High Recommendations

written and photographed by Kimberly Harris

Passing a drug test for cannabis can be an essential part of getting a job or being on a team. Even though I’m of age and live in a cannabis-legal state, companies still have the right to deny hiring me if I test positive for THC in a drug test. That uncertainty and restriction about having to pass a drug test for cannabis is conflicting. Cannabis had become a part of my lifestyle for years and kicking it was just like trying to get rid of any habit—difficult. So, for this High Recommendations, we’re going to learn how to detox. 

Stop Cannabis intake. 

As soon as possible, I stopped my cannabis intake to begin detoxing. The first week was the hardest. I felt no physical symptoms of withdrawing, but I did have a mental battle with myself to stop. I had to constantly remind myself of how important detoxing was. I also want to be stronger than a substance. 

If smoking is a part of a daily routine it’s more difficult of a habit to kick. I’ve had to pick something else to replace that time like making a cup of coffee, taking an extra-long shower or stretching. I choose things that help me relax and start my day with a positive attitude.

Stay occupied and focus on hobbies. 

To not be tempted to smoke in my off time, I learned to keep myself busy throughout the day. I attached myself to school, work or another hobby if I found myself with extra time. Keeping busy helped with my cravings and desires. I loved to come home after a long day and wind down with a bowl. That habit has been replaced with working out. I can hold a lot of anxiety and stress that builds up inside of me, especially after a day of work, school and completing assignments. Doing cardio, yoga and lifting weights helps to release that build of stress instead. 

2 to 4 weeks is how long it takes for THC to leave the body, supposedly. 

Various articles online told me that how quickly THC flushes through my system would depend on how much I weighed and how often I smoked. After intake, THC is stored in fat so the more fat someone has the easier it is for THC to linger in the body. As a 120lb girl, I wasn’t worried about THC storing in my fat cells. I was more worried about being a daily smoker for the past 4 years. Just to be safe, I gave myself a month and a few weeks of zero intake to let the THC naturally detox out of my system.

Drink lots and lots of water. 

Drinking water is a way for people to detox their body and flush out their systems naturally. I started to increase my water intake. I made it a goal of mine to fill up and finish my 32 oz water bottle twice a day. I knew I was doing it right by how many times I was going to the bathroom throughout the day. 

Detox drinks help but aren’t always reliable. 

If a test is urgent or soon, using a detox drink is a method of cleansing your system quickly. Detoxes are uncertain because it’s hard to know if a detox drink will flush 100% of the THC in your system. Friends who have drank a detox to pass a drug test guided me to purchase one at a smoke shop or a dispensary. They also told me to drink a lot of water with a detox. I feel comfortable with drinking 32 oz of water before and after taking the detox. 

Important tips 

-Pee before going to the drug test, so that it’s not the first pee of the day in the cup. The first pee of the day can hold a lot of what your body processes overnight, so it can have a higher level of THC than pees that happen later in the day. 

CBD products can have traces of THC in them. THC helps promote CBD’s benefits for the body, so finding straight CBD products might not be as helpful or worth it. 

– Detoxing is a practice rather than a quick remedy. It’s more efficient to use the tips I provided consistently and over a long period of time to get a full THC detox. 

– Abstaining from intaking cannabis for a long period of time is the only way to be certain about passing a drug test. Sometimes drug tests come up with little to no warning, so a detox drink can be helpful in urgent situations but aren’t always reliable. 

COVID-19 and Cannabis

written by Alexandra Arnett

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has got the entire globe on its toes. COVID-19 is a strain of the coronavirus that humans have no natural immunity to or vaccines for. The spread of this virus is airborne, through droplets from talking, sneezing, coughing, etc. and it can live up to 3 days on hard surfaces. 

It is important to take note of what the cannabis industry is doing to help slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19, for their employees and customers. As in many states, dispensaries in Oregon have been deemed an “essential” service, but they have to operate within guidelines provided by the Oregon Health Authority and OLCC. The first thing the OLCC enacted was the ability for dispensaries to conduct curbside pick up orders within 150 feet of their shop. The employee must take down the order, customer name and date of birth. When the customer has arrived the employee must verify it is the same person who ordered. In addition, for medical patients, the OLCC increased daily limits for flower purchases to 24 ounces per day but still no more than 32 ounces in a month.

On top of these new OLCC rules, dispensaries must follow the social distancing guidelines, maintaining 6 feet between employees and customers and limiting the number of people on the sales floor. Employees are also instructed to no longer allow smells of any product and to change gloves frequently, as well as maintaining frequent proper handwashing procedures.

When you are making your trips to dispensaries, please be mindful that these are stressful times for everyone, especially those in an “essential” service. Many dispensaries have been overwhelmed with customers and short-staffed, so please be kind to your neighborhood budtender and leave a tip if you can! 

Connecting w/ Cannabis: Women’s Sexual Health and Wellness

written and photographed by Dana Sparks

On any given day, Kass Traieh, 23, balances attending the University of Oregon and working part-time as a bartender. She just recently moved away from her childhood friends and family in southern California to buy a home in the Pacific Northwest and get her degree in human physiology. 

Unsurprisingly, Traieh has a lot going on that keeps her mind busy. 

