Woman sitting on massage table pointing out the location of her back pain while a physician examines her

How Cannabis May Help with Different Types of Pain

From acute to chronic pain, cannabis can be a path towards restored function

By Katherine Golden, RN – Founder and CEO of Leaf411

Much like any other medicine, cannabis is not a magic pill, it is a tool. From the available research and our own experiences working with patients, we have found that the cannabis plant may be an effective alternative or adjunct therapy to potentially lower the doses of opiates or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and acetaminophen that can cause unwanted side effects.

Cannabis Can Be a Powerful Tool For Pain

When it comes to pain, everyone is different. How you experience pain, as well as your pain tolerance level, is shaped by a lot of different factors. In the same way, people respond to medicines differently. 

Cannabis is emerging as a different option, proving to be a powerful new tool for managing pain. The cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, especially cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been shown to reduce inflammation and pain. Other cannabinoids (CBDa, THCa and CBG) plus plant compounds like terpenes may also play a role in reducing pain.

Federal restrictions in the United States continue to limit research on how cannabis impacts pain. However, other countries such as Israel have completed considerable research on cannabis’s therapeutic benefits.

x-ray image of Broken Clavicle also known as the collarbone

What Are the Different Types of Pain?

Understanding the different types of pain and their sources can help you find the best cannabis options.

  • Acute pain usually comes about as the result of an injury, overuse, or medical procedure. While the initial pain can be mild or severe, it gets better over time as your body heals. Slamming your finger in a door results in acute pain. Post-workout soreness, broken bones and surgery recovery also fit into this category.
  • With chronic pain, “the pain itself becomes the disease,” explains Eduardo Fraifeld, MD. Doctors typically categorize pain lasting over 3-6 months as chronic pain. Chronic pain can be associated with arthritis, migraines, diabetes or multiple sclerosis (MS), among other conditions. It can also be a side effect of chemotherapy or other long-term medical treatments. In addition, when an injury heals yet the pain remains, that fits the description for chronic pain.

Pain can also be broken down into the following categories:

Nociceptive pain shown in red on the knee of a track runner

  • Nociceptive pain: Pain in soft tissues, tendons or joints caused by injury, overuse, stress or illness. Arthritis and other types of inflammatory pain also fit in this category. Nociceptive pain tends to get better over time, except for arthritis. With this type of pain, inflammation triggers nearby nerves, resulting in aching or throbbing pain.

Neuropathic pain from typing on a laptop shown in red on a person's wrist

  • Neuropathic pain: Neuropathic pain, or nerve pain, originates in the nervous system. This type of pain is chronic in nature. It often feels like pins and needles, an electric shock, or a burning sensation. Some common causes of neuropathic pain are carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, diabetes, and chemotherapy.

Nociplastic pain shown in red on a person’s lower back as they grab it with their hands

  • Nociplastic pain: Is a relatively new category for pain that doesn’t fit well into the other two categories. Fibromyalgia, non-specific low back pain and irritable bowel syndrome are a few examples. Also, pain associated with and exacerbated by centralized and peripheral sensitization is an example of nociplastic pain.

THC or CBD? It Depends on the Person and the Type of Pain

Cannabis plant compounds (cannabinoids) work on the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system

Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, just like everyone has their own pain tolerance levels. Keep this in mind if a product ends up not working for you, there may be a better product or dose for you. You can always call our registered nurses at Leaf411 for guidance.

CBD: Many people successfully use CBD products to reduce inflammation-based pain. Full spectrum products containing all the plant compounds, including some amount of THC (including CBD hemp that has THC, tend to be the most effective. Primarily because minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and essential fatty acids work together to create the “entourage effect.”

By helping to reduce inflammation, CBD may indirectly help reduce pain. However, it doesn’t bind directly to the receptors that control pain like an opioid does. For that, you need a different cannabinoid, THC.

THC: A lot of people immediately rule out products with THC because they’re concerned they will become impaired or “high.”

It’s important to know that small amounts of THC may have little to no impairing effects. At the same time, THC—even small amounts—can be a gamechanger when it comes to pain.

THC can act on the same receptors in your body that opioids do. However, you don’t get some of the problematic side effects that opioids can bring—nausea, constipation, and risk of physical addiction.

Cannabis plant compounds (cannabinoids) work on the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system

Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, just like everyone has their own pain tolerance levels. Keep this in mind if a product ends up not working for you, there may be a better product or dose for you. You can always call our registered nurses at Leaf411 for guidance.

CBD: Many people successfully use CBD products to reduce inflammation-based pain. Full spectrum products containing all the plant compounds, including some amount of THC (including CBD hemp that has  THC, tend to be the most effective. Primarily because minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and essential fatty acids work together to create the “entourage effect.”

By helping to reduce inflammation, CBD may indirectly help reduce pain. However, it doesn’t bind directly to the receptors that control pain like an opioid does. For that, you need a different cannabinoid, THC.

THC: A lot of people immediately rule out products with THC because they’re concerned they will become  impaired or “high.”

It’s important to know that small amounts of THC may have little to no impairing effects. At the same time, THC—even small amounts—can be a gamechanger when it comes to pain.

