Introduction

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 info@calstatecaregivers.com.

Dosing

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.

CBD/THC Ratio: Determining what ratio to take is one of the most important choices you can make. If you are adverse to THC and potential psychoactive or legal ramifications, you can start with a straight CBD product (Many people see results with CBD alone). If you need the pain relief or sleep benefits of THC but are still leery of taking a high THC product, there are many products that have a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD or have more CBD than THC (20:1; 8:1, etc.). Most accurate products are in the tinctures.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.

Vaporization: This method heats the plant, as opposed to burning it, to a temperature that releases the beneficial compounds (primarily THC and CBD and essential oils) into a water vapor. This method is good for people who don’t want to “smoke” or have lung issues. The downside is that various compounds are released at different temperatures so you might not be getting the full spectrum of compounds in your vape. Vape pens with oil are the most common way people vape. Generally, provides an immediate effect and lasts for about 3–4 hours.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

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:

  • Relaxation
  • Altered senses of sight, smell, and hearing
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger

As mentioned above, mode of administration influences the effects you may feel.

CBD

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

Media Resources

Just Eat It! The Endocannabinoid System: Boosting your ECB System the Way Nature Intended

Demystifying Clinical ECB Syndrome

The Endocannabinoid System: An Introduction to Your Body’s Biological World Wide Web

The Science of the Endocannabinoid System and Recommendations for Clinicians

Is a Nutrient Deficiency the Cause of What Ails You? (forthcoming)

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)