A huge increase of information, greater accessibility, legalization and less stigma has opened doors to new cannabis users that are curious about its benefits.But, if you’re new to cannabis, it can be tricky to know where to begin. All the strains, product types, acronyms and lingo can be a little overwhelming.
How do you know what strain is right for you? How much do you take? What experience will you have? A quick breakdown of cannabis basics will make choosing the right product for you a little easier.
Cannabis is made up of a wide variety of 100+ cannabinoids and other “bio-active” compounds that exert their effects by engaging with our body’s very own endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is a network of receptors found throughout the body.
Cannabinoids interact with these receptors like keys in locks, as chemical messengers, stimulating them to exert regulatory effects over our bodily functions. Our ECS helps to modulate some basic physiological functions, including body temperature, hormone function, pleasure, pain, memory, sleep, mood and appetite . Essentially, the ECS works to help keep our cells in a state of homeostasis so the body functions in optimal balance.
Supplementing with cannabinoids?
Even though our bodies produce our own cannabinoids, there are instances where the body does not produce enough or cannot regulate them properly, making us more susceptible to imbalances or disease. This is where the cannabinoids in cannabis may help – as we see in the growing mass of research that shows the benefits of cannabis on our health. Of the cannabinoids in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the 2 most abundant and currently hold the most appeal for medicinal and recreational use.
Neither one is “better” than the other – each comes with its own benefits that are personal to the individual consuming them.
THC is best known for the euphoria people experience when taking it – in other words, it’s what makes you feel ‘high’. This is because THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that interacts directly with the cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1), that can primarily be found in the brain and the central nervous system. It has a long history of usage for recreation and healing, and has been shown to help with:
- stress and anxiety
- muscle tension
- low appetite
Some temporary side effects of THC can include:
- increased heart rate
- dry mouth
- red eyes
- slowed reaction times
- short term memory loss
THC potency has long defined the desirability of cannabis strains, but with a wider spectrum of benefits coming to light from cannabis consumption, other cannabinoids are rising in popularity, like CBD.
CBD is quickly gaining its own following with its own unique benefits – especially among those who aren’t into getting ‘high’. CBD doesn’t interact with the CB1 receptors like THC does and doesn’t have any intoxicating effects (it won’t make you feel ‘high’). Where THC works by mimicking our body’s own endocannabinoids, CBD increases the availability of endocannabinoids in the body. CBD concentrates and isolates are great for those looking to reap the benefits of cannabis, without the high, and the list of medicinal applications are becoming understood. CBD has been shown to benefit those suffering with:
- inflammatory bowel disease
While both components of cannabis offer their own, unique benefits, it’s worth noting that taking THC and CBD together offers a unique benefit – known as the “entourage effect”, where cannabinoids taken together can provide enhanced, synergistic benefits that also help to buffer potential negative effects. An example of this is when people take CBD to help dampen the psychoactive effects of THC if it feels like they took too much.
When it comes to cannabis edibles, THC and CBD can be infused in a variety of different ratios and dosages. This makes it easier for you to control exactly how much THC and CBD you’d like to consume. You just need to be careful, always read the label and ensure you know how much cannabis you’re consuming. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the safe way to consume cannabis edibles before diving in.
Not sure what to try? We’ve created a free product finder tool to help you find the best cannabis product for your needs.
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