Wondering about daily cannabis use as part of a regular health routine? I have to admit that as much as I’ve learned about the therapeutic uses of marijuana, I still have one foot in the “cannabis is an effective medicine” camp and the other in the “oh, no, I can’t use cannabis daily and still function” camp.
Wanting to learn more about daily marijuana use—and hopefully overcome some of my own nervousness around it—I turned to Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD.
According to Dr. Solomon, our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) can become deficient, and consuming tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)—two of the main cannabinoids in cannabis—can help our bodies restore an internal balance or homeostasis.
Occasional cannabis consumption may not deliver the anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and relaxing feeling that you can get from THC and CBD. This is why daily marijuana consumption can be effective as part of a health maintenance and overall wellness regimen.
I asked some women who incorporate cannabis or CBD into their daily routines why they do it. Each one of them initially turned to—or returned to—cannabis to address very specific and often debilitating health issues. Each found their daily marijuana consumption habits brought additional health benefits.
Marcy began taking CBD for spinal pain and inflammation after an injury. She was able to get off four pharmaceuticals. And she also reduced her pain from an 8 to a 3 on the pain scale.
“High-CBD strains have changed my life. I rarely even have to take Advil or Aleve,” Marcy says. “While I wasn’t taking CBD for mental health issues, I found myself able to get off all medications for depression and anxiety but one: an emergency medication in my purse for panic attacks.”
Marcy says she’s also interested in the neuroprotective qualities and bone-building effects of CBD when taken daily. She consumes a 25 mg high CBD/low THC capsule twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. She prefers ingesting cannabis rather than smoking or vaping the plant.
Dr. Solomon recommends taking cannabis in tincture, edible, oil or suppository form over smoking or vaping cannabis.
“The irritation to the lungs of the two latter methods can be bothersome and cause coughing as well introduce the possibility of inhaling particulate matter,” he says.
Dr. Solomon says that microdosing—taking smaller amounts of cannabis over time—is a good way to get the daily health benefits of the plant without psychoactive effects. People typically microdose 2.5 mg of THC at a time.
But for some people like Marcy, 25 mg of a CBD-rich cannabis product is a microdose. Each person’s microdose can differ based on myriad factors including the form of consumption and even a person’s metabolism.
Another woman who turned to daily cannabis to deal with pain is Josie, who was able to get off the morphine she was taking for pain. Stricken with rheumatoid arthritis since she was 14, another part of her treatment for the condition is chemotherapy treatments twice a year to suppress her immune system. Side effects of this treatment include intense bone pain and a suppressed appetite that leads her to being underweight.
For Josie, daily cannabis consists of a strong indica strain that reduces her pain and increases her appetite. She finds that her daily cannabis use also reduces her anxiety.
Tasha is yet another woman I spoke to who also consumes marijuana regularly to reduce anxiety by either smoking, vaping or ingesting—but almost always at night. She finds it greatly reduces her anxiety, and she’s also experienced other benefits.
"I was diagnosed with endometriosis almost 20 years ago and a result of that is inflammation flare-ups that my own body is creating," Tasha explains. "I also had sinus surgery that involved all of my face a few years ago as a result of polyps. After extensive allergy testing, no one could give me an answer as to why polyps were developing other than inflammation my body was generating. They gave me a 60% chance the polyps would grow back after the surgery."
Tasha was excited about the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. Her sinus check-up last year showed no signs of the polyps returning. She is also starting to experiment with adding cannabis strains high in CBD to aid in recovery when weightlifting three times a week.
If you’re thinking about taking cannabis or CBD regularly, Dr. Solomon advises that you consider the following:
Be aware of the concentration of THC or CBD you’re taking. Dosing is an individual process, so start at a low dose and slowly increase the amount.
Look up the laboratory testing results of what you’re buying. The product you purchase should have a label of components and be tested for purity as well as things like pesticides, bacteria and mold.
Try to find out the source of the hemp or cannabis if you can. Knowing where the product is coming from gives you a better idea of how it was produced and what you’re consuming.
Don’t want to feel high on THC, but still want to reap the health and wellness benefits of the cannabis plant? Dr. Solomon says that he’s seeing more and more women and men who don’t want the psychoactivity, and are therefore turning to CBD products.
“The exact amount of CBD that should be ingested can vary from 25 mg several times a day to several hundred milligrams depending on what you’re looking for,” he says, adding, “It can sometimes take several weeks to feel the effect as you slowly increase your dosage.”
You don’t need to have an acute or chronic health issue to explore the benefits of cannabis or CBD. Personally, I found cannabis to be very effective in breaking a pain cycle and helping me sleep.
But on a regular basis, I’m most comfortable taking CBD as part of my own daily health routine.
Photo credit: Jessica To'oto'o
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it's easy, private and 100% online.