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  • The Herb Somm

Cannabis 101: So what is this stuff, anyway?

If you are new to cannabis, you are probably wondering “what the heck is this stuff”? Sativa, Indica, Hybrids, Cannabinoids, Terpenes? Where do I start?

Before you begin the journey through our gourmet guides, it’s important to understand what cannabis is and how this amazing herbal plant can be used - not only for consuming but for healing. Below are the cannabis basics.

Cannabis Basics

Cannabis stems from the flowering plant family of Cannabaceae. Around 170 species come from this family, but there are three most recognized species worldwide: Cannabis sativa (C. sativa), Cannabis indica (C. indica) and Cannabis ruderalis (C. ruderalis). Although there are three, only C. sativa and C. indica produce the cannabis we know and love. For the sake of keeping things simple, we will call these species Sativa and Indica for short.

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Let’s begin with Sativa.

Sativa is native to warmer climates such as Asia, the Americas, and Africa. Sativa is known to be a tall (some plants can reach up to 20 feet!), light green, thin plant with large spaces between internodes to form flowers. This species has a large spanning root system which is optimal for outdoor growth and is known for its narrow leaf-blades. The flower buds are known to be long and lengthy.

Sativas are known to give an energizing high. You might feel uplifted, inspired, more creative and focused. This species is best used when you want to have energy. Sativa can also be used for a variety of medical purposes including helping with nausea, lack of appetite and helps aide negative side effects for patients going through chemotherapy.

Common Sativa varieties include Lemon Haze, Sour Diesel, Laughing Budda, Maui Waui, Strawberry Cough, Harlequin, Purple Haze, among many others.

We typically recommend pairing Sativa with lighter foods such as fresh salads, dips, smoothies, oven roasted chicken, and seafood pasta. It also pairs well with white wine.

Indica is the second primary species we consume.

Indica plants are native to Asia and Afghanistan. The plant is known to be short and stout with a shallow root system which makes it suitable for indoor growth. The flower buds are compact and dense, and in some varietals, the buds can appear reddish to purple. The leaves are dark green, broad and wide. The dry flower is also more substantial in weight when compared to a Sativa,

Generally speaking, Indicas are known to give a relaxing high - you might feel very calm and mellow. This species is best used for relaxation and sleep, and great to add to a hearty dinner recipe to prepare you for rest. As with Sativa, Indica also has many medicinal benefits including helping with insomnia, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Common Indica varieties include Grandaddy Purple, Northern Lights, Aurora Indica, Blue Mystic, Purple Kush, Critical Mass, LA Confidential, Master Kush.

We recommend pairing Indica with richer foods including pan seared steak, red sauce pastas, pizza, mushroom risotto, truffle mashed potatoes and jalapeno corn bread. Indica also pairs well with bold red wine.

Please keep in mind that throughout our gourmet guidebook, you’ll discover some exciting recipes using Sativa and Indica. We encourage you to try both so you can learn how to discover your unique herbal palate and feel confident pairing cannabis with foods that can be easily prepared at home.

What about Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are an ensemble of chemical compounds that are found in cannabis that act on cannabinoid receptors in the human body. The predominant cannabinoids in cannabis plants are THC and CBD. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the principal psychoactive component that gets you “high." CBD (Cannabidiol) is non-psychoactive, and can be used as a medicine for many health conditions including anxiety, cancer and epilepsy.

Still want to learn more? Let's talk about Terpenes.

As you will learn, The Herb Somm is fascinated by Terpenes! Terpenes are a class of organic compounds that are produced by a variety of plants and insects including cannabis. Created in the same gland as cannabinoids, terpenes are the strong smelling oils that give cannabis an array of aromas and flavors. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified so far but there are six primary terpenes that we talk about most: Caryophyllene (spice/clove), Limonene (citrus), Myrcene (herbal), Pinene (pine), Nerolidol (perfume), and Linalool (floral).

Starting to make sense?

As we continue this journey, cannabis basics will become second nature. You will begin to have a deeper understanding of all things weed, and hopefully a passion to learn more and try our recipes!

Peace, Love & Cannabis,

The Herb Somm


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