You might say that Max Montrose has a nose for weed. That his lineage, handed down from beneath his very DNA, in cahoots with spirits of cannabis past, placed him in Denver, Colorado, then waited as the state and the man literally grew into their own.

“The cannabis industry and I grew up together,” Montrose said from his home in Denver, Colorado. “I first started using cannabis from the black market in high school – there was no industry; it was about as mature as I was. While I was in college, the industry medicalized, decriminalized, then we went into legalization and everything became more professional – all of this, literally in my own back yard – and I participated as much as I observed.”

Montrose was a protesting, sign-carrying activist for the plant starting in high school. Beginning in 2007, once in college, he said his only focus was on cannabis.

“College, for me, was a funny situation,” he continued. “I’m a liberal, Jewish, pot-head and went to a very Catholic, Jesuit university in the state of Colorado – Regis University. At Regis, they make you take two classes on every subject – math, science, history. The only thing I studied in any subject, and the focus of most all of my papers, was cannabis.”

Naturalist’s Bachelor’s in Cannabis

Montrose earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology, while working across the street from the university at a dispensary, with his sights firmly set on a career in cannabis. But not just any career. In his case, he let his nose lead him.

“I’ve been asked many times if I’m on the Autism Spectrum,” he shared. “I’ve also been asked more than once if I’m a Super Taster – specifically in terms of identifying good weed by scent. I went to very expensive, special schools because of my learning differences – which are severe dyslexia, ADD, psychomotor agitation – basically, the inability to turn your brain off. I was highly tested.”

According to, human behavior specialist Scott Black went one step further with Harvard professor Howard Gardener’s research on learning styles, creating a measured way to determine a person’s overall learning style. Of the categories defined are: Intra & Inter-personal, Logical or Mathematical, Visual or Spatial, Kinesthetic, Musical or Rhythmic, Linguistic, and Montrose’s learning style, the Naturalist. 

“Turns out I’m one of the rarest learning types,” he explained. “I’m a naturalistic learner; I learn best by relating to nature. At a very young age I took talking and relating to plants one step further, and it led me right to one of my favorite plants, cannabis.”

As co-founder of the Trichome Institute, Montrose and team focus, not on cultivar types or whether a plant is indica or sativa, but on interpening, as stated on its website, “The art and science of the Cannabis Sommelier: evaluating flower for total equality control, psychotropic effects, and a variety type designation.”

The institute offers an intensive in-house course on interpening, a comprehensive book and an interpening tool kit. 

“I’m most interested in changing my own alchemy – the process of taking something in some form and alchemically changing your mind – your mood, attitude – your world view; changing your perception of reality. You can’t say you are the same person when you are under the influence – not just THC, but any mind-expanding plant from the natural world.”

Montrose said the cannabis plant was the first plant that spoke to him at a young age, with its fragrance – which is where the medicinal and psychotropic compounds lie; its tastes, and its ability to change one’s alchemy, allowing him to focus on his purpose in life.

Courtesy of Max Montrose

A Living, Breathing Stash

Montrose is a walking, talking testament to his love of, and scientific interest in, plants that change alchemy in humans, with dozens of his beloved entheogen type specimens tattooed on his body. 

“I’m Max from Where the Wild Things Are,” he laughed. “Every tattoo on my body is a drug, or an entheogen – coffee, Ayahausca, beer… and I love reptiles, amphibians. One of my first pets was an Emu. When I was a teenager, after alchemizing with cannabis, I could put myself on that little boat in my mind, leave my parents and my home behind, and sail off to a different world – and I did, often.”

His backyard greenhouse mirrors the plants on his legs with “sacred plants” everywhere, collected from his travels. 

“I make my own beer with hops I grow,” he said. “Hops are a cousin to cannabis. One I’m growing now I found while rock climbing in a canyon, hanging over a cliff – I said, ‘gee, isn’t that a wild, indigenous hop?’ I pulled the rhizome from a crevasse, stuck it in my pack and it’s now growing in my backyard, doing nicely.” 

The Max of Where the Wild Things Are meets The Science Guy, has laid his stash out on his patio for an impromptu photo op. Not concerned with the simplicity of the display.

“My stash is pretty humble,” he said of the spread. “I added the fresh leaves to represent the NLM and BLM type plants I grow. You can’t call them sativa or indica, none of that is real. They are ‘Narrow Leaf Marijuana,’ and ‘Broad Leaf Marijuana’ plants. I don’t believe in strains, I believe in interpening.”

Interpening, Montrose said, is the only way to break down the myriad compounds that make up the full spectrum of said plant. Is it full of fragrant phyto-compounds? Is it heavy on certain terpenes, you can both smell, yet feel with separate cranial nerves? This is what really determine effect – not just the level of THC, which most lab tests focus on.

Courtesy of Max Montrose

Montrose’s stash – his flower and the tools he uses – put the focus on the lure of the flavor, the seductiveness of scent. 

The jar he uses to hold flower for smoking is made by Miron Glass, protecting against harmful effects of light, increasing shelf life, and prolonging potency. Miron has been around since 1995, making its first delivery of violet glass to Spirulina International, for storing the fragile spirulina algae.

“This jar is high-end technology that preserves the herbal material better than anything else, including humidors and two-way humidity packs,” he said. “We sell them on the Trichome Institute website, and is included in the Interpening Tool Kit.

The flower in the jar was grown by Montrose, and the oil in the pen was made from flower he grew; preferring a distillate to hash oil for effect, due to his “higher tolerance.”

Grav Labs is his go-to for glass, with the company sponsoring his top certified Interpening Team for judging, via a full set of glass at each competition they work. A proud moment came when the CEO hand-delivered the now infamous Menorah bong to him the first night of Hanukkah. 

“My jewelers Loupe is custom, with my name engraved,” he said. “It has two lights, including UV. Both are also part of the Interpening Tool Kit. A grinder is a must, the lighters are in-house; and I use a Debowler and pokes to open my glass. I only use Raw papers! I love everything about the company and have been a huge advocate for years.”

The answer to the question, what’s in Max Montrose’s stash, is not an easy one to answer. His stash is the world’s natural grow room; with his bounty wherever his trusty nose will lead him.

“If there was a recipe created for who I am and this life I’m leading, the chef couldn’t have whipped up a more perfect combination,” he surmised. “For a guy who can smell and taste ten times greater than the average human, I’m grateful my super powers put me squarely in the right place at the right time. I was put here on this planet to do this work. My stash is my life.

The post What’s in Your Stash? Max Montrose: Founder of the Trichome Institute 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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Hemp Oil For Dogs

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.