What’s Up With THCA & What does THCA heal?

What’s Up With THCA?

We get high on THC but not THCA. One letter makes all the difference. Unlike THC, THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis. As the plant dries, THCA slowly converts to THC.

THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and is the non-psychoactive acid form of THC found in the plant when raw. THCA converts to THC (the cannabinoid that gets you high) when it is decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is the process that heats the cannabis to expedite its conversion. This is the process that happens when you smoke or vaporize flower. It can also happen when you expose THCA to heat or sunlight.

THCA is the acidic form of THC as they share a very similar molecular composition. The differentiation is due to an additional carboxyl group in THCA. In its raw form, THCA’s prevalence in the cannabis plant has several therapeutic and healing applications. It’s particularly attractive for some due to its non-psychoactive nature.

So, why exactly does THC get us high and THCA does not? The reason is because of the 3 dimensional shape of the THCA molecule.

What does THCA heal?

While there isn’t enough research on THCA to definitively and scientifically claim its benefits studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory properties for treating arthritis, lupus, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, pain, and auto-immune conditions. It’s also an effective neuroprotectant which can be beneficial in the treatment of such conditions as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In fact, a July 2017 study observed THCA to hold stronger anti-inflammatory properties than CBD, which is pretty astonishing, considering how CBD is the breakout cannabinoid star and taking the mainstream by storm. 

THCA may be found in topicals, tinctures, capsules and raw cannabis juice. As such, the most direct form of consuming is via ingestion. Check out what’s currently in stock at ECO to see what’s the best option for you. Of course, our resident weed nerds are always available for you at our shop.


What’s the deal with CBD?

What’s the Deal with CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, and is most commonly extracted from hemp, but can also come from the marijuana plant. It has a chemical cousin, THC, which we know to produce a high when smoked or consumed.

Both CBD and THC are both compounds found in cannabis that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The effects of cannabis happen as a result of the specific receptors in the body attaching to specific receptors in the body.

The 2 Cannabinoid Receptors.

There are 2 main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 cannabinoid receptors are found abundantly in the brain. These receptors mainly deal with coordination, movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, memories, among other important functions.

CB2 cannabinoid receptors are found in fewer quantities and mostly reside in the human immune system. They regulate inflammation and pain.

CBD works by directing the body to use more of its own locally sourced endocannabinoids — after all, they already do so much!

How to Safely Shop and Find CBD:

CBD is much looser regulations than cannabis and THC. Not all states require CBD manufacturers to accurately label their products. This should give the average consumer reason to be skeptical.

The source of your CBD matters because heavy metals and other contaminants might be used in manufacturing and subsequently found in the final product. A note to also add is the difference between “full spectrum” and “broad spectrum”. Whenever possible, opt for the more narrow one. In this case, “broad” is more narrow than “full”. The spectrum in these phrases refer to the percentage distribution of cannabinoids in the product (which includes CBD and THC). Generally, a broad spectrum CBD oil will contain less THC than the more inclusive full spectrum CBD.

Go to your local cannabis dispensary and talk to the staff who work there. Cannabis dispensaries are regulated and licensed by city, state and federal laws — making that the safest source for your CBD to date.


Why Are More Older People Using Cannabis?

The rumor that more older people are using cannabis is true. That’s according to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2018 that suggests increasing numbers of middle-aged and older adults are using cannabis.

Based on data gathered in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2015 and 2016, researchers found that about 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 used marijuana in the previous year and 3 percent of people over 65 used the drug in that same time period. That’s up from 2013 when the same survey reported that 7 percent of middle-aged Americans used marijuana in the previous year, and only 1.4 percent of people over 65.

And it doesn’t seem to be once or twice. Study authors found that because 5.7 percent of middle-aged respondents said they’d tried it in the past month, it’s likely they’re also a group who uses cannabis often.

Why Are Older Americans Using Cannabis?

Older Americans are using cannabis for the same reasons everyone else is: because it’s enjoyable or to self-medicate.

In regards to medical uses, another 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society (JAGS) found that the most common reasons were pain (64 percent), sleep (38 percent), anxiety (24 percent), depression (22 percent), and appetite stimulation (18 percent).

