Health

Wake Up, Worker Bee!

A cannabis cure for your afternoon slump

At 3 p.m., I was feeling dopey. Not
on dope, mind you, but the day had
taken a toll. So I downed two gummy
bears with 5mg of THC each and
squirted a tincture with 25mg of
full-spectrum CBD under my tongue.
My goal: To find out if I could use
cannabis to overcome the afternoon
lull—so I could write a story about
using cannabis to overcome the
afternoon lull.

To guide my experiments, I had
solicited help from Bryan Doner,
D.O., chief medical officer of  Compassionate
Certification Centers, a
health-care provider in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. First, he stressed that
clinical studies have shown that
THC impairs attention and short term memory. That said, he himself
has treated patients with cannabis
to help them be more productive.
“Many people have distracting
‘noise’ in their minds that can be quieted
with cannabis preparations.”
 

Using cannabis to help with
productivity takes a bit of trial and
adjustment, Dr. Doner told me. He
recommended trying products
that include CBD. “When used in
combination with THC, CBD can help
to lessen or mitigate the intoxicating
effects produced by THC,” he said.
Start with a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC,
but if you feel too high to concentrate,
he said, the next time increase
the CBD and back off on the THC.
His dosage formula for any patient
is simple: 0.5mg of CBD and/or THC
for every kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body
weight. For a 160 lb person like me,
that’s 36mg—or 18mg CBD and
18mg THC.
 

Related: Does Cannabis Help You Sleep?

We also talked about terpenes,
the essential oils produced by
cannabis flowers. A few of them,
specifically limonene and alpha- and
beta-pinene, have been linked to improved
memory and focus. Terpene
content has a more significant impact
on alertness than whether the product
you are ingesting comes from
cannabis sativa or indica, according
to Ethan Russo, M.D., a board-certified
neurologist and psychopharmacology
researcher. He reported in the
journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid
Research that “sedation in common
cannabis strains is attributable to
their myrcene content, a monoterpene
with a strongly sedative
couchlock effect that resembles a
narcotic. In contrast, a high limonene
content will be uplifting on mood,
while the presence of alpha-pinene
can reduce or eliminate the short-term
memory impairment classically
induced by THC.”

Forgetful, and a danger to himself and deadlines—that sounds like my early afternoons. So I began searching for a cannabinoid wakeup call that works for me. After a few misses, I
hit on an encouraging combo: 10mg
THC coupled with 25mg CBD. THC
triggered a free flow of ideas, which is
probably the reason we used to refer
to pot as “poetry weed.”

CBD helped keep my mind on
track and my energy from dissipating.
Any more THC or less CBD and my
thoughts started wandering. The
verdict: Cannabis helped me organize
my thoughts and express them succinctly—
just what I needed to do this
afternoon.
What worked for me is no prescription
for you, but the following tips will
help you get started.

Go Low and Slow

“Always start off with a lower
dose, then increase slowly in small
increments,” Dr. Doner explained.
“ Sometimes our patients say they don’t feel any effects. Often they
are under-dosing.”

Adjust the Ratio

If you want to be productive, you need CBD to be a counterweight
to THC. A 1:1 ratio is just a starting point, Dr. Doner said. The 2.5:1 ratio worked best for me.

Mix and Match

You may find a single cannabis
product that has just the right ratio
and terpenes for you. If you don’t,
hybridize, “You must know the exact
dose of cannabinoids in each product
so you can make adjustments
accordingly,” Dr. Doner said.

Manage Your Time

Oral forms are better for longer
spurts of productivity, Dr. Doner
said. “In my clinical experience,
high-CBD and low-THC capsules,
oils, and tinctures give you that
prolonged duration and action.”

Check the Paperwork

Ask for the certificate of analysis to
check the THC, CBD, and terpene
content. That may sound like homework,
but if you’re feeling alert, it
will be easy and quick.