Cannabis Resources & Consumption Education

At AuraLight, we are dedicated to providing you with information about the most popular consumption methods for cannabis in Illinois. Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis user or just starting out, understanding how to consume cannabis safely and effectively is crucial.

From flower products and vaping to edibles and tinctures, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make informed decisions about how you choose to enjoy recreational cannabis.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Cannabis is a complex plant with numerous compounds that offer various benefits. The two main classes of compounds found in cannabis are cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system and have therapeutic effects. 

On the other hand, terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinct flavors and smells and can also have therapeutic properties. With the increasing legalization and acceptance of cannabis, researchers are uncovering more and more about the plant’s potential benefits, including its potential as a medicine, as well as its many other uses. 

Beyond its medical and therapeutic applications, cannabis has industrial uses such as the production of paper, clothing, and building materials. The seeds of the plant are also used to produce food and fuel oil, making cannabis an incredibly versatile plant.

Cannabinoids

THCA

THCA is the acidic form of THC. THCA is not intoxicating if ingested. Chemically, it has an additional molecular carboxyl ring, which prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain responsible for psychoactivity. When THCA is exposed to heat, such as when combusting, vaping, dabbing, or cooking, it will convert into the cannabinoid THC.

THC

Is a cannabinoid found in the leaves, flowers, and resin of the cannabis plant. It is known for its psychoactive effects and is the primary component responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use. THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, binding to CB1 receptors in the brain to produce its effects.

THCV

THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a lesser-known cannabinoid found in certain strains of cannabis. It has a similar chemical structure to THC, but produces a different range of effects. THCV is known to suppress appetite and may have the potential as a treatment for obesity and diabetes.

CBDA

CBDA is the acidic form of CBD. It is non-psychoactive if ingested and has shown the potential in reducing inflammation, anxiety, and nausea. When CBDA is exposed to heat, such as when combusting, vaping, dabbing, or cooking, it will convert into the cannabinoid CBD.

CBD

CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that is known for its potential therapeutic benefits. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, meaning it does not cause the “high” associated with marijuana use. CBD is believed to have a range of potential health benefits, including pain relief, reducing inflammation, and helping with anxiety and depression.

CBN

CBN stands for cannabinol, which is a mildly psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It is formed when THC oxidizes over time or is exposed to heat or light. CBN is often associated with sedative effects, making it useful for promoting sleep and relaxation. It also has the potential as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

In addition to cannabinoids, other cannabis plant molecules are biologically active. A few other molecules known to have health effects are flavonoids and terpenes or terpenoids (compounds providing the flavor and smell of cannabis). Cannabinoids, terpenoids, and other compounds are secreted by the glandular trichomes found most densely on the floral leaves and flowers of female plants.

Terpenes

Pinene

Pinene is a terpene commonly found in cannabis that has been shown to have numerous potential benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties, can help improve airflow to the lungs, and may have neuroprotective effects. 

Pinene is also believed to enhance memory and alertness, making it a popular choice for those seeking a stimulating and energizing cannabis experience. In terms of aroma, pinene is known for its fresh, pine-like scent, and is also found in pine needles, rosemary, and other herbs. Many cannabis strains that have a strong pine scent are likely to contain high levels of pinene.

Limonene

Limonene is a terpene commonly found in cannabis that gives off a strong citrus aroma. In addition to its pleasing scent, limonene has potential therapeutic benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and aiding in digestion. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it a valuable addition to cannabis strains intended for medicinal use. Overall, limonene is a desirable terpene for those seeking an uplifting and energizing effect from cannabis.

Myrcene

Myrcene is a terpene found in many cannabis strains and is known for its relaxing and sedative effects. It has a musky, earthy aroma with notes of fruit and spice. Myrcene is believed to enhance the effects of THC by increasing its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, resulting in a more intense and longer-lasting high. 

In addition to its potential psychoactive effects, myrcene has also been found to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial properties. Its sedative properties make it a popular choice for those seeking relief from insomnia or anxiety, while its anti-inflammatory effects may make it useful for managing pain and other inflammatory conditions.

Linalool

Linalool is a terpene found in some cannabis strains, and it is also present in lavender and other flowers. Its aroma is floral and slightly spicy. Linalool has been found to have a variety of therapeutic benefits, including anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and pain relief properties. It may also have sedative effects, which can help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. 

Linalool has also been found to have anti-epileptic effects, making it potentially useful in the treatment of seizures. Additionally, it has been found to have neuroprotective effects, which may make it useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Cannabis Varieties

Cannabis is a plant with a variety of uses and effects. The three main categories of cannabis flower, sativa, hybrid, and indica, each have distinct effects on the mind and body. 

