Dear Cannabis – December 2020

First off I’d like to introduce myself to those who don’t know me. I’ve been a medical cannabis patient for over 6 years and have been consuming dried flower almost everyday with exceptions of when I travelled out of the country and there was no access to it. I’ve been learning a lot about cannabis in that time and have never been employed in the cannabis industry nor am I a medical professional. 

The discussion began with my family doctor in finding other ways to treat chronic pain as I knew higher dose opioids weren’t the solution and would likely lead to a future disaster. My doctor wasn’t sure how the dosing works with cannabis so he referred me to one of the clinic’s in Toronto for more information and that led me to get authorization to use cannabis for medical reasons in 2014. 

How I Started To “Review” Cannabis

Upon opening my first order I saw a small square insert about reviewing cannabis part of a community website, which was Lift & Co. I didn’t know much about terpenes, flavonoids or other cannabinoids other than THC and CBD so I focused on how each named flower made me feel and posted a short write up. I began to read more information over the years on cannabis and talked to others via social media about quality and value, and eventually extended my write ups further when I launched my own website on June 30th 2019.

My goal of the website was to inform others of my experiences in an organized way and try to help others understand why quality matters. Of course, these opinions are just a small snapshot of what’s out there as I haven’t tried everything and each individual may experience different outcomes as our bodies have a unique endocannabinoid system (also known as ECS).

What’s This Grey Area You Say?

I’m not talking about the random grey hairs as I age each year, I’m talking about what some people in the cannabis industry have tried to convince me about. Out of the 6+ years of writing about my experiences online I’ve had about 10 licensed producers offering me free cannabis, all to which I’ve declined. 

My last encounter was a direct message just before the summer from someone I’ve met in the industry and they asked if they could call me about something, I said sure, thinking it had nothing to do with such matter and unfortunately this person tried to convince me it was okay as I was a “friend” and doing so isn’t against the Cannabis Act. While this is true, sharing cannabis from a friend to a friend is okay, but doing so indirectly with them working at a licensed producer (LP) is a “grey area” and the wording is vague and not an issue I was told.

I firmly stand against this behaviour as this gives other licensed producers a disadvantage who are following the regulations and my opinions have always been my own based on my own purchases. When I explained my concerns I was told that they assumed my reviews weren’t and would have to talk to the other “reviewers” they spoke to. A few short weeks after this I noticed on Twitter that a handful of people were all talking about the same product, one which received a very long reply from someone working at that LP discussing why the product is dry and how it is what it is. 

I’ve told others over the years to voice their opinions online as sharing what you know is always valuable to others. Don’t ever think you have little influence because you have a small following, be concise, be kind and open to learning more, but don’t let someone put you down for giving an honest “review”. 

Moving Away From The R Word

It’s been two months of vaping once a day on improving my eyes to the best that I could without relying on a high dose of opiates to keep the pain away and I decided to move away from the R word, review. That doesn’t mean I won’t write my thoughts on future things I buy, but my focus will be more on saying my opinion rather than review as I’m just an average person talking about weed and each batch may vary and might not be the same each time.

I’ve removed all of my YouTube videos that I began attaching to my write ups earlier this year, mostly due to the fact they had to be age restricted and didn’t look great if a person wasn’t signed into YouTube and it took longer to piece together a write up. 

I was aware my presence on social media was nearly 40 hours a week at times before selling my first home and preparing to move to a new location while dealing with ongoing eye issues, which was later labeled as dry eye disease and something else I can’t pronounce made me less active. Over the summer I moved to the Niagara region, lost a friend to suicide a month after moving in and sank into a period of self reflection. Some of you reached out to me or said words of positivity and I appreciate that very much. To those that didn’t, I understand many of us have a lot going on and I hope that you’re taking care during these uncertain times. 

What’s Next

In 2021 I’ll be going back to the basics when talking about cannabis, no long form opinions unless I really enjoyed it and since I’m consuming less than half a gram a day, the purchase of a 3.5 gram jar lasts me a week or more which has led to less content. Until my eye issues fully clear up things will stay at a slower pace. Maybe I’ll start posting more cannabis photos for you to enjoy.  