THC can act on the same receptors in your body that opioids do. However, you don’t get some of the problematic side effects that opioids can bring—nausea, constipation, and risk of physical addiction.

Open hands holding cannabis flower in one hand and pharmaceutical pills in the other hand

Cannabis Compared to Opiates

Ironically, long-term use of opioids for chronic pain can make you more sensitive to pain—an effect called opioid-induced hyperalgesia. What’s the recommended protocol in response to opioid-induced hyperalgesia? To wean off of opioids(with help from your prescribing physician) and find a safer alternative for managing pain. Interestingly, cannabis has shown promise on this front, based on emerging research.

Cannabis does not cause pain sensitization but in fact can help treat it. THC and other cannabinoids work through the same receptors that opioids do. However, the way that they reduce pain (their chemical process) is different.

Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat even with conventional pharmaceuticals. Generally, opioid use for chronic neuropathic pain is ineffective. One study considered the risk and benefits of opioids for the treatment of neuropathies. It stated that “long-term opioid therapy didn’t improve the functional status but rather was associated with a higher risk of subsequent opioid dependency and overdose.”

People watching sunset in park with pink clouds in blue sky

The Goal: To Restore Function

We wish that we could tell you that CBD or THC products will completely eliminate all pain. However, that is not the case. If there were a magic one-size-fits-all cure for pain, the pharmaceutical companies would have discovered and patented it!

Instead, we always set the goal to reduce pain to a manageable level and restore function. When you restore function, you open the possibility of adding on additional supportive activities such as exercise and relaxation that further promote healing.

Can’t wait to get started? Our Leaf411 quick question hotline and one-on-one scheduled nurse guidance calls are available now to answer your questions about using cannabis to manage pain. Call us at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Dosing cannabis and CBD oil from dropper bottle into cup of coffee on wooden table

Timing Your Dose: How Different Cannabis Products Reduce Pain

by Katherine Golden, RN – Founder and CEO of Leaf411

You have options when it comes to cannabis dosing

Whether you’re looking at CBD hemp or cannabis containing higher levels of THC, you have several different routes of administration to choose between:

  • Inhalation (smoking, vaping): Takes effect immediately and lasts 2-4 hours. This is a great choice for instant relief and for treating breakthrough pain (a flare-up in pain). You can also layer inhaled cannabis with a longer-acting method to help get you through the night.
  • Transdermal (patches, gels): Extended release option that takes effect quickly, since the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into your bloodstream. The time of onset is rapid, sometimes within 20 minutes. Transdermal products provide a consistent dose of medicine for up to 12 hours. The transdermal patch or gel is used on an area where the veins are near the skin’s surface—like the inside of your wrist or on your ankle.
  • Sublingual (placed under the tongue): Sublingual administration can provide rapid relief, however, there are few true oromucosal (sublingual) products on the market. Cannabinoids are fat-soluble and, in their natural state, do not absorb well into the oral mucosa. Moreover, cannabis products are often extracted into oils, and these products are not water-soluble. Patients often expect rapid onset when using tinctures, only to wait 1-3 hours for the dose to take effect. Many products marketed as tinctures will end up being swallowed and absorbed via the digestive system, regardless of how long they are held under the tongue. A true sublingual (a product in which the cannabinoids are formulated to be more water-soluble) absorbs rapidly into the mouth. The effects can be perceived in 15-20 minutes and can last 4-6 hours.
  • Edibles (gummies, capsules): Edibles take effect in between 30 minutes and 2 hours. You’ll feel their effects between 5-8 hours. They provide a discreet, portable long-acting option.
  • Topicals (creams, salves): Topicals provide short-term localized relief. They can take effect within minutes, and may last for up to an hour.

It may take some trial-and-error to determine just which type of product works for you. In fact, you may discover that there are different routes of administration for different symptoms you are experiencing. For assistance identifying what works for you, contact a cannabis-trained nurse at Leaf411

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline, chat and scheduled nurse guidance call services provide education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Rocks balanced on wood

Cannabis oil in jars with cannabis oil capsules next to cannabis leaf on dark background

How to Dose Cannabis: Start Low and Go Slow

Dose sizing can be complicated

by Katherine Golden, RN – Founder and CEO of Leaf411

You may remember when the U.S. government sought to simplify food labeling. This was done to make the connection between serving sizes and calories more clear. Confusion around serving size was causing many people to eat or drink a lot more calories than they realized.

Today, we are at a similar spot when it comes to cannabis products, especially edibles. Some manufacturers put the per-dose strength on the product label and some do not. For example, the package might say “10mg CBD/5mg THC.” However, other manufacturers may put the total amount of THC and/or CBD for the entire package instead. 

Also, laws restricting the amount of THC per edible vary between states that have legalized cannabis. Limits may also be different depending on whether the product is designed for recreational or medical consumer sales. For example, Colorado’s suggested serving size for an edible is 10mg which would be far too much THC to consume for a first time user.


Cupped hands holding green cannabis flower

How to Use Cannabis

From Edibles to Vapes, Leaf411 Has Your Questions Covered

by Katherine Golden, RN – Founder and CEO of Leaf411

You have options when using cannabis

When we first started taking calls on the hotline, one of the biggest surprises was hearing how many people thought cannabis has to be smoked to be effective. In fact, we even featured this misconception as our first Question of the Month back in 2019!

