Both sativas and indicas refer to the species of the cannabis plant. While sativas are generally more uplifting and energising, indicas are believed to be more relaxing and may have a sedating effect.
This seems simple enough, but research indicates it is not the species that produces the effect, but the chemical structure of the plant, such as cannabinoids like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), and terpenes that determine the experience.
According to Health Canada, both CBD and THC are cannabinoids or chemical compounds produced in the sticky flowers of the cannabis flowers.
Sativa strains generally have a higher concentration of THC, while popular indica strains have a more equal balance of THC and CBD. Generally, CBD-dominant strains with little or no THC are mainly used for therapeutic reasons. While CBD is also a cannabinoid, it may help with stress relief, anti-inflammation, pain relief and more.
When purchasing cannabis, it is advisable to read the label to determine whether it is sativa, indica or a hybrid, as well as knowing the percentages of THC and CBD contained in the product.
According to Health Canada: “Everyone’s response to cannabis differs and can vary from one time to the next. To minimise your risk, or if you are a new consumer, look for a product containing 2.5 mg of THC or less or 10 percent THC (100 mg/g) or less, and an equal or higher amount of CBD.”
There are several ways to consume cannabis and each type may produce different effects.
The flower of the cannabis plant is sticky due to its resin, which contains THC, CBD and terpenes. Smoking or using pipes remain the most popular ways to smoke the flower, and the effects can be felt within seconds to minutes.
Edibles contain specific doses of THC and CBD and include gummies, chocolates, brownies, cookies and beverages. It can take from 30 minutes to two hours to feel the effects from edibles.
Cannabis oils are concentrates that contain precise doses of THC and/or CBD which are added to a carrier oil. They are often taken under the tongue, and because the oil has direct access to your bloodstream, you will likely feel the effects within as little as 30 minutes.
Cannabis also comes in soft gel capsules that contain cannabis extract and are available with THC, CBD or a balance of the two. According to a chart found on the Health Canada website, it takes about 30 minutes to two hours after consuming a gel capsule to feel the effects.
Cannabis has different effects on everyone with many factors coming into play — its potency and percentage of THC or CBD or both, the type of strain, the type of product consumed and how it is consumed (smoked, eaten, rubbed on the skin, etc.). Start slow until you know your limits and comfort factor.
Medical disclaimer: The content in this article is for general information only and is not intended as medical advice or to be used as a recommendation for any specific medication. Always consult your doctor before taking any new medication, supplements or using cannabis of any type.
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