You’re probably familiar with the international stoner holiday 4/20, but another day of cannabis celebration has risen in popularity in recent years: 7/10.
There will sales and events marking the day at dispensaries throughout the Valley beginning today, July 10, and into the weekend.
But why 7/10? The digits harken back to the days of spelling out “hELLO” on your calculator (07734 upside-down) in grade school. Upside-down 710 spells out “OIL,” the common term for cannabis extracts, which have become a popular preference for patients of medical marijuana programs.
Dispensaries still sell plenty of the bud, or flower, that most people associate with cannabis, but many patients will choose a concentrated form of the plant’s natural compounds for an alternative, healthier intake method.
Every year, Jim Morrison hosts the 710 Degree Cup to help patients determine the most reliable, consistent, and credible products in Arizona by vetting labs, dispensaries, and products.
“When I first started this three years ago, 7/10 wasn’t even recognized,” Morrison said. “Now, people are understanding the benefits of it.”
Except for the Arizona Court of Appeals, which ruled many of the extracts illegal. More on that later.
Cannabis enthusiasts have used a variety of processes to create these concentrates for decades.
If anything, you’ve probably heard of hash or “hashish,” a concentrated form of cannabis made by taking the potent, crystal-like compounds, or trichromes, from the surface of the cannabis flower and condensing them into brittle clumps, which can then be smoked or consumed.
Now that cannabis is legal, methods of extraction have become a bit more sophisticated. Today’s dispensaries and cultivation sites will use solvents such as butane, propane or sometimes ice water in bona fide chemistry labs with glass contraptions and expensive machinery.
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The result is a much purer, more precise form of the active ingredients in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound that produces the high feeling most people associate with cannabis. CBD has other healing properties such as anti-inflammation, but doesn’t make you feel high.
When it comes to treating patients, having a precise way to measure how much THC or CBD makes its way into the body is important. Many patients may only require the medicinal benefit of CBD rather than THC. Extraction provides the ability to measure doses and isolate ingredients.
“It changed the whole game when they came up with the concentrate thing,” Morrison said. “They could utilize the actual flower to create so many other ways for it to be used as a medicine.”
Concentrates can take several forms:
• The thick, goopy substances most commonly referred to as oil.
• Solids known as shatter or crumble.
• Liquids called tinctures.
Some of the heaviest cannabis users will “dab” oil or shatter, which entails burning the concentrate with heated glass or metal and inhaling the smoke.
When you hear of children who use cannabis to treat seizures or other conditions, they likely consume tinctures or edibles.
Some cancer patients or patients with chronic pain with use tinctures and salves applied directly to the skin as treatment.
Many regular users will use a vape pen, similar to e-cigarettes, to heat the oil to just the right temperature, reducing the amount of smoke they inhale.
“It ranges from somebody who’s a 3-year-old kid with epilepsy all the way to an 85-year-old gentleman who doesn’t want to smoke but needs something to help him sleep,” Morrison said.
With so much versatility in the application of concentrates, it’s clear why the medical marijuana community would want a separate holiday dedicated to celebrating them. Naturally, the new holiday provides another day for dispensaries to offer deals and hype around their product – not that anyone is complaining.
However, something will be different at this year’s 710 Degree Cup. Morrison said they won’t be judging concentrates because of the Court of Appeals case that has left the state of concentrates in Arizona in legal limbo. The judges ruled all forms of concentrates class-four felony narcotics in a June 26 case.
So Morrison is being careful. “We’re kind of a beacon of it,” he said. “I don’t want to get anybody personally in trouble myself.”
With so many patients depending concentrates for treatment, the ruling has left many confused about what this really means.
The case will certainly be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. In the meantime, cannabis industry associations have set up legal defense funds and several dispensaries have responded that they have no intention of removing concentrates from their shelves for their patients.
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For now, several municipal enforcement agencies have said they’re not ready to enforce the ruling, and the state’s health department, which oversees the medical marijuana program has said their rules haven’t changed.
But scattered rumors of patients getting arrested still leave many uneasy.
In any case, the consensus of cannabis patients and peddlers is clear: Concentrates provide the medical efficacy the program was founded on, and that deserves celebration.
Admission to the 710 Degree Cup is free, and doors open at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 15, at the Legends Event Center at 4240 West Camelback Road.