A Beginner’s Guide To Modern Cannabis

Recreational vs. Medical


Since January 1, 2018, any adult in the state of California over the age of 21 years old can buy cannabis without medical notification. Simply put, recreational cannabis products are now available for purchase in California for patients with state-sanctioned proof of age identification.

For people interested in trying cannabis for the first time, whether for improved wellness, reduction in pain or anxiety, or simply to enjoy the experience, Silver Lake CG budtenders are available to help you find the right products and accessories for you. Whether you call it weed, pot, marijuana or something else, we have something for any cannabis consumer.

It’s important to note that while cannabis is now legal in California, you may not consume cannabis in public places or to drive under the influence — you should always play it safe and consume in a private location.


Medical patients will continue to operate under previously established state guidelines concerning the use of Medical Marijuana Identification Cards (MMIC) and requirements regarding age minimum, daily consumption, and state sales and use tax exemption.

From Medical Marijuana.com :

To Qualify for a medical card in California, you must :

  • have a valid California ID or a valid out-of-state ID or passport with proof of residency such as a lease agreement, utility bill, etc.
  • be 18 years of age or accompanied by a parent or guardian (unless you are lawfully emancipated, have declared self-sufficient minor status, or are a minor capable of medical consent)
  • obtain a medical marijuana recommendation from a state licensed physician stating that you have a serious medical condition

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Product Types


Flower is the trimmed and cured bud of a female cannabis plant. As with wine grapes, there are different varietals of cannabis flowers, which we call strains. Each strain has a unique flavor and combination of active ingredients, and provides a subtly different effect. Exploring different strains is one of the real joys of cannabis consumption.

Most people look at the strain name, plant type (indica/sativa) and potency (THC/CBD content) when buying flower. Flower is sold by strain and weight. Under current California state law, individuals can legally buy one ounce of flower per day.

  • Flower can be smoked through a pipe, bong, or joint. It can also be vaporized through a variety of accessories.
  • You can purchase flower by weight—gram, eighth or ounce—and strain. (An eighth = 3.5 grams; an ounce = 28.5 grams.)
  • Under current California state law, adult-use customers can legally buy up to one ounce of flower per day

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Edibles are food and beverages infused with cannabis, and can also take the form of capsules. They provide a healthy and discreet way to consume cannabis, but have a longer and more intense effect than inhaled cannabis. Edibles should be used with caution: “start low and go slow,” and avoid over-consumption.

  • Each product is clearly labeled with its THC and CBD content in milligrams, both per package and per serving.
  • Read labels and dose carefully. New consumers should start with 2-5mg of THC. Wait two hours to assess the full effect before taking more.
  • Edibles can take from 30-120 minutes to take effect, and the effect can last 4-12 hours. An empty stomach decreases time to onset and increases intensity.

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Pre-rolls are joints filled with cannabis flower. They are also sometimes enhanced with cannabis concentrates. Pre-rolls provide the most traditional way to enjoy cannabis, without the messy rolling.

  • Pre-rolls typically come in one-gram or half-gram sizes, are sold individually and in multi-packs, and feature different strains and blends.
  • Price varies by the size and number of pre-rolls, and the quality of the cannabis inside them.
  • Check the package information for THC and CBD content, which varies among different brands and strains.

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Cannabis concentrates are several times stronger than cannabis flowers. They are made by separating the tiny crystals that sit on the surface of the plant—trichomes— from the underlying, inert vegetable material. Most concentrates are made with solvents like butane, but some are made simply with heat, pressure and water. Concentrates can be found in many different forms including shatter, wax, rosin and sauce. All concentrates at Silver Lake Caregivers  have been rigorously tested to ensure they are free of any residual solvents.

Cannabis concentrates are usually consumed through a portable device or stationary rig (or “dab rig”) that vaporizes the concentrate at very high temperatures. Concentrates can also be mixed with flower to supercharge a bowl or pre-roll. Ask your Silver Lake Caregivers Cannabis Consultant if a concentrate or extract is right for you.

  • Due to their high potency, concentrates are often reserved for a more experienced cannabis consumer.
  • By current California state law, adult-use customers are allowed to buy up to 8 grams of concentrates per day.

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Vape Pens

Vape pens are a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis. They gently heat cannabis extracts to the point of vaporization, without combusting. The effect onset is immediate and gradually trails off over two to three hours—a shorter duration than pre-rolls and flower and without the smoke, ash or strong odor. Some vape pens are pre-charged and disposable; others offer rechargeable batteries and interchangeable cartridges.

  • Vape pens and cartridges are sold by strain, extract type, plant category and potency. Some brands claim specific effects but these claims are not evidence based.
  • THC and CBD levels are listed on the package, usually in percentages or ratios.
  • Vape pens are an easy way to control your cannabis intake, particularly if you’re interested in microdosing. In fact, some vape pens come with a built-in indicator to help ensure a reliable dose with each use.

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Topicals are cannabis products that are applied directly to the skin, including balms, creams, salves, lubricants and transdermal patches. They soothe both the skin and muscles, and come in a variety of textures and aromas. They are usually rich in CBD, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The only topical that provides psychoactive effect is the transdermal patch, and then only if it contains THC.

  • Topical products are not intended to produce the psychoactive effect usually associated with more typical ways of consuming cannabis.
  • THC and CBD amounts are usually indicated in a ratio on topical products.
  • Some topicals are formulated to create a hot or cold sensation when applied to the skin.

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Tinctures are made by infusing cannabinoids into alcohol, coconut oil or vinegar. They are a low-cost, discreet and flexible way to ingest cannabis. Dropped under the tongue, their effect is similar to inhaled cannabis, with almost immediate onset. When swallowed with a beverage, the effect is similar to edibles: onset takes up to one hour, and effect can last six hours or longer.
Sublinguals are dissolved on, or under, the tongue. Many of these products have a high ratio of CBD and have been reported to assist with anxiety and help control seizures in children. Many tinctures do contain THC, so it is important to read the label for THC/CBD amount and recommended consumption instructions. Ask a Silver Lake Caregivers Cannabis Consultant for more information.

  • Many tinctures are CBD-rich, but some contain THC. Read the label carefully and follow consumption instructions. Remember to go low and slow at first.
  • Taken sublingually, tinctures are a great alternative to inhaled cannabis. They have almost the same effect profile, without the wear and tear on your lungs.
  • Tinctures are discreet. Nobody needs to know what’s in the little bottle—unless you tell them.

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Cannabis Terms

THC is one of the most commonly known cannabinoids, which are the active ingredients within the cannabis plant. THC-rich strains are euphoric, to varying degrees.

CBD is the other most commonly known cannabinoid and is less euphoric than THC, if at all. CBD delivers various restorative qualities, including inflammation relief.

Strains refer to the thousands of different varietals of cannabis flower, each with a unique flavor and different effect(s) based on their active ingredients.

Sativa refers to cannabis flower strains from closer to the equator and are believed to have more “energetic” effects.

Indica refers to strains cultivated from more northern latitudes and are believed to have more “relaxing” effects.

Hybrid refers to Sativa and Indica strains that have been cross-cultivated to produce cannabinoids with more balanced effects.

Terpenes are the oils secreted by cannabis plants that give each strain a unique smell and taste and may also enhance effects.

Dosing refers to the consumption of small doses of cannabis edibles, making it convenient and manageable per individual preference. In California, the “maximum” dose is 10mg of THC.

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