Category: Blog

Cannabis Strain Critical Mass shown inside unlabled pharmacy bottles. One Nug sits outside balanced outside the bottles.

Dispensaries Are Essential Businesses in Denver, CO.

Dispensaries in Denver were deemed essential businesses on Monday March 24th. This was decided after Mayor Hancock pulled back Denver’s decision to close dispensaries at 5:00pm on March 25th. So why was it decided that dispensaries (both recreational and medical) were deemed essential?

After the announcement that the city of Denver was planning on closing recreational dispensaries after 5:00pm on March 25th it caused citizens to rush purchase their relief. This situation exemplifies the fact that although someone maybe purchasing cannabis recreationally, it doesn’t its not for medical relief.

In order to obtain a med card in Colorado a patient needs to schedule a consultant appointment with a doctor, which usually costs between $60 – $120. After the appointment fee, the application cost to apply with a doctors note through is $16.10. To some this may seem low-cost, but to others the cost of a med card brakes the bank.

1136 Denver Dispensary rushed with customers on 03/24/2020 before dispensaries were deemed essential by the state.

That leaves thousands of cannabis users in a weird grey area where they’re using cannabis as medicine but are buying it from recreational dispensaries. Which is most likely why dispensaries in Denver saw a rush panicked citizens Monday night.

After the announcement was made that dispensaries would stay open, the lines calmed down. We believe that this is another strong example that yes; recreational cannabis and medical cannabis are they same thing. People use cannabis for a variety of reasons including pain relief, nausea and helping with sleep.

Breaking the stigma for cannabis use will take years of the industry re-writing the narrative behind the plant and why people use it. On March 24th we started down on a path that will hopefully show the world that relief is relief, regardless of where the cannabis was purchased.

Dosage: Edibles for Beginners

When cannabis is ingested rather than inhaled it creates a much stronger effect. Even though smoking a joint or eating an edible can both introduce THC into your system, this doesn’t mean it’s processed the same way.

7 10mg THC square sections of Binkse edible bars stacked in a pile on a white background

The big difference is that the THC in edibles is metabolized by the liver, which turns into 11-hydroxy-THC, resulting in a much more intense high.

This explains the classic edible stories we’ve all heard or experienced: Eating too much and getting WAY too high. So when it comes to edibles and dosage, how much is too much?

The exact same dose can affect two bodies differently and the overall effect depends on each person’s body chemistry. A common golden rule we like to follow is this: Dose Low & Go Slow! This is especially important for beginners, starting with a low dose or even microdose level of THC is key to avoiding any unpleasant edible experiences. 

A common starting dose for someone new to edibles is anywhere from 1mg – 5mg’s of THC. Exact dosing is made easy with a large variety of available edibles like tinctures and gummies. Gradually increasing the dose will help you find a comfortable high.

Taking on HIV with Cannabis: Inflammation

Poz people have reached a place where, with medications, they can expect the same quality of life as everyone else. Even so, HIV medications are not a cure all. They don’t reduce inflammation to the levels of the general population. Also, someone with HIVs immune health isn’t as strong as others. These problems and more have led many poz patients to take on HIV with cannabis to combat inflammation.

How Inflammation Affects us All

Inflammation is a big deal even in small doses. Long term chronic inflammation can result in fatigue and fevers. In some cases it can even lead to conditions like cancer or asthma. It is in the best interests of a HIV+ patient to take steps outside their typical medication regimen to reduce inflammation throughout their body. [1] [2]

Other methods to reduce inflammation exist, including diet and exercise. New research lends to the idea that weed and hemp can be effective at helping poz people with significant decreases in inflammation. [3]

It’s not just the basic cannabinoids that have a hand in tackling inflammation either. 2018 studies showed that the terpenes that we have identified have a hand in the anti inflammatory traits of cannabis and hemp. Without the ‘entourage effect’ active for the user, they were less effective.

One major take away from modern studies on hemp and cannabis is that if you are seeking medicinal effects aim for high terpene content therefore live resins are a good starting point for high terpene content when seeking overall medical benefits they also frequently do come with fun psychoactive effects. [4]

Takeaways and looking towards the future

In conclusion cannabis carries powerful benefits to a consumer’s health. As with most things weed, it needs deeper research and investigation. Because of prohibition, valuable data with large sample sizes are difficult to do. Because of federal legalization in Canada however, promising research is starting to flood our northern neighbors. With better research, tackling HIV with cannabis to get a handle on inflammation becomes easier every day.

