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The Good Weed Board, part four


Welcome to the Good Weed Board on StratCann, part four! Before diving into the ratings, I want to address the ongoing debate about lab testing and COA results. My readers should know where I stand on this issue. In my opinion, the advertisement of THC and terpene percentages is a marketing gimmick. Check out Part Two for more on this topic.

In regard to estimating potency, I would be happy if the THC percentage for dried flower was labelled as a range. The following three ranges would suffice: low (under 10%),  medium (10-20%), and high (over 20%). This would effectively undermine THC as the dominant marketing strategy and encourage stakeholders to prioritize more relevant quality metrics.  

As for quality grading, I tune out when a reviewer starts listing the THC or terpene percentage. THC does not equal potency, and terpene content does not equal intensity of aroma and flavour. They are only contributing factors. 

Underneath the surface, the formula for any given cultivar is more complex. There are often compounds at work that aren’t just terpenes. Compounds like thiols,  esters, and flavonoids all combine in different ways to produce an end result.  

Terpenes can be the primary influence behind some expressions of cannabis—profiles such as citrus, floral and spice. But more often, terpenes play a supportive role in the background. 

For example, the skunk gas aroma is a common characteristic of cannabis. Yet this attribute exists fundamentally because of a thiol, not a terpene. The same goes for many non-citrus fruity aromas. Blueberry, grape, banana, and cherry, to name just a few, are all the results of different esters.  

In my opinion, cannabis flower is never about just one compound. It’s always about the combination, the synergy. Now let’s look at the Part Four ratings. 

The first entry is Blueberry Yum Yum by Cake & Caviar. These flowers were produced by Habitat Life in Chase, British Columbia, using the nutrient-rich waters of Habitat’s aquaponics technology. 

This 3.5-gram product was packaged in an adequately sized glass jar, well proportioned to the buds inside. And the buds were gorgeous! They look similar to the Platinum Grapes by Organnicraft. Frosty, light green on the outside with lots of orange pistils, and layered with dark purple hues.

My first whiff smelled like grape juice or a bag of raisins. An Integra Boost Pack was placed at the bottom of the jar. The flower seemed cured to perfection, nice and squishy. A subtle blueberry aroma wafted out from the inside layers as I chopped the buds. 

The first smoke was delicious, boasting a molasses flavour reminiscent of dessert cultivars. Subsequent smokes revealed an earthy blueberry flavour. I was reminded of enjoying a glass of cognac. To me, this is sipping weed, a contemplative weed with a very clean burn and light-coloured ash. OG Rating = 83/100. 

The second entry for Part Four is Master Kush Ultra by Smoker Farms. Cultivated in Beaverdell, this product was packaged by Joint Venture Craft Cannabis under the BC Black banner. 

There was an Integra Boost Pack inside the mylar bag. The buds were a tad dry on the outside but adequately cured on the inside layers. They were small but dense, typical of old-school kush. 

I was overwhelmed by a dank, earthy, citrus profile at first open, complemented by skunk-like fuel. Chopping the flower revealed a combination of lime over lemon, blending into mint. There was also that lingering vintage MKU incense characteristic. 

Smoking the first joint brought a smile to my face. The flavour boasted loud fuel complimented by a peppery aftertaste. The burn was supreme, with a potent hit in the chest. This is relaxing weed. OG Rating = 84/100. 

The third entry is Funky Banana by Simply Bare Organic. This product is part of the Gas Series 28-gram rotating SKU in Alberta. I purchased this ounce bag from a Canna Cabana in Calgary for $195 after tax. 

Inside the package, I discovered medium-sized, dense buds. Despite being packaged more than two months prior, they still had decent moisture content. There wasn’t a humidity pack, but a little air was left inside the bag to protect the buds from being flattened. 

The flower exhibited a forest green colour. I was reminded of banana runts as I cracked open the bag. Then gas mixed with banana as I diced the buds up, along with a little bit of spice. 

A robust gas profile surfaced in the flavour, with banana subtle in the background.  The smoke packed a punch, rich but with a very pure aftertaste. OG Rating = 84/100. 

Last for Part Four is Crushed Velvet by Sweetgrass Cannabis. Cultivated in Ymir,  British Columbia, this flower was grown in living soil and is FVOPA organic certified. 

A fruity cereal aroma exploded out of the bag, reminiscent of dried cherries and cream. Inside was one solid 3.75g bud exhibiting a bit of foxtailing and an abundance of crystals. 

A savoury aroma wafted out from the inside layers, almost like roasted chicken. The flower broke up in hard bits, not completely fluffy, indicating low moisture content. 

But the first smoke was serene. It was highlighted by a very unique floral rose profile complimented by a hint of soap. The session featured a super smooth burn and complex flavour until the end of the joint, and a mild but very pleasant effect. OG  Rating = 82/100. 

That’s all for Part Four. I hope you enjoyed reading about these products as much as  I enjoyed smoking them. My next column will showcase four more products from the Good Weed Board. Stay tuned to find out if any of them break the current record score of 86. Happy blazing!

Marty Wig is the cofounder of Overgrown Gardens, and creator of the OG Rating Guide. He has been grading cannabis since 2003.

Updated: Health Canada issues recalls for two unauthorized cannabis products sold without market authorization (DIN) in Canada

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) has posted a recall for a cannabis product they say is an unapproved prescription drug.

In a notice posted online on April 18, the OCS says that the product “Goodnight Dream Caps” from Taima Extracts Inc. is being recalled due to a “risk calculation associated with this product” as a Type II recall.

A Type II (2) recall refers to a product that can cause temporary adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.

There are generally three types of product recall designations in Canada, Type (or class) I, II, and III, with Type I representing the highest risk and Type III representing the lowest risk to public health. 

Most recalls for cannabis products in Canada have been Type III recalls, generally related to inaccurate labelling. 

This notice affects all lots and packaging dates of the product that was sold in Ontario. 

On April 20, Health Canada also issued their own recall notice for the product, stating it was an unauthorized product sold without market authorization (DIN) in Canada.

Although the product has now been removed, the soft gels were previously listed on the OCS website as each containing 20 mg of CBD, zero THC, as well as 10 mg of melatonin, and chamomile oil. 

The previous product listing on the OCS noted the producer was Voyage Cannabis, while the recall notice attributes the product to Taima. Voyage Cannabis was acquired by Heritage cannabis in 2022. The recall notice is not associated with Heritage Cannabis or Voyage Cannabis.

The OCS notice does not make it clear what caused the product to be considered an unapproved prescription drug.

Health Canada regulates melatonin under the Natural Health Products Regulations. It’s commonly advertised as an effective sleep aid; however, some medical experts warn that it can cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and muscle aches if used in high doses.

