Starting Medical Marijuana- What to Know

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Medical Marijuana Basics-Where to Start!

Choosing The Marijuana That’s Right For You:

There are different types of cannabis classifications, commonly referred to as strains.  The different types of strains indicate the intensity/type of effects of the marijuana, as well as the experience it is supposed to provide to the patient.

There are 3 main classifications of medical cannabis strains:  Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids

  1. Indica: Provides benefits of relaxation and reduced inflammation and is commonly used to treat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and a number of other similar conditions
  2. Sativa: Provides stimulating and energizing effects and is commonly used for physical activities, creative/thoughtful activities, and is also used to treat inflammation and depression, along with a number of other diseases.
  3. Hybrids: A hybrid strain is created by cultivating cannabis through a combination of sativa and indica cannabis plants.  This creates a “combination” of both the relaxing feeling from indicas and the stimulating effects from sativas.  The ratio of indica to sativa can vary between different strains of hybrids.

Choosing The Method To Consume That’s Best For You:

After trying different types of medical cannabis and figuring out which is best for your personal condition(s), the next step is to select the delivery method that works best for you.

There are a number of ways to use medical cannabis to relieve your symptoms, here are the primary methods of consumption:

  1. Vaporizing: This method is known to be the most convenient and beginner friendly method of consuming medical cannabis.  Most commonly used in disposable cartridges that are inserted into vapor pen batteries that are designed for portability.  Also, inhaling vapor is less harsh on the lungs and throat than inhaling smoke.
  2. Ingesting/Edible: This is a common option for patients who do not wish to inhale cannabis smoke or vapor.  It is strongly recommended that medical cannabis be ingested in small doses, due to the fact that the psychoactive effects can be stronger when ingested compared to when smoked/vaped.
  3. Tincture/Drops: Tincture is medical cannabis in liquid form.  It is most commonly used by placing drops under the tongue and letting the liquid absorb through the sublingual gland.
  4. Topical: Topicals are medical cannabis infused creams, lotions, and balms that are able to be applied directly to the skin.  The topical is then absorbed by the skin and is able to provide inflammation and pain relief to the applied area.  Topicals are most commonly used for specific conditions and symptoms, such as arthritis.  It is important to note that topicals do not result in a psychoactive effect or a “high” feeling, so it is perfect for those just looking for relief without any effects on psychoactivity.
  5. Smoking: This is probably the most well-known method of consuming cannabis.  The smoking method provides a feeling of euphoria and symptom relief almost instantly after consumption, however, the effects may only last for 40min to 1hr.  Smoking can also cause throat burning sensations as well as lung complications, so it is usually not the consumption method that is first recommended.

Medical Marijuana Safety

Before purchasing and using medical cannabis for symptom relief, it is important to know the do’s and don’ts of medical cannabis use, as well as the rules and responsibilities that come along with being a medical cannabis patient.

  1. Be Aware of the Effects: The effects of THC can vary for first time users depending on the person and their condition.  Some individuals may feel the effects immediately, while others might have a “natural tolerance”.  In addition, it’s possible to get feelings of anxiety and paranoia if too much cannabis is consumed.
  2. Follow the Dosages: It is important to follow the prescribed/recommended dosages just as they were given to you by your doctor.  As time goes on and your tolerance develops and increases, dosages can be adjusted.  It is important to follow exact dosages when first starting to medicate with cannabis in order to see how your body will react to the medicine.
  3. Do NOT Share With Others: Along with being unsafe, it is against the law to share or give your medical cannabis products to anyone else.  The rules and regulations are the same as with any other prescribed drugs.