As her day ends, she likes to unwind with a little bit of cannabis as she settles in for the night with her boyfriend and their dog.

“I feel like weed helps me feel more connected with myself,” said Traieh. 

But it seems to do a lot more than that. 

Traieh’s experiences reflect more than cannabis as a method of unwinding — this is a story of how cannabis also informs the management of her reproductive health and sexual pleasure.

“I honestly think I gave up on finding the ‘right’ birth control,” said Traieh. It’s been a discouraging process because of the many side effects that she’s experienced during her search. 

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, common side effects of hormonal contraceptives — like birth control pills — including weight gain, headaches, mood changes and irregular periods. One side effect that Traieh experiences in particular is a loss of libido — a problem she didn’t have before starting birth control.

“I’m on the pill right now. I’ve switched back and forth between a bunch of types of birth control. Nothing is exactly right — everything leaves me feeling like crap,” said Traieh. 

To top it off, she suspects she might have endometriosis — a condition that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimate one in ten women experience

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the uterine-lining migrates outside of the organ and becomes inflamed in response to the menstrual cycle. Symptoms include long, heavy periods, intense cramping, pain during sex and nausea — to name only a few. Despite the blaring symptoms, it’s difficult to diagnose because it frequently requires a laparoscopy in order to identify the tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic, without any major non-invasive alternatives. 

Between the intense pain, heavy periods and birth control side effects, Traieh’s story represents a lot of women who have been left to their own devices to solve these issues.

When it comes to her period, using weed and yoga helps her relax and manage some of the pain. 

But experiencing a loss of libido from her birth control shouldn’t be thought of as “just” a physical side effect — it can be an emotional roadblock on one of the avenues that couples can connect with one another. 

Since starting birth control, her boyfriend is the one who initiates sex when she is not using cannabis. It takes a lot more time and effort for her to be aroused without it and even then, the extra time and attention doesn’t always guarantee that Traieh and her boyfriend have sex that isn’t interrupted.

“Having a low libido negatively affected my relationship — sometimes halfway through it would become painful all of a sudden because I was a desert down there again,” said Traieh. “I know a lot of women could relate to that. It could be beneficial to try new things and be able to fully enjoy that experience without awkward or painful delays.”

The coinciding of when she has time to use cannabis and when she has time to be intimate with her boyfriend led to Traieh’s latest discovery: cannabis, not only helps her relax, but helps with her arousal. 

“Not to say that my sex sober is bad, but it’s just a lot more difficult to orgasm — I have more things going through my mind and I’m a lot less focused. But I think weed has helped me relax a bit and takes some of that pain away,” said Traieh. 

At this point in time, little research appears to have been conducted that specifically looks at how cannabis affects birth control and the corresponding side effects. The lack of literature around this topic might be explained by variables like the classification of cannabis as a schedule one drug (which means no federal funding) or even the sense of taboo regarding sex and drugs.

However, a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs during 1982 suggests answers to questions of how this helps by looking at the effects of regular cannabis use on sexual performance

The study’s objective results say the findings are widely “insignificant” due to the specific method used to conduct the study. Yet, when the information produced is pulled away from the confines of the study, it is suggested that an enhanced experience after cannabis use is indicated for roughly half of men and women during snuggling, pleasure/satisfaction, sexual closeness and different facets of orgasm. 

With the legalization of recreational cannabis, consumers and cannabis professionals are left to navigate the wide world of cannabis and how it applies to individuals’ specific needs in ways that were not previously accessible. In this, new things are understood in the trial-and-error of using cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Budtender Andrew Travis at Moss Crossing Dispensary talked with Green Eugene about what to consider when using cannabis specifically for sexual pleasure.

“If you’re using cannabis for sex, it’s smart to stick with more strain-specific avenues because it will be easier to dial in on what you’re going to get out of it,” said Travis. For example, he says that terms like “Sativa” and “Indica” are helpful in identifying plant characteristics or its’ origin rather than identifying what a strain can do for specific problems.

When seeking a strain for help with certain issues — like anxiety or tension — Travis recommends asking about terpenes. Terpenes are found in a lot of plants — not just cannabis — as organic compounds that can be used for their medicinal properties. 

“The way people use essential oils to get therapeutic effects is the same thing with cannabis. That’s why most budtenders have you smell the weed and [buy] whatever your nose likes best,” said Travis. 

Lavender contains a common terpene called Linalool that most people would recognize for its calming effect and anxiety relief. Linalool is a common terpene that most people would recognize without realizing — Linalool is what gives the lavender plant its calming nature and anxiety relief. 

“Encouraging people to have a basic understanding of terpenes is really advantageous, especially if you’re experimenting with cannabis [for sexual health],” said Travis. “Leafly is a really good resource with charts that tell you the terpene name, other plants or things we interact with everyday that have a similar smell and the effects of it.”

Tropicana Cookies is one recommended by Travis for its following terpenes: Limonene (found in lemons), Linalool (found in lavender) and b-Caryophyllene (found in black pepper). Some of the potential effects of these terpenes in combination could be mood elevation, anxiety relief and pain relief respectively. 

