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Here are 5 Things That Affect How You Feel on Cannabis

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Cannabis offers a variety of benefits beyond the characteristic psychoactivity it imparts. THC is the most prevalent intoxicating cannabinoid in the plant, but many other factors contribute to the equation. Some of them—the unique profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids—are specific to the strain of cannabis. But many others play a major role in determining how you’ll feel.

Let’s take a look at some of these external factors. Whether you’re looking to treat specific symptoms and conditions or seeking an all-natural stress reliever, understanding how these factors influence the way you feel on cannabis may give you unique insights into how to get the most benefit from this astonishing plant medicine.

5 Things that Affect How You Feel on Cannabis

Set and Setting

One of the most important concepts in any work with psychoactive medicines, set and setting play a huge role in determining the arc and character of the experience. In this case, “set” refers to your mindset, and “setting” refers to the physical space in which the experience occurs. And while they’re separate factors, they each exert a strong influence on the other.

When you’re first working with cannabis, start paying careful attention to your mindset and your environment both before and after you ingest it. Do certain situations tend to make you feel anxious, depressed, or otherwise uneasy? Does being outdoors as opposed to indoors make you feel freer, or more anxious? The more you can do to identify your “safe spaces” before taking cannabis medicine, the more productive and pleasurable experience you’ll tend to have.

Dosage

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As we’ve explored in previous articles, cannabis is unique in that it exhibits what’s called a “biphasic” effect. The higher the dose, the greater the chance of negative side-effects such as dry mouth, anxiety, or even paranoia. That’s one major reason we always recommend “Start slow, go low” with cannabis. Take the smallest dose possible, and then wait to assess its effect. Remember: You can always take a little more cannabis, but you can’t take less.

Cannabinoid and Terpene Profile

Because the cannabis plant contains literally hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes—the major “active ingredients”—this is a complicated topic. But the main thing to understand is that THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the cannabis plant’s intoxicating capabilities. CBD, on the other hand, may help counteract THC’s effects.

Similarly, the terpenes in any particular cannabis may exert their own, milder effects. To find your own optimal cannabinoid profile, we recommend careful experimentation informed by this evidence-based approach. For further explanation, feel free to reach out to our cannabis pharmacists.

Delivery Method

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There are many ways of taking cannabis medicine, and they deliver slightly different results. For instance, inhaled or vaporized cannabis tends to have a very short onset—the time required for the medicine to take effect—and a shorter duration of action. By comparison, cannabis that’s consumed orally in tinctures, capsules, or tablets is processed differently by our bodies. The onset time may be greater—up to a couple of hours—but the duration may be longer.

Your Personal Tolerance and Your Age

One of the most fascinating aspects of cannabis medicine is the fact that we all experience it in slightly—and sometimes majorly—different ways. Whether due to a built-up or innate tolerance to cannabis, the same amount of the same kind of cannabis can affect two people in very different ways.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know this beforehand. Again, that’s why we always recommend you take the lowest dose of cannabis medicine possible and wait to assess the results by having more.

On a similar note, it appears that our age plays a role in determining our personal experience of cannabis. A rodent-based study determined that, all things being equal, older subjects tended to experience more stress, anxiety, and decreased mobility as a result of ingesting cannabis. While no large-scale human studies have probed the question, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s wise to keep this in mind when you’re starting to use cannabis medicine in your senior years.

Have any other questions about what factors can affect your experience of cannabis? Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Please note that qualifying conditions vary by state, and the information relating to qualifying conditions may not apply to cannabis patients in all states.

Product availability also varies based on state program restrictions and rules, so the products discussed may not be available in all states. Be sure to check with your local Green Goods location about the products available in your state!