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We tried it: New Phase Blends’ Go Tincture



There are few things I’m more skeptical of than a CBD product that claims to increase energy and productivity. While possible, it’s a tricky genre consisting of mostly ineffective products with a few great ones peppered in. This is mainly due to the fact that CBD is not an inherently energizing substance. While it can help ease the anxiety that contributes to procrastination, CBD is more relaxing than anything, so for these products to actually work, they need to employ additional ingredients to get the job done. 

In the press release announcing the launch of Go, New Phase Blends CEO Dale Hewett was quoted saying, “I truly believe that CBD is an excellent natural supplement, but it works best when paired with other natural compounds.” And he’s right. 

When New Phase Blends launched Go – CBD Oil for Energy, a tincture that combines a low dose of CBD with synephrine, a natural stimulant derived from bitter orange, I was intrigued. 

No stranger to adding natural substances to bolster CBD’s effects, the Florida brand, which specializes in patented, effects-based CBD blends, had already blown me away with Sleep, its melatonin/CBD tincture that remains one of the most effective sleep aids I’ve ever experienced. 

So let’s check out Go. 

First impression 

When I first tried Go I thought, “what is synephrine?” After a quick Google search, I found that synephrine, an alkaloid found in the rind and fruit of bitter orange, is a common ingredient in natural weight loss supplements known for its stimulant-like effect.

The caffeine-like stimulant is used to increase focus and productivity, but supposedly does not cause the energy crash of caffeine, or the raised blood pressure associated with ephedra, a similar stimulating herb that was banned in 2004 by the FDA due to its tendency to increase risk of heart attacks and strokes. Synephrine has also been linked to an increase in fat oxidation rates during exercise, meaning it could help you burn more fat during physical activity. 

The aroma of Go is a mix of mint and citrus, at once invigorating and inviting. While tinctures tend to not smell like much, or worse, smell like moldy hay, I found this to be a bright, delicate scent that made me feel excited to experience the product.  

The branding of all New Phase Blends products is clean and medicinal, and Go is no exception. In a standard amber tincture bottle with an orange and white label, the tincture’s aesthetic is nothing to particularly write home about, but it commands a medicinal presence that I immediately put trust in. 


The flavor is my least favorite aspect of this product. While the mint tries its best to cover the taste of the synephrine, it’s clear that it was derived from bitter orange — the key word being bitter. There is a sharp, biting flavor that I had a hard time taking on its own. However, when I put the tincture in juice or tea, the flavor was barely detectable which was an easy fix. 


I found Go to be extremely effective, light years ahead of its competitors in the space. Almost immediately upon ingesting this bright, bitter concoction, it was like the zing of an Adderall high or a Venti iced coffee shot through me all at once.

I felt clear, focused, and alert without the jittery physicality that often comes with stimulants. 


Most days, I awake by springing from my bed. Though on this particular day, the weight of procrastination’s consequences made me heavy. There was no time left. The work I’d left untouched for far too long simply had to get done. 

Rolling from bed into a pile on the ground, I materialized in the living room, surveying a coffee table crowded with cannabis products. I review them for a living, so to say I have a lot of them would be an understatement. It came down to Sour Diesel prerolls, Super Silver Haze Live Resin, “Focus” gummies, Tommy Chong’s Energy Shot, or Go: CBD Oil for Energy. I chose Go and promptly emptied half the dropper into my mouth. 

The flavor was strong and bitter enough to feel my pupils dilate. I put the rest into my juice and finished it. Though the flavor was surely abrasive, it awakened a latent fire of energy that kickstarted the experience as soon as it entered my system.

Almost immediately, I went from a sleepy, cozy version of myself to an unstoppable machine, finishing articles, cleaning stuff, and existing in a state of wild productivity. While I usually use coffee to achieve this work-monster-flow-state, coffee is hard on my weak stomach and often leaves me feeling nauseous, anxious, and physically shaky. 

After a few hours, I felt the energizing aspect of the tincture begin to subside, but the physical downsides of consuming stimulants never came. Instead, I went from feeling bright and productive to zingy and relaxed. Then, I got hungry, ate, and fell asleep. 

