Cannabis has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes from as early as the third millennium B.C. .Smoking cannabis, although not the only way to ingest this psychoactive drug, is certainly one of the most popular ways of consuming it. The plant’s psychoactive and medicinal effectiveness depends on the strain of its strain as well as the part of the plant that one smokes. Smoking the wrong part of cannabis, especially for a first-time user, can lead them to having an unsatisfactory experience with unwanted side effects. Thus, it is important to know about the anatomy of the cannabis plant before one thinks about what part of a marijuana plant is used to smoke.
The anatomy of a cannabis is usually dealt with in a slightly different manner than other plants, partially because of its uses and because of the jargons that have been assigned to its different parts by the weed smoking community. Cannabis buds, for example, are commonly referred to as cannabis “flowers”. These buds are the most common part of the cannabis used to smoke and they come from female cannabis plants. Female plants have large resin-secreting flowers whereas the male plants have pollen sacs near the base of the leaves. In Cannabis, like other flowering plants, the male plants pollinate the females to start the production of seeds. However, the flowers in general, come from seedless female plants which have a high density of cannabinoids.
The cannabis plant has large fan leaves and grows on a long skinny stem. It is known for its intricate flower formations. Cannabis plants also have structures called ‘cola’ which refers to a tight cluster of buds. The female plant’s reproductive parts are enclosed inside a part named ‘bract’. These bracts are covered in resin glands that produce the highest concentration of cannabinoids amongst all of the plant parts. Another important part of the cannabis that you should know of before smoking are the trichomes. The trichomes are the translucent bulbous globes that you can see on the leaves and bracts. While they were originally meant to ward off the predators, they are seen as an essential part of the hash production process today as they ooze cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
You might be wondering then, which part of the cannabis should you smoke to experience the highest level of effectiveness. The answer is the bud of the plant as mentioned in the previous paragraph, they have the highest concentration of cannabinoids and it is these cannabinoids that gives cannabis its psychoactive and medicinal feature. Smoking cannabis buds can have different effects on different people. Smoking marijuana magnifies what the person is presently feeling and thus it is recommended that people who are prone to bouts of anxiety should not consume marijuana for the first time while they are alone as their feelings of negativity might worsen. Smoking cannabis flowers (a.k.a buds) can also have varied effects depending on the type of strain that one smokes. The Sativa strain, which is harder to find in the market, puts the consumer into an uplifting, invigorating mood. It makes you more active and can put you in an enjoyable ‘high’ state due to its relatively higher concentration of THC in comparison to the Indica strain. The Indica strain on the other hand, with its higher concentration of CBD, is known to be more relaxing and is said to promote calmness. If you’re having a stressful day, smoking the Indica strain is recommended over the Sativa strain.
The strain of the cannabis plants also affects the amount of trichomes on their ‘sugar leaves’. Sugar leaves is the name given to the small ‘single-finger leaves’ that grow out of the buds during the flowering stage. The leaves, which are usually covered in glistening trichomes, look like they have sugar dust on them. The Sativa strain has lesser number of trichomes on its sugar leaves in comparison to the Indica strain. So if sugar leaves have trichomes, you might be thinking – can you smoke sugar leaves? While you technically can smoke sugar leaves, it might not be as pleasant of an experience as smoking the buds. The leaves have a lot less potency and thus much greater quantity of leaves is required to achieve the same level of high as a smaller quantity of buds. Smoking cannabis leaves can also end up irritating the back of your throat a lot more as the plant matter in the leaves is harsher than the plant matter in the buds.
You should also know that all parts of the cannabis plants should not be smoked. Smoking the stems of marijuana might just increase respiratory irritation without any of the positive psychoactive or medicinal effects. All leaves shouldn’t be smoked as well. If a cannabis plant has been treated with fertilizers, the large leaves of the plant shouldn’t be smoked as they will contain the greatest concentration of the chemicals used. This can adversely affect your health. However, the leaves closest to the bud might have a lot more resin and you could put them aside for extraction in the future.
One primary thing you should keep in mind is that regardless of the substance or the part of the cannabis that is smoked, the act of inhaling smoke is hazardous to health as the smoke has been identified as a carcinogen. While smoking cannabis is safer than smoking cigarettes, researchers still recommend alternate ways such as edibles to consume marijuana. Nevertheless, here are a few tips and recommendations to keep in mind:
- Do not drive until at least 6 hours after consuming cannabis.
- Try to delay smoking cannabis at least till the age of 16 as it could impair crucial cognitive functions.
- Avoid smoking marijuana if you have a history of psychosis/ are pregnant.
- If you are smoking cannabis for the first time, you might want to smoke little by little to determine your tolerance first.
- Make sure that the cannabis you are smoking isn’t too dry or too wet. You can make sure to maintain the desired moisture level of the cannabis buds by storing it in airtight containers such as mason jars, sandwich bags, prescription bottles and wooden boxes.
- If you are smoking for the first time, do it in a relaxing place surrounded by people you are comfortable with.
- Remember that it is very hard to overdose on marijuana so if paranoia strikes, retreat to a warm, quiet place and let your emotions flow.
To sum up, smoking cannabis, in particular the cannabis buds, can give you the desired results if you take the cautionary measures and do it properly. While cannabinoids are present throughout the plant, their concentration is the greatest in buds and thus, many recommend that you smoke the buds and not the other parts.