Weed has been known to man for over 8,000 years, has over 200 different compounds to include oil terpines and cannabinoids, and now the world has well over 2,000 different genetic strains. What follows is limited to my own exposure and research: medical marijuana is the subject of doctoral theses and an uncountable number of research papers – this article series barely counts as a summary.
Like alcohol, mankind sure does enjoy its vices. For the first time though, we’re able to get into the genetics and molecular details of this plant and can isolate the majority of the terpines (responsible for flavor, texture, scent) and cannabinoids (THC, CBD, et al). Marijuana hash expert Frenchy Cannoli traveled the world and learned the best way to make temple balls (more on that later), but never knew why these ways were the “best” until he came to the ‘States and took his work to the laboratory. These molecular details have everything to do with my research, and all my work is based on Frenchy Cannoli’s expert work (which is to say, based on the processes he demonstrates, I know what results I should aim for).
Frenchy’s YouTube videos, classes and other materials are Master-Class-level, if you’re interested in the subject you should review everything he’s ever done, it’s seminal.
Use by Minors
Children have to learn how to think, how to be awake and alert as their “normal”. When they get stoned regularly, their brains get droopy-eyed and half-asleep becomes their default. They lose the ability to focus in their adulthood because they never developed the habits to snap-to and pay attention.
Athletes look at a 14’er and think “Sunday trip, back by lunch”, but desk jockies who never go out consider the same thing a radical weekend achievement. If you’re under 21 and doing weed regularly, your brain will never, ever be athletic, you’ll be a burger slinging drone with the literal attention span of a goldfish (documented 10 seconds) until you make your brain sweat for a few years like it was supposed to be doing while you were young.
If you’re reading this and you’re under 21 and don’t have a medical condition, go to college FIRST and get some reasons to get high in your adulthood. Getting stoned before you’re old enough to not be affected by plain ol’ caffeine (which stunts bone growth in youths) is just stupid, and you’re going to stay that way (stupid) if you don’t knock it off. No, it won’t directly hurt you and no, it won’t cause brain damage, you’ll just never get into the habit of thinking properly in the first place.
Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis – Your Milage May Vary
Like left brain (logic) and right brain (creative) has been debunked over time, the affects of Indica (body stone), Sativa (head stone) and Ruderalis (mix) has also been disproven. The original heirloom strains might have been more consistent in the 60’s, but with the multitude of genetic variants in boxed products nowadays there’s one rule: you have to try different things to know how it affects you.
Please note: If you have adult ADHD it’s likely that what other people experience is flat-out opposite for you, so you definitely have to try different things first.
The image above shows what MOST cannabis plants and their leaves look like according to species. My work focuses on the Blue Blood strain (more on that later) – the plant looks like the Sativa pictured above, but the leaves are more Ruderalis.
The first frustrating truth is that if you have a muscle condition you might need Sativa… or not. If you have anxiety most recommend an Indica, but in some people it can make it worse! Can’t sleep? Try CBG… unless CBN works better for you. There is one patient on record who had seizures every hour of his life until he smoked a certain strain, and then they stopped completely for months. Due to availability issues he tried a different strain that was molecularly identical in the lab and yet his seizures resumed immediately. He switched back to the original when it was available again, and all symptoms ceased once more.
You have to try different things to see what happens & you have to try different doses. CBN is great for nerve issues (such as pinched nerves), but may also knock you out… unless you have a higher dose, and then you can function during the day as normal with significantly reduced pain. The more CBD you take, the less THC will have an impact.
Well, the same impact than if you didn’t take CBD first. For most people.
Researching the ol’ Mary Jane can get VERY expensive, frustratingly so. I recommend trying an heirloom strain first of Sativa one day and Indica another so that you know what each does to you, then you can mess with hybrids that are “60% Sativa & 40% Indica” as marketed. I ended up with a lot of leftover product in my fridge, but once I learned which had what effect over a year I used it all (this helps me sleep, this calms the nerves, this relaxes the muscles…).