Another focus will be article writing to help others understand cannabis better and staying off social media for a bit longer. I haven’t been on it for more than 5 minutes a week since the summer began, if that!

Sending my best wishes to everyone and hope next year is a better year for all!

As always, thanks for reading,

Shane (VapeTheBud)

Dear Cannabis – July 2020

ANNIVERSARY AND CHANGES

Yesterday was the anniversary of launching the VapeTheBud website, I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started it! Things have slowed down over the last couple months due to a variety of things and figured it would be easiest to write it out and share what’s been happening, statistics over the past year and future changes. 

 

VapeTheBud.com Turns One

 

In the one year of running this website I accomplished writing 54 licensed cannabis opinions, of which two were cannabis oils and the rest were packages consisting of at least 3.5 grams of dried flower or more. I choose this amount as I like to have at least two or three days with the cultivar and see how it works out in various situations and using varied temperatures, all being timed to see how long each session lasts to give a baseline of how to vape. The time and temperature mentioned is dependent on using the Mighty vaporizer as other vaporizers will vary due to different heating elements and the way it’s designed.

I plan on creating a list of cultivars I enjoyed and would buy again, although these worked for me, they might not work for you the same way. Keep in mind every review you read is subjective to the reviewer, their experience and understanding of the plant. Different outcomes can also happen due to a different lot number and package date, which brings me to alert others that any review over 6 months should be viewed as past material and quality may have changed since, for better or for worse.

 

Website Statistics Over The Year

Views and Visitors — In the first six months from July 1 2019 until December 31 2019, the website had 5,938 views and 2,198 unique visitors, then from January 1 2020 until June 30 2020 there were 11,132 views and 3,876 unique visitors. For the first year this totals to 17,070 views and 6,074 unique visitors which was automatically gathered by the WordPress application. 

Most Viewed Review — While the most viewed review is hard to pinpoint since my website is set up as a blog, people who clicked on the actual link to the review shows that Jean Guy Oil by KKE was the most viewed with 1,603 views, which was written on December 8th 2019.

Countries — This website has been viewed all over the world from a total of 55 countries, with people from Canada and the United States making most of the visits. 

 

What’s Been Happening

My personal life has kept me busy the last few months, we’ve been looking at moving for a while now and the timing of things were aligning despite our world battling a pandemic. I’ll be leaving Halton Region in a few weeks and moving to the Niagara Region which is in Ontario, Canada.

Also, earlier in 2020 I began having eye issues and had to get corrective glasses, unfortunately my issues persisted and my eyes were always dry, heavy and tired feeling with slight burning and blurry vision. A few weeks ago I saw an ophthalmologist and was diagnosed with meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis, in short my eyelids are inflamed and aren’t making tears and general eye drops didn’t help. 

Without proper treatment this could lead to cornea scarring which may lead to blindness, and since I’ve been taking a variety of eye drops, four in total per day, one of them being four times a day and takes almost an hour total each day to get through. I’ve been advised that the eye treatment can take 6-12 months, with signs of relief in a matter of weeks, so far there’s some improvements but I can’t handle looking at a lit screen for more than an hour at best nor play any video games without my eyes drying out severely.

A followup appointment is booked in two months time and will determine whether or not I have to take a break completely from using cannabis, this will be difficult as it has helped me greatly avoid taking opiates for chronic pain constantly throughout the day. Months ago I reduced my cannabis intake as it can cause dry eyes, but I don’t believe this was the cause as I do have Crohn’s disease which can cause extraintestinal manifestations, thankfully my stomach isn’t currently inflamed and all is well there.

 

Future Changes

I was working on a rating system earlier this year until the eye issue happened, unfortunately that’s been delayed for now as my focus is on the new house and getting my eyes back in shape. Due to the move and my new location being an hour away I will be cancelling the P.O. Box I had at the end of July 2020, unsure if I’ll reopen another in the new town I’m moving to but advising those who sent me homegrown flower, baked goods or swag for giveaways to remove my address. I appreciated it very much and will inform you if I open a new one. 

