Budtender Spotlight: Melissa Call

What made you want to become a budtender?

I think when I first moved here I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I just wanted to live in a new area, I moved all the way from Pennsylvania.  I have a lot of friends in this area and that’s why I ended up moving here. The cannabis industry was kind of going up at the same time, it was something I was already pretty passionate about and I knew I was good at marketing.

What made you want to work at TJ’s?

I knew I’d have chances to work with plants, because TJ’s is community-based and they have their own grow. I was really interested in learning more about the grow process and how organic and no-till growing practices effect the plants versus farming methods using nutrients. They are completely no-till, and completely organic.  It takes a lot longer and there’s a lot more to deal with like bugs and pests in natural ways. I have a lot of respect for that.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I like that spread of information—like having a first-time user in their 50s come in and not know anything about cannabis, or CBD, or the health benefits of the plant. I like getting to break down those barriers that have been built up over the years. It’s nice to see them become comfortable with the products or see the products benefit them. It’s cool to watch people go on their personal journey with cannabis.

Have you been surprised by who the customers are?

I am a little bit surprised about how it’s everyone. There’s a little bit of every group in cannabis. It’s something that can benefit anyone and I think people are learning that very quickly.  

What do you think about cannabis being legalized in Oregon?  

It’s been medically legal here for so long, I think that’s benefited a lot of people. Switching over to recreational in some ways has hurt medical patients, unfortunately, and that’s really a hard thing to watch happen. But I think it’s something that could even out as people are heard. Because there is a community of medical patients that really care about that and they want to continue building on it.

Do you have a favorite strain or product?

I really like tinctures, especially for times when it’s hard to smoke. Tinctures are a great way to consume. I love the convenience of it, I love how it’s truly probably the most medical product we produce. You see the concentrated forms of cannabis, and you’re just getting the effect of it purified so much. We put it in coconut oil so it’s got a nice taste.

What would you recommend to readers?

I recommend that if you’re shopping for flower you go by farm, because it’s an easy way to guarantee you’re going to get an organically grown product. A lot of the times if you’re strain-hunting you’re going to be disappointed. Every dispensary tries to stock strains, but it’s not always good farms that grow the strains that people want. That’s always my best advice for customers—not to look at the THC, not to look at the strain name, but smell the jar, know where it’s coming from. And if it’s organic it’s going to be a higher quality.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re high?

Usually stretching. I like heavy CBD strains before yoga, it really helps your body loosen. Other than that I like hiking and watching movies. There’s all sorts of situations where it can be really fun, but I definitely like to be active.

Do you have a favorite type of music you like to listen to when you’re high?

Usually acoustic music, there’s something about string music I really like. It makes me feel happy.

When was the first time you got high?

I was a senior in high school. I was with my brother at my parent’s farm. We were by a pond, and we were smoking a joint that he rolled with some of his friends. I was about to go to college, and It was kind of his initiation — ‘you’re going to college and I want you to be prepared for things.’ So I got to have a nice comfortable experience, and it was with a family member so that was nice.


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.

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!

Knowledge Over Stigma: River Valley Remedies

words by Delaney Rea | photo by Michael Davies

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“Destigmatize.” It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in conversation about the cannabis industry. We’ve all heard canna-advocates express their desire for wider acceptance and deeper understanding of the plant, but how does it become a reality? What tangible steps can be taken toward reaching recognition of the full form and function of cannabis? According to River Valley Remedies, the answer is simple: education.

First, a brief history: River Valley began operation in 2015 as a medical farm in Salem. Marion County, which the capital city resides in, was one of the areas that opted out of recreational sale. While this made the idea of sale in the area a non-starter, another Oregon city lay waiting in the wings. On the eve of 4/20 this past year, River Valley opened shop as a dispensary in Eugene.

Natalie Raulin, River Valley’s resident marketing guru, is one of the core staff who helped the Eugene venture find its initial footing. Raulin’s mother, a midwife from Scotland, introduced her to a healthy dose of medical knowledge as a child. Much of this involved non-Western, medicinal plant practices. This background, along with her chemistry studies, fits River Valley’s approach like a glove.

