Introduction to Cannabis 101
A Pyschoactive Medicinal Drug
Weed, marijuana, dank, dope, ganja, sticky icky, broccoli, chronic…
Those are just a handful of names that the plant, officially known as cannabis, goes by. It is one of the most controversial plants in the world and it’s been celebrated just as much as it’s been stigmatized, and it all depends on who you’re talking to.
But how can a single plant be so many things to so many people?
Like many things in life, your mileage may vary and so it’s important that you know what you’re getting into so you can make the right choice for your needs and preferences.
In this article, we’ll take you through the cannabis basics, from the different types of cannabis, the different cannabis products, it’s medical benefits and so much more.
The Different species of Cannabis
There are 3 main species of cannabis plant- Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis- although there is some debate over whether the latter two qualify as a separate species from Cannabis sativa or not.
With regards to consumers, the two most common categories of classifying cannabis are indica and sativa, and they have different effects associated with them.
In general, sativa strains are more associated with feelings of alertness and energy, and is generally a more cerebral high you feel in the head, which makes sativas more popular during and throughout the day- a day-time smoke, if you will. Popular sativa strains include Lemon Haze, Green Crack God, Sour Diesel, and Jack Herer.
On the other hand, indicas give more of a ‘body high’ that make them a popular way to unwind and relax after a long day’s work- there’s a reason why indicas are known to some users as “in-da-couch”. Popular indica strains include Blueberry, Grape Ape, Northern Lights, and Bubba Kush.
THC, CBD, and Terpenes
While THC and CBD are the most prominent cannabinoids (chemical compounds found in cannabis), there have been over 100 identified in cannabis.
THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most famous cannabinoid of all because it’s the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis- that means it gets you high.
CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive, so it won’t get you high. But it has many medical benefits that makes it highly sought after, and it is often the first step for cannabis legalization. CBD is used to help treat severe epilepsy, and it may also have anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic effects. CBD can also help reduce pain and has shown potential in treating side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in the essential oils of many plants and trees, and cannabis is loaded with terpenes, which are responsible for the massive diversity in fragrance and scents of different cannabis strains. From sweet and citrus-y to dank and earthy, if you follow your nose when it comes to picking your cannabis strains, then you’ve got terpenes to thank for it.
The many ways to consume cannabis
There are so many ways to enjoy cannabis you’re all but guaranteed that with a little exploration, you’ll find what works best for you.
The three major ways to use cannabis are:
Flower is one of the most popular and well-known ways of using cannabis. The flower comes from the female cannabis plant, and the actual buds are what we’re after here- not the leaves, stems, or seeds (Please read more at CLN news or visit crop king seeds) . After the buds are dried, trimmed, and cured, they are ready to be smoked and you’ve got your options to choose from.
Here are a few of the most common and popular ways of using cannabis flower:
The joint (also known as a doobie and jay, among other terms) is an icon in the cannabis scene and is often many people’s first experience with cannabis. Put simply, a joint is a rolled cannabis cigarette, and there are variations to it, such as a spliff, which contains a mix of cannabis and tobacco, and a blunt, which is a cigar that’s been hollowed out and filled with cannabis.
Pipes are also very popular for cannabis and they are easier to set up than a joint because there’s no rolling involved- all you must do is break up (or “grind”) the cannabis buds up, pack it in your bowl, and light it.
Glass pipes are the most widely used kind of pipes when smoking cannabis.
While bongs are technically another category of pipe, they are different enough to warrant its own entry because of its water chamber, which is why bongs are also known as “water pipes”. A bong could be mistaken for a flower vase by the uninitiated, and they are popular because they offer a smoother smoke than other methods as the water filters the smoke as it bubbles through the water before being inhaled.
There are also variations of bongs like bubblers and gravity bongs.
Vaporizers offer a distinct advantage over other ways of smoking cannabis because when you inhale off a vaporizer, you’re not inhaling any smoke, you’re inhaling vapour instead, which is much better for your lungs.
Vaporizers work by heating the cannabis up to a point where the cannabinoids (like THC) and terpenes (which give cannabis strains their specific fragrance) become vapour WITHOUT burning the cannabis as you normally would in a bong, pipe, or joint.
You can even see the difference after you’re done vaporizing if you look in the chamber since vaporizers do not create the black, burnt ash of the other smoking methods listed above. Instead, the flower in the vaporizer chamber will have turned a brownish colour and will look similar to dried tobacco.
It should be noted that while there are vaporizers that work on cannabis concentrates, this entry focused on vaporizers designed specifically for dried flower.
Edibles: Start Low and Go Slow
Cannabis edibles include any cannabis-infused food or drink, which makes it a huge category because practically anything can become an edible with a few drops of a cannabis tincture or oil.
There are hundreds of edibles makers creating everything from cannabis-infused candies like gummies and lollipops to baked goods like brownies and cookies, making edibles a great way to discreetly enjoy your cannabis, but there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to edibles.
Unlike smoking flower, edibles take a lot longer to kick in. Whereas with smoking, you can usually feel the effects after a few minutes, with edibles, it can take over an hour before you feel anything. This can lead many first-time users to eat too much because they were too impatient waiting for the high to kick in, only for it to all hit the fan at once, leaving them uncomfortably high.
That’s because edibles can range in strength, anywhere from 5 mg of THC to over 400.
To avoid any uncomfortable edibles experiences, pay close attention to the dosage of THC, which should be clearly labelled on the package. For newcomers, a low dosage of 5-10 mg of THC is recommended to begin with, and you should wait for over an hour to see if you feel anything before eating another piece.
The biggest things to remember with edibles is “Start low and go slow”.
The types of cannabis concentrates are so diverse that multiple articles could be written on this category alone. As the name implies, this category is a stronger form of cannabis.
Think of concentrates this way: If flower is the cannabis equivalent to beer and wine, then concentrates would be the cannabis version of spirits and hard liquor.
We’ve been making concentrates since the 12th Century, when people rubbed cannabis flowers between their hands to make hash. Nowadays, where we’re using state-of-the-art, lab-grade extraction systems to make concentrates like shatter, wax, and budder.
There are two ways of making concentrates: Solvent-based extraction and Solvent-less extraction.
Solvent-based extraction: Solvents are the liquids used to extract the THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids from cannabis plants, and there are 4 solvents commonly used: CO2, Butane, Propane, and Alcohol.
Solvent-based products include CO2 oil, Wax, Budder, Live Resin, Shatter, Distillate, Pie Crust, Jelly Hash and Caviar, and Rick Simpson Oil.
Solvent-less extraction: This type of extraction typically uses pressure, water, temperature, and/or agitation to create concentrates.
Solvent-less products include kief, bubble hash, dry sift, and rosin.
Is Cannabis Legal?
It depends where you are and whether you’re talking about recreational or medical cannabis, which might strike you as odd, since the only difference between the two is the reason why you’re using them. But it’s just the way it is, although many countries have adopted policies of decriminalization instead of outright legalization, where cannabis possession will result in a fine instead of jail time.
Over 15 countries across the world have legalized medical cannabis, while in the USA, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level for any purpose, even though 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis.
When it comes to recreational cannabis, Canada and Uruguay are the only countries in the world to have legalized its use and sale, although in the USA, 10 states plus DC have legalized recreational cannabis, too.
What’s interesting is that legalizing medical cannabis is often the first step towards legalizing cannabis entirely… a legalization “gateway”, if you will. So, while it may be discouraging to learn that only two countries so far have legalized recreational cannabis, there are 15 countries who have medical cannabis and already made that first step.