a green cannabis plant

Let’s Think About Marijuana as Medicine

About once a week or so we’ll have a conversation with a person who has tried cannabis and says something like this: I tried it once and I got so high, it was awful. Or I tried it, and it didn’t work for me. We understand this, but we implore you to consider some ideas and marijuana as medicine.

Think about cold medicines. Over the years you’ve learned what works best for you, with trial and error and by testing liquids, sprays, pills and capsules. You know what makes you feel right and relieves your symptoms. If you take prescription medicine, you might have had a similar experience trying to find something that works perfectly. It’s not an uncommon experience to try a few things before you achieve the best results.

Think about marijuana more traditionally.

Here are a few things to consider when trying marijuana as medicine for the first time or trying it again after a period of time.

Read up on dosage.
This is especially important with edibles. In Michigan, marijuana medicine products are created and packaged in different dosages. For instance, a package of gummies might have a total THC measure of 100mg and each medical marijuana ediblespiece is 10 mg, which is easy to understand. A trail bar might have 80 mg, which you need to cut into right size pieces. With something crumbly, this can be a challenge. Err on the side of caution and try a smaller portion as opposed to larger. If you’ve never consumed edibles, test a piece that is 5 mg or even less. Do not eat any more until 90 minutes have passed since your first bite.photo of a clock, take time for marijuana as medicine to work

Wait and see.
photo of a clock, take time for marijuana as medicine to workWith any kind of medicine you take, cannabis or traditional it’s important to give the compounds time to take effect. With inhaled marijuana, you’ll feel the effect within a few minutes and it’ll increase as time goes on, then arc and fade away. With edible cannabis, it can take up to an hour for you to feel the effect and if you’ve ingested too much, you’ll know it and feel it longer than if you’d consumed a concentrate or flower.

Study the strains.
When purchasing marijuana as medicine, study the strain and the properties it claims to have. One of the most popular resources for this information is Leafly where you can explore strains that are most likely to help with your condition, be it depression, pain, stomach pain or anxiety. This piece in Medical NewsToday, written by a pharmacist is helpful, too.
Indica strains are more calming and have a heavier or relaxing feel. They’re commonly used for pain.image of cannabis flowers and three joints for when marijuana is medicine
Sativa strains are more uplifting and good for people dealing people dealing with low moods or needing an energy boost.
Hybrids have some properties of both and are worth exploring.

While it isn’t always easy to discuss marijuana as medicine with your health care provider, it is advisable to do so. Other strain advice can be found by talking with your cannabis caregiver, other patients and with people at the provisioning center. Remember, strain advice isn’t medical advice.

Start small.
Whether you’re consuming with a vape pen, smoking flower or eating a brownie, it’s incredibly important to start small and don’t use alcohol when you’re testing. With a vape pen, one puff will do and don’t pull too hard! Wait a few minutes to see how you feel, then wait for a few more. If you’re sitting, walk around and see how you feel. Repeat if needed, considering your symptoms and how you are feeling.

Know your body.
With any remedy, plant-based or not, be aware that the desired results are not instant. It takes time for the body to absorb and process medicine, the effect could be immediate, or it might take days and several doses. The body’s endocannabinoid system is where cannabis finds receptors that help improve specific conditions and balances the body. The endocannabinoid system is located throughout the body and regulates many vital organs and some areas like the neurological centers are susceptible to cannabis and react more quickly.

Keep experimenting.
Remember the cold pills we talked about at the start and how the same thing doesn’t work for everyone? Finding the dose, delivery system and strain of cannabis that works for you takes research. You’ll want to talk with other patients/consumers and possibly with a cannabis physician, nurse or educator.

CBD and THC are partners.
There’s a lot of talk about CBD (cannabidiol) and there are many CBD products with barely detectable amounts of THC, the plant works best on illnesses or issues where there are complimentary balances of both chemicals. It doesn’t take a lot of THC to be effective, but some will act with the CBD to bring better results. Keep in mind, too, the more you ingest small amounts of THC, the more your body and mind will become accustomed to it and the heady feeling of being high will become less noticeable.

A Michigan Medical Marijuana card

How to Secure Your Michigan Medical Marijuana Card

So you have a health condition that’s bothering you and you’ve read about medical marijuana as a solution. It seems like something you want to try, but getting started isn’t obvious. With 11 new conditions in Michigan that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card, there’s no better time to give it a try.

