With the laws surrounding marijuana changing all around the world, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the cannabis industry. With this new industry has come a collection of new terms, and it has become obvious that there is some confusion surrounding a lot of cannabis-focused terminologies. Considering the variety of outcomes for cannabis use, we wanted to help you to better understand cannabis and all of its derivatives so that you can make informed decisions surrounding your cannabis use.
What Is Cannabis?
Many people make the assumption that cannabis is a term that means the same as marijuana and hemp. While it is easy to see where the confusion here comes from, the fact is that marijuana and hemp are, in fact, types of cannabis, but that doesn’t mean that these words are necessarily interchangeable. In a scientific sense, cannabis is the term used to describe a specific kind of plant species. Within cannabis, there are multiple kinds of plants, each with their own unique features and traits. Though hemp and marijuana are both kinds of cannabis, they are not the same because of their THC levels.
Cannabis plants can be bred differently for different outcomes. This is why in the world of marijuana, there are so many different strains. In the same way that we alter plants to make certain kinds of fruits and vegetables, growers can breed different types of cannabis to create different plants with different characteristics. This is where a lot of the confusion happens because people will base their opinion on cannabis as a whole on their singular experience with one type of plant. In reality, cannabis itself does not get you “high” in any way. However, some strains of cannabis can have this effect.
What Is Hemp?
Hemp is one variation of cannabis that falls outside of the scope of marijuana because of its low THC content. In the United States that number is 0.3% or less and 1% for the rest of the world. Hemp, in particular, is not designed or bred to have any psychedelic effects. Though you can smoke some versions of hemp for certain benefits, it is not going to get you high like traditional marijuana, although some people claim it makes them feel more relaxed. In most cases, hemp is grown specifically for use in the creation of industrial products. Hemp makes a strong and fibrous material that can be used to create clothing, bags, paper, and much more. It is a versatile plant that can also be used to create vitamins, and specifically, CBD.
Over the years, hemp has been confused with marijuana. A lot of people still believe that a hemp bag is made from marijuana plants when in reality there is a difference in the plant’s composition. This mistake is often made because, in most areas, hemp was banned alongside marijuana under blanket cannabis bans. There is nothing elicit about hemp, but governments around the world decided that it would be safer to reduce the risk of marijuana being grown by making hemp illegal as well. Even though this is comparable to banning all types of fish because sharks can be considered a threat, it is something that has only begun to change recently. Of course, now we know that marijuana and hemp are both great products that are not a threat in any way, but in order to understand what made it illegal, we need to view it from the perspective of lawmakers at the time.
By the way, smokables hemp, like hemp flowers, looks just like marijuana.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is yet another type of cannabis, and it is likely the most well-known kind. It is also the kind of cannabis that has caused the most confusion. This form of cannabis specifically is what you see people embrace to get high, which is made possible by its higher THC content. Like other cannabis plants, marijuana comes in many different forms. Depending on the strain of marijuana that you smoke or use in any other fashion, the experience that you have can vary greatly. Some strains of marijuana can help you to relax and overcome anxiety while other kinds might just make you feel a little silly.
The trait that separates marijuana from other kinds of cannabis is the psychotropic effects that are caused by the cannabinoids present in marijuana plants. In this case, THC. Other forms of cannabis do not provide an actual “high” because they either lack certain cannabinoids entirely or offer such low concentrations that there is no real impact on the individual. Many people believe that getting high is the only purpose of marijuana use, but in reality, it can be used for a wide range of reasons.
Also, like the image above, high THC marijuana is highly resonated with a large trichome content versus hemp. Trichomes are what are used to make concentrates.
Understanding Recreational Marijuana
Recreational marijuana is the kind of marijuana that is becoming freely available for adult users 21m and older in many states in the United States. This particular kind is sold in dispensaries following certain regulations, and it is available to anyone who is of the appropriate age. In most places, recreational marijuana has a lower dose of THC, the psychotropic compound responsible for inducing a high, than medical marijuana products. Recreational marijuana comes in various forms including flower, distillate, oil, powder, and edibles. There are different products that can offer different solutions. Some will help you to sleep better, while others will keep you energized through your workday. As a legal adult user, you can enjoy using recreational marijuana for a wide range of outcomes, even if it is just having a little fun after a long day.
Understanding Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana is marijuana and related products that have been specifically used therapeutically to alleviate or lesson the symptoms of approved medical conditions. These products are only available to those with a prescription from a doctor or approved card. Many areas require medical marijuana users to have a specific card that can be used to identify them. This allows them to access products in a medical capacity. In many cases, medical marijuana products are more potent than recreational products. Medical marijuana users are also generally allowed to legally hold larger amounts of marijuana since it is to treat a condition.
