If you feel like eating some weed right now, you’re not alone. In the 33 states where people are legally allowed to buy marijuana, dispensaries have largely been considered “essential” and stayed open during the Coronavirus pandemic — and consumers have taken that opportunity to stock up. States like Colorado, California and Oregon have seen double-digit spikes in sales.
A viral pandemic isn’t the right time to puff-puff pass, of course. But getting a little stoned (try an edible, skip the joint for your lungs’ sake) can be a great way for some people — say, a magazine writer — to manage their anxiety and maybe giggle a little.
If you’re new to buying weed, calling the delivery guy can be intimidating. Hell, even if you’ve been smoking weed for ages, you might still have a few questions you’d like to ask your budtender. But, for the sake of social distancing, we asked Nishant Reddy, CEO of A Golden State, one of the oldest continuously operating marijuana cultivators in California, what you need to know before stocking up yourself. From terpenes to freshness, here’s your cheat sheet.
What the hell is a terpene?
Terpenes are organic compounds that are naturally occurring in plants. They are the essential oils that give these plants their distinct aromas and flavors. Around 20,00 terpenes have been categorized in plants and about 100 have been identified in cannabis. In other words, that robust citrus smell a consumer may get from A Golden State’s Sunbeam strain, those are the specific terpenes of this varietal producing that aroma. Likewise, similar to essential oils, these same terpenes may also play a role in the therapeutic effects of cannabis, for example, feeling relaxed, or uplifted.
A lot of products these days include both THC and CBD. How do CBD and THC interact?
CBD and THC are two of the most popular and studied phytocannabinoids within cannabis — in total there are more than 120. Our body has a natural endocannabinoid system designed to interact with cannabis, including CBD and THC. The two can be taken independently, together, or as recent research shows, they can be most beneficial when part of the “entourage effect” alongside cannabis terpenes. Various studies show that CBD and THC may be beneficial for inflammation, stress, insomnia and pain but more research is needed to conclusively say in what combination, dosage and the true nature of the entourage effect.
Again, it’s important to note that cannabis effects people differently and it’s best to start with small, measured dosages. I would suggest people use a CBD isolate and no THC during the day to prevent any adverse effect of THC, but at night, consumers can start with a low ratio of CBD:THC and see how it affects them.
What should a beginner know about indicas, sativas and hybrids?
It’s important to distinguish that these terms are very loose groupings and over the years through breeding and cross-breeding most cannabis varietals exhibit properties of each and the effects are very personal. However, a strain that is a sativa should lend itself to be more high energy, uplifting, social, creative, etc. Whereas, a strong indica should in general be the opposite end of the spectrum. I like to remember it by Indica, “in the couch.” A hybrid is somewhere in between but they tend to lean more in one direction or the other. For example, a sativa dominant hybrid will exhibit properties of an indica such as body high, relaxing, mildly sedative, pain-relief, but still be slightly uplifting and euphoric. This could be a great option to unwind with.
What’s the ideal freshness?
Three months from harvest date. Consumers should look to store their product in air-tight jars, out of direct light, a mid-60-degree temperature (definitely not over 70) and an ideal humidity range is around 60%.
What should buyers know about total THC percentage?
The higher the THC percentage the more intense the psychoactive effects will be. However, THC percentage is not the only variable impacting cannabis strength, cannabinoids and terpenes also play an effect and together this is commonly referred to as the entourage effect. One shouldn’t be fixated on THC percentage. In other words, we don’t buy alcohol solely based on alcohol percentage. Newcomers should definitely focus on lower THC percentages. I personally like 17%-24% as a nice entry point.
Do hydroponic plants produce better marijuana?
This comes down to the preference and skillset of individual growers and their preferred growing mediums. The short answer is no. We grow using organic coco, hydroponically, as well as using methods not mentioned here. Cultivation is a science that is constantly evolving and technologies within are improving faster than ever. We notice differences in yield and quality between the three and have our preferences, but what we produce in each is arguably still the best cannabis in California. However, this is a result of the diversity and mastery of our cultivation team; we have team members with experience in growing using each of the mediums, our superior genetics and commitment to innovation.
What are some good questions to ask a budtender on your first time inside a dispensary?
View the budtender as your cannabis sommelier, ask them what types of product they use: flower, oils, edibles, etc.See if their personal tastes align with your own, if not, maybe find a different budtender who knows more about the specific products you’re interested in. Once you find that person, I would focus on what they are using, what they consider the best and why. Tell them how you want to feel and what you plan to use the cannabis for. Lastly, an important distinguishing factor is whether those brands produce their own cannabis or do they source. This is really important to me, because in the nascent world of cannabis there is a lack of accountability and consistency, so I would only want product from a brand that produces their own product and can stand behind it.