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Can hemp get you high?

Politicians and lawmakers may not want to hear this information, but I think many of you will.

Let's get right to it... hemp can definitely make you feel high!  

About two years ago my relationship with marijuana/THC took a turn.  After getting high over the course of twenty years, I was suddenly stricken with terrible paranoia and anxiety whenever THC entered my system.  I've tried different varieties, terpene profiles, ratios of different cannabinoids, smoking, vaping, low doses, micro doses, and no matter what, if there is enough THC to provoke any kind of intoxication, my mind would go into a terrible state.  

I'm not alone with this scenario either.  Over the last couple of years I've met many other people who work in the industry (especially cultivators) that have experienced the same type of sudden anxiety from THC, after years of consumption.  One day the marijuana gods flipped a switch on us and that was that!

The good thing about cannabis is there is massive spectrum of products that provide different experiences and effects.  Within the world of marijuana there is an intoxicating spectrum from sedative to stimulating.  However, within the world of cannabis as a whole, here is a spectrum from psychoactive to intoxicating.

Everyone knows what intoxicated means, but psychoactive is often misused.  Psychoactive doesn't mean "high" or "intoxicated", but high and intoxicated do mean psychoactive.  Psychoactive simply means that a substance is changing your brain chemistry and how it operates.  Cancer.gov defines psychoactive as:  A drug or other substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior. Examples of psychoactive substances include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, marijuana, and certain pain medicines. Many illegal drugs, such as heroin, LSD, cocaine, and amphetamines are also psychoactive substances. Also called psychotropic substance.

CBD, CBG, CBC, and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids, along with terpenes, are all psychoactive.

So, how does hemp make you feel high?  Well, it all starts with tolerance.  If you're a heavy hitter and are able to consume normal to large amounts of marijuana, without feeling overly intoxicated, you do dabs all day long, and/or eat hundreds of milligrams of marijuana edibles, chances are you're not going to feel a darn thing from smoking hemp.  However, if you rarely consume marijuana (less than once a week) to the point that you never develop a tolerance to it (or don't consume marijuana at all) then you're up for a happy hemp experience.

 

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Now let's be super clear about what I mean by hemp can make you feel high.  I'm specifically talking about smoking hemp flower that is abundant with trichomes and has a super pungent terpene profile.  The combination of the CBD or CBG, along with the terpenes, is ultimately what's creating the high.  

 

CBG hemp

CBG Hemp from Wild Fox Provisions is what GREAT hemp looks like!

 

You may be thinking "what about THC"?  In the world of federally legal hemp, there must be less than .30% D9-THC. There is still a grey area it seems as to what constitutes THC.  Some states are tallying TOTAL THC (THC+THCA), while other states are only looking at D9-THC.  But regardless of the total THC and/or THCA, even hemp flower that's super low, or has zero THC, can still make you feel high because of the psychoactive and mildly intoxicating properties of the cannabinoids and terpenes together.

I'm not saying that you're stoned out of your gourd, or that you're giggling uncontrollably.  Instead, it's a really mellow "warmth" that comes over your mind and body - which I compare to having two glasses of wine or high alcohol IPA. You can feel your mental state is altered, but it never goes into a realm that provokes anxiety, paranoia, panic, or any of the potential negative side effects that some people experience with marijuana.

Lately, I've been working on a hemp project that involves Interpening flower for quality and effects.  Here are my key takeaways so far:

