The Legend of 420: Cannabis 101
It’s pretty clear that marijuana is having a moment with its increasing legalization around the world allowing the industry to explore the plant and get more creative in its intake. In the spirit of today being 4/20, or what has come to be known as the unofficial marijuana holiday, here’s an introduction to cannabis and cannabis culture.
The origin of 420 being associated with the consumption of cannabis is unclear. Previously, the common belief was that it was the police code for possession, but that has been proven untrue. Now, many trace the origin of the slang term back to 1971 in San Rafael High School in California, among a group of friends who called themselves the “Waldos.” When passing each other in the halls, they would mutter “420” to each other as a code––referring to meeting at 4:20 after school to smoke. The group had connections to the members of the band, the Grateful Dead, who picked up on the 420 code, and whose fans, the “Deadheads” further populated the term until it made its way into pop culture today.
Like any other plant, there are several species of the cannabis genus. As more research on the plant is being done, different strains have been discovered and further developed for different effects. Here is a breakdown of the major classifications:
THC vs CBD
The active ingredients in cannabis are a number of chemicals called cannabinoids, and the two prominent of those compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Often times, products contain a ratio of the two, but have been increasingly isolated to one type due to their different effects. The main difference between the two is that THC is responsible for the “high” or psychoactive effects usually associated with the consumption of marijuana. CBD on the other hand, does not produce the same euphoric effects, which is why it is more widely accepted, especially for its medicinal uses. Unlike THC, CBD is only available in the forms of oils, creams, capsules, and edibles. CBD has been largely used to treat pain, as well as anxiety, epilepsy, the effects of chemotherapy, and is now even found in many skin and beauty products for its anti-inflammatory properties. Even dogs are being treated for the same human issues with CBD oils and treats!
Sativa vs Indica
There are hundreds of known marijuana strains, which are usually classified as a Sativa, Indica, or a mix of both known as a Hybrid. Sativa, the most common of the cannabis species, is known for its more stimulating and energy-boosting effects, and produces more of a “head high.” The stereotypical uplifting feelings, uncontrollable laughter, and increased creativity are attributed to Sativa. Indica, on the other hand, has a more sedative effect, often described as a “body high.” Usually preferred to be taken at night, it helps relax muscles, relieve pain, and fight insomnia. Many strains have been developed as Hybrids, taking on characteristics of the two.