Insights from across the cannabis industry
While many cannabis users are interested mainly in THC content, terpene profile is equally as important. But what are terpenes, exactly? Terpenes have long been used for medicinal purposes. They are found in many common fruits, herbs, and plants — including cannabis. We have been ingesting terpenes our whole lives, whether we’ve known it or not. From aromatherapy to essential oils to virtually every meal we’ve ever eaten, terpenes have played a role. And cannabis consumption is no exception. %related-post-1% What are terpenes and how do they work? Terpenes are essential oils that are produced in the cannabis flower’s sticky resin glands. They are produced alongside — and work in conjunction with — cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to connect with the receptors in your brain and produce myriad effects on your body and mind. The cannabis plant contains more than 200 different terpenes that can also also found in all kinds of other plants around the world. Not only do terpenes provide the distinct and enjoyable aromas and flavors of your favorite strain of cannabis, they also influence how the plant interacts with your body. For example, strains containing myrcene, which is also found in mangoes, can produce a more sedative high or an energizing effect, depending on how much of the terpene they contain. Humulene, which has a woodsy and earthy smell, produces healing properties. Linalool can tame aggressive behavior and improve one’s quality of sleep. Pinene can boost your memory function, as well as well help your lung and respiratory system. Limonene can kill cancer as well as the growth and spread of cancer cells. %related-post-2% Terpenes are just as important as THC content When selecting the best cannabis product for you, researching its terpene profile is just as important as evaluating its THC content. As the recreational cannabis industry continues its expansion, so will research into terpenes and their numerous potential benefits. For a deeper look at terpenes, check out our Cannabis Terpenes 101 series: Volume 1: Myrcene and Limonene Volume 2: Humulene and Pinene Volume 3: Linalool and Caryophyllene
While there is a lot of confusion about what hemp is — and isn’t — there isn’t any confusion about its usefulness. But, what is hemp, exactly? Many people think that hemp and marijuana are the same thing, and while it’s true that they both come from the same plant species — cannabis sativa L — the comparisons pretty much end there. %related-post-1% Hemp vs. Pot Hemp is derived from the fiber and seed part of the cannabis sativa L plant, while marijuana comes from its buds and flowers. The buds and flowers are the parts of the plant legally considered to be marijuana due to the levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they contain. Marijuana can contain anywhere from 5 percent to more than 20 percent of THC content, while hemp only contains .3 percent to 1.5 percent. The levels of THC in marijuana is what makes users feel high. The amount of THC in hemp will do little but maybe give users a headache. While marijuana is grown for its psychoactive and medical effects, hemp is grown for its strong, useful fibers. What is hemp used for? Hemp can grow quickly in a variety of conditions. As a result, it has been used by numerous civilizations for more than 12,000 years to make rope, paper, and cloth for clothing or furniture. Hemp seeds have a high nutritional value, and can not only be used to make oil for soap, lotion, and shampoo, but also for products like milk, energy bars, salad dressing, and protein shakes. In recent years, hemp has even been used to make plastics and building materials. %related-post-2% Is hemp legal? China is the world’s largest producer of hemp, followed closed by Australia and Canada. Hemp production in America dates back to the 1600s, cultivation of the plant was made illegal as part of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The plant (as part of the cannabis plant as a whole) was then given the strictest classification category — Schedule I — with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While hemp (like marijuana) is still technically illegal at the federal level, the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama reclassified hemp as a crop distinct from pot, and gave states the authority to legalize hemp themselves. Since then, 34 states have reclassified industrial hemp as distinct and allowed its production.
