Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Brianna Wheeler

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8 soothing strains for Self Care Sunday

Self care can be as simple as dissociating into a video game after clocking out of work, or as complex as a comprehensive DIY at-home spa day that lasts for hours. For some folks, self care is 30 minutes of daily exercise, for others, it's talk therapy. For most though, it's a broad combination of stimulating, centering, and pacifying endeavors that can, in some way or another, be enhanced with a specific cannabis cultivar. Whether your "Self Care Sunday'' takes place on a Tuesday night or Friday afternoon, the objective remains the same; body, mind, and soul revitalization. And when applied with careful consideration, cannabis can totally maximize the restorative power of a proper spirit-recovery sesh.  So if you're in need of some personal TLC, then consider one of these cognitively euphoric and physically pacifying strains below for your next self care day. A little self love and a hit of weed can go a long, long way. SnowLAnd Bred from LA Confidential and Snowcap, this hybrid strain leans slightly more indica, but the high is reportedly just as bright and uplifting as the sunniest sativas, with a cool, soothing physical relaxation that reflects its name. Consumers who favor the enlivening effects of SnowLAnd report a breathtaking onset before it develops into creative, introspective, and powerfully euphoric — yet utterly relaxing — high.  The balanced profile of this cultivar enables the strain to offer therapeutic applications, including controlled muscle spasms, anti-nausea, appetite stimulation, and depression relief. And its tendency to make you feel giggly with a hot streak of artistic inspiration makes this the perfect strain for journaling, painting, gardening or decorating.  Expect a rich, diesel stink with notes of citrus and wood, and a candy-sweet, tropical fruit flavored exhale.  Dutch Treat A phenotype of perennial faves Northern Lights and Haze, this popular strain is a favorite in its own right — and with good reason. It's dreamily relaxing without being incapacitating, and its potent yet restrained sativa genetics ensure a swooning onset that quickly evaporates, leaving behind a manageable tranquilization in both the mind and body.  Dutch Treat fans report effects that walk the line between couch-lock and calm contentment. For those seeking self care through gaming, Dutch Treat may keep your body relaxed and elastic while sharpening your senses enough to make gaming feel next-level. Games aside, this strain can reportedly soothe the rough edges of a harsh day, both spiritually and physically, which most folks can appreciate. It's also a popular therapeutic strain for treating migraines, chronic pain, neuropathy, and PTSD. Expect a bold, fruity perfume and an earthy, sweet-wood exhale with super delicate top notes of mint.  Super Silver Haze If an increased heart rate and a bit of sweat are part of your self care routine, then consider an energetic sativa-hybrid with just enough indica genetics to inspire some deeper than average, exercise-fueled self-contemplation.  Super Silver Haze is a crossbreed of Skunk, Northern Lights, and Haze, and reportedly has a number of compelling sativa characteristics, including spacey creative energy and bouncy euphoria — as well as therapeutic efficacy in managing fatigue, depression, and stress. Bottom line; a few hits of Super Silver Haze before a low-stakes, at-home yoga flow or peppy, bedroom aerobics sesh might make those sukasanas and grapevines feel like an even more effective way to access some higher-self wisdom.  Expect a sour, skunky nose and a spicy, sweet, herbaceous exhale. Orange Cookies Two strains known for their tastiness, GSC and Orange Juice, were crossed to create Orange Cookies, a genetically balanced, ultra-responsive, crazy-delicious hybrid cultivar. Consumers love Orange Cookies for its reports of treating a number of wellness needs, both physical and mental.  The body highs can be gently relaxing or mildly effervescent depending on your resting state, but the head highs are overwhelmingly reported as euphoric beyond measure. If your self care involves meditations on gratitude, Orange Cookies may put you in just the right state of mind to revel in your blessings. Expect a sweet, orange candy perfume and a grassy, botanical exhale with notes of lemongrass and pink pepper. Purple Trainwreck This hybrid cultivar's genetics may skew slightly energetic, but it's by no means a red-hot sativa. Many fans report a celebratory onset that evenly dissipates into body and head highs that are decidedly more relaxed. For canna-thusiasts who are using their self care days to hit a psychological reset button, Purple Trainwreck may be the euphoric game changer they've been looking for.  Purple Trainwreck is a cross of Grandaddy Purple and Trainwreck, and its reported therapeutic uses include the management of ADHD, hyperactivity, depression, and chronic pain.  Expect a thick, complex fragrance layered with citrus, compost, botanicals, and corner-store candy. The exhale is a correspondingly complex cloud of lemony herbs and overripe berries.  