The cannabis plant, which is commonly referred to as hemp or marijuana is not as simple as our current society perceives it to be. Cannabis comes in different forms, shapes, sizes, and colors. One facet of the cannabis plant is known as marijuana which we typically categorize as a widely used and abused drug. The most common form of marijuana comes from the dried flower of the female cannabis plant. The main psychoactive chemical compound in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. As many as 66 other cannabinoids are present in marijuana; these chemical compounds combined react with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and in the body to create the sensation that most refer to simply as “getting high”. This sensation that users experience results in influenced euphoria, pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Some physical effects that a user might experience are dry mouth and throat, increased heart rate, and relaxation. The short term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory, altered perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, loss of coordination, mild reality distortion, paranoia, and panic attacks.
The dried herb comes in many different colors and has many different features based on its quality. Low-grade marijuana, commonly referred to as “mids”, typically contains few THC crystals on the outside of the plant, is a darkish-green; and normally contains seeds. High-grade marijuana is even more diverse. Many strains contain high amounts of THC crystals which make the buds of the plant a lighter green color. The THC in these plants typically range from 15-25%. Amber resin also forms around this high-grade marijuana. Other types of high-grade marijuana can even take one a completely different color, such as purple. All high-grade marijuana have no seeds, also known as sinsemilla, meaning “no seeds” in spanish. High-grade marijuana is commonly referred to as “headies”. All types of high-quality smokable marijuana have a distinct and very potent smell that can be easily identified.
Smokable marijuana comes in three different species of the cannabis plant; Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, and a hybrid of the two. Cannabis Sativa are much taller plants in comparison to the Cannabis Indica plants, which are generally short and bushy. The Cannabis Sativa plants give more of a head high and are known to have more of a hallucinogenic affect, a feeling of optimism, wellbeing, and even give an energy boost. Cannabis Indica are great for relaxation and stress relief purposes.
How is Marijuana Consumed?
Marijuana is most commonly consumed by inhaling smoke. Marijuana is usually smoked out of glass paraphernalia. There are various types of smoking devices:
-Bowls- glass pipes that typically have a small hole on the side that allows the user to conserve smoke if used properly
-Bubblers- small pipes with water chambers that filter harmful chemicals. Very similar to a bowl but somewhat more complex
-Bongs- a larger bubbler that contains a water chamber as well as a chamber to hold smoke prior to inhalation.
-Vaporizers- electronic device that heats marijuana to 365- 410 degrees Fahrenheit to evaporate the psychoactive chemicals through convection. This highly reduces the concentration of poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. The vapor contains very little to zero tar.
-Joint- a slang term for a cigarette rolled using marijuana. Joints are rolled with packaged rolling papers and may contain a filter based on preference.
-Blunt- a cigar that is disassembled, hollowed out, and rerolled using marijuana.
-Chillum- a conical pipe used to smoke marijuana
-Less popular items include hookahs, one-hitters, fruits, water bottles, home crafted pipes, and miscellaneous crafted items
Cannabis can also be cooked into almost any food. Some popular food items are brownies, cakes, pancakes, and muffins. It can even be diluted into beverages which contain fats as THC is lipophilic meaning it is only slightly water soluble. Normally a beverage made from cannabis would contain milk, honey, sugar, and cooked for approximately 5 minutes.
Marijuana can also be made into an alcoholic beverage known as “Green Dragon”. This can normally be created by leaching marijuana in high-proof alcohol.