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Despite the growing legalization of marijuana use statewide, the federal government still classifies it as a schedule I drug alongside LSD and heroin.

Andrés Machado, who worked at “Eaze,” a marijuana delivery service for two years, finds this classification problematic.

“It’s super misleading to see it as destructive as heroin,” Machado says..

This classification makes it difficult for physicians and scientists to have access to marijuana for research studies that could potentially lead to alternative remedies for many ailments.

Dr. Robert Kersey, professor emeritus of athletic training at CSUF, identifies the risk of using products that are not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

“As it typically derives from a plant source, the cannabinoid content from any given sample can vary greatly,” Kersey says. “This is a pharmaceutical disadvantage.”

Without knowing much about the substance, it’s easy to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation when exploring marijuana.

“The first time I ever smoked weed, I remember getting really paranoid,” Machado says.

For those new to the game, Tusk lays out the basics of marijuana consumption to make it easier for you to get the high you want while identifying the potential risks and benefits of each method.

The Basics

THC refers to the psychoactive compound found in weed that is the source of a mental high. CBD is the more minor compound in cannabis that elicits health benefits like anti-inflammation.

Although there are a slew of strains out there, when it comes down to it, there are two types: sativa or indica. While both can treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and nausea, there are distinct differences in highs between the two.

Sativas give users the giggle fits. These strains increase focus and creativity–making it perfect for daytime use. Products with sativa have lower CBD and higher THC content. But beware of high THC if you are a new user, cause it can lead to feelings of anxiety or paranoia.

“I’ve smoked sativas that make me feel like I can’t be in a certain situation or around certain people,” Machado says.

Indicas are more often used at night. They help users relax by lulling them into a deep sleep. Machado warns, “Remember, indica equals in-da-couch.” He’s referring to “couch-lock,” a phenomenon where you don’t want to move. Indica strains have higher CBD and lower THC content.

Hybrids are a cross-pollination of indica and sativa strains that provide a mix of both types of highs. Hybrids can be indica or sativa dominant or an even 50/50 balance.

Consumption Methods


Smoking flower is what most are familiar with. Flowers are buds cut from the cannabis plant and cured (dried) for smoking. If you are a new user, smoking flower should be your first introduction to marijuana.

Joshua De Boer / Tusk Magazine


Extracts come in a variety of forms, such as shatter, wax, and oil. The most common method of smoking extract is through a vape pen.

For vape pens, you need to buy a battery and oil cartridges. Cartridges are replaceable and come in a variety of flavors like strawnana, so you can vape discreetly and tell your roommates that you’re just lighting a candle, not lighting up.


Although edibles are better for your lungs, there’s a potential for issues with dosage. The problem with edibles is you never really know when or how hard the high is going to hit, or even how long it will last.


Topicals are great for bodily pain and inflammation. You can buy one-use patches that target problem areas, bath bombs to soak in, or pain-relief creams similar to rubs such as icy-hot.

Whether you choose to explore marijuana use or not, being comfortable with your environment is the most important thing. Marijuana is still a mind-altering substance, so remember to use it in moderation.