What is Cannabis?
Cannabis, often referred to by various names such as weed, marijuana, hash, pot, ganja, bud, etc., is a plant known for its psychoactive properties. It produces dried flowers, fruiting tops, or leaves from the cannabis sativa or indica plants, as well as hybrid combinations of the two. Additionally, cannabis can be processed into different forms like oils, extracts, or resins. It contains compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenes, with two major cannabinoids being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the key chemical compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It falls under the category of cannabinoids and is the substance that induces the sensation of being “high” when cannabis is consumed. The strength of a cannabis product is typically expressed as a percentage of THC by weight (or volume in the case of oils). Products with higher THC concentrations pose a greater risk of harm, so individuals should consider opting for products with lower THC levels to minimize potential risks.
THC exists in different forms and potencies, including delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10. It’s important to note that all these delta compounds have intoxicating effects since they are variations of THC.
- Delta-9 THC is the predominant cannabinoid found in cannabis plants and is the most commonly sold legal THC variant in the Canadian market. It is more potent than delta-8 and delta-10.
- Delta-8 and delta-10 THC, often referred to as minor cannabinoids, are present in much smaller quantities. These trace cannabinoids occur at levels so low that specialized extraction techniques are required to obtain them. The intoxicating effects of delta-8 and delta-10 are milder compared to delta-9.
It’s worth mentioning that the size of the delta number doesn’t necessarily correlate with the intensity of the effects. While delta-9 produces the most significant psychoactive effects, larger quantities of minor cannabinoids like delta-8 and delta-10 can also lead to intoxication.
When different types of THC, including any of the delta compounds, are combined, the resulting intoxicating effects can be unpredictable. Regardless of the specific delta, it’s important to understand that it represents THC and will interact with the brain to induce intoxication when consumed. New or returning users should adopt a “start low and go slow” approach.
Cannabidiol, scientifically referred to as CBD, is a chemical compound present in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not induce any psychoactive effects on its own. While trace cannabinoids like delta-8 and delta-10 exist in CBD at very low levels, they remain non-psychoactive until they are extracted and concentrated.
Research has demonstrated that elevated levels of CBD can mitigate certain risks related to THC, including intoxication, sedation, and potential effects on heart health. Opting for products with a high CBD content and low THC content can help minimize undesirable health consequences.
Prior to using any cannabis product, it is strongly recommended that consumers seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional. Cannabis can have various effects on individual health, and a healthcare provider can provide personalized advice, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are currently taking medications. Their expertise can help you make informed decisions regarding the use, dosage, and potential interactions associated with cannabis consumption, ensuring your safety and well-being.