The words “indica” and “sativa” were introduced in the 18th century to describe different species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The term “sativa” described hemp plants found in Europe and western Eurasia, where it was cultivated for its fiber and seeds. Cannabis indica refers to the intoxicating varieties discovered in India, where it was harvested for its seeds, fiber, and hashish production.
Indica – “Indica” has come to describe stout, broad-leaf plants, thought to deliver sedating effects. These broad-leaf drug (BLD) varieties are technically Cannabis indica ssp. Afghanica. Indica is known for that “in the couch” feeling – more of a relaxing body high.
Sativa – Today, “sativa” refers to tall, narrow-leaf varieties of cannabis, thought to induce energizing effects. However, these narrow-leaf drug (NLD) varieties were originally Cannabis indica ssp. Sativa strains are known for their energizing effects.
Hemp – What we call “hemp” refers to the industrial, non-intoxicating varieties harvested primarily for fiber, seeds, and CBD. However, this was originally named Cannabis sativa.
The cannabis plant is composed of hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids that create a unique harmony of effects in the human body. THC and CBD are the two most common cannabinoids and are the main drivers of cannabis’ therapeutic and recreational effects.
- THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) makes us feel hungry and high, and relieves symptoms like pain and nausea.
- CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound known to alleviate anxiety, pain, inflammation, and many other medical ailments.
Cannabis contains dozens of different cannabinoids, but start by familiarizing yourself with THC and CBD first. Instead of choosing a strain based on its indica or sativa classification, consider basing your selection on these three buckets instead (both indica and sativa strains exhibit these different cannabinoid profiles):
- THC-dominant strains are primarily chosen by consumers seeking a potent euphoric experience. These strains are also selected by patients treating pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more. If you tend to feel anxious with THC-dominant strains or dislike other side effects associated with THC, try a strain with higher levels of CBD.
- CBD-dominant strains contain only small amounts of THC and are widely used by those highly sensitive to THC or patients who need clear-headed symptom relief.
- Balanced THC/CBD strains contain similar levels of THC and CBD, offering mild euphoria alongside symptom relief. These tend to be a good choice for novice consumers seeking an introduction to cannabis signature high.
Your tolerance to cannabis, the amount you consume (dosage), and the consumption method will also determine how a strain affects you. Consider the following questions when looking for the right strain or product.
- How much experience do you have with cannabis? If your tolerance is low, consider a low-THC strain in low doses.
- Are you susceptible to anxiety or other side effects of THC? If so, try a strain high in CBD.
- Do you want the effects to last a long time? If you do, consider edibles (starting with a low dose). Conversely, if you seek a short-term experience, use inhalation methods or a tincture.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a strain, but if you find that indica strains consistently deliver a positive experience, then by all means, stick to what you know. However, if you’re still searching for that ideal strain, these are important details to keep in mind.
Let’s start with the first and most obvious piece of advice: slowly ease into a THC-dominant cannabis strain, as they’re more likely to cause anxiety and paranoia. Settle yourself into a comfortable place and start with a low dose, maybe even just a single small hit if it’s your first time.
While many strains today tend to stretch toward a THC ceiling of 20-25%, those with less than 15% THC typically provide a less overwhelming experience. Keep in mind you’ll need lab-tested cannabis to know how much THC a flower contains, as amounts can vary between strains and even individual harvests.
What works for one beginner may not be the best for the next, but the below recommendations are meant to be starting points for those looking for a more balanced and mellow experience. These strains tend to deliver a more gentle euphoric experience, but once again, check the testing information specific to the item you’re interested in buying. If it has a THC content that exceeds 20%, chances are that strain may be too potent for your purposes.
Our parting advice to you aspiring cannabis champions: be mindful of the delivery method. The strain is only half of the story; smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting can all affect your overall experience. There’s no right or wrong choice here for beginners, but there are nuances between them that should be considered.
Most people begin cannabis with smoking, which has its benefits and drawbacks. One advantage smoking offers is dose-control–it’s easy to take a small amount, and the acute effects usually subside after 20 to 30 minutes. But if you can recall the burning sensation in your throat the first time you took a hit, you can imagine that smoking may also turn some folks off entirely.
Vaporizing may be the most ideal delivery method for newbies. It’s easy on the throat and lungs, dosing is easy, and the flower’s flavors are usually better preserved. Portable oil-filled vaporizer pens are also a great place to begin since you can take a hit as needed, and there’s no complicated assembly involved.
