Ask a Cannabis Nurse: Emilee Goncalves Answers Cannabis FAQs
Updated: Apr 23
Tell us about yourself and what you do for the cannabis community?
I’m Emilee Goncalves, RN, BScN, a cannabis nurse educator and licensed hemp cultivator with my husband. I support individuals in implementing safe and efficient use of cannabis by identifying the risks versus benefits, creating a consumption plan to optimize the health benefits of cannabis, and supporting the reduction of unwanted side effects. I provide lots of education and assist my clients in navigating the legal cannabis Canadian cannabis system. I also work as an active nurse in the community and enjoy spending time with my children on the farm. Currently, we look forward to heading outdoors at home to gather chicken eggs and pick raspberries off the bushes.
What’s the difference between recreational and medical cannabis?
This question makes me ponder a bit because both grades are meticulously grown flowers often by the same producers. Whether you use recreational or medical-grade cannabis, a consumer may experience similar benefits with either grade. The difference in medical versus recreational cannabis may come down to the intentions of the individual. If you purchase or grow your recreational cannabis, you can use it to treat health conditions mindfully. Conversely, if you have a medical prescription, you still have full reign over the type of cannabis you use to manage your ailment.
If you’re looking to treat health conditions using cannabis, it may make sense to explore your medical cannabis options. Some advantages include:
Having consistent product supply with more advanced selections of cannabinoids. You’re able to choose products nationwide, and some medical cannabis producers offer compassionate pricing based on income.
In some cases, medical cannabis can also be claimed as a medical expense on your tax returns.
Your daily possession allowance is higher, which is important for one who may be travelling in Canada for an extended period.
Access to more education to ensure you are working towards safe, therapeutic outcomes when a medical professional oversees a cannabis prescription
What should someone consider before starting their recreational cannabis journey to ensure a safe consumption experience?
If you are new to cannabis, I think it is always great to familiarize yourself with the various consumption options you have. I do not advise trying edibles as an introduction to cannabis if you’re feeling slightly nervous. I often stress this to clients because the onset of ingesting edibles to feeling their full effects can take hours. The exact milligrams in an edible are often unknown depending on where it’s sourced from, and every individual’s body metabolizes ingested cannabis very differently. I feel it is best to try inhalation or submucosal methods because you can notice how a product interacts with your body and brain within 5-15 minutes. I think it’s helpful for new cannabis consumers to understand the differences between CBD and THC, how they work in combination with each other, and to familiarize themselves with the terms; sativa, indica, hybrid, and terpenes. It’s important to do lots of research, consult with a healthcare practitioner, and always start low and go slow!
My friends tell me they get “munchies” when they get high. What does this mean?
My girlfriends and I treated the munchies very seriously in university. From spicy wings to savoury crepes, we would feast like queens! Having the munchies means you have a feeling of hunger due to THC stimulating hormones in your brain that make you feel hungry. Cannabis also works to enhance your senses, so food smells and tastes much better. Having the munchies is a very individual experience. Cannabis has historically been used to both increase and suppress appetite. Some cannabinoids, terpenes and strains are thought to be responsible for increasing appetite like cannabigerol (CBG), whereas varieties high in Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) are thought to reduce hunger. These mind-altering effects are beneficial for many health diagnoses that create a poor appetite like pulmonary diseases, cancer or ulcerative colitis. There are so many to name. Alternatively, researchers are very interested in the compounds in cannabis that may suppress appetite for reasons like helping to resolve the obesity pandemic in North America.
Why should someone consider buying their recreational cannabis products from a legally licensed retailer?
Purchasing from a recreational retailer is a great legal option. Buyers have access to valuable information like terpene profiles and cannabinoid profiles. All products are labelled accurately and congruent with each other, so it is a safe way to get comfortable with dosing. Consumers have the choice to support varying companies that align with their values. Consumers can provide other shoppers with honest reviews online. This transparency in the cannabis industry ensures producers are being accountable in providing quality cannabis. Recreational stores, form my experience, have employees who are very passionate and always willing to help with any questions.
I prefer joints as my primary method of consumption. Is there anything I should look for in a rolling paper to elevate my cannabis experience?
Joints are the best, and there is something about the ritual of rolling your own joint that’s growing on me. I’m a novice roller and feel learning to roll shouldn’t be so intimidating. Joints don’t have to be perfect to be functional- that’s what I tell myself anyway. I love that the Sticky Nuggz Inc. rolling papers are hemp-based. I notice they have a specific feel to them where I find I have a better grasp on my roll. I’ve rolled the best pinners to microdose since I started using the Sticky Nuggz Inc. papers. I’m also a huge fan of cardboard tips being attached right inside the pack rolling papers for convenience.