7 Common Issues That Canadian Medical Cannabis Patients Experience

common cannabis mistakes patients make

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have been prescribed medical marijuana since it became legal in this country back in 2001. Since then, the use of medical cannabis has become increasingly popular, with more and more people curious about whether or not it’s right for them.

Being new at something can be challenging. That’s because there is a lot of information out there to deal with. When it comes to using medical marijuana for the first time, you may have some questions and concerns.

If you are new to medical cannabis, you can skip the “I wish I’d know about that before,” with this list of the seven common issues Canadian medical cannabis patients experience.

1. Being Impatient: The Effects of Medical Cannabis Take Time

Patience is a virtue when it comes to trying medical cannabis. When you take medical marijuana it’s important to remember that like any prescription, it will take time for you to notice the first effects.

How long it will take can depend on the strain, dosage, and whether it’s being smoked, vaped, or eaten. Some reports say you should wait at least 10 minutes if you are vaping or smoking. The effects of edibles on the other hand can take longer to kick in, anywhere from 30 minutes to up to three hours.

Instead of becoming impatient after taking the first dose and increasing the amount you consume, relax to see how long it takes for you to feel the effects. Taking note of how much you used can make it easier the next time you use medical cannabis.

2. Mistaking Cannabis as a Magical Cure

Medical marijuana is a popular prescription for a huge variety of illnesses because it can be helpful. There’s no denying that cannabis is powerful and has helped millions of users from around the world better manage their health issues.

But it’s not a magical cure all.

Most of the benefits associated with medical marijuana are related to the symptoms of underlying issues. And it’s not uncommon for medical cannabis to be prescribed in conjunction with other prescription drugs.

3. Not Understanding the Differences between THC and CBD

Many first-time medical marijuana users think that all cannabis is the same, and don’t understand the difference between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both are cannabinoids that come from the marijuana plant, but they’re very different.

THC is often defined by how cannabis makes you feel. THC can make you feel “high” while CBD tends to interact with parts of the body that reduce inflammation and doesn’t make you feel “high.”

While people typically use THC and CBD to treat different conditions, there is some cross over, with individuals using either or a balance of the two, to help with pain, anxiety, and nausea.

4. Not Experimenting with Different Strains

Medical cannabis is not created equal. Different strains will affect you differently. Some medical cannabis strains are higher in THC (relaxing, pain reliever) while others have higher concentrations of CBD (anti-inflammatory, mood boosting). 

You also have what’s called an endocannabinoid system, this system helps regulate homeostasis and engages directly with cannabinoids. Depending on your metabolism and your endocannabinoid system, your experience with a cannabis strain may be entirely different to another person taking the same strain.

Using the wrong strain could turn you off medical marijuana. That’s why it’s important to talk with a medical professional who is an expert on medical cannabis and can help you choose the best strain for your symptoms.

5. Not knowing the Difference between Smoking and Vaping

There is no right way or wrong way or best way to consume medical marijuana. It’s entirely up to you. Two of the more popular methods are smoking and vaping.

  • Smoking uses dried plant parts or concentrates which are rolled up into a joint using rolling papers or cones. It can also be packed into a bong or pipe.
  • Vaping involves inhaling heated oil or dried cannabis flower through a vaporizing device, which is often called a vape. Vapes often have the ability to adjust the temperature at which the material is heated. Overheating can burn off some of the compounds like terpenes and flavonoids which are often considered as beneficial as the cannabinoids.

6. Not Storing Medical Marijuana Correctly

Another common mistake medical cannabis users make is not storing their medical marijuana properly. Marijuana is a plant, and the buds are flowers. The way you store it can have a big impact on its quality and longevity.

If you are smoking or vaping medical marijuana, keep it in an airtight jar. This protects it from getting crushed and from mould and humidity. And store the jar in a cool, dark place; exposure to light can degrade the buds and reduce its efficacy.  Adding a humidity pack to your jar can also help keep it fresher longer.

7. Not Being Ready for Potential Side Effects

Medical marijuana can help provide some relief from chronic pain and other illnesses. In fact, medical cannabis users often rave about how it went above and beyond their expectations. At the same time, first time medical marijuana users should be prepared for potential side effects, including dry mouth, reddened eyes, dizziness, and increased appetite.

To avoid potential side effects, it’s a good idea for first-time users to stick to the prescribed dosage level and go slowly. Remember, depending on how you are taking your cannabis, it can take a little while for any effects to kick in.   

MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

If you’re interested in getting a medical marijuana prescription or want help growing your own medical cannabis at home, a nurse practitioner and/or a patient advisor at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) can help.

As a trusted name in medical cannabis consulting, MMC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on medical marijuana. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), refer you to a licensed producer, and help you apply for the ACMPR license.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?