The following is our recommendation on how to formulate a dosing strategy with your doctor and dispensary representatives. Then we’ll take a look at how to determine the dosing amounts for each major route type. This guide is intended for patients who are new to cannabis and are looking to use it for medicinal purposes.
- mg = milligrams. Most products list a Standard Daily Use (SDU) value in milligrams on the label.
- CBD:THC = Most product labels have a ratio of CBD to THC like 1:1, 5:1, or 1:9, where the first value is CBD and the second is the THC level. For a 5:1 product, that means for every 5 parts CBD there is 1 THC.
Our recommendation is to develop a dosing strategy with your doctor that provides a daily milligram (mg) dosage amount, and a product with a targeted CBD:THC ratio.
Your doctor and you could settle on taking 5mg of a 1:1 CBD:THC tincture-product per day. Then, work out how you’d like to take those 5mg: once, or spread over smaller doses throughout the day. Like 2.5mg in the morning and then another 2.5mg before bed.
The physician will help you work out these details based on your tolerance level and what symptoms you’re trying to relieve. If you’re starting out, most likely, the physician will recommend a 1:1 or higher CBD to THC ratio like 5:1 or 12:1. Starting with a product that has a higher CBD than THC value allows you to ease into the cannabis therapy while reducing the chance for any unwanted side effects.
Don’t get bogged down with trying figure out the exact amount of THC or CBD you’re taking
As a reflex, you may want to discuss what you're taking in terms of the exact amount of THC and CBD. When your talking to your physician or dispensary rep, it's easier to talk in terms of how much of a given product you are taking. For instance, "I'm taking half a dropper of a 1:1 Tinture". Knowing that a full dropper is, say 20mg, then in this case everyone would know you're taking 10mg, where half is THC and half is CBD. This approach keeps the dosing language between you, the physician, and dispensary reps on the same page, which is very important when determining your dosing strategy.
This also helps when you wish to make adjustments when something isn't working the way you expect. If the physician starts you out with 5mg of a 1:1 Tincture and it's not working, he can simply say "Increase to 10mg a day". They will be able to quickly make an adjusment without the necessity to know the exact THC or CBD amount you're taking.
Dosing Strategy Summary
With the guidance of your physician and dispensary reps:
- Find a ratio of CBD:THC and a product type to start with.
- Make sure it works for your tolerance level and symptoms you’re trying to relieve.
- Determine how much of the product you should take per day. Document this in terms of milligrams.
- Decide on how you plan to split up that dosage throughout the day.
Once you begin your therapy, listen to your body and note any unwanted side effects. Talk with your doctor and dispensary reps to make adjustments in case something isn’t working for you. There’s a good chance you may not find what you’re looking for on your first dispensary visit.
Route & Dosing Guide
Check with the dispensary rep, as well as the product label, to determine how the dosing units are metered. Usually this is expressed by either “one full dropper”, “one inhale”, or “one spray”, which isn’t necessarily what you’ll be taking, it’s just for reference. You may decide that a full dropper is too much, so a dose for you could be “half a dropper”. Below we'll help familiarize you with dosing through different routes and how to determine the milligram amount for each dose.
For tinctures, the most important unit is the amount of product in one full dropper (one full dropper is 1ML or 1cc). If you look at the dropper you’ll see a 1ML marker, filling up to this point is considered full. The product label will indicate how much cannabis product is in one full dropper. For example, 20mg or 10 mg. If you’re having trouble locating this, ask the dispensary rep.
If a product indicates 20mg per full dropper, if you fill it half way, up to the .50ml mark, you’ll get 10mg of product.
The product details will indicate what is considered an inhale. For example, it may say to inhale for 2 seconds for one dose, or draw. It will also detail the product amount for a single draw. With these two values you can clearly track how much you’re taking.
Sometimes the product details do not indicate a per-draw amount, but they will detail a Standard Daily Use (SDU) in terms of how many draws you should take per day, and how much that is in terms of milligrams. From here, you divide the SDU milligram (mg) total by the total draw count.
Standard Daily Use / Total Draw Count
23mg / 9 draws = 2.5 mg per 2-second draw.
With this example, a 2-second draw (one dose) is 2.5mg of product. So if your doctor recommends taking about 5mg per day to start, then you can dose this product twice a day to hit that 5mg mark.
There are several inhalation products on the market that allow for an exact dose per draw. If you’d like to be precise with your dosing, then ask for “metered dosing” products.
The form of delivery, where you incrementally take smaller amounts of product over the course of the day, is called microdosing. Some find this option better than taking larger amounts only a few times a day. It allows for a more sustained delivery of the cannabis product in an effort to keep your experience consistent.
Take a vape draw every couple hours. You can microdose tinctures, spays, or any product you feel comfortable with.