How to deal with the effects of your medicine

In Blog // on January 11th, 2013 // by // No comment

It may be a big decision for some patients to choose marijuana as a therapeutic and medicinal treatment; knowing that the plant has those fun-loving THC molecules, there is often worry about the psychoactive effects that accompany its intake.

There is an overwhelming agreement that cannabis lessens nausea and pain.  Many patients report it helps them fall asleep, build an appetite, relax, reduce anxiety and unlock hidden creative energy.   But for the first time users, the experience may be life-changing – and it’s important to remember that this is a good thing!

There are generally 3 categories of medicinal marijuana: indica, sativa and hybrids.

Indica strains generally yield a higher CBD count than sativas.  CBDs (Cannabidiols) have sedative effects and therefore indica strains are suggested for evening or bed-time use.  They help relax the lymbic system which can result in a heavy, stony sensation of the body.  Medically, the CBDs in indica strains have shown to relieve inflammation, anxiety and slow cancer cell growth.

A beginner user should start off slowly when smoking or otherwise ingesting indica strains.  I have experienced the feeling of being underwater, or immersed in a tub of Jell-o.  My tongue has felt swollen and my vision took a while to catch up with what my eyes were focusing on.  If a patient feels the same thing, relax.  It’s OK.  Find a comfortable chair or lay down and allow the furniture to relax with you.  Indicas are a great way to get a full night’s sleep.  Set yourself up for true enjoyment of this strain by turning off your phone and allowing yourself to be without responsibility before taking your medicine.

Sometimes indicas can make a person ‘couch-locked’, or induce the feeling of paralysis.  Because the body feels like it is slowed down so much, patients may become panicky if not prepared.

A few things to remember in this event: your heart will not stop.  Take deep breaths and remember it is physically impossible to overdose on marijuana.  Your metabolism just has to ride it out, and you will feel animated in a few hours.  Focus on the absence of pain, nausea and don’t worry.

Sativa strains usually have higher THC counts than indica.  THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.  It can alter visual, auditory and olfactory senses, bring on fatigue and appetite, create marked relaxation or, more often, energize patients.  It will usually makes one feel euphoric or happy!  A wonderful relief from depression.

In comparison to indicas, sativas are the day time medication.  Some activities to do while using sativa strains: draw, paint, go for a walk, watch a movie, write in a journal, eat and savour every morsel.  Sativas will help those who have been experiencing poor appetites make the act of eating a very pleasurable thing to do.  Beginners may feel their heart rate increase, or have sensitivity to light and touch – but again – it is physically impossible to overdose on marijuana and it only takes a few deep breaths and a gentle reminder that the medication is used to help, not harm.

Hybrids offer the best of both worlds.  A more even amount of THC to CBDs can be found in most hybrid strains and they are usually a more well-rounded approach to the alleviation of several symptoms.  Hybrid edibles are most common as bakers will use a combination of indica and sativa strains to make butter.  Edibles can be very potent, so even if you have become used to the effects of either sativa, indicas or both, an edible can change the experience.  Always start with a small amount of edible cannabis product and allow some time (even an hour) to pass before attempting more medication.  Drink lots of water.

The truth is, every patient reacts differently to their medicine, but when controlled and used to improve the quality of life, medical cannabis is an excellent and healthy choice.  Discuss your reactions with people you trust, your doctor and the staff at the dispensary.  Finding your perfect strain fit can be a wonderful adventure.

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