Health Canada recently issued a product recall for a CBD product on April 4 that contained 20mg of CBD and 3mg of Melatonin, calling it an “unauthorized product.” The notice said it was a product sold without market authorization (DIN) in Canada. A DIN is a Drug Identification Number.

Taima and the OCS were not immediately available for comment.

Any new cannabis product that enters the market must first provide Health Canada with a Notice of New Cannabis Product (NNCP) at least 60 calendar days before making the new cannabis product available for sale.

This article will be updated as new information becomes available. 

This article has been updated to note Health Canada issued a recall notice for the Goodnight Dream Caps in April 20.

Health Canada issues two new cannabis recalls due to inaccurate cannabinoid levels

Health Canada issued two new recalls of dried cannabis on April 18, one sold in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan.

Peace Naturals has issued a recall for their Spinach Kiwi Lime Punch pre-rolled joints that were sold in Alberta due to inaccurate THC levels. 

The products were labelled as having 20 mg/g of THC and total THC of 212 mg/g while the actual figure was 17 mg/g and 287 mg/g.

Twenty units of the product were sold from March 24 to April 4. The 0.35 gram pre-rolls came in packages of 10. 

Health Canada’s recall notice says that Peace Naturals received one consumer complaint based on inaccurate THC levels. Health Canada has not received any complaints. 

As always, Health Canada reminds Canadians to report any health or safety complaints related to the use of this cannabis product or any other cannabis product by filling out the online complaint form.

A second recall, also issued on April 18, was for inaccurate THC levels on Medz Cannabis Inc.’s Harts Charlottes Angel pre-rolls sold in Saskatchewan. 

There were 240 units sold where the THC, total THC, CBD and total CBD labelled are lower than the actual values in the product.

Neither Medz Cannabis Inc. or Health Canada have received any complaints as of publication.

The printed value of cannabinoids showed total THC of 2.9 mg/g but the actual value was 6.2 mg/g. CBD levels on the label were 1.3 mg/g but actual value was 10.5 mg/g. Total CBD was listed as 78 mg/g but the actual value was 130 mg/g.

Health Canada issues product recall for Pure Sun Farms BC Sour Kush for inaccurate labelling

Health Canada has issued a recall notice for cannabis due to an errant decimal point. 

Two lots of Pure Sunfarms Corp.’s Original Fraser Valley Weed Co. B.C. Sour Kush dried cannabis, both sold through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) and through authorized retailers in Ontario, were recalled due to incorrect cannabinoid values.

The THC labelled is lower than the actual THC due to a misplaced decimal point. 

The OCS originally posted its own product recall for the BC Sour Kush on March 1. Both products were packaged on March 1. Health Canada’s own recall was posted on March 30.

To date, Pure Sunfarms Corp and Health Canada say they have not received any complaints related to the recalled lots. Neither Health Canada nor Pure Sunfarms Corp. has received any adverse reaction reports for the recalled cannabis product lots.

There were 1,442 units of recalled product sold in Ontario from March 14 to March 24, 2023.

The printed value on Lot number 03984 of the B.C. Sour Kush was THC: 9 mg/g (Total THC: 216 mg/g) and CBD: 0 mg/g (Total CBD: 0 mg/g). The correct labelling should have been THC 90 mg/g (Total THC: 216 mg/g) and CBD: 0 mg/g (Total CBD: 0 mg/g). 

Lot number 03985 was labelled as THC: 7 mg/g (Total THC: 202 mg/g) and CBD: 0 mg/g (Total CBD: 0 mg/g). The correct label should have read THC: 70 mg/g (Total THC: 202 mg/g) and CBD: 0 mg/g (Total CBD: 0 mg/g)

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Mislabelling and packaging errors are the most common reason for cannabis product recalls in Canada: Health Canada currently notes 31 cannabis recalls for packaging and labelling errors. There have been only nine for a suspected quality concern, one for a chemical hazard, one for a dosage error, one for microbial contamination, and one for unauthorized product since legalization began in late 2018.

THC Testing—What it says vs What it is

THC content has been the talk of stoners since the molecule’s discovery. We’ve spent decades trying to maximize it—we figured out that stressing out unpollinated female flowers gives us the best buzz and, presumably, the most THC content.

Regardless of your opinion on how much—or even if—THC content affects overall quality, the percentage on the bag is often a large factor in consumers’ purchasing choices.

In the nineties, tokers were looking for legendary Cali bud that supposedly hit the elusive 20% mark. In the short time since, plant morphology has not changed all that much, but the internet has led to growers sharing the secrets they use to maximize trichome coverage. 

On a recent product call, the Ontario Cannabis Store is said to have requested more strains that tested above 30% THC. Suddenly, almost every new product in Ontario was hitting marks of 31%, 32%, even a couple 34% batches! Even old SKUs that had never sniffed 26% before were suddenly 30.5%. 

Such a steep jump in such a short amount of time, and seemingly relegated to Canada and California labs: Australian labs don’t seem to agree with our numbers up here—a batch of Orange Crescendo sent to Aussie medical outlet Alfie was purported to be 28%, but once tested down under, the new label for the batch was 22%. How did we get here?

In the Canadian legal market, online wholesalers, retailers, and most retail stores are set up in a way that makes THC and price the only things you can judge before the product is in your hands. This blind buying is causing more consumers to ask for the bud with the highest THC, and LP’s are incentivized to make sure they can always be on the top of that list.

The Cannabis Act prescribes a lot about the testing of cannabis, but never explicitly says how cannabis should be tested. Different labs use slightly different methods of finding the levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, bacteria, heavy metals, and all the other things Health Canada requires to be tested in cannabis. Now, certain labs have gained reputations as known “THC inflators,” and some suggest that tests from these labs should raise eyebrows.

One batch of a product recently launched in Ontario purportedly hit 39.58% total THC, and another claims 40.41%. These figures are usually found on cannabis concentrate products like hash and infused pre-rolls. THC and its precursor THCa are predominantly found in the trichome heads of cannabis plants. If these numbers are correct, we can expect approximately 45% or more of the cannabis by weight to be trichome heads. This dense covering of trichome heads would be immediately apparent to even the novice user.

“They should just put a range on the label. Or, even a disclaimer: ‘Flower in bag may be lower than advertised THC.’”

Jennawae Cavion of Calyx and Trichomes in Kingston

How to Test for THC

On a dreary Friday in March, I paid Thomas Fraleigh a visit at his lab in Mississauga. He took me on a tour of his surprisingly small testing space, walking me through the basics of microbial testing, terpene analysis, and cannabinoid content analysis. For the latter, Fraleigh’s lab, Vivariant, uses what’s known as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), which most other accredited labs in Canada also use. There are different types of HPLC used, but the broad strokes are the same.

How it works for Vivariant, in layman’s terms, is that each sample is weighed, homogenized cryogenically, and a specific amount of that homogenized, powdery cannabis sample is combined with a sterile liquid. This combined solution is then put through an HPLC machine, where a filter separates the contents of the sample and each ingredient is registered by a detector.

