Trying to figure out how to use cannabis and related products can be a daunting experience. This section can help you figure out how to find the proper dose and the correct mode of administration for your needs. If you have further questions, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ultimate question is: how much should I take? This is a complex issue because everyone responds to cannabis products in a different manner. Here are some general rules of thumb that can ensure you have a safe experience.
Start Low: Make sure your product is labeled, so you understand how many milligrams are in each dose. If you are smoking or vaping, look at the THC content of the package. Most cannabis these days is between 20-30% THC which is very high. If you are a first-time user, you will be fine with 10-15% THC. Bottom line: just take a very small hit with the higher dose flower product. For edibles, start with 5-10 mg per dose.
Go Slow: With edibles or other products you ingest, wait for 60-90 minutes before determining whether to dose again. Most people make the mistake of assuming that nothing is happening after 20-30 minutes, take another dose, and then get hit with the impact of both doses. Do NOT mix alcohol with edibles.
Increase your dose over time as needed and until you feel the desired effect: Cannabis works well in the short term to alleviate chronic pain or improve your mood. It also works over the long term (8-12 weeks) to reduce inflammation, improve other chronic conditions. So, don’t give up if you don’t see immediate effects of long-term conditions.
The Ratio of CBD/THC:
Modes of Administration
Smoking cannabis is only one way to use cannabis effectively.
Tinctures: A time-honored method of administrating herbs, tinctures are taken orally, and the compounds go into your bloodstream from your mouth. The remaining compounds are processed through the liver when swallowed. If properly labeled, tinctures have an advantage in that you can accurately dose. Depending on the CBD/THC ratio, onset can be felt within 1-2 hours (higher CBD means not feeling the typical “high” associated with marijuana) and last 3-4 hours.
Edible Products: Be careful! Edibles can be very powerful and create numerous undesirable side effects. They also take about 60-90 minutes for onset and thus people eat more. The effects can be felt for up to 6-8 hours. If you overdose, take a pure CBD product to reduce the effects. Do NOT eat edibles made by friends or family as you don’t know how many milligrams of THC you are ingesting.
Start with a measured dose of 5 to 10 mg and wait 90 minutes. Edibles are good for sleep and chronic pain.
Topical applications: oils, salves, and ointments are great for skin blemishes, topical pain, and overall wellness. Some people have reported success in treating skin cancer and managing shingles. There is no psychoactivity associated with topical products.
Teas: Another time-honored mode of administration for herbal remedies. Teas can relax you. The onset is approximately 1 hour, and the effects can last up to 6-8 hours.
Raw Plant Extracts: this method is best for serious illnesses, such as cancer. This method has the advantage of the “entourage effect,” that is, leveraging the beneficial interaction of all of the compounds working together. Raw plant extracts are usually oils that are very concentrated, upwards of 70% THC, and should be used with caution. Start with a ¼ grain of rice size and titrate up as tolerance increases.
THC and CBD
THC is the main psychoactive component of the marijuana plant and thus creates the “high” feeling associated with marijuana use. The effects of THC include:
- Altered senses of sight, smell, and hearing
As mentioned above, mode of administration influences the effects you may feel.
CBD does not create the same psychoactive experience as THC. It also does not show up on urine tests, so it is a good entry-level product for people concerned with testing. The effects of CBD include:
- Reduction of psychotic symptoms
- Relief from convulsions and nausea
- Decreased anxiety
- Decreased inflammation
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The Endocannabinoid System: Your Body’s Own Marijuana and How it Helps (forthcoming)
Endocannabinoid Nutritional Deficiency Fact Sheet (for clinicians) (forthcoming)
Foods and Supplements that Help Regulate Your Endocannabinoid System (forthcoming)