Cannabis: Where to start?
What can you do with cannabis?
Let’s talk about some of the ways to consume cannabis. The most common ways are combustion, ingestion, topical application and vaporization.
Combustion refers to the process of igniting cannabis and inhaling the resulting smoke.
Ingestion refers to eating a food that has been infused with cannabis.
Topical application refers to balms or salves that contain cannabis and are applied to your skin.
Vaporization refers to heating a cannabis material just until the cannabinoids (of which THC is one) turn to vapour so that they’re available for inhaling.
What are the differences?
The easiest to compare are combustion and vaporization since both involve inhaling the result. When cannabis is burned all of the plant matter and any other chemicals (such as those that could be in rolling paper) are inhaled. The resulting smoke can cause irritation to the respiratory system. After combustion only ash is left behind. Effects can become noticeable right away or take up to 20 minutes depending on the individual and the strain.
When cannabis is heated to produce vapour none of the toxic byproducts of combustion are present. As a result there is less odor and reduced irritation to the lungs. Additionally, after vaporizing cannabis flower there is still material left that can be used again. Effects can become noticeable right away or take up to 20 minutes depending on the individual and the strain.
Edibles forgo the whole inhaling process and allow you to consume your cannabis through the digestive system. The traditional ‘special’ gummy bears and brownies are often what comes to mind, but in reality there are all sorts of recipes that can include cannabis. Professional chefs have even been getting in on the growing trend of gourmet cannabis foods. The biggest difference to be aware of is that the effects from edibles can take anywhere from 20 minutes to up to 2 hours to become noticeable and everyone reacts differently. Start with a low dose and increase it slowly.
Topicals are applied to the skin to help with localized pain relief of aches and pains. They can also be applied to damaged skin to aid in healing and pain relief. There is no high associated with using topical cannabis. Balms are easy to make at home with infused oil and beeswax.
What should you vaporize?
There are multiple forms of cannabis that can be vaporized. The choices are oil cartridges, extracts or dry herb.
Oil cartridges are made with a process that infuses Propylene Glycol with cannabis to create something referred to as ‘Vape Juice’. Vape juice may contain solvents and other chemicals to aid in vaporization n.
Extracts are high potency concentrated cannabis. They are made by gathering the most desirable parts from cannabis flowers, often using a solvent. Extracts are usually referred to by the texture of the final product, such as shatter, budder or crumble.
Dry herb refers to the cannabis flower buds. This is the most common form of cannabis. These are the flowers (buds) from the cannabis plant that have been dried and cured. Dry herb is also what is smoked in pipes and joints.
How do you choose?
The best way is to try a variety of options to see what you prefer.
Oil cartridges can be as easy as twist on and go if you have a trusted supplier with a reputable manufacturer. Otherwise cartridges can leak and vape juice could contain unknown chemicals.
Extracts are more potent e with robust flavours. Although costs may appear higher for extracts, you use a lot less of it than you do dry herb. The extracts themselves can be sticky, gooey and generally difficult to manipulate. There is a trend toward solventless extract processes because that would eliminate the risk of chemicals being left in the final product.
Dry herb is the most common form of cannabis. You can grind up the cannabis flowers for a large variety of smoking, vaping or eating options. Dry herb does have a distinctive odor and working with ground cannabis can sometimes be messy.
I personally prefer dry herb vaporizers. Cannabis flowers can be grown at home or picked up at your local store and the likelihood of additives is low. An added benefit is that the remaining herb is reusable for edibles and topicals.
Benefits of Homemade Edibles
There’s a few great benefits to making your own edibles at home, let’s explore.
Prepackaged edibles may be off limits for some people because of allergies or intolerances. Cross-contamination with nuts, eggs, peanuts or wheat can be disastrous for some people. By using your own ingredients you can be sure that the recipe is allergen-free and safe for you to eat.
Prepackaged edibles are more likely to contain high quantities of sugar and fat. For calorie conscious consumers this can be a minefield. By selecting recipes that respect your dietary needs you can enjoy cannabis edibles without the guilt.
One benefit of making edibles at home is that you can control the dose and potency. Tinctures and oils that are sold in Canada are required to have information about the concentration of cannabis in them. If you’re growing your own then try infusing your own oils with the 420Way.ca Waterton Lakes kit.
No matter what recipe you try, remember to start low and go slow. All people react to cannabis differently. It can take up to 2 hours for the effects to be noticeable.
Cann We Talk?
Talking to Your Kids about Cannabis
As of October 17th 2018, Cannabis became legal in Canada. Since legalization, both the government and public school system(s) across the country have grappled with educating children and teens. There is debate about the risks associated with cannabis use- as such, there has been a need for a comprehensive education on how the drug affects young adults. In Cann We Talk? we will cover important topics to parents surrounding the newly legalized substance. With shifting attitudes towards cannabis use, it is now more important than ever to open a dialogue with your children about the substance.