The more marijuana is exposed to air, heat, and humidity, the faster it loses potency. Proper storage is imperative, and these are some of the best ways to store marijuana. No matter what type of cannabis you use, it’s important to store it properly so it will stay as potent as long as possible. The best ways to store marijuana almost always include low light, limited exposure to air and humidity, and quality temperature control. %related-post-1% Flower Airtight glass jars — like those used for picking vegetables or canning fruits — are your best best for storing weed. Try to find some similar in size to the amount of weed you need to store, as too much extra space will allow air to dry out your supply too soon. Choose colored or opaque jars, as they will give your weed added protection from light. Then, store your jars in a cool, dark place. While you can also freeze your bud if you have to, wait until it is completely dry — usually after four weeks — before doing so. Depending on the quantity, you can either store it in mason jars or double-bag it in Ziploc freezer bags, then wrap it in foil before placing it in the freezer. %related-post-2% Vapes First, always unscrew the cartridge from your vape pen when you’re not using it. This will prevent leakage, damage, and unnecessary heating. Then, make sure to keep your cartridge is stored in a cool, dry place, and in upright position with the mouthpiece facing down — preferably in the case it came in. This will give it extra protection, and let you safely carry it in your backpack or purse — or even in your jacket pocket — if you need to. (Never store a cartridge in your pants pocket, however.) %related-post-3% Edibles To maximize the lifespan of your cannabis-infused edibles, keep them sealed in an airtight container or bag and out of the light. You can also freeze them if you need to. Note: No matter how well you store them, remember that cannabis-infused edibles aren’t supposed to last forever. Keep an eye on the expiration dates of your edibles, as their shelf life will be most affected by their fastest-expiring ingredients. For example, chocolate or candy will likely last longer than baked goods. If you have questions about the best way to store a specific product, ask your retailer. %related-post-4% Dabs The quality of your concentrates can be diminished by exposure to light, heat, and air. Wrap portions tightly in parchment paper, then store as tightly as possible in small silicone containers. If your concentrates aren’t solid enough for parchment paper, use an air-tight glass jar, making sure that there isn’t much excess room in the container. Store your containers in a dark place that is cooler than room temperature. (A root cellar or basement with stable humidity is a good option.) Make sure to open the containers as little as possible. While you technically can freeze concentrates, you run the risk of exposing them to excess moisture that can damage them. If you must freeze your concentrates, wrap them in parchment paper and freezer bags before placing them in airtight containers. You’ll also want to let them thaw while also watching for excess moisture before using them. These are just a few of the best ways to store marijuana with items you likely already have in your home. There are also many products on the market specifically made for storage that are worth exploring.
Public support for marijuana legalization has never been greater, and much of that support is due to the many medical benefits of cannabis. As of the time of this writing, more than half of the states in America have legalized medical marijuana, and it’s not hard to see why. Medical cannabis creates jobs, generates tax revenue, shrinks the black market, and reduces crime. It’s biggest benefit, however, is the relief it provides to millions of people suffering from numerous medical conditions. %related-post-1% Popular medical benefits of cannabis Medical marijuana is most often used to provide relief from the following conditions: Chronic Pain: More people use medical cannabis for relief from pain than any other condition. The plant is especially helpful for people suffering from pain related to arthritis, migraine headaches, cancer, fibromyalgia, and traumatic events. Cannabis can also serve as an effective substitute for opioid pain relievers, as it not only provides pain relief, but can also help people prevent or overcome addiction to those popular yet potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Glaucoma: Cannabis can lower pressure in the eye, helping to not only lower the risk of optic nerve damage, but also keeping any existing nerve damage from getting worse. Cancer: Not only can medical cannabis help alleviate the pain associated with cancer, but it can also help to alleviate other cancer-related symptoms, including: nausea, skin irritations, digestive distress, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and mental health. There is increasing research that indicates that cannabis can also successfully kill cancer and tumor cells. Epilepsy: The potential of medical cannabis to suppress nearly 100 percent of seizures in people suffering from epilepsy has drawn widespread enthusiasm from the scientific and medical communities. Stress: Whether you are dealing with anxiety related to personal issues, professional issues, emotional issues, illness, or a traumatic event, medical cannabis can help you relax. Nausea: Multiple studies have shown that medical cannabis is more effective at combating nausea than many pharmaceutical drugs. This is especially helpful for people suffering from illnesses that put them at risk for weight loss because they have trouble keeping food down. Sleep disorders: In addition to helping people relax and get a good night’s sleep, medical cannabis is also effective in treating sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep-related issues. Other medical benefits of cannabis The list of conditions that can be helped by medical cannabis doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s just getting started. There is increasing evidence and research showing that medical marijuana can also help those suffering from myriad other conditions, including: Loss of appetite Obesity Diabetes Inflammatory bowel disease Psychosis Liver disease Multiple sclerosis Crohn’s disease Tourette’s syndrome Osteoporosis Parkinson’s disease As always, consult your physician — and your state’s marijuana laws — before pursuing a medical cannabis regimen.
