How Should I Take Cannabis?

 


This isn’t just a question for people new to cannabis. Even some people who’ve been smoking for decades struggle with the question of the best way to ingest cannabis based on why they take it in the first place. After all, “back in the day,” you basically had two options: smoke flower (or hash) or make brownies. And back then, flower and hash was typically (relatively) weak and consistent, and “edibles” usually amounted of brownies with some flower sprinkled in it.

Today the options can be dizzying – not only because the potency can be so much more intense, but also because of the vast array of options. These include vapes and a gazillion types of edibles, as well as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), balms, patches, etc. I know several cannabis veterans who won’t touch anything but old-school flower from a trusted source because they just don’t know what to expect – or because they’ve had a bad experience. That’s kind of sad. After all, we’ve finally achieved nominal legalization which has resulted in myriad products being available.

I got into this business after starting a clean-foods cannabis edibles practice, mostly to treat my own health issues. I started making caramels and chocolates and then began making infused balms for muscle soreness. Now I make an expanded menu of these products as well as consulting with individuals and groups about how to ingest cannabis. One of the most popular services I offer is a group “class” on Cannabis 101. We start by learning how to roll a joint and end up cooking a batch of cannabis-infused coconut oil, which can be used as the base for virtually any topical or edible.

So, what’s right for you? Well, the answer to that question depends on your experience, tolerance, desired effect and health status. However, here are some general guidelines that should help you get started.

Edibles – I know a few people who’ve been smoking for years and years who took a newly-available commercial edible from a dispensary and said, “never again.” Why? Because they thought it would get them “high” and they ended up with something closer to an acid trip. That’s because a) they didn’t know that an edible “buzz” can be much more intense and last a lot longer than a bong hit and b) because they didn’t pay attention to the dosage and potency. With edibles, you really have to know how strong it is and how much you’re ingesting. As we say in the business, “start low and go slow.” Ideally, you can get to the point where you can make your own canna-oil or butter to make your own edibles, and you’ll know exactly what to expect. Buying edibles from a dispensary will always involve some element of risk, after all.

Vapes – These have been in the news a lot lately because the State of Michigan (and several other states) are trying to ban the sale of flavored vape juice, based on alleged cases of lung illness associated with them. A lot of people like vapes because they don’t smell as strong as smoking flower and because they feel the dosage is more consistent and controllable. The issue appears to be the result of cheap, black-market, cartridges that contain lead and/or “knock off” cartridges where the cannabis infused oil is “cut” with vitamin E oil, which according to some, the lungs cannot expel. For myself, I only use vape cartridges and equipment from people I personally know and trust.

Flower – I know many cannabis veterans who are very wary of modern flower because the potency has increased so much in recent years. One acquaintance, who used to be a daily smoker, now rarely smokes at all because it is “just too strong.” Aside from potency (or rather, because of potency) it is important these days to pay attention to the strain. All cannabis flower is Indica, Sativa or a hybrid. Indica is known for relaxation, whereas Sativa is known for creating a sense of energy. Despite the wealth of “information” available online about “effects” derived from the various strains and hybrids, unless you grew it yourself, you won’t really know until you try it.

Image result for rso syringe indica

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) - Rick Simpson oil (RSO) is made from cannabis oil and was developed by Rick Simpson, a Canadian medical marijuana advocate. RSO contains higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than other forms of cannabis oil. THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid that causes euphoria and pain relief. Many other cannabis oils contain cannabidiol (CBD) and little or no THC. The main claim with RSO is that it “treats” cancer. After Simpson was diagnosed with cancer he started applying his oil to the cancerous spots on his body. According to him, the cancer healed within days. RSO is traditionally from Indica cannabis, which produces a sedative effect that helps the body heal. In addition to cancer, advocates also claim that RSO helps alleviate symptoms and/or treats multiple sclerosis, arthritis, asthma, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, depression and insomnia.

 

To summarize:

  • In terms of dosage and trying new types of products, start low and go slow.

  • Be wary of black-market and gas station products. You get what you pay for.

  • Join some cannabis information social media groups where you can learn about “consensus” brands and products – as well as ones that have caused issues.

  • Think about why you want to use cannabis. Whether it’s for enjoyment, pain relief, sleep, etc.will help inform what type of cannabis product you want to try.

Contact me at stonelotuscannabiscontulting@gmail.com to book a class, party or private consulting session!