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A Cannabis Nurse Trains Dispensary Staff and Consumers in Cutting-Edge Weed Science | Education | Seven Days

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  • Jeb Wallace Brodeur

  • Jessilyn Dolan leading a class for prospective budtenders

In the back room of Higher Elevation, a soon-to-open adult-use dispensary in Morrisville, registered nurse Jessilyn Dolan asked her students to sniff lavender, cloves, cinnamon and rosemary. She was teaching them to recognize the smell of caryophyllene, a terpene found in such cannabis strains as Sour Diesel, Bubba Kush and Girl Scout Cookies.

Just like wine varieties, different cannabis strains have a “nose”; it’s caused by the presence of particular terpenes, hundreds of compounds that are naturally produced by the cannabis plant. To help the students identify myrcene, a terpene found in 43 percent of all cannabis strains, including AK-47 and OG Kush, Dolan had them sniff mangoes, hops and lemongrass.

Some of the students were dispensary professionals, or “budtenders,” and Dolan’s olfactory lesson was about more than honing their palates. Caryophyllene, for instance, has calming, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. If a customer comes into a dispensary seeking those therapeutic effects or enjoys a strain high in that particular terpene, an educated budtender will have a better idea of ​​what to recommend.

When Vermont’s adult-use cannabis retail market opens on October 1, consumers will find an array of options unlike anything they’ve seen before in the state. Beyond selling cannabis flower, many dispensaries will also offer concentrates, distillates, tinctures, salves, vaping products, and edibles in the form of candies, baked goods and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-infused beverages. Within each method of consumption, customers will choose among different cultivars or strains, with packages that list their contents by percentages of their terpenes and cannabinoids.

For many customers, especially those who’ve never used cannabis before, haven’t done so in years or are accustomed to buying whatever pot their dealer has available, the information overload could blow their minds before they ever light up.

That’s where budtenders come in. The state’s Cannabis Control Board has mandated training for all dispensary workers before they can serve the public, though it hasn’t yet spelled out how long the classes must be or which topics must be covered.

So Dolan, a Richmond resident who is the director of the American Cannabis Nurses Association, stepped in to fill the gaps. The class in Morrisville was the first of many she’ll offer to budtenders and consumers in Vermont. Through such classes, upcoming monthly webinars and a free cannabis hotline she created, she hopes to ensure that Vermont’s cannabis professionals are the most knowledgeable in the country.

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Morgan Manning smelling hops - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR

  • Jeb Wallace Brodeur

  • Morgan Manning smelling hops

For eight hours on a recent weekday, Dolan, who is also a cannabis farmer and certified “ganjier,” or cannabis sommelier, took her students on a deep dive into the botany, chemistry and agriculture of cannabis.

In their personal experience with cannabis, Dolan’s students ranged from infrequent partakers to a man who had smoked pot virtually every day for the past 53 years. They learned about the human endocannabinoid system and the advantages of consuming whole-plant medicine rather than extracts. They examined cannabis buds under jeweler’s glasses, then ground and tasted them with “dry hits” of unlit joints. And they discussed the terroir of weed and how plants grown outdoors differ from those cultivated indoors.

“Blueberry Muffin is the one I can’t live without,” Dolan said about the strain she routinely uses for her migraines. “But the indoors [variety] doesn’t work for me.”

Dolan hopes to dispel much of the confusion, intimidation and fear that some consumers will experience as they interact with a modern, sophisticated cannabis industry. For the more experienced users, including those who consume regularly, she wants to debunk common and deeply ingrained myths, such as the belief that strains with higher concentrations of THC automatically provide a better high and more “bang for the buck.”

Regardless of a user’s weed wisdom, Dolan said, she wants to improve the way Vermonters consume cannabis by enabling them to have more pleasurable, rewarding and cost-effective highs.

“All too often, we have people who try cannabis and it doesn’t work for them, and they write it off,” she said. “It gets them too high, or it gives them the opposite feeling than what they want.”

One of the most common misconceptions about cannabis, Dolan explained, is that THC is its only psychoactive component, and its other compounds are secondary or insignificant.

In fact, THC is only one of hundreds of cannabinoids that create the synergistic “entourage effect” that users desire. The plant’s other compounds, including terpenes, phenols, flavonoids and esters, all work together to produce its therapeutic and euphoric benefits. That’s why Dolan prefers the term “ensemble effect,” which indicates that THC isn’t a solo performer but one of many, like the musicians in an orchestra.

