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The Cannabis Framework Project Will Transform the Industry

The Cannabis Framework Project burst onto the scene, earning an invitation to shape policy alongside the National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC).




There are many movements that sprout up and fade away without realizing their full potential. But the legal cannabis industry’s time has come, thanks to the dedicated advocates, activists and visionaries who have long fought for legalization and continue working to shape its future. Groups like the Cannabis Framework Project aim to guide this nascent industry’s evolution in a sustainable, ethical way through open collaboration.

Introduction: The Promise of the Cannabis Framework Project

Our initiative burst onto the scene, earning an invitation to shape policy alongside the National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC). But our vision reaches far beyond testing standards. We aim to guide this industry’s evolution holistically by crafting frameworks to tackle every challenge and honor cannabis culture. The mainstreaming of this plant depends on it. Through collaboration, we aim to guide this nascent industry’s evolution in a sustainable, ethical way.

Enabling Progress Through Partnership

The future of cannabis regulation depends on addressing the patchwork of testing requirements across states. Recognizing this, the National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC) formed in 2021 by Perkins Coie to establish and promote national standards, paving the way for interstate commerce and public health protections.

Comprised of legal experts, scientists and lab operators nationwide, the NCLC proposes transitioning from variable state testing programs to a unified scheme. By collecting data from participating labs and consulting scientific standards, they aim to create a baseline for quality testing and risk-based approaches.

The NCLC recommends national standards governing three areas:

  • Standard test panels defining compounds for analysis
  • Consistent sampling and testing methods
  • Lab accreditation plus proficiency testing

These would allow interstate commerce, currently hampered by conflicting state rules, and safeguard consumers by ensuring dangerous additives are monitored nationwide.

While the legal cannabis market expands rapidly, federal legalization and interstate trade loom imminent. The NCLC recognizes addressing testing discrepancies and crafting national standards is imperative to facilitate this and advance public health. By proposing a collaborative approach drawing on scientific rigor and industry insights, they are enabling the responsible and prosperous development of this nascent market.

With a wealth of expertise and dedication to consistent, data-driven standards, the National Cannabis Laboratory Council is uniquely poised to shape policy. Their recommendations balance regulated compliance and industry growth potential. The NCLC’s partnership paves the way for the Cannabis Framework Project to develop frameworks guiding the cannabis industry’s sustainable and ethical growth.

The mainstreaming of cannabis depends on consumer trust in safe, regulated products. By forging a path to interstate commerce and codifying standards to protect public health, the National Cannabis Laboratory Council is lighting the way. The future of cannabis looks bright indeed.

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The Approach, Vision and Mission of the Cannabis Framework Project

The legal cannabis industry has progressed rapidly, but a lack of standardization poses barriers to mainstream acceptance and a safe, sustainable future. The Cannabis Framework Project (CFP) was founded to establish open-source policy solutions through collaboration. By developing consistent guidelines for issues like cultivar classification, testing, labeling, and more, the Project aims to legitimize the industry and drive further legalization.

The CFP Already Morphed Into Something More

Initially focused on categorizing strains intuitively based on effects and compounds to make cannabis more navigable, especially for newcomers, the CFP recognizes progress depends on including diverse insights. They aim to address issues surrounding social equity, sustainability, standards, and transparency through frameworks incorporating science, culture, business, medicine, and policy.

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The CFP Recognizes The Legacy Market, and the Licensed Market

There are many perspectives on classification, from morphology to chemotype, chemovar, or experience-based systems. The CFP sees value in balancing scientific validity and practical accessibility, honoring tradition yet enabling innovation. An ideal model may utilize hybrid frameworks that evolve with education and social acceptance. By focusing on collaborative solutions, they hope to achieve compromise where strict categories are counterproductive.

Everyone Should Collaborate, Otherwise It will Miss Something

The CFP advocates for continuous reevaluation to best serve community and industry. However, consistency is also needed to educate, empower and drive commerce. An ethical process would balance evolving validity with practical stability, outlining a coherent strategy for improvement and mechanisms to anticipate changes. Through an inclusive model built to mature with progress, cannabis can achieve its potential as a lifestyle product and wellness aid.

There are no perfect or universal solutions, only the option that currently balances needs and allows for ethical progress. By encouraging open participation to shape frameworks and build upon existing work, the Cannabis Framework Project aims to forge a path forward where none yet exists. Their approach reflects the necessity of balance – new and familiar, validity and accessibility, progress and stability.

The Scary ‘Standardization’ Word… is required

With standardization, cannabis can gain mainstream trust and global trade. But strict categorization risks omitting nuance or implying universal experiences that ignore diversity. Continual changes also confuse. The Project’s mission is finding compromise through collaboration, developing solutions to guide the industry’s growth in a sustainable, ethical way.

The Cannabis Framework Project was founded to establish open-source policy solutions through collaboration. By developing consistent guidelines for issues like cultivar classification, testing, labeling, and more, the Project aims to legitimize the industry and drive further legalization. Through our partnership with the National Cannabis Laboratory Council, we are poised to make this vision a reality.

Overall, the Cannabis Framework Project represents hope for progress through open participation and shared responsibility. By incorporating expertise from across sectors and prioritizing the greater good, we aim to overcome challenges that self-interest alone could not. Our collaborative, community-driven approach invites all to shape an equitable, sustainable future for cannabis. The mainstreaming of this plant depends on it. By combining the insights and efforts of many, the promise of cannabis may yet be fully realized.

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Cannabis Industry

Exploring Cannabis as a Harm Reduction Tool: Insights from the iCount Study

As the opioid crisis continues to ravage communities across the United States and Massachusetts, healthcare professionals and researchers are seeking innovative solutions to address this pressing issue.





Cannabis Is Useful As a Medicine and The Data Proves It

As the opioid crisis continues to ravage communities across the United States and Massachusetts, healthcare professionals and researchers are seeking innovative solutions to address this pressing issue. A recent webinar, led by Dr. Marion McNabb of the Cannabis Center of Excellence and Dr. Peter Grinspoon, shed light on the potential role of cannabis as a harm reduction tool in the context of the opioid epidemic. The discussion centered around the findings of the iCount Cannabis as an Alternative study, which explored the use of cannabis as a means to reduce the consumption of opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.

The iCount Cannabis as an Alternative Study

Background and objectives The iCount Cannabis as an Alternative study was designed to investigate the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction alternative for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. The study aimed to gather data on the prevalence of cannabis use among participants, the specific substances they were attempting to reduce or replace with cannabis, and the overall impact on their quality of life.

Methodology and participant demographics

The iCount Cannabis as an Alternative study utilized a cross-sectional survey design to gather data from a diverse sample of participants throughout the United States. This approach allowed researchers to capture a snapshot of the participants’ experiences and perceptions at a specific point in time. The survey was administered online, providing several advantages:

  • Accessibility:
    • By hosting the survey online, participants from various geographic locations and backgrounds could easily access and complete the questionnaire at their convenience.
  • Anonymity:
    • The online format ensured participant anonymity, encouraging honest and open responses without fear of judgment or repercussions.
  • Efficiency:
    • Collecting data online streamlined the process, allowing researchers to quickly gather a large sample size and reduce the time and resources required for data entry and analysis.

Participants in the study were asked to provide a range of information to help researchers better understand their experiences and the potential role of cannabis as a harm reduction tool. The survey included questions on:

  • Demographics:
    • Participants provided basic demographic information, such as age, gender, race, and geographic location, enabling researchers to analyze trends and patterns across different subgroups.
  • Substance use history:
    • Participants were asked about their past and current use of various substances, including opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other prescription and recreational drugs. This information helped researchers gauge the prevalence of substance use disorders among the sample population.
  • Experiences with cannabis as a harm reduction tool:
    • The survey delved into participants’ experiences using cannabis to reduce or replace the use of other substances. Questions explored the specific substances participants were attempting to reduce, the perceived effectiveness of cannabis in achieving harm reduction goals, and any changes in their quality of life since incorporating cannabis into their harm reduction strategies.

By gathering this comprehensive data, the iCount study aimed to provide a detailed picture of the potential role of cannabis as a harm reduction alternative. The survey design allowed researchers to identify trends, correlations, and insights that could inform future research, policy discussions, and clinical practice. The diverse sample of participants ensured that the findings would be relevant to a wide range of individuals and communities affected by substance use disorders, particularly in the context of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Key findings

The iCount Cannabis as an Alternative study revealed a number of significant findings that shed light on the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool. One of the most striking results was the substantial proportion of participants who reported using cannabis to decrease their use of various substances, including:

  • Opioids:
    • A notable percentage of participants indicated that they had successfully employed cannabis to reduce their opioid consumption, suggesting that cannabis may offer a viable alternative for managing pain and other symptoms typically treated with opioids.
  • Alcohol:
    • Many participants reported using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, potentially reducing the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, such as liver disease, cognitive impairment, and addiction.
  • Tobacco:
    • A significant number of participants used cannabis as a means to cut back on or quit smoking tobacco, which is known to have numerous negative health consequences, including lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.
  • Prescription and recreational drugs:
    • Participants also reported using cannabis to decrease their reliance on other prescription and recreational drugs, indicating that cannabis may have a broader application in harm reduction strategies beyond opioids.

Another key finding from the iCount study was the high prevalence of opioid use disorder among participants. This highlights the urgent need for effective alternatives and interventions to address the ongoing opioid epidemic. The study’s results suggest that cannabis could play a valuable role in helping individuals struggling with opioid addiction by:

  • Reducing opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms:
    • Participants reported that cannabis helped alleviate the intense cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction, making it easier to reduce or discontinue opioid use.
  • Providing an alternative pain management option:
    • For many individuals with opioid use disorder, the initial use of opioids may have been to treat chronic pain conditions. Cannabis, with its analgesic properties, could offer a safer, less addictive alternative for managing pain, reducing the risk of developing or exacerbating opioid addiction.

In addition to the specific findings related to substance use reduction, the iCount study also found that participants experienced improvements in their overall quality of life when using cannabis as a harm reduction tool. This suggests that the benefits of cannabis in this context extend beyond simply reducing substance use and may positively impact various aspects of an individual’s well-being, such as:

  • Mental health:
    • Participants reported improvements in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when using cannabis as part of their harm reduction strategy.
  • Physical health:
    • Some participants noted that cannabis helped alleviate chronic pain, improve sleep quality, and increase appetite, all of which can contribute to better overall physical health and functioning.
  • Social and occupational functioning:
    • By reducing problematic substance use and improving mental and physical health, participants may have experienced enhanced social relationships and increased ability to engage in work or other meaningful activities.

These findings underscore the multifaceted potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool, not only in terms of reducing the use of harmful substances but also in promoting a more comprehensive sense of well-being and quality of life for individuals affected by substance use disorders.

Cannabis as a Harm Reduction Alternative

Emerging evidence from clinical and public health settings

During the webinar, Dr. Marion McNabb and Dr. Peter Grinspoon highlighted the expanding body of evidence that supports the use of cannabis as a harm reduction alternative in both clinical and public health settings. This evidence comes from a variety of sources, including:

  • Randomized controlled trials:
    • These studies, considered the gold standard in medical research, have investigated the efficacy of cannabis in managing chronic pain conditions. Many of these trials have found that cannabis can significantly reduce pain severity and improve quality of life in patients with conditions such as neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Observational studies:
    • Numerous observational studies have explored the relationship between cannabis use and opioid consumption in real-world settings. These studies have consistently found that individuals who use cannabis for chronic pain tend to use fewer opioids and report better pain management compared to those who do not use cannabis.
  • Patient surveys:
    • Surveys of medical cannabis patients have provided valuable insights into the subjective experiences of individuals using cannabis for harm reduction purposes. Many patients report that cannabis has helped them reduce or eliminate their use of opioids and other harmful substances, as well as improve their overall quality of life.

One of the key areas where cannabis has shown promise as a harm reduction tool is in the management of chronic pain. Chronic pain is a leading reason for opioid prescriptions, and the ongoing opioid epidemic has underscored the need for safer, non-addictive pain management options. Studies have demonstrated that cannabis can be an effective alternative for managing chronic pain, offering several advantages:

  • Reduced opioid use:
    • Patients who use cannabis for chronic pain often report a decreased need for opioids, which can lower the risk of opioid dependence, addiction, and overdose.
  • Improved pain relief:
    • Many patients find that cannabis provides comparable or even superior pain relief compared to opioids, particularly for certain types of pain, such as neuropathic pain.
  • Fewer adverse side effects:
    • Cannabis typically has a more favorable side effect profile compared to opioids, with fewer risks of respiratory depression, constipation, and cognitive impairment.

In addition to its potential for managing chronic pain, cannabis has also shown promise in mitigating the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal can be a significant barrier to overcoming opioid addiction, as the symptoms can be severe and prolonged. Studies have found that cannabis may help alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting:
    • Cannabis has well-established anti-emetic properties and can help reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with opioid withdrawal.
  • Anxiety and agitation:
    • The anxiolytic effects of cannabis may help ease the anxiety and agitation that often accompany opioid withdrawal.
  • Insomnia:
    • Cannabis has been shown to improve sleep quality in some individuals, which can be particularly beneficial during opioid withdrawal when sleep disturbances are common.

Furthermore, the webinar discussed the growing recognition that cannabis may have a more favorable safety profile compared to many commonly prescribed medications. Opioids, benzodiazepines, and NSAIDs, while effective for certain conditions, can also carry significant risks, such as:

  • Opioids:
    • Risk of addiction, overdose, respiratory depression, and constipation
  • Benzodiazepines:
    • Risk of dependence, cognitive impairment, and falls in older adults
  • NSAIDs:
    • Risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, cardiovascular events, and kidney damage

In comparison, cannabis has been found to have fewer severe adverse side effects, making it an attractive option for harm reduction in certain clinical contexts. However, it is important to note that cannabis is not without risks, and further research is needed to fully understand its long-term safety profile.

The growing body of evidence supporting the use of cannabis as a harm reduction alternative in clinical and public health settings highlights the need for continued research, policy discussions, and education to ensure that patients have access to safe, effective, and personalized treatment options for managing pain, substance use disorders, and other complex health conditions.