In addition, various extracts and concentrates such as hash, oil, kief, rosin, resin, wax, and shatter offer potent forms of cannabis consumption with different modes of action. Edibles offer yet another option for cannabis consumption and involve infusing food or drink with cannabis to provide a longer-lasting and potentially more intense experience. 

Understanding the different categories of cannabis and their effects is important for individuals seeking to use cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Sativa

Cannabis Sativa is a species of cannabis plant that is known for its uplifting and energizing effects. Sativa strains can offer a range of therapeutic benefits, including increased focus, creativity, and improved mood.

They can also help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as provide pain relief. However, as with any cannabis strain, Sativa can also have potential side effects, such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, and anxiety. The effects of Sativa strains can vary widely depending on the individual’s physiology, dosage, and the specific characteristics of the strain.

Indica

Cannabis Indica strains are known for their relaxing and calming effects on both the mind and body. Indica strains are typically higher in CBD and lower in THC, producing a more sedative and physical effect. They are often used for their therapeutic benefits, such as reducing anxiety, alleviating insomnia, and promoting relaxation. 

However, like all cannabis strains, Indicas can have potential side effects, such as dry mouth, red eyes, and increased appetite. The effects of Indica strains can vary based on the specific genetics and the individual’s unique physiology, so it’s important to start with a low dose and monitor how it affects you.

Hybrid 

Cannabis hybrids are strains that are produced by crossbreeding indica and sativa plants, resulting in a combination of their characteristics. Hybrids can offer a range of therapeutic effects, including pain relief, stress reduction, and relaxation, as well as potential side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety. The effects of hybrids can vary widely depending on the specific combination of indica and sativa genetics, as well as the individual’s physiology and dosage.

Cannabis Consumption Methods

Consumption Through Ingesting

Ingesting cannabis through edibles is a well-liked method of consumption, which involves adding cannabis or cannabis extracts to various types of food or beverages. To activate the psychoactive effects of THC, cannabis must undergo heating or decarboxylation. 

Compared to other consumption methods, the effects of edible cannabis may take longer to onset and may last longer, as the digestive system metabolizes cannabinoids differently, producing a distinct metabolite of THC in the liver. Hence, it’s crucial to start with a low dosage and wait patiently for the effects to kick in to avoid the risk of overconsumption.

Edibles can have therapeutic effects, including pain relief and relaxation, but they can also cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, and paranoia. Overconsumption can lead to intense psychoactive effects and potentially dangerous situations. 

To avoid these negative side effects, it’s essential to consume edibles responsibly by being mindful of dosage and potency. It’s advisable to start with a low dose and wait for at least two hours before consuming more, as the effects of edibles can take some time to onset.

When it comes to consuming edibles, it’s important to start with a low dose to avoid any potential negative side effects. For those new to ingesting cannabis, it’s recommended to start with a 5mg dose and wait at least two hours before consuming any additional doses to determine your tolerance level. Keep in mind that everyone’s body chemistry is different, so the effects of edibles can vary from person to person.

Consuming cannabis through edibles is considered a safe method of consumption. However, it’s important to note that the effects may take longer to onset and can be more intense than inhalation methods. Typically, the effects can take an hour or more to kick in and can last longer. 

Taking edibles effectively, it may require experimentation with different product types and dosages. When cannabis is ingested, the digestive system metabolizes the cannabinoids differently, which can result in subjective effects that vary from person to person.

Consumption Through Tinctures or Sprays

Tinctures and sprays are one of the safest and most convenient ways to consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes. To find the optimal dosage for maximum therapeutic benefits, it is recommended to start with no more than 5mg and wait for at least an hour before increasing the dosage incrementally as necessary. 

This approach ensures that the user can accurately determine their ideal dosage without overconsumption, which can lead to adverse effects such as drowsiness or dizziness. By following these guidelines, tinctures and sprays can provide an effective and precise method of cannabis consumption for individuals seeking relief from various medical conditions.

Consumption Through Topicals

Topicals are another safe and effective way to consume cannabis, especially for those who do not want to experience the psychoactive effects of THC. These products are applied directly to the skin and can come in the form of lotions, balms, oils, and patches. Topicals are known for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a popular choice for people with conditions such as arthritis or muscle soreness. 

It is important to note that topicals do not produce a high because they do not enter the bloodstream, but rather interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin. To find the optimal dosage, start with a small amount and wait at least 30 minutes before applying more, as the effects may take some time to fully manifest.

Consumption Through Inhaling

Smoking is a traditional method of consuming cannabis, but it comes with some risks to lung health. Smoke inhalation can irritate the lungs, and smoking can also produce harmful chemicals such as tar and carbon monoxide. However, many people find smoking to be a fast and effective way to experience the effects of cannabis.

