If you’re new to the world of cannabis, this perfectly curated Cannabis 101 guide will give you all the information you need to help you choose the right product, dosage, and usage method for you.
What makes cannabis effective?
Understanding how cannabis affects your body is the first step in becoming comfortable using cannabis products. The cannabis plant contains dozens of active compounds called cannabinoids which interact with your bodies in different ways to give you the feelings you love.
The cannabinoids are delivered to the body via several routes depending on your method of use. Many of these cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system via the two main types of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is expressed mainly in the brain and central nervous system, as well as the lungs, liver, and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is primarily expressed in the immune system, hematopoietic cells, and throughout the gut.
Indica vs. Sativa Classification
We couldn’t create a Cannabis 101 guide without exploring indicas and sativas. These are two of the three recognized subspecies of cannabis. The third, and less commonly known, is called ruderalis.
In terms of effect, indicas are generally going to be more sedative and body-centric, whereas sativas are generally going to be more cerebral and energetic. This doesn't hold true in all cases and depends heavily on the specific amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant.
What are Cannabinoids, Terpenes and Flavonoids?
There are 200 or more bioactive compounds that have been discovered in the cannabis plant. Each strain has a variety of these compounds, which include cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that activate the cannabinoid receptors found throughout our bodies. The majority of cannabinoids are located in the flowers of the female plant and are concentrated in its trichomes. There are at least 85 different cannabinoids identified and isolated from various cannabis strains. Each has a unique influence on the body's endocannabinoid system. Some of the more common cannabinoids include ∆-9-THC, CBD, and CBN. Continue your Cannabis 101 course with our cannabinoids page for a breakdown of the most common cannabinoids.
Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids, terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis strains their distinctive flavors, aromas, and colors. For cannabis, each strain has a terpene profile that contributes to its unique bouquet. There are a number of different terpenes you can familiarize yourself with in this guide to cannabis terpenes.
Flavonoids are not exclusive to cannabis, but there are some that are only found in cannabis, like cannaflavins. Similar to terpenes, cannaflavins affect the pigmentation of cannabis. Those beautiful, deep purple cannabis strains owe their coloration to the flavonoids known as anthoxanthins or anthocyanins. In other plants such as berries, anthocyanin may cause red, purple, or even blue coloration depending on pH levels.
What is the ‘Entourage Effect?’
The interactive synergy between various cannabis compounds has been coined the entourage effect. This effect doesn’t depend on one single formula of cannabinoids and terpenes. Most often, CBD is the cannabinoid that modifies the effects THC has on the body and mind in order to create a more balanced experience. However, CBD is not the only compound that can affect THC. Any combination of terpenes and cannabinoids can react to each other to give the user a different experience than if the cannabinoid was pure.
The entourage effect is a phenomenon of much debate within the scientific community. It’s still considered to be only a theory, but the supporters of the effect continue to research it and collect anecdotal evidence.
Where can I find more information?
To continue your Cannabis 101 course, read more from our detailed cannabis guides below:
Looking for even more? Check out some of our favorite websites for more cannabis information: