At Stoner&Co, we pride ourselves on being cannabis experts. Education on cannabis as a whole – from seed to sale and beyond – is a big part of who we are and how we train our team. We believe that the most important part of being a cannabis expert is continuing to learn and share knowledge throughout the community.
Cannabis: A History
Cannabis has been used medicinally and recreationally for a very long time. In fact, the very first documented indication of marijuana use dates back over 5,000 years ago. In an ancient burial site in Romania, a “smoking cup” containing burnt hemp seeds was discovered. This smoking cup, dating back to 3,000 BC, indicates that humans were already actively using cannabis, likely for religious purposes. Cannabis was also used regularly for medicinal purposes in China at the same time.
Cannabis cultivation played a major role in the development and establishment of the United States as an independent country – as late as the 1910’s, industrial hemp farming was prominently featured on the $10 bill. George Washington himself grew hemp as one of his three primary crops at Mount Vernon. Hemp was commonly used in fabric and rope throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. One decade after being introduced to western medicine by William O’Shaughnessy in 1839, cannabis became readily available at pharmacies.
By 1853, cannabis was a very popular drug recreationally as well as medicinally. By the 1880’s, hashish parlors flourished – at one time, New York City was estimated to have approximately 500 of these parlors within the city alone.
Surprisingly enough, the idea of cannabis as a dangerous drug and cannabis prohibition is a more recent creation than modern media would have you think. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the idea of prohibiting cannabis truly began. Cannabis prohibition grew significantly after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed, threatening cannabis users with an arrest and possession charge if caught consuming cannabis. Cannabis prohibition as we know it today came to a head in 1970, with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act. This act officially declared cannabis to be a Schedule 1 Substance – meaning that anyone caught possessing or consuming cannabis would be subject to significant fines and jail time.
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis with the approval of Proposition 215. In the years since this has happened, many other states have followed suit, legalizing cannabis both medically and recreationally.
In 2009, the State of Maine voted to pass the Maine Medical Marijuana Act. This act expanded our state’s existing program (a program for specific illnesses that was passed in 1999), and decriminalized the possession of up to 2.5 ounces, or 71 grams, of cannabis. The Maine Medical Marijuana Act created a system of non-profit dispensaries, caregivers, and cultivators, and allowed for the official establishment of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP). In November of 2016, Maine joined eight other states and legalized the recreational use, retail sale, and taxation of marijuana for adult use.
Currently, cannabis has been legalized for medical use in 37 states and Washington D.C.
Cannabis has been legalized for recreational use in 18 states and Washington D.C.
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds produced in the resin glands of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids have the ability to to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is believed to play an important role in regulating biological functions, including sleep, appetite, and mood. The interactions in these receptors can result in a variety of effects, including euphoria, an increase in appetite, and pain relief. There are over 100 cannabinoids in existence. This section will cover some of the most commonly known cannabinoids: CBD, and THC.
Cannabidol is a cannabinoid most commonly known as CBD. CBD is a therapeutic compound produced by cannabis. CBD can be extracted from a cannabis plant to make products that provide symptom relief without experiencing a high. CBD encourages the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids. CBD has vast medical potential, and can help treat symptoms such as anxiety, pain, insomnia, and seizures.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabinoid most commonly known as THC. THC is another compound produced by cannabis. THC is the chemical compound in cannabis known for creating a euphoric or psychoactive high. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system of the human body to produce intoxicating effects. THC has a wide range of short-term effects. The exact effect an individual will experience heavily depends on the brain chemistry of the individual consuming the cannabis product. The amount of THC consumed or the exact strain consumed can also play a part in how THC affects an individual. For many, THC provides feelings of energy and laughter, while others may experience increased levels of anxiety. Products containing THC have shown to be beneficial to those experiencing symptoms of ADHD, nausea and appetite loss, as well as glaucoma.
Cannabis can be consumed in many different ways. At most dispensaries or caregiver shops, you can find flower products, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. Each different route of consumption is different from the last, and can provide its own benefit to the consumer.
Flower typically refers directly to the dried buds of the cannabis plant. Dried cannabis buds can be smoked in a bowl, bong, vaporizer, or rolled into a joint. Flower typically provides consumers with a stronger flavor profile. Dried buds do not require an extraction process, and typically sit at around 15-30% THC potency.
Cannabis Concentrates are the results of extracting or distilling the desirable parts of the cannabis flower material. These key ingredients exist in unique ratios in each batch of each strain of cannabis flower, and when accumulated and condensed these concentrations yield varying consistencies and potencies. THC potency in concentrates for example is often between 50-90%, compared to 15-30% in cannabis flowers. Concentrates exist in many categories of cannabis products as well, including Shatters, Badders, Sugars, Resin, Rosin, vaporizer cartridges, edibles, tinctures, topicals, drinks, and more.
Edibles and Tinctures
Tinctures and edibles are cannabis products that allow consumers to experience the benefits of cannabis products without having to inhale smoke or vapor. Tinctures and edibles are both consumed orally.
Tinctures are liquid extracts of the cannabis plant, and come in varying potencies. Tinctures can be taken under the tongue, applied to the skin, or can be added to food or drink for the enjoyment of the consumer. When taken sublingually (under the tongue), tinctures are absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly. Tinctures typically take effect in 15-45 minutes. Due to the dropper cap in most tincture bottles, tinctures are also relatively easy to dose and control.
Edibles can include a wide variety of different cannabis-infused snacks, including gummies, candies, brownies, cookies, and different drinks. Edibles can also be made at home by using cannabis infused butter or other cooking products. Unlike tinctures, which are processed into the bloodstream almost immediately, edibles are processed through the liver before entering the bloodstream. Due to this, edibles typically take effect in 45-90 minutes. Edibles typically provide long-lasting results, and can be easy to does and control, especially when purchased at a dispensary.
Both edibles and tinctures provide a discrete method of cannabis consumption without inhaling any product through the lungs.
Topicals are cannabis-infused products, such as lotions, salves, or oils that are absorbed through the skin. Topicals allow for the localized relief of inflammation, soreness, and pain. Topicals, similar to tinctures, come in varying potencies that can benefit different symptoms. Topicals are non-intoxicating products, meaning that they do not provide users with the typical high one would expect from other methods of consumption, even if the topical contains THC. Topicals can be used to relieve a wide variety of ailments, including symptoms of psoriasis, headaches, and cramping.
The world of cannabis is vast. Every day, more and more information is being discovered and made available to the cannabis community. If you’re interested in learning more (which we strongly encourage you to do), the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy is a great place to start.
- Maine OCP: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/ocp/about
There are many other resources out there, too. We also welcome any questions that come our way. If you’d like to learn more, and don’t know where to look, please reach out to one of our cannabis experts at: email@example.com