Tiger’s Milk is a “sativa” cultivar that I had never tried before. It’s called sativa by the High Valley Dispensary in Antonito, CO and a hybrid by Silver Peak, the grower. Doesn’t matter what it’s called as it has a really distinct and nice mental effect. And it’s lower in THC than many strains, clocking in at just over 14%, so you can control your buzz better. It doesn’t have much of a body effect, but what was there was very nice indeed. The uplifting mental effect was nice and lasted over several hours before becoming a bit heavy.
Tiger’s Milk – Appearance
Bud of Tiger’s Milk
The nugs were fairly small, but not too small. There was a lot of frost (trichomes) all over the flowers including the little bits of stem. And there were lots of orange stigmas to see. It wasn’t overly trimmed, but I still would have liked to see more leaf. That’s me though.
Appearance Score: 18/20
Tiger’s Milk – Aroma
Wow! If this was a wine, I’d call it a fruit bomb. In the wine world, a fruit bomb is a wine that has a massive aroma and taste. This started with a massive aroma of fresh fruit. I could not detect any pinene or other terpenes that are normal in this kind of sativa bud. Not in a bad way either. It had fruity aromas all over the place. I don’t believe I’ve ever smelled as fruity and luscious aroma as this. Silver Peak says on their site they’re in the business of growing exceptional cannabis. This one certainly was exceptional in the aroma.
Aroma Score: 19/20
Tiger’s Milk – Taste
The aromas came right through the taste. Perhaps the cure wasn’t long enough or it was too dry, but it was a bit harsh on the first toke. There was some coughing, but not a lot and it got mellower as it smoked down in the bowl. The taste went all the way through the process and you could still taste the delicious fruitiness in the exhalation and the fruity taste lingered for a while. In wine, this would be the finish and Tiger’s Milk had a pretty good finish. A few points lost for the harshness.
Taste Score: 17/20
Tiger’s Milk – Effect
The Tiger’s Milk cultivar is called sativa by the dispensary and hybrid by Silver Peak. Since I don’t believe in sativa or indica as terms, the bud did have more of what I would call a ‘sativa’ effect. It was very uplifting. The mind effect was felt to almost have several nuanced layers in it. They were distinct from one another but worked together as a whole. Very uplifting and somewhat euphoric. And funny. Many things seemed humorous. There wasn’t much body effect until about 2 1/2 hours after smoking. Then it was just relaxing and maybe a bit sleepy. It was very easy and relaxing to laugh while under the influence.
The effect started about 3 or 4 minutes after we had our first toke. First, my mind felt relaxed and happy. Then my mind seemed to sharpen and the events of the day seemed humorous. It was a fairly focused effect and I liked it a lot.
Effect Score: 18/20
Tiger’s Milk Strain Review Summary
I was impressed with Tiger’s Milk. It was excellent, and probably a ‘go back to’ based on the grower. I wasn’t happy happy with the way it was packaged, but it’s both expedient and cost-effective for dispensaries to sell it this way. It sure doesn’t help my storage situation though, since I have to get storage. or let you see and sometimes pick out the bud as you buy it. The dispensary did allow me to pick out the weed. Tiger’s Milk was grown by a very large company in Colorado. Silverpeak Cannabis, who are both retailers and growers.
My only objection to this strain has nothing to do with the grower, but the package it was delivered in. This shop let me select the buds, but then put them in a plastic bag that they then stuffed into a ‘pharmacy’ container like a lot of dispensaries use. The advantage is the flower doesn’t get crushed. I like to crush (or grind) my flowers when I use them, not in the package thank you. Please dispensaries, if you’re listening stop using plastic bags. And especially stop using plastic bags and then stuffing them into a container.
Tiger’s Milk created a memorable effect. If you like a brain buzz, you’ll really enjoy this strain. If you want a strain that enhances creativity and gives lots of energy, Tiger’s Milk is that strain. A light session of 1 or 2 puffs will get your brain going for a few hours, but won’t give you that burst of creativity you might want.
