Education Hub

PARTS OF THE PLANT

Calyx – The calyx is the part of the flower that forms first, and eventually becomes the base that supports the rest of the flower.

Within the cannabis calyx, you will find all the important reproductive organs, including the pistil and stigmas. You will also find resin glands, which are responsible for producing cannabinoids, including THC.

Cola – The central flower cluster that forms at the top of the main stems in mature female cannabis plants. Buds that grow on the cola are the largest and are prized for their high concentrations of active resin. Their size and luster make them a popular choice for cannabis photography.

Fan Leaves – Fan leaves are the large, iconic leaves of the cannabis plant. They capture light for the plant and typically have little-to-no resin and are usually discarded when trimming.

Flowers – Also known as “buds,” the flowers of a cannabis plant are the fruits of your labor. They contain the cannabinoids and terpenes that get you high or offer health benefits. Flowers only grow on female cannabis plants and must be dried before consumption.

Node – A node is a point at which a branch grows off the main stem, or one branch from another branch. Fan leaves and buds can grow on some nodes, but not necessarily all.

When determining the sex of a cannabis plant, the beginning of male and female sex organs will appear at the nodes.

Pollen Sacs – Pollen sacs are small balls on the male cannabis plant that open when they’re fully mature, releasing pollen into the air. The tiny pollen grains hold the male plant’s DNA information which combines with the female gametes that contain its DNA information, resulting in cannabis seeds.

Seeds – Seeds are produced in female cannabis plants and carry the genetics of a male and female. Seeds need to germinate to sprout and will grow a taproot, which will become the main root that anchors the plant.

Stem – The main stem, or stalk, of a cannabis plant grows straight up from the root system and supports all lateral branches. The stem gives a plant structure and stability.

Often, growers will top, or cut off, the stem, which forces the plant to grow out laterally more, creating more bud sites.

Sugar Leaves – Sugar leaves are the small, resin-coated leaves that buds form around. Sugar leaves are usually saved as “trim” during harvest and can be used for pre-rolls, extracts, and other cannabis products.

Trichomes – The tiny outgrowths that cover the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. They are usually very shiny, sticky, and aromatic, often appearing as a blanket of frost on the plant surface. Trichomes contain many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that contribute to the plants flavor and effect.

Learn more about trichomes here, here, and here.

CHEMISTRY OF CANNABIS

Terpenes – One of the most unique things about cannabis as a plant is the smell. But what is it that causes the plant to have such a distinctive aroma? The answer is terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic oils produced by the trichomes, and are what causes the strong and distinctive smells associated with marijuana. Terpenes can be found not only in cannabis flower, but also in concentrates as they are produced by the trichomes that are extracted in the processing of cannabis concentrates.

Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in various cannabis varieties. This causes a difference in smell and taste between cultivars—some may tend towards citrus or pine, while others may be fruity, sour, or even smell faintly of gasoline. Terpenes have created a layer of cannabis preference beyond cannabinoid content or desired affect—think of the worlds of wine or coffee. As the cannabis industry continues to develop, we may see more focus on terpene distinction and a vast array of new cultivars with tasty, aromatic terpene profiles. Terpenes may also offer health benefits, and there is research being done exploring the wellness potential of these strong-smelling compounds.

Learn more about terpenes here, here, and here.

Flavonoids – Flavonoids, like terpenes or phytocannabinoids, are bioactive compounds that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. In fact, 10% of the 200 or more known compounds found in cannabis are flavonoids. These compounds are found in other plant life as well and are responsible for protecting the plant against natural elements and providing pigmentation to attract pollinators. They are what make blueberries blue! However, there are certain flavonoids that are only found in cannabis, and these are called cannaflavins.