Many different types of cannabis and CBD hemp products are available today. These different products are designed to fit a wide variety of needs. You should consider factors such as how quickly a product will take effect, how long the effect will last, and what issues you’re targeting.

Our cannabis-trained registered nurses are always happy to answer your questions. Give us a call at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or schedule a one on one call through our scheduling link

In our guide below, we provide information on different options for using cannabis and CBD products. You’ll also find tips for getting the right dose of this plant-based medicine.


Cannabis leaf next to molecular structure of CBN molecule with chalkboard in background

What is CBN and Can it Help With Sleep?

by Katherine Golden, RN – Founder and CEO of Leaf411

As sleep research advances, so does the understanding of how various cannabinoids like CBD and THC may support improved rest. Below, we’re sharing a quick primer on sleep. Then we will take a look at CBN, a cannabinoid that’s being widely talked about as beneficial for sleep.

Understanding sleep cycles is important

Sleep should be simple, right? Lay down, close your eyes and naturally drift into restful, rejuvenating sleep. 

Unfortunately, sleep is a battle for many of us. From tossing and turning to experiencing physical discomfort as we settle down for the night. Even once asleep, some people struggle to stay asleep long enough to get the benefits of a good night’s rest.

A basic understanding of major sleep cycles can help when it comes to choosing the best hemp or cannabis products for your needs. 

  • Non-REM sleep: This takes up the first three phases of sleep. Non-REM sleep occurs when you drift into a light sleep then move into deeper rest. 
  • REM sleep: This follows non-REM sleep. Most dreaming occurs at this stage of sleep. However, REM sleep’s importance goes well beyond good dreams. REM sleep is also connected to overall brain health and is believed to boost the immune system.

For treatment, clinicians often start by identifying where a patient is encountering difficulty. Is there difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for the desired length of time? That information can provide valuable clues into the hemp or cannabis product -formulation that may work best. It can also help identify the specific cannabinoids to focus on.

Woman with dark hair lying on her side, sleeping in the clouds with white pillows and a white blanket in a blue sky

So what exactly is CBN?

Cannabinol (CBN) is created from THC that has been exposed to UV light and oxygen. This exposure leads to a chemical breakdown that transforms the THC into CBN. As cannabis flower ages, its THC will slowly and naturally convert to CBN. Cannabis extractors have also created processes for speeding up the conversion of THC into CBN oil.

Recently, consumers have reported CBN is a useful nighttime remedy. This has fuelled its use in more and more products. Now, cannabis and hemp manufacturers are creating new products that feature CBN because of CBN’s potential natural sedative effects. 

But does CBN actually work for sleep?

At Leaf411, we believe the anecdotal research supports many manufacturers’ claims about CBN.

For example, one of our members, Myriam’s Hope Hemp, shared anecdotal data with us based on their customer feedback. Their customers found higher doses of CBN (between 15-40mg) to be helpful for falling and staying asleep. This is just one of many reports Leaf411 has found around CBN’s value.

Composite image of scientists with a microscope, tweezers and blue liquid being poured into a beaker

Tips for finding the right CBN, CBD, or other cannabis product for falling asleep and staying asleep

Falling asleep is one challenge. Staying asleep is another.

Difficulty falling asleep?

Consider using a fast-acting product. You’ll want to use the product about 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. Examples of fast-acting products from our members include Wana Optimals Fast Asleep Gummies with THC, CBD, CBN, CBG and melatonin. Also, Impact Naturals Rest capsules with CBD, CBN and melatonin.

Difficulty staying asleep?

Consider taking a longer-acting product that is not labeled as fast-acting. Elixinol’s Sleep Good Night capsules containing CBD and melatonin are a great example. These hemp capsules are longer lasting with a slower onset. While these products take longer for effects to kick in, those effects also last longer through the night.

Find the combination that works for you

You may find it helpful to layer CBD or CBN with different natural over-the-counter sleep products. In fact, many products like those listed above already stack several different beneficial compounds. 

Always ask your doctor about prescriptions

If you’re already taking prescription medications that make you drowsy as a side effect, talk to your doctor. We strongly recommend you check in with your prescribing clinician before adding CBD or THC products to the mix, to avoid any unwanted effects. This also includes sleep medications like Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), or Ambien (zolpidem).

CBN is only one of several cannabinoids that may help with sleep. Both CBD and THC as well as plant terpenes can also play an important role in your sleep routine. Check out our past blog on THC, CBD and sleep to learn more, as well as our blog on finding the best cannabis product to support sleep goals.

Brown converse shoes on colorful mosaic tile floor

Finding sleep-focused hemp and cannabis products you can trust

Our Leaf411 business members have all been through our vetting process, which includes ensuring their products are fully tested and reliable. We’ve included a list of our members below. Most of them offer products geared toward a good night’s rest, including some who offer products which contain CBN.

Keep in mind that effects may vary due to individual differences in people’s endocannabinoid systems. If you don’t get the result you’re seeking, please reach out to our Leaf411 nurses. Our nurses are knowledgeable about how different cannabinoids may impact sleep onset and duration. You can schedule a guidance call at this link.

