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Cannabis
April 21, 2020

Marij101a, Your Beginner Cannabis Shopping Guide

Explore Cannabis Beginner Guide. Learn About The Main Topics Of Marijuana If You Are a Newbie

What Is The Difference Between Cannabis Types?

This question is required to cover many dimensions to entail a fully informed composition and comprehension of marijuana. But for the purposes of emerging yourself in the cannabis realm and educating yourself before choosing to purchase or consume any strain of the cannabis products, this Cannabis Beginner Guide will set the stage for you to have an enjoyable first experience.

The indica, sativa, and hybrid system is no doubt suitable and useful, especially when you are first entering the profound world of Cannabis. With so many strains and products to choose from, how can you begin and what are the first steps to take?

For a clearer understanding of the medicinal properties of cannabis, a better categorization system beyond sativa and indica is mandatory. It may make sense to categorize cannabis according to cannabinoid and terpenoid levels for both medical and recreational purposes. Luckily, it is all included here in your Cannabis Beginner Guide. After all, the ratios of cannabinoids and terpenoids present in cannabis flowers are a more meaningful outline of the plant’s genetic identity, chemical composition, and hence its effects on you.

THC vs. CBD

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds within cannabis that is associated with the plant’s benefits. The most common is THC, which gets you high, and CBD, which doesn’t cause a high.

A more thoughtful starting point when thinking about the effect of strains would be familiarizing yourself with cannabinoids and terpenes as these will be your guiding needles on your compass in store. For what’s worth mentioning, here is a brief distinction between the 2 most common strains in cannabis.  

  • Indica strains are believed to be physically sedating, perfect for relaxing, with a movie or as a nightcap before bed.
  • Sativa strains are said to provide revitalizing, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects.

The following graphic exposes you to plant morphology — a popular understanding of how to classify cannabis cultivars:

comparison between sativa and indica

Sativa and Indica graphic by Leafly

While sativa and indica may be useful classifications for cultivators, these two categories alone are inadequate to describe the chemistry of cannabis or the therapeutic effects of interest clearly to you. In fact, they are likely to cause confusion in the marketplace, especially when people have tendencies to respond differently to the same product.

Indica and Sativa: Origin And Progression Of The Terms

The words “indica” and “sativa” were introduced in the 18th century to describe different species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The term sativa described hemp plants found in Europe and western Eurasia, where it was cultivated for its fiber and seeds. Cannabis indica refers to the psychoactive varieties discovered in India, where it was harvested for its seeds, fiber, and hashish production.

What Are Cannabinoids and Terpenes?

The cannabis plant is composed of hundreds of chemical compounds that create a unique harmony of effects, which is primarily led by cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, are the main drivers of cannabis’ therapeutic and recreational effects.

  • THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) makes us feel hungry and high, and relieves symptoms like pain, nausea, and more.
  • CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound known to lessen our anxiety, pain, inflammation, and many other medical afflictions.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds commonly produced by plants and fruit. They can be found in lavender flowers, oranges, pepper, and of course, cannabis. Secreted by the same glands that ooze THC and CBD, terpenes are what make cannabis’ scent similar to berries, citrus, pine, fuel, etc.

What Are They Responsible For?

Cannabis contains numerous types of cannabinoids, but start by acquainting yourself with THC and CBD first. Instead of choosing a strain based on its indica or sativa classification, consider basing your selection on these three categories instead:

  • THC-dominant strains are essentially chosen if you are seeking a potent euphoric experience. These strains are also selected by patients experiencing pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia as a remedy. If you tend to feel uneasiness using THC-dominant strains or dislike other side effects associated with high THC concentration, try a strain with higher levels of CBD instead.
  • CBD-dominant strains contain only small amounts of THC and are widely used by those highly sensitive to THC or patients needing clear-headed symptom relief.
  • Balanced THC/CBD strains contain similar levels of THC and CBD, offering mild euphoria alongside symptom relief. These tend to be a good choice for inexperienced consumers seeking an introduction to cannabis’ exceptional high.

