On October 17, 2018, Canada became one of the first – and largest – countries in the world to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, second only to Uruguay.  This landmark decision has brought with it plenty of excitement for new and longstanding users alike, as well as curiosity and questions about what exactly cannabis is and how it affects the human body. 

Cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana, ganja, pot, weed and over 1,200 other slang terms, refers to a group of three plants – Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis – with flowers that can be harvested and dried to produce one of the most common drugs in the world for both medicinal and recreational purposes.  

Cannabis is made up of around 100 naturally occurring molecules, known as cannabinoids, that work separately and in unison to produce the various affects you feel when you inhale or ingest cannabis.

There are two cannabinoids in particular that have been identified and extracted from the whole cannabis plant, which are often emphasized to differentiate between strains and effects in recreational cannabis products: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

What is CBD?

Cannabinol (CBD) is one of the most well-known active compounds found within the cannabis plant. With many people talking about the pleasant, “non-psychoactive” effects of this isolated cannabinoid, CBD products are flying off shelves in cannabis stores.

Like cannabis plants, humans also have naturally occurring cannabinoids that interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and help to regulate our bodies’ overall state of balance.

CBD distinctly works with the human ECS to increase or improve the production of our own cannabinoids. This supportive relationship has no psychoactive properties, but rather affects our mind and body in a variety of ways.

Recent studies have shown that CBD may also influence other natural bodily chemicals, including serotonin (which regulates mood), vanilloid (manages pain) and adenosine (impacts our sleep-wake cycle).


The connection between CBD and THC

Unlike the balanced effects many people report feeling from CBD, THC is the cannabinoid responsible for many consumers’ psychoactive or intoxicating “trips” with cannabis.

You can find cannabis products that contain just CBD, just THC, or a combination of both. Interestingly, when CBD and THC work together with at least equal ratios, or when there is more CBD than THC present, CBD can actually reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.

In other words, research suggests that CBD can act as a counter-balance to the effects of THC. With a product like cannabis, where less is more and users are encouraged to start low and go slow, this tidbit of knowledge may be helpful to both new and seasoned consumers alike.

Products that are CBD-rich can be used on their own for a balanced effect on both mind and body, which may offer experiences for newer users to explore cannabis with confidence.

Similarly, CBD-rich products may appeal to longstanding cannabis users as a way to explore combinations of strains that result in effects tailored to their unique endocannabinoid systems, bodies and goals.

No matter your experience or personal history with cannabis, understanding how CBD interacts with THC can help avoid (and even counteract!) the negative effects of over-consumption.

What are the different forms of CBD?

CBD can be consumed in a variety of ways, including:

  • Capsules and Pills – Soft gels or capsules are swallowed orally and often have longer-lasting effects.
  • Oils and Tinctures – CBD-infused tinctures can be ideal for folks who are unable to take pills or capsules, as they can be placed under the tongue with a dropper (or even mixed into food!) Many people like this method of dosing CBD, as it allows for individualized, exact measurements.
  • Topical Ointments – Lotions, creams and salves that are infused with CBD can be applied nearly anywhere on the body and absorbed through the skin.
  • Edibles – Infused gummies, cookies and beverages can be a discreet (and yummy!) way to consume CBD.
  • Inhaled – Inhaling vaporized CBD oil or cannabis flower can be one of the fastest ways to experience effects. However, keep in mind there are health risks associated with smoking or vaping anything.

    Where do I begin?

    The two important dates to look for on a cannabis label are when the product was packaged and when it will expire. The packaged-on date refers to when the product was sealed in the packaging, and not when the product was harvested. Expiry dates typically refer to when the product may lose potency, not become unusable. Expiry dates are not a Health Canada regulation, but most licensed producers like to include this information.

    Benefits of CBD

    If you’re new to cannabis, you’ve likely been cautioned to start with a strain that is “high in CBD, low in THC” or “balanced” – but what does that mean? How do you decipher that on a product label? The average level of CBD in cannabis is generally around 1% to 4% but can be found as high as 18% in the recreational market (THC, on the other hand, can go even higher). If you’re interested in exploring the effects of CBD, we suggest the following guidelines to help you determine which strains and products might fit this portfolio for you:

    • High CBD/Low THC: 6%-20% CBD and under 5% THC
    • Balanced CBD/THC: 5%-10% equally of both CBD and THC

    When considering consuming cannabis, users should be mindful of their own unique physiological makeup when trying to figure out which strain or consumption method is right for you. Everyone is different and the same strain of cannabis or combination of CBD+THC will affect each person differently. Only YOU can determine what feels right and good for your body – and that’s a journey our in-store staff are more than happy to help you navigate!

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      Ancaster, Ontario L9G 3K9



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