Cannabis tincture dropper being filled by a patient with cannabis oil for consumption

Leaf411 can help with your questions about using hemp and cannabis

Our Leaf nurses can guide you to new approaches for improving restfulness and achieving your sleep goals. Whether you’re brand new to hemp or cannabis or an experienced user, we are here to help

Get started by scheduling a low-cost guidance call with one of our Leaf411 nurses at this link. We understand cost may be a barrier for some. That’s why we’ve collaborated with our business supporting members to offer a special code to offset the cost. Just click on any of our Vetted Members’ logos to go to their website and call their customer service number. Then, their agents will provide a special Leaf411 code for you.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline, chat and scheduled nurse guidance call services provide education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Older white man holding stomach and grimacing due to nausea from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS).

Are You at Risk for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Get answers to questions about cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), a rare yet concerning issue

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Rustning

Many people rely on cannabis to help with overall wellness and health, even using cannabis as an alternative to opioids which carry risk of addiction and other unwanted side effects. 

So with that in mind, what’s up with the scary-sounding condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) that has been popping up in the news over the past year, where cannabis appears to make people sick?

What is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS)?

CHS was officially recognized by medical professionals in 2004. It is a complex, poorly understood medical condition triggered by cannabis use that causes abdominal pain, extreme nausea and vomiting–basically the opposite of what you would expect when using cannabis! 

CHS’s primary symptom is extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting that cannot be traced to a different medical cause, hence the word “hyperemesis.” 

The progression of CHS includes three phases:

  • In the prodromal phase, the patient experiences early morning nausea but does not find relief in hot showers/bathing. 
  • During the hyperemesis stage, vomiting becomes cyclic and is relieved with hot showers and bathing, though the only long-term solution appears to be to completely stop all cannabis use.
  • Recovery starts when the patient stops using THC.

Young Black man experiencing CHS nausea, standing with one hand on stomach, other hand over mouth.

In general, CHS appears in a small number of people after long-term use of marijuana (weekly use over at least a one-year period). Some doctors have also reported seeing the condition in young people who are using a lot of high-THC concentrates, most often “dabbing” the product, even after short-term use. 

One other challenge of diagnosing CHS is that the symptoms are very similar to those of cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) which is characterized by episodes of severe vomiting that have no apparent cause. CVS is not connected to cannabis use but can present in a similar way. 

Because diagnosing CHS is often a process of elimination, ruling out other medical causes, the costs of diagnosis and care can run into tens of thousands of dollars.

Stack of sticky notes referring to how difficult CHS diagnosis is, with notes saying “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” “Don’t know,” and question marks.

Getting too high can make you nauseous – but it’s not CHS if it’s a one-time event

When it comes to cannabinoids like THC, the dose matters. Dr. Russo has discussed how many cannabinoids, including THC, have a biphastic effect. That means THC will do one thing at a low dose, and have the opposite effect at a higher dose. 

For example, THC at a low dose may help with relaxation, but at a higher dose it can cause anxiety. While a low dose of THC often helps reduce feelings of nausea, a higher dose may trigger short-term nausea that goes away as the THC wears off. This short-term nausea from getting too high is different from CHS which is a chronic, long-term condition.

Are you at risk of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome?

You may be wondering if you’re at risk of developing CHS, especially if you use cannabis regularly as part of your daily wellness routine.

Thanks to the work of Dr. Ethan Russo and others, we do know some factors that appear to influence CHS:

  • There is some evidence that repeatedly using high-dose THC may trigger CHS in some consumers, including newer users. It appears that persistent THC use causes CB1 downregulation and the receptors start to hide within the cells leaving more THC circulating and therefore causing increased side effects. 
  • Researchers have also looked at whether plant pesticides play a role in triggering CHS, zeroing in on NEEM in particular. However, based on a few unique CHS cases where researchers knew pesticides were not present, this hypothesis doesn’t hold water.
  • Dr. Russo and others are looking more closely at genetic differences that may make some people more prone to develop CHS, focusing on specific genes. This promising research is in its early stages.

If you want to learn more, we suggest checking out Project CBD’s interview with Dr. Russo at this link.

Clipboard with “Risk Factor” written on it indicating CHS risk factors, shown beside stethoscope.

Our Leaf nurses can help with your questions about cannabis and CHS

Curious whether your current cannabis use puts you at risk of CHS? We can review your current usage and goals and provide information based on the latest research.

A pattern our Leaf nurses have seen when talking to callers across the country is that most callers know something is very wrong but they’re in denial about the severity of their condition and delayed asking for guidance due to the fear that they would be told they needed to abstain from cannabis use. So what is the solution? When it comes to CHS, we believe that wide-scale education regarding the warning signs may help consumers avoid crossing that threshold into CHS.

At Leaf411, we hear from people every day whose lives have been improved with plant-based medicine. Our fully-licensed, cannabis-trained registered nurses also regularly review the research on cannabis’s therapeutic potential. 

Our Leaf nurses are also honest about the fact that cannabis may not be the best option for everyone and that in some instances, it may even be contraindicated, which means that we would advise against using cannabis in those cases.

