Marijuana is a funny (and fun!) thing. It can be as easy or as involved as you want. It works, whether you know the whys and hows or not. You don’t need to have a Doctorate in Weedology to reap the benefits and bask in the joy of it.
But knowing more about it, its history, its actions, and understanding the guts of it can be a huge part of the fun!
Let’s look at the origins of cannabis, answer questions about your favorite green friend, and maybe even make a Weedologist out of you!
The History of Marijuana
In the Beginning . . .
Weed has been around for a long, long time. While science hasn’t pinpointed the precise beginning of cannabis use for intoxication, recent discoveries in China have found signs of ritualistic burning of high THC cannabis during funerary rites 2,500 years ago.
This discovery is important because the cannabis found is not of the usual wild variety common to that area and era. And this is indicative of intentional cultivation for the purpose of producing plants with high THC.
In the centuries since, cannabis has been used for ceremonies, medicine, and pure entertainment. In the past, tinctures were popular and frequently dispensed by physicians for pain relief, inflammation, insomnia, and nausea. Hash dens were as popular as opium dens in bigger cities of the 1800s.
Things began to change in the early 1900s, with marijuana being politically associated with immigrants from Mexico. Racist tropes began attributing violence and “superhuman strength” to the cannabis products these immigrants allegedly used.
Between 1916 and 1931, more than half of American states outlawed marijuana. After a period of increasingly stringent restrictions on categorization, sales, and prescribing came the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
While ostensibly just a tax, the real purpose was to make producing, importing, and prescribing so onerous and expensive as to grind it out. Which it mostly did, eventually taking the legal hemp industry with it—much to the joy of artificial textile manufacturers. Hemp was their only real competition, and with hemp out of the picture, they were free to dominate the market.
By 1952, mandatory sentencing hit the scene, bolstered by the Narcotics Control Act of 1956. With sentences of 2-10 years and $20,000 fines, this act was meant to hit Black and Mexican communities hardest. And it did.
So, Weed Was Illegal Everywhere, All the Time?
It may surprise you to learn that weed was not officially outlawed at the federal level until 1970! In 1969, Dr. Timothy Leary challenged the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, and the Supreme Court found that the act was unconstitutional on 5th Amendment grounds. Wonderful, right?
It took Washington no time to come up with The Controlled Substance Act. This act, for the first time ever in American history, prohibited the use of cannabis in any form for any reason. So, now you know—weed wasn’t totally banned until 1970.
What’s interesting is that as more and more white college students familiarized themselves with cannabis, politicians became concerned that the penalties in place were too harsh.
And so, while the Controlled Substance Act finally banned all weed all the time, it also lessened penalties. That’s right—no more mandatory minimums, no more felony charges for simple possession.
But Why 420?
There are a LOT of apocryphal tales out there reverse-engineering the origins of “420.” A little looking into it finds that it probably wasn’t cop-speak for “people smoking marijuana.” It likely wasn’t a reference to Hitler’s birthday. It almost certainly wasn’t fancy math from Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (12 x 35=420, doncha know).
It turns out that the most likely originates with a group of high school kids in San Rafael, California. Back in the early ‘70s, they would meet on campus—at 4:20 p.m.—to get high. This group of kids became known as “the Waldos.”
Later, one of those kids found work as a roadie for the Grateful Dead, which helped popularize the term. In the early 1990s, a gaggle of Deadheads distributed a flyer encouraging people to get high on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. A reporter from High Times spotted the flyer, the magazine printed it, and that was that!
Don’t believe it? In their December 1998 issue, High Times acknowledged that the “Waldos” were the original source of “420.”
While the Waldos/High Times account may not be true, it probably is.
Marijuana and the Body
Now that we’ve learned a bit about where weed comes from and how we got from there to here, let’s dive into how weed affects our bodies by addressing some common ideas we often encounter:
Because weed can leave us feeling dry in the mouth and eyes, it’s commonly thought that marijuana causes dehydration. While, on the surface, the symptoms of weed-related “cotton mouth” and dehydration are similar, they are not at all related.
What’s the difference? Marijuana can temporarily interfere with saliva production, which is harmless. Dehydration, on the other hand, is serious and potentially life-threatening.
“You’ll stunt your growth!” used to be a common refrain when it came to finger-wagging nay-sayers. But the fact is, we don’t know yet.
What we do know is that nobody still growing should be ingesting intoxicating substances of any kind.
If you’re underage, you should steer clear until you’re legal, which should give you plenty of time to grow up big and strong.
Closely related to the question of growth is the developing brain of teens. And the answer is pretty much the same—teens shouldn’t be smoking weed or ingesting any other psychoactive substance, period.
Unless a child has a qualifying medical condition necessitating cannabis use (such conditions exist), weed shouldn’t be part of their experience.
Marijuana and the Mind
Weed used to be painted with a mighty broad brush. Either it made you laugh hysterically, or it made you a maudlin, sleepy mess.
