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  • Dr. Joan Irvine

Too High – NOT Fun!

As many of you are aware, I embrace cannabis in my life. My typical dosage is a 5-10 mg gummy when I'm out socializing with friends or hitting the dance floor. It's just enough to give me a mild buzz (like one alcoholic drink) without getting stoned. During the day, I will turn to a 10:1 CBD to THC ratio tincture to help with stress, inflammation, pain, or just to maintain homeostasis (more on this in a future blog).

I'm a very public cannabis advocate and educator, particularly for seniors and health. So, people often share their cannabis experiences with me. Some rave about their positive experiences, while others have faced less pleasant ones. I always emphasize that, much like with alcohol, cannabis reactions are highly individualized. Just as some folks can handle white wine but not red or champagne, others may enjoy vodka, tequila, or bourbon, while some may only tolerate a single drink, and some should steer clear entirely. It's truly a personalized journey.

For many seniors, their preference leans towards edibles, tinctures, topicals, or cannabis-infused beverages rather than the 'traditional' flower or vaping. Many of us kicked the smoking habit long ago and have no desire to inhale anymore; even though this method has more immediate results.

In the cannabis community, there's a mantra that rings true – "Low and Slow," especially when it comes to edibles. Much like alcohol, factors like food consumption and individual metabolism can influence how quickly cannabis affects a person. Additionally, I recently learned that as we age, our bodies may take longer to process cannabis. It's not uncommon for someone to take an edible, not feel any effects, and then mistakenly take another, only to feel the first one start to kick in. This can lead to an uncomfortably strong high, which is far from enjoyable. (BTW keep some CBD products around to counteract this.)

I actually experienced this myself not too long ago - NOT FUN! I went to my local hangout for the Sunday night band after a long day of work. I took a 5 mg gummy before heading to the Village. I had a good time catching up with friends and dancing. (Socializing and exercise are two components for living better and longer according to Dan Buettner, Blue Zones.)

As I was about to head home for more work (I know it is Sunday, but when you work for yourself – it is 24/7), I ran into people I hadn't seen in a while. One friend offered me a hit from her vape. I rarely indulge in smoking, and it has been a while since my last vaping experience. But being cavalier, stupidly I took a substantial hit and almost coughed my lungs out. I forgot how quickly the body reacts to smoking rather than the slower onset of edibles. Within minutes, I was too ‘stoned’ and didn't enjoy the experience at all. My plans for a productive night went up in smoke, quite literally. I KNOW BETTER THAN THIS!

However, I try to use such experiences as teaching moments. It helps me better understand what others have been telling me about their unpleasant experiences. It's a reminder that people, including myself, need to know what they are consuming and how their bodies react.

So, remember: LOW and SLOW and be a responsible consumer.


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