Ask a Stoner: Do Old Edibles Lose Potency?

Dear Stoner: How long will edibles stay strong? I found a few lollipops and some chocolates in my coat that are probably almost a year old.
Tracy McGravy

Dear Tracy: From what we can tell, the vast majority of the other ingredients in edibles will degrade long before the THC or CBD does. According to edibles companies we’ve spoken with in the past, cannabinoids won’t degrade in edibles for at least a year, and will likely last longer. So even if those candies and other THC-infused goodies taste like crap after their best-by dates, they should still get you good and stoned. And for anyone who has ever eaten special mushrooms, eating a crappy-tasting edible should be a breeze.

The chocolate will go bad before the cannabinoids in your marijuana edibles.

The chocolate will go bad before the cannabinoids in your marijuana edibles.

Jacqueline Collins

Still, anything with dairy in it — cheesecake and milk chocolate, for example — will eventually spoil, even with refrigeration, so don’t sit on those items too long. Most baked goods, like most cookies and brownies, will last much longer than cheesecake, though they’ll obviously get stale after a week or so. It should be noted that freezing edibles won’t kill their THC or CBD, either, so put anything you’ve been nibbling slowly on ice.

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Ask a Stoner: Do Dabs Carry the Same Risks as Vaping?

Dear Stoner: Is the wax and shatter sold at dispensaries made of the same stuff in vapes? I’m worried that dabbing will get me sick.
Jimmy D.

Dear Jimmy: It can be, but in this case that’s probably not a bad thing. There are THC vaping cartridges filled only with cannabis oil, whether it’s purified distillate, live resin or CO2-extracted oil. Most extractors slightly heat the concentrate to make it thinner for combustion, but it’s essentially the same stuff that you’re dabbing. And none of those products have yet been linked to vaping-related illnesses.

Dean Ween's Honey Pot Lounge is open and ready for dabbing.

Dean Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge is open and ready for dabbing.

Jacqueline Collins

The vast majority of hospital visits and deaths related to vaping have been linked to black-market products, which have been found to contain potentially harmful chemical additives and traces of pesticides. However, some of the vaping illnesses have been connected to additives in products sold in legal, regulated cannabis markets. Those additives are used to make hash more combustible for vaping, though, and aren’t used in the production of the hash you’re dabbing.

Still, just because there’s no vape liquid doesn’t mean the concentrate itself is necessarily safe, as hash extracted from moldy or pesticide-laden cannabis is even more toxic than the plants themselves.

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Ask a Stoner: When Will Pot Delivery Save My Lazy Legs?

Dear Stoner: My car is currently stuck in the snow, and it’s too cold to walk a mile to the dispensary. When is delivery getting here?
Heidi

Dear Heidi: You’re going to have to keep driving or walking for your weed this winter, and likely one or two more, depending on where you live and whether you’re a medical patient. Colorado did legalize commercial cannabis delivery in 2019, but it won’t start until 2020, and even then, it will only affect a handful of towns and counties that choose to participate in a one-year pilot program for medical marijuana deliveries only.

Need weed delivered to your door? Soon, there will be an app for that.

Need weed delivered to your door? Soon, there will be an app for that.

Jacqueline Collins

If there’s no dumpster fire during year one, then both medical and recreational delivery should become an option for municipalities across the state a year later, in 2021. But local governments can still ban cannabis delivery if they choose, and they must officially opt in before commercial delivery services can begin legally.
We haven’t yet heard which towns or counties will participate in the medical pilot program; until that’s announced, keep tabs on your local government.

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Ask a Stoner: Strains for a Night Inside

Dear Stoner: I’m a night smoker. With days getting shorter and winter coming up, are there any strains that are good for warmth and relaxation?
Laurie

Dear Laurie: Try not to get caught in the lull of shorter periods of sunlight. Calling it quits by 5 p.m. every day and then smoking weed is a quick way to become anti-social and lazy with your free time.

With that lecture out of the way, let’s talk cozy weed. Some of my personal favorites for a warm night in are Tiger’s MilkBubba Kush’s friendlier child — and Ingrid, a fruity, cheesy child of the night from Good Chemistry. Both strains are dessert on the tastebuds, set up for a calm night by the fire.

Ask a Stoner: Strains for a Night Inside

Jacqueline Collins

Frankenberry, a spooky, berry-flavored hybrid from the Herbal Cure, and Hazelnut Cream, a nutty, buttery dream from Verde Natural, take me back to adolescent fall mornings, and their euphoric effects last for hours. Vanilla Kush, Cookies and Cream, Holy Grail Kush and Lilac Diesel are other popular strains that serve you better indoors than out this time of year.

