Why does cannabis potency matter? 29 June 2009 – Of the many people worldwide who use cannabis, also known as marijuana, very few understand the increase in its potency over the years. Cannabis You can toss it, and lose out on all of that hard work, or you could process the plant materials Seeded Weed? Is it Okay to Smoke It? You are browsing online and checking out all the different strains. There is a local dispensary that is selling medical cannabis at an unbelievable price.
Why does cannabis potency matter?
29 June 2009 – Of the many people worldwide who use cannabis, also known as marijuana, very few understand the increase in its potency over the years. Cannabis has changed dramatically since the 1970s. New methods of production such as hydroponic cultivation have increased the potency and the negative effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most psychoactive of the chemical substances found in marijuana. It is important to understand cannabis potency because of its link to health problems including mental health.
The amount of THC present in a cannabis sample is generally used as a measure of cannabis potency. One of the most comprehensive studies, conducted by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in 2004, concluded that a modest increase in aggregate cannabis potency had occurred, possibly attributable to the use of intensive indoor cultivation methods. The authors of the study noted that, nonetheless, THC content varied widely.
While a United Kingdom Home Office study in 2008 found little change in cannabis potency: samples of sinsemilla cannabis from 2008 had a median potency of 15 per cent, compared with 14 per cent for samples from 2004/5. Long-term increases have been reported in the United States, with an average potency of 10 per cent reported in 2008.
There are several methodological factors that influence the ability to generate comparable data and infer trends with respect to cannabis potency. Important variables to be considered include the phytochemistry, the type of cannabis product, cultivation method, sampling and stability.
As detailed below, each of these factors can affect the measurement of cannabis potency.
Plant part used: The secretion of THC is most abundant in the flowering heads and surrounding leaves of the cannabis plant. The amount of resin secreted is influenced by environmental conditions during growth (light, temperature and humidity), sex of the plant and time of harvest. The THC content varies in the different parts of the plant: from 10-12 per cent in flowers, 1-2 per cent in leaves, 0.1-0.3 per cent in stalks, to less than 0.03 per cent in the roots.
Product type: There are three main types of cannabis products: herb (marijuana), resin (hashish) and oil (hash oil). Cannabis herb comprises the dried and crushed flower heads and surrounding leaves. It often contains up to 5 per cent THC content. However, sinsemilla, derived from the unfertilized female plant, can be much more potent. Cannabis resin can contain up to 20 per cent THC content.
The most potent form of cannabis is cannabis oil, derived from the concentrated
resin extract. It may contain more than 60 per cent THC content. The increase in market share of a particular product type can influence the reported average potency values. For example, the rise to an average 10 per cent CH content in samples seized in 2008 as reported by the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy is attributed to the fact that high potency cannabis (presumably indoor-grown) has gained a 40-per-cent share of the market.
Cultivation methods: The cannabis plant grows in a variety of climates. The amount and quality of the resin produced depends on the temperature, humidity, light and soil acidity/
alkalinity. Accordingly, herbal cannabis grown outdoors varies considerably in potency. Intensive indoor cultivation of female plants and clones, grown under artificial light,
often without soil (using hydroponic cultivation) and with optimized cultivation conditions, produces cannabis of a consistently higher potency.
Sampling: Most data on cannabis potency are derived from the analysis of seized samples. This means that those samples must be representative of the entire seizure so that inferences and extrapolations can be made.
Stability: THC is converted to cannabinol on exposure to air and light. This process reduces the THC concentration, especially in old samples which have not been stored under suitable conditions (that is, a cool, dark place). It is believed that claimed increases in the potency of cannabis preparations confiscated in the United States over a period of 18 years may not adequately take into account the issue of the stability of THC in older samples.
Only through careful examination of these factors can we make a more systematic, scientific and comparable assessment of cannabis potency in different places and over time.
Everything that you need to know about smoking seedy weed
It can happen to the best of us, especially when it comes to outdoor crops, as it really doesn’t take much for one lonely male to pollinate hundreds of females within a several mile-wide radius. Cannabis seeds can appear when we least expect them to, and that’s why it’s so extremely common to get a crop or a bag from your local dispensary that has these annoying pieces scattered throughout the flower.
This is one of the reasons why so many cultivators take such strict steps to avoid contamination by wearing full-body gear and even PPE that is completely sanitary and disposable, but once you’re past the point of no return, and left with a pile of weed seeds in your buds, there are only so many options. You can toss it, and lose out on all of that hard work, or you could process the plant materials along with the marijuana seeds into oil or some other concentrate, but for those who have invested their last few dollars, or prefer the enjoyment that pure flowers can offer, one question remains.