Ghost Cookies is a less sweet alternative that contains similar terpenes. It has b-Mercene (found in mangos) instead of b-Caryophyllene and should produce a heavy, couch-lock relaxation.

It should be mentioned that there are more options for consumption than just smoking weed — there is also THC- and CBD-infused lubricants and edibles. All the information on terpenes above still apply to lubricants and edibles — though some brands are more transparent than others regarding this information.

“If sex is painful, lubricants can also be super valuable. CBD lubricants can help alleviate tension or help men with premature ejaculation,” said Travis. “The THC lubricants can kind of force blood flow to the area, increase sensitivity and make it a little bit more euphoric.” 

Travis recommends planning ahead if interested in using these as they take time to activate. Additionally, some lubricants are oil-based so they are not safe for latex-based contraceptives like condoms or dental dams.

“I would love to try out cannabis lube to see what affects it has on me,” said Traieh regarding the many different ways of incorporating cannabis into her sexual wellness. “I don’t see it replacing vaping before sex for me though.”

Traieh said she’s able to enjoy herself more with cannabis and because of that she can see how her partner’s pleasure reacts to hers. This new found level of comfort in her sexual relationship has also opened her mind to exploring and expanding how she expresses pleasure.

“I recognize that when I’ve smoked, I’m having a more enjoyable time,” said Traieh. “And when both partners are having a more enjoyable time, it’s a totally different energy. I feel more connected to it and more present.”

High Recommendations

written and photographed by Emma Routley

I had never heard of Kush mascara until I was standing in line at Sephora and saw Milk’s Kush Mascara in the travel-sized items section. Interest peaked by both the name and the silver packaging, I picked it up on my way to the register.

This mascara has a unique formula that separates it from the rest of the market: cannabis oil.  The cannabis seed oil is meant to both condition and thicken eyelashes, continuing to hydrate even after the makeup is removed. At first, I thought putting oil on my eyelashes didn’t sound like something I would want.  Oily mascara just sounds like a recipe for smudged black eyelids. Inside the box, the tube has surprising weight to it, and a spoolie with soft bristles designed for high volume coverage. I don’t normally like mascara spoolies of this stature because due to it’s large size I have the tendency to get it all over my eyes instead of actually on my eyelashes.  Something else I was worried about going into the mascara trial was my eyes potentially watering — whenever I go into a grow room, my eyes are always streaming by the time I leave.

I tried the mascara for a week. While it took about four coats to get the mascara how I wanted it to look on my eyes, the mascara proved itself notable in the way it lasted a full eight-hour shift and kept my eyelashes looking curled throughout the day without any touch ups.  The smudging I was worried about did not occur, and despite its great staying power, the product is easy to remove at the end of the day. I use makeup wipes, and there was not much effort involved in it’s removal which I consider a bonus, since I hate rubbing my eyes until they’re sore just to get my makeup off to go to bed.  The only major downside to the mascara is that the spoolie is quite large, and as someone who does not have big eyes I came close multiple times to knocking it against the bridge of my nose while applying the inner corners. It might not be best for a quick time-pressed morning, but was great otherwise. 

Milk’s Kush Mascara comes in a regular full size for $24.00 and a travel size for $12.00.  Milk makeup is both vegan and cruelty free, which is my favorite type of brand to support. The packaging says 95% of the 21 women who tested the mascara saw higher volume, and longer lashes, while 90% saw thicker and lifted lashes.

I will continue to use my little travel sized mascara until I use it up, and then I might consider just purchasing a full size!  My eyelashes do feel conditioned after several days of using this kush mascara, and the cannabis seed oil so close to my eyes actually doesn’t bother me at all.  I highly recommend this mascara to anyone who wants a non-waterproof mascara with incredible staying power and is easy to take off at night.  

Intersectional Relief

written by Guthrie Stafford, photographed by Connor Cox

As legalization sweeps the nation it becomes easier and easier to take the medicinal qualities of cannabis for granted. And yet, this progress is only possible because people with disabilities have fought tirelessly for the right to relief from mental and physical pain. I sat down with Sai Marie, a local cannabis user who lives with fibromyalgia, partial hearing loss, anxiety and depression, to learn more. We discussed medicinal cannabis, coming to terms with mental illness and Sai’s experience growing up as a biracial native woman. 

At 35, Sai Marie is an accomplished author of poetry, sci-fi and fantasy short stories as well as a mother of three. She radiates the confidence unique to published poets and sports a large turquoise necklace, a gift from her uncle. “From the Res,” she says. 

In the golden light of Café Roma, between sips of raspberry mocha, Sai tells me of a more challenging time in her life. She dropped out of high school so she could put more energy into motherhood, and then she went through a difficult divorce in her early twenties. Through all of it, Sai was suffering from depression as well as a mysterious, generalized pain she would later discover to be fibromyalgia. But when she sought relief from doctors, the pills they gave her robbed her of her passion for writing. “I’m a creative person,” says Sai. “I’ve taken Celexa, things like that. They made me feel zombified. That’s no way to operate. It’s existing, not really living.” 

Managing the balance between wanted and unwanted effects is a challenge when taking any medicinal drugs. And yet, side effects that change our sense of who we are, especially on an ongoing basis, are especially hard to accept. As Sai tells me, “The thing about my disabilities is that they’re constantly treatable; they’re not curable.” Unwilling to give up her art, and to a greater extent, her sense of identity, Sai Marie quit her prescriptions and started searching for an alternative. 