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Ask a Stoner: Growing Cannabis Bonsai Trees

Dear Stoner: Can I really grow a cannabis bonsai tree? That’d be so beautiful to look at next summer.
Dani

Dear Dani: You’re not the only one interested in cannabis bonsai trees. Colorado Governor Jared Polis dove into the topic on his Facebook page last week, using it as a way to remind Coloradans about home-growing laws.

Cannabis bonsai plants are essentially born in conflict, as a bonsai is bred for longevity and small stature while cannabis is bred for yields and harvesting. In fact, some hard-core bonsai growers don’t think that cannabis is compatible with the bonsai ethos at all — but if you can forget going for a large plant and a big yield, it’s hard not to be floored by those beautifully trimmed little devils on the Internet.

Are they real? Yes, but in the same way that the beautiful pizza on a Domino’s commercial is: There’s the model, and then there’s reality.

Cannabis bonsais require more disciplined training than pot plants grown for yield.

Cannabis bonsais require more disciplined training than pot plants grown for yield.

While cannabis bonsai plants would be difficult to grow, it is possible, according to several horticulturalists. You need to find genetics with sturdy roots and be diligent while training and manipulating the plant’s trunk so that it twists and curves. You would also need to trim the leaves routinely, but not to the point of just bare buds. There are several guides online with more detailed information. No matter which one you follow, be prepared to spend a lot of time on trial and error if you want a true cannabis bonsai and not just a small, ugly pot plant.

And yes, even a small, ugly pot plant counts as one of the six you’re able to grow in your home, as Polis notes.

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Ask a Stoner: Ideas for Autumn Edibles

Dear Stoner: I’ve got the infusion process down for butter and cooking oil, but my imagination sucks. What are some fall-centric edibles?
Cook

Dear Cook: Well, since you already have the infusion process down, then you just need some autumn ingredients. Drizzle infused cooking oil on sweet potatoes and butternut squash for dinner, or use it to make medicated spaghetti, then put that special spaghetti in a brain mold for Halloween-style noodle brains!

Who says you can't be seasonal while getting high?EXPAND

Who says you can’t be seasonal while getting high?

Dessert is easy, since you can create homemade popcorn balls (infused butter), pumpkin spice chai teas (infused milk or creamer) or dirt cake with gummy worms (infused cooking oil); they’re all very easy and incredibly delicious. You could also get uber-baked off caramel apples if you wanted, as caramel calls for butter and cream, both of which are full of THC-absorbing fats. Just be sure to label everything that’s infused.

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Ask a Stoner: Can I Sneak Weed Through An Airport Body Scan?

Dear Stoner: Will an airport body scan identify edibles and a small slice of wax? That seems like a better alternative than my toiletry bag, which will get an X-ray.
Allen

Dear Allen: What do you think those body scans are, Bub? An ocular pat-down from a bored Transportation Security Administration agent? Although not technically X-rays, the millimeter-wave scanners at most airports use radio waves to see if any objects are stowed away under your clothes or in your body before you pass through security.

Ask a Stoner: Can I Sneak Weed Through An Airport Body Scan?

Images from these body scans aren’t as defined as X-rays, but they don’t have that much to sift through besides clothes, unlike a bag filled with your crap. And trust me: TSA agents are much more keen to check out anything extra they find on your person than they are a few innocent-looking gummies in a bag or wax in your toiletries. Hiding some food with weed in it or some gunky-looking wax isn’t exactly rocket science, but hiding in plain sight is not the way to go here. Figure out something better.

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Ask a Stoner: The Origins of “Pot” and “Weed”

Dear Stoner: Where do the words “pot” and “weed” come from?
Kev

Dear Kev: The nomenclature for cannabis can get pretty creative (the Drug Enforcement Administration has some particularly funny definitions and descriptions), but “pot” and “weed” are the most widely used nicknames in the United States, along with “marijuana.” That word, a variation of the Mexican-Spanish “marihuana,” actually has a negative connotation for some; the bad feelings stem from a theory that “marijuana” was used by the federal government to tie Mexican immigrants to an anti-cannabis movement almost a century ago.

Ask a Stoner: The Origins of "Pot" and "Weed"

Jacqueline Collins

The word “pot” also has Spanish roots, but they’re not as nefarious. Gaining popularity in the ’30s, the nickname is a condensed version of “potiguaya” or “potaguaya,” which are short for potación de guaya, a wine or brandy steeped with cannabis buds; in English, potación de guaya means “drink of grief.” Calling the plant “weed” is more American. That word started appearing in articles and songs in the ’30s as well, used to described marijuana cigarettes. But both “pot” and “weed” came after good ol’ “reefer.”

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Ask a Stoner: Is Weed Considered Kosher?

