I was always a sleeper – used to say when the going gets tough, the tough go to sleep. Stress? Sadness? Pain? Checking out now, thank you. See you in the morning. But like everything else, all that changed with menopause, age, etc. Some nights my brain lights up with activity just as my head hits the pillow.
By design, I never tried prescription sleep medications. Too fraught with peril for me, typically a belt and suspenders kind of gal. That’s why I tried cannabis tea, which is legal where I live. As a novice user of medical cannabis, I wanted something easy and predictable. Kikoko Tranquili-Tea is exactly that. But it’s close to $5 a pop, so I began to research alternatives.
There are many indica-dominant strains to treat insomnia, but one that stood out for me was Granddaddy Purple. Up until this time, I had only used cannabis as tea or dried herb in my PAX vaporizer, and I didn’t see Granddaddy anywhere in the lineup on the dispensary website where I shop. Then one day I saw it.
Granddaddy Purple was listed under “concentrates.” The specific product was a cartridge. I was excited to see it, so I just ordered and didn’t think about the delivery system, other than it sure was cool to have it delivered to my house.
When it arrived, I opened the package and realized I had no idea what to do with it. I showed it to my husband, and he said I think you need a vape pen. I’m like, snap, I don’t want to be the cannabis paraphernalia queen, but there I was with Granddaddy Purple in a cartridge and no way to tap it.
If you are an inexperienced cannabis user, you might ask, um, tap what? What’s in the cartridge? In this case, it was cannabis oil, a concentrate made with a botanical extractor that uses pressure and carbon dioxide to separate the plant material. It produces an amber oil that is vaporized in a portable vape pen.
Which I did not have.
Here it is, the slippery slope, I thought, as I drove to the smoke shop. The hopelessly young clerk asked if he could help me. I had taken a picture of the cartridge with my phone and decided to lay my cards on the table.
I’m kind of new at this. I bought a cartridge, and I think I need a vape pen to use it. Are they universal – will my cartridge work in any vape pen, or do I need something special for this cartridge?
He was super nice. He looked at the picture probably just out of curiosity, wondering what an old lady smokes. But then said, yes, they’re universal. He showed me a selection of vape pens, and I picked a gpen slim for about $25.
Took it home and then had a hell of a time figuring out how to put it on the pen. Incredibly easy, but you know, beginner’s mind. The pen comes with a mouthpiece to use when you put your own oil in there, so think of the cartridge as a replacement mouthpiece. You screw it on, you push a button and you inhale.
On the first night I was still, uh, testing the tool and took several hearty puffs. Whomp. I slept, oh baby, I slept and had a hard time getting out of bed the next morning. No hangover or anything, which is the gift of cannabis. Just a bit groggy.
The next night I tried two very gentle puffs and got a wonderful night’s sleep. I woke up feeling refreshed, and there are none of those odd nocturnal behaviors associated with prescription meds. In terms of cost, a .05 ML cartridge is $40. I’m on night 11, and there seems to be plenty left. Already, it’s cheaper than tea.
The verdict? It’s a personal preference. I like both, but then here I am, a professional cannabis advocate. The tea is a delicious sensory experience, but concentrate is more to the point. I felt like an elegant lady drinking the tea – mother’s little helper – and I feel like more of a druggie vaping the concentrate. But the vape is easy, just keep it by the side of the bed, take two gentle puffs and pretty soon I’m falling asleep. And it’s cheaper, so for me, value wins.
What’s more important, though, is the value of getting a good night’s sleep, especially if you are in pain. Your body needs rest. I feel great! You can follow all the advice and turn off your cell phones, fluff your pillow, darken the room or whatever, but none of that did the job for me. Cannabis is a game changer.