Troubleshooting Medical Marijuana
Troubleshooting Medical Marijuana
You’ve read the numerous forum posts extolling the benefits of cannabis, and your friends all harp on the miraculous improvements they’ve experienced in their quality of life since taking a more holistic approach to their healthcare. Yet for some patients, this all might feel like a bunch of overhyped nonsense. Like with most conventional medications, not everyone is going to respond the same to cannabis for multiple reasons we’ll discuss later. Sometimes, you just need to do a bit of troubleshooting – with the following tips and tricks, we’re almost certain you’ll be able to finally experience that long sought-after relief.
Looking Beyond THC
A lot of patients may think that THC is the most important part of the plant, and only know of CBD as that oil that helps kids with seizures. CBD is a natural part of the cannabis plant that can be found in many strains in Maryland. It can have a synergistic effect with THC and other cannabinoids to fight pain and inflammation. It also counteracts many of the negative or unwanted side effects from THC (such as the psychoactive ‘high’) helping patients to remain functional when they have things to get done at home. Aiming for a 1:1 ratio tends to be effective for many conditions, so try asking for products like that next time you visit a dispensary.
To Eat or Not to Eat
Some patients report that using edibles provides them the best relief for pain and some GI conditions, while others claim that only smoked bud or tinctures work for their conditions. If both methods effectively deliver cannabinoids to the body, then are these differences just in their heads? There actually is a difference in metabolism between the two methods, with oral administration using your liver enzymes more heavily. The slower, steadier metabolism involved with ingesting edibles makes it almost like an extended-release version of cannabis for some patients – which they may or may not find preferable. Ultimately, getting out of your comfort zone and exploring different routes of administration could put you on the right track to finding exactly what you need.
Some Boiling Pointers
Smoking cannabis makes your clothes smell and irritates your lungs, so maybe you’ve tried the cleaner route of vaping. This method may be more discreet, but it’s also a bit more complicated. The various cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant each have separate boiling points, which means the temperature of your vape pen may not be appropriate for the terpenes or cannabinoids that are most beneficial for you. Many of the vape pens on the market don’t have enough accuracy to let you know which specific cannabinoids you’re targeting. If inhaling cannabis doesn’t seem to be working for you, try exploring edibles, tinctures and topicals, which can deliver the medication more consistently.
Cannabinoid Alphabet Soup
While CBD may be foreign to some patients, the lesser cannabinoids like CBG (Cannabigerol), CBN (Cannabinol) and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) are even less utilized. Although they’re only present in small quantities in some plants, just a little can improve your relief. For example, a small percentage of CBN in an indica strain can help enhance its sedative properties to combat insomnia. Dispensaries are also starting to carry extracts of CBG and CBN so it’s worth experimenting with these options since, like CBD, they don’t get you high.
Look Out for the Little Guys
While lesser cannabinoids are regularly forgotten about, we tend to pay even less attention to terpenes despite their numerous potential benefits. Terpenes provide the distinct aromas and flavors to the various cannabis strains, but certain terpenes are particularly beneficial as we’ve explored in a previous blog. One patient at our clinics found that she wasn’t getting the relief she needed for her hip and back pain. However, by paying attention to certain terpene profiles and experimenting with higher levels of linalool, myrcene and beta-caryophyllene, she found a combination that let her walk again pain-free. Always check the labels, because not every strain is grown the same and there can be terpene variations between growers and even between different batches.
As you can see, there are countless variables involved in finding the right strain for you, many of which can be dictated by your genes. Additionally, people can have a wide range of different cannabinoid receptor mutations and enzyme mutations. In some cases, these variants may even be partially responsible for the patient’s illness. Although rare, some patients will report experiencing nothing when using cannabis, not even a ‘high’. If troubleshooting the medication still doesn’t work, you may ultimately need to search for another treatment option. Until more research is done, unfortunately this experimentation is largely left up to the individual. Hopefully by taking everything into consideration, you can finally find the results you’ve been longing for.
Green Health Docs provides patients with guidance when it comes to different cannabis strains and cannabinoids, as well as dosing and delivery methods. We also regularly post educational and informative blogs in response to our patient’s most frequently asked questions. For more information on becoming a legal medical marijuana patient or if you have a specific topic you’d like us to cover, please call or text us at 240-356-1000 (Maryland) or 614-269-3085 (Ohio).