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A group of various chemical compounds that are unique to the cannabis plant. Acting upon receptor sites in the body, cannabinoids produce a variety of therapeutic and medically beneficial effects.
Resin production glands found on the cannabis plant that produce all cannabinoids including THC and CBD (85 currently known). These translucent mushrooms shaped glands release aromatic oils (terpenes) and cannabinoids.
Aromatic oils produced and secreted from trichomes that modulate the effects of cannabinoids. These oils are also responsible for the wide array of flavor profiles found in different strains of cannabis.
Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):
The most abundant cannabinoid found in recreational and medical cannabis plants. This cannabinoid is most well known for being responsible for the psychoactive effects or “high” that is obtained upon ingestion.
The second most prevalent cannabinoid found in recreational and medical cannabis plants. This specific cannabinoid has recently been brought into the spotlight due to its ability to treat a wide range of medical problems without any psychoactive effects or impairment. The most notable therapeutic compound that is currently being extensively researched is Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound similar to THC but without the psychoactive effects. By working in conjunction with the Endocannabinoid system, this compound has been shown to have numerous therapeutic qualities, and no adverse side effects. This shows great promise to using CBD as a well-tolerated and extremely safe aid to multiple ailments.
Concentrates (wax, oil, shatter, budder):
Made by extracting cannabinoids from the cannabis plant with a solvent (typically butane or CO2). These substances are an extremely potent concentration of cannabinoids. Typically much higher in THC percentage produced than in just flower alone. Concentrates have multiple uses, including but not limited to: vaporizing, dabbing, or as an addition to enhance the flavor and potency of flower.
Sativa vs Indica
The wide array of cannabis strains available today can seem very overwhelming. However, by categorizing them based on effect and genealogy, the ever-expanding list of strains becomes much more manageable. There are numerous factors that play into a strains final effect (how the plant is grown, structure and resin production, cannabinoid content, how it is consumed, etc) but three main categories are used throughout the marijuana industry; Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid.
Sativa plants grow tall and thin and originate from temperate climates close to the equator (Columbia, Thailand, Mexico). Typically, these strains have a higher percentage of THC, as opposed to Indica strains, which gives them their creative, thought provoking, cerebral quality. Little to no body high is brought about, making these ideal for daytime use. Helpful in combatting fatigue, depression, and intraocular pressure, these uplifting strains bring about an overall sense of well being.
A genetic cross between Sativa and Indica plants. These strains can have equal amounts of Sativa and Indica like qualities (50/50), or lean more toward the Sativa or Indica side. Sativa dominant hybrids are an excellent choice when looking for daytime pain relief. Typically, the body high is mild enough to dull pain but still leaves a high level of functionality, and the slightly prominent cerebral high keeps the mind active and alert. Indica dominant hybrids are a great selection for those who like the more mellow feeling highs, but don’t want the taxing and sometimes sedative body high that comes along with some Indica strains.
Indica plants grow shorter and bushy and originate from higher altitudes (Morocco, Nepal, Afghanistan). Yeilding a higher CBD percentage than its Sativa counterparts, Indica strains are typically recommended for those seeking relief from insomnia, anxiety, and a plethora of medical ailments. The high is felt much more in terms of relaxation and relief rather than any mental psychoactive effect, making these more suited for nighttime smoking.
Edibles are another way of consuming marijuana that eliminates the intake of carcinogens caused by smoking. Ingesting the active constituents of marijuana has a much more intense effect on the body, as it has to be digested and then processed by the liver. THC when ingested has a much longer absorption rate (taking up to two hours to take full effect) and lasting anywhere from 4-6 hours once in effect. This also means a higher concentration of cannabinoids is released into the bloodstream which is what gives these tasty treats their notably potent response. Many factors play in to how strongly the edible will feel, i.e. tolerance level, how much food is already in the stomach, what the product was infused with, how potent of a substance the product was infused with, etc. so the golden rule with this method of consumption is to always start small to find a level of potency that is comfortable for you. The current recommended dose for recreational consumers is 10mg and is enough to provide a noticeable high that is felt very much so in the body but not too overwhelming mentally.
The Endocannabinoid System:
The Endocannabinoid system is a physiologic system that carries about complex functions in the nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts and throughout the body’s organs and cells to maintain homeostasis. Receptor sites located on cells throughout the body’s tissues work to minimize negative external influences and promote an overall healthy internal environment. This system actively regulates pain and inflammatory responses by working at the cellular level to minimize the release of pain sensitizers as well as inflammatory substances. These receptor sites can be activated by phytocannabinoids (those found in the cannabis plant), or by endocannabinoids produced by the body. By modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system a number of therapeutic benefits are possible including relief from medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, neuropathic pain, stroke, epilepsy, myocardial infarction, hypertension, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, among numerous others.