Dear Stoner: I was recently celebrating Jewish New Year, and my family and I began wondering if cannabis can be kosher? What about edibles?
Joe

Dear Joe: Happy New Year! If you want to celebrate your next Rosh Hashanah with reefer and feel strongly about respecting your religion, there do appear to be some safety nets or loopholes. Keeping kosher means that no products or ingredients from non-kosher animals or other substances proscribed by Jewish law are used. In a vacuum, cannabis is just vegetation and so appears to qualify. But if you consider growing nutrients and cannabis product additives, then things might not be so kosher.

Smoking cannabis could find a gray area in the Jewish faith, but eating has more challenges.

Smoking cannabis could find a gray area in the Jewish faith, but eating has more challenges.

Jacqueline Collins

The answer also depends on the rabbi you ask. Although some rabbis still consider cannabis a forbidden substance, an influential rabbi once told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that smoking cannabis “isn’t not kosher,” while the Times of Israel reported that a rabbi proclaimed marijuana okay for medical reasons. Edibles, obviously, are another story, as they can contain cooking and diary products from animals that may not be kosher. There are several cannabis edible companies that claim to have kosher certification, but we’re not aware of any in Colorado. Easy answer: Make your own and keep things kosher.

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Ask a Stoner: Smoking Hemp Buds

Dear Stoner: Are hemp cigarettes or joints a thing? Like, all hemp?
Justine

Dear Justine: Smoking hemp is turning into very much of a thing, as well as a headache for law enforcement. Since the feds legalized hemp late last year, state and local prosecutors have had to drop hundreds, if not thousands, of low-level marijuana cases because of how hard it is to tell the two plants apart. (Hemp is supposed to have under 0.3 percent THC, but that measurement takes weeks and resources to verify.) And police are getting pissed off about the similarity, because it’s forcing them to back off marijuana enforcement, even in states where pot is still illegal, like Texas.

Checking out the plants at Veritas Farms, a hemp cultivation in southern Colorado.EXPAND

Checking out the plants at Veritas Farms, a hemp cultivation in southern Colorado.

Jacqueline Collins

But are people actually smoking lots of hemp flower? Not as much as the concentrate, but the short answer is yes. High-CBD hemp buds, which look strikingly similar to pot, and hemp cigarettes are now sold in smoke shops, CBD stores and even online, while rolling papers and blunt wraps made of hemp leaves are sold by the bagful at dispensaries. Hemp-marijuana spliffs are even a thing, too. Welcome to 2019.

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Ask a Stoner: Marijuana-Friendly Retirement Homes

Dear Stoner: Are there any cannabis-friendly nursing or retirement homes in Colorado? I’m going to need one sooner than later.
Joe

Dear Joe: Colorado isn’t devoid of nursing homes or senior facilities that are lightening up regarding cannabis use and medical marijuana, but don’t expect to magically land in a retirement home with a toking room, either. We couldn’t find any facilities in Colorado advertising themselves as cannabis-friendly, and most nursing homes won’t even allow nurses to apply medical marijuana products to patients (some allow CBD).

Ask a Stoner: Marijuana-Friendly Retirement Homes

While finding a retirement home that explicitly endorses cannabis use is unlikely, don’t give up. Some retirement homes allow vaping outdoors or in private rooms — or they at least look the other way, and edible use is largely accepted or ignored by most Colorado senior living communities. After all, you are an adult — but I still wouldn’t ask any nurses or employees to feed you.

Balfour Senior Living allows edibles at its four metro-area facilities, and even occasionally holds educational talks for seniors about medical and recreational cannabis. But even Balfour doesn’t allow smoking.

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Ask a Stoner: Waiting to Drive After Smoking Pot

Dear Stoner: How many hours after smoking marijuana does it take for you to be able to drive?
Dewayne

Dear Dewayne: This isn’t an answer we can just pull out of our butt cracks for you. There isn’t enough science to sit on in order to give you an exact time frame, but our asses aren’t completely bare, either. Because cannabis impairment isn’t as easy to determine through breath and blood levels, law enforcement still doesn’t have an exact way of determining how high you really are, though advancements are being made in breath and blood testing to detect THC levels and determine when a driver last consumed.

A Colorado county sheriff measures a driver's impairment levels during a 2018 driving experiment that measures the skills of alcohol and cannabis users.

A Colorado county sheriff measures a driver’s impairment levels during a 2018 driving experiment that measures the skills of alcohol and cannabis users.

Thomas Mitchell

Most state laws surrounding cannabis DUIs focus on the amount of THC in the blood, measuring it in nanograms (Colorado’s limit is 5 nanograms). However, daily users are likely to have high levels of THC even if they last smoked the day before, while novice and new users will have low levels of THC in their blood several hours after consumption, despite still being baked.

It all comes down to your tolerance and the potency of the cannabis. Still, we’d recommend waiting at least a couple hours after you toke before you think about driving, no matter what.