Comparison of cannabis to other commonly prescribed medications

During the webinar, Dr. Peter Grinspoon offered a detailed comparison of cannabis to several commonly prescribed medications, shedding light on the potential advantages and drawbacks of each. This comparison is crucial for understanding the role that cannabis can play in a harm reduction approach to healthcare. Dr. Grinspoon focused on the following medication classes:

  1. Opioids:
    • Benefits:
      • Opioids are highly effective for acute pain management and can provide relief for severe chronic pain.
    • Risks:
      • Opioids carry a significant risk of addiction, overdose, respiratory depression, constipation, and cognitive impairment. The ongoing opioid epidemic has highlighted the dangers of long-term opioid use and the need for safer alternatives.
    • Cannabis comparison:
      • Cannabis has shown promise in managing chronic pain, with a lower risk of addiction and fewer severe side effects compared to opioids. Some studies suggest that cannabis may help reduce opioid consumption and mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Benzodiazepines:
    • Benefits:
      • Benzodiazepines are effective for treating anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.
    • Risks:
      • Long-term use of benzodiazepines can lead to dependence, cognitive impairment, and an increased risk of falls and accidents, particularly in older adults.
    • Cannabis comparison:
      • Cannabis has demonstrated anxiolytic and sleep-promoting properties, potentially offering a safer alternative to benzodiazepines for some individuals. However, more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of cannabis use on cognitive function and mental health.
  3. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
    • Benefits:
      • NSAIDs are widely used for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and are often used to treat conditions such as arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps.
    • Risks:
      • Long-term use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, cardiovascular events, and kidney damage.
    • Cannabis comparison:
      • Cannabis has shown anti-inflammatory properties and may provide pain relief for certain conditions without the same level of risk associated with long-term NSAID use. However, more research is needed to establish the efficacy and safety of cannabis for specific inflammatory conditions.

Dr. Grinspoon emphasized that while cannabis may offer potential benefits and a more favorable safety profile compared to some commonly prescribed medications, it is not without risks. Some of the potential side effects and risks associated with cannabis use include:

  • Short-term cognitive impairment
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Respiratory issues (when smoked)
  • Interactions with other medications
  • Risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Potential for dependence and addiction in some individuals

Despite these risks, Dr. Grinspoon argued that cannabis should be considered as a potential harm reduction tool in healthcare, particularly in the context of the opioid epidemic. By offering a potentially safer alternative to opioids for chronic pain management and other conditions, cannabis could help reduce the overall burden of opioid-related harms, including addiction, overdose, and death.

However, Dr. Grinspoon also stressed the importance of a personalized approach to cannabis use in healthcare. Factors such as individual health status, medication regimen, and personal preferences should be taken into account when considering cannabis as a treatment option. Healthcare providers should engage in open, non-judgmental conversations with patients to discuss the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use and to develop tailored treatment plans that prioritize patient safety and well-being.

Ultimately, the comparison of cannabis to commonly prescribed medications highlights the need for a nuanced, evidence-based approach to harm reduction in healthcare. By considering the relative risks and benefits of different treatment options, healthcare providers can work with patients to make informed decisions that optimize health outcomes and minimize the potential for harm.

The concept of harm reduction and its application to cannabis

During the webinar, Dr. Marion McNabb and Dr. Peter Grinspoon delved into the concept of harm reduction and its application to the use of cannabis in healthcare settings. Harm reduction is a pragmatic approach that prioritizes the minimization of negative consequences associated with substance use, rather than exclusively advocating for abstinence. This approach recognizes that substance use exists along a spectrum and that individuals may have different goals and capacities for change.

The core principles of harm reduction include:

  • Acceptance:
    • Acknowledging that substance use is a complex, multifaceted issue that requires a non-judgmental and compassionate approach.
  • Empowerment:
    • Engaging individuals as active participants in their own care and supporting their autonomy in decision-making.
  • Reduction of harm:
    • Prioritizing strategies that minimize the negative health, social, and economic consequences associated with substance use.
  • Flexibility:
    • Tailoring interventions to the unique needs and circumstances of each individual, rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach.

In the context of cannabis use in healthcare, harm reduction strategies may involve:

  • Substitution:
    • Encouraging the use of cannabis as a less harmful alternative to other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, for individuals who are unable or unwilling to achieve complete abstinence.
  • Dose reduction:
    • Working with patients to gradually reduce their consumption of harmful substances, such as opioids, by incorporating cannabis as an adjunctive treatment for pain management or other symptoms.
  • Safer use practices:
    • Educating patients about safer methods of cannabis consumption, such as vaporization or oral ingestion, to minimize the risks associated with smoking.
  • Integration with other services:
    • Combining cannabis-based interventions with other harm reduction services, such as naloxone distribution or safe injection facilities, to provide comprehensive support for individuals with substance use disorders.

By embracing a harm reduction approach, healthcare professionals can develop personalized treatment plans that incorporate cannabis as a means to reduce the use of more harmful substances. This patient-centered approach takes into account individual goals, preferences, and circumstances, allowing for a more collaborative and empowering therapeutic relationship.

The integration of harm reduction principles into cannabis-based interventions may offer several benefits for patients:

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  1. Improved health outcomes:
    • By reducing the use of more harmful substances, such as opioids or alcohol, patients may experience improvements in their physical and mental health, including reduced risk of overdose, liver disease, and other substance-related complications.
  2. Enhanced quality of life:
    • Patients who are able to reduce their use of harmful substances through cannabis-based interventions may experience improvements in their overall quality of life, including better sleep, increased appetite, and reduced pain or anxiety.
  3. Increased treatment engagement:
    • A harm reduction approach that respects patients’ autonomy and meets them where they are in their substance use journey may foster greater trust and engagement in the therapeutic process, leading to better treatment outcomes.
  4. Reduced stigma:
    • By acknowledging the complexity of substance use and embracing a non-judgmental stance, harm reduction approaches can help reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders, encouraging more individuals to seek help and engage in treatment.

While the webinar highlighted the potential benefits of integrating harm reduction principles into cannabis-based interventions, it also acknowledged the need for further research to guide evidence-based practices. As more studies investigate the efficacy and safety of cannabis as a harm reduction tool, healthcare professionals will be better equipped to make informed decisions and provide optimal care for their patients.

Ultimately, the exploration of harm reduction and its relevance to cannabis use in healthcare underscores the importance of a compassionate, patient-centered approach that prioritizes the well-being and autonomy of individuals with substance use disorders. By working collaboratively with patients and integrating cannabis-based interventions into comprehensive harm reduction strategies, healthcare professionals can help mitigate the negative consequences of substance use and improve overall health outcomes.

Integrating Cannabis into Clinical Practice and Public Health Programs

During the webinar, Dr. Marion McNabb and Dr. Peter Grinspoon discussed several state-level initiatives that have acknowledged the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool, particularly in the context of the opioid epidemic. These initiatives highlight the growing recognition among policymakers and healthcare professionals that cannabis may offer a safer alternative to opioids for managing chronic pain and other conditions.

One prominent example mentioned in the discussion was Illinois’ Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP). Launched in 2019, the OAPP allows individuals who have been prescribed opioids for medical conditions to obtain a medical cannabis card as an alternative treatment option. To participate in the program, patients must:

  • Have a qualifying condition, such as chronic pain, for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed
  • Receive a physician certification that medical cannabis is an appropriate treatment option
  • Register with the Illinois Department of Public Health and obtain a medical cannabis card

The OAPP has several notable features that distinguish it from traditional medical cannabis programs:

  1. Expedited approval process:
    • Patients who qualify for the OAPP can receive a provisional registration within 24 hours of submitting their application, allowing for faster access to medical cannabis.
  2. Expanded qualifying conditions:
    • The OAPP includes a broader range of qualifying conditions compared to Illinois’ standard medical cannabis program, making it accessible to a larger patient population.
  3. Reduced fees:
    • Participants in the OAPP are subject to lower registration fees compared to the standard medical cannabis program, reducing financial barriers to access.

