pepper’s principal bioactive constituent, has been shown to inhibit cancer cell proliferation in animal models of osteosarcoma. In addition, this black pepper alkaloid potentiates the antitumoral and apoptotic effects of turmeric by enhancing the bioavailability of curcumin. When co-administered, piperine and curcumin interact synergistically to confer a stronger antidepressant effect than either compound delivers on its own.

In addition to piperine, black pepper contains vitamin K, iron and manganese along with a robust array of aromatic terpenes, which should be familiar to cannabis connoisseurs: pinene, limonene, linalool, sabinene . . . Black pepper is particularly well endowed with the sesquiterpene beta-caryophyllene, an important medicinal component of many cannabis strains. Beta-caryophyllene is the only terpene known to bind directly to CB2, the cannabinoid receptor that regulates immune function, the peripheral nervous system, metabolic tissue activity, and other physiological processes. Black pepper’s potent anti-inflammatory juju is mediated by the CB2 receptor. THC also binds directly to the CB2 receptor, although this is not what makes a person feel high when he or she consumes cannabis. That’s because CB2 receptors are not present to a significant degree in the brain and central nervous system.

Nutmeg: Cannabinoid Booster

Nutmeg (the dried kernel of Myristica fragrans) does not directly activate the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the brain or the CB2 cannabinoid receptor in immune cells. But this commonly used kitchen spice can have a powerful impact on the endocannabinoid system. A study published earlier this year inPharmaceutical Biology reported that nutmeg interacts with the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting certain key enzymes that catabolize (break down) the two main endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2AG. Likened to the brain’s own marijuana, these short-lived endogenous cannabinoid compounds bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This triggers a signaling cascade on a cellular level that protects neurons against toxic insults (stress) and promotes neurogenesis (the creation of new stem cells in adult mammals).

Two catabolic enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoglycerol lipase (MAGL), are involved in the breakdown of anandamide and 2AG, respectively. Simply put, less FAAH and MAGL means more anandamide and 2AG. So by inhibiting these catabolic enzymes, nutmeg raises the level of anandamide and 2AG in the brain and boosts cannabinoid receptor signaling throughout the body. FAAH and MAGL inhibition has proven to be beneficial for easing pain, anxiety, hypertension and various inflammatory conditions in preclinical research, which lends credence to traditional medical uses of nutmeg.

Ayurvedic healers in India utilize nutmeg as an anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing agent. But there are conflicting accounts of nutmeg’s effect on anxiety and depression -- higher doses cause a biphasic response, exacerbating mood disorders and triggering hallucinations. Nutmeg has long been known for its central nervous system activity. In an article in Nature (1966), Alexander Shulgin identified “myristicin as a psychotropic substance.” Many prison inmates, including Malcolm X before his conversion to Islam, have sniffed and swallowed nutmeg to get high. Now we know how and why nutmeg has a psychoactive effect -- it stimuates cannabinoid receptor transmission by suppressing the enzymes that break down the brain's own marijuana.

Ecological medicine

Herbs and spices are ecological medicines. Seventy-five to ninety percent of the world’s rural people still rely on traditional plant medicine as their primary mode of health care. Numerous plants -- not just cannabis -- are endowed with compounds that interact directly or indirectly with the endocannabinoid system. The health benefits of many common kitchen spices are mediated by the same cannabinoid receptors in the human brain and body that marijuana activates.

Scientific research into marijuana’s effects on the brain has opened the door to whole new vistas of understanding human biology and physiology. As we welcome cannabis back into the pantheon of approved medicinal herbs, perhaps we should rethink our ideas about the endocannabinoid system, so named after the plant that led to its discovery, and stretch its boundaries to encompass an abundance of botanicals.

Martin A. Lee is the director of Project CBD and the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana -- Medical, Recreational and Scientific.

Selected Sources

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  • Cordell, Barbara  and Buckle, Jane, “The effects of aromatherapy on nicotine craving on a U.S. campus: a small comparison study.” J Altern Complement Med. 2013 July 31.
  • El-Alfy, Abir T, et al, “Indirect modulation of the endocannabinoid system by specific fractions of nutmeg total extract,” Pharmaceutical Biology, 2016.
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5 Experts Weigh in on Cannabis Concentrates and How to Use Them

This article is sponsored by Firefly, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in the research, design, and manufacturing of vaporizer hardware.

Cannabis concentrates aren’t going anywhere. This segment of the market – which includes waxes, shatters, hash oils, rosinstinctures, and more – is expanding at lightning speed, and may give us the most compelling vision of the future of cannabis consumption. That said, there’s still a lot we don’t know about extracts.

To tap into the knowledge that’s currently out there, we pulled together a panel of five top experts in the field to weigh in on concentrates:

We asked them to speak to a wide variety of questions regarding concentrate use, including what consumers should consider when choosing between flower and concentrates, why vaporization works well for consuming both, and whether it’s possible to approximate a full-plant experience using extracts. Here’s what they had to say.