Why Now?

older americans using cannabis edibles

The United States is experiencing a dramatic increase in the acceptance of cannabis use. This is occurring at the same time that our elderly population is increasing. Indeed, Baby Boomers have higher rates of substance use compared to any previous generation.

And cannabis is also more available. A 2015 study using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions showed that the prevalence of cannabis use more than doubled from 2001–02 to 2012–13.

What Are Older People Consuming?

buds on oil

The study published in JAGS found that the older American who uses cannabis seems to favor edibles (42 percent), more than smoking (29 percent). Respiratory issues associated with age may be one reason smoking is not as popular. Lotions and oils were also favorites among respondents.

Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of internal medicine at New York University School of Medicine and lead author of the study that analyzed NSDUH data, warned that baby boomers who’ve had prior experience with marijuana shouldn’t necessarily use the same amount that they did when they were young. The potency of today’s cannabis is a lot higher than in the 60s and 70s and their ability to metabolize the drug is likely different. As Han put it, “A smaller amount is going to hit you a lot harder when you’re older.”

Cannabis has a lot to offer, so it’s no surprise that as the stigma recedes, more Americans are turning to it to help them cope with a variety of ailment or for pleasure. If you’re new to cannabis, there are plenty of resources available to help you —including our skilled Experience Guides at our Oakland Dispensary. Stop by for help picking the perfect cannabis products for your goals.


Is CBD Better with THC?

Today, cannabidiol, or CBD, has become such a trendy health ingredient that you can find it in a wide range of products like coffee, ice cream, and even dog food. With this ascension of CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been demonized as the compound that gets you high. But many researchers support whole plant therapy medicine that includes THC.

Is CBD Better with THC molecules

So is CBD Better with THC?

Project CBD receives many inquiries from people seeking “CBD, the medical part” of the plant, “not THC, the recreational part” that gets you high. According to Dr. Ethan Russo, that’s because modern medicine has a tendency to separate compounds and dismiss botanical solutions.

“…traditionally people have used plant drugs to treat their problems. It’s only been in the last 75 years there’s been this shift toward synthetics. So, a botanical doesn’t rely on one compound to produce the beneficial effects.”

In other words, all parts of the plant—cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids— enhance each other’s therapeutic effects.

This post will identify the reasons why THC and CBD work better together.

THC Works with CBD

CBD and THC have the exact same chemical makeup: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Both have similar physiological effects. For instance, both compounds can have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, they have different molecular structures and act through different mechanisms.

While CBD and THC both bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors, because of its different molecular structure, THC binds directly with receptors, called CB1, which are found throughout the body, including the brain. The result is the psychoactive effect of “getting high.”

Is CBD Better with THC vials

Research shows that CBD does not bond directly with the CB1 receptor, and it may come between THC and the CB1 receptors, negating the psychoactivity associated with THC but still providing the physiological benefits.

So is CBD better with THC? Having THC and CBD together can potentially improve an outcome such as pain relief by attacking it in different ways.

Manage Your Dose According to Your Needs

Lots of people worry THC will make you “couch-locked” or, even worse, anxious and paranoid. In fact, only small amounts of THC are needed to be effective. This makes sense when you know that originally, the cannabis plant contained far less THC than it typically does now, and a lot more CBD. Breeders only created high-THC strains because that’s what sold for the best price.

Is CBD Better with THC bottles

Bottom line, when somebody asks you— is CBD better with THC—tell them many sources would support that, taken in very small amounts, THC will not get you high and CBD will work better.

Ultimately, the products you choose and use should reflect your goals. At ECO Cannabis, we believe that cannabis can be part of healthy living. By focusing on your goals and sharing them with our skilled Experience Guides, together, we can find the best products to achieve your desired effects. Want to learn more? Drop by our Oakland dispensary!


Terpene Profiles: Linalool, Cannabis’s Stress-Fighting Medicine

Terpenes aren’t the only plant compounds found in the cannabis plant, nor are they the only “active ingredients” contained in this incredible and unique botanical family. But here at ECO Cannabis, we believe they’re one of the most important determinants of a particular cannabis plant’s essential character.

Linalool person with bud in hand

Not only do terpenes give each of those plants its distinctive flavor and aroma, but all those terpenes—there are over 200 of them!—have medical attributes as well, bringing their own unique healing to the table, both alone and in collaboration with others.