First thing to know is that in almost every instance ever recorded, cannabis won’t hurt you – you may check out for 24 hours, but you’ll be okay afterwards pretty much no matter what. If you get stoned off your ass it’s okay, lock the doors and plug in a good movie, you’ll be alright in 12 hours. If you’re seriously worried, call a friend and have them come over to watch the movie with you, but you almost certainly don’t need to call 911.
That said though, the second thing to know is that your heart rate will probably spike (not radically, but it won’t be low) while you’re dosed. If you have a heart condition or blood pressure related issues, talk to a doctor first and take your dosing slowly.
Nobody’s ever OD’d on CBD, nor CBG or CBN, THC or any other marijuana component. On average you might start with 5 or 10 mg of whatever and see what happens. A 1mg ” microdose” was for me too small, it hit late and I never noticed. 5 is enough to notice, but if you’re in significant pain you won’t notice a change to pain so you won’t know if it actually helps. Down the road though, a microdose with coffee is enough for me to not need a hit for pain remediation that afternoon.
(click on the image above for the full article from Leafly)
The general safety of the drug is why people will smoke a random joint or hit on a bong and not be worried, while still having absolutely no clue how many milligrams they’re about to put into their body. This is a point of contention and is part of my research: when you grow your own, how to figure out exactly how much medicine you’re making and ingesting! There’s frustratingly little content in the world on this subject, and it’s because people haven’t cared about actual dosing for generations. “Microdose, whassat? Just smoke the joint, it’ll be fine”, and for the most part it is – you just can’t work, or drive, or function at all while trying to be a good parent to your children in the same room… my research is based on avoiding these scenarios.
If you’re in pain, I recommend trying 10mg of whatever at noon when you have NO other responsibilities, if you’re anxious or have adult ADHD then start with 5mg. If it makes you sleepy you get a siesta, if it makes you jittery it’ll wear off by about bedtime. All doses run their course at about 12 hours if ingested, 6 hours if smoked. Run the next experiment the next day, and some will need to be repeated due to tolerance changes.
Smoking vs Ingestion
Smoking hits harder and faster since the vapors enter the bloodstream directly via the alveoli in the lungs but it doesn’t last as long. Ingestion requires that it go through the digestive tract and be converted by the liver, so it can take upwards of two hours to hit but will last twice as long. Ingestion will also provide different phases: sleepy at first but then “normal”, or happy-heady-high before being sedated a couple hours later.
By means of example, if you’re new and you ingest a 50mg gelcap right off the top, you’ll feel nothing for the first hour, something in the second, seriously affected in 3 hours and goddamn stoned in 4, and you’ll stay that way until about 12 hours later. I mention this because if you’re trying something, wait two hours before ingesting anything else, and try something new a full day later so that you can separate affects of one substance from another.
Smoking is not recommended due to tars and other junk in the smoke that will negatively affect your lungs. There are new smoking methods and substances that are more “pure & clean”, but in terms of health nothing beats the classic brownie.
The Secret to Medical Use
Cannabis isn’t like codeine or morphine or even Advil: it does not block pain, it changes your awareness of pain, your perception of it. This is why it’s not addictive, it doesn’t impact your body’s ability to deal with pain and thus magnify said pain when the medication wears off.
If you take 5mg and think “my pain’s not stopping, this SUCKS” then take another 5mg 1 full hour later. By the time you’re thinking “Um, whoah, okay.. this is new, I still hurt, but…” that’s your approximate dose. Let it ride out over time and see how it goes, then decide to increase or decrease depending on your pain the next day.
If you hurt and you know you hurt, but you can’t really stand up and you forgot where the couch is, you took too much. If you can’t really see you took WAY too much. Sit down and smile at yourself, you’ll be okay. Ride it out, check out the floor and cut the dose the next day. Call a friend over if you want, it’s okay if you need 10 minutes to figure out the redial.
All this being said, how do you use weed to resolve aches and pains, muscle cramps, searing nerve pinch pain, MS or other ailments?
