What is Cannabis?
Cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried, you’re left with one of the most common drugs in the world. Some call it weed, some call it pot, and others call it marijuana.
As weed becomes legal in more areas, names for it are evolving. Today, more and more people are using the term cannabis to refer to weed. Some argue that it’s a more accurate name. Others feel it’s more neutral compared to terms like weed or pot, which some people still associate with its illegal use.
Cannabis is usually consumed for its relaxing and calming effects. In some U.S. states, it’s also prescribed to help with a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, glaucoma, and poor appetite.
Keep in mind that while cannabis comes from a plant and is considered natural, it can still have strong effects, both positive and negative.
What are the components of Cannabis?
CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?
CBD vs. THC: Medical Benefits
CBD and THC have many of the same medical benefits. They can provide relief from several of the same conditions. However, CBD doesn’t cause the euphoric effects that occur with THC. Some people may prefer to use CBD because of the lack of this side effect.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, the first prescription medication to contain CBD. It’s used to treat rare, difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy.
CBD is used to help with other various conditions, such as: seizures, inflammation, pain, psychosis or mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, migraines, depression, and anxiety.
THC is used to help with conditions such as: pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, and anxiety.
What’s the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?
Cannabinoids & Terpenes
Understanding cannabinoids and terpenes are essential to understanding what cannabis does at all. Cannabinoids play a huge role in the effects of cannabis by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. There are hundreds of cannabinoids within a marijuana plant, but the two most widely known ones are THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol – THC – is known for having psychoactive effects, the high associated with marijuana. CBD, more formally referred to as cannabidiol, has many of the anti-anxiety and pain relief effects that have furthered support for medical marijuana.
Terpenes, on the other hand, are more known for giving marijuana a variety of distinctive aromas. Some terpenes give off a floral scent, others a fruity and citrus-y aroma, and others still a pine smell (fittingly, as terpenes can also be found in other plants and fruits). These terpenes do a lot to determine what strain of marijuana you’re dealing with, but in the admittedly little research that exists, they may also play a role in the effects of cannabis just as cannabinoids do.
But again, the effects these terpenes can provide, while consistent with the assumptions of what an indica or sativa does, that effect is no guarantee of one or the other.
What is Indica?
What is Sativa?
Sativa plants are far more indigenous to warmer climates with longer summers, and take a longer time to fully flower than an indica. The plant grows far taller than an indica plant, and the leaves much thinner than indica leaves. That height can make it difficult for sativa to be grown indoors.
Sativa strains tend to grow tall, often towering anywhere between 1 – 3 meters, and sometimes up to 5m when grown outdoors. Sativa strains tend to be long and thin, but can also grow quite into a bush when left untrimmed. Due to the longer to flowering period, they are suited well for outdoors growing.
Sativa cannabis strains are associated with a feeling of rising or being uplifted in the head and mind. Creativity may begin to flow to the extent that you suddenly realise you have been staring into space as idea after idea goes through your mind, and concepts which previously seemed to have no connection join together to create new inspiration. There are numerous anecdotal reports, and even some science, on the tendency of cannabis to enhance pattern recognition. There are no studies on whether sativas produce this effect more than indicas, but this may well be the case. Many artists take advantage of the creative powers of cannabis sativa (marijuana) to create paintings. The most popular sativa strains include Purple Haze and Mauwie Wauwie.
Additonal benefits of Sativa include: feelings of well-being and at-ease, up-lifting and cerebral thoughts, stimulates and energizes, Increases focus and creativity, and fights depression.