It is important to start with a low dose when consuming cannabis flower, particularly for those who are new to using it or have a low tolerance. Individual factors such as body weight, metabolism, and desired effects determine the dose. It is recommended to wait at least 15 minutes after inhaling before consuming more, as the effects can take time to fully onset.

Here are some best practices for smoking cannabis:

  • Use a clean and properly functioning smoking device, such as a pipe or vaporizer.

  • Choose high-quality cannabis flower from a reputable source.

  • Grind the flower into a fine consistency for even burning.

  • Inhale deeply and slowly to minimize irritation to the throat and lungs (1 – 3 Inhalations).

  • Take breaks between inhalations to avoid overconsumption and give the effects time to set in.

  • It is illegal to smoke cannabis in public places and be aware of others who may be sensitive to smoke.

  • If you have a pre-existing lung condition or are concerned about the health effects of smoking, consider alternative methods of consumption such as vaporizing or edibles.

Consumption Through Vaporizer

Vaporizers are another popular method for consuming cannabis. They work by heating the cannabis to a temperature that releases the cannabinoids and terpenes into a vapor that can be inhaled. Vaporizing cannabis is considered a healthier alternative to smoking since it eliminates the harmful toxins that are produced by combustion. Vaporizers come in various types and styles, including portable and desktop versions.

It is important to choose the appropriate temperature and dosage when using a vaporizer to ensure maximum therapeutic benefits and to avoid any potential negative side effects. Start with a low temperature and dosage, and gradually increase as needed. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution when handling a vaporizer.

Cannabis Categories

Cannabis consumption comes in many forms, but the three most popular categories are flower, vaporizers, and edibles. Flower is the classic form of cannabis, while vaporizers offer a more discreet and convenient option, and edibles provide a longer-lasting and more intense experience. 

Each category has its own unique benefits and reasons for popularity, making it essential to explore all options and find the one that works best for you. Below is a list of the most popular cannabis categories:

Pre-Rolls

Consuming cannabis in the form of pre-rolls is a popular method of consumption due to its convenience and ease of use. Pre-rolls are ready to smoke and require no additional preparation or equipment, making them a go-to option for many consumers. When consumed, cannabis is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, producing rapid onset effects that can include relaxation, pain relief, and altered perception.

Flower

Consuming cannabis flower is the most popular method of consumption due to its fast-acting effects and the ability to control the dose. When smoked, the cannabinoids are rapidly absorbed through the lungs and into the bloodstream, providing quick relief for symptoms such as pain, nausea, and anxiety. However, combusting cannabis flower can also lead to potential health risks, such as lung irritation and damage from inhaling smoke.

Vaporizers

Smoking cannabis in vaporizer/cartridge form is popular because it offers a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis without the harshness of smoking flowers. Vaporizers heat cannabis oil to a temperature that releases the active compounds, which are then inhaled as a vapor. This method provides a fast onset of effects and a cleaner inhaling experience, with less smoke and odor.

Edibles

Consuming cannabis in edible form is one of the most popular methods of consumption because it offers a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis. Unlike smoking, edibles don’t produce any harmful smoke or odors, making it a more socially acceptable way to consume cannabis.

Edibles are also known for producing a longer-lasting and more intense high, which can be beneficial for medical users seeking long-term pain relief or for recreational users looking for a more powerful experience. However, it’s important to note that edibles can take longer to take effect and can be more difficult to dose accurately, so caution and patience are necessary when trying edibles for the first time.

Extracts and Concentrates

Smoking cannabis extracts and concentrates have become increasingly popular due to its potent effects and high THC content. Extracts and concentrates can offer a more intense and immediate high compared to a traditional flower, making them a favorite among experienced users. However, because of their high potency, it’s crucial to start with a small dose and gradually increase to avoid any negative effects such as anxiety or paranoia.

Tinctures

Tinctures are one of the most convenient ways to consume cannabis. They provide an easy way to use products for those who do not want to smoke, vape or eat their products. Tinctures are used sublingually (applied under the tongue or added to food and drinks) and can be used for precise dosing. This allows the user to tailor their experience to their needs.

Topicals

Topicals are popular because they offer localized relief to specific areas of the body, such as sore muscles or joints, without producing psychoactive effects. They are also discreet and easy to use, making them a convenient option for people who prefer not to inhale cannabis or consume edibles. The effects of topicals are typically felt within minutes to hours after application and can last for several hours, depending on the product’s potency and the individual’s tolerance.

Extracts and Concentrates

Cannabis extracts and concentrates are highly potent products made by extracting THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids from the plant using solvents. These products can be consumed in various ways, including dabbing, vaping, or adding them to edibles. They are known for their strong therapeutic effects, including pain relief, reduced inflammation, and improved sleep.

