We often hear about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Like any medication, it is important to know the proper amount for your own body. But, how much is the right CBD or THC dose?
It may be somewhat simple to experience medical benefits from cannabis. A puff or two of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich flower can do the trick for a lot of individuals.
Smoking marijuana, however, is not the be-all and end-all of cannabis therapeutics. You can find many ways to experience the medical advantages of cannabis, and a number of them are non-intoxicating.
Lately, the advent of potent cannabis oil centers, non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) goods, and advanced, smokeless delivery systems have changed the therapeutic landscape and altered the national dialog about cannabis.
It’s no longer a question whether marijuana has medical value. Now it’s about figuring out how to optimize your therapeutic use of cannabis to fit your lifestyle and position.
DOCTORS AND CANNABIS DOSAGE
Optimizing therapeutic cannabis use could be a challenge — for physicians in addition to patients. Most physicians never learned about cannabis in medical school and, according to a 2017 survey, few believe they are qualified to advise patients about dosage, CBD:THC ratios, different styles of administration, and potential side effects.
“Dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to that I was exposed in my medical training,” says Dustin Sulak, D.O., the director of Integr8 Health, that serves patients in workplaces in Maine and Massachusetts. “Some patients efficiently utilize tiny quantities of cannabis, while some use incredibly high doses. I have seen adult patients attain curative effects at 1 mg of total cannabinoids daily, while others consume over 2000 mgs daily without adverse effects.”
Cannabis comes in many different forms with a wide selection of potencies, and its own manufacturing and distribution have yet to be standardized in states where cannabis is legal for therapeutic use. So what’s the best way to proceed when it feels like cannabis dosage is all over the map?
MICRODOSING FOR BEGINNERS
One of the common misconceptions concerning cannabis treatment is that you need to get high to achieve symptom relief.
“Many individuals are surprised to learn that the therapeutic effects of cannabis can be accomplished at dosages lower than those required to produce euphoria or handicap,” states Dr. Sulak, who claims “ultra-low doses can be hugely successful, sometimes even more so than the other [high-dose] intense”
Preclinical science brings credence to the notion that a small amount of THC can confer health benefits. Oral administration of a low dose of THC (1 mg/day) resulted in significant inhibition of disease progression” in an animal model of heart atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), based on a 2005 report in Nature, that noted:”This powerful dose is significantly lower than the dose generally associated with psychotropic effects of THC.”
Because of national cannabis prohibition and consequent study constraints, clinical data is lacking to determine if low dose THC treatment can shield against atherosclerosis in humans. But this much is certain: The practice of micro-dosing — that involves the usage of a sub-psychoactive or slightly psychoactive dose of cannabis — is gaining popularity among people who want the medical advantages of cannabis without the buzz.
The effective use of cannabis as a medicine mostly depends on managing its intoxicating properties. A lot of people like the cannabis high; for others it’s unpleasant. A individual’s sensitivity to THC, the key intoxicating part of cannabis, is key to implementing a successful treatment regimen.
Cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t cause an intoxicating high like THC. CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the THC high, depending on how much of each compound is present in a particular product. A higher ratio of CBD-to-THC signifies less of a high. Today cannabis patients have the option of healing without feeling.
Broadly speaking, there are three types of resin-rich cannabis and cannabis products:
Type 1 (THC-dominant) — High THC, low CBD (famously intoxicating cannabis varietals)
Type 2 (THC & CBD) — Mixed THC and CBD cultivars (intoxicating, but less edgy as THC-dominant varietals)
Type 3 (CBD-dominant) — High CBD, low THC (non-euphoric marijuana or hemp)
There is also a fourth kind — those rare cannabis cultivars that prominently express a so-called little cannabinoid (such as CBG or even THCV). However, in terms of what’s now available for individuals, the THC:CBD ratio is paramount and must be considered when formulating dosage strategies.
Therefore, what’s the appropriate dosage for each of the 3 chief types of cannabis?
Here are some sensible guidelines for health professionals and patients regarding the judicious administration of (Type 1) THC-dominant medicinal preparations.
If a new patient will smoke or vape THC-rich cannabis, Russo and MacCallum suggest they begin with a single inhalation and wait for 15 minutes before inhaling again. The effects of inhaled cannabis usually may be felt in a couple of minutes, thus providing rapid relief of severe distress. If need be, one can inhale an extra puff every 15 to 30 minutes “until desired symptom control is achieved.”
As for oral treatment, one needs to keep in mind it can require 60 to 90 minutes before the effects of one dose are sensed.
Doctors suggest a carefully titrated regimen for consumption of ingestible THC-rich cannabis products. They urge that patients with little if any experience using cannabis should start by ingesting the equivalent of 1.25 to 2.5 mg of THC soon before bedtime for 2 days. If there aren’t any unwanted side effects, increase the bedtime dose of THC by another 1.25 to 2.5 milligrams for the next two days. Continue to increase the dose of THC with an additional 1.25 to 2.5 milligrams every other day before the desired effects are achieved.
If there are negative side effects, reduce the dose of THC into the previous level that has been well tolerated.