We are as guilty as anyone else when it comes to publishing articles and blog posts that are almost exclusively for season stoners. But at the same time, we also recognise the fact that there are plenty of noobs out there just looking for a few pointers. After all, it’s not as if any of us are born with blunts in our mouths – we all have to start somewhere!
If you can cast your mind back far enough to when you yourself were a rookie, you probably had a butt-load of questions about cannabis. And not only did you have questions, but you probably found yourself too scared to ask them outright…all out of fear of being labelled a noob, which you clearly were!
So, as a dedicated public service provider of the highest order (you know we are!), what follows is an overview of 10 of the most common noob cannabis questions…exclusively for those who are still finding their feet:
What Does Being Stoned Feel Like?
First of all, it is pretty much impossible to accurately describe what it feels like to be stoned. The reason being that not only does every person react to cannabis at least slightly differently, but there are also thousands of different types of cannabis that have their own unique effects. Depending on the strain and individual, cannabis can make it almost impossible for you to stop talking, or difficult to get a single word out. It can make you laugh your ass off uncontrollably at everything around you, or feel completely subdued and ‘out of it’. It can combat stress, assist with insomnia and even offer strong pain-relief. It all depends on who you are, what kind of person you are and what kind of cannabis you use. There’s also a pretty strong chance you’ll end up with insatiable munchies – a bonus in the eyes of many seasoned stoners.
Why Is Cannabis Burned?
While it’s perfectly possible to get high by chomping down raw cannabis buds, it needs to be heated to release the compounds responsible for giving you that quintessential buzz. The scientific term for the process is decarboxylating, but what this basically means is heating cannabis to activate its core compounds. When you heat cannabis, the molecules in the plant that get you high are transformed into a different form that can be much more easily absorbed and handled by the human body. Which is also precisely why smoking cannabis provides a much more immediate high than consuming cannabis edibles. If cannabis is not heated prior to consumption, it is impossible to feel the full impact. That being said, it is still perfectly possible to benefit from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis by consuming it raw.
Is Smoking the Best Approach?
The answer to this particular question will always vary significantly in accordance with who you are asked. As far as some stoners are concerned, smoking cannabis represents the only acceptable method of consumption. They see it as the classic, the best and the only way to go – anything else being nothing short of an affront to tradition. On the other side of the spectrum, you will find those who believe in innovation, creativity and technology. They believe that we can and should be doing anything and everything within our power to find new and improved ways of getting the most from every hit of cannabis, using methods like dabbing and vaporising. And then there are those who favour cannabis edibles, cannabis pills, cannabis tinctures and so on. As for which is best…well, it’s simply a case of what works for you!
How Long Before the Effects of an Edible Start?
This can again vary significantly from one person to the next, but cannabis edibles will always take longer to kick in than when smoking or vaporising cannabis. The reason being that it takes much longer for your body to metabolise the edible, meaning that while you may still get a highly strong hit, it can take between 30 minutes and two hours for you to feel anything at all. When you do feel something however, it will be considerably stronger and longer-lasting than had you smoked the cannabis instead. You’ll probably peak at around the four-hour mark, with the effects continuing up to about six hours. One of the biggest and most common mistakes newcomers to cannabis edibles make is that of eating one, assuming it hasn’t worked, eating another and so on. A few hours later, they’re higher than they can handle and end up suffering the consequences.
Do Cannabis Strains Really Matter?
In a word, yes. One of the most fantastic things about being a cannabis user these days is the way in which genius geneticists from all over the world are coming up with truly incredible new strains all the time. Some focus on flavour, others are more concerned with strength and then there are those who are only interested in big yields. Every new strain that comes along has been bred for a specific reason and will have specific properties that make it unique to every other strain. Just as some are bred to produce as much THC as possible, others are engineered for the lowest THC levels and higher CBD. Some strains are bred to energise and invigorate, while others are designed to calm, relax and even aid sleep. Which is precisely why it is a very good idea to know exactly what you are buying and smoking, before diving into anything. If you hit the wrong strain, you might not be happy with the results.
What Are Sativa and Indica Strains?
The whole subject of cannabis strains and effects can be simplified at least a little bit by considering the two most popular marijuana species. These are Sativa and Indica – chances are that every strain you come across right now will be bred using the genetics of these two species, with a focus on one side or the other. Indica and Sativa strains have very different effects on the body and mind. For example, a good Sativa strain has the potential to be as invigorating and energising as an energy drink. It’s the kind of weed that can instantly perk you up, make you feel much more inspired and in many cases ease anxiety, stress and general unease. By contrast, Indica strains work more like tranquilizers. Rather than feeling uplifted, you will experience a stone that physically affects your body from top to bottom. Your muscles become relaxed, you find yourself sinking into the couch and you might also have the most incredible night’s sleep of your life!
Where Can I Buy Cannabis Legally?
As for picking up marijuana legally, the sad news is that the vast majority of people are still well and truly out of luck. To date, only four US states have given the green light to recreational cannabis, while 25 in total have relaxed the rules when it comes to medicinal marijuana. If you are planning on heading out as a tourist, anyone over the age of 21 is free to do so from authorised dispensaries in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. It is also perfectly legal to buy cannabis in a whole bunch of states if you have a medical marijuana card. There’s still a long way to go, but over the coming years it expected that several new states will also legalize recreational cannabis, including New York, Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, Nevada and California.
How Do I Get a Medical Marijuana Card?
In order to qualify for a medical marijuana card, you basically have to be signed off by an authorised doctor as a patient in need of cannabis. This will of course be determined in accordance with your health, along with where you live and whether you qualify. Contrary to the beliefs and scare-stories of cannabis critics, it is a system that is incredibly difficult to abuse and it’s largely impossible to get hold of a medical cannabis card unless you actually need one.
Is Recreational Cannabis Different from Medical?
In a word, yes – and a very big one at that. What separates the vast majority of medical marijuana strains from recreational strains is the difference in CBD to THC concentrations. If you are interested in cannabis just for the sake of getting high, it is the THC that gets the job done. By contrast, if you are interested in the compounds within cannabis that have proven medicinal properties, CBD is the way to go. CBD is known to have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and pain-reliving properties, though doesn’t get you high in the same way THC does. Which means that those who genuinely do not want to get high but simply want relief from whatever it is they are suffering from can do exactly that, if they choose specially-bred medicinal marijuana.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Last but not least, as far as the global scientific community is concerned, the answer to this particular question is no…cannabis is not fundamentally addictive. It is perfectly possible to develop something of a dependence or an excessive/compulsive weed smoking habit, but when compared to things like alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, cannabis really isn’t even in the same ballpark. Not only this, but it has also been proved time and time again that marijuana is not a gateway drug – the same not being said for alcohol and tobacco. It’s just another example of the kinds of scare-stories critics use to hold back legalization, despite the fact that scientists and doctors alike agree that doing so is wholly counterproductive.