Friday, April 30, 2021

[Review] - Cannabis Edibles: DOSD Nano Bites 100mg CBD/THC

 


These high-tech gummies were substituted for my usual Simple Cure 3:1 CBD/THC gummies, which were sadly in short supply at the dispensary this time around.  They said these were "exactly the same" despite containing a much higher dose of THC (25 mg per piece) and a lower CBD ratio (1:1) as well.  These are the highest-dose THC gummies I've ever eaten so it was hard to know how much to nibble off without risking getting too high.  But more on that later.

Nano technology is a method of delivering cannabinoids in edibles that helps them kick in faster and more uniformly--like coating oil in a special protective material to help it blend into water.  The thing about CBD is it takes a much higher dose orally to feel the effects than it does with THC, so even with nano tech it's not going to guarantee you feel anything if the dose is too low.  Some studies show doses of 300mg or higher were required to create a quantifiable effect or relief of symptoms like anxiety or pain.  For this reason I wasn't hopeful about these 1:1 gummies with such a high dose of THC per candy.


Back of package


My DOSD edibles are raspberry flavored, which is one of my faves.  They also come in Black Cherry.  They taste good:  very mild and fruity.  I dig the packaging which looks high-end and ensures a double-layer of freshness due to the inner baggie which is also resealable.  That's one of my main nitpicks with the Simple Cure gummies--the bag doesn't seal after being opened a few times, leaving the candies dry and hard before I can finish them.   

Right off the bat I realize these are nothing like the 3:1 gummies, which are far more chill and CBD-heavy.  These feel like plain THC edibles if I'm being honest.  They would be better if the CBD dose was increased and they had less overall THC in each candy... 25mg per unit is too waaay too much and makes it hard to dose accurately if you have a low tolerance like me.  I'm not sure what role the nano particles play in the overall effect except maybe making it kick in a smidge faster and last longer, though edibles always start working exceptionally fast for me anyway.  These are definitely potent though and will knock you off your feet if you overdo it.  I just nibbled off the very end of one and am feeling absolutely schnockered:  cotton mouth, dry eyes, zoned out mind, etc.  No other weed products today except that tiny corner of a gummy.  Wow.  They're hybrid and feel in line with that.  


Inner package + gummies

Overall I give DOSD Nano Bites 100mg CBD/THC Raspberry Gummies a 4.7 of 5 stars for flavor, packaging & quality.  While they're definitely high-end and cutting edge due to the packaging and nano particles, I wish they had more CBD and less THC since that's what I was shopping for.  THC gummies are a dime a dozen but well-balanced CBD/THC ones are harder to find.  If you're looking for a potent gummy that'll kick in quickly and can be easily resealed, give them a shot.  They taste good and will knock you for a loop.  I'll be sticking to my old standard for a well-balanced CBD/THC effect though.  

Monday, April 26, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Acapulco Gold



Perhaps the most well-known strain of all time, Acapulco Gold was an all-star of the 1970's but existed in the U.S. as early as 1964, when it was entered into the Oxford English Dictionary & described as "a special grade of cannabis".  Its origins are a mystery but it's thought to hail from the Guerrero mountains outside the city of Acapulco, where it was grown in the humid Gulf breezes & dried with the wind from the Pacific.  It was highly coveted for its soaring THC content, which could reach 20%.  In the days when average weed rarely exceeded 5% and hovered closer to 1% in many places, this was nothing short of mind-blowing.  Unlike today's Mexican brick weed, the Golden era strains from that region were considered some of the best with Acapulco Gold taking the cake.  

Unfortunately, the reign of the heady Mexican strains was pretty much over when Reagan took office and the paraquat spraying campaign in Mexico took off in earnest.  According to the Washington Post, poisonous paraquat turned marijuana a golden yellow color, making it paradoxically more desirable and allowing dealers to mislabel it as "Acapulco Gold".  Other low quality strains were already being mislabeled as this famous strain to boost their market value and eventually Acapulco Gold's popularity wore thin due to this diluted reputation, but not before it was used to breed some classics like Skunk #1.


