Even if you’re an experienced cannabis user, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of the basic dos and dont’s of responsible cannabis use. Some of the following guidelines may seem overly obvious to most of you, but we just want to make sure that we have covered all bases…
Always remember that, at this time, cannabis is still illegal for medicinal purposes.
Know the limit of how much of any cannabis product you should consume over a given period of time in a given situation. Always remember that certain cannabis strains and products can have very intense and/or long-lasting effects, and that these effects can take time to fully set in.
It is recommended that you carefully establish these limits in the privacy of your own home.
- Never operate any motorized vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.
- Never operate any potentially hazardous equipment, machinery, tools or appliances while under the influence of cannabis.
- Unless you’ve been prescribed medicinal cannabis, it’s generally not a good idea to be under the influence of cannabis at work, whether you operate a deli, operate an accounting firm or operate on people or animals.
Use extra caution when using cannabis with a pipe or a dabbing system to guard against fire hazards and accidental burns.
Never try to create solvent-based cannabis concentrates on your own. This process can present combustion hazards that can result in serious injury or death to you and others.
Cannabis and Children
We believe all adults, especially parents, have a responsibility to discourage and prevent the use of cannabis by children and anyone under the age of 18.
The only exception would be if a child has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition and the child’s attending physician has prescribed medicinal cannabis to mitigate the symptoms or effects of that condition.
Beyond this, Cannabis Health recommends that all adults, especially parents, should:
- Never provide cannabis products to children.
- Confiscate and dispose of any cannabis products found in the possession of your children.
- You may not know where they came from and what they actually contain.
- Keep your personal cannabis products, especially infused edibles, baked goods and dry herbs, out of the reach of children.
- Keep your personal cannabis products in childproof containers in a lockable storage box or safe.
- If the storage box requires a key, keep the key in your possession at all times.
- Talk to your children about why they cannot obtain and should not use cannabis products.
- If you suspect a child has become incapacitated or unresponsive due to the accidental or intentional use of cannabis products, call the hospital immediately.
First-Time and Newer Users
Every person’s body is different and has different tolerances and reactions to various foods (e.g. rich or spicy dishes), drinks (e.g. coffee or alcoholic beverages) and other substances, including cannabis. And every cannabis strain has different effects and intensities, which must be considered in their responsible use.
Always start with small amounts of any cannabis product and assess their results over a reasonable time period. You can gradually increase the amount until you find your “comfort level” and ultimately establish your responsible “limit.”
This is especially important when consuming cannabis-infused edibles, baked goods and beverages because they require more time to digest and release their effects. The first time you use any edible infused cannabis, please start small and gradually build up from there.
Always keep infused products out of the reach of children and secured in childproof containers in a lockable storage box or safe.
Different people have different experiences. One individual may feel stress release, while another feels over-stimulated and stressed, while another feels energized and on-task. There are many factors that impact the effect:
- Amount used (dosage)
- Strain of cannabis used and method of consumption
- Experience and history of cannabis use
- Mindset or mood
- Nutrition or diet
- Types of Cannabis
Genetic “breeders” of the cannabis seed have developed thousands of different strains of cannabis from these three varieties. There are marked differences between sativa, indica, and hybrid. Today, we mostly find hybrids. It can be difficult to find pure indica or sativa.
All types of medical cannabis produce effects that are more similar than not, including pain and nausea control, appetite stimulation, reduced muscle spasm, improved sleep, and others. But individual strains will have differing cannabinoid and terpene content, producing noticeably different effects. Many people report finding some strains more beneficial than others. For instance, strains with more CBD tend to produce better pain and spasticity relief. As noted above, effects will also vary for an individual based on the setting in which it is used and the person’s physiological state when using it.
What does this mean in terms of safety?
Because marijuana is more potent now, those who smoke or consume marijuana need to take additional caution regarding how much they use or consume at one time. It is especially important when consuming edibles to start with a low THC content and go slow. It may take two hours or more to feel the effects, new consumers should begin with no more than 1-5 mg of THC.
Cannabis and driving
Similar to the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit, it is illegal to drive with THC in your blood. If you are under 21, it is illegal to drive with any amount of THC in your blood.
