Beginner's Guide to Modern Cannabis
As of Jan 1, 2018, it is legal for anyone over 21 to buy cannabis in California. At Harborside an adult over 21 can come in and legally buy cannabis without a medical recommendation.
We’ve been in the cannabis business for since 2006. It’s something that was borne out of a passion for cannabis, knowing it can have such a positive impact on your life. But it is also something you should educate yourself about. Whether you know nothing about cannabis, are ready to try it for the first time, or just want to brush up,, you may have some questions.
As the cannabis industry grows and matures, you may have already noticed more and more products that come in more and more shapes and form factors: Flowers. Concentrates. Edibles. Vape oils. Topicals. The list keeps growing and changing. Even a seasoned “cannaseur” may have a question.
This guide is meant to be a top-level overview of the products that Harborside sells. If you have questions, or need more information, your friendly and knowledgeable Harborside Cannabis Specialist will be more than happy to help you find answers.
Need a cheat sheet? Print a PDF version of this Quick Start Guide to bring in with you.THE BASICS
TESTING & SAFETY
WHAT ARE STRAINS?
There are thousands of strains. Blue Dream, Sour Diesel and OG Kush are examples of strains.
There are thousands of different cannabis strains out there and most of them have names that were coined by the growers who brought us the specific genetics from that plant. Some popular examples include Blue Dream, Sour Diesel and OG Kush. Some products are always strain-based, such as flower and concentrates, while others are based on indica/sativa, and still others (mostly edibles) generally do not indicate a strain or plant type.
WHAT DOES INDICA, SATIVA & HYBRID MEAN?
Indica and sativa are the two types of cannabis plants (hybrids are a blend of the two)
Indica and sativa are the two types of cannabis plants (hybrids are a blend of the two).
Indicas were historically thought to have more of a relaxing body effect. They were good for just hanging out and watching a movie, kicking back or even having a “cup of warm milk” before bed.
Sativas were thought to have a more energizing heady effect. you might say it is the more “social” of the two, good for being out doing physical activities, interacting with others or just wanting to be creative.
But that’s not always the case these days. Plant genetics have been bred, mixed and crossed so much over the last century that you can no longer predict the effect of an indica or sativa with any precision.
You will still see indica and sativa distinctions on many of the products at Harborside. You can experiment with each of the types and see what works for you. A Harborside Cannabis Consultant can help you choose a strain or plant type that is right for the experience you are looking for.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THC & CBD?
THC is known for the euphoric “high”. CBD is the non-psychoactive healing and wellness compound. But it’s not that simple anymore.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis that results in the euphoric “high” cannabis has come to be known for. It is commonly known to promote a more euphoric experience in a person’s mind and body.
CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive compound and is associated with healing and wellness.
You will notice THC and CBD in many Harborside products. Some products have the THC and CBD amounts in percentages or milligrams, while others will have the amounts indicated in a ratio of CBD to THC, or vice-versa. We recommend trying a few different ratios until you find the effect that you are looking for. Remember to start small and give it time. And Harborside Cannabis Consultant are always available for more detailed information.
WHAT ARE TERPENES
Terpenes are oils secreted by the cannabis plant and give each cannabis strain a unique smell and taste.
Terpenes are oils secreted by the cannabis plant and give each cannabis strain a unique smell and taste. Many of the names of different strains (like Lemon, Blueberry, Sour Diesel or Skunk) are reflective of that strain’s terpene content. Terpenes are not unique to cannabis and are present in many type of plants, especially herbs and fruits. Their importance is not thought to be limited to smell and taste. It is believed that the presence of terpenes also enhances cannabis’ effects.
The science behind terpenes is still relatively new. Every day we are learning more about how THC, CBD and terpenes work together to create different experiences. This is known as Entourage Effect or Whole Plant Effect.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM (ECS)
The ECS directly connects our body and mind and is key to understanding how a state of mind can directly promote health or illness.
