So, you or a loved one have decided to try medical cannabis, (marijuana), for whatever reason. First timers…I encourage you to not be alone the first couple of times you use your medicine. Have someone who is familiar with the effects of cannabis be with you on your maiden voyage. Start slow and with a very small amount to begin with. Wait 15 minutes if you are using an inhalation method, such as a joint, pipe or vaporizer, and 45 minutes to an hour if you are using an edible medicine. The effects of the edibles takes longer because it has to be digested, and if you just had a meal it may take a little longer, but you’ll know it when it hits home. And you probably don’t need a coach either, but it’s more fun and less daunting, especially if you are at all apprehensive about what to expect.
Chances are, you may not have any issue at all because most people don’t, but some people who have never experienced the marijuana high may get a bit of anxiety over the unexpected alteration of their feelings in mind or body. Don’t panic! (That was sort of a joke, because of course anxiety will cause panic). Have no fear because cannabis has never hurt anyone. It may seem like something is wrong at first, but it’s only something different. Soon you will feel fine and any uncomfortable experience isn’t likely to repeat itself next time when you are more prepared and knowing about what to expect. You’ll also discover the medicinal benefit quite quickly and in all probability, will learn to love the feeling. Most people do.
I am running totally on emotions today. Michele, Leonhart, USA DEA Director, spouted off unsubstantiated claims about marijuana to a Senate Judiciary Committee this week. It never ceases to amaze me when a person in such a huge position of power is so uninformed and uses misinformation that affects millions of people just to protect their reputation, position or job. Leonhart told the Senate Committee many falsehoods this week, but the one that prompted me to write this post today was that she stated that between 2007 and 2012, emergency room visits related to marijuana were up 28%. You may read the story yourself, but it may get your blood pressure up a bit.
Remember the posts I did about statistics, and how you really need to be careful to understand how they are presented and what conclusion someone is trying to promote? This is one of those cases.
Okay, let’s assume her remark was true. Was it determined that all these visits to the emergency room were because of the effects of marijuana, or just that someone admitted having used it when being triaged at the ER? Did they use it in the past hour? Past day? Week or month? Last year? This data isn’t presented to us. We don’t know what brought these people to the ER, only that they had at some time used marijuana. Could it be that there has been a slight increase of ER marijuana visits because of the increased use of marijuana as medicine over the last 10 to 15 years, especially by people who normally wouldn’t consider using it recreationally and are unfamiliar with it’s psychoactive effects? Maybe, but no one’s asking the right questions or reporting the answers.
Now to be fair, I must assume that some people may show up in the ER because of a bad experience with cannabis. And since it’s legal in some places, and more widely available AND accepted than ever before, more people are willing to actually tell the ER folks that they use cannabis. But why would a person go to the ER in the first place? People usually go to the emergency room because they are inexperienced in using marijuana and the altered state is so uncomfortably different to them that it causes anxiety or a panic attack. That is so unfortunate, but be advised that while this can happen. cannabis is rarely the cause, but rather a trigger to something else.
What will they do for you at the emergency room? (I mean besides running up an unnecessary bill.) What’s more than likely to happen to a person in this scenario is:
- They will have to wait so long to be seen that the feeling subsides as the effects wear off and they leave on their own.
- If they get admitted past the front desk they may get to a curtained-off area where they are laid to wait and once again, the effects wear off and they feel foolish for still being there.
- If seen by a doctor right away, they will probably have an EKG to check their heart, and although it still may be racing faster than normal, (because it IS an anxiety/panic attack you know), when it’s determined the heart is fine, they’ll get a shot of vallium or something like it, and will be discharged with instructions to follow up with their own doctor. They exchange one high for another, the patient goes home, takes a nap, and wakes up finer than frog hairs.
This person would have probably ended up with the nap anyway, with or without a trip to the ER, and could have skipped all the drama/trauma. So, don’t be that person. Have a trusted, marijuana-experienced person with you the first few times you try cannabis as medicine. It just make sense. And sharing is caring.