Legal Cannabis-A Broken System, Part 1 – The Greed Rush

It’s tough being a consumer of recreational or medical cannabis.

The emerging industry continues to go through growing pains felt by operators and consumers, alike, as it continues its transition from gray market to legal market. One of the biggest deficiencies is knowledge. Prior to Prop 64 it wasn’t tough to sell cannabis products. Product had to be really bad to result in it not being able to be sold as flower or, at worst, turned into distillate cartridges. The lack of regulations allowed producers free reign over production methodologies. We know how that went.

An unfortunate truth about humans and late stage capitalism is that profits rule. If corners can be cut and money saved, 99% of operators are cutting that corner. One of our analysts has a compliance background in Banking and claims confidently that, “even in a highly regulated market with many rules companies regularly cut corners for profits.”

Entourage Effect

Most cannabis consumers, even heavy users, have been getting high without really understanding the science behind “why”. We haven’t understood the delicate and graceful dance between cannabinoids and terpenes dubbed “entourage effect” for very long and still haven’t fleshed it all out from a scientific standpoint.

The average consumer may only know about: their endocannabinoid system, that THC has psychoactive effects and CBD doesn’t, and that cannabis may be able to help improve their lives. They likely haven’t heard about terpenes yet. Remember, we’re talking about the average consumer. Not someone who was buying sacks or reveling over the terps in their turkey bag. The identity of the average consumer is evolving, but Licensed Producers (LPs) and a corrupt, incompetent bureaucracy are muddling the process in many ways.

Let’s Start With Some Quick Cannabis Basics

-The human body has receptors for cannabinoids called endocannabinoid receptors (EC1 and EC2) located throughout. We humans even produce cannabinoids naturally.

-Upon entry to the human body, cannabinoids synergistically interact with these receptors in a variety of ways causing variable effects based on many factors including individual biochemistry.

-The THC/THCA % are only factors in the equation of effect. Purchasing products solely based on this metric is setting oneself up for an inferior experience unless you’ve made the connection between desired experience and THC/THCA %.

-Cannabinoids like THC and CBD work in symbiosis with terpenes, which are essential oils, in a delicate dance known as “entourage effect” working symbiotically to alter the body’s biochemistry. It is this nuance which creates much of the complication behind understanding cannabis, how to it scales, and repeatable experience.

-Cannabis and hemp flowers carry cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, and terpenes in oil form.

-The vast majority (almost all) of this oil, or resin, is located in the many glandular trichome heads throughout the buds. Best observed under magnification, glandular trichomes glisten in light like the facets of a diamond.

-The absence of these trichome heads is indicative of inferior flower.

Let’s look at a couple visual aids.

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