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  • D.H Reily

Using Medical Marijuana for the First Time? Here's What You Should Know!

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about getting your very own Georgia Marijuana Card, but you’re an inexperienced cannabis user and you might feel intimidated. That’s pretty common; like any medication, if taken incorrectly medical marijuana will at best be less effective and at worst possibly dangerous, so newbies can be hesitant.

But there is no need to be! If you’ve been thinking cannabis might be right for you, here is your handy guide to what you should know before starting your medical marijuana regimen!

You’ll Get Better Results With Medical Marijuana if You Know What Results You’re Looking For

As Healthline puts it, when selecting your medicine, “think about how you want to feel: Energetic and creative? Relaxed and introspective? Are there therapeutic effects you’re looking for, like pain relief or appetite stimulation?”

Or as the University of Colorado puts it, as a newcomer to cannabis you should “think through the experiences you want to have as well as those you’d rather avoid.” The University also provides some examples of the kinds of experiences you might want to have or avoid.

Your doctor can suggest the best strains of medical marijuana to treat your qualifying conditions, but what else would you like to get out of your medicine? To answer that, start by deciding which of the two major kinds of cannabis strains you’d like to try, indica or sativa.

Are You Looking for a Pick Me Up or a Put Me Down?

There are two basic categories of cannabis strains: sativa and indica.

Both strains contain cannabinoids, the chemicals and compounds found in marijuana that contain healing properties.

Scientists believe these various ingredients work best when they work together. It’s a theory known as the entourage effect, and scientists believe it to be the reason why medical marijuana is so much more effective than just using CBD or other isolated parts of cannabis alone.

So both sativa and indica can treat your qualifying conditions, but there is a difference in how they tend to make patients feel.

According to Healthline, sativa strains often “produce a ‘mind high,’ or an energizing, anxiety-reducing effect.” Consequently, most patients find they want to avoid using sativas at night or near bedtime, as they can have what Healthline calls a “stimulating impact.”

In contrast, Healthline says that Indica strains have “intensely relaxing effects.” They are especially effective at treating nausea and anxiety, and because of their relaxing influence most patients prefer to dose indica strains at night.

My doctor gave me a helpful memory device when I first began treating my multiple sclerosis with medical marijuana: Think indica when you want to be “in da couch” relaxing.

The two types of strains can also differ in levels of THC and CBD. Healthline notes that sativa often has lower levels of CBD and higher levels of THC, whereas indica strains often have higher CBD levels but not necessarily lower THC levels.

So Which Is Right for You, More CBD or THC?

In some cases, doctors may make a specific recommendation not only as far as indica vs. sativa, but as far as specific strains of each.

What kind of other benefits do you want to experience while you’re treating your qualifying condition? If you can let your dispensary staff know the state of mind and the sensations you’d prefer while medicating, they can guide you to the exact right strains for you.

Otherwise, you can expect to experiment with trying many different strains over time. This can become rather frustrating if it takes you a while to find the strains that are right for you.

Which Dosing Methods Seem Most Appealing to You?

Once you know what kind of strain of medical marijuana you want to try, consider how you want to try it. Before you try medical marijuana for the first time, you should consider which dosing methods interest you.

Because Georgia’s medical marijuana program currently allows only low-THC oil, you’ll have fewer options than patients in some states, but there is still a good variety in Georgia dispensaries.

If your doctor has suggested a specific method, you should try the method he has recommended. If you’re a newbie without that guidance, the different options at your local dispensaries may seem overwhelming. Here are the basics to help you get started.

Do you want pure or raw oil? A topical application, like a cream or a salve? Want to try your medicine in an aerosol form, using an inhaler? Or would you rather eat your way to better health with edibles?

Before you decide, make sure to check out this guide to the different medicine delivery options available in Georgia dispensaries.

Start With Low Doses, and Be Patient Before Deciding Your Dosage Isn’t Working

According to Wired, the number one rule new cannabis users should remember is “Start low and go slow.”

If your doctor prescribes a specific dosage for each use, then you’ll know exactly what to do. But newcomers who are uncertain of how cannabis will affect them often redose before their first dose has taken effect, assuming that because they don’t yet feel anything, they must not have taken enough.

This is especially common if you dose with edibles, which tend to take longer to kick in, but also tend to have more intense effects and last longer.

As far as edibles, Wired suggests starting with two or three milligrams, then waiting at least an hour before dosing again. “You might not feel anything from (that first dose,” Wired says, “but you’re going to prefer that to overdoing it and descending into paranoia.”

When smoking or vaping, the effects tend to be quicker and milder, which makes it easier for new patients to figure out the right dose for them. Wired suggests that “Newbies might want to take a hit and wait 10 minutes or so and repeat as needed. Again, this isn’t a race.”

Still Not Sure Where to Start? Let the Experts Help You Decide!

Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by all of the options for dosing your medical marijuana. Instead, let your doctor, the employees at your dispensary, and the informative articles here at the blog help you make informed decisions.

But first things first: Get your Georgia Marijuana Card!

Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors just as soon as Georgia’s medical marijuana market is fully operational.

You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. You’ll discuss your conditions and learn if medical marijuana might be right for you. And if your doctor decides for whatever reason that you do not qualify for a Georgia Marijuana Card, you’ll pay only a low, nominal fee for your evaluation. Not only that, but if you reserve an evaluation online today, you can save $25 off the cost!

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