The cannabis plant has been used for its healing properties for millennia. The first documented case of cannabis flowers being used dates back to 2800 BCE in an Ancient Chinese pharmacopeia. Since then, the effects of cannabis have been enjoyed recreationally worldwide, and the ingredients in cannabis are still being studied to further human research on medical marijuana.
The flowers of the cannabis plant still have many secrets, but the future of cannabis couldn’t be greener. With many countries doing away with the taboo surrounding cannabis, a larger segment of the population is now beginning to dabble with regular cannabis or medical cannabis. Nevertheless, trying a new substance is not something someone should do without research or asking themselves certain questions. Why use cannabis? What is CBD? What is THC? These are but a few of the questions we answer in this cannabis 101 guide.
Why use cannabis?
Cannabis flowers are used for medical or recreational purposes due to the psychoactive effects of cannabis, which are effective in treating nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, pain, insomnia, inflammation, and muscle spasms. Recreational smokers also enjoy the feeling of euphoria, relaxation, and altered spatial perception.
Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid
The regular cannabis plant has been genetically modified to amplify the varying effects of cannabis, which has led to three groups: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Indica strains are known for their physical sedative properties, while Sativas have the effects of a tonic and stimulant. Hybrids walk the fine line between the two.
CBD is one of the most popular cannabinoids identified to date. It is a non-psychoactive substance, which means that it does not cause euphoria or side effects such as paranoia. It is the main and often sole active ingredient in CBD oils and cosmetics. It has earned a good reputation for its amazing health effects.
CBD is very effective in combating chronic pain and physical discomfort caused by inflammation or nerve damage. It also has a positive impact on the mental state of those who consume it, since CBD makes people feel good by reducing anxiety and stress.
What is THC?
It is by far the best known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike CBD, THC has psychoactive properties and is used recreationally. Consuming this type of cannabinoid, in certain doses, causes a feeling of euphoria in the user.
What is CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the most important cannabinoids. It is sometimes referred to as the "stem cell" of cannabinoids, as this substance is responsible for the existence of several cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. CBG converts to THC or CBD in the last few weeks before harvest.
What is CBN?
Cannabinol (CBN) is another cannabinoid, which is produced after the oxidation of tetrahydrocannabinol. It is a sedative compound that is popularly known for its analgesic properties. This substance is very useful for treating sleep disorders. This cannabinoid is found in plants that have been harvested late, giving the THC time to oxidize in the plant material.
What is CBC?
Cannabichromene (CBC), also called cannabichrome, is an anti-inflammatory used in medical cannabis treatment to act as a painkiller. It is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
What does THC do?
THC is capable of altering the user's senses, leading them to perceive colors more markedly and intensely, distorting the user’s perception of time and space. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Put simply, it's what makes people feel high.
What percentage of THC is good for beginners?
In general, the recommended percentage of THC for a first-time user is no more than 10%.
Different ways of consuming cannabis
Here are different ways of consuming cannabis:
The pipe is one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis. The most convenient aspect of a pipe is that it doesn't take much to smoke. All you need is the pipe, a lighter, and some ground weed. You should clean it after each use, otherwise, it can easily become clogged. You can find pipes of all sizes and materials on the market: glass, plastic, metal, bamboo, etc.
The bong is another popular method of consuming cannabis. You just need to pour water into the chamber, light the ground herb placed in the bowl, and inhale the smoke when the bong fills with smoke. Bongs can be made from acrylic, glass, plastic, ceramic materials, and more. There are no limits to creativity here.
You can even make a bong yourself with fruits and vegetables. You can also add some ice to chill the smoke and make the session smoother. Bongs tend to charge powerful hits of cannabis, therefore gauge the amount of herb you place in the bowl.
Vaping is a similar experience to smoking, but the difference is that marijuana is heated instead of burned. Vaping is a healthier alternative, as it eliminates lung and throat pain caused by exposure to heat and burnt weed.
Vaporizers (also known as vapes or vape pens) come in all shapes and sizes. With great advances in miniaturization and the declining price of this technology, smaller vaporizers are quickly becoming a popular alternative to pipes and bongs. Today you can find portable vaporizers that easily fit in your pocket.
Another advantage that vaporizers offer is that they can be used with oils that contain up to 80% THC (compared to 5-25% for cannabis flowers). As these numbers indicate, vaporizing oils have a much stronger effect on the body by using more of the substances.
Smoking a joint or blunt is the most common method of cannabis use today. It is also the fastest way for THC to enter your system. As cannabinoids enter the body through the lungs, they pass directly into the user's bloodstream.
While smoking is the fastest way to get high, it is also the most damaging to the lungs. When you smoke cannabis, you are also consuming paper materials. These foreign substances can negatively influence the sensitive tissue of the lungs. Some people enjoy the ritual of smoking, from choosing the cannabis flowers, grinding the weed, making the filter, and rolling the joint while other people prefer to buy pre-rolls.
On average, users who consume marijuana orally tend to feel the effects for at least thirty minutes after ingestion. The peak effect of edibles is generally around two hours, and effects can last up to six hours or more, depending on the user and potency of the herb.
When cannabis is digested, the cannabinoids undergo a chemical transformation that makes them stronger. Edibles from dispensers are regulated, but if someone hands you a brownie, for example, you have no way of knowing how much cannabis it contains and how high the THC content is.
Edible consumption is ideal for people who use medical marijuana for chronic pain. You can find all kinds of edibles on the market: snacks, brownies, candies, gummies, syrups, cakes, cookies, smoothies, juices, teas, and more.
Tinctures are a liquid concentrate or substance of cannabis and are one of the most underrated ways to get your daily dose of cannabis. If your goal is to avoid smoking but benefit from the properties of cannabis, tinctures are your best ally.
Just put a few drops on your tongue and enjoy the ride. The effects of cannabis tinctures can appear between 5 and 15 minutes after ingestion. Just like when you smoke cannabis, the user's effects will be felt depending on the user experience and the cannabis strain chosen.
Since tinctures are an alcoholic extract, they are often odorless. This lack of scent makes the dye extremely convenient to use in public situations, such as waiting in line at the theater or on the bus.