At 24, Sai Marie started using cannabis medicinally, but not without some initial hesitation. “There was a point in my life when I was totally against it,” she says. “You know, I was a nineties kid and D.A.R.E. was a big thing back then.” Although Sai had tried cannabis in her younger years, it took a close friend who was fighting cancer to convince her that it could be used as medicine. 

According to Sai, the choice to self-treat her fibromyalgia and depression with cannabis was less a matter of peer pressure and more of an empirical deduction. “I experienced the benefits myself so I can’t say that it doesn’t work. I’ve changed my life completely since then.” Much of this change has been Sai’s acceptance of mental illness and trauma as a permanent part of her, but not a defining part. “Cannabis allowed me to step outside of that emotional grey area, that gloomy cloud, and look at life and go, okay, this did happen, but it’s all about my perspective and what I want to do with my time.” For the kind of chronic conditions that Sai lives with, ultimate cures are not a possibility, but relief and perspective are. One factor in her choice take treatment into her own hands was growing up with a mother who defied disability stereotypes and encouraged her to explore native herbal medicine. 

Sai inherited genetic hearing loss from her mother, but she also inherited the confidence   to live with it proudly. As we talk she combs her hair behind her ear to reveal a hearing aid, pale and smooth as a shell. She still has about ten percent of her hearing, she tells me. Her mother had it much harder: a Cherokee girl growing up in the sixties in a silent world. “They wanted to send her to a special school. They put it in her head for a long time that that’s all she could do. Now she’s a psychologist, she’s a very successful woman. I had that as a mother to look up to.” Sai goes on to tell me how her mother made her conscious of her Cherokee heritage. “Since I was a little girl, it was very present in my life that I was biracial.” Part of this presence came in the form of native herbal medicine, a tradition that Sai’s mother taught her long before she conceived that cannabis might have a place in it. Turning towards the future, Sai wants to continue the practice of herbal self-treatment for her own children. But sometimes laws intervene. 

For Sai Marie’s adult children, the revolution in how we think about self treatment for pain can’t come soon enough. “My two boys are terminally ill,” Sai tells me. Both of them suffer from muscular dystrophy, a condition that slowly breaks down the skeletal muscles. CBD can help alleviate the chronic aching associated with this condition. “But they live in Tennessee, so they can’t get some of the benefits that they need. They kind of think it’s sad that they can’t have it.” Historically, Sai’s boys’ experience has been the rule rather than the exception. It’s only very recently, mainly thanks to people like Sai Marie raising their voices, that the ability to seek relief from chronic pain has been viewed as a right. And yet, now that the right to relief has taken root in the national consciousness, the swift pace of its adoption into mainstream culture gives Sai hope for a broader acceptance of disability and mental illness going forward. As Sai tells me, “If it starts as simply as giving someone a plant that can help them, then what can we do to change our world?”

What’s Up with Vapes?

written by Alexandra Arnett, photographed by Nina Compeau

Cannabis vape pens, nicotine vape oil and nicotine vape pens have been around for less than 10 years, and there has been little research on the safety of inhaling these products. Recently, vaping has caused a lot of fuss within the cannabis industry. Patients have reported variations of symptoms including cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills and even weight loss. 

According to the most recent update by the CDC, 2,668 cases of illnesses related to nicotine or cannabis vapes have occurred, with 60 deaths having been reported so far. Among these patients, 1,782 of them reported which substance was being vaped, with 82% reported using THC containing products, while 33% reporting the use of only THC containing products. Of the affected, 50% reported where their product was sourced, with 16% having obtained them from retail businesses and 78% obtaining them from friends, online, or other dealers. 

The CDC reported that in 51 samples of lung fluid from those with a vape-related illness across 10 different states, 48 were found to have vitamin E acetate. While vitamin E acetate has been associated with vape-related illnesses, the CDC notes that there is not enough evidence to say it is the only chemical that should be of concern. The FDA states that vape injury cases are not affiliated with any single brand and more research is needed.

Many states have taken action by banning the sale of cannabis and/or nicotine vapes. Our own state of Oregon enacted a temporary six-month ban on October 4th, on the sale of all flavored vapes, both for cannabis and nicotine. However, an Oregon court of appeals established a pause on the ban on November 15th that is stated to last 60 days. As of February 5th, no ban on flavored vapes is in place. Places such as New York, Michigan and Montana also made attempts at banning the sale of vape pens, but they were also blocked by the courts. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington all put in place temporary bans that are set to expire soon. San Francisco has banned all sales of nicotine e-cigarette products. After this, several states, including Oregon, have banned adding substances such as Vitamin E acetate into vapes, as well as implemented more testing requirements to look for this substance.

So how valid is this “vaping crisis?” 

We know that cannabis, specifically the terpene pinene and the cannabinoid THC, are both bronchodilators, meaning they help open up the airways to the lungs and may even help with conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. What we don’t know is how the various extraction solvents, namely hydrocarbons such as butane, propane and hexane, along with other common additives, affect our lung health.

