What is Cannabis? A Beginner's Guide

Learn everything about cannabis! Indica vs sativa, effects, legality, and more. A beginner’s guide.

Few plants have garnered as much fascination and controversy as cannabis.  Cannabis is a plant with a rich and complex history where evidence suggests its use dates back to 2800 BC.  From its documented use in ancient Chinese texts for medicinal purposes to its role in spiritual rituals in India thousands of years ago, cannabis has maintained a multifaceted presence throughout history.  Today, cannabis finds itself at the center of a heated debate with its share of confusion and misconception. Its journey from revered medicinal herb to globally stigmatized substance is a testament to the complexities of human perception and policy. In recent decades, the debate surrounding cannabis has intensified, with shifting legal landscapes and evolving scientific understanding often muddying the waters.This blog aims to cut through the confusion by providing clear, unbiased information on cannabis, exploring its historical significance, medicinal applications, and current regulatory landscape.

What is Cannabis?

  • Indica, Sativa and Hybrid - The cannabis plant, also known as hemp, has a long history of human cultivation. It comes in a variety of strains, typically classified as Indica, Sativa, or a hybrid of the two, each with distinct characteristics and effects. Indicas are known for their bushy stature and broad leaves, often associated with relaxing and pain-relieving effects. Sativas tend to be taller and have slender leaves, reputed to give a more energetic and creative high. Hybrids combine these traits and effects in varying degrees. Interestingly, our bodies actually produce their own cannabinoids, which interact with cell receptors in an endocannabinoid system that helps regulate many bodily functions.
  • Endocannabinoid System - At the heart of cannabis's influence lies the endocannabinoid system which is a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters within the human body. This system plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain sensation, and memory. Cannabis exerts its effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.  Understanding the interplay between different cannabis strains and the endocannabinoid system can empower individuals to select products that align with their desired outcomes and preferences.

  • What are Cannabinoids?

    Cannabis plants produce a unique group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The two most well-known and prevalent on the plant are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the "high" or euphoric effects that users experience.  It’s also being studied for its potential therapeutic properties. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce a high and is now being recognized for its potential medicinal properties.  The True Bloom Wellness CBD Drops, for example, are THC-Free.

    What is Cannabis

    While THC and CBD are the star players, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids present in cannabis including CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol), and CBC (cannabichromene), among others.  True Bloom Wellness provides consumers with a variety of gummies that contain CBG and CBN.  While research on these lesser-known cannabinoids is still ongoing, they are believed to contribute to the overall effects of cannabis, potentially enhancing its therapeutic potential through what's known as the "entourage effect." Understanding the role of cannabinoids in cannabis can help individuals make informed decisions about the products they consume and the effects they seek to achieve.

    Effects of Cannabis

    Indica and Sativa strains of cannabis offer distinct effects that cater to varying preferences and needs. Indica strains are renowned for their relaxing and sedating qualities, often inducing a sense of calm and tranquility that can be ideal for unwinding after a long day or promoting a restful night. On the other hand, Sativa strains are prized for their energizing and uplifting effects, providing a boost of creativity and focus that can enhance productivity and social engagement. However, it's important to note that individual responses to cannabis can vary, and some users may experience side effects such as dry mouth and increased heart rate, particularly with higher THC concentrations. Additionally, for some individuals, especially those prone to anxiety, certain strains—particularly high-THC varieties—may exacerbate feelings of nervousness or paranoia. Understanding the contrasting effects of Indica and Sativa strains, along with potential side effects, empowers consumers to make informed choices and find the right balance for their needs.

    Is Cannabis Legal?

    The legal status of cannabis in the US is complex.  In the United States, cannabis remains federally illegal, classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, in recent years, there has been a significant shift in state-level legislation, with many states legalizing cannabis for medical and/or recreational use. As of May 6, 2024, over half of the states have implemented some form of cannabis legalization, allowing for medical use, recreational use, or both. This evolving legal landscape has created a patchwork of regulations across the country, with varying degrees of access and restrictions. It's crucial to note that cannabis laws can differ widely from state to state, and even within municipalities, so it's essential to check local laws and regulations before purchasing or using cannabis products.  Following a recommendation from the US federal Health and Human Services Department , the US Drug Enforcement Administration recently stated they will  move to reclassify cannabis to a Schedule III drug.

    Is Cannabis Safe?

    Responsible cannabis use entails understanding the potential risks associated with its consumption and taking appropriate precautions to mitigate them. While cannabis can offer therapeutic benefits and enjoyable experiences for many individuals, it's essential to recognize that misuse or overuse can lead to adverse effects. Cannabis use can impair judgment, coordination, and cognitive function, which could pose risks, especially when operating machinery or driving. To promote safe and responsible usage, it's advisable to consume cannabis in moderation, choose appropriate strains and dosages, and avoid combining it with other substances. Additionally, consulting with a healthcare professional before incorporating cannabis into one's wellness regimen is highly recommended, particularly for individuals with underlying health conditions or those who may be at higher risk of adverse effects. By prioritizing education, moderation, and informed decision-making, individuals can enjoy the benefits of cannabis while minimizing potential risks to their health and well-being.


    In conclusion, cannabis is a complex plant with a rich history and evolving legal status. From its medicinal applications to its psychoactive effects, cannabis presents a variety of potential benefits. By understanding the different strains, cannabinoids, and potential effects, individuals can make informed decisions about cannabis use. Whether seeking therapeutic relief, relaxation, or creativity enhancement, responsible consumption and a focus on safety are paramount. As research continues to shed light on cannabis's potential, navigating the legalities and understanding potential risks remain crucial for anyone considering incorporating cannabis into their lives. To satisfy additional curiosity, we encourage readers to further explore valuable information at Project CBD and  Pub Med's National Library of Medicine.