What is THC? We get that question a bunch, and as we continue to cover the cannabis basics, let’s set some THC facts straight. Almost everyone is familiar with the letters THC. After all, it’s the stuff that gets you high. But whether you’re new to cannabis or a seasoned smoker, there are probably a few things you don’t know about the substance. Let’s dive in! %related-post-1% What is THC? Simply put, yes, tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC — is the substance that causes users to feel high when they smoke, eat, or otherwise consume cannabis. More specifically, THC is a cannabinoid, one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with receptors in the brain. What does THC do? The receptor system in the human brain is called the endocannabinoid system, and these receptors allow THC to bind to them. After THC binds to these chemical receptors, it is broken down and produces psychoactive effects. It’s important to note that the body also produces its own cannabinoids, including anandamide — the substance responsible for what most runners call “runner’s high.” The effects felt after ingesting cannabis are caused by the same system that produces this naturally occurring sense of euphoria. %related-post-2% How does THC impact the body? Brain chemistry varies from person to person, and because of this, the effects of THC can cover a vast spectrum. Add in the fact that different strains of cannabis offer different concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, and the combinations of effects, both physical and mental, become even more wide-ranging. While one strain of cannabis may cause some users to feel relaxed and chill, the exact same strain may cause higher anxiety levels for other users. The good news? Online databases are making it easier and easier to find a strain that delivers the exact effects you want. Beyond these variations, the short-term physical of effects of THC range from pain relief and greater relaxation to dry mouth, red eyes, and increased appetite. As far as long-term physical effects are concerned, research is still very much in preliminary stages. Much of the conclusive research tends to focus on how cannabis is ingested — smoking can increase cancer risk, etc — while studies regarding mental function or effects on memory have yet to yield concrete proof one way or the other. There you have it! Our primer on THC is complete. Drop us a line if you have other questions you’d like us to answer!
If you were to ask 100 cannabis consumers why they use it, chances are more than half would say something like "cannabis is relaxing." Here’s why that is. Stress affects virtually everyone. For some people, work is their biggest cause of stress. For others, it could be financial or family issues. Others might be dealing with illness or the loss of a loved one. Still more might be battling an emotional disorder or trying to recover from a traumatic event. %related-post-1% We need relief from stress in order to clear our minds and release physical tension. If we’re unable to relax, however, we can compromise our physical and mental health. And while healthy lifestyle factors like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep can promote relaxation, sometimes the stress is still too much. Sometimes, we need more relief. And since cannabis is relaxing, it can help provide that relief. How it works When we’re anxious, our bodies emit hormones that transmit stress signals to our nervous system. According to current scientific theory, our endocannabinoid system responds to those signals by producing a cannabinoid called anandamide. Anandamide is designed to connect with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system. When it does, it helps regulate things like your appetite, memory, emotions, and sensitivity to pain. The trouble is, it doesn’t always work. If you experience chronic stress, anxiety, or trauma, you’re at risk for anandamide deficiency, which can hinder your body’s natural regulatory system. The THC and CBD in cannabis counteracts this deficiency, taking the place of anandamide in your CB receptors, and helping you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and even sleepy. Relaxing cannabis strains Having trouble relaxing? These cannabis strains can help you chill out: Northern Lights: A classic choice that can provide some quick peace and quiet after long, hectic day Master Kush: Produces a perfect blend of full-body relaxation and deep concentration AC/DC: Keeps you clear-headed and focused in even the most uncomfortable of social settings Canna-Tsu: Pain, inflammation, and emotional stress are no match for the mellowing hybrid strain Willy’s Wonder: This indica-dominant hybrid will send you hightailing it to the bed for a better-than-good night’s sleep Watch your dosage Note: While cannabis is relaxing, using too much of it can have the opposite effect. The amount of cannabis that can take you from relaxed to anxious can be very small. Consult your local budtender for tips on how to best balance your bud.
