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Types & Effects

Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. Mature cannabis plants contain many different cannabinoids that give the user physical and/or psychotropic effects. Each strain or variety of cannabis has a different cannabinoid profile with varying strengths. reLeaf Alternative produces many different strains of medical marijuana to ensure that each individual can find a product that suits their needs.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

This was the first cannabinoid identified. The therapeutic effects of THC have been well documented as a result. THC is known to produce the “high” effect associated with cannabis.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is another well known cannabinoid. It has gained attention for its medicinal benefits but provides little to no “high”. reLeaf Alternative offers a myriad of CBD products in varying strengths.

For more information about the benefits of specific cannabinoids, see chart bellow:

Cannabinoid Benefits

Factors to Consider

Everyone has different experiences using medical marijuana. There are a number of factors that impact the effect you feel including:

  • Dosage (amount used)
  • Strain or type of cannabis
  • Environment/setting
  • Method of use
  • Mood or mindset
  • Experience/history of marijuana use

Strain Types

Cannabis strains can be divided into four categories: sativa, indica, hybrid and High CBD. Sativa & indica strains originate from different geographic locations. They have distinct characteristics in appearance and growth cycle. More importantly, the two types of cannabis can have very different effects on the human body. Strains are bred to maximize/minimize specific traits and effects, and hybrid strains are created when genetics from both sativas and indicas are joined together.


Sativa strains tend to provide uplifting and energizing effects that are good for daytime use. Patients seeking medicine that offers pain relief and encourages physical activity, increased energy, and creativity may prefer sativa strains. Sativas can also help alleviate anxiety and depression, promoting a sense of well-being.


Indica strains are known for relaxing the body and mind. Indica strains are helpful for patients looking to manage pain, insomnia, anxiety, and stress – especially in the evenings. Indica strains also help relieve intra-ocular pressure. The full-body sedating effects of indicas are best for those with chronic pain and issues with sleep. These strains are also effective in stimulating appetite and reducing nausea.


Hybrid strains are crossbred strains of cannabis that have genetics from both sativa and indica strains. Their traits depend on what is inherited from parent strains. Hybrid strains are generally categorized as sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, or balanced (50/50) hybrid.


High-CBD strains are reported to be helpful in treating a number of conditions while producing little to no psychoactive effects. These strains can be an indica, sativa, or hybrid. Strains are specifically bred for high CBD content, therefore maximizing medicinal benefits. CBD may be helpful in treating pain, inflammation, and anxiety.

Delivery & Dosage

The most common method patients use is inhalation. When inhaled, cannabinoids enter into the lungs where they are then pass directly into your blood stream. This enables quick onset, making proper dosing easier than other methods.


Vaporizers are devices that heat cannabis to a specific temperature, below its ignition or combustion point. Due to the fact that there is no combustion occurring, vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking. The temperature range used is 338-390 degrees Fahrenheit. This releases cannabinoids as a vapor without producing smoke. Vaporizing also causes little to no irritation to the throat or lungs.


Vaporizing may require up to twice as much dry cannabis flower to deliver the same effect as other delivery methods. However vaping can be more efficient that smoking so some patients may actually use less.

If using a concentrate, much less is required. Concentrates provide a higher dosage. For example, 0.1g of wax might provide 65mg of cannabinoids.


Smoking is the classic method of cannabis delivery. This is done by smoking cannabis in rolled paper, pipes, or water pipes. Smoking provides patients with controllable and readily available effects which means that many patients can slowly increase their dose to achieve symptom relief.


The amount used while smoking varies. The average joint contains 0.5g to 1 gram of cannabis. The average amount used daily also varies from 0.5g-7g or more. Smoking is done frequently throughout the day as the duration is 2-4 hours.

Onset: 5 – 10 minutes
Duration: 2 – 4 hours


Another popular way to consume cannabis is through ingesting it in edible form. When cannabis is ingested, cannabinoids are metabolized by the liver, which strengthens both the effects and duration of the medicine. Eating or ingesting cannabis usually leads to a longer, stronger, and much more physical effects than smoking. Due to the longer and slower release of cannabinoids, ingestions may be a better choice for chronic conditions that require a maximum dose. The ability to control the effects (titrate) is more difficult than inhalation because of the variability of digestion and product.


Start low and go slow!

Wait at least an two hours to assess the effects before increasing the amount of cannabis consumed, and remember that an empty stomach can significantly affect the time it can take for the cannabis to take effect.

If the effects are too strong, drink water and find a safe and comfortable place to rest. It may take some time but the effects will pass.

Onset: 1 – 2 hours
Duration: 6 – 8 hours

Sublingual Delivery

Some cannabis products are designed for sublingual consumption, including tinctures. “Sublingual” refers to the tissue under the tongue, an area where cannabinoids can enter directly into the bloodstream. Dosing can be easily managed through this discreet, and very effective delivery method.


The amount needed will depend on the tincture. Patients should start with a few drops and increase it as needed. Typically one dropper full is considered a dose. One dropper is equal to 1mL.

