What Your Weed Order Says About You

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You know the drill by now. Carry cash, because there’s a fee for using debit and few dispensaries accept credit cards or Apple pay. Be mindful of the people waiting behind you. Thank your budtender (remember trying to score weed without connections?) and always, always tip.

One day I’ll write a Dispensary Etiquette article and link it here. Until then, here’s what your weed order says about you.

“Which strain is best for sex?”

“Your farts smell like weed.”

You have no idea how often I get this question, and I understand. Aphrodisiacs have been around for millennia, purportedly found in odd places like toad skins, coastal oysters, insect husks. While certain weed strains allegedly stimulate arousal, the claim is problematic. It lends undue credit to the idea that cannabis consumption is a pathway to horniness, which isn’t always true.

Anyone prescribed an antidepressant will tell you the results vary for everybody. Everyone’s neurology is wired a bit differently. For instance, forty milligrams of the SSRI fluoxetine (Prozac) a day keeps my anxiety at bay. For my partner’s however, the drug only dulled it. He soon found that forty milligrams of sertraline (Zoloft), an SSRI of another chemical makeup, works for him just fine. The same is true among cannabis users, except weed does not involve the brain alone.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is roughly the same shape as the essential brain chemical Anandamide, messenger of the nervous system. It plugs into the body’s endocannabinoid system, itself split between the central and peripheral nervous systems like a branching river. Weed touches everything, including the Lumbosacral plexus, a nerve bundle ending in the buttocks and beginning at the arch of the back.

Another reason cannabis functions as an aphrodisiac is good ole dopamine release. Dopamine is your gold-sticker chemical, your brain’s reward for a job well done. Though not quite the juggernaut as norepinephrine, dopamine is plenty capable of managing the many vital functions in its purview. What’s relevant here is the role it plays as a catalyst of sexual arousal and satisfaction.

Also, there’s weed lube. That’s right: THC-infused lube. While it will affect the active participant(s), those in the passive role will receive its full benefits. Thank the abundance of blood vessels present in your genitals.

“Give me something calm yet exciting, funny but not paranoid, something that’ll fix my credit score and bring back my dead mom, all divided by zero.”

You don’t need weed. You need to see your life.

First, you want a hybrid. Let’s get that out of the way. Hybrids incorporate qualities of indica, the “sleepy” one, and sativa, the energetic type. It’s a catch-all term for the countless pot combinations available nowadays, each with its own ratio of sativa-to-indica effects. Even “pure” strains contain genetics of plants with polar opposite effects. The predominantly Indica Northern Lights partially composes the popular and potent Super Silver Haze, widely considered a “straight sativa.” Also marketed as a pure sativa, the NYC-based Sour Diesel is the child of the hybrid Chemdawg and heavy indica Super Skunk.

Later we’ll get to the numerous cannabinoids and terpene profiles that shape the actual high. For now, consider why you want to smoke. Do you want to relax? Are you managing pain? Would you like to create? Be specific about how you want to feel. Weed is still a psychedelic after all, and will always affect your feelings as well as your body when you use it. Before your first dispensary visit, have a goal in mind. Do you want to treat your seizures? Great. Are you looking to get violently high? Cool. Nothing wrong with either. The best way to find your ideal strain is to cut straight to why it is you’re smoking. Not what you want to get out of it.

“How many milligrams should I eat?”

“Good news! It’s a suppository!”

You’re adorable. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but half your average pot gummy does nothing to me or most smokers. In California, the industry standard maximum amount of THC per package of edibles is one hundred milligrams. Tolerances vary. I for instance take 100mg for fun. Twenty had my partner running from the 8:30 showing of Finding Dory to throw up across the street.

The “right” dose for you will take some figuring out. Until then, treat it like salt in cooking. Start with a pinch and adjust to taste. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out. Honestly assessing your tolerance ties back to why it is you’ve turned to weed. Are you having trouble falling or staying asleep? How long does your improved mood last? What are your psychic and bodily limits currently?

There’s nothing wrong with what the kids call “microdosing.” It’s economical, and a therapeutic way to self-administer. I do that with shrooms now, respectfully aware of the writhing darkness beyond the animated fun of lighter doses. Besides, you don’t want the burden of a budtender’s tolerance. After chronic use of the chron, the privilege of dropping less than twenty bucks on edibles is long gone.

