Does Cannabis Help Treat Chronic Kidney Disease?

The little research available suggests that some parts of cannabis may be more helpful than others for treating chronic kidney disease.



Chronic Kidney Disease
PHOTO | Getty Images
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Medical cannabis is more popular than ever, but while the herb has proven itself to be a miracle worker in some cases, its potential healing powers may be more subtle in others. In the case of cannabis for chronic kidney disease, the little research available hints that some parts of the plant may be more helpful than others.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) refers to the slow and prolonged loss of kidney function over time. While the onset of CKD may be slow, the condition is a serious one. The kidneys are essential parts of the body’s detoxification system, filtering toxins and unnecessary waste from the blood.

When kidney function is impaired, that means that the body can no longer properly filter out excess debris. The result is a harmful buildup of waste inside the body, potentially leading to organ failure and damage to the heart, which circulates blood to all other organs.

Even in its early stages, kidney disease can still cause severe symptoms of pain, sleeplessness, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and many other ailments. Finding ways to further ease symptoms and slow the progression of kidney disease is vital for long-term patient care.

Does Cannabis Help Chronic Kidney Disease?

Cannabis and the kidneys haven’t always seemed like a good match. While a 2017 study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that consuming the herb was not associated with kidney trouble, when it comes to promoting kidney health, some cannabis compounds may be more valuable than others.

To be clear, there have been no human trials of cannabis or any chemicals that it creates as a treatment for chronic kidney disease. However, in an effort to explore how the plant might affect these vital organs, scientists have tested various cannabis chemicals in experimental models of kidney disease. The verdict thus far? CBD appears to be more helpful than THC.

Unlike any other known plant on the planet, cannabis possesses unique chemical properties that give the herb both therapeutic and recreational effects. Two of the most prevalent chemical compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is the molecule responsible for the euphoric “high” that has made the herb famous. Yet, while the psychoactive is often touted as a panacea, early evidence suggests that this molecule may be more aggravating than helpful to those with kidney damage.

Unfortunately, however, arguably very little research has been conducted on cannabis for kidney disease. Based on the information available right now, it is only possible to make assumptions based on a limited number of early experiments. Many of these early experiments did not use THC properly, but may still provide information on what the phytochemical may do in diseased kidneys.

Exactly why THC may not be the best option for those with CKD is due to how the molecule functions in the human body. The psychoactive works its magic in the human body thanks to its ability to engage specific cell receptors, or landing sites, that are found on the surface of cells. When THC interacts with these cell receptors, it activates them and causes a cascade of chemical reactions within and between different cells.

While research is still in experimental phases, early science suggests that putting a halt this activation seems to reduce inflammation and protect kidney cells from further damage. Since THC activates these cell receptors instead of blocks them, it is logical to assume that THC may not be the best choice for patients with CKD.

CBD for Chronic Kidney Disease

Yet, while THC may not be the answer in CKD, experimental research suggests that another cannabis product may ease damage and reduce inflammation in diseased kidneys. CBD is perhaps the second most abundant medicinal compound produced by the cannabis plant.

Unlike THC, however, this natural medicine does not produce intoxicating effects. Instead, CBD is expected to have anxiety and stress-fighting properties without causing a change in cognition. As it turns out, this calming molecule is a product of interest in kidney-disease research.

Back in 2009, researchers at the Chinese Zhejiang University found that CBD seemed to reduce kidney inflammation caused by a common chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. While cisplatin is highly effective against certain types of cancer, kidney damage is one of the severe side effects of the drug. Since the medicine is known to contribute to kidney failure, it is given to rodents to create an experimental model of chronic kidney diease.

In rodents, CBD seemed to reduce stress on the kidneys, prevent the death of cells, and ease inflammation. As a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic, some experts speculate that cannabis compounds like CBD may also be able to reduce pain, improve sleep, and ease nausea and vomiting associated with the disease. Yet, while the striking therapeutic potential of CBD may inspire patients to experiment, the molecule still hasn’t been put to the test in humans.

More amazingly, CBD is not the only chemical in the cannabis plant that can successfully ease inflammation and improve outcome in models of kidney disease. As it turns out, one of the molecules that gives some cannabis plants a sharp, spicy fragrance may also be a potent natural remedy.

In early experiments, the phytochemical beta-caryophene (BCP) reduced stress-related damage and prevented the death of kidney cells. This punchy fragrance is the same molecule that gives black pepper its powerful kick.

