Medical cannabis is gaining more traction among healthcare professionals. More high-quality research is being published today than ever before. Many studies are giving more insights into just how cannabis could help patients better manage their health. Coupled with higher safety and a lower risk of addiction, medical cannabis is becoming more popular among patients and medical practitioners alike.
Many physicians have questions about medical cannabis dosing. How do you discover the right dose for an individual patient?
There are many different factors affecting medical cannabis dosing, including the strain, the condition being treated, and the individual patient. Physicians can use this guide to get started.
The Difficulty of Medical Cannabis Dosing
Medical cannabis isn’t like other medications you offer to your patients. Most medications are prescribed with a particular dosage. This is often based on the patient’s age, sex, height, weight, and medical condition.
Medical cannabis dosing still needs to consider these factors, but the relation isn’t quite as linear. With cannabis, some patients experience great effects with a relatively low dose, while other patients will need higher dosages to find similar symptom relief.
The number of strains and methods of delivery further complicate the situation, as do the patient’s condition and medical history. For now, there are some guidelines for physicians to follow.
Start Low and Go Slow
This advice is often given to patients, but it’s good advice for medical practitioners as well. When trying to discover the optimal dosage for a patient, the best advice is to start with a low dose. From there, you and your patient can work together, slowly increasing the dosage to reach the optimal amount for the patient.
As mentioned, some patients need only low doses of medical cannabis to achieve effective symptom relief. Cannabis has a multiphasic dose-response relationship. In high doses, it can actually have more adverse effects and relatively few benefits for a patient. Since each patient’s optimal dose varies, starting low makes sense.
The Issue of Strains and Methodology
The next thing you’ll need to consider is how the patient will be taking their medication. There are a variety of ways to use medical cannabis. Most patients inhale smoke or vapor of the bud of the cannabis plant. Another popular method is to use cannabis oils, which will prevent any long-term effects of inhalation.
If the patient is inhaling cannabis, you’ll need to consider different strains. Different strains have different concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. This has a profound effect on how the medication affects the patient. Finding an optimal ratio of THC and CBD for each individual patient is important. Some patients may do well with high concentrations of THC, while others may prefer strains with more CBD content. This will also depend on the effects you’re trying to achieve.
For patients using oils, you should consider the ratio of THC to CBD. Prescription cannabinoids used to contain THC alone, but, today, most include at least some CBD, which helps moderate the potentially negative effects of THC.
Is There an Easy Rule to Follow?
Many physicians ask this question, but unfortunately, there’s no “easy” chart to help find a patient’s optimal dosage. As more is learned about medical cannabis, it may become easier to predict what dosage a patient will need. For now, medical practitioners and patients must work together to determine optimal dosages, often through trial and error.
Using medical cannabis effectively can be challenging, but many patients will find an optimal dose that provides them with effective symptom management. Use these general guidelines to get started.