Have you got yourself a Medical 420 card? Congratulations! You have unlocked your way into the perks and advantages of medical cannabis. All that’s left to do now is to make your first purchase and enjoy the ride. But, as our elders say- safety first!
Cannabis is not as simple as your over the counter pain medication. Having gone through the entire process of getting a medical marijuana card, you may already be aware of that by now. Cannabis calls for some precautionary measures. After all, it’s made up of psychoactive chemicals that can alter your body functions. You would want to be sure of the right way to interact with this herb. Also, in the current COVID-19 pandemic, safety with cannabis is a priority. So, we are going to discuss them today. Let me walk you through some of the simple safety tips that you must be acquainted with as a cannabis consumer.
Use Your Medical 420 Card To Access The Right Sources
With the popularity that cannabis has achieved in the US, it may get difficult to choose the right source for your cannabis products. Nowadays, there are online stores as well as local dispensaries. Who do you choose? The answer is simple, a licensed source.
It doesn’t matter whether you order cannabis online or visit your local dispensary, as long as they are registered with the government, you are good to go.
Cannabis has had a long struggle with laws that opened doors for illegal sellers. These sources do not give you any quality assurance. You run the risk of buying poor quality cannabis that may contain contaminants like silica, sand, and in certain cases, mold. If these contaminants are consumed regularly, especially by medical patients, cannabis will cause more harm than good.
As for the licensed sources, they are obligated to abide by the government conditions that include quality checks and tests for contaminants. With a medical 420 card, you gain access to a large number of medical dispensaries where the products will be properly labeled to give you a complete picture of a product’s chemical profile. These factors vouch for a safe and high-quality product. And the better the quality, the better will be the effects of cannabis.
Identify Your Strains
Cannabis offers you variety. The market is updated with new strains every year. You can try these different strains but be sure of the type you are consuming. Strains differ from one another by their chemical profile. For example, Sour Diesel is high in THC whereas Durban Poison is high in THCV. So while the former will give you the characteristic munchies, the latter will have an appetite suppressing effect on the body. If you are not aware of the type of cannabis, the effects of different strains may cause confusion.
Identifying the strain is also important for practicing microdosing. If you are aware of the different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of the strain, you will be able to measure the right dose and streamline the type of effects you want for your condition.
Learn How To Deal With An Overdose
It’s challenging to assume how cannabis will affect someone. The same dose of cannabis may give a high to one and not affect the other at all. This happens because of the variation in individual characteristics like age, sex, history of use, tolerance, etc. These differences can also be the reason why your dose estimation (based on how people use it generally) may turn out to be higher than what your body needs. It usually happens in the case of edibles. Similarly, beginners have a habit of going all out on a joint in the first try. That’s not a wise move for a first-timer. As a user with a medical 420 card, you have access to a number of very strong strains.
The result of all these scenarios? An overdose.
Relax! Cannabis overdose is not fatal. But it’s not a walk in the park either. Some may even call it a miserable experience. Paranoia, anxiety, nausea, hallucinations, and panic attacks are some of the many symptoms of cannabis overdose. But you can learn to deal with it easily. Here are a few tips you can follow:
- Always start on a low dose.
- Munch on some healthy food to lower the high.
- Distract yourself. Go on a walk, watch a movie, or take a bath.
- Drink water or fruit juice to flush out excess THC.
- Use CBD or black pepper to counter the effects of THC.
- Sleep it out.
Smoking Cannabis: Safety Tips
Smoking is one of the most common ways of consuming cannabis in the US. Its quick onset is the reason why it is the first choice for many medical 420 card holders suffering from severe anxiety and chronic pain. This is why it is important that people learn to smoke cannabis safely.
Go Slow With Your First Session
You will likely go all out in your first session. You would want to finish the joint or a bong. It’s usually a result of incomplete knowledge and lack of experience. But like I said earlier, even the same amounts of cannabis can affect two people differently. Some of the beginners may feel an intense and often unbearable high if the amount of consumed cannabis is not controlled. This is why it is safer to be a few milligrams lower than your dose than go above the limit.
Show some patience. If you are smoking, you don’t have to finish the whole thing. Take time and observe the effects and smoke accordingly. Likewise, in the case of edibles, wait for them to kick in the body. They take time to show up but can be stronger in effects than expected. So remember the mantra of going slow in your first session.
Learn To Identify Quality Buds
Identifying good cannabis is a great way to get your money’s worth and be safe from bad buds that can ruin your experience and health. With time and experience, you will be able to pick out the best buds for yourself. How? By using your senses.