The implementation of the OAPP in Illinois demonstrates the state’s proactive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic and its willingness to explore innovative solutions, such as medical cannabis, as a means of harm reduction. The program’s success has the potential to inspire similar initiatives in other states and to provide valuable data on the effectiveness of cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

In addition to Illinois, several other states have implemented or are considering programs that recognize the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool:

  • New York:
    • In 2018, New York added opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for its medical cannabis program, allowing individuals with a history of opioid use to access medical cannabis as part of their treatment plan.
  • New Mexico:
    • In 2019, New Mexico passed legislation that requires state health insurance plans to cover medical cannabis for individuals with opioid use disorder, making it more accessible and affordable for patients.
  • New Jersey:
    • In 2019, New Jersey’s Department of Health added opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for its medical cannabis program, recognizing the potential of cannabis to support addiction recovery.

These state-level initiatives demonstrate the growing acceptance of cannabis as a legitimate medical intervention and underscore the need for further research and policy changes to support its integration into healthcare systems. By acknowledging the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool and implementing programs that facilitate access to medical cannabis, states can take proactive steps to address the opioid epidemic and improve patient outcomes.

However, the webinar participants also noted that state-level initiatives are not a panacea and that there is still a need for a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to cannabis policy and healthcare integration. Some key considerations include:

  • Ensuring that medical cannabis programs are well-regulated and that patients have access to high-quality, standardized products
  • Providing education and training for healthcare professionals on the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use in a medical context
  • Investing in research to better understand the efficacy, safety, and optimal dosing of cannabis for specific medical conditions and populations
  • Addressing the social and economic factors that contribute to substance use disorders and ensuring that cannabis-based interventions are part of a larger, holistic approach to addiction prevention and treatment

By taking a multifaceted approach that includes state-level initiatives, research, education, and social support, policymakers and healthcare professionals can work together to harness the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool and to improve the lives of individuals affected by the opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders.

The need for more research on cannabis’ effectiveness

During the webinar, Dr. Marion McNabb and Dr. Peter Grinspoon emphasized the importance of conducting further research to better understand the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool, particularly in the context of the opioid epidemic. While the iCount study and other emerging evidence provide promising insights into the role of cannabis in reducing opioid use and related harms, the speakers acknowledged that more comprehensive and rigorous research is needed to guide evidence-based policies and clinical practices.

One key area of focus is the need for research that specifically examines the impact of cannabis use on opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Although some observational studies have suggested that states with medical cannabis laws have experienced lower rates of opioid overdose deaths compared to states without such laws, the causal relationship between cannabis access and reduced opioid mortality remains unclear. To address this gap, the webinar participants called for:

  1. Prospective, longitudinal studies:
    • Researchers should conduct studies that follow individuals with opioid use disorder over time, comparing outcomes between those who use cannabis as a harm reduction tool and those who do not. These studies can help establish the temporal relationship between cannabis use and opioid-related outcomes and control for potential confounding factors.
  2. Randomized controlled trials:
    • While ethical considerations may preclude the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in some contexts, these studies remain the gold standard for establishing the efficacy and safety of medical interventions. RCTs that compare cannabis-based interventions to standard treatments for opioid use disorder can provide valuable insights into the relative effectiveness of cannabis as a harm reduction tool.
  3. Dose-response studies:
    • Research is needed to determine the optimal dosing and formulation of cannabis products for harm reduction purposes. Studies that examine the relationship between different doses, cannabinoid ratios, and routes of administration can help inform clinical guidelines and personalized treatment plans.

In addition to research on opioid-related outcomes, the webinar participants emphasized the need for studies that explore the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool in various clinical settings and patient populations. This may include:

  • Investigating the use of cannabis in conjunction with medication-assisted treatments (MAT) for opioid use disorder, such as buprenorphine or methadone
  • Examining the role of cannabis in reducing the use of other substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or stimulants
  • Assessing the efficacy and safety of cannabis-based interventions for specific patient populations, such as pregnant women, adolescents, or individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Evaluating the long-term effects of cannabis use on physical and mental health outcomes, including the risk of cannabis use disorder or other adverse effects

To support these research initiatives, Dr. McNabb and Dr. Grinspoon called for increased funding and policy changes at the federal and state levels. This may involve:

  • Removing barriers to cannabis research, such as the current Schedule I classification of cannabis under federal law, which limits researchers’ access to high-quality, standardized cannabis products
  • Increasing funding for cannabis research through federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Encouraging public-private partnerships that leverage the expertise and resources of academic institutions, healthcare organizations, and the cannabis industry to advance research and innovation
  • Establishing research networks and consortia that facilitate collaboration and data sharing among researchers, clinicians, and patient advocates

By prioritizing research on the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool and providing the necessary funding and policy support, stakeholders can work together to build a more robust evidence base that informs clinical practice and public health strategies. This evidence-based approach is critical for ensuring that individuals with opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders have access to safe, effective, and personalized interventions that minimize harm and improve overall health outcomes.

The importance of collaboration between stakeholders

During the webinar, Dr. Marion McNabb and Dr. Peter Grinspoon stressed the crucial role of collaboration among various stakeholders in tackling the opioid crisis and effectively integrating cannabis into harm reduction strategies. They emphasized that a multidisciplinary, cooperative approach is essential for developing comprehensive, evidence-based solutions that prioritize patient well-being and public health.

Effective collaboration should involve the following key stakeholders:

  1. Healthcare professionals:
    • Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers who directly interact with patients and have a deep understanding of their medical needs and challenges
    • Addiction specialists and mental health professionals who can provide insights into the complex nature of substance use disorders and the importance of integrated treatment approaches
    • Medical cannabis providers who have experience in using cannabis as a therapeutic tool and can share their knowledge and best practices
  2. Researchers:
    • Scientists from various disciplines, including medicine, public health, psychology, and social sciences, who can contribute their expertise in designing and conducting rigorous studies on cannabis and harm reduction
    • Epidemiologists who can analyze population-level data to identify trends, risk factors, and potential interventions related to opioid use and cannabis
    • Experts in data analytics and bioinformatics who can help manage and interpret large datasets to inform evidence-based decision-making
  3. Policymakers:
    • Elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels who have the power to shape laws and regulations related to cannabis, opioids, and public health
    • Government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which play a crucial role in funding research, setting guidelines, and overseeing the safety and efficacy of medical interventions
    • Public health departments and agencies that can provide guidance and resources for implementing harm reduction programs and monitoring their impact
  4. Community stakeholders:
    • Patients and their families who have firsthand experience with opioid use disorder and can provide valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and challenges
    • Advocates and community organizations that work to raise awareness about the opioid crisis, reduce stigma, and promote access to effective treatments and support services
    • Harm reduction organizations and service providers who have experience in implementing community-based interventions and can share their knowledge and best practices

To foster effective collaboration among these stakeholders, the webinar participants highlighted the importance of:

  1. Open dialogue and communication:
    • Establishing regular forums, such as conferences, workshops, and online platforms, where stakeholders can share their perspectives, experiences, and insights
    • Promoting a culture of transparency and respect, where all voices are heard and valued, regardless of their background or expertise
    • Encouraging interdisciplinary discussions that break down silos and facilitate the exchange of ideas across different fields and sectors
  2. Knowledge sharing and dissemination:
    • Creating centralized repositories of research findings, best practices, and policy recommendations related to cannabis and harm reduction
    • Developing educational resources and training programs that help healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community members stay up-to-date on the latest evidence and innovations
    • Leveraging social media and other digital platforms to disseminate information and engage a wider audience in the conversation
  3. Goal alignment and strategic planning:
    • Identifying common goals and priorities that cut across different stakeholder groups, such as reducing opioid-related deaths, improving access to effective treatments, and promoting health equity
    • Developing strategic plans and roadmaps that outline specific actions, timelines, and metrics for achieving these goals
    • Establishing accountability mechanisms and regular progress reviews to ensure that stakeholders are working together effectively and efficiently

By fostering open dialogue, sharing knowledge, and aligning goals, stakeholders can develop a more coordinated and impactful response to the opioid crisis. This collaborative approach can help ensure that the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool is thoroughly investigated, responsibly implemented, and effectively integrated into comprehensive public health strategies.