Acapulco Gold circa 1970's

My sample has no cannabinoid or terpene info which sucks.  I feel that medical dispensaries should always offer this information, but the price was right and they didn't charge tax so I'm not really complaining.  The smell is similar to lime Skittles with a hint of sage and moderate pine notes that come through when broken up.  The buds are pretty typical sativa:  more on the lanky-but-bushy side with more green than other hues.  Like a Christmas tree.  As with the Colombian Gold, you can see that my sample looks NOTHING like the 1970's version shown in the picture above.  And thank goddess for that.  

Thankfully, this strain has less of an overwhelming psychedelic effect than the Santa Marta Gold, though there are similarities.  It's more euphoric and uplifting without the jaw-clenching edginess and laser focus bordering on paranoia--I can just chill and enjoy the music from my bed.  My body feels light and less painful than before (I was a big headachey due to the overcast weather and hormonal hangover, but that's gone 10 minutes after lighting up).  This is actually pretty nice for a sativa.  I was hesitant to try it and saved it until last after the Santa Marta was so "classic sativa" and blew my head off.  

I'm less impressed with the major munchies I get right off the bat, which are a typical sativa side effect.  Not helpful for my calorie conscious diet.  I scarfed down a whole pizza and could've kept going but used all my willpower to stop and distract myself with an episode of Teen Mom (don't judge).  


Photo #2:  Acapulco Gold

This strain would be good for anyone seeking an upbeat morning toke that's not too tweaky.  Medical uses would include low appetite, spasticity, depression and ADHD.  Nothing stands out about the effects but it's worth trying if you're a cannabis historian or connoisseur looking to get into the mindset of '70s-era stoners. It's always good to know what all the hype was about, and in the case of Acapulco Gold it was definitely worth the hype... especially when you consider what they were working with at the time.

Overall I give Acapulco Gold 4.7 of 5 stars for effects, rarity and potency.  If it comes your way, don't pass up the chance to try it particularly if you're a happy sativa fan.  If you want a more stimulating, laser-focused landrace, opt for Santa Marta Colombian Gold.  



Dispensary's display photo






Monday, April 19, 2021

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Chernobyl



And now for my favorite strain of this run:  Chernobyl.  It's not rare or a landrace but is new to me so definitely had to review it.  Chernobyl is a sativa dominant (80%) strain made by crossing Trainwreck with Jack the Ripper and Trinity.  It was created by The Dank and is named for the infamous nuclear reactor in Ukraine that melted down in 1986.  Not the most sensitive name but quite apt in terms of effects on the brain.  Terpinolene is the dominant terpene according to Leafly.com.  

Unfortunately my cut has no terpene, CBD or THC info.  The buds are long and lanky like a true sativa with lots of visible frosty trichomes.  Since this dispensary packages their weed in baggies rather than bottles, they get compressed which makes for less attractive photography.  The smell is mouthwatering, akin to the zest of a freshly cut lime with a very sweet, acidic lingering aroma.  Reminds me of a cold limeade on a Summer's day.  


Photo #2:  Chernobyl

The effects are the true highlight though.  While I'm usually not a sativa fan, Chernobyl doesn't feel like a straight sativa.  It's more balanced and manageable, giving me 60/40 hybrid vibes.  It's an instant mood brightener that induces giggling and a boost of energy and clarity in the head, relieving pressure behind the eyes.  It's similar to Golden Goat in a way:  Playful, upbeat and giddy weed that makes you want to adventure and have fun.  Glad I picked up 2 grams.  They substituted it for Chocolate Thai which was out of stock--the one strain I REALLY wanted to review.  

I could see this being great for depression, ADHD or any condition that causes fatigue and malaise.  It's a great choice for anytime of the day, though most sites list it as a "morning" strain.  I'd be more likely to put something like Santa Marta Colombian Gold or Apollo 13 in the "morning" category as they're more stimmy like typical sativas while this seems better for mid-day usage, but as long as you don't hit it right before bed you should be good.  Take it on a roadtrip or day at the beach or lake because it's perfect for outdoor fair weather outings.  

Overall I give Chernobyl 4.8 of 5 stars for effects, aroma & price.  While not quite as euphoric and horny as Cookie Wreck and nowhere near as potent as GMO Cookies, it's a fun strain in its own right that I keep coming back to over all 5 of the others I picked up.  I'm glad the budtender recommended it--I need to start taking their recommendations more often, as I always like what they pick.  



