Some people smoke cannabis and enjoy a calming high. Others smoke without getting high at all. Some smoke without getting a calming high, and instead experience an anxiety trip.
So, what influences the outcome of your experience?
2. Pre-existing conditions
First, let's talk about quantity. First time users or anyone trying a new strain for the first time are advised to use a very small amount. Without trying the specific strain of cannabis it is difficult to know how you will be affected, so the safest method is to start slow. Cannabis has changed over the last few decades and become substantially stronger because of breeding.
A study concluded that since the 1980s, the THC concentration has increased by 30%. Cannabis back in the day used to have on average under 10% THC, now it’s common to find strains above 20%, and in some cases over 30%. Further, new technology has allowed for the improvement and inventions of new forms of cannabis concentrate, such as high terpene full spectrum extracts (HTFSE).
The warning is to try as little as possible the first time just to get a feel for it. And sometimes you just try too little, which may be why you don’t end up feeling high. This is particularly true for those who are regular cannabis users, as they will have a higher tolerance.
Regularly smoking cannabis will build up a tolerance, just like other substances such as coffee and alcohol. Tolerance is essentially needing more of the particular substance than you previously did. To reduce your tolerance, we suggest trying a new strain or a new method of consuming cannabis. For example, switching from smoking joints to using a bong.
So, if you smoke too little or have built up a tolerance, you might not end up with a high. We recommend waiting 30 minutes, and if you do not feel the effects, try smoking a bit more cannabis.
Pre-existing conditions, specifically anxiety conditions, can change how your brain is affected by cannabis. In fact, studies show that people with acute stress could be preventing their own ability to get high. Studies have shown that stress stimulates the mobilization of endocannabinoids in part of your brain. Without getting too technical, the cannabinoid receptors in this specific part of the brain known as the basolateral amygdala, contribute to the formation of fear memories and anxiogenesis. Anxiogenesis is a substance in the brain that actually causes anxiety.
If you have anxiety and you try to smoke cannabis and get high, it may cause more anxiety. This can be upsetting if you are smoking cannabis in order to help with your anxiety.
Now, this doesn't mean that every single person who has anxiety will not be able to get high and experience worse anxiety. It just means that people with serious, pre-existing anxiety conditions, when smoking certain strains of cannabus, might not get high. In fact, they might have the opposite experience, one full of fearful memories and even more anxiety. By starting slow and experimenting with different strains you can find what works best for you with your pre-existing conditions.
Those with serious pre-existing psychotic conditions have been found at particular risk for this unwanted outcome.
Some seedbanks will allow you to choose a strain is best for your ailment. This will make sure you get the perfect strain for you!
But let's look at strains a little more closely.
We've mentioned strains a few times. People who are new to cannabis might not realize there are different strains, and they can produce very different highs.
You could smoke cannabis, thinking you're going to feel a crazy high in your brain, but instead you simply get a weird feeling in your body. Or, you think that when you smoke cannabis and get high you'll feel relaxed, melt into your couch, but instead, you feel energized.
Strain is the slang tern for cultivar. A cultivar is a variety of the plant produced by selective breeding. Think about those lovely Poinsettias you see around Christmas time. Most often you will see bright red ones, however other colors exist. This is down to breeders selectively breeding them in order to make a new cultivar, such as a pink and white spotted Poinsettia.
The same goes for cannabis. Breeders will take note of desired traits, and selectively breed those plants to create a new cultivar- aka strain. There are so many different strains of cannabis that exist and many different sough-after traits.
If you visit a cannabis shop or you start growing on your own you need to be aware that there are three different classifications of cannabis:
Indica and Sativas have two distinct highs. As you may have guessed, a hybrid is a strain that is a mix of both Indica and Sativa. Hybrid strains are very common.
Chemical Profile of Sativa vs. Indica
Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa are two different species of the same plant.
Cannabis is a genus of flowering herbs in the family Cannabaceae. There are 11 other genera in this family, such as Humulus, a genus that includes hops, a plant that is used to make beer.
Cannabis is a rather small genus, with only 3 species. Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Sativa strains grow much taller. They are known for having narrow leaves, and they have longer flowering cycles. These grow best in warmer climates. Some of the most popular strains include Durban Poison, Panama Red, and Acapulco Gold.
Indica strains are shorter, they have broad leaves, and short flowering cycles. These grow best in colder climates. The most popular strains include Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush, and Mazar I Sharif.
Cannabis ruderalis is a variety of the cannabis plant that has low THC, and generally high CBD content. It can withstand harsher climates and unfavorable conditions. This plant also flowers when it reaches maturity, regardless of daylight. Basically, this variety is not photoperiod dependent, unlike cannabis sativa and indica that need a certain daylength in order to flower. Ruderalis is commonly bred with cannabis sativa or indica in order to produce auto-flowering seeds. Autoflowering seeds can be handy as you do not need to alter the amount of light your plants receive each day.
If you think of the quintessential high that you get after smoking cannabis, you’re probably thinking of the head high. That is achieved with Sativa strains. Sativa strains give you a cognitive high. They usually make you feel energized, so they can help with things like social anxiety, creativity, or stimulation for physical activity.
Indica strains are more relaxing with sedative properties. This is a high you feel throughout your body. It can be beneficial to those with physical pain, as it will relax your body. Cannabis indica is also helpful to those who have difficulty sleeping, as it can make you tired.
Why Terpenes Matter
It's not guaranteed of course that smoking Indica strains will automatically sedate you or Sativa strains will lift you up. There are other things to consider such as the CBD and THC levels and terpenes.
Terpenes are what give plants their aromatic compounds, whether it's fruits, vegetables, or cannabis. These aromatic compounds are produced in the same part of the plant that produces THC and CBD- in the trichomes.
When you smell cannabis, the aroma is the result of terpenes. Moreover, these terpenes play a significant role in the high you achieve regardless of strain.
What Are The Most Common?
Terpineol. This relaxes the mind and gives you energy.
Myrcene. This enhances the psychoactivity of THC, and can help with sedation and relaxation. It is the most abundant terpene in cannabis.
Linalool. This is sometimes used for pain management, or treating stress and anxiety, or insomnia.
Alpha and Beta Pinene. This is thought to treat inflammation and asthma.
Humulene. This is sometimes used for its antibacterial properties, pain management abilities, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Beta-Caryophyllene. This is thought to help with insomnia, pain management and have antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties.
Do you have a favorite terpene? Let us know in the comments below!
So, if you smoke cannabis and don't get high, take some time to reflect on the experience. Did you not feel anything at all? Did you feel a heightened sense of anxiety? Did you feel something in your body and not your head?
Figuring out what happened during your experience will help you to make whatever changes are necessary to achieve the experience you really want next time.
Are you considering growing your own cannabis? There are so many benefits to growing your own, such as choosing exactly what strain you want to grow. Check us our at Grobo.io