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How to Find the Right Cannabis Dosage

  • Finding the right dose of cannabis for headaches, chronic pain, and other conditions comes down to experimentation—every patient is truly unique, and their responses to cannabis are, too.
  • Fortunately, there are ways to avoid cannabis overconsumption as a newcomer. Plus, if you do take too much, “overdoses” are rarely medically significant. Recovering from “greening out” just takes patience, hydration, and perhaps a caring friend.

When it comes to medical marijuana, how much is too much?

If you’re new to medical cannabis treatment (or you’re on the fence about making your first appointment with a marijuana-informed healthcare provider), you might be worried about finding your perfect dose—or taking too much during your first dosing session.

Luckily, there’s a solution, whether you’re using medical cannabis for headaches, anxiety, or any other condition: you can find your ideal dose by trusting the pros, starting low, experimenting, and making incremental changes as needed.

Not sure what that looks like in real-time? TeleLeaf’s experts are here to help. Below, we’re breaking down the entire dose refinement process for new medical cannabis patients and long-time therapeutic marijuana users alike.

Experimenting to Find the Right Dose

Since every patient is different—and everyone responds to cannabis in a unique way—you’ll have to invest some time and effort into refining your dosage. Luckily, this process is pretty straightforward.

Step 1: Consult the Experts

Depending on your state’s laws, you may need to visit a cannabis-informed provider to seek a recommendation for medical marijuana. While this might sound like a time-consuming roadblock, it’s a great opportunity to speak to an expert on medical cannabis care.

In fact, your medical cannabis healthcare provider is just one expert you can lean on as you start, refine, and maintain your treatment plan. Budtenders (the professionals working behind the counter at your local dispensary or pharmacy) also provide a wealth of knowledge to patients embarking on their all-natural healing journeys.

Both of these industry experts bring unique skills to the table:

  • Medical marijuana healthcare providers have their fingers on the pulse of all things medical cannabis. They can tell you how other patients generally respond to specific products and doses, help you create a practical care plan, and explain how cannabis may relieve your specific health issues.
  • Budtenders are experts on marijuana products available in your area. They can comment on the strength and potency of certain products and help you compare various formulas. Their immense industry knowledge can help you refine your dosing approach across administration methods and formulas.

In short, the first step to finding the right dose is asking the professionals for their insights. They can help you start your healing journey on the right foot.

Step 2: Start Low

The advice from both your medical marijuana provider and your budtender will likely be the same: no matter which administration method, product, or formula you choose, start with a low dose.

Let’s break down what that might look like across marijuana product types:

  • Smokeables – If you choose to smoke joints, use vape cartridges, or pack glassware, your dosing will be slightly less precise than other methods. But if you want to start slow (which we recommend), consider taking just one or two puffs (“hits”) of your smokeable product to start.
  • Edibles – Edibles are very beginner-friendly. Since they’re manufactured, packaged, and labeled precisely, patients can control their doses with ease. Consider eating only a quarter or a half of a single-serving edible product on your first dose; in other words, cut that gummy into pieces before confidently popping the entire piece.
  • Liquid extractions – Tinctures (alcohol-based extractions) and oils (fat-based extractions) are very simple to dose. Whether you’re adding them to drinks or simply dropping them under your tongue, start with just a drop or two at the start of your journey.
  • Topicals – If you’re looking to relieve acute pain, cannabis-infused topicals might be the perfect product for you. But, before you swipe on a handful of lotion, consider diluting your product with regular moisturizer or using only a dime-sized amount.

Step 3: Repeat Experiments and Document

During any high-fidelity scientific experiment, researchers repeat their tests multiple times to create a large data set; similarly, clinical trials recruit as many participants as possible to collect as much data as possible.

You should take the same approach as you find your ideal cannabis dose: instead of taking a dose once and immediately increasing it next time, try a dose 3-4 days in a row to get a complete picture of your body’s response.

In addition, don’t forget to document the results of these experiments. Consider creating a journal entry for each dosing session that notes:

  • Your chosen method
  • The specific product you’re using
  • Your dose
  • The effects you experience

Reviewing this data over time can help you identify patterns and fine-tune your treatment plan.

Step 4: Tweak Your Dose

So, you’re ready to increase your dose. How much should you add? Let’s return to our various administration methods:

  • Smoking – If you’re smoking, increase your dose by just one or two puffs at a time. While it might not seem like much, this could functionally double your dose if you’re still at the beginning of your journey.
  • Edibles – If you’re not getting the results you want with a quarter or half of an edible, add another quarter before leveling up to an entire piece.
  • Liquids – For liquid products, increase your dose by just one or two drops at a time. Like smoking, even just one more drop could significantly increase your dose if you started small.
  • Topicals – Topicals, like smokeables, don’t offer highly precise dosing. You can increase your dose by either using more of your cannabis-infused product or diluting your cannabis topical with less traditional moisturizer.

Tips for Fine-Tuning Your Medical Cannabis Dosage

While we’ve touched on these above, the following tips are crucial for newcomers to medical cannabis:

  • Repetition is key – While you shouldn’t use a product again if you have a truly negative experience, don’t be afraid to repeat your experiment (i.e., using the same product at the same dose under the same conditions) multiple times. This will help you draw more informed conclusions about specific doses and products.
  • Lean on your journal – It might be hard to remember all of your dosing sessions after a while. This is just one reason why journaling is so helpful for medical marijuana patients. Writing everything down will give you tangible data to draw from as you tweak your treatment approach.
  • Try different products – If you’re not getting the results you want with one cannabis product, try a different one. Another administration method, strain, or formula might create a completely unique set of responses.

“Greening Out”: What to Do When You Take Too Much

For almost every medical marijuana patient, “greening out” is a possibility. Whether you’ve taken a long tolerance break or accidentally eaten more of an edible than you intended, you might face the (sometimes uncomfortable) effects of overconsumption.

But remember: even though “greening out” can be uncomfortable, it’s highly unlikely to be medically significant. In other words, it’s very, very unlikely that you’ll overdose on cannabis or experience any long-term side effects as a result of taking too much.

Ultimately, recovering from a green light simply comes down to patience. Check out our complete guide to greening out to learn more.

Start Your Medical Cannabis Journey with TeleLeaf

For many patients, the difference between a successful medical cannabis journey and yet another dead end is support. With qualified clinicians, expert budtenders, and a welcoming community on your side, you can start (and maintain) your medical marijuana journey with confidence.

That’s where TeleLeaf comes in. As the best online medical marijuana card service on the market today, we’re proud of our efforts to connect patients with the all-natural, plant-based healing they deserve.

If you’re ready to unlock the healing potential of medical cannabis, make an appointment with TeleLeaf’s cannabis-informed providers and get your medical marijuana card now.

Sources: State-by-State Medical Marijuana Laws.

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