One of the most confusing areas of cannabis use is dosing. How much do you take? How will different things affect you? What ratios of cannabinoids should be in your product? What strain should you use for various ailments or health goals? How will other delivery systems affect the dosing? Yes, there are many questions to be answered.
We wish we could make it simple, like “take one capsule before bedtime for sleep,” but that would be impossible. There are too many factors that affect how Cannabis will affect dosing. Some of these elusive factors are sex, height, age, weight, diet, medications, and even the makeup of your very own endocannabinoid system.
Critical Factors Affecting Cannabis Dosage
- Delivery system (inhaled, digested, topical)
- Milligrams or the amount of Cannabis used
- Strains (Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid)
- The metabolism of the body
Cannabis delivery systems and how they affect dosing.
Smoking, vaping and otherwise inhaling.
Inhaling Cannabis is the quickest mode of cannabis delivery and relief from nagging symptoms. As it enters the lungs, it is swiftly absorbed by the capillaries and enters the blood. Shortly after, the relief can be felt throughout the body. This quick inhalation delivery makes dosing easier since you can monitor the effects before inhaling more.
The cannabis experts at HighHello recommend taking a one or two-second inhale followed by a waiting period of ten minutes. If you have not received the desired effect, repeat this process every ten minutes until you have reached your optimal result.
Once you reach your perfect dose, you can expect the effect to last about one to two hours before the effect begins to wear off. While the benefit of inhalation is rapid delivery, it also means a relatively quick exit. But the good news is once you experiment and find your perfect inhaled dose, you can continue that process. Of course, you can always go up from there.
Ingesting Cannabis with Tinctures or Edibles
Dosing with edibles can be tricky. As mentioned earlier, various factors can impact the delivery of ingested Cannabis. Age, weight, body metabolism, and most importantly, when you last ate.
Something to consider with edibles is the absorption time. Unlike inhaled Cannabis, ingested Cannabis must move through the digestive tract, which takes about one to two hours to enter the bloodstream. If you take it on a full stomach, this may be longer.
Edible rule of thumb: Start low and go slow
Since edibles take their good ole sweet time to kick in, it is recommended to start with the lowest dose and slowly titrate upward from there. Most beginning doses come in 2.5-5 mg, which can be broken in half for a half dose. The upside to edibles is a long-lasting effect. You can expect the impact from edibles or tinctures to last between 5-8 hours.
Have a sore muscle or an achy joint? Yes, Cannabis can be slathered on to get some localized relief. Often it takes up to an hour for the Cannabis to penetrate the dermal layer and affect the soreness below. And if you are wondering if you can get high from some salve, the answer would be no.
Now that you understand how the different delivery methods can affect dosing let’s discuss some equally essential factors to consider when getting that dose right.
5 tips to get the perfect cannabis dose.
Take stock of your motives.
There are many reasons that people use Cannabis. Pain, depression, and anxiety are among the most popular reasons. Your diagnosis may very well affect how you dose, how much you dose, and from what strains you choose. People suffering from depression and anxiety are met with a particular puzzle, however.
People struggling with depression often report great success with the more energizing strains of Cannabis, such as Sativas or Sativa dominant hybrids. At the same time, people who have a principal diagnosis of anxiety prefer more sedating strains such as Indicas or Indica dominant hybrids.
But THC has been shown to increase anxiety at higher doses, so what is one to do if anxiety and depression are both present? This is an excellent example where finding “balance” is critical. By combining equal portions of CBD and THC, anxious depressive types can find the relief they seek for both afflictions.
Microdosing: Furthermore, for those on the depression/anxiety spectrum, microdosing may be the answer to anxiety-provoking THC products. Taking small amounts in either tincture or vaporized form can provide immediate relief from symptoms when necessary.
Know your ratios.
By now, you are familiar with the terms referring to different strains, such as Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. But one must look further into these strains’ cannabinoid-to-terpenoid ratio to truly understand how they affect your dosing needs.
When we say all strains aren’t created equal, we mean it. While Indica and Sativa refer to the overall characteristics of the plant, the terpene and cannabinoid content and their corresponding ratios dictate the actual effect of the stain.
Some Indicas can have a very high CBD content which would be indicated in their overall ratio. Sativas from certain regions might have higher THC content and be heavy on particular terpenes such as limonene or terpinolene.
It is always best to talk to your budtender about the condition you are trying to treat and the ratios of cannabinoids to terpenes a strain might have to make a well-informed decision on your dosage.
To sum up, depending on your condition, you may require unique cannabinoid-to-terpene ratios and doses. Everyone has a unique way they interact with Cannabis due to their endocannabinoid system. Understanding the profile of your strain, meaning what cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and their ratios to one another, can empower you to get the results that you seek.
What’s in your medicine cabinet?
Did you know that CBD and THC can affect how your body absorbs other medications? The liver enzyme, cytochrome P45, is responsible for metabolizing many OTC and prescription drugs. CBD, however, is a known inhibitor of this enzyme. It will affect how these drugs work in your body if they cannot properly metabolize.
It has also been found that THC and CBN can desensitize cytochrome P45 as well, but not as powerfully as CBD. With long-term use of these cannabinoids, the effects of certain medications can be increased or decreased in the body.
Some common drugs that CBD and THC affect.
- Blood thinners
Always use care when taking other prescription medications with cannabis products. Speak to your prescribing doctor and your medical marijuana practitioner.
Have a cannabis wellness plan and keep a dosing diary.
With any healthcare protocol, having a clear written plan in place will help you know which dose is correct for you. This plan should include the following:
- What do you want to achieve? How do you want to feel?
- What condition(s) are you treating?
- What is the terpene profile for your cannabis products?
- What dose would be ideal for you?
- What are your doctor’s recommendations?
- What strains have worked, and what has not?
This plan will help you find your correct dose and monitor your progress.
Know your cannabinoid system
We cannot stress how different each person is and will respond to Cannabis. There are no clear-cut rules. Some people might need high doses to get the same effect as someone who needs very little to reach the same goal for the same condition. Keeping your cannabis dosing diary will help you understand your endocannabinoid system better.
Some things to consider are the patient’s age. Younger people may be able to tolerate Cannabis and take it in higher doses than seniors. Hormonal differences in women at different stages of life may influence how Cannabis is metabolized and its effects on the body. And, of course, diet, metabolism rates, and lifestyle all have a part to play.
Start with a wide variety of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Many popular strains today have wide terpene profiles providing a good balance of cannabinoids and terpenes for an optimal experience. Selecting these broad terpene strains might help mitigate any adverse effects of other compounds that might not react well within the body.
Starting wide will also give you an idea of which cannabinoids work for your particular condition and which do not. Remember, this is a learning process when trying to find the optimal strain and dose for you. But, with patience and diligence, you can do it.
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