Your Guide to Common Cannabis Questions
Put yourself in the driver’s seat. Learn to control your medication effects– both wanted (good health benefits) or not (unwanted side effects)!
At DarkHorse Delta Enterprises, our mission is spreading cannabis education, awareness, and cannabis medication advocacy. We network with several other groups in this mission, writing educational articles, participating in podcasts, answering questions for patients, and more. We have gathered together answers for common questions about cannabis (and hemp) medication and using our education system, The Cannabis Calculators.
Q: What are cannabinoids and terpenes?
A: Cannabis contains hundreds of ingredients which have yet to be fully studied due to continuing federal prohibition. The most common of these are cannabinoids and terpenes. These ingredients work together to give cannabis its effects. Experts have found over a hundred different cannabinoids (you may know them as THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, etc) and estimate there are around 200 different terpenes inside differing strains of cannabis. Examples of commonly found terpenes include myrcene, caryophyllene, pinene, and limonene. The cannabinoids are unique to cannabis only, but the terpenes can be found in other plants too! In fact, terpenes are found in essential oils and help produce their health effects. We included some of the most commonly found and better researched cannabinoids and terpenes on our devices.
Q: Does hemp (CBD flower) and high THC cannabis have the same ingredients?
A: Hemp IS cannabis. It is just segregated for legal reasons. Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC levels as required by law. So, other than its low THC levels, hemp contains all other cannabinoids and terpenes in differing strain combinations. Many patients find that mixing high THC strains with hemp provides better overall health control… and helps stretch medication too (and save you money)! Learn to identify which cannabis ingredients you should target. Get customized education with The Cannabis Calculator 1! Our calculators can be used for both hemp AND cannabis.
Q: What are acidic and non-acidic cannabinoids? Why are they both included on my calculator(s)?
A: Learning about cannabis can be confusing. One such topic is the difference between “acidic” and non-acidic cannabinoids. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are the main active ingredients found inside cannabis medication. Acidic cannabinoids are the natural form of these cannabinoids inside the plant. In other words, they are cannabinoids found inside the raw plant before you smoke them (or otherwise “activate” them with heat). Heating cannabinoids changes them into their non-acidic form– the one you are probably most familiar with (THC, CBD, and more). This happens through a chemical process called decarboxylation. Decarboxylation, aka decarbing, occurs spontaneously when smoking or vaping or can be done deliberately by applying heat before using or infusing into edibles, oils, and using in recipes. For instance, the natural (acidic) form of THC is called THCA. Decarboxylation changes the natural, acidic form (THCA) into the non-acidic and better-known (delta 9) THC. Both forms of cannabinoids have medicinal benefits.
Examples include (not all-inclusive):
Acidic Cannabinoids (“A” is for acid) Non-Acidic Cannabinoids
THCA—–with heat turns into———– THC
CBDA—–with heat turns into ——– CBD
CBGA—–with heat turns into——— CBG
CBCA—–with heat turns into ——- CBC
Q: How do i use acidic cannabinoids?
A: Acidic cannabinoids are found in raw cannabis and hemp flower. Some commercially produced products at dispensaries and online contain some acidic cannabinoids in their formula too. An online example of tinctures containing the acidic CBDA can be found here. CBDA can be more effective than CBD in helping with inflammation and related pain at much lower dosages, allowing you to save money.
Q: What about an easy way to get my acidic cannabinoids?
A: Acidic cannabinoids are the natural kind found in the raw cannabis plant. Research has shown that they have medicinal value, sometimes even better than its non-acidic kind! Raw cannabis is non-psychoactive (meaning it won’t get you high) and has a higher amount of terpenes, the stuff in the plant causing the smell, taste, and some of the effects. Using the raw product as a herb/vegetable in salads, smoothies, or a simple canna-tea are all cost-effective choices. Just remember that applying heat changes the medication through decarboxylation.
So, how do you harness the healing power of these natural cannabinoids? Fresh raw cannabis flowers can be eaten directly (chewing for a few minutes can speed up the effects), added directly to food (such as a salad or smoothie), prepared into an oil, or brewed into tea. While large doses can cause some digestive upset, most people have no problems after consuming. Raw cannabis is best used for nausea, inflammation, pain, and seizures. NOTE: A raw cannabis preparation that is exposed to heat, such as being left in a car on a hot day, will transform into a product with totally different (and potentially psychoactive)effects from decarboxylation. You should refrigerate acidic products when possible. An easy (and less expensive method) involves brewing a simple canna-tea using your choice of cannabis flower strain. A simple canna-tea recipe : Gently simmer 1g cannabis flower in 1 liter of water for fifteen (15) minutes. DO NOT BOIL as this will change the medicinal properties! Cover and allow to cool, then strain into a pitcher, expressing the liquid from the bud material. This recipe of cannabis tea produces a beverage with about 90% raw (acidic)cannabinoids and 10% decarboxylated (non-acidic). This tea should ideally be consumed within 24 hours since it quickly loses its potency over the course of a week, even when stored in the refrigerator.
Q: How do I find out which cannabinoids and terpenes are in my product?
