The Many Benefits of Medical Cannabis Journaling
Posted: January 24, 2020
The act of writing by hand trains and stimulates your brain in a way like no other. If you have always kept a journal, you already know how helpful it is to keep track of your mental, emotional and physical health. It allows you to track your progress and to chronicle your thoughts as your life unfolds. In this article, I will list the general benefits of journaling as well as the benefits of medical cannabis journaling with suggestions on what to track. I will also give you some tips on choosing different types of journals.
The Health Benefits of Writing Things Down
1. Reduces Stress
Getting things off your chest and on to paper lowered stress levels, reduced blood pressure and strengthened liver function. Writing about stressful experiences can go a long way towards managing them in a healthy way. You can view it as a meditative activity before bedtime to help you unwind.
2. Improves Immune Function
Creative writing has been shown to decrease your risk of getting sick by strengthening your immune cells which enhances the functioning of your immune system. It lessens symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, improves liver and lung function and may even help wounds heal faster.
3. Builds Up Cognitive Processing
It may help increase your memory capacity which translates into better cognitive processing. It also helps with memory retention and comprehension.
4. Improves Your Mood
It may give you a greater sense of accomplishment, well-being and happiness, thereby improving your general mood.
5. Strengthens Overall Emotional Functioning
The benefits of journaling increase the longer you engage in it. It acts as a catharsis which helps the brain to regulate emotions. It facilitates a connection to one’s inner needs and desires. This leads to more mindfulness, staying in the present and encourages one to keep perspective.
6. Helps To Facilitate Positive Changes
- When faced with the management of personal adversity and change, journaling can help you formulate positive, practical solutions to overcome difficult situations.
- It is useful to track your day-to-day symptoms of your mental health as well as those of your physical health. By doing so, you will quickly recognize triggers and understand how to better control them.
- Helps to clarify your thoughts
- Helps to prioritize your problems, fears and concerns.
- Helps you identify negative thoughts and behaviors and then to use positive self-talk to change those behaviors.
Benefits of Keeping A Medical Cannabis Journal
This is especially important if you are new to cannabis. As I have said time and time again, trial and error is always required to find the best strains, dosage and delivery methods for your needs.
What Information Should Be Included in Your Journal?
It is up to you to decide how much time and effort you wish to spend on your journal. I have provided many suggestions on what to track. Feel free to eliminate those that are not relevant to your lifestyle.
- Strain names and genetics; sativa, indica or hybrid
- Brand name, dispensary name, cultivator and location, lab results
- Cannabinoid content by percentage
- Terpene content by percentage
- Aroma, scents, undertones and flavor
- Motivational factors for medicating
- Symptoms relieved
- Motivation for purchasing it
- Strength of the effects
- Length of relief time
- Delivery methods
- Time of day/evening of medicating session(s)
- Full or empty stomach
- Effects felt while taking other prescription medications, OTC medications or drugs such as caffeine or sugar
- How long did it take for the effects to be felt?
- How long did you use each strain/delivery method?
- How effective was it for your condition(s)?
- Did you exercise before or after cannabis usage?
- Activities you engaged in while medicating
- State of mind before and after medicating
- Side effects; both good and bad
- Mental breakthroughs
Additional Information for Concentrates and Edibles
- Form of concentrate; keif, wax, hash, shatter, rosin, oil, RSO
- Extraction Methods Used; Co2, BHO, PHO, Ethanol, distillate, steam
- Method of Ingestion; vaped, smoked, dabbed, made into an edible
- Milligrams and/or percentage of cannabinoids
- What was the source of the cannabis in the edible?
Types of Journals
1. If you want to go “old school” and you are on a budget, you can pick up some very inexpensive notebooks at a dollar store. If the appearance of the journal is important to you, stationery stores have a nice selection.
2. If you are a newbie and need more guidance, you can buy a “physical strain journal” which is designed specifically for cannabis usage.
Some examples include: Goldleaf Patient Journal and Cafe Press Medical Marijuana Journal.
3. If you are into technology, there are apps that track your cannabis usage. Relief App provides “intelligent reporting” that helps you choose the best strains and delivery methods for your needs. Strainprint App helps you decide which strains work best.
Choosing When To Write in Your Journal
It is beneficial to establish goals for keeping your journal. If you are using cannabis for sleep, it is best to chronicle your experience when you wake up in the morning. If you are tracking how your cannabis consumption is affected by food, caffeine intake and other medications, keep notes throughout the day. If you prefer to look back on the entire day, write in the evening or all of the above!
We all have very busy lives, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t spend as much time as you would like to update your journal. However, the more you can establish patterns in your cannabis usage, the easier it will be to find the right strains, dosage and delivery methods for your cannabis needs. This will save you time and money!
intermountainhealthcare.com, 5 urmc.rochester.edu, Journaling for Mental Health
Powerful Health Benefits of Journaling, Kasee Bailey, July 31, 2018.
shopGoldLeaf.com, 6 Reasons Why You Should Keep A Medical Cannabis Journal, Chares McElroy, Dec. 19, 2017
herbalremediesil.com, The Benefits of Cannabis Journaling and How To Get Started, Dec 15, 2019
leafly.com, How To Keep A Cannabis Strain Health and Wellness Journal, Cori Keating
thestonermom, How To Start A Cannabis Stain Journal + Goldleaf Journal Review, Sept. 1, 2017