Moreover, collaboration can help address some of the complex challenges and barriers to integrating cannabis into harm reduction, such as:

  • Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape of cannabis, which varies widely across states and countries
  • Addressing the social and cultural stigma associated with both cannabis use and substance use disorders
  • Ensuring that cannabis-based interventions are accessible, affordable, and equitable, particularly for marginalized and underserved populations
  • Balancing the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use, and developing personalized approaches that take into account individual factors such as age, health status, and co-occurring conditions

By working together and leveraging their diverse expertise and resources, stakeholders can develop more nuanced, context-specific solutions that address these challenges and promote the responsible integration of cannabis into harm reduction strategies.

Ultimately, the webinar’s emphasis on collaboration underscores the importance of breaking down silos and fostering a more inclusive, interdisciplinary approach to addressing the opioid crisis and exploring the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool. By working together towards common goals and prioritizing patient well-being and public health, stakeholders can develop more effective, sustainable solutions that have a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and communities affected by substance use disorders.

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The webinar, featuring Dr. Marion McNabb and Dr. Peter Grinspoon, provided valuable insights into the potential of cannabis as a harm reduction tool in the context of the opioid crisis. The findings of the iCount Cannabis as an Alternative study, along with emerging evidence from clinical and public health settings, underscore the need for further research, education, and policy changes to support the responsible integration of cannabis into healthcare systems. By embracing a harm reduction approach and collaborating across disciplines, stakeholders can work towards developing innovative solutions to address the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic and improve the lives of those affected by substance use disorders.

Key Topics:

  • Opioid epidemic
  • Cannabis as a harm reduction tool
  • iCount studies
  • Cannabis as an alternative to opioids
  • Prescription medication reduction
  • Cannabis and quality of life
  • Medical education on cannabis
  • Legalization and research opportunities
  • Regulation and standardization in the cannabis industry
  • Lesser-known cannabinoids (CBG, acid cannabinoids)

Key Findings:

  • Consumers, patients, and veterans report using cannabis as an alternative to other substances, including prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • 53% of the “iCount, Cannabis as an Alternative” study participants had been faced with or diagnosed with an opioid use disorder.
  • Cannabis was used as an alternative therapy for various health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain.
  • Cannabis is significantly safer than opioids, alcohol, and tobacco when used judiciously.
  • Patients often report improved quality of life when substituting cannabis for other substances.
  • Lack of comprehensive medical education on cannabis and historical focus on its harms have hindered progress in research and understanding.
  • Increasing legalization and growing body of evidence provide opportunities to explore the integration of legal cannabis into clinical and public health programs.
  • Regulation and standardization in the cannabis industry are needed.
  • Lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG and acid cannabinoids show potential in providing therapeutic benefits.


  • Opioid epidemic: A public health crisis characterized by the increasing rates of opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose deaths.
  • Harm reduction: A set of strategies and principles aimed at minimizing the negative consequences associated with drug use.
  • iCount studies: A series of research studies conducted by Dr. Marion McNabb to understand the use of cannabis as an alternative to other substances.
  • Cannabis: A plant containing various compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, that can have therapeutic effects.
  • Cannabinoids: Chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): The primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, responsible for the “high” sensation.
  • CBD (Cannabidiol): A non-psychoactive cannabinoid known for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as reducing anxiety and inflammation.
  • CBG (Cannabigerol): A lesser-known cannabinoid believed to have potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
  • Acid cannabinoids: Cannabinoids in their acidic form (e.g., THCA, CBDA) that have shown potential therapeutic benefits.
  • Terpenes: Aromatic compounds found in cannabis and other plants that contribute to the plant’s flavor, aroma, and potential therapeutic effects.
  • Entourage effect: The synergistic interaction between cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis that may enhance its therapeutic potential.
  • Endocannabinoid system: A biological system in the human body that regulates various physiological processes and interacts with cannabinoids.
  • Schedule I substance: A category of drugs considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, including cannabis under federal law.
  • Legalization: The process of making cannabis legal for medical and/or recreational use.
  • Decriminalization: The removal or reduction of criminal penalties associated with cannabis possession and use.
  • Medical cannabis: The use of cannabis and its derivatives to treat various health conditions under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Recreational cannabis: The use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, typically for enjoyment or relaxation.
  • Overdose: The use of a substance in an amount that causes adverse physical or mental effects, potentially leading to death.
  • Xylazine: A veterinary tranquilizer that has been increasingly found in illicit drugs, contributing to the opioid epidemic.
  • Fentanyl: A potent synthetic opioid that has been a major contributor to the rise in overdose deaths.
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Cannabis Industry

Does Weed Go Bad? A Complete Guide to Storing Cannabis Properly

Properly storing cannabis is essential for preserving its potency and quality over time. With the right storage methods like airtight containers in cool, dark spaces, weed can stay fresh for up to a year or longer.





Man holding weed- does weed go bad?

Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, is a popular recreational and medicinal drug derived from the cannabis plant. Like any other herb or agricultural product, cannabis does degrade over time if not stored properly. However, with the right storage methods, weed can maintain its potency and quality for extended periods.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about proper cannabis storage and signs of weed going bad. Read on to become an expert on keeping your bud fresh and avoiding degraded, ineffective marijuana.

Proper storage of weed prolongs quality.
Proper storage of weed prolongs quality. Complete guide to storing cannabis.

How Long Does Weed Last? Cannabis Shelf Life and Expiration

First, let’s go over the basics on weed’s shelf life. With optimal storage conditions, most strains of cured cannabis buds can last around:

  • 6-12 months – when kept in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Refrigeration extends life up to 18 months.
  • 1-2 years – when vacuum sealed and frozen. Up to 2-3 years if no oxygen and stored below 0°F (-18°C).
  • 4+ years – with long term deep freezing using commercial equipment.

Exact shelf life depends on specific storage methods and the quality/dryness of buds before storage. Fresher weed stored optimally can potentially last longer.

Weed doesn’t necessarily “expire” but it will slowly lose potency and degrade in quality over time. This happens faster with exposure to air, heat, light, or moisture.

For best results, use your cannabis within 1 year of purchase/harvest. Smoke older weed first before tapping into your freshest supply. Check buds for signs of degradation periodically.

Now let’s look at the science behind cannabis longevity and what factors speed up deterioration.

Weed doesn't actually expire, but it will slowly lose potency.
Weed doesn’t actually expire, but it will slowly lose potency.

Why Weed Goes Bad: Causes of Cannabis Degradation

Cannabis plants produce hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The concentrations and balance of these chemicals determine weed’s potency, effects, aroma, and flavor.

Unfortunately, many of these compounds are delicate and break down when exposed to:

Oxygen and Moisture

Exposure to oxygen (oxidation) degrades THC, terpenes, and other chemicals over time. Moisture encourages growth of mold and bacteria. Both oxygen and moisture are enemy #1 when it comes to preserving your bud.

Heat and Light

THC and other cannabinoids are degraded by heat and light. Ideal storage temperature is 60-70°F (15-21°C). Higher heats accelerate chemical breakdown. UV light also rapidly destroys weed’s potency and quality.

Physical Damage

Improper handling can crush delicate trichomes (where cannabinoids are produced) and rupture cells containing flavor/aroma compounds. Grinding weed exposes more surface area to damaging oxygen and moisture.

