Cannabis Questions and Answers

With all the possible answers one can look up online, I think people are more comfortable with cannabis questions answered by authentic professionals.

Once again I find myself answering emails that come to the Potent staff about all things cannabis. I am always fascinated by the questions. With all the possible answers one can look up on line, I think people are more interested in having a person they can relate to like me, who has actually had to figure all this stuff out as part of my ganjacation. Today's questions come from all over the country, and i try to pick ones that have the broadest appeal.

Harsh Tokes

Q: I have noticed that even with a water pipe, my smoke seems to come out harsh after the first few tokes. Is the smoke heating up the water or something? 

A: Actually, it's the contrary. As long as you are drawing on the pipe, the smoke is pulled through the water and cooled in a steady stream. The moment any appreciable amount of smoke is allowed to sit over the water, however, it begins immediately to agglomerate. All this means is that in the cooler atmosphere of the pipe, the smoke particles begin to clump together, still microscopic, but far larger than before. The best practice, if you are not continually toking, is to take a couple of preliminary puffs when you startup again, and blow out this harsher smoke.

I read somewhere that scientists had perfected a marijuana plant with no THC at all in it. Wouldn't this be legal to grow in a flower pot if we could obtain seeds? 

Unfortunately, as crazy as it sounds, on a federal level the answer is no. Japanese scientists did indeed create a THC-less variety of pot several years ago, but the laws make cannabis still illegal, and all parts of the plant are included. Potency is not part of the law, just the general species. THC, of course, is illegal by itself.

A friend of mine planted some Colombian seeds on his farm in Vermont. I told him that because of the climate, the marijuana probably wouldn't be any good. Was I being helpful? 

Nope. The potency of the plant has to do with the genetic makeup of the seeds. The climatic-variation myth was disproved many many years ago in a paper delivered by Dr. Norman Doorenbos to the New York Academy of Science. What is true, however, is that plants that are used to a longer growing season may not have time to mature enough to produce fertile offspring, and the second crop may well be a variant suited to a more temperate climate. These variants traditionally have a lower THC content. The first crop should be very similar to the seeds, no matter where they are planted.

Stoned Birds

I've heard that hempseed is still used in some birdseed because it makes the birds sing better. Is it getting them high? I'd love to give my parakeet a treat.

Birds do love hempseed, but it's because of the high oil content, which is good for their skin and feathers. There is practically no THC in the seeds and birds definitely do not like the stuff. In some Army tests, pigeons were given THC; they lay about like so many stoned-out birds, not making a peep.

I have been scraping the bowl of my pipe and have accumulated quite a little mound of stuff. Can I make this into some sort of hashish? 

This is one of the most widely-held misconceptions. The stuff that accumulated in your pipe was simply tar; it may have a little activity, but not even as much as the marijuana which helped create it. THC is almost completely vaporized in the smoking process. What would be caught up in the tar has probably oxidized by now at any rate. It's good to keep scraping, however; clean pipes are easier to smoke.

ls there any truth to the story about Nepalese hashish being collected by people running through the fields with leather aprons and then scraping the resin off?

Since most cultivated marijuana grows to heights of well over five feet, they'd have to scrape it out of their armpits. This is a very popular story, though, and makes for a fascinating, although hardly appetizing, mental picture. Actually, some hashish in Nepal is made in a slightly similar manner: the resin-laden tops are taken between the two hands and kneaded or rubbed. Pollen and resin build up, and this is scraped from the hands with a dull knife and formed into lumps often known as "temple balls."

Most of my indoor marijuana plants stop growing after they reach a height of about two feet. I give them plenty of water and fertilizer. Is there anything I've left out? 

The marijuana plant can grow to heights of over twelve feet, but this is matched by extensive root growth. Marijuana roots have been known to travel over thirty feet under a blacktop road looking for some water. Unless you have a huge pot, you'll have to be content with your small, but smokable, bonsais.

Red Oil

A friend of mine described smoking something called "Red Oil" which was fairly liquid, semi-transparent, and had a faint red color to it. He claims that it's made from hash and should be smoked in an oil pipe. However, all the hash oil I've ever seen has been dark brownish-green and very thick. So what is this "Red Oil" he's talking about? 

What is commonly known as hash oil (the dark green, gooey stuff) is not often, if ever, made from hash but is actually the resin of pot that contains the active ingredients. Most hash oil is made by soaking grass in alcohol, then boiling the mixture and distilling the resin. "Red Oil," on the other hand, starts with hash. The hash is placed in a vacuum device. In the vacuum, the hash resin “boils off" and is collected. Since there is less "sap" in hash than in grass, the resin-collected from the hash is thinner, more translucent, lighter in color, and contains a higher percentage of THC. 

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