Vaping cannabis has been all over the news over the last several months. Between vaping extracts, concentrates, and whole flower the terms can be confusing. Dispensaries typically list a long menu of “extracts” and “concentrates”. Many of these products need to be vaped. Did you know whole flower can be vaped as well? The most ubiquitous kind of vaping uses a vape pen with cartridges that contain an oil that’s been extracted from the plant. Other products don’t come in a handy dandy cartridge form. They are variously called butters, rosins, shatter, sugar, sauce, resin, live resin, rosin, etc. The list continues. If you don’t know what all of these are, it’s OK. (I don’t either!) These are concentrates.
If the vaping ‘crisis’ makes things even more complicated because we now have to add the question ‘what is safe?’ then it might be enough to just want to say “to hell with vaping” I’ll smoke flower. OK, that’s fine, but there are some things that you can vape safely and effectively. Here are four things you need to know before you decide to vape or you should know if you are vaping cannabis.
1. WTF is Vaping Anyway?
Vaping is the application of heat, but not flame, to an extract, concentrate or flower. Each form of cannabis is different, but the main event in vaping is heating, not burning. Vaping bud is a bit different. It’s as if you were to heat cannabis flower in an ‘oven’ to somewhere below the point where it burns. The natural components of the flower will vaporize and made available for you to inhale, getting their benefit. All the natural terpenes and THC vaporize in the flower below the burning point.
2. Concentrates vs. Extracts
Concentrates and extracts are not created equally. To make it even more confusing, the terms are often used interchangeably.
Concentrates are exactly what they sound like; The concentrated “essence” of the cannabis plant. In this case, we’re talking about hashish, butters, rosins, resins, etc. They use the natural THCs, CBDs and terpenes contained in the trichomes. Trichomes are mostly in the flowers and leaves and are a natural part of the plant. Some concentrates are made by hand…literally. These are traditional methods and are used to make hash. Some concentrates are made with cold water and ice or from freeze-dried flower. Concentrates that are not made by hand are made with water, but can also be made with butane, alcohol or CO2. If the solvent chemicals are completely removed, these are generally safe, but water wash or handmade is still the safest. Do not mistake them for extracts that are made with chemicals. Generally, because concentrates are made naturally using hand labor or water, they’re safe to consume.
Concentrates made with chemicals are more problematic but are generally safe. There is one major problem with chemically concentrated cannabis. All the forms use heat. Heat vaporizes many of the products in the plant. If we’re consuming, we want the vaporization to occur while we’re vaporizing the product ourselves. If there are parts of the plant lost when the concentration is done, so they have to be put back in. How? That’s a bigger question.
Extracts are different. Extracts are made from whole plants that are chemically stripped of all of their THC, terpenes and everything else in the plant. Since most extracts use heat to ‘extract’ the elements of the plant, a lot is lost. Extracts are like the oil you find in vape pen cartridges. They are made from the whole plant. If they taste at all like cannabis you’re used to it’s because the producer has added terpenes or other compounds to give it a familiar taste,
Frequently the additions are synthetic, but sometimes they’re advertised as ‘cannabis-derived’. It’s still not what was in the original plant. I don’t vape oil. Making extracts is very efficient. If you have the right equipment, the whole plant can be cut and in as little as 10-15 minutes later, it’s oil! A machine chops the whole plant into tiny pieces that are put in the “extractarator” (my word) and Voila! Magically the plant becomes extract.
All the health problems with vaping you’re been reading about are from extracts, not concentrates. This is important and it’s worth repeating: ALL THE HEALTH PROBLEMS WITH VAPING CANNABIS HAVE BEEN BECAUSE OF EXTRACTS. Concentrates are not the problem, extracts are the problem. Many extractors have been using oils, specifically vitamin E acetate, to make the oil more viscous or an appropriate texture for cartridges. Vitamin E acetate has been implicated in the recent lung illnesses and deaths.
Extracts are the diet soda of cannabis. Made to get you high, but not made for true enjoyment.
