Cannabis has a wide variety of options that each come with different potential effects. While most cannabis consumers eventually figure out a few products that work well for them, the process requires quite a bit of time and effort. In this, our final installment of the Cannabis for Newbies guide, we show you how to bring together everything you’ve learned to create a cannabis plan that’s tailor-made for you.
What’s a Cannabis Plan?
A cannabis plan is pretty simple. It contains:
- A description of what cannabis you consume
- What you use it for
- How you use it
- When you use it
- How much of it you use
By writing all of this down and organizing the information, you can create your own protocol for achieving your desired effects as well as plan ahead for what you’ll need—both in terms of finding the right strains when you need them as well as having the funds to pay for them.
Having a written cannabis plan can also help a great deal in discussions with doctors or others interested in knowing the particulars of how and why you use your cannabis. And you can use your plan to track any changes in habit, tolerance levels and how much you’re using.
Review Your Cannabis Journal
In our previous article, we gave tips on how to maintain a cannabis journal as a place to record the details of your cannabis experiences. Once you’ve done some experimenting and journaling, you’ll likely begin to notice some trends. To get started with your cannabis plan, look over your cannabis journal to notice what’s been working well and what hasn’t. Look for the marijuana strains that worked the best to manage your symptoms, without too many unpleasant side effects.
It may take some folks longer than others to find a strain that works. As well, you’ll likely refine your tastes as you continue to use cannabis. Still, when you feel like you have something that works better for you than nothing at all, you can start to create a cannabis plan.
Start a Cannabis Plan
To get started with your plan, find a blank page in your cannabis journal. Along the top of the page, write down these headings:
- Desired Effect
- Average Times per Day
- Daily Amount
- Monthly Amount
Your headlines should look something like this:
Then, on the far left side of the page, under the heading Desired Effect, write down any effects you’re trying to achieve with cannabis. For example, I might write down:
- Relieve nausea
- Decrease anxiety
- Alleviate chronic pain
Starting with the effects is important, because it puts the focus on each person’s reasons for using cannabis. By breaking things down by individual effects, you can create a highly customized plan that takes into account the full spectrum of your cannabis experiences.
Fill Out the Details of Your Cannabis Plan
Next, look at one desired effect at a time, filling in the details about how you can achieve those effects. Using my example above, the idea would be to start with the desired effect: relieve nausea.
Use the contents of your cannabis journal to revisit your cannabis experiences. What products worked best for your first desired effect?
In my case, I’d look back at my records to find strains that were effective in relieving nausea. For me, the cannabis strain Afgoo works well, so in the Product column, I’d add, “Afgoo flower.”
In the Method column, write whatever method of using cannabis works best for the symptom or desired effect you’re looking at. Again using my example, I would write, “smoking joint,” because that’s the method that best relieves my nausea.
Once you’ve completed the first three columns, record the amount of your average dose. You may find that you require different doses for different applications and with different forms of cannabis. When it comes to relieving nausea, I find a quarter joint (or around .175 grams) is effective, so that’s what I’d write down.
Then, in the Context column, give some details on the context for when you take cannabis to help with a desired effect. Do you use it at regular times every day, like smoking each night before bed. Or do you respond to symptoms by using cannabis as they arise? This also may differ depending on the desired effect.
For nausea, I’d go with, “Use whenever nausea arises.” In the Average Times per Day column, estimate how many times a day you need to consume cannabis for this purpose. For nausea, I I’d jot down: “3–4x.”
Using a calculator, multiply the number in the Dose column with the number in the Average Times per Day column; record the resulting number in the Daily Amount column. This is the amount you use for that desired effect each day.
To relieve nausea, I’d write, “.525-.7 grams (3/4–1 joint).” I would then take this number and multiply it by 30 to find the average amount I’d need each month. That amount would be “15.75–21 grams (22–30 joints)” in my example.
Complete Your Cannabis Plan
When you’ve filled in all of the details for your first desired effect, do the same with each desired effect you’ve listed.
You may want to add up the monthly amount for each effect to get an idea of the total amount of cannabis you need each month. You can record the total at the bottom of your page. Your finished plan will look something like this:
Having this information will help you effectively budget for and plan around your cannabis needs. Sometimes, folks are surprised by how much they’re using or how much they have spent on cannabis. Most get cannabis as they need it, usually in small amounts, and don’t always track the spending. By figuring out exactly what you need—and learning to budget around that, you can quickly learn if you’re spending more than you can afford, so you can rework your strategy.
When you finish your planning process, you’ll have a really good idea of your cannabis needs, and what it’ll cost to obtain it. You’ll have created a monthly shopping list for cannabis as well as a procedure for using cannabis to treat each desired effect.
This exercise may seem really basic, but it can give you a huge advantage. Focusing on what products work best and creating a plan around that is incredibly empowering. It can keep you on track and help you optimize your experiences with cannabis, using the best products for you.
No matter how you use it, you’ll reap a ton of benefits when you really get to know the ins and outs of your cannabis use. Make your cannabis plan, stick with it, and watch your cannabis experiences transform.
Photo credit: Hannah Olinger
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