As cannabis gains acceptance and provides proven benefits, more people are looking to better understand the ins and outs of this annual flowering plant. Cannabis plants contain at least 113 active ingredients or cannabinoids. The most commonly recognized are THC, CBD, and CBN.
What are the different parts of cannabis?
- THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the main active ingredient of cannabis and responsible for the majority of psychoactive effects.
- CBD or cannabidiol is non-psychoactive and often used medicinally for pain relief and the reduction of epileptic seizures.
- CBN or cannabinol is derived from THC yet less potent and offers therapeutic effects for those who are sensitive to THC.
There are two main types of cannabis: sativa and indica. There are also many options available as a hybrid of these two types.
- Sativa is the tall, narrow-leaf variety of cannabis plants. Sativa strains offer high THC levels and cerebral, invigorating, and energizing effects. It’s used for such benefits as appetite stimulation, mood enhancement and creative boost.
- Indica is the stout, broad-leaf variety of cannabis plants. Indica strains tend to be more relaxing and are thought to provide sedating effects. Due to higher ratios of CBD, it’s used for stress-relief and reducing body pain.
- Hybrids are crossbreeds of sativa and indica strains and fall somewhere in between the spectrum. They display characteristics inherited from both parent strains. Bred according to desired traits, hybrids are normally sativa or indica dominant.
Ways to Consume Cannabis
The cannabis flower can be smoked, vaporized, or extracted into a concentrated form. A solvent or solvent-less extraction method is used to produce concentrated forms of oil, hash, or wax and these options can then be smoked, vaporized, or infused into food and topical products.
- Edibles – Concentrated forms of cannabis have been infused into a wide variety of food products, with the active ingredients metabolized through the gastrointestinal system. Effects vary by the person and while delayed, last longer. It’s recommended to begin with a smaller dose.
- Smoking/Vaporizing – The ground-up flower of cannabis can be smoked by way of a pipe, water pipe, rolled joint, or a variety of other vessels. For use with a vaporizer, the marijuana is heated to a temperature lower than its combustion level yet high enough to activate the cannabinoids. Effects from smoking and vaporizing cannabis are immediate.
- Tinctures – Either glycerine-based or alcohol extracted, tinctures are taken orally and placed under the tongue or mixed with tea.
- Topicals – Used for anti-inflammatory benefits in treating arthritis, joint pain, and muscle pain, topical cannabis doesn’t induce psychoactive effects.