By Jointly's CEO David Kooi
Welcome to Part 5 in this series. My purpose in this series is to lend a hand in defeating the stigma against cannabis consumption once and for all - using Jointly’s unique data - and supported by outside data sources, logic, and mathematics.
In defeating the stigma, I also aim to replace it with something better - the Theory of Purposeful Cannabis Consumption - that provides a framework for a new mindset about cannabis, supported by data and grounded in reality.
The 4th Law - People realize their goals more often when they create the conditions for a good experience
In parts 2 through 4, we’ve established that cannabis product performance varies, that people use cannabis for productive purposes, and that cannabis affects each person differently.
Next, we have to ask: How is that going for people? Are they improving their wellbeing with cannabis? Are they finding success?
Looking back at that 2022 New Frontier Data study. In that study, 81% of consumers say that cannabis has had a “very positive” or “somewhat positive” impact on their lives, 13% mixed positive & negative, 5% no impact, and < 2% “somewhat negative” or “very negative.”
That same study shows that for consumers using cannabis for treatment of specific conditions: 57% report their condition improved significantly, 36% said it improved slightly, 5% said it stayed the same, and 1% said it got worse.
On the Jointly platform, people report success at achieving the purposes for which they are using cannabis. On a scale of 1-10 for product performance, the average rating is between 6.5 and 7.0.
However, the ratings also vary between 1 and 10. Results are inconsistent. Why is this? Our data show that there are at least 15 factors that impact a person’s experience with cannabis. We’ve touched on a few of them: purpose, product, and your unique endocannabinoid system.
What are the other factors? They are things like dose, time between doses, ingestion method, whether your stomach is empty or full, the setting, and the company you keep. This may sound familiar as people have been talking about mindset and setting for quite some time now.
As a cannabis consumer discovers how to create the conditions for the kind of experience they’re after, their results improve. Jointly’s data confirm this. Factors that aren’t about product and dose can improve perceived product performance by about 40-50%, depending on the goal.
It’s simple: By creating the right conditions, you can get better results.
About side effects and negative effects
Cannabis consumption can also come with unwanted or unintended effects: dry mouth, red-eye, disorientation, dizziness, slow reaction time, impaired movement, memory issues, drowsiness, paranoia, and the munchies.
Some of these can be caused by misunderstandings. A person using cannabis to focus who experiences drowsiness may be using the wrong product. Or the wrong dose. Plus, one person’s drowsiness as a side effect could be another person’s desired effect if their goal is improved sleep.
Similarly, some consumers may not want the munchies, but for others appetite stimulation is their objective. This is a common use for cancer patients and others needing more calories.
Cannabis is a case where more is often not better. Frequent users can develop a tolerance to the effects, motivating them to consume more in pursuit of their desired effects. Finding your ideal dose is a personal journey that varies by person and their desired experience. Less is often more.
Most cannabinoids have a bi-phasic effect - meaning that a small dose could reduce anxiety, while a larger dose could induce anxiety.
Not for everyone
Consumers on the Jointly platform track the incidence of side effects and can find products, doses, and methods to reduce or eliminate them. Sometimes people are successful in doing so. Other times they are not. Cannabis is not for everyone.
Much pro-cannabis content online ignores the fact that cannabis is not for everyone. It doesn't work all the time. It can negatively impact people's lives, but - theoretically - anything can. You can ruin your back deadlifting, or destroy your ankle running, but for most people that doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise. You just need to find the right exercise (or cannabis product) for you. Dabbing THC is like powerlifting. A CBD gummy is like going for a walk around the block.
Not for kids
As mentioned in the first part of this series, cannabis is not for children. There is good evidence that cannabis is bad for brain development.
I’ll repeat: If any children have wandered here into Jointly Magazine, here’s my message for you: You only get one brain, kids. Enjoy the joys of childhood. Let purposeful cannabis consumption be one of the joys of adulthood. And, while I’m at it: I understand childhood is hard. If there is anything that is hard for you - and anything that is hurting you, talk to someone about it. There are people who want to help you.
Note: there are certain cases where doctors and parents decide that the risks from cannabis do not outweigh the benefits for that specific child, usually having to do with the apparent ability of cannabis to control seizures, and also usually about CBD, the less offensive cannabinoid.
To prove how safe cannabis use can be, people like to say that no one has ever died of a cannabis overdose.
While that is comforting and makes cannabis seem a helluva lot safer than most drugs, we don’t yet have a clear picture of the long term impacts of cannabis use.
We need more data. Until we have that data, I’d advise caution.
Watch your tolerance. Take breaks when possible. Find the ways of getting the experience you’re after with a smaller dose. Watch for signs of dependency. If your cannabis consumption is harming your relationships, work, health, or family, that’s not purposeful consumption. Make sure cannabis remains a force for good in your life.
To conclude: If people are successful at using cannabis for productive purposes, and they report improvement when they create the right conditions, I think we’ve arrived at our 4th law:
People realize their goals more often when they create the conditions for a good experience.
Read the next part of the series: Conclusion.