Ayurvedic cannabis has been a healing substance in India since antiquity. The recent surge in the adoption of plant-based wellness for multiple medical conditions has led to a more open-minded adoption of cannabis in the 21st century.
Multiple brands are working with classical and/or proprietary Ayurvedic cannabis formulations to make it easily accessible to those in need. While cannabis can work wonders for your body, there is no denying the psychoactive effects of some of its compounds. Moreover, research on the medicinal use of cannabis is still catching up.
Therefore, it is absolutely important that you understand what Ayurvedic or medical cannabis in India is, how it works, and what risks it brings with itself.
This article lists 10 things that every user should keep in mind before using Ayurvedic or medical cannabis in India.
Things to Consider Before Using Ayurvedic Cannabis in India
Everyone’s Cannabis Journey is Different
It is possible that a cannabis product that works for one person may not work just as effectively for another. Each body responds to drugs differently, depending on factors such as age, gender, medical history, genetics, immunity and metabolism, etc.
For example, it is possible that cannabis edibles that work just well for a patient may not show any significant effect for another. The reasons for this can be many; difference in the severity and nature of the medical condition, metabolism, age, and other medications being the common ones.
Remember to have a comprehensive conversation with your doctor during the consultation. If you have a particular type of Ayurvedic or medical cannabis product in mind, discuss its potential benefits in detail.
That said, if the doctor prescribes an Ayurvedic or medical cannabis product other than what you had in mind, talk it out with the doctor in a respectful way.
Another thing to remember before using medical cannabis in India is that it can take a while to find a product that is just right for your body. Being patient and consistent with the use of the drug is crucial for a getting better.
All Products Are Not the Same
The cannabis plant has 3 different strains—Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Each of these strains contain a unique balance of cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid interacts with the human body differently, producing different effects.
Therefore, not all cannabis products are the same. Depending on the strain they’ve been extracted from and the balance of cannabinoids they contain, each product will have a different effect on the body.
Therefore, before you buy Ayurvedic or medical cannabis in India, it is important to understand the origin of and the cannabinoid ratio present in them. This information will help you plan the use and anticipate the potential effects of a product.
More often than not, medical cannabis products focus on the two primary cannabinoids—THC and CBD. Some common ratios found in medical cannabis in India are:
- 1:1: A product containing equal amounts of CBD and THC. This ratio appears to be the most effective in targeting chronic pain.
- 2:1: A product with twice the amount of CBD as THC. This ratio is ideal for managing autoimmune disorders, anxiety, depression, and general aches in the body.
- 5:1: The perfect ratio for beginners, a product containing CBD 5 times of THC. This product allows the users to experience the benefits of cannabinoids without the risk of intoxicating effects.
- 1:2: Most commonly referred to as a sleep aid, this ratio contains THC in amounts double than CBD. Products with this ratio can get quite sedative.
Same Strains can have Varying Cannabinoids
A common misconception in the minds of users about medical cannabis in India is that the chemical profile of a strain remains the same across products, brands, and manufacturers. However, this is far from true.
It is possible for 2 different brands to use the same cannabis strain as the base and still have different formulations. While the basic genetic make-up of the plant remains the same, additional processes can lead to varying cannabinoid content.
For instance, let’s say there are two Cannabis indica products. There is 5% of THC in product 1 and 35% of THC in product 2. Though the strain is same, the percentage of cannabinoids will determine the strength and usage of the product.
Therefore, it is imperative to understand the label of a medical cannabis product before adopting it. The strength of the product plays a crucial role in determining the dosage, frequency, and use case of the product.
Dosage is Important
The principle of dosage in medical cannabis in India works similarly to the much-familiar allopathic medicines. Just like the numbers 15mg, 20mg, or 60mg on allopathic drugs, medical cannabis products, too, have a dosage.
The dosage of a medical cannabis product is affected by factors such as the strength of the product, the medical condition being targeted, method of administration, individual biology, etc.
More often than not, the labels on the product specify the recommended dosage and suggested use. However, this can differ according to the nature and severity of the medical condition that one is targeting as well as the patient’s metabolism and genetics.
Determining the right dosage in medical cannabis product requires some trial and error. Patience and consistency play a very important role in this process. The first step is establishing the minimum effective dosage and increasing it gradually according to your body’s need.
To make this process easier, a professional consultation with an ayurvedic doctor is recommended. It is possible to schedule online consultations for medical cannabis in India through platforms that connect you with certified doctors. The consultants help you understand the potential benefits and risks of using cannabis for a medical condition and guide you through the process of finding the right dosage.
There is More than One Way to Take Cannabis
As popular as smoking is, it is not the only way of consuming cannabis. Thanks to scientific and technological advancements, a plethora of medical cannabis products are now available.
Currently, there are 3 ways to take Ayurvedic or medical cannabis in India:
Edibles are ready-to-eat food and drink items infused with cannabis leaf extracts. These are a pretty straightforward way to consume cannabis. Two examples of cannabis edible formulations are modak vati and hemp churan by Sanan Hemp.
Oils for Topical Use
Topical use refers to external application of the oil over the surface of the skin. Typically, topical formulations help manage localised pain and inflammation as well as some skin disorders.