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Ask a Stoner: Do Humans (and Bees) Get High From Marijuana Honey?

Dear Stoner: Can bees pollinate marijuana? Would it get them high if they did?
Weed Keeper

Dear Weed Keeper: According to the beesearch we’ve read, insects don’t have endocannabinoid systems — the receptors we have in our bodies that react to CBD, THC and other cannabinoids from the plant. Without those receptors, bees don’t get stoned from pollinating weed (unfortunately for them, because bees could sure use a little stress relief right now), but that doesn’t stop them from doing it.

Like orange blossom, clove and other flowers that beekeepers use for persuading bees to make honey, the cannabis plant can also be a main source of nectar or pollen for bees, though further beesearch shows that they view the plant as more of a last resort. Still, there are companies popping up with hemp and marijuana honey, claiming to be made from bee nectar collected off cannabis plants. While these CBD- and THC-infused honeys usually have cannabinoids added to the honey before they’re packaged and sold to consumers, legit beekeepers say the straight-from-the-hive stuff is still very much infused. You can find THC honey in Colorado dispensaries and CBD honey in health food stores.

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Ask a Stoner: Should I Quit Vaping THC?

Dear Stoner: With all these reports of toxic vape cartridges, am I safe if I’m buying marijuana vape cartridges? Are the problems only from a certain kind, or from black-market products? And if I’m not safe with vaping, how else can I discreetly consume in public?
Scared Straight

Dear Scared: Vaping isn’t just dangerous for your dignity. Recent reports point to serious health issues resulting from long-term vaping, and hospital visits and even deaths linked to respiratory illnesses tied to vaping are starting to scare the shit out of millions of nicotine and cannabis vape users nationwide. Even scarier for cannabis consumers is that several of the deaths have been tied to black-market THC oil cartridges, with another death reportedly connected to a THC oil-vaping product from a licensed dispensary in Oregon. This month, the State of New York subpoenaed three vape companies and requested that they assist a Food and Drug Administration investigation into the issue: Massachusetts-based Mass Terpenes, California-based Honey Cut and Michigan-based Floraplex Terpenes.

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There haven’t been any reported respiratory illnesses linked to THC or CBD vape products in Colorado yet (although a handful linked to e-cigarettes have been reported), and as of mid-September, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division hadn’t issued any warnings or public announcements to dispensaries selling vaping products. In fact, we haven’t seen any kind of dispensary warning about potentially dangerous vape products, and none of the public-health reports we’ve read have mentioned CBD cartridges.

While hash cartridges filled with pure cannabis oil (no additives) are likely much safer for consumption, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has warned against purchasing all vape products, including those involving cannabis. Some reports point to vitamin E oil, a thickening additive usually found in black market vaping products, as the culprit causing some of these illnesses; the CDPHE says it’s treating that as a lead but not necessarily the answer.

Representatives of Colorado’s pot industry say that state regulations ensure that cannabis companies don’t add vitamin E or other dangerous additives to their vape products. Still, readers are worried.

If all of these recent reports have scared you off vaping, you could try edibles or tinctures as a way to stay medicated in public or throughout the day without stinking up your clothes. You could also go back to dabbing pens, which come with a heating chamber for small balls of concentrate and dabs of oil. They’re almost as discreet as pre-filled hash vapes, but the smell sure isn’t.

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Ask a Stoner: Tipping Budtenders

Dear Stoner: What is proper tipping for budtenders? Tip jars are everywhere now, and I generally know what I want without help, so why tip a budtender for handing me pre-packaged weed? If I ask questions, then I’ll leave a tip. Some budtenders act like they expect one just for ringing me up.
Social Filter

Dear Social Filter: Tipping is something we’ve written about and discussed at length in our newsroom, because we’re just as cheap as you are — not that this is a cheap stance. Tip jars are becoming standard in industries that pay above minimum wage (making minimum wage or less than is another discussion), and those peer-pressuring tablets with suggested tips are all too common. To be fair, most dispensaries have been tip-friendly since the medical-only era a decade ago. But employees in those stores generally offered better product advice and displayed more knowledge than most budtenders do today.

Budtenders are happy to educate newcomers.EXPAND

Budtenders are happy to educate newcomers.

Jacqueline Collins

Maybe it’s the name “budtender” that makes tips seem mandatory, or that society has simply accepted tipping as a standard reward for minimal work, like tipping bartenders for sliding over an open bottle of beer. Either way, your stance is defensible, so don’t worry about entitled millennial weed dealers. Most budtenders I come across are very appreciative for any tip, and don’t seem to care if I don’t leave one.

Just like anything else, if they go above and beyond, then show them your appreciation. But never forget: The custoner is always right.

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