A comprehensive guide on how to take THC oil

A comprehensive guide on how to take THC oil


Founder of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs, Greg is considered an expert on all things cannabis. Greg campaigned for the medical cannabis laws we now operate under appearing on the BBC, in The Times, Telegraph and has been published in the British Medical Journal.

Taking medical cannabis oil for the first time can be a daunting process, especially for patients without any prior experience. Even if you have been prescribed THC oil for a long period, and feel comfortable administering it, you may find it useful to have up your knowledge base. 

So, we’ve put together this little guide to help you have a deeper understanding of medical cannabis oil, or THC oil to be more precise. 

What you should know when beginning THC oil treatment

Now, when it comes to dosage size and frequency, we cannot stress strongly enough just how vital it is to follow the prescription laid out by your doctor. Only doctors that are qualified and registered to prescribe medicinal cannabis will be able to offer THC oil as a therapeutic option. This is to ensure that patients always get the best, most up-to-date advice and direction. 

With that said, below is a rough guide of what we have seen prescribed for patients. This is not meant to be an instructional segment on how to take THC oil, only as a general guideline to what is currently prescribed. 

Our main advice is to start low and go slow. Many patients are instructed to take THC oil once a day for mild conditions, or up to every 4 hours for long-term and serious health complications.  

Your doctor may give you a range of dosage sizes to stay within. An example could be 5 to 30 mg per day. We suggest starting at the lower end of the range, and only moving up in 5 mg increments if and when needed. This will allow you to work out what dose will be suitable for your level of symptomatic relief.

Ideally, you do not want to overshoot the symptom relief threshold and catch yourself accidentally administering too much THC. Not only will this confuse your treatment regime, you may also feel effects that are unwanted. Remember, THC is an intoxicant.

In the long term, it may be in your favour to gradually taper up the dose. Not only will you find the right dose, but you will allow your body to build up a natural tolerance at a steady and comfortable rate. This will also mean your body will be able to handle higher doses of THC over time, but may also increase the need for tolerance breaks from time to time.

Choosing a THC oil

THC oil comes in a range of options. Most commonly in: 

  • Its raw form – as a thick gold or dark brown oil, usually contained in a syringe 
  • In a dropper bottle – either as a diluted tincture that can be administered sublingually, or suspended in a carrier oil
  • In individually dosed capsules – again, the raw oil is suspended in carrier oil to help with dosing.

The reason they come in different delivery methods is that some people find one easier or more effective to take than another. That's the wonderful thing about cannabis medicine, it is so diverse there really is a way that will suit most people, if one method doesn’t work or isn’t suitable there is another route of delivery.

What happens when I take cannabis oil?

When THC is taken orally, it is digested and passes through the stomach into the liver.  Here, it is metabolised into a more powerful cannabinoid called 11-hydroxy-THC which is anywhere between 6 and 12 times more potent than Delta 9 THC. 

For some people, this form of THC can be a little overwhelmingly psychoactive. This can put them off taking it and receiving the well-studied potential benefits that they are hoping for. 

This can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful treatment attempt. With this experience in mind, it is helpful to start low (dose) and go slow (with the frequency). This strategy will help you to build up a tolerance in the body, which means you will be able to achieve higher doses over a longer period of time and get to the level of THC medication that is required for symptomatic reduction.

With all the methods below, while staying within the prescription guidelines, it is advised to either slowly work up to the dosage you feel you need. This will depend on the frequency and severity of the symptoms being treated. If it is for a more serious or continuous condition, it is advisable to make your dosage plan more structured and consistent. 

THC effects generally last around 3 to 8 hours when taken orally. This can be used as a guide on dosing frequency in order to try and purposefully maintain the amount of THC in your blood plasma levels throughout the day.

Understanding the different delivery methods for cannabis oil

Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO), aka RSO or THC Oil

Crude-extracted THC oil or THC distillate is usually packaged in a syringe when it is in its pure form. This makes it easier to handle, as it is a very sticky substance that requires alcohol (or another oil) to remove, should you accidentally get it on your skin. Traditionally, this has been taken in its natural form as pure uncut oil. This is administered by pushing out a rice grain-sized strip of oil onto your finger and either eating and swallowing directly or wiping off underneath the tongue or on the back of the teeth. 

But, many people do not like the potentially messy nature that this form of administration brings, or they do not like the raw taste of the oil which can be spicy, tangy and bitter with a lasting aftertaste. In its raw form, it may be difficult to know exactly how much you are taking if you are trying to aim for repeatable doses.


Capsules are small gelatin or vegetable cellulose shell pills containing the THC oil that is swallowed to disperse in the stomach or intestines. They are measured specifically to ensure that each capsule contains the exact same amount of THC in every dose. Instead of being held sublingually (under the tongue), these capsules are swallowed with a glass of water and are digested with your food to be metabolised through the liver making 11-hydroxy-THC.

It can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 120 minutes for a cannabis oil capsule to take effect, and might be most effective to take it with food or within half an hour of eating. If you take a capsule on an empty stomach, you run the risk of your digestion not processing it fully.  This may reduce the amount of symptom relief you feel. 

