BlogA guide on finding for the right medicinal cannabis dose

A guide on finding for the right medicinal cannabis dose

7 min read

Editorial Team

A guide on finding for the right medicinal cannabis dose
Recreational cannabis consumers are told not to consume cannabis daily, but this isn't an easy option for patients with chronic health conditions. Accessing cannabis through a legal prescription and with the guidance of a doctor experienced in prescribing medicinal cannabis for your specific health issue will ensure you receive the best dosage advice.

Contents

As more and more countries implement policies allowing adults to use cannabis, the lines between medical and recreational administration can often seem hazy. Releaf's research shows that 50.2% of adults in the UK have a treatable condition which could qualify for a legal cannabis prescription, with 4.03 million who have an undiagnosed condition. So, what does a sensible relationship with cannabis look like?

Awareness of the type of cannabis you take is one of the best pieces of advice regarding having the right experience and avoiding potential negative harm. Knowing the potency and the effect profile can help patients decide what and how much they take. A lower-risk guideline published in 2017 suggests: 

  • not to use cannabis before 16 years of age, 
  • using lower potency THC products or ones balanced with CBD, 
  • avoiding synthetic cannabinoids, 
  • vape or take edibles instead of combustion, 
  • avoid deep inhalation with long holds, 
  • administer cannabis with low frequency, 
  • not to drive under the influence
  • abstain if you are predisposed to mental health disorders 
  • have a history of addiction. 

Dosage 

Your specialist will help select the correct dose for you to take. Advice for patients administering cannabis medicine for the first time is to start (dose) low and go slow (frequency of administration) to avoid unpleasant feelings. 

Most patients are prescribed 1 gram of cannabis flower to vape each day of the month. High User Group (HUG) patients take up to 5 grams of cannabis flower daily. Administration of cannabis allows patients to reduce and potentially stop taking opiates, which are more addictive than cannabis and have other adverse side effects that reduce their quality of life. Switching to medicinal cannabis can turn patients' lives around. 

CBD-infused food products have been designated a maximum daily dose recommendation by the Food Standards Authority (FSA) of 70 mg per person per day. The relatively low dose is to circumvent any potential drug interactions that could potentiate the effect of other drugs as they are processed through the liver. Studies conducted into CBD that show particularly promising beneficial effects on inflammation and modulation of THC are only seen to work at higher doses starting at 400 mg per dose when taken in a double-blind placebo clinical trial. Epidyolex, a pure CBD tincture for children with epilepsy, the recommended daily dose is 5 mg per kg of body weight for the first month which can then be increased by 10 mg per kg until the medication is effective. These instructions indicate that a 70 kg person could tolerate 700 mg (ten times the government's daily recommendation) safely.

The jury is still out on what a standardised dose of THC should be, with suggestions coming in at 1 mg, 2.5 mg and 10 mg as a “single THC unit”, but ultimately more research needs to be done, and real-life evidence need to considered reaching a pragmatic conclusion. What can be said, is not to administer more than you feel is sensible. 

When taking medicinal cannabis, it is practical to ask yourself check in questions: Are you still achieving your work and personal goals without your medicine getting in your way or stealing your time? Are you maintaining your relationships? Are you falling asleep during the day or using your time unwisely (binge-watching TV or computer gaming), maintaining your social relationships and keeping involved in your hobbies? 

Many people in the medical cannabis field believe that intention has a lot of influence over an individual's cannabis experience. By selecting the correct THC:CBD ratio and terpene profile, cannabis can enhance rather than hinder your personal development and quality of life. 

Similarly, if you use cannabis as a distraction from your problems, this could cause further problems in your life, as you are not spending the time you need to address other important areas to keep your life in balance. People who have been surveyed who use cannabis as a form of motivation to work out or go to the gym report that it helps them enjoy the activity more, increases motivation, and also helps them recover quicker. Cannabis does interact with our dopamine reward system, so this may have something to do with cannabis and the power of intention.

Tolerance Breaks

Medicinal cannabis patients should consider taking tolerance breaks. Taking a tolerance break from cannabis may be harder for patients taking it for symptom relief. 

Tolerance of cannabis means less prominent effects are experienced after repeated exposure, particularly for the heart, cognitive behaviours and how intoxicated one feels. The more you administer medicinal cannabis, the more likely you will feel less of the side effects.  

Abstaining from cannabis can be hard for some people exposed to prolonged administration. Acute withdrawal symptoms may deter people from continuing a tolerance break for the time they wish to stop. 

A 2022 study used a tolerance break guide aimed at 18-29-year-olds to see how it impacted their latest attempt at a cannabis break. Using the guide throughout the tolerance break increased the participant's chances of completing a 21-day break from 57% to 84%. The benefits did not just stop there, both groups saw an improvement in how they define balanced cannabis administration, but it was those who completed the 21 days in the study with the help of the guide most likely to plan a future tolerance break. 

Cannabis for Mental Health

Administering cannabis for mental health is best done under the supervision of a medical professional. Whilst cannabis can help patients with generalised anxiety, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is not a cure, but it can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Cannabis is best taken for mental health as a therapeutic tool assisted with professional therapy. PTSD patients are reported to be 2.5 times more likely to recover when using cannabis as part of their treatment, but not when cannabis was taken without psychological therapy.

Black & Grey Market Cannabis

Most people who use cannabis in the UK are doing so with cannabis that has been grown illicitly. Unlicensed cannabis is not regulated and does not go through strict quality checks. As a result of this lack of regulation in the traditional cannabis trade, it exposes consumers to harmful and invisible risks. When there are invisible and unlabelled risks associated with cannabis, it makes it hard for patients to make a safe and sensible, informed decision about what they purchase and put into their bodies, making regulated prescription cannabis the most sensible choice. 

Commercial illicit cannabis cultivators often use pesticides. Pesticides and fungicides are used on illegal cannabis during cultivation to ensure plants reach maturity. The pesticides are designed to be used at specific stages in fruit production and not for inhaled medicine. The consequences of smoking concentrated pesticides are harmful and can cause nausea, vomiting, and mental health complaints. 

Black market cannabis is determined by the large commercial cannabis crime gangs, who produce purely for profit. There is a moral argument to not consume this cannabis as the money profited from this trade funds other more serious criminal activities such as the trafficking of more dangerous drugs, weapons, and even human slavery. 

Grey market cannabis can be defined as cannabis produced by community groups, cannabis social clubs and personal home growers involved with small-scale social supply. Activity around grey market cannabis typically has a blind eye turned towards it by certain police forces in the UK. However, there is still no guarantee of safety from intervention by the law or the security to precisely know what is in your cannabis, not just contamination, but the THC, CBD, and terpene profiles. 

Conclusions

Cannabis is proving to be a potentially safe and effective medicine for both physical and mental health diagnoses when administered safely and in low to moderate amounts when vaporised, taken orally or topically, but not when smoked. Adopting a regular dose regime will help eliminate unwanted and unpleasant side effects. Taking tolerance breaks can help improve a better-balanced relationship with cannabis. Accessing cannabis through a legal prescription if you are a qualifying patient will reduce your risk of being arrested for cannabis use and prevent you from being exposed to harmful contaminants.

Releaf is committed to helping you access the benefits of a medical cannabis service. Our monthly packages are tailored to your cannabis prescription, and we offer specialist consultations for medical cannabis and a unique medical cannabis card for protection.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Authors

Editorial Team

Article written by the Releaf Editorial Team, a group of seasoned experts in cannabis healthcare, dedicated to enhancing awareness and accessibility in the field through their wealth of knowledge and experience.

fact checked

Compliance Director

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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