Cannabis Review: Blueberry by Weed Me via PureSinse

Achoo! Why Am I Sneezing So Much?

This cannabis flower is from Weed Me, a company out in Pickering, Ontario. They claim to have unique genetics and grow premium quality cannabis. I ordered this from PureSinse which is a 3rd party provider of licensed produced cannabis in Canada.

 

Cannabinoid Content and Terpenes

The label on the container showed a value of 12.14% THC and zero CBD.

Listing four of the top terpenes noted from the PureSinse website I was able to find that Myrcene had a value of 0.09% and was the leading dominant terpene. Caryophyllene trailed it with a value at 0.08%, and Pinene at 0.05%. Other terpenes were present at lower values. The amount of terpenes in total were quite low for “premium” buds.

 

Price, Shipping and Pack Dates

I purchased 3.5 grams from PureSinse at the cost of $9.76 per gram plus taxes. The cost of shipping was free with Canada Post since my order was over $100, otherwise it would’ve been $9.49 for the cheapest shipping option.

The package date on the container was noted May 31st 2019 and was ordered on October 28. I began reviewing this on November 20, which means the product was packaged for 174 days before being opened.

Smell and Appearance

Much like most of the PureSunse lineup the buds were very dry and when grinded the flower was almost like dust. The aromas were very faint and had a slight berry smell to them. I used a humidity pack at my expense and found it helped a bit in terms of bringing some moisture back. 

Under a macro lens the flower looks great with a mix of purple and green, and orange pistils everywhere, much like my last review by Thrive’s Shishkaberry. Trichomes are looking great at five times the magnification, the heads aren’t cut off which is nice to see.  

Consumption and Taste

I used my Mighty vaporizer in the temperature range of 170 to 190 Celsius (338F to 374F). Eight minute sessions were typical at lower temperatures, and on the higher end five to six minutes sessions using 0.25 grams of cannabis per session. In joint form it burned grey ash and preferred consuming in the vaporizer. Slight berry and pine notes were noticed after inhalation. 

 

Subjective Effects

In terms of the feelings I felt I would say at best they were mild. Pain relief was moderate and noticed it took two full sessions to really notice a decent effect. For some reason I sneezed a lot when I rolled this into a joint and every time I vaped, the sneezing stopped about an hour after my session. I preferred using this in the afternoon or evening and found the duration of effects lasted 60 minutes.

 

Final Thoughts

With the product being nearly six months old, very dry out of the container and the odd sneezing that kept happening during/after consuming I won’t be buying this again. I found better quality with other products at the same cost or even less.

#VapeTheBud

Cannabis Review: Shishkaberry by Thrive via PureSinse

Another “Premium” quality label that misses the mark

This cannabis flower is from Thrive, a company out in Ontario who is owned by TerraFarma. They claim to be growing premium quality as a small-batch craft cannabis company. I ordered this from PureSinse which is a 3rd party provider of licensed produced cannabis in Canada.

 

Cannabinoid Content and Terpenes

The label on the container showed a value of 15% THC and zero CBD.

Listing four of the top terpenes noted from the PureSinse website I was able to find that Pinene had a value of 0.20% and was the leading dominant terpene. Linalool had a smaller value at 0.12%, with Bisabolol at 0.07% and Camphene at 0.06%. Other terpenes were present at much lower values. The amount of terpenes in total were quite low for a “premium” grow.

 

Price, Shipping and Pack Dates

I purchased 3.5 grams from PureSinse at the cost of $9.50 per gram plus taxes. The cost of shipping was free with Canada Post since my order was over $100, otherwise it would’ve been $9.49 for the cheapest shipping option.

The package date on the container was noted May 23rd 2019 and was ordered on October 28. I began reviewing this on November 18, which means the product was packaged for 180 days before being opened.

Smell and Appearance

Due to the buds being really dry there wasn’t much of an aroma to it. Slight muted berry tones if anything. I used a humidity pack at my expense to try and bring back the moisture levels, it helped a bit. 

Under a macro lens the flower looks great with a mix of purple and green, and orange pistils everywhere. If this was hand-trimmed I doubt the entire process was done this way, the trichomes look like many were buzzed off with a trimmer. Grinds were fine when used with a grinder. Wasn’t ideal for rolling a joint.

Consumption and Taste

I used my Mighty vaporizer in the temperature range of 170 to 180 Celsius (338F to 356F) for about seven minutes using 0.25 grams of cannabis per session. Higher temperatures were okay but session length was reduced to around five minutes at 190C (374F). During all sessions it tasted like a nice red wine with some berries.  

