All posts by bcccs

Public Domain Photo by Maria Boesiger

Finding a Full Night’s Sleep: The Different Ways CBD, THC, and CBN can Help Us

The world of sleep is one that continues to be explored—there is so much yet to learn on topics like how exactly dreams work. But one thing’s for sure: we all need to sleep. The recommended 7-9 hours for an adult help with benefits in energy, recovery, and cognitive performance that are too important to write off in the long term.

Without a regular amount of shuteye, we can start to see ripples in the rest of our lives take effect. However, sleep is still hard to find for many of us. Whether it’s the stresses of the waking world keeping us up or personal symptoms making it hard to stay asleep, the struggle for that consistent 7-9 hours is one of the most common issues our members come to us with. Thankfully, cannabis is proven to be a powerful tool to keep one’s head on the pillow, and we have recommendations for a variety of different approaches to tackling insomnia.

What’s getting in the way of our sleep?

The first question on what to try should be if we know the cause of insomnia. As discussed in our article exploring the benefits of THC, different cannabinoids can be the right fit for different situations. For example, an anxious sleeper or someone experiencing inflammation might benefit from the effects of a CBD oil, while tense muscles or a restless mind would get some help unwinding with a higher THC dose.

There are other, lesser known cannabinoids that can help as well, such as the baker’s best friend of CBN: a close friend to THC that is a go-to sleep aid. Some of our members come to us having been taking a CBD product that hasn’t been working, and are able to find the help they’ve been looking for by introducing some THC or CBN into the mix. The opposite can also be true, so it’s important to discuss one’s symptoms with those well-versed in medical cannabis while trying to find the right fit and proper strains.

Finding the right solution at the perfect dose

Once we have a better idea on the cause of our sleeplessness, we should then ask: what kind of product should I be taking? Are you looking for something to keep you asleep for the whole night, or just a nudge in the right direction? The method in which we consume cannabis has some important effects on how it’s processed through the body. Smoke some dried flower, and the effects will hit like the wind, but with a faster come up. Ingest cannabis orally to experience a longer, often deeper relief that can go up to 8 hours as your body digests the product, just don’t expect to feel much in the first thirty minutes to an hour.

Sublingual ingestion acts as a nice in-between from smoking to ingestion—by sticking a product underneath your tongue, you will start to feel effects as the product absorbs into your blood stream within fifteen to forty five minutes, lasting for a few hours. Several of our extracts, oils, and tinctures can be taken orally or sublingually, making them a flexible product to suit your needs.

Finally, with the above selected, the question of how much product to dose with presents itself. Most of our products come with an average recommendation on the amount to take for the intended effects, but the most consistent thing we learn from our members is that everyone’s body has different needs. Some members require only a few drops of a tincture to start feeling tired, while others may need to double up on a dose to get there. Our blanket recommendation is to start dosing low with a product and to ramp up slowly when trying to find the right fit, aka ‘dose low, go slow’. You’ll have a much smoother experience if you work your way up to your perfect range.

Tackling The Pillows With Some Support

Sleep is a complex issue, with several interlocking barriers getting in the way of having the best relationship with it. As we can see with cannabis, there are also various factors to consider in tackling them. Ultimately, cannabis should be considered a sleep aid—something that can help our mind & body get to a place where it can relax and unwind—and not a catch-all solution to the pervasive issue of insomnia.

Working through some difficult conversations via counseling or complex pain with bodywork may help untangle the knots keeping us awake. There are even herbs besides Cannabis that can help located in our sister apothecary. The BC Compassion Club Society stands for a holistic approach to health, and our Distribution & Wellness Centre staff are here to work through the different ways to get that consistent full night of sleep we all deserve.

Additional References:

Healthline. Sian Ferguson, Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, RN on 4/24/2019. Can You Use Cannabis to Restore Your Natural Sleep Cycle? (2021)

Weedmaps. Reviewed by Dr. Adie Rae, Ph.D on The difference between CBN vs CBD (2021)

Project CBD. (2021)

Continuing Our Work with Quality Cannabis

     The club has recently started testing to be compliant with cannabis regulations. As the club is meeting new federal standards for pesticides, fungicides, and insectides,  we will be requiring our producers meet these standards and test products.  If you see a change in the menu, we’re working towards compliance and hope to have all of your regular products back on the menu shortly.  Please contact: if you have any questions.

