One of the things which fascinates me the most about cannabis is the versatility of the plant and how it is truly an individual process of discovery. What works for you may not work for someone else dealing with the same condition simply because of genetic and personal differences.
This is how cannabis can be great to help someone who needs to eat more, or it can be used to help someone control binge eating. Every individual can have a very different response to the exact same product.
This is also why many current doctors don’t understand cannabis as medicine. Cannabis is not like the pharmaceuticals they are used to dealing with, it is not a one-size fits all solution. They can’t just throw you a bottle of pills and say, “Here… take two a day and touch base with me in 3 months.”
That’s not how this works… that’s not how any of this works.
With so many strains, each with a different concentration of cannabinoids – each with its own medicinal properties, and a wide-array of ways to administer cannabis, it’s like having thousands of medications in one little plant. With this diversity of applications, it is a process to find the right combination.
Titration is really just a big, fifty-cent word for finding your own appropriate dose which reduces or eliminates symptoms without negative side effects. This is another reason doctors are typically not comfortable with cannabis medication… giving the patient the ability to adjust their own dose is simply not in their wheelhouse.
Here’s why… with other medications, doctors have a responsibility of their own. If a patient takes too much hydrocodone… they could die. If a person takes too much lorazepam… they could die. If a person takes too much acetaminophen (yeah… Tylenol) … they could die. However, it is impossible to die from an overdose of cannabis alone, even the DEA admits to that.
Basically, what this means for cannabis users looking for the perfect dose, start low and increase your dose a little at a time over a period of time until you find right dose and/or ratio which works for you.
Dosing CBD can be little bit different, unlike THC, there's no particular “effect” you're looking for, rather you're looking to simply calm symptoms. I recommend taking notes or keeping a journal, note your pain scale, or discomfort before and after dosing. If you aren't getting the results you want at 5mg, move up to 10mg, and keep taking small incremental increases until you see the results you want.
Keep in mind, CBD has a very broad effective dosing range. While some people may find relief at a minimal level of 5-20mg, others may need 1000-1500mg a day, it's really dependent on the consumer. Take your time to find the right dose.
The Biphasic Effect
Biphasic – another lovely, big word from the medical world, which means different doses can have very different effects. The effect you experience with a low dose, could have the opposite effect with a high-dose or vice versa.
This video from Dr. David Sulak explains how the biphasic effect works on a bell curve, and the goal is to find your happy spot at the peak of the curve – just enough to curb your symptoms without negative side effects.
Begin with a low dose, especially if you are new to cannabis. Also, look for products with a higher CBD to THC ratio. CBD will counter the psychoactive effects of THC.
Microdose! Taking a few small doses over the course of the day is much more effective than taking one large dose before bed.
Use the same dose and product for 2-3 days, taking note of how it works. You may even find keeping a journal is a big help. Keep increasing your dose until you achieve whatever your desired result is.
Take it slow. As with many things in this world, less is often more.
Don’t overdo it! But if you do, don’t worry… remember over-consuming cannabis is not fatal. It may be a little uncomfortable with too much THC, but generally it’s nothing a big glass of water and a nap won’t cure. Taking too much CBD might make you a little sleepy.
The Future of Healthcare
With any luck of federal laws changing, I believe the day is coming where you, your healthcare professional, and your professional cannabis coach work as a team to build your perfect wellness solution. While physicians have the ability to test and diagnose, your cannabis adviser understands the plant, the cannabinoids, and the impact they have, and possibly most valuable of all… they have the time to help you work through the process.