Friday, April 16, 2021

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Gog & Magog




Gog & Magog is a mysterious strain with unknown genetic origins and THC levels.  Information on this strain is sorely lacking online--it only has 13 reviews on Leafly & most well-known weed sites don't offer more than a paragraph on it.  This is one of the main reasons I decided to do a review on it.  It was developed by an Israeli supplier and got its odd sounding name from characters in the Bible & Quran.  Gog is an indica-dominant (80/20) strain recommended for pain, sleep and glaucoma.  

Suppliers Tikun Olam, which means "repair the world" in Hebrew, are leaders of government-regulated research on cannabis strains based in Israel.  According to their website, they've built the world's largest medical cannabis treatment database with 20,000 patient records, which is pretty impressive.  Gog & Magog is one of these strains.  But even their own website doesn't include anything about this strain!   The plot thickens... 


Photo #2:  Gog & Magog


As with the other samples I picked up on this run, there are no THC or CBD percentages on this strain.  So just more mystery in that regard.  The gram came in one big fat frosty nug that smells like a typical indica:  rank & earthy but not too pungent.  Not much to write home about in the smell department but pretty attractive to the eye.  She breaks up nicely, if somewhat reluctantly.  These strains could use more drying and curing for sure--all of them.  

The effects are nice.  Just nice.  Long-lasting and potent but not in an overpowering way.  I feel chill and happy but not giggly or euphoric nor overly hungry.  Just a good middle-of-the-road indica stone.  I wasn't in too great a mood when I lit up due to PMS so I'll have to do another run to get an accurate read, but for now nothing is standing out about this strain as unique or mind-blowing.  I'd compare it to Purple Punch or Papaya Cake in that regard.  I'd suggest it if you wanna try a rare indica with more sedating properties.  It didn't make ME tired but indicas tend not to.  

Overall I give Gog & Magog a 4.7 of 5 stars for bag appeal, price & potency.  Give it a whirl if you're in the market for a nighttime strain or something for pain, anxiety or stress.  I wish more was known about its origins, THC/CBD content and other stats but I suppose that's part of the allure for some folks.  🎵 {Cue Unsolved Mysteries theme} 🎵





Wednesday, April 7, 2021

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Santa Marta Colombian Gold



Ahh, Colombian Gold.  One of the most coveted landrace strains of the 1970s Golden Era of cannabis.  Who knew I'd find this rare strain at my local medical marijuana shop in 2021?  Santa Marta Gold is so rare that Jim Belushi dedicated 2 out of 3 episodes of his show to tracking it down in its native Colombia, where many said it was either extinct or just a myth.  This lead me to be very skeptical that what my dispensary had was the real thing, but being a licensed medical dispensary with a 4.8 of 5 star rating on Weedmaps in a wealthy suburban area, I'm choosing to suspend my disbelief & trust them.  Knowingly mislabeling a strain in an industry that's so tightly regulated, while not illegal, would be heavily frowned upon.  

Colombian Gold is a landrace sativa from the high mountains of Santa Marta, a city funded almost entirely by cannabis money.  The strain was quite literally gold in color back in the day, though how this was achieved is somewhat disputed.  Some claim it was a product of curing method while others say it was produced by stripping out the black part of the main stem to restrict water & nutrients, resulting in yellowing of the plant.  Here's a visual of real Colombian Gold from the '70s:


Santa Marta Gold in Indian stone pipe

My sample does not contain a THC/CBD percentage as it's from a different dispensary than I usually shop at.  Bummer.  The smell is sour with a lime/citrus scent and skunky afternotes.  The nugs are deep pine tree green with lots of orange & gold pistils--obviously nothing like the compressed hay-like things in the photo above.  That has everything to do with the growing and drying method of course.  The Colombian farmers allegedly had some "unique" methods of curing as well.

The effects are classic sativa with a mind melting twist.  This stuff is POTENT from the outset, coming close to being too strong after only finishing half a hemp-filled joint.  I can definitely see why it was so popular with old heads & purists who crave that stimulating hit.  This must've messed with some hippie heads when it made the rounds in the old days when THC percentages in regular weed hovered around 1%.  My hearing was properly screwed up & I yelled "What did you say?" to my brother from the bathroom as I exited... he hadn't said anything.  Nice one, brain.  My jaw is clenched & I feel restless but not uncomfortably so.  It reminds me of the first few times I got high actually.  It's a shame there's no cannabinoid info on the packaging or website as this feels on par with some of the stronger strains I've smoked.  


