Journaling is an often overlooked part of cannabis consumption. Many consumers do it informally when they can, but without consistent access to a wide variety of strains, it can be difficult to produce results. In the earliest compassion clubs and patient collectives, this was made possible for the first time in thousands of years.
Our Communications Director Jamie Shaw first encountered the idea of journaling when she became a member of the BC Compassion Club Society in 2002. “I was diagnosed with anxiety and recommended cannabis. I don’t really think it would work, but I liked cannabis, so I became a member. They introduced me to the idea of journaling cannabis, and as I had always moved around a lot, and had various sources, it was the first time I was able to actually track effects by known cultivar names.” It was a steep curve she said, “Indica/Sativa designations weren’t accurate, but they were still helpful in at least narrowing down what effects I liked. It wasn’t until I started comparing terpenes between varieties that I was able to start learning what was likely to make me less anxious, and what was likely going to make me more anxious. It totally changed the way I consumed, and the way I managed my anxiety, it was definitely life-changing.”
Legalization has provided many more people with the opportunity to learn more about how your individual endocannabinoid system reacts to not only different varieties of cannabis but different modes of consumption as well.
1. Understanding your symptoms and how cannabis might work to alleviate them
Everyone may benefit from taking some extra time to diarize your symptoms and the relief you experience. If you take stock of how you are feeling before you medicate, then again afterward you will be able to spot patterns in your experiences which will help you to identify and choose products that best suit your needs. If you can look back at past treatments that were effective, you’ll get a clearer picture around which cultivars, dosages, methods of consumption, and even the settings in which you medicated worked best for you. It’s best to journal your experience in the moment as sometimes the details are harder to recall if you wait to record your experiences. This isn’t something that needs to be done forever, just for long enough to deliver consistent results.
2. Tracking your experiences to make better consumption decisions
There are ways to consume cannabis other than smoking, which many of our clients would prefer not to do. You may find that vaping a concentrate helps you find relief faster than smoking or maybe a capsule suits you better than a sublingual spray. These are personal choices that will be unique to each of us but testing and recording the results will help you determine which option is best for you.
3. Develop a deeper understanding of which terpenes affect you most favourably
Terpenes play a role in your medication experience and some may be more beneficial than others. If you are able to keep track of terpene profiles, or even just dominant terpenes you may find yourself recognizing the same few come up in your successful treatments. There’s nothing like seeing the data to help you understand what is working and what isn’t.
4. Develop an understanding of minor cannabinoids that promote wellness
We all know about the rockstars of the cannabinoid world; THC and CBD offer many well-known benefits but you may not realize just how big a role some other lesser-known cannabinoids play. The cannabis plant produces over one hundred phytocannabinoids and each one offers potential benefits based on its respective pharmacological profile. Take Cannabigerol (CBG) for example, this compound has shown promise in reducing inflammation in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease, there have also been animal studies that suggest that CBG can help stimulate appetites in rats. Being mindful about the cannabinoids other than THC or CBD may set you on a path to a whole new cannabis experience that you may otherwise not have discovered.
5. Tracking dosing for best results
It may take some testing to land on a dose that works best for you so keeping track of when you felt like you took too much or too little will guide you to the perfect dose. It’s fascinating that cannabis affects each of us differently but it can make suggesting doses that much more difficult. Your medical document may specify 3 grams a day but it’s likely that you won’t always take all your medicine in one go. Finding the right amount to take at the right time can be done through a process called titration, which is when a patient slowly increases their dose in order to find the measure that works best for their needs.
6. Journaling can help you speak to your physician about medical cannabis
Sometimes its can feel nerve-wracking to approach your family doctor about medical cannabis. If you’re worried that your physician will be opposed to the idea of cannabis maintaining a journal that details symptoms, cultivars, dosages, and relief might help you articulate why you think medical cannabis is worth exploring.
What to Track
Once you’ve decided on your journal medium (are you writing it down in a notepad or are you using an app like Strainprint?) you can figure out what exactly you plan to track.
Some ideas to get you started:
Date and time of the session, along with how much cannabis was used
Method of consumption; Did you smoke or dab or eat it?
Amount of THC/CBD/other cannabinoids
Name of the strain you used
Other medications you’re taking
How long did it take to feel the effects?
Positive effects and negative effects
Where were you when you consumed?
Mood, both before and after the session
This website provides general information and discussions about cannabis and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this website, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you have a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare practitioner or seek other professional medical treatment. We do not ever recommend that you disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking out such advice because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.
The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.