The ingredients are separated one at a time, and once registered by the detector, they are plotted on a graph in relation to the time they took to separate. This leads to ‘spikes’ on a graph, one for each of the compounds tested for. These spikes are then measured against standard cannabinoid concentrations to find the levels of cannabinoids present in the sample.

Once that is known, a math formula is used that takes into account all of the factors going into the sample—sample weight, amount of cannabis sample powder added to sterile liquid—which then translates the amount of cannabinoids in the solution to the milligrams per gram we see on cannabis labels today.

One part of the process where Fraleigh thinks it may be possible to skew the result is the math formula at the end. One could, theoretically, add more of the cannabis powder sample to the sterile liquid than they account for in the end formula, leading to a higher concentration of cannabinoids in the end test, and therefore a higher overall percentage on the end result.

Vivariant’s methodology is tested regularly by Proficiency Testing Canada, an organization that sends labs homogenized cannabis samples for testing. The issue with this is that the samples are clearly marked. If a lab were purposely skewing results, it would be very simple for them to not skew the results provided to PT Canada.


Health Canada allows a 15% variance in the stated label claim of cannabinoid content on some regulated cannabis products. Theoretically this means that, legally, your bag that’s marked as 27% THC could contain some bud that tests anywhere from 23% to 31%.

What happens when the weed in the bag falls outside of that allowance? So far, not much. Tom Ulanowski, the chair of C-45 Quality Association, has been raising similar concerns with Health Canada as far back as October 2021. C-45 has a vested interest in accurate testing, as they represent a number of labs and quality assurance professionals across Canada’s cannabis industry. As of yet, Health Canada has not taken any action…. Well, not since 2015 at least. That was the last time Health Canada issued a recall of a product based on inaccurate THC labeling. And yes, eagle-eyed reader, 2015 was before recreational cannabis was legal.

So what would it take to trigger a recall? Let’s find out.

I submitted a sealed sample of the 39.58% bag, a product called Pearadise by Wink, to Vivariant for independent analysis. The result? Vivariant tested the flower in the bag at 22.19% Total THC—a whopping 44% below the nearly 40% stated on the label. I’ve submitted a complaint to Health Canada about the difference in the stated amount vs the tested amount. Wink responded saying they trust their lab, Pathogenia, to give accurate results, and offered the original batch Certificate of Analysis (COA).

Editor’s note: A representative for Weed Me, which brought the Wink product to market, provided this comment to StratCann in response noting they will begin vetting the results from their tests with multiple labs. In part:

“As more and more incredible people apply their remarkable skills perfecting their respective art of cultivating cannabis, we at Weed Me are continually impressed with what they are producing. Through improvements in techniques, fertilization, light and environmental controls and most importantly development of genetics, some of the results we see are hard to believe. 

“We equally listen to you as the consumer, and we hear that ultra high potency flower, approaching or exceeding that of infused products, can be hard to believe. In response to these concerns we will implement a competing double-testing methodology of any strains that test over 34% THC. We will submit samples for testing to 2 different 3rd party analytic laboratories and provide the average of the 2 in an effort to most accurately represent the product specifications. While the labs are licensed and regulated by Health Canada we feel it important to go the extra step and double-check. This testing is in addition to the testing provided to us by our cultivating partners.”

Other high-THC products are being called into question as well. High North Labs recently tested a sample, Raptors Rntz by Celebrity, that claimed on the bag to be 40.4% THC. Their tests showed the product to be only 28.74% total THC. This is still an impressive amount by most standards! But alas, it’s also 29% below the claim on the label.

The problem isn’t relegated to extremely high THC numbers, though. Rob O’Brien from Supra Research and Development also tested 46 different whole flower cannabis products in BC, with a variety of products and brands at different price points, THC levels, and bag sizes. Similar to Vivariant’s results, some products were up to 45% below the stated Total THC on the label. 

However, O’Brien believes his findings to be a result of inaccurate batch representation in testing, as he found larger buds tested much closer to the stated THC levels than the smaller buds. He believes this to be an issue with LPs who use one crop to fill various sized bags. Larger 3 or 4 gram buds will not fit into 1 gram bags, but are what’s used to test the potency of the whole batch.

What do we do from here?

Everyone has different ideas on how to fix this. Many believe that switching to a “deli style” system, where products are able to be seen and smelled prior to purchase would remove the incentive of testing at ridiculously high THC levels. 

Others, like Jennawae Cavion of Calyx and Trichomes in Kingston, had a simpler idea: “They should just put a range on the label,” she says. “Or, even a disclaimer: ‘Flower in bag may be lower than advertised THC.’”

Some believe independent testing at the federal, or even provincial, wholesale level for incoming products should be the norm, with punishments for being outside of the allowance. The OCS has contracted Sigma Analytical for independent analysis of cannabis products, but the extent to which they have tested products remains unclear.

Health Canada said in a statement that of 919 samples they collected since October 2018, when recreational cannabis was legalized, only 68 were tested and “found to be in contravention of the requirements set out in the cannabis act or its regulations.” These 68 could be in contravention for any reason, including failing microbial or pesticide analysis, and do not refer specifically to THC level contravention.

What can be done?

What will happen next remains unclear. Hopefully, it involves more transparency in all aspects of the industry, lest the problem of inflated THC will continue until the balloon eventually pops.

In my perfect world, we would have a hybrid deli-style system alongside the present prepackaged system for those who want it. There’s something to be said for seeing and smelling a product before you purchase it. It would be a long road to get there with regard to regulation changes, but we can do it. 

Deli style shops and budtenders who actually tend to your bud is how brick-and-mortar stores started pre-legalization, and, hopefully what we’ll return to. I’d trust my eyes and nose over a number on a bag any day, especially if it doesn’t match what’s actually inside that bag.

~Cass Whichelo

Cass is a cannabis enthusiast and former budtender who resides in Toronto, Ontario. They fight for radical transparency in the cannabis industry and beyond. They can be found on Twitter @terp_kaczynski

The Good Weed Board, part three


Welcome to the Good Weed Board on StratCann – part three! In Part One I touched on the origin story of the OG Rating Guide and explained why the grading system was developed. In Part Two, I ranked the most important quality metrics for grading cannabis and described how these metrics influence the OG Rating Guide.

Here in part three, I showcase four more products from the Good Weed Board. I also speculate about why good weed is so hard to find in the regulated market. 

Before diving in I want to make an announcement. The OG Rating Guide does not engage in pay-to-play. These are genuine ratings from a guy who loves good weed. I encourage producers to offer free samples, but the Good Weed Board is not for sale. My honest assessment of products will never be swayed.

