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Crash Course: Cannabis 101

I may or may not be an educated pot-head... I mean SUPPORTER...

crash-course-cannabis-101

At first puff, cannabis or "marijuana", may seem intimidating, especially with all it's different names, "pot", "dope", "grass", "lettuce", "loud", "ganja", and "weed". But don't threat. Just take your time going through this article, and you'll know everything you need to know about weed to puff puff puff away!

First of All: Marijuana is A Plant

As you can see from the photo above, cannabis isn't a synthetic chemical or man-made substance, it is a plant that grows in moderately lit areas at temperatures between 65 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. (NIH)

Just like all plants, each marijuana plant may look different from one another because there are many different strains of weed, kind of like how there are many different versions of the common cold.

Each strain of marijuana has its special qualities and specific characteristics and many strains overlap in many ways, but the most important thing to know is that there are three major categories of the various strains of weed: sativa, indica, and hybrids.

Sativa

Sativa is what you want if you want to feel happy, upbeat, focused, motivated, energized, confident, social, outgoing, etc. Some would call the effects of sativa as a "head high". Sativa is great for a night in OR out with friends, a good substitute for Adderall (LOL) when studying (sometimes it actually can be super helpful with busy work though), and overall the perfect weed to just spark up a happy cheery vibe in the room.

Indica

Sativa and indica are the exact opposites of each other. Indica, AKA "in-da-couch", will literally leave you stuck "in the couch". Some would say indica gives a good "body high". And indica is great for calming the mind as well as the body, relaxing, de-stressing, reducing anxiety, relieving pain, etc. It's the weed you smoke when you want to "veg" out and just chill. A good indica can go as far as to put one to sleep!

Hybrids

As the name already explains, hybrids come from two different marijuana plant strains that are bred to make an offspring plant - the hybrid you then enjoy. Hybrids are the most abundant category of weed at this point because so many strains of weed have been combined that you can't always truly know which original strains your hybrid came from, or its ancestry in general.

I know this is a lot of information at once, but hang in there. There's just a little more that is important to know about hybrids.

Hybrids can be dominant with either sativa or indica, or a 50-50 combination. So in plain language, there are sativa-dominant strains of hybrids, indica-dominant strains of hybrids, and hybrids that come from two different sativa plants or two different indica plants.

Hybrids are great for when you want a mixture of the different effects of sativa and indica.

Trying the various strains of cannabis are what will help you find the perfect combination for your personal preferences. The same goes for regular sativa or indica too - you'll find what strain gives you the effects you like best, just keep smoking!

Pro-Tip: Leafly.com is a great source for researching the background information of strains, as well as the effects people commonly report feeling from strains.

Science Gets You High

Yes, you get high from weed. You can get very high from weed at times...

But why?

There are two important compounds in cannabis, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). For just the basics, all you need to know is that THC is the psychoactive component that gets you high. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound in weed, but it too is helpful for the body and mind, it just doesn't get you high. (Leafly)

Strains of weed have different percentages of THC and CBD in them based on their genetics. These percentages have an impact on how high you get, the effects of the high, and how you feel overall. You can actually see the THC on the buds of marijuana (they look like little sparkles/crystals). Those little crystals are what burn and you consume to get you high.

Pro-Tip: the less you touch the weed with your fingers, the better, because your fingers can pick up those little crystals (then you can't smoke them)!


The Brain

The human brain naturally has receptors that THC binds to. When it binds to these receptors, natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) are released in your brain as a result (kind of like a key opening a lock).

Only a short time after the release of these chemicals, you will get "high".