If you want a Michigan Medical Marijuana card, here are eight things you need to do or keep in mind.

  1.     Review the list of conditions. You’ll need a diagnosis that meets the criteria that Michigan has approved. While some are very specific, pain is more general and it’s the most common ailment on the application form according to the State of Michigan.allowable conditions in Michigan for a medical marijuana card
  2.     Download and print the paperwork from LARA, the state licensing board.
  3.     Make an appointment with your physician. One of two things will happen next. You’ll go to your doctor and s/he will sign the paperwork and you’ll write the check for the filing fee ($60) and you’ll wait about three weeks and your card will come in the mail if you’re approved. A more common scenario is you’re reluctant to tell your physician you want to try medical marijuana or if you do ask, s/he refuses to sign the paperwork. There are other options, including physicians that are cannabis advocates who work in clinics that do this work for the good of the cannabis community. You’ll meet with her/him for a short examination and they’ll confirm your diagnosis and sign the paperwork for you. If you have access to any extras—xray results, physician notes, physical therapy notes bring those along. You need to show that you have the condition you claim to have. Some clinics will send it in for you, too, but we recommend you do this yourself so you know when it was mailed. Finding a clinic is as easy as web searching for Michigan Medical Marijuana card +your location.
  4.     You’ll be asked on the form about a caregiver. This is an individual who grows cannabis for patients. If you don’t have one, don’t check the box. Check the box that says I will possess the plants. That doesn’t mean you have to start growing, but you could if you wanted to. With your card that says NO CAREGIVER on the back, you’ll need A Michigan Medical Marijuana cardto visit a provisioning center for your meds. You can find one close to you on Leafly or Weedmaps. We have a blog post about how to visit a provisioning center.
  5.     Your card is good mostly in Michigan. There are a few states that allow reciprocity, but not many. The recreational states are, of course, open to anyone. But if you’re in Florida, you can’t use your Michigan card there. In Michigan though, medical cards from other states are allowed in some, but not all provisioning centers. Call ahead to make sure.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as a holder of a new medical marijuana card.

 

  1.     If you’re traveling, keep in mind it’s a felony to bring cannabis across state lines. So, you have to leave your medication behind. The safest solution is to enjoy some of America’s recreational legal states map of colorado where they have both recreational and medical marijuana(Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia) until the whole country ends prohibition You can also head to Canada for a nice vacation, the whole country will be recreational legal starting on October 17, 2018. This also applies to people flying. While the TSA isn’t looking for cannabis, it is still illegal to bring it across state lines.
  2.     If you’re traveling around Michigan, keep your cannabis is the trunk of your car. Better yet, put it in a locked box in your trunk. Never leave it out in plain sight on the seat next to you. 
  3.     You can’t consume (smoke) your medication in a public place, in your car or in a hotel/motel. That’s limiting for sure. Edibles are super handy for travel or find friends who don’t mind if you consume.
marijuana as medicine on s scale at a provisioning center

Look Like a Pro at the Marijuana Provisioning Center

You did it! You took the bold step and got your Michigan Medical Marijuana card. Congratulations. Now, what do you do? Most physicians don’t talk about that; some places will guide you, but for the most part, you are on your own to figure it out. We’re here to help.

Here are some tips to help build your confidence at the medical marijuana provisioning center.

