Tune in weekly while we explore frequently asked cannabis questions!
As cannabis becomes more accessible, it is important to acknowledge that it’s okay for the public to feel fears and to have concerns. For new or inexperienced cannabis consumers, asking questions and doing your research is an important step towards cultivating a safe, responsible and enjoyable personal practise.
Here at FARM, we offer a comfortable and welcome experience for new users to ask questions in house. However, knowing what questions to ask is as important part of the process! Here we aim to answer some frequently asked questions and provide some best practices to help new users set themselves up for success in determining what their normal is when it comes to cannabis consumption.
Is Cannabis Legal?
Currently, in Canada, cannabis is not legal unless you are a medical patient with a valid cannabis prescription from your healthcare provider. The federal government has officially announced that cannabis will become legal for non-medical (otherwise called recreational) users on October 17th, 2018. During this transition period, cannabis consumers are taking the risk of participating in what is still deemed an illegal activity.
Recreational or Medical: what’s the difference?
The difference between recreational and medical cannabis is a blurry and unclear divide. Many people with a doctor prescription and medical cannabis also enjoy it for recreation and many recreational consumers are using cannabis as a tool for self-care or treatment. Medical cannabis is legal if you have a prescription and comes from a licensed producer (someone legally allowed to grow and sell cannabis) who ensures set quality control standards and lab testing. Recreational cannabis, as mentioned above, is yet to be federally legal in Canada, however many storefront dispensaries have begun to identify as recreational in anticipation of this transition. This cannabis may not be lab tested or held to any set standard for quality control.
Where can I buy it?
The City of Vancouver, in an effort to get a handle on the passionate cannabis culture overwhelming the city and to provide options for safe access to cannabis, decided in June of 2015 that they would regulate this influx by offering the ability to apply for a municipal Medical Marijuana-Related Use (MMRU) license for retail shops. To date, 18 dispensaries in Vancouver have been issued a municipal business license within this program and many more are in the earlier stages of the process. FARM was #15 to be licensed in early 2018. Over 50 dispensaries continue to operate outside of this municipal framework.
In order to purchase cannabis, dispensaries require a range of qualifying steps. Some ask only for proof of ID stating you are 19 years of age or older, some require doctor notes or an in-house consultation or application form. Call us, or your dispensary of choice, for more information!
Should you wish to go through the medical system, talk to your doctor about applying to the ACMPR program (more information to come in our next blog post!).
Where can I smoke it?
Until cannabis becomes federally legal in October, smoking cannabis in public is a risk and should be done with discretion. At that time, Bill 30 – the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act for BC will come into effect and has specified that there is to be no smoking cannabis near schools, public parks, in cars (whether in motion or not), at transit stops, or at work. Municipal bylaws will also play a role in the specifics of where you can and cannot smoke.
Vancouver has a variety of cannabis lounges where you can provide ID and a small fee to partake indoors, however these are not legal operations and the government has not yet developed a plan for legalizing smoke lounges.
How much can I buy at once?
Bill C-45: the Cannabis Act of Canada has specific that as of October 17, 2018 adults are able to purchase and carry up to 30g of dried cannabis on their person at any one time. This implies that the purchasing limit will be 30g (which is just over one ounce).
Dispensaries in operation now have varying limits on purchasing dried flower or other cannabis products and a quick call or visit will get you this information.
How much should I consume?
Start low and go slow! Cannabis folklore often claims that someone who tries cannabis the first time, or even first couple times, may not experience many effects. Because of this, first timers may indulge too much and experience adverse side effects such as nausea or paranoia.
Everyone is different and cannabis is regulated in the body by the endocannabinoid system (see our Culture page for more information on this) which is a very subjective and individualized system. Its best to ask advice from a seasoned consumer or informed budtender on dosage and method of consumption will play a large role in this.
Try a little to start, see how your body and mind feel and leave ample time for the cannabis to take effect (particularly for edibles which take much longer to feel than smoking cannabis).
How do I consume it? What products can I choose from?
There are many products currently available with varying effects and strengths, including:
Dried Flower – the most traditional form. Often rolled into a joint or used in a pipe or bong and smoked.
Edibles – food items made with cannabis that has been heated to a temperature that allows the active ingredients in the cannabis to release when consumed. There is a large range in products and dosages; many have undetermined dosages or very high dosages which makes controlling your high challenging.
Infusions – cannabis extracted and infused in a variety of products. Capsules mixed with MCT oil, tinctures with a solvent such as grapeseed oil, and even honey are common forms of infusions.
Concentrates – including hash, shatter, budder, live resin, rosin, oil, wax, distillate and more! These are not typically recommend to new users due to their powerful strength and often the requirement of a specific device in order to consume the product.
Topicals – cannabis infused lotions, balms and oils that are absorbed through the skin often for pain relief.