What considerations should consumers take into account when choosing between flower and concentrates?

(Andres Rodriguez / Flickr Creative Commons)

Mitch Earleywine: We have markedly more data on flowers…concentrates are still new. Concentrates can get a lot more THC into the bloodstream a lot faster. If you’re supremely nauseated or in a lot of pain or about to panic, this can be a huge advantage. The flavors and aromas are detectably different but subject to personal taste.

Mark Williams: The main consideration is getting to know your body and getting to know what each does to you and being able to tease apart those effects so that you can choose something that will suit the mood that you’re trying to achieve.

Dani Green: When you’re looking for discretion, always go with concentrates. [For example,] moms and business ladies don’t want to smell like weed. If you’re at home or out at something like a music show, I would go with flower. Personally I like the cleaner, better terpene profile of concentrates, especially with the Firefly.

How do flower and concentrates differ in terms of aromas, flavors, effects, and medical benefits, especially when vaporized?

(Andres Rodriguez / Flickr Creative Commons)

Williams: If flower is like a glass of wine, then concentrates are more like grape juice with some distilled alcohol shot thrown in. Using a music analogy, flowers are more like vinyl records and concentrates are more like digital music: the advantage of the digital format is ease of use and the advantage of the LP format is depth of sensation.

Robert Ferguson: The aromas and flavors of concentrates do differ from the flower, but many concentrates can offer great taste and aroma as well. However, after being vaporized the smell of a concentrate is different then the smell of vaporized flower. The medicinal effects of flower tend to be more wholesome, affecting the entire body and mind, while most concentrates are felt mostly in the mind.

Green: Terpenes [are] really what it comes down to. Concentrates have a higher terpene profile, which is great if you’re looking for a specific need – for creativity or sedation or digestive aid, or if you’re going for a specific aroma and want to target limonene, linalool, myrcene, and get that entourage effect.

Can consumers recreate or approximate the whole-plant cannabis experience when vaporizing concentrates? How?


Lauren Salgado: No. [Concentrate processing techniques] alter the compounds that make up the final product (wax, shatter, distillate, etc.), therefore they cannot mimic the whole plant experience.

Williams: No, not with the current state of concentrate production. The typical CO2 extracts have a lot less fidelity than a cold-pressed rosin. Less processed concentrates like rosin are closer but also not as convenient to use because of the texture.

Ferguson: Many solvent-based extraction companies will reintegrate cannabis terpenes back into their product post-extraction to recapture the entourage effect of the flower, but in most cases some of the synergistic terpenes and cannabinoids are still absent. Hash and rosin are an excellent way to recapture the whole-plant cannabis experience. No solvents are used when producing hash or rosin so most, if not all cannabinoids and terpenes are still present in their natural ratios.

How can factors that affect vaporization be manipulated to customize a concentrate high?

(Andres Rodriguez / Flickr Creative Commons)

Ferguson: When vaporizing concentrates, lower temperatures (380 to 400 degrees) tend to yield the best taste and flavor while higher temps can burn up terpenes or other compounds in concentrated oils. When using a vape pen for concentrates, it is best to only activate your atomizer for about three seconds and not to exceed five seconds.

Williams: The key to getting the most from your concentrates is not to overheat them. The Firefly’s concentrate mode runs at less than half the temperature that a typical pen runs at. Since most concentrates these days have already been decarboxylated, you don’t need to heat them as much to enjoy the effects that you want.



What is Decarboxylation, and Why Does Your Cannabis Need It?

Green: [With] temperature control you can dial in to the correct temperature to customize it depending on how thick you like the [vapor…but] when you have a lot [of vapor], you’ve burned off terpenes and you won’t get a whole plant experience.

Earleywine: As with other inhalations, a range of temperatures might be required to get optimal effects. Holding a big ‘lung buster’ hit really isn’t necessary … most cannabinoids are absorbed into the blood on contact.

How do the main types of concentrates differ from one another, and do some types work better for vaporization?


Ferguson: [Concentrates] that use solvents such as CO2, ethanol, or hydrocarbons … produce a product with a high concentration of specific cannabinoids like THC or CBD(between 50 and 90% total cannabinoids). Some concentrates, like hash and rosins, use no solvents and maintain the natural ratio of cannabinoids found in flowers … These type of concentrates have an average potency of between 25 and 60% THC.

Williams: Not all concentrates want to vape at the same temperature. From Firefly, people can expect to see multiple concentrate settings in the future.

In your opinion, how is concentrate use changing as the cannabis industry evolves? What improvements or changes can consumers expect to see in the future?

(Andres Rodriguez / Flickr Creative Commons)

Ferguson: There are so many bright, innovative minds in the cannabis industry, constantly pondering ways to create safer, more effective medicine for the various needs of patients … Currently THC, CBD, and terpenes are the main focus of the concentrate industry, but through continued research, the benefits and potential uses of other cannabinoids and compounds like CBN and THCV [may come into play].