- Find out first what product has what affect on you.
- When you get the right affect, figure out the dose
- When you have the affect and the dose, figure out WHY it’s working (next article)
- Shape the next products you purchase based on the why: high CBD to THC ratio? More CBN, or more CBG?
- Find out what works best, then go get some more of that. In my case, 5mg THC in a 1:1 ratio with CBN sharply and very positively affected nerve pain and muscle cramping but didn’t necessarily knock me out (I take it with coffee, good to go for the day). For a good pain day, a 1mg microdose of the same with coffee is good for the whole day.
- I’ve found that consistent dosing actually reduces my symptoms over time: here’s the “miracle” part of the drug, it supports homeopathic restoration of “normal” in your body without your body freaking out because of pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. Often, things will calm down and you’ll need less other medication than you ever have before, and you’re okay with it. This is the whole point, and endgame: take less, live more.
What does it feel like?
Clearly the answer to this is subjective, but what I think is consistent is the “fuzzing”; per above, it changes your awareness of pain, right? This is because it’s like white noise, you can tune out what’s ailing you. “Body high” fuzzes the body, relaxes everything and changes awareness of nerve and muscle pain. “Head high” gives you something else to think about than what’s bothering you, or splits your attention so you can’t hyperfocus on a single thing and go down that rabbit hole.
There are visual cues, too – the harder you’re hit the more you see little dots or stars until the white noise becomes so strong you can’t really process what you’re seeing (50-75mg, for me). These doses take you past your ability to function normally and is considered too much for medicinal use.
That said though, people who are in distinct pain can take 100mg+ and it’ll simply meet the endorphins and adrenaline caused by the pain and they’ll feel relatively normal, they just can’t see straight at first. To say dosing is highly individual is an understatement.
The secret then is not to get so fuzzed you can’t live, but fuzzed enough that what’s ailing you can be tuned out. You have life goals: go achieve them without distraction by pain or overuse of drugs.
A Musical Analogy
Consider a series of notes – what note is your ailment? A-Sharp (ADHD hyper-anxiety), or G-Flat (muscle cramping or bone-deep ache)? You’re looking for the medicine that introduces white noise / static at that same frequency.
Side effects: appetite and water intake
Some evidence shows obesity links to marijuana, other studies show the opposite. Indica vs. Sativa is supposed to have a bearing on whether it’s an appetite suppressant or stimulant, but as I said above it varies per person and per situation.
What I’ve found is that it simply disconnects the feedback from the stomach to the brain. You can be hungry while you’re eating your second burger… and then forget to eat for another 24 hours.
My best advice is to recognize this disconnect regardless of what you’re taking and focus on your eating habits: you’re not consuming more or less calories (generally – you may be couchlocked but your heart rate’s probably up), so eat like you’re used to. If you normally skip breakfast but you’re hungry, ignore it. If you’re used to big dinners then do what your body’s used to, but don’t overdo it. Be aware of your eating habits BEFORE you dose so that you don’t go off the rails.
Indica (relaxed, body-stone, couch-lock feeling) is a muscle relaxant. This works by adjusting the water in your muscles: this is why you get “cotton mouth” / “dry mouth”, it’s because your mouth is legit dry as the tongue is a big muscle and the salivary glands themselves are affected. You will probably need more water after you dose – like your food intake, be aware of this, and know that you’ll need more water and that this is normal, but don’t over-do water intake either. If you’ve already had a LOT of water, Just hold some in your mouth and swish it around for a little while (might not use gum, you may forget how not to swallow it..). In the end, you’re looking to urinate clear: if your urine is smelly and harsh yellow/orange, drink more water over the course of the day until it isn’t.
Lastly, you may get some pretty serious water retention (I gained 10 pounds when I started this research, and it was all water gain). Don’t sweat it, drink plenty of water each day to teach your body it doesn’t have to retain and not to freak out. A few weeks later – it does take that long – you’ll start to lose that water weight again.
Side effects: “couch lock”, dry tongue