“[Non-Western] medicines have been around for thousands of years. We wanted to present that tradition to Eugene,” says Raulin.

She’s far from alone. Much of the River Valley team comes from a background in plant medicine, which helps them cater to customers’ medicinal needs. With a pre-existing population in Eugene that was open to non-traditional medicine, it hasn’t been a challenge for River Valley to convince the community of the utility of their products. They essentially operate like a classic apothecary, guiding their patrons individually to make effective use of their services, whether they be medical or recreational. However, this isn’t to say that the dispensary deals solely in cannabis-based remedies. In fact, much of its herbal section doesn’t include cannabis-based products at all.

To help the community better comprehend the benefits of cannabis, River Valley has made concerted efforts to provide them with proper education. As Raulin puts it, the public has a habit of simply looking at the indica and sativa properties of the flower they choose to consume. An approach like this can allow only a skin-deep experience. River Valley combats this with workshops, panels and more events that encourage deeper, more informed interactions with cannabis. Raulin also writes a monthly Q&A with cannabis experts for the Eugene Weekly, which helps River Valley reach a broader portion of the Eugene community.

Educational events occur every month at River Valley, including workshops on how to grow mushrooms and how to create your own tinctures. Tinctures, which are alcohol-based cannabis extracts, were a primary form of cannabis medication prior to the enactment of cannabis prohibition. They serve as an entry point for many users to smokeless cannabis use. River Valley has hosted recurring tincture making workshops, and the events are among their most popular with community members. Since initiating the series, River Valley has only seen attendance to its various events grow as more people become interested in broadening their cannabis knowledge.

“Two months into the business, we had around 20 people showing up. Now, we see more than 100 attendees at [events like] our psilocybin talk,” says Raulin.

Psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound produced in over 200 strains of mushrooms, is another type of holistic medicine River Valley aims to bring to those in need. Research suggests that the compound could be effective in treating depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Currently, there are restrictions in place that restrict them from offering products that use the compound. However, that could change in the near future.

The Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) is a group working to bring awareness of and access to psilocybin in Oregon. OPS works in response to increasing research surrounding the safety, benefits and risks associated with controlled psilocybin consumption. Currently, the group is working on the Psilocybin Service Initiative (PSI), an effort for which they are trying to land a spot on the 2020 Oregon general election ballot. If passed, the measure would create access to psilocybin services in Oregon. By holding events that address subjects like psilocybin, River Valley helps raise awareness about the compound.

Coming up, it won’t be a simple task for River Valley to achieve its goals. Oversaturation in the market will prove a challenge to overcome. “There’s a shop on every corner on our street alone,” says Raulin. “We don’t want to compare ourselves to other stores, but we are aware that they’re there.” Despite the competition, Raulin says they don’t want to see competitors fail. They encourage efforts by other locations to provide similar education, with success of the overall industry reflecting well on them in the long run.

So how does River Valley set itself apart? Developing strong relationships with farms is a start, especially as the farms themselves face an uphill battle to move their product out of their warehouses and into the hands of consumers. According to Raulin, there’s an excess level of unused flower in farms around Oregon that far exceeds the amount of consumer demand. River Valley has experienced a resulting influx of farmers attempting cut deals to unload their product. By making it a goal to avoid the lure of this cheaper, typically lower-quality product, River Valley strives to maintains the integrity of their existing farm partnerships and continues to deliver superior-quality flower to their customers.

Moving forward, River Valley aims to continue expanding their event offerings. For example, they just started their terpene presentations series, which will run through the rest of the year. Additionally, they want their education to reach beyond the existing cannabis consumer base.

“We want the whole community to be educated, not just [our patrons],” says Raulin. “We want to put our hands wherever we can help.”

River Valley Remedies’ hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are located at 1985 W 7th Ave. Visit them online at RiverValleyRemedies.net, and learn more about OPS at Opsbuzz.com.

 

Why Terpenes Matter

words by Anna Glavash

What do lemons, pepper, lavender, eucalyptus, mangoes, lilacs and hops all have in common? They all smell fantastic because they all contain terpenes.