Calling on our BCCCS members – We need your help!

    The BC Compassion Club Society is in an exciting phase of its 24-year evolution. We currently have an application with Health Canada for a medical license. This represents an important step to allow us to continue to serve our members in the Dispensary and Wellness Centre.

Being on the Board

We are currently looking for new Board members to help us navigate the path forward. This volunteer role requires participation by Zoom, in monthly Board meetings and in some Committee meetings. The total commitment would be about 6-8 hours per month.
If you have benefited from our cannabis products and/or services in the Wellness Centre, please consider this opportunity to make a difference.

Ideal applicants:
• Must be comfortable using a consensus model when working with staff and other Board members. Training is provided using our BCCCS consensus manual.
• Must be willing to work with a diverse group of Board members and staff. Every voice counts and every voice is heard.
• Must be supportive of research, advocacy, and advancing the role of medicinal cannabis.
• Must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19

      Successful applicants will need a criminal record check and to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Board Directors are asked to serve a two-year term, which can be renewed.

      If you are interested or know another member who might be a fit, please ask the Front Desk staff for an Application Form. If you have questions, you can ask them or send an email to

We look forward to hearing from you!
The BCCCS Team

Notice of 2021 AGM


SUNDAY November 28th, 2021
(email to register)
Vancouver, BC
Coast Salish Territory

Registration: 12:30 am
Meeting: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

• Elect Your Board of Directors
• Hear Reports from the Past Year & Plans for the Future
• Special Gift Basket Raffle Draw
All members are welcome to attend.
Please email or call 604-875-0437 for help registering.
Image of cannabis flower bud, photo by Jeff W at Unsplash

Understanding Terpenes & What They Tell Us

If you’ve sampled your fair share of buds, you’ve likely built up a bit of a nose for the different scents that cannabis can have. While many may complain about the smell, it is one of the most important parts of the plant, the terpene profile. From floral puffs to wafts of sour spice, plenty of information is given to us by the unique nuances of each strain. And it’s worth paying attention to.

What Are Terpenes and Why They Matter?

If we understand what terpenes are and why they are important, we can talk about why we feel drawn to certain aromas and make more discerning decisions about the strains we pick.

First, we need to explain what a terpene is.  They are molecular compounds that are produced in the secreted oils of cannabis, as well as countless other plants. They are found throughout nature, including in trees, fruits, and fungi. They are the source of the signature scents of plants like pine trees, which contain the appropriately named Pinene. What are sold as essential oils are extracts with concentrated amounts of terpenes. Most plants have unique relationships to specific terpenes and will have varying levels of a single terpene.

The cannabis flower has a unique relationship to terpenes. Different variations in these flowers have been found, with a range of terpene profiles. Cultivation factors like parent strains, fertilizer pH, and sun exposure will influence what kind of terpenes can be produced by a cannabis plant. This is one of the leading factors in what differentiates strains classed as cannabinoids and flavonoids. Other naturally occurring molecules that interact with terpenes will affect how a particular ‘high’ will feel.

How Terpenes Affect Your Experience

Cannabinoids are what gives cannabis its signature high, but the interaction of cannabinoids with terpenes will give a specific effect. Something like the citric Limonene will impart an uplifting high with relief for anxiety and depression, while the earthy musk of Myrcene has a euphoric effect that will help you unwind and relax.

Several terpenes can be found in some of the most popular strains. Their unique combination of effects seem to match the needs of those who love them. Cultivators have worked with generations of the plants to carefully create different profiles and to develop new strains.

Because terpenes are found throughout nature and in a variety of foods, you have likely felt their medicinal benefits in one form or another. The nose, often, will know what it is looking for, and you will often find that scents that are pleasing to you contain terpene profiles that could be beneficial for your unique condition or symptom.