I also want to give some advice. Don’t believe everything you see posted on Reddit. In my quest for good weed, I’ve graded an abundance of mediocre products: so many examples of hyped flower that was truly overrated. In my estimation, more than 90 percent of the products promoted on social media are of ordinary quality at best.

To put this into perspective, only twelve products have qualified for the Good Weed Board. If the bar was lowered to 70, the standings would be chock full. 

Why are there so many unremarkable products for sale on the regulated market? One reason is the 3.5-gram category, the dominant category for dried flower in every province across the country. The issue with 3.5-gram products is that the flower is almost always over-dry by the time it reaches the end consumer. 

The 3.5-gram category makes sense in a deli-style consumer market, where cured flower is stored in bulk until an order is placed, and is then consumed within a few days of purchase. The 3.5-gram category does not make sense in a wholesale distributor market, where flower is pre-packaged and stored for several weeks before consumption.

One way to increase the average quality of dried flower on the regulated market is more bulk offerings. Craft producers should have more 28-gram products available for sale. In a pre-packaged market, 28-grams of adequately cured flower is more likely to keep fresh until it reaches the end consumer. 

But there is a catch. The only way more 28-gram packages can become a reality is if regulators agree to adjust excise tax policy to account for the discounted price of a bulk sale. In my opinion, the excise tax policy should become the lesser of $1 or 10% per gram, not the greater as currently structured. It is not feasible for craft producers to pay $28 of excise tax on a product that should retail for around $150. 

Another way to increase the average quality of dried flower on the regulated market is direct distribution. Direct distribution would allow producers to ship directly to retailers and avoid the wholesaler warehouse. Not only would this encourage more local trade in the industry, it could also reduce the time of delay from when a batch is ready for sale until it reaches the final destination.

Now let’s look at the part three ratings. 

The first entry is Grape Cake by Joi Botanicals. Grape Cake is the third product by Joi Botanicals to qualify for the Good Weed Board. I purchased a 3.5-gram offering from Lake City Cannabis in Lincoln Park.

The buds are packaged inside a heavy glass jar. Their profile is layered with sweet fruit and cream, comparable with another Joi Botanicals offering, Purple Punch Mints #11. The Grape Cake buds are bigger and denser with less uniformity. They are also frostier than the Purple Punch Mints #11 with deep purple hues and an abundance of long orange pistils. I am pleased to report that the burn was supreme: tasty, potent, smooth, and even. OG Rating = 81/100. 

The second entry for Part Three is Animal Face by Carmel Cannabis. Carmel is a craft cultivator based out of Oro Medonte, Ontario, specializing in small-scale cultivation and unique genetics. 

I love Carmel’s packaging. The best part is the back label. They include information about the cultivar, breeder, lineage, aroma, flavour, and appearance. They advertise that the buds are hand-trimmed, hang-dried, hand-packaged, grown in small batches, and never irradiated. Carmel also gives credit to other growers if the product was sourced, not grown in-house. 

The Animal Face buds are light green and frosty with lots of orange hairs—usually a good sign. The OG Kush influence is clearly visible. The flower has a dominant profile of pine mixed with lemon and cake. Pockets of diesel are released near the stem. Once again the burn is supreme. OG Rating = 84/100. 

The third entry is Drew’s Pheno, also by Carmel Cannabis. I purchased both Carmel offerings from one of my favourite stores, the unfortunately now defunct Peak Cannabis. Drew’s Pheno features a rotation of limited drops grown by Carmel’s partner craft growers. The batch I sampled was Hippie Headbanger, grown by Magi Cannabis on Salt Spring Island in BC. 

There are predominant Sour Diesel traits in this Hippie Headbanger. The flower has a pungent sour lime fragrance with notes of gas under the surface. Just like the Animal Face, this batch was dried and cured exceptionally well. OG Rating = 80/100.

Last but not least for part three is Banana Cake by Crystal Cure. Crystal Cure is a licensed producer of hand-crafted small-batch cannabis farmed in certified organic living soil in Shediac Cape, New Brunswick. 

Crystal Cure also has one of the best packages in the game. Their back label provides information about the growing method, breeder, and parent genetics. The label also advertises the flower as non-irradiated and provides both a harvest & package date. 

The batch of Banana Cake I sampled was cultivated by one of Crystal Cure’s partners, Golden Peak Cannabis in Moncton, NB.

Although over-dry, the buds are still sticky and coated in trichomes. There is a dominant Cake profile with grape and pineapple fragrances on the outside and banana mixed with cheese on the inside. One whiff reminded me of Banana Starburst. The next puff tasted like soda pop with a chocolate aftertaste. This is flavourful smoke that provides a potent hit and reaches deep inside the chest. OG Rating = 80/100. 

That’s all for part three. I hope you enjoyed reading about these products as much as I enjoyed smoking them. My next column will showcase more products from the Good Weed Board. Stay tuned to find out if any of them break the current record score of 86. Happy blazing!

Marty Wig is the cofounder of Overgrown Gardens, and creator of the OG Rating Guide. He has been grading cannabis since 2003.

Peace Naturals recalls Spinach GMO Cookies pre-rolls from Ontario, Alberta due to inaccurate labels

Peace Naturals Project Inc. has recalled two lots of Spinach GMO Cookies pre-rolls sold in Ontario and Alberta. 

The recall is because the products were labelled with incorrect cannabinoid values, listing the wrong amounts of THC and CBD in the pre-rolls. 

Two separate lots were sold, one with 420 units of product from lot 008397, distributed to Ontario, and the other with 1104 units of product from lot 008406, distributed to Alberta. 

The packages contained ten .35-gram pre-rolls. 

  • The products sold in Ontario were labelled as having 0 mg/g THC (Total THC 260 mg/g) and 0 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 0 mg/g). They should have shown 26 mg/g THC (Total THC: 228 mg/g) and 0 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 1 mg/g).
  • The products sold in Alberta were labelled as having 29 mg/g THC (Total THC: 268 mg/g) and 1 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 1 mg/g). They should have shown 29 mg/g THC (Total THC: 268 mg/g) and 0 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 1 mg/g).

As of February 8, Peace Naturals Project Inc. had received only one complaint related to incorrect cannabinoid values on the product label. Health Canada has not, as of yet, received any complaints related to the recalled products. Neither Health Canada nor Peace Naturals Project Inc. has received any adverse reaction reports for the recalled cannabis product lot.

Health Canada reminds consumers who wish to return an affected product to contact the retail store where it was purchased.

Health Canada also reminds Canadians to report any health or safety complaints related to the use of this cannabis product or any other cannabis product by filling out the online complaint form.

Peace Naturals faced another recent product recall for inaccurately labelled pre-rolls, this time with the wrong amount of CBG listed.

Inaccurate labelling is one of the most common reasons for cannabis products being recalled in Canada.

