The legal cannabis industry is still in its infancy stage. There are still a lot of grey areas and confusion among veterans and beginners. Legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes has changed the industry dynamics. As a newbie, it’s easy to get lost in the confusion with all the hype about cannabis.
Today, the legal cannabis industry is worth over $50 billion in total sales. The industry is projected to grow fourfold in the next 2 years. That means more and more consumers – as well as suppliers – are getting into cannabis. Consequently, drastic shifts and changes are bound to happen. That is why you need a beginners guide to cannabis to help you navigate the industry.
What is Cannabis?
In most cases, cannabis, hemp and marijuana are used synonymously. However, there is a difference among the three. Cannabis refers to the broad category that includes both marijuana and hemp. Marijuana is a psychoactive plant and it is used for recreational and medicinal purposes. On the other hand, hemp is non-psychoactive because it contains low levels of THC (less than 0.03%) which is the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Therefore, hemp is rarely used for recreational purposes. Hemp is mostly used for textile or utility purposes, or as a supplement in medicine or recipes.
Benefits of Marijuana
For recreational purposes, marijuana is legal in 11 US states. Marijuana has a myriad of potential benefits to the body as well as the mind. Weed is known to heal, soothe emotions, relax your mind, and improve focus. Cannabis also helps in the balance of the body functions like sleep, eating, and respiration.
Cannabis contains two cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The two compounds work in tandem to bring healing to the body and mind. Cannabis is a stress-reliever, anti-depressant and can also aid in alleviation of migraines and nausea. Because of its ability to inhibit pain receptors, cannabis can be useful in the treatment of chronic pain and arthritis.
The ability of marijuana to improve your focus and concentration gives you immersive experience when enjoying a movie or video games. Cannabis also refreshes your brain and gives you a new perspective and broadened imagination. Weed can also help you cut out the use of alcohol, cigarettes and opiates. Therefore, you can use it as a substitute and enjoy the immense benefits of THC and CBD.
Strains of Cannabis
A strain refers to a sub-type of the cannabis plant. Cannabis strains are categorized into 3 broad categories as indica, sativa, and hybrid. The effect of each strain is different from the other and there might be more varieties or subtypes under each.
Sativa is known to stimulate the mind and improve concentration while also increasing energy and uplifting emotions. On the other hand, indica strains can be useful in relaxation and pain relief. They can also improve appetite and alleviate feelings of anxiety. A hybrid strain creates a balanced effect because it is a combination of the latter strains.
How to Use Marijuana
Smoking being the most common method of using cannabis has several options. You can roll weed into joints or smoke it through a pipe. Apart from that, you can also use cigar blunts to smoke marijuana. If you prefer vintage smoking, you can consider using a hookah.
Another, more modern method of using marijuana is vaping. The method is common because it shields you from the harmful effects of cannabis smoking. It involves heating marijuana to a point just below the point of combustion and inhaling the vapor. The devices used in vaping are also sleek and small, a factor that make it a darling to many. However, Center for Disease Control recently called for caution due to the infiltration of unregulated vaporizers into the market.
Cannabis edibles are also gaining popularity among individuals who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without using it directly. You can incorporate CBD or THC in your recipes. There are also authorized dispensaries that sell cookies, granolas, candies, and even drinks.
When it comes to medical marijuana, it is used in ointments and pills to treat conditions like arthritis and eczema. These methods often do not have psychoactive effects because they have low levels of THC. There are also sprays which can be applied to alleviate inflammation and swelling.
Where is Marijuana Legal?
Marijuana legalization differs from one state to another. In most US regions, medical use of marijuana is legal. However, recreational use of cannabis is currently only legal in 11 states. It is advisable to understand the laws that govern use, cultivation and possession of marijuana and its by-products within your region. You should also buy marijuana products from a licensed dealer because there are strict guidelines on potency of cannabis.
When travelling to a foreign country, you should also understand the laws of the land. Some countries prohibit possession of cannabis or its by-products. Violation of such regulations can lead to a jail term, hefty fines, or worse.
Psychoactive Effects of Marijuana
How high you get from using cannabis products is dependent on the composition of the product. Some consumables have no psychoactive effects because they have low (if any) THC levels. If you want to realize the benefits of marijuana without being high, you should use CBD products. CBD helps in relieving pain and easing anxiety without any psychoactive effects. If you want to feel high, you can go for THC products. The amount of the compound differs from one brand or product to another.
Side effects of Cannabis
We would be lying if we say that everything is positive about using marijuana. Of course, we know that even the food we eat has its side effects. It’s no different with marijuana. Over consumption of cannabis can affect your heart heartbeat. It can also lead to low blood pressure and bloodshot eyes. When marijuana is abused, it can lead to hallucination and impaired judgment.
Considering these side effects, it is advisable to go slow on your cannabis use as a beginner. You can try different cannabis strains and understand the one that gives enjoyment without the negative effects.
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