This is the main reason why, before COVID, we allowed members to smell dried flower before they purchased.  We will strive to find ways to do this once again when we revert to our pre-COVID business model.

We will explore specific terpenes in future articles, but for now we can begin to pay more attention to scents and notice how different plants make us feel. Everyone’s body reacts differently to each terpene, but there is enough consistency between them that general recommendations can be made. By knowing what a specific strain has been able to do for members of our community, we can make informed decisions and continue the conversation on healing.

Further reading:

Image of the inside of the BC Compassion Club's Wellness Centre Apothecary

The Benefits of BCCCS Membership: Our Wellness Centre Apothecary!

Many people become Compassion Club members because of the quality and affordability of our cannabis products. Some also love our dispensary model and our friendly, knowledgeable staff. But did you know we also offer something unique? It’s something that isn’t found in any other medicinal dispensary in Canada. Find out why our Wellness Centre apothecary is one of the greatest perks of becoming a member. And if you haven’t visited it yet, here’s why you should.

Our Wellness Centre Services

Our Wellness Centre is located right next door to our dispensary, and it’s a lifeline to many. Those who come to us are often low-income and have many debilitating conditions including cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, anxiety, and chronic pain. Often times, they don’t have extended health benefits and cannot afford certain wellness and health services.

That’s where our Wellness Centre fills the gap. There, they offer therapies that can complement medicinal cannabis, or alternative treatments that don’t require cannabis at all; modalities such as acupuncture, counselling, nutrition, herbalists, integrative energy healing, massage, and craniosacral therapy. We also offer one of the most unique features that no other dispensary can offer: our amazing apothecary!

A Dispensary with a Unique Vision

The combination of a dispensary/wellness centre was a vision that began in 1997, with our founders. To this day, the BC Compassion Club is still the only dispensary in Vancouver that offers low cost or free holistic health services to its members.

Through our membership fees and sales of medical cannabis, the Wellness Centre can offer these services to low-income individuals. We offer natural therapies on a sliding scale, thereby subsidizing the cost of sessions up to 82%. In 2018 alone, 2,946 sessions were offered to 293 members at low and subsidized costs. That year, the Wellness Centre also donated over $36,000 worth of herbs and supplements to members in need.  

Largest Apothecary in Western Canada

At the BCCCS, not only do we believe in natural healing, we have a whole room dedicated to plant-based medicines.

Remember the potions room in the Harry Potter films? Even if you don’t, imagine our apothecary is just as magical. Rows of carefully grown organic herbs, flowers, and plants, line shelves as high as the eye can see. The air is filled with the familiar smells of lavender, chamomile, and wild herbs, mingling with some other scents you may not recognize. But the experience of walking inside is amazing, and immediately you are captured by the way your senses come alive.

It may fit in one room, but our wellness centre apothecary is one of the largest in the whole of Canada. Many of our natural plant-based ingredients are grown and wild-harvested by our herbalists. Some are even handpicked on their own farms, as far away as Salt Spring Island and the BC Interior, on the Secwepemc territory. Other ingredients are ethically sourced from small-scale producers.

All our apothecary products, whether they’re handmade formulations or pre-prepared, are certified organic, made in small batches to ensure quality.

We also have teas, tinctures, and essential oils, infused honeys, infused oils, salves, creams, and glycerites. We only source from skilled ethical herbalists and generally give away anywhere from $30,000 -$40,000 in herbal formulas to members in need, each year.

How Can You Access Our Apothecary?

If you’re a member of the BCCCS, you can access our Wellness Centre services. You may be able to visit our apothecary even as a private client. You just won’t be eligible for free or reduced cost supplements or herbal formulas. There may also be waitlists for treatments, as our services are in high demand and members are given priority.

To take advantage of our apothecary you will need to see one of our herbalists. Health Canada still requires an herbalist consultation to access medicines such as tinctures. Right now, we are doing consultations by phone. Once the pandemic is over, we may return to in-person appointments, when it is safe to do so.

After your initial consult, our herbalists will give you recommendations and will suggest herbal medicines, supplements, and customized formulas that will be helpful for your unique symptoms and medical conditions.