Weed Me Inc. recalls one lot of Diamond District Sativa Pre-Rolls Cannabis Extract

A cannabis company has had to recall one lot of cannabis pre-rolls from the Ontario market for not being potent enough. 

Ontario producer Weed Me recalled packages of their Diamond District Sativa Pre-rolls (Diamond Lemon Cream), which were labelled as infused pre-rolls but only contain dried cannabis. Because of this, the products are also listed as having higher THC levels labelled than the actual THC in the pre-rolls. 

The printed value of THC on the 3 unit packs of 0.5 gram pre-rolls was 410 mg/g THC (41% THC) while the actual value was only 264.4 mg/g THC (26.4% THC). Weed Me’s Diamond District pre-rolls are normally infused with THCa diamonds.

This product was sold through the Ontario Cannabis Store and through authorized retailers in Ontario.

To date, neither Weed Me Inc. nor Health Canada has received any complaints related to the recalled lot. Neither Weed Me Inc. nor Health Canada has received any adverse reaction reports for the recalled lot.

There were 1,230 units of recalled products sold from November 23 to December 2, 2022.

According to the OCS, “a non-infused batch of Lemon Cream milled cannabis was erroneously used to make the Diamond District Sativa Pre-rolls that are supposed to be made with milled cannabis infused with THCa isolate. Potency of actual product is lower than label claim.”

Health Canada notes that consumers should verify whether their product is affected and, if they wish to return the affected product, contact the retail store where it was purchased.

Health Canada also reminds Canadians to report any health or safety complaints related to the use of this cannabis product or any other cannabis product by filling out the online complaint form.

Inaccurate labelling is one of the most common reasons for cannabis product recalls in Canada.

Image via Health Canada

Changes to cannabis regs increase beverage possession limit, streamline product testing

Health Canada has announced new changes to the cannabis regulations today, which include increased beverage possession limits.

The changes announced today will also facilitate non-therapeutic research with human participants; allow analytical testing licence holders and government labs to produce, distribute, and sell cannabis reference standards and manufacture and assemble test kits; and will expand acceptable qualifications for the head of laboratory position.

The Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Concerning Cannabis Research and Testing and Cannabis Beverages and the Order Amending Schedule 3 to the Cannabis Act came into force on December 2, 2022, and will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on December 21, 2022.

The changes were first announced as part of the Forward Regulatory Plan 2022-2024, and a Notice of Intent on the proposed changes was first published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 12, 2020. The final changes were to be announced by the end of 2022. 

The changes to the public possession limit for cannabis beverages would mean adult Canadians could possess up to as many as 48 cans rather than the five allowed previously.

Cannabis beverage makers in the industry have been lobbying for these changes since the rules were first announced several years ago, noting that only allowing consumers to buy five cans at a time was not practical.  

The changes to cannabis product rules will mean product testing will be easier and will change how labs can engage in cannabis testing practices. The changes to cannabis product testing (so-called “human trials”) should also assist the industry in more easily allowing the sampling of products still in the R&D phase. 

Previously, the regulations required additional product testing authorizations that some licence holders found too challenging to obtain. This is true not only for sampling dried flower, but also for products like edibles, beverages, and vape pens that producers otherwise have a limited ability to test for taste or effect until after they are released into the consumer market.

Other regulatory changes are also still in the works. In 2021, Health Canada proposed restrictions around flavouring in cannabis extracts and vape pens, which they say they expected to come into force “no earlier than 2022.” A representative for Health Canada told StratCann via email that the regulator does not have an update on the timing at this time.

Although on the surface these changes around flavouring appear quite strict, they are written in a way that still allows smells and flavours associated with cannabis to be used, either from cannabis-derived or non-cannabis-derived sources, says one industry expert.

Health Canada also notes that while there is no federal limit on the amount of cannabis that can be purchased or sold at a retail location, some provinces and territories have set purchase limits in their jurisdictions.

For those provinces and territories that reference the federal public possession limits to set purchase limits, these purchase limits will automatically change for cannabis beverages. However, for those provinces and territories that do not reference the federal public possession limits, they would need to amend their framework in order to align purchase limits to the new federal public possession limit.

Health Canada is also currently conducting a review of the Cannabis Act itself, with a report to be tabled no later than spring 2024.

  • As of December 2, 2022, the amount of cannabis beverages that an adult can possess in public for non-medical purposes has increased to forty-eight 355 mL standard-sized beverage cans (approximately 17.1 L) compared to the previous limit of approximately five 355 mL cans of cannabis beverages. 
  • Existing controls within the Cannabis Regulations remain in order to address the risks of overconsumption and accidental consumption.
  • Holders of a processing licence have a 12-month transition period to update the labels of affected cannabis beverages.  
  • Other authorized persons (e.g., provincially and territorially authorized distributors and retailers) can continue to sell or distribute their existing inventory of previously labelled and packaged cannabis beverages.    

Facilitation of non-therapeutic research on cannabis:

  • Non-therapeutic research on cannabis involving human participants no longer needs to meet the requirements for clinical trials under the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR). 
  • It is now possible to conduct this research solely under the Cannabis Regulations. These amendments allow researchers to investigate cannabis and its effects from a non-therapeutic perspective and allow more research for cannabis product development.
  • The Cannabis Act and its regulations include appropriate health and safety controls to protect research participants.
  • Clinical trials with cannabis that are currently underway are not impacted by these changes. The FDR and relevant sections of the Cannabis Regulations continue to regulate such research (e.g. requirements for a research licence, cannabis production and record retention).
  • Existing research licence holders conducting research with human participants have a 24-month transition period to submit new applications, or in some cases, amend their existing licenses.

Improving access to cannabis testing materials:

  • Analytical testing licence holders and government laboratories can now produce, distribute, and sell reference standards and manufacture and assemble test kits.
  • Individuals working in government laboratories are automatically allowed to do these activities.
  • Current analytical testing licence holders will need to amend their licence to be authorized for these activities.

Updated qualifications for Head of Laboratory positions for analytical testing licenses:

  • The educational qualifications for the Head of Laboratory position for an analytical testing licence holder have been expanded to allow for a larger pool of qualified candidates to occupy this role.

Edibles, extracts, and infused pre-rolls help increased sales in BC

Cannabis sales increased in BC and prices dropped in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021. 

These figures increased from the previous quarter as well, despite the shutdown of the province’s central distribution warehouse from August 15 to August 31 due to a strike

The BCLDB’s newest quarterly cannabis sales data shows an 18% increase in wholesale cannabis grams, an 8% increase in wholesale sales, and an 8% overall price decrease, while the number of cannabis stores increased by nearly 18% in Q2 2022 compared to Q2 2021. 

