Cannabis and the Flu

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What an exciting month! The last few weeks I have been mostly hiding in a blanket cocoon in the corner of my bed, nursing body aches, nausea, and general malaise. Fortunately, this began far before the Coronavirus timeline on the East Coast; my husband and I were diagnosed with Influenza B, a popular strain tearing through Berks county at this time. This article will explain how I propped myself up with cannabis to aid and expedite my recovery. Although it is not the popular COVID-19 Coronavirus, hopefully some what helped me can be of use to you as well.

Keep An Emergency Stash of Your Best and Isolate Yourself

Although it may be tempting to bring out your worst when you aren’t feeling your best (it’s not like you will enjoy any part of your time in this state anyway, right?) However, I disagree. The best medications to have on hand are your most effective medications, not your leftovers and second string. You want your symptoms managed as effectively as possible with the least trips out of the house necessary to restock your supply.

Like many in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana program I endure with a compromised immune system which makes me extra susceptible to viruses. Add in some Chronic Lyme’s and Asthma into a recipe and it translates into a frustrating amount of ER visits for pneumonia and bronchitis in the winter season. Unfortunately, my orchestra hobby also keeps me in contact with about 200 people in a week of sublime health on my part.

If I feel less than well I stay home: I have no desire to murder anyone unintentionally with my flu bugs. It’s bad enough I inflict my three entire years of viola lessons on these poor souls- I really do not wish to push their kindness further!

Take Advantage of Discounts When You Can

Unfortunately, not all of Pennsylvania has equal access to affordable medical cannabis. Some dispensaries have been taking advantage of the lack of price regulation to charge over twenty dollars more per single product over competition in more competitive markets such as King of Prussia, Philadelphia, and Allentown/Bethlehem. Some of the more remote locations such as TerraVida Sellersville and Organic Remedies, Enola are also popular destinations and fairly pretty drives.

Considering the frequency I run into other friends from Berks county in my travels to other dispensaries, it seems that I am not alone in making long pilgrimages across several counties simply to fill prescriptions affordably, but here we are- and if you have the ability to travel, I highly recommend you do so if you see few things on the menu under sixty dollars per item or still suffer from severe shortages and lack of selection. Saving money as Pennsylvania adjusts to our ever increasing patient load is easiest to compare discounts and create a radius from your home of the absolute furthest you will travel for affordable prices and what else you can do in the area to make a day of it. Many locations such as Keystone King of Prussia and all locations in Philadelphia are also accessible by public transportation. As our rail system is slowly restored over the next few years, this will open up a great deal of accessibility to Pennsylvania patients. It would be an absolute dream to ride Amtrak from Reading to Philadelphia for a day of visiting downtown dispensaries.

Knowing you will make an an educated decision on what dispensary has the best prices in your radius- the next question I am often asked is what products to purchase to be considered fully “stocked up”- to be fully secure in my cannabis medication for a month or more, happily, without fatigue or frustration.

Your Cannabis First Aid Kit

When your immune system is compromised, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is to self-isolate. Having a sturdy, varied selection of cannabis products at home will reduce your risk of further infecting yourself or others by allowing you to weather out your worst days at home where you can rest and recover safely.

I find that having a myriad of different types of products help a different variety of symptoms. Also, different delivery methods are far easier to manage when you aren’t fighting a one hundred and three degree fever at three o’clock in the morning after an unsatisfactory episode of personal vertigo.

Here are the products I try to keep in my home at all time in Winter as well as the uses I have found for them: Medications they have personally replaced will also be noted as well as any potential drawbacks.

  • THC Pills: Any brand you choose is likely fine. I have enjoyed iCan and iRest from Terrapin Station and I have found that the Cresco Remedi Relax Indica capsules have around the same milligrams as well as similar effects; I literally choose whatever is cheapest since they are so similar in effectiveness. These are great for whole body aches as well as when sore throats/lungs make vaporization difficult. THC pills have replaced prescription sleeping medication that prevented nightmares in my ‘regular’ usage. Normally, I take one pill per day right at bedtime. During times where my lungs give me trouble I will take up to three a day to manage body aches as well as a replacement for other methods of medicating. I do not recommend traveling on Indica pills unless you want to sleep through it.
  • Cartridges: As much as I am typically loathe to spend money on cartridges seeing as they are not typically cost effective, they are the most convenient method of medication with the lowest chance of setting yourself on fire while still having the nausea combating power of concentrates at your fingertips. Sometimes, you just can not see straight enough to load up your own oil pen with that sad metal spatula the size of a utensil made for rats- for times like this, purchase some carts. I highly recommend the Vireo Starter Set: It not only comes with three different varieties of cart (Jack Herer, Grandaddy Purp, and OG Kush, but a sturdy little battery as well to enjoy them. Carts a great when leaving bed isn’t an option and you want the least amount of fuss possible. Further, sometimes if you are incredibly lucky, you may run across a rare Cresco Reserve Cartridge. I see them so incredibly rarely that I pick them up when I can find them at a decent price. The Cresco Reserve Blueberry SpaceCake Cartridge helped prop me through my worst week of the flu and I cannot recommend it highly enough- it helped me well enough through seemingly unending nausea to unobtrusively calm those symptoms to keep myself hydrated with water and soups.

