Cannabis consumption can be scary or intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s dive into the history of cannabis and learn about where it came from, and how it became so relevant in society.
Cannabis has a long and colourful history. The use of cannabis originated in central Asia or western China. Cannabis has been used for its alleged healing properties for millennia.
People have been smoking and ingesting cannabis for thousands of years, from China to Greece to Egypt. Also known as marijuana, pot, and weed (among other names), this psychoactive plant has made quite a name for itself.
Legalized cannabis is sweeping through North America. Individual states began allowing recreational use of the drug in 2012, before Canada legalized it at the federal level in 2018. And the legalization of medical cannabis dates back further, when California lifted the ban in 1996.
Since then, cannabis has worked its way into the mainstream. From teenagers to grandmothers, nobody has been left out of what some would call a medical revolution, which has allowed people to safely access the medicine they need. Various news methods of consuming cannabis have arisen, along with new gadgets, strains, and storefronts that make the plant more accessible to all.
But what exactly is cannabis, and why is it so widely used? In this blog we’ll explain everything and more. Welcome to Cheeky’s Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis:
WHAT IS CANNABIS?
Cannabis is a group of three psychoactive plants that humans have been growing and using for a variety of applications for long, long time. These plants are grown around the world in various climates, and can take many forms. In its most popular format, the buds and leaves of the plant are dried, and you’re left with weed. Famously known to be green, the plant can range in colour from grayish to brownish colours.
This special plant is made of hundred of compounds. But the most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound responsible for making you feel ‘high’. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another popular compound, which has many medical uses, but without the psychoactive affect.
WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?
Cannabis has been sewn into Western culture since the 1960s. From music to movies to clothing, this plant has only grown in popularity. The appeal is easy to understand among youth, but there’s a lot more to it these days. ‘Getting high’ is just one piece of the puzzle, and in some cases, there is no getting high from cannabis.
People around the world use cannabis for a variety of reasons. But the drug has been shown to provide promising relief to certain medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Insomnia and Crohn’s disease, among many others. While the science still has progress to make in order to completely replace traditional pharmaceuticals, the FDA has already approved cannabis products for treating seizures, tuberous sclerosis and anorexia.
Cannabis is also quite effective at treating chronic pain. From cancer patients to construction workers, people are self medicating with cannabis to take the edge off. Various studies and institutions are even exploring the possibility of replacing pain pills with cannabis altogether. The best part? Cannabis is far safer than many of the alternatives. If you look at the side effects, addictiveness and long-term health consequences of sleeping pills, alcohol and painkillers, it’s easy to see why many are turning to cannabis instead.
There’s also the benefit of CBD products, which have grown rapidly in popularity. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning you won’t ‘get high’, regardless of how you consume it. The CBD compound is used to treat similar medical conditions like anxiety, PTSD, pain and addiction. CBD products such as bud and distillate (vaporizers) are available to consume via smoking. As well as edibles and beverages. If you are looking to consume cannabis without getting high, the budtenders at Cheeky’s can help you decide what will work best for your experience!
Of course, there are many people using cannabis not for pain or for medical conditions, but for fun. Weed tends to make everyday life a little more enjoyable. Everyday activities and hobbies like listening to music, cooking, watching movies, and household chores become more pleasurable. Especially as a newcomer to cannabis, you’ll want to avoid using the drug before work, driving or doing complex tasks, but it’s totally safe for down time.
TYPES OF CANNABIS
In 1785, French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck introduced the Indica/Sativa classification system. This system has been used ever since, and while it isn’t perfect, it generally works to organize the effects of each strain.
The two species of plant look slightly different and require their own growing conditions. The effects can vary, too. indica is classically known for more of a relaxing ‘body high’. Your thoughts tend to slow down after consuming indica, making it a great choice for before-bed activities, and anti-anxiety. On the other hand, sativa is known more for its uplifting effects. People like to choose sativa for daytime activities like cleaning, cooking, reading and writing. Recent findings say these two different plants, indica and sativa, are known to produce a group of different types of terpenes, which is where the entourage effects are known to come from.
To complicate things slightly, you can also purchase ‘hybrid’ strains, which combine the elements of both indica and sativa. Come on down to Cheeky’s and consult with our friendly and experienced team members. They’ll help you choose the strain best for you.
