There are a lot of ways that you can use marijuana and marijuana-based products these days. Below is a list of some of the delivery methods you may choose, along with a ‘kit list’ for anyone just starting out.
- BONG – a glass container with a tube and bowl to burn the flower in, which is drawn in by mouth through a hole in the top. Water inside the bong ‘cools’ the smoke as you inhale it. Unfortunately, this is still smoking, and can cause cancer and other lung problems.
- PIPE – a personal smoking device that works very similarly to a typical pipe – you load the bowl with flower, then light it with a lighter and inhale. Also provides no filter, and the carcinogens are still going to be a consideration
- DRY HERB VAPORIZER – a vaporizer or ‘vaporizing pen’ that allows you to less harmfully smoke the heated up (not burned) flower. Many carcinogens are not ingested in this method, and it’s considered a better method for those choosing to use marijuana medically. Your best bet is to buy one that also allows you to use wax and/or shatter so that you have a simple adaptor in case that works better for you than the flower.
- GRINDER – This is a little gadget that grinds up your buds into small pieces to easily load into your vaporizer, pipe, or bong. You can’t use the whole bud without breaking it apart, and the grinder is the easiest way to break it up.
- KIT BAG – You’re going to want a discreet bag, like a makeup bag, to keep all your small items in and at your fingertips
- SMELL-PROOF BAGS – In case you have some ‘loose’ bud, you’re going to want to have a smell-proof bag to keep it in so your whole house doesn’t smell like weed
- HUMIDIFYING SACHETS – Keeping your bud in good condition, preventing mold, and preventing it from drying out are all very important. Be sure to pick up some of these sachets to add to your jars or bags of medication. These don’t act like normal desiccant packets to keep medications and so on from getting damp, but rather allow a two-way exchange of moisture, so it won’t over-dry your flowers, and it also keeps the moisture level in the jar stay at the appropriate level to avoid mold.
- PIPE CLEANERS – If you have a vaporizer, you are probably going to want to stock up some pipe cleaners to clean it. When you purchase it, be sure to read all instructions on how to maintain and clean it, and if you need pipe cleaners, grab some to add to your bag.
- TRAY – You’re going to want a smallish tray to handle your flowers over in case you spill any. If you’re lucky enough to have a bigger cosmetic bag for your goodies, then you can fit the tray in your bag.
- ORAL MOISTURIZING SPRAY – To get help with cottonmouth, a dry mouth condition caused by using THC, which can actually lead to cavities if you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth regularly.
- EYE DROPS – Some people get dry red eyes from using marijuana, and keeping some eye drops such as visine dry eye or ‘red eyes’ in your bag keeps it at your fingertips.
- LIGHTER – only needed if you’re planning on smoking the flowers or oils the old fashioned way.
- ROLLING PAPERS & ROLLER – if you’re planning on smoking joints or spliffs, choose rolling papers made from hemp or other less carcinogenic material, material for making a ‘filter,’ and, if you’re not handy at rolling your own, get yourself a tool to help you roll these.
- GUM OR MINTS – Some people enjoy a mint or some gum after they’ve consumed their flowers, and these also freshen your breath and keep the saliva moving in your mouth.
How to Figure out Which Strains to Try
Your first stop in your search for the ‘right’ strain for you should be at Leafly.com and/or Allbud.com. They have a comprehensive list of all the common, and most new, strains. They are constantly adding new strains to their database, so you can usually find what you’re looking for there. Choosing the right strain is extremely important, as every single strain has different attributes. Some were created specifically for medical purposes, including Charlotte’s Web (seizures), MediHaze (aka Boaty McBoatface), Girl Scout Cookies, Wappa (aka Brackley Beach Waves), Hindu Kush (aka Bakerstreet) and so many more treat different symptoms. Do some searching on these sites on the symptoms you want to treat. For example, if you want to treat fibromyalgia symptoms, there is a list on Leafly that gives you the top 10 recommended strains. Of course these are just suggestions, and you may want to try something else, but whatever you do, START LOW and GO SLOW. This is the mantra that is being used in the Medical Marijuana world, because something too strong may turn you off the idea completely without giving you any of the intended benefits.
CBD vs. THC
CBD – As many of you know, CBD-only Marijuana products are already legal. If you’re considering trying medical marijuana, it’s not a bad idea to try using CBD-only products, such as oils, before you decide you want to try THC. CBD on its own has been proven to help with sleep, weight loss, pain, anxiety, and stress. Give it some time – don’t expect it to work on the first try. Keep in mind that there is ‘too much of a good thing,’ and that in very high levels (over 40mg) can have the opposite effect, and could increase anxiety and stress among other things. The same holds true for THC.
THC – THC is the mind-altering chemical in marijuana. It’s considered a psychedelic as it changes your way of thinking, your ability to think clearly (the higher the dose, the higher the side effects), and your ability to drive safely. If you are considering using THC, keep in mind that you can’t drive while it’s in your system. It’s highly unsafe, and there is no real ‘measurement’ for how much is a ‘safe’ amount for driving or operating machinery. THC can enhance the effects of CBD, so many medical marijuana patients like a strain that has either a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC, or a 3:1, 2:1, (etc.) combination. THC and CBD work better together than either does separately, but THC is not necessarily required if the CBD is working well for you. THC can be used alone as well, and provides more pain-reduction, reduction in insomnia, and in some cases reductions in stress and anxiety; but again, too much THC can cause you to experience the opposite effects and you can also become paranoid and anxious if you over-do it.
Contraindications with Medications
It’s so important for you to make sure that your own doctor is aware that you are, or are planning to, use marijuana for your medical condition(s), and to find out if CBD or THC can interact with any medications that you are currently taking. There ARE medications that interact with THC/CBD or vice-versa, and some of these are antidepressants, so make sure to check in with your doctor or pharmacist if you start a new medication.
Edibles and oils are great for night time, as they get absorbed through the digestive system, and their effects last longer. You really have to play with your timing with these, as it really can take a few hours for the full effects to take effect. As previously stated, start LOW…and increase the dosage VERY slowly. If you tried a gummy edible, for example, and found it didn’t have any effect, try two gummies the next night. If you’re using oil, go up in tiny increments. Some LP’s suggest a mere 0.1 mg increase nightly, while others suggest starting with 0.5ml and going up just 0.5mg per night. Because it takes so long for the full effect to set in, you really shouldn’t try to take more the same night. Take your time so that you don’t end up overdoing it.
Vaping is a commonly chosen treatment for daytime medical use as you can consume as much or as little as you like simply by vaping more or less as needed throughout your day.
Smoking is the old tried-and-true method, and while this method may seem like the simplest, cheapest solution, it also causes the same issues that smoking cigarettes can cause. Anything that you inhale that burns contains carcinogens, and that includes marijuana. Some strains also make asthma and other breathing issues worse (though studies are underway to see if some, Indica-based strains, can actually ‘help’ asthma sufferers), and may also contribute to the development of other breathing disorders such as emphysema.
Take your time exploring all your options, talking to your physician or someone who specializes in medical marijuana prescriptions, and talking to others you may know who use it for similar or the same disorders. This is not as simple as filling a prescription at a pharmacy for equally dosed tablets or liquids; the various strains and strengths are seemingly limitless, and it may not work for you, just like any other kind of medication. Just keep an open mind and don’t rush in without doing your homework first!