For this reason, Dolan recommends that people consume cannabis in its natural, whole-plant state rather than as distillates or isolates, such as vape pen oils, which are manufactured through processes that remove the terpenes and flavonoids to leave just the cannabinoids. Such products raise the user’s THC tolerance, Dolan explained, offering a high that can feel less satisfying. And for those who seek the plant’s medicinal or therapeutic properties, such as relief from pain, stress, anxiety or insomnia, those benefits tend to fade faster in processed cannabis.

How strong is strong enough? THC percentages serve as a rough guideline for the potency of a particular strain or product, Dolan said. But she pointed out that at international cannabis competitions, such as the prestigious Emerald Cup, the award-winning strains are typically those with higher concentrations of terpenoid rather than THC.

“A 15 percent THC [strain] with 3 percent terpenes can get you higher than 30 percent THC with less than 1 percent terpenes,” she said. “That doesn’t make sense to many people because we’ve beaten it into their heads that THC is the thing that gets you high.”

Another common misunderstanding in the weed world, Dolan continued, is the belief that regularly consuming cannabidiol, or CBD, will automatically ruin a user’s high. But for people who use cannabis regularly, Dolan said, CBD can actually make THC work longer and more consistently, while helping their bodies produce their own endocannabinoids.

As Vermont’s weed market matures, Dolan would like the industry to abandon what she sees as “lazy marketing”: the classification of sativas as invigorating, indicas as sedating and hybrids as falling somewhere in the middle. While many producers and dispensaries still use these botanical categories as guidelines for the user experience, Dolan said the distinctions aren’t supported by current science.

Instead, she’d like to see Vermont’s cannabis consumers learn which strains and terpenes suit them best. Rather than simply asking for a sativa or an indica, she said, a customer might say, “I had something with terpinolene and limonene before, and that worked really well for me.”

The goal, she emphasized, isn’t to turn everyone into a weed nerd but to empower consumers to experiment, document and listen to their own bodies. Unlike alcohol or pharmaceuticals, which tend to have consistent physiological effects from one person to the next, cannabis strains affect different people differently; a strain that sedates one user might energize another.

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Teaching tools for prospective budtenders - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR

  • Jeb Wallace Brodeur

  • Teaching tools for prospective budtenders

So Dolan advises consumers not to get too hung up on percentages and chemistry but to listen to their own bodies from the moment they smell a bud in a jar. If you find its aroma pleasurable, she said, that might be a strain that agrees with you. If not, try another.

“I tell people, ‘Take the science and complexity out of it,'” she said. “‘This is plant medicine. Learn to trust yourself.'”

Part of Dolan’s efforts to create a better educated cannabis community in Vermont is her hotline, staffed by cannabis nurses and funded by participating dispensaries. Starting on October 1, people can visit the Vermont Cannabis Nurse & Ganjier website to schedule a free 15-minute consultation about particular strains, drug interactions, medical conditions and the like. This service could become critical, Dolan noted, if Vermont’s medical dispensaries change or even close once the adult-use market opens.

She also plans to offer dispensary staff monthly webinars to help them answer their customers’ most common questions.

The feedback on Dolan’s class was overwhelmingly positive, even from students who felt a bit dazed and confused by its science-heavy content.

“It’s really informative but way over my head,” admitted Jude Prashaw, a 67-year-old Hyde Park resident who said she attended the class because of her personal interest in cannabis. “As a senior, I think there’s a whole population that can really benefit from cannabis and needs a lot of education.”

Another student, Sammie Swan, moved to Lowell from Chicago last November. She enrolled in Dolan’s class because she’d eventually like to work in Vermont’s cannabis industry, she said. A former patient in Illinois’ medical marijuana program, Swan used weed while being treated for a tumor in her pituitary gland. Later, she used cannabis to wean her 90-year-old grandfather off powerful opioids — with success.

“I love it!” Swan said of Dolan’s class. “I’ve been in the medical marijuana community for a while, but this is above and beyond. I can’t believe how much stuff I’m learning.”

The Cannabis Control Board hasn’t yet notified Dolan of whether her training meets the state’s educational requirements for adult-use dispensary workers. But it’s hard to imagine the state requiring a course that’s more comprehensive.

Not that Dolan’s work is anywhere near done. Whatever she’s teaching students now, she said, is bound to change in the years to come.