Bottom line

New Phase Blends Go Tincture is a really incredible alternative to more harmful productivity aids like coffee, energy drinks, and Adderall. I finished way more than I thought I would in a day’s time without any of the negative aspects that often come with transforming yourself into a cog in the wheelhouse of capitalism. 

If you have a bunch of stuff to do and don’t feel like doing it, this tincture could help you get it done without your typical stimulant side effects. And the best part, unlike almost all other CBD productivity aids on the market, this one actually worked for me. 

Featured image by New Phase Blends

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Culture & industry

Why does my weed smell like poop?




Lorena Cupcake, voted “best budtender in Chicago” in 2019, has answered hundreds of questions from cannabis shoppers and patients during their time as a budtender. And now they’re turning that experience into a monthly advice column, Ask a Budtender. Got a question for Cupcake? Submit your questions to 

Dear Cupcake,

The other day, I made the mistake of buying a bag of weed without smelling it. After I opened it up, it looked normal, but it reeked like a blown-up bathroom. Is it normal for flower to smell like poop?

 — Dooky Dank Dennis

PS: It tasted fine, but I’ll never buy it again.

Dear Dooky Dank Dennis,

I’ve been in your shoes, Triple D. I don’t remember what strain it was, but I remember that ripe scent and earthy taste like it was yesterday. I rarely say no to weed, but I plan to steer clear of any bud with a backhouse aroma in the future.

Not all cannabis smells pleasant to all people, and the experience can be highly subjective. During my time as a budtender, people who were newer to cannabis often expressed a preference for strains that smelled like berries and dessert. In contrast, heavy hash heads often develop a taste for the more pungent scents resin can offer, such as gasoline, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

Is a “poop” aroma a natural variation on the bouquet that cannabis can offer, or is it an indication that something has gone seriously wrong with your stash? The answer isn’t quite so clear-cut; hold your nose while we dive in. 

Off-flavors: Learning from the world of wine

I’m far from the first writer to draw parallels between wine and weed, but today we’re not talking about terroir or terpenes. We’re talking about faults: something that gets in the way of you enjoying your substance of choice in the manner in which it was meant to be enjoyed.

On The Wine 101 Podcast, VinePair tastings director Keith Beavers provides an excellent rundown on cork taint, one of the most well-known wine faults. Even among industry professionals, he says, finding a corked bottle (or a bottle tainted by a molecule known as TCA) is always weird: “No one wants to be the first one to say it’s corked in case it’s not corked … When I do wine classes IRL, I actually enjoy when a wine is corked so I can put the non-corked wine next to it so everyone can get a sense of what corked wine is and just get it over with.”

Making those distinctions can be just as difficult with cannabis, notes David Bienenstock, author of How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High and co-creator of the podcast Great Moments in Weed History. “If something smells like mold, if something smells like decay, that’s really to be avoided,” he advised me over video chat. “And of course, for people who might be new to cannabis — or even not so new — it can be really hard to have the confidence to make those kinds of distinctions, particularly if you’re not aware of the broad range of smells in cannabis. That’s where I think an important dividing line [happens]: Is this a natural expression of the cannabis plant’s terpenes or is it some foreign element?”

The chemical compounds behind the stinky smell

Organic compounds like butyric acid can be pleasant when found in parmesan cheese, yet repellent when smelled in vomit. It’s possible that some harvests that smell like poop simply have higher levels of aroma compounds that most flower only contains in trace amounts.

One component is pungent, cheesy isovaleric acid, which smells like sweaty feet and is found in cheese-scented strains. Other likely suspects include caprylic acid, which has a musty, rancid smell; sulfurous, garlicky thiols; and the rotting, cabbagey methyl mercaptans that cannabis shares with hops.

Since stinky weed isn’t highly sought after, it’s possible these compounds are produced when a grower hits upon a particularly funky phenotype. That’s what happens with “Cat Piss,” a term used to refer to several strains with completely different genetics; when a particular plant displays a strong scent of ammonia, it’ll earn the unflattering moniker.