Many people wonder if cannabis is safe to smoke when it’s full of a bunch of seeds, and if it is, in fact, safe as far as the lungs are concerned, whether or not there are any other potentially adverse effects that they should be privy to. Since this is such a common problem, we feel the need to answer these questions in-depth, so that consumers know what they’re getting into when they’re inevitably faced with this scenario.
Is it risky for your health to smoke cannabis seeds?
Marijuana seeds consist of completely non-toxic plant matter, so they are entirely safe, as far as we can tell, to smoke along with flower, which means that if you find them in a bag, they aren’t going to make you sick, but unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily translate to a truly enjoyable experience, as you will soon find out.
Adverse effects on taste
Cannabis seeds are incredibly annoying when they get lodged in a joint roll or stuck in your grinder, but the absolute worst thing about them is that they taste terrible when they’re smoked, which can completely ruin the normally delicious flavors of your weed. This might sound strange at first, after all, the materials all come from the very same plant, but those yummy trichomes and terpenes that you’d normally bask in simply don’t exist in weed seeds.
Unfortunately, what they do have is a whole lot of fibrous material, so when these bits of the cannabis plant are burnt, they leave behind a distinctive and shocking level of taste that many compare to charred popcorn. It’s certainly not going to be enough to hurt you, but they could leave you coughing or with a burnt tongue feeling, and both of those things can significantly impact the flavor of your herb in a bad way.
If you’re one of the truly unlucky ones that have a crop that gets hit really hard with a foreign dose of pollen, then the weed seeds that develop could seriously reduce the quality of your cannabis, and it’s not just the taste that is impacted. Since cannabis seeds are a fair-sized, they take up a whole lot of room and add weight that otherwise wouldn’t be there, which results in a double whammy as far as potency is concerned because they also don’t contribute any cannabinoids to the harvest.
That’s right, those heavy, irritating cannabis seeds might look pretty and be attached to a fully matured plant, but they have absolutely nothing in common with the flower materials that surround them. To put it more simply, if you had one gram of two identical plants, with one that had been pollinated, the bud would weigh more, but it would have far less for cannabinoids like THC or CBD, which are the elements that influence how you feel right after taking a bit hit off of a joint.
In their absence, your buds won’t be nearly as strong or effective, which means that you will need to smoke way more to get the same results, so you’re also going to find that you go through a whole lot more weed than you’re probably used to with better quality product, and you still might not be satisfied once all is said and done. Now, of course, this isn’t the case with all seedy cannabis as there are various levels of seed production to consider, but it will greatly reduce the potency of what could have been a stellar harvest.
So now that you know what smoking seedy weed can do, it’s time to highlight one of the only real dangers of applying heat to cannabis seeds. These little balls seem nearly indestructible, and carry a wood-like texture that might have you believe that they’d burn away slowly just like a chunk of wood, but the way it works is much more like popcorn kernels which explode to produce the light and fluffy snack.
Sadly, marijuana seeds aren’t nearly as fun to watch heat up, especially when they’re in a joint or well-packed bowl, because they can and often will explode, and that can result in flying hot coals and joints that get ripped wide open due to the incredible amount of pressure. These things might not be overly dangerous, but they are something that every cannabis consumer should be aware of, as they tend to hit sensitive areas like the eyes or mouth, which can be quite painful.
The best ways to deal with weed seeds in your flower
Now that you know everything there is to know about smoking seedy cannabis, it’s time for us to discuss some of the different ways that you can choose to deal with the problem. Some are certainly more effective than others. However, all three of these solutions will work to at least reduce the effects that cannabis seeds can have on the experience of getting high.
1. Remove them manually
If you have a really bad case of seedy weed, then this might not be the best option, as it can be time-consuming to do, and even if you do manage to remove every single one, they will leave behind dried up shells that will still produce that lingering taste we talked about earlier. The best way to use this is by hand, using your fingers to gently shuffle through the bud and pinch any seed casings which should make them fall right out.
2. Make the flowers into a cannabis concentrate
If removing the marijuana seeds sounds like way too much work, and you’re open to trying or using other more potent cannabis concentrates like cannabis oil or cannabutter, then the best choice might be to toss the whole pile into the solution. Cannabis seeds might taste awful when they’re smoked, but that quality doesn’t carry over when they’re included in plant materials that are used to make concentrates. They strain right out, and you’re left with only the best element, which is why this is a preferred method of dealing with seedy weed for many cannabis consumers.
