Safe Cannabis Use
Often the stigma associated with cannabis use is based on a bad past experience. There are so many options for cannabis use now which can be difficult to navigate for a beginner. To have a safe and positive experience these are some things to consider:
YOU CAN ALWAYS GO UP,
BUT YOU CAN’T GO DOWN
Dosage is very important when considering a cannabis product. Finding an optimal dose may take trial and error but the rule of thumb is to take a small dose (microdose) and take more later if needed (called “stacking”). Recording the dose and how you feel is an effective way of keeping track and further dialing in the correct dose that works for your body. If you take too high of a dose off the bat, there is no way to get off that train, so buckle up and enjoy the ride. Remember: no one has ever died of cannabis over-consumption but it can be uncomfortable.
Onset varies by cannabis product so it is important to go slow and allow for effects to kick in. Some products such as edibles can take up to 2 hours to feel any effects. Timing is also important based on the desired use and effect. For example, if sleepiness is the desired outcome and sublinguals are the method of consumption, one should consume approximately 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
If you made the mistake of taking more before waiting for effects to kick in, citrus has been known to combat the effects of ingesting too much THC.
PSYCHOACTIVE VS. NON-PSYCHOACTIVE
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoids from the cannabis sativa plant. The main difference between these compounds is that THC is psychoactive and CBD is non-psychoactive. In the past, plants were breeded to achieve high levels of THC but with the emergence of CBD being found to have many medicinal properties it is now the opposite. Plants can be bred to have very low levels of THC, but high in CBD. Or cannabinoids can be distilled to completely remove the components not wanted. CBD can also be found in hemp plants which traditionally have very minute levels of THC. This gives a whole new level of use for the cannabis plant, where an individual who wants health benefits but no high can utilize CBD.
Method of consumption is something to consider for safe use. For instance, dosing can be controlled and predictable when using a format like capsules. Or if a person wants the pain relieving properties of THC but doesn’t want a high, they can consider using topicals. Concentrates and extracts should be left to more experienced users, as they are just that - concentrated versions of cannabis.
Microdosing is a relatively new term referring to a minimum effective dose. Low enough to avoid perceptible effects (i.e. won’t cause interference with day to day activities) but high enough to have therapeutic benefits. This method of cannabis use is a good way to use for wellness or for a beginner who is nervous about feeling stoned or uncomfortable.