One of the most important and effective of these is linalool, the focus of today’s post. In addition to being—let’s just face it—kind of fun to say out loud a bunch of times, linalool has powerful stress-fighting characteristics, a quality also evident in another plant in which it occurs: Lavender. Let’s learn a bit more about this very distinctive, complex, and floral terpene!

Linalool and lavender

What Does Linalool Do For Us?

We humans have known since ancient times that inhaling the scent of lavender, a unique and uniquely beautiful herb native to the Mediterranean region—and an essential ingredient in the southern French herb blend Herbes de Provence—has a marked and calming effect.

And we’re not the only animals to experience this. A rodent-based study found that even rats benefit from linalool’s stress-reducing qualities.

We already accumulate linalool from other sources, such as food. Even those who abstain from cannabis typically consume about two grams a year. There’s no harm in this; linalool dissipates relatively quickly and unlike cannabinoids, isn’t stored in our fatty tissues.

Linalool 3

In addition to reducing stress, linalool has other real-world applications such as:

Anti-Depressant: Stress and depression are closely related, and in another rodent-based study, researchers found that the terpene helped mice reduce depression-like behavioral signifiers and pushed them to continue trying to escape otherwise threatening or fatal situations in which they were placed (like forced swimming).

Anti-Microbial: Like some other terpenes, linalool has the potential to fight infections, an especially important use in an era of otherwise drug-resistant microbes.

Pain Relief: Linalool exhibits a wide range of effects on our central nervous system, helping regulate brain chemicals such as adenosine and glutamate. But in one particularly fascinating study, patients who had recently undergone gastric banding surgery demonstrated a marked decrease in their reliance on opioid painkillers.

How to Get Linalool from Cannabis

Linalool medical professional looking at bud

Linalool is one of the “primary terpenes,” and it’s highly abundant in cannabis. A distinct lavender-like scent is a good tip-off to a high linalool content. Strains that feature linalool include:

Lavender: No surprise a strain named after nature’s most recognizable source of linalool would contain a hefty dose of it! Lavender is highly relaxing, with moderate sleepy and euphoric effects as well.

LA Confidential: Another calming and often sleepy-feeling strain, like Lavender, it’s savored as a highly relaxing experience and a strong pain-fighter as well.

Amnesia Haze: As the name suggests, this strain may inspire deep forgetfulness! With a notably euphoric onset, the generally happy, uplifted and relaxed effects make this a venerable and well-loved cannabis strain.

Ready to experience the benefits of terpenes? Stop by our Oakland dispensary. Our Experience Guides will help you find the best products for the effects you want!


Terpene Profiles: Humulene

Think back to the last time you enjoyed a delicious, ice-cold beer (if that’s your thing). You may not have been aware of it at the time, but part of that distinct aroma of hops you experienced came from humulene, one of the most common terpenes in the plant world.

You can find humulene in all kinds of pungent edibles — from sage and ginger to clove and basil. It’s also one of the most prominent terpenes in the cannabis plant, giving buds their unique scent, and a beneficial terpene to boot.

Humulene is in hops

What is Humulene?

Humulene got its name from the common hops plant Humulus lupulus, where it was first identified as a terpene in the essential oils of the flower.

When expressed in a cannabis strain, humulene plays a vital role in the distinctive fragrance and taste characteristics of the flower. Humulene is one of the 20 most prevalent types of terpenes found in cannabis and provides a subtle woody, earthy aroma with spicy undertones. Along with pinene and myrcene, humulene is one of the fundamental elements that gives marijuana its overall aromatic profile. It’s definitely a terpene worth getting to know!

While humulene often appears in smaller quantities than other terpenes, strains like Headband, Death Star, Thin Mint GSC, Candyland, and Original Glue have concentrations that are higher-than-average.

Humulene Benefits

Humulene- man with back pain

Even though research into cannabis compounds like terpenes is just starting to ramp up, the benefits of Humulene have been known in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. Humulene was used in a variety of applications like managing pain, fighting infections, and suppressing appetites. It’s still used today for its anti-bacterial, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and pharmacokinetic effects. In fact, research shows that there are a number of potential health benefits of humulene.