3. Use an electric grinder to break them down
If you aren’t willing to budge on the idea of a freshly packed bowl, and you’re really not interested in dedicating a whole bunch of time to the removal of the cannabis seeds, then you are left with only one option other than tossing it out, which would be a waste. Using an electric grinder will help you to avoid clogged or broken manual grinder, and it will reduce the cannabis seeds into dust so that you won’t see any sparks flying that may cause burns when you smoke them, but unfortunately, this method isn’t typically ideal, because it still leaves the strong taste that can ruin the natural flavors of your buds.
Seeded Weed? Is it Okay to Smoke It?
You are browsing online and checking out all the different strains. There is a local dispensary that is selling medical cannabis at an unbelievable price. Really? Only forty dollars per ounce? And it is a great strain that you usually buy. Seeded weed? What does that mean?
Photo Credit: SpliffSeeds.com
At the top of the discounted ‘flash sale’ status of the cannabis, you see a phrase that confuses the heck out of you. And it stands out like kind of a warning; “heavily seeded.” Unless you are a cannabis expert, you probably think seeds are no big deal. They are still natural, right? And they probably have the same amount of THC.
When a grower makes a little bit of a goof-up, and the cannabis is allowed to get frisky with other plants in the greenhouse, seeded nugs happen. Everyone loves a discount! They are a great deal. Having seeds in your whole flower cannabis must be just an aesthetic thing that people don’t like.
Think twice before you get the bargain basement cannabis loaded up with seeds. No, it’s not going to add more fiber to your diet (although you could use seeded cannabis for making edibles). But as far as using it in your pipe? Definitely read up on why it is discounted before you buy.
Photo Credit: Yarygin | Deposit Photos
The Birds and The Bees: Cannabis is a Highly Evolved Plant
Did you know that about 80% of plants on the planet are self-pollinating? Cannabis is a highly evolved plant. It is a dioecious species, which means it has separate male and female plants. Cannabis plants have three sexes. There can be male plants and female plants. And occasionally, a strain will produce hermaphrodite plants (both male and female).
If you were walking through a medical dispensary’s greenhouse, you would see plants that have zero flowers. Lots of leaves, though, but no buds. Then you would see plants blooming with buds. Guess which one is the female plant?
The male cannabis plant is worth empathizing with. He tries hard but barely gets a date. The male cannabis plant typically has a thinner stalk and fewer leaves. But the male cannabis plant grows and produces valuable pollen taken by the wind or breeze to nearby female plants. (Cue the disco music). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how marijuana buds are born.
Every time a cannabis plant seeds, it is a 50/50 split between male and female seedlings. Some strains can produce up to 75% of male plants. But you can’t tell in a greenhouse until they have started to grow. It usually takes about six weeks in the greenhouse before female plants begin to bloom. Then the male cannabis plants are separated from the female cannabis plants.
The female plants are valuable because they will produce crops of flowers or buds. Male plants, however, are not the star of the show, and they are either mulched for fertilizer or repurposed into other cannabis products.
What Happens to Male Cannabis Plants?
Dispensaries are interested in cultivating cannabis flowers from female plants. Some of the male plants are kept if they show specific attributes that are valuable for breeding. You plant corn, you get corn? It’s a little more complicated with cannabis. Most of the male plants are incredibly low in cannabinoids. Not all of them but most. And so, other than pollination, to a commercial dispensary, the male cannabis plant isn’t worth keeping around.
During the vegetative growth phase (when cannabis is maturing into a seedling), the male plants have higher THC concentrates in the leaves. It is only when the female plants mature to the adult stage that they have a higher potency. Female plants are the only sex to create sinsemilla. That is the compound that produces the psychoactive effects in THC.
Male cannabis plants don’t have a very long lifespan. Cultivators worldwide have tried to breed in high THC and bloom production in male plants, but with no success. You can’t delay the pollination process for male plants, nor can you breed enhanced resin production for male cannabis.
More sad news for male cannabis plants; their pollen is detrimental to female plants. So, if you have a happy crop of male cannabis plants sending their pollen over to the ladies on the other side of the aisle, it can stifle the crop. It will reduce the size and production of female cannabis plants.
Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants Have It Worse
The creation of hermaphrodites or both male and female sexed organisms is a rare occurrence in nature. But the genetic anomaly can happen to any species on the planet. And that includes the cannabis plant.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are considered trouble. When they are discovered, they are separated from other female plants. A few hermaphrodite plants can ruin an entire harvest and jeopardize the quality of the flowers produced. They are found, uprooted, and destroyed in a way that does not allow them to cross-pollinate with any other plants. It’s very much ‘seek and destroy’ when a cultivator finds them in the greenhouse.
