Not sure how marijuana will affect you? Learn about all the factors that can influence your cannabis experience, and pick the type of product that’s right for you.
By now you probably know that not all weed is created equal. It comes in a wide variety of formats including traditional joints and blunts as well as concentrates, vapes and edibles.
Different strains and formulas can also produce very different side effects, depending on the type of hemp plant it is derived from, how the plant is cultivated and how the cannabinoids are extracted and produced. That’s why it’s important to decide what side effects you’re hoping for as you shop for cannabis-infused products.
First, know how pot works on the human body.
Every human and animal is born with an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which sends messages to different parts of the brain that regulate coordination, mood, attention span and reactions to feelings of pain or anxiety.
Research shows that receptors in the ECS respond to cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which are found abundantly in the hemp plant. When we consume appropriate levels of these cannabinoids, our ECS receptors are satisfied and more able to function optimally.
When it comes to choosing a marijuana product, it’s important to first decide how you want it to make you feel. Then, consider factors like your age, weight and experience level with marijuana. All of these factors can produce different effects.
Then, explore the different types and strains of cannabis.
Marijuana growers are very passionate about their industry, and they’ve created extremely popular strains like Sour Diesel, Wedding Cake and Purple Kush, to name just a few. Depending on several factors that we’ll explore later, these strains can all produce a range of side effects, from blissful drowsiness to hyperactivity that may be undesirable in the wrong setting or mindframe.
In general, when we talk about cannabis products that contain more indica, that refers to a strain of marijuana known to promote feelings of calmness and sedation. Many users take indica products when their desired outcome is better sleep. Conversely, products that contain a higher ratio of sativa are known to promote a more stimulating effect that some people crave for social interaction or creative work. These effects can manifest as anxiety or paranoia in some users.
Meanwhile, products that contain all or mostly CBD do not typically make the user feel “high,” but those that contain all or mostly THC do carry a range of mind-altering side effects.
Finally, know how to read marijuana product labels.
Cannabis labels contain a lot of helpful information, if you know how to read them. These labels can vary from state to state, depending on the local cannabis laws and regulations. However, the most important label information is fairly standardized.
As you browse the wide array of cannabis products on the market, look for these label attributes:
- CBD:THC Ratio
In general, the higher the CBD ratio on a product label, the more calming and relaxing it will be. Conversely, products that contain more THC than CBD typically produce stronger psychoactive side effects. Those looking for a less intense “high” often reach for products that contain a 1:1 or higher ratio of CBD to THC.
- Indica/Sativa Percentages
As previously discussed, indica strains are commonly thought to promote drowsiness, whereas sativa strains can be more stimulating. Hybrid products generally contain a more equal mix of these two strains. If you’re interested in more restful sleep, look for a product that contains 60% or more indica than sativa, and vice versa if you’re hoping for more stimulating effects.
- Terpene Content
Terpenes are the essential oils produced by the cannabis flower that primarily influence how a product tastes or smells, as well as some potential side effects. The presence of lime terpenes, for example, produces a citrusy fragrance/flavor that can also help mitigate some of the anxiety-inducing properties of THC. Keep in mind, however, that terpenes should not be your primary indicator of how a product will make you feel.
A note about pesticides: Some growers use pesticides to protect their plants from harmful insects, molds and mildews. Pesticides can be toxic in high amounts, so be sure to double check the label to know what you’re ingesting.
For more information on marijuana strains, dosage, and responsible use, visit our resource page.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.