Similar to terpenes, flavonoids affect how we experience cannabis through our senses. Aside from sometimes adding beautiful bursts of pigmentation to cannabis buds, they work in conjunction with terpenes to produce the odor and flavor of the cannabis. They also are being found to provide medicinal benefits. In fact, studies have shown that cannaflavin A may have anti-inflammatory properties that could be stronger than those found in Aspirin!
Learn more about flavanoids here and here.

Cannabinoids – Cannabis, marijuana, ganja, weed, and more—this is a plant that goes by many names. You know that cannabis affects the mind and body: but do you know why? The answer is cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, and they are responsible not only for the psychoactive effects of marijuana but for its health benefits. You may have heard of THC and CBD, the two most abundant cannabinoids, but did you know that cannabis contains at least 113 other cannabinoids? Some of these lesser-known compounds have shown promise for treating an array of health conditions in research studies.

Learn more about cannabinoids here, here, and here.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating effect of cannabis consumption. However, it has other uses as well. It also has been shown to have a vast array of medical uses, providing relief from pain, inflammation, nausea, and insomnia. It has also been shown to have neuroprotective properties, help combat eating disorders, and provide relief from symptoms of AIDS, cancer, and addiction. It is worth noting that you can consume small amounts of THC without feeling the intoxicating effects, allowing for some medical benefits to be reaped even by those who wish to avoid intoxication.

Learn more about THC here, here, and here.

CBD (cannabidiol) – CBD is generally the second most abundant compound in the cannabis plant and is non-intoxicating. In recent years, the therapeutic benefits of CBD have been explored. It has been shown efficacy in treating autoimmune diseases, neurological conditions (like dementia, Parkinson’s’, MS, and epilepsy), diabetes, autism, ADHD, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, and some skin conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis.

CBD products are available over the counter in most places—however, there are many misleading products that appear to contain CBD when they actually contain none. Products that say that they contain “hemp extract” or “hemp oil” are not claiming that they contain CBD, and typically contain little or none.

Additionally, there are different types of CBD available. Full spectrum CBD includes trace levels of THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. Broad spectrum CBD includes trace levels of other cannabinoids and terpenes, but no THC. CBD isolate include almost pure CBD with no other cannabinoids or terpenes.

THC and CBD often have a synergistic effect. Together, they have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. Almost cannabis products are available in varying levels of each cannabinoid. Work to your doctor to figure out which proportion is right for you and your needs.

Learn more about CBD here, here, here, and here.

Other Cannabinoids

Aside from THC and CBD, cannabis contains at least 113 other compounds, some of which have been seen to have medicinal uses. Check out these other major cannabinoids and learn about the potential benefits!

Learn more about Other Cannabinoids here and here.

THCV (terahydrocannabivarin) – THCV is similar in structure to THC. It has potential intoxicating effects but is found in such small amounts that it has little real intoxicating effect when you are consuming cannabis. It has been shown to be an appetite suppressant, making it potentially helpful in treating individuals with type 2 diabetes by controlling glycemic levels.

CBDV (cannabidivarian) – CBDV is similar in structure to CBD. It appears in larger amounts in high-CBD products. It has been shown to effectively reduce and treat epileptic episodes due to its anticonvulsant properties.

CBG (cannabigerol) – Both THC and CBD begin as CBG—when combined with certain enzymes, it becomes THCA and CBDA, the acids that are converted to THC and CBD upon exposure to heat. It has been shown to have neuroprotective properties and potential for treating conditions like Huntington’s Disease. It has also shown promise for treating glaucoma and Crohn’s disease.

CBC (cannabichromene) – CBC is the third most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana—in some cultivars, it even takes the second-place spot. It is non-intoxicating and works synergistically with other cannabinoids. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and to encourage cell growth in the brain.