But may also have side effects such as dizziness, anxiety, and increased heart rate, especially when consumed in high doses. It is important to use these products with caution and under the guidance of a medical professional.

Hash

Hash and hash oil are both cannabis concentrates. Hash is made by collecting and compressing the trichomes of the plant into a solid block, while hash oil is extracted using solvents like butane or CO2 to isolate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. Both forms of concentrate can be more potent than traditional cannabis flower and are often used for their therapeutic benefits.

Kief

Kief is a cannabis concentrate that consists of the resin glands (trichomes) that cover the plant’s flowers. It is typically collected by sifting cannabis flowers through a fine mesh screen, separating the trichomes from the rest of the plant material. 

Kief is known for its high concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, making it a potent form of cannabis. It can be smoked, vaporized, or added to edibles for a more intense psychoactive effect. Because of its high potency, it is important to use caution when consuming kief and start with a small amount to avoid overconsumption.

Rosin

In contrast, rosin extracts are produced using a solventless method that relies solely on heat and pressure. This process involves pressing dried and cured cannabis flower or hash between two hot surfaces, effectively squeezing out the resinous content. Because no solvents are involved, rosin is often favored for its purity and the retention of a more robust terpene profile. Additionally, it’s important to note that rosin is typically made from dried and cured marijuana, not flash-frozen flower, distinguishing it from live resin products, which emphasize the use of immediately frozen cannabis material to preserve freshness and flavor.

Resin

Resin extracts, typically crafted through solvent-based techniques like butane or CO2 extraction, involve dissolving trichome-rich resin glands from cannabis plant material to isolate cannabinoids and terpenes. Post-processing methods can yield various consistencies, such as shatter or wax, but it’s essential to mention that the use of solvents in resin extraction necessitates thorough purging to eliminate any residual chemicals for product safety.

These resin extracts can be consumed through smoking, vaporization, or used in the production of edibles and topicals, often lauded for their high potency due to the concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes they contain. However, it’s crucial to recognize that resin quality can vary based on factors like the cannabis strain, growth conditions, and the specific extraction method employed.

CO2 Oil

CO2 oil is a popular type of cannabis concentrate that is made using carbon dioxide as the solvent. This extraction process results in a highly potent and pure oil that is free of any solvents or harmful chemicals. CO2 oil is commonly used in vape cartridges and can be found in a variety of strain-specific flavors and potencies. 

The CO2 extraction process allows for precise control over the final product, ensuring consistent quality and potency. CO2 oil is a popular choice for those seeking a clean and potent cannabis concentrate.

Shatter

Shatter is a type of cannabis concentrate that is made using a solvent to extract the THC and other cannabinoids from the plant material. It gets its name from its glass-like texture that can shatter when dropped. 

Shatter is usually made using butane or CO2 as the solvent, and it has a high concentration of THC, and is often more potent than other cannabis products. Shatter can be vaporized, dabbed, or used in edibles, and it is known for its potent effects and fast onset.

Wax

Wax is a type of cannabis concentrate that is known for its soft, opaque, and wax-like texture. It is made by blasting marijuana plant material with a solvent like butane, which extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. 

The resulting mixture is then heated to remove the solvent, leaving behind a highly concentrated substance that is rich in THC and other cannabinoids. Wax can have a high percentage of THC, making it one of the strongest forms of cannabis concentrates available. It can be consumed using a dab rig, vaporizer, or added to a joint or bowl for an even more elevated experience.

Oil

In the context of cannabis, oil refers to a type of cannabis concentrate that is typically produced using solvents such as butane, propane, or ethanol to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. The resulting oil can vary in texture and appearance, from thick and sticky to runny and fluid, and may be further processed to create other types of concentrates such as wax, shatter, or budder. 

Cannabis oils can be consumed in a variety of ways, including vaporizing, dabbing, or ingesting, and are known for their high potency and rapid onset of effects. It is important to note that not all cannabis oils are created equal, and quality can vary widely depending on factors such as extraction method, source material, and processing techniques.

Budder

Budder is a type of cannabis concentrate that is created using a process that involves whipping the concentrate while it is still in a liquid state. This creates a creamy, butter-like consistency that is easy to work with and is often used for dabbing. 

Budder has a high THC content and can be made using a variety of strains, giving it a wide range of flavors and effects. It is typically consumed through a dab rig, which involves heating the concentrate on a hot surface and inhaling the vapor.

Ingestibles

In the context of a cannabis concentrate, ingestibles refer to food products infused with concentrated cannabis extracts such as THC or CBD. These products can be in the form of gummies, chocolates, brownies, drinks, and more. Edibles are known to have a more intense and long-lasting effect compared to smoking or vaping cannabis, and their potency can be carefully measured and controlled. 

Edibles can take up to two hours for full effects. Start with a low dose and give your body time to completely absorb.

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