When weed goes wrong

Unfortunately, undesirable aromas can also indicate that something went seriously sideways during the growing, curing, or storage of your cannabis. According to Home Grow Chicago, a Chicago-based home grow education company, “Funky smells are usually due to improper drying, meaning too fast or not enough. The more likely culprit of the bad smell is over-fertilizing with nitrogen.”

“If something doesn’t smell right,” said Bienenstock, “the nose is a very powerful instrument, and it is really designed to keep us from ingesting things that are going to make us sick. If your nose is putting out those red flags, generally, you want to listen to it.” 

Despite those warnings, he said, “I’m not going to be the person that tells somebody to throw out their weed. I don’t want to forget what it was like to have very limited choices in your weed. If that’s your quarter ounce of weed to get through the next couple of weeks, whether that’s financial or whether that’s just access to cannabis, I know how hard of a decision that could be.”

Does your cannabis smell like poop because of a natural variation, or was there an issue in the supply chain? It’s a nerve-wracking call, right up there with sending back an expensive bottle of wine because you believe it’s been corked.

If you source cannabis from a highly skilled grower you know, trust, and respect, coming across weed that smells like poop might be an interesting experience to broaden your horizons, just like Keith Beavers and his tastings that compare untainted and corked wine. You may be able to recognize similarities with other earthy flower strains and enjoy the taste or effects.

If you’re not able to trace your purchases back to a reputable source, Triple D, let this one stinky bag be a lesson to you. You should be smelling weed before you buy it, not just to check for terpene profile or freshness, but also for early warning signs of mildew, mold, or a mismanaged crop.

Find strains that smell like poop

If you’re curious about strains intentionally bred to smell funky, you’re in luck. While Unicorn Poop carries the scent of citrus and diesel, Dog Shit is reported to smell like its namesake. It might be named after an infamous Up in Smoke scene where Chong offers Cheech a comically oversized joint of Maui Wowie with “some Labrador in it.”

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The strains that made Compound Genetics




Find the strain Flavor Crystals and smoke it ASAP. It’s one of the best strains that ever existed. 

I came across Flavor Crystals in Portland during the pandemic and it was the brightest spot in the darkest world. Aesthetics? Beautiful. Flavor? Unique. Experience? Enough to make a friend of mine that doesn’t even smoke exclaim, “Oh my god, what is that?!” after hitting my joint. So when I thought about which breeders to cover in Weedmaps’ Strains That Made series, Compound Genetics was one of the first creators on my mind.

I had the chance to hop on a call with Christopher Lynch, the brand’s Founder and Chief Executive Wizard, to discuss Compound’s history and the strains it’s proliferated over the years.

Compound Genetics’ origin story

Compound Genetics was born in 2017 in Portland, Oregon. It was founded by Christopher Lynch, a San Jose-born, Portland-raised, cannabis breeder who has been putting plants into soil for over 15 years. I first started smoking weed in high school as a freshman. I had access to high-quality cannabis. I was really fortunate to have good marijuana from the get-go,” said Lynch.

He first started growing cannabis in 2006 after returning from a two-year stint in Amsterdam. It allowed him to see cannabis from all over the world and further his fascination with cannabis strains and culture. “I just wanted to experience more of the cannabis culture. My friend lived over there and offered a place for me to stay. It was kind of ambitious, I was kind of worried about it at first, but all the pieces kind of fell together.”

Ten years later, with a friend in Portland, Lynch founded his first cannabis genetics brand: Tiger Trees. On the strains they had going then, Compound’s wizard of genetics said, “I had a Chemdog D x Sour Diesel IBL male. We made a collection with seeds with that, and that was the main project that Tiger Trees worked on. After that, we moved on to Compound. Tiger Trees was only around for about two years.” 

On why the brand’s name changed Lynch shared, “I wanted to create a brand that had wider market appeal. I kind of felt like Tiger Trees was a niche brand, it was too stoner-friendly. I wanted to be seen in all kinds of stores and appeal to a wider audience. My understanding I learned from the industry was [that] Tiger Trees needed a new brand. An image being described to me as more polished, more corporate and professional, and overall a better consumer-facing brand.” 

