Top 5 Tips for New Medical Marijuana Patients

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Thank you for reading today’s article about medical marijuana.  I’m Dr. Victor Chou, the Founder and Medical Director of the Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

Today we’re going to give the Top 5 Tips for New Medical Marijuana Patients.

While today’s article is geared toward patients who have limited to no previous history with marijuana, it’s also a great read for more experienced patients who want to review some basic concepts.

As with everything else in the medical field, please do not construe anything in this article as specific medical advice.  Rather, you should always follow your doctor or pharmacist’s specific advice with regards to your specific medical situation and medications.

Let’s get started.


Tip #1 – Start with a Tincture

As you know, the main routes of administration for patients desiring a systemic effect are inhalables, tinctures, and oral.

Each route of administration has pros and cons.  However, if you are a beginning patient, the easiest option to use would probably be a tincture.

Unlike gummies, which come in fixed doses, tinctures are titratable, which means that you can keep adjusting until you find the dose that works best for you.

Also, unlike inhalables, which for many patients has a learning curve and can cause side effects like coughing or gagging, tinctures are usually tolerated by most patients right away without major side effects or issues.


Tip #2 – Choose a Hybrid

The three main strains of medical marijuana are sativas, indicas, and hybrids.

Sativas tend to have a more stimulating effect which can be good for daytime use, but can worsen certain mental health symptoms like anxiety, ADD, or OCD.  Sativas are not generally good for night time use.

Indicas, on the other hand, tend to be more relaxing and sedating and thus good for night time use, but can also produce depression symptoms or paranoia or cause a very intense high.  Indicas are generally not good for day time use.

Hybrids, which are a combination of sativa and indica, tend to produce good results for many patients with minimal side effects, and can be used both day and night, making it a good all around choice for beginners.


Tip #3 – Select 1 or 2 Products

Another issue that I see with beginning patients is trying to accomplish too much, too soon.  They will purchase 3 or 4 different products for all variety of symptoms on the first visit to the dispensary, but it’s too many products and patients get confused and frustrated and quit the medical marijuana program.

Instead, it’s best to think of this like running a marathon, and plan on starting gradually with 1-2 products, learning how to best use those products, and over time adding or swapping out additional products over a period of 6-12 months.


Tip #4 – Start with a Low Dose

Marijuana operates on a biphasic curve, similar to many other medications.  If you take too low of a dose there may not be any effect, while if you take too high of a dose, you may get side effects.

For most patients, there is usually an optimal dose that is neither too high or too low.

However, if you are a beginning patient, the safest strategy is to start with a low dose, and gradually increase your dose until you find the sweet spot.

That way, you will hopefully find the ideal dose for you, without overshooting and encountering side effects.


Tip #5 – Take Good Notes

There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to medical marijuana treatment, as patients adjust strain, route, and dose.  It can get confusing and overwhelming if you make adjustments in a haphazard way.

However, patients that make careful, controlled adjustments tend to notice the best results, and one key to being able to make the right adjustments is taking good notes.

When you take good notes, you’ll be able to figure out the key factors associated with the medical marijuana you are working with, such as the time to onset, length of effect, and dose for effect and make appropriate adjustments to get the most out of your medical marijuana treatment.



We hope that you enjoyed our latest video and article.

As always, please discuss any specific medical decisions with your doctor or pharmacist.

Please visit our website if you want to learn more about our clinic or medical marijuana or to Request a Consultation with me.

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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana