Cannabis as medicine is becoming more prevalent, and many of us have had the unpleasant experience of ‘overdosing’ on medical marijuana. Whether it was an anxiety attack from smoking too much of the wrong strain or eating your friend’s homemade edibles and having full-scale hallucinations, such experiences can turn us off to the real healing power of cannabis. Others may try a particular strain or tincture or get the wrong advice from the local budtender and then don’t get the experience they were expecting to and thus give up on cannabis, losing out on the potential benefits.

While the traditional medical establishment is wrong about some things, their criticism about a lack of scientific dosing protocols and the efficacy of mode of administration ( whether to smoke it, eat it, or put it on your skin) do in fact impede the effective use of cannabis. Here are a few ideas on how best to use marijuana and address your health problems.

You have to figure it out for yourself: Individualized Dosing

Everyone reacts differently to cannabis. Here are several suggestions that can help ensure you have a safe and effective experience.

1: Set positive and accurate intentions: Your (sometimes unconscious) perceptions of cannabis play a significant role in how you experience cannabis.  Whether you put weed in the recreational category or treat it as serious medicine, make sure that you clear your mind and think about how you want to experience the medicine.

2: Place, Time. And People Matter: the context in which you are medicating, whether it is the safety of your bedroom or a party at a stranger’s house, will alter your perception for better or worse. Also, the time of day, how you are feeling, and the people you are around, also play a role in how you will perceive both the therapeutic effects and the psychoactive effects.

    1. And, finally, a previous bad experience with, say, an edible ( or an amazing one, for that matter) may also color what you feel. Make sure you dose properly, are taking the correct form of the medicine, and in the right place and then tell yourself this a new experience separate from the previous one. The takeaway is that you, and you alone, have to figure out what works, and doesn’t work, for you (see below for more information).

Relief, Balancing, Prevention, or all three?

After you have unpacked your perceptions and expectations around cannabis and resolved any fears you may have, the next thing to do is fully grasp what your goals are in using marijuana. Due to the overwhelming amount of information, it is hard to fully understand exactly what cannabis can do (a lot) and what it can’t do ( not much). Cannabis can work in all three areas of relief, balancing, and prevention. At first, most people are looking for symptom reductions, but there is so much more.

Symptom Relief: Smoking or vaporizing cannabis is the easiest way to alleviate pain, get to sleep, or lift your mood. However, when ingesting marijuana through the lungs, you only get about 2-3 hours of relief, which is great, but not ideal. Determine what strain to use can also be complex. Leafly.com is a great resource to search strains by symptom. Their database can find the strains that work best for what ails you. Finding those strains in a local dispensary is another issue. We have many strains in house and can work to locate the strain that is best for you. The key takeaway is that when you are looking for a strain the THC content, CBD content, and a breakdown of the terpenes, which have their medicinal value, are important. Ensuring that the cannabis is tested and thus contains no pesticides or mold is also critical. The right topical also

Balancing: The primary interaction of marijuana with the human body is putting it back into physical balance ( another way to say: healing). With issues such as inflammation, auto-immune diseases, and other ailments, cannabis can, over time and with the proper dosing, return your body to a balanced state. For these chronic conditions, using a tincture, edible, or other long lasting product will allow your body to work on making your body work better. There are many non-psychoactive products (such as pure CBD) that allow you to function without the adverse side effects of cannabis. We will discuss these products in more detail in our next blog post.