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Dark Star: This Soothing Strain Will Melt Away Your Tension

Dark Star can inspire plenty of laughter, some may find that this plant is better suited as a sedative after a long and hard day of work.

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Dark Star
PHOTO | Anna Wilcox
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If you’ve ever traveled around the countryside, the occasional smell of skunk as you pass tree-rimmed farmland may not bring back the fondest memories. Yet, that otherwise putrid aroma is transformed into something truly enjoyable in the Dark Star strain.

Breaking open a dense, lime-colored flower releases a striking aroma of forest earth. An almost acid-like sweetness tickles the nose, offering the first hint as to this plants teasing psychoactive nature.

The Dark Star High

Some marijuana flowers are upbeat and giggly, others are more collected and contented. The Dark Star strain is more akin to the latter, inspiring a slow and soothing physical high. After a few tastes of this pungent bud, a creeping relaxation sends a comfortable, vibrating energy through the chest and limbs.

The strain is a little on the sedative side. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to feel that tension in your face and around the eyes dissipate. Dark Star might inspire some heavy eyelids, allowing you to let go of stress you weren’t aware that you were carrying. Understated yet inviting, this plant is an evening flower that would make an excellent companion for post-dinner relaxation.

The cannabis plant has a long-held reputation for improving mood and lifting spirits, and there’s no doubt that the Dark Star strain can do just that. However, as with all psychoactive substances, the plant often acts more as an enhancer than a catalyst for radical change.

If you’re having a bad day, for example, a few tastes of the earthy Dark Star strain can help you unwind and kick back. Yet, the plant does not provide an instantaneous route to happiness or good health. Rather, the herb may simply lend a helping hand toward these goals when consumed with the right mindset and in the right environment.

So, while the Dark Star strain can indeed inspire an emotional lightness and plenty of laughter, some may find that this plant is better suited as a sedative after a long and hard day of work. As with every cannabis strain, this plant provides a backdrop for a change in consciousness, but you ultimately provide your own experience.

Dark Star Strain Background

Breeders at T.H. Seeds are the geniuses behind the Dark Star Strain. An excellent flower for growers in wet climates, this plant was created with mold and mildew resistance in mind. However, that’s not this flower’s only noteworthy quality.

A cross between Purple Kush and Mazar I Sharif, this plant doubles down on indica genetics. While strains in the indica category are not always the sedative, couch-locking flowers they are made out to be, the Dark Star strain certainly fits the bill.

With a dense bud structure and peaking purple coloration, this flower is a proud representation of its lineage. Only genetic testing will say with any certainty, however, Purple Kush is considered a pure indica flower with Northern Californian roots.

Mazar I Sharif is a less common find, however, the origins of this plant are rumored to be from the Northern Afghan region.

The combination produces a stalky plant with high yields and substantial amounts of resin. In fact, laboratory tests have revealed that the herb boasts upwards of 16 percent THC. This doesn’t make Dark Star the most noteworthy flower on the shelf, but don’t underestimate this plant’s potency.

Dark Star Strain Benefits

There’s more to cannabis than just psychoactive THC. In fact, the medicinal herb can produce upwards of 400 different chemical compounds. Not every strain will produce all of the compounds the plant is capable of manufacturing. However, it’s the unique chemical makeup of each individual flower that determines the effects of individual strains.

The Dark Star strain can produce two different aroma molecules that are expected to interact with THC. One of which is myrcene, a musk-scented molecule that is more commonly found in lemongrass. This molecule may have muscle relaxant and hypnotic properties, giving Dark Star a sedative effect.

Having trouble getting to sleep? This flower might just be a potent natural remedy.

The other terpene in question is beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which gives a pepper-like aroma to cannabis flowers. This aroma molecule is not as sedative as myrcene, it is thought to have relaxing and anxiolytic effects. Combined with the potential muscle-relaxant properties of myrcene, this flower is one mellow lady. This herb is likely best for those who need both mental and physical relief from stress. So, it is perhaps best saved for the evening.

Of course, all Dark Star samples will be different. Further, the herb produces more than just two terpene aroma molecules. Myrcene and BCP, however, seem to show up in the highest concentrations. Yet, as a caveat, the only way to get a handle on this strain’s chemical fingerprint is to test a large number of Dark Star flowers.

Unfortunately, terpene tests on all cannabis strains is a tall order. Considering that new cultivars are crossbred and hybridized by backyard and commercial growers alike, each cannabis plant grown from seed is perhaps as unique as newborn human beings and animals alike.

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Everything You Need to Know If You’re New to Dabbing

Dabbing is an ideal ingestion method best for those that have a high tolerance to cannabis or patients that need a quick, controlled dose of cannabis.