Interested in accessing our herbalists? Call the wellness centre at 604.709.0448 to add you name to our waitlist.

Picture of BC Compassion Club members and staff

Making Medicinal Cannabis More Accessible: The BCCCS’ Legalization

This fall, Canada will enter its 3rd year of cannabis legalization. You might have noticed recreational stores popping up everywhere. Yet, according to the StatsCan 2020 Canadian Cannabis Survey, only 41% of respondents report making a purchase from a legal government-approved storefront. Where do the other 59% go? Learn why medicinal cannabis users still prefer storefront medicinal dispensaries like the BCCCS, and what we’re doing to preserve this model of operation, as we move toward legalization… 

The Problem with Obtaining Medicinal Cannabis

On October 17, 2018, cannabis became federally legal for both sale and consumption. Yet, three years in, the medicinal market seems to have been left by the wayside. Even with the currently approved system, many people still find it impossible to obtain reliable and affordable cannabis medicine.

Currently, the only way to access legal medicinal cannabis is through licensed producers (LPs) and their government-approved websites. This still requires you to obtain a letter of approval from a physician or nurse practitioner. Licensed medicinal suppliers will still charge 10%-30% over what would be considered affordable or accessible pricing (average retail price is $10.30/g for dried flower, StatsCan 2020). You also need a credit card or PayPal account to order online and an address where it can be delivered by Canada Post or a similar mail courier.

As many of you know, this method of online access does not work for all medicinal users. BCCCS members are often low-income. Many of our members do not have reliable internet access, do not own credit cards or bank accounts, and some even struggle to find a permanent, fixed address.

The current medicinal system fails to address those barriers to access, and therefore, leaves behind a large segment of the most vulnerable cannabis users. Patients often resort to the black market, which carries many risks, or they use recreational stores that provide little insight into how cannabis should be used for medicinal purposes. 

Why Websites Will Never Replace the In-Store Experience

Even as other options have become readily available, such as obtaining your prescription cannabis from a government-approved pharmacy, many medicinal cannabis users still prefer unregulated dispensaries like the BC Compassion Club. The question is, why?

Some of it may have to do with the lack of cannabis knowledge and expertise on the part of physicians and pharmacists. Because of cannabis’ long-held illegal status, medical practitioners are often woefully undereducated about cannabis consumption and medicinal use. A survey of hospital pharmacists in Canada reported that almost half of respondents did not feel comfortable giving advice to patients on the use of medicinal cannabis.

Add to that, the difficulty of obtaining a physician’s referral and the stigma still attached to cannabis use, and you can see why many patients have resorted to using recreational stores, even though pricing is usually 30 to 50 percent higher than unregulated providers or the black market.

Sadly, using black market cannabis comes with serious risks, such as exposure to tainted products that could be mixed with unknown, harmful substances, potentially harmful side effects because of the unknown origin of the product, and undesirable interactions with existing medications. That’s why unregulated, but legally-abiding dispensaries like the BCCCS, are seeking to legalize, to remove the need for black market purchases, while keeping pricing and cannabis quality consistent and reasonable, within the storefront model that our members have come to know and love.

In fact, research proves that brick and mortar stores are still preferred by most medicinal cannabis users. Patients with complex medical issues require staff with strong product knowledge, who can offer in-person consultations, and give recommendations on various cannabis products. Studies show, cannabis users prefer cannabis suppliers with strong product knowledge (71%), followed by a welcoming feeling (52%), products offered at reasonable prices (75%), and for respondents aged 55+, overall product quality (62%) (Deloitte , 2018).

Medicinal users need a physical storefront where patients can seek advice on strains, dosages and safe methods of consumption.

Our Appeal to Health Canada

As part of our mission to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality medicinal cannabis, we are asking Health Canada to approve a third option for medicinal users – to legalize, or at least provide exemptions, that would allow us to continue operating our storefront dispensary as we move toward compliance with cannabis regulations. We look to legalization to ensure that our services and products are reliable, and available, without the fear of closure or police interference.

