Whether you’re managing chronic pain, nausea, or mental health disorders, cannabis is a great way to combat a myriad of approved illnesses and their symptoms. The social stigma around using cannabis can sometimes create some mystery on how to properly buy, store, and ingest it, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy to go from amateur to expert. Here are some of the common mistakes patients make when they start their medical cannabis journey.
Before you do, though, it’s important to remember that in the state of Maryland cannabis is only legal for medical patients. Patients should consult with their doctors to understand which types of cannabis and what amounts are right for them.
Mistake #1: You’re not inhaling properly
To get the full effects of smoking cannabis, you can’t just hold the smoke in your mouth and then let it out, you have to inhale it. To inhale, take a slow deep breath and suck in. You should feel the smoke go down the back of your throat and into your lungs. Some patients think holding the smoke in for longer will enhance your high, but that is a myth. You can exhale normally after a second or two and still get the full effect. You should also take smaller inhales, especially at first, to avoid coughing.
Mistake #2: You’re taking too much or too little cannabis
This is something that will come with experience but it’s important not to get frustrated when first starting out. When you eat store-bought edibles, it’s easy to know exactly how much THC you’re getting at a time because the dose is written right on the package. Make sure to start with a product lower in THC and increase your dose slowly over multiple occasions until you feel the desired result. “I’m not feeling it, I’ll just take some more” is one of the most common mistakes first-time users can make!
Smoking just the right amount is a little bit more tricky. It’s much harder to know exactly how much THC you are getting and there are other contributing factors such as:
- The method you’re using to smoke the flower
- How strong the flower is.
- Your personal tolerance. Cannabis affects everyone differently, so it’s important to listen to your own body.
But just like with edibles, start small and go from there. You can always smoke more but you can’t smoke less. If you feel you’ve smoked too much, don’t panic! While it may be an unpleasant feeling, you can’t overdose on cannabis. Follow these suggestions if you ever feel overwhelmed.
Mistake #3: You aren’t storing your cannabis correctly
Cannabis is incredibly easy to store as long as you know how to do it. To keep your flower fresh, it’s best to protect it from:
That might sound complicated, but cannabis doesn’t have to be stored in a locked freezer. Simply keeping it in an airtight/light-blocking container will keep it fresh. If you don’t have a light-blocking container, a drawer or cabinet works just as well! While you don’t have to keep it cold, it’s best to keep it at a temperature cooler than 75 degrees. So if it’s going to be a scorcher and you don’t have air conditioning, you can store it in your refrigerator. Also, if you’re bothered by the smell, you can purchase a bag like this to block the scent as well as light.
Mistake #4: You aren’t using a grinder
Whether you’re smoking, using a vape, or cooking with cannabis, you have GOT to use a grinder. A grinder breaks apart the flower by grinding it against metal “teeth”. Grinding your flower means it will burn slower and more evenly. Grinders are inexpensive and work much better than breaking your cannabis up by hand. You can also save the little cannabis crystals that shake out and collect while you’re using a grinder, more commonly known as “kief”. Kief, smoked alone or sprinkled on regular flower, packs a pretty strong punch, so use it sparingly at first. Check our our accessories here.
Mistake #5: You’re only smoking your cannabis
Smoking is a common way to use cannabis. However, in the last decade, countless products have hit the market to help patients consume cannabis without smoking. You can take edibles, you can drink THC beverages, or you can even relax with a THC bath bomb. With products like these, you can also control the ratio between THC and CBD. Branching out and experimenting with these different methods is educational and can help you find the perfect product for you.
Mistake #6: You aren’t buying the right strain of cannabis
There are three different strains of cannabis:
- Indica - believed to have a relaxing effect
- Sativa - believed to have an energizing effect
- Hybrid - a combination of indica and sativa, often with different percentages of the two
Some scientists claim there isn’t a chemical difference between the strains, but users swear they are affected differently. Dispensaries name and sort their strains to help users find the perfect one. So, if you want a calming effect, try an indica. If you feel like you get too sleepy or “veg”, try using a sativa.
As the “burned out” stoner stereotype fades, and using cannabis is becoming medically accepted in many states, more and more people are using it for the first time. With just a little bit of experimenting and patience, you too can easily be a cannabis pro in no time.