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The Feels Ep. 02: Cannabis Chemovars and Dosing

 January 12, 2022  Written by David Melnick
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Join Florissant budtenders Dr. Bex Johnson and Jeff Rowse for their discussion about cannabis chemovars and dosing, recorded live on 11/8/2021.

0:00 Reminiscing on Feelsgiving
1:00 Our Canned Food Drive
2:30 How to Choose a Chemovar
3:00 What's a Chemovar?
4:20 Names Don't Mean a Thang about that Strain
4:58 Sativa vs Indica
6:50 How to Identify the Important Parts of a Product
9:40 What are terpenes?
10:40 How to Identify your Terpenes
11:48 How to Decide Between Your Chemovars
12:17 Understanding THC and CBD in your Chemovar
13:15 Checking the Terpenes
14:00 Start Low & Go Slow: Microdosing
14:40 Finding your Biphasic Dose
15:06 Download your own Cannabis Journal
16:06 What to Do if You Get "Too High"
17:30 Saying Hello to our Live Viewers & Taking Questions
18:50 Why can a strain like Blue Dream in Missouri be different than in another state?
20:20 Where do I buy the grow materials?
21:30 How can you microdose flower?
23:21 Where to find local cannabis growing materials
24:20 Can you walk us through how you'd find your optimal dose?
26:25 What is the coolest thing at Feel State right now?
28:10 New Laws we don't want to pass!

Prefer to read this conversation about cannabis chemovars? Check out the transcript below!

BEX: Hey ya'll, Happy Monday! Welcome to “The Feels”–a Feel State Florissant online exclusive segment–live at five thirty with Jeff and myself, Dr. Bex. We're going to start off today talking about cans of food. Not canna-related but it can be related. I know y’all have several cans in your pantry you haven’t got to yet. Why let them sit there till they get pushed to the back and expire?! Bring them down here to Feel State Florissant and we’ll make sure they get into the right hands.

JEFF: That’s right Doc. We’re accepting food donations from now through December for TEAM (T-E-A-M); The Emergency Assistance Ministry. The people they feed in St. Louis County can really use your help. So to entice you, (mwuhahahaaaaaa) Feel State Florissant is offering 5% off all purchases made in November if you bring non-perishable food items.

BEX: So, gon’ head and hook a person up in need with a can of soup, a box of crackers, some juice boxes, shooooooot-even instant oatmeal packets! When hasn’t a packet of oatmeal come in the clutch for you? And like Jeff said, all this month: you take care of someone else, we’ll take care of you. You’ll get 5% off all your purchases–accessories not included–in November, if you bring in some food. So, why don’t we get to our first topic tonight: how to choose a chemovar.

JEFF: You heard her correctly. Chemovar. Not strain. A strain is a type of virus, or the consequences to your back from improperly lifting something. Believe me, I know. Improperly lifting something is the reason I have a medical card in Missouri. And why I had a card in Maine. Back when I worked for an evil pharmacy chain, I was moving 24 packs of bottled water from A to B when I felt a pop in my back. 10 years have passed and the muscles still haven’t healed right. That’s why it’s so important for me to choose the right cannabis chemovar. A chemovar is a chemically distinct entity in a plant, with differences in the composition of the secondary metabolites. In English, that means how many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids a plant has.

BEX: Sounds complicated doesn’t it? Well, cannabis is growing up: and, once we know better, we do better. No more “Dr. Bex, which strain treats pain? Which strain treats anxiety? Which strain helps me sleep? Strain strain strain ”; NO MAS! Instead, now, it’s proper to hear “Dr. Bex, what chemovar treats pain?” So–inside each cannabis chemovar grows a host of chemicals: cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, enzymes, the list goes on. These chemicals are what help to define the kind of experience a person can expect to have when consuming cannabis. One’s experience is the KEY to picking a cannabis chemovar. It's time to look beyond high THC percentages and clever names such as…Purple Rain OG (but Prince’s estates should holler at me). Names don’t mean a thang bout that “strain” baby. That’s why we at Feel State are here to help you.

JEFF: The first step in choosing a cannabis chemovar is to understand what it is you are buying. This is important whether you’re new to cannabis, picking back up on cannabis, or, as one of our patients, cannabis connoisseur, so to speak, is fond of saying, “I’ve been smoking weed since you was in diapers!”.  A lot of patients choose their medicine because it's either an indica, a sativa, or a hybrid, and they expect those species to deliver specific results. But those terms don’t accurately reflect the true goings on inside a cannabis plant and it's important for y’all to know where those terms came from.

BEX: “Sativa” refers to a part of the botanical name of a plant species. A few hundred years ago in 1753, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, classified a tall, european plant with thin, serrated (or spiky) leaves with the name “Cannabis Sativa.” But in 1785, French botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck classified a new species of plant from India as “Cannabis Indica.” His plant was short and squat with fat, more broad serrated, spiky leaves. Thus, the terms “sativa” and “indica.” Now, nobody classified “hybrids.” In the world of cannabis, a “hybrid” is what you get when you mate two different cannabis chemovars. Now, my educated lads, I shouldn’t hear the words “sativa,” “indica,” OR “hybrid” when you walk into Feel State–that is, unless you’re a farmer who grows cannabis and is interested in sorts of things like the shapes of leaves like it's the 1700s. Instead, my canna-scholars, let's start talking experience. That’s more modern anyway.

