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.
Elana – so pleased you bravely approached a subject that has been if not taboo, then viewed with skepticism that it can provide such relief to so many without causing an unwanted high. Thank you so much for your many well researched and valuable posts and articles.
Barbara, thanks so much for your kind words!
Marian Long says
I wish I could try it but I live in Kentucky. I have 3 autoimmune diseases and life gets challenging.
Marian, I can totally relate –MS, thyroiditis, and celiac over here. Hopefully medical weed will be legal around the US soon. Such a pity it’s not already.
Melissa Kaczor says
Please unsubscribe me.
Not interested in weed emails!
Melissa, thanks for your comment. You can stop receiving the newsletter by hitting the “unsubscribe” button, or we’d be happy to help out and remove you from our subscriber list. Sorry that this information on how to stop cancer pain, prevent epileptic seizures, and heal MS inflammation is not a fit, but we totally understand it’s not for everyone.
Shari Boyer says
Elana, I love your posts and your recipes, and I applaud you for working to demystify cannabis. However, I just hate that you keep using the word “weed”. It is a slang term that has greatly contributed to the misconceptions about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and kept many people away from it. I wish that since you are taking the topic seriously, you would also be serious with your word choices. It might be ok to say that you called it “weed” in the 70s, but just because we called something by a term then, doesn’t mean it is ok now, know what I mean? Again, thank you for your attention to this topic, I hope you will respectfully consider calling it by its non-slang name, cannabis (the genus) or hemp or marijuana (species). Thank you.
Shari, thanks so much for your wonderful feedback! I refrain from using the term marijuana on a more frequent basis due to the issues raised in the film, The Grass is Greener. I do love the word cannabis, but this makes it difficult for the people who desperately need this information to find it, since it is not often used, unless within the industry. Words do matter which is why I have spent a good deal of time thinking through the issue you raise through. My hope is that as the use of this powerful medicine becomes more common, the stigma around various terms will fade. Thanks again :-)
I own all of your cookbooks and have followed you for years. I live in Ohio and qualified for medical marijuana because of pain but found that CBD did nothing for me and THC made my heart race and gave me insomnia. TCHA sounds wonderful. I appreciate your sharing this information and will check to see if it is available in Ohio. These differences in laws from state to state are ridiculous.
Andrea, thanks for your comment! I’m so glad this is helpful to you. The difference between various cannabinoids may seem minute, but can be of great importance when it comes to a variety of medical conditions :-)
Eli Markantonatos says
I have been given 1 gram of crystalline thc-a and I want to decarboxylate it as it is not to be smoked at all. Do I put it in the oven like I do with buds, and if so, for how long and at what temperature? Anybody’s help with this matter will be appreciated.
To add to the comments on marijuana, I use it medicinally for my autistic daughter. Believe me it works in that it takes away the worst symptoms of this terrible condition. While she is on it, we have a daughter who is coherent, able to withstand a hug, and able to go out into the outside world,
Eli, many thanks for your comment!
Eli Markantonatos says
A pleasure, but you have not answered my question
Eli, thanks so much for following up with this and sorry I can’t be of more help! I use the product mentioned above but I haven’t tried decarboxylating crystalline THC-A. I hope you have a fantastic day and thanks again for your comments :-)
Lisa Bush says
I have a 9 year old son with autism and adhd. At what age is it considered safe to start trying the THCA?
Lisa, I would speak to a physician specializing in medical marijuana, or feel free to contact Karin, mentioned above :-)
Pauline Bustos says
Great post! I agree that Cannabis, or medical marijuana, is thought to relieve inflammation, pain, and the symptoms of arthritis and seizures.
Hi, I recently bought some an I’m understanding something here,correct me if I’m wrong….who ever it is that supplies to the dispensarys, are they inducing how much THC OR THCA, a lot of majuna has in it? chemicaly???…how can they do that if they are…..it’s suppose to be naturally grown an harvested an sold…not infused with how much THC is in it an in fused with medical medicine …when I did a couple of hits of the stuff I bought it instantly made me nonfuctional, bad kind of high….something about it wasn’t right..it wasn’t a pleasurable high.., it’s got 0.524 thc..an THCA of 27.285,..so if I heated this stuff up, it really would get me wasted????…I wouldn’t be able to handLe it…..
Greg, I would not recommend heating THC-A since it is used as an anti-inflammatory remedy for those who don’t wish to get high.
Hi, there! I’m in the Boulder area and have been DESPERATELY searching for a non-heated, THC-a, CBD-a, etc. only cannabis oil/tincture. I haven’t been able to find one since I lived in Washington. The entire legalized industry is built on getting as high as humanly possible, which is exactly what I’m not looking for. Can you please tell me (even if privately) which dispensary you find this at, and also if there are selections of which type of cannabis they have? I have autoimmune illnesses and the weirdest sensitivities, so some strains don’t feel good for me. Thank you so much for writing this and letting me know the option exists here!
Anna, thanks for your comment! I get my 2:1 CBD:THC-A tincture at Boulder Wellness, on Arapaho Avenue. The product is called Creature Comfort, and it’s made by the company, Sweet Mary Jane. Not sure about heated, vs non-heated, but if you contact Sweet Mary Jane, they may be able to provide more guidance on this. Let me know if you have any other questions, I’m happy to help :-)
Thank you so much. That’s extremely helpful. Thank you again for writing about this in the first place!
Anna, you’re welcome! If you have other questions LMK! I hope you’ll stay in touch and keep me posted on how you’re doing :-)
Adrienne Savage-Parker says
I’m a 58 yr old woman who has tried marijuana back in the 80’s, I didn’t like it then and I don’t want it now. I’m suffering with multiple health issues such as rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, sciatica and peripheral and diabetic neuropathy. I’m in so much pain constantly and it never eases up. I would like to know what I can use to help my conditions. Right now I have no real life. I can’t sit for long periods of time and I can’t lay down for long periods of time. My grandchildren feel like I am getting real old real quick.
Please respond with help
Adrienne, thanks for reaching out! I’m sorry to hear about everything you’re going through. I would recommend contacting my friend Karin at Sweet Mary Jane to get more information. Tell her you read this blog post and that I sent you. She has helped many people and developed this product. Also, let me know if you would be interested in learning more about my very simple stretching program which got me out of pain –if enough people are interested I’ll share it on Instagram and here too. Please stay in touch and keep me posted :-)
I’d love you share your stretching program, please!
Jody, thanks so much! I will add that to my list of requests :-)
Adrienne, are you 100% Gluten Free yet? For me that has made such a huge difference in pain and inflammation. It took several months to start working, but I have now been Gluten Free for 11 years and you could not pay me any amount of money to eat the smallest amount.
Susan, totally agree with you on this!
You wrote, “I walk and work out every day, which seems to prevent the muscle spasms that most folks with MS deal with.” I clicked through on “walk “and “work out “to learn more about your walking and workout regimen. There is a very helpful description of how you slowly built up your ability to walk on a daily basis, but I am wondering about your daily workouts. What does a week of daily workouts look like? Thanks! :-)
Christine, I slowly built that up too. Right now I’m doing 5 days per week of Pilates or Gyrotonics :-)