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.
From the Age of Weed
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.
To the World 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.
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I’m here to guide you, your Virgil in the world of weed, aka, cannabis.
What is the Best Weed? THCA
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.
Other Names for Weed
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:
- Mary Jane
And there are a whole host of other slang terms that refer to marijuana as well.
What is Weed?
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.
How is Weed Used?
According to the National Institutes of Health, weed is used in a variety of ways, including:
- Smoking –hand-rolled cigarettes called joints; or pipes
- Bongs –aka water pipes
- Blunts –marijuana in a cigar wrap
- Teas –typically used for medicinal purposes
- Edibles –such as brownies, cookies, candies
- Vaporizers –devices used for inhalation
- Tinctures –often used for healing
- Salves –used to treat aches and pains
What is in Weed?
Some of the main compounds you’ll hear about when people talk weed are:
- THC –psychoactive and intoxicating, responsible for the high
- THCA –non-intoxicating, converts to THC when heated
- CBD –non-intoxicating, relaxing, anti-anxiety
- CBN –non-intoxicating, neuro-protective, reduces inflammation
And there are hundreds of others.
Which Weed to Get High?
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.
What is THC Weed?
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.
THC is Psychoactive
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.
What is THCA Weed?
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.
THCA My Weed of Choice
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.
Weed Tincture 2:1 CBD +THCA
Right now I’m using a product from Karin’s company, Sweet Mary Jane. This weed tincture contains a 2:1 ratio of CBD to THCA and I take it before bed.
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.
What is CBD?
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.
Does CBD Work?
Along these lines, the properties of CBD shine when combined with some form of THC, such as THCA.
Is Weed Legal?
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.
Weed Legal States
Some states have legalized medical marijuana, others have legalized both medical marijuana and recreational weed. Here in Colorado, weed is big business.
Where is Weed Legal?
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.
Medical Marijuana Card
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.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Near Me
If you’re looking for “weed near me” I’ve got you covered with this handy weed finder for medical marijuana in your area.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
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.
Medical Marijuana 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.
Does Medical Marijuana Work?
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.
Medical Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
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.
I walk and work out every day which seems to prevent the multiple sclerosis symptoms that the majority of people with MS suffer from, such as muscle spasms and generalized pain. My THCA helps too.
Reduce Inflammation with Medical Marijuana and Gluten-Free Diet
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.
My friend also has Multiple Sclerosis and she was looking for something to reduce inflammation and support her overall health.
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.
MMJ for Cancer and Pain Relief
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.
Medical Marijuana and the Weed Plant
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.
Do Not Heat THCA it Converts to THC
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.
Women’s Health and Weed
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:
- Indica – “in da couch” makes you sleepy, relaxed, high
- Sativa – stimulating, thought to help with weight loss
Benefits of Recreational Weed
Have you tried medical or recreational weed? Is medical marijuana legal in your state?
Weed and You
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.
Liz Pearce says
Years ago, I smelled the smoke from someone’s marijuana cigarette. I got a terrible headache within seconds. I had to get out in the fresh air to get relief. Never forgot that. Interesting article, though. Thanks.
Liz, your welcome!
Hi Elana – love your cookbooks! I live in Boulder and wonder where you are purchasing Creature Comfort. I have searched several places and none carry it including the place you used to purchase it in 2019. Thanks!
Debbi, I am getting it on the rec side at Boulder Wellness on Arapaho. Have you tried there? LMK :-)
Thanks – I will give them a try this week. Debbi
Debbi, keep me posted :-)
Have you heard anything regarding weed being helpful for anyone with idiopathic neuropathy?
Sarah, I haven’t but I haven’t researched this use. For my neuoropathy I apply magnesium cream to the affected areas.
Andy Nook says
Thanks for the article and information on this topic. I suffer from Celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and something else they cannot figure out. I have moderate joint pain in my back and shoulders that just never goes away. I have done research on CBD and other forms of weed, but not on THCA weed. My question is on drug testing. Do you know if THCA would be identified in an employers drug screen? My employer is a great one and I understand why we do it, but I would not want to jeopardize employment in any way. I’m just starting to look at this as, none of the PT, orthopedic procedures, or imaging has helped me for several years. Thanks for the info!
Andy, thanks for your comment and for sharing your story here. I’ve heard that not only does THCA come back positive on a drug test, but so does CBD.
Thank you for doing the research and sharing it. I tried CBD oil for chronic pain and became depressed. This was pure and sold in a pharmacy in Connecticut. I found I could take only the smallest of doses (not any of the pills I bought, but a tiny bite of a gummy) and it didn’t do anything for pain at that dose. I just wanted to share this in case there is anyone else who thinks that might be the cause of their sudden depression. (I also had depression from Valerian and a few other herbs)
Anne, thanks for your comment and sorry to hear about your experience. Weed acts on the GABA pathway and if one has an overactive GABA pathway it can be beyond sedating as you explain in your comment.
Anne, thank you for your post. I had some anxiety and depression after I started taking half dropper of CBD oil before bed to help me rest. I have since, of course, stopped taking this product. I need to read and research further. Elana’s research is so helpful and am grateful that she has provided this platform. Take care.
You mentioned you take it at bedtime but how much do you take how does one know how to dose?
Thank you for the terrific article!
Fran, I take one full dropper for inflammation. For more info on sleeping go here:
Claudio Terzoli says
What is the best form of weed to treat cancer in place of chemotherapy
Claudio, I haven’t seen any research on that. Typically weed is used to treat nausea due to chemo, or to help increase appetite that’s been dulled by chemo, or to control pain caused by radiation.
Claudio, you would want to research RSO or Rick Simpson Oil. He formulated a concentrate which is said to be effective for many in their cancer treatment.
Eden, thanks for your comment. Just a note to my other readers, RSO or Rick Simpson Oil is simply a brand name for “crude oil” which keeps all the terpenes in tact.
Hi Elana, how do you take the creature comfort- orally? I know you mentioned that you put it directly on your skin for your neck but I’m wondering how you take it each night? Do you think it helps keep you asleep?
Ali, I take one dropper full at bedtime. From what I’ve studied THC is best for sleep, much better than THCA.
Barbara King says
My husband has peripheral neuropathy, which makes his feet and legs below his knees constantly burn 24/7, plus they feel numb and cold to him—all of this as a result of neck compressions and a neck fusion. He is miserable all of the time. I’m going to have him look into this thorough article that you’ve written. He’s a retired orthopedic surgeon, so he understands all of this better that I do! Thank you so much for writing this important information to help to resolve people’s pain to lower levels if not complete relief.
Barbara, thanks so much for your comment and sorry to hear about all that your husband is going though. I think that’s a great idea, another thing that I do is rub prescription magnesium cream on my the thin skin on the tops of my feet for neuropathy, or on my back when I work out a little too much and it gets sore. The dose I created is 150 mg/ml of mag and it is magical :-)
What do you know about the “red flag” concern with a conceal carry permit for someone who is legal for medical marijuana? Has it become an issue that could prevent a person who doesn’t want their permit revoked over simply being legal to have medical marijuana? Thanks.
Faye, I’m not an expert on gun laws :-)