The first two questions new patients ask about medical cannabis are:
Finding the appropriate form and amount of medical cannabis to treat each condition is the most important step patients take after making the decision to use medical marijuana.
Exploring the plant’s benefits is a journey that leads patients to wellness. One key fact to know as you begin that process is…
Rest assured that whether you inhale, ingest, or rub medical cannabis products on your skin, there is no way you are ever going to use a lethal amount of marijuana. Scientists estimate that a person would have to take in 1,500 pounds of cannabis in about 15 minutes in order to die from marijuana.
For those who are new to cannabis or uncertain, that is an impossible amount of cannabis to consume. The active compounds in medical cannabis are called cannabinoids, and they interact exclusively with endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body.
There are no endocannabinoid receptors in the brain stem where respiration is regulated. It’s simply not possible to ingest the amount of medical marijuana it would take to cause death.
Medical marijuana pharmacists are experts, and they are there for patients to utilize. They know the products on the market, and they know the science behind them.
Before you ever make a purchase as a cannabis patient in Louisiana, you will have an opportunity to talk with a pharmacist.
Make the most of that. Write down questions. Make a list of products you’re interested in trying. Have those lists in front of you during your consultation, then let your pharmacist guide you. Medical cannabis pharmacists provide patients with vital information and support.
Medical marijuana is a holistic treatment. It means that each patient’s unique conditions and needs play significant roles in determining what works best for the individual, because it treats the whole patient–not just a condition.
Are there general guidelines to using cannabis? Absolutely. This is a science-backed medicinal plant, and science means empirical facts. But there is a range of use determined by a combination of that science and your unique biology and chemistry.
Successful medical cannabis treatment involves assessing not only your qualifying condition but examining how it might be creating an imbalance in your essential functions (sleep, appetite, libido, digestion, memory, and many more).
When these functions fall out of balanced equilibrium, our bodies struggle to heal and grow.
Medical marijuana can bring your essential functions back into harmony and flow, and the precise formula is unique in important and nuanced ways to each patient.
Keeping a journal of your cannabis use is a great way to track your progress and see what works for you.
Because finding the right dosage is so important when incorporating medical cannabis into your wellness routine, patients keep a journal of what they have tried and what has worked.
The first step is to create a daily log of how you feel before and after each dose. This will help you identify any patterns or side effects that may occur over time, as well as allow you to track how much medicine you need for relief.
The second step is to record all the information about the strains or products you’re using so that you know what works best for you.
This includes strain name, cannabinoid content per serving size (mg), form of medicine (e.g., flower or oil), method of ingestion (e.g., vaporizing vs. inhalation) and any other relevant information such as price or brand name.
Many people have misconceptions about how much cannabis they need to take to feel its effects. The truth is that different strains or varieties of marijuana can have different effects on each individual’s body chemistry, so it’s hard to predict exactly how much will be needed for each person.
Each person has an individual and unique combination of metabolism, tolerance, medical conditions, and health goals. These things shape how you consume medical cannabis.
No matter which way you choose (and many patients combine methods or use them all), the key to safely achieving the best results is starting with a low dosage and slowly moving up until you find what works best for you.
If you have never used cannabis before or if you have not used it with regularity since the legal market emerged, you should start with low amounts. Some medical cannabis companies label products as “microdosed,” but most do not, so it’s best to learn some general dosing guidelines.
2.5 mg is a perfect edible dosage to start with. In most states, patients can find edibles dosed as low as 5 mg, and in some places, there are even 2 mg edibles available. If you can find the 2 mg kind, that’s a great place to start. If 5 mg is the lowest dosage available to you, cut one piece in half.
After you have taken it, give yourself two hours to determine how it’s affecting you. It actually does take that long for some people to feel the effects of edibles.
Some people feel the medicine begin working within 30 minutes, but not everyone. So allow enough time for your individual system to process and access the medicine.
After two hours have passed, if you don’t feel like the medicine is working enough for you, take another 2 or 2.5 mg.
These small increments are the best way to find your optimal dosage. It might be 5 mg, it might be 10 mg, but it also could be right in between at 7.5 mg. Move up slowly, and pay attention to how the dosages make you feel.
Pay attention to yourself whenever you try a new strain of flower. Outside distractions interfere with the ability to do that, so find a quiet and comfortable place where you can spend a little time with yourself and your medicine.
Whatever method you choose, the best way to test out a new strain (whether it’s your first or your fiftieth) is to give yourself a few minutes to notice any effects.
Take one inhalation–it doesn’t have to be particularly small, just don’t make it intentionally large either–then exhale and start paying attention.
Sometimes, you will begin feeling the effects as you exhale. Other times, it can take a few minutes for effects to set in.
Flower is the most popular form of medical marijuana and usually the most common form when anyone discusses marijuana.
Flower is sometimes referred to as “bud”, but it refers to the trichome-covered part of the cannabis plant. It is mostly consumed via inhalation through smoking and/or vaporization.
Metered-dose inhalers (usually called “vapes”) are rising in popularity and are great for those who want fast-acting results or require higher doses for their conditions. Vapes are small, discreet, and easy to use.
Tinctures are easy to store, portable, and can be taken in many different ways (e.g. drops under the tongue, in food/drink, etc.). They’re measurable and long-lasting because they are absorbed by the liver. Tinctures have no odor and are a discreet form of medical marijuana that delivers quick relief without inhaling.
Topical creams deliver localized pain relief by quickly absorbing into the applied area. When patients use lotions, balms, and oils, they generally do not experience cerebral effects. It is a very body-focused medicine.
RSO and distillate oil come in plastic oral syringes, and both deliver potent concentrated cannabis medicine. RSO is a full-plant medicine; all of the cannabinoids and phytochemicals from the plant are present in it.
RSO is becoming increasingly popular as a way to consume medical marijuana because of its potency, ease of use, and discretion.
Edibles come in various flavors and doses making them great for patients seeking longer effects.
Medical marijuana consumed through the edible form will vary in its effects depending on your metabolism, daily activity, diet, and other factors. They carry no odor and deliver lasting medicine to medical marijuana patients.
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