Marijuana

Everything Cannabis

Welcome to the new cannabis culture. It's not the 1970's anymore – governments, society, and culture are evolving to embrace our favorite herb as a normal part of daily life. Whether you are a newbie who has just started exploring the world of cannabis or a seasoned veteran looking to start growing or learn about new products and innovations – We have you covered.

Cannabis Basics

Of the over 400 chemical entities in a cannabis plant, more than 60 are considered cannabinoids [2]. Cannabinoids are the biologically active components of the plant—the chemicals that elicit some sort of effect when ingested or inhaled.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the more notable cannabinoids. It produces a psychoactive effect that many describe as an increased sense of euphoria. This is the “high” most people associate with marijuana use. THC is also probably the most controversial cannabinoid, and the reason all the fuss exists around legality—this is the cannabinoid most of those laws are concerned with regulating.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is another well-known cannabinoid. Despite being very similar to THC in chemical structure, CBD does not have a psychoactive effect. In fact, when combined with THC, CBD has been shown to reduce the psychoactive impacts of THC [3].

There are many other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, though less popular— many have benefits and drawbacks worth considering. For instance, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) has anti-inflammatory effects, and cannabigerol (CBG) is believed to act as an antibacterial agent [4] [5].

Wondering how to dab cannabis? If your looking for a fast and potent high, dabbing may be worth trying. Here is what you need to get started.

Schwag, Spliff, Mid – There are so many slang words in the cannabis world in can confusing if you are just beginning your journey. Let us help!

Need to be discreet smoking your herb around the family? Here a few time-honored tricks to get your high in an inconspicuous manner.

The strains have been touted by celebrities, musicians and connoisseurs as some of the best weed strains of all time.

Haze - Most Popular Weed Strains

Indicas? Sativvas? Hemp? What exactly are the differences? Read on to learn more as we break down the nuances between different cannabis strains.

Just getting your feet wet in the world of the world of dry herb? Our cannabis sommelier provide a few strain picks for beginner's

The Endocannbinoid System

You may be wondering how it is that all these different cannabinoids can impact the human body. That all comes down to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

First identified in the 1990s by researchers studying the effects of THC, the ECS is a complex system of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors that are naturally occurring in the body. This system has receptors that respond exclusively to cannabinoids, either from endogenous (within the body) or cannabis plant sources. In fact, some plant cannabinoids mirror chemicals naturally produced as part of the complex human neurological system. The ECS exists throughout the body, with endocannabinoids and receptors in the brain, connective tissues, glands, organs, and even immune cells [6].

The diverse effects of cannabinoids take place when they bind to and activate specific ECS receptors. When a person ingests or smokes THC, it quickly binds to the cannabinoid receptors they have throughout their body. The resulting effect can be impaired memory, decision making, and sensory and motor responses—as well as that high most people have come to expect from using THC [6].

Terpenes

You already know that the cannabis plant has over 60 cannabinoids that produce physical and neurological effects. But there are hundreds of other chemical compounds in cannabis, including terpenes. Terpenes are in almost every plant, fruit, and vegetable you’ve ever come across. They are the chemical components that give plants like herbs, flowers, and cannabis their own specific scent and flavor. Terpenes are responsible for the smell of citrus on your lemons and the pine-scented holiday goodness wafting from your Christmas tree.

When it comes to cannabis, terpenes are responsible for that tell-tale cannabis scent. You know, the slightly weedy, piney “skunk” that drifts over from a neighbor growing cannabis or ends up on your hands after grinding some bud. Scent can have a powerful effect on people. Consider how lavender can produce a sense of calm, or how catching a whiff of a certain cologne or perfume will immediately bring back the memory of someone you used to know who wore a similar scent [7].

When it comes to cannabis use, it is believed that terpenes do more than just produce the cannabis scent people have come to expect; they play a role in the impacts felt when people consume or smoke cannabis. After all, it’s not just one component that produces an effect; it’s the combination of elements in any given strain [8].

Cannabis strains

There are thousands of different cannabis strains to choose from, each consisting of different percentages and variations of select cannabinoids and terpenes, producing different effects as a result [9]. But when people are discussing cannabis strains, they are usually boiling their discussion down to cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, or hybrid varieties.

Cannabis – Indica Vs. Sativa

‘These are the distinctions used by most breeders and growers to try and indicate the effects you may feel from having one product versus another. People usually determine a strain is an indica or sativa based on a few factors: the look of the plant, the ratio of CBD to THC, or the effects felt after consumption. Cannabis sativa plants are typically taller and with narrower leaves than the shorter and bushier cannabis indica plants. Sativa strains also usually flower for longer and do well in warm climates, while indica strains can handle cooler outside temperatures [10].

