Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot, greens – whatever you want to call it, we all know what it is. While some people are still against the use of this (now mostly legalized) drug, most communities recognize the many benefits it offers.
Finding cannabis has become a lot easier in recent years – a simple online search for “cannabis dispensary near me” should bring up a few reputable options. But before you start using this popular plant, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what it is, how it works, and how you might (or might not) benefit from it.
What is Cannabis?
Most people associate the plant with getting high, but there’s a lot more to know about cannabis and its effects. The word “cannabis” actually refers to a group of three different plants with special properties. These are known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
When harvested and dried, you’re left with the drug that everyone is familiar with – popular for its calming and relaxing effects, as well as its medical uses. When people talk about marijuana, they’re usually referring to the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from these plants in their dried form, since this is how they’re typically used and further processed for consumption.
Compounds and Effects
Cannabis is made up of two main active compounds: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These two compounds differ in their makeup and the effects they have on our brains and bodies, which means they can be separated for different purposes.
THC is the compound that gives you that “high” feeling because it’s the part of the plant that has a psychoactive effect. THC is most typically used for recreation, but it’s also popular for calming effects and better sleep, as well as some other health benefits.
On the other hand, CBD is non-intoxicating and non-euphoric, which means it won’t get you high like THC does. This compound is mostly associated with inflammation and pain relief.
Different Forms of Consumption
There are many different ways to consume the marijuana plant. The most common method that you’re probably familiar with is smoking it, which can be done by crushing the dried plant and rolling it up (like tobacco) in a “joint” and smoking it. Cannabis can also be smoked through a bong, a vape, or other methods like a pipe.
However, many people don’t enjoy smoking, and especially those who need to consume cannabis for medical reasons might choose other methods. Cannabis can also be ingested. This means that you can eat it! You might have heard of “pot brownies” as one of the most popular forms of cannabis edibles, but since its legalization, both THC and CBD can be found in the form of gummies and other sweets, savory snacks like crackers or jerky, and even beverages like shots or seltzers.
Topical cannabis treatments exist too – for the treatment of localized pain or inflammation, and even skin problems. This could be a cream, lotion, balm, or oil that is applied to the skin, hair, and nails to achieve the desired effects.
The main reason for cannabis being legalized in so many areas over the past few years is due to its medical benefits. Marijuana has been used to treat epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety, and other health issues. It’s also been used as an appetite stimulant for struggling chemotherapy patients and those recovering from eating disorders.
Of course, those prescribed medical marijuana might have some concerns, but these can be addressed with the abundance of research that has been ongoing for the past decade, and by talking to health practitioners.
The whole reason for cannabis more recently becoming legalized and more socially accepted is its medical benefits. However, it has been more commonly associated with recreational use throughout history.
Many people find that consuming marijuana in whatever form they prefer can help them to feel relaxed and have a good time. Often, people prefer the plant’s effects over alcohol because it doesn’t leave them feeling out of control.
Where and How to Get It
While cannabis has become legalized in many states as well as some countries outside of the US, this doesn’t mean you can grab a bag in your local supermarket. In fact, there’s often quite a lengthy process involved in acquiring the substance.
Some regions require the possession of a medical marijuana card before purchasing cannabis. This is a card that can only be obtained through a medical evaluation and diagnosis, proving that you have a condition that might require the use of cannabis to help you manage your pain or other symptoms.
In other areas, it’s a much simpler process. For example, NYC BUD Long Island City, NY runs a delivery service, which is a good option for those unable to travel to buy cannabis. However, no matter where you are or why you need it, purchasing from reputable dispensaries is an important part of the journey. This matters for your own health concerns as well as legal considerations, so don’t skip the research!
Cannabis and Cancer Treatment
Many people associate medical marijuana with cancer patients – and here’s why. The answer lies less in the fact that cannabis prevents or cures cancer (since there have been no studies to prove this yet), and more in how it helps manage the symptoms.
Cancer patients frequently struggle with pain and inflammation, which we have already seen can be effectively managed with the use of marijuana. Additionally, chemotherapy is a treatment that often results in some unpleasant side effects like nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. To at least some extent, smoking marijuana can help reduce this chemo-induced nausea and keep a healthy weight on patients.
Considerations for Safe Use
Whether you want to use cannabis for its health benefits or simply for fun, it’s important to consider how to do so safely. Remember all the information you have learned from this article, and be sure to do further research as well, specific to your needs and queries.
Be sure to always partake in moderation and to consume reasonable amounts. Keep in mind as well that for some people, stimulants like cannabis can trigger symptoms like anxiety and depression and other negative effects.