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Exploring cannabis,

So you want to know more about cannabis…

Here’s a starter guide for those looking for basic information about the plant and its effects. Check back for updates as we detail cannabis’ history, feature small farmers from Northern California and more. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions if you’re new to cannabis, or using cannabis again for the first time in a while.


Ensure the vibe is right – find a comfortable setting with folks you trust so you are in the right frame of mind to explore new products

Start low and go slow – the old adage of “you can always take more but you can’t take less” is a classic for a reason

Have fun – cannabis is a tool to enhance your wellbeing, so enjoy the journey

What Is THC?


THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a natural compound best known for the intoxicating effect it produces when consumed. THC is also one of the cannabinoids responsible for inducing appetite, reducing nausea and causing you to feel that blissful state of happiness.

Can help with
  1. Stress
  2. Insomnia
  3. Energy levels
  4. Focus

What is CBD?


CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-intoxicating compound in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid has become incredibly popular in today’s culture and for good reason. Mostly based on anecdotal experiences, CBD has earned a reputation for helping with depression, anxiety and inflammation.

Can help with
  1. Migraines
  2. Inflammation
  3. Pain
  4. Anxiety


Hemp derived CBD
What you'll find on Amazon or a local store
Cannabis derived CBD
Sold only where medical and adult use cannabis is legal – unlike hemp derived CBD, cannabis derived CBD undergoes rigorous state-mandated testing

Indica, Sativa and Hybrid -
What does it all mean?

Most cannabis consumers relate the terms “indica”, “sativa” and “hybrid” with the plant’s effect. 

Typically, Indica strains are considered to be sedating and good for relaxation. Think netflix, sinking into the couch, or getting some deep zzz’s. Some people prefer Indicas at the end of the day to help them mellow out. Sativas are believed to have more energetic and uplifting effects good for social settings, creativity and physical activities. They say Sativa’s are more of a cerebral high, whereas Indicas are more of a body high. And, as you may have guessed, Hybrids are considered to fall in the middle and offer a good balance between the effects of Indicas and Sativas.

Now, here’s where it gets a little tricky. While most consumers tend to shop and differentiate effects based on Indica, Sativa or Hybrid, these classifications don’t truly indicate the flower’s potential effects. These terms actually give us a glimpse into the physical characteristics of the individual plant. As an example, strains classified as Indica don’t inherently mean that they will be sedative as everybody experiences cannabis differently. But it does mean that the plant was short and stout during cultivation. Sativas are tall and skinny plants, and hybrids fall somewhere in between. 

Instead, terpenes (which we cover below) are a better way to gauge the plant’s effects. It’s important to remember that cannabis strains and their effects are unique to each person. What works for your friend may not work for you, so take time to learn what works best for your body. 


Sativas are typically known for uplifting and euphoric effects, so you’ll often find people recommend Sativas for daytime use.

Popular Sativas
  1. Durban Poison
  2. Sour Diesel
  3. Acapulco Gold
  4. Jack Herer


Hybrids are thought to provide a nice balance between a Sativa and Indica. Talk to your Embarc Guide about whether a Sativa-dominant or Indica-dominant Hybrid is right for you based on your previous experiences.

Popular Hybrids
  1. Blue Dream
  2. Gorilla Glue
  3. Pineapple Express
  4. Gelato


Commonly known for deep relaxation, Indicas are usually recommended for nighttime use.

Popular Indicas
  1. Purple Kush
  2. Northern Lights
  3. Skywalker OG
  4. Chem Dog


Natural form of the cannabis plant. Grind it up to roll a joint or consume using a bong, pipe or vaporizor.

Onset: Immediate Duration: 1-6 hours


Pre-rolled, ready to smoke and easy to control. One of the most iconic ways to consume cannabis.

Onset: Immediate Duration: 1-6 hours


Discrete and easy to control. Available in disposable pens or cartridges for external batteries.

Onset: Immediate Duration: 1-6 Hours


Beverages are slow to onset and very long lasting. Start slow, go low. 

Onset: 30 minutes - 2 hours Duration: 2-12 hours


Just like beverages, edibles are slow to onset and very long lasting. Remember– Start slow, go low. 

Onset: 30 minutes - 2 hours Duration: 2-12 hours


Tinctures are quite versatile – try a few drops under your tongue or mixed with a beverage.

Onset: 30 minutes - 2 hours Duration: 2-12 hours


Aches and pains? Topicals can help provide relief where you need it most.

Onset: 30 minutes - 2 hours Duration: 2-12 hours


Extracts are extremely potent and it’s recommended that beginners stay away.

Onset: Immediate Duration: 2-12 hours



Terpenes are naturally occurring properties that provide different scents and flavors to a lot of the world around us including fruits, spices and cannabis. These aromatic compounds also play a huge role in the different effects of each item. Ever wonder why the scent of lavender induces relaxation? Well, that’s thanks to the dominant terpene, linalool, found in the plant. Understanding cannabis terpenes provides a deeper and more robust knowledge of what you’re consuming. It’s pretty much taking your relationship with cannabis to the next level. Thank you for coming to our terp talk.


