Don't Go Generalizing
In general the Giant Squirrel has an issue with “hard classifications” in regards to people as it sets up lines in the sand that are usually unnecessary along with prejudgments that in today’s information age can be significantly misinformed or heavily bias based on a definition of that class which may not align with what you believe the definition is.
Regardless, in this article, we will explore the different classifications of cannabis, general types of users, methods of usage and frequency of usage.
A Note About Tribalism
Tribalism has always been around as like-minded people will always gravitate to each other, this is the essence of community.
Since the Internet and specifically social media have become a part of the daily lives of a large portion of the world, micro tribalism seems to be becoming an issue, where we as a society are classifying others over the simplest things and purposely creating conflict in order to “win”.
This article is not intended to be used to label cannabis users with the intent of creating conflict, this article is mainly for self-assessment of all who are reading it to allow them to better understand what might be best for them and their lifestyles.
Types of Cannabis
This section will eventually become an entire article by itself, but this will suffice for the basics for those who are interested or require some basic information if they are just looking into using cannabis for the first time.
THC or CBD (Recreational or Medical)?
Tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, this gives you the “high feeling”. If you have never been high before it is a bit tricky to explain. But the high feels different for different people and for different types of cannabis. It is much like wine, each one will have a slightly different taste and “buzz”, but “still tastes like wine”. Many common aspects of being high include paranoia, hunger, a change in energy levels, a change in focus and many more.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is non-psychoactive, this type of cannabis does not get you high, or it is on par with the “high” you get from taking cough medicine. Most people, at least within North America, believe that there is significant evidence that CBD has medical benefits or at least the potential of benefits but that more research is needed. The medical benefits of CBD are a very high probability, but the possibility that the effects of CBD are exaggerated is a possibility. But if you are 100% sure that there is no possibility, please stop reading and pull your head out of the sand. Nothing is 100% certain in life, except for the paradoxical fact that nothing is 100% certain in life.
While most medical users of cannabis are CBD users, THC does have potential medical benefits also, mainly pertaining to mental health issues and eating disorders.
Both CBD and THC are measured as a percentage usually less than 1% to roughly 30%.
Head or Body
The age-old question of Sativa or Indica. Essentially the “White or Red Wine” debate for cannabis. Some people just want a bottle of wine, some prefer certain types, some say it depends on the occasion or meal and some prefer certain vintages.
Sativa – The head high usually results in more perceived focus, increased energy, increased paranoia and other similar effects. If this sounds like something you prefer then give a sativa a try.
Indica – The body high usually results in a more relaxed “I don’t want to get up” and loss of focus type of high. This is usually good for those who want to relax after a long day, usually not best if you have things to do.
The Rosés of Cannabis – Hybrids
You do not simply mix red and white wine to get a Rosé, nor do you simply mix sativa and indica cannabis to get “a hybrid bowl”, hybrid strains are produced by breeding the two different cannabis plants to create a new strain that has attributes from both parents, much like how Rosé is produced in the early stages of the fermentation process.
Hybrids are normally labelled or measured as percentages of the two types, how this is measured…not a clue. This will be researched later for another article as it is of interest to the Giant Squirrel. Is it a test in a lab like THC and CBD? A calculation? The breeder taking a few puffs and making a guess?
Thoughts on Types
There is a nearly infinite number of “types highs” as each strain does something slightly different than the strain next to it on the shelf. But for the general intents of this article, there are 4, CBD and the three different categories of THC.
Just like having one glass of wine may not be a great indicator of if you enjoy wine or not, getting high once may not be representative of all the potential highs you can have. But just like if you hate the taste of wine, you likely won’t care if it is red or white, if you dislike the feeling of being high, you likely won’t care if it is a head or body high but may want to look at CBD for potential medical benefits as the side effects of these can be significantly less than opioids and other prescription drugs.
Frequency of Use
As mentioned earlier, the Giant Squirrel does not like to categorize people, but for the purposes of defining certain terms that he is likely to be used in later blog posts, he felt the need to type this next section out.
Infrequent or Bluemoon
This classification is being defined as those who use cannabis during social situations or infrequently roughly once a month or less. These users have a tendency to suffer from heightened paranoia and usually consume based on whatever is offered at the time.
Consistent or Steady
These users are normally the weekend warrior types that may not use daily but will use when they are out partying on the weekend or when they feel the desire to do so. Usually, the usage is 1-3 times week and usually have a preferred consumption type, but won’t be that picky about it. Students tend to fall into this category.
Regular or Frequent
Daily use or near daily use is where these users tend to fall into. Medical users also tend to fall into this category. This category could also be an early indicator that someone is becoming dependent on the effects of cannabis. Just like having a single drink to relax after work may or may not be an indicator of dependence or that something is wrong. It can sometimes be a sign of things to come.
