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Outreach, Education, & Research on the Medical Benefits of Cannabis
Dosing and Side Effects – My Compassion | Outreach, Education, & Research on the Medical Benefits of Cannabis

Each strain of the plant has its own cannabinoid and terpene profile and subtly different effects. Whether you use a Sativa or Indica dominant, or a Hybrid it makes a difference on how it affects your mind and body.

Side Effects

Currently no significant interactions between cannabis and other drugs are known at this time, though research indicates when used with opiate painkillers the effects are enhanced. Little is known about the interaction with other pharmaceutical medications, but it is something to consider when using cannabis. It is important to talk to your Doctor if you are using cannabis for medical purposes as some studies have shown interactions with barbiturates, theophyline, fluxetine, disulfiram, sedatives, antihistamines.

CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) share a special interdependent relationship and work together to increase one another’s therapeutic benefits. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. THC is psychoactive and, therefore, may produce euphoric or dysphoric effects. A patient’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor in determining appropriate dosages and ratios for a CBD-rich treatment regimen. CBD can lessen or neutralize the psycho activity of THC. So an increased ratio of CBD-to-THC means fewer mental effects.

  • Indicas can cause drowsiness – avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when using your medicine.
  • Sativas have a more energetic effect however; patients have reported increased heart rate due to anxiety.
  • Change your strain if the one you’re using seems to be losing its effectiveness.
  • Experiment with high CBD strains, particularly for nausea, appetite, and pain.

Don’t consume THC and drive; it can impair motor skills. To date there is no law in place that defines a specific time a person should wait before driving or operating heavy machinery. Because people and potency of strains and products vary so greatly, it is always wise to wait until you feel the effect has completely worn off.

Dosage Guidelines

Cannabinoid therapeutics is personalized medicine. The appropriate dosage depends upon the person and condition being treated.

Dosed cannabinoid medicine infused with CBD-rich oil extracts is available in sublingual sprays, capsules, edibles, topicals, tinctures and other products.

Find your ratio. Products have varying amounts of CBD and THC. A high CBD strain or product (with little THC) is not necessarily superior to a strain or product with a more balanced CBD:THC ratio. Find the proper combination for you.

  1. Begin with a low dose—especially if you have little or no experience with THC products.
  2. Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose.
  3. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and consider if you need to adjust the ratio or amount.

Don’t overdo it. Often with cannabinoid therapeutics, “less is more.” Cannabinoid compounds have biphasic properties. This means that higher doses of CBD may not be as effective as low or moderate doses. Also, too much THC—while not lethal—can increase anxiety and mood disorders.

Consider the condition you’re treating. For anxiety, depression, spasms, and pediatric seizure disorders, you may do better with a moderate dose of a CBD-dominant remedy—look for a CBD:THC ratio of more than 14:1. For cancer or pain, you may need more THC, for instance, a 1:1 ratio.

Keep A Log

To establish an optimal treatment regime, you will need to balance the effects of different strains, doses, and methods of ingestion. It may be helpful to record your therapeutic intake on an ongoing basis. One method is through keeping a log that captures your experience, including thoughts, feeling and behaviors. Periodically reviewing the log can help both you and your doctor make decisions about what works best.

To start, keep a detailed log, as described below, for at least one week. Once you’ve got a week’s worth of information, complete the self-assessment worksheet that follows. This worksheet will help you better understand many things about yourself, including: your ailments and symptom patterns, your treatment behaviors, and the efficacy and side effects of the medicines you use.

In keeping a medication log, try to keep things standardized, and be as consistent as possible. Here are some logging tips on useful information to collect:

  1. Date/Time: Record every time you consume, with the current date and time of day.
  2. Amount: The amount used (gram estimate or other consistent measure).
  3. Strain: The name, strain or variety of strains used. If you don’t know the name, write a detailed description of the medicine.
  4. Code: Strains are generally described as Indica, Sativa, or hybrid. You may want to code your entries: I=Indica, S=Sativa, S/I=Sativa-dominant Indica Cross, and I/S= Indica-dominant Sativa Cross.
  5. Type is the form of the plant byproduct consumed: dried bud flower (most common), concentrates, tincture/sprays, edibles/drinks or topical. You may want to use: F=flower, C=concentrate, T=tincture/spray, E=edible, TO=topical.
  6. Cannabinoid Content: refers to the percent of THC, CBD and/or CBN. If you have this information available to you, write down percentages of each cannabinoid. If you’re using edibles or similar, a description of potency and preparation is helpful.
  7. Mode: Write down how you used your medication. Either inhale via S=smoke or V=vaporize, E=eat/digest, T=tincture or spray, TO=topical.
  8. Therapeutic Effects: List any positive effects you experience (physical, mental, social, behavioral, etc).
  9. Negative Side Effects: List your negative effects
  10. Timing: How quickly did you experience the first therapeutic effects? When did you feel the peak of relief? When did it start to noticeably dissipate? How long until effects were gone?
  11. What prompted your cannabinoid use? List the specific factors that told you it was time for medicine, as well as the general symptoms or conditions being treated (e.g. pain, nausea, anxiety, etc.
  12. How did you feel (mindset)? Record your mood and feelings before and after each used.
  13. Where were you (setting)? Were you at home, at a collective, in your office? Sitting, standing, lying down?
  14. Who were you with? Were you by yourself, with a friend or a large group?
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