There are a lot of myths about the quality of pre-rolled cannabis sold by dispensaries. Many people believe that pre-rolls are the most economical product you can buy. Therefore, the cannabis used to manufacture them must be a substandard—deficient quality of cannabis.
Pre-rolls are not a method for dispensaries to get rid of low-grade cannabis. They are a product that some consumers prefer because they are convenient. First, you do not have to pull out your glass pipe or use a vaporizer. Second, you don’t have to spend time grinding medical cannabis and packing cones. Pre-rolls are low-mess and ready to use. And that appeals to a lot of people.
Let’s “shake up” some of the common myths about pre-rolls and determine how they are made. We’ll also take a look at how popular this type of cannabis product is in legalized states.
The Simple No-Waste Science of How Pre-Rolls Are Made
Depending on the strain, cannabis can take six to ten weeks to grow. And since dispensaries typically produce their cannabis for processing, they don’t want to see any of it going to waste. It’s a valuable product, and the supply of certain strains can also be scarce.
When dispensaries receive boxes or bags of raw cannabis, the first step is to trim it. Now, during hand trimming (because machines can’t do it), some of the cannabis crumbles off. And you probably think that the stems do too, which is correct.
After trimming, dispensaries sift whatever has fallen away. You may still get a few pieces of stems in with your whole flower order. The branches are separated from the loose cannabis granules. The shake will be repurposed into other products. And the stems are either discarded or also repurposed for other cannabis-infused concoctions.
Trimming is not the only time that cannabis buds will shed shake. Dispensaries store cannabis in acrylic or glass jars. If the dispensary has a wide assortment of flowers, those jars might be moving around all day. As the buds move, more shake is created at the bottom of the jar.
Dispensaries learned two things very quickly. First, that they never want to waste good cannabis. And second, that a large number of people love pre-rolls. But can’t seem to roll a joint with any degree of skill. So, they began reducing, reusing, and weed-cycling naturally occurring shake into convenient pre-roll products for patients.
If Shake Is Not Lower Quality, Why Is It Less Expensive?
Blame cannabis culture for this one. The fact is that most people prefer whole flower weed. It is a big deal for some people to get nugs versus shake. They like to appreciate the entire bud. Have you ever noticed how enthralled some people can get over fresh cannabis? Get a room already! But there is also a scientific reason for the preference. One that many people probably don’t know about.
The terpenes in cannabis provide an aromatherapy benefit. It’s true! That woody, musky, spicy, or berry note that you detect in your medical marijuana are the terpenes. And those terpenes enter into our olfactory system and ring all the cranial bells. Remember those cannabinoid receptors all over your body? There are a few of them in the brain too. And those receptors love terpenes.
When you smell cannabis, the terpenes provide the same wellness benefits as essential oil aromatherapy. Have you heard of Japanese Forest Bathing? The art is simple; walk into a green forest full of plants and breathe deep. Some studies have shared that forest bathing can help moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety. And, aromatherapy with terpenes has been found to reduce tumor growth in one clinical study.
When you have your shake, it may be broken into large pieces or ground up finely and ready to roll. But when cannabis is broken up and dried out, some of the terpene content will dissipate. That’s why fresh cannabis smells repugnant and robust, while shake has a mild scent.
How Many Pre-Rolls Are Sold Annually?
So, while you might not get 100% of the aromatherapy benefits from pre-rolls made with shake, you will still get a fast-acting psychoactive effect. For pain, anxiety, inflammation like edema, nausea, muscle tremors, and more.
When states first began to legalize medical marijuana, pre-rolled joints were the ‘it’ product. In 2016, pre-rolls accounted for $158 million in sales between Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. In Oregon, pre-rolled cannabis sales increased by 282% in one year (2015-2016).
The fact that pre-rolls are quickly disposable may also play a factor. And they can be discreet compared to using paraphernalia to smoke pot. They also tend to be more prevalent in the summertime. Organic cones used to make pre-rolls are also biodegradable.
The pervasive rumor that pre-rolls are low-quality cannabis has impacted sales. Some people have claimed that stems and trim are included (which have lower THC levels). And some independent dispensaries may be cutting the shake with powdered plant proteins.
Some patients with medical cards have called pre-rolls the “hot dogs” of the cannabis industry. But you can get good quality and affordably priced pre-rolls at medical dispensaries. And for many patients, you can’t beat the convenience.
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