If you walk into any cannabis dispensary, this is generally where your local budtenders will start in on explaining the differences between various cannabis strains to you. Theoretically, these different plants also produce different effects, with sativa strains being said to provide an energizing high while indica strains are said to be more sedating, creating a relaxing experience. Hybrids, of course, are said to be a combination of the two.

The Problem with Cannabis Classification

Essentially, pure sativa and indica strains don’t really exist anymore; every “indica” is a hybrid and every “sativa” is a hybrid. You can’t purchase an indica variety and be sure what you are getting or what you will feel. And most experts agree that while this classification system is convenient, it likely doesn’t have any scientific basis [10]. In fact, some have called for abandoning this naming system entirely, and marking strains based solely on their chemical makeup. The cannabinoid and terpene content of a strain can be used as a much more accurate predictor of the affects you may experience [11]. To make informed shopping decisions, be sure to ask about the chemical composition of the strain you intend to purchase.

Why Use Cannabis?

Cannabis users report a variety of reasons for partaking in cannabis. Everything from social enhancement to anxiety reduction and personal enjoyment might contribute to a person’s desire to try and continue using cannabis [12].

As a social lubricant, cannabis appears to be far less addictive and harmful than alcohol [13]. Also, research has emerged identifying CBD as a potential treatment for a variety of anxiety disorders and epilepsy [14] [15]. And cannabinoids have been found to be effective for treating chronic pain patients as well[16].

There are countless wellness purposes for giving cannabis a try, from treating nausea to just general relaxation. Every individual has different reasons for why they use cannabis. The key is determining what your goal may be and then finding a strain that can help.

Discover

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Most Popular Strains

Did you know there are currently over 700 weed strains on the market with more and more variations each year? Some of them have a rich history and are grounded in pop culture lore. Take a trip through some of the most popular strains ever cultivated.

Methods of Consuming Cannabis

Entering cannabis culture can be pretty intimidating for someone who has never used it before. There are a variety of consumption methods to choose from, and countless weed strains to consider from there. But don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed by the different possibilities. All you need to know for now are the basics of cannabis consumption.

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make in deciding to use cannabis is what method of consumption you would prefer to try first. Different cannabis dispensaries may have different options to choose from, but there are four main methods available: inhalation, ingestion, sublingual, and topical. These different methods will influence the onset and duration of cannabis effects, as well as how long it stays in your system.

 

1) Ingestion

Ingesting cannabis relies on the cannabinoids reaching the endocannabinoid system in the digestive tract. This causes a slower high, as it can take anywhere from one to three hours to feel the effects depending on a variety of factors, including weight, gender, usage history, and even how much a user has had to eat before consuming cannabis. Users report an all-body high with ingestion that can last for several hours. Because of the delivery method and being metabolized directly through the liver, marijuana can create a THC metabolite that is four to five times more psychoactive than THC [18]. **

Edibles

Whether purchased from your local cannabis dispensary or made in your own home, weed edibles provide a convenient and tasty delivery method without inhaling anything into the lungs. Edibles can take the form of traditional gummies, tea, gum, coffee, ice cream, and even lollipops; really anything your heart desires. But they also provide the option for easy micro-dosing for medicinal cannabis users who may prefer small mints or lozenges to maintain their cannabis consumption levels throughout the day.

Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oils can vary in concentration and are essential oils derived directly from the cannabis plant. Cannabis oil can actually be consumed by way of all four methods of consumption—vape pens can have cannabis oil cartridges, oil can be ingested, it can be taken sublingually, or used as a topical. But it is also often used to make edibles and is frequently purchased purely for the purpose of ingestion.

Raw Cannabis

Perhaps one of the least common means of usage, consuming raw cannabis has some little known benefits—to include the fact that in its raw form, cannabis provides a great deal more cannabinoids than when it has been heated. But those cannabinoids don’t necessarily interact with the endocannabinoid system in the same way. For instance, rodent research has found consuming cannabis in this way may reduce the psychoactive impacts of THC [19].

2) Inhalation

Inhalation allows the cannabis to enter a user’s bloodstream quickly through the lungs. This creates a high that is almost immediately felt (usually within five minutes of consumption), and that fades typically within an hour.

Smoking

Whether you roll your own joint or opt for a water pipe or hookah, smoking cannabis is one of the most widely used and readily accessible methods for consumption. But not everyone enjoys smoking, and there are health considerations to keep in mind when smoking any substance.