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Dabbing
PHOTO roxxyphotos

Dabbing is an ideal ingestion method best for those that have a high tolerance to cannabis or for medical users that need a quick, concentrated and controlled dose of cannabis. However, it can be confusing, even for long-time pot smokers. In fact, unless you’ve done it, seen it, or read up on it, dabbing can be a total mystery.

Dabbing is a relatively new way to consume cannabis and it is has become very popular in recent years despite rumors that it is dangerous.  It is a highly concentrated experience, with THC at levels much more elevated than most regular flower you would encounter in a joint.  For patients, dabbing can be a very effective way to dose because the effects hit the user very quickly and can typically be measured more easily. For those with a high tolerance for cannabis, dabbing can be a way of feeling the effects of pot with more potency.

Before you can get into dabbing, you need to know a little about cannabis concentrates and extracts. Shatter, budder, wax, crumble, pull and snap, and hash oil are a few of the most popular types of cannabis concentrates and extracts. Extracts and concentrates are named so because they are products of a process where THC and other cannabinoids are extracted from the flower. Sometimes, during the extraction process, a solvent (like alcohol or butane) can be used and other times a solvent is not used. Either way, the final product is a smaller, stickier package that packs a powerful punch.

The Dabbing Process

Keep in mind that nails and domes can get incredibly hot. Like, RED hot, literally. Do not underestimate the heat that can occur — be cautious to prevent any burns.

First, you will need something to dab. We have heard the recommendation more than once to keep away from alcohol-based extracts when dabbing. Consult your budtender about this one, or just skip alcohol based-extracts — your call. There are a lot of concentrates and extracts to choose from, enjoy the hunt for your perfect pick.

Next you need something to dab out of. You can purchase a dab rig or just convert an existing glass water pipe with glass dab attachments. You are also going to need a titanium, ceramic, quartz or electronic nail that fits the glass dab attachment you are using. A typical nail is going to require the use of a dome in order to trap the vapor before it dissipates into the air. A dome can be as simple as a glass piece that fits over the reservoir where the extract or concentrate is vaporizing.

Get your dabber ready. A dabber is a tool that is ceramic, metal, glass, that is used to place the dab, or concentrate/extract, on the super-hot nail.

Lastly, unless you are using an electronic nail or e-mail, you will need a mini torch. Some less patient dabbers will use a full-on, propane-fueled torch in order to more quickly heat their nails — experiment at your own risk. In case the dab is a little overwhelming for you and your body, the safest place for you to be is sitting down to avoid any falls.

Turn on your e-nail OR use your torch to heat your nail until it is red-hot. Allow it cool for at least 10 seconds (for titanium) and up to 45 seconds if you are using ceramic or quartz nail.

Once cooled, use your dabber to place your concentrated dab on the nail. Place the dome over the nail as you inhale. Then, exhale. Victory!

If you weren’t already sitting down, you probably will be now!

Take these words of advice to heart — start small. If you haven’t tried dabbing at all before, don’t make your very first dab a large one. You won’t regret taking a small dab, but you might regret taking one that is too big. Always ask your budtender any questions you have about your purchase and if the product you are buying is the best thing you can buy for dabbing, vaporizing, smoking, etc.

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10 Couch-Lock Cannabis Strains to Help You Stay Home

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PHOTO | Sunset Sherbert

COVID-19 has changed the world as we knew it. For the foreseeable future, we all have to do our bit and stay home to try and flatten the curve and prevent the virus from spreading further. But it’s not all bad news. Try to think of this time to stay home and reset. Why not start that project you’ve been putting of, or earn a new language? Maybe rearrange all the furniture in your house and alphabetize your record collection. Then, once that’s finished, sink into your couch and enjoy one of these iconic couch-lock cannabis strains while you binge on Tiger King.

Afghani

Named after its geographic origin, Afghani grows in the Hindu mountains, where cannabis was first discovered over 1000 years ago. Afghani delivers a deeply relaxing,mood-boosting high, perfect if you have issues with insomnia, chronic pain and stress disorders.

Buy seeds from sensiseeds.com

Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)

A potent mix of an OG Kush x Durban Poison x Cherry Kush mother backcrossed with a prime-looking OG Kush father created Girl Scout Cookies. The winner of multiple Cannabis Cups and packing a powerful 28% THC, GSC is possibly one of the best Northern California strains of all time.

Buy seeds from homegrowncannabisco.com

Granddaddy Purple

Delivering a THC level between 17-27%, Granddaddy Purple is not a strain to take lightly. If you’re looking for a mental and body high that will feel like you are floating euphorically, as well as being great for easing pain and relaxing muscles, this distinctively fruity tasting strain is for you.

