As with all medications, there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all approach. Because each of us are physiologically different, we all metabolize cannabis in different ways.
Things like age, gender, metabolism, body weight, physical health, tolerance levels, and even our mental state can affect the efficacy of cannabinoid based medicines. Other factors that can influence the effects of cannabis medicines are things like the concentration of cannabinoids, the delivery method, the time of onset and even if you are consuming it on an empty of full stomach.
That being said, just like with over the counter medications and prescription drugs, their are some recommended doses and guidelines to follow that can help you and your physician figure out what the “right” amount is for you.
Here are some do’s and dont’s for dosing cannabis medicine:
- The basic rule of thumb is “start low, go slow, and stay low” for as long as you can. Research has shown that, especially in medicines with higher concentrations of THC, a lower dosage should be used. In addition researchers have found that tolerance does not develop to the benefits and that increasing the dose over time is generally unnecessary.
- Research has also shown that higher doses of cannabinoid medicines are not always “better” or more effective. As little as 2.5mg of CBD combined with a small amount of THC can have an effective therapeutic effect for people just starting off.
- Preclinical trials have also shown that cancer patients using 21 mg of 1:1 THC/CBD medicine experienced significantly less pain that patients that received 52 mg of the same cannabis medicine. What’s more, patients that received 83 mg, reported the same level in pain reduction that the placebo group.
- A large part of using cannabis safely and effectively is the management of its psychoactive properties. A person sensitive to the effects of THC might need to take a lower dose. Alternatively, they can use a medicine with a higher CBD to THC ratio as CBD helps to mediate the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD is not psychoactive like THC and high doses of CBD-rich formulations are often better tolerated and sometimes necessary.
- Often times a balanced ratio of THC and CBD cannot only help to mitigate some of the psychoactive effects associated with THC but it can also have a greater therapeutic impact than either one on its own. Adjust the ratios until you find your sweet spot.
- It is also recommended to keep a “symptom diary”. The diary should include things like symptom relief, side effects, and responses to different medicines, concentrations and dosages. This can help both you and your physician figure out the best treatment protocol that works for you.
Figuring out what dose of cannabis works for you and your symptoms will involved some tail and error. It’s only through careful monitoring and analysis by both you, and your doctor that you can find the “right” amount and ratio of cannabinoid compounds that works for you.