OBTAINING AND USING MARIJUANA

OBTAINING AND USING MARIJUANA

NOW THAT YOU understand the benefits and risks of using cannabis, it’s time to go over the various methods of intake, as well as the logistics of obtaining, storing, and shopping for cannabis. It can be a simple choice or a complicated decision, depending upon your approach. Either way, there are certain considerations to be aware of when choosing a product and delivery method. After you review the delivery methods and products and decide on a course of treatment, it’s important to keep a treatment log to help you understand what does and doesn’t work for you.

DELIVERY METHODS

OBTAINING AND USING MARIJUANA

Smoking

Vaping

Dabbing

Tinctures

Suppositories

Transdermal

Topicals

Edibles

Capsules

There are a number of ways to use cannabis. Smoking a joint or lighting a pipe might be the delivery methods that come to mind, but vaporizing and dabbing are quickly picking up steam. There are also the beloved, yet controversial, edibles. Transdermal patches and suppositories have come on the scene in a big way; these methods are perhaps the most efficient way to absorb the medicine. Topicals are also a great option for people who need localized pain relief or want to avoid the psychotropic effects of Marijuana. With all of these options, anyone can find their preferred method.

 

 

SMOKING

Smoking is the most common and recognizable delivery method. There are several possible methods of smoking, including joints, blunts, pipes, and bongs (water pipes). Smoking is prized for its convenience and simplicity, as well as the more natural and back-to-basics feel. However, the smoke, while not proven to inflict long-term harm, can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

Equipment Required

■ Grinder

■ Smoking apparatus (rolling paper, tobacco leaves, pipe, or bong)

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Cannabis flower (buds)

■ Optional concentrates such as kief, hash, oil, wax, budder, or live resin (see the “Medical Marijuana Products” chart here)

Associated Costs

■ Cannabis flower (buds), typically $8 to $15 per gram

■ Rolling papers, $1 to $5 per pack

■ Pipe, $5 and up

■ Bong, $30 and up

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients without lung or throat problems who are seeking rapid relief

HOW IT’S DONE

Both joints and blunts are smoked just like cigarettes. For a joint, cannabis is ground into crumbles before being rolled in a rolling paper of choice, such as paper made of rice, hemp, or cellulose. Blunts are similar, but tobacco leaves from cigar wrappers (which add flavor and nicotine) are used in place of the rolling paper. Concentrates can be added before rolling the joint or blunt, or the wrapped joint or blunt can be dipped in concentrated oil and/or rolled in kief (the plant resin).

Pipes and bongs eliminate the extra smoke from burning rolling papers or leaves. To smoke from one of these, place the cannabis loosely in the bowl. Cover the small hole in the air chamber near the bowl piece, called the carb or carburetor, if present, and light the cannabis. Draw in on the opening with your breath and release the carb just before finishing your inhale. Concentrates can be added on top of the cannabis in pipes and bongs for a potency boost.

Water pipes draw the smoke through a reservoir of water to cool the smoke before inhalation. Some people prefer this method, but be aware that studies have found that some of the THC/CBD is actually caught in the water although none of the harmful substances are. This means you will have to smoke more of the harmful chemicals to get the same amount of THC/CBD as you would without the presence of water.

It isn’t advisable to smoke cannabis from a hookah (water pipes with long flexible tubes) because it burns the material faster than it can be smoked. It’s also not recommended to smoke cannabis using cigarette filters, as they block a significant amount of THC, but not the harmful tars. Using filters would require smoking double the amount of tar to get the same amount of THC.

PROS AND CONS

Smoking cannabis introduces patients to, well, smoke. It can be harsh on the throat and lungs, and can increase the risk of bronchitis and other viral throat infections. When cannabis is smoked, a substantial amount of cannabinoids is lost. That being said, smoking requires no expensive equipment, the effects are felt quickly, and it is relatively easy to adjust your dose.