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Living With HIV Series
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Taking on HIV with Cannabis

Taking on HIV with Cannabis: Coming Out Again

The Day my World Stood Still

I started making plasma donations between student aid checks in college at 23 years old. The donations were my way of making additional income while focusing on my degree. Rarely enough for more than Taco Bell but the donations proved invaluable to me at the time. One week I used donation money to help pay for a trip to Denver I had made the weekend prior.

When it was time for my donation, I was told someone would speak with me. I thought nothing of it, assuming something was wrong with my vital signs during the previous donation. When ten minutes melted into an hour, I noticed the phlebotomists looking at me strangely. There was definitely a moment where everything sort of clicked into place in my mind. What happened next would change my life and how cannabis enabled me to take on the world, even after it seemed to be over.

Coming Out Again

My blood tested positive for HIV and everything following that thought is a blur. I made the short drive home in a panic. I was thinking about the advice of the women I spoke with who encouraged me to get a second opinion. “…Get another test done,” they said. Who was going to have more accurate tests than the people who were selling my plasma? I did eventually get someone else to check; but on that day I started the unhealthy decision to jump straight through the stages of grief to acceptance, it was also the day I told my dad.

That was hard.

Getting him comfortable with the idea I was gay was hard enough. Now I got to carry all of the 80’s AIDs scare home with none of the levels of disconnect the news provided when it happened the first time, but to my father’s benefit he accepted it and me with it immediately. There was no judgement, there was no dismissal. Just him helping me emotionally process what had to be the hardest moment of my life. I wish I could tell you it made me stronger, but now I am quantifiably less than I was before. That news derailed my entire life and altered the course I would take permanently.

Using Cannabis to Take on HIV

The weeks following would fly past me and I would start my first antiviral medications. The first medication I took caused my entire body to bust out in hives and those were just the unanticipated side effects. I also got the usual blast of nausea and my appetite completely vanished with each little pill I dropped into myself. I was wasting away, unable to make it to class and incapable of keeping food down.

It was in this state of disarray I spoke with my father for the first time about using cannabis. I lived in a college town in Wyoming, a state where cannabis was not legal yet. My father asked me if I knew anyone who sold weed. One of the guys I played games with happened to and then my dad paid for my first weed purchase. Before now, I’d only smoked a few times and never got very high. Now I was going to use cannabis to take on HIV.

I weakly packed a bowl for myself that first time, with my nerdy dealer friend beside me, and started puffing on the blue pipe that I had bought in Denver a few weeks prior. To this day I am incapable of effectively describing the relief that spread throughout my battered body. The nausea, which seemed to have spread from my gut into my head faded entirely, and even the buzzing uncomfortable feeling of a low grade fever dissolved. I was still very sick, but I felt normal for the first time in days. Relief is barely sufficient to describe how I felt in that moment.

A Practical History Lesson

Cannabis is wonderful and to this day assists me in being a more competent person. HIV is not my only issue, I also carry psychiatric struggles. With proper psychiatric therapy and antiviral medications I am the most stable and successful I’ve ever been in my life. And Cannabis is a huge part of my success story. In this series I plan to show the ways people use Cannabis to take on HIV everyday.

Some Extended Resources

Some resources for the recently diagnosed. Click Here.

Learn how you can donate and help in other ways Here.

Read more of my HIV related articles Here.

More educational health content from TCJ is also available Here

Effective ways to produce quality photos

Effective ways to produce high quality cannabis photos

Taking High Quality Photos of Cannabis With a smartphone or lower basic DSLR camera

Cannabis strain, Gelato. Flowering Stage.
Gelato, flowering stage. Grown by Yuma Way LLC.

For newly founded cannabis brands it can be difficult capturing high quality photos without a big production budget. So how can smaller marijuana brands compete with more well established companies? This guide will provide effective ways for brands to produce high quality photos with any smartphone or DSLR

Cannabis strain Member Berry on week nine of its vegetative stage.
Member Berry, vegetative stage. Grown by Yuma Way LLC.

