How to get the most benefits from your results

By now, you should have a pretty good picture of which neurotransmitters to focus on, as well as the types of cannabis to best support your mental wellness goals. What happens next is mostly about preparation for starting your stack. Some things will be obvious (like ordering supplies), while others might require some consideration (like how to remember to dose at the appropriate times). Perhaps the most important step is to start out simple. In other words, don’t overcomplicate things. The goal of this post will be do help you do just this, while making sure the priorities are addressed. If done correctly, you should be noticing results within the first week.

Ordering Supplies

What you need, what you don’t, and a few conveniences in-between

Supplements

Let’s first be clear about what you don’t need…every supplement from your results. Eventually, you may end up trying most, but a good practice (that will save you time & money) is to start with a few ‘hopeful candidates’ and allow at least a week to notice the effects. With a little deductive reasoning, you can choose a few supplements that should address obvious deficiencies/imbalances. Reviewing the deficiency factors listed on certain supplement results is a good place to start. You may also find an applicable use in the benefits section (ie. ‘reducing cravings’) that could help identify supplements more suitable for your situation.

When it comes to ordering, Amazon is the best online option while Vitamin Shoppe is the  recommended local retailer (in terms of price, selection, and availability). With Gold Membership, you’ll see a recommended products section for each supplement result, providing you with links to the most potent & cost-effective options.

Cannabis Vape Cartridges

Sorry, but this is one that Amazon can’t help with (yet). You’ll need to pick up/order cartridges from your local dispensary. It’s always a good idea to check out their online menu before making a trip. You may even want to compare dispensary menus to see which one has the most examples matching the cannabis profiles in your results. If you have trouble finding the examples listed on the profiles, it’s time to start looking at THC, CBD, CBG, and terpene amounts. Don’t get attached to finding products with values matching the cannabis profiles. Remember that it’s more about ratios (ie. ‘twice as much CBD than THC’) than absolute amounts. 

Well, you certainly can go and roll your own, as they say…but there are several advantages vaping has over smoking that are worth considering. Foremost is your health. Vaping is (by far) better for your lungs, with pretty much no risk of causing tissue damage. Just make sure to watch those power settings on your vape pen, otherwise you could burn your throat.

Other big advantages are potency, duration, portability, and discretion. Because vape oils are concentrates, a smaller amount of cannabis is required to obtain the same dose of phytochemicals you would get from smoking. The effects from vaping tend to last longer as well. Finally, because vaping produces less odor and uses smaller components, it tends to be more convenient in most circumstances.

Vaporizer

aka ‘vape pen’, ‘atomizer’ with ‘510′ thread size

You’ll need a ‘vape pen’ to use the cartridges that you pick up/order from a dispensary. You don’t need to ‘break the bank’ here, but quality is important if you want to avoid wasting cannabis. Nearly all vape cartridges have a ‘510’ thread’ size, so make sure your vaporizer of choice is compatible. A good vaporizer should have a setting to adjust the power level. This feature helps conserve cannabis by heating the concentrate only as much as is needed for the current ambient temperature. Additionally, cartridges can have considerable differences in the metal tip size (the ‘base’). A larger tip requires more power to conduct enough heat, so being able to adjust the battery output for tip size becomes helpful for this reason as well.

If you have respiratory issues (such as asthma) that may limit inhalation with a vaporizer, consider cannabis concentrates in tincture or liquid-extract form. Avoid ‘edibles’ (ie gummies, cookies, etc.), as the rate of onset can vary considerably for each dose as well as the intensity of effects.

Here are a few vaporizer brands that have earned a strong reputation for reliability & quality:

PCKT®

https://pcktvapor.com/

Vessel®

https://www.vesselbrand.com/

Vapor/Smoke Filter (optional)

If you live or work in an environment where the smell of cannabis will not be ‘appreciated’, consider getting a vapor deodorizer. It’s a small handheld device that captures the vapor/smoke as you exhale. Here are a few products that work well at keeping your cannabis dosing discrete when it’s needed.

Sploofy PRO® – Personal Smoke Air filter – With Replaceable Cartridge
https://www.amazon.com/Sploofy-PRO-Personal-Replaceable-Cartridge/dp/B09136NM7W/

Smokebuddy® Jr Black Personal Air Filter
https://www.amazon.com/smokebuddy-Jr-Black-Personal-Filter/dp/B009V16BM0/

Pill Organizer (optional)

The one you choose should be based on your travel patterns. If you’re away from home often, a more portable organizer might be your best bet. Aside from that, choosing the best one for you may come down to your personal preferences for staying organized.

Journal (optional)

It goes without saying that what gets measured, gets managed. Keeping a record of how things are going and capturing ideas will go a long way in your process of changing how you think & feel. There are no rules or guidelines on how often to write in your journal. At a minimum, consider keeping a general log of what’s going on so you can more easily spot changes and know whether you’re on the right track. 

Tips for a Successful Start

A few more resources & suggestions to help you experience reliable results 

Address deficiencies before using augmentors

Everything starts with making sure the body has what it needs to produce a neurotransmitter. Cofactors and precursors are a great place to start because the combination will address a deficiency right away. Augmentors are not usually the first thing to reach for because they require adequate levels of neurotransmitters to produce maximum benefit. If you are experiencing a deficiency, you can still benefit from using augmentors; the point here is that they should generally be applied after (or alongside) cofactors and precursors to ensure a healthy response. In a general sense, augmentors tend to improve the performance of neurotransmitter systems, and they function best when cofactor and precursor levels are sufficient.

Track your progress

As mentioned in the Ordering Supplies section of this post, it’s generally a good idea to start with a few supplements and observe the effects before you add more. This should bring up some questions, such as “how long should I wait to notice effects?” and “when is it time to add more?” Answering these questions relies on tracking your progress. In other words, only by assessing how your behaviors are changing (or not) can you accurately determine whether something is working. For most people, a simple daily check-in is all that’s needed. You can literally rate each day on scale of 1-10 and record it somewhere. You’ll know whether progress is being made just by seeing the numbers change. As oversimplified as this sounds, it’s actually quite effective at keeping track of what’s having a notable impact. If you want to add more depth to measuring your progress, consider rating your experience several times a day (ie. rising, morning, noon, afternoon). If you have multiple dosing times, this level of tracking can help you more quickly identify the options with the greatest impact.

Make a plan to cycle on & off

As a general rule, you should expect to notice changes within 2 weeks of taking any supplement (cannabis is one exception). Admittedly, some supplements will produce an effect right away (ie. most precursors), while others may require an accumulation before real changes are experienced. Most herbal supplements reach maximum efficacy after 1-2 weeks of daily supplementation. Furthermore, herbs work best with breaks; you might consider taking a day (or two) off each week, or cycle-off one week per month.

If you aren’t noticing any benefits after 2 weeks with a specific supplement, it’s probably time to move on. Do pay attention to whether a supplement addresses a deficiency caused by factor(s) applicable to you (ie. ‘heavy drinking’) so that you’re not passing up something essential. For example, taking zinc might not produce an immediate notable effect, but (for alcohol consumers) supplementation is a good idea to address a likely deficiency.