What advice would I give to someone thinking about starting out on a journey of trying cannabis? As hippy-dippy as it may sound, listen and pay attention to your body and your mind. For many of us living with a chronic illness or chronic pain, communication between our bodies and minds is limited to what hurts and what is wrong. We don’t have room for thinking about how to make the pain better or to stop the crazy shit that invisible diseases dole out. Often we can’t even specify what exactly is wrong, because it is all just too much and nearly impossible to describe. The number one change I made when I decided to come off all of my prescription medications and try healing my body in a more natural way was that I started BELIEVING that cannabis could help.
I had grown up believing that cannabis was not only illegal but that it was not a good thing. I realized that if I held on to that belief if I continued to believe that “nothing good comes from consuming it” I wouldn’t be allowing my body and mind a fair shake at it actually helping me heal and feel better. I put my energy and thoughts into how it was helping me rather than the negative thought patterns of the past – expecting a drug or medication to fail since so many have.
So first and foremost…
In its medicinal properties. Believe that it can help you feel better and stronger.
About the plant’s medical benefits. Learn about cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and terpenes so that as the plant begins to heal you, and helps you feel better, you will understand WHAT is helping and WHY – both of which are incredibly powerful when you are trying to heal yourself.
It is extremely powerful to visualize your healing, to think about your body healing and getting better. I have created a whole story about how the little bubble men (the cannabinoids and terpenes) set off to work each time I consume cannabis and their job is to repair the damage that the disease and the drugs have caused to my body and my brain. That works for me, but pick your own storyline about how your body is being fixed and how it is getting stronger and believe it!
With the different plants (sativa, indica, and hybrids) and with different strains.
I started out being super concerned about which plant and which strains I chose. I believed what I was told by everyone – about indicas being a “body high” that was best for chilling on the couch and being mellow and sativas being for activity, stamina, and productivity. But as I have consumed more and as I have continued to gain comfort and knowledge about this plant, I have realized that for my body and my disease, indicas are for serious body workouts. They are for my #cannabispowered walks and hikes. They are for laundry, cleaning house, catching up on laundry and cleaning out the garage days. They are NOT for sitting still and vegging.
Sativas, on the other hand, are for mellow out, quiet times like reading and writing, and even sometimes sleep.
I am aware that this is opposite of what “everyone” says and it is completely different than what I started out thinking but when I finally stopped listening to others and started listening to what my mind and body were saying each time I consumed a new strain, I was able to figure out my own plan for medicating which is indica for activity, sativa for sitting and hybrid for just every day life things like errands, light gardening and cooking.
Write down how much you consume (one puff, three bowls, 2 rice sized grains of RSO, 1 edible cookie) Whatever it is you decide to consume and no matter how you choose to consume it, write it down. Document how you felt BEFORE you consumed, and then take notes of how it makes you feel. Edgy, excited, relaxed, creative, reminiscent…there are so many different thoughts and feelings that consuming cannabis can elicit and I have found that each of these is steps in the healing process. There is a reason that a particular strain will make me feel a certain way and recognizing and acknowledging these thoughts and emotions and working through them has helped me to continue to get stronger both mentally and physically.
Cannabis provides me with a clear mind and I am able to focus on what exactly is causing the pain, and other symptoms like my MS fog and blurry vision. Once I am able to recognize what triggers my MS and it’s symptoms I can work on controlling my environment, surroundings, and stimulants to keep the disease more stable. It helps me to keep what I refer to as my autistic brain-child quiet and content.
I am learning what works for me and my body – irrelevant of what anyone else says.
6.) DON’T BE AFRAID
Cannabis is far less toxic and dangerous than many of the drugs and medications we are often prescribed in an attempt to ward of progression, to curb the symptoms and to help with the side-effects that come from the drugs. I have tried many of them. I have had some severe reactions to some of them (anaphylactic shock being one) and my family has had to call 9-1-1 to respond when I almost blacked out from taking the wrong medications at the wrong time.
All of that shit is and was scary. I have learned that there is nothing to be scared about when it comes to this plant. No one dies from a marijuana overdose. Once I came to understand the sheer truth behind that statement it eliminated a lot of my fear and hesitation. I began to believe that it is not something to be feared but instead something to be revered for its ability to help with some many different ailments.
Which made answering the nagging question I had, “how much do I take?” a bit easier, but to begin with, I followed the general rule…
7.) START SLOW… but I’ve added… DON’T BE AFRAID TO PUSH YOUR LIMITS
I started out slow and I approached each an every product and strain that I tried with the utmost of caution. I wish that perhaps I hadn’t been quite so prudent when it came to sticking to my rules of slow but steady increases. I began with a bead of RSO the size of ½ a grain of rice once a day. I did that for a week or two before increasing. Eventually, I moved over to edibles – I would eat one 10mg mint and wait for big and notable results and began using a vape pen and cartridges with various different strains and levels of THC and CBD.
For the past week, given the graduations, out of town visitors and the wedding, I have been consuming between 4-5 grams a day. I managed to keep my MS fog at a minimum while feeling present and emotionally attached to the people and activities around me. I was able to feel focused and clear-minded thanks to cannabis, but I am not sure I would have had such great successes over the past few months if it weren’t for the fact that I had someone encourage me to try more.
I was lucky to have someone that knows a lot about cannabis and CBD that helped me explore my limits
(first dabbing sesh with the crew from Everyday Natural Products, which is where I get my CBD oil from – along with an amazing mushroom tincture)
If I had kept at the rate I was going, it would have taken years for me to experience the relief that I have been living with lately because it would have taken me that long to build up to the levels where I am now. So on that note, you might want to kick it up by larger increments every once in awhile, just to see what happens. If you start out with one puff – after a week, try taking three puffs at once and see what happens. Be a bit daring and pick a time when you don’t have anywhere to go, or anything to do, be in a safe place with someone you know and trust and give it a go. I have had some great and wonderful experiences when trying to find my limits.
8.) DON’T BE AFRAID OF THC
Yes, it can mess with your mind, but in combination with CBD, it has medicinal properties which can not only help alleviate pain, help with cognitive functioning and focus and help with vision issues and other common symptoms of MS but can begin to heal your body, by replacing needed terpenes and cannabinoids. Everyone’s body is different and different levels will affect people differently based on what their body needs – so instead of focusing on “not getting high” I suggest that you focus on what level of THC your body needs – because it will tell you if you listen. It might be a lot (like me,) it might be a little and it might be none. Some people find great relief from hemp derived CBD (which is legal in all 50 states and is something that I have come to believe everyone should take – irrelevant of health and medical conditions because it helps your body in so many different and positive ways.)