Pubdate: Tue, 26 Dec 2017
Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2017 The Fresno Bee
Author: Brad Branan


Cannabis 101: Here's what you need to know about recreational

With recreational marijuana becoming available for sale on New Year's
Day, you may be asking yourself: Do I want to try this stuff?

If you have never used cannabis, or if it has been a long time since
you have, you need to know that pot isn't just consumed through joints
and bongs anymore. Consumers also use vape pens, edibles and other

And marijuana has higher amounts of THC -- pot's psychoactive
ingredient -- than it once did. In the early 1990s, the average amount
of THC in confiscated marijuana samples was roughly 3.7 percent,
according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Now, many retail
strains test in the high 20s and some even top 30 percent.

In addition, edibles have come a long way since the days when homemade
pot brownies were the only choice, and they can be potent as well --
who can forget New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd's infamous
opinion piece about consuming too much of a weed candy bar during a
trip to Colorado?

Luckily, there is plenty of information out there so adults can make
informed decisions. If trying cannabis becomes one of your New Year's
resolutions, dispensaries selling recreational weed can point you to
the products that best fit your needs and experience. Just make the
time to talk to a budtender. Like bartenders, budtenders work behind a
counter and offer advice. But budtenders typically know more about
weed than bartenders know about booze.

By passing Proposition 64 in November 2016, California voters
legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. While as many
as 30 dispensaries eventually could sell retail marijuana in
Sacramento, only a few are expected to be permitted by the start of
the year, including A Therapeutic Alternative on H Street and RCP
Sacramento on El Camino Avenue.

The Bee interviewed Danny Kress, dispensary manager and staff educator
at A Therapeutic Alternative, about some of the basics of cannabis
consumption. Kress, who previously worked in the medical field, joined
the dispensary 2 1/2 years ago because of his interest in alternative
medicine. His remarks have been edited for clarity and space.

Q: First things first: What should I bring to a dispensary if I plan
to buy recreational marijuana on Jan. 1?

A: Cash and a state ID or driver's license from any

Q: What are the major categories of marijuana and what are their

A: Indica, sativa and hybrid. Indica is generally sedative and can be
used as a sleep aid. It's known for its "couch-lock" effect (meaning
it will keep you on the couch). Sativas generally produce a more
stimulating mood -- a happy feeling. Hybrids are a cross of indica and
sativa and try to produce a combination of their dominant effects.

Strain names like Blue Dream and Girl Scout Cookies may be good for
marketing purposes but tell you nothing about their effects.

Q: How can cannabis be consumed?

A: Inhaling is one way. You can buy cannabis in its raw form and get
as little as a gram and as much as an ounce and smoke it in a joint or
a pipe. You can also buy a vaporizer or "vape," which uses cannabis
cartridges. You can also buy edibles -- candy and other food with
precut portions and measured amounts of CBD and THC.

Then there are concentrated forms of cannabis such as hash and oils,
the latter of which is used for dabbing -- a process of heating the
oil and inhaling through a large pipe known as a dab rig. Concentrates
are generally not for newbies.

Q: What are THC and CBD and what do I need to know about

A: The effects of cannabis are heavily influenced by two compounds,
terpenes and cannabinoids. THC and CBD are cannabinoids. THC is the
best-known active compound in cannabis; THC levels can determine how
high or "stoned" one may feel. CBD levels help determine medical
benefits (such as) anti-inflammatory ... properties.

Q: What should I do if I get too high?

A: You can avoid this by talking about consumption amounts with your
budtender. Start out with just one puff and see how it affects you.

Clint Olivier, Fresno City Council president, explains Thursday, July
20, a 3-3 vote on the cultivation of marijuana, one aspect of the
Fresno's broad ban of recreational pot. Earlier in the day, Olivier
tweeted: "Council kills marijuana ban."
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MAP posted-by: Matt