I was first exposed to weed as a wee child in the 1970s when its stinky secondhand perfume wafted into my little lungs.
It wasn’t meant to, but couldn’t be helped when the family went to parties filled with happy hippies.
There were joints, brownies, and probably other items that were mostly kept outside the frame of my tender eyesight. I saw rolling paper often, but don’t recall spotting any bongs.
Growing up in Northern California during that time this was not rare.
Sometimes it smelled like skunk, others of burnt oregano. The earthy, herbal, woody fragrance of my childhood marked the Age of Weed.
During the last decade, we’ve seen a massive marijuana movement, a renaissance of sorts, as weed has become legal in various states across the US.
I’m here to guide you, your Virgil in the world of weed, aka, cannabis.
The world of weed is wide and complicated. There are more weed strains than I can count and a multitude of uses for each.
But I’m here to help you sort through all of the options and figure out “what’s the best weed for me?”
In my case, THCA is a slam dunk because it’s anti-inflammatory and non-intoxicating with no psychoactive effects. That may not be the best choice for you, so I’ll explore a variety of alternatives as well.
First, what is weed called? We referred to it as marijuana in the 1970s, technically it’s known as cannabis, but it’s also called:
And there are a whole host of other slang terms that refer to marijuana as well.
But what exactly is weed or marijuana?
Weed is the dried flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The hue of this light green-silvery mixture is slightly similar to the color of sage.
According to the National Institutes of Health, weed is used in a variety of ways, including:
Some of the main compounds you’ll hear about when people talk weed are:
And there are hundreds of others.
If you’re interested in getting high, the following will matter to you.
The main psychoactive, or mind-altering ingredient in weed, as mentioned above is THC.
The weed plant also contains more than 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids1 that are psycho-actively inert.
I want to take a moment to outline the differences in the substances listed above.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at THC versus THCA. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. Again, take note, THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana.
I use products that do not contain THC because I don’t want to get high.
THC is the cannabinoid known for creating feelings of intoxication, euphoria, and hunger, aka, the munchies.
On the other hand, THCA is a fantastic choice for me, because it has all the health benefits of weed without any of the high.
THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinol-acid, is a precursor to THC.
It’s the perfect thing for a middle-aged woman like me.
I started taking THCA in 2017 when I found out about it from my friend Karin, founder of Sweet Mary Jane, and author of the cookbook [above].
Karin is incredibly knowledgeable about all things weed and has been on the cutting edge of the marijuana industry for decades.
I love learning about hemp and marijuana’s medicinal properties from her.
When my neck acts up I apply this oral tincture to it, using it as a topical treatment, which relieves my neck pain in a couple of minutes.
So, you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned CBD until now.
That’s for a couple of reasons. First, there are numerous CBD products on the market with a range of quality, which is an issue.
Second, the medical professionals and weed experts that I know, tell me CBD alone is not effective.
Along these lines, the properties of CBD shine when combined with some form of THC, such as THCA.
Here in the US, we are in a funny situation when it comes to weed legalization. This substance is not legal on a federal level, in fact, it is still considered a schedule 1 substance by the federal government.
Alternatively, weed is legal in a number of states. Yes, this is crazy.
Some states have legalized medical marijuana, others have legalized both medical marijuana and recreational weed. Here in Colorado, weed is big business.
So, if you want to buy weed, you need to know –where is weed legal? There are several weed legal states and to help you figure out what’s going on where I’ve provided the “weed map” above.
Legal weed can be found for medical use in 20 states, for recreational use in 17 states.
Because of its federal standing, marijuana products cannot be sold or shipped across state lines. So don’t even think of sending grandma that healing tincture for her arthritis if it contains any form of THC.
While we’re on the subject of what not to do –do not let your pets smoke weed.
If your state does not allow recreational marijuana, you can still get it if the state permits medical marijuana use.
You will be forced to go to a medical marijuana doctor, aka mmj doctor, which is usually quite costly.
You will have to do this to obtain a medical marijuana card so that you can go to a shop, aka, dispensary, that sells medical marijuana.
Once you get the card it is hassle-free.
Again, the expense can be a large barrier to entry which is very sad when people are using weed for cancer pain relief and other ailments.
If you’re looking for “weed near me” I’ve got you covered with this handy weed finder for medical marijuana in your area.
Medical marijuana is thought to relieve inflammation, pain, symptoms of arthritis, seizures, and much, much more.
I first wrote about medical marijuana here in an article called Top Five Alternative Treatments for Epilepsy.
In that piece, I described the benefits of Charlotte’s Web, a strain of medical marijuana high in CBD, along with the Keto Diet, as optimum alternative treatments for some seizure conditions.
Given that more than 20% of epilepsy patients get absolutely no relief from pharmaceutical treatment,2 it is cruel to not make alternatives like medical marijuana available to them.
I do a lot of things to improve my health. Although I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, recently I learned that I’ve actually suffered from it since 1993.
Given that I’ve been living with this disease for almost 30 years, it seems like my lifestyle strategies are working fairly well. Still, one of the issues is that I do so many things at once that I can’t really tell what the exact benefits are from each treatment.
Some of us don’t have the time to do one thing at a time, and I’m ok with that. I generally think that using this 2:1 tincture each night has been helpful. Can I tell you exactly why? No.
Recently, I took a friend to a weed shop here in Boulder. I introduced her to my favorite weed –THCA. As I mentioned previously, this more newly discovered cannabinoid has no psychoactive effect.
Like me, she follows a Gluten-Free Diet to reduce inflammation with food, and now she is using THCA to further reduce her MS symptoms and general inflammation.
I’ve heard that THC is fantastic for pain control, but thankfully, that’s not an issue for me.
I have older friends who have used medical marijuana to control nausea and pain during radiation and chemotherapy, and they have told me weed is far more effective at pain relief than the opioids they were giving for cancer treatment.
I’ve studied herbs since 1993, and I look at marijuana as a plant-based remedy.
It’s not perfect, but like many plants, it has numerous uses and benefits. As with most herbs, I believe in ingesting a complete form of the plant. Given that I don’t grow marijuana this becomes a bit complicated.
I have a friend in California, a hippie in his late 70’s who grows cannabis in his backyard. He eats it raw, on his salad every day, and this way he gets the benefit of the whole plant without the high.
One day, he decided to have soup for lunch and he tossed his weed into it. He told me he was higher than a kite.
Why? He had heated the plant in his soup, converting THCA into THC. Big mistake if you are avoiding psychotropic effects when you take cannabis.
If you’re looking for more in-depth information on weed, you might like to read the book, A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis, by Nikki Furrer, a weed lawyer, cultivator, and CEO of Fleur, a cannabis company that develops products with a focus on women’s health.
This wonderful book came out in 2018 and is full of incredibly up-to-date information on the budding herb industry.
Furrer’s book will provide you with information on different weed strains and other useful information.
I also have a great tip that a couple of recreational marijuana users taught me about weed strains:
Have you tried medical or recreational weed? Is medical marijuana legal in your state?
If you have used weed, otherwise known as cannabis, what was your experience? Has it been helpful or harmful? Leave a comment and let me know!
This post is an oldie but goodie from the archives. I first shared What is the Best Weed? THCA in May 2019.