Here is a quick rundown of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, along with the benefits and drawbacks associated with each. As the legal marijuana industry grows, so to do the choices for ways to consume cannabis. Which method — or methods, plural — you choose should depend on your lifestyle, any conditions you might be seeking relief from, and which physical and mental benefits you’re looking for. %related-post-1% Smoking Despite the development of other popular ways to consume cannabis, smoking remains the most well known and most common. Smokers place cured cannabis flower into rolling papers, bongs, pipes — aka bowls — hookahs, or other homemade devices (the list of homemade smoking devices is seemingly endless, since you can smoke out of nearly anything if you harness your creative spirit). They then put a flame to the flower and inhale the smoke of the burning marijuana, often in short puffs in order to minimize harm to the lungs. Pros: Smoking allows users to easily regulate their dosage of marijuana, as well as experience the immediate impact of the substance, as flower marijuana is typically less processed than other forms. Smoking cannabis is also typically very cost effective. Cons: Not only is the smell a turn-off for many, but the burning of cannabis produces several byproducts which can irritate — and, over time, damage — the lungs and throat. Smoking can also lead to inflammation, coughing, mucus production, bronchitis-like symptoms, and difficulty breathing. Anyone dealing with lung cancer, asthma, and other pulmonary conditions should avoid smoking cannabis. %related-post-2% Vaporizing Also known as vaping, this method provides similar effects to smoking without many of the potentially harmful side effects. Cured cannabis flower or extract can be vaped depending on the specific mechanism used. Once the heat breaks down the compounds of the cannabis, the user inhales the fumes. There are all kinds of different vaporizers (or “vapes”) out there from inexpensive throw-away pens to extravagant high-dollar pieces. Pros: More popular than smoking among some of the more health-conscious cannabis users — yet providing the same immediate impact — vaping eliminates the harmful effects of marijuana smoking and greatly reduces the odor. There are countless stylish and portable vaporizers available on the market. Cons: Though it's quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, vaping devices can be costly, as can replacing batteries over time. %related-post-3% Dabbing Perhaps the fastest-growing method of consuming cannabis next to vaping, dabbing involves the use of a bong-esque dab rig and the extreme heating of a small amount of cannabis extract — typically via a small blowtorch or electronic nail (enail). Instead of a bowl, the rig has a nail which is heated up. Once the nail reaches the desired heat, the user places a small piece of concentration on it, and inhales it as it burns. Dabbing allows users to feel smooth and strong effects of THC very quickly — often as soon as the vapor leaves their lungs. (Some compare the effect to smoking several joints at once.) This especially helpful for people seeking quick relief from significant pain or extreme nausea. Pros: Not only does dabbing provide users with a quick and powerful high, it is also typically far easier on the lungs than regular smoking. Dabs can be affordable, are easy to store, and emit very little odor. Cons: It is probably the most complicated consumption method for a first time user. Due to intense heat involved, dabbing is (potentially) the most dangerous method, as well. (Some users have caused fires or explosions while attempting this method.) It is also possible to ingest harmful contaminants while making your own dabs. Ask an experienced user or budtender for tips. Newbies should dab conservatively at first with experienced dabbers, as they might not be prepared for the intense high. %related-post-4% Edibles Edibles produce noticeably different effects — and are typically more potent and longer lasting — than inhaled cannabis. Edibles come in various forms, including candies, cookies, crackers, chocolate bars, ice creams, and trail mixes. They can also also be infused in countless home food recipes, typically with a high-fat ingredient like olive oil or butter that best extracts the flower’s therapeutic properties. (Note: Cannabis in beverage form provides similar benefits to edible cannabis, though regulating the dosage amount can be more tricky.) Pros: Edibles essentially serve as a delicious delivery device for medicine. They make it easy to ingest a precise dosage, and they serve as a great alternative for those opposed to inhaling marijuana, as well as younger folks and elderly people needing to medicate without the possible exposure to toxic fumes. Cons: Edibles do not provide the same high as inhaled cannabis, and it can take 30 minutes for the drug to take effect. They should also be kept away from children and pets, who may think they are harmless treats. %related-post-5% Sublinguals Many medical patients suffering from cancer and other conditions elect to consume cannabis sublingually — or under the tongue. There are a large number of blood vessels under the tongue which can absorb cannabinoids, and users can ingest cannabis in this manner via dissolvable strips, sublingual sprays, medicated lozenges, or tinctures. (Note: Sublingual delivery is becoming increasingly popular for recreational users, as well.) Pros: Not only is sublingual delivery easy and closer to being stigma-free, but it provides rapid absorption almost directly into your bloodstream. Patients can feel the effects of the dosage in as little as 30 seconds. Cons: Users may also need to consume other forms of cannabis in order to receive comprehensive treatment for specific conditions. %related-post-6% Topicals A full cannabis extract — or thick oil — of activated cannabinoids, topical marijuana is absorbed by your skin to provide localized relief for myriad conditions, including muscle soreness, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis, eczema, minor burns, swelling, and chapped skin. Topicals are commonly available as lotions, ointments, sprays, and salves, among other forms, and can typically be applied multiple times since they are for external use. Pros: Topicals allow you to maintain a clear head and full brain functions while providing specific, localized relief for a wide variety of conditions. Cons: Not all products work for everyone. Topicals are not effective for people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD. So there you go, a quick rundown of the most popular ways to consume cannabis. And, of course, we know a good place you can find these (wink).