“Gimme whatever has the highest THC.”

“THC IS ALL THAT MATTERS…” to growers, because high percentages directly correlate to higher profits.

You think weed works like alcohol. It doesn’t. To you THC is an active ingredient, not one of many players on a stage. It’s not your fault. THC levels have been on the rise since before I entered the weed industry in 2018. Back then, 26% touched the moon. THC levels today top forty percent in mutant plants whose flowering cycles were repeatedly delayed to increase output. The market still screams, “THC IS ALL THAT MATTERS.” Believe me y’all, it isn’t.

I’ll reproduce the analogy my boss taught me. THC is just the melody of a cerebral symphony. Other cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, CBG and more are crucial instruments. Cannabidiol (CBD) has proven to reduce inflammation in muscles and joints, providing relief to those with arthritis. Cannabinol (CBN) naturally converts from THC over time, which may yield sedative effects. Cannabigerol (CBG) can lower blood pressure. Last but not least, we have terpenes.

If THC is the melody, terpenes are your key signatures. Limonene and myrcene, the sweet scent of lemons and mangoes, are natural antidepressants. Humulene, an earthy aroma found in basil, hops, and cloves, is antibacterial and a pain reliever. Caryophyllene, the pep in peppercorns, is a minor fall to a major lift á la Leonard Cohen for how it quiets inflammation, bodily pain, and alcohol cravings.

You’ve heard the word thrown around by sommeliers and stoners alike. Terpenes refer to the natural chemical products generated by an organism—in this case, cannabis indica and sativa. Terpenes generate strong and usually attractive scents possessed by other flowering plants like basil, lavender, lemongrass, coriander, hops and conifers. Why does this matter? Because the terpenes determine a strain’s very nature. Without a terpene profile, all you get is the dissociative effects of THC, and that’s why some edibles “work” and others don’t.

“Do not bring me (indica/sativa). I’m not trying to (pass out/go crazy and kill my wife).”

People tend to avoid indica strains or be wary of sativa, attributing bad experiences to either kind. Some swear they’re allergic to one but not the other, and those folks are full of it. I haven’t eaten at Chipotle since they gave me listeriosis. I’m not allergic to Chipotle. Just revolted.

An outright fear of sativa exists, and I get it. Durban Poison is a near-pure sativa landrace (endemic) strain known for its high intensity. While it can lend an almost out-of-body euphoria, it can also cause anxiety, paranoia, and an accelerated heartbeat. Sativa strains with similar effects include Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, and the controversially-dubbed Green Crack.

That isn’t true for all sativas. Strains like Blue Dream or my personal favorite, Tangie, lack the aggressive makeup of their speedier cousins. Myrcene, pinene, and in Tangie, terpinolene (an herbaceous, uplifting terpene) team up to dissolve depressive fog and restore creative drive. You won’t lose your mind thinking everybody’s mad at you with Tangie and cousins Sour Tangie and Clementine.

You smoke weed for benefits like productivity, relief, sex, fun, sleep, and everything in between. Your reasons may be straightforward or complicated. It’s not a simple yes-or-no, indica-or-sativa. Girl Scout Cookies (GSC for liable), is an antipodal hybrid of tranquilizer OG Kush and nature’s analeptic, Durban Poison. If that specific mixture helps you thrive, more power to you.

There are always exceptions to the rule. For example, I’m a diehard sativa diva. That said, I will totally get down on Strawberry Cheesecake, a favorite stress-melting indica. It crosses caryophyllene-heavy Chronic with myrcene-laden strains Cheese and White Widow to soothe the nervous system and boost your mood. Although an indica, Strawberry Cheesecake’s terpene profile differs from those of knockouts Northern Lights and OG Kush, so you’re free to enjoy it anytime.

“Hold on—let me look it up on Leafly.”

“No dad, what about you!?”

Seriously? After everything I told you, you’d rather hold up the line getting a second opinion? Just take your fucking Jeeters and go.

Jake Warren is a writer that has worked in the cannabis industry on-and-off for the last four years. He/they are creative, well-versed, and tired of your bullshit.

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Jake Warren

Jake Warren

A Potawatomi nonfiction writer and Tenderloin resident possessing an Indigenous perspective on sexuality and a fascination with etymological nuance. Queer decolonial leftist, cannabis industry affiliate, seasoned raver, and unofficial earthquake authority.

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