With the end of Tiger Trees, Lynch was ready for a new venture, a new brand, and a new city. In 2019 he started Compound Genetics and moved to San Francisco. “I was working with Node Labs. They were basically offering to help facilitate my breeding projects where I maximized my potential in Portland, Oregon. For the next chapter, I had to get into a bigger market. California has more players and is home base for cannabis on the West Coast.” Since then, Lynch and his small team of fewer than five employees have been feeding the game some of the most flavorful weed out there.

These are the strains that made Compound Genetics. 

2017-2019: Legend Orange Apricot 

The first strain that put Compound on the map was Legend Orange Apricot, a strain that Chris popped from a pack of seeds that the Capulator, the father of MAC, blessed him with in late 2016. On how he acquired Legend Orange Apricot, Lynch says “Jungle Boys invited me to be in their booth at [the Chalice Festival]. I was slanging seeds, and I ran into Capulator. I gave him some seeds and he gave me an unreleased [Legend OG x Orange Apricot]. I took it home and found a keeper female and a keeper male. I asked Capulator if I could do a breeding project; and he gave me permission, which is pretty rare for Capulator. I used the male to make a collection of seeds.”

Legend Orange Apricot was then used to create a full line of hybrids that included Ice Cream Man, Purple Apricot, and my favorite: Flavor Crystals.

2017-2019: Jet Fuel Gelato, Menthol

Jet Fuel Gelato, a gassy Gelato cross, was Compound Genetics’ next big splash in the strainosphere. “It was when Gelato had first come on the scene. It really hadn’t caught on yet, and I saw the window to do something with it — make a name for that. I had the cut and I ran with it. I was kind of first-to-market with hot Gelato seeds. It had the fuel to the name, it had a good profile; as far as growing, it’s really robust in veg, it had good yields. All the strains I crossed were fire. Gelato being new on the scene and trending, the breeding and the strains, then all of this hit and it was like a magic recipe.” From those crosses, Lynch was able to get Jet Fuel Gelato and Menthol.

Find Jet Fuel Gelato

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2019: Apples and Bananas

With his success from the Gelato strains, Lynch and Compound’s name started cracking around California. It enabled him to link up with Berner and Cookies to start collaborating. 

The famed Apples and Bananas was the first collaboration between the brands. It was released in 2019 and was born from one of Compound’s Jet Fuel Gelato seed collections. “I was at MJBizCon in 2019, and I met up with Berner at one of the events. I gave him some jars. I had the Apples and Bananas — at the time it wasn’t called Apples and Bananas. I created the strains, gave them to him, and he created the marketing and branding. It’s been a pleasure working with him.” 

Currently, Compound Genetics is gearing up to drop an entire Apples and Bananas seed collection at Emerald Cup this December. “I crossed Apples and Bananas with all the hitters from Cookies, all the staple strains. Apples and Bananas x Pavé, Apples and Bananas x Big Face, Apples and Bananas F1, Apples and Bananas x White Runtz, all the unique flavors,” said Lynch. “I’m also doing a Gary Payon x Apples and Bananas at Emerald cup with Powerzzzup.”

Find Apples and Bananas

2021: Pavé, Big Face

With the success of Apples and Bananas, Compound Genetics and Cookies have collaborated on many more strains including Laughing Gas, Fish Scale, Gummiez, the highly coveted Big Face, and the famous Pavé, a collab with Migos frontman Quavo. “Pavé is caked out in trichomes. It’s almost white-like. Really strong gassy profile, more like an earthy gas. It has a very unique bud structure and appearance, it’s great for hash production as well.”

On the connection with Quavo and how Pavé was received by the community, Lynch shared, “I think the Quavo thing helped it, but I think people liked it more because it was a really unique profile and really unique strain in general. It checked all the boxes, Berner had to really make sure that for the Cookies brand, it was a hitter.”

Just like with Apples and Bananas, Compound will be doing an entire Pavé seed collection in 2022. Be on the lookout for it, as well as Compound Genetics’ future line of flavors with 2 Chainz.

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Meet Kika Keith, the first Black woman to own an L.A. dispensary 




This past year has been a gratifying one for Kika Keith, co-founder of the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association (SEOWA), and most recently, owner of Gorilla Rx Wellness Co., the first dispensary in Los Angeles owned by a Black woman.