Suppositories and more – cannabis products inserted rectally or vaginally for those who cannot or prefer to not ingest or smoke cannabis.
*The Canadian government has only built the coming framework to regulate dried flower and infused oils for the first year after legalization. A wider range in products can be explored within the medical framework and regulation of other products will come with time.
What if I don’t know how to roll a joint?
You can purchase a little pipe, an inexpensive joint roller, a pre-rolled joint, or ask your friendly budtender if they mind rolling one for you! It takes some time to get the hang of but you can also always learn from a friend or by watching tutorials online.
What is the lab testing process? Is a higher percent better?
Lab testing allows consumers to make informed purchasing decisions based on strength and composition of cannabis products. THC and CBD content are predominantly measured, as well as terpene profiles. Products will often come with a THC percentage, however higher does not always mean better! Sometimes it doesn’t even mean stronger, as effects can range depending on other cannabinoid content and terpene influence. We recommend new users try lower percentages to start.
What does it feel like?
Effects vary wildly across consumers. It can make you feel euphoric, silly and giggly, or creative and motivated, or sleepy and hungry. It can also cause nervousness, paranoia or nausea. Dose, method of consumption and type of product all play a large role in the effects as well as one’s individual body chemistry, surrounding environment and mental state at the time of use. Experience is very subjective to one’s unique cannabis practice and over time can be designed to fit you.
What if I get too high?
Try to anticipate your limits by starting slow. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel too high, don’t panic. Hydrate by drinking water. Try getting some fresh air by going for a walk or lay down and do some breathing exercises. Distract yourself by listening to soothing music or meditating. Know that this situation is a pretty common one in cannabis consumers and it will pass. If you need to, seek medical advice.
How long does it last? How long does it stay in my system?
How long cannabis effects last depends on a lot of factors, including by not limited to: how much you consumed, how strong the product was, how quickly your body metabolizes cannabinoids, and even how much you ate or hydrated beforehand.
There is no clear window of detection for how long cannabis can be found in your system. Conventional wisdom claims approximately 30 days but this is often contested and quite subjective to the type of test used and your unique body chemistry.
What are the risks of cannabis use?
Due to such a prolonged period of prohibition, clear scientific studies are lacking when it comes to the risks of cannabis use. Youth and young adults who are still developing are more at risk of negative effects of cannabis. Research is rapidly gaining momentum on adverse health effects.
Short term risks include:
- Over-consumption leading to “greening out”: a period of dizziness and nausea or vomiting
- Impairment of ability to drive safely
- Lessened short term memory function
- Changes in mood
- Mental health reactions
Long term risks include:
- Strain on your lungs from smoking (newly found to be reversible with discontinued use)
- Development of a dependency
- Mental health consequences
What is CBD? What’s the difference between whole plant/full-spectrum and isolate?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabis compound with many medical and therapeutic benefits but without the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD can help with inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures and so on. More and more research is being done on the potential of CBD and various CBD products have come to market. Some of these products are made with CBD isolate while others use CBD whole plant, or full-spectrum.
CBD isolate is a pure, isolated CBD compound all by itself with no other active compounds. Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD alongside minor amounts of other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBL, and trace amounts of THC, as well as cannabis terpenes (aromatic flavonoids found in cannabis). Recent research has shown that CBD full-spectrum has a range of benefits not consistently found in CBD isolate. This is believes to be due to the “entourage effect”, aka CBD works better with it’s chemical buddies than on its own. However, for those who know their exact dosage and require accurate measurements, CBD isolate may be preferred.
General Best Practices:
Peer-to-peer advice on how to safely cultivate your own unique cannabis practice:
- Start low and go slow.
- Don’t consume cannabis and drive.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should refrain from consuming cannabis.
- Consume cannabis in a safe and comfortable environment.
- Do your research and ask for advice – take both with a grain of salt.
- Stay hydrated.
- Find out what works specifically for YOU.
- Learn your limits.
- Know your rights and stay up to date on policy changes that may affect you as a consumer.
- Engage in the cannabis community and find your people!
- Be safe, be responsible, and have fun!
Farm is interested in educating the public on "the new normal"
What IS normal?
We want to find out and that includes YOU!
It’s not often that we experience a cultural shift like the legalization of cannabis. Guiding the public to understand how this will affect them requires cannabis leaders to be ambassadors to “a new normal”. For reference, think about all the bad etiquette that came with cell phones and social media. Now imagine legal and unregulated public cannabis consumption – yikes!
What can we do?
We can agree upon a shared Code of Conduct and produce a culture that is balanced across our Four Pillars of Wellness. This offers us as a team (as well as the public!) a foundation to reference for what legal, recreational cannabis could look like. On top of this, we can continue to develop our unique and special cannabis practises knowing that we are grounded in a shared set of values.