Oils for Sublingual Consumption
The most common and popular of the three, sublingual consumption refers to directly consuming the cannabis leaf extracts. Ideally, the drops are placed under the tongue (with the help of a dropper) and allowed to be absorbed for 40-60 seconds before swallowing.
Depending on the nature and severity of the medical condition, doctors may prescribe different types of medical cannabis products. This is because some products are better suited for a condition than others.
For instance, cannabis-infused edibles are great for supporting the overall well-being of the body. They are usually used for gastrointestinal infections and painful urination. Whereas, oil drops prove to be more effective in managing acute and chronic pain (e.g. arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS, etc.).
Dosage and Frequency of a Product Depends on the Method of Consumption
As iterated above, there is more than one way to consume medical cannabis in India. Different consumption methods take different times to show an effect on the body. This affects the dosage and frequency of use of a product.
The method of consumption that shows effects almost immediately is vaping or smoking. Through this method, cannabis compounds enter the bloodstream within 1-2 minutes and their effects last for up to 2 hours.
Please note: Vaping is illegal in India. We advise you to adopt alternatives methods of consuming medical cannabis such as edibles, sublingual consumptions, topical use, etc.
When consumed sublingually (i.e., by directly placing under the tongue), cannabis compounds show effect in 5-20 minutes. In this case, the effects last for 2-4 hours.
Edibles take the longest amount of time to have a visible effect on the body. In the case of edibles, cannabis compounds first pass through the digestive system and then enter the bloodstream. Because of this, edibles can take 45-60 minutes to show an effect. But at the same time, their effects remain in the body for 4-6 hours.
In comparison, sublingual consumption is more effective than edibles. Therefore, a relatively smaller dosage of oil drops or tinctures (as compared to those of edibles) can show significant effects.
Storage Affects the Potency of a Product
Just like other medicines, there’s a right and a wrong way to store medical cannabis. Proper storage conditions can help preserve the potency of a product for longer. More often than not, the label on a product clearly specifies the storage conditions to be followed.
A common label should read this information as:
store in a cool, dry place, away from heat and light.
Heat, light, and moisture are three important factors that can affect the potency of a medical cannabis product.
Light is the biggest factor that affects the potency of a product. Prolonged exposure to sunlight breaks down organic matter, in this case cannabinoids THC and CBD specifically. This can affect their chemical properties leading to unexpected effects.
Heat is another factor that plays a crucial role in keeping medical cannabis products potent for long. Warm temperatures are the breeding ground for mould and bacteria. Excessive heat can also cause the cannabinoids to degrade affecting their therapeutic properties.
The absence of moisture can cause the medical cannabis product to lose trichomes which produce and house the cannabinoids. Too much moisture or a humid environment provides an environment for the growth of mould and bacteria.
Do’s and Don’ts of Storing Medical Cannabis in India:
Here is a list of quick tips that can help you keep your medical cannabis products fresh for a longer period of time.
- Use containers with a neutral charge. Glass containers are ideal.
- Use airtight or vacuum sealed jars.
- Store the product in a cool, dry place. Keep it away from sunlight.
- Store cannabis in a freezer. Excessively low temperatures can damage the trichomes which in turn degrade the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
- Store medical cannabis in a refrigerator. This can lead to excessive humidity which will support the growth of mould and mildew.
- Store cannabis in plastic containers or bags. This can lead to moisture which in turn will lead to the growth of bacteria.
The Presence of THC Matters
Medical cannabis refers to the use of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes. This includes all the chemical compounds of cannabis, including THC. Though THC is famous for producing the high, it does have its own therapeutic effects.
The amount of THC in a medical cannabis product affects its potency, dosage, and frequency. As mentioned above, different ratios of CBD:THC prove effective for different problems.
The cannabis plant contains over 500 chemical compounds, each with their own properties. While CBD does not create a dependence in the body, THC can. That is to say, people using THC-dominant products may experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop their medical cannabis dosage.
The presence of THC is also important because it dictates the intensity of the potential side effects as well as the intoxication. Therefore, it is important to have a detailed conversation with your doctor about the product you’re thinking of buying.
Formulations and Effects with Additional Ingredients
Ayurvedic Cannabis products in India may contain additional ingredients, especially in the case of proprietary formulations. It is possible that some of these additional ingredients may cause allergies or produce unpredictable side effects.
For instance, let’s say the label of an Ayurvedic cannabis product lists the ingredients as:
15% Hemp leaf extract
82% MCT oil
1% Peppermint oil
2% Apricot extract
If you are allergic to apricots, then this product may trigger their allergies or cause unwanted side effects.
Therefore, it is absolutely vital to carefully examine the product label for a list of ingredients. This will help you understand the product better and opt for another in case one does not suit.
Caution Against Overuse
Ayurvedic and medical cannabis in India contain cannabis leaf extracts. The cannabinoid content can vary from one strain to another depending on the cultivating environment and extraction processes.
THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid which will definitely produce intoxicating effects. The intensity of these effects will vary according to the amount of THC present. It is therefore advised that you avoid the overuse of ayurvedic medicines.
In India, ayurvedic cannabis medicines can only be bought on presenting a valid prescription. This is necessary to avoid misuse of cannabis compounds. Before you start using ayurvedic (medical) cannabis in India, understand the legalities and documentations and have a detailed conversation with your doctor.
Buy Ayurvedic Cannabis in India
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