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Can Smoking Weed Give You a Heart Attack?

Can Smoking Weed Give You a Heart Attack?

heart attacks from cannabis

A new study wants to suggest that it can.

The American Heart Association is warning people that smoking or vaping cannabis could create an increased risk for long-term heart-health problems.

In some cases, inhaling the substance could trigger a heart attack or palpitations, AHA doctors said in a new report based on previous research. That’s because THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis that gives users a high, can cause the arteries to constrict and blood pressure to rise, leading to such a response.

Research hasn’t found a direct link between cannabis use and heart problems

Like seemingly every study that claims cannabis is harmful, there were caveats to the doctors’ suggestions about cannabis and heart health.

The studies they cited throughout their paper were short-term and used self-reported data, so experts couldn’t conclude whether cannabis use directly causes heart attacks and palpitations.

For that reason, Page said there’s an “urgent” need for more in-depth and conclusive studies on potential links between cannabis use and heart health.

Additionally, some research has shown CBD, one of the non-psychoactive components in cannabis, could potentially be beneficial for the heart due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This seems to go against the narrative that cannabis is bad for your heart, when CBD can actually help it.

Are Edibles the Answer?

While this study has some holes in it, the response from participants still leads to the question of whether there are safer alternatives.

It’s no secret that combusting plant material and inhaling it isn’t great for your health. So if edibles remove inhaling smoke entirely, it would make sense they would be the safe alternative.

However, plenty of cannabis users claim that they can only get the desire effect they seek through smoking. Due to the differences in how edibles and smoking interact with your body, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done comparing the two ingestion methods.

More Research Needed, As Always

As with every pre-emptive cannabis study that is released, more research is needed to actually confirm the relationship between smoking cannabis and hearth health. This is just one study, conducted in a short time frame, with self-reporting from participants.

We wouldn’t call that the strictest testing environment.

With that said, more research is needed. But not just into the issue of cannabis and heart health, but everything! Due to federal law, it is extremely difficult for scientists and health officials to truly study cannabis in all of its forms.

These restrictions aren’t just delaying the spread of information about the benefits of cannabis, they also cause harm to those that may have adverse reactions to cannabis, but no trustworthy studies to confirm their problem comes from cannabis.

Always remember when reading cannabis studies that research is very limited and the material used to test isn’t always the same that you would get at a dispensary due to the scientists’ access. Never take a single study as fact, as you can likely do a google search to find the opposite results from another study.

Research is important, especially when it comes to your health!

The History of Grow Lights and the Rise of LEDs

The History of Grow Lights and the Rise of LEDs

led lights for cannabis

Lighting for indoor plant cultivation has evolved exponentially over the last twenty years.

A focus on creating the most cost-effective grow light has led to new technology and lighting applications that boost yields and produce way higher quality plants. 

As long as electricity has existed, people have likely tried growing plants indoors. However most had no luck, as the power of lights back then was so minute compared to the power of the sun that growing indoors didn’t make any sense to the average farmer.

Jump ahead a couple hundred years and into the 20th century, and everything began changing. Cultivation techniques advanced, and so did technology.

The History of Grow Lights

The first patent for the next evolution of grow lights would be for the Metal Halide bulb, patented all the way back in 1912! But it wouldn’t be until the 1960s that this invention saw more practical, widespread use for cultivation. At this same time in 1962, LED lights would be invented. Remember this for later.

The metal halide bulb would act as the catalyst for the beginning of grow-light technology innovations, with High Pressure Sodium lights coming into the fray only four years after Metal Halide. With a higher wattage capability and stronger light spectrum, HPS lighting became the industry standard for decades.

However at this point, most growers were still just hanging bulbs from their ceilings. Also, the only bulbs available were 600 Watts or 1,000 Watts.

More innovation followed the introduction of HPS lights, like ballasts and reflective hoods to increase coverage and power and Ceramic Metal Halide bulbs in 1994, but in 2010 everything changed.

Gavita Lighting International invented the Double Ended Light Fixture in 2010, followed by the first Double Ended 750 Watt HPS Bulbs in 2013. This innovation completely revolutionized the way people could grow indoors, multiplying yields and quality exponentially.

Through all this innovation and technological advancement, LED Lights were slowly gaining steam in the background. Used primarily for home or commercial lighting, over the last decade LED lights slowly began breaking into the agricultural industry.