Visitors to the “terpene experience booth” at the Cultivation Classic cannabis competition in Portland on May 12 could experience smells—and some tastes too—in an interactive display of snacks and bouquets. The booth belonged to Green Leaf Lab, an analytical cannabis testing lab that offers terpene testing services. The idea was to demonstrate where terpenes are commonly found. In fact, Amanda Day, aka @terpodactyl_, social media coordinator and former budtender for TJ’s Provisions, says “terpenes exist in every living plant.” This includes the cannabis plant, and cannabis users have been hearing more about terpenes lately.

According to Green Leaf, terpenes are aromatic molecules found in plant resins. They account for the vast array of smells and flavors found in cannabis flowers and extracts. You know that citrus smell, or the cheesy one, or the piney or diesel aroma of your favorite strain? It’s all terpenes, and it turns out they affect more than just smell and taste. Though information about terpenes has been around for as long as aromatherapy, cannabis users are beginning to learn more about the effects of terpenes on their experiences with specific strains.

So why would you want to know a strain’s terpene profile? Day says, “Whether you’re looking for a recreational experience—you want to giggle or have a good time or feel kind of loopy or have a ‘traditional high’—or if you go in looking for something to help with your anxiety or sleep, terpenes are a huge part of that. It absolutely is not reliant upon the THC, CBD, THCA, CBN or any other cannabinoid, for that matter.”

There’s a perception in the recreational market that higher cannabinoid content means a better high. This has led to customers shopping by THC percentage and preferring more potent strains. Testing for cannabinoid potency is required for all cannabis products, but terpene profile testing isn’t. Day says THC content is only one part of the experience of a high, and that other cannabinoids, along with the unique terpene profile of a strain, create something known as “the entourage effect.”

If you haven’t heard of it, the entourage effect is the theory that all of those components work together synergistically to produce the experience of a high. Though there isn’t a lot of research available on it, the theory has been bolstered by the studies of Dr. Ethan Russo, which suggest various ways terpenes interact with cannabinoids to create a whole experience greater than the sum of the parts.

“Many of us have tried a cannabis product that may have had 25 percent THC, but not had that same wonderful experience as with another product that maybe had an 18 or 19 percent THC,” says Anthony DiFalco, sales director for Green Leaf. This is due to the entourage effect, and the other components of the product, including terpenes, which can produce a more pleasant effect depending on the user.

With all the different combinations out there, how to know what’s optimal? “The nose knows,” Day says. She explained that TJ’s doesn’t advertise cannabinoid percentages up front and instead turns their jar labels backward so that when people come in, they’re shopping with their eyes and noses first and not by potency. “Smelling something and really thinking it’s pleasant might be a good way to start,” Day recommends.

There’s an incredible amount of information available about terpenes that we’re already well-acquainted with, like linalool. “The linalool that’s in lavender that calms you down is the same linalool in the cannabis strain that puts you to sleep. It’s important that people realize that connection is there and that information is already out there,” Day says.

So how can you go about finding it? Get curious and do your research. Though some dispensaries are now listing the most prevalent terpenes in the flower they sell and producers of extracts and edibles are starting to add them to labels, terpene content is far from being universally advertised. Unlike when your server walks you through the tasting notes in each bottle on a wine list, most budtenders aren’t trained to talk terpenes with customers.

To spread knowledge, Green Leaf makes profile cards for specific strains and makes them available to producers. The producers can then share them with dispensaries or directly with consumers. Day recommends checking Leafly.com or following labs on social media to get informed about strain profiles. In theory, dominant terpenes should be consistent across a strain no matter who grows it.

DiFalco says many farmers and smart consumers understand the value of knowing a terpene profile, but when it comes to dispensaries, the challenge is “bridging the gap.” His goal is to get them to talk about terpenes more, and he says consumers play a big role in this. He’s trying to educate consumers to ask more questions at the dispensary. Stay curious, and you just might learn something.

To learn about specific terpenes, check out River Valley Remedies “Terpene Series” on the last Sunday of each month. These educational talks are free to attend and are presented by Maria Worsley of Medicine Farm Botanicals, who’s very knowledgeable about existing research on terpenes and their effects on the human body. She focuses on a different terpene each month—beta-myrcene in April, alpha-pinene in May.

