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Sunday December 25, 2016

By Michael Walters


Ah, the holidays. A time when families come together to break bread and enjoy the warmth and glow of each other’s company. While that statement is true for some, it is more accurately an idealistic phrasing associated with the holiday season and the underlying commercialism behind it. For most people, amidst the feelings of happiness, love and high spirits lies a presence of stress, anxiety and holiday-induced fatigue. In fact, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association (pdf) , 68 percent of people reported feelings of fatigue, 61 percent of people reported stress/anxiety symptoms and 38 percent of people reported an increase of the two during the holidays.

The study goes on to show that over 30 percent of people feel they cannot relax at all during the holidays. We feel that number is a little too high. Everyone should be able to relax and enjoy themselves during the holidays, so we thought of some helpful tips for avoiding holiday stressors this season and choosing the right cannabis experience to satisfy your needs.

How Can Marijuana Help?

Cannabis can be a great option for those seeking to relax and unwind after a long day. Even better, cannabis is the perfect solution to motivate and uplift your perception and outlook on life. Depending on what strain you choose, as well as the consumption method, cannabis can be the perfect remedy to a number of ailments you may experience, especially during the holidays. But how do you choose the correct strain (or combination of several) to create the perfect remedy? That’s where the equation gets a bit challenging, and a budtender just pushing a sativa, indica or hybrid simply doesn’t make the cut.

While the basic logic of consumption is simple (consume marijuana, get high), dialing in your experience to meet every specific personal need you have is a bit more challenging. For instance, you may find that Northern Lights helps with pain relief, but makes you feel drowsy and heavily stoned during the day. You might try and combat the sleepiness of an indica with some sativa such as Durban Poison, but you risk the chance of affecting your high in an unexpected way, potentially leading to an unpleasant experience or uncomfortable high. While mixing strains and creating your own chemistry experiments can be fun and exciting for some, people seeking an easy, direct and reliable solution for their problems are left in the void.

Sifting Through the Possibilities

According to BDS Analytics, a leading cannabis research and data firm, there are over 1,900 uniquely named strains being sold and marketed in Colorado.

That’s a lot of options, and those who are less experienced with marijuana (i.e. tourists, new consumers) are left to sift through the seemingly endless amount of strains hoping one (or a combination of several) will be effective for their needs. On top of the sheer amount of possible strain selections, not every dispensary grows their flower the same; and not every strain (even though they may have the same name) produces the same effects when consumed. Growing practices, genetic makeup and genetic drift all contribute to the properties and effects exhibited by a given flower. On top of genetic properties, chemical properties are just as important and influential when discussing the effects of a cannabis strain. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, as well as terpenes all contribute to the effects induced by a given strain.

See where we’re going here? Even if a consumer finds a strain profile that favors their needs, it’s rather difficult to consistently keep finding it exactly how you like it. Enter the wonders of science and technology. Scientific breakthroughs have allowed marijuana companies to begin creating new and exciting products catered directly to fit the needs of the consumer. Not only do these products offer enhanced reliability, but also the somewhat guaranteed pretense of potential effects and medicinal qualities. These products are the perfect selection for a tourist or new consumer looking to ease into cannabis use, or those wanting to know what to expect before consumption. Additionally, these products are great to consume around the holidays, as those looking to relax and enjoy themselves can simply tell their budtender the desired effects and feelings they wish to have and purchase a product that will do exactly what they need it for.

There are many products out there offering relief to specific issues or ailments. Perhaps the most efficient and innovative products on the market feature an even ratio of the cannabinoids THC and CBD as well as terpenes known to reduce stress and induce relaxation (such as Linalool). These blends of cannabinoids and terpenes provide an effortless and convenient way to properly dose cannabis.

So why sort through the seemingly unknown when you don’t have to? Sure, you could wait around all day guided by the (mis)direction of a budtender looking to increase sales, but in the end, are you really giving yourself the proper treatment? The best way to avoid holiday stressors isn’t as simple as buying a bunch of weed in hopes it’ll ease the pain. It’s time to take control of your high and give yourself the cannabis experience that you truly deserve. How? By understanding the specific needs of your body and purchasing products that you can rely on.

Jars of cannabis

Choosing the Right Product for You

While a budtender will provide you selections based on your preference of indica, sativa or hybrid, that is probably as far as the recommendation will go. Only you know what works best for you, so we suggest you do a little research so you can better shop for yourself at a dispensary. First, try to find a THC level that you are comfortable with. Flower ranges from roughly 10-30 percent in total THC, so try to select something that will get you feeling good. If you fancy a high that is more clean-headed, select a strain with higher CBD content to even out the effects of the THC. Finally, be sure to take note of which terpenes provide the best relief for you. If you’re unfamiliar with terpenes, check out our article here to bone up on your knowledge. Ideally, you want to create an optimal product profile that you can easily relay to a budtender. For example, since we’re looking to reduce holiday stressors, we might want a flower that’s mid-range in THC, high in CBD and high in the terpene Linalool (which contains anti-anxiety properties). With that in mind, we would ask our budtender just that. When they ask what you’re looking for, reply “I’m looking for a strain with 10-20 percent THC, 5-10 percent CBD, and high in Linalool terpenes.” While some budtenders may reply with a dull gaze, most dispensaries equip their budtenders with the resources to easily determine strains with similar cannabinoid percentages and terpene presence.

Even though there is a bit of research to be done on the end of the consumer, coming into the dispensary with a better sense of what you’re looking for helps both you and the budtender have a better experience overall. And if the research is too much of a hassle, remember there’s always products out there that have done the math for you to create consistently reliable experiences you can count on. All in all, there are a variety of ways to custom-tailor your cannabis experience. This holiday season, be prepared to fight holiday stressors with the remedy of your choosing!

Photo Credit: Thomas Haynie (license)


Michael Walters Michael Walters

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric, Michael started his journey in the cannabis industry managing content, communications, and technical writing for one of Colorado's largest dispensary chains. In 2016, Michael pivoted to the ancillary sector to become PotGuide's Content Manager and was responsible for overseeing all of PotGuide’s editorial endeavors and content marketing strategies. Now, Michael is PotGuide's Director of Content & Marketing, focusing his efforts toward new educational content and exciting media endeavors.

With a life-long passion for cannabis knowledge and education, Michael devoted himself to becoming a subject matter expert on marijuana at an early age. Now, Michael has worked in the marijuana industry for over four years helping break down negative stigma and promoting safe cannabis practices. An avid consumer himself, Michael has worked tirelessly to improve content marketing strategies for cannabis businesses and is devoted to creating meaningful content that is useful to a wide variety of marijuana consumers. Follow Michael on LinkedIn and Instagram for updates and insights.

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