BlogHow do lifestyle changes influence your medical cannabis dose?

How do lifestyle changes influence your medical cannabis dose?

10 min read

Sam North

Lifestyle changes with medical cannabis

Finding the perfect dosage size for medical cannabis can be tricky. Unlike some traditional medication options, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach. 

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Patients and their prescribing specialists don't just have to consider the health issue or symptom they are trying to treat. They also need to take into account factors such as lifestyle, diet, overall health, and whether the patient has a tolerance already established for medical cannabis. This can make it difficult to determine the right dosage from the get-go accurately, and often requires some experimentation.

So, let's quickly run through how lifestyle changes can influence your medical cannabis dose.

Understanding Your Lifestyle and Health Needs

When it comes to medical cannabis, there is no universal approach. Every person's body and health needs are unique, so it's important to understand how your lifestyle and overall health can impact your medical cannabis dosage.

Are you an active person who exercises regularly, or do you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle? Do you follow a strict diet, or are you the type to sneakily indulge in a little more junk food than you should? Do you get a solid 8 hours of sleep per night? Are you dealing with the heavy burden of stress from work or just everyday life?

All of these lifestyle factors can influence how your body responds to medical cannabis and determine the ideal dosage for you.

The four main lifestyle factors that can affect your medical cannabis dosage are diet, exercise, sleep, and stress.

Diet

We all know that your diet forms the backbone of a healthy lifestyle, and that eating a varied, nutrient-rich diet containing whole, unprocessed foods can make a huge difference in itself when trying to recover from or manage chronic pain or illness. But when it comes to medical cannabis, it's also essential to consider how your diet can impact the effects of this medication.

There have been multiple studies in the past few years that have shown the bioavailability of both  THC and CBD (the two main active cannabinoids in medical cannabis) are heavily improved when taken with a meal. This is especially true if the meal contains a decent amount of healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, or olive oil. Cannabinoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are more easily absorbed by the body when consumed with dietary fat.

Exercise

Regular exercise is as important as a healthy diet for maintaining overall well-being. But did you know that exercise can also affect your medical cannabis dosage?

Exercise increases blood flow and metabolism, which can lead to the body processing medications more quickly. This could mean that people who are highly active may need slightly higher doses of medical cannabis than those who live a more sedentary lifestyle, especially if they are taking their medical cannabis before working out.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is up there with the most often overlooked forms of self-care in adults in the UK. We all know how important it is, but most of us don't get enough of it, and it's easy to come up with excuses - work, kids, stress, life.

But when it comes to medical cannabis dosage, sleep plays an essential role. Lack of sleep can alter the body's response to medication, making it less effective at lower doses. If you're having trouble finding your ideal dosage, and are feeling like the dose you are taking is sometimes effective, and at other times not, you should have a look at your sleeping patterns.

If you can get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, you'll likely find that your medical cannabis dosage is more consistent in its effectiveness.

Stress

The vast majority of us lead stressful lives, there is simply no two ways about it. But managing your stress levels is incredibly important for both your overall health and the effectiveness of your medical cannabis dosage.

Stress can cause the body to release hormones that can decrease the effectiveness of medications, including medical cannabis. So, finding ways to reduce stress levels, whether it be through exercise, meditation, or even just taking a break to relax and enjoy a favourite activity, can help improve the effectiveness of your medical cannabis dosage.

Monitoring and adjusting your medical cannabis dosage

One of the most vital things to remember when it comes to finding the right medical cannabis dosage is that it is not a one-time calculation. As your lifestyle and health needs change, so too might your ideal dosage.

That's why it's crucial to not just carefully monitor your dose each time you take your prescribed CBPM, but also to keep a daily journal. In it, you should record any lifestyle changes or significant events that may affect your response to the medication, as well as how the medication worked for you that day.

This way, you can work with your prescribing specialist to make adjustments as needed and ensure you receive the most effective treatment possible.

That last point is an important one. Even if you are finding that the dosage requirements set out by your prescribing specialist are becoming less and less effective, it's still crucial that you work together with them to find the right dose. Changing your dosage without medical supervision can lead to negative effects, especially if you are taking a CBPM that contains THC.

Titration is key

The process of slowly finding the right medical cannabis dosage is known as titration. It involves starting at a low dose and gradually increasing it until you reach the desired effect.