The email mailing list is also being discontinued, future updates will be posted on social media which you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram where I’ll post a link of what’s new and changed. The YouTube channel is still continuing, this is just a place to give others a view of what’s to come and is a resource for my website for others to view an unboxing before the review.

For now, reviews will still happen although at a much slower pace and my presence on social media will continue to be seen but at a reduced rate. I may shift to writing articles in the short term or showing other ideas in the near future for you to enjoy. 

I hope to be back at full speed soon, thanks for reading!

Dear Cannabis Community – February 2020

First and foremost, this is just my personal opinion and any wording used here should be treated as such. 


To the cannabis community, 

As some might be aware I recently had an issue with a licenced producer (LP) on the quality of the flower and asked directly on Twitter as I couldn’t directly message them. I have taken hundreds of photos over the years and never seen anything like it and asked if I should be concerned. Many began to speculate on the matter and then the LP reached out to me to look into it further and gave me a possible explanation. I took down the post after feeling the answer I got was satisfactory. Instead  it seemed to fuel the fire. Hateful DMs were sent and comments about my integrity on reviewing cannabis and about being transparent. 

I reposted said issue without tagging them and later tagging them in an update after looking further into what they said. I believe in being transparent about all my experiences and looking back I took the wrong approach initially.

Seven dried flower reviews are in the current queue to be posted on the website and some are from a month ago or so. Once those are posted I will be reviewing cannabis in a different way. This will lead to posting a “quick look” video on YouTube, then reviewing a product within a week or two after consuming it and any issues found will be shown or written in the review as such. This process should begin sometime around April 20th.

Many of us in the community buying LP products on a continual basis may have had an issue at some point and these issues need to be shown so these companies can do better when such things arise. This also serves medical patients like myself to understand cannabis better, what is quality cannabis and what matters to us. A second part write up will follow this soon and will be directed to the industry but also my passionate cannabis peers will likely want to read it.

Thank you to those that have reached out to me in a positive way over the last few days, your support has greatly helped me during a situational time.

EDIT// December 2020 – YouTube videos have been removed

GoFundMe – The State of the Flower

Hi I’m Shane the sole person running VapeTheBud.com and have been taking photos and reviewing cannabis for over five years on the Lift & Co review platform. As of July 2019 I started a website to make it easier for the community to read my reviews in more detail and adding quality photos.

As a medical cannabis patient the cost of cannabis per month has reduced my allowable monthly spend on other things that many consider a hobby. I recently purchased the Laowa macro lens as an early gift to myself and the community. This will be paid back over time to a long time friend as I believe the community deserves high quality content without ads. I do not make any money writing long form reviews on my website and haven’t monetized it.

I would like to buy a microscope that will take unimaginable photos of the flower rarely seen and would love to have an album full of these photos to show the magnification of the flowers in our regulated market.

Why?
Seeing trichomes extremely up close will show the colour of them and help determine if they were harvested too early, too late or just right! This affects the output in effects said by many, as dark amber trichomes may represent a late harvest and lead to stronger couch lock feelings.

I’m currently using a cheap Amazon product  to show the detail (640×480 resolution) and the quality is fairly poor compared to what I could capture . The cost is $363.99 + tax for the microscope  and $135.99 + tax for the Nikon camera adapter  (total cost $564.98 with taxes).

An example is provided below and my GoFundMe can be found (here).

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For those not aware I previously ran a GoFundMe for a camera and achieved that goal on Aug 22 2019. I ordered the NIKON D5300 DSLR camera which came with a 18-55mm lens and I purchased a variety of accessories (Kenko Extension tubes, Tripod – see attached receipts below – some info redacted for privacy).

Thank you to those that have donated and supported me so far. I didn’t expect to reach my previous goal so quickly. I also want to thank those that have shared my previous GoFundMe. To those that can’t donate due to financial or personal reasons, I understand we all have budgets and know you still support me. It means a lot having you support my work with inspiring words or even having a brief chat about cannabis. Thank you again, I’m beyond grateful.

