With states legalizing #marijuana, #CBD going through the market like wildfire, and all the different options available, you may be wondering just what #Cannabis you should use.
Before you can really know what cannabis will be best for you, you need to know a little information about cannabis, how it works, what it is used for, and the different types of cannabis available to you.
What is Cannabis?
When you think of cannabis, you probably think of the infamous marijuana plant used by Cheech and Chong.
However, cannabis is much more than a stoner plant.
Cannabis is a plant. It is a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. There are three main species that fall under the cannabis family. These include:
- Cannabis Sativa: This is one of the most common marijuana strains. It has more THC than it does CBD. These strains give more of a “high” than “stoned” feeling meaning they offer more energy.
- Cannabis Indica:This species of the cannabis family produces large amounts of THC and lower amounts of CBD. These strains are the ones that have you “stoned” and sitting on the couch.
- Cannabis ruderalis: With more CBD and little THC, these plants are popular in the CBD oil world. This is the plant more commonly known as hemp.
Cannabis has been used for centuries in various ways not only in a psychoactive way.
As we learn more about cannabis and how it works, scientists have been able to make hybrids.
Hybrid cannabis plants are designed to get the best of both sativa and indica plants.
They offer a plethora of benefits including recreational and medicinal.
Why Use Cannabis?
Although cannabis is used recreationally, there are other reasons to use cannabis.
In fact, researchers have discovered a plethora of medicinal benefits cannabis can have in the body.
What we have found is that within each of our bodies is a complex system called the endocannabinoid system.
This system is responsible for keeping our body in homeostasis.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a collection of cell receptors and molecules.
The receptors are like locks on the surface of your cells.
The keys to unlock these locks and activate the cells are chemical molecules.
Each time a chemical molecule called an agonist binds to a cell it gives your cell specific directions.
The endocannabinoid system has two cell receptors called cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2).
The keys that unlock these receptors are called endocannabinoids.
Our bodies actually produce these endocannabinoids (endo means within) in our bodies. The two endocannabinoids are:
These endocannabinoids actually got their name from cannabis plants.
This is because we found cannabinoids in cannabis plants before we knew about our endocannabinoid system.
Scientist Raphael Mechoulam first discovered THC in the 1960s.
He wanted to know how it worked and if we had a similar compound in our own bodies.
After about 20 years, anandamide was found.
We discovered that THC most closely resembled anandamide and that endocannabinoids were the bodies natural THC.
So, after decades of research, we are now learning that cannabis is not just a drug to get you “high,” but it actually has medicinal benefits on the body.
Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis
Through research, we have also discovered that cannabis has over 100 different kinds of cannabinoids that interact either directly or indirectly with our endocannabinoid system.
The cannabinoids that we know the most about are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Some other cannabinoids found in cannabis plants include:
- Cannabigerolic (CBG)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
When cannabinoids from cannabis interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors, it can literally effect almost every part of our body.
Check out the benefits of cannabinoids on the receptors:
The CB1 receptors are found in different parts of our body including the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala, intestines, connective tissues, gonads, and other glands.
When you receive extra cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, they interact directly or indirectly with the receptors.
When cannabinoids interact with CB1 receptors, you can have the following effects in the body:
- Relieving depression
- Lowering blood pressure
- Decreasing intestinal problems
- Increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (vital to learning, working memory, and higher thinking).
- Lowering anxiety
- Reducing fear
CB2 receptors are found in different parts of the body than CB1 receptors.
They are found in our spleen, tonsils, thymus, immune cells, monocytes, macrophages, B and T cells, and the microglia.
When extra cannabinoids indirectly or directly interact with CB2 receptors, it can affect almost every type of human disease in your body including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Psychiatric diseases
- Autoimmune diseases
- Kidney function
- Bone and Skin Health
What Cannabis Should I Use?
Now that you know what cannabis is, how it works in the body, and the different types of cannabis you can choose, you can make a more informed decision on what cannabis to use.
Each kind of cannabis can offer you a different effect on your body. So, when choosing a cannabis, you should decide what effects you are trying to achieve.
When choosing a cannabis that is best for you, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want something that is psychoactive or non-psychoactive?
