When comparing medicinal cannabis to other medications, it is clear that choices and dosing related to medicinal cannabis are more so driven by the patient. Of course, patients always have guidance from their physicians and dispensary pharmacists. However, with the plethora of options available at the dispensary, it is advantageous for patients to record what medications are working best for their symptoms.
Often, one patient suffering from one condition may find relief from one product, whereas another patient suffering from the same condition may not find relief from that same product. In other words, medicinal cannabis is very individualized. This is why it is essential to keep track of what products are providing relief, especially for newly approved patients. Between discussing and recording options and progress with your dispensary pharmacist, patients should be better equipped to deconstruct the many available options.
The first thing to consider when beginning a journal is determining the best method of journaling for you as the patient (Keating, 2017). Do you prefer to write things down, or would you rather use digital methods? These questions can assist you in deciding if a notepad and pencil or a digital method will accommodate you better.
If notepads and pencils are your route, you can use a normal notepad or find notebooks specifically made for medicinal cannabis recordings, such as the Goldleaf Patient Journal. If you prefer digital methods, perhaps a phone app, such as Releaf, or creating a Microsoft Word document will work best.
It is also important to consider what time of the day you will make recordings in your journal. Since it is helpful to make recordings each day, this will assist you in incorporating journaling into your daily routine. Patients may choose to journal in the morning, midday, at night, or all three!
The largest concern when beginning to journal is what to write about. To get your thoughts rolling, we will present some suggestions here. It is important to remember that journaling is for the patient, so anything that is important or relevant to you should be included.
One thing to examine involves any pain or symptoms of debilitating conditions present before medicating. Do you feel a pain in your knee? Is it severe or acute? Are you experiencing nausea? Rating symptoms such as these on a scale of 1-10, with 10 equating to extreme pain, can be helpful.
Another important thing to review involves the state of the patient before medicating. This may include one’s state of mind, such as stressed, anxious, tired, happy, calm, depressed, etc. It can also be important to note anything present that is out of the ordinary.
Next, it is beneficial to jot down patients’ intake of cannabis medication. This involves the strain, consumption method, consumption amount, time consumed, and amount of time lapsed from ingestion to onset of effects.
Equally important, one should consider making notes about the observed effects. How long did these effects last? What did you like and dislike about them? Likes can include observations such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, reduction of nausea or tremors, improvement in sleep or mood, etc. Dislikes can include observations such as dry mouth or eyes, paranoia, drowsiness, etc. It may also be useful to write down the intensity level experienced on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not intense enough and 10 being too intense.
Since the food or drinks consumed prior to medicating can alter the effects of cannabis medication, it can be valuable to note this, too. Did you eat more or less than typical? Did you consume anything that is out of the ordinary? Recording if you consumed coffee, tea, or alcohol prior to medicating can be insightful.
Depending on the patient, it may be helpful to mark down comments regarding sleep, exercise, and hormones. Sleep notes may consist of the hours slept and the quality of sleep experienced. Did you wake frequently or sleep straight through the night? Did you have trouble falling asleep? Again, rating one’s quality of sleep on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest quality of sleep, may be worthwhile. Exercise notes may consist of any physical activity completed throughout the day, whether it be a workout, stretching, steps, sports, etc. In terms of hormones, keeping track of menstrual cycles for women may be noteworthy.
All in all, patients should attempt to record similar things each day. This way, patients can follow their symptoms over a long period of time, noting when they are reduced and what product(s) helped ease them. This can assist patients in purchasing the best medications for their unique symptoms.
If you have any questions regarding beginning your journal, please feel free to contact us!
Keating, Cori. “How to Keep a Cannabis Strain Health Journal.” Leafly, 14 June 2017, www.leafly.com/news/strains-products/cannabis-strain-health-and-wellness-journal.