Connecting the Dots with Nikki Lawley: finding the perfect cannabis product
The modern cannabis market is a vast and, at times, mind-boggling place. For many people, the days of getting random bud are over. Instead, retail stores are filled with a dizzying amount of products. How do people know where to start?
As a medical marijuana patient myself, I understand this challenge all too well. Because of my own experience, I hope to make things a bit easier for other people like me.
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I was so overwhelmed that initial time walking into a dispensary. I felt awkward and weird and I was in such a bad place for that first visit. The poor budtender. I was bawling my eyes out. I was so depressed, anxious, and in pain. I didn’t know how to ask for help.
Luckily the budtender was super kind, but he did not know what to really give me at first. I was hitting him with all my symptoms and there were so many different products to choose from!
Do I want edibles, and if so, lozenges, gummies, or tinctures? What about smokable flower, vapes, or prerolls? Topical cream or patches? How did I know what to choose?
With so many options, I had no idea what was good or bad. I was completely dependent on the budtender recommendations. So I got a variety of products—the max I could purchase of each of the types. This was truly the beginning of my medical cannabis journey.
Cannabis 101 – Trial and Error
At first, I didn’t really understand what I was treating or what would work for me. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, I had many symptoms, from chronic pain to lack of focus. So, in the beginning, it was all trial and error.
I became a patient in the Canadian medical system because I live in Buffalo, New York, and we did not have the same options in my state. Once I started trying Canadian products, I learned different products made me feel different. Some made me more tired, some made me have the giggles and forget my pain, and some I didn’t feel anything different.
Once I began to try and understand the science behind cannabis, it began to all connect. I did my own research and learned about the different compounds of the plant, including minor cannabinoids and especially terpenes.
I learned the difference between ingesting cannabis vs smoking it. One must do their own homework to learn about plant medicine as a potential option.
I also discovered that cannabis can affect every person differently. I learned we have a system in our body known as the endocannabinoid system. We may take various prescriptions and have different gene makeups. Cannabis, medications, and diet all interact together—unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all.
How to Find the Right Product at the Dispensary
Personally, I find the terpenes are where the medicine is for me. I don’t shop by THC percentage at all. I shop by the terpenes, which are the compounds in the plant that give the plant its smell and taste.
Depending on what symptoms I am treating is how I choose my cannabis. I determine what terpenes work best for the condition I am treating and purchase based on this. Fun fact – your nose knows. If you smell certain cannabis flower and it smells really good to you, many times, this will help you choose the right product.
When seeking out cannabis, the first thing is to ask yourself what symptoms you’re seeking relief from. Is it pain? If so, what kind? Is it anxiety? Are you looking for something for sleep, for creativity? Once you understand what you’re seeking relief from, the budtender should be able to guide you.
Journal, journal, journal your experience. Not only the strain name but the brand and as much information as you have about the product. Document how you’re feeling at the time. Follow up 30 minutes later, and again after two hours. Note how satisfied you are with the results. This will help you remember what worked, how it made you feel, and if that effect is what you were looking for.
Look at every bit of information on the label of your cannabis product. Nevada, for instance, has excellent labeling for consumers. They have the three top terpenes with percentages and the top three cannabinoids with percentages. This should be documented in your journal.
A strain name ultimately means very little because depending on how it’s grown, processed, and stored has everything to do with the effects one feels. Be willing to experiment and always start low and go slow.
If it’s your first time consuming THC products, I always recommend having CBD on hand—in the form of vape or tincture or rapid onset flash melt strips to counteract the effects of too much THC.
Feel Empowered to Ask Questions—Even If You’re Not Sure Where to Start
Until one finds their sweet spot, it is trial and error and one must be patient. Budtenders are only as good as the training they receive and the products they offer as a store. It’s important to note that getting recommendations from family and friends is very helpful.
You should be able to talk to your budtender and get assistance. This is all about your health and wellness and we must recognize there is a difference between the canna-curious and the experienced adult-use consumer. There is also a difference between the medical patient and the person who wants to use cannabis to party on a Friday night.
Having guidance is so important. To get more information and resources, check out sites like this. Reach out to experts and ask questions. The cannabis world is filled with amazing humans who want to share their knowledge and passion for the plant with others. There’s no need to be shy.
As always, thank you for reading Cannabis Connects My Dots!
This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The statements within do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GreenState, Hearst, or its subsidiaries. The author is solely responsible for the content.