With the exception of insects, every mammal has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS, which was discovered in 1979, is a biological system that directly connects our body and mind and is key to understanding how a state of mind can directly promote health or illness.
Our bodies make and interact with its own Cannabinoids for many physiological functions. Our body and mind can also be affected by adding external Cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Everyone’s ECS is a little bit different, which is why cannabis affects each of us differently and it is virtually impossible to predict the effects of any product.
WHERE CAN I CONSUME?
While legal, don’t consume cannabis in public.
Although cannabis is now legal in California, it is not legal to consume in public places or to drive while under the influence. You should consume in a private location, such as your home, or a friend’s home.
WHAT IS DOSING AND MICRODOSING?
A dose is essentially equivalent to a “serving size” for cannabis.
A dose is essentially equivalent to a “serving size” for cannabis. Of course, what constitutes a serving size is open to interpretation. California law requires that edibles be easily divided into [a maximum of] 10mg doses, so a 100mg chocolate bar will contain 10 doses. There are also many products on the market that are provide dosing option under 10mg. Consumption of these products is referred to as microdosing. Be sure to ask a Harborside Cannabis Consultant what dosage is right for you based on your tolerance and experience.
Edibles are just that. They are edible. But it’s much more than the brownies of yore
Edibles are very popular with beginners. They are easy to understand, taste good and are not intimidating. At Harborside, you’ll find everything from simple gummies and mints to high-end chocolate products. Each product will be labeled with its THC and CBD content in milligrams. For first timers, it’s best to start with a small serving (2-3 mg) and increase the amount until it has the effect you are looking for.
Keep in mind that edibles can take more than an hour to “kick in” and the effect can be stronger and last longer than other forms. So, consider a microdosing option initially to start small and slow. A Harborside Cannabis Consultant can show you specific items and discuss dosages in more detail.
Flower is the bud of a female cannabis plant, or what was previously referred to simply as “bud”.
Flower is the bud of a female cannabis plant. Most people look at the strain name, plant type (indica/sativa) and potency (THC/CBD content) when buying flower. Flower is sold by strain and weight. Under current California state law, individuals can legally buy one ounce of flower per day. When you visit the dispensary and have decided what you’d like to buy, say something like, “I’ll take an eighth of Red Congolese”. That’s it! Easy, right?
Flower is usually smoked through a pipe or bong, or can be rolled into a joint. It can also be vaporized through a variety of accessories.
You may remember prerolls by their original name: joints. But they are so much more now.
You may remember prerolls by their original name: joints. However, today prerolls are machine-made and consistent -- no more messy rolling necessary. Prerolls can be sold by the strain or plant type and the price will vary based on the quality of the product. Of course, if you like the feeling of rolling a joint, you can always pick up some flower and papers and keep it old school.
You’ve no doubt seen someone vaping. A vape pen may look like a pen, or it may not.
Vape pens are an increasingly popular and convenient way to consume cannabis. They can be pre-charged and disposable or you can buy a low-cost rechargeable battery that uses interchangeable cannabis oil cartridges. There are also a few systems out there, like the popular Pax Era, that use a proprietary cartridges. Vape pens and cartridges can be sold by cannabis strain, plant type and/or potency. However some products are sold based solely on effect. THC and CBD amounts are usually listed in percentages or ratios on these products. A Harborside Cannabis Consultant can help you pick the vape pen and oils that are right for you.
Topicals include things like balms, creams, lubricants, patches and other forms of cannabis that are applied directly to the skin.
Topicals include products like balms, creams, lubricants, patches and other forms of cannabis products that are applied directly to the skin. These products are commonly used for pain relief and have high CBD content, although many also contain THC. Topical products are not intended to produce a psychoactive effect. THC and CBD amounts are usually indicated in a ratio on topical products.
TINCTURES & SUBLINGUALS
Tinctures come in a small glass bottle and are usually consumed orally through a dropper.