We’ve covered indica, sativa, and cannabis hybrids so far in our Cannabis 101 series. Now it’s time for CBD. But, what is CBD exactly? Let’s discuss. Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When taken alone, CBD provides a wide range of health benefits without leaving you feeling high like you would after consuming the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). %related-post-1% What is CBD? When you consume CBD, it bonds with your endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that runs through all the major systems of your body. The bond between CBD and these receptors can produce numerous physical benefits, from boosting and stabilizing your mood to stimulating your appetite and alleviating pain. Why do we hear so much about CBD? More than ever, it seems, we're hearing people ask "what is CBD?" But it's been around awhile. While Queen Victoria frequently used cannabis high in CBD to relieve menstrual cramps during the 19th century, the compound’s medicinal qualities didn’t get much attention until the 1990s. Animal studies in Great Britain showed that CBD lessened anxiety and reduced the frequency and severity of seizures. Further studies were conducted to assess the compound’s potential health benefits, and by 2009, a lab in California successfully cultivated strains containing more CBD than THC. In 2010, CBD gained more notoriety when a desperate father in Montana treated his 20-month-old son’s stage IV brain cancer with CBD oil. The boy’s tumor shrunk almost immediately, and he lived for another two and a half years before the state inexplicably passed legislation that hindered the boy’s family from getting the cannabis oil he needed. CBD then made national headlines in 2013 when a 3-year-old Colorado girl suffering from 300 grand mal seizures each week — or every 15 minutes — saw her seizures cease for a week at a time after starting a regimen of CBD-rich oil. The girl’s story was broadcast on CNN, leading other families to move to the state in order to obtain similar treatments for their sick kids. It also led previously prohibitionist states to introduce pro-CPB legislation. %related-post-2% Understand the effects In addition to fighting cancer and stopping epileptic seizures, CBD can also protect nerve cells from neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. It can serve as a safer alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers — which is especially helpful in light of our nation’s current opioid epidemic. CBD can also reduce inflammation, as well as help people suffering from schizophrenia and mood disorders like depression and PTSD. Research has also uncovered its potential for treating other health conditions, including diabetes, alcoholism, arthritis, and antibiotic-resistant infections. CBD can even help counteract the feelings of paranoia and anxiety often experienced by recreational users of THC. All-star CBD strains Evidence suggests that CBD is safe even at high doses, and if you’re considering using CBD-heavy strains, consider one of the following popular, CBD-dominant strains: AC/DC: This berry-scented strain typically tests around 30-to-1 CBD-to-THC, and has long been a favorite of CBD fans Cannatonic: With strong citrus notes, this strain has less than 6 percent THC and is frequently used to fight migraines, muscles spasms, stress, and nausea Charlotte’s Web: A well-know strain that tests at less than 0.3 percent THC, this is most commonly used for pain relief and delivers virtually no psychoactive effects Corazon: A new strain (2017), this Oregon specialty with AC/DC lineage has a 22.5 percent CBD score with less than 3 percent THC Hopefully this helped you better understand CBD. If you’re looking for information on strains with increased psychoactive effects, head over to our Cannabis 101 articles on indica, sativa, and hybrids.
Indica and sativa are the two main types of cannabis. But what happens when you blend them? Hybrids, naturally. But what, exactly, are cannabis hybrids? As the legal marijuana industry has grown, so has the demand for new and interesting strains. Most of the strains on the market today are cannabis hybrids — strains that blend sativa and indica plants, balancing the effects and features of both. %related-post-1% What are cannabis hybrids? Commercial cannabis is typically available in pure form or in a hybrid mix of strains. Hybrids generally skew to either sativa or indica, with each hybrid providing effects associated with its dominant strain. Understand the effects By finding the right balance of sativa and indica, cannabis breeders can create various hybrids that feature specific concentrations of cannabinoid content. Many breeders create breeds that maximize or minimize the amount of THC or CBD based on the desired effects they — and consumers — are seeking: Sativa-dominant hybrids provide an energizing high paired with a feeling of relaxation. They are popular if you are engaged in physical activity, dabbling in creative projects, or interacting with folks in social settings. Indica-dominant hybrids provide an intense high in the body, which can make them a great choice if you need relief from moderate pain. They also carry a sedating effect, which is especially helpful for getting a good night’s sleep. Balanced hybrids provide something close to a 50/50 balance of indica and sativa plants. They are great choice if you are looking to balance the effects of cannabis on the mind and body. They also provide a good introduction to cannabis for new users. %related-post-2% All-star hybrid strains If you’re looking to try cannabis hybrids, here are some of the most popular kinds: Blue Dream: A sativa-dominant hybrid that is known for its body relaxation, thought stimulation, and sweet aroma Girl Scout Cookies: This is a balanced hybrid that blends sweet smells with a woodsy scent, relaxes the body, but also urges conversation Lemon Kush: Another evened-out strain, Lemon Kush deliver a citrusy scent and is well-regarded as a depression-fighter a creative kick-starter Purple Haze: This leans towards sativa spurring high-energy euphoria and smelling of berries and spice Alright, now that we have have indica, sativa, and hybrid cannabis covered, let’s tackle CBD.
