Cannabis Cheat Sheet

At Haute Box we make it easy and accessible for all patients to learn about cannabis. We encourage all NJ medical marijuana patients to refer to this page to reference basic cannabis information, common terms, and other quick facts.

Indica or Sativa?

Most discussions about the effects of cannabis start and end with “indica, sativa, or hybrid?” Supposedly, indicas are sedating while sativas are uplifting. However, the differences between indica and sativa cannabis plants are physical. Indicas are short and squat and supposedly come from the mountains of Pakistan. Sativas are tall and thin and supposedly come from the tropics. But according to Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist and one of the country's leading cannabis researchers, these outward physical attributes have little to do with predicting what kind of high you will get.

Terpene: Myrcene

High levels of myrcene are what cause that sedating “couch lock” effect.

As an example, it’s been found that a cultivar’s level of the terpene myrcene is more indicative of its sedating effects rather than whether or not it’s an indica or sativa.

In reality, it’s not as simple as “indica vs. sativa.” Cannabis contains hundreds of compounds—cannabinoids and terpenes—that contribute to its effects. Thus, it makes more sense to classify cannabis based on the chemical composition of each individual cultivar. This, combined with your method of consumption, environment, mood, and unique body chemistry is the best way to predict the effects of a particular cultivar.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is a proposed mechanism by which cannabis compounds act together to modulate the overall effects of the plant. This is why whole plant medicine can often be more effective than simply consuming isolated THC and/or CBD.

Cannabinoids and terpenes work together—kinda like magic— to create unique effects.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in cannabis that act on our cannabinoid receptors to provide therapeutic effects. The most common (and most researched) are THC and CBD.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)

May help treat:

CBD (cannabidiol)

May help treat:

CBG (cannabigerol)

May help treat:

Other properties:

  • Anti-bacterial

  • Some hypothesize that it may assist with bone growth

CBN (cannabinol)

Interestingly, checking CBN is a good way to verify the freshness of cannabis flower. Over time, light can cause THC to degrade into CBN. However, CBN still has some therapeutic uses. It may help treat:

  • Insomnia

Other properties:

  • Anti-bacterial

Find What Works For You

We all have different needs and lifestyles, so it’s important to experiment and discover what works for you. We’re here to help.

Terpenes

Terpenes are fragrance molecules found in all plants—including cannabis. Different terpene levels contribute to the wide variety of smells and tastes found in different cannabis cultivars. Terpenes work together with cannabinoids and other phytochemicals in cannabis to create the so-called entourage effect of cannabis.

A few common terpenes:

Myrcene

  • Makes cannabinoids like THC more effective

  • High levels of myrcene (above 0.5%) result in sedative “couch lock” effect

  • Also found in mango, hops, bay leaves, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and other plants

Limonene

  • Strong citrus odor

  • Known for treating gastric reflux and being anti-fungal

  • Stress reliever & mood enhancer

Caryophyllene

  • Known to be anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory.

  • Also found in Thai basil, clove, and black pepper

Pinene

  • Used for centuries as a bronchodilator

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Also found in conifer trees, orange peels, and turpentine

Smoke? Vape? Eat?

Different consumption methods have different effects and are suitable for different lifestyles.

Consumption Methods

There are many different ways to consume cannabis. Here is a brief overview of the most common methods:

Smoking

  • Onset: Within seconds

  • Peak Effects: ~30 minutes

  • Duration: 1-3 hours

  • Pros: Full combustion delivers cannabinoids to your system with maximum efficiency.

  • Cons: Smoke can be irritating, not discrete

Vaping

  • Onset: Within seconds

  • Peak effects: ~30 minutes

  • Duration: 1-2 hours

  • Pros: No smoke, clean & efficient, minimal odor

  • Cons: Generally weaker, be sure to only use high quality concentrates

Edibles

  • Onset: Depends, between 15 minutes and 2 hours

  • Peak effects: ~2 hours

  • Duration: 4-6+ hours

  • Pros: Long lasting, extremely discrete, can taste good

  • Cons: Not good for immediate relief, easier to over-consume

Tinctures

  • Onset: 15-30 minutes

  • Peak effects: ~30 minutes

  • Duration: 1-3 hours

  • Pros: Very discreet, flexible dosing

  • Cons: Some are formulate with alcohol. Light, heat, and oxygen can degrade tincture if not properly stored.