We are happy to help with your questions about CHS or any other questions about cannabis and hemp. We provide unbiased, nonjudgmental guidance tailored to your specific situation. 

Live in a state where marijuana is illegal? We can provide guidance on hemp-based options. 

Visit our homepage and click on the “Let’s Talk” button to get started scheduling your Leaf411 guidance call.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Keyboard key labeled “medical help” with green cross indicating medical marijuana/cannabis/hemp guidance.

RSO cannabis oil syringe and cannabis leaf.

Rethinking RSO for Cancer or Other Health Concerns

If you’ve been researching cannabis for health, you’ve likely come across the term “RSO” but may wonder what exactly this less-common cannabis product is, and whether you should try it

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP

Written by Denise Rustning

RSO, also known as Rick Simpson Oil,  Phoenix Tears, full extract cannabis oil (FECO) or full spectrum oil (FSO) has gotten a lot of hype for its potential to treat cancer or other significant health issues. We sometimes get questions about RSO on the hotline, and our nurses are up-to-date on the research on RSO.

While RSO has its place in the world of cannabis therapeutics, it’s not a magic bullet and may not be the best option for your particular health concern. Today we’re going to provide some background information on RSO to help you assess whether it’s worth your time and money to seek out this potent cannabis extract.

What is RSO?

RSO is named after Rick Simpson, a Canadian medical marijuana activist who popularized the process for creating fully-extracted cannabis oil (FECO), using pure light aliphatic naphtha or 99% isopropyl alcohol as solvents to extract all of the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemicals. At the time, Simpson used only high-THC strains, resulting in an extract with a high concentration of THC when compared to other cannabis products. 

In other words, RSO is a product type, just like edibles or flower–it is not a brand or a specific strain. 

When Rick Simpson first started making RSO, he also created treatment protocols for using RSO topically or orally. However, it’s important to note that Simpson was not a doctor and he was basing his protocol on the known science at the time in the early 2000s. 

A lot has changed since then, and our Leaf nurses are up to date on the latest research around RSO. We encourage you to book a consultation with us before adding this high-potency product to your wellness regimen.

RSO in a syringe with some of the dark green cannabis oil on a flat surface showing the product consistency.

What RSO looks like

When you see an RSO product, the first thing that will stand out is its appearance which can be as a thick dark greenish-brown oil to a product that looks like honey, often packaged in syringes or capsules. Don’t get confused by the syringe! The syringe allows the thick liquid to push out slowly, though it can still be tricky to handle and precisely dose due to the thick, sticky nature of the oil. 

RSO has been suggested online and by manufacturers to be used on the skin, taken by mouth, or mixed into edibles. Leaf411 nurses do not ever suggest applying a topical product to an open wound unless suggested by a wound care specialist and/or dermatologist. RSO should not be smoked or vaped.

How strong is RSO?

You’ll find different brands offering RSO, though RSO is not as popular as edibles, flower or other types of concentrates. 

RSO products containing high THC concentrations can be found at some legal dispensaries. Each RSO syringe may contain 600mg or more of THC, but you’ll want to check the specific product label for cannabinoid test results since amounts may vary. 

Depending on the concentration, each militer (ml) in the syringe may provide 100mg or more of THC. For comparison, many of our Leaf411 members’ cannabis edibles contain only 10mg THC per piece, which is 1/10th the amount you’ll likely find in a single ml of RSO.

Two hands, showing a milliliter of RSO on the left fingertip, which contains 100mg THC, versus a 10 mg Altus brand Juicy Pear gummy on the right fingertip, showing how much stronger RSO is when compared to other cannabis products.

Variations in today’s RSO products on the market

Since Rick Simpson first created his legendary extract, manufacturers have improved extraction processes. Also, product testing on the legal market provides more transparency around the amount of THC contained and other cannabinoids within each RSO syringe. 

However, as the term “RSO” has become more popular, some brands have begun using the term more loosely for concentrates that are very different from what Simpson originally created. 

Some manufacturers are now creating RSO ratio blends which feature THC plus significant amounts of CBD, CBG or other cannabinoids. Keep in mind that these high-powered options are different from the original RSO and may have very different effects. This doesn’t mean they are the wrong product for you, it just means to be aware of the ingredients in every product you purchase.

Also, the cannabis cultivar (strain) matters when it comes to RSO’s effects, since the extract’s power rests in a unique and potent combination of full-plant compounds. However, most manufacturers don’t provide this level of detail on their packaging or test results. Even the same brand’s RSO product can change over time due to variations between different plant harvests. 

All this is to say that RSO can be a tricky product to buy, especially if consistency, accurate dosing,  and potency are your top priorities. 

Here are some examples of RSO/FECO products on the market today:

RSO is not a magic cure

RSO has gained a reputation for its powerful healing abilities, but unfortunately there is no evidence-based research on what types of conditions that RSO might help most with. In some cases, it may even do harm if someone delays research-backed treatment options while experimenting with RSO. Some research also suggests that RSO could contribute to more aggressive growth with certain cancers. To learn more about the challenges from an oncologist who has used cannabis as part of their patients’ treatment regimen, click this link

Street sign saying “Proceed with Caution” which is relevant for using RSO.

