A beginner’s guide to cannabis

Washington residents demonstrated their approval of cannabis consumption through medical legalization in 1998 and recreational legalization in 2012, but many have yet to try it.

It is legal to purchase, but now what? The legalization of cannabis in Washington state allows adults to enjoy cannabis in many forms: They can smoke dried cannabis flowers, inhale concentrated cannabis oil vapors, apply topical products (such as lotions or gels), or consume cannabis products in edible forms such as candies, baked goods, beverages and tinctures.

If one is curious about experiencing cannabis, but is unsure where to begin, it helps to visit a retailer that merchandises its products with a focus on what type of experience the consumer seeks.  This allows the customer to work closely with a knowledgeable store representative to aid in finding them the products that best fit their specific wants and needs.

“Before we dive into what type of product someone wants,” says Kirsten Barber, manager at Vela Cannabis in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, “we use the Vela Spectrum to understand what type of experience someone is hoping to have. It ranges from Hush to Unwind to Flourish to Ignite, showing people that some types of cannabis can have calm, sedating effects while others can have energizing or exhilarating effects.”

How can you consume cannabis?

“The traditional method is inhalation, either via smoke or vapor, which enters the bloodstream quickly through the respiratory system,” Barber says. “Consuming edibles or liquids is also common. Feeling the effects is a slower process, though – it can take 30 to 90 minutes to feel the effects when ingesting it, and they’ll last longer. Edibles are a very approachable way to consume cannabis, but let us coach you through it so you can avoid an unsettling experience.”

Aside from smoking and eating, how else can you experience cannabis?

Cannabis can be consumed in the form of capsules, sublingual applications, lotions, sensual oils and even suppositories. Audria Jaggers, manager of Theorem Cannabis in Kenmore, has seen an increase in the demand for these other types of products. “Once people understand that they can experience the benefits of cannabis without smoking, their minds open up to all of the many options that we have to offer,” says Jaggers. “Particularly with the capsules and tinctures, people can get a precise amount of THC and/or CBD, which allows them more control over their experience.”

What ingredients influence cannabis?

There are many cannabinoids in the plant, but the two that are discussed most often are THC and CBD. Many consumers have heard of THC, but are less familiar with CBD. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is psychoactive and will get a person “high” or “stoned.” CBD, or cannabidiol, has no psychoactive effects. Both may be used in medicinal circumstances. The effects of cannabis also depend on the mix of terpenes, or essential oils, that occur naturally in each cannabis plant.  Terpenes affect not only the flavor profiles and scent notes, but also play a role in influencing the effects of the plant.

What are the major strains of cannabis?

Theorem Cannabis distinguishes between indica, sativa, or hybrid strains of the plant. Indica plants generally have relaxing effects, while sativa plants are more stimulating. Hybrid plants have been bred to mix the desired effects from both indica and sativa strains to create a wider range of experience options.

What do cannabis products cost?

Purchasing cannabis is not much different than the per serving or per dose price of other legal substances.

Purchasing cannabis-based products is a varied game as stores have different pricing strategies. At Vela and Theorem a prerolled joint that will provide multiple experiences costs from $5 to $15. In the edibles department at Vela, Willie Nelson’s “Willie’s Reserve”-brand candies might cost $9 for four servings (with 5 mg of THC apiece). Capsules break down to about $4-$5 dollars apiece, and topicals (a little goes a long way) start under $25.

These shops are cash only, so be sure to bring cash or have a debit card handy to use at their on-site ATMs.

Source: It’s legal, now what? A beginner’s guide to cannabis | The Seattle Times

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