Photo #2:  Santa Marta Flower

This strain could easily replace a morning cup of coffee or whatever you use to get you going in the a.m.  I could also see it being good for people with chronic fatigue, ADHD or depression.  I was having some endometriosis-related crampy pain before smoking and now I'm not (actually I just stopped caring that I am) so that's nice.  If you like lime/citrus terps or just want to try a rare landrace strain, which all cannabis connoisseurs should, definitely give it a whirl.  As stated I'm not much of a sativa girl so the effects were a bit much for me but that's a matter of personal taste & biochemistry.  

I give Colombian Santa Marta Gold a 4.7 of 5 stars for potency, bag appeal & legendary status.  If you see this don't pass up the chance to try it, especially if you like sativa-dominant strains.  It's a truly rare gem these days and you may not have another chance.  


The dispensary's display photo





















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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Concussion Changed Me For the Better

This isn't some hippy dippy philosophical post about adversity making me stronger, though props to you if that's the case in your life.  I've had enough adversity for one lifetime and it doesn't in fact make me stronger.  No, this is as straightforward as it gets:  Concussion > improved mental health > better life.  The hows and whys are less clear to me.  


Background

I've been morbidly interested in concussion and CTE since watching the PBS documentary League of Denial in 2013 at the height of my benzo withdrawal nightmare.  Now THERE are some people who can relate to being trapped in a broken brain with no way out.  I made it a mission to protect my head at all costs after that.  You only get one brain and, unlike the heart or other organs, there's no such thing as a triple brain bypass or cerebral transplant if you damage it.  And I had damaged it with etizolam abuse which was by far the worst experience I've ever been through.  That was enough for me.  I still deal with the repercussions of that to this day, but that's another story for another time.

So you can imagine my absolute terror when I recently sustained a concussion.  I'd hit my head and injured my neck in the past, but this was different.  I knew instantly that something was wrong this time.  It was a textbook concussion with all the cliche symptoms:  seeing stars, instant severe nausea and that warm rush of SOMETHING flowing to my head followed by hours of dopey brain fog similar to being drunk.  In the ambulance, suicide crossed my mind as a possible solution if I were to be stuck in a brain wracked with worsening depression, anxiety and sleep issues--all things that have plagued me my entire life and possible symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome.  I have treatment-resistant depression, OCD and general anxiety among other issues.  I've taken over 20 psych meds at last count and completed untold hours of therapy for these conditions to no avail.  These are all things that concussion is supposed to aggravate... at least temporarily.  But for some unlucky people who can't access quality treatment, they stick around to some degree forever.  


Concussion Basics & My Injury

If you've read anything about concussions you will know that no two are alike.  I hit my right cheek which means the "coup" (direct) impact was to my frontal lobe and the "contrecoup" (secondary) impact was somewhere in the back part of my brain--likely the parietal or occipital lobe.  The back of my head and neck certainly hurt more than the place where my face hit the hard wood nightstand, though I've experienced almost no head pain since the injury.  And this is odd because I was a migraine sufferer before so I expected a worsening of that, as did my doctors.  My arms and legs were bruised in multiple places yet there was not a single mark on my face.  I remember nothing about tripping or anything leading up to the fall... also scary but not uncommon.  


Diagram of coup/contrecoup injuries

The Changes

What I didn't expect was to feel better emotionally after the concussion.  Anxiety, mood and energy levels are noticeably better than before.  My tendency to overthink and obsess, to fill every quiet moment alone with rhetorical arguments and 'what-if' scenarios has decreased significantly.  The internal chatter in my head has gone silent.  Even my lifelong panic response to vomiting has declined by about 50% and it was reflexive before in terms of autonomic nervous system responses like heart palpitations, sweating and diarrhea being triggered by someone being sick.  When I say "reflexive," I mean an automatic nervous system response that wouldn't calm down for hours after it was triggered.  Full-blown panic.  Something I've worked on in therapy for over a year to no avail with exposure therapy and CBT.  I now have a "let's get on with life" attitude where anxiety once held me back.  The very fact that I went to the hospital alone in an ambulance at the height of COVID was highly unusual.  

