Cannabis sold on the legal market by provincially licensed retailers has been produced by federally licensed producers (LP’s). LP’s that have a license to grow legally are required to uphold standards that involve rigorous lab testing of their products at licensed testing facilities and regular inspections of their operations by Health Canada.
Cannabis produced by the black market is not held to any particular standard of quality or safety.
There is really no difference in the selection, potency or quality of cannabis sold to medical patients vs. recreational consumers. Regardless as to whether it is sold through the medical system or by retailers for the recreational market, all legal cannabis products are grown and packaged by the same federally licensed producers in Canada.
The main difference between the two is how it is accessed and purchased.
Medical cannabis can only be accessed online through direct purchase from a licensed producer whom your doctor will most likely have a relationship. Patients will need a prescription.
Recreational cannabis can be purchased directly through storefront cannabis retailers who have been licensed for resale by their respective provincial government.
As a licensed retail cannabis store we are only permitted to sell cannabis products that are in their original packaging and received from the wholesale Liquor and Cannabis Distribution Branch of BC. We cannot open packages and we cannot permit customers to open the packages within our store, even after they have purchased them. You should transport your cannabis purchases home before opening the package in order to ensure you are transporting your cannabis in a legal manner.
Strains are different varieties of cannabis that each come with their own unique array of cannabinoids and terpene profiles. Different strains may result in a different experience depending on a number of factors.
When buying cannabis the two words you will hear the most are Indica and Sativa.
Cannabis is a species of flowering herb that is split into these two main subspecies. Their origins can be traced back to certain geographical regions: Indica is a short, stalky plant that grows better in cooler climates…it originates from the Hindu Kush region of Pakistan. Cannabis Sativa grows much taller and has thinner leaves…this subspecies enjoys warmer climates and originate from equatorial regions of Asia and South & Central America.
Each has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide spectrum of benefits and uses. Most consumers use these simple guidelines to help select which strains they use for which purpose and experience they seek.
- Indica strains are believed to be physically sedating and calming…great for relaxing at home or for use as a sleep aid.
- Sativa strains tend to provide more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects.
Most strains on the market these days are actually a hybrid of the two subspecies. In the world of hybrid strains look for words like “sativa dominant” or indica dominant” to help guide you in the right direction.
Cannabis contains hundreds of natural chemical substances. More than 100 of these are known as cannabinoids and they interact with our body’s own endocannabinoid system. The two most prevalent and widely recognized being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Terpenes are naturally occurring chemicals within many different plants…including cannabis. Terpenes give cannabis its distinctive smell and differing aromas. Terpenes are widely believed to have a multitude of medicinal benefits, however the exact effects of terpenes on their own, and within the cannabis plant are still mostly unknown.
The best mantra for a beginner is “start low and go slow”. The practice of micro-dosing is key to enjoying your experience. In fact many long time cannabis users have adopted micro-dosing as a preferred way to consume cannabis and avoid the dizzying euphoria, and possible anxious feeling that come with higher doses of THC.
Whichever form of consumption you choose, the staff at Happy Isle Cannabis can guide you on how to micro-dose.
There is no steadfast expiration date for cannabis. Like with fine wines or whiskey, it has more to do with how you store it than how long you store it for.
The greatest concern is protecting it from mold and mildew. Cannabis should be stored in a dark, cool, dry place. Use containers that block out the light and moisture. Cannabis likes a relative humidity level of between 59% and 63% RH. There are several products on the market that are designed to help maintain this RH level within your container. Please ask us in store about products that will help prolong the shelf life of your cannabis.
Always ensure your cannabis is stored in a locked child-proof container away from children, teens and pets.
All cannabis products are labeled based on federal guidelines. Each product label will include the name and contact information of the licensed producer and their brands name, as well as packaging date, lot number, weight and Health Canada THC warning symbol.
Usually consumers are most interested in the THC and CBD content, which is also listed by federal law. The higher the THC content the more potent the product will be. An average amount of THC is around 15% with some strains as high as 30% or more. For those seeking a more mild “high” look for THC content below 12%. A strain with more than 4% CBD is generally considered to be a high CBD strain, rarely will you see CBD higher than 10%.