 

 

VAPING

Vaporizers heat cannabis to activate the cannabinoids and produce smokeless vapor. There are a few types of vaporizers to keep in mind, including large desktop vaporizers, small portable vaporizers, as well as conduction and convection vaporizers. Conduction heats the cannabis into smoke or vapor on a hot plate. Convection heats the air to activate the cannabis and release the cannabinoids/terpenes into the purest form through vapor without charring the material. Convection vaporizers give off the least amount of harmful chemicals and are the healthiest way to inhale cannabis.

Equipment Required

■ Vaporizer (either desktop or portable)

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Cannabis flower (buds) or concentrates such as oil, wax, budder, or live resin (see the “Medical Marijuana Products” chart here)

Associated Costs

■ Ground cannabis or concentrate, $5 to $20 per gram depending on the market

■ Desktop vaporizers, $150 to $600

■ Portable vaporizers, $70 to $300

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients with or prone to throat or lung problems who want the easy, immediate relief of smoking without the harshness

HOW IT’S DONE

Vaporizers can be loaded with ground flower or concentrates. Portable vaporizers run by battery and desktop vaporizers must be plugged in to operate. Typically, they require some time to heat before inhaling the vapor. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for how to operate and use a specific vaporizer.

PROS AND CONS

Vaping does not subject patients to the tar or harshness of smoke, nor does it result in the same level of terpene loss as smoking. Be aware that vaporizers, which also use water, can be prone to oxidization and rust, which is not a healthy substance to inhale. Moreover, if a vaporizer heats the cannabis above 365°F, it can release benzene, a common carcinogen found in tobacco. Some poorly made vaporizers have been found to contain chemical residue left over from the manufacturing process. Do your research before purchasing a vaporizer to ensure the quality meets your safety standards. Vaporizing is somewhat new, which means that the long-term effects of this method are unknown.

 

 

DABBING

Dabbing is the most controversial of all delivery methods. It involves heating a cannabis concentrate, such as shatter, on an extremely hot surface with a culinary torch before inhaling the smoke through a dab rig (a chambered glass pipe). This process has led to dabbing’s unflattering depiction as the “crack” of the cannabis world.

Equipment Required

■ Dab rig

■ Culinary torch

■ Dabber tool (a small rod used to scoop the extract)

■ A nail with a titanium or quartz surface

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Concentrates such as shatter, wax, budder, or live resin (see the “Medical Marijuana Products” chart here)

Associated Costs

■ Concentrate, $30 to $50 per gram

■ Dab rig, $20 to more than $1,000

■ Dabber tools, $15 to $500

■ Nail, $20 to $150

■ Culinary torch, $15 to $50

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients dealing with severe pain or nausea who need immediate relief

HOW IT’S DONE

Dabbing should be done only by those who are knowledgeable with the process; if you are interested in this method, be sure to fully educate yourself on how it is done. Websites like The Cannabist and Leafly have sections on cannabis concentrates and how they’re used. In general, when dabbing, heat up the nail with the culinary torch until it begins to glow, scoop the concentrate with the dabber tool, and start inhaling through the dab rig as you slide the concentrate from the dabber tool onto the heated nail. When the concentrate has melted and no more vapor is coming out, exhale.

PROS AND CONS

Dabbing provides high potency with immediate effects and minimal smoke. The high potency of dabbing can lead to very uncomfortable highs and, in some cases, passing out. To achieve the same level of effect that dabbing can provide, patients would have to smoke a large amount of cannabis or wait up to 3 hours with edibles.

 

 

TINCTURES

Cannabis tinctures are liquid extracts made with alcohol or vegetable glycerin. They are administered under the tongue. Because they require no equipment or preparation, they are convenient and easy to use.

Equipment Required

■ None

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Prepared tincture (see here for a guide to making your own)

Associated Costs

■ 1 ounce (about 600 drops), $30 to $80 depending on the product and market

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients who aren’t willing or able to smoke or vape

■ Patients who want a faster onset than edibles provide

■ Elderly patients

HOW IT’S DONE

A few drops are administered under the tongue, where it enters the bloodstream more rapidly than edibles.