When it comes to the science of cannabis for chronic kidney disease, quality research is still few and far between. Yet, if the early evidence is any indication, the anti-inflammatory powers of CBD may one day prove beneficial to those with CKD.

Psychoactive THC, on the other hand, may not be the best option for patients hoping to give their kidneys as much rest and relaxation as possible. Of course, without quality trials, there is no way of knowing exactly what impact the medicinal herb has on damaged kidneys.

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Peach Oz: This Sweet And Juicy Cultivar Will Stimulate Your Creativity




If you’re looking for a premium cultivar with legendary genetics and a euphoric high, look no further than Peach Oz, the latest addition to Wonderbrett’s stellar strain menu.

A cross of Peach Rings with OZ Kush and a descendent of Zkittlez, the sweet, stimulating citrus taste profile of Peach Oz will get your creative juices flowing.

While the cultivar may be new to the public, according to Wonderbrett Co-Founder and famed Breeder Brett Feldman, it’s five-years-old in the world of genetics.

“There’s only a small handful of heady smokers who follow these things,” says Feldman. “I wanted to bring it to the masses to share the experience with everybody. That’s where my passion comes from with this strain. Similar to an amazing dish at a restaurant, you want to share it with your friends.”

Grown in small-batches at scale from the company’s state-of-the-art Long Beach cultivation facility, the strain was first created by Dying Breed Seeds, then perfected by Cannabis By Corey, before making its way to Feldman.

Wonderbrett’s grow room | PHOTO: Courtesy Wonderbrett

Bursting with flavors and aromas that bring to mind the sweet ocean breeze and fragrant fruit orchards of the California sunshine state, Peach OZ’s four dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Linalool, Limonene and Humulene, create a distinct sweet taste of ripe peaches, citrus candy and cream.  

“When any strain has that unique, recognizable consistency in its flavor, whether that be peach, lemon or orange, that’s what myself and other breeders appreciate most and look for when bringing a genetic like this to market. It’s mind-blowing what Peach OZ can do that, translating a fruit flavor to a smoking experience,” explained Feldman.

Peach OZ is available at select dispensary and at Wonderbrett’s flagship dispensary in L.A.

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Pink Lemonade: This Sparkling Strain Is Both Pretty & Potent

The frosted pink buds of Pink Lemonade might dazzle the beholder with glittering layer of golden trichomes, but this gorgeous flower isn’t all looks.



Pink Lemonade
PHOTO | Anna Wilcox

Dusted with a glittering layer of golden trichomes, the Pink Lemonade strain is endowed with a mystical appearance that embodies everything curious, attractive, and intriguing about cannabis flowers. Tightly bound calyxes dazzle with a bouquet of pink, violet, and sage coloration.

Cracking open one of these flowers emits a comfortable herbal aroma. A burst of crispness teases the nose, somewhat akin to the tart fizz in a carbonated cherry drink. This dessert-like aroma nicely compliments a definite happy hour high. Calm, relaxed, and downright chill, Pink Lemonade is a true afternoon delight.

The Pink Lemonade High

Put on some chill beats and pour yourself a nice drink. This plant is smooth, easy, and well-rounded. If inhaling Pink Lemonade feels like the first meaningful breath you’ve taken all day, you might be pleasantly surprised as a subtle relaxation works its way along the limbs and through the muscles.

There’s no doubt about it–this plant is a go-to strain for mellowing out. While often described as thoughtful and creative, the herb is better suited to leisure activities than it is serious concentration.

While solo consumers may enjoy putting on some Netflix after a little of this plant, it’s peaceful and contented nature is ideal for social gatherings. Spending time with friends may always be fun, but it’s easy to sit back enjoy a pleasant conversation after a few tastes of Pink Lemonade.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that cannabis affects everyone differently. The herb tends to be a mood enhancer rather than an instant remedy for happiness. If you are in an easygoing and relaxed environment, expect even more mellow after enjoying a little bud. If you’ve been having a bad day, strains like Pink Lemonade may provide relief by softening negative emotions and making them more tolerable.

Pink Lemonade Strain Background

Today’s cannabis market is truly a craft one. To say that the lack of federal recognition of the herb is problematic is an understatement. However, one benefit of state-by-state legalization is the development of truly local, expertly crafted products.