Within the cannabis industry, there are limited regulations for how an extract is supposed to be made. Because of this, companies are able to add synthetic and natural food-grade terpenes, something that we don’t know much about the safety of when inhaled. Common ingredients added to vapes to promote the flow of liquid to vapor include medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Additives such as these have also never been tested for long term safety when inhaled, but all three of the above have been implicated in the “popcorn lung” crisis circa 2016. Failing to add MCT oil or botanically derived terpenes to the ingredient list can lead to consequences and negative attention from the OLCC, and for good reason.

Other concerns surrounding the epidemic of vaping go back to the material used for the process. The OLCC  does not require testing for mold, mildew, or heavy metals in any cannabis product that goes to market. Only four of thirty-three states that have legalized cannabis for recreation and/or medical use require heavy metal testing. Furthermore, the requirements for pesticides vary by state, with California having the strictest restrictions. These issues pose a concern because if the contaminated flower is processed for smoking or ingestion, certain pesticides or other chemicals are toxic or can turn toxic throughout the process of consumption. Although, with extraction processes that use solvents such as CO2 and butane, some extractors say that mold can be eliminated from the final product. However, this is tricky because while the toxin may not be live, the mold spores are still present in the finished product. States like Colorado test their cannabis for mold, which allows processors to take cannabis that tested positive for mold and process it into an extract for resale as long as that end product tests free of mold.

To prevent yourself from falling into the trap of a bad vape pen purchase here are some things you should know; 

Buy only from a licensed shop. A reputable and licensed source should be the only place you purchase vape pens from. This includes not buying CBD vape pens from online distributors. Research the brand! By keeping yourself up to date with the brand, you can likely look at pictures of their grows, team members, and final products. In addition to doing your research, an important thing to look for in a brand is ones that can tell you exactly what farm supplied the flower they extract from. Avoid flavored vape pens. We all know they’re tasty but added synthetic and natural terpenes are volatile and harsh compounds. There are also no regulations on their production and sale. Although some can be a bit pricey, look for Rosin or CO2 cartridges that have less than a 10-15% total terpene count. These processes not only capture the full cannabinoid and terpene profile of the flower, but they also are some of the cleanest methods to extract oil from the plant.

Some cartridge brands that are my personal favorites include; Artifact Extracts, Echo Electuary, Happy Cabbage Farms, Oregrown, White Label Extracts, and Willamette Valley Alchemy.

Updated information on the “vape crisis” can be found on the Center for Disease Control’s website, as well as from CannaSafe Labs and the American Chemical Society’s Cannabis Chemistry subdivision. 

CBD for Dummies

written by Alexandra Arnett, photographed by Nina Compeau

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding cannabidiol, or CBD, and while the FDA still restricts its use in food and beauty products, hundreds of new products have begun popping up since the enactment of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.  So with all these products filling the shelves, what is the deal and what exactly is legal? How can one tell a quality hemp CBD product from an inferior hemp CBD product? 

As of August 2019, the DEA has retracted the status of CBD derived from cannabis from the Schedule 1 list, which means many new (and old) companies are hopping on the CBD bandwagon. At the end of October, the United States Department of Agriculture sent out interim rules for hemp production and testing. Currently, farmers can be issued a license for hemp production under their state or tribes’ own hemp regulation program or through the USDA. Individual states still have the right to make the production of hemp and hemp products illegal. Even though some states still have hemp production bans in place, the USDA reassured producers in legal states that interstate transfers of hemp may not be seized in states where hemp production is illegal.

While people often confuse hemp and cannabis, they are the same species of plant. Hemp has served as a legal definition for cannabis with less than 0.3% THC for the better part of its cultivation in the United States. Both cannabis and “hemp” varieties have the ability to produce high amounts of CBD. Hemp can also be grown for seed and fiber, which produce oils for beauty and food products and material for cloth. CBD products can come in many different forms, some of the most popular being edibles, tinctures and topicals, such as lotions and salves. CBD has also been seen in hair care products, beauty products, beverages and even clothing. To note, products using hemp seed oil will not always contain CBD. If the product has only hemp seed oil, then there will be little to no chance of CBD being present in the formulation. If the product uses hemp seed oil as a carrier for the CBD oil, then there will be CBD (and potentially other cannabinoids) present.

So what exactly is it that makes a CBD product worthwhile? CBD products can be made using three different CBD infusions: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate. Full-spectrum CBD is made using whole-plant extract and will contain at least the legal limit of total THC, 0.3%, and may contain other amounts of cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD, but with an extra step of extraction to pull out any THC that may be present. Isolated CBD is made from an extract that has had all other cannabinoids pulled from the oil and is typically at 99% purity. The number one thing consumers should look for in a CBD brand is those who have both full and broad-spectrum CBD products. While full-spectrum is highly recommended for help with pain, loss of appetite and nausea, it can also cause anxiety in some, as well as a positive drug test. If you are worried about a drug test, look for either broad-spectrum or isolate based products. Quality products include brands that source their flower from a trusted farm. Farms in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington all have rigorous testing standards for their hemp and many of the “craft” hemp farms are located in these states. In addition to this, companies that can supply you with a verifiable lab report from an ISO 17025 certified lab are at the top of the list for having a higher quality product.