PROS AND CONS

There is no smoke or vapor, which is better for your lungs. It is also discreet; no smoke means no smell (aside from the smell of the tincture). Adjusting the level of the dose is relatively easy. Onset of effects begins quickly, within 5 to 15 minutes. Effects last about 30 minutes to 2 hours (not as long as edibles). The taste of tinctures can sometimes be unpleasant.

 

 

SUPPOSITORIES

A suppository is a small, bullet-shaped mass that is inserted into the rectum. Cannabis suppositories may be better absorbed by the body than taking cannabis by mouth. One study showed the absorption rate to be twice as effective as oral administration.95 Suppositories are a good alternative for people who don’t wish to smoke or ingest Marijuana.

Equipment Required

■ None

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Suppository (see here for a guide to making your own)

Associated Costs

■ Suppository, $5 to $30 depending on the market

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients with an impaired oral route due to vomiting, throat injury, or extreme nausea

■ Elderly patients who can’t smoke or swallow pills

■ Patients with rectal or pelvic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or hemorrhoids

HOW IT’S DONE

Before inserting into the rectum, make sure the suppository is firm. If it’s not firm, place it in the freezer until it reaches the desired consistency. Insert with clean hands or while wearing a medical glove. The suppository should ideally be placed around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 centimeters) into the rectum, just past the anal sphincter. Insert the suppository when you don’t expect a bowel movement for at least an hour.

PROS AND CONS

Suppositories are thought to provide excellent absorption rates, superior to both inhalation and oral ingestion. Effects begin rapidly, within 10 to 15 minutes, and last for 4 to 8 hours. Insertion can be a little uncomfortable for some, and suppositories can leak during flatulence or a bowel movement. A suppository must be cool in temperature to be firm enough to insert.

 

 

TRANSDERMAL

Transdermal delivery is quite different from topicals. Instead of localized treatment, transdermal patches directly enter the bloodstream and provide treatment throughout the body. They also transmit the psychotropic effects of THC. Treatment is released slowly, peaking at 4 hours after application.

Equipment Required

■ None

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Transdermal patch

Associated Costs

■ Transdermal patch, $18 to $30

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients with an impaired oral route due to vomiting, throat injury, or extreme nausea

■ Elderly patients who can’t smoke or swallow pills

HOW IT’S DONE

Using an alcohol wipe, wash a patch of skin with visible veins, such as the inside of your wrist. Apply the patch to the cleansed area. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for complete details.

PROS AND CONS

Patches don’t involve smoke, vapor, or smell. The patches last 8 to 12 hours, releasing small doses slowly. The transdermal delivery system is also believed to be very efficient, but no conclusive studies have been performed. Some people have had trouble properly adhering the patches to their skin, and others have found it hard to remove the plastic from the sticky part of the patch. Patches are only available to patients with access to well-stocked dispensaries. Overall, it seems to be a very promising delivery method.

 

 

TOPICALS

Cannabis topicals are infused lotions, oils, and salves that are rubbed on the skin for localized treatment and pain relief. Topicals don’t enter the bloodstream; rather, they absorb into the skin and activate the CB2 receptors, providing nonpsychoactive treatment.

Equipment Required

■ None

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Topical treatment (see here to here for a guide to making your own)

Associated Costs

■ Range of products (including lip balm, lotion, body balms, and body oil), $5 to $60

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients with arthritis, localized pain or inflammation, psoriasis, dermatitis, chronic itching, headaches, cramps, and lupus

HOW IT’S DONE

Rub the topical on the affected area.

PROS AND CONS

Topicals provide nonpsychoactive, localized pain relief and treatment. However, they don’t help all conditions where activation of the CB1 receptors is required. Because new research is being conducted all the time, the list of applicable medical conditions will likely grow.

 

 

EDIBLES

This category includes any food or beverage that contains cannabis. Edibles are beloved by many for their simplicity, prolonged duration, and the fact that no smoking is involved. They have a somewhat controversial reputation for a couple of reasons. Because any food or drink can be made into a Marijuana edible, there is a fear of accidental or purposeful “drugging” of unknowing consumers. Therefore, always label your edibles and keep them away from children and pets. Also, if you are unfamiliar with the dosing of a particular edible, it can be easy to overdo it.