Even if you are not hungry when it comes time to administer your THC oil, a little snack will help. Fatty foods increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids (as cannabinoids are fat soluble), so look to eat something that contains a decent amount of fat. It doesn't have to be unhealthy, think something along the lines of a small yoghurt, some avocado, or any other snack that contains healthy fats.

Ideally, you want to be taking as few tablets as possible. If you can, just take one cannabinoid capsule per dose. Following the advice at the start of this article, it is best to start at the low end of your prescribed dosage range and gradually build your way up if you are aiming for a target dose. 

Remember, THC is intoxicating. The psychotropic effect may be overwhelming when taken in large doses, especially if you are new to medicinal cannabis. If you do accidentally take a larger dose than required, it is best to relax into the experience. Feelings of anxiety or even paranoia, while not overly common with large doses of THC, are a possibility. If you do feel like you have taken a little too much, try not to worry and keep in mind that they will pass with time. Usually, this will take no longer than about an hour or so. 


Tinctures are discreet, easy to administer with the correct dose size, and as they are taken sublingually they do not pass through the digestive system. Bypassing the liver will deliver the medical benefits of THC without it being metabolised into 11-hydroxy-THC

This route of administration may be effective for patients looking to build up their tolerance to THC before moving on to oral capsules or higher doses, which health issues may call for. 

Tinctures can be diluted to have less than 1mg per drop if needed. As such, they offer a way for patients to titrate their dose very specifically but also allow for patients with a high sensitivity to maintain accurate low doses with little to no risk of administering more than required.

THC-dominant oils with any amount of CBD in them may offer a less psychoactive effect, and the medicinal effect may last longer, as CBD has been shown to slow down the breakdown of THC.

The THC oil in tinctures is suspended in a carrier oil, most commonly MCT oil. MCT oil stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride oil, which is a specific extract of coconut oil. In this study, MCT combined with THC oil was found to be extremely bioavailable, meaning there is a higher rate of absorption of cannabinoids when combined with MCT. Tinctures are best administered by dropping the oil mix underneath the tongue and holding it there for between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. This time is essential in order to give the oral mucosal membrane underneath the tongue the chance to absorb the oil directly into the bloodstream. 

The effectiveness of this delivery method is such that it may take as little as 10 minutes for the pharmacological to be observed.

Negative Side Effects

We have discussed some of the negative side effects of accidentally taking a higher dose of THC oil than intended, but let’s delve a little deeper. 

You may feel

  • Light-headed
  • Dizzy
  • Hungry
  • Dry-mouthed
  • Lethargic
  • That your muscles are weaker than usual
  • Anxious
  • A racing heartbeat

This all precautionary, and as long as you stick to your prescription range and use the “start low, go slow” philosophy, you should not have to worry about negative side effects. A study published of over 3000 legal medical cannabis patients in the UK showed there are very few adverse side effects with prescription THC cannabis. 

It is important to remember if you do take more than you intended, or do feel an adverse effect, that these symptoms will pass and should only last two to three hours at the most before subsiding. The residual effects of high doses of THC can last up to a couple of days and are comparable to light jet lag or slight sleep deprivation. On the other hand, euphoria, extreme laughter, and a feeling of general well-being may be another result of high doses of THC.

How To Relieve the Symptoms of Too Much THC

First, and most importantly, keep calm. While there is a chance of higher levels of anxiety, it is impossible to overdose on THC. 

Next up, drink plenty of fluid. Water is great, but you might want to also have a sweeter drink at hand. THC drops the blood glucose level quite rapidly, which causes some of the potentially unpleasant feelings. A sugary drink can help those levels rise again quickly.

Caffeinated drinks may be helpful for some patients, but in general, they are not recommended, especially if caffeine is a trigger for anxiety. 

Just relax, take your time and ride it out. You may feel the need to be in the company of someone you are close to or may feel the exact opposite. Both are totally normal for the situation. If you do feel like being left alone, make sure you have someone to check up on you. 

Some people may vomit, which is usually a sign of higher anxiety levels and not something more serious. Breathing exercises can also be of great help to regulate the mind, as can putting on relaxing music to distract you from cycling thoughts.

CBD has been shown to potentially reduce intense experiences of anxiety of THC and may blunt some of the impairments on emotion and reward processing. If you are not enjoying the effects of THC, then it is possible that introducing some CBD into your therapeutic plan may ease the negative feelings. CBD can be taken after any effects negative side effects reveal themselves or can be administered in conjunction with THC. This may reduce any chance of encountering some of the side effects described in this article and bring balance back to your endocannabinoid system. 


THC oil can be a great way to get the medical benefits of THC, and it comes in a multitude of administration options. By taking tinctures, you can bypass your liver and deliver the medicinal effects more quickly than other methods. However, it is important to start with a low dose and work your way up slowly in order to avoid any adverse effects that may occur.

Here at Releaf, we offer an all-in-one medicinal cannabis service. This includes direct consultations with registered medical cannabis doctors, full prescription services, and doorstep delivery. Reach out at any time if you feel that medicinal cannabis may be of service to you.

Releaf understands the importance of medical cannabis in treating various medical conditions. With our tailored monthly packages, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection, you can access the treatment you need without worrying about the stigma. 

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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