First of all- and this is very important- in the world of medical marijuana, it’s not ‘weed’, or ‘pot’. It’s medication. This is not recreational usage. For many of us, it’s our last hope for something to help with whatever our qualifying conditions are. We don’t “use” marijuana, we “medicate” with marijuana. Don’t ever imply that a medical marijuana patient is looking for a buzz. We just want to have a life that is a little closer to what is considered normal. This former detox RN would never have considered medical marijuana if smoking it was my only option (though many MMJ patients get good relief with smoking their mj).
Prior to getting my MMJ card, I’d never smoked marijuana. I’d smoked regular cigarettes on and off for many years, starting in the hospital for anorexia when I was 18. I’d quit for a few years, then start up again. I quit for good the day I was admitted to the hospital for blood clots in my lung, back in April 2007. Before my dad died, he asked me if I’d ever consider using medical marijuana, and I told him that if I didn’t have to smoke it, I’d be willing to try it. I’m glad we had that conversation. It means a lot to me that he would understand, and be happy if I found something that made my life better… he always wanted my life to be better, and even though he’s been gone for nearly two years, I still feel his love and hopes for my life after he was gone.
Back to what it’s like to use medical marijuana… The biggest factor is how it’s used. Since I’m not smoking (using combustion to burn the product), my other options are vaping (no combustion- just convective heat to produce vapor), edibles, tinctures, sprays (under the tongue), and using it to cook with in mainstream foods (like ramen, spaghetti, etc). I don’t want regular meals to have MMJ in them… it would waste some of the MMJ since I’m not a fan of leftovers. I know some people sprinkle the decarboxylated flower on foods… but I’m not there yet.
My first exposure was edible infused chocolate, before bed. One little square of a hybrid, in one brand of commercial chocolate bar has 18mg of THC (or the part of marijuana that has psychoactive effects, depending on the dose) which was perfect. I slept incredibly well, and while I woke up with some pain, I went back to sleep immediately instead of tossing and turning for the rest of the night.
Since this is all new, it’s common to not quite get things right. The next night, I tried some vaping along with a different kind of chocolate… and I was zonked the next morning, and while I got up to use the bathroom, take my other meds, and get something to drink, I didn’t get UP until 2:00 p.m. Not the goal. But, lesson learned.
During the day, I’ve tried some of the sativa strains (which are different than the indica, or hybrids). Sativas are more ‘perky’…. my favorite edible for this is the gummy candies. They have THC, but I had no “high” at all, but did have some relief from some pain during the day. There are SO many strains. Check out Leafly.com for more info on the hundreds of strains of marijuana.
I’ve also been using CBD oil for months, which enhances the effects of the THC, and minimizes any unpleasant side effects (which are all dose related). The combination has definitely been helpful already, even only a few days into all of this.
Note to self: don’t decarboxylate everything (heat to release the active components of the flower/buds) before knowing what I’m going to use it for. There’s definitely a learning curve. But I haven’t felt ‘stoned’ at all (just really tired that one morning).
I made my first candy bar today with Girl Scout Cookies (strain of marijuana) and mint chips. Turned out that my math was a little off… but if I break each section of the bar in half, I’ll have a good dose- and it’s a sativa. I’ve had hybrids at night- and now have some indica (more relaxing and sedating).
Bottom line- I feel much more alert and intact than with opiates. I’m still learning a lot, and I’m sure I’ll make mistakes- but marijuana doesn’t kill people. It’s safe to adjust and test to get the right dose. In the meantime, I’ve taken no opiates since getting my MMJ card, and have no interest in them whatsoever. And with the MMJ, there is no interest at all in getting into the car, and risking a low speed chase 😉