“Nature put together this beautiful plant that has so many components,” she said, “and we’re just starting to understand it and tease it apart.”

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Home Office hampering potential of Scotland’s hemp farmers

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SCOTLAND’S hemp industry is being hampered by excessive regulation, according to industry experts.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have highlighted how the crop could birth an economically successful and climate-friendly industry in Scotland.

However, it is currently being hamstrung by strict Home Office legislation and a lack of infrastructure.

The plant is part of the cannabaceae family, which includes species which are cultivated for their use as a psychoactive drug.

Cannabis is classified as a Class B drug in the UK but farmers are able to grow low-THC – the psychoactive substance present within the plant – varieties if they are successful in applying for Home Office permission.

READ MORE: Could hemp help Scotland’s agricultural sector reach Net Zero?

But as Dr Wisdom Dogbe from the University of Aberdeen told The National, farmers are currently subject to a protracted and costly process when attempting to gain a licence.

“It is very difficult to get approval from the Home Office,” he said. “Farmers told us that applying for a license takes so long that by the time it has been approved the growing season is over.

“Then, even when farmers are granted a licence, they need to pay for the government to supervise their farm every three years.

“It’s really difficult for them because choosing to farm a new crop is a risk on its own. When you add policy challenges on top of that, it deters farmers from going into production.”

Dogbe (below) added that the best thing the UK Government could do to foster this burgeoning industry is to “ensure that regulations are not too strict or expensive for farmers and make it easier for them to get a licence.”

The National:

Kyle Esplin is the co-founder of Holistic Highland Hemp, a company which cultivates hemp and sells it in the form of CBD oil – a non-psychoactive chemical substance found in the plant which has numerous medicinal benefits. He echoed Dogbe’s calls for a relaxation in regulations.

He said: “Farmers pay £550 for a three-year licence. But some have found that when they go to renew it, it gets denied.

“Whoever granted the license may have looked at the map and thought ‘great’ but then the person decides whether it gets renewed it has said, for example, that it’s too close to a B-road in terms of visibility.

“So, that’s the approval denied entirely at their discretion, even though the farmer has got a field and can grow it there.

“Then the government will say that in order to grow it the farmer will have to plant 10 meters of wheat all the way around the hemp to try and disguise it. But the pesticides used on wheat can’t be used on hemp so it all becomes unfeasible.

“The whole industry has just been disadvantaged and sidelined.”

READ MORE: Cannabis and Scotland: The surprising crop once a key component of nation’s agriculture

Esplin said this is surprising given the ecological benefits the crop has in terms of carbon-capture and biodiversity. Indeed, according to Dogbe’s research, most farmers gravitate towards the crop because it can improve the health of soil in a fallow year.

He said: “Hemp improves the biodiversity, leaves behind a lot of nutrients and also extracts toxins from the soil. So, from the farmers we spoke to, it seemed that the main reason they wanted to grow hemp was because of the environmental benefits.”

The UK is a net importer of hemp seed and hemp fiber despite ample opportunity for domestic production.

Still, some businesses have forged on in utilizing the crop despite the regulatory challenges.

IndiNature, a company based in the Scottish Borders, has just opened the UK’s first dedicated natural fiber insulation mill which uses industrial hemp in the end product.

IndiTherm is a carbon negative insulation material containing hemp sourced from farms in the UK.

Speaking at the opening of the mill, Scottish Government minister Patrick Harvie welcomed the technology as a sustainable solution to the country’s energy problems.

He said: “Developing climate-friendly solutions to heat and insulate our homes should be seen not only as a challenge which must be met to deliver on our climate obligations, but as a substantial opportunity for the sector and the wider economy.

“I was pleased to visit IndiNature to find out more about their innovative, sustainable insulation products and wish the team every success as it continues to develop, grow and support the acceleration of our green heat industry.”

But Dogbe said that change must occur if the industry is to thrive in Scotland: “Importing these products instead of producing them does not make sense. There is huge potential, the land is available, the soil is good and the weather is right for producing the crop here.

Esplin echoed the call for change and said the regulatory environment of the UK was putting farmers off, particularly when compared to the more lenient approaches to the crop in Europe.

“The biggest hesitation from farmers is not having the developed domestic market for their produce despite overall popularity of the plant,” he said.

“It’s also because they’ve been disadvantaged with the licensing system compared to their European counterparts.

