From Flower to Edibles: Understanding the Diverse World of Cannabis Products

Published: 1/21/2024
By: Harry B. Nuggs
Mountains

From Flower to Edibles: Understanding the Diverse World of Cannabis Products


Cannabis products have come a long way from just the dried flower or buds that most people are familiar with. Nowadays, there is a huge variety of cannabis products available for both recreational and medicinal use. From edibles to topicals and concentrates, the cannabis product landscape has expanded dramatically.


It can be confusing even for experienced cannabis users to understand the differences between all the products out there. This blog will break down the major types of cannabis products available today and what makes them unique.

Different Forms of Cannabis Products

The Flower — The Original Cannabis Product

When people think of cannabis, the first image that often comes to mind is the dried bud or flower from the cannabis plant. The female plants produce clusters of flowers that contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. These flowers go through a curing process where they are slowly dried and cured to preserve potency and flavor.


The resulting dried buds can then be smoked in joints, pipes, or bongs. When smoked, the THC passes quickly from the lungs into the bloodstream and brain, causing the “high” feeling recreational users seek. The dried flower can also used to make other cannabis products like extracts and edibles.


Though high-tech cannabis products get a lot of attention these days, good old-fashioned dried buds remain one of the most popular ways to consume the plant. Their high bioavailability when smoked makes the effects come on fast. And connoisseurs appreciate the range of flavors and aromas across different strains.

Infused Edibles — Discreet, Portable and Potent

Cannabis edibles have become extremely popular in legal states, offering a discreet and portable way to consume THC. These products come in many forms like gummies, baked goods, chocolates, trail mixes, and beverages. They are made by infusing oils with activated THC/CBD and then mixing it with various food ingredients. Edibles must pass through digestion first, so effects take 30+ minutes to begin and tend to be more intense and longer-lasting due to liver processing. It's important to start with a low 5mg THC dose or less until effects are determined, then gradually increase the dosage - following guidelines to avoid overconsumption.

Topicals — Relaxing and Therapeutic

Cannabis topicals like lotions, balms, salves, and oils provide localized pain relief without causing a mental high. Though some transdermal patches allow absorption into the bloodstream, most topicals interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin providing therapeutic benefits. They can ease muscle aches, arthritis, inflammation, headaches, cramps, and skin conditions like eczema. Topicals used with other cannabis products can further enhance systemic therapeutic effects. For those wanting relief without impairment, infused lotions, creams, or balms allow harnessing cannabis wellness rewards through the skin rather than ingesting or inhaling.

Concentrates — Amplifying the Goodness

Cannabis concentrates refer to extracted products that concentrate the desired compounds from the cannabis plant, like THC, CBD, and terpenes while removing chlorophyll and lipids. Common forms of concentrates are shatters, live resins, diamonds, rosins, and isolates. Solvents often used during extraction can produce over 90% THC concentrate, making them very potent compared to the typical 15-30% THC content of flowers. Instead of smoking, most concentrates get vaporized through “dabbing” - applying them to a heated surface and inhaling the vapor. This allows fast absorption and immediate effects while avoiding combustion by-products. Those new to these highly purified and potent cannabis products need to dose cautiously to avoid overconsumption. But fans enjoy the full flavor profiles and instant impacts available from quality cannabis extracts.

Conclusion

What began thousands of years ago with dried cannabis flowering buds has expanded into a huge, modern industry offering diverse consumption options to suit any lifestyle or wellness need. From the familiar dried flower, to discrete edibles, therapeutic topicals, and super potent concentrates, cannabis products continue to advance as legalization spreads.


Understanding the core characteristics and ideal uses of the major product categories can help match individual consumer needs and tolerances. Those new to the world of cannabis products should educate themselves on each product type and begin slowly and with moderate dosage to ensure the most satisfying and enjoyable experience.

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