3. The Problems with Extracts
There is a major problem with the end product of extracts. Heat. Heat destroys about everything in the plant except for THC and similar compounds. But what makes cannabis cannabis isn’t just the THC. It’s all the THCs, the CBDs, CBGs, terpenes, and all the other 100s of other compounds in the plant. All you’re left with after applying mild heat are THC compounds.
In addition, you just don’t know what’s in that oil you’re vaping. The process is opaque. It’s a mystery surrounded by an enigma. There are many ways to make oil, or to make oil ‘oilier’, or to make it taste better, or whatever the producer thinks will make you buy his or her product. There is almost no transparency in vape cartridge oil production. That’s not a good thing. It’s not good because you don’t know what you’re inhaling. In the long term, it’s not good for business.
4. The Difference Between Flower vs. Concentrate
A cannabis flower has everything in it. There might be 100+ types of THC and who knows how many different terpenes (more are being discovered daily it seems), isomers of terpenes, isolates, and who knows how many other compounds contributing to the complete effect. We still don’t know enough.
Concentrates have the contents of natural flower if done correctly. This can mean rubbing through a screen to get the trichomes, freeze-drying and/or water extraction, or ice water extraction. There are several traditional ways of concentrating. These methods go back hundreds, if not thousands of years. That Labonese blond(e) hash you might love was made with a process that goes back at least to the 1500s. That tarry Nepalese black hash is also an ancient process. Wherever cannabis was found, there was a process to concentrate its goodness.
Newer processes use water technology to concentrate the flower. All these processes use ice water to concentrate the trichomes in a way that they can be extracted whole, then sifted out of the mash to create a concentrate that is essentially pure and whole. Nothing has been destroyed by heat. No chemicals other than H20 have been added to the flower. No terpenes. Nothing else other than flower. It’s a pure process and difficult to master, but the results can be incredible. There are a few companies in Colorado that are only using water extraction to create their products.
The Bottom Line about Vaping Cannabis
If you want to vape cannabis, it’s probably safe. It’s actually a good way to create an effect. Whole flower is wonderful when vaped with a good product. Concentrates are also wonderful when vaped. Different water extracted concentrates like water wash hash or hashish can be terrific. Personally, I do not consume the oils that come in cartridges mostly because I don’t know what’s in them. I also will only consume water washed concentrates. The other concentrates are made using methyl alcohol or butane or other solvents that supposedly are removed at the end of the process. But are they all removed? I don’t know. And neither do you. Vape away, but be aware of the caveats. Be happy.
Cannabis research in the U.S. is totally lacking. Even as medical and adult-use cannabis becomes legal in more states in the U.S., it’s apparent we don’t know very much about the plant itself. We know there are THC compounds and terpenes. We do not know how many different terpene compounds there are. Nor do we know how many CBD compounds or derivatives of THC there are. We don’t know what other compounds might be specific to cannabis or how they might work with other compounds found in the plant. We simply don’t know.
A story published in Nature illustrates how much we don’t know about cannabis.
A New THC
Italian scientists have discovered a new THC compound that’s 30-50 times more potent than the delta-9 THC we all know and love. Tetrahydrocannabiphorol or THCP is the proper name for the new ‘discovery’. Also, CBDP and a few other cannabis compounds were discovered at the same time. The story is scientific and if you like science, it’s be right up your alley. If you don’t, here’s the bottom line; The scientists who discovered the new compounds only know that it binds to our endocannabinoid system at a rate far higher than THC alone. Does this mean you get a bigger buzz? They don’t seem to know, as it wasn’t tested for its effectiveness as an agent to get you high.
We Don’t Know Enough about Cannabis
What this tells us is, we just don’t know enough about the cannabis plant to tell us what it can and cannot do. The personal story I wrote about using cannabis for post-surgery pain relief are just that: anecdotal stories. Anecdotal stories are good as far as they go, but scientific inquiry is even better.
The techniques scientists use now involve mass spectrometers. However, the changes in cannabis plant compounds, whether it’s called hemp, marijuana, or cannabis are so subtle they’re sometimes difficult to suss out even with very sensitive instruments.
