Cannabis is slowly moving away from the black market scene that has always been in control of key economic activities involving cannabis. Instead, the natural herb is now being associated with legal dispensaries, and so on. With the growing acceptance and legalization being enjoyed by cannabis, it is important to raise the level of quality, and standard associated with cannabis products. This is important as more professionals are coming to enjoy the benefits of the natural herb. It is also important for the numerous medical marijuana patients who rely on the medicinal benefits of the herb.
Marijuana is now being used for different reasons and has transcended from the plant that just causes a euphoric high to an all encompassing substance of diverse functions both therapeutic and recreational. The growth of medical marijuana has seen the use of cannabis for relief from pain, muscle recovery, inflammation reduction, seizures, and relaxation. When medical marijuana patients use cannabis for these ailments, the issue of the dose remains a grey area. Many patients are unable to say with confidence the expected effect from some cannabis product due to the inability to accurately dose their intake. This makes the issue of accurate dosing of cannabis product an important topic if legal marijuana is to take that next step forward.
Why is dosing important?
Cannabis contains different cannabinoids and terpenes in its plant matrix. When isolated these cannabinoids have different effects and when they exist in synergy they have entourage effect. Entourage effect causes amplification of the effects of these cannabinoids making them more effective. THC for example causes a euphoric high and can give bursts of energy while CBD helps to promote calm and relaxation. The presence of both cannabinoids in a cannabis plant means both can find an effect depending on concentration. The knowledge of dosing and cannabinoid profiles of different strains is therefore important if the desired effects are to be achieved and unwanted effects removed.
Accurate dosing is also important to guide patients on how to adjust doses when unwanted effects are observed. Many medical marijuana patients opt for other methods of consumption other than smoking cannabis. This might be due to the stereotype that has been attributed to cannabis smokers but it can also be for other reasons. Most patients do not want the euphoric high that comes with THC and since many of the medicinal effects are with CBD, they opt for oils, creams, and patches. Accurate dosing for these other product forms is also important in order to get the right composition to give a therapeutic effect and avoid unwanted ones.
Cannabis has been purported as a breakthrough for patients dealing with opioid dependency. Many of such patients do not have to deal with the addiction problems alone, they also have to deal with the underlying conditions. Conditions such as mood management and muscle spasms commonly come with the pain and conveniently cannabis is effective for these three conditions. The question for such a patient is what quantity to take for these different conditions since they occur simultaneously. How do you spread the prescription over a day depending on how you feel for effectiveness.
Risks associated with not dosing cannabis accurately
The issue of dosing has been a prevalent matter in the medical marijuana world that it requires special attention. If the legal marijuana industry is to be expanded, the issue of accurate dosing of cannabis products has to be solved. Many patients have had to take the natural herb in varying compositions till they feel better. This predominantly means that they establish the accurate amount to use by trial and error. Unfortunately, this method is not fully assured because marijuana comes in different strains and these different strains have different cannabinoid profiles. Without proper knowledge of the cannabinoid profile of a particular strain, one wouldn’t know the right amount to take because the same amount that works for a product may give a different effect with another product.
The issue of predicting and reproducing the effects of cannabis also becomes harder due to two special characteristics of cannabis. Firstly, THC which gives the herb its euphoric effect has numerous potential medical benefits. Many of these medical benefits exist below the psychoactive threshold of the cannabinoid meaning the benefits can be gotten without experiencing a euphoric high. Care has to be taken to ensure that the narrow therapeutic window of THC is explored for effectiveness.
The second characteristic of cannabis that makes lack of dosing a risk is the biphasic nature of cannabis. Biphasic effect means that cannabis can give an effect at a normal dose and the opposite effect at another dose. Cannabis can reduce anxiety and promote calmness at a normal dose and cause paranoia and fear at a very high dose. This effect is seen with cancer patients as well as the herb gives relief from pain at a low dose and causes pain at a high dose. This explains that the goal of dosing is not just to get a low or high dose but to get the optimal dose for a particular effect.
Benefit of accurate dosing
Proper dosing of cannabis will enable physicians and patients to identify symptoms and know exactly what to take for therapeutic effect. This will give doctors more courage to prescribe cannabis as most do not like to promote smoking of cannabis due to health concerns. Dosing ensures that consumers know the actual quantity of the active ingredient present and they can predict the effect to be expected. When expected effects are not experienced, they also know how to adjust the dosage.
Dosing helps to ensure that recreational users have a gauge to guide them from unwanted effects of high doses. Much like with alcohol, recreational users will know the quantity of the herb to take to achieve mental alertness, relaxation, or a euphoric feeling.
Much research is going into the accurate dosing of cannabis and progress is being made. Issues surrounding dosing largely applies to cannabis and variations in patients as well. Different patients have physiological variations when it comes to the effects of cannabis and this has to be considered for accurate dosing. Nonetheless, with amount of research and studies being conducted on this, the goal of accurate dosing will soon be a reality in the cannabis industry.