Cannabis for Beginners

Whether re-entering the Cannabis game or becoming a new player…at first, it may seem more canna-confusing than canna-beneficial. With technology and growth advancements, marijuana is no longer a bag of brick brown weed, or shake. From endless flower selection, to use varying from eating, smoking, drinking and vaping…weed is widely different, but the effects can still be just as simple.

Before venturing on your pot path, brush up on the basics or learn what’s new. Let’s begin with advancements in the plant you’re lighting up today.

What the herb?

Just like wine, or alcohol…there is a variety of marijuana plant types. So what’s the herb you’re smoking now and how has it changed?

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound known for psychoactivity in marijuana. Recent research is showing that THC in Cannabis today, has increased by nearly 20%. Growers over time have improved their methods to reap the additional benefits a higher content of THC can provide.

While THC is growing in product across the board, it can also vary from strain to strain. With the rise of its’ counterpart CBD (Cannabidiol), some of today’s weed won’t get you high. Let’s take a better look at what’s inside the bud to identify its’ true potency and effects.

The good stuff

Image source: https://s3.amazonaws.com/leafly-s3/content/infographic-what-are-cannabis-terpenes-and-how-do-they-affect-you/jXSS0pS1Sw2p2eq176GL_Leafly-Cannabis-Terpene-Wheel-Infographic.pngSpeaking of strains… Marijuana parent plants have been crossed and cloned to create a unique and useful new flower. You may have heard of the terms Indica or Sativa, but the cross-production has produced an emergence of Hybrid strains combining the two types.

Sound confusing? It’s not. Scientists are increasingly reporting that Indica, Sativa or Hybrid classifications are inefficient descriptors for choosing strains, especially for specific conditions. Neurologist and cannabis researcher Ethan Russo Ph.D.recently said, “What we really should be homing in on is the chemical composition of the plant.”

And what’s the beginner’s way to do that? THC and CBD levels, along with some knowledge of terpenes and how they differ too.

Again, and simply, THC gets you high and CBD does not. Primarily due to their molecular structures. But both have medical effects, regardless of the psychoactivity. Some dispensaries say, ‘the nose knows’ and the scent of your bud can also determine what it delivers.

Terpenes (or terps) are fragrant oils that give cannabis (and any plant) their aroma. You may have opened a bag to a whiff of lemon, skunk, pine, grape, berry…each scent transported by a specific terpene. These terps bind to receptors in the brain and are responsible for a variety of mind, and body effects.

While factors may vary (depending on product, harvest, heat, etc), there are 6 common terpenes that carry the most predominant and beneficial effects. This includes Limonene (citrus scented) which helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Or, Linalool (floral & spicy) which helps insomnia by sedating and calming.

Do your research, and find the strain that has the combination of compounds to hit the high you’re seeking.

Now what?

Along with plant advancements, came product advancements too. No longer just papers and weed, you should choose the delivery or ingestion option that is best for you.

If you’re looking to be discrete? Vaping a THC or CBD oil may be best. Need an intense dose for a medical condition that will last you through a day at work? Edibles may be for you. Kind of classic and not sure where to start? A pre-roll may be just right.

The length or intensity of your high, not only varies from strain to strain, but also the way you consume. With anything new – start low, and go slow with the new method you choose. Half (or even quarter) edibles, if necessary, and wait at least an hour to determine if effects have set in or not. Or, take just a puff or two, and pause to reflect on any changes prior to hitting it more or again.

Enjoy the ride

While venturing into the world of weed, most importantly, relax and be open. Easily access information that will help guide you along the way, or seek out the advice of a cannabis professional. Like ice cream (or again, alcohol) trying new flavors is always welcomed (and encouraged!). Apply the same attitude to your cannabis game, and have fun in finding your favorite.