In their 1992 hit, “I Want to Get High,” from the album Black Sunday, weed advocates Cypress Hill rap about the intoxicating and therapeutic qualities of cannabis: “Forward motion, make you sway like the ocean/ The herb is more than just a powerful potion/ What's the commotion? Yo, I'm not joking around. People learning about what they're smoking.”
While it’s true that cannabis has strong medicinal and utilitarian qualities, novices, and even some seasoned users, can be swept up in the power of the plant and have a negative experience that can last for hours. It’s important to understand what the different strains of cannabis are, and more importantly, your specific tolerance to the substance you’re using.
Only when cannabis is used responsibly can users reap its full benefits and can the booming industry reach its full potential. Like any other medication, cannabis has its do’s and don’ts, especially for patients who are using it to treat debilitating conditions. It doesn’t matter if a recreational user smokes a couple times a month, weekly or daily, as long as it doesn’t impair his or her functional abilities. However, for a patient using cannabis for serious medical illnesses, diligently following the right protocols regarding the possession, use, and growth of this “powerful potion” is extremely important.
Here’s a shortlist of general guidelines cannabis users should keep in mind in order to mindfully and ethically use marijuana as effectively as possible.
Age May Be More Than a Number But Laws Are Laws
Obviously, it is not legal for underage individuals to consume cannabis. Valid research has been conducted that suggests children’s brains can be impaired by cannabis if they are not fully developed. Also, for a media outlet that endorses responsible cannabis use, it would be irresponsible, to say the least, to promote cannabis use for individuals who are not fully mature. Again, this is simply common sense. Children should be kept away from acquiring cannabis in any form. And, they’re more prone to side effects or misuse disorders than the average adult. Sorry, kids.
You Shouldn’t Drink and Drive, So Don’t Get High and Drive
It is the responsibility of cannabis users to stop themselves from committing a crime while under the influence of this medicinal drug. It’s illegal to drive high. It’s a criminal act. Period. On one hand, cannabis can cause agitation and paranoia, on the other it can make users extremely relaxed, lackadaisical, or sleepy (depending on the strain being used and the potency of the dose). It’s a no-brainer that driving high greatly increases the chances of disobeying or not noticing traffic rules and signals. What’s especially stupid about driving after consuming cannabis is that the driver doesn’t just put him or herself in danger, he/she risks the lives of other people. Even if you manage to complete one card ride safely, there is no guarantee the next one will be as free of consequences. There’s a reason there are strict penalties for being caught driving under the influence of cannabis.
Use Cannabis Somewhere You Feel Safe
It’s important to know where you feel most comfortable. That’s probably the best place to use cannabis. If big crowds make you nervous, it might not be a good idea to get high at a music festival. If you’re afraid of dark places, use cannabis somewhere that feels safer. Users should focus on everything: what time they’re using cannabis, where they are, what mood they’re in, what kind of people they’re around, what the age and mood is of those they’re surrounded by.
Know Your Vendor
There was a time when weed was illegal everywhere and you were often not 100 percent sure of the strain or quality of the cannabis you were buying. Fortunately, times have changed. These days, it is extremely beneficial to buy cannabis from legit sources. Since not all products are regulated for consumption, there are potential dangers involved in using a product you are not familiar with. The best idea is to only purchase products from well-known or tried-and-true brands. Also, always check the packaging and labeling to know what’s in the cannabis you consume.
Understand Potential Health Risks
Cannabis is not for everybody. Some people don’t like the way marijuana makes them feel, especially if they’ve used too much, and one strain may affect them entirely different than another (sativa vs. indica, for instance). Read about the potential side effects and health risks of cannabis before you partake. Think of it like this: If you’re not aware of the physical effects of a medication or the correct dosage, consuming the drug is a leap into the unknown that might have undesired results.
Don’t Mix Cannabis With Alcohol or Other Drugs
The effects of cannabis are often magnified when taken with alcohol or other substances. The results can be scary, dangerous, or even deadly. Alcohol is a depressant and so is cannabis. Combine that with narcotics or even certain prescription antidepressants and you risk an accidental overdose. Even if your intentions are good and you’re exercising caution, mixing substances can wreak havoc on your life.
Moderation, Moderation, Moderation
Consuming high quantities of cannabis is not recommended. Our bodies cannot handle overindulgence for extended periods of time. If you’re smoking, vaping, or eating high-THC content cannabis flowers or other products, you may soon find yourself higher than you wanted to be. Closely monitor your consumption and be aware of the level of potency of the strain you're using. Beginners should start slow and low. Have a puff or a small amount of an edible and see how it affects you. The best way to find the right dosage is to use it in moderation and, possibly, build from there.
Don’t Become a Conscious Abuser
Sensibly consuming cannabis is a choice; so is overindulgence. Excessive cannabis use can overwhelm a user’s senses, impair his judgment, and lead to severe misuse disorder. To remain in control and prevent cannabis from controlling you, be careful not to make any rash or unwise decisions that could lead to any addiction or misuse disorders. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a medical health professional. Regular consultations can help ensure that you, as a user, aren’t putting yourself at risk of developing a severe misuse disorder.
Don’t Let Scruffy Find Your Stash
Cat’s love catnip; don’t give them weed. Keep your stash somewhere your pets can’t get to it. Animals are vulnerable to the ignorance or carelessness of humans and can accidentally consume lethal quantities of cannabis. And even if they just eat a little, they have no awareness of what the substance will do to them and they’re likely to be frightened unhappy. It’s hard enough to know how one person will react to weed compared to another. So how could we possibly know how a stoned dog feels? Better not to find out.
ADRIANA CURTIS is a quintessential wellness guru. She believes that to truly thrive one needs to adopt more holistic practices. She views cannabis as nature’s way of giving us something that helps us achieve homeostasis. She works as a content writer for several established businesses and is a big supporter of the cannabis movement.
Check out longbeachmmjmds.com
for more information about cannabis and health.