Medical marijuana has exploded on the scene with 90% of the licenses being granted across the nation for chronic pain. Many states have a list of approved conditions that are allowed for the license but in Oklahoma there are no restrictions except that you have to have a MMj card.
Knowing which strains and which terpenes is a highly complex process for a variety of reasons. First, say you have heard about this strain called “bluebonnet” (I’m making this up) that your friend used for their pain/sleep etc and it worked great. When you go to the same dispensary and ask for bluebonnet unless it is the same batch it might be different enough to not help you as much. If it is from the same grower then there is a chance it will be close though. However, if you go to a different dispensary than your friend and ask for “bluebonnet” then you really have no idea if this is similar or not! Now add in that your body may process things differently than your friend which adds another layer of difficulty comparing strains.
READ ON to learn the most accurate way to ensure you are getting a good quality product which may be as close to your friends as possible……
When growers grow marijuana each plant is a little different. There is a “mother” plant that is used to create new sprouts so that they will all be fairly similar. When these sprouts grow up and produce their flowers, the part of the plant that is harvested, the growers are required to do a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for that batch. Each batch from a different strain or mother and requires its’ own COA. Also in Oklahoma each 15 pound batch from an indoor grow facility and each 50 pound batch from an outdoor facility is required to have a COA. These in turn are supposed to be given to the dispensaries for every product handed over. Each product will have a lot number that should match the COA batch number.
When you go to the dispensary and purchase any type of MMJ there should be a COA that is readily accessible for that product. All you have to do is ask and they should be more than happy to hand you a copy of that COA. You should be able to walk out with that analysis. This is a great way to be able to start to collect data on how you respond to what is in a product. You may find that certain terpenes don’t work well for you and by hanging onto these sheets you could take them into any dispensary and show them what has worked and what has not and they should be able to guide you in the right direction.
Here is what you need to know about the COA information sheets.
- Expiration date: Each COA has an expiration date. MMj expires just like food! Be sure and verify the expiration date on the product you are considering.
- Lot number: Each product has a lot number so you can verify the lot number of the product with the batch number on the COA so you know they are showing you the actual matching COA.
- % total THC: This is the amount of active THC in that product. Some growers list a total THC/terpenes in this box so be sure and verify when looking at the COA.
- % of CBD, CBN, CBG etc – these are variants in the product itself. You may find that a product with more CBD might work better, etc.
- Terpene profile and % total terpenes: The terpenes are what gives the actual product its characteristics. These are key and I will get into these more later in these series.
- Safety data: each COA will have if pesticides, metals, foreign matter, microbials have passed the analysis. In addition, solvent and mycotoxins can be tested in certain instances when a product is used to make a tincture or gummy and the information will also be on this sheet.
- Grown indoors or outdoors: this information will be listed under the name of the product. Keep in mind if you are going to be smoking this ideally you want an indoor product.
The bud tender at the Emerald Alley Dispensary suggested that patients should keep a journal of the products tried, experiences (helped or didn’t help) along with the COA so they can help guide you to a better choice for your particular medical issue. Keeping track of the THC and terpene profile is a great way to hone in on what works for you.
If you would like to see the Oklahoma guidelines see this link.
Next I will address the cannabinoids and terpenes looking at the differences and characteristics that might be helpful for certain medical conditions.
To your health,