Cookie Wreck For those who desire insulation against the outside world as a form of self care, Cookie Wreck may very well offer the cashmere dissociation vibes they need. Consumers traveling deeply into their own innerspace is this cultivar's most favorable effect. It's a balanced hybrid cross of GSC and Trainwreck, and features a cannabinoid profile that often includes modest percentages of both CBD and CBG.  Cookie Wreck's body high can feel like a soft tranquilizer, but the head high is often reported as bright, focused and clear — even a bit psychedelic. That said, you should prepare for a long-lasting high with pronounced psychotropic-in-the-head and sedative-in-the-body effects.  Expect the sweet smell of sugar cookies and wood chips, a nutty, grassy exhale, and a vanilla aftertaste that lingers pleasantly in the nose and mouth.   MAC At the intersection of self care and self indulgence is MAC, an evenly balanced cross of Alien Cookies, Starfighter, and Columbian. MAC's reputation as a luxury strain stems from reported effects that include intense euphoria and a bone-deep relaxation that assuages chronic pain without dulling the users senses. In fact, fans of this strain report a heightening of senses that could become overwhelming for novice smokers, so toke with consideration.  Including MAC in a spa-style day of self care will likely make your bubble bath feel even more foamy, your scalp massage more tingly, and your DIY pedicure feel like more of an artistic endeavor than typical grooming.  Expect a dank, tropical funk fragrance with the suggestion of a floral bouquet, and a spicy/sweet diesel exhale that leaves behind a hint of lemon essence.  Sunshine Daydream Sunshine Daydream consumers routinely describe this hybrid cross of Bubbashine and Appalachia as a panacea for physical and mental relief. But, more than those therapeutic applications, Sunshine Daydream is stoney as hell.  Genetically, it leans indica, with effects so powerfully relaxing that regular consumers advise only using this strain at bedtime — despite the cheery name. Head highs range from calm and placated to downright drowsy, and body highs seem to leave tokers with effects that are both tingly and lethargic.  Expect a potent perfume of fresh blueberries with dank edges and earthy undertones, and a citrusy, woody, gassy exhale.  Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The 8 best strains for evening workouts

For the night owls who prefer to warm up while the rest of the neighborhood is winding down, I see you. Not everyone is built to sweat with the sunrise or do calisthenics during lunch breaks, some folks prefer to pursue their physical peak in the p.m. And as a self-proclaimed stoner-gym-goer, I know that regardless of when you prefer to perspire, there are infinite cultivars to explore in the quest for cannabinoid fueled fitness. And likey, there's one that fits you like a fingerless weightlifting glove. Making time for fitness is tricky, regardless of your everyday schedule, but whenever my calendar shifts, these eight strains have made my nighttime fitness routine smooth and reliable.  Gelato  Balanced hybrids like Gelato have the potential to be fantastically responsive. This strain's genetics lends itself to both perky and subdued head and body highs. Users report a swooning onset that builds gently in euphoric energy before plateauing into something decidedly more relaxed and soothing. The pronounced cerebral rush that introduces the high could be the quick start folks need to engage with their workout right off the bat, and the sweet descent could potentially be an ideal cap to an otherwise average end-of-day sweat fest. Gelato is a cross between Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint GSC, first cultivated by Mario Guzman. Expect a high THC percentage (18 - 25%), a candy-sweet nose and, a fruity, botanical exhale. Tangie Biscotti Produced exclusively by Oregon fave Pruf Cultivar, Tangie Biscotti is another balanced hybrid whose effects are not limited by genetics. Consumers uphold this strain not just for it's breathtaking onset, but also for the quiet bliss that escalates somewhat dramatically before deflating into a soft and tranquil body high. Personally, I love this strain for a low impact, 20-30 minute circuit. The high arrives with a tenacity that feels like jet fuel but quickly tapers off and is replaced by mild euphoria. By the time I've hit the 30 minute mark on my workout, the euphoria becomes baked into a manageable sedative buzz, and I'm ready to conk out with some electrolytes and TV. Tangie Biscotti is a cross of Tangie and GSC, with an average THC percentage around 25%. Expect a sour, grassy perfume and a funky fruit exhale. Midnight Midnight was cultivated by Tikun Olam to treat nausea, but the cultivar's effects go far beyond therapeutic applications. Midnight fans appreciate the strain not just for pain management and inflammation relief, but also for its ability to ease social anxiety and enhance sexual performance.  