Have we been overdosing cannabis all along? Discovering the perfect dose of cannabis for yourself is an inexact science. Some users want to get as high as possible, while other cannabis consumers simply want to relieve their medical symptoms. So how do you consume just the right amount of cannabis to get the desired effects?
The Dosing Dilemma
Precisely dosing cannabis products is nearly impossible. One factor that makes dosing difficult is how the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) processes THC. The body has a biphasic response to cannabis. This means that a low dose and a high dose of the THC can cause opposite effects in the same person. For example, smoking a little weed may make you feel happy and giggly, but consuming too much could cause you to become anxious and paranoid.
The body has two dose points, a high dose point and a low dose point. The endocannabinoid system will metabolize cannabinoids in an expected fashion up to a certain threshold, and then do something complete different once that threshold is surpassed.
You may be familiar with the stoner stereotype that smoking a lot of weed causes memory issues. Under laboratory conditions, it turns out that a micro-dose of cannabis actually enhances memory. Researchers note that “THC modulates memory and cognition in a biphasic [manner] … low concentrations improve memory and cognition while high concentrations impair these functions.”
Low Concentrations & Micro-Doses
Many marijuana users have started exploring the revolutionary idea of therapeutic dosing and micro-dosing. A therapeutic dose is a minimal amount of cannabis necessary for achieving symptomatic relief from headaches, nausea, anxiety, depression, and other ailments. For the medical community, and for consumers who like to enjoy a minimal high, the therapeutic dose is a game-changer … if only we could nail it down.
Accurately Dosing Medical Marijuana Patients
Cannabis doses are impossible to standardized since dosing points and THC tolerance vary wildly between people. Everyone has a different expression of ECS receptors throughout their brain and body.
Laboratory testing might reveal one person’s smaller dose point as a .3 mg micro-dose, while another person’s smaller dose point is at 2.5 mg. Some individuals have so few EC1 receptors in their brain that they don’t have a smaller dose point for THC at all.
Self-experimentation and journaling are currently the only ways to chart your own low and high cannabis dose points. This presents major problems for the medical marijuana community, where precise dosing and standardized outcomes are vital. Until we can develop a technology or method to conclusively determine individualized dose targets, it will be near impossible to dose cannabis accurately.
The medical cannabis industry desperately needs a solution to this dosing dilemma. Despite laboratory evidence that marijuana can help treat certain disorders, doctors are limited by the inexact science of dosing cannabis. Prescribing medical marijuana to patients currently entails some trial and error and guesswork. The desired effects may or may not take place depending on the subject’s dosing points.
Solutions to the Dosage Dilemma
There is currently no effective scientific method for deducing a patient’s target cannabis dose. That’s a problem Mara Gordon is trying to solve. Gordon is non-executive Director of Zelda’s Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Australia. In Australia, cannabis research using human subjects is legal. Zelda’s Therapeutics is working on a platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track patients’ reactions to cannabis and hone in on their ideal dosage points.
Once we figure out the dosing issue, every facet of the cannabis industry will be transformed. The legal marijuana market is always growing and evolving. This is part of the reason why experts predict the cannabis industry be worth an impressive $14.9 billion by the end of the year. No other industry has such an explosive growth forecast. Businesses are betting on scientists solving the dosing issue soon.
“Our culture is screaming for a change — for some kind of relief that’s not taxing on your liver and doesn’t cause addiction. This is the way our culture has to go — especially with stress and anxiety. The people need something and they have turned to micro-dosing,” states Kendra Freeman, President of Mendi.
The Future of Proper Cannabis Dosing
If and when scientists understand how to accurately dose cannabis, we will see a full transformation of the marijuana industry. Solving the dosing issue will unleash the full medical and recreational potential of cannabis. Many researchers have urged for more studies to be done on the low and high dose points within our bodies.
However, federal legalization is an obstacle to this dosing dilemma. While more and more states choose to legalize cannabis, federal prohibition still prevents government funded cannabis research from flourishing. A wide variety of research is needed in order to fully understand the benefits of properly dosed cannabis. Hopefully, future studies truly give us access to what increasingly seems like a miracle breakthrough.