or a long time now, cannabis has acquired the term ‘medical’ as its prefix. Everywhere you go, you would hear people talking about how medical cannabis helped them or someone they know. In fact, for many people across the US, cannabis has proved to be a solution that they could not find in pharmaceuticals. Considering such major development in cannabis use, it’s obvious that it crossed your mind to try it as a treatment for your condition.
But before you go any further, take a step back and ask yourself, what do you know about medical marijuana? Is it the fact that you can use it by rolling a joint and turning into a brownie? Or that you can use it only if you have a medical marijuana card in Modesto? While both facts stand true, there is more to medical cannabis than just this. So let’s take a look at the important points that you should consider before using medical cannabis.
Get Familiar With Your State’s Medical Marijuana Program
The first thing to understand about cannabis is the legalities. After all, you would not want yourself stuck in legal issues when you go for your first purchase. So begin by researching the marijuana laws of your state.
Every state follows its own medical marijuana program that decides the marijuana laws for every citizen of the state. These laws include basic restrictions like the age limits and possession limits for both recreational and medical cannabis and other rules that regulate the sale and use of medical cannabis. In addition to this, the medical marijuana program of the state also decides the medical conditions and symptoms that are eligible for getting a medical card. In the state of California, the following conditions are qualified to get a medical cannabis card.
- Chronic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Muscle Spasms
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Any condition that limits your major life activities.
- Any condition that poses a severe risk to your mental and physical well being if left untreated.
Not All Cannabis is Same
Cannabis is not of one type. It is available in more than a thousand different types or strains. Let’s understand more about cannabis strains.
What’s the reason for the existence of different cannabis strains?
Hundreds of chemical components make cannabis. Cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids are some of the most popularly known cannabis components. These different elements are the work force behind the therapeutic properties of cannabis. But each of these chemicals exists in varying levels and combinations in different cannabis types. These differences are what create a different strain. Since the legalization of cannabis, cross breeding between different strains has developed even more variety for cannabis consumers.
Do You Need to Choose One?
Yes, if you will be using cannabis for medical reasons, you will have to choose a strain or a set of strains that will work best for you. This is because strains have different chemical compositions, as we discussed above, and it causes change in the effects they deliver. For example, a high THC strain may help you sleep but it’s not the best choice for daytime use or appetite control. So based on your lifestyle, medical condition and the symptomatic relief you need, you have to choose a cannabis strain for yourself. And don’t worry, you don’t have to do this evaluation yourself. When you apply for a medical card, your marijuana doctor will access all these factors before qualifying you.
You Have to Choose a Delivery Method
How many ways of cannabis consumption methods are you aware of? If you are a beginner then the number may not be more than three. While smoking, vaping and edibles are widely known because of their popularity, not a lot of people know that there are a dozen other cannabis delivery methods to choose from. There are sublingual methods, topicals, patches and even bath bombs. And every legal dispensary is always stocked with all these products. So you don’t have to stick to only the popular methods to use cannabis medically.
Choosing a delivery method also has more to do with your medical history and present condition. Different methods deliver the cannabinoids in the body differently. For example, joints work faster than edibles. So you have to be very careful in choosing the method that will suit you the best.
Microdosing is Very Important
Like every other medication, medical cannabis is also used according to the instructions provided by the doctor. You have to be very careful with the dose and the timing of your session to ensure best effects.
The problem however lies in the fact that the effects and dose of cannabis can vary from person to person. The doctor can recommend the dose you should begin with but it all depends on you after that. If you wish to move forward, go very slow and on a low dose. This process is called microdosing. It helps you to identify the right quantity of cannabis for your condition without the risk of an overdose.
You cannot benefit from a medicine if the medicine itself is not of the right quality. So when you buy cannabis, make sure that it is not contaminated. If you are buying cannabis from an unreliable source, there is a chance of cannabis contamination. It may contain residual pesticides, heavy metal or mold and mildew. Consumption of such material can be harmful for your health.
How do you avoid this? By buying from a state registered dispensary. All their products undergo tests for contaminants and are kept in proper storage to avoid any growth of molds. Their labels on their products will give you proof that what you’re consuming is safe.
Learn About Proper Storage
Proper storage is often ignored in matters related to cannabis. But it is just as important as any other aspect. If you are not careful about the storing conditions of your stash, you pose the risk of lowering the potency of your cannabis. It may even reach a point where the effectiveness will not be what you expected.
Cannabis can also get contaminated with mold and mildew with slight change in humidity and temperature. If this happens, your entire stash would become useless. So do some research about storing your cannabis under proper conditions to make it last longer and stay potent.
Cannabis is Not a Perfect Medicine
Always remember that though cannabis is able to provide medical relief to many people, it is still in a research phase. It’s not a perfect medication and poses several side effects too.
For starters, you can overdose with cannabis. And it may be more common than you think. While it is not a fatal situation, you may have a miserable experience because of intolerable effects like severe nausea, fatigue, paranoia, headaches, confusion, impaired reflexes and vomiting. The effects wear off after some time so it’s not a situation where you should panic. But in case the effects become severe, do reach out to a doctor without delay.
Cannabis has side effects even without an overdose. Blood-shot eyes, dry mouth, coughing and increased appetite are some of them. You may experience one or some of them with long term use. So, to avoid unnecessary confusion, consult about all the possible side effects of cannabis with your doctor.
Remember all these points when you are ready to use cannabis as your medical treatment. It will prepare you with what to expect and how to be safe. So, once you are clear about everything, go ahead and start your cannabis journey.