By storing cannabis in cool, dark environments with minimal air exposure, you allow it to stay fresher longer.

Next, let’s go over some visual signs that your pot has gone past its prime.

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How to Tell If Weed Has Gone Bad: 7 Signs of Degraded Cannabis

Over time, weed will slowly lose its vivid colors, alluring smells, and crystal trichome coverage. By regularly checking stored cannabis (every 1-2 months), you can catch signs of degradation early.

Here’s what to look for to know if your pot has spoiled:

Loss of Green Color and Fading

Fresh cannabis has vivid and bright green colors. As chlorophyll breaks down over time, the greens become olive/brown and fade.

Browning and Drying Out

Oxidation causes browning and drying of the buds. They lose moisture and become brittle and crispy over time.

Mold Growth

Exposure to moisture can result in fuzzy white, grey, or green mold growing on buds. Moldy weed has usually gone too far past its prime to salvage.

Rotten Smells

Aroma is one of the first things to go as terpenes oxidize. Older buds lose their fruity/citrus smells and take on stale, rotten, decomposing odors.

Loss of Trichomes/Crystals

THC is produced in trichomes – the shiny, glue-like resin glands coating buds. As trichomes oxidize and break down, weed loses its “frosty” appearance.

Harsh Smoke and Bad Taste

Smoke from degraded buds tastes harsh and unpleasant. The smoke may be rough on the throat and lungs.

Weak, Non-Existent High

The ultimate sign your pot has gone bad is if it fails to get you high. The THC and other cannabinoids that cause weed’s effects degrade over time.

The more signs are present, the more cannabis quality has declined. Now let’s go over proper storage to keep your flower fresh.

Check for signs cannabis quality decline.
Check for signs cannabis quality decline.

How to Store Cannabis Correctly: 4 Key Tips

Here are 4 essential rules to follow for preserving your pot potency and shelf life:

Use Airtight Glass or Plastic Containers

Air exposure accelerates weed’s decline. Store in sealed airtight containers, like mason jars or plastic bags. Glass protects against light better than plastic. For very long term storage, use rigid airtight plastic or metal containers.

Keep Buds in Cool, Dark Places

Ideal storage temperature is 60-70°F (15-21°C), so avoid hot areas like garages or attics. Protect against light by storing in darkened rooms or opaque containers. Use amber colored jars to filter light.

Control Humidity with Boveda/Integra Packs

Too much moisture invites mold, while too little dries out trichomes. Use humidifier packs to maintain ideal humidity around 60%. Popular options are Boveda and Integra Boost packs.

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Freeze for Extended Storage

Freezing pot locks in freshness for 1-2+ years. Use air-tight, freezer-grade bags or containers. Double wrap to prevent freezer burn. Thaw fully before opening to prevent condensation.

Let’s explore these cannabis storage tips more in depth so you can make your weed last.

Best Ways to Store Weed: In-Depth Storage Methods

Here are some best practices for storing cannabis using various containers and strategies.

Mason Jars
Glass mason jars block light and form an airtight seal, making them a top choice for cannabis storage. Keep away from direct light. A small Boveda 62% pack can add two-way humidity control. Open periodically to “burp” and replace oxygen.

Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are cheap, disposable, and air-tight. Look for thick, high quality plastic for durability. Freezer bags work well. Squeeze out excess air before sealing and place in a cool dark spot. Not ideal for long term storage as plastic is porous.

Plastic Containers
Plastic containers keep out light, moisture, and air when sealed. Look for rigid, food-grade polyethylene plastic suited for freezing. Ensure a tight seal and open to air out regularly. Can also contain Boveda packs.

Vacuum Sealer Bags
Vacuum sealing pumps out oxygen for extended shelf life. It reduces aroma but retains potency. Use special vacuum sealer bags and double wrap for protection. Keep sealed bags frozen for 1-2 years of freshness.

Your refrigerator provides cool, dark storage around 40°F (4°C). Use airtight glass or plastic containers. Avoid storing weed near foods, especially produce, which can absorb smells. Don’t freeze weed in your refrigerator.

Freezers below 0°F (-18°C) give the longest shelf life of 2 years or more when vacuum sealed. Use special rigid plastic freezer containers or high quality bags to prevent freezer burn. Double wrap bags and squeeze out excess air before sealing.

Humidors with Boveda packs can store and cure cannabis at the same time. Keep humidors around 60-65% relative humidity and out of the light. Slow curing over 6+ months in a humidor can enhance weed’s aroma, flavor, and smoothness.

Best Ways to Store Weed. In-Depth Storage Method
Best Ways to Store Weed. In-Depth Storage Method

How Long Does Weed Last in Different Situations?

Here’s a quick reference for cannabis longevity:

  • Stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container – Lasts 6-12 months
  • Kept at room temperature in a container/bag – Lasts 3-6 months
  • Stored in the freezer (-4 to 0°F) – Lasts 1-2 years
  • Vacuum sealed and kept in deep freezer (below 0°F) – Lasts 2-3 years
  • Kept in a refrigerator (36 to 40°F) – Lasts up to 1 year
  • Stored with a Boveda pack – Lasts 6-12+ months depending on temperature
  • Placed in an airtight bag/jar with minimal air – Lasts 6-9 months
  • Stored on your shelf or in a drawer in a bag – Lasts 3-6 months
  • Left out in the open air – Lasts 2-3 months before very degraded
  • Ground up into bud – Lasts 1-3 months or less depending on storage

As you can see, cool, minimal air exposure is key for longevity. Now let’s look at frequently asked questions on storing cannabis.

FAQs: Your Common Cannabis Storage Questions Answered

FAQs- Your Common Cannabis Storage Questions
FAQs- Your Common Cannabis Storage Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about proper marijuana storage:

Does putting an orange peel in with weed keep it fresh?
No, adding produce can increase moisture and growth of mold. Orange peels also provide inconsistent humidity levels. Use Boveda packs instead for regulated humidity.

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How long does weed stay good for in a plastic baggie?
In an airtight plastic bag kept in a cool, dark space, weed can remain fresh for 3-6 months. Plastic is more porous than glass so not ideal for long term storage. Put baggies inside an opaque container to further protect from air and light.

Can you freeze weed in a plastic bag?
Yes, you can freeze cannabis in a plastic bag if done properly to prevent freezer burn. Use thick, high quality freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air before sealing tightly. Double bag for added protection. Limit freezing time to 1-2 months.

Should you keep weed in the fridge?
Your refrigerator can effectively store cannabis for 6-12 months if kept in an airtight container. Avoid freezing weed in the fridge to prevent moisture condensation when thawed. Keep weed away from fresh produce or foods with strong odors.

What is the best temperature to store cannabis?
Ideal storage temperature for weed is 60-70°F (15-21°C). Temperatures between 40-60°F are also acceptable. Higher temperatures accelerate degradation while freezing below 0°F provides the longest preservation.

Is it better to store weed with stems or without?
Without. Remove stems from cured buds prior to storage, as they can poke holes in bags/containers and introduce excess moisture. Stems also take up unnecessary space and weight.

Can you vacuum seal weed without crushing it?
Yes, you can successfully vacuum seal cannabis without compression by using rigid containers rather than bags. Place cured buds in an airtight plastic container, seal, then use the vacuum sealer to remove air from the container. This avoids squishing.

Does vacuum sealed weed lose potency?
Vacuum sealing extends shelf life but some terpenes and aromas may be diminished over time. However, THC and CBD potency can remain for 1-2 years or longer if frozen, making up for any minor terpene loss.

Following proper storage methods allows you to keep your cannabis fresh for as long as possible.

