The non-psychoactive approach
I would say 85% of the patients I see want to experience a high. Yes, they have legitimate symptoms, be it: cancer, nausea, MS, anxiety, Crohn’s, nerve pain and/or insomnia, but they also want the mental sensation that comes with smoking a joint or eating a brownie. A psychoactive high is fun: it stimulates our creativity, it relieves our minds of stress and it for some can be treatment for trauma. Any which way, civilizations from India to Egypt have been using cannabis medicinally for thousands of years, but no one said they couldn’t have a little fun along the way. Granted, there are people for whom THC (in its activated form) can be harmful; for some it can induce paranoia, exhaustion or it’s just "too much" for their lifestyle. By now cannabis can be consumed in an increasing number of forms, and more and more collectives and companies are creating products that medicinally pack a punch, but from the neck down. In other words, let’s talk about how to use cannabis without getting high!
THC has many documented positive effects on the human body and mind. It has been used around the world as a pain-reliever, an aid in childbirth, a cure for nausea and an aphrodisiac. In order to consume activated THC, its acid form THCa must be decarboxylated, or combusted. Most can achieve this by simply smoking or vaping flower, or dabbing a concentrate as the heat transforms THCa to THC. Eating an edible is also consumption of activated THC as most edibles need to be cooked. If I’m losing you, THCa is what makes up the “frost” that you see on cannabis flowers. In its non-psychoactive form, THCa still offers many internal benefits as an anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, appetite inducer and cancer inhibitor, more information on which can be found here. Patients suffering from nerve pain tumors, lack of focus and nausea can still use THCa, also called “raw THC,” without psychoactive effects. Prana Bio Medicinal products offers an easy-to-follow cheat sheet on how different cannabinoids, both in their acid and activated forms, impact different symptoms.
At Barbary we offer multiple products that are THCa-rich and great alternatives to psychoactive medicine. From Guild Extracts we carry their THCa crystalline and THCa powders, an isolate of the THCa molecule that can be consumed orally for non-psychoactive effects. For high-THC needs they can also be dabbed alone or in conjuction with more terpene-rich products.
We also carry by Prana Bio Medicinal their raw THCa/THC P1 sublingual. This tincture is perfect for microdosing and is dosed at 1mg per drop, with 400mg per bottle. For non psychoactivity consume normally, and the product can be heated in water or baked for partial to full activation. More information on how to activate it, and how the effects differ can be found here.
One way people don’t often think to use THC is topically, because it works such wonders when inhaled and ingested. For patients looking for relief from pain or just an addition to their self care, medicated topicals offer a non-intrusive way to incorporate cannabis into your life. Those in need of a powerful pain remedy may do well to check out Thera-Cann’s Green Jaguar Balm, which is packed with more THC than most edibles, as well as an ample CBD ratio and added ingredients like cinnamon and peppermint to increase circulation and enhance penetration. It can be used locally to treat arthritic pain and muscle aches, as well as on the back of the neck to soothe migraines.
Aromatherapy goes hand in hand with cannabis therapy, and Humble Flower Co, Legion of Bloom and Mother Humboldt provide us with products that not only do good, but feel good and smell good. Legion of Bloom’s Zana is a transdermal oil-based roll-on enriched with CBD and Ayurvedic herbs, as well as essential oils to treat localized pain, soreness and tenderness. I used it on my swollen cheek as my wisdom teeth were coming in and the pain and swelling were vastly reduced in roughly an hour! Humble Flower makes products you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, like enhancing your bath experience with THC and CBD-infused epsom bath soak.
CBD is the cannabinoid often playing second fiddle to THC, but it comes with its own unique properties and should never be counted out. CBD is naturally non-psychoactive in both its acid (CBDa) and decarbed forms, so it is a great alternative to THC-based products. At Barbary Coast we strive to maintain a wide selection of CBD-rich products, from flowers to edibles to vaporizer cartridges to topicals to dabs. A comprehensive guide to the difference in benefits from CBD and THC here can help you decide what works best for your individual needs. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post about this wonderful cannabinoid!