Feeling capable enough to chat up an elevator full of Nobel Prize winners — or amorous enough to flutter a few of their genius eyelashes — is precisely the type of energy that makes for exceptionally effective workouts, day or night. Plus, the 1:1 CBD to THC ratio keeps the head high grounded and the body high protected from even the most strenuous step routines. Midnight's genetics are kept under lock and key, but users can expect THC and CBD percentages to be around 10%. Expect an earthy, berry-rich fragrance and an herbal exhale. Blueberry Space Cake Consumers who intend to end their day with a post p.m. workout should consider Blueberry Space Cake. Don't be fooled by this strain's morphology, BSC may be classified as an indica-hybrid, but this cultivar has more than enough sativa genetics to inspire a purposeful increase in heart rate. Those who enjoy this strain report a high that arrives as giggly and effervescent before relaxing into its namesake calm, dreamy spaciness. I personally appreciate this strain's space-cadet head high and weighted body high for slow, lazy yoga flows or for disassociating from reality while pedaling my stationary bike on its lowest resistance.  Blueberry Space Cake is a 15% THC hybrid developed by Cresco Labs and is parented by Outer Space and Alien Dutchess, both objectionably delicious strains. Expect a bright, botanical aroma with underlying notes of ripe fruit and sour lemon that lingers in a tangy-sweet aftertaste. Zkittles The loose, languid high of Zkittles defies conventional classification. Genetically, the strain is an indica forward hybrid, but the majority of consumers describe highs that mirror those of landrace sativas, featuring effects like sparkling energy, crystalline focus, and rubbery limbs. My own fitness experience with this strain inspired a hybrid cardio-yoga flow that began with vivacious energy and unfolded into something ethereal and sedate. The effect developed in surprising ways, tapping into multiple chakras without ever feeling overwhelming. Considering how nuanced these effects are, it's no wonder Zkittles won both a Cannabis Cup and an Emerald Cup for indica cultivar. Zkittles (aka Skittles, Skittlez, or Zkittlez) is bred from a cross of Grape Ape and Grapefruit developed by California-based seed company 3rd Generation Family. Expect approximately 19% THC, and a perfume reminiscent of a bag of Skittles candies with an inhale to match.  Grateful Breath For those special days when my workout absolutely must begin with some manner of meditation, Grateful Breath is a go-to strain. The onset blossoms like a lotus flower, leaving me feeling physically tender, psychically radiant, and completely nonplussed by whatever melodrama that preceded the arrival of the high.  When the hurdles of the day feel insurmountable, and my much needed endorphin-induced bliss is just out of physical or emotional reach, this strain offers the perspective needed to overcome the mountains I've made out of molehills. Especially when those mountains are fitness and those molehills are anxiety. Grateful breath is a cross of Cherry Pie Kush with Joseph F1 with a THC concentration of about 24%. The resulting flowers are peppery and fruity, with a berry sweet exhale.  Sapphire OG Sapphire OG is named for the sapphire blue undertones in its fluffy flowers, but comparing this indica-forward strain to a rare and precious gem is only sort-of hyperbole. Sapphire is indeed rare and precious, but the genetics are hardly clandestine. This strain was bred by backcrossing Florida OG and Afghan, but the resulting flowers have a charisma (and a THC concentration of anywhere from 14 - 25%) all their own. The head high is spacey, but the body high is syrupy and heavy. When the workout of the evening is an elegant interpretive dance moment, or a low impact step-touch aerobic routine, Sapphire OG will make the whole groove drip with soap opera glam.  Expect a pungent diesel perfume and a rich, chocolatey inhale with notes of citrus on the back end. Consumers also report Sapphire OG as excellent in treating migraines, chronic pain, and depression. Gushers Gushers is an indica-forward hybrid with some markedly sativa effects, namely the explosive onset that offers consumers a bright, energetic body high and elated head high. Those perky effects, however, dissipate soon after arrival, leaving you in the kind of tingly, relaxed state that pairs well with most at-home cardio efforts.  I personally prefer Gushers for weekend workouts when I tend to overdo it; the onset pushes me to my limits, but the ultra-chill plateau keeps me from over-exerting. The head highs are light and playful, while the body high keeps me anchored to my workout. And once I'm done, the earned relaxation is so much sweeter than it would have been if I'd stayed on the couch all night. Of course, your results may vary. Gushers is bred from Gelato #41 and Triangle Kush, the resulting flowers are deep green and lightly sugared with approximately 14 -15% THC. Expect a sour botanical fragrance and a sweet, tropical punch on the exhale. Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Everything you need to know about the PAX Era Life

