Six things to know before deciding to consume cannabis:
HIGHLIGHTS- Cannabis affects everyone differently and may potentially have harmful effects.
- Many factors contribute to the effects cannabis may produce.
- Start with a small amount and consume slowly.
With hundreds of cannabis strains and products on the market, making an informed decision is essential, especially if you’re inexperienced or trying something new. There are six main things to know about cannabis that are very important to consider.
1. YOU Are The Most Important
Because everyone’s physiology and the endocannabinoid system are different, the effects of cannabis are highly individualized. Your experience will depend on many personal factors, such as your previous experience with cannabis, your age, gender, and your overall physical and mental health.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the cannabinoid most associated with the psychoactive and intoxicating effects of cannabis. Understanding THC potency can help gauge the level of any psychoactive sensation you may experience.
A product’s THC potency is expressed as a percentage. For instance, a product label that says 15% THC means that THC makes up 15% (or 150 milligrams per gram) of the total cannabis content.
Note that 20% THC content is considered “very strong,” and 33% is the highest potency level currently available. Many cannabis strains in Canada fall between 15% and 20% THC.
THC is a complex and vital element in shaping the experience you’ll have with cannabis. You can refer to our THC chart to understand the potency potential of products you’re considering.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another of the cannabis plant’s active cannabinoids. Consumed on its own, CBD generally has no intoxicating effect.
When present in a product with at least a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD (meaning that THC and CBD are present in equal or near-equal amounts), CBD may negate some of the psychoactive effects of THC. If you prefer a minimally psychoactive experience, choose CBD-only products or those with a high ratio of CBD to THC.
The definition of “high CBD concentration” in dried cannabis can vary from 4% to 9% and beyond. CBD concentrations vary in oil and capsule formats and by the manufacturer.
Terpenes are the chemical compounds found in the fragrant oils of many plants that influence their scents and flavors.
Cannabis strains typically have a dominant terpene and may contain several others. Some believe cannabis terpenes may also contribute to the effect of a strain beyond their influence on aroma and flavor. Still, there is no current scientific evidence linking terpenes to any health benefits or specific results. Terpenes may, however, affect your aromatic or taste experience with a cannabis strain.
How you choose to consume cannabis may affect your experience, mainly regarding the timing of the onset and the duration of the effect. Inhalation (smoking or vaping) and ingestion (eating or drinking) produce different effects because the cannabinoids enter your bloodstream.
Inhalation can produce an effect within seconds, so waiting at least five minutes before inhaling a second time will help control your experience. Be mindful of the potential effects inhalation can have on lung health.
The effects of ingesting cannabis will take longer to experience and may last longer than inhaling it. Be sure to wait about one hour to gauge the level of impact after consuming cannabis.
The amount of cannabis you consume may directly affect the experience you have. Even if you choose a lower-potency product, you are more likely to experience unpleasant, harmful or adverse effects if you over-consume. This is why it is advisable to start with a minimal amount and consume it slowly.