Tag: cannabis

Medical Marijuana Trials for Children and Teens with Mental Illness

In another bold move to forward medical cannabis to the benefit of humanity, Australia has announced clinical trials to study the effects of cannabis on children and teens suffering from mental illness. This is the latest in a growing history of benchmarks for the country.

As early as 2013, researchers were calling for the legalization of cannabis to reduce binge drinking. One year later, Australia’s first clinical trials for medical marijuana began.

The fall of 2015 proved very newsworthy when the Australian Government announced actions to make medical cannabis a reality for its people. By the summer of 2016, the country was conducting groundbreaking trials for children suffering from epilepsy.

In January of this year, Australian clinical research showed promising results in a study conducted for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Three days ago, the government announced that it was fast-tracking imported medical marijuana treatments for 29 children with severe epilepsy.

So Australia, it’s already March 3rd, what have you done for us lately?

In a first-of-its-kind trial, children as young as 12 who suffer from anxiety-related disorders will be treated with cannabis to study its effects on young people. The study is being lead by the 2010 Australian of the Year, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry.

During the research, participants will receive 2-4 daily powder capsules of CBD for a period of 12 weeks. Participants of the study group range from 12-15 years old and suffer from anxiety-related behavior.

In an interview with the media, Professor McGorry stated that the trial is for patients who have not seen success with traditional therapy. He added that “we need to get innovative and look at alternative therapies to help reduce this burden that is growing among our youth.” The study is scheduled to begin in June.

As another day ends, we can only imagine what the next announcements out of Australia will be. This one-time penal colony is quickly becoming a world leader in finding incredible uses for a formerly illegal medicine.


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Nevada Grown: Wine and Cannabis Industries Both Take Root

The sleepy little town of Pahrump, Nevada, roughly 60 miles from Las Vegas, is well-known for many things, most not deserving of being mentioned here. Lesser known is that Pahrump is home to two burgeoning industries that have the potential to play a substantive role in diversifying the state’s economic future.

Their status as relatively new industries in a tiny little sliver of the Silver State is just one of the things wine and cannabis have in common. Pahrump, with a population of approximately 37,000, is home to Pahrump Valley Winery (PVW), which has been quietly pressing and stomping its way to grapeness for 15 years under the direction of owners Bill and Gretchen Loken. The tiny Nye County town is also home to Green Life Productions (GLP), which, at roughly two years old, is a medical cannabis cultivation run by Steve Cantwell and Kouanin Villa, and is part of the state’s newly unrolled cannabis industry.

Even though their facilities are a mere 2.4 miles apart, the two couples who run Pahrump Valley Winery and Green Life had never formally met until elevate brought them together for this story to discuss the similarities and differences between the wine and cannabis industries and their journeys as entrepreneurs.



The most obvious similarity the two entities share is being pioneers in industries that are both growing new roots in Nevada. PVW is one of only three wineries in the state, and the cannabis industry just began operation in 2015.

“We are just starting to explore cannabis while they already have a system that has pretty much been outlined by generations and generations of winemakers,” said Steve, who manages cultivation at Green Life. “So it’s kind of cool to see an evolved industry that has matured and works through all the problems. They have already foreseen all the potential challenges and they have really got it narrowed down to what works and how to do it. We are still in a new industry, where we are still actively running into those walls and figuring out how to tear them down on the spot and rebuild them.”

As Steve noted, winemakers have been around for generations but in Nevada’s case it has been a more recent addition to the state’s agriculture sector. “The wine industry basically didn’t exist in Nevada 13, 14, 15 years ago,” explained Bill, who handles marketing and operations at the winery. “Very few people really believed that you could actually develop a wine industry, a legitimate one, in the state of Nevada.”

In spite of being in the beginning stages of an industry new to the state, it hasn’t taken long for the Lokens and PVW to find success and accolades. To date, the winery produces on average 100,000 bottles of wine a year and has garnered 450 national wine awards.