CULTIVARS (STRAINS)

Colloquially referred to as a “strain,” a cultivar is a cultivated variety of the cannabis plant. Each variety possesses common and distinguishable characteristics in appearance, cannabinoids content, and terpene profile. Each cultivar will likely be classified as indica, sativa, or hybrid. This refers to the type of cannabis under which the cultivar falls and the effects it can be expected to produce. Indica varietals are known for their relaxing, sleepy, body-centered effect, while sativa varietals are known for providing euphoric, energetic, mind-centered effects. A hybrid will contain characteristics of both, and it will likely be indicated which type the hybrid favors (e.g. a hybrid that favors sativa may provide you with the mental stimulation associated with sativa while still relaxing your body like an indica).

Check our social media every Monday for our Cultivar of the Week series, an educational campaign where we share information about a new cultivar that is available in Massachusetts each week!

Learn more about Cultivars & strains here, here, and here.

FORMS OF CANNABIS

Flower – Flower is the term for the smokable part of a female cannabis plant that has been harvested, dried, and cured. In this form, it can be ground up and then smoked or vaporized. It can also be used to make cannabis concentrates and canna-butter or canna-oil.

It is popular for its versatility and quick onset of effects but does not have a precise dosing structure. Potency is measured in milligrams of THC per gram—for example, if a menu item reads “18% THC,” there are 180.00 milligrams of THC in one gram of that particular product. Flower can be purchased in loose, measured quantities (by the gram, or by the portion of an ounce) or in pre-rolled joints.

Learn more about Flower here and here.

Concentrates – Concentrates are products made from processing the cannabis plant to keep only the trichomes as they contain most desirable parts of the plant. Thus, they have a much greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes by volume than flower. Efficient, refined, and diverse both in product choice and consumption method, concentrates are preferred by some because of the quick onset and because they can be easier to dose. They can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing, or orally as capsules or tinctures. They can also be used to make edibles.

How are concentrates made? – Concentrates are a diverse group of products, but the distinction between different types of concentrates is made based on the consistency or the resulting product and the process used to make it. There are two major ways of making concentrates: solvent extraction and solventless extraction. Solvent extraction takes place when chemical solvents like ethanol, butane, or propane are used to strip the plant material of the cannabinoids and terpenes. Afterwards, the chemical solvents are usually evaporated from the extract in a process called purging. Products labeled “solvent-free” have had the solvent removed entirely during purging. Solventless extraction uses mechanical techniques like pressure, temperature, and filtration to gather the essential compounds from the cannabis plant.

Learn more about Concentrates here, here, here, here, and here.

Types of Concentrates

There are a wide variety of concentrates based on texture and intake method. Read more to find out which types of concentrates best suit your preferences and needs.

Shatter – Shatter is brittle, glass-like extract that generally has a color ranging from golden to amber. It has a tendency to break apart if handled too much and is made using BHO extraction, meaning butane is the main extraction solvent.

Wax – Wax, another BHO extracted concentrate, is stickier than shatter but can range in consistency from crumby to honey-like. The softer of these variations is often called “budder” while harder waxes are often called “honeycomb” or “crumble.” Wax generally requires a dabber, a small stick used to manipulate the product.

Oil – Cannabis oil is produced with carbon dioxide and are often used in dab pen cartridges and to make edibles. It is runny is consistency and is the most common concentrate to contain

Live Resin – Live resin is created using a flash-frozen live cannabis plant rather than the dried and cured flower. This allows for a higher terpene profile and often higher cannabinoid potency.

Rosin – Rosin is a solvent-free concentrate made by applying heat and pressure to flower. The resulting product is sappy, oily, and contains many of the familiar aromas terpenes that other concentrates lack due to the extraction process.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) – In 2003, a man named Rick Simpson discovered three bumps on his arm. These turned out to be basal cell carcinomas—a form of skin cancer. Since Simpson had previously used cannabis to treat medical issues, he made a cannabis oil to apply topically to the area. He claims that within four days, the bumps were gone. While this has yet to be backed up by scientific studies, there are many reports of its effectiveness at treating cancer and relieving symptoms of a wide variety of conditions.