In joint form it burned grey white ash, wasn’t the greatest and preferred consuming in the vaporizer.

 

Subjective Effects

An upper body head high was mostly noticed and the relief from chronic pain I deal with in my joints was adequate. I preferred using this in the evening and found the duration of effects lasted 90 to 120 minutes.

 

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the effects of Shishkaberry, but the quality wasn’t above average. The overly dried out flower was the downfall and I have tried better varieties for the same cost or less. Perhaps this would’ve been a better experience if the order was direct as my luck hasn’t been so great with 3rd party vendors.

#VapeTheBud

Cannabis Review: Sensi Star by Supreme via PureSinse

Supreme? 7ACRES? Yes to both.

I previously reviewed Sensi Star by 7ACRES, which is owned by The Supreme Cannabis Company. This review will be almost similar to that one as the source is the same, however this was purchased from the medical stream over at PureSinse and this review will highlight the differences at the end.

 

Cannabinoid Content and Terpenes

The label on the container showed a value of 19.22% THC and zero CBD.

Listing four of the top terpenes noted from the PureSinse website I was able to find that myrcene had a value of 0.90% and was the leading dominant terpene. Limonene was further behind at 0.39%, caryophyllene 0.16% and humulene at 0.08%. Other terpenes were present at much lower values.

 

Price, Shipping and Pack Dates

I purchased 3.5 grams from PureSinse at the cost of $9.50 per gram plus taxes. The cost of shipping was free with Canada Post since my order was over $100, otherwise it would’ve been $9.49 for the cheapest shipping option.

The date on the container was noted May 16th 2019 and was ordered on October 28. I began reviewing this on November 11, which means the product was packaged for 180 days before being opened.

 

Smell and Appearance

I would describe the aromas as earthy with sweet pine and woodsy notes, and when vaping the flower it was similar. Not as aromatic as my previous purchase though. 

Every 7ACRES product I’ve tried the buds were dense and most weighed around half a gram each. Moisture content was okay for its age, not perfect though and required the use of a humidity pack at my expense to try and restore the balance. Trichomes are looking great at five times magnification.

Consumption Methods

I used my Mighty vaporizer in the temperature range of 170 to 185 Celsius (338F to 365F) for about seven to eight minutes with 0.25 grams of cannabis per session. 

In joint form it burned nice white ash, was smooth however I preferred consuming in the vaporizer.

 

Subjective Effects

Consuming a single dose gave me great pain relief and some creativity while feeling slightly dreamy. I wouldn’t consume this throughout the day though and would recommend this at night as sleepiness and being forgetful occurred when consumed in a continually manner. Duration of effects lasted 90 to 120 minutes.

 

Comparisons and Final Thoughts

Sensi Star by 7ACRES has been one of my favourites for a while and when I heard this was available on the medical side I wanted to try it out and see how it compared. The smell was weaker possibly due to the age of 180 days vs 70 with OCS. The cost per gram was $9.50 a gram, much lower than the $13.69 per gram on the OCS website. The THC difference was minimal, and the shipping was free with PureSinse while OCS charged $5 flat plus HST. This is based on these two purchases for comparison at the time of writing and may vary.

I would buy this again as I believe the value is there, but a fresher inventory would be more ideal.

#VapeTheBud

Cannabis Review: Jean Guy Oil by KKE

My Favourite Flower In Oil Form

I previously reviewed Sensi Star Oil by KKE (Khalifa Kush Enterprises) and today we’re taking a look at their Jean Guy Oil. This uses flower from 7ACRES and is extracted at MediPharms Labs in Barrie, Ontario, Canada using CO2 extraction with MCT being the carrier oil.

 

Cannabinoid Content and Terpenes

The information listed on the label showed 24.6mg of THC per mL and 1.46mg of CBD per mL, and in my personal view this is a high THC product. 

Just like the other KKE oil, this brand keeps the terpenes in the bottle, unlike most of the competitors by using a multi-phased approach using CO2 extraction for the highest quality output. As for what the terpene values are is anyone’s guess as they’re not listed, but the flower is dominant in myrcene and I would expect the same here. A few other notable terpenes are terpinolene, ocimene, pinene and limonene. This data was pulled from PureSinse’s medical website.

