As a near-daily cannabis user, I’d reached a point where cannabis consumption felt pointless. It had become more of a habit than anything else: finish work, grab a snack and a joint, and start the evening. I had things I wanted to accomplish with cannabis - easing pain, for example - but I had simply stopped being mindful about how and why I was consuming it.
Jointly’s Insights feature allowed me to pinpoint my goals for each cannabis session, then track how 15 different factors affected my experience, including stomach status, hydration level, amount of rest I’d gotten, and who I was with. I decided to try it for 30 days with the goal of learning more about how to give myself the best possible experience and paying attention to what the “best possible experience” meant for me. Here’s how it went.
I spent the first day poking around the Jointly app and deciding which of the 11 cannabis goals to focus on through my experiment. In addition to dealing with fibromyalgia pain that worsens at night, I tend to get stressed and overwhelmed easily, so I decided that my primary goals would be relaxing and refreshing, relieving everyday stress, and easing everyday pain.
I generally prefer flower but find carts (vape oil cartridges) easier for nighttime use, so I picked out an indica-dominant hybrid cartridge to use throughout the month and I was ready to go.
The Jointly app told me that my first report would come after five recorded experiences. I spent the first few days following my routine as usual: having a small snack before bed and taking several inhales from my vape until the pain dissipated and I felt relaxed enough to chill out for a while, eventually drifting off to sleep. In the morning, I noted each session in the Jointly app and tracked the 15 Factors and how well the session had achieved each of my goals.
When I opened my first Insights report, I found exactly what I was hoping for: rankings that made sense. As much as I enjoy how cannabis can amplify the taste and texture of something delicious, I’ve found that ingesting cannabis on an empty stomach tends to lead to dizziness or even fainting. Based on my reports, Jointly ranked the 15 Factors by highest to lowest impact on my experience. True to my own experience, stomach status was right at the top.
I decided that adjusting my stomach status would be a great way to test out the accuracy of the insights I was seeing. I also moved my sessions from right before bed to around dinnertime so that I had more time to feel and make note of the effects before hitting the hay.
I already knew that I needed to eat something before a session, but I’d never considered that the amount of food and its nutritional value might affect the way my endocannabinoid system (ECS) responded. With that in mind, I went into the second phase of my experiment armed with cheese crackers, a burger, and a dream: to test what the Insights Tracker was telling me by consuming cannabis on a completely empty stomach, after a snack, and after a full meal.
On the first night, I ate lunch as usual, then avoided snacking until right before dinner. I kept myself moderately hydrated, but my stomach was growling by the time I settled in for my nightly cannabis session. Sure enough, just a few pulls from the cartridge had me clutching the counter while my head spun and my vision clouded over. I sat down on the floor and rated the experience a 4/10, giving it a few points for the fact that it did ease my pain - but suffice it to say I did not feel relaxed or refreshed, which had been my main goal.
The second part of the plan, executed the next day, called for the same dose after a snack. I decided to have a bigger snack than usual, opting for a small bowl of cheese crackers rather than the handful I usually have. That experience went into the app as a 7/10. Three points were taken off for the mild dizziness and the dry mouth, which made finishing the crackers an interesting task, but I remained upright!
After seeing the difference between an empty stomach and a partially full one, I thought that having a full meal first would simply eliminate the side effects and provide the same level of relief. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong on that front. In fact, the session I had after eating a burger and a salad was one of my best throughout the whole 30-day experiment. Not only did having a full stomach mitigate side effects such as dizziness and dry mouth, I also felt that my pain responded better and I had less anxiety than I had previously. I rated the session a 9/10, happy to have learned something about how my body processes cannabis.
Some of the insights on my Jointly report surprised me. I found that for the most part, the factors with the highest impacts were those that directly involved my body - things like stomach status, hydration level, and the amount of sleep I’d gotten the night before topped the rankings. I definitely didn’t expect such a strong correlation between my sleep and my cannabis experiences. Too little sleep (under 4 hours) resulted in a poor experience most of the time, while too much sleep (over 10 hours) was only marginally better. Between 7 and 9 hours seemed to be my sweet spot, resulting in experiences that ranked about 20% higher than others on average.
As an introvert, I spend about half my nights happily hanging out by myself and the other half on group calls with a few close friends who don’t live nearby, meaning that I’m physically alone even when I’m technically “with friends.” That’s why I was so surprised to see that who I was with at the time of my session had an impact, even when I didn’t always consciously feel a difference. According to the Insights Tracker, sessions with my friends ranked an average of 1.3 points higher than sessions by myself. This was especially helpful to know during the final week of my 30 days with Jointly, when I had the opportunity to meet those friends and light up with them in person for the first time (my first and only 10/10 session).
At the conclusion of my 30 day experiment, I realized that Jointly had been far more helpful than I’d anticipated. It’s a great balance between getting specific about what works and keeping the results simple and easy to understand. The best part was that the rankings essentially gave actionable advice just through numbers. When I looked at the low ratings from sessions where I’d gotten less than 4 hours of sleep, it was clear that for me, sleep deprivation and cannabis don’t mix - therefore, I should stop mixing them.
Now that I know how to set myself up to achieve my wellness goals with cannabis, I’m using Jointly a bit less post-experiment. However, I still find myself picking up my phone to make a report when I do something differently than usual. New experiences can be anxiety-inducing for me, especially when using a mind-altering substance like THC, but being able to clearly see how each factor affects my overall wellness and experience is an invaluable tool that I look forward to continuing to use.