ASA’s Guide to Using Marijuana

May 16, 2011

<span class="caps">ASA</span>’s Guide to Using Marijuana

Smok­ing

Smok­ing mar­i­juana pro­duces the most imme­di­ate effects and per­mits the most refined con­trol of your dosage. Smok­ing any mate­r­ial is not good for the lungs, but the amount of mar­i­juana you need to smoke is so small that you need not be overly con­cerned. It is bet­ter to smoke the flow­ers rather than the leaves as this also reduces the amount you will need to smoke.

Vapor­iz­ing

Cannabis vapor­iz­ers are designed to let users inhale active cannabi­noids while avoid­ing harm­ful smoke tox­ins. They do so by heat­ing cannabis to a tem­per­a­ture that is just below the point of com­bus­tion where smoke is pro­duced. At this point, THC and other med­ically active cannabi­noids are emit­ted with lit­tle or none of the car­cino­genic tars and nox­ious gases found in smoke. Many med­ical mar­i­juana patients who find smoked mar­i­juana highly irri­tat­ing report effec­tive relief inhal­ing through vapor­iz­ers. Also, vapor­iz­ers are very effi­cient so they can save money in the long term.

Eat­ing

Mar­i­juana can be eaten. When con­sumed this way, it is usu­ally baked in brown­ies or cook­ies, and some­times made into a candy. It takes longer to feel the effects when eaten, and may take longer for you to learn to con­trol your dosage. How­ever, when you do feel the effects, they may be stronger than those felt by smok­ing. You may also feel a cer­tain heav­i­ness in your body. This will not hurt you. Sched­ule your time so that you can relax when you take it.

Tea

Like other herbs, mar­i­juana may be made into a tea. Boil the water first and pour it over the mar­i­juana. Let it steep for longer than you would for com­mon black tea; approx­i­mately an hour and a half. Add 1 tea­spoon of but­ter. The effects are sim­i­lar to eat­ing it.

Tinc­ture

To pre­pare a tinc­ture, use 5 parts fresh mar­i­juana to 1 part vodka. If you are using dried mar­i­juana, as is usu­ally the case, use 10 parts mar­i­juana to 1 part vodka. An easy way to do this if you don’t have mea­sur­ing equip­ment, is to fill what­ever con­tainer you are using (glass is prefer­able as you don’t want to leech any residues from metal con­tain­ers) to thirds full with mar­i­juana, then fill the con­tainer with vodka and let stand for a week or more. After­ward, strain the solu­tion. If you use a larger por­tion of mar­i­juana, the result­ing tinc­ture will be more potent.

Com­press

Fol­low the recipe as for tea. Make as much as you need to thor­oughly soak the cloth you intend to use. Apply to pain and leave on ½ hour.

Mari­nol

Mari­nol is a syn­thetic petro­chem­i­cal ana­log of THC, one of the active ele­ments found in mar­i­juana. Some patients find that it helps relieve nau­sea yet takes a long time to work. Do not smoke this prod­uct. It has the poten­tial for over­dose. Use only under the super­vi­sion of a doctor.

Side Effects

Mar­i­juana is one of the safest med­i­cines: it is impos­si­ble to con­sume enough to pro­duce a toxic effect in the body. How­ever, if you are unfa­mil­iar with it, there are some effects which you should be aware of so that you can use it more effectively.

Uneasi­ness

Mar­i­juana usu­ally has a sooth­ing and com­fort­ing effect on the mind. Some­times, how­ever, peo­ple do expe­ri­ence feel­ings of anx­i­ety. If this hap­pens to you, there are sev­eral things you can do. Try to stay in envi­ron­ments where you feel nat­u­rally com­fort­able. If you feel anx­ious, sit or lay down, breathe deeply, and relax. If you have loved ones with you, hold each other for a while. If you have a pet, hold or stroke it. Eat­ing will often quickly reduce the feel­ing of anx­i­ety. Then, the next time you use it, try reduc­ing your dosage. Because of our social train­ing, you may have feel­ings of guilt. Know that you have a right to your medicine.

Hunger & Thirst

Many patients use mar­i­juana to stim­u­late appetite. If you are not using mar­i­juana for this pur­pose, drink water or juice. If you wish to eat, eat good nour­ish­ing food rather than sweets.

Red­ness in the Eyes

This will not hurt you. If you must go out in pub­lic and are con­cerned about oth­ers’ reac­tion to the red­ness, wear sun­glasses or use eye drops.

Drowsi­ness

If mar­i­juana makes you sleepy, take a nap if you can and wish to. As with all med­i­cines that can pro­duce drowsi­ness, don’t drive or oper­ate heavy machinery.

Sleep­less­ness

If you find that you can’t sleep for a while after using mar­i­juana, try reduc­ing your dosage and avoid using it for about two hours or so before you want to sleep.

Short-term Mem­ory Loss

Some­times peo­ple find it dif­fi­cult to carry on a com­pli­cated con­ver­sa­tion, keep track of details, or per­form com­plex tasks. If this hap­pens to you, sched­ule your time so that you don’t have to do these things when using your medicine.

Gid­di­ness

Many peo­ple find that things which nor­mally don’t seem funny become quite amus­ing when they use mar­i­juana. Most peo­ple enjoy this effect. If you must deal with sit­u­a­tions where humor would be inap­pro­pri­ate in your judge­ment, sched­ule your time so that you don’t have to deal with them when you are tak­ing your medicine.

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