Pass The Remote, Puff The Joint: Netflix Pairings for Your Favorite Strains

Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Michael Davies

You’ve got your popcorn, your feet are up on the ottoman and your honey bunny is snuggled up next to you. Netflix and Chill season is upon us. Cuddling up with a warm blanket, someone you love and a full season of “Stranger Things” might seem impossible to beat, but wait—where’s the weed? Check out these pairing suggestions for the best strains to best enhance your latest Netflix obsession.

Comedies:

Diablo and “Grace & Frankie”

If you’re looking to start a new show packed with hearty laughs and likeable characters, “Grace and Frankie” is the answer. The lives of two women are turned upside down when they discover their husbands are in love and want to get married—to each other! This hysterical series makes for a perfect night in when matched with Diablo, a strong indica that comes with a euphoric high and lots of laughs.

Blue Diesel and “The Office”

Getting back to the classics, “The Office” is a comedy favorite with lovable characters and hysterical episodes to binge the night away on. Pick from your favorite episodes or start fresh from the beginning if you haven’t already and laugh the night away. Blue Diesel is an indica dominant strain to give you a case of the giggles and a craving for some of Pam’s desk M&M’s.

Romances:

Ultimate Trainwreck and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Based on the classic Truman Capote novel, the Audrey Hepburn-starring “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” tells the story of a young woman working as an expensive escort who encounters her ideal man: rich, older and able to fund her expensive lifestyle. Puff on Ultimate Trainwreck, a romancing sativa-heavy strain to get into a mischievous mindset and truly enjoy Hepburn’s sultry acting style.

Chocolate Chunk and “Love Actually”

This fun film observes nine different scenarios that all trace back to the root of a crucial emotion: love. Packed with classic laughs, romantic kisses to take your breath away and a few heart-tugging moments, this movie is perfect for date night or a good solo cry when you feel like it. Chocolate Chunk is the indica to put you straight into your feelings or set you up for a romantic, rich evening.

Cartoons

Chemdawg and “Captain Underpants”

To satisfy your inner child, this hilarious comedy follows Captain Underpants, the superhero nobody knew they needed in their lives. The story of two aspiring comic book writers who bring their story to life will make even your stingiest friend laugh. Combined with Chemdawg, a potent hybrid strain, the natural colors and hilarities of children’s movies will make you wheeze with the giggles and inspire your best kid’s menu cooking.

Laughing Buddha and “Monsters vs. Aliens”

A recent DreamWorks sensation, “Monsters vs. Aliens” follows the life of a bride who is unexpectedly swept into the world of—you guessed it—monsters and aliens after being struck by a meteor. With important messages about true colors and the importance of family, this cartoon will make you laugh, cry and feel everything in between. If you want to really ramp up the feels and notice how funny looking the blob is, take a few puffs of sativa-heavy Laughing Buddha and feel the uplifted energy wash over you.

Cooking Shows

Mango and “Zumbo’s Just Desserts”

For the worst “Chopped” addicts who want to satisfy their sweet tooth, “Zumbo’s Just Desserts” will have you on the edge of your seat praying for the contestants creme brulee to rise. This exciting competition explores the classics and the extreme sides of the baking world, with fun twists and challenges to excite all types of audiences. Mango, a strong indica, is guaranteed to give you an inspiring case of the munchies and truly enhance the sweetness of the show.

Platinum Purple Kush and “Chef’s Table”

After watching “Chef’s Table,” an intricate series that follows the passions and famous dishes of culinary chefs around the world, you’ll be inspired to make as many purees and fancy reductions as you can think of. Ranging from tiny dishes packed with flavor to huge chunks of meat roasted in the wilderness, this show will entrance you with the wonders of cooking. Platinum Purple Kush will get your brain churning with inspiration while keeping the munchies at bay so you can really channel your inner Gordon Ramsay.

