19 Oct Know Your Type: Cannabis Classifications
Cannabis is making a comeback. In 2018, Canada legalized the use of recreational marijuana, a type of cannabis that was considered unlawful for consumption for many years. More Canadians can enjoy cannabis without fearing getting arrested or facing serious consequences.
But when you go into a dispensary or browse for cannabis products online, you might be surprised to see that the word “cannabis” doesn’t always show up. Navigating the world of cannabis can actually be overwhelming. You might find yourself asking a lot of questions:
Do you want Harlequin flower or a Blue Dream shatter?
Will the sticky oil-looking products still get you high?
What is all of this stuff?
Don’t worry. Use this guide to understand the different ways that dispensaries classify cannabis products.
Canadians use cannabis for a long list of reasons: maybe they seek pain relief, they want to get high before bed, or maybe they even want shinier hair and clearer skin. No matter what reason you have for exploring cannabis, these different classifications of cannabis can help to steer you in the right direction.
Marijuana vs. Hemp
Cannabis isn’t just a plant. It’s a genus of flowering plants. The most well-known species of cannabis are the two types that humans love to use and consume. We’ll talk more about the scientific names for those species later. For now, just know them as “marijuana” and “hemp.” These plants are both considered to be cannabis, but used for vastly different purposes.
Hemp has been used for centuries as a material for clothes, ropes, paper, and even milk. Certain parts of the hemp plant are also consumed as a superfood.
Marijuana is more desirable as a controlled substance. It’s smoked, dabbed, vaped, and consumed as various different concentrates. (But we’ll talk more about that later.)
The biggest difference between marijuana and hemp is the presence of one active ingredient: THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a cannabinoid that can get you high. Plants with over .03% THC are considered to be marijuana. Plants with less than .03% THC are considered to be hemp.
This is especially important to know if you are shopping around for hemp oil or CBD oil. While some CBD oil is made from hemp plants, others are made from marijuana. CBD oil may contain THC, even if they claim to have no intoxicating ingredients. Be careful and read the labels on your cannabis products before you buy them.
Medical vs. Recreational
Recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2018. Medicinal, or medical, marijuana was legalized in Canada back in 2001. Patients who wanted to consume cannabis for pain, inflammation, or epilepsy needed a prescription for a doctor so they could legally buy, consume, and carry marijuana.
Nowadays, anyone over the age of 19 can hop online and purchase marijuana legally. But medical marijuana still exists.
Medical marijuana is more accessible and comes in a greater variety than recreational marijuana. Most medical strains are high in CBD and may not contain any THC at all. But you’ll still need a prescription to get medical marijuana. Talk to your health care provider about how CBD can help you treat symptoms of different physical or mental conditions and whether it’s right for you.
Concentrates vs. Flower
CBD oil is one of the hottest products to come out of the cannabis industry. It has helped a countless number of patients (including celebrities) handle stress, joint pain, inflammation, you name it. But CBD doesn’t first exist as an oil. It’s taken from flower, which is what you smoke when you smoke marijuana.
Cannabis grows out of the ground like any other plant. The flower of the cannabis plant is the green “nuggets” that you might recognize as marijuana.
Traditionally, if you want to smoke weed and get high, you grind up that flower, put it in a joint or a bowl, and smoke it. A typical marijuana flower contains up to 25% THC and varying amounts of CBD.
But what if you could extract the THC from the flower and use it to get extra high? This is the idea behind different concentrates. Manufacturers have found ways to take out just the active ingredients in marijuana that they want to consume. Concentrates like budder, wax, and shatter have up to 90% THC. They’re typically ingested as “dabs.”
Due to the high concentration of THC or CBD, concentrates tend to be on the pricier side. You only need just a tiny morsel of concentrate to get the same high as flower. If you’re new to cannabis, try smoking flower first before you move onto the “hard stuff.”
Our blog has additional information if you want to learn more about concentrates and dabbing.
Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid
Let’s go back to the cannabis plant. Marijuana and hemp are not the actual names of species in the cannabis genus. The only distinction between marijuana and hemp is the amount of THC in each plant.
The different species of cannabis include:
- Cannabis indica
- Cannabis sativa
- Cannabis ruderalis
If you want to get high, don’t worry about cannabis ruderalis. It has a consistently low concentration of THC and is very unpopular in the world of recreational marijuana.
Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica are the two main classifications of cannabis that you’ll see on dispensary websites. Hybrids are a mix between the two plants.
Sativas, in general, are better for people who want a more energetic “head high.” They’re better to smoke throughout the day or if you are attending a party. Indicas are more likely to help you wind down at the end of the night. The strong “body high” will also offer pain relief and are a favourite among insomniacs.
Dive deep into the differences between sativas, indicas, and hybrids by checking out our blog.
Within the classification of sativa vs. indica vs. hybrid, you’ll find a long list of different strains of cannabis. These strains have different arrangements of terpenes and cannabinoids that produce unique effects, flavours, and aromas.
A cannabis wheel can help you narrow down what strains to consume based on what you are looking for. Otherwise, talk to your local budtender about what strains they have in stock and what you should experiment with first.
There’s a whole world of cannabis to explore – enjoy!