You’ve finally decided to try cannabis. But you may be confused as to what you need to know before you make your first purchase. This isn’t uncommon for new cannabis consumers seeking to try marijuana to improve their health and wellness.
This is a quick guide that will help put you on the path to finding the right medicinal marijuana for you. **Note that you can also get the beneficial effects of CBD derived from hemp, which has no THC and does not produce a "high" effect. Learn more about hemp-based products here.
Know Which Symptoms or Condition You Want to Treat
If you have a serious medical condition which medical marijuana may help, always consult with a doctor first. Meanwhile, a knowledgeable cannabis consultant should be able to advise you on which products will help with specific symptoms.
Different cannabis strains help with different symptoms.
Sativa is commonly known to be uplifting.
Indica is commonly known to be more of a sedative.
Seek the advice of a reputable cannabis consultant, or budtender—the patient advisor at a dispensary or shop.
A reputable dispensary or shop should have in-depth knowledge on all of its products.
The Importance of Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are what makes the cannabis plant so unique. There are over 100 known cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids react with our body’s own endocannabinoid system.
Cannabinoids bind to either the CB1 or CB2 receptor in our brain.
The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
High-CBD products are a great option for people who don’t want to get high.
CBD counteracts the psychoactivity of THC.
THC and CBD—along with a number of other cannabinoids and terpenes—work together synergistically to treat illness. This is called the entourage effect.
The Percentage or Ratio of CBD to THC
It’s important to consider the ratio of CBD to THC as they influence the plant’s effects on your body.
Marijuana flower will list the ratio of THC to CBD by percentage.
A large majority of marijuana flower (bud) is very high in THC, the psychoactive component.
If you’re seeking a non-psychoactive flower, ask for a high-CBD strain.
Products other than marijuana bud most often list the ratio of CBD to THC and will be in milligrams.
If shown in a ratio, CBD comes first, followed by THC in California. For example, a 1:1 ratio is most often somewhat psychoactive, and an 18:1 ratio would not be psychoactive at all.
Meanwhile, THC precedes CBD in New York formulations.
Always read the instructions on packaged products, and know what you’re purchasing. Make sure the products you buy are lab tested; this is important for your safety and health.
Although products may be labeled, the information may be inaccurate depending on the product manufacturer.