For a full breakdown, read our recent blog post, ‘Indica, Sativa or Hybrid: Which is Best for You?’
METHODS OF CONSUMING CANNABIS
There are many ways of consuming cannabis in 2023, but still the most well-known and most popular way is smoking. Popularized in movies, books and music, the weed ‘joint’ has certainly lent a hand to the fame of this plant. At your local dispensary, you can purchase packages of dried cannabis flower weighed in ounces. Then, you’ll need rolling papers and filters to roll up your flower. As a much easier alternative, you can purchase professionally pre-rolled joints – all you need is fire!
Aside from smoking, there are a number of other ways you can consume cannabis these days. Talk to the experts at Cheeky’s Cannabis to get an opinion and figure out what may be best for your needs. Here are some of the alternative methods of consuming:
When you vaporize cannabis, you don’t get the unhealthy contaminants released in smoke. You can buy pen-shaped devices that can be loaded with oil cartridges. These ‘vape pens’ produce less odor and portable, making them a great alternative to smoking.
Eating cannabis-infused cookies, gummies, chocolate, and drinking infused-beverages is a fun way to consume cannabis. But keep in mind you’ll have to wait a while to feel the affects. That’s because the cannabis has to be digested by your stomach first. Finally, be sure to pay attention to the labels and consult with your local budtender – the THC content can be deceiving in some of those small candies. There are also CBD edibles and beverages available, amongst other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, and CBC. There is even CBD-infused honey and tea (as pictured above)!
Making edibles at home is also a great way to experience the science behind edibles. Check out our recent blog Tips for Cooking with Cannabis.
Tinctures are drops of concentrated cannabis. This method is very simple – all you have to is release a drop right under your tongue. This option works great if you don’t want to smoke or eat anything.
- Creams and other topicals
Cannabis can be infused with various topicals, such as creams, sprays and lotions which can be used on hair and skin. Most topicals are non-psychoactive, so you won’t get high. Instead, most topicals are infused with CBD, which is well-known for pain relief.
Concentrates come in many formats and are best reserved for cannabis connoisseurs. As their name suggests, concentrates are very potent, and they typically require special gear to consume.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Depending on the type, format, and amount you consume, cannabis will produce a range of effects. If you’re consuming a straight CBD product, you won’t feel high at all. But if you’re consuming THC products, you’ll feel a buzz or a high.
The most common effects of smoking weed include reddened eyes, joy, and sensory enhancement. After some time, you might also feel sleepy and hungry. With friends and family, you’ll probably experience more laughter than normal.
Here are some of the other things to expect when consuming cannabis:
- Pain relief
- Nausea relief
- Increased creativity
- Increased appetite
- Ability to enjoy music more
- Dry mouth
- Sensory enhancement
- Reddened eyes
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased awareness and anxiety
- Heart rate changes
After smoking weed, the effects don’t normally last long. The ‘high’ feeling will peak within the first hour. 3-4 hours later, you’ll likely feel completely normal again – just maybe a little drowsy as if you’ve woken from a nap. If you smoke often and have a high tolerance, the effects may die off in even less time.
Edibles are a different story. The ‘high’ feeling won’t kick in for up to an hour, and it can last far longer. It’s possible to still feel high after 5-6 hours if you ingest a strong dose.
WHERE & WHEN TO CONSUME CANNABIS
Especially if you’re new to cannabis, the setting in which you consume it is important. It is extremely important to be in a safe space. In order to have the best experience possible, there are certain times, place and environments that will be more conducive to a good time.
To start, it will help to be in a familiar place with familiar people. While it can be fun surrounded by nature, you’ll probably want to stay closer to home if you’re new to cannabis. Staying home or at a close friend or family member’s home are great options.
You’ll want to make sure you don’t have a busy day ahead of you. Certainly, avoid consuming cannabis before work. But even a day off filled with tasks and commitments is not the best time. Instead, try an evening after work or a slow day off.
Finally, make sure you start slow. While taking too much cannabis isn’t dangerous, you might not have a nice time if you consume too much. Start with small doses and consult with experts at your local dispensary.
Cheeky’s Cannabis was founded with the mission to de-stigmatize cannabis, while providing a welcoming shopping experience. Come visit us at our Maple Ridge and Kitsilano locations – we’d be happy to chat. You can also browse our extensive cannabis menu online.
*Note: we cannot give out any form of medical advice.