Buy seeds from seedking.com

G-13

Perhaps one of the most notorious cultivars out there, the legend of G-13 is that it is an escapee from a breeding experiment funded by the U.S. government. With 22-24% THC level potential, G-13 provides a couch-locking feeling of euphoria.

Buy seeds from pacificseedbank.com

Northern Lights

Multiple award wins have solidified Northern Lights as another classic indica strain.  THC levels range from 16-26% and promise a mellow and pacifying high.

Buy seeds from seedsman.com

OG Kush

World-renown for its potency and distinct flavour, the legendary OG Kush needs to introduction. Tokers will enjoy equally intense body and head highs from around 20% THC levels.

Buy seeds from royalqueenseeds.com

Superglue

Superglue brings calming relaxation to the mind and body while leaving you functional and energetic enough for social activities or a productive afternoon.

Buy seeds from cannaconnection.com

Sunset Sherbert

Mario Guzman aka Mr. Sherbinski grows some of the finest cannabis you’ll ever smoke. Stress and tension will melt away as a full-body high creeps, delivering a deep physical relaxation.

Buy seeds from homegrowncannabisco.com

Super Skunk

Super Skunk delivers a notoriously powerful body high thanks to a THC content of 20% or higher. Consumers can expect a whole-body relaxation that kicks stress to the curb and will have you in full couch-lock mode.

Buy seeds from homegrowncannabisco.com

Triple Cheese

Known to consistently reach 22% THC or higher, Triple Cheese by world-renowned breeder Barney’s Farm offers Cheese lovers a very enjoyable high and a unique terpene profile.

Buy seeds from barneysfarm.com

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Cannabis

Borneol: The Terpene That Can Improve Your Heart & Gut Health

This terpene Borneol offers many health benefits, including improved digestion (via the stimulation of gastric juices) and better blood circulation.

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Borneol
PHOTO | Jesse Barney

Of the 20,000 aromatic molecules called terpenes found throughout nature, roughly 200 have been discovered in the cannabis herb. As an aggregate, the most common health efficacies offered by cannabis-derived terpenes are reduced systemic inflammation, anti-cancer properties, and analgesic (pain-killing) benefits. The terpene Borneol emits an odor involving scents of camphor, earth, and menthol; its scent is sometimes described as “herbal minty.” It is found in many plants other than cannabis, including camphor, mint, and rosemary. It is a natural insect repellent and is utilized industrially in the manufacture of perfumes and colognes.

Borneol is not extremely common in cannabis. Strains of cannabis offering more significant amounts of this terpene include Hazes and K-13.

The Details of Borneol

This terpene offers many health benefits, including improved digestion (via the stimulation of gastric juices) and better blood circulation. It also effectively treats bronchial symptoms to improve lung function and ease breathing (helpful for sufferers of bronchitis and asthma). Like many of its sibling terpenes, it has been found to reduce anxiety.

Borneol also assists in the healing of wounds. Historically, it has been incorporated into topical treatments for such applications, including the treatment of hemorrhoids. Combined with other terpenes that convey sedative qualities — such as myrcene and linalool — the terpene can effectively combat insomnia. It is also antibacterial and antiseptic.

Borneol exemplifies the dynamics of the entourage effect, a theory that cannabinoids and terpenes work together, synergistically, to offer particular therapeutic and medicinal benefits to humans via supplementation of the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS). Borneol amplifies the permeability of the blood/brain barrier, allowing other molecules and compounds to more efficiently bind with specialized receptors in the brain and central nervous system.

When isolated, it can act as an irritant to eyes, skin, and the respiratory system. As a good demonstration of the impact of accurate and strategic titration (dosing), at large doses, it is extremely toxic and harmful if swallowed. A “probable lethal dose” is 50-500 mg/kg of body weight, which equates to between only a teaspoon and an ounce for a 150-pound human.

The Research

Multiple studies have demonstrated the wide-ranging medicinal efficacy of the terpene, including its pronounced role as an anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, and cancer killer.

A 2017 study entitled “Terpenes from Forests and Human Health” and published in the journal Toxicological Research investigated how borneol reduced inflammation of the lungs. Concluded the researchers, “Borneol alleviated acute lung inflammation by reducing inflammatory infiltration, histopathological changes, and cytokine production.”

A 2013 study published in the journal PLOS ONE and entitled “Natural Borneol, a Monoterpenoid Compound, Potentiates Selenocystine-induced Apoptosis in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells” revealed the anti-cancer properties of this terpene.

The study’s researchers concluded, “Borneol effectively synergized with SeC to reduce cancer cell growth through the triggering apoptotic cell death. These results reveal that borneol strongly potentiates SeC-induced apoptosis in cancer cells by enhancement of cellular uptake. Borneol could be further developed as a chemosensitizer of SeC in treatment of human cancers.”

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