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Cannabis 101 – Common Cannabis Questions

Cannabis is a complex plant but it doesn’t need to be complicated or intimidating.

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We’ve answered the most common cannabis questions, so you can spend less time searching and more time enjoying the moment.

What are sativas and indicas?

They refer to the species of the cannabis plant. Sativas are generally thought to be more uplifting and energizing, while indicas are thought to be more relaxing and sedating.

While shopping by species seems simple, research has shown that it’s not actually the species that shapes your high. It’s the chemical structure of the plant, mainly cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes.

Popular sativa strains tend to have higher concentrations of THC (head high), while popular indica strains tend to have a more equal balance of THC (head high) and CBD (no head high, mainly therapeutic).

It’s not a hard rule, though. Some sativa can be just as balanced as indica, so it’s a good idea to learn how to read a label. It’s not as complicated as you may think. More on that below.

Does all cannabis get you high?

No. CBD-dominant strains with low or no THC will have little to no cerebral high. These strains are more known for their therapeutic benefits.

What’s THC?

THC is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced in the plant’s sticky flowers. THC is known for its cerebral effects, also commonly described as a head high.

The higher the THC concentration, the more you’ll feel its cerebral effects. 

What’s CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced in the plant’s sticky flowers.  CBD is known for its many therapeutic benefits like stress-relief, anti-inflammation, pain-relief and more.

What are cannabis terpenes?

Terpenes are fragrant oils found in nature – think extracts like lemon, lavender, or vanilla.

Cannabis terpenes are those found in cannabis plants. Not all are exclusive to cannabis. Pinene, for example, can be found in cannabis, pine trees, and other herbs.

Consider terpenes like aromatherapy. Their scents can be bright and floral, or musky and spicy. Every strain has different combinations of terpenes, giving them their distinctive aromas.

Just as a wine sommelier notes aromas, an experienced cannabis sommelier identifies terpenes.

Does everyone respond to cannabis in the same way?

Everyone has a unique biological makeup. The same is true for every cannabis strain. One person may respond one way to a certain strain, while another can have a totally different experience.

How do you read cannabis labels?

When choosing cannabis, look at the THC and CBD percentages. This will give you a better idea of what to expect than whether it’s sativa, indica, or hybrid.

Balanced strains have relatively equal parts THC and CBD. They tend to be a better choice for socializing or novices.

Here’s a simple breakdown of percentages:  

THC levels 

Low 0-10%
Mid 10-20%
High 20%+ 

CBD levels 

Low 0-10%
Mid 10-20%
High 20%+

The more you explore cannabis, the more intuitive choosing a strain will become.

What are the different ways to consume cannabis?

Flower

Good flower is rich in aroma. It may even feel sticky – this is just the resin containing THC, CBD, and terpenes.

Combusting flower is the most common consumption method in Canada. Joints and pipes are the most popular way to smoke flower.

The effects are generally felt within 5 minutes of consuming. 

Edibles

Many newcomers to cannabis choose to explore through edibles, which contain specific doses of THC and CBD. It’s a nice way to track your consumption to note its effects.

Edibles include gummies, chocolates, cookies, brownies, and beverages.

Edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in, so start low and slow. Wait before reaching for another half brownie – no matter how delicious it may be. 

Oils & Tinctures

Cannabis oils are growing in popularity, concentrates containing precise doses of THC and/or CBD are added to a carrier oil, like MCT oil. They can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) or added to food and drink.

Sublingually will give you stronger effects because it offers direct access to your blood stream.  Use a dropper to apply under your tongue, then gently rub it in with your finger. Wait a minute before swallowing. You’ll typically feel the effects within 30 minutes.

Capsules

Cannabis capsules are soft gel capsules that contain cannabis extract. They’re available in THC, CBD, and balanced varieties.

They can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in.

Topicals

Cannabis topicals include oils, salves, lotions, and balms absorbed through the skin.

They can contain both CBD and THC and tend to be used to treat pain and inflammation.

They can take 20-45 minutes for the relief to set in.

Concentrates

Concentrates are just that – cannabis in its most concentrated form.  Licensed producers extract the sticky resin in the flower that contains THC, CBD, and terpenes. It can be extracted manually or mechanically. Concentrates are highly potent, and their effects are felt nearly instantly.

Hash, shatter, wax and dabbable oils are examples of cannabis concentrates. We only recommend concentrates to experienced cannabis users.  Even still, we recommend starting low and slow.

How should I store my cannabis?

Dried cannabis is just like any other dried herb. Over time, it loses its freshness and potency. After a year, the THC content in cannabis drops by about 16%. This decline continues over time.

Cannabis is best consumed right away, ideally within a month. Properly stored cannabis can last between 6 months to a year.

We recommend buying cannabis in smaller amounts more frequently. This helps ensure a higher quality experience – and it lets us see our wonderful guests more often.

How to keep cannabis fresh:

  • Keep your cannabis in a sealable bag, like the one it comes in. 
  • Keep your cannabis in a cool, dry, dark place. Heat, moisture, and sunlight can damage the flower and affect the high. 
  • If there’s mould on the flower, that’s a sign of too much humidity. Throw it out. Mould can be dangerous.
  • If your cannabis flakes and crumbles when you touch it, that’s a sign that it’s stale. Consider a rehydrating stone.
  • Don’t store your cannabis in the fridge or freezer. the drop in temperature can affect the chemical profile and alter its potency.
  • Don’t use a cigar humidor. The oils from the cedarwood may absorb into your cannabis and change its terpene profile.  This rule is only for those concerned about preserving terpenes.
  • Don’t store your cannabis in plastic containers. This could lead to mould.
  • Don’t store your cannabis in clear glass.