It dawned on me today that if I'm (Lego Optimo) hosting San Diego's first legal recreational cannabis paired dinner, that I better give some basic facts to those attending this historic dining experience. So, here are some of the basics of cannabis that will make your experience even more meaningful and memorable.
Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Cannabinoids of which there are hundreds of them, are the chemical compounds that give the plant it's magical powers!
Here's what cannabinoids do:
- Cannabinoids react with our body’s own endocannibinoid system.
- Cannabinoids bind to either the CB1 or CB2 receptor in our brain.
- The two most well known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
- THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid.
- CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
- High CBD products are a great option for people who do not want to get ‘high’.
- CBD counteracts psycho-activity created by THC.
- THC and CBD work together synergistically to treat illness, this is called the ‘entourage’ effect.
Types of cannabis strains: Cannabis is a plant. Like any plant, it comes in different strains (varieties) and each strain has its own flavor/smell profile and effects. The three main groups are sativa, indica, and hybrid.
- Sativas are mentally stimulating and good for daytime use. Their euphoric effects make them useful for treating depression. In general, sativas maintain functionality while expanding self awareness. Many people use sativa strains to help them with creative endeavors.
- Indicas provide more of a “body high”. Patients suffering from insomnia, PTSD or cancer find relief with indica strains due to their tendency to stimulate appetite and provide serious relaxation along with opiate-like pain relief.
- Hybrids are a cross between an indica and a sativa. They have some characteristics of each plant.
- A useful way to remember the differences in medicinal effects between Sativa and Indica types of Cannabis are the phrases “Sunny Sativa” and “In the couch Indica”.
Outdoor Grown vs. Indoor
Marijuana is either grown outside under the sun or it is grown inside, often in a more industrial setting.
- Outdoor grow operations often work with organic practices and avoid the use of heavy, industrial chemicals.
- Indoor growers use artificial light and may use a variety of chemicals to keep the crop healthy.
- In either case, before you buy marijuana, the end product should be lab tested for chemicals and bacterial growth that may be hazardous to your health.
THC vs. CBD: The active ingredient in most cannabis is THC or tetrahydracannabinol.
- THC is in a family of compounds known as cannabinoids, which are closely related to pain relieving molecules in our own bodies. This relationship is what makes THC an effective medicine because it mimics what your body already does to help itself with various symptoms. THC is a clinically proven sleep aid and pain killer and can reduce vomiting and nausea, suppress muscle spasms, and stimulate appetite. It also releases dopamine in the brain resulting in euphoria for the user. This side effect is what makes the user feel “high”.
- CBD, or cannabidiol, is another cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD is nonpsychoactive (it won’t make you feel “high”). Like THC, CBD works with systems your body already has in place to provide relief for various symptoms. However, CBD’s effects are more wide ranging. It has been known to help with pain relief, killing or slowing bacterial growth, reducing blood sugar levels, reducing vomiting/nausea, reducing seizures/convulsions, reducing inflammation, reducing risk of arterial blockage, inhibiting cancer/tumor cell growth, treating psoriasis, managing psychosis, suppressing muscle spasms, reducing anxiety, promoting bone growth, modulating immune fluctuations, reducing intestinal contractions, and protecting nervous system degeneration.
Note: Reactions to Cannabis Differ
Every person is unique when it comes to marijuana and how you react may be different to your friend.
- Reactions differ to not only the main cannabinoids, but to different products as well as dosages.
- Before you begin, know if you are comfortable with the feeling of getting ‘high’.
- Start small! If you smoke, take a half second puff and wait ten minutes to see how your body reacts.
- If you buy a product, such as an edible, read the label carefully and take a quarter, to half the recommended dose the first time.
- Always wait to see how your body reacts before ingesting more marijuana.
- Different products take longer to take effect, be patient!
- Micro dosing is important - start small and work your way up to the recommended dosage.
Smoking is NOT required! Ways to consume cannabis have come a long way, baby and there are a wide array of products. You don’t have to smoke your medicine anymore!
- Flowers, or strains, refer to the unprocessed green marijuana flower you can buy at the dispensary.
- Pre rolls are joints made from different strains.
- Edibles encompass all foods and technically drinks that can be taken orally.
- Concentrates are cartridges for vape pens, resins, oils, waxes, hash and rosin.
- Capsules are pills that can be taken; these are often high in CBD.
- Vape pens allow you to ingest marijuana from an oil cartridge with a discreet pen.
- Elixirs or tinctures are often taken directly under the tongue and can be very mild to intense.
- Sublingual sprays are sprayed under the tongue and as with elixirs, take effect quite quickly.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge, go ahead and buy your tickets to San Diego's first legal recreational cannabis paired dining experience. And come experience the new world of legal cannabis!