JEFF: Now, the thinking these days is a sativa will leave you uplifted and an indica will leave you in-da-couch. While this may be true for lots of people, it’s not true for lots more. For one of our co-workers here at Feel State Florissant, who would describe himself as neuro-divergent, “sativas” leave him sluggish while “indicas” give him energy and vigor. The point is, cannabis can affect everyone differently. Turn to BEX. So if cannabis affects everyone differently, then how do people know what to choose?

BEX: Well Jeff, with our help, people can learn how to identify the important stuff: both the THC/CBD cannabinoids and terpene profiles of a product. The first place to look for that information is on the label. A lot of us are already familiar with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but on a label they are expressed in percentages like, seventeen point eight four percent THC or zero point seven five percent CBD. Those numbers are called the cannabinoid profile. Now, most products here in Missouri only indicate the cannabinoid percentages of THC and CBD as they are what people pay most attention to. But there are many, many minor cannabinoids that need to be considered when choosing a cannabis chemovar, like CBG.

JEFF: CBG is a minor cannabinoid that in addition to wonderful anti-inflammatory properties also acts as an antiproliferative. That means it helps kill bad, malignant cells. (as a cough) Cancer. Another minor cannabinoid that is starting to show up and grow in popularity is CBN. CBN is what THC turns into when it gets old. So if you find a long forgotten joint in your sock drawer and decide to smoke it, there’s a really, really good chance you're just going to fall asleep. That’s because when CBN and THC work together they produce a sedative effect. So, you can expect to see CBN turning up in products formulated to help you sleep.

BEX: I’m glad you mentioned that old joint Jeff, because I definitely have a nug or two of ancient mystery-weed laying around from my glory days. I’ll add that stash to the collection of new stuff here at Feel State Florissant! Robhots has released their potent 300 mg Apple Pie gummies. Ten per package, each gummy has 30 mg of THC and a delicious cinnamon dust-coating. We are also carrying Keef’s new {12} fluid ounce cans of Bubba Kush Root Beer. Each can contains a convenient 25 mg of THC and comes with a convenient resealable top. No more flat sodas!

JEFF: Back when I could consume sugar, I loved making Bubba Kush ice cream floats. The cannabinoids bound very well to the fat in the ice cream, making my experience over the moon. I only wish they printed the terpene profile on the can.

BEX: I do too. Why? Because terpenes are chemicals that give cannabis chemovars their smell and taste. Think: T-Terpenes-Taste. They also have many medicinal benefits like pain relief, relaxation, even anti-anxiety properties. Unfortunately though, the state of Missouri particularly doesn’t require growers to test for terpenes, so very few growers are doing so. That means you're going to have to be like Toucan Sam and follow your nose wherever it goes. Your nose knows! Ever smell a cannabis chemovar that smelled amazing? Or, even a cannabis chemovar that smelled like absolute trash? Well, your nose was giving you a hint as to what your body would respond best to. Chemovars that smell better than the other will leave you with a better experience, while cannabis chemovars that smell worse will likely leave you with a disappointing experience.

JEFF: Right, Doc! If a cannabis chemovar smells earthy and funky, it's probably going to leave you feeling calm and relaxed. If it smells citrusy or gassy, it's probably going to leave you feeling focused and energized. Not energized like you just put away a double espresso, but energized like you're going to bang out the dishes in the sink. Chemovars that smell like a little bit of both are probably going to have a little bit of everything.

BEX: Speaking of a little bit of everything, did you know that you can purchase a whole ounce of Flora Farms’ cannabis for only $240? You can mix and match that ounce from any available cannabis chemovars ranging from Alien OG to Chemdawg 4, with a minimum purchase of a quarter (or two eighths) per cannabis chemovar per ounce.

JEFF: We’re also offering a mix and match of $400 ounces from Heya Wellness. Again, a quarter minimum per cannabis chemovar, but where else can you go home with a little bit of everything from Flora or Heya.

BEX: So, picture this: you’re at Feel State. You have in your goody bag your ounce of heaven: your two eighths of Blueberry Cookies; your two eighths of Alien OG; two eighths Sour Kosher; and two eighths of Bubba Fett. Next, you’re wondering how you’d like to feel: uplifted? Relaxed? Want some pain-relief? Or maybe insomnia-relief? Well, the first thing to do is check the cannabinoid profile. While it doesn’t determine everything, knowing how much THC and CBD a cannabis chemovar has is a good first sign indicator. Knowing the THC percentage will let you know how psychoactive an experience you might have. The higher the percentage, the more psychoactive it can be.