  • Hemp lacking a pungent terpene/aroma profile never makes me feel high.
  • The amount of THC or other cannabinoids isn't as important as the amount of terpenes.
  • Hemp does not have a Sedative to Stimulating Spectrum, instead it's a much more narrow spectrum, which I am currently referring to as a Calm to Lucid Spectrum
    • Calm: not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.
    • Lucid: showing ability to think clearly, especially in the intervals between periods of confusion or insanity (I think this definition is especially relevant to the world we live in now in 2020).
  • Hemp flower tends to mirror your mood or expectations much more than marijuana.
    • In the world of marijuana, if you smoked a really sedative variety, but put yourself in a super stimulating environment, the effects of the variety may not be as sedative as they would in a relaxing environment, but they are still going be strongly sedative.  Imagine you smoke a sedative type a home while watching a movie, it's most likely going to give you couch-lock or put you to sleep.  Whereas if you smoked the same variety and went to a concert, you're not going to be glued to your seat or dancing, but you'll probably find yourself in your own dimension, intimately connected to the music in a very isolated way, yet aware of your surroundings.
    • In the world of hemp, regardless of the cannabinoid or terpene profile, the environment affects the experience much more.  If you're hanging out with friends at a campfire, having a really deep conversation about the meaning of life, smoking a specific hemp variety may keep you really clearheaded and engaged in the conversation.  However, if your friends at the same campfire were all listening to "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd and other nearly psychedelic sounding songs, while just staring off into the distance watching the sun set - the same hemp variety will help you feel incredibly calm, help minimize your thoughts, and live in the moment.
  • Hemp high in CBG tends to provoke a more lucid than calming experience, regardless of the environment.
  • Unlike Interpening, where the effects of flower can be identified based on the physical and aromatic profile of the flower, I have yet to connect any observable data in identifying the calm to lucid spectrum with hemp.  
    • Since most hemp falls within the medium to narrow leaf spectrum and has been hybridized relentlessly to minimize the amount of THC, the terpene profiles and physical attributes are all over the place, especially when comparing indoor and outdoor.  With that being said, my focus is being directed to hemp companies that include terpene tests, so I'm able to look more at the chemistry and aroma profile, vs. physical and aroma profile.  This will hopefully open up the door for identifying where hemp flower falls in the spectrum of effects from calm to lucid.
  • To really experience the effects of hemp, a single bowl don't do the trick.
    • Whenever I smoke a small bowl or only take a few hits off a joint, I do not feel any profound effects.  For the most part, I need to smoke a half gram to a gram worth of hemp flower to really hone in on whether I'm feeling calm or lucid.  When I smoked marijuana, I could take a single hit and feel the intoxicating effects, nearly immediately.  That didn't mean I felt sedative or stimulating effects of the variety, but I definitely could feel the high.  Unlike marijuana, the effects of hemp require a greater amount of plant material.
  • Digesting hemp has zero high or intoxication, regardless of the dose.  I've taken 250 - 1,500 mg of CBD (these doses are required to benefit from CBD based on all the human research) and never felt the slightest bit high at all.  The inhalation of the cannabinoids and terpenes together, is what provokes any form of high from hemp.
  • Flower vaporizers don't come close to the effects experienced when smoking hemp.  Something about that fire that does the trick!

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Some final thoughts... and opinions.

Hemp is amazing, but incredibly underrated.

Hemp is a better candidate to hemp combat prohibition and destigmatize "cannabis", compared to marijuana.

Hemp can help replace cigarettes, which kill nearly 500,000 people a year in the US alone.  

Hemp will help marijuana users from developing an incredibly high tolerance, which can be detrimental to ECS health.  

The taste and smell of consuming hemp flower, will provide a similar psychological response to that of marijuana for many smokers, and minimize the need to feel high, while still experiencing the medicinal benefits of hemp cannabinoids.

Hemp can help many people experience a true "Entourage Effect" of different cannabinoids, especially when combined with marijuana.

Hemp is more affordable, nowhere near as taxed as marijuana, and is much more accessible since it can be legally purchased online.

Hemp is more sustainable than marijuana.

Hemp has a much lower barrier of entry for farmers and entrepreneurs to enter the industry from legal and financial perspectives.

Hemp can clean the Earth, save the environments of our future, and provide so many more sustainable products compared to other plants like cotton, soy, corn, and palm.

Hemp is freaking awesome... so go smoke some and enjoy feeling calm or lucid!

 

Thanks for your time,

Brandon @ Trichome

hemp field