AS RECREATIONAL marijuana stores in Washington State open this month, a new demographic emerges: the clueless-but-cannabis-curious. If you still use the term "doobie" and are flummoxed by the endless array of newfangled acronyms and terminologies, get with the now, hippie. Have questions about these or other terms? Hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—There are over 400 chemical compounds in cannabis, with more than 60 of those being "active." The best-known, of course, is the psychoactive compound THC, the plant resin that takes the form of those sugar-like, shiny crystals coating the bud. This is the stuff that gets you high.
CBD (cannabidiol)—This compound, however, does not get you stoned, and may in fact counter the effects of THC, all while potentially offering substantial medical benefits. CBD is best used in strains and products that have a one-to-one ratio of THC to CBD. There's more info at projectcbd.org.
Sativa—The strains of cannabis that produce a buzzing, cerebral "high." These are best for depression, creative endeavors, and daytime use. Need to clean the house? Sativa is for you.
Indica—The strains of cannabis that produce a relaxing "stone," best for killing pain, conquering insomnia, reducing stress, and watching Avatar on the couch.
Hybrid—Most strains of cannabis are a combination of indica and sativa, with one or the other being dominant.
Medibles—These "medical edibles" include any food or drink that has been infused with cannabis. As the THC in these products enters your body via the liver, the effects are much different than smoking or vaping, and last longer. Overconsumption, while not fatal, may make you wish it were. So take it easy, Cookie Monster.
BHO (butane hash oil)—BHO is made using butane as a solvent to strip THC from cannabis buds, resulting in a thick, viscous liquid that resembles motor oil. Whipping, heating, and otherwise manipulating the BHO changes the consistently to a waxy, sticky solid, known as earwax (I know... eeeeww), honeycomb, and shatter. The THC content can be 90 percent or more, according to various sources, and is favored by those with a desire for maximum potency in the smallest dose and/or the insane. These selections of products are known as concentrates, and a dose of this is a dab. You can also use CO2 as a solvent, or create concentrates using water and ice, AKA bubble hash or ice hash.
Tinctures—THC that has been extracted and suspended in a base of high-proof alcohol or food-grade glycerin. A dropperful placed beneath the tongue, or mixed into a beverage, produces a mellow, short-lasting effect.
RSO (Rick Simpson oil)—A high-proof alcohol reduction of cannabis buds, touted as a cancer cure, tumor reducer, and overall miracle product. A documentary, Run from the Cure, can be found at topdocumentaryfilms.com.
Vape Pens—Just like those e-cigs that once-popular celebrities Ethan Hawke and Jenny McCarthy hawk, these battery-powered, handheld, pen-sized devices heat up ground cannabis, concentrates, or "vape juice" into a near odorless vapor that can be inhaled without irritation to the user, and are stealth enough that they can be used most anywhere.