  1. First off, you don’t have to go to a provisioning center, you can choose to work with an individual caregiver. Finding a photograph of marijuana flowers grown by a caregiver in Michigancaregiver isn’t as easy as walking into a provisioning center though. In all likelihood, you’ll need to know someone who grows cannabis and is accepting patients. If you don’t know someone, you’ll need to ask around. In Michigan, caregivers are limited to 5 patients so it can be challenging to find someone who is accepting patients. You’ll want to see their plants, as about their growing processes and talk with them about the strains you can buy from them. You’ll want a caregiver who grows and processes what you need. If you go the provisioning center route, below are some tips so you can look like you’ve been doing it for years.
  2. Be prepared. You’ll need your card, photo ID and cash. Expect security at the door of most places, sometimes it’s a camera system, others have a guard and others have a thick plexiglass window like the cable TV office. It can be intimidating, but your security is as important as the product they’re protecting. In most cases, you’ll be buzzed in and at that point, you get your ID and card back. The waiting areas range from comfy-cozy to spartan. Most have a TV and a few magazines, at the least. Many marijuana provisioning centers have ATMs, too.
  3. Do your research before you go. Both Leafly or WeedMaps are great resources for researching strains and getting information. Ask your friends about strains and products that they love. It’s good to have an idea of what you want, or think you want when you go into a provisioning center. You don’t want to be sold something that doesn’t help your condition. Read a few of the reviews and see if anything people are saying resonates with you.
  4. Not all stores are alike and you need to find a place you’re comfortable. Some carry a wide variety of products, others are very industrial, some just carry flower (the term for dried marijuana) offer chalkboard in a marijuana provisioning centerfew choices in edibles or tinctures or CBD products. You need to find a place that fits your needs, personality and buying style. Most marijuana provisioning centers post menus on Leafly or Weedmaps and from that, you can determine what you want to try. 
  5. Talk with the budtender at your counter. They should be able to talk with you about the health condition you are treating, the strains they have available and your preference for consumption. Feel free to ask questions and if they don’t know, ask if someone else knows. If they seem uneducated or a bad fit for you, feel free to leave. You aren’t obliged to buy anything.
  6. Expect your purchasing experience to be semi-private. After you clear security or the check-in area, you SHOULD be at a one on one space with your budtender, it’s likely there will be two or three counters in one open room and you should have one counter and one budtender to yourself. The counters all have the same products, so don’t be worried that you’re not getting something that someone else is. If you see something behind the counter that catches your eye, ask to see it. All of the products are going to be out of reach.
  7. You can ask to smell the cannabis flower which is usually in sealed glass containers. Ask the budtender if it’s ok, they’ll open the jar and let you smell it. Just don’t touch, it’s medicine and shouldn’t be contaminated with hand germs!three jars full of cannabis flower at a marijuana provisioning center
  8. You can buy just a tiny bit of flower if you want to try it out. Ask for a gram, that’s enough for a few joints (depending on how you roll) and it will give you an idea of what you’re getting and the effect. Cannabis is priced starting in grams and up to an ounce and the Budtender can tell you the prices, or it’ll be posted. Look for and ask about specials and other items that are available.
  9. Put your purchases in the trunk of your car after you leave the provisioning center. If you have a small lockbox, bring it for transporting. It’s a good practice.
  10. When you’re done, review your experience and tell others how it worked for you. It’s one way to give back to the cannabis community and to help the marijuana provisioning center improve their customer service and educate others.
a young man who is using cannabis for sleep

Wide Awake at Night? Using Cannabis for Sleep Might Help.

We know a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health. Without sleep, our emotional and physical well-being decline. There’s evidence that cannabis can help with sleep.

If things are going well, we spend 1/3 of our day at rest, but when we’re overly busy or unable to unwind, that amount can be much less. There are a variety of factors that interfere with good sleep: an overactive mind, too much light, our electronic devices, caffeine, alcohol, noise, overstimulation and physical issues like pain. If you’re reading this blog, you probably have struggled with good sleep.

In Michigan, cannabis can’t be prescribed for sleep specifically, so while you might use cannabis for your pain or another issue, it could help with sleep, too.

We have to preface this blog with this: there hasn’t been enough research on cannabis on sleep. Because cannabis is federally illegal—the institutions that conduct sleep research can’t do that work because of federal funding. Please discuss your cannabis use with your physician, too. This blog is for information only.

If you want to try cannabis to help with sleep issues you need to first focus on your sleep hygiene. Some traits of good sleep hygiene are mentioned a comfy looking bed, where someone might consume cannabis for sleepabove and theoretically, they should help you sleep. If you’re like 30 percent of all Americans and you’re still sleepless, that’s when you probably have turned to sleep medications or herbal supplements. About 4 percent of all American take a prescription sleep aid and those pills have side effects and issues with overuse, as well as rebound insomnia when discontinued. Plant-based medicines tend to be gentler and don’t have the same harsh side effects of synthetic drugs.

Cannabis For Sleep 101.

There are three properties of cannabis that are involved in improving sleep: THC, CBD and terpenes. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis; CBD is non-psychoactive has a calming effect and can be used to counter THC in cannabis and terpenes are the part of cannabis that gives it a distinctive smell like pine, lemon or cheese. Aromatherapy is often used to help with sleep, essential oils like lavender are known to help relax people. The terpenes in cannabis can help do the same thing, but you ingest it, rather than smell it. You can learn more about terpenes profiles and strains here. Together THC, CBD and the right terpenes have a relaxing effect that can help induce better sleep.