Edibles are a fantastic way to get around smoking cannabis. However, if you’re new to the game, start slow and dose low; the effects can take up to an hour or two to kick in, and they tend to be a lot more intense and long-lasting than inhaled cannabis. Novice consumers should start with a small dose–maybe just 5mg–and work their way up to the standard 10-20mg doses.
Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions and balms that permits absorption into the skin for relief of pain, inflammation, and other localized symptoms. Most of them won’t get you high at all, so topicals are highly recommended to patients who want to try medical cannabis without all the cerebral hassle.
Warning: Cannabis has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA, there is limited information on side effects, and there may be health risks associated with using cannabis. Cannabis should be kept away from children at all times.
Warning: Anyone under the influence of cannabis should not drive or operate a vehicle or machinery. Cannabis can impair your driving skills by slowing your reaction time, coordination, and concentration. Driving and operating machinery under the influence is illegal (M.G.L. c. 90.24)
You may not resell the cannabis you have purchased from Green N’ Go to any other individual. For first time offenders, possessing over one (1) ounce of cannabis with the intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or cultivate is punishable by a fine of $500 – $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two (2) years.
Do not mix cannabis with alcohol.
Do not consume cannabis infused products on an empty stomach. It is recommended to consume cannabis infused products on a full stomach as it helps in lowering the intensity of effects.
Children and Pets
Always store all cannabis products in a locked area that is out of sight and reach of all children and pets. Keep cannabis in the child-resistant packaging from the store. Never use cannabis around children. When you are using cannabis, make sure an adult who can look after your children is nearby. Secondhand cannabis smoke contains THC and other chemicals that can affect the health of children.
Dependency and Abuse
Some people who use cannabis long term and are trying to quit report mild withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult. Some people may also experience addiction, and show the signs and symptoms of drug abuse.
- Sacrifices: A person with substance dependence might give up some activities that previously brought them joy. For example, a person with alcohol use disorder may turn down an invitation to go camping or spend a day on a boat if no alcohol is available. A person with nicotine dependence may decide not to meet up with friends if they plan to go to a smoke-free pub or restaurant.
- Dropping hobbies and activities: As an addiction progresses, the individual may stop partaking in pastimes they enjoy. People who are dependent on tobacco, for example, might find they can no longer physically cope with taking part in their favorite sport.
- Secrecy and solitude: In many cases, a person with a substance use disorder may use the substance alone or in secret.
- Denial: A significant number of people with substance use disorder are not aware that they have a problem. They might be aware of physical dependence on a substance but deny or refuse to accept the need to seek treatment, believing that they can quit “anytime” they want to.
- Legal issues: This is more a characteristic of some alcohol and illicit drug dependencies. Legal problems may occur either because the substance impairs judgment or causes the individual to take more risks to the extent of causing public disorder or violence, or breaking the law to get the substance in the first place.
- Financial difficulties: An expensive substance can lead to sizable and regular financial sacrifices to secure a regular supply.
Symptoms of addiction that cause mental disorders include the following.
- An inability to stop using: In many cases, such as a dependence on nicotine, alcohol, or other substances, a person will have made at least one serious but unsuccessful attempt to give up. This might also be physiological, as some substances, such as heroin, are chemically addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms if a person stops taking them.
- Use and abuse of substances continue despite health problems: The individual continues regularly taking the substance, even though they have developed related illnesses. For example, a smoker may continue smoking after the development of a lung or heart disease. They may or may not be aware of the health impact of the substance or behavior.
- Dealing with problems: A person with addiction commonly feels the need to take the drug or carry out the behavior to deal with their problems.
- Obsession: A person may become obsessed with a substance, spending more and more time and energy finding ways of getting their substance, and in some cases how they can use it.
- Taking risks: An individual with an addiction may take risks to obtain the substance or engage in the behavior, such as trading sex or stealing for illicit drugs, drug money, or the drugs themselves. While under the influence of some substances, a person with substance use disorder may engage in risky activities, such as fast and dangerous driving or violence.
- Taking an initial large dose: This is common with alcohol use disorder. The individual may rapidly consume large quantities of alcohol in order to feel the effects and feel good.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Hotline: 1-800-662-4357