Equipment Required

■ None

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Infused edible (see part 3 of this book, Recipes for Remedies and Edibles, for recipes)

Associated Costs

■ Range of edibles, $10 to $50 per 100 mg of THC

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients who do not or cannot smoke or need a long-acting solution

■ Patients with insomnia, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or gastrointestinal issues

HOW IT’S DONE

Medically dosing with cannabis-infused edibles is pretty simple—you just eat them! Start with a small dose, about 2.5 to 5 mg of THC, and see how it affects you. Depending on your metabolism, it can take an hour or so for the effects to kick in. Peak effects usually occur at about 4 hours. Edibles are most effectively consumed in small morsels, ideally with a good amount of fat, on an empty stomach.

PROS AND CONS

The effects of ingesting cannabis have a slow onset but last longer than when cannabis is inhaled. Edibles provide a more psychoactive experience than inhalation. The dose can be difficult to predict, depending on the contents of your stomach at the time.

 

 

CAPSULES

Cannabis capsules, also known as canna-capsules, are food-grade capsules that have been filled with concentrated cannabis oil. These can be swallowed as you would an ordinary pill. Capsules provide similar effects as edibles, and are ideal for those who wish to ingest cannabis but don’t desire the added calories.

Equipment Required

■ None

Type of Marijuana Required

■ Canna-capsules (see here for instructions on how to make them)

Associated Costs

■ Canna-capsules, around $5 per pill

Who It’s Best For

■ Patients who do not want to or cannot smoke

■ Patients who are too nauseated to eat edibles or are on restricted diets

HOW IT’S DONE

Capsules should be taken with water and a little food, ideally with a good amount of fat, for the fastest and greatest effect.

PROS AND CONS

Capsules are a simple, smokeless way to ingest a standardized amount of cannabis. They have a slow onset (taking anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to kick in) and a long duration (4 to 8 hours). Like edibles, they may provide a more psychoactive experience. Capsules provide a fairly consistent experience, although effects are influenced by the stomach contents.

 

 

BIOAVAILABILITY AND DOSING

Bioavailability is a measure of the absorption rates of a drug. For cannabis, it is a fraction or percentage of the inhaled or ingested cannabinoids present in the bloodstream. There are many factors that affect the bioavailability of the various delivery methods for cannabis, such as experience of the user, potency of the cannabis, method of delivery, stomach contents, metabolism, and biochemistry. However, there is still much we don’t know, so further research is needed for a more complete picture.

One study found inhalation resulted in an absorption rate of 10 to 45 percent, with bioavailability peaking 3 to 10 minutes after inhalation.96 Oral administration resulted in an absorption rate of 4 to 14 percent in one study97 and 10 to 20 percent in another,98 with peak bioavailability usually 1 to 2 hours after ingestion. Under-the-tongue absorption resulted in a 13 percent absorption while ingestion resulted in 5 percent. However, THC is converted in the liver into a metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC, which is considered twice as potent as THC and lasts twice as long. This metabolite isn’t accounted for in the bioavailability of THC. Fatty foods have been found to increase absorption rates of ingested cannabis. Rectal administration was found to have a 13.5 percent absorption rate.99

Everyone reacts differently to the various delivery methods and strains. It’s definitely worth taking the time to find the right product, dose, and delivery method for you. As stated earlier, when ingesting cannabis, start with low dosages of about 2.5 to 5 mg of THC, then wait at least 4 hours before having more. If inhaling, take a couple puffs and wait 15 minutes before increasing your dose.

Every time you medicate with cannabis, your reaction might be a bit different. The strain and strength of the cannabis, as well as anything you have recently eaten, might play into it. The only reliable way to achieve the same effects would be to have the same strain from the same grower’s batch, or the same product, under the same conditions. With all the variables in life, this may be difficult to do. It’s best to proceed with caution by trying a lower dose and waiting to experience the effects before deciding to have more.