JEFF: And knowing the CBD percentage will indicate how much of a buffer against the THC it will provide. CBD binds to the same receptors as THC does and when CBD shows up to the party, THC decides to dial it down a bit. That’s why it is always good to have some CBD on hand for those infrequent times you overstimulate your ECS. After you’ve considered the cannabinoid profile of a chemovar, the next step is to check the terpene profile. Now, like Doc said earlier, Missouri doesn’t require terps to be tested for. There are only a few on the market that do. Illicit prints theirs right on the label wrapped ‘round the jar. Ratio vape pens, made by Proper, also print a terpene profile on their labels. But that’s it. I know it costs to test for terps but come on people. Our patients need to know what’s in their medicine. Even the label on the bottle of tea I had for lunch had the amount of proteins, sugars and fats printed on it.

BEX: Once we’ve considered the cannabinoids and the terpenes in a cannabis chemovar, the next step we need to consider is dosing. Now, this is very important whether you're a seasoned vet or a novice: ALWAYS: start low and go slow. This process is called micro-dosing: using a small amount of cannabis to achieve the maximum benefits and/or psychoactive effects of THC without encountering side effects like paranoia, short term memory loss, or cannabis-induced anxiety.

JEFF: It’s important to note that right now, there is no standard dose. What affects me one way can affect you another. So in a very real sense we are all experimenting, but that experimentation can lead to finding what’s called your biphasic dose. That means as you consume cannabis you enjoy its benefits to a point. Beyond that point, can make your medicine less effective and invite those unwanted side effects Dr. Bex mentioned. So when you find your biphasic dose, put the bowl down.

BEX: To help you dial in your correct dose, we’ve created a dope journal for you. Literally: a dope journal. Go to, hover your mouse over “Patient Info,” and click on “Download Guidebook.” From there, not only will you be able to download our patient guidebook which contains a wealth of information, but also blank journal pages. These journal pages are the roadmap to your cannabis journey.

JEFF: On each journal page you will be able to document things like method and time of consumption. You can record what you have eaten for the day, which is very important to consider when consuming edibles. You’ll also be able to write down dosing information and the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the products you are consuming. All this information will help you put yourself on a better path to wellness. 

BEX: Last-but not close to being least, I'll point out what to do in case you “overdose,” or overstimulate yourself on cannabis. Common to cannabis users across the world is the phenomena of being too high. What do you do?! Can’t just un-smoke the weed, throw-up all your edibles, or down a bunch of water. What do you do?! STOP-DROP-AND-ROLL! No, I kid–simply do your best to grab some CBD! As Jeff mentioned earlier, CBD binds to the same receptor as THC and causes a reversal of psychoactive effects of THC. This smarty-pants-fact will in fact get you less high. That, and get this–lemons and black pepper do the same! That’s right: just travel to your kitchen and suck on your nearest lemon OR chew on a handful of black peppercorn. I’m not kidding: try it out yourself at home and shoot us a comment on how it worked out!

JEFF: Now, before we take questions from the audience, we want to mention a few more new products. We just added a bunch of new cannabis chemovars from Flora Farms; Sap, Early lemon Berry, Chemdawg #4, Blueberry Cookies, Alien OG and Bubba Fett is back and better than ever

Questions from the Audience About Cannabis Chemovars

  • Why is Blue Dream different from state to state?
    • Different growing techniques
    • Different growing mediums
    • Different environmental controls
    • Different environmental pest management procedures
    • Some cannabis chemovars are grown from clones which help preserve genetics but some are grown from seed which have the potential to go hermaphrodite or express unwanted genetics. 
  • How can you microdose flower? 
    • Well, microdosing is simply starting with the lowest dose and going slow in order to pinpoint that perfect feelstate. We want to use the lowest effective dose to avoid the development of a tolerance or even an onset of unwanted side effects, whenever possible. 
    • So, what do I mean by “lowest effective dose” when it comes to flower? Good question. 
      • 2.5 mg of inhaled or vaporized THC is recommended to start with; literally a pinch; a matchstick amount (2.5 mg THC or 0.0025 grams); 
      • PAX vaporizer (350 mg THC or 0.35 grams)
    • To establish the most effective dose for pain, for instance, take the least amount of cannabis required to provide the level of effect needed. By taking less, and only increasing your dose when needed, you may decrease the likelihood of developing a tolerance to the benefits of cannabis, while also minimizing intoxication from a dose.
  • Can you walk us through finding your optimal dose?
    • For inhaled cannabis: Take 2.5 mg otherwise known as a pinch or a matchstick-sized nug amount, and using your preferred consumption device, inhale 1 puff for 2 to 5 seconds, then wait 10-15 minutes until your next inhale, if you need it. 
    • For orally ingested cannabis, you want to start with 2.5 mg as well, or a typical fourth of 1 gummy, then wait 60-90 minutes until consuming more. You like how you feel? Chill. Not feeling it? Bump up your dose by an additional 2.5 mg or Uone-fourth of a gummy.
    • In the dope journal, document the time of dose, length until onset, and the length of the effects. Keeping track of this will help your budtenders at Feel State or myself, a clinical cannabis pharmacist, to determine which dose optimally effects you.

JEFF: That’s all the time we have today. Join us next Monday, on The Feels when Dr. Bex and I will be taking a deeper dive into cannabinoids. Thanks for watching!

Click here to catch our next episode of The Feels live on Facebook!

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