Are you interested in trying medical marijuana but don’t know which product to start with? You’re not alone. One of the most common questions our doctors are asked is ‘who helps me decide which is the best cannabis product to take?’
Ultimately, the answer is, you do. The fact is, although others can help guide you to some extent, the one who decides which product is best is you. This is because everyone has a different endocannabinoid system (ECS), meaning that a product which may work for one person may not work for another.
Here’s some advice on getting the right product, and who to go to for advice if you are stuck.
Download Free Guide to the ECS
The Dispensary and Budtenders
The first person a patient usually asks about what product they should use is the budtender at the dispensary. Now, budtenders may have some good knowledge about the cannabis plant, but they are not usually scientists or doctors. This means that they cannot give medical advice, so if you are suffering from a serious condition, the budtender is not usually the best person to go to for advice.
Another problem is that many budtenders may still be looking at cannabis in outdated terms like “indica” and “sativa”, when really they should be looking at what cannabinoids and terpenes are actually in the cannabis, as this will give the best indication of effect.
What budtenders are good at is looking out for specific products, giving advice on how to consume cannabis, and the sorts of flavors and smells a particular variety may have. When it comes to determining the effect of a product, it is the test results on the package that’ll give you the best indication.
Download 5 Tips For Choosing A Medical Marijuana Product
Your Primary Care Physician or General Practitioner (GP)
You would think that a doctor would know quite a bit about dosing cannabis, but this is not necessarily the case. First of all, the endocannabinoid system is not taught at medical school, so physicians who specialize in medical cannabis have to research it in their own time. Second of all, there is little scientific literature giving advice on dosing. With most medicines, you are given advice on how much to take and when. With cannabis, you do not usually get this sort of advice, and patients are often left to their own devices.
Hence, if you want to be able to integrate medical cannabis into your healthcare and medication regime, then it is worth finding a doctor who understands medical marijuana and who will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
A Specialist Physician or Consultant
A GP knows a little bit about everything, whereas a consultant is a specialist who knows more about one specific area or part of the body (e.g. a cancer doctor is an oncologist). When you require serious care associated with a chronic or life-threatening condition, you will likely be referred to a specialist.
It is important to tell any specialist physicians about all of the medications you are using, including medical cannabis. This way they can take into account any negative interactions with other medications or treatments they may prescribe. They will also be able to tell you more about whether or not cannabis is working for you or not.
However, consultants have the same problems as GPs, and they may not understand the ECS fully. Again, you will need to have a discussion with your consultant about your plans to use medical cannabis, and if you’re lucky you may even find a consultant who understands the ECS and its relationship to their specialty!
Download Our 1 Pager Guide to Dosing Medical Marijuana
Friends and Family
You may ask a friend or family member what medical cannabis product worked for them. The problem with this approach is that you will be using what is useful for them, and not for you. Sure, it may work for you, but equally it may not. Therefore, it’s important to find out your preferences.
Advice on Finding the Right Product
Here’s some advice on finding the right product for you:
- Get an idea of what you want to use cannabis for. Do you want to reduce your intake of painkillers or sedatives? Do you want to be able to sleep for 6 hours or more? Do you want to eat a full meal? You can use cannabis to achieve these!
- Start slow and go low – don’t take too much at once to prevent the chances of an uncomfortable experience. Remember: you can take more, but not less.
- Look at the test results. What cannabinoids and terpenes are in the product? This will give you the best indication of the product’s effects. Also check the safety test results to ensure that there aren’t any pesticides, heavy metals or any other pollutants in your cannabis.
- Both THC and CBD can be therapeutically useful. Small amounts of THC can help treat depression, insomnia, chronic pain, nausea and appetite loss. CBD can be useful for treating anxiety, arthritis, neuropathic pain and headaches/migraines. You can use CBD to balance out and dampen THC’s psychoactivity should you find THC to be overwhelming.
- If the product has won multiple awards from various cup competitions, then this can be a good sign.
- You may want to try a few different products to find what’s right for you. Something with more THC and terpenes like myrcene, humulene and linalool in it can help you get to sleep at the end of the night. A product higher in CBD and terpenes like pinene, limonene and beta-caryophyllene may be more useful during the day in order to remain functional. An equal amount of THC and CBD is well-tolerated by many people, and can be useful throughout the day, and when CBD alone is not enough.
We recommend reading our guide on dosing if you would like a more comprehensive look on how to take cannabis. If you would like to know more and qualify for a medical marijuana card, then speak to one of the physicians here at Leafwell.