 

Price and Shipping

One 30mL bottle was purchased off the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) at the cost of $102.75 taxes included, which is about $3.43 per mL for 24.6 mg of THC (just under 14 cents per mg of THC). At the time I was checking other markets and saw British Columbia was selling this for $78.74 with taxes, much lower than Ontario. The cost of shipping was $5 flat plus HST (13%) with Canada Post. No free options existed as of this writing and delivery took three business days to arrive.

 

Smell and Appearance

Sweet and earthy would be the easiest way to describe the smell and taste. This oil had a straw yellow colour and was lighter in colour than the Sensi Star. Included in the packaging was a stopper to prevent the oil from spilling out easily and a perfectly labelled dosing dropper. I found measuring the dose was easy to use. 

Dosing and Subjective Effects

Over the course of about two weeks I tried different doses from 0.75mL (18.45mg) upwards to 1.5mL (36.9mg) in one sitting, and unlike some other oils on the market that would require me to consume more than double for the same amount. This is important as taking some oils in large volumes to obtain more THC may cause gastrointestinal distress for some. Thankfully I didn’t have those issues with this oil.

Effects felt at the lowest dose (0.75mL) were feelings of creativity, being mindful and at times a daydreamer but still able to converse with others. I felt this oil would best be used during the daytime as it may keep you up at night, however when I consumed the highest dose (1.5mL) I was restless and wanted to nap it off. Pain relief is the main reason why I use cannabis and unfortunately this seemed geared more to improve mood and enhance creativity, much like in flower form.

The effects took about 90 minutes to two hours to fully kick in each time, this didn’t matter if I held it under my tongue for a few minutes or swallowing it all at once. The total duration of effects lasted about four to five hours, with effects weaning off around the three hour mark. I do advise to eat something with the oil as this would lessen the chance of gastro issues and also increases the bioavailability when taken with some food that has fats. One of my peers on Twitter uses peanut butter every time he uses cannabis oil as the fat in butter helps the absorption. 

Keep in mind that some people may require higher or lower dosing. Always go low and slow to determine an optimal dose to ensure a good time. 

 

End Thought

At the end of the day I prefer to vape as the onset is quicker, but overall I found this to be a great oil to consume during the day, I just wish the cost wasn’t so high and more along the same price as Sensi Star, which I feel was a better buy for me since it helped my chronic pain better.

#VapeTheBud

Article: Testing Old Cannabis and Why We Need Stability Testing

In Canada if you take a look at the label on the package of the dried cannabis flower you bought you might notice that an expiration date isn’t noted and says “No Expiry Date Determined”. In June of 2019 I had posted about two products that were eight months old and Thomas Fraleigh, President and Founder of Vivariant Laboratories reached out and was willing to test this aged cannabis as my concern was on potency loss and not getting the full value from my purchase.

Before we get into this further I’d like to caution that it’s hard to say a drop in THC is 100% due to age. As Thomas advised you’re always going to see a difference when you test a licensed producer (LP) bud and compare it to the label value. Below he speaks of the sampling challenges and stability testing, and from there I take the results and give my final thoughts.

Sampling Challenges

Cannabinoids are not distributed evenly across a cannabis plant. A bud sampled from the top of a plant and the bottom of the same plant can vary in concentration, same goes for different clones in a grow room. Even on a single bud the trichomes have a distribution I often liken to “marble cake”. 

When a customer provides a sample for potency we typically ask for a minimum of 1 gram but suggest 5 grams. We then grind the sample to a homogenous (even) powder from which we take the material we actually analyze. The grinding is an important step because it takes the variable product and creates an average however that average is only as good as the input material that the customer provides. If the customer only submits one bud, the average result we return will be reflective of that one bud. If they take six buds from various parts of the plant, we grind those to a powder and that average is then more reflective of the whole plant. 

But how many plants, and what parts of those plants do you pull from in order to sample a whole grow room at an LP? Unfortunately there is no clear guidance on that matter right now. Health Canada (HC) has very carefully removed themselves from responsibility for sampling stating instead that it is up to the LP to make sure that they have a “good protocol for sampling”. Health Canada has also not placed any formal size definitions on what constitutes a batch or lot, so you could have someone sending in 1 gram sample for a 10 KG batch or a 1 gram sample for a 100 KG batch. 

