8 Helpful Rules for New Cannabis Users
A message from Dr. Frederick Slezak, Medical Director – August 2020
Many patients come to us having never consumed marijuana. You may be one of these individuals! You have a qualifying condition; you have your recommendation; and now you have your medical marijuana card, but you have never used marijuana in your life. What do you do?
Unlike traditional prescription medications, which come with specific instructions (take one pill three times a day), using medical marijuana can be confusing and advice ambiguous. Phoning a friend of a friend, though tempting, may not be the best answer.
Carolyn MacCallum MD and Ethan Russo MD, well-known pioneers in cannabis research, have offered some guidelines to the new user of medical marijuana in the European Journal of Internal Medicine. Check out their tips for new cannabis patients, and check this space next month for more dosing advice for novice medical marijuana users.
Cannabis dosage must be individually determined. One patient’s ideal dose may not work for another. What works for your friend may not work for you. Some trial and error may be necessary to determine your optimal treatment plan.
Start low and stay low! When using cannabis products for the first time, always start with a small dose. Take one puff instead of two. Cut your gummy in half. Use a quarter dropper tincture instead of a half dropper. When using edibles, wait up to two hours before taking more.
Keep a diary of your products, use, side-effects and benefits. Be aware of the THC and CBD concentrations in your purchases. Write down the name of the product and its contents. Record the predominant terpenes when they are listed. With so many strains, comparing products can be confusing.
Keep a ‘symptom inventory’ chart tracking response or effectiveness for each cannabis product used for each symptom. One such chart for use is available here. Consider keeping a log and rate your experience from 1 – 10 or 1 – 5 stars. Use a system that is easy and makes sense to you!
Cannabis should ALWAYS be stored in a safe place, or in a lockbox in the home. Edibles are not candy. Keep them away from children, pets, animals, unsuspecting adults and out of a hot car. Grandma too! Medical marijuana must be treated like any medication. Keep your purchases out of reach.
Keep your cannabis cool – gummies can melt! Your flower can dry out – keep it in a sealed container.
CBD-predominant preparations have fewer psychotropic effects and may require higher dosing to achieve symptom relief. When looking for a product to try for the first time, especially for chronic symptoms, consider options with a higher CBD content (ratios of CBD:THC of 1:1 or higher) to minimize the potential for undesirable “marijuana” side-effects that may be uncomfortable for your first experience.
Nighttime is best! Beginners using THC-dominant products should consider starting in the evening or at bedtime to limit first-time adverse effects. When using cannabis containing primarily THC, do not take first thing in the morning or during the day to avoid the possibility of side effects that will impair you the rest of the day. Always take your first does with someone else around to help if you begin to feel uncomfortable.
If you are a qualifying patient who is suffering from one of the qualifying conditions and is seeking medical marijuana treatment, schedule a telemedicine evaluation, and gain access to Ohio dispensaries.
You can schedule your appointment by calling us at 866-457-5559 or book your appointment online.