More Cannabis Research
Here’s the bottom line for me. If we want to find out about the plant in the U.S., we need to do more research. In order to do more research, we need to either reschedule cannabis from Schedule 1 or or completely de-scheduling cannabis, and just make it legal like alcohol. This means States would be free to regulate cannabis in whatever manner they desire. But most importantly, rescheduling or de-scheduling cannabis would allow important research to be completed by competent researchers. As things stand right now, there’s very little research done in the U.S. It’s all being done overseas. If anything, the U.S. needs to legalize cannabis research to stay competitive.
Last Saturday I went to replenish my supply of medical cannabis. It was my first time at a dispensary since the adult-use stores opened in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I like to visit different dispensaries, and today I went to “Exclusive Provisioners” a large dispensary on the south side of Ann Arbor. It’s located in a small office and industrial park. In December, we published a story about the sad state of the Michigan adult-use rollout. I wanted to see what was going on with my own eyes. I was in need of some supplies, so it was an easy thing to do. I was shocked at what I saw.
Cold, Cold Rain and Long, Long Lines!
Saturday dawned. It didn’t exactly dawn it just got lighter…it was about 40 degrees and a hard rain was pelting down. As I turned onto the street where this shop is located, I was astonished to find the street filled with cars on a Saturday morning. This was an office and light industry area! Approaching, I saw there were tents set up. Finding a parking space, I walked toward one of the tents. There were at least 100 people inside and there were about 20 people waiting in line outside, getting very wet.
Medical Gets a Pass
I thought I’d just have to get in line with everyone else. Wrong. “Medical” patients, i.e., those with medical cannabis cards get to bypass the line. Not just at Exclusive, but every dispensary in Michigan. It’s a state regulation. All those people were waiting to buy recreational cannabis!! Holy Smoke!! Literally. 🙂 I couldn’t figure out why so many people were there, standing in the line in the cold rain for weed. But they were. And I got to walk right in. Also, the variety of strains available to me in the store was immeasurably greater than the ‘adult-use’ strains. I had a choice. The recreational customers had almost no choice.
Newbies Might be Driving the Market
I stayed in the ‘holding’ tent for a while and talked to several people. I was completely surprised at what I found out. All of them were newbies. Two had consumed cannabis in the past, but they were wanting to try it again now that it’s legal. My ‘n’ was small and I was shocked at first, but then realized it makes a certain kind of sense. When cannabis was ‘illegal’ it was; a) harder to find and b) you could get in trouble for using it. So, many people opted out. But now…it’s legal and everyone is wanting to give cannabis consumption a go or another go if they’ve had it long ago.
Cannabis Price Appears to be the Top Priority
While it isn’t surprising to find so many people wanting to experiment with legal cannabis, I discovered most people were interested in the price. As in, finding out what was the least expensive cannabis they could buy. The price of cannabis is the price of cannabis. And yes, there’s an analog in the wine business. In today’s market, Two Buck Chuck and Barefoot dominate sales in groceries and wine stores. The wines sell at decent, but not great margins, but they sell in volume. Why would cannabis be any different? I don’t know what margins are like in this business, but I’m beginning see there’s a lot of room to discount and make deals. And there are lots deals out there.
Michigan: At the End of the Day it’s the Black Market
So far, for consumers purchasing adult use cannabis products it’s not that easy. In Michigan, the medical cannabis community gets the cannabis products first. Adult-use cannabis sales can happen once the product has been in the store for 30 days. I’m sure that most dispensaries would gladly let anyone in over the legal age for purchasing cannabis products. It’s so hard to actually purchase adult-use cannabis that the real bottom line is this; I know a black market dealer who only sells cannabis. He told me his business has never been better!
This post, a video from 60 Minutes Australia shows the heartbreaking story about grandparents working to help their granddaughter who has an intractable form of epilepsy that would kill her without cannabis. It doesn’t tell whether it’s CBD or a THC derivative, but it’s important. The Australians seem to be behind even the U.S. when it comes to the medical uses of cannabis. This is helping the little girl, but her father has been under arrest. Somehow it’s inhumane of the Australian government to pursue it any farther.