Reviving Old Weed: Is it Possible to Rehydrate Dry Cannabis?
If stored incorrectly, weed can dry out rapidly. While reviving extremely dried out, crumbling buds is difficult, you can sometimes rehydrate cannabis to regain a little bit of its lost moisture.

Here are two methods to try:

Use Boveda or Integra Boost Packs – Place desiccated buds in an airtight jar with a 62% humidity pack for 1-2 weeks, rotating daily. This slow humidification often improves texture.

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Use Orange or Lemon Peels – Add a peel or two to the jar of dry weed for 12-24 hours, rotating periodically. Monitor closely for any condensation or mold growth.

However, rehydrated weed usually won’t return to the exact smoothness, aroma, and potency of originally cured buds. And dried out cannabis is still degraded. For best effects, rehydration is only temporary to restore some moisture before consumption. Old weed generally won’t be revived back to its peak former glory.

What to Do with Bad Weed: What’s the Best Option?
So you checked your stash and discovered your weed has gone bad. Now what? Here are your options:

  1. Throw it Away
    If moldy or severely degraded, the best option is to cut your losses and toss the bad buds in the trash. Mold spores and bacteria can make you sick.
  2. Use for Edibles and Tinctures
    You can mask poor taste and harshness by infusing old weed into edibles or tinctures. The THC will cook into the food or alcohol, though potency has declined.
  3. Make Canna-Oil
    Another way to extract remaining cannabinoids from degraded flower is through canna-oils or butter. Simmering buds in oil will bind to and pull out some of the THC.
  4. Compost It
    If weed has simply dried out but no mold, you can toss it into your compost pile. Break it up thoroughly and mix it deep into the compost so no one picks it out. The nutrients will enrich your soil.
  5. Use for Joints or Blunts
    Harsh, bitter flower can be sandwiched between fresher bud when rolling joints or blunts. This masks some of the poor flavor of the degraded cannabis.

While you can salvage some uses from bad weed, it’s better to not let your marijuana deteriorate to this point in the first place. Follow proper storage from the start.

Key Takeaways: Keep Your Cannabis Fresh

Key takeaways about cannabis storage.
Key takeaways about cannabis storage.

Proper storage preserves weed’s potency and primes for peak enjoyment. Follow these core tips:

  • Store buds in airtight glass or plastic containers away from light, heat, and air
  • Use Boveda or Integra packs to maintain ideal humidity
  • Keep cannabis in cool, dark spaces around 60-70°F if possible
  • Freeze for long term storage of 1-2 years
  • Check buds and rotate stock to use oldest weed first
  • Frequently “burp” containers to refresh stale air
  • Watch for signs of degradation like smell, appearance, and texture

With the right storage, your weed will stay fresh and potent for months or even years. Now go enjoy your preserved cannabis at its full potential!

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Cannabis Industry

Is The Cannabis Industry ‘Gatekeeping’?

The cannabis industry exhibits a strong tendencies towards ‘gatekeeping’—the formation of exclusive in-groups that alienate outsiders and create barriers to diversity and inclusion. This exclusionary behavior prevents the industry from achieving mainstream acceptance.





Is The Cannabis Industry Gatekeeping?

The ‘Cliques’ – Companies and Professionals Alike

The cannabis industry exhibits a strong tendencies towards ‘gatekeeping’—the formation of exclusive in-groups that alienate outsiders and create barriers to diversity and inclusion. This exclusionary behavior prevents the industry from achieving mainstream acceptance.

These tight-knit insider groups hire and promote from within their own networks, creating work environments that feel welcoming only to those ‘in the know’ who share a certain mindset. Outsiders face discrimination and find it difficult to break into these established in-groups.

For most consumers and potential industry participants, these gatekeeping in-groups are an instant turn-off. They feel like outsiders peering in, unable to truly engage with or understand the industry because they don’t share the same connections. The industry’s marketing frequently targets these ‘in-groups’ and also feels alienating. They don’t see themselves represented in industry events, media, or brands.

Breaking down this gatekeeping behavior is essential for the cannabis industry to achieve diversity, inclusion, and mainstream success. Anti-discrimination policies need to be established and enforced to promote fair and equal opportunities. Outreach beyond established in-groups needs to become a priority. The industry must recognize that its image depends on reflecting and welcoming outsiders.

The cannabis industry’s tendency towards gatekeeping and exclusionary in-groups creates barriers to diversity, inclusion, and mainstream acceptance. By shifting focus to inclusion, education, and representing outsiders, the industry can break down these barriers. But first, there must be acknowledgement of the negatives impacts of this exclusionary behavior, and a will to open these well-guarded doors and make sincere efforts towards change. Only when the industry drops the act of gatekeeper can it achieve the mainstream influence it desires.

The ‘Know-It-Alls’

The cannabis industry has a problem with more established insiders adopting an attitude of superiority that pushes newcomers away. These ‘know-it-all’s flaunt their expertise in niche cannabis brands, products, and terminology as a way to assert dominance and look down on those still learning the ropes. Their holier-than-thou mentality serves as a form of gatekeeping, making newcomers to the industry feel unwelcome and uneducated.

Know-it-all’s impart an illusion that there is endless amounts of crucial ‘insider’ knowledge to attain about cannabis. The reality is that most consumers and newcomers to the industry just want to understand the basics—some guidance on products, strains, and consumption methods to suit their needs. Still, know-it-all’s insist that everyone adhere to their advanced standards of expertise, scolding those who don’t know the difference between various hyper-niche solventless hash rosin brands, for example.

This know-it-all mentality creates an environment where newcomers feel afraid or unwilling to ask questions for fear of appearing uneducated or unable to keep up. It impacts hiring practices, media, events, and marketing by promoting an attitude that only those with a certain level of pre-existing knowledge and expertise could possibly understand or participate. The end result is an industry that feels inaccessible to most outsiders looking in.

For the cannabis industry to achieve mainstream acceptance, this superiority complex needs to be brought down to earth. The reality is that most consumers just want to try quality, trustworthy products without being made to feel like newcomers or judged for their lack of hyper-niche knowledge. An open, educational environment where all feel empowered to learn and ask questions will do far more to advance the industry than exclusionary practices meant to stroke the egos of self-proclaimed cannabis ‘experts’ with know-it-all attitudes.

The know-it-all mentality poses a significant barrier through its ability to make others feel unwelcome and uneducated. But it is a barrier that can be overcome by shifting focus away from flaunting expertise and towards empowering newcomers with education and understanding. By embracing inclusion over exclusion, the cannabis industry’s know-it-all’s might just learn a thing or two themselves.

Overarching Niche Branding Practices

The cannabis industry’s obsessive focus on niche strain names, cultivation techniques, and products creates more confusion than choice for mainstream consumers. This hype-driven branding illusion poses a barrier to growth by overwhelming newcomers and restricting access to only those ‘in the know’.

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An endless proliferation of niche strain names like ‘Gorilla Glue #4’ or ‘Alaskan Thunder Fu*k’ means little to most consumers and only serves to make them feel uneducated for not understanding the subtle supposed differences between options. The same can be said for touting obscure cultivation techniques and extracts that market to hardcore insiders. This niche branding significantly restricts the industry by excluding mainstream consumers from participating. Currently, there is an organization called The Cannabis Framework Project that is working on a solution here where everybody wins.

While variety and choice are important, the industry must recognize that too much of a good thing can lead to paralysis for newcomers. The uninitiated just want good, trustworthy cannabis products—they don’t need or want to know every minute detail of how a product was grown, extracted or came to be named. An environment of endless niche options and hype-driven insider branding creates barriers to trial and adoption.