How do you use RSO?

The cannabinoids in RSO have already been activated, so there’s no need to heat up the oil before using it. RSO can be added to food and beverages or used to make edibles, but remember that a very small amount goes a long way–RSO is very potent! 

RSO can also be used topically on the skin, but only with the guidance of your clinical team that is providing care for your skin condition.

At Leaf411, we do not recommend RSO in a new, inexperienced user because of the potency and challenges with accurate dosing, especially with a concentrate as potent as RSO. Even increasing your dose by a little bit can make a big difference in the types of effects you feel. RSO’s high potency can lead to increased side effects like dry mouth, rapid heart rate, anxiety, paranoia and even hallucinations.

RSO is not designed for injecting–don’t be fooled by the syringe! We also recommend against vaping or smoking RSO due to the solvents used in its production, which can be damaging to lungs if vaped and explosive at high temperatures.

Store your RSO at room temperature away from light, and make sure it is secure and out of reach of pets and children.

Questions about RSO? Our cannabis-trained nurses can help!

Chances are that if you’re looking at RSO options, you are facing a serious health concern. The last thing you want to do is make things worse or complicate your treatment options. 

While your primary care doctor and specialist team may not fully understand cannabis therapeutics, our Leaf nurses do. Our fully-licensed cannabis-trained RNs can help point you in the right direction when it comes to understanding the research and finding the right questions to bring to your medical treatment team. We don’t replace specialists like oncologists, but we are able to look at the evidence and provide general information on different cannabis options, including RSO. We can also connect you with cannabis-trained clinicians who can review your records and make specific recommendations based on your case.

Click this link for our online scheduling service and find a day and time for your Leaf nurse consultation call.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Nurse holding up index finger in a gesture that signifies helpfulness.

Older well-dressed Black man talks to nurse in scrubs in clinical setting, asking medical cannabis questions

Filling the Information Gap on Cannabis and Health

Leaf nurses offer specialized knowledge on cannabis medicine questions

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP

Written by Denise Rustning

If you’ve searched for information on using cannabis for health, you know how challenging it can be to find sources you can trust. Even your primary care doctor may be uncertain, skeptical, or restricted by their healthcare employer from talking about cannabis’s therapeutic value. In some cases, physicians may offer guidance based on patient anecdotes or their own experience using cannabis, yet cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

On the other hand, Leaf nurses do have specialized education and knowledge on cannabis therapeutics that allows them to tailor their guidance to individual patient needs. What does this look like in practice?

In a recent Society of Cannabis Clinicians article, Leaf411 Founder and CEO/ED Katherine Golden, RN, and Leaf411 CNO Eloise Theisen, NP, share a anonymized case study of a patient who contacted Leaf411 for help after their doctor suggested a 4:1 CBD:THC tincture for pain. From the article:

“A woman was advised by her primary care doctor to try a 4:1 CBD/THC tincture for pain. The doctor told the woman, ‘That ratio worked for my husband’s pain, so it could potentially help you as well.’ The doctor did not discuss how much or how often to take cannabis or possible side effects with other medications. Unfortunately, the woman did not understand the level of THC in a 4:1 product. She took it in addition to the CBD preparation she had already been using. The combination led to a trip to the emergency room after experiencing rapid heart rate and paranoia. With proper guidance, this adverse event could have been avoided.”

You’ll want to read the rest of the article at this link to learn how a Leaf nurse would have guided the patient to reduce the risk of this type of situation, taking the patient’s full hemp and cannabis history into account and  guided the patient to specific product types. 

Check out the case study and a sample transcript of how the Leaf nurse would have provided guidance at this link.

SCC website
Person writing down cannabis nurse consultation time in their planner after making an appointment via Leaf411’s website.

Ready to schedule your consultation with a Leaf nurse?

Leaf411 is moving to a schedule-based model to better serve the public while improving our operational efficiency. Our new model allows you to schedule your call with our Leaf nurses at a day and time that works for you. No more worrying about having to leave a message and waiting for a call back! Get started today by visiting our home page and clicking on the “Let’s Talk” button to schedule your Leaf nurse consultation.

Also, our hotline is still available if you have a question about scheduling an appointment or if you don’t have access to a computer. Call us at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) and leave a message and a nurse will call you back within 24-48 business hours. 

We look forward to helping you with your cannabis health questions!

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Cannabis delivery box showing a convenient way to buy cannabis in areas where legal.

Getting Cannabis Delivered

While some people call it weed delivery or marijuana delivery, this convenient option is expanding for both medical patients and adult-use cannabis consumers in legal marketplaces.  Here’s what you need to know.

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Rustning

Cannabis delivery offers convenience and privacy, and can be a gamechanger for medical marijuana patients who struggle with mobility or lack transportation. Shopping for cannabis online and having it delivered is also more discrete and can make for a more relaxed buying experience than visiting a busy dispensary. 

As cannabis delivery comes online in more areas, we thought we’d take a look at some of the pros and cons of this option and share how Leaf411 can help you navigate the online shopping and delivery process.

Cannabis delivery is different

Cannabis delivery follows different rules than any other product due to the fact that cannabis is so highly regulated. When you first order cannabis home delivery, don’t be surprised if the rules are more complicated than ordering food through DoorDash, though the cannabis delivery services are working hard to make the process as simple as possible while remaining compliant with the law.