There are many terpenes found in cannabis, and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the most common—especially myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, and terpinolene, since they’re the most likely to be found in prominent levels in cannabis.

[caption id="attachment_669" align="alignnone" width="525"]

cannabinoids and terpenes shapes and forms

shapes of cannabinoids and terpenes[/caption]

What Is Hybrid Marijuana?

Hybrid strains, meanwhile, are bred from both indica- and sativa-descended plants. Due to the long history of crossbreeding cannabis strains—much of it historically done underground to evade authorities—strains that have pure indica or pure sativa lineages are rare indeed. Most strains referred to as “indica” or “sativa” are, in fact, hybrids, with genetics inherited from both subspecies.

Hybrid marijuana strains are among the most popular with consumers, and recommended for you to try. Here are some examples:

  • Blue Dream
  • Wedding Cake
  • GSC
  • Gelato
  • OG Kush

Biology and Dosing Methods

To find a strain that will provide you with the desired effect repeatedly, your best bet is to understand which chemical ingredients make up that strain. Using Leafly’s Cannabis Guide, you can refer to simple shapes and colours to help you visually understand the chemical composition of your favourite strains. And when you use the chemical ingredients of a strain to guide your purchasing decision, you’re more likely to find the types of strains that is compatible with body and aligns with your psyche.

“There is no factual or scientific basis to making these broad sweeping recommendations, and it needs to stop today. What we need to seek to understand better is which standardized cannabis composition is causing which effects, when delivered in which fashions, at which specific dosages, to which types of consumers.” - Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D, a chemist who founded the first independent testing lab to analyze cannabis terpenes in a commercial capacity, The Werc Shop.

The effects of any given cannabis strain depend on a number of different factors. This includes the product’s profile of compounds such as terpenes and cannabinoids, your unique biology and tolerance, dose, and consumption method. Understand how these different components interrelate will boost your experience and you’ll have the best chance of finding that perfect strain for you.

Consumption Methods

Lastly, consider the following technical questions when choosing the right strain or product for you. More personal questions to follow:

  • How much experience do you have with cannabis? If your tolerance is low, consider a low-THC strain in low doses.
  • Are you susceptible to anxiety or other side effects of THC? If so, try a strain high in CBD.
  • Do you want the effects to last for a longer period of time? If so, consider consuming edibles,  staring with a low dose and increase gradually according to the appropriate consumption dosage. Conversely, if you seek a short-term experience, use inhalation methods or a drug solution.

How To Shop For Cannabis?

Finding the right strain for you requires a bit of trial and error. Still, if you’re new to cannabis, there are appropriate places to begin your search for that perfect experience. A list of questions to ask yourself about what you like and what you are looking for before your next visit/ order online from the closest ARcannabis or any other store.

1- Remain Calm

For a lot of people, one of the best things about legal weed is being able to find a product that won’t freak you out. That can lead to focusing a little too hard on what Sparr-Jaswa calls “The Indica/Sativa dichotomy.” Maybe remind yourself that you read the Cannabis Beginner Guide. That's reassuring... whew.

2- Trust Yourself

If you’re feeling hesitant, just lean into it, and let the experts guide you. According to Noeckner, “the most important thing is to not pretend to know more than you do and to trust the experts. Be open to a strain or product based on more than a name or a THC percentage.”

3- Know What You Don’t Want

it’s imperative that the customer is actually coming in with more answers than questions in regards to knowing what type of effects they are looking for or are looking to avoid.”. Know that there really are no stupid questions. The staff at a dispensary is there to help you, but they’re not mind readers. “the person behind the counter is actively engaging the customer right off the bat and asking questions to help guide newbies and connoisseurs alike. If a dispensary makes you feel uncomfortable for asking questions of any kind, find another dispensary.

Cannabis is a personal experience, and how you select it is, too. This Cannabis Beginner Guide is meant to give you an important, yet unconventional, perspective on what qualities to look for in a strain.

Some of you are happy to sit down with any strain, anytime, and that’s okay. For others, this level of accuracy in strain selection is key to having a good experience— feeling good and staying safe is what cannabis is all about.

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