In this post I want to stress the importance of journaling your medical cannabis experience. This is especially important to people who are new to using cannabis as medicine, but can also be of great benefit to experiences users.
Because we are all using cannabis for different ailments, and because of the lack of definitive information on exactly how cannabis is to be used for our ailments, we are left to make our own discoveries. Cannabis is a very personal medicine and one particular strain can have varying effects on different people. The best way to find what works for us as individuals is keep a close eye on what we use and how it works for all our health issues.
Keeping track of our cannabis medicine is totally our own responsibility. Because of research done in recent years we do know more about cannabis now than in previous decades and we’re better able to determine what may work and what will not. Understanding the importance of cannabis terpenes, as well as understanding our body’s endocannabinoid system, can also help us choose the best cannabis medicine for an individual illness or condition. Terpenes are one of our most useful tools because you can smell them. Terpenes give cannabis its aroma and flavor and for most newcomers, using your nose to smell cannabis flowers may be your best way to identify strains. You can’t always trust in a name.
Choosing our cannabis medicine has gone well beyond indica or sativa. Relying only on strain names is not a very accurate way to go either because of the variation between different phenotypes of the same strain, and the different grow styles cannabis producers. There are so many strains on the medical cannabis market now, and I can tell you with much confidence in my own experience and research that almost every strain in the market is a hybrid of indica, sativa and sometimes ruderalis. Much of the medicine in cannabis has been altered and even discarded by decades of selective breeding by underground growers to attain the highest THC potency. Thankfully this is being reversed, but this reversal has also flooded the market with so many new strains that it makes your head spin, and not in a good way. So, what can we, as individual patients do? Well, we can do a lot to learn and understand what works best for us by journaling.
There are different reasons for journaling our medicine. Some people are wanting to keep track of their illness and medications to get much more in depth considering all things besides just cannabis, such as other meds taken, weather, food intake, nutritional supplements and the list can go on and on. My type of journaling is geared to the patient who knows cannabis is beneficial and wants to hone in on the best strains and methods of ingestion.
The things we need to keep track of when journaling cannabis medicine can vary a little between patients. There are journaling apps and journaling booklets and pamphlets, but coming up with your own simple system isn’t hard to do. Here is are some things all patients should keep track of.
Flower (or strain specific pre rolls)
– Strain name
– Effectiveness for your target – condition(s)
– Length of relief
– Appearance (color, form, sticky, hairy, etc)
– Side effects (good and bad)
– Cannabinoid content
– Terpene content
– Method of ingestion (smoked? vaped?)
Additional items for Concentrates and Edibles
– Form of concentrate (keif, wax, rosin, oil, shatter, hash, etc)
– Methods of extraction (if extracted) (Co2, BHO, PHO, Ethanol, distillate, etc)
– Method of ingestion (vaped? smoked? made into edible)
– Cannabinoid content (milligrams and or % of cannabinoids
– Was your edible/drinkable made from cannabis infused butter, coconut oil, hempseed oil, BHO, CO2, RSO?)
Basically, you keep track of as much info as you can to help you to assess what is the best cannabis medicine for you. There are no doctors or pharmacists to do this for you. YOU have to take control over your illness and how you treat it.
When I started on the medical cannabis program I had many preconceived ideas based on whatever I found on the black market over decades. I had actually stopped smoking cannabis altogether because it didn’t serve me well anymore. So I had to start from scratch, and to do that I kept a ledger in which I pasted the labels of everything I bought at the dispensaries and wrote my notes on aroma, taste and effect next to each label. It only took a few months to see the trend of what was best for me. I thought I wanted sativa, but it became apparent that the indica hybrids with the fruity, earthy flavors was what was working best. And they still do. I also discovered that THC content really didn’t matter very much at all.
Take the time to hone in on your best medicine. You may be surprised. You’ll definitely be better armed to make the right cannabis medicine choices.