For much of its history, marijuana has been viewed
as an illicit substance on par with drugs like cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, LSD and even heroin. However, in
recent years a green revolution has taken place. We’ve come
a long way from hysteria-laden public service propaganda
like Reefer Madness, which debuted to the American public
in 1936. Thanks to the success of Proposition 64 in 2016,
recreational cannabis is now legal to purchase and consume
If the last time you ingested marijuana came courtesy of
an unlabeled magic brownie purchased in the shadows of
Golden Gate Park, you may not realize that the modern-day
cannabis shopping experience is more like a visit to Whole
Foods than a drug deal in the alley way.
January 1, 2018, marked the official beginning of adult-use sales in California, allowing anyone age 21 or
older to set foot in locations previously only
accessible to those with valid medical
cannabis cards. While not every dispensary is licensed to offer recreational
sales, a number of San Francisco
retailers have succeeded in obtaining
permits. What exists beyond their
doors is simply staggering.
One of the main complaints of
casual marijuana consumers has
long been an inability to discern
exactly how high a product will get
them. While most can probably gauge
the effect of a single puff of a joint, things get
exponentially murkier when it comes to baked goods and
other products that don’t involve smoke. With strict new
regulations established in conjunction with Proposition 64
now in place, the mystery of dosing is finally being solved.
A visit to a dispensary will reveal that chocolate bars now
come pre-portioned into breakable bites — with each square
guaranteed to have a specific amount of THC (the psychoac-
tive component of cannabis).
Not looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? In the days
before legalization, finding edibles that weren’t saturated
in sugar was a difficult task, but the trend of eating healthy
has at last penetrated the cannabis industry as well. While
there are still plenty of cookies, brownies and other decadent
laced treats to be had, many companies have opted to expand
into more wholesome products like granola, nuts, broths and
oatmeal. There are also now teas, tinctures, balms and dried
fruits available in assorted doses. There are even vegan and
Another concern — flavor — has also taken a leap forward.
No longer are edibles doomed to taste primarily of marijuana,
thanks to the efforts of Michelin-caliber chefs like Michael
Magallanes and Mindy Segal, two of the numerous celebrated
cooks who have left the restaurant world behind in favor of
cooking up cannabis confections. Discussions surrounding
flavor have extended far beyond marijuana-laced food. In the
past several years, the entirety of the cannabis industry has
become obsessed with one element specifically: terpenes.
For decades, the distinction between sativa and indica
— the t wo primary species of cannabis plant — was the argu-
ment that ruled the day. However, research has shown that
it is terpenes — the aromatic oils that distinguish strains of
cannabis from one another — that truly differentiate vari-
etals of the plant from one another.
Indeed, it is terpenes that now aid consumers in selecting which strain best suits them. Linalool is known for its
sedative properties and flavors of lavender and birch, while
pinene unsurprisingly carries a taste of pine and is also recommended as an aid for combating inflammation. Naturally,
some enterprising cannabis chemists are designing hybrids
and extracting terpene elements to create even more refined
options. Last year, Northern California’s AbsoluteXtracts
actually teamed with popular Bay Area brewery Lagunitas
to create a line of cannabis oils infused with terpenes
extracted from beer hops.
Yes, even beer is not immune from the green touch.
Many grocery stores now feature wellness sections,
and the marijuana industry is no different.
Instead of homeopathic powders and root extracts,
though, the star of this show is cannabidiol — more commonly known as CBD. Just as THC is but one of over 100
cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, CBD is an extract
that has recently taken the spotlight for its profound and
varied medicinal applications. Unlike THC, CBD has no
psychoactive properties, meaning consumers of pure CBD
products can safely ingest without fear of getting “stoned.”
The benefits of CBD are numerous. A 2017 study in the Ne w
England Journal of Medicine found the product successful in
treating epilepsy in children. Another study from the same
year conducted by the National Academy of Sciences suggests
4/20 This popular shorthand for
marijuana (and the onus for cannabis
celebrations on April 20) was actually
first coined by a group of San Rafael
High School students in the 1970s who
would meet outside the school at
4: 20 p.m. to toke up.
CANNABIS The preferred way to
reference marijuana these days is to
simply use its genus name.
GANJA A Sanskrit term for hemp,
popularized in Jamaica. The word was
first introduced to the Caribbean by
KNOW YOUR TERMS
Depending on whom you’re speaking with, you may hear any number
of words used to describe the buds of the Cannabis sativa plant. From
slang to science, the origins of these terminologies are a fascinating
glimpse into the history of pot itself. Here is a quick vocabulary lesson
on some of the most popular marijuana monikers.