Although surprised by their success, the Lokens were even more pleased with pulling off the impossible. “That is the biggest satisfaction we get out of this — is doing something that nobody believed could be done,” explained Bill.

Bill believes that will be a motivating factor for Steve and Kouanin also. “The industry that you are in is in its embryonic stages so you have an opportunity to really be on the cutting edge and be a leader in something that’s not being done in Nevada and so I think you are going to find a lot of energy in that and I think that’s going to sustain you.”

Steve concurred, but cited the difficulty of being on the ground floor of a new industry. “It’s exciting but at times it can be nerve wracking. It can be overwhelming because we don’t know whether to lead or follow at times. Your inclination is to look at the guy next to you to see what he is doing, but at the same time you want to do your own thing and don’t want to get caught up with everybody else and their flow.”

Although overwhelmed by pioneering a new industry, when Steve took the long view and looked 15 years down the road through Bill’s eyes, he was encouraged. “It’s really exciting to be inspired by what others are doing. We heard their story for the first time today, of how they brought the wine industry to Nevada. They crossed barriers that people told them they couldn’t cross and we have done a lot of the same things in our industry in these first two years as well. Implementing the growing system we have developed and using the technologies that we have used has allowed us to overcome those same barriers. It kind of gives me inspiration to hear about people who have successfully overcome those obstacles.”


Prior to sitting down for this story, elevate arranged for both teams to tour one another’s respective grow and vineyard. “There were a surprising amount of parallels as far as both the growing side and production side that I really didn’t perceive before,” allowed Steve.

As PVW’s winemaker, Gretchen, agreed, noting the many similarities especially as far as the sequence of the growing cycle. “You start with the vegetative side then you move it to the reproductive side. Then it needs so much time before it’s ready to actually harvest. It’s harvested and then it needs to cure and then you actually have a product from it. Grapes are the same way, they go through all those different stages. So, to me, it was learning the cycle and finding out that the cannabis plant is very similar to the grapevine.”

Although there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also some slight variations in how each is grown. Bill offered a metaphor, “it is a little bit like camping out versus living in a really nice luxury condo.”

In explanation, Bill continued, “I would say that their process is much more scientific and they have much tighter control by handling everything inside. The incredible cutting edge farming that they use is really quite fascinating. So I see a very internalized, very controlled environment that’s going through the same processes, if you will, whereas we are kind of old-school. We are out there in the elements using whatever soil the earth has given us today and dealing with the weather and other exterior elements.”

Gretchen harvests Zinfandel grapes at the winery.

Gretchen harvests Zinfandel grapes at the winery.

The cutting edge growing style that Bill refers to is Steve’s living soil method that he utilizes to nurture Green Life’s cannabis. “The way we grow is different from 99 out of a 100 facilities — not just here in Nevada but throughout the industry in general. The cornerstone of our cultivation is really our living organic soil. We use no-till concepts and natural farming concepts to get it done. What this means is we don’t feed our plants, we actually grow soil organically…rather than feeding the plant, we feed our soil and our soil, in turn, feeds the plant.”

“I am actually jealous that they get to camp out and I have to sleep in this condo,” Steve replied, in answer to Bill’s observation. “What we are trying to do in the condo is replicate what they are doing outside — just allowing nature to take its course. It’s a beautiful process and they have their vast differences, but I think there are more similarities than there are differences. We are both making quality product and focusing on the needs of the plants and small details that make the big differences.”


Terpenes is another similarity that is instrumental to the success of both cannabis and grapes. “Terpene is a natural element in grapes. In certain grapes, depending on the wine, you want different levels of terpenes,” explained Gretchen. “For something like Sauvignon Blanc you want the terpenes — that’s what gives it that beautiful kind of grassy nose and that lemongrass aspect. But with Cabernet Sauvignon you don’t want that high level of terpenes. You want to make sure the grapes are ripe so that it minimizes that. So we work with them pretty much the same way.”