It’s important to keep a record of what works, what doesn’t work, and why. Keep a log of your cannabis use to find the right dose and delivery method for you. You’ll find a treatment log here that you can use for this purpose.

 

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE HAD TOO MUCH

Too much cannabis can present some unpleasant side effects, including extreme anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, dizziness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. There has never been a lethal overdose reported, so if you do experience uncomfortable side effects, try to remember that you will be back to normal in several hours once it wears off.

Ask someone to watch over you during this time. In the unlikely case you develop symptoms such as trouble breathing, pale skin, fast heart rate, and/or unresponsiveness, they should call 911 or bring you to an emergency care center.

If you can, lie down and try to sleep it off. If not, there are a few things you can do to ease the effects. For example, if you have a CBD-dominant strain or concentrate on hand, inhale or ingest that if you can. As mentioned earlier, CBD has been found to inhibit the psychoactive effect of THC. Also, stay hydrated with non-caffeinated, nonalcoholic drinks, and be sure to eat something hearty if nausea and vomiting are not an issue.

Some people find relief by chewing a few black peppercorns or inhaling the scent of pine essential oil (both black pepper and pine contain terpenes found in cannabis). You can also try going for a walk to clear your head and get your blood pumping. Another approach is to distract yourself from the unpleasant effects by staying busy; you can watch a funny movie or TV show, draw/paint/color, listen to your favorite music, or play a lighthearted video game.

THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES

I have chronic pain in my neck and shoulders from a car accident I was in as a teenager. I had been to every kind of doctor, but I hadn’t found any significant relief until Marijuana. Cannabis has helped me get off pain medication and has been the best treatment for me.

Before I started using medicinal Marijuana, there were times I couldn’t get out of bed. I relied on hydrocodone to get me through the day. But the medicine made me sick, and I felt a dependency starting to develop. Acupuncture helped for a while, but the pain always came back and the treatment was too expensive to maintain.

I joined a support group for patients living with chronic pain, and that is where I learned about treating the pain with cannabis. Some people in the group reported that cannabis helped their pain and anxiety and recommended a doctor who could write a recommendation for a medical Marijuana card.

When I got my card, I began experimenting with the different methods. I found that edibles provide the best relief for me. Now I have a cannabis caramel a couple times a day when my pain comes back. It is a low-dose edible with equal parts THC and CBD, so it doesn’t make me too goofy. The pain is pretty much gone when the medication kicks in, enough for me to go about my day feeling normal. I live in a state with a medical Marijuana program. If I didn’t, I would probably move. —L. Stevenson, California

 

Strains—Do They Matter?

While strains, or genetic variants of cannabis, can guide your purchase, it’s important to pay attention to the cannabinoid and terpene profiles to find the right cannabis for you. Cannabinoids and terpenes can vary significantly within the same strain from grower to grower. The strain may be mislabeled or the growing, curing, or storage conditions may be just different enough to cause variations. Medical research is not strain-specific, but it does look into cannabinoids for specific conditions. While all cannabis produces a set of similar effects, the cannabinoid and terpene content can yield markedly unique effects.

Terpenes are basically essential oils with very unique smells, but they do affect your overall cannabis experience. If the Dispensary or seller doesn’t have a cannabinoid or terpene profile, you can let your nose guide you. For a reference on terpene smell and effects, see here. Smell every strain before you use it and lock that scent away in your memory. Your nose will remember that smell, and if it was a pleasant experience, seek it out. Jot the smell and taste down in your treatment log.

 

 

SHOPPING GUIDE

Trying medical Marijuana for the first time can be exciting and a little nerve-racking, but there’s no need to be overly concerned. If you follow your doctor’s directions and listen to the advice of your budtender (the medical Marijuana Dispensary worker), you will likely have a very pleasant experience.