Vaping: As an alternative to smoking, vaping cannabis has risen as another option for inhalation without the same combustibles involved. The jury is still out on the long-term health impacts of vaping, but vaporization techniques allow cannabis users to inhale the active ingredients in cannabis through a vapor. Initial data suggests doing so may be less potentially damaging to the lungs than smoking [17].

Dabbing: Dabbing is not really smoking or vaping. In contrast to vaping, dabbing does involve exposing the cannabis to high temperatures. But unlike smoking, you’re not burning the plant itself. The heat is instead used to combust a potent cannabis extract that is then inhaled through a pipe. Dabbing typically takes some practice as it’s easy to inhale more than initially intended, and the heating element needs to be heated by hand with a torch—obviously creating some room for injury if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Vaping

As an alternative to smoking, vaping cannabis has risen as another option for inhalation without the same combustibles involved. The jury is still out on the long-term health impacts of vaping, but vaporization techniques allow cannabis users to inhale the active ingredients in cannabis through a vapor. Initial data suggests doing so may be less potentially damaging to the lungs than smoking [17].

Dabbing

Dabbing is not really smoking or vaping. In contrast to vaping, dabbing does involve exposing the cannabis to high temperatures. But unlike smoking, you’re not burning the plant itself. The heat is instead used to combust a potent cannabis extract that is then inhaled through a pipe. Dabbing typically takes some practice as it’s easy to inhale more than initially intended, and the heating element needs to be heated by hand with a torch—obviously creating some room for injury if you don’t know what you’re doing.

3) Sublingual

Sublingual consumption simply means the method of cannabis intake is placed underneath the tongue and dissolves into the bloodstream through the tissue there. This is a faster method of consumption than ingestion, but slower than inhalation—the high generally takes about 20 minutes to achieve.

Cannabis Oil

The same oils used for ingestion can usually be taken sublingually. Simply place a few drops under your tongue and wait for them to dissolve.

Cannabis tinctures

Tinctures are similar to oils, though they typically have an alcohol or water base and are more concentrated. Sublinguals often come in sprays that can be administered directly under the tongue.

Cannabis strips:

One of the newest products to hit the cannabis market is cannabis strips. Much like breath strips, these are tiny pieces of film that melt with the moisture of the mouth. By placing them under the tongue, sublingual consumption is able to take place.

4) Topical

In most cases, topical cannabis usage won’t produce much of a high—even with high levels of THC, because there aren’t as many ways for a topical application to reach the bloodstream. But cannabis lotions, oils, balms and rubs are being produced for localized relief of pain and inflammation, as well as for cosmetic purposes. While most of these products have not been scientifically tested, some users swear by them for pain relief or as part of their skin and hair beauty regimes.

Finding the 'Right' High

Not every cannabis user wants to experience a high. Or, if they do, most don’t want to get “too high” (the point at which the psychoactive effects of THC can take a less pleasant, often paranoid turn). The type of high you want to experience (if you want to experience a high at all) may differ based on your reasons for using cannabis. Perhaps you are hoping it will help with anxiety, but you still want to remain functional to do your job and socialize with your peers. Or maybe you have a chronic pain condition that you feel could benefit from micro-dosing.

Then again, maybe it’s Friday night, and you just want to relax into an enjoyable high with your friends.

There is no one right answer for everyone (and your own personal reasons may vary from day to day.) But knowing what your goals are can help you to determine the type of high you want to achieve—and the best products for meeting your needs without exceeding that level. Different products can produce different types of highs. Edibles are said to provide an all-body high, for instance, while smoking produces more of a head high. High CBD, low THC products will produce less of a high (and sometimes no high at all). And the greater the THC to CBD ratio, the more intense your high will likely be.

The level of your high is also impacted by the type of product you use, how much you take, and a variety of other factors like your weight, frequency of use, and even gender [19]. The best advice for determining the right dosage for you to achieve the type of high you are looking for is to start low and slow. You can always increase your cannabis intake, but you can’t take back what you’ve already consumed.

Cannabis Side Effects

While cannabis tends to have a relatively high safety profile when compared to other drugs, that doesn’t mean it is without side effects. All cannabis users should be aware of these potential effects [20]:

  • Short term memory impairment
  • Impairment of motor coordination
  • Diminished judgment
  • Paranoia and psychosis (in high doses)

In addition, cannabis use in early adolescence has been associated with [20]:

  • Increased risk of addiction
  • Inhibited brain development
  • Cognitive impairment

And smoking cannabis has been associated with potential damage to the lungs while concerns are emerging about the risks of vaping to the lungs [21] [22]. There are also some potential drug interactions to be aware of when using cannabis; research has found contraindications with warfarin, theophylline, and clobazam [23].