Consumption of Cannabis

*Gasp!*

Are you thinking of trying marijuana in some form? Well, here's your options of how you can get high:

Smoking/Inhalation

  1. Joint - looks kind of like a cigarette. It's just some paper rolled up into a cylinder with weed grinded up inside it. This tends to be the first method of consumption for first-time smokers.
  2. Blunts - think of a fat joint and add tobacco to the equation. That's basically a blunt. Instead of paper, you use a blunt wrap and stuff the weed in it. You can get blunts filled with tobacco at any old convenience store, then just open it up, dissect all the tobacco out, and replace it with weed. Then roll it and light up!
  3. Pipe/Bowl - same thing, just two different names for the same tool. These are pipes that have a bowl at the end and a carb. The bowl is where you put the weed, the carb is the hole on the side of the bowl, and the pipe is what the smoke goes through as you inhale. At first, taking a hit from a bowl may seem hard because you have to worry about the carb. It's not that bad, don't worry. Just take a deep breath before your hit, place your mouth on the mouth piece of the pipe, put your thumb over the carb (the hole), inhale like you're taking a breath of air (not like you're sucking milk out of a straw), let the carb go, finish inhaling the rest of the smoke inside the pipe (which will take like 1/3 of a second), breathe it deep into the bottom of your lungs, and pass the pipe!
  4. Vaping Oil - vaping THC oil is becoming more and more popular due to its discretion and convenience. Usually, you'll see fellow stoners with a "pen". It looks like a pen literally and attached to it is an oil cartridge. The oil in the cart is THC oil. All you gotta do is press the button, hold it, inhale, and let go of the button. These pens are rechargeable and easy to store. Just don't drop them on the pavement and then run them over with your car, it won't go well. (Don't ask me how I know).
  5. Dry Vaping - this is another form of vaping. Dry vaping is different in that it isn't a liquid you're using. You actually put the flower form of cannabis in a vape specifically used for herbs (not a little pen like for oil). The vape heats up the weed and the THC crystals evaporate. All you do is inhale from the vape to get that vapor and you'll get plenty high. There's no combustion, fire, or smoke involved so I find this to be one of the safest methods of consumption. I recommend using a PAX vape if you want to try dry vaping.
  6. Bongs - these are those big weirdly-shaped glass (or silicone) pieces with a long end that you fill with water. All you do is fill the little detachable bowl with flower, light it, put your mouth in an O shape and place your mouth just like that inside the mouth piece. Do NOT put your mouth over the hole, put it INSIDE the hole. Then SUCK. The bong will fill with smoke as the water inside the bong bubbles. As the smoke enters the bong, it is cooled by the water. Simply pull up the smoke until the bong is grey with the smoke, then pull out the detachable bowl, and suck the rest of the smoke up DEEP into your lungs. That, my friend, is a bong rip.
  7. Dabs - to do/take a dab, you need dab wax/hash oil. First of all, you MUST know... this method of use will knock you on your arse if you aren't a normal smoker. This stuff is concentrated and potent as hell. Doing dabs is a more complicated process to explain so check out this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVtBrVXvU5A&has_verified=1

Thank you Mattygrams for the information!

Eating Edibles

Edibles come in all shapes, sizes, and types of food. There are candies of all sorts: gummies, lollipops, nerds ropes, wonka chocolate bars, etc. There are pastries/baked goods like brownies and cookies. There are also cannabis lemonade-type drinks out there now!

Edibles come with some careful planning if you're not a seasoned stoner. Make sure you have NOTHING going on for the next few hours because you're most likely going to be incapacitated after taking some edibles. Make sure you take a small amount of the food item because small doses = big results. Here is a dosage chart for all types of stoners out there.

What You'll Need

Materials to start smoking away:

  1. Smoking device (bong, pipe, pen, etc.)
  2. A lighter (if the smoking device calls for fire)
  3. A grinder (if you're using flower)
  4. A toker poker (See image below) - these are great to help keep your weed organized in the bowl and ash out of the way! Also great to help get resin out of unwanted areas. Resin is the black sticky smelly goo that sticks to the bowl/bong after using it over time. Resin is disgusting, but it also can be smoked if you're brave. Resin gets you high because it has the leftover trichomes from all the weed you've been smoking!
  5. A scraper/dime - something small to scrape the weed inside the grinder so it's easier to pick up and pack. I use a dime to scrape and then scoop up the weed to place in the bowl.
  6. Rolling paper/blunt wrap (if you plan to smoke a joint or blunt). There's also rolling tools you can use to help roll joints and blunts.
  7. Ash tray!