Finding the Right Dosage is Crucial to Success.

We’re big fans of microdosing cannabis. It’s the best way to find out photo of tiny gummies made micodosing which can be used for sleepwhat works for you and to avoid some of the after-effects of consuming too much cannabis for sleep. Those effects can include dry mouth, red eyes and feeling groggy in the morning. Start small, one or two puffs if you’re smoking and if you’re using a tincture or an edible—try 5 mg to start and see how it works for you.

What’s the Right Strain?

There’s a lot of talk about sativa or indica and whether a strain really matters. In the case of choosing cannabis for sleep doing some research about strains will help you determine whether what you consume will help relax you or make your sleep issues worse.  Leafly has a great strain guide and your caregiver or budtender should be able to give you some direction, too. Keep in mind, indica tends to be more relaxing than sativa, and a hybrid for sleep should be indica dominant.

Smoking vs. Edibles.

We tend to favor edibles for sleep only because of their long-lasting power. While an edible will take longer to take effect, it stays with you longer, too. You’ll want to consume your edible about 90 minutes before you hit the bed so the relaxing properties are working. If you choose to smoke, you can do that right before you brush your teeth and hop between the sheets and don’t smoke in bed!

It Might Help with Sleep Apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition where the sleeper has frequent obstructions of breathing that can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Sleep apnea causes a person to wake up throughout the night and disturbs the sleep cycle. Some people stop breathing up to 30 times in an hour. People with sleep apnea are prone to headaches, daytime drowsiness and irritability. There has been limited research on using cannabis to help with sleep apnea—a small study with 17 people showed promise, but it’s not enough participants to give us faith in its result. What researchers are learning, though, is that THC can help restore breathing stability with serotonin signals to the brain.

Love Your Dreams?
You Might Miss Them if You’re Trying Cannabis for Sleep.

sheep sleeping in a meadow, they don't use cannabis for sleep!One of the biggest complaints people have about using cannabis for sleep is that interferes with dreams. Dreams happen in the REM cycle of sleep, which is the last cycle of sleep during the night and we know cannabis interferes with that process. Cannabis that is high in CBD and lower in THC might help restore some of your REM dream sleep and help you relax more.

If you’ve had trouble sleeping in the past, then you know that experimentation is key to getting it right and cannabis for sleep is much the same.

photo of tiny gummies made micodosing which can be used for sleep

Microdosing Marijuana Medicine for Better Results

Like any medication, marijuana is a personal thing and how much you need and use is a choice, but getting to that place might take a less is more approach. Some people feel the effect of a very small amount quickly and powerfully, while others need to imbibe greater amounts for longer periods of time for the desired effect. Some people like the feeling of being high and locked to the couch, while others prefer to keep it light and remain in total control of their senses. For those who like control and stability, microdosing marijuana medicine is an effective way to relieve pain, anxiety or other symptoms without feeling too high.

Here’s the thing with cannabis and its many strains—what is effective for one person, isn’t necessarily what works for another and a little can go a long way.

Microdosing is a fairly new trend in cannabis consumption and it’s a solid method for determining what works for you and how cannabis makes you feel. It’s a little like learning your tolerance for other substances or a medicine. You might already know how a single glass of wine, a craft beer or a whiskey drink makes you feel and you also probably know that tipping point when you’ve had too much. Cannabis is similar, in that different strains with unique potencies affect people in different ways. This tipping point is called a biphasic effect, biphasic just means having two phases. In the case of cannabis or alcohol— the phases are just enough and too much.

The biphasic effects of marijuana are similar to alcohol and just as impactful. Low doses of THC can make you feel happy and relaxed, but too much can impais your thinking and produces intense anxiety, paranoia or induces a full-blown panic attack.

Learning what your tolerance is the first step for microdosing marijuana. It takes some experimentation—which can be fun—if you think small first.

photo of tiny gummies made for microdosing marijuana
The tiny gummies (shown here with regular gummies) contain a low dose of THC. They are perfect for microdosing.