- Am I trying to reduce symptoms of pain, anxiety, depression, or other ailments?
- Is marijuana legal in my state?
- Will my other medications be affected by cannabis consumption?
- What does my doctor have to say about cannabis?
- Is this just something I want to do recreationally?
Answering these questions will help you to choose between the types of cannabis found below.
Keep in mind that cannabis is a type of medicine and should always be discussed with a doctor.
Types of Cannabis
There are so many variations of cannabis that you can choose from and it is hard to know which is best for you.
There are three main types of cannabis: recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and cannabidiol.
Out of these three types of cannabis, you will find various ways to take the cannabis from inhalation and edibles to tinctures and pills.
Not only are there different ways of consuming cannabis, but there are different strains that offer different effects.
Below, you will learn about the 3 types of cannabis, why each is used, how it works with your endocannabinoid system, and who should use it.
There are 10 states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
In states where marijuana is legal to consume recreationally, you do not need a prescription to get it.
You can find various strains and strengths of marijuana that can be used any time. In these states, marijuana is used in much the same way as alcohol.
So, if you are looking to relax, have a good time, or just zone out, you may be looking for recreational marijuana.
The states that have legalized this are:
For those who are looking to have a “high” that gives you energy, you will want to choose strains of marijuana that are made from Cannabis Sativa.
If you are looking to zone out or get a “stoned” feeling that may put you to sleep, you will want to choose strains of marijuana that are made from Cannabis Indica.
Alternately, you can also find hybrid that have a little bit of both kinds of strains in varying degrees.
Each hybrid will give you something a little different than the next.
For a full list of cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and hybrid options that you can ask about at your local dispensary, you can visit Leafly to explore different strains and what they do.
Medical marijuana is becoming widely popular, and 33 states have chosen to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.
This means you must have a prescription to use it.
Because marijuana studies are still in their infancy, and because marijuana has the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, there are only certain ailments that will qualify you for medical marijuana.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may want to look into getting medical marijuana:
- Cancer (Typically, it must be associated with severe pain, nausea, vomiting, or cachexia)
- HIV or AIDS
- Tourette Syndrome
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS)
- Seizures(includes epilepsy)
- Multiple Sclerosis(includes persistent muscle spasms)
- Crohn’s Disease(IBS also qualifies)
- Terminal Illness (must have 1 year or less to live)
- Intractable Pain(Severe or constant pain that is not curable)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is because of the THC closely resembles anandamide which is our “bliss” endocannabinoid.
However, in some people, THC actually makes things like anxiety and depression worse.
So, if this is the case, you should discuss this with your doctor.
Medical marijuana can be given in strains that are lower in THC and higher in CBD and vise versa depending on which ailment you have.
You can also find medical marijuana that has an equal ratio of THC and CBD that many people have found most effective and with minimal side effects.
This is called the entourage effect.
If you are considering medical cannabis, you will need to find a doctor near you. You can find a medical marijuana doctor using Leafly’s find a doctor tool.
Another option you can choose in regards to cannabis is cannabidiol also known as CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant.
Like THC, CBD works indirectly with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system to offer a plethora of benefits without getting “high.”
CBD closely resembles THC and anandamide. However, because it is not an exact fit, it works indirectly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors thus making the body produce more or less of its natural endocannabinoids depending what your body needs.
The great thing about CBD is that all, but 4 states have legalized the use of CBD. So, you can find it locally and online.
CBD is most typically used to reduce ailments without getting “high.” If you have the following ailments, you may want to choose CBD:
research to promise CBD will treat, cure, or help any of these ailments.
The dose you will need to take of CBD to get your desired effects will be different for each person and each ailment they are trying to alleviate.
In conclusion, knowing what cannabis you should use is ultimately going to be up to you and what you want it for. Cannabis is not for everyone, so it is always important to discuss the use of cannabis with your doctor.
What do you think about cannabis? Share your thoughts, concerns, or experiences in the comments below!
Author Bio: Zack is the founder and CEO of Nuvelio Naturals. A professional traveler, digital nomad and software engineer, he’s passionate about helping others through CBD awareness.
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