Cannabis is known by many names: weed, pot, marijuana, grass, ganja, and countless more. Some of these names you may have heard of, some of them you may not have. Regardless of how familiar you are with cannabis, there is likely plenty you may not be familiar. Our goal in this guide, a Beginners Guide to Cannabis, is to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions you might have about cannabis. Let’s get started!
Beginners Guide to Cannabis
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is the plant that is grown and harvested for spiritual, medicinal, and recreational purposes. For thousands of years, this plant has been used for these purposes. In the United States, cannabis is legal for recreational consumption in 18 states, including California, and legal for medicinal use in 37 states. Cannabis plants can be grown indoors or outdoors all over the world. In the United States, plants are seeded in the Spring and harvested typically in the fall. The plant grows its iconic seven-starred leaves for most of its life, and flowers (which produces the buds) towards the end of its life. Buds are harvested, dried, cured, and sent to the dispensary for you to purchase.
What Does Being High on Weed Feel Like?
The chemical THC is the main compound in the cannabis plant that is responsible for the feelings of euphoria, relaxation and many other common effects of cannabis. Many people choose to consume cannabis for creativity or to increase focus, as cannabis is shown to help users think outside the box and not worry about other distractions.
On the flipside, cannabis can cause paranoia, anxiety, and other negative feelings in some. This effect is commonly felt based on certain factors such as body chemistry, type of strain consumed, how much you consume, and how it is consumed.
Arguably the biggest concern with consuming weed is that a majority users choose to smoke it. As with smoking anything and inhalation, it can have negative impacts on your lungs and heart. Thankfully dispensaries are now selling more and more alternative methods for consuming cannabis such as edibles, tinctures, or vaporizers. There are no known overdoses due to cannabis consumption.
How Does Weed Make You High?
Cannabinoids and terpenes are the main compounds in the cannabis plant that get you high or provide medicinal benefits. The two main cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC gets you high, whereas CBD is non-intoxicating. People consume both cannabinoids for medicinal benefits. Most strains you buy at the dispensary will be high in THC, and some will be high in CBD or have a balance of the two.
Terpenes are weed’s scent compounds, giving the plant its complex aromas. Hundreds of terpenes are found in trace amounts in the plant, and there are eight main ones:
Cannabinoids and terpenes work together synergistically through a process called the entourage effect, and they interact with and activate the body’s endocannabinoid system, a cellular system which maintains balance in your body. This is how you feel high and experience symptom relief or other effects of cannabis.
Dosing cannabis can be tricky because cannabis effects plateau at a certain point and if you take more, it won’t necessarily increase effects. This plateau level is different for everyone based on body chemistry, the weed strain’s chemical profile, and how much you consume.
What is a Weed Strain?
Cannabis strains are very common. Strains are different variations of the cannabis plant, much like there are different varieties of apples: red delicious, granny smith, gala, honey crisp, etc. Each cannabis strain has a unique chemical profile, a mix of different cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabis comes in three strains: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Each strain has their own effects on the user. As a general rule of thumb, Indica strains are thought to be calm and sedating, Sativas more energetic and creativity boosting, and hybrids are often a mix of the two but carry more of the dominant strain.
Pictured: Cannabis Indica Strain Leaf
How to Consume Weed
Today, there are many different ways to consume cannabis, through different types of devices. Users can consume cannabis via smoking, vaping, eating, or topical application.
Smoking weed is done through pipes, bongs, or bubblers. These devices can be made from a variety of materials, but are most commonly made of glass. Users can also smoke weed through rolling it in joints, blunts, and spliffs.
Vaporizing weed is popular today, especially with the advent of vape pens. Vape pens are discreet, portable, odorless and easy to use. There are many types of vaporizers; some are handheld, some are large devices that are plugged in, and they can vaporize flower, concentrates, or both.
Dabbing is a relatively new form of consumption in which cannabis extracts are flash vaporized. Beware though, dabs contain concentrated amounts of THC and are very potent; sometimes just a sliver of a concentrate will be equivalent to a whole joint or bowl. Dabbing is often for more experienced consumers.
Edibles are any food or drink infused with cannabis. Common edibles include: gummies, brownies, chocolates, and cookies; less common edibles are: drinks, such as sodas, beer, and wine, potato chips, beef jerky, and pretty much anything that can have cannabis butter or oil added to it. They are great for cannabis beginners because you don’t need a device to consume them and they are measured and dosed, so you will get a consistent experience time after time. Edibles are typically stronger, take longer to kick in, and last longer than smoking or vaporizing weed because they are processed in the stomach and liver, as opposed to the lungs.
Cannabis Connection: Canyon Lake Dispensary
We hope you enjoyed and even learned a bit reading our Beginner’s Guide to Weed. We would love to meet you and help answer any additional questions you might have about cannabis, how to consume it, and the best ways to consume cannabis. We are the first dispensary in Canyon Lake, California and we are looking forward to building a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with the community.