Even my response to drugs is different; weed in particular.  I used to get a feeling of anxiety and paranoia from microdoses of edibles or joints.  Now I'm able to tolerate it much better.  In fact I'm eating edibles nightly now without issue.  This makes me wonder if I'd also tolerate shrooms differently (they're said to be good for neuroplasticity and concussion recovery).  Psychedelics have always given me a "poisoned" feeling of overwhelming bodyload where I just want to retreat into myself until the experience is over.  It's miserable.  And my opiate tolerance has decreased due to the drunk feeling already present in my head at baseline.  My codeine dose has halved since hitting my head and stayed at this level for over a month--the longest I've been able to keep my dose down since I started using.  

I'm clumsier and dumber overall which will make it harder to live independently and do things like driving a car--that part scares me.  I plan to see my doctor about getting that ADHD medication prescription I've been meaning to get for over a decade now.  Despite all this, I'm glad I got the concussion because I'm just a happier, easier going person now.  The number of arguments I've had with my family has dwindled to zero and that's definitely not placebo effect.  They've noticed too and are amazed.  It's been over a month at the time of this writing and I pray things don't return to the way they were.  That's right:  I don't want to heal from my brain injury.  I can find no information on how to achieve this and almost feel guilty for thinking this way, but here we are.  The thought of going back to my miserable, obsessive, paralyzed-by-negativity self makes my stomach turn.  


A Theory


Transorbital lobotomy diagram

Could I have damaged just the "right" part of my brain that was responsible for my OCD and depression?  It sounds crazy but brain surgery is still performed for severe, treatment-resistant OCD and depression to this day.  Cingulotomy and deep-brain stimulation are last resort options for suicidal patients that work by altering the actual structure of the brain wiring, which is how old-school lobotomy was supposed to work but usually ended up turning patients into vegetables.  I hit my face right beneath my eye which is, ironically, where the lobotomy pick would've been jabbed into the frontal lobe.  There are reports of "difficult" patients with unpleasant, aggressive personalities becoming nicer after TBIs.  What's interesting is that doctors claim it usually doesn't work the opposite way--that nice people don't tend to become mean after a head injury.  I'd say I fit this "difficult" profile based on my need to control others due to my OCD.  I was definitely a contrarian with a need for control.  Now that's blunted quite a bit.  


Inside rare brain surgery for OCD

I've always had a theory that dumb people are happier.  The whole "ignorance is bliss" thing.  And it appears to be true for me.  Controversial?  Maybe, but it's a sample of one and I feel confident speaking for myself on this now that it's actually happened.  And there's some research that supports it (high IQ is linked to increased risk of suicide, addiction and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety).  Autism, which I also have, is associated with increased white matter in the brain which serves the purpose of creating additional connections and memories.  In my case at least, I always felt these connections and memories were excessive and unnecessary.  Why would anyone need to remember all the way back to age 2 or earlier?  And hold onto all the baggage that comes with it?  

Oddly, this man seems to have had just the OPPOSITE effect from his head injury:  he became an acquired savant who also developed OCD, depression and germophobia after his concussion.  While the savant thing seems like a gift to outsiders, I would argue that it's incompatible with happiness and rarely, if ever, comes without major mental illness or negative neurological strings attached.  I would not trade my injury for his if you paid me, basically.  His story is highly interesting and offers amazing insight into how the brain works though.  

Whatever the cause of my improved outlook and reduced anxiety, I'm taking it as a sign from the universe to take life by the horns and make the most of my time on Earth.  The chances that a blow to my head would be The Thing that make me feel better after a lifetime of psychic misery and therapy/medication are so slim I can hardly believe it myself.  Life is stranger than fiction sometimes.  I'm not a religious person but I can't help but think that something outside myself had a hand in this.  If the impact were a half-inch lower I'd have knocked out my front teeth; an inch to the left and I'd have broken my nose.  Lord only knows what could've happened to my brain if it had been injured in a different area or from another angle.  

Any of my readers ever had a concussion or more severe TBI?  What symptoms did you have: good, bad or ugly?  Please leave your experiences in the comments below.  I'd love some firsthand commentary on this weirdness, especially if your symptoms included positive changes.  



That Time I Tried: 4-HO-MET

I first tried 4-HO-MET around 2012 during the absolute pinnacle of the research chemical Golden Era (2010-2015).  It was the 2nd psychedelic...