A Guide to Understanding the Different Types of Weed, Concentrates & Edibles
As you push through the door of a marijuana dispensary, it becomes quite clear that the marijuana buds themselves are not the only thing on display. You are surrounded with potentially hundreds of products that all claim to contain THC (the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that we all have come to love) but where is it, and how much is in there? These questions have a variety of answers, and marijuana enthusiasts have taken the cannabis plant, and turned the age old “special brownie” recipe, into an emerging science. Below is a brief breakdown of the main forms that cannabis can take shape as well as a measure of their relative potency.
Commonly called buds, pot, ganja, and weed, this is the main form of cannabis that people think of. It is the flower of a mature female marijuana plant that is harvested when ripe with THC filled tricones. This form of marijuana is most popular because it can be easily used and transported without an armory of special equipment. The smell of the flowers is generally very strong and give marijuana the iconic “skunk” smell. Flowers have a low to medium THC content ranging anywhere from 5% to 25%. The factors that decide how “strong” a particular bud is, depend on the strain as well as the growing methods used. For new smokers, it is recommended to get this form of marijuana because the high is less intense than THC oils and hashish and will last from 2-3 hours. You have many different options for consuming this type, either by rolling it in smoking papers, out of a glass pipe/water-pipe, or vaporizing the bud with a vaporizer. This is also the most common form sold within dispensaries. There are two primary types of flower marijuana, Indica’s and Sativa’s. You can read more about the differences between Indica and Sativa plants here.
Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh brownies? Especially when they have a little kick that goes with them! Edibles are the food form of marijuana that everyone knows and loves. Essentially anything can be made containing THC, ranging from your favorite baked goods to suckers and even beverages. This way of consuming marijuana generally takes about an hour to ‘kick in’ and each product has a different amount of THC within it. It is important to look at the amount of THC within the edible otherwise you might be in for a wild ride (or at least an intense movie watching experience). It is good to ask the bud tender at the dispensary for recommendations to suit your needs best. Generally edibles have a much more relaxing/pain relieving high that will often rock you right to sleep after your eyelids feel like they have 100 pounds on them.
This is where things start to get a little bit crazy. The oil/wax craze has taken off and there is no stopping it. The term oil comes from the consistency of the product, mainly because it is a very waxy and sticky product. Concentrates are smoked by heating up a piece of glass, generally with a handheld torch (much like the blue flamed lighters you see at gas stations), until it is red hot. The oil or wax is then pressed to this piece of glass where it instantly vaporizes and you inhale much like you would with just regular flowers. This process has been given the term “dabbing”. There are many different types of concentrates and that depends on how it was created or extracted. Common terms for such types are shatter, earwax, budder and oil.
This form contains a very high THC content and is NOT recommended for new smokers. Ranging anywhere from 80% all the way up to 99% THC content means that even just one dab, can be the equivalent of one bowl of marijuana bud. The benefits however, is that it is cleaner, less harsh, and takes less to achieve a desired high than any other way. Special types of glass and lighters are needed in order to smoke it and it is not the most travel friendly way of smoking. Regardless, concentrates are on the forefront of a great wave of marijuana innovation that will be sure to command the future of cannabis products.
This is a higher concentrated form of marijuana that comes of grinded up flowers. It is in the form of a power with a slight green tint to it. Most grinders have a small container in the bottom section to catch the tricones that break off from the bud itself right before being smoked. It is not as high in THC content as concentrates are however it will still give you that extra little punch. This type generally takes quite a while to accumulate and is best used as a topping on a regular bowl. Think of it as the sprinkles to an ice cream cone…
This list is covers most of the products that you would see in an average marijuana dispensary. It is your personal preference which form of marijuana you enjoy consuming the most, and there is no wrong answer. Each type will still get you ‘high’ but in different intervals and with different strengths. If you are unsure about what type you should get, ask your bud tender for recommendations as they would know what is best at their particular facility. Maybe the next time you walk in to buy some marijuana, try switching it up because you won’t know if you like it unless you try.