The report covers July, August, and September. The LDB began sharing these quarterly results in October, with their Q1 2022 release

Despite these sales increases and price drops, overall sales of dried flower in the province declined in Q2 compared to last year by 13% and nearly 9% in gram totals. These declines were offset by increases in beverages (7%), edibles (27%), inhalable extracts (62%), pre-rolls (13%), and seeds (59%). 

Ingestible extracts (16% of total sales), and topicals (20% of total sales) also declined compared to Q2 2022. 

Carbonated beverages saw a 37% increase in sales compared to Q2 2021, while all other beverage categories declined. 

In the cannabis edibles category, increases were in the “other edibles” (49%) and cannabis chews (33%) categories, while baked goods declined by 20%, chocolate by 10%, and hard candy by 91%.

The biggest increase in the inhalable extracts category was “other inhalables”—which includes infused pre-rolls—at 571%. Disposable pens increased by 235%, wax sales increased by 148%, carts by 24%, hash by 21%, resin and rosin by 19%, and shatter by 12%.

Image via LDB

Direct Delivery

Direct Delivery sales, which launched in August of this year, saw $704,978 in sales, with $285,633 coming from dried flower and $279,240 in pre-rolls, $133,448 in inhalable extracts, and $6,657 in edibles and beverages.

-All images via LDB

How edible extracts are getting around the 10mg limit

The Cannabis Act attempted to take decades of global cannabis innovation and distil it into a few manageable categories that ensure Canadians remain safe and people roughly know what they are buying.

After a year of the Act in play, regulators felt confident enough to bring edibles and beverages into the fray, ‘Cannabis 2.0.’ The delay wasn’t unfounded: cannabis edibles are a tricky beast to tame, primarily because they’re so difficult to define.

It was decided that the ‘defining feature’ of a cannabis edible was that it is consumed “as food”. This directive is delightfully vague in its precision, in that anything that is not consumed as food is therefore not an edible.

“The use of plant-based fibres in sugar-free products has been a widespread and common practice for decades. While our extract lozenge formulation is, in fact, very simple, this industry is all about execution.”

Ilya Serebryany, Founder and CEO of Loosh Brands

Non-food innovation in cannabis non-edibles

The legacy market had primed consumers for larger-dosed edibles (even if those doses didn’t live up to the label), and lobbying groups like the Cannabis Council of Canada have made the reconsideration of potency limits on edibles a core mandate of their efforts to reform the industry to tackle illicit trade.

Organigram saw this as an opportunity to side-step a glaring issue in current regulations: 10mg THC caps on packages of edibles. The workaround is simply to produce an edible that is not consumed “as food”—hence the naming conventions of lozenges, sublinguals, etc. And their Edison Jolts were born. 10mg THC each with 10 lozenges in a package, for a total of 100mg THC.

Organigram declined to provide comment on this topic, but Kate Hillyar​, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Aurora, commented that they “…develop innovative products while staying within the federal regulatory framework. We developed Glitches based on an insight that consumers wanted an ingestible extract that was an alternative to cannabis capsules but still provided a convenient, discreet format with a desirable taste.”

Organigram’s Edison Jolts, ten 10mg THC lozenges

Glitches from Aurora’s brand Drift are perhaps the most interesting example of ‘non-edibles.’ They purport to replace capsules while providing a palatable flavour and a satisfying chew. However, like Flintstones Chewable Gummy Vitamins, they are not food.

In a response to questions about products like Aurora’s Glitches, a representative for Health Canada told StratCann that the agency is “aware of the product and is looking into this situation.” 

This ‘not an edible’ nonetheless requires a category in which it can be approved, sorted, and sold. Like infused pre-rolls, the last concept to break the notion of category, the realm of ‘extract’ lay as a clear destination.

If ‘extracts’ can have milled flower, concentrates, paper, and terps (like infused pre-rolls), the tolerance for ‘additives’ appears to be the most forgiving.

Some forest-hardened potheads will go so far as to say that you can eat extracts straight from the jar, efficiency and palatability be damned for the purest high.

Andrea Dobbs, Co-founder of the Village Bloomery, a retailer in Vancouver, told StratCann that so far, “[edible extracts] are very well received. Good value and a happy medium between capsules and gummies. The [Kinslips, from California] took a minute to catch on, but they’re all caught up now. The edible extract marries value with candy. Folks dead set on value will go capsule, but many are looking to have a yummy infused treat.”

The edible extract “Loophole”?

Ironically, few things define the current state of the edible selection in Canada more clearly than a pervasive ingredient: sugar. It also happens to be one of the few additives that explicitly aren’t allowed in cannabis extracts:

101.3 (1) A cannabis extract…must not contain any ingredients other than
(a) carrier substances;
(b) flavouring agents; and
(c) substances that are necessary to maintain the quality or stability of the cannabis product.
(2) The following substances must not be used as ingredients to produce a cannabis extract referred to in subsection (1):
(b) sugars or sweeteners or sweetening agents, as those terms are defined in subsection B.01.001(1) of the Food and Drug Regulations.

This section of the Cannabis Regulations can be affectionately referred to by some as ‘the loophole.’

Section (1) defines the ground rules for vape cartridges and any extract that needs something extra to reach its full potential. Section (2) puts some guardrails in the category that ensure your ‘honey oil’ isn’t just oily honey (because lungs don’t appreciate sugar).

All this comes together to mean that if you combine cannabinoids with carriers, flavours and stabilizing agents—as long as they’re not sugars or a few other banned substances—you can legally call your product an extract, with the excise tax and THC limit implications, as long as it is not consumed as food.

Cass Whichelo, Order Manager at an independent retail store in Ontario, told StratCann that, “nobody asks for them unless they’ve had them before. If they have questions, I point to our peppermint CBD oil and Blue Raspberry THC oil—the same thing that allows [them to be legal] allows Jolts.”

The current solutions and the implications

Hillier from Aurora explains, “Using oligofructose, a dietary fibre that maintains the quality and stability of the THC, our team was able to create a unique formulation for a chewable extract product, while staying within the regulatory requirements for THC levels and ingredients.”

Organigram submitted a patent in 2021, “Buccal Dosage Forms Comprising Oligosaccharides,” that is currently pending. They were the first to discover that oligofructose can be legally used in cannabis extracts and provide a versatile foundation for building these extracts. The Edison Jolts from Organigram, Lozenges from Loosh Brands’ A-ha!, and Drift Glitches from Aurora, use oligofructose as a scaffold for their cannabinoids and other ingredients.

All you need to know about this sweet-tasting oligosaccharide (from the Greek for ‘a few sugars’) is that it is not considered a sugar or sweetener in Canada while boasting 30% to 50% of the perceptible sweetness of standard sucrose. Biologically speaking, it is closer to dietary fibres like inulin.

Like fibre, it is not broken down by digestion and has few calories. It can contribute to gut health, but large amounts may also cause abdominal discomfort, gas, or cramping.