The distinctive feature of RSO is the high concentration of THC—typically at least 20%. RSO is available for purchase at some dispensaries and is also relatively easy to make at home with cannabis flower.

Check out Rick Simpson’s website for more information & resources on making RSO and dosing.

WAYS TO CONSUME CANNABIS

1. EDIBLES, TINCTURES, & TOPICALS

Edibles – Edibles are food and drink items made with cannabis flower or concentrates, and the cannabinoids are absorbed through the digestive system. Products range from cookies to gummies to cooking oils and butter to infused coffees. This method of ingestion requires no inhalation, making it perfect for those who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis consumption without the health risks of smoking or vaping. However, the effects take longer to feel—it could be anywhere between 20 minutes and 3 hours depending on the edible and on your body. They are easy to dose as the potency is indicated by the milligrams of THC or CBD in one product. For example, each gummy in a pack of gummy edibles might have 10 milligrams of THC and 2 milligrams of CBD. So, if you want to consume only 5 milligrams of THC and 1 milligram of CBD, you can eat half of one gummy and know exactly how much of each compound is entering your body.

Cooking with cannabis requires that you first decarboxylate your cannabis. This means that the cannabis is heated at a low level which essentially allows the cannabinoids to be activated and accessible so that when the infusing takes place, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the fat in the food item.

Cannabutter and cannaoil are infused with cannabis for the purpose of incorporating into cooking. They can be purchased in the infused form or made at home using flower or concentrates.

Every Friday, we post a new cannabis-infused recipe on our social media. Follow us for all of your edibles inspiration!

Want to learn to make infused cooking oils at home? Learn more  here, here, and here. And check out this video on how to make weed gummies.

Tinctures – Tinctures are glycerin or alcohol-based cannabis concentrates.  Cannabis flower is combined with either glycerin or high-proof, food-grade alcohol to create a strong, cannabinoid-infused solution. To consume, they are typically dropped under the tongue or added into food or drink.

Tinctures are great for medical patients because they allow complete control when it comes to dosing. They contain varying levels of THC & CBD expressed in ratio form (e.g. 10:1 CBD to THC), so you will always know exactly how much of each cannabinoid you are consuming. This is helpful when trying to find that “sweet spot” for medical patients where you can reap the benefits of cannabis without feeling intoxicated.

Learn to make your own cannabis Tincture here, here, here, and here.

Topicals – Topicals are cannabis-infused products that are applied to the skin. There is a vast array of products available, including lotions, salves, oils, sprays, transdermal patches, and more. They are used primarily for localized pain and inflammation, and have no intoxicating affect even when they contain active THC. Because of this, they are a great choice for medical patients who want to reap the health benefits of THC without the psychoactive effects. They also have shown promise in treating some skin conditions, headaches, and cramping. Additionally, they often contain ingredients like essential oils to further the benefits of the product.

Learn to make your own cannabis Topicals here, here, and here.

2. INHALATION METHODS

Smoking – Smoking is one of the oldest and most popular ways of consuming cannabis. Flower or concentrate is heated to the point of combustion, and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The active cannabinoids are then absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. This method is popular due to the almost immediate onset of effects, but there are obvious health risks associated with inhaling smoke of any kind. For those who do wish to consume their cannabis by smoking, there are several ways to achieve this based on product being consumed and personal preference.

Rolling Papers – One of the most common ways of consuming cannabis flower is by rolling the flower into a cigarette and smoking it. The primary way of doing this is by rolling a joint. A joint is cannabis rolled up in a thin rolling paper. These papers are usually white, but come in a wide variety of flavors, sizes, and materials. They typically have a small filter and can also be purchased pre-rolled at a dispensary.

The other kind of rolling paper-based cannabis delivery is called a blunt, a cigar wrapper that has been emptied, filled with flower, and rolled. They are typically bigger than joints, but the cigar wrapper contains nicotine, making them less popular with health-conscious consumers.

