Just getting started with medical cannabis? Figuring out just how to use the plant can be tricky for both caregivers and medical cannabis patients. To help cut through the confusion, this list provides a few tips on how to safely prepare and dose medical cannabis. Keep in mind that all cannabis patients have individual needs. It is advisable to work with a doctor whenever possible to get the best information for your specific ailment.
1. Start with high-quality materials
The medicinal benefits of cannabis are only as good as the starting materials. Whether administering medical cannabis to someone else or using it yourself, it’s important to do your research on the product you will be using. Not all medical cannabis products are created equal. For optimum benefit, it’s best to start with organic products or flower.
Other safety concerns include mold and pathogens as well as harmful additives. Opting for laboratory-tested cannabis or growing yourself in a clean and climate-controlled space are the best ways to protect against molds and mildews. Researching your grower or looking at the grow room of a designated grower will also give you an idea about mold control mechanisms.
Some prepared products like vapor pens and concentrated oils contain additives that can break down into harmful chemicals when heated. To learn more about which products to avoid, read the full article.
2. Keep things clean
Patients don’t need cat hair in their medicine. Nor do they need bread crumbs or leftover rice granules in their medical cannabis oil. Making medical cannabis oil at home is quite easy, but it’s important to do the work in a clean environment to reduce the risk of contamination.
Similarly, when making edibles or filling capsules with pre-made medical cannabis oil, working on a clean and clear surface area is essential.
Many people make medical cannabis oil at home with a rice cooker or similar tools. If this is the case, it’s best to purchase a rice cooker specifically for the extraction. Not only does this reduce the risk of cross-contamination with stuck food or char, but it will save your rice from tasting like cannabis forever.
All tools used to handle should be kept clean. All oral syringes should be washed before use. After washing, it’s important to let the syringe dry completely before filling it with cannabis oil.
3. Pick healthy consumption methods
Before you begin dosing out cannabis, it’s a good idea to make sure you are using consumption methods that will not further aggravate the medical condition. While many find that smoking cannabis is relaxing and eases pain it can agitate the lungs and cause symptoms of chronic bronchitis.
Vaporizers that heat cannabis to high temperatures (over 390°F or so) may actually be burning your flower. When these materials burn, you are smoking rather than vaping. To avoid this, make sure the vaporizer is set to a lower temperature. Convection vaporizers are far less likely to burn plant material than conduction vapes.
Low temp vaporization may not produce a visible vapor. Rather, you will likely notice a distinct flavor and heated air enter the mouth. It is also advisable to opt for vaporizers that are made with medical grade materials.
4. Start small
Once you’re ready to dose up, it’s important to start small and work up. A health care provider may give you specific starting points based on your particular condition. However, since medical cannabis is still considered an “alternative” treatment, many providers do not provide patients with comprehensive instructions.
Here are some gentle starting doses to consider:
- Flower: 0.25 to 0.5 of a gram (equal to 1/2 or 1 full joint)
- Medical cannabis oil: droplet the size of a grain of rice
- Edible: 5 to 10 milligrams
These doses may not be beneficial for those with serious medical conditions. However, these numbers are mere jumping off points and are fairly standard for recreational and medical cannabis consumers alike.
Over time, many patients gradually work up to handle stronger, more therapeutic doses. Many cancer patients, for example, work up to one full gram of cannabis oil per day. The higher the dose, the better it is to work with a cannabis savvy doctor.
Keep in mind that edibles take longer for the body to process. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to feel the effects of an edible. During that window, it’s best to avoid upping the dose. It is easy to overdo it with edibles, which can make for a lousy time.
For more information on different consumption methods, check out the full article.
5. Track your dose and results
Keeping diligent notes is an excellent way to find out just how well your medical cannabis regimen is working for you. This information can be shared with your doctor to help better tailor your medical cannabis treatment. Some things to jot down include:
- Symptoms pre-cannabis
- Levels of THC/CBD
- Daily dose
- Time medicine is taken
- Symptoms post-cannabis
- Symptoms with changes in dose
Note: the information in this article is intended for helpful and educational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice or treatment.
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