As a wave of legalized marijuana sweeps the United States, it has become a hot topic of discussion in our Facebook Group. Whether you’re a first time user looking to give weed a try, or a devotee who could use a refresher on the basics, we’re happy to help with some Cannabis FAQs:
Is Marijuana Legal Where I Live?
A handy graphic to see if and to what extent marijuana is legal in your home state:
Bear in mind that marijuana is still very much illegal on a federal level; carrying pot across state lines is ill-advised. Laws vary from state to state (and often county to county) and are widely misunderstood, in part because the whole movement is so new and the infrastructure that governs it is sometimes still clunky. Often laws are passed by referendum and don’t take into account whole systems that will need to adjust, so local governments need to work out some details. An example of this is that when medical marijuana first became legal in Colorado, it was legal to own marijuana but not to buy it!
What Is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a family of plants, and not all of these plants get you high. The two major categories within the family are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. The female versions of both these species are classified as marijuana and can be smoked, while the male version of the Cannabis Sativa plant is more commonly referred to as hemp. Hemp contains extremely low levels of THC and therefore isn’t generally smoked, but rather used for clothes, paper, chapstick, etc. Hemp seeds are consumed, like any other seed or nut, in recipes that call for sunflower seeds or pine nuts, and they won’t get you remotely high but do contain a lot of nutrients.
What Is THC?
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound in the marijuana plant that gets you “high.” It does this by activating the CB1 receptor in your brain. Here’s a helpful short explaining the science behind why we get high when we consume marijuana:
What Is The Difference Between CBD and THC?
Both CBD and THC are compounds found in the marijuana plant. The main difference between CBD and THC is that CBD doesn’t get you “high” despite what the barista trying to sell you a $9 CBD latte may say. CBD is particularly useful for patients who are looking for pain relief or to reduce nausea but don’t want to feel “stoned.”
Does CBD Really Counteract The Effects Of THC?
Sort of. If you drink a CBD latte and then smoke a joint, you’ll probably still get high. However, CBD does bind to the CB1 receptor in the brain and alter its shape, making it more difficult for the THC (the thing that’s actually getting you high) to bond to the receptor site. This means that adding some CBD to your smoking routine may help to keep you less anxious and reduce the potential for a rise in heart-rate while smoking. This handy graphic from Leafly illustrates the point:
Why Does Marijuana Make Me Anxious?
Consuming too much marijuana will make anyone anxious, which is why we recommend that new users start slow and experiment in a safe environment. Marijuana inhibits the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which amps up our stress levels, so for most users, getting high reduces stress and causes relaxation. However, a small percentage of users find that their systems experience a rebound effect when norepinephrine is inhibited and head into anxious overdrive.
Is Pot These Days Really Stronger Than It Used To Be?
Which Should I Smoke, Sativa or Indica?
That depends what you’re hoping to get out of your pot smoking experience. Here’s a general breakdown of what you can expect from both types of strains:
If you’re wanting advice about what to buy, and you live in an area where pot is legal, you might consider visiting a dispensary or rec shop. Budtenders (like the Apple bar genuises, but different) are typically super friendly and will be happy to talk to you about what strain or product will suit you best. Plus, you can usually smell the goods. Leafly also has a good search engine if you’re wanting to learn more about different strains.
***Tip your budtender (they’ve usually got a jar out) – you’ll get better recommendations and sometimes freebies this way. ***
What Are All The Different THC Products Available and What Do They Do?
- Edibles. Some people who are experimenting with marijuana for the first time are drawn to edibles because they’d like to avoid smoke inhalation. We caution against this as edibles are typically stronger and last much longer than a smoking high. Furthermore, the industry still hasn’t perfected dosing regulation when it comes to edibles. If you’re experimenting with them for the first time, we recommend starting at a low dose and waiting an hour or more before deciding whether or not you want to eat more. Edibles affect everyone differently; one person might be incapacitated after a 10 mg edible while others can eat 5 times that much and go about their day normally.
- Hash/Shatter– Hash is pure THC, that means one hit of hash is like taking several hits off a joint all at once. You can smoke hash as ‘dabs’ which will require a rather extensive setup – But if you’re a beginner we recommend taking the simpler route and crumbling a little up on top of a normal bowl of pot.
- Lube – THC lube is different from CBD lube (we love both). THC lube is designed for female pleasure; it doesn’t get you high but does increase sensitivity. You should apply it about 15 minutes before receiving oral sex for best results. CBD lube is considerably more subtle, but it’s available in every state.
- Lotion – Doesn’t get you high but can be extremely helpful if you’re suffering from arthritis, muscle pain, or migraines.
- Tincture – Tinctures were actually the primary way marijuana was consumed in the United States before it was banned in the 1930’s. Tinctures are alcoholic concentrates infused with marijuana that can be applied under the tongue with an eye dropper. They dissolve immediately into your bloodstream and are often recommended for patients treating chronic pain.
I Need To Pass A Drug Test For Work; Is It Safe For Me To Smoke A Few Days Ahead Of Time?
No. As a general rule of thumb, marijuana is detectable in your system for up to 30 days after use. Marijuana is stored in fat cells so if you have a higher BMI you’ll want to allow longer to cleanse your system.
What Supplies Do I Need To Smoke Pot?
People (especially teenage boys) like to get creative about the ways in which they smoke pot, but you can really do it with a pretty simple set up. Here are some tools you may want to get started:
A pipe is the most basic accessory in any stoner’s arsenal. They come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. If you’re looking for discretion you can click the link above to shop online, but nothing beats a trip to your local headshop.
Pot Is Legal Where I Live; What Do I Need To Bring To My Local Pot Shop?
You’ll need to be over the age of 21 and bring ID that says so. If you’re shopping at a medical shop you’ll need your medical card along with your ID.
Medical Marijuana Is Legal Where I Live; How Do I Get A Medical Marijuana Card?
In some cases, your internist or other specialists may prescribe marijuana, but most practitioners are still uncomfortable doing so since marijuana remains illegal on a national level. If this is the case, a quick google search will help you find a helpful physician who works with medical marijuana.
“Legitimate Reasons” to have a medical marijuana prescription vary from state to state, so it is worth doing a little research before heading to your appointment. You can find a state-by-state list of qualifying medical conditions here.