We know a lot more about how weed affects mood these days, and it turns out that the mood-altering effects of cannabis are as varied as—well, as moods!
Through experimentation with different strains, we can help foster exactly the feelings we’re shooting for.
When it comes to weed and how it might “change” our personalities, we need to look at both immediate shifts and potential changes with heavy, long-term use.
Immediate, short-term effects of marijuana use on personality are pretty straightforward. Most people using most strains become more open and less inhibited. More relaxed, more easily engaged, and amused. We feel calmer, uplifted, and more optimistic.
Long Term Effects
Effects of marijuana use in the long term are pretty much the same as above, with an important exception. Long-term, heavy use can cause notable changes to personality in those susceptible.
Anxiety, neuroticism, sleep disturbances, and paranoia can all arise during periods of hard-core excessive use. These effects are uncommon and transient.
Slow consumption and experiment with different strains if this happens to you.
Hey, How do I . . .
Navigate a Dispensary for the First Time?
This one’s easy! Here at The Flower Shop, we go out of our way to make your first visit—and all your visits—smooth and sweet. But there are things you can do to make sure your first dispensary visit goes off without a hitch:
- Don’t Be Nervous: You’re not doing anything wrong here. Relax!
- Look Over the Menu Online: Having an idea of what you want helps our Budtenders help you.
- Bring Cash/Be Ready to Use the ATM: Flashing plastic at the dispensary has federal restrictions.
- Bring Your ID: No ID, no entry. No exceptions.
- Be Patient: Things can be busy, especially during lunch and after-work times.
- Take Your Time: Our staff is there for YOU. If you need guidance, ask!
- Check Out: You may be asked for your ID again. Good thing you brought it!
- Head Home: Remember, recreational users, use at home. Not in public places. It’s the law.
Know Good Weed From Bad?
Knowing good weed when you see it is as much about your nose and fingers as your eyes. Maybe more. Things to look for include:
- That Smell: You know the one—that musky, kind of skunky, a little sage-y smell. You might catch bits of citrus, chocolate, berry, or peach. Weed that doesn’t smell strongly was probably badly grown, improperly cured, or is just old.
- Those Nugs: Good quality indica is usually fat and dense, while sativa can sometimes be leaner and airier. If the bud is surrounded by untrimmed fan leaves, find something else.
- The Color: Good weed can come in an array of undertones, but a good, healthy green is the base you’re looking for. Brown, tan, white, or yellow? Nopers.
- The Sparkle: Top Shelf weed is laden with trichomes. These milky-white little crystal-y bumps are where the good stuff is stored. Underdeveloped trichomes mean a premature harvest. Amber-colored trichomes are a sign it was harvested too late, which means lower THC.
- The Feel on Your Fingers: Great and fabulous weed is often sticky. Trichomes produce resin. Resin is sticky. The more stick, the more resin, which often means a better high.
Now, if you’re in The Flower Shop, you’re not going to be able to check these things in advance. Dispensaries can’t pop open sealed containers for us before we buy.
But our Wellness Experts know their stuff, they know their weed, and absolutely know our growers, which means that what we carry has already been carefully curated!
Get High for the First Time?
There is no shame in never having gotten high before. Whether you’re 21 or 61, everyone who uses cannabis was a newbie at some point! Don’t worry—learning how to weed is easy peasy:
- Read Up: Peruse The Flower Shop’s inventory/descriptions with your desired effects in mind.
- Get With Your Wellness Expert: Our budtenders are your best source of strain information.
- Buy Small: Rather than loading up on one strain, buy flower by the eighth. Like a sampler pack.
- Start Low: Don’t overload on weed when it’s new to you. Take it slow and learn as you go.
- Know What to Expect: Read up on dosages/products so you have an idea of how high/how long.
- Do it With Friends: First-time highs are always better with people you like.
- Enjoy: Don’t forget this—it’s the best part!
Roll a Joint for the First Time?
Nobody ever started as a pro here. But if we’d been taught, step-by-step, rather than clumsily winging it after watching some magic-fingered wizard one time, that’s a lot of weed we would have kept in our joints instead of on the floor.
Lucky you, we’ve laid it all down, so you don’t have to struggle through disintegrating joints that burn like canoes:
- Grind Your Nugs: Get a grinder. The Flower Shop carries a sweet rolling tray/grinder combo.
- Create a Crutch: Maintains the joint’s shape. Homemade, Raw strips or Flowtips are fine.
- Pick a Paper: There are a lot to choose from. For newer folks, thicker is better.
- Just Add Weed: How much depends on the paper and you.
- Pack It: You want your weed evenly distributed and your paper in a basic cone shape.
- Roll It: As tight as you can—practice makes perfect!
- Twist It Off: So your weed doesn’t fall out the fat end, you know!
- Smoke It Up: Roll the end back and forth in the flame and take a little puff for an even burn.
Smoke Weed Properly?
