Real Cannabis Side Effects — Greenway Magazine
If you have ever been prescribed a medicine, you know that there is always a list of side effects and potential side effects on the bottle or the pharmacy leaflet. Cannabis is no different. What IS different is that there is no pharmacist or doctor to tell you exactly what to expect. Medical cannabis education requires an understanding of our bodies to determine what effects we should expect. Your experienced cannabis nurse at 2 leaf nurses can help with that. Yes, budtenders can give general information like a pharmacy technician, but that’s it. As a patient, you need more, so let’s talk about what it looks like.
Do you remember the commercials where an egg cracked in a frying pan is shown, and the narrator says, “It’s your brain taking drugs”? Well, we know best when it comes to cannabis. The reality is that many patients simply say “I feel better” or “I finally feel relaxed” or “This is the best sleep I’ve had in years!” We call it real-world evidence because it happens so frequently that cannabis nurses can understand what patients are about to say before the words come out of their mouths.
When one starts “low and slow” they are less likely to experience side effects. This is not a guarantee, but it is the safest known process. But what does that mean? Consider 10mg gummies. When cut in half, it becomes a 5mg dose. Cut it again, and that reduces it to 2.5mg. The average 150lb person with mild conditions can get relief with around 6-8mg. This low dose also equates to little to no side effects. A person of the same size with serious illnesses may need 30-60mg to get the same relief, but still may experience minimal or no side effects. The key is to learn its size, condition and body response. This takes time and often requires the help of a cannabis medical professional. Learning this also means there is less chance of unwanted side effects.
Suppose we search the Internet (and let’s face it, we all do). In this case, discoveries of side effects, potential side effects, adverse effects and even the risk of addiction/long term effects can be frightening. BUT let’s take a look at what these effects are and how similar they are to pharmaceuticals and even some over-the-counter medications. Nausea and vomiting are commonly listed side effects, but what if you are a cancer patient and have these symptoms? If you rely on anti-cannabis campaigns, you won’t use cannabis lest it make your symptoms worse, but hard evidence shows that it doesn’t. In fact, it is commonly used to reduce nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. Another commonly listed side effect is “disorientation”, right? Have you ever taken an opioid? The same side effect is listed with this. However, the doctor still prescribes it and says, “don’t drive or use heavy machinery.” Hard evidence shows that cannabis for severe pain is very effective, and some would say more effective than opioids WITHOUT the side effects.
Are you more confused now? Do not be. Cannabis is a plant that works with the endocannabinoid system of our body. This system is responsible for manufacturing internal cannabinoids like CBD and THC to balance the body in times of trauma, stress, inflammation, etc., attack. Due to the resemblance of these internal cannabinoids to cannabis, our body knows what to do with the plant, uses what it needs and stops the rest. It does not accumulate in the body, does not damage the kidneys and liver like other drugs and is quite effective. You should know that it is ‘bi-phasic’. This means that with small amounts or appropriate amounts it relieves the symptoms, but with too much it can cause the symptoms. For example, someone with nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy who takes the proper amounts will experience relief. If, however, they take too much, they may experience worsening symptoms.
So where does all of this REALLY take us? First, give yourself time to learn your body. Suppose an over-the-counter pain reliever is all you need to resolve a headache. In this case, you will need a minimum dose of cannabis. If your pain is only relieved with high potency pharmaceuticals, you may need higher or more frequent doses of cannabis. Second, recognize that each person is unique. What works for you is different from everyone else. Cannabis is an individualized herbal medicine, not a systemic disease-focused pharmaceutical. Third, start low and go slow is not just a slogan or a marketing ploy. That’s right, and you should do it whenever you make changes to products or consumption methods. If you experience side effects, reduce the dose next time. These side effects are your body’s way of telling you “Hey, that’s too much.” Take it easy.’ If you need to calm down, relax, unwind or even sleep and cannabis does that for you, it’s not a side effect, it’s a therapeutic effect.
Finally, and dare I say this should be the first thing new patients using medical cannabis should do… speak with a cannabis nurse or doctor. They are health experts in the science of cannabis and they want to help you be safe and successful. If you already have one of these fantastic people on your healthcare team, great! If you are new or don’t have one, please contact 2 leaf nurseswhere we believe every medical patient deserves a caring nurse.
The information provided on the 2 leaf nurses The website and blog are for educational purposes ONLY. Nothing contained in this website should be construed as or intended for use for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on any new treatment, diet, or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking it because of any information on this website.
With over 20 years of clinical and educational experience, Culley aims to help create a better understanding of cannabis as medicine.