Ultimate Guide to Cannabis


(Individual results may vary)

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,” consume cannabis safely and avoid over-consumption. 

Each product is clearly labeled with its THC and CBD content in milligrams, both per package and per serving.


(Individual results may vary)

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), potency (THC/CBD content), and terpene profiles 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.

When you visit the dispensary and have decided what you’d like to buy, say something like, “I’ll take an eighth of Red Congolese.” That’s it! Easy, right?


(Individual results may vary)

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.

Vape Pens

(Individual results may vary)

Vape pens are a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis. They gently heat cannabis extracts, such as rosin or live resin, 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.


(Individual results may vary)

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 powerful anti-inflammatory. The only topical that provides psychoactive effect is the transdermal patch, and then only if it contains THC.

Tinctures & Sublinguals

(Individual results may vary)

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. Brands such as Mary’s Medicinals formulate tinctures and sublinguals with optimal bioavailability in mind.

Concentrates & Extracts


(Individual results may vary)

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 Harborside 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 Harborside Cannabis Consultant if a concentrate or extract is right for you.

Growing Your Own

Cannabis Leaf

If you’ve got an interest in cannabis cultivation (and a green thumb), Harborside offers a large selection of clones (immature plants) for purchase, sourced from Northern California’s most respected nurseries.

A cannabis clone is exactly what it sounds like—a cutting from the parent plant that has genetic information that is identical to that parent. That means you’ll already know the gender, strain and what to expect with regards to potency, yield and other genetic information.

Our team offers advice on growing cannabis, including how to grow cannabis indoors and how to grow cannabis outdoors

The Language of Cannabis

The different varietals of cannabis flowers are called strains. Each strain has a unique flavor and combination of active ingredients, and provides a subtly different effect. There are thousands of different cannabis strains out there and most of them have names that were coined by the growers who brought us the specific genetics from that plant. Some popular examples include Blue Dream, Sour Diesel and OG Kush.

Some products are always strain-based, such as flower and concentrates, while others are based on Indica/Sativa, and still others (mostly edibles) generally do not indicate a strain or plant type.

Cannabis has evolved differently around the planet, and different strains are classified according to their area of origin. Sativa strains come from closer to the equator, grow narrow leaves and are believed to have more energetic effects. Indica strains come from more northern latitudes, have wider leaves and are believed to have more relaxing effects. Hybrid strains are crosses of Indica and Sativa strains, and offer more balanced effects.

Indica strains can be a good choice to relieve the stress of a long day, encourage a relaxing evening and promote a restful night.
Watch a movie, savor a munchie and have a giggle on the couch.

Sativa strains can be good daytime choices to enhance more active, creative and social pursuits. Prized by artists, athletes, dancers
and party-goers.

While these generalizations can be a good rule-of-thumb, plant genetics have been bred, mixed and crossed so much over the last century that the effect of an Indica or Sativa can no longer be predicted with 100% precision

The cannabis plant can contain up to 150 active ingredients, known as cannabinoids. THC and CBD are the most commonly known, and all Harborside products are tested and labeled with their content. These test results indicate the strength and nature of the likely effect. THC-rich strains are the most euphoric. CBD-rich strains are more restorative, with less euphoria or none at all. Many consumers prefer the balanced effect of a 1:1 ratio—equal parts THC and CBD.

The human neurotransmitter system that manages plant-derived cannabinoids is known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is present in almost every part of our brain and body, and maintains homeostasis—our state of natural balance. It internally produces endocannabinoids which are similar to compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Each person’s endocannabinoid system varies slightly, which is one reason the same cannabis product can produce different effects in different people. We recommend you start with small doses of lower potency products, and gradually increase dosage as you see how your mind and body react.

Terpenes are oils secreted by the cannabis plant, and give each cannabis strain a unique smell and taste.

Many of the names of different strains (like Lemon, Blueberry, Sour Diesel or Skunk) are reflective of that strain’s terpene content. Terpenes are not unique to cannabis and are present in many types of plants, especially herbs and fruits. Their importance goes beyond smell and taste; It is believed that the presence of terpenes also enhances the strain’s effects.

The science behind terpenes is still relatively new. Every day we are learning more about how THC, CBD and terpenes work together to create different experiences. This is known as the Entourage Effect or the Whole Plant Effect.

Humans, like all vertebrates, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Discovered in 1979, the ECS is a biological system that directly connects our body and mind and is key to understanding how a state of mind can directly promote health or illness.

Although cannabis is now legal in California, it is not legal to consume in public places or to drive while under the influence. You should consume in a private location, such as your home, or a friend’s home.

A dose is equivalent to a serving size. California defines a dose of cannabis edibles as a maximum of 10mg of THC. Microdosing is the practice of consuming very small doses that are barely perceptible by the user. Be sure to ask a Harborside Cannabis Consultant what dosage is right for you based on your tolerance and experience.

Accessories & More

Harborside offers many different accessories, including vaporizer batteries and rolling papers. If you have questions about how an
accessory works, we have answers.

For over a decade, Harborside has been a leader in developing quality and safety standards for cannabis products.

Any and all products for sale at Harborside have undergone rigorous lab testing to ensure that they are free of dangerous or undesirable
materials, like pesticides, molds and fungus. In additional, products are also tested for potency and terpene content. Potency is reflected in percentage of THC and CBD.

It is very important that you store your cannabis product in a safe, secure location away from children and pets.

To maintain freshness, flower is best stored in glass containers placed in a cool, dry location (about 60% humidity). When you purchase
cannabis products at Harborside, it will be given to you in a child-resistant “exit” bag.

This is a big question, and there isn’t one answer.

Where you begin your cannabis journey depends a lot on your past experience and what you are comfortable with. Flower, pre-rolls and vape pens are good starting points, although some people are not comfortable with the idea of smoking or vaping.

Edibles are another great place for first-timers. We recommend starting with a small (microdose) amount, like 2–5mg and then moving up from there to achieve your desired effect.

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