It’s always a good time to talk about responsible marijuana use, but in the wake of all the ongoing legislation that has helped to put a positive spin on the pot community, it’s important to remind everyone what smart cannabis consumption looks like.
A Reefer Refresher
In case you missed it, consumable marijuana is a bud or flower, culled from cannabis trees, that is typically dried, cured, crushed, and combusted (burned, etc) to release the plant’s psychoactive and healing properties.
Marijuana produces its unique effects because chemicals called cannabinoids, most notably tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, are physically similar to neurotransmitters that are naturally created by our body, and so interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that runs from stem to stern. The ECS and its neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating functions like mood, memory, hunger, sleep cycle, and more, in order to maintain balance or “homeostasis.”
In essence, consuming marijuana floods your ECS with cannabinoids and will trigger a reaction related to those compounds’ specific effects: laughter, happiness, hunger, sleepiness… you get the picture.
Be a Responsible Cannabis Consumer
We love marijuana, but it goes without saying that, even when you’re just using it to enhance a good time, mary jane can significantly impact the way you operate and interact with the world around you. We are firm believers in practicing safe consumption, which guarantees that everyone has, and will continue to have a good time.
Take Your Time
Whether it’s your first time consuming marijuana, your first time with a new strain, or someone else is in control of the dosage, it’s always best to exercise caution and ease yourself into the situation. You can enjoy yourself without sucking back the whole spliff or eating that whole brownie. One toke, one bite, and wait a little while — anywhere from half an hour to an hour. If the effects don’t take hold, go ahead and take another puff or nibble. Any faster and you risk “greening out”, the uncomfortable (but very rarely life-threatening) side effects of overindulging in weed.
Avoid Mixing It Up
Anyone who has ever consumed marijuana knows that it impairs coordination, along with motor skills, reaction time, spatial reasoning, etc. Of course, you most likely won’t be interested in operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery when under the influence of cannabis, it’s generally just not safe to engage in that kind of activity when your focus is elsewhere.
One thing at a time: You may think it’s harmless to imbibe alcohol while consuming cannabis but obvious spoiler alert — both marijuana and alcohol cause impaired judgement. Combined, the chance of negative side effects increases. You know what they say, better safe than sorry. Stick to one substance at a time, especially if you’re planning on being out and about.
Kids and cannabis don’t mix: science has taken a long, hard look at consumption of cannabis by underage persons, and the unsettling truth is that regular use by those 25 and under can have significant and negative impact on the developing brain, especially affecting memory and problem-solving.
Harder to study and arguably more controversial is cannabis use by expecting and nursing mothers. Most medical professionals encourage women to steer clear of marijuana during and after birth as cannabinoids readily pass from mother to child through the placenta and breast milk. Exposure at such a young age has been linked with lower birth weight, inhibited cognitive skills, and hyperactivity.
Go With Who You Know
In the last few years, there has been a level of legitimacy added to the cannabis industry, making it easier for consumers, particularly first-time buyers, to purchase high-quality marijuana products with fewer risks. That doesn’t mean there aren’t vendors out there still trying to make a quick buck by taking advantage of consumers who aren’t knowledgeable in best cannabis production practices, though.
A trustworthy source won’t need the government to dictate how to cultivate their marijuana crop without causing risk to the consumer, but black market sellers are less concerned with following the rules than fattening their bank accounts. This means they may overlook that a crop has been tainted by mold and mildew, they may use chemicals or pesticides to enhance plant growth, or they may mislabel products, which, granted is more of an annoyance than a problem but if you’re going to be spending your hard-earned money the least a shop can do is give you what you’re paying for.
Fact or Urban Legend: You Can Be Addicted to Cannabis
“My friend went to rehab for using marijuana.” Every townie ever.
Let’s lay it on the line: Marijuana. Is. Not. Chemically. Addictive. That said, the phrase “too much of a good thing…” wasn’t coined for no reason. Regular and prolonged use of cannabis can be habit-forming, but there is an estimated 9% addiction rate associated with cannabis consumption.
It may seem like we’re playing with semantics here, but this is a fair distinction to make. When does a marijuana habit become an addiction? There are 4 questions to ask yourself:
- Is your marijuana consumption having a negative impact — directly or indirectly — on your life?
- Do you find you repeatedly put yourself in risky situations to obtain, consume, or while you’re high?
- When you abstain for any length of time, do you experience physical or emotional withdrawal symptoms?
- Do you take measures to hide your consumption or behavior?
A yes to one or more of these questions may suggest your habit is more serious, but you can get advice or next steps from your healthcare provider.
Marijuana, Medically Speaking
The internet has developed a running joke that marijuana (along with breast milk, coconut oil, and yoga) is a cure-all for every ailment from a hangnail to cancer. Realistically, marijuana isn’t some miracle treatment but the scientific community has already discovered a host of clinically-beneficial applications, and research into many others is in the works.
The use of medical marijuana is still up for debate in the United States, but in countries including Canada, Colombia, Georgia, the Netherlands, and quite a few others, medical cannabis is legal and some, like Israel, have invested a lot of time and energy into medical research.
In the US, the federal government has yet to sanction the use of medical marijuana countrywide, and only 33 states, 4 territories, and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation in favor of patients who use cannabis as part of their treatment process, though this number can only get larger as constituents continue to demand access to more natural therapeutic alternatives.
Currently, physical conditions that fall under the medical marijuana purview vary by state, but most lists include:
- Chronic neuropathic pain
- Nausea associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatment
- Muscle spasms (Multiple Sclerosis)
If you’re going to include marijuana in your therapeutic regimen, be sure to discuss it with your medical professional to figure out if cannabis is, first, a good fit for your specific condition, and second, doesn’t have potentially dangerous interactions with other medications or supplements you’re taking.
The Last Word
We like to think that marijuana is in a world of its own, but despite our staunch belief that weed can do no wrong, it is possible to take cannabis consumption too far and suffer the consequences. A little precaution goes a long way to guaranteeing a good time with ganja every time.
Growing your own? The easy way to avoid the “bad seeds” is to cultivate your own garden, and you can start with high-quality marijuana seeds purchased from Pacific Choice Seed Bank. Trustworthy and reliable, our seeds thrill our clients with their results. Browse our catalog for strains that are sweet, sticky, and chock full of your favorite cannabinoids.