Let’s challenge the misrepresentation of cannabis. MCR Labs is advocating for open discussions on the science and research of cannabis and how to best inform policies, legislation, and cultivation best practices.
Whether you’re a cultivator, manufacturer, legislator, industry professional, homegrower, or curious consumer, we want you to get involved in advocating for an industry built on integrity and science. From outdated policies based on stigma, to consumer habits based on myths to mislabeled products, let’s tackle these aspects of the Massachusetts cannabis industry that are less than ideal.
Read on to learn the ways you can promote this concept in everyday life.
Know the Facts
An educated consumer is a happy and healthy consumer. The more you know about cannabis, the better the experience you will have. With accurate information you’re more likely to make smarter decisions when purchasing and consuming cannabis that can benefit your long term health and wellbeing. We encourage you to get curious and educated on cannabis - here are some facts to get you started.
Fact #1: There’s more to cannabis than just THC.
There are hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes that contribute to the effects we feel from cannabis consumption. Research has shown the potential effects these compounds have on the body’s endocannabinoid system. When consumed together, the compounds can have a different effect than when consumed separately. This is called the “The Entourage Effect.”
Seeking out the highest THC numbers likely won’t get you the best experience, but it will likely cost you more. Learn more about what to look for when purchasing a product here.
Fact #2: Cannabis degrades over time.
Cannabinoids and terpenes degrade naturally as products age. This can cause a different experience from what you would expect based on the label. Plenty of degradation studies have shown changes in cannabis over time. For example, one of the more referenced studies shows that there is a reduction of THC by 12% over the first 100 days.
Fact #3: Storage conditions matter.
It is best to store cannabis in airtight, light-tight containers. Improper storage conditions can contribute to further degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes, and mold growth. Make sure you’re storing your cannabis in a dark, dry area and that any cannabis retailers you frequent are doing the same.
Ask the Right Questions
It is your right as a consumer to have access to the data behind your medicinal cannabis or recreational products. This can help ensure you’re not ingesting any potential contaminants such as mold or heavy metals, but also that you’re dosing appropriately.
The following are some questions you can ask your budtender during your next dispensary visit:
- Can I see the Certificate of Analysis (COA)?
The COA will help you verify that the product actually contains the advertised potency. Occasionally, there can be errors in online ordering platforms that cause products to be listed with inaccurate THC and TAC numbers.
Many experienced consumers prefer products with plenty of terpenes. A COA should show which terpenes are present, and how much of each is in the product. An abundance of terpenes can indicate a certain level of quality, and there is research showing that terpenes have their own host of effects and potential medicinal benefits.
If you’re immunocompromised, make sure to take a look at the microbiological contaminant screen section. Here, you’ll see which tests were used and whether the products contain something that may affect you negatively.
- How fresh is this flower?
The fresher the flower, the better the experience. Cannabis degrades naturally over time, losing potency and terpene content. Purchasing flower harvested and processed more recently ensures you are receiving a product better represented by the label.
- What is the shelf life of this product?
This question is especially useful for infused products such as cookies or beverages. New kinds of infused products and formulations can be tricky to nail down as cannabinoids are complex compounds that don’t always behave over time. Inquiring on the shelf life of a specific product can ensure you aren’t ingesting any contaminated or expired products.
Educate Your Community
Many consumers make purchasing and consumption decisions based on myths and misconceptions. For this industry to improve, knowledge needs to be shared freely and routinely. We ask that you share this blog, along with our other educational resources, with your community. Get loud and advocate for your rights as a consumer.
The more educated the consumers of Massachusetts are, the more likely they are to have better cannabis experiences. The more demanding consumers are, the more likely manufacturers and cultivators are to curate and innovate higher quality products. The more we as a community prioritize science and facts, the better off we’ll all be.