Now, how exactly do these CBD products work? 

First, let us start by saying that there are two types of cannabinoid receptors present throughout the body, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found all throughout the body and are mainly located in the brain. CB2 receptors are mainly found in the peripheral nervous system, gut and immune cells. CBD has a weak binding affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors and instead plays a more indirect role in regulating cannabinoid receptors. 

CBD is also known to mediate the intoxication affects many people feel with THC. This happens because CBD blocks THC molecules from binding to more receptors by attaching to what is called an allosteric binding site. Think of it as if you were trying to put a key into a keyhole that a substance like gum had been stuffed into.

Indirect pathways in which CBD interacts with include those involved in anxiety, depression, pain, cancer cell growth and even heart health. For anxiety, CBD has various mechanisms of action by which it may contribute to combating the symptoms. CBD can mediate the 5-HT1A receptor, which is one that serotonin interacts with. Serotonin is involved in a variety of actions such as anxiety, addiction, nausea, sleep, pain perception and vomiting. 

In addition, CBD can inhibit the reuptake of adenosine through the GPR55 receptor, which helps contribute anti-inflammatory effects, as well as the anti-anxiety effects. This inhibition increases the amount of adenosine within the synapse of a neurotransmitter, allowing for more transmission of adenosine through your system. Because of this, CBD can also help regulate coronary blood flow and oxygen flow throughout the heart muscles. Referencing back to the GPR55 receptor, when it is activated, it promotes the growth of cancerous cells. CBD is able to help fight the growth of cancerous cells by blocking the activation of the GRP55 receptor. Activation of the GPR55 can also be thought of as like a key fitting into a keyhole while blocking it can be thought of as the gum that blocks keys from fitting.

Overall, CBD is a wildly new research topic with human clinical trials just beginning to pop up in various countries. There is so much that we don’t know about the cannabis plant and scientists are itching at the possibilities for treatments of epilepsy, anxiety, psychotic disorders, cancer and pain. Everyone has their own unique endocannabinoid system, so it is important to remember that cannabis products are not a one size fits all deal. It may take some trial and error to find that perfect product, so don’t be afraid to try various quality brands. Now, this doesn’t mean that the products that didn’t work for you aren’t quality products, maybe there was just too much of a certain terpene or cannabinoid that your body doesn’t like, or maybe it was grown with outdoor flower and was contaminated with an allergen your body is sensitive to. Consumer safety is very important, and thus education is key. Brands that I personally recommend include; Sun God Medicinals, Angel Hemp (Angel Industries), Empower, grön and Wyld.

From Combat to Cannabis

words by Jake Bevis
photos by Alex Powers

When Jeremiah Civil, a Marine Corps combat veteran who served from 2001-2005, went in for his recent medical evaluation at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Portland, he was asked a series of basic questions about his health and habits. “Do you smoke marijuana?”

“Yes,” said Civil.

“Look, I understand. In fact, if it were up to me, I might even say it might be okay,” replied the VA officer. “It might even be a good thing. But let me read you this pamphlet.”

The officer proceeds to quickly read through a short lecture prepared by the VA about how marijuana is illegal under federal law and they do not support its consumption.

Civil has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and says that cannabis helps him cope with his everyday symptoms. He was not always a habitual smoker. The intense anti-cannabis culture of the military had convinced him it was not an option for years after his service. Eventually, with some guidance, he gave it a try.

“It changed my whole life,” said Civil.

He takes a deep hit from his rubber green bong. He sits in the living room of his government-owned house on site of the Federal Fish Hatchery he also works at, near Estacada, Oregon. There is a cascading display of flags hanging from his ceiling in the living room. In the center is the American flag. On one side is the Department of Interior and the Oregon state flag. On the other side is a banner for Prisoner of War and Missing in Action. “That was kind of our flag,” says Civil, referring to his role in Mortuary Affairs in the Marines. And behind the banner is the red flag of the Marine Corps. “I have my home, my country, who I work for now, and the two cults I belong to,” he jokes. His white pit bull rescue, Gunner, rests lazily on the couch next to him.

“It creates distance between the present and the past within your memories,” said Civil, referring to what cannabis does for him.

He explains his concept of the separation between a person’s resting baseline and anxiety. There is a gap between the body’s resting state for muscle tension, heart rate, adrenalin levels and the threshold of fight-or-flight. Increasing stress closes that gap. But when trauma happens, the body decides it can no longer survive at that low resting baseline. After trauma, the body resets itself to a higher baseline closer to that fight-or-flight threshold, shortening the distance between resting and alarm. This, he explains, is why people with PTSD are more spooked by sudden noises, bright flashes of light, large crowds and so on. These triggers can become an everyday occurrence with trauma such as PTSD.

But for Civil, cannabis slows that progression towards fight-or-flight. He explains that smoking gives him enough space to recognize when he’s about to have a panic attack. He gets more time and can identify it and sometimes even stop it before it overtakes him. “It gives me a little bit more, before it kicks in,” he says. “Enough time to think and become aware.”