With more developments in LED tech over the last ten years, fixtures have been created that are now viable for commercial scale indoor cultivation. As innovators in the lighting industry, Gavita released their state of the art LED grow light in 2019 to revolutionize indoor cultivation yet again.

We are now entering what some would say is an infancy stage for LED grow lights. They are growing in popularity among home growers, but commercial and large scale growers are slower to see the appeal. Pair that with a high price point for quality LED lights and its easy to understand why they aren’t widespread quite yet.

Are LEDs Worth the Price?

While LED lights for cultivation are becoming more mainstream and effective, they definitely aren’t the cheapest option. CMH and HPS lighting have been the industry standard, which means more companies have produced economical options for growers at all levels.

Because LEDs have yet to become commonplace, the two options for growers are well-made lights that are proven to work from companies like Gavita for a higher price tag, or cheap, low quality LEDs typically produced in China. For the indoor grower with just a few plants, a cheaper light can get the job done, and it won’t break the bank when you need a new one after it inevitably breaks or malfunctions.

While a large scale grower can greatly benefit from using LED lights and they may even pay themselves off in time, a lot of cultivators can’t justify the high price point when HPS and CMH lights can do a great job for cheap in comparison. Over time the prices of LEDs will drop just like HPS did, and in a few years they will be just as common for growers, hopefully!

Best Cannabis Root Supplements

Best Cannabis Root Supplements

best cannabis root supplements

The fastest way to plant your cannabis isn’t always the best, and just putting your plants into the ground and giving them water doesn’t always get the best results.

Just about every ganja grower is planting their outdoor cannabis over the next few weeks if they haven’t already. Especially if you’re growing from clones that you got started inside, you need to take extra precautions to make sure they don’t suffer from transplant shock or rooting issues once you move them to a new outdoor medium.

There’s a few different products we like to use at The Real Dirt that have been tried and true over the years. These are proven root supplements that yield great results, from thriving root zones with fat, healthy roots to lush vegetative growth that gets your plants primed for flowering. If you have other root supplements you love to use, comment at the bottom of this post what your favorites are!

What is a Root Supplement?

To get the basics out of the way, when it comes to plant health and development, there’s three major nutrients that plants need, and you probably already know them: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK).

But NPK isn’t all a plant needs to thrive, and supplementing other micronutrients and beneficial bacteria with your regular nutrients can boost plant development during specific stages. When you want to boost your plant’s root health so they grow bigger and stronger – which will always leader to bigger and stronger plants above ground – you use root supplements.

Best Root Supplements

Here’s our top three root supplements that you should try out.

Elite Root Ignitor

Elite Root Ignitor root supplement

Engineered to perform, Elite Root Igniter is specifically formulated to increase root mass. Like the foundation of a house, a root mass that is thicker and spread evenly will provide stronger support.

This translates to lower stress levels on your cannabis and more effective absorption of both water and beneficial nutrients. Simply put, more root mass is better!

This formulation is a state-of-the-art liquid mycorrhizal inoculant. Mycorrhizae, a species of beneficial fungi, are scientifically proven to increase root mass, and lessen the damaging impacts of medium toxicity.

General Hydroponics RapidStart

general hydroponics rapidstart root supplement product

RapidStart enhances your growing experience by delivering a powerful blend of premium plant extracts, amino acids, and nutrients generating explosive root growth.

This root supplement stimulates prolific root branching and development of fine root hairs that increase nutrient uptake and grow healthier, whiter roots.

Using RapidStart will make your plants explode! And you can use it during the entire growing cycle in all types of growing media, including coco.

Botanicare Rhizo Blast

botanicare rhizo blast root supplement plant product

Rhizo Blast from Botanicare is a powerful root developing tonic that boosts root growth.

Their proprietary formula contains a blend of seaweed, single-celled algae and other mineral nutrients that help generate robust root growth while maintaining a strong rhizosphere.

Strong Roots = Strong Plants

That’s what it all comes down to in the end. Some plants have naturally strong roots that will spread throughout your soil rapidly. Others might need a little help in the beginning to get going.

But with a root supplement at the beginning and throughout your growth cycle in addition to your regular feeding regiment you can create a massive, strong and healthy root zone that will be visible in your plant size, durability and yields.

