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Cannabis Overview

Cannabis FAQs

Cannabis is now legal in far more states than it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean its use and benefits are fully understood by most people. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

This is a difficult area. Theoretically, you could travel within a state where Cannabis is legal — say from San Francisco to L.A. You would need proof of your doctor recommendation, and the amount would need to be below the limits of both the county you’re leaving and the one you’re traveling to. But TSA officers are not legally qualified to verify a recommendation or a cannabis card, so if they find the cannabis they are required to call the local police to verify it.

Interstate travel is a bad idea for basically the same reasons. This is because the Federal Government still does not recognize legal marijuana. It’s a better idea, if you’re heading to a state where Cannabis is legal to simply buy and use what you need when there.

Most states where Cannabis is legal also allow patients to cultivate a certain number of plants for their own personal use. You can usually buy small female (flower producing) plants called “clones” at most dispensaries. Some of these dispensaries even offer cultivation classes.

The days of cannabis-infused edibles being either brownies or cookies are in the dark ages. Today, most dispensaries carry an assortment of infused edibles. These include ice cream, cereal, snacks, hummus, chips, candy, olive oil, gummies, and many other different items. Dispensaries usually also follow dietary restrictions in their offerings, such as gluten-free, organic fair-trade, vegan, and the like.

Cannabis-infused edibles are a great option for patients who don’t want to smoke their medical cannabis. Vaporizers heat up marijuana to a temperature that vaporizes the THC, but they don’t create the smoke. Topicals allow you to put cannabis-infused salve, lotion, balms, or oils directly on your skin, usually to address pain and inflammation. Most topicals don’t have the psychoactive effects associated with smoking or ingesting marijuana. You can also use transdermal patches on your skin. They provide even dosages and longer timeframes, usually from 8-10 hours of relief.

Many people use medical cannabis to improve their sleep. However, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some strains can make patients anxious, which would be the last thing you’d want if you’re not sleeping well. Do some research and talk to your doctor about possible side effects. Still, compared to prescription sleeping pills, no one has died from using cannabis to help with insomnia.

Friends and family or caregivers can obtain a legal permit known as a caregiver’s permit or caregiver’s card. This enables them to enter legal cannabis dispensaries to buy products for the bedridden person. Some states are experimenting with delivery services, as well.

Hash or hashish is the resin collected from the trichomes of the cannabis plant. This resin is brown and sticky, and it contains large quantities of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Like cannabis flower, hashish can be smoked or put into edibles.

Cannabis is the botanical term for the plant — genus cannabis. Marijuana is simply the common term, or slang, for cannabis. They are one in the same.

Cannabis comes in countless varietals and strains. These all fit into two marijuana families, indica and sativa. If the strains are mixed, this is called a hybrid.

Indicas are often used for treating physical illnesses and pain, and insomnia. Sativas have a more mental effect, where users feel awake or feel more energy. They also have an effect on the eye, and are used with eye conditions such as glaucoma. Still, there is a ton of variation to be researched for a new patient.

These are basically the categories strains fall under.

Indica strains originally developed in colder, more Northern latitudes and grow shorter, wider, and with fatter leaves - they are connected to relaxation, sleep, and more mellow acitivites. Indica - “in da couch.”

Sativa strains originated near the equator and the plants grow taller, slimmer, and with more narrow leaves - they are connected to energy, creativity, and making movies hilarious.

Hybrid is a cross between the two and can span the range of heavily sativa dominant to heavily indica dominant.

Just this year, the FDA approved a drug with an ingredient derived from the cannabis plant. The drug is called Epidiolex. It is a cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. This is the first time the FDA has approved such a product for any medicinal use. Surely, many more are to come.

THC and CBD are both phytocannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant but only THC provides psychoactive effects that get you high - CBD is used more for its calming and medicinal purposes. You will find a lot of THC products have CBD and that is to make it a more smooth high.

There are over 100 identified phytocannabinoids produced by the plant in addition to THC and CBD with THC (aka tetrahydrocannabinol) the most abundantly available cannabinoid in cannabis plants.

Cannabinoids are the active chemical compounds found in the Cannabis Plant. THC and CBD are the most widely known, but there are over 100 different types. Each strain of cannabis has various ratios of each cannabinoid and each cannabinoid has a different effect on the body. This is why you can have different results with different products based on the flowers that they use. Knowing the percentage of certain cannabinoids in your cannabis and/or cannabis-infused product can help you understand how the plant will affect your body.

Terpenes, often referred to as the essential oils of cannabis, are oils secreted by the cannabis plant. Each strain has a unique make up of terpenes and it’s these terpenes that create the aromas and taste profiles.
There are hundreds of different terpenes in cannabis but the most common are Myrcene, Pinene, Limonene, Caryophyllene, Linalool, Humulene. Terpenes are not unique to cannabis and you can find them in fruit, herbs, and other plants. Myrcene, for example, is found in highly fragrant plants such as mangoes, hops, bay leaves, thyme, basil and lemongrass.
The science is still fairly new on how terpenes contribute to the effects felt when consuming cannabis. Terpene content varies from strain to strain, grower to grower, and plant to plant.
To learn more about terpenes, check out this article on Leafly.