Start with a super low dose, 5 mg of THC or even lower if you are able to find a product of that potency. Edibles are one way to experiment because they can be cut up into right-size pieces, but keep in mind it’s about an hour before they take effect and the stated potencies can be inaccurate, especially if you are cutting something down to size from a larger item. If you have access to a well-stocked dispensary, low-dose cannabis can be found in tinctures, elixirs and sublingual sprays. If you smoke or vape, start with one hit and wait 10 minutes before you take another, so you can judge the effect. It could be one is enough, and you might have never stopped at one before! With microdosing marijuana you want to ingest just enough so that you feel like you’re on the verge of getting high—and aren’t quite there yet. You’ll be getting the benefits of the THC and CBD properties of cannabis—but you won’t be stoned.

a chew with 25 mg of THC would need to be divided into 1/8s for microdosing marijuana
This one inch chew contains 25 mg of THC, to microdose you’d need to cut it into 8 pieces.

Once you discover that sweet spot, you’ll want to determine how long the dose lasts and when to have a bit more to keep the symptoms away. By tracking a few things, you’ll be on your way to feeling better and maybe using less cannabis.

It’s important, also, to not drink alcohol when you’re experimenting with microdosing. You should carefully control your environment, so you can fully judge what works for you. It’s important to remember to ingest edibles on a full stomach, too.

Many people, those with chronic pain and inflammation, insomnia, mood regulation and nausea might find benefit from microdosing marijuana throughout the day. With the perfect dose of the right product, it can help improve how you move, how you feel and even how you work.

CBD comes in oil form and this blog is about cbd

A Little About CBD and What it Might do For You

You might have read about CBD, or heard people talk about it. When discussions about medical marijuana come up, CBD often does too. CBD is becoming more well-known especially for pain relief, seizures and anti-anxiety applications. But, since there’s a bit of confusion about what’s what, here’s the quick low down. Please note, this isn’t medical advice, consult your physician for specifics.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol (pronounced canna-bid-eye al) a naturally occurring cannabis compound that has promising medical benefits. The most popular feature of CBD for many patients is that it doesn’t make them high or feel stoned. In fact, it actually balances out psychoactivity of THC in cannabis, so if you ingest too much cannabis, you can take away the edge with CBD.

Where does CBD come from?

hemp plants, from which cbd is derivedCBD comes from two sources, both in a cannabis sativa plant. The male cannabis sativa is also known as hemp. Hemp isn’t psychoactive. You can’t smoke or ingest hemp and get high. While both marijuana and hemp contain CBD, the CBD purchased from public shops and online is from hemp. If you’re feeling wronged—hold on! There isn’t much difference between CBD derived from hemp and CBD from marijuana—so if you don’t have a medical marijuana card, your hemp-made CBD should serve you well. It’s worth noting that CBD isn’t available in all states, due to the close connection to marijuana.

CBD also comes from the female marijuana plant. That’s what you’d buy from your caregiver or dispensary and it is considered medicine. The combination of THC and CBD in a marijuana flower helps people with a variety of symptoms and medical issues. While many cultivators grow for strong THC, there are some strains that are known for being higher in CBD. They include: ACDC, Cannatonic and Ringo’s Gift. Or just ask your caregiver or budtender for a high CBD/low THC flower or product.

CBD comes in tinctures, balms, creams and other forms.

How does CBD work?

The human body is home to the endocannabinoid system. This rather unknown, but important part of each of us plays a big role in regulating our physiology—and the endocannabinoid system affects our mood, metabolism, blood pressure, bone density, intestinal health, energy, stress, hunger and more. When the receptors aren’t working, they need help (this truly isn’t a medical term) and a dose of a cannabinoid or CBD can help.

Why have I never heard of the endocannabinoid system before?

hemp plants for making cbdUnlike other parts of the human body that have been researched since the time of early medicine, the link between THC and the endocannabinoid system was only discovered in 1964 by Israeli pharmacologist-researcher Raphael Mechoulam.

Without going too deeply into the physiological mechanics—the endocannabinoid system is a neurological receptor and transmitter system that balances many bodily functions. It is found throughout the human body and regulates a number of functions—which helps explain why cannabis can help with a wide variety of illnesses. Think about how most medicines help with only one or two maladies—cannabis helps with dozens.

What might CBD help?

While there are no miracle drugs and CBD has its detractors, people are finding it helps with quite a few things: anxiety, acne, hard to treat epilepsy, stress reduction, energy balance, multiple sclerosis, PTSD in adults and children, sleep, appetite, immune function, opioid withdrawal, quitting smoking and possibly the spread of some kinds of cancer cells.

When doing research for yourself, look at the PubMed database through the National Institutes of Health, there are a number of research documents you can review for yourself. Just put CBD in the search box.