Is That Dirt Weed? How to Rate Your Cannabis Quality

Is That Dirt Weed? How to Rate Your Cannabis Quality

Cannabis has come a long way just in the last decade. But just because there’s more high quality cannabis available doesn’t mean the dirt weed can’t still make its way into your sack.

There’s plenty of obvious dirt weed out there. The Mexican bricks, the seed-filled nugs, unflushed bud that won’t burn or tastes terrible. Luckily all of this can be avoided!

With a little bit of knowledge you can make sure your cannabis isn’t dirt weed before you even smoke it. Using your eyes, nose and fingers you would be surprised how much you can find out about your sack of bud.

Does it look like dirt weed?

The most obvious way to tell if you have some dirt weed is to just look at it. If it’s really bad, you’ll probably be able to tell.

Yellowing leaves, brown buds, and a lack of trichomes on the outside are typically signs of a bud that is not great quality. But there are plenty of strains out there that might not look good, but still taste great and produce great effects.

For this reason, some buds take a closer look. Maybe that’s with an actual loupe or microscope to analyze the bud more closely. But for your average consumer just checking out a fresh sack of bud, that means bringing in the smell.

How does it smell?

Interestingly and luckily for us, a lot of dirt weed smells the same. There’s a signature smell that bad cannabis has that resembles old, dry hay. Like if you went to a farm, grabbed a handful of hay that has been sitting outside for the last month and took a whiff. If you get that smell from your cannabis, it could be old, moldy, or just straight low quality.

Cannabis has a lot of unique terpenes that give it different odors depending on the phenotype and genetics the plant carries. There are plenty of cannabis strains that most would consider to be high quality that have a unique, and sometimes off-putting smell. For example there’s Cat Piss, which gets its name from the unique odor it gives off.

In case you aren’t familiar, cat piss doesn’t smell good. Yet the Cat Piss strain is a well-liked and even sought-out strain by connoisseurs everywhere for its rarity. So if even weird smelling cannabis strains can still be high quality, how can you tell if you have dirt weed? Fingers.

How’s it feel?

So your looking at your sack of bud; it doesn’t look great, but it’s not brown, the smell isn’t like your usual stuff but it doesn’t smell like hay either. At this point, you could be dealing with a pretty unique strain, a mediocre bud or you’re just missing one key thing; the feel.

An important thing to remember when it comes to feeling out a bud is that dry does not always mean bad. Colorado cannabis is naturally more dry due to the lack of humidity and elevation, which makes the cannabis buds almost crumble in your fingers with a little pressure (which is great if you don’t have a grinder). California cannabis on the other hand has much more moisture, and can even be difficult to break apart and grind up (but typically burns a little more slowly). Nevertheless the importance of checking a bud with your hands shouldn’t be overlooked. If the bud feels a little too wet, break it open and check for bud rot.

There’s one thing a good bud has regardless of it’s dryness, and that’s stickiness. Trichome content will tell you a lot about your cannabis’ quality just by look and touch. Not every bud is frosty and caked in trichomes, but if you break it apart in your fingers and it leaves some sticky resin on your finger tips and more smells come out when you break it apart, that’s a good sign.

Overall, if you get a bud that looks and smells questionable, you’re probably better off just avoiding it. However if you’re in a pinch and it’s all you got, always double check to make sure it is safe to consume by cracking it open and making sure it isn’t moldy. Let’s be real, we smoked a lot worse 15 years ago, and the odds of smoking some cannabis that will actually make you sick are pretty low. But it’s always better to safe than sorry, and with your eyes, nose and fingers you can tell if a bud is good enough for you, or if it’s just some dirt weed.

Wet vs Dry Trimming Cannabis

Wet vs Dry Trimming Cannabis

A better question might be, why does it matter?

When harvest time comes around, you need to get rid of the excess leaves and foliage around your flowers to make them look better. In reality, this isn’t something you really need to do, but a lot of people prefer more manicured flowers.

There are two options when it comes to trimming; wet and dry. Different growers have their preferences for both, but when it comes to which is really better, there’s always debate.

It’s up to you to decide when to trim, but here’s the pros and cons to each to make your decision a little easier.

Wet Trim

Wet trimming can be a more streamlined process for growers trying to dry their harvest faster. Wet trimming is possible when you trim your flowers right after harvest.

The plants are still full of moisture, which makes the leaves the freshest. With the leaves sticking out like they would on a live plant, they are much easier to cut without risking cutting the flower by mistake.