Look at the buds in front of you carefully, and access their appearance. The color of good cannabis is usually a shade of green with a tinge of purple and orange or one in accordance with its strain type. Poor quality cannabis will have a brown, earthy color with a tinge of yellow. Pay attention to the trichomes (small crystals on the surface) too—the more the merrier.
Also, scan for any signs of contamination. White fuzzy or spiderweb-like appearance points to the growth of mold. An overwhelmingly powdery texture is also a sign of contamination. It may seem like trichomes but in reality are crushed pills, talcum powder, or even silica.
The good thing about cannabis is that it has a distinctive smell. ‘Earthy’, ‘piney’, and ‘skunky’ are the most common description of cannabis scents. It can also smell like lavender, apples, berries, and citrusy depending on its terpene profile. The scent of bad cannabis is described as a freshly mowed lawn, human odor, and burnt hair. Use this information to make the right choice.
If cannabis is cured and handled properly, it will have a good texture. The buds will be tightly packed or leaner according to the strain type. But in either case, cannabis should not be wet or moist. If it is, know that it has not been cured properly and has a high chance of being contaminated with mold. Neither should the weed be too dry and brittle. Only perfectly sticky yet dry cannabis indicates high quality and high potency too.
You might not be able to taste cannabis before you purchase it but even after buying a stash, a taste test will let you know if you must continue to consume it or not. The first step is to try it raw. Take a nug and chew on it. If it feels gritty, it’s probably coated with silica or sand. A sweet taste points to the addition of sugar.
Try smoking it too. If you feel that it tastes weird or like chemicals or is not giving you the effects you want, it’s probably poor quality.
When it comes to cannabis safety, the most common mistake that people make is with storage. You don’t just buy your bag of buds and shove it in your sock drawer. If not stored properly, no matter the quality of your buds, it will degrade with time. And that’s a bad thing to happen for someone who relies on cannabis for medical needs. But you can maintain the longevity and quality of your stash without much hassle. Let’s look at a few dos and don’ts for proper cannabis storage.
- Store your buds in an airtight glass jar preferably opaque.
- Keep the jar in a cool and dark place.
- Size of your jar matters. Buy one according to the quantity of your stash. A full jar will ensure less space for oxygen to get trapped and will prevent faster degradation of the buds.
- Avoid plastic bags for long term storage. It will ruin the texture and the potency by reducing the trichomes count.
- Don’t let the humidity level rise. It can lead to mold growth.
- Do not refrigerate your cannabis as it will make the buds brittle. The temperature fluctuation can also start mold growth.
Be Prepared For Side Effects
Yes, smoking cannabis has some side effects. Unlike what the popular perception is, a medical 420 card does not absolve you all your problems. So if you are getting into this territory, come prepared to avoid getting confused or anxious.
The most commonly reported side effects of cannabis are cough, sore throat, red eyes, increased hunger, confusion, and cottonmouth or dry mouth. If you observe any of these side effects happening with you, try these tips to deal with them effectively.
- Keep yourself hydrated and keep water by your side when smoking.
- Be stocked with healthy snacks to deal with the munchies.
- Do not smoke more than the required amount.
- Plan your sessions.
- Use over the counter eye drops to ease the redness of eyes.
- Gargle with salt water for sore throat.
- Stay indoors and with a trustworthy person for safety.
Maintain Hygiene Of Your Smoking Accessories
What’s the point of smoking high-quality cannabis when your cannabis gear can make you sick? That’s right, your cannabis gear can be a host of bacteria. In some cases, the level may be more than a public toilet seat. I’m sure you would consider a deep cleaning spree after learning this fact.
Whether it’s bongs, water pipes, dabbing gear, or any other cannabis accessories, if you use them more than once, it’s time to clean them all. With proper cleaning agents, preferably an EPA-certified cleaner, deep clean everything. Regularly change the water of your water pipes and brush off any leftover resin from your grinders before they start to mold. Keep up with these cleaning habits as you would not want your mouth to come in contact with such unhygienic surfaces.
Cannabis Edibles: Safety Tips
Cannabis edibles are processed in the body differently. This is why safety measures that apply to people who use edibles are different. So here’s an introduction to a few of the important safety tips.
Understand The Dose
With edibles, dosing can be difficult. This is why overdose with edibles is a common scenario, especially with first time medical 420 card users.
If you did some research on cannabis, you may have heard that edibles have a slow onset and deliver stronger effects than smoking. Do you know why? It’s because edibles are processed in the body by the digestive system. It is only when cannabis passes through all of the digestive organs that you start feeling its effects. And this process may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete (varies from person to person).
The same process is the reason why edibles are stronger. The liver converts THC to a more potent 11-hydroxy-THC. This new compound has more bioavailability which is the reason why edibles feel more potent. And this conversion happens even with a small dose.