Ilya Serebryany, Founder and CEO of Loosh Brands, a privately held Toronto-based LP specializing in edible and ingestible cannabis products, told StratCann that “the use of plant-based fibres in sugar-free products has been a widespread and common practice for decades. While our extract lozenge formulation is, in fact, very simple, this industry is all about execution.”

The implications

The most obvious implication of current edible extracts is the different rules concerning excise tax and caps on allowable THC. Those who took the ‘traditional edible’ route, replete with sugar and ingredients often considered to be food, are rightly feeling a little snubbed by what could be considered a loophole.

Dobbs, the Vancouver cannabis retailer, continues by saying, “they actually translate as a value offering. You can buy a pack of 2 chews totalling $9 after tax, a bottle of 30 10mg capsules for $40 after tax, or a 10-pack of 10mg lozenges for around $20.”

Serebryany of Loosh Brands adds that “it is exorbitantly costly and wasteful to package 2-5 bite-sized pieces of an edible product in a child-proof pouch or container. Imagine one could only purchase tiny airplane-sized bottles of alcohol. This is the case for edibles and this embarrassing situation should be remedied as soon as possible.”

However, the grumblings of traditional edible manufacturers may soon turn to signs of interest. Those same edible craftsmen may need to simply ditch the sweeteners—a request more frequent from health-conscious consumers—to render their edible ‘edible’ a simple extract that can be consumed sublingually.

“The customer loves it. They are completely aware of the 10mg limit, so when they see 250mg they’ll buy it with a smile and no hesitation.”

Jen, a keyholder at an independent retail chain in Ontario

Jen, a keyholder at an independent retail chain in Ontario, explained, referring to the new Indiva Life products, “the customers love it. Like ‘Wow, 250mg, I’ll take that.’ They are completely aware of the 10mg limit, so when they see 250mg they’ll buy it with a smile and no hesitation.” However, in discussing any support she receives, she mentioned that she had, “yet to get any educational tools for these, I just know how to explain it because of my own research and experiences.”

In the midst of a review of the Cannabis Act as a whole, and in the context of a report-based compliance system, these ingestible extracts are unlikely to disappear any time soon. However, there remains the ticking clock of Organigram’s patent which, once approved, is likely to begin a flurry of litigation and/or licensing deals.

Serebryany, CEO of Loosh Brands, resolutely states that “we are proud of our successes in launching an impressive portfolio of highly differentiated ingestible cannabis products in our first year of commercial operations. Should regulations evolve to further limit or permit the availability of these or other products, we will tailor our offerings accordingly.”

Roderick S. MacDonald. Rod is a freelance writer and communications consultant focused on the cannabis industry, legal and medical psychedelic therapies, and longevity through genetic and molecular engineering. After a decade in the lab researching cancer and ageing, he learned French in southern Quebec before landing in Belgium. He currently resides in London, Ontario.

More testing needed to address heavy metals in vapes, say researchers

A new research paper showing evidence of high levels of heavy metals in vape pens suggests the government should require more testing and labelling to help better protect consumers.

The study, a partnership between Health Canada’s Office of Cannabis Science and Surveillance and the National Research Council’s Metrology Research Centre, found evidence of high concentrations of some metals in cannabis vape liquids from both the legal and illegal markets in Canada.

Several of the samples—20 legal and 21 illegal—”significantly exceeded” the established tolerance limits for elemental impurities in inhaled products that are established by the European Pharmacopoeia.

The samples of cannabis vape liquids (from the OCS on the legal side and from the Ontario Provincial Police on the illegal side) were analyzed for metals that are commonly tested for in cannabis, such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. These elements can be present from fertilizers, pesticides or other environmental reasons. 

The samples were also then tested for metals that could be present due to leaching from the metallic parts of the vaping devices themselves, such as cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, and several others. Research suggests that the potentially high acidity of cannabis vape liquids can cause these metals to leach into the cannabis oil itself. 

The concentrations of arsenic, mercury, and cadmium in all of the tested samples were within the generally accepted tolerance limits, but the concentration of lead exceeded the tolerance limit in one legal vape pen and six illegal ones. Levels of nickel were, in some cases, 900 times above the established limits in several illegal samples.

Only a few of the tested samples exceeded the limits for cobalt and vanadium, and several samples from both markets were above the limits for chromium, copper, nickel, and lead. Several of the samples from the illicit market showed lead concentrations up to 100 times higher than the allowable limit.

Researchers also noted variations in the concentrations of heavy metals in samples from the same products bought at the same time from the same production lot.

What are you inhaling? Understanding analytical testing for cannabis vape pens

All vape pens tested were no more than eight months old, based on available packaging dates. The report noted that other research has shown increasing levels of leaching from nicotine vape products that have sat on shelves for more than two years, suggesting this same process could apply to cannabis vape pens as well.

Several other publications have identified metal particles in the aerosol generated from nicotine vape devices. The vape devices in these studies were heated and cooled multiple times to mimic normal consumer use better, leading to speculation that this process could add to the degradation of the metal into the vape liquid. 

However, the products used in this study did not undergo such treatment. Researchers suggest this could point to other sources of contamination, such as the stainless steel aerosol tube and the core of the electrical connector, as a likely source of detected particles.

The health concerns due to the inhalation of these heavy metals, especially in often very fine aerosolized particles, are significant. 

Inhaled metals are quickly absorbed through the respiratory tract and can be further transported to other organs. Researchers highlight that lungs are particularly susceptible to nickel toxicity, with adverse effects ranging from lung inflammatory changes to induced rhinitis and sinusitis or allergic dermatitis. 

Even low exposure to inhaled lead can result in an increased risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases, and inhalation of chromium and copper can lead to reduced lung function, an increased risk of asthma, respiratory irritation, or chest pain. 

Adding to this, the presence of nanosized metal particles in vape aerosol is also a significant health concern. These very small particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can be more easily absorbed and react even more strongly with the body. 

The uneven heating potential of many cannabis vape pens is also a concern, as high levels of heat can potentially create additional new, dangerous compounds.

Because of this high presence of heavy metals in even legal vape pens, researchers in this paper suggest Health Canada and other cannabis regulators should consider requiring additional testing for heavy metals. Testing should also be required after cannabis has been processed into a vape liquid, not only the raw cannabis inputs, as Health Canada currently requires, adds the paper. 

It also suggests Health Canada could require more information about the metal components of vape devices, along with the filling date of the vape device, to help consumers make more informed choices and standards for vaping device construction and the materials used.

In the past, the OPP along with the National Research Council have provided testing information on illicit vape products high levels of unapproved pesticides and inaccurate THC listings

British Columbia and New Brunswick have released similar results from illicit products seized in those provinces.

Health Canada is expected to announce restrictions on some flavourings for cannabis vape pens soon. The proposed amendments were expected to be registered in 2022.

