Full Flower: A Smoker’s Guide to Cannabis
Cannabis Wellness

Full Flower: A Smoker’s Guide to Cannabis

Haven't smoked since college? Us too, read below for help



La Haute Staff Writer | March 14, 2019

“A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.” James Russell Lowell

Flowers are the classic way to consume cannabis. Think of the Beatles blowing smoke rings on the lawn outside Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Indian ashram, or Bob Marley passing joints at his Jamaican compound. With legal cannabis, that experience is available to a lot more people, and it’s high time it got demystified.

Why smoke?

Smoking provides immediate effects, so you can assess how much you need as you go. While it has downsides, like making you cough, it’s more flavorful than consuming concentrates. You can also start and stop whenever you want to balance your high, and you can choose whether to roll flowers in of papers, purchase pre-rolled joints, or use a pipe.

Can’t roll a joint? Opt for pre-rolled, packaged joints instead.

How high?

Different people need different doses of cannabis, depending on their needs and tolerance. If you’re new to cannabis, it’s best to start small—you can gradually increase your dosage to adjust to your body’s needs. When shopping for flowers, consider whether you want indica (a body high), sativa (a head high) or a blend (balanced high). Flowers dry out, so you’ll want to use them within 4-6 weeks of purchase.

Different strains match different moods—from relaxed (Kush, ACDC) to energetic (Blue Dream, Green Crack).

What’s in a strain?

Different cannabis strains have different effects, and each creates its own mood and flavor. Strains can be high in CBD, THC, or a balance of both. Rule number one: don’t judge a strain by its name.

Kush is a relaxing indica-dominant strain descended from the Hindu Kush mountains, and the blends it’s birthed include Purple Kush, Bubba Kush, and Master Kush. Trippy names aside, if you’re looking for a high-CBD, low-THC strain, Llama Kush has almost no psychoactive effects.

ACDC sounds like a party drug, but it’s mostly medicinal. This sativa-dominant strain is so low in THC that it’s not intoxicating—but it is mellow, uplifting, and relaxing. Many people use it for pain, anxiety, and other physiological and psychological symptoms.

Green Crack (yes, this really is the name—branded by Snoop Dogg) isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s actually just a hybrid that can be either indica or sativa-dominant, and causes strong effects due to high THC levels.

Blue Dream is one of the most popular high-THC blends. A hybrid of pain-relieving indica and energy-boosting sativa, it’s like the berry-flavored ibuprofen of cannabis.

What’s with weights?

Flowers are sold by weight. You’ll generally find grams in the US, but sellers also use measurements including eighths, quarters, half-ounces and ounces. A joint weighs on average somewhere between .3 and .5 grams, so an eighth (3.5 grams) would yield 5-7 joints.

How to decode percentages?

In California, strains are tested by the state. Dispensaries include percentages of THC and CBD on all packaging for flowers, according to state standards. The amount of THC in cannabis can range from 1% (non-psychoactive) to 20%+ (highly mood-altering). For high-THC strains, you’ll want to start out with a lower percentage, and adjust as needed.

15-18%: If it’s your first time or it’s been a while since you tried cannabis, start with a strain that’s closer to 15% THC.

18-20%: Once you’ve dabbled, and you understand the effects of THC on your body, you could move up to this range.

20%+: If you’re a regular user, your body develops a tolerance, and you may prefer a higher range.

Smoking might not be something you do on the daily, but a once-in-a-while joint can bring relief, relaxation and fun.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

If you’re up for an old-school cannabis experience, flowers are a fun and simple way to get started. Just remember to listen to your body and find your sweet spot. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel it out.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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