With regard to cannabis, in addition to taste and smell, terpenes also take on a medicinal role. “The first thing people want to do when they open a jar of cannabis is to smell it. The smell and the taste are two of the biggest factors in cannabis as I imagine they are in certain wines,” observed Steve. “We take it a step further and look at the individual medicinal effects to see what each terpene can help with. We try to use some of the science and research out there and really try to have a broad spectrum of terpenes to help a broad spectrum of illnesses. Pinene, for instance, is a bronchodilator or it helps people focus more. Another terpene, myrcene, is more for people to relax, it’s more of a sedative, and it also helps the cannabinoids break the blood-brain barrier so you can feel the effects faster.”


Cannabis is grown from seeds, whereas in the vineyard they begin with vines. “We have to buy our vines from a certified nursery in California,” offered Gretchen. “You buy a grafted vine, you never deal with seeds when you are growing grapevines. The vines have already been grafted at least a year and then you bring them in and plant them.”

One of the grow rooms at Green Life Productions.

One of the grow rooms at Green Life Productions.

Vintners have much more leeway as far as jurisdiction with regard to where they can get their product from compared to cannabis farmers. “We can’t bring in seeds from out of state. Under state regulation we have to get them from within Nevada’s borders,” explained Steve of cannabis. “They basically have to be donated from a legal patient. It really is a gray area because there really is no indigenous marijuana in Nevada so, at some point, all the seeds have crossed state lines.”

“The other thing we can do, which wouldn’t work for cannabis since you can’t cross state lines,” Gretchen added with regard to sourcing, “is if we wanted to add a new wine, we can just buy those grapes from a grower in another state. We could just bring in the grapes and have a whole new wine. So we have got much more freedom in how we can expand than the cannabis industry does.”

In fact buying grapes from California growers was initially the way PVW used to make all of their wine. Then in the early aughts the Lokens decided to try their hand at planting vines and growing their own grapes in Nevada’s soil. Following their first harvest in 2005, PVW sold Nevada’s first commercial estate red wine, Nevada Ridge, in 2008. They now grow Syrah and Zinfandel grapes on two acres of the winery’s grounds. The Lokens also source grapes for their wine from farmers in Nevada’s Armargosa Valley, Fish Lake Valley, and Crystal Heights.

Steve Cantwell and Gretchen Loken are pictured in Pahrump Valley Winery's cellar.

Steve Cantwell and Gretchen Loken are pictured in Pahrump Valley Winery’s cellar.

After finding success making wine from grapes grown in Nevada and realizing it could be done, Bill decided to start working with Nevada’s alfalfa farmers to teach them about growing grapes. “The economic benefit for grape growers is much higher than the alfalfa and it uses 15 percent of the water that alfalfa does. So they make more money, use less water, and can help grow the wine industry in Nevada,” explained Bill.

Steve, too, has been working with area farmers to broaden the cannabis industry. “We have actually spoken to several alfalfa farmers about growing hemp. We have also talked to other cultivators in other jurisdictions as far as cultivating methods using our organic system and replacing their hydroponic system. We are trying to do everything we can to spread the good news both on the cannabis front and the organic soil front. We are just really passionate about what we are doing, we believe in it.”


In addition to helping others, the two Pahrump neighbors have been helping one another. Steve has been using pumice from the winery to make compost for the cultivation.

Kouanin Villa and Steven Cantrwell, owners of Green Life Productions

Kouanin Villa and Steven Cantrwell, owners of Green Life Productions.

“One of the biggest parts of our living soil system is our compost and there are only a few really good compost companies out there that make compost to my standards. We don’t want to use bottled nutrients from hydroponic stores in our soil or compost, we want to make as much of it as possible on site. So we gathered their pumice which is basically all their pressings, stems, skins, and seeds,” explained Steve.

“We have a specific recipe with carbon nitrogen levels that we are trying to reach. We have to get everything tested prior to the third-party composting process. So prior to actually putting it in a pile we have to have the pumice tested just to make sure there are no pesticides or fungicides. So kudos to them that everything came back clean,” Steve said with an approving nod to the Lokens, “if it was cannabis, it would have passed state regulations. So, yes, we threw that in our compost pile. That was more of our fruit component to add some more sweet taste and potassium versus just nitrogen.”