These proposed amendments would restrict the production, sale, promotion, packaging, or labelling of inhaled cannabis extracts from having a flavour “other than the flavour of cannabis” and would apply equally to inhaled cannabis extracts sold for both medical and non-medical purposes.

Crafting the perfect infused pre roll

Since infused pre-rolls began to hit the Canadian market late last year, they’ve been gaining popularity among consumers and producers alike.

While consumers are enticed by the promise of boosted potency and flavour, producers are finding that this new product category can be difficult to keep on store shelves given steadily increasing demand. 

But manufacturing infused pre-rolls is no straightforward affair: basic non-infused pre-rolls are challenging enough to produce on their own, and extraction and infusion require expensive equipment and scientific expertise. 

Scott Walters, President and CEO of BIG Concentrates Co., says that in addition to considering things like paper, flower mill size, and machine/equipment selection (which all factor into traditional pre-rolls) when working with extracts, environmental considerations play a much bigger part. 

…you have to get a little more scientific about how you are approaching mixing your ingredients together to come up with your formulation.

John Prentice, Pinnrz

“You have to keep the room nice and cold and dry. When we’re mixing media, when we’re mixing bubble hash or diamonds, it’s incredibly important to keep the room clean, work in smaller batches, and work with teams that know exactly how the material is going to react.” 

Walters says his team typically works in temperatures that are in the low teens to prevent their extract inputs from melting and becoming difficult or impossible to work with. 

Over at Pinnrz, which recently began contract manufacturing infused pre-rolls for other brands, CEO John Prentice gives similar advice. 

“Joints are challenging to begin with. You’ve got this product that people want to have a great experience when they smoke it, and it’s really critical that the construction and how that joint is put together is done properly before you get to what goes inside it. 

“It gets complicated with infused joints because you have all of these parameters around making sure the product is homogenous.” He adds that because they’re categorized as an extract, there’s a lot less variability allowed in a given batch in terms of potency, “so you have to get a little more scientific about how you are approaching mixing your ingredients together to come up with your formulation.”

“We saw how popular they were in other markets like California, but the sheer velocity caught me off guard. It was like wildfire. Around November 2021 there were just one or two. Now a year later and it’s one of the fastest growing product categories.” 

Tairence Rutter, ANC Cannabis

Where both Walters and Prentice stress the importance of starting from the basics when manufacturing infused pre-rolls, at ANC Cannabis—a contract pre-roll manufacturer based out of Alberta—CEO Tairence Rutter says he and his team basically needed to start from scratch with the manufacturing process for their infused SKUs.  

“It is 100% different than traditional pre-rolls. We had to essentially reinvent our entire system, which was probably the most challenging aspect of becoming one of the leaders in infused pre-rolls.

“Treating it like it was a traditional pre-roll was a big mistake we made at first,” he continues. “We grossly miscalculated how complex this product would be—how demanding and taxing it would be on our facility. It requires two times the manpower of traditional pre-rolls.

“There are more steps than a traditional pre-roll. It’s no longer just mill, roll, and deliver. There’s a lot of quality and consistency pieces that go in, which made us really develop and adapt and become more scientific in our approach, so we created a lot of new checks and balances along the way.”

Various pre rolls at a cannabis store in BC

Adding to the complexity of the situation, there are many different types of extracts that can be infused into pre-rolls, from the basics like kief and diamonds to higher-end inputs like rosin and shatter, and they all come with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. 

At BIG, their infused blunts are a natural expansion of the bubble hash their brand is well-known for. High-quality inputs are the name of the game there. As Walters puts it, “Quality in, quality out.” 

But for contract manufacturers like Pinnrz and ANC, different clients have different needs, so their outfits need to be prepared to deliver on any potential combination of inputs. 

According to Prentice, THC diamonds are by far the easiest to infuse into pre-rolls; however, they don’t do much to affect the quality of the product aside from just amplifying the effect, so while they might be a good option if the flower is already top-notch, if that isn’t the case, they can leave the smoking experience feeling hollow. 

In terms of dealing with higher-end extracts like rosin and shatter, or liquid inputs like distillate, things become more challenging. 

“What really sets us apart,” says Rutter at ANC, “is we have one of the only true infusion methods for fluid concentrate. So we can actually infuse flower with any fluid concentrate available.” 

Meanwhile at Pinnrz, Prentice says that they’ve been working with bubble hash, kief, and diamonds, and are in the process of developing methods of using more challenging inputs like live resin, shatter, and distillate. 

Different extract inputs also affect the smoking experience. According to Prentice: “diamonds don’t really slow down the burning. Where you’ll start to see things burn a little slower and take their time is more when you start getting into the live resins, the shatter infusions, the distillate infusions, because you are adding some component of moisture or oil into the product so that is going to slow down its burn rate and create a nicer experience.” 

“You have to keep the room nice and cold and dry. When we’re mixing media, when we’re mixing bubble hash or diamonds, it’s incredibly important to keep the room clean, work in smaller batches, and work with teams that know exactly how the material is going to react.”

Scott Walters, BIG Concentrates

Walters and the team at BIG have used this in crafting their infused blunts to provide a longer smoking experience. 

He says that BIG’s consumers are “looking for the flavour and the quality that we give them in a rosin in an easier to smoke format,” and so they’re aiming for “a really nice slow burn and a really beautiful experience,” noting that BIG’s infused one gram blunts can burn continuously for upwards of thirty minutes. 

In terms of demand, the sky’s the limit. At ANC—a company that began as a micro-producer, then expanded to micro-processing, and eventually became a standard producer—Rutter says that they knew infused pre-rolls would eventually take off. 

“We saw how popular they were in other markets like California, but the sheer velocity caught me off guard. It was like wildfire. Around November 2021 there were just one or two. Now a year later and it’s one of the fastest growing product categories.” 

He adds that currently, roughly 50 percent of ANC’s pre-roll output is infused, but he expects that by this time next year that could rise to 75 percent. 

Infused pre roll blunt from RAD

Police walk back claim of “suspected edibles” in Halloween candy in Ontario

Huron OPP say a warning they issued Monday about “suspected edibles” found in Halloween candy was a false alarm. 

After putting out a press release on Monday warning of these suspected cannabis edibles based on a report from a concerned parent, the OPP says the person who distributed the candy reached out to tell them it was actually just regular candy they had packaged themselves.

“As a result of an earlier media release seeking information, the individual that distributed the Halloween treat bag contacted Huron OPP this evening. Police met with the individual and have since learned approximately 25 similar bags were distributed. The treat bags contained only candy.”

An image shared online by Huron OPP showed a picture of what appeared to be normal gummies along with plain black packaging. That image has since been deleted.

Police say the package of gummies involved in this incident was handed out in the Town of Wroxeter sometime Halloween night.

The now-deleted tweet

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