If there’s one thing that I like best about the whole legal weed thing, it’s that I can actually choose the strain that I want – and am not simply getting whatever someone has on hand. This is lesson number one, for most people: there are different types of weed and they don’t have the same effects.
There are three types that people consume: sativa, indica, and hybrids. The latter, of course, is a mix of the first two.
Before I knew about the different types, I was often confused by other people discussing their ‘highs’. For me, weed had almost exclusively given me the stereotypical ‘lazy’ feeling with a heavy side dose of the munchies. Meanwhile, I had friends telling me how they liked to smoke a bit of weed and then clean their house from top to bottom. Like… what?! How on earth could anyone find that enjoyable when the sofa cushions were so soft and squishy?
The answer is in the type of weed consumed.
Sativas are, generally, a more ‘up’ high. Cheerful. Not necessarily a stimulant, but a much more focused or “cerebral” high. Some people would call them a daytime high – it’s usually not accompanied by the urge to curl up on the sofa with a bowl of cheesies.
Indicas are, generally, the evening/night high. A relaxing high in terms of both brain and body. Often used for chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety.
Interestingly, the plants don’t just have different effects – they also behave differently as they’re growing. Sativas are tall. Indicas are short and shrubby. Sativas take longer to bloom. Indicas are better grown indoors instead of outside.
Hybrids are a.. well, hybrids. A combination. The aim, of course, being to give someone the best of both worlds. They might be 60% sativa and 40% indica, or the reverse, or literally any other ratio.
Beyond the type of weed, there’s the actual strain – like any other plant, there are plenty from which to choose (like Tangerine Dream, Pink Kush, White Widow, etc..etc..etc..) Each will have a naturally different flavour and scent (thanks to terpenes – scroll down this page for a little chart with some basic flavour/scents. Each will have a slightly different effect. Each will have different levels of THC and CBD. Much like buying any other product, it’s nice to find one that you like and re-order as-needed. Consistency is a good thing!
Let’s talk about THC and CBD.
Your body naturally makes something called cannabinoids and it has receptors for them. Cannabinoids are chemicals – and, in addition to those made by your body, cannabinoids are found in weed. Most of the receptors are in your brain – so when the cannabinoids attach, you experience changes in your mood, perception of time, senses, coordination, etc.
The two cannabinoids most discussed, at least when it comes to weed, are CBD and THC.
CBD has been a big deal for a lot of people over the past few years – with people buying it in lotions, feeding it to their dogs, and otherwise finding creative uses for it. CBD is cannabidiol – it’s part of the weed that doesn’t get you high at all, but has the potential to relieve pain, help you sleep, decrease anxiety, etc. The research is still pretty new, but a lot of people swear by it. For some people, it’s the redeeming part of the devil’s lettuce.
THC is the part that gets you high. THC is tetrahydrocannabinol. It attaches to the brain receptors and makes you feel relaxed, a bit happy (or downright euphoric), etc. The more THC, the higher the high. Under 2.5% THC and you likely won’t feel anything. 15% THC is sort of the middle ground. Over 25% is considered strong.
Think of it like alcohol – the higher the percentage, the stronger it is. You can use a smaller quantity (generally) to get your desired effect.
Every strain of weed will have a specific amount of CBD and THC in it – low or high, depending. Some people specifically choose weed that’s low in THC but higher in CBD – they don’t want to feel ‘high’, but they want the pain relief, perhaps. Other people prefer something with more THC so they can experience the ‘high’.
So, you’re thinking you want to try some (presumably) legal weed. You need to decide on a combination of the following:
- Are you looking for something a bit energizing or relaxing or middle ground? (Sativa, Indica, or hybrid)
- Do you want to feel high or just have some potential benefits from CBD, or somewhere in the middle? (% THC and/or % CBD)
- What flavours are you interested in? (Strain)
And then you’ll need to decide how you want to consume it – which I’ll talk about in (probably) tomorrow’s instalment.
Also – please add corrections, more info, or ask questions… I tried to be accurate, thorough, but not overwhelming… but I was a little bit baked while writing this. (Ha!)