To avoid any unnecessary overdose and risky situations it is best to not overestimate your tolerance and always start low with edibles.
Avoid Edibles On An Empty Stomach
Do you take normal medications on an empty stomach? No. Then why would you do this with cannabis? It’s medication too.
It is true that cannabis edibles will work faster when consumed on an empty stomach but medical professionals call it an ‘ill-advised tactic’. It increases your chances of developing the side effects of a stronger high like anxiety and paranoia. In addition to this, there is a probability that you would start consuming cannabis edibles out of hunger instead of going according to dose. And that’s how you end up overdosing.
The only way out of these situations is to have a hearty and healthy meal before every session. Cannabis will work just as effectively as when you take it on an empty stomach but without any side effects.
Cooking at Home: Safety Tips
Many cannabis consumers prefer making their edibles at home. But even when you are the one controlling the conditions for your edibles, there are certain points you must follow to ensure safety with cannabis.
- Learn how to decarboxylate cannabis at home.
- Always check the potency of your edibles beforehand.
- Consult a professional about your right dose before adding it to food or start small.
- Label your edibles properly to help other people differentiate between infusions and regular food.
- Store edibles in airtight containers to prevent cross-contamination and increase shelf life.
- Keep your edibles out of reach of children and pets.
Safety With Cannabis During COVID-19
Since COVID-19 became a global pandemic, cannabis’ safety rules have received some upgrades. Irrespective of the reason of use or the consumption method, every consumer should follow these tips to protect themselves from getting sick with COVID-19.
Say No To Sharing
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that does not have a cure yet. In that case, the only way to ensure safety is by reducing exposure. With cannabis, this measure can be practiced by avoiding sharing at all costs.
While smoking, give up the habit of ‘puff, puff, and pass’. Have your isolated session and share your joint or bong with no one. The same precaution applies to edibles.
Lockdown restrictions have eased but the pandemic hasn’t ended yet. The world outside still isn’t safe. While social distancing should be practiced at all costs, staying indoors is the only foolproof way of maintaining low exposure.
Staying home is even more important for people who consume medical cannabis especially by smoking or vaping. These people have a higher chance of developing complications. Since not all have the option to quit or avoid smoking, staying indoors, and practicing proper hygiene is the only safe way.
Wash Your Hands
You may have heard this a thousand times by now but let me reiterate just to be safe- wash your hands as frequently as possible.
Before you roll a joint, before you bite on a brownie, before you cook your edibles, before using cannabis in any way or form, remember to wash your hand with soap and water or at least use a sanitizer with more than 60 percent alcohol.
Follow Precautions With Home Deliveries
Since the pandemic, cannabis deliveries gained attention and became the preference of US citizens. If there is a need you can even get your medical 420 card online. And why shouldn’t it? Not only is it a convenient option but it also gives you access to cannabis without leaving the safety of your home. But before you get too excited about doorstep cannabis deliveries, let me tell you that you are still at some risk of getting sick.
According to data collected on COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 can survive on surfaces like aluminum and cardboard for up to three days. Considering this possibility it is important that you disinfect your cannabis packaging with proper cleaning agents (70 percent alcohol or more). In addition to this, opt for contactless deliveries to maintain minimal contact.
Get A Medical 420 card For Legal Protection
I’m assuming that most of you who ended up here have a Medical 420 card or have at least applied for one. But in case you haven’t, you are missing out on a number of privileges.
Cannabis laws of all states in the US give medical cannabis certain perks compared to recreational cannabis. Higher limits, money savings, no potency restriction, and most importantly legal protection are some of them.
While an adult cannabis consumer still runs the risk of arrest, a medical cannabis consumer gets leverage in cases of legal persecution including flying and driving with cannabis. So if you wish to feel safe while buying, growing, or using cannabis, get yourself a medical card today.
Be Open About Your Doubts With A Doctor
Medical marijuana is not as simple as rolling a joint. You must follow the proper precautions and have the right information for a safe experience. So before using medical marijuana, it is always best to talk to professionals for guidance preferably a 420 doctor.
While talking to a doctor, clear all doubts you have. Whether it is related to your medical condition, delivery methods, right strain, or dose for you, feel free to ask questions. Also, remember to let the medical professional learn of any medications that you might be using. Ibuprofen, Vicodin, aspirin, and acetaminophen are some of the many medications that interact with cannabis. Consulting a doctor is the safest way to learn of the side effects if any.
For a medical patient, being careless with cannabis is not an option. So before you put your medical 420 card to use, make sure to follow these safety tips as diligently as possible.