You can buy most of this stuff on Amazon if you're trying to be discrete, but I recommend going to a local smoke shop so you can view everything in person and decide what you like best. Bowls and bongs come in different forms and sizes. Same with grinders! See what you like best.

crash-course-cannabis-101

Not Just Recreational

Marijuana is a fun drug to play with, but it's not just that!

Marijuana has medical uses on top of recreational uses. It has been found to help many health complications. All of us can use marijuana topically (on the skin) to relieve skin issues/rashes and muscle aches. Marijuana has also been proven scientifically to ease chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, migraines, epilepsy, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, and helps fight cancer cells. (AARP) It also helps regulate and prevent diabetes, treat IBS, ease arthritis, and aid in addiction treatment.

Fun fact: Marijuana can also help you lose weight!

(Although all the munchies might change that!)

So... What is it Like?

The feeling you get from being high isn't something you'll ever understand until you get there yourself. It feels amazing. You feel like you're floating in the clouds. Your head gets fuzzy and you feel a general sense of calm (or you'll be off the walls happy).

Here's some things you should know when/about getting high.

  1. The coughing will stop and you will survive it no matter how bad your throat hurts.
  2. Change the bong water every time you smoke... 3 days without a change and mold will start to grow.
  3. Rule of thumb. The more liquid - the easier to get high and the smoother it'll feel going down. That means bongs and vape pens are good tools to get there quicker and easier.
  4. Take a deep breath before you take a hit, it'll feel better on your lungs.
  5. You might not get high your first time. That's okay, that is normal. Next time should be better!
  6. Consume citrus products like orange juice to get a more potent high!
  7. Start with small doses. Ease yourself in because bad experiences come from smoking too much at once! And be able to say no when you're done.
  8. Get it from a source you trust. These days weed can be laced with other more dangerous drugs. Examples of drugs weed can be laced with include heroin, PCP, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine. If that's not your thing, better stay clear.
  9. Save the small leftovers, it's called keef and it gets you mega stoned. After you have a good amount stored up, lay it on the top of your bowl and get smoking!
  10. Always follow weed etiquette!
crash-course-cannabis-101

Weed Etiquette

I know it sounds fancy, but it's really just some basic common courtesy!

Here are some basic rules to being a polite stoner.

1. Always bring some weed to contribute. It's not cool to be the only one supplying and it's not cool to be the one bumming off everyone else all the time. Weed is expensive, pitch in!

2. Never ask someone to pay for weed you smoked together. It's the same idea as inviting someone over for dinner and expecting them to cook for you. The general rule is that if someone supplies the first time, the other person will supply the next time.

3. When smoking with people, for joints and blunts you take two hits before passing. For bowls, bongs, and other tools, you typically take one hit. I find that people just take as many hits as they want with pens however.

4. When smoking, you take a hit then pass it. Everyone takes a turn and it starts back at the first person once everyone gets it.

That's pretty much it for that. Nothing too complicated. Just enjoy the weed and you'll be fine.

Should Pot Be Legal?

I can't tell you what is right and wrong for a fact, but I can tell you my personal opinion.

My arguments for why weed should be legal are:

  1. It has medical purposes and really helps people.
  2. Why is it fair alcohol - which is more dangerous and kills thousands of people every year, is legal and not weed which is considered much safer?
  3. You deserve to find a way to relax and because it's relatively safe, this is a great way to do it.
  4. The only reason weed was made illegal to begin with was because of.... MONEY, POLITICS, and the stigma it had back in the "olden times". Why should that take away from something that actually helps people?
  5. Life is too short to miss out on some fun... so smoke smoke smoke away!

Convince Me I'm Wrong... I'm Waiting.

Lesson Objective Accomplished!

Well class.... that's it for today's lesson. Now you should know the basics of smoking weed!

Enjoy kids. ;)


References

NIH, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

AARP, https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2019/cannabis-for-medical-conditions.html

Leafly, https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/why-does-cannabis-make-you-feel-good

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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