With a partnership already somewhat in bloom, elevate wondered if the two entrepreneurs would consider working with one another to create a canna-wine or tincture. “I would absolutely be inclined,” Bill enthusiastically responded. “The regulations are going to have to change a lot before we are able to do that on a consumer level because right now it’s very tight, it’s got to be medicinal.”

Bill and Gretchen Loken, owners of Pahrump Valley Winery

Bill and Gretchen Loken, owners of Pahrump Valley Winery.

Steve agreed, “I think that would be excellent. I can see lots of ways that both sides can enjoy sharing their knowledge and product. I would love to possibly grow some organic soil grapes and see if we can also bring those grape profiles up and potentially make a sweeter profile. I would be interested in getting a plot of grapes going here soon.”

Bill added, “Not only would I be very open to it, but I would be tickled at the idea of doing it at the very moment that it is legal because it would be not only cutting edge, but it would be another Nevada product. We love this whole idea about growing Nevada. They,” he concluded with chuckle and a nod to Steve and Kouanin, “are literally growing Nevada, too, but it has taken on a whole new dimension now.”

elevate NV magazine editor Beth Schwartz sits down with Steve Cantwell and Kouanin Villa of Green Life Productions (GLP) and Bill and Gretchen Loken of Pahrump Valley Winery (PVW) for a roundtable discussion following tours of GLP’s cultivation and PVW’s vineyard.

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This story was originally published in the February 2017 edition of elevate Nevada.


Start a Marijuana Business Today: CertificationClinics.com™ offers a comprehensive business model for recommending Medical Marijuana Certifications and/or Dispensary Ownership in your area. The CertificationClinics.com™ Business Support staff will educate you in every of the growing medical marijuana industry, providing you a fully operational and profitable enterprise. Learn More »


The Evolution of Dabbing (Google) Trends

The cannabis world is a veritable maze of different and changing terminologies. Many within the industry maintain a thorough command of much of the established vocabulary, but there still remains large vernacular forces at play that can keep the unexposed world at an arm’s length.

When it comes to the world of dabs, extracts, oil, wax, 710, and cannabis concentrates, the gap is gargantuan even though it is being bridged by the growing understanding of the benefits cannabis oil can have for a clear subset of those in acute medical need. The dab and recent dabbing dance craze has certainly not helped clear things up — it is muddling those search terms on Google and in everyday conversation — I no longer balk when I hear a story that a politician, celebrity, or luminary “dabbed”. However, there are other dab-related terms and colloquialisms that point to the continuing rise in the popularity of extracts.

My personal experience narrowed cannabis to usually “weed” or “bud” in my nascent years of partaking — there was little usage of  “cannabis,” “marijuana,” “pot,” or “reefer.” When moving to Southern California nearly half a decade ago, cannabis concentrates were mostly in the form of crumbles and budders. More often than not, “wax” would be the term associated with these products. Turn to the present-day and you might hear “oil” used to describe concentrates more frequently.

In this series, we want to track how the world of cannabis concentrates is evolving. One useful barometer to aid our cause is Google Trends, which allows us to understand the popularity of keywords relevant to dabs over time.

In our first installment, we want to examine dab terminology that shows a skyrocketing interest in cannabis concentrates — an interest we don’t expect to see slowing down anytime soon.


“Cannabis Oil,” “Dab Oil,” and “How to Smoke Dabs”

The first basic but essential terms that display the clear upward interest in concentrates are “cannabis oil” and “dab oil.” Both show a steady increase in google popularity in the five-year span we examined.

We also examined terms like “butane hash oil” and “BHO” (this search’s ability to forecast within the industry is impaired due to the 44th U.S. President having the full name Barack Hussein Obama) concluding that the more mainstream terms of “cannabis oil” and “dab oil” are winning out in colloquial adoption. Both “butane hash oil” and “hash oil” peaked in interest on Google Trends in 2014 and now only sit at a fraction of their peak.