Sativa is one of the two primary cannabis strains. In this installment of our Cannabis 101 series we’ll explore sativa cannabis, and what makes it different from indica. In our bookend to this Cannabis 101 installment, we covered the basics of indica strains. Now, let’s jump in and get to know the other main strain — sativa cannabis. %related-post-1% What is sativa cannabis? Cannabis sativa was first classified by Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus all the way back in 1753. Linnaeus encountered cannabis sativa in Europe and western Asia where it was commonly used to make textiles and rope. Unlike cannabis indica plants, which are short and stout with broad leaves, sativa plants are tall with characteristically narrow leaves. Sativa plants flourish in warmer temperatures and tend to have longer flowering periods. Understand the effects In the cannabis world, sativa strains are known as active strains. This classification comes from the perceived energy boost that will get you off the couch and tackling the trails or housework in no time. These uplifting effects are attributed to combinations of cannabinoids — THC, CBD, and others — and terpenes that will make you feel energetic and itching to get active. Just like indica strains, sativas can range from higher THC to higher CBD offering varied psychoactive intensity. The terpene morphology and characteristic scents of these strains tends to fall in the vein of citrus, pine, and wood. Sativa strains are extremely useful for treating many medical conditions including depression, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and stress. %related-post-2% All-star sativa strains Want to give sativa cannabis strains a shot? Here are some can’t-miss, popular choices: Sour Diesel: A well-known sativa that packs a pungent, earthy punch Amnesia Haze: With a lemon/citrus nose it’s an easy smoke that delivers a mellow high Strawberry Cough: Although it offers up more classic indica scents of berries and sweetness, this strain provides a big boost of energy Maui Wowie: This strain smells like it’s straight from the islands and is a clean, delicious toke That does it for our coverage of indica and sativa cannabis. Now head over to our post about hybrids.
Indica is one of the two most prominent types of cannabis. In this installment of our Cannabis 101 series, we’ll explain what indica cannabis is, and its significance. Part of what makes cannabis so much fun — besides consuming it, of course — is learning about various strains, their effects, where they come from, and what sets them apart from other types of cannabis. Square one when learning about cannabis is appreciating the differences between indica and sativa strains. We’ve got another post all about sativa, but while you’re here, let’s get down to the nitty gritty with indica. %related-post-1% What is indica cannabis? The term cannabis indica was first coined by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785. Lamarck named and described the species based on specimens collected throughout India. Indica plants are stout and robust with broad leaves and short flowering cycles — perfect for thriving in the colder climates and mountainous regions of India. The leaves also have a thick coating of resin, making them especially potent. Understand the effects Indica strains tend to be synonymous with one word: Relax. These strains offer combinations of cannabinoids — THC, CBD, and others — and terpenes that deliver more sedative and calming effects. It’s important to note that indica strains can vary from higher THC to higher CBD, but the terpene morphology tends to be similar — big notes of berry, earth, pine, and sweetness. Overall, indica strains tend to be uplifting and will make you feel euphoric and, yes, every, very relaxed. Indica can be extremely helpful treating a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, stress, insomnia, and depression. %related-post-2% All-star indica strains Indica strains tend to be very popular as a pre-bedtime smoke or nightcap. They taste amazing and are the perfect pairing for a chill night in. Indica = In da couch. Want to give indica cannabis strains a shot? Here are some highly recommended, popular choices: Granddaddy Purple: Sweet berry and grape flavors makes this a delicious smoke Northern Lights: Earthy and pine-forward with a higher level of THC Purple Kush: A delicious blend of grape and earth flavors perfect for a night on the couch DJ Short Blueberry: Sweet, ripe berry taste that is a perfect into to indica That does it for our primer on indica cannabis. Now head over to our post about sativa!
