Knowing that the legalization of recreational cannabis is in New Hampshire’s near future, let’s talk about some guidelines for its use.
First – just like tobacco and alcohol, cannabis should not be used until adulthood (we’re not sure what that equates to in terms of legal age, it could be 18 or it could be 21 – the safe bet would be to use 21 as a guideline.) There is some scientific evidence that continued and heavy use of cannabis *can* affect brain development in children (again, just like alcohol can.) It’s best to hold off using it until you are an adult.
Of course the exception to this is children who use therapeutic cannabis. In those cases, parents, guardians, and medical providers have decided that the benefits outweigh any risks.
If you smoke, be considerate. No one wants to smell your exhalations. Follow the rules for smoking tobacco in public and around other people.
And speaking of smoking, although cannabis does not have the same chemical additives that tobacco has, putting smoke into your lungs is never a good idea. One must always balance the risks with the benefits. Watch how much you smoke, don’t smoke around others, and consider using a vaporizer to inhale vaporized concentrate instead of smoke.
Watch how much cannabis you use. For the most part, cannabis is not a gateway drug. However, some people can become dependent on it and may have abuse issues. Use respect when using cannabis. You can certainly build up a tolerance to some strains which would require you to take more. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to rotate between a few favorite strains. If you are finding that you need more cannabis to get the desired effect, you can take a few days off from using it. This generally “resets” your tolerance level. Better yet, save using cannabis for weekends or off time only.
Watch the alcohol. Many people report a decrease in desire to drink alcohol when they are using cannabis. If you do drink, know that the alcohol and cannabis can enhance each other. One drink might feel fine. More than one could knock you on your butt.
Some people who have medical conditions may feel their pain and symptoms get better with using cannabis. Never reduce or stop any medications without first talking to your doctor or medical provider.
Never drive when you are under the influence of cannabis. Just like you wouldn’t drive if taking strong medication, know your limits and pay attention to them. Cannabis’ effects can last up to six hours after ingesting, be aware and take responsibility for your actions.
Watch the THC level of your cannabis (THC is the chemical that makes you “high”.) Sometimes a product with a lower THC level is just as enjoyable if not more as one with a higher THC level.
Do not use cannabis if you are pregnant or nursing. If you use cannabis, please check with your medical provider before using any cannabis products when pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Some cannabis strains can increase appetite. You’ve heard about the “freshmen 15” – where kids who are off at college and can eat as much pizza and ice cream as they want to – gain weight? Keep an eye on your recreational eating. Don’t be a victim of the “cannabis 15.”
Don’t use synthetic cannabinoids: Products such as K2 and Spice are much more powerful and the effects are much stronger than organic cannabis. Avoid them at all costs.
Always keep your cannabis away from children. Especially if you are using edibles – youngsters don’t know the difference between “pot brownies” and regular brownies. To them they are both just treats. If you were in the therapeutic cannabis program they would suggest you store your cannabis in a locked box. The same suggestion stands for recreational cannabis.
Wendy E. N. Thomas is a candidate for the New Hampshire House of Representatives Hillsborough County, District 21. She is also in the NH Therapeutic Cannabis program. Wendy agrees with the State-wide Democratic platform of legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire, she would also like to see the Therapeutic Cannabis program expanded to include Anxiety, Lyme Disease, and insomnia (for starters.)
Wendy also understands that people need to know about what cannabis can do, how to keep it away from children, and how to use it responsibly (in the same way that the alcohol industry talks about responsible drinking.)
All opinions reflected in this article and any future articles on the Democratic cannabis platform are the opinions of Candidate Thomas and do not reflect any company or industry.
Wendy works at Prime ATC in Merrimack as a Patient Liaison. The contents of this article are not sanctioned by Prime ATC or any of its affiliates.