What are THC and CBD?

Some of the compounds found in cannabis have such long, science-y names, yet are so pervasive in cannabis culture that their abbreviations roll off the tongues of cannabis connoisseurs of all stripes. To the uninitiated, however, it just sounds like a whole lot of alphabet soup.

Here’s a quick description of the two most well-known cannabinoids: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) and cannabidol (CBD).

What is THC?

THC is a psychoactive component within cannabis. In the 1980’s, cannabis strains had a potency (i.e: concentrentration of THC) that averaged out to 3%. The search for more pronounced effects has yielded strains that are now much more potent, averaging out at 15%. Some strains can contain up to 30% THC.

What is CBD?

On the other hand, cannabidol is purported to deliver little to no psychoactive effects. Some research even shows that CBD can block or lower the effects of THC, particularly when the ratio THC-CBD is higher on the CBD end. Strains with more than 4% CBD are considered to be high-CBD.

It’s important to note that even an “all CBD” product can contain trace amounts of THC.

Buying cannabis

If you haven’t consumed it before or have not consumed it in several years, we cannot stress enough the importance of starting low and going slow. Start by trying a strain that either has a balanced THC-CBD content or a low THC content. Track your use over time and make notes as to what you like and what you don’t.

It’s also a good idea to buy cannabis in as small quantities as you can: while THC is an important factor in how you’ll feel, the different components in cannabis affect everyone differently. Further, different components of cannabis interact with each other in different ways. Your own experience may change from one day to the next.

Storing Cannabis

  • Keep cannabis away from children and pets (Albertan cannabis retail stores must have child-resistant packaging for sale);
  • Stash your cannabis in a dark, mostly dry location;
  • Separate your cannabis strains: store each strain individually;
  • Ideally, use food-safe glass containers instead of bags or plastic containers;
  • If you’re worried about the cannabis getting too dry, add a humectant – a 2-way humidity packet that will control the relative humidity in a container – or store your cannabis in a humidor maintained at a maximum of 64% humidity;
  • If you make edibles (cannabis-infused food or beverage) or topicals (creams, salves or body butters), make sure to label them clearly and store them way from children and pets.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice on any subject matter or as encouragement to consume cannabis. If you want to explore the possibility of using cannabis as a medical product, please contact your physician.

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