Cannabis comes in many varieties, roughly divided between Sativas that originated near the equator and Indicas that come from northern latitudes, though modern breeding   programs have created a wide range of hybrids. Each variety has its own cannabinoid and terpene profile and subtly different effects. Whether you use Sativa-dominant, Indica-  dominant, or a Hybrid it makes a difference.

1.Take note of what effect each variety produce for you (therapeutic and side effects); keeping a log can be helpful.

2.Use higher potency cannabis so you use less medicine. Concentrates can be useful, particularly if you need higher doses.

3.For concentrates, use a glass pipe made for cannabis concentrates.

4.Experiment with high CBD strains, particularly for nausea, appetite, and pain.

5.Take a medicine vacation occasionally. While cannabis does not produce tolerance in the way opiates do, reducing or ceasing cannabis use can yield enhanced effects when restarted. Either reduce or stop for however long it feels comfortable for you.

6.Change the variety if the one you’re using seems to be losing its effectiveness.

7.Whenever possible, choose organic cannabis products. Never consume cannabis that has been treated with pesticides.

Think About Drug Interactions

No significant interactions between cannabis and other drugs are known at this time, though research indicates cannabis enhances the effects of opiate painkillers. Little is known about the interaction of cannabis and other pharmaceutical medications, but it is important to consider any complementary effects.

Talk to your doctor or find a doctor who you can talk to about medical cannabis. Some studies show interactions with barbiturates, theophyline, fluxetine, disulfiram, sedatives, antihistamines, etc.

A synergistic effect can occur with alcohol use; limit mixing the two.

Consider Safety. For yourself and your community.

Indicas can cause drowsiness-avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when using your medicine.

Don’t consume cannabis and drive. Cannabis use can impair motor skills. Find a safe environment to consume your medicine. Wait at least 1-2 hours after you medicate before getting behind the wheel.

Managing medicine costs

If paying for your medicine is an issue, try a few of these tips.

1.Track your costs to get an accurate picture of your spending on cannabis.

2.Take a “grow your own” class and explore growing your own medicine or work with a small group of patient cultivators.

3.If you access your medicine through a dispensary, use discount cards or investigate other ways to receive free or discounted medicine (like a low-income program, sliding scale program, activism volunteer)

4.Store your medicine properly to maintain quality over time. Airtight glass jars kept in a cool dark space work best.

CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) share a special interdependent relationship and work together to increase one another’s therapeutic benefits. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. THC is psychoactive and, therefore, may produce euphoric or dysphoric effects. A patient’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor in determining appropriate dosages and ratios for a CBD-rich treatment regimen. CBD can lessen or neutralize the psychoactivity of THC. So an increased ratio of CBD-to-THC means fewer mental effects.

Dosage Guidelines

1.Cannabis therapeutics is personalized medicine. The appropriate dosage depends upon the person and condition being treated.

2.Decide how you want to take cannabis. Dosed cannabis medicine infused with CBD-rich oil extracts is available in sublingual sprays, capsules, edibles, topicals, tinctures and other products.

3.Find your ratio. Cannabis products have varying amounts of CBD and THC. A high CBD strain or product (with little THC) is not necessarily superior to a strain or product with a more balanced CBD:THC ratio. Find the proper combination for you.

4.Begin with a low dose—especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis.

5.Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose.

6.Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and consider if you need to adjust the ratio or amount.

7.Don’t overdo it. Often with cannabinoid therapeutics, “less is more.” Cannabinoid compounds have biphasic properties. This means that higher doses of CBD may not be as effective as low or moderate doses. Also, too much THC—while not lethal—can increase anxiety and mood disorders.

8.Consider the condition you’re treating. For anxiety, depression, spasms, and pediatric seizure disorders, you may do better with a moderate dose of a CBD-dominant remedy—look for a CBD:THC ratio of more than 14:1. For cancer or pain, you may need more THC, for instance, a 1:1 ratio.

Keeping a Cannabis Log

To establish an optimal treatment regime with cannabis, you will need to balance the effects of different strains, doses, and methods of ingestion. It may be helpful to record your therapeutic relationship with cannabis on an ongoing basis. One method is through keeping a cannabis-use log that captures your experience, including thoughts, feeling and behaviors. Periodically reviewing the log can help both you and your doctor make decisions about what works best.

To start, keep a detailed log, as described below, for at least one week. Once you’ve got a week’s worth of information, complete the self-assessment worksheet that follows. This worksheet will help you better understand many things about yourself, including: your ailments and symptom patterns, your treatment behaviors, and the efficacy and side effects of the cannabis medicines you use.

In keeping a medication log, try to keep things standardized, and be as consistent as possible. Here are some logging tips on useful information to collect:

1.Date/Time: Record every time you consume cannabis with the current date and time of day.

2.Amount: The amount of cannabis used (gram estimate or other consistent measure).

3.Strain: The name, strain or variety of the cannabis strain or variety of cannabis medicine used. If you don’t know the name, write a detailed description of the medicine.

4.Code: Strains are generally described as Indica, Sativa, or hybrid. You may want to code your entries: I=Indica, S=Sativa, S/I=Sativa-dominant Indica Cross, and I/S= Indica-dominant Sativa Cross.

5.Type is the form of cannabis consumed: dried bud flower (most common), concentrates, tincture/sprays, edibles/drinks or topical. You may want to use: F=flower, C=concentrate, T=tincture/spray, E=edible, TO=topical.

6.Cannabinoid Content: refers to the percent of THC, CBD and/or CBN. If you have this information available to you, write down percentages of each cannabinoid. If you’re using edibles or similar, a description of potency and preparation is helpful.

7.Mode: Write down how you used your medication. Either inhale via S=smoke or V=vaporize, E=eat/digest, T=tincture or spray, TO=topical.

8.Therapeutic Effects: List any positive effects you experience (physical, mental, social, behavioral, etc).

9.Negative Side Effects: List your negative effects

10.Timing: How quickly did you experience the first therapeutic effects? When did you feel the peak of relief? When did it start to noticeably dissipate? How long until effects were gone?

11.What prompted your cannabis use? List the specific factors that told you it was time for medicine, as well as the general symptoms or conditions being treated (e.g. pain, nausea, anxiety, etc.

12.How did you feel (mindset)? Record your mood and feelings before and after you used cannabis.

13.Where were you (setting)? Were you at home, at a collective, in your office? Sitting, standing, lying down?

14.Who were you with? Were you by yourself, with a friend, a large group, among other cannabis consumers, etc?

15.What were you doing? Just before you used cannabis, what was going on? What were the activities or circumstances leading up to it?