Keep in mind that CBD is not yet approved by the FDA, so it is up to consumers and their physicians to determine dosages.

Photo credits:

Hemp Field in Brittany by Barbetorte https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7558724

Leaf detail by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

CDB oil by Christin Hume on Unsplash

a green cannabis plant

The Cole Memo and Jeff Sessions for Dummies

Ok, first off. You’re not a dummy. But the announcement that Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Cole Memo is confusing, especially since more Americans accept the idea of legal cannabis and the country is moving toward ending prohibition. His action raised the ire of cannabis advocates, citizens in adult-use legal states, elected officials and people in medical marijuana states.

Here we go!

What is the Cole Memo?

It’s a document written by a James Cole, deputy attorney general in 2013 when times were good and Barack Obama was president. Without going into the weeds of legalese, it tells U.S. attorneys where to focus their marijuana efforts.

These efforts include preventing:

  •   the distribution of marijuana to minors
  •   marijuana revenue from funding criminal enterprises, gangs or cartels
  •   marijuana from moving across state lines 
  •   use of state-legal marijuana sales as a cover for illegal activity
  •   violence and use of firearms in growing or distributing marijuana
  •   drugged driving
  •   growing marijuana on public lands
  •   marijuana possession or use on federal property

It recognized that states have implemented laws to regulate marijuana and that those laws, for the most part, support what the federal government wants to see.

The memo tells federal staff to allow the states to police themselves. So over the last five years, all of the legal states wrote and followed their own laws regarding cannabis growing and sales. It gave the federal government the ability to focus on real criminal issues. This memo was important because of two things: it recognized the role of states in self-regulation and it acknowledged, tacitly, that the federal government had other priorities than chasing down cannabis businesses and it wasn’t going to spend funds on marijuana cases.

What did Sessions do With the Cole Memo and why?

Sessions rescinded the memo and is implementing a new policy. This one directs federal prosecutors to return to marijuana enforcement policy, overriding the laws in legal states. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country,” wrote Sessions.

photo of the Hollywood sign in CaliforniaWhat this action does is give U.S. Attorneys the ability to prosecute adult-use marijuana businesses. Many of which just opened earlier this week in California.

We’ve known since before Sessions became the Attorney General that he hates cannabis, he has said that good people don’t smoke marijuana. He has always been a threat to the cannabis industry and now we’re seeing his wrath. The heart of the issue is the memo isn’t law and what we need now is legislation ending cannabis prohibition.

What Does This Mean for Michigan?

For now, we’re ok.

The bright spot in all of this, it is the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. It is a 2014 amendment to the federal government budget package three jars full of cannabis flowerthat’s up for renewal later this month. The powerful amendment, which has bipartisan support, protects states with medical marijuana programs. It prevents the federal government from using resources to prosecute people and businesses that are complying with the law in medical marijuana states.

What’s devastating about the Cole Memo action is that our effort to end cannabis prohibition in Michigan could be upended as we move toward adult-use on the ballot in 2018.  

What Can You Do?

Call your Congressperson and tell them how important it is to uphold the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. Here’s a script to follow and quick way to find your representative.

It’s time for all of us to step up our advocacy efforts and get involved (support with time or a donation) with NORML, Marijuana Policy Project and MILegalize.

Voice your support of cannabis and work against prohibition now.

a chew with 25 mg of THC would need to be divided into 1/8s for marijuana microdosing

If Toking Makes You Choke, Try Edible Marijuana Options

Not everyone likes to smoke cannabis. The act of smoking—taking an irritating substance into delicate lung tissue is one of the more unhealthy aspects of marijuana use. It also makes it difficult for physicians to embrace marijuana as medicine. People with asthma or other lung issues are sensitive to any kind of smoke and smoking is problematic for children who need cannabis medicine. So, when the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation threatened to close Michigan’s dispensaries earlier this fall, people were alarmed.

Michigan’s caregiver model, falls short when it comes to highly targeted patient needs. Not all caregivers have the ability to grow multiple strains or to create non-smokable products that meet the needs of patients. At present, there are over six times more patients than caregivers in our state—38,000 caregivers and 218,000 patients.

The availability of a variety of cannabis products is vital to patients in Michigan. Whether it is topical ointments and creams, edible marijuana, tinctures, capsules, vaporized concentrates and other items that aren’t smoked, patients need choices.

