New to (medical) cannabis?

First and foremost be proactive. Even if your doctor refuses you an authorization since cannabis is legal for adults 21+ in Washington State you have options open to you. It surprises people but most the medical industry is not well informed on medical cannabis and is not well versed on the endocannabinoid system. Learn about medical cannabis and your condition and be pro-active. That's one of the keys to success to maintaining your health. After all this is YOUR health.

I want to try medical cannabis but don't have an medical cannabis authorization, so what can I do?

All adults 21+ may possess up to an ounze of cannabis in Washington State for whatever purpose. Each adult may also possess XYZ limits (edibles, hash oil etc) Thus some medical conditions may be easily self treated with a small amount of cannabis that would easily fit within the state's recreational cannabis limit. In addition, perhaps you want to treat a condition which does not fall into the state's parameters for conditions one can be authorized. A prime example would be sleep issues. Sleep issues do not count as a qualifying condition for getting a medical cannabis authorization. Yet anyone can go to any recreational cannabis store and purchase an edible which should allow one to see if it worked for sleep. The key is learning more about your condition and medical cannabis. Learn about cannabis legalities. Be proactive.

Interestingly Green Buddha notes that doctors are not necessarily open and well educated on medical cannabis or even the endocannabinoid system, so educate yourself about your health condition, be proactive and think critically.

So my doctor has recommended that I try medical cannabis and I have an authorization so now what do I do?

First keep in mind that the law has changed and as of the summer of 2015 we are in the middle of regulation. Stay current on legal issues. Regulation goes into effect July 1, 2016 and brings a lot of changes. You will see dispensaries close - some permanently and some temporarily as certain older collectives with their taxes in order will be allowed to apply for a I502 retail license. Until July 1, 2016 patients will be allowed to grow 15 plants, but on July 1, 2016 unregistered patients will only be allowed 4 plants.

Green Buddha believes the most cost-effective approach for the vast majority of patients is to produce their own medicine. Traditionally one of the "miracles" of medical cannabis was its price. One's pain could be relieved for a $1. That's changing. The US health care system - already notorious for bloated costs with little health benefits - is about to take up medical cannabis. It won't be getting cheaper. If you possess an authorization consider growing. It would amaze you how cost-effective it is. Most patients don't need but a few plants.

Additionally until medical regulations come into effect growing your own medicine is the only way to insure you have pesticides free product. If you have no interest or cannot grow, and your use of medical cannabis is small by next summer you might decline to get an actual authorization. The value of an authorization is that it allows one to grow one's own medicine. The tax benefit will be neglible.

Wow there are so many medical cannabis products, how do I know what to use?

There are indeed a plethora of cannabis products now available and more being developed every year. You should consider vaping cannabis if your medical condition calls for it. Almost half of all the medical cannabis patients Green Buddha met with over the last decade were individuals with very little experience with cannabis. Many of these individuals were hoping to eat cannabis or take a pill. Yet taking flowers in has very different effects on the human body. Cannabis comes in two "subspecies" cannabis sativa and cannabis indica and when each is medicinally breathed in they have very different effects. Sativas tend to give patients an energized feeling and indicas give patients a more sedative effect. These are generalizations and not relevant for every individual. Thus if you have arthitis and you are looking for something to help you move in the daytime vaping cannabis sativa is one of the best options. You could also explore the non-psychoactive CBD - but CBD is most effective when combined with THC (found in either sativa or indica strains). Learn more about the active ingredients in cannabis. When one eats cannabis - it stays active in one's system for almost twice as long as vaping the product. But it also takes up to two full hours to effect, making it a difficult system to manage in the day time. But if one has a sleep disorder eating a little cannabis product is the very best method of consumption for that condition.
Get familar with the variety of products and come to understand how they work and you will be successful in treating your condition.
Not all edibles/medibles are the same. Edibles can be sublingual - and they hit the system quite rapidly - twenty minutes versus two hours. Drinking cannabis products can also hit very rapidly. Using cannabis gel caps (aka mari pills) to more selectively direct cannabinoids to the body's CB2 receptors is another edible mode with excellent results for those with autoimmune conditions.
Get knowledgeable about your medical condition and be proactive.

