My Cannabis First Aid Protocol

**DISCLAIMER** I’ve written these as if we’re hanging out just having a conversation. It is my opinion based on my experience as a scientist and as a part of our commuity.The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 


I hurt myself often (on accident – if you didn’t know poor proprioception is a neurodivergent thing). Today I ran over my left foot with over 700lbs of soil at my local Home Depot, so I thought it was as good a day as ever to write about my acute injury protocol for cannabis. I’ve been honing this one over the past decade or so and believe that it helps to reduce my initial inflammatory response which speeds overall recovery. 

I combine topicals with smoking for a two-pronged approach. The key is to prevent the body from reaching critical local thresholds of inflammation that can lead to positive feedback loops and ultimately exacerbate the injury, prolonging or complicating recovery.

First, I use the highest concentration topical I can find or make on hand. Today it was 1g of CBD isolate that I mixed into the minimum amount of olive oil (probably around 30mL total making 33mg/mL which is decent). Ideally I’d have something full spec at that concentration, but re-upping my topicals has been something I’ve been putting off for a while, because I don’t like to have to clean the dishes. Anyways, I put this topical on all over the site of injury as well as “upstream” leading to the spine. Reapply the topicals as often as possible, at least 3-4 times per day.

Next I smoke a combination (I usually always have my 40/40/20 mix pre-rolled). I smoke the maximum amount that I can be comfortable with for that next hour or so, then I try to maintain that maximum for the rest of the first day.

In the next 7-14 days following the injury, I continue to treat with both topicals and smoking at as high of doses as possible. But after the first 24-36 hours, it is less important and more maintenance to promote healing.

The point of following this protocol is to maximize the cannabinoids both locally at the site of the injury via the topical and systemically by smoking to reduce inflammation.

I know some of you are going to ask about edibles.. so I think that it’s possible they can be helpful in this context as well in lieu of smoking, but they are more difficult to dose up to the maximum for me. I dislike the feeling of being too high, and edibles are a fine line for me. I am able to better control that dosing through smoking, which is why I prefer it, but we all have our own best methods. In theory edibles would also circulate cannabinoids systemically. 

I’ve found that cannabinoids are super helpful to reduce inflammation and promote healing this way on a myriad of common first-aid issues from minor bruises to poison sumac to second-degree burns, but probably the most useful for me is with blunt force injuries (like running over one’s toe at Home Depot). Without cannabis, the inflammation that can build in the first hour of an injury can take days to calm down. I much prefer preventing the inflammation in the first place. 

One of my mentors, Dr. Bruce Hammock, once said that inflammation is all about thresholds and exponential growth. Each of us has a specific threshold where, once passed, our inflammation/immune system is completely out of control and explodes in an exponential fashion. My whole life has been constructed around keeping my baseline inflammation well below this threshold. But try as I might, I always seem to have something pro-inflammatory going on… 

Just another reason for me to be grateful for this magnificent plant 🙂

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