Trying weed for the first time? Or maybe you’re cautiously dipping your toes into the pool with hopes of eclipsing a bad experience from younger years? Or perhaps you’ve got a long-term, healthy and positive relationship with the plant, but, thanks to the limitations of prohibition, have barely understanding of what she* can actually do for you?
No need to feel alone—there are millions of us here.
Whether you’re placing your first online order, or taking your first step into the weird, wild range of modern-day dispensaries, certainly this whole new vortex of legal weed presents an array of options. HUNDREDS of options. Options of all shapes, smells and sizes. But no need to feel overwhelmed, we got you.
Before we continue, a few basics to keep in mind:
There’s no ‘one-size fits all’ cannabis experience – based on various factors (i.e. age, mental & physical health, environmental factors), cannabis affects everyone differently and therefore, if you’ve never tried it before, it’s best to operate slowly (i.e. no need to start off with a blunt), go with low doses and pay close attention to how your brain and bod’ respond.
As cannabis was classified as an illegal substance for nearly 100 years, until its recent green light from the government, this rather major roadblock stunted the development of helpful, peer-reviewed research that explores how the plant interacts with human physiology. Thankfully, the door is now wide open and studies are coming up fast–with that said, there’s still much to be determined!
For now, let’s go over what we DO know!
THC, CBD, and the list goes on. When choosing weed, these are two acronyms that you should really be familiar with (LINK TO ECS article) as they stand for ‘cannabinoids,’ which are two of the 113+ chemical compounds in cannabis that are responsible for how the plant interacts/affects your mind and body.
Despite THC and CBD being the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis, they are also quite different from each other and depending on their composition in a strain, can present very separate kinds of effects for an individual. Overall, the dynamic synergy of how all of these cannabinoids interact in your bod’ is referred to as the “entourage effect.” This term suggests that, when you consume, the collective dance of these cannabinoids provides a more nuanced and potent impact compared to ingesting a cannabis product that is focused on a singular cannabis compound (i.e. exclusively THC or CBD).
Mainly, it’s important to know that, whether THC or CBD, the potency of a certain cannabinoid will gauge the level of impact that you may feel, and this can range from the more psychoactive influence of THC, to the less-intoxicating, more body-oriented effects of CBD.
According to the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) – where you can now find Sackville & Co. products–a product’s THC potency is expressed as a percentage. For instance, a product that is labelled 15% THC means that THC makes up 15% (or 150 milligrams per gram) of the total cannabis content.
On the spectrum of what is low versus what could set you on a magical carpet ride, while most cannabis strains fall between 15-20% THC, 20% is considered to be “very strong,” and 33% is the highest potency level currently available in Canada. Therefore, proceed with caution ☺
It’s less common to find a variety of CBD-dominant strains from your local dispensary, but as the weed industry evolves, they’re on the rise, and these present a very different trail for curious cannabis consumers.
With CBD, the definition of a “high CBD concentration” in dried cannabis can vary from 4% to 9% and more. When there is at least a 1:1 ratio of THC/CBD, CBD may counteract the psychoactive effects of THC and therefore, having a balanced strain and/or CBD dominant strain are essentials in your collection.
So, what does ‘start low’ even mean? Well, when it comes to good ol’ fashioned joints, limiting yourself to 1-2 puffs will give you a glimpse into how your body responds. Also, it’s definitely advisable to veer away from high THC products in favour of something lower in THC and higher in CBD. As you monitor how you feel, you can broaden your horizons and explore other strain compositions that appeal to you.
When considering capsules or oil, a 2.5 mg dose can serve as a good starting point, so take it from there!
Whether you choose to roll a j, eat a gummy or use a tincture, there are various ways to consume cannabis and these can determine how affected you become; mainly when figuring out the timing of the high and the duration of the effects.
Your primary options include inhalation (smoking or vaping), ingesting (eating or drinking), capsules, tinctures, oils, and more. Typically, ingesting cannabis (versus inhaling), tends to take longer to kick in and may last longer than the effect of smoking.