This guide to a few common terms you’ll hear in any dispensary will help you feel like a more informed cannabis shopper.
MICHIGAN—Dispensaries—called provisioning centers in Michigan—are designed to educate customers as a core principle of business. But it never hurts to have a little know-how going into the game.
Armed with a few simple terms you’ll most likely hear come up before hitting your very first cannabis dispensary, you’ll be more prepared to have a truly organic conversation with your budtender (yep, that’s a term too—think bartender, but someone who serves cannabis) so that you can get to the good stuff.
Reefer at a Glance
- THC: This is the primary psychoactive component that can be extracted from a marijuana plant. It’s not the only one, but it’s the most buzzed about (and stigmatized) as the one that gets you “high.” It’s definitely been mostly portrayed as a party experience – but there’s plenty of research and acceptance about the many medical benefits of using psychoactive plants, including marijuana.
- CBD: The second most abundant component of cannabis doesn’t produce any intoxicating effects at all. Sourced from both the marijuana plant itself and even more often from its cousin, the hemp plant (also sans the THC high), it’s used for its many therapeutic benefits like being an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and seizure-suppressant. There are many medical studies on the healing properties of CBD extracts—especially as these plants are less and less stigmatized. But as with any health product, it’s about you as the user and how your body responds.
- Indica: Marijuana strains known for relaxing and therapeutic qualities that provide pain relief, reduce anxiety, and promote a restful sleep. (It’s actually very hard to find a pure Indica strain.) One way to remember what Indica is known for? Its properties are known for putting you “in da couch.”
- Sativa: These strains are known for energy boosts, creativity, focus, and more sensory and cerebral experiences with marijuana. (See the previous note; as one cannabis expert put it, “These days, indica and sativa is a completely nonsensical distinction.”)
- Hybrid: You guessed it, these are fusion strains that draw in the benefits of both Sativa and Indica properties. Hybrids are a safe bet for many new users, but more challenging to pinpoint which component is impacting you in which way.
What’s in Your Cart(ridge)?
This is where weed becomes custom to what and how you want it. There are unlimited ways to extract any plant for use (think of all the ways we use essential oils), but here are many of the expected product types you’ll find in everyday dispensaries. These terms are helpful to know as you explore how marijuana fits into your lifestyle.
Flower: The bud. While the leaves of a marijuana plant are iconic, it’s actually the flower itself that is smoked. From here, you can roll it up, smooth out your inhale with a water bong, hide it in a one-hitter pipe designed for quick use on the go, and on and on.
Vapes/cartridges: The smokable and obviously vaporized version of the flower that comes in different concentrations and shelf lives (rechargeable battery vs. single use) and sans that almost too recognizable smell of Mary Jane.
Topical: Back to the example of essential oils: The therapeutic extracts of cannabis (the term for both marijuana and hemp plants) can be used in endless ways. This is the world where you can explore bubble baths, tinctures, lotions, and the like.
Edibles: Just as THC and CBD are fused into bath bombs or soaps, they can also go into butter and many other cooking ingredients, not to mention our favorite snacks, drinks, and candies. Here you’ll open the most interesting menu of everything from THC beverages like coffee and pop, sweets like tiny micro dose chocolate dots, (not so) traditional baked goods that will send you to the moon and back mentally, and more. Bon appetit.
Wax, hash, and other concentrates: For those looking for the power hitters of cannabis products starring THC, you’ll find super doses in concentrates like waxes and shatters, hash oils and resins. There’s often specialized tools and definitely some insider tips on using these. Ask your budtender if you’re curious to see—and experience—a bit more.
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