One of the more confusing matters in the cannabis industry is understanding the difference between medical and recreational marijuana. The medical benefits of cannabis have led 25 states (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize medical cannabis, compared with four states (plus, again, the District of Columbia) that have legalized it for recreational use. While both kinds of marijuana are naturally grown by farmers or gardeners — as opposed to being manufactured in a lab — the main differences between medical and recreational cannabis have to do with the strength and medicinal qualities of the drug, as well as regulations regarding who should (and shouldn’t) have access to it. %related-post-1% While we have another article that dives deeply into the matter of how medicine is defined, here are the main differences consumers usually experience between medical and recreational marijuana, as outlined by Civilized and MMJ Reporter: • While the marijuana you buy in dispensaries — whether medical or recreational — is typically grown methodically and organically, little is often known about the recreational pot bought off the streets. • How you plan to use the drug can make a big difference in the strain of pot you obtain. Those using medical cannabis tend to seek out the best strains for treating their specific medical conditions. Those who use it recreationally might be less picky, or only look for strains with a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). • Recreational marijuana often has a higher concentration of THC than medical cannabis. On the flip side, medical cannabis has more cannabidol (CBD) than recreational pot. Medical marijuana doesn’t leave users feeling as high as recreational weed, and the edible power of medical cannabis is typically higher than the power of recreational cannabis. • Medical weed must be purchased from a certified medical dispensary, while recreational pot can be purchased from a dispensary or other licensed shop. • Patients must be at least 18 years of age to purchase medical marijuana, while people typically must be 21 or older to purchase recreational pot. (Some states allow marijuana sales to people under 18.) • Buyers must possess a regularly renewed recommendation letter when buying medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana can be purchased without such a letter, provided the buyer is of legal age. • The amount of the marijuana of either kind that can be purchased varies from state to state, and the amount of medical marijuana that can be legally purchased often differs than the amount of recreational marijuana.
Cannabis plants are composed of different parts, each having a certain purpose. It’s interesting to understand which part of the plant you smoke, which part is used to make concentrates, and what the resin on the buds is made of. Male, female and hermaphrodite cannabis plants Cannabis plants can be male, female or hermaphrodite — meaning that they’re both male and female. The cannabis you consume comes from a female plant. Only the females produce the resin-secreting flowers which can be trimmed down to buds. These buds contain cannabinoids, which provide the fun effects we’re familiar with. Male plants pollinate the females, but aren’t consumed. Cannabis growers typically create clones of their plants in order to preserve their genetic identity. This allows them to control cannabis production, while anticipating future sales. %related-post-1% The different parts of the plant Stem — The stem is long and skinny, and holds a fair amount of fan leaves. As with most plants and flowers, the stem stores and transports nutrients extracted from the soil to the flowers and leaves. The place where a small branch (holding leaves) grows from the stem is called a node. Fan leaves — The fan leaves turn the energy from the sun into energy for the plant, thanks to photosynthesis. Of course this also works with lamps, when growing cannabis indoors. These leaves have become a well known unofficial symbol of the cannabis culture, which is recognized all over the world. Sugar leaves (our namesake!) — The small leaves that grow in the flower are called sugar leaves. They can be trimmed and used for cannabis edibles. Cola — The cola is a cluster of flowers growing very close together at the top of a female cannabis plant. Calyxes — The calyxes grow under the small leaves of cannabis buds. They’re nodules shaped like a tear, which secrete cannabinoids through small glands. Pistils — The orange hairs you see come from the calyxes, and are called pistils. When a male plant secretes pollen, these little hairs are here to collect it. The color of the pistils changes while the plant is growing toward maturation. The taste of the cannabis buds isn’t influenced by these pistils, neither is their potency. Trichomes — The leaves, stems and calyxes all contain translucent glands which secrete trichome. The trichomes form the crystal resin blanket on your cannabis buds. Even though they’re small, they serve an important cause. Foremost, they protect the plant. But they also ooze terpenes and cannabinoids. Seeds — The seeds of cannabis plants are found in the calyxes. They can be used to grow new plants. %related-post-2% What the different parts are used for besides smoking Cannabis seed oil — The oil extracted from these seeds is used in food and beauty products. It appears that the oil is good for the skin and hair. It also contains healthy amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Such products don’t contain THC or other cannabinoids. Concentrates — When a cannabis product is produced through an extraction process, it’s called a concentrate. Depending on the parts of the plant that are used, the concentrate could contain either THC or CBD, or both. One of the most well known concentrates is hash. The resin, formed by the trichomes, is compressed in order to make this smokable product. It’s possible for growers to breed cannabis strains with a high trichome production, with the goal to make hash. Butane Hash Oil is also a cannabis concentrate, known as BHO. Butane is used to extract cannabinoids from the plant. The THC content of BHO can be as high as 80%, making it very useful for pain relief. Tinctures — Tinctures are alcohol-based extracts, made with the flowers of the plant. They’re very popular among users looking for a non-smoking way to medicate with cannabis. Only a few drops are often enough to relieve someone of his or her symptoms or pain. One of the advantages of tinctures is that they are fairly easy to dose. Also, it’s possible to add a few drops to your drink or food, if you don’t want to put it under your tongue. Edibles — Things such as cannabis infused butter or gummies can be made with dried sugar leaves, which are trimmed before selling the smokable buds. It, of course, would be a shame to let them go to waste!
