Updated: Sep 20
By Lauren Beatrice of Seed Sound Herbal Apothecary.
The first question when thinking of entering the world of medical cannabis is “Where do I get a medical card?” Luckily, getting a medical card is at the discretion of the provider, according to current Maine law. This means that if the provider believes medical cannabis can work for you, then the card is yours. Most dispensaries and caregiver stores can have an in-house provider who can prescribe medical cards for you. Do your research and call a few. The price ranges from $40 (with stipulations) to about $120.
Another question that can be pondered during this time is “Should I get a medical card? knowing that adult use/recreational cannabis stores are on their way?” I advise my patients to keep their medical cards in good standing for a couple reasons. First setting up new infrastructure for this law is complicated and takes time, so we are not sure when adult use stores will be up and running. Second, the tax will be much higher on adult use cannabis compared to buying from a medical store. Therefore, these savings will allow your medical card to pay for itself over and over again. Finally, having a caregiver is a real benefit when starting on your medical cannabis journey to help guide you along your healing path. You might not get the same care from an adult use store.
Now you have your medical card, you’re ready to visit your first store. Which store is right for you? There are plenty to choose from. There are plenty to choose from, but each have something different to offer. I encourage you to visit a few, try out a pre-roll or have a conversation with the staff. Remember, you do not have to commit to the first store you enter. You have freedom to check them all out.
Before medicating with cannabis, it is important to find answers to these questions:
Which way would I like to medicate? There are so many options, sometimes it can be overwhelming. Finding a good caregiver to help with this part is important. Smoking, vaping, sublingual tinctures, medibles, topical salves/creams and suppositories are just some of the different ways to medicate. Finding your perfect method, dose and strain can take some time and adjustments. We are all unique, so different dosing and strains work well for different people. They key to starting out with medical cannabis is to start slow and work your way up methodically to your perfect dose.
How is the cannabis grown: Organically? In soil? Hydroponically? How are the concentrates extracted? CO2? Butane? Rosin Press? What are the ingredients in the medibles? A good caregiver should know the answers to these questions and be able to explain the processes of each, the downsides (if any), and the benefits of each method.
Finally, I would like to provide you with a basic recipe for infusing your medical cannabis into oil or butter for preparing your own medibles at home. Every strain has a unique amount of each cannabinoids (a total of 113 have been identified). The two most notorious cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabidinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). In their raw form, these cannabinoids are in their acid states THC-A and CBD-A. When heated (we call this decarboxylating) turn into their more active forms of THC and CBD. This is the form that you infuse into butter and oil. Please see recipe below:
1 Cup of butter or oil
¼ oz of Cannabis (use less or more depending on your tolerance- less will decrease potency)
IT sunflower lecithin (emulsifies and helps with bioavailability or cannabinoids)
Preheat oven to 240 degrees
Grind cannabis or break up finely. Spread evenly on cookie sheet. Decarboxylate for 40 minutes.
Add sunflower Lecithin to oil/butter in the slow cooker. Heat on low and mix well. Add decarbed Cannabis and turn to High for 1 hour. Turn heat to low and cover. Let it be for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally.
Turn off and strain through cloth into Mason jar (don’t burn yourself!)
Store in fridge for longer life
You now have an infused butter that can be made into many different medible- just replace butter in recipe. And if you made an oil you can use this in any recipe that calls for oil OR in many topical salves, soups or other products!
Start slow and low, finding your dose takes time!