How to Manage the Effects of Medical Marijuana When You’ve Got Things to Do
Having a Busy Schedule Doesn't Mean You Can't Get Relief
Here at Louisiana Marijuana Card, we get it! You want relief for your chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, PTSD, nausea, and other symptoms that get in the way of feeling your best. But you might be concerned that medical marijuana will cause too much impairment to knock out the things on your to-do list.
The THC in marijuana does have a reputation for making you feel “high,” or “buzzed,” and it may be one of the reasons why some people in Louisiana are still hesitant to use medical marijuana in their day-to-day lives.
However, medical marijuana has come a long way since California legalized it in the 90s. It’s come an even longer way since Louisiana legalized medical use of marijuana in 1978. Despite the fact that research has been stunted due to strict Federal regulations, we’ve learned a lot about the way our bodies interact with all the components of cannabis products.
The best way to make sure you can get relief with confidence is to arm yourself with information. When you know your facts, you can use medical marijuana in the way that best serves your health and peace of mind.
Before we get into advice on taking medical marijuana when you’ve got things to do, let’s clarify how medical marijuana works with your body to promote wellness and relieve symptoms.
What Are Cannabinoids?
“Cannabinoids” is a word that often pops up on websites and in literature providing information about using cannabis to treat your conditions or symptoms. But what are they? How do they affect you? And what difference do they make?
Every cannabis plant (and other plants like echinacea, sunflowers, and even black pepper) contains dozens of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. The most commonly-mentioned cannabinoids are THC and CBD, but we have recently begun understanding more about how other cannabinoids interact with our bodies as well.
Products are hitting the shelves containing CBG, CBN, CBC, Delta 8 THC, and more.
Thought to be protective factors against fungus, bacteria, insect infestation and bad weather, cannabinoids developed in plants over centuries of evolution. Their effectiveness in protecting plants may very well explain their effectiveness in helping humans heal.
Cannabinoids interact with a system in your body only recently discovered, called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is part of your nervous system, and it affects just about every organ in your body. It receives and transmits signals about internal and external changes, and directs your body in how to respond.
Your body produces its own endocannabinoids, but deficiencies and imbalances may lead to illness. Introducing plant-based cannabinoids, then, helps to support the way your body functions when it is healthy.
What About Terpenes?
The difference between terpenes and cannabinoids can be confusing. This simplest explanation is that they vary from cannabinoids in the way they are absorbed by the body.
Terpenes are some of the most abundant chemical compounds in the world. They give plants and even some animal components their smell and flavor. Terpenes work in your system on two separate fronts. They act as an aromatherapeutic element, and they may also interact with the ECS.
Research regarding the way terpenes interact with the human body is limited, but aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years. At the very least, we know how the smells and flavors of specific cannabis strains can affect the way we feel.
Why Do Terpenes and Cannabinoids Matter?
The balance of terpenes and cannabinoids in any given medical marijuana product can directly influence the way you feel when you use them. Understanding their effects can help you make better choices about the products you’re using, and know what to expect when you take them.
In Louisiana, it may be more of a challenge to understand the strains used to make your medical marijuana products. You may not know the concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes in your products. However, an honest consultation with someone at Louisiana Marijuana Card or with a pharmacist at a Louisiana dispensary may clear up some of the questions you have about what’s in your tinctures, edibles, sprays, inhalers, and capsules.
How Do I Prevent Myself From Becoming Too Impaired for Regular Functioning While Using Medical Marijuana?
Before we get into how to use medical marijuana, we need to make it very clear that you should treat medical marijuana just like any other new medication. Never drive, operate heavy machinery, or supervise young children without first knowing how it affects you.
Limit How Much Medical Marijuana You Take
The great thing about the medical marijuana products you can find in Louisiana is that you have complete control over how much you take at once (generally). The best way to control how “high” or “buzzed” you feel is to take less. Use half a dropperful, eat half a gummy, and so on.
Mark out some time when you don’t have anything you need to do, and get to know your products and how your body responds. If you are using edibles, tinctures, or other ingestible items, give yourself ample time for your body to absorb the products before making a determination about their effects, then take detailed notes so you know for next time.
Try to find the right balance between relief and the psychoactive effects, so you know how much you can take without becoming impaired.
Take Medical Marijuana With CBD
Your chosen product may already have a strong CBD to THC ratio, but you can always add more CBD to your dose. There is some evidence that CBD and THC work together for enhanced benefits known as the entourage effect. This may reduce the amount of medical marijuana you need to take in order to get relief.
In addition to reducing the amount of THC you need for stronger effects, CBD may also counteract the euphoric effect of THC. This is not the case for everyone, and it is affected by a number of factors including your personal body chemistry and even what you ate for breakfast.
Use a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) or Topicals
Using medical marijuana in an ingestible form like an edible, capsule, or tincture can lead to delayed effects. This is the number one way that people end up accidentally getting “too high.” They may eat a gummy, think it isn’t affecting them, then take more—or head out for the day—before it hits them.
Inhaled forms of medical marijuana take effect faster, meaning that you won’t be in for a surprise two hours later when your body starts to digest. Topicals are even better if you are taking your medical marijuana for chronic pain. You can apply to a targeted area, providing relief to the spot you need it most, and you don’t have to worry about the overall effects.
How to Manage if You Accidentally Become Impaired From Medical Marijuana
If you accidentally get too impaired for normal functioning from medical marijuana, don’t panic. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are in a safe environment, and that any small children in your care are also looked after.
Once you know everyone you are responsible for (including yourself) is safe, take a few deep breaths and get a drink of water. This will help you feel more grounded and start getting your bearings.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!
Making sure you have plenty of fluid in your system will help move THC through your body and help you clear it faster. Water is an excellent choice, but herbal tea or sports drinks are also helpful. Just make sure you avoid caffeine, which can make your anxiety spike when you are already struggling.
Being hungry can contribute to the feeling of being too impaired to function when you take medical marijuana. If you didn’t eat before you took your dose, it may be why you are struggling later. Try eating snacks that are high in nutrients and protein. They will nourish your body and help THC move through your system.
Just be careful not to eat a heavy meal, because that may contribute to drowsiness. It may also increase nausea and cause vomiting.
Black peppercorns interact with the ECS and may help bring you back if you are feeling impaired. Sprinkling freshly ground pepper on your food may help you feel calmer, thereby giving you a stronger sense of security and reducing some of the anxiety that makes things worse when you’ve overindulged.
Talk to the Knowledgeable Staff at Louisiana Marijuana Card if You Still Have Questions
At Louisiana Marijuana Card, we are always here to help. Give us a call at (833) 253-2943 and we can answer any questions you have. While our phone staff is always happy to help whether you have a history with us or not, getting your recommendation through Louisiana Marijuana Card means our doctors are always ready to consult with you as well.
We will do everything we can to ensure you have all the information you need for a successful experience finding the relief you deserve.