You may recognize Keith from Uprooted, Weedmaps’ 2020 docu-series highlighting California’s long and complex road to cannabis legalization. In episode three of the series, she discussed the lack of equitable cannabis regulations when it came to licensing, particularly for people of color. The constant rule changes, high taxes, and underdeveloped social equity programs have made it extremely difficult for Black and brown Californians to succeed in the cannabis industry, continuing the history of systemic racism tied to prohibition. 

Like many other applicants in Los Angeles’ Social Equity Program, Keith struggled to obtain a license for her dispensary for three years. During this waiting period, the retail properties that applicants were forced to secure in order to apply sat unoccupied. At the time of filming Uprooted, Keith’s storefront on Crenshaw Boulevard had been unused for nearly two years as a result of this botched application process. “We had to end up filing a lawsuit through [SEOWA] and ended up settling about nine months later for 100 additional retail licenses,” Keith said. 

“And even after that process, it was another 230 days after my application was in … all the while paying an exorbitant amount of rent on an empty property, so it has been a long, hard-fought battle to get doors open and be the first African-American woman to open up a dispensary and operate it in Los Angeles.”

Growing up in the area where she now operates her dispensary, Keith was welcomed with open arms by the community on opening day. “I always call it the house that people built because so many people fought side by side with me going back and forth to city hall, making sure that we were able to keep our doors open while waiting to actually get a license.”

When asked why she chose to open up her shop in her own community, she explained that urban communities are often not considered to be profitable locations for business, but this is simply a fallacy. For Keith, it’s not just about building wealth for her own family, but about reinvesting in the community she loves through education. “We’ve hired folks in the community. We intend to support programs in the community as well, for arts for the youth and wellness in our community, it’s just been so well received,” she added. “I think we’re creating a new model of how the cannabis industry should look.” 

The grand opening of her dispensary is a huge win for Keith, and for other Social Equity Program applicants, but there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the cannabis sphere is more equitable and accessible for the very communities that were intended to benefit from legalization. 

How to ensure a more equitable future for cannabis 

In order for there to finally be a level playing field within the over-regulated cannabis marketplace in California, lawmakers and regulators must also make a commitment to reinvest in the communities that have been harmed by this system. 

Keith believes that it all begins with education and outreach. Without training in areas such as fundraising, operations, and investor relations, Social Equity Program applicants are being set up to fail. 

“I had to force myself to have a seat at the table. I have yet to see progressive policies in which they have a Stakeholders Oversight Committee that is actually a part of the implementation of actual policies that are affecting the communities most harmed. So if we’re not at the table being a part of the development of policies, there’s no way that they can create a program that’s aimed to benefit us.”

In addition to having a seat at the table, individuals seeking retail licenses need access to resources. “The city really has to start looking at how they implement these programs, not just opening them up. At the heart of that is a budget, and you can’t name me one city that has had a substantial budget to open up a social equity program. In 2018, the city of LA had $10 million allocated to social equity, and about five months into the program, it was re-budgeted to police enforcement,” Keith explained. 

“I think two things have to be done. First, the state doesn’t even have a definition of social equity. And if you’re saying you have a state-wide interest in social equity, but the state can’t even outline a clear definition of it, that’s a problem … There is also an issue of lack of oversight with the funds that the states allocate to these cities. I would easily say we need more money, but we’re not even getting access to the money that’s been given.”

As for what we can do on an individual level to affect change in the realm of social equity, Keith suggests supporting Black-owned businesses, for starters. While the state may hold a lot of power over how equitable the cannabis market is, we as consumers possess the power to vote with our dollars. “Ask where the Black and brown brands are, where the social equity brands are, because you’ll find that most retail stores don’t even carry Black-owned brands, except maybe one or two, the popular rapper brands or the athlete brands.” 

Lastly, Keith urges consumers who support social equity to speak their minds, whether it be at city council meetings or on their social media pages. Her final piece of advice: “Keep questioning what’s being done to communities affected by the War on Drugs as the cannabis industry continues to grow.”

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