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Medicinal Cannabis 101: An Introduction for New Patients

Zej Moczydlowski
Feb 13, 2018 8:29:30 AM

Patients can sometimes be intimidated by the idea of adding medicinal cannabis to their treatment plan.
To assist in the process, we've put together a quick guide for patients who are just now learning about cannabis as a viable option.

1. When picking what kinds of cannabis to use, start with lower dosages of THC and/or higher doses of CBD:

  • Higher levels of CBD counteract psychoactive effects of THC and help new users prevent and/or quickly recover from uncomfortable experiences.
  • Many other cannabinoids are not psychoactive, talk to your physician about combinations of cannabinoids to ensure you’re comfortable and knowledgeable about your options.
2. Be patient when exploring new methods of consuming cannabis:
  • The effects of edibles may begin 30-120 minutes after consumption. To avoid surprises, avoid eating more than one edible within a 2-hour period.
  • Vaporized cannabis is fast acting. Patients with no prior experience using vaporizers should progress slowly and, initially, wait at least one minute between puffs.
3. Vaporizing is a learned skill and takes practices. New patients should take some factors into consideration:
  • The use of a vape pen, shatter, wax, or other purified cannabis may require as little as a single puff; it is easy to vaporize too much at a time so take your time.
  • Effects begin slower with vaporized flower than with concentrates.
4. Avoid combustion! The stereotypical open flame method is wasteful and hazardous.
  • The temperature of flame is nearly 1000 degrees hotter than the boiling points of most active molecules in Cannabis.
  • Using an open flame results in the inhalation of toxins also found in tobacco cigarettes.
  • Vaporized cannabis can be used over multiple sessions, and previously-vaped material can later be used in cooking or to make lotions.
5. Keep a journal of your usage.
  • Keeping a record of cannabis usage will help you recall your experiences and assist you and your physician when assessing the benefits of different delivery methods and mixes of various cannabinoids.
  • By keeping a journal, you make it easier to share knowledge and ask questions of your medical provider.
6. Make cannabis a part of your complete treatment plan.
  • Cannabis usage is most successful when it is combined with multiple types of treatments or therapies.
  • Make sure to tell your physician about all elements of your current treatment plan so that, together, you can create a strategy more likely to result in successful clinical outcomes.
7. Be open to a broad range of cannabis experiences.
  • Don’t be afraid of trying new methods of consuming cannabis, including different strains and different dispensaries.
  • Most people are surprised by how pleasant unfamiliar options can be.
8. Be open about your treatment plan.
  • Don’t shy away from speaking with family, friends, and neighbors about your cannabis use.
  • There is a lot of misinformation concerning cannabis in the public sphere: creating a dialogue is the best way to correct stereotypes and stigmas.
9. Talk to your doctor!
  • Return to your point of care at any time with questions or concerns. Your physician wants your treatment plan to be successful. The only way for them to assist you is if you let them know about your questions, concerns, and comments.

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