Total cannabinoids in a particular strain can differ slightly from one harvest to the next as well as from different licensed producers. Cannabis is a plant and it is common for some variability to occur with each harvest.
There are products on the market that are designed for pets that contain no THC, only CBD. Some pet owners anecdotally suggest that giving CBD treats to their pet has provided relief of some symptoms that their pet was suffering with. These products are not currently legal and have not been approved for animal consumption by Health Canada or any other governing body.
An animal that consumes raw cannabis in any form can have extremely adverse reactions that can manifest as symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, loss of balance, extreme anxiety, vomiting and unusual behavior.
Giving THC to your pet is cruel and dangerous.
If your pet ingests cannabis accidentally they should immediately be taken to a vet.
You may purchase up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent in oils, capsules, or seeds.
The purchase limit amount is based on the 30 gram possession limit in the Cannabis Act, and is based on dried cannabis. Equivalents were developed for the other cannabis products to identify what their possession and purchase limits would be.
One (1) gram of dried cannabis is equal to:
- 5 grams of fresh cannabis (before drying)
- 15 grams of edible product
- 70 grams of liquid product
- 0.25 grams of concentrate
- 1 cannabis plant seed
**Note – 30 gram possession limits reference “public possession” (ie. Carried on your person while in a public place). The legal possession limit in a private place (ie. your home) is 1000 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent.
It is important to know the laws around cannabis before you purchase and consume any.
- You must be 19 years of age to purchase and use cannabis. It is illegal to purchase cannabis for anyone under the legal age. Minors are not permitted to enter a store that sells cannabis. Two pieces of government issued ID are required to purchase cannabis.
- Cannabis can be smoked or vaped in public but only in the same places where tobacco can be smoked or vaped. It is illegal to consume cannabis in places where children commonly gather such as playgrounds, parks and beaches. Check local smoking bylaws to be sure.
- You may travel within the province of BC with a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent in oils, capsules or seeds (see “How much cannabis can I purchase in one transaction”). It is illegal to transport cannabis over any international border. Cannabis laws are different between each province and territory. Make sure to learn the laws before you travel.
- If you travel with cannabis within your motor vehicle it must be stored in the trunk or in a place that is not accessable by the driver. It is illegal for passengers within a motor vehicle to consumer cannabis while travelling. It is illegal to consume cannabis within a motor vehicle regardless if it is moving or parked.
Although cannabis has been shown to greatly assist medical patients with symptoms related to a wide variety of physical and mental health issues, cannabis use may still poses risks to your health.
The following list details potential health hazards that may be associated to cannabis use.
- Young consumers under the age of 25. Your brain continues to develop until around the age of 25. Emerging evidence suggests that THC in cannabis may affect a developing brain. Initiating cannabis use later in life may help to lower these risks.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding. THC and CBD can be passed to a fetus or newborn through blood or breast milk. Cannabis use during pregnancy has been linked to lower birth weights and developmental effects in newborns.
- If you have children at home. Emerging evidence suggests that minors and pets are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis. Securely store your cannabis in your house. Begin talking to children at an early age about the dangers of cannabis use as a minor. Avoid exposing minors and pets to second hand cannabis smoke.
- If you drink alcohol. Alcohol and cannabis taken together can magnify the effects of intoxication. It is recommended to avoid combining alcohol and cannabis.
- If you drive. The THC in cannabis can affect your reaction time, decision-making skills, and ability to judge distance. Drug-affected driving is illegal in BC. As with alcohol, please plan a safe ride home prior to using cannabis products.
- Continued, frequent use can lead to physical dependency. You may be at a higher risk if you have a family history of mental illness or other types of mental disorders.
Start Low, Go Slow
- Always use cannabis in a safe place with people you trust.
- Use a small amount of low THC product to start, and choose products with higher levels of CBD.
- Remember, what works for others may not work for you. Educating yourself and cautious experimentation will help you find your way.