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Proper Dosing: How Much Cannabis Should I Use?

How much cannabis should I use?
What is the perfect dose of cannabis?

The Proper Dose of Marijuana for New Users

New users always ask, “How much cannabis should I use?”

Experts in medical marijuana often recite this mantra to new cannabis patients, “Start Low, Go Slow”

This means new users should start with a small dose of THC and increase their dosage slowly.

How Much Cannabis Should I Use?

There is NO perfect dose of medicinal cannabis. Cannabinoid therapeutics are highly individualized, this means dosage requirements vary from patient to patient.

In order to achieve the maximum wellness benefits with the fewest number of side-effects, cannabis users should pay attention to how much cannabis they consume.

Cannabis dosages are extremely individualized. An individual’s ideal dosage can only be determined by trial and error. Also, patients should keep in mind that their required dosage can change depending on a variety of factors.

Using different cultivars, or strains, can alter the amount of cannabis needed. Varying the method of consumption can also change the amounts a patient requires. For most patients, vaping 5 mgs of THC is not nearly as strong as eating the same amount. (NOTE: Some patients are not able to properly metabolize edibles and require vaping or smoking.)

The Realm of Caring offers fantastic dosing guidelines for both CBD & THC. You can find them here:

Realm of Caring – Adult Dosing Guidelines

Realm of Caring – Pediatric Dosing Guidelines

Realm of Caring – Cancer Dosing Guidelines 

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I Microdose

Microdosing refers to consuming small amounts of cannabis at regular intervals. The goal is to keep the dose is small enough that the patient does not endure significant side effects, while relying on regular consistent doses to relieve the symptoms.

Personally, I microdose with sublingual cannabis oil or by vaping every 2-4 hours. I prefer the immediate nerve pain relief that vaping offers, but I often use sublingual oil as it lasts longer and is more convenient.

I use 2-5 ml of a cannabis oil I make at home. It contains 2-5 mgs of THC, and 4-10 mgs of CBD. If I vape, I use between 2-4 hits of a high-THC strain and also take sublingual hemp-based CBD oil. I take an between 25-75 mgs of hemp-based CBD oil twice a day.

Read about the differences between full-spectrum cannabis vs isolates.

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New Patients Should Track Use

Keeping track of how much is used and the effects they feel can help patients evaluate and determine the perfect dosage for them.

Simply keep a list of the amount consumed, the strain used, and the effects you felt afterwards.

This patient journal from Goldleaf can help patients track their usage.

Responses to a Cannabis Dose Vary from Person to Person

Cannabis isn’t like Tylenol where we can say, “take two hits and call me in the morning.”

For some people, two hits will do NOTHING. For others, two hits will send them off to dreamland.

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Too High a Dose Can Trigger Anxiety

When someone first suggested I try medical marijuana, my initial response was, “I can’t use marijuana. It gives me anxiety.”

The thing is, back then before my pot patient day, I was completely uneducated about cannabis. I had no idea that every strain of cannabis can cause a different physical reaction.

I’ve heard many potential pot patients say, “I tried it and I had a panic attack.” This is often because people consumed waaaaay too much without building up a tolerance.

A dose of cannabis that’s too high for an individual’s system can trigger anxiety. I am personally very sensitive to high amounts of THC. That’s why I strive to keep my doses low.

The good news is, CBD can help relieve THC-induced anxiety. Elixinol’s Liposome Hemp Extract   works very quickly. It’s fantastic for anxiety relief, but it’s also excellent for relieving THC-induced anxiety.

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How Much You Consume Impacts How You Feel

If you consume too much cannabis, you will feel lousy.

Consumers who have had a negative experience from over-consuming cannabis are much less likely to consume cannabis again in the future.

These bad experiences ruin medical marijuana for many potential patients.

This response is similar to food poisoning. Our minds warn our bodies to stay away from a substance that caused a negative reaction.

Negative responses to marijuana can be avoided by following this common new user mantra, “start low, go slow.”

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Tolerance Wears Off Quickly

Keep in mind, your historical cannabis use does not necessarily mean you’ll still have the same tolerance. Just because you smoked a blunt a day in college, does NOT mean you can handle the same amount of marijuana now.

Tolerance wears off quickly. If you’ve taken a break from using cannabis, expect to start back at a much much lower dose. Especially if years have elapsed since your last use.

Think of it this way, you might have run cross-country in high-school, but if you haven’t gotten off the couch in the last 10 years, you probably won’t be able to run to the end of the block.

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Start With a Low Dose of THC

Experts often recommend starting with just one hit of a low-THC strain. Wait for 15 minutes, if you feel the need for a stronger dose, consume more.

Or if you’re starting with edibles, begin with a small dose of around 2.5 mg of THC.

Oral Cannabis Is Different Than Smoking or Vaping

Also keep in mind, consuming cannabis orally is significantly stronger than consuming it via inhalation.

It takes a lot longer to feel the effects of orally consumed cannabis. (Effects usually take approx an hour to begin but can take up to four hours in some unique situations.) The effects of orally consumed cannabis are also more intense and last longer.

Because the effects are so different, patients who are new edibles should ALWAYS start with a low-dose of THC edibles, even if they’re a regular smoker/vaper.

Read: The Health Benefits of Vaping vs Smoking

The Perfect Dose of Cannabis

When using cannabis for symptom management, the perfect dose is unique for each person’s body.

After regular use, users can usually identify the dosage and strains that best alleviates their symptoms without causing too many side-effects.

Conclusion

New cannabis users should start with a low-dose of THC, wait to see their individual reaction. They should then slowly increase their dosage until the desired results are produced. Methods of consumption can change the amount of cannabis needed. Patients should also keep in mind, too much THC can trigger anxiety, but CBD can help relieve it.


Written by Jessie Gill

Jessie Gill, RN is a cannabis nurse with a background in holistic health and hospice. After suffering a spinal injury, she reluctantly became a medical marijuana patient then quickly transitioned into an advocate. Her site, MarijuanaMommy.com combines science with personal insight to educate about medical marijuana. She’s been featured on Viceland and bylines include GoodHousekeeping, Cosmopolitan, MSN, and more.

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