How To Choose The Right Cannabis Products
December 10, 2019
Step into any cannabis shop and you’ll be presented with a plethora of different options. You’ll encounter different forms of concentrates, edibles, topicals, and a seemingly endless variety of different strains.
For newcomers to the world of cannabis, this diverse selection can be enough to leave you scratching your head. How do you choose the cannabis products which are right for you? What’s the difference, anyway?
Your choice of cannabis products is an important one. Different cannabis products offer different experiences. Sometimes the differences are subtle, sometimes they are profound. A bit of knowledge about how different cannabis products work can go a long way.
Let’s explore the most important factors in choosing cannabis products.
What to Look For When Choosing Cannabis Products
Before we even get into looking at the products themselves, you need to factor yourself into the equation.
Everyone has a unique physiology, which is a deciding factor in regards to how cannabis will affect them.
Some physiological factors are obvious, such as body weight. Smaller individuals should (generally) take smaller doses than larger individuals.
Other factors are essentially invisible. The same cannabis product can affect individuals differently. A strain which some find calming might spur anxiety in some, or a strain which some find stimulating might induce drowsiness and “couch lock” in others.
This is a complicated matter which can really only be solved through experience with different cannabis products. It’s important to monitor yourself and your reaction as you experiment with different cannabis products.
Outside of how cannabis will affect your body, it’s also important to keep your goals in mind.
There are a variety of different reasons to use cannabis. Some individuals use it to relax and unwind. Other people might use it to stimulate their sociability and keep a good conversation going. Or to induce creativity.
Keeping your goal in mind will go a long way towards helping you choose the right kind of cannabis. Remember that what works for one individual might not work for another — and both individuals may have dramatically different goals and expectations from their cannabis experience.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the products themselves.
Different breeds of cannabis plants are called strains. Each strain is defined by its unique appearance, odor, and effects.
While there are a wide variety of strains, there are two broad classifications: Sativa and Indica.
Though it is a generalization, Sativa strains are considered to be more stimulating and promote energy and focus, while Indica strains are considered to promote relaxation and calm the mind.
However, many strains are not a pure Sativa or Indica. You’ll encounter a lot of hybrid strains which combine Sativa and Indica genetics.
Cannabinoids are the main psychoactive ingredients in cannabis. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of different cannabinoids, but the two most important cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
Of these two, THC is the most important compound related to the “high” produced by cannabis. While psychoactive, CBD does not produce a “high.” In fact, when taken with THC, CBD can actually mitigate some of the effects of THC.
All cannabis products must have their THC content clearly listed. You’ll find strains ranging from less than 5% all the way up to 33% THC. This percentage expresses the amount of THC by weight. For example, a strain with 20% THC would have 200 milligrams of THC per gram of cannabis.
If you’re looking for a quick measurement of how strong a particular product is, the THC content is the quickest way to get some idea of how powerful the “high” from that product will be.
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for the aroma and taste of cannabis. Although terpenes may have their own psychoactive effects, these effects aren’t as well understood as the impact of cannabinoids.
The main function of terpenes is in the aroma and flavor they impart to your cannabis. For example, a terpene known as limonene is found in citrus plants such as lemons and limes and also appears in certain strains of cannabis, giving them a citrusy aroma.
Route of Ingestion
The manner in which you choose to consume your cannabis products will have a strong impact on the experience.
Smoking is the quickest way to induce the effects of cannabis (often setting in within just a few minutes.) However, it has a shorter duration and in some cases may seem less powerful than consuming edibles. The results of smoking can also be highly variable, depending on how effectively you manage to inhale the smoke and how well you absorb it.
Consuming an edible product is much more consistent. While it almost guarantees a complete absorption, eating or drinking your cannabis takes longer for the effects to present themselves (usually around 45 minutes to 1 hour,) and the effects are likely to have a much longer duration than with smoking.
We’ve already discussed the cannabinoid content, which affects the overall potency of your cannabis product. While this is important, the real thing to look for is the overall dose you are consuming.
The total amount of cannabis product you consume will have a very strong impact on your overall experience.
Look for a product with a potency that corresponds well to how much you like to consume. If you enjoy smoking or vaporizing as an activity, it might be a better idea to go for a low potency product which allows you to gradually work up to your desired dosage. But if you’re looking to smoke or eat as little as possible, go for a more potent product which can get you to your desired dosage with minimum consumption.
No matter what your goal with cannabis is, the best advice for inexperienced users is to start small.
Remember: you can always take more, but you can never take less!