An established cannabis provider like the BCCCS could become the new model for compassionate cannabis care, where we can offer product sales, cannabis education, one-on-one consultation, and advocacy on the patient’s behalf, and we are currently working with Health Canada to make that a reality.

This will involve renovations to our retail space, proper COVID-19 protocols and procedures (which we already have in place), city licensing permits, new product packaging that complies with legal standards, and we are also looking into purchasing the building that holds our current dispensary location, so that we can continue the good work that we have already achieved and serve our community members for years to come. 


Right now, there are few organizations that cater solely to the medicinal cannabis market. Our aim is to obtain our Health Canada licensing using the same patient-focused, non-profit dispensary model that allows us to serve those who cannot currently access the legal cannabis system. And though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a slowdown of this process, we are moving toward legalization, and with some patience, we will get there. As always, we thank you all for your continued support!

Want to find out how you can help? A little goes a long way… Help support our advocacy, club activities and member services. Check out our donation section on our website.

Or contact us for more information at 604.875.0437 or at



Photo of kitten and dog on grass

CBD Oil and Pets: What You Need To Know Before Buying

Pets are an important part of our lives, and some of the closest friends we have. It’s difficult to see them in pain or distressed, and hard to know what to do when they are. While CBD oil is a popular product for people experiencing inflammation, nerve pain or anxiety, you may also wonder, can it work the same way for my cat or dog? Here is some information that can help you make a safe and healthy decision when it comes to selecting, buying, and using CBD oil for pets.

Is there anything CBD cant do? Its broad range of symptom relief and relative lucidity makes it a go to for members at the BCCCS. Turns out that pets love CBD as well! Just like humans, most animals have an inner endocannabinoid system that reacts to the intake of cannabis, which explains why CBD can give the same symptom relief as it does in humans.

However, there are several cannabis products that should not be considered viable for pets, and many of the pet CBD oils you see on the market are, in fact, not strong enough to provide much relief. So, before you go out and buy, it’s important to understand how CBD affects your pet, as well as other cannabinoids like THC.

The Potential Benefits of CBD for Pets

Giving medication to pets can be complicated. Pets trust us with their safety, but they cannot tell us, nor can we understand, exactly what they’re going through. We’re often making the decision for them when we give them something new, like medications. Because of this, it’s important to know that what we’re giving them is effective, safe, and has as few side effects as possible.

CBD is a fantastic fit for all three of those requirements. It’s a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is cultivated from cannabis, and it helps with symptoms like chronic pain and IBS, and can provide life changing pain and symptom relief. When taken with a small amount of THC, ideally THC-A, the positive effects of CBD oils are even more noticeable.

But be cautious. High levels of THC can be toxic to your pet. Look for a high CBD product with minimal amounts of THC-A. Our 20:1 CBD to THC-A MCT Coconut Oil is a perfect example of what to look for. It won’t make your pet sick or high and it’s the main product we recommend when asked about CBD for pets, though MCT oil has been known to cause digestive upset in some animals.

Be cautious when using any CBD product and always take into consideration your pet’s general health and any special health concerns before administering any CBD oils.

CBD Dosages for Cats and Dogs

When it comes to CBD oil for pets, follow the recommendations given by your veterinarian, and follow the instructions on the bottle or those given to you by your trusted cannabis supplier. Our table below gives you some general dosage guidelines for medium-sized pets of the mammal variety, primarily cats and dogs. Smaller mammals like rats, gerbils or ferrets, or non-mammals like reptiles or birds, will have different needs around dosing. Ask your vet for details.

CBD Oil for Pets: Dosage Guidelines 

Based on our 20:1 CBD: THC-A MCT oil (contains 0.5mg of CBD per drop)

A table for dosing CBD for cats and dogs

As for how often you should give CBD to your pet, there isn’t much research yet on the exact effects of CBD oil on pets, so it’s difficult to give hard and fast guidelines. A 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis showed the most effective dose for increasing mobility and easing discomfort was 2 mg per kg of weight.

Many vet blogs recommend dosing at least twice a day to see measurable results. However, it really depends on the animal in question, their health, weight, age, and any current medical conditions. It’s crucial to start with a small dose. Then monitor your pet’s reactions, positive or negative, and adjust from there.

