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  • Jennifer Betz

Virginia Marijuana Card Answers: How to Use Medical Marijuana When I Have Things to Do?

Don't Let Fear of Impairment Stop You From Getting the Relief You Deserve!

Virginia’s medical marijuana program was barely in full swing when state lawmakers decided that the time has come for adult-use cannabis legalization. The possibility that it could be legal to possess marijuana by July 1, 2021 is exciting news for the state and its residents!

However, we also think this means it’s more important than ever to help people understand that medical marijuana is a legitimate form of treatment for PTSD, chronic pain, and a number of other conditions.

Many patients avoid medical marijuana because they are afraid it will make them look like stoners, or because they are unsure of how to use cannabis when they have things to do.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, we understand that you may be concerned about your productivity when using cannabis. However, feeling your best can lift your mood, your energy level, and even your focus. Nothing can stop you from being your best self when you’re feeling good!

Many people do not realize that you don’t need to feel intoxicated in order to benefit from the pain relief, anxiety reduction, and ani-nausea effects of marijuana. This may be when they are most noticeable, but a little bit at a time can go a long way in helping you feel better without impairment.

There are plenty of ways to manage your dosing, timing, and the marijuana products you use, so that you are not impaired while getting the relief you need.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the factors that may affect how your chosen cannabis makes you feel. Understanding these factors helps you better predict the way cannabis will interact with your system.

We are also going to look at the differences between types of cannabis products (edibles, vape cartridges, etc.), and what you can expect when you use them.

If you would like to know more about the effects of specific strains, take a look at this article about terpenes common in Virginia cannabis.

Understanding the Way Your Body Responds to Cannabis Takes Patience

The following is meant to be a starting point from which to devise your treatment plan. The best way to understand how your body will respond to cannabis, is to start slowly, and only take a very small amount at a time until you know what each product will do.

You should always allow yourself some time to understand how a new product makes you feel before planning a full day. Weekends are a good time to get to know any cannabis items you haven’t tried before.

A marijuana doctor can offer more specific suggestions to address your particular condition. Schedule an online telehealth appointment to talk to one of the doctors here at Virginia Marijuana Card, and you will also get an unlimited number of follow-up appointments for the whole time that your card is valid with us. We can help you make adjustments until you find what works for you!

Variation in Medical Marijuana Effects

Did you know that mangoes may enhance your high when you use medical marijuana? This might be true for some, but not others.

There really is no one-size-fits-all guide to medical marijuana. Everyone’s body is a little different. However, we can provide a list of some of the most common factors that will affect how you feel when using medical marijuana.


Your weight will affect the amount of medical marijuana you need to get the effects you want. Additionally, edibles and tinctures will vary in the way they make you feel, the length of time before they take effect, and how quickly they pass through your system—all based on your weight..

Diet/What You Ate Today

Your overall diet affects the way you feel with or without the introduction of medical marijuana. However, what you ate today (or even within the last couple of hours) can dramatically change the way your body interacts with cannabis.

Diets and meals high in fat may make it more difficult to efficiently or evenly process the THC in edibles, leading to a more muted effect. Some fruits like mangoes may increase your high. This is different for everyone, and keeping a cannabis journal may be the best way to learn which foods agree with your treatment choices.

How You’re Feeling Before Cannabis

On those days when you are just sensitive to everything, you might also be more sensitive to the way cannabis makes you feel. If you are feeling anxious, this may be a day you want to go light on the sativa strains.

Other days may require a higher dose in order to get relief. Keeping a journal so you know what your body requires and when can help you refine your strategy.

Personal Chemistry/DNA

Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) has the biggest influence on the way cannabis makes you feel. The way your ECS is functioning changes based on external factors like stress, and internal factors like personal chemistry and DNA.

There are some mail-in kits out there that claim to use your DNA to determine which strains and dosing are best for you, however there is not a lot of evidence that these necessarily work. Greenway DNA is one of the few kits backed by peer-reviewed research, but it only tells you what your CBD/THC ratio and dosing should be. Still, it’s a potentially valuable tool in figuring out where to start.

Vapes, Edibles, Tinctures, and Topicals - Which Virginia Cannabis Products Should You Use?