To begin your search for the right product, locate a Dispensary. To find dispensaries close to you, visit weedmaps.com or leafly.com. These websites have menus of the shops’ offerings. In some cases, the strains on their menus include the cannabinoid and terpenes profiles, which is great for doing research beforehand. They also post reviews from patients, which may be helpful. These sites are a great place to start your Dispensary search, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation with a Dispensary’s budtenders. Knowledgeable, caring staff can make all the difference. The workers at a good medicine-focused Dispensary will ask about your treatment plan and goals. They will work with you to find the appropriate cannabis products. If you don’t feel comfortable in a Dispensary, don’t hesitate to move on to the next one until you find the right match.

In your search for a strain of cannabis that offers the effects and treatment you need, there are certain things to watch out for and avoid. Ask the budtender about cannabis testing requirements and only purchase products that have tested negative for pesticides, contaminants, mold, and mildew. You don’t want to inhale or ingest any of these harmful substances.

When you enter a Dispensary, you may be taken aback by the selection. There are flower (buds), concentrates, edibles, topicals, and tinctures—and subcategories within these categories! Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you understand the options, their uses, and effects. The following table provides a basic overview to get you started.

 

 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA PRODUCTS

Description

Required Equipment

Pros

Cons

 

FLOWER (BUDS)

 

The flowers, or buds, of the cannabis plant are divided by strains and generally sorted into three categories: indica, sativa, and hybrid.

Flower can be smoked, vaped, or turned into concentrates or extractions. A pipe, bong, vaporizer, or rolling paper is needed for inhalation.

Flower is the most natural way to consume cannabis. There is no risk of inhaling solvents.

Flower can be harsh on the lungs and throat when smoked. It is the lowest-potency product.

 

WAX

 

Wax is waxy or crumbly bits of concentrate.

Wax can be inhaled with a vaporizer, pipe, or dab rig.

Wax has a high potency.

Wax is a processed product. Long-term effects are unknown. Smoking anything can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

 

BUDDER

 

Budder is whipped wax/ oil with a dough-like texture.

It can be inhaled with a vaporizer, pipe, or dab rig.

Budder has a high potency.

Budder is a processed product. Long-term effects are unknown. Smoking anything can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

 

KIEF

 

Kief is powdery flakes from the plant resin.

It can be inhaled with a vaporizer, on top of flower in a pipe, or in a joint with flower.

Kief has a natural, high potency.

Smoking anything can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

 

HASH

 

Hash is a soft, pliant, paste-like concentrate made from kief. It will become less pliant over time with exposure to oxygen.

It can be smoked in a hash pipe, mixed into joints, or inhaled with a vaporizer.

Hash has a high potency.

Hash is a processed product. Smoking anything can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

 

TINCTURE

 

Tincture is an alcohol- or glycerin-based extract taken orally.

It’s taken under the tongue with no equipment needed.

Tincture has a high potency and is smokeless.

A tincture is a processed product. It can have an unpleasant taste.

 

OIL

 

This is a dark, gooey, concentrated oil typically found in plastic syringes. It’s made from solvents such as butane, ethanol, CO2, isopropyl, alcohol, or hexane.

Oil can be smoked in a pipe or vaporizer, mixed in with buds in a joint, taken under the tongue like a tincture, inserted into pill capsules, or added to food.

Oil has a high potency.

This is a processed product. Long-term effects are unknown. There’s a risk of remaining solvents or harmful chemicals in concentrated oil.

 

LIVE RESIN

 

It’s created with fresh, live plants that have not yet been dried, optimizing the amount of natural terpenes.

Live resin can be inhaled with a vaporizer or dab rig.

Live resin has a high potency and preserved terpenes.

This is a processed product. Long-term effects are unknown. Smoking anything can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

 

SHATTER

 

Shatter is a semitransparent sheet of glass-like concentrate.

Shatter is often inhaled with a dab rig, although it can be inhaled with a vaporizer if you are able to break off a small, pliable piece.

Shatter has a high potency.

This is a processed product. Long-term effects are unknown. Smoking anything can be harsh on the lungs and throat.

