General information about cannabis
What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a plant used to produce hemp fiber for materials, and as a drug. Cannabis has many names including:
...and many more
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis flowers and produced in the brain that act on special receptors located throughout the body. The most concentrated cannabinoids found in cannabis flowers are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
- THC - psychoactive and most responsible for mood and behavior changes
- CBD - counteracts some psychoactive effects of THC; is generally considered to have therapeutic effects on pain, inflammation, and anxiety
- Endocannabinoids - cannabinoids that are produced in the body
- Phytocannabinoids - cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant
What are common cannabis strains?
Cannbis plants can be broken down into a few main categories. Each strain has it's own physical properties and affects the body differently:
- Sativa - Produces energetic, head highs that stimulate creativity. They are more likely to cause anxiety or paranoia, and are typically higher in THC.
- Indica - Produces heavy, body highs and are typically higher in CBD.
- Ruderalis - Less common; some consider to be a sub-strain of Indica
- Hybrids - Exhibits properties of pure strains and are often classified according to their similiarities to either Sativa or Indica.
How is cannabis used and how do different use methods affect the body?
There are many methods of using cannabis. Only the most common methods are mentioned here.
- Includes smoking and vaping
- Cannabinoids enter the lungs before being absorbed into the bloodstream
- Effects are typically felt within 10-15 minutes and peak at about 30 minutes
- Effects can last anywhere from 45 minutes to over 3 hours
- Edibles are cannabis infused beverages and foods
- Cannabinoids are broken down in the gut
- It may take up to 2 hours to begin feeling effects
- Effects last an average of 4-6 hours, though they may last even longer
- Concentration of cannabinoids can vary even within the same batch
- Most topical cannabis products are not concentrated enough to deliver psychoactive effects
- Transdermal patches and some high THC products may produce a mild high
What if I consume too much cannabis?
While no adult death has been confirmed to be caused directly by cannabis poisoning, risky behavior while high has resulted in death. Additionally, there is some evidence suggesting cannabis poisoning may be deadly to children.
For adults, if you think you may have used too much cannabis, the best thing to do is relax and wait in a safe place for the drug to leave your body. If your discomfort becomes so intense that you think you need medical attention, ask someone to take you to the emergency room or dial 9-1-1. Do not try to drive yourself.
If you think a child is suffering from cannabis poisoning, take them immediately to the nearest emergency room or dial 9-1-1.
What happens when alcohol and cannabis are used together?
- Cannabis affects the part of the brain that controls body movement, balance, coordination, judgement and memory
- Cannabis slows down reaction time, decreasing a person's ability to make quick decisions
- Using cannabis at the same time as alcohol or other drugs is even more dangerous than when any substance is used on its own
What about synthetic cannabis?
Synthetic cannabis, also known as K2 or Spice is a compound that is man-made to immitate THC. It is not legal and is very dangerous. It has been shown to have significant health consequences including death, even when used infrequently in small quantities.