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.
I love your cookbooks thank you! I wanted to know if your friend at Sweet Mary Jane’s could recommend a place in the Portland, Oregon area for THC-A? I looked at their website and they are unable to send outside of Colorado. The places I’ve driven by look so sketchy I’m very skeptical to go into any of them.
Deb, thanks for letting me know you love my cookbooks! I’m sure Karin would be happy to chat with you about that and let you know if she knows of any places in Oregon that she can recommend.
Christine Coleman says
I have RA & OA and I personally get as much pain relief from CBD Salve as I ever got from THC. Additional benefits are: can support local farmers, can transport across state lines, can use credit cards, can use if you have young children under your care and can avoid excessive government regulation & interference. I recently added liquid CBD and I am very pleased with even better pain control. I also follow Paleo diet & lifestyle as I know you do too. There really is no one “silver bullet” as much as most folks wish there was.
Christine, I totally agree! There really is no one “silver bullet” we just keep plugging away at having the best life possible by using every single tool in our arsenals whether it’s diet, supplements, herbs, and all kinds of other extraordinary things that support our health :-)
So many things I could say about the fabulousness of the article and the inspiring, informative comments. I get so much from being part of the Pantry tribe! My husband had peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, low back pain, plantar fasciitis and great difficulty sleeping. My issues were chronic inflammation due to diet sensitivities and weaning off daily Sudafed and Zyrtec (both over the counter). After 7 years of Detoxing, supplements, frequency body scans, tens unit and cannabis, our quality of life is considerably better. We made medical pilgrimages to Colorado, consulted with a cannabis dr, to discover what products would help us. CBD didn’t do anything for my husband, but RSO, THCA, THC combos are very effective for his pain. I take CBD (charlottes web) everyday and it helps with inflammation, calm and muscle/joint soreness. Several modalities and products he’s tried have slowed and reversed much of his nerve damage progression and I’m grateful. We currently live in a state where MMJ use is not permitted, and admittedly, we resort to getting what we can at considerable cost. New bills from passionate legislators are being introduced for medical use and I’m hopeful. BTW: thanks Elana for the grounding mat response! I just started using one a few months ago and love but not aware of the other nighttime considerations♀️
LM, I love that you describe this community as the Pantry Tribe! That is fantastic! I’m thinking of leading a medical pilgrimage with my friend Karin from Sweet Mary Jane for folks that want to come to Boulder and learn more about cannabis and its healing benefits. Thanks for sharing your story here, I’m so happy to be on this healing journey with you :-)
Thanks so much for this practical useable info re THC-A. I had no idea and I consider myself fairly well versed.
Thank you also for “coming out” with the dx of MS in the way that you have. Your owning it publically along with the way you manage the symptoms and progression have been helpful to say the least and as I uplevel my relationship with the dx as it expresses in my body, your openness inspires me and helps keep me hopeful ♡
Deborah, wow, what an inspiring and incredible comment. I love how you refer to upleveling your relationship with your MS Dx. Thanks for sharing you perspective and for being on this healing journey with me :-)
Rhonda Y Styles says
Elana, thank you for this posting. Thank you for your mission to share your story and help others. I love your recipes and your informative postings. I am 55 years old. I have several health issues (including Hashimoto’s and high RA factor), Bi-lateral Meniere’s disease, Pituitary Prolactinoma, arthritis, spinal issues (including a spinal hemangioma inside my spine, structural issues, and more). I have spent years seeking out alternative treatments to stay off prescribed narcotics. CBD oil does not help, but THC does help. This sounds wonderful!
Rhonda, thanks so much for sharing your journey here! I’ve found the same, that CBD alone does not do much, but when combined with THC-A it is wonderful! So glad we’re on this healing path together :-)
Rhonda, thank you for this!
Judy Dauphinais says
So glad you wrote this article as I’ve been using medical MJ for a few years now primarily for sleeping, and hadn’t read how it was supporting others, it’s good to see their comments. I have MS (diagnosed 2006), am post menapausal, and have very low libido. I can also feel stiff in the morning – spasticity, but have something to share about another healing aid for that. I was waking up every two hours during the night so I thought to try medical marijuana (CT resident). I vaped Indica once or twice during the night to get back to sleep. Upside, much needed rest without pharmaceuticals downside, a bit of a cough if needed too frequently. At the beginning of this year I started using a grounding/Earthing mat, which I sleep on now each night. After using the mat about a month, I began sleeping for five hours before needing a dose of Indica, sometimes I can just fall back to sleep without it. I wake up with less back pain, knee pain and less stiffness. The mat is a game changer for me. As far as the libido, while I am not a fan of the high, Indica or Sativa(helpful for spasticity) is like an aphrodisiac, yep.
Judy, thanks for your comment! We sleep on a grounding mat too, but important to mention a couple of things. First, there needs to be no WiFi on in your house if you do this, as well as no stray magnetic fields due to faulty wiring, second, an electrician needs to connect the outlet the grounding mat is plugged into, outside of your house to the earth. Thanks for all of your tips on menopause and MJ, very helpful :-)
Thank you for the grounding details Elana,I thought that I was in the clear as I used the outlet tester. I know you’ve done a lot of research in this area, if you can point me to any articles regarding safe grounding, I’d appreciate it.
Judy, thanks so much for your comment! I learned all that from the EMF Consultants in this post, and Riun set up our grounding mat:
I like the way we did it in our house, I think it’s very safe :-)
Deborah Penner says
I live in Washington where cannabis is legal recreationally and medically. I do not use it. I do not mind that it is legally sold here to adults. However, I do not think the shops should be able to advertise as much as they do. I do not appreciate billboards and even flyers with maps of cannabis shops all over the place! Use at our high schools has skyrocketed. It is not a good thing.
Lisa, I totally agree. I don’t think cannabis, alcohol, or prescription drugs should be allowed to advertise anywhere!
Elana, Great post. Always interested in your musing and suggestions.
I wonder if you notice this CBD helps you sleep better? Taking it before bed would suggest yes. Anything you would add to that?
I know there are different kinds of CBD for different conditions and have been waiting/watching for the right one with minimal added ingredients or flavors. I am a light sleeper and need healthy ways to rein in the 3am wanderings.
Judith, CBD by itself has not worked for me. I like to take a combo of CBD with THC-A. If you are looking for info on sleep this also might be of help:
I hope you’ll keep me posted on how you’re doing!
Denise Kusel says
I looked at the “Sweet Mary Jane” site, and didn’t find any information on where THC-A can be obtained. Can you be more specific?
Denise, if you contact them, they will walk you through everything!
THANK YOU for writing about this! My husband and I have talked about this, because he knows people that have benefitted from it. I am in my 50’s and I have endometriosis, which causes insulin sensitivity. I wrestle with chronic inflammation. I cannot exercise like normal people, because it triggers the inflammation. I am still trying to learn what my limits are. I’ve read about medical marijuana and the oils, but it’s good to hear from some one who has used it. Thank you for this information, because of you I will give this a try. Do you ever take the oil orally?
Becki, thanks for your amazing comment. I went through a similar thing with exercise and inflammation and wrote about it here:
And yes, I take the CBD-THC-A orally every night. I hope you’ll keep me posted on how you’re doing!