Research has shown cannabis to treat many specific symptoms that relate to a variety of diseases, but overall, the true intention behind medicating with cannabis is to improve overall quality of life. It’s helpful to set an intention for your cannabis treatment program, considering the lifestyle factors that may currently inhibit you from living your life to the fullest based on preexisting conditions or symptoms. For example, “I want to reduce my pain.” “I want to sleep better.” “I want to eat three meals per day.”
Aside from those symptom-specific goals, you may have lifestyle goals that you’d like to take on. For example, “I want to keep my job”, or “I want to begin working again,” after years of suffering from chronic illness. Perhaps the goal is to get along better with family or your partner, without the inhibitions of illness. You might choose just one activity that seems reachable for now, like getting up in the morning to take your children to school; participating in a weekly or monthly community event; or going to work every day.
These lifestyle factors have been reported by patients to be the most commonly effected by medical cannabis use, even when the original disease remains present. Cannabis has been shown to help reduce symptoms that decrease quality of life, so by eating better, sleeping better, and feeling relaxed, uplifted, and free of pain, the world is your oyster!
While for many years, the cultural perspective of a cannabis user is someone who does not take responsibility for life, the experience of Tikun Olam Israel showcases that cannabis is actually a gateway towards rebuilding parts of one’s lifestyle that are previously destroyed by chronic illness. The goal is to ensure that using cannabis as medical treatment does not become an automatic excuse for checking out of other areas of life – rather, to find those areas where life can be improved, and create the goals and tactics to make it happen.
This is where creating a treatment intention can help. Cannabis is a medicine designed to improve life and make it better, not worse. That means understanding how it affects you and how to mitigate side effects, choose the right strain, ensure your day and night care treatment program is optimal, and set the correct dosage and ingestion method.
Ideas for Creating A Treatment Intention
1. Consider where in your life you are looking for improvement, right now. What is the one thing that would make a difference to your day? Is it sleeping better? Eating without vomiting? Being able to wind down after a hard day? Or simply living without pain for even an hour?
2. Think back to your life before this condition came into play. Did you enjoy cooking elaborate meals before the nausea got the better of you? Did you love playing with your kids before arthritis got in the way? Was socializing a part of your life before it became too hard to get out and get mobile
3. Start small. Find one way you can incorporate this goal into your life, and create a support system so your friends and family can help keep you accountable to following through. If you decide you want to go back to work, start by volunteering locally or working part-time on a project.
4. Come up with a plan. It’s important to make this part of your life and integrate it with cannabis use so that your medicating process is being done in order to achieve the goal in mind. If you’d like to go to work without being bothered by PTSD, consider how you can microdose with cannabis in the morning, or use a mild strain like Midnight to help you focus during the day.
5. Keep a journal. Record your goals, your cannabis use, and how your life is changing day by day with cannabis use. Do you feel more refreshed during the day with a proper nights’ sleep? Are your relationships improved now that you’re less tired during the day? Have you been able to maintain a healthy weight better than before? Write down the ways you find cannabis helps, and what else you can do to complement your cannabis use, like other forms of therapy, massage, food or exercise
6. Celebrate your victories!