Also, keep in mind that cannabis delivery rules and regulations vary between states and even between cities. Your experience ordering cannabis for delivery in Colorado will be different from cannabis delivery in California or Michigan, for example. We’ve included the Denver, Colorado, cannabis delivery rules at the bottom of this blog post as an example.

Person signing for a cannabis delivery, which may require showing ID
Close-up of someone researching cannabis delivery on a laptop.

The benefits of cannabis delivery

Do you recall your first visit to a cannabis dispensary? If you’re like many people, you probably felt like being a kid in a candy store as you discovered the hundreds of legal cannabis products on the market today, from edibles and tinctures to vapes, concentrates and a wide range of cannabis flower strains.

But over time, you may find that you repeatedly buy the same cannabis products that work well for your needs, whether those are pain relief, better sleep or other wellness goals. In this case, delivery can provide a convenient option for restocking your cannabis medicine without having to take time away from other obligations.

We know as well that some patients may struggle with mobility issues and reliable transportation. Cannabis delivery may provide a helpful alternative for safely getting your plant-based medicine without having to leave home.

Also, the dispensary shopping experience isn’t for everyone. Some people find the experience stressful or overwhelming, or they may have had negative experiences interacting with budtenders who didn’t really understand their needs. Cannabis delivery provides a discrete, convenient alternative for purchasing cannabis without the worry or pressure from sales-driven budtenders.

You may be wondering how you can explore new cannabis products and get your questions answered when ordering online. Fortunately, the industry is taking steps to fill this need, and organizations like Leaf411 are playing a critical role in answering cannabis patient questions.

Getting help with cannabis delivery product ordering

Most dispensaries have put their product menus online. While these menus are convenient for browsing and comparing prices, they sometimes fall short when you have questions about the products themselves, especially when online listings only contain photos with few other details.

How do you get your questions answered? Some dispensaries and delivery services offer a live budtender chat function so that you can ask questions about specific products in much the same way you would if you were standing in the store. For example, you might want to know how much THC is in an incredibles cannabis-infused chocolate bar before ordering it for delivery. The virtual budtender available via chat would be able to help with that question.

Our Leaf411 cannabis-trained nurses are also available to help based on your health and wellness goals—including medical questions that budtenders are not qualified to answer! 

We do recommend that you contact us well in advance before placing your order so that we have the time to review your needs and the product options that are available in your area. Visit our homepage and click on the “Let’s Talk” button to schedule your call with one of our fully-licensed expert Leaf RNs.

Sticky note with the word “Questions?” referencing questions about marijuana delivery.
Graphic with word “Trust” in middle, surrounded by: Commitment, Integrity, Consistency, Reliability, Sincerity.

Finding a trustworthy cannabis delivery service in Denver, Colorado

Despite Colorado having one of the oldest legal cannabis marketplaces, cannabis delivery is a relatively new phenomenon following changes in the law. In 2021, several Colorado cities including Denver began licensing cannabis delivery services for adult-use (recreational) cannabis. The City of Denver has limited the cannabis delivery business licenses to social equity applicants for the first three years. 

What does that mean for you? It means that when you opt for cannabis delivery in Denver, you are also supporting a social equity business. We’re proud to share that several of these businesses are Leaf411 members as well!

One of Leaf411’s newest business members is Better Days Delivery service. Better Days Delivery is a Denver- and Aurora-licensed social equity cannabis delivery service with a focus on health-conscious, environmentally friendly service to the community. They focus on partnering with established dispensaries that carry high-quality products while providing personalized and interactive customer experiences. Better Days first dispensary delivery partner is L’Eagle Denver and you can place your order directly online here

Denver, CO, Better Days cannabis delivery service logo
Denver, CO, doobba cannabis delivery service logo

Leaf411 has also welcomed doobba cannabis delivery onboard as a supporting member. This company was the first to submit a license application following the change in rules in Denver, with owners Ari and Karina Cohen determined to change the perception around cannabis and end prohibition.  If you’re in Denver, CO, you can order a wide range of products, including Wana Optimals products directly from doobba’s website without having to search through different dispensary listings. Remember that Leaf nurses are also available on our special Wana hotline number at 844-WanaFit (844-926-2348) to answer any questions you have while ordering Wana gummies online.

Questions about the delivery itself? When it comes to the logistics side of things, you’ll want to reach out to the cannabis delivery service company for queries on how long it will take for your order to arrive, methods of payment and other details specific to the delivery process.

How much does cannabis delivery cost?

Convenience comes at a price. That’s definitely the case when it comes to cannabis delivery. Cannabis delivery companies have to follow complex and expensive requirements that may include product tracking software, GPS tracking on delivery vehicles and limits on how much cannabis a delivery driver can have in the vehicle, translating into more trips between dispensaries and customers’ homes. When we recently took a look online, we saw fees that ranged from free to $19.99 per delivery.

However, in some cases delivery fees can be offset by special deals offered either by the delivery company itself, dispensaries or product manufacturers.

On top of delivery fees, you’ll want to consider tipping the delivery driver in the same way that you tip food delivery or other service providers.