Documentaries

Belladonna and “Gaga: Five Foot Two”

Whether you’re a diehard Lady Gaga fan or just someone who is passionate about music, “Gaga: Five Foot Two” will bring tears to your eyes and give you a softer image of performers and what they go through. Following Stefani Germanotta, better known as the infamous Lady Gaga, this brutally honest doc tells her story of chronic pain, creative process and personal life experiences that all lead to the creation of her chart-breaking singles. Belladonna is the perfect hybrid to mellow you into just the right doc-watching mood while uplifting your spirits to really connect with the music.

White Widow and “Bill Nye Saves the World”

Did the old theme song just pop into your head? Yeah, we know. Bill Nye’s latest series, a Netflix original debut, features his hilarious personality and walks you through the latest and greatest myths and their corresponding scientific refutes. White Widow will get your inner scientist ready to snap on the goggles and white lab coat with its happy energy and creative hybrid tendencies.

February’s Strain of the Month: Grape Ape

Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Trevor Meyer

If you’re looking for something to mellow any harsh vibes but also give you a spark of productivity, the infamous Grape Ape is the strain for you. February’s endless downpour of rain and chilly weather can get the best of anyone, especially with seasonal depression and the common cold going around. This smooth flavor will help you relax without causing sleepiness or lethargy, which indicas can sometimes do.

Grape Ape’s aroma is reminiscent of—you guessed it—a sweet grape smell. A distinct grape flavor is there to match, commonly described as similar to grape candy or soda. Descendant of Afghani and Skunk Number One, this strain will help you come to a calm focus, or with a few extra puffs, a relaxing afternoon nap. If the sweetness of this fruity strain hasn’t enticed you already, it’s dense buds rich with spiraling trichomes and brilliant purple color will seal the deal. This strain is popular up and down the Pacific Northwest, but is commonly grown in Northern Washington, where it is considered one of the best local strains around.

Along with most indicas, these sweet nugs will give you a relaxed, calm energy that lasts for several hours. It is known for relieving anxiety, aches or pains and overall stress. It also is one of the best strains for hitting the hay early or easing the sleepless nights caused by insomnia. On the downside, there is a reputation for leaving smokers with dry eyes or mouth—nothing a tall glass of water won’t fix. Overall, Grape Ape is the perfect strain to calm yourself down or relieve the soreness of an injury. Pair it with a bubble bath, movie night with your friends or even simply as a form of relaxation before bed.

Grape Ape is a popular strain, and is available at most Eugene dispensaries. Check out local locations for deals, coupons or even monthly strain discounts. Twenty After Four offers TGIF complimentary house rolls with the purchase of an eighth ($40), and TJs on Willamette hosts Munchies Monday where edibles are all 15 percent off.

How to Stash Your Stash

Words by Delaney Rea | Photo by Trevor Meyer

Finding your ideal strain of marijuana is essential to the experience. Each variety has its own set of nuances and user effects, so researching what works for you is worth the effort. However, if you’re still storing your bud of choice in the same old Ziploc plastic baggies, you’re doing it mighty wrong. Plastic bags can damage the quality of the flower, leaving you with a much less potent supply than you originally started with. With the cannabis industry on the rise, the need for smarter storing methods has risen too.

Mason jars are one solution to the plastic bag problem. You probably know these ubiquitous containers for their wide range of uses: drinkware, canning, decor, food storage, etc. These versatile, nearly air-tight sealed glass jars are practically tailor-made for keeping cannabis in pristine condition. Glass contains the terpenes of the bud far more effectively, while also preventing the chemical transference into the bud itself that comes from plastic containers. The quality of your flower will be better maintained in a glass jar.

The team at Re:stash recognizes the power of the mason jar. Started by University of Oregon graduates Eric Harvey, Nicole Harvey and Adrian Kimberley, Re:stash’s parent company Mason-re began as a to-go coffee cup manufacturer that used the jars as a selling point. Originally, the venture was funded by Kickstarter. Their initial goal was to raise $8,000, which they significantly overshot—to the tune of $17,000.

Unlike many student-created Kickstarter projects, this launching point allowed the business to take off. Berner, a San Francisco-based rapper and entrepreneur, saw promise in the new company and became their first investor. As one of the parties responsible for introducing the popular Girl Scout Cookies strain to the dispensary market, Berner had connections in the cannabis industry that helped the Harveys and Kimberley further cement their place as a premiere bud storage manufacturer.