It's rare to come across a West Coast stoner who isn't already somewhat familiar with the PAX brand. Its handheld, pocket-sized flower and oil vaporizers are ubiquitous among committed non-combusters and strain hunting extract users, and its high-profile farm collabs have kept its proprietary cartridges consistently relevant.  Now the PAX line has expanded once again to include the PAX Era Life, its most streamlined device yet, built to suit a variety of cannabis oil users with simplified functions and an unparalleled ease of use. With its relatively low price point, simple features, and elegant simplicity, the PAX Era Life brings quality weed tech to an entirely new and potentially far more inclusive audience.  What is the PAX Era Life? The PAX Era Life is a compact cannabis oil vaporizer that uses proprietary PAX cannabis oil pods for vaping.  It's a compact, streamlined, lower-cost version of PAX's popular Era Pro pocket oil vaporizer. The two vapes share the same sleek look, with the Era Life being about one centimeter shorter than the Era Pro. The PAX Era Life's scaled back functions make it PAX's easiest to use vaporizer. Simply plug a PAX pod into the open end of the device, reinsert to choose from one of four temperatures, and draw.  The Era Life shares the majority of its basic functionality features with the Era Pro, save for the Pro's high level of interconnectivity via app. The Era Life does not feature app connectivity, and hence lacks those fancy app control options like low-pod alerts or child locks.  But what the PAX Era Life lacks in ornamental tech, it makes up for with a long battery life (up to 150+ hits per charge), relative low cost ($35), and flashy new color choices like Indigo, Grass, or Blaze.  What are PAX Pods? PAX Pods are the exclusive cartridges used by PAX vaporizers. PAX employs a proprietary design for its pods using SimpleClick™ tech, which allows users to plug their pods into their devices to choose a temperature and then draw from them instantly — no warm-up necessary. Higher temperatures burn through concentrates nominally faster than medium to low settings, but the Pods are long-lasting overall, supplying more than two weeks of inhales for low-temp daily tokers.  Authentic PAX pods can only be used with authentic PAX devices and vice versa. PAX Pods  universally consist of top-shelf quality extracts from reputable farms, and — depending on your location — are often available in extracts that span the cannabinoid spectrum. How does it work? The PAX Era Life is the most scaled down of all PAX devices, and is arguably the easiest PAX device to use. Straight from the package, the Era Life is ready to go; it's as easy as plugging in a pod and taking a hit. Charging the PAX Era Life The PAX Era Life arrives with a 4-inch long charging cable, and though mine arrived via USPS, it was approximately half charged. Once I'd used up the unexpected power boost, it took only 45 minutes to fully recharge the lithium-ion battery.   Like other PAX devices, the PAX Era Life has a X shaped light on its front. Each of the light's four arms (or “petals”) illuminate independently to alert users of battery percentage. Each arm represents 25% battery life.The upper left arm of the X will flash red when the device's battery requires charging. Charge the PAX Era Life by connecting the cord to a charging dock, power station, or USB port on your computer. All four arms of the light up X will gently flash as the device charges.Once fully charged, all four arms of the X will glow bright white for several seconds, fade, and repeat.  Changing temperatures Not unlike it's siblings, the Era Life operates at four different temperatures depending on the user's input. Novice user note: extracts vaporized at lower temperatures will produce robust flavor profiles and gently sloping highs, while vaping at higher temperatures can elicit a wild, swooning onset, so set your preferences accordingly. The “Pop and Click” method of gently popping your pod loose then clicking it back into place will activate the PAX Era Life's temperature control.For each pop and click, one of the aforementioned arms of the light-up X on the body will glow.Once you've chosen your temperature and pop-clicked it into place, the PAX Era Life is ready for hitting.  Temperature range:  One click, one petal, low temperature = 520°FTwo clicks, two petals, low/medium temperature = 610°F Three clicks, three petals, low/high temperature =  700°FFour clicks, four petals, high temperature = 790°F  How to clean the Era Life Since the PAX Era Life is an oil vaporizer that only uses PAX pods, cleaning is really concentrated to the housing, which can be wiped with an antibacterial wipe, moist cloth, or, in a pinch, the hem of a t-shirt.  Like most vaporizers, the mouthpiece is part and parcel with the cartridge, independent of the vaporizer, and as such, disposable and not much of a cleaning requirement. What is the appeal? PAX Style, discretion, and better living through tech are at the heart of PAX's branding, and with the introduction of the Era Life, that ethos expands to include accessibility. PAX products already have a pretty wide appeal, but by removing a large barrier to ownership — like the price —  PAX seems positioned to capture an even wider swath of oil users.  The bright colors, pared-down features, and functional simplicity make the PAX Era Life exceedingly appealing not only to users who value a durable, fashionable, and discrete device, but also to top-shelf extract aficionados, amateur vape lords, and even novice cannabis consumers with top-shelf inclinations. Even established fans of PAX products can appreciate the easy earnestness of this device; no apps to download and decode, no melodramatic cleaning issues, and no gambling on an extract from an unknown, rogue farm. Bottom line: across the board, this may arguably be PAX's most appealing device to date.  Photos courtesy of PAX  Check out the Pax Era Life at pax.com.