Here is another area where everyone is just a little bit different. One person may rave about the latest gummies they found, while others find that the same edibles make them anxious.

The format of your cannabis might not cause any noticeable variation, or it might be dramatically different. Some people like to use a combination of marijuana forms, and others like to stick to one format for the sake of simplicity.

Vape Cartridges

Vape cartridges are a concentrated version of the good stuff that gets extracted from cannabis flower. Using a vape requires little to no preparation, and it often does not have a very strong smell like flower does.

Inhaled products go right to your bloodstream through your lungs, so you will start feeling the effects of a vape within a few minutes—which makes it easier to control. Some people claim that vapes are more intense than flower, but it may just be the case that they are smoother, making it easier to inhale a larger amount at one time.

If you find that you have a harder time controlling the level of impairment you get from vape pens, try slowing down or taking smaller hits. Use a small amount, then wait to see how it makes you feel before taking more.

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to feel intoxicated in order for your pain to be made more tolerable. Sometimes, one drag from a vape pen every couple of hours is just the thing you need to keep your mobility and your mental wherewithal at the same time.


Edibles can be unpredictable, they take longer to kick in, and they last longer than many newbies expect. However, if you can make the time to get to know edibles, they may be your new best friend.

Edibles are discreet and they don’t cause an odor like many other cannabis products do. They last longer, and offer cleaner-feeling results if you can get the dosing right.

Our advice for using edibles is to start out VERY SLOWLY. Make sure you don’t have anything to do, and try taking just a half of a dose, or even a fourth of one. Sometimes that’s all you need for effective pain relief. Wait at least an hour or two before taking more.

Additionally, taking an edible on an empty stomach is not a great idea when you are new to ingestible THC.


Tinctures offer the greatest level of flexibility with both dosing and method. You can take a tincture sublingually, which means holding it under your tongue for a minute or two. Or you can mix it into your food and beverages.

Sublingual dosing is a direct route to your bloodstream, so the effects will start to kick in within 20 - 30 minutes.

Mixing tinctures in with your food or beverages is just like using an edible. The product still travels through your digestive system and gets processed by your liver before taking effect so it will be up to two hours before you feel anything.

Tinctures are nice because you can get a precise measurement in your dropper, and you can always just take less when you want to have more control.


Topicals are where it’s at if you want some extremely targeted and effective pain relief that’s almost instantaneous. Additionally, topicals will not make you feel intoxicated, and they may not even show up on a drug test.

Rubbing a topical on your most painful spots may be one of the quickest, most dependable ways to manage pain and muscle spasms with cannabis without getting “high”.

The only downside to lotions, gels, salves, and creams, is that they may have a strong odor. Which means that you may end up smelling like you just smoked a bunch of cannabis after applying it.

What Should I Do if I Get Higher Than I Want to Be?

Understanding how cannabis interacts with your body is one of the best ways to control the level of impairment you feel when you use medical marijuana. Start out slowly, pay attention to how you feel, journal about what kind of day you’ve had and what you ate.

Remember, you can always take more, but you can’t take less once you’ve already eaten the entire gummy.

Take Deep Breaths

Sometimes the anxiety over being too intoxicated can make you feel even more intoxicated. If your palms are getting sweaty and you’re feeling uptight about your level of impairment, start by taking some deep breaths. Getting oxygen circulating in your blood can help you clear away the fog.

Drink Water

Most people are almost always on the verge of dehydration. The cotton mouth that sometimes comes with using cannabis should make it easier to drink enough water. If you are feeling stressed about being intoxicated, drink some water, Gatorade, or juice. It will help you feel more grounded.

Eat Something

Try eating black pepper or pine nuts in order to help bring on the calm and reduce the buzzed feeling.

Get Moving

Get out there and go for a walk. Your pain is probably non-existent at this point, so maybe even aim to break a sweat! You may find that using cannabis before you exercise is your new favorite way to get fit!

Be Patient

No matter how intoxicated you feel in the moment, you will eventually come down. Breathe, drink water, eat something, get moving, and take a break! If you are being forced to take a time-out because you used more marijuana than you intended, then you may as well enjoy it.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!

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