Cannabis 101: Know Your Smoke

Often we describe our weed in simple terms: good or bad. We’ll say its gas, fire, loud, exotic, trash, mid, reggie, weak etc. But what is it exactly? Do we know the name? Do we know what type of strain it is? Do we know how it makes us feel? Do we know how we like to experience it? These are all significant questions to have answers to regardless of what kind of frequenter of cannabis you are. Being aware of what kind of flower we’re consuming (via vape, infusion, etc), how we feel post smoke, and what we think of it moving forward gives us insight and control regarding our experience. 

Back in high school I was introduced to cannabis with my first spliff of Sour Diesel. Since that time I was curious about what flower I was getting and the differences between strains. Soon after, I was in college asking my plugs “what is it, like what is it called”, only to be met with the reply of “its some gas, how much you want?” *eyeroll* But hey, reliability was scarce and I trusted my sources enough to buy anyways. Sometimes I would actually get a strain name, but I’d be skeptical (unless I could identify the strain myself) because why did they only know sometimes???

So I would cross reference the names I was given and sites that broke down various strains then compare it to my experience. I began taking note of how I felt while and after I smoked. I realized some strains would have me mentally stimulated and uplifted while others felt more full body and relaxed. This emphasized the need to place attention on what I was smoking and how I was smoking. Certain strains were perfect for me after a long day of classes followed by dance practice while others helped me sleep or were great for study sessions. I had to find my flow and understand what worked by paying attention to what I was smoking.

Many can relate to my experience in undergrad I’m sure—not knowing exactly what you’re smoking but hoping to enjoy the experience anyway. I get it (and I aint above it either lol it happens). I’m aware that everyone’s accessibility to cannabis is different. It may or may not be legal where you live. There are plenty of barriers. Everyone’s experience and education regarding cannabis varies. (I largely blame the war on drugs creating such strong the stigma and demonization around cannabis). Maybe your plug doesn’t know what kind of flower they’re selling or maybe they do (but maybe you’re skeptical like I was lol). Maybe you can go to a dispensary and pick out exactly what you want or maybe dispensary trips suck because you need assitance but the budtenders don’t know much (it happens). Whatever the case, I have three questions that can help:  

SO, WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING?

I’ve met many people who have misconceptions about cannabis and smoking. “Weed makes you sleepy, weed makes you eat everything, weed makes you lazy, weed makes you anxious”. While these statements can be true, they are not absolute truths. There are so many different strains of cannabis, all containing their own unique genetics and experience. 

If you know what you’re smoking, congrats! It’s honestly a privilege to know. If you don’t know, no worries (unless its from a sketchy source)! Regardless of your answer, it’s important to know plant basics. 

To start, cannabis can be split into categories— sativa, indica, and hybrid. (Pro Tip: Remember these). Think of sativas as uplifting, energizing, and productive feeling. So maybe you smoke a sativa to kick start your day, take a hike, work on a creative project, or go out with friends (all active things). While indica strains are calm, sedative and relaxing. This could be great after a long day, helping with sleep, feelings of stress/pain, or staying home watching a movie (basically, big chillin/cozy vibes). Hybrids, as you may have guessed are a combination! Hybrid strains are crossbred to yield the effects of both sativa and indica; they can be equally balanced or sativa/indica dominant. These are usually okay for anytime honestly, it just depends on the user and strain. I learned to distinguish them by remembering indica = in da couch (hilarious but true and I forgot where I heard it), sativa = active, opposite of indica, and hybrid = best of both worlds.

HOW DO YOU FEEL?

So how are you feeling? What are the sensations your body and mind are experiencing? How would you describe it? Knowing how we feel can help determine if the flower seems to be a sativa, indica, or hybrid. Paying attention to our bodies during and after our smoke is crucial. This assessment is perfect to decide 1) if we’ll smoke whatever it is again and 2) the ideal time to smoke it. You have to know what you like and don’t like. We have to get into describing our experiences in greater depth rather than just saying we feel high. There are sooo many adjectives to describe our experiences. Here are a few: calm, creative, energetic, euphoric, focused, joyful, present, relaxed, sleepy, uplifted.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

We are in control of our relationship with cannabis, so why not make it a great one? Consumption should be enjoyable. A large misconception about consuming cannabis is that you have no control or there is a fixed outcome — both claims are false. You are in control and there are a variety of outcomes! The influence and propaganda from the war on drugs can be linked to why so many people think smoking weed does one thing and makes you feel one way. 

Understanding how you feel consuming cannabis gives you a deeper understanding around how you want to utilize it. It could be recreational, medicinal, or anything inbetween. You decide. It’s also important to remember what you’re smoking/how you felt so you know your preferences. Maybe you enjoy hybrids best or prefer indicas in the morning vs at night. It’s your world, make cannabis work in your favor. Post session you can reflect back and review your experience. These reviews will give you the tools to move forward in your journey. Being mindful while consuming changes the game.

Cannabis is most amazing when consumed mindfully. We maximize our experience when we have more knowledge about what we’re doing. We need to know what we’re smoking, period. But in the case we don’t (legacy market gets tricky I know) we can at least assess how we feel. Ultimately, we can determine what works or doesn’t and how to move forward! I challenge you to consume mindfully, ask more questions, and have open dialogue about your cannabis experiences. 

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/sativa-vs-indica#indica

https://www.leafly.com/

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