- What is microdosing?
- Why is vaping the wrong way to test dosage?
- Why tinctures might be a better way to microdose
- How has microdosing helped patients?
- Where should the patient start with microdosing
- Getting a better understanding of the patient’s tolerance
- Does microdosing work with cannabis and CBD products?
- Why is it necessary to avoid the high?
Medical marijuana patients have prescribed the medication for a multitude of conditions. It has shown incredible results for treating complex illnesses that often require heavy medications. Doctors provide cannabis instead of stronger medications such as opioids because opioids can present a more debilitating effect for the patients. Fortunately, medical cannabis is legal in most states, including West Virginia – so the best way for patients to have access to their natural medication is by getting a medicinal cannabis card.
The adverse side effects of opioids include the development of gastrointestinal blockages and severe changes in the brain. Medical marijuana doesn’t cause these severe end results. However, finding the right dosage for the patient is paramount to treating the patient more effectively. Microdosing could present the answer to discovering the correct dosage that gives the patients the full benefits of the medication without the high.
What is microdosing?
Microdosing is basically trial and error to determine what dose of medical marijuana gives the patient the benefits of the drug without causing the euphoric effects that prevent them from completing everyday tasks. The same tactics are used by doctors to arrive at the correct dosage for any medication. The gold standard is to start with 1 milligram of the drug and review how this low dosage affects the patient.
When a doctor prescribes medication, they provide a one-month prescription for the medication at the 1-milligram dose. The patient takes the medication for up to one month and explains the effects to their doctor at their next medical appointment. This isn’t always the case with medical marijuana because the patient can feel the effects on day one. However, it is recommended that the patient stay at 1 milligram for at least three days and evaluate their response to the medication.
If the medication isn’t addressing the underlying medical condition, the patient increases the dosage to 2 milligrams. They should stay at no more than 2 milligrams for at least one week to determine if they feel any psychotropic effects from cannabis. The purpose of microdosing is to arrive at the right dosage without experiencing the high that occurs with THC.
Cannabis and CBD are not the same things, and the medications aren’t provided in the same dosages. CBD is manufactured without THC, and the compound is stripped from the cannabinoid. With Cannabis, the patient is getting the full plant with the THC compound, and it is vital for them to find the right dosage. If they take too much of the cannabis, the patient will become intoxicated, and they can’t drive while intoxicated. The high can also prevent them from completing common everyday requirements as well. Patients can get assistance from Veritas Farms about microdosing now.
Why is vaping the wrong way to test dosage?
With vaping, the patient can control how much they add to their vape. They can’t, however, control how much of the medical marijuana they receive with each puff. There is not a tried and true way to control the consistency of the medication in a vape. One patient might inhale the vapours at a stronger rate than another individual.
This creates an inconsistency that prevents the patient from arriving at the correct dosage. Plus, it is more likely that they will experience the high faster when inhaling it into the lungs. The intoxication caused by THC can prevent the patient from knowing how many puffs they have taken and in what time frame they used their vape.
Why tinctures might be a better way to microdose
Tinctures are easier for the patient to dispense on their own, and most of the products offer a dropper that provides accurate measurements. When microdosing, they would start with 1 milligram from the tinctures. The milligrams are measured in droplets and dispensed by the dropper. The patient would have more control over how much they ingest medical marijuana. Doctors do not recommend exceeding 9 milligrams when trying to microdose since it has been proven that 10 milligrams and higher medical marijuana will create an intensified high, and the patient will be intoxicated.
How has microdosing helped patients?
Initially, when prescribing medical marijuana, doctors have provided patients with a specific quantity of the cannabis plant. The patients smoked marijuana to control the symptoms of their illness. However, studies have shown that smoking larger amounts of marijuana hasn’t proven to be successful in treating the underlying conditions. It has instead caused the patient to stay high and presents them with a debilitating state because they remained intoxicated on the drug the entire duration.
Today, doctors aren’t just prescribing the cannabis plant. They are providing medical marijuana in a variety of forms. For example, Naboximols are often prescribed for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Medical marijuana can control the side effects of the treatments and manage nausea and vomiting.
The medication is also used to control pain caused by cancer and cancer-related treatments. Studies have shown that microdosing the medication had a better effect on the patients and improved pain management. Giving the patients a larger-than-average amount of cannabis had the opposite effect. It made them high and didn’t control their pain.
Nabilone is another form of medical marijuana that has proven effective in controlling the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. In the smaller doses, the studies showed that the patients slept better and didn’t experience nightmares or night terrors. It also controlled the panic attacks associated with the mental condition. Prescribing a greater amount of cannabis to these patients lead to intoxication and a state of paranoia that increased their symptoms and erratic behaviour patterns.
Where should the patient start with microdosing
According to studies, an assessment of the effects of medical marijuana requires the patient to abstain from using it for a period of no less than 48 hours. The patient should avoid taking any pain medications if possible to eliminate any potential effects and toxins in the body. They should refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages throughout the same 48 hour period. Patients shouldn’t take any over-the-counter pain medications either. Doctors require the patient to address any pain or discomfort through an exercise plan while the body removes all traces of the cannabis naturally. If the patient doesn’t follow these instructions they will be required to start the process over completely
Getting a better understanding of the patient’s tolerance
Several factors affect the patient’s tolerance for any medications. Since the THC in cannabis causes intoxication at greater dosages, the doctor could initially approach dosage in the same way that intoxication is measured with consuming alcohol. With this strategy, the doctor may look at the patient’s weight and tolerance for similar medications. For example, if the doctor has been treating the patient for an extended period of time, they are familiar with what other medications the patient takes, and the doctor is aware of any side effects the patient has experienced with other prescriptions. This could help them gauge the patient’s tolerance for medical marijuana and how to treat the patient while controlling the intoxicating effects.
Does microdosing work with cannabis and CBD products?
According to studies, doctors prescribing medical marijuana have also provided CBD products to their patients. Again, CBD comes from the cannabis plant, too, but it is not the same as cannabis because the THC compound is removed. However, some studies show that providing a small dose of cannabis and CBD can offer effective treatment for conditions including insomnia, epilepsy, MS, anxiety, and IBD.
When microdosing CBD and cannabis, the doctors follow a ratio of one milligram of each medication until they discovered the best dose of each for the patients. Some studies showed that taking the CBD during the day and taking the cannabis at nighttime provided the best effects for the patients.
Why is it necessary to avoid the high?
Studies have shown that excessive use of marijuana can have a negative effect on the body and the brain. The overuse of cannabis in larger quantities can lead to some level of dependence on the drug and severely affect the mental health of the patient. When THC causes the high, the body produces a greater amount of dopamine, and the feel-good hormone is released into the body at a more rapid rate. This could lead to a higher tolerance for the drug and prevent the medication from providing the benefits without the patient using far more cannabis than they should regularly.
Statistics show that patients with severe mental disorders will experience heightened symptoms if they use cannabis recreationally and not microdose. Higher-than-average dosages of cannabis can produce an unpleasant effect on the patients and increase psychotic episodes and erratic behaviour patterns.
Medical marijuana has generated amazing results for patients throughout the world. However, finding the correct dosage for each patient becomes the most common dilemma for medical professionals. Using a practice called microdosing helps the doctors find the best dosage for the patient to give the individual all the great effects of the medication without the unwanted euphoria that the psychotropic drug can cause. Prescribing the smallest dosage and adding to it gradually is the best way to ensure the appropriate results without intoxicating the patient and causing adverse side effects of THC.
James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.