Now, the company integrates the mason jar into their line of cannabis storage products. According to Kimberley, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Mason-re, the idea for the Re:stash product line came when they noticed how popular mason jars had become for storing cannabis. The Re:stash line now ranks among their most popular products. “People like the fact that someone is finally doing it right,” Kimberley said.

The use of “re” in the Mason-re and Re:stash brand stands for reducing, reusing and recycling. Based in Bend, the company’s philosophy is to promote sustainability. Their mason jars are meant to be reused beyond their initial purpose. Re:stash jars are more sustainable than the environmentally damaging, single-use plastic tubs that most dispensaries use to sell their product. Additionally, every Re:stash lid uses their own patented design. The flax-filled polypropylene lids are made with biological waste product to replace traditional materials that would take energy to mine and produce, thus reducing their carbon footprint. This reduction of plastic waste is a major part of what drives the Re:stash business model. Additionally, the lids are designed to be child-proof, so you won’t have to worry about any young ones getting their hands on your supply.

Re:stash jars improve marijuana storage in a variety of ways. With size options ranging from 4 to 16 ounce jars (which can hold an entire ounce of cannabis), Re:stash has the right jar for any user. The first thing you’ll notice about the jars is the 100% premium silicone koozie that wraps around the outside of the glass. Opaquely colored, the koozies prevent damage from excessive light exposure. With an array of colors and designs, there’s a koozie to match anyone’s preferred aesthetic. These koozies stop the temperature inside the jar from fluctuating. Since bud is best stored in a cool, dry place, the Re:stash koozie will help preserve the flower quality no matter where it’s stored. If you have a tendency for clumsiness, the Re:stash koozie also prevents breaks from dropping. Additionally, the koozie helps to prevent the growth of mildew and mold on your product.

Re:stash isn’t the only company to make use of glass packaging. At Frequent Vibrationz, hand-picked buds stay sealed in glass containers to keep them fresh. Like Re:stash, Frequent Vibrationz strives to maintain a commitment to environmental sustainability. Their glass jars can be returned in-store after every 10 flower purchases for a 10% discount. Fewer plastic containers from dispensaries ending up in landfills will help you reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying your favorite strain.

Re:stash products can be found at Re-Stash.com, with additional mason jar products by Mason-re at Mason-Re.com. Frequent Vibrationz (541-505-9671) is located at 1409 Oak St. in Eugene. They’re open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Budtender Spotlight: Kyrsha Witherspoon

Interview and Photo by Anna Glavash

How and when did you become a budtender?

Two years ago, I started at Twenty After Four. I was wanting to get out of the retirement home I was working at, and I was recreationally smoking because of my social anxiety. I had a friend that was working at Twenty After Four, and she said it would be a good fit for me. She thought it would help me to step out of my comfort zone and tried to work there, and it did help me a lot.

First time you got high?

I was overwhelmed. I had a group of friends with me that had already been smoking, and they kind of played jokes on me. It also opened me up to different perspectives. We got to talking, and certain things that I wouldn’t normally be too open about, I was able to talk about more easily.

Funny customer interaction?

I’ll have people come in and say, “It smells good! What do you have in here?” They’ll act like they don’t really know what they’re stepping into, which they probably don’t, but it’s funny to break the ice by saying, “Oh, I got weed here.”

What is a stereotype about cannabis users that’s true and one that you think is false?

The one about being more open to ideas is true. I feel like a lot of people that haven’t tried cannabis are more narrow-minded, but being a part of the industry, I’ve noticed how people actually listen to other people’s ideas and are open to them.

One that isn’t true is that everyone who smokes is lazy. I honestly will wake up, smoke a bowl and start my day. That’s just something that goes with my morning coffee. It’s a ritual. Some people probably think that you can’t get stuff done because you’re smoking all day. But I would say I can use it and be productive as well.

What do you look for in a strain?

I like to be able to function throughout the day, so I lean towards sativas and hybrids. Pineapple or fruit flavored strains are the ones I like, and I definitely use my nose.

What’s special about this shop?

