PART TWO: An introduction to healthy cannabis consumption

BotaniQ columnist Bethany Rae, of Flower & Freedom. (Photo: MaryBeth Lafferty)

Bethany Rae, BotaniQ columnist

I prefer to compare cannabis to food. Where knowledge of proper nutrition leads to food choices that can heal or harm us; cannabis can be used for wellness or it can be misused.

Only once I took on the knowledge of how cannabis was working in my body was I able to learn how to pick a product or strain for the experience and result that I desired.

This took some trial and error.

The first time I walked into a cannabis store I was asked: “Are you thinking about a Sativa or Indica today?”

I had no idea what the “budtender” was talking about.

“What do you mean… there are options?” I replied.

I couldn’t believe this was my first time hearing about this.

Unfortunately I made the wrong choice that day and proceeded to have an intense panic attack. I most likely consumed too much of a Sativa strain which I’ve found over time to be more likely to increase my anxiety.

This negative experience increased my insatiable appetite to understand cannabis and it’s array of offerings.

It became clear to me that it wasn’t just a choice of Sativa versus Indica when it came to picking a cannabis strain. However, as a generalization, I do find a Sativa strain more energetic and an Indica strain more sedative.

See also: PART ONE: An introduction to healthy cannabis consumption

What I have learned is that it is a combination of the cannabinoids, predominantly the THC and CBD levels, working in synergy with the terpenes present.

Terpenes are the aromatic essential oil like properties in cannabis that drive the mood and the feeling of each strain.

Strains high in linalool, a terpene also found in lavender, quickly became my go-to for relaxing in the evening.

Sativa strains high in limonene, a citrusy terpene, became my microdosed choice for creative energy and socializing.

In legalization we may see strains sold by their suggested effect: Relax, recover, relieve, awake, sleep, and create may become the influence of our modern day cannabis shopping decisions.

But these effects and moods are just generalized suggestions.

We each experience cannabis differently so being able to use your cannabis knowledge to make your own decision is the key to a good experience with cannabis.


Bethany Rae is the founder of Flower & Freedom, an education platform and community, empowering people to explore cannabis as part of an active lifestyle. Originally from Australia, Bethany is a cannabis education advocate and international speaker. By removing stereotypes and simplifying the science Bethany makes understanding cannabis in legalization a lot less intimidating. Follow Bethany’s cannabis industry adventures on Instagram and Twitter.