 

 

TIPS FOR PATIENTS ON A BUDGET

Grow your own, if permitted in your state. There are many helpful resources online to get you started. You can start with a seed, or better yet, a clone (an immature baby plant) from your local Dispensary or a grower friend. You can also read The Cannabis Grow Bible by Greg Green for a comprehensive growing guide.

Save the used flower from your vaporizer. Referred to as ABV (already been vaped), this can replace or be added to the flower you use to make edibles.

Buy in bulk up to the amount permitted in your state. Dispensaries usually offer a discount for large purchases.

Tell your budtender. If you are on a budget, let your budtender know. They can help find the most cost-effective products and deals.

Look for deals. Research dispensaries on leafly.com or weedmaps.com and look for daily deals, such as Free Joint Fridays or Medible Mondays. By hitting dispensaries for the products you need on certain days, you can save a lot of money. You can also find deals for first-time patients.

Follow the free stuff. Subscribe to all your local Marijuana publications and keep an eye out for cannabis-related events. There are often vendors at these events giving out free products.

Don’t waste. Stop inhaling or ingesting once you’ve had enough. When you reach the dosage level that achieves the treatment or relief you need, stop. Don’t overdo it, and don’t waste valuable medicine.

Store your cannabis properly. If stored in poor conditions, the plant will degrade and become less potent.

Share, trade, and barter. Create a network of friends who also medicate with cannabis, and create a sharing economy. If you make topicals, trade some for free flower or shake. Maybe you give them flower and they turn it into concentrate. There are a lot of talented patients out there who love to share, trade, and offer advice.

Your First Trip to the Dispensary

Your first visit to a Dispensary is likely to be an exciting and memorable experience. Bring a photo ID and your medical Marijuana card every time you visit a Dispensary. Dispensaries are generally a cash-only business and have a lot of security, so you may have to provide ID each time you enter.

Tell the staff you’re a new patient and this is your first time in a Dispensary. They will give you paperwork to sign and check you in before setting you up with a budtender to walk you through your options. Be courteous to the staff and other customers and follow the Dispensary’s rules.

Tell your budtender that you’re a new patient. Explain the treatment you are seeking. Ask if they have any advice, and inquire about deals and services offered, like e-mail newsletters with special offers and news, delivery services, or offerings like Free Joint Fridays.

There are a lot of options for cannabis products. It may help to peruse the shop’s menu online before visiting so you’re not overwhelmed and can prepare questions for the budtenders. Don’t touch the cannabis flower until given permission—this is bad etiquette. Not only could you contaminate it with your germs, but you could also decrease the potency by disturbing the trichomes.

Purchase cannabis in small amounts until you know what works for you. Your purchased products will come in childproof containers and opaque “exit bags.” Depending on your state laws, you may need to put the purchased products in your car’s trunk for transporting home.

If you have a negative experience, let the manager know and write a review of your experience on leafly.com or weedmaps.com. Don’t let a bad experience ruin medical cannabis for you. Try another shop as if it were your first time. Your first visit is likely to be a great experience, so just relax and enjoy the ride!

 

 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA TREATMENT LOG

To discover what works best for you, keep a detailed log of all cannabis use, including the delivery method, product used, dose, and the effects. Keep this log as long as it takes to find a regimen that works for you. Record the date, the symptoms you want to combat, how much discomfort you are in before using medical Marijuana, the delivery method, the cannabis product, the dose, the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the product if available, description of the effects, your discomfort level after using medical Marijuana, and whether you would use the product again. Try to be consistent and thorough when keeping a log. This will be an important key to finding out your optimal treatment.

A sample log has been provided below. Feel free to modify the log by adding additional spaces to record your experiences with doctors, dispensaries, delivery services, and budtenders, too.

 

 

LOGISTICS

Storing Cannabis

Cannabis is a hardy plant and, when stored properly, can keep for a couple years. If you are going to purchase an amount of cannabis that will last you longer than a week, there are some important things to keep in mind to maintain freshness and potency.