The company motto is “Treat Everyone Like Gold.” When you step in here you’re going to be treated like anyone else, whether you’re the CEO of a company or a person that just wants a joint. Some other shops that I’ve been into just want to get that sale. It’s different here. We want to see what needs we can help you with. We pay a lot of attention to that aspect and it goes a long way.

Favorite way to consume?

I like to smoke out of glass. I have an Empire bong at home. I used to like to roll up blunts but then I got more educated on the stuff I was using, so I stick to more Raw papers and glass now.

What do you do when you’re not here?

Usually I’ll hang out with my family. My cousin is one of the only people that will actually sit down, smoke with you and talk about whatever. Anything that I want to talk about we can just smoke down and talk about it with a bowl.

Are you high right now?

A little bit!

Elev8 Cannabis has been open for nine months. They’re open M-F 8-10 and 10-10 weekends at 2055 West 12th Ave.

Hemp Press: Saving the World One Sheet at a Time

Words by Kelsey Tidball | Photo by Sierra Pedro

Did you know that more than seven billion trees are cut down each year to provide us with paper products alone? Did you know that instead of cutting down all those trees, paper can be made out of hemp? And did you know that hemp paper is sustainable and can be entirely tree-free? Matthew Glyer has spent years of his life grappling with these questions, and when he opened Hemp Press in 2013, he became the proprietor of the first exclusively hemp paper print shop in the nation. Hemp Press is the only printing company of its kind, and it’s located right here in Eugene! The company specializes in creating and designing hemp-based packaging for hemp and marijuana-based products, labels, business cards and their trademark Crutch Cards.

“Hemp paper is controversial,” Glyer says. “The paper mills don’t want to make craft paper and the printers don’t want to print with it.” Glyer says this is mostly due to the fibrous nature of craft papers and the particularity of hemp paper, which is made from the core of the hemp plant.

“Most printers run the risk of having a piece of hemp break off and completely ruin the machine, but ours is equipped for that.” It took Glyer four years to figure out how to print on hemp paper, and now that he has cracked the code, he sees the opportunity to incorporate hemp paper into the economic and agricultural norm.

“Our big goal is to keep manufacturing in the United States and to source the fiber from the United States,” Glyer says.

Previously, the primary source for hemp fiber was Canada, where the government both subsidized and funded the industrial hemp industry. However, since the funds for hemp research and production dried up a few years ago, hemp growers and enthusiasts in the U.S. have been searching for a way to bring the industrial hemp industry to native soil.

“Currently, we do not really have the infrastructure in the U.S. to process hemp fiber,” Glyer says, expressing a desire to inspire farmers to actually grow hemp. However, the farmers need a guarantee that the hemp crops they grow will be turned into products that people will regularly buy and use. This is a promise that is becoming easier to make with the introduction of hemp clothing, beauty products and supplements to mainstream grocery stores like Costco and Whole Foods.

Glyer and his colleagues want to turn hemp into a mainstream agricultural commodity, and they hope their printing business will help people see that hemp is a useful and sustainable crop that could help save the planet.

Historically, hemp was widely used to produce products such as rope, clothing and even classic Henry Ford automobiles. However, following Prohibition, the hemp industry was shut down due to its association with marijuana and other illicit substances. This history of government restrictions makes it exceedingly difficult to restart the industry in the U.S. today.

“Part of getting hemp back in the market is branding,” Glyer says. “Hemp-based branding ought not to scream ‘weed,’ so our branding services aim to produce more subtle designs that connect with a broader market.” Hemp Press prints packaging for beauty products, lotions, smoking accessories and other marijuana-related businesses.

“Ultimately, hemp is good for the planet,” Glyer says. “That’s why we need to keep growing it and keep making everyday things out of it if we can.”

He’s right—hemp is naturally resilient, thus eliminating the need for most pesticides and herbicides. According to a study done by the American Chemical Society, hemp also cleans the soil, absorbs CO2 from the soil as it grows and can be used as a substitute for many non-sustainable products. This includes traditional plastics, building materials, and—of course—paper.

Instagram: @hemp.press

Website: www.hemp.press

Email: contact@hemp.press