Pink Lemonade is a superb example of such a flower. There are many renditions of Pink Lemonade out there, yet the particular version pictured is a cross between two contemporary hybrids, Lemon Cheesecake and Huckleberry Soda.

Each parent strain is exceptional in its own right. Lemon Cheesecake is a sativa-dominant flower with a sour cream aroma and substantial THC production. Huckleberry Soda is a craft hybrid from Annunkanki Genetics, an intriguing cross between two hybrids, Black Cherry Soda and Huckleberry Hound.

Pink Lemonade Strain Benefits

As a craft flower, Pink Lemonade was arguably bred more for enjoyment than serious medical potential. It’s frosted pink buds dazzle the beholder, showcasing the fact that this plant is truly a treat. However, this gorgeous flower isn’t all looks.

The flower produces upwards of 25 percent THC. This means that the plant may be useful to those who benefit from high-THC therapies. Those interested in making a full-extract oil, hash, or other forms of concentrates may also enjoy experimenting with this sugary herb.

This plant is not too energizing nor is it overly sedative. However, those hoping for a little extra help falling asleep at night may find the flower helpful. The relaxed flower may also be beneficial for anxious individuals in search of a social lubricant.

However, the high-THC content in Pink Lemonade can inspire the opposite effect in some people. Bottom line: if you are prone to social anxiety or often respond poorly to THC, this potent flower is likely not the best choice.

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Wizard Stones: The Magic of Making Cannabis Diamonds

Aaron Palmer and Graham Jennings, founders of Oleum Extracts in Washington State, talk about Wizard Stones, their THCA isolate product.



Wizard Stones
PHOTO | Oleum Extracts

Heat, pressure, and time. The three components required to form a diamond from carbon. But what about diamonds made from cannabis? The founders of Oleum Extracts, Aaron Palmer and Graham Jennings both agree that a good cannabis diamond aka Wizard Stones ultimately comes down to the flavor provided by its terpene fraction.

‘Diamonds’ is a slang term for the crystal formations of the cannabinoid THCA. The molecule’s lattice structure builds upon itself naturally as individual molecules clump together creating the faceted formations that resemble diamond or quartz.

When most people talk about cannabis diamonds, they’re talking about THCA structures that form in their own terpene sauce. So, it’s a little different technique than other isolation methods.

While their chemical composition is the same, the process to make them is slightly different than the traditional diamonds mined from a raw extract. Instead, they use a specially formulated solvent mix to create a solution with a composition that encourages crystallization.

Due to Washington state’s regulations, Oleum is limited in the chemical solvents they can use. So that blend is the crucial variable to isolating THCA into their Wizard Stones product.

Growing cannabis diamonds within their original terpene fraction comes down to creating an environment with the right amounts of pressure and heat to encourage crystal growth.

Within the raw extract, the terpene and cannabinoid compounds are homogenized together, but as they settle and separate the mixture “crashes” — which is the start of crystallization.

Palmer explains that this process “helps to create a seed because if there’s nothing for the THCA molecules to grab onto then they have a harder time starting the diamond formation.”

There are a few ways extractors seed a solution to start diamond growth, but Oleum prefers to use freezing temperatures to solidify and then thaw their extract, helping to create small groupings of THCA for other molecules to stack off.

Another common seeding technique is to drop a previously grown crystal into the extracted mixture of cannabis compounds, giving the THCA something to grow off.

This technique is especially useful when filming a time-lapse of the crystal growth because it gives the camera a focal point knowing where the formation will grow from.

Creating Wizard Stones

The above timelapse video was photographed over a four day period by Dankshire. We can see diamonds begin to form almost immediately. However, the crystallization process can take a month if not longer to complete once a raw extract is jarred and waiting to crash.

Oleum utilizes custom-built isolation vessels for their production diamond runs but admits that the jar tech allows more visibility into the process.

Jennings points out, “You see the jars, we even do the jar stuff a lot. It’s more popular… and people know what it is compared to a large isolation vessel that no one can see into it but you know it’s growing 2,000 grams of crystals.”

Each batch can present a different ratio of diamonds to sauce and it seems like everyone wants a little different combination. “We just give ‘em what it makes,” Jennings said.

That’s the beauty of isolated products like cannabis diamonds and sauce; you can mix your own cocktail of cannabis compounds and really dial in the flavors and feelings that you’re after.

Wizard Stones grown in their own sauce create a potent, refined, and pronounce expression of the strain they are extracted from.

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