Perhaps you grew up in a small town, or were raised in a social circle where it was taboo to talk about marijuana.
Maybe you even had friends or you yourself used it to get high in high school or college.
But you’re all grown up now, and what you remember about marijuana wasn’t related to improving your health.
Yet you keep hearing all about the benefits of medical marijuana.
From edibles, to tea, oils and more this isn’t the same marijuana you had to go through an elaborate phone and pager system to score.
There are many misconceptions and stigmas about marijuana.
So you’re left wondering is medical marijuana really good for you, does it always make you high, is it a drug or is it more similar to an herbal medicine?
The Big Lie: It’s natural, so it can’t hurt you
All herbal medicines have side effects just like pharmaceutical medications and marijuana is no different.
Knowing how to properly dose medical marijuana and observing your body’s response by starting low and going slow is crucial to preventing unwanted side effects.
Medical marijuana has interactions with many medications mainly due to it’s THC (tetrahydracannabinol) content.
Marijuana’s other main cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which also comes with neurological side effects if you are taking many pain relievers in addition to the CBD as the multiple medications bog down medication detoxing liver pathways.
What’s THC and CBD ?
Cannabinoids are the molecules in the marijuana plant, that can also be found in humans.
Humans produce endocannabinoids, while plants make phytocannabinoids.
CBD and THC are phytocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoids that you produce are produced on demand, oftentimes in response to an injury or stress.
There are two main receptors for the endocannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. The endocannabinoids are the key to the lock, being your cannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoids work similar to the human endorphin release system.
The endocannabinoid system has an effect on your gastrointestinal system, your heart, your pain perception as well as in bone mass maintenance and protection of the nervous system.
The endocannabinoid system regulates your autoimmune and inflammatory reactions.
CB1 cannabinoid receptors are found in the brain, spinal cord, heart, uterus, testes, liver, small intestine, and your peripheral cells.
CB1 receptors work better when paired with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Pure CBD oils are not as effective as those with a small amount of THC to activate the CB1 receptors.
Since CB1 receptors are in the brain and spinal cord they are very useful in calming anxiety.
However, to get the best effect of calming you’ll want a little THC in your CBD formula for maximal efficacy.
Adjusting the dosage of THC can help to keep you from being too relaxed or vegging out on the couch.
There are a variety of CBD to THC ratio products on the market.
Products with higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC were created for maximum pain relief, calming anxiety, gut issues, insomnia and total body wellness effect.
By purchasing CBD with THC in tincture format you are able to adjust dosage better according to your needs and once you establish your ideal dosage you may be able to switch to capsules for ease in dosing.
See my blog post on medical marijuana dosing to help with your specific questions.
The CB2 receptors are focused on reducing inflammation by shutting down autoimmune responses to stop the overactive state of your white blood cells.
Pure CBD or minimal THC with CBD formulas are best for autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, as they target CB2 receptors.
So if you have more joint or muscular pain pain I’d recommend a CBD formula with less than two milligrams of THC per dosage.
What’s the best type of medical marijuana for you?
You will have to do some experimenting to find the right dosage, formula, marijuana strain (sativa/indica/hybrid) for you and your condition.
It is best to have a doctor on board who’s knowledgeable and able to to help you move through this process.
While the medical marijuana consultants at dispensaries are the go to folks to discuss products available in their store they are not to be substituted for consulting a medical professional.
The combination of going to a medical marijuana dispensary to learn about products available while working with your doctor on how to dose is the best thing you can do.
If you aren’t comfortable speaking with your regular doctor about this subject there are doctors that specialize in medical marijuana.
Why I recommend medical marijuana
The side effects of medical marijuana are much less than opiods and can counter more than just pain.
It’s no secret that opioids ruin lives.
It’s possible to stop opioids by using medical marijuana instead.
The process takes time and involves other healthy lifestyle changes but it can be done.
In the states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal all marijuana based products from creams to tinctures and edibles are tested to ensure dose and quality consistency.
In the state of Washington, in particular, every company that manufactures edibles is sold in dispensaries is tested for CBD to THC content.
This is wonderful as dosages can be dialed in much better these days.
If you’re buying something from a friend or you’re making it yourself, you have no clue what CBD to THC ratio dosage you’re getting.
Unfortunately, one dosage may vary wildly compared to the other if it’s not from a standardized company.
One of the best companies for medical marijuana products is Zoots.
This company allowed me to come in and learn all about their process.
Touring their facility demonstrated that Zoots is committed to quality control and providing the best and most effective products available.
The owners were able to explain their operation on a level that highlighted the responsible use of marijuana and aiding customers in finding their ideal dosages.
THC can and will get you high if you take too much by not waiting for effects to kick in, in appropriate amount of time before you take another dosage.
It’s best to start low and go slow with medical marijuana dosing.
1-2.5 milligrams is the minimal dosage of THC with 10 mg of CBD that I recommend to patients.
To get to this dosage you’ll want to start by using a tincture form of CBD:THC combination. The label will tell you the exact amount of CBD to THC.
Once you take a dosage wait at least 1 hour and assess how you feel.
If you do not notice a change with the minimal dosage after one hour then the next day take a dose and a half and increase dosage daily till results are achieved.
Keep in mind that the CBD:THC combinations work better when you take them with a small amount of food or tea vs a big meal.
Are There Possible Side Effects?
Smoking or vaping can have a negative impact on the lungs thus it’s best to consider tinctures and capsules for your medical marijuana dosing.
Smoking and vaping makes it harder to regulate the THC response, despite it’s fast acting effects.
As long as you’re purchasing medical marijuana in the form of a tincture, oil, capsule or cream from a legalized state’s dispensary you can guarantee your dosage.
It’s very important to track your symptoms, progress and any side effects, if any.
Since medical marijuana hasn’t been mainstream long enough the long term side effects of medical marijuana use haven’t been studied thoroughly.
So the jury is still out, which contributes to it’s controversy.
The benefits that have been found to date far outweigh the side effects and have a lot of promise for the future of medicine.
Give it a Try
Medical marijuana is an alternative to some of the heavy-hitting pharmaceuticals out there.
It’s very important for you to understand how this medicine works, why it works, and the benefits it may have for you.
Yes it’s illegal federally but it’s not the same drug of the 1960’s.
Marijuana has been overhauled and now you can control your dosage to prevent the high that results with elevated amounts of THC.
Get rid of your stigmas about marijuana. Because you use marijuana doesn’t make you a stoner. Medical marijuana is a legitimate medicine that is sophisticated and can be customized.
So what are you waiting for – go out there, check out the marijuana dispensaries near you, and see what they are all about.
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