Series: A Medical Marijuana User’s Guide to Patient Responsibility (Part III)
What does it take to be a "good" medical marijuana patient? Read on to learn more about our final few recommendations for the responsible use of cannabis products.
9. Consider Your Behavioral & Societal Responsibilities
Medical marijuana should be used as part of a healthy, balanced, and responsible lifestyle, such as:
The decision to use should be made freely and responsibly, and not stem from social pressure.
Patients should develop sensible marijuana use limits self-based on personal, health, situational, and cultural factors.
It is important to be objective about your personal marijuana use and listen to the constructive advice of trusted others.
Medical marijuana should contribute to, rather than detract from a patient’s health, well-being, creativity, work, relationships, and social obligations.
Patients should avoid medical marijuana use that puts them or others at risk.
Patients should never use medical marijuana as an excuse for anti-social or irresponsible behavior.
Treat your marijuana as you treat other medications. Do not share it with friends, family members, children, or fur babies. Store it in its original packaging securely out of reach and danger of children, pets, and others that may use it intentionally or unintentionally.
Consider talking to your children about your marijuana medication openly, as you would discuss the safety and risks of other medications or alcohol.
10. Consume Cannabis Safely
This encompasses an array of important factors that range from diligent questioning and pro-active education, to an honest self-evaluation.
a. Talk to your doctor. Always, at the top of the list, talk to your doctor about your Rx and OTC (over-the-counter) medicines that you are taking to see if cannabis is right and safe for you. Like many other medications, marijuana has individual effects and interactions with medications, supplements, herbs, or diets.
b. Dose with caution. Dose like a crockpot - start low and go slow! Your Budtender (product specialist) can help you define low and slow.
c. Journal. Marijuana journaling will help you achieve the most positive, personalized cannabis experience and prevent an undesired effect from over consumption. It helps you to remember the products you’ve tried, what strains they were, and how they made you feel. By journaling, you can reflect on your starting point and how you felt with each experience. These are all important keys to mapping out a plan for you. (print a free journal page template from our website)
d. Know the potential risks and side effects of marijuana. Marijuana is medicine, and the medicinal effects differ between individuals - know how marijuana affects YOU. Side effects / contradictions may occur which may reduce coordination, inhibit patient’s ability to operate a motor vehicle or machinery, care for children, make decisions, and affect job performance. The most common effects are appetite stimulation, reddened or dry eyes, dry mouth/cotton mouth, altered sense of time.
Examples of over consumption or adverse reaction include temporary nausea, vomiting, perspiration, anxiety, paranoia, or increased heart rate. Over-consumption of marijuana has not been linked to cause death, but the side effects from over consumption like paranoia, sweats, anxiety, or increased heart rate could exacerbate other health complications. Heart racing or skipping a beat are signs that should be closely monitored, this adverse reaction is particularly dangerous for someone with a heart condition. Long term marijuana user could experience side effects from sudden withdraws, such as intensified anxiety, depression, and although rare, suicidal ideation.
If you find yourself exhibiting alarming thoughts, habits, or scenarios, you may be at risk of addiction or harm. Seek help, talk to a doctor, a trusted friend or call a hotline. Do not struggle alone! Local in Lees Summit, ReDiscover 844-994-4325 National Hotline Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration SAMHSA 800-662-4357 [help]
e. Evaluate yourself, know to avoid use of marijuana if you have one of the following problems or conditions, or carefully chose your marijuana medicine and with a doctor’s supervision: History of psychosis, or schizophrenia, or unstable psychiatric disease. Have an unstable heart or heart disease because marijuana can affect your heart rate and blood pressure. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you struggle or have a history of addiction to any drugs or alcohol. Marijuana affects brain development in minors, please face your situation weighing risk and reward. If you have a history of bipolar disorder, exercise caution when using cannabis. Sativa or strains high in THC could worsen anxiety, paranoia, and mania, while Indica strains could worsen depressive episodes or cause suicidal thoughts or urges.
f. Do not mix drugs! Know the inherent risks and dangers of DRUG-TO-DRUG INTERACTIONS. Stay informed on the evolving science of medication and cannabis, we will do our best to help too!
A few guidelines that will remain constant are: Like any medications, marijuana should not be combined with any other medication – Rx, OTC, supplement, or alcohol, without first discussing it with your doctor. Combining medicines is dangerous and potentially fatal. Drug interactions can be affected by various factors including the patient’s physical condition and disease state, their prescribed medications, and how well their body is metabolizing (breaking down & eliminating the drug). Cannabis can interfere, interact, or change the effectiveness and potency of some drugs. This is important to know because when potency is changed, it means you need to change the dosage of the prescribed medication and/or marijuana. There is both limited and contradictory data on the significant drug interactions caused by medical marijuana, always error on the side of caution. Seek immediate help if you, a child, a pet, or anyone is believed to have an adverse reaction for any reason: Call National Poison Control 314-772-8300 or Missouri Poison Control Center 314-772-8300 or 911.
11. Make Your Marijuana Product Selections Based on Your Individual Needs
Seek education on the different strains of marijuana as well as the methods/forms that is best for your need, 3rd Street Dispensary is happy to help you with that during your visit or consultation.
SELECT THE RIGHT STRAIN
Not all marijuana strains are created equal. When authorized to use medicinal marijuana, one of the first steps is education to find out what kind of marijuana is best known for your symptoms or desired goal. Until you know which strain or dose is best and exactly how it affects you...
Try in small dosages in the comfort of your own home.
Journal (Check out our free self-print journal template on our website)
Ask your 3SD Budtender Agent questions and be open/honest about your goals.
This will help you test different strains to find your perfect match. Keep in mind, strains are specie generalizations. The product’s profile, which is characterized by percentages of cannabinoids and terpenoids is more important. The different strains and profiles can seem overwhelming at first, but your 3SD Budtender Agent will help educate you on the purported effects of the varieties.
SELECT THE RIGHT CONSUMPTION METHOD
There are many different methods of using marijuana, but not all methods consumption devices or types may be ideal for you. For example, many patients appreciate the gradual body effects most popularly achieved from edibles while others prefer a more immediate effect that smoking offers. But, in some patients with certain health conditions like COPD (lung), smoking could aggravate symptoms instead of alleviating them; therefore, as in this example, one would require greater factors than preferences alone in making their choice. Before you buy:
Engage with your 3SD Budtender Agent, they know their products and methods and can help you select a method to fit your need, while also ensuring you know all the tips how to use the method.
Ask lots of questions, as many as you want.
It is always advised to talk to your doctor - discuss your condition and medications, and the consumption method options available or suggested for you.
A Medical Marijuana User’s Guide to Patient Responsibility is a three-part blog series brought to you by 3rd Street Dispensary, intended to help you prepare for a smooth cannabis experience from the dispensary to home. Missed parts one or two? Find them here.