We know how to choose good weed by looking for trichomes or dankness. But, do we know which is best for what ails us?
It seems like there’s a never-ending assortment of cannabis products and accessories these days. But none of that matters if you don’t have good weed. But how do you know what’s good weed and what isn’t? Understanding what makes up the cannabis plant is key.
Cannabis contains a number of active compounds that each uniquely contribute to the varied effects of different cannabis strains. What someone considers to be good weed might not be to someone else; it all depends on what they’re looking for. So understanding the active components of cannabis and how they work is crucial to determining the best cannabis strain for you.
The Significance of Cannabinoids for Good Weed
Cannabinoids are probably the most well-known type of active cannabis compound. Researchers have identified over 100 cannabinoids, but the main two that can powerfully effect the qualities of cannabis plants are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These cannabinoids act on the endocannabinoid system through cannabinoid receptors, non-cannabinoid receptors, and the modulation of other receptor pathways to induce a range of effects.
THC is known for its psychoactive effects as well as its potential to induce a range of therapeutic responses. Understanding THC’s capabilities is key to understanding what “good weed” might mean for you.
The psychoactive “high” that THC induces is certainly one of its draw cards. But, THC offers many more effects than just a “high”.
Health benefits from THC can include:
- Pain Relief: THC is thought to reduce pain by activating receptors that initiates a response to hold back inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters at their synapses. This leads to the modulation of opioid and serotonin release.
- Reducing Nausea: THC has been shown to significantly reduce nausea levels. This might occur through THC’s interaction with the 5-HT3 receptor, which could reduce nausea caused by activated 5-HT3.
- Improved Appetite: THC has demonstrated an ability to increase appetite. This is thought to occur through the modulation of the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway that is involved in food reward.
Unlike its psychoactive sister, CBD doesn’t induce a high. Regardless, its therapeutic benefits make it a key component of quality cannabis.
Health benefits of CBD can include:
- Pain Relief: CBD may also act as an analgesic through its activation of the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, and the following cellular cascade and inhibitory response. These could modulate pain perception.
- Improved Mood: CBD may be able to improve mood by reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is also thought to occur through its ability to initiate serotonin production through activation of the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor.
- Reduce Neurological Disease Symptoms: CBD may be able to reduce the symptoms of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s through its potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
Terpenes: What Are These Compounds?
Terpenes are another of cannabis’ active compounds, although these aren’t unique to the cannabis plant. Cannabis has lower concentrations of terpenes than cannabinoids like THC or CBD. However, there is a large variety of terpenes, and much like cannabinoids, each can induce a variety of effects.
These compounds are also responsible for the distinctive smells of different cannabis strains, which can play an important part in an individual’s enjoyment of the plant. One of terpenes’ main functions is to create a distinctive odor that will either attract or deter an animal, depending on which reaction is most beneficial. Cannabis strains like Blueberry and Lavender were named after their distinctive aromas resulting from the particular terpenes present in the strains.
Terpenes are another important component of choosing the perfect cannabis. Understanding each terpene’s different effects will help you decide which is the best strain for you.
These are just some of the effects from some of the most popular terpenes:
- Limonene: Reduces stress and anxiety levels, decreases inflammation, and helps with healthy digestion.
- Humulene: Possibly provides anti-cancer activity, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Linalool: May help to boost cognitive function and reduce pain.
- Myrcene: Promising potentil pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial compound.
How To Make The Most Of Cannabis’ Components
So, how do you make the most of these specific compounds?
The first step is to ensure you have a strain that contains the right cannabinoids and terpenes for your needs. You also need to make sure these are present in adequate concentration levels.
The cannabinoids, THC and CBD, are also present as precursor forms in raw cannabis – THCa or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and CBDa or cannabidiolic acid, respectively. These need heat in order to decarboxylate and convert into THC and CBD. The active THC and CBD that we know are simply the non-acidic versions of these precursors. But all four have medicinal benefits, which means raw cannabis can help too.
If you’re feeling a bit lost in your quest to find good weed, the first thing you need to do is find a good budtender. With the right help, you will get the strains you need to feel energized, relaxed, sleepy, or happy. It may feel like a long hunt, but once you’ve found the perfect strain, you’ll see it’s all been worth it.