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Dear Cannabis Community – 5 Years and Onward

Dear Cannabis Community,

I started vaping prescribed cannabis for medical reasons five years ago today, how time flies! My first strain, ahem, cultivar, was Sweet Skunk CBD by Tilray, and my latest was Rockstar Kush by JWC, my 121st different named flower, although many would say I’ve tried more than that. Take for example Blue Dream, a well known cultivar, Tantalus Labs dominant terpene is pinene, while Aurora Cannabis phenotype is myrcene dominant,  if that’s the case then my number is officially at 152. 

Yup, I’ve consumed a lot of cannabis, just this year alone I’ve consumed 378 grams on my own from the Canadian medical market, but who’s really counting. Being part of this community is about sharing and today I’m sharing some answers to questions I’ve been asked over the past year.

 

Why do I use cannabis? 

I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis (AVN) of the hip in 2011 after dealing with inflammation and ulceration of the stomach lining, and prednisone was prescribed for a short period that resulted in this horrible side effect. A few days into treatment I recall waking up, stepping out of bed and falling to the floor, I couldn’t walk and began to panic. I was rushed to the hospital and wheeled into the ER as I couldn’t stand as the pain was so extreme, I was advised that the pain was likely a side effect from the medicine, and told to reduce the amount per day and don’t bear too much weight, and over a few weeks things got “better”. The pain noticeably started to get worse month after month, and I began trying a variety of pharmaceuticals to reduce the pain. 

I had a hip surgery in late 2012, part of my femur was removed and a rod was inserted into the joint to hold up the hip to prevent a collapse as a temporary fix. I was taking opiates for a while to kill the pain, and in the spring of 2014 I asked my doctor to refer me to a medical cannabis clinic in Toronto.

I finally got to see the cannabis doctor at the end of August, and on September 4 2014 I took my first inhale using a vaporizer, the Pax by Ploom (now Pax Labs), and this was also my last day on Lyrica, which was used for pain management. I slowly began to wean off the opiates as my intake of cannabis was increased. 


What made me begin to review cannabis?

Back in 2014 my cannabis orders came with these little square papers mentioning rewards for reviewing your cannabis on the Lift & Co review website, back then it was called Lift Co. While the reward was a great incentive,my reason was to give my opinion so others could make informed choices, and at the time there wasn’t a lot of information regarding regulated medical cannabis.

 

The start of the unexpected

As time passed I think I wrote about 120 reviews, Lift & Co reached out to me on writing articles based on my personal experiences, and one of my highlights was when I wrote an article on reviewing over 100 different types of dried flower on April 20 2019.

I launched my website in July of this year to expand my writing and further detail my reviews. I still to this day add my reviews to Lift & Co as it was vital for me when researching what to buy next, and although the detail isn’t as elaborate as my long-form reviews, I like contributing to the community for the greater good. 

 

Do I have an end game?

I never had a plan when I started reviewing. I’m just going as I do, and although my reviewing isn’t profitable as I spend over $4000 a year on medical cannabis and earn ZERO dollars with this website. I just enjoy talking about my personal experiences and believe it helps others along the way or may even inspire others.

I encourage people to share their experiences as well on social media, cannabis friendly places like Lift & Co’s review platform, or even having your own website.

I remain committed to producing quality content for my readers, and all of the cannabis I have reviewed to date has been paid by myself. I don’t have an end game, but I do have goals on making my content higher quality. 

I love being part of this community and thank you for your support along my journey!

@VapeTheBud



 

GoFundMe Camera Goal Reached!

I officially reached my goal to buy a camera! Thank you to every person who donated to support this, and to those who liked or retweeted, you made others aware how important this is to me. Thank you!!!

The search will begin for a camera this week and an update will be provided once it’s bought with a receipt to confirm the cost.

Thanks again!

Shane
(VapeTheBud)