Titration is essential, especially when it comes to CBPMs that contain THC, as too high a dose can lead to an unwanted psychoactive effect. Most often, the specialist will suggest starting out at a very low dose for the first week, and then slowly, but again, very gradually increasing the dose until you find relief from the symptoms you are trying to manage.

Remember, finding the right dosage takes time and patience. But with careful monitoring and professional guidance, you can find the optimal dosage for your specific needs and lifestyle. Trust in the process, and try not to get disheartened if it takes a few weeks to find the right dose for you.

The need for a tailored approach to medical cannabis prescription

We started this write-up by stating that there really is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to medical cannabis treatment. And we'll say it again, because personalisation is key when it comes to dosage (and to the treatment as a whole). On top of the lifestyle factors we have just discussed, there are a bunch of elements at play, including your unique body chemistry and your particular reason for needing medicinal cannabis.

Here in the UK, patients must receive a prescription from an authorised specialist to access medical cannabis. Currently, the NHS will only give out such prescriptions for:

  • Children with rare, severe forms of epilepsy
  • Adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy
  • Adults with muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS)

Private medical cannabis clinics are the way forward for most UK patients

Thankfully, private cannabis clinics like Releaf are legally allowed to offer prescriptions for a much wider range of conditions, including chronic pain, PTSD, glaucoma, endometriosis, anxiety, etc. In fact, specialists working with private clinics can provide prescriptions for almost all conditions that have been clinically proven to benefit from medical cannabis treatment, provided of course that the patient has tried at least two other treatments first.

At Releaf, our prescribing specialists take a hands-on, detail-oriented approach to our patients' care. Tailoring treatment plans and dosages to each individual's unique needs and condition is at the core of what we do. Doing so not only ensures that the dosage is right for the patient, it also provides reassurance and understanding of the treatment process and reduces any chance of negative side effects popping up.

Our team takes the time to understand your specific circumstances, including lifestyle factors like activity levels, stress management, and sleep patterns. We believe in a patient-centred approach that prioritises your comfort and well-being above all else.

Lifestyle and medical cannabis dosage FAQs

What are the most important lifestyle factors to consider when finding the right medical cannabis dosage?

When it comes to finding your ideal medical cannabis dosage, there are a few key lifestyle factors to consider. These include stress levels, sleep patterns, diet, exercise and an overall understanding of your current health and well-being.

How often should I be monitoring my medical cannabis dosage?

It's recommended to monitor your medical cannabis dosage every time you take it. Make a journal, write down what you have taken, and include notes on how the medication worked for you that day. You should also note your lifestyle choices that day to see if they may have impacted your response to the medication.

Is it safe to adjust my medical cannabis dosage on my own?

No, it is not safe to adjust your medical cannabis dosage on your own. Always consult with your prescribing specialist before making any changes to your dosage. Changing the dosage without medical supervision can lead to negative effects, especially if you are taking a CBPM that contains THC. Trust in the expertise of your specialist and work together to find the most effective treatment for your needs.

What lifestyle changes should I make to ensure the most effective medical cannabis treatment?

In addition to monitoring your dosage and working closely with your specialist, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help enhance the effectiveness of your medical cannabis treatment, and, more importantly, your overall health.

Quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and incorporate regular exercise and a healthy diet into your daily routine. Making just a few small changes to your day-to-day routine will help your prescribed cannabis do its thing, and also allow your body to heal naturally. Remember, medical cannabis treatment is not a quick fix, but rather a long-term complementary solution for managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life. 

Embracing your journey towards wellness

Too often, in this hustle-bustle world we live in, we search for quick fixes and instant gratification. But when it comes to finding the right medical cannabis dosage and treatment plan, patience and understanding are key. Embrace your journey towards wellness, trusting in your specialist's expertise while slowly making the changes necessary to achieve ultimate comfort and well-being.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, or would just like some guidance on the process, don't hesitate to reach out to our team at Releaf. We're here for you every step of the way, and we're dedicated to helping you find relief through safe and tailored medical cannabis treatment. Remember, your health is worth investing in.

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

Sam North, a seasoned writer with over five years' experience and expertise in medicinal cannabis, brings clarity to complex concepts, focusing on education and informed use.

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Further reading

Trust your gut: IBS and medical cannabis

Cannabis has been used as a therapeutic for thousands of years, with evidence of its use in the treatment of gastrointestinal issues dating back centuries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that medical cannabis may be useful in the treatment of Intestinal Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and a growing body of clinical and observational evidence appears to support this potential.

Emily Ledger