Learn how to roll a perfect joint from this video of canna-royalty, Seth Rogan!

Learn how to roll a blunt in this video.

Pipes – Hand pipes, or bowls, are small, typically glass, pieces, commonly used to smoke marijuana flower. They come in a variety of sizes and designs suited to different needs and preferences. Pipes function by trapping the smoke from combusted cannabis, which is then inhaled. Pipes are preferred for their portability and user-friendly nature. They also use less flower than a joint or blunt, making them great for solo users and those who want to monitor their consumption.

Want to known more about how to smoke cannabis from a pipe? Check out this video.

Water Pipes – Another common method of consuming cannabis flower is via a water pipe. There are two primary kinds: a bong and a bubbler. A bong is an upright piece of glass that comes in many styles—but almost all bongs have a bowl, a downstem, and a tall, cylindrical smoke chamber. The bottom part of the bong—between the downstem and the smoke chamber—is filled with water. The smoke is filtered through the water before inhalation, cooling it down and making the hit less harsh. A bubbler is a smaller piece of glass that marries the benefits of a hand pipe and a bong. They are used like a pipe but have a chamber for a small amount of water, so like a bong, the smoke is cooled before inhaling.

Want to learn more about the anatomy and logistics of a bong? Check out this video.

Dabbing – Cannabis concentrates can be smoked, as well. This is done in primarily two ways—with a dab rig or with a dab straw. A dab rig is a piece of glass that slightly resembles a bong. It is used by heating the nail, a small chamber attached to the dab rig (think the bowl on a bong), with a torch, and then applying the concentrate on the using a small tool called a dabber and inhaling the resulting smoke. A dab straw, or nectar collector, is a long, cylindrical piece that is heated on one end with a torch. Then, the heated end is touched to the concentrate and the resulting smoke is inhaled. Dab straws are easy to use and portable, but the user has less control over the temperature and quality of the hit.

Learn how to properly use a dab rig in this video.

Learn how to properly use a dab straw in this video.

Vaporizing – Vaping cannabis involves heating concentrates or flower to a temperature where the cannabinoids are released without creating the toxins associated with combustion. This has made it a great alternative for those who wish to receive the benefits of inhaling marijuana (such as immediate onset of effect) while remaining more health conscious. Vaping requires a device—either a tabletop vaporizer, a portable vaporizer, or a vape pen. Tabletop vaporizers and portable vaporizers are both made in various models, some for flower, some for concentrates, and some for both. They can be expensive but allow the user great control over the temperature of the vapor they are inhaling. Once the device is heated to the set temperature, the product is placed in a chamber within the device and the resulting smoke is inhaled.

Dab pens are similar to e-cigarettes. There are generally two options when it comes to purchasing a dab pen—a rechargeable battery that is paired with a cannabis oil-filled cartridge, and a disposable, all-in-one battery and cartridge. They are portable and discreet, making them great for those who need to consume on-the-go.

Learn about which cannabis delivery method is right for you here, here, and here.

 

GENERAL WELLNESS

“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.” – Greg Anderson, personal trainer

Here at AWC, we believe that wellness is a comprehensive state of being. Mental, physical, and spiritual health are interconnected. In nurturing one aspect of your being, you nurture the others, as well. We believe that each and every one of us deserves the opportunity to be healthy in mind, healthy in body, and healthy in spirit. Check out these resources we’ve compiled to help you achieve your highest state of wellbeing!

Meditation – Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique to focus their attention and clear their mind. There is a vast array of types of meditation, but most involve focusing on breath—because of this, meditation is accessible to everyone regardless of their resources or location. It cultivates true presence and awareness while calming the body through conscious breathing. This helps to reduce stress and other taxing emotions, as well as increased self-awareness. Besides the mental and spiritual benefits, reducing stress on the mind reduces stress on the body and has been found to have an effect on symptoms of conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

While breath is all you need to practice meditation, check out these resources we’ve compiled to help you begin your meditation journey:

Insight Timer: a free app for iOS and Android that offers free guided meditations as well as a subscription service that allows access to meditation courses and series. Even if you choose the free option, the app has filters that allow you to narrow down your choices by length, type of practice, and personal need. They also offer these meditations on their website.