The only time that HC has ever formalized any cannabis sampling plans was the now-obsolete 2004 Industrial Hemp Technical Manual. During this era each and every hemp farmer had to have their field sampled by a third party lab to check that THC levels were below 0.3%. The lab would send a technician who would walk in a very specific manner through the field and collect 60 flowering inflorescences (think of a branch off the main stem with the leaves and flowers), divide those into two groups of 30, 30 stay with the farmer as a reference and 30 go back to the lab for analysis. The THC determination would be based on the 30 inflorescences sent to the lab. This document is now obsolete and these guidelines no longer apply. 

Today the only hemp farmers that have to do THC testing are those breeding viable seed and clear sampling protocols for that testing have not been re-issued yet. I call attention to this old document though because it’s the only time that HC has given clear sampling guidance for cannabis/hemp because they wanted to keep an eye on the “evil THC” in hemp. They don’t seem as motivated these days to issue guidance on sampling for determination of THC and CBD at the medical and adult use cannabis producers. While mandating 30 branches sample size from a cannabis crop to determine potency would cause the LPs to riot it would be nice to have some sort of sampling guidelines from HC on the topic. 

It’s important to note that even with a huge sample input amount, which is going to give you a great representative average, if you were to re-test buds from that batch against that value you will still have outliers. There were some articles going around in USA from when state markets and testing labs were coming online with headlines like “omg I sent my buds to two different labs and got two different results” and that is to be expected for all the reasons we discussed above. I had a friend ask once why we don’t present values in ranges which I thought was a good question. My thoughts are that people in general don’t like ranges and the labels are also confusing enough as it is today. If you were going to go with a range you would need to conduct multiple repeat tests so the cost would go up a lot as well.

Personally I think that the single value is sufficient, we do need more consensus on sampling practices. Note that for products like oil solutions sampling is less of an issue because as liquid solutions these products are more homogenous to begin with. The problem re-surfaces again in edibles and topicals though. Cannabinoids are highly viscous and difficult to blend. If your mixing process does not evenly mix your cannabinoid you’re back at marble cake again, perhaps literally! 


Stability Testing and ‘old ass weed’

When we were first introduced on the topic of some old cannabis you received from an LP. We discussed how testing cannabis for cannabinoids isn’t necessarily a clear indicator of stability. There seems to be a consensus that THC breaks down into CBN but the kinetics of that are poorly understood. Stability studies are used to determine expiration dates and shelf life. They involve taking many products in its final container and putting them in a room of controlled temperature and humidity (“stability chamber”) and periodically pulling some out for analysis. 

When you test for stability you need to have stability markers, for example, what do I test for to show that this material is still stable? One thing you could do is repeat the tests on the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) until it fails to meet spec. For cannabis there is no pass/fail limit for cannabinoid content and the variability in cannabinoid content in between buds (as mentioned above) is going to complicate this. 

So what else? Microbes are one option. Keep in mind that microbial cells don’t grow at low water concentrations so very dry cannabis won’t show much microbial growth over time. Pesticides are unlikely to magically appear unless they leach in from packaging components. Metals may be leached from the container over time, especially vape pen products. Terpene content may diminish over time. The thing is, I think you can have old cannabis that still passes quality control long after it has lost it’s bag appeal. Again, there’s no consensus on how stability studies are performed especially on dry flower. If you meet LPs who are engaged in GMP production this is an interesting question to ask them as all GMP products must bear an expiration date and that expiration date needs to be determined by stability studies. 

The lab results

First in the lab Jean Guy was tested from Aphria which I ordered from the Cannabis by Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) medical program. The label was stated this was packaged October 9th 2018 and was tested on September 18 2019, the potential THC amount was noted at 17.24% on the bottle.

According to this report the Total THC amount was 16.9%, a slight loss compared to the advertised potential of 17.24%. 

The second lab tested product didn’t fair as well and was Rockstar from Tilray which was also ordered from the SDM medical program. The package date was October 17 2018 and as tested September 18 2019, the potential THC amount was noted at 24% THC on the bottle.

According to the lab report the Total THC amount was 18.2%, that’s a large difference and not the potential 24% THC I paid for.

Final thoughts

One product had a tiny change and one significantly had a lower value. The takeaway here is the word “potential” THC on the label and the proper need of stability testing to determine when quality begins to degrade and when does it go bad. The cannabis I had wasn’t expired but the quality wasn’t where it should’ve been.

Vivariant Laboratories is one of the authorized laboratories in Canada to conduct analytical testing of cannabis under the Cannabis Act, and you can find more about them at vivariant.com for more details on potency testing that starts at $125 each and you can reach Thomas Fraleigh directly on Twitter under the handle @tfraleigh.

#VapeTheBud