One of the most promising benefits is its anti-cancer properties that were first discovered in a 2003 study. Researchers believe humulene can produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which plays a role in the death of cancer cells. Another study form 2016 showed that humulene was effective at destroying cancer cells when combined with other terpenes.

Humulene has long been used as a folk medicine for its antibacterial properties—and for good reason. It’s found in balsam fir tree oil and is one of the compounds that make this oil so effective at killing bacteria. According to a 2006 study, humulene’s antibacterial properties are even effective against dangerous bacteria like golden staph (though we still recommend seeking medical care for such an infection).

Humulene has also been shown to act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Its ability to reduce inflammation is one of the reasons some strains of cannabis are effective for easing chronic pain from conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis. It may also be helpful in counteracting DOMS—delayed onset muscles soreness.

As an appetite suppressant, humulene may even have a positive effect on your waistline. While cannabis is usually associate with an increase in hunger—“the munchies”—strains with high amounts of humulene can act as appetite suppressants and help you better resist those snack foods you may crave when using other strains.

If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of humulene and other cannabis terpenes, stop by our Oakland Dispensary to explore different products featuring humulene and other terpenes! Our Experience Guides are ready to help you find the perfect strain for your goals!


Why Terpenes Matter When Picking a Strain

When you visit a dispensary, you’re generally provided with THC and CBD percentages for the available products. There’s also a tendency to classify strains by whether they’re indica or sativa-dominant. At ECO Cannabis, we believe there’s a better way to help people shop for cannabis products.

Cannabis flower is full of compounds beyond cannabinoids. In fact, terpenes (or terpenoids) can have an amazing effect. Let’s take a look at what terpenes really are and why they matter when choosing a strain.

What Are Terpenes and Why Are They Important?

Why Terpenes Matter When Picking a Strain: buds around cbd oil

Terpenes are the naturally occurring organic compounds that give plants their smell and flavor. They’re the reason you can tell the difference between a strawberry and pineapple without even looking. Just like how rosemary and lavender essential oils have their unique aromas and therapeutic values, the terpene profile of a strain will set the tone for how it will affect you. Understanding terpenes, then, can be a vital part of including cannabis in a wellness routine.

There are over 20,000 different terpenes with at least 100 that can be found in the cannabis plant. Before current cannabis research, people mostly chose cannabis strains based on the basic effects of sativas and indicas. We now understand that terpenes not only influence the smell and flavor of buds, but can also enhance, change, or reduce the duration and intensity of a strain’s effect. This synergistic relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids is known as the “entourage effect,” and plays a significant role in how cannabis makes you feel.

Lemon surrounded by cannabis buds with terpenes

Terpenes to Look for When Choosing a Strain

We’ll be covering individual terpenes in more detail soon. For now, here are a few the most common terpenes you will come across when shopping for cannabis:

Limonene – Found in citrus fruits and your favorite cleaning products, this high-energy terpene can boost mood, reduce stress, and help with digestion.

Caryophyllene – Known for its spicy and woody aroma, caryophyllene boasts strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help with ulcers, arthritis, GI problems, as well as anxiety and depression.

Myrcene – With its musky, earthy scent, myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis. It can help ease muscle pain and tension and promote sleep. Indica strains often have large amounts of myrcene, which contributes to the stoned, “couch-lock” feeling they produce.

Linalool – With its sweet, floral scent, linalool relieves stress and boosts mood. It can balance out the anxious feeling that THC sometimes produces.

Pinene – Perhaps unsurprisingly, pinene smells like pine as well as orange peels. It is the most common terpene in the plant world. It can help fight inflammation and reduce the memory loss associated with THC. It can also promote alertness and boost airflow to your lungs.

One of the best outcomes of cannabis legalization is that consumers now have such a large selection when it comes to choosing strains. Making selections based on terpene profiles rather than just the amount of THC or CBD can bring a whole new dimension to the way you use an enjoy cannabis. You’ll be able to utilize synergistic effects to enhance the benefits of cannabis for treating conditions like pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, infections, and more, or just for boosting your overall wellness.

Not sure where to start with terpenes? No problem! Visit our new Oakland dispensary. Our Experience Guides are highly trained and ready to help you find the perfect strains for the experience you desire.