Opinion: Sounding swanky when discussing cannabis

Information+and+image+courtesy+of+leafly.com.

Information and image courtesy of leafly.com.

Madison Schultz, Associate Editor

You’re back at home for the weekend, and you overhear your parents’ conversation surrounding the massive growth of the cannabis industry, specifically in Northern California/Northern Nevada, where you live and go to school. Your parents look at you, then ask what your opinion is on the subject matter. You then begin to tense up and grow quiet; simply because of the prolonged assumptions that surround the usage of marijuana and cannabis products.

Whether or not you are utilizing cannabis products, or simply are enjoying following the growth of the cannabis industry; learning further what you’re speaking about or what you’re purchasing within this industry will provide ever-lasting insight and knowledge that will show others you actually know what you’re talking about, and give you the opportunity to break the common misconception: “Weed is for lazy people.”

With the growth of legalized marijuana, it’s safe to say that the weed business is booming. According to a report by Grand View Research, when analyzing the industry on a global level, marijuana sales are expected to grow by close to 20% within the next seven years. With the usage of marijuana for prescribed medical conditions, the plant is aiding consumers in chronic pain management, mental health conditions, and chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Disease.

But the big question is: What really is marijuana, and what does it consist of? The cannabis plant consists of more than 120 various components, called cannabinoids. The two largest cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Each of these components plays two different roles; it is ultimately up to the consumer on whether they wish to buy CBD- or THC-heavy products.

CBD is defined as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning that when consumed in the absence of THC it will not give the user a psychoactive experience. CBD is commonly the active ingredient in products that claim to reduce physical pain, such as sore muscles and aching joints. CBD products come in various forms, such as lotions, body balms, bath bombs, and even sweet or savory edible treats. Because CBD does not give users a “high” feeling, adults are able to purchase CBD products outside of dispensaries.

THC is the component in marijuana that makes one feel that they are “stoned.” It is a psychoactive compound and gives its users the famous side effects of relaxation, giddiness, heightened experiences, increased appetite, and so on.

Terpenes

Terpenes are essentially the various flavors and aromas that consumers can choose from when deciding the specific strands of weed they desire. The organic compounds influence the effects of any specific strand of marijuana by directly interacting with the cannabinoids. The aromatic molecules are responsible for creating the “chocolate-y,” “lemony,” or even skunk-based smells that one can experience when visiting local dispensaries. Smell preferences vary from person-to-person when purchasing cannabis products, however according to a study done by Weed Maps, “the nose knows,” meaning that each individual has a subconscious preference for a specific terpene smell profile.

Though the subject is complex, terpenes themselves essentially hold similar components to essential oils. Essential oils have been used for centuries as a purported natural remedy for pain assistance, and health benefits and terpenes hold very alike properties. The sticky, crystallized particles that encase the majority of medical-grade marijuana strains are identified as trichomes, and this is where terpenes are produced on the buds.

When looking at how a strain of marijuana and the terpenes on the strain work together, a consumer should analyze both. When one enters the dispensary, they are normally looking for something to fit their specific needs, and instantly begin to compare if the product is CBD-heavy, THC-heavy, or a hybrid (a mix of both components.) However, terpenes also have a large influence on the plant; so, if you are looking for a specific experience, look at the terpenes too.

Considering all the main components that create these medicinal plants, it can be further analyzed just how these products are normally consumed. Aside from the classic bong rip or drag off the pipe, weed in 2020 can be utilized in various methods to induce the feeling that the desired plant gives.

Consumption

Vaporization is one other inhalation “smoking” method that is available for consumers. Vaporizers offer discrete smells, in comparison to the classic method of smoking flower, and also tend to be less harsh tasting when smoking. At most dispensaries, you can find cartridges that include concentrate, which is marketed as a purer form of THC.

Another budding method in the industry is the use of dabs. Dabs are strong doses of cannabis that are created by extracting the THC and cannabinoids from the plant by normally using a solvent such as butane. This extraction results in a sticky, oil-like substance, that is commonly known as a dab, wax, or shatter. Considering the pure concentrate of dabs, people use this option as a delivery method because they have very strong effects, in comparison to other techniques. Dabs are smoked normally by heating up a “nail,” then inhaled through a dab rig.

The last common practice is eating; however, edibles are more than what they once were. With the expansion of legalized marijuana across the United States, consumers can purchase products such as gummies, throat lozenges, chocolate bars, cookies, and even flavored drinks.

There are also other practices that one can indulge in when looking at cannabis consumption, including tinctures, ingestible oils, capsules, and topical delivery methods.

After analyzing all the components of this magnificent plant, it is incredible to see the other purposes that it serves. Though many consumers utilize marijuana simply for the good feelings, looking at how a plant can help in aiding chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or simply soreness from a day on the mountain, is rather impressive.

Next time negative assumptions that “weed is bad” arise at the dinner table, you now have the knowledge to combat the argument and really teach others about the true benefits that cannabis products can have for many people. It could be benefitting somebody for minor anxiety issues, or it could be aiding someone through a long-fought battle with cancer. One thing is certain: Utilization of cannabis products is an ancient practice, and that practice isn’t going anywhere.

NuLeaf is Incline Village’s only cannabis dispensary NuLeaf in Incline Village, Nevada. Additional information can also be found online at leafly.com and weedmaps.com.

 

Madison Schultz is an SNU senior.