For separation anxiety and fear issues, we usually recommend giving the medicine 30 minutes prior to onset of anticipated behaviour. As for how long it will last? This Healthline article on CBD for dogs gives some good suggestion about how to tell if your pet’s dosage is adequate, and how to tell if they’re benefitting from the medicine.

You also need to be familiar with your pet’s normal behaviours and patterns. Know how to recognize when something is off. When your pet is taking CBD oil, watch for sudden changes in mood, physical activity and digestion. That doesn’t mean these changes are necessarily bad. They should be noted and considered, and as always, you can learn much about the health of your pet based on their bowel movements.

If any of these changes concern you, stop CBD oil treatment immediately and consult your veterinarian. Take note, a calming effect is sometimes experienced by your pet, but should not be mistaken for lethargy. CBD is also not a miracle cure. It will not aid all symptoms, and it may never get your pet to where they were before, though pain relief can make it easier for pets to move.

What to Look Out for

While CBD has caught on as an effective pet aid, there are a wide range of CBDs on the market. We recommend avoiding the following:

  • Hemp derived extracts – not as effective as cannabis derived products
  • Products that haven’t been properly tested for safety and cannabinoid count
  • CBD products that sell themselves as 100% cure-alls
  • High THC products! Make sure CBD oils contain a minimal amount of THC

Don’t trust the packaging. Anyone can print a label and slap it on a product. It’s important to work with a trusted and consistent cannabis supplier. Learn what has worked for others in your community and develop an active understanding of where to look for reliable products. 


Just like humans, pets can receive all kinds of benefits from CBD oil, yet CBD may or may not be a good fit for your specific pet. Any cannabis use requires the same considerations as any other medication. Be mindful of what to expect and search for a product that is safe and effective for use in pets.

If you have any further questions about CBD, pets, or general information around medical cannabis, please feel free to reach out to us by email at: or by phone 604-875-0437.

** Please note: The information in this article should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a medical professional or veterinarian. If you are considering CBD oil for your pet(s) please ask your vet about potential side effects. Many vets may not feel comfortable giving advice on cannabis. In that case, you may want to consult these helpful articles about CBD oil for dogs and CBD oil for cats.




Explaining the Cannabis “High”: THC’s Psychoactive Effects

Do you like the benefits of cannabis, but are hesitant to try anything that could get you too high? Maybe you stick primarily to CBD medicines, and steer away from anything that contains too much THC, because you want to avoid anything that could alter your mental state? There’s a lot that’s misunderstood about THC and its psychoactive effects. So, let’s begin by explaining the cannabis high, and whether it’s helpful in ways you might not have considered… 

The Buzz Behind the Buzz

Some people love the euphoric “high” that comes from cannabis. But for a first-time medicinal user this can be a frightening proposition. Will you be in a dream-like state or unable to function? Will there be any negative side effects?

The fear of a “bad trip” is completely understandable, especially when cannabis is new to you and you’re not yet familiar with all the strains and how they affect your body. What you may have heard is that CBD or cannabidiol – one of the main active ingredients of cannabis – has, by itself, very few psychoactive effects. In fact, it can even suppress the effects of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the compound mostly responsible for the mood and mind-altering effects associated with cannabis.

Yet, people react very differently to different levels of THC. Some people have enjoyable experiences, while others do not. And though these mechanisms aren’t completely understood, researchers have uncovered some of the science behind why we get high. Understanding this experience may help you better understand your choices around THC vs. CBD.

Explaining the Cannabis High

You might be asking, why do people want to get high in the first place?

THC can have pleasant side effects, such as feeling relaxed, more sensitive to sight, touch, taste and sound, feeling euphoric and creative. On the flip side, there can be negative side effects, which include feeling confused, anxious, paranoid, having a rapid pulse or racing heartbeat, or even in extreme cases, delusional thoughts. The more cannabis you take and the higher the THC content, the more intense the “high” can be, for better or worse.