8 strains for morning jogs

There are two types of people: Morning People and Everyone Else. For Everyone Else, waking up several hours before necessary requires determination, commitment, and a subconscious-shattering alarm. Especially when that wake-up call is at the behest of a morning run. But Everyone Else might be pleased to learn that for discerning stoners, whether bright-eyed in the AM or sleepwalking till noon, waking and baking with just the right strain can make an early morning sprint feel like a neighborhood trot.  As a reluctant morning runner/fitness enthusiast myself, I've found that partaking in a pure sativa or an energizing hybrid an hour or so before my morning workout can be both electrifying and zen. But years of weed-fitness trial and error have also taught me that many pure sativas or sativa-dominant cultivars bred for physical stimulation aren't killer wake and bake workout strains. Many left me too cognitively spastic to focus on running. I've learned that phenotypes bred for specific, therapeutic effects can be super effective at supporting muscle recovery.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I learned that getting astronomically high before going outdoors for a jog-walk is ill-advised; I wake and bake to extinguish the morning doldrums, not to disassociate from the reality of street running.  My trick to successful AM weed jogs is to first plan the route, then consume the herb with my morning shake and a cup of tea. I give my high all the time it needs to swell, plateau, and gently evaporate before attempting to maneuver my city streets — or treadmill. This formula ensures I keep my senses and my chill while I ascend past psychotropia to one of the greatest highs of all: the runner's high.   Green Crack (AKA Green Cush) Consumers wax poetic about Green Crack's deep head high and uplifting body high, a combo that, under the right conditions, has the potential to send its fans into the perfect mindstate for meditative sunrise runs. This strain is also lauded for its anti-anxiety effects, and as such can level up any jogging/plant-medicine-as-self-care routine. Green Crack is a phenotype of Skunk #1, a 1989 Super Sativa Seed Club, and an Afghani landrace strain. Cecil C, the strain's breeder, originally named it Cush, but it was rebranded as Green Crack after world-famous rapper/actor/activist/celebrity chef Snoop Dogg referred to it as such. It can typically be found in shops under either name. Expect a tropical fruit perfume and bright, citrusy exhale.  Durban Poison Durban Poison is a pure sativa with South African landrace origins. Brought stateside by legendary strain hunter Ed Rosenthal in the mid-70s, Durban Poison has since become a pillar of contemporary cannabis genetics. The high is almost universally regarded as uplifting, energizing, and amply euphoric without crossing the threshold into paranoia or anxiety.  Naturally, it's a favorite of wake and bake joggers and serious stoner athletes alike.  Durban Poison's THC levels tend to hover between 17% and 20% THC, but exercise caution when buying your grams, as many cultivars top out over 24%. Expect a sweet, grassy inhale and a mild piney perfume.  Bruce Banner This hybrid strain gets its name honestly; Bruce Banner is a powerhouse hybrid with a hurricane-intense onset that builds in volume before mellowing to a cushion-soft cerebral high. Fans of this strain support its nod to its superhero transformation effects, both embracing the excitement of the blastoff and cozying into the softer plateau of the head high.  Bruce Banner is one of five phenotypes of OG Kush and Strawberry Diesel parents. Inherited effects include effective pain, anxiety, and depression relief in addition to the strain's unique powderkeg activation. Expect a stank perfume and citrus sweet exhale.  Island Sweet Skunk Consumers revere Island Sweet Skunk for a litany of positive effects, but the favorite by far is the strain's ability to boos euphoric energy. This hybrid phenotype is genetically sativa dominant and described as perfect for day use. But beware, the cultivar's effects can be dynamic enough to cause overexertion, so practice safe jogging while Island Sweet Skunking.  Bred from a cross of Grapefruit and Northern Lights x Haze, Island Sweet Skunk was exclusive to Canada and the Pacific Northwest until recently reaching the greater west coast. Expect a skunky, tropical fruit perfume and an exhale to match.  Lemon Meringue Lemon Meringue's reported effects include creative motivation and, of course, a zippy, knee-slapping energy. Those folks who fall into the "Everyone Else" category of early risers will appreciate the crisp, clarifying onset and the efficient dispersing of any AM blues.  