General Dosing for Cannabis
Seasoned users or first-timers, everyone using cannabis should consider dosage before taking this natural medication. Cannabis use, much like traditional prescription drugs, requires attention be paid to dosage, to ensure safe and beneficial results.
The proper cannabis dosing is based on a few factors: the dominant cannabinoid in the strain (THC or CBD), the concentration of that cannabinoid, the individual’s weight, genotype, and natural cannabinoid tolerance.
Medicating with THC
A first-time cannabis user seeking a treatment containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol- a psychoactive compound) should start very small, and increase their dosage only if the lesser dose does not provide the relief they require.
The maximum first-use dose for a 120-pound person, for instance, is 5 mg of THC, but FARM budtenders will often recommend taking as little as 1 mg to begin with, and moving up from there. Even if you weigh more than 120 pounds, starting small (1 or 2 mg) is always a good idea. When using cannabis as a treatment, an individual need never experience the “high” commonly associated with THC.
How the cannabis is received by the body plays a big role in how quickly you will feel the effects. Smoking or vaporizing cannabis results in an almost immediate effect, because the cannabis is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries in the lungs. Similarly, sublingual applications also result in an almost immediate effect since the cannabinoids are diffused through the mucous membranes under the tongue and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Ingesting the same amount of cannabis orally (through capsules, tinctures, or phoenix tears for example) will produce a more delayed effect – anywhere from half an hour to two or more hours – because the THC must be absorbed internally before the cannabinoids can be metabolized and absorbed into the bloodstream. It is important to understand the different methods of absorption when properly dosing oneself.
After the First Treatment
Following their initial treatment, patients are encouraged to re-dose when they feel it is necessary. For a first-time user, a second inhaled treatment is commonly needed after two or three hours, while it is advisable to wait six hours when using oral cannabis. If you think you can still feel the effects of your treatment after the recommended time has passed, then you should continue to wait until your symptoms begin to return, before taking a second dose.
After beginning with 5 – 7 mg, new users can continue to increase their dosage as they acclimatize to the treatment. FARM senior staff consultant recommend never initially exceeding 14 mg of THC in a single dose. 10 – 50mg is the average dosage patients find beneficial. Bear in mind, here, that the amount of THC the body needs, and the amount the body “can handle” are probably not equal. Often, a small amount – one that does not present as a “high” – can be just as helpful as a large amount, if not more so.
Medicating With CBD
When it comes to CBD (cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound), the treatment process is essentially the opposite: your senior staff consultant will start you off with a large dose, up to 20 mg. CBD does not cause a mental “high”, and this hefty dose will result in, at most, intense relaxation.
Following this preliminary treatment, you can begin to reduce your dosage, paying attention to your symptoms as you do. When you reach a dose where you no longer feel relief from your symptoms, you will increase to the last beneficial dosage. As with THC, you will likely need to slowly raise your dosage as your tolerance increases. Andrew, one of FARM’s knowledgeable budtenders, puts it this way: the introduction to CBD is a “free fall”, while trying THC requires you to cautiously “dip your toe.”
One final note on tolerance: if you are a regular cannabis smoker planning to try oral cannabis for the first time, accept that your tolerance does not necessarily transfer over to the new ingestion method. A first-time user of oral THC should begin with the minimum 1 or 2 mg amount, regardless of how much they are comfortable smoking. The same is true for individuals experienced with oral cannabis who are inhaling for the first time.