A: Each state is different as far as testing and reporting requirements but any legitimate business should be able to provide you with the product’s lab report (certificate of analysis). This report will include tests for which ones are found in your product along with other important details. Many products come with a scannable QR code linking directly to the report! Check with your dispensary or online retailer for how to access these reports.
It is important to know which ones are in there as well as HOW MUCH it contains. Everyone reacts to them differently, so it is important to include these details in a journal. For example, strains high in THC and citrus based terpenesDescriptions found on community websites such as CannaSOS, Cannigma, Iheartjane, Leafly, and Weedmaps can give you a general idea of what should be there but will most likely still leave you guessing.
Note: when purchasing hemp/CBD products online, we recommend only purchasing trusted, lab verified products. The industry is still unregulated and thus levels can vary widely. There have been reports of false labeling and contaminated products in the past. ALWAYS ASK FOR THE LAB REPORT. Learn how to read them with our short YouTube video found here.
Q: Do cannabis strains with high levels of THC work better for me?
A: In almost every instance, a more balanced cannabis strain with lower levels of THC work to produce the best overall health effect. Too high levels of THC can often induce unwanted side effects (such as anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, and tachycardia) and lead to medication “tolerance” which is where the medication stops working as well. Cannabis is a biphasic and bidirectional medication, meaning that it can cause the very symptoms you are trying to relieve AND more is not always better.
This is why we don’t have an overwhelming demand for Marinol, a synthetic form of THC that has been on the market for decades. It contains synthetic THC only and loses the competition against cannabis for symptom relief. Cannabis has the differing ingredients that boost the overall effects. Learning to ID the ingredients inside cannabis that work best for you is important to gain the most control over your health issues. Learn to identify them with The Cannabis Calculator 1. Learning how they work in your body can put you in the driver’s seat to controlling your health (and avoiding unwanted side effects)!
Q: I am new to cannabis medication. How do I figure out how much cannabis to use?
A: Everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to cannabis medication. Keeping this in mind, a cookie-cutter approach is not the best way of figuring out what dosage is best for you. We recommend starting with a product where the dose is easily controlled such as a tincture and branching from there. A slow, methodical approach will give you better results than following routine dose recommendations or just guessing and jumping in. This is because everyone’s body is different and requires different levels of cannabis medication to come back into balance.
A common recommendation to finding out your tincture dosage (called the therapeutic window) is to use a small amount (1 drop under the tongue once or twice daily) and increasing by an extra drop every 3 days or so as tolerated. It is very important to keep a diary of how you feel every day, making note of symptom relief as you increase. Make note of when you start feeling relief of your symptoms—this is the beginning of your therapeutic window. Continue to increase the amount until you don’t have any noticeable increase in symptom relief or you experience unwanted side effects. The dose right prior to that is your maximum dosage!
Note: Some people who are new to cannabis medication are very sensitive to the effects of THC. These folks may need to develop a little “tolerance” to the psychoactivity coming from it. Often taking a slightly higher dosage at bedtime allows patients to experience these effects when sleeping– and helps with sleep in many cases!
Q: Edibles are expensive. How do I make my own?
A: Cannabis medication is expensive (and insurance does not cover any of it). As such, most patients are looking for ways to cut some of the costs involved. Cannabis edibles and capsules are a popular but expensive way to take your medication– unless you learn to make your own. The popular cannabis gummy can reach costs of up to $4 per dose in many dispensaries. Chocolate bars are even more.
Learning how to make cannabis edibles can be intimidating for many. Luckily, Arkansas’ own CannaCook has simple, easy to follow cannabis recipes and videos that take you step by step through the process of making your very own edibles and more! CannaCook has something for everyone– from novice to expert, from making gummies to adding cannabis into your everyday cooking! Check out our video with the folks at CannaCook showing you how to make your own capsules with olive oil and AVB (already vaped bud- read more about this below).
Wondering how to figure out how strong your cannabis edibles are?
Look no further than CannaCook’s easy to use Dosage Calculator!
Skip the math and allow the calculator to figure out the strength
of your edibles. Simply plug in the numbers and the dosage is figured for you.
No more confusing algebra!
MONEY SAVING TIP
Did you know using a programmable (digital) vaporizer to vape cannabis can help to extend your cannabis budget? Targeting the boiling points of your cannabis ingredients releases them in greater amounts without losing them to the destruction from combustion seen in smoking cannabis– and without the potential toxins. Even more savings are possible by dry herb (flower) vaporization! Check out The Cannabis Calculator 2 for an easy reference guide to these vital temperatures. Skip the research and use The Cannabis Calculators instead!
DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR USED CANNABIS MATERIAL FROM YOUR DRY HERB VAPE! Savvy cannabis patients know this material still contains small amounts of the active, medicinal ingredients. This material is commonly called Already Vaped Bud (AVB) and can be reused/ infused into cannabis oils, creams, and edibles– potentially saving you more $! AVB is also known as ABV (already been vaped).
Check out our AVB video and recipe here.
Warning: Always follow your doctor’s orders. Not intended to replace medical instructions, diagnosis, or treatments. Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not a substitute for advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Consult your doctor for any contraindications, allergies, and medicine interactions. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA- cannabis is still federally illegal. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.