Getting approved for medical marijuana use is different depending on where you live. Some places require an actual application process, while others simply require a general recommendation from a doctor. In many cases, the products are sold and marketed differently because they are being used therapeutically rather than simply offer general outcomes or for social use. Medical marijuana users can use these products to assist with pain management, sleep, anxiety, nausea, seizures, PTSD, and more. These products are derived from cannabis strains that are grown specifically to offer relief from a wide range of conditions. Like recreational products, they can come in many different forms.
What Are the Common Types of Marijuana and CBD Products?
Marijuana products come in a wide range of different forms and the list is continuing to grow with each day. Over time, it seems likely that the people making these products will continue to find new and innovative ways to create products that will help people to embrace the many benefits of marijuana and hemp-based products. For now, there are a few more popular options that make it easy for people to suit their needs and preferences.
Flower is a traditional form of marijuana and hemp. This is the actual plant itself, which has been dried for use. In most instances, people will take the plant and smoke it. This can be done using a wide range of tools. Some people use pipes, while others prefer the use of bongs or vaporizers. Vaporizers that burn flower are a nice and controlled alternative to traditional smoking for some users.
Edibles are becoming more popular every day, particularly as new and exciting products join the market. Though most have heard about “pot brownies,” they aren’t necessarily a preferred option for everyone. Now, the edible market is vast and filled with products that can suit every preference. Edible gummies have been a popular vessel for THC and CBD over the years, but now you can enjoy even more. Companies make cookies, drinks, capsules, butter, and much more. One of the emerging new trends is a tasteless edible powder that can be added to any food or drink to allow for a more custom experience.
Hash and extracted oils make up concentrates. The term is often used interchangeably, but typically broken down this way:
Hashish is one of the most ancient and traditional forms of consuming cannabis. It is made by pressing the trichomes of the plant together and has been processed since antiquity. Hash can be made a variety of ways including hand rolling, pressed kief (powdered trichomes and small amounts of plant material from grinding or from sifting the plants material through a silk screen), and water/bubble hash. It typically has more plant matter than hash oils.
Hash oils are known for their use in vape pens and other popular devices. These products are available in a wide range of solutions. Depending on what you hope to accomplish with the oil, you can purchase different kinds for different outcomes. Vape pens have become exceptionally popular with younger audiences and allow the user to get their THC or CBD without forcing them to deal with smoke, making them more popular, particularly for those who live in apartments. Other popular forms of oil are
Oils are extracted via a variety of methods including hydrocarbon, CO2, and live pressed. It is literally the same processes used to make common tinctures and extracts used with every single extraction process mentioned above but for common herbs. It sounds complicated but these processes have been around for a long time. Common terms for hash oils based on processing type are shatter, diamonds, wax, live resin, and oil.
Tinctures are made with alcohol or glycerin and usually available in bottles with droppers. This method is very common with medical marijuana patients. There are literally thousands of CBD tinctures to choose from and is also a very common way to ingest other medicinal herbs,
Quality and Safety First
All concentrates can be used to make edibles. It is important to get hash from clean sources that is manufactured in cGMP facilities and tested for pesticides and microbials because they can be commonly found in hash in high concentrations since pesticides are also oil based. This means that the chemicals used in cannabis production that are oil based are also getting concentrated into cannabis. This is why it is very important to make sure you know and trust your cannabis concentrates' source.
Topicals are known for their focus primarily on pain management and healing. They often come in the form of a lotion, cream, gel, or spray. Unlike other marijuana or hemp products, they do not require you to ingest anything. Instead, you will apply them to the designated site to assist that area. These products are often used on sore muscles, arthritis sites, and other targetable areas.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are compounds that are found in cannabis products. They are what gives marijuana and hemp certain properties that can be used to influence the body as a whole. Though each plant has well over 60 different cannabinoids, each plant type has them in different concentrations. More research is being conducted regarding the actual impacts of all of these cannabinoids. Within the human body, we have endocannabinoid systems that receive cannabinoids using designated receptors and induce certain outcomes within the body. Right now there are several highly popularized cannabinoids with THC and CBD generating the most attention.
Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, popularly known simply as THC Delta-9 or just as THC, is the prominent psychoactive component within marijuana plants. This is the ingredient that is responsible for the familiar high that comes with concentrated marijuana use. It is known to yield many different outcomes and can offer relief for a wide range of conditions including nausea, headaches, anxiety, and more. Many people enjoy it in a purely recreational capacity.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is known for its newfound popularity in the public eye. Unlike THC, CBD will not yield any psychoactive responses. This allows users to embrace the relief that certain cannabis strains can bring without forcing them to contend with being high. In fact, CBD can help to balance the impacts of being high if a person takes more THC than they intended. CBD is being used medically around the world because of its unique ability to offer relief in a wide range of areas. CBD is still being researched, but many people are using it to improve physical and mental health. It offers relief from pain and nausea and is also being recommended for use with anxiety and depression. In fact, many companies are currently exploring new ways for CBD to work as a daily use vitamin.
CBG is cannabigerol and it is perhaps one of the more interesting cannabinoids. It is literally the precursor, or stem cell, of other cannabinoids including to THC, CBD, and CBC. When CBGA is heated, it becomes CBG, which then further breaks down into to the aforementioned cannabinoids and on its on is potentially beneficial for inflammatory bowel syndrome, bladder issues, glaucoma, bacterial infections, cancer, appetite loss, and many other health issues.
Cannabinol (CBN) is being touted for its ability to help in aiding sleep. It is also said to increase appetite, reduce pain, and even strengthen the immune system. THC becomes CBN as it ages which is probably what causes couch lock especially if the cannabis wasn’t properly cured. Even leaving cannabis in the light can degrade it and cause the cannabinoids to change.
CBN is nonpsychedelic and does not provide a euphoric high but does have a psychoactive effect in that it produces heavy sedative effect. If consuming CBN on its on, we recommend doing so prior to going to sleep and not prior to operating heavy machinery or driving.
THCA is actually THC Delta-9, the well-known psychoactive THC prior to being decarboxylated. Decarboxylating marijuana is heating up cannabis with the chemical reaction of the heat changing the cannabinoids to become psychoactive. THCA also converts to THC during the drying and curing process. The therapeutic properties of THCA include anti-inflammation, neuroprotection, and anti-nausea.
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol was up until recently a lesser known cannabinoid with similar effects to THC Delta 9 and has really promising therapeutic effects. The National Cancer Institute recognizes in their definition of THC Delta 8 that it is anxiety and nausea reducing, appetite stimulating and protects the brain. THC-8 is quickly gaining popularity because it promises the same “high” as Delta-9 THC but without the paranoia.
Purchasing Cannabis Products
Given the confusion surrounding cannabis, many people were shocked to see hemp products in their local grocery stores and convenience stores. CBD products are being sold publicly in most places, but it is important to note that these are not marijuana-based products. Marijuana products can only be purchased at designated stores that allow for their sale with appropriate licensing and for adults aged 21 and older. If you see a product at the local store, it is likely derived from hemp as opposed to marijuana. However, hemp is not the only way to get CBD. CBD is also present in marijuana, which is why many dispensaries carry it. The CBD products sold in dispensaries generally have a higher THC content. It is important to look at the ingredients of these products before deciding how to use them.
The Cannabis Consumers Coalition recommends that consumers not purchase CBD or other cannabis product from gas stations. There is very little oversight on the flurry of CBD products flooding the United State’s market. Look for products in grocery or drugstores, department stores, boutiques, and online.
Also, 50 mg of CBD is such a nominal amount that it is a waste of money. Strive to find products with 250 mg or more CBD. Also keep in mind that not all CBD products are manufactured the same. Some are made with CBD isolate and some with CBD distillate. The latter can contain insignificant amounts of THC that are untraceable at first but can build up in your system over time as THC is stored in fat cells.
Lastly, the above information paints a clear picture that the more different cannabinoids ingested at once the better for achieving therapeutic results and that focusing on certain cannabis like THC Delta-9 and THC Delta-8. This is called the “entourage effect” in which one cannabinoid or molecule acts like a key for another in opening up neural pathways
Some folks like the edge that THC Delta-9 gives them which if unmanaged with intentions set properly prior to consuming can make for an anxious effect. For example, if you go into it with fear, you will manifest fear. If you go into it with the expectation to giggle and eat food, be prepared. Other prefer the more readily available and less intense THC Delta-8.
Cannabis is still a very misunderstood plant, but we are really starting to learn just how much we can benefit from it. Whether it is used to create clothing, treat general discomforts, or simply to promote health and wellness, cannabis is a versatile type of plant that can serve us well. When purchasing cannabis products, it is important to consider their common use cases and any potential effects that might come with certain kinds of products. As a whole, cannabis can be as helpful as you want it to be. Don’t let misinformation cloud how you view this incredible gift from nature.
There are literally so many available ways in which consumers can explore the different cannabinoids and more to come and the health benefits alone warrant a try. For more information, please contact us at the Cannabis Consumers Coalition via our website and we are always happy to help.