Would Using Cannabis be Right for Me?
Note: Cannabis contains sustances that are medicinally active. Only your doctor will know if the use of cannabis is contraindicated by the use of other prescription drugs you may be taking. Please consult your doctor before beginning any cannabis use.
Years of prohibition have limited medical studies of cannabis, but great work has been done in Israel and other locations and there is mounting evidence that cannabis may be useful for treating many disorders, including:
Anxiety (but note that excessive amounts of THC may actually increase anxiety)
(Research into the use of cannabis a cure for cancer is only at the initial stages and unproven at this point, but it can be useful for managing symptoms related to conventional treatments.)
Update: Cannabinoid compounds may inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells
(including opioids and alcohol)
For those who just starting to learn about cannabis, I highly recommend the Cannabis 101 series at Leafly.ca:
What is cannabis and what is a cannabis strain?
Indica vs. Sativa: What's the Differerence Between Cannabis Types?
CBD vs. THC: What's the Difference?
There are many "How to" articles in the Cannabis 101 section at Leafly as well.
If you want to learn more about the history of research being done on the therapeutic use of cannabis, there is no better source than Raphael Mechoulam. Here are links to some of his videos.
Endocannabinoid System: A Fifty Year Trip
Research on Cannabinoids Over the Decades and What's to Come.
Prof. Raphael Mechoulam - Medical Cannabis - Complete Interview with Live Doctors
|Possible Negative Effects of Cannabis Use
This article explains why some people get body shakes after using cannabis.
This article is about what might happen if you consume too much cannabis
The article linked below does a good job of detailing negative effects that can come with excessive use of cannabis or use of strains that are too high in THC.
11 Signs Your Cannabis Use Needs Curtailing
About Topicals: Creams, Lotions, and Oils
Do Cannabis Topicals Get You High?
Cannabis Topicals: Will I Get High, Fail a Drug Test and End Up Smelling Skunky?
(This article was written before the sale of topicals became legal in Canada.)
How Does Topical CBD Help Pain and Inflammation? CBD Balm and Cream
What Can I Expect When I Use Cannabis for the First Time?
(Please see the note about consulting your doctor in the left hand column on this page.)
The advice usually given for those who are new to cannabis use is, "Start low and go slow."
The effects of cannabis use will vary by the strain you use.
Strains very high in CBD and low in THC (like Charlotte's Web) will not make you high, but they will work on restoring balance to the body and may be effective in dealing with pain.
Strains that are high in THC tend to make you feel "high" but, in moderation, users often report feeling relaxed, happy, euphoric, uplifted or creative. Some strains may make you feel sleepy, and they have an application in treating insomnia, while others may leave you feeling in overdrive and ready to keep busy all day.
Thousands of users have reported the effects of different cannabis strains on Leafly.ca, and it rates each of them on a scale from "Calming" to "Energizing". The effects may not be the same for you as those reported by the majority of users, but at least these reports can be a starting point for identifying strains that may produce the effects you are looking for.
Government websites generally do not provide information about the effects in much detail, so it is best to note the varieties of dried flower and seeds being sold by your local government website, and check for the potential and most common effects on Leafly.ca.
The most commonly reported side effects are dry mouth, dry eyes, and dizziness, but more serious effects like anxiety or paranoia can occur with some strains, so it is important for beginners to avoid excessive use. There are some strains which provide a mixture of THC and CBD, often at a 1:1 or 3:1 ratio and I would recommend their use, because the CBD tends to reduce possible negative effects from the THC. Please see this video at the 10:20 mark.
One common but disturbing side effect that comes with overuse of certain strains is called "couch lock", and that is a great term to describe the effect. You can actually feel like your muscles do not want to move and you end up sitting on the couch for an extended time. This effect is mainly associated with certain strains of cannabis that have high levels of the terpene myercene.
This video also reports that, with higher doses of THC there is an increased risk of acute psychosis and it can potentially increase the risk of schizophrenia.
So, what to do?
First, as indicated above, you need to research the strain you plan to consume using a resource like Leafly.ca. Since this site has accumulated reports for the effects of some strains that are made by about 10,000 people, the results could be considered statistically significant.
Secondly, I'll repeat the advice given previously to start low and go slow. If you are smoking the cannabis (something I don't really recommend) then you should be able to feel the effects quite quickly and have some idea as to how your body is being affected in about 15 minutes. If you are using sublingual tinctures, like the ones I prepare, you should feel the effect within within 10 minutes but the overall effect may still increase after that. In the case of edibles, like gummies or brownies, you may not feel the full effects for up to two hours!
The most common rookie mistake is taking a dose, feeling little or nothing in terms of the immediate effects, and then going to repeated dosages too quickly. If you get too high, one remedy is to take a product that contains CBD but no THC, and that will help moderate the effects for you.
Thirdly, consider using a good beginner strain with equal parts of THC and CBD. These strains typlically have less than 10% THC and CBD, but the lower level so THC, combined with the balanced CBD, are much less likely to lead to any negative consequences. I'm located in Ontario and I have found that both Lemon Sapphire and Argyle seeds and products have been available on the OCS.ca website, and they both offer a good balance of CBD and THC.
And lastly, please remember that we are all different. What I experience when I take a dose of a certain strain may be entirely different from what you experience. You are the only person who can judge whether taking a certain cannabis product is right for you.