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 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 dosing at the appropriate times). Perhaps the most important step is to start simple. In other words, don’t overcomplicate things. The goal of this post will be do help you do just that, while making sure priorities are addressed. As long as you follow the checklist in your Stress & Energy Guide, you should start to notice results within the first week.
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 (ie. ‘reviewing the benefits & deficiency factors’), you can choose a few supplements that should address obvious deficiencies/imbalances.
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). Be sure to check out the recommended products section for each result in your guide for options that have been verified for quality and consistency.
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 guide.
If you have trouble finding the examples, 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 in your guide. 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.
aka ‘vape pen’, ‘atomizer’
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 atomizer size (the metal ‘base’). A larger atomizer requires more power to conduct enough heat, so being able to adjust the power level 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 products that have all the specs you need at a reasonable price point:
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
Smokebuddy® Jr Personal Air Filter
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.
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.