This is a collection of 8,000 heirloom Nepalese Highland Sativa seeds and small containers of several other seed groups that are sold by Centennial Seeds. (Cyrus McCrimmon, Denver Post file)

Ask The Cannabist: sativa vs. indica, mailing CBD, THC beer

Welcome to our new Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 64-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, e-mail your question to Ask The Cannabist at

Hey, Cannabist!
I’m 64 with a “square” background and new to using cannabis. I actually have a legitimate medical use for it, but find I enjoy the high for its own sake. :))) I am a little confused about indica vs. sativa, as opposed to high-THC/low-CBD vs. low-THC/high-CBD. I initially thought the sativa strains were high-THC/low-CBD, with the reverse applying to indica. That, apparently, is pretty simplistic. I’ve done some online research, found conflicting answers, and would like to hear your thoughts on the subject. –Old Guy In Stanton

Hey, Old Guy!
Who knew cannabis could be so complicated? Sativas and indicas are the main types of cannabis plants. According to Nicole Smith, president of Mary’s Medicinals, a state-licensed marijuana infused product (MIP) company, sativas provide a more cerebral, uplifting and euphoric effect. Indica strains have associated feelings of deep relaxation, appetite stimulation and a heavy feeling in the body.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are types of cannabinoids, the active chemical compounds in cannabis. According to Denver-based physician Dr. Alan Shackelford, medical researchers have found 108 different known physiologically active compounds in botanical cannabis. That means THC and CBD aren’t the only cannabinoids. Smith points out that in addition to THC and CBD, the most studied cannabinoids are CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), CBL (cannabicyclol), CBV (cannabivarin) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin).

Whether the strain is sativa or indica (or a hybrid of the two), most cannabis has been bred for high ratios of THC. With recent increased interest in high-CBD cannabis, the medical marijuana market is adapting, and more plants are being bred for a  higher ratio of CBD.  XO

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Hey, Cannabist!
I have a friend in Texas who has Crohn’s disease. She is fifty years old and in pain most of the time. I think high-CBD cannabis would help her. Can high-CBD cannabis products be mailed to Texas? — San Antonio Rose on Ruby Hill

Hey, San Antonio Rose!
I can see why you would want to help your friend in need, it’s hard when loved ones are in pain and struggling. But, the short answer is no, high-CBD products cannot be legally mailed to Texas.

Because awareness and demand for high-CBD cannabis is fairly new, this is a gray area in federal statute law. Even though high-CBD cannabis is not psychoactive and doesn’t affect the body the same way as high-THC varieties, it is still considered cannabis, which, for your question, is federally illegal to mail anywhere.

Attorney Lauren Davis, sheds some light on the matter. Davis says CBD and other organic cannabinoids likely fall under the federal classification of a Schedule I Controlled Substance because cannabinoids act upon the same receptor system, they are “structurally or pharmacologically substantially similar to” a Schedule I Substance.
Also, in the definition of Schedule I Substances, a specific substance need not be explicitly named among the list of Scheduled Substances to be included in Schedule I.   XO

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Hey, Cannabist!
Do you think the Feds will ever legalize the commercial sale of pot beer, with THC, not just hemp? I know homebrewers like myself have done it. It’s really good! What legal hoops need to be jumped through? –Chickenlooper

Hey, Chickenlooper!
The biggest law needing to change would be removing marijuana from the Federal Schedule of Controlled Substances. Other statutes, both federal and state, cite the Federal Schedule, so change at this level is just the first legal hoop to jump through for your commercial THC beer dreams to come true. Note: alcohol and tobacco are not on the Federal Schedule and are regulated separately.

Your question about Feds and hemp and beer reminded me of a funny incident in history.Thanks to my bud, Don Wirtshafter, founder of Ohio Hempery, supplier of the hemp seeds, for sharing the details with me!  Hempen Ale, was a 1997 Great American Brew Festival bronze-medal winning beer brewed by Maryland-based Frederick Brewing Company.

In 1999, during President Bill Clinton’s term, someone thought it would be funny to bring Hempen Ale onto Air Force One. No, President Clinton did not inhale a Hempen Ale, the beer was only served to reporters. The close encounter caused a stink, and the New Jersey import company who was sourcing and processing the hemp seed soon received a visit from the DEA.  Yikes! XO