Hello, and welcome back to ANJA's blog, your trusted compass in the cannabis world. Today, we're diving into the basics of cannabis, perfect for those of you who are new to this fascinating plant. We'll be discussing what you need to know before making your first cannabis purchase, from understanding different strains to knowing how to choose the right product for you. Let's get started!
Table of Contents:
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Choosing the Right Product
Understanding Cannabis Products
Terms/ Definitions to Know
Cannabis 101 FAQ
Cannabis, a versatile plant with a rich history, is known for its diverse strains and effects. The two most well-known strains are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, each with its unique characteristics. However, it's crucial to remember that the effects of cannabis are not solely determined by whether it's a sativa or an Indica strain. Instead, the unique blend of cannabinoids and terpenes in each strain plays a significant role in its effects.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes:
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with our endocannabinoid system, influencing aspects such as mood, appetite, pain perception, and sleep. The most famous cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which induces the psychoactive "high," and CBD (cannabidiol), known for its potential therapeutic effects without the intoxicating high.
Terpenes, on the other hand, are aromatic compounds that give cannabis strains their unique scents and flavors. They also interact with cannabinoids, enhancing or altering their effects, a phenomenon known as the "entourage effect." For example, the terpene myrcene, often found in India strains, is known for its sedative properties and can amplify the relaxing effects of THC and CBD.
Choosing the Right Product:
When choosing your first cannabis product, it's essential to consider your desired effects, tolerance level, and consumption method. Here are a few tips to guide you:
Desired Effects: If you're looking for an energizing, uplifting experience, consider a product with a higher THC content or a strain known for its stimulating effects, such as a Sativa-dominant strain. If you're after relaxation and calm, a product with balanced THC and CBD levels or an Indica-dominant strain might be a good fit.
Tolerance Level: If you're new to cannabis, it's best to start with a lower THC content to avoid potential discomfort or anxiety. As you become more familiar with your body's response, you can gradually increase the THC content if desired.
Consumption Method: Cannabis products come in various forms, from flowers for smoking or vaping to edibles, tinctures, and topicals. Each method has its onset time and duration of effects. For instance, inhalation methods have a quicker onset but shorter duration, while edibles take longer to kick in but last longer.
Understanding Cannabis Products:
Before making your first purchase, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the different types of cannabis products available:
Flower: This is the most traditional form of cannabis, often smoked or vaporized. It's available in a variety of strains, each with its unique blend of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Edibles: These are food products infused with cannabis, such as gummies, chocolates, or baked goods. They offer a discreet and long-lasting way to consume cannabis but take longer to feel the effects.
Tinctures: These are liquid cannabis extracts that are typically placed under the tongue for quick absorption. They offer a discreet and easy-to-control method of consumption.
Topicals: These are cannabis-infused creams, lotions, or balms applied directly to the skin for localized relief. They're ideal for addressing pain or inflammation and do not produce a psychoactive high.
Vapes: These are devices that heat cannabis to a temperature that releases its active compounds without combustion. They offer a smoke-free methodof consumption and are known for their quick onset of effects.
Pre-rolls: These are ready-to-smoke cannabis joints, perfect for beginners who are not familiar with rolling their own. They offer a convenient and traditional way to consume cannabis.
Capsules: These are easy-to-swallow pills containing cannabis oil, offering a discreet and controlled dosage method. They're ideal for those who prefer not to smoke or vape.
Terms/Definitions to Know
Sativa strains are typically associated with uplifting and energizing effects, making them suitable for daytime use or when you need a creative boost.
Indica strains are often linked to relaxing and sedative effects, making them ideal for unwinding or before bed.
Hybrid strains are a mix of Sativa and Indica strains. They're bred to combine the desirable traits of each, and their effects can range from energizing to relaxing, depending on the specific combination.
Cannabis is a type of flowering plant that includes three species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. It's known for its psychoactive and therapeutic effects, which are primarily attributed to compounds called cannabinoids. Usually, most people will just refer to the plant as cannabis - so don't worry about knowing the species distinction!
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. This interaction influences various physiological processes, such as mood, appetite, pain perception, and sleep. The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. It's responsible for the "high" feeling that users experience. It can induce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and altered sensory perception. However, it can also cause anxiety or paranoia in some people, especially in high doses.
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it doesn't produce a "high." It's known for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety and depression.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They give cannabis strains their unique scents and flavors, from citrusy and fruity to earthy and piney. Terpenes also interact with cannabinoids to enhance or modify their effects, a phenomenon known as the "entourage effect."
Strains refer to different varieties of cannabis plants. They're typically categorized as sativa, indica, or hybrid (a mix of sativa and indica). Each strain has a unique profile of cannabinoids and terpenes, leading to different effects.
Cannabis 101 FAQ
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are both cannabinoids found in cannabis, but they have different effects. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the "high" feeling. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce a "high" and is known for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as relieving pain and reducing anxiety.
What are sativa, indica, and hybrid strains?
Sativa, indica, and hybrid refer to different types of cannabis strains. Sativa strains are typically associated with uplifting and energizing effects, while indica strains are often linked to relaxing and sedative effects. Hybrid strains are a mix of sativa and indica, offering a balance of effects.
How long does it take to feel the effects of cannabis?
The onset time of cannabis effects depends on the method of consumption. When inhaled (smoking or vaping), effects can be felt within minutes. Edibles take longer, usually between 30 minutes to 2 hours, as they need to be digested first. Tinctures placed under the tongue can take effect in about 15-45 minutes.
How long do the effects of cannabis last?
Again, this depends on the method of consumption. The effects of inhaled cannabis can last 2-3 hours, while the effects of edibles can last up to 6 hours or more. Tinctures can last between 4-6 hours. Consumers with a higher tolerance may note that the effects feel shorter lived than those with a lower tolerance.
What is a "serving" or "dose" of cannabis?
A serving or dose refers to the amount of cannabis consumed at one time. For smoked or vaped cannabis, a dose might be one puff. For edibles, it could be one gummy or a piece of chocolate. It's important to start with a small dose, especially if you're new to cannabis, and gradually increase as needed.
Can I mix cannabis with alcohol or other substances?
Mixing cannabis with alcohol or other substances can amplify effects and increase the risk of unwanted side effects. It's generally recommended to avoid mixing substances, especially if you're new to cannabis.
Is it possible to "overdose" on cannabis?
While it's virtually impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis, consuming too much can lead to an uncomfortable experience, with symptoms like paranoia, anxiety, and extreme sedation. If you're new to cannabis, start with a low dose and go slow. Luckily, if you have consumed too much cannabis, a nap will generally help reduce any negative effects.
Can I develop a tolerance to cannabis?
Yes, regular use of cannabis can lead to tolerance, meaning you might need higher amounts to achieve the same effects. Taking regular tolerance breaks can help prevent this.
Is cannabis addictive?
While most people can use cannabis without developing an addiction, a small percentage of users can develop cannabis use disorder, characterized by cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and minor negative impacts on daily life. That being said, there is no extreme or dangerous withdrawal period from cannabis - just a bit of crankiness for a week or two.
Is it legal to use cannabis?
The legality of cannabis varies by location. In New Jersey, it's legal for both medical and recreational use for adults over the age of 21. In other states, it's only legal for medical use or completely illegal. Always check local laws before using cannabis.
Remember, everyone's experience with cannabis is unique. Start slow, be patient, and take the time to learn what works best for you. And remember, we're here to help. When you have questions, we have ANJA. Happy exploring!