Just like any other medication, marijuana comes in different potencies, strains, and methods of ingestion. It takes experimentation to get the medicine to work right.

a candy bar with THCEdibles marijuana or “medibles” are a popular option for cannabis patients, they tend to be a bit less expensive than flower and the effects are longer-lasting. They can be easily dosed, too. The packaging on these products provides the THC potency and that’s where experimentation begins. It’s important to keep two things in mind if you are testing an edible for the first time—a little goes a long way and it takes time to affect your system.

Before you TRY EDIBLE marijuana, read the label and do your math.

Novice nibblers need to look at something around 5 mg, so if you have 100 mg THC potency bar, cut it into 20 pieces. This isn’t always easy, and there is the temptation to eat a little more. Who eats 1/10 of a brownie? Resist the temptation—too much marijuana will make you feel odd, heavy or fluttery in the chest all the way down to your legs and perhaps you’ll have a hard time focusing with an overactive mind.  Eating too much won’t kill you, but it might give you a couch-locked experience (as in, you can’t get off of the couch). It also might negatively affect your opinion and ideas about cannabis, so don’t go there if you are just starting out. 

an edible marijuana chocolate with 125 mg of THC
There’s 120 mg of THC in this little chocolate bar.

If you’ve been smoking or vaping marijuana regularly, try something in the 10-15 mg range. Again, you’ll need to do some math, and we suggest using a calculator to save yourself from too much or using too little.  This lovely mint chocolate (right) has 120 mg in an ounce, which if you are shooting for a 15 mg dose, you’ll need to cut it into 1/8s.  

edible marijuana in a chew with 25 mg of THC
One inch, 25 mg of THC

For the chew (above) you’d need to cut it in 1/3s or in half for this mid-range dose. 

If you’re a long time card holder (yay, you) then know how to dose. You’re probably a 25 mg to 40 mg user, so you’ll get a nice size bite of the Magic Bar (below) with 165 mg of THC, you’ll eat about 1/4 of this tasty treat. 

edible marijuana from the detroit fudge company
There’s 165 mg of THC in the Magic Bar. We cut it into 12ths.

Edibles take longer to kick in, sometimes an hour or more, so resist the temptation to have another bite, no matter how tasty the treat. They last longer too—up to eight hours—depending on your metabolism and body structure. With practice and correct dosing, they’re great for long-haul activities like a hike, bike ride or even a long airline flight.

If you don’t like thinking about this when you’re ready to say goodbye to pain or anxiety, cut up your edible up in advance and repackage it for the future.

Microdosing is another way of dosing your cannabis medicine. Many patients have had success with small doses—5 mg of a product can give people help with their anxiety, create a sense of well-being or help with relaxation. With a tiny dose, the psychoactive aspect cannabis is diminished, but not completely gone away.

image of marijuana which is part of any new marijuana business

Legalization 101: Marijuana is Medicine

Across the state of Michigan, petitions are circulating for adult-use marijuana and we know that having a persuasive argument and accurate information about the plant are critical to success. Presenting facts, data and stories are necessary for moving people from “on the fence” to signing–and voting yes–for ending prohibition.

This is the first in a series of posts to help you talk the talk about cannabis.

First and foremost, marijuana is a medicinal plant

Throughout history, cannabis has been used in world cultures as medicine. It is difficult to find extensive modern American research about the efficacy of the plant because of its Schedule 1 status. Even for medical research, it is federally illegal to possess the plant.

But, there has been some recent research work in marijuana-legal states that will help with building the depth of clinical trials. Recently, the American Legion wrote to the President asking him to de-schedule cannabis so it can be further tested for use by veterans.

Different States Endorse different uses

Even popular health sites like WebMD acknowledge that cannabis shows promise for a variety of health ailments. These include slowing the growth of some cancers, relaxing the muscles of Parkinson’s Disease patients, helping people with digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease and managing chronic pain.

Each of the 29 states that allow medical marijuana have different guidelines for what kinds of conditions the medicine can be prescribed to help. We’ve heard positive anecdotal stories about cannabis and difficult health situations like self-harming autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Multiple Sclerosis. For many cancer patients, the only medicine that gets them through chemotherapy is cannabis.

we support your right to choose

While cannabis is available to citizens in Michigan with a doctor’s recommendation, we think that adults, regardless of reason and without the intervention of a physician, should be able to access marijuana, as they might any over-the-counter medicine or health supplement.