Earleywine: We are definitely seeing markedly better assurances that solvents are absent from the final product. I would not be surprised if we start seeing ‘light’ versions of some concentrates where there is actually more CBD and less THC in the product. I think we will have more precise pre-measured products that will allow consumers to break off products in units as small as 0.1 grams and alter their consumption accordingly.

Salgado: Single sourcing of material, and regulated lab testing … this will result in a quality increase, and a price decrease, which correlates to the sophistication of technology, lab tech advances being made, and those new processes and technology becoming more ubiquitous.

Williams: We’ll continue to see greater emphasis on CBD and other cannabinoids beyond ∆-9 THC. We’ll see higher fidelity in their representation of the whole plant experience. We’ll see a much more informed and deeper association between the temperature you use to vaporize and a specific concentrate.

Green: We were dealing with a lot of butane soup. We won’t have to worry about that in the future. We’ll see molecular isolation – using CBD-A crystalline and THC-A crystalline. We’ll be able to refine the processes and make really clean extracts and get rid of the stigma of dabbing. It’ll be more the norm. [In some places], flowers won’t even be on the market.

Lead image: Andres Rodriguez / Flickr Creative Commons


Firefly is a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in the research, design, and manufacturing of vaporizer hardware.

The Many Types of Solventless Cannabis Extracts


The world of cannabis extracts is expanding rapidly with no intention of slowing down. In most legal markets, concentrate sales are increasing steadily as they continue to grab larger shares of the market year over year. Emerging trends within cannabis concentrate sales have undoubtedly fueled innovation at a staggering pace as a result of high demands.


For consumers, this is indeed a very exciting phenomenon. Fans of hash products would agree that having options available is paramount. Yet only a few years ago, if you wanted to purchase cannabis extracts that were produced without the use of chemical solvents ( e.g, butane, propane, etc.), your only options were kief, cold water hash, and, in some rare cases, an old world pressed hashish.




It wasn't until recently, with the emergence of new advancements in heat extraction methods, where the market began to shift back in favor of the solventless hash consumer. Interest in heat extraction methods such as rosin proved to cause a profound effect within the community by reinvigorating the appeal for solventless extract innovations within legal markets, thus giving way to an entirely new generation of hash products. This rift in the cannabis concentrate paradigm can perhaps be measured most accurately by the sheer increase in solventless options available to consumers today.

What follows is a brief overview of a few solventless options that you may not be familiar with but might be available at your local cannabis retailer.

Rosin and Solventless Shatter

Rosin, being the game changer that it was, opened the door for several different new products. Solventless shatter, a type of rosin that maintains a stable and glass-like consistency, may resemble butane hash oil in appearance but was manufactured with nothing more than heat and pressure. Hash oil of this consistency is achieved both through the acquisition of certain genetics and the right combination of heat, pressure, and exposure period.




Some cannabis cultivars will produce more stable rosin than others. Cure time and degradation of the trichomes also greatly affect hash oil consistency in the rosin form.Rosin can be made from a multitude of precursors, including freshly harvested and/or cured cannabis flowers, kief, water hash, and even trim. The color, consistency, and flavor profiles will all vary considerably depending on the precursor used.

Many solventless hash oils are offered in more sappier and less stable forms. Their color can also vary from a golden opacity to a darker amber. Cure time and starting material will all play a role in facilitating these nuances. Heat, pressure, and exposure too can greatly impact the consistency of rosin. Higher temperatures tend to produce more stable products that more resemble shatter, whereas lower temperatures often yield sappier, less stable products. Both products are appearing on dispensary shelves and have begun to form respective niche markets.


Another variation of solventless hash oil is budder, also known as cake batter or a “whipped” rosin. These products were created by incorporating light heat and agitation to rosin. The result is a buttering effect that looks very similar to a salve or batter of some sort. Using this technique has been known to significantly increase the aromatic properties of the hash oil and also provide a new creamier texture that can be much easier to work with when dabbing. While many retailers are beginning to sell whipped solvent-free hash oils, the process can be achieved easily at home with preexisting rosin by simply stirring it consistently with a warm dabber tool.

Freeze-Dried Hash Oil Products

On the polar opposite end of the thermal spectrum are new products incorporating the use of sub-zero temperatures in their production. Freeze-dried hash oil products are made by utilizing sub-freezing temperature to keep trichomes in a perfectly suspended state in their degradation cycle, thus preserving valuable and volatile tepidness that would have been lost in almost any other extraction process. The machines used to create these products can be expensive, as this technique is still relatively avant garde,

As the concentrate market continues to expand, demand for solventless options will continue to inspire innovators to push the envelope even further in creating more exciting products for hash consumers. Rosin, and its many subsequent forms, was the Pandora’s Box that opened up the door for full melt hash oils, and the demand only seems to be rising. Expect to see many more products emerge that will inevitably push the boundaries of hash oil flavor, consistency, and effect even further. Long gone are the days where the only products available to concentrate enthusiasts were limited to BHO, kief, and bubble hash. Hopefully all of these options come to your area soon so you can partake in these new solventless options!