It took several years after he left the Marines for Civil to settle on the idea of using cannabis as a tool. When he began experiencing symptoms from his trauma, he went to the VA, where they prescribed antidepressants such as Wellbutrin and Effexor. While the depression was being treated, his anxiety was left untamed. “It was just amplified,” he said. He describes not sleeping very well and always being on edge. He was married at the time. After a particular incident where he got angry and broke everything in the house, his wife sent him to the VA where he received in-patient treatment.

They switched his Wellbutrin to Paxil and added Xanax and Klonopin for the anxiety. However, the addictive properties of the Benzodiazepines overtook him. His compulsive nature would lead him to taking Xanax to the point of full emotional disconnection.

“You could come in here and kill my whole family, and I’d be like, ‘eh shit. Whatever. I don’t care,’” he remembered, taking another rip from his well-packed bong. His dog, Gunner, makes a lazy canine groan on the couch next to him.  

The new drugs changed things for him, but not for the better. In 2009 Civil sought counseling at the VA, but quickly terminated that when he had an explosive outburst of frustration when the staff counselor couldn’t relate to having ever experienced combat.

That’s when he was referred to the Portland Vet Center, a community-based counseling center that specializes in PTSD and military sexual trauma. It’s a branch of the VA established in 1979 by congress, initially to assist with societal reintegration of veterans from the Vietnam War. This is where Civil finally found the guidance he needed.

His next counselor was a combat vet this time. Civil described him as a “hippy type” with gauged ears. The counselor immediately advised Civil to get off the Benzos. He suggested quitting alcohol, coffee and energy drinks, and to start smoking a lot of weed, to help with weaning off his anti anxiety meds gracefully. He helped Civil get his medical marijuana card.

Within a few months he had successfully kicked the Benzos, his mood had stabilized and he was finally starting to get a few decent nights of sleep. “It was all about finding the right counselor,” said Civil.

His favorite strain quickly became Sweet Tangerine. “It gives me energy without anxiety,” he said. Another one of his veteran friends used grow it for him but claims he can’t find it anywhere. Now he says he just goes for what’s cheap.

Finding the right counselor was a turning point for Civil. Among cannabis use, he adopted a collection of activities to help manage his mental health. Until recently, he was a Warrior leader at group therapy sessions for the Wounded Warrior Project. “People tend to open up more in those situations than they do in a counseling session,” said Civil. “Sometimes you can have some beers and buds; loosen things up.” He jokes about starting a marijuana therapy group complete with a talking-bong to pass around. He continues with counseling, and occasionally volunteers with veteran nonprofits.

He takes the opportunity to rip from his rubber green bong again. Smoke drifts amongst his assortment of flags in the high vaulted living room ceiling.

Jeremiah Civil discusses marijuana as a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment Friday, March 22, 2019, at his home near Estacada.

Using cannabis to cope with trauma is not a cure-all. There are many reasons why someone may not be able to or want to use cannabis, and it’s not a cure for every internal struggle combat veterans suffer with. Civil’s story is simply a case in which cannabis was a missing piece among many that ultimately helped him get his life back.

“Getting off the meds and getting into weed opened me up to trying other things,” he says, referring to treatments for his mental health. In 2011, he attended a Native American sweat lodge ceremony, which he credits to eliminating his nightmares.

Since he got rid of his nightmares, Civil no longer feels like he needs cannabis for sleep. He says he used to rely on it for bedtime. But every now and then, his anxiety catches up with him in the night, finding himself waking in the middle of a panic attack.

Civil used to sleep with a loaded gun. Heart pounding out of his chest, and muscles tense, he reaches for his night stand, looking for the tool he’s learned to trust most as a veteran of war. He puts it up to his face. He flicks a lighter. He’s replaced the loaded gun with a loaded bong. He takes a long deep breath, and as he exhales, his muscles relax, his heart beat goes down, and his mind settles.

Mile High Club

words by Josh Delzell
photos by Connor Cox

Sex is a wonderful thing, but it is also a frightening thing as well. It puts you in one of the most vulnerable places you’ll ever be. It can bring doubts about your sexual performance, your body image or, for the guys, if you’re well endowed enough. Sex is also a terrifying place for those who have experienced sexual violence, with sexual encounters bringing anxiety attacks or PTSD flashbacks.

For anyone that is affected by these issues: your problems are valid and not altogether uncommon. It can be frustrating to struggle with intimacy issues, which leads many to search for solutions.  According to cannabis sexual educators like Ashley Manta, cannabis could be the fix for your problems.

Ashley Manta, the ‘OG cannasexual,’ preaches the use of cannabis to help further one’s sexuality, and coaches individuals and couples through her website Ashley Manta Cannasexual. “There’s also just anxiety and self-consciousness sometimes,” Manta told HuffPost in an interview detailing the becoming of cannasexual, referencing those struggles that individuals have with sexual intimacy.

“Many people that I work with say that they have the internal monologue of not being enough.” The idea behind being a cannasexual is to use cannabis to get out of your head and into your body — because that’s where all the fun happens, duh. Cannabis use can also help with anxieties that can come from sexual trauma. Manta herself is a sexual assault survivor and used cannabis to help manage the pain and PTSD that came with penetration.

