• Can I smoke pot? A guide to cannabis consumption

    By: Dalton Main

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Two years after voters approved the legalization of recreational (or adult-use) cannabis in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the first sales will finally be made Tuesday. 

    With retail licenses being finalized and lines queuing, you might still have questions about cannabis itself. 

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    Here’s a bit of a guide to cannabis. 

    What is marijuana?

    Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the cannabis sativa or cannabis indica plant. Cannabis is the name of the plant, derived from its scientific name. Extracts from the plant can be made into hash oil or wax. Cannabis products contain the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

    How do I consume?

    People consumer marijuana in a few primary ways. The dried leaves can be smoked, THC resins and oils can be vaporized or either can be infused into foods to make what are referred to as edibles. 

    How does cannabis work?

    THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis. The human body has naturally-built-in cannabinoid receptors, which interact with the cannabinoids like THC or cannabidiol (CBD), which is known for its pain relief effects. Those receptors cause a change in the way your brain synapses function. Cannabinoids affect brain areas that impact learning and memory, appetite, coordination, and pleasure.

    What happens when you consume cannabis?

    Marijuana affects each person differently depending on their biology, the plant’s potency, previous experience with drugs, the way a person uses the drug, and the use of alcohol or other drugs at the same time. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, some people feel nothing at all when they use marijuana. Some feel relaxed or high. Others suddenly get anxious and paranoid; this can happen particularly when a person consumes too much or isn't used to taking it. 

    Common reported effects include: a relaxed sense of well-being; heightened senses, like making colors seem brighter; changes in your sense of time; or anxiety, fear, or panic.

    Can cannabis use have negative effects?

    While cannabis does interact with dopamine, the chemical messenger in your brain that is connected with pleasure and addiction, it is possible to be addicted to cannabis. However, cannabis has far fewer addictive properties than drugs like opioids. Rarely, people can experience psychosis from overuse of cannabis. It is true there has never been a documented fatality simply from a cannabis 'overdose'.  

    What types of cannabis are there?

    Indica: This type of strain is primary reported as a good option for relaxation
    Sativa: Users of sativa tend to report a more active or creative high
    Hybrid: This is simply a combination of sativa and indica, which means you can experience combinations of effects

    Things to know from the CCC

    • You cannot consume cannabis in public
    • You cannot drive with an open container of recreational cannabis in the passenger area of your car
    • An employer may restrict the consumption of cannabis in the workplace
    • You may possess up to an ounce of cannabis on your person, not more than 5 grams may be in concentrate form
    • You may grow up to 6 cannabis plants per person in your home, maximum of 12
    • The tax on recreational cannabis is 20 percent
       

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