If you live in Illinois (and/or not under a rock), surely you have noticed medical, and talks of recreational, marijuana making headlines all over the place. It was basically Governor Pritzker’s number one item on his pinky swear/promise list to Illinois residents and voters and he’s been working hard ever since at keeping his word. Good work, sir.
I started my new life at a medical cannabis dispensary back in February, having gone from teaching yoga fulltime to slinging cannabis fulltime. If there is one thing I love in the jobs I choose, it’s working with humans seeking self-care, options, and their best quality of life.
And apparently, I love working with cannabis.
From an insider’s perspective, I have stood and listened to many stories of patients finding pain relief as well as aid with PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, endometriosis, HIV, depression, and seizures…just to name a few.
Thanks to the Opioid Alternative Program that rolled out at the beginning of the year, many folks are also coming in to find alternative ways to treat their ailments and illnesses. Some, coming off of opioid prescriptions completely by using medical marijuana.
These are the experiences that give me goosebumps on the job.
As a patient myself, I have used a plethora of products to help with anxiety as well as chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain. As far as my own treatment, I microdose and I layer. Meaning, I take small doses of different medications at different times. I also combine these treatments with meditation, yoga, exercise, and a balanced/healthy diet to really amp things up.
For me, using medical cannabis is a form of self-care, medicine, and maintenance. I fully understand not everyone is keen on this idea, however, this is my body and my choice to treat it how I see fit. I am a legal patient to the Illinois Medical Marijuana program and since becoming so – I feel happier, lighter, and comfortable knowing that I have options and access.
Here are some of my personal must-have medicinal cannabis products.
Spectra Complete 6:1 Spray
The most common ratio you’ll hear is 1:1. Meaning, one part CBD and one part THC. When taking both compounds of the plant in unison – they can create a perfect tag team to help manage pain, sleep issues, anxiety and a host of other human conditions.
This here little tincture above is six parts CBD and one part THC – in other words, it’s a 6:1. High in CBD (non-psychoactive compound) and low in THC (the compound that induces a high). Tinctures are used to administer medications under the tongue, sublingually. I use this one, in particular, to help with anxiety as well as groove me into sleep mode. Each pump is 2mg so it makes for a perfect micro-dosing medication. I also love Pharmacann’s Matter 1:1 Tangerine tincture. Both are effective, quality products.
Pineapple Express Flower by. Cresco
Pineapple Express is a solid hybrid go-to. It’s balanced, chill, and euphoric as well. Here’s what I’m not looking for in a flower – paranoia. Nope, thanks. This strain, in my opinion, is a good option for new patients as well as Cresco’s other friendly hybrid, Pheno 51.
Another suggestion: if you’re a new patient to the program and cannabis – don’t go smoking flower like you would a cigarette. One, maaaaaybe, two smaller dose inhalations will induce effects swiftly. I’ll have more tips and how to’s on the blog soon.
Banana Kush Flower by. Progressive Treatment Solutions (PTS)
Here is a perfect strain to help create calmness and ease under stressful times. BK is an indica leaning hybrid that has come in handy during some recent heavier times. It induces a calm effect along with space for clear-mindedness and focus. It’s not an easy strain to get your hands on, so if you see it in flower, I highly suggest you grab a gram or so.
Mango Sativa Gummies by Wana.
If I am looking for something a touch more euphoric and energizing (aka for a night out) – I’ll microdose with Wana’s mango gummies. They are not only delicious but effective as well so I usually will eat half of one piece, about 5 mg. I love taking one of these in lieu of over-imbibing. It’s one of those fun gummies that you’ll get some good giggles from and won’t make you feel like shit in the morning. Whereas alcohol can ruin an entire next day.
Another benefit of cannabis – no hangover.
Kiva Espresso Bites by. Kiva
Ok. If I could only ever buy one edible ever again, it’d be Kiva’s cannabis-infused Espresso Bites. These balls may be small, but they sure can deliver. Similar to the effects mentioned above (euphoric/energized/night-out shenanigans/no hangover) these are my all time favorite. They are also freaking delicious so remember to only start with ONE. I repeat, have one and wait. They are 5mg each, but they can be sneaky.
Mango Fruit Goobies / Indica by. Revolution
Aka. lights out / time for bed. These goobies are no joke and much like Mindy’s Mango Hybrid Fruit Chews – they are heavy hitters. A little can go a long way. Some sound advice from my fellow budtenders, start low and slow. These are 25mg each (100mg in a package) – I take 5mg myself.
Pro tip: keep a journal, notes on your phone, or spreadsheet of what works for you, how much works, and what doesn’t work for you.
Mindy’s Blue Raspberry Indica Gummies by. Cresco
These are the sleepy sister to the watermelon gummies above and another good option to induce sleepy vibes. Same with these, I go for 5mg (half of one 10mg edible). They are not as strong as the Mango Fruit Goobies, but they definitely deliver. They’ll have you snoozing in no time.
Mary’s Medicinal 1:1 Transdermal Patch
I couple of months ago my shoulder and neck were in a bad way – again, so, I decided to give this transdermal patch a try. Within an hour of slapping it on the inside of my wrist, my pain was beginning to subside and I was feeling able to move on with my day without wincing the entire time. These patches can be on the stronger side, so I’d suggest cutting them in thirds, to begin with. Maybe a half if you have a higher tolerance.
I’m looking forward to trying the CBD and Indica ones to treat menstrual cramps that near an 8.7 on the pain-o-meter. I’ll keep you posted.
Reserva Privada Liquid Live Resin by. Cresco Reserve
This cartridge is absolutely divine. It’s smooth, tastes wonderful, and helps simmer down anxious feelings leaving me feeling at ease, focused, and happy. Oh, and creative. It’s now my writing buddy. A co-worker suggested I try it with glowing reviews and I must say – she was 100% right. Now I know why patients buy these in bulk.
Harmony Avexia 1:1 Balm by Avexia
Alas, my favorite topical – Avexia’s 1:1 Pain Relied Balm. When it comes to aches and pains due to sore muscles/over teaching yoga injuries -I massage this delicious balm all over the area of pain/discomfort. I use this for my neck, shoulder, and lower back issues. It provides the relief I am seeking, however, I strongly suggest pairing it with other means of treatment like stretching and/or massages to nurture whatever it is that ails you.
As with all things in life, it’s a lot of trial and error. I’ve learned over time what works for me and what doesn’t. As a new patient, it can be intimidating – I totally get that. Share your cannabis experience and tell us what you’re in need of. We are here to help you find the best products and medications that will deliver optimal effects to the mind and body.
I am so excited to share my love for this program with you all – please reach out with questions, I’ll do my best to help and if I don’t know the answer, trust that I will find out.
For more information on the Illinois Medical Marijuana Program, go here.
For more information on the Opioid Alternative Program, go here.
UPDATE: Illinois is now RECREATIONAL!!! Hooray!!! Enjoy responsibly!