The potential for genetically mutated hermaphrodite plants to reproduce with quality strains is very high. So, it is very much ‘seek and destroy’ when a cultivator finds them in the greenhouse.
Photo Credit: Yarygin | Deposit Photos
What Is Seeded Weed Good For?
When you look at a seeded flower, the composition seems similar but extra chunky. Throughout the bud, you will notice seeds of different sizes. Fully germinated and non-germinated seeds (or baby seeds). More fiber! So, the cannabis seeds must be good for you? Well, they are. Just not in your pipe or cone.
There is a market for marijuana seeds because they contain many health benefits. They are a great nutritional resource and have more than thirty (30) healthy fats. Some of the types of healthy fats include alpha-linoleic acid, which is the plant version of omega-3 fatty acid. They are also a high source of plant-based clean proteins.
Fiber! Boy, are cannabis seeds full of fiber, and they are great for digestive health. So much so that some clinical studies have suggested that cannabis seeds can reduce intestinal and colon cancers. Both soluble and insoluble fiber is found in cannabis seeds.
The soluble fiber is absorbed quickly and makes you feel full longer while providing energy. The insoluble fiber has a cleaning effect. It doesn’t digest but has an exfoliating impact as it travels through the digestive tract.
There are many supplements and nutritional products that are made from cannabis seeds. Also, for cosmetic products and skincare. Cannabis seeds are also high in an amino acid called arginine, which helps with muscle relaxation, blood vessel dilation, and reduced blood pressure. Cannabis seeds are often used for nutritional products sold for weight loss.
Why Are There Seeds In Cannabis Flower the Dispensary is Selling?
Full disclosure? Cultivators and dispensaries know that ‘seeded weed’ is a goof up. They know that it still can provide some wellness benefits. However, both the aesthetic and some of the seeded weed side-effects make the product less desirable to patients.
Does seeded weed still have THC and psychoactive properties? Yes. The cannabis potency is usually not any different, and it is still tested before being sold. The website of the dispensary will confirm the THC content in the description of the product.
Seeded weed happens when pollen from a male cannabis plant touches the female plant. Congratulations, you have a baby seed. But a lot of pollen can interact in a single exchange (from more than one male plant). That’s when you end up with bud that looks like an apocalypse of seeds in the cannabis colas.
Photo Credit: TeriVirbickis | Deposit Photos
Can You Grow Cannabis from Seeds You Find In Your Medical Bud?
If you live in a state that has legalized home-growing for personal use, you may be looking at those seeds and wondering if you should plant them? What would happen if you collected all the seeds and then tried to plant them?
Some seeds would germinate, and others would not. But when you are trying to cultivate seeds from a cannabis strain that has been prone to seedy weed, you would not want to grow plants that had the same properties. That would be lower quality cannabis. And you’d be stuck with more seeds. No one wants to reproduce a mediocre hybrid.
What Happens if You Smoke Cannabis With Seeds In It?
It’s cheap. Maybe you are thinking of just throwing it into the grinder and packing your bowl to see what happens? Well, unfortunately, when you incinerate seeds, you are changing the chemistry quite a lot. And while they can produce psychoactive and physiological effects (you will still get high), they can also produce some side-effects.
Both cannabis seeds and stems should be picked out and not consumed. They both contain cellulose, which burns at a hotter temperature than marijuana flowers. And that cellulose, when incinerated, produces carcinogenic toxins (cancer-causing). It makes the smoke hotter and harsher on your respiratory tract.
Some of the other side-effects that patients have experienced when smoking weed seeds are:
- Gastrointestinal and abdominal pain
- Sore Throat
Finally, if you do happen to roll some cannabis seeds in your cone, it’s going to freak you out a little bit—the seeds pop and crackle. Very loudly when you incinerate them, it’s kind of feels like taking a drag off a lit firecracker. No thanks!
What Do I Do With Cannabis Seeds If I Can’t Smoke Them?
Just because cannabis seeds are not ideal for smoking doesn’t mean that they will go to waste. There are other ways you can repurpose them after you separate or sift them from your bud.
Try placing stems and seeds on a baking tray in the oven for about 40 minutes to decarboxylate the cannabis. That activates it. Then, you can grind them up and use them to create a tea or a cannabis-infused butter. You can even add it to your flour if you want to bake some buzz-worthy edibles at home.
Another cool idea for seeds and stems is to add them (after decarboxylation) to a liqueur. You’ve seen vodka’s with hot peppers in the bottle, right? Same thing! You can place them into a bottle of vodka or whisky for a week and then filter them out. Repeat this process every week for a few months to build up the THC content in the alcohol.
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