Cannabis Shopping Guide: How to Pick the Right Flower or Product
Picking a product is never easy, so we decided to help you with the basics.
There are various things to consider before visiting a dispensary, especially if it’s your first time. We have covered the Frequently Asked Questions about cannabis shopping, which is a must-read for every newbie, out of state visitor, and even experienced user. We have looked into how much cannabis you can buy, and how much cannabis you would need.
Today, we are going to discuss another step in your shopping - what are you looking for.
The first time you enter a dispensary it might overwhelm you with choices, types of product and even names for most of them. And even though Silver Stem budtenders are always there to guide you, we know that most people prefer to have at least a general idea of what is it they are looking for before they are faced with the decision on what flower, extract, or MIP to choose. MIP is a marijuana infused product, by the way.
Today’s dispensaries offer a variety of product types, ranging from joints to inhalers. Products also vary by potency, i.e. THC and CBD content, which we covered in detail in our recent article. Picking the product type that is just right for you begins with understanding what they are. Let’s take a look.
Smoking flower is still the most common method of cannabis consumption.
It requires some accessories, line a bong or a pipe, a crusher, and a lighter, but you can buy a prerolled joint or blunt, which is ready to use. If you do not mind inhaling the smoke, this is a very fast acting method - THC is absorbed in milliseconds when inhaled.
Flower varies by type - a strain can be more for daytime use, an upper so to say, commonly called sativa, or it can be more suitable for evening / night-time use, to relax or get a good sleep, called indica. And there is, of course hybrid, which is a mixture of the two usually leaning one way or the other. The terms are not exactly correct, since they originally referred to lineage, but they are universally used by consumers and dispensaries, so we will stick with them, and leave the lecture for the next time.
Flower also varies by THC percentage. Some strains may contain only 10% THC, and some go up to 30%, and respectfully stronger effects.
Cannabis extracts have been steadily gaining popularity.
The majority of concentrates are definitely not for newbies. Firstly, they are extremely potent - up to 99% THC - and require some tolerance. Secondly, concentrates require certain skills and equipment to dab them - inhale the smoke from heating them. It is done with the help of a dab rig, nectar collector, concentrate vaporizer or by adding an extract to your flower.
Cannabis oil used in vape cartridges/pods belong in the concentrate category, but we mention it separately, since unlike dabbing concentrates, vaping oil is relatively easy and is suitable for most consumers. It is much smoother and more discreet than smoking, does not require much - just a charged battery, or nothing at all with ready to go disposable vaporizers. Just press the button and inhale. Keep in mind that vaping oil is not like smoking flower. The buds contain about 23% THC on average. The oil is an extract and the percentage of THC is between 65-85%.
This is probably the easiest form of consumption, especially amongst people new to cannabis. It is pleasing, both aesthetically and in terms of taste and flavor. It is also discreet and does not require any equipment or accessories whatsoever. But, you have to be wary of the delayed yet prolonged effects - edibles may take up to 2 hours to “kick in” and up to 12 hours to leave your body.
The recommended dose is 10 mg of THC, but we never tire of saying that novices should start with 2.5 or even less. And always remember - do not rush to take more with edibles.
Keep in mind, that not all edibles have a clear cut indica vs sativa distinction though some are type or even strain specific. As to the majority - think of their effects as those of a hybrid flower, that is somewhere in the middle.
Edibles have a number of subcategories https://silverstemcannabis.com/news-articles/edibles-guide-part-6 that vary by intake method - the way the THC and CBD are introduced into the body. For an in-depth look, check out our Edibles Guide. https://silverstemcannabis.com/news-articles/edibles-guide-part-1. For now, let’s take a look at the major types of edibles available today.
These infused products are made mostly using cannabutter or cannabis infused oil. Taking edibles is pretty straightforward - pick the product based on your preferences for type, flavor, diet, and so on and eat it.
Note that THC from these edibles is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in the longest wait period for the buzz and longer effect. Of course, the effect also depends on THC dosage.
Infused drinks come in great number of flavors - classic and exotic. You can find teas and coffees, classic cola or orange drink, carbonated or not, as well as flavorless soluble powder that can be used to create your own edibles.
The THC from drinks is absorbed in both, your oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. The effects can be usually felt in about 30 minutes and last up to 4 hours.
Tinctures were once the most popular way of cannabis consumption, and they are making a comeback. Their benefits are prompt relief, precise dosage and consistent potency.
Basically, a tincture is cannabinoids extracted from decarboxylated cannabis plant by soaking it in high percentage alcohol. It is consumed sublingually, orally or used to make your own edibles. The latter is one of the easiest and effective ways to reinvent your favorite recipe.
This is the same as pills you buy at the pharmacy, but here you get THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. And you get them in a convenient form along with precise dosage.
Pills are often type / purpose specific - sleep, energizing, and so on.
These are your lotions, creams, patches, bath bombs and other products, where THC is absorbed through the skin.
The upside is localized help with various symptoms, like muscle soreness, spasms, and so on. Patches are also great for prolonged action. The downside is not a very precise dosage. Topicals are also popular for a number of other cannabinoids than the common THC and CBD. Patches provide CBN, THCa, and their combinations.
Now that you know your cannabis products, you can make an educated decision to get what you need. Enjoy, try out new things, and always consume responsibly.
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