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Why Learning About Quality Cannabis Shouldn’t Strain Your Brain

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Getty Images/Ryan Cutler

Remember what it was like the first time you walked into a bar and you were asked what you wanted to drink? In that initial moment, you might have felt overwhelmed and just asked for the first thing that came to mind. Or maybe you were determined to order a tequila shot, but when the bartender asked which tequila you wanted, you were once again in a state of confusion. Fast forward to a more mature you at the bar, you’re ordering that tequila, and the bartender mentions well and you scoff at the thought of drinking the cheap tequila from the plastic bottle. Why would you ever subject your body to that cheap stuff? The same goes for cannabis — there are lots of categories of weed, from the cheap stuff to the premium product.

There is cannabis for everyone — you just need to know what you want from it.

During the time of Prohibition, those wanting to drink alcohol basically had two choices: brown or clear. That was it. Years later, Prohibition is a thing of the past — just take a moment to consider how many different types of alcohol there are and all the ways alcohol can be consumed. For each spirit, there are various levels of quality and of course price. There’s no denying that the more expensive stuff will provide a better overall experience, not just in taste, but in the effects felt in the moment and the next day. Most everyone goes through that turning point during their adulthood when they choose not to drink the well drinks but instead opt for premium because you know it’s going to be better for you from start to finish, even if it costs you a few extra bucks.

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The same cycle of Prohibition is currently underway with cannabis. Before we legalized recreational cannabis in certain states across America, when someone wanted to buy weed, they would text their dealer, hand over cash, and take whatever was given to them. There weren’t many choices, and you were happy to get your hands on whatever you could get. Today, with recreational cannabis shops opening up faster than you can keep track of, the consumer now has access to some of the best cannabis of their lifetime. However, newbies aren’t necessarily educated on the differences in product and can feel like that 21-year-old at the bar, confused and willing to take whatever they can get, even with the abundance of options at their fingertips.

The Basics Types of Cannabis

    Sativa: Strains believed to have more uplifting or energizing effects.
    Indica: Strains believed to have more relaxing or sedative effects.
    Hybrid: Strains with a mixture of both properties.
    THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive component that produces the high.
    CBD: Cannabidiol is a similar component that can enhance your mood, but will not make you high.

For example, a couple walks into a dispensary and all they know is that they want to buy a pre-rolled joint (often referred to simply as a pre-roll) so that they can go home and watch a movie together. Upon entering the dispensary, they are instructed to stand in line and wait to be called up to the counter. Within moments of entering, the couple realizes this process is like a factory production line: You walk up to the counter, tell the budtender what you want and slide down the line until you reach the register, pay and walk out. The couple reaches the moment of truth when their budtender calls them over to the counter and asks, “What can I get for you?” Overwhelmed with options, they look at the menu and either pick the cheapest option or select the one with the higher percentage of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the thing in weed that makes you high), because more is better, right? Not necessarily. This curious couple then goes home, lights up their joint, and either has an OK time or they have a bad experience because that high-THC concentrate gave them much more than they bargained for.

Further Reading

Of course, not all dispensaries are factory production lines. Before heading to one, take a few moments to learn the differences in strains and have some questions ready for your budtender. There is now cannabis for everyone — you just need to know what you want from it, whether that be extra energy to stay out late, more creativity to finish your writing assignment, or the comfort to sit on the couch all night zoned out on television with a bag of chips glued to your hand.

John Plummer, owner of Bull Run Craft Cannabis in Oregon, is not only passionate about his marijuana but also about educating the consumer. “It’s just like going to the grocery store and being confronted by two stacks of apples in the produce department. One is the cheaper apple that is massively produced, using harmful chemicals, and the other a more premium and expensive apple that is certified organic,” he says.

The cannabis industry is now a massive money-making machine and even though you are buying from a dispensary and the packaging looks incredible, the process of growing and treating that weed may have involved harmful chemicals that you shouldn’t be ingesting. “There are growers out there who are certified organic and there are lots of valid certifications one can look for before buying,” explains Plummer.

More Terms to Know

    Flower: Another term for bud, or the dried weed you can put into a pipe, joint, or bong.
    Pre-roll: A common name for a pre-rolled joint.
    Budtender: Like a bartender, a budtender works behind the counter of a dispensary.
    Dispensary: A shop that legally sells marijuana products.

“If you smelled six different jars of cannabis strains, you’d have six different reactions. Some will smell a lot better to you than the others and, usually, the one that provides a good smell will provide a good experience,” he says. This has to do with the levels of terpene in the cannabis. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds in a variety of plants, from cannabis and pine trees, that produce strong flavors and smells; many are used in cleaning products as a scent. Think of cannabis like a glass of wine. The first thing you are going to do is put your nose to it and see what reaction you get. “The nose knows,” John says, and it’s a really simple way to figure out whether that strain is right for you.

weed marijuana bud nugget

For those new to cannabis and looking to experience the benefits that it can provide, just remember that your budtender at your local dispensary is there to help you. Don’t feel rushed and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get in there, ask to smell the different strains, and let them know what you want your experience to be like. Yes, it can be overwhelming, as there is a lot more than just cannabis flower to choose from. From oil pens to edibles, the options can be limitless, so take your time and don’t be discouraged if your first experiences weren’t everything you had hoped for. Chances are you just picked the wrong strain.

“If you smelled six different jars of cannabis strains, you’d have six different reactions … usually, the one that provides a good smell will provide a good experience.”

The choices and information are out there. You just need to take a little time to educate yourself.

Bull Run Craft Cannabis offers 100% organic, Certified Kind, small-batch products. The Lite Me Up strain is the brand’s most popular, award-winning cannabis (in 2018, it took first place at the Cultivation Classic in its category). The hybrid cannabis strain is perfect for casual smokers who want a sweet, mellow, fun high without getting knocked out by a heavy THC strain. The company will soon launch the 100% CO2 full-spectrum oil that is rich in terpenes and totally solvent-free. That designation isn’t typical for most oil pens, which often contain butane, something nobody should be inhaling.

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