“In Europe, the farmer is able to sell the flower for CBD extraction and the leaves, which get harvested for hemp tea.

“But in the UK, they’re only allowed to use the seed and the stalk; they’re not allowed to use the leaf and the flower. That’s a large part of their potential income being lost.”

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Top 8 New Trends In Herbal Therapy

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Herbal therapy has been around for centuries, and there is a reason why it has stood the test of time. Herbs can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions, and they are becoming more and more popular as people search for natural remedies. In this article, we will discuss some of the latest trends in herbal therapy. Stay tuned for information on the benefits of different herbs and how you can use them to improve your health!

1) CBD For Overall Well-Being

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. This means that it does not get you high and is therefore legal in most states. CBD has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, and its popularity is increasing rapidly as people learn more about it.

Some of the well-known benefits include reducing pain and inflammation, reducing anxiety and depression, improving sleep quality, and reducing seizures. And you can find it in many different forms, from cbd hemp oil to CBD gummies and topical creams. You can usually find CBD products in your local health store or dispensaries.

2) Adaptogens For Stress And Anxiety Relief

Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to physical, mental, and emotional stress. They can be used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and boost the immune system. Popular adaptogenic herbs include ashwagandha, holy basil, rhodiola rosea, and ginseng.

Adaptogens have been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions and are becoming increasingly popular as people look for natural remedies to help them manage stress-related issues. There are a few different ways to take adaptogenic herbs, including in capsule form, as a tincture, or even brewed into tea. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any herbal supplements.

3) Herbal Teas For Cleansing And Detoxification

Top 8 New Trends In Herbal Therapy

Herbal teas have long been popular for their health benefits, and this trend continues. Herbal teas are brewed from various herbs and spices, such as chamomile, peppermint, ginger, fennel, and licorice root. These teas can help detoxify the body by flushing out toxins and promoting healthy digestion.

They also have a variety of other health benefits such as reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, improving mood, and relieving stress and anxiety. Herbal teas are easy to make at home and can be a great way to add some natural flavor to your diet.

4) Herbal Teas For Digestive Health

Herbal teas can be a great way to improve digestion and reduce digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. Herbs like ginger, fennel, peppermint, licorice root, and marshmallow root are all known for their digestive benefits. These herbs can be brewed into tea or taken in capsule form to help promote healthy digestion. Additionally, these herbs are also known to be anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic, and can aid in reducing stomach acid.

5) Essential Oils For Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses essential oils to treat health conditions. It is thought to work by stimulating your senses. Aromatherapy can be used to improve your mood, relieve stress, and promote relaxation. It can also be used to treat a variety of health conditions, including respiratory problems, skin problems, anxiety, and depression.

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of plants that can be used in aromatherapy to alleviate symptoms and support overall well-being. There are a variety of essential oils to choose from, depending on the health condition that you are trying to treat. However, some of the most popular essential oils are lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, and peppermint.

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, including applying topically or adding to a diffuser for inhalation. However, it is important to consult with an aromatherapist before using these oils.

6) Herbal Supplements for Immune Support

Herbal supplements are becoming increasingly popular as people look for natural remedies to support their health. Herbs like echinacea, elderberry, and astragalus have been used traditionally to boost immunity and fight off infection. These herbs can be taken in capsule form or brewed into tea to help reduce inflammation and support overall immunity.

Additionally, there are a variety of other herbal supplements available that can help with digestion, stress relief, and skin health. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplement as they may interact with medications or cause additional side effects.

7) Herbal Facials And Massages

Herbal facials and massages are popular treatments for skin care. Facials use a variety of herbs to cleanse, tone, and moisturize the skin. Massages use oil infused with herbs to promote relaxation and relieve tension. Some of the most common herbs used in facials and massages are lavender, chamomile, rose, and neroli. These herbs can help to nourish and soothe the skin while promoting relaxation. Additionally, facial and massage treatments can help reduce stress and improve overall mood.

Top 8 New Trends In Herbal Therapy

8) Herbal Skincare

Herbal skincare is one of the oldest and most popular forms of skin care. It involves the use of plants and herbs to improve skin health. There are many different types of herbal skincare, each with its own unique benefits. Some of the most popular trends in herbal skincare include using plant-based oils like avocado, jojoba, and marula oil to nourish the skin.