What exactly could cannabis do for your sex life? Let’s look at THC and CBDs cousin, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (or 2-AG for short). 2-AG is a naturally occuring cannabinoid that resides in the nervous system, and interacts with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. During an orgasm, 2-AG levels are significantly elevated whereas other chemical compound levels, like cortisol, are not altered. This suggests that 2-AG plays a role essentially as a rewarding byproduct during sex. When other cannabinoids are introduced, it gets interesting.

While CBD does not directly interact with our cannabinoid receptors, it does elevate 2-AG, which may indicate that high CBD products can help with our bodies response to 2-AG — and maybe help you improve your orgasms. THC on the other hand plays a stronger role in reducing stress and anxiety. THC does interact with the cannabinoid receptors, which happen to live next to the parts of the brain that play a role in how we respond to anxiety and fear.

THC also has been shown to impair the function of short term memory, which can help one stay in the moment during sexual experiences and properly relax. With this knowledge under our belt, it makes more sense how cannabis can help sexual assault survivors, like Manta.

While cannabis is absolutely something to explore within your sex life (many swear that it helps achieve “mind-blowing” orgasms) there are a couple things to note. There are not studies that have looked thoroughly into dosages prior to intercourse. Dosages are crucial to know if you plan to consume, because too high of a dose can affect men’s sexual performance (sorry fellas).

Along with this, it’s important to remember that cannabis affects all of us differently. For some people, it gives them anxiety or makes them unusually tired, neither of which are desirable sexual descriptors. Symptoms and side effects all depend on the strain, so experimentation is required to find what helps you the best. If smoking isn’t really your thing, there are a variety of sex lubes that are THC or CBD infused, which can be easily picked up at local dispensaries like Eugene OG and Moss Crossing.

The most important part of introducing cannabis into your sex life is that it’s something that you need to be in control of. Go into it with the mindset of pleasure and exploration, and remember that the person that knows what’s best for you, is yourself.

Silver Dabbers

words by Josh Delzell

A study by Dr. Benjamin Han, assistant professor of internal medicine at NYU, found that between 2015 and 2016, 9 percent of adult between the ages of 50 to 64 had at least tried cannabis in the past year, and 3 percent over 65 had also tried it within the same time period. While these percentages may seem small, it’s actually a statistic on the rise. In 2013, 7 percent of middle aged people had tried it, and 1.4 percent of those over 65. Is cannabis use normalizing for older Americans, or is the devils lettuce still too infamous for baby boomers and beyond?

At a minimum, there’s less of a stigma around cannabis use in certain areas than there once was. In 2018, 10 states — as well as the District of Columbia — passed laws legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and several others pushed for new legislation or took the first step with legal medical use. The number of states that may pass legal cannabis is also rising in 2019, with states like New Mexico passing a bill that would legalize cannabis.

Doug Fuchs, a Eugene resident and older generation cannabis user, noted the rise in cannabis use for people his age.  “A lot of people my age started using [cannabis] in the past 4-5 years since it has been legal,” said Fuchs. “My inlaws are in their 80’s and lived through the anti-cannabis era. Now they are using it because of its medical purposes.”

Fuchs also helps run the Oregon Homegrown Challenge, in which contestants bring their own flower to be judged, and many of the participants fall into the baby boomer category — not only consuming cannabis, but taking the industry by the reigns. It’s like a brew contest, but for cannabis. Currently, Fuchs is working on establishing The Willamette Valley Homegrowers as a local cannabis gardening and network club, an organization Fuchs founded himself.

Medical relief is also a huge motivator behind older generations increasing use of cannabis. These properties come from the benefits that cannabinoids provide for easing common ailments like nausea, pain or spasticity. Medical cannabis also has shown to provide positive benefits for diseases like parkinson’s, which tends to affect people over 40.

The Alzheimers Society recognizes the ability of cannabis to soothe symptoms of alzheimer’s such as aggression or agitation. Dr. Joshua Briscoe of Duke University told NPR that even the most modest benefits of cannabis use would be beneficial to the elderly. “We prescribe substances that are far more dangerous than cannabinoids,” Briscoe told NPR during an interview on elderly use of cannabis. He also noted that the elderly are far more likely to experience side effects from medication in general.

While cannabis can be helpful for older patients, because of the strict federal regulations on cannabis, it’s hard to fully know the benefits and risks cannabis can have on elderly users. Dosage amounts are especially important for older consumers, because of metabolism rates slowing with age. Sticking with a smaller dosage until comfortable with cannabis is a good idea for older users to avoid potential side effects that can come with a heavy-handed edible or preroll.

Whether or not cannabis helps elderly users is still up for debate in an empirical sense, because of the lack of research, but anecdotal evidence has shown that it can help tremendously.

Cannabis use is increasing every day as states begin or continue the process of legalization, storefronts pop up across the nation and the stigma slowly fades. Baby boomers and older generations were raised with a dark image of cannabis, and old habits are undeniably hard to break. Despite this, education is spreading and the healing properties of cannabis are starting to dominate the conversation — regardless of your age.

That being said, maybe your parents have been using cannabis behind the scenes. I just found out only a couple months ago that my dad has been smoking since he was in his teens. Do you have a fun or hilarious story about learning that your parents use cannabis? Message us on Instagram or Facebook @greeneugenemag!