10 Frequently Asked Questions by First time Cannabis Consumers
The world of cannabis has exploded into the mainstream with 10 adult use markets and over 30 medical marijuana markets in America alone. As cannabis emerges from prohibition, the entire cannabis industry is completely new to most consumers. With this, there are a handful of questions which come to the mind of nearly every cannabis consumer. We went ahead and put together a list of the ten most common questions we’ve experienced from working in the cannabis industry. Remember it is always best to ask something you do not know than to continue in your ignorance. With that in mind, if you have any other questions about cannabis, we encourage you to leave a comment below!
1. Cannabis versus Marijuana? Is there a preferred term between the two?
As you will notice if you read through our blog, we use the terms pretty interchangeable, which being politically correct is not necessarily preferred. In a general sense though, it should be noted that the term Marijuana does have racists roots. While cannabis is the official scientific name for the ganja plant. According to historians, the term was coined in California during the early days to discriminate against the Mexican population, which simply consumed more cannabis than Americans did during that time period. Thus, the term “marihuana” was adopted to describe the cannabis plant as it sounded more foreign, dangerous, and played into the racist messaging better. Today, it’s fairly common to hear a huge variety of cannabis names such as pot, grass, herb, or trees. The bottom line is Marijuana has become such a common use of the word today, it’s not racists at all to use it about cannabis in modern times. Nonetheless, when arguing or debating with a prohibition supporter, it’s always best to bring your best and with that in mind perhaps avoiding the marijuana term in that context would be wise. Otherwise, you should just know that the historical roots of the two words differ greatly.
2. Is there a difference between Medical cannabis and recreational cannabis?
In short, no. The two markets offer nearly identical products with the only difference being a regulatory one. We have discussed this topic in depth in our previous blog State by State Overview of Medical Marijuana Programs in Recreational Markets. In general, though cannabis consumers should rest assured their recreational cannabis is just as strong, potent, flavorful, and psychoactive as it’s medical counterparts. This is especially true when comparing the same strain from the same grower across a medical and recreational market. The real differences between these two markets will come from market demand where medical marijuana patients often are not looking to get high as much as they are looking to relieve their discomfort or increase their daily standard of living through the medical aspects of the plant. Generally speaking, recreational consumers, on the other hand, prefer cannabis which is the strongest as they are looking to use it as a form of relaxing. All and all though, there really is no difference between the two types of cannabis, medical or recreational.
3. What’s the difference between Indica and Sativa?
An interesting topic which is sure to come up at some point while you are in a dispensary selecting your cannabis products to purchase. The main difference between the two types of cannabis is their effect. Indica strains tend to be more of a body high and produce a lethargic feeling in users. Sativa, on the other hand, can help stimulate a consumer who smokes this product. The aroma or scent difference between the two species can exist but it is more of a general rule of thumb than an exact scientific guide to the different species. Often sativa plants will have a more fruity or floral aroma to them compared to their indica counterparts. The indica strains tend to have a more industrial, chemically, or earthy smell to them. A counterexample of both is easy to find with the heavy indica Grape Ape bringing fruity flavors and the buzzy sativa Sour Diesel offers a very industrial flavor for its uplighting high.
4. How do edibles differ from smoking cannabis?
A more important distinction than perhaps even the type of cannabis you consume, indica or sativa is the method of consumption you choose. There is a big difference between a cannabis product which is consumed as an edible compared to a cannabis product which is smoked. First, the edible form of cannabis will be processed by your digestive system, eventually hitting your liver where it is converted into a different psychoactive compound than you get from smoking the plant. Whereas the lungs simply process the smoke into the bloodstream, the liver actually creates a completely new THC-derivative which is 10 to 15 times more potent than the THC you get from smoking cannabis. This vast difference in potency can also be amplified by tolerances and other factors such as the food you ate before an edible. This potency difference is also the reason cannabis flower (to be smoked) is sold by the gram, whereas cannabis edibles are sold by the milligram. Finally, it’s important to remember that a cannabis edible can last significantly longer than a smoked high from cannabis. Make sure to plan ahead as some edibles can last 6, 8, or even 12 hours long!
