I met my husband in Berkeley in the early 2000s. I was a quasi-hippy with long blonde hair, and he was a stoner with thick black curls and glasses. I was earnest and idealistic; he was smart and funny and sometimes fantastically dark. We had many differences that made for interesting conversations and great sex.

Soon, I realized that weed occupied more space in his life than an occasional indulgence. No time or activity was off-limits;  not mornings, or work time, or therapy, or hours spent working on his grad school essays. It was a passion, a way of life. And a crutch.

I liked weed also, but in those days alcohol’s familiarity appealed more than the unpredictable experiences that resulted from whatever stuff he bought on the street. No one I knew was talking about strain names, or THC to CBD ratios, or even the now-outdated sativa/indica differences. Lab testing was unheard of for the recreational user and the growing conditions behind the weed you could get your hands on was anybody’s guess.

His weed thing aside, he was a good guy. We got married, moved around a few times, went to grad school, landed adult jobs, had kids. Life went on. One day he told me that he wished he had never started smoking weed, that he blamed the habit for his career dissatisfaction, and for his enormous self-doubt. Bouts of debilitating paranoia and anxiety plagued him. He sometimes even hallucinated while high. I also suspected that weed played a role in his mood swings that sometimes took him from tense and high-strung, like a tiger pacing in a cage, to really, really dark.

If weed was more harm than help, why, I wondered, didn’t he just quit? I became judgy about his pot smoking. Scolding. Controlling. Mom-ish. And in response, he cut back. Then he stopped. Except he didn’t. More on that later.

Heads up: if your life and relationship are both perfect, you should probably stop reading now.

After 13 years of marriage, I couldn’t understand why I hardly ever felt close to my husband anymore. We weren’t fighting. We still had sex. But something felt horribly off. I tried to talk about it, but he wouldn’t open up. These frustrations crystallized at a moment when a man I knew started flirting with me over text. I told myself, and him, that I wouldn’t cheat. I even believed it. But I kept texting with him anyway, and soon things had progressed. I’m not proud of it , but it’s real.

In the midst of all this, Prop 64 passed, legalizing adult-use in California.

A few weeks later, I tearfully told my husband about the affair and our marriage unraveled rapidly. Plenty was said and done that both of us now regret. I ended the affair, but a Pandora’s box of hurt had been opened. My husband and I loved each other and we hated each other. We got back together and we split again so many times I lost count.

Then, finally, another piece of the puzzle emerged. My husband had been hiding his obsessive use of weed from me for years. He kept stashes in his car, at local parks, and at unsuspecting friends’ houses. He’d devised a multitude of rituals to conceal the smell on his clothes and breath. What’s more, he hadn’t been sleeping, like really sleeping, in years. He’d get high at night and fall into bed at 3 or 4 in the morning before the rest of the  household was up at 6. I truly had no idea he had been living this shadowy half-life. And the guilt was killing him.

Soon, he was booked at a residential treatment center. What he had—and has—is called cannabis use disorder. The cannabis use disorder identification test includes eight questions such as: How often during the past six months did you find that you were not able to stop using cannabis once you had started? And how often during the past six months did you fail to do what was normally expected from you because of using cannabis? His answers to all eight questions? Daily. Substance abuse specialists say that while cannabis isn’t nearly as problematic as many drugs, a certain subset of the population will develop dependency. My husband, unfortunately, is one of them.

In the midst of all this, Prop 64 passed, legalizing adult-use in California. Soon, recreational dispensaries were everywhere—the temptations for my husband suddenly front and center.

Meanwhile, after more than a decade in one field, I was changing careers. Freelance writing had long appealed and as I scoured the web for opportunities I saw many a call for cannabis writers.  I pitched a couple of stories on a whim and to my surprise, they landed. Over time, I learned more and cannabis became my beat; a fascinating subject that touches on culture, policy, science, health, and wellness. All the things a new freelancer could ask for.

My husband and I hobbled along as a couple for at least a year after he was discharged from treatment. Things slowly got better.

Weed is a godsend for so many people living with pain and can provide a healthy way to alter the mind, access creativity, and facilitate the flow of social gatherings.

Reading and writing daily about the benefits of cannabis, along with new legal access, sparked my own interest. But the risks worried me. I pondered it for a time, and then, even after all we’d been through, I decided to give weed another try. When my husband wasn’t home, I ordered delivery. And you know what? It was awesome. I felt chilled out and simultaneously engrossed in my tasks. Insights flowed easily. And best of all, there were no hangovers or ill-effects. I was a convert.

Weed Almost Ruined My Marriage. Now I’m a Cannabis Journalist and Advocate

The author’s secret stash; Courtesy of Danielle Brand

I discovered the truth of what I had been writing about: weed has come a long way since the early 2000s. Now, I can choose cannabinoids and terpenes in precisely the right ratios for the desired experience: Focus. Energy. Building forts with my kids. Watching Netflix. Relaxing. Pain relief. Sleep.

At first, I stuck to discreet vapes. Then I became interested in flower. And then edibles. Tinctures. Sprays, strips, topicals. My husband said he was okay with my new hobby as long as he didn’t see it, and slowly, our new normal emerged. My husband, a recovering weed addict, attended NA meetings. And I, who formerly looked down on weed, made my living with cannabis journalism and used it enthusiastically.

That’s not quite the end of this story. The proximity to so much weed reawakened his hunger for it; maybe I got sloppy with my storage. He said he believed he could smoke again: in moderation, only on weekends, only with me. Truthfully, I had been hoping the same thing. How could cannabis, I wondered,so good for so many people, truly a healing plant,harm him? Maybe, I thought, a low-THC strain could do the trick. If I was cool with him smoking, no hiding or subterfuge would be necessary. All above-board. All good.

So we tried. I admit that it was wonderfully enjoyable at first.

But soon he had broken promises about when, where, how much, and with whom he would smoke. The mood swings returned quickly. He came home from work high. He acted evasive, paranoid, weird, and was the first to acknowledge that it wasn’t working. Abstinence is the only way for him.

These days, I no longer keep flower in the house; the smell is too appealing. I’m careful storing the products I do have, and I keep quiet about getting high and about the content of my writing.

Over the last many years, my views on cannabis have ranged from ambivalent, to condemnatory, to embracing, and everything in between. Today, it’s more nuanced. I love weed for myself, and for many of my friends who can also use moderately and meet all of their responsibilities. I believe that safe, legal access is a good thing. Weed is a godsend for so many people living with pain and can provide a healthy way to alter the mind, access creativity, and facilitate the flow of social gatherings. You’ll find a dozen different products in my (well-hidden) stash at any time.

But that doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone. Just ask my husband.

The post Weed Almost Ruined My Marriage. Now I’m a Cannabis Journalist and Advocate appeared first on High Times.

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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. organic hemp seedsTypically 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?

colorado growing operationWe 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 CBD Oil Extractside 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.


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?

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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 thereCannawell.

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. mjna message boardWe 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.