The New World of Weed: Cannabis, CBD & THC
Cannabis

The New World of Weed: Cannabis, CBD & THC

What the hell is CBD and why is everyone taking it? (plus THC)

La Haute Staff Writer | March 14, 2019

“They whom truth and wisdom lead, can gather honey from a weed.” — William Cowper

Until recently, buying weed meant calling up “a guy” and deciding how much you wanted to spend. If he (or she) was a pro, they might show up with several strains, each packaged in a ziplock bag and labeled with poetic but perplexing names like Blue Dream, White Widow, or Chocolate Diesel.

Now that it’s legal in California and other states, weed is no longer pot or marijuana—it’s cannabis. You don’t call a guy anymore, you go to a dispensary or you buy online at a reputable site, where your options range from cannabis to CBD-only capsules to THC-spiked edibles. (And you can still get Blue Dream, too.) Here’s what that means, and how to make sense of it all.

A cannabis plant naturally contains THC (which gets you high) and CBD (which doesn’t).

THC versus CBD

Cannabis is more than just a plant. It’s a group of naturally occurring compounds (cannabinoids) with lots of health benefits. Different cannabis plants contain different combinations of those compounds. CBD and THC are the two you need to know.

Fun fact: Our body makes endocannabinoids, which help regulate communication between neurons. When you use cannabis, it sends signals to cannabinoid receptors in your cells. In a nutshell, THC gets you high, and CBD helps you relax.

THC is a psychoactive compound that makes you feel stoned, and might make you eat Doritos as a pizza topping. It binds directly to cannabinoid receptors, so you feel its effects more strongly.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. It stimulates cannabinoid receptors but doesn’t bind to them, so it can reduce anxiety and inflammation without making your brain feel funny.

THC and CBD have systemic effects, meaning they interact with systems throughout the body. Their effects are still being studied, but both CBD and THC have been found to help:

reduce anxiety

aid in sleep

reduce inflammation

control pain

improve digestion

suppress muscle spasms

The most common strains of cannabis are indica and sativa—many varieties are a blend of both.

Types of Cannabis

Cannabis affects everyone differently, but there are three main categories to keep in mind when you’re shopping.

Indica can be a heavy hitter that puts you “in the couch.” Also known as nighttime high, it may cause cravings and a body-buzz, so keep the fridge stocked and the lights low.

Sativa is more mellow. Often referred to as a daytime or head high, it usually brings on more energetic, lighthearted feelings without making munchies your top priority.

Blends are a mix of sativa and indica. Think of them like wine. An indica-dominant blend would feel like a full-bodied chianti, while a sativa-dominant blend is the equivalent of a light champagne.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cannabis. That’s what makes it so special.

Getting Started

A few things to consider when you’re first getting into cannabis:

Is it legal in your state? Regulations can vary by county and even city, so do your research before you begin.

Do you want a CBD-only product (no high), a CBD/THC blend (a bit of a buzz), or a high-THC product (stone cold)? This article is a helpful starting point.

How do you want to consume cannabis? Capsules, smokables, vapes, edibles, and tinctures are all options. See this handy post for guidance.

How much do you want to take? We can’t say this enough: If you’re just getting started, go slow. Use this guide as a helpful reference for microdosing.

Where and how will you buy it? If you’re in California, check out our guide to deliveries and dispensaries.
Are you taking other medications? Check with your doctor and get the go-ahead before you include cannabis in your plan.

Ready to join the new world of weed?

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*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.