The way your body processes THC will also affect your experience. In a recent review published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Catherine J. Lucas, 2018), Dr. Catherine Lucas explains what happens when THC is processed by the body through either smoking or vaporizing, two of the most common delivery methods. There are 4 steps:

Absorption: Happens right after use. Within minutes, THC concentration in the blood is around 10-30%.

Distribution: THC flows to major organs, including the brain. This is when you will feel the highest.

Metabolism: Leftover THC is metabolized in the liver, where it is destroyed by enzymes.

Elimination: THC levels have now tapered off and left the bloodstream via your urine. This can take anywhere from 6 minutes to 22 hours, depending on how the cannabis is administered i.e. edibles vs. smoking, with edibles generally taking longer to fully leave the blood stream.

The “Blissful” Effect:

How the Brain Processes THC

So, where does the high come from? In every human body are receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps regulate everything in our bodies, from memory, to sleep, to pain and the immune system. The ECS is also responsible for controlling certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which can affect how neurons communicate and therefore how the brain functions.

When THC molecules pass through the blood-brain barrier, they fit into specific ECS receptors throughout the brain and body. Once they fit into these receptors, they will activate and excite them, leading to disruptions in the way neurons communicate, which can lead to the spacey, intoxicated sensation that some people associate with a high. This can also cause a sudden flight of ideas that make everything ordinary seem fascinating and exciting!

Main ECS receptors like the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) can also affect things like sensory perceptions, motor skills, emotional responses, or behaviours. While the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) affects things like immune function.

It was first believed that THCs high came from activating these CB1 receptors and the resulting flood of ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which affect the pleasure and reward centres in the brain. However, research in the 1990s uncovered that cannabinoids mimicked a neurotransmitter called anandamide that is naturally found in the brain. Anandamide creates a heightened sense of happiness and joy; so much so, that they named it the “bliss molecule”, and THC just happens to simulate this blissful effect!

How About Using THC for Mental Health?

While research is still unclear about whether THC is helpful in the treatment of mental health disorders, some studies have looked at cannabis use for the management of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, generalized anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults, and have found cannabis to have some beneficial effects (Sarris, 2020).

For many who swear by THC, it’s an experience that can heighten creativity, stimulate the appetite, reduce the perception of pain and stress in parts of the body like muscles, and can lessen anxiety (social or otherwise), while leading to increased calm.

This doesn’t mean everyone should consider cannabis as a treatment for mental health conditions. If you or your family has a history of severe mental illness, it’s important to be cautious, as you may be more prone to some of THCs negative side effects. 

Should You Try a Little THC?

The good news is that most people who experience a cannabis high will see its effects taper off after a few hours. And there are safe ways to explore THC medicines. When trying THC for the first time, dosing low is always a good idea, to see how your body will react. Also, consider cannabis products that feature a larger ratio of CBD to THC (like our 20:1 tinctures) so that psychoactive effects are lessened.

To learn more about how THC affects the mind and body, ask our dispensary staff. Call us at (604) 875-0437 or email us at for general info.

There are also some great additional resources at and a fun explainer video on YouTube that can give you more details. See:


Additional References:

Catherine J. Lucas, MD, Peter Galettis, Jennifer Schneider. The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, July 12 (2018). Online publication: British Pharmacological Society Journals;

Christopher G. Fichtner, MD, Howard B. Moss, MD. Medical Marijuana and Mental Health: Cannabis Use in Psychiatric Practice.

Sarris, J., Sinclair, J., Karamacoska, D. et al. Medicinal cannabis for psychiatric disorders: a clinically-focused systematic review. BMC Psychiatry 20, 24 (2020).

Sara Zaske. Can marijuana ease mental health conditions. Vol 49, No. 11, page 22 (2021).

Weedmaps. Reviewed by Dr. Adie Rae, Ph.D on 8/4/20. Why THC gets you high and CBD doesn’t. (2021)

Grant Currin. How does cannabis get you high? Live Science; September 10, 2020. (2021)

Amy Loriaux. Meet Anandamide – The “Bliss” Molecule, NOV 01, 2018. (2021)