Tinctures come in a small glass bottle and are usually consumed orally through a dropper. (Sublinguals are dissolved on, or under, the tongue.) Many of these products have a high ratio of CBD and have been used successfully to help with anxiety and even reportedly to help control seizures in children. Many tinctures do contain THC, so it is important to read the label for THC/CBD amount and recommended consumption instructions. Ask a Harborside Cannabis Consultant for more info.
CONCENTRATES & EXTRACTS
Concentrates are, well, concentrated forms of cannabis that is extracted from the plant.
Like their name says, concentrates are a highly concentrated form of cannabis that is extracted from the plant. Today’s concentrates can come in different forms called shatter, wax, sugar, kief and many others. Concentrates are usually reserved for a more experienced cannabis consumer. Most often, they are sold based on strain, plant type and/or potency and are sold by the gram and half gram. By current California state law, individuals are allowed to buy up to 8 grams of concentrates per day.
Cannabis concentrates are usually consumed through a portable device or stationary rig (or “dab rig”) that vaporizes the concentrate at very high temperatures. Concentrates can also be mixed with flower to supercharge a bowl or preroll.
Ask your Harborside Cannabis Consultant if a concentrate or extract is right for you.
GROWING YOUR OWN CANNABIS
You can grow your own cannabis plants. And we can show you how to do it.
Under California law you are permitted to grow up to six of your own cannabis plants. It’s not as hard as it may sound and there are plenty of online resources to help you. Harborside offers a variety of different clones and seeds to choose from. Before you start your garden, however, be sure to check to see if your city has any local restrictions or regulations, as regulations can vary from city to city and can be stricter than the state.
A cannabis clone is exactly what it sounds like – it is a cutting from the parent plant and, as such, has genetic information that is identical to that parent. That means you’ll already know what the strain is and what to expect from it with regards to potency, yield and other genetic information. It also saves time since there is no waiting for seeds to germinate.
If you are interested in purchasing clones, talk to a Harborside Cultivation Expert at the clone desk about our variety.
We have stuff to go with your cannabis. Papers. Lighters. Pods. Etc.
Harborside offers many different accessories, from vaporizer batteries and rolling papers to stationary vaporizers and dab rigs . If you have questions about how an accessory works, you can come into one of our retail locations for a consultation, or call or contact us online. Visit our store to view accessories online.
Got an anxious dog? We can help.
Harborside also carries a number of products that are formulated for your dog! These are high CBD products that usually take the form of tinctures or edible treats. These products are designed to help dogs cope with anxiety and aches and pains.
Never give your dog any cannabis product that isn’t formulated for dogs. Dogs do not process THC the same way that humans do and cannabis products containing THC can be very harmful for dogs.
TESTING, SAFETY & QUALITY
TESTING, SAFETY & QUALITY
Harborside has been a leader in developing quality and safety standards for cannabis products.
For over a decade, Harborside has been a leader in developing quality and safety standards for cannabis products. Any and all products for sale at Harborside have undergone rigorous lab testing to ensure that they are free of dangerous or undesirable materials, like pesticides, molds and fungus. In additional, products are also tested for potency and terpenes content. Potency is reflected in percentage of THC and/or CBD [link back to ‘what is THC/CBD].
STORING YOUR PRODUCTS
It is very important that you store your cannabis product in a safe, secure location away from children and pets.
It is very important that you store your cannabis product in a safe, secure location away from children and pets. To maintain freshness, flower is best stored in glass containers placed in a cool, dry location (about 60% humidity). When you purchase cannabis products at Harborside, it will be given to you in a child-resistant “exit” bag.
WHERE SHOULD YOU START?
This is a loaded question. And there isn’t one answer.
Where you begin your cannabis journey depends a lot on your past experience and what you are comfortable with. Flower, prerolls and vape pens are good starting points, although many people are not comfortable with the idea of smoking or vaping. Edibles are another great place for first-timers. We recommend starting with a small (microdose) amount, like 2-3mg and then moving up from there to achieve the effect you are looking for.