    Some Cartridges seems to have an aftertaste similar to gasoline- however, that often cannot be determined except by experimentation.
  • Two Types of Flower: I divide flower into a five part spectrum: Sativa, Sativa-leaning hybrid, true hybrid, Indica-leaning hybrid, Indica, and CBD. Even in typical circumstances, I prefer to have one type of flower for daytime and one type for evening. Since flower is the least processed form of cannabis, I tend to feel more full-spectrum effects from vaporized flower. I pick a daytime and a nighttime- and when the prices are low enough, I’ll also pick up some CBD such as The Wife or Lemon G to throw into the mix. Also, flower is flexible in being easy to grind and decarb in your oven to make edibles. Flower is the most flexible product on the market for Pennsylvania patients; it’s arguably less finicky than many concentrates and can be gentler than carts which often have sky-high THC percentages but often no higher percentages in Terpenes.

    Currently, for Sativa I always choose Clementine first if I can find it. Indica is still a bit more rare especially since I have negative reactions to Diesel strains, so I purchase what I can get. Some indica favorites are Hash Haze and Sugar Plum Sunset, the former remains fairly common, the latter is a bit of a rarity.

    Furthermore, medicating with flower keeps my tolerances far lower than if I relied exclusively on concentrates and pills. After an especially rough period of illness ends, I will often switch back to flower as soon as I am capable of doing so to save my bank account alone. During periods of illness, I often convert my flower into edibles or some kind of medicated drink. Since I am so easily taken down by common viruses, I wearily know well enough when my body is coming down with something with enough lead-up time to somewhat prepare with a small stockpile of groceries and premade foods.

    Utilizing flower via vaporization methods have the highest chances for lung irritation. Other processing methods are time consuming and may have unreliable results.
  • Three Varieties of Concentrates: I am admittedly stingy with concentrates- In normal circumstances, I utilize them once or twice throughout the day in place of a cartridge. Like flower, I like the ability to blend based on my symptoms that day. In concentrates, I gravitate again to Cresco Reserve, when I can find it. Presently, I have Lime Sorbet and Sugar Plum Sunset in my fridge in addition to some 97% THC Diamonds which is an outstanding painkiller on really awful days. Concentrates are often the strongest products on the market. I find I have the most success with them using them in conjunction with other methods throughout the day- with a special emphasis on utilizing them when I take my other prescription medications to offset any stomach upset or right before bed to aid with sleep.

    Concentrates may be intimidating and difficult to use for those who lack fine motor control- although often cost effective and highly customizable, this is often the most complicated medication method for many.
  • THC Pain Cream: Since the price point for these are so high compared to other products, I use these products the most sparingly of all. Of the two varieties I have tried (Cresco and Ilera), I have found that the Ilera lasts far longer in both formula and in pain relief. This is a product that may not be a part of your daily routine normally, however, I highly recommend having it in your seasonal flu kit to help with body aches. I also find THC creams help me a great deal with migraine headaches when applied to the neck, shoulder, jawbone, and temples.

    Of both creams I have tried, they both smelled like mint toothpaste, which I remedied by adding a few drops of chamomile and lavender essential oils. I have heard that other lotions have improved scents, however, I refuse to purchase more until finish my current supply.
  • Optional: One Cheap Disposable Pen: When you are feeling absolutely horrid, when you can hardly do more than stumble through the house like a plague-addled zombie between the bedroom and the bathroom and cannot think a coherent string of thoughts, when you are terrified of accidentally dropping your good vape battery or oil pen in the toilet of no return, or if you are on the unfortunate quest for an out-of-county specialist or hospital with a long car ride and a penchant for car sickness- Then, these pens are almost worth it. The documentation on them is the easiest to store in the car (of which you are a considerate passenger), and best of all, if you lose it, it won’t completely ruin your week. At best, these last me three days of regular use- or six months if found in between the couch cushions. Under normal circumstances, I do not recommend them as a cost effective method of medicating on their own, however, these are certainly number one for discretion as well as portability. They are absolutely terribly wasteful on packaging and by far the most overpriced single product in Pennsylvania for the lack of longevity.

    I usually save my dead ones to deconstruct with various screwdrivers and pliers to retrieve the last vestiges of oil to fill my concentrate pen; this is entirely optional and not highly recommended unless dealing with the easy-unscrew Rythm pens.

    Disposable pens come in almost every strain and strength- Try to stick with the live resin pens, if you can find them affordably.

    Again, this list is my personal shopping list, your mileage will vary based on your own symptoms, conditions, and medical needs.

Conclusion

Sometimes, sickness is an unavoidable part of life, however our access as Pennsylvania patients to a variety of options to medicate safely and effectively can greatly aid in helping you recover faster and more effectively.

In the meantime, wash your hands, disinfect your home, avoid large crowds, and try your best to stay healthy, and if you can not avoid getting the flu- do your best to minimize the risk to others, keep hydrated, and give your body as much rest and time as it demands, if at all possible. ✨

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