I have plenty of patients who do not like to get high. They would prefer not to use any drugs at all. But their ailments are severe and huge amounts of cannabis really works for them.
In this case, I always say it’s very important to change the framework around it. You could medicate with cannabis. You might find that smoking 10 joints a day is exactly what you need because you were in a severe car accident and have tons of pain. You can still get your work done and move on with your life.
But it’s important not to frame that smoking or consumption of marijuana as a social thing you do. We don’t typically bring a bottle of ibuprofen to a party, pass it around, and everybody takes their ibuprofen together.
If you’re committed to using cannabis as medicine, then you need to medicate in a proper setting. This means removing the social aspect to get yourself in a positive state of mind, using only the appropriate dose that helps your symptoms and taking breaks.
If you’re using THC constantly your tolerance goes up. You’re using more and it’s expensive. I suggest that people who are worried about marijuana addiction just take a 48-hour break once a month. This clears the THC intensity from your system. Your receptors that receive the THC can recalibrate, and afterward you may need much less to get that medicinal effect.
I also suggest that people take two weeks each year where they go completely off cannabis. So, for one week in the spring and one week in the fall, take a break from cannabis to totally reset your system. Really ask yourself, “Am I addicted? Am I using this as medicine? What is my relationship with this drug?” We’ve got to think a little bit more deeply.
What’s a proper dose each day, you ask? This is an excellent question.
The proper dose of cannabis is subjective. I have clients who take about one milligram of cannabis a day. This is essentially like taking one-tenth of a puff off a joint. It’s very hard to deliver that small of a dose by smoking, so they’ll take it in an oil form. Some people’s daily dose of cannabis is just to put it on topically on their elbow. It’s an extremely light dose. They’re not getting high from it at all.
But I also know people who have severe ailments like cancer. They’re trying to fight the various symptoms of cancer treatment and taking hundreds of milligrams a day. This is an enormous amount of cannabis. So, determining the proper dose also comes from taking a break. Once you go off it and you see how much you need and how you feel, then you can say, “Gosh, maybe I’m taking too much. I’m going to start in after my break with only half as much.”
Tons of people miss the opportunity to do micro-dosing
Tons of people miss the opportunity to do micro-dosing. This is when you take only enough cannabis into your system to get benefits. So, your anxiety goes down or your pain goes down or you sleep better, but you’re not getting cognitively impaired. It’s a really nice sweet spot because you can save money on cannabis by only taking what’s needed. Then on Friday night you can do whatever you want. You can take a huge dose of cannabis, get high, have fun, and that’s perfectly reasonable.
There are incredible studies on the effects of CBD (cannabidiol) reducing cravings and the addictive properties of drugs. I have a few patients who have been addicted to opiates. I always ask if they’ve tried CBD. If you have severe cravings or you’re worried about your intake, even if it’s cigarettes, there are studies that show high doses of CBD can actually attenuate the need and the craving for nicotine. Introducing CBD into their daily medicinal regimen can be huge. This is a way to save someone’s life.
If somebody’s only using THC for anxiety, that is a red flag for me. Eventually, THC-only usage will most likely exacerbate your anxiety. You need to add CBD to that. If you’re a home grower, start growing plants that are higher in CBD. If you’re a cannabis smoker, go to a store that has CBD. Go to my website or find a place where you can start delivering CBD into your system. This will balance your ailments and decrease the amount of THC you need for reducing symptoms. CBD reduces pain, softens muscle spasms, and reduces cramps. So it’s really important to have CBD in your regimen.
I personally like THC. I enjoy cannabis. And if I take too much THC into my system, I know that I have to start adding CBD because I get anxious. A lot of this comes from personal experience.
Obviously, this is a subject that I’m passionate about. Primarily because I think cannabis is far less dangerous – far less addictive – than other harsh drugs and products that are readily available and totally legal. This doesn’t mean that cannabis can’t really affect you and ruin some people’s lives. Some people get so addicted to cannabis that they never quite get out of that stupor. But I think that has a lot to do with being depressed, being anxious, having mood disorders, and never addressing them.
The most important thing is community support. There is no magic pill to prevent people from being addicted or to reduce people’s addiction. It requires people having positive support members in their community, being open about their usage of drugs, and making sure that people are getting educated.
You must move forward in your life. When people are stagnant in their life, they’re not getting a new job, they’re not getting over their ailments or their mood and they’re just medicating, then that’s a time to dig deeper. Go to a therapist. Talk to people. Take a break from cannabis. Have a deeper experience around your life.
My book Cannabis Consulting is coming out this summer and is available for pre-order on Amazon.