Using cannabis for the first time can be a tricky endeavor. For starters, you might not know which specific cannabis product to consume or how to actually consume it. Also, there’s a chance you’ve heard stories about people getting anxious or paranoid after getting high, and well, that might just stop you from trying it out yourself. But don’t worry, if you follow these first time cannabis consumer tips you’ll likely have a great first time experience! What Strains to Use The first choice you have to make is whether you want to get super high or simply feel nice and relaxed as a first time cannabis consumer. If you feel like getting high, you should be careful when choosing your strain. If your product contains a high percentage of THC and you inhale enough of it to send smoke signals, you might suffer from paranoia and an overall bad feeling after smoking for the first time. %related-post-1% Here’s a good rule of thumb: ease into your usage. Start with just one hit of a strain with a low percentage of THC. Notice how your body reacts to it, and see if you can take two hits the next time. Also, do some research to discover the difference between Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains to see which main category you might prefer. The Sugar Leaf has a marijuana strains post that will help you brush up. How to Consume Smoking, vaporizing, eating edibles, applying topicals, and more; there is no shortage of consumption methods for a first time cannabis consumer. When smoking cannabis you can easily control how much you use. Just one hit will probably be enough for the first time, so pass the joint or bowl on to your friends and enjoy your first high. But be careful, smoking can cause a burning sensation in your throat if you inhale too much at once. Take tiny puffs, or you can try vaporizing. Vaporizing tends to be easier on your throat, so it doesn’t give you that uncomfortable feeling. Portable vaporizer pens are the way to go if you want to start with small doses. Edibles are often a good choice for beginners. Just make sure that you know how much active compound your product contains, and its recommended portion amount. This means that it’s smarter to buy a labeled edible, than to bake something yourself. %related-post-2% The brownie is of course a classic. But don’t eat the whole thing by yourself. Start with one bite. If after a couple of hours you feel like the effects aren’t strong enough, you can always take that second bite. Be aware that it might take some time for your edible to kick in — up to an hour or two in some circumstances — so don’t start chewing on the rest of that brownie if you don’t feel anything after a few minutes. When it comes to non-smoking medical use, topicals are often ideal. These balms and lotions are infused with cannabis and are applied directly onto the skin. You won’t get high from these products, and they’re very discreet to use. Still, you should start by applying just a small amount, especially the first time. When and Where Using cannabis for the first time should be a comfortable and pleasant experience, so share it with some of your best friends! Make sure you don’t have any appointments, meetings, work or important social events for the next day. As a first time cannabis consumer, you’ll want to get your body acclimated to the short- and long-term effects of the product. Once you understand how your body reacts to it, you can work your consumption into your regularly planned week. That first time, though, be sure to have some buffer time built in. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need quiet some sleep after your first taste of cannabis, so organize the evening at your home. Sit down on a comfy couch, put on some music and enjoy. %related-post-3% How to Prepare Besides clearing your schedule and creating a relaxing atmosphere at your home, you should buy some supplies. Make sure you have enough water, and preferably drink a couple of glasses before you try out your cannabis. Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages the first time. Just keep on drinking that water so you won’t feel dehydrated the next morning. Snacks are also very important, especially because you don’t want to take your car to buy food when you’re high (that’s a BIG no-no). Buy some frozen pizzas or other snacks, or something healthier if you prefer, before you start. Start Slowly This cannot be stressed enough, the most important thing is to start slowly. Let your body get used to cannabis products. Don’t overdo it, and don’t try and act cool by smoking a whole joint the first time. Be prepared and you’ll have a great first time experience. But if it doesn’t work out the way you hoped, don’t worry, just try again next time.