Cannabis: The Basics
Are you new to cannabis? Many people in California have experienced a new (or renewed!) interest in cannabis this year. Here are some cannabis basics, whether you just need a refresher or want to learn the basics for the first time.
Cannabis Basics (the Wiki version)
Cannabis (/ˈkænəbɪs/) is a genus of flowering plant in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis; C. ruderalis may be included within C. sativa; or all three may be treated as subspecies of a single species, C. sativa. The genus is indigenous to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Cannabis has long been used for hemp fibre, for hemp oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug. Industrial hemp products are made from cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber. To satisfy the UN Narcotics Convention, some cannabis strains have been bred to produce minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent. Many plants have been selectively bred to produce a maximum of THC (cannabinoids), which is obtained by curing the flowers. Various compounds, including hashish and hash oil, are extracted from the plant.
Globally, in 2013, 60,400 kilograms of cannabis were produced legally. In 2014 there were an estimated 182.5 million cannabis users (3.8% of the population aged 15–64). This percentage has not changed significantly between 1998 and 2014.
California’s regulated market will track cannabis from “Seed to Sale”. What that means is each seed will be tracked with an unique identifier (think barcode). That identifier will travel with the seed as it matures to flowers and leaves. It will follow with those flowers and leaves (whether they are processed further or left raw) until they reach you! The consumer.
Words you will see in cannabis product descriptions
Sativa plants can grow upwards of 25 feet tall but most stay under 12 feet. Light green leaves that are long and thin, the stereotypical marijuana icon. The high from sativa strains are often described as uplifting and energetic. These are great for daytime use and a favorite for medicinal users because of the pain relief properties.
Indica plants are short, usually under six feet, and have fat deep green leaves. Indicas originate from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the surrounding areas. The high from a quality indica strain leaves you relaxed and social. The stronger varieties will numb your body and put you to sleep. Great for relaxation, stress relief, and couchlock.
Hybrid cannabis strains provide the best of both worlds. Expert breeders select the top sativa and indica strains and combine them into super strains that maintain the best aspects from both parents. Hybrids can be sativa or indica dominant and have the effects to match.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) refers to a psychotropic cannabinoid (dronabinol, trade name Marinol) and is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract.
CBD does not appear to have any intoxicating effects such as those caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana, but may have a downregulating impact on disordered thinking and anxiety.