Lemon Meringue was bred from a cross of Lemon Skunk and Cookies & Cream. And the expected profile is as confectionary as one would expect. Anticipate a candy-sweet perfume and creamy citrus exhale.  Sunshine Folks seeking an energetic high that's more geared toward an easy-going run than an all out sprint should consider the 14% - 17% THC Sunshine. It has an effect that is euphoric with a mild energy boost that supports the strain's summery vibe. Also, if you're going to wake and bake, why not light up a strain named for the actual sunrise?  Sunshine was reportedly bred from a cross of Chemdawg and Sunshine Daydream, and the resulting flavors are predictably citrusy sweet and stanky dank. Expect a pineapple funk perfume and a lemony-diesel exhale.  Snowcap Snowcap is a sativa dominant hybrid strain known for its giggly delirium and fizzy body buzz. Consumers love that it's both introspective and vivacious, lending itself equally to cerebral pursuits and physical action. Snowcap is also a popular therapeutic strain, lauded for its efficacy in quelling symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Snowcap fans looking to compound their runners high into something even more transcendental should consider packing a bowl as part of their pre-workout ritual.  Snowcap was bred from Snow White and Cat Piss parents. The resulting flowers are dense and slow burning, with a fruity, menthol perfume and a spicy lemon exhale.   Royal Highness For those looking to medicate their muscles before jumping into strenuous physical activity, Royal Highness's CBD/THC 1:1 ratio is a great daytime strain to audition. What this strain lacks in psychoactivity, it more than makes up for with a clear-headed euphoria, velvety soft body buzz, and deliberate recovery support. Whether your AM jog is a fierce sprint or an invigorating jog-walk, Royal Highness's cannabinoid balance and entourage effects may ensure a not just a satisfying workout, but also a super-comfortable recovery period.   Royal Highness was bred from high-CBD strain Respect and 1:1 balanced strain Dance Hall. Expect sugary, dark green nugs with a skunky perfume and berry sweet exhale.  Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Explore the stoned spectrum, aka the 10 stages of being high

Every person's endocannabinoid system is specific, like a fingerprint, which is why there is no universal cannabis experience. An edible with 5 milligrams of THC can rock one person's consciousness while barely registering in someone else's. That said, there is one point of fact that all cannabis enthusiasts can agree on: THC gets you high, and the high is a journey. But before we get into the typical stages of that journey, we should have a word about timelines. A study published by the National Health Institute in 2017 established two main timelines for THC highs: smoking or vaping and ingestion. Smoking or vaping will typically result in an onset that arrives minutes after use, a peak that occurs 20 - 30 minutes after the onset, and a high that could last up to two hours. Ingestion, on the other hand, filters THC through the liver before entering the bloodstream. The resulting onset can occur up to two hours after ingestion, with the peak of the high occurring 2 - 3 hours after the onset. The effects can then linger for up to 24 hours, depending on the dosage.  Whether inhaled or ingested, both highs can be mesmerizingly intoxicating or mild and manageable. Knowing your dose is key.  If you're ready to compare notes with your own experiences, or you're new to cannabis and aren't sure what to expect, the stoned spectrum can bridge the gap between the effects you and others may similarly feel. Below, explore the 10 stages of being high and see if it all adds up.  Stage 1: the first step before the high  Your nose and mouth are typically the first to interact with cannabis. Even in the case of edibles, traces of terpenes can predict the direction, duration, and intensity of your high.  Smelling and tasting your weed can have a pretty substantial impact on your cannabis journey, so take a whiff and savor the flavor. And while you're tasting and smelling your herb, you can shore up your plans — and snacks — for when your high kicks into gear.  Stage 2: the first sign of a high Once THC crosses your blood-brain barrier and binds to your CB1 receptors, the high is initiated. This activation can occur seconds after hitting a fat dab, minutes after blowing a dense blunt, or hours after eating an artisan edible.  There are many variables that dictate activation, but variables aside, once your blood-brain barrier has been breached, the primary effects of cannabis can begin to percolate. These effects often begin with a feeling of effervescence in the limbs and a slight shift in cognition that brightens and smooths rough edges, slowly blooming throughout the body.  