Additionally, herbal toners and masks can help reduce inflammation, improve texture and tone, and fight acne. Herbal skincare products are increasingly popular as people look for more natural alternatives to traditional skincare treatments.

Herbal therapies are becoming more and more popular as people look for natural alternatives to traditional treatments. There are a variety of different herbal therapies available, each with its own unique benefits. Some of the most popular therapies include using herbs to support digestion, boost immunity, and improve skin health. Additionally, aromatherapy using essential oils is a popular way to use herbs for health purposes.

Herbal therapies can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the condition that you are trying to treat. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any herbal therapy as they may interact with medications or cause additional side effects.

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Can Cannabis Really Improve Your Wellness?

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When it comes to cannabis, there are many different opinions on the matter. Some people believe that cannabis is a harmful drug that should be illegal, while others see it as a miracle plant with countless medicinal benefits. Nowadays, cannabis is widely accepted across the US and people are starting to experience the benefits of these magical plants.

Since the passing of the Farm Bill of 2018, cannabis-derived products like THC gummies have become more accessible and are being used to help people with a variety of different ailments. But can cannabis improve your overall wellness?

The answer is yes! Research suggests that cannabis has the potential to help people find relief from pain, stress, headaches, inflammation, sleep issues, and more. Cannabis-derived products are also being used to enhance physical and mental well-being. Cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, found in cannabis can help with relaxation, focus, energy levels, creativity, and mood.

In this article, we will explore the topic of cannabis and wellness. Is cannabis capable of improving our overall health and well-being? We’ll take a closer look at some of the research on this topic and find out.

What is cannabis and how does it work?

Cannabis works by interacting with two receptors in the human body: the CB1 and CB2 receptors. When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids attach to these receptors and stimulate various physiological processes. Depending on what type of cannabis is being consumed, different effects will be felt.

For example, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can produce a “high” feeling, while CBD (cannabidiol) has more of a calming effect. Both THC and CBD can be used to treat various conditions such as inflammation, pain, anxiety, depression, and more.

Other compounds of the cannabis plant like CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol) are also starting to show promise in treating certain ailments.

What are the benefits of cannabis?

The potential benefits and therapeutic effects of cannabis use vary from person to person. Some people may experience relief from chronic pain, while others may find cannabis helps them with their anxiety or depression. Research suggests that cannabis can help improve overall wellness in a variety of ways.

Cannabis has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can have positive effects on various conditions such as arthritis, Lyme disease, and fibromyalgia. It also has analgesic properties, meaning it can reduce pain from different diseases and improve physical function.

Cannabis has also been linked to improved mental health. Studies have shown that cannabis can help people better manage stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also promote creativity, focus, and productivity in some users. Overall, cannabis may be a useful tool for enhancing physical and mental well-being.

How to use cannabis for wellness

Wellness has been a growing trend in recent years, and cannabis is becoming increasingly popular to promote wellness. If you’re interested in trying cannabis for wellness purposes, it’s important to do your research so you can make informed decisions.

There are different products available in the market that you can use. For example, cannabis-infused oils and tinctures are easy to take and can be consumed orally or added to food. Vaporizers are another popular option as they allow you to inhale cannabis without smoking it. Topicals, such as cannabis balms and salves, are also great for targeting specific areas of the body.

It’s important to find the right cannabis product that works best for you. Different types of cannabis products will have different effects, so it’s important to find what works for your body and lifestyle. You may want to start with a low dose and build up as you become more comfortable.

Overall, cannabis can be an effective tool for improving wellness. If you’re thinking about using cannabis products for health and wellness, make sure to do your research and consult with

The potential risks associated with cannabis use

There are potential risks associated with cannabis use, just like with any other substance. It’s important to understand the effects cannabis can have on your body and mind before taking it. Some experience mild side effects such as dry mouth and fatigue, while others may experience more severe reactions like paranoia or anxiety.

These risks are minimal compared to the long-term side effects of prescription drugs or alcohol. However, it’s still important to understand the potential risks. Cannabis can be a powerful tool for improving wellness when used responsibly. With more research and better access to cannabis products, we may soon see cannabis as an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Ultimately, cannabis can be an effective tool for improving wellness when used responsibly and with an understanding of the potential risks involved. If you’re interested in using cannabis to improve your physical and mental well-being, make sure to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional.

About the author: Alex Gould is a cannabis advocate writing about health and wellness. He shares his experiences on different ways cannabis can improve our lifestyle.

[email protected]

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