Health

5 Things to Know About Medical Cannabis Dosing

Doctor hand offering bud of medical cannabis and pills. Concept of choise of traditional medications and cannabis

It is not uncommon for new medical cannabis patients to expect their doctors to write prescriptions similar to other prescriptions they’ve got in the past. That is not the way it works. Doctors make recommendations, then allow patients and pharmacists to figure out delivery method and dosing. It is not an exact science.

Dosing is often the most difficult part of medical cannabis for new patients. They don’t know how much they need or how often to medicate. Their difficulty is exacerbated by different delivery methods and products with varying levels of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. It can be overwhelming to the point of walking into a cannabis pharmacy and having no idea what to do.

Deseret Wellness is a Utah medical cannabis pharmacy in Park City. They have a second location in Provo. According to the Park City staff, there are five things every new patient should know about medical cannabis dosing:

1. Written Instructions Not Provided

When you get a prescription for a drug like penicillin, you also get written instructions printed on the bottle. Your doctor or pharmacist might direct you to take one pill every six hours, for example. Cannabis doesn’t work that way. You do not get a written prescription.

Doctors are not allowed to write cannabis prescriptions because the federal government does not recognize cannabis as a medicine. They can advise, and often times they do, but they cannot provide written instructions.

2. You Can Choose Delivery Methods

A big part of dosing is figuring out the best delivery method. Depending on your state regulations, you may have access to raw flower, vaping liquids, tinctures and oils, edibles, and topicals. Your chosen delivery methods will partially influence dosing inasmuch as each option delivers the effects of the medicine at different rates.

3. Multiple Delivery Methods Are Normal

Going one step further, you should know that many patients utilize multiple delivery methods throughout the day. They engage in a practice known as ‘layering’, whereby they might use one delivery method during the workday and another after work, using a third just before bedtime. This is where the services of a cannabis pharmacist prove invaluable. Pharmacists are the best qualified to help patients determine the best delivery methods.

4. You Can Choose Between CBD and THC

This next point is perhaps the most confusing for new patients. Here it is – you can choose between CBD and THC products. Not all medical cannabis products are derived from marijuana. They don’t all make you high. Moreover, some conditions are better treated with CBD (it doesn’t make you high) rather than THC (it does).

Again, the advice of a trained medical cannabis pharmacist is invaluable here. The pharmacist will know whether you would be better off with CBD or THC. You might also need both. A pharmacist would be able to help guide you in that decision.

5. Dosing and Delivery Methods May Change

Finally, you may discover that your dosing and delivery methods change over time. This is normal. Your body continues to change on a regular basis, so whatever condition qualifies you for medical cannabis is likely to change as well. You and your pharmacist will adjust dosing and delivery methods to accommodate any such changes.

Medical cannabis dosing is not an exact science. That is a hard thing for new patients to embrace at times, but that’s the way it goes. Perhaps there will come a day when cannabis-based medicines are produced in a more exacting way, giving doctors the ability to write detailed prescriptions just as they do for any other medication.