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Why It's Best for New Patients to Start Slowly

You have completed all the steps to obtain a Medical Cannabis Card. Now you are getting ready to head to your local pharmacy for the first time. That’s great. You are embarking on a journey that could literally change how you view your health and the condition that makes you eligible for Medical Cannabis. But here is a quick word of caution: start slowly.

The slow approach to Medical Cannabis is the wise approach. Jumping right in and going full bore isn’t likely to cause serious harm. But it could make it more difficult for you and your Pharmacy Medical Provider (PMP) to treat your condition appropriately. If you want to get the most out of cannabis, we strongly recommend taking a slow and thoughtful approach.

You Can Use Too Much

To our knowledge, there has never been a reported death attributed to overdosing on cannabis. There are a number of reasons explaining why, but it’s mostly due to cannabinoid receptors, where in the body they are located, and how the body reacts when those receptors are activated.

With all that said, not being able to overdose on cannabis doesn’t negate the possibility of using too much in too short a time. That is entirely possible. Using too much is always a concern among new patients. It can result in something known as “greening out.”

More About Greening Out

Greening out is the cannabis equivalent of blacking out, although actually losing consciousness is rare. People experience this phenomenon in different ways. Some of the more common symptoms include

  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • increased heart rate
  • anxiety, feelings of unease, etc.
  • drowsiness, lack of mental focus
  • loss of mobility and/or balance.

As a new patient, greening out may produce any number of symptoms that may or may not be similar to someone else’s experience. Regardless, chances are you would find the experience at least somewhat unpleasant. Some people find it a bit frightening, too. So doing your best to avoid greening out is smart.

Learn How Your Body Reacts

Greening out is really the extreme of using too much cannabis in too short a time. Even if you never experience it, there are still valid reasons for taking the slow approach. For instance, there is no way to know how your body will react to certain types of Medical Cannabis products and delivery methods without actually trying them.

A Qualified Medical Provider or Pharmacy Medical Provider may have specific recommendations for you as a new Medical Cannabis patient. For example, the QMP or PMP may suggest trying an inhaled form or an edible form of cannabis.

One form may have a much better therapeutic benefit for you than another.  But the only way to know for sure is to try both. So you start out slowly, taking stock of how the drug affects you. If the effect is positive, you may decide to gradually increase your doses. The goal is to find a comfortable and effective dosage.

If the initial suggestions don’t seem to be effective, your PMP might recommend something different, like a tincture or a capsule. Once again, the standard recommendation is to “start low and go slow.”

If you want to get the most out of your Medical Cannabis treatments, we strongly encourage you to keep a journal. Write down the strains, delivery methods, and doses you’ve used, along with their effects. By keeping track of what works, and what doesn’t work, you can maximize the therapeutic potential of your cannabis use.

If need be, you might even try combining doses and delivery methods in order to layer the effects of the drug.

What it all boils down to is the reality that your body is going to react to Medical Cannabis in its own way. Since you do not know what that will look like right from the start, the idea is to go slowly until you figure it out. The slow approach will help you zero-in on the best delivery method and dosage while avoiding the possibility of accidentally greening out.

By UtahMarijuana.org
Published March 29, 2022
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