April’s Pot Talk with Emily Hobelmann

THC-Rich Deep Sleep & CBD-Rich Trident

   The Humboldt Patient Resource Center (HPRC) in Northern Humboldt County is a stylish and welcoming facility. It’s been a dispensary for about 17 years now, pretty much since the dawn of the dispensary model in California. When I arrived to pick up samples for this edition of Pot Talk, a fresh and enthusiastic crew greeted me.

   The HPRC’s selection includes in-house cultivated flowers and clones from their Clean Green Certified garden and a variety of products from other reputable cannabis companies. They carry glass and gear too. I definitely recommend checking it out when you are in Arcata.

I received two eighths from The HPRC — a CBD-rich strain called Trident and a THC-rich strain by the name of Deep Sleep. The cannabis came in sleek vacuum-sealed packages with labels that specify the THC and CBD content of each plant in addition to certifying that each flower is lab tested for mold, mildew and pesticides. The labels also indicate the THC and CBD content of the flowers.

   HPRC’s General Manager, Bryan Willkomm, took some time to tell me about the samples via email. He talked about the ‘terpene profile’ of each strain, saying “terpene tests are a strong predictor of how a certain strain will interact with patients when all other metrics are the same.” For example, a patient may experience contrasting effects from two strains with the same THC content, say 18 percent. The different experiences may be due to different terpene profiles. Therefore, medicinal effects don’t just come down to cannabinoid ratios — the terpene profile plays an important role too.

Cannabinoids are compounds that produce medicinal effects via interaction with the human endo-cannabinoid system. THC and CBD are the best-known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Terpenes are hydrocarbons found in the plant’s essential oils, and they are responsible for each it’s unique bouquet and flavor. There are many terpenes in cannabis flowers — dozens, according to the SC Labs’ website. Terpenes and cannabinoids work synergistically — it’s called the “entourage effect” and it’s why terpene profiling and “whole plant medicine” are important.

HPRC staffers help customers by educating them about strains in terms of cannabinoid ratios (CBD: THC) and terpene profiles. “Our goal is to empower patients with information, and we feel the terpene test is part of the potential medical benefits that a cannabis strain may offer a patient,” says Willkomm.

Let’s get to it.

Deep Sleep

  How about some metrics? This particular sample of Deep Sleep tested out 16.69 percent THC and 0.02 percent CBD. The strain is a cross between Pre-98 Bubba and Larry OG. According to Willkomm, it’s terpene profile is rich in both Pinene and Beta-Caryophyllene. Pinene is found in the essential oils of pine trees, hence the name, and is one of the main constituents of turpentine (distilled pine tree resin). The Beta-Caryophyllene terpene is found in black pepper, rosemary, hops and cloves…

Deep SleepThese naturally occurring compounds are studied extensively for their medicinal and utilitarian uses, and now that cannabis labs offer terpene testing, we can all better understand strain effects. In this case, Willkomm says the therapeutic effects of the Pinene in Deep Sleep include pain relief and anti-inflammation. Plus it’s an antioxidant. The Beta-Caryophyllene is calming and has anti-anxiety benefits.

  The eighth of Deep Sleep consisted of four pyramidal nugs, soft frosty green with clumps of expressive orange hairs. The first whiff was sweet, like grapes and bread, although subsequent smelling expeditions did not yield such a detectable aroma. It just smelled like warm hay with kush undertones.

  The taste was stronger than the smell — it’s got an earthy, frosted lemon cookie flavor. It’s a smooth and mild smoke, and when I tried this strain during the daytime, it was quite calming. However, when I smoked it before bed, my sleep was not very deep. The tranquil effect came with a bit of energetic euphoria. It’s nice.

Trident

  The Trident, on the other hand, is a Pow! Boom! Pop! strain that smacks you with a strong mucky smell, and a rich, cloying cocoa-caramel aroma that makes you want to turn away. And I mean that in a good way… The nugs are sturdy with profound telescoping nodules. They’re chunky and sparkly with an impressionistic blonde-to-army green color. The flavor is sweet with undertones of sulfur, but it did not hit me nearly as hard as the smell. Trident has character, for sure.

Trident  The metrics: Trident is a 3:1 CBD strain — it generally contains about three times more CBD than THC. (Willkomm says it usually tests out at around 15-18 percent CBD and 5-6 percent THC.) However, this particular sample was 12.25 percent CBD and 5.67 percent THC, which is closer to 2:1 ratio. Willkomm says it’s terpene profile shows a high limonene concentration, “which is invigorating for patients.” Limonene is a terpene with a lemon-like scent, and present in the essential oils of citrus fruit, among other things. Willkomm calls it “a great day-time strain for patients with pain, spasticity and depression.” And he says it’s a “productive” strain too because of the low THC content. Patients love it because of its highly aromatic and resinous OG-like qualities.

   It is so stanky… I felt only a slight head change after a bong load, so I smoked another 20 minutes later. Still, I didn’t feel much. But this is exactly what I love about CBD strains! You can smoke freely, all throughout the day, and you just get this energetic sense of well-being. There’s no overpowering euphoria, inebriation or desire to question the origins of the universe.

   So after these two bong loads, I went and sat at the local coffee shop to socialize. That is not something I normally do after smoking, and I love that outgoing effect. I can smoke the hell out of it and then go talk to people without feeling like I’m going to trip out over my words or wind up in some awkward head space.

   I found the Trident to be quite similar to the CBD-rich Sour Tsunami strain I reviewed for the Emerald Magazine’s CBD issue in September 2015. But it’s super rich and musky as opposed to sharp and citrusy, like the Sour Tsu.

   The natural next step, I thought, was to blend Deep Sleep and Trident in a joint. Sure, the Trident overpowers the Deep Sleep, at least in odor and flavor, but I really like the idea of the CBD-rich strain taking the inebriating edge off the THC-rich strain. All those positive effects! Anti-anxiety, pain relief… Cannabis is powerful.

   Thank you so much to Willkomm and the crew at HPRC. You can catch up with them at the Dandelion Herbal Center Medical Cannabis Conference in Arcata on April 23-24. They’re also online at hprcarcata.com

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