More and more people who are understandably new to dabbing are asking Google, “How to Smoke Dabs” — it’s definitely a process that lends itself to instruction before embarking on the journey.


“Cannabis” vs. “Cannabis Oil”

In the extract world, there are dozens of words bandied around that are synonymous to cannabis concentrates or used to describe a specific form or consistency of concentrates. This dispersion of terms and this new frontier of extraction puts the newer and more emerging terminology surrounding dabs at disadvantage to being more widely adopted when pitted against the well-established search terms, “cannabis,” “weed,” “marijuana,” and “pot”. A large number of recent extract-specific terms do not even show up on Google Trends because they do not receive enough search traffic.

As of February 2017, searches for “cannabis” are nearly 14 times more popular than searches for “cannabis oil.” Extracts still have a ways to go before they reach parity with flowers.


“How to Make Cannabis Oil” and “How to Make Dabs”

Cannabis consumers and medical patients are not only searching for places to buy dabs, oil, and extracts, but they are also wondering how to make dabs of their own. The question of home-made extraction stirs up controversy and some of the known dangers associated with open-air blasting. It is not all reefer madness but it is often spun as such. In the past handful of years, the development and adoption of mandatory safer techniques based around closed-loop extraction have become more and more mainstream — according to Google Trends “closed loop extraction” had next to no interest until mid-2013.

What are a few factors driving the increasing popularity of cannabis extracts?

A significant majority of the states in America and a large majority of the population have formally recognized the medical merits of cannabis. More than 65 million people live in a state allowing legal, recreational cannabis use. Atop this rising tide, cannabis extracts will not likely see a decrease in interest unless political conditions force it.

As legalization and access to medical marijuana research make headway, anecdotes and medical success stories from the use of cannabis oil are also further to the forefront of mainstream reports. Whether it’s combating seizures and epilepsy associated with Dravet syndrome, tremors associated with Parkinson’s, or chronic pain from a multitude of disabilities, cannabis oil and CBD-specific treatments are becoming more accepted by the entire adult population.

In terms of the recreational use of concentrates, the stigma of dab vapor is almost non-existent because there are very few people who suspect that your stealthy dab pen is anything other than an e-cig. Also, the terpene-loaded scent of a dab pen puff bears almost no resemblance to the immediately detectable and identifiable scent of flower. In recent years even President Obama has voiced that cannabis is less dangerous than weed, and who could forget the Choom Gang?


The heady glass art movement will always leave new entrants to the world of both cannabis or dabs with their jaws dropped. With functional glass art continually pushing the boundaries of the medium by developing new colors, color-changing techs, and astounding sculptural glass architecture, the mainstream art world is and will continue to take notice of museum-worthy masterpieces and the artists who create them.

Not only are some of the world’s top artists pushing the envelope, but up-and-coming North American glass artists who make everything from bubblers and bongs to dab rigs and one-off pieces are catering to an ever-growing contingent of the cannabis curious. Once newly interested medical or recreational users realize they can visit glass galleries or smoke shops with cases upon cases of artistically made pieces, many are glad to never have to resort to a cheap gas station pipe again.

Scott Deppe of Mothership Glass giving out dabs on his $100k dab rig collab with Mr. Grey Glass.

Scott Deppe of Mothership Glass giving out dabs on his $100k dab rig collab with Mr. Grey Glass.

There have been other examinations of cannabis terminology through search, by The Cannabist and Leafly, however none delved into dabs/extracts/concentrates specifically. We hope to continue to examine more dab-related terms to understand how the industry is constantly shifting through the popularity of keyword searches on Google.


Photos courtesy of Allie Beckett.


Start a Marijuana Business Today: CertificationClinics.com™ offers a comprehensive business model for recommending Medical Marijuana Certifications and/or Dispensary Ownership in your area. The CertificationClinics.com™ Business Support staff will educate you in every of the growing medical marijuana industry, providing you a fully operational and profitable enterprise. Learn More »