Friday, August 23, 2013

Medical Edibles

Marijuana-infused edibles have become an invaluable part of my self-care routine.

I'm no stranger to the common brownies and cookies that are sold at every dispensary, but nausea comes along to my migraine parties and sometimes those rich foods are impossible to gag down. At home, my boyfriend makes me ginger cookies, which are a near-perfect delivery system, but if we're out and have the cash, we'll sometimes check around and see what the local guys have for sale.

And I'm rarely impressed. Massive cookies, or syrupy hard candies, or the uber-chocolate-explosion-cocoa-mouthbomb-death-fudge-brownies are not at all what I'm looking for when my head hurts and I feel like barfing on everyone around me.

Sorry for talking about barf during an edibles review. But, it's pertinent, because I finally, finally, FINALLY found something in a store that doesn't exacerbate my barfiness. While visiting our favorite local dispensary, my boyfriend was gifted a sample of these delightful "ginger bites" by lifted elevated edibles. The packaging states that "all ingredients used are vegan, gluten-free and organic", which I appreciate, as a vegetarian trying to cut down on her GMOs. The texture is a soft, dense cookie, with bright flavors of cranberry, lemon and ginger that really pop, in a small size that makes ingestion quick and easy, with not a trace of cannabis flavor to be found. It's a two to four dose, which is a pretty subjective measurement in the medical cannabis world, but I started with half on a moderate-bad day, then ate the rest an hour later when my head was unfazed. A half hour after that, I was feeling pretty fantastic, so I cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and wrote this review with no additional medication for the rest of the evening. On a moderately bad day, these things individually are very difficult, so to be able to accomplish all three, then sleep awesomely and wake up smiling, it feels like a dream I don't ever want to wake up from. I don't review most of the edibles I try anymore, because our homemade version has outshone everything by miles and every review would be the same, "Too big, too barfy." Until now. I love these ginger bites and would use them all the time, if I could.

When the edibles hit me right, I feel practically normal. My head still hurts, but often only if I look for it, or really push it, and I'm still nauseated, but to a lesser degree. My body weariness largely fades away, my mood brightens, and my stamina blows me away. If it's been a while since we could afford for me to medicate this way, I can actually get weepy from the relief edibles offer. To suddenly have the freedom to do a thousand things I'd been unable to, marijuana is truly a miracle drug for me and I need to throw a quick shame-on-you to the FDA or DEA or whoever it was that decided marijuana was bad and restricted it so heavily for so long. JERKS.

But, there are two factors that keep me from medicating consistently with edibles: The first is tolerance. An effective starting dose of edible cannabis is a high one -- much higher than a person could smoke comfortably in a sitting -- and after only a few regular doses a person will start to notice that they need more to get the same effects. And if a person suddenly stops taking regular doses, especially higher doses (which are inevitable if a person medicates regularly in this fashion), withdrawal effects can be uncomfortable for up to a week. (Of course, note that I describe the withdrawal experience as uncomfortable, not painful, not unendurable, never permanently damaging, and certainly much less dramatic than getting off the average anti-seizure, anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, or narcotic. The only withdrawal effects I've ever experienced are irritability and a decrease in pain tolerance, which were only bothersome for a few days, if that.)

The other barrier to regular medicating via cannabis is the cost. Store-bought edibles can run from 5 to 20 bucks a dose, which isn't something I can pay easily. Honestly, the only reason I can afford to medicate the way I do (instead of taking whatever Medicare will give me, which is nothing much useful anymore) is because we live in a sort of "green belt" in which every other person we know here grows and sells their own medical marijuana and half of them are super into bartering with my man for things like car repair, which is pretty amazing. It's all above-board with licenses and verifications, but it's much, much cheaper than the dispensaries, for often the same quality.

I'm very lucky to have the access I do. The difference in my quality of life can not be undersold: before marijuana, I was merely surviving, now I can actually live.