Wow. Yeah, this is definitely an easy way to take your medicine! It turned out to be far more powerful than I expected, so all those warnings you see about taking it easy, starting with a low dose … they aren’t kidding.
Let’s start with the recipe:
Decarboxylate your marijuana: put 2 grams of ground but not powdered marijuana* in an oven safe baking bowl or pot or lasagne pan, cover it if you are trying to keep odours down (though the low-THC strains I am working with do not have much of a smell) and bake for 17 minutes at 250 F.
In the meantime, heat a pot of water on the stove, with a 2 or 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup hooked on the side of the pot with the body of the cup hanging into the water (this makes a double boiler that is super easy to work with).
Pour 1 cup of whole milk (or cream, or evaporated milk) with a tablespoon or so of butter into the Pyrex cup and let it start to warm up. Bring the water to a boil, and stir the milk mixture with a whisk so it doesn’t get a skin on top.
When the decarboxylation is done, remove the marijuana from the oven and put it into the milk mixture. Whisk it in.
Allow the milk mixture to heat in the water bath for about 45 minutes, stirring periodically.
Filter through a coffee filter / fine mesh sieve / tea infuser to remove the majority of the leafy material, refrigerate the milk mixture in a CLEARLY LABELLED JAR THAT THE KIDS WON’T ACCIDENTALLY USE FOR THEIR CEREAL.
Right, so you’ve made your milk. Approximately 8 ounces, or one cup of finished product contains 2 grams of marijuana … so, if you drink it all at once, you will not be a happy camper. Don’t do that. :) Each ounce (2 tablespoons) contains a 25 milligram dose.
Start with one tablespoon – less if you are using really potent ingredients or aren’t used to this yet. Then *wait at least two hours* before you decide you need more. It can take a while to kick in.
It seems to me that a small dose of alcohol dramatically speeds up the onset and intensity: if you are needing a quicker boost, a tiny splash (like a tablespoon) of whiskey or vodka added to the milk dose seems to speed things up, though this may not be an accurate assessment (I’ll need to experiment a little more).
Do not try this for the first time unless you can stay safely at home and do nothing if that’s how it plays out. Dosing edibles is trickier than dosing inhaled marijuana, as the effects are slower to come on and last longer – both definite features when dealing with chronic conditions that require steady levels of medication to keep symptoms at bay, but challenges when it comes to identifying when you’re appropriately medicated and when you’ve gotten more than you bargained for and are now relegated to lying very still and waiting for the world to come clear again.
I’m titrating a new dose of medication, so I track what I’ve been taking and how I feel, and I experiment with higher doses or different extraction methods when I know I can stay safely at home in case I don’t feel so hot. The nice thing about marijuana is that although it is *entirely* possible to get more than you wanted, an overdose is not going to cause your breathing to stop (as might happen if you took too much Ativan, for instance.) Too much marijuana *can* make you feel truly unwell though, and the nasty effects might last for 24 hours, which would be awful. With the cautious approach I’ve been taking towards finding the upper limits of my tolerance, the worst of the “more than I expected” effects has been a bit of dizziness edging towards a queasy sensation, and it stopped as soon as I lay still. I felt worse than that when I started on sertraline.
So, what benefit is there to marijuana for someone with PTSD, like me?
The tension that is so constant in my body that I don’t sense it until it’s removed … that throttles back.
I sleep like a normal person: I get tired, I yawn, I feel like it’s time to close my eyes and I do … and then I go to sleep. This is quite amazing, really.
It’s easier to pace myself. Since my usual trouble is that I push and push and push myself, then crash, then get annoyed at needing a rest … this is a big deal. I’ll sit in the chair and knit for a bit after doing something like hanging laundry or watering the grass. I need to do a little and then rest some, then start again – not go hard and crazy, that pushes up my adrenaline and then the cycle starts. So being more mellow about what gets done is really good for me.
The chest pain doesn’t seem to want to go away, though – it’s not like it was way back at the beginning, when once a day at least the pain was so intense it brought tears to my eyes. It’s a nagging ache, an intermittent annoyance that I would love to see eliminated but which really is no more than a stubborn reminder of my need for self-care. The 9:9 I’m using now for daytime may help a bit more, but I’ve just started experimenting with it at full strength (the chocolates were half and half 9:9 and 4:10, the milk was extracted as one batch of each, so I can test the effects individually).
The marijuana is replacing three other meds for me: Prazosin (which reduces trauma dreams and helps keep the adrenalin down in general); temazepam (milder opiate sedative, used to induce sleep), and Sublinox (non-opiate sedative, works amazingly well but costs just over $2 per pill). I still have both the Temazepam and Sublinox here, for nights when sleep just won’t come, but I’ve only used them a few times since starting the marijuana – and before, I needed one or the other every night to get any sleep at all.
I’m still on sertraline, my Mean Girls need that to keep them quiet and I have no ill effects from it at all. And it’s only about $12 per month.
So that’s the med report for today … I’ll keep the blog updated as I find my comfortable dosage plan.
* The Cannimed product arrives in the perfectly prepped format: it’s ground but not powdered or shredded.