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Learn about cannabis

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is the term commonly used for the plant or flower of the Cannabaceae family. It’s been consumed by humans for longer than we’ve written stuff down.

Sativa and Indica

There are two main types of cannabis for human use: Sativa and Indica. Each has a different shape, size, leaf and effect. Crossed with each other, they make hybrids. Indica is generally considered to provide a calming and relaxing effect. Sativa can have more energizing, uplifting and cerebral effects.


And those hybrids? Somewhere between the two, with a dominant effect from one of the two parent plants.


The active compounds in cannabis are cannabinoids. Cannabis has more than 100 of them, of which THC and CBD are the most common.


Ever noticed the distinct smell of cannabis? You can thank terpenes for that. They’re volatile aromatic compounds in the essential oil of plants, including cannabis.


Terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and CBD are both contained in trichomes, tiny and sticky hairs on the cannabis flower.


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Do you speak cannabis?


Buds, not friends

Call them flowers, call them buds; either way they are the heart of the cannabis industry. Big or small, conical or round, buds have the highest concentrations of cannabinoids on the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD. Better yet? They come in a range of colours, from light to dark green with purples and oranges thrown in.


This is the clone you’re looking for

Just like in sci-fi films set in a galaxy far, far away, clones are critical for ensuring consistency. To maintain genetic uniformity throughout generations of plants, growers use clones rather than seeds to start new plants. Clones are obtained from a “mother plant,” then rooted and grown.


A terpene by any other name...

Fruity, spicy, earthy, citrusy, diesel, skunky or floral...those are the ‘flavour profiles’ of cannabis, courtesy of more than 120 aromatic hydrocarbons called terpenes. In cannabis, terpenes help to distinguish strains and effect on the body. Fruity with a hint of spice, anyone?


Trichomes...the Greek word for hair

They’re shiny, they’re sticky and they’re so important to cannabis. Although trichomes are common on other plants, in cannabis, they produce cannabinoids and terpenes that differentiate various cannabis strains. The number, shape and size of trichomes vary from strain to strain.


The strain name game

They say you shouldn’t shop hungry, and that’s probably true of cannabis, too, because with names like Cherry Pie, Girl Guide Cookies and Champagne Kush, strain names are definitely snackable. Even the standards hits - OG Kush, Cannatonic, White Widow, Maui Wowie and AK-47 - are evocative and thought-provoking.


OG or OG?

OG can mean anything from original gangster to ocean grown. When it comes to the OG Kush strain, it’s definitely the latter. OG Kush is believed to have originated in southern California. First adopted in the ’90s, OG now is widely used as a medical-grade cannabis and is represented in multiple strain varieties with different phenotypes.


Oil changes

For the non-smoker, cannabis oil is an ingestible option. It contains cannabinoids extracted from the resin of mature cannabis flowers and a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.


Sativa vs Indica

Here’s the lowdown. Cannabis is divided into two types, as well as a few hybrids. Sativa was named in 1753 by famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.  A hot minute later (actually, three decades), French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck named Indica, which is a shorter cannabis plant with wider fan leaves. And in between? All those hybrids.


THC and CBD are more than just letters.

Here’s the quick and dirty science on cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. There are 100 known cannabinoids in cannabis, of which THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are just two. THC has a noted psychoactive effect; CBD is used for its non-impairing qualities that do not result in a ‘high’.


Good to know


Can my father use cannabis?

That’s up to Dad...or any other Canadian adult who may be interested in adult-use cannabis products available at any of the provincial retail outlets after October 17. As long as a person is over the age of 19 (18 in Alberta and Quebec), it is legal.


Cannabis and kids don’t mix. Obviously.

We get it. It’s hard enough talking to your kids about sex and alcohol without adding yet another conversation to the mix. But talking to your kids about cannabis is critically important for their wellbeing and your peace of mind. Start the conversation by learning more about cannabis through your health professional or by clicking here


Would you like a brownie with that?

Who doesn’t love a rich and chewy brownie? But if it contains cannabis, you may be biting off more than you can chew. While there are countless recipes for incorporating cannabis into food, without precise dosing, it is quite easy to overdo it. And remember...the commercial sale of edibles is not yet legal in Canada. However, you consume cannabis, keep it in a locked and secure place away from children. Consume responsibly.


My dog ate my cannabis. Should I panic?

Whether it’s the taste, smell or availability, dogs do seem to consume their share of cannabis. In the past six years, the US-based Pet Poison Helpline has reported a 448 per cent jump in reported cases of dogs suffering from THC toxicity. Although not life-threatening, it can be alarming for you and your pet, and may require a vet visit. All cannabis products - particularly those containing THC - should be kept well away from animals.


Can I drive after I’ve consumed cannabis?

We get asked that a lot. But it’s always the same answer. Don’t take any chances. If you’ve consumed cannabis - just like alcohol - don’t drive. Period. While it’s true that cannabis affects everyone differently, and tolerance levels vary from person to person, THC is intoxicant and if you’ve consumed it, you’re no judge of whether or not it’s safe to drive. Grab a designated driver and sit this one out.


Potted Facts


Canada by the numbers

By 2021, 7,024,000 Canadians will be consuming cannabis...but exactly how much?


On planes, trains or automobiles, cannabis should never cross the border.

Canadians are free to travel with 30g of cannabis within our borders. Not so much everywhere else. Although some US states and other countries have legalized cannabis, Federal law does not allow for international travel with cannabis. Hot tip: If you’ve had cannabis in your luggage, swap it out before international travel, as faint traces may be detected by canine agents.


A potted history

Potted Timeline Info graphic