Rather than focusing so heavily on branding meant to impress industry insiders, businesses should work to attract mainstream consumers by providing choice that means something. Simple, descriptive product names, categories based on desired effects, and clear labels conveying potency and dosage guidance will do far more to build trust and empower new consumers than an overload of niche jargon.

Niche branding may convey passion for craft and connoisseurship to some, but it severely limits the potential for industry mainstreaming. By acknowledging the confusion and choice paralysis that too much hype and insider-focused branding creates, businesses can take concrete steps to open their products and messaging to wider audiences. The opportunity lies not in endlessly new niche options but in inclusive education and simplifying choice in a way that allows anyone to feel confident and excited to explore what the cannabis industry offers. mainstream success depends on it.

Niche branding may impress insiders but will not achieve mainstream success. By focusing less on hype-driven niche options and more on inclusive education and simplifying choice for newcomers, the cannabis industry can make products and messaging accessible to all. The key to widespread adoption lies not in how many strain names or cultivation techniques a business can tout, but in empowering all consumers with the knowledge and excitement to participate.

Lack of Transparency

The cannabis industry is plagued by a lack of transparency that benefits insiders while keeping mainstream consumers in the dark. There is little clarity into growing practices, pesticide use, potency testing, and genetics for most products. Opaque supply chains and deceptive marketing are common, empowering shady operators while preventing newcomers from making informed choices.

Without transparency, consumers cannot know for sure what they are purchasing or putting into their bodies. They have no visibility into potentially harmful chemicals used, for example, or if the potency is actually as stated. This creates an environment of uncertainty where people feel unable to trust and participate fully. It significantly limits mainstream acceptance.

Similarly, opaque supply chains allow poor quality or contaminated product to enter the market, as there is no mechanism for tracking or accountability. And when combined with deceptive marketing practices, lack of transparency poses a serious risk to consumer health and safety. However, this same lack of clarity benefits industry insiders, allowing some to cut corners or make exaggerated claims without consequence.

To achieve mainstream success, the cannabis industry must establish and enforce strong transparency standards. Accurate potency testing, certified clean growing practices, pesticide monitoring, and supply chain tracking are all needed to build consumer trust. Marketing claims require regulation to prevent deception. While this may require effort and reduce profits for some, transparency is crucial for further progress.

With transparency comes accountability, and an end to practices that prioritize insider gains over consumer trust and empowerment. By acknowledging the systemic lack of transparency and following through on meaningful industry-wide changes, cannabis businesses can differentiate themselves, build trust in their products, and attract mainstream customers. The opportunity lies not in opaque practices that benefit a few, but in establishing clarity and accountability to advance the industry as a whole.

Lack of transparency in the cannabis industry significantly hampers mainstream acceptance while benefitting insiders. By focusing on transparency standards, accountability, and consumer trust, businesses can overcome these barriers. While change requires effort, the reward will be an end to deceptive practices and the chance to open the industry to audiences that have so far remained in the dark. The key to progress lies in businesses recognizing that their own gain means little without empowering consumers through clarity and truth.

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How Much of it is Actually Craft Cannabis?

The cannabis industry’s recent focus on expensive, artisanal ‘craft cannabis’ products has made the plant inaccessible to most. While high-end offerings certainly have their place, when they become the sole focus, it comes at the cost of affordability and restricts the industry to niche audiences. The mainstream opportunity lies not in $18 half-gram pre-rolls but in providing quality, trustworthy cannabis for reasonable prices.

Craft cannabis can validate and raise the profile of the industry, but it cannot be the only option. For the industry to achieve mainstream success, the average consumer must have their needs met. And the reality is, most simply want straightforward, affordable cannabis products, not lavish displays of supposed connoisseurship and craft. By prioritizing extreme pricing and notions of artisanal superiority, the industry risks forgetting and alienating these mainstream consumers, limiting itself to those with the means and mindset to participate.

While enterprise and mom-and-pop craft growers alike deserve to make a living from this plant, businesses must recognize that mainstream acceptance depends on balancing high-end offerings with reasonably-priced options. When cannabis becomes accessible only to those willing and able to pay steep prices to satisfy the craft ethos, it results in an exclusionary environment that benefits the few at the cost of empowering greater audiences. The opportunity for progress lies not in craft distinction alone but in honoring and attracting the average consumer.

Craft cannabis will always have an important place as a demonstration of quality, care, and connoisseurship. However, for the industry to continue advancing, businesses must make their products accessible through competitive pricing and by focusing not just on craft distinction but on the mainstream opportunity. By recognizing that most consumers want good, trustworthy, and affordable cannabis, the industry can establish an inclusive environment where all feel welcome and empowered—where craft and accessibility live in harmony rather than coming at the cost of another.

The cannabis industry’s future depends not on an attitude of craft elitism but of serving and empowering the mainstream. And the mainstream, the average consumer, deserves an affordable option. By providing quality, trustworthy cannabis for the masses in addition to expensive craft offerings, businesses can differentiate themselves while removing the pretense of exclusivity. The opportunity is not in how fancy or lavish an offering is but in giving the people what they actually want and need.

While craft cannabis has an important place, it cannot come at the cost of affordability and mainstream accessibility. By focusing not just on craft distinction but on empowering wider audiences with quality, trustworthy, and fairly-priced products, the industry can achieve diversity and inclusion. The key is in recognizing and serving the needs of average consumers, who desire good cannabis they can afford and enjoy rather than an illusion of connoisseurship meant only for those willing and able to pay the price of admission.

Cannabis Events are Nearly Pointless

Many cannabis industry events, media outlets, and organizations primarily target those already well-versed in the industry, contributing to an echo chamber that prevents new audiences from engaging. By focusing on insider crowds and advanced knowledge, these exclusionary happenings create barriers to mainstream acceptance and inclusion.

Events, media, and organizations that only speak to those in the know contribute to an endless circle of preaching to the choir rather than reaching new audiences. They perpetuate gatekeeping by imparting an attitude that only certain types of people—those with a high degree of existing knowledge and connections—can fully participate, understand or benefit. This significantly limits industry growth by preventing education and access for wider crowds.

While insider events and niche media certainly have value in connecting those already in the space, it is crucial not to forget the mainstream opportunity. For the industry to continue progressing, it must establish an inclusive environment where all feel empowered to learn and engage, not just a select few. By diversifying content and happenings to provide education and on-ramps for people outside established circles, the industry can achieve exponential growth.

Exclusionary practices may benefit established groups by reinforcing a sense of superiority, but they harm the progression and mainstream acceptance of the industry. The opportunity lies not in echo chambers of knowledge meant only for select audiences but in creating accessible education and community. By recognizing the need to reach and empower new crowds, events, media and organizations can transform into inclusive platforms for sharing knowledge and fueling excitement in the wider public.

The cannabis industry’s future depends on inclusiveness, not exclusionary echo chambers. By diversifying to create accessible events, media and organizations that educate and engage mainstream audiences, the industry can overcome barriers to achieve widespread acceptance and participation. The key is in turning inward focus outwards, toward empowering the audiences that have so far remained outside—in serving and inviting the general public rather than just catering to insiders.

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While insider events and media have value, the opportunity for industry progress lies in inclusive education and community, not exclusionary echo chambers. By recognizing the need to reach new audiences and empower mainstream participation, organizations can transform from niche platforms into accessible channels for sharing knowledge and fueling excitement in people from all backgrounds. The cannabis industry’s future depends on inclusiveness. And that inclusiveness starts with businesses and groups making efforts to open closed circles and turn outward to welcome those still on the outside looking in.

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