What is a vaporizer and is it a safe way of using medical cannabis?

A cannabis vaporizer is a device use to vaporize the active ingredients of cannabis. The extracted vapor can be collected in a bag or inhaled directly through a hose or pipe. With no combustion involved there's significantly better efficience in extracting the active ingredients. Smoking wastes approximately one third of the cannabis but vaporizers can get your wastage down to nil, which also saves money.
Vaporizing your cannabis saves money, improves your health and is cleaner.

Decarboxylate your cannabis for better results with your vaporizer.

Can you please tell what strain to use?

The focus on strains in the canabis industry is misguided. We should be focused on how that particularly plant has been grown... how a plant is grown affects the cannabinoid and terpene ratio. Literally the active ingredients of the medicine is different. Adding to the confusion studies have in fact shown that what you were told was one strain may very well be another. When you find a "strain" that works for your condition what you have found is a hybrid plant (almost all strains are now mixes of indicas and sativas) that was grown in a fashion such it produced the certain cannabinoids and terpenes you found successful for your medical condition.
This is why when patients are proactive and grow for their own medicine for their medical condition they usually become very successful as they figure out over time with trial and error what works.

Read the complete Green Buddha Cannabis Therapeutics Guide

Why is medical cannabis often successful??

It mimics our own body's endocannabinoid system.

Meet Dr. Sunil Aggarwal

Warnings for new patients

Thanks to 'Dabbing,' it is possible to overdose on cannabis, which until recently would have been laughable. And medibles/edibles should not be taken lightly, as they are the major source of high anxiety calls to poison centers and high anxiety emergency room visits. Cannabis generally interacts in pleasant way as psychoactive substance - but not always. Take your medicine seriously. Concentrates increase the risk of depenency and are a harder hit on the pocketbook. The market selects for potency, whereas a patient best selects on the basis of their own individual health goals. Carefully do your own cost-benefit analysis with integrating medical cannabis into your life. What is the health goal and how much energy and cost is involved in meeting that goal?
Practice cannabis critical thinking.



There's nothing inherently dangerous about concentrate. But the most potent medication is not where someone new to cannabis should start. Also the method of consumption of a concentrate can also be problematic.
See dabbing.



"Dabbing" is a simple concept: a small amount of super-high concentrate (budder, shatter, hash oil)- maybe 80% or more - is put on a heated surface. A puff of smoke is emitted, and then the user inhales the entire puff of super-concentrated smoke. The effects are immediate -- and they're intense. Folks who have used cannabis daily for 30 years report, "I am high again!" Other people not so used to the magic plant usually need to sit down for a minute or two before they can talk again.

Read (2014) The Dangers of Dabs.


Medibles | Edible Cannabis

The regulated cannabis industry is new and has hit a few bumps in the road. In Colorado, there was little accurate packging information when cannabis edibles/medibles hit the market.

Washington State did a little better but there's still a substantial issue with the potency of edibles being accurately determined and labelled correctly.

In 2013, in Colorado an individual consumed too much of a cannabis edible and behaved in a fashion that he lost his life.

Further complicating things the uninitiated believes - erroneously - that edibles are safer than smoking or vaping cannabis. But edibles take up to two full hours to full effect and thus are more difficult to self-titrate correctly. Uninformed patients who do not wait the full two hour onset can obtained bad results. Go very very slowly with edibles and don't pull a "Maureen Dowd."


EVapes | ECigs

How Safe is Your Vape Pen? NOT.per the well-respected Project CBD


Dosing & Dependence

In a 2014 Dutch study, Smoking behaviour appears to be a stronger predictor for cannabis dependence severity than monthly delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol dos. In other words one's personality plays a bigger role in cannabis dependency than how much you need to use medicinally.