Onset: 5 – 30 minutes
Duration: 1 – 6 hours


Topicals consist mostly of non-psychoactive, cannabis-infused salves, oils, and transdermal patches. Patients apply these products directly onto their skin to treat localized pain, muscle soreness, and inflammation. Patients with skin disorders or peripheral pain disorders do well with topical cannabis. Cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin and do not result in psychoactive effects.


Dose is a function of an area to be covered. Topicals can be used as needed.

Onset: Varies
Duration: Varies

Finding the Right Dosage

Start low and go slow. When trying a new product, always start with a low dose to gauge how well the product works for you.

Smoking One inhalation
Vaporizing One inhalation
Tincture 5 – 10 mg
Edibles 5 – 10 mg
Topicals Thin layer of product

Tracking the products you use is beneficial to many patients. Use the Strain and Product Log on page 23 in the handbook to learn from your experiences.

Cannabis Infused Products First Time Rule of Thumb!

Start low and go slow! Start with 10mg or less. Wait at least two hours before having more.

Limited Psychoactive Effects

Sanctuary Medicinals understands many patients are looking for products that provide limited psychoactive effects. We offer several products with little to no psychoactive effects including flower, vaporizers, capsules, and tinctures.


THC-A is the main non-psychoactive cannabinoid in raw cannabis. It converts to THC when heated, smoked, or vaporized. THC-A has been reported to help with inflammation, seizures, and muscle spasms.

CBD Dominant

CBD products are reported to be helpful in treating many conditions while producing very little to no psychoactive effects. It has been used for anxiety, pain, seizures, and inflammation.


A one to one ratio of CBD and THC offers a balance of both CBD and THC. These products offer a balance of psychoactive and non-psychoactive effects that many patients find are helpful.

In addition to the products listed above, there are other products at reLeaf Alternative with similar ratios. Talk with your Patient Care Advisor on your next visit to learn more about these products.

Safety & Responsibility

Start low and go slow. When trying a new product, always start with a low dose to gauge how well the product works for you.

Patient Acknowledgements

Before being able to purchase products from reLeaf Alternatives, all patients and caregivers must fill out a New Patient Form and Qualifying Patient & caregiver Waiver. These forms contain important patient acknowledgements regarding safe and compliant use of medical marijuana. Copies of these forms will remain in your patient file. Copies are available upon request.

Good Neighbor Policy

reLeaf Alternative strives to be a good neighbor. We seek to be a model dispensary and will do our part to ensure we are responsible and compliant with all state laws. As a patient of the dispensary and this community, we ask that you be especially mindful of our neighbors. We have worked hard to establish a positive relationship with our neighbors, the city, and the police department. Please be respectful of our neighbors’ rights, privacy, and property. We expect our patients to help us keep our commitments to our neighbors by not creating a nuisance or lingering in the parking lot or sidewalk areas. Always be careful and courteous when entering or exiting the parking lot.

Use of marijuana or marijuana products on or around reLeaf Alternative facilities is strictly prohibited.

We want you to feel safe when you visit reLeaf Alternative. Please let our staff know if you need extra assistance when visiting us. Please report any suspicious or illegal activity.

Responsible Use

  • Medical Marijuana may cause drowsiness and impaired motor skills.
  • Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when using your medicine.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • If you are inexperienced with marijuana, ask someone you trust to stay with you the first time you use it.
  • Stop use if you feel stressed, confused, anxious, or uncomfortable.
  • Remember that edibles and infused products have a delayed impact and are long lasting.



Tolerance & Dependence

Physical dependence on marijuana is not substantiated by research. However, physiological dependence is possible with the over use of any substance.

Cannabis Withdrawal

Unlike other medicinal and illicit drugs which may cause severe withdrawal symptoms and even death upon cessation of that drug, cannabis withdrawal may be unpleasant but never deadly.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Each drug has different physical effects however, the symptoms of addiction are similar. If you notice the following signs or symptoms of drug abuse, consider talking to someone about this.

  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drug use
  • Spending excessive time in acquisition, using, or recovering from use
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit/cut down use
  • Getting into legal trouble
  • You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms
  • Your life revolves around your drug use
  • The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
  • Continued use of the substance despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use


Tolerance plays a significant role in the amount of cannabis used and tolerance develops faster with high potency cannabinoids. When cannabis is used chronically, there is a continued stimulation of cannabinoid receptors which leads to a “desensitization” of these receptors. Thus, more of the drug is needed to achieve a desired effect.

Help with Substance Abuse

If you think you need help with substance abuse call SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Adult Use

In 2016, the citizens of Massachusetts voted “yes” on Question 4 to legalize recreation sales of marijuana to adults age 21 years and older. The regulation of medical marijuana remains unchanged.

What is Adult Use in MA?

Details of the law relevant to the retail experience include:

  • Any person over the age of 21 can enter a retail marijuana dispensary and will be required to present a government-issued ID (e.g. driver’s license, ID card or passport) for verification. Please note, we do not accept international driver’s licenses. Please bring your passport.
  • An adult use consumer can purchase up to 1oz of flower or 5 grams of concentrate. reLeaf Alternative has imposed our own limits for some products. Please check our menu or reserve ahead for the most up-to-date limits.
  • Certain potency restrictions, including a 5mg serving size limit for edibles, will apply to non-medical products.