Cannabis Legality

As research continues to tout the medicinal benefits of cannabis use, support for federal legalization is higher than it has ever been before [24]. In the United States, over half the country has enacted some level of marijuana decriminalization, while 11 states and the District of Columbia have made the move to legalize recreational use [25] [26].

On the federal level, marijuana use is still considered illegal, and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still considers it a Schedule I drug [27]. But several bills have been pushed forward to legalize marijuana at the federal level, and the federal government has thus far taken no actions against states that have legalized marijuana. It’s a trend that is continuing around the world. In 2019, Canada legalized marijuana throughout the country. They followed Argentina, which was the first country to provide medical marijuana for free. Uraguay was the first to legalize recreational use for everyone 18 and up in 2017. And Mexico, Belize, and several other countries have decriminalized marijuana use.

You should always look into the marijuana laws in any new state or country you are visiting. Talking to locals can also provide a pretty good idea of how strict local law enforcement is about cannabis use.

Buying Quality Cannabis

With legalization happening around the country and world, options for walking into a cannabis dispensary and purchasing marijuana are increasing every day. But even in legal markets, there are rules you need to be aware of before making your first marijuana purchase.

Ways to buy cannabis

While marijuana is legal in several states, the rules for who can purchase cannabis may vary. In all US states with cannabis legalization, you must still be 21 years or older to walk into a cannabis dispensary and purchase products for consumption. Also, many states have only legalized medicinal use—which means you will need to talk to your doctor about getting a medicinal marijuana card or approval before you make any purchases (in some states, you may be able to obtain these cards at the dispensary from an on-staff doctor there.)

It’s also important to know that even in legal states, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. As a result, these are typically cash-only businesses. Most do have ATMs within a convenient distance, but if you’re planning on visiting the dispensary—it’s always a good idea to hit up your bank first. Expect to be carded at the door of any legal dispensary, and it is illegal to bring anyone under the age of 21 in with you—so if you have kids, you’ll want to get a babysitter for this trip.

What to Watch Out for

The good news is that the budtenders at most cannabis dispensaries tend to be highly educated on their products and eager to help customers who walk through their doors. They are excited about legalization, and about the benefits that cannabis use can provide to those who may have been afraid to try it previously. Tell them what you are looking for and why you are interested in trying cannabis, and they can usually point you in the direction of the right products to try.

Regulation may vary from state to state, so it’s crucial to find a reputable dispensary. If you’re new to the area, or cannabis purchasing in general, ask for recommendations from locals regarding the best dispensaries in town. You can also look to WeedMaps for a listing of available products at most local dispensaries as well as dispensary ratings.

Look for established cannabis dispensaries that have been in business for a while—legitimate storefronts with budtenders who aren’t afraid to answer questions about where their products come from and how their cannabis plants are cultivated. Of course, you should also always trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, find a different establishment. In legal states, there are usually plenty to choose from.

Growing Your Own Cannabis

Maybe you want to bypass the middleman and just grow your own cannabis. After all, what better way is there to know exactly what you’re consuming?

Make sure you start by checking the laws in your state regarding decriminalization and growing—even in legal states, there are often limits on how much cannabis an individual person can grow. You’ll also need the right seeds, environment and tools to get started—but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a beginners grow guide that will have you cultivating a cannabis plant of your very own in no time!

Beginner Grow

Chemical Modification of Hemp plant

Grow Your Own Cannabis

Growing your own cannabis is easy, growing quality cannabis is another story. Learn all the basics you need to know to get started plus some tips and tricks to ensure that your first grow is a successful one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a plant from which THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are derived.

What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are the chemical components of the cannabis plant that produce physical and neurological effects when consumed.

What Are The Cannabis legal States?

As of now, the following states have fully legalized cannabis use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Marijuana use is also fully legal in the District of Columbia.

What are the potential medicinal uses for cannabis?

Medicinal marijuana has been studied for everything from epilepsy and anxiety to chronic pain and treating chemotherapy-related nausea [28].

What are the different types of weed?

What are the different types of weed? While cannabis sativa and cannabis indica plants do present with some physical differences, the real difference between various strains of cannabis comes down to the CBD to THC ratio as well as the inclusion or exclusion of other cannabinoids and terpenes.

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