With the recent passing by the Senate of Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act, Canadians are very soon going to be able to consume recreational marijuana legally. Whether or not you’ve been partaking without the legal go-ahead, or just want to understand what it is, here is HYPR Magazine’s “Guide to Weed” to answer any questions you may have.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a drug that is derived from two major plants: sativa and indica. Sativas and idicas vary in the type of high they give and where the high is felt in the body. Cannabis sativa grows tall and narrow with lighter colored leaves, and medicine obtained from this plant contain lower cannabidiol (CBD) and higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. Sativa strains typically result in anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects, as well as an increase in creativity and focus. Sativas increase production of serotonin in the brain – a neurotransmitter – which helps regulate mood, sleep, appetite, learning, and memory in the central nervous system. The high from a sativa strain is focused in the cerebral region of the body. In contrast, cannabis indica grows short and wide with higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC. Indica strains are known for their mental and muscle relaxation, which results from an increase in production of dopamine, another neurotransmitter, which influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion. A high from an indica strain is focussed in the body.
From cannabis sativa and indica plants come the multitudinous strains of cannabis. According to Med Well Health, currently there are at least 779 strains of cannabis, and the number is only increasing. Why is there so many different strains of weed? Medically speaking, each strain can affect each patient differently and can target ailments differently. Recreationally speaking, each strain can produce a different kind of high.
What is in Marijuana?
According to Oakley Ray, PhD, there are over 400 chemicals in marijuana. Sixty-one of these chemicals are unique to only the cannabis plant, and these are referred to as cannabinoids. One of these cannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC. THC is the chemical that produces the mind-altering effects that is a fundamental part of the marijuana high. THC is also responsible for fighting nausea and vomiting that marijuana is often used to reduce. Cannabidiol and cannabinol are compounds also present in marijuana and have similar properties to THC, but do not produce the psychoactive effects.
What Are The Most Popular Strains of Weed?
Among the upwards of 779 strains of weed, there are some that stand out as most popular among users. Some of the fan favourites include Blue Dream, Green Crack, Girl Scout Cookies, and Strawberry Cough.
This hybrid strain is the most popular among major cannabis markets across the world. A sativa-dominant hybrid, this strain is known for its energetic, powerful high situated in the head. A cross between Blueberry Indica and Sativa Haze, resulting in a blueberry aroma and a blueberry flavour upon exhale. Blue dream has a moderately high level of THC and also gives users both the effects of indica and sativa strains. The effects of Blue Dream are long-lasting and euphoric. This strain is popular for users who are looking for relief from stress and anxiety. The high from Blue Dream has been described as having strong cerebral effects that creates a sharp focus, paired with a relaxing bodily sensation.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)
A cross between OG Kush and Durban Poison hybrid, this strain is popular for users who are looking for relief from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss. GSC can have upwards of 28% THC, having one of the highest potency of all marijuana strains. The aroma of GSC is described as sweet and earthy. A word of warning, when using it is important to know that a little goes a long way. After use, dry mouth is very common with this strain, as well as dry eyes.
This sativa has a tangy and fruity taste and results in a sharp energy increase and laser focus. Green Crack has diverged into two different strains: its sativa line which descended from Skunk #1, and its 75% indica line. This strain helps users avoid fatigue, stress, and depression, but is highly addictive with a THC potency reaching 24%. The high produced from smoking Green Crack is predominantly centered in the head and results in a burst of energy and focus. As far as side effects go, Green Crack tends to most frequently result in dry mouth.
This popular strain shockingly smells sweet and of strawberries. This sativa is good for managing anxiety, relieving stress, and fighting fatigue and pain. Side effects-wise, Strawberry Cough is common to result in dry mouth and dry eyes. Since Strawberry Cough is a sativa, it leaves users with a deep, radiating head high.
What Different Forms Does Marijuana Come In?
There are many more varieties of marijuana than just regular buds of weed, which is dried and unprocessed marijuana that is most often smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints. Weed gives off the distinctive aroma of marijuana when smoked. Hashish, or hash, is another form of marijuana that is developed from the resin of either a cannabis sativa or cannabis indica plant. Hashish is most often rolled with tobacco or smoked in a pipe or bong. Like weed, hashish also produces the potent scent of marijuana when smoked. Hashish can also be developed into an oil, which is the most potent form of marijuana and is smoked in a pipe or painted onto cigarettes and joints before smoking. The final method of using marijuana is consuming it orally through marijuana-laced food and drink – or edibles. Marijuana can be added to nearly anything, which can sometimes make it difficult or impossible to detect. Furthermore, the effects of edibles often take longer to manifest but edibles themselves tend to be quite potent.
When smoking marijuana, there are many alternatives to the hand-rolled joint. Weed, along with hashish and hashish oil, can also be smoked using pipes, bongs, and e-cigarettes.
So, Where Do You Get It?
Weed is easier to get in some Canadian cities than others. In Vancouver, for example, dispensaries are seen on nearly every street and the process to purchase weed is simple. However, in more conservative cities like Calgary, much of the weed distribution has been through private dealers and few dispensaries. If you decide to go the dispensary route – which will be much more common in Calgary in the near future – there are many websites, such as WeedMaps and Leafly, as well as a multitude of forums, where users can discuss where is best to buy weed in the city.
On the heels of the Senate’s vote to legalize recreational marijuana use, it is important to familiarize yourself with the drug and understand what it is and how it effects people. Despite marijuana’s typically bad reputation as a drug to be abused, it is about to become much more prevalent in the lives of Canadians. Having the knowledge provided in this guide can undoubtedly make the shift from illegal to legal seem less daunting, and make the drug itself appear as less of a danger to society.