Whether you’re a consistent user or just starting out, you likely know marijuana, pot, and weed all refer to cannabis. But how familiar are you with the cannabis basics, including marijuana’s components, effects, strains, and methods of consumption? If you’re not as well versed in these factors, then you’ve come to the right place! In this beginner’s guide to cannabis, we’ll share all the basics you need to know about the benefits of flower and introduce you to the different types of CBD products and THC products you may or may not have heard of.
What Is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a plant that has been used for centuries for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes. It’s now legal in most US states. People use it to boost their health, alleviate pain, treat sleep disorders, reduce stress, and increase appetite. It’s also famous for enhancing daily activities, increasing creativity, and improving focus.
How Does Cannabis Affect the Body?
Research and studies on cannabis show that different components of this plant can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for creating harmony throughout your body by regulating functions, such as mood, pain, sleep, and more. This system consists of receptors (CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids, and enzymes. Your brain produces endocannabinoids when it detects an imbalance in your body. These chemicals bind to the receptors and regulate various functions. Afterwards, the enzymes break them down.
Scientists speculate that the components of cannabis in different types of CBD products and THC products from various brands work the same way when they enter your body.
Components of Cannabis
The active components in cannabis that interact with the ECS are cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids. The most prominent cannabinoids are:
- THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol): the psychoactive cannabinoid that binds to the ECS receptors. It creates a euphoric high and relieves pain and nausea.
- CBD (cannabidiol): a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that interacts with the ECS and alleviates signs of anxiety, pain, insomnia, and more.
Other notable cannabinoids include CBG, CBN, CBDa, and CBGa. Keep in mind, however, that research on these compounds is still new and findings are not yet definitive.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that create the scent and taste of most plants, including pine, orange, lavender, rosemary, and cannabis. The most common terpenes in cannabis are Myrcene, Limonene, Pinene, and Caryophyllene. Studies on the basics of cannabis show that other than creating pleasant aromas, terpenes also have therapeutic benefits.
Flavonoids create pigmentation in plants and work alongside terpenes to enhance smell and taste. In nature, they attract pollinators and repel predators. Flavonoids in cannabis have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic effects.
The Entourage Effect
Each of the components discussed above have distinct advantages, but according to a basic cannabis theory called the entourage effect, their benefits amplify when they work together. So, a cannabis product that retains all of these substances may work better than certain types of CBD products like isolates.
Cannabis comes in various types, called strains. Each strain has a slightly different chemical profile with a unique set of properties. Here are the basic cannabis strains.
Sativa strains take a long time to grow in warm and humid weather. Most consumers of this strain experience an uplifting and energizing effect. Others report experiencing less stress, better focus, and more creativity. Some popular Sativa strains include Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, and Blue Dream.
Indica strains are short plants that grow in cold climates. Indicas are known as nighttime strains, due to their relaxing effects. Consumers report using Indicas before bed for lower stress levels and promote better quality sleep. Some popular Indica strains include Northern Lights, Granddaddy Purple, and Grape Ape.
Hybrid strains are a product of crossbreeding between the two basic cannabis strains. They have inherited genetics from both Sativa and Indica. So, they create a perfect balance of relaxation and euphoria. Some popular hybrid strains include Gelato, OG Kush, and White Widow.
One of the most crucial cannabis basics to remember is the difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is another variety of cannabis that, unlike marijuana, contains a lower percentage of THC. Most legal types of CBD products on the market come from hemp with less than 0.3% THC. While this concentration is not enough to get you high, it has potential benefits for various bodily functions.
Cannabis Consumption Methods
Prerolled joints are great for beginners who don’t know how to roll and want to feel the effects of their cannabis fast.
Vaping is an excellent alternative for those who want to smoke cannabis conveniently but don’t like prerolls.
Delicious edibles like gummies are a convenient way of consuming cannabis. They’re easy to dose but take longer to take effect as they need to be digested before you feel the results.
Unprocessed flower buds are dried and cured fast-acting cannabis, perfect for your pipes and vapes.
Most types of CBD products come in oils and tinctures that you can take sublingually. They’re another great option for beginners.
Cannabis concentrates are potent extracts that come in the form of sauces, sugars, resins, and diamonds. They’re not the best option for beginners but offer powerful effects for seasoned users.
Explore the Cannabis World
The information above only scratches the surface of what cannabis is and what cannabis can do for you. Use it as the starting point of your cannabis journey and learn more about this promising plant in our blog. Shop from favorite brands and have fun with cannabis!