5. What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor grown cannabis?
The two major types of cannabis, in terms of quality, can be described as outdoor grown plants versus indoor grown. The vast amount of care that goes into a garden indoors will mean greater time spent by growers per plant compared to the outdoor grow which can have thousands of plants in a more commercial farm atmosphere. In terms of concentrates and extracts though, there is very little difference between indoor and outdoor products. This does vary based upon the exact type of extract that is being made as there can be more plant matter in concentrates from outdoor cannabis compared to indoor. The exact amount of plant matter in a concentrate seems to be based upon the potency of the plant material that is extracted more so than if it is an indoor or outdoor grow. Yet, the basic premise that indoor cannabis is usually a higher potency than outdoor seems to hold true with the simple premise that indoor plants receive more care and maintenance time per plant than outdoor plants see.
6. Are out-of-state medical marijuana accepted when you’re visiting another state?
This particular question will come down to the differences in local law. For example, while out of state residents can get a medical card in the state of Colorado, the state does not allow out of state medical marijuana cards to be used at medical dispensaries. The opposite is true with Nevada where they readily accept out of state cards, perhaps due to the high levels of tourism the state sees. Furthermore, some states such as California have very liberal medical marijuana laws which allow patients to meet with a doctor over a webcam rather than going to see a medical professional in person. In summary, this particular question comes down to the specifics of each state with a medical marijuana program.
7. Is Marijuana Addictive?
The cannabis plant’s history has been plagued with reefer madness and other propaganda which has created a misleading impression of cannabis. The reality of cannabis addiction is that it can indeed be addicting but not so much in a physical form as much as a mental one. With this in mind, there have been reports of withdrawal which can adversely affect users who consume cannabis on a regular basis and stop consuming. These symptoms can include difficulty sleeping, a lack of appetite, and slight mood swings. The precise nature of this withdrawal will depend upon how often a consumer used cannabis and how quickly they cut the plant out of their lives. The National Health Institute does indeed say cannabis can be addictive with a condition known as marijuana use disorder. Bottom Line, if cannabis consumption is negatively affecting your life in any manner users should consider taking a break from the substance and remember that although non-lethal cannabis is a very powerful psychoactive substance.
8. Where can I smoke my legal cannabis?
One of the largest problems within the cannabis industry has been the inability of consumers to consume cannabis in a legal location. For example, the saying there is legal cannabis but nowhere legal to smoke it has been thrown around in legal states for some time. Most states restrict the use of cannabis in public locations and require the landlord’s permission while consuming on private property. Yet, for travelers and tourists this can be a challenge as many hotels do not allow for the consumption of cannabis and doing so can result
9. Will CBD get me high?
The CBD compound is non-psychoactive. This means it does not cause the “high” feeling in the same manner as its cousin, THC. Yet, CBD consumption should still be done so cautiously as it can affect users to a variety of degrees. For example, users should be cautious when starting to use CBD prior to operating a motor vehicle or doing anything extraneous. With that in mind, CBD does not get a user high as it is a non-psychoactive substance. We’ll even discuss next how CBD can help bring a user back from an over-consumption of cannabis.
10. What should I do if I get too high?
This is a topic no one wants to have to ask until it is too late. With that in mind, beginners to cannabis consumption should know there are ways to minimize the adverse effects of consuming too much cannabis. While this can be hard to do with flower, it has become fairly easy to over-consume cannabis with extracts and edibles. Especially with regards to edibles, which can take up to two hours to take effect and thus make it fairly easy to over-consume. Luckily, there is one known remedy to over-consumption of cannabis which is another form of cannabis ironically. CBD, the non-psychoactive component found in cannabis can help users calm down after they have over-consumed THC packed cannabis. The science behind this remedy is that THC attached to the endocannabinoid receptors. When CBD is consumed, it fills these receptors so that less THC enters the system. Another interesting solution comes from black pepper which is said to help relieve over-consumption of cannabis. All and all though, if you feel as if you are too high make sure to remain calm, take a seat, and try to have some water. Remember you cannot overdose with cannabis and it will eventually pass if you are indeed too high.