The blood test is performed at a police station or medical facility and requires a blood draw. Published research says it can take 3 hours for some people to drop below 5 ng/ml after using cannabis, but it can take longer depending on multiple variables such as gender and body size. Some people may still be impaired with less than 5 ng/ml of THC in their blood.
It is less risky to wait at least 5 hours before operating a vehicle. It is recommended that you wait even longer after consuming edible marijuana products as they can remain in your system much longer.
If you are not sure whether you are impaired, do not drive! Call a taxi or use a designated driver.
How Can I Use Cannabis More Safely?
Adjust the way you use cannabis. One of the great aspects of cannabis is that there are many ways to use the medicine effectively.
Ingest via Eating
This is one of the safest ways to consume your medication, but understand that the effects from eaten cannabis may be more pronounced and onset of the effects will be delayed by an hour or more and typically last longer than inhalation. Using edible cannabis effectively will usually take some experimentation with particular product types and dosage. Digesting cannabis also metabolizes the cannabinoids somewhat differently and can produce different subjective effects, depending on the individual.
Use small amounts of edibles and wait 2 hours before gradually increasing the dose, if needed. Take care to find and use the right dose-excessive dosage can be uncomfortable and happens most often with edibles.
Try cannabis pills made with hash or cannabis oil or ingest via Tinctures/Sprays
Find your ideal dosage to enhance your therapeutic benefits. Start with no more than two drops and wait at least an hour before increasing the dosage, incrementally and as necessary.
Apply via Topicals
This is one of the safest ways to consume your medication and may be the best option for certain pains or ailments. Rubbing cannabis products on the skin will not result in a psychoactive effect.
Inhale via Vaporizer
This is the safest way to inhale your medicine because it heats the cannabinoid-laden oils to the point where they become airborne vapors, without bringing the other plant material to combustion, drastically reducing the amount of tars and other chemical irritants that you otherwise would inhale. Vaporizers also emit much less odor than any type of smoking.
Invest in a tabletop Volcano brand vaporizer or a hand-held vaporizer (such as vaporPlus). Construct your own vaporizer if you can’t afford to buy one.
Inhale via a Pipe/One-Hitter/Steam Roller/ Bong/Water Pipe
Use a glass, stainless steel, or brass pipe; avoid wood or plastic pipes. Glass one hitters, tubular pipes that contain a single dose, are the most economical devices.
Know Your Variety
Cannabis comes in many varieties, roughly divided between Sativas that originated near the equator and Indicas that come from northern latitudes, though modern breeding programs have created a wide range of hybrids. Each variety has its own cannabinoid and terpene profile and subtly different effects. Whether you use Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant, or a Hybrid it makes a difference.
1. Take note of what effect each variety produce for you (therapeutic and side effects); keeping a log can be helpful.
2. Use higher potency cannabis so you use less medicine. Concentrates can be useful, particularly if you need higher doses.
3. For concentrates, use a glass pipe made for cannabis concentrates.
4. Experiment with high CBD strains, particularly for nausea, appetite, and pain.
5. Take a medicine vacation occasionally. While cannabis does not produce tolerance in the way opiates do, reducing or ceasing cannabis use can yield enhanced effects when restarted. Either reduce or stop for however long it feels comfortable for you.
6. Change the variety if the one you’re using seems to be losing its effectiveness.
7. Whenever possible, choose organic cannabis products. Never consume cannabis that has been treated with pesticides.
Think About Drug Interactions
No significant interactions between cannabis and other drugs are known at this time, though research indicates cannabis enhances the effects of opiate painkillers. Little is known about the interaction of cannabis and other pharmaceutical medications, but it is important to consider any complementary effects.
Talk to your doctor or find a doctor who you can talk to about medical cannabis. Some studies show interactions with barbiturates, theophyline, fluxetine, disulfiram, sedatives, antihistamines, etc.
A synergistic effect can occur with alcohol use; limit mixing the two.
Consider Safety. For yourself and your community.
Indicas can cause drowsiness-avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when using your medicine.
Don’t consume cannabis and drive. Cannabis use can impair motor skills. Find a safe environment to consume your medicine. Wait at least 1-2 hours after you medicate before getting behind the wheel.