Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what will work for me?
You don’t. Your medical marijuana card is a license to experiment. Think of it as a “permission slip” to get into the building. It is not a prescription. Having said that, I generally recommend that people start first with the ingested products (capsules and tinctures) that have a high CBD content.
You have to figure out 2 separate things: first, the strain for whole plant or, in the case of processed products, the CBD:THC ratio and, then second, the dose. The former is about how it will make you feel. The latter is about how strong that feeling is and long it will last. For example, 2 customers walk into the dispensary with back pain, one walks out with a 1:1 tincture and other with a 2:1. Conversely, the same preparation may not work equally well for both customers with similar conditions. Similarly, a 225 lb. man and 108 lb. woman both buy some tincture with a 7:2 CBD: THC ratio for their pain. To get a good night’s sleep for 8 hours, he uses 2 droppers full, while she only needs half a dropper.
The route of administration is another variable you must be aware of. Smoking and vaping working within minutes but last only a few hours. Tinctures, capsules or edibles kick in up to 2 hours later but last 8-12 hours.
Why not get some from a friend or buy off the street?
Dispensaries are regulated the State of Hawaii. The products they sell are grown organically and are certified to be pesticide, heavy metal and mold/parasite/fungus free. All products are tested by Steep Hill Laboratories in Honolulu and the amount of THC, CBD, CBN etc. is analyzed and put on the label. Your cousin Vinny or the guy on the corner can sell you a cheaper product but cannot come close to the quality, safety and consistency that the dispensaries offer.
What about edibles?
Edibles are not preferred. Who eats just one square of chocolate, just one gummy bear, one eighth of a cookie? This is not normal behavior for most adults, so there having been numerous instances of people overdosing themselves. Combine the yumminess of chocolate with the fact that edibles take a few hours to work, you have a recipe for disaster, especially for newbies. Besides, the industry is trying to grow up and present medical marijuana as a proper medicine, not a fun toy.
Plant or Processed Products?
While some people, especially experienced users, will notice that smoking, vaping, ingesting the whole plant will have a different effect than using a process product in which just few components of the plant are represented, usually CBD and THC. This is presumably because in the whole plant there are other chemicals that are not always part of the processed products, most notably the terpenes and CBN. This is referred to as “entourage effect” and “full spectrum”. In short, the whole may be greater than the sum of the parts.
In general, though, smoking whole plant cannot be advocated, especially for first time users, since smoking is bad for you. Remember, fire fighters do not die of burns, they die from smoke inhalation.
Can I travel with medical marijuana if I have my card?
Because medical marijuana has not been approved by the Feds, movement is restricted. Only on foot, by car or train within the state. Not by air, because the FAA rules the sky and is a federal agency. Not by sea, because the Coast Guard rules the oceans and is a federal agency.
You cannot even cross state lines, even if you buy it in a state that has approved it medically and recreationally (e.g. California) and you are going to a state that has approved it medically and recreationally (e.g. Nevada). The Feds control state lines.
Medical marijuana is intended to be used in your home only.
Never travel overseas with it. Period. You might go to jail.
What is in the marijuana plant?
Cannabis is a plant full of chemicals called Cannabinoids.
The most talked about cannabinoids are THCΔ9 (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).
But there are others, and they are non-intoxicating like CBD: THC-∆8, CBD-A, THC-A, CBN, Terpenes.
Be wary of any claims made about the properties of any of these minor constituents. They have not yet been studied extensively.
What does Indica mean?
Indica refers to strains of the marijuana plant that are high in THC content. Think about getting high and recreational marijuana.
What does Sativa mean?
Sativa refers to strains of the marijuana plants that are relatively high in CBD. Think about more of the medicinal qualities of the plant.
I’ve heard a lot of bad stuff about vaping.
There is a lot negative hype just now about vaping, as reports mount of kids developing lung disease and even dying after vaping. This is not as relevant to medical marijuana as might be thought since the kids affected were likely vaping in excess because it’s sold as a cool, harmless candy. The key is moderation. If you find yourself vaping all day long because your pain or anxiety is all day long, then switch to the longer acting capsule of tinctures. Vaping is best utilized when you need something to work quickly, like for a migraine, sudden muscle spasm or anxiety attack. Vaping is likely still better for you than smoking.