Cannabis has a wide variety of options that each come with different potential effects. Most cannabis consumers eventually figure out a few products that work really well for them. But not everyone has found their ideal cannabis product—or if they have, they may not remember what it was called.
If having consistently positive cannabis experiences has been a challenge for you, cannabis journaling is something you should consider doing. The simple practice of recording your experiences with marijuana can greatly improve your ability to find your favorites and repeat only your best experiences.
Starting and keeping a cannabis journal may sound like an unnecessary hassle to some, but it can make all the difference in terms of having consistently positive experiences with the plant. Even if you’re incredibly self-aware, if you don’t record your experience, you’re likely to forget it or at least recall it in less detail.
People tend to overestimate their ability to remember experiences and events, and can even create false memories without realizing it. This problem can be compounded by the short-term memory issues that sometimes accompany cannabis experiences. By cataloging your experiences, you’ll be able to have an accurate record to draw from as you fine-tune your cannabis plan.
Before you get started with your cannabis journaling experience, gather the materials you need:
In the previous Cannabis for Newbies article, we discussed how to use mindful awareness to tune in to what you want from cannabis and how different cannabis products affect you. If you haven’t performed these mindful exercises yet, consider trying them prior to starting a journal. They’re an easy way to pick up on what’s happening, giving you some material to write down.
The first step in cannabis journaling is to observe your physical sensations before you use any cannabis. Notice how you feel. Is anything particularly painful, pleasant or uncomfortable? Is there anything you’d like cannabis to help with specifically?
While you’re assessing your physical sensations, take the time to record all of the details. How were you feeling before cannabis? What kind of effects are you hoping for? Be as specific as you’d like. The more detail, the better.
Once you’ve recorded your baseline state—that is, how you’re feeling before consuming cannabis, you can move onto medicating with marijuana.
Consume your cannabis product, and record any details about the experience. What was the product you’re using? Was it flower, an edible, oil or topical? How did it taste and smell? What was your dose? Note the brand and where you obtained the product. If it’s strain-specific, note the strain.
You should also pay attention to the method of consumption. For example, you may find that a strain works well when you vape it, but not when you smoke it. Be sure to note these differences so you can look for methods that deliver the effects that meet your needs.
Another factor you may want to take note of is the way your cannabis was grown: Was it grown indoors, outdoors or greenhouse? Was it organic or grown with synthetic nutrients? Any details you can provide will help you on your journey to finding your ideal cannabis product.
When you’ve finished medicating and recording the product details, set a timer. If you’re using a quick-acting method like smoking, vaping or taking sublinguals, set it to go off in 20–30 minutes. If you’re using edibles, the timer should be set to ring in 90 minutes or so.
With the effects of cannabis starting to set in, the ringing of your timer is meant to remind you to tune back into your physical sensations. How do you feel now? Record any painful, pleasant or uncomfortable sensations.
What are the positive and negative effects that you’re experiencing? Feel free to look at the notes you made describing how you felt before you medicated. What has changed? Be specific. If you notice an effect or relief from a symptom, write it down. It will be helpful later on.
When you’ve collected journal entries on a variety of different cannabis products, you can look back through these records and note common trends. It can be helpful when recalling how a particular strain affected you. What strains help you with your particular symptoms? Which ones cause unpleasant side effects? Now that you have a record to look back on, and are discovering these factors, you can hone in on your ideal cannabis strains, methods of consumptions and product lines.
In our final installment of the Cannabis for Newbies guide, we show you how to create your own customized cannabis plan. With everything you’ve learned through this series, you now have the tools you need to create a plan that makes sense for your specific needs and individual biochemistry.
Photo credit: Sandis Helvigs
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