Plastic is in everything: our clothing, cars—it’s even in the food chain. We rely on plastic to help shape the planet we call home. But you’re living in a fantasy world if you don’t know that plastic is also a major cause of our planet’s immense pollution fandango. The problem is so massive, it’s impossible to ignore any longer.
It might, then, be the world’s biggest coincidence that marijuana is just now experiencing widespread legalization, because the plant and plastics, though vastly different, are cosmically intertwined. And, unfortunately, the cannabis industry is contributing to the plastic problem. The amount of single-use plastics utilized in cannabis is appalling— from plastic eighth jars to the opaque plastic carry-out bags—and it’s all going into landfills and the ocean.
But the nascent marijuana industry is in a unique position because it also has the potential to become part of the solution.
The majority of the people who use THC might consider themselves to be “pro-planet.” You know—the reduce, recycle, reuse-type; hippies, folks who care about the world they live in. Yet, with the legalization of cannabis, dispensaries have popped up by the dozens, adding pounds of plastic to the colossal-sized pollution issue that’s already mid-dumpster fire.
And it’s all because plastic is cheap. For the multitude of cannabis start-ups struggling to acquire funding, using plastic is the answer to packaging, shipping and production costs. Vape pens, cartridges, product packaging, CBD oil containers, joint tubes, bongs, labeling and stickers, envelopes and shipping packages, edibles wrappers, and bubble wrap are just a few of the ways plastic is used (read: overused) in the cannabis industry.
Digging deeper, plastics are made from fossil fuels—they’re petroleum based. Plastic’s best feature (it’s durability) is a major detriment to the health of our planet. It’s so incredibly sturdy that most plastics take 600 years or more to biodegrade. To put that into perspective, the plastic of today will still exist in our children’s children’s children’s children’s lifetimes—and even longer than that.
There’s an uninhabited island in the South Pacific with 38 million pieces of plastic waste on it. It’s probably not on the top of your list of dream vacation destinations. It won’t be on your great-great-great-grandkids lists of destinations to visit, either. And if the cannabis industry doesn’t shift the way it uses plastic, the world we leave behind for future generations is going to be trashed.
Thankfully, a recent interest in bioplastics made from corn, cellulose, and palm fruit is on the rise. It has to be—we’re facing a massive pollution crisis that’s only getting worse. Among the renewable plant materials being explored and used to make plastic is—you guessed it: hemp.
So why, then, is the cannabis industry (particularly manufacturers, but also the entire supply chain) using so much plastic when it can literally be packaged with, shipped in, and smoked out of hemp?
For scope, let’s take a look at some of the scary numbers. (If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, consider one of the following statistics.)
In 2015, a study conducted at University of California, Santa Barbara stated that eight million metric tons of plastic finds it’s way into the ocean annually and ends up killing as many as 1.5 million sea creatures. Furthermore, 91 percent of plastic is not recycled.
In July 2017, The Stranger reported that hundreds of thousands of pounds of compostable waste from the marijuana industry, including used soil and plant materials, was dumped into landfills. And that doesn’t even include the plastic!
So, why are pot lovers being complicit in using nature to kill nature? Most likely, it just slipped their minds. Our culture isn’t exactly environmentally conscious. In fact, some cannabis farmers don’t even know that the materials they’re using are compostable or recyclable.
Using plastic for everything has become so normalized that we don’t think twice about seeing it everywhere. But the fact the cannabis industry uses it in abundance is ironic as hell, according to Nona Varnado, a small-business consultant in California who works with dispensaries. She not only helps them navigate the new, complex regulations, but she aids with business development, too. Varnado also has a background in environmental education and policy thanks to her non-profit, the Bicycle Culture Institute. And it’s because of her non-profit that she was quickly able to identify the massive plastic problem plaguing the cannabis industry.
“It’s clear the new rules were [ideas] that lawmakers thought sounded tough and kid-protective,” says Varnado. “But they were not well thought out.”
In California dispensaries, weed used to be stored in large apothecary-style glass jars that budtenders would open to allow customers to get a solid whiff of the flower inside. Now, the law requires that all marijuana must be in a child-proof containers and pre-weighed with lab-testing info printed on labels. Though it sounds lovely on paper, what it effectively means is that the days of glass apothecary-style jars and sending product home in recyclable bags or reusable glass jars are over. In its place, millions of pre-weighed plastic containers with hefty push-down-to-open lids wrapped in plastic sealing are being used and piling up our landfills. And due to the stringency of the law, most companies don’t have other options. Varnado says the sheer volume of plastic waste she witnessed going through the dispensary was staggering.
“The shop I was at pre-measured one and five grams [of flower], and it was very common for a single purchase to have a several of these [in their order]. There’s no recycling or reuse, except for these cute tamper-proof bags worth talking about,” Varnado says sarcastically.
It should be noted that cannabis businesses are demanding recyclable and reusable packaging options now more than ever. And ancillary cannabis product companies are looking to provide a solution to the problem. CRATIV, for instance, manufactures a pot storage box that’s child-proof, recyclable, and can also be repurposed. In fact, after being used, it can perfectly store 12 Starbursts, a deck of cards, or lighters.
There are also companies like Marijuana Packaging that don’t yet create recyclable plastic products, but are abreast of the issue and soon-to-be movement, and are in the process of preparing for the change.
“We are aware of the impact [plastic] has on our environment,” says Lisa Chen, head of marketing at Marijuana Packaging “With all the different trends in the cannabis industry, we think sustainability is an important aspect. We do sell glass, and in terms of product, we are seeing a demand from our clients and are looking into alternatives. Overall, it’s happening with the straw ban and there is an increase in concern about the impact that different industries have on their environment.”
Now that an increased awareness of the effects of plastic in our world is at a critical mass, it’s up to us to make sure the change we so desperately needs happens–the wellbeing of the environment and future generations depends on it. So, the next time you’re at a dispensary, have a polite conversation with a budtender or manager about the importance of carrying cannabis brands that use recyclable materials in their production, shipping and packaging, or to support companies that use bioplastics. And, of course, when you do your canna-shopping, don’t forget to bring a reusable canvas bag to carry home your goodies.
Now that’s thinking green.
The post Big Cannabis is Creating Big Waste—And it Needs to Stop appeared first on High Times.
1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.
CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.
2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?
Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.
3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. Typically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!
99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.
In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?
The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.
5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?
We feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.
6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?
Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.
7. What is the best method of use?
For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.
8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?
There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.
9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?
Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative side effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.
10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?
As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.
When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.
The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.
For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.
THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?
In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.
12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?
Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.
13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?
No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.
We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor there, Cannawell.
14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?
Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†
Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.
15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?
We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. We also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.
16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?
We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.
17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?
CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.
Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.
18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).
For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.