When handling cannabis, be gentle and avoid touching it too much. The crystal-like trichomes can fall off and the cannabis will lose potency. Trichomes, as you’ve learned, are the resinous compounds on the plant, and home to all the important cannabinoids and terpenes. The cannabis you buy will have been carefully dried and cured, and the storing process is extremely important.

Separate strains into different containers to maintain their unique flavor profiles. Marijuana is best stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container with a neutral charge (like glass). If the container can be vacuum sealed, even better. Oxygen exposure can degrade some cannabinoids. High temperatures and sunlight can also degrade the THC into a less-desirable CBN (a cannabinoid known for extreme sedation). Keep it out of the refrigerator, which has a relatively high humidity. High humidity can cause mold and mildew growth, which is very unhealthy if inhaled or ingested. You want to maintain a humidity ideally between 50 to 65 percent relative humidity (RH). Humidity lower than 50 percent, as well as freezing temperatures, can dry out the trichomes, creating harsh smoke and loss of potency.

Do not use tobacco humidors, as they contain natural essential oils in the cedar that can alter and affect the flavor profile of the cannabis. Although some say that plastic bags work well, it seems that static electricity attracts the resin and some potency may be lost. Another reason to avoid plastic bags is that some contain dioxin, a chemical compound considered to be an environmental pollutant. If glass jars are not an option, your best bet is to keep your cannabis in brown paper bags. Gently squeeze the air out and place the paper bag inside a sealable plastic bag. There are also several products on the market for properly storing cannabis. Boveda, Cannador, and The Bureau offer consumer solutions for storing your cannabis in ideal conditions.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA TREATMENT LOG

Keeping a detailed log of your cannabis use can help you figure out the best regimen for your needs. Record the date, the symptoms you want to combat, how much discomfort you are in before using medical Marijuana, the delivery method (joint, tincture, edible, etc.), the product (strain name, product name), the dose (grams for flower or concentrate, milligrams of THC, number of pills, number of tincture drops, etc.), the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the product if available, description of the effects (time to onset, how you were affected, duration of effects), your discomfort level after using medical Marijuana (did the cannabis relieve your pain or did it cause pain/discomfort?), and whether you would use the product again.

Date

My Symptoms and Health Needs

Pre-Medicated Discomfort Level (on a scale from 1 to 10)

 

Delivery Method

Product

Dose

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

 

Description of Effects

Post-Medicated Discomfort Level (on a scale from 1 to 10)

Use Again? Why/Why not?

 

Notes

 

 

Storing Concentrates and Edibles

When storing your concentrates and edibles, follow instructions from the manufacturer, if available. In general, store edibles as you would everyday perishable foods. Baked goods can be frozen for long-term storage without harming the potency. Hard candies, caramels, and chocolate can be kept at room temperature.

Store canna-butter (see our recipe for canna-butter here) the same way you would store regular butter. Keep what you will use for a week or so in the refrigerator. Wrap it well and label it with the date, strain, and potency. If you don’t know the potency, just note whether it is mild, medium, or strong, or at least how much is the right dose for you. If you plan to keep canna-butter longer than a week or so, it’s best to store it in the freezer.

Store tinctures in a cool, dark place in an airtight glass container. Concentrates are perishable; the oils from the plant can turn rancid. Some choose to keep their cannabis oils in the refrigerator to keep them at a controlled temperature. However, it’s fine to store the oil at room temperature—just keep it out of the sunlight or heat. Refrigerating cannabis oils and waxes can prolong their life. Avoid refreezing any of the concentrates.

 

 

Equipment Care

Always clean residue from your equipment. You can buy cleaners at glass shops or use a solution of salt and alcohol and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing thoroughly. The resin is very sticky, so you might want to use a cotton swab or pipe cleaner to help with the tough spots. Keep clean glass pieces on a shelf or in a padded box.

Originally posted 2021-08-03 22:07:44.

Author: Ronald Rogers
Sunny Dupree is a seasoned journalist, keynote speaker and founder of Weed America: A Journalism-Minded Agency, which handles public relations, content marketing, social media, events and thought leadership for brands and executives in legal cannabis, hemp technology, alternative healthcare, and other new industries.