Cannabis 101: What is Cannabis?

Here at VapeXhale, we like to consider ourselves cannabis experts. We love cannabis, and we sell our product to people who love cannabis too. But with cannabis prohibition giving way to common sense across the country, a lot of people are expressing their curiosity about this incredible plant. As such, we wanted to get back to basics for everyone out there who was trying cannabis out for the first time or who is coming back after a long hiatus. We’ll have a lot to say on the subject in the near future, but today let’s answer the first question: What is cannabis?

Three species of plant provide what we commonly refer to as marijuana: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis, and over the course of generations, farmers have cultivated hundreds of different strains. These plants grow buds that contain chemical compounds that, when consumed, will affect our bodies and minds in ways that can be medically beneficial and quite enjoyable. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the primary compounds that produce the effects that marijuana connoisseurs seek. After consumption, these chemicals interact with cannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies, which can lead to “a general alteration of conscious perception, euphoria, feelings of well-being, relaxation or stress reduction, increased appreciation of the arts, including humor and music (especially discerning its various components/instruments), joviality, metacognition and introspection, enhanced recollection (episodic memory), increased sensuality, increased awareness of sensation, increased libido, and creativity. Abstract or philosophical thinking, disruption of linear memory and paranoia or anxiety are also typical.” (Effects of cannabis, Wikipedia) Unlike other recreational drugs, cannabis has no possibility of overdose, and does not carry the addictive potential of alcohol or tobacco. Cannabis affects everyone differently, and the wide range of strains have different effects and differing amounts of THC and CBD, allowing for users to pick and choose among both varietals and circumstances for the kind of experience they prefer.

Cannabis also has many medicinal uses, which has led to its legalization for medical purposes in 25 states. Written records have been found from nearly 5000 years ago describing the use of cannabis as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug, and it is current used to treat everything from arthritis to anxiety to seizures to the side effects of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the legal status of marijuana on the Federal level has stymied research in the US, although studies from China and Israel among others have offered hope that cannabis could help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or certain forms of cancer.

Cannabis is available in its natural state as a dried herb, or as an extract such as hash or hash oil, which have more concentrated doses of THC and CBD. They are most commonly smoked, but can be cooked into food by bonding the chemical compounds with fats such as butter or oil. In addition, though the use of a vaporizer, which allows the active ingredients to be turned into a gas without igniting the plant matter, allowing for a smokeless high.

We hope this has been a helpful introduction to cannabis. In the coming weeks, we hope to write about the experience of using cannabis, as well as dive into some more specific topics on the subject. With legalization on the ballot in five states next Tuesday, hopefully you’ll have an opportunity to try this miraculous plant for yourselves with a knowledgeable confidence.

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