After these leaves are removed, the flowers will dry more quickly since the leaves won’t be there to add extra mass and shield the flowers as they dry. Proponents of the wet trim prefer this method because it’s faster, and some would argue more efficient for drying large quantities of flower.

Dry Trim

The dry trim is considered to be more difficult, but also more rewarding. Opposed to wet trimming, dry trimming happens after the flower have already had time to dry, leaves in tact.

Dry trimmers prefer this method because they claim it allows the flowers to cure more slowly, contained by the shriveled leaves that dry up and cover the flower. By almost sealing the flower, it helps maintain terpene profiles and prevents plant resins from drying out too fast.

But this is also what makes a dry trim more difficult. With the flower dried up and stuck to the flowers, the trimmer needs to be extra careful to only trim the leaves they want without cutting out pieces of the actual flower.

Some growers who prefer to trim dry will leave smaller leaves on the flower for a more natural look, and also argue that doing so helps preserve terpenes.

Is One Way Better?

No matter who you ask, some growers will prefer wet trimming, and some will prefer dry trimming. While newer growers tend to lean toward wet trimming for its accessibility, more advanced growers might prefer dry trimming for it’s near-artisanal practice.

But as with everything when it comes to growing, harvesting and trimming, it’s all preference. If you’re committed to the dry trim but it’s your first time, don’t stress. And likewise if you’ve been dry trimming for years and want to give a wet trim a go, do it.

To get the real dirt on wet vs dry trimming cannabis, listen to this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast featuring Cullen Raichart, founder and CEO of GreenBroz Inc, the leading dry machine trimmer company in the country.

The Vape Pen Controversy Explained

The Vape Pen Controversy Explained

If you’ve watched the news over the past month, you probably think vaping can now kill you.

In today’s sensationalist news cycle, it has become the standard to over-exaggerate. Whether it’s about politics or a major health crisis, the media will always drive a narrative that gets people more worried, and gets them more views.

So it’s no surprise that when people started getting sick from vape pens the media would jump all over it.

The Vape Pen Controversy

It all started in September. A news story broke about someone getting some type of lung-related illness from a vape pen. At first, that was all. But then the story broke. The vape pen they were using had THC in it.

Cue the media leaping into hysteria, claiming that THC vape pens are making people sick. And if you watched the news around this time, there was a clear implication that it wasn’t something else in the pens causing harm, it was the THC. But that didn’t stop other outlets from claiming it wasn’t just THC vape pens to blame, but all vape pens.

Law commercials advocating law suits against Juul started to appear, and talks of a federal vaping ban ensued. Suffice to say, the media — and in turn the country — lost their collective shit.

The Truth

Of course all of the drama and freak out over vape pen related illnesses was based on half truths. Yes, people were in fact getting sick, and even dying, from THC vape pens. But there’s one thing that every single news story in the mainstream media failed to mention. Legality.

Out of over 400 cases of reported lung-related illnesses caused by vape pens, about 99% of them were caused by illicit vape pens. In other words, people purchased vape pen cartridges on the illicit market, and got sick. Why? Because of cutting agents.

Specifically, cartridge producers on the illicit market used vitamin E as a cutting agent. That doesn’t sound like a big deal right? We need vitamin E to stay healthy, you can eat it, you can put it in ointments, so why not a vape?

Well, it turns out that when you vaporize vitamin E, it converts to vitamin E acetate, a solid, viscous state. So these unknowing consumers would hit their pen, the vitamin E would convert to vitamin E acetate, and the residue would attach to the inside of their lungs. That causes some serious respiratory issues, and in a few cases, death.

Harmful Misinformation

There are already plenty of conspiracy theorists out there claiming big tobacco is the culprit for the major media focus on THC vape pens causing the problem. This would be an attempt to take down the vape pen industry that is the largest competitor to cigarettes. Others thought it was lobbying groups pushing to reverse the efforts of cannabis legalization.

But in all of the confusion, half-assed reporting and straight up false information, the people who really get hurt are the consumers. Not just those that are actually getting hurt by illicit vape pens because they don’t have access to safe, legal cannabis. But also your everyday cannabis consumer, and your medical user especially.

There are patients who don’t like to smoke, and choose to vape their medicine. With the rising concern surrounding vape pens, some dispensaries (and even entire states) have taken vape pens off of their shelves to make sure they are safe. Which is all well and good until the people who really need them can’t access them.

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