Setting Dosages: Where to Start
One of the hardest things to figure out when you become a medical marijuana patient is dosing. When you smoke it, you feel the effects within 10 minutes, so it is easy to toke a little more and build up to the level you need. Edibles, on the other hand, can be more delayed. When I started, I read references online to purchased edibles having dosages near 35 mg of active compounds, but did a medicinal user need more? Was there some way to convert my daily oxycodone into active cannabinoids?
After years of trial and some very interesting errors, I know that I like a dose of 40-42 mg. I know that I need to take frequent doses in the morning, because my levels are low after a night asleep, but I can stretch my intervals longer and longer as the day progresses. I like to start with THC/CBD = 1.25 and increase the ratio through the day. And finally, that my 40-42 mg provide similar relief to 4-5 mg of oxycodone. But I am a chemical engineer and have years of training to guide my research.
Where does the neophyte start?
The first thing to be aware of is that you will absorb more if you eat it than if you smoke or vapourize it. You exhale up to 40% of the THC; your liver, on the other hand, is a lot more effective at the extraction. When eating your medication, you will want to start with a lower dose than if you are used to smoking. The second thing to note is that one gram of marijuana is not equal to any other gram. You need calculate how much active compounds are available:
Total Weight * (THC % + CBD %) = THC g + CBD g
Depending on your sources, you will have limited options for the THC/CBD ratio. Start with two strains: one with the highest ratio you can find and one with the lowest ratio. Having these ratios far apart makes it easier to figure out how much of each you want. Order about 1/3 – 1/2 of your maximum allowance in each strain. If your prescription is for 3 grams per day, order 30 – 45 g of each.
When you receive your marijuana, it is time to do some math. You want to make at least 12 cookies or brownies with each strain and about 20 mg per dose. To calculate how much of each strain you need:
doses * 20 mg / (THC % + CBD %)
Once you have your cookies, start with one, and then eat another half every 20 minutes until you get the relief you need. Start your next round 2-4 hours later, depending on how quickly your pain tends to return. Experiment with different combinations of the cookies until you get an idea of how much CBD and THC you like. Make a note of the amounts, as well as the the THC/CBD ratio, which might be even more important. In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about those ratios, how the two compounds interact, and how to maximize your benefits.
In the comments below, share what you learn about your dosing: Is 40 mg similar to where you settle? How long does each dose last for you?