Stage 3: cresting the high and feeling mildly stoned In the time between activation and onset, users can expect an intensifying of the physical and cerebral effects that have begun to percolate. The length of time and intensity of this moment depends entirely on the method of consumption, the strain, and the user's DNA. As THC concentrates in the bloodstream, the high develops and features effects like creativity, relaxation, or pain relief. Stages 2 - 3 are the perfect time to connect with your body. We recommend doing some gentle stretches or other low-stakes physical activity in this stage. Stage 4: getting blazed Stages 2 - 4 can occur in such rapid-fire succession and with such seamless fluidity that one may not feel many nuanced effects between taking a deep hit and feeling a strong onset. However, there will come a moment when your blood reaches max THC concentration, and this is when your high will swoon into effect — sometimes overwhelmingly.  Calibrating your dose to match your tolerance is critical to ensure a manageable swoon. This stage is the best time to ground yourself with a few deep, mindful breaths. Stage 5: tension starts to build As your body readjusts to the THC in your bloodstream, users can sometimes feel a tug between gravity and ascension which may cause anxiety or tension.  The easiest way to avoid feeling crippled by this moment is to have a pre-planned activity ready, as well as some THC-softening CBD. This would be the time to start a hike, turn on a gaming console, or run a bath in order to keep your mind busy and your high going strong. Stage 6: reaching the peak Once your high solidifies, your chosen strain or product's effects should sharpen, and whatever unique characteristics that attracted you to this strain or product will become substantial and tangible.  Strains that affect focus might produce wild creativity, euphoric strains will launch giggle fits, chatty strains will loosen jaws, and chill-out strains will lock you into the couch. For some, this is considered the peak when THC blood concentration is at its highest and the body has comfortably acclimated to that concentration. Stage 6 is the moment to get introspective with your high, let your mind wander freely, and maybe have an epiphany — or ten. Stage 7: when the high levels off  By this stage, you've been high for a while. Your eyes are probably bloodshot, your lids are likely heavy, and if your high calls for them, your munchies are presumably emerging. And despite popular opinion, munchies do not accompany every single cannabis high. In fact, many strains are appetite suppressants. But if your strain is known for delivering stoner cravings, prepare accordingly during Stage 1 lest you end up high and dry with no burgers or fries.  Aside from the munchies, consumers in this stage will begin to feel a gradual lightening of effects as the THC in the bloodstream becomes more diluted. This stage can last anywhere from one hour to the better part of a day. During this stage, best practices dictate leaning into whatever stoned activity you initiated during Stage 5 and enjoying the ride. Stage 8: the cooldown The vacuum created as THC slowly dissipates from your body can be quickly replaced with malaise. For joint tokers, bong rippers, and dab hitters, Stage 8 is usually when another session is initiated. For edible enthusiasts, Stage 8 is a good time to make a cup of tea and ease all the way into decompression and evaporation.  Stage 9: decompression A particularly intense Stage 7 can lead to a disorienting come down that could be comparatively more dizzying and/or lethargic than the rest of the high. In these instances, feeling burnt out is pretty common. If the feeling emerges, don't fight it: give in and take a nap.  Stage 10: evaporation and tranquility The best-case scenario, and most common by far, is that your high will evaporate in a timely fashion, leaving your cognition slightly altered and your body slightly more responsive, but your awareness more or less intact. At this stage, the psychotropic effects of THC have exhausted themselves, but the countless other cannabinoids have affected you in many ways less tractable than THC.  Effects like tranquility, physical ease, and general congeniality are common remnants of a weed high that last long after the giggles, head trips, and munchies have passed. Stage 10 is a good time to evaluate your high, what you liked about your strain, what worked best, and what you might adjust before your next session. Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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