The Omega Institute YouTube Channel: offers a wide variety of guided meditations targeted towards an array of needs and preferences. Here you are certain to find a simple, unintimidating meditation that can help you get started on your journey to total wellness.

Learn more about mixing cannabis with meditation here and here.

Exercise and Yogic Practice – Physical exercise is one of the most important parts of total wellness. Without regular exercise, your body loses its ability to function properly and you become higher risk for conditions ranging from heart disease and high blood pressure to anxiety and depression.

Learn some of the best workouts for when covid-19 has us stuck at home here!

Yoga, an exercise practice combining a series of postures with breathing techniques. It is a great way to get regular exercise that is gentle on your body. It improves not only strength and stamina but flexibility and balance, as well. Furthermore, it goes beyond physical wellness. While it is certainly possible to focus only on the physical benefits of yoga, the ancient practice has mental and spiritual aspects as well that can contribute to the synergistic effect of comprehensive wellness.

Interested in yoga but don’t know where to begin? Check out these resources we’ve compiled to help you get started:

Yoga Trail: a great way to connect with local yoga teachers and find classes at home or on the road. Kind of like the “Yelp” of the yoga world, Yoga Trail can help you create your own perfect yoga experience.

Yoga Journal: a great place for beginners to start learning about yoga. It has a comprehensive pose library, information of the foundations of yoga, yoga practice videos, and a vast array of information on yogic practice and lifestyle. If you have a yoga-related question, chances are that you can find your answer here.

Yoga with Adriene: Adriene Mishler is a popular YouTube yogi with a million subscribers and one clear message: yoga is about finding what feels good for YOU! Her teaching style centers around the idea that one should develop a yoga practice that suits their specific needs and abilities—in other words, she meets you where you’re at. She has a free yoga practice video for just about every need, skill level, and situation. If you are interested in trying yoga but have trouble finding time to go out and take an in-person yoga, give Adriene a try.

Learn how cannabis can enhance your yoga flow here!

Diet – Alongside exercise, diet is a vitally important part of maintaining total wellness. A balanced diet should contain an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins. While each person’s diet is based on personal restrictions and preference, the important thing is that your diet supplies you with all the necessary nutrients for your body and your lifestyle—this can vary based on gender, body type, activity level, and physical goals. The most important thing to do is eat whole foods and listen to your body’s needs.

Finding it difficult to get all the necessary nutrients in your diet? We offer IV Drip Therapy, a great way to fill in the gaps in your diet. Learn more here!

Also, check out these awesome resources we’ve compiled to help you learn more about how to formulate dietary habits that work for you and your body.

Click N’ Cook: This website allows you to search for recipes based on the ingredients you have in your kitchen, dietary preferences, and cooking method. With this tool, it is easy to make an easy, healthy meal while using up ingredients you need to get rid of!

Nutrition Facts: This website offers videos, articles, and resources that delve deep into what you put on your fork. It offers scientific information on a wide variety of diets and foods, allowing you to avoid fad diets and feed yourself things that are nourishing and delicious.

Intuitive Reading – Intuitive readings are sessions you have with a professional reader. Typically readers are also healers that come from all walks of life. Healers can be Life Coaches, Psychics, Shamans, or Teachers. Healers are people that have a greater understanding of the energy around us and its powerful effect in our lives. They are also empathic, meaning they are able to understand and share others feelings on a much deeper level. The gift of healing is one that is studied on different levels and no healer will be the same. They will come from different backgrounds, education, and experiences that have led them to this incredible art, the gift of healing, the power of reading.
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Learn how intuitive readings can improve your life here, here, and here.

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