By Lauren Yoshiko

I have smoked a lot of cannabis. As a cannabis writer, former budtender and medical shop manager, I’ve also eaten a lot of edibles and vaped a lot of concentrated oil. And when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, all I crave is the crackle of sparkly buds igniting. In 2018, that makes me drearily old-fashioned.

While flower is being cultivated to an unprecedented level of perfection––and plenty of us are enjoying it––the buzz is aimed towards radical new edible products and revolutions in vaporizing. As innovation progresses, the place that flower holds in our habits doesn’t seem as significant as the newest and coolest products hitting shelves. But to me, nothing can replace the sentimental, intimate experience of smoking flower. That predictable reverse parabola of a high after exhaling; the earthy flavor of the sweet, sticky edges and herbal leafy notes as the bowl of flower burns.

Turns out, it’s not just nostalgia that makes smoking a bowl of flower feel different.

“Cannabis flower is the most natural form of the full-spectrum, whole plant medicine you find in cannabis,” explains Emma Chasen, cannabis science educator with a degree in plant medicine biology from Brown University.

Having worked as a budtender at the science-based dispensary, Farma, Chasen has worked with the chemistry breakdowns of thousands of strains, and she is now a leading consultant in Portland’s cannabis education scene. She brings up the Entourage Effect, which details how the effects of cannabis are incomplete without all compounds of the plant present.

“The Entourage Effect states that all compounds inside cannabis' plant matrix work together synergistically to produce the most efficacious experience possible,” says Chasen. “It can only be achieved if the product is full-spectrum or whole plant because this ensures that the full range of secondary compounds are present.”

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