Keeping a cannabis journal is a good idea, especially if you are just starting your cannabis journey or are returning to cannabis after a several years.
As a friend of mine pointed out, she wished someone had told her to keep notes about the different cannabis products she has tried from the beginning.
She likened it to a wine journal and said that early on she would have a great bottle of wine and then promptly forget what the vintage and year was.
Well, we want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you with cannabis. So, we are encouraging you to keep a cannabis journal. Here are the basic topics you should cover and hey, it’s your journal, so you should add what you want.
But first, let’s talk about what a cannabis journal is. A cannabis journal is usually a small booklet that helps you keep track of how, when and why you used a particular cannabis product and what the results were.
The journal may give you prompts or questions to guide you or there may simply be a number of blank pages. Some journal users even just keep a blank notebook with them and take notes as needed.
Above all, if you are diligent about keeping a journal, you will be able to capture and record information that will help you in the future.
A cannabis journal, then, helps you keep track of the following information:
◆◆The strain (or other cannabis product) acquired, the quantity, the cost, and date purchased
◆◆The name of the dispensary, store, (or non-traditional avenue) where product was purchased
◆◆The potency of THC and/or CBD per serving; what is the standard serving size and how much you are taking
◆◆What product was consumed
◆◆How it was consumed (that is, was it smoked, vaped, eaten as a gummy, etc.)
◆◆What affects you observed and when they occurred
Possible observed effects may be euphoria, increased creativity, extra energy or lack of energy, increased focus or lack of focus, a feeling of relaxation (note whether it’s mainly your body or mind, or both), different levels of pain relief, hunger, dry mouth, reduced (or increased) anxiety, level of sleepiness, and other noted effects.
Shortly after you finish feeling the effects, write a summary of how you feel or fill in a graph:
◆◆How you felt in a few minutes, one hour and two hours after consumption, and how you felt the next day
◆◆In the back of your journal, you may want to write a master list of your favorite strains and other products after you’ve done enough sampling
When you do this several times, you will begin to figure out what works for you, how you like to consume cannabis, and what affects you can expect.
Be sure to start slowly and always use the lowest dose that works for you—no need to waste cannabis or to build up such a tolerance that you need more and more cannabis or stronger cannabis.
A cannabis journal is available at OurCommunityHarvest.com or you can create your own.
Note that cannabis has become more potent in recent years. If your recollection of cannabis was product you consumed in high school or college, you will be surprised.
If you are just starting out or returning to cannabis, you should try low potency strains.
Low potency would be in the 0 to 10% THC range; the midrange is about 10 to 15% THC; and anything over 15% THC is pretty potent. You will find that there may be some CBD present as well.
For some people, this will give pain relief, and when combined with some THC, will be a very pleasant experience.
But again, you have to figure out what works for you and that is the point of keeping a cannabis journal!
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Especially if you are medical cannabis patient, it is essential to have a conversation with your physician prior to using cannabis.
Unfortunately, you may find that your doctor is not very well versed in the uses of cannabis.
Because many medical schools do not teach their students about the uses of cannabis and you may have to be your own advocate and researcher.
Fortunately, there are many reputable sources you can consult to start with. We have found that the following websites may be good starting points:
www.norml.org (great for health questions, advocacy, and specific state questions)
www.projectcbd.org (if you use or want to use CBD this is the perfect place to start)
www.ourcommunityharvest.com (answers basic questions, history and cooking with cannabis)
www.leafly.com (solid coverage of many cannabis questions and topics)
https://herb.co/ (one of the most visited cannabis websites with very broad lifestyle coverage)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ (in-depth, technical, cannabis research results)
After you have done some research, you may want to ask your doctor the following questions:
- Am I a good candidate for my condition to be treated with cannabis?
- If so, what method of cannabis consumption would you recommend?
- What dose should I start with and use during my course of treatment?
- Is there a particular brand of cannabis product that I should look for?
- Is the cannabis product I use going to get me high?
- What are the side effects of cannabis?
- Does cannabis interact with other medications? (And make sure to let you doctor know about all the medication and nutritional supplements that you are taking).
- How long do the effects of cannabis last?
- Can I have a drink/glass of wine with cannabis?
- Am I eligible for a medical cannabis card?
- How will medical cannabis affect my daily routine?
- How do I stay safe while utilizing medical cannabis?
- Will I be able to use medical cannabis as a parent?
- What health care costs come along with medical cannabis?
- Are there activities I should avoid while using medical cannabis?
- If I am drug tested, what will show up on the drug test?
- Can you refer me to other reliable sources for information on medical cannabis?
Once you’ve talked to your doctor, let’s start tracking your consumption. Our Community Harvest has provided a sample journal page that you can copy.
They are taken from the upcoming publication by Spring House Press called The Essential Cannabis Journal which can be used separately or in conjunction with The Essential Cannabis Book: A Field Guide for the Curious. Both books are by author Rob Mejia.
Cannabis Journal Page
Name of strain or description of product: ___________________________________________
Where product was purchased: ___________________________________________
Potency (THC vs. CBD) per serving:______________
Serving size/Amount consumed:__________________________________
How product was consumed:___________________
Reason for trying product (or symptoms if you are medical patient):________________________
OBSERVED POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECTS (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY):
Euphoria Pain relief Dry mouth
Extra energy Reduced anxiety Paranoia
Increased creativity Sleepiness Lack of energy
Increased focus Hunger Lack of appetite
A feeling of mind relaxation Lack of energy Increased anxiety
A feeling of body relaxation Lack of focus
Other medications you are taking including prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements:_________
Record your timeline.
When product was taken: _______________________________
Author Bio: Rob Mejia has always been curious. Born in Denver as one of 13 children, he grew up like most kids — playing sports, hanging out with buddies, and smoking some cannabis. A talent for tennis, a head for grades, and a curiosity about the East Coast landed him at Georgetown University and then, later, NYC publishing. It was only when his beloved sister, Theresa, passed from cancer that Rob’s curiosity about cannabis blossomed into an obsession. He diligently began to learn about and research the world of cannabis and its medicinal possibilities. This journey resulted in the creation of Our Community Harvest, (www.ourcommunityharvest.com) a business focused on cannabis knowledge, foods and health-related products. Rob also published his first cannabis book The Essential Cannabis Book: A Field Guide for the Curious in October 2018. You can find him on Twitter at @OurComHarvest.