The holiday season is upon us and many who have been debating trying cannabis since its legalization are likely thinking the upcoming break may be a good time to dabble. In this two part series, we’ll overview the main factors you should consider before replacing your Christmas beverages with Christmas cannabis.

Start With Strains

Understanding strains is important because unlike alcohol where the physical and mental outcomes are the same when drunk, there are varied highs you can achieve with cannabis. However, you cannot always guarantee the same outcome based on strain alone since each species has its unique makeup of THC and CBD levels.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC is responsible for the psychoactive (read: mind-altering) effects cannabis is most known for while Cannabidiol, or CBD, on the contrary, is the chemical linked with relaxation. If you’ve been browsing online dispensaries, you’ve likely noticed the 3 primary strains indicated – Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid.

Indica has a higher percentage of CBD giving it the reputation of being the sleepy-time strain and the nickname of ‘in da couch’. Due to the high levels of CBD, indica strains will provide you with more of a physical high rather than a cerebral high. Users often describe the experience of an indica high as a buzzing, melting, or heavy sensation throughout the body that can be incredibly calming. However, it is important to note that this body high can be calming to an immobilizing degree for new users and if large amounts are consumed. If you’re looking to use cannabis for relaxation in the evening, treat chronic pain, or to help you sleep, an indica strain is the perfect match for you.

Sativa on the other hand has a higher percentage of THC, giving it the opposite reputation of being an energizing strain. As you might have guessed, the higher levels of THC provide you with more of a cerebral high so sativa strains do not leave you feeling fatigued the way that indica does. Users often describe these ‘head’ highs as fun, interesting, and euphoric because the high leads to perception shifts and creative trains of thought. Unsurprisingly, THC is also the chemical linked with the paranoia and increased anxiety some users experience which is something to consider if you’re already feeling anxious about your first try. For daytime use, an evening out, or movie watching with friends, sativa will be the strain you want.

Hybrid cannabis strains are exactly what they sound like – a combination of sativa and indica. The majority of strains on the market are currently hybrid because they allow users the ability to find in-between highs that can be much more tailored to their desired effects. Although there is no way to predict the exact outcome of a hybrid without trying it first, by knowing the primary effects of both strains you can predict that an indica dominant strain will target your body more, while a sativa dominant strain will target your mind. New users are suggested to begin with indica dominant hybrids lower in THC levels (less than 20%) since CBD has been found to buffer the intense effects of THC to a more comfortable degree for beginners.

How You Consume Cannabis Matters

While the amount you consume is always a factor, how you consume it is equally important. Join us in our next instalment where we discuss this, as well as the situational factors you should consider.