If you’re just starting your journey through medical cannabis, you may feel overwhelmed with all the different methods to consume and strains to try. However, the most important aspect of using medical cannabis is knowing how much your body and mind can handle.
It’s important to note that the correct dosage varies between people. Just because you have a friend of the same age, size and weight who consumes X amount of cannabis using method Y doesn’t mean that will be the same case for you.
The Factors That Determine Your Dosage
So what’s the magical formula that determines your exact dosage? Here are the factors:
- Body weight & composition: What do you weigh? Do you work out or are you bed bound? Typically, patients with a higher body weight will require more THC to feel the effects of cannabis. Also, your daily routines (working out, sitting at a desk, etc.) can factor into your dosage requirements.
- Metabolism: How quickly is your body consuming cannabis? Higher metabolisms process faster and lower metabolism will cause the cannabis to work through the system slower.
- Tolerance: Have you partaken in marijuana before? How often? Similar to if you take other medicinal drugs, cannabis can be tolerated better by regular users. Novice users may experience side effects if not consumed properly.
- Type of consumption: Are you eating edibles? Are you smoking or vaping? How you consume your cannabis is important because certain methods can provide effects faster. More on this in a minute.
Back to that magic formula – there is none. Math need not apply to what works best for you.
The Most Tried and True Method
Of course, the best way to find the correct dosage is to work with your prescribing physician. He or she can suggest an amount that can be increased or decreased to better your experience.
Otherwise, your path to testing your tolerance is starting with a small dosage and slowly adding to your consumption. To reach optimal efficacy with low side effects, it’s best to not just jump into a high dosage and expect positive results. Keep in mind that effects, whether positive or negative, aren’t typically felt instantly, especially if taking edibles. So if you try a small amount and it doesn’t take effect, be patient and don’t just start taking more. Wait at least 45-60 minutes after initial consumption before adding to your session.
The Difference Between Marijuana and Other Medications
Typically, when physicians prescribe medication to their patients, they know a higher dose directly results in stronger therapeutic effects, also triggering a higher likelihood of negative effects. This remains true with lower doses providing a weaker desired effect and a lower chance of adverse effects. This is called a monophasic dose-response relationship.
Cannabis is an exception to this well-documented relationship between patient and exposure.
Some patients have reported that after gradual increases to their initially prescribed dose, they noticed a weaker therapeutic effect. That also brought undesirable effects with it. Within those patients, many continued to increase their dose to high levels and were able to reclaim some of the therapeutic effects, but the negative side effects rose with it.
Other research has shown that some patients have better results from less THC and CBD intake than others suffering from similar issues who are on a higher dosage.
This phenomena exists largely because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system that plays a role in regulating appetite, memory, mood, reproduction and sleep. ECS exists within your body even if you’ve never tried cannabis. Simply put, everyone’s ECS is different from one another as receptors become overstimulated at different dose points for each individual.
Because of this complex system within our bodies, it’s important to monitor yourself as you progress through your cannabis journey. Keep notes on how you’re feeling at different stages and stay in touch with your physician to find the proper dosage for yourself. Your physician may recommend not only different doses, but another way to administer them to feel the effects.
Methods of Administration
- Inhalation: Vaping or smoking medical marijuana is the optimal way to determine your proper dose because effects are felt within minutes of consumption. Taking 1-2 hits and then waiting 5-10 minutes to assess the effect is recommended. Repeat these steps until desired outcome is reached.
- Oral: Absorption is slower when eaten because the marijuana is not absorbed into the bloodstream as quickly as when inhaled (it takes at least 45-60 minutes to feel effects). However, it is the more desirable route for many since chewing and swallowing is a more comfortable approach for nonsmokers.
- Rectal: This is a useful administration method for patients who have difficulty swallowing or suffer from severe nausea issues.
- Topical: This is a useful application for patients with pain in an exact area of the body or skin. It takes about an hour to achieve the full effect.
You Control Your Destiny
In the end, you have the final say as to what is working and not working. If you follow the guidelines above regarding a low-dose start that gradually builds, you will eventually find the desired effect. If you sit at a dose that you’ve been comfortable with over time but the positive effects begin dwindling, it may be time to try adding more to your dosage. If you notice unwanted side effects, bring your dosage down a tick. Consult with your physician when needed and stay on top of how you’re feeling not just when consuming, but in between sessions, as well.
Always utilize your local dispensary, as well. Budtenders are trained not as physicians, but helpful guides that will make suggestions to get the most out of your cannabis treatment. Find a dispensary near you that carries Conte products with our store locator. If you have further questions, check out our FAQ section.