 No matter what camera equipment you’re using, taking professional level photography in 2020 is easier than ever. Utilizing high quality photos of products, accompanied with meaningful information can significantly improve any brands reputation online.

Effective ways to produce quality cannabis photos

Understanding composition is key to capturing high quality photos. If you’re struggling with ideas on how to capture live plants, products or landscapes, don’t be afraid to gather inspiration from social media. The three biggest composition techniques to understand are formal balance, depth of field and the rule of thirds.

Cannabis strain Gelato on week nine of its vegetative stage.
Gelato, flowering stage. Grown by Yuma Way LLC.

Formal Balance

Also called symmetrical balance, is a concept of aesthetic composition involving equal weight and importance on both sides of a composition. Below are some examples of photos that have strong formal balance. 

This photo of flowering Gelato exemplifies formal balance.
This photo of flowering Gelato (our subject) exemplifies formal balance. Notice the subject is centered and maintains a consistent background. It also maintains equal focus throughout the photo which will be covered in the Depth of Field section of the guide. Grown by Yuma Way LLC.

Depth of Field 

Depth of field is the distance between the closest and farthest objects in a photo that appears acceptably sharp. Depending on your equipment, you may be able to adjust focus options on your smartphone camera or manipulate the aperture (commonly known as an F-stop) and focus ring on your DSLR camera.

Cannabis strain Lemon Zkittles dried and cured bud.
This photograph of cured flower (Lemon Zkittles) exemplifies strong depth of field. The subject itself is in focus and shows a high amount of detail while the background remains unfocused creating a Bokeh background.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or a guideline that proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.

The Denver skyline at sunset
This photo of the Denver skyline exemplifies that composing your photo using the rule of thirds creates a stronger visual.

Smartphone Cameras

Smartphone cameras have come along way in the last five years, and most smartphones today have the ability to capture photos that compete with photos captured on lower end DSLR’s. Remember a lot of these cameras have focus options by just tapping on the subject within your frame.

With most smartphones have the ability to utilize third-party apps that will give you more ISO, shutter speed and aperture options. If you have a new smartphone, be mindful of keeping the lens covered by some sort of protective case to reduce scratches. I recently experienced this while shooting photos at our Cherry Peak Dispensary. The photo shoot focused on a newly available cannabis strain Cherry Hills, an indica dominant hybrid grown by Veritas Fine Cannabis.

Cannabis strain Cherry Hill grown by Veritas Fine Cannabis.
This photo of Cherry Hills cannabis strain grown by Veritas Fine Cannabis was taken on an iPhone 6 Plus.

DSLR Settings

If you have access to a DSLR camera these few tips will significantly increase the quality of your photos. If your shooting live plants inside a grow with HPS (High Pressured Sodium) Light, adjusting your white balance to the “Tungsten Light” setting will get rid of that yellow tint the sensor is recording. Another more advanced option is to set a custom white balance in your cameras manual settings. This will generate the most accurate temperature in variable conditions, including HPS Light.

Photo of cannabis strain White Walker Kush. Taken without any white balance adjustment.
Photo taken without white balance adjustment. Strain: White Walker Kush, grown by Yuma Way LLC.
Photo of cannabis strain White Walker Kush. Taken without any white balance adjustment.
Photo taken with white balance adjustment. Strain: White Walker Kush, grown by Yuma Way LLC

Consistent High Quality Product Shots

When shooting cured flower or products it helps to use a tripod and intervalometer to reduce camera shake. Having a consistent light source and product position will increase the quality of your photos.

DIY, at home cannabis photography studio. Camera set on tripod, aimed at marijuana positioned on a white backdrop.
DIY at home photography studio for product shots.
Cannabis Strain Blackwater. Grown by Yuma Way LLC.
Blackwater. Grown by Yuma Way LLC.
A screenshot of Yuma Way's Instagram profile from featuring the Gushers Cannabis strain photo positioned on a white background.
An example of simple and sharable micro-content from just one high quality photo. Strain: Gushers.

Maintaining a consistent presence on social media is crucial to any business in today’s market, especially within the marijuana industry. Cannabis in all forms is very photogenic and is easy to capture if you follow these easy steps for Effective ways to produce quality cannabis photos.

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