The first step as a parent is defining exactly what Cannabis is. Cannabis is a plant containing a variety of cannabinoids, including the active chemical ingredients THC and CBD in varying amounts. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC is responsible for the high that users experience when smoking, vaping, or ingesting marijuana. CBD (Cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in cannabis that does not produce the high that THC is well known for. CBD is hailed by many for its therapeutic benefits for sufferers of chronic pain, inflammation, depression, among other ailments. Although CBD in isolation is an effective treatment for many, pairing THC and CBD covers a much wider range of therapeutic needs in patients.
When talking to your children about cannabis, it is important to teach them how to identify the plant in in its various forms. It is also important to educate yourself on the semantics surrounding cannabis culture, and how to prepare your child for any new words they may encounter.
Cannabis isn’t the only name it goes by. Aside from more clinical sounding terms like cannabis and marijuana there are a slew of terms that your child may encounter. These terms include but are not limited to: pot, weed, bud, blunt, chronic, joint, loud, ganja, grass, hash, hashish, herb, flower, mj, mary jane, mary, reefer, skunk, smoke, trees, wax, kush, doja, purp, purple, primo, leaf, haze, sinsemilla, among others. It’s also not uncommon for teens and young adults to use the 🌲🌿🍃🌳🍁💨🔥🍍👌emojis to discreetly describe cannabis strains or smoking.
Cannabis plants typically have seven blades per leaf, and are characterized by either long and thin blades (Cannabis Sativa), or wide and broad blades(Cannabis Indica). Cannabis flowers are usually dried before being sold to smoke or vape. The appearance of dried cannabis is characterized by lumpy green masses– sometimes with orange, blue, or purple threads running through them. These dried buds come in a variety of consistencies; from dense and sticky, to dry and light. The tell-tale appearance of dried cannabis will be the presence of small crystals on the surface or inside of the bud called Trichomes. Trichomes are cannabinoid rich crystals, and contain the psychoactive component in cannabis.
Cannabis can also be processed to create hash. Hash is a dried marijuana resin that often is sold in a solid, crumbly form. It can have a pale light green or a dark rich brown colour. Hash is often mixed with tobacco when smoked, but can also be smoked alone.
Another process called extraction creates shatter, butter, wax, dabs, or honey oil. Shatter can appear as a translucent or cloudy glass-like substance or a oil with a honey-like consistency. Cannabis wax can appear similar to shatter, or take on a softer more spongy appearance. Both of these substances are similar to honey in colour, and it’s worth noting that both are many times more potent than smoking traditionally dried Cannabis. Shatter can be smoked or vaporized much like hash, but is often vaporized and inhaled in a process referred to as ‘dabbing’.
Cannabis is also sometimes distilled into an oil or tincture; it can then be vaped using popular ‘E-Cigarette’ vaporizers that are commonly available. Tinctures are similar to oils, but are primarily ingested orally or added to food/drink to achieve a high.
It goes without saying that anyone who’s tried Cannabis in the past instantly recognizes the smell from a kilometre away– but what about your kids? The most common comparison is the skunk smell. Most children know a skunk when the smell it, but Cannabis doesn’t always smell that strongly. In dried form, cannabis can actually take on a pleasant floral or fruity scent. Cannabis derivatives such as edibles and shatter can have an indistinguishable scent from the plant, or none at all. While scent is not always a clear indicator, it is important for children and teens to know about the various forms cannabis can take.
Not having a definitive name, scent or appearance makes it difficult to pin down just what your kid should be looking out for. It’s a good idea to emphasize that there are just as many forms of Cannabis that are not recognizable to the average person. Asking a parent for more information is always best practice when offered edibles or some other substance. Of course for kids/teens, the best answer will always be a firm “no” when offered any kind of substance. Most often drugs are shared in social settings, so it is important to speak to your child about navigating peer pressure and how to exercise good decision making.
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Welcome to 420Way!
Welcome to 420Way! We'd like to extend a warm welcome to you, our reader. We encourage feedback from all of our customers and readers, so if there is something you would like to see us cover, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Founded in 2018, 420Way began with a vision of creating a complete experience solution for cannabis consumers. They often have four primary needs for their cannabis experience to be able to fit into their lives.
They needed their kit to be:
420Way wanted to create a cannabis experience that didn’t require you to research and assemble a cannabis kit on your own. We think that everyone who uses cannabis should have a secure, hygienic and organized means to store and use their cannabis that fits into their lifestyle.
Our blog will also be covering topics surrounding legalization and cannabis education. You can look forward to reading about important topics like vaporizer maintenance, talking to your kids about cannabis, cannabis tourism, and more. We aim to be a community resource for Canadian Cannabis users and beyond. We look forward to sharing this journey with you, thanks for reading!