It may sound silly, but there’s an etiquette to sharing weed and art to smoking it. Here are ways to be a good weed-friend and reduce the hit to your lungs without reducing your hit, if you know what we mean:
- Pack your bowl properly: If you’re using a pipe or bong, don’t be sloppy. Grind, then put a small bit of non-ground nug at the bottom to act as a plug. Keeps you from losing smaller bits.
- Don’t Use a Stinky Lighter: Matches and butane lighters can stink up your bowl and totally ruin the taste.
- Be Considerate: When sharing a bowl, light from the outside/corner/edge, which leaves some fresh green for the next person down the line.
- Small Pulls are Your Friend: You know how, in the movies, they take a gigantic, holy-cow pull off that joint or Bong? Don’t do that.
- Two Seconds is Fine: Again with the movies— a gigantic pull, followed by holding the breath until the helpless hacking starts. You don’t need to do that—coughing doesn’t get you higher. It just means you’re hammering your lungs. You get almost all the THC you’re going to get within two seconds.
Keep it Secret?
We all have neighbors, roommates, or other folks we may not want smelling our smoke. Some love it, some hate it, but nobody misses the smell of burning cannabis. Here’s how you can mask the smell:
- Use an Odor Eliminator: Veil and Ozium are popular weed smoke neutralizers that, while not 100%, do a fine job.
- Use Febreze: Again, not absolute elimination, but great in a pinch. Scents with an herb-y quality work best—think lavender or morning herb.
- Doo in the Loo: Sounds crazy, but Poo-Pourri and Luxe Bidet’s Whift toilet stink neutralizers, especially the strong, lemony scents, are strong for a reason. So, smoking weed in the bathroom with a few spritzes and the fan on can go a long way.
- Cook a Strong-Scented Meal: Think curries, chilies, and savory-spicy dishes. Or if all you want is odor control, burn some popcorn. Not much of anything gets through that.
- Smoke Outside: If it’s legal, and if it’s safe to do so, just take your pipe or joint outside to partake.
- Don’t Smoke at All: Our friendly Wellness Experts (aka Budtenders) will be happy to steer you toward candies, sodas, gummies, tinctures, brownies, and other non-smokable products. No smoke means no smell.
How Am I Going to Store All This Weed?
So’s you know, that’s a joke. The legal limit for possession in the State of Arizona is one ounce for recreational users. It’s 2.5 ounces in a 14-day period for medical card holders. But the question remains—how do you store it to best preserve freshness and potency?
One of our favorite storage products is Boveda’s CVault. A lightproof, airtight container with a fancy bonus—a “humidity pack.” In effect, it’s a small, replaceable packet slipped into the lid that adjusts humidity and protects your weed from degradation.
The CVault comes in varying sizes and is a real champ when it comes to keeping your cannabis fresh.
If you’d like to go old school and keep your weed in a mason jar, that’s definitely doable, but there are two things. One, keep it in a dark place with stable temps. And two, invest in those Boveda packs—they adjust both ways, increasing or decreasing humidity to keep things at the perfect level. They’ll keep your weed in that Goldilocks zone—not too dry, not too damp.
What About Safety?
There are things you need to consider when it comes to the whens and wheres of cannabis use. Some common questions we get include:
What if it’s Really Hot? Super Cold?
Weed on a Glacier? Pot in the desert? You wouldn’t think it would make a difference, but it turns out environmental temperature doesn’t just affect your weed, storage-wise.
Smoking weed in extreme cold? It’s funny—cold temperatures cause the lungs to expand more fully to bring in more air. Why? To increase blood pressure and try to preserve body warmth. Resulting in a high that can hit faster, more intensely, and with a smoother feel.
Hot, Hot, Hot
But what about sizzling summer days? The beach, hiking in the desert mountains? Surprisingly, there are effects similar to the cold, but not for the same reasons.
In high heat, we sweat more and breathe in shallower, quicker breaths. This also raises blood pressure, which may make the effects hit faster and more intensely. Unlike with cold, though, the hits are likely to be a bit harsher.
As always, it’s important not to get so caught up in the high that you don’t notice your physical state. Extreme temperatures can be dangerous, so make sure you’re safe!
Keep warm in the cold, cool in the heat, and be aware of your hydration levels and the state of your fingers and toes.
Couch-lock in a snowbank or a sand dune? Not good. And the same thing goes for your surroundings. Know where you are and who you’re with. Fun ain’t fun if you’re not keeping yourself safe.
Here Endeth the Lesson
But not your learning! We hope you had fun with this because we sure did! There’s a lot to know, weed-wise, and that education can be as light and easy or in-depth as you choose. Whether it’s storage or cold-weather use, the history of 420, or how to roll? We have the answers you’re looking for!
But when it comes to questions about strains, effects, and available products to match your needs?
Our amazing Wellness Experts are your best source of cannabis-related information and support. The Flower Shop takes your needs seriously, and our staff is dedicated to ensuring your experience is the very best.
So, come on down! The best weed-buying experience you’ve ever had is waiting for you. We’ll leave the light on!