Cannabis 101

Cannabis is derived from the cannabis plant. It grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world. It is now increasingly cultivated by means of indoor hydroponic technology to control the growing environment for a consistent product and to keep it safe from youth and the illicit market.

Health professionals warn to avoid cannabis when pregnant, breastfeeding, under the age of 25, several hours before driving or if you have a personal or family history of psychosis.

You should avoid mixing alcohol and cannabis as it can have unpredictable effects.

Trying cannabis for the first time

Start low, go slow. Cannabis has different effects on everyone. If you are trying cannabis for the first time, it is important consume only a small amount to see what effect it will have on you.

Consume cannabis in a safe place. It’s also a good idea to have a responsible adult present who is not under the influence of liquor or drugs. If you consume away from your home, you should plan on staying over or have a way to get home without having to operate a vehicle. You should also not operate dangerous machinery while under the influence of cannabis.

When you eat cannabis the effects take longer to feel and will last longer. The effects of eating or drinking cannabis may occur within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming and can last up to 24 hours.

Cannabis products with higher THC content are more likely to result in harms. Products with high CBD-to-THC ratio have lower risks. You should check the packaging and/or ask cannabis retail employees for information about what you’re buying.

The effects of cannabis consumption

Cannabis affects perception, judgement, balance, motor coordination and reaction times. It also affects memory, attention span and learning.

A person’s experience when using cannabis depends on a variety of factors:

  • How the cannabis is consumed -- for example smoked, vaped or eaten.
  • The amount consumed.
  • The amount of THC and CBD it contains.
  • The mood, expectations and health of the person.
  • The person’s previous history of cannabis or drug use.
  • Whether the person has consumed alcohol or other drugs.
  • Whether they have existing medical conditions or mental health problems, or a family history of these conditions.

The most common effect of cannabis use is the high, a sensation similar to liquor intoxication. Some users feel calm, relaxed and talkative. Colours may appear brighter and sound may seem more distinct. Appetite often increases. Users may misjudge the passage of time so that minutes seem like hours.

According to Health Canada: “Using cannabis or any cannabis product can impair your concentration, your ability to think and make decisions, and your reaction time and coordination. This can affect your motor skills, including your ability to drive. It can also increase anxiety and cause panic attacks, and in some cases cause paranoia and hallucinations.”

You can find more consumer information on cannabis from Health Canada.

Length of the effect

The effects of smoking, vaping or dabbing cannabis can be felt within a few minutes and dissipate slowly over two to four hours. The effects of high potency THC may last as long as 24 hours and can affect a person’s ability to perform complex tasks.

It takes longer for the bloodstream to absorb cannabis if someone eats or drinks it. The effects usually appear within 30 minutes to 2 hours and can last up to 24 hours or longer. This slower onset can make it difficult for users to judge the amount they need to consume, and they may eat or drink too much before they feel the effects.

Body fat stores cannabinoids. Low levels of cannabinoids can be found in the bloodstream and ultimately your urine for several days, after even a single dose. Depending how much and how often someone uses cannabis, it can take several days or even weeks before the body is completely rid of THC.

Many adults may think of legal cannabis as a mild or even harmless product. They may not be aware that cannabis is more potent now than in their youth or that different strains and products have different effects. If you are using prescription medications, herbal supplements or other products, or have health concerns, you should speak to your doctor or another medical professional before using cannabis.

Types of cannabis

There are many types or strains of cannabis. Making a choice can be rather intimidating for the casual consumer and especially for the first-timer. Cannabis is commonly broken up into three distinct groups: indica, sativa, and hybrid.

Sativia

Sativa strains, in general, these plants originated outside of the Middle East and Asia and include strains from South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Thailand. These strains tend to grow taller than indicas, are lighter in colour and take longer to flower.are traditionally known for their uplifting, energizing and cerebral effects.

Indica

Indica strains originated in the Middle East and Asia. Compared to their sativa counterparts, plants are shorter and bushier, and have more compact flower structure.often have heavier, more sedating full-body effects.

Hybrid

Hybrid strains typically provide a mixture of sativa and indica properties and traits.

Other names for cannabis

Cannabis is also known as marijuana, grass, pot, dope, Mary Jane, hooch, weed, hash, joints, brew, reefers, cones, smoke, mull, buddha, ganga, hydro, yarndi, heads and green.

What is in cannabis

Cannabis contains hundreds of chemical substances. More than 100 of these are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are made and stored in the plant's trichomes. Trichomes are small, sticky, transparent hairs that stick out from the flowers and leaves of the plant. Cannabinoids have effects on cell receptors in the brain and body. They can change how those cells behave and communicate with each other.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC is responsible for the way your brain and body respond to cannabis, including the high and intoxication. THC has both therapeutic and harmful effects. Harmful effects may be greater when the concentration of THC is higher. The potency (concentration or strength) of THC in cannabis is often shown as a percentage of THC by weight (or by volume of an oil). THC potency in dried cannabis has increased from an average of 3% in the 1980s to around 15% today. Some strains contain as much as 30% THC. You can view products on our site by their THC content to make selection easier.

CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD is another cannabinoid. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a high or intoxication. There is some evidence that CBD may block or lower some of the effects of THC on the mind. This may occur when the amount of CBD in the cannabis is the same or higher than the amount of THC. The possible therapeutic use of CBC is being studied. The potency (concentration or strength) of CBC in cannabis is often shown as a percentage of CBD by weight (or by volume of an oil). You can view products on our site by their CBD content to make selection easier.

Terpenes

Terpenes are chemicals made and stored in the trichomes of the cannabis plant, along with the cannabinoids. Terpenes give cannabis its distinctive smell.

Terpenes

Terpenes are aromatic molecules produced by the plant along with the THC and CBD cannabinoids. They work in combination with THC and CBD and can enhance their effects, flavor and smell of the strain.

Terpenes 

  • Myrcene
    • Musky, herbal, somewhat citrusy
  • A-Pinene
    • Pine, fresh mountain air, slightly woody
  • Caryophyllene
    • Spicy, woody, pepper
  • Limonene
    • Citrus, lemon, orange
  • Humulene
    • Woody, earthy, herbal, spicy
  • Linalool
    • Floral, sugar, citrus
The taste of cannabis

Every strain of cannabis has a unique taste and smell. People have used the following words to describe a strains flavor and smell:

  • pine;
  • grass;
  • fruit;
  • berry;
  • wood;
  • diesel;
  • sweet;
  • earth;
  • pungent;
  • skunk;
  • lemon; and
  • citrus.

The way you consume cannabis will have an effect as to what you taste also.

Ways to consume cannabis

Before consuming cannabis you should review the Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Canada.

You can consume cannabis in different ways, but always remember to start low and go slow.

Cannabis consumption methods:

  • Vapourizing, or vaping, is the inhaling of the vapour of ground cannabis flower heated in a vaping device. When you vapourize the cannabis it is heated but not burned, and you are exposed to fewer harmful chemicals.
  • Smoking ground cannabis flower in a joint, pipe or bong. A joint is ground cannabis flower rolled in cigarette paper or other thin paper. A bong is similar to a large pipe. Cannabis Yukon offers dried flower, milled flower and pre-rolled cannabis products. When smoked, the consumer is exposed to harmful chemicals similar to those caused by tobacco.
  • Consuming cannabis oil on its own, in gel caps, in drinks or baked goods.

Vaporizing and smoking cannabis are the quickest ways for CBC and THC to enter the bloodstream. The high doesn’t last as long as when it is eaten.

When you eat cannabis the effects take longer to feel and last longer than vaporizing or smoking. It is very easy to eat too much cannabis due to not feeling its effect.

Different forms of cannabis

Most cannabis products come from using the flowers of the cannabis plant. Depending on the product and the strain, these products can have a range of potency of THC (and CBD).

Not all forms of cannabis products are available for legal sale.

Cannabis Yukon currently offers:

  • cannabis oil;
  • cannabis gel caps; and
  • whole and milled dried cannabis flower.

The sale of edibles containing cannabis and cannabis concentrates will be permitted within a year and we will update our product selection then.

Choosing a cannabis strain to consume

Buying cannabis for the first time can seem complicated. There are many types of strains and ways to consume. It is important to remember is to keep your consumption legal and safe.

Retailers cannot, by law, give any advice as to the effects of non-medical cannabis. They can, however describe the tastes, smells and look of the product. There are also numerous websites dedicated to reviews of particular strains which you may find useful prior to purchasing.

Remember that the effects of a particular strain of cannabis are different for everyone.

Non-medical cannabis and medical cannabis

Both medical and non-medical cannabis products may contain THC and/or CBD. Although medical and non-medical cannabis products are similar, the products fall under different laws and a different set of rules.

Retail staff at non-medical cannabis stores are not authorized to give medical advice.

Yukon’s Cannabis Control and Regulation Act applies to non-medical cannabis only.

For information about how to access medical cannabis visit Health Canada or if you require advice on using cannabis for medical reasons, please speak to your doctor or another medical professional.

Cannabis and drug tests

All forms of cannabis can be detected by a drug test once they have been consumed. How long it can be detected after it has been used depends on a number of factors, like how often you’re using cannabis and how fast your metabolism works. For regular users, cannabis takes longer to leave the system they can linger in the system — and be detected in a urine or blood test—for as long as 90 days. Healthy people can usually clear it from their system between 30-45 days. If a novice user smokes once, it can be out of the system in two days or up to 10.

According to Weed: The User's Guide:

Blood: one time users 12 to 24 hrs vs. regular users 2 to 7 day.

Urine: one time users 1 to 7 days vs. regular users 1 week to 3 months