Ah Myrcene, one of the most prominent of all terpenes in cannabis. Myrcene tends to give certain strains that hearty, earthy, almost musky aroma. We recommend high myrcene strains when treating chronic pain. 


Linalool is best known for its sedative and relaxing properties. It can also be credited for many of the floral and spicy notes in cannabis. In nature, linalool is also present in jasmine, mint, sage, nutmeg and basil. 


Limonene is a terpene found in most citrus fruits. The scent itself is fruity and almost sour. Its result is often stress reducing and mood-enhancing. Recent studies show limonene is great for mental health and it works as a powerful antifungal.


Pinene is a popular terpene found in nature, specifically in pine and fir trees. It’s also present in some herbs including parsley and rosemary. Pinene is an excellent terpene for increased awareness and many believe it can help improve respiratory function.  


Caryophyllene is a terpene known for its spice and it’s commonly found in cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and rosemary. It’s also the only cannabis terpene that works directly with our body’s endocannabinoid system, meaning it actually binds to these receptors.

Shopping by effect


Caffeine just not cutting it anymore? Not a problem. Certain cannabis strains pack a buzzy effect to jumpstart your morning routine. Strains like Jack Herer, Green Crack and Durban Poison provide active and lively outcomes.


Some cannabis strains are like fuel for your brain. They can make you feel more attentive and present. Researchers are currently looking into the potential relationship between cannabis and treating ADD/ADHD. We like Sour Diesel and Harlequin to help us gain focus.


Who doesn’t want to feel happy? Amazingly enough, many consumers report a heightened sense of joy and gratitude after consuming cannabis. Maui Wowie is a classic strain known for its euphoric, blissful effects.

Relaxation & Relief

Cannabis can be restorative for the body and mind, especially when it comes to pain relief. Remember high amounts of myrcene within a strain is ideal when addressing chronic pain. Not into the psychoactive effect? You can also get relief from high CBD strains.


Cannabis can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. More recently, CBN is being explored given it is the cannabinoid responsible for inducing sleep. Today’s top cannabis companies are beginning to work with this compound in a variety of formats including topicals, tinctures, edibles and vapes.  Chat with a Guide to explore which methods may work best for you.


What is Embarc?

Hi, we’re Embarc– your friendly neighborhood cannabis shop committed to community, quality and value. Through our local partnership model, each Embarc store is locally owned, ensuring each store is responsive to the unique needs and priorities of the community.

We donate 1% of all sales in perpetuity to a local Community Investment Fund, which is directed by our Community Advisory Board– a group of local residents and community leaders that ensure we’re focused on meeting the community’s needs. When you shop at Embarc, your purchase directly benefits the community that store is located in.

Our team of expert cannabis buyers diligently source the best pre-rolls, CBD, vapes and edibles and provide them to you at fair prices. Stop by, say hi and discover legal California cannabis. We look forward to serving you and the community!

Do you deliver?

Yes! All of our locations offer delivery.

Embarc Alameda
In-store and Delivery: 8 am to 9 pm daily

Embarc Martinez
In-store: 9 am to 9 pm daily
Delivery: 10 am – 8pm

Embarc Tahoe
In-store: 8 am to 10 pm daily.
Delivery: 8 am – 8pm

Differences between smoking, vaping and edibles

There are 3 main ways of consuming cannabis. Smoking and vaping produce the quickest onset effect, while edibles may take several hours to kick in. Smoking and vaping are easier to control, as well. When consuming edibles please keep in mind the effects of THC will be much stronger than usual.

How Do I Communicate With My Guide?

The short answer is truthfully. Embarc’s Guides have been trained to be  knowledge on cannabis as well as approachable for all regardless of experience level with cannabis. They are available to help guide  our community navigate the world of cannabis. Whether you’ve been consuming for years or you’re brand new, we recommend being honest and direct about your experience with cannabis, as well as your needs and wants. Our guides are there to help and they’ve heard it all before so no need to feel embarrassed. Ask questions, solicit feedback, and continue to explore what works for you. A great Guide is simply here to help pave the way on your journey.

How To Store Cannabis

It’s important to store your cannabis in an airtight container such as a mason jar. You also want to keep your cannabis products in cool, dry places. Don’t leave your cannabis in the sun since the heat will speed up the plant’s degradation process. This doesn’t mean it’ll damage the bud, but it will increase its cannabinol (CBN) content, which is the cannabinoid responsible for inducing sleep.

Keeping Your Children Safe

Like anything you don’t want your kids getting into, we suggest keeping your cannabis out of the reach of children. Dealing with nosey teens? Perhaps a small lockbox for your cannabis is the way to go. 


Talk to a Guide