Veterans

Maximizing the Impact of Cannabis Prescriptions – By Michael Blais, CD

By April 22, 2021 May 26th, 2021 No Comments
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Where to start?

The choices patients are offered once they are provided a prescription and have everything sorted with their chosen provider are often daunting. There are a large variety of dried cannabis strains to choose from, each with varying strength and cannabinoid composition. What is THC? What is CBD? What does the percentage rating of these cannabinoids mean and what effect will they have on the mental or physical trauma you are experiencing? 

Then there are the edibles, oils, chocolates, gummies, and beverages, designed to deliver the chosen cannabinoid through oral ingestion. Once again, the product’s THC or CBD percentage must be considered with the understanding that ingesting decarboxylated cannabis can provide a much different experience than when compared to smoking/vaporizing as the effects are likely to last much longer and can be more pronounced. In this blog I go through my experience of dosing and where to start.

Dosing Your Medical Cannabis

Due diligence is always required for dosing your medication, while ingested products are much healthier physically than blazing a joint, the lasting effects are different. Let us say that one uses a third of a gram of dried flower per session. Being responsible, you are microdosing, not bogarting the joint, and inhaling the entire dooby in less than ninety seconds… This would be comparable to 3 ml of oil (per the provider I have been using for the past several years). Let us say you are, as am I, suffering from chronic/acute pain 24/7 inclusive of neuropathic surges and consequently, you have chosen a high THC dried flower at 25% THC content. This is powerful medicine and should be treated cautiously by microdosing. For the uninitiated, microdosing is taking small inhalations and waiting for a few moments before taking another hit to gauge the effects of the previous one until you reach a state when the pain is mitigated. You will find that there will be times wherein you have not consumed the ⅓rd gram dose or if you have done so, it has taken over an hour and the incremental buzz factor can be negated by choice. In this case, the choice to pause until the pain threshold is yet again breached, hopefully a couple of hours down the road.

Once you have consumed a third of a gram equivalent of 25% THC oil, you cannot rewind time and untake it. The impact of taking a high percentage THC edible will be of far greater impact than inhaling a high THC product. Ingesting a high THC edible can result in a prolonged and uncomfortable experience when consuming too much. This is counterproductive, yes?

Start Low & Go Slow

I have learned through trial and error it is always best to start low and go slow with a moderate decrease in the percentage if one is using a THC variant. I have found that the highest option of CBD usually works the best in respect to pain; however, I have noticed if I take more than 3ml at a time, I can get a headache later in the afternoon. So, I start with a routine of 2ml every four hours. While I prefer 25% dried flower, I find 25% THC oil makes me very lazy if I take more than 1 ml at a time. To avoid this,  I save this oil for evening pain thresholds when I am in bed and in need of sleep.

I prefer to vape my medicine as the primary recourse for acute/breakout pain periods and have used strains with up to 30% THC over time. Once again, you are confronted by choices, the primary being Sativa or Indica. Due diligence is once again required. Some are good for pain, others, despite possessing a higher level of THC, may not be as effective as another with identified properties relevant to the relief you are seeking. I personally must be wary of sativa variants as I suffer from allergy-like symptoms or even feel like I have a racing heart! Nor do I find that they work as well for the neuropathic pain levels I live with (inoperable sciatica down both legs and acute mobility restrictions). I have used hybrids; however, I have found that they have been very effective and when they are available, make sure to order them often as strain availability is not always consistent, but it’s getting better.

Personalized Medication

Everybody is different. Ideally, you will have spoken with the doctors at Apollo Cannabis Clinics about the mental or physical trauma you have experienced as they will assist you on the journey of seeking relief. This is an important step as we are not talking about street weed. Medical cannabis is not comparable and has been scientifically grown to alleviate various types of trauma. Talk to your doctor. Start with CBD if you are still stigma worried, and move on to THC variants if you require something stronger. Do the research online with respect to sativa and indica strains and speak to the veteran care team at Apollo. Try to identify the one that has been noted effective to treat your mental or physical trauma. Be prudent. Street weed is characteristically 10-15 percent THC. If this level was working for you, start there and incrementally move higher as the pain dictates. Experiment with different strains and strengths until you find the one that works on your pain but does not leave you buzzed, lacking the quality of life that you deserve.

Most importantly, be honest with yourself.

When your pain has receded, stop puffing. This is medicine, not an illegal drug used to get high. Yes, there can be pleasurable side effects, and for this we should be grateful as many patients may also use cannabis recreationally or even as a replacement to alcohol. We must also be mindful of the fact that once we start puffing when we are NOT in pain, we are entering the realm of abuse with potential addiction and medicinal ineffectiveness when you are in pain and are in need of relief.

 

Apollo has helped me on my journey to find the right balance. Need help? Need to talk to a doctor about the nuances of medical cannabis? Tired of eating pills? Tired of the brain fog of narcotics or antipsychotic medications? Looking to find yourself again?

Contact us at veterans@apolloresearch.ca 

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