A way to determine if it is becoming an issue or not is to stop using for a week, if for recreational use. Consult a doctor if it is for medical use (duh). If you struggle after a day or two to stay sober or in your mind the thought of “need to” comes up, this could indicate a dependency issue and the reason for it should be addressed.
Heavy or Habitual
The “wake and bake” users, essentially they are constantly high, this indicates that they are dependent on the use of cannabis to cope with their issues. These users can be medical users, which can be expected if the symptoms being treated are serious enough. For recreational users, this indicates a likely substance abuse problem.
The same concept of just having a drink each night isn’t definitive that you have an alcohol dependency issue, but if you are drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels each day it is pretty much definitive that you have a dependency issue.
These users are usually attempting to deal with underlining issues and using cannabis as a way to treat the symptoms. They also have a tendency to become users of other “harder” drugs to deal with the underlining cause of their issues, which is a basis for the “gateway drug“.
Just like alcohol, there are high functioning habitual users, they can be high all day long, hold jobs, have a family and operate a normal life.
But there are those who just like being high and are not necessarily addicted mentally to cannabis. An example of this would be Joe Rogan while he is high quite often and would be classified as a habitual user, he performs “Sober October” each year, where he stops using for the month of October.
A rule of thumb is;
If you can stop, fairly easily, using for an extended period of time (2 weeks or more) you are probably in the clear. But it is always a good idea to “take a break” every few months to make sure you can and there are also additional benefits to these breaks which will be detailed later in another post.
Thoughts on Frequency
Cannabis is a tricky beast, but less so than alcohol or tobacco as those two have physical addiction aspects and it can be hard to tell when the “need” to have that drink or cigarette is a physical symptom or a mental symptom. With cannabis, there has been very little research showing any physical dependency of cannabis for people. Any addiction to cannabis is almost exclusively a mental battle. Further research hopefully will provide a higher level of assurance in this statement.
There are four basic methods of cannabis consumption.
The least healthy of the four consumption methods. Smoking dry flower directly through a joint or dry pipe does not provide any filtration of the carcinogens that are present when you burn dry cannabis.
Joints and dry pipes are inexpensive, discrete and fairly easy to use. This tends to be the main methods for social users.
Water Bongs and Bubblers
While the research is still lacking, there have been indicators that using a bubbler or a water bong helps with the filtration of carcinogens from cannabis use with minimal, if any, reduction in effect. This is further indicated by the fact that you need to change our your bong water as it gets “dirty”. In theory, anything that gets trapped in the water would have gone into your lungs or at least your mouth.
This method is normally used by those who want a smoother experience when smoking and a strong high. Some research shows, because of the smoother feel while smoking, users tend to smoke a bit more resulting in a higher high.
The healthiest method when inhaling cannabis, vaporizers are more expensive than most methods and are usually used by frequent or habitual users due to the investment required for a quality dry herb vaporizer.
The high from vaporizers is slightly different than that of a bong, the high is less intense compared to a bong but is more evenly spread across the time period.
Unlike the first three methods, edibles and oils take time to hit you. This is normally 20-90 minutes, depending on what you’ve had to eat or drink and your basic metabolism. This is the healthiest way to consume cannabis, however, not everyone can get high from edible cannabis and oils.
Usually made into butter and subsequently into baked goods, there is also candies, teas and oils available for consumption. THC binds to fat well, so mixing it with butter is usually best if making it at home.
Commonly referred to as the crack of cannabis, other names include shatter, wax and dabs. Cannabis concentrate is made by extracting the THC or CBD from cannabis using either butane, ethanol or CO2. An article detailing the process can be found here.
As the article indicates, there are risks associated with these methods as cannabis concentrate is still not legalized in Canada as of April 1, 2019, and therefore is not regulated properly, resulting in needing to obtain it through illegal markets, which can result in poor quality controls.
The high is usually much more intense than the previous methods and can be quite enjoyable. But like everything fun, this can also result in bad experiences and we recommend you don’t start out trying concentrate as your first, or even second, experience with cannabis.
Each method has it’s own general timeframe, of course, this is affected by how much you cannabis you take, how often you smoke and the type. The general hours of feeling high are as follows, please note that you can still be high and not “feel it” as you come down;
Joints & Pipes: 2-3 hours
Bongs & Bubblers: 2-4 hours
Vaporizers: 2-5 hours
Edibles: 6+ hours (can last days if you have too much)
Concentrate: 3-4 hours
We have decided to create a graphic to roughly illustrate these “high-frames”.
You will hear it plenty, but different strokes for different folks.
The method, frequency and the type of cannabis you consumption is entirely your choice, it is just best to make one that best suits your lifestyle and requirements. Just like with wine, there is no right or wrong choices, regardless of what the wine snobs will tell you.
If you enjoy it in reasonable amounts, it is the right choice for you.