What is Prana and how do I navigate this avalanche of knowledge?

When I first saw Prana Bio Medicinals’ lines of capsules and sublinguals sitting behind the Barbary bar, I was intrigued by the sheer variety in cannabinoid ratios, activated and raw (what?) cannabinoids and customizable regimens. More than intrigued, however, I was confounded about how to explain their heavily scientific approach and benchmark quality of their products to the average consumer. I speak for every budtender when I say: I am not a doctor. I do not have a degree or any education in the medical field, but I know my club’s products and I know when to make a recommendation and when to let a professional step in. Prana’s products are part of a bigger community, the Advanced Cannabinoid Therapy network.


Ever heard of Blue River Terpenes? At Barbary thus far we have only carried their collaborations in cartridges with Gold Drop Extracts and ice hash with Bubble Man, but they are also under the ACT umbrella and are present in Prana’s product. The man behind Blue River is the same behind Prana: Tony Verzura. My coworkers and I got to sit down with the man himself and essentially get a hard drive of invaluable cannabis knowledge downloaded into our heads.

His relationship with cannabis is very personal and his products appear to be flexible and fool-proof through years of personal folly with less accurate cannabis therapy products in the past. He also ran his own club for 4 years in Colorado; the products reflect a desire to meet everyone’s needs. His background in engineering gives the website navigability and spaces its information well, and everything fits into everything else. These products do not contain any forms of alcohol, sugar, chemicals, GMOs or animal products and are calorie-free. The labels are boil proof! He’s thought of everything.

The website, linked above, is an online utopia of peer-reviewed research, helpful infographs, and forums to unite users with like-symptom patients. The standout feature, however, is the consultation with a registered nurse, whom not only personalizes your cannabinoid regimen with a combination of raw and activated products but provides a nutritional guide and access to invaluable research. I would encourage you to take advantage of this free program before deciding what Prana products best suit your needs.

Prana has five formulations, P1 THC, P2, 3:1 CBD:THC P3 1:1 CBD:THC, P4 1:1 CBD:CBN, and P5 CBD, but it’s really more like 8 or 11 formulations because P1-3 can be used raw or activated. Now you may be thinking: what is raw? Doesn’t cannabis need to be heated (via vaporizer, lighter, enail) in order to work? Yes and no. I am working on a post dedicated to non-psychoactive products and what positive results non-psychoactive cannabinoids can have on the human body. Here is an excerpt:

“THCa still offers many internal benefits as an anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, appetite inducer and cancer inhibitor, more information on which can be found here. Patients suffering from nerve pain tumors, lack of focus and nausea can still use THCa, also called “raw THC,” without psychoactive effects. Prana Bio Medicinal products offers an easy-to-follow cheat sheet on how different cannabinoids, both in their acid and activated forms, impact different symptoms.In order to consume activated THC, its acid form THCa must be decarboxylated, or combusted. Most can achieve this by simply smoking or vaping flower, or dabbing a concentrate as the heat transforms THCa to THC. Eating an edible is also consumption of activated THC as most edibles need to be cooked. If I’m losing you, THCa is what makes up the “frost” that you see on cannabis flowers.”

In essence, THCa is what is present in the bud, the dab, the joint you’re about to inhale before it is brought in contact with heat. Raw cannabis and THCa offer man of the same anti-pain and pro-creative effects that activated THC does without psychoactivity, the “high.” Prana offers all its formulas in an activated capsule form for maximum absorption, but three of its sublinguals are made raw, and can be “activated” by either boiling the tincture bottle in water or baking it in the oven. Instructions for activation are on the bottles’ labels. Each formula also has its own unique blend of terpenes to compliment the cannabinoids (also, did you know vitamin D is a terpene?). Every formula clearly states the symptoms and conditions it is best suited for, but great success has been had from patients concocting their own personal cannabis potion.

My favorite part of the website is the research section which is  personally groomed to excluded negative findings, promoting the benefits of cannabis based on scientific proof, not propaganda. “Knowledge is Power,” it says on the main page, and powerful it is. The research is organized and provides foundational articles to educate patients about the anatomy of the endocannabinoid system and the nature of cannabinoids and terpenes before relating them to illnesses such as cancers, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. The entire program is a work in progress searching for new research and new ways to improve their patients’ experience, which is exciting once you see how much information they have already.

Before we ended the seminar, Tony turned to me and could tell I was having back pain by the way I was sitting. I was shocked. He recommended a 1:1 topical to soothe pain and inflammation, and dropped a tip that topicals should ideally be used preventively and regularly, rather than in instances of hurt. Prana also makes transdermal oils with their own infused essential oils.

Whether or not you require a regimen like Prana, there is always something new to be learned when exploring your options. As cannabis and technology continue to merge, taboos and misconceptions will inevitably fall away as access to this information reaches the mainstream. Cannabis has secrets we have yet to unlock, but it’s a privilege to get to meet the people setting the new standard of what’s possible.