There are several different ways to use the cannabis plant in
order to attain its therapeutic benfits. Each of them may be more
effective for certain symptoms, and certain circumstances, and each
can be done in a manner that promotes its safety and efficacy.
On this page you will find information that will help you use
cannabis safely and effectively, including:
the whole plant
different modes of ingestion
options for safer smoking
strain selection, potency and tolerance
Please note that the following should not be
construed as the giving of advice or the making of a recommendation
and it should not be relied upon as the basis for any decision or
action. It is based on our research and experience.
are provided for your information.
Using the Whole Plant
The whole cannabis plant may be efficiently utilized. The flower
("bud") is the most resinous and therefore potent part of the
plant. This makes the bud ideal for smoking. The leaves ("shake")
and stems are less resinous, and therefore are better suited for
baking and making tinctures.
Modes of Ingestion
Smoking is the easiest way to find the appropriate dosage
since the effects are usually felt within 30-60 seconds, and
develop fully within 5-15 minutes. The effects may last from 30
minutes to 5 hours.
It is ideal to smoke as little as possible in order
to reduce costs and respiratory irritiation. We recommend you
take 1-2 puffs and wait 15 minutes in order to find the right
dosage. Increase dosage as necessary.
Ingesting (Eating and Drinking):
Cannabinoids can be extracted into fat (butter or oils) and
The effects of ingested cannabis may be felt within 30 minutes
to 2 hours (depending on metabolism), and may last from 2-8
Effects of ingested cannabis tend to be much more
pronounced than smoked cannabis, both physically and
psychoatively, and vary depending on strain used in the
preparation. An elevated dosage, though not lethal, can be very
uncomforable (i.e.vomitting, panic). Therefore it is important to
take care in finding the right dosage. Small amounts should be
ingested, and it is recommended to wait 2 hours before increasing
the dosage gradually, if necessary.
Cannabinoids can also be extracted into alcohol or glycerine,
and make into tinctures. Tinctures may be dropped or sprayed into
the mouth to be absorbed into the mucous membranes.
Effects of tinctures are usually felt within 5 minutes up to 1
hours, and last about 4 hours. It is recommended to start with
about 3 drops of tincture, and wait an hour before increasing the
dosage, incrementally and as necessary.
Alcohol based tincutres may also be dropped into hot water in
order to let the alcohol evaporate, and then ingested. Effects
will be the same as they are for ingested cannabis (above).
Options for Safer Smoking
There are various methods of smoking cannabis that
can reduce bronchial irritation
while obtaining the medicinal benefits of the plant.
These methods include:
Cannabis may be ground or cut and then rolled into a
“joint”. Using natural-based rolling
papers such as those derived from hemp or rice is recommended
for both health reasons and to avoid using tree
Pipes can be used to avoid smoking paper and are useful when
smoking small quantities. We recommend glass pipes to prevent
ingestion of possible harmful by-products from other pipes made
from other sources of material.
Water pipes can be used to cool the temperature of inhaled
Vaporizers can be used as a smokeless alternative and also
provide a uniquely “clear” psychoactive
A blend of herbs that soothe the lungs can be rolled and
smoked with cannabis. We recommended, as
well as, offer a herbal smoking blend made up of the following
4 herbs: damiana, coltsfoot, mullein, and peppermint. We do not
recommend rolling cannabis wtih tobacco.
Strain Selection, Potency and
The efficacy of cannabis is directly related to strain
selection, therefore we recommend care be taken in selecting
appropriate strains to meet your needs.
You will need to smoke less of a high-potency cannabis to reach
the desired effect. Potency varies with strains.
If you find
yourself needing to smoke greatert quantities or more often in
order to achieve the desired effect, reduce or stop intake for a
time. Changing the variety of cannabis normally used will also help
you to return to a minized effective dosage level.
Some effects of cannabis use may not be therapeutic. They
can be mitigated through awareness.
- Cannabis may cause dizziness upon standing due to lowered
- Initial increase in heart rate and/or blood pressure may be
problematic for those with heart conditions or severe
Cannabis may cause a decrease in coordination and cognitive
abilities, and short-term memory loss while medicated
There are no significant withdrawal effects when cannabis
use is ceased or decreased, however symptom relief will cease
or be decreased. Minor restlessness, nausea, and
fatigue may be experienced.
Clinically significant interactions have not been detected.
Studies on the interaction of Cannabis and pharmaceutical
medications is sparse and inconclusive.
Pharmacy Magazine reported in June 2001 that *:
Cannabis has been shown to decrease the clearance of
barbiturates so they remain in the body longer, and may need to
Cannabis has been shown to increase the clearance of
Theophyline, therefore its dose may need to be increased
There can be side-effects when cannabis is combined with
Fluoxetine or Disulfiram. These effects can include mild mania
and excitement with moderate behaviour change
Cannabis may enhance the effects of amphetamines,
anticholinergics, anihistamines, cocaine, hypnotics,
physchotomimetics, sedatives or sympathomimetics
* this study does not take into account
Results from a survery of OMMP Members overwhelmingly
indicate that they do not find negative drug
interactions. Many reported that they are able
to reduce their dosage of some of
their pharmaceutical drugs (particulary
opiates) and that cannabis mitigates negative side
effects of them, which in some cases is the reason for their use of
Those receiving digitalis or other cardiac medications should
use cannabis under careful supervision by a medical
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery if
impaired by cannabis (
indicas can be especially sedating)
- Cannabis mixed with alcohol may cause vomiting and
Heavy smoking with no harm reduction techniques (i.e.
smoking small amounts of high potency organic cannabis) may
lead to respiratory irritation.
Hold shared joints and other shared smoking implements so as
not to touch your lips to them.
Choose organic cannabis whenever possible to minimize
exposure to radioactivity and chemicals. This is especially
important for people with compromised immune
It is still illegal in United States to possess, grow, or
distribute cannabis. Know your rights and take precautions to
avoid the harmful effects of arrest, cannabis seizure,
imprisonment and criminal record.