The word “Fees” and percentage symbols referencing cannabis delivery service fees.
Map graphic with markers indicating where cannabis delivery is available.

Finding cannabis delivery in your area

Because cannabis delivery is so new in many areas, it can be challenging to find what options exist. While we shared a few recommendations for the Denver, Colorado, area, we know that many of you will be looking for services in other areas of the country.

When looking for cannabis delivery, keep in mind that state and local regulations dictate whether dispensaries may deliver directly to the consumer or if standalone cannabis delivery companies are allowed.

If you know the dispensary you want to purchase from, you can visit their website to see if they have a delivery option on their online menu page. You can also go directly to a cannabis delivery service website like doobba delivery to shop across different product categories.

A quick online search can pull up multiple options, but be careful when doing so, since illicit delivery services do exist and may openly operate in some areas. Legitimate delivery services are licensed by the state they operate in, and should have some proof of their license on their website or on the delivery drivers themselves. For example, delivery services in California are required to list their license number on their website. And in the Denver metro area, delivery drivers are required to wear a state-issued MED badge visible above their waist, just like in-store budtenders. 

Sites like Leafly can be helpful for finding delivery services as well. Check out this article for more information.

A look at Denver’s cannabis delivery rules

We’ve mentioned how cannabis delivery regulations vary between different states and even different cities. Below is a summary of the current rules for cannabis delivery in Denver, CO:

By law, cannabis delivery is allowed from 8:00 a.m. to midnight.

  • Deliveries can only be made to residential addresses within Denver (including apartments and Airbnbs), but not to businesses, restaurants, bars or public areas like parks. 
  • Hotels are a bit of a gray area, with the City of Denver stating that delivery is okay if “the customer or patient lives at the hotel, and the hotel does not prohibit marijuana on its premises.” You can find the rules at this link. Your best bet is to check with the delivery service if you’re unsure whether your location qualifies for delivery.
  • In an interesting twist on the residential address requirement, you don’t need to live at the residence, but only be present to accept the order on delivery. This means that you can order cannabis delivery while hanging out at a friend’s house as long as you’re there when the product gets delivered. Your friend or relative cannot accept delivery on your behalf.
  • When accepting your order, you will need to show a valid ID proving you are 21 or older. If your friends decide to stand at the door with you, then they’ll need to show their IDs as well.
  • You may also need to complete some paperwork from your delivery driver confirming receipt of the cannabis products you bought. This is part of the state’s ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking process in place to ensure that cannabis is not lost, stolen, or diverted to the illicit market.
  • Just as with in-dispensary shopping, returns are not allowed, so you’ll want to make sure to ask your driver to review the order contents before handing over the product to you.
  • If there are problems with an order (for example, they bring the wrong product and you do not accept the order), the delivery driver will need to return to the dispensary to fix the issue. They do not carry extra inventory in their vehicles.

Word cloud with different terms associated with cannabis regulation.
Friendly and knowledgeable cannabis-trained Leaf RN smiling while talking to a patient on the phone.

Leaf411 can help with your cannabis questions

Whether you’re shopping online or needing help with products that you already have on hand, our friendly cannabis-trained, fully licensed RNs are ready to help with your questions. Visit our homepage to get started scheduling your nurse consultation, or call us at 844-532-3411 if you have questions about the new scheduling system.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


side view of mature woman with closed eyes sitting on sofa and holding joint with legal marijuana

Finding Low-THC Cannabis Strains

Low-THC cannabis can be a powerful option for relaxation and relief

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

Many mature cannabis consumers wax poetic about the old days when they could smoke an entire joint for relaxation without ending up too high.

Yet as states legalize cannabis, cultivators have prioritized breeding high-THC strains that can quickly intoxicate a user with just a few puffs. Not everyone is looking for the intense “high” that these high-THC strains often deliver, though. 

Additionally, low-THC cannabis flower strains allow users to consume more of the other beneficial plant compounds, including terpenes and plant flavonoids, without going overboard on THC. While some patients do need high-THC products, we’ve found that many people achieve maximum relief with minimum intoxication when using lower-THC products, based on the caller feedback we receive at Leaf411.

How do you find low-THC strains in a marketplace that prioritizes high-THC flower? We were thrilled to see our Leaf411 business member Where’s Weed tackle this question on their blog, including recommended low-THC strains along with a search feature to find these strains near you.

Click here to read the Where’s Weed’s article, 5 Low THC Strains You Should Try

side view of mature woman with closed eyes sitting on sofa and holding joint with legal marijuana

To know exactly what you are purchasing, always ask the budtender about the product’s test results showing the cannabinoid potency. Why is that?

Even though a specific strain’s name (like Blue Dream) may be the same from one dispensary to another, the plant’s genetic structure along with the environment in which it is grown defines its final form. A plant with similar genetic makeup, when grown in a different environment (for example, in a different region or under different greenhouse conditions) will bring out a different trait from the